This article was first published in May 2016 and is constantly being updated as some tours unfortunately stop. The latest update was in June 2020.
The best way to explore every nook and cranny of this tiny island-state is by foot, and the easiest way to understand a country is to meet locals who can share personal stories. So why not combine both walking around with meeting knowledgable locals with free walking tours in Singapore?
Singapore has it all, from heritage-rich exhibition spaces like the National Museum of Singapore to some of the most beautiful religious monuments like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. There is art, nature, shopping, off the beaten path destinations, Instagram-worthy sites and even several beaches.
Each neighborhood is so culturally diverse and packed with heritage that it would be a pity to explore them without knowing the deep history. From Chinatown to Little India to Tiong Bahru, there is so much more than meets the eye. So get your comfy shoes on and extra battery pack for your phone because the free walking tours in Singapore are packed with adventure.
And if you’re craving more, you can always save my article on 100+ things to do in Singapore which is packed with information I gained over my years of living there.
- Indie Singapore tour
- Sneakpeek Singapore
- Bukit Brown Cemetery
- National Parks Board
- Jane’s Walk
- Changi Airport City Tours
- Heritage Trails with NHB
- Mount Faber and Sentosa with My Community
- Monster Singapore Tour
- Paid walking tours in Singapore
Indie Singapore tour
If you’re visiting Singapore on a weekday, sign up for Indie Singapore’s 3-hour walking tours, which have received raving 5-star reviews on Tripadvisor. They have 3 options to cover Singapore’s most historic districts on each day of your visit:
- Chinatown Tuesdays: Get a snapshot of Singapore’s 200-year history
- Kampong Wednesdays: Explore old palace grounds and former Arab quarters in Bugis & Kampong Glam
- Riverfront Thursdays: Learn about Singapore’s beginnings as a fishing village and colonial past
You can also request for personalised tours based on your interest, but these will come at a negotiable fee. Drop an email to email@example.com to customize your route! Or find them online here on their official website.
You don’t only get to walk, but will also get to taste the local flavors and shop around for souvenirs with insider information on all the best spots.
Join passionate local university students as they take you on a journey from the 1300’s to present-day Singapore. The tour starts at the Asian Civilisations Museum and ends at Outram Park. Hear tales of the country’s beginnings as a trading port along the Singapore River, visit Singapore’s oldest temple Thian Hock Keng, and look at skyscrapers in the Central Business District.
End your journey with an amazing view atop the Pinnacle@Duxton’s 50th storey viewing deck!
At 4 hours long this is a lengthy walking tour, but you’ll get a good tea break in between to relax and sample local drinks and snacks at a local bakery and hawker enter. (Saturdays, from 1:30pm to 5:30pm). Catch them online here.
You’d think that walking for five hours in the heat of Singapore would be tiresome and boring, yet the experience with Sneakpeek is anything but tedious. With all the passionate stories and personal anecdotes you won’t even know the time has gone by, in fact, you’ll probably leave wanting more.
Bukit Brown Cemetery
It may seem a bit odd to have a tour of a cemetery, but not here at Bukit Brown. For walking tours in Singapore, this is one of the most unique. The largest public Chinese cemetery outside of China in the early 20th century has 100,000 graves.
All Things Bukit Brown, a volunteer community of history buffs and nature lovers, promotes the cemetery as a living archive of Singapore’s past and are keen to unravel the stories of the people buried here, many of whom are notable pioneers. This includes Cheang Hong Lim and Chew Boon Lay.
Tours are on Weekends, from 9am to 12pm with other pop-up tours . Check out meeting points and other information on their Facebook page here.
It’s nice to understand a country from those who came before us. This is not a scary, ghoulish walk about ghosts and the dead, but rather a reminder of Singapore’s forefathers with stories on a very special history.
National Parks Board
Leave the city and soak in the beauty of nature with these free guided Singapore tours around the various parks – all led by experts and available in several languages. Catch cheeky long-tailed macaques in action at MacRitchie, learn about the rainforest at Botanic Gardens or go birdwatching at Sungei Buloh. They’re by far some of my best free walking tours in Singapore as I love nature.
Some of the more exclusive tours have a nominal $3-$5 fee, such as the one at Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa showcasing six ecosystems. Why not spend the night at Pulau Ubin after your tour? There are several camping spots at this relaxed island. Here’s our own guide to Pulau Ubin. Dates, languages, walk durations and maximum guest numbers vary per route. Find them online here.
