Singapore may be one of the most expensive places to visit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on a budget. The Lion City is full of great cost- effective activities, which range from the adventurous to the educational. Given that we have an office out there, we thought we’d do some exploring.
Here are 12 free things to do in Singapore.
1. Visit Baba House
Baba House is a museum and a period home, located near Chinatown, centred on the life and times of a wealthy Singaporean family from the 1920s. Still intact are its master bedroom and ancestral halls – which feature beautiful mother-of-pearl inlaid blackwood furniture. It’s available to visit by appointment only, so make sure you book beforehand.
2. Enjoy a free festival
The Lion City is home to a wide range of free festivals including the Sentosa Buskers Festival and the Singapore Night Festival. Sentosa is a colourful street parade set across multiple stages, while the Singapore Night Festival promises live music and interactive light installations. There’s also the Mosaic Musical Festival: a 10 day event in spring combining local and international music acts.
3. Lose yourself in nature at Gardens by the Bay
Singapore is brimming with supertrees. See these and other feats of nature up close in the Outdoor Gardens at Gardens by the Bay, which are free to visit and open from 5am to 2am, daily.
4. Admire the historic tombs at Bukit Brown Cemetery
An ancient burial ground turned wildlife zone, The Bukit Brown Cemetery is a beautiful mixture of history and nature. One of the best ways to enjoy it is via a free walking tour, carried out by a local historian - of which there are many.
5. Explore a local temple
The Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, and as colourful as they come. Other local places of worship include Thian Hock Keng - an ancient Chinese temple - and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See - a monastery with a formidable bell tower and numerous historic halls. All temples are free to visit and easily reached.
6. Walk along the Southern Ridges Trail
This scenic route stretches from Telok Blangah Hill Park to Kent Ridge, and leads you through a lush expanse of forest. The views are epic - particularly at night, and you’ll rack up many steps along the way.
7. Enjoy a hymn or two at the Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Live orchestras can prove expensive. However, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra offers various free performances as part of its community outreach programme. What better way to bring yourself up to speed with classical music?
8. Embark on an art tour
There are lots of great ways to take in art in Singapore, from a visit to Pan Pacific’s Public Art Space (known for its rotating exhibitions) to a look at the collections on display at Marina Bay Sands.
9. Unwind at East Coast Park
East Coast Park is a beach and green space rolled into one, ideal for swimming or sunbathing. It’s approximately nine miles in length, and is a popular spot for BBQs. You can even camp there for free.
10. Learn everything there is to know about Singapore at the National University of Singapore Museum
A visit to the National University of Singapore Museum costs nothing, and you’ll come away with all sorts of fun facts about the country, including who its coolest contemporary artists are and how it’s changed architecturally.
11. Fly a kite
Marina Barrage is one of Singapore’s windiest spots, and a popular place for flying kites. Join in the fun by heading there at dusk - when the city lights come on and the temperature drops. Marina Barrage is an elevated park, reachable via lift or ramp, and overlooks attractions like the Singapore Flyer and the Supertree Grove.
12. Watch a stunning sunset
Marina Bay Sands, an exclusive resort which overlooks the bay, has a stunning boardwalk that you just have to see. You can walk along with it by day or night, and the views it offers of the Central Business District are incredible. The best time to visit is around 6 pm - when people are commuting home from work. This way you can people watch as well as watch the sun go down.