Fill Your Singapore Travel Itinerary With These Tourist Destinations

singapore skyscrapers

Singapore is home to some of the most luxurious hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and resorts. Tourists all around the globe head to Singapore each year to enjoy its endless offerings. Unfortunately, some of these tourists do not plan ahead, resulting in an unfulfilling trip. This is just one reason why it is crucial to have a travel itinerary in hand before heading to the airport.

To maximize your Singapore travels, experts recommend an in-depth itinerary, which will ensure you do not miss out on the best of the country has to offer. To help jumpstart your travel itinerary effort, a list of must-see tourist destinations is provided in the content below.

Gardens By The Bay

Here, you have one of the most extraordinary gardens of all time. The facilitators have definitely outdone themselves with this work of art. The Bay East Garden features 79 acres of greenway for visitors to enjoy. Explore the garden at your own leisure. Be sure to bring your camera along, so you can capture a few images of the Supertrees. Experts converted small phylogenetic trees into one large phylogenetic tree, ranging between 82 and 16 feet in height.

People visit the Bay East Garden just to have an opportunity to stand beside a large supertree and look upwards. You can do the same if you decide to add the Gardens by the Bay to your Singapore travel itinerary.These gardens look so futuristic, don’t they? The Gardens By The Bay, which opened five years ago, were one of my favorite places in Singapore - and they’re completely free to visit! You only pay to go into the flower dimes and to walk the Skywalk in betw

Singapore Zoo

If you are looking for places to add to your Singapore itinerary, look no further than the Singapore Zoo. The zoo features some of the rarest animal species in the world. From striped zebras, white tigers, Komodo dragons, hopping kangaroos, and small mole rats, you will find it at the Singapore Zoo. 

When you add the Singapore Zoo to your travel itinerary, you should plan to spend up to three hours touring the facilities. During your visit, you and your travel partners will have an opportunity to watch the workers feed the animals. 

Tour Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Panda Forest, and River Safari during your visit. This is one travel destination that will leave you wanting to experience more of Singapore’s endless tourist offerings.Toucan

Singapore Flyer

Take a ride on the world’s largest observation wheel at the Marina Bay Sands. The Singapore Flyer provides its riders with an amazing view of Singapore’s jaw-dropping skyline. During your visit, do not forget to stop in at the Journey of dreams exhibition. Here, you will discover how the Singapore Flyer was constructed. 

You can expect to spend at least 30 minutes on the Singapore Flyer. The facility is open from morning to night and almost every day of the week. Tickets are generally available and feasible. So, do not miss out on this opportunity to ride the largest observation worldwide.singapore flyer views & gondola


Other tourist destinations to include in your Singapore travel itinerary are Orchard Road, Chinatown, Sentosa Island, Clarke Quay, Botanic Gardens, and Marina Bay Sands. If you are visiting during the peak tourist season, you can expect long lines at most of the tourist destinations.singapore merlion & skyscrapers

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Views from above: Singapore

singapore skyscrapers

Whenever we get to a city, the first thing we do is get as high up as possible – to the top of a tower, skyscraper or hillside in search of the best views from above. This helps us get an idea of how the city is laid out, its actual size, and most importantly creates a huge respect for the city, its skyline and the buzz of the people living and working on its streets. Before arriving at our hotel in Singapore, we had already researched the best places for a stunning view of Singapore from above, and knew that this Asian metropolis has a wide variety of these vantage points. Read on to find out the best ways to take in Singapore’s skyline:singapore sunset from top of marina bay sands

Where to get the best views of Singapore

The Singapore Flyer

If you like Ferris wheels, you will love The Singapore Flyer! The tallest in the world, the Singapore Flyer towers over the city at 165 meters tall, a full 30 meters higher than the London Eye. Our time up in the Flyer was an incredible 30 minute vertical tour of the city. We must have shot 200 pictures while in our massive pod.

singapore flyer The wheel is located on the Marina Promenade on the South Eastern side of the Marina Bay, in walkable distance from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. As the cabin moves higher and higher, the views over the city evolve: first you have terrific views over Marina Bay, then over Singapore’s Grand Prix Circuit, over the Eastern part of town and over the Strait of Singapore with its countless freighter ships coming and going.
singapore flyer viewsWhile we were in town, we were curious about a strange construction down near the water as well. Those of you on your way to Singapore now can visit what we later found out is a $1 billion construction of gardens, which look like they are straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Actually a conservatory with 226,000 plants and flowers from all around the globe, it is also home to 18 ‘Supertrees’ which serve as vertical gardens, collecting rain water and generating solar power, and acting as the venting ducts for the conservatory.

singapore flyer view over gardens by the bayThe Singapore Flyer also offers a longer time on board with a truly special dinner… the world’s best sky dining. You will spend an hour rotating twice while enjoying a world-class 4-course meal in a private gondola.

marina bay sands viewHighest point: 165 m (541 ft)

Price: S$29.50


Singapore views

Marina Bay Sands Skydeck

It is a strangely beautiful architectural masterpiece and we just loved staring out at the Marina Bay Sands from everywhere else in Singapore.
marina bay sandsBut some of the absolute best views of the city are to be had on top of this building itself – from the Skydeck. The 340m-long SkyPark that tops the three towers is home to the highest infinity swimming pool in the world, and the world’s largest cantilevered platform (which is the 67 meters worth of overhang you see that makes the Skydeck almost look like ship sailing in the air.

marina bay sands There are several ways how you can access the Skypark. You can stay at the hotel, which in addition to views, gives you immediate acess to the infinity pool as well. There is an observation deck, but we figured that instead of investing S$20 for views only, why not grab a drink at the Sky on 57th restaurant instead. Sure, a glass of the house red costs $20, and a Singapore Fling is $18, but it’s the same price as the Observation Deck and there is nothing quite like having a drink at sunset looking out over the Marina Bay…

cocktails and sunset at marina bay sands
views over SingaporePlus, keep an eye out for celebrities while you’re here. The rich and famous love this hotel just as much as everybody else and Marina Bay Sands has hosted a long list of famous guests.

