Brushing teeth is free wherever you go (if you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and clean water, that is). The rule applies also in Singapore, even if it’s the most expensive city to live and a pretty pricey one to visit. Even better, in addition to keeping up with your dental health, there are several other free activities to make your stay pleasant.
How to brush your teeth in Singapore: Refresh at an MRT station restroom
The city state has an efficient public transportation system, backboned by the Mass Rapid Transit system, or MRT. Each station has clean restrooms, which are completely and utterly free to use so you can save your cents for paper weights. It’s as if Singapore were saying, “We forbid you to chew gum or spit, but you can brush your teeth for free. Shut up and you’re welcome.”
How to brush your teeth in Singapore: Frolic at Botanic Gardens
After you clean up, head to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (MRT Botanic Gardens or Orchard). You can spend an entire day here for zero dollars (the Orchid Garden section is SG$5/US$3.95), in quiet contemplation, reading or painting on benches, even jogging if you can stand the heat. But there’s so much to explore that you best walk around for hours, rest a while listening to the birds and frogs and cicadas and Korean tourists, then walk some more. Remember to breathe deeply at all times.
How to brush your teeth in Singapore: Walk or jog around Marina Bay
For a close look at Singapore’s deliberate mixed-use development, take a 3.5 km stroll along the Waterfront Promenade around Marina Bay. Some of the city state’s great sights are concentrated here. Trip out on the Helix Bridge. Look for your country’s palm tree at the Olympic Walk. Crane your neck at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel’s weirdness. Go like, “What the…?” at the water-spouting Merlion statue that’s Singapore’s mascot. Look at an awesome model of the city and learn about sustainable development in the area at the Marina Bay City Gallery (free, open every day except Monday from 10:00 a.m. to at least 7:00 p.m.).
And if you get tired, you can snooze on a bench…
…or kick back in a beach lounge chair.
Bonus #1: Extend your walk to the Singapore River quays all the way to North Bridge Road to see how the new (skyscrapers) coexists with the old (Parliament, Asian Civilizations Museums, old storefronts).
How to brush your teeth in Singapore: Enjoy a laser show
You can take the Promenade walk any time of the day but if you come at 8:00 p.m. or at 9:30 p.m., you can take in the Wonder Full Light & Water Spectacular, which is a fancy name for a 13-minute laser-and-classical-music show . The show itself may elicit a major meh (you snob!), but the space-age sensation induced by the green and blue pencils of light from the spaceship-like Marina Bay Sands Hotel is worth the effort. Did I mention it’s free?
How to brush your teeth in Singapore: Walk around a mall
Singapore can be so hot n’ humid your teeth will sweat. Thankfully, there are malls—plenty of them and with free admission. You can stay as long as you like. Air-conditionining will put cool air in your hair (provided you have any). The shimmering lights of shops and outlets will illuminate the local shopping culture. And the views from some of them, e.g. Marina Square and Marina Bay Sands, are superb.
Bonus: Mall food courts are surprisingly affordable and tasty.
How to brush your teeth in Singapore: Pop into temples
When you tire of the temples of capitalism and their fancy air conditioning, sweat it out at godly temples. The Masjid Jamae/Chulia Mosque, Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum are within a few blocks from each other in Chinatown. You don’t even have to dress fashionably.
See? It’s not that expensive.