You’d be surprised how much experiences you can get out of S$150 in Singapore over five days!
There are three truths to travelling in Singapore: it’s clean, it’s green, and you can spend less than S$20 a day and still have a good time. Despite being named the most expensive city in the world, if you’re only visiting for a week or less, you’ll barely feel the pinch. Food is definitely cheap (meals can cost below S$5), public transport is fairly reasonable (and distance-based), and you won’t have any trouble finding affordable accommodation.
Even for activities, you’ll be glad to know many of them are even free! Categorised into sights and sounds, arts and culture, and nature activities, this article is all you need for an affordable stay in the Lion City.
Gardens By The Bay. Photo credit: smartcitiesworld.net
At the end of the article, we’ve put together a suggested five-day Singapore itinerary that’ll help get by on just S$150.
So, are you game for a frugally-intoxicating travel experience in the most expensive city in the world?
Best sights and sounds
Spectra Light & Water Show at Marina Bay
Spectra Light & Water Show at Marina Bay — This is a visual spectacle of insane proportions. Fountain-jets spray rainbow colours in tandem with impressive symphonies, telling the tale of Singapore’s short but impressive rise to become a cosmopolitan city.
DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade. Photo credit: Esplanade
Music and Theatre Performances at The Esplanade — The iconic durian-shaped establishment is the home to Singapore’s arts scene. Live performances take place daily inside the Esplanade Concourse, and shows are organised every weekend at the DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade, with the spectacular Singapore skyline competing for your attention in the background.
Punggol Waterway Park. Photo credit: Togoparts
Sunrise/Sunset at Punggol Waterway Park — During my fitter days, I spent many mornings here running along acres of lush greenery and sleepy apartment blocks. There are few spots in the country that provide such a charming setting to bask in the sun’s warm orange glow.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens. Photo credit: The Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore Botanic Gardens — The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the country’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site. No matter what time of day you find yourself there, there’s a palpable sense of serenity in the air amidst calming trees and resting animals. There are also musical performances held on the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage every weekend, the perfect setting for a romantic evening picnic.
The Southern Ridges. Photo credit: Singapore n Beyond
The Southern Ridges — This 10km-long connector links four tranquil parks and one The nature reserve. Somewhere in between Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park, people are falling in love with (and on) the aesthetic Henderson Waves. A panoramic view of the city awaits you here.
S$20 and under
Haji Lane and Arab Street — If Haji Lane were human, it’d be the tatted-up distant uncle who went abroad to study liberal arts in the 70s. Together with Arab Street, the walls are covered in colourful murals that are hard to find elsewhere in the city. Patronise the countless chic cafes in the day, then grab a beer and belt out Wonderwall in the cosy alleys with wasted locals at night.
Wings of Time at Sentosa. Photo credit: Julien Panie
Wings of Time at Sentosa — It’s hard to go wrong with a show that has an epic combination of lasers, fire and water (wait no, actually, it can). But from the stellar reviews of this spectacle, it blows conventional light show standards right out of the park.
Arts and culture
Haw Par Villa. Photo credit: AsiaOne
Haw Par Villa — Always thought you’d go to hell but don’t know what that entails? Welcome to the club! Haw Par Villa depicts exactly what you’d go through in nine levels of the scorching Taoist underworld in a graphic, acerbic manner.
The Arts House — The Arts House hosts fantastic events every month, from writing masterclasses to performance sketches by esteemed local artists.
Heritage shophouses along the Katong trail
Neighbourhood Heritage Trails — It’s a fascinating experience when you step away from tourist attractions and into the history of places where the locals dwell. Roots.sg organises trails that give you insight into the character and history of significant local neighbourhoods. It’s an eye-opening experience for both Singaporeans and tourists, and it’s free.
The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India
Chinatown and Little India — Full of life, culture and good food, Chinatown and Little India is a fascinating introduction to the diverse communities in Singapore. Key highlights of each area include the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok. Photo credit: Wikipedia
Kampong Lorong Buangkok — Before high-rise buildings and elaborate skyscrapers occupied every inch of modern Singapore, our grandparents stayed in traditional villages called kampongs. Buangkok is home to the only remaining kampong in Singapore, where less than 30 families still reside.
Other noteworthy mentions: Free outdoor movies with MovieMob
S$20 and under
The National Museum of Singapore
National Museum of Singapore — This grand establishment has several stunning permanent exhibitions throughout its historical premises. They bring you on an immersive journey through the young country’s rise from a fishing village to 21st-century city in just a few decades.
Entrance Fee: Free for locals, S$15 for foreigners
The Projector. Photo credit: The Honeycombers
The Projector — Are you a film buff and sick of expensive, soulless blockbuster movies? The Projector regularly screens alternative indie films from Asia to the Americas, and you can chill out with a beer or two afterwards. Check out the schedule here.
ArtScience Museum. Photo credit: The Straits Times
ArtScience Museum — It’s easily one of the most recognisable places in the Marina Bay area, modelled after the shape of a lotus flower. The ArtScience exhibitions are known for their interactivity, and it’s an intoxicating one-stop destination blending the best of both art and science together from around the world.
