Singapore is South East Asia’s most prosperous city and smallest nation by land area. In recent years, newly developed mega-attractions and casino driven integrated resorts had transformed this “all work” economic powerhouse into one of the region’s most popular destinations for leisure travel.

Because of its compact size, Singapore is very easy to travel and generally safe. It is a top choice for first-time international travel, family trips, and those seeking to indulge in metropolitan luxuries. While costs are significantly higher than the rest of Southeast Asia, a lot of people continue to visit Singapore because of its unique and top-notch attractions that cater to almost every type of traveler.

I honestly didn’t expect to travel to Singapore as often as I have, considering the high number of seemingly more “exotic” and adventurous destinations elsewhere in the region. Singapore was just too irresistibly accessible with so many direct flights to other cities all over the region as well as convenient border crossings to Malaysia & Indonesia.

Singapore continues to be a worthwhile jump-off point to Southeast Asia and a fitting “last stop” for indulging in urban comforts before the journey home.

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To help you plan a trip, here are some of my favorite sights & experiences during my frequent trips to Singapore. Followed by a quick summary of my top travel tips.

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Visa-free travel for Philippine citizens — 80% of all nationalities, including Filipino tourists, do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Singapore for short visits. Scroll down to the extra tips for the list of things you might need to prepare.

Traveling on a tight budget is possible — I’ve included a lot of money saving tips on this guide in case you are traveling on a limited budget. Spending less does not mean that you have to miss out on awesome travel experiences in Singapore. You can achieve cheaper expenses by knowing where to find and book the best travel deals. Scroll down to the budget breakdown to get an idea of how much money you might spend on your trip.

Book your room early — Book your room as soon as you know you are going because prices rarely go down the closer you are to your trip. Also, cheaper rooms tend to get fully booked sooner, especially during holiday and peak seasons. Click the links below to compare prices & reviews by other travelers.

See discountsCheapest rooms/beds

Pre-book discount tickets & tours online — Pre-booking online will save you money, avoid long queues at ticket counters & hassles of exchanging money. You can even show your tickets as proof that you are traveling as a tourist, at immigration checkpoints.

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Top discounts booked by other travelers:

Singapore is compact and easy to travel DIY — Getting between different areas of the city is very convenient. Singapore has a small land area and the infrastructure is highly developed. It’s easy to go on a do-it-yourself (DIY) trip, even on your own. Plus all signs are in English and most Singaporeans can speak/understand English. Public transport is very efficient. It’s the best way to get around if you want to travel cheaply. I’ve included an easy-to-follow itinerary, later in this guide, to save you time in planning everything yourself.

Best time to visit Singapore — Singapore gets little weather variations the whole year round. Any month is generally good to schedule your visit. If you just want to go sightseeing, however, you need to be aware of popular holidays and events, which usually happens from January-February, June-July, September-October. It’s super peak season for hotels. Book your accommodations well in advance.

Spend two days or more — With a 2-day trip in Singapore, you can already see most of the major travel highlights. Though, I recommend spending three days or more, especially if you want to enjoy multiple theme parks/attractions and explore the different cultural districts. If you are spending a long layover at Changi Airport, don’t miss the free city tours for transit passengers.

Make sure to scroll down to see recommended places to stay, sample itinerary, budget estimates, breakdown of expenses, ways to save money & a lot of extra tips.

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Where to stay

Book your stay near MRT train stations if you plan on getting around conveniently by public transport.

Clark Quay (Riverside), Chinatown, Little India & Bugis are the most popular places to stay for backpackers and budget travelers.

You can find most of the mid-range and luxury hotels in Orchard Road, Marina Bay, Promenade/City Hall area & Sentosa Island.

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Singapore hotels & hostels

Here’s a list of top rated hotels & hostels in Singapore. Click below to check rates, discounts & guest reviews. Click the “Book now” buttons to see a list of trusted booking & compare rates.

