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- The summer blockbuster “Crazy Rich Asians” is set in Singapore, which is known worldwide for its extravagance and wealth.
- I visited Singapore in May expecting it to be wildly expensive and out of reach for all but wealthy travelers.
- But I found that the city was full of cheap, delicious food, efficient public transportation, top-notch museums, a budding nightlife scene, and beautiful parks. As I quickly learned, if you do as the Singaporeans do, you can easily have a blast in the city without breaking the bank.
Singapore, known worldwide for its extravagance and wealth, is the setting of “Crazy Rich Asians,” the summer blockbuster everyone’s talking about based on the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan.
In recent years, it has become “a one-stop shop for Asia’s rich,” according to The New York Times, perhaps surpassing even Switzerland as a place for the world’s millionaires and billionaires to park their money.
The airport has a private-jet terminal. The city-state’s best-known landmark is a $6.6 billion megahotel that looks like a floating ship. And there are facilities like Le Freeport, an ultra-secure duty- and tax-free facility for the superrich to store their stuff.
In March, Singapore was named the world’s most expensive city to live in for the fifth year running by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey.
As a traveler not accustomed to spending a fortune on trips (exhibit A: my bungled recent trip to Mykonos), I wasn’t sure what visiting Singapore would be like.
But after spending four days in the city in May, I found that my fears were unfounded. The city abounds with cheap, delicious food, efficient public transportation, top-notch museums, a budding nightlife scene, and beautiful parks. As I quickly learned, if you do as the Singaporeans do, you can easily have a blast in the city without breaking the bank.
Contrary to depictions like those found in “Crazy Rich Asians,” most Singaporeans are not rolling in cash. The average salary in the city is about $42,000, according to Payscale.
Here’s what it was like to visit Singapore:
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