Singapore On A Budget
Singapore is a vibrant place filled with a diversity of languages, religions and cultures. In Singapore, you will find multiple ethnic groups that include Chinese, Malay and Indians. Good food is never hard to find. It is also filled with lush gardens and lots and lots of shopping destinations. One of the cleanest countries in the world! If we could describe Singapore in one word it would definitely be effortless. It is an easy city to navigate and enjoy. The following were the top things we did while in Singapore.
GARDENS BY THE BAY
A visit to Singapore is not complete with out having visited Gardens by the Bay! This unique garden was created as en ecological project with sustainability in mind. The Gardens by the Bay consists of outdoor gardens (free to visit) and two indoor conservatories, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The Flower Dome is the largest glasshouse in the world and holds colorful flowers from the Mediterranean. The Cloud Forest is home to the largest indoor waterfall in the world. Entrance to both conservatories is S$28. We did not go into the indoor conservatories but we did spent a few hours enjoying the gardens. Our favorite part of Gardens by the Bay were the Supertrees. These trees are equipped with solar cells which help with sustainability. Some of these Supertrees are as tall as a 16 story building. Also, don’t miss seeing the Supertrees at night. Gardens by the Bay offers a free light show every evening at 7.45pm and 8.45pm by the Supertree Grove area. The show lasts around 15 minutes. We visited during the Christmas Holidays and they had an amazing Holiday Show. You can get to Gardens by the Bay easily by getting off at the Bayfront MRT station.
EAT AT A LOCAL HAWKER CENTRE
You must try the food when you visit Singapore! Because of the influences of the Indian, Chinese and Malay cultures, you will find an array of options to fill your appetite. Our favorite place to eat was always at the hawker centers. You can find these all over Singapore. The food is not only budget friendly but it is delicious. Don’t forget to try the local dishes; Chili Crab, Laksa, and Chicken Rice.
Not only will you find trendy cafes and great boutique shops, but you will also find beautiful street art on Haji Lane. Be sure to stop by Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan) and have a glimpse of it's beauty. It is one of the most important mosque's in Singapore. Have your camera ready and enjoy!
There is plenty to see and do in the Marina Bay area. The most iconic attraction is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Dominating the Singapore skyline, this hotel is hard to miss! Famous for it’s infinity pool overlooking Singapore, this hotel is a must see during the day and even more so at night. Don’t miss the free Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show starting at 8pm and 9pm Sunday - Thursday and an additional 10pm show on Friday and Sunday. It’s a 15 minute show and it is completely free.
Marina Bay is also home to the famous Merlion in Merion Park. This park also has one of the best lookout spots to catch a great picture of the Marina Bay Skyline. Check out some pics below!
You know you are in Chinatown by the distinct architecture, souvenir stalls, and hawker centers. It is here where you can find the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is definitely worth checking it out and its free to go in. Be sure to dress appropriately to enter the temple, ladies must cover the shoulder and below the knees. If you forget, they do have extra shawls they can let you borrow free of cost. The Temple is open from 9am-4:30pm.
LITTLE INDIA DISTRICT
Visiting Little India makes you feel as if you were actually visiting India itself! You will find the streets lined with spice shops, jewelry shops and sari sellers. You will also find the best Indian food here. You can get here from the Little India MRT Station.
If you plan on going to Sentosa, make sure you plan for a full day of activities. There is so much to see and great entertainment for the whole family! Filled with themeparks like Universal Studios, gardens, shopping, beaches and much more! One of our favorite activities was The Crane Light and Dance Show which is performed every evening at 8pm near Resorts World Sentosa totally free of charge. You can get to Sentosa Island by cable car, train shuttle, public bus or just walk on over like we did.
If nightlife is your thing then Clarke Quay is your spot! Although we will warn you that alcohol is very expensive in Singapore. None the less, Clarke Quay has plenty of good restaurants, shopping, bars and nightclubs. You will really see it come alive at night. The first night we arrived we bought a few beers at a nearby 7-11 and enjoyed them by the bridge on Clarke Quay. This is a great place to watch street performers and for people watching. As a reminder, beer is only sold until 10:30pm unless you buy alcohol at a bar. Also, you can drink in public places but not after 10:30pm.
Shopping, eating, drinking, you can find it all at Bugis Village. One of the largest and cheapest markets in all of Singapore. Make sure to come with an empty stomach as the great smells coming from the food stalls will make you hungry! This market is open from 11am-10pm. Bugis Village is a short walk from the Bugis MRT Station.
A great alternative to the city life is a visit to the Botanic Gardens. These gardens won the country their first UNESCO World Heritage Site title! You can easily spend more than a few hours enjoying the beautiful gardens. Singapore’s Botanic Gardens houses the largest collection of orchids with over 1,000 different species. With Orchids being the national flower of Singapore, there is no better place to see them than at the National Orchid Garden at the Botanic Gardens. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes, SPF and enough water to beat the heat.
The Botanic Gardens are open 5am to 12am (midnight) daily. There is no entrance fee to the Botanic Gardens.
The National Orchid Garden is open from 8:30am to 7pm daily. They do charge a S$5 entrance fee, if you bring a student ID they will only charge you S$1. Children below 12 are free.
If shopping is your thing, Singapore will have plenty of options to satisfy your cravings. From high end shopping to street markets, there is something for everyone in Singapore. Orchard Road is like the Michigan Avenue of Singapore. You will find all your high end name brands here. Orchard Road attracts a lot of tourists too.
The best way to get around in Singapore is through the MRT. The trains run from 5:30am to 12am. Prices vary depending on your destination and if you are riding during peak or off peak hours. Just remember there is NO eating or drinking on the trains or you might get fined S$500. We selected to purchase the EZ-Link card since we planned to stay 7 days. We bought the card at one of the MRT stations and payed S$15. (S$10 will be available for use and the other S$5 are non-refundable as they cover the cost of the card) This was a very convenient way for us to move all around the city. As a reminder, once you get to a certain level of money in the card, you will need to top off or you will not be able to continue using it. It was also very nice that once we reached the airport we returned the card in the MRT station and got a refund for the remaining balance! Riding the MRT in Singapore is very safe and so easy!
It is not usual practice to tip in Singapore as most hotels and restaurants quote price as “++”, which includes service charge and GST (Goods and Services Tax). If you feel they went above and beyond then the service staff will appreciate a tip if not don’t feel forced.
Got any other tips on Singapore? Let's hear them!
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