Entrance Fee: ~S$15
Outdoor and adventure activities
Universal Studios Singapore. Photo credit: Klook
Explore Sentosa Island — Sentosa is the country’s self-proclaimed “State of Fun”, and we’re not gonna deny them that title. While entry to the famous Universal Studios Singapore might be slightly out of budget for the budget traveller, entrance to the island itself is free (if you walk in).
There are still plenty of things to see around this fascinating piece of reclaimed land. Spend a day swimming by the shore or join in a game of beach volleyball with the locals if you’re up for it.
MacRitchie Treetop Walk
MacRitchie Treetop Walk — One of the most Instagrammable spots amongst young locals looking to fitspo their feed up, this trail entails an intense 10km hike in nature — perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors and a good sweat.
FIGHT DO at Tampines Hub — Every Thursday night from 7–8PM, the mall hosts a fitness programme free of charge for anyone looking to learn the basics of boxing and martial arts.
The Battle Box at Fort Canning Park. Photo credit: Youth.SG
Fort Canning Park — This iconic park is home to a multitude of gardens and historical sites that played a huge role in shaping Singapore. For instance, the intriguing Battle Box was where the British decided to surrender to the Japanese in World War 2. Using an intuitive AR phone app BALIKSG, visitors can go back in time and see what Fort Canning was like centuries ago.
Other noteworthy mentions: Fort Siloso Skywalk
S$20 and under
The Skyline Luge in Sentosa. Photo credit: Skyline Luge
Skyline Luge at Sentosa — Sentosa is the only place in Asia to experience this unique part-sledge, part-go-kart ride. You can control your speed with the handlebars and choose to brake on your descent or, if you’re daring, go for the ride-or-die. Try the Skyline Luge in the day for sunny, scenic views, or at night for a dazzling race under fluorescent lights.
Wild Wild Wet. Photo credit: Klook
Wild Wild Wet (WWW) — In recent times, the newer and more popular Adventure Cove has taken over WWW as the go-to water theme park in Singapore, although its appeal isn’t completely diminished. It’s cheaper, less crowded, more kid-friendly and still serves up a whole host of thrilling water slides.
Megajump at Mega Adventure Park — With big thrills at a fraction of the price, the Megajump is essentially AJ Hackett Sentosa‘s baby cousin. Strap up and leap off a 15-metre high jump, lasting a heart-pumping three seconds.
Socialising / Meeting new people
Exchange Travel Stories with a Travel Community (TTIF) — On the last Friday of every month, The Travel Intern hosts an event at our office for the local travel-passionate community to share their stories from around the world. Some past events centred around Work & Travel, Exotic Destinations, and Female Solo Travel. Check out upcoming events here.
Visit a Local Toastmasters Club — No, they’ve nothing to do with bread. Toastmasters is an international organisation that helps people from all walks of life improve their public speaking skills. But more than that, it’s home to a warm and friendly community who share personal stories through speeches every week, and a great place to make local friends.
The Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) — When an organisation emphasises a penny-free experience in their name, it means they’re either really shady or they’re hella legit. Fortunately, it’s the latter in their case. The Singapore RRFM invites all vendors who have anything at all to offer (goods & services) to set up shop at a cosy corner with a strict non-sale policy.
Live Sports Screenings at Tampines Hub — Tampines Hub is hands-down my favourite mall in Singapore because it takes on a life of its own. Not only do they have an artificial football pitch within its premises, but they also have an actual running track around the shops on its upper floors. A popular gathering space for residents nearby, the hub’s large central space also screens movies and live sports, with the atmosphere rivalling that of sports bars.
Volunteering Opportunities — Another way to see a different side of the country is to volunteer for a day. For instance, the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) organises fun weekly activities such as dragon boating and bowling for the visually impaired. You can also walk cuddly canines with the Action for Singapore Dogs. Simply write in and start making a difference.
S$20 and under
Singapore Pub Crawl — On the most popular pub crawl in town, you’ll get to meet fellow
alcohol-junkies like-minded friends who love to have a good time. Plus, you’re entitled to a free drink at every bar and club on the route. A night on the SG Pub Crawl goes slightly above budget at S$29.90, but a cheaper alternative is the Singapore Nightlife Pass (S$19.90), which lets you redeem one drink at up to 40 – 50 nightlife venues for a whole week.
Soccer on a futsal court. Photo credit: The Straits Times
Stranger Soccer — This app lets you link up with Singaporean football enthusiasts itching for a game of kickball. Stranger Soccer is free to download on the App Store, and you’ll only have to pay a small fee for booking the pitch (agreed upon between the players).
Unique Singaporean food
Your Singapore itinerary will not be complete until you include some of these. The following list contains dishes that’ll deem my life utterly meaningless should they somehow cease to exist:
S$2 and under
Food in this price category are mostly snacks and dessert. Prices vary across different stalls around the country (they’re usually more expensive near tourist spots), but you’ll be able to find servings of these foods for under S$2.
S$5 and under
At least 90% of everything that has ever entered and left my digestive system can be found in the graphic above. That also means I’m confident of a short life — but as they say: you’re here for a good time, not a long time (not the official company stance).
