Here is a list of worthwhile things to do in Singapore that will not cost you a thing (or will cost you so little, it’s practically negligible).
1. Explore Sentosa Island.
Yes, that’s right. It is possible to explore Sentosa at minimum cost. Rupert, Zuri and I did it for SGD 3 or PHP 102 (excluding meal and transportation expenses). To read my full article about this, click here: http://www.mommykay.com/exploring-sentosa-island-for-free-almost/
2. Commune with nature at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Enjoy some quiet time at Singapore Botanic Gardens amidst three lakes and a diversity of flora.
Singapore Botanic Gardens is divided into three sections: Tanglin Core, Central Core and Bukit Timah Core.
At Tanglin Core, you will find the Swan Lake, the Bonsai Garden (dwarfed trees and plants) and the Sun Garden (cacti, euphorbs and other drought-tolerant plants).
Located within Central Core are the following: Evolution Garden (ferns and cycads), Healing Garden (medicinal plants), Rain Forest, Palm Valley and Symphony Lake, Ginger Garden, Fragrant Garden (plants that give off scents) and National Orchid Garden.
At Bukit Timah Core, you will find Eco-Garden (plants of economic importance) and Eco-Lake, Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (exclusively for children 12 years old and below), Foliage Garden (pitcher plants and other interesting flora) and Trellis Garden (climbers/plants that need support to grow upward to harvest sunlight).
Singapore Botanic Gardens is also known for its heritage trees. Heritage trees are hundreds of years old.
Singapore Botanic Gardens and all attractions inside are free-of-charge except for the National Orchid Garden that has the following rates: SGD 5 / adult, SGD 1 / student, SGD 1 / senior citizen (60 years and above), free for children below 12 years old.
Opening Hours: Singapore Botanic Gardens 5:00 am to 12:00 midnight daily; National Orchid Garden 8:30 am to 7:00 pm daily (last ticket sales at 6:00 pm); Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission at 6:30 pm), closed on Mondays; Healing Garden 5:00 am to 7:30 pm daily, closed every Tuesday; Foliage Garden 5:00 am to 12:00 midnight, closed every last Wednesday of the month.
Singapore Botanic Gardens has three entrance gates. To get to Tanglin Gate, take the MRT and alight at Orchard MRT Station (North South Line), then take a 5-min bus ride to Tanglin Gate (SBS Transit 7, 105, 123, 174, 174e). To get to Nassim Gate (Central Core), take a cab to the junction of Nassim/Cluny Road. To get to Bukit Timah Gate, ride the MRT and get off at Botanic Gardens MRT Station (Circle Line). Follow the signs to the exit (There is only one exit – Exit A) and this will lead you to Bukit Timah Gate.
Don’t forget to bring your child’s stroller. The whole garden is 74 hectares in size. Bring water, hat, umbrella, sunblock and insect repellent. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
For more information, visit https://www.sbg.org.sg/
3. Take the little ones to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.
Among all the attractions in Singapore Botanic Gardens, the cream of the crop for me is Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden because it offers lots of entertainment for Zuri. For this reason, although I have already mentioned Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden as part of Singapore Botanic Gardens, I feel that it deserves a separate discussion.
To get to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, step on the MRT and step off at Botanic Gardens MRT Station (Circle Line). Follow the signs to the exit (There is only one exit – Exit A). From the exit, you will easily see the Bukit Timah Gate of Singapore Botanic Gardens. Enter this gate and follow the signs until you reach Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.
After entering Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, you will see a small cafe on the left. This is Kidz Cafe. Refreshments are available here. Zuri had chocolate ice cream here before exploring the rest of Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.
Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden has a water play area, a sand playground, a maze garden, a photosynthesis interactive display and a treehouse.
Due to impending rain, Zuri and I had to cut short our trip. Other attractions at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden that we did not get to see include the following: Sensory Garden, Dye-ing Plants, Drinks from Plants, Potting Garden, Plants Recycle, Pond, Fantastic Forest, Cave, Suspension Bridge and Epiphytes Galore.
Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission at 6:30 pm) daily except Mondays (closed on Mondays).
Admission: Free (No fees required). Open to children 12 years old and below. All children must be accompanied by an adult and all adults must be accompanied by a child.
Bring your kid’s stroller, sunblock, insect repellent, extra clothes, towel, umbrella and a bottle of water.
4. Visit Gardens by the Bay.
There are several things you can see and do at Gardens by the Bay that do not require admission fees.
A. Observe the Marina Bay skyline in the company of palms and waist-high shrubs at Bay East Garden. Open 24 hours daily. Free admission.
B. Relax at the serene sight of Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes.
C. Bring your kids to Far East Organization Children’s Garden.
For children 1-5 years old, Far East Organization Children’s Garden offers the Toddler Play Zone. It consists of two areas: Toddler Play Equipment and Fish Fountain. Toddler Play Equipment has a sway bridge and stepping springs while Fish Fountain has water tunnels, fish sculptures and water jets.
For children 6-12 years old, Far East Organization Children’s Garden offers Rainforest Tree Houses and Water Play. The two Rainforest Tree Houses are 4 meters and 7 meters in height, respectively. They have nets, ropes and spinner bowls. The Water Play area has sensors that detect the movement of children. Their movement is sure to be followed by a sequence of water effects.
