Marina Bay[dead link] is Singapore's newest district, created on reclaimed land just east of Riverside. It includes the areas east of Shenton Way and Esplanade Dr. Marina Bay is now truly the focal point in many visitors' itineraries: mixing business, shopping, entertainment and culture in one accessible district.
The label "Marina Bay" is a little fuzzy. The bay is the body of water created by reclaiming land around the mouth of the Singapore River and blocked off from the sea by the Marina Barrage, but Singaporeans used to associate the name "Marina" with the Marina Square shopping mall and the many hotel developments around it on the north shore of the river. The half to the south of the river, or Marina South, was mostly unused reclaimed land until the government targeted it as Singapore's new downtown hub, turning it into the core of Singapore's urban transformation efforts. Now its centrepiece, the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, dominates the city skyline while sharing the spotlight with the super trees of Gardens by the Bay.
Transport to Marina Bay is organised.
The northern half is best accessed through the Circle MRT Line, with stations at Esplanade (for Suntec City) and Promenade (for Suntec City and Millenia Walk, also on the Downtown Line). Or, you can walk for approximately 15 minutes through the underground (and air-conditioned) CityLink shopping mall from Raffles City (at the City Hall MRT station where the North-South and East-West lines intersect).
If you wish to head to Merlion Park, a less-touristed option would be to walk through an air-conditioned linkway within the Fullerton Hotel complex (near Raffles Place) towards the Bay.
The southern half, i.e. Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, is best accessed through the Downtown MRT Line, with stations at Bayfront (for Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay), and Downtown for Lau Pa Sat and the Financial District.
From the airport, Marina Bay Sands Hotel guests can use a shuttle bus for $9.
- 1 Marina Bay Cruise Centre (800 m from MRT Marina South Pier). Only a few minutes away from the city core, this is where all cruise ships visiting Singapore dock. The MRT station is connected, but it is a lengthy walk away, so take a taxi if you're lugging suitcases.
- 2 Marina South Pier (MRT Marina South Pier). Local ferries to the Southern Islands of Kusu and St. John, also hosts the small but free Maritime Heritage Gallery museum. Has ticket offices for all local ferry companies and sundry shops for snacks and drinks. Not to be confused with the far larger Cruise Centre just down the road.
Suntec City, Marina Square, Millenia Walk and the Esplanade in the north are all conveniently linked, either by underground malls or covered walkways. If you don't mind a bit of a walk, the Marina Bay Sands can be reached from the northern half by walking south for 20 mins on the Helix Bridge, which has several viewing platforms overlooking the bay.
Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands hosts a slew of attractions. The easiest on your wallet would be to simply sit and enjoy the view of Shenton Way and the Esplanade from the shore, which are great in the day, but even more spectacular at night.
- 1 Marina Bay Sands Casino, 4 Bayfront Ave, ☏ . 24 hours daily. Singapore's second casino, larger and glitzier than its family-oriented competitor on Sentosa, with 600 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines. Visitors can enter for free, but locals and residents have to pay $150 just to get in. An age limit of 21 applies, and you'll need to bring ID.
- 2 Sands SkyPark, Marina Bay Sands (to get to ticket counter, get down the escalator outside the lobby of tower 3). 10AM-10PM daily. Singapore's single most dramatic landmark, the SkyPark defies gravity, perched 55 stories above the ground like a surfboard on top of the three hotel towers. Views aside, for time being there's not much bang for your buck though: the pool is open to guests only. The alternative to paying the entry fee is to visit the restaurants (see Eat) for lunch, which will set you back around $50, but you can freely explore the SkyPark afterwards. The SkyPark consists of one very long infinity pool, 3 heated Jacuzzis, a mini chocolate bar and of course the two high-end restaurants. $20/14 adults/children.
- 3 ArtScience Museum, 10 Bayfront Ave. Daily 10AM-10PM. ArtScience Museum is part of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. It is the world's first ArtScience museum and the largest private museum in Singapore. It hosts mainly international travelling exhibitions. The current permanent exhibition, Future World, is billed as "Where Art Meets Science", invites visitors to enter a futuristic world of high-tech interactive artworks and immerse themselves in a world of art, science, magic and metaphor through a collection of cutting-edge digital installations. Single exhibition ticket for non residents: $17 adult, $12 senior/student/child.
