Singapore may be known as the economic powerhouse of Southeast Asia, but it’s also quickly becoming the family holiday destination of choice in the region. Sentosa is a brilliant, hedonistic sensory overload that might be the most famous entertainment for children on the island state, but if you want some easy and cheap or free activities that can be done on a budget and are a little more manageable in the sweltering humidity (whether as a tourist or a resident), here are some options for your next Singapore holiday.
Every Saturday from 9am to 11am many of the fire stations around Singapore are open to the public to do free tours. Learn how to slide down a fire pole and get up close to the big red engines. If you’re really lucky, you might even be there for a real emergency fire call out. Central Fire Station is the most famous station on the island and the most conveniently located.
62 Hill St., Singapore, +65 6848 1524
Visit Changi Airport
In any other city, the airport is only for transiting to flights. But at Changi, not only is there a viewing platform at Terminal 3, the terminal also offers a host of free activities. There are fun interactive promotion displays that change regularly, such an Angry Bird aircraft the kids can climb or the country’s tallest slide or free live stage shows. Or shuttle the kids back and forth on the free monorail between the terminals. The restaurants and food court at the airport are as good as anything you will find anywhere else in country and carparking is super cheap, so visiting the airport is definitely a worthwhile option if you are staying on the East Coast. [For more on things to do at Changi Airport read the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Take the LRT
Changi doesn't seem enticing but you're still keen on the elevated train rides? The public transport LRT can be as exciting for small children as any expensive theme park ride. Since the trains are driverless, you can sit them right up the front as you zoom in between the huge HDB towers and in and out of station tunnels. The scenery is certainly more interesting than the underground MRT and it only costs the very reasonable ticket price.
Watch the Wonder Full Lightshow
It is a little kitschy but still fun to catch this free laser light, water and music spectacle. Grab an ice cream and a riverside seat for the kind of over the top extravaganza that only a casino can manufacture. If you are near a radio, tune into 103.9FM to get the soundtrack. (The show has been created by the same company that created The Magical Masks of Venezia in Macau - to see some images, visit the suitcases&strollers story The Lights of Macau.)
Event Plaza at the Promenade, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., Singapore, +65 6688 8868
Chill at the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Unlike the best parts of the Gardens By The Bay, the Singapore Botanic Gardens are (mostly) free. There are large grassy sections where children can run, flat pathways perfect for (small) scooting and duck ponds, koi ponds and even monkeys. A little local secret is the café Food For Thought which has an (almost) enclosed courtyard with a small playground ideal for younger children. The best bit? There are tables and chairs for tired parents to supervise while taking a much-needed caffeine break.
For other ideas for tourist activities to do when sightseeing in Singapore, see the suitcases&strollers Singapore travel guide here.
For other ideas for travelling on a budget with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
Images: Singapore Tourism Board