Image: Blue Jean Images/Corbis
Constantly picking your brains for things to do when it comes to the weekend? I feel your pain. Sometimes it can be hard to find new, cool ways to entertain ourselves in Singapore, especially when everything is so expensive.
Worry no more as I’ve discovered seven unique and fun things to do, from a romantic date night or a day out with the kids to a wild time with friends, and the best part is they are all absolutely free!
1. LEARN HOW TO SILK SCREEN PRINT
Ever wondered how the t-shirts you wear were printed? You can find out precisely how while showing off your creative spirit at this free silk screen printing workshop. Organised by print maestro Joseph Chiang from creative studio Monster Gallery, this workshop is part of Singapore’s very first T-shirt Festival which celebrates — of course — t-shirts and their myriad of functions.
Where: National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road
When: July 19 to 20, 2014, 1pm to 2pm
For more information about the T-shirt Festival, visit http://www.singaporetshirtfestival.com
2. GO ON A FOOD TRAIL OR WALKING TRAIL
Try Curry Rendang Chicken (left), Ba Ku Teh (right) and more for free on the Ion Orchard Local Food Trail. Image: Ion Orchard
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch in this world? Here’s your chance to have one right here in Singapore when you join the Ion Orchard Local Food trail. Your one stop destination for all your favourite local goodies, this trail offers over 10 different kinds of cuisines like Chilli Crab, Curry Rendang Chicken and more. Sadly though, only tourists are entitled to the food vouchers for second helpings but locals can still get to sample all the yummy local delights on the trail for free.
If you’d rather burn off the fat than add more, then maybe you can consider joining an enriching guided walking trail around Singapore. Uncover long forgotten secrets of your neighbourhood around you on the monthly tours led by My Queenstown Community (registration required) or find your roots on a culture trail along Bugis and Bras Basah led by passionate student guides from Singapore Footprints.
When: Monday to Friday, 11am (Ion Orchard Food Trail), last Sunday of every month (Queenstown neighbourhood trail), every Saturday and Sunday (Singapore Footprints)
For more information on the Ion Orchard Local Food Trail, visit the ION Orchard website at http://ionorchard.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/IONOrchard. For more information on the Queenstown neighbourhood tour, like the My Queenstown community Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/myqueenstown. For more information on Singapore Footprints, visit their website at http://singaporefootprints.com/ and like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SingaporeFootprints
3. PET ADORABLE ANIMALS AT A FARM
Aww, look at that bunny! Image: Farmart
If you love animals, but don’t want to commit the time to volunteer at SPCA or spend the money to visit the zoo, why not try animal farms like Animal Resort and Farmart Centre? Leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city and wander around the grounds where you’ll get to come up close and personal with adorable bunnies, beautiful peacocks and even horses. For a small fee of $1, you can even buy some animal feed too.
Where: T81 Seletar West Farmway 5, 798061 (Animal Resort) and 67 Sungei Tengah Road, 699008 (Farmart Centre)
For more information on Farmart Centre, visit http://farmart.com.sg/ or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/farmartcentre; for more information on Animal Resort, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheAnimalResort
4. SPEND A NIGHT STARGAZING
Ever dreamt of spending a romantic night out stargazing? Sadly, that’s nearly impossible in our busy city-state, where you’re more likely to see satellites or planes dotting the night sky than a single twinkling star. However, there’s one place on our little island where you’ll be able to fulfill this dream and it’s absolutely free.
Every Friday night, the Singapore Science Centre actually holds free-of-charge stargazing sessions at its observatory, where you are free to use the telescopes on site.
No worries even if you don’t know anything about stars or planets because the friendly staff at the Observatory will provide you with informative maps of the sky and even share interesting facts about the planets.
Where: Singapore Science Centre Observatory
When: Every Friday night, 7.30pm to 10pm
For more information, visit the Science Centre Observatory website at http://www.science.edu.sg/events/Pages/Stargazing.aspx and like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SCOBservatory
5. ENJOY A HOT SPRING AND MUNCH ON ONSEN TAMAGO
Why fly all the way to Korea or Japan for a hot spring soak when we have our very own hot spring right here in Singapore? Some of you may already know this but nestled in the heart of the Chong Pang camp in Sembawang is Singapore’s one and only natural hot spring on the mainland — and you won’t need to pay a single cent to use it.
The hot spring water is accessed through two taps so you can’t exactly enjoy a full body onsen (Japanese for ‘hot spring’) soak but you still can relish a foot bath with the tubs kindly provided by the friendly caretaker on site. If that’s not enough reason for you to check out Singapore’s only natural hot spring on the mainland, you could follow the lead of the cyclists who frequent this spring by bringing your own eggs to cook and munch on some onsen tamago (‘hot spring egg’).
Where: Within Chong Pang camp, off Gambas Ave near the junction of Sembawang Road & Gambas Ave
Open: 7am to 7pm daily
6. TOUR CEMETERIES
Thrill seekers and supernatural story lovers, instead of going haunted house hunting, why not try touring the local cemeteries? Even if you’re not a fan of ghost hunting, cemeteries can often be an interesting, peaceful and even beautiful location to explore the forgotten history of Singapore. Hidden among rows of terrace houses within the Yio Chu Kang heartlands is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Singapore — the Japanese Cemetery Park. Here, you can enjoy a quiet walk through the gorgeous flower walkways while you admire the final resting places of over 1,000 Japanese individuals, from the famous Yamamoto Otokichi, Singapore’s first Japanese resident, to the desolate prostitutes and ordinary citizens.
However, if you prefer an interesting guided tour around a cemetery, you can try the Bukit Brown cemetery, where many of our pioneering forefathers, like Gan Eng Seng, are buried. Tours of the grounds are conducted every weekend by passionate volunteer guides, who each lead the three-hour tours based on their own preferred itinerary, routes and themes, like the tile work on the tombs or Chinese culture and customs. Compared to the Japanese Cemetery Park, the Bukit Brown cemetery has a more rustic feel, with lush greenery and abundant wildlife, so it’s perfect for nature lovers too.
Besides these two cemeteries, there’s also the Kranji War Cemetery, where numerous war heroes of all nationalities from the Allied forces during the World War II are buried, as well as the largest Malay cemetery at Jalan Kubor, where Sultan Hussein and many other Malay royalties are buried, so there’s definitely no lack of cemeteries to explore.
Where: 825B Chuan Hoe Ave, 549853 (Japanese Cemetery Park), Lorong Halwa, Singapore, between Lornie Road and parts of the PIE (Bukit Brown Cemetery)
Open: 8am to 7pm (Japanese Cemetery Park)
For more information about the Bukit Brown cemetery, www.bukitbrown.com.
7. WATCH A MOVIE FOR FREE
Who wants to pay $13 just to watch a movie that you can easily find online? However, if you loathe to give up the surround sound and big screen enjoyment, here’s six places in Singapore where you can enjoy a quality movie experience without forking out a single cent.
- animal resort
- bukit brown cemetery
- cemetery tour
- foot trail
- free food
- free movie
- free things to do in Singapore
- ion food trail
- japanese cemetery park
- petting zoo
- romantic date
- Science Centre
- silk screen printing
- singapore hot spring
- stuff to do
- t-shirt festival
- the observatory