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A more updated version of this article can be found here: Singapore Travel Guide

2011 • 8 • 27

Singapore, as steel-cold and artificial as it appears most of the time, always manages to radiate a natural warmth for a nostalgic soul like me. Maybe it’s that I give too much value in it being the first country I visited besides my own. And I had been here six more times since then.

Or maybe because I just feel like I somehow belong here, in the middle of the towering skyscrapers and theme parks. The truth is, every time I have a new Singaporean stamp on my passport, this small city-state never fails to surprise me.

Esplanade by the Singapore River
Esplanade by the Singapore River

Booking Flights to Singapore

All major local airlines including Cebu Pacific and PAL Express fly to Singapore from Manila. Some even fly from Cebu, Davao, and Clark. Seair/Tiger Airways Philippines and AirAsia Philippines also added Singapore to their new destinations. For budget travelers, the main factor in choosing is, well, the budget. The best way to snag a deal is to wait for a seat sale and just grab a promo seat.

The airport terminal is connected to the MRT that will take you to the city proper. You may also take a bus or taxi.

Preparing Travel Documents

Traveling to Singapore does NOT require a visa. All you need is a valid passport (with 6 months left before expiration). All you really need to do is show up at the airport and fly.

However, you’ll see in my Singapore posts just how kid-friendly the city is. If you want to travel overseas with your kids, I will strongly recommend Singapore. This city-state just has something for everyone, even for the young and the young at heart — Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park, Universal Studios, Snow City, to name some.

For more information on how to prepare requirements for passport application (especially if you’re traveling with kids), click here.

Finding Cheap Hotels in Singapore

Check Hotel Rates Here

The nastiest part of preparing a trip to Singapore is looking for a cheap place to stay. Space is a scarce commodity in this city and even the cheapest hotels may still be expensive in Filipino standards. But here are two cheap accommodations that I have tried in Singapore.

g4 station singapore
G4 Station Singapore

Fragrance Hotel Selegie
Fragrance Hotel Selegie
  •  G4 Station Backpackers’ Hostel. The rooms are small but it was good enough given the price. It was very, very clean though and the staff was really friendly and helpful.
  • Fragrance Hotel Selegie. It’s clean, close to the Little India MRT station, and surrounded by restaurants. Each room is equipped with cable TV, a water heater, a phone and airconditioner. Basic and cramped but completely functional.

What to Do in Singapore

A lot! Singapore may be small but it is packed with all sorts of sites, attractions, and adventures! Whatever your reason for traveling is, Singapore has something for you. Shopping? Culture? History? Food? Nature? Theme parks? Singapore has them! Here are the points of interest in Singapore that I have set foot on. The photos will lead you to a more detailed post about that destination.

Singapore River Walk
Singapore River Walk

Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Chinatown Heritage Walk
Chinatown Heritage Walk

Little India
Little India


Jewel Box, Mt Faber
Jewel Box, Mt Faber

Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer

MINT Museum of Toys
MINT Museum of Toys

Orchard Road
Orchard Road

Suntec City Mall
Suntec City Mall

Limited budget? Here are 7 FREE Things to Do in Singapore.

Sample 4D/3N Singapore Itinerary

One thing I like most was that Singapore is a very “walkable” city. Walkable because it’s actually a fun and rewarding experience to walk around many key areas in the city. The best part, it’s free! So I just squeezed in a lot of walking tours into this itinerary. Here’s a sample itinerary. You may use it but make the necessary adjustments.

07:00 am – Rendezvous at NAIA Terminal 3
10:10 am – ETD NAIA Terminal 3 (Manila)
01:50 pm – ETA Singapore Changi Airport
03:00 pm – Check in: Hostel
04:30 pm – Singapore River Walking Tour
(Sightseeing: Fullerton Hotel, Merlion Park, Esplanade, Makansutra, Boat Quay, Clark Quay, etc)
08:00 pm – Marina Bay Sands

07:00 am – Kampong Glam Walk
10:00 am – Universal Studios
05:00 pm – Explore rest of  Sentosa

07:00 am – Chinatown Heritage Walk
10:00 am – Orchard Road (Shopping)
03:00 pm – Mint Museum of Toys
05:00 pm – St. Andrews Cathedral and Singapore Flyer

06:00 am – Little India Walking Tour
08:00 am – Mustafa Mall and Sim Lim Square
10:00 am – Check out: Hostel, Proceed to Airport
02:20 pm – ETD: Changi Airport
06:15 pm – ETA: NAIA Terminal 3

You may also add several other attractions like Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Bird Park, and Singapore Zoo. The Asian Museum is also a good place to visit.

Breakdown of Expenses

So now we have come to the list of my expenses as part of this Singapore trip. Below is the breakdown of everything I spent on in SG.

