Just a couple of months ago, CNN officially declared Singapore as the most expensive city to live in. Let that sink in—it’s MORE expensive than Tokyo AND New York City. Everybody found out and for the first time since 2009, tourism decreased for the Little Red Dot. If you’re still determined to visit Singapore anyway—and we definitely think you should—take these tips into consideration.
1. Avoid taxis like your life depends on it.
In the Philippines, the meter starts at P40. In Singapore, depending on the time, it’s as “low” as roughly $4 (P135) and as a high as $5.50ish (P180). There are also “night hours” where everything literally doubles, for no other reason than…actually, there is no good enough reason for it, so it doesn’t even matter. LOL! Singapore is small enough that you can drive around the entire island in less than 3 hours, which means, more often than not, you can walk to anywhere you need to be. Plus, their public transportation system is a well-oiled machine. It is never down for longer than an hour and is arctic-levels cold—the perfect escape from the heat.
2. Only eat at hawkers.
Even the snootiest foodie can’t complain about the hawker centres in Singapore. There is a dish for every palate. The best part: it is fucking cheap. Not quite Manila-cheap but cheap enough for the quality. You can get a plate of kway teow for $1, if you know where to look (See: Tiong Bahru Market). Bugis sells dragon fruit shakes for $1.
3. Backpackers are welcome!
You don’t have to shell out too much of your hard-earned money on a hotel. Gone are the days when Singapore was only for the rich and famous. The Lion City has adapted to the backpacker lifestyle and has a row of inns and motels for budget travellers all over Chinatown. To be perfectly honest, you won’t find $5 rooms like you will in Vietnam, but there are dormitory style accommodations that won’t have to cost an entire limb.
4. Stay clear of tourist traps.
If you’re a seasoned traveller, many of the tourist attractions in Singapore aren’t worth it. You might as well just burn your money if you’re planning a trip to Sentosa. Even their hawker center there charges triple the price! The beach is polluted because of the nearby ships.
Oh, and have you heard of the Singapore Flyer? Where you have to pay $30 for a view? HARD PASS. One of the main tourist attractions that is 100% worth the hype is the Singapore Zoo. It actually feels like you’re in the rainforest. And you can catch the feeding times of the White Tigers!
5. Don’t go shopping!
Singapore is the shopping Mecca of the world, we know. But if you’re coming from the country that birthed Divisoria, there’s absolutely no spot in Singapore that can justify a shopping spree. Even Bugis, where items are supposedly much cheaper, is just a more expensive tiangge. Skip it and splurge on all the food!
You’re guaranteed to fly back to Manila with your sanity and bank account still intact.
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