Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in according to Business Insider. But that doesn’t mean everything we do or try comes with a price tag. Although leisure travel is put on hold, we can still go on staycations and play tourist in our city. Pack your bags, get your cameras and explorer hat ready - here are the 10 best fun and free things to check off your adventure bucket list, without spending a single cent.
1. Up your Instagram Game at Koong Seng Road’s Peranakan House
Head east to Joo Chiat for a mini photo shoot at the Peranakan house located at Koon Seng Road. Add life to your Instagram with a pop of colour at one of the most colourful buildings in Singapore. Built in the 1920s, the building’s pastel-hued façade with intricate Peranakan patterns is truly a sight to behold. Drop by Kim Choo Kueh Chang for some traditional rice dumplings or whet your appetite with some Peranakan cuisine at Old Bibik’s Peranakan Kitchen.
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2. Run Wild at Admiralty Park
Located adjacent to Republic Polytechnic, let the kids run riot at the massive playground which features 26 slides! A hidden gem in North Singapore, you’ll find three main play areas – Junior, Family Terracing and Adventure Play. It is also an inclusive playground to kids with special needs, so everyone can have some fun. After hours of play, take a stroll past the mangrove and open grassland, home to more than 100 species of flora and fauna.
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3. Cycle through Changi Airport Connector
Bring the kids out for an outing and cycle amongst 20 towering dinosaurs, from nine different species. Opened in October 2020, the path features a 3.5km Changi Airport Connector which allows you to jog, run, skate and cycle - you can bring your personal bike or rent from the many shops in the area like GoCycling. Seek respite at Hub & Spoke Café for a refuel before going for round two. Here’s a tip! Come when night falls and witness the dinosaurs come to life.
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4. Get Artsy Fartsy at Singapore Museums
Singapore has no shortage of museums – from the National Gallery of Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Arts Museum to ArtScience Museum, there is plenty to see. Most of the exhibitions are free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, so you can appreciate the beauty of art, historical pieces and cultural artefacts.
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5. Lend a Helping Hand and Volunteer at Charity Organisations
It’s always best to give back to society whenever we can. Whether it’s volunteering at an old folks’ home, orphanage or helping rescued animals, there are numerous organisations you can get involved with. After all, whenever we do something good, it usually leads to positive consequences – good karma indeed! Find an organisation in need of volunteers here.
6. Be Enchanted by the Raffles Marina Lighthouse
Source: Instagram/ @iceaxe
Known as Singapore’s best-kept secret, travel to West Singapore and admire the 12 metre Raffles Marina Lighthouse that overlooks the Straits of Johor – Tuas Second Link Bridge. Enter from Raffles Marina Club, head over during sunset for a picture-perfect photo against the pink cotton candy-like clouds.
7. Hiking at The Southern Ridges
Be closer to nature at The Southern Ridges where you can admire our diverse flora and fauna, also witness a panoramic view of our garden city. Southern Ridges is a ten-kilometre walk that comprises Kent Ridge Park, Labrador Nature Reserve, HortPark, Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Park. Track your distance with a smart watch, and don’t forget to bring your sunnies! Did you know Henderson Waves is Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge at 36m above ground?
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8. Go on an Adventure at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Teeming with biodiversity (including wild crocodiles!), travel to West Singapore and visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park. During the September to March period, you can spot migratory birds such as the Asian Dowitcher and Common Redshank. These birds travel from as far as Alaska, Siberia, Australia and Northern China. It will be a hot and humid walk, so wear light and bring insect repellants to keep the mozzies away. Don’t forget to apply sunblock to avoid getting sunburnt.
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9. Traverse through Dairy Farm Nature Park
Located at Upper Bukit Timah, Dairy Farm Nature Park used to be a tropical dairy farm where Friesan cows were breed for their dairy. But now, it houses the Wallace Education Centre that features a facility for students and a history gallery of its former use as a dairy farm. Traverse through nature at the Wallace Trail, and find yourself gawking at the beauty of Singapore Quarry Wetland. Which other hiking spots are your favourites?
10. Visit Singapore’s Only Hot Spring at Sembawang Hot Spring Park
If you think Singapore is too hot and humid for a hot spring, think again! Singapore does have its hot spring located off Gambas Avenue. Sembawang Home Spring Park reopened to the public in January 2020, after a renovation that now boasts a cascading pool, floral walk and a café. There are rinse buckets and scoops provided at the premises, and you can even cook eggs here! But do take note of the rules and guidelines so everyone can enjoy the facilities provided.
11. Explore Singapore’s Last Kampong at Lorong Buangkok
While Singapore develops itself into a cosmopolitan city with skyscrapers, high-rise condominiums and apartments, Kampong Lorong Buangkok still stands strong and remains untouched. It is known as the last surviving kampong in Singapore, surrounded by modern development. A visit here would remind you of the olden days where life was possibly simpler and carefree.
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12. Discover Mythical Creatures at Haw Par Villa
Known as Singapore’s nightmare theme park, it truly lives up to its name as you get to see Chinese folklore, mythology creatures and urban legends all in one spot. Built in 1937, Haw Par Villa is a must-visit for history buffs, known for its depictions of the Ten Courts of Hell from Chinese folklore. The cultural park has over 150 dioramas and 1,000 statues depicting scenes from various Chinese literature. Admission is free but step into Haw Par Villa, only if you dare.
13. Discover Quaint Tiong Bahru Neighbourhood
Source: STB TIH
Be inspired and explore Tiong Bahru on foot, and chance upon many mom-and-pop shops, cafes and murals. If you are interested in photography, Tiong Bahru has many angles and corners to practice your skills. After hours of exploring, quench your thirst and satiate yourself at Tiong Bahru Market with local delights. Or you can grab a cuppa and bites at Merci Marcel and the famous Tiong Bahru Bakery. Which are your favourite brunch spots?
14. Uncover Hipster and Vintage Finds at Haji Lane
If you have never step foot at Haji Lane, where have you been all this while? It is the must-go-to spot for bespoke, novelty items and is home to a throng of cafes and pubs. Stroll at Haji Lane and you’ll see rows of indie boutique shops and at the end of the lane, there is a huge mural, a famous spot for Instagram shots.
15. Outdoor Concerts at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre
Be serenaded by a myriad of free concerts and performances at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. Held almost every weekend, public holidays and eve of public holidays, you can experience various performances from jazz, classical and even drama. Click here for upcoming performances.
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