Rucksack Inn @ Lavender Street

Budget backpacker | Near Farrer Park MRT

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AgodaBooking.com

Adler Luxury Hostel

Budget flashpacker | Near Chinatown MRT

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Chic Capsules

Budget flashpacker | Near Chinatown MRT

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Fragrance Hotel – Riverside

Budget | Near Clarke Quay MRT

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Holiday Inn Clarke Quay

Mid-range | Near Clarke Quay MRT

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PARKROYAL On Pickering

Splurge | Near Chinatown & Clarke Quay MRT

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Raffles Singapore

Splurge | Near City Hall & Esplanade MRT

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AgodaBooking.com

Marina Bay Sands

Splurge | Near Bayfront MRT

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AgodaBooking.com

Top booking sites

Book a room online with these trusted booking sites. They offer secure payment, easy booking options & free cancellation on selected properties. Simply choose a booking site with the cheapest rates and best deals. Click below to compare prices & see discounts that you can book today.

AgodaBooking.comExpediaAirbnb

Top sights & things to do

Merlion and Singapore Skyline

Merlion Park — Pretty hard to miss anyway because of its prominent location at the mouth of the Singapore River. Not only could you get a good photo with the Merlion statue, Singapore’s most iconic monument, but there are amazing views to be seen of the Singapore Skyline, Marina Bay Sands, The Esplanade: Theatres by the Bay, and the Singapore Flyer.

Statues of children playing by the river with a view of heritage buildings and bridges along the Singapore River at the Civic District in Singapore

Riverside Promenade and a boat passing through the Singapore River

Singapore Riverside and Civic District — This relaxing promenaded riverside area is a short walk away from the Merlion Park. Take a stroll down memory lane and get acquainted with the city’s early development and colonial history. A happening nightlife scene can be experienced at Clark and Boat Quay.

Colorful lanterns at night, in Chinatown, Singapore

Chinatown — Experience Singapore’s multi-cultural diversity by taking a walking and food tour of Chinatown. Visit a church, a mosque, Indian and Chinese temples all in one walk. Go on a food adventure and try dishes from Singapore’s different cultural influences at affordable hawker centers of Chinatown.

Marina Bay, Helix Bridge & Art Science Museum, in Singapore

Marina Bay — Marvel at Singapore’s new urbanscape by taking a walk around Marina Bay. Visit Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge, Singapore Flyer, and Esplanade: Theatres on the bay. Amazing overlooking views can be seen from the Skypark of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

Super trees, at Gardens By The Bay, in Singapore

Man-made Waterfalls at the Cloud Forest Dome in Gardens By the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay — An ambitious project set to transform Singapore from a “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden.” The main attractions here are the 25 towering man-made Supertrees and two equally extraordinary biodomes.

Elephant Show at Singapore Zoo, Singapore

Singapore Zoo — An impressively maintained zoo where you can find a wide array of animals from around the world. The River Safari is also worth checking out.

Overlooking Palawan Beach in Sentosa, Singapore

Sentosa Island — Spend a fun day on rides and themed attractions or relax at the beaches of Sentosa. The island is home to Universal Studios Singapore, the first theme park of its kind to open in Southeast Asia and the second in Asia after Universal Studios Japan.

Singapore itinerary

Here’s a sample 4-day itinerary that you can follow during your trip. Scroll down for the budget and list of expenses.

Day 1 — Old & New Singapore

10 AM— Singapore-Changi Airport arrival.

11 AM — Singapore hotel check-in

11:30 AM — Lau Pa Sat hawker center

12:30 NN — Merlion Park & Singapore River

3 PM — Gardens by the Bay

7:45 PM — Garden Rhapsody Light & Sound Show

9:30 PM — Marina Bay Sands Wander Full Light and Water Show

Rest

Day 2 — Universal Studios Singapore & Sentosa

9 AM — Sentosa Island.

10 AM — Universal Studios Singapore.

5:30 PM — Option 1 — Marina Bay Skypark.

Option 2 — Singapore Flyer.

Option 3 — Esplanade Roof Terrace.

Option 4 — Wings of Time Open-Sea Light Show.

Rest

Day 3 — Legoland Malaysia side trip

9 AM — Singapore departure.

11 AM to 12 NN — Legoland Malaysia.

5:15 PM — Legoland Malaysia departure.

7 PM to 8 PM — Singapore arrival.

8 PM — Makansutra Gluttons Bay dinner.

Rest

Day 4 — Heritage & shopping

9 AM — Singapore Chinatown.

12NN — Shopping.

3:00 PM — Hotel check-out & Singapore Airport transfer.

3:30 PM — Singapore Airport & flight check-in.

