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Singapore

FREE Singapore Attractions for the Budget Traveler

May 27, 2019
Free Singapore Attractions for the Budget Traveler

Singapore attractions are not cheap. It can be very intimidating for budget travelers. I, myself, rattled at the amount of cash I’m shredding by the minute during my visit to Singapore with my two kids (who happened to have zero concepts of budget traveling).

But there’s no real need to worry about entrance fees when traveling in the country. Major attractions may be too expensive in a “Southeast-Asian perspective,” but there are as much equally amazing attractions in Singapore one can visit for free. From nature parks to concrete jungles, there are a ton of ways you can have an authentic Singapore experience without breaking the bank. Kids or no kids, no kidding.

A few budget-saving words of advice before we introduce you to admission free attractions in Singapore.

  • Avoid taking the taxis or Grab Taxi as much as you can. Study the train system and use the routes efficiently.
  • High-speed mobile internet is relatively cheap, but if you’re confident you can go about without using Grab Taxi, don’t buy a local SIM card. Install Google Maps on your smartphone and download the Singapore map so you won’t have to worry about losing directions even when offline.
  • For accommodations, pick a place near MRT stations. Decent but budget-friendly hotels abound in Geylang (near Kallang station), Little India (near Bugis station), and Chinatown (near Chinatown station) areas. Get 10% rebate on your first hotel reservation at booking.com when you register using my link.
  • I would never advise about going cheap on food, it’s the ultimate travel experience. But you can save a lot without compromising the food experience by choosing to eat at the hawker centers.
  • Always bring your water bottles when traveling in Singapore. There are numerous water fountains you can drink or refill your containers from in key locations all over the country.

And now for the main attraction. And by that, I mean admission free Singapore attractions.

The Southern Ridges

Photo and text by Renata Green
www.byemyself.com

Southern Ridges - Free Singapore Attractions

It’s actually pretty amazing how much nature is preserved at the relatively small and very densely populated city-state of Singapore. Whether it’s the Fort Canning Park in the very center or the Pasir Ris Park in the outskirts towards the Changi airport – there is so much refreshing greenery to enjoy.

As they say, the best things in life are free, and so is one of the best hikes in Singapore. On the Marang Trail stretched across the Mount Faber Park, you are walking between the treetops while enjoying great views of the city. It even gets pretty exciting at some spots like around the Henderson Waves, a wooden part that stretches over the freeway.

In total, this walk is about 10 km or 6 miles long. You should take the subway to the Harbour Front stop. Don’t go south towards Sentosa as everyone else does, but turn north and climb the stairs up to Mount Faber. This should be the hardest part since, from now on, you are just walking straight on trails and bridges. I would not recommend it if you are heavily suffering from acrophobia. However, I tend to be pretty afraid of heights and I did it, so you probably should be fine, too.

Once you arrive at the Southern Ridges part at Alexandra Road, you will find yourself at a huge park with different educational gardens as well as a beautiful pond. There are restaurants where you can relax a bit before heading back downtown from the nearby Pasir Panjang station.

  • Take the MRT Harbour Front Station and turn north to climb the stairs up to Mount Faber.

Henderson Waves

Photo and text by Hayley Lewis
alovelyplanet.com

Henderson Waves - Free Singapore Attractions

Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, offering panoramic views of the city, harbour and the Southern Islands. Connecting Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park in the Southern Ridges, Henderson Waves is both functional and beautiful. This area is perfect for walking with 10km of green spaces to explore.

Whether you fancy walking or not, it’s definitely worth taking the time to visit Henderson Waves. The unique looking bridge, as the name suggests, consists of a series of seven undulating ‘waves’. Within these waves are seats, so you can sit and relax and admire the architecture.

The 274 meter-long and 8m-wide bridge is illuminated at night, with LED lights from 7pm to 2am daily. It was designed to blend into the surrounding landscape and was created as sustainably as possible, with much of the surface and wave structures being made of indigenous yellow balau all-weather timber.

