Adventure isn’t a term usually associated with Singapore, a city better known for malls and innovative architecture. However, Singapore believes that what it lacks, it can simply build. Adventure sports can be found at the unlikeliest places in the city. The facilities may be artificial, but the thrills are quite real.
Anyone skydiving over Singapore would most likely land on an oddly-shaped building. The next best thing is recreating the feeling, as the Singapore iFly does. The iFly is a massive cylindrical chamber that simulates zero-gravity freefall, and all that feels good about skydiving, except the bit that involves jumping out of a plane. (www.iflysingapore.com; Siloso Beachfront, Sentosa Island; 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; book on the website 2-3 days in advance; ages 18 and above.)
Clarke Quay, with its high-end pubs and clubs, is where the cool kids hang out, and the massive G-MAX mechanical bungee structures try hard to fit in. In contrast to the sophisticated diners looking on, riders on the G-MAX Reverse Bungee are usually screaming their lungs out as they’re launched 60 m upwards at speeds close to 200 kph. The Xtreme Swing takes things a step further, catapulting riders 100 m over the Singapore River. Dessert, anyone? (www.gmax.com.sg; Clarke Quay, 2 p.m.-2 a.m.; ages 12 and above.)
Childhood dreams of being in the circus can be fulfilled (to some extent) by the Flying Trapeze at Sentosa Island. Soar through the air, make coordinated transitions, and try a few tricks in the process. There’s a safety net in case they don’t come out as expected. Parents can involve children above the age of four. (Siloso Fort, Sentosa Island; 2.30-7 p.m.; ages four and above.)
A beach is usually essential for surfing, but Sentosa Wave House begs to differ. The surf ’s always up at the Flowrider, a pool that manufactures waves suitable for novice surfers. Those ready for the big time can step up to the FlowBarrel, which is capable of generating 10-foot-high barrel waves. (www.wavehousesentosa.com; Sentosa Island; 10.30 a.m.-10.30 p.m.; surfers below 18 years of age must have a guardian present.)
Wakeboarding is about balance, strength, and most importantly, not letting go of the tow. WakeTime at the Marina Country Club has a fleet of boats, equipment and instructors to teach first-timers as well as aid more experienced wakeboarders in honing their skills. (www.waketime.com.sg; Marina Country Club,17th Avenue; ages 18 and above.)
Cable skiing is like wakeboarding, except the tow-boat is replaced by an overhead cable to pull riders along. SKI360, set in the East Coast Lagoon, is Singapore’s first cable ski park, offering state-of-the-art equipment, steep ramps for daredevil stunts and a massive adrenaline rush. (www.ski360degree.com; East Coast Parkway; 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; ages 7 and above.)
Of all the places hockey was originally meant to be played, six feet underwater probably wasn’t on the list. But that doesn’t deter the members of Singapore’s underwater hockey club, who submerge themselves twice a week with a puck and ‘hockey sticks’ that look like oversized soup spoons. It’s a taxing underwater workout and newcomers are welcome to join. The best part? It’s free. (Queenstown Swimming Complex, Stirling Road, Tues and Fri; 7-9 p.m.; equipment provided at venue; no age restriction.)
Singapore’s Xtreme Skate Park is a government-aided project to feed the enthusiasm of trick-skaters and cyclists. The park is divided into three sections (street course, combo bowl and vertical bowl), with international standard ramps and pipes, open to enthusiasts of any skill level. (East Coast Parkway; 7.30 a.m.-10 p.m.; no age restriction; skaters must bring their own gear.)
Why climb a mountain when you can scale a mall? Set up by medal-winners at the Asian X Games, BorderX at the Orchard Central Mall is a 30-metre high Via Ferrata wall built to promote climbing as an adventure sport in Singapore. The wall has routes of various levels of diffculty built into it and extends to the ceiling of the eight-storey mall, so it’s probably a good idea to avoid looking down. (www.borderx.com.sg; Orchard Central Mall; 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; ages 8 and above.)
Singapore’s National Parks Board invites cycling enthusiasts to rough it out at the Ketam Mountain Bike Park on Pulau Ubin island, with a mix of trails for both casual cyclists and aspiring stuntmen. The park, spanning over 45 hectares, is designed to international competition standards, with five trails of varying difficulty. Cycles can be rented from Ubin town. (Pulau Ubin Island; 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; free entry; no age restriction.)
It’s hard to put into words what a luge really is. Is it a go-kart without wheels? Is it a skateboard to sit on? Whatever the answer, the Skyline Luge at Sentosa is fun for all ages. The winding downhill tracks can be taken cautiously or at full tilt, and children who don’t meet the 130 cm height requirement can ride pillion with their parents. At the bottom, a cable car takes visitors on a slower, more scenic ride back to the top (Sentosa Island; 10 a.m.-9.30 p.m.; ages three and above).
Appeared in the July 2012 issue as “Urban Adventures”.