Awesome $50 Weekends

Time, as Einstein said, is relative. The week crawls by, taking an eternity, and the momentous arrival of the weekend fills most hearts with mad euphoria, only for the two days to fly.
While there’s nothing you can do about that, you can do something more inventive with your weekends other than just lazing around, shopping, watching a movie and eating (yawn). That’s why we, the ever-resourceful I-S team, have come up with loads of things to do over the weekend that, get this—cost less than $50.
All you have to do is read on for a power-packed weekend of fun and unexpected thrills, which won’t burn a hole in your pocket, if at all.
In The Still Of The Night
If you’re a nightowl
$5-10—Flex your musical muscles at Actor’s Bar (13A South Bridge Rd., 6533-2436), where for just the price of the drinks, you can sing and jam on instruments with fellow customers all night long from 6pm. However, unless you’re Singapore Idol material, we suggest you practice at home first to avoid embarrassment and ear-bleeds. Drinks are priced from only $5, and professional musicians do come in to jam later.
$9-15—Go back to gaming basics by checking out the large variety of non-electronic, board games at Settler’s Café (branches at 39 North Canal Rd., 6535-0435, #02-98, 15 Holland Dr., 6464-0178, 107 East Coast Rd., 6345-0071). Amuse yourselves with familiar childhood favorites such as Monopoly and Cluedo, along with new-fangled games like Cranium and Dragon Delta. With packages of $9 per person or $48 for groups of up to six people for two hours of games and abundant drinks and snacks, it’s proof that gaming can still be great fun when it’s unplugged.
, Awesome $50 Weekends$10-30—Go bar hopping at fine establishments that offer cheap rates for good drinks and—no cover charge. Like the hip Heat Ultralounge (2/F, Royal Plaza on Scotts, 25 Scotts Rd., 6589-7722), where martinis, mojitos and capirinhas go for $9.90 each with free bar snacks during their special “Heat Hours” from 5-7pm, and the chilled out Blu Jaz Too (11 Bali Lane, 6292-3800), which charges a mere $38 per bottle for wines and $8-20 for beers amid their weekend mix of house and jazz music. Or drink yourself silly at Vino Vino Dining & Wine Lounge (#01-56 UE Square, 207 River Valley Rd., 6737-7220) and WineBOS (47 North Canal Rd., 6538-7886), with their free flow of wines at 6-8pm going for only $12.
$12—Be entranced with the charms of Middle Eastern decadence at Café le Caire @Al Majlis (39 Arab St., 6292-0979), where Shisha smoking is practiced. Authority-fearing Singaporeans can rest assured: We can assure you that it’s absolutely legal, as it only involves inhaling tobacco smoke in a variety of fruity flavors through water pipes. Just $12.60 a serving that could last you till the café closes at 5.30am.
$10-48—Get a room in karaoke outlets if you like some privacy, such as Partyworld KTV (273 South Bridge Rd., 6223-3187) with rates as low as $20-28, or K-Ster Inc Karaoke (#04-01-22 Lucky Chinatown, 211 New Bridge Rd, 6222-2255) where $21 can get you five hours or more of warbling from 7pm-4am. At Ten Dollars Club (31-35 Smith St., 6225-1231), as its name suggests, charges only $10 a session for at least three people for three hours.
, Awesome $50 WeekendsGroove Is In The Art
If you’re an arts lover
Free—Express your anti-establishment sentiments and make a great piece of art at the Youth Park (8 Grange Rd). Just buy a can of spray paint and go spray-zy over the walls built there for this purpose. The sky’s the limit and the more colorful, the better.
Free—Hop from art gallery to gallery. Some cool, offbeat galleries to check out are Utterly Art (229A South Bridge Rd., 6226-2605), which is well-known for its quirky, downright weird but always fun works from artists as varied as Andres Barrioqunito and Michael Cacnio. The Substation (45 Armenian St., 6337-7535) is chockfull of experimental, modern works that range from photography, installation art to oil paintings.
$50—Bring out your talent for pottery with Boon’s Pottery (#B1-02 Tanglin Place, 91 Tanglin Rd., 6836-3978). Classes are available at $50 per person for a three-hour session with materials and firing.
Treasure Trove
If you’re a bargain hunter
$2—Should you ever need to buy a plastic container, a biscuit cutter and a trowel all at the same place, pop by Japanese store Daiso (#03-06/06A/06B VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6376-8065), a wonderland that houses anything and everything you need. The quality is fab and the designs gorgeous—and everything costs $2. Enough said.
$2-20—Second-hand bookshops give a great deal. Pop by Books Galore (#05-107 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd., 6732-8773), and be boggled by the wide range of books that you can rent or buy. The books are not arranged in order, but that’s the beauty of it—you never know what you’ll find. They cost anything from $2 to $18. Another place to check out is Sunny Bookshop (#03-58/59 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd., 6733-1583). Books here are usually below $50, but new titles cost more. Their books come mintily wrapped; treat them well and get your money back when you return them. The guys who work here have good knowledge of their books which really helps.
