Top 10 free things to do in Singapore

This article was originally published on the flight comparison site Skyscanner.

It's no secret that Singapore is an expensive city. But don't despair: there are still plenty of fun things you can do without burning a hole in your pocket.

From hidden gardens to lively festivals, Skyscanner brings you the best free activities our island has to offer.

1. Get into the festival spirit

Our little red dot boasts a myriad of exciting festivals each year, many of which are free. Music lovers should check out Baybeats: a fist-pumping, sizzling showcase of the best indie artists in the region.

Another must-see event is the Singapore Night Festival, with aerial performances, art installations and spectacular light shows gracing the streets of Singapore.

And of course, don't miss vibrant cultural festivals like Lunar New Year and Deepavali, which always feature plenty of free activities and events.

2. Go temple-hopping

In our bustling, cosmopolitan city, it's easy to overlook the wealth of temples at our fingertips; but here are a few you definitely shouldn't miss.

Thian Hock Keng is a history buff's dream, thanks to its wonderfully intricate design and atmospheric charm. It's also well worth paying a visit to Singapore's oldest (and most colourful) Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman.

And while it's not a temple, how can we forget the majestic Sultan Mosque with its shimmering golden domes?

3. Go on a hiking adventure

From MacRitchie Reservoir to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Singapore is blessed with an abundance of green spaces.

This means there's absolutely every reason for you to get off the couch and plan an invigorating hike.

If you're looking for fellow nature enthusiasts, check out all the hiking and adventure groups on

Most of these groups plan weekly outings across the island, so all you need to do is grab your running shoes and show up.

4. Explore Gillman Barracks

As a former military camp, Gillman Barracks is steeped in history, so why not unearth its fascinating past through a guided tour?

This lovely colonial site is now home to 17 contemporary art galleries, with a wide range of exhibitions by international artists.

Hop on a free walking tour of the Barracks, where volunteer guides will give you a crash course on art and history.

It's the perfect dose of culture for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

5. Hit the heritage trails

Get in touch with Singapore's historical charm by exploring one of the many free heritage trails.

If you opt for a walking tour of Chinatown, don't miss the impressive Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the Singapore City Gallery, which is a hidden gem.

Kampong Glam district is also best enjoyed on foot, whether you're soaking up the hipster vibes of Haji Lane or browsing through rich fabrics and handicrafts on Arab Street.

Not sure where to start? Download Singapore Heritage Trails - a series of free mobile apps that will help you navigate each neighbourhood. Let the adventures begin!

6. Catch a movie outdoors

Fancy watching a movie under the stars? Movie Mob organises monthly outdoor film screenings at Marina Bay, so grab your friends and pack a picnic basket!

You can even vote on Facebook for which movie you want to see.

If the indie scene is more your thing, check out The Substation, which showcases short films by upcoming local directors. Who said going to the movies was expensive?

7. Visit the Singapore Art Museum

Get your free culture fix at the Singapore Art Museum, which has one of the world's largest collections of contemporary Southeast Asian art.

From photography and paintings to multimedia installations, there's plenty here for art lovers to explore.

SAM hosts intriguing new exhibitions every few months, so it's the perfect excuse for a repeat visit.

Admission is free for Singaporeans and PRs.

8. Chill out at a hidden roof garden

Forget all those pricy rooftop bars: you'll find plenty of hidden spots in Singapore with gorgeous views, if you just know where to look.

The Esplanade's Roof Terrace offers sweeping views of Marina Bay, as well as an ideal refuge for curling up with a good book.

And if you want somewhere even more hidden, check out Orchard Central's artsy rooftop garden, which is open 24/7.

9. Shop for free

If you thought shopping for free was impossible, think again. At the Singapore Really Really Free Market, you can pick up books, clothes, and knick-knacks galore - all without spending a cent.

Community and sharing is the market's mantra, so it's a good idea to bring along some pre-loved items to give away.

But it's not just a flea market: people can also offer their skills to others, whether it's by conducting a free yoga class or doing a tarot reading. It sure beats spending your time in yet another mall!

10. Enjoy a symphony at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

What could be more magical than a classical concert in the park?

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducts free performances at the Singapore Botanic Gardens; so keep an eye out for their next event.

Whether you're planning a family outing or a romantic date, the world-class music and lush scenery will make for an unforgettable evening.

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