Singapore is one of the want-list destinations of travelers. However, this country has been known as an expensive place to visit. Although Singapore isn’t really the cheapest on the pockets, you should not hold your plans in going to this multicultural country.
This city-state of Singapore can be toured around with a varied plan on how to stretch your budget. Thus, my one week visit to this country gave me the idea of why it is worth to visit regardless of the budget.
To help you with this, there are things to do in Singapore on a budget that is highly suggested from amazing travel bloggers. Check them out.
Recommend by Chris Backe of Becoming a Digital Nomad
Peer into thousands of years of Asia’s history – including a lucky rubber duckie.
The building housing the museum dates from the mid-to-late 19th century and is done up in a neo-classical Palladian architectural style. Until converted into a museum, it served as a courthouse or as government offices.
The rubber duckie in question was the first to cross the finish line out of 100,000 ducks during a race in 2002. Elsewhere in the museum are a number of exhibits on lacquerware and carving – look for betel box from 20th century Myanmar and a monk’s mother-of-pearl alms bowl.
It’s a great overview of millennia worth of Asian style and culture – and if you visit on Friday night after 7 pm, it’s only 4 SGD (about 3 USD). Other times it’s a still reasonable 8 SGD (about 6 USD).
Asian Civilisations Museum
Address: 1 Empress Place, Singapore, 179555 (GPS: 1.287535,103.851412)
Recommend by Ann Marie and Janet of Eco Conscious Traveller
Chinatown is one of my favorite places in Singapore because it’s filled with so much character. There’s plenty to do and you can for example pop into the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple or the Sri Mariamman Temple. You can also visit the Chinatown Street Market and pick up some souvenirs for your friends! I simply just loved walking around the area and taking photos of quirky and colorful buildings and street life. I absolutely loved the buzz of the Chinatown Complex Food Centre where I got some delicious french toast for only a few dollars – I couldn’t believe the food was so affordable. They serve all sorts of local rice dishes too so plenty to choose from depending on what you’re into.
Recommend by Marianne of Mum on the Move
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is located in the heart of Chinatown. The magnificent temple building comprises five floors and a roof garden and was designed to incorporate the best of the Tang Dynasty and the Buddhist Mandala. The Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Chamber is the most revered part of the temple and can be found on the 4th floor. Its importance is evident in the magnificence of the room, complete with gold floor tiles surrounding the solid gold stupa.
The roof garden houses the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pavilion with its large Vairocana Buddha Prayer Wheel, while the excellent Buddhist Culture Museum can be found on the 3rd floor. This houses an impressive collection of rare Asian Buddhist artifacts, which accompany a display on the life story and teachings of Lord Buddha. The 100 Dragons Hall on the ground floor is where the daily ceremonies take place when the chanting monks and congregation add to the air of reverence.
The temple and museum are free to enter.
Recommend by Keri Hedrick of Little City Trips
Fort Siloso gives an overview of Singapore’s war story and is the best free museum in Singapore to gain an understanding of the importance of Singapore’s war history. The Fort played an important role in defending Singapore in the 1880s and also endured heavy bombing by Japanese aircraft and was used as a Prisoners of War camp during the Japanese Occupation of World War II.
Visits are done by self-guided tours throughout the three zones of the museum, where you are directed by waxwork models and sound recordings. The first two zones take you through life in the 1880s and during World War II years. Here you can visit ammunition stores, the battery command post and witness the firing of the 7-inch gun. The final zone takes you through a tunnel complex leading to the 12 Pounder Quick Firing Gun and Fire Direction Tower with their views out to sea.
Recommend by Ryan Victor of Passions and Places
Hiking is usually one of the cheapest things to do any place you go, since it only requires your own two feet and a willingness to get a bit (or a lot) sweaty. Singapore is no exception, and the Southern Ridges hike is a unique way to explore the city-state. The trail runs for ten kilometers across the city, starting near the Harbourfront at Mount Faber Park and ending at Kent Ridge Park. Along the way, it passes through the architecturally stunning Henderson Waves Bridge and Alexandra Arch, among the massive botanical gardens at Hort Park, along the steel walkways in the Forest and Canopy walks, and past the historic World War II museum at Bukit Chandu. Hiking the Southern Ridges is also a great way to beat Singapore’s oppressive heat, as it’s a bit breezier a hundred meters or so above the city. The trail is easily accessible via the Northeast and Circle lines of the MRT, no expensive taxi rides needed.