Highest point: 191 meters (626 meters)

Price: S$20 for the skydeck, or the price of a drink at one of the rooftop restaurants (starting at around S$8, or $18 – S$20 for a cocktail or glass of wine)

More information: Skypark Observation Deck
singapore at night from marina bay sandsIf you’d like to combine views with a fancy dinner, here is TimeOut’s list of Singapore’s 20 best rooftop bars and restaurants.
dani & jess at marina bay sands

The Mount Faber Cable Car

The Singapore cable car connects Mount Faber with Sentosa Island, with a short stop at Harborfront. Start at Mount Faber – the views from the mountain are fantastic! Watch cars drive along the curvy road hugging the bay, and look a bit further into the distance to count dozens of freighter ships waiting to be allowed into the harbor.
singapore harbour and skyline from cable carSpot some of Singapore’s creative architecture in the new apartment buildings near the ocean, and of course one of Singapore’s main tourist destinations, Sentosa Island, where you land on your final approach.

singapore cable car views The ride is short. It takes about 10 minutes to cover the roughly 1,000 meters (3,280ft) between Mt Faber and the island. To spend more time in the sky, opt for Sky Dining, which will give you the privacy of your own cabin and a romantic fine dining experience during the sun set (S$168 per couple for a 3-course dinner, S$218 for four courses.)

singapore cable car to sentosa islandHighest point (on Mount Faber): 93 meters (305 ft), during the ride 60 meters (197 ft) above the sea

Price: S$29 (round trip), Super Saver Night Rider: S$35 per couple  for a round trip incl. popcorn and soft drinks

More information: Singapore Cable Car

singapore cable car views

Tiger Sky Tower on Sentosa Island

Once you have arrived at Sentona Island, hang out for a while. Tour the free cable car museum for an interesting history of how the cable car has improved over the years. Make no mistake – Sentosa Island is essentially a resort, with two golf courses, two 5-star resorts, a Universal theme park, underwater world, dolphin lagoon and several other attractions, but you can spend a day on the beach here facing the ocean and blissfully ignore the busy city behind you.

sentosa island beachSentosa Island is also the best place to look at Singapore from outside of the city, by taking a trip up the Tiger Sky Tower. Not only does this offer views over Singapore’s skyline, but you can see everything on Sentosa Island and the small islands beyond. On clear days you can even see Malaysia and Indonesia. The Tower is actually a big round cabin that ascends the column of the tower slowly while turning, providing 360 degree views.

sentosa island view from cable carIf you don’t want to use the cable car, you can also walk to Sentosa Island from Harbourfront (the walk takes about 30 minutes) or take the monorail.

Highest point: Observation deck, 110 m (360 ft) above ground

Price: S$15

More information: The Sky Tower closed permanently in 2018.

sentosa island and freighter ships from cable car

Have you been to Singapore? What is your favorite spot for views of Singapore’s skyline?


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Singapore on a shoestring

singapore skyscrapers

It is no secret that Singapore is expensive, and not just by South East Asian standards, either. You could easily blow through a huge budget while in this city-state, but there is actually no need to break the bank. Skipping Singapore would be such a shame. We fell for its mix of Western ambitions and Asian roots, and the eclectic intermingling of cultures and can not imagine missing out on this vibrant and buzzing global city. Read on for our tips for traveling to Singapore on a shoestring:

Singapore on a shoestring

How to visit Singapore on a shoestring budget

1. Buy the SMRT (metro system) day passes

Taxis are incredibly expensive in Singapore. Luckily there is no need to take them, with Singapore’s excellent MRT public transportation network. Even for people uncomfortable with public transport, Singapore’s buses and subway are immaculate, easy to navigate and best of all, very affordable.

Single tickets are not cheap, but there are two ways around that: one is the Singapore Tourist Pass, which is available at the airport or at any Tourist Information, and for a deposit of S$10, you get a card which you can top up with the Singapore Tourist Pass. With this pass, you pay S$10 / US$7.90 per day (or S$16 / US$12.60 for two days / S$20 / US$15.75 for three days) and get unlimited rides on all of Singapore’s public transportation. We found Singapore to be surprisingly walkable, though, so depending on what you plan to see, some days you might not use the system enough for the price. It could be easier to pick up the ezLink card (S$12 / US$9.45 – S$5 / US$3.40 for the card, plus S$7 / US$5.50 top-up value), which is what the locals tend to use. You top us this card, which offers great discounts on a pay-as-you-go basis. Remember to swipe the card both as you enter AND exit the bus or metro, though, as fares are calculated by the distance traveled.

singapore subway

2. Eat at hawker food stalls

Singapore has some of the finest dining in the world, and if you find it worth it, why not splurge? However, for daily meals, don’t waste money (sometimes $40 or more for two) at mediocre restaurants. Instead, visit Singapore’s famous hawker centers, which bring together dozens of food stalls in one place.

