20 Free Things to do in Singapore
According to experts, Singapore is one of the most expensive countries in Southeast Asia, but not many know that there are several things to do and see which can be done for free of which we bring to you 20 free things to do in Singapore that won’t put any pressure on your wallet:
Savor a free meal in the serene temples
Visit Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery and the Singapore Buddhist Lodge to savor a free vegetarian meal without shelling out a single penny from your pocket. Visitors regardless of their religion, race, social status and language are served food at the dining hall. As Buddhism preaches one to be giving, thus, most of the temples here offer free food. However, these two also boast of a wonderful location and thus are special. In exchange of this, respect for the region’s culture is expected from you.
Location: 88 Bright Hill Road (Kong Meng San)
Timings: Monastery Gate 1: 6 AM – 10 PM; Gate 2: 6 AM – 8.30 PM; Gate 3: 6 AM – 8.30 PM, and Gate 4 & 5: 6 AM – 7.30 PM (Kong Meng San)
A sneak-peak into Peranakan history at Baba House
Placed near Chinatown, Baba house is a beautifully renovated Peranakan house that one can visit on a free tour which can be somewhere an hour long. During the visit, you are going to get a sneak-peak into the affluent lifestyle of a rich local family that lived here in the Singapore of the 1920’s. You can book an appointment for the same- Monday at 2 PM, Tuesday at 6.30 PM, Thursday at 10 AM, and Saturday at 11 AM.
Location: 157 Neil Rd
Timings: 1hr tours- 2 PM Monday, 6.30 PM Tuesday, 10 AM Thursday, and 11 AM Saturday
Birding at Bukit Brown Cemetery
Once the largest Chinese cemetery in Singapore, Bukit Brown cemetery was founded in the first half of the 20th century. Converted into a popular wildlife and bird watching spot, it is also a renowned heritage site, famed for its historical significance. It is an ideal place for free walking tours for historians, aficionados as well as activist groups. Admire the lush surroundings here.
Location: 2 km westwards of the entry to MacRitchie Reservoir Park
Meet new people during vibrant festivals of Singapore
Singapore is a colorful land of many vibrant and energetic festivals, and you can be a part of this festivity, for free. The best part is you can meet new people and make friends for lifetime. Mosaic Music Festival, Buskers Festival, the Singapore Night Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Mid-autumn festival, the Lunar New Year, Deepavali, and Hari Raya Puasa are some of the popular festivals of Singapore, which you can enjoy. This entertainment and carnivals go on all around the year and are a show of the region’s rich culture and heritage.
Timings: All around the year
Get Impressed at the Gardens by the Bay
A stunning piece of horticulture haven, the Gardens by the Bay is one of the best attractions in Singapore. A man-made wonder on reclaimed land, this garden is a show of colorful and well-lit massive super trees, plants and flowers as well as panoramic waterfront views. Entry into the Outdoor gardens- Supertree Grove, Sun Pavillion, Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, World of Plants, Far East Organization Children’s Garden, Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes, and is free. These are environment-friendly garden run on solar power.
However, if you wish to take a stroll on the OCBC Skywalk and visit the conservatories, you need to shell extra money from your pocket. Light and Sound shows in the evening are the other highlight.
Location: 18 Marina Gardens Dr (next to Bayfront MRT Station)
Timings: 5:00 AM – 2:00 AM (Outdoor gardens)
Free Guided Tours at the National Museum of Singapore
The oldest museum in Singapore, established in 1849, the National Museum offers free guided tours and that too in different languages. Singapore History Gallery (Level 1), Life in Singapore Galleries (Level 2), We Built a Nation Galleries, Treasures of the World Exhibition, and Treasures of the World Exhibition are galleries where these tours take place.
Each session is of around one hour and can have only 15 visitors. Try to be early as the admission is one the ‘first-come, first-served basis’. You can confirm the timings of different sessions in different language like English, Japanese and Mandarin etc. from the official website. Please take note that if you planning a visit on a weekday, first visit the ticket counter to get a guided tour tag. These guided tours do not take place on Public Holidays (1st January, 8th & 9th February, 25th Mar, 1st May and 21st May).
