Singapore, this island city-state on the Malaysian Peninsula, is renowned as a hub of finance and business for the region. Singapore is a great place to visit – but it isn’t cheap. Yes, taking a vacation here might take a sizable bite out of your wallet.
While you’ll still have to pay for lodging, meals, and travel, there are many attractions that are 100% free – below we’ve listed the ten best ones you might want to check out!
The weather is usually very warm and humid in Singapore. If you enjoy walking outdoors, stroll through Merlion Park. This city icon is located in the heart of the Central Business District at the mouth of the Singapore River. There is plenty of greenery in Merlion Park. You’ll also get a glimpse of Singapore’s national icon, the Merlion, which is a half lion, half fish that spouts water into the Marina Reservoir.
Take in a festival
Singapore has numerous festivals throughout the year that are perfect for the budget–conscious traveler. Those who are into the arts and music won’t want to miss the Singapore Night Festival and the Mosaic Music Festival. If you’re traveling with children, they will be overjoyed to partake in the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Children Festival. In addition to these festivals, there are numerous free entertainment events held during each month.
Bukit Brown Cemetery
While strolling through this historic cemetery, you can look over the graves of deceased members of the country’s Chinese community, many of whom were and still adhere to the Christian faith. Sadly, this burial ground was abandoned a few decades ago to make room for the city’s ever-expanding housing developments. But the Singaporean government has designated it as a heritage site. There are free walking tours run by local historians.
Visit the city’s temples and places of worship
There is a rich religious heritage in Singapore. You might be more than a bit perplexed to find the city’s oldest Hindu temple – Sri Mariamman – in the middle of Chinatown. Speaking of Chinatown, while you’re there, check out Thian Hock Keng, the country’s oldest Buddhist Temple. The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (Roman Catholic) and St. Andrew’s Cathedral (Anglican) are major sites that showcase the city’s Christian heritage.
This part of the city features some truly great walking trails. These trails connect Mt. Faber, Telok Blangah, Kent Ridge and Hort Parks. Hike through nearly ten kilometers of lush tropical forest and also go on some canopy walks. While Singapore is safe as far as crime is concerned, you do have to be on the lookout for the venomous snakes that inhabit these jungle-covered hills.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
If wandering through the rainforest isn’t quite your thing, you can always experience the splendor of the tropics in the middle of the city. Singapore Botanic Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Countless tropical trees and plants are on display in his wet, muggy environment. A special draw is the resident white swans that swim freely through the miniature lake. Singapore Botanic Gardens gives free guided tours.
East Coast Park
In densely–populated Singapore, wide open spaces aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. But in East Coast Park, you can escape much of the hustle and bustle of the city, except on the weekends, of course, when it gets busy. This is a 15 kilometer stretch of beach with nice water and the Marine Cove Playground for children.
Gillman Barracks and the Esplanade
Singapore has a rich colonial past, having been a British colony for 144 years. Gillman Barracks is where generations of British soldiers lived. But this former military base has been turned into an art gallery. Children and adults alike can do arts and crafts here and also view fantastic pieces of art.
The Esplanade has Durian – like architecture. While down there, be sure to visit Theatres on the Bay, which hosts free short films and music events.
MacRitchie Reservoir’s Treetop Walk
Have you ever wanted to walk through a dense tropical treetop canopy? You can do that right here. MacRitchie Reservoir’s Treetop Walk is a great place to go for a good hike in nature. And best of all – it’s free. Altogether, the trip through the treetops is eight kilometers. While on the trek, you can climb the 250m – long pedestrian bridge that soars high above the rainforest canopy.
Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden
Singapore has a reputation as a city where folks take their gardens very seriously. Yes, beautifully – manicured gardens dot the urban landscape of this city-state. While Singapore has a large Chinese community, there are also many people of Japanese descent.
There is nothing more peaceful than strolling through the lush grounds of these two green spaces. The Japanese Garden abounds with lanterns and bonsai trees while the Chinese Garden has cool and unique landmarks such as the Stone Boat House and the seven-story pagoda.