Whoever came up with that $2.7 million dining package that recently made the news, involving a helicopter ride and diamond-encrusted chopsticks, had better pray there are some very stupid people out there with cash to burn.
For the rest of us, there’s a ton of simple pleasures you can enjoy without paying a single cent, right here in Singapore. Yes, in Singapore, you got that right, land of yuppies and overpriced alcohol. Here are four simple pleasures everyone can enjoy for free.
Amazing views over the city
One advantage of living in such a densely-populated city where we’re practically drowning in high-rise buildings is the fact that you can get good views from the top of just about any HDB block or office tower.
That means there are amazing views to be had for free, if you know where to look. So don’t be too eager to pull out your credit card and pay for exorbitant cover charge at Cé La Vi (which, in fact, is free to visit on Mon, Tue, Thu and Sun, and before 9pm on other days—and you don’t even have to enter the bar, just turn left when you get out of the lift to enjoy the views on the other side of the building).
Here are some buildings with nice views you don’t have to pay to enjoy.
- Rochor Centre rooftop
- Orchard Central rooftop garden
- ION Sky (open from 3 to 6pm)
- Golden Mile Complex rooftop
- Marina Barrage
There are also loads of office buildings in the CBD you don’t need an access pass to enter, as well as HDB blocks with rooftop gardens. You just need to know where they are.
Before you start complaining that Singapore is a concrete jungle, ask yourself if you have ever bothered to check out the natural sights (read: jungle) here.
There are quite a few hikes you can do without having to leave the country. Okay let’s be honest, they are not exactly of Everest-level-difficulty, and there are footpaths and signs everywhere, but let’s face it, most of you would die if that wasn’t the case. Here are some places where you can escape the city.
- Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
- Southern Ridges and Henderson Waves
- Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
- MacRitchie Reservoir Park
- Botanic Gardens (if you are looking for something a little more relaxing)
The company of friends
It’s not really what you, but whom you do it with that counts, right? Okay, actually not really, I’d rather not jump off a cliff or rot in hell with everyone else. But still, life would be quite miserable without friends, after all who would you complain to if not for them?
Technically speaking, it does not have to cost you any money to spend time with friends. We just end up spending money without thinking about it when we make appointments with them at nice restaurants, bars or hipster cafes.
But if you can just stop doing that, you’ll find that getting your daily fix of social interaction doesn’t have to cost that much. You just need to make it a habit to think of free ways to spend time together in the many free-to-visit public spaces (like the ones above) all over Singapore. If food is a problem, there are always take-away sandwiches and salads from 7-11 or the supermarket.
When you get to the age where your friends are moving out of their parents’ homes into their BTO flats or whatever, you can chill out at their places just like in the old days when you would sleep over you so you guys could play Xbox or binge-watch TV series.
Learning and getting into the flow state
No matter how much you might dream of becoming a taitai or gentleman of leisure, it’s been well-documented that human beings have a deep desire to learn, and to enter the “flow state”, where they’re fully immersed in a particular activity. Basically, find some activity you love and can constantly get better at, and you’ll feel a lot more fulfilled.
Note that this is not something many of us necessarily have to get from actual “work”, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Thanks to the internet, there’s any number of things you can learn for free, so you always feel like you’re levelling up your life in some way outside of your career. The most obvious example of skills that can be learnt online are things like coding and web design but well, not everybody gets off on that.
There are lots of other skills you can pick up using only free online and library resources, like new languages, arts like origami (lots of YouTube videos and online diagrams) and calligraphy (you’ll probably want to buy a proper pen at some point, but there are heaps of tutorials online).
In fact, thanks to YouTube, you can find tutorials on every hobby imaginable, from ukulele playing and magic tricks to cooking and manga drawing.
Don’t be one of these people whose only interests outside of work are playing Candy Crush and shopping. Find some skill you can hone for free, and you’ll be surprised by how much pleasure it brings you.
What simple pleasures do you enjoy for free? Tell us in the comments!