SINGAPORE has been the record holder for being the most expensive city in the world for a long-standing 5 years already! Ergo, it doesn’t come a surprise that going around its tourist attractions would mean costing an arm and leg. This splendid, near-perfection of a city is highly priced to some extent for some practical reasons, which becomes a drawback if you are traveling on a shoestring budget.
So, on my second time in the Lion City, I have decided to come up with 10 attractions that are FREE OF CHARGE to help the budget travelers ease the pressure on the wallet. These free attractions in Singapore can be covered with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days and are suitable for a trip with family, group of friends or even for couple. Read and select for your own list of things to do and see. You can thank me later. 🙂
GARDEN RHAPSODY AT GARDENS BY THE BAY
Witness the 12-towering Supertrees come alive on a pattern of glistening bright light of varying colors through a lively beat. The signature light extravaganza at the very heart of Gardens by the Bay is a visual treat, which started in 2015 by the award-winning composer, arranger and light designer Adrian Tan. The Garden Rhapsody light show runs for 15 minutes two times every night, at exactly 7:45PM and 8:45PM.
To get the best experience, there are three recommended spots from which you can watch the light show. The first is directly under the Supertrees where the majority of spectators go, some you may find lying flat on their backs while watching the trees lit up. The second is from the steps near the grove, it’s a much closer spot that makes for a perfect vantage point to capture the dancing Supertrees without the swarm of people at the grounds. The third is from the OCBC Skywalk, the closest spot among the three which provides a 360-degree view of the Supertrees. However, to access the OCBC Skywalk, you would have to purchase a ticket for about S$23 preferably before the showtime.
The Gardens by the Bay is located near the Bayfront MRT station. To get here on a bus or train, follow these instructions as shared in Gardens by the Bay website. Click the link for more details.
- VIA THE CIRCLE LINE OR DOWNTOWN LINE: Alight at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1/DT16). Take Exit B and follow the underground linkway Exit and cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay.
- VIA THE EAST-WEST LINE: Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT Station (EW15). Take Exit C and head towards bus stop no. 03223 located at International Plaza, Anson Road
Hop onto bus no. 400 and alight at bus stop no. 03371 along Marina Gardens Drive
Tip: While waiting for the light show, you can visit the nearby conservatories: The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Dome. These two are the most visited among the points of interest around Gardens by the Bay. Entrance fee is about S$28 for both domes.
SPECTRA LIGHT & WATER SHOW OF MARINA BAY SANDS
Fountain jets bursting with water on a heartbeat, laser lights cutting through the horizon in vibrant colors, a beautiful symphony playing to a wandering ear, the familiar visual arts coming in and out of a mist making for a beautifully compelling story of Singapore’s journey – such magical features that prompt the Spectra Light and Water Show of Marina Bay Sands to a level of fascination it rightly deserves. To put it simply, it is overwhelmingly captivating to the senses!
The light and water show timing takes place almost simultaneously with the Garden Rhapsody twice every night at 8PM and 9PM for 15 minutes, except on Fridays and Saturdays where there is a special showtime at exactly 10PM. The event happens over the water at the Event Plaza in front of the Shoppe along Marina Bay Sands boardwalk.
To get here on an MRT, go to CE1/DT16 Bayfront Station on the Circle Line and Downtown Line which is directly linked to the train system. Take Exit C or D which goes to the Shoppe at Marina Bay Sands for a minute walk.
MERLION STATUE AT MERLION PARK
The Merlion statue at Merlion Park was installed in 1972 and is the first among the five official Merlion statues in Singapore. The statue which stands 8.6 meters high has a tail of a fish and a head of a lion to represent the humble beginnings of the city as a fishing village and to pay tribute to Singapore’s original name “Singapura” which means “Lion City” in Malay. Apart from the original statue, there is also a smaller statue in the park, the Merlion cub, which stands for about 2 meters tall and can be found directly at the back of the bigger statue.
The Merlion statue is notable for spouting water out from its mouth and playing around with this iconic scene has become a staple for tourists during photo sessions. Go to the park before 7AM, if you want to catch the Merlion’s first release of water-spout.
To get to Merlion Park, go to Raffles Place MRT station, the closest to the park, using the East West Line. Once there, proceed to the exit towards the United Overseas Bank Plaza which leads to the Fullerton Hotel on your halfway through. The Merlion Park is just behind the hotel.
STREET ART AT HAJI LANE
The hip neighborhood of Haji Lane has drawn flock of tourists for its vibrant street art, cool cafes and restaurants, and quirky selection of shopping items. While going around here is free of charge, the items for sale from its row of boutiques are a bit steep. Take all extra cautions to keep yourself from splurging that hard-earned moolah!
Among the cafes, try Selfie Coffee. They would ask for your selfie photo and print it on your coffee. Yeah, a moment of vanity but if you find drinking yourself is fun, give it a shot! Coffee price starts at S$5.
