by Daphne Tang (16S03M) and Lim Lex-xis (16S03M)
As we near the halfway mark of our year-end holidays, now becomes an optimal point for us to take stock of what we’ve been doing so far, and think of how we can make use of the remaining time we have left until we are whisked back into the whirlwind that is school life. For those of us who have already exhausted our usual hangouts and are reduced to lounging around at home languidly, we have compiled our very own December Bucket List of activities ranging from serene nature explorations to thrilling physical pursuits, with prices ranging from $0 to $100 to make the best out of this small pocket of free time.
Despite Singapore’s limited land area, there are plenty of options available if you’re in search of an adventure along nature trails or a breezy day on a quiet beach. For starters, the recent opening of Coney Island entails a whole new location for exploring! The natural habitat of the island is mostly preserved, offering you an authentic experience away from city life. Looking for more still? You could take a ferry to offshore islands such as St. John’s Island, Sisters Island, Kusu Island and Lazarus Island for a day trip. Each island boasts beautiful shorelines with clear waters, perfect for picnics or a swim when you’re in the mood.
Even so, the mainland offers its own opportunities for exploring. Consider cycling through the many park connectors across the island; you could journey to town from where you live! It’s certainly a vastly different experience from your usual journey by train or car, and offers a chance to appreciate Singapore’s greenery.
Culture and History
If you’re less of a sun-and-outdoors person, museum hopping may be more appealing. Of course, the National Museum and Singapore Art Museum are key features of the museum landscape and should not be missed, but some more interesting offerings include a nostalgia-inducing exhibition at the National Museum entitled Growing Up and the President’s Young Talents exhibition put up by local young artists at the Singapore Art Museum.
Also, did you know that you can find dinosaur fossils on exhibit in a local museum? Three staggering diplodocid sauropod skeletons are part of the 500,000 plant and animal specimens displayed in the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Unlike the previous two, this museum requires a small entry fee of $8 for students, but the elaborate collection it hosts is well worth the small sum.
For the art enthusiast, a visit to the Red Dot Design Museum is in order! Against ‘normal’ museum etiquette, the museum encourages visitors to ‘reach out and touch’ the exhibits. For a small entry fee of $4, you get to view awardees of the Red Dot Award: Product Design, which make up the museum’s exhibits. It is one of the most prestigious design awards in the world, so your visit is guaranteed to be a worthwhile experience.
The adrenaline-seeking among us may be interested in more fast-paced, high-energy activities. Here are a few to fulfill your action movie fantasies! (Keep in mind that they do cost quite a bit.)
Laser tag is a recreational activity where players attempt to score points by shooting infrared-sensitive targets, typically with a hand-held infrared-emitting device. Facilities around Singapore have indoor arenas with varying set-ups, so you can choose the scenario you fancy! A single laser tag session usually lasts about 15-20 minutes, which may add up to a significant cost considering the length of gameplay — a three session package is priced around $30 on average. Popular options include Laser OPS and Adrenaline Laser Tag, while Tag Team is a more affordable option.
More for the novelty of the experience than anything else, spend an afternoon racing gokarts at KF1 circuit, which offers the lowest prices among all the circuits in Singapore. Get a little glimpse into the thrills that come with being an F1 driver (emphasis on little glimpse, as persons without a driver’s license can only travel at a maximum of 30km/hour).
Alternatively, relive your childhood experience by diving into a round of bumper cars racing with your friends at Timezone Rush in Vivocity! It’ll definitely be a great time full of side-splitting laughter and rowdiness.
For true adrenaline junkies, conquer the flying fox over at MegaZip at Sentosa, which stretches more than 450m lengthwise and hangs 72m above sea level. The exhilarating ride takes you over a patch of jungle, the beach and over the water. Three people may ride at any one time, so it’s perfect for making unforgettable memories with your friends!
With schoolwork and the many other commitments that take up our time during the school term, we often find ourselves shelving any ideas of picking up a new skill or trying out something different. This holiday, take the chance to finally sign up for a lesson that you are actually interested in- who knows, you may end up discovering your hidden talent!
If you’re one of those who have always been drawn to the water, but never had the training or equipment to do watersports, the Singapore Sports Hub offers kayaking courses at the Marina Reservoir – what’s more, lower prices are available for students! For new watersports enthusiasts who just want a taste of kayaking, the 3 hour Kayak Orientation ($30) is just enough to teach you the basics of controlling your craft. For those who wish go a step further, the beginner course ($60) will cover more kayaking techniques and provide participants with more time on the water, as well as a Kayak 1 Star Personal Skill Award upon completion of the course.
Tired of seeing photos of delectable treats on Instagram but not being able to afford buying them on a regular basis? Why not learn to bake them for yourself and friends once and for all? Baking schools like B-I-Y or BakingCalf offer classes teaching participants to bake a variety of goods from rainbow cakes to macarons, and even seasonal goodies such as Christmas bread. While the price of these classes may seem exorbitant initially ($65-$100), if you think of how much you can save baking your own goodies in the future, it may be a worthy investment!
Besides picking up skills from classes, there is much to be learnt from volunteering to help better the lives of others. Whether you have a soft spot for animals, young children or the elderly, there is no shortage of volunteering opportunities available in Singapore. Organisations like SPCA and Save Our Street Dogs are open for volunteers who can commit to helping out at animal shelters at least once a week, while the longer-term kidsREAD programme run by the National Library Board will allow volunteers to interact with young children and play a part in cultivating the love for reading in them. Other organisations that you can also consider approaching are the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled (MINDS), Willing Hearts (soup kitchen). To make the most out of your volunteering experience, it is important that the organisation you are serving at supports a cause that you genuinely feel for- so don’t feel obliged to volunteer just for the sake of it, and be bold enough to approach organisations not mentioned here to offer your service!
These activities are great opportunities for you to bond with your class, OG, or CCA mates outside of school, and can also be a chance for you to catch up with the family members you may have neglected during the school year. While planning out activities to maximise your holidays can may not sound very appealing at first blush, at least you won’t come out of it feeling like you haven’t done anything at all!