You can find authentic, ethnic Indonesian, Malay, Thai and Chinese food for a few dollars per dish. There are plenty of these food centers around town, but among the best are the well-known Maxwell Food Center, the Amoy Hawker Center in Tanjong Pagar, Lau Pa Sat  in the Centre District and the Chinatown Food Center in Chinatown, plus Tekka Food Market in Little India.

In these hawker centers, food usually starts at S$2 /  US$1.55, and is not more expensive than S$5 / US$3.40. If you find yourself in or near one of Singapore’s malls, consider eating at the food court. These are not quite as cheap as hawker food stalls, but you can easily fill up for under $5. This is one of the best tips for people who visit Singapore on a shoestring budget.

chinatown food prices singapore

3. Take advantage of the free attractions

You can pay for many sights, but there is plenty to do for free in Singapore. The city itself is an attraction, so stroll through the ethnic neighborhoods such as the primarily Arab Kampong Glam area, Chinatown and Little India. Then head out to walk the around the entire Marina Bay along the promenade. Here you will see so many of the highlights, such as Marina Bay Sands, which is free to wander through, unless you want to go up to the top for the view. The fascinating Haw Par Villa is strange, but definitely free of charge as are the beautifully manicured Botanical Gardens. A visit to the beaches of Sentosa Island is almost free – you will have to pay for your metro ticket to get there, but it allows you to spend a relaxed day at the beach.

sentosa island palm trees and oceanIf you are in Singapore on a weekend, the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore are both free from 6 – 9pm on Fridays. You can even see a free outdoor concert at Singapore’s Esplanade every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

4.  Stay for free – Couchsurf

Accommodation is probably the most expensive aspect of a visit to Singapore. The cheapest option is to stay for free by couchsurfing. Partially due to the large expat community in addition to the high cost of hotels, the couchsurfing community in Singapore is huge. While some hosts may offer you a couch, many will have a spare bed or even, as in our case, a very comfortable second bedroom. The added benefit of couchsurfing in Singapore is that your host might have time to show you around or at least give plenty of tips for fun things to see and do that you may have otherwise never known.

singapore apartment complex
The swimming pool in the apartment complex where we couchsurfed in Singapore – we were encouraged by our host to use it.

If you are not comfortable sleeping in a stranger’s house, there are plenty of brand new hostels in Singapore in fantastic locations like Chinatown and Little India.

Some of the hostels we thought looked good were: A beary good hostel, with two hostels in Chinatown rates for a dorm bed start around S$15 / US$11.80 for a dorm bed, free wi-fi and breakfast; and KINN’s Capsule Hostel, around US$45 for a private capsule in a new, clean hostel in a great location.

Singapore also has one budget hotel chain, Hotel 81, which has been around forever. Rooms start around S$50 / US$40 for a double if booked through online sites like Agoda or in advance. There are several branches around town, some look very dated and others have shady reputations, so check the specific hotel out on Tripadvisor before you book.

5. Find discount tours in Singapore

We mentioned free attractions in #3, but of course Singapore also has a number of sights that are not free but well worth a visit. For those, check out Singapore Tours, where you will find the guaranteed lowest prices for major attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore, the popular Singapore night safari, hop on – hop off tours, city passes and more, offered by local tour operators.

6. Drink in Chinatown

Alcohol is far more expensive in Singapore than anywhere else in South East Asia, and we found that in most places beer started at around S$8 / US$6.45, and wine at around S$12 / US$9.30. This is why you will spot most budget travelers drinking Singha or other beers in Chinatown,where many restaurants there compete with each other to lure you in with deals like 3 beers for  ‘3 beers for S$15’ (US$11.80).

Singapore on a shoestringMany bars in popular night spots have Happy Hour prices. Clarke Quay is buzzing at night, so make sure to head there for 50% Happy Hour drinks before forking out for full price later on in the evening.

7. Use coupons in Singapore

There are actually some great websites out there for cheap deals in Singapore. For example, Groupon is just as popular in Singapore as in North America, and Groupon Singapore offers half-off many of the city’s most popular attractions in addition to restaurants, bars, and if you want, workouts, yoga, and all the other great Groupon deals. If you subscribe to the Groupon deal emails before you visit Singapore, you can get some great deals that otherwise only the locals would get.

Singapore on a shoestring

8. Getting to Singapore on the cheap

If you are already in South East Asia, getting to Singapore can also be done inexpensively. We flew from Cambodia for US$100, but we could have paid one-fifth of that price had we gone by bus from Kuala Lumpur. Buses run several times a day between the Malaysian capital and central Singapore, and take five hours including the border crossing. If you are going to fly, we found that AirAsia consistently had great rates throughout all of South East Asia.

Have you been to Singapore? Feel free to share your money-saving tips for Singapore in the comments below!

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Polaroid of the week: The fabulous Marina Bay Sands building in Singapore




polaroid of the week singapore marina bay sands
We imagined our time in Asia to be filled with visits to impressive mega-metropolises, where the future is palpable and the lifestyle, fabulous! But to be honest, not one of the cities we visited blew us away – until we arrived in Singapore. Here, we finally tapped into that buzz we love – great food, walking for miles and miles exploring the vibrant neighborhoods, the eclectic mix of Hindu, Chinese and Malaysian cultures and of course, the stunning architecture.

