Is Singapore Expensive? One Epic Week in the City of the Merlion

Is Singapore worth visiting? Is Singapore Expensive? Read all about Singapore from both a Tourist and a Business Traveler Viewpoint. Plus, FOOD!!!

“ Is Singapore worth visiting? ” was probably one of the most frequently asked question by travelers planning which SE Asian countries to explore in their journeys.

“It’s expensive. There’s no adventure there. Way too many rules” were amongst the top complains by travelers that have already been to the city of the Merlion.

But could it be possible that they are wrong and Singapore is in fact an awesome city to travel either for business or pleasure?

Here’s the story of my epic week in Singapore my wonder friend. Warning: The photos here might make you think you’re actually in the future!!!

Is Singapore worth visiting?

The beautiful city lights of Singapore

Is Singapore worth visiting? The Funky Futuristic Hub of SE Asia

When you think of cities in SE Asia, the words “pristine clean and crime-free” are probably hard to come up with but Singapore is definitely up there (and even above, if you ask me) with the metropolitan cities found in North America and Western Europe.

This virtual quasi-perfection is actually what turns off most adventure seekers since there’s technically nothing that can go wrong. After all, the most epic travel anecdotes of SE Asia usually involve doing things that are slightly outside the boundaries of legality.

Singapore? Singapore thrives with rules and regulations including a ban on chewing gum as well as a ban on drinking water while you’re on the metro. Say what? Are they going to ban Sombreros too?

Is Singapore worth visiting?

Pranking the welcome guard at the AMOY Boutique Hotel

And yes, I’m probably exaggerating a little bit but trust me, as long as you play by the rules, you shall be totally fine and have the time of your life in this bubbling city filled with many interesting attractions (most of them totally free of charge).

During my most recent visit to Singapore I was able to see the city as a tourist as well as a business traveler and here’s my different takes on what to expect from both sides of the spectrum.

Tip of Wonders: If you’re arriving to the airport during day time hours, the MRT (metro) is the best non-expensive option by far.

However, if you’re arriving late at night, my best suggestion is to try out Black Lane for airport transfer in Singapore. Traveling by a black limo is pretty dope yo!

Is Singapore worth visiting?

The Supertrees of Singapore at Night

Singapore as a Tourist AKA how to enjoy without filing for bankruptcy

If you’re visiting Singapore as a tourist, chances are that you’re having a stop- over on the way to a third SE Asian destination and you decided to make the most of it.

It is also likely that you’re probably going to spend more money in 2 days than on 2 weeks in Vietnam. Honestly, I’m still in total shock after paying 6 USD for a bowl of Pho soup!

Nevertheless, the best two attractions of Singapore (in my opinion) are TOTALLY FREE of charge and actually just in front of each other: The Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show and the Night Rhapsody at the Gardens by the Bay.

Is Singapore worth visiting?

The Chinese Heritage of Singapore

The Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show (aptly named Wonder Full) takes place every day at 8:00pm and 9:30pm (on weekends there’s an extra performance at 11:00) and it’s basically 15 minutes of pushing the boundaries of creativity and storytelling.

The show can be best enjoyed outside of the Marina Bay Sands Shopping Mall overlooking the bay (be sure NOT to sit at the front since your view will be very limited and people will shout at you if you try to stand up).

Would you like to listen to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”? Come to Singapore and feel the magic!

Is Singapore worth visiting?

Singapore, the Wonderful City of the Future

The second (and frankly, my personal favorite) free attraction of Singapore is the Night Rhapsody at the Gardens by the Bay that takes place every day at 7:45pm and 8:45pm.

Fancy a little bit of Broadway in your life? Enjoy the razzle dazzle while the supertrees light up in an alien futuristic setting my wonder friends!

Note: Entrance to the Gardens themselves is free of charge but you have to pay if you want to enter the closed domes or if you want to walk the sky bridge atop the trees.

Is Singapore worth visiting?

Rhapsody at the Gardens by the Bay

Where to stay in Singapore if you’re visiting as a Tourist

Singapore has its fair share of luxury hotels, boutique hotels, sky high apartment rentals, cozy hostels and much much much more. During my first few days in Singapore I partnered with Far East Hospitality to explore two very different areas of the city.

The first stop was Chinatown and the AMOY Boutique Hotel whose entrance is actually a museum about the history of Singapore itself. Isn’t it crazy how fast the economy and wealth of this tiny country developed??? Plus, the Lau Pa Sat hawker food centre is just a few mins away. BEST SATAY EVER!

The second stop was the Luxurious Village Hotel Katong located in the Joo Chiat ‘hood where one can enjoy the distinct Peranakan culture and a dish of laksa, the signature dish of Singapore. Bonus points if you manage to find the legendary laksa place that Gordon Ramsey visited. No hints!!!

Isn’t this bath tube inside the bedroom the stuff that dreams are made of?

You can make a booking for this and more properties via our Affiliate Link of Wonders!

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

Is Singapore worth visiting?

Inside the room of the Katong Village Hotel

Singapore as a Business Traveler AKA how to get ready to conquer the City of the Merlion LIKE A BOSS

As I mentioned before, the main purpose of my trip to Singapore was purely business (although quoting James Bond, my typer of business is always my pleasure): my first speaking engagement at a Travel Conference.

To be more specific, I was invited to speak at ITB Asia about Social Media Travel Marketing alongside other awesome Travel Bloggers, all of us board members of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.

Pretty groovy, uh?

Is Singapore worth visiting?