To get to Haji Lane, alight at Bugis MRT station using the East West Line. Once at the Bugis MRT stop, exit and head down Rochor Road past Bugis Junction Mall. You will come across the Ophir Road crossing, turn left of North Bridge Road. From there, Haji Lane will just be around five minutes. Watch for the green Haji Lane sign which points directly into its narrow road.
MASJID SULTAN MOSQUE AT ARAB STREET
Masjid Sultan Mosque is the center of worship for the Muslim community in Singapore. It was built in 1824 and had undergone several repairs since 1932 until it formed to how it looks exactly today. The mosque has arabesque style with prominent golden domes that are made of glass bottle. Surrounding it are shops and restaurants with facades that are Peranakan-inspired. Prayer time is daily from 12:30PM to 2:00PM and 4:00PM to 5:00PM. Entry to the mosque is permitted only outside the prayer schedule. For more visitor information, click this link: Sultan Mosque Visitor Information.
The mosque is only a block away from Haji Lane at the Kampong Glam area. To get here, go to Bugis MRT, the closest MRT stop using the East West Line. From the MRT, Arab street will just be a 10-minute walk.
BUDDHA TOOTH RELIC TEMPLE AT CHINATOWN
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was built in 2007, too recent compared to other Buddhist temples in Asia. However, what makes the temple a standout is its Tang-dynasty inspired design which speaks of a Buddhist culture that represents the universe. Apart from that, it is believed that the temple keeps the left canine tooth of Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, as well as its bone and tongue relics among others.
To get here, alight at either Chinatown MRT or Tanjong Pagar MRT, exit and walk for few minutes until you see the red temple which is directly opposite of Maxwell market.
HERITAGE TRAIL AT LITTLE INDIA
The strong aromas of jasmine flowers, the fascinating strings of herbs and spices, the quaint shops merged with century-old temples, the beautifully orchestrated art scenes and a span of diverse religious spaces – all present at the unique neighborhood of Little India to delight your senses. This 200-year old enclave prides of its effervescent culture and rich history which can be quite overwhelming for first-time visitors. So to make experience easy and pleasant, the National Heritage Board of Singapore came up with 3 self-guided heritage trails for travelers to embark on: The Walk of Faiths, Serangoon in the 1900s and Shop Til You Drop! Each heritage trail is over a kilometer distance and takes for at least 30 minutes to cover. Pick up the Little India Heritage pamphlet at the Indian Heritage Centre’s Visitor Services Counter to help you go around each trail.
To get here, go to Little India MRT or Farrer Park MRT station using the North East line. Exit and head out to Serangoon Road, the most convenient entry point to Little India.
LIBRARY AT ORCHARD
Definitely a happy place for book lovers, the Library at Orchard is a public library under the National Library Board of Singapore. It is a 2-storey library at the 3rd and 4th level of Orchard Gateway which houses 45, 000 design-related books and magazines inside its prominently “stylo milo” bookshelves that adds up to its hipster feel. Daily operating hours is from 11AM to 9PM.
To get here, alight at Somerset train station using the North South Line. Exit and head out to Orchard Gateway for about 2 minutes on foot.
SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is 150 years old and safely takes a special importance in the history of Singapore as the leading botanical institute cementing the country’s commitment of being a City in a Garden. It humbly prides as the only tropic garden inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
The garden stretches for about 82 hectares. Some of the top things to check out in the gardens are the National Orchid Garden, the Swan Lake, the Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum, and the Children’s Garden among others. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra also regularly holds free concerts in the Gardens. For concert details, check out their website thru this link. Operating hours is from 5AM to 12AM daily. To get here, alight at the Botanic Gardens MRT station using the Circle line which will lead you to one of its main entrances.
CHANGI AIRPORT ATTRACTIONS
Changi Airport of Singapore has been voted as the World’s Best Airport for 6 years! Thanks to its impressive pleasantries that extend from the shopping, art and dining scenes, to its spread of beautiful gardens, free movie theatre, neat rooftop swimming pool, 24-hour spas, and the list goes on. Its endless clusters of novelty seats make waiting cozy in case of a delayed flight.
Tip: Each terminal promises of a unique set of attractions. If you have 3 to 5 hours to waste, spend it by going around its 4 terminals using the skytrain, which is also FREE of charge.
SINGAPORE TOUR SERVICES BY KLOOK
- Exclusive Universal Studios Singapore™ Ticket (1 Day Pass)
- S.E.A. Aquarium Ticket Sentosa
- Singapore Zoo Ticket
- Singapore Night Safari Open Dated Ticket
- Marina Bay Sands Skypark Sightseeing Experience
- Singapore City Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay Package
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
Or these recommended reads:
- Crossing the Singapore-Malaysia Border: A First-timer’s Guide
- Singapore Budget Travel Guide
- Johor Bahru, Malaysia Budget Travel Guide (30 minutes away from Singapore by bus)
- Chiang Mai, Thailand Budget Travel Guide
- Bangkok Temple Hopping DIY Budget Travel Guide
- Cambodia in a Day: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
Lastly, have fun and don’t forget to be awesome! 😉
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Let’s keep exploring!