The top 10 most boring things to do in Singapore

The top 10 most boring things to do in Singapore

Singapore is boring, we all know that, but what are the definitive 10 things that will deliver you to snoresville? Read on ...
You don't know it but your dealer is stifling a yawn internally.

Old habits die hard, in spite of Singapore’s efforts to shed its boring image, a lot of what happens here remains, well, boring.

Should you ever feel the urge to utterly bore yourself silly Singapore-style, there are, ironically, plenty of things to do.

We pick the dullest of the lot.

10. Go to the cinema

Movies are meant to entertain but in Singapore expect to be bored.

Here mainstream Hollywood blockbusters are king and indie movies, art house films or anything that doesn’t star one of the brat pack are relegated to small film festivals, DVDs bought overseas or whatever is streamed available online.

When you do decide to go to the cinema, prepare to put up with a slew of irritations: the endless rustle of snack-filled plastic bags, glaring mobile screens, inane chatter between people etc …

And if the movie is really, really good, there’s a chance that it has been snipped to shreds by the censors.

9. Take a drive

singapore roadsJust like the country, the roads in Singapore are straight and orderly. It’s ironic, Singapore hosts a Formula 1 night race every year but it doesn’t mean driving here is any fun.

Think of it as being stuck in a driving school’s road circuit until the end of time. You are forced to remember all the rules all the time, someone is always waiting to haul you up for doing wrong, you can’t speed, there’s a traffic light, speed camera or stop sign on every corner and there’s really nowhere to go.

On the few roads that you could possibly speed on, you have to pay the minute you start your engine. No wonder all the road fun takes place in Malaysia.

8. Have dinner at the airport

In any other country on this planet, going out to dinner at the airport would seem incredibly strange. In Singapore, people do it in the hundreds, especially on the weekend.

What's the appeal? Perhaps it’s the space. Changi Airport is one of the most spacious, uncluttered buildings on an island where most live in small flats. Walking down the cavernous passenger halls in the terminal buildings might just provide Singaporeans with a rare feeling of openness.

And while they’re at the airport, they might as well do what Singaporeans do when they go anywhere: eat.

7. Listening up at Speakers’ Corner

Speakers Corner The sound of the crickets are louder than the sound of the protesters.A government-regulated platform for free speech? What a contradiction. No wonder nobody is rushing to get on their soapbox.

Just the sign stating Speakers’ Corner kills its spirit and worse, replicating the name of the London oratorical spot only serves to amplify the emptiness of the one we have here.

This supposedly public space for open discussion currently falls under not one, not two, but three legislative acts -- the Public Order of 2009, the Public Entertainments and Meetings Order of 2008 and Parks and Trees Regulation (what, in case the trees get offended?).

For a space intended to allow more free speech, these web of rules just strangle it instead.

6. Day camping in East Coast Park

Why bother pitching a tent if you’re not actually going to camp in it overnight?

What exactly is the point of pitching it for just the afternoon? It's pragmatic -- you have your own shelter on hand -- but it can’t really be called fun.

And it’s not like you’re parking yourself somewhere to enjoy a stunning view or beautiful countryside. We’re talking supertankers, oil-streaked waters, man-made breakwaters, dirty beaches and fast food restaurants.

The whole experience is about as interesting as having a picnic in a void deck.

Still awake? Follow on to page two for the top five most boring things to do in Singapore.

5. Read the newspaper

Singapore newspapersHardly riveting reading. There's a reason why a certain newspaper here has been called “the world’s biggest in-house newsletter.” And the same can be applied to most local dailies.

With predictable pro-establishment reporting, the weight of self-censorship bearing down, the absence of a single engaging opinion, no humor, no controversy, no scandal, no sex, no race, no politics … well you get our drift. No fun.

4. Watch local television

How many programmes about hawker food are we supposed to stomach? Or painful comedies and dramas with badly written scripts and stilted acting?

On the nightly news, we’re lucky if news “casters” toss in the rare opinion -- most read off the teleprompter wholesale.

Local television has come a long way since its Radio-TV Singapore days, but is still has a long, long way to go.

3. Go for a walk in a shopping center

Singapore ShoppingUp and down, around and about, Singapore love to stroll around shopping centers.When we think of going for a walk we think of pretty parks, breezy beaches and eclectic streets, not strolls through crowded shopping centers where the most interesting things to look at are discount signs and mass-produced goods in an artificially-lit, hard-noise environment.

If you’re there to buy something, fine, but if you’re out for a walk, why would you want to do it here? Yet many Singaporean spend every weekend milling about aimlessly; it’s an entrenched local habit.

Who are the biggest offenders? The ones walking excruciatingly slowly, often blocking an entire passage, and the clueless ones who stop without warning at the foot of escalator to talk on their mobile phones.

2. Have a ride on the Singapore Flyer

Each rotation on this giant observation wheel takes half an hour and during that time on the Flyer you get to see … wait for it … not stunning architecture, wondrous landmarks or breathtaking scenery but slab after slab of concrete blocks of flats, separated by gashes of building sites and gray expressways, with the occasional clump of trees.

It’s almost better with the haze.

1. Indulge in a spot of gambler watching

Marina Bay SandsEven the dealers look bored in Singapore.Since the opening of the two Integrated Resorts, gambler watching has become a new national sport (next to taking a mall strolling).

Why? We have no idea. Asian gamblers rarely exhibit any emotion and you can forget about spontaneous displays of joy, or a cheeky “blow on my dice, sweetheart.”

Hence, as an observer, this means remaining catatonic, for hours on end, observing glassy-eyed strangers move chips and cards around, and vicariously feeling elated or depressed as money is won and lost, except none of that money is actually yours.

A “sport” for those who really want to take the risk but don’t have the money or the balls. We’d rather watch a factory production line in motion.

Elaine Ee writes about Singapore, the city she lives in, covering the arts, events, personalities and social issues. Her stories have appeared in Time Out SingaporeTatler HomesFood & Travel and Jetstar Asia. She’s also an editor at, a Singapore community-driven website run by socially conscious denizens. When she’s not at her laptop, she practises Bikram yoga, spends time with her three kids and makes it a point to keep trying something new. 

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