The city, which has been changing rapidly over the last 30 years, surprised us with creative architecture in many places, and Marina Bay was one of our favorite places. Singapore spent $35 million to revamp the entire waterfront promenade around Marina Bay, which now boasts bars and cafes on One Raffles Quay, green space to relax, the famous Singapore mascot, the Merlion fountain, the creative Helix bridge, the spikey Esplanade Theater, the Art & Science Museum (in front of the towers in the pic above) and the interesting architectural masterpiece Marina Bay Sands – three towers connected by the world’s largest cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67 meters.

Inside these buildings, you’ll find a 2,561-room hotel, a 120,000 m2 convention-exhibition center, the 74,000 m2 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two theaters, seven celebrity chef restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. The 340m-long SkyPark across the top of the buildings has a capacity of 3,900 people – most of whom can be found lounging at the 150m infinity swimming pool, chilling under one of hundreds of palm trees or having a drink in the Sky Bar – all at 191 meters above the ground. We sped to the top and had a drink here (Dani had the Singapore Sling, of course!) and ended our stay in Singapore a gorgeous sunset.

Check out more of our Singapore photos in our Facebook Photo Of The Day series.


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A taste of Singapore…our first impressions, observations and a few interesting Singapore facts

singapore sunset from top of marina bay sands

Singapore was a bit of a mystery to us before our recent visit… how is that some countries in South East Asia exist in messy, varying stages of development and Singapore boasts incredible architecture, essentially no crime and one of the most resilient economies in the world?kampong glam with sultan mosqueThis stark contrast really smacked us in the face, flying straight in from Cambodia. Singapore is a city-state (like Monaco or Vatican City), but really just feels like a cosmopolitan mega-city, whereas even in Cambodia’s largest city of Phnom Penh we witnessed remaining signs of rural life. Where much of Cambodia has dirt roads, Singapore has highways. While Cambodians haul livestock on mopeds, Singaporeans haul iPads in brand new Mercedes.

The disparity was shocking, but it was not difficult to jump right in to urban life. We had always heard that Singapore was this kind of Asian wunderkind and can confirm the rumors to be true. One of our first observations about Singapore: The public transportation system is modern, clean and on time.

Another fascinating Singapore fact: 5.8 million people are successfully housed in high rises across only 272 square miles. There are no homeless people, at least none that we saw and we did some definite exploring outside of popular spots like Marina Bay in the week we were in town.singapore factsIn fact, we probably walked an average of 10 miles a day while in Singapore, not including our strolls through the twenty or so mega malls that line Orchard St. There are enough touristy things to do to keep visitors busy for weeks, including highlights such as the Singapore Flyer observation wheel, countless museums, the popular Singapore Night Safari, beautiful Botanical Gardens, Chinese Buddhist and Indian Hindu temples, and even a Universal Studios Theme Park.

We couchsurfed in a friendly neighborhood, made it out to a farm, went to the eccentric Haw Par Villa, Sentosa Island, but no matter how much we took in, many of my questions about Singapore were left unanswered. For now, we want to take you on a quick photo-tour of this magnificent city, share some of our first impressions and observations about Singapore.

Singapore facts
Arab Street, Singapore

One of our favorite neighborhoods was Kampong Glam, Singapore’s ‘muslim quarter’ – there are mosques, muslim schools, arabic cafes and along Arab Street, you can find Persian rug stores, burkah shops, Turkish cafes and Egyptian restaurants. The whole area is filled with colorful Chinese shophouses, the streets are lined with palm trees and cafes spill out on the sidewalks.kampong glam lampkampong glam street

Palm tree-lined street in Kampong Glam

singapore muslim wedding
A Muslim wedding at the Sultan Mosque
Singapore facts
Turkish influences in Kampong Glam

This neighborhood has loads of street art, colorful murals and mosaics.

kampong glam muralkampong glam street artstreet art in kampong glamWe loved that the traditional neighborhoods like Little India, Chinatown and Geylang Serai remain much the way they always were, despite more and more skyscrapers going up in downtown Singapore, billion dollar hotel projects, futuristic eco-gardens and the newly designed Marina Bay Promenade.

Singapore observations
The Marina Bay Sands Building and Singapore’s mascot, the Merlion.
singapore at night from marina bay sands
Singapore’s skyscrapers at night

singapore skyscrapers

esplanade singapore
Singapore’s futuristic Esplanade Theater

singapore esplanade theater

singapore marina bay sands
More futuristic architecture: the lotus flower-shaped Arts & Science Museum in front of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Casino

singapore with flyerWe loved that there were still old-fashioned ice cream vendors at Marina Bay, despite the modern buildings and the revamped promenade. We had to of course try Singapore’s special ice cream sandwich: mango ice cream in white toast.

singapore ice cream sandwichWe found that Singapore in general seems to have a sweet tooth – there are hundreds of bakeries around town – much to Dani’s delight…cream puffs singaporeStarbucks in Singapore has some of the most delicious cakes we’ve come across, better than most Starbucks cafes around the world for sure…peanutbutter cake in singaporeYes, there are plenty of Starbucks, Coffee Bean and other coffee shops, but we loved that there are just as many traditional Singaporean coffee houses, where coffee is still made the old-fashioned way.

Singapore observations

Singapore factsA well known fact about Singapore is that it is sometimes called ‘the police state of South East Asia’, or the double entrende ‘FINE city‘ and for good reason. There are many laws that are strongly enforced with huge fines, like up to $500 for eating or drinking on public transportation. Just in case you are nervous about breaking a law, don’t worry, as there will most definitely be a sign for that. Contrary to popular belief, gum-chewing is no longer illegal but you can’t buy it in the country. However, the rules do seem to actually work here: Singapore is by far the cleanest city we’ve visited in South East Asia, and where we felt the safest.

sentosa island beachWho would have thought that Singapore has gorgeous beaches like this? Sentosa Island is the perfect getaway from the city – just a short 10-minute gondola or metro ride across the bay.

