10 ideas for ‘alone time’ in Singapore

On days when you want to give the world the middle finger, don’t. Instead, recalibrate and find your balance using any of our briliant suggestions.

1. Commune with fossils

Museums and galleries were basically made for people who want to be left alone. At the newly reopened Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, you can travel back in time and meet Prince, Apollonia and Twinky — three massive 150-million-year-old dinosaur skeletons. If they bore you to bits, there’s plenty more where that came from. Southeast Asia’s first natural history museum is home to over a million wildlife specimens and you can see some of them displayed as taxidermied animals or creatures preserved in large jars. National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Science, 2 Conservatory Drive, (S)117377; +65 66013333, www.nus.edu.sg. Tue-Sun 10am-7pm. Singaporean resident: $16 adult, $9 child, student, senior citizen and NSF. Standard rate: $21 adult, $13 child, student, senior citizen.

2. Meditate over lunch

Establishing a meditation routine can be difficult when you’re too busy to share this story on Facebook, much less sit and breathe. But it’s not impossible to get some zen during a hectic day. Free yourself from all the busy clutter of the modern world and cultivate some calm on your time by skipping makan and instead going for lunch time meditation at Sanctum. The $5 entry fee allows you to use its meditation space for as long as you desire — really, it’s a small price to pay for honing your mental agility and restoring your equanimity. 34 Arab Street, #03-01, (S)199733; +65 6299 0170, www.sanctumsgcom. MWF 12pm-2pm. Registration required.

3. Follow the light(house)

Lighthouses have traditionally been beacons of light since the 1900s, guiding ships and mariners safely into Singapore’s harbours. Hopefully, a visit to faraway Sultan Shoal Lighthouse will help you find yourself. The red-roofed, white tower sports a mix of Oriental and Victorian design and strangely resembles a two-storey bungalow — a wonderful temporary refuge from civilisation. A day spent here will no doubt be like a vacation. Access to the island requires a permit from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

4. Get thee to a spa

Without a doubt, this is the place you want to be whenever you’re in need of serious pampering. Nestled in a leafy rainforest in Sentosa island, Auriga Spa‘s contemporary Asian space offers a warm and chic vibe. The bonus: massage suites come a private outdoor garden. Bid farewell to all your body woes as you choose from a range of treatments, named after the phases of the moon, that will surely leave you floating on cloud nine. Capella Singapore (Sentosa Island), 1 The Knolls, (S) 098297; +65 65915023, www.auriga-spa.com. Daily 10am-10pm. Treatments range from S$75-S$999.

5. Lose yourself in the dark

Watching a movie isn’t really a social activity — unless you’re one of those weirdos who enjoy a running commentary from the person beside you. Forget going to a cinema downtown and head to this fully-refurbished cinema with original, retro flip-up seats. Formerly known as Golden Theatre and considered the largest cinema when it opened in 1973, it was left to disintegrate until a couple of flick-loving hipster kids started a crowd-sourced fundraiser for its renovation and new name: The Projector. Here, you can watch specially-curated indie films without being labelled a poseur. You’ll definitely leave this charming place feeling like a sophisticated cinephile who’s able to appreciate the art form without incessant chatter in your ear. 6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower #05-00, (S) 199589; www.theprojectjor.sg. $13 adults, $11 student and senior citizen.

6. Read a book

If you’re experiencing shopping mall fatigue and need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, head down to the newly revamped and uber chic Library@Orchard in the heart of Singapore’s shopping district. Pluck a book off the branches of the Book Trees, which are integrated bookshelves, and retreat into the Cocoon, a cosy chair shaped much like a pod, where you can spend some time in your fictional world without any distractions. No one will even know you’re there! 277 Orchard Road, #03-12 Orchard Gateway, (S)238858; www.nlb.gov.sg, +65 63323255. Daily 11am-9pm, 11am-5pm on eve of PH, closed on PH. Free entrance.

7. Reach for new heights

Escape from the concrete jungle and channel your inner Tarzan as you take a scenic walk high above Singapore’s lush greenery. The TreeTop Walk is a free-standing suspension bridge that connects the two highest points of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Soak in the serene tranquility of nature and take in a stunning bird’s eye view of the wildlife that live in the forest canopy (cheeky monkeys can pretty much be spotted everywhere, but no, you’d not be able to dangle from the bridge like one). Just remember that you’d be a walking mosquito magnet so don’t forget to smear on some insect repellent. MacRitchie Reservoir Park, 601 Island Club Road; www.nparks.gov.sg. Tue-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat, Sun & PH 8:30 am-5pm. Free entrance.

8. Hop on a boat 

St John’s Island used to serve as quarantine, detention and drug rehab centres at different times, but it is anything but that now. Today, the island offers a sanctuary from Singapore’s urban mess, where you can partake in a whole range of recreational activities. Enjoy a pleasant picnic on the beach or frolic in one of its many saltwater lagoons and interact with its marine life. Simply hop onto a Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry boat or, if your pockets are deep enough, you can charter your own. Catch your ride at Marina South Pier, 31 Marina Coastal Dr, S(018988); www.islandcruise.com.sg +65 6534 9339. S$18 adult, S$12 child. Free entrance.

9. Look at the past, appreciate the present

The rarely-visited Singapore City Gallery, a stone’s throw away from Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, tells an interactive story of the Little Red Dot’s physical transformation from a poor and crowded fishing village to the first-world marvel it is now. Highlights include a panoramic sights and sound show, and a maquette of modern day Singapore where you’ll surely lose track of time looking at how your neighbourhood probably appears from a bird’s point of view. 45 Maxwell Road, The URA Centre, (S)069118; www.ura.gov.sg, +65 6321 8321. Mon-Sat 9am-5pm.

10. Float nude in a dark tub

Prepare to be reborn in a closed pod, otherwise known as a sensory deprivation tank. At Palm Ave Float Club, drift into oblivion as soon as you lie down on a bed of salt water and be literally disconnected from the outside world with nothing to see or hear but your breathing. Bonus: the high concentration of Epsom salt in the water is supposed to be great for the skin and muscle aches. 20 Waringin Park, (S)416333; www.palmavefloatclub.com, +65 91516004. Daily 10am-10pm. By appointment only. From $90.

Photo: Ungku Ibrahim/Palm Avenue Float Club


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