Singapore was somewhere between the cheapness of Southeast Asia and the expense of Australia/New Zealand.  It is certainly possible to stay in Singapore very cheaply just as it is possible to break the bank there, but we tried to take a middle road.  We stayed just 4 nights, and found a double room for about US$75/night (rooms are quite expensive in this large, crowded city).  Our room was a bit disappointing having just enough space for a bunk bed and little else — no table, no chair, just one electrical outlet that was high enough from the ground that my phone was dangling in the air as it was charging.  I would suggest to my fellow travelers to do a bit of research before booking a place in SG.

The cost breakdown below is solely costs incurred while in Singapore and doesn’t cover any international costs (international flights, insurance, etc), but does cover domestic travel.

During our four night stay in Singapore we spent a total of US$888:

  • Accommodation – $292
  • Food – $273
  • Travel – $36
  • Activities – $38
  • Misc – $249
  • 4 nights in Singapore = $222/night

Accommodation, obviously, covers where we sleep each night.  Food is everything we eat or drink — water, beer, dinner, lunch, snacks, etc.  Travel is domestic travel only.  So this covers bus trips, train rides, domestic flights, taxis, ferries, anything in country.  Activities are the things we do for fun/entertainment.  This is park entry fees, museum fees, theater tickets, etc.  Misc. is a catch-all category that includes things like shampoo, laundry, gear replacement (although I will specify any major costs), souvenirs, gifts and medical expenses (again, I’ll specify anything major).

Below is a graphical representation of those numbers:

Singapore Expense Chart

Singapore Expense Chart

The chart here is a little misleading.  We spent US$210 at Mustafa’s in Singapore’s Little India district to buy some much needed equipment for the trip.  During our two months traveling to this point, we had accumulated about 100GB of photo and video.  This was quickly outpacing the available storage on my laptop and we decided to purchase a USB hard drive for photo and video storage.  We also needed to buy a new UV filter for Her’s wide angle lens after a small mishap resulted in the lens falling from the bed and the filter shattering (luckily the lens was unharmed).  Next we purchased a nice monopod for her to use with her camera to assist taking photos at night while still being more mobile than a tripod.  Lastly, my hair was getting long enough where I began to feel like a teen heartthrob, so I purchased a set of hair clippers to help keep myself groomed.  Did I mention you can get whatever you want at Mustafa’s?

Taking those expenses out (which really have nothing to do with a stay in Singapore) and the chart looks more like this:

Modified Singapore expense chart

Modified Singapore expense chart

Food was an enormous portion of the expenses here, but only because we spent about US$100 on a single meal of chili crab at Boat Quay (a fine dining district).  This was an experience, for sure, but really pushed us over the targeted US$150/night budget we had originally set for ourselves.  The hotel was quite expensive, but that is the norm for even a semi-decent room in the city.  Otherwise, the city of Singapore is a wonderful stopover destination for budget travelers: transportation is extremely cheap and efficient (even to/from the airport), many of the sights to see are free or very inexpensive, and food can be both inexpensive and delicious (just visit Chinatown or Little India).

Our short stay in Singapore was fun yet exhausting, and although I wouldn’t categorize it as a “must-see” location in Southeast Asia, a multi-day layover in Singapore can be a great way to ease yourself into the craziness of Southeast Asia while giving you an opportunity to explore one of the world’s most vibrant cities.