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While some activities in Singapore are quite expensive, others are entirely free or nearly free. Furthermore, many parts of the city are attractions in themselves. To help you visit Singapore on a budget, here are some free attractions for your itinerary.

Experience the Jewel at Changi Airport

There are free attractions in Singapore you can experience before you even leave the airport, or when you’re about to fly out. Singapore’s Changi Airport has received countless awards as the best airport in the world, and I’m happy to agree. Not only does it have a great layout, plenty of places to eat, and even free theaters in two of the terminals, but there’s also the Jewel.

The Jewel is a large activity center by Terminal 1. The central attraction is the Rain Vortex in Canopy Park. On the top floor are a hedge maze, a mirror maze, and the Changi Experience Studio for aviation-related games. While most of the attractions are paid, the Rain Vortex is free to watch, and there’s a light and sound show every day at 3 and 9 pm, plus 10 pm Fri-Sun.

The Jewel Rain Vortex at Changi Airport

The Jewel is by no means the only free attraction at Changi Airport. You can ride the free shuttle between Terminals 2 and 3 which passes by the Rain Vortex high in the air, watch a movie at a free theater (or a paid movie in the cinema), visit the butterfly garden in Terminal 2, ride the world’s tallest slide in an airport at Terminal 3, or see the Peranakan village recreation in Terminal 4. The airport also has countless gardens, including the outdoor Jurassic Mile by Terminal 4.

Watch the Spectra Water Show

A popular, free attraction in Singapore is the Spectra Water Show outside the Marina Bay Sands Mall. The show happens two or three times every night and lasts 15 minutes. The lights and lasers actually create a 4-act story, portraying the history of Singapore from a budding colony to an independent, advanced nation.

I personally think the Aquanura water show at Efteling is better, even if the Singapore skyline as a backdrop is quite nice. It might have been even better if the Mandalay Bay Sands Hotel was in the background (instead of behind where you’re standing), like the Bellagio water show in Las Vegas.

Marina Bay Sands Night Show from Boat

To get the best vantage of the show, I  would recommend arriving at least 20 minutes early, especially on busy days. Then again, maybe it was packed when I was there because it was Christmas Eve. Either way, try to get as close to the center of the platform as you can so the lasers align properly. Two restaurants in the mall have views of the show, but from much further away, so I don’t recommend that.

Explore the Gardens by the Bay

Easily the most iconic, free attraction of Singapore is the Supertrees in the Gardens by the Bay. Well, I should clarify that. It’s free (sometimes) to walk beneath the trees, but you’ll have to pay to walk along the elevated paths connecting the trees or enter the many themed gardens.

Trying to find the prices for the gardens is extremely confusing. Online, several companies sell tickets for the free gardens with no transparency of what you’re getting. Even the staff at the gardens were confused and wanted to charge us for the wrong attraction. Unfortunately, we went during one of the few times in the year when the gardens beneath Supertrees were not free.

Vanesa with Supertree in Singapore

For several weeks around Christmas, you have to pay about $15 per person to enter the Winter Wonderland. If you happen to visit during that time and want to enter the Supertrees, it’s a separate ticket and entrance, which we learned not all the staff know about.

If you want to go beyond the free portion of the gardens, there are plenty of themed gardens and other activities you can pay for at the Gardens by the Bay. Buying tickets with tour providers such as Trip.com is normally the same price as buying at the gate. I would recommend planning ahead in case tickets are sold out, or to know when portions of the gardens will be closed.

Explore Chinatown, Little India, and Little Arabia

Singapore has several neighborhoods well worth wandering around, and that doesn’t cost a dime more than the transportation to get there. My favorite was Chinatown, but that’s probably because I’m so focused on food. Chinatown has two of Singapore’s main hawker centers. But there’s also so much history, awesome sculptures, street art, and temples to see.

Little Arabia in Singapore

Little India and Little Arabia (I don’t know if Little Arabia is an official title) are two neighborhoods close to each other. To be honest, although several websites mentioned Little India as a highlight, I didn’t find the neighborhood all that fascinating. There were some good Indian restaurants and countless shops, but that’s about it.

