Discovering free things to do in Singapore is surprisingly easy, even in this cosmopolitan, vibrant and historical nation. Singapore offers visitors a heady mix of culture, green verdant gardens, stunning architecture, Michelin-starred restaurants, theme parks, wildlife and a polished collection of accommodation. However, as with everything Singapore does, it ensures that there are fun and inspiring experiences for everyone to enjoy whatever budget you have available to spend.
Despite being ranked as one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit, the good news is that you don’t have to miss out on famous landmarks, culture, history or entertainment with the number of free things to do in the city.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN SINGAPORE
1. Photograph Singapore’s Original Merlion Statue
Created in 1972 by the sculptor Lim Nang Seng, this original statue stands 8.6 metres in height, aligned to face East overlooking Singapore River.
Designed to represent a logo for the Singapore Tourism Board back in 1964, Singapore’s original name “lion city” is represented by the lion head while the fish body symbolises the country’s fishing village origin. The Merlion’s position allows you to pose for photographs from different angles as water pours from its mouth.
Location : Merlion Park, One Fullerton, Singapore.
Opening Times : Anytime day or night.
Nearest MRT Station : Raffles Place (EW14/NS26)
2. Relax in Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016, this sprawling oasis provides tranquility, lush manicured lawns, walking trails, lakes, wildlife and the worlds biggest display of tropical orchids. Wander around the stunning collection of flowers, shrubs, bonsai, bamboo and trees and view the delightful freestanding sculptures as you escape the city and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Location : Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore.
Opening Times : 0500hr-0000hr daily.
Details : Visit the official site for details of getting there and parking.
Nearest MRT Station : Botanic Gardens (CC19/DT9) for Bukit Timah Gate OR Orchard (TE14/NS22) for Tanglin gate.
3. View the spectacular glowing Supertree grove at Gardens By the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is a man made interpretation of the plant kingdom through artistry and use of plant species found in cool, temperate and tropical habitats.
Twelve of the 18 super trees found within the gardens are found at the supertree grove and with the tallest standing at up to 16 storeys high they are a sight to behold when they are spectacularly lit up at night time. The Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes boardwalk is an ideal vantage point for a great photograph.
Location : 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore.
Opening Times : 05.00-02.00am daily, but preferred time is at night when the trees are lit up.
Details : Visit the official site for details of other free admission attractions.
Nearest MRT Station : Bayfront (CE1/DT16)
4. Discover vibrant Neighbourhoods on foot
Discover the many diverse and unique neighbourhoods in Singapore by simply strolling around the streets on foot. Whether it is the narrow bustling streets of Chinatown, the vibrant and cultural buildings of Little India or the rich history and trendy shops of Kampong Glam, each neighbourhood has its own charm to discover.
Location : Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, Singapore.
Opening Times : Day or Night.
Nearest MRT Station : Chinatown (NE4/DT19) , Little India (NE7/DT12) , Bugis (NE1/CC29)
5. Explore hilltop Fort Canning Park
One of Singapore’s historical landmarks, this 18-hectare park has seen a lot of action over the years. Aside from being a tranquil oasis to walk through, “Forbidden Hill” as it was once known, has housed Malay Kings, served as headquarters for the British Army, been surrended to the Japanese and now offers its lawns for outdoor concerts. There are several interesting artefacts to view as you wander through the green spaces, including a spice garden, a 9-pound cannon, lighthouse, Sir Raffles house and the Battle Box museum.
Location : Bounded by Hill Street, Canning Rise, Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road, Singapore.
Opening Times : Daily 24 hours. (Lighting hours 7.00pm-07.00am)
Details : Visit the official site for details of getting there and things to do. ** The Battle Box Museum is NOT free **
Nearest MRT Station : Clarke Quay (NE5), Dhoby Ghaut (NS24/NE6/CC1) or Fort Canning (DT20)
6. Admire Bronze Sculptures
Singapore has many beautifully crafted bronze structures strategically placed to portray history, culture or aspiration for the future of the country. As you stroll around the different districts keep your eyes peeled and you will see some beauties.
Standing by the side of the Singapore River and sponsored by United Overseas Bank Limited, this quirky, plump bird is the creation of Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero. Symbolising serenity, joy, and optimism for the growth and prosperity of Singapore in the years ahead, it has been created in Botero’s unique style of figurines with exaggerated rotundness and disproportions and is quite cute.
Location : United Overseas Bank 80 Raffles Place, Singapore.
Nearest MRT Station : Raffles Place (EW14/NS26)
7. Watch Sunset from Marina Barrage
Singapore is a city within a garden and so it is no surprise that the unique project at Marina Barrage manages to incorporate 3 key benefits, namely supply around 10% of the country’s water supply, provide a flood control scheme to alleviate flooding and offer recreational activities such as kayaking, picnic spots and a spectacular view of the city’s skyline.
Choose your spot at dusk and watch the sun set and the city lights illuminating Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, the Supertree Grove and Central Business District skyline.
Location : 8 Marina gardens Drive, Singapore.
Opening Times : All Day
Details : Visit the official site for full directions.
