Singapore is the most expensive city in the world. Especially in comparison to other Southeast Asian cities or countries, Singapore seems like a dauntingly expensive destination. But you may be surprised of the many free things to see and do in Singapore! Do not cross off Singapore off your list when backpacking on a budget. We decide to spend a couple of days roaming the streets of Singapore and end up pleasantly surprised how awesome this city is! These are our favourite free things to do around Singapore!
Gardens by the Bay (by night!)
A truly magical place! Wander around the surreal landscape and feel like you are walking on Pandora from Avatar. The south garden is the largest of all, with the not-to-miss supertrees. During night these light up and there’s a fantastic daily sky show of choreographed lights and sounds: Gardens Rhapsody. Not many people know there is a Bay East Garden on the other side of the river, where you have an incredible view of the city skyline.
Sentosa is an island just off the southern coast of Singapore. It’s connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. If you walk across the Sentosa pedestrian boardwalk you are able to walk onto the island for free. And even better: all the transport on the island is for free! There are so many things to do (Universal Studios! Underwater World! A tower, fort, Madame Tussauds and a lot of indoor/outdoor sports!) and there are three beautiful beaches to relax on. Too tired to walk back? Just take the monorail to the ‘mainland’ – the way back is for free as well.
China town & Little India
Chinatown and Little India are vibrant districts filled with traditional shops, markets, restaurants and cafes. When you walk around it feels like you are in a total different city. Both districts have Hindu temples, Mosques and Chinese temples. Don’t forget to score some cheap Chinese food in a food court or to fill your tummy with some roti prata (Indian pancakes).
Situated in the heart of the city of Singapore, the Botanic gardens are the perfect getaway from the populous streets. The gardens became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 and are home to over 10.000 species of flora. The perfect place to spend an afternoon and have a picnic! Check out their website to see if there are any concerts or other fun events going on.
Marina Bay Sands boardwalk
Walk around the bay, see the stunning skyline and take a selfie with the Merlion along the way. Twice a day – or actually, at night – an impressive water and light show ‘Spectra’ plays right in front of the Marina Bay Sands, on weekends even three times!
Arab Street refers to the area of Arab Street and the streets surrounding it. It’s Singapore’s Muslim quarter with in its heart the Masjid Sultan Mosque, with a history that goes back 200 years. These days the mosque is considered the “national mosque” of Singapore. To go inside conservative dressing is recommended, but they also offer shawls for visitors. The area is also famous for its hipster boutiques, cute cafes and colourful street arts (not a common sight in Singapore, as graffiti is illegal).
Changi Airport, one of the largest transportation hubs in Asia, is a destination on its own. It’s much more than just an airport where you come to take a flight. It has many attractions, like a cinema (for free!), open 24 hours a day! Or you can enjoy some nature in the Sunflower, Orchid and Cactus gardens.
All of the above things are completely FREE, so do not hesitate and stop by Singapore! It might be slightly more expensive than other Asian places – looking at accommodation and transport – but overall: it’s not as expensive as you’d think!
Have you been to Singapore? Did all the free things also surprise you? Let us know!
Want to read more travel tips? Read about our 5 uncommon, but unmissable things in our backpack!