  • Take the MRT to Redhill station (EW18, East-West Line) and from there take Bus #145 for 7 stops to “Bef Telok Blangah Hts”.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Photo and text by Mariza Lange
hoponworld.com

Singapore Botanic Gardens - Free Singapore Attractions

It’s no surprise there is plenty to do, see and love in Singapore. And if you’re looking to add some free activities to your must-see list, don’t miss a chance to drop by the Singapore Botanical Gardens.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only the perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, but it’s also a great spot to enjoy a leisurely walk or even a picnic among nature. With more than 150 years of history, the 82-hectare Gardens is home to diverse plant life, lush tropical greenery, lakes, various themed gardens and several trails for you to stroll along.

It’s free to visit the Gardens daily from 5am-12pm, but if you want to pop by the esteemed Orchid Garden (which is undoubtedly the crème de la crème of orchid displays) the charge is SGD 5.

The Gardens is one of the best botanic gardens in the world and a great outdoor activity for those looking to save a few bucks in the city.

  • The Singapore Botanical Gardens is neatly nestled in central Singapore and a short walk from the Botanic Gardens MRT station. There are a number of buses which also run by here, but it’s pretty easy to hop in a Grab taxi if you’re looking for cheap hassle-free transport too.

Supertree Grove and Garden Rhapsody

Photo and text by Sheree Hooker
wingingtheworld.com

Supertree Grove Garden Rhapsody - Free Singapore Attractions

Supertree Grove is one of Singapore’s most iconic attractions and surprisingly, it is free to enter. Whilst there is extra cost to access the Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and the OCBC Skyway, Gardens by the Bay offer their famous Garden Rhapsody show for free.

Every evening at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM, the spectacular light and music show takes place, lasting for 15 minutes. The show comprises some of the most well-loved movie soundtracks ever, all brought to life by flashes of light and vibrant spurts of colors. Make sure to arrive early to grab a good spot in which to take in the spectacle.

Supertree Grove is open from 5 AM until 2 AM although you definitely want to plan your visit to coincide with Garden Rhapsody in the evening.

  • To get to the Gardens by the Bay light show, grab the MRT to Bayfront station. From here it is a very short walk to the Supertree Grove. Cross either Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge to arrive at Gardens by the Bay.

Marina Bay Sands Casino

Photo and text by Patrick Muntzinger
germanbackpacker.com

Marina Bay Sands Casino - Free Singapore Attractions

When visiting Singapore, make sure to have a look into the Marina Bay Sands Casino. This place is located directly in the Marina Bay Sands complex (consisting of the famous hotel as well as a shopping mall) and entrance is free! I didn’t do any gambling there, but certainly enjoyed the architecture and it’s interesting to have a look inside a place where people earn and lose so much money.

The casino is open 24/7. Keep in mind that access might not be permitted if you wear shorts or flip flops since a smart casual dress code is required. You might also get asked for your ID. There are no windows inside the building and it’s easy to lose track of time. Especially if you’ve never seen a big casino from the inside, I’d recommend a visit for the experience.

You can easily combine your visit with the surrounding attractions such as the Helix bridge and the gardens of the bay.

  • The closest subway station is called “Bayfront”.
  • Visit Patrick’s blog for more tips on backpacking Singapore. It’s in German with an English language option.

Clarke Quay to Marina Bay Sands

Photo and text by Anya Carion
tearfreetravel.com

Marina Bay Sands - Free Singapore Attractions

One of my favorite free things to do in Singapore is to walk from Clarke Quay to Marina Bay Sands. This 3-kilometer walk takes you to some of Singapore’s most iconic sights.

There’s a food court where I like to get a fresh fruit juice (soursop is the best!), and the Marina Bay MRT is right there! This is a great way to stay active in Singapore and to see some of Singapore’s beauty.

  • From the Clarke Quay MRT station, walk along the river until you get to the Fullerton Bay Hotel, where you get one of the best views of Marina Bay. Walking to the left, you’ll pass the Merlion! From there, find your way over to the Helix Bridge, and finally, you’ll arrive in Marina Bay Sands, one of Singapore’s most iconic buildings and one of the most luxurious malls.

Peranakan Culture and Architecture at Koon Seng Road

Photo and text by Queenie Mak
mstravelsolo.com

Koon Seng Road - Free Singapore Attractions

One of the best free things to do in Singapore is to explore Singapore’s Peranakan culture through a self-guided architectural tour. There are many traditional Peranakan shophouses in the city, and the best ones are on Koon Seng Road.

