Singapore and Formula One are probably the worst things to combine when you are living on a tight budget. But if you’re a fan of the sport and from my side of the world, I am here to tell you that it is possible. You can experience F1 live even on a budget.
You know what they say about the early bird
The trick to get the best deal on F1 tickets would be to be on the lookout for Early Bird rates. I got my ticket around April and the three-day Zone 4 Walkabout passes only cost me SG$181 (around P6,000 or US$140). That includes access to the concerts in Zone 4 including people you may have heard of… like Maroon 5 and Katy Perry. You know those kind of acts.
Singapore GP gets big performers to fly to this side of the world yearly and that adds to the value of the tickets you purchase. You get to watch live racing action and see some big names perform. I’m really excited to see who they’d be bringing in next year.
Fly me to SG
Just like the F1 tickets, you have to be on the lookout for budget airline tickets. I flew Tiger Airways on the way to Singapore and JetStar on the way back and the tickets for both cost me around P3,000 each. Which was a better flying experience you ask? I am partial to JetStar mostly because you fly out of Singapore through Changi Terminal 1 instead of the Budget Terminal.
The thing with these budget flights though is they fly at unreasonable hours. While we intentionally left on the 10pm flight on Friday because we had to (or at least I had to) go to work, the 6am flight out of Singapore is a killer. Be prepared for the unusual flight hours.
Hostels are the way to go if you’re on a budget, especially since you really won’t be spending that much time there. Singapore’s teeming with affordable hostels particularly around Chinatown and Little India area. We stayed at Matchbox Concept Hostel which is a bit pricey at around SG$128 (roughly P4,300 or US100) for two nights but the place featured a capsule style of lodging instead of the usual bunk beds. It is pretty comfortable place to stay at and the staff are very accommodating. The internet is your friend if you want to find great places to bunk while at Singapore. I stayed at River City Inn before, which I’d also recommend. Booking early would also be a good idea to avoid not having a place to stay. Remember over 200,000 people flock to the tiny country for the race (aside from the usual crop of tourists/backpackers).
With all the tourists in town, apparently prices are jacked up when it comes to riding taxis in Singapore during F1 season. My boss, who was also in town for the race, complained that one short distance he traveled in the area cost him around SG$5 extra or so. I didn’t feel the increase as much because I was traveling with three other people so we were able to spread out the expenses.
A good thing about being a tourist in Singapore is they offer tourist passes that give you unlimited use of their MRT, LRT, and basic bus services. A day pass would cost SG$20, two days would be SG$26, and three days would be $30. There is actually a SG$10 deposit that is refundable if the card is returned within five days of the issuance. Check this link out for more information.
If you aren’t picky with food, hawker centers will be your best friend for the duration of your trip. For SG$5 or less, you’ll be able to eat a complete meal already. Moderately priced restaurants and cafes can cost you around SG$8-20 so choose wisely. Of course, you can check out the various food courts in the different malls, too.
If you’re heading to the Circuit Park to check out the happenings around the track, you can’t bring food from outside so make sure to eat ahead or be willing to shell out a bit more for meals and drinks inside the park. You are allowed to bring in a bottle of water to the park (just one though). We really didn’t even attempt to eat at the hawker village in the park but I did catch sight of alcohol being sold and a glass of beer costs around SG$8. If you really want to drink, be ready to shell out some cash.
Tips on the track
- Wear comfy shoes and clothing. In the Walkabout areas, you will be either standing for a long time or walking around so comfortable shoes are a must. It is really humid in Singapore so keep it light when it comes to clothing. Cottons will be your best friend.
- Be prepared for the weather changes though. Bring your own poncho (umbrellas I believe aren’t allowed in certain areas), sunblock, cap, or anything that will help you weather the, well, weather. There’s actually a booth that sells ponchos and ear plugs for SG$2 near entrances so in case you don’t have a poncho, you can get it there and the earplugs are something you’ll definitely need.
- Prepare covers or blankets you can sit on. It’ll be easier for you to plop down at Padang Grandstand or on the sidewalks and pavements once you do feel fatigue setting in.
- Souvenirs are really pricey. If you want a piece of F1, be willing to pay somewhere between SG$50-100+ for shirts, around SG$25 for caps, and even more for jackets. They have keychains and other knick knacks, too.
- You can use this link as a guide, too. on what to check out at the circuit
- Don’t forget to have a lot of fun! The atmosphere on the track is really exhilirating.
Hope I am able to answer a few questions you may have about Formula 1 at Singapore. If you do have more, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here. I’m hoping to come back next year (or try going to a different leg) so keeping my fingers crossed for that and maybe I’ll see you there!