The Ultimate Guide to Bouldering in Singapore

Woman standing in the middle of a bouldering gym

Shouts of “allez, allez, allez” ring in my ears. I’m up on the wall, just one dyno away from sending my first Flux 1. With most of my body weight balanced on a tiny foothold…I leap.

Bouldering is taking Singapore by storm. I got introduced to it during reservist training when my buddies invited me to join them. They brought me to Ark Bloc—the open-air bouldering/callisthenics/strongman mega gym.

Scaling those rocks was unlike anything I had ever done before. Bouldering is the primal act of climbing, managing the risk of falling, conquering your fear of heights, and solving the puzzle of each route—all wrapped in one activity.

For someone who sits on a cushy chair with an ultra-wide monitor, a mechanical keyboard, and the aircon on full blast for 70% of my waking hours, this was the Yin to my Yang.

And I’m not the exception. Today, there are over 30 bouldering gyms in Singapore. In contrast, there are just 17 bouldering gyms in the whole of The Phillipines—a country 417 times bigger than our little red dot. Needless to say, we’re spoilt for choice.

The Ultimate Guide to Bouldering in Singapore

  1. What’s bouldering all about?
  2. What’s the bouldering grading system like?
  3. How much does it cost to start bouldering in Singapore? 
  4. What are bouldering gym pricing structures like?
  5. What are bouldering gym rates in Singapore?
  6. My top 5 favourite bouldering gyms in Singapore
  7. What should I know before bouldering for the first time?
  8. Is bouldering an Olympic sport?

What’s bouldering all about?

If you don’t know, you must be living under a rock (pun intended). 

Bouldering is indoor rock climbing. There are 2 disciplines within indoor climbing:

Top Rope


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A post shared by Upwall Climbing (@upwallclimbing)

This involves climbing with a rope and harness. Some climbing gyms have an automatic belay system (where a machine manages the role as you climb), while others use manual belay (a person manages the rope for you as you climb). With top rope, there’s generally no consequence to falling, as you’ll be held up safely by the rope.



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A post shared by Boulder Movement (@bouldermovementsg)

This is bare-bones climbing. No rope, no harness, nothing. You wear climbing shoes and scale the walls. With bouldering, walls are usually shorter (about 5m high compared to about 8m for top rope).

There are thick mats on the ground to comfort you when you fall—and you will fall. 

It’s a full-body workout and one of the most exhilarating things a person in our hyper-urbanised city can do. The sense of achievement you get from advancing through the grades is second to none.

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What’s the bouldering grading system like?

Okay, here’s where things get a little complex.

Every climbing gym has its own self-invented grading system. It’s like having 30 different units of measurement.

Boulder Movement, for example, will go from grade 1 to 20, which covers beginners and intermediate climbers, and then it goes from Flux 1 to Flux 5 for advanced climbers.

At another bouldering gym called Fit Bloc, they use little battery icons, and it goes from 0 bars (easiest) to 5 bars (hardest).

But don’t worry about all that. Because there is one standard grading system that can be used for comparison, and it’s called “V Grade”.

Here’s a table of the V Grade system.

bouldering gym grades table

Most bouldering gyms will have a chart that compares their grades to the V Grade system. Here’s an example from Boulder Movement:

Image: Boulder Movement

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How much does it cost to start bouldering in Singapore?

Bouldering starter kit prices

Spending a bomb is optional

Within two weeks of entering the world of bouldering, I was down $490. And I just ordered a new pair of shoes because mine started splitting (bad footwork).

But don’t get me wrong. Spending a bomb on bouldering gear is (somewhat) optional—after all, you could rent climbing shoes for $5. Or get cheap shoes at Decathlon for just $50. 

Once you’re hooked, though, you’ll probably want some decent gear.

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What are bouldering gym pricing structures like?

And now we come to the non-negotiable costs of bouldering—entry passes.

Bouldering gyms operate like your usual fitness gyms. You’ve got a single-entry fee, multi-passes, and season passes (unlimited entries).

Generally, people go for single entries. It’s just more fun rotating between different gyms around Singapore. And it’s easier to schedule climbs with friends when you’re not tied down to one branch or location.

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What are bouldering gym rates in Singapore?

Bouldering Gym Rates

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My top 5 favourite bouldering gyms in Singapore

1. Best for beginners: Boulder Movement OUE

This cosy little place is perfect for newbies because the walls are considerably shorter than other gyms like Fit Bloc and Ark Bloc (almost half the height). The lower the walls are, the more comfortable you’ll be climbing them—because you won’t fear falling as much. If you struggle with heights, this is the place for you. There are lots of lower-grade routes to pick from too. 

Caveat: the gym is smack in the middle of the CBD, so expect a bigger crowd from 5.30 pm onwards.

Address: 6A Shenton Way, #B1-03 Downtown Gallery, 068815
Phone number: 6816 6001
Rates: $30 for single entry

2. Best for Instagrammable climbing clips: BFF Climb Bendemeer


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A post shared by BFF Climb (@bffclimb.boulderzone)

Imagine walking into a candy crush game—and then you get to climb the candy. That’s what BFF is like. The whole place is popping with colour: bright pink, orange, green, and purple. If you like filming climbing clips, you’ll love BFF. 

The place is huge too. It’s divided into a small section for beginners (low walls), the main bouldering area (which is massive), and a top rope segment.

