Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to visit. Fact. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to enjoy some of the best attractions on a budget. With a little planning and some savvy decision-making you’ll still get a feel for this futuristic city. From giant Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay to the world’s largest display of orchids, there’s plenty of free activities to fill your itinerary with.

Here’s our top picks of the free things to do in Singapore:

Browse the Gardens by the Bay

When you think of Singapore, a vision of giant, colourful, artistic trees must come to mind. So the first free thing to do in Singapore we recommend you tick off is to take a wander through Gardens by the Bay and see this man-made phenomenon for yourself. Better yet, visit at night when the display is beautifully lit up and catch the free light show at 7.45pm and 8.45pm any evening of the week. At 50-metres high, these towering trees make for a pretty impressive Instagram post. Inspired by an orchid, Singapore’s national flower, these vertical gardens really do show the world how to create a city within a garden. So significant to Singapore and yet we haven’t spent a cent…

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Green Line Route, Stop: Gardens by the Bay

Wander the Botanic Gardens

Keeping the theme green, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the country’s first UNESCO Heritage Site, and for good reason. Popular for jogging, picnicking or just relaxing, it boasts 60 acres of pristine greenery. In the heart you’ll find the National Orchid Garden, the world’s largest orchid display with over 60,000 flora on show. Hybrid orchids have been developed and given fun names like Elton John and Jackie Chan, see if you can spot them. Wildlife is also in abundance here with hornbills, spotted wood owls and kingfishers roaming. And if you’re travelling with kids, head to the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, a place for exploration, adventure and discovery. With a farm, a forest, tree-houses, suspension bridge, streams and a pond, little ones will be entertained for hours. A free thing to do in Singapore for the whole family.

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Yellow Line Route, Stop: Botanic Gardens

Catch a show

For those looking for a bit of culture on a budget, the Esplanade is your place. Nicknamed the Durian due to its unusual shape, it offers lots of free shows and performances of all kinds. There’s dance shows, acoustic sets, live bands and theatre performances, all openly held on the concourse area. And with entertainment every night of the week, you’ll never be short of a cultured free thing to do in Singapore. There’s no need to book, simply check out the week’s schedule, turn up and enjoy.

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Blue Line Route, Stop: Esplanade

Watch the sky light up

You might not expect the Marina Bay Sands to feature in our recommended list of free things to do in Singapore, and for good reason considering a beer can set you back $25. But we couldn’t let you miss out on one of the most iconic landmarks in this city. One that’s so significant to the city’s skyline. A great way to enjoy it without reaching for your wallet is the spectacular evening light and water show. Spectra shoots out multi-coloured laser beams from the top of these towering buildings and makes the water fountains dazzle. It’s one of Asia’s largest light and water shows. For the best view of this 15-minute spectacle, watch it from the Event Plaza at the Promenade. It begins every evening at 8pm, 9pm and on Fridays and Saturdays also at 11pm.

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Yellow & Green Line Route, Stop: Marina Bay Sands

Get the view

While tourists will happily put their hand in their pocket to see a city from the best vantage point, budget travellers needn’t miss out. A free thing to do in Singapore that will remind you of why you visited in the first place is to reach the 56th floor of the ION Orchard for a view that will take your breath away. Visit in the day for a clear picture of the city below, or head there after sundown to watch it twinkle. Either way you’ll feel every bit as lucky as those that headed to the expensive tourist hotspots for the same picture.

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Yellow Line Route, Stop: Marriot Hotel

So there you have our recommended list of free things to do in Singapore we insist you include in your itinerary. And now that you’ve managed to save so much money, why not splash out on a Big Bus tour and see all the city’s sights in style. With stops by all the landmarks and attractions Singapore is famous for, you can hop off and explore more wherever you choose. For more inspiration on how to fill the rest of your time in this electric city, check out our guide to the Top Things to do in Singapore.