Is Singapore expensive to visit? Read this and learn how you can travel SG cheaply!

Is Singapore expensive to visit? It is no secret that SG is an expensive country but few travelers you can travel here for as low as $50 USD per day! Here are the tips and tricks.

Welcome to the most expensive Southeast Asian country! There, I said it. Many travelers shy away from Singapore because of its high costs, but very few people can travel to Singapore cheaply.

In this Singapore travel budget guide, I will not only give you the costs of traveling to Singapore but also some tips on how to visit Singapore for as low as $50 USD per day.

is singapore expensive

I also hold trips here (mostly food) so feel free to join me on these yearly trips so you’ll get to learn about my favorite Asian country for food!

Now let’s proceed to answering your burning question: Is Singapore expensive?

Change how you travel and see the world by going deep into the culture. Come and travel with me!

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💲 Is Singapore expensive as a tourist?

In general, it is. But if you really know the city well, you don’t have to spend a lot on your Singapore travel budget. You can spend as low as $50 USD per day in SG!

Personally, I also think that “expensive” is subjective. Meaning, I don’t really know what’s expensive or cheap for you.

For example, on many of my trips to Singapore, I have had many different budget tiers (some too high, some too low), depending on the activities and my Singapore itinerary.

Is Singapore Expensive

Don’t expect it to start lower than $50 USD. When planning your budget trip to Singapore, always think that you’ll spend at least $50 USD per day to have a baseline.

I also would separate the accommodation and flight costs and don’t count them as a daily budget. You can save for both these costs months in advance so when your trip is near, you’ll only have to worry about the daily expenditures.

✈️ Cost of flights to Singapore

The airport that serves Singapore is Changi International Airport, and is one of the most beautiful and easy-to-access airports in the world.

A few US cities fly to Singapore direct, but note that this flight lasts for 17 hours. I always prefer direct flights from LA since I feel like I will spend more on a flight with a layover.

Is Singapore Expensive
@kritikapahwa / Instagram

Most cities in California have direct flights, while others will have at least 1 stop. Below are some flight samples for the costs of flights from the US to Singapore:

AirportPriceDuration
Los Angeles (LAX)$1,20817h, direct
San Francisco (SFO)$98016.5h, direct
Seattle (SEA)$1,09917h, direct
New York (JFK)$92925h, 1 stop
Chicago (ORD$89831h, 1 stop

For Canadians, Air Canada flies from Vancouver to Singapore for $1,155 USD. The trip duration is 16 hours.

Those flying from Toronto must take a $1,321 USD flight with 1 stop in Istanbul, Turkey. In this regard, flying to Vancouver and taking a direct flight to Singapore is better.

If you are flying from Europe, here are some options for direct flights to Singapore:

AirportPriceDuration
London (LHR)$89215h, direct
Barcelona (BCN)$2,99013h, direct
Paris (CDG)$1,24013h, direct
Milan (MXP)$1,34112h, direct

For Australian travelers, most of the flights from Australia to Singapore are direct. Here are some rough estimates:

AirportPriceDuration
Sydney$4688h, direct
Melbourne$2978h, direct
Perth$2415h, direct

✈️ Please note that all flight prices to Singapore above are 2-way, within a 2-week trip duration. Prices were also checked at least 6 months before the intended trip to Singapore. [Find cheap flights to Singapore]

🏨 Singapore hotel prices

The bulk of your expense for your trip to Singapore is the hotel and this should be booked first. The lowest price you can find for accommodations is around $50 USD.

The trick is to book a hotel in Singapore that is about 1 KM from the center (0.6. miles) so you will save on transportation.

Is Singapore Expensive

This way, you will only walk to important landmarks without paying for an Uber or riding a train.

Below are the best hotels in Singapore that are less than 1 KM from the center:

HotelPriceScore
RadZone Hostel$53 USD9.1/10
KINN Capsule Hotel$47 USD8.5/10
Hipstercity Hostel$80 USD8.2/10
Lyf Funan Singapore$176 USD8.6/10
Capri by Fraser China Square$201 USD8.4/10
Paradox Singapore Merchant Court$224 USD8.6/10

🍲 Cost of food in Singapore

The good news is, even if Singapore is expensive, food is pretty cheap! You can eat for as low as $3 USD per meal and mind you, these are high-quality dishes.

Singapore thrives with Hawker Centres which makes travel cheaper in SG. These hawker centres are large, open-air complexes housing many individual stalls, each specializing in specific types or styles of food.

Is Singapore Expensive

You will never get tired of hawker food in Singapore because the food is unique, it never repeats, and I bet you won’t really get to know all the 30+ iconic Singaporean food in just one trip!

Some of you may be interested in trying meal tastings in fine-dining restaurants in Singapore. The cost of a pairing starts at $140 USD.

As per mid-range restaurants in Singapore that is neither a street food stall nor fine dining, expect to pay from $10 USD per meal.

