MAKE THE MOST OF MARINA BAY

By LINDA JAMES | Updated June 15, 2023 | AREA GUIDES

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The Marina Bay Sands resort dominates this area along with the impressive Gardens by the Bay next door. Just across the river, The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay arts complex is worth visiting for its views as is the Singapore Flyer.

The Marina Bay project was an ambitious civil engineering plan that meant creating three massive tracts of reclaimed land to seal off the basins of the Singapore and Kallang rivers from the sea. This has resulted in a seaside freshwater reservoir that cut Singapore’s dependence on Malaysian water supplies.

Marina Bay is a great place to stay if you haven’t been to Singapore before because it’s so close to the key sights. Other favourites – Chinatown and Orchard Rd – are just a short ride on the MRT.

Getting There

Depending on where you want to start your visit to Marina Bay, there are two main MRT stations and lines that can get you there. Bayfront (DT16) and Promenade (CC4/DT15) and Esplanade (CC3). Marina Bay MRT station (CE2/NS27) is currently under construction and is planned to open in 2026.

You could also take the following buses: 106, 131, 502, 518

What to See & Do

ArtScience Museum

This lotus-shaped museum is also known as “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore”. It focuses on exploring the meeting point of art, science, culture and technology, and innovation. There’s a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Future World: Where Art meets Science, a permanent exhibition created in conjunction with art collective teamLab, features a collection of digital interactive installations. There are four sections – City in A Garden, Sanctuary, Park, and Space. One of the new exhibitions is Radical Curiosity: In the Orbit of Buckminster Fuller Journey”, which tells the story of inventor and visionary, Buckminster Fuller. He created innovations that impacted the world by working across multiple disciplines including art, science, mathematics, architecture and design.

Address: 6 Bayfront Ave
Open: daily 10am–7pm
Cost: general admission free, selected exhibitions at a cost eg Future World is $S16 (adult) and $S12 (child) for residents and $S19 (adult) and $S14 (child) for non-residents
Getting there: near Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16), 10 min walk; buses – 133,655,77,97,97E
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

The striking architecture here – two large spiked shells – has been likened to durians or giant insect eyes. Just east of the Padang and Esplanade Park, the venue has a concert hall that seats about 1600, theatres (one of which seats 2000) and gallery space. There are fantastic views here across the bay to the Riverside District and Marina Bay Sands.

Check the website to see what shows are on. There’s even a good line-up of free shows.

Address: 1 Esplanade Dr
Open: daily 8am-11.30pm
Cost: varies according to show, some free
Getting there: near City Hall and Esplanade MRT stations
More information: https://www.esplanade.com

Gardens by the Bay

The Supertrees are definitely one of the most iconic representations of this city state and you definitely should not leave without seeing them. There are a stack of free activities in the 101ha gardens as well as paid so you don’t have to spend a lot money.

The Supertree Grove – and the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show – the outdoor gardens and the Far East Organisation Children’s Garden are all free. Floral Fantasy, Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest as well as the OCBC Skyway, which gives you a fantastic view of the Supertrees, are the main paid attractions.

Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr
Open: daily 5am-2am but individual attractions have specific times
Cost: See individual attractions above 
Getting there: Near Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16), take Exit B and follow the underground linkway, then exit and cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay; buses – from Tanjong Pagar MRT (EW15), take Exit C and head to International Plaza Anson Road to bus stop 03223. Take bus 400 and alight at bus stop 03371 along Marina Gardens Drive; on foot from Marina Bay Sands Hotel, cross the overhead bridge (Lions Bridge) open daily from 8am-11pm or walk through underground linkway via Bayfront MRT
More information: https://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/

Helix Bridge

This is Singapore’s longest pedestrian bridge and connects The Esplanade area to the Bayfront area. Designed to resemble the double helix structure of the DNA molecule, it symbolises “life and continuity, renewal and growth”.

The bridge is made of stainless steel, is three storeys high and 280m long, and is 8.8m above water so that boats can pass underneath. It can support up to 16,000 people at a time.

One of the best walks to do in Singapore is to go from City Hall, the Singapore Flyer and the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay across the Helix Bridge to Marina Bay Sands, the ArtScience Museum and Gardens by the Bay.

This gives you an excellent view of the city skyline from the five viewing pods on the bridge.

Eventually this will be part of an 11.7km promenade route that links Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, Marina Barrage and the Singapore Sports Hub.

