|credits: Mook :)|
It is not a secret that Singapore defines luxury. According to Business Insider, it is the 9th most expensive city in the world and it is not easy going around the place without spending a lot. That's why it was kinda impulsive of me to head to the city for a concert and actually stay there for four days and three nights.
Actually, I was very nervous when I went there. I do not have a credit card so I had to rely on my 130USD and 100AUD budget. The conversion rate is like $1 to SG$1-point-something. That is how at par Singapore is with Australia and US. So considering the fact that I have to stay there for a few days with that kind of budget only, I was literally trembling as I leave.
But then I survived. And I realized that it is easy to travel to Singapore even in a tight budget. Below are the tips:
- Instead of staying in a hotel, stay in a dormitory/inn. There is nothing really shameful about staying in the hostels there. We stayed at Backpackers' Inn at Chinatown for SG$25 per night and it was worth the experience. Although the space was small and we had to sleep in double decks and share a room with other foreigners, it was clean, safe, and definitely secured there. They offer free towels, blankets, pillows, shampoo, and soap so you could skip those things and lessen your baggage weight. You don't have to buy water if staying in Backpackers' Inn (as a bottle can be a little expensive, 1Liter = SG$1.20 or higher) because they have a dispenser there. The 2 showers have heaters and toilets have bidet. There is also a computer to use for internet. Wi-Fi connection is available. And it's LITERALLY FAST. Guests are not allowed, as well as smoking. :) DISCLAIMER: Not all backpackers' inn there are like the one I stayed at but as far as I know, it's very comfortable in other places too. Except probably those in Little India because sometimes, the scent of curry powder used in the different restaurants nearby would get to your rooms. (Based on my friend's experience)
- Try out local dishes. Local food sold on hawker centers (typical foodcourts) are definitely cheaper than those in malls. Eating in McDonald's would most likely cost you around SG$5 and there are no rice meals available. If you want to eat rice, you would have to find a stall in a hawker center that does, or you have to settle for international dishes like Malaysian or Korean (which are quite pricey.) Oh by the way, don't be surprised if you see grandmas and grandpas tending to you when on a restaurant or food chain. It's normal there.
- Visit the free or cheap attractions. One thing that I was decided about even prior to my trip is that I do not want to visit a country and be a tourist. I want to experience the locals' life and that's what we basically did in SG. I went to Sentosa and paid my entrance fee (SG$1, if entering through Sentosa Boardwalk | SG$2, if coming by bus | SG$3, if riding the tram from Vivo City) but that's it. We just went there and walked around the beach (wherein one can swim for free) and then take pictures. We didn't enter the Universal Studios since it's a waste of time for me. Although I couldn't let pass the opportunity to watch Songs of the Sea. Good thing my boss treated me for the show and it was SG$10 per person (non-premium seats). And I must say it's a must visit attraction there. ^^ As for other places, we went to Orchard Road, Bugis Street and Marina Square. Free attractions, baby! :D Actually, what's great about Singapore for me is that every street is more of a tourist attraction. You can snap pictures here and there because the places are so clean and safe and bustling; not to mention that the facades of most buildings are certainly impressive.
- Walk. Although the transportation system there is VERY EFFICIENT, it could be a little costly as a train ride would averagely cost you around SG$1. (Well, at least for me, it is; and oh, there's this deposit-thingy here. I'll explain it to you lot later.) So what you can do is to basically walk. It is safe there, and it would give you better chances to see different architectural pieces. However, one has to be wary of the crossing areas as the officers can be really strict when it comes to jaywalking. ^^ When crossing, you have to press something on the traffic light post and wait until the sign tells you that it's okay to cross the street. ^^ [Okay. So this is not a very nice suggestion but we did it actually. HAHA! After Bugis, we walked to City Hall and headed to Esplanade and Marina Bay Sands!) I didn't try riding the bus (although I wanted to) but I tried the taxi. It was a little expensive but you know you're safe. They have meters and they've got receipts. ^^ If you're lucky, you're gonna get free and nice conversations with the taxi driver. ^_^
- Don't shop in malls. Shopping malls in Singapore are CERTAINLY LUXURIOUS. Especially those in Orchard Road! So I advise you not to buy stuffs there. If you're looking for nice buys yet cheaper prices, go to Bugis Street or Chinatown. Haggling isn't permitted though, and you cannot try on shirts or other clothes to check your sizes. Ask the seller for assistance.
Singapore is a very luxurious country, yes. But who said those travelling on budget wouldn't survive? Come on. All one has to do is to control his/her expenses before going to and while in the country to stay within your means. :) I did it. I'm sure you will be able to do so as well. ^_^