Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Top 10 Free Things to do in Singapore

It's no secret that Singapore is an expensive city, but it does have a surprising number of completely free attractions. Having lived in Singapore for 3 years there are my top 10 picks for activities that don't cost a cent other than your subway fare!

1. Head to Merlion Park for harbour views and cheesy photo ops with Singapore’s bizarre half-lion half-mermaid mascot.

2. Enjoy the icy air-con while window shopping at the mega-malls on Orchard Road

3. The attractions on Sentosa Island aren’t cheap but the beaches are free! The silky sand is imported and there’s changing rooms on site.

Sultan Mosque in Singapre's Kampong Glam area
 4. Smell the flowers and see where bananas come from at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It's also a great place for photography. Only the Orchid Garden charges admission. 

5. Culture time! Get a map and do a walking tour of the Colonial District, Chinatown, Little India, or Kampong Glam

6. Rooms at the Raffles Hotel start from S$600 a night, but everyone is free to wander around the courtyards and shopping arcade. Don’t miss the mini Raffles Museum on the third floor.
7. Watch the high-rollers at Singapore’s new casinos. They’re not as sexy as Vegas but there is free Chinese tea. Bring your passport and dress to impress (no shorts or sandals).

8. Hike the wilder side of Singapore at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. If the country wasn’t full of high-rise apartments and shopping malls it would be dense rainforest just like this – monkey sightings guaranteed.

9. See how the creators of Tiger Balm spent their fortune at the bizarre Haw Par Villa. Words cannot begin to describe the psychedelic statues of Chinese mythology and torture... 

 10. Visit the Singapore Art Museum after 6pm on Friday for free admission – there’s even a guided tour at 7pm. On any day of the week you can explore the Living Galleries at the National Museum of Singapore is free from 6pm – 8pm.

"If you don't come to Haw Par Villa they'll whip me!"
Like what you read?  This list was featured in my article ""Singapore on a Budget"" printed in Issue 12 of Southeast Asia Backpacker magazine. Check the magazine & website for more great content on Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and more!


  1. Hi Tanya, lived in Singapore myself for a couple of year's 2008/10 (having also spent a year backpacking SE Asia in 2002/3) and my favourite, if not quite free, budget Singapore experience, was a trip on the bum boats out to Pulau Ubin. Take your own bike, or rent for not much, usually with a bit of seafood restaurant action thrown in. But I enjoyed it because it was so un-Singapore, or such a contrast to modern Singapore - supposedly, like Singapore 40-50 years ago...


    PS Loved your Beer Lao tip - $4.50 for a big one, even back in 2008, is a GREAT price, for a good beer, wish I had known then!