Just because it’s one of the richest countries in the world doesn’t mean you’ll have to break the bank to visit.
Singapore is in the top 10 most expensive cities to live in in Asia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Singapore is too expensive to visit. With the rise of budget airlines and fare wars between airlines, Singapore can be affordable to travel to from the United States and Europe. Staying in and getting around Singapore can also be done affordably and there are many attractions in Singapore that are free for visitors. Below we break down the costs to travel to and within Singapore.
Budget Airlines That Fly to Singapore
Airlines operating out of China or Southeast Asia have been offering U.S.-based travelers cheap fares to get to Singapore. Watch for cheap fares from China Eastern, China Southern, Philippines Airlines, which sometimes run round-trip flights for under or around $500 from major cities in the United States. If you’re traveling around Southeast Asia, you can also hop over to Singapore from nearby countries on various budget airlines such as Scoot, Tiger Air, Lion Air, or Air Asia–often for less than $100 round trip, though some offer better baggage allowance than others.
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Longest Flight in the World
In 2018, Singapore Airlines relaunched the longest flight in the world, bringing travelers from Newark Liberty International Airport to Singapore Changi Airport. The airline uses the Airbus A350-900ULR to fly the approximately 10,000 miles in approximately 18 hours. Flying on the longest flight in the world won’t be the cheapest, since the plane is only equipped with business class and premium economy seats, but a round-trip flight on select dates starts around $1200–still an affordable price. For some travelers, the time saved with a nonstop flight, especially on one of the world’s best airlines, may be worth the extra cost.
Singapore has a high standard of living compared to many parts of Southeast Asia. However, the city offers a wide range of accommodations for all price points. Budget travelers can grab a shared dormitory room for $15-20 per night or a pod in a capsule hotel (such as the space capsule Met A Space Pod) for an average of $35 per night. The nightly rates at a four- or five-star hotel typically range between $150-250, however, a stay at the famous Marina Bay Sands can run up to $500 per night. The Chinatown area is a good value with cheaper accommodation options and a closer proximity to the train station, food options, and nightlife.
Ground Transportation Costs
Singapore is very well-connected via the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and bus systems. MRT fares are calculated by distance, with trips under 5km costing under S$1. Taxis are plentiful and rideshares are available via Grab and GoJek. Keep in mind there are taxi fare surcharges during certain times of the day. Peak period surcharges (a 25% addition to the standard metered fare) apply Monday-Friday from 6-9:29 am and every evening from 6-11:59pm. The midnight surcharge from 12 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. adds an extra 50% to your fare.
Eating Out: From Hawkers to Fine Dining
Singapore’s hawker centers are not to be missed for their cheap, yet delicious food. A meal at a hawker stall typically costs around S$5 (the Michelin-starred soy sauce chicken rice at the original Liao Fan costs S$3.80!). Larger portions or more famous stalls may charge more, but expect to still pay less than S$10. The famous Singapore chili crab is best experienced as a group, with set menus at places like Jumbo Seafood, where four people can expect to payS$218. Fine dining restaurant prices are on par with other developed nations, however, with a seven-course dinner at three-starred Les Amis costing S$460. Read our list of the 13 things you must eat in Singapore.
Free Things to Do in Singapore
While Singapore may be one of the most expensive cities to live in in Asia, there are plenty of free attractions for tourists and locals alike. The photogenic Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay are free to visit and there are light and sound shows nightly at 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. (although there is a fee to go up the trees to the skyway). In addition to the nature parks and reserves, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is also free for visitors and they occasionally host classical music concerts. Want a sweeping view of Singapore? Spend $20 shopping at ION Orchard and get free admission to ION Sky on levels 55/56.