Address: 2 Kallang Ave, #01-20 CT Hub @ Kallang, Singapore 339407
Phone: 9649 4145
Rates: $27 for single entry

3. Best for adrenaline junkies: Fit Bloc Kent Ridge


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Want to train yourself out of your fear of heights? Head to Fitbloc. 

The walls here can be about double the height of smaller gyms like Boulder Movement OUE or Origin Boulder. And dynos (moves that require you to leap to the next hold) are incorporated heavily into the routes.

With a single entry pass, you’ll get to use their gym too (it’s a full-facility gym with power racks).

Address: 87 Science Park Dr, #03-02 The Oasis, Singapore 118260
Phone: 6612 2046
Rates: $28 for single entry

4. Best for those who just want to have fun: Origin Boulder

This unique climbing gym has no grading numbers listed on the walls. It completely changes the bouldering experience because climbers usually stick within their grade level and try to advance to the next one.

By not listing grades next to each route, you’re encouraged to try routes you would ordinarily avoid.

Don’t worry, though; if you really want to check out the grade of a route, you can do so with a tablet positioned in the middle of the gym.

Address: 18 Cross Street Cross Street Exchange B1-117 & B1-118, 048423
Phone: 8818 6879
Rates: $26 for single entry

5. Best for those looking to do more than boulder: Ark Bloc


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A post shared by Ark Bloc (@arkbloc)

Most people’s jaws would drop upon entering Ark Bloc. This isn’t any ordinary climbing gym. Callisthenics, strongman, CrossFit, and bouldering facilities are all in one place. And you get to access all of these with a single entry pass—it’s a paradise for fitness fanatics.

There’s no aircon, so if you come during the daytime, prepare to sweat.

Address: 6 Tebing Ln, #01-05, Singapore 828835
Phone: 8022 1480
Rates: $28 for single entry

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Is there any way to boulder for cheaper?

Introducing: ClimbJios Swappers telegram group 

Screenshot of Cllimjios Telegram Group

There’s a group called “ClimbJios Swappers” on telegram where people buy and sell bouldering passes at multi-pass rates.

So instead of paying $30 for a single entry pass at Boulder Movement, you can buy it off someone for $20. Don’t say bojio.

People are super friendly and accommodating in the group. This isn’t like scalping concert tickets. No one is looking to profit from selling their passes—everyone’s just trying to offload some of their multi-passes and help each other out.

There are about 3,450 members in the group, and you can usually secure passes within an hour of asking. Passes will be transferred to your account or reserved for you via name and contact number. Just show up to your gym, and you’ll be let in.

They’ve recently implemented a bot that streamlines the process, so buying and selling passes is even easier now.

I use the ClimbJios Swappers group to get passes for all my climbing sessions unless I’m going to Boulder Movement, where I have my own multi-passes.

You can also check out the ClimbBoard telegram group to buy or sell climbing equipment. It’s like Carousell, but exclusively for climbing.

Just go to your telegram app, search for ClimbJios, and the groups will be there for you to join.

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What should I know before bouldering for the first time?

There are 2 points to take note of before your first bouldering session.

1. Bouldering Etiquette

If you boulder during peak hours, which is usually after 5.30 pm, the bouldering gym will be a bustling place. People will sit behind the problems they want to attempt and wait for their turn.

There’s no queue system or first-come-first-serve etiquette going on here. Once the problem is free, just go for it.

People are very friendly and cordial. So if two climbers move for the problem simultaneously, both will usually give way to each other. And whoever is closer can go.

Now here’s an important point: before you start climbing, make sure your chosen problem doesn’t intersect with what another climber is working through. Look through all the holds from start to finish and ensure you won’t end up clashing with someone else on the wall. You don’t want someone’s foot in your face (I’ve seen this happen).

2. Bouldering Lingo

You’re going to hear a lot of weird words like “allez”, “crimp”, “jug”, and “dyno”. It’ll be helpful to familiarise yourself with some climbing terminology before your first session.

Allez Allez is the French expression for “come on”. Just like “jiayou” in Chinese.
Crimp A small hold that requires you to pull with your fingertips
Dyno Short for “dynamic movement”, usually involving a leap to reach the next hold
Flash When you complete a problem on the first attempt
Heel hook A climbing technique where you use your heel on a hold
Hold Any rock on the climbing wall
Jug A secure hold large enough for the hand to fit inside
Match Shifting both hands or feet onto the same hold
Pinch A small hold that requires a pinching action to climb
Pocket A small hold in the rock that only has space for a few fingers
Problem Any climbing route
Project A climbing route that you are trying (with effort) to send
Send To successfully ascend (complete) the problem
Sit start A problem that requires you to start in a seated position
Sloper A hold that is smooth and sloping

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So, what happens if you get really, really good at bouldering? Are the Olympics an option?

Yes, it is! Bouldering debuted in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, making it one of the newest Olympic sports.

Each athlete attempts four bouldering problems (routes) in the Olympic bouldering competition. They get a 5-minute time limit for each problem.

The goal is to climb each problem as quickly as possible. And climbers are awarded a “top” or “zone” hold, depending on the point in the route that they reach. A “top” hold is a full completion of the problem and is worth the most points.

The winner will be the climber with the most points at the end of the competition.

Thinking of which bouldering gym to try out next? Or looking to introduce newbies to bouldering? Share this article with your friends!

P.S. If you’re wondering if I completed the Flux 1, I didn’t. The final hold was a sloper, and I slipped off.