While you can find a venue to practice almost every activity in Singapore — golfing, surfing, scuba diving, even ice skating and snow skiing — your choices are restricted owing to the country’s tiny size, and rates are somewhat expensive. Because of the busy shipping routes and sheer human pressure, the sea near Singapore is murky, and most residents travel north to Tioman (Malaysia) or Bintan (Indonesia) instead. On the plus side, Singapore has a plethora of dive shops, and they often organize weekend excursions to excellent dive sites off Malaysia’s East Coast, so they are a viable alternative for visiting some of Malaysia’s less-touristy diving locations.
On the cultural front, Singapore has been attempting, with varying degrees of success, to throw off its bland, buttoned-down image and attract more artists and performances. The Esplanade Theatre in Marina Bay, a world-class venue for the arts and a regular platform for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, is the star in Singapore’s cultural sky. Pop culture possibilities are more restricted, and Singapore’s home-grown arts industry remains dormant, despite the success of local stars Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin in the Chinese pop scene. On the plus side, any bands or DJs traveling Asia are almost certain to play in Singapore.
Going to the cinema is a popular Singaporean hobby, however if you want your movies with fewer cuts, check for “R21” classifications (age 21 and above only). Cathay, Golden Village, and Shaw Brothers are the three major theater chains. Censorship continues to suffocate Singapore’s film industry, but Jack Neo’s famous comedy depict the follies of Singaporean life.
Singapore boasts two huge casinos, typically referred to as “integrated resorts,” that generate almost as much income as the whole city of Las Vegas. Marina Bay Sands in Marina Bay is the bigger and more upscale of the two, and Resorts World Sentosa at Sentosa tries for a more family-friendly experience (though it also offer No Limit Holdem from $5/$10). While locals (citizens and permanent residents) must pay $100 per day to access, international tourists may enter for free with a valid passport.
Aside from the casino, there are other types of legalized gambling that are more accessible to residents. This includes horse racing, which is held on weekends by the Singapore Turf Club, football (soccer) betting, and many lotteries organized by the Singapore Pools.
Despite its tiny size, Singapore features a remarkable number of golf courses, however the majority of the finest are maintained by private clubs and are only available to members and their visitors. The Sentosa Golf Club, the notoriously difficult home of the Barclays Singapore Open, and the Marina Bay Golf Course, the only 18-hole public course, are the primary exceptions.
The first Singapore Formula One Grand Prix took place at night in September 2008, and organizers have guaranteed that the night event would continue through 2017. All except racing aficionados will definitely want to skip this time, since hotel costs, particularly for rooms with a view of the F1 racetrack, are over the sky. Tickets start at $150, but the exhilarating experience of a night race will be memorable for all F1 fans and photographers. Aside from being a unique night race, the carnival atmosphere and pop concert conducted surrounding the racing track, as well as the convenience of hotels and restaurants around the corner, set the event apart from other F1 races located in rural locations away from metropolitan centers.
SPAS Singapore has lately seen a “spa boom,” with lots of options ranging from comprehensive Ayurveda to green tea hydrotherapy. However, pricing aren’t as low as in neighboring Indonesia and Thailand, and you’ll be looking at upwards of $50 for a simple one-hour massage. Premium spas can be found in most five-star hotels and on Orchard, while Sentosa’s Spa Botanica is also well-known. There are also a plethora of businesses that provide traditional Chinese massage, the most of which are reputable. Less real “health centers” have been closed down. There are no traditional Asian-style public baths.
If you’re searching for beauty salons on Orchard Road, go to the fourth level of Lucky Plaza. They provide the majority of salon treatments such as manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, and hair services. Due to the reduced pricing compared to the sky high prices of other salons along the retail strip, it is a favorite of flight crews and return travelers. Shop around for costs; some of the more aesthetically pleasing establishments actually charge less.
If you like competitive or recreational swimming, forget your modest hotel pool: Singapore is a swimmer’s heaven, with possibly the greatest density of public pools in the world. They are all open-air 50-meter pools (some facilities have up to three 50-meter pools), with an admission price of $1–1.50. Some guests do not swim at all. They just come from surrounding apartment complexes to chill out, read, and relax in the sun for a few hours. Most are open everyday from 08:00 to 21:00 and all include a small café. Imagine swimming your lanes in the middle of the night in a tropical setting with lit-up palm trees around the pool.
SPORTS IN THE WATER/SNOW
Aside from more traditional water sports like water skiing, wake boarding, windsurfing, and canoeing, Singapore now provides water sports enthusiasts with innovative activities like cable skiing and wave surfing in specifically designed surroundings.
While it is evident that sunny Singapore is not the finest site on the planet for skiing, it does have a permanent indoor snow center. Snow City allows tourists to experience winter. Visitors may escape the hot and humid tropical weather by playing in the snow or learning to ski and snowboard from trained professional instructors.
Shopping is second only to dining as a national passion in Singapore, therefore there are plenty of shopping malls, and cheap import taxes and tariffs combined with high volume mean that pricing are typically highly competitive. While there are no bazaars selling dirt-cheap local handicrafts (in fact, almost everything sold in Singapore is created abroad), items are normally of reasonable quality, and sellers are generally relatively honest thanks to strict consumer protection regulations. Most shops are open everyday from 10:00 to 22:00, while smaller enterprises (especially those outside shopping malls) may shut earlier — 19:00 is frequent — and perhaps on Sundays as well.