Singapore is a beautiful country in the heart of Southeast Asia and has constantly been ranked as the “most expensive country in the world”. A lot of travellers seem to think it’s expensive to travel to Singapore but who says you can’t go budget in this city? 😲
To fly cheap, hop on any of the budget airlines such as AirAsia, Scoot or Jetstar which are well-connected to major cities in Malaysia, Indonesia or other parts of Southeast Asia. Flying into Singapore will see you arrive in Changi International Airport, the world’s best-ranked airport, an accolade Singapore has held for nearly a decade ✈️ (There’s a new free attraction here too which we’ll talk more about later!)
If you intend on travelling to Singapore on a budget or if you are a Singaporean looking for things to do without spending a penny, then here are the 13 free things to do in the sunny island of Singapore 😊
1. Kampong Glam
Explore the Malay heritage of Singapore when you head to Kampong Glam. What used to be a Malay village, is now a hipster hangout spot.
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Today, hipster cafés and fashion boutiques line the streets of Kampong Glam, complete with professional street art, adding a splash of colour to the district 🤗
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The heritage sites of Kampong Glam are still well-maintained and are in fact, the highlight of Kampong Glam. Visit one of the oldest mosques in Singapore, the Sultan Mosque, located in the heart of Kampong Glam along Bussorah Street. You can enter the mosque without any admission charge and feel free to capture photos of this amazing heritage site. Stop by the Sultan Mosque to perform your prayers during your visit!
P.S. Looking for more amazing things to do in Singapore? Check out our guide for 12 exciting things to explore the city like a local!
Halal Food Nearby:
When it comes to food, you will be spoilt for choice as the majority of the eateries here are Halal-certified or Muslim-owned. If you are looking for something affordable, do check out Singapore Zam Zam (opposite Sultan Mosque along North Bridge Rd) which sells delicious Indian Muslim cuisine and is famous for their Murtabak 🤤
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Kampong Glam Café (KGC) straight down the road from Sultan Mosque’s entrance is another alternative. Wash down your meal with a refreshing cup of Teh Tarik or Teh Halia at the famous Bhai Sarbat stall, located opposite KGC.
Looking for more options? Check out our ultimate halal food guide in Kampong Glam and the Bugis area!
The vicinity of Kampong Glam is surrounded by 4 MRT stations – Jalan Besar MRT station along the Downtown Line, Bugis MRT interchange along the Downtown and East-West Line, Lavender MRT station along the East-West Line and Nicoll Highway MRT station along the Circle Line. The closest MRT station to Sultan Mosque is Bugis MRT interchange.
2. Gardens by the Bay (free areas)
For you to fully experience one of Singapore’s main tourist attractions, the Gardens by The Bay, you’d think that you need to fork out an entrance fee. While this is true for the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, you can still enjoy other parts of the gardens which are free and worth a visit!
The Supertree Grove
Gardens by The Bay is well-known for their towering, gargantuan trees, or Supertrees and 12 of them can be found in the Supertree Grove. Capture amazing photographs with the Supertrees or simply head to the top of these trees and enjoy the amazing view of Marina Bay 😮
The best time to experience the Gardens by The Bay’s Supertree Grove is at night. Supertrees as high as 22 metres illuminate the dark sky. A truly stunning spectacle and it’s all free of charge.
Note: The OCBC Skyway links 2 of the Supertrees in the Supertree Grove. The linkway is not free of charge and there is an entry fee of SGD8 for adults and SGD5 for children.
#HHWT Tip: The Gardens by The Bay is also home to many art sculptures. Most of which can be found in an area which has no entry fee. Do keep a lookout for them and see how many you can spot scattered all around the vicinity of the Gardens.
Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes
Walk along a wooden pathway around the Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes, as you try to spot the different aquatic life in the area. There are QR codes located on information boards all over this section of the Gardens. Scan them to learn more about the lakes’ eco-system.
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It is along this wooden pathway where you will find the perfect angles (for photos) of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore Flyer and the Supertrees of the Gardens 😍
The Serene Garden
The Serene Garden is a great place to experience tranquillity with trees, fountains and ponds, inspired by Japanese zen gardens. The garden is barely the size of 2 football fields and is a perfect spot to grab some fresh air and relax.
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Halal Food Nearby:
Gardens by The Bay has its own hawker centre, the aptly named, Satay by The Bay. Satay by The Bay prides itself for Singapore’s hawker culture and is well-known for its satay.
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There are a couple of satay stalls there, which are Halal, namely Black and White Jumain Satay and Sri Geylang Sate. Do note that not all satay stalls are Halal-certified, so do look out for the halal certificates!
