Reports lately have been showing that Singapore is one of, if not, the most expensive country to live in. You can find them everywhere, on Business Insider, BBC News, Singapore Straits Times, Time and The Guardian. However, as a Singaporean myself, I’d beg to differ. Let’s break it down and understand why.
Food: Not Expensive
According to the Club Sandwich Index, Singapore is ranked #9. Yes, if you come to Asia and bring your western attitude and behaviors here, it is going to be expensive. The weather in Singapore is not suitable for your gourmet cheese, wine and other delicate food. Thus, it would be more expensive to keep up with that western lifestyle. Not to mention, we have some outrageous alcohol taxes, which makes everything more expensive.
However, you can get a full meal with just S$3 in a hawker centre in Singapore. Local food like Chicken Rice, Mee Pok, Laksa, etc. cost S$3 (U.S. $2.20). Drinks are also around S$1 like our local Teh Tarik. You can get a full meal (with drinks) under S$5 easily, at any hawker centre in Singapore. That’s about 3€. For 3€, you can probably get a gyros in Greece, Döner in Germany or pizza in Italy, without drinks.
Social Entertainment: Yes Expensive
However when we move on from food to alcoholic drinks, it becomes a little steeper here. Singapore has high alcohol taxes and alcohol restrictions. Shisha is even illegal here! So comparing to countries like Cambodia with US$0.50 beer in Pub Street, it is expensive. Fret not, we have Ladies Night here, where drinks are free for ladies!
Entertainment: Not Expensive
How about other entertainments in Singapore? I know many people constantly complain about the lack of things to do. However, that is absolutely not true. We have food trails, heritage trails, gardens, parks, zoo, and countless things to do here.
The Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO site and it is free for all to enter. You can run, cycle, picnic, chill or simply just to enjoy the flora and fauna there. The Orchid Garden is also free for all Singaporeans during the SG50 period. We also have tons of museums open and they are usually free too.
Check out Free Things to do in Singapore
Education: Yes Expensive
Another E in the category, Education is expensive in Singapore. Singapore is the 4th most expensive place to study after US, UK and Australia. However, if you are here to live, travel or work, this is not in the consideration.
Travelling: Not Expensive
For education, most people come to Singapore for exchange programs. This is a wise move, because Singapore is a perfect hub for travelling South East Asia. Return tickets to nearby nations cost around S$100-160. Do look out for discount codes, discount days and discount flights, because they happen too frequently!
It is quite difficult to not travel with the low cost of travelling! Check out the low-cost flights before flying. Not only are there flights, we have coach and buses to Malaysia, and ferries to Indonesia. It is comparably cheaper to travel on land and sea than flying all the time.
All in all, Singapore is not a very expensive place to live, study or work in. The food comes in so many varieties and at such a low cost. The people are also so friendly, and travelling to nearby destinations is not as expensive too. I disagree that Singapore is the most expensive place to live in, although it is definitely not the cheapest too.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.