Open: 24 hours
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Promenade MRT (CC4/DT15), 10 min walk; near Bayfront North Jetty, 5 min walk, Promenade Jetty 7 min walk; buses – 106,77,97,97E
More information: https://www.coxarchitecture.com.au/project/the-helix-bridge/

Marina Bay Sands

This hotel – with its three 55-floor towers connected by a vast, curved-surfboard-like deck, the SkyPark – has become an icon of Singapore. As well as hotel rooms and many restaurants, it has a casino, theatre, shopping mall, museum and a food court. The architecture is also interesting on the inside with the hotel atrium giving the impression of being inside a narrow glass pyramid.

Address: 10 Bayfront Ave
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free though there is a charge for Skypark unless you dine at one of the restaurants/bars
Getting there: near Bayfront MRT station
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/see-and-do.html

Red Dot Design Museum

This is the showcase for the 200-odd designs that have won awards in the international Red Dot Design competition. The architecture – a geometrical glass structure featuring structural steel elements and large overhanging roofs – is worth seeing on its own.

There’s a café and shop where you can buy many of the designs.

Address: 11 Marina Blvd
Open: Closed but scheduled to open in April 2022
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16), take Exit E, walk 4 min, Downtown MRT (DT17), take Exit B, walk 4 mins, Marina Bay MRT (CE2/NS27), take Exit B, walk 4 min
More information: museum@red-dot.sg

Sands Theatre

This is the theatre in the Marina Bay Sands resort. It hosts a range of West End and Broadway musicals such as “Cats”, “Annie” and “Wicked”. It seats 2155 guests over three levels.

Address: 10 Bayfront Ave
Open: varies according to show
Cost: varies according to show
Getting there: near Bayfront MRT station
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/see-and-do.html

Sculpture

The Marina Bay Art Trail features a number of public artworks spread from Suntec City to Gardens by the Bay. The Getting There directions explain how to walk from one artwork to the next. The Bird sculpture is not technically part of the trail but doesn’t involve much a detour to see.

Abundance III, by architect-artist Sun Yu-Li, is a large bronze ring in Suntec City, which has been so cleverly constructed it appears to be different sizes and shapes depending on where you’re standing. It represents infinity because there is no beginning and no end.

Address: cnr Temasek and Raffles Boulevards
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Promenade MRT (CC4/DT15), 6 min walk; buses – 10,591,97,97E

The Fountain of Wealth, also in Suntec City, was listed by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the largest fountain in the world. It’s turned off throughout the day so visitors can walk around the mini fountain at the centre three times for good luck. If you’re lucky, you might see a laser show there around 8pm and 9pm.

Water is a symbol of life and wealth in Chinese culture and the inward motion of the water symbolises the retention of wealth for Suntec City as well as the idea of riches pouring in, according to feng shui experts. Hence the name Fountain of Wealth.

The fountain’s bronze ring, which has a circumference of 66m, is also based on the Hindu Mandala and represents the union of spirit and unity. Suntec City itself was designed to look like a hand emerging from the ground, the fountain forms the palm of the hand while the five tower blocks are the fingers and thumb.

Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk from Temasek Blvd to the roundabout

Six Brushstrokes, by pop artist Roy Lichenstein,is in the outdoor plaza at Millenia Walk and was the last work of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. The 12m-wide installation combines pop art with Chinese calligraphic traditions and depicts abstract illusions of nature, seashore and land.

Address: Millenia Walk
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: walk down Temasek Blvd to Millenia Walk shopping centre

Deva, by kinetic sculpture artist Lin Emery,is astainless-steel sculpture inspired by the forces of nature.

Address: Level 2 Pan Pacific, 7 Raffles Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Cut through Millenia Walk to get to the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel on Raffles Blvd

Continuum II, by artist-architect Charles Perry, was constructed by twisting eight bronze pieces into an abstract sculpture inspired by geometry.

Address: 6 Raffles Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Head to the rooftop walkway of Marina Square Shopping Mall 

Between Sea and Sky, by Belgian sculptor Olivier Strebelle “the Belgian Picasso”, is a 6-foot sculpture.

Address: 6 Raffles Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk to the front of the five-star hotel Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay Singapore

Fleur Marine, by French artist Antoine Poncet, is in the driveway of the Mandarin Oriental in the middle of a fountain, creating the illusion of a flower rising from the sea.

