So…the whole reason my parents planned the holiday that I so politely added myself to: the Formula 1. Even though I took off on my flight back to the UK as the red lights went out, it was an amazing experience.
The F1 at Singapore was different to any other Grand Prix I’ve been to (Silverstone, Monza, Hungaroring) – whilst the F1 was the main attraction there was so much else going on as well. It is also the first night race I have been too, which is probably another reason it felt so different.
As with every other race, the circuit was the centre of the excitement, with the merchandise stands and many view points to see the track. But, there was something more to the event at Singapore. There were various stages around the whole circuit, which had different music events between free practices/qualifying. There was the main stage with huge huge audience area where the headline act each night played. But, there were free instant tattoo stands, where you could pick your F1 related tattoo to be air painted on (all natural vegetable substances which was great for me as I’m allergic to a lot of dyes!), there was magic (Dynamo had a couple of shows throughout race weekend – he wasn’t great, but he was there!), I met Albert Einstein! You didn’t feel like you were only there for the F1..it was a real all around event. I mean, I love the F1 but it was nice to have other stuff to do also.
As the Singapore Grand Prix is a street race, it takes over a chunk of the city for the week, so if you’re not there for the F1 over that period, I’d probably re think the timing of your trip if you can! But, as it is a street race, the main Ferris Wheel (Singapore Flyer) is encompassed by the circuit boundaries and you get unlimited trips up in the wheel as part of your weekend ticket. We only went up once during the day which was great and the queue was pretty quiet as we went on the Friday, but if you wanted to go up on the Saturday/Sunday or at night it was a lot busier. I wanted to go up at night because I love a good skyline with the lights etc. but really it wasn’t going to be much different from where we were on the roof of a skyscraper at the bar or from the canopy of the solar trees at the botanical gardens, so we gave it a miss because of the queue and the other events that were going on.
The F1 afterparties were great, though they weren’t really afterparties as there were shows/acts going on the whole time. Friday night was Kylie…I was a bit dubious as she’s not my cup of tea and I didn’t think I knew any of her music, but it was all part of the experience so why not? I HAD AN AMAZING TIME! I came back from that concert absolutely buzzing. She was amazing – great fun, lively, friendly and it turned out I knew all of the songs, I just didn’t know they were Kylie. Definitely would recommend seeing her (and this is for a girl who prefers small intimate gigs, with rock/metal music!)
The Saturday night, Queen played with Adam Lambert in the place of Freddie Mercury. Well, it was an experience and I’ve always wanted to see Queen and it was enjoyable. But, it didn’t wow me, I wouldn’t make an effort to go and see them again, which is a shame. I love Queen, it’s much more my music than Kylie, but I was a bit disappointed to be honest. I mean, I loved it at the time but I didn’t come away from it buzzing. I’m not sure if that’s because Adam Lambert just wasn’t Freddie Mercury or because they’re all a bit older than they were or because I don’t know? I’ve never been a fan of Adam Lambert anyways. Having said all that, the show was great, they tied in Freddie Mercury, his vocals and videos really nicely. There was a great atmosphere and I’m glad I finally got to see (the remnants of) Queen!
Sunday night, Imagine Dragons were headlining – I’m gutted I missed them but hey ho..we can’t have everything!
All in all, an amazing event and it’s a race I’d go back to again if I had the opportunity. The whole experience was great, Singapore is so safe and friendly. The race weekend felt like so much more than an F1 weekend which I loved. It was as much about the headline, and other, acts throughout the weekend as well as all the racing that went on. Would definitely recommend to anyone wondering which F1 race to go to.
NB: I can’t believe I haven’t talked about food at all in my Singapore blog!! It is after all one of the big reasons I love to travel. There are these food courts which you can find all of the place in Singapore, and the only way I can describe them is that they are food markets with lots of different stands and communal sitting areas. They range from posh ones at the bottom of fancy hotels, to outdoor movable carts with garden seating. They are amazing and you can try a whole load of different food and share with the people you’re travelling with. They’re also relatively cheap. We found a couple of note-worthy ones: China Town (just near the metro station), the bottom of the Marina Sands Hotel, one in a train station which had everything from bakery type snacks to full bowls of rice and chicken and then an outdoor one which had a nice view over the bay and was encapsulated in the boundaries of the race circuit on F1 days. What I thought was nice, was that the food stalls around the race weren’t extortionately priced, I mean they were more expensive than normal, but they had signs up informing you that the prices would be more expensive on race days so a) you were expecting it and b) you knew to go back there another day if you wanted to try the food at normal price!
There’s a whole range of food in Singapore influenced by the different cultures out there. We had south Indian food when we went to Little India, off a banana leaf authentic style, and we had some completely different Indian sort of food next to the Mosque, we had Chinese food in ChinaTown both chicken and rice and we bought a banana leaf with something in (turned out to me meat and rice we think..) and traditional Singapore braised meat and rice in a small cafe walking through town. We even had a pizza one night just for a change and Cheese Fondu on the last day. The small cafes that don’t have an English menu were the best, we found one for breakfast type things and just went by the pictures and hoped for the best. I don’t think I had a bad meal in the whole week!