Singapore is an independent city-state located in Southeast Asia. It is a city, and the city is the nation. Modern Singapore was launched in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles established it as a British trading post. It was occupied by Japan in World War II and then became part of Malaysia. Singapore is now a fully independent economic juggernaut and has the second busiest port in the world. With a population of over 5 million, its health indicators, education levels, and per-capita GDP are among the highest in the world. English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil are spoken in Singapore with English being spoken by most (at least as a second language). Singapore is also one of the most densely populated and most expensive cities in the world to live. And, it is clean…unusually clean.
Any first-time visit to Singapore should include a trip to Marina Bay. The area is absolutely loaded with many of Singapore’s most well-known landmarks. Originally, this area served as the Port of Singapore during its English colonial period. Today, its purpose is geared more towards leisure and aesthetics. Let’s take a walk around Marina Bay. I’ll point out a few highlights and make a couple suggestions for detours along the way.
My first destination in Singapore was to get to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel – the hotel with what appears to be a ship on top of it. This hotel is a towering sight and visible on the skyline from so many locations throughout the city. Containing 2,300 rooms, a casino, retail stores, rooftop infinity pool, and one of the best views in Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands is certainly worth considering as a place to stay.
The skyline around Marina Bay in the above photo highlights Singapore’s ultra-modern architecture but this is only a small fraction of the skyscrapers in Singapore. The photo below (taken through a restaurant window) shows endless towers on the horizon.
Back at Marina Bay, there is a pedestrian bridge known as the Helix Bridge which invites us to cross the bay and take a closer look at the Sands Hotel.
At this point, you have several options: go inside the hotel, work your way to the left of the hotel towards Gardens by the Bay, or continue along the shoreline by heading to the right. I headed to the left to visit the gardens which another must-see site.
The Singapore Flyer is a giant ferris/observation wheel located in the Marina Bay area of Singapore. It has 28 air-conditioned capsules with each able to contain 28 passengers. Opened in 2008, it was the world’s tallest ferris wheel until surpassed by the High Roller on the Las Vegas Strip opened in 2014. I imagine the Flyer views are spectacular if you have time in your schedule to check it out.
I continued into the Gardens by the Bay, and you can find that full gallery here which features the “super trees” shown below.
After exploring the garden (where you can easily spend hours), use the Sands Hotel as your exit landmark. I walked through the hotel and returned to Marina Bay waterfront by walking through the Shoppes at Marina Bay. The Shoppes is a multi-level mall with a canal running through it and top retail stores.
The historic Fullerton Hotel (below) in its neoclassical glory stands in stark contrast to modern structures surrounding it. The hotel was built in 1928 and has served many purposes in Singapore’s rich history – Post Office, Exchange Room, Reference Library, and home of the prestigious Singapore Club. Today, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore serves as a 400-room heritage hotel in Singapore and is also registered as a national monument.
Additional Singapore posts and galleries: