By DEBORAH GRACE HADY.

Singapore is a tourist haven. The Little Red Dot no one can ever locate on a map is small, but is a heavyweight in the tourism industry. It’s busy, bustling and beautiful.

Singapore constantly juxtaposes big tall skyscrapers against a garden landscape, and so it has become fondly known as ‘The Garden City’.

Once you land in one of the world’s best airports, you’ll understand why everyone wants to visit Singapore once, twice, thrice in their lives. Yet, on a poor student’s budget, it can be a little hard – unless you’ve got rich parents bankrolling your whole trip. Fear not, we’ve got just what you need.

 

#1. Understand your tourist privileges

Singapore is a city designed to make your life as a tourist easy! There are so many tourist privileges; the 7% GST rebate, discounts and free casino entrance (we don’t recommend gambling your savings away, but take some snaps!).

The 7% GST rebate is going to be your biggest weapon against Singapore’s shopping. There are malls in every single neighbourhood, and the infamous Orchard Road boasts several huge, multi-storied shopping complexes. It is going to be hard not to go crazy over all the sales happening, so make sure you ask for your GST refund!

 

#2. Get an EZ Link card

You don’t need to have a car to live in Singapore. Their transport system, mainly the MRT and the buses, will get you anywhere you need to be. Don’t pay single fares, as they will add up! Buy an EZ Link card, especially if you’re staying more than three days. It will be worth it, I promise. The card can also be used for Sentosa, Singapore’s entertainment island that has a Universal Studios, a Sea World, Adventure Cove, and Resorts World.

 

#3. Find a friend who’s studying in Singapore

Okay, so I realise this could be hard. But I was an ex-Singapore student, so lucky me, I have amazing friends in Singapore. Why would this be useful? Because Singaporean students get a whole lot of discounts – student meals, 10% off some retail outlets… Just get your student friend to buy you a meal from their card!

 

#4. The best food is in cheap hawker centres, not fancy restaurants

Hawker centres are a mix of street food and restaurants. They are located outside, in the crazy heat of Singapore. They may not be the most comfortable places to eat if you aren’t used to them (mainly because it is so hot) but all of Singapore’s hawker centres are the cleanest in the world. They have the best local food (like chicken rice, laksa, nasi lemak and ice kachang). Get to know the local custom of “chopping” (a.k.a reserving) your seat with tissue papers or an umbrella!

 

#5. Don’t buy souvenirs from souvenir shops in tourist areas

The souvenir shops in tourist areas like Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay sell very expensive keychains. I’m sure your family and friends won’t mind cheaper ones from Moustafa or Bugis Lane.

 

#6. Free activities

There’s always something free to do in Singapore! You can take the lift up to the 55th floor in the Ion Orchard to see breathtaking views that will cost zero cents, or visit Gardens by the Bay and take a long walk amongst the flora and fauna.

 

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