Singapore consistently appears in the list of most expensive cities in the world. The Southeast Asian nation-state shares that distinction with Paris, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Oslo, to name a few. This list is curated from comparing prices of various consumer goods, including petrol, bread, and wine, among others. Inclusion in this list means that in Singapore if you drive a car to buy a piece of bread and a bottle of wine, you’ll be spending more money compared to, let’s say, if you’re in Rio de Janeiro or even in Los Angeles doing the same thing.
Yes, if you’re planning to visit Singapore, you must have enough funds to cover the usual tourist itinerary. Extra funds won’t hurt either. You can spend those to purchase stuff from sustainable Singaporean brands such as Whispers & Anarchy, WoonHung, and OliveAnkara.
But, if you’re the type to eschew too much spending and you’re committed to curbing your own consumerist tendencies, you can skip shopping altogether. Now, what can you do instead? Here’s a list of free things to do in Singapore.
Jog along scenic routes
Singapore has one of the best metro railway systems in the world. It also happens to be a walkable city. If riding the train or walking the streets does not float your boat, the best alternative is to jog through the city.
Various parks litter the city, and avid runners frequent them. You can join this community of sweat-chasers and spend an afternoon getting cardio while enjoying awe-inspiring sceneries. Some of Singapore’s best jogging routes include Punggol Waterway Park, Yishun Pond Park, Lower Pierce Reservoir Park, and Southern Ridges.
Read a book at Merlion Park
The Merlion is the national icon of Singapore. It’s a mythical creature with the body of a fish and the head of a lion. It represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village previously called Singapura, which in Malay means “lion city.”
Merlions appear in many locations throughout the city. But The Merlion Park on One Fullerton is where you’ll see Singapore’s iconic Merlion. Here you can read a book, ideally by a Singaporean author like Amanda Lee Koe (Delayed Rays of a Star), Ovidia Yu (The Paper Bark Tree Mystery), and Cyril Wong (The Lover’s Inventory).
Once you’ve strained your eyes too much from reading, you can rest them by passively admiring nearby architecture such as the iconic Marina Bay Sands.
Singapore is home to many museums. And a few of them accept visitors free of charge. If you’re in the mood for culture and the arts, visit Red Dot Design Museum, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, and Fort Siloso.
The more famous museums within the city, such as the National Gallery Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, and Singapore Art Museum offer free admission to Singaporeans, permanent residents, and children six years and below.
Hop on a free city bus tour
If you’re in Singapore for a layover and you have enough time before your next flight, avail of a free city tour at the airport. You can choose between the Heritage Tour and the City Sights Tour. Should you have enough hours to do both, then by all means grab the chance to see as much as Singapore as you can.
Registration booths for these tours are in the transit area. You do not have to clear immigration to join these city bus tours. There are booths in both Terminals 2 and 3.
Explore the spectacular Singapore Changi Airport
Suppose you do not wish to leave the airport during your transit not to risk missing your flight, you can still enjoy some things to do within the area. The Singapore Changi Airport is considered one of the best air transit hubs in the world. It’s like a city unto itself.
Bask in the spectacular Shiseido Forest Valley. Admire the HSBC Rain Vortex. Walk through the Canopy Park, all the way to the Canopy Bridge. And have a dose of adventure on the walking or bouncing Manulife Sky Nets. Just make sure you do not have too much fun that you forget about your outbound flight.
Traveling does not have to cost you an entire year’s savings. If you look hard enough, you’ll see there are enjoyable but free or inexpensive things to do even in the world’s wealthiest and consequently most expensive cities. Take, for instance, Singapore, where the airport alone is enough to satiate your thirst for exploration and adventure, without you needing to pay exorbitant fees.