For such a young country, Singapore has a rich history. 200 years ago, it was established as a trading post by the British, and it wasn't until 1965 that The Little Red Dot became a sovereign nation. Part of its allure is how quickly it shifted into become a developed nation, thanks to Lee Kuan Yew.
These days, with a 30-day on-arrival visa, Singapore is one of Asia's most visited (and most admired) countries. It's also one of the most expensive countries in the world, but don't let that deter you from visiting. There are a lot of affordable—even free—places to visit and activities to enjoy in Singapore. Here are 19 of them.
Your Singapore itinerary isn't complete without spending hours on Orchard, arguably the most famous shopping district in Asia. With over 5,000 establishments, this stretch of malls has everything you want and need. Even when the weather isn't cooperating with your shopping schedule, Orchard's got you covered: Most of the malls are connected underground and the ones that aren't have buses right by the door. But if you need a break from swiping that plastic, you'll never go hungry because every mall houses its own food court.
Erected in 1887 as the Raffles Library and Museum, this is the oldest museum in Singapore. Singaporean citizens and permanent residents as well as children below six years old can enter for free, but non-citizen adults are charged SGD$15 or almost P600. There are permanent galleries on two floors, covering Singapore's history, supernatural beliefs across Asia, and digital installations of wildlife.
Raffles Hotel is a colonial-style luxury hotel. It's under renovations right now but is set to reopen its doors to the visitors in August 2019. Fun fact: When it opened in 1887, it was just a 10-room bungalow. It's also where the Singapore Sling, a famous local drink, comes from.
National Gallery Singapore
There's something for everyone at the National Gallery Singapore. More than your standard art museum, this place even has a rooftop exhibit "with plants found in reclaimed areas from Changi to Tuas and the Southern Islands, offering not only a greater biodiversity of flora but also an inquiry into Singapore's history of land reclamation." Like at the National Museum, Singaporeans and permanent residents can enter free of charge while a standard adult entrance fee costs SGD$20 (P765).
Don't make the mistake of skipping Tiong Bahru when you visit Singapore. Not only is the Tiong Bahru Food Centre one of the country's best, amazing cafes and quiet bookstores are peppered all over the area. Grab a cupcake from Plain Vanilla Bakery, which is right next door from Woods in the Books.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
This one's for the tourists with more time to kill. Reconnect with nature—yes, in the middle of the city—and stroll around the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Inside, you'll find the National Orchid Garden, which boasts around 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids! Entering the Botanic Gardens is free, but access to the Orchid Garden is SGD$5 (P200) for adults.
Emerald Hill Road
Emerald Hill is a favorite hangout area for expats living in Singapore. Here, you'll find colorful Chinese-Baroque style shophouses. A lot of startup businesses set up shop here.
While there are a lot of bars and lounges all over Singapore, Clarke Quay is where you want to go if you're looking for an exciting night out. Located along the Singapore river, you can take a boat tour right after dinner or before you hit a club if the night is still young.
Maxwell Hawker Centre
There are waaay too many hawker centers in Singapore, but Maxwell Hawker Centre in Chinatown reigns supreme. The most famous stall there is the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, which also happens to be Anthony Bourdain's favorite. This spot has also earned a Michelin Star! They specialize in cold chicken rice. Just a few stalls down is the Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice; it's not the same, but at least you won't have to stand in line.
BEST. ZOO. ON. EARTH. There, we said it. The entire rainforest zoo spans 26 hectares, and unlike most zoos, the animals live in open spaces, not cages. The animals have scheduled feeding times, so if you time your itinerary right, you might witness white tigers chowing down on chicken cutlets. For adults, admission is priced at SGD$37 (or P1,420). If you also want to see the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safair, and River Safari, go for a SGD$90 (P3,500) park hopper ticket.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
This beautiful landmark is at the heart of Chinatown. Entrance is free, but make sure you're dresses appropriately. If, by any chance, you're not, there are available wraps by the door for you to use temporarily before they let you in the temple.
Another one for nature lovers: The TreeTop Walk is inside the MacRitchie Reservoir. We know you're tempted to do it for the 'gram, but don't underestimate the height of this attraction. It's also advisable not to wear too many embellishments or be too distracting because monkeys roam freely, and they might have a little too much fun with you.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Dating all the way back to 1827, the Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. ICYDK, the goddess Mariamman is known to cure diseases and illnesses. It was last upgraded in 2010 when artists were flown in from India to handle the restoration.
Fort Canning Park
Previously called the "Forbidden Hill" in Malay, Fort Canning is 18 hectares big, with a boutique hotel inside! In the middle of the park, the land slopes a bit, making a natural auditorium that's perfect for musicals and other performances.
The Sultan Mosque
One of the most important landmarks in the Kampong Glam district is the Sultan Mosque! Also called the Masjid Sultan, it's located on Muscat Street and is walking distance from the Bugis MRT station. It is the largest mosque in Singapore and remains largely unchanged since it was built in the late 1920s.
Bugis Street Market
This market is near the Sultan Mosque and is where you wanna go if you need to buy pasalubong! Yes, we're talking about those "I Love Singapore" shirts, keychains, and post cards. They also sell perfume, textiles, and generally cheaper clothes. After shopping, head over to Zam Zam for the best murtabak you'll ever have.
This space is a favorite among influencers because it's where teamLab's interactive installations are: Future World. Their most popular exhibit is called Celestial Space; we're sure you've seen it all over your feed. It's created with 170,000 LED lights. Unfortunately, Future World isn't free. You have to pick a time slot to visit this exhibit and be ready to cough up SGD$18 (P700).
Gardens by the Bay
You've probably seen these tall glowing trees in Crazy Rich Asians, and if that didn't make you want to fly to Singapore in a heartbeat, we don't know what will. Light shows happen daily at 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. and they're free!
Sentosa is one of those places you should experience once...and then never again, LOL! It's great for children who are easily amused. It's one of the major tourist attractions in Singapore, and if you find yourself there, try the Skyline Luge!
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