The Changi Boardwalk.
(Photo by Marklin Ang)

After flaunting her fabulous $10,000+ holiday in Japan, a colleague once asked me, “So where did you go during Christmas?” What I said next shocked her.

I told her that I went to the happiest country in Asia Pacific (ranked #1, by the UN), where the life expectancy is one of the highest in the world (ranked #3) thanks in part to the efficient and advanced healthcare system (ranked #2, by the EIU). There, I visited Asia’s Top Amusement Park (ranked #1, by TripAdvisor) and the World’s Best Zoo (ranked #3, by TripAdvisor), then had the world’s most affordable Michelin-star meal.

In addition, finding my way around was easy because of the high-speed and reliable internet and WiFi (ranked #1, by Akamai) and the efficient public transport system. This place had it all – world renown theatres, museums, architecture, cuisine, street food, parks, the world’s best airport, and many other attractions… and you never had to worry about traveling alone or getting kidnapped by a cabby. And do you know what the best part is?... you’re already here.

Let’s face it – it’s expensive to travel, and many families nowadays are experiencing budget constraints. Fortunately, we live in one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Yet it’s easy to take for granted what we have. Here are some tips to ensure your Singaporean staycation is just as fun as a “real” vacation.


Tips for a fun & memorable Staycation in Singapore

1. Schedule in your staycation like a real vacation. Make sure that everyone in the family is free of all commitments. This means no work, school, house chores, or other such responsibilities.

2. See Singapore through the eyes of a tourist. Stop by the Singapore Visitor Centres or browse the Your Singapore website to get some itinerary ideas. Focus on sites that you can visit cheap (at the resident rate) or free, and places you’ve never been. Quite a few native Singaporeans I’ve met have never even been to Sentosa or MacRitchie. Instead, they have traveled across the world to visit obscure museums when they’ve never even set foot into one our award-winning local museums.

3. Stay at a funky hotel or anywhere other than your home. To avoid routine and really get the sense that you’re on vacation, you can stay away from home. Aside from the “touristy” hotels, you can opt to stay in a boutique hotel or even a swanky AirBnB. This is optional of course, and if you sleep better in your own bed, you can just choose to stay home.

4. Visit the lesser-known places to get a different perspective of the rich history of your hometown. If you’ve already seen all the touristy “must-sees” of Singapore, you might want to check out the ones on the Atlas Obscura list

5. Explore new cuisines. Don’t go to the same old restaurants or hawker food joints. Dine at a completely different location, perhaps try one of the 29 Michelin star local eateries.

6. Take a day-trip off of the island. Just as it’s easy to hop on & off a bus or train while in Singapore, it’s also just as easy to take a ferry to St John, Kusu, or Coney Island (or even to Bintan and Batam). Day trips to JB are also quite easy (and cheap) with SBS (160/170/170X), SMRT (950) or CausewayLink (CW1 – CW7) buses.  

7. Plan time for rest and relaxation. Just as you would feel recharged and rejuvenated on a holiday, you also must make time for R&R on a staycation (this means you might need to turn off your phone). Perhaps visit a spa, see a movie, or just sit on the beach.

8. Don’t forget to budget for it. While you can save a bundle not having to pay for airfare, you can end up spending quite a bit if you don’t plan ahead. Look for deals, don’t be afraid to haggle, and always check out the Frugal Week Planner for free/cheap activities. 🙂


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