Singapore is now the most expensive city to live in for the third year in a row. A combination of business prowess and it’s unique financial position in South East Asia has accelerated it’s economy and the quality of life for its citizens. This comes with the unfortunate side effect of being a very expensive place to visit for tourists. Not to worry though, I’ve got some great tips for you thrifty travellers who want to make the most of your time in Singapore.
1. Eat at food halls
Singapore, with its rich mix of culture, is an amazing place to find all sorts of Asian specialities. Often in the areas where tourists are most likely to visit prices can be gobsmacking. For example in the main roads in China Town and Little India it can be difficult to spend less than $20 per person on a meal.
Not to worry though! Singapore always has food halls near by for the locals, and they offer all the same foods (often many more in fact) for significantly lower prices!
For example in China Town there are two food halls you can go to. The first will give you all the same foods you will find on the walking streets (and more) and the other will give you a wide selection of Singaporean specialities.
You’ll find the Chinese food hall just behind the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple on the 1st floor, and you’ll find the Singaporean food hall called Maxwell Complex just at the south end of South Bridge Road.
Expect to pay around S$3-5 for a delicious and filling meal and around S$2-2.5 for a large fresh fruit drink
Alternatively, if Indian food is more your thing, instead of going to one of the more pricey restaurants on Race Course Road you can go to the Tekka Center where you will find a huge selection of Indian food for very cheap prices. Expect to pay around S$4-5 for a very large meal and around S$2-2.5 for a large fresh fruit drink.
2. Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Singapore is characterised by it’s wide diversity of religious beliefs. In fact it’s probably the world’s most religiously diverse nation. You’ll find places of worship for all the major religions spotted all around city. Singapore’s largest religion though is Buddhism which is followed by 33% of the population.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in the city. It sits quietly at the southern most end of China Town with a backdrop of the cities tallest skyscrapers.
The temple is not just a tourist destination but also an active temple with many people coming to pray here daily. You may also get the chance to see one of the ceremonies with Buddhist monks who don’t seem to be phased by the tourists watching them. You’re also welcome to provide a monetary or food donation at the entrance.
[Something to note is that it is considered respectful to be covered to below your knees while in the temple, so it’s probably worth bringing a sarong along with you if you don’t want to wear long shorts or trousers (Singapore is WAY too hot for that).]
3. Get a bird’s eye view of the whole city for S$5
Singapore has a huge number of skyscrapers, which is awesome, but it also means it’s tricky to get a good view of the city. There are plenty of options to get a good view of the city from up high when you have plenty of money to spend (Singapore Flyer, 1-Altitude, Marina Bay Sands) but your choice is pretty limited when on a budget. These megabuilding have got to a make their money back somehow I guess. An excellent and cheap option though is the Pinnacle@Duxton Skybridge.
The Pinnacle@Duxton holds two impressive world records; world’s tallest public residential building and world’s longest sky gardens (both longest and second longest actually). The lower sky garden is on the 26th floor and the highest is on the 50th floor. The sky bridges span all 7 buildings that make up the Pinnacle@Duxton which gives you a huge area to stroll around in.
The price for entrance is only S$5 but they limit the number of people from the public allowed to enter to a maximum of 200 per day and 100 at the same time. This means on busy days it might be better to arrive early to make sure you get to see that amazing view.
4. Visit the towering supertrees in the Marina Garden
One of the most beautiful (and surreal) sites in Singapore is there architectural marvel