Singapore National Day 2010: 7 things to do if you’re skipping the parade

Singapore National Day 2010: 7 things to do if you’re skipping the parade

The parade's a feast of festive color, the fireworks a riot, but if you haven't got a National Day ticket you're out of luck. Not out of options though, as we've found 7 cool things to do instead
Singapore National Day parade
Singapore National Day 2009 fireworks

August 9 is National Day in Singapore, a celebration of Singapore's independence and a pretty great party to boot. As well as a parade and fireworks display, there's a good collection of fringe events to see. But if you haven't got yourself a ticket yet, you might have to make do with some of the other things going on around the city. Not to worry, there's a load of good stuff to get down to this weekend and on August 9 itself.

1. Rock out

Summer-sweet British indie favorites Belle and Sebastian are touring again after four years. Their Singapore show promises to be upbeat and full of fun as they perform past hits as well as throw in teasers for their soon-to-be-released album. Expect familiar sing-along choruses, retro beats and signature folky pop tunes, alongside a lusher, slicker sound that is newly evolved. The last time they they passed by Singapore and appeared in Japan and Australia, so their local stop this time is definitely not to be missed. August 7, 7:30 p.m. Concert Hall, Esplanade -- Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplande Dr., +65 6828 8377; S$60, S$90, S$120, S$150.

2. Look at cool pictures

Catch social photography exhibition Eye e City. A community project, this exhibition comprises photos taken in the last 24 hours of 2009 by participants from different walks of life. Each armed with a camera, participants captured images of Singapore as it transitioned from one year to the next, and documented a slice of life and society in a significant moment. This project has been going since 2002 and serves as a chronicle of Singapore’s ever-changing society. August 1-8 and August 10; noon-9 p.m. The Substation, +65 6337 7535; free.

3. Party all night

Usher in Singapore’s birthday with a mad beach party at Sentosa’s latest hip venue, Tanjong Beach Club. Majulah Massive Feat. Social Disco Club will be hogging the sands with an all-night party where Portuguese king of synth Humberto Matias will be sharing the decks with homegrown honchos KFC, Brendon P and FUNK BAST*ARD to bring you disco, boogie and house beats. 4 p.m.-4 a.m., August 8. Tangjong Beach Club, 120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa; free.

4. Lose yourself in an IMAX Movie

An awesome cinematic experience is the order of the day at Singapore’s IMAX theater where a hemispheric screen and wraparound digital sound guarantee suspension of belief. Their latest offering is Forces of Nature, a sublime and heart-stopping film by National Geographic about Mother Nature’s fiercest moments. The film follows a group of scientists as they come up close with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tornados in their quest to better understand natural disasters. Taking 10 years to shoot, this is natural documentary making at its best. Through August 31, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Omni-Theatre, 21 Jurong Town Hall Road, +65 6425 2500; S$10 (adult), S$5 (child).

5. Visit a museum for free

The Asian Civilisations Museum is throwing its doors open for free on National Day. Make a day of it as you explore the various galleries in this interesting and beautiful museum. The Singapore River Gallery shows you what life was like along this arterial waterway as far back as the 14th century, while the Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and China galleries look at the main cultures that make up Singapore’s melting pot. August 9, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, +65 6332 2982; free.

6. Go horse riding across the border 

Just an hour from the Causeway is Riders Lodge, a manor house with stables and trails set in open countryside. Trainers conduct riding lessons and pony rides, and take guests on jungle trails that cater to both beginner and advanced riders. Horses are well schooled and follow the trainers, so you are in good hands. A restaurant serves European food with some local dishes, and a signature offering is Devonshire afternoon tea with freshly baked scones. Adjacent golf club Legends works closely with Riders Lodge, and games and buggies can be arranged through the Lodge. Come for a day trip or take one of their rooms and spend the weekend here. For the National Day long weekend, director Agnes Tzinberg says they are keeping the trail rides open for last minute bookings but advises calling ahead to avoid disappointment. Riders Lodge, Lot 1302 Kebun Sedenak, Kulai, Johor, +60 (0) 7652 5330.;

7. Visit one of Singapore’s smaller islands

On the fringes of Singapore’s waters are tiny islands that belong to the Republic. Two of these islands -- St John’s and Kusu -- make for a pleasant day out of the city and offer plenty of picnicking and swimming opportunities on quiet, sandy beaches. A regular boat service leaves Marina South Pier for these islands everyday with return trips throughout the day. The journey to St John’s takes about 45 minutes and Kusu an hour. Other islands Sisters and Pulau Hantu have nicer beaches and clearer waters, and can be accessed by boat charter. Bring your own food, water, towels, sun block, repellent and anything else you need, as there are few, if any, amenities on any of the islands. For boat services contact Singapore Island Cruises, 31 Marina Coastal Drive, #01-04 Marina South Pier, +65 6534 9339;;