Travel Loafers recently sent a client to attend the F-1 in Singapore, but Singapore offers a lot more than the F-1. We always enjoy receiving postcards and hearing what our clients get up to. In this multi-part blog, Andy describes an experience of a lifetime. You can read part 1 here: Singapore part 1. After settling in nicely at the Days Hotel Singapore, here’s what Andy got himself into.
So you`re in Singapore, what do you do?
Formula 1 #NightRace
The main reason for my trip to Singapore was the Singapore Grand Prix or as it’s known locally “The Night Race”. Singapore is different from other F1 races due to the fact that it’s held at night and there’s always a safety car, which makes the race more interesting. The drivers bunch up in a slow procession, trying to maintain the best track position before the Safety Car pulls in and they race again.
Ticket prices vary from $100 (early bird) for a walkabout general admission ticket to the $1000+ tickets for the main grandstand on the start/finish straight. The cost of our tickets was reasonable – around $350 (early bird) Singapore for a 3-day Grandstand Pass for the Marina Bay Stand, which overlooks the footprint of water and port that Singapore was built on.
If you’re heading to the F1, I’d recommend getting in one of the grandstands, as the public viewing can get extremely busy and considering the heat and humidity during September in Singapore, your money will be well spent investing in a ticket for a seat!
What the F1 means to the locals is an opportunity to showcase this remarkable island country to the world. And they do it well. Acts like Pharell Williams, Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi headlined on the Panag Stage, which is a short walk from the Bay Grandstand.
During the day, face painting, live music along with minor races such as the Porsche Cup and other road cars create a unique spectacle on the streets of Singapore. Opportunity to grab some snaps are all around and you can even harness your skills as an F1 driver on the linked race simulators that are dotted around the park.
Food & Drink within the circuit is in line with what you pay in Australia at a sporting event, $12 for a pint (6 quid in English money) and $15 – $20 for a pizza or a curry. Just remember, step outside the circuit and you’re in the Singapore city hub, where food is better value!
Grabbing a memento is easy. As you walk around the park, merchandise stalls litter the way, the cost of a program $25 (Singapore), baseball caps start around $50 (Singapore) and a wide array of other souvenirs can be picked up for under $20 (Singapore). If you wish to sell a kidney, Official Team T-shirts start at $120 (Singapore) and go up to the wild $300 (Singapore) for a Ferrari tie!!
If you get the chance to attend, this is an experience you should not miss. Tickets are now on sale for the 2016 race and you can find out more info at http://www.singaporegp.sg/
Beer at the Marina Bay Sands & Shops
In the killer heat and humidity, take the opportunity to head down to the Marina Bay Sands and enjoy a cool beer, you will have earned it! Most people head for Altitude Bar at the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, however, because of the view it’s always crowded, so we headed down to one of the outside ground level bars for a cool one.
REMEMBER: You’re paying for the view and the location so at $20 (Singapore) for 1 pint of Guinness you won’t be having a large night unless you’re in the high roller category (and even this is cheap compared to the prices on the rooftop bar). Drink here and you won’t be a high roller for long!
However for value as far as shopping goes for luxury and designer goods, the Marina Bay Sands is far better value for money that the DFS Outlet and “Shopping Centres” on Orchard Rd. On average (from what I could see) watches were 10-15% cheaper here and 20% for women’s handbags and accessories – this I found out as I receive a shopping list every time I travel without my wife. (here’s a tip for anyone who has managed to score a lads week away, buy your wife a prezzie, your friends may call you soft or daft and you may get some stick, however, this just guarantees you will be allowed away next time………………..trust me it works!).
Orchard Road is unique, given that you have thousands of shops crammed into such a small geographical area, all selling the same thing at ridiculously over inflated prices! However, it’s an opportunity to see how the other half lives and the extremes of excess that some people have when it comes to high-end goods.
There are some great Japanese beer bars dotted up and down Orchard Rd, but again remember, with great beer comes a great price. On average you will be paying over $18 (Singapore) for 1 pint…….so it won’t be a big night!
24 Hour Shopping at Dhoby Ghaut
While we may take it for granted, 24-hour shopping is a relatively new concept in Singapore. At Dhoby Ghaut you can literally shop all night as well as eat and drink until you fall asleep! The food court is open 24/7 with something for everyone, and this is where the locals go. Dhoby Ghaut is the best for men’s aftershaves etc. the prices here can be as much as 50% cheaper than anywhere else in Singapore.
Kranji War Memorial
Located off Woodlands Road, Kranji, you will find the most peaceful and tranquil of places. The Cemetery is the final resting place of some 4,500 commonwealth service personnel and home to the names of a further 26,000 who gave their lives in the Singapore conflict and internment camps of Singapore during WWII.
It is immaculate and the locals who work there do an amazing job on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. List of countries represented at Kranji: Singapore, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, China & Netherlands.
Air Force, Army & Navy
Lest We Forget.
Changi Museum & Memorial
Located just outside the original Changi Prison (which is still used today) is the memorial to all service personnel and civilians who were held there by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in Feb 1942.
This is a free museum and is open 09:30 to 17:00 every day. It tells some of the stories of the individuals where were interned here for the remainder of WWII and highlights some of the brutal treatment that the Japanese inflicted on the prisoners.
Take a walk to Changi Village and walk past the old original entrance to the prison, this is a long walk past sections of the high-security prison and it is not recommended to be done alone or without adequate water. You can always take the # 2 Bus to Changi village, stroll on the beach and pay your respects at the sight of so many atrocities. You will also pass the Selarang Camp which was also used by the Japanese during WWII.
Both of these places are recommended. The brutality of war is often forgotten or glossed over by the pages of textbooks.
My Singapore is one of adventure. From the F1 to the unexpected, and an opportunity to pay my respects to the fallen, the island nation has much to offer. Its diverse cultures welcome all.
The downside of Singapore is not the heat or humidity: it is the lack of interest in recovering that past. The government seems more interested in allocating national park status than attempting to preserve the nation’s rich colonial history and exploring the vast untouched relics that have laid dormant for the last 70 years or so.
This is a hub that you MUST visit.
Planning a trip to Singapore or anywhere else? travelloafers.agentstudio.com can help you find everything you will need for a worry-free trip. Be sure to visit us. And be sure to watch for part 2 of Andy’s Singapore experience.
See you on the road!
Mike & Dianne
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