What to Do in Singapore: The Essential Guide for the Formula One Weekend

Formula One is back! This year, from 16 to 18 September, 22 drivers and their teams will compete in the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix. Thousands of locals and overseas visitors will be gathering in the Circuit Park to watch this first and only night race. It’s been nine years since Formula 1 drivers first raced along the Marina Bay Street Circuit, but if it’s your first time here in the city, here are some essential tips and recommended places to visit.

Important rule of thumb

1. Always have some cash on hand
Nothing comes for free in life and that holds true as you are planning for the most epic weekend in Singapore. If you are a tourist, you’ll want to make sure that you have some cash on you at all times, especially in Circuit Park. While some places accept cards, there are food stations that only take cash. Don’t be that person who gets turned away at the front of the queue before the counter, with that thirst quenching bottle of water just within your sights, because you have no cash on you. ATMs may be hard to come by within the park, so do your homework and research for the best places to exchange your currency for some Singapore dollars whether it is near your hotel or around Circuit Park.

In Singapore, you’ll find that money changers offer the best exchange rates, especially if you are exchanging a large sum of cash which gives you some leverage to negotiate (Shh… don’t tell them we said that). Our new website allows you to search for the nearest money changer by different neighbourhoods, so you can always find a money changer, wherever you are. Just click on Edit Search to select the areas closest to where you will be spending your day.

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The following are five money changers that are near Circuit Park, but you can edit your search parameters accordingly to find the money changer that is the most conveniently located for your purposes.

Now that you have some Singapore dollars, it’s time to see what else Singapore has to offer when it comes to sights, dining and memorable experiences!

Tips for your trip to Circuit Park

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2. Hang on to the right ticket

Holding a ticket to Circuit Park? Make sure it’s the right one. Tickets are colour-coded for different days, and you can only enter via certain entry points based on the pass you have, so be sure to make your way to the right spot, in case you have to make a detour and miss the start of the race (true story)!

3. Dress for warm weather (but always have a brolly)

Singapore’s weather can be quite hot so be sure you dress in light comfortable clothing, and remember, if you’re feeling hot in the grandstands, imagine how much worse it is for the drivers who have to brave the sweltering tropical heat and still retain a laser-like focus on the end goal – the chequered flag! Interesting bit of trivia here: drivers can lose up to 4 kg and 3 litres of water during a single race. It’s not uncommon for tropical showers to suddenly unleash their fury on this small city-state, so always have an umbrella with you.

4. Enjoy international superstar performances

Aside from the guaranteed adrenaline pumping championship race, you can catch world class acts like Kylie Minogue, Queen, Adam Lambert and Imagine Dragons. To celebrate the end of the race, there will be a spectacular fireworks display, so try to get a good spot in Zone 4, along the Esplanade Drive.

5. Take advantage of extended public transportation hours

Public transport services will be extended until 1am plus on all nights, so rest assured that you can stay on to enjoy the various performances before leaving Circuit Park. Shuttle buses will also be available to ferry visitors to the park between destinations.

6. The early bird gets a discount

A big fan of Formula One? You might want to buy super early bird tickets that are discounted by 33% for 2017 or get your hands on some official merchandise to support your team. Wear your team colours proudly the next time you catch a Formula One race, be it at the Singapore or Monaco street circuits.

Dining in the Garden City

On the topic of tickets, you’ll be glad to know that your F1 pass unlocks a world of discounted dining and entertainment! We are not going to list all the establishments, as you can simply refer to this guide instead, but the array of choices can be dazzlingly, so we’ll highlight a couple of unique experiences that might be well worth your time.

7. Enjoy dinner with The Spy, The Thug, His Wife and Her Lover
Get set for the most mysterious dinner you’ll have in Singapore – even the location of this feast is kept secret until 24 hours before the event! Always wanted to be an international super spy? Get a taste of that with a prison break, a meal with the mafia and a plane crash escape – all before supper.