6:30 PM — Singapore Airport departure.

If you only have 3 days to spend in Singapore, you can skip “Day 3” of the itinerary posted above

Go to the 4 days Singapore itinerary guide for the budget estimates, expenses breakdown, and step-by-step do-it-yourself (DIY) tips for the itinerary above. Scroll down for more budget & money saving tips.

Budget & expenses

Here’s a list of typical costs when traveling in Singapore. This country is one of the most expensive travel destinations this side of Asia. It is generally twice as expensive as Malaysia or at least three times more than traveling around other countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Transport — One train or bus ride within the city costs between SGD 0.8 to 2. For a whole day of sightseeing, you may likely spend between SGD 5 to 10. The Singapore Tourist Pass, which offers unlimited MRT & bus rides, costs SGD 10 for a 1-day pass and SGD 20 for a three day pass.

Accommodations — Booking a room or bed in Singapore is noticeably more expensive than neighboring countries. A dorm bed in a backpacker hostel or guesthouse starts from SGD 11 per night and averages from SGD 15 to 30 per night. A room for two in a budget hotel would set you back SGD 50 to 90 per night. Most mid-range hotels offer rooms for around SGD 100 to 200 per night. If you are staying in a luxury hotel or resort, room prices usually start at SGD 300 to 500 per night.

Food — A meal at hawker centers costs around SGD 3 to 15. Hawker stalls are Singapore’s version of side street stalls and low-cost eateries. Mains at casual restaurants start at SGD 10 to 15.

Activities — Admission fees may take up a huge chunk of your expenses if you plan on visiting many themed attractions, rides, and museums. Many museums offer free admission, while most usually cost SGD 10 or less. Entry to theme parks & attractions are priced between SGD 20 to SGD 70.

Daily budget — A backpacker’s budget may hover between SGD 30 to 45 or USD 21 to 32 / PHP 1,000 to 1,600 per person per day for accommodations, transport, and meals. Excluding activities & flights. This is assuming that you stay in hostel dorms, use public transportation and eat at hawker stalls. You can achieve the low end of this budget estimate by following the money-saving tips posted below.

Keep in mind that these are estimates. As you know, actual budgets/expenses may be different depending on a person’s traveling style & time of visit. Also, you might also want to spend more on food for unique dining experiences, and on hotels for more a comfortable stay.

Total budget on a 3-day trip — Including Universal Studios Singapore and Gardens by the Bay (Cloud Forest + Flower dome), expect a total budget starting at SGD 177 or USD 126 / PHP 6,300 per person for the entire three days. This budget can be achieved by booking discount tickets posted below.

Expenses breakdown

To help you set your own budget. Here are prices of attractions, transport & other expenses. Most of the prices posted are discount rates that you can book online. If you pay the walk-in prices on your actual visit, expect to spend more. So, make sure to review all the discounts posted.

Transport
SGD 12EZ-Link card — Includes SGD 7 initial stored value and SGD 5 non-refundable card cost.
SGD 20Singapore Tourist Pass (3 Days Pass) — Unlimited rides on MRT & buses. Also, priced at SGD 10 for the 1-day pass & SGD 15 for the 2-day pass.
Activities
SGD 22Singapore Cable Car Skypass — Discount price per adult.

SGD 68Universal Studios Singapore — 1-day admission discount price per adult.

SGD 22Gardens by the Bay (Cloud Forest + Flower dome) — 1-day admission discount price per adult.

SGD 8OCBC Skyway at Gardens by the Bay admission — Walk-in price per adult.
SGD 24Legoland transfers — Return trips on shared shuttle. Discount price per adult.

SGD 51Legoland admission — 1-day admission discount price per adult.

SGD 12Wings of Time — Discount price per adult.

SGD 22Marina Bay Skypark — Walk-in price per adult.

SGD 33Singapore Flyer — Walk-in price per adult.

Others
SGD 15Singapore 4G SIM Card.

PHP 1,620Philippine Travel Tax — For outbound Philippine residents only. Paid before flight departure from the Philippines.

Money-saving tips

Eat at hawker centers & taste Singapore’s multi-cultural food — Meals are cheap and the food is prepared in relatively high quality and sanitation. A long line of people queueing at a stall is usually a sign that it serves good food that is safe to eat.

