Singapore consistently ranks as one of the most expensive countries in the world, but this should not hinder every budget traveler to enjoy the Lion City. In fact, there are loads of fun activities that offer full Singapore experience that won’t cost you a fortune.
Here are 10 absolutely free activities that you must try especially if you love walking and nature trips.
- 1 Hike up Bukit Timah Hill – the “Mt. Everest of Singapore”
- 2 Walk along Henderson Waves – Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge
- 3 Join Free Guided Walking Tours
- 4 Chill out at Chinese and Japanese Garden
- 5 Learn interesting Chinese folklore in Haw Par Villa
- 6 Walk your night out at Marina Bay
- 7 Appreciate Street Arts at Little India Arts Belt
- 8 Walk above the trees at MacRitchie TreeTop Walk
- 9 Visit Singapore Botanic Gardens – SG’s first UNESCO Heritage Site
- 10 Be amazed with spectacular lights and sounds at the Gardens by the Bay
Hike up Bukit Timah Hill – the “Mt. Everest of Singapore”
With the height of 163.63 meters, Bukit Timah Hill is the highest summit in Singapore. It is easily accessible and has established trails so it is not surprising to meet elders and kids hiking up especially in the morning.
Take time to visit the Visitor Center to learn more about the flora and fauna surrounding the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Trail may take less than 1 hour going up and around 30-45 minutes going down.
To get here by MRT, alight at Beauty World Station (DT15), Exit A, continue through Hindhere Rd, and walk past through the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Center.
Walk along Henderson Waves – Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge
Standing 36 meters above Henderson Road, Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore that connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. This bridge is outstanding, not just because of its height but also due to its distinct structure. It is made up of wooden walkway in a wave-like form.
During daytime, this is one of the great spots to witness panoramic views of the city, harbor area and surrounding forests. However in night time, the bridge is stunningly illuminated with LED lights.
To get here, alight at bus stop along Henderson Road, near the junction of “Telok Blangah Green”. Walk along the uphill direction until you reach the stairs as trail entrance.
Join Free Guided Walking Tours
Probably, the best way to know more about the culture, history and development of Singapore is through the locals themselves! There are several FREE guided walking tours provided by passionate, and entertaining local guides in the streets of Singapore.
Personally, I have experienced joining “Free Little India Day Tour” through Monster Day Tours that gave me a unique adventure in exploring SG, and at the same time met and made friends with fellow backpackers from different parts of the world.
Chill out at Chinese and Japanese Garden
Want to have the Chinese and Japanese vibes while in Singapore? Simply head to this very calming park right down the Chinese Garden MRT Station (EW25) .
An afternoon or morning stroll around the 13.5 hectare park, which was built in 1975, will transport you to a calming nature, away from the bustling moods of the city.
Some of the highlights of the park are: Bonsai Garden, the ‘Bai Hong Qiao’ bridge, Turtoise and Turtle Museum and shows, Chinese pagoda, and ponds.
Learn interesting Chinese folklore in Haw Par Villa
Haw Par Villa, also known as Tiger Balm Garden, is one of the unique parks in Singapore that you must visit.
The park has been established way back 1937 by Aw Boon Haw, a millionaire philanthropist who also introduced the Tiger Balm in the world.
This place is a home to hundreds of dioramas and statues that teach about Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist mythology.
The main attraction here is the “Ten Courts of Hell” . It is a folklore depiction of the Chinese belief that when a person passes away, he undergoes different stages of courts. If in the First Court, he is proven “good”, he will be led to paradise. Otherwise, he will pass through different stages wherein for every sin/crime committed, there are corresponding punishments. Warning: Graphic representations in the park may be gruesome.
Haw Par Villa can be easily reached from the Haw Par Villa MRT station (CC25) on the green line. The park is open daily from 9am – 7pm.
Walk your night out at Marina Bay
Marina Bay is probably the most famous spot for tourist in Singapore, as well as for locals. At night, this place transforms into an amazing backdrop for skylines and impressive notable structures around the Singapore.
