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Sep 12, 2010
Hunt for Mr Right
By Cheryl Tan
20 dates under $20
Dating can be an inexpensive experience. LifeStyle shows you where to go for under $20 a head, or even free.
1. Go on an Asia Paranormal Investigators Couples Haunting Trail
(See Jack Neo’s Forest Ghost House in the movie ‘Where Got Ghost’)
Guys, here is a chance to show off your macho side. This four-hour night trail to an abandoned village of tomb keepers, Bukit Brown cemetery, the last kampung in Singapore and haunted houses requires you to trek through forested areas.
Cost: $10 a person, limited to 15 couples
Where: Meet at Newton Hawker Centre bus bay
When: Oct 2, 7 to 11pm
Info: Register at http://www.api.sg or call 9878-8669
REGSITRATION HAS CLOSED FOR API COUPLES HAUNTING TRAIL.
2. Kayak at MacRitchie Reservoir
Enjoy the lush greenery and calm waters from a two- seat kayak.
Cost: Rental for a two-seat kayak is $15 an hour, including lifejackets and paddles.
Where: The Paddle Lodge, MacRitchie Reservoir
When: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9am to 6pm. Closed on Mondays and selected public holidays
Info: Call 6258-0057 or go to http://www.scf.org.sg/Facilities/PLDetails.html
3. Visit farms
If your date loves food, visit Singapore’s outlying areas and embark on a journey together to learn about the source of food.
Where: Mycofarm ( http://www.mycofarm.com.sg ), 9 Seletar West Farmway 5
What: One-hour mushroom farm tour at $5, call 6773-0377 to book
Where: Bollywood Veggies (http://www.bollywoodveggies.com ), 100 Neo Tiew Road
What: Self-guided tour at $2
Where: Hay Dairies (http://www.hay dairies.com.sg), No. 3 Lim Chu Kang, Agrotech Park Lane 4
What: Free but best to visit during milking time from 9 to 11am
4. Take a train ride to Johor Baru
Zip through the backyards of Singapore onboard the rustic KTM rail and spend a day in JB for some shopping and seafood.
Cost: $5 for a one-way ticket
When: Train departs from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station daily
5. Stroll and dine at the Quayside
Stroll along the Singapore River under the moonlight and end your walk with alfresco bayside dining at Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits at the Singapore Flyer.
Cost: $7.40 for a two-piece set meal
Where: Start at The Fullerton Hotel and walk along the river to the Singapore Flyer
6. Take the River Taxi
Shoot the breeze on the Singapore River and hop off at designated stops for ice cream from mobile vendors from $1.
Cost: $4 to $12
Where: Robertson Quay to Merlion/ Fullerton
7. Go island-hopping
Whiz your date off to an island where you can enjoy sandy beaches all to yourselves.
Cost: $15 for a ferry ticket which includes entry fee to the islands
Where: Ferry departs daily from Marina South Pier to Kusu and St John’s islands
8. Fly a kite at Marina Barrage
Let your love soar as you fly a kite against the scenic cityscape.
Cost: Under $10 for a basic kite
Where: 8 Marina Gardens Drive. Board a shuttle bus or SBS bus service 400 from Marina Bay MRT station
9. Relax at a fish spa
Cost: $10 for half an hour
Where: Qian Hu Fish Farm, 71 Jalan Lekar, Sungei Tengah. Free shuttle bus from Choa Chu Kang bus interchange daily
When: Weekdays, 9am to 6pm, weekends/public holidays, 9am to 7pm
10. Go prawn fishing
Hook some prawns and savour your catch at the Bottle Tree Park.
Cost: $14.50 an hour. One-for-one ladies’ night on Thursdays. Rod, bait and barbecue facilities included
Where: 81 Lorong Chencharu
When: Sundays to Thursdays, 9am to 2am, Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays, 9 to 3am
11. Join the Movie Mob
Blast back to the past with a free drive-in movie. Picnic mats will be provided for the car-less.
Where: Movie and location will be announced between 48 and 72 hours before screening day via e-mail or Facebook.
When: Sept 18 or fortnightly
Info: Go to http://www.moviemob.sg/ to vote for your movie picks or visit Facebook group MovieMob by Ape Communications for details
12. Watch a movie under the stars
Return to the old days of watching movies in an open-air setting in the Under The Banyan Tree programme
Where: Stamford Garden
What: Sept 17 – The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai; Sept 18 – Electric Dreams
13. Visit Jurong Hill
Watch the sunset atop a three- storey spiral tower overlooking Jurong’s portside.
Where: Jurong Hill off Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim
14. Go for a private movie screening
Snuggle up close and enjoy a film in the privacy of a screening room at the library@esplanade which is equipped with quality home-theatre systems
Cost: $5.50 an hour for rental of room. Borrow DVDs or VCDs from the library
Where: library@esplanade, 8 Raffles Avenue, 03-01
When: Mondays to Sundays, 11am to 8.30pm
Info: Call 6332-3255
15. Join a mass dance
Hold your date close and move in rhythm to the sexy dance beats at the da:ns Festival 2010: Friday I’m In Love event
Where: Stage@Powerhouse, The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive
When: Oct 8, 8.30 to 9.15pm (salsa), 9.45 to 10.45pm (ballroom), Oct 15, 8.30 to 9.15pm (swing dance), 9.45 to 10.45pm (Argentine tango)
Info: http://www.dansfestival.com/2010/whats yourmove.html
16. Take a home-beer brewing course
Let your love brew over the 11/2-hour course.
