Singapore can be an expensive city. Expensive to live and expensive to visit, but there are some gems that can be unearthed with a bit of advance planning and a willingness to be outdoors in the tropics.
Here are the Vagabond Kid’s Top 5 Free Things to do Outside in Singapore
1. Go to the Beach. This can be free if you visit any of Singapore’s free beaches on the East Coast at East Coast Park, but for a small fee if you drive or take the monorail(Okay I may have already broken the “free” rule) we like the beach at Sentosa Island. It is free to enter if you take the bus onto the island however. Sentosa can get really crowded on weekends and let’s face it, Singapore is only 45 miles from the equator so it can get hot, so we head to the beach early in the morning, get there by 9am and enjoy 4 hours of beach time before people really start to arrive en mass. Palawan Beach has lots of food and beverage outlets nearby as well for a lunch before you end your morning out. In favor of the totally free option, East Coast Park also has a number of food options and a great bike/hiking path as well.
2. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Did you know that there are only two primary virgin rain forests located within city limits in the whole world? Did you know that Bukit Timah Nature Reserve right here in Singapore is one of them. Did you know that Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has over 500 species of animals and over 840 flowering plants?
Where else can you climb to the peak of Singapore’s tallest “mountain”, see monkeys and watch people walk up hill backwards. Only Bukit Timah! The parks have also opened up a learning center on the Dairy Farm side of the Reserve with trails and another visitor center. Oh, and it is very likely you will see monkeys. Please leave them alone and don’t feed them as they become aggressive and unable to fend for themselves when we feed them.
3. Mount Faber Park and the Henderson Waves. Take a walk and explore the views from the top of Mount Faber over the Singapore skyline, look over and marvel at the World’s Busiest Port(in terms of tonnage see more stats here) and then walk over Henderson Waves Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge as a link between two parks.
Finish your walk, if you are full of energy over the Canopy Walk a great above ground walk through some of Singapore’s tallest trees.
4. MacRitchie Reservoir and the HSBC Tree Top Walk. While your head is still up in the air after your Canopy Walk and Henderson Waves, head back out of the downtown core and off to the MacRitchie Reservoir. MacRitchie Reservoir serves as one of Singapore’s water catchments and therefore there is no swimming allowed, but there are plenty of trails to keep kids busy exploring.
The Treetop Walk is Singapore’s first free-standing suspension bridge through the Secondary Forest at the canopy level. (Thanks again to my sister for her Pictures of the Treetop Walk).
The last on this list is Singapore’s crown jewel of parks. The Botanic Garden is filled with plenty of activities to keep any kid happy. From the Orchid Gardens (Not Free) with over 6000 species of Orchids to the Ginger Garden, from the central amphitheatre to the Pitcher Plants (one of my son’s favorites) the day can be finished over at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden where there are water play areas, trees that are climbing approved and exhibits that share information about the plant diversity in Singapore and the region.
A snack bar with kid friendly food is also available at Jacob Ballas and many Singaporeans, and guests have been known to laze away a Sunday morn having breakfast in the Garden at the open air restaurant located near the Visitor Centre.
So, while Singapore can be spendy, I hope you have a few free outdoor activities you and the kids can share. Which is your favorite?