Tips & Tricks: Expat Tips
Expat Tips on recreation

Query: I have 3 young girls 4-7 years old, and I am looking for summer activities here in Singapore for them, something like a gymnastic school/activity school/ sports school any one know something.

Tip: The Australian & New Zealand Association have a Children's Summer Fun Programme every Summer when the schools have their long break, to cater for the children who are not going on a long home-leave. It is open to everyone, not just ANZA members. The details will not be available for at least a couple of months, but do call the office on 6223-7992.
- contributed by an ANZA volunteer

Query: I am interested in finding out about venues and organizations that cater to children's birthday parties. Anyone with personal experience of a great party venue? I'm looking for places suitable for a girl turning ten and a boy turning 8.

Tip: When my son turned 8 we took him and his classmates to the ice-skating rink at Kallang (next to the theatre). It was a great success, and suitable for your 10-year old too. They do a birthday party package and can provide a cake and balloons etc. You can even take your child's favourite CD along. There were at least 20 kids, including one or two whom had not skated before, but this was OK as there are metal frames which they can take onto the rink (They very quickly got the hang of it though). A couple of parents and older siblings chose to skate too (they paid for themselves), but the non-skating parents were able to help with tying bootlaces and exchanging wrong sizes.

The cafe is not that great at Kallang, I just bought drinks for all the kids, and afterwards took them all to Burger King downstairs. My husband made a list of what each child wanted and took the order down about 20 minutes beforehand. We did this party on a Saturday - I think it was around lunchtime or early afternoon before it got too hectic. The staff there were very helpful: the numbers for Ice World are 348-7928 and fax 348-7949.

My son has also had birthday parties at "Laserquest"/"Questzone" at the Marina Leisure complex in Marina Square (not very easy to find if you haven't been there before). There is a small room for cutting up a birthday cake and an expensive cafe adjacent! We took the kids (again about 20+) outside afterwards to play "tag", "bullrush" and other playground games (we got some strange looks from people who obviously don't know that kids like to run around and have fun), then to McDonalds for supper. For the most recent (10th) birthday, it was just boys from the class and condo with a token girl (a tomboy!) and this was at the "Laserquest/Questzone" place at East Coast Park. The name is slightly different and Directory Enquiries couldn't help, so I had to go there in person to book it. It is right next to the drive-in McDonalds, inside the arcade game centre. They thought it was great and afterwards we all went across to the ten-pin bowling alley (also booked beforehand as it was on a Sunday - a very wet day). The kids had 2 games and yet again we had supper at Macdonald's - where all the parents collected their kids. This was the most popular birthday party ever, according to the kids. Not cheap either! We have had indoor parties for our son as his birthday is in the rainy season, so a pool party is not so much fun and dangerous if it is stormy. Another option is to find out if any "child friendly" movies are going to be released and take the kids there (my son saw "Godzilla" for a friend's birthday, a continuation of a pool party). The school bus operator provided a mini-bus to take them all to the Lido cinema. Hope this helps!
- submitted by Dawn

For more information on activities in Singapore, check out our Enjoying S'pore section.

Query: Are there any hiking groups in Singapore that have regular hiking trips?

Tip:  Get in contact with The Singapore Adventurers' Club at tel. 7490557 or the People's Association tel 3448222. Also try the Singaporean branch of the Malaysian Nature Society who are listed in the phone book.
- submitted by Just Helping

Query: Can someone tell me where I can find public swimming pools? What is the cost? Are there good places for snorkeling too?

Tip:  Snorkeling in Singapore - not really, the water is dirty and there's nothing to see. Pulau Tioman is very near (South China Sea) and you can easily go there for a weekend away and it can be a pretty cheap weekend too. The water is great for snorkeling. I mean really great. Without any kind of scuba equipment, we saw squid, stingray, sea snakes, a massive variety of tropical fish, and one friend even saw a reef shark. Really great. Also, enormous monitor lizards live on the island, and there are waterfalls to see! Fantastic fun!
- submitted by Don Marco

Query: Where do I go to play cricket in Singapore?

Tip #1: You can try the United World College Cricket Club (ask for Tom Seal, Tel: 872 3538). United World College is the international school at Dover Road (not too far from Holland Village). They have a Community Programme offering tennis,jazz-dancing, scuba diving, karate, Tai-kwan-do, International Festival Chorus etc. for anyone resident in Singapore.

Tip #2: Other Options include the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) and the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC). I looked at both but the SCC was way more expensive. I was told there was a S$2500 joining fee! I went with the SRC. Both are on the "Padang" near City Hall MRT. This is a pretty easy place to get to via MRT or bus. Worth thinking about if you find it hard to get to UWC.

Query: I want to get some very old family portraits reproduced. The type that's in black and white with that old bromide charm. The sort of photos I wouldn't trust in too many people's care - they're too precious. Can anybody recommend somebody who can make good reproductions and be trusted with them please.

Tip:  I understand and I too was wary with my parent's very old wedding photos. But decided to go ahead with Raffles Photographers. I must say, they did an excellent job restoring the photos. These old sepia b/w photos were reproduced and then upon my request enlarged onto canvas. At least on canvas I know the photos will be well preserved and there won't be a need again for me to search for restorers in the near future!

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