Destinations • June 2014

Expensive cities on a shoestring

It pays to know someone local in the world’s priciest cities*. The Club taps into the knowledge of six savvy insiders to find affordable ways to soak up the authentic atmosphere of these monied metropolises



Leslie Tay, food blogger, I Eat I Shoot I Post
Celebrity chefs and fancy restaurants are flocking to Singapore – two feature in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year. But for quality, wallet-friendly food, try kopi (coffee) with kaya toast (bread slathered with coconut egg jam) and soft-boiled eggs drizzled with dark soy sauce at Killiney Kopitiam or Singaporean hokkien mee (a noodle, pork and prawn dish) at Geylang Lor 29 Hokkien Mee.

Paris, France

Paris, France

Anne S Ditmeyer, designer/editor of Prêt à Voyager
Few know that New York City’s much-hyped High Line park through Chelsea was inspired by Paris’s version, which has been around since 1989. Long referred to as the Promenade Plantée (pictured), the abandoned railroad viaduct-turned-garden, which runs between the Opéra Bastille and Bois de Vincennes, was recently renamed Coulée Verte. The archways below – Viaduc des Arts – are home to artist boutiques, studios and a couple of cafés, where you can enjoy a glass of wine.


Oslo, Norway

Didrik Magnus-Andresen, Oslo-based writer and illustrator
Morgenstierne is hidden away over the Tranen restaurant in Alexander Kiellands Plass. Go up the stairs from the restaurant and you will meet a doorman, who may let you in (if there’s room) to this dark and alluring bar. The red-velvet, vintage furniture, and waiters dressed in black and white, make you feel as if you’re in a David Lynch movie… but the drinks are great and reasonably priced (by Oslo standards).


Zurich, Switzerland

Manuela Donati and Nina Aemisegger, My Friend From Zurich
, like most of Switzerland, isn’t a place for a small budget. The city has a great nightlife – but it doesn’t always have to include an expensive ticket. Dance at the Cool Monday party at Mascotte and pay only for your drinks.
Tuesday is concert night at La Catrina and you pay just a small donation for the local bands. If you’re into museums, visit the Kunsthaus Collection on a Wednesday afternoon – it’s free and a great way to learn about Swiss culture and history.


Sydney, Australia

Rebekah Campbell, CEO of global social search engine Posse
Bondi Beach is spectacular all year and there are some good affordable ways to experience one of Sydney’s most famous locations. In summer, I swim at the famous Icebergs saltwater swimming pool at the south end of the bay ($5.50 per day). It’s extra fun when the surf is high and waves crash over the side of the pool. On winter nights, I go to the ice rink right on Bondi Beach – it’s amazing to skate under the stars while, metres away, people swim in the ocean.


Tokyo, Japan

Ebony Bizys, Hello Sandwich
Take Tokyo’s Yamanote train line to Shibuya and head over to the new Hikarie building. Go up to the 11th-floor sky lobby for an incredible (and free) view over the mega metropolis. Wander down to D47 Shokudo on the eighth floor for a regional Japanese lunch. On the same floor you will find Tomio Koyama Gallery (pictured), where you can enjoy some of Japan’s finest contemporary art, and the Design Travel Store, selling beautiful Japanese design objects.

*According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Worldwide Cost of Living

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This article has been tagged Destination, Travel Tips