By: Cher Tan
Singapore, being the 6th most expensive country in the world in Mercer’s 50 World’s Most Expensive Cities index in 2012, is expensive by Asian standards but affordable compared with some industrialized countries: $50 is a perfectly serviceable daily backpacker budget if you are willing to cut some corners, though you would probably wish to double that for comfort.
Food in particular is a steal, with excellent hawker food available for under $5 for a generous serving. Transport is generally inexpensive, ranging from at least $1.40 for a bus or MRT ride or at most $50 for a cab ride from one end of the country to another. Accommodation is a little pricier, but a bed in a dormitory in a hostel can cost less than $20, an average 3-4 star hotel in the city centre would typically cost anywhere from $100-$300 per night for a basic room, and the most luxurious hotels on the island (except the renowned Raffles Hotel) can be yours for $300 with the right discounts during the off-peak season. Read our tips for the best budget beds in Singapore.
Budget travelers should note that Singapore is much more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia and should budget accordingly if planning to spend time in Singapore. In general, prices in Singapore are about twice as high as in Malaysia and Thailand and 3-5 times as high as in Indonesia and the Philippines.
The unit of currency is the Singapore dollar, locally referred to as the “Sing Dollar” which is made up of 100 cents. Singapore uses 5¢, 10¢, 50¢ and $1 coins, while notes come in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $50, $100, $500, and $1000. The Singapore dollar is, not surprisingly, a highly stable and freely convertible currency.
If you plan on living in Singapore, our article on living costs in Singapore might be of use.