Traveling to Singapore on a budget is probably a very challenging thing to do especially that Singapore is one of the countries in Asia that is very expensive to explore. Nonetheless, it remains as a favorite travel destination not only because of the stunning structures but also because of the impressive discipline of the citizens living in the country.
Singapore is one of the South-East Asia countries located South of Malaysia. A very small, clean, and peaceful country that offers various things to do and explore. From man-made islands, theme parks, structural buildings, and cable car rides, you can explore this futuristic advanced country in less than 4 days!
Getting to know Singapore
When people talk about Singapore, it’s always about how Singaporeans place great deal of importance on discipline. When I was a child, elders would say that chewing gums are not allowed in the country. Until I get older, it’s what people pass on to others whenever they exchange thoughts about Singapore. They would use that example to describe how clean the country is. I used to just imagine how clean the country until I was able to validate that when I visited Singapore last March 2019.
First thing you have to take note when visiting Singapore is the most obvious but still relevant and punnishable by their law is that chewing gums are not allowed. Also, you cannot just eat anywhere especially inside the MRT stations. It’s how they keep their country clean by complying to the basic rule of ‘food is only for restaurants and houses’. So if you have your baon or snacks with you while strolling the streets, remember to eat it at the right place.
The currency accepted here is SGD but USD is also accepted in most establishments. Also, don’t worry if you need to ask for directions because english is widely spoken here. Most Singaporeans are bilingual and they can also speak very well in English.
As part of the South-East Asia countries, Singapore is expected to have hot and dry weather like its neighboring countries. Moreover, the country has 2 seasons which is the wet season from October to January and the dry season from February to May.
Documents and Visa Requirements
Below are the list of things you need for your travel documents when visiting Singapore. Read more here.
- A passport that is valid for at least six months
- Sufficient funds for the length of your intended stay
- Completed Disembarkation/Embarkation Card (D/E Card)
- A valid Singapore visa (to check whether you need a visa, see Visa Requirements)
- Confirmed onward or return ticket (where applicable)
- Evidence that you can enter your next destination (for example, a visa)
- A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, if applicable
For Filipino Passport Holders traveling to Singapore
Philippine passport holders can be issued visas on arrival in Singapore, for stays of up to 30 days, whether for touristic or business purposes. Your Philippine passport should at least have six months validity after the date of intended departure from Singapore.
For Other Nationalities traveling to Singapore
You must have a valid visa*/long-term pass (with a validity of at least 1 month from the date of entry into Singapore under the VFTF) issued by any of the following countries:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Best time to visit Singapore
Although Singapore is a year-round destination, the best time to visit is during the dry season from February to May where there’s less rainfall than other times of the year. Most of the tourist destinations are outdoor experience like the Universal Studios and Gardens by the Bay. Of course, it’s all fun and good until the rain washes your OOTD and shoe-wear.
Holidays can be really good to spend in Singapore but keep in mind that December and January is the wettest month. Always be mindful when booking your flight travel dates. Any months between February to May will be just fine.
How to get to Singapore
Option 1: By Air
The most efficient way to get to Singapore is by air. The main airport in Singapore is the Changi International Airport (SIN) and it’s also the world’s best airport to date which it makes it a destination too. You can book flights from airlines offering this route.
Option 2: By sleeper train/bus from Malaysia
If you’re coming from Malaysia, you can choose to travel either sleeper trains or bus. I’ve been to this situation and for me the best and easiest way is to travel by sleeper bus at night. You’ll save extra cash from hotels and it’s very easy and convenient way to travel to and from Malaysia.
Changi Airport to the City (DIY)
At Changi Airport arrival hall, just look for the sign that says “Train to City” and follow it until you get to the MRT connected to the airport. From there, take the MRT Train two stops to Tanah Merah Station (EW4) and from Tanah Merah Station, you need to change to Green Line if you wish to go to Chinatown, Geylang, Raffles, Bugis and City Hall.
Where to Stay in Singapore
There are various hotels and hostels you can choose from when travelling to Singapore. Just a heads up, accommodations in Singapore can get really expensive at times most especially when you book a properties near the main attractions at Raffles Place MRT station and Merlion Park.
I booked my accommodation with ZEN Rooms near Geylang MRT station for PHP1,300.00 for 3 nights with Singaporean style breakfast included and fast wifi. It was just a dormitory type of room but the hostel was clean, and the owners are Filipinos too so it felt like I’m just back in the Philippines while inside the establishment. The hostel was just 5-7 minutes walk to the MRT Station and there’s also a lot of cheap restaurants and hawkers near the area.
