Singapore is one of the most historically important cities/countries in Southeast Asia, but isn’t on the itinerary of many budget travelers because they think that it is too expensive. I’ve already discussed why Singapore isn’t as expensive as you might think it is, but let’s turn our attention to things to do during the day.
Here are 5 free things to do when visiting Singapore.
Check Out Raffles Hotel
Open for business since 1887, the Raffles Hotel is one of the world’s premier hotels. And, while a night at the hotel might be slightly out of your budget, (rooms start at over $500 a night) there is nothing stopping you from walking around one of Singapore’s most historic landmarks. From the stark white walls to the marble staircases, everything about the hotel exudes class.
If you are visiting the hotel, make sure to find your way to the second floor Raffles Museum. The museum is a free tour through the history of the hotel and Singapore as a whole. It has old pictures of the city, hotel memorabilia, and letters of thanks from various celebrities and politicians from around the world.
Our time walking through the hotel was my wife’s favorite part of our time in Singapore.
Take a Stroll Through Singapore’s Botanical Gardens.
Established in 1859, the Singapore Botanical Gardens covers 183 acres in the heart of downtown Singapore. Featuring multiple lakes, many running trails, several waterfalls, and even a rain forest, the Singapore Botanical Gardens have a little something for everyone. It even has a beautiful orchid garden, though that part of the garden costs money.
The gardens are a great place to spend a few hours away from the city and afford a great chance to see birds, turtles, and fish. Unfortunately, they don’t have monkeys in the park though.
The Gardens are open 365 days a year from 5am to midnight.
Experience Marina Bay Sands’ Water and Light Show
One of Singapore’s most recognizable buildings, Marina Bay Sands is also one of the city’s most glamorous locations. Featuring luxary apartments, fantastic hotel rooms, and a shopping mall full of the world’s most expensive stores, Marina Bay Sands would seem to be off the radar for many budget travelers. However, every night Marina Bay Sands puts on one of the most spectacular water and lights shows that I’ve ever seen. And the best part is that it’s free!
At 15 minutes long, “Wonder Full” features a dazzling array of water fountains, video, lights, fire, and even bubbles with the city skyline as the backdrop.
If you spend a night in Singapore, the show is not to be missed.
It is held every night at 8pm and 9:30pm, with an additional showing at 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
Become a Beach Bum on Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island is one of Singapore’s hottest destinations. Boasting a Universal Studio’s Theme Park, fantastic shopping, and a variety of restaurants, it’s easy to see why. However, on the southern shores of the island, there are also nice beaches for sunning or swimming.
Even better, though somewhat kitschy, you can walk a short suspension bridge and pose in front of a sign proclaiming that you have reached the southern-most point of continental Asia.
As a point of confession, visiting Sentosa isn’t exactly free. To reach the island, you have to pay $3 for a ride on the monorail over the island. However, since the only cost was transportation, I felt that it was okay to include the island.
Walk through Chinatown and Little India
Singapore has always been known as a multi-cultural city. All over the city, various ethnic groups have carved out their own little corners. However, nowhere does this come alive more than in Chinatown and Little India. Each destination is bursting with great food, fantastic temples, and controlled chaos.
When visiting Chinatown, make sure that you don’t miss the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. While the tooth itself is well hidden behind an insane amount of gold, the temple itself is still worth visiting for the impressive main hall and the display of gold in the “tooth room”. There is also a nice garden on the rooftop.
In Little India, make sure to check out the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, which is also known as the Temple of 1000 Lights. While I didn’t see too many lights, the temple features an impressive 15-meter tall seated Buddha and 2 fierce tiger statues guarding the entrance.
So, there you have it, five fun and free things to do when visiting Singapore. Do you have any other favorites? Let us know in the comments section below.
Jim Cheney is the creator of Tripologist.com. Having traveled extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia, Jim enjoys sharing his love of travel and some of his favorite places to visit around the world. He lives in Pennsylvania, USA, with his wife and two kids.