PS: I am not traveling at the moment, and I hope you too. Let's stay at home, flatten the curve and break the circuit of this transmission, so that we can travel again later this year. Due to travel limitation imposed by various countries, there is a high chance that the places mentioned in this article are currently closed.
Those who say Singapore is an expensive country may be right or wrong, depending on their itineraries!
Travellers come in all pocket sizes. While it’s true that Singapore is a more expensive country compared to its neighbours, it’s also true that you can absolutely have a budget weekend in Singapore, even if it’s your first time visiting the country. But, how?
Here is my recommended itinerary for budget travellers visiting Singapore over the weekend. This itinerary cover MUST-VISIT places of interest/attractions that don’t burn a hole in your pocket. I’m assuming that you arrive in Singapore on Friday night and leave the country on Sunday night.
Day 1: Friday
8.00pm: Arrive at Changi Airport
8.30pm: Purchase/collect your SIM Card at the airport. Read: Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore.
8.45pm: Grab a local dinner in the airport. (Price: SGD 5)
For cheap local food in Changi Airport, visit either of the following: Ya Kun Kaya Toast at Terminal 3 Basement 2 (I love their kaya butter toast!), Terminal 3 Kopitiam at Basement 2, Terminal 4 Food Emporium at Level 2M, Terminal 2 Staff Canteen at Level 3M, and Terminal 1 Staff Canteen at Basement 1. All of these are located in Public Area, which means that you need to clear immigration and come out from arrival gate first before heading to these food courts.
9.30pm: Take the MRT to your hotel. (Price: SGD 2)
Read my guide about travel card: Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?
10.30pm: Check-in hotel and call it a day.
Day 2: Saturday
7.00am: Wake up. Get ready to go out.
7.30am: Take MRT to Chinatown. (Price: SGD 2)
8.00am: Have a local breakfast. (Price: SGD 5)
Places in Chinatown with yummy local breakfast:
- Chinatown Complex Food Centre. Recommended food: Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken (Stall #02-126), Mr Fish (Stall #02-073).
- Maxwell Food Centre located opposite Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Recommended Food: Lao Ban Beancurd, Tian Tian Chicken Rice.
- Tong Ah Eating House located at Keong Saik Road. Recommended Food: Traditional Kaya Toast Set.
8.45am: Visit Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple. (Opening hour: 5.30am-noon, 6-9pm. Price: free)
9.15am: Visit Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. (Opening hour: 9am-6pm. Price: free)
9.45am: Explore Pagoda Street and browse for souvenirs.
10.00am: Either walk to The Pinnacle @ Duxton or take MRT to Outram Park then walk to Pinnacle @ Duxton. (Price: SGD 1.5) -> You can skip this part if the timing is too tight.
10.30am: Enjoy Singapore’s skyline view from Pinnacle’s rooftop at 50th storey. (Opening hour: 9am-9pm. Price: SGD 6) -> You can skip this part if the timing is too tight.
11.30am: Take MRT/bus or walk to Lau Pa Sat. (Price: SGD 1.5)
12.00pm: Have lunch at Lau Pa Sat. (Price: SGD 7)
1.00pm: Walk to Merlion.
1.15pm: Admire the iconic Merlion and the beautiful Marina Bay waterfront area.
1.45pm: Walk to Marina Bay via Esplanade and Helix Bridge.
2.30pm: Walk to Gardens by the Bay via Bayfront MRT
3.00pm: Explore Gardens by the Bay. Remember your sunscreen.
4.00pm: Optional: Explore the 2 gorgeous conservatories, namely Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. (Usual price: SGD 28. Discounted price: SGD 23)
6.30pm: Walk to Marina Barrage and spend some quiet time there.
7.00pm: Walk to Satay by the Bay for dinner. If possible, try to have a quick dinner. (Price: SGD 10)
7.35pm: Walk to Supertree Grove to watch Garden Rhapsory show. (Schedule: 7.45pm and 8.45pm. Price: Free)
8.00pm: Walk leisurely to Marina Bay Sands. Explore Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Shoppes, they’re two different buildings.
8.45pm: Be seated along the promenade (near Louis Vuitton).
9.00pm: Watch Spectra show. (Schedule: 8pm and 9pm on Sun-Thu; 8pm, 9pm, 10pm on Fri-Sat. Price: Free)
9.30pm: Chill out. Watch the river. It’s therapeutic. Optional: Have a supper at Makansutra Gluttons Bay located next to Esplanade (Price: 10).
