A place to Work, live and Play
A basin created when the land around the mouth of the Singapore River was reclaimed over the last half a decade, Marina Bay was further transformed when the Marina Barrage was created across the Marina Channel to create Singapore's largest urban fresh water reservoir - the Marina Reservoir.
If you stood in front of the iconic Merlion and looked across the water, spread out before you and all around is the world renown sight of the Marina Bay landscape. It is a carefully planned and thought out development, taking into consideration the various constraint of land use and deployment. Sights include the astounding Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Fullerton Hotel and Marina South Financial District.
Walk all around the Marina Bay and take in the sights and spectacle from various vantage points that will take you no more than 3 hours. A sure way to spend a nice evening on a very special Bay in lovely downtown Singapore. You just need to get used to the myriad of ways the name 'Marina' is used around here. Here's a short self-guided Bay walk trail.
WALK AROUND THE BAY (Marina Bay Walking Trail)
Start your walk at the Merlion Park walking in an anticlockwise direction.
Opened in 2002 to accommodate the iconic Merlion sculpture that was moved because the Esplanade Bridge that was opened in 1997, blocked the view at the previous location nearer the mouth of the Singapore River. It's still the most important place to get your 'money shot' in Singapore. Walked along the Bay line and pass One Fullerton building on your right and further on to the Clifford Pier, the building with the red roof or known in the past as the Red Lantern Pier (owing to the red lanterns that used to hang there as guiding lights) . Our forefathers from China and India, and the surrounding region would have come ashore at this building which was a busy embarkation/disembarkation pier for all sea journeys. Indeed steeped with historical significance for Singaporeans. It's now part of the Fullerton Hotel Group.
Go past that and skirting the hotel and staying close to the Bay, you will come to the swanky looking Customs House. It's a favourite hang out place for the dapper sort, a uber F&B and entertainment outlet, yet it played a more sober role decades ago as the Singapore Customs Police watch tower guarding the seas from all forms of illicit marine intrusions. So while you're having a tipper spare a thought for its past history will 'ya?
Moving on rounding the Bay keeping left you'll reach The Promontory@Marina Bay, a large event space on the southern end, with a grand view of the entire Bay.
All around you at this point are the gleaming towers of the Marina Bay Financial District and headquarters to the 'Who's Who' of the financial giants of the world such as Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, American Express, Barclays, The Macquarie Group, DBS Bank to name a few.
Walk ahead along the wide thoroughfare to the opposite end with the Marina Bay Sands on your left, make a left turn and just to your right is a glass building that says Marina Bay City Gallery. A sister gallery to the Singapore City Gallery operated by the URA, it has an interactive display of the Marina Bay and the story of its incredible transformation from open sea, to reclaimed land and to what is now billion-dollars real estate. So the entire mass of land that the Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay Financial District, Gardens By The Bay is sitting on is actually reclaimed from the sea!
Marina Bay Sands next, and it almost needs no introduction as it has become the headlining icon for Singapore tourism in the last years. Designed by renown architect Moshe Safdie, and owned by the Las Vegas Sands group, it is a multi-billion dollar behemoth and attention grabber, profitable since its opening in 2010. Attractions include the Sands Casino, Artscience Museum, 2 Theatres, Shoppes@Marina Bay Sands, Convention centre, Hotel rooms and the 340 metres 'boat in the air' - Sky Park, with a 150m Infinity Pool (for guests only). A walk-way is available for the public to cross over to the Gardens By The Bay (10 mins walk) . Also the nightly free Light & Water-show (Wonder Full) at 8.00 and 9.30 p.m. is right in front of the Sands along the water front promenade.
If you are still with us and not sucked into the lure of the Sands, you will continue your Bay side walk and round that to go across the Helix Bridge (2010). Its design is loosely based on the human DNA, with the twisting 'double-helix' design lit up beautifully lit up at night, making it one of the most photographed pedestrian bridges in town. Crossing that takes you to the Youth Olympic Park, to commemorate the inaugural Youth Olympic Summer games, again held on 2010 (busy year for us here).
Making a right turn here will take you to the Singapore Flyer (2008, 165m). Turn left instead and you are at The Float@Marina Bay (have you been counting the number of 'Marinas'?). Doesn't seem like it but it seats a whopping 27,000 spectators, for large scale events like the National Day Parade (Singapore's independence day on 9 August) and also a section for motor sports enthusiasts of the Singapore GP F1 Grand Prix night race in September. A true engineering marvel. Moving on just ahead is the spiky thorny edifice known as the Esplanade Theatres on The Bay - Concert Hall and Theatre. Looking like a massive pair of bugs eyes, or colloquially as the 'Durians', the 'King of Fruits' (have you tried?). Its a venue for all forms of arts and cultural performances. Some weekends in the evening you might catch free concerts by the out door stage along the bay (check their website).
We round off our walking tour by crossing the newly opened Jubilee Bridge. The idea for the Bridge was mooted by the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew back in 2004 when he observed that the adjacent Esplanade Bridge's pedestrian walkway was getting too narrow for pedestrians. It was meant to be ready for Singapore's 50th Golden Jubilee celebration in 2015, and it opened on 29 March 2015, months earlier than due. It was also the day of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's state funeral.
It is a fitting end to the tour crossing the bridge, remembering that this man, for all his foibles, was a giant among giants. Looking all around the amazing Marina Bay, that spectacle is a reminder that in more ways than one this man was quite responsible for the miracle that is modern Singapore.
Hope you enjoyed your tour.
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location & getting there (marina bay)
NEAREST MRT STATIONS:
Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26)
*5-10 minutes walk to Merlion Park
Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16)
*5-10 minutes walk to Marina Bay
Fullerton Hotel (03011 & 03019) - Nearest stop for Merlion Park.
Fullerton Rd/Fullerton Sq & Collyer Quay
Bus No:10, 10e, 57, 70, 75, 100, 107, 128, 130, 131, 162, 167, 196, 196e, 700, 850E, 868, 951E, 971E
Marina Bay Sands (03501 & 03509)
Bus No:97, 97e, 106, 133, NR1, NR6