10 Best Places to Visit in Singapore for Free
Looking for meaningful things to do in Singapore on a budget? Although the Lion City has a reputation for being expensive (and a playground for the crazy rich), you can have a great time here on a shoestring budget too, by seeking out experiences that the locals love.
To help you out, our team at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore has put together a list of the best places to visit in Singapore in 3 days—for free! This includes:
For guests at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, our elegant and iconic hotel is minutes away from these pristine city-centre attractions that you can explore for free:
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (7 minutes’ walk)
Merlion Park (10 minutes' walk)
Gardens by the Bay (15 minutes' walk)
Read on to find out about other free attractions in Singapore, and make your Singapore holidays memorable and delightful!
The Most Beautiful Places in Singapore
Enjoy nature and tranquility in Singapore, away from the madding tourist crowds.
1. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Visitors and locals love Singapore Botanic Gardens, and it is the first and only tropical botanic garden on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A short walk from Singapore’s most famous shopping street, Orchard Road, the Botanic Gardens is conveniently located in the heart of the city. You can choose to explore the park on your own, join a free walking tour (Saturdays only), or attend one of the park’s public events—many locals look forward to the park’s open-air music performances.
To wander around on your own, simply download a map from the park’s website and be on your way! Some specialty gardens that may interest you are the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (if you are travelling with little ones) and the Evolution Garden, which showcases how plant families have evolved over millions of years—from ancient algae and mosses to modern-day flowering plants and trees.
2. Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is a hilltop landmark in Singapore with great historical significance for the country. This hill was once the site of palaces built for 14th-century kings, and it has served as the headquarters of the British Armed Forces in Singapore. During WWII, the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese was also made on Fort Canning, in the Underground Far East Command Centre commonly known as the Battle Box. (You can join a paid tour of the Battle Box if you’re interested!)
If you’re visiting Fort Canning Park, don’t miss its Sang Nila Utama Garden, which is named after the legendary and almost mythical first king of Singapore. This garden lets you experience what it might have been like to stroll through an ancient Southeast Asian palace garden, with traditional features such as a series of Javanese split gateways that mark the entrance of new “zones,” and a reflective pool for meditative contemplation.
3. MacRitchie Reservoir Park
Looking for an easy nature walk in lush and peaceful surrounds? Head to MacRitchie Reservoir Park, a top spot for local nature lovers and fitness buffs. Once there, choose between two boardwalk trails—the Prunus-Petai Trail (one hour) and the Champerai Trail (30 minutes)—to explore the park. On both trails, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the reservoir and the surrounding dense rainforest. It’s the perfect way to experience “forest bathing” in Singapore!
You’ll be likely to encounter tropical wildlife such as a clouded monitor lizard or a family of long-tail macaques along the boardwalk. Eagle-eyed observers may also spot the common sun skink and native birds such as the collared kingfisher, notable for its beautiful turquoise feathers.
If you’re up for a more challenging hike, head towards the park’s TreeTop Walk. Here, the pay-off is a spectacular bird’s eye view of the rainforest from a 250-metre suspension bridge that connects the two highest points in MacRitchie. The bridge’s height from the forest floor varies, but at its highest, you will be 25 metres from the ground. For a shorter walk to the bridge, enter the TreeTop Walk trail by Venus Drive (one hour to the bridge), rather than the main MacRitchie Reservoir entrance (two hours to the bridge).
Unusual Places in Singapore that You Shouldn’t Miss
Not your run-of-the-mill tourist attractions, but these places will leave you with lasting impressions of your Singapore holiday.
4. Pulau Ubin
Back in the 1960s and 70s, it was common to find attap huts (traditional housing named after the attap palm) and wooden stilt houses in Singapore. Today, you can visit Pulau Ubin, an offshore island with a village vibe, to catch a glimpse of Singapore’s rustic past.
To get to Pulau Ubin, you will need to hop on a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal—these boats operate from 6.00am to 7.00pm. The ride to Pulau Ubin takes 10 minutes and costs S$3 per person (S$2 extra if you are bringing a bicycle) each way. There are no scheduled departure times, as bumboats set off only when there are 12 passengers.
Here’s what you can do in Pulau Ubin:
Explore the island at your own pace, with the help of DIY trail guides.
Visit the Chek Jawa Wetlands. This is a coastal wetland with coral reefs that play host to extensive marine wildlife, such as sea hares, sea squirts, octopuses, starfish, sand dollars, sponges, and more. You can hire a ride to Chek Jawa for a small fee—drivers usually wait by the Pulau Ubin jetty—or join a paid guided tour if you’re travelling in a group. Tours are held in the early morning or late afternoon when the tides are low.
Rent a bicycle or book a cycling tour to explore Pulau Ubin, learn about its history, and spot some wildlife.
