Singapore Country Guide



Despite its small size, Singapore has a surprisingly large number of golf courses but most of the best ones are run by private clubs and open to members and their guests only. The main exceptions are the Sentosa Golf Club and the Marina Bay Golf Course, the only 18-hole public courses. Alternatively, head to the nearby Indonesian islands of Batam or Bintan or up north to Malacca in Malaysia for cheaper rounds. 

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Golf course on Sentosa Island by Sengkang

On the cultural side of things, Singapore has been trying to shake off its boring, buttoned-down reputation and attract more artists and performances, with mixed success. The star in Singapore's cultural sky is the Esplanade Theatre in Marina Bay, a world-class facility for performing arts and a frequent stage for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Pop culture options are more limited and Singapore's home-grown arts scene remains rather moribund. On the upside, many bands and singers touring the Asian scence are pretty much guaranteed to have at least a single performance in Singapore.

In summer, don't miss the yearly Singapore Arts Festival. Advance tickets for almost any cultural event can be purchased from SISTIC Singapore, either online or from any of their numerous ticketing outlets including the Singapore Visitor Centre on Orchard Road.

Forget your tiny hotel pool if you are into competitive or recreational swimming. Singapore is a paradise for swimmers with arguably the highest density of public pools in the world. They are all open-air 50 metre pools accessible for an entrance fee of SGD1-1.50. Some of the visitors don't swim at all. They just come from nearby housing complexes for a few hours to chill out, read and relax in the sun. Most are open daily from 8 am to 9 pm, and all feature a small cafe. The Singapore Sports Council maintains a list of pools, most of which are part of a larger sports complex.

For those who don't like swimming pools, head out to the beaches. East Coast Park has a scenic coastline that stretches over 15 km. It's a popular getaway spot for Singaporeans to swim, cycle, barbeque and engage in various other sports and activities. Sentosa Island also has three white, sandy beaches including Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach and Tanjong Beach. Each beach has its own distinct characteristics and also very popular with locals.

Beach on Sentosa Island by Singaporean

F1 Grand Prix
The F1 Singapore Grand Prix is a fixture on the local calendar at least until 2017. Held on a street circuit in the heart of Singapore and raced at night, all but race fans will probably wish to avoid this time, as hotel prices especially room with view of the F1 tracks are through the roof. Tickets start from $150 but the thrilling experience of night race is definitely unforgettable. Besides being a uniquely night race, the carnival atmosphere and pop concert held around the race ground as well as the convenience of hotels and restaurants round the corner, distinguish the race from other F1 races held away from urban centres.

Singapore is experiencing a "spa boom" and there are plenty of choices ranging from holistic Ayurveda to green tea hydrotherapy. However, prices aren't as rock-bottom as in neighbouring Indonesia or Thailand, and you'll generally be looking upwards of SGD50 even for a plain one-hour massage. Premium spas can be found in most 5-star hotels and Sentosa Island's Spa Botanica.

When looking for beauty salons on Orchard Road, try out the ones on the fourth floor of Lucky Plaza. They offer most salon services like manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and hair services. A favourite of flight crews and repeat tourists due to the lower charges compared to the sky high prices of other salons along the shopping belt. Shop around for prices, some of the better looking ones actually charge less.

Country Guide

Singapore Hotels
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Boat Quay
City Hall
Clarke Quay
Marina Bay
Mustafa Centre
North Bridge Road
Orchard Road
Sentosa Island
Suntec City

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