TOTAL COST (excluding airfare, travel taxes, and airport fees)
SGD 120 – G4 Station Backpackers’ Hostel (4 days, 3 nights)
SGD 22 – EZ Link cards (for 2, reloaded once, inclusive of almost SGD8 unused)
SGD 60 – Total food expenses
SGD 3 – Sentosa Monorail Train ticket
SGD 74 – Universal Studios ticket
SGD 15 – MINT Museum of Toys ticket
SGD 29.5 – Singapore Flyer ticket
SGD 12 – Taxi from Hostel to Airport

As I always say, this can change based on your spending habits. I’m only sharing so you have a ballpark figure of how much to prepare here although I strongly recommend that you pad this with much allowance to be on the safe side.

Additional Tips

  • Taking the MRT. If you’re taking the MRT a lot, buy an EZ Link card. This will allow you to breeze through the station entrances when taking the train. The train system is pretty expansive so you might want to take advantage of it. It can be a bit tiring, though, especially at interchange connections, when you’re walking from one line to another.
  • Exchanging Currencies. The Mustafa Center at Little India has one of the best rates I have seen around Singapore. You might want to change money here. But if your budget isn’t that big (say USD 500), I don’t think the difference between here and the ones at the airport matters. You might lose whatever you think you could save in transportation just to get to a good money changer.
  • GST Refund. Tourists in Singapore can actually claim refund on GST (Goods and Services Tax) paid for items purchased from establishments that are participating in the Tourist Refund Scheme. More info here.
  • No chewing gums, please.

There you have it! Enjoy the Lion City!

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milna inovero

I really enjoyed reading your blog about your trip to Singapore with your mom. What really touched me is your loving concern to have your mom join you on this trip and have her experience the sights in Singapore. I am a mom, myself, and I really love it when my only daughter takes me to trips out of the country for bonding. Keep it up. You will really Go Places (as in literally!!!).

The Poor Traveler

Hi there! Thanks for appreciating! I love my mom and one of my goals is to take her to places she didn’t have a chance to visit when she was younger.

Nice to hear that your daughter is doing the same! You’re blessed. :D


i saw ur Singapore trip & its very helpful as im travelling to SG in November.

I got my cebupac promo as well. ;)

However, i hope u dont mind if i will use ur agenda as its a good saving.

thanks a lot.

The Poor Traveler

No problem, Malu! :D Have a great trip!

Montana The Explorer

I researched about Singapore as i will be exploring the city this month. I stumbled on your blog and i really find it very informative and helpful. It was so nice reading your entry :)

The Poor Traveler

Thanks Montana The Explorer! Hope you had a blast in SG! :)


your blog is so informative and helpful. It features just everything a first timer traveler traveling in a foreign country just like me..I’ve been searching through net about DIY travel to Singapore coz were booked to travel there by Sept. I’m so glad I found your blog.

I really love your blog :) keep it up!

The Poor Traveler

Hi Thess! Thank you so much for your kind words! Glad to help! If you have questions, just shoot. :)


ask ko lang kung pano kau nagpabook ng accommodations? nagpareserve kau thru online? thru credit card? nagkamali kami ng oras ng boking ng flight papunta dun ang nakuha namin gabi so madaling araw dating namin dun. my mga mrt or buses p ba dat tym kaya dun?

The Poor Traveler

Hi Thess! I usually book via HostelWorld, AirAsiaGo, or Agoda.


Hi!I found your blog tru friend and i find it very interesting,I remember my mom while reading your SG trip,how I wish I can also do the same…I’m quite sure I will learn a lot after reading all your blog…keep up the good work!

The Poor Traveler

Thanks Cheryl! Glad to be of help. If you have questions, just shoot. :)


Hello! I really want to go to Singapore. I hope someday I could. :( Meron bang “show money” dito? I mean, magpapakita ka muna ng cash before ma-approve yung pagtravel mo papuntang Singapore? May naririnig kasi akong ganun. I don’t know if it’s true. Thanks. And by the way, are the foods in SG expensive kasi 2 meals/day lang yung naka-indicate sayo.

The Poor Traveler

Hi Rox. Because you don’t need a VISA to go to Singapore, you can simply book flights any time. Just make sure you have a valid passport. At the Immigration counter, they don’t USUALLY ask tourists to show how much money they have or even ask about it. They just check your passport, some times your airline tickets, and ask standard questions like:

– Who are you traveling with?
– How long will you be staying?
– WHERE will you be staying?

They only ask more in very “special” occasions, like, when they do random questioning or when they suspect you’re not entering their country for leisure. :)

I’ve flown to Singapore 4 times and I was never asked any question. They just scan my passport and stamp it and they let me through. My friends get asked though, so I guess I’m just lucky. haha

Ghee Lacandula

Right! In my experience (3 times), the most I got from them is “enjoy your stay”


hi..too late..thanks for the information it’s very helpful..ask ko lang my babayaran pa bang tax s singapore kapag pauwe na ng manila?? ngbubudget na kasi me pupunta me sa december kya super research..thank you..

