Singapore is a great city to visit, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of shopping at Orchard Road or having a meal at the Marina Bay Sands try out a few of these totally free things to do.
Seek out the history
Having a Singapore Sling at Raffles hotel will set you back a few quid, but the hotel is worth a visit even if you don’t have a cocktail you can enjoy the museum and the colonial architecture. The Fullerton Bay hotels offer even more special architecture, and the Ritz Carlton has works of art by David Hockney, Rainer Goss and Andy Warhol to name a few.
Stroll in the gardens
The Botanic garden has 74 hectares of lakes, niche gardens and all kinds of vegetation. Its totally free and open from 5 am until midnight every day, so you can stroll amongst the peaceful plants any time you like. Don’t miss the ginger garden, with 250 different species of ginger, and the National Orchid garden charges a small fee but is worth it.
Catch some Rays
The most popular beaches at Sentosa Island have an entrance fee, but the 15 miles of sands at East Coast Park are more than enough space to let you stretch out, and you can watch the locals surfing and kayaking as well.
Make a splash in the Wetlands
The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is an area of wildlife filled with mangrove trees, crabs, monitor lizards and all kinds of birds and fish. It charges a small fee at the weekends, but is free during the week. Bukit Timah is another nature reserve, a rainforest this time which lets you step back to before Singapore was the urban jungle that it now is.
Watch the dancing lights
Each evening there is a light and water show at the popular Marina Bay. Head to the Super Trees of the Gardens by the Bay to see a spectacular light show which lights up the skyline with lasers performing to music. The super trees are a lovely sight themselves; they collect solar energy to light themselves up at night, and store rainwater to supply the surrounding foliage with a drink.
Visit the local ethnic groups
Singapore has three main ethnic enclaves; Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street. China town is the largest and you can stroll down Keong Saik Road and browse the gift stalls and boutique hotels. Little India offers the sounds and smells of spices, oils and incense, as well as plenty of opportunity to find some great souvenirs. The bazaars along Arab Street sell fresh flowers, and all sorts of textiles, carpets and antiques. Lose yourself in these little bits of culture within the big city.
If you are still stuck for things to do, tackle the Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir Park which includes a 250 metre suspension bridge, or take the easier option of the Southern Ridge trail which is well provided with amenities along the way. Singapore need not cost a fortune; you can keep yourself occupied for days without spending a penny.