- 4 Light and Water Show (Spectra), Marina Bay Sands. Daily 8PM and 9PM, F Sa extra show at 10PM. A light and water show lasting for 15 minutes every night at designated times. May be dazzling or cheesy depending on your perspective. Can also be seen from across the bay, which holds different vantage views.
- 5 Red Dot Design Museum, 11 Marina Boulevard, #01-01, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Su 10AM-11PM. In October 2017, the Red Dot Design Museum moved to the present location along the Marina Bay. The museum presents the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design. Every one of these exhibits is a winner of the international Red Dot Design Award, one of the world’s leading and largest design competitions. It features a design shop and a design cafe bar. Here, you can buy carefully curated design objects from around the world and also the best designs produced by Singapore designers. The cafe bar also featured unique highly "instagramable" design food, craft beer, gourmet coffee and tea. $6.
Gardens and parks
Marina Bay adds a whole lot of greenery back to the city, all brought in and replanted. Some trees in the Gardens by the Bay are hundreds of years old, and some even date back a millennium. A visit to the Gardens can easily be combined with Marina Bay Sands, since Bayfront and Gardens by the Bay MRT stations are about 1 km apart and there's a shuttle bus ($3) between Bayfront and the Flower Dome.
- 6 Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr (Gardens by the Bay MRT), ☏ . The free outdoor gardens are themed around plants important to Singapore history and culture. Super trees tower over the rest of the gardens, built to mimic real-life trees using technology such as solar cells. The gardens also has a few event venues like the Meadow. Free.
- 7 Conservatory domes. 9AM-9PM. The gardens house two cooled conservatories housed in giant glass domes, the Flower Dome simulating a dry-climate area and the Cloud Forest for more tropical highlands plants. Both are a nice air-conditioned escape from the sweltering tropics outside, but if you have to pick one, the Cloud Forest with its winding multi-story walkway, waterfalls and displays of carnivorous plants is the wackier of two and sure to be a hit with kids. The Flower Dome also has a nice if pricy cafe tucked away in the back. $28/15.
- 8 OCBC Skyway. 9AM-9PM. Two of the larger super trees are linked by a skyway, giving visitors a 50-m view off the ground. $5/3.
- 9 OCBC Garden Rhapsody. 7:45PM and 8:45PM. Light and sound shows at night. The supertrees get illuminated. Free.
- 10 Marina Barrage, 260 Marina Way (Gardens by the Bay MRT), ☏ . Outdoor areas: 24 hours. Sustainable Singapore Gallery: M W-F 9AM-6PM, Sa Su 10AM-8PM. Provides an educational look at the inner workings of a reservoir and the move towards environmental sustainability. The rooftop garden offers stunning views of the Marina Bay skyline, and you'll see some intrepid kite flyers taking advantage of the breeze. Free.
The Marina South Pier offers a few ferry services out of the city to the Southern Islands of Kusu and St. John. The journey is probably more remarkable than the destinations.
- 11 Southern Islands Ferry, Marina South Pier (Marina South Pier MRT station exit A or B), ☏ . M-F 10AM and 2PM; Sa 9AM, 11AM, 1PM and 3PM; Su holidays 9AM, 11AM, 1PM, 3PM and 5PM. The ferry will loop from Marina South Pier via St John's to Kusu. The timings give you a few hours on Kusu, depending on which service is taken, which is plenty for seeing the sights. $18/$12 adults/children.
- 12 Singapore Maritime Gallery, 31 Marina Coastal Dr (Marina South Pier MRT), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 9AM-6PM. In the same building as the ferry terminal, this exhibition showcases the Singapore shipping industry. Free.
- 1 Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Dr (Esplanade MRT), ☏ . Singapore's equivalent of Sydney's famous Opera House, except that the two-lobed spiky Singaporean version deliberately bears a striking resemblance to the durian, a tropical fruit related to the jackfruit which is notorious for its sharp odour. Opera, dance, classical concerts and similar entertainment is offered daily. Prices for the main entertainment start from $20-30 for poor seats, up to over a $100 for good ones. For the traveller on a budget, there are usually free productions on the outdoor riverside stage on weekends. Head up to the rooftop for alternate views of the Marina Bay area.
- 2 Singapore Flyer, 30 Raffles Ave, ☏ . 8:30AM-10:30PM. Singapore's newest tourist trap, this 150-m-tall observation wheel modelled on the London Eye is the world's tallest. One rotation takes about 30 minutes, and for an extra $36 you can sip on a cocktail while admiring the views, but expect to share your capsule with as many as 28 people unless you stump up $1,000 for a private ride. Discounts are widely available, grab a brochure from any tourist information counter. $33/21 adult/child.
