We spent just a few days in Singapore, due to the price of visiting this tiny nation at the tip of Thailand. It’s one of the best cities to do business in in the world, and also unique in that it’s the only “island-city-country” in the world (according to Google). We stayed in one of the many, many pod hotels around the city, paying an egregious $35+ USD per night for a tiny box/coffin in a room in which our bags didn’t fit. Our explorations in Singapore were what I consider to be standard: Big buildings, bright lights, and shopping malls galore.
Things To Do In Singapore [Without Spending Hundreds of Dollars]
Singapore is expensive as compared to some other parts of SE Asia. It’s a big city so this makes sense, but also makes backpacking a bit of a challenge. Here’s what we did without totally exceeding our budget.
Gardens By The Bay
The iconic sight of the country, connected to the iconic hotel (Marina Bay Sands), this was our first stop upon arrival. It looks vastly different by day and night, and really is massive and unique.
Walk Along the Water + See the Merlion
A dumb statue of a lion-mermaid, objectively speaking. Not objectively speaking an iconic sight of Singapore of which I may have bought a tourist trinket of. This can be paired with a walk around the promenade on the water.
There are some stellar hawker centers in Singapore, and it’s the only country where food stalls have received Michelin gold stars. The Albert Food Center is the best one, and food is weirdly cheap compared to the rest of the city prices.
Chinatown + Buddha Tooth Temple
Still unclear what this temple is and why there is a tooth in it, but it’s nestled in the heart of Chinatown and pretty interesting to see. Chinatown is worth a (free) wander, too.
An eclectic and bustling street culminating in a mosque, this felt more authentic than some other parts of the city. Nearby is a brightly painted and tightly packed alley with many hipster-esque restaurants, bars and cafes.
A super fancy road lined with millions (not literally) of malls, and fancy shops and buildings. It’s worth a walk for the people watching and window-shopping alone. If you can resist from buying anything, it’s also totally free.
UNESCO ALERT! And you know how we love UNESCO sites. The gardens are OK, mediocre really. But free to enter.
Another neighborhood with a different vibe than city center, and many authentic restaurants and fresh food shops.