$5-30—Rummage for used clothes, shoes and handbags at the Salvation Army Thrift Store (309 Upper Serangoon Rd., 6288-5438). We found Timberland shoes, Hush Puppies, Polo, Scholl and even a pair of Guess jeans all going for $30. If that’s still not enough for you, cash in on Cash Converters (#01-674 Blk 192, Toa Payoh Lor. 4, 6354-3380). You can’t bargain much, but the quality of the goods is better, with nice antiques sometimes. You can find old CDs ($5), home appliances ($12), plates and cups ($2), bicycles ($30), paintings ($2-50), crystal and rock carvings ($25), crystalware (below $50)… well, everything.
, Awesome $50 Weekends$25-45—For one-of-a-kind vintage clothing and accessories, check out Dustbunny Vintage (#04-18F Blk 79 Chay Yan St., 9691-9305). Featured items include box bags ($48), costume jewelry ($25-$45), shell necklaces ($45) and shoes ($45). And for a selection of sale items from Europe, US and Australia, go to Chain Chain Fashion (#02-01 Textile Centre, 200 Jalan Sultan, 6298-4911) to find all of last season’s collections on sale. We found really nice items like an Agn`es b-looking long-sleeved blouse ($45), pleated skirts ($40) and a lovely spaghetti-strap top ($25).
$10-50—Head on down to Little India’s Mustafa Centre (145 Syed Alwi Rd., 6295-5855) and find the best deals all year, 24 hours a day. Items we found worth noting were picnic baskets ($25.90), bean bags ($38.90), candle holders ($46), carpets ($45), “Japanese” sarees ($50), make-up kits (from $19 to $44) and 1.0 GB San Disk thumb drive ($34). But if you want to part with only $10, head to Wonderful Gifts and Costume Jewellery (87 Serangoon Rd., 6294-8996) and have a field day picking any three items for just $10.
Hit The Road
If you’re a frequent traveler
Free-$50—Take a jaunt across the causeway to Johor Bahru. It may be slightly provincial, but there is cheap shopping galore at shopping centers like City Square (108 Jln Wong Ah Fook, Johor Bahru, Malaysia), only a short walk from the Immigration and Customs Complex. Let’s not forget the favorable exchange rate for Malaysian ringgit too. How much you spend here is really up to you.
$4-11—Get away from the concrete jungle. Pulau Ubin is only $2 by bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal, or $1 if you swathe yourself in orange robes and pass yourself off as a monk. Once there, rent a bike for only $3 a day, hitch a cab, or walk. Trips to Kusu Island and St. John’s Island cost only $11 return from Marina South Pier. Soak in the island air and marvel at the lack of crowds there.
Chomp It Up
If you’re a foodie
$0.70-6—Kopi freaks should really stake out Tanjong Pagar Railway Station—KTM (30 Keppel Rd., 6222-5165) for some excellent (not to mention cheap) kopi, as well as great Malay food. Prata maniacs should just set foot in the whole Jalan Kayu stretch, famously known for a bunch of prata shops sell all types of prata. Kosong, egg-filled, curry—you name it, they have it.
$5-30—Watch the world go by—go alfresco. A nice nook to visit is eM by the River (#01-05 The Gallery Hotel, 1 Nanson Rd., 6836-9691. There are tons of drinks (beers, shooters and the like) here and also sandwiches, salads, desserts and dips to try.
, Awesome $50 Weekends$4-50—Hunt down the best seafood—in Jurong. 66 Leisure Beer Garden (Jurong Reptile Park, 241 Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, 6265-3130) is where you can fish for huge live prawns from a few prawn ponds. After a successful catch, pop them on a grill for a mouthwatering meal. It costs $13 per hour and $25 for three hours (depending on how good or bad you are at fishing). If you want to stuff yourself with more scrumptious seafood, head down to the nearby 81 Fishhead Steamboat (Jurong Reptile Park, 241 Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, 6265-3130) where you make specific requests on how you’d like your seafood to be cooked. You can also check out a wide variety of fantastic seafood dishes while there. Butter crabs, anyone? Prices range from $4-50.
Cheap Treats
If you’re a health enthusiast
Free-$30—If you’re broke but desperately need a massage, just pop by any OTO Bodycare store (#04-08A Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd., 6337-5616) and pretend to be massively interested in their Cyber-Lux massage chair. Sit down, have a trial massage then get up and say you’ll think about it. Or if you’re not thick-skinned enough to do that, go to De Beaute And Slimming (#B1-00/10 Singapore Shopping Centre, 190 Clemenceau Ave., 6334-1133) for a 30-min massage for the whole back that starts with the neck that costs only $28.
$20—Take a trip to the Asian Golf Academy (601 Sin Ming Ave., 6453-6653) for a golf experience without the hefty club membership. It costs $3 for 50 balls (with a $5 non-refundable deposit), and at least $15 with a smart card.
$20-25—Discover any innate dancing abilities you might have with Dance Arts Singapore (#05-39 Funan Digitalife Mall, 109 North Bridge Rd., 6338-2124). Join the adults’ ballet class for only $20 for a single one-hour session. A 1.5-hour single session costs $25.
