What you missed at Artbox Singapore last weekend
After much anticipation, Artbox Singapore – a spin-off of Artbox Bangkok – finally opened at Marina Bay. We had high hopes for this sister edition of the Thai food and art market, but like most others who visited, our main gripe was that there were way too many people. Maneuvering the compound was tricky, and getting separated from your friends will be part and parcel of the whole experience.
Crazy crowd aside, Artbox Singapore had lots to offer: a myriad of stalls selling food, clothes, and knick-knacks, as well as live performances. Here’s what’s in store if you’re brave enough to head over for the second weekend of the event to jostle with the crowd:
Tip: No need to rush to the ATM before embarking into this black hole. You can shop cashless where Nets and all credit cards (except Amex) are accepted.
– Food –
Bangkok Street Thai Pancakes
Similar to the ones I tried on the streets of Bangkok, the prata-like Bangkok Street Thai Pancakes are worth every calorie. Choose either Mango ($ 5.50) or Banana ($ 4.50) pancakes drizzled with nutella, caramel, strawberry, honey or peanut butter.
Brave the 15-minute queue at Talad Drink and you’ll emerge with their Cha Yen ($ 5) or exclusive Mermaid Tears ($ 5) – a blue lagoon drink with kiwi and lime – as your thirst-quenching, Insta-worthy trophies.
This box of lean Pulled Pork was delicious, with its mirth of sweet and tangy flavours and added oomph from fiery chilli. However, portions were small and we unanimously agreed that it wasn’t worth the $ 10 price tag or the queue.
Another Instagram favourite: Smoke Out’s Dragon’s Breath ($ 6). Artbox Singapore is no stranger to liquid nitrogen ice cream, with at least 3-4 stalls putting forth their version of this dessert.
Chang Beer Garden
If the heat gets to you, quench your thirst at the Chang Beer Garden, with almost no queues to speak of! Slurp on Thailand’s world renowned lager, Chang Beer at just $ 6 per bottle, or $ 30 for 6 bottles while you chill out away from the cluttered row of shops and human congestion.
Ramly Burger Pattaya Thailand
Ramly Burgers are a staple at every Geylang Bazaar, but there’s a Thai version too. Ramly Burger Pattaya Thailand’s preparation is seemingly similar to our local one – a hot plate of Beef ($ 4) or Chicken ($ 4) patty drenched in egg and topped with onions and cabbage.
– Shopping –
Mr Leaf by Leaf Creation Co Ltd
Get bags with the Chiang Mai Design Award 2016’s stamp of approval!
Stand out from the crowd with Mr Leaf by Leaf Creation Co Ltd’s nature-inspired bags, laptop bags, pencil cases, and pouches – made from REAL leaves. They’ll be perfect conversation starters for any occasion. Prices start from $ 18.
Thai beauty line Herb’s offers products made with a secret concoction of traditional Thai medicine, using 100% organic ingredients from Thailand. Some of their bestsellers include their Mangosteen Shampoo and Conditioner ($ 15 per bottle, $ 28 for 2 bottles), with antibacterial and hair fall reducing properties.
Pop by Guarantee Bag, probably one of the cheapest fashion stores at Artbox. Their $ 8 price tags for anything from formal chiffon shirts, strappy tops, bucket bags, and backpacks will tempt you – you’ve been warned!
Local blogshops, such as Ellysage and Statementmuse were also there with pieces at heavily slashed prices. With clothing starting from $ 10 (U.P. $ 20+), fighting with the crowd might just be worth it.
Shop for a cause at White feather X Whimsy And Magic’s booth – proceeds from the sales of their Pouches ($ 8), Bags ($ 18) and jewelry with animal-centric designs will go towards animal welfare organisations, such as the Cat Welfare Society. Other non-profit organisations such as Guide Dogs Association of the Blind will also be conducting on-site charity drives.
Beauty junkies will go crazy at Faux Fayc, a homegrown cosmetic brand that can rival Kylie Lip Kits with their Fauxstick Liquid Xtasy ($ 16).
– Arts –
If you’ve always wanted to be a cartoon character, head to Immegeenation’s On The Spot Caricature ($ 5) for a cute sketch of yourself drawn by a British graphic designer.
For those who are all about the YOLO, get a FREEpermanent tattoo by acclaimed tattoo artist Greamy, courtesy of MTV Asia. The catch? Your tattoo will be designed by your friends, and you’ll only get to see it once it’s done, so choose your pals wisely!
But if momma disapproves getting you permanently inked, you can also decorate yourself with 100% safe and natural Henna Art ($ 8 onwards for adults, $ 5 onwards for kids) by Yeo Wendy.
When you’re ready to wind down from the festivities, chill out on hammocks and be serenaded by local and Thai musicians during the open mic performances.
P.S.: Catch the talented TSL crew in action – some of us will be performing too!
For a keepsake of the event, pop into the Kombi Photo Booth and pose for a photo with your BFFs in the pastel mini-bus. You can also get goofy at the Awwsnap photo booth, where 2 filmstrips – one for you, one for your friend – cost just $ 5.
Is Artbox Singapore worth the visit?
So there have been a barrage of negative reviews of Artbox Singapore – mostly due to frustrations about the crowd. Well, here’s my two cents: greater the expectations, greater the disappointment.
Admittedly, the mob was comparable to what you’d find during peak hours on the MRT, with views mostly limited to the stalls’ signboards and the mass of people around you. And the merriment you’d find at Artbox Bangkok was somewhat missing in our local edition.
But with over 300 stalls to feed you and fuel your shopping addiction, the variety here is stellar. We didn’t even manage to cover the entire grounds, and these are just some of the things on offer. If you’re still up for diving headfirst into the crowd, go for it – even if just for the experience.
Date: 14-16, 21-23 April
Venue: Bayfront Event Space (beside Marina Bay Sands)