The island city state of Singapore is like none other in terms of cultural diversity. It is a unique blend of Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Malays, and Westerners. Although many of these peoples have integrated and formed a hybrid Singaporean culture, the distinct districts of the British colonial era remain in tact. This leaves the budget backpacker with quite a few options in terms of choosing accommodation locals. From the Arab district, to China town, to Little India, the price of a backpacker hostel is around the same price. Therefore, deciding on the district for you really depends on the cultural experience you wish to have.
If you are in need of some authentic Hummus, Sharma, Kebab, and alleys full of Hookah bars, the Arab district is the place for you. Other attractions include the grandiose Sultan Mosque, Arabic book shops and language schools.
In terms hostels, one of the most popular and cheapest, located just adjacent to the Sultan Mosque is “Sleepy Sams.” For 22 Singaporean dollars a night, you get a bed bug free bed in a large air-conditioned dormitory. The real attraction of this hostel is its delicious complimentary breakfast. And since it is served nearly all day, you can sleep in as long as you want.
China town is like most China towns, full of delicious and cheap won ton soup, dim sum, and traditional herbal pharmacies. However, the China town of Singapore is unique in its relatively hip nightlife. Though they are mainly run by and catered for Chinese, they always welcome western tourists with open arms.
There are plenty of budget hotels and cheap hostels in China town, so the best thing to do to find the cheapest price is to simply walk around and compare rates.
You know you are in Little India when you smell the spices. Little India, as its name suggests, is just like a little slice of India. It is dotted with countless gold and jewelry shops, Indian restaurants and nightclubs, Hindu temples and also an array of cheap budget accommodation.
If you want to stay somewhere really unique, and backpacker friendly, be sure to check out “Inn Crowd Hostel.” For 20 Singaporean dollars a night, you get a clean bed in an air conditioned dorm. There is free wifi, complimentary breakfast, clean showers, and most importantly an Australian owned bar with live music just across the street. This place is backpacker central.
Although there are lots of cool places in Singapore, Little India, China town, and the Arab district are some of the coolest and relatively inexpensive places to set up camp. If you base yourself out of any of these three unique cultural centers, you can either take a cheap cab or go by MRT (subway) to explore one of the countless other cultural districts of Singapore.
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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) says
Thankfully I have a good friend who lives in Singapore, so I am hoping that when my husband and I eventually make it here on our upcoming RTW trip that we’ll be able to crash with him! BUT, if that falls through, then these places all look like worthy alternatives… I know that Singapore can be expensive, so it is nice that not only are these districts cool, but not too pricey either!