11 BEST THINGS TO DO FOR FREE IN SINGAPORE

Singapore drone shot

Singapore is one of the most modern cities in the world, with an amazing skyline and an incredibly advanced urbanization. The cost of life, however, is higher compared to nearby Southeast Asian countries. But this doesn’t mean that this city-state is out of reach to travellers on a budget. We’ve been there twice, and both times we were backpacking in Asia, so we decided to put down this guide to the best things to do for free in Singapore!

1. JEWEL CHANGI AIRPORT
2. HAJI LANE
3. LITTLE INDIA
4. CLARKE QUAY
5. ROOFTOPS
6. SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
7. COLOURFUL HOUSES&NEIGHBOURHOODS
8. GARDENS BY THE BAY
9. HAWKERS – LOCAL FOOD COURTS
10. THE MERLION

11. FORT CANNING PARK


1. JEWEL CHANGI AIRPORT

Since April 2019 a new attraction has been added to the list of the entertainments at Singapore Changi Airport, reinforcing their undisputed reign of World’s Best Airport that has been standing for 7 years in a row now. And it’s a proper Jewel, by name and by fact. Jewel is a massive 10-storey complex of shops, restaurants, a hotel, and several attractions including gardens, a 40-meter-high artificial waterfall, and spectacles with lights and colours. We felt like we stepped some 30 years into the future, especially during the show at night time around the Rain Vortex, when epic magical sounds and lights invade the whole area.


TIP: enjoy the ride on one of the skytrains taking passengers between T2 and T4 running through the Jewel complex, a really futuristic design.
best things to do singapore airport
The futuristic Rain Vortex within Jewel Changi Airport


2. HAJI LANE

Haji Lane is arguably the best place to enjoy some street art in Singapore. Located in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood, it has become popular for its colourful boutique shops and Middle Eastern inspired cafès. A perfect spot to take some Insta-worthy pictures.

haji lane singapore
Street art at Haji Lane


3. LITTLE INDIA

One of the many cultural areas of Singapore, Little India is known for the best Indian restaurants in town, as well as tailor shops and jewelry stores. The most photographed sight is Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which showcases all the deities in typical Hindu style.

little india singapore photo
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple


4. CLARKE QUAY

Clarke Quay is the most elegant riverside of Singapore. It hosts several attractions including fine restaurants and nightclubs, some of them located directly on the water on refurbished junks. River cruises and taxis are also accessible from here. Part of Clarke Quay is closed to traffic and has been converted into a pedestrian area, which was ideal for us when we stayed at Holiday Inn Clarke Quay during our last trip to Singapore. Conveniently situated only a few hundred meters away, we loved walking back to our hotel by night across the lovely riverside.

fly a drone singapore
The view over Clarke Quay and Marina Bay from our Holiday Inn hotel rooftop


5. ROOFTOPS

In a city aiming to the sky like Singapore, rooftop bars are literally everywhere. But no, they are not for free. However, there are other ways to enjoy the views from above. Shopping malls are our favourite place to do so. In Singapore they often have parking areas on rooftops and they’re mostly deserted, so we loved hitting that R button on the elevator and see the city from another point of view.
TIP: If you want to smell the rarefied air from the top of Marina Bay Sands, but you are poor like us, take the elevator up to the 57th floor and pretend to be looking at the drinks menu (25$ for a beer!), to have a glimpse on the bay lit up at night time!


6. SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS

Singapore Botanic Gardens is considered one of the most beautiful tropical gardens in the world, so much that it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage listing. Here you can cool down and stroll through the lush nature, taste a bit of rainforest and admire the National Orchid Garden.

botanic gardens singapore how to go
Singapore Botanic Gardens


7. COLOURFUL HOUSES&NEIGHBOURHOODS

As we’ve seen for Little India, Singapore isn’t just skyscrapers and concrete buildings. Some corners are just as colourful as they can be, like the Old Hill Street Police Station, a former police station counting 927 windows painted in the colours of the rainbow. We had fun crossing the road in front of it to take this shot! Other areas known for their lively architecture are Koon Seng Road, on of the prettiest streets in Singapore, and Chinatown.

TIP: Despite being a heavy trafficked road, the traffic lights next to Old Hill Street Police Station give the chance to take a clear shot of the building for a few seconds!


8. GARDENS BY THE BAY

Together with the nearby Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay have been the symbol of modern Singapore since 2012. The nature park spans over 100 hectares of reclaimed land, housing gardens, environmental complexes, and the iconic super-trees, 25 to 50-meter-high vertical gardens.
TIP: Access here is free every day, and you can’t miss the light and music show, taking place every night at 7.45 and 8.45 pm within the Supertree Grove.


9. HAWKERS – LOCAL FOOD COURTS

This guide might list things to do for free in Singapore, but food can’t be free! It can be inexpensive though, and the best places to find it are so called hawkers. Hawkers are open air areas where street food vendors cook continuously from morning to late at night. One stall after the next, there’s always a wide variety of food to choose from without having to break the bank for a quick meal.


10. THE MERLION

Singapore Merlion is located in front of the Marina Bay, and is also known as the emblem of Singapore. The Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish, and in represented spouting water into the Marina Bay. This attraction is located within its own park, Merlion Park, right into Singapore’s CBD.

what to see singapore merlion
The Merlion


11. FORT CANNING PARK

Fort Canning Park is the closest big public park to the central business district in Singapore. A true green lung to the city, it used to be a fortification overlooking the port of Singapore. Nowadays, it is a cool area where to get some shade from the hot sun rays. However, we’re talking about a hill with quite steep up and downs, it is easy to get sweaty here.
TIP: don’t do like we did on our first visit to Singapore, when we thought “oh let’s cross through the park” and ended up hiking up and down Fort Canning with our 15kg backpacks!

If you read through all the post up to here, you now have a better idea and a fair list of things to do for free during your next visit to Singapore. There are obviously many other attractions with entrance fee really worth a visit, like the Cloud Forest and Singapore Art Science Museum we’ve been to on our previous stay, and the amazing Universal Studios Singapore, ideal for families.

ENJOY SINGAPORE!

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