If you are taking the MRT, presently, there is only one way of heading to Gardens by The Bay and that is to alight at Bayfront MRT interchange along the Downtown and Circle Line. After exiting the station, cross the bridge from Marina Bay Sands towards Gardens by The Bay.
From end-2019 onwards, Gardens by The Bay will have its own MRT station along the up and coming Thomson-East Coast Line. Do keep a lookout for that!
3. Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
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One of Singapore’s most iconic fruits, enjoyed by locals, is arguably the smelliest in the world. The smell is so pungent, it is banned in public transportation and most indoor venues all around the world. Now you may wonder, why durians? 🤔 If you head to Marina Bay, you will see a building in the shape of 2 durian shells. We are talking about the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay!
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There are many free things you can do if you visit Esplanade. There are shows and concerts, which have no admission charge, especially those which take place in Esplanade’s very own outdoor theatre.
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If you are looking for an amazing city skyline view, then head to the Esplanade Rooftop Terrace. Do bring along your camera, as you capture a stunning view of Marina Bay Sands and the Marina Bay Waterfront. Try spotting the Merlion from the Rooftop Garden 😊
Halal Food Nearby:
There are many Halal options in Esplanade and Marina Square (located opposite Esplanade), notably Noosh Noodle Bar and Grill in Esplanade and Chic-a-boo in Marina Square. Noosh is famous for their specialty butter beer (non-alcoholic) and signature mocktails. Dine in with their luxurious take on local delights.
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If you are not one with deep pockets, then head over to Marina Square for awesome, juicy fried chicken in Chic-a-boo! Along with sides of your choice, Chic-a-boo serves a classic that is so sinfully good 😋
Other halal food options at Esplanade: Hawker, Jiak Modern Tzechar, Makansutra Gluttons Bay (some halal food stalls), The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Other halal food options at Marina Square: 4FINGERS Crispy Chicken, Beyond Pancakes, Burger King, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Seoul Garden, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Manhattan Fish Market.
You can get to Esplanade via the Esplanade MRT Station along the Circle Line. Another alternative is to alight at City Hall MRT interchange along the East-West and North-South Line. From the station, explore CityLink Mall, Singapore’s first underground shopping mall, while making your way to the Esplanade.
P.S. Only have 24 hours in Singapore? Check out how you can spend your time in Singapore here!
4. Jewel Changi Airport
Singapore’s newest attraction is truly a “jewel” – it’s the brand-new Jewel Changi Airport! The centre of attraction of this glass domed shopping mall, located in the centre of the first 3 terminals of Singapore Changi International Airport, is the massive HSBC Rain Vortex.
Dubbed the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, the 40m-high waterfall is the highlight of the world’s best airport 😲
If you are flying in via Changi International Airport, then head on over to Jewel and capture amazing photos of the HSBC Rain Vortex. You can even catch light shows with colourful lighting projected at the waterfall at night, making for great photo opportunities 📸
Don’t forget to check out the surrounding Shiseido Forest Valley and newly opened Canopy Park. Plus, dozens of shopping places like the Pokemon Centre and the largest Nike store in Southeast Asia! Our Muslim-friendly guide on Jewel Changi Airport is all you need to explore the stunning attraction.
Halal Food Nearby:
As Jewel Changi Airport is brand new, most restaurants such as A&W and Jinjja Chicken are still pending Halal certification. A&W is probably the most prominent one, making its long-awaited return after nearly 2 decades. Do note though, waiting time may be an hour or so.
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Singapore Changi International Airport is linked to Changi Airport MRT Station along the East-West Line. There are bridges which link Terminal 1, 2 and 3 to the Jewel Changi Airport. If you are coming in via Terminal 4, do take a shuttle bus to Terminal 2 before heading over to Jewel.
5. Spectra – Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show
The Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show, or Spectra, is a symphonic showcase that happens every night and is best viewed from the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre or The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
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Watch fountain jets, colourful lasers and visual effects dance to the music played through loudspeakers placed along the waterfront 😍
Sunday to Thursday: 8pm and 9pm
Friday and Saturday: 8pm, 9pm and 10pm
Earth Hour on Saturday: 9pm, 9.30pm and 10.30pm
Each show is 15 minutes long and showtimes may vary on public holidays such as National Day.
Halal Food Nearby:
Do note that Halal-certified food in this area may not be on the cheap side.
