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.
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?
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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.
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.
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:
|Los Angeles (LAX)
|San Francisco (SFO)
|New York (JFK)
|25h, 1 stop
|31h, 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:
For Australian travelers, most of the flights from Australia to Singapore are direct. Here are some rough estimates:
✈️ 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.
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:
🍲 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.
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.
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).
|Singapore Bike Tour
|Local Cooking Class
|Gardens by the Bay ticket
|Hawker Centres tour
|Nighttime Sightseeing with River Cruise
🚆 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Certain attractions have off-peak hours where ticket prices are reduced.
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.
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.
Singapore is a small island nation with a limited land area. The scarcity of land drives up property prices.
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
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.
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.
While these policies are beneficial in many ways, they can also increase costs.
Owning a car in Singapore is particularly costly due to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system, high taxes, and other associated costs.
This is a deliberate move by the government to control vehicle population and reduce congestion and pollution.
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.
This demand drives up prices, especially in the central parts of the city.
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.
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.
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.