CHINA and Singapore have a visa-free agreement for citizens of both countries. However, many Chinese tourists think twice about going to Singapore because holidays to this country are considered expensive.

Singapore is offering a 30-day visa waiver to Chinese tourists starting February 9, 2024 in the hope of attracting tourists from the world’s largest market. However, the high cost and other issues are always debated on Chinese social media.

A netizen, Yanyi Elaine from Anhui Province, China, wrote on her Weibo account which has more than 11,000 followers. “This city is known as the capital of fines. Why would I go there? Traveling should be done carefree and not constantly worrying about what not to do.”

The hashtag “visa-free travel to Singapore could result in visitors becoming poor if not careful” was the most searched topic on Weibo, according to Singaporean newspaper the Strait Times. This topic has attracted 310 million views and sparked more than 9,000 discussion threads.

Singapore has been the most expensive city in the world nine times in the last 11 years. According to Numbeo, the world’s largest user-contributed data database on cities and countries around the world, the estimated average monthly expenditure of one person in Singapore is S$1,506 or around IDR17.5 million.

“However, some Chinese netizens said that although Singapore is very expensive, it is a safe destination. Singapore cannot be treated like Thailand. It’s really expensive. And the food, in short, is just average. But this place is still quite pleasant, safe and peaceful, and not as strange as Thailand,” wrote one netizen as reported by VnExpress.

The experience in Singapore is better than in Thailand,” wrote another. Yes, it’s very expensive. All my friends went to Thailand, but I said I wasn’t interested in that place.”

Tips for saving on holiday in Singapore
Several Chinese nationals based in Singapore wrote down tips on how to save money when visiting the city-state. On Xiaohongshu’s social media channels, they advise Chinese tourists to eat at hawker centers and shop at suburban malls such as Changi City Point, which is known for its many outlets. Chinese tourists contributed the second largest number of visits to Singapore last year with 1.4 million people after Indonesia. [sources/photo special]