Singapore observations
View towards Sentosa Island from the Singapore Cable Car

The creepiest place in Singapore? Definitely Haw Par Villa, founded by the brothers who invented the infamous Tiger Balm (read more about it here.)

haw par villa singapore 10 courts of hellhaw par villa singapore feetless ratOverall, we loved how colorful Singapore is – no matter which neighborhood we strolled through, the houses were always painted in bright colors, like here in Clarke Quay.Singapore factskampong glam bullchinatown singapore

Colorful Chinatown

colorful building in singapore

We also loved the many hawker food stalls all over Singapore and in the food markets, as well as the busy street markets.Singapore observationsSingapore observationsAuthentic Indian Idli in Singapore

dani & jess southern most point of asiaWe made it to the southern most point of Continental Asia!


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Polaroid of the week: Creepy statue at Haw Par Villa in Singapore



polaroid of the week singapore hawper villa statueHaw Par Villa was definitely one of the more bizarre sights we have visited during our travels and is hands down definitely the oddest attraction in Singapore (if not in all of South East Asia!)

Built in 1973 by the millionaire brothers who started the Tiger Balm brand, the ‘villa’ features over 1,000 statues depicting Chinese folklore, history and mythology. These brothers were not afraid to get graphic with it, either!  Opened as Tiger Balm Gardens, this was supposed to teach traditional Chinese values. Back in the day, Tiger Balm Gardens was a popular tourist destination with regular theater plays and puppet shows, but today it’s just a strange, strange shadow of its former self.

If you follow us on Facebook, you might have already seen the weirdest statue we came across there – a grandpa milking on a woman’s breast (apparently her father in law!).  But there were so many more statues that left us confused… rats with their feet cut off and bleeding stumps, a pig in underwear, armed monkeys, turtles riding on the back of ostriches, and then there were the elaborate scenes of the 10 courts of hell.  This showed cruel images of people downing in the pits of hell, sawed in half, and being stoned with big rocks. Familiar with Chinese mythology? Then maybe these scenes make sense. As for us – we left pretty confused, and wondering what the parents were explaining to all the kids we saw there.

Have a look through our Flickr photo album for more of the crazy statues at the Haw Par Villa – and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”Globetrottergirls” id=”72157629735637808″]

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How to have the perfect Singapore weekend on a budget

singapore skyscrapers

It is no secret that Singapore is (by far!) the most expensive country in South East Asia. While you can sip 50 cent beers on a beach in Cambodia or drink $3 liquor buckets in Thailand, a Singapore Sling sets you back $20, or even more if you want to try the classic version at the Raffles Hotel. But that doesn’t mean Singapore can’t be visited on a budget with some smart planning.

We loved our quick visit to Singapore, which made for the most cosmopolitan experience in South East Asia. Luckily, it is not expensive to get to Singapore at all, as it is a major transport hub in South East Asia with daily connections to North America, Europe and Australia.

Read on for the tips we used for our weekend escape to Singapore on a budget:

Singapore on a budget

Find deals on accommodation in Singapore

Hotels in Singapore are easily the biggest chunk of anyone’s budget while in town. The best way to find a great accommodation deal is to check the usual hotel comparison websites to see if there are any special offers. All the big hotels usually have a promotion which can save you up to 70 per cent of the original price. This is one city where the best dorms can run the same price as quality hotels, which is why research and reservations are key to saving on accommodation.

Locate the best restaurant promotions

Singapore is filled with hawker centers, popular food halls that offer a variety of food stalls where you can try some of the best specialties that the country has to offer, with prices rarely above $4 for a delicious meal.

However, Singapore is a foodie city and it would be a shame to miss out on top of the line restaurants and exciting cuisines while in town. We signed up to deals websites before our trip to find discounts on hotspots we wanted to try. Check out the restaurant and bar deals on restaurant deal websites, where you can find incredible promotions for some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes. A popular promotion for example is the lunch buffet for $28 at Windows on the Park on Orchard Street, which is double the price without the coupon, or the 4-Course French Degustation Menu at The Tastings Room in Marina Square for the same price, which is a true bargain.

Singapore on the cheap

Plan out your activities in advance

No matter what your interest is, Singapore has something for every travel style. You can visit the theater, art galleries and a number of world-class museums, and even if you don’t have cash to spare, we loved joining the throngs of shoppers on Orchard Road, a wide boulevard lined with over 20 malls offering everything from high street brands to luxurious designer labels. One of the best things about the city is how many free things there are to do in Singapore. 

For paid attractions, it’s worth checking for promotions on websites like Groupon, where we found deals on admission to the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, Underwater World and the Dolphin Lagoon for only $35, or a combined ticket for the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel and the Gardens by the Bay for $37 instead of the normal price of $53. Other deals include the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour plus a river cruise for only $35, which is a great way to take in this majestic city!

Singapore does luxury best, but there is no reason to miss out on the wellness side of things if you’re on a budget, either. There are deals to be had for Spa & Wellness activities here, too, like full body massages for $25 or mani pedis for $20.

