10 reasons to visit Singapore now

10 reasons to visit Singapore now

F1 racers, Linkin Park and Alice Cooper gigs, Louis Vuitton opening: Yep, this city's buzzing
Alone with the smell of burning rubber and ear-piercing tyres skidding, Singapore's F1 race has turned September into this country's hottest spot.

It gets hot this time of year in the Lion City. And we’re not talking about the weather, here are 10 good reasons to book a flight over to the Little Red Dot.

1. Singapore Grand Prix

Need we even say it? The world’s most prestigious and glamorous car race revs into town and with it come the drivers, the cars, the concerts, the parties, the Champagne, the A-list crowd … and Marina Bay turns into a mini-Monaco for a few days. Tickets are still available, though it’s a given that the best seats are taken by now.

September 23-25 www.singaporegp.sg

2. Linkin Park, Shakira, Shaggy

Performing in the Grand Prix village will be these big names and more. It’s worth forking out for a race ticket to catch these acts live, and even the cheapest ticket will give you access to entertainment. Appearing alongside the headlining stars are Rick Astley, Massive Attack’s DJ duo, Daddy G and 3D, and loads of others. If you want some behind-the-scenes action, here’s a tip: head to Podium Lounge on September 23, where we hear Shaggy will be hanging out and drinking some Mumm Champagne.

September 24-25, www.singaporegp.sg/media/entertainment_2011 and www.apesnap.com/event/podiumlounge


3. The opening of Avalon and Pangaea

Pulling out all the stops, Pangaea's interiors alone are worth a look see. Singapore enters the age of the mega clubs with the opening of two-story, 17,000 square feet Avalon and the super sophisticated Pangaea ultra lounge at Marina Bay Sands’ Crystal Pavilion. Closing the F1 season on a high at Avalon will be pop star and cult DJ Boy George and upbeat electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, who lead the week’s pack of acts that include Simian Mobile Disco, Dutch electro-whiz Sander Kleinenberg and edgy punk-house DJ The Toxic Avenger. As for slick lounge Pangaea, they’re so cool and exclusive they won’t reveal their plans. Translation: if you’re meant to know, you’ll know; or you’ll read about it afterwards.

From September 16 (Avalon), from September 22 (Pangaea), Crystal Pavilions at Marina Bay Sands, www.avalon.sg and www.pangaea.sg

4. Chef Tetsuya at Waku Ghin

One of the most versatile chefs in the world, Tetsuya Wakuda, will be at his restaurant in Marina Bay Sands to give guests a rare chance to meet him in person. So here’s your chance to take his picture, ask him about his ingenuous cooking or just gaze in awe. He will be appearing over special six-course degustation lunches (S$250 per person) served specially for the Grand Prix period. Reservations are a must.

September 22-25, Level 2 Marina Bay Sands, +65 6688 8507, wakughinreservations@marinabaysands.com

5. The Louis Vuitton Island Maison

No, that's not from outer space but the first Louis Vuitton Island Maison of its kind in Southeast Asia. Free up your credit cards because you’re going to need them to shop here. Louis Vuitton just opened its first concept store in Southeast Asia at Marina Bay Sands. Located on its own island, this store is set to rival even its other stores in the region with a contemporary art gallery, bookstore, a private lounge and outdoor loggia in addition to the usual offerings of clothes, accessories, luggage, leather goods. And just to add to its air of exclusivity, a tunnel connects the store to the main shopping mall.

From September 18, Marina Bay Sands, www.louisvuitton.com

6. Singapore International Film Festival

September isn’t just about the Grand Prix. Into its 24th year, Geoffrey Malone’s film festival has become a Singapore institution. After so many runs, it is still finding ways to get bigger and reinvent itself, screening 144 feature films and 50 short films this year, and conducting a host of talks and workshops on various aspects of film making. In keeping with the spirit of Formula 1, the closing film will be the dramatic and moving “Senna,” about the rise, triumph -- and tragic death -- of the young, talented, triple F1 champion, Brazilian Ayrton Senna.

Until September 25, various locations, www.siff.sg

7. A Dealer’s Choice

Dealer's Choice: A play about risk and reward. Singapore’s theater heavyweights Adrian Pang, Daniel Jenkins and Keagan Kang come together in this play directed by Tracy Pang. Watch the three men and their counterparts, Julian Low, Daniel York and Andy Tear, come together over a game of poker. As the game goes on, the stakes get higher, revealing the men’s secrets, conspiracies and quirks as they try to outwit and outplay each other -- until it all falls apart like a house of cards.

September 29-October 16, Drama Centre Theatre, www.sistic.com

 8. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is no Mr. Nice Guy, was he ever? Yup, you read that right. Heavy metal god Alice himself will be coming here as part of his “No More Mr Nice Guy” tour. Staged to coincide with his “Welcome 2 My Nightmare” album, 63-year-old Cooper’s concert will have metal heads thrashing with his extreme, theatrical, shocking style of rock that has made him a legend the world over.

October 5, The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel, Resorts World, www.sistic.com.sg

9. Retrolicious

It may be 2011 but the 1980s aren’t over in Singapore. Our obsession with 1980s pop culture culminates in this outdoor festival with live acts, radio DJs and, this year, a Retro Village. Various bands come out of retirement for this -- last year we had Rick Astley, Debbie Gibson and Johnny Hates Jazz. This year sees Belinda Carlisle, Bananarama and The Human League reprising their top hits for an up-for-it crowd. Slap on the shoulder pads, pull on the loud leggings and fluff up your hair to get into the mood for this one.

October 8, Fort Canning Park, www.runningintothesun.com/retrolicious

10. Sylvie Guillem

She’s only one of the most amazing female ballet and contemporary dancers of all time. With a career that has been soaring since the 1980s, Guillem is so influential the world’s best choreographers create works just for her. Two of these works will be performed in Singapore as part of the annual da:ns festival (October 7-16)  -- Ajö by Mats Ek and Rearray by William Forsythe -- a third piece, 27’52” by Jirí Kylián will also be featured. This is a singular chance to witness some of the world’s most brilliant masters of dance at work together.

October 15-16, Esplanade Theatre, www.dansfestival.com

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 publichouse.sg, 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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