8. Expect the Unexpected at this Grand Prix dinner theatre
Lick your chops and enjoy a theatrical performance during your five course dinner at the lush and opulent boutique Hotel Vagabond by French designer Jacques Garcia, where you can expect that nothing is quite as it seems. (Psssst… we hear the cocktails at the bar are pretty good)

9. Enjoy a taste of the local hawker fare (even Michelin and Gordon Ramsay agree it’s delicious)
While you can visit the Lau Pa Sat ‘Satay Street’ for some grilled marinated meat skewers, we’d suggest heading to an alternative location to eat where the locals do. At the very top of your list should be Chinatown Complex, the biggest hawker centre in Singapore housing more than 200 cooked food stores and more than 4000 market stalls. Located in the heart of Chinatown, you will be able to order a table full of mouth-watering local delights like carrot cake, char kway teow, hokkien mee, chicken rice, Shanghai dumplings, craft beer and more. The place is massive so it may be hard to locate any one particular store, but if you are curious about what is possibly one of the cheapest Michelin-starred meals in the world, you will want to check out the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice, where you can get a taste of culinary heaven at USD$1.50 (if you’re willing to wait several hours in line).

10. Join the Grand Prix Season Singapore Pub Crawl
Singapore has a really vibrant night life, so it can be hard to decide where to go to grab a drink. A general location would be Clarke Quay where you will find numerous pubs and night spots lining the streets, but if you want to hang out with other like-minded fans of Formula 1, a fun group activity might be the F1 pub crawl where you can discuss your favourite drivers, teams, sport strategies and argue about who will be the F1 Champion this season. Personally, we’re on Team Renault.

Light up the night with one of these festivals

Singapore is a multi-racial society where many different races co-exist peacefully, so you’ll get the chance to experience several festivals that are being celebrated in Singapore over this one weekend, and enjoy the pretty lights.

11. Explore Chinatown through the glow of a lit lantern this Mid-Autumn Festival
Aside from sampling the delightful hawker fare at Chinatown, you will also get the chance to view colourful lanterns strung up all around Chinatown as the F1 race falls during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Pick up a box of mooncakes for dessert and have them with some Chinese tea. If you wander around Chinatown, you’ll be able to to see stage shows, lantern painting competitions and shop at other pop up market stalls selling a wide variety of souvenirs and other assorted merchandise. Light up a lantern and wander through the streets like a local.

12. Explore the market bazaars at Little India this Deepavali
The Hindu Festival of Lights will see the streets of Little India lit up by colourful light displays. Be sure to have your camera at the ready at the many cultural performances, as well as the fashion show showcasing the Deepavali 2016 designer collection. You may even be inspired to purchase your own saree after the show!

Get cultured at art exhibitions

13. Spend an afternoon at the National Gallery
The recently opened National Gallery will keep you occupied for hours with the world’s largest collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art – more than 8000 artworks hang upon those walls. If you like architecture and history as well, it might interest you to know that the buildings that comprise the National Gallery used to be the Supreme Court and City Hall. With your F1 pass, you will gain free access to the permanent exhibitions, so there’s no better time to visit.

14. View modern art at the Salvador Dali & Pierre Argillet: Thirty Years of Collaboration exhibition
Experience a surreal afternoon at the Red Sea Gallery by viewing signed and authenticated art pieces by Salvador Dali from the Pierre Argillet Collection. For the first time ever, two original copper plates will be publicly displayed and all artwork will be available for sale.

15. Explore public spaces with Urban Ventures
Experience art in a whole new different way with Urban Ventures, an event that transforms public spaces with interactive art installations. Performing and visual artists will conduct workshops and showcase their creative works along the street, so join in the fun and mingle with the crowd!

Singapore has any number of other tourist attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari, Singapore Zoo and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, but the above are just some of the more interesting activities that will be taking place during the Formula One race weekend. For more ideas, you can visit YourSingapore.com by the Singapore Tourism Board.

As you can see from the list above, there’s plenty of fun to be had during your stay in Singapore, so plan well to make the most of your trip!


 

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