Bacall Associates is undeniably one of the experts when it comes to the travel arena, so to avoid any chaotic situations in your travel.

Don't be afraid to bargain

People at Southeast Asia are used to do this approach and it’s already a part of their daily lives. But most westerners are shocked to find out that this is considered a standard practice in the subregion. For them, it looks like an unfair deal to the vendors, but actually, it's not. Most of the time, the first price sellers said is worth more than the item's regular price, and you might end up overpaying. Some foreigners just accept the first price and never tries to disagree with that. You should try to adapt this manner since you don't want to pay more, right? It is not a confrontation, so don't be afraid, just talk with the vendor with a smile. Push yourself a little and you might find it fun after learning to do it.

Booking in advance is not necessary

It is probably tiring and stressful to go to different places at the same time and then going back to the hotel you're staying. If you end up in a certain area and fell in love with that place, and you wanted to stay a few nights in there, then it will be more fun to find a place to stay in that specific place. Your schedule can become flexible if you're not booking rooms in advance because you're the one to decide when and where to stay. But sometimes, booking ahead is a good idea if you're visiting a place during a major event, or if you knew you're going to be tired from a long flight, bus or train ride and doesn't have time to wander around.

Never hurry when it comes to transportation

Don't rush yourself when you are in this region because some things don't arrive on time, so if you're the kind of person who’s strict about his or her time and become easily irritated in delays, then learn to control and cool down yourself. If you're planning to go somewhere in Southeast Asia, expect to wait more minutes or hours in the estimated time of a bus’s arrival, for example. This is largely true for the suburban areas of Southeast Asia, but visiting the cities or capital of the country, especially Singapore, transport systems are a lot more efficient and developed. Don't get frustrated in this situation, but just think that this could bring some positive impact to you because you will learn how to control your distress and increase your patience.




This article was written by Sia Ling Xin, who travels andwrites about it for, a blog and online community focused ontravelling in Asia. You can also find her on Twitter.

Singaporeis known to be tiny, modern, and insanely expensive—especially next to herSoutheast Asian counterparts. While $50 USD is more than enough for travellersto live like a prince in nearby countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, thesame amount is barely enough for a hotel room in Singapore.

Still, with street food even Gordon Ramsay raved about,impeccably safe streets, and a location that makes it ideal as a stopover hub,there's no reason to give this city-state a miss. Yes, it is possible for thosetravelling on a budget to enjoy Singapore, just as the locals do. Here's whatyou need to know.

Get betterrates with an ez-link card

The ez-link (easy-link) card is a type of stored value cardfor public transit use, similar to the Oyster card in London. The cards have afirst-time cost of $12, of which $7 can be used to pay for public transport,and $5 is non-refundable. Having an ez-link card eliminates the tiresomeprocess of digging for enough change for a bus ticket or trying to calculatehow much each train journey costs as you would when buying per-trip tickets.Most importantly, it offers better rates than cash payment, so thenon-refundable $5 is easily set off. At the end of the day, you save yourselfthe hassle of figuring out transport costs, and you get a souvenir card thattruly represents life in Singapore!

Enjoy hawker food

When choosing to dine in a coffee shop or a hawker centre, gowhere the locals go. There are many open-air establishments that are coffeeshop style, but one look at the clientele—chockfull of foreigners with garishdecorations—and you know it is a tourist trap. A meal in a hawkercentre—inclusive of main, drink, and dessert—should always give you change backfrom $10. The eateries along the Chinatown shopping alley may seem authentic,but you will be hard pressed to find locals dining there. Makansutra GluttonsBay offers great views and is near the Esplanade theatres, but the dishes theretend to be pricier as well. Instead, head to places where you see locals congregating.Chinatown Food Centre, Maxwell Food Centre, or any neighbourhood hawker centrewill do nicely.

Come duringa festive public holiday

During festivals such as Chinese New Year, Mid-AutumnFestival, and Thaipusam, there is so much more to see, hear, and eat. DuringChinese New Year, for example, dancers and celebrities put up free performancesfor the public in areas like Chinatown.Street vendors also offer free samples of their festive goodies in a bid to revsales up. It is a good chance to see Singapore is a less sterile, worker-beestate, as well as capitalize on all the free food and performances goingaround.

Free museum days                                              

Museums under the National Heritage Board have free admissionon public holidays,which makes even more sense to plan visits around festive periods.Alternatively, plan your museum visit around the periods of free or discountedadmission to save money. Many museums are located in convenient areas thattravellers would be probably passing by when sightseeing, such as the NationalMuseum of Singapore, which is within walking distance from the popularOrchard Road/Dhoby Ghaut shopping stretch. In this case, why not just pop byfor a quick and free look?

Choose yourhotel wisely

There is no need to splurge and spend $300 a night on a fancyhotel, even though some offer incredible views and rooms. Room standards inSingapore are decent, so even a budget hotel or hostel is safe and clean. Optfor hotels in Little India, Tanjong Pajar, or Chinatown—the locations areeasily accessible, there are a wide range of prices and room types to choosefrom, and it is fun checking out the nightlife in these areas. If you do notwant to miss out on the island fun Sentosa can offer, just make a day tripthere after stocking up on food and drink from nearby shopping mall Vivocity.Hotel and food prices on the upscale island can burn a hole in any backpacker'sworn pocket.

A day in Singapore is not going to come as cheap as a day ina neighbouring country, but it is not going to be exorbitant either. There arebargains and great discounts to be had here and they are not hard tofind—simply do as the locals do, and go where the locals go. Those who plan tospend their money wisely will wonder why anyone ever complained that the LionCity is expensive when it has so much to offer on the cheap.