Singapore rivals Hong Kong in many ways: both are former British Crown colonies, they are two of the leading financial cities in the world, they both are ridiculously humid, etc. Singapore, however, is a much more clean, austere, and even more “westernized” version of Hong Kong. While most of its cultural charms have vanished or have been pushed aside to the islands, Singapore offers quite a bit of fun and sights to see,
especially if you have the wallet for it.
Singapore is definitely not the cheapest destination to visit, with the current US dollar hovering around 1.36 Singapore dollars, definitely dropping a bit since I visited (yay for those of you who want to visit now!) When you are on a
barely-scraping-by-ESL-teacher’s-budget backpackers budget, Singapore can be quite a daunting place to visit, but if you plan ahead you can get by without going too much in the red.
One of the most well-known sights in Singapore is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel that offers the highest and most stunning view of Singapore, as you overlook an infinity pool. Staying at the hotel can set you back a pretty penny and it costs $23 Singapore Dollars – around $17USD – to just visit the pool and see the view. It doesn’t even cost that much to visit the world’s tallest observation deck at the Shanghai World Financial Center! But, there is a trick to escape this.
Next to the infinity pool is a bar called KU DÉ TA which offers the same stunning views and at almost 1/4 of the cost! All you have to do is say you would like to grab a drink/food at the bar and you are whisked onto an elevator and up you go. I went with my amazing aunt and we just ordered fresh, squeezed juice that cost around $6SGD* and we got to sit (well, I ran around like a crazy person trying to take photos) and enjoy the view.
While the downside is you will not be able to take a photo of the Singapore skyline from a head-on view of the infinity pool (you can only do this if you stay at the Marina Bay Sands or book the $23SGD Skytower tour) you can still get some wonderful shots. I will have my “juice” and drink it too!
*Please note that I visited Singapore in October of 2012 and prices may have changed since then.