15 ways to destress and pamper yourself in Singapore

Go surfing, get a late-night massage, sweat it out in a yoga class, and more of the best health and beauty experiences in the city

We get it, living in Singapore is stressful. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to find your brand of mellow – you could crave out a few hours and treat yourself to a spa date or try an unconventional health and beauty treatment. Else, read on for more ideas. 

Blow + Bar
Health and beauty, Hair salons

Get an old-school blowout (with a glass of wine)

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

At Blow+Bar

Booking in for a hair blowout to get a bouncy, volumised finish has been all the rage for those looking for star-worthy bombshell hair. The concept at Blow+Bar is pretty simple: pick from a menu of final looks from the salon’s iPad, get a treatment to solve certain hair woes, add on extras like a manicure or a trim and then select a drink – the unique selling point here is a complimentary glass of wine to complete the indulgent experience.

Health and beauty

Get a late-night garden massage

icon-location-pin Bishan

At Aramsa Garden Spa

Aramsa’s unusual location in the middle of suburban Bishan Park means that it is surrounded by nature and feels a million miles from the concrete jungle of the city centre. Individual spa suites are linked via resort-style covered walkways; some also boast sunken bathtubs in private gardens. The best part is that on Friday and Saturday nights, they extend service hours until midnight.

Boulder Movement
Sport and fitness

Scale new heights

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

At Boulder Movement

My arms are sore and my thighs are quivering. Yet I can’t let go. Not unless I want to free fall three metres or so on to the, admittedly, cushy crash pad below – but I’m too chicken to do that. I’m two-thirds through a bouldering problem in Boulder Movement ($30/single entry, $148/month) and, despite the aches, I can already see the appeal of this sport. Bouldering is very much like indoor rock climbing, except the former is stripped down to its raw essentials – there are no ropes and harnesses involved. All you need is a good pair of climbing shoes, a bag of chalk, some fundamental techniques and a whole lot of guts to take on a bouldering problem (the path a climber has to take in order to complete the climb). Conveniently located in the CBD, Boulder Movement is the newest entry into the burgeoning climbing gym scene in Singapore. Founded by climbing enthusiasts Jansen Ko, Lwee Jia Wei and Joe Fu, the gym positions itself as a beginner-friendly bouldering-only facility with over 30 metres of wall, lengthwise. The walls are no higher than four metres –which sounds short, but trust me, it’s certainly high enough to experience the thrill of climbing without any safety gears. Bouldering problems are categorised by different climbing abilities: white tags BM1-6 are for beginners, blue tags BM6-16 for intermediates and red tags BM17-25 are for the advanced – a section of the wall is refreshed every two weeks so you’ll never get bored. First-timers can join a Basics of Boulder

G Spa
Things to do

Unknot kinks and fill your belly

icon-location-pin Geylang

At g.spa

Who doesn’t want free food with their massage? While the design may border on gaudy, g.spa Fitness and Recreation Hub makes up for it with a surprisingly solid Penang kway teow and laksa. If you’ve got time to kill, or you’re looking to relieve stress before a long haul (it’s only 20 minutes away from the airport), jump in and out of the hot and cold pools, or sweat it out in this integrated wellness centre’s sauna. If you’re feeling more decadent, there’s a four-hand synchronised massage that hits just the right spots.

Health and beauty

Get sweet

icon-location-pin Bukit Timah

At Sugar(ed)

Sugaring is an ancient Middle Eastern hair removal technique that uses a warm, thick paste made from sugar, lemon juice and water. It claims to be a sweeter deal compared to waxing: its all-natural ingredients don’t adhere to live skin cells, which minimises – if not completely eliminates – the formation of dreaded ingrown hair. It's simpler than it sounds: a warm, honey-coloured paste, imported from the US, is applied in the opposite direction of hair growth before it’s stripped off in the reverse direction. This removes the hair from follicle with the bulb intact. It’s almost like waxing, except with sugar paste. The price here is pretty reasonable too, a Brazilian sets you back $60 (first-timers only), while underarms go at $25 and $45 for lower legs. 

The Golden Rule Barber Co
Health and beauty, Beauty salons

Go to the barber

icon-location-pin Rochor

At The Golden Rule Barber Co

What started as one shop and three barbers in 2014 has expanded to three outlets with 19 barbers and 14 chairs, led by director Yanto Sani and head barber Jiji Rasif. The quirky barbershops are decorated with a musical twist: electric guitars and framed photos of legendary bands hang proudly on the white walls. The barbers here offer a variety of men’s haircuts – not just the traditional ‘gentlemen’s haircut’ – with colouring and washing services available only at the Race Course outlet. Get yourself a standard full cut (from $38) and beard sculpting ($38). The Golden Rule Barber Co uses its house brand TGR pomades ($20-$28), which come in three varieties – Stronghold, Firm Hold and Matte – that cater to different hair needs. Other TGR merch on offer includes straight razors, zip hoodies, pullovers, tees and trucker caps.

