Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Saving suggestions: for some of Singapore's sights

Singapore is expensive in comparison to the rest of South East Asia, but that shouldn't put you off.

I am fortunate enough to have family there, so a month long visit in September of last year meant not just seeing the sights, but really getting under the skin of what there is to do there.

Believe it or not, there are many things to do for free in Singapore (mainly parks and gardens) and a few things you can do to save a little more when visiting tourist attractions. I've already blogged about many of them, so, here's a summary of a few tried and tested suggestions, along with links to related information on my blog.


FREE things:

- Botanic gardens. It's beautiful here and great for picnics, bring an umbrella to keep the sun off or in case of rain, and you can while away the hours just wandering. For more details, see my post: Some of Singapore's parks and gardens.

- Merlion - The statue is located on Marina Bay in the aptly-named Merlion Park. The highlight of the park is certainly the statue, but there are also some great views, including panoramas of the bay and also of the Singapore skyline, which is one of the most stunning urban skylines in the world. Check out my post here for more things to see/do around Marina Bay.  

- Haw par villa (previous name: Tiger Balm gardens). This is a bit of an odd place and doesn't really fit into the normal standard of Singapore. It's worth a visit if you want to escape the city for a bit. Take a picnic and enjoy a couple if hours there. For more details, see my post: Some of Singapore's parks and gardens  for more details.

- Southern ridge parks. Great for walking. Find out more in my post: Some of Singapore's parks and gardens.

Walk the Southern Ridge

- Sungei Buloh - on a weekday it's free and costs just S$1 at the weekend. See Some of Singapore's parks and gardens

- Raffles Hotel - One of the most luxurious and expensive hotels in Singapore. Raffles may not be the first place that springs to mind when looking for free things to do in Singapore. However, you don’t need to be staying here to have a look around this grandiose hotel and take a peak into Singapore’s colourful, colonial past. Indulging in a famous Singapore Sling will cost you, and it's debatable whether it's worth it for the experience. Read more about this and decide for yourself. See my post: Raffles Hotel: Unexplained changes resulting in history lost.

Changi museum - free entry and very interesting. Nearby Chiangi village is worth a stop too - see more here: Prison life and great hawker centre.

China town - This neighborhood is a great place to simply wander and will cost you nothing but time. Some of the temples, including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, are free to visit and worth a stop for culture lovers and curiosity-seekers alike. The Singapore City Gallery is a free attraction in the Chinatown area. It has a lifelike scale model of the city and a number of art works that trace the story of the city-state from colonial times to the present day.

Little India - full of culture and temples that cost nothing to experience. The highlight of this neighborhood is the historic Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which is over 130 years old. Narrow lane-ways are lined with sari shops and other colorful retail spaces. Best day to visit is Sunday when it's busy and colourful with locals.

Beaches - head to East Coast park for a day, or the man-made beaches on Sentosa Island, see above for details of how to save on transport to the latter.

How to make savings elsewhere:

- Sentosa - If you want a break from the sultry city, head to Sentosa Island, Singapore’s favourite beach destination. Taking the monorail is S$4, but if you walk across the boardwalk it's just S$1 and you can then access the monorails from the stations on the island and travel for free. The cable car is apparently a 'must do' so look for the evening offer of discounted tickets and free popcorn, plus when I was there a third person was admitted for free with a couple.

Sentosa has a varity of things to enjoy

Many of the attractions on the island itself have an entrance fee but it's free to wander around. There are a number of passes/combo tickets available where you can save money, but it's worth working out what you want to do first to see if these will benefit you.

- Singapore Zoo - it's not cheap but it's totally worth a visit. See my post: This has to be the best zoo in the World for more info. To save money get a combo ticket to the zoo and night safari, but note that as per my post, doing both can potentially be a bit disappointing.

White tiger at Singapore zoo

- Gardens by the Bay, exc greenhouses - the outside parts are free and well worth a visit but keep an eye on their website for discounts and offers, from time to time, for the greenhouses. See more about what I thought of the gardens in my post here.

- Changi museum - free entry as noted above, but I recommend paying for an audio guide. To save a few dollars, share 1 guide between 2 people, alternating between reading and listening.

I'm sure there are plenty of other free things to do and ways you can save. Have you been there? If you have some tips to add please do...