Singapore: 36 FREE Things to do in the World’s Most Expensive City

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The Supertrees at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay

In March 2018, in news that stunned nobody, Singapore was named the world’s most expensive city for the fifth year running. The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed the price of over 150 items in 133 cities worldwide and Singapore came top, just ahead of Paris and Zurich who jointly nabbed second place.

For travellers to South-east Asia, this may well ring alarm bells and cause anyone who’s considering visiting the ‘little red dot’ to think again. With so many comparitively inexpensive destinations surrounding Singapore, you wouldn’t blame them.

Let’s not blow this out of proportion however. While travellers from Asia will find Singapore expensive, travellers from elsewhere and particularly Europe will still find things in Singapore are reasonably well priced or at least similar to what they’re used to.

While Singapore’s main attractions will set you back a bit, there are still some things to do in the world’s most expensive city that are completely free! With the help of some Singaporean friends, I’ve collated as many of Singapore’s free things to do as I can to help you save money during your visit.

Let’s dive in!

Map of FREE Things to do in Singapore

We’ve put together this handy-dandy map of all of the free things to do in Singapore that we’ve found so far.


Neighbourhoods in Singapore

Strolling Singapore’s neighbourhoods will always be free and are a great way to get to know the city’s diverse population.

Little India, Singapore

Little India

 AWESOME |  Serangoon Rd, 217963
Little India |  View on TripAdvisor

The smell of incense permeates through the air as soon as you emerge from Little India MRT station. This cultural area for Singapore’s Indian community is full of shops and restaurants. There are also beautiful temples which you are welcome to explore. It’s a small taste of India, but one you’ll really appreciate.

Arab Street, Singapore

Arab Street

Arab St, 199801
Bugis |  View on TripAdvisor

This cultural area for Singapore’s Arab community is well known for it’s Persian carpet shops, jewellers and stores selling leather goods. Make sure you stop for a Teh Tarik at one of the hole-in-the-wall cafes and that you also check out the impressive Sultan Mosque.

Chinatown, Singapore

Chinatown

Pagoda St, 059242
Chinatown |  View on TripAdvisor

Beautifully restored colonial buildings painted in bright colours greet you as you arrive whilst street vendors and hawkers selling food and trinkets ply for your attention. The area truly comes alive during Chinese New Year season, when a market stretches around the block and decorations adorn building.


FREE Attractions in Singapore

No need to fork out for every attraction you visit in Singapore. These attractions are completely free!

One of the less-gory depictions on display at Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa

262 Pasir Panjang Road, 118628
Haw Par Villa |  View on TripAdvisor

Built in 1937, Haw Par Villa is famous for its often gruesome depictions of Chinese folklore’s 10 Courts of Hell. But this bizarre theme park also has more tasteful scenes from other Chinese legends, such as Journey to the West and Madame White Snake.

Kampong Buangkok is the last surviving kampong in Singapore.

Kampong Buangkok

7 Lor Buangkok, 547557
Serangoon |  View on TripAdvisor

In stark contrast to the rest of modern Singapore, Kampong Buangkok is a living, breathing reminder of how Singapore started its existence. Built in 1956, it is the last surviving kampong (village) located in mainland Singapore and is well worth seeing.

Merlion Park

Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038980
Raffles Place |  View on TripAdvisor

The Merlion, half fish and half lion, is an icon of Singapore. There are a few Merlins dotted around Singapore, but the one you always see in publicity photos is here at Merlion Park. There’s not a lot else to see in the park, but if you want that classic Singapore selfie, you’ll want to drop by.

The Istana

Orchard Road, Singapore 238823
Dhoby Ghaut |  View on TripAdvisor

The official residence of the president of Singapore is closed to visitors all year, except on 5 public holidays (Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day & National Day). Entrance is free to residents and a nominal $2 for everyone else. See the website for dates and details.

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FREE Festivals in Singapore

With so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds represented among Singapore’s population, the calendar is full of free festivals for you to experience.

Chinese New Year

 Chinatown |  Chinatown
Yearly in January/February

Lights and elaborate decorations hang in malls, public buildings and across streets bringing an energetic sense of celebration. Check out the market stalls throughout Chinatown.