Singapore on the cheap

Thing you can do in Singapore on a budget:

The views from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Rooftop. The vistas over the city from up there are breathtaking, especially at sunset. You can either pay $20 for the observation deck or pay the same $20 for a drink at the Sky on 57th restaurant. The views from both are the same, so why not sip a drink while you take in the twinkling lights of the city. It’s not the cheapest thing to do in Singapore, but we thought the experience was totally worth it.

A stroll through Chinatown. This neighborhood has not only some fantastic restaurants, but also the best-preserved colonial buildings, Hindu temples and street markets and offers a fascinating contrast to the bright lights of the Marina Bay. We loved our Singapore Walking Tour through Chinatown with The Original Singapore Walks®

A beach break on Sentosa Island. Singapore’s Sentosa Island is home to several amusement parks (including Universal Studios) and resorts, but is also the best spot to hit the beach and relax from the city rush back across the bridge.

Singapore on a budgetThe Botanical Gardens. If you are not a beach person but are looking for some peace and quiet, make sure not to miss the Botanical Gardens. We absolutely loved it here, surrounded by a massive selection of exotic flowers, including a rain forest, a ginger garden and an orchid garden. The best thing: they are free!

The Marina Bay Visual Arts Trail. A stroll around Marina Bay should not be missed, and the Visual Arts Trail features a number of outstanding sculptures, including a piece by Roy Liechtenstein. You can find more details and a map here.

The Singapore Flyer. The Singapore Flyer is Asia’s largest observations wheel and well worth the SGD35 (around US$25) – book your ticket in advance for a discount! The glass capsuled are air-conditioned and the views over the city and the Singapore Strait are unrivaled.

Singapore on a budget

Continue reading: Singapore on a shoestring


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Five places you shouldn’t miss on a visit to Singapore

merlion and marina bay sands singapore

We have written a lot about Singapore previously – told you our first impressions, how to visit Singapore on a shoestring, how we experienced sin galore in Singapore, and other stories – but we haven’t actually told you our top five places we think you should definitely visit when you travel to Singapore – even if you’re only spending a couple of days there!

Read on for what we think are the five places nobody should miss on a visit to Singapore:

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island was the perfect place for us to unwind after a few days in the bustling city. We arrived in the most scenic way – via cable car – and headed straight to the beaches. We had no idea that Singapore even had such gorgeous beaches! Sentosa Island is also the place where you find the southernmost spot on continental South East Asia, and you find enough entertainment here to keep you busy for a couple of days, including Universal Studios, Butterfly World, Underwater World and a Dolphinarium, a Sky Tower and an Adventure Park, to name just a few. You can also get here on the MRT train and can get around the island by bus.

Singapore Sentosa Island

Kampong Glam

Sometimes called ‘Muslim Quarter’ of Singapore due to its large Muslim population and number of mosques, this is by far our favorite neighborhood in Singapore. You can just get lost walking through the colorful renovated shop houses, have coffee in little tea houses, or window shop at the textile and silk shops on Arab Street. Sultan Mosque is the most impressive mosque in Singapore and shouldn’t be missed!

Singapore Kampong Glam

Marina Bay

Marina Bay is almost the complete opposite of Kampong Glam – the world’s leading financial institutions have their Singapore headquarters in skyscrapers around the bay, and the remarkable Marina Bay Sands Hotel with its one-of-a-kind rooftop infinity pool sits on the south side. Take a couple of hours to walk around the Bay, visit the city’s mascot, the Merlion statue, stop at the Esplanade (Singapore’s futuristic opera house), marvel at the funky Art &Science Museum, cross the Helix Bridge and enjoy the many modern statues along the way. The best way to see all of Marina Bay is actually from the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel – we recommend heading up to 57th Floor Bar instead the observation deck. A drink will cost you less (or the same, at $20) and the views are the same. Singapore Marina Bay


One thing we loved about Singapore were the many different ethnic neighborhoods – Kampong Glam for the distinctive Muslim vibe, Little India for amazing Indian food at small prices, and Chinatown for a mix of cheap restaurants (here you’ll find the cheapest alcohol in all of Singapore!), interesting Chinese medicine shops and other Chinese paraphernalia, and beautifully restored buildings, especially along Pagoda Road. Once known to be the seediest area of Singapore with lots of brothels, 30-50 people stuffed into tiny apartments and drug abuse, the neighborhood is now among Singapore’s prettiest – especially at night, when the red lanterns on the streets are all lit up.

Singapore Chinatown

Haw Par Villa

Even though this place is kind of creepy, we thought it was a unique experience that you won’t have anywhere else in the world! Plus, it’s free! Haw Par Villa was built in 1973 by the millionaire brothers who founded the popular Tiger Balm brand. The villa and its gardens feature over 1,000 statues which all depict scenes of Chinese history and mythology – which can be rather strange, like the old man milking on a woman’s breast or rats with bleeding stumps, armed monkeys and the 10 Courts Of Hell. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Chinese mythology and folklore, these scenes might be confusing, but believe us, it’s also something you will never forget!

Singapore Haw Par VillaHave you been to Singapore? Which places would you suggest people shouldn’t miss?

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Sin Galore in Singapore

chinatown singapore

As we mentioned in our previous post on Singapore, this Southeast Asian city-state was a bit of a mystery to us. For everything we learned during our treks through the city, there were ten more questions as Singapore unraveled before us. We realized that we needed professional help – it was time for a Singapore walking tour. Recommended #1 on Tripadvisor was The Original Singapore Walks, so we decided to join their Secrets of the Red Lantern Chinatown walk.

walking tour singaporeThis was by far the best walking tour we have been on yet. It was saucy and racy and gritty and fascinating.

