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Best Countries For Singaporeans To Travel To In 2023 – With Exchange Rates Below Pre-COVID-19 Levels

Singaporeans currently own the most powerful passport in the world.

SGD appreciate against currencies the most

Singaporeans have caught another bug – the travel bug. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2022 report, 52% of Singaporeans intend to travel internationally in 2023. Not only that, travel-related search trends in Singapore had also increased beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Mind you, this report is about a year old – and travel demand has likely risen since it was published.

Fanning the flames of our desire to explore the world, is the most powerful passport in the world. The Singapore passport gives us access to 194 visa-free destinations. This gives us less hassle and stress while making travel arrangements and helps to stretch our travel budget a bit further.

On top of this, we tend to enjoy a bigger bang on our strong Singaporean buck when we exchange money. With this in mind, we compiled a list of countries that have an exchange rate that is even poorer than it was pre-pandemic.

Countries Exchange rate today (24 May 2023) Pre-COVID-19 Exchange Rate (start 2020) How much the SGD appreciated

Popular Short Trip

Thailand 25.63 22.35 15%
Malaysia 3.41 3.04 12%
Philippines 41.39  37.8 9%

Explore Asia

Japan 102.84 80.09 28%
India 61.57 53.16 16%

European Holiday

Norway 8.14 6.54 24%
Iceland 104.35 90.6 15%
Sweden 7.91 6.96 14%
Hungary 257.68 218.92 18%

More Exotic Destinations

12,065.06 6,565.99 84%
(Central Asia)
8,508.88 6,999.04 22%
Sri Lanka
(Indian Ocean)
227.55 131.95 72%
(Europe/Asia/ Middle East)
14.74 4.43 233%
(North Africa)
22.9 11.85 93%
(South America)
173.08 44.24 291%

For Those Who Prefer Short Getaways In The Region

We don’t have to travel far to soak in beautiful beaches and stunning natural wonders, party away in a bustling nightlife, wolf down delicious food, and shop till we drop at bargain basement prices.

Within our own backyard in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines offer diverse tourist destinations that can fulfill all this and more. Moreover, they are also the countries in Southeast Asia with currencies that are trading below their pre-pandemic levels compared to the Singapore Dollar.

Holidaymakers can take a flight of about 2 and a half hours to 4 hours should get us to most tourist destinations.

Read Also: Which Is The Cheapest Way To Travel To Kuala Lumpur (KL): Flight, Train, Bus, Car, or Taxi?

#1 Thailand

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : THB25.63 (15% better than pre-pandemic)

Thailand offers beach getaways such as Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui. While they’re also equally known for shopping and known for their nightlife, Bangkok has to remain the go-to location for the best bargains, to party up, enjoy local food. Chiang Mai has become a digital nomad hub, and neighbouring Chiang Rai offers beautiful natural landscapes.

#2 Malaysia

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : MYR3.41 (12% better than pre-pandemic)

For Singaporeans, no travel list is complete without Malaysia. While many Singaporeans may be seasoned visitors of JB, a day trip hardly counts as a holiday. Capital city Kuala Lumpur offers cheap shopping and good food, and is a natural pit stop for anyone who wants to head to cooler temperatures in Genting and even try our luck at the casino (without paying S$150 to get in!).

This writer also tried working-from-anywhere in a beach resort in Langkawi at the tail end of last year. Penang and Malacca are great alternatives for those who prefer to visit cultural sites and enjoy good eats.

#3 The Philippines

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : PHP41.39 (9% better than pre-pandemic)

Comprising over 7,500 islands, one of the main attractions of visiting the Philippines is its beautiful beaches, including Cebu, Boracay and Palawan. This also makes it an attractive diving and snorkelling region.

The Philippines is also home to other natural wonders, including the longest navigable underground river in the world, Puerto Princesa, over 100 volcanoes, some of which are still active, and the Chocolate Hills mounds in Bohol.