Recommend by Josie of Josie Wanders
When you are in Singapore you absolutely must go to one of the hawker centers and eat some of the tasty food just like the locals do. The best part is that normally you can get a meal for just a few dollars. Some of the local favorites are Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow, and of course, chili crab.
One of the most popular hawker centers is the Maxwell Food Centre, not far from Chinatown, it contains the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stand. This place is so popular that it is normal to see a line that goes around the corner and out the door, even when the rest of the hawker center is almost deserted. Others you could try are the Chinatown Complex Food Centre or Tekka Centre.
Recommend by Dave from Dave’s Travel Pages
One of the top things to do in Singapore is to walk around Marina Bay at night. This trademark area of Singapore has been featured in hundreds of photos, and it’s definitely got the wow factor.
Apart from the amazing views of the Waterfront and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, you should definitely not miss the walk over Helix Bridge. You can combine this with a visit to the Esplanade, which often features free exhibitions and music events.
Walking around the Marina Bay area is great for those on a tight budget as you can always bring your own snacks and drinks. However, you can visit the hawker stalls at the lower level of the Shoppes Mall, which will impress you even if you are not a mall person. You can find several foods and drink options to keep you going for a few dollars. For more information, check out Dave’s Singapore sightseeing itinerary.
Recommend by Priyanko Sarkar of Constant Traveller
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens lie just off Orchard Road, one of the most well-known places in the country. The place is huge and is ideal to escape from the ‘big city’ buzz that permeates through most of Singapore. In the morning, locals come here to practice tai chi while the late morning sees groups of picnickers and joggers in the gardens. You can walk the length of the park that totals up to 60 acres or chooses to visit highlights if you’re on a short visit.
Make sure you visit the small rainforest area as well as the coolhouse inside the garden premises. The only place where you need to shell out money is the National Orchid Garden that houses the world’s largest orchid collection. It’s well worthwhile spending the 5 SGD to explore this place. The Botanic Gardens overall are a UNESCO Heritage Site and as such, a must-visit when in Singapore.
Recommend by Wendy of Nomadic Vegan
While the Chinese, Indian and Malay communities are the best known ethnic groups in Singapore, there’s also a significant Arab population, many of whom are descended from Yemeni traders. Arab Street is where you will find them.
And, in keeping with the mercantile traditions of their ancestors, they have opened up shops selling fabrics, perfumes, Turkish carpets and much more. Haggling is definitely the order of the day here, so don’t be afraid of driving a hard bargain if you make any purchases.
But you can always just wander the street for free, window shopping and admiring the brightly painted façades of the buildings. While you’re there, take a peek inside the Sultan Mosque, Singapore’s largest, and have lunch at one of the restaurants serving authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.
Recommend by Ania from The Traveling Twins
Singapore: fascinating but expensive. After a few days, having done the tourist trail, we still wanted more. It was a bit hot and humid to spend another day lounging in Marina Bay Gardens. A bit more research found us the Singapore Art Museum. Apparently, it was open and free.
When we arrived, the main building was closed for refurbishment. Not giving up so easy, we followed a paved trail. This led us to a different building with five exhibition spaces, each with a one-artist show. They were all a bit modern for me, but my girls loved them. Each hall had fun things for kids. They could draw and make things – all connected with the exhibition theme.
I felt really fulfilled after the visit. My girls had participated in making art. They had shown me how much more fun they could have in their unprejudiced experience.
Singapore Art Museum is open (the bits that are open!) daily from 10 am till 7 pm. Entrance is free.
