Five Stones Hotel, May 2015. Singapore can certainly present some challenges for the budget-conscious traveler. There are a handful of hostels in town and my considerable research suggested Five Stones, located right in the heart of the city on Beach Road, was probably the pick of the bunch. With beds in a mixed dorm going for around $30-35 SGD a night ( £18/$24), this is indeed one of the cheapest options around. But having come directly from southern Thailand, I was admittedly feeling the sting of having my nightly hostel rate tripled. The upsides? The hostel was clean enough and the staff were friendly and efficient. The major downside? Sharing my mixed dorm with a huge Indian family who treated the space as if it were there own private living room.
Haji Lane, May 2015. Hidden away in the city’s pretty Muslim quarter, Haji Lane is a fun spot to wander around checking out Singapore’s high-end fashion scene. The stores are gorgeous, the price tags will have your eyebrows jumping off your face and the street art is among the best I’ve ever seen. It’s also a good place for a pricy but perfectly sculpted latte.
Hawker Centre, May 2015. Don’t leave Singapore without checking into at least one of its hawker centres, the ultimate two fingers up to the city’s overpriced restaurant scene, where a nibble costs you an arm and a leg and the person serving it can barely hide their contempt for you. So what is a hawker centre? Basically, they’re semi-enclosed buildings packed with row after row of food stalls. It’s predominantly Asian fare, with everything from noodles, meat-and-rice combos and Chinese dumplings to pancakes, stir-fry dishes, fruit shakes and more. Meals are prepared to order, the sellers ooze a no-nonsense friendliness and, above all else, the food is good and the price is right. This pork, rice and egg plate, served with tangy soup and an obligatory beer, set me back around 6 SGD.
Indian Restaurant, May 2015. If you’re half as crazy about Indian food as I am, then you’ll also need to put a night aside for a visit to Singapore’s wondrous Little India neighbourhood. Located east of the river, just across from Chinatown, this is where the local Indian population come to dine, so you know the food is going to be top notch. In fact, the place we settled on was probably the best Indian meal I’ve had in south east Asia.
Haji Lane, May 2015. A night out in Singapore is not cheap!! The price of alcohol can be nothing short of ridiculous and indeed I remember paying around 20 SGD ($15/£11) for a pint of draft beer at a terrace bar in some fancy square. After that I pretty much stuck to supermarket cans, though I did bite the bullet on my final night and have a proper pub crawl on Haji Lane. It was a great evening, with all the pub action spilling out onto the street into one big communal open air shindig.