We all know that Singapore can be an expensive destination to travel to (in fact, it is the number 1 most expensive city to live in for 2022), as there are some great activities to enjoy and some rather marvellous fine dining experiences. But I am here to tell you that there is another side of Singapore that is just as fun and exciting! So come along on this three-day budget itinerary where you will experience the culture, local food and lots of free activities for an average cost of $50 Singapore dollars a day per person. (Prices may vary from the time of writing this, so please check before you go). I am here to show you how to do Singapore on a budget.
Singapore Travel Guide
Things to know before you go: Travel Tips
Hot and humid is a constant in Singapore; however, the cooler months seem to be at the end of the year and especially early the following year, with January being the coolest month of all. However, rain can also be an issue during these months and can be very unpredictable. The tropical showers can come fast and furious but be gone as quickly as they arrive.
What to bring
- Umbrella (which most major hotels allow you to borrow), if they are too big and bulky, then a tiny, easy-to-carry umbrella is essential.
- Fan, I know I know it sounds a little silly, but a little fan tucked away can be a great little asset when you finally sit down after that long walk. This can also be bought at little stalls and small boutiques around Singapore.
- Comfortable walking sandals, if sandals are not your thing, closed-in walking shoes are also acceptable, but closed-in shoes make the experience even hotter.
- Little tissue packets can be bought at 7/11 pharmacies or by street vendors and are fantastic for everything from saving your space at the hawker market to wiping down tables.
- Water bottle, I usually carry one that keeps my water cool, but as long as you have something to fill up, it is okay. Days can get hot, and hydration is essential.
- Shawl or scarf for women as air-conditioned restaurants, buses and malls can become freezing and having something around your shoulders can take the chill away.
- Mask, at the moment, you still need masks for public transport and medical facilities.
- You can buy mosquito repellent everywhere in Singapore, but remember to pack it, especially when heading out to places with loads of greenery; Singapore does have dengue fever.
- Grab/Cab/Gojek – Transport in Singapore is affordable, but do not be caught out during peak hours, when the rain is heavy and late night travel when grab prices can double and triple in price.
- MRT – (Mass rapid transit) The Public Transport System here is fast, reliable and affordable, and more importantly, it has air conditioning. In addition, you can use either a credit card or Ezlink for buses and trains.
- Buses are frequent and an excellent way to see the city; they also have air conditioning but can sometimes be crowded during rush hour.
- Monorail- Sentosa has a monorail service that only uses Ezlink and is only charged one way (to the island).
Day one: Sentosa Island Jungle Walk and Super Trees at night
After Breakfast, put on your walking shoes and pack your bathers, as today we are on an adventure to Sentosa. Remember to pack a towel, water, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a hat.
Purchase snacks from one of the supermarkets before you set out for the day and pack some in your bag each day for just-in-case moments or compulsive buying. It just means you can do Singapore on a budget; you just need to prepare.
Walk to the MRT Station to catch a train to Vivo City and walk across the bridge to Sentosa (the monorail is a one-way cost, so you can avoid paying by walking across the bridge). Then, follow the signs to Sentosa Beach. You have a few trails to choose from on your Sentosa Jungle Walk. You can pick all three or choose the one that fits your walking expectations; they are all pretty straightforward and can be found in more detail here. Give yourself approximately two hours or more, depending on whether you want to cover more than one Trail. The three trails are the coastal Trail, Imbiah Trail and the Beach Walk.
Coastal Trail is best for Lots of good jungle fun, with some coastal views of the mainland along the way; this is great for history buffs, including a walk through Fort Silosa, which is by far the longest Trail of them all.
Imbiah Walk is best for nature lovers, which will see you walk through Sentosa Nature discovery, there is a little bit of history here, too, but you have to look closely along the way; this Trail will have you ending at the beach for a swim.
Beach Trail: This will take you along the shortest Trail straight to the beach and along the beachfront. This is the path to take if you want a quick and easy way to get to the beachfront.