For food, it’s best to bring along your own provisions. If you would like to have a meal at one of the eateries on the island, remember to carry cash.
Thinking of leaving Pulau Ubin after 6.00pm? Do make prior arrangements with the boat operators. If there are no boats available at the Pulau Ubin jetty for your return trip, call the National Parks Board hotline at 1800 471 7300 for assistance.
5. Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Kampong Lorong Buangkok has been around since 1956, and it is Singapore’s only surviving kampong (“village” in Malay) on the mainland. Currently, a small community of Malay and Chinese families continues to reside here, in humble zinc-roofed homes connected by mud paths within the kampong.
Fun fact: The kampong residents are said to pay a nominal rent (US$4.70 to US$21.90 per month) to the kampong’s landlord, who inherited the land from her father. It’s all part of the kampong spirit, where members of a community look out for one another.
To reach Kampong Lorong Buangkok by public transport, take bus 70 or 103 from Serangoon MRT Station and alight at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul bus stop. The kampong is a short walk across the road (check the exact location below). Once you arrive, do be respectful of the residents’ privacy. Look out for the dogs too—most of them are friendly and harmless, but their barks may be more scary than their bites!
6. Haw Par Villa
An outdoor cultural theme park where admission is free, Haw Par Villa is where you go to get schooled on Chinese mythology. It was built by a millionaire philanthropist named Aw Boon Haw in 1937, to honour the traditional virtues that he had been brought up with. Kitschy yet charming in an old-school way, the theme park features over 1,000 statues and 150 dioramas, depicting vivid scenes from classic Chinese literature such as Journey to the West and the Eight Immortals. But to most Singaporeans, Haw Par Villa is synonymous with its Ten Courts of Hell, which will give you an unforgettable lesson in Chinese morality—and the grisly afterlife consequences of not conducting yourself honourably during your time on Earth. It’s a fun place to explore on your own, but if you prefer a guide, paid tours are conducted daily at 9.30am.
Singapore’s Eco-Friendly Attractions
Visit two farms that are taking Singapore’s “Garden City” dreams to the next level.
7. Bollywood Veggies
Bollywood Veggies is a planet-friendly farm in Singapore—it is run as sustainably as possible, with no pesticides or fertilisers used on site. It also has an inclusive hiring policy, giving less-educated or differently abled workers a chance to earn a decent living. The owner of the farm, Ivy Singh-Lim, is a well-known (and occasionally controversial) figure in local circles. A woman credited with boosting netball as a local sport, the sprightly septuagenarian now dedicates her boundless energy to healthy living and food security issues in Singapore.
At Bollywood Veggies, you can wander around the sprawling compound freely—brightly coloured signs will guide the way. After which, pop into the adjoining Poison Ivy Bistro to tuck into a delicious farm-to-table meal. Lucky diners will even have the pleasure of chatting with the straight-shooting owner—rest assured that no matter who you are, she won’t mince her words.
8. Food Garden at Funan Mall
Urban farming is said to be gaining ground in Singapore, and one place to witness the green movement in action is at Funan mall, which has an 18,000 sq ft “Food Garden” on its 7th floor. Expect to see a wide variety of edible tropical produce here, including mushrooms, okra (ladies' fingers), lemongrass, watermelon, and passionfruit.
At the heart of the Food Garden is its 5,000 sq ft urban farm, which is run by local social enterprise Edible Garden City. Cherish the opportunity as this is one of the few urban farms in Singapore that are easily accessible and freely open to the public. While you’re here, take some time to learn how vegetables are produced and harvested.
Sign up for Pan Pacific DISCOVERY
Join Pan Pacific DISCOVERY and unlock a wealth of benefits, with or without a stay. Enjoy exclusive member rates, specially curated Local Offers and Experiences, and access to our rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars (D$).
SIGN UP NOW
Alternative Things to Do in Singapore
Good news for budget travellers: some of the best arts and culture experiences in Singapore are completely free!
9. Free Activities at the National Library
Wish to meet locals and gain a deeper insight into what makes Singapore tick? The public libraries are a good place to start, and they’re not just for bookworms. The National Library’s events have a local cult following, as they provide an interesting and intellectually stimulating way to learn more about Singapore’s early history, its culture, and its local literature. Check the official website for an updated list of what’s happening at the libraries.
10. Gelam Gallery at Muscat Street
The once-dingy back lanes of Muscat Street—in Singapore’s Malay enclave Kampong Glam—have recently been given a major spruce up, and they now stand proudly as Singapore’s first outdoor gallery. Known as Gelam Gallery, this highly Instagrammable art space features murals and framed works by over 30 local and international artists. It’s not just pro artists who’ve been given the spotlight here, but also individuals fresh out of art school as well as unapologetically self-taught creators. Best of all, you can visit the gallery any time you like, at no charge.