Singapore is a city state located in South East Asia, making it the perfect stop over when traveling from Europe to Australia, New Zealand or the south of Asia. But, a layover in Singapore can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing.
It is a global financial capital with a long multi-ethnic cultural history reflected in its architecture, food and fashion.
Related Read: How to Spend 48 Hours in Singapore.
Layover in Singapore Without Breaking the Bank
The national airline of Singapore is Singapore Airlines which is a member of the Star Alliance group of airlines and has multiple subsidiary airlines including regional flight with Silk Air and budget carriers Scoot Airlines and Tiger Air.
Many major airlines utilize Singapore as a hub making it an easy destination for a stopover or to visit as a destination.
Public transport in Singapore is easy to use, cheap, clean, safe and efficient. Trains (MRT), light rail (LRT) and buses will get you to just about any destination. The bus, LRT and MRT networks are well connected and the network is extensive. Most major attractions are within walking distance of a station or bus stop.
The train from the airport is the cheapest and easiest way to get from the airport to the city.
Tourists can purchase a Singapore Tourist Pass on arrival at the airport or from major stations. This card gives access to both buses and trains with unlimited travel from 1 to 3 days. You simply purchase the card and swipe on at the card reader when you get on buses or trains.
When you purchase the card you are paying a $10 deposit, be sure to get this refunded when you are leaving, there is a kiosk located in the airport.
The Tourist pass also gives you access to special deals, to read more about using the card, costs and associated deals, check it out on the website.
Taxis are regulated in Singapore meaning that you should not be ripped off but with such efficient, safe public transport you should not need to use them.
Uber is available is Singapore but again the public transport network will be better for your budget on your Singapore stopover.
Accommodation in Singapore
If your layover in Singapore is more than 24 hours, then you’re going to want to find somewhere to sleep. Accommodation is easy to find in Singapore and ranges from backpacker hostels to luxury hotel accommodation. The world famous Marina Bay Sands with it’s rooftop pool is located in Singapore and a dream destination for many travelers but it certainly is not budget accommodation.
It is worth checking with your airline about layovers in Singapore as many of them have deals with hotels or apartments for travelers on short stays.
Budget airline Scoot offers a 50% discount at the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel. This includes a Deluxe double room, free Wi-Fi and access to the Sky Rooftop bar with a great view across Marina Bay, a great place to watch the sunset and nightly light show.
If you are traveling during the summer we recommend looking for accommodation with air conditioning and a swimming pool.
AirBnB operates in Singapore but with great accommodation deals it can be cheaper to stay within a hotel.
Budget for a Singapore stopover
Singapore is renowned as a very expensive destination amongst travelers and it is true you could spend a small fortune in a short time however you can also do it on a budget by:
- Booking early.
- Checking for travel deals with airlines, hotels.
- Avoiding expensive restaurants.
- Using public transport.
- Buying the Singapore Tourist Pass.
- Ensuring you get your Tourist Card Pass refund on departure.
- Get some exercise and save some money by walking around major sites such as Marina Bay, The Gardens, Canning Fort Park rather than paying for tours.
- Do your research, know what you want to see and budget and pay for it before you arrive (check out our guide on things to do in Singapore for the first-timer).
See also Affordable Things to Do in Singapore.
Food and Drinks
- Visit one of only 2 street food stalls in the world with a Michelin star – Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, a budget way to Michelin star cuisine.
- Visit Shi Li Fang for a traditional Steamboat lunch, a large, healthy meal for less than $10.
- Drink local beer, imported wine and spirits are heavily taxed making them extremely expensive.
- Eat in Hawker markets where the locals eat.
- Check out TimeOut Singapore (website and app) for current deals on food, bars, clubs and if there are local festivals occurring during your stay.
See also Best Seafood Restaurants in Singapore.