Ride MRTs and buses — This is the cheapest way to get around. Public transport in Singapore is quite efficient and safe. However, when traveling in a group, particularly in a group of 3 or 4, consider taking the taxi for short rides around the city center. The price difference (calculated per person) is not a big wallet buster. Your feet will thank you from the tiring walk to/from train stations, especially if you’re planning to spend the whole day sightseeing

Stay at hostels — There are a lot of reliable hostels in Singapore that cater to budget-conscious travelers. They are not only cheap, but a good way to socialize with other travelers.  Boutique hostels in Singapore are particularly good. If you are traveling in a group of 3 to 6 people, consider getting a family room in hostels or guesthouses to save money on your stay.

Get a good map and explore the city on your own tour — Go on a do-it-yourself (DIY) around Singapore’s different cultural districts if you want to save yourself from expensive admission fees at themed attractions. There are a lot of awesome things to do in Singapore that doesn’t cost a dime.

Before you go

How to get to Singapore?

Unless you’re traveling by land from Malaysia, flying to Singapore is the best way to get to Singapore. Many budget airlines, including AirAsia, Tiger Air, Jetstar, Cebu Pacific, fly to Singapore from all major destinations in Southeast Asia. .

If you’re coming from the Philippines, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia offers direct flights to/from Manila, Cebu, Clark, Iloilo, Kalibo & Davao.

How to find cheap flights to Singapore?

The easy way is to search on airfare comparison sites that can show you the lowest fares on many airlines in one go.

Start your search on Wego, Momondo, and Skyscanner.

When are you going? See the cheapest Singapore flights that you can book right now. Enter your travel details and search.

Check Singapore promo alerts several weeks or months ahead of your trip if you are planning your trip early. The cheapest promos are sold up to a year in advance of the travel/flight departure date & are often only available if you book directly with the airline.

To learn more, visit the guide on how to book cheap flights.

What to prepare for a trip to Singapore?

Singapore Tourist Visa — Tourists from around 80% of all nationalities do not need to apply for a visa or entry permit to travel in Singapore. If you are a citizen of one of these nations, you may be able to visit Singapore visa-free for a maximum stay of 30 days, to up to 90 days depending on the passport provided.

Go to the Singapore Immigration website to check if you need to apply for a visa before going on your trip. Foreign visitors from countries not listed in the “Assesment Level Countries” can visit Singapore visa-free.

If you are from a country that is not listed under the visa exception scheme, see if you are eligible to apply for a Visa on Arrival (VoA).

Travelers can enter Singapore through immigration checkpoints found in various international airports, seaports, and land border crossings. Including the Singapore-Changi International Airport, Singapore-Malaysia land border, and international ferry terminals.

Always remember that all countries have the right to refuse entry to any person. Even if you are eligible for the free tourist visa or already have one in hand at the border.

Make sure that you are able to provide the following:

Passport not expiring within 6 months.

Evidence that you are visiting for travel or holiday purposes only.

Evidence that you are able to fund your stay for the entire duration of your visit.

Have confirmed flight tickets back to your home country or an onward destination that you are allowed to enter.

Visa for Filipino citizens — Philippines nationals can enjoy visa-free travel in Singapore, for up to 30 days.

Filipino citizens (Philippine passport holders) do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Singapore granted that the purpose of the visit is for tourism or transit only. Simply show up at the immigration checkpoint and get your passport stamped. Filipinos usually get a maximum stay of 30 days in Singapore.

How many days is enough?

Singapore may be a small country but there’s a ton of interesting things to do that could keep most travelers busy for weeks on end. A shorter visit of three to four days is the tourist norm and is enough to get a feel of Singapore and skim through the main highlights.

For a weekend trip, squeezing most of the highlights in two full days is doable but depending on how many stops you make and how you choose to get around, there might not be a lot of time to explore each stop extensively or at a relaxed pace. Regardless, you can see a lot of the city in two days or even less. Though, taking three or more days is recommended to allow for time to explore Singapore at a more relaxed pace. Take an early morning flight to Singapore and a late evening flight on your return to maximize your stay in Singapore.

For travelers on connecting flights through the Singapore Airport, a long layover can provide a decent visit to one or two sites. The downtown area is just a 30-minute taxi ride away from the airport. There are many short tours that can be booked at Singapore-Changi International Airport.

