Singapore’s Capsule-Style Lodging: A Minimalist Travel’s Secret

Global EAT - Singapore’s Capsule-Style Hotel: A Minimalist Travel’s Secret
The quaint ethnic enclave spots trendy cafes and boutiques packed with interesting finds. (Nikao Media)

It’s easy to bust your travel budget when it comes to lodging in Singapore. Where do you find a great deal for a steal?

With real estate at a premium, Singapore is ranked the world’s most expensive city to live in, according to Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2017.  The Pod – a popular boutique hostel among solo and budget travellers – offers modified Japanese capsule-style lodging experience.

Value for Money and More

For about $40 CAD (including taxes) per night, guests get a pod and generous breakfast spread which includes a hot buffet.   The price also includes one piece of free dry cleaning; complimentary use of facilities including laundry, wifi, business centre and coffee/tea all day.  Dormitory rooms with key fob access cater to couples, men, and women.

Each pod comes with a fold-down writing table, two plugs to charge your electronics, comfortable beddings, a luggage-sized locker.  Wooden dividers separate adjoining beds and a roller blind provides some privacy from neighbour pods.

The hostel is clean and stylish, and run by friendly and helpful staff.  Surprisingly, a number of the guests are business travellers.

Easy Access to Transit and All Things Touristy

The nearest rapid transit is a 10-minute walk away.  Around the corner from The Pod is the Arab Street and Kampong Glam area – a vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood percolating with history, character and hipster vibes.

Restored colonial shophouses accommodate fabric stores, indie boutiques, trendy bars, and restaurants serving Asian and fusion cuisines. Food is reasonably priced.

The curio shops are a treasure trove of fascinating finds: antiques, beautiful Turkish lamps, Southeast Asian and Persian crafts like batik prints and gorgeous handwoven rugs.

At Jamal Kazura, visitors can custom order oil-based, alcohol-free perfumes including renowned designer fragrances concocted using a blend of floral, fruit and herb tinctures.

Kampong Glam (Kampong means village, Glam is a local tree name) is the place to visit for all things Malay with Middle Eastern influence. It’s one of the few places in Singapore to capture the essence of street art. A prominent landmark is the 200 year old Sultan Mosque.

Other popular ethnic enclaves in Singapore are Chinatown and Little India along Serangoon Road. Must taste food in Chinatown: Bee Cheng Hiang pork jerky (bak kwa), stir-fried rice noodles (char kway teow) and Singapore-style satay.

The Downside of Capsule-Style Living

The gender-neutral wash facilities are shared, resulting in line-ups during peak hours. No footwear permitted beyond the floor entrance.

Two rows of three double-decker pods lined the room shared by 12 people. Not an ideal space for sensitive sleepers, but great value for money if privacy, security and confined space are not a concern.

For a minimalist traveller, capsule-style hotels like the Pod is a hidden gem. After all, one gets all the amenities plus extra services without having to pay a premium.

Useful Tips

  • Travelling in Singapore is safe and easy. English is widely spoken and people are helpful.
  • The best way to get around is by public transit. Purchase a Singapore tourist pass.
  • Remember to bargain when you shop (except in department stores).
  • Eating street food is generally safe and tap water is drinkable.


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