I spent a night glamping in a busy park in Singapore, and I'd recommend you think twice before you try it yourself
I spent a night glamping in a two-person tent in a park in eastern Singapore.
A night's stay in a tent cost 260 Singapore dollars, or $185.
It was an uncomfortable experience, mostly because of the city-state's hot, humid weather.
Singapore is known for its skyscrapers and bustling business district, but if you head to the eastern coast, you can find a more relaxed vibe.
I grew up in Pasir Ris, a residential town in eastern Singapore that's home to over 160,000 people. Many residents enjoy fishing, hanging out at the beach, and camping.
I've been camping at the beach before in Singapore, and it was an uncomfortable experience: It was hot, humid, and the views were average at best.
But in the past few years, glamping has gained popularity in Singapore for its reputation as an Instagrammable experience. An assortment of companies has cropped up to deliver on the interest, including Glamping City and Go Glamping SG.
Recently, I decided to give glamping a go myself. I booked a one-night stay in a two-person tent for 260 Singapore dollars, or $185, from Glamping Society. I initially wanted to glamp at East Coast Park in southeastern Singapore, but camping permit quotas had run out for the weekend.
"Glamping Society was started by a group of friends who love the outdoors and nature in 2016," a company representative told me. "Glamping is so popular in Singapore because it offers the great outdoors," she added.
Insider paid for my stay in full.
The campsite is located in an area of Pasir Ris Park called Heritage Chalet. I arrived in the evening and found a dozen tents erected on a grass patch, surrounded by several blocks of chalets.
Like most public parks in Singapore, Pasir Ris Park has blocks of bungalows and terrace-houses that people can book to host barbecues and parties. Because most people in the city-state live in high-rise apartments, chalets — which are available for nightly rental — are a popular option for people seeking out more space.
Dozens of people were hosting parties at the chalets, many of whom were singing karaoke. It seemed like there were more people staying in the chalets than at the tents.
I only saw two tents occupied during my stay, both of which looked to be rented by families.
I knocked on the door of one of the chalets and was greeted by a caretaker who led me to the campsite. It was right behind the back entrance of the chalet.
By no means was it a private set-up: A gate led to the public park, which meant that any one could come into the campsite.
People were grilling food on barbecue pits, which can be rented for an additional SG$25.
Glamping Society also provides food for grilling, which consists of chicken wings, hotdogs, corn, and other snacks, for SG$45.
Each tent had a small patio for eating and lounging. It was functional but far less glamorous than what the photos had advertised online.
The tent was simple and plain, and it offered little respite from the humidity and sweltering heat.
While the temperature was cooler at night, the heat in the morning was intense, going up as high as 93 degrees Fahrenheit by 9 a.m.
The tent itself was sparsely furnished. There were three inflatable beds set up directly on the floor of the tent, each of which had two pillows. It seemed more like a large camping tent than a luxurious glamping tent.
In the morning, the sunshine illuminated the interior of the tent. But at night, it was pretty dark, with only fairy lights lighting the space up.
I found stains all over the the bedsheets and pillowcases.
"Though the bedsheets and pillowcases were stained, they are clean," a representative told me when I asked them for comment about the state of the bedding. "We apologise that they were not up to your expectations. We do change a new set of bed linen if customers request."
The only major difference I found between my glamping and camping experiences is that this tent came with an air-conditioning unit — but even that wasn't fully effective.
While the unit cooled the tent down at night, it did little to quell the heat in the morning. I woke up at 7 a.m. drenched in sweat because the unit itself was emitting heat.
It felt like a greenhouse inside the tent.
"I am not too sure whether you had a faulty aircon, if you did, we apologise," the company representative told me. "However, it is true that the aircon cannot cool down the tents in the afternoon, but by evening and night, the tents should be cool," she added.
Glampers have to use public bathrooms during their stay.
The chalets, for comparison, have private bathrooms.
It wasn't the cleanest bathroom I've ever seen, but it was better than most other public toilets.
There were shower cubicles and toilets which had an attached shower (pictured above). The water pressure was terrible — there was barely any water coming out of the shower and taps.
No soaps were provided, and hand soap was also running low, so I would advise anyone thinking of glamping to bring their own toiletries.
The best part of the campsite was the eatery.
The eatery — a local coffee shop — served many of Singapore's top Malay dishes, like mee rebus and mee soto. In the morning, cyclists filtered into the campsite from the park in search of breakfast.
Overall, I found glamping to be just as uncomfortable as camping, and with a huge markup to boot.
I don't recommend glamping in a park in Singapore.
Part of this is because of the weather: When the temperature is consistently at or above 90°F, a tent is just not a desirable option.
But it's also because of the company's offerings. For what I got — a tent, three inflatable beds, and a weak air-conditioning unit — I felt the SG$260 price tag was far too expensive. The nearby chalets, which can be rented for a similar price, seem like they offer better value for money. I would have been better off applying for a camping license and camping at the beach, and entering the campsite just to eat at the coffee shop.
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