There are two types of tourists in Singapore. The first are loaded and typically seen burning through rolls of cash as they buy Chanel handbags and luxury condos while in town.
The second are shocked by how expensive hotels are and, if they’ve previously been travelling in other Southeast Asian destinations, feel like they’re being stabbed every time they have to take out their wallets to pay for something.
For those tourists in the second category, here are four tips that can seriously reduce the cost of your trip to Singapore.
Always check if there’s a discount for booking your tourist attraction tickets online
Singapore can be a very expensive destination to visit with kids. After buying tickets to the zoo, Night Safari, River Safari, Universal Studios and the SEA Aquarium, you’ll be lucky if you have any spare change left over to buy a single curry puff.
Always, always check the website of the attraction to see if you can get a discount by booking online.
For instance, visitors to the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and/or Jurong Bird Park save up to 15% by booking online. That can save you a tidy sum, especially as it costs over $100 for a family of four to visit just the zoo.
Other attractions which are cheaper to visit when you book your tickets online include the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay, Madame Tussauds at Sentosa and Legoland in Johor (the latter when you book at least a week in advance).
Check for deals on online coupon sites
You’ve probably heard of Groupon, the coupon site that gives you discounts on restaurant meals, tourist attractions and so on.
Groupon Singapore is now known as Fave by Groupon, but despite the name change the coupons are more or less the same as before. There are numerous coupons that enable you to combine visits to various tourist attractions for a discount, so check out the “activities” and “travel” sections.
For instance, right now there are Legoland travel agents offering coupons that help you save money on a visit to Sentosa Adventure Cove, or combine a visit to Universal Studios with the Wings of Time show and a dinner buffet.
Research where the food courts and hawker centres are ahead of time
Even before arriving in Singapore, you’ve probably heard of hawker centres and food courts, where the cheapest and most authentic food can be had.
The thing is, hawker centres don’t fall from the sky whenever you need them. In some areas (eg. Marina Bay, Raffles Place, City Hall), it can be hard to find them unless you know where to look.
Those on a tight budget will want to play it safe by researching the location of food courts and hawker centres for the various areas they’re visiting so they won’t have to resort to McDonald’s.
For instance, at Gardens by the Bay, there’s actually a Satay By the Bay food court, but many people don’t know about it as it’s located far from the other restaurants and fast-food joints in the park.
Pick Airbnb accommodation over hotels
Hotels are horrifically expensive in Singapore. Unless you’re going to be staying in a shared hostel dorm, it is a million times better to stay in Airbnb accommodation than a hotel. Just be discreet about it, as such short-term rental arrangements are officially illegal in Singapore.
As a solo traveller, you can rent a room in a fairly luxurious condo in a central area complete with swimming pool for about $50.
Now, what kind of hotel room will $50 get you? Well, have you ever seen the movie Motel Hell?
Do you have any money-saving advice for travellers to Singapore? Share your tips in the comments!