My first visit to Singapore was back in 2002 when I was in college, it was during my sem break and I stayed in Singapore for 2 weeks. My aunt who was back then working as a nurse in Singapore gave me a post-birthday gift/tour.
It was my first out of the country trip and I was so excited that I will ride an airplane as an adult (lol). I didn’t know what to expect in Singapore because all I know is that the country is very strict, got so many laws – no chewing gum, no spitting, no smoking and a lot more. Though it wasn’t my concern back I was anticipating what country looked like, is it like Manila? or Makati with tall buildings?
Singapore Back Then…
I traveled via Singapore Airlines and because it was my first time to travel abroad, from Manila I was escorted by the airline staff until we reached Changi Airport, Singapore. Singapore back then has nice weather, it was hot though but not humid unlike last month June of 2017 that was my 2nd time to come back to Singapore after 15 years!
Singapore After 15 Years
The country has changed so much, added numerous buildings, condominiums and more train stations. More cars, more people and very HUMID! Like every time I went out of my hotel, I was really perspiring A LOT! But because I’m a mommy, whenever I travel/tour around the city I bring a small towel, baby wipes, extra clothes, and FAN, lol.
After our 3-week vacation in Australia, my kid and I had a short 3-day trip to Singapore. We stayed in Budget One Hotel in Geylang – a 3-star hotel which by the way the worst HOTEL I ever stayed in.
We paid 2,500 PHP / 50 USD per night with no daily breakfast, the hotel is located in the RED DISTRICT of Singapore, and our hotel room has a RAT – YUCK!!! Guys, never ever book a room here! DON’T!!!
However, our hotel is strategically located a few steps away from the BUS STATION and 500 meters away from the nearest MRT STATION. Also, just across the hotel, there are hawker stalls that offer super cheap food for only 3 SGD / 100 PHP – Young chow rice with 1 fried chicken, add 50 cents and you have 1 fried egg.
After 5 stays staying in Manila, I went back to Singapore but now with my blogger friends and we started our 2-week South East Asia trip in Singapore. I came to Singapore alone and waited for my 2 friends to come at 12 midnight because we had a different flight schedule via Cebu Pacific.
We stayed at Fragrance Hotel Geylang which is a much better location than the Budget One Hotel. Still in the Red District but there are no ladies staying outside the hotel or roaming around the street. Also, during our 2-day stay at the hotel, we’ve seen many Filipinos staying at the hotel and even other foreigners.
We paid 2,100 PHP / 42 USD per night with no breakfast, we stayed in a standard twin bed. Our hotel room is clean, though it’s small thank God it’s clean and NO RAT nor COCKROACH. Has a hot/cold shower, a cable tv, and comfy bed.
Together with my friends, we aim to spend only 10,000 PHP / 200 USD for the whole trip. But I brought with me 15,000 PHP / 300 USD just to be sure that I will be able to buy whatever I want especially FRIDGE MAGNET, Yup! I’m a sucker for a fridge magnet.
Our expense for the whole 2-week trip:
* 4,700 PHP / 94 USD – Manila to Singapore, Ho Chi Minh to Manila airfare via Cebu Pacific. (This airfare ticket is not included from my pocket money)
* 1,500 PHP / 30 USD – Singapore to Kuala Lumpur airfare via Jetstar.
* 1,500 PHP / 30 USD – Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok airfare via Air Asia.
* 3,000 PHP / 60 USD – Bangkok to Chiang Mai roundtrip airfare
* 1,700 PHP / 34 USD – Bangkok to Siem Reap bus fare via Giant Ibis
* 750 PHP / 15 USD – Siem Reap to Phnom Penh bus fare via Giant Ibis
* 900 PHP / 18 USD – Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh bus fare via Giant Ibis
Because our hotel accommodations from Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, and Ho Chi Minh are all sponsored I am able to save worth 18,000 PHP / 360 USD (2-3 pax room sharing expenses) hotel expenses for 2 weeks. That’s a HUGE saving and we are able to stay in a nice, comfy, clean and luxurious hotel (we only paid our hotel in Singapore and Phe Nom Penh).
For some travelers they opt to stay in a hostel which fine and practical also, some would also prefer to travel via bus from Singapore to Vietnam but we opt to fly then but we got no choice that we had to take a bus from Thailand to Vietnam because it’s freaking EXPENSIVE to travel via air. Like we had to pay 3 – 4x higher for a usual 1,500 PHP / 30 USD one-way airfare ticket.
We try to make sure that we’ll be able to enjoy our trip even if we didn’t need to buy entrance tickets to amusement parks and zoo which will cost us so much and besides I am not traveling with my kid so it’s totally ok!
In Singapore, you can visit a lot of tourist spots that you don’t need to shell out money for entrance. Here’s what we did for a day-tour in Singapore. The only thing spend was for our bottled water, lunch and UBER fee (sharing for 3 pax).
Take advantage of what’s in Universal Studios Sentosa. This place will surely enjoy anyone whose kid at heart.
Go to Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands, and Butterfly Park and enjoy the scenery. Getting inside the butterfly park has an entrance fee so we didn’t bother getting there though, lol. I was supposed to go there when I was with my daughter but because it’s very hot and humid in Singapore my kid wanted to go to the shopping mall instead.
I’m not able to tour around Little India and Chinatown but definitely, on my next visit to Singapore will make sure I’ll go there and take tons of photos.
It was also nice to see some former colleagues and high school friends in Singapore who are all working there as an OFW. A quick catch up over dinner in a hawker just a few meters away from our hotel.
Just because you are on a tight budget and you wanna stick to your allotted money on your trip doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a country and you can do less. Just enjoy the city and perhaps walk around the area where you are staying.