The following post is by Hui Jun Ng:
If you’ve been traveling around Southeast Asia loving 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!
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 are entitled to one premium pour. Unfortunately, gentlemen do not enjoy the same privileges.
Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3, 1 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018971
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
Who said you have to be loaded 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
Orchard Road was voted as the world’s number one shopping street in 2012. Indeed, the prime retail therapy district is filled with 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
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
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 not to be missed; 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
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
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 are only allowed to 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
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!