Address: 5 Raffles Ave
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk back into Marina Square Shopping Mall and follow the signs to Mandarin Oriental.

Seeds, by Han Sai Por, consists of four granite sculptures that symbolise the germination of the arts.

Address: 1 Esplanade Dr
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Cross the street to Esplanade’s outdoor plaza

The Merlion isSingapore’s mascot, the mythical half-lion, half fish Merlion, and was built in 1972. The fish body represents the city state’s beginnings as a fishing village when it was called Temasek (“sea town” in Javanese). The lion head is symbolic of Singapore’s original name – Singapura – meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”. The original sculpture was designed by Kwan Sai Kheong, sculpted in white concrete by Lim Nang Seng and commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board. Nearby sits its smaller sibling, the Merlion cub.

Address: One Fullerton
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk across the river using the Esplanade Bridge to get to Merlion Park.

Bird, by Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero Marina Bay, is one of the most recognisable works of art in Singapore. The very large dove represents peace and serenity and is the third Bird sculpture. The other two in Medellin and Florence, Italy.

Address: near United Overseas Bank (UOB) Plaza at Raffles Place.
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Raffles Place MRT (EW14/NS26), 3 min walk; buses – 10,100,57,655,970
More information: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/its-a-bird-no-its-botero-five-things-to-know-about-the-famed-colombian-artist

Black Charging Bull, by Anna C. Spellini, is fittingly outside the Merrill Lynch office given the bull symbolises a bullish (or upward trending) market. It might also be symbolic of a positive outlook for Singapore’s economy.

Address: OUE Bayfront Building
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: From Merlion Park, walk through One Fullerton past The Fullerton Bay Hotel and the restored Customs House

Progressive Flow, by Han Sai Por, sits at the corner of Marina Boulevard. The six blocks of granite, weighing about 55 tonnes, was created so people could sit on the blocks while reflecting on the wavy design.

Address: One Marina Blvd
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: Walk to One Marina Blvd

Momentum, by David Gerstein, is the very last stop on the art trail. This kaleidoscopic pyramid of figures holding hands was designed to honour the Singaporeans who have helped to create this amazing city.

Address: 2 Finlayson Green
Open: 24 hours
Cost: free
Getting there: look across the street to Finlayson Green and Raffles Quay

Singapore Flyer

This is one of the world’s largest ferris/observation wheels and the perfect way orient yourself to this amazing city. It gives you a bird’s-eye view of the city and out to Indonesia and Malaysia.

The 28 air-conditioned glass capsules take 30 minutes to do a circuit. Keep an eye out for landmarks such as Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa Island and Mt Faber.

Address: 30 Raffles Ave
Open: Thursday to Sunday and public holidays 3pm-10pm
Cost: $S33 for 13 years and over, $S21 for 3-12s, under 3yrs free
Getting there: near Promenade MRT (CC4/DT15), take Exit A and walk for 8 mins; buses – 36, 36A, 36B, 70A, 70M, 97, 97e, 106, 111, 133, 162M, 502, 502A, 518, 518A, 700A, 857 (bus stop 02171 opposite the Ritz-Carlton)
More information: https://www.singaporeflyer.com/

Spectra Laser and Light Show

I love this 15-minute outdoor show, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the waterfront near Marina Bay Sands hotel, and features dancing fountain jets, colourful visual projections, advanced lasers, and lava and mist effects synchronised to an orchestral soundtrack.

You can also view it from the water if you take a special bumboat cruise or you could book a table at one of the Marina Bay Sands eateries: Le Noir (L1-84, Bay Level), Dallas Cafe & Bar (L1-85, Bay Level), JustIN Flavours of Asia (L1-83, Bay Level).

Open: usually every evening
Cost: Free
Getting there: near Bayfront Station (CE1/DT16); buses – 97,106,518,133, 502, nearest stop 03509
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/attractions/spectra.html

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Designer brands and emerging designers feature in this three-storey luxury shopping mall, which is part of Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands complex. It has an impressive central water feature, open atriums and large glass windows.

There’s also a big line-up of celebrity restaurants in the complex as well as Rasapura Masters, a hawker-style food court, in the basement.

Address: 2 Bayfront Ave
Open: daily 10am-11pm
Getting there: near Bayfront MRT station
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/shopping.html

Where to Stay

Luxury

Conrad Centennial

This hotel is great if you’re attending an event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre or the city’s financial district. The 512 rooms look out