Marina Bay Sands is a short walk from Marina Square and Esplanade but if you are looking to dine in the vicinity of Marina Bay Sands, check out The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Beanstro located on Basement 2 of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
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The high-end bistro of the coffee franchise serves all-day breakfast, salads and yummy pastas. Did we mention, the bistro offers an epic view of the Rain Oculus (a small fountain formed by rainwater spiralling down a bowl into an indoor canal)?
To get to Marina Bay Sands, alight at Bayfront MRT interchange along the Downtown and Circle Line. The exit of the MRT station is directly linked to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
6. Visit the city’s parks
Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is a historical landmark in Singapore’s city centre. This hilly park, located in the vicinity of Dhoby Ghaut, is where you will find the Underground Far East Command Centre (or Battle Box). It is here where the British decided to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942.
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Fort Canning Park is mostly frequented by newly-weds having their photos taken. Reason? The Registry of Marriages and Registry of Muslim Marriages are located just a stone’s throw from the park!
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The park is full of photo opportunities including an “Instagrammable” flight of stairs that has been trending on Instagram, perfect to pose for a nice photo 😀
Halal Food Nearby:
As the park is located conveniently in the city centre, Halal options can be found in the vicinity of the park. If you wish to head to the northern region of the park via Dhoby Ghaut, you can find many Halal establishments (including fast food restaurants) in The Cathay and Plaza Singapura. Few notable food establishments include Nando’s, The Manhattan Fish Market and Secret Recipe in Plaza Singapura and Maki-San and Popeye’s in The Cathay. Check out our halal food guide along Orchard Rd for more options!
A total of 5 MRT stations surround Fort Canning Park.
South Entrance: Alight at either Fort Canning Park MRT Station along the Downtown Line or Clarke Quay MRT Station along the North-East Line.
North Entrance: Alight at either Bras Basah MRT Station along the Circle Line or Dhoby Ghaut MRT interchange along the Circle and North-East Line.
East Entrance: It may be a long walk, but you can get to Fort Canning Park’s east entrance via City Hall MRT interchange along the East-West and North-South Line. This walk will be made much simpler once the newly renovated Funan Shopping Mall opens its doors end-2019.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore’s very own (and first!) UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, is also the only tropical botanic garden to be on the list. There is no entry charge and it is open from 5am to 12am daily.
The 150-year old garden is one of Singapore’s main tourist attractions and is home to a huge collection of flora and fauna 🌺
Most locals and tourists spend their time in the garden jogging, having a picnic or just simply enjoying the beauty of mother nature. The garden also makes for awesome photo opportunities with beautiful sceneries and backdrops.
Halal Food Nearby:
For a variety of delicious local delights, head to Adam Road Food Centre, just opposite Botanic Gardens MRT interchange’s Bukit Timah Road exit.
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There are many Halal-certified and Muslim-owned options there, including one of the best nasi lemak in Singapore and mouth-watering Indian rojak 🤤
Botanic Gardens MRT interchange along the Circle and Downtown Line will bring you to the north of the massive Botanic Gardens. To get to the other side of the garden, there are a few bus services from Orchard Road, namely bus services 123 and 174.
P.S. A new MRT is still under construction in the south of Singapore Botanic Gardens. Napier MRT Station (along the Thomson-East Coast Line, which will open in stages from end-2019) will be located right outside the south entrance of the garden.
7. Marina Barrage
Looking for an amazing place to fly kites (without worrying of them getting caught in trees) and have an amazing picnic at the same time? Head on down to Singapore’s only hydro-electric dam. It is also here where you will find Singapore’s 15th reservoir, the only one in the city centre.
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The Marina Barrage has an open field on the third floor, open to public and there’s no entry charge! The barrage is frequented by locals and tourists alike and boasts a jaw-dropping view of the southern coast of Singapore 😃
Halal Food Nearby:
Just like Gardens by The Bay, the barrage is a short walk from Satay by The Bay as the hawker centre is located in between the Gardens by The Bay and Marina Barrage. You can also find Marina Bay BBQ Steamboat in the hawker centre. Chill back and relax with your buddies while grilling meat with a stunning view.
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Getting there may be a little of a hassle as the nearest MRT station to Marina Barrage is about 2km away (Marina South Pier Station). The most convenient way to get there is to take bus service 400 from Marina Bay MRT station (along the North-South Line). Despite its inaccessibility, it is worth the travel!
8. MacRitchie Treetop Walk
Another iconic park in Singapore is MacRitchie Reservoir Park, located in central Singapore.
