12 things you can do for free in Singapore

Singapore may be the most expensive city in the world, but don’t let this rating stop you from planning a trip to this wonderful island. You can do a lot and have your fair share of fun and sightseeing, all without spending a single cent.

Here are 12 things that you can do in Singapore that are absolutely FREE!

1. Watch a beautiful sunrise overlooking the Malaysian islands

At the eastern edge of Singapore is the Changi Boardwalk, a 2.2 km long walkway which is built on stilts, by the water. If you happen to be awake in the wee hours of the morning, then this wooden walkway is the perfect place to spend a peaceful morning – watching the fishermen at work while the sun rises over the nearby Malaysian islands.

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Along the boardwalk

Note: The walkway is connected to the beach as well

2. Take a hike in a nature reserve

Southern Ridges, Sungei Buloh, Bukit Timah… the garden city is replete with nature reserves and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking options. McRitchie Reservoir Park, right in the heart of Singapore, is one of the more popular ones.

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Welcome to McRitchie Reservoir Park!

Set in a tropical rainforest around the McRitchie Reservoir, this park has numerous walking trails of various difficulty levels. But the best part is the Tree Top Walk – a suspension bridge overlooking the treetop canopy!

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L: The Treetop Canopy Walk, R: View from the suspension bridge

Click here to know about some of the popular hiking trails that you can try around Singapore.

3. Visit NeWater, a unique water purification plant

Due to a lack of natural resources, Singapore buys water from its neighbour – Malaysia. But to reduce this dependency, the government came up with an incredible plan to recycle sewage water into drinking quality water known as NeWater.

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NeWater Visitor Centre (Credits: NeWater)

Today, Singapore has 5 NeWater plants which contribute to almost 40% of the country’s clean and pure water supply. To know more about this, you can take a free tour of the NeWater Visitor Centre by signing up here.

4. Pay a visit to the Air Force Museum

This little known museum isn’t usually on the radar for most visitors to Singapore, but it’s definitely an interesting way to spend a hot afternoon in town, amongst the country’s oldest fighter jets, helicopters, unmanned vehicles and missile launchers.

This free museum is very interactive (even has a defence themed video game to play!), and is a must visit for anyone who likes museums or is interested in learning about defence forces.

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Standing with the first ever fighter jet of Singapore

5. Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Located in the heart of Chinatown, this multi-storeyed temple is famous for its showcase of the relic of Buddha’s tooth, but very few know that it has a lot more than that. At the temple, you can experience a chanting session, turn a prayer wheel, walk around the rooftop garden, and even learn about the history of Buddhism and Singapore’s Chinatown through interactive exhibits and age old artefacts.

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Prayer Wheel in the rooftop garden of the temple

Click here to know about the ongoing events and activities at the temple.

6. Take a walk through Singapore’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 82 hectare park with more than ten thousand types of plants, and a stroll here is a great way way to spend a peaceful evening in Singapore.  It used to be the site of Singapore’s first rubber plantation in the 1800s and if you’re lucky, along with unique species of plants, you might even come across some turtles, black swans and monitor lizards during your walk around.

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A stroll around the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Free tours and activities (such as open air concerts) often take place at the gardens as well, and you can find out about the latest happenings here.

7. Go for a DIY walking tour

One of the best way to explore a place is to walk around its streets, and that’s what you can do in your self designed walking tour around Singapore. Choose a particular area or theme and voila – you’re on your way! For example, if you’re interested in knowing more about Chinatown, download the ChinatownSG app and take a walk through its streets.

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Walking around Chinatown

You can sign up for free tours with Monster Day Tours, Indie Singapore, Sneak Peak Singapore or All Things Bukit Brown. Do note while the tours are free, you are expected to tip the guide in the end.

If you’re interested in Street Art, go on a mural hunt in areas such as Little India, Clarke Quay, Kampong Glam, Tiong Bahru or even Chinatown, to see paintings by local and international artists.

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Wall art at Clarke Quay

Click here for a detailed map of some of the Singapore’s most popular mural clusters.

8. Watch the sun set over the iconic buildings of Singapore’s business district

Spend a relaxed evening at Marina Barrage, a dam built around Singapore’s business district. It has a rooftop garden where you can have a picnic, fly a kite (they even have LED kites!) and watch a splendid sunset over the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and the shiny office buildings.

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Watching the sunset from Marina Barrage

9. Attend an open air concert by the bay

The Esplanade Theatre (shaped as what can be seen as tribute to Durian – the national fruit) doesn’t only have a large indoor auditorium, but also an outdoor theatre, where free music, dance and theatre performances are often held by local and international artists. This outdoor space overlooks the city skyline, which makes these performances even more enjoyable – definitely a fun way to spend an evening!

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The Esplanade outdoor theatre by the riverside

To check out the latest happenings at Esplanade, click here.

10. Experience a spectacular light and sound show at the Gardens by the Bay

The Garden Rhapsody at the Gardens by the Bay is one of the most unique experiences of Singapore, and it’s absolutely free of cost! So if you’re in town, head over to watch the Supertrees light up to some lively music. The show lasts for 15 minutes and is held twice daily (7:45 pm and 8:45 pm). Try and reach 10 minutes earlier , because it gets jam packed.

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A unique display of light and sound at the Gardens by the Bay

There are numerous walking paths in the Gardens by the Bay with unique plants and art installations. If you have time, do take a walk around!

11. Watch the Marina Bay Sands light up

A Singapore experience is incomplete without watching Spectra, Marina Bay Sands’ light and water show. Held twice a day (8 pm and 9 pm), it is truly a treat to watch the laser lights dancing around Singapore’s business district along with the colourful waterworks.

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Light up the night!

Settle down near the Merlion, or marble benches along the Promontory and enjoy the spectacle for free!

12. Camp overnight at the beach under a blanket of a million stars

Whether it is for an adventurous staycation or a change from the glitzy hotels around town, you can spend a night out in Singapore by camping at the beach – for free! Nothing like the sea and the stars to lull you off to sleep!

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Stargazing under the open sky (Credits: Niharika Kalra)

There are designated campsites where you can setup your tents, and most sites have well maintained bathrooms as well as BBQ pits. If you’re lucky, you might even see some turtles at the beach.

Click here to get your camping permit (you will need to provide your local ID details in the form). BBQ pit bookings are also available at an additional cost here.

Bonus (this one is only for girls)

Have a girls’ night out at the best bars in the city

That’s right! Wednesday night is ladies’ night, and most of the top bars and clubs in Singapore give free entry and a free drink (or two) to the ladies in the house. Head over to the rooftop bars of 1-Altitude or Ce La Vie for a fancy tipple with a great view, or club hop in Clarke Quay. Or do both. The night is yours.

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View from the top (Ce Le Vie)

Note: You won’t find this information on the bar/club websites

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What are the best free activities you’ve done in your city? Tell me about it!

Note: Content and photos on this blog, unless credited, belong to the owner of this blog. Reproduction or usage without prior permission is prohibited.

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