Greg’s Travel Diary – 2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Greg Kallman, founder of FanAmp, attended the Singapore Grand Prix this year. He tells us about his experience and shares some tips on attending the race at Marina Bay Circuit.

Back in September, I had the opportunity to travel to Singapore for the Grand Prix. Here is a recount of my adventure and the things to take into consideration if you are planning to attend a Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Circuit in the future!

Arrival

The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the harder races to attend for anyone living in North America. It was about a 15 hour flight From New York, where I’m based, to Seoul. From there, the connecting flight from Seoul to Singapore was about 7 hours. I flew out on a Sunday morning and didn’t end up arriving until about 11:30 PM Monday night. Despite the long trip, the flights themselves were quite seamless. I flew with Delta Airlines and Korean Air and the staff were great.

Hotel

I stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Riverview, and I would recommend it to anybody headed to the Marina Bay Circuit. It was located right on the Singapore River and was within a 30 minute walking distance of the main downtown area and tourist attractions. When I arrived at the hotel, I noticed they had transformed their hotel bar and lobby into an F1 party hub. There were F1-themed signs everywhere, and a simulator guests could use during special events they’d be running all week. Of course, there were drink specials all weekend. From the start, it seemed like everything was set up to party. From the hotel lobby to the rest of the city; all of Singapore comes together during the Formula 1 Grand Prix with a high-energy atmosphere. There are some races I’ve been to where you’d struggle to notice the race is in town. This is not one of them. 

Exploring Singapore

I purposefully arrived in Singapore a few days before the Grand Prix to allow for time to adjust to the jet lag and get a sense of the city. Within those few days before the race, events were being held all over for race goers and general passersby. On the Wednesday, I headed to Raffles City mall where Williams was selling merchandise at a special pop-up. You could wait in line to retrieve a wristband that would give you access to attending a driver Q&A session. I got there fairly early, around 10am, so I waited and got the wristband for the Logan Sargeant Q&A, which took about 20 minutes. Once you get a wristband, you come back in the evening for a designated time slot.

Later that day at the popup was an awesome atmosphere. I got to meet a bunch of other fans as we waited for Logan to take the stage. After questions, everyone with a wristband had the chance to meet Logan, have him sign something, and take a picture. While others had merchandise they asked him to sign, I got a signed photo. I only attended the Williams event, but other people in FanAmp were at the McLaren event at a similar time.

In my free time, I wandered around the city and explored the different hawker food markets and amazing restaurants Singapore has to offer. Many food options are only a few Sing dollars. Two favorites were the classic chicken rice from Chin Chin Eating House and a duck rice from a hawker stall near Chinatown.

Since the track is right in the middle of the city, I walked up and down it many times, even going onto the circuit itself at different crossings. It’s very cool seeing them placing the barricades and grandstands in the days leading up to the Grand Prix.

Arriving at the Track

Getting to the track was really easy. It’s arguably one of the easiest tracks to reach since it is located directly in the city, near multiple transit lines, and within walking distance from nearly every main area. If you’re staying in the central part of the city, you’re either very near or immediately adjacent to the track itself. 

From my hotel, it was about a 30 minute walk to the track, which I did on one of the days. Another day, I took the bus which was very cheap, immaculately clean, and easy to navigate. One thing that really surprised me was that there actually wasn’t a surplus of people or traffic, even though it was a race weekend. I didn’t take the MRT (the metro system), so I can’t speak on how busy that was, but the rest of the public transportation was very convenient. The track is very accessible and even if you plan on taking a taxi or rideshare to the track, I don’t think that you would run into issues with traffic or delayed arrival times.

Race Ticket

In terms of race tickets, I had purchased the Premier Walkabout ticket which cost ~$450 (S$598) at the time of writing for the whole 3-day weekend. It’s the more expensive ‘general admission’ ticket, but it gives you access to all the zones surrounding the circuit, unlike the more restrictive Zone 4 Walkabout. That means access to every stage and fan area. 

What’s special about Singapore’s Walkabout tickets are that there are special viewing platforms dotted everywhere around the circuit – specifically dedicated to Walkabout ticket holders. During the practice session, I quickly noticed that hardly any ticket holders were going to the viewpoints… making it very easy to get a spot. Since the track is all ground level, the catch fencing makes it really easy to get close and have a good view at almost all of the viewpoints.

