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FANTASTIC BUDGET-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
Singapore is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit. So you may not believe me when I tell you there are many fantastic free things to do in Singapore. I will list 12 activities you can do for zero cost to help stretch your holiday budget further when travelling here in the future. Furthermore, many of these are some of the best attractions you will ever experience.
1. See the Vortex Waterfall at Changi Airport
Firstly, you must go and see the biggest indoor waterfall, called the Vortex, which is free to enjoy at the Jewel complex in Changi Airport. Either on arrival or before departure, make sure you allow a couple of hours to appreciate this marvellous water feature and tropical paradise from different levels. In the evening there is a stunning light and sound display that will blow you away, also free to watch. This is not something you will see at any other airport. Read more about it here.
There is a multitude of other fun activities to do here at the Jewel, as well as in other sections of the airport, for all ages, many which are free. They include a butterfly park, slide sculptures, foggy bowls in the clouds, animal topiaries and a garden.
2. Visit Gardens By The Bay
Singapore is a city within a garden. There are literally gardens everywhere. The most famous garden is Gardens By The Bay near the marina and surprisingly, there is free entrance to the main part of the garden. You can walk amongst the futuristic trees and tropical plants, enjoy the views of the lakes and there is a children’s garden as well.
There are 3 outdoor gardens here, Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. The highlight and main attraction is definitely the Supertrees which are individual vertical gardens in themselves. It is a phenomenal landscape that will thrill and amaze you like no other garden you have seen.
The Supertree Grove is open everyday, and only closes between 2am to 5am. So you can take your time here, stay a while and soak in the other-worldly, horticultural environment. It’s definitely one of the most unique and most instagrammable places in Singapore. I love it here.
The other parts of Gardens By The Bay (Skywalk, Observatory and Cloud Domes) are not free. You need to buy tickets if you want to access those areas, which you can do so below. I really recommend you visit at least some of these attractions. I thoroughly loved the two Domes.
3. Be wowed by the Supertrees light show at night
By far the most sensational free activity in Singapore would have to be the Supertrees light show called Garden Rhapsody. This extravaganza is on twice every evening for free, which you can enjoy from anywhere in the gardens, but best directly under the Supertrees at Bay South, sitting or lying on the grass. Check out my article here.
Snazzy tip: Get there early to get a spot on the grass.
4. Wander the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens in Singapore is a UNESCO world heritage site, which is free to enter and is open everyday. It includes many different gardens within the grounds, such as a ginger garden, bonsai garden, healing garden, herbarium and rainforest. There are lakes, walking trails and wildlife in this lush picturesque setting. It certainly is a pleasant way to spend some time in the tropical outdoors.
Please note, the iconic Orchid garden is the only area not free, which costs S$5 per adult.
The Botanic Gardens are located at Cluny Rd.
5. Catch a concert in the Botanic Gardens
Free concerts are held in the Botanic Gardens from time to time. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra performs here regularly, so check their website for details.
6. Watch the Marina Bay Sands Spectra show
Spectra is a light & water show spectacular like no other and not to be missed. It is free outside the Marina Bay Sands every night, over the water at the Event Plaza. The 15-minute show is a magical display of dancing fountains, colourful laser lights, mist effects and orchestral music. It’s one of the most impressive things to see here and you can witness it from many different locations. I watched it from the top of Marina Bay Sands roof top.
7. Spot art sculptures & street art around the city
Many art pieces are located around the city gardens, streets and shopping precincts. Some are quite amazing and, of course, free to enjoy. So take the time to spot them on your travels and pose with them for photos, if you wish.
8. See the national statue, the Merlion
The half mermaid/half lion mythical creature is actually the national figure of Singapore. The huge Merlion water feature sits across the marina, at Fullerton, directly opposite the stunning Marina Bay Sands building. It’s free to go and check it out up close and take selfies with the iconic symbol.
This one here is the original, of which there are copies of all around Singapore. How many can you find? I only found 3, but apparently there are 8 of them.
9. Stroll around Clarke Quay
Check out Clarke Quay which is located, along the Singapore River and used to be the main port. You can take in the lovely water views as you stroll around and see historical buildings which were once warehouses for storing transported goods. They have been converted to bars and restaurants. The traditional bumboats you see in the river run cruises day and night.
Clarke Quay is popular with locals and tourists, especially in the evenings, when this area transforms into a dazzling, colourful, nightlife precinct, where you can enjoy food, drinks and music. There are bars galore and almost all of them have live bands playing, some which you can enjoy outside the premises for free as you stroll around.
You will find a wide variety of international foods available here as well as shops and stalls.
10. Spend a day at Sentosa Island
Sentosa is a playground for adults and children alike, albeit very expensive if you do all the mainstream touristy things. You will be tempted to spend money for sure here, as there is literally a world of entertainment on offer. However, there are some things that you can do for free, which I explored when I was here.
You don’t have to pay to go to Sentosa. Visitors can enter Sentosa for free by walking across the Sentosa Boardwalk from Vivocity. You can wander around Resort World for free. You can swim and enjoy the 3 Sentosa beaches for free – Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong. There is a rope bridge you can walk across to the smaller island for free and climb the stairs to the top of the lookout towers there for great views, all for free.
Make sure to stick around for night time when there are fabulous free light & sound shows, and fireworks, at Sentosa beaches. I thoroughly enjoyed the fun party atmosphere at night on the beach, which is from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.
Another wonderful feature to enjoy here in the evenings is a swimming pool / outdoor nightclub on the beach. You can have a swim in the pool for free, grab a lounge by the pool or bean bag on the sand. A great place to enjoy the balmy tropical night whilst listening to the DJ music and watching the laser lights bring the beach to life. It’s probably one of my favourite things on Sentosa and so much fun. Did I mention they have great cocktails? Even though they are not free, they are reasonably priced compared to other venues in Singapore, like the Raffles Hotel!
Snazzy Tip: Shuttle buses around Sentosa are all free.
11. Visit a Temple
As you would expect with the mix of cultures in Singapore society, there are many temples of Hindu and Buddhist faiths. These are open to visitors for free. Their architecture and artwork is truly magnificent and lend themselves perfectly to some very insta-worthy photos. Photos are usually allowed, but be mindful of not disturbing people.
Always be respectful and remove shoes when entering the premises.
Vegetarian food is sometimes served at the temples free to the public, but a donation is much appreciated, of course.
12. See Haw Par Villa
Last on my list of free things to do in Singapore is an ‘interesting’ one. Formerly known as the Tiger Balm Garden, Haw Par Villa is part of Singapore’s cultural heritage and that’s why I’ve included it. I would best describe it as a cross between an Asian theme park and an outdoor art gallery. There are no rides or rollercoasters, so don’t get too excited. Keep an open mind, ok?
I went there many years ago and saw the cultural displays, dioramas and larger than life statues based on Chinese history and mythology. It is like nothing you would expect of a tourist attraction. Be prepared for a quirky and somewhat bizarre experience.
This sculpture park was built in 1937 by the inventor-brothers of Tiger Balm (Chinese ointment). It is located at Pasir Panjang Road, is open everyday and is free to wander around. If you love weird and wacky things, statues of dragons, tigers, buddhas, and creepy characters, then this is the place for you. Once is enough for me, so I didn’t need to revisit it on my recent trip.
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I hope this article on free things to do in Singapore helps make your trip more affordable as well as fun, because sightseeing doesn’t have to be expensive.
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