S$10 and under
The dishes above can be a little pricier, but you’ll find Laksa and Bak Chor Mee costing under S$5 at neighbourhood coffee shops. The food on this list will bring out beads of perspiration on your already perspiring body, so do consume them in accordance with your spice tolerance.
*Pro-tip: For the true foodie, Klook’s Singapore Foodie Adventure Starter Pack is a great guide to the local food scene, and costs only S$1.
Pro-budget tips for your visit
The following tips are for people who are either (1) incredibly broke or (2) in a Eugene-Harold-Krabs-type relationship with money.
1) Drink tap water
Bottles of NEWater. Photo credit: TODAYonline
Singapore has an elaborate system of treating, filtering, and disinfecting water, which means that you can drink straight from the tap. Fill up your water bottles at home and you won’t have to spend money on overpriced beverages when you visit popular attractions.
2) Cut down on paid transport
Orchard Road. Photo credit: The Straits Times
If you plan your Singapore itinerary a certain way, the only time you’ll require paid public transport each day is getting to and from your accommodation. Take the free shuttle buses provided by the Land Transport Authority and choose to walk to attractions in the same general area.
Now, with the blistering heat, this is not always recommended lest you get a heat stroke. But like I said, if you’re scrimping on the cents, it is possible. The itinerary below will provide an idea on how to do this.
3) Look out for free events with free food
This website, run by a financial consultant who moved to Singapore from the US in 2011, provides a weekly rundown of all the interesting events that cost you little-to-no money to attend. Deals and promo codes can also be found on the website. Although this resource is primarily targeted at Singaporeans, backpackers and travellers may find several tips interesting here as well.
Suggested 5D Budget Singapore Itinerary
Now, should you only want the best of the best of Singapore that S$150 can get you, here is an all-encompassing Singapore itinerary that you can follow.
Budget Singapore Itinerary Breakdown
Accommodation in Singapore (S$0)
There is a burgeoning couchsurfing community here in Singapore — hundreds of locals willing to open their homes in exchange for nothing but friendship and shared experiences. Save costs by opening your mind to a new way of travelling!
We’ve set aside a food budget of S$75 capped at S$15/day. The list above isn’t an extensive list — if you’re looking for that, read: 54 Local Approved Things to Eat in Singapore. However, in any part of Singapore, you shouldn’t be too far away from shops selling any of the dishes in the food section above.
Head to the nearest MRT station or 7-Eleven from your accommodation and get yourself an EZ-Link Card for S$25. Your card should then have S$20 stored value, which is sufficient to get around if you follow the Singapore itinerary plan below. Cards can always be topped up at any station/7-Eleven if you need to.
Alternatively, you could also pre-order a NETS FlashPay card on Klook from S$12 and have it mailed to your doorstep (available for the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia).
For directions on getting from place to place using Singapore’s public transport, google maps works perfectly. Trains usually come at intervals between 2–6 minutes while buses can be slightly more irregular. For accurate bus timings, download the SG NextBus app on your phone (available on App Store and Play Store).
Activities / Singapore Itinerary (S$50)
This is what you’ve been waiting for! We’ve compiled a Singapore itinerary with the best of what to experience in five days. Bear in mind that this particular Singapore itinerary involves a lot of walking. It’s structured in such a way that most places are close to each other. By strolling from one location to the next, you’ll also get to freely explore places that catch your eye. Itineraries are just guides, after all.
For a less sweaty experience, consider topping up an extra S$10 to your EZ-link card to take public transport from place to place.
The first day consists mostly of the city’s well-known icons. From the marvellous Marina Bay Sands to the gorgeous Gardens by the Bay, this is the textbook introduction to 21st Century Singapore. Be prepared to spend slightly more on food today.
Day two involves a bit more culture. Chinatown and Little India provide a brief look at how multiple diverse cultures are able to coexist on one tiny island. Fort Canning Park and the National Museum will help you uncover bits of our history, while the Esplanade showcases the multitude of talents we have in the creative arts scene.
You’ll spend Day three on the popular island of Sentosa. There’s lots of fun to have here, and it’s not just limited to Universal Studios’ rollercoasters and churros.
Day four — oof. This one’s for the hardcore trekkers. The MacRitchie Treetop Walk is a fantastic break from the hustle and bustle of the city, and involves a lot of walking. If you’d rather chill, skip this one and head straight to the Botanical Gardens for a breezier morning/afternoon. Haw Par Villa is still one of Singapore’s most underrated points of interests, and exploring the place at night adds a little supernatural spice.
Due to the expansive nature of Singapore’s main shopping district, we considered taking this off the budget list entirely. However, the streets of Orchard Road are quite a sight to behold, especially towards the end of the year when Christmas decorations light up the streets, with a charm that I haven’t seen replicated elsewhere in Asia.
That said, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that still exists all year round, and you can’t say you’ve been to our sunny island without having strolled around Orchard Road.
We hope this budget Singapore Itinerary allows you to see that there are still many affordable things you can do to experience this endearing, humid little city.