The following post is by Hui Jun Ng:
If you’ve traveled around Southeast Asia loved how far your money takes you, you might be worried about having a good time in Singapore on a budget.
Despite Singapore’s reputation as the priciest city in the world, a short vacation here can actually be relatively affordable – if you know what the best free things to do are.
In this city guide, we will reveal to you the essential travel hacks when in Singapore. You can watch musical performances, eat vegetarian meals and admire Singapore’s skyline from the top of Marina Bay Sands for free, plus a bunch of other totally free activities, so keep on reading!
1. Cé La Vi
Visiting the iconic Marina Bay Sands and heading to its Sky Park Observation Deck seems like a common activity amongst tourists, but why pay an entrance fee when you can enjoy the same – or an even better – view of Singapore’s cityscape with a complimentary alcoholic drink in your hand at Cé La Vi?
Cé La Vi is perched atop Marina Bay Sands and comprises a restaurant, sky bar and nightclub. Every Wednesday night, Cé La Vi launches an exciting party called Diamond Life – where ladies are granted free entry to the club and get one premium pour. Unfortunately, gentlemen do not enjoy the same privileges.
Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3, 1 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018971
2. Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
Who said you have to be filthy rich to catch a musical performance? Esplanade Theatres on the Bay offers a selection of free programmes throughout the year. Just scroll through the official website’s calendar and you might just score yourself a free musical held in one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls.
Local dancers and musicians also often perform nightly at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre situated just along the Marina Bay waterfront. Yes, admission is free too.
1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038981
3. ION Sky
Orchard Road was voted as the world’s number one shopping street in 2012. Indeed, the prime retail therapy district has a crazy number of malls. While shopping isn’t for everyone, do visit ION Sky at level 56 of ION Orchard. The indoor viewing gallery grants visitors stunning panoramic views of the city.
Access ION Sky from the high-speed lift located on ION Orchard’s level four.
2 Orchard Turn, Level 56, Singapore 238801
As mentioned previously, there is really a lot to do other than just shopping at Orchard Road. Make your way to Library@Orchard and pick up a book to read from the gorgeous curved white bookshelves. Locating Library@Orchard might be a little challenging for first-time visitors, but the modern library is actually located in Orchard Gateway Shopping Mall (which also connects Orchard Central and 313).
277 Orchard Rd, #03-12/#04-11 Orchard Gateway, Singapore 238858
5. Singapore Buddhist Lodge
83-year-old temple Singapore Buddhist Lodge – also a charity institution – serves free vegetarian meals to the public every day from 7am to 7pm. This generous service has been instrumental in easing the financial burden of foreign labour workers and the homeless. If you are thinking of dropping by, note that there is a queue for free food and that the queue is longer during weekends.
17 Kim Yam Rd, Singapore 239329
6. Southern Ridges
The 10 km-long Southern Ridges connects a myriad of nature parks, namely HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, Mount Faber Park, and Telok Blangah Hill Park. It is a hike that all nature lovers must embark on – as this long trail will allow you to encounter a wide diversity of flora and fauna.
Do remember to make a pit stop at the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore called Henderson Waves. A wonderful architectural marvel you don’t want to miss; you will definitely find yourselves marveling at the bridge’s undulating wave-like design. You can even visit at midnight, as LED lights will softly illuminate the bridge.
Henderson Road, Mount Faber Park, Singapore 099203
7. Supertree Grove
Entrance fees to Gardens by the Bay’s Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are pricey, but that does not mean you should miss out Singapore’s best tourist attraction. Instead, visit Gardens by the Bay in the evening and head to the Supertree Grove – home to 12 majestic Supertrees – at 7.45pm and 8.45pm to catch the enchanting Garden Rhapsody Light and Sound Show. We have seen this spectacular display countless times, but the novelty just never wears off, ever.
18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
8. TreeTop Walk
Standing 25 metres above ground and spanning 250 metres long, the scenic TreeTop Walk is a suspension bridge located in Singapore’s oldest reservoir.
Bear in mind that the freestanding bridge is very narrow; hence people can only cross it in a single file and in one direction. Do show up in sports attire for your own safety, as the route up TreeTop Walk is mainly unpaved.
For the quickest way to get to the TreeTop Walk, start your walk from Venus Drive’s car park.
601 Island Club Road, Singapore 578775
9. HSBC Rain Vortex
This incredible masterpiece is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Believe it or not, this free attraction lies inside the Jewel Changi Airport which first opened its doors in 2019. It’s easily accessible even if you’re not catching a flight. There are even nighttime light shows which you can catch at 8 or 9pm any night of the week. With seating available all around the waterfall, you can spend as long as you’d like just hanging out and marveling at its size and beauty.
78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666
10. Magical Shores at Siloso Beach
Every Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 to 10:30pm, the sandy Siloso Beach comes alive with color and sound during the Magical Shores light show. This light show isn’t just for watching, however. It’s completely interactive, so you can spin in the sand and watch the lights change and dance around you.
Sentosa Island Siloso Beach Walk, Singapore 099989
This list proves that you don’t have to be a luxury traveler to enjoy Singapore. With these fun and free attractions, you’ll be able to make the best of this modern city without breaking the bank. If you’ve been to Singapore, which free things to do did I miss?
About the Author: Hui Jun Ng is an avid traveller who shares her personal travel itineraries on her blog, The Keepers Map. She is aware that travelers spend an exorbitant amount of time planning their trip(s) and she wants to help. Each curated itinerary on The Keepers Map features a pinned Google Map and a free downloadable itinerary (which includes the distance/time between places). Don’t have the time to plan for a trip? Just follow her useful detailed itineraries!