Tourist Attractions and Best Things to do in Singapore
If you are traveling in South-East Asia on a budget, you might be tempted to skip Singapore altogether. Singapore is relatively expensive for the visitor, at least when compared to other South-East Asian cities. But some of Singapore’s tourist attractions are free, and the city’s different ethnic quarters are great places for independent walking tours.
While it is fun to travel around the world and experience different cultures, it can become very expensive. This is one of the major reasons why travelers would like to know if there are any activities in the countries they are going that they can do for free.
This can be especially helpful for a country like Singapore where the cost of living is very expensive. So, whether you are in the country with friends, family, or significant other, there are activities in Singapore you can do without ever bringing out your wallet.
Hiking at Mount Faber
Explore one of the best walking trails in Singapore, the Southern Ridges Trail, a course that spans Mount Faber, Kent Ridge, Telok Blangah, and Hort Parks. Be rewarded by spectacular views of lush forests and canopied walks, as well as a bird’s eye view of the Singapore skyline from the peak of Mount Faber. Take pleasure in crossing the Henderson Waves, the country’s highest pedestrian bridge.
Watch a Free Movie Outdoors
Forget about paying $12 for a movie in Singapore. Check out Movie Mob’s schedule of free movie screenings which takes place in different outdoor venues all over the city. Pack up a picnic basket and a blanket to sit on and relax, enjoy the movie.
Get an Amazing View of Singapore
If you didn’t know that one of the newest malls to spring up along Orchard Road offers something free, then it’s a good thing you got here. On the 56th storey of the ION Orchard, you’ll find a hidden gem–an observation deck with an almost 360-degree view of Singapore. No need to pay for an upgraded Ferris wheel ride on this one.
Go High at the MacRitchie Treetop Walk
For such a small country like Singapore there are surprisingly a lot more greenery than one would’ve thought. Take for example the MacRitchie Reservoir Park where you’ll find the impressive 8-km Treetop Walk. The nature trail takes you 250 meters up on a suspension bridge where you can admire the lush vegetation from above.
Watch Free Concerts at the Esplanade
If you love music and would like to explore the local music scene without lifting a single bill from your wallet, then go to Esplanade. Here, you’ll find regular performances from recitals, dance, theater, and vocals. Just make sure to visit Esplanade’s website for the schedules.
Explore the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Aside from enjoying the myriad variety of flora and attractions at Singapore Botanic Gardens, you can relax and sit down on the grass for a picnic. There’s plenty of space for the kids to run around while you read a good book. You can also relish free concerts from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Try the Rainforest Walk through the small but lush tropical rainforest, or check out the exotic plants in the Ginger Garden. T’ai chi is practiced on the lawns in the mornings and as you make your way around the park you can feed birds by the ponds or enjoy a picnic on the lawn. Entrance to the large gardens is through Tanglin Gate, Burkill Gate, Nassim Gate or Cluny Park Gate, or from the Bukit Timah side.
Go to Gardens By The Bay
One of Singapore’s latest attractions, Gardens by the Bay welcomes visitors to its selection of trees, flowers, unique plants, and spectacular waterfront views. While some of the attractions here have entrance fees (the conservatories and the treetop walkway), it is free to wander the outdoor gardens. Time your visit at night, around 7:45 and 8:45 pm to catch the spectacular lights and sound show.
Go on a Scary Tour of Bukit Brown
Bukit Brown Cemetery is spooky as it is historic. It was once the largest Chinese cemetery in the country until it was abandoned and some of the graves exhumed. Some of the famous people buried here include Chew Joo Chiat and Gan Eng Seng.
Go Hotel Hopping to View Art
Aside from enjoying the beautiful architecture of popular hotels in Singapore, did you know that you can also view art inside them? Hotel’s like Pan Pacific, sharing a public place with Marina Bay Sands, exhibit rotating artworks. Go over to The Ritz-Carlton Millennia to take a free 30-minute iPod tour of its collection of blown glass and art installations, as well as some Warhols near the ballroom.
Try Camping at East Coast Park
Singapore is not known as a beach destination, but you can still enjoy one at East Coast Park. It’s free to swim, camp, and use the BBQ pits, but you have to apply for a permit to camp beforehand at axs.com.sg.
Admire St. Andrews Cathedral and Armenian Church
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the architectural marvel that is the St. Andrews Cathedral and Armenian Church. These historic churches are long-standing must-visits in Singapore, as well as a place to escape the heat and find some peace and quiet.
Visit the Sri Mariamman Temple
This temple located in Singapore’s Chinatown is the oldest Hindu temple in the country. Its colorful entrance tower, decorated with mythical creatures, gods, and goddesses, is really hard to miss. You can even go inside to see the shrines.
Enjoy the View From a Roof Garden
It’s a good bet that you wouldn’t know about these two hidden spots in Singapore where you can view spectacular city scenes, or read a good book. The Esplanade actually has a roof terrace where you can see views of Marina Bay. Then there’s Orchard Central’s rooftop garden which is open 24/7.
Shoot, Stroll, Cycle, Relax
Where can you do all this, you ask? At Punggol Waterway Park of course! Here, you can spend the day doing all the things you can’t do in the middle of the city, like fly a kite, cycle, rollerblade, and even fish. Take pictures of the beautiful scenery as well.
Explore Changi Airport
There’s still fun and freebies to enjoy even if you’re on your way home. Schedule a few more hours before your flight to explore Changi Airport. Here you can get the kids to do color etchings of famous Singapore scenes, get a foot massage, tap into free Wi-Fi, and even walk through a butterfly garden. Certainly, a perfect way to end your grand vacation in the city.
Singapore’s Chinatown is a former Chinese living quarter that has been restored and developed into a popular tourist destination with lots of street markets, good shopping, great Chinese food and stores that sell Chinese medical products and offer treatments in traditional Chinese medicine. The new Buddha Tooth Relic Temple stands on the edges of Chinatown and is a shiny and modern Buddhist temple; the colorful Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple is a completely different experience. The nearest MRT station is Chinatown.
Singapore Little India
Singapore’s Little India is another fascinating area for a walking tour. Explore the Indian markets and browse through piles of saris, silks, jewelry and incense sticks, buy some Indian spices and stop for a cup of sweet, milky Indian tea. The nearest MRT station is Little India.
Clarke Quay and Boat Quay
Around Clarke Quay and Boat Quay, along the Singapore River, former warehouses have been converted into trendy buildings that contain shops and boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and bars. This historical Quay area is interesting to walk around and even if you are not going to shop, browsing in the small stores can be fun.
Singapore Travel and Tour Packages
If you’re traveling on a budget, the best thing about Singapore is that the street food is very affordable, safe to eat and delicious. For a cheap meal try one of the hawker centers and food courts, found everywhere in the city.
The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) is Singapore’s fast and efficient metro system and an easy way to move between different parts of the city. MRT tickets are affordable, especially if you buy the Ez-link smart card that is valid on MRT trains and on buses.