It IS possible! Though it took me a couple of days to get into the swing of the cheap ways of a big city, hopefully with my tips below, you can do Singapore on around $15 a day.
Ok so maybe I lied, accommodation isn’t cheap. All except one night I stayed with a friend I paid $20 per night for a 20 bed dorm room at Betel Box hostel. This included a pretty decent breakfast, wifi and hot water but if you really want to do Singapore on the cheap I think couchsurfing is the way to go. There are loads of people on there who I am sure would be more than willing to lend you their sofa for the night (probably in one of the many fancy high rises) and maybe even show you around.
If staying somewhere central you can walk around most of the central sights, but if not the local bus system is really good and most journeys are under $3. The MTR or Metro is generally more expensive than the bus and probably won’t take you as close to where you want to go but is generally a lot easier to figure out than the bus system.
The MTR goes from the airport to most places around the city.
It’s going to be tough but my biggest piece of advice would be stay away from the mall food courts. They are filled to the rafters with tasty looking treats. Mexican burritos, fully loaded pizzas, pile em high sarnies and not to mention the ridiculous selection of cakes and chocolates. It is pretty much impossible to enter and not spend at least $20 on nibbles… so just don’t enter!
Instead check out the local food markets, where you can get an array of cheap and VERY tasty Asian food for a couple of dollars. There are a few around the city, so shouldn’t be too hard to find somewhere. For middle of the road priced food try China town and little India, though you will probably pay a lot more than the markets for food that isn’t any better in quality. You do however get proper plates and a restaurant to sit in.
So I am going to be honest with you, there isn’t THAT much to do in Singapore, but there are a few ways you can fill a couple of days without spending your hours spending your pennies in Orchard Roads many extravagant shopping centres.
- I found a couple of worthwhile walks in Singapore, the first around the city. Walking from Little India down to China Town, through the CBD will take a few hours. Including time for coffee or snack stops and plenty of photo opportunities next to all the colourful elephant statues (did they steal these from London?) and some of the incredible architectural structures.
- For more natural scenery, head up through the only inner city rainforest to Mount Faber for amazing views over the city skyline. The trek can easily be done in 2 hours return journey the nearest bus stop and is a great stroll before brunch.
- Sentosa Island, Singapore’s answer to Disney World… almost! It costs only $3 for a pass to get on the shuttle to the island, for unlimited travel around the island and back to the mainland. You can walk around most of it and sunbathe on the manmade beaches, which enjoying views of many container ships in the harbour. If you want to do anything else you pay through the teeth but still nice for a free stroll. It is worth a visit even if it is just for a giggle at the manmade, shiny, happy, clean fun world outside of the big city. If you are lucky you could even be there for a Full Moon Party!
Singapore on the cheap … it can be done, and is worth a visit for a brief stopover before a flight to the next cheap Asian country, but perhaps I won’t be visiting again until my bank is full of dollars and I am ready for a shopping or cake eating spree on Orchard Road.