Singapore is the most organized country that I visited ever. And it has a reputation for being really expensive. When I was planning my tour to Singapore, many people screamed that it was expensive. So, I carefully crafted my tour to cover everything without harming my pocket. However, I learnt that Singapore allows people to come and visit their country by avoiding putting basic traveller needs barriers.
In some countries, including the USA, businesses offer free samples to try out their product or service first. That makes it more accessible to their product or service to motivate consumers to spend on them.
Founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew did talk about giving more affordable access to essentials of tourism. In a 2007 speech at the Singapore Tourism Board, he said:
“We have to make sure that tourism is affordable for everyone. We have to make sure that people can afford to come to Singapore, and we have to make sure that they can afford to do things while they are here. We have to make Singapore a destination for everyone.”Lee Kuan Yew
He also discussed the importance of making tourism more affordable for people from low-income countries. He said:
“We have to make sure that people from low-income countries can also enjoy Singapore as tourists. We have to make our hotels and restaurants more affordable for them, and we have to make sure that our tourist attractions are not too expensive.”Lee Kuan Yew
Singapore is the gateway to Asia and most regions are well connected via Singapore. So you can find frequent flights, a wide choice of airlines and good flight offers to or from Singapore. Not just 5-star airlines like Singapore Airlines, Emirates or Qantas, even low-cost airlines like Air Asia, Tiger Airways, and Scoot Airlines are also operating flights to Singapore. It makes Singapore more accessible by all means. So, anyone seeks for really cheap airfare with only a handful of suitcases even possible. So I believe no one will doubt the “let them come first” theory of Singaporean tourism on air accessibility.
On the other hand, very popular destinations like Barbados, may not have many affordable flights. Even Tokyo also got this issue.
Singapore is home to the most luxurious and expensive hotels in Asia and the world. However, you can find pretty good deals on booking.com or Airbnb.com. Apart from that, you can easily get a private room and en-suite bathroom for a fair price when it compared with Dubai, NYC or Zurich. If you are not stubborn like me over privacy, you can get dormitory rooms at hostels or private rooms with shared bathrooms for a really cheap price. Also, you can get a capsule hotel room in Singapore, if you are planning to explore the city through the day and just need a bed to sleep in.
Unfortunately, I am not that flexible about bathrooms or hotel rooms. I need a private en-suite bathroom with my Hotel room and I don’t like to share my bed except if it is a nice girl. When I was exploring Singapore, I paid 75 SGD per night per single room for two days and I recently checked the same hotel, the price is 100 SGD per night. It was a 3-star hotel. 125 SGD per double room at that time and the time I checked now, it’s 150 SGD per double room now.
At Jewel Changi Airport, you have the best accessibility to public transport. Airport taxis will charge a bit higher amount than usual at any airport. But, you have direct access to Singapore MRT / Tube / Underground / Train system. That Railway system will carry you anywhere in the country for a very cheap rate. To access this MRT underground railway, you don’t need to leave the airport. Within the terminal, you can get the MRT. As it is even accessible by wheelchairs, you are good to go even with big luggage as long as your luggage got wheels.
When mom was telling me and my sister that the Singapore MRT system got a train in every direction, every two minutes, we thought it is a lie. But, the Singapore MRT/LRT system is well-organised and accessible by wheelchairs even.
Let’s step into the juicier part of Singaporean transport policy over tourism. Singapore LRT/MRT or Buses welcome passengers and allow them to tap a prepaid card. So, you need to recharge the card and you need to tap in/out to calculate the fare. However, if you are a tourist and you can get a card for a fixed fee for the first three days and you can travel unlimited for that three days in MRT/LRT and busses as well. So your first three days of all travel needs are covered by a nominal fee. At that time, it was about 26 SGD. You just need to pay after the third day on a trip basis.
If you are a budget-concerned traveller, yet you love to travel to Singapore more than any other country. That’s why we certify that Singapore Tourism got a “Let them come first” good attitude. So, Singapore doesn’t scare away travellers and they allow travellers to come and enjoy first.
Singapore is really a law-respected nation. So the food quality is excellent in any place despite the class of the place. So the street vendors or street food places are also really hygienic and safe to eat as much as a star-class hotel. So you got plenty of really cheap food courts in certain areas where you can enjoy meals on a budget. As the strong law of the country makes you more comfortable to eat wherever you like without judging the place by price and class.