Take your time and enjoy your surroundings no matter what Trail you take; it can sometimes get confusing, and one Trail can lead into the next, but it doesn’t matter because you will find a way down to the beach eventually.
You can choose any beach location to swim, or you can walk or catch the free bus from one side of the beach to the other. Once you have finished your swim and lie on the beach, head to the beach station to catch the free monorail back to Vivo city for your train back to your hotel.
There are a few options for cheap eats at the beach; I highly recommend a refreshing coconut drink or shake from Co+Nut+Ink for a little slice of heaven after that long hike. International Food Street has some burgers, tacos and wraps. However, the lobster roll was great value for money and the perfect way to do Singapore on a budget.
Or, if you would rather wait until you get back to Vivo City, the food court in front of the monorail exit has many affordable choices. Food Republic information can be found here.
Early Afternoon and evening
Once you have freshened up at your hotel, it is time to head out to Marina Bay Sands to spend the evening enjoying the free entertainment. Catch the train or bus to MBS and walk to the Gardens by the Bay. Spend the late afternoon enjoying the gardens before heading to the light show at the Supertree Grove, with Daily shows at 7.45 pm and 8.45 pm. Every month has a different theme, so it is worth checking here before you go. There are many more options here that range from Flower dome to the Cloud forest; however, if you want to save money, I recommend buying a ticket to the OCBC Skyway for $10 here.
Satay is a big part of Singapore’s culture, and there is no better place to eat than Satay by the Bay, where Satay is at its best. Otherwise, you will find both Shake Shack and Mcdonald’s on the other side of the Gardens by the Bay.
Day two: A day out at Pulau Ubin and Little India
After Breakfast, make your way to Changi Point Ferry Terminal by bus (approximately 1.5 hours) from the Orchard Rd area or Grab, taxi or Gojek (about 30 mins). The bumboats are around $4 one way without a bike and need to pay by cash direct to the ferry operator; the bumboats operate from 6 am to 7 pm daily. T. A full-day itinerary can be found here, which includes a rundown of what to do on the island and recommendations for lunch.
Late Afternoon and evening
After your full day of exploration on Pulau Ubin, catch the bumboat back to Changi Port Ferry Pier, where you can either catch a bus or taxi, grab or gojek back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to Little India for the evening.
Catch a bus (approximately 20 minutes) or walk (about 40 minutes) to Little India. Tonight you can explore the streets in more detail with this “What is there to do in Little India?” Itinerary here. This itinerary is a deep dive into the area.
If you leave early enough, you can check out the murals, and enjoy what the streets offer during the day, then see how this part of Singapore lights up at night and becomes a vibrant place full of activity. This area has much to look at and shows you can do lots in Singapore on a budget.
Day Three: Chinatown and Clarke Quay
After Breakfast, head off to Chinatown from Orchard Rd via foot (approximately 40 minutes); however, on the way, you will have a couple of stops along the way. The first stop is the Cathedral of the Good Shephard, with plenty of history, documented as the oldest Catholic church in Singapore; it was later reopened in 2016 as it is today.
Then you can explore Chijmes. This is more than just great restaurants; here, you will also find a heritage trail which houses the second oldest building in Singapore, along with some great photo opportunities. I can’t forget the scene from “Crazy Rich Asians” where Nick’s best friend gets married here.
Keep walking; from here, it takes approximately 20 minutes to walk to Chinatown. Then, make your way through the markets, where you will find little trinkets and souvenirs to take home. On your visit to Chinatown, you must include Chinatown Heritage Centre (when it reopens), Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, Sri Mariamman Temple and the many incredible murals along the way. Before you leave Chinatown, make your way to Nanyang old coffee, where you can try many different types of local coffee styles with an explanation of what you are ordering, you can also try the Kaya butter toast (the combination will set you back approximately $5), then head up to the free museum upstairs.
