There’s plenty to do in Singapore and plenty of ways, big and small, to spend your hard-earned cash. Finding fun on a budget, though? Now that’s priceless. So, I’ll do one better: here are some of my favorite free fun finds.
Performing Arts – All the World’s a Stage
The Esplanade boasts that nearly 70% of its programs are free. In fact, an entire section of its website (inset) is dedicated to free programs under ‘What’s On’. From music and theater to workshops and art exhibitions, the Esplanade has something for everyone, including the kids: Pip’s PLAYbox is a kid-oriented space designed to make the arts accessible for young children. Watching one of the many fabulous performances at the Esplanade’s outdoor theater means you can catch the cool breezes coming off Marina Bay and if you stick around until 8pm you’ll have a prime spot for Marina Bay Sands’ (MBS) daily light and laser show.
Sentosa island also has its own laser show offerings. At 8pm Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) presents The Crane Dance at its Waterfront which features massive mechanical cranes representing the majestic bird. Later at 11pm is the Lake of Dreams show at RWS Festive Walk; a stunningly choreographed spectacle of fire, water and light, designed by Emmy award-winner, Jeremy Railton.
Back to outdoor concert venues for a moment, because I can’t fail to mention the free concerts put on at the Botanic Gardens by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as part of its Symphony in the Gardens series. Concerts encompass a wide range of musical genres so you’re sure to find something that interests you. Grab your picnic blanket and check out the schedule on their website along with the symphony’s other free events.
Art and Museums – A Feast for the Eyes
Art is everywhere in Singapore. From the array of architectural styles to the sculptural pieces that liven up Orchard Road to the eclectic murals found in the HDBs and skateparks, you can hardly turn a corner without making a creative discovery.
The Singapore Art Museum’s younger sibling, SAM at 8Q, which leans towards the contemporary and eclectic, is free from 6-9pm on Fridays. The venue hosts SAM Late Nights on the second Friday of every month, kicked up a notch by a variety of live music acts.
The National University of Singapore has its own museum that features an ever-changing roster of exhibitions covering art, culture and history, as well as public programs and events, many of which are free.
If you’re willing to go further afield, out at Gillman Barracks there is a plethora of public art to be enjoyed. Mostly contemporary, there are events, exhibitions and galleries, as well as indoor and outdoor art installations; perfect for a stroll in the sunshine. Friends of the Museum conduct free tours so check the website for details on art exhibitions and tour details.
Festivals – Party Like a Singaporean!
Singapore knows how to throw a party and being the cultural tapestry that it is, we celebrate holidays of many nationalities and religions. Visit Chinatown for Lunar New Year (February 5, 2019) or the Mid-Autumn Festival (September 24), Little India during Deepavali (November 6), the Arab Quarter during Ramadan (May 5, 2019) and Orchard Road, among many places, during the Christmas season (throughout December). From exquisitely decorated storefronts, bright and colorful light displays to holiday markets and free activities and attractions, you can almost always find a festival happening somewhere.
History on Foot Is a Walk in the Park
As part of their Architectural Heritage Season, the Urban Redevelopment Authority sponsors a lecture series, community events and free guided heritage trail walks around Singapore’s history-rich areas, such as Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Tiong Bahru. These districts showcase the island’s finest examples of architecture, from Peranakan shop houses to stylish Art Deco apartment blocks.
Indie Singapore offers free walking tours in Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Bugis, Riverfront and CBD every Tuesday to Thursday and Walks of our Life puts on a free Footsteps of our Forefathers walking tour in Chinatown every Saturday at 10am. Sign up ahead of time online as most free walking tours can only accommodate a limited number of guests. However, tour organizer, Monster Day Tours, state that there’s no need to sign up for their walks around Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam, and that attendees should just show up on the day. Check their website for meeting spots.
Fort Siloso hosts free guided tours every second and third Saturday of the month which give insight to Singapore’s only coastal defense fort. Military and history buffs will enjoy the Surrender Chambers and WWII memorabilia.
The National Parks are a fabulous resource for all manner of outdoor activities as well as workshops, guided tours, festivals and other programs, most of which are free and will appeal to everyone from the most rambunctious of children to elderly birdwatchers. The website lets you search for playgrounds at the parks, in case you’ve got young ones who might need to burn off some energy. Parks in the heartlands tend to be more spacious, and getting out to them gives a chance to explore lesser known neighborhoods.
|Air Force Museum|
Faith relocated to Singapore in January 2015 with her husband and two young children. She is a freelance writer and marketing consultant as the sole proprietor of F. Chanda Communications & Events. Faith enjoys exploring food, culture, nature and design through her travel adventures.
Read the full publication online by clicking here