On a shoestring: Singapore


Haji Lane

Singapore has been getting a lot of press lately in the travelling community: it is a bustling hub in the heart of Asia, a perfect stop-over for many, particularly those travelling to Australia/New Zealand.  It has been dubbed the world’s most expensive city – but it does not have to be.

Below, I share my experience in the Lion City, with budget-friendly and alternative, off-beat options for the everyday traveller.

It may be a typical tourist attraction but a visit to the Marina Bay area is a must for its architectural significance. The infamous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and its surroundings are home to many designer and luxury brands. Above the hotel, the Skypark boasts breath-taking views of the city skyline and a 150m infinity pool. Entry into the Sands Skypark will set you back $23 but entrance to the bars and restaurants are free of charge, allowing you to absorb Singapore’s buzzing atmosphere while eating and drinking.


Travelling around Singapore is easy using the MRT system. It is clean, air-conditioned and straightforward to use. We were surprised to find that people queue to get onto the MRT, something almost unheard of when using the London Underground. Travel can be cheap, with a journey costing less than $1 for destinations that were only two MRT stations apart.



For the adventure-seekers, a visit to the unspoilt island of Pulau Ubin is a must. The 15-minute bumboat ride to the island was a mere $2.50. A further $10 (around £5) bike rental and a few kilometres later, you find the Chek Jawa Wetlands, a reason why cycling and fishing enthusiasts often frequent this place.  As the trail leads you closer to the wetlands, wild boars and monkeys are often seen roaming around.  Forget the Singapore Zoo, here you have wild animals in their natural habitat.


At the eastern side of the Singapore river, you stumble upon Little India.  The large Tamil community and influence in this area is apparent, with streets filled with stalls selling a colourful array of different clothes and saris. There are also many stores selling different handmade crafts and wooden novelties.  A few backpacking hostels are also nearby, bursting with young travellers tucking into $2 fresh fruit smoothies to cure their inevitable hangovers.

A stone’s throw away from Little India is Haji Lane, an independent shopping district.  The alley caters for the hipsters of Singapore, hoping to find unique finds and treasures at a very reasonable price.  Many shops have the ‘Urban Outfitters’ vibe to them without the hefty price tag and a guarantee that it is a one-off piece. It’s the perfect place to get all the unique clothes you’ll be showing off to your mates back home.


Hawker food culture is big in Singapore and its Chinatown is certainly not foreign to this concept. In the food centre, an abundance of stalls offer inexpensive dishes varying from local food to vegetarian dishes to fresh grilled fish.  The dishes normally serve two or three people and usually cost between $10-$20. The variety of food around means you can have something different each time you visit and if you are not very adventurous, settling for Singapore’s infamous chilli crab will always serve you well.

As seen on: http://forgetoday.com/lifestyle/on-a-shoestring-singapore/

This post originally appeared in my University’s Forge Press web paper in 2014.  I have since reblogged it at a now-defunct site, and I am re-posting it here for reference purposes for friends and family.

Have you been to Singapore? What are your favourite budget and alternative options in the city?


3 thoughts on “On a shoestring: Singapore

  1. I’d also mention to take some insect spray if you go to Palau Ubin. I got toally eaten alive!!!

    Great post that you mention all the the main areas like Little India and Chinatown. And I love Haji Lane. There’s also Sentosa for the beach 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s nice but I thought you might have left it out since you were talking about Singapore on a budget. It can be quite expensive, but if you went to the beach and took your own food it could be a nice day out 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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