Singapore isn’t cheap; it has some of the most expensive hotels, restaurants and attractions anywhere in Asia. Yet, it does have something for you, even if you aren’t well-heeled. I have always believed that the best things in life are free. No matter where you travel, there are always fun activities you can try without spending a dime. If you are a budget traveler who wants to discover the world, look for free activities to reach your travel goal. Singapore is a great place for budget travelers and here are ten free things you can do when visiting this fascinating destination.
1. Get fed for freeIn the Buddhist tradition, temples usually offer free meals to the poor or simply, to anyone who asks. Typically, you only get a simple meal. The Singapore Buddhist Lodge on Kim Yam Road and the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple on Bright Hill Road, though, offer generous buffet-style vegetarian meals twice a day, with 8 different courses. So if you feel hungry, don’t hesitate to try out those meals. It’s one of the easiest ways to save on food when traveling.
2. Go clubbing for freeWhile it’s best to skip clubbing when you are short on money, you can go clubbing for free if you do a little research. Many of Singapore’s dance bars offer great music by live bands. They let you in for no cover charge as long as it’s a weeknight. If you’re a woman, you get free drinks, too.
3. Go on a free walking tourI love free walking tours. It’s a good way to learn more about the country/city and save some cash for your next trip. Singapore Footprints is a volunteer organization run by Singaporean college students. The group offers free guided walking tours every weekend along Singapore River and other places of interest.
4. Watch an outdoor movie
Want to watch a movie for free? On the last Saturday of every month, the ION Orchard shopping mall sets up a huge outdoor screen and runs recent movies for free. The National Museum of Singapore has free movies every week, too. It’s a breathtaking activity that you will never forget.
5. Resorts World SentosaEntry to Resorts World Santosa is free for tourists. It’s an open-air mall with plenty of free street performances through the day. Getting there is free, too – Universal Studios runs a shuttle service, picking passengers up for free at all the hotels on Orchard Road.
6. Get in on the festivitiesThe melting pot that Singapore is, you get a taste of a huge variety of cultures. If you’re here at the right time, you get to sample them at their best: at festival time, for instance. Whether it’s the Chinese Lunar New Year or the Indian Deepavali, you will have fun with all kinds of street celebrations, free food and activities.
7. Sungei BulohSungei Buloh is a wetland reserve on the North West corner of Singapore. When migratory birds come in from across the world, you’ll catch some rare sights here if you wait long enough. Common greenshank, whimbrel, Mongolian plover, common redshank, curlew sandpiper, cinnamon bittern and yellow bittern are some of the many birds you can see while visiting the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. If you are lucky, you may spot the rare milky stork, lesser whistling-duck and smooth otters. You will also be able to see Saltwater crocodiles. Admission is free if you come in on a weekday.
8. Free open-air concerts at the Botanic GardensThe Bandstand at the Singapore Botanic Gardens has hosted free performances by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra for decades. Often, you get student bands showing up, too. All you need to do is to bring a picnic basket and a blanket.
9. Get your fortune toldPaying attention to horoscopes is big in Singaporean culture. If you’d like to try out Singaporean fortune-telling for free, the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple on Waterloo Street has just the thing. You go in, hold a divination stick and then get your fortune printed on a slip of paper.
10. If you have a little time at the airportIf you have at least 5 hours on a layover, you get to make free reservations with the Changi Airport authorities for a tour around Singapore. You only need to log on to changiairport.com. If you don’t have that much time, you can simply enjoy the delights of the airport: free time on massage chairs and the TV lounge, and free Wi-Fi.
The free stuff on offer in Singapore is usually of very high quality. You can easily enjoy a good part of the city even when you have precious little money to spare. Are you a budget traveler? Do you have any tips on how to explore the world for free? Do you think Singapore is one of the best destinations for budget travelers?