Singapore is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in the world for people who are looking to broaden their long haul holiday possibilities. It has long been a destination associated with business travelers but tourism numbers are on the up and there are many reasons why.
Singapore has long had a reputation for being impeccably presented. It has strict laws about littering, spitting, chewing gum and other annoyances. Failure to comply carries strict penalties but that’s not the only reason everywhere is spotless. Over 50,000 people are employed in the cleaning industry there.
This is something that not everyone who has yet to visit Singapore is aware of. It’s actually surprisingly green, for a country that has the reputation of being a city-state.
There are public parks and gardens, immaculately groomed of course, which provide a welcome and unexpected contrast to the skyscrapers.
The roads are also often decorated with flowers.
It’s always summer
It’s not, but it certainly feels that way to anybody visiting from a country that’s not almost on the equator.
It does rain a lot too, and sweating in the humidity can be unpleasant, as can running from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building to escape the heat.
But most would say it sure beats the cold!
It’s a shopper’s paradise
Orchard Road is not a shopping mall, as many people believe. It is a 2.2km stretch of road that is literally filled with luxury shopping malls.
It’s not just Orchard Road either. There are malls and entire shopping complexes across the length and breadth of the city, many of which are near to Thesqua.re Singapore apartments. Meaning it’s possible to shop and then drop (into a comfy bed).
There are plenty of places to stay in Singapore
It’s not just hotels anymore. For anyone wondering where to stay in Singapore, there is a huge range of options now available, covering the length and breadth of the islands. Companies like TheSqua.re offer serviced apartments in Singapore, which are fast becoming the favorite accommodation for both business and leisure travelers alike.
However, there is one thing that Singapore has a negative reputation for. Something that stops many people from visiting.
Singapore has a reputation for being an expensive destination.
The truth is, Singapore is as expensive as many other major cities such as London and New York. However, there are also plenty of cheap things to do in Singapore and, more surprisingly, plenty of free things. Here are fifty of the best.
- Changi Chapel and Museum – Singapore has a sad recent history, found out why and pay tribute to those who died defending her.
- Go to the beach – Singapore has a beautiful beach at Sentosa. Remember though, it’s only free for those who aren’t tempted by the cool bars and restaurants!
- Enjoy Changi Airport – One of the highest-rated airports in the world. Comfy chairs, TV, wi-fi. There are even a butterfly garden and a waterfall!
- Visit Sister Islands Marine Park – Picnic, camp, snorkel and even see wild dolphins!
- Walkthrough Gardens by the Bay – Seeing the man-made supertrees is essential. They’re free to view (from the bottom at least).
- Go to a festival – Singapore has many, all through the year and most are free to go to.
- Bukit Brown – The largest Chinese cemetery outside of China. Think Singapore is a new country? Think again!
- The Marina Bay Light Show – The Marina Bay Complex is for those with plenty to spend. The light show, however, is free.
- Go Star Gazing at the Science Centre – Free tickets are limited though.
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple – The highlight here, apart from the tooth itself, is witnessing how adept the monks are at ignoring the visitors!
- Enjoy the diverse ethnicity – Explore the sights, sounds and smells of China Town, Little India and the Arab Quarter.
- Explore the Temples – These are all over Singapore, Sri Mariamman and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See are just two of these historic places.
- Woodlands Waterfront Park – A coastal park that boasts the longest jetty in Singapore.
- Singapore Botanic Gardens – The highlight here is the National Orchid Garden. Over 1,000 species of orchid are on display.
- Browse Dempsey Hill Antiques – Old army barracks converted into antique and art shops.
- Walk up Mount Faber – The higher the better, at least in terms of the view!
- Climb Up Fort Canning Park Hill – If there’s enough energy left. At the top, there’s the old house of Stamford Raffles, the father of modern Singapore.
- Walk Along the Southern Ridges – A fantastic walking trail that encompasses the highest pedestrian bridge in the country.
- The National University of Singapore Museum – Specialising in Asian arts and culture.
