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10 Romantic Dating Spots in Singapore for Couples on a Budget

10 Romantic Dating Spots in Singapore for Couples on a Budget

A luxurious dinner is nice but you don’t need to break the bank every time to have a romantic date. They are lots of dating spots in Singapore for couples on a tight budget. Here are a few ideas…

1. The Pinnacle@Duxton

pinnacle duxton
Image credit: Christian van Elven

Romance might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of public housing, but locals will know that the Pinnacle@Duxton is not your average HDB. Soaring 50 storeys high, this huge housing complex is connected by two skyparks. The 26th floor is open to residents only. Head to the 50th floor, which is open to the public, and check out the great views of the city and the port. There are seats and benches to lounge on if you are stopping for a while.

The views from Marina Bay Sands are of course much more spectacular but they come at a premium. To go to the top of the Pinnacle you’ll pay much less and it is still very scenic. You are also in the middle of a neighbourhood with lots of cafes and little eateries. Cross over to Everton Park opposite the Pinnacle and share some delicious ice cream and waffles at Everton Creamery or stop by Nylon Coffee Roasters for a caffeine fix.

The Pinnacle Skybridge entry costs $5.

2. The Projector

audrey hepburn classic
Image credit: barbie.harris37

Not your average movie date night, The Projector is an independent cinema that has revived two cinema halls of the historic Golden Theatre on the 5th floor of Golden Mile Tower. The vibe is old-school cool with many of the original features of the halls remaining. Movie buffs will love the specially curated programmes of indie, foreign, classic and arthouse films. The two halls are called Green Room and Redrum and both are spacious with free seating. Redrum is more casual with beanbags you can cosy up on while watching the show.

The Projector regularly runs special movie events. Single movie tickets cost $13.

3. Jurong Hill

jurong hill singapore date place
Image credit: Allie_Caulfield

Right beside Jurong Bird Park is the lesser-known Jurong Hill Park. Follow Jurong Hill road up to the peak and you will find a tranquil garden and a spiralling tower perched on top. The Jurong Hill Lookout Tower was built in the 1970s and at the time was a popular place to host foreign dignitaries and even royalty such as Elizabeth II, Queen of England. Many of the famous dignitaries also planted trees to commemorate their visit and these can still be seen today in the garden at the foot of the tower.

At the top of the lookout tower, you can get a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Watch the twinkling lights of Jurong Island as it gets dark before setting off for dinner.

4. Affordable french restaurants

saver french food romantic singapore
Image credit: Saveur

French cuisine doesn’t need to be expensive. Try affordable but delicious options such as Saveur, a popular group of restaurants serving quality french food. La Petite Cuisine is a casual bistro at Serene Centre which offers French food with a neighbourhood price tag. Breton, formerly The French Stall, is now a live lobster restaurant. They have set meals to choose from and a tasty yet reasonably priced Surf & Turf.

5. Henderson Waves

henderson waves couple date singapore park
Image credit: edwin.11

The Southern Ridges is a trail along the south-west of Singapore connecting HortPark, Labrador Nature Reserve, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park. There are lots of picturesque stops along the way but one of the highlights is Henderson Waves. The bridge between Telok Blangah Hill and Mount Faber mimics the undulating shape of waves.

It can get really hot here in the afternoon so an early morning or late afternoon walk would be ideal. At night, the bridge lights up making for a lovely evening walk.

Henderson Waves lights up between 7pm and 7am daily.

6. Live music venues

timbre substation singapore music
Image credit: Jacklee

Discover a new band together or chill out with some classic songs at a live music bar. At Hood Bar and Cafe’s ‘Saturday Original Sessions’ you’ll get to watch the best up-and-coming local indie bands. Or rock out with a line-up of Rock n Roll Blues bands at Crazy Elephant. The ever popular Timbre @Substation has a great ambience and also a varied menu to choose from. The Substation itself is an interesting space where experimental and contemporary works in music, theatre, literature, dance and visual arts are staged.

7. Botanical Gardens

botanical gardens orchis singapore romantic flowers
Image credit: paVan

When the pace of the city gets all too frenzied, the Botanical Gardens is the perfect antidote. Wander around the garden paths and admire the lush green spaces, pretty tropical flowers and shaded rainforest. This UNESCO World Heritage site also houses Burkhill Hall, a popular setting for weddings, super romantic!

Take a stop at Palm Valley if you’re in the mood for a picnic. Just lay out a blanket and some delicious snacks. If you come at the right timing, you’ll be treated to live music, usually classical or jazz, performed at the Symphony Lake at the lower end of the valley.

The Botanical Gardens are open from 5am to midnight. Admission is free. Entry to the National Orchid Garden costs $5 (8.30am to 7pm, last entry 6pm). Check the event schedule for upcoming performances and other activities.

8. The Southern Islands

beach sg islands
Image credit: Richard Lee

The Southern Islands are a collection of eight islets to the south of the mainland in the Singapore Straits. Since three of the islands have been connected, you can easily do some island hopping here. St. John’s, Lazarus and Seringat islands are all connected by bridges. Once you are there, Kusu island is only a five-minute boat ride away.

Explore the paths through the islands and relax upon the tranquil little beaches. Bring along your own drinks and snacks as there aren’t many shops. You might want to carry a beach towel, sunblock, insect repellant and your swimming gear too in case you both want to take a dip. Lazarus island probably has the best beach. It’s a serene alcove of soft sand where you can lay down and peacefully while away a few hours.

St. John’s island can be reached by Singapore Island Cruise ferries. A return trip costs $18.

9. Gardens by the Bay

gardens by the bay singapore
Image credit: LWYang

There are free areas around the Gardens by the Bay, but the conservatories are still my favourite. Escape the afternoon heat inside the two domes, where temperatures are blissfully cool like springtime. Explore the misty Cloud Forest, with its stunning indoor waterfall and unique plants. Surround yourselves with beautiful flowers and trees in the world’s largest greenhouse, the Flower Dome. Since the Flower Dome displays change throughout the year, there is always something new to see.

As the sun sets, head to the Supertree Grove. Marvel at the avatar-like structures from below or walk along the 22-metre high OCBC Skyway, a bridge connecting two of the towering supertrees. Stick around for the light and sound show when the supertree grove comes to life at 7.45pm and 8.45pm daily.

The standard rate for two conservatories is $28. Local resident rate is $12 for one conservatory and $20 for two conservatories. Access to the OCBC Skyway costs $8.

10. Changi Point Coastal Walk

changi coast beach walk east
Image credit: Elena Leong

Soak in beautiful views of the coastline at Changi Point. The walk starts near Changi Village where you can have some yummy food before setting off. It’s a comfortable stroll along a well-lit boardwalk. The walk has six sections going from East to West: Creek Walk, Beach Walk, Sailing Point Walk, Cliff Walk, Kelong Walk and Sunset Walk. Along the way, you can spot some interesting local flora and fauna. There are also lots of good photo opportunities for you and your loved one. The sea view is especially pretty when the sun sets. Take your time and enjoy the rustic ambience of a place where time seems to slow down.

The Changi Boardwalk is open to the public 24 hours.

Whether you’re on a budget or not, I hope you find these suggestions useful for your next date. Good luck!

*This article was originally published for Tripzilla Magazine.

6 Fun Ways to Volunteer While You Travel

6 Fun Ways to Volunteer While You Travel

If you’ve ever thought of volunteering while you travel, now’s the time! There is an ever growing number of opportunities to give back to the communities you visit. Responsible travel is becoming more popular and according to a new “Good Travels” study by non-profit Tourism Cares, Millennials are amongst the most aware and generous travellers of all generations.

