Did you know ice skating was a thing in Singapore? It’s possibly not the first activity that springs to mind when you think of the tropics, but it’s a great way to cool down.
Singapore has three ice-skating rinks. Three. And a fake ski slope too, but we think that’s maybe going too far. Two rinks are the regular frozen water variety, and the third is plastic pseudo-ice. We recommend wearing long pants to protect yourself if you fall. For the real ice rinks you’ll need a light jacket, too.
The most popular of the three rinks we visited is The Rink at JCube mall in East Jurong. The Rink, in the middle of a shopping mall, is an Olympic-size (real) ice-skating rink surrounded by two levels of shops and restaurants, with a dedicated viewing platform. Two-hour set session times that include admission, boots, gloves and socks will set you back S$21.50 for adults and S$19.50 for kids under 12 (prices go up on holidays). You’ll save S$4 off these prices if you bring your own socks and gloves.
For beginners, cute skating aids are available — penguins and snowmen for kids at S$10 for two hours, and seals for adults at S$15 for two hours. The Rink hosts a popular disco on ice on Fridays and Saturdays 21:45–23:45 and bumper cars on ice (S$8 for 10 minutes) Saturdays 17:15–22:15. Admission to the viewing gallery is S$3.50, but you can see just as well from outside (and there are seats too). If you are with little kids you’ll probably want to be inside. Lockers are available for S$2. Ice resurfacing happens between session times.
Kallang Ice World
Kallang Ice World at Kallang Leisure Park neighbours Kallang Sports Hub in East Singapore. Although like The Rink, Kallang Ice World is in a mall, it’s a much more private affair, and only paying customers will get to see you skate (or fall). At Kallang, there are no set session times and the clock starts ticking from your entry time. Two hours of (real) ice time includes figure skates for S$17.50 for adults and S$15 for kids or hockey skates for S$19.50 for adults and S$17 for kids. Add another S$2 for gloves and socks. Oddly kids gloves cost S$0.50 more. In the unlikely event that you’ve brought your own skates, entry is S$14/S$12.
Skate aids here are free, but don’t have the cuteness of penguins and snowmen — they are just a bent metal bar but they do the trick. Overtime is charged at S$5/S$4 per hour. Visitor admission is S$3 per two hours. Lockers are $2. Don’t lose your ticket, or you’ll be charged a flat S$20 when you leave. Resurfacing takes place every three hours for 20 minutes, which cuts into the actual skating time if it happens during your two-hour block, so you may want to time your skating to avoid this — we recommend starting just after the machine has performed its magic so the ice will be nice and smooth. Resurfacing times are: 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 22:00.
Marina Bay Sands Skating Rink
In the heart of the high-end mall at Marina Bay Sands, you can strap on some skates for a fake ice experience. At 600 square metres, the rink here is only about one-third Olympic size, and very open: smack bang in the middle of the shops. Surprisingly, when we visited there was no one skating. No one, and we bet that’s a very expensive piece of real estate. The high-tech plastic pseudo-ice is (we’re told) much more slippery than the real thing. The advantage (or disadvantage) is that it’s no colder than the rest of the mall. Here there are no set session times and rates are charged hourly. The first hour of skating costs S$7 for adults and S$6 for kids under 12. Though one will probably be enough, extra hours are discounted to S$5 and S$3. You are not permitted to use your own skates; skate rental is S$3 for the entire time. Bring your own socks as they are charged at a whopping S$6.
Of all the rinks, we prefer Kallang — it doesn’t feel like you have an audience and you can skate any time as there are no set sessions. However, kids will probably enjoy The Rink more due to the cute skating aids. During our research we met one of Singapore’s champion skaters and asked her preference — she too liked Kallang, citing that the plastic rink was too slippery, and The Rink too crowded.
If ice isn’t your thing, and inline skating in the great outdoors is more your style, Skateline with shops in several locations around Singapore rent inline skates (including safety gear) at S$8 for the first hour and S$4 per hour after that. Call to confirm availability first as they use their hire skates for lessons. Inlinex rent a full set including skates and safety gear for 24 hours for S$25 from their Riverwalk shop in central Singapore. You’ll need some form of ID to leave as collateral at both places. Many of Singapore’s parks allow inline skating.
The Rink: 2 Jurong East Central 1. Level 3, JCube, Singapore (MRT: Jurong East); email@example.com; www.therink.sg; open Tues-Wed 10:00–19:15, Mon, Thurs, Sun 10:00–21:30; Fri-Sat 10:00–23:45 (check website to confirm public session times)
Kallang Ice World: 5 Stadium Walk, Singapore (MRT: Stadium); T: 6348 1123; www.leisurepark.com.sg; open Sun–Thurs 10:00–22:00, Fri–Sat 10:00–00:00.
Marina Bay Sands Skating Rink: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (MRT: Bayfront); T: 6688 8868; open daily 11:30–20:30 (closed 17:00-18:00 for maintenance)
Inlinex (Inline skate hire): 20 Upper Circular Road, #01-15 The Riverwalk, Singapore (MRT: Clarke Quay, Raffles Place and City Hall); www.inlinex.com.sg/pages/skate-rental; open weekdays 12:00–20:30; weekends 12:00–18:00.
By Sally Arnold.
Last updated on 28th May, 2016.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.