Marina Bay Sands has been the hardest hit by the forces of change in Singapore, but the consequences have been spectacular. The region has quickly transformed from an overgrown plot of reclaimed ground abutting the Singapore River’s discharge into the sea to Singapore’s most modern business and pleasure zone. The Marina Bay Sands hotel, Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel, and SuperTree Grove at the Gardens by the Bay now grace the skyline, which was originally flat and unimpressive.
Therefore, what do you get out of it? Plenty because the area’s numerous new (and some ancient) attractions will keep you entertained during your vacation, with a diverse range of food, entertainment, shopping, and culture, all of which are conveniently accessible by taxi, bus, and train.
1. Get Some Retail Therapy
If you need some serious retail therapy—and let’s be honest, who isn’t?—head straight to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, where you’ll find familiar names like Adidas, Bath & Body Works, Pandora, and Zara, as well as luxury labels like Armani Exchange, Burberry, BVLGARI, Cartier, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, FENDI, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Michael Kors, Prada
If you plan on doing a lot of shopping while in Singapore, bring an extra suitcase or a folding tote bag to use as a carry-on. But, hey, a couple of new outfits and accessories can’t hurt, right? At the very least, anytime you wear them, you’ll be reminded of your time in Singapore.
2. Hit the Links at Marina Bay Golf Course
Head to Marina Bay Golf Course, Singapore’s only 18-hole public golf course, which was built by Phil Jacobs and is frequently ranked as one of the best in Singapore and the Asia Pacific area. If you don’t feel like playing a full round, concentrate on your short game at the Marina Bay Putting Course or practice greens, or concentrate on your golf swing at the onsite driving range. In any case, you’ll be able to experience some outdoor activities while taking in the stunning views of the Marina Bay region.
3. Soar High in the Singapore Flyer
Changi Airport isn’t the only place in Singapore where you may take a flight. Book a ride on the Singapore Flyer for a spectacular 30-minute “flying” with obstruction-free views of Marina Bay and neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia from 540 feet above the island. The 28 air-conditioned capsules that make up the massive observation wheel can each hold up to 28 people. The “flight” lasts a half-hour and consists of a single revolution; the gradual ascent and descent allow you to take in the 360-degree vistas to your heart’s content. Check out our Singapore Flyer photo gallery to see what the experience was like.
Visit the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark on the hotel’s 57th floor for a new viewpoint of the Marina Bay district, which sits on a three-acre platform with a restaurant, nightclub, viewing deck, and infinity pool. Marina Bay at night appears to be a glittering galaxy brought down to earth from the viewing deck.
4. Indulge Your Inner Arts Enthusiast
Singapore’s arts sector is thriving, with most of the events taking place near Marina Bay. Visit The Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay for theater and performing arts. It’s a theatrical arts center with a durian-like spiky façade that hosts over 3,000 arts performances, workshops, and exhibitions throughout every possible artistic enterprise. Its most high-profile performance takes place on New Year’s Eve when local and worldwide musical performers perform on its outdoor stage to herald in the New Year.
Many of the hotels in the Marina Bay area have their art collections: The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia has a four-million-dollar collection that is displayed in the lobby and other public areas, and the Marina Bay Sands hotel has an Art Trail with works by some of the world’s most talented modern art masters.
5. Wish Upon the World’s Biggest Fountain
While Marina Bay is home to a plethora of world-class retail complexes and malls—for a complete list, check our list of shopping centers near City Hall and Marina Bay—one shopping location, in particular, stands out.
Suntec City is a modern shopping mall at the core, with a big sign of good fortune in the form of the “Fountain of Wealth,” an 85-ton cast-bronze ring fountain that stands over 46 feet tall. According to feng shui principles, a constant stream of water runs inward from the ring, spouting toward the center of the atrium—the inward flow symbolizes riches pouring into the mall.
6. Climb the “SuperTrees” at Gardens by the Bay
In two climate-controlled Conservatories, the 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay super park recreates a variety of climates from across the world. Visitors can escape Singapore’s oppressive humidity by visiting a “flower dome” that mimics Mediterranean climates or getting lost in a “cloud forest” that mimics tropical mountain weather. Several plant species unique to each climate can be found in the conservatories.
Don’t leave without climbing to the top of Gardens by the Bay’s biggest contribution to the Marina Bay skyline: the “SuperTrees,” which stand over 16-storey tall and are connected by a walkway hanging over seven stories above the ground. The “SuperTrees,” which are covered with flowering plants, ferns, and vines, collect solar power and rainwater for use in the complex and help vent exhaust from the conservatories around them, are technologically “green” marvels.
7. Visit a Museum Devoted to Cutting-Edge Design
The Red Dot Design Museum, which has its roots in the international Red Dot Design Awards, is housed in an angular glass-and-steel edifice along the Marina Bay promenade and houses a cutting-edge collection of more than 300 design works.
The exhibits here represent the Red Dot Design Awards’ high-minded principles: items and concepts that have been evaluated by the Red Dot Awards jury to fulfill the rigorous quality in product and communication design and have been granted the Red Dot quality seal. They cover consumer products, works of art, and marketing materials, and are practically discipline-agnostic. The design shop, which is packed with souvenirs from both foreign and Singaporean designers, allows visitors to take examples of the Red Dot’s designs home with them.
8. Watch the Formula One Races Live
Every year in the second half of September, Marina Bay comes to a halt when the Formula One Grand Prix arrives on Singapore’s streets. The Singapore Formula One race is the only night race on the Formula One calendar, and it takes place right on Marina Bay’s streets.
The Marina Bay circuit in Singapore is 3.14 miles long, with a total length of 192 miles when all 61 circuits are taken into consideration. It takes drivers past some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions and directly past the Formula One pit building.
9. Go Marina Bay Museum Hopping
Marina Bay is home to two museums dedicated to Asia’s past and present: the ArtScience Museum and the Asian Civilisations Museum. The ArtScience Museum is housed in a lotus-like structure that sits on the bay, separate from the rest of the Marina Bay Sands complex. Exhibits are spread out over three floors and cover 64,500 square feet of gallery space.
The Asian Civilisations Museum uses interactive displays to unravel Asia’s cultural threads—the fact that you can’t see everything in one visit speaks much about the region’s cultural variety! Authentic objects from each culture, such as a Chinese snuff box, a sword collection, Chinese ceramics found from a shipwreck, and an antique Buddha statue, are included in themed displays that take visitors on ethnographic tours of China, South Asia, West Asia, and Southeast Asia.
10. Party Till Dawn at Marina Bay’s Bars & Lounges
Singapore’s reputation as a stuffy business-only city is fading fast, as the rules have been gradually loosening for some time—table dance, for example, was only legalized in 2003.
Partygoers can experience the party atmosphere in places like CHIJMES, a former Catholic convent that has been transformed into a buzzing nightspot crowded with bars and restaurants in the Marina Bay region. The Marina Bay Sands complex has attracted the majority of the party population in recent years, thanks to a few popular establishments within the complex: the Ce La Vi Club Lounge, the Club55 lounge, and Flight, a bar offering spectacular views of the Marina Bay area from its 57th-floor elevation.