Wave House Sentosa
Sport and fitness, Water sports

Flow with the waves

icon-location-pin Sentosa

At Wave House Sentosa

Singapore’s waters are undeniably calm, but surfers can still get in some action at Wave House Sentosa. The beachfront space specialises in flowboarding – a hybrid of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding. Carve up and down the surface of the Double FlowRider or show off your skills in the perfect barrel wave at the FlowBarrel.

SUP School
Things to do

Paddle around on a surfboard

icon-location-pin Sentosa

At SUP School

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) is a great way to work out your core. SUP School in Sentosa offers lessons and board rental beginning at $40 per hour, and it’s a nice way to soak in the sun without baking on the sand. Once you’ve found your balance, try one of their classes like Yoga/Fitness or Core Challenge to really feel the burn.

MobCon at CrossFit Mobilus
Sport and fitness, Gyms

Get stronger

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

At CrossFit Mobilus

Unlike most gyms, there’s no shortage of congratulatory cheers at CrossFit Mobilus. Yes, the community bond here is strong even when competing for the fastest timing. And MobCon, a 30-minute metabolic conditioning class designed to increase stamina, isn’t any different. The key workout in MobCon is the Workout of the Day, otherwise known as WOD. It’s a series of exercises set by the trainer that are to be completed within the shortest time possible – and the idea here, surprise, surprise, is to keep trying to beat your previous time. The exercises range from cycling on an Airdyne to barbell deadlifts, and they’re always performed with a partner. Don’t you worry, lone wolves – the camaraderie that grows from performing the WOD as a pair within a group is perhaps the most attractive aspect of CrossFit Mobilus. Toiletries and lockers are provided. 

Bounce Singapore
Jared Vethaak

Touch the sky

icon-location-pin Orchard

At Bounce Singapore

There isn’t a moment of stillness at Bounce Singapore, where you can jump off walls and fly through the air. This addition to the trampoline scene has three areas designed for different interests and various levels of difficulty, so young tots, older teens, adults and even fitness enthusiasts are catered for. After you get your muscles warmed up at the free jumping arena, be sure to show off your basketball moves, Spiderman climbing skills and ability to dodge balls at the Slam Dunk, The Wall and Trampoline Dodgeball arena respectively. Adrenaline junkies, head straight for the Leap of Faith – where you jump from a raised platform to catch hold of a trapeze suspended in mid-air, hence the name – for your heart-pumping fix. 

Sport and fitness, Yoga and Pilates

Find your zen

icon-location-pin Chinatown

At Yoga+

You’re guaranteed to work up a sweat at the photogenic studios of Yoga+, where classes are vinyasa-based and cater to a wide range of abilities. The studio also aims to bring the yoga experience beyond the mat through collaborations with local brands and initiatives with a focus on health and wellness to instill mindful living – expect regular art jams and book clubs in the studios. Classes can fit up to 15 students at a time. Yoga+ has a second outlet at 36B Arab Street. 

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin
Things to do

Give your feet a fish pedicure

icon-location-pin City Hall

At Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa

Don’t inflict your unexfoliated feet on some poor pedicurist. Instead, let the fish take care of them. At Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa, a shoal of industrious little Turkish fish wait in a pool to nibble away dead skin and leave your toes fresh and exfoliated. Though it’s best avoided by those with ticklish feet!

Upside Motion
Sport and fitness, Yoga and Pilates

Channel Cirque du Soleil

icon-location-pin Orchard

At Upside Motion

Part traditional Indian exercise and part circus training, Upside Motion’s anti-gravity yoga takes yoga poses from the ancient Indian discipline and – as the name suggests – suspends them in the air. The instructors are very knowledgeable and, with the help of the silk hammocks, would have even beginners upside down in no time. Get past the fumbling and you’ll feel strong yet weightless; close your eyes and you may just imagine yourself part of the Cirque.

Aesop Facial Appointment
Health and beauty, Spas

Hit refresh

icon-location-pin Orchard

At Aesop Facial Appointment

Much like its iconic apothecary stores, this treatment space – the third in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo – is thoughtfully designed and offers six customised Aesop facial treatments. 

Health and beauty, Nail salons

Nail your look

icon-location-pin City Hall

At Manicurious

Manicurious shares a shophouse space with Candour Coffee, so don’t be shy about walking straight past the café counter to the back. Push open the large yellow door and you’ll be greeted by a spacious nail salon decked with plush chairs and cushions. There are usually around four to five manicurists in the shop every day – and while they accept walk-ins, it’s best to make appointments. And if you're looking for a soak-off ($22) or nail art (from $5), remember to mention it in advance.

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