Yessir! It’s time to revisit an old favourite, the challenge – you have two days and one night, $200USD and this time you are in Singapore! What to do? Where to stay and how to spend your money. A perspective by me! So take up the challenge and read along, Singapore is a popular destination and so let’s dive in and see how we can make the most out of it!
I want to begin by saying that I think Singapore is positively PERFECT for this challenge. The reason I say that is that many people every year (bar 2020 I guess and we’ll see how 2021 goes…) do a similar sort of stay in this fair city. Why? Because it’s one of the world’s more popular cities for transiting – whether it be for a few hours in the airport or for a night or two because it’s on the way and why not? Singapore has plenty to offer the visitor, and it recognises that and takes advantage, giving people a reason for stopping. We’ll get to what to see a bit later on, but I like to firstly set out the rules.
I mean, they are pretty obvious but when I say ’48 hours’ I mean two days, it’s just a little catchier. We presume arrival in the morning of day one, and departure in the evening, possibly late evening day two. So we save money by only staying one night. Two hundred dollars includes everything on the ground (but not the flying). Accommodation, sight seeing, transport and food plus anything else that crops up. Generally I do these posts on more expensive cities, because I guess $200 would be a lot easier if you were in, say, Yangon.
Singapore though is NOT a cheap city. The Singapore dollar has gone from strength to strength in the last decade. I used to go and get about $1.1 Singapore dollars or a little better to $1AUD, but today that situation is reversed, making it a more expensive place for Australians by 10 to 20% on the whole.
Your single biggest expense is, in all likeliness, your accommodation. If you want a dorm room, as per usual, you will be left with a lot more wriggle room. If you want your own room, and you want air conditioning (and with the humidity coupled with heat in Singapore, I wouldn’t get a room without it these days) then you will be paying for it. If you want to stay at the airport, you’ll pay even more. The Yotel Air, a funky place at Changi Airport with small but extremely modern rooms, set me back nearly $200AUD or $150USD in 2019. Read about that here – A Different Place to Stay at Changi – Yotel Air.
And for the purposes of this post, that is right out of our budget. Ideally accommodation should be half your daily budget. But out budget stretches two days with only one night’s accommodation. You can save probably $40USD plus on these prices if you go dorm room. I found rooms for around $70 – $90 USD by doing a quick search. I like the look of the ‘Mayo Inn’, located in Little India. A range of sites as always are offering deals on it, from $70USD upwards. It looks clean and very simple, but we’re not here for a nice hotel stay and it seems to fit all the requirements and is the sort of place I might stay if I wasn’t staying at the airport, especially if I was by myself. I found deals for the Strand Hotel too, a little cheaper, from $64USD which is a little more central too, but not quite as good reviews. Let’s say we have $75USD on the accommodation and will take something akin to these two places. (keep in mind I haven’t stayed in either).
For $16 Singapore – or $12USD, you can get the Singapore Tourist Pass. This gives you free travel (well besides the $16) on the MRT (the local trains), and many of the buses along with the LRT (Light Rail Transit). That’s excellent value for money and we will save heaps on that. The public transport in Singapore is excellent and there should be no need to take a taxi, which will hit the budget hard. So far we have spent $$87USD, so we still have $113 up our sleeve.
If there is one area where you get good value for money in Singapore, it simply has to be food. There are markets and food courts everywhere where you can get your hands on some great Asian food for not much at all. I would say that $10USD gets you a pretty good meal. Two lunches and dinners, and a breakfast makes $50USD. That’s pretty generous too I think you’ll need less but let’s say $50USD and that’s good for the odd snack too. We’re now at $137USD. $63 left but that’s basically sightseeing.
I’m going to rule Universal Studios out. It’s expensive in the context of this challenge and there are others around the world and if you only had two days in Singapore, you would probably want to see stuff you haven’t before and couldn’t see elsewhere. I would imagine at lest! But USS is on the island of Sentosa, and this is an interesting place which in 2020 is free to enter via monorail. It’s modern and has views back on Singapore, plenty of photo opportunities.
You can try the botanical gardens too, which are a little way out of the city centre but are beautiful and worth visiting and I think are free – I can’t find any information online to say they aren’t. Another free thing to see is something called Haw Par Villa, which is kinda hard to describe. Katie of the Frugal Foodies does it well though – The Strangest Place in Singapore – Haw Par Villa. I have not been there, but I hope to one day – who doesn’t like the weird?
You might like to visit the most historic hotel in Singapore – Raffles Hotel. Famous for the cocktail the ‘Singapore Sling’. Keep in mind that it sells for $20USD, so I don’t know that we want to waster 10% of our overall budget on it.
The Singapore Cable Car takes you from Sentosa up Mount Faber, and is $28.05 return – $21USD, so a slightly better investment of your hard earned. The views are beautiful, try to take perhaps at sunset if you can. Great views from the top as well.
The Gardens By the Bay may well be the current quintessential ‘modern’ tourist attraction of the world. Huge gardens not far from the Marina Sands Hotel (more than double our entire budget for a night, more like three times) which you can see from the gardens – it has a giant surfboard supported by three buildings. They have taken nature and moulded it into something very cool. You will however need at least $20USD for that, to enter two of the domes (I visited the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest with a magnidificent indoor waterfall. Then there is the OCDC Walkway, up in the fake trees which is great too. Another $5USD, so $25 and with the cable car $20 it’s $45 of $63 just like that!
Try a bit of history at Fort Canning. It is now home to a free (I think) park with gorgeous gardens. Then there is the Changi Museum which was used to house POWs in WWII and is somewhat infamous I guess. It’s closed at the moment and has been since 2018 for refurbishment. Must due for reopening soon and the website says admission is FREE.
So…. I think that would fill two days up comfortably – what do you think? And you have $18 in the bank still. For 90% of a Singapore Sling or just so you can spend a couple of hours on Orchard Road and buy something small – there is great, but not cheap, shopping available in Singapore. What else would you include if set the challenge? Let me know and comment! Thanks for reading today and, you know – May the Journey Never End!