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.

Brush your teeth in Singapore

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

Brush your teeth in Singapore

…or kick back in a beach lounge chair.

Brush your teeth in Singapore

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).

Bonus #2: If you are in Singapore from March 7 to 30, enjoy the nighttime art show I Light Marina Bay 2014 (share your photos here, we left the day before the show started).

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?

Brush your teeth in Singapore

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.

Brush your teeth in Singapore

See? It’s not that expensive.

4 Responses

  1. Carmel

    We went to the national museum for free today…it was very nice! We also unexpectedly got to enjoy a 15-minute light show at the garden by the bay. It was beautiful! We’re finding plenty of things to do without paying the ticket prices. Although we did buy the tourist passes for the subway. Totally worth it…especially when it’s soooo hot and pouring down rain.

    • Peter Korchnak

      Very good, we missed the National Museum. We wanted to buy the passes but realized we wouldn’t get the value out of them. Single tickets all the way! We missed the rain, though I don’t know if that’s such a bad thing. Glad you’re enjoying the city, we liked it a lot.

  2. Emily

    I’ve read a few posts lately on Singapore saying that you can certainly find things to do on the cheap (or free!) which is music to my ears. That being said, I would not bypass Singapore…sounds like a place that you just HAVE to see and experience!

    • Peter Korchnak

      You can find free/inexpensive things to do anywhere, you just have to look (or be cheap like me).

      You’re traveling, you don’t have to do anything 🙂


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