Peranakan, also known as Straits-born Chinese, are descendants of Chinese immigrants who went to Singapore during the 17th century. The heritage is a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. The Peranakan culture can be seen notably in architecture and food in Singapore.

As part of the Joo Chiat District, the pre-war architecture houses line both sides of Koon Seng Road. The street is one of the prettiest in Singapore and undoubtedly, one of the most photographed for Instagram. Pay close attention to the colorful facade, and intricate ceramic details. The area also has cool cafes, coffee shops, and delicious eateries.

  • The best way to get to Koon Seng Road is by Grab taxi. But if taking Grab Taxi is not possible, you can also take the MRT to Eunos Station and walk 15 minutes.

Haw Par Villa

Photo and text by Katalin Waga
ourlifeourtravel.com

Haw Par Villa - Free Singapore Attractions

If you like off the beaten sights, Haw Par Villa is one of the free attractions in Singapore that you should not miss when visiting the country.

It is a Chinese statue park from the 1930s, filled with weird, cultural, historical and mythological statues. The area is filled with over a thousand statues and it takes about 1-2 hours to explore it at a comfortable pace. Even though Singaporeans often take their kids to Haw Par Villa, in my opinion, it is not kid-friendly as the displays contain rather violent scenes as well especially for the younger ones. Older children can learn a lot about history and mythology while exploring the exhibition.

  • It is easy to reach the park by public transport. The closest MRT station is also named Haw Par Villa and it’s on the Circle Line.

Pulau Ubin

Photo and text by Jessica Palmer
familyholidaydestinations.com

Pulau Ubin - Free Singapore Attractions

Pulau Ubin is Singapore’s rustic island getaway that allows you to experience a kampong (village) atmosphere and immerse yourself in nature. The unsealed roads are best explored by push bike, which you won’t have a problem renting on the island, but you can also set out on foot or grab one of the island taxis.

The major attraction on Pulau Ubin is Chek Jawa wetlands, a unique area where six major habitats meet and mingle. It features two boardwalks, a coastal boardwalk, and a mangrove boardwalk. If you walk out onto the coastal boardwalk at low tide, you will be able to view the marine life below.

There is plenty of wildlife to seek out, including cheeky little long-tailed macaques monkeys who when we visited, had stolen a lunch bag and were busy rummaging around in it.

There is no fee to visit Pulau Ubin Island but there is a small fee of SGD 3 per person to catch the ten—minute bumboat across. Bike hire is around SGD 8 – 10 per day or you can bring your own across on the ferry for an additional SGD 2.

  • Changi Point Ferry Terminal is the departing point to Pulau Ubin. If using public transport, hop off at the Tanah Merah MRT station and take Bus 2 to Changi Point Interchange. It’s only a three-minute walk from here to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

Palawan Beach

Photo and text by Kay Tee
tearfreetravel.com

Palawan Beach - Free Singapore Attractions

Palawan beach is located on Sentosa Island, which is a man-made island resort off the coast of Singapore. Sentosa is home to Universal Studios, SEA Aquarium, Tiger Sky Tower, and much more! Although a day trip to Sentosa could cost you a pretty penny, there is actually a great option to enjoy a free day at the beach on Sentosa island.

Palawan beach is a great place to spend the day or afternoon relaxing in the sun. The beach itself is clean and inviting. The water is very calm, so bring your floaties and spend the day basking in the sun. Known for its suspension bridge, crossing over this bridge can take you to the southernmost point of continental Asia. When you’ve had enough relaxing, there are lots of places nearby to grab food and drinks. Head to Sentosa on a weekday for the fewest crowds!

Siloso Beach and Tanjong Beach are two other free beach destinations at the end of Sentosa Island. All accessible by free trams.

  • To get to Sentosa island, you can walk across the Sentosa boardwalk from Vivocity shopping mall. This is right next to the Harbourfront MRT. There is also an optional monorail which costs SGD 3.50 if you prefer not to walk. Once on the island, there are free beach trams and buses to get you all across the island.
  • Visit Kay’s blog for the best toddler floaties if you’re visiting Sentosa Island beaches with your little ones.

