Set in Singapore, this year's box office hit "Crazy Rich Asians" may be part of the reason why the vibrant island city-state in Asia with a population of 5.5 million seems to have suddenly become a must-visit destination.
According to the Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore saw around 17.4 million visitors in 2017, and that number is projected to increase between one and four percent this year.
But a trip to the global financial center has the potential to cost big bucks, according to travel experts who are familiar with the destination. "I've traveled all over the world, and I think that Singapore is one of the most expensive places I've been in," says Nikheel Advani, a Singaporean and the former hotel manager at Raffles Hotel, who lives on the island part-time and is a partner at Grace Bay Resorts, in Turks & Caicos.
Dianna Upton, a Singapore expert at Travel Beyond, a luxury travel agency in Wayzata, Minnesota, agrees that it's pricey, but both she and Advani say that a few insider tips can help travelers save money on an upscale vacation.
There are many reasons to take a vacation in Singapore and ways to enjoy it -- even if you don't have a lot of disposable income.
There's the year-round tropical climate and a diversity of indoor and outdoor attractions, including scenic, sprawling gardens such as Gardens by the Bay. There's Singapore's rich arts scene, where National Gallery Singapore, which has the world's largest public collection of local Singaporean and Southeast Asian art, can be found. There's also The Southern Ridges, 10 kilometers of green for hiking, bird watching or just taking in nature.
The movie aside, 2019 happens to be Singapore's bicentennial, giving travelers even more incentive to experience it while it celebrates 200 years since the founding of modern Singapore.
Following are tips from Advani and Upton on how to have a luxury vacation in Singapore for less:
Stay at a boutique hotel
Singapore has no shortage of brand-name properties, many of which are in the pricey and touristy Marina Bay area. However, Upton says that staying at a boutique or independently-owned hotel in a charming residential neighborhood such as Robertson Quay is far less expensive and provides a more local feel.