7 Ways to Save Money While in Singapore

For travelers, one important thing to know about Singapore is it can be an expensive city to travel in.

In fact,  frequent travelers to Southeast Asia find it hard not to compare Singapore to its ‘cheaper’ neighbors like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Merlion statue on Sentosa Island, Singapore
The Merlion Statue – a symbol for Singapore

DO NOT  let the cost of Singapore discourage you from visiting.  The city actually caters to a wide range of travelers with different budgets.

If you wish to pamper yourself and stay in nice hotels in Singapore, you can definitely do that. But if you wish to do a budget or backpacking trip to Singapore, it is also very much possible to do it!

With proper planning and research, you don’t need to spend a lot to enjoy Singapore and the wonderful things it offers.

Here are the top 7 ways on how to save while visiting in Singapore

1. Take advantage of Singapore’s public transport system, but stay away from taxis if possible.

Singapore’s public transports like buses and trains are very reliable. You don’t have to take taxis to get to where you want as a tourist.

There is always a train station nearby main landmarks like the Marina Bay, Chinatown, and Little India.

Additional tips for using Singapore’s public transport:

  • Get a map of the railway system (Singapore MRT system map) to determine the nearest station to the places you want to visit. Remember to check the timetable for each train station if you are out late because if you don’t get on the last train for the night, you will end up paying for a taxi to go back to your hotel.
  • If you have a couple of days in Singapore, consider buying an EZ Card. This is a stored-value smart card that can be used on buses and the MRT. The fare deducted from an EZ Card for each journey is less than the cost of buying a single journey card.
  • If you use an EZ Card and travel during off-peak hours, the fare for your journey will be discounted.

Click here to get additional information about the EZ card and MRT ticketing.

2. Take the train from Changi Airport to your hotel.

Singapore’s Changi Airport is not that close to the city center, and you will need to travel approximately 24 kilometers to reach your specific destination in the city center.

The fastest and cheapest way to commute from Changi Airport is to take the MRT. The train station is easily accessible on foot from both Terminal 2 and 3.

The airport trains are built to be luggage-friendly.  The only drawback is that the last westbound train to the city from Changi leaves at 11:18 pm. For more information about Changi Airport transport, click here.

3. Book your hotel at a central location.

If you want to spend less time and money commuting, the best way to do so is to book your hotel in a strategic location. For example right near an MRT station.

You will most likely need to walk to get to a few spots; but don’t worry, Singapore’s roads and streets are bicycle and pedestrian – friendly. Plus, it is a very safe city to explore on foot. Most Singaporeans walk whenever they can. You should too as it is healthy and it will keep you from spending unnecessarily.


The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore
The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

To get an idea on where to book your hotel, go to our article: Where is the Best Spot to Stay in Singapore.


Travel Checklist: Do you have everything you need?

4. Visit Sentosa Island but bring your own food and refreshments.

Despite being home to expensive sites like Universal Studios, Sentosa Island is not as expensive as some travelers might think.

While it’s true that you will have to pay 4 Singaporean Dollars per adult for the Sentosa Pass to reach the island via train; this pass serves as your entrance and gives you unlimited transfers anywhere on the island.

If you really want to, this is all you really need to pay for during your visit to the island. You don’t have pay for rides and activities if you don’t want to. Sightseeing on your own absolutely free is a possible alternative.

In addition, Sentosa has three beaches where you can swim, sunbathe and have a picnic. The cost of visiting all these: zero.  The price for drinks and food on the island is more expensive, but no one will stop you from bringing your own refreshments.

Four ollars can get you a round trip ticket to Sentosa
Four ollars can get you a round trip ticket to Sentosa
5. Dine at more affordable eateries.

Singapore has earned a reputation for having a slew of upmarket restaurants. Locals will tell you that they don’t often eat out due to the high cost. As a visitor, you can always enjoy a day or two of the ‘Singaporean fine dining experience’.

However, if you’re staying longer, it may not be practical to always eat in expensive restaurants. Fortunately, Singapore has not totally shaken off its Southeast Asian influences, at least not in terms of food.

The Chinese hawkers (stalls and open eateries) which sell affordable tasty meals are very much visible on streets near Chinatown, Geylang, Little India and Boat Quay. In fact, most neighborhoods throughout the city have at least one hawker spot that sells less than $7 Singaporean dollar meals.

Eating at these places not only saves you money, but can also be considered a cultural experience. If you like being in an air-conditioned place, head out to the food courts in malls throughout the city. Singapore’s food court sell substantial meals significantly cheaper than in stand-alone restaurants.

Food courts provide a great alternative to expensive restaurants in Singapore
Food courts provide a great alternative to expensive restaurants in Singapore

6. Walk around Marina Bay Area.

Marina Bay is no doubt one of the highlights of any visit to Singapore. Here, you can have a front-seat view of the famous Singaporean skyline, with the  Marina Bay Sands as its centerpiece.

Marina Bay is also home to the impressive Fullerton Hotel and the Merlion —the iconic statue of Singapore. It’s equipped with a modern outdoor mall and an open-concept concert stage, where events and musical performances are always held.

If you were in another city, you would probably have to pay an entrance fee to enjoy this architectural extravaganza; but in Singapore, the Marina Bay is yours to admire for free!

There’s nothing stopping you from taking a stroll along the scenic promenade overlooking the Singapore River, or to walk through the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Mall, which are by the way, very stunning. And did we mention that Marina Bay has a spectacular botanical garden that you can explore, for absolutely no charge?

Explore Singapore's famous Marina Bay for a few hours
Explore Singapore’s famous Marina Bay for a few hours

7. Explore Chinatown.

Similar to Marina Bay, Chinatown is open to the public. If you can resist the urge to buy a souvenir, you can roam around this district without spending a single cent. D

on’t hesitate to take photos of the temples and old shop houses. If you happen to have a Singaporean number, you can use free internet as Chinatown is a Wi-Fi zone.

Chinatown in Singapore also has many cheap eateries, so overall it’s an affordable place to visit or stay while in Singapore. Here is a more thorough description of Chinatown.

Atmospheric Chinatown
Atmospheric Chinatown

How to get the cheapest rooms in Singapore?

Since Singapore has been voted the world’s most expensive city on a few different occasions, doing your homework in terms of finding affordable rooms is a must.

Try using large hotel providers such as www.agoda.com, www.booking.com, or www.hotelscombined.com to find the right room, in the right location. I have created links to their respective property lists for Singapore to save you some time:

Top Rated Properties in Singapore Based on Verified Guest Reviews

Important: Mobile Users must swipe from left to right to see the entire table.


  • Properties rated based on ‘overall’ review scores from each respective website’s verified guests.
  • Minimum of 50 verified guest reviews required to be considered eligible for comparison.
  • All star ratings and verified guest review scores are tallied at the time of writing, and therefore, are subject to change.

Map of Singapore – Top Accommodation Choices Based on Verified Guest Reviews

Read More About Singapore

Article updated in Nov. 2019

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