It’s no secret that Singapore can be wildly expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to enjoy your time here. There are plenty of free things to do in Singapore ranging from outdoor activities to historic landmarks and cool cultural events. Whether you’re here for a few days, wondering what to do in Singapore for a week, or living here and looking for outings that won’t cost a fortune, these are some of the top things you can do in Singapore for free.
Do Some Temple Hopping
Singapore’s multicultural make-up means you can find interesting temples in nearly every neighbourhood. Some of the most iconic temples include the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India, and the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, which is the biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore. Other interesting religious sites include the Sultan Mosque and St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
Go Green at Singapore Botanic Gardens
Here in ‘The Garden City’ there are plenty of green spaces, but by far the most impressive is Singapore Botanic Gardens. Entrance is free to the main gardens where you can meander down tree-lined paths, chill out on rolling green lawns, and see interesting flora in the bonsai garden, ginger garden and herbarium. This is also home to the National Orchid Garden, which costs money to enter, but is worth the reasonable fee for the beautiful displays of over 3,000 orchids.
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569. p. +65 6471 7138. Open daily 5am – 12am
Marvel at the Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is one of the top attractions in Singapore, and while some of the conservatories and the OCBC Skyway do have admission fees, the Supertree Grove is free to enter. These towering structures are vertical gardens that are covered in climbing vines and tropical flowers. Come by during the day to see them in all their greenery or at night when they twinkle with colourful lights. If you can, try to catch the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show every evening at 7:45pm and 8:45pm.
Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens, Singapore 018953. p. +65 6420 6848. Open daily 5am – 2am
Catch a Free Performance at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
If you’re looking for free things to do in Singapore at night, you can’t go wrong with the Esplanade. This unique arts centre offers tons of free performances including concerts, poetry readings, film screenings, art exhibitions and more. The free events are held in the outdoor theatre overlooking Marina Bay and the indoor concourse area. Visit their website to check out the upcoming events or just pop by and see what’s going on.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981. p. +65 6828 8377.
Walk the Southern Ridges
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city along the Southern Ridges. This series of trails runs for 10 kilometres and connects some of Singapore’s most beautiful parks. The trails take you through forests, over hills and along bridges that are set high above the roads and treetops. This includes the Henderson Waves, a unique pedestrian bridge shaped like a series of undulating waves. Along your journey you’ll see interesting wildlife and tropical flora.
Surround Yourself with Art at Gillman Barracks
Formerly a colonial army base, Gillman Barracks is now home to 12 contemporary art galleries, all of which are free to peruse. The galleries host regularly rotating exhibitions of works from emerging and established artists from Singapore and around the world. Gillman Barracks also hosts free events like workshops, performances and activities for children. Restaurants on site include The Naked Finn for seafood, BurgerLabo, and Creamier for ice cream.
Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937. Open hours vary depending on the gallery.
Visit the Weird and Wonderful Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa is a theme park, but don’t expect your usual rides and dioramas here. This bizarre park was built by the founders of Tiger Balm and it’s devoted to Chinese mythology, history and culture. Throughout the park you’ll find brightly coloured statues of gods, demons, animals and dragons, as well as quirky murals and structures. The 10 Courts of Hell is a must for lovers of the macabre. Entrance to the park is free, but the guided tours are not.
Haw Par Villa, 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628. p. +65 6773 0103. Open daily 9am – 10pm
Soak Up the Sun, Sea and Sand on Sentosa Island
If Singapore’s busy streets start to wear you down, you can escape to Sentosa Island for a blissful beach day. Get there for free via the Sentosa Boardwalk that starts at Vivocity or spring $4 for the Sentosa Monorail. Once on the island you have your choice of Siloso Beach with its numerous cafes, restaurants and attractions, or quieter Palawan Beach and Tanjong Beach. All have golden sands, protected lagoons with calm waters, and public restrooms and showers.
Step Back in Time on Pulau Ubin
Located just a short boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, Pulau Ubin looks and feels like what Singapore must have been like back in the days before it was ultra developed. Everything is rustic here from the untouched forests to the wetlands teeming with wildlife and the traditional kampong (village) with its simple wooden houses. This is a great spot for nature lovers, as there are plenty of trails to explore, as well as campsites where you can pitch a tent for the night.
Traverse the Treetops at MacRitchie Reservoir Park
If hiking is one of your hobbies, then MacRitchie Reservoir Park should be at the top of your list of free things to do in Singapore. The highlight of the park is the TreeTop Walk, a 250-metre free-standing suspension bridge that hovers 25 metres above the rainforest. The hike to the bridge is 8 kilometres round trip and it takes you through mature secondary forest that is home to wildlife like long-tailed macaques and crimson sunbirds.