Low-Cost Date : River Hongbao



First post on a Low-Cost Date!

Well technically it wasn’t a date.  It was more like a family outing, with the Gf’s parents and brother coming along.  But the point is to give you all a review of the River Hongbao held at the Marina Bay Floating platform, and let you all decide whether it is a good place for a date!


Upon arrival, we were greeted by a huge crowd.  It seemed as though the whole of Singapore chose to assemble at this spot.  Effects of an increasing population.  We all feel it!


First mission upon arrival was to check out the food stalls available.  Plenty of eating options from a variety of foods.  Peking Duck, Dim Sum, Taiwanese snacks, Laska, Beehoon, Ramly Burgers… But all of them are highly priced, with the exception of the Ramly Burger which is consistently priced at $3.50, the standard Pasar Malam price.  I appreciate how the Ramly Burger organization does not give in to Capitalist Greed!


Eating location.  We had no space to sit so we stood and eat.



Being adventurous, I bought this Japanese salmon pancake for $4.  Regrets- it was mostly filled with vegetables, eggs and possibly only 2 thin strips of salmon.  Not value for money.  Should have stuck with the good old Ramly Burger! Argh!



There were many floats on display, with the Chinese New Year theme, of course.  This one particularly stood out.  People were throwing coins at the tiny bells that dangled in front of the red board.  If a coin hit the bell and the bell sounds, the thrower will be blessed with good luck.  The coin will then fall into a collection box, which I assume that the creator of the float will collect later on.  I was amazed by the number of people throwing coins at the bell.  What a great idea!  I made a note in my iPhone 🙂



The next display that caught my attention was this old school mock up slide.  They needed 2 staff to monitor this slide due to the sheer number of children while all the other displays were left unguarded.  We stood there staring in amusement at how many kids this slide was drawing.  It was like bees to a honeypot!  While the kids queued up to slide down, their anxious parents waited at the bottom of the slide to catch them or to snap a photo of them sliding down.

“The parents look like they are collecting luggage at the airport…” the Gf remarked.

“iPad generation.  Never played on a slide before…” I chipped in.  Parents reading this please pry that iPad off your child’s hands and force them to play outdoors!



Next, we stood under this grand statue of Cai Shen Ye, the God of Fortune.  At 7pm, the statue dispensed ‘gold flakes’ which rained down upon the people waiting below.  Everyone had gathered to witness this spectacle and to catch a gold flake that would grant them good fortune.  It was like a mosh pit closer to the foot of the statue.  Some people even turned their umbrellas upside down to collect as many gold flakes as possible.  The Gf’s mother and I laughed in amusement as we watched an auntie desperately trying to catch a gold flake, only to have it drift away from her fingers at the last moment… The disappointment in the Auntie’s face was evident, and … kinda funny.  LOL!


We proceeded to the Uncle Ringo fair nearby to check out the games available.  I am surprised to see some new fun fair games.  It’s good to know that Uncle Ringo is keeping up with the times to stay relevant in the funfair market.  Check out these 2 new games at the fair!



Have you sat a bumper car before?  Yup, this is the bumper boat!


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This is awesome –  Put your kids in a hamster ball, throw them into a pool, and watch them run and tumble around and bump other kids in hamster balls!


We spent a lot of time staring at the kids in the hamster balls.

“Next time, we can just throw our children in there and let them tire themselves out while we go shopping,” I suggested to the Gf.  What an ingenious idea.  By the way, you can sign up for my newsletter to receive my Free E-Book: Parenting 101 – Raising Your Child, Asian Style.


“Wah look at that boy!” the Gf’s father pointed out a particularly hyperactive boy who was jumping, rolling and doing somersaults in the ball.  He did such crazy stunts in the hamster ball that, if I were to mimic, I would probably break my neck and die.  We stared at the boy and shook our heads in disbelief.


Deep down inside… we all wanted to try being in the hamster ball….


In case you were wondering, it costs you $15 to make your child look like a pet hamster for 10 minutes.


We stayed till the sun was setting and the crowd grew bigger.  It felt like being at a New Year Countdown party.  Or at cheena Zoukout.



We left to have dinner at Dian Xiao Er at Marina Square.  Sadly, I don’t have any photos of food for you to drool over, but I can assure you that it was money well-spent.  ( I am still getting used to this taking-pictures-for-the-blog thing.  Besides, we were too hungry to take photos of the food!)

Despite my atypical cynical outlook of the River Hongbao, it still felt good to be not working on a Saturday and have the freedom to walk around to see interesting stuff like kids in hamster balls.


Man, I foresee that these Low-Cost dates category will constantly force me to get my lazy bum out of the house!


~Wishing you good health and fortune in the Year of the Goat~


  1. B

    Hi Jerry

    Enjoyed this post a lot.

    I remember going to this CNY event a few years ago.

    It was scorching hot and packed of people, I do not really enjoyed them. But good to see they have pulled the many crowds to the event.

  2. The Bf (Post author)

    Yes it was darn hot…


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