A lot of people worry that volunteer holidays are too expensive and lengthy. They don’t have to be! For beginner “voluntourists”, there are many simple ways to contribute while still having a fantastic holiday. For those who dare to give volunteer travelling a try, the rewards can be rich and meaningful. Here’s a look at a few ways you can add a little heart to your next holiday…

1. Teaching and Youth Support

teaching youth asia volunteer school
Image credit: Project Trust

What are you passionate about? Do you love music, dance, books or sports? Use your skill to inspire and educate others for free. In Asia and further abroad, there are lots of opportunities to teach. Teaching English is a popular choice. It’s a highly useful skill for young people and for many programs, volunteers don’t need to have special teaching qualifications. If the facilities are available, training people in hands-on skills like computer proficiency can also be very valuable.

Not sure what you’d like to teach? That’s OK too! When I first volunteered at a Children’s Society, I didn’t know what my special skill was or if I had one at all. I didn’t have a teacher’s certification or experience with childcare. After spending time with the children there, I realised that the most important thing was, I was there! To help them with their homework after school, to joke around with them and listen to them too.

2. Wildlife Conservation

turtle environment conservation wildlife
Image credit: Jeff Slinker

If you love nature and animals, you might want to try your hand at environmental conservation. Conservation programs are located all over the world and often in beautiful natural environments. From tending to turtle hatchlings in Sri Lanka to getting your hands dirty planting trees in Cambodia, this work is bound to lead you to some unique experiences.

If you enjoy scuba diving, try combining a beach holiday with volunteer work for marine conservation projects on lush islands like Krabi or Koh Tao in Thailand. There is often budget accommodation available on the islands to keep down the cost of your trip.

You’ll get the chance to learn more about the problems affecting our environment and communities, as well as coming together with passionate people who are working to fix them.

3. Soup Kitchen

food shelter volunteer team
Image credit: U.S. Pacific Command

Whip up a hot meal for those in need of nutritious food. Most cities will have at least one soup kitchen or homeless shelter where a helping hand might be needed for food preparation or distribution. As well as testing out your culinary skills, you’ll get to meet and work with people from different backgrounds. Some groups take to the streets to dish out food to the homeless. As this could involve a bit more risk, there might be age restrictions for volunteers planning to do this.

In many European cities, there are usually Christmas soup kitchens. If you’re splashing out on a winter break, try to find a soup kitchen in the area where you can volunteer your services for a few hours or a day.

4. Visit an Elderly Home

elderly volunteer old folks home
Image credit: Jonas Boni

You might not speak the language of the country you’re visiting, but you can still brighten someone’s day at one of the local old folks’ homes. Gather your friends and spend a couple hours interacting with the residents. You could bring them flowers, little gifts or even better, organise an activity with them. The nursing home staff might welcome some help too. You could ask if there is anything to assist with for the day, such as simple chores around the facility.

5. Farm Stays

tea asia farm asia
Image credit: USAID Nepal

Farm visits or stays are a great way to learn about different lifestyles, eco-living and the food we eat. Organisations like WWOOF, originally an acronym for Working Weekends on Organic Farms, now offer flexible stay dates and a global presence with farm hosts on every continent. Prepare for a less-than-luxurious time though. At a farm stay you’ll have to muck in with general farm work on the land and perhaps even with animals. Accommodation might be basic too. It’s not all hard going. Imagine finishing the day with a cup of hot organic tea fresh from a tea farm and the warm hospitality of a friendly host family.

6. Beach Clean Up

beach japan clean help
Image credit: GetHiroshima.com

Head to the beach and get involved with one of numerous organised beach clean ups. The Hong Kong Clean Up Challenge has been running for 16 years. Last year the organisation received a record number of participants who together collected over 8 million kg in trash! Trash Hero World is another organisation that is growing in regular volunteers. The group which first started in Thailand now has chapters in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and even New York. Apart from weekly clean ups, Trash Heroes also help with community waste management and local school education initiatives.

Volunteer travel can be organised by yourself or through a company. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to stay safe. Always research and get into contact with the organisation you will be working with. Find out more about the location of the work as well. Mixing volunteer work with travel can be an uplifting and satisfying experience.

Here’s to Voluntourists, who make new friends, expand their worldviews and help make a difference, all while on holiday!

*This article was originally published for Tripzilla Magazine.