On a budget? We take a look at all the best free things to do in Singapore, so you can take in the sights without spending a cent!
Singapore is known for being an expensive city to visit. So, in this article, we wanted to look at some activities that can actually be done for free. If you’re visiting Singapore on a budget, then this article is for you.
I’m not going to lie, most tourist attractions in Singapore are expensive. And so visiting several of the big attractions (eg. Universal Studios, SEA Aquarium, Singapore Zoo) during your trip soon adds up.
But the good news is, there are a few free attractions that you can take advantage of, to help keep your budget in check. Here are a few of our favourites:
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Gardens by the Bay
One of Singapore’s most famous tourist attractions, Gardens by the Bay, is in fact free! Well, some of it is free.
Unfortunately you do need to buy tickets for some of the main attractions within Gardens by the Bay. This includes the Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, OCBC Skyway and the Supertree Observatory.
BUT – it is completely free to enter the rest of the Gardens. And there are plenty of beautiful park areas, lakes, wetlands and photo spots to access.
Even the famous light show at Supertree Grove, Garden Rhapsody, can be enjoyed for free. Watch it every evening at 7.45pm and 8.45pm
Here are our favourite free attractions within Gardens by the Bay:
- Supertree Grove – yes you can visit those iconic super trees for free! You may have to pay to walk the skyway or go up into the observatory, but walking around and admiring those mammoth structures is 100% FREE!
- Far East Organisation’s Children’s Garden – if you are visiting Singapore with kids, be sure to pop their swimmers in the bag when you visit Gardens by the Bay. They will love splashing around in this awesome water play area.
- Dragon & Kingfisher Lakes – a great spot for insta-worthy photos of the super trees and Marina Bay Sands.
- Heritage Gardens – a history and cultural lesson told through plants.
- World of Plants – to learn all about the spectacular myriad of tropical plants and the eco-systems they support.
One of Singapore’s best museums is actually FREE!
Singapore’s only preserved coastal fort that played a significant role in the country’s coastal defence during the war. This historic site on Sentosa Island is now home to a popular museum.
At Fort Siloso, you’ll encounter well-preserved WWII-era guns, vibrant murals, and interactive exhibits, together with waxwork models and motion-triggered recordings. All offer insights into the fort’s operations and its significance in the defence of Singapore.
Insider Tip: While you’re here, check out the Fort Siloso Skywalk, an 11-storey high treetop walk that offers panoramic views of the fort and surrounding areas (also free).
Singapore’s Botanic Gardens is just a 15-minute walk from the top of Orchard Road and is one of the most beautiful places in Singapore.
This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a huge variety of beautiful park areas, including some of the oldest primary rainforest in Singapore.
You’ll find lakes, fountains, sculpture gardens and plenty of well-manicured lawns to kick back on and enjoy the view.
If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. This has several learning areas, in addition to a fun tree house with a slide and a water play area.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
There aren’t many free museums in Singapore for tourists, but the Buddhist Cultural Museum inside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is one of them.
This excellent museum holds a unique collection of Buddhist artefacts from various parts of Asia and also teaches you the life story of the Buddha.
The museum is housed within Chinatown’s largest Buddhist temple, built to hold the Sacred Buddha Tooth and Relics. All parts of the temple are free to enter.
There are five floors plus a roof garden to explore, including the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pavilion on the roof.
Southern Ridges Walk
The Southern Ridges Walk comprises 10 kilometres of trails that connect five of Singapore’s national parks: Mount Faber Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, Kent Ridge Park, HortPark and Telok Blangah Hill Park.
It’s a popular trail with local runners and joggers and really exemplifies the juxtaposition of the real jungle and the urban jungle that is so unique to Singapore.
As you walk through sections of secondary rainforest, you will be reminded that you are never far from urban development. The sounds of cicadas mingle with traffic noise and apartment blocks tower above the rainforest canopy.
One of the highlights is the Henderson Waves, a very cool pedestrian bridge. This architectural masterpiece has an undulating wave-like structure and curved steel ‘ribs’ and is a great spot for photos.
Insider Tip: The Henderson Waves is a great spot to watch sunset, where you can enjoy views over the urban sprawl and out towards Sentosa.
