13 fun pocket-friendly things to do in the South [Photo Gallery]

No need to burn a hole in your pocket when you spend time with junior in Marina Bay and Sentosa!

When planning family fun, many Singaporeans are under the misconception that everything in the southern part (mainly the Marina Bay and Sentosa area) will cost a bomb.

Sure, these areas generate lots of tourism bucks, but you’d be surprised to learn that many attractions and activities are wallet-friendly, and even free of charge.

From admission to world-class museums to tasting dishes by Michelin Restaurant chefs, the list of affordable things to do in the South is more than just strolling along the Singapore River and watching the cable cars from the rooftop of VivoCity.

Still sceptical? Then check out these easy-on-wallet things you can do in the South!

1.    Tuck into modern local food at Makansutra Gluttons Bay 

Where: #01-15, 8 Raffles Avenue
Opening hours: 5pm to 2am from Monday to Thursday, 5pm to 3am on Friday and Saturday, 4pm to 1am on Sunday
What: Offering yummy though slightly pricey hawker favourites like satay and carrot cake, this newly-renovated outdoor food centre next to the Esplanade unites popular names like Mee Goreng Old Satay Club, Huat Huat BBQ chicken wings and Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee. Give junior an affordable taste of Michelin-standard fare at  Meatsmith Western BBQ. Operated by Chef Dave Pynt of Australian restaurant Burnt Ends, it serves Western food given a local twist made on their signature wood-fired brick grill. Everyone will surely dig the menu’s familiar local flavours such as Salted Egg Chicken Chop, Smoked Suckling Pig and Pulled Pork Wantons. (
Photo: Honeycombers Singapore)
Price: Prices from $4 to $30

2.    Watch shows, shop and savour good eats at the Esplanade 

Where: 1 Esplanade Drive
Opening hours: Get more info here
What: With so many lifestyle options, the Esplanade is much more than just your garden-variety arts centre. Aren’t keen to dip into your wallet for the facility’s arts offerings? Free performances are held frequently at the Concourse and Outdoor Theatre, or explore the visual art installations along walkways and lobby spaces. For more low-key time, you can grab a book or select a film from the “Film Village” at the Library@Esplanade. Whether you want to watch a world-class performance, good meal, or just chill, the Esplanade is a great alternative to neighbouring Suntec and Raffles City. With various shopping and F&B outlets such as Supply & Demand, The Boiler Seafood and No Signboard Seafood, it isn’t just a destination for recitals and concerts. (Photo: The Independent)
Price: Free

3.    Enjoy iconic works at the ArtScience Museum

Where: 6 Bayfront Avenue
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm daily (last admission at 6pm)
What: Besides the iconic “durian” that’s the Esplanade, the “lotus” structure that is the ArtScience Museum is another architectural icon located down South. Right next to the Marina Bay Sands, this museum hosts major international exhibitions such as the Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes, Leonardo Da Vinci: Shaping The Future and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. No major exhibitions in town? Your trip down won’t be wasted as you can sign up for various workshops, film screenings and in-house exhibitions lined up year round. (Photo: Marina Bay Sands)
Price: Different event prices here

 

4.    Take in the panoramic city view at Marina Bay Sands Sky Park 

Where: Level 57, Hotel Tower 3, 10 Bayfront Avenue
Opening hours: 9:30am to 10pm on Monday to Thursday, 9:30am to 11pm on Friday to Sunday

What: If you always envy people posting Instagram pictures of the cityscape from MBS’ luxe Infinity Pool, you can enjoy the same fabulous view of the Marina Bay area ― without taking a dip! Simply go up to the Sands Sky Park Observation Deck for a bird’s eye view of the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore River and the Singapore skyline. (Photo: Marina Bay Sands)
Price: $23/adults, $17/child, $20/senior citizens (above 65 years), free for children below age 2 years and MBS hotel guests

5.    Watch the Spectra Light and Water Show 

Where: Event Plaza, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Showtimes: 8pm and 9pm from Sunday to Thursday; 8pm, 9pm and 10pm on Friday and Saturday
What: Noticed laser lights in the sky while strolling around Marina Bay in the evenings? These illuminations from the ship-like rooftop of Marina Bay Sands are part of Spectra, its light and water show. Taking place at the Marina Waterfront, the 15 minute-long grand display of colourful laser lights and cutting-edge fountain jet water effects claims to be Southeast Asia’s biggest light and water show. The accompanying orchestral soundtrack is composed and produced by Kenn C, who has worked with various local and international stars such as Stefanie Sun and Jacky Cheung. (Photo: Marina Bay Sands)
Price: Free.