It is very good news for a person like me who really care about the hygienic quality of foods. So Singapore is a perfect place to enjoy street foods without concern about the cleanliness of food. So, you can definitely eat on a budget in Singapore. So “let them come first, is proven here more than anything.
Let’s start with the Iconic Merlion Park. In Dubai, Burj Khalifa is the icon of the city. Yet you cannot go close by to the fountain and that tower without paying. Merlion Park and the statue is the icon of Singapore. World’s biggest casino available hotel “Marina Bay Sand” is the background of that park. So the most important landmark and the most important area of access is completely free. The best photo location of the “Marina Bay Sand” is also free. You can see a nice fountain water show and the “Marina Bay Sand” light show also for free.
Beyond the iconic landmark, the most important place in Singapore is Sentosa Resort Island. It is the most luxurious resort area in the country. The Island is accessible in a few ways. LRT, Cable Car and a few other premium ways are there. But, you can take the travellators or/and travel by foot under shades. So the entry ticket was only 1 SGD those days. and I believe it hasn’t changed. The good part is most of the time the authority waives that entry fee and allows you to enter for free if you go on foot. Yet the Sentosa is the most expensive resort to visit and you can enter it for free.
Even though most things are really expensive on this resort Island, you can see plenty of excursions to take for Free. You can see lots of theme areas for free and do some activities for free. You can take a dip in the Indian Ocean in crystal clear waters near white sand beaches for free. Most of tropical countries do not offer that kind of best beaches for free. You need to pay or stay at a resort to enjoy the best. Sentosa is really expensive and yet allows plenty of things to do for free which you cannot get for free in another country.
Let’s go to Experience + and how Singapore earn money. Even though the signature things in Singapore are very affordable, you need to pay a crazy premium to experience the best of the best.
World’s Highest Infinity Pool on the Rooftop of Marina Bay Sand Hotel
This iconic swimming pool is only accessible to the guests who stay in the hotel. There is no way to use only the pool or at least you cannot enter the pool area/rooftop unless you are staying in the hotel. If you need to experience or at least take a photograph at the World’s highest infinity pool, the price tag comes with hundreds or thousands of dollars.
World’s largest freestanding casino at Marina Bay Sand
It says 500 SGD to enter the casino for locals and foreigners can enter for Free. The casino stands over 3 floors.
Singapore flyer is a London eye class observation wheel. There is an entry fee for that and it is comparatively high.
Universal Studio and Other Things in Sentosa
Most of the iconic activities in Sentosa Island come with really expensive package prices. The more you buy more discount you get for each activity. And the most of activities in the resort are really “Can’t-miss” opportunities. You wouldn’t say once you get there and once you see those.
So that’s how Singapore has been designed as a destination. They allow everybody to come and you will not miss the best of the best that comes with a premium price tag if you are affordable. If you can not afford it, you can experience most essentials on a budget and you can come again to see the best once you can afford those.
Most rising tourism-based economies may not grab this theory easily. Singapore is really ahead of most tourism-based countries because of their way modern and efficient policies.
If you compare Singapore tourism with a high-end destination like Maldives, they are way behind on accessibility by all means.
On my tour to Singapore, I could not save much money on my stubborn choice of hotels. But I could save some money on travel and flights yet I enjoyed the best food selection. I spent that saved money on Universal Studio, Singapore Aquarium and a few other iconic things in Singapore.
I missed a few things, like Singapore Flyer, Sentosa Cable Car, and Marina Bay Sand Hotel (Even the casino was accessible) and Supergrow Trees Park.
So, Singapore is really a “Let them come first” destination that all kinds of travellers are welcome to spend some money in their country. Whopping 3 million or near tourists are visiting Singapore every year to see a compact luxury destination in Asia. The quality of the travellers is based on spending power, yet really high in Singapore.
Last but not least, Jewel Changi Airport of Singapore is also solely a destination to experience more than a day. I was lucky to explore the airport as well. The only complaint about the airport is the waiting area before check-in or after check-out got a really bad uncomfortable set of chairs. Maybe they will improve it soon. All other things are nearly perfect at Changi airport which leads to several airport awards.