Visiting Singapore for the first time wasn’t actually part of my travel plan for this year. I have been planning to complete all Southeast Asian countries first before embarking other parts in the world. Among all SEA countries, Singapore is the last to visit on my list. So, imagine how unprepared I was that on my 4th country I’m visiting Singapore.
I booked a ticket less than a month from the scheduled flight, decided to stay for a week. Prior to this day, I was extremely busy meeting clients online and the main supplier in Bohol for the upcoming tour project. With a hectic schedule, I seldom check on what else there is to see in this country, especially about its cost and budget. As usual, being such a spontaneous traveler, I still come unprepared.
Is traveling to Singapore really expensive?
YES and NO!
Why do I personally say – YES? It is in the sense that, I stayed in a luxury hotel on my remaining 4 days in Sentosa island and feast upon restaurants that are out of my financial standing. So, why did I do that if it’s out of my budget? To be honest, I didn’t pay for it, someone’s kind soul paid everything for me in those 4 days, but, I prefer to keep that person unknown for privacy. Nevertheless, my unending heartfelt gratitude has been privately expressed to that someone.
Allow me to share where I have been in those 4 days to give you an idea why I subjectively say it’s expensive.
Stayed for 4 days in Le Meridien Sentosa. With the hotel’s price range of Php 12,000.00 – Php 26,000.00 (SGD 180-280) per night, I got baffled by its cost, yet, I was given a spacious room that has a jacuzzi by the veranda, which was an absolute luxury experience for myself. The room has Nespresso, as a huge coffee drinker, this is obviously positively feeding my heart. They also have a kettle and some coffee sachets as an alternative if in case Nespresso is not a thing for the guest. Apart from the coffee, there were complimentary fruits on my arrival and a daily bottled water was served consistently. Albeit, just by having all these in a room was so surreal. Please head on and check what other amenities this resort has to offer. And oh, it’s only a walking distance to the Resort World if you fancy shopping and likes to gamble at the casino.
Since I stayed in one of the hotels in Sentosa, the receptionist handed a pass or a Sentosa fun ticket with no add-on cost which can be used equivalently to the number of days staying in the hotel. If you are not staying in Sentosa, a $4.00 fee is required which can be purchased online or from Vivo City station itself. The rides and some activities available inside Sentosa island comes with an expensive cost like for instance, their Go Green Cycle that cost $18 or their Mega Adventure Park for $100. I did want to try all of these but I find it too expensive in my usual budget. If you want to know more of their available adventures including the famous Universal Studio, please check it here. Other spots outside Sentosa cost a bunch of money too, the reason why I also didn’t check into. Don’t fret, I will be back in SG with a good amount of budget and must stay for awhile so I can sneak on these amazing spots in my own pace. During my stay in Singapore, I was able to dig into this site for activities to do. Click HERE for more adventures.
Speaking of food, there are massive of restaurants and local places to choose from. During these 4 days, savoring different cuisines in Singapore had any budget traveler’s wallet tear apart. In order to understand why it’s expensive to my standard, I’m laying down the list of the restos where I have been with an average cost of $11 to more than SGD 50, which by the way, are recommendable as they are tasty.
Location: Resorts World Sentosa, 26 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098138
Must Try: Durian Pizza, Butter French Fries, and Buffalo Wings
Price Range: SGD 10.00-25.00
Location: 50 SILOSO BEACH WALK, Sentosa Singapore
Must try: Chicken Wings with Shrimp Paste with Tiger or Bintang Beer
Price Range: SGD 9-80
Location: 1 Harbourfront Walk, #01-116 Vivo City, Singapore
Must Try: Signature Margaritas, Burritos Wraps, Protein Salad, and Mexican Street Corn (Love this)
Price Range: SGD 10-20, drinks: SGD 3-4
Location: 3D, River Valley Road Singapore 179023
Must Try: Grilled Season Prawns and Mucho’s Platter
Price Range: SGD 11-38
Location: L1-03, Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Must Try: Wonderwoman Choco Lava and Pasta
Price Range: SGD 9-28
Location: Skypark Observation Deck, Marina Bay Sands, Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
To top all of this restaurant is a dinner in Ce La Vi which is located at the Marina Bay Skypark. This fine dining restaurant requires a minimum amount to the order of SGD 88 each person. A guest can have a visit at their bar for a cheaper option by ordering drinks valued at SGD 22-25. This is crazily the most expensive dinner I’ve tried in my life, yet, it is also the best view to catch sight of Singapore. Standing at one of the tallest building in the country is an extravagant experience. Being in a location where every views and scene of Singapore from the harbor site to the center of the city are widely noticeable. I suggest you must book a reservation a day before as they don’t accept walk-in guests. An hour before the sunset is the best time to show up to catch the best spot when capturing the sunset in this country.
Singapore develops an easy booking access when it comes to transportation, I am talking about their taxi service no wonder taxis and uber are expensive. The company Comfort Taxi is the one I mostly book, because apart from being on time, it was a hassle-free on their payment process especially when there is no available cash on hand, with just one click from their app, everything is taken care of. Yes, you got it right, in those 4 days, I took the taxi to few destinations and it’s really expensive. Paid about an average of $20-$35 for less than 30 minutes ride. Don’t get me wrong, their taxis have the most efficient service I ever had in my life.
Ok, now let me tell you why I say NO, there is also an inexpensive way traveling to different areas here. Regardless of being one of the world’s most expensive country, there are other things to be considered. No doubt that living is really expensive as rental and buying properties cost a fortune. But, let me give some reasons as a traveler experiencing its cheaper options. I was hosted by a dear friend, days before my arrival we agreed that I will be intruding their place and her whole family for two nights. That saved me a lot, and lots of recommendations were shared with the family how else I can save. With the great infrastructure, there are great activities to do like walking, jogging or just roaming the streets in the main city which is a better option to kill the taxi fare. The streets are uncluttered and easy to walk by with all the amazing maps available in some corner, losing your way will not be a problem. I walked from Marina bay to Clarke Quay which in between I was able to discover Fort Canning, River Cruise, Fullerton and of course the old Raffles hotel plus other amazing sites within reach. If walking is not for you, then buses and MRT are available, paid $12 for one card which I bought at Changi airport station by the time I arrived. With their available apps (apps available are Mytransport.sg, Moovit and Singapore Street Directory) to get detailed information of your bus schedule makes everyone stress free. Just so you know that the MRT card can also be used for bus fare.
With regards to food, Hawkers is the famous one. With a cost of as low as SGD 1.50, there is a variety of food to choose from, it is like the Warong in Indonesia or the Carenderia in the Philippines, only that it is more clean and spacious in Singapore. I was able to check Hawkers in Bedok area as it is where my host lives and had a quick tour in Bedok Reservoir.
There are the variety of options being a traveler in a so-called expensive country. Lots of them that my one week stay is not enough, reason why I will make sure for a long-term stay on my next visit
That’s it, this was my experience as a solo traveler in this country. Hope this will help a little on your trip to Singapore, giving you ideas if it’s really expensive traveling to one of the most expensive countries in the world – SINGAPORE.
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Author: Ferna Mae
Ferna is from the Philippines who travel spontaneously. Thrives to be more independent in her own skin. She first traveled The Philippines before she embarked to other countries. She believes that by traveling, her undying crave for learning excites her in a more profound way. Her flexibility had proven her that time is genuine. As a former tour guide in the Philippines, she hopes that her travel experiences will give value to the aspiring travelers. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org,