I warn you now if you’re a big fan of Formula One apologies in advance. I have never been a huge viewer or follower of any particular sport; yes I’ll appreciate watching a big game from time to time or getting involved in the atmospheric crowds at stadiums, but Formula One is one sport I have watched and understood relatively well, not that it is hard to understand.
Another compulsory opportunity (not that I was going to say no!) had arisen to go abroad with my host family again, to Singapore, business related for them, child care and being a tourist for me. The family tends to watch the races live as much as possible being big F1 fanatics. Beforehand I was told I could go along to their rented room in one of the top hotels, Swissôtel The Stamford, overlooking the night track for the three-day race. Best seats you could possibly get to watch the race.
I didn’t attend the Friday race, knowing it was just the practice run I thought I would leave the excitement and surprise until the following night for qualifying. In the meantime I cared for Toby, one day relaxing around the complex where the family were staying; The Tanglin Club, which was fantastic for kids and very luxurious for adults. Rooms were corporate interior, and the club included a lovely pool, kids pool with a play area, indoor play room, cinema, and a library. Brilliant restaurants and pool bar too!
It was just a shame I wasn’t staying there with the family. Instead they set me up in an Air B&B flat a 15 minute drive away. Nothing to moan about as it was brilliantly located and had everything I needed including a little gym and pool. Right on the doorstep was the shopping mall and subway to reach the main city. However I felt a little out the way and on my own, especially over the weekend when they didn’t need me. I did manage to get out and see the cities sights.
A huge downfall to Singapore, and this was something I would hugely consider if planning a trip here, is the smog. The time we travelled was prime for its worst, with the burning of crops in rural areas of Malaysia it covers the city with a thick, heavy grey blanket, making the air horrid and the heat and humidity unbearable. This made the city very unappealing, and in comparison to my previous trips to Hong Kong and Shanghai I felt a much bigger likening towards China. Singapore is a great place for business and city lovers, and has plenty of things to do with kids, including the huge separate island Sentosa, accompanied with theme parks, water worlds, and the famous Universal Studios. Family resort heaven…my worst nightmare.
Saturday evening I headed over to the Swissôtel The Stamford Hotel via the subway; a fantastic, cheap, quick way to get around the city, especially considering many roads were shut off due to the Grand Prix. I felt like I was travelling solo once again, getting around and working things out alone was strange and slightly daunting but at the same time it’s always rewarding doing things for yourself. Eleven floors up in this glamorous hotel that towers above many of the buildings in Singapore was the double room John had booked for the long weekend. A fantastic way to watch the sport, and considerably cheaper than a ticket on one of the grand stands, which you would pay at least £1000 for the weekend. The hotel room was $2000 a night, and comfortably took at least ten people.
I was completely blown away by the view when I stood out on the balcony. Overlooking the harbour side of the city, with four corners of the track visibly in front of me, the main stage, where acts Maroon 5, Pharrel Williams and Bon Jovi were to play and the unusual iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, with Gardens by the Bay in the backdrop. I’m sure we had one of the best views of the race track. When the sun had set and the track lights lit up the excitement kicked in. Watching Formula One live is one hundred percent worth it, rather than on a measly screen in your living room. Yes I know it is very rare for an opportunity like this one to arise but I recommend it even for non Motorsports fans. Hearing the roaring of the engines whizz round and a room full of ice buckets of Moet Champagne makes for a fantastic night.
Other than watching this spectacular spectacle Toby and I took a trip to the Night Safari one evening. This I really did not enjoy, despite Toby falling asleep almost immediately as we sat on the tram that drove us around, it just felt like the animals were so badly mistreated. I predicted they were chained up or all drugged. Being dark you didn’t have full sight; each animal was literally meters away from the open tram, and we’re talking lions, rhinos, hyenas, elephants; deadly animals, confined to a small area, shown off to the thousands of Asians flocking in each night. A horrible, unkind habitat for them to be shown to the public. Once the short tram ride was over we quickly headed out. I would not recommend.
If you are a lover of plants and gardens then Gardens by the Bay is a lovely day out. Famous for its iconic Super Tree Grove, where artificial trees stand tall in a cluster, which is best seen at night where they are lit up with fiber-optic colours. It also hosts a children’s garden with a water play area and assault course, two domes filled with international varieties of plants, trees and the worlds tallest indoor waterfall. Amazing and worth the visit but recommended to come on a cooler day as the place involves quite a bit of walking.
Sentosa, the separate holidaying resort island, was a place I wanted to check out just to say I had done so, and so we did on our final day in Singapore. Kristin joined Toby and I as we headed to Adventure Cove, the famous water park. Toby obviously loved it, floating down a huge river in a rubber ring and slipping down slides. Not a huge fan myself, but a good day out for the family.
Another place in this world explored and wowed by the Grand Prix. Singapore you have a brilliant side to you but I probably won’t return, unless it was for work.