- 3 NERF Action Xperience, Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard, #01-208, email@example.com. 10AM-10PM. An indoor activity arena in Marina Square newly opened in October 2019, split into zones where you conquer obstacles and brandish NERF blasters (either at targets or against opponents). Also has a dedicated NERF store to purchase your own weaponry (note that you cannot bring your own NERF stuff into the arena, and must use the allocated NERF blasters).
- Singapore Grand Prix is an on-street Formula One race held in Marina Bay. The next races are 15-17 Sept 2023 then 20-22 Sept 2024.
- i Light Marina Bay. Asia's first sustainable light art festival that places 30 vivid and innovative light art installations around the bay, as well as a host of interactive events and activities throughout a three-week period in Mar-Apr. Free.
- DBS Marina Regatta, The Promontory @ Marina Bay. Annual event held every late May / early June since 2012. You can watch the main event that is the international dragon boat race held in the waters. Also typically hosts many concurrent activities to do: the latest edition in 2019 included beginner water sports sessions (requiring registration), buskers scattered across the area, and of course F&B booths.
- 1 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd (Promenade MRT), ☏ . Upscale mall known for housing Singapore's best collection of luxury watch retailers.
- 2 Suntec City, 3 Temasek Blvd (Esplanade/Promenade MRT), ☏ . 10AM-10PM daily. At the northeastern edge of the CBD is Singapore's 2nd largest shopping mall, featuring the Fountain of Wealth, reputedly the world's largest fountain. If connecting to the Circle Line is inconvenient, the other way in is to take the MRT to City Hall and then follow the signs in the underground CityLink mall, a 15-min air-conditioned walk.
- 3 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The Sands' shopping mall, chock full of expensive brands geared at stripping jackpot winners of their earnings, plus a dinky little canal where you can go for a spin in a sampan boat at $10/person.
- 4 Apple Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, B2-06. M-Th noon-8PM, F Sa Su noon-9PM. Singapore's third Apple Store, and the world's first floating Apple Store, officially opened on 10 Sept 2020, appearing as a spherical glass dome sitting on the water. Besides selling Apple products, the store also has a forum space (fittingly called the Forum) for hosting events with musicians and creatives, and a boardroom for hands-on advice and training. The store is connected to the nearby Shoppes at level B2 via an underwater tunnel.
As per usual in Singapore, cheap eats may be found in the food courts of the local shopping centres such as Food Republic and Fountain Food Terrace in Suntec City and The Gallerie in Marina Square. However, be warned that the extravagantly-named Rasapura Masters at Marina Bay Sands is the priciest in the entire country.
- 1 Gluttons Bay, Esplanade Mall #01-15, ☏ . 6PM-3AM daily. Run by famous foodies Makansutra, this outdoor eatery puts together 12 of Singapore's most famous hawkers. Breezy location by the river, great views of the city and pretty good grub make this a winner. The food here is a tourist-friendly reproduction of some of Singapore's best, though you can usually find better (and usually cheaper) versions in the heartlands. $5-30.
- 2 Satay by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr (Gardens by the Bay, 5-min walk from Cloud Dome). 11AM-10PM. The closest thing to a hawker centre in these parts, Satay by the Bay is a collection of 20-odd open-air stalls selling local favorites. As you'd expect, satay (grilled spiced meat & prawns on a stick, served with a peanutty sauce) is a firm favorite, but you can also find seafood, noodles, even burgers and pasta, all washed down with a cold Tiger beer or a mug of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice. Best visited in the evening to take the edge off the heat. From $8 for 10 sticks of satay.
There are a lot of mid-range eateries in the shopping centres but not many are of note and are mostly part of standard food franchises found elsewhere. The Gardens by the Bay also has some casual dining if you decide to rest in the middle of a walk.
- 3 Supertree Dining, Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay. M-F 11AM-10PM; Sa Su 8:30AM-10PM. A mix of dining options ranging from noodles to fast food to sandwiches. $15.
Marina Bay Sands has brought in a constellation of big names, with Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Santi Santamaria, Guy Savoy, and Tetsuya Wakuda all opening restaurants in the complex.