Read Also: A Ferry Away: 6 Short Holiday Destinations Singaporeans Can Travel For The Weekend

If You Want A Slightly Longer Holiday In Asia

Relatively nearby and within 7 hour’s flight, Japan and India have currencies that depreciated significantly against the SGD since COVID-19. They also offer Singapore travellers two very distinct types of holidays.

These could be good alternatively to traditionally popular Australia or even New Zealand, which is trading at about 5% to 6% below pre-pandemic levels, compared to the SGD.

#4 Japan

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : JPY102.84 (28% better than pre-pandemic)

Tokyo and Osaka are both sprawling modern cities. Of course, families can also take their kids to Disneyland Japan, in Tokyo.

Those who prefer a more laid-back experience can visit Kyoto, the traditional capital of Japan, or Hokkaido for its natural beauty and open fields.

Read Also: Is It Worth Buying The Japan Rail Pass For Your Next Trip To Japan?

#5 India

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : INR61.57 (16% better than pre-pandemic)

India is now the most populous country in the world, with close to 1.5 billion people. The country is steeped in culture and history, yet also offering megacities.

In New Dehli and Mumbai, Singapore travellers will be confronted with a sprawling city to rival our own. We can also visit historical and cultural sites, such as the Taj Mahal in Agra and Golden Temple in Amritsar. India has diverse landscapes to offer as well, including the snowcapped mountains of Leh Ladakh and Srinagar, hill station of Darjeeling, beach city of Goa and cultural city of Jaipur.

India is the only country on this list that requires Singapore travellers to apply for a visa beforehand. The other countries are either visa-free or visa-on-arrival destinations.

Travellers Planning A European Holiday

We’ve always had a fascination with dream European holidays. With the Euro still relatively strong compared to the Singapore Dollar, it could be more attractive to visit other countries that use a different currency.

#6 Norway

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : NOK8.14 (24% better than pre-pandemic)

#7 Sweden

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : SEK7.91 (15% better than pre-pandemic)

#8 Iceland

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : KR104.35(14% better than pre-pandemic)

If we’ve ever wanted to see the Northern Lights, 2023 could be the year, as the currencies of Norway, Sweden and Iceland are trading at attractive levels compared to pre-pandemic.

Apart from that, these Scandinavian region countries are also home to stunning natural wonders, such as fjords, glaciers and wildlife. In particular, Iceland also has a reputation for being one of the most picturesque countries, with its black sand beaches and active volcanoes.

Depending on the time of the year we travel, the days could be really short or really long. According to only sources, June, July and August could be the best months to travel there as it is warmer and the days are longer.

#9 Hungary

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : HUF257.68 (18% better than pre-pandemic)

Other than these Scandinavian region countries, we can go to Hungary, or more specifically, its capital city Budapest. Just as magnificently designed as other European cities, Budapest houses one of the world’s oldest parliaments and the majestic Danube River. Hungary is also well known for its thermal and mineral water sources, and we can visit bath houses in the city.

Read Also: Is Using Card Over Cash Always More Expensive When Travelling Overseas? We Travel To Europe To Put This Theory To The Test

Those Who Want To Travel Off The Beaten Path

According to the 2023 Global Travel Trend Report by American Express, more travellers want to discover lesser-known destinations and hidden gems. 89% of respondents said that they want to travel to a destination they’ve never been to, and 68% said that they pride themselves on finding lesser-known vacation spots before they become popular.

Going off the beaten path, such destinations offer a unique taste of local culture and sights and sounds that our friends may not know.

#10 Laos

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : LAK12,065.06 (84% better than pre-pandemic)

Another country in our backyard is Laos. Though it is not as popular a travel destination yet, Laos can offer stunning sceneries with waterfalls, nature reserves and historic temples. A former French colony, we can also enjoy French-infused cuisine and architecture in its capital city of Vientiane.

