50 cheap things to do with your best friend in Singapore

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In honour of Singapore’s celebration of half a century of independence, we’ve picked 50 of the most reasonably priced  – or free! – things to do in a city state better known for its high cost of living. There’s plenty to do on the cheap and who better to take along with you than your bestie.

Gardens by the Bay

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Photo courtesy of Gardens by the Bay

Find a spot, lay down your picnic rug and enjoy the great outdoors under the shade of palm trees at Bay East Garden.

The Southern Ridges Trail

Hike or run the picturesque 10-kilometre Southern Ridges Trail and enjoy nature, history, birds and panoramic views of the city.

Haw Par Villa

This strange theme park takes you on an unusual journey through Chinese mythology.

Raffles Hotel

Wander the courtyards and verandas of this esteemed luxury hotel and don’t miss the lush gardens.

Castle Beach

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William Cho, Welcome to my Kingdom, Sandcastles at Castle Beach in East Coast Park, via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

This long stretch of white sand is just waiting for buckets and spades to get to work and create fine sandcastles.

Singapore City Gallery

Learn more about Singapore’s impressive transformation over the last half century at Singapore City Gallery.

Kusu Island

Take a ferry to Kusu Island and see holy shrines, a Chinese temple, wishing well and Tortoise Sanctuary.

Skating Rink at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Put your ice skates on and follow in the footsteps of World Champion and Olympic Medalist Michelle Kwan – literally – she christened the rink.

Movie Mob

Catch an outdoor drive-in movie and bring a picnic or attend one of Movie Mob’s themed, in-mall or pool screenings.


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Photo courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

There are concerts, visual arts, film, workshops and a range of free programmes at this durian-like performing arts centre.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

A stone’s throw from shopping-centric Orchard Road, take a free guided tour, walk a trail or enjoy a gardening workshop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Gillman Barracks

Home to 16 international art galleries, three restaurants and the Centre for Contemporary Art, there’s plenty on offer at the former British Army military camp.

Singapore Footprints

Take a free Singapore River or Chinatown walking tour with one of Singapore Footprints’ student Walkaholics.

Wonder Full

Enjoy this 13-minute light, sound, projection and water spectacle nightly over Marina Bay at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. with additional 11 p.m. shows on Fridays and Saturdays.

East Coast Park

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Cycling at East Coast Park. Photo courtesy of National Parks Board, Singapore

Try out beach volleyball, cycling, cable skiing, fishing, the Xtreme SkatePark and the 15 kilometres of coastline and beach.

Asian Civilisations Museum

Journey through exhibits dedicated to arts and culture from across Asia, all housed in an impressive colonial building.

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

Work out, canoe, kayak or learn more about the macaques of MacRitchie.

Merlion Park

Take a photo with the iconic statue that marks Singapore’s origins as a fishing village.

Singapore Tyler Print Institute

Visit the pioneering contemporary art space and catch works from some of the printmaking’s biggest names.

Haji Lane

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cegoh, Singapore Haji Lane, via Pixabay CC0 1.0

Shop this tiny but trendy lane in Kampong Glam and discover local creative talents.

Swim time

Go for a dip and soak up some sun at one of Singapore’s swimming complexes – Sengkang has eight slides and a Jacuzzi while Jurong West boasts a lazy river.

Fort Canning Park

Take a spice garden tour or learn everything you never knew about bananas at Fort Canning Park.

Saint John’s Island

Stay overnight on this reputedly haunted southern island.

The Substation

Discover the local art scene at this hub for theatre, dance, music, film and more.

National Museum of Singapore

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Life in Singapore: The Past 100 Years Modern Colony (1925 –1935) Image: © National Museum of Singapore

Visit the recently revamped permanent galleries that celebrate the fashion, film, food and photography of Singapore.

Singapore Heritage Trails

Download the app and trace your own walking routes through Singapore’s colourful neighbourhoods.

Singapore Really Really Free Market

Share your stuff and/or skills, whether its books, clothes, toys or tarot card reading, yoga, singing or writing.

