Most people have heard of Singapore and many of you have no doubt passed through Singapore on your way to other destinations. It’s long been known as a travel-hop and a business hub, but Singapore has much more to offer tourists than just a concrete jungle or a place to catch a connecting flight.
While Singapore can be a very expensive place to visit it can still be done on a budget. Here’s 10 things you can easily do without burning a hole in your pocket!
Read bridge Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay is a nice but expensive place to hang out of an evening in Singapore. A great way to combine people watching with a drink but still stay on budget is to take a beer along to Read Bridge. Sit on the edge along with many locals, socialising and people watching too. There’s a 7 Eleven shop just 30 seconds away from the bridge selling beers. A popular hang out for backpackers and a great atmosphere.
National Museum of Singapore
At $10 this museum is a must for any budget traveller in need of a cultural fix, it is home to 11 national treasures and has a large variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year. The Singapore History gallery section also has free guided tours in English, Mandarin and Japanese at pre-set times everyday except public holidays.
Observation deck at Marina Bay Sands
At the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel the observation deck boasts a 360 degree view of Singapore. On a clear day you can see both Malaysia and part of Indonesia not to mention stunning views of the CBD and Marina Bay. To get access you go to Tower 3 hotel lobby and purchase a ticket, currently $20, then take a very fast elevator to the top! This ticket only gives you access to the observation deck, not the infinity pool, but you can spend as long as you like snapping away at this truly unique view of Singapore.
The Southern Ridges is a trail spanning 3 parks and is 9 km in length. It is a wonderful place to spend a few hours just strolling along the forest and canopy walks admiring views of Sentosa on one side and Little India and alike on the other.
The Henderson Waves bridge is a particular highlight. At 274 metres long and 8 metres wide it’s the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It is based on the mathematical SIN wave and is a beautiful architectural structure.
To get to The Southern Ridges you can either get the North-East MRT line to Harbourfront followed by bus 491 up Mount Faber (costing $1) or at the other end you can come in through Kent Ridge Park using the circle line, alighting at Kent Ridge MRT.
The cheapest way to get to Sentosa is to walk across on the Sentosa Boardwalk. With the aid of travelators, a pleasant garden atmosphere and cover you can use this come rain or shine. The cost is $1 over and free on the way back and you can use an Eze link card for speed.
Once over on Sentosa you don’t have to spend a fortune. There are, of course, many forms of entertainment from riding the Luge to Universal Studios but there are also many free attractions. At 9pm each day is the crane dance and at 9.30pm there is the Lake of Dreams show. The walk from the boardwalk to the beach takes you past Imbiah lookout and the Merlion and once at the beach you can take a rest watching people riding the waves at the Wave House Beach Bar.
East Coast park
At 185 hectares this is Singapore’s largest park. Built on reclaimed land with a man made beach there are numerous activities for the budget traveller. There are cheap eats at the East Coast Hawker centre, you can watch people wakeboard on the lagoon at Ski 360° or you can just walk along the lengthy beachfront stopping for a picnic at one of the many BBQ pits provided.
Go for a walk around Marina Bay
There is a nice walking circuit around the entire Marina Bay which offers a different atmosphere depending whether you are there by day or night. In the day go down and have your picture taken by the famous spouting Merlion and stroll along the Helix bridge. At night enjoy a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants at One Fullerton whilst watching the light show put on by the Marina Bay Sands resort.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Now more accessible due to the opening of the new circle MRT line these gardens are a must see for all visitors to Singapore. Admission is free and for that you can have a full day taking in the 3 lakes, healing gardens, rainforest and much more. The gardens are also expanding with a new learning forest opening in 2012. The Orchid Garden is the only place where you are asked to pay an entry fee but at only $5 most budgets can stretch to this. Find out more on the Singapore Botanical Gardens website.
Visit the Marina Barrage
A dam stretching across the bay from Marina South to Marina East is an unusual tourist attraction but this one is a little different. There are many statues and water features to visit as well as the solar park and a walk across the dam itself. You can pre book your free tour online which gives you detailed information on what a feat of engineering the dam really is. To get there you get the MRT to Marina Bay and then either the SBS bus 400 or Marina Barrage shuttle bus to the site.
Eat at Lau Pa Sat hawker centre
Popular with tourists and locals alike this hawker centre is one of the best in Singapore. It’s Victorian architecture contrasting with the mass of skyscrapers around it make it an unusual sight. Situated just 5 minutes walk from Raffles Place MRT it is a vibrant place for a cheap meal. Try the famous Singapore Chilli Crab or grab some tasty chicken satay sticks from the street. Go on a Friday or Saturday night and listen to the live band playing in the centre of the market. Visit the Lau Pa Sat website for more details.
More things to do in Singapore
You’ll find awesome hawker centres all over Singapore, each with a distinctive style and history too. Check out the wonderfully named “Chomp Chomp” in Serangoon for some tasty noodles or the Golden Mile for some of the best Thai food in town.