, Awesome $50 Weekends$40—Go for a cheap mani-pedi session at White Lotus Palace (36B Boat Quay, 6536-0772). At $40 per session, you’ll also receive a French manicure for free.
Thrills And Spills
If you are a thrill-seeker
Free—Love being scared? Ghoulish Trails will take you to some of the most haunted places in Singapore. Look up to find out more details of when they are held. If you dare.
Free—Le Parkour is an art and a discipline where the traceur (the participant of this sport) attempts to pass obstacles in the fastest, most direct and most efficient way possible. Practiced in urban areas, you will never look at an HDB estate in the same way again. Check out the Singapore forum to find out more about this physical art form and how to start. Trust us—it’s a lot more thrilling than it sounds here.
$3-20—Spend a day at the horse races at Singapore Turf Club (Singapore Racecourse, 1 Turf Club Ave., 6879-1000) for the price of an entrance fee. Check out for weekly race fixtures. The next big race, the Chairman’s Trophy, happens on Mar 23.
$8-40—Nothing is as wet and fun as wakeboarding. At Ski360° (East Coast Lagoon, No. 1206A East Coast Parkway, 6442-7318) an overhead cable substitutes for a boat. Adrenalin junkies—the cable moves at up to 58kph, and costs only $40 per hour or $8 per round.
$55—If underwater shenanigans is your thing, try scuba diving. Check out Gill Divers (87B Tanjong Pagar Rd., 6734-9373) where their Discover Scuba course is $55 nett per person. OK, so this is only an introductory session in a swimming pool but you gotta learn the basic stuff before you can swim with the sharks, right?
, Awesome $50 Weekends$56—For those needing adrenaline-pumping fun, try paintballing at Tag Paintball (Orchid Country Club, 1 Orchid Club Rd., 6324-0038). Entrance fee is at $15 for 9am-5pm and $20 for 5pm-midnight, with a minimum purchase of 1,000 paintballs at $250—spilt this cost between at least six of your mates. Make your bookings at least two days in advance.
Take Notes
If you’re a music junkie
$15—Go hunt for used CDs and vinyls at specialist music shops like Roxy (#02-15, 5 Coleman St., 6337-7783), Simply Music (#03-12 The Adelphi, 1 Coleman St. , 6336-2938) and Straits Records ( 43 Haji Lane , 9431-1572). For as little as $15, we’ve discovered out-of-print vinyls from Transvision Vamp, Pet Shop Boys, Kim Wilde, Madonna, Joy Division and many more. You’ll never know what else you can find here.
, Awesome $50 Weekends$18-48—Support local acts like Electrico, who will play at the University Cultural Centre, NUS on Mar 2, 7:30pm for $18-48. Expect to hear hits from their last two hit albums, as well as some covers. Other acts like Bushmen (Mar 2, 6:45pm) and Heritage (Mar 3, 6:45pm) also perform at the University Cultural Centre theater foyer for free as part of the NUS Arts Festival.
Free-$58—Check out great music performances at the Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade for as low as well, nothing. If you like rock, look no further than Korean five-piece rockers Rock Tigers (Mar 10, 10pm). But if you have $38 to spare, we recommend folk-jazz crooner and guitarist, Terry Callier (Mar 10, 10pm), who will deliver ferocious numbers from his albums Lifeline and African Violet. And for $58, troubadour Jose Gonzales (Mar 11, 11pm) and his forlorn voice is a must. Log onto
We asked 4 individuals how they would spend their $50 or less for the weekend.
“Secret beach bumming, full day inane telly watching, lightweight flea-marketing, new makan hunting, and Sunday chin-wagging with good friends and sundowner one-for-one drinks at Wala Wala.”—Genevieve Loh, marketing executive
“Only good for Sundays: Go rollerblading in the morning at East Coast Park for two hours for $6. Then head down to China Square Central to hunt down my ideal Todd McFarlane action figure worth $25-30, after which I take a bus to Little India to enjoy a light lunch at New Woodlands Restaurant for just $5, inclusive of paper dosai, rasam and coffee. If I have $10 left, I’d take a walk down to Mustafa Shopping Centre and buy a pack of almonds for that healthy office snack.”—Melanie Oliveiro, radio producer-presenter
“When I feel like slumming over the weekend, I’d go and chill out at Bussorah Street where I’d read a book over iced latte at Sleepy Sam’s, adjourn for satay and tahu goreng at the Malay cafe four doors away, and finish with teh tarik in that famous corner stall at the intersection of Bussorah Street and Baghdad Street. If there is anything left over from the $50, I’d pick up some cheap, funky memorabilia from antique house Grandfather’s Shop, like a paper kite or glass marbles.”—Dr. K. K. Seet, lecturer and theater critic
“Watching TV at my boyfriend’s house might sound mundane, but it’s like a random ritual that I carry out because I don’t have TV at home, so watching TV becomes like a festival. For cheap eats, I’d go for the $5 kebab at Sultan Kebab in Peace Centre, which is really nice.”—Foo Aiwei, artist