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Is US$20 enough for a day in Singapore? Tourist couple test it out

Singapore is not the cheapest holiday destination, so two tourists decided to try surviving on a budget of US$20 (S$27.50) for a day.

Irish couple Eoin and Aisling, who have been on various backpacking adventures since 2021, documented their experiment in a YouTube video on Sunday (Nov 5). 

“Singapore is known as a pretty expensive country to try and travel [to] and today, we’re going to put that to the test,” Eoin says at the start of the clip. 

For the challenge, they only included essentials like food, transport and activities. 

They start their day with a bus ride from the East Coast neighbourhood they were staying at to Bugis, which costs them both US$2.10. 

“The buses here in Singapore are super handy and they’re also very, very affordable,” Eoin comments in the video. 

They grab some ice cream (US$1.50 for two cones) from Mixue’s Bugis Street outlet, before going to the nearby Albert Centre Market and Food Centre for lunch. 

With the sheer variety of food, they spend “20 minutes walking around trying to decide” but finally have a plate of economy rice, chicken cutlet kolo mee and ice kopi for US$7.75.  

“If you’re looking to eat cheaply in Singapore, then making use of the many hawker centres is going to be your best bet,” says Aisling. 

“Honestly, the options here are great and most meals come with a really low price tag.”

The couple then spend some time exploring the Bugis area before buying some water from 7-Eleven for US$1.50. 

They cool off in the air-conditioned Raffles City mall before exploring Boat Quay and Marina Bay. They enjoy a free concert at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and head to Gardens by the Bay for the Garden Rhapsody light show at Supertree Grove. 

On their way there, they buy a mint chocolate chip wafer ice cream for US$1.10 from a traditional ice cream vendor. 

“The heat today is ridiculous. It’s really, really humid. Ice cream solves all your problems in life,” says Eoin. 

At Gardens by the Bay, they catch a Mid-Autumn Festival event and are lucky enough to grab two of the packet drinks being given out free by the organiser.

“Unreal, because we are actually nearly out of water and juice and we’re about to go watch the Supertree show so these are going to keep us hydrated,” says Eoin. 

After the light show, the couple have dinner at Ah Heng Curry Chicken Noodle at Hong Lim Market & Food Centre.   

They pay US$5.90 for two bowls of curry noodle soup and this wipes out the rest of their money. 

Still, the night ends happily for them with a free light show outside Marina Bay Sands. The couple reveal that they managed to keep to below their budget, having spent US$19.85 in total.

“That is our US$20 challenge complete here in Singapore. Smashed it, no bother,” says Eoin, reminding viewers that the amount was for two people.  

“So if you’re coming here as a solo traveller, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as what you’re probably imagining it to be.” 

Their parting tips: Eat at hawker centres, use public transport and take advantage of the free activities available.