Marina Bay, or the bay, is not just the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, with its one-of-a-kind rooftop pool. The Bay is not just Gardens by the Bay, either. The bay is an interestingly landscaped space full of unparalleled architectural ideas, greenery and places for cultural and active recreation.
We had a lot of time in Singapore. So we dosed ourselves with this city-state in parts, in installments, without hurry. We went back to the places that charmed us and did not waste time taking slow walks and exploring the city on foot.
We originally planned that one day would be enough for Gardens by the Bay and the entire bay (Marina Bay), including the coast. We found out how wrong we were later. Without going into too much detail, every time we got to the area we were either absorbed by the gardens, or we hit an evening show by the bay, or we reached the Chinese quarter, or the weather didn’t suit us and we focused on the closed attractions in Singapore. Somehow, there was always something else, and we postponed the promenade walk. It was only at the end of the trip that we were able to reach the northern part of the bay.
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Marina Bay tour
How did our route lead? We took the subway to the Bayfront station (which is the same station as what is at Gardens by the Bay), but instead of walking towards the gardens we walked towards the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, behind which there are sound and light shows on the water in the evenings. Yes! More shows and it’s just a 10 minute walk away :)
Our route continued past the Art Science Museum, and then we crossed over the Helix Bridge to the other side of the bay. There, unfortunately, we had to walk a piece of the road away from the coast due to repairs and construction. We returned to the boardwalk behind The Float @Marina Bay and continued along the coast already, passing Esplanade Theatres by the Bay on the left.
Then we crossed another bridge: Jubilee Bridge, which leads to the symbol of Singapore, the Merlion statue – half fish, half lion spouting water. Continuing on another bridge (Anderson Bridge), we returned north on the Singapore River passing the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall on the way to be able to view the famous waterfronts(Quays) from this section, whose historic function has been transformed into entertainment and nightlife centers.
Walking further, we came to a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. We had already taken further steps inland walking towards the National Gallery Singapore and the St. St Andrew’s Cathedral. We continued to circle around the new part of the city until we were finally caught in the rain, which effectively directed us to the nearest subway station.
This is what our route looked like in a nutshell. To illustrate it more visually we have prepared a map, which you will find at the very bottom of the post.
But let’s get to the point, because if you’ve been reading us for a long time, you know that our posts don’t end with just writing down the route ;) Here are a few words about the places you will see along the way if you decide to follow the same route.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Let’s start with not the tallest building in Singapore, but one of the most distinctive, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. We should add here that the Marina Bay Sands complex just consists of a hotel, a shopping mall, a casino (one of the largest in the world), a shopping and exhibition center, a museum, restaurants…. Here, however, we will focus on the hotel itself.
Looking at it from the opposite coast of the bay, one might even think that with its three pillars it is the gateway to the city.
Why are we writing about the hotel as a tourist attraction? Because it is undoubtedly one of the most photographed objects in Singapore which does not surprise us at all. This massive, 200-meter-tall hotel consists of three towers (even the aforementioned pillars) that house the hotel rooms (there are 2,561 in total!).
At the top, these towers are connected by a platform, which includes a park, an observation deck and the biggest attraction – the so-called “observation deck. Infinity Pool, which is a pool that ends with the edge of the platform. But rest assured, not so straightforward, because below there is still an additional railing and a place where the water runs off.
The shape of the 3 towers was inspired by decks of cards, hence their unusual tapering and expanding shape. Inside, the full panache and refinement in every detail, which can be seen, if only by walking along the public footbridge inside the hotel. What’s more, feng-shui masters were involved in the building’s design.
Well, so many facts. You’re probably wondering if we stayed overnight at this hotel? We considered it for a long time and discussed all the pros and cons. Pros, of course, are the views, the aforementioned pool, and, well, the sheer pleasure that comes from staying overnight in a really good hotel. Against, it is mainly funds, because, however, almost 1,000 zlotys per night, is quite an expense (in promotion and in advance, because now looking at it, prices reach up to 2,000 zlotys for two people and that without breakfast!).
So we wondered if we should at least stay there one night to see what it was like to spend so much money on lodging, but still, we were afraid that, knowing our luck, we would hit bad weather and not use either the pool or the viewpoint. So we made a rational decision for us to indulge ourselves. Do we regret it? Rather not. We had each day on site filled to the brim and often didn’t get back to the apartment until around 10pm rallying so we wouldn’t have used the hotel too much anyway :)
However, if you are considering an overnight stay it is worth reading reviews on the Internet, looking at photos. Many people were delighted, but there are also many voices saying that the prices are heavily inflated due to the popularity of the place.
If you have stayed overnight then share your opinion in the comments – is it worth it or not?
Night show – sound and light
However, let’s come back to earth and look at cheaper or even free attractions. You’ve probably read on our blog how delighted we were with the night show at Supertrees( find our video on You Tubehere )? Well, right after it, on the other side of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, the so-called Spectra Water Show takes place on the water – a show full of play of lights on the water, lasers, fountains, sounds.
They can be viewed either sitting on the steps just above the water, just behind the shopping mall within Marina Bay Sands, or from the other side of the bay – in which case you can also see the lighting from the hotel.
The show is completely free.
Museum of Art and Science
A building resembling a lotus flower in shape, which is located right next to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and is part of the entire complex, is the ArtScience Museum.
Within the permanent exhibitions are three galleries with interesting names: curiosity, inspiration, expression. Temporary exhibitions related to, among other things, could be enjoyed here. With Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol or even Harry Potter.
A 280-meter long, futuristic pedestrian bridge, the Helix Bridge, leads to the other bank. Long and winding like spaghetti noodles, steel tubes wrap around the structure to form something like a canopy with glass fillings.
In essence, the bridge is formed by two intertwining helixes resembling human DNA (hence it is sometimes known as: Double Helix Bridge). This bridge was named the best transportation structure in the world at the 2010 World Architecture Festival
For us, the most interesting part was the viewing platforms, which allowed us to go beyond this complex structure and admire the bay in all its glory.
It is also worth going here in the evening, when the bridge is fabulously illuminated.Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
The Float @ Marina Bay
The first facility on the other side of the bay is a floating stadium with a grandstand built right on the shore – The Float at Marina Bay. This facility is best observed either from higher vantage points or from the aforementioned platforms on the Helix Bridge. It is the largest stadium in Singapore, with a capacity of 30,000 fans, and the floating platform alone can lift 1,070 tons!
Work is currently underway here to expand the facility to accommodate even more people, mainly for the National Day Parade.
On the other side of the bridge, that is, going to the right, there is a giant Ferris wheel, the largest in Asia (its height is 165 meters!). The trip takes place in one of 28 capsules, capable of holding 28 people (coincidence?). The ticket price for an adult is 33 Singapore dollars.
We were also able to observe it perfectly while walking around Gardens by the Bay (especially in the evening, when it is lit up).
Esplanade Theatres by the Bay
Our route took us along the promenade toward the Jubilee Bridge. As you walk, note the buildings on the right, the Esplanade Theatres by the Bay. And even if you don’t want to go inside for one of the many performances, the architecture of the buildings alone catches your eye. They look a bit like Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, being two, symmetrical domes. Their shape is invariably compared to the famous “stinky” fruit – the durian.
It is an art center that hosts concerts, performances, shows, exhibitions and more, and its mission is to entertain, engage, educate and inspire through art. And you have to admit that looking at the schedule of events almost everyone will find something for themselves: there are attractions for children, seniors, workshops, dance classes, shows – some are even free! If you have a lot of time on your hands, it’s worth getting acquainted with the repertoire and taking a look inside.
It’s time to get one of these so-called “new” products. postcard views of Singapore :)
It was waiting for us right after we crossed the aforementioned Jubilee Bridge. It (the bridge) was built to celebrate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee in 2015. Like the Helix Bridge, the Jubilee Bridge is pedestrian-only, another example of adapting an urban space just for pedestrians.
After crossing the bridge, we found ourselves in a crowd of people surrounding and photographing the famous Merlion. What is Merlion? It is a creature with the torso of a fish and the head of a lion, which is a symbol of Singapore. Its name is made up of two words: mer – meaning sea and referring to the role of a fishing village that Singapore historically played, and lion – meaning lion, from which Singapore’s name is derived(Singapore = lioncity).
In Merlion Park we have the opportunity to admire the fountain facing the bay. Fortunately, Singaporeans have thought of everything and prepared a special platform from which you can capture the Merlion from the front, although it is still more likely to be photographed with Marina Bay Sands in the background (as in the title photo of this post :-)).
North of the Singapore River
It’s time for another bridge – this time, not just for pedestrians anymore. We are talking about the Anderson Bridge (Anderson Bridge), over which we crossed to the other side of the Singapore River.
This part is definitely quieter, looser, quieter. There are government buildings, museums, shopping malls, which are not at all overrun by tourists. Among the more interesting ones are: Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Asian Civilization Museum, National Gallery Singapore.
An important point on the map is Raffles Landing Site – this is the place where Sir Stamford Raffles was supposed to have sailed when he first arrived in Singapore. A statue of him currently stands here. We won’t elaborate on the country’s history here, but it’s worth mentioning that he sailed here because he was looking for a new trading port for the British East India Company.
Our attention, however, was much more drawn to the low-rise buildings on the other side of the river – full of narrow, low, adjoining houses they are a complete detachment and contrast to the dominant skyscrapers. They are located in the so-called Boat Quay. Nowadays, there are numerous restaurants with gardens where you can have lunch or dinner right on the riverbank.
There are three areas along the river that once served an important commercial role and are now vibrant places to spend time: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
The last point on our map was St. Peter’s Cathedral. St. Andrew’s Cathedral. It captivates with its unnaturally white color and surrounding greenery. It is also a break from the aforementioned skyscrapers and all the modern facilities throughout Singapore.
Cathedral of St. St. Andrew’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the state, and dates back to 1837, when the first church was built on the site, but was closed in 1852, after two lightning strikes, when the building was deemed unsafe. The cathedral you can see today was built in 1862.
Is it possible to combine the Marina Bay neighborhood walkway with Gardens by the Bay? Probably yes. It will be a bit of a rush, missing a few places, but as much as possible. We, however, split the area in two, so we could slowly and quietly focus on both Gardens by the Bay and the area around the bay itself.
Below you will find the promised map:
Read more about Singapore and what to see in our post Singapore – TOP 9 places you must see!
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