This is for nature lovers and those who would like to get a break from the city. You will not only be out in the fresh air, surrounded by lush greenery, but will also learn a thing or two about Singapore’s very unique ecosystem. The cute mohican macaques are also a bonus for those who love animals. But do not feed them! Not only is it bad for them as they may become vicious after learning that food comes from humans, but if caught you’ll also be fine S$5,000.
An annual affair since 2011, Jane’s Walk offers over 20 guided tours every May and covers everything from jogs along the Kallang River to leisurely strolls around Tiong Bahru- which we have covered in our neighbourhood guide here!
The concept behind Jane’s Walk is to start conversations about places and people, so every tour is planned and led by enthusiastic resident volunteers who share their personal experiences of working, living or playing in their area. Dates, walk durations, and maximum guest numbers vary per route. For more information on the walk check out their website here.
Jane’s Walk has an open policy on discussion, where all thoughts are welcomed and examined. You will find out more about the need for community in Singapore and what “kampong spirit” means.
Changi Airport City Tours
Update in 2020: Changi free tours have stopped due to the pandemic. They will surely continue in the future when travel has opened back up. Keep checking here for updates.
Got a few hours to spare before your next flight? Make full use of your layover with Changi Airport’s 2.5 hour twice-daily City Sights Tour and catch modern Singapore’s skyline, including stopovers at The Merlion, Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.
Discover Singapore’s melting pot of cultures by visiting colonial and cultural districts, including Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam on the Heritage Tour, running 4 times a day. The tour is for Changi transit passengers only. Check on the Changi website for how to book here.
This is a must-do activity for long transfers, even though you can spend a full day in Changi itself. So often we visit airports but are unable to actually enter and therefore experience the country itself. So this is the perfect opportunity to understand Singapore’s diverse culture and history before you jet off to your next location.
Heritage Trails with NHB
If you like your walks free and easy, then check out the 14 self-guided free walking tours in Singapore that you can take at your own pace created by the National Heritage Board. Their free downloadable guides (around 30 pages each) includes maps, past versus present-day pictures, detailed descriptions and interesting facts on Singapore’s landmarks.
There are also directions to hit every heritage marker (standing stone plaques with further descriptions about where you’re standing).
If you don’t have access to a printer during your visit, then download NHB’s 3 free walking tour apps (WWII, Singapore Heritage Trails, SG Journey), which feature games and interactive maps to deepen your knowledge of Singapore’s rich history. Check out their website with times and dates here.
Although all the tours are special in their own right, one of the Tampines Heritage Trails is a great last tour before you jet out of the country as it’s right next to Changi Airport. There are also different options depending on your creed from religious monuments to green spaces and the town itself.
Mount Faber and Sentosa with My Community
The reservoir around Mount Faber used to be a body of water where locals would go for a swim or even fish. But by the early 2000s it had completely disappeared off the map.
It was only in 2014 that National Heritage Board researchers came across the reservoir accidentally. As it remains zoned as a greenfield space it will most likely remain untouched and off the beaten path.
If this type of intrepid exploration excites you, then you should definitely contact non-profit My Community who provide free tours to abandoned and off-the-grid destinations around Mount Faber and Sentosa. Two of the standout places you can visit are the underground complex on Mount Faber that was built in 1936 to coordinate artillery batteries and Fort Serapong on Pulau Blakang Mati, or as it’s better known, Sentosa. You can book your tour online here.
You will most likely not be able to visit the hidden destinations without the tour guides, so it is really a once in a lifetime experience for avid explorers and history buffs.
Monster Singapore Tour
Another very popular walking Singapore tour operator is Monster Day Tours. Apart from planning themes, guided, bespoke and their popular “Go Big” Signature Tours, they also provide free walking tours in Singapore. Their guides are young, bubbly and effortlessly enthusiastic while providing a larger than life touring experience.
Their free walking tours in Singapore visit all the tourist favorites like Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam, Marina Bay Sands & Gardens by the Bay which has a spectacular Light Show, Civic District & Singapore River, and Bugis & Bras Basah. Each tour is on a different day, so it’s best to check there really well-made website here to find out more information.
They are well known for ad-libbing on their tours, providing on the spot information as it happens. So you get the basic guided tour plus a deeper knowledge of what you’re seeing and experiencing, on the spot. There is also a bit of adventure and storytelling, so it’s like a performance, over and above the facts.
Paid walking tours in Singapore
While the list above mentions all the free walking tours in Singapore, we thought it would be a nice addition to tell you about some great paid walking tours of Singapore as well.
This is for tourists and visitors who want a more personalised experience and don’t have time to wait around for the unpaid ones. With the Singapore walking tours listed below, you get a one-on-one experience on your own time and at your own leisure without other people who may be disrupting your experience.