The Poor Traveler

Hi Hyemi. Wala naman. :)

Nedith Mara

hi im wondering if u will travel somewhere in europe or north america…;) sure it will be a big help for some of us who wants to go to europe and n. america

The Poor Traveler

Hi Nedith, HOPEFULLY. I have friends in Europe who have been begging me to visit them but airfare is still a problem for me. Too expensive. Maybe in 2014. Need to save first. Or revive my whorish ways to earn more. Haha. Kidding. :)


Hi, ask ko lang if what room yung na book niyo sa G4 Station Backpackers’ Hostel? Private bathroom po ba xa? Pupunta kasi ako sa singapore by next year, so nag reresearch na ko. Medjo hirap lang sa pag hanap ng hostel, mostly shared bathroom ung mga nakikita ko kasi.

The Poor Traveler

Hi Annir! Nope, I booked a private room but shared bathroom. :)


Nice. This really helped me a lot ‘cos I’ll be visiting Singapore soon. Thanks for the info! :)



For the private double room, are my kids free or I will still need to pay for them?

Binibining Wanderlust

hello there,

I found this posts about Singapore very useful and informative. I will follow some of your itinerary as i will tour my family on june 2013 in singapore. First time kasi namin at i’m looking for an itinerary na kasya sa 3 days.

many thanks!



[…] The Poor Traveler […]


hi! just want to let you know that changi’s budget terminal is already closed since September 2012 hope you’d make a note about this or visit singapore again for a fresher and more informative post ^_^


Hi PurumPurum! Thanks for taking notice. I was actually in Singapore last month (again, 6th time, I’m addicted. Haha) and I learned about it, but somehow failed to update this post.

Super thanks for pointing it out! I’ll delete the budget terminal post, too! :D

And I’ll add the new places I visited soon. :D


HI! super informative ng blog mo.. Ill be travelling this month to Singapore.. Wala ka bang post about SIngapore going to Johor sa Legoland Malaysia? Thanks!


Hi Jane! Yeah, this was for my 2nd SG trip, and I had very little budget so I just dined at hawker places all the time.

I was less restricted during my next visits, that now looking back, I can’t believe how I was able to make do with P881 for food. Haha. I’m thinking now of changing the figure above so readers could be more prepared and not be as limited as I was during this particular trip.


Hi! I will be travelling to SIN next month, and this blog is really helpful. Been finding an itinerary for a 3-day stay there. The problem is, I got nervous due to reading posts, I am planning to stay at a friend’s house, do I need the invitation letter which everybody is talking about or should I just book a hostel just to be safe? First time solo traveller here. Hope to hear from you soon :) thanks! -kim


Nah, it would be safe if you have but they usually don’t ask.


Hi! I like how you wrote your blog, straightforward and quirky. By the way, can I just ask whether I’ll get a better money value if I change my money in SG (Little India) or here in PH? Also, in HK we got better value when we used USD instead of PHP in changing our money to HKD. Is that also applicable when changing to SGD?
Looking forward to your response. I will be traveling with my girl friend on the 27th. Thanks!


Hi Max. If your hotel/hostel is in Little India, go exchange there. Otherwise, the difference isn’t that big (based on experience). Unless you’re exchanging big amounts. Just don’t exchange at NAIA.

loveme Felicilda

Hello po Yoshke. Your blog is very helpful. Thanks much! I am planning for a 5 days trip to Singapore on March 2014. Do you have an updated budget estimate for this? Like, about how much would it cost me to stroll around the nicest spots in Singapore without spending so much on shopping? Thanks much!


Love your blog! I’ll be going to SIN in April during Holy Week. We’ll be staying at Fragrance Selegie. Is it really easier to travel by MRT? It’s not too complicated? And also ld you know how much it would cost going from SIN to Malaysia? We’re thinking of checking it out since it’s so close to SIngapore :)


This is very helpful! Thank you so much :)


Thanks, Eyddie!


hello po, pwede mo ba akong help, first time ko kasi pupunta ng singapore next year to celebrate 7th birthday ng anak ko, gusto nya kasi pmnta ng universal studio, i don’t have an idea paano mag book ng hotel sa singapore so wala hindi kami mgkakaproblem pagdating dun sa singapore hanap ng hotel. paano po ba?


[…] when my travel buddy was too tired to finish the trail. I saw this DIY riverside walk tour in the Poor Traveler’s blog, and it was just a great way to go around the city for free. I know there are travelers who prefer […]


Hello ask ko lang if kailangan pa ipresent upon check in yung credit card na ginamit mo if online flight booking ang ginawa mo? thanks!


[…] when my travel buddy was too tired to finish the trail. I saw this DIY riverside walk tour in the Poor Traveler’s blog, and it was just a great way to go around the city for free. I know there are travelers who prefer […]


I got so much info :) thanks for sharing this!


No problem! :)


good day sir kim . good morning po. ask ko lang po punta kasi ko this
march sa singapore mag tour lang ako po eh andun po sister ko hinge ako
ng invitation letter sknya tapos po dadalhin muna niya sa embassy po
dun sa sg tapos papadala po niya skin.. ano pa kayang posibleng hanapin
skin ng immigration po oh tanong? 3 days and two nyts lng po ako dun
thanks po :) god bless :)


[…] to travel Singapore on a budget, you can also check Nomadic Matt travel guide and this guide from The Poor Traveler by Yoskhe. If you want more things to do in Singapore, check out The Trusted Traveller […]