Even if you’re on a budget when purchasing Singapore Grand Prix tickets, I think it’s worth purchasing a Premier Walkabout ticket for even one of the days to enjoy the insane view and experience walking the entire circuit. (Premier Walkabout tickets are now available for 2024 – Ed)

Race Experience

On Friday, I spent the majority of the day walking the entire circuit and trying out different vantage points from around the track – which was a very unique experience. One HUGE perk of the Premier Walkabout ticket is that you also have access to the iconic Ferris Wheel, The Singapore Flyer. I took advantage of that perk during one of the practice sessions and got to see the track from above, which is definitely a vantage point worth checking out. If you choose to ride it during qualifying or the race, the lines will inevitably be much longer, but I would say it is definitely worth experiencing to see the action from above.

On Friday, I also realized that the much more expensive Main Grandstand was directly next to one of the Premier Walkabout viewing platforms. Honestly, if you don’t look closely, you may assume that they’re part of the same grandstand. With that in mind, I felt as though these Premier Walkabout tickets actually might give you the best value out of a majority of the other options available. Why spend hundreds more on tickets to one grandstand, when you can get the exact same vantage point at ‘mini grandstands’ around the circuit?

Atmosphere

Compared to all of the races that I have attended so far, the atmosphere at the Singapore Grand Prix was unmatched. The entire circuit is covered with food and drink stalls, and shockingly there were even DJ booths and concert stages set up at multiple points around the entire circuit. At points, it actually felt like I was at a music festival. Most notably, when the sun goes down, the circuit has this glow that definitely can’t be replicated anywhere else.

Even if you don’t have tickets to the GP, part of the unique atmosphere in Singapore that only a few other circuits can replicate is the ability to watch live without tickets. Since the circuit is located in the center of downtown, there are many other areas that people without tickets can watch from. When you look up, you’ll see balconies and high rises filled with people who are overlooking the track. People would just be watching from hotel rooms, so even if you are just in the city, or visiting for business, there are many options and ways you can watch the race. A friend was staying at the JW Marriott and they could watch from a pool deck 20-30 stories up!

Food & Drink

As I briefly touched on, the food and drink options around the circuit were VERY plentiful and the quality of food was top-tier. The exciting part about visiting a completely different corner of the world from America, is that there are so many unique cultural influences on the food options at the circuit. On track I found food from Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, etc… Almost too many options to choose from. So, naturally, I tried them all (sorry wallet)!

Meeting up with Fellow F1 Fans

Friday after practice was all about the FanAmp community. We host meetups for racegoers looking for a fun casual night of drinks, food and socializing with other F1 Fans from around the world. We had fans show up from all over the map and it felt like a very special way to get to know the users of our app.

I didn’t attend any of the concerts that were offered, but these were held throughout the weekend. There were a variety of popular mainstream artists such as Post Malone and definitely accented the importance that entertainment and music had on the Singapore Grand Prix race weekend.

Race Day

I know I’ve been “selling” the Premier Walkabout ticket throughout this travel report, but my Sunday ended up being completely different from what I had initially planned. I had a couple friends who were staying in the Fullerton Hotel and they invited me to watch the race from their hotel room. So, instead of using my Premier Walkabout ticket, I actually ended up watching the Grand Prix from a balcony. Watching all of the action on track from above definitely added to the experience and was a once in a lifetime opportunity (especially with that Carlos Sainz win). The fireworks at the end of the race light up the entirety of Marina Bay and the ambience almost speaks for itself.

After the race, there were after parties all over the city with artists who were performing in clubs and bars. Everybody and everything was up, alive and ready to go until about 4 or 5 (or later) in the morning, going to bed with the sunrise. 

Final Thoughts & Advice

The Singapore Grand Prix was such a great experience and, besides the travel time and distance, the race is organized really well and everything is very easily accessible. It’s been a standout from a year filled with the chance to attend races around the world.

Here are my tips for anyone attending the Singapore Grand Prix in the future:

  1. Be ready for sun. Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, and bring a hat. It’s very, very hot during the day (you’re nearly on the equato
  2. Explore the Hawker Centers. They’re brimming with a diverse range of delicious foods at very affordable prices. Try it all!
  3. Use Friday to find your spots. Explore the full circuit and choose which viewing platform(s) you want to prioritize on the busier days
  4. Soak up the sounds. With so many stages showcasing Southeast Asian artists and mainstream global talents you’re bound to fall in love with a new favorite
  5. Leverage public transit. It’s clean, safe, efficient, and cost-effective
  6. Pack a portable charger. A staple piece of advice but important nonetheless

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