Singapore is one of the world’s most expensive cities to visit, around 20 per cent more expensive than New York City, and 5 per cent pricier than Hong Kong in a recent survey. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy the best of the destination while not breaking the bank. For example, Singapore has an excellent transportation option called an EZ-Link card which you can buy at train stations and 7-Eleven minimarts, which can be used on LRT and MRT trains, public buses and it also saves you time waiting in line at ticket machines. Also, by using an EZ-Link card, you pay only for the distance travelled, rather than a flat fare like everyone else – just remember to tap on and off each trip. As you travel around Singapore, you may be surprised to learn that it has an excellent park matrix with green spaces throughout the city, as well as elevated bike trails and skywalks which provide excellent views. And these are all free. Other free options for travellers include art displays, public performances, and street performers along the riverfront, the esplanade, and in the city centre, particularly on weekends. If you want to visit the local museums, on several days or evenings during each month the entrance fee is waved for special exhibitions. There are also a number of tourist passes available providing discounted entrance fees at numerous museums and attractions.
When it comes to food and drink, in Singapore you don’t have to buy bottled water, as the tap water is perfectly safe to drink. Either buy a bottle of water to get you started, refilling it at free of charge at hotels, or take a water bottle with you for the trip. When it comes to cheap eats, you’ll be missing out if you don’t make the most of Singapore’s amazing food halls and hawker markets and street stalls. It has some of the best in Asia, offering a cheap way to eat great food, and is part of the experience of travelling there. In some food halls you can also buy inexpensive bottles of beer to wash down your noodles. Forget smoking while in Singapore as cigarettes are heavily taxed; in fact you could consider it a great opportunity to quit! Unfortunately drinking alcohol is also very expensive, but options include making the most of happy hours around town, booking a hotel room with access to a club lounge with free drinks, or buying them a 7-Eleven. And finally, if you are planning to take home some souvenirs, or you need some essentials, forget the glitzy shopping malls and head instead for the cheap shops and tourist markets around Chinatown and Little India, and don’t forget to haggle. And if you are self catering, food, snacks, drinks (and toiletries) are best bought from big supermarkets rather than minimarts.