Where to book your accommodation:
(A) Book with ZEN Rooms and get 20% discount using my dicount code below
- where to book: zenrooms.com
- 20% discount voucher: JOANSFOOTPRINTS
- use the code upon payment check out
(B) You can always book through agoda and filter your preferences below:
Where to Eat in Singapore
As mentioned above, there are a lot of cheap restaurants and hawkers near my accommodation in Geylang. So if you’re a budget traveler just like me, you have to take note that the food in chic restaurants can really cost your pocket a lot. But if you’re good with sauted rice plus 2 viands of your choice, you can score 3-5 SGD per meal in cheap restaurants and hawkers.
If you want to try something new, read more about 10 best restaurants recommended in tripadvisor here.
Best Money Changers
The best money changers are at the Arcade in Raffles Place. To get here, hop on to the nearest MRT station and drop off at Raffles Place MRT station green line (EW14). There are also good exchange rates at Lucky Plaza and Chinatown.
Tip: For Filipino travelers, it’s best to bring USD with you before exchanging to SGD at the Arcade in Raffles Place for higher exchange amount.
Getting around Singapore
Here’s the simple and easy trick, download the MRT station map and buy your EZ-link Card or NETS Flashpay with Klook. And that’s about it. If it’s your first time traveling around Singapore or if you’re solo traveling just like me, trust me you only need these 2. If you need to get around Singapore, hop in to the nearest MRT station and get off at the MRT station where your destination is near and walk towards it. If you’ve been to Hong Kong, the travel is most likely the same. MRT station is the key on getting around the city.
- Download the Singapore MRT map here
- Buy your EZ-Link card at any MRT station or buy NETS Flashpay card with Klook.
Question: What is an EZ-Link card?
An EZ-Link card is a top-up card that you can use to get around Singapore. You can buy it at any MRT station or 7-eleven in Singapore. You’ll minimize the hassle of buying MRT tickets everytime you hop on a train, all you need to do is to top up everytime you want to use it. Read more here
Question: What is a NETS Flashpay card?
NETS Flashpay card is the same as an EZ-Link card. You can purchase it online through Klook. Buy it here:
Travel to Singapore with Important Reminders and Travel Hacks
- DO NOT chew a gum, DO NOT eat anywhere, DO NOT throw your garbage anywhere
- Book cheap tours with Klook. Download the app here.
- Book cheap accomodations with ZEN Rooms at zenrooms.com and use “JOANSFOOTPRINTS” to get 20% discount.
- Download the Singapore MRT map here.
- Buy your EZ-Link card or NETS Flashpay card for easy top-up transportation while traveling around Singapore
- Buy your 4G sim card at a discounted rate with Klook. Note: 4G sim cards at the airport are expensive and will last for more than 10 days. If you’ll be staying in SG for less than a week, it’s best to buy it with Klook.
- There’s also wifi in every MRT stations and trust me, the internet speed is really fast.
- Bring water bottles with you. Note: Singapore’s tap water is drinkable directly from the tap. There is no need to keep buying bottled water, you can refill every time you find a tap.
- For pasalubongs, you can buy cheap souvenirs around Little India. Just hop on a train and drop off at Little India MRT station violet line (NE7) or blue line (DT12). I have compared the souveirs at Chinatown and Little India, the cheapest rate can be found in Little India: SGD10 for 30pcs of keychains.
- For shoppings, you can shop at Orchard Mall. There’s a lot of Filipinos there so don’t be surprised if you see a whole country in one mall, haha!
Read more here: Traveller Essentials
Things to do in Singapore
- Try the night life at Clarke Quay. It’s also nice to check out the night life in every destination you visit. As for me, I personally make it a habit to get a bottle of beer during my trip and I call it a tradition. Haha!
- Sentosa boardwalk. If you’re up for a walking trip during sunset, try this at Sentosa Boardwalk.
- Visit theme park like the Universal Studio located in Sentosa
- Beach bumming at Sentosa’s Beach station where you can find the man-made beach or the Palawan beach
- Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show. The Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show is one show that you can watch in Singapore every night for free. Just go to the Merlion Park to witness a fantastic show. Note: the shows start at 8pm and 9.30pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is another show at 11pm.
- Try the cable car ride to Sentosa and get the best view of the whole Sentosa island and Harbourfront.
Places to Visit in Singapore
The Merlion Park is probably the most popular tourist destination when you visit Singapore. Located just a few minutes walk from Raffles Place MRT Station green line (EW14) or red line (NS26). Unfortunately, the Merlion statue was under construction the month (March 2019) I visited Singapore.
Operating Days/Hours: Daily
Entrance Fee: FREE
Marina Bay Sands Skypark
Marina Bay Sands can be seen from the Merlion Park which is also the best spot to watch the Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show at night. There’s NO FEE to watch the show from the Merlion Park. Note: For better view or a bird’s eye view of the whole city of Singapore, try the Marina Bay Sands Skypark that you can purchase from Klook.
Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show: the shows start at 8pm and 9.30pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is another show at 11pm.
Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in the Central Region of Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. For better view, you can visit Gardens by the bay at night and you can see all the colorful lights from the giant trees.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Operating Days/Hours: Daily/5AM-2AM
Entrance Fee: FREE
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
A large durian-like structure near the Merlion Park is another beautiful structure to see while walking around the Merlion Park. It’s super huge which is why it’s hard to miss it.
Sentosa is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. The best way to get to Sentosa is by riding a cable car. You can also purchase a roundtrip transfer cable car from Klook. There are a lot of things you can do in Sentosa like exploring Imbiah station or check out the second huge Merlion statue.
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal studio is a theme park that will surely suit all ages. If you have extra cash to burn on your Singapore trip, I suggest that you try out Universal Studios. The theme park is located in Sentosa Island just beside Resorts World Sentosa.
Insider Tip: If you’re not planning to enter USS, you can still snap a photo of the huge USS globe just outside the theme park for FREE. Also, for cheaper USS ticket and hassle free booking, buy your USS ticket with Klook.
Operating Days/Hours: Daily/10AM-8PM
Address: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
Man-made beach/Palawan Beach
If you think you’re up for a dip in the beach, the man-made beach at Sentosa is waiting for you!
Wings of Time
Wings of time is a 20-minute show featuring a nightly show with colorful lights, lasers, water fountains & 3D effects. I honestly enjoyed this show since I was able to relax my mind and body for about half an hour watching beautiful and colorful lights.
Operating Days/Hours: Daily at 7:40–8:05pm, 8:40–9:05pm
Address: 50 Beach View, Singapore 098604, Beach Station
Chinatown walking Tour
Chinatown is rich in temples, mosque, and cultural structures. You can also find good exchange rates in here but be careful since they also know that tourists go there to exchange money that’s why some would give low exchange rates.
Some of the prominent list of sights includes the Chinese Methodist church, Al Abrar Mosque, Thian Hock Keng, Nagor Drgha Shrine, and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. All these places you can see in a span of 2 hours walking tour. I’ll provide the walking tour guide in here soon.
Little India Walking Tour
Little India is known for its traditional Indian restaurants, especially along Serangoon Road and Race Course Road. The busy streets are filled with malls, jewellery stores and tailor shops.
Some of the prominent list of sights includes Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Tan Teng Niah, and the Indian Heritage Centre. I’ll provide the walking tour guide in here soon.
Suggested Itinerary and Expenses (3 Days)
-ETA Changi International Airport
-Check in and drop bags at hostel
-6PM Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade
-8PM Marina Bay Sand light and water
-Raffles Place MRT
|*Estimated MRT Transportation: SGD10|
-8AM Cable car to Sentosa Island
-10AM Universal Studios
-5PM Palawan beach
-7:40PM Wings of Time
-North East Line MRT to Harbour Front station. Follow the sign that says “cable car”. Ride cable car to Sentosa Island.
*Estimated MRT Transportation: SGD10
*Cable Car: SGD23 (klook)
*Universal Studios: SGD76 (klook)
*Wings of Time: SGD13 (klook)
-8AM Cinatown Walking Tour
-3PM Marina Bay Sands Skypark
-Gardens by the Bay
|-Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15) start walking tour|
-Bayfront Station (CE1/DT16)
-Bayfront Station (CE1/DT16)
*Estimated MRT Transportation: SGD10
*Marina bay sands skypark: SGD20 (klook)
*Gardens by the bay (FREE)
-9AM Little India Walking Tour
-1PM Free time
-7PM Clarke Quay night life
-Little India MRT (NE7/DT12)
-Clarke Quay Station (NE5)
*Estimated MRT Transportation: SGD10
Klook Activities and Pick-up Locations
|Klook Activities||Pick Up Locations|
|4G Sim Card||Airport Pick Up Terminal 2/3/4 Cheers Convenience Store|
|Cable Car||Use mobile Voucher|
|Universal Studios||Use mobile Voucher|
|Wings of Time||Use mobile voucher|
|Marina Bay sands skypark||Use mobile voucher|
Klook Discounted Vouchers
How to use it?
- Click here to download Klook app
- Search for the product you want to avail using your Klook app
- Use the vouchers below
CHASE400 – Get P400 Off for a minimum purchase of P5,000.00 (Tip: ideal for Universal Studios tickets)
SCS19PH – PHP 180 off with 2 adult tickets of Science Centre Singapore + Omni Theatre Movie + Butterflies Up-Close
Virtual Travel Guide
Watch my travel vlog on Youtube for detailed virtual guide! Don’t forget to subscribe. 🙂
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