Who says you have to spend a bomb to enjoy a long weekend in Singapore?
They say the best things in life are free. When you live in one of the most, expensive cities in the world, you better believe it. And it’s probably best to get up to speed on where the freebies are. When weekends and public holidays roll around, the last thing you want is to allow a burnt hole in your pocket to rain on your parade.
Whether you’re planning the next perfect date or looking for quality time with the kids, get ready for a fun and free weekend in Singapore. Let’s go!
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
As you probably know the iconic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be closed after Christmas this year until the completion of Cantonment MRT Station in 2025. So since the beginning of the year, the august building has been open to public — for free — on public holidays for various events.
Come September 12, on Hari Raya Haji, there’s going to be a Fantastic Thai Market where you can make like you’ve skipped town to a flea market in Bangkok. The market will feature over 100 F&B and retail stalls from 10am till late. There will also be food trucks from Kerbside Gourmet and Kombi Rocks (you know them for their cool restored Volkswagen Kombi vans), as well as live performances.
National Gallery Singapore
The next four words are going to be sweet music to your ears if you’re a pink-IC holder: Free entry for Singaporeans. That’s right. If, somehow, you still have yet to visit the stunning National Gallery, it’s time you put this down on your next weekend itinerary.
Touted as the largest addition to Singapore’s art museums landscape, the building is so enormous you could easily spend an entire weekend exploring and chilling. From free exhibitions and talks to performances Instagram-worthy backdrops, time spent here is literally priceless. If you’re here with kids in tow, there is a host of children’s activities and workshops to keep them happily entertained at no cost.
If you don’t wish to come off as a cheapskate and are out to impress, maybe you could consider setting aside a budget of about S$100 for a three-course lunch at Aura, complete with free-flowing Preseco and Bellini. For something a little easier on the wallet, there’s always the cool Gallery & Co.
Either way, you can get rebates on lunch if you pay with a dining credit card. We like the CIMB Visa Signature Card for its generous 10% cashback on dining. Hey, if you're going to spend on food, you may as well get a sizable discount, no?
Gardens by the Bay
The benefits of nature are many. Even Sylvia Plath concurs: “I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’”
The even happier news? It doesn’t cost a thing. So, plan a trip to the GBTB, where you could roam free under the Supertree Grove canopy (how romantic!); enjoy a picnic, a good book, a soothing stroll with a view of the Marina skyline at the Bay East Garden; and for shutterbugs, the Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes are the ultimate vantage points for photography.
If you’re one of those still hunting Pokemon, there are 62 PokeStops and five PokeGyms around GBTB. If you’re at a loss for ideas for Mid-Autumn Festival, the Gardens is your answer to a lovely night out with friends, family, and that special someone — what with a dazzling display of lanterns, cultural activities and a food street to give you a bang for your buck-free admission. Check out their website for details.
Free Concerts At The Esplanade
There are free performances happening almost every week in the indoor concourse area or outdoor theatre of The Esplanade. If you’re only catching wind of this now, this is your next perfect date. You get to win points for being such a culture vulture without actually having to shell out hundreds of dollars to catch the orchestra.
Post-concert, take the date to the next level — up on the roof where the view is pretty awesome. And yes, free.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
More outdoor fun is to be had at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pack a picnic basket, call/Whatsapp/Facebook-invite all your nearest and dearest to gather on the lush greens for an afternoon of music (there are regular outdoor concerts being held here), movie screenings (mark your calendar for Kung Fu Panda 3 on September 10) or just a good old catch-up over homemade sandwiches and cold-pressed juice. Who says you must part with your moolah to have a great party?
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By Alexa Fang
Alexa is a pop-culture vulture. She lives to read, write and travel, and decided long ago that life is stranger than fiction. When she's having croissant, she thinks in French. "31 Rue Cambon" is her favourite address, and she believes that money one enjoyed spending is never money wasted.