10.00pm: Maybe, head home now? You’ll have a long day tomorrow. Take MRT/bus back to your hotel. (Price: SGD 2)
Day 3: Sunday
7.00am: Wake up. Check out from hotel but keep your bag/luggage with receptionist.
7.30am: Take MRT to Botanic Gardens. (Price: SGD 2)
8.00am: Head to Adam Road Food Centre. Have Nasi Lemak as your breakfast. The two best Nasi Lemak stalls are located at Stall No 1 and No 2. (Price: SGD 6)
9.30am: Head to Singapore Botanic Gardens. Explore the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot. Once you’re done, exit at Tanglin Gate. (Price: Free. Optional: visit National Orchid Centre for SGD 5)
11.30am: From Tanglin Gate, walk along Tanglin Road towards Orchard Road.
12.15pm: Have lunch at Orchard Road. There are so many food choices in Orchard. My favourites are Ayam Penyet Ria (Basement 1 at Lucky Plaza), or My Favourite Café Yong Tau Foo (Level 6 at Lucky Plaza). Price: SGD 7.
1.00pm: Explore Orchard Road, Asia’s most famous shopping street. Try the famous ice-cream sandwich which is sold by some uncles from a mobile cart. (Price: SGD 1.2)
2.00pm: Walk/take bus to Bugis. (Price: SGD 2)
2.30pm: Head to Bugis Street for souvenir shopping.
3.00pm: Head to Haji Lane and Masjid Sultan for some Insta-worthy selfies.
5.00pm: Go back to your hotel to collect your bag/luggage. (Price: SGD 2)
5.30pm: Head to the airport by MRT or bus. (Price: SGD 2)
6.00pm: Check-in for your flight.
6.15pm: Explore Changi Airport. (Price: Free)
8.00pm: Fly out of Singapore.
Useful info: Awesome Places in Singapore You Can Visit for Free
Where to Stay
For budget travellers coming to Singapore, I think hostels are your best bet because Airbnb is not really legal in this country. Here are my recommended hostels in Singapore.
Location: short walking distance from Rochor MRT; Bugis is 8 mins away by foot (600m); and Little India is 7 mins way by foot (500m).
Pros: huge lockers, MRT at doorstep.
Bed types: 6-bed dorms, 8-bed dorms and 16-bed dorms.
Price: from SGD 14/person.
Location: 6 mins walk (450m) to Nicoll Highway MRT, 8 mins walk (650m) to Bugis MRT.
Pros: nicely designed pods, free breakfast (wide variety of food to choose from).
Bed types: single pod in dorms, single pod suite, double pod in dorms, double pod suite.
Price: from SGD 33/person.
Location: 4 mins walk (400m) from Chinatown MRT.
Pros: quiet rooms, built-in lockers in the cabin, at the heart of Chinatown.
Bed types: single suite cabin, single cabin–female, queen suite cabin–female only, king suite cabin–mixed.
Price: from SGD 35/person.
Location: 7 mins walk (500m) from Lavender MRT.
Pros: free coffee and tea 24/7, free breakfast in the morning.
Bed types: 6-bed dorms, 8-bed dorms, 8-bed female-only dorms.
Price: from SGD 16/person.
Location: 2 mins walk (200m) from Chinatown MRT.
Pros: located at the heart of Chinatown, comfortable sleeping pod.
Bed types: 4-bed dorms, 4-bed female-only dorms, 8-bed dorms, sleeping pod.
Price: from SGD 28/person.
Location: 2 mins walk (200m) from Jalan Besar MRT, 9 mins walk (650m) from Rochor MRT, 11 mins walk (950m) to Bugis MRT.
Pros: queen-size beds available, free breakfast, coffee, tea and water.
Bed types: 6-bed dorms, 8-bed dorms, 16-bed dorms.
Price: from SGD 16/person.
Accommodation: 2-night stay = Approx. SGD 40.
Transportation: Maximum SGD 20.
Food: Approx. SGD 50.
Attractions: SGD 0. If you decide to go for my recommended attractions, you’ll spend approx. SGD 40.
Total: SGD 110 (excluding flights).
Q: Your itinerary includes a lot of walking. But I hate walking and prefer to take public transport, can I still save money?
A: Totally. Just purchase Singapore Tourist Pass (SGD 20 for 3 days), you’ll get unlimited rides on MRT and buses.
Q: I have an extra SGD 50 to splurge, what do you recommend?
Q: I have an extra SGD 100 to splurge, what do you recommend?
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Image credit: 123RF