Last updated on December 31st, 2016 at 08:18 pm
Are you planning to travel Singapore? The first thing that you should know if you have traveled around Southeast Asia, and then will come to Singapore area, is that Singapore has a different price range when it comes to everything in the country. Singapore is a big business center in Asia, hence the high Singaporean prices on everything. When you travel Singapore, you can forget about the $10-20 budget per day. I know that you might have been used to it, given all the Asian guides we’ve written so far. Despite that, Singapore is not to be snobbed. There are a lot of places to be seen and things to do (even in the Changi Airport itself.ha!), so stay tuned and I’ll lay down all the details for you in this post. I recommend 3-4 days to travel Singapore, if you have time to explore this tiny yet very busy country.
Before you Travel Singapore
How to get there
If you are traveling around Southeast Asia, there are cheap flight companies flying to Singapore all the time. Make sure that you have a planned trip. In our personal experience, the flight companies ask for a flight out ticket from Singapore or at least a proof of your itinerary. As always, I can recommend Skyscanner for you to find cheapest fares online. Check out these flight companies going to Singapore – Jetstar and Tigerarways, they usually have pretty good deals to go and exit the country.
How to get to the city from the airport
Once you get your luggage, you need to follow the signs from the airport to the metro. Once you are in the metro, you will find maps to get information to your destination in the city. There is a machine where you can buy your ticket. If you are going to Little India like we did. Metro takes around 40 minutes and prices are around 5 SGD. Keep you card and don’t throw it away as you can use to load your fare card for your other metro trips around the country and you get to even save a few cents on the dollar.
You can buy a ticket from Kuala Lumpur or Johor Baru to get to Singapore. Buses they will stop in the border for you getting your stamp in your passport and you will get the bus once you cross the border.
If you are leaving Singapore on the way to Malaysia like we did, here are the steps for you to follow:
How to hitchhike from the Singapore border to Malaysia
If you are planning to hitchhike once you leave Singapore, the best advise we can give you is buy a bus ticket from Singapore until the border going to Malaysia. You are not allowed to cross the border just by walking. Buses cost around 3.30 SGD and there are buses leaving every twenty minutes from bus station near Arabic area.
The bus will stop at the border of Singapore for you to get your exit passport stamp, and it will wait for you at the exit so it can take you til the Malaysian border, where again you will need to get your passport stamped for entry. Now, the Malaysian border is not the perfect spot for hitchhiking. In fact, we are not 100% sure that it is allowed to hitchhike from there, but we were able to make some workaround. Once we got all the required stamps, we crossed the border and went to the exit of the car park area. We tried to hide a little bit from the officers’ view (just in case), and from there waved the official hitchhike hand signal (haha!). We were also carrying a paper explaining to them where we want to go next. The irony is that it was easy to get a ride from there. It took us about 10 minutes for someone to stop and take us out of the border, which is far from the cities. If you are heading to Malaca or Kuala Lumpur, which are the two of the most common destinations after crossing the border, try to look for the road 1 or the toll road – the right road where you need to go to when heading to those next cities.
You can exchange money from the border when crossing overland. I only recommend for you to exchange the minimum amount of money they require because the exchange rates in the borders are always lower than those shops inside the cities.
If you want to get a sim card for your cellphone, go to the left side after passing the immigration, until you get to the mall where you can find places for eating, for shopping, and of course, to get a sim card and a data plan. During our visit, and around that time (it was before 10am), Digi company was the only one which sells the sim card. (Some shops open really late in the morning). It costed 15 Ringgit, which includes call minutes and text load and data for 7 days. It took us an hour to activate the sim card and be able to start using it. Since we are blogging full time, and working while traveling, we needed to have connection 24/7, or at the least, all the chances we can get. If you don’t need to be connected to the net all the time, and can actually wait to get to your destination where you can buy the sim in a local store, then that should be a good option for you.
If you want to know more about hitchhiking as a way of travel, check this post on how to hitchhike everywhere.
Singaporean Dollar is the official currency of Singapore. At the time, the rate was 1 USD = 1.38 SGD. Since these rates are always changing, take a look here to know the current exchange rate.
If you want to withdraw money from an ATM, you will find plenty of them in Singapore. You can also pay with your card almost everywhere. You are lucky in Singapore because ATM’s don’t usually have extra charges for foreigner cards.
If you are bringing cash, there are official exchange offices and banks where you will find the best rate to exchange your money.
If you travel Singapore, you don’t need a visa if you are coming from one of these countries in the map. You will get 90 days for free if you are from Europe, Canada and United States. There are also many countries which can get 30 days tourist visa for free.
If you are traveling Singapore, you don’t need to have any special vaccinations. Make sure you have the routine vaccines, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. They recommend to have the vaccines for Hepatitis B, Yellow fever and Rabies. Check this link to make sure that everything is ok with the vaccinations.