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Singaporeans living nearby would spend their time jogging around the park or tackling one of their many challenging hiking routes. One glance and you might think this is just any ordinary park but hidden deep in the forested area of MacRitchie lies an epic adventure of a lifetime 😉
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The MacRitchie Treetop Walk is a 250-metre bridge suspended above the forest floor, at a maximum height of 25m. Walk along the canopy of MacRitchie’s beautiful rainforest and explore the various species of flora and fauna in MacRitchie 🌳
Halal Food Nearby:
The whole stretch of Upper Thomson Road, located east of MacRitchie Reservoir Park is home to many delicious Halal-certified and Muslim-owned options.
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A short bus ride up north will bring you to Springleaf Prata Place. The owners of Springleaf Prata took prata to a whole new level and created “out-of-this-world” pratas such as their signature Murtaburger, which is a burger patty in a murtabak and the Plaster Blaster, a fusion of 2 cuisines – eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce, served on a bed of chicken hams and prata.
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Top 73+1 Fishball Legacy is a stone’s throw from Springleaf Prata Place. This small family-run business serves satisfying Chinese Muslim cuisine including their signature fishball noodles. If you are looking for an affordable, filling meal, then this is the place for you!
The entrance of the Treetop Walk is approximately a 30-minute walk from Marymount MRT Station (along the Circle Line). If you have no intentions of walking that 2km stretch of Upper Thomson Road, then hop on bus service 163 or 480 from Opp Shunfu Estate bus-stop, a short walk from Marymount MRT Station.
9. East Coast Park
As its name suggests, East Coast Park (or some would call it ECP) covers almost the entire south-eastern coast of Singapore, 15km to be exact.
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Most Singaporeans, especially the east-siders would spend their weekends here for a picnic, a barbecue or just relax on the beach. You can also cycle or jog at the park, as they have designated cycling and jogging paths 🚲
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Bedok Jetty lies on the eastern end of East Coast Park. Fishing enthusiasts will gather here for a picnic, while fishing 🐟 If you are looking for a good place to chill (along with the amazing sea breeze), then head on over to Bedok Jetty!
Halal Food Nearby:
Hop on bus service 401 to Opp Cable Ski Park bus stop along East Coast Park Service Road. This is where you will find East Coast Lagoon Food Village, a hawker centre located next to East Coast Park Lagoon. You can also cycle or jog there from wherever you are in the park!
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The hawker centre is famous for Halal BBQ wings, satay (both of which are from Ahmad Spring) and delicious (and refreshing) sugar cane from the hawker centre’s drink stall. Did we mention they are extremely affordable too?
Getting to East Coast Park is dependent on which part of East Coast Park you are planning to travel to. Bus service 401 from Bedok Bus Interchange services the entire stretch of East Coast Park.
P.S. The Thomson-East Coast MRT line is currently under construction. This line would link Woodlands Checkpoint to the south-eastern region of Singapore, making East Coast Park more accessible.
10. VivoCity Waterfront Promenade
VivoCity is Singapore’s largest shopping mall and is located at the southern tip of Singapore’s mainland. The megamall opened its doors in 2006 and is home to many flagship stores or outlets.
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The mall even has a newly built library, a monorail station (which connects Singapore’s mainland to the island of Sentosa) and is frequented by many Singaporeans every day.
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The mall even has a waterfront promenade which stretches all the way to the paid entrance of Sentosa. The VivoCity section of the waterfront promenade faces the beautiful island of Sentosa and is a great place to just chill as you watch ferries pass. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to catch the New Year’s Day fireworks from Sentosa’s New Year’s Day beach party 🎆
Halal Food Nearby:
Finding Halal-certified food in VivoCity won’t be a problem at all as VivoCity has a variety of Halal-certified and Muslim-owned eateries. Few of these include Subway, Texas Chicken, Encik Tan and Wingstop.
The mall even has a Halal-certified food court with food ranging from Chinese to Japanese cuisine. We recommend trying the roasted chicken noodle from the Chicken Rice stall and for those who love spicy food, the tom yam ban mian from the Ban Mian stall. 😋
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If you would like to know what other Halal-certified options VivoCity has to offer, check out VivoCity’s food directory.
VivoCity is easily accessible by train. Harbourfront underground MRT station (along the Circle and North-East Line) is linked directly to the entrance of the mall.
11. Haw Par Villa
Previously known as Tiger Balm Garden, Haw Par Villa is an outdoor art gallery which features sculptures of Chinese culture, religion and history. Built in 1937, this rather unique park is opened to public at no admission charge.
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The key attraction of Haw Par Villa is the Ten Courts of Hell. Walk through a maze as you explore “hell” based on Chinese mythology and Buddhism.
