The Melting Pot: Colorful Diversity in Singapore

Walking around Kampong Gelam diversity in Singapore

What to do with 5 Days in Singapore

This place is diverse. Singapore is a city-state perched on the tip of the Malay Peninsula between Malaysia and Indonesia Although, it is only half the size of Rhode Island it is home to 5.45 million people. This makes the country the third most densely populated country in the world after Macao and Monaco. It’s truly amazing to witness such a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities first-hand. After just one day here, I already feel a sense of inclusivity that I haven’t been able to achieve living in South Korea off and on for 8+ years. Now, I don’t want to say that one place is better than the other, but I must admit I prefer living in a diverse culture rather than a homogenous one.

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Discovering Singapore on a Shoestring

A Budget Traveler’s Guide

When it comes to travel, Singapore is known for its melting pot of culture, stunning architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine. However, some may hesitate to visit this bustling city-state due to its reputation for being expensive. And it can be. However, with careful planning and a little insider knowledge, it’s absolutely possible to have an incredible time in Singapore without breaking the bank. In this guide, we’ll explore various tips and recommendations for exploring Singapore on a budget.

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Finding Affordable Accommodation

Village Albert Court Hotel

All Roads do not lead to the Marina Bay Sands or Raffles. Some go to Chinatown, Little India, and Kampong Glam too. There are lots of budget-friendly hotels, hostels, and homestays scattered around Singapore. Even though the city is considered to be expensive, take your time and find accommodations that speak to your sense of style, meet your needs, and don’t cost an arm or a leg. You’ll need both to explore the city. We chose to stay in the Village Albert Court in Little India, and it turned out to be a perfect choice.

Are you looking for a beautiful cafe to try some Singaporean Coffee, click HERE for a cafe hopping experience.

This lovely British Colonial style hotel features a central courtyard, dark wood furniture, a restaurant, and is conveniently located close to restaurants and bars. Not only did it fit our budget, but it also added a touch of charm and elegance to our stay.

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Don’t be a Mickey Mouse

The biggest problem I have about Singapore is its occasional resemblance to a theme park. Numerous attractions seem tailored purely for visitor amusement. And yet, they barely scratch the surface of Singapore’s melting pot culture. In truth, many of these activities are priced so high that the only locals you’ll encounter are those employed there. By all means, have fun and explore these sights, they are absolutely beautiful. However, don’t restrict your Singaporean adventure to Orchard Road, the Marina, or the plethora of malls, eateries, and other tourist-dominated zones.

Additionally try to bundle as many activities, including public transportation, as you can to save money. In instances where public transport proves to be inconvenient in terms of time or money, consider calling a Grab. They were both convenient and relatively affordable especially the day we decided to cafe hop.

Check out my experience designing my very own perfume at Sifr Aromatics HERE.

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Free and Affordable Activities in Singapore

Singapore offers a plethora of free or relatively inexpensive activities that will keep you entertained throughout your visit. Some are better than others. Here are a few of my favorite completely free activities.

  • The Marina Bay Gardens
  • Hike Mount Faber
  • Watch the light show at Marina Bay Sands
  • Explore the Botanical Gardens
  • Take a historical stroll through Fort Canning Park
  • Hike MacRitchie Reservoir
  • Visit the Marina Art in the Gardens
  • Garden Rhapsody Light Show
  • Sri Krishna Temple
  • Buddha Tooth Temple
  • Sultan Mosque
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Marina Bay Gardens

Explore the magnificent gardens in the Marina Bay area, including the Supertree Grove and Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes.

The Gardens are so expansive, you may find yourself alone with your thoughts. They also serve as an ideal sanctuary for finding tranquility and serenity, while getting in your steps.

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Botanic Gardens

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss the National Orchid Garden, where a small fee is required to enter. But it’s well worth it.

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Treetop Walks and Hikes

It is year all year round in Singapore, so you should take advantage of the local trails early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Lace up your sneakers and hike Mount Faber, the Southern Ridges Walk or MacRitchie Reservoir Park, and enjoy breathtaking views along the way.

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Light Shows

Witness the captivating light shows at iconic locations like the Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. These spectacular displays are free and not to be missed. But this isn’t the only light show available– there are many more.

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Malls, Street Shopping & Orchard Road

Bugis Street

The shopping scene in Singapore didn’t fail me. It’s a vibrant mix of options that caters to every taste and budget. Whether I’m wandering through the bustling street markets or exploring the wallet-friendly malls like Bugis Street, there’s a world of fantastic deals waiting to be discovered on clothing, accessories, and souvenirs.

Immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere of street markets, Bugis Street stands out as an iconic destination. The sheer variety of clothing options available is astounding, ranging from traditional garments that speak to Singapore’s rich heritage to the latest fashion trends that reflect the city’s cosmopolitan vibe. It’s a paradise for expressing my personal style and finding pieces that make a statement. The assortment of accessories is equally impressive, featuring everything from bold statement pieces to trendy handbags that add the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. And let’s not forget the treasure trove of souvenirs—I can easily find unique mementos and gifts that encapsulate the essence of Singapore and serve as lasting reminders of my time there.

Orchard Road

Singapore is known for its luxury shopping. However, Orchard Road also has affordable options. So explore various retail outlets, catch street performances, and soak in the bustling atmosphere without spending a fortune.

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Temples, Churches & Mosques

If you’ve read any of my posts, you know I love visiting religious sites for their architecture, symbolism, and place in history. There are a few worth mentioning. I stumbled upon the Sri Krishna Temple on one of my morning walks. It is a stunning temple. So feel free to ask questions as you explore the grounds.

Other notable religious sites worth visiting include the Thian Hock Keng Temple, a stunning Chinese temple dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea, and the majestic Masjid Sultan, one of Singapore’s oldest and most significant mosques. I also enjoyed the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the Sultan Mosque, and Chijmes, a renovated church turned coffee and restaurant venue.

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I really enjoyed cafe hopping in Singapore. So feel free to immerse yourself in Singapore’s vibrant café culture. Enjoy a cup of local kopi or indulge in delicious yet affordable meals at charming cafes throughout the city.

You don’t have to tip in Singapore. Most establishments add a 10% service fee to your bill automatically.

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Exploring the Melting Pot of Cultural Neighborhoods

Enjoy yourself by leisurely strolling through neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little India, the Peranakan area, or Haji Lane, as they unfold a vibrant tapestry of cultures before your eyes. These vibrant enclaves offer a diverse range of cultural experiences, inviting you to explore colorful temples, peruse traditional shops, and indulge in authentic street food that tantalizes your taste buds with its aromatic flavors.

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Consider making your trip to Singapore truly unforgettable by visiting Sifr Aromatics and having your very own signature scent created. This boutique perfumery specializes in crafting unique fragrances tailored to individual preferences, making it the perfect souvenir to encapsulate your memories of the Lion City.

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Affordable Dining Options

In fact, food aficionados will find Singapore to be a gastronomic melting pot, where they can indulge in a variety of culinary delights. What’s more, relishing the local fare doesn’t require breaking the bank at high-end eateries. Instead, the city’s ubiquitous hawker centers serve up affordable meals, ensuring that delicious food is accessible in every corner of Singapore. In fact, it’s worth noting that some of these renowned stalls have even been awarded Michelin stars for their exceptional quality.

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