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April 25, 2014
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Things to Do in Singapore

Photo by Vincent Ramundo

You have been warned: Singapore City, unlike its neighboring Asian cities, can cause fatal damage to your travel fund, especially if you are set to travel long-term. It is expected that a city as neat, organized, and safe as Singapore, a complete opposite of its neighbors, comes with a price. After all, a good night’s sleep and a relaxing trip require more than a comfortable bed. But fear not—there are many affordable hotels in Singapore.

But not everything in this city is expensive. Contrary to the rumors you may have heard, there are actually awesome destinations that you can experience that will not make a hole in your pocket.

Acclaimed for its elegant architecture, manicured urban landscapes, and sumptuous dishes, Singapore attracts both oriental and western travelers. But some hesitate to venturing here; rumors have it that Singapore is only meant for posh travelers and can leave a big hole in your pocket. Such is a myth. To prove, here are some Singapore hotels to choose from that are shockingly affordable. 

Wink Hostel

Wink Hostel transforms cheap accommodation into a stylish and elegant staycation.

Wink Hostel combines affordability, high-end technology, and sleek playfulness. It is designed with stylish geeks and young trendy travelers in mind.

The pods have sound-proof walls, automatic ambient backlight, power sockets for your gadgets, and extra soft linens. Even its ladies’ posh dormitory is equipped with vanity counters.

Plus, this place is strategically located at Chinatown’s photographic Mosque Street, locally known as kit ling bio pi, which translates to beside the King’s temple.  

Value Hotel Balestier

Value Hotel Balestier is an affordable hotel near Haji Lane.

Value Hotel Balestier has 208 air-conditioned rooms equipped with flat-screen TV and wireless Internet connection, ensuring your comfortable stay in Singapore. The bathrooms come with complimentary hair dryers and toiletries.

This affordable place is conveniently located near Haji Lane, the secret nook for fashionistas. To have an understanding of the early Chinese migrants and culture, heading to Chinatown Heritage Center is a lovely afternoon interlude. There is the nearby National Orchid Garden as well to awaken the nature lover in you.

Venue Hotel

Venue Hotel is a sophisticated yet reasonably priced accommodation near Geylang.  

Venue Hotel does not sacrifice quality and comfort. Its 81 air-conditioned rooms are elegantly decorated and equipped with flat-screen TV and refrigerators. The rooms come with a complimentary wireless Internet connection, a coffee/tea maker, and a safety deposit box.

Once you are settled in Venue Hotel, explore its immediate neighborhood. The lovely and historic Geylang is known for its well-preserved shop houses.

Blanc Inn

Blanc Inn is a sophisticated boutique Hostel near two MRT stations.

A five-minute walk to Farrer Park station and Lavender MRT station, Blanc Inn is a convenient and comfortable place to stay in Singapore. Its spacious alcoves equipped with curtains offer privacy that you can barely feel in some hostels.

Used to be an old shop house, Blanc Inn is transformed into a lovely and elegantly adorned boutique hostel. It is nestled between Little India and Arab Street, two of the must-experience places in this city-estate.

Classique Hotel

Classique Hotel provides convenient access to the city’s shopping and entertainment belt.

Classique Hotel comprised of 42 elegant and spacious rooms is just a ten-minute drive from the famous Orchard Road where the shopping and dining places run aplenty.

Its rooms are amply provided with contemporary amenities to ensure your comfort and relaxation. If you desire to be always connected to the whole world, Classique Hotel offers high-speed Internet access. Plus, its own café serves the best of two worlds: delectable local cuisines and famous western dishes.

Singapore is never expensive to a discerning traveler. It is always adaptive and welcoming to all. Yes, it is not a snobbish city. It is friendly and approachable to those who are willing and able.

If you are planning a trip to Singapore, here are some of the places to see and things to do in Singapore.

Little India: Experiencing India in Singapore

The vibrant colors, cacophonous sounds, and poignant smell of spices in the air around Little India will make it one of the most unique experiences you can ever have in Singapore. Stroll around and enter temples such as Sri Srinivasa Perumal, Sri Veeramakaliamman, and Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman to observe sacred Hindu rituals. If your palate craves something Indian, Little India has some of the best hawker food such as thosai and roti prata.