MacRitchie Treetop Walk
MacRitchie Reservoir Park is one of the best places to go hiking in Singapore, with its its rich rainforest environment and well-signposted trails.
There are several boardwalk treks and more rugged forest trails around the reservoir, varying in length from 3km to 11km.
The highlight is the TreeTop Walk, a free-standing 250m long suspension bridge that gives you a bird’s eye view of the rainforest canopy from its 25m high position.
Keep your eyes peeled for Long Tailed Macaques, Monitor Lizards, White-bellied Fish-eagles and an abundance of butterflies and birds along the way.
Insider Tip: The Treetop Walk is reached via the Blue trail, which is a 10.5km round trip from the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. You can also reach it via a slightly shorter 7km walk, (the Orange trail) from the Venus Drive car park.
Jewel Rain Vortex
It has become one of Singapore’s most iconic sights, but the Jewel HSBC Rain Vortex at Changi Airport is completely free to visit.
You are bound to have seen social media posts of the HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s largest indoor waterfall. It’s a sight to behold and a must-snap for your Instagram page.
Within the Jewel complex, you’ll find plenty of shopping and dining options too, to suit every budget.
Singapore’s first outdoor art gallery can be found in the back lanes of the Kampong Gelam district.
Once reserved for deliveries and garbage disposal, the laneways behind Muscat Street are now home to murals and framed art from over 30 artists, both local and international.
Instagrammers, get snapping!
Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa is a strange and surreal statue garden located in the West of Singapore. The park dates back to 1937, when it was built by Aw Boon Haw, one of the brothers behind the Tiger Balm empire.
Here, you’ll find hundreds of multi-coloured statues and tableaux depicting Chinese myths and legends. It’s perfect for fun photos!
Unfortunately, the infamous 10 Courts of Hell are now part of the pay-to-enter Hell’s Museum, but the rest of the park remains free.
Spectra Light Show
Garden Rhapsody at Gardens by the Bay isn’t the only light show in Singapore. There’s another that takes place at Marina Bay Sands every night.
Spectra, a light and water show is a 15-minute extravaganza of choreographed fountain jets, colourful visual projections, lasers, lava and mist effects, all set to an orchestral soundtrack.
To watch, head to the Event Plaza in front of Marina Bay Sands every evening at 8pm and 9pm, plus 10pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Art lovers rejoice, the NUS Museum at the National University of Singapore is a wonderful art gallery and it’s completely free to enter.
The gallery’s diverse collections range from classical Chinese and Indian materials to modern and contemporary Southeast Asian and Singaporean art.
With a comprehensive collection of over 8,000 artefacts and artworks in its permanent collections, it also hosts temporary exhibitions, meaning there is always something new to see here.
Explore the neighbourhoods
Exploring Singapore’s neighbourhoods on foot costs nothing and is one of the best ways to soak in the vibe of the city.
Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Gelam and the Civic District are all perfect for exploring on foot. You’ll find plenty of impressive architecture, temples, interesting alleyways and street murals along the way.
Our guide to the most Instragrammable spots in Singapore has plenty of free places to visit to get that perfect holiday snap too.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Set in 130 hectares of mangroves, mudflats, ponds and secondary forests, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is known as one of the best spots in Singapore to see abundant birdlife.
This peaceful oasis is particularly popular during the migratory season of September to March, when huge flocks of shorebirds, such as Egrets, Sandpipers and Plovers visit the Reserve. There are observation hides set up for keen bird enthusiasts to get a better view.
The reserve is also home to an amazing diversity of other interesting plants and animals, So keep a look out for otters, monitor lizards and crocodiles while you’re here.
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
The largest monastery in Singapore is home to one of Asia’s largest indoor Buddhist statues.
This enormous statue of the bodhisattva Guan Yin is made from bronze, measures 45 feet in height, and weighs several tons. It’s an impressive sight.
The grounds are extensive and it’s a great spot to spend some quiet, reflective moments. Be sure to track down the Boddhi tree, said to be a descendent of the sacred Bodhi Tree where Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment.
Have you visited any of these free Singapore attractions? Come over and share your experience with us in our Facebook Group, Singapore Travel Tips!