🎢 Activities and tour prices in Singapore

While there are many free things to do in Singapore, you may want to sign up for some tours as most of these excursions are in a combo package.

When I am traveling to Singapore, I mainly focus on food and gastronomy tours as I already know Singapore well and don’t need a guided tour to explore the landmarks in the city.

Is Singapore Expensive

Below are some of the must-do activities in Singapore, together with prices. Please note that you must also book this in advance (at least 1 month before your trip).

ActivityPriceDuration
Singapore Bike Tour$65 USD4 hours
Local Cooking Class$75 USD3 hours
Market Tour$106 USD3 hours
Gardens by the Bay ticket$15 USDN/A
Hawker Centres tour$142 USD6 hours
Nighttime Sightseeing with River Cruise$160 USD3.5 hours
Singapore Highlights$1574 hours
Mangrove Kayaking $81 USD4 hours
Singapore Zoo$67 USD4 hours

🚆 Transportation costs in Singapore

I trust that you’ll book accommodations within 1 KM range of the center (see hotels above). But if you need transportation in Singapore, taxis are quite expensive.

A taxi trip is about $22 USD per 8KM, and to be honest, people don’t really go around Singapore via taxi (unless absolutely necessary) because their train system is very modern and efficient.

Is Singapore Expensive
@rafa_2.2.2.1 / Instagram

Below are the best options for transportation in Singapore, together with prices and details:

Singapore tourist pass

The Singapore Tourist Pass is a card that lets you ride Singapore’s buses, MRT, and LRT trains as much as you want for 3, 2, and 1-day duration:

  • 1-day pass: SGD 22 ($116 USD)
  • 2-day pass: SGD 29 ($22 USD)
  • 3-day pass: SGD 34 ($25 USD)

Singapore Tourist Pass Plus

The Singapore Tourist Pass Plus is exactly like the tourist pass above but includes a Xplore 1 hour tour, post cards, and an SGD 5 credit for Changi Travel Concierge service.

The price for a 3-day pass is SGD 48 ($36 USD) and can’t be purchased for 1 or 2-day trips.

🚆 Where to buy transportation passes in Singapore: Changi International Airport Terminals 1, 2, 3, & 4 have Singapore Tourist Pass kiosks. Remember to buy this upon arrival at the airport!

✨ Tips for Singapore budget travel

Hawker Centers are your best friend

Singapore boasts some of the best street food in the world. Avoid restaurants in tourist-heavy areas, and instead head to a local hawker center.

Is Singapore Expensive

Here, you can eat delicious dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, or char kway teow for a fraction of the price. For first-time travelers, try Tiong Bahru or Maxwell Road Hawker Centres.

Use public transportation over taxis

While taxis are convenient, Singapore’s public transport system is efficient and far cheaper. Purchase an EZ-Link card or a Singapore Tourist Pass.

Is Singapore Expensive
@thefamousjb / Instagram

Familiarize yourself with the MRT (metro) and bus systems. Google Maps can guide you effectively.

Convenience stores are not cheaper

Unlike Japan where 7-Eleven food is cheap and a trend, in Singapore, 7-Eleven or similar stores are expensive.

Is Singapore Expensive

Go to local supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice or Sheng Siong for cheap snacks or essentials.

Tap water is drinkable in Singapore

You don’t need to buy bottled water in Singapore. The tap water is safe to drink, so bring a reusable bottle and fill it up as needed.

Off-peak hours

Certain attractions have off-peak hours where ticket prices are reduced.

Is Singapore Expensive
@milkigin / Instagram

For example, the Singapore Flyer offers cheaper rides mid-day. Research your destinations to find similar deals.

Discount apps and cards

The ‘Entertainer’ app offers buy-one-get-one-free deals at restaurants and attractions.

Is Singapore Expensive
@dsefgyv / Instagram

Also, consider the SingaporePass, which bundles multiple attractions at a discounted rate.

Cheap travel insurance for Singapore

Do not travel to Singapore without insurance, as it can make your trip most costly in case of emergency. Check out my travel insurance, Ekta, suitable for travelers from 0-99 years of age.

🙋 Why is Singapore expensive?

Singapore is known for its high standard of living, and several factors contribute to its reputation as an expensive city.

Land scarcity

Singapore is a small island nation with a limited land area. The scarcity of land drives up property prices.

Is Singapore Expensive
@kriselle.romana / Instagram

The government invests heavily in infrastructure to make the best use of the available space, which is also reflected in costs.

High quality of life

Is Singapore Expensive
Photo by: Sharon Han Darlin

Singapore offers a high quality of life, with world-class public transport, healthcare, and educational facilities. The demand for such top-notch amenities leads to higher costs.

Import dependency

Singapore imports most of its goods, including water and food. With limited natural resources, the cost of importing and any global price hikes will impact the prices of goods and services in the country.