Nearest MRT Station : Marina Bay (NS27/CE2/TE20)
8. Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
This five-storey temple, designed in the Tang style, houses an impressive array of sacred artefacts of the Buddha, including bone and tongue relics. Immerse yourself in Buddhist culture as you study the extensive art and history collections. The temple’s name comes from what the Buddhists regard as the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic. There is also a teahouse, theatre and roof garden for contemplation.
Wander around under your own steam or take a free weekly guided tour which lasts around 2 hours.
Location : 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore.
Opening Times : 7.00am-7.00pm daily.
Details : Visit the official site for details of getting there and information about the temple and Museum.
Nearest MRT Station : Chinatown (NE4/DT19).
9. Walk along the Helix Bridge
Completed in 2010 to a brief which requested a landmark structure with shade from direct sunlight and shelter from heavy rainfall, this unique design is hailed as one of the country’s most celebrated architectural achievements. This pedestrian bridge links the Marina Bay area with the Esplanade and its double helix design represents human DNA ie the rebirth and growth of Singapore. With several viewing platforms from which to enjoy the city skyline, it is a pleasure to stroll along, especially at night when it is lit by thousands of LED lights.
Location : Marina Bay, Singapore.
Opening Times : Day and Night.
Details : Check here for detailed information about the design of the bridge.
Nearest MRT Station : Promenade (CC4/DT15).
10. Catch a free concert at the Esplanade
Singapore’s premier performing arts centre is a bold and striking twin structure design of two rounded glass domes fitted with aluminium sunshades and resembling the local spiky Durian tropical fruit.
Alongside ticket-only events are a collection of free performances and shows, enabling every visitor to experience visual arts, dance & theatre and music acts.
Location : 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore. Between Raffles Avenue and Esplanade Drive, just by Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River.
Opening Times : Daily 08.00-02.00
Details : Check here for details of free programmes.
Nearest MRT Station : City Hall (EW13/NS25).
11. View the impressive Sultan Mosque
This striking mosque holds a prominent position in Kampong Glam, serving as a focal point for the Muslim community as it has done since its construction.
Massive golden domes stand out from afar, with the base of each one being decorated with donated glass bottle ends by poor Muslims, ensuring all muslims were able to contribute to its construction. Take a wander around the exterior before viewing the huge prayer hall inside.
Location : 3 Muscat Street, Singapore.
Opening Times : Walk-in visits Saturday to Thursday 10.00-12.00 & 2.00-4.00, Friday 2.30-4.00
Details : Check here for visitor information and clothing attire.
Nearest MRT Station : Bugis (EW12/DT14).
12. Have fun at the Beach
Opened in 1975 as an island resort, Sentosa which translates as “peace and tranquility” in Malay is connected to the mainland by road, cable car, monorail and pedestrian boardwalk. Attractions are numerous and come at a cost, however you can still enjoy the views, the Merlion (yes another) and the ambience by spending the day at the beach. If you are looking for tranquility then head to palm-lined Tanjong Beach.
It is a leisurely stroll with travelators interspersed along the bridge from VivoCity Shopping Mall.
Location : 39 Artillery Avenue, Sentosa, Singapore.
Opening Times : All Day Entry.
Details : Check here for pedestrian directions and details of Sentosa Island.
Nearest MRT Station : HarbourFront (NE1/CC29)
13. Admire the ornate detailing of Sri Mariamman Temple
Built by immigrants from districts of South India, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore dates back to 1827 and is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, known for her power to cure epidemic disease and illness. The craftsmanship is inspiring whether you like the style or not and has six tiers which are covered in sculptures of mythological beasts, deities, figures and Sepoy soldiers.
Location : 244 South Bridge Road, Singapore.
Opening Times : Daily from 07.00-12.00 and 6.00-9.00.
Details : Check here for an overview of the temple’s history.
Nearest MRT Station : Chinatown (NE4/DT19).
14. Hike the Southern Ridges
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head for the hills – literally! Singapore has some amazing green spaces to get some air into your lungs and feel the fresh air on your face. Incorporating Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve, this 10-kilometre stretch of connecting trails, gets you back amongst nature and provides panoramic views of the city and harbour.
Location : Henderson Road, Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Singapore.
Opening Times : Open 24 Hours daily.
Details : Check the national Parks site for full trail details and map.
Nearest MRT Station : HarbourFront (NE1/CC29).
15. Experience a Singapore Festival
There is always a celebration of some kind going on in Singapore, be it a food, music or cultural festival and the city comes alive with fun celebrations. If you happen to be visiting during one of these celebrations you can enjoy the crowds, admire the vibrant decorations and feel like a local.
Every Christmas, Orchard Road is transformed into a sparkling, dazzling wonderland which you can marvel at as you stroll along this famous shopping belt. The roads are adorned with spectacular displays every December which will impress and astound in equal measure. There may not be any snow but Singapore treats each festival with as much importance as the next.
Other festivals are Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali, Mid-Autumn Festival, Thaipusam and Chinese New Year.
Location : Orchard Road, Singapore.
Opening Times : 24 Hours daily.
Details : Check out Honeycombers for a calendar of events.
Nearest MRT Station : Orchard (TE14/NS22).
It is possible to visit this beautiful country on a budget, and with careful planning you can definitely see and experience some iconic landmarks.
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