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2014 is the first year that the WTA Finals have been held in Singapore. As Singapore is quick and easy to get to from Melbourne (compared to Europe and the USA anyways!) I’m so glad that I took the opportunity to pop over for a live tennis fix.
If you’re planning to attend anytime in the next few years, these tips will enhance your visit and let you know what to expect.
There are many things that make Singapore a great host country for the WTA Finals. As well as being clean, safe and full of friendly people, Singapore offers great shopping, great sights to see and great food to eat.
1. Weather conditions are hot and humid but air conditioning is easy to find
To me, Singapore has a “slow burn” type of humidity. By that I mean when you first walk outside, you notice the heat but if you’re not from a hot country, it’s only when you’ve been outside for a short while that you realise you’re sweating. A lot. And even your hair is sweating. And if you have big hair, it will be even bigger once you’ve spent any amount of time outside!
Singapore is well set up to help people avoid the humid (and often rainy) conditions. Inside, everywhere is air conditioned, including hotels, shopping centres and train stations.
2. Shops opening hours start around 10am
Many shopping centres are open from 10am to 9pm or 10pm, however we were at a shopping centre at around 10am and although some shops were open, some didn’t open until 11am. Some centres offer late night shopping on Saturdays until 11pm.
If, like me, you’re used to Australian shopping hours of 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays, you’ll need to adjust your expectations.
3. Tipping isn’t expected and a service charge may be added to the bill in restaurants
Like in Australia, people don’t expect you to tip, however I’m sure that rounding up the bill is always appreciated.
In restaurants and bars a 10% service charge might be automatically added to the bill, along with 7% GST. Service charge isn’t added in food courts or hawker centres, and in that case I’m very sure a tip will be appreciated.
4. Taxi costs are reasonable
Added to the reasonable cost, the drivers are friendly, it’s generally easy to find an available car and traffic isn’t stressful, making taxis a good option for getting around.
The fare is based on an initial cost, plus the distance travelled and waiting time.
5. The train system is fantastic
As mentioned above, the train system is fully air conditioned and offers comfortable conditions. Added to that it’s clean and safe, ticketing is straight forward and trains run frequently.
6. Try the food at a hawker centre
The quality and flavour of food in Singapore is incredible. If you feel like a change from restaurants or fast food chains, go to a Hawker centre and try Chinese, Indian, Malay or other asian dishes. Eating the famous chilli crab is on a lot of Singapore “must do” lists. If you’re planning to try it, one of our taxi drivers gave us a good tip to ask how much a specific crab will cost before you agree to buy it.
7. Go the Night Safari
The Night Safari allows you to see the Singapore Zoo at night and the whole experience is quality, particularly because a key focus of the zoo is educating people about the animals and conservation.
You get the opportunity to catch a tram and ride around looking at animals at night in their natural conditions. And there are walking trails where you can get a closer look.
8. Ride the Singapore Flyer
Due to it’s location, from the Singapore Flyer you get a fantastic view of Singapore’s sights, including Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Art Science Museum and across the city.
We arrived around 6.30pm and saw the sun set and lights come on during the flight which made for beautiful viewing.
Once you’ve finished your ride, walk around the area along the river and you’ll get more beautiful views. We enjoyed a superb dinner at the hawker centre at the base of the Singapore Flyer with delicious food at really reasonable prices, especially given its proximity to a major tourist attraction.
9. Have a Singapore Sling
Admittedly I didn’t have time for a Singapore Sling this visit, but I’ve been to Singapore several times before when I enjoyed the famous cocktail while throwing peanut shells on the floor at the Long Bar at Raffles.
Or if you’d like to enjoy a fantastic view of the city with your cocktail, find out about the bars at the Swissotel.
10. Enjoy walking around Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is an amazing, award-winning botanical experience. You can walk around the grounds for free or pay to go into the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Conservatories, which, despite looking like green-houses, are lovely and cool inside.
If you can plan a trip to Singapore during the WTA Finals, definitely go!
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal
I love a great sunset and seeing a city all lit up at night. Here’s my best night time pics from our trip to Singapore for the WTA Finals.
View pics from the round robin match between Simona Halep and Serena Williams at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Halep won 6-0, 6-2. [Read more…]
View pics from the round robin match between Ana Ivanovic and Genie Bouchard at the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore. Ana won in straight sets 6-1, 6-3.