It's easy to get stuck in a rut if your dating schedule includes heading to the freezing cinemas, fancy restaurants and rooftop bars on repeat, even with a new partner. And if you fall under the category of 'cool goth couple', do you really want to bond over the usual mainstream dates? Here are some unique alternatives that are out of the ordinary (and take the spook level up a notch) – worst case scenario, it'll be a good laugh.
Opened in 1937, this weird and wonderful park was named after its owners, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the brothers who made their fortune from the acclaimed cure-all ointment Tiger Balm (it’s also known as Tiger Balm Gardens). Multicoloured statues and tableaux – some looking rather neglected– depict scenes from Chinese history and mythology. The highlight is the Ten Courts of Hell (responsible for childhood nightmares for generations of Singaporeans) where small-scale tableaux show human sinners being punished in a variety of hideous and bloodthirsty ways – in extremely gory and graphic detail. It’s a safe bet that you will never see anything like it anywhere else.
Prefer quiet walks but would rather avoid the sand, sea and beach bums? Bukit Brown Cemetry would be right up your alley. More than 100,000 traditional Chinese graves, including the 600sqm grave of 19th-century business supremo Ong Sam Leong, are dotted among the trees in a beautiful 233ha rainforest. It’s not only the city’s largest cemetery but also one of its oldest, with the first grave dating back to 1833. The cemetery has also become one of the city’s prime spots for birdwatchers and nature lovers, with the graves watched over by 90 resident and migrant species of birds.
If you really insist on a quiet walk by the beach, we suggest Changi Beach Park. Not only does it bear the unsavoury reputation of being the site of the Sook Ching massacre, it's also one of the oldest in Singapore that is located far from the bustling city centre. For the supernatural effect, it has been said that the screams and cries of the civilians executed by Japanese soldiers during World War II can be heard past midnight.
Nothing like being stuck in a room with your date, forcing the two of you to put on your thinking caps to escape. These rooms are filled with puzzles and vexing scenarios all in the name of making your escape a challenging one. Go on, we dare you to live your worst nightmare at the likes of Lost, Escape Hunt, Captive Escape Rooms, The Escape Artist and Lockdown.
What makes this different to booking a table at a restaurant? Get this: having a meal in total darkness without knowing what’s going into your mouth. But once you give in to the experience of dining in the dark, dinner at NOX proves to be a fun and enlightening rollercoaster ride. At this reservations-only, two-storey shophouse restaurant, you'll be guided with hands firmly on the shoulders of your polite, blind or visually-impaired waiter (specially hired and trained by the restaurant) to make your way slowly up into the 60-seat upstairs dining room. Great for messy eaters and big talkers – you're pretty much covered in the dark.
For a quiet night in or an unconventional staycation, book a room at Raintr33 Hotel. Surrounded by tropical greenery, it offers peaceful and charming accommodation with free WiFi access throughout the property. It features a raised outdoor swimming pool fitted with a deck and barbecue facilities. Guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant. But more importantly, did we mention how it overlooks the hauntingly creepy Old Changi Hospital?