Bathroom buckets and sardine packed apartments 

Set in Chinatown, we learned the history from the perspective of the Chinese immigrants who flooded to Singapore’s shores in search of opportunity after British businessman Sir Stamford Raffles founded the city-state in 1818 as a trading post for the East India Trading Company. The Chinese who arrived here throughout the 19th century had often endured high seas for months at a time, were penniless, starving and often many friends or family members had died on board the ships. When they arrived to Singapore they were initially given assistance by others who, in their demands for payback, would essentially ensnare them into a form of servitude impossible to escape (similar to the concept of sharecropping in the U.S. South).singapore chinatownOur guide Janet shared the stories of the shophouses, which had factories or shops on the ground floor and 20-30 people living upstairs in one-room apartments. Some had wooden planks as beds, others just the floor, and even these spaces were often shared between those on day and night shifts.

Near the start of our Singapore walking tour she took us into a back alley (which in today’s Singapore is surprisingly clean) to show us little doors in the backs of the shophouses. Stinky buckets of number 1 and number 2 were placed behind these doors, and trucks would come, open them and collect the waste each day. From her explanation and our own imagination we could practically smell the stench of these overcrowded houses and their appalling living conditions.

chinatown singapore

Picking your poison in Singapore

Working conditions were no better, she told us, and the only break the immigrants here could get from the backbreaking labor was in the brothels and opium dens. The opium dens were where the physical pain could actually be lifted for the little while they could smoke. Chinatown was the epicenter for brothels as well, and we learned how to recognize some of the ‘higher class’ establishments, the division among the Chinese and Japanese prostitutes (the latter served only Europeans while the former focused on locals).

Much of the area has long since been gentrified and legal prostitution all but phased out, but she did sneak us past one of the last few remaining legal brothels and we had a sneak peak as we passed. It was a small entrance in a back street that just looked clinical, unlike the roaring scene she described along the way. Janet showed us many of the ‘materials’ used (see below).

chinatown singapore feminine oilSexual liberation in Chinatown eventually led the area to become the unofficial home of Singapore’s gay community – a complicated issue itself. Essentially homosexuality is frowned upon, sex between men is illegal, and yet up until recently Singapore hosted one of the world’s largest gay festivals each year. We really appreciated Janet’s candor about the gay community.

She provided the kind of in depth information that we normally only experience on LGBT-focused tours, even stopping under a rainbow flag waving at one of the more popular gay bars in the city. It was great to see the wealth of information included on the tour about the gay community, even though everyone on the tour but us was definitely straight.

chinatown singapore with gay barWhat we loved about Janet was that she clearly had great relationships with people in the community. We stopped at a Chinese medicine shop and chatted with the owner who supposedly supplied President Bill Clinton with a natural form of a special elixir (think snakes and bugs floating in an liquid meant to…raise the roof…).

She gave us a great advice on where to eat vegetarian Chinese food, which we took and it was delicious! And even though she couldn’t take us in to tour the brothel, it wasn’t for not trying. Singapore Walks actually tried to reach out and create relationships with some of them in order for tours to be able to experience first hand how the brothels work today. Apparently this didn’t go to well…but they tried.

singapore chinatown chinese medicine shopShe left us with this little nugget: back in the day people used to joke that Singapore was just one letter off. Replace the ‘p’ with an ‘l’ and you get the true name of Singapore in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Singalore – Sin Galore.

From our drinks at the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel looking down over the city  in 2012, we would have never known about Singapore’s seedy past, and it was loads of fun finding out all about it.

singapore sunset from top of marina bay sands


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Hotel Tip of the Week: Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore

singapore skyscrapers

Sometimes, you just know it when you see it. Like those who don’t know their Merlots from their Cabernet Sauvignons know that they love the glass of red wine in their hand, or those who aren’t gear heads just know they found the right car as soon as they take it for a test drive. That’s how we feel about design hotels, which we find can be very hit or miss, often times more flashy design than substance.

Difficult to find even with a local cabbie, we finally located the hotel in the backstreets of Singapore’s Little India district. From the minute we walked in to the Wanderlust Hotel (til the minute we left) we knew that this hotel was IT!

wanderlust hotel singaporeEmitting a funky, artsy vibe from the start, this hotel is not just a design lover’s hotel. The Wanderlust Hotel is truly a traveler’s hotel and though not travel-themed, the first thing I notice is right outside hanging above the entrance. It is a tiled antique lamp on which ‘Tourist Rooms’ is written in blue ink. It inspires a feeling of traveling through Turkey or Greece a century ago, giving away nothing of the sharp, intelligent and modern design just through the sliding glass door.

wanderlust hotel singapore first impressionsAs we walk in, there is no lobby, per se. The ground floor, designed in pure industrial, recycle-chic is dedicated to French-themed bar and restaurant Cocette. We sit in seats refashioned from antique barber chairs and shopping carts, take photos of the Indian food labels on the wall and flip through a coffee table book with marvelous pictures of, you guessed it, design hotels around the world. But, it is after a few minutes, when our room is ready and we are in the elevator, that I realize that the Wanderlust hotel and the GlobetrotterGirls are kindred spirits.