The Far East Organization Children’s Garden is open Tuesday to Friday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (last admission at 6:30 pm); weekends & public holidays 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (last admission at 8:30 am); Closed on Tuesday if a public holiday falls on the preceding Monday. Admission is free.
D. Gardens By The Bay has four Heritage Gardens, namely, Indian Garden, Chinese Garden, Malay Garden and Colonial Garden. All are free-of-charge. Open 5:00 am to 2:00 am daily.
E. Marvel at a thousand desert plants, such as cacti and euphorbs, at the Sun Pavilion. Open 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily, free-of-charge.
F. Take selfies with the Supertrees. Standing 25 to 50 meters tall, they are a sight to behold.
G. World of Plants (open 5:00 am to 2:00 am daily, free admission)
Gardens by the Bay is located at 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore. To get to Gardens by the Bay, board the MRT and alight at Bayfront MRT Station (Circle Line). Follow the signs to Exit B. Follow the underground linkway, then cross the Dragonfly Bridge to go to Gardens by the Bay.
For more information, visit http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/content/gbb/en/home.html
5. Go to Haw Par Villa.
Built in 1937, Haw Par Villa is a theme park that features about 1,000 statues and 150 dioramas about Chinese mythology and folklore. It is located at 262 Pasir Panjang Road. Open 9:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Free admission.
To get to Haw Par Villa, take the MRT and alight at Haw Par Villa MRT Station (Circle Line). Follow the signs to the exit (There is only one exit – Exit A). Upon exit from the MRT station, you will see the entrance of Haw Par Villa.
I did not fully appreciate the place because I know nothing about Chinese mythology and folklore. But, it was still a worthwhile visit if only to see where Singaporeans used to go to before the advent of more modern theme parks. The weather was warm when we went there and the place does not have plenty of shade. Even with an umbrella, it was uncomfortable. I decided to leave after a short while. Good thing that Haw Par Villa is right next to the MRT station, so coming and going was a breeze.
Here are some pictures:
6. See Chinatown.
To get to Chinatown, simply ride the MRT and get off at Chinatown MRT Station (North East Line). The Chinatown MRT Station Main Exit (Exit A) is right in the middle of Pagoda Street in the center of Chinatown.
The moment I laid eyes on Chinatown for the first time, my very first thought was that it was very clean. I was so impressed by what I saw – bright surroundings, no trash, no unpleasant smell, no crowd, lots of affordable things to buy. Overall, it was very pleasing to the eyes.
You can buy cheap souvenir in Chinatown. I bought keychains at SGD 10 for a set of 30. That’s about PHP 11/piece. Souvenir shirts are also available for as low as SGD 10 for 4 (PHP 85/shirt). Bags can also be bought at SGD 10 for 4 (PHP85/bag).
Also located in Chinatown are Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, and Jamae Mosque. Both are located at South Bridge Road.
To get to Sri Mariamman Temple, from the Chinatown MRT Station Exit, walk straight through Pagoda Street. At the end of Pagoda Street, turn right to South Bridge Road. Just after a few steps, you will see Sri Mariamman Temple on the right.
To get to Jamae Mosque, instead of turning right at the end of Pagoda Street, turn left to South Bridge Road. After a short walk, you will see Jamae Mosque on the left. Sri Mariamman Temple and Jamae Mosque do not charge admission fees.
One downside of Chinatown is that it can get uncomfortably warm especially by noon. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella.
7. Visit Arab Street and Masjid Sultan Mosque.
Walk along Arab Street. Visit the textile shops and smell the aroma coming from the halal restaurants in the area. Then, walk to Masjid Sultan Mosque at 3 Muscat Street. Masjid Sultan Mosque is considered as one of the most important mosques in Singapore. It is open Mondays – Sundays 9:00 am to 12:00 nn / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Fridays 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Free admission. To get there, ride the MRT and alight at Bugis Station (East West Line), then walk for about ten minutes.
For more information, visit http://sultanmosque.sg/
8. Be at the center of Indian culture at Little India.
“Rich in culture and deeply rooted in tradition, Singapore’s Little India invites you to excite your senses. With a surge of flavours, sights, sounds, fragrances and an ethereal feel, Little India is a melting pot of all things Indian.” – http://www.littleindia.com.sg/
Walk along the streets of Little India and see how this community preserves their Indian culture and traditions in Singapore. Visit Mustafa Center for some bargain shopping or just sightseeing.
To get there, simply ride the MRT and alight at Little India MRT Station (North East Line).
9. Take souvenir photos with the city’s popular landmarks.
10. Visit Singapore Art Museum on a Friday night (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm).
Singapore Art Museum has a vast collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks and a growing collection in international contemporary art. Located at 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore, Singapore Art Museum is open Monday – Sunday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission at 6:15 pm). Free admission every Friday from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
If you choose to visit not on a Friday night, rates are: SGD 10 / adult, SGD 5 / student with valid ID, SGD 5 / senior citizen with valid ID.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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