Some top attractions you should not miss here are: Merlion Park, Esplanade, Makansuntra Gluttons Bay, Helix Bridge, Olympic Walk, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum and more.
The top thing to do is to watch “Spectra” – a free light and water show at the Event Plaza along the Promenade. It is a 15-minute show that will keep your visions amazed by dancing fountain , laser lights, synchronized with orchestra at the background.
(Show schedules: Sunday to Thursday – 8:00pm and 9:00pm ; Friday & Saturday – 8:00pm, 9:00pm and 10:00pm)
Recommended start: Raffles Place MRT Station (NS26/EW14)
Appreciate Street Arts at Little India Arts Belt
Aside from numerous shops, authentic cuisines, and other ways of showcasing Indian culture, the mural paintings around the streets of Little India will keep you amazed.
Walk your way down to the street alleys and you will find pieces of art that brightens this concrete jungle. To ge there by MRT: Alight at Little India MRT Station (NE7/DT12)
Walk above the trees at MacRitchie TreeTop Walk
If you’re up for adventure and love hiking, MacRitchie TreeTop Walk should be on your bucket list when in Singapore.
The HSBC TreeTop walk is the highlight of of many hiking routes within the MacRitchie Reservoir. It is a 250-meter suspended pathway that connects the two highest points in MacRitchie, Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalan. At its highest point, you’ll be 25-meters above the ground, which is almost as high as a 7-storey building!
Getting to the TreeTop walk may be tricky and involves long walks. The shortest route is through Venus Drive at Upper Thomson Road (Just before the Island Club Road). From here, trekkers can enter through Windsor Nature Park and follow the trail signs (Venus Loop, Squirrel Trail then Drongo Trail) towards the TreeTop Walk.
For more information about getting to the TreeTop Walk, click here.
Visit Singapore Botanic Gardens – SG’s first UNESCO Heritage Site
Inscribed in 2015, Singapore Botanic Gardens is the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consequently, it is also the first and only tropical garden in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Other than being a park and Botanical Garden, SBG has many spots to offer such as: Swan Lake, Rainforests, Symphony Lake, Evolution Garden, Eco-Lake, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden and a lot more.
Another highlight of SBG is that you can watch free concerts at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, located at the Symphony Lake.
The National Orchid Garden is also nestled inside the SBG which houses thousands of different orchid displays and species. (Entrance Fee: SGD5.00 for adults ; SGD1.00 for students; SGD1.00 for senior citizens (60 years and above); Free for children below 12 years)
For more information about SBG, visit their official website here .
Be amazed with spectacular lights and sounds at the Gardens by the Bay
These iconic and award-winning park should not be missed when in Singapore. The famous “Supertrees” will give you futuristic feels and keep you amazed by the magnificent structures that give pride to the country.
Walking around the park won’t cost you even a cent but there are fees when entering the climate-controlled conservatories. However, you can still enjoy walking under the 18 distinct Supertrees around the garden, that serve different functions. Some have solar cells which save solar energy, while others act as air exhausts receptacles for the Cooled Conservatories.
Another amazing reason to spend time here is their “Garden Rhapsody”, a free and entertaining light and music show at the Supertrees Grove. Catch the show daily at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm.
To know more about the Gardens by the Bay, visit their official website.
To get here by train, closest MRT Station is the Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16), Exit B.
Most of the mentioned activities involve long walks so:
- Wear comfortable attire – Singapore has tropical weather, so prepare yourself by wearing your most comfortable shirts and sneakers. (Be ready with extra clothes too)
- Stay hydrated – due to the weather and length of walks, you will be sweating a lot so bring plenty of drinking water. Luckily, there are numerous water fountains around the parks in Singapore so bring your refillable containers.
- In visiting outdoors, it is highly advised to bring sunscreen and insect repellant
- Do not feed the monkeys that you might encounter in the parks. Avoid eating during the trip as it may attract unwanted attention from the monkeys.
- And finally, though Singapore is a walking-friendly country, avoid getting lost by having handy maps such as Google Maps and gothere.sg.