If you travel Singapore, safety won’t be a problem. One thing that you will love in Singapore is the safety. You can feel safe everywhere, literally. Make sure that you keep your valuables with you in crowded places and that should be more than enough. Girls traveling alone should feel very comfortable and have no issues in Singapore.
The weather is Singapore is always hot. When is the best season to visit Singapore? Well Singapore is hot and humid all year around.
How to get wifi
It’s easy to find wifi in Singapore. And the speed is amazing. It definitely has the fastest internet speed in all of the countries we’ve been to in Southeast Asia. You will find wifi in your hostel, hotel or at the house of you couchsurfing host. You can also find wifi hotspots in a lot of public places like in malls. But you can buy a Singaporean sim card to have wifi access almost everywhere in the whole country.
Moving around Singapore is very easy. But it’s not very cheap. People can speak English if you need to ask for any directions. Bus prices start from 1 SGD. Metro is really easy to move around. You will find maps to get your destination. Once you are leave the metro to go to the street, you will also find maps of the street just exiting the metro station area to guide you on how to get to your destination plus with the local bus schedules. Metro fares start from 1 SGD, and the price varies depending on where you are headed.
This is the most tricky part in Singapore – the accommodation prices. Prices start at around from 15 SGD (11 USD) for a shared dorm stay. We stayed in the Bunc hostel in Little India, which we highly recommend if you are traveling in a low budget and you want to meet people, especially travelers. It’s the perfect backpacker place. If you want to know more about this hostel check our review of the Bunc Hostel here.
If you have the budget to spend more and needed some quiet time to relax before going to the hustle of the city, you can stay at 5Footway.inn. Check our full review of the hostel here.
Budget to travel Singapore
If you are traveling alone in Singapore and you are sleeping in hostels, you will need to pay starting from $12-20 for accommodations. It can depend on which bargains you can find. That budget is pretty lean already. You should add $10 day per meal that you will eat. If you want to go cheap, you can spend around $25 per day. If you want to pay visiting attractions, then you’ll have to allocate more money for that.
How to go cheaper in Singapore? You can use Couchsurfing for sleeping or any other ways to sleep for free which we wrote before. You can go walking to most of the places and eat cheap in the local stores in malls, or other local areas for eating, or cook at home, if you can. You will still be able to manage to spend around $1o per day in Singapore. You just have to be creative! 😉
Spending in Singapore? Singapore is made for spending, if that’s what you love to do. You can go to have food to fancy places and sleep in better hotels. Especially paying for touristic things like going to the zoo, to sentosa and different plans which Singapore can offer to you.
Things to do in Singapore
Visit The Marina Bay
Marina Bay is easily the most touristic place in Singapore. You can visit the area during the day when it is a very busy place. Full of tourists taking pictures. You can also visit at night, which we really recommend you to do. The views are great, the place tranquil and amazing, less hotter than during the day which can be pretty hot, and with the lights, the area can be easily magical. Now, if you have the budget, want to spend more, or experience luxury, check out the hotel Marina Bay Sands. It has all the luxury money can bring, and has the very popular Sands SkyPark and the Infinity Pool.
If you travel Singapore, you can definitely visit Sentosa. The little island is full of tourists and locals. There are various things to do and sight seeings like going to the Universal Studios. You can visit the Underwater World which is one of the most important attraction in the island. You can also visit the Tiger Sky Tower to have great views from Singapore and the Sentosa island.
Visit Katong or Tanjong Katong Singapore
Katong is one of the most interesting residential neighbourhoods in Sinagpore – famous for having a wide range of unique cuisine because of the mix of cultures in the area. It’s located in the Eastern region of Singapore, near the sea front. Katong is popular for its restaurants serving the Peranakan cuisine and a local noodle soup known as the Katong Laksa.
Where to eat
One of our most favorite place to eat breakfast in Katong East Coast is the Baba Chews Eatery located at Hotel Indigo, 86 E Coast Rd. Upon entering, you’ll immediately feel a great vibe with the architechture an design of the place. It sort of feels a mix of Moroccan and European style. Here, you’ll find a wide range of delicious breakfast buffet and good sets of sumptous ala carte breakfasts. For the buffet, you can choose from a wide variety of cheeses, salmon, fresh juices, bread and other pastries and even steamed buns.
The restaurant is located in a quiet neigborhood in Katong inside Hotel Indigo. After eating, you can visit the Pavillion of the hotel, a nice place for high tea or relaxation, reading, or surfing the internet. The staff are friendly and very helpful with food recommendations.
Luxury Hotel Stays
It’s tough not to think about luxury hotels in Singapore. Just arriving at one of the best airports in the world, and you’ll see that Singapore is highly industrialized, a center of business and all things luxury. While in Katong, we stayed in one of the top botique hotels in the area, Hotel Indigo. Our favorite feature of this hotel is their design and overall theme. You’ll see a local Singaporean scene drawn on the wall as its main design.
