Singapore Grand Prix
What we say:
Who says Grand Prix motor racing is only for the rich and famous? Not in Singapore, where you can catch the only F1 night race in the world and first street circuit in the region every September at the Marina Bay circuit. Here’s how to do it on the cheap – well, relatively.
The three-day, officially named Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix this year starts on Friday, September 20 and wraps up Sunday September 22, when the winner is determined. The cheapest tickets, the Bay Grandstand, will set you back by only S$68 for a day’s access on Friday, while a walkabout costs S$128. The grandstand tickets run from S$498 upward.
The walkabout tickets gain you access only to one zone (4), which has numerous F&B outlets and vantage views of the cars. There are some bleachers if you get tired, but you might not see much. Nonetheless, the deafening rev of motor engines (bring earplugs!) and the buzz that hums across the city-state does make for a memorable experience.
In addition, organisers have been expanding the off-track entertainment and concerts. This September, Rihanna, The Killers and Justin Bieber (for an additional price) are just some of the stars performing at the F1.
Where to stay? The Raffles area offers quite a few places but those on a budget can consider further afield. Mid-tier hotels such as the Albert Court Village Hotel offer sleeps below S$300; down a notch you’re looking at somewhere like the Adler Hostel for around S$100; and hostels such as the Green Kiwi Backpacker are a real steal, with sleeps below S$30. While these are not in the Marina Bay area, they are a five to 10-minute train ride away. If you stay in locations such as Kampong Glam or Chinatown, you’ll also find plenty of affordable local food away from the deafening decibels. Book F1-period accommodation ASAP — people book packages with premium hotels up to a year ahead.
You might be tempted by the pricey finger foods for sale on F1 grounds, but you can always get a cheap and filling hawker meal from Lau Pa Sat hawker centre, where you can find late night sustenance after the final trophy is handed out. Even nearer to F1 action is the newly renovated Suntec City shopping mall and Raffles City shopping centre — while there are many affordable options in the Marina Bay area, malls offer dead simple food courts. And don’t forget the kopitiam, where a zi char feast comes at a price of what gets you only a single dish in an upscale restaurant.
Singapore hosted its first Formula One race in 2008 and the Singapore Grand Prix will continue through till 2017 — now that’s plenty of time to book ahead!
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