Well, the answer to the question posed at the title, to our disappointment, is yes and no at the same time. As we are always traveling with our tent and with the high prices that we saw that had even the simplest accommodations in this city-state, we were happy to read that it was possible to camp for free at several parks there.
The surprise was ours when a few days before arriving we realized that maybe in the past was like this, but nowadays only Singaporeans and foreigners with a residence permit are allowed to camp in Singapore.
Start putting the tent away…
The truth is that the idea was great: to allow camping in several of the parks and beaches that exist all over the country, having asked prior authorization.
This authorization request was also easy and fast. In case you’re still interested, you simply have to log on the website of National Parks (link here) and start filling out a form stating exactly the period of days that you want to camp. Then it will appear the areas that are not full yet, and you can choose which one you prefer. After this, you will have to write the documentation for each of the campers. If you want to take more than a tent, you will have to re-do the procedure as many times as tents you want to pitch.
So far so good… If this remained the same that years ago. The problem came when doing this because it kept on giving us an error when we were writing our documentation. After trying several times, we sent an email directly to NParks and they answered saying that if we had no residence permit, we could not. And that the only solution we had was to go to Ubin island, where it’s possible to camp freely at Jetulong and Maman beaches without asking any permission.
Where to camp with the permission
In case you are not passing by and you have a residence permit, you can camp four days a month per person.
There are three major parks where to camp:
- East Coast Park: 2 areas called D & G.
- West Coast Park: 1 area called 3.
- Pasir Ris Park: 2 areas called 1 & 3.
The parks are quite used by the same locals to go barbecuing and spend the day ‘away’ from the big city, but be aware that if you are going to take the day and you expect to set up the tent to be more comfortable, you should ask for authorization even if you are not going to spend the night there.
On the other hand, at Changi Beach Park, where it was also possible to camp before, is now strictly prohibited. So you will have left only the two beaches of Pulau Ubin that we have said before, where you can camp freely without any authorization.
Seeing all this, and thinking that if somewhere in Southeast Asia they would be strict with the rules, it would be Singapore, we decided not to camp and be just passed by the city a couple of nights. Once there, we realized that we had done well because we read in a newspaper an article explaining that each year several hundred people were found camping without permission and the fine was up to 2,000 Singapore Dollar, around 1,300 euros. It takes away the desire to pitch your tent, doesn’t it?
And why not the airport?
Whether your plane arrives at night or if you leave early morning you seriously think about sleeping in the amazing airport of Singapore.
It surprised us a lot. Aside from having a very fast and uninterrupted Wi-Fi, there were plugs and USB connectors everywhere. Also you find not only typical airport benches where to sleep more or less comfortable, but many sofas and so comfortable loungers scattered around the airport. You can also see different movies shown 24/7 in the second and third floor. And of course, there are all kinds of restaurants, fast food and even a small supermarket.
There is a lot of security at the airport but it seems they do not care to you sleep there if you don’t bother nobody. So you know, if you have any night where you don’t know where to sleep during your pass by Singapore, give the airport a try!