Singapore is what every Pinoy wishes Manila could be: clean, green, disciplined, and traffic-free. But all that order comes at a literally high cost, and a visit here can drain your bank account quickly. Here’s how you can see the best of the Lion City without totally wiping your wallet clean!
- No entrance fee
There are actually eight Merlion statues scattered around Singapore, but the one in Merlion Park is the most famous of them all. We’re not kidding: you can’t just leave SG without taking a photo with it. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds!
Gardens by the Bay
- No entrance fee
- Optional expense: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest - S$28 for non-locals
When you’ve had your Merlion moment, you can walk to Gardens By The Bay, located just across the water. Don’t miss the Supertree Grove and the four Heritage Gardens, which are filled with exotic plants and art from all over the world. Entrance is free, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want to enter the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest (they’re both really worth it, though!).
Sentosa and Universal Studios
One-day ticket: S$76
From Marina Bay Sands, ride Singapore’s ultra-efficient SMRT to get to VivoCity Mall at Harbourfront. From here, you can hop on the Sentosa Express Monorail, which stops at three stations in Sentosa Island. Alight at Waterfront Station and make your way to Universal Studios Singapore for an afternoon of fun. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, don’t miss these rides: Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN vs. Cylon, TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle, Revenge of the Mummy, and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
- No entrance fee
- Optional expense: National Orchid Garden: S$5
Start your day by going around Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is open from 5:00 AM until midnight. It’s a wide green space in the middle of the city, with four main sections with lots of lush attractions. You can easily spend a whole day here, but for a more efficient visit, pick up a map at a Visitors Services Desk and download one of their PDF trail guides.
- No entrance fee
From the Botanic Gardens, ride the bus to Orchard Road, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. This 2.2-kilometer shopping paradise is home to some of the best hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and art galleries in Singapore.
National Museum Singapore
- Admission: S$15
After shopping (or window-shopping) at Orchard Road, ride the SMRT to Dhoby Ghaut station and walk to the National Museum of Singapore. It’s the island nation’s oldest museum, with several galleries showcasing the country’s vibrant history alongside art and cultural exhibitions.
Tiong Bahru and Chinatown
Tiong Bahru is where all the cool kids hang out due to its hip cafes and indie stores. Brunch like a local by feasting on Kaya Toast and Chee Cheong Fun at the Tiong Bahru Market before walking around to learn about the area’s history. When you’re done, ride the bus to nearby Chinatown, where you should stop by the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the Thian Hock Keng Temple, and the Sri Mariamman Temple. Don’t forget to check out the goods sold in the street tiangge!
Little India and Kampong Glam
From Chinatown, take the blue line to Little India, a compact, bustling neighborhood in the middle of the city. The area’s major attractions are very colorful, so they’d be good for your IG feed. Don’t miss the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and stop by the 24/7-open Mustafa Centre for some shopping. You can later walk to nearby Bugis Center for pasalubong, then walk to the Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam. End your day with some dinner and drinks at Haji Lane or Arab Street in Kampong Glam, or walk to the Golden Mile Food Centre for cheap hawker fare.
- Check out Klook (https://www.klook.com/city/6-singapore/), where you can get tickets to Singapore’s hottest attractions at discounted rates. You can get your Universal Studios ticket for only S$68 if you book via Klook!
- Get the Singapore Tourist Pass (http://thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg/) for unlimited SMRT and bus rides (S$20 for a three day pass, with S$10 refundable deposit). You can buy it at select SMRT stations around SG.
- Walk around! Singapore’s pollution-free streets are lined with trees, so walking around is a breeze.
- Eat at hawker centres. Singapore’s hawker centres are a foodie’s wet dream, offering a mind-boggling variety of dishes at cheap rates. The best of the best: Lau Pa Sat and Maxwell Road Hawker Centre are popular picks, but most locals consider the Old Airport Road Food Centre the best of the best.
- Refill your water bottles. Singapore’s tap water is so clean, you can safely drink it straight from the faucet. If you’re worried about food poisoning, just remember that your tummy’s probably already lined in steel after the many times you’ve eaten street food along Metro Manila’s smoggiest streets.
- Stay in a hostel. Almost everything in Singapore is expensive, but you can save a lot by scrimpiing on accommodation. Singapore has a selection of clean, affordable hostels, like Coziee Lodge in Kallang and Bed and Dreams Inn in Clarke Quay. Book via Agoda (https://www.agoda.com/) to get discounts and earn reward points!
TOTAL BASIC EXPENSES:
Singapore Tourist Pass: S$20
Hostel accommodation for three nights: S$70
Universal Studios: S$76
Museum admission: S$15
Food: S$90 for three days (S$30 per day)
Total: S$256 (around P9,712)