Singapore has long been known as one of the most expensive cities in the world to travel or live in. Of course, what do you expect from the country that has the highest number of millionaires in the world per capita.
Sitting at the bottom of continental Asia, Singapore is frequently overlooked by many budget travelers for several reasons; the location and perceived cost being two of the primary ones.
First, let’s talk about Singapore’s location. Throughout the centuries, Singapore gained prominence as one of the most important shipping and trading cities in the world; however, for travelers in Southeast Asia, Singapore’s location at the bottom of the continent is inconvenient to say the least.
However, with the advent of budget airlines in Southeast Asia, it is possible to fly round trip from many Asian cities to Singapore for next to nothing. You also could make a stop in Singapore on your way to/from Indonesia, New Zealand, or Australia. Singapore is much more accessible than most believe.
Singapore is also frequently skipped because of how expensive travelers think it is. While Singapore is far from inexpensive when compared to Thailand, Cambodia, or even Malaysia, it is possible to enjoy a visit to Singapore without breaking the bank.
A night stay in a good hostel will run you about $25 US dollars, a meal can be around $5 at street stalls or fast food restaurants, and transportation typically costs less than $2 a ride. Couple that with many of the sites being free, and it’s possible to enjoy Singapore on a budget of less than $50 USD a day.
So, we’ve discussed why Singapore is accessible for budget travelers, but we still haven’t discussed why you should go?
I’ll be the first to admit that before I went to Singapore, I was expecting a virtual police state. I thought that there would be a police officer on every corner waiting to dole out large fines for even the smallest infractions.
While it is true that small things like chewing gum, littering, or jaywalking can bring some hefty fines, I saw people do all three of these things at one point or another without getting stopped by the police. In fact, the police presence in Singapore was actually lower than in most western countries. The rules are there, and people follow them most of the time. This led to Singapore being one of the cleanest and most orderly cities that I’ve ever visited.
That being said, Singapore still has a lot of character. Beautifully restored architecture, landscaped gardens, and friendly people helped make the city one of my favorites.
So, don’t be disheartened by the perceived cost or distance, a visit to Singapore should be high on the list of any traveler to Southeast Asia, no matter what their budget.
Jim Cheney is the creator of Tripologist.com. Having traveled extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia, Jim enjoys sharing his love of travel and some of his favorite places to visit around the world. He lives in Pennsylvania, USA, with his wife and two kids.