In Singapore, I stayed in a university dorm

When I visited Singapore, I decided to stay in a university dorm to keep costs down. Here’s how it went.

Have you ever stayed in a dorm? My husband Bruce and I did just that when we travelled to Singapore with our son Noah, who was about to start his studies at the National University of Singapore

Noah was going to be away from home for the first time, and he would be a really long way from home as well. Bruce and I decided to help Noah get settled in Singapore, then holiday on to Cambodia and Thailand. (More to come on this.)

When we discovered that NUS had dorm rooms available to the public when they were not in use by academics or students, we booked one for a few days. 

For $90 SG per night (about $84 CAD), we got a room at NUS's King Edward VII Hall with twin beds, our own bathroom with shower, and a coffee maker and fridge. Shampoo, conditioner and toothbrush/toothpaste were provided. 

The room was basic but clean, and included daily housekeeping. If we'd stayed there during term time, that price would have included breakfast daily in the canteen as well. 

Hugest bonus of all: Our room had air conditioning where most dorm rooms did not!

Our dorm room looked exactly like this. Photo above: King Edward VII Hall (Photos by

Even without the free breakfast, though, it was unbelievably cheap to eat at the university.

One day we bought our breakfast from a little kiosk in one of the buildings, where still-warm mouth-watering chicken curry puffs cost us just $1 each. They tasted just like the ones my mom used to make!

At other times we took the free NUS shuttle to University Town, where we had our choice of every kind of cuisine (though predominantly Asian) at incredibly low prices. In particular, we loved the canteen at the Stephen Riady Centre and the Koufu food court

Check out these prices!

Another bonus of university living: We were able to use the laundry facilities. At NUS, using the washing machine is free; the dryer cost 20 cents per cycle and required about three cycles to dry our clothing.

If you're curious to learn more, check out, which lists many universities around the world that have dorm rooms available to the public. 

Or, just Google the university in the city you'll be visiting. Chances are, it will have rooms available for rent. 

Would we stay in a university dorm room again? It's definitely an option.

But ... full disclosure: As wonderful as it was to be able to see the life our son would experience first-hand right on campus, it was a case of "been there, done that" for my husband and me. 

After a few days we checked out, and then zipped downtown to a luxury hotel with a lovely infinity pool on the 35th floor.

As for Noah, he's still at NUS as of this post, and still enjoying dorm life.


Check out my Instagram, @JuanitaNg.


⇝ Find universities all over the world that have rooms to rent, at

⇝ Keep in mind that these rooms are generally available only when school is not in session.

⇝ Consider the location of the campus, and whether you'll need a car. We were lucky that in addition to buses, Singapore's excellent, spotlessly clean Mass Rapid Transportation system has a stop right on campus. We took the MRT everywhere.

⇝ Find out how far it is from the nearest transit stop to your dorm room. We used the convenient free shuttle (especially useful as the NUS grounds are hilly) to move around the campus. On one late night, we Ubered back to our room.