When you find a round-trip flight to Singapore for $350 (shoutout to The Points Guy for that deal alert), you go. Passing up on a deal like that is basically a sin.
Call me crazy, but I took on a little under 40 hours of travel for a mere 72 hours in Singapore. I packed in as much adventure—including a trip to Indonesia and a hike through a forest canopy—in that short time, and the best part is, I didn’t stray from my budget or dip into my savings account! I saw the city-state as frugally as possible, crashed at an affordable Airbnb, and added a few more stamps to the pages of my passport.
Headed to Singapore soon? I did the heavy-lifting for you; here are the top frugal spots to hit! Keep in mind that all prices listed have been converted to U.S. dollars (1 Singapore dollar equals 0.75 U.S. dollars).
Gardens by the Bay: $0
This isn’t your typical stroll in the park. A stop at Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay is well worth braving the city-state’s sticky humidity. Massive structures, dubbed the Supertree Grove, are fiercely futuristic, and the overall feel of the gardens is very sci-fi and surreal; it truly feels like you’ve landed on another planet.
Walking around the park and taking in attractions like the Supertree Grove, Heritage Gardens, Sun Pavilion, and Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes is totally free! Definitely spend the $5 it costs for a ticket on the OCBC Skyway, though; the aerial walkway through the Supertree Grove gives you insane views of the city, and is well worth the cost.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel: $14 for rooftop entrance, includes $14 voucher for food or drink
Even if you’re not splurging for a pricey room at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, this Singapore hotel is a must-see. The architecture of the hotel itself is breathtaking, but the views are where the real Instagram potential is at! See Singapore from 60 stories up.
Pro-tip: You could pay over $14 for a ticket to the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck… or you could get essentially the same view for a lot less by visiting the CÉ LA VI Restaurant and SkyBar. Purchase a ticket to CÉ LA VI for $14, and you’ll get the same view as the observation deck (which has a 360-degree, panoramic view, btw), as well as a $14 voucher for food or drink.
Don’t forget to drop by the rooftop’s infinity pool; while the pool is only open to hotel guests, it’s something you’ll want to snap a photo of.
Day Trip to Indonesia: Around $33 for ferry ride
Indonesia has always been on my bucket list, so seeing this country in a short day trip for a very low price was truly a treat! My recommendation? Skip the heavily advertised touristy resorts, and head to a hot spot that locals frequent for a quiet getaway.
Let’s talk logistics: Take the Batam Fast ferry from Singapore, which will cost you around $33, round-trip, to the Nongsapura ferry terminal in Batam, Indonesia; roughly an hour ride from Singapore. Once there, I highly recommend checking out the Turi Beach Resort. For just $14, you will get a slice of paradise. After paying the entry fee, non-hotel guests will get all-day access to the resort’s private beach, pools, free lunch and discounted water sports. The deal even includes a complimentary shuttle to and from the ferry terminal.
JB Ah Meng: $40 or less for an award-winning meal
Frugal foodies, this one’s for you.
Whenever I’m traveling, getting the best local food is a v. high priority. Singapore is home to some delish street fare, but nothing comes close to the grub you’ll get at JB Ah Meng. This street fare snagged a spot on the list of Bib Gourmand awards in the 2016 Michelin Guide Singapore, and you can get an award-winning meal for under $40. Anthony Bourdain would be proud.
Expect plastic chairs, loud crowds and long lines… and a seriously satisfying meal. I recommend the white pepper crab (which can easily be split between two people) and the San Lou Bee Hoon.
TreeTop Walk: $0
Stretch those legs after that long flight with a gorgeous hike through the forest at MacRitchie Reservoir Park, which is just a quick Uber ride from downtown.
The hike through the lush forest is basically “The Jungle Book,” IRL; you’ll see tons of monkeys, lizards and possibly even a wild boar! The highlight of the hike is definitely the TreeTop Walk, which is a free-standing suspension bridge that runs through the forest canopy, giving you an adrenaline rush and a clutch view. Bring water and sneakers—the hike is a bit more strenuous than I thought (the humidity doesn’t help either), but the view is worth the extra sweat. The best part? It’s free.
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