The Merlion, Guardian of Singapore

I’ll kid you not: business travel is exhausting. Meetings, networking, drinks and work take place at both day and night time so it’s no wonder (ha) that most business travelers have 0 time to do any sight seeing.

My Tip of Wonders? Schedule off-site meetings near the conference centre in cafes or bars located in EPIC places. You’ll be surprised to see how creative a new setting is for the business mind.

The sky is not even the limit when it comes to doing business in the City of the Merlion (can you believe I got invited to a kick boxing training booth camp?) so be sure to aim high high high!!!

Is Singapore worth visiting?

The Supertrees of Singapore

Whether you’re visiting Singapore for business or for pleasure, the city will marvel you with its mixture of convenience (EVERYBODY speaks amazing English!!!) and exoticness (China Town, Little India and Arab Street will charm you with their authenticity).

And yes, don’t forget to grab a drink (OF COURSE it has to be the Original Singapore Sling) atop the iconic Marina Bay Sands to enjoy THE best night view of the City of the Merlion.

Next time I’m swimming in that infinity pool for sure!!! Mark my words!

The view from the top of the Marina Bay Sands

The view from the top of the Marina Bay Sands

And speaking about the Merlion…well, let’s just say that it has the honor of joining the Meneken Piss and the Little Mermaid in my list of over rated iconic statues. They do sell amazing ice cream in a around the area so I guess it ain’t so bad?

Other interesting places to visit (which I didn’t for lack of time) include Sentosa Island, Tekka Centre (epic food court in Little India) and Universal Studious. Next time. There’s always a next time.

Long story short…is Singapore worth visiting? YES. YES. THOUSAND TIMES YES! BEST FOOD IN ASIA BY FAR!!!

Is Singapore Worth Visiting?

The Wonder Full Water and Light Show

Where to stay in Singapore if you’re visiting as a Business Traveler

Sometimes, location is better than luxury and that’s why apartment rentals are some of the most popular choices for business travelers to Singapore, specially those that are walking distance to the conference centers.

This time, I stayed at the Metro Residences located just a few minutes walk to the bay area of Singapore. The rooms are very cozy and they even have not one but TWO pools in the building. If you’re looking for corporate rentals, this is definitely a good choice.

This is my work view from the private balcony. Not bad for getting some wonderful writing inspiration, uh?

Is Singapore worth visiting?

The view of Singapore from Metro Residences

I hope you have enjoyed this article about the Wonders of Singapore. Don’t forget to subscribe in order to get more awesome updates and tips straight to your e-mail!

Have you ever been to Singapore? Would you like to? How was your experience like? Boring or Exciting? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

Until next time, my friends!

The Ultimate Singapore Travel Guide

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17 Responses

  1. Tibor Fiers

    Rules are good rules in Singapore, where the most friendly and polite and happy and easygoing people lives . The government does not let rude and aggressive films on Tv and people are just beautiful and educated and living healthy lifestyle . Higher living standard than Australia : less than 2.4% unemployed rates- less than half of Australia- 2 years longer average life time, education and to much to mention is above Australian living standards.

  2. Clare N

    Re:swimming in the Marina Bay Sands pool. Since you have to be a guest there, go up to the pool first thing in the morning when it opens. I did that and had the entire pool to myself! It was magical to see the lights of Singapore dim and the sunrise. Also you can have a hot tub to yourself. So much better than in the afternoon when the pool is jammed with people.

  3. Karianne

    Singapore was meant to be a quick stop over on our way to Malaysia. I thought I’d hate it – too modern, too rich.

    I was totally wrong! I absolutely loved it – so much so, that I remember my husband and I sitting in a cafe talking about relocating for good!

    We didn’t find it too expensive. We stayed in an AirBnb and ate in hawker markets – and as you said, some of the best attractions are free (I’d also pop in wandering around China Town and seeing some of the beautiful temples). We did pay to go in to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest – but I think they were worth it!

  4. Thomas Paul

    Singapore is amazing place. It is modern country with a lot of sky building, perfect traffic system and a lot of amazing parks… I love it and I will be back sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  5. hemp cord

    wow! these are so beautiful lightnings and have so many good things to enjoy. Design and architecture both are so good and stunning photos you shared. Singapore is amazing place. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  6. Arianwen

    I loved Singapore. It was a breath of fresh air after travelling Southeast Asia for 10 months. Sure, it’s quite pricey, but you can get around so easily, it feels incredibly safe, you can find anything you might need and there’s so much cool stuff to do there. Even their botanical gardens are awesome!

  7. Victoria @The British Berliner

    ‘Nice post Raphael!

    Have I ever been to Singapore? Yes, during my GAP year after university. And this was way before I came to live in Germany as an expat! Singapore was my last stop before I finally returned to Berlin, and after all the other lovely Asian destinations, it was a shock!

    The best part was the fact that I met a couple in Thailand, and met the very same couple months later, in Singapore. That was cool! The zoo, the safari, and all the tourist attractions were impressive. Being British (Ho! Ho!), I didn’t find it expensive, and it was very clean.

    What was my experience like? Sadly, even with all the great points above, it was pretty boring mate! I kept bumping into British expats everywhere who were working in the financial sector, and the Americans that I met, were all retired! And for the very first time ever, I couldn’t seem to make friends with the locals. I mean, I had just returned from Hong Kong where I had so much fun and was invited everywhere, and then to Singapore where it was the complete opposite. I really tried my best, but no can do. I stayed for a week, and then I flew elsewhere!

    Would I visit Singapore again? Only as a stop-over!

    p.s. Congratulations on the ITB Asia speaking gig. ‘Lovely to see you again in Berlin! :D