The Ultimate Singapore Travel Guide

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

Singapore is an island city-state off the south coast of Malaysia. It's a global financial and multicultural center, and it's currently the most expensive place in the world to live! But don't let that scare you off, you can definitely enjoy this amazing country on a backpacker budget. Let me help you with this ultimate guide:



Where to Stay

I stayed at The Inn Crowd Backpacker's Hostel simply because it was the cheapest option and had free breakfast included (another money saver!) The hostel itself is pretty standard, nothing great, but my favorite part was their free scooter tour. Every evening they offer a free scooter tour of the city that included lots of locations that I'll talk more about below. It's a great way to see so much of the city! It's also located in Little India, so you can easily reach downtown in a couple of metro stops.


Some other good options based solely on price and location are: Capsule Pod Boutique Hostel or S Inn Chinatown


Tips

- Buy the commuter Metro pass. The individual rides on the metro are pretty expensive, the cheapest ride will be about 1.50 SGD. But, the commuter passes have unlimited rides and they're very reasonably priced: 1 day- 10 SGD, 2 days- 16 SGD, 3 days- 20 SGD + 10 SGD deposit (you'll get this back when you return the card). You can only buy this at certain stations, so just buy it at the airport before you head into the city. Your commuter pass is good for both the metro & bus.


- Have cash readily available for the metro when you get out of the airport (whether you buy a pass or just a 1-way ticket) because it doesn't accept credit cards unless you have a Mastercard tap & pay card. I'm not sure why, but just be aware of this.


- The metro hours are 5:00am - midnight


- They have Grab, Grab Eats, and some places (including the Inn Crowd hostel) accept Grab Pay! This means you can put money in your balance from a debit/credit card and pay with the app on your phone!


- There is no need to buy a SIM card. There is free public wifi everywhere- metro stations, tourist attractions, and nearly every restaurant/food court.


- If you've been traveling SE Asia, just be prepared for the extreme price differences here. It's comparable to being back home in the states for food and accommodation.


Things to do

The Jewel

This will be the first thing you'll want to do in Singapore because it's attached to the airport! The Jewel is basically a super boujee mall attached to Terminal 2 of the airport, so if you arrive at Terminal 4 you can take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 2 (it's where the Metro Station is anyways). Inside The Jewel are lots of upscale restaurants and shopping, but you can't go there without seeing the notorious waterfall and train crossing. There is a huge waterfall under the dome and a train passes right next to it every couple of minutes! It's an awesome sight to see.


Gardens by the Bay

Arguably the most iconic sight to see in all of Singapore! The garden itself is actually free to enter, so roam through the large gardens and see lots of spectacular sights. Some extra fees are as followed:

- OCBC Skyway in the Supertree Grove: 8 SGD (About $5.80 USD)

- Cloud Forest: $28 SGD (About $20 USD)

- Flower Dome: $20 SGD (About $14.50 USD)

Metro: Circle Line (Orange) or North South Line (Red) - Exit Marina Bay


Marina Bay Sands

This is an upscale mall overlooking the Marina Bay- hence the name! You can easily walk here from the Gardens by the Bay. Enjoy upscale shopping and dining- or if you're like me and don't have that kind of cash flow, just admire it all through window shopping. It is super extravagant, so even if you can't actually afford anything, it's still a cool place to walk around. There's even a canal through the mall for boat rides, like in Venice, Italy!

Metro: Circle Line (Orange) or North South Line (Red) - Exit Marina Bay


Little India

A place with vibrant colors and great, cheap food! Walk around the neighborhoods to admire street art and quaint architecture. Make sure to stop by Tan Teng Niah house (find the location on Maps.me)- it's a super colorful house that many "Instagrammers" love to take photos of!

Metro: North East Line (Purple) - Exit Little India


Peranakan Terrace Houses

Now this area is quite far from the downtown, but if you have a couple of hours to kill this is a super cute street with quaint houses. Again, it's a famous "Instagrammer" spot where the houses are cute and colorful.

Metro: East West Line (Green) - Exit Eunos



Haji Lane

Singapore's "OG Hipster neighborhood" as some might say. This is an awesome area to walk around and enjoy quirky cafes, boutique shopping, and funky street art. Just walking around this neighborhood you're bound to fall in love with its bright colors and charm!

Metro: East West Line (Green) or Downtown Line (Blue) - Exit Bugis



Jubilee Bridge

Talk a walk or ride a scooter along this infamous bridge to see amazing skyline views. You can see Marina Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade Theater, and more!

Metro: Circle Line (Orange) - Exit Esplande


Tiger Brewery Tour

This is pretty far outside the city, but if you like beer it's a MUST. It only costs $12 SGD (book online here) and it includes a 45 minute tour of the brewery, 1 free pint of Tiger during the tour, 1 free pint of Tiger after the tour, and 5 small glasses of any beer on tap after the tour. Plus, when you leave, they give you a bottle of Tiger beer to take with you! So even if you don't really care about the tour, come enjoy lots of beer for the cheapest price in Singapore.

Metro: East West Line (Green) - Exit Tuas West Road


Eat at Hawker Centers

It's no surprise that Singapore can be pretty expensive when it comes to dining, so save some cash by eating at the various Hawker Centers- AKA food courts. I was surprised by how many there were all over town, and they are very reasonably priced. My personal favorite was Lau Pa Sat near the Gardens by the Bay- it has lots of options, cute decor, and a great location.

Metro to Lau Pa Sat: Downtown Line (Blue) - Exit Telok Ayer


Watch the Marina Sands Light Show

Every evening there is a light show on Marina Bay, it's super cool! It's about 15 minutes long and there are shows at 8pm & 9:30pm every night; on the weekends there is an extra show at 11pm. Come enjoy the beautiful lights and music, and the best part- it's completely FREE!

Metro: Circle Line (Orange) or North South Line (Red) - Exit Marina Bay


Watch the Gardens by the Bay Light Show

Again, every evening there is a light show at the Gardens as well! It's about 15 minutes long and there are shows at 7:45pm & 8:45pm every night. My advice- go to the Marina Sands show at 8pm and then head straight over for the 8:45pm show here. It's also free!

Metro: Circle Line (Orange) or North South Line (Red) - Exit Marina Bay


Admire the amazing architecture

Singapore has some of the most amazing architecture I have ever seen! It's so unique and futuristic, it's impossible to not be impressed when walking around.



Budgeting

I averaged $39 USD a day, and I was very frugal. I only spent 2 days in Singapore because I knew it was going to be pretty expensive, but here is a breakdown of what you can expect per person:


Accommodations: $12-16 USD per night


Food: $15-18 USD per day


Entertainment: $8-15 USD per day (could be a lot higher depending on your choices)





Take a quick glance at my time in Singapore!


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