Mosque in Little Arabia Singapore

Little Arabia, on the other hand, was much more interesting to explore. The Sultan Mosque certainly isn’t the biggest mosque I’ve seen, but it’s beautiful outside and free to enter. Around the neighborhood are cozy cafes, hookah lounges, and, of course, Michelin restaurants, all with an Arabian theme.

Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore certainly isn’t the typical ancient temple we see everywhere in Southeast Asia, considering it opened in 2007. However, it’s still a very interesting temple to visit. On the 4th floor, you’ll find what is claimed to be Buddha’s canine tooth, recovered from his burial pyre in India. But you’re not allowed to take any photos on that floor.

Relic of the Tooth Temple in Singapore

Regardless of the validity of that, the temple has beautiful decorations and designs, built in the Chinese Tang Dynasty style. Furthermore, it’s great for budget travelers as there’s no entry fee, or cost for the guided tour on Saturday. Just make sure to dress appropriately (no bare shoulders, back, or knees), and don’t bring any non-vegetarian food into the temple.

Window Shop at the Marina Bay Sands Mall

Marina Bay Sands Mall certainly isn’t the place to shop if you want to save money. Nearly every major luxury brand in the world has a store in the mall, and many top restaurant chains as well. However, you don’t have to purchase designer clothes or products to enjoy the mall. Just wandering around has its charm, and there are also some unique features in the mall.

Indoor Canal at Marina Bay Sands Mall

The Rain Oculus is a main feature in the center of the mall, not dissimilar to the Rain Vortex at Changi Airport but much smaller. The water cascades into an indoor lagoon and canal where you can take a sampan ride (not free, but not too expensive) or have tea at TWG (certainly not free). Above the shopping mall, visit the rooftop gardens…if it’s not raining. Sadly, we missed this attraction due to torrential rain and lightning.

Climb up Fort Canning Hill or Mount Fabor

Singapore has several hills you can climb up for a view of the city or just some exercise. Of course, there’s no cost for walking around a public park. Fort Canning Hill is right in the city center, not far from Chinatown, and offers a view of Marina Bay Sands and the surrounding skyline. Mount Fabor is further southwest, not far from Sentosa Island. In fact, you can take the cable car from the top of Mount Fabor to Sentosa, but that’s not free either.

Vanesa at Fort Canning Hill

The disadvantage of climbing the hills in Singapore is the heat and weather in general. I was drenched in sweat by the time I made it to the top of Fort Canning Hill, which is when I saw the thunderstorm rolling in. I had just enough time to run down the hill and into Funan Mall before the storm hit.

Peranakan Houses

The Peranakan Houses are rather underwhelming, but at least they’re free to visit. They’re located quite far from any other attraction in town, about halfway between the airport and the city center. It’s basically a street with a few colorful houses on one side of the street you can take a photo at.

Peranakan Houses Singapore

Of course, there’s some history behind the houses. The Peranakan people were of mixed Chinese and Malay descent who settled in Singapore. They painted their houses in bright colors with the idea that it would attract wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately, there’s no plaque or information anywhere around the houses that I found giving that information.

Summary of Free Attractions in Singapore

These are just some of the free things to do in Singapore. The city itself is the main attraction, wandering the streets to find amazing buildings, pristine streets free of trash, great places to eat, street art and sculptures, etc. There are plenty of hills, beaches, and harbors to explore. After all, there aren’t many countries in the world where the entire country is one city (like Monaco or San Marino).

Fort Canning Hill

Keep in mind that Singapore is a particularly expensive country, especially for Southeast Asia. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, you’re far better off in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, or other similar countries. Nevertheless, Singapore is definitely a destination you don’t want to miss.

8 Free Attractions in Singapore Pin

Further Reading

Planning to visit Southeast Asia? Here are some other articles you might like that will help you with your travels.

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Author Skye Class

Hi, I'm Skye. Writer, photographer, adventurer, foodie, teacher, masseur, friend, dreamer, etc. I think "normal" sucks. Let's aim for extraordinary. SkyeTravels seeks to find the good around the world, focusing on adventures, food and wellness. Be inspired. Be yourself.

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