Location: 93 Stamford Road
Timings: 10 AM to 7 PM (everyday)
Enjoy a free art tour
There are a number of hotels in Singapore that organize their art collections and put it on display. Known for organizing rotating exhibitions, the Pan Pacific’s Public Art Space is one of the places of display. The other art display area is the public areas of Marina Bay Sands where Circle and Irregular Bands in the lobby and Sol LeWitt’s Arcs must be visited.
For art aficionados, there are other wonders too. Get spoiled by viewing at the Dale Chihuly glass blowing, to huge Frank Stella installations and the amazing Warhols close to the ballroom. Another prime attraction is the Ritz-Carlton Millenia where you can attend an iPod tour for half an hour and have a look at the wonderful collection.
Timings: All around the year
Walk the Southern Ridges
Offering stunning views of the lush surroundings, walking on an open-space 10 km of walkway connecting Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve is definitely a wonderful experience. Do not forget to spot colorful birds and capture them in your cameras. Carry a hat, a sunscreen and water bottles with you. If you love clicking selfies, this is the place to be.
Location: Between Mount Faber and National University of Singapore
Timings: Any time of the week
Attend free concerts of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra
If listening to music under the open sky seems to be a good idea, then attending a free concert of Singapore Symphony Orchestra at the Botanical garden would be great. Under its community outreach program, free concerts are organized by the SSO different locations like the Singapore Racecourse, several tertiary institutions, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
In case your taste lies in classical, visit the Classics at the Park sessions that take place at the Botanic Gardens. The ambiance is green and lovely. To get your favorite spot, come early and yes, do bring a picnic basket.
Location: 1 Cluny Road (Botanical Garden)
Timings: Different concerts have different timings that can be confirmed from the official websites
Relax at East Coast Park
Catch all the outdoor action at the amazing 15 km spread of beach, called the East Coast Park. It is the perfect idea to get away from crowd and chaos to enjoy some cool breeze and enjoy tanning your body till you want. For water babies, there are water sports activities. You can also see people enjoying cycling and roller blading.
BBQ pits are complimentary. One can also enjoy free camping by seeking a camping permit, which is also available online.
Location: Along East Coast Parkway and East Coast Park Service Road
Timings: 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM
Spot wild dolphins at the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park
Visit the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park to relish the site of blue waters. This is also the site of the richest coral reefs in Singapore. Thus, it is an ideal place for snorkeling, as well as wild dolphin spotting. The region is known for its rich biodiversity.
Along with swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear water, one can enjoy picnic with his loved ones, under the lush palm trees, offering shade from the sun. Even permit for camping can be sought. Another amazing feature here free of cost Intertidal Guided Walks that take place from May to September. Make sure that you make the bookings in advance.
Location: Sisters’ Island
Timings: Timings differ on different days
Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Surely one of the most memorable visits here, the Buddha Tooth Relic temple has been erected in Tang architecture style. This 5-storey elegant structure is a place of worship and also offers a soulful experience when one listens to the holy chants in the huge hall on the ground floor. Explore the temple and the museum quietly as the head monk is busy in his business.
Attracting Lord Buddha’s devotees from all across the globe, the temple houses a tooth of Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. It is placed on the top floor. Visitors can also savor free vegetarian meal here. The temple also features a peaceful garden on the rooftop.
Location: 288 South Bridge Road (opposite Maxwell Market)
Timings: 7 AM-7 PM, (relic viewing) 9 AM-6 PM
Breathe fresh at Fort Canning Park and Singapore Botanic Gardens
Renowned for its lush green ambiance the Botanic Garden of Singapore was initially founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in Fort Canning Park, on the end of the Orchard Road district. Without giving even a single penny, you can roam around the garden, admire the greenery, breathe in the fresh air and relish the tranquility. You can also visit the official website for free walking tours.
Do not miss the spice garden at the Fort Canning Park that overlooks the central Singapore. A stroll here is a must. The place organizes free monthly tours.