We have selected walking tours from Klook and Getyourguide, as they are the most trusted tour providers on the Internet and we often use them on our travels. Some also allow cancellations, which is great when your plane is delayed or the weather isn’t doing what you want.
Read on to find out our picks of the best paid walking tours in Singapore.
First up is the Chinatown walking tour. Visit all the most famous locations in Chinatown like the Buddha Tooth Relic Museum, Sri Mariamman and the local wet market. Discover hidden gems and truly local stories as you visit Chinese medical halls, woodwork handicrafts, and tea houses as you walk under the shophouses. The tour is also loaded with some deep insight into the culture of the bustling town.
You can book your Chinatown walking tour here.
Feeling peckish? Then rather take the Chinatown Food Tasting & Walking Tour. This is definitely for the foodies and IGers as you will get to enjoy a classic breakfast of sweet kaya toast with a hot cup of coffee, visit the wet market, try 5 different Singaporean dishes and see how they are prepared. Oh yes, and you get to walk through Chinatown with a licensed guide!
You can book your Chinatown food tour here.
Probably the most colorful Singapore walking tour, a visit to Little India will fill you will tons of inspiration and will have all your senses tingling. You expert local guide will take you on a journey to all the secret spots and major sites of Little India. You will see how flower garlands are made, pass by the fortune tellers, witness Sri Veeramakaliamman temple and it’s gorgeous gopuram and pay a visit to the Indian Heritage Centre to learn more about the local Indian community.
You can book your Little India tour here.
You can also book admission to the India Heritage Centre here if you prefer not to go on a guided tour.
Historic and off the beaten path
If you think you’ve seen everything in Singapore, think again. This series of five different walks will talk you on a journey deep into the unknown parts of the Lion City. Each half day tour ventures into a different part of Singapore’s history, it is part history lesson, part interactive experience and all fun. In one adventure you will learn about Singapore’s national flower, the Sarkies brothers, the Straits Times and the history behind the ‘Singapore Sling’. In another you delve into the Malay and Islam influence in Singapore. There’s even a Chinatown, Little India and Battebox experience in these award-winning tours.
This tour is great for both first time travelers and locals alike and promises something completely different to the usual touristy spots.
Book one (or all) of the five tours at a discounted rate here.
Tired feet or those who can’t take a traditional walking tour, should not fear. Join an uncle and hop on a trishaw to see Singapore from a different angle. It’s great to have the wind blowing in your hair as you visit multiple sights including the Singapore River, Little India, Kampong Glam, and Chinatown. Pop into some shops, eat some authentic meals and listen as the wise old uncle tells you about his deep history and culture.
Book your trishaw tour here.
Haw Par Villa
By far the most eccentric Singapore walking tour you will join, Haw Par Villa and it’s crazy figures will leave you speechless. This after-dark, two-hour guided tour will take you into the vision of Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the creators of Tiger Balm. You will be guided through the infamous 10 Courts of Hell and find out how the King of Ghosts got his title. Learn all about the multiple perspectives of death and the afterlife through park’s bizarre sculptures and dioramas.
Book your guided Haw Par Villa tour here.
Landmarks and cityscapes
This one is a tourist favorite, especially for travelers with a limited time who want to see most of Singapore famous landmarks. Not only will you see the best of the best that Singapore’s has to offer like the Merlion, Cavenagh Bridge and the Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City, you will also explore some unique sites like the Cookie Museum. And the best part, you can choose to walking or ride an e-scooter for a truly expeditious adventure.
Book your cityscapes tour here.
Probably the most visited area by tourists and locals alike, Marina Bay has a lot to offer. Visit the iconic landmarks like Marina Bay Sands, Helix Bridge, and Marina Bay Floating Platform. The delve into the history of the architecture and learn about the feng shui of the area. There is an additional component that makes this particular tour stand out, you will dive into the history of the government and learn about its policies and how it was able to forge economic growth and sustainable development.
Book your Marina Bay tour here.
While the most famous airport in the world will be visited by each traveler to the country, the area surrounding the terminals is also called Changi and holds an important history for the country. Understand more about the area and its wartime past as you visit the World War II sites. Learn more about the triumphs and tragedies as you pass the Changi Chapel and Museum Exhibition. You will also get to explore Singapore’s untouched greenery as you trek through the Changi Boardwalk and peak at the Straits of Johor. Pay your respect to fallen citizens at Kranji War Cemetery and visit several batteries. This tour is for true history buffs and you will leave feeling humbled and knowledgable.
Book your Changi WWII guided tour here.
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