Singapore may be one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in thanks to high rental rates and general cost of living, but luckily The Lion City has many free and fun activities that will get you out of the house and into the sunshine.
Gardens by the Bay
One of Singapore’s most eye-catching attractions (and that’s saying something!), the bizarre landscape of Gardens by the Bay created by the Supertree Grove is a sight to behold. The Supertrees are towering vertical gardens that are home to a mass of of flora and fauna. Open from 5 am until 3 am, the best time to visit is at night when the Supertrees are lit up and look even more surreal than during the day.
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore +65 6420 6848
The Singapore Botanic Gardens were founded over 150 years ago making this one of the oldest landmarks in the city. Today, the Botanic Gardens cover 82 hectares of the island and is very easily accessible; just ten minutes from the Orchard Road shopping belt and served by its own MRT station on the Circle Line. The gardens are home to thousands of species and even a few massive monitor lizards. The Singapore Botanic Gardens are open from 5 am until 12 am but the best time to visit is during the day when you’ll be able to see more.
1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569 +6471 7138
Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa is a truly bizarre attraction in Singapore. It’s a former amusement park that was built in 1937 by the two brothers who created Tiger Balm. They wanted to create a park where families could bring their children to learn about Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist mythology and they thought the best way to teach these stories was through life-sized statues and dioramas. The 10 Courts of Hell are pretty graphic, so maybe skip that section if you’re with young children.
262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore +65 6736 6622
Sentosa Boardwalk and Beaches
Many people who live in Singapore avoid Sentosa because the island can feel a bit artificial, but it can make for a really fun afternoon that won’t cost you anything. From VivoCity, instead of joining the crowds waiting for the Sentosa Tram, go through to the back of the mall and take advantage of the recently renovated Sentosa Boardwalk. It’s even covered so you don’t have to worry about being caught in the rain! Head across the island, past the giant Merlion and spend a lazy afternoon on one of the island’s three beaches. Finish off your afternoon at Palawan Beach where you can visit the so-called “Southernmost Point of Continental Asia”.
Fort Canning Park
Wander around Fort Canning Park located near Clarke Quay; this activity is perfect for history lovers and nature lovers alike. Based on historical artefacts, which can be viewed at Hotel Fort Canning, the history of the area goes back to the 1300s. In more recent times, the hill was discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles who built his first home here. During World War II, the hill was used as the headquarters of the British military and then later the Japanese army took over those same facilities during their three-year occupation of Singapore.
Do a mini temple tour in Chinatown. Start off at Sri Mariamman, Singapore’s oldest Hindu Temple. Its gopuram (the tower above the entrance) is particularly iconic, but it’s worth stepping inside as well. From there, head over to Thian Hock Keng, Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple as well as the much more recent Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.
MacRitchie Treetop Walk
Grab some water and head to MacRitchie Reservoir to do the MacRitchie Treetop Walk. It’s a 250 metre long bridge that stands 25 metres above the forest floor. The entire hike takes a few hours, so be sure to carry plenty of water and wear good shoes. Afterwards, go for a stroll along the boardwalk that runs around the reservoir and see if you can spot the giant monkey family that lives there. The Treetop Walk is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9am-5pm and closed on Mondays.