I like to think of Singapore as Asia for beginners. It is the perfect blend of east and west, combining the heat and the hustle and bustle of a less developed Asian country with the shopping and luxury of a world-class city.
This fusion has allowed it to be a hotspot for travellers of all types. Whether you want to spend your yearly paycheck on a pair of shoes in the mall, or rough it with the locals on a plastic stool while eating the best $2 meal of your life, Singapore has you covered.
Singapore is well and truly emerging as more than just a stopover city, cementing its spot as a destination in itself. As Kiwi travellers take advantage of the short and relatively cheap flights, many struggle with putting together a holiday budget. Without being there, how does one know how much each day will cost above accommodation?
Wonder no more, as the team at Travel Money NZ have created the holiday budget planner to answer your budget questions. The calculator combines Numbeo data with our daily exchange rates to give you, the humble traveller, an idea of how much you need to save for your trip to Singapore.
We've fired up the robots, but while they warm up* let's have a quick chat about the components of a Singapore travel budget.
*Just kidding, they're robots, so they are always warm and ready to go. Kinda like you'll be in the Singaporean humidity.
What goes into a travel budget for Singapore?
Unless you're an outstanding swimmer, you're going to have to dish out some cash for flights. The good news is that New Zealand to Singapore is a very popular route and there are often sales on the flights. So, unless you're flying business, airfares shouldn't take out a huge chunk of your budget.
When you arrive in Singapore, you'll have a few transport options. The cheapest and most efficient is the metro, or MRT as they call it over there. With 106 stations scattered throughout the city, you are bound to have a stop nearby. Adult fares cost between 0.80 and 2 SGD depending on how far you travel. Just purchase a reloadable smart card or a single ticket. For areas not covered by the MRT, you can also catch the bus.
If public transport isn't your thing, taxis or the rideshare app 'Grab' are your best bet. Taxis are metered, though you may want to double-check with the driver as to whether there are any surcharges or extra fees that day for your drive. Grab is an affordable option if there are a few of you travelling.
Thankfully Singapore is super small, so you don't need to account for any cross-country travel.
Accommodation in Singapore is renowned for being pretty expensive unless you are keen to share a hostel room with ten other strangers. Unfortunately, Airbnb is also illegal in Singapore, so while you can still technically book a place on the app, you are running the gauntlet as to whether you can actually stay there when you arrive.
With this in mind, it's best to keep an idea on any travel deals and book in advance to get the best deal. Marina Bay, Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay and Orchard Road are the most popular areas to stay, so look outside these areas for a cheaper place to stay.
If you are, however, planning to splurge during your trip, you can't go past the iconic Marina Bay Sands. Averaging between 800 - 1500 SGD per night, a weeks stay will be a considerable, but oh so epic, expense.
Food is without a doubt the cornerstone of every Singaporean holiday (aside from the heat I guess). Hot? Eat. Tired? Eat. Bored? Eat. Low on cash? Eat. Have some money to splurge? Eat. Cold? You're not in Singapore. Just eaten? Eat.
For those that enjoy the finer things in life, Singapore boasts 44 Michelin star restaurants. And for those that enjoy the finer things in life but maybe can't always afford them, the city is bursting with deliciously, cheap eats. Most of which are found at the Hawker Centres. Scattered around the city, Hawker markets are where the locals go to eat most meals. Here you'll be able to fill your table and your stomach for less.
Tip: Singapore has a gnarly alcohol tax, so drinks are pretty expensive. Hawker centres tend to have pretty cheap beer, though.
Aside from eating, there are plenty of activities you can fill your day with. Popular attractions include:
- The Singapore Zoo
- Night Safari
- Universal Studios Theme Park
- Bike tours of the city
- Food tours of the city
- Exploring Sentosa Island
- Wandering around the Gardens by the Bay
All of these activities vary in price, but I would recommend choosing at least two to your Singapore bucket list as they are all very worthy. For ticketed attractions, always book online as you will generally get a better price.
Keen to escape the heat? Load up your Cash Passport Platinum and flee to the aircon confines of any of the shopping malls and treat yo' self to some retail therapy. Then eat, because it's Singapore.
Regardless of where you are staying or what you are doing, travel insurance is a must. Purchase your insurance as soon as you book your flights so that you are covered from the get-go against the unexpected.
How much does a trip to Singapore cost?
Can you hear that? It's the sound of our budget planner getting a little bit too excited about calculating your Singapore travel budget. Let's not keep it waiting.