When you're already paying thousands of dollars just for a piece of paper that allows you to own a car… for 10 years, what's spending a few dollars on parking? For us Singaporeans, everything. It's exactly because of how expensive it is to own a car here that we want to find the best car park lobang wherever we are. Even if it's just to save a few dollars.
Earlier this year, the car park at the Marina Barrage stopped being free. But here are 10 popular locations across the island that still offer free parking.
1. Plaza Singapura
Free parking from Monday to Thursday (excluding public holidays) for 1st hour between 10am to 5.59pm, $0.32 per subsequent 15 minutes or part thereof.
Plaza Singapura is arguably one of the most popular shopping centres along Orchard Road. The other bonus is that after the 1st free hour, the parking rates are still very reasonable. So this is arguably the best free parking deal on this list, assuming you are confident about not scratching the side of your car along their narrow exit ramp.
Even if you think you're the safest driver ever, you might want to make sure you have the best car insurance before you take advantage of Plaza Singapura's free parking.
UPDATE: As pointed out by reader "geraldtjy" in the comments below, to get into Orchard Road during that time would result in passing under at least one set of ERP gantries. So if you're headed to Plaza Singapura for free parking, it's still going to cost you.
2. Mustafa Centre
First hour free daily, $1 per subsequent 30 minutes or part thereof.
Though their first hour is free, you could get lost in there for days, so be prepared to pay at least $2 for parking anyway. With their new wing, Mustafa Centre proves why it needs to be open 24 hours - because it'll take that long to find you if you go missing.
3. City Square Mall
Free parking on Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) for first 1.5 hours between 12pm to 2pm only, $1.40 for the first hour or part thereof, $0.70 for every subsequent 30 minutes or part thereof.
City Square Mall is Singapore's first eco-mall, which means it's full of environmentally friendly features and you're constantly reminded of just how green the mall is everywhere you go. So I guess it's more than a little ironic that you're encouraged to drive and park there, despite their proximity to Farrer Park MRT station.
4. East Coast Park
Free parking daily in Car Parks B, C, D, F, G and H.
Or in other words, everywhere except Big Splash and East Coast Lagoon. Expect Car Park C to start charging once newly opened Parkland Green becomes more popular.
5. IKEA Tampines / Giant Tampines
Free parking daily. Carparks are open from 7am to 11pm.
Sure, it can be a little out of the way for some, but if you're planning to stock up for the imminent zombie apocalypse, there's really no better place to get all your survival needs.
6. The Grandstand
Free parking daily.
The former Turf City is now known as The Grandstand, and it's now become a rather happening place for young, well-to-do families to hang out and relax. Check out one of the best burgers in Singapore under $15 at Omakase Burger, or if you want to pretend to live the atas lifestyle, then check out PasarBella, a farmers market.
7. Star Vista
Free parking from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) from 12noon to 3pm, $0.65 per subsequent 30 minutes or part thereof.
While their choice of tenants for shopping is questionable, there's no doubt that the real draw of Star Vista is their numerous F&B options, making it an excellent place to visit if you work around the ever growing Buona Vista area.
8. West Coast Park
Free parking daily in Carparks 2 and 3.
While perhaps not as picturesque as East Coast Park, it's also not as commercialised or as overcrowded as its eastern counterpart either. If you're hoping to just get away from it all, this is the place to be. Bring a kite!
Free 2-hour parking daily for first entry only, $0.30 per subsequent 15 minutes or $1.07 per subsequent hour.
Originally offering 3 hours of free parking every day, the long lines of cars snaking around IMM made its popularity pretty obvious. Since December last year, they've reduced it to 2 hours of free parking, but honestly, that's probably not going to deter people from coming.
10. Jurong Point
Free parking from Monday to Thursday (excluding public holidays) for two hours between 12pm to 2pm, $1.07 per subsequent hour or part thereof.
This huge mall at Boon Lay is as crowded as any on Orchard Road. And for good reason too! From its Fairprice Xtra hypermarket, to an entire row of Japanese food outlets in the basement, to Beauty Language, which sells some of the cheapest toiletries in Singapore.
Beach, Imbiah, Tanjong and Palawan Car Parks - Free from 12pm to 2pm, but do note the $2 per car per entry into Sentosa itself.
If you're looking for an office lunchtime location with a difference, why not head down to Sentosa? Not only do you get the chance to enjoy some good food, there are many things you can do in Sentosa and all of them won't make your wallet cry.
This article first appeared in MoneySmart
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