If you are looking for a place near lovely Little India, consider staying at Orchard Hotel Singapore, which has around 650 elegant rooms to choose from.

China Heritage Center: A Walk Through Chinese Migrant History

Along the historical Pagoda Streets, three shops were faithfully recreated to reflect the lives of the Chinese migrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A walk through this restoration translates to experiencing the history that has molded the megacity that Singapore is now. This place is a stark contrast to the intimidating high rises just a block or two away. If there is one cultural, historical walk you must do, China Heritage Center is it.

Haji Lane: The Fashionista’s Paradise

This hidden alley in the Muslim-dominated district is a paradise for every fashionista. Haji Lane is now the avenue of young designers and local businesspeople showcasing their creative and business skills.

Haji Lane is a great lens into the lives and lifestyles of young Singaporeans. If you are looking for a place to stay near this area, you do not have to look far. Stay at the affordable V Hotel Lavender.

Whatever your taste in fashion–eclectic, contemporary, vintage, or something in between–rest assured you will not leave Haji Lane empty-handed. Haji Lane is raw, unique, young, and undeniably fascinating.

Pulau Ubin: The Singapore That You Do Not Know

Sentosa is the island that comes to mind when you are asked about an island in Singapore. But Pulau Ubin is the real deal. It is a quaint and underrated island. Traveling here feels like you are witnessing Singapore back in the 1960s. It does not have the renowned and heralded skyscrapers, lively nightlife, and awesome shopping destinations; rather, what you get here is the unadulterated beauty of nature: serene, calm, and unhurried.

Singapore remains a city that is underrated and not extensively explored. Do not fall for the rumors. Go, pack your bag, and explore Singapore.

A small city like Singapore risks being judged as dull and predictable. Sure, its sleek high rises like Marina Bay Sands can awe people for its architectural delight, especially at night. But what else can a tiny, highly urbanized city offer visitors?

Contrary to popular opinion, small cities have charms that big ones lack. Singapore’s deceptive smallness makes it even more worthy to explore. Beyond the usual city tours that everyone may have already experienced, there are inviting little nooks just waiting for you.

Finding cheap hotels in Singapore should be least of your concerns. It is rather surprising that this city known for its lovely mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay culture has so many places that can perfectly fit your budget and preference.

Once you have checked in, walk, bike, explore, and feast on the Singapore that others may not know and may have overlooked. Let this be your secret guide.

Photo by Allan Tan

Green Corridor: Singapore City’s Green Lung

Quiet and unhurried are not often associated with Singapore, yet the city can prove you wrong. Green Corridor, a grassroots movement led by Nature Society (Singapore), is an abandoned railway that creates a lovely nature preserve in the heart of the city. It’s ideal if you feel like taking a break from the urban bustles and long for a serene communion with nature. You can take a walk or go for a bike ride in this metropolos’s green lung.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve: A Forest by the City

Although it is small for a nature park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is a sanctuary of more 800 flora and 500 fauna. Just 12 kilometers away from Singapore’s central business district, this park is ideal for picnics, a solemn walk through the woods, or simply for quieting the mind.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, dubbed one of the most fertile products of nature by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, is one of the biggest forests left untouched in Singapore.

It is comforting to know that a city known for its skyscrapers offers a natural respite at its doorsteps.

Maxwell Road: For Authentic Singaporean Dining  

A trip to Singapore is never complete without savoring its renowned authentic cuisine. After all, the taste and smell of any destination are as vital as the sights. Maxwell Road Hawker, situated in the center of Chinatown, is the home of more than 100 stalls, providing you expansive choices for your meal. Simple dishes any local eats, such as zhue kueh (literally water rice cake), the traditional congee topped with pork and a century egg, and char kway teow (literally stir-fried rice cake strips) are must-tries.

Know and savor Singapore through its dishes, and do not forget to burp in delight.

Singapore is more than a well-planned city. It is a garden that has some secret nooks others have yet to venture and explore. It is never boring; it keeps on changing. Be there to witness the unfolding of its beauty.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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