Location: Fort Canning Park (River Valley Road); Botanical Garden (1 Cluny Road)
Timings: Fort Canning Park (open 24 hours); Botanical Garden (5 AM- 12 midnight)
Relish peace at the beautiful churches in Singapore
Singapore houses some most stunning churches, belonging to different sects of Christianity. Apart from being places of worship, they are a proof of sheer architectural brilliance. Two of the popular churches here are- the Armenian Church oldest and smallest one, and St Andrew’s Cathedral- the largest church in Singapore. Visit these churches for free and spend some peaceful moments here.
Location: St Andrew’s Cathedral (740 View Street); the Armenian Church (60 Hill Street)
Timings: St Andrew’s Cathedral (Monday to Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM; the Armenian Church (Daily, 9 AM – 6 PM)
Walk The McRitchie Reservoir’s Treetop
If someone told you that Singapore is a concrete jungle then probably he didn’t went to the MaCritchie Reservoir- one of the greenest places here. How about walking among the animals, right at the canopy level and have a sneak-peek into the lives? Go for hiking on the 8-km long round-shaped Treetop Walk of the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Here you climb up a 250 m suspension bridge rising above the canopy of rainforest.
The best part is that this exciting experience is absolutely free. Opt for the walk in the morning or in the evening as the afternoons can be quite hot. Also avoid rainy days. The Tree Top Walk is only reachable from MacRitchie Reservoir Park through MacRitchie Nature Trail or from the Venus Drive.
Location: Lornie Road
Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Weekdays); 8:30am to 5:00pm (Weekends) (Closed on Mondays)
Explore the kitschy Haw Par Villa
Established by the founder brothers of Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa is not just a regular amusement park. Over 150 exhibits and statues at this park are a show of Confucianism as well as Chinese legends and mythology. The most striking scenic displays are extensively graphic events from the hell.
If you get to see all this absolutely free, nothing can be better. One of the main diorama here is the depiction of the 10 Courts of Hell. It shows the punishment on would have to bear in hell, as per the brutality of the sins, one had committed. The park lies atop a hill in Pasir Panjang, has been named after the Burma-born Aw brothers, who made Tiger Balm, the medical ointment for headache.
Location: 262 Pasir Panjang Road
Timings: Daily 9 AM – 7 PM
Get clicked with the Merlion
The face of Singapore, its iconic sculpture, the Merlion (a half-lion, half-fish creature), is free to pose with. Located in the Merlion Park, this 8.5 m tall statue faces east, considered to be the direction that brings good luck. Water keeps on spouting from its mouth, get yourself clicked and you can stroll around the Marina Bay. Visit to this structure is free of cost.
As you walk the place, let the cool breeze brush past your face. The highlight in the evening is an amazing laser light show during sunset.
Location: One Fullerton
Timings: Open 24 hours a day
Get perks at the Changi Airport
Not many known but Changi Airport of Singapore has a lot to offer. If you have a few hours here, do not miss the freebies. There is a lot to do including relaxing at the 5 gardens including the butterfly garden; have fun at the TV lounge, getting a free foot massage; browsing through the net with free Wi-FI; watching movies at the free movie theaters on the terminals; trying your hand at the latest gizmos; enjoying making your own art; catching your sleep at the free sleeping areas; visiting the Science Museum; riding down the world’s tallest indoor slide (after a purchase of 10 dollars), and the most wonderful – opting for a free 2-hour city tour of Singapore.
Location: Airport Blvd
Timings: Open 24 hours a day
Visit the biggest mosque of Singapore
Known as Sultan Mosque or Masjid Mosque, the biggest and the most popular mosque in Singapore can be visited for free (outside prayer times). You can take the help of the volunteers to give you an insight of the Muslim heritage of the place. To avoid the crowd, visit the mosque early morning and then you free to eat, drink and shop at the popular Haji Lane. It is an architectural masterpiece.
Location: 3 Muscat Street
Timings: Monday to Sunday: 9.30 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 4 PM, and Friday: 2.30 PM – 4 PM
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