Try the hawker market upstairs at the Chinatown complex, where you will find the original Liao Fan Hawker Chan stall for their famous Hainanese chicken rice and Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao. Although I mentioned these stalls, there are so many here to choose from, and they a dish can be found to be as little as $2.50. Otherwise, Maxwell Food Centre across the road can be less crowded but just as delicious.
Afternoon and evening
Depending on how tired you are, you can take the train or bus back to Orchard Rd or walk around the way you came. Then, head back to the hotel to refresh yourself for the evening.
Tonight you can walk to Clarke Quay, which will take approximately 40 minutes or take the bus. You can see a few landmarks along the way, such as Old Hill Street Police Station, Central Firestation and Funan shopping mall.
Tonight’s river cruise is approximately $25; you can buy tickets here. This bumboat river cruise will give you a guided tour of the area, which will take about 40 minutes. Operating hours are from 9:00 am -11:00 pm, and they depart every 30 minutes. Tonight you will be swept away by the energy Clarke Quay radiates at night. With loads of restaurants and music at every corner, it is a great way to see another side of Singapore. Clarke Quay is one of many great places to visit on foot but walk along the river’s edge through boat quay to Roberston quay, where the vibe feels different at each landing.
For cheap eats, you can’t go by Zion Riverside food centre stalls, where you can find a wide variety of foods in this hawkers centre for a small price. However, I highly recommend that Zion Road Fried Kway Teow dishes start at as little as $5; opening hours are from 8 am to 10 pm.
Depending on how tired you are (you have walked a lot today), You can choose to walk off that delicious dinner or catch a bus back to Orchard Road before flying out tomorrow.
Other Singapore posts that might interest you are:
- What to do in Singapore in 1 day, which can be found here
- Ten unique things to do in Singapore will give you some other great places to visit here.
- The ultimate guide to fort Canning will provide you with a deep dive into the history of Fort Canning and great things to do while you are there.
- Want to learn more about some fantastic walking trails in Singapore? Then try my favourite walks in Singapore here.
- Looking for things to do at night? No problem, try 20 fun things to do at night here.
- Needing more items to tick off your bucket list? Then try a bucket list of things to do here.
- If you are here for the culture, then this one-day itinerary might be what you are looking for right now.
Hotel Chancellor at Orchard
Hotel Chancellor at Orchard is in a great location, right next to Orchard Rd, where buses and trains are plentiful, and many chances to see loads of sights on foot. With a rooftop outdoor swimming pool to keep you cooled down on the hot, humid days in Singapore and an option to add Breakfast to the menu, this is the perfect budget hotel for your stay in Singapore.
Things to know: The rooms are essential, but for this price, it is good value for money, especially in its location.
Recommendations: Add Breakfast daily to your room to ensure you stick within the recommended budget.
Mercure Singapore on Stevens
Mercure Singapore on Stevens is a great hotel that accommodates all types of travellers. Centrally located on the opposite end of Orchard Rd, closer to places like the Botanic Gardens. All rooms include Breakfast, and it is a short distance to catch public transport. There is a gym and pool within the hotel, wifi, and all the modern cons you would expect from a hotel chain like the Mecure.
Things to Know: Although the price is not much different, the location is a little further if you want to walk instead of catching public transport.
Recommendation: This hotel chain has two other locations in Singapore, Mercure Bugis and Grand Mercure, Singapore Roxy
Other Hotel options
- W Hotel Sentosa Staycation review can be found here.
Recommendation: This is a fantastic accommodation choice if you are not worried about the cost and want to feel like you are on an island holiday.
- Raffles Hotel Staycation review can be found here.
Recommendation: Raffles Hotel is a must if you want a genuine Singaporean experience. Rich in history with beautiful rooms right in the heart of Singapore, this is one for the bucket list.
- ParkRoyal on Beach Road review can be found here.
Recommendation: The ParkRoyal on Beach Road is an excellent hotel in a great location, and it has many great amenities to add to it, including a fabulous buffet selection. Located in a great place en route to all the activities planned for your three-day budget vacation.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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