Orchard Central Roof Garden

You don’t need to go to a pricey rooftop bar to hang out with a view and this rooftop garden is open 24/7.

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Scale Singapore’s highest peak or take your mountain bike for a spin on one of the challenging trails in this ASEAN Heritage Park.

National Orchid Garden

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National Orchid Garden – Cool House. Photo courtesy of National Parks Board, Singapore

Singapore Botanic Gardens’ National Orchid Garden features more than 1,000 species, 2,000 orchid hybrids, and a VIP Orchid Garden. There are old colonial buildings to explore amongst the beauty too.

The Pantry Farmers’ Market

Loewen Gardens hosts the fortnightly market which features cooking demonstrations and wine talks as well as locally grown produce and freshly made goods.

Kadampa Meditation Centre Singapore

Drop in to one of these lunchtime or evening meditation classes to relax, reflect and revive.


Talk a stroll through Chinatown for street food and temples, including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.

Changi Museum

Delve into Singapore’s war history with a visit to this museum commemorating the allied POWs.

Hotel art collections

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‘Street Hawker’ by Choo Keng Kwang. Courtesy of Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts

Wonder at impressive hotel art including the regularly rotating Public Art Space at Pan Pacific, Art Path at Marina Bay Sands (with works by Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor) and The Ritz-Carlton Millennia’s collection (Henry Moore and David Hockney feature) accompanied by a 28-minute podcast.

Indie Singapore

Fun, free walking tours delivered by in-the-know locals – choose from Chinatown Tuesdays, Kampong Wednesdays and Riverfront Thursdays.

Hainanese chicken rice

Indulge in this Singapore staple, found on many a menu, from high-end hotel restaurants to street food stalls.

Katong Antique House

This shop-cum-museum houses some Peranakan antique gems and is ripe for a rummage.

Arab Street

Fabrics, carpets and crafts as well as Middle Eastern food and mosques are all found on this artery of the Singaporean Muslim community.

Singapore Art Museum

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Singapore Art Museum Corridor. Photo courtesy of Singapore Art Museum

Explore one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary Southeast Asian art.

Bukit Batok Town Park

Walk the banks of the tranquil lake and look out upon Little Guilin and its granite rock formation.


A popular drink or dessert, cendol is made from coconut milk, rice paste, palm sugar, pandan leaves, shaved ice and red beans.

Pulau Ubin

Take a small wooden boat to this rustic island, rent a bike and enjoy the peace with a fresh young coconut.

A2 Singapore Parkour

Give Parkour and/or Free Running a go. One-off sessions start at S$20.

The Supertree Grove

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Supertree Grove. Photo courtesy of Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay’s Supertrees are covered in plants and shoot 16 storeys into the sky. Lit up at night, walk the 22-metre high OCBC Skyway.

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Reflections at Bukit Chandu

Learn more about the Battle of Bukit Chandu, when the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese through this permanent exhibition located in a bungalow once home to senior British officers.

The Arts House

Singapore’s first Parliament House is now a multi-disciplinary arts venue hosting music events, film screenings, and literary, performing and visual arts programmes.

Hawker centres

Dine at one of Singapore’s many hawker centers. It’s rare that Maxwell Road doesn’t make a “best of” list, but Old Airport Road and Lau Pa Sat frequently rate highly too.

Little India

Spices, saris, flowers and jewels are just a few of the many sights and smells of Little India.


Get out and explore the countryside where you will find organic farming collective Bollywood Veggies and World War II memorials.

Main image: William Cho, When the sun goes down…Marina Bay starts to dazzle, via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Slider image: Chensiyuan, Singapore city night skyline, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY -SA 3.0

50 cheap things to do with your best friend in Singapore was last modified: April 10th, 2019 by Rachel Duffell
Author: Rachel Duffell (18 posts)

Rachel Duffell is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor, who loves to discover Asia and the many adventures it has to offer, whether it's hiking volcanoes in Lombok, Indonesia, eating red ants in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, running across the hills of Hong Kong, washing elephants in Nepal, sight-seeing in Penang, Malaysia, or anything else.