wanderlust hotel singapore lobby and cocette restaurantI am glancing through the ‘Wanderlust Itinerary’ which holds our room key. The booklet looks like a passport, though with the red, white and blue stripes of old time ‘Air Mail’ envelopes. Inside, one page is dedicated to tips on taking local, public transportation (we are within an 8-minute walk from two metro stations and loads of buses), another lists simple, local Indian places to eat in the area, while others have maps, and information about Singapore and the neighborhood. With mid-range to high room rates (starting at $125 a night), it would be easy for this award-winning design hotel to recommend dinner at the Marina Bay Sands or other luxury establishments (of which there are many in Singapore) and offer to call over-priced taxis for guests who wish to remain inside a luxury bubble. Instead, this hotel respects true travelers. People who, while willing to pay more for a hotel that is a true sanctuary, also want to get out and explore the local aspects of the city. People just like us. This simple detail, this ‘Itinerary’ spoke volumes about the ethos of the Wanderlust, and won our respect immediately.

wanderlust hotel itineraryMy attention was suddenly ripped from the little booklet as we entered our room – the ‘Princess’, on the Mono (all Black and White) floor. We both absolutely LOVE our room!

Our room is like nothing we have ever stayed in before.

wanderlust hotel singapore black and white roomEntirely black and white, the walls are covered in black and white sketches, backlit. Above our bed on the wall is a canopy, perfect in this ‘Princess’ room, and although it is obvious that the staircase and ceiling fan are purely decoration, in my morning daze the next day I do tug on the bedside table drawer to see if I can really open it. I can’t, of course, and I giggle at my silliness. The lighting and sketches create such an other-worldly feel, we have no interest in even opening the curtains. It would just ruin our limited time living inside this cartoon.

wanderlust hotel singapore black and white roomSingaporean hotel owner Loh Lik Peng collaborated with four local design agencies to create this 29-room boutique hotel.The result is three distinctly different room types. The Mono rooms like ours, Pantone, where each room one single hue and nine ‘Whimsical’ lofts, which are more like exhibits at an art museum than hotel. Hard to choose a favorite style, we do find that an all-neon green or all-red room might be hard on the eyes after a night or two.

wanderlust hotel singapore roomsThere are a few constants. The incredible beds (which did not fit in my luggage on the way out, unfortunately) flat screen TVs, iPhone/iPod docking stations and the bathrooms, which are made up of two gray tiled stalls – one with a rain shower and the other with the toilet, a complete set of Kiehl’s toiletries, a white pedestal sink and an external closet, complete with a hair dryer, white bathrobes and fuzzy slippers.

wanderlust hotel singapore sinks and bathrobesRemember the good old days of travel when all your non-alcoholic drinks were complimentary on your flight? Well, this is still alive at well at the Wanderlust. The mini-bar stocks complimentary bottles of water, cans of coke and diet coke, and little tin cups (like the ones that used to come in a packed lunch) of apple, orange and pineapple juices, but it is the Nespresso machine that win our hearts the most. Sipping strong coffee in our fluffy white robes, we relax before heading out to explore Little India. Just as one coffee becomes two (oops…but it’s Nespresso!!) there is a knock at the door.

Two smiling employees have come to drop off our afternoon snack. Five delicious cookies arrived, unrequested, which go perfectly with our coffee. How many hotels have offered us bottled water for $4, or beer/gin in a mini-bar at triple the price of a restaurant – and yet here is the Wanderlust, treating us as true guests, making sure we are happy with absolutely no upsell. Though our room wasn’t noisy, we appreciated the earplugs in case of noise from the construction site next door.

wanderlust hotel afternoon snack and nespresso machineAfter a dip in the rainbow Jacuzzi outside on the second floor that night, we slept like babies, and woke up just in time for breakfast, which ranks as one of the best hotel breakfasts we’ve ever had.

wanderlust hotel singapore jacuzziStand out feature: Breakfast

Realistically, the incredible design of the Wanderlust is impossible to miss, but it is the breakfast that impresses us the most. Included in the room rate, this breakfast not only offers phenomenal value for money, but it is exactly the way we would serve it if we ever ran our own hotel. Just seconds after sitting downstairs, we are served coffee and warm breakfast rolls and croissants to nibble on while choosing a main item (omelets, fruits, pancakes) and then are encouraged to head over to the amazing selection of goodies on the table behind us. 

Dozens of healthy cereals are available to choose from, along with healthy extras such as wheat germ, almond slices, raisins, fried fruits, sunflower seeds, etc, to make a true power breakfast. There are also two loaves of freshly baked bread, coffee and tea pot refills, fresh orange juice, fresh jams and soft butter. By the time breakfast comes we are already full, but the fluffy omelet and fruit salad are so delicious, we somehow manage to finish it all.

wanderlust hotel breakfast

Room for Improvement: The wi-fi

The Wanderlust makes free wi-fi available, but only one password per room. Similar to other couples, we have four internet-ready devices (laptops, smartphone, Kindle) and would expect to be able to use them all at a hotel of this caliber.

Overall: The Wanderlust Hotel Singapore

The Wanderlust is a trendy, inspirational hotel that offers excellent service and great value for money in one of Singapore’s most interesting locations. Like just the right glass of wine, or the perfect car, we knew right away that this hotel is just about perfect for travelers.

wanderlust hotel singapore

Location: 2 Dickson Road, Singapore 209494
Price: Starting at $195 per double room
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Digital Nomad Friendly:
If wi-fi passwords are provided for all devices, yes.
Amenities: Jacuzzi, free wi-fi, cable TV, Nespresso machine, complimentary (non-alcoholic) mini bar, fridge, iPod docking station, air-conditioning, restaurant, breakfast included in room rate

You can find all our photos of the Wanderlust Hotel on Flickr.

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