Rooftop Bar at Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Photo and text by Mona Molayem
monacorona.com

Rooftop Bars at Marina Bay Sands Hotel - Free Singapore Attractions

Note: Fee is required for this attraction but the amount is consumable. If you’re going out for a drink anyways, why not choose these rooftop bars for breathtaking views of Singapore skyline.

The Marina Bay Sands hotel houses the largest rooftop infinity pool in the world and provides some of the most epic views of Singapore. While the rooftop is only available to guests of the hotel, the Ce La Vie Skybar at the Marina Bay Sands located right next to their infinity pool is open to the public and boasts equally as impressive views.

During the day, entrance to the Skybar is SGD 20 and jumps to SGD 28 at night. The entrance fee is completely redeemable on food or drinks, however, making it a perfect place to relax with an afternoon cocktail while taking in the sweeping bird’s-eye view or people watching hotel guests in and around the massive pool.

The price to get into the bar is comparable to the SkyPark Observation Deck located on a separate rooftop area of the Marina Bay Sands. But you make better use or your money and time at the Ce La Vie SkyBar.

  • Marina Bay Sands is linked directly to CE1/DT16 Bayfront Station on the Circle Line and Downtown Line of Singapore’s MRT.

Singapore Art Museum and SAM @8Q

Photo and text by Ania James
the-travelling-twins.com

Singapore Art Museum - Free Singapore Attractions

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is located in the old Mission School. It was under renovation during our visit, but if you go there you will find little footprints painted on the pavement. Follow these to the SAM @8Q where the SAM exhibitions are held in the meantime.

SAM @8Q is an extension of the main museum and its name is derived from its location — No. 8 Queen Street.

We went with our kids and spent a happy three hours there. We found plenty of fun stuff to do. All the installations and exhibitions have activities for kids, so you can browse while your little ones are fully occupied. There are movie installations too. We thought that SAM @8Q was one of the best educational and free Singapore experience for kids.

There are about 19 admission free museums in Singapore including the Singapore Art Museum, National Gallery Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, and ArtScience Museum. Take advantage of these free Singapore museums to learn more about the country’s colorful culture and history.

  • SAM is close to Victoria Street, we walked there as we were staying within walking distance. The closest MRT station is Barsh Basah, on the Circle Line.

Chinatown

Photo and text by Penny Fernandez Viegas
globetrove.com

Chinatown - Free Singapore Attractions

One of my favorite places in Singapore is its Chinatown. It is one of those things that ranks very high on my free things to do in the city list largely because there is so much to see. While shopping there can burn a hole in your wallet (because it is so tempting and cheap!), if you keep your eyes open, you will find a lot of spots of cultural significance around too. Temples and mosques dot the different streets. Some of the temples made me think that I had made my way back to India. But it isn’t just Hindu temples that you need to keep an eye out for. Chinatown seems to have religious structures of so many religions.

One of my favorite things to do in Singapore is to indulge in the food. From the famous Michelin star Hawker to the Chinatown food street, it may not be a romantic spot but the food makes for an interesting dinner date. If you are in the area, don’t forget to look out for the art. While the art is gorgeous, look for the plaques which will tell you about the art itself. Most of them tell a tale of the countries past or of the significance of the street that you are on. You don’t require a guide. The plaques are self-explanatory and are in English which makes it really cool.

  • Chinatown is accessible by MRT of the same name, Chinatown Station.

***

Free Singapore Attractions - Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay
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I was chatting with two of my friends who were also in Singapore around the same time I was there and we can all agree on one thing — Singapore is a remarkable travel destination but for a Southeast Asian country, it’s ridiculously expensive.

Thanks to our friends in the travel blogging community, we are now aware of various Singapore attractions we can enjoy without the need to spend too much on admission. And though we can’t recommend enough that you pay a visit to the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, these admission-free Singapore attractions will provide you with unique and authentic Singapore experience even if you’re following a very strict budget.

Have you discovered a free attraction in Singapore that we failed to enlist? Let us know in the comment section below.