Compared to its neighbors, Singapore can be quite a shock to the system. Instead of cheap-as-dirt conversion rates and a culture that thrives most vividly in the streets, Singapore looks straight out of a designer video game, hospital-clean buildings feigning as gigantic, abstract art. Fountains, towers of glass, Ferris wheels — from the outside, it looks like a watery Las Vegas.

But in the city, it’s anything but (well, Universal Studios Singapore is close). Walk through Gardens by the Bay, fill up on prawns and durian if you can handle it, and take in the nightlife of Geylang. Singapore is what you want it to be — and yes, it can be done on a budget.