Tip 1: Create a personalized gift for your loved one!

If you’re running out of gift ideas, nothing shows your thoughtfulness more than a special personalized gift for the intended recipient! Here are four ideas to make your special event a memorable one.

ClayArt Scupltures: I came across a unique stall at Raffles City where a Clay Sculptor creates clay versions of yourself based on a picture you provide. Seeing them up close, they were most impressive and had remarkable resemblances to the pictures they were based on. I am likely to order a few myself shortly!

Prices start at $160 SGD and you can send payments / pictures online. For more information, visit their website here.

Mbossed Custom Plates: For those on a smaller budget, try out the custom plates they have here. I got a custom house plate number for my new home, with my wife’s and my picture on it and I absolutely loved it. Everyone who visits our home always ask where we get it from! For a big sized house plate, it costs about $55 SGD after shipping and they will deliver it to your doorstep. The smaller sizes ones start at just over $30, and you have plenty of options to choose from, ranging from Car Plates, Room Plates, House Plates, etc.

EZ Link Stickers: An extremely affordable option which shows you care! Make a custom EZ-Link sticker for a friend or loved one! You simply paste the sticker on your ez link card. Make one for your team, group of friends or perhaps your own couple version.

There are quite a few sites around but you can try this site which was the first result from a simple google search. Prices start at just $2.50.

Tip 2: Celebrate with groups of friends! 

If you’re a student with lots of free time its always a great idea to rent chalets along East Coast Road or Downtown East over a few days during the holidays or weekend. Everyone chips in a small amount ranging from $20-$30 and very quickly you get a whole chalet to yourselves for 2-3 days and lots of food and snacks! This is great bonding time where you get to know your friends much more, have fun playing games and sharing stories with each other and it has become kinda a ritual all students go through growing up as students in Singapore! If you rent chalets along East Coast Park you get access to all of the park’s facilities and BBQs and if you rent it along downtown east make sure your package comes with free Wild Wild Wet passes so you can visit the water theme park for free!

Resources: Costa Sands Resort @ Downtown East | Goldkist Beach Resort @ East Coast Park

So when you grow up and make your way into the working world and don’t have as much time to celebrate, but have a higher budget and still want to have fun with your friends, the natural transition for most Singaporeans is to start renting a hotel suite over a day or two instead of chalets!! Rooms usually cost between $400-600 so its about $50 per person. Gather a group of friends no more than 10 and have a nice cosy celebration, drinking, and playing more “grown up” games in your hotel room. (It really is still the same, you’re just older now and drink alcohol, and the “ambiance” is better lol!) Start the day swimming in the hotel’s pool and working out in the gym, eat at some nice restaurant nearby and slowly start bringing back alcohol to your room. Try to be a considerate guest, do tidy up slightly and leave a nice tip of at least $10 for the house cleaning service who has to clean up your mess! Would definitely recommend MBS as you get access to  its exclusive SkyPark infinity pool, the walls are solid sound proof so other guests won’t be complaining about the noise you make and of course the service is world class!

Links: Marina Bay Sands | Mandarin Oriental

Tip 3: Go on a Mini-Holiday!

Want to go somewhere special and different but don’t wanna spend THAT much? Why not go on a Mini-Holiday!

Pulau Ubin – What most people refer to as the ‘last kampung’ in Singapore. For nature lovers who don’t want a luxurious holiday, and want a glimpse of what Singapore looked like some fifty years ago – its as if Ubin was trapped in its own precious time bubble as the rest of the world went by. Experience the rubber plantations, fresh air and flourishing mangroves on your beaten down bike and experience a part of Singapore you never knew! To get there take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Teriminal, which is near Changi Village Hawker Centre. Hire a bike and cycle to Chek Jawa, the main “attraction” on the island. Celestial Resort provides simple accommodation but I would not recommend staying in Ubin for more than 1 night.

Batam – For Singaporeans who want fantastic value deal somewhere near from home. Groupon deals to Batam are easy to find and they normally give extremely fantastic offers for Singaporeans looking to escape the city for a weekend. For about $45 per person the groupon package comes with Ferry tickets (which is already $40 per person mind you!), an hour massage, a seafood lunch and a full day tour. How on earth they manage to squeeze so much value or make any profit from that is beyond me. The only annoying part is having to go with the tour bus to places you don’t really wanna  go, so after  the massage / lunch bail and extend your stay at one of the hotels there and make your own plans! Its also a much safer alternative to Malaysia, as many people in Singapore have found, our neighbor is actually the most dangerous city in South East Asia to visit.

Malaysia – The safest areas are the popular ones with tour buses going directly to the location, and preferably you want to travel with friends too for added safety. I recall a stay with my girlfriend at Redang’s Laguana resort over 3 days and 2 nights only costs me $260 SGD, with all transport and meals taken care off. It is till this date still the best value vacation I have ever been on with delicious buffets daily and amazingly crystal clear waters – which is of course the main reason people come to redang! A fantastic beach holiday!

This very famous video was filmed on Redang Island from the movie Summer Holiday and is a highly recommended vacation spot!

Tip 4: Rediscover Singapore!

There are a few places in Singapore we know are always there and therefore end up taking for granted and without a second thought and we are quick to label Singapore as a “boring place!”. This couldn’t be further from the truth, there is actually tons of stuff to do in Singapore! How many of us have last visited the Underwater World or Singapore Zoo on school outings, only to never visit on our own again when we grew older? After visiting the underwater world walk around the RWS area in Sentosa for a bit before heading by cable car to the very romantic Mount Faber when you can have a nice romantic view of Singapore. Both the Singapore Zoo and underwater world are forgotten gems and world class attractions and if you haven’t been there in the last 5 years or so, I would highly recommend going there, spending a day re-discovering Singapore. Another often overlooked attraction is the Singapore botanical gardens. These three places mentioned above are especially great dating areas so surprise your loved ones with a exciting and unique experience.

 Links:  Singapore Zoo | Underwater World | Mount Faber | Botanical Gardens