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It may be a little uncomfortable for some travellers, but yet it’s an interesting way to immerse yourself in the Chinese and Buddhist culture with regards to the afterlife.
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There are also sculptures and artwork in the rest of the park, paying homage to Chinese mythology such as those of Sun Wukong (The Monkey King) and to Buddhism such as the Laughing Buddha and Guanyin, a bodhisattva also known to some as the “Goddess of Mercy”.
Halal Food Nearby:
Head over to Pasir Panjang MRT Station (just one stop away) and you will find Pasir Panjang Food Centre. There are a couple of Muslim-owned and Halal options here namely, Yusoff Haji Jalal Satay (Stall 21), which serves satay at an affordable price. Hop on any bus or take a short 300m walk from the MRT station to a row of shophouses along Pasir Panjang Road. It is here where you can customise your own Nasi Lemak at Fong Seng Nasi Lemak.
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If you are looking for good, affordable Indian cuisine, then head over to Paradise Restaurant, a few units away.
Haw Par Villa has its own MRT station with the same name along the Circle Line. The entrance of Haw Par Villa is conveniently located next to the exit of the underground MRT station.
12. Fountain of Wealth
Another fountain worth visiting is the Fountain of Wealth, located in the centre of Suntec City.
A megamall located in Singapore’s business district, it is home to the largest fountain in the world spanning about 1,600 square metres and with a height of approximately 14m. Apart from marvelling at this massive fountain from afar, you can also go close to the fountain and touch the water! These are the timings for their Daily Touch Water Sessions: 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm, 6pm-7.30pm.
Halal Food Nearby:
The base of the fountain is located at the basement of the Suntec City and it is here where you will find loads of Halal-certified options. Just to name a few – Javier’s Rotisserie Chicken and Ichikokudo Hokkaido Ramen. Both eateries recently received their Halal certification!
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For more Halal-certified options, check out Suntec City’s food directory.
To get to Suntec City, hop on the MRT towards either Esplanade MRT Station (along the Circle Line) or City Hall MRT interchange (along the East-West and North-South Line). As the mall is huge, we would suggest planning out on which part of the mall you would like to travel to as both MRT stations are on opposite ends of Suntec City.
13. Jurong Lake Gardens
Jurong Lake Gardens, located in the heartlands of Jurong West, is the perfect place to grab some fresh air and enjoy serenity, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are 3 sections in this 90-hectare garden – Lakeside Garden, Chinese and Japanese Gardens and Garden Promenade.
The newly opened Lakeside Garden, located on eastern end of Jurong Lake Gardens, is a place for the young and old to enjoy nature and at least the same time, have fun doing so.
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The garden has a lalang field and a lone “Instagrammable” tree, a perfect photo opportunity!🤗
Chinese Garden is located on a separate “island” in the middle of Jurong Lake. The architecture of the buildings, trees and structures are inspired by Chinese influences, built by a Taiwanese architect in 1975.
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The highlights of the Chinese Garden include a Bonsai Garden and the Bai Hong Qiao bridge, which was built in reference to the 17-Arch bridge in Beijing. With such a majestic scenery like this, it’s hard to believe that you’re actually still in Singapore!
The Japanese Garden is located in the neighbouring “island” to Chinese Garden in Jurong Lake and is built by architects hired for a collaborated project between the Singapore and Japan.
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Stepping into the garden would make you feel like you are in Japan as the garden’s appearance has Japanese influences with Japanese wooden bridges, Toro stone lanterns and Japanese-style walking paths.
Note: Parts of the Chinese, Japanese Gardens and Lakeside Garden’s northern strip are currently undergoing redevelopment and are currently closed.
Halal Food Nearby:
Jurong Lake Gardens is a couple of bus-stops away from Jurong East MRT interchange. There are 4 shopping malls and a hospital (with food options) in Jurong East.
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There are many Halal options for your hungry soul here namely Wingstop in JCube, Hanis in Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Penang Culture in JEM.
If you are looking for more options in the West side including Jurong, check out our round-up of the best halal food in Singapore’s West!
You can get to Jurong Lake, Chinese and Japanese Gardens if you alight at either Chinese Garden MRT Station or Lakeside MRT Station along the East-West Line.
Here’s a round-up of all the 13 free things to do in Singapore:
With a whole list of free things to do in Singapore (including snapping amazing photos for the ‘gram), you’ll never run out of things to do in Singapore even if you are a budget traveller. Just ready your cash for the yummy food options in this food haven of Singapore. So, start booking your flight tickets, packing your bags and planning your trip to this tiny, little red dot 🤗
For more free and Instagrammable spots in Singapore, check this article out!