Recommend by Henry Wu of This Life Of Travel
If you love libraries or books as much as I do – you must check out the National Library of Singapore. It’s 13 floors of nerdy goodness jam-packed with all sorts of reference collections, cultural works, art books, and whatever else fancies your mind. I literally spent a whole day there just grabbing random books off shelves and displays. In addition, they have silent studios where you can jam out with your musical instruments/band members as loud as you want for only $6.50 an hour. They also have piano practice rooms available for $6.10 an hour. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there when they have one of there regularly scheduled free musical concerts. You can check out the Jazz for Curious Listeners series to learn more about jazz. On Sundays, there are usually piano or chamber music recitals. They also have all sorts of free workshops for every kind of hobby/interest you can think of .. all for free. Check out the list here: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/
100 Victoria Street
Mon-Sun: 10:00 AM – 09:00 PM
Closed on Public Holidays.
How to get there
Nearest MRT: Bugis, City Hall, Bras Basah MRT Station
Buses: 145, 197, 32, 51, 63, 7, 80, 2, 7, 12, 33, 130, 133, 960, 56, C3, SMRT 980, SMRT 520, SMRT 851, NR7 & NR8
Recommend by Halef and Michael of The Round The World Guys
Chinese culture is an important part of Singapore culture and tradition. To really discover Chinese heritage in Singapore, you need to go to Haw Par Villa, one of the top things to do in the city. This park is an important part of Singaporean history and culture, and an MRT station was even placed near and named after the park.
Haw Par Villa was first established in 1937 as an Asian cultural park by the two brothers who invented Tiger Balm, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par (Haw Par!) It depicts Chinese folklore and mythology in thousands of vividly-colored statues and dioramas throughout the park.
The highlight of Haw Par Villa is the “10 Stages in the Court of Hell” dioramas. They are so graphic and detailed that they might even scare younger children.
Haw Par Villa is free – a big incentive for budget travelers to go and visit.
Recommend by Juozapas Zygas of Nomad Joseph
Singapore is the best place in South East Asia to go Geocaching. I understand you might ask what is geocaching? It is a worldwide treasure hunting game which allows players to find hidden boxes in real life! It is not about the things you find in the box, but about the places where these boxes are hidden. To find a geocache you need to have an app on your phone or a GPS device.
Singapore is a great place to try geocaching. Download the Geocaching app to your phone and go for a walk! You will be surprised how many of these secret boxes are out there (HINT: There are about 700 of them in Singapore)! By playing geocaching in Singapore you will discover some totally not touristy places. Enjoy the Game!
Recommend by Sue Davies of Travel For Life Now
Singapore has wonderful street art and murals all over the city. Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, Everton Park, Tiong Bahru, and Ang Mo Kio all have great murals. Some of these are areas frequented by tourists and some are local neighborhoods. In 2015, the government commissioned 50 murals to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. Since then, street art has sprouted all over. Little India and Kampong Glam are two of the best places to go to see street art.
The mural below, by Singaporean street artist YC Yip, is called The Letter Writer. In the old days, people engaged letter writers to send news and respond to business matters. It is In Chinatown at 336 Smith Street (New Bridge center side wall). YC paints murals that depict historic Singapore. His work can be found in Chinatown, Everton Park, Tionga Bahru, Ang Mo Kio, the National Museum of Singapore, Penang (Malaysia) and elsewhere. Right next to it is a mural created by an Australian artist for the 2015 celebration.
Street art, being on the street, is free to see. The only cost is the train or bus fare which is very cheap in Singapore.
Recommend by Tim Kroeger of Universal Traveller
Singapore‘s Gardens by the Bay are a spectacular sight during daylight. Massive sculptures of trees and other beautiful works of art are spread across the immaculately manicured 101-acre landscape. But the gardens’ most exciting attractions don’t get started until after dark.
That’s when the massive forest of sculpted metal masterpieces light up with brilliant, electric color. The lights, which are set to music, put on an incredible show that will leave you absolutely captivated. This is a great way for kids and families to spend an evening having fun on a budget (the light show is free), but honestly, I’d recommend a light show at the gardens to just about anyone.
Did we MISS OUT anything? Send your recommendations on your Singapore travel on a budget.
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Author: Ferna Mae
Ferna is a spontaneous traveler from the Philippines who had a great experience traveling her own country first before she embarked to other countries. She thrives to be more independent in her own skin. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org