Christmas

Orchard Road |  Orchard
 Yearly throughout December

Singapore goes all out for Christmas. It’s mostly an opportunity for some retail therapy (like Singaporeans need an excuse) but the huge decorations, particularly across Orchard Road are really worth seeing.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Geylang |  Payar Lebar
 Yearly

On Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Muslims in Singapore end their time of fasting with a joyous celebration of forgiveness, fellowship and food. Head to Geylang Serai Bazaar to see stalls selling a vast variety of food and wares.

Diwali / Deepavali

Little India |  Little India
 Yearly in October/November

Little India is always a vibrant, bustling neighbourhood, but its particularly so during Diwali. Hastings Rd and Campbell Ln host a market village while Race Course Rd is decorated with illuminated decorations.


FREE Museums & Galleries in Singapore

Most of Singapore’s museums and galleries charge entrance fees. There are some though, mostly focusing on niche subjects, that are free to enter.

Air Force Museum

400 Airport Rd, Paya Lebar Airbase, Singapore 534234
Bus 90/94 | View on TripAdvisor

A museum housing (unsurprisingly) exhibits on the history, heritage, and values of the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

The Changi Museum

1000 Upper Changi Rd N, Singapore 507707
Bus 2/29 | View on TripAdvisor

The Changi Museum is dedicated to all those who lived and died in Singapore and, in particular, the Changi area during World War II.

Republic of Singapore Navy Museum

112 Tanah Merah Coast Road, Singapore 498794
Taxi | View on TripAdvisor

Take a trip down memory lane, as you view weaponry and other components taken from now decommissioned warships.

Civil Defence Heritage Gallery

62 Hill St, Singapore 179367
City Hall | View on TripAdvisor

The Civil Defence Heritage Gallery traces civil defence developments in Singapore from the late 1800s up until today.

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FREE Music & Shows in Singapore

Singapore loves putting on a show. As well as permanent music and light shows, there are a handful of regular free music events in the cultural calendar.

Kampong Buangkok is the last surviving kampong in Singapore.

Garden Rhapsody

 AWESOME | 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Bayfront |  Daily (see website for times)

By day, the Supertree Grove is a marvel of engineering. By night, these impressive structures come to life in a spectacular burst of colour. For the best view, take a seat right amongst the Supertrees.

The viewing area for Wonder Full is at the foot of the Marina Bay Sands towers

Wonder Full

 AWESOME | 2 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018972
Bayfront |  Daily (see website for times)

Fire and lasers burst from the water whilst images are projected on clouds of water vapour. This 15 minute show is packed full of tricks and is genuinely impressive.

Some Crane Dance shows also include fireworks

Crane Dance

 AWESOME | 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 099958
HarbourFront |  Daily (see website for times)

A fabulous show involving two huge animatronic cranes, lots of water and lots of lights and pyrotechnics. This is a one-of-a-kind show that really shouldn’t be missed. Spectators sat at the front might get a bit wet.

Lake of Dreams

1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038981
HarbourFront |  Daily (see website for times)

At the heart of Resorts World Sentosa is this choreographed display of fire, water and light. The narrative is a bit cheesy, but the show itself is still quite spectacular. A good way to end a day at Universal Studios.

Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade

1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038981
Bayfront |  Throughout the year

The nearby Esplanade venue (affectionately known as the Durian for its shape) has an outdoor stage where free concerts are put on daily and theatre performances every weekend. Check out the website for upcoming shows.

Beautiful Sunday

1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038981
Bayfront |  Throughout the year

A free, once-a-month, live local music performance held in the prestigious Esplanade Concert Hall gives everyone the opportunity the enjoy music and cultural in plush surroundings. Upcoming concerts are on the website.


Places of Worship in Singapore

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, all living together side-by-side. There are therefore many places of worship, most of which welcome visitors without charging an entrance fee.

Masjid Sultan, Singapore

Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque)

 715 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198684
Bugis | View on TripAdvisor

Built in 1824, the gold-domed Sultan Mosque is the focal point for Singapore’s Muslim community. Visiting hours are restricted and access is reliant on several criteria. See the official website for guidance.

Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

Sri Mariamman Temple

 AWESOME | 244 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058793
Chinatown |  View on TripAdvisor

You’re free to roam around this ornate and elaborately decorated Hindu temple. Colourful sculptures of deities and mythological beasts are in abundance and are in stark contrast to the nearby skyscrappers in the CBD.

Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

178 Waterloo St, Singapore 187964
Bugis |  View on TripAdvisor

This Buddhist temple, built in 1884, is thought to bring good luck to visitors. Its central location means it’s busy all day, therefore it’s great for respectful observance of Buddhist worship.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

288 S Bridge Rd, Singapore 058840
Chinatown |  View on TripAdvisor

Exhibits on Buddhist art and culture, a rooftop garden and pagoda and the centepiece, The Buddha Tooth Relic housed in a giant stupa made from 320kg of gold make this temple a must visit.

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Wildlife, Parks & Nature in Singapore

Despite being tiny and densely populated, Singapore is surprisingly green. In terms of free things to do, Singapore’s wildlife and nature offering is second to none.

Gardens by the Bay

 AWESOME | 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Bayfront |  View on TripAdvisor

Gardens by the Bay captures the essence of Singapore’s tropical Garden City image. This huge development houses several themed gardens, bio-domes (entrance fees apply) and a remarkable Supertree Grove. You could spend an entire day here.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Hindhede Dr, Singapore 589318
Beautyworld |  View on TripAdvisor

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is home to around 40% of Singapore’s flora and fauna and is a popular popular spot for those looking to get close to nature.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

 AWESOME | 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569
Botanical Gardens |  View on TripAdvisor

Founded in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Gardens showcases a wide variety of spectacular tropical flora set amongst a carefully manicured landscape.

Labrador Nature Reserve

Labrador Villa Road, Singapore 119187
Labrador Park |  View on TripAdvisor

Built on the edge of a forest with a picturesque view of the sea, Labrador Nature Reserve is an oasis of tranquility and natural wonder. Looks out for the squirrels and resident birds species.

Pulau Ubin/Chek Jawa Nature Reserve

Chek Jawa Trail, Singapore
Bum-boat |  View on TripAdvisor

Be transported back in time to 1960s Singapore as you embark on a trip to the nearby island of Pulau Ubin. Home to Singapore’s last villages or kampongs, the island still retains the rustic beauty and simplicity of a bygone era. To get there, hail a bum-boat (charges applies).

Lower Peirce Reservoir Park

 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574417
Bus 163, 167, 169 |  View on TripAdvisor

The Lower Peirce Reservoir, Singapore’s second-oldest, was commissioned in 1912. The forest that lines its banks is considered a mature secondary rainforest and is still dotted with numerous rubber trees and oil palms.

MacRitchie Reservoir/TreeTop Walk

 Marymount Road, Singapore 573993
Marymount |  View on TripAdvisor

This trail takes you to the TreeTop Walk, a 250m long freestanding suspension bridge between the two highest points in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (MacRitchie) and the first of its kind in Singapore.

Dairy Farm Nature Park/Singapore Quarry

100 Dairy Farm Rd, Singapore 679057
Hillview |  View on TripAdvisor

Set in a rustic environment with multiple trails for hiking and biking, the 63-hectare Dairy Farm Nature Park offers a host of recreational activities and amenities such as a nature trail and former quarry.

East Coast Park

East Coast Park Service Rd, Singapore 449876
View on TripAdvisor

East Coast Park is one of Singapore’s most treasured urban getaways, offering an invigorating and exciting diversity of sporting, dining and recreational activities. With the theme “Recreation for All”, the park has an activity for everyone.

The Southern Ridges

Various starting locations
View on TripAdvisor

An urban hiking trial that connects 10km of green spaces. The trail crosses secondary rainforest, goes over the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and offers great panoramic views of the city and harbour. See the website for full details.

Rail/Green Corridor

Various starting locations
View on TripAdvisor

A 24km walking path, following the route of former railway tracks. The trail is one of Singapore’s wildest and unmanicured natural pursuits and offers tranquility and peace amongst the hubbub. Enjoy it while you can as plans to redevelop the route are afoot.

That concludes our collection of free things to do in Singapore. We’ll keep this post up to date so whenever we find any other free things to do in Singapore, we’ll add it to the list.

Did we miss anything out? Please share your suggestions in the comments box below.

Singapore: FREE Things to do in the World's Most Expensive City

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