#11 Uzbekistan

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : UZS8,508.88 (22% better than pre-pandemic)

In Central Asia, at the centre of the ancient Silk Road – the main trade route connecting east and west for approximately 1,400 years until the 15th century – Uzbekistan can take us a step back in time.

As a former Soviet territory, that gained independence in 1991, Uzbekistan also sports Soviet-style architecture and offers a glimpse into that world.

Going off the beaten path sometimes means we have to take a longer time to get there. There are currently no direct flights to Uzbekistan, and it will take at least 12 hours to get to its capital city of Tashkent.

#12 Sri Lanka

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : LKR227.55 (72% better than pre-pandemic)

Located in the Indian Ocean, tourists in Sri Lanka can look forward to bathing in sun-kissed beaches, to exploring national parks for Elephants and Leopards, visiting ancient fortresses and mountains, to enjoying a cup of Ceylonese tea.

#13 Turkey

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : TRY14.74 (233% better than pre-pandemic)

Straddling Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Turkey is well-known for its magnificent mosques, including the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

If we’ve ever seen a hot air balloon picture or clip, it is likely one that came from Cappadocia. Many famous movies have been shot in Turkey, including James Bond’s Skyfall and others, Inferno (sequel to the Da Vinci Code), The International and more.

Flights from Singapore to Istanbul take around 11 hours.

#14 Egypt

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : EGP22.9 (93% better than pre-pandemic)

Located in Northern Africa, Egypt is most popularly known for its ancient civilization. Travellers to Egypt will no doubt want to see the pyramids and River Nile, follow in Moses’ footsteps to Mount Sinai, and experience desert safari trips.

Since Egypt also has more than 2,900km of coastline, there are gorgeous beaches, diving spots and water sports.

There are no direct flights to Egypt, and we can expect to fly for at least 12 and a half hours to get there.

#15 Argentina

Exchange Rate: SGD1 : ARS173.08 (291% better than pre-pandemic)

Argentina may have won the World Cup in 2022, but its currency hasn’t fared so well – plunging close to 3x compared to the Singapore Dollar on the back of steep inflation.

Nevertheless, it does offer incredible sights and sounds. One of the most famous waterfalls in the world, the Iguazu Falls borders both Argentina and Brazil. As Argentina spans to the southern edge of the continent, travellers can see southern lights, as well as glaciers in the country. Being the 6th largest wine-producing country, tourists can sip a myriad of aromatic wines from the region.

Flights will take over a day, as there are no direct flights. And, we can expect to pay over $2,000 for a round-trip. Paying to go all the way to South America, travellers may want to visit more than just Argentina. They will be glad to know that the Singapore Dollar has also strengthened against the Peruvian Nuevo (think Machu Pichu), Brazilian Real (Amazon Jungle excursion and Copacabana Beach) and Bolivian Boliviano (think the salt flats), compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Read Also: 8 Things You Need To Know Before Heading To The Money Changer


Pay In Over 150 Currencies Without Incurring Any Fees

We can use a multi-currency wallet like YouTrip to pay in over 150 foreign currencies, including the countries listed above. While we may not be able to buy and hold foreign currencies in advance for all the currencies on YouTrip, we can still take advantage of zero transaction fees and favourable exchange rates when paying with our YouTrip card in the countries we travel to.

YouTrip also allows us to buy and hold 10 currencies in our mobile wallet. This way, we can buy and hold our desired foreign currencies at attractive rates, and spend them only when we want to later on. While we can do the same thing by going to the money changer, using a multi-currency wallet can save us the hassle of storing and keeping physical cash and allow us to make foreign currency exchange as and when we see favourable rates.

Do note that just because the rates are favourable now, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be even more favourable in the future. A stronger Singapore Dollar can mean that exchange rates continue to improve on selected foreign currencies.

DollarsAndSense Exclusive: Use the promo code DNS5 during your YouTrip registration to receive a welcome credit of $5 in your YouTrip account.

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