How to get Singapore Dollars (SGD)?

To be safe, bring US Dollar bills if you already have them in hand. Money exchange stalls in Singapore, including those at the airport, accept a wide range of currencies and it’s not a problem if you bring other major currencies. Popular foreign currencies include USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, THB, MYR, TWD, PHP, CAD, AUD, NZD, INR, CNY, and HKD.

For convenience, carry enough cash to last the first night or two and then withdraw cash in SGD using your ATM card (bring a backup just in case). ATMs that allow international withdrawal are found all over Singapore. They accept ATM cards with a logo from major interbank networks (American Express, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, and the like). Don’t forget to activate your card for international withdrawal before leaving your home country.

Philippine Peso — Bringing Philippine Peso for your trip is possible since most currency exchange stalls in Singapore accept them. Exchange a small amount at the airport and then the rest at the city center for better rates. When exchanging large amounts or if you happen to be in the area, the stalls at Lucky Mall along Orchard Road are your best bet for favorable exchange rates.

When is the best time to visit?

Singapore gets little weather variations the whole year round. Any date is generally good to schedule your visit. However, if you are traveling from the second half of September to the first week of October, be mindful of Singapore Grand Prix (F1 Race) schedule. It’s a super peak season for hotels. Book your accommodations well in advance.

How to get around Singapore?

Singapore has a convenient, extensive, and affordable Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and bus network. From the airport, the MRT is the cheapest way to get to the city center. Bus and train fares range from SGD 0.80 to 2.

Buy an EZ-Link Card sold at Changi Airport station & many ticket offices around Singapore. This prepaid card can be used to pay for train and bus rides. Enjoy discount fares if you use this card. The cost is SGD 12 per card. Includes SGD 7 stored value and SGD 5 non-refundable card cost. You can top-up at any 7-Eleven store. Only 1 person is allowed per card.

You can also buy the Singapore Tourist Pass, which offers unlimited rides on non-premium trains and buses. The price is SGD10 for the 1-day pass, SGD15 for the 2-day pass & SGD20 for the 3-day pass.

Private airport transfers

Book airport transfers online for stress-free private transfers between Singapore airport and your city hotel. Cars can seat up to 3, 5 and 9 people.

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By taxi

Taxi stands can be found at the Arrival levels of each Terminal. A ride to the city takes around 30 minutes and costs between $20 and $40. Better yet, avoid the taxi queue with the Grab or Uber app. You can book Grab vouchers online & enjoy additional discounts on your rides.

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Useful travel apps

Google Maps — This travel app will make it a lot easier to navigate around Singapore on your own. The directions feature only works online. Available on iOS and Android.

MyTransport.SG — Useful information on MRT, LRT & bus services in Singapore. Available on iOS and Android.

XE Currency — Free & easy currency converter. Available on iOS and Android.

Get rent a Pocket WiFi or buy a mobile data SIM card.

Stay connected online during your whole trip. Not only does it make it possible to share your travel moments instantly, you can also travel better by having access to all your favorite travel apps anytime.

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Where to book tours & attraction tickets

As mentioned, booking online can save you money, time and let you enjoy cashless convenience. In case you want to see more discounts and options, here’s a list of sites that you can check.

KlookKkdayExpedia

Where to book your stay

Book a room online with these trusted booking sites. They offer secure payment & easy booking options. Simply choose a booking site with the cheapest rates and best deals. Click below to compare prices & see discounts that you can book today.

AgodaBooking.comExpediaAirbnb

After you have selected your travel dates and clicked the search button, make sure to filter the results based on your budget and preference. Sort the results by price (from low to high) to see the cheapest rooms/beds. Sort the results by guest ratings/review to see the best places to stay. Narrow down the results to specific areas to find convenient options near tourist spots you want to visit.

Popular accommodations with high guest review ratings are likely to get fully booked. Send your reservation as soon as you have finalized your travel dates because room rates rarely go down the closer you are on your trip.

This step is also important because you may be required to show accommodation arrangements at the Singapore immigration checkpoint before you get cleared to enter the country.

When are you going? Check discounts & rates available today. Book your stay early, before cheap rooms get fully booked.

Don’t stop here

See more Singapore blog tips & travel guides:

Check out these pages for more inspiration on places to go in Asia & beyond: