Not long ago, the area now called Marina Bay was simply the basin of the Singapore River. Surrounded by extensive open lands, it was relatively calm, with only an occasional bumboat passing. Today, Marina Bay is a lively spectacle of a place, with scenic views, extraordinary buildings, and charming promenades. Millions visit every year, seeking recreation, shopping, dining and sightseeing.
Begin your exploration of Marina Bay with a ride on the Singapore Flyer. Be sure to arrive early, when the rising sun lights up the entire bay. You’ll have a breathtaking view of all of Singapore, and far out to the surrounding islands. At 165 metres tall, the Singapore Flyer is not only the world’s largest observation wheel, but also one of the most romantic spots you’ll find anywhere. From here you will spot the newly opened Gardens by the Bay on the right side of the marina barrage. They add an additional twist to Singapore's skyline and are a great thing to do for all ages.
After your ride, stroll along the shore promenade, with its magnificent vistas of the Marina Barrage and the future Gardens by the Bay. Soon you’ll reach The Float@Marina Bay, the world’s largest floating stage. It’s here that Singaporeans celebrate major events such as the annual Formula 1 night race, the Youth Olympics, and the National Day Parade. Made entirely of steel, the platform is 5% larger than the soccer field at the National Stadium, and its gallery seats as many as 30,000 people.
The Helix Bridge leads you across the water to the ArtScience Museum, and to the Marina Bay Sands Resort – one of Singapore’s two integrated resorts. With four platforms at strategic locations, the pedestrian bridge offers stunning views of the world-famous Singapore skyline. It is also worth a return visit in the evening, when the bridge is beautifully lit up, highlighting the double helix shape and the letters c (cytosine), g (guanine), a (adenine) and t (thymine), the four key components of DNA – symbolically befitting the bay’s uniqueness.
Once across the bridge, you stand at the entrance of the new ArtScience Museum of Singapore, a marvel of architectural aesthetics. Its shape resembles a lotus flower, but the building is also referred to as The Welcoming Hand of Singapore, due to its ten extensions, reaching for the sky. Throughout the year, the museum’s 21 galleries showcase both permanent and touring exhibitions. Be sure to visit our Eventspage to learn about current exhibits. Parts of the museum’s roof can be drawn back to create a sparkling waterfall of collected rainwater.
A pond adorned with graceful water lilies invites visitors to take a rest under the swaying palms, and enjoy the fantastic panorama of the bay, and the Central Business District’s skyscrapers just opposite. The two floating Crystal Pavilions offer luxurious shopping, as well as sophisticated entertainment in their renowned nightclubs.
Soaring overhead, the three 55-story towers of the impressive Marina Bay Sands Hotel reach toward the heavens. At the top is the 340m-long SkyPark, forming the world’s largest public cantilever. Developed by Las Vegas Sands, the massive structure houses a 2,561-room hotel, a 120,000 m convention centre, a 74,000 m shopping mall, two large theatres, seven celebrity chef restaurants, a Venetian-style canal offering gondola rides through the mall, an ice skating rink and the world's largest atrium casino, sporting 600 tables and 1,500 slot machines.
The SkyPark features the world’s longest elevated swimming pool, which overlooks the entire city-state, along with rooftop restaurants, nightclubs, hundreds of palm trees and plants and a public observatory deck. Tickets for the lift to the rooftop can be purchased in the lobby of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
To reach the other side of the bay, you can walk back over The Helix Bridge and along the Promenade until you each The Esplanade, or else take a taxi from outside the shopping mall. Yet another option is a boat taxi from the quay adjoining the ArtScience Centre – this choice gives you a very scenic ride across the bay.
The Esplanade is Singapore’s theatre on the bay. The spiky design of the structure’s outer skin is often compared to the durian, a tropical Asian fruit. In fact, The Esplanade is often amiably referred to as The Big Durian – have a look at our photo gallery and you’ll see the similarity. The waterside building is home to a concert hall seating about 1,600, and a theatre for up to 2,000 visitors. The Esplanade Mall also features several restaurants, outdoor performing areas and a rooftop bar.
Continuing your walk along the bay and across the Esplanade Bridge, you’ll come to Merlion Park, situated in front of the famous Fullerton Hotel. The merlion – Singapore’s mascot – is an imposing stature of a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Enjoy a rest on the steps in front of the merlion and enjoy a fantastic view of The Singapore Flyer, the Helix Bridge, the ArtScience Museum and the Marina Bay Sands. This is a prime location for photos to show off to friends and relatives back home! Continue your stroll along the Waterfront Promenade to enjoy a drink or dinner in one of the promenade’s wide selection of restaurants and bars. Or, if you prefer, walk back alongside the Singapore River, beginning just under the Esplanade Bridge.
Taking this route, you’ll encounter the splendid Fullerton Hotel, and the Asian Civilizations Museum. This fascinating museum is a central feature of what is known as the Civic District, which features several other cultural highlights. You’ll soon find yourself on Boat Quay, where traditional shop houses have been beautifully restored and transformed into restaurants.
Uber-modern Marina Bay is truly a must-see for every visitor to Singapore. There is enough to see and do here to make it well worth investing an entire day: admire outstanding art and architecture, enjoy some of the world’s premiere shopping, dining and entertainment, and pause anywhere along the way for breathtaking views. Evenings find the whole bay a glittering spectacle of lights, highlighted by a nightly laser show from atop the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.