- Catch a Show at Esplanade – Featuring live bands, theatre, and dancing amongst other things, there are often free shows to enjoy here too.
- SAM at 8Q – The smaller version of the Singapore Art Museum. From 6 pm on Fridays, the museum is open for three hours for free.
- Movie Mob – A company specializing in outdoor cinema, whether it be the drive-in or picnic variety. Multiple locations across the city.
- Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir – Two hundred and fifty meters long and fifty meters high. A rope bridge stretching above the jungle.
- Enjoy the Singapore Symphony Orchestra – Not all shows are free but the orchestra does do a few, some of which are in iconic concert halls as well as in Singapore’s famous parks and gardens.
- Marina Barrage – Not only a beautiful spot for a picnic but a great place to fly a kite. Many people do present a wonderful photo opportunity.
- Visit the Merlion – Half mermaid half-lion statue. A must-do picture for any visitor.
- ION Sky – Gives amazing views across Singapore and sometimes even Malaysia and some Indonesian islands.
- Bukit Timah Mountain Bike Trail – A 6km mountain bike adventure. Hills, thrills, and spills.
- Enjoy Free Hotel Art – The swanky hotels of Singapore have their own art collections and many of them display it for free. At the Ritz Carlton Millenia, they even provide an iPod for a free audio tour.
- Haw Par Villa – A free, Chinese mythology-based, theme park.
- Graffiti at Somerset Skate Park – A place open to graffiti artists without the risk of getting flogged! Also great for skateboarding.
- Visit Sentosa Island – Visiting is free, as are the beaches, trams, and monorail. There’s also the occasional free outdoor movie.
- East Coast Park – Singapore’s largest park is in a beautiful waterfront location and can be easily explored by foot, by bike or by rollerblade.
- Visit Toa Payoh – The first Housing and Development Board constructed a town in Singapore. This department is famed for rebuilding Singapore’s past slums.
- Visit the Smallest and Largest Churches in Singapore – The smallest is the Armenian Church (it’s also the oldest). The largest is St Andrew’s Cathedral.
- Changi Point Coastal Walk – Remote, beautiful and relatively peaceful. When not including the incredibly low planes landing at Changi Airport.
- Punggol Waterway Park – Stroll along and enjoy nature or, do what most people do here, run, ride, roller-blade and generally work out.
- See the future – The Singapore City Gallery displays future plans for the city as well as a view of the history and past development of the country.
- Chek Jawa – Located on the island of Pulau Ubin, this is a peaceful city getaway in the middle of nature.
- Chinese & Japanese Gardens – A great way to discover inner peace! Bonsai trees, lanterns, and pagodas galore.
- Air Force Museum – A museum dedicated to the history of the Singapore Air Force and its current role in protecting the country.
- Farmart – A great place for families where it’s possible to get close up and feed animals such as tortoises, rabbits, and goats.
- Lorong Buangkok – One of Singapore’s last remaining, genuine traditional villages. A literal dirt road to the past.
- NEWater Centre – A brand of bottled water famously made from wastewater. See how it is cleaned up and made safe to drink.
- Singapore Navy Museum – As with the Air Force Museum, also free to visit and takes a look at the navy of Singapore, including parts of warships and weapons.
- Mustafa Centre – A shopping center that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that sells everything at pretty reasonable prices. Browsing is the only free part though!
- Walking Tours – There are some free walking tours that are put on by various groups in the city. One of these is Singapore Footprints which will take you through the sights and history of Singapore.
- Yishun Dam – Great for anybody who’s into fishing. It’s also good for anyone who’s just looking for that bit of peace and quiet.
- Spectra – A fifteen-minute water-based fire and laser show taking place every night at Bayfront Avenue.
- Sentosa Crane Dance – Not dancing birds, as one might think, but two mechanical cranes. Dancing. It’s a spectacular and unique show with lights and explosions that shouldn’t be missed.
As a modern twenty-first century city, Singapore has plenty going on. And it’s easy to see from above, that it needn’t cost a huge amount.