Strict regulations and policies

The government regulates various aspects of life to ensure quality and safety, from vehicle ownership to construction standards.

Is Singapore Expensive
@efrelaineeeee / Instagram

While these policies are beneficial in many ways, they can also increase costs.

Car ownership

Owning a car in Singapore is particularly costly due to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system, high taxes, and other associated costs.

Is Singapore Expensive
@archiematugas / Instagram

This is a deliberate move by the government to control vehicle population and reduce congestion and pollution.

Labor costs

Is Singapore Expensive
Photo by: Ramir Borja

As the country has transformed into a global hub for businesses, the demand for skilled labor has increased. This has driven up wages and, in turn, the cost of services.

Tourism and business

Being a major hub for business and tourism, there is a constant demand for hotels, restaurants, and other related services.

Is Singapore Expensive
@jaiby32mm / Instagram

This demand drives up prices, especially in the central parts of the city.

Currency strength

The Singapore dollar (SGD) has remained relatively strong over the years, which can lead to a perception of higher costs, especially for tourists from countries with weaker currencies.

High-end focus

Singapore aims to position itself as a luxury destination and business hub, which often translates to widely available higher-end (and pricier) goods and services.

Is Singapore Expensive
@efrelaineeeee / Instagram

Despite its reputation as an expensive city, it’s worth noting that some goods and services in Singapore, like healthcare and public transportation, can be more affordable than in other developed nations.

⁉️ FAQ: Trip to Singapore costs

Singapore is perceived as one of the more expensive tourist destinations in Asia due to its high standard of living, quality infrastructure, and costly property market. Accommodation, dining, and certain activities can be pricey but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE to travel to Singapore on a budget (i.e. $50 USD per day).

It all depends if you know where to find the cheap eats. Local hawker centers offer affordable and delicious meals ranging from SGD 3 to SGD 10 ($2-$7 USD), dining in mid-range to upscale restaurants can set you back anywhere from SGD 20 to over SGD 100 per meal ($14-$74 USD). Drinks, especially alcoholic beverages, can be pricey due to high taxes. A pint of beer in a standard bar might cost between SGD 10 to SGD 15 ($7-$11 USD).

Yes, compared to many other Asian countries, Singapore is often considered an expensive tourist destination, with higher costs for accommodations, food, and attractions.

While the official currency is the Singapore Dollar (SGD), some tourist-centric establishments might accept US dollars. However, using local currency for better exchange rates is generally better.

A meal at a hawker center, a popular choice for locals and tourists alike, can cost between SGD 3 to SGD 10 ($2-$7 USD). Restaurants can vary widely, with meals ranging from SGD 20 ($15 USD) to over SGD 100 ($74 USD) for high-end venues.

Certain aspects of living and traveling in Singapore, like dining out and accommodation, can be more expensive than in many US cities. However, healthcare, transportation, and some services might be cheaper.

Both cities are among the pricier travel destinations. While accommodations and dining might be slightly cheaper in Dubai, alcohol and entertainment tend to be pricier. Singapore might have higher costs for daily expenses.

Both destinations can be pricey, but day-to-day expenses, especially dining, might be slightly higher in Singapore. Japan offers a wider range of budget accommodations and meals.

A mid-range traveler might spend SGD 100-150 ($74-100 USD) a day on accommodation, meals, and basic activities. For 5 days, budget around SGD 500-750 ($371-$556 USD), excluding shopping and high-end experiences.

For a week in Singapore, a mid-range traveler should budget SGD 700-1,050 ($556-$742 USD), excluding major shopping expenses and more luxurious activities.

A budget traveler might spend SGD 50-100 ($37-$74 USD) a day on hostel accommodations, meals at hawker centers, and using public transportation.

Yes, ABSOLUTELY! While Singapore can be expensive, budget travel is feasible (for as low as $50 USD per day). Opt for hostels, hawker center meals, free attractions, and public transportation to reduce costs.

The off-peak periods between July to early September and after the New Year until late March might offer cheaper accommodation rates and fewer tourist crowds.

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6 Comments

  1. This is a great guide on how to make a trip to Singapore budget-friendly! And love the hotel recommendations to help save on transportation.

  2. Great information and very thorough. I have been to Singapore a few times but it has changed so much since then. It’s nice to catch up with the latest since Singapore is a good stopover for me on the way to Europe. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great advice on comparing hotels and flights.. the two most expensive elements.. I always love to splurge on a special meal or two

  4. YESYESYES to the hawker centers being your best friend! I was able to stay within budget because of this tip! And the public transportation in Singapore with the Singapore Tourist Pass was so helpful!

  5. Yes, Singapore is on the expensive side rather than cheap. I have stopped over in Singapore several time en route to Australia and NZ. Singapore tends to sell high quality brands and fashion items. They don’t really have any cheap stuff except if you go to Chinatown or Little India. Travel economy and stay in motels. That would reduce the costs a bit! 🙂

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