The room theme revolves around old local Chinese life – you’ll see the old shoes, the old towels and candies that easily give bring you back memories of your childhood (this is more typical for Asians, as Rachel explained the candies and towels are what locals have in Asia when you are growing up). They have this really cute shower where your window shows you a beautiful view of the city of Katong while you are bathing. Plus you can also have a foot massage or foot scrub session for you – there are actually supplies prepared for you just to do that! The hotel also has an infinity pool on the top floor, which shows a great view of the whole city while you are swimming or watching the sunset. A highly recommended stay in Singapore, especially if you want to give yourself some distance from the main hustle and bustle of the city!
Now this our first time to get a handy in our hotel stay. handy is a free device with 4G access that you can use for free, and take with you the whole time of your stay with the hotel. So while we were in Singapore, we didn’t have to purchase any local sim and buy credits to have internet. We just take the handy with us and we have access to internet the whole day. The device is actually really good as it explains to you various points of interest in the whole country. Need to connect to social media? With the phone, you can just login and download apps on it, and you’ll have access to everything. You can’t use the phone as a hotspot, so you really have to use the phone itself, but its guaranteed to have fast internet and full of information you will need for travel. Super loved having it with us while in Singapore!
See the Botanic Gardens
When you travel Singapore, you can also enjoy and relax in the Botanic Gardens. There you will see The Orchid and the Ginger Garden where you will not get tired of taking pictures, or just for relaxing.
Walk around Little India
If you are more into the local and cultural vibe, you can visit Little India. This is the first location we stayed in when were in Singapore. It was very quiet to walk around, the place is more unique than the other areas of Singapore because if the colorful buildings, and of course, there’s authentic Indian food around. There are various places you can visit and eat in, 24 hours. Prices starting around 4-5 SGD per a meal which is considered super cheap in Singapore.
Visit and eat in Chinatown
We love visiting Chinatown, whatever country we are in. Since Chinese is a very large group in the Singaporean population, you can enjoy authentic food, architecture and more activities when you visit their area. Our favorite food in Singapore was definitely in Chinatown. Prices start at around 5-6 SGD for a meal and it tastes super delicious.
Visit the Singapore Zoo
The zoo in Singapore is one of the best in the world. Prices are around 80 SGD if you want to enjoy a night safari. If you are going to the zoo, check here for more information.
Walk around Bugis
Bugis is very busy. Always full of people and tourists. We visited the local malls and local markets in Bugis since we really want to eat local food. If you want to taste fruit juices and street food, this is the place to visit. There are so many choices for food, and prices vary, some even start really cheap. It’s also a good place if you are thinking of buying inexpensive local souvenirs. However, it is definitely worth visiting even if you don’t want to shop.
Eating and Drinking
You will find different gastronomies in Singapore like Indian, Malay and Chinese especially. The cheapest prices that we found in Singapore were in Little India where you can have a meal around 5 SGD. Our favorite dishes were Chinese and street juices.
Things that we liked in Singapore
The country is very clean.
We love how clean it is in Singapore, everywhere. This is why it’s just easy to walk around everywhere, especially if you’re not in a hurry or if you are just checking our various places in the late afternoon or in the evening.
It is very easy to move around. There is metro and buses everywhere.
Commute is so smooth in Singapore. In the metro stations, you will find maps everywhere, even bus schedules. And if you ever needed to ask questions or directions, you can easily find someone who speaks English.
You can find various gastronomies
Since there is a variety of people living in Singapore, the country is known for its mixed culture, which is a really good thing, especially if you love discovering new food. We definitely had a great time eating various dishes while we were visiting the country.
Meeting up is the highlight of our trip in Singapore! Meeting readers, and old and new friends. We met a couple of them and they showed us around the city and took us to the best places to try local food.
Things that we didn´t like (so much) in Singapore
Singapore is really busy. When you look at the sky, it looks gray because of pollution.
We wish prices were little a bit lower 🙂 I have to say that quality of hostels and food were very good, but again, you really need to budget carefully especially for accommodation and sight seeing.
A very busy place
We aren’t really big fans of the big, busy, noisy cities. We prefer to stay in quiet places. With that in mind, staying in Singapore for a week is easy since there is a lot of things to do. You can also visit Coney Island where you will enjoy a different experience.
If you want have more information to travel Singapore on a budget, you can also check Nomadic Matt travel guide and this guide from The Poor Traveler by Yoskhe. If you want more things to do in Singapore, check out The Trusted Traveller tips.
Feel free to share the post in social media, especially for friends, buddies, and families that will benefit from the info. Let us know if you have more questions about traveling around Singapore, and we’ll answer them in the comments.
Stay happy and travel now dear friends. x
Additional compliments: For the title image of the post: Marina Bay Sands Photography: Flickr/Leonid Yaitskiy