- 4 CÉ LA VI (KU DE TA), Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Noon-3PM, 6PM-2AM. A branch of the famous bar/restaurant KU DE TA in Bali, although it had to change name over legal issues. The restaurant's tapas-style food is by most accounts overpriced for what you get, but it's still probably a better deal than forking out $50 to enter the bar (one drink included). Lunch $30-85, dinner $100-200.
- 5 Waku Ghin, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Atrium 2, L2-02, ☏ . 6PM and 8:30PM. Chef Tetsuya's 10-course degustation menu focuses on Japanese cuisine and is created from the best seasonal produce. Rated by Restaurant Magazine as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Also has a bar with premium sake and whiskey. Quite possibly the most expensive restaurant in the country, with degustation menus from $450pp excluding drinks.
There are a few interesting places around Marina Square and in the Gardens of the Bay as well.
- 6 Marguerite, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay (Buggy service available from arrival plaza), ☏ . Noon-2:30PM, 6-10PM. Offers innovative, Mediterranean-influenced, modern European cuisine. The restaurant gets fresh herbs and vegetables straight from the in-house garden. Dinner set menu $288++.
- 7 Shiraishi, 7 Raffles Ave #03-01 (Ritz-Carlton), ☏ . Noon-2PM, 6-10PM. A tiny place in a quiet corner of the hotel, you won't stumble into this intimidatingly Japanese place by accident, but the restaurant's many regulars come here for some of the best and most consistent sushi and sashimi this side of Tokyo. Lunch sets are good value, but ordering à la carte for dinner can be very expensive indeed. For connoisseurs. Lunch $30-85, dinner $100-200.
This is the place to be if you are someone, know somebody or just want to get away from the common masses.
- 1 LeVel33, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 #33-01, ☏ . Su-Th noon-midnight; F Sa noon-2AM. Billed as a craft-brewery in the penthouse of the Marina Bay Financial Centre. Expect lots of corporate types in the outside terrace enjoying the views overlooking the entire Marina Bay area.
- 2 Avenue Singapore, B1-67, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, ☏ , email@example.com. W Th 9PM - 3AM, F 8PM-5AM; Sa 10PM - 5AM. Opened in May 2019, this lounge is actually in the same complex as Marquee Singapore, but doesn't adopt the party club vibe. Besides a classy bar for patrons to enjoy drinks, and a local rotation of DJs (with some occasional guest musicians), there are also several classic arcade games and even private bowling lanes for entertainment.
- 3 Marquee Singapore, B1-67, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 10PM till late. Opened in April 2019, this nightclub is the Marquee franchise's first foray into Asia after establishing themselves in New York, Las Vegas, and Sydney. Boasts 70-foot-high ceilings and an actual rideable ferris wheel for party animals to rave in the pods above the crowds.
As the glitzy new waterfront of Singapore, Marina Bay accommodation is all made up of high-end hotels, most of which boast expansive city and water views. Cheaper hotels will be found in neighbouring districts. The area is particularly busy during the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September, with many booking hotel rooms to be right in the middle of the races. Bayfront Ave will be closed, so traffic to the Marina Bay Sands will be limited through the south end. The Helix Bridge will also be closed during the race weekend (except for those with Zone 1 tickets), making it more difficult to get around.
- 1 Conrad Centennial, 2 Temasek Blvd, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. An impeccably tasteful hotel, next to Suntec City and the Promenade MRT station. The enormous "13" on the side of the building is a Chinese wish for good fortune! $500.
- 2 Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, ☏ . The three "card decks" of the Marina Bay Sands will house nearly 2,500 rooms offering some of the best views in the city. The other advantage to staying here is access to the infinity edge pools atop the SkyPark. From $500.
- 3 Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd, Marina Sq, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Luxurious rooms and suites. Facilities include business centre, gymnasium, swimming pool and spa. From $350.
- 4 Ritz-Carlton Millenia, 7 Raffles Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Modern and impeccably stylish, with fantastic full-wall skyline views, even from the bathroom, for rooms on the Marina Bay side. (Don't worry, it's one-way glass.) All rooms are large and equipped with frills like a pillow in the bathtub. Gym, spa, pool and a popular Sunday champagne brunch. Recommended. $400.
Head eastwards to Riverside for its historic buildings or bigger nightlife, or north to Bugis for street shopping. Both are within walkable distance with frequent breaks, although the MRT may be a more comfortable ride, especially from Marina Bay Sands. You can also take bus 133 if you are heading from Marina Bay Sands to Bugis.