6.    Soak in the sights and scents at Gardens by the Bay 

Where: 18 Marina Gardens Drive
Opening hours: Visiting hours here
What: You may not be able to do usual park activities such as roller-blading and cycling at this green lung that’s right in the heart of the Marina Bay area, but you won’t need to, not when this large horticultual attraction offers plenty to see and do. From the conservatories, domes and pavilions, to the special flower displays and light festivals, you will be amazed by the artistry of these garden and the diversity of the greenery and flora. Don’t miss The Far East Organization Children’s Garden, which features numerous water playgrounds for different age groups, and even rainforest tree houses and a Children’s Garden Café. (
Photo: Gardens by the Bay)
Price: Park entry is free. Ticketsto the Domes and Conservatories here

7.    Explore the less-visited Singapore Maritime Gallery 

Where: Marina South Pier Level 2, 31 Marina Coastal Drive
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm on Tuesday to Sunday, Closed on Monday (except public holidays)

What: Don’t confuse this maritime gallery, with The Maritime Experiential Museum at Resorts World Sentosa! Here, you will learn how Singapore developed from a small fishing village to the global maritime hub it is today. Get up close to models showcasing the five lighthouses that guard our waters, explore the insides of a container ship and learn how to captain a ship using the interactive Ship Handling Simulator. (Photo: The Straits Times)
Price: Free

8.    Discover your favourite design at Red Dot Museum

Where: 11 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018940
Operating hours: 10am to 8pm on Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11pm on Friday to Sunday
What: Red Dot Design Museum, which was at the old Traffic Police Headquarters building at Maxwell Road, has been located at a brand new building in Marina Bay since 2017. Since its name is derived from one of the world’s largest design awards, the international Red Dot Design Award, visitors will inspect more than 200 amazing displays of design excellence. Find unique and handmade design souvenirs when you n=browse leisurely in the museum shop on level one, or have tea at the museum cafe. The Market of Artists and Designers (MAAD) also organises a flea market frequently at the Red Dot Design Museum where budding artists can showcase and sell their works. (
Photo: Honeycombers Singapore)
Price: Admission prices here

9. Take a boat to Sisters’ Island Marine Park 

Where: Pulau Sabar Laut
Opening hours: 7am to 7pm daily
What: The Sisters’ Island Marine Park ― a National Park with a similar concept to Pulau Ubin ― is made up of the Big and Little Sister islands. The park doesn’t just protect more than 250 species of coral reefs and endangered marine life around the Southern Islands, it also hosts Singapore’s first turtle hatchery. If you or your family are fans of the sea, the Marine Park is a great and gratis alternative to the SEA Aquarium and River Safari. Book the NParks guided tour in advance and take a coastal walk at low tide. You can expect to see a diversity of coral reefs, seahorses, sea stars and other native marine creatures. Boats to Sisters’ Island are available from Marina South Pier at $18 for a return trip. (Photo: The Straits Times)
Price: Register here for free NParks guided tour.

10. Cross the highest bridge at Southern Ridges 

Park lighting hours: See here
What: The Southern Ridges ― a 10km-long green corridor connecting Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve ― is loved by those who enjoy hiking, jogging, cycling or simply taking a walk among nature. Henderson Wave, Connecting Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge is a favourite location for wedding photoshoots and general photography. Mount Faber is another Southern Ridges photography hotspot. Instead of driving straight up to Mount Faber peak, hike along Marang Trail from Habourfront MRT station, then claim your reward when you arrive at the top ― an unbeatable view of the city, Keppel Harbour and the Southern Islands. (Photo: Visit Singapore)
Price: Free

11.    Discover Chinese folklore at Haw Par Villa

Where: 262 Pasir Panjang Road
Operating Hours: 9am to 7pm daily (last entry 6pm)
What: For a more extreme, or hair-raising, excursion, Haw Par Villa offers a nightmarish experience for certain fearless visitors. Previously called Tiger Balm Gardens and built by the Aw brothers, who founded the Tiger Balm brand, Haw Par Villa is now an outdoor cultural park dedicated to Asian culture and religion. See more than 1,000 sculptures at the park, depicting various Chinese classics and myths such as Journey to the West and the Eight Immortals. Don’t miss the theme park highlight, the 10 courts of hell, where you can hear Chinese parents warning children that the punishment awaiting them for lying and showing disrespect include being thrown into fire and having their tongues slit. (Photo: Channel News Asia)
Price: Free

12.    Get close to the Equator at Palawan Beach

Where: Sentosa Island, directions here
Opening hours: Daily
What: You don’t always need a wad of cash to have a splashing good time at Sentosa. With three beaches ― Palawan, Tanjong and Silosa ― open to the public for free, simply pick one to spend the day at. No fear that junior will get bored, since trams ply the island, so that you can go beach hopping. Palawan Beach is arguably the most family-friendly beach, thanks to unique features such as the suspension bridge. Cross the suspension bridge to reach the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia, also known as Asia’s closest point to the Equator. (Photo: Honeycombers)
Price: Free

13.    Have a splashing good time at Adventure Cove Waterpark

Where: Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm daily
What: If you’re staying in the west or southern part of the island, no need to travel all the way to the East to whoop it up in a water theme park. Similar to Wild Wild Wet, the Adventure Cove at Sentosa also has thrilling water slides, a Lazy River, as well as a giant wave pool. Even if you are a diehard Eastsider, Adventure Cove is still worth visiting as it is more than just about slides and rides. Hop into a donut tube and float through an underwater tunnel which is, in fact, a sea aquarium; snorkel in the Rainbow Reef and even swim with the fishes! (Photo: Klook)
Price
: $38/adult (13 to 59 years), $30/child (4 to 12 years) and seniors (above 60 years).