I was stopping in Singapore for just over 24 hours and my budget was AU$200. Thats two hundred dollars – for everything – transport, accommodation, food, drinks and sightseeing. I knew it wasn’t going to be flashy, but I wasn’t about to be trudging around in the tropical heat, living off pot noodles and drinking tap water. I wanted to be comfortable, cool, have my belly full and see the main sights. Could it be done? Of course!
While I could have saved some money taking the train (MRT) from Changi airport to my hotel, I didn’t fancy trying to workout the MRT after an 8.5 hour flight, navigate my way through the streets in the 30-something degree tropical heat while pulling 20-something kilos of luggage to locate my accommodation.
I caught a taxi from the airport to my hostel. I can hear you gasping for air now, shaking your head and crying out “a taxi ?? You fool!” But Singapore taxi fares are not like in Australia – yes Sydney I am looking at you – half my budget would have been blown right there – in fact, taking a taxi is not that much more than the cost of the Sydney Airport Link! (shakes head at Sydney)
Airport to hotel taxi transfer: SG$26 (AU$25.11).
When I returned to the airport the following day, I booked a transfer through the hostels reception. A mini bus came and picked me up right on time and had me back at the airport within 25 minutes.
Hotel to airport mini bus transfer: SG$9 (AU$8.69).
ACCUMULATIVE TOTAL COST: $33.80
This is usually the part where your Singapore costs will skyrocket. Last time I was in Singapore I stayed at the beautiful Swissotel The Stamford which set me back $329 for one night. Its a stunning hotel, but this time I am travelling for a few months and stretching my dollar further. I wanted something clean, in a good location and I was prepared to try something a little different.
The Pod @ Beach Road is hostel-ish with semi-enclosed pods. It was clean, comfortable, the wifi is free and breakfast is included. I felt safe. My belongings were secure and it was private and comfortable enough to not fee like your joining a bunch of kids on gap year as some hostels are like. You can read my full review of The Pod @ Beach Road here.
One night in an 8 bed side entry pod: AU$39
ACCUMULATIVE TOTAL COST AU$72.80
Food & Drinks:
While I didn’t get to indulge in Singapore Chilli crab, the national and most famous dish, I still ate well and enjoyed the food.
Just around the corner from The Pod is Arab St. While not quintessentially Asian food, the meals are filling at a great price. Just off Arab St is a night market and after a bit of a wander, I found a small cafe where I had crispy fried chicken, noodles and a bottle of water before heading back to my ‘pod’ for the night.
Dinner: SG$16.90 (AU$16.32).
Breakfast was included at The Pod and there was bread for toast with several spreads, cereals, and fruit. From the bain marie, there was ‘vegetable abalone’, which looked like beef, tasted like bean curd, chicken sausages in pastry and curry chicken in pastry, all of which were particularly good! Orange juice, tea, coffee milk and water were all available to wash it down.
Breakfast: Included at The Pod.
For lunch, I headed to a small Thai restaurant a few doors down from my accommodation. There was a series of set lunches and I chose the basil chicken with emerald noodles and sous vide egg which came with a green tea. The chicken packed a punch with chilli but the sous vide egg gave it a cooling velvety texture. I washed this down with an ice cold Chang beer (for medicinal – cool myself down in the tropics – purposes).
Lunch: SG$15.90 (AU$15.35).
After lunch I had an hour to kill so I wandered around Haji Lane and stopped in for another ‘I’m in the topics! medicinal beer’ and ever useful-free wifi at small Irish bar. The pint of beer was not cheap though…
Pint of beer: SG$12 (AU$11.56)
ACCUMULATIVE TOTAL COST AU$104.47
Singapore Half Day Sightseeing Tour
As a bon voyage gift from some of my work colleagues, they pitched in and bought me a few days tours for my extended trip, the first of which was a half day Singapore sightseeing tour. Now although I didn’t pay for this personally, I will include it in the grand total.
After a pickup from The Parkroyal hotel, located across the road from The Pod, the first stop was at the the National Orchid Garden, located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens. We were all handed a ticket upon entry (included in the tour price) and given 45 minutes to wander the around. Each orchid variety was as impressive as the last one, but I found myself looking for the Princess Diana Memorial Orchid, which I finally found just before time to head back to the coach. The Orchid was beautiful.
There was a 20 minute stop at Little India, just enough time to wander past the Hindu flower garland stalls and inhale the flowery smell of jasmine alongside the enriching scents of ground spices.
The last stop on the tour was a viewing point to see the Merlion (the symbol of Singapore), the Marina Bay Hotel and the Singapore Flyer. The Merlion, half Lion, half fish represents the strong Singapore nation and the fish represents the city’s origin as a fishing village. The Singapore flyer and Marina Bay Sands hotel were both impressinve arcitechtual sights.
The tour really gave an insight to what Singapore has to offer and is the perfect stopover tour.
Singapore half day sightseeing tour: AU$23
ACCUMULATIVE TOTAL COST AU$127.87
Ambassador Airport Lounge
Ok, so this is where I really splurged, but for me, the cost was totally worth it.
Some might think this is an extravagance, but after a day traipsing tropical Singapore, I was able hide away from the masses of stressed travellers, in a quiet corner of the airport, enjoy unlimited food and drink with free wifi, but best off all, a shower! There are two prices to choose from depending on the length of time you wish to visit and with or without alcohol. You can read my full report of my visit to the Ambassador Airport lounge here.
Ambassador Airport Lounge (5 hour visit with unlimited alcohol) cost: SG$58.95 (AU$56.67)
ACCUMULATIVE TOTAL COST $195.70
I did it! I kept under my budget! While things I did wouldn’t be for everyone, its the things I wanted to do to make my stay comfortable. Everybody will have their own likes, dislikes and priorities but hope you may get an idea that Singapore can be an affordable , interesting and comfortable stopover destination.
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