Cost: $17 a person, limited vacancies
Where: Tanglin Community Club and Punggol Park Community Club
When: Oct 16 at Tanglin CC, Nov 20 at Punggol Park CC, 11am to 12.30pm
Info: Register at one.pa.gov.sg
17. Go bird-watching and take a nature walk
Be in touch with nature at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and enjoy each other’s company without the distractions of urban living.
Cost: Free entry on weekdays. $1 for entry on weekends, public holidays and school holidays
Where: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent
When: Mondays to Saturdays: 7.30am to 7pm, Sundays and public holidays, 7am to 7pm
18. See orchids
Let your love bloom among the colourful splendour of the orchids at the Mandai Orchid Garden.
Cost: $3.50 a person
Where: 200 Mandai Lake Road
When: Mondays, 8am to 6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays, 8am to 7pm
19. Go on a mobile game trail
Download the Love Is In The Air sound game application into your iPhone and use it to find clues in Orchard Road to piece together a Parisian-style love story. Stand to win shopping vouchers and a trip for two to the city of love.
When: Sept 17 to 26, 7 to 10pm
How: Register at http://www.digitalnights.sg
20. Picnic at Marina at Keppel Bay
Pack a picnic basket to enjoy while you sit back and admire the views of Sentosa, Resorts World Sentosa and the skyline of the Central Business District.
Cost: Sparkling wine from FairPrice from $15.50, ingredients for sandwiches, $10
Where: 2 Keppel Bay Vista
Huang Huifen and Cheryl Tan
Those LifeStyle spoke to are resorting to all sorts of methods to get a date, instead of relying on the usual club and pub scene to score on the dating front.
They are turning to social networking websites such as Facebook to suss out potential mates on their friends’ profile pages and signing up to join a singles cruise, for example.
That search for The One also sees some enlisting the help of dating gurus if they need a little polishing when it comes to impressing the opposite sex.
These go-getting singles include public relations manager Marlene Ee. Instead of whining about her lack of a date, she threw a singles party with five unattached friends to meet new people.
It was such a success that she has now held several such bashes.
‘My female friends and I wanted to meet more men, and this idea sparked and snowballed as more people came to the parties,’ says the chatty 29-year-old, who felt it would be a good way to expand everybody’s social circle to better find a partner.
After holding seven parties since 2008, with at least 100 people attending each time, she has yet to find Mr Right. But she knows of at least four couples who have got together from the parties and that ‘a lot of phone numbers are exchanged’.
‘There’s a big demand for the parties. People often ask when the next one is going to be held and whether there will be new blood,’ she adds.
Christening themselves Mix & Glug, her clique of friends spread the word about their parties through friends and their Facebook group, and teamed up with venues such as Loof, OverEasy and Novus.
Partygoers pay only a cover charge starting from $10 for a night of drinks and mingling.
Referring to the recent call for tenders for a campaign to promote dating and marriage among singles by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Ms Ee says: ‘People don’t really want to be single. They just want to find the right partner and we don’t need an advertisement to remind us of that.’
Some singles are even casting their net to other countries such as Korea through matchmaking websites in the hope of finding their soulmate (see other story).
And matchmaking websites such as Clique Wise, Who Works Around You, Eteract and eSynchrony are enjoying a steady annual increase in membership of at least 15 per cent, proving that singles are taking the step to finding that special someone.
Clique Wise, for example, which does marital status checks through the Social Development Network (SDN) to confirm members are single, has been running social events for the past six years and has helped about 30 couples tie the knot.
Co-founder Lydia Gan says while the number of sign-ups is encouraging, singles can do more to get attached.
‘People don’t usually follow up with someone they just met to get to know them better and see where the relationship can go,’ says the 36- year-old.
But technical service engineer Raymond Goh says making new friends all the time can be a tiring task as ‘getting to know a new person needs a lot of time and energy’, both of which he does not have a lot of because of his work.
He opts for a shortcut: getting his pals to introduce their female friends to him.
He also checks their friends’ lists on Facebook for profiles that catch his eye or uses the networking site to suss out a recommended potential mate before meeting her.
The 27-year-old, who has been single for 21/2 years, says: ‘Friends usually know enough about you and the other party to provide a good match.’
Having friends to help with the introductions during a group setting, he adds, is also less pressurising and is a ‘good buffer’ to get to know the other party better.
On the other hand, branding manager Gladys Lim is hoping her holiday onboard a singles cruise in December will let her bump into her soulmate.
Co-organised by Mr Andrew Chow, founder of dating agency Table For Six, the five-day, four-night cruise to Port Klang and Phuket is open to singles from regional spots such as Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong.
It is the first time Mr Chow has organised a cruise that is open to foreigners. Previously, he has been involved in four cruises open only to Singaporeans. Those were fully booked, he says.
The upcoming cruise includes activities such as outdoor games, a masquerade ball, grooming talks and the opportunity for mingling during meals.
‘Singles like to cast their net further,’ he says. ‘The grass is always greener on the other side and it is always more interesting if the grass is from overseas.’ It is a two-for-one deal for singles who do not mind infusing their holiday with a chance to meet Mr or Ms Right as well.
Ms Lim, 31, who paid $1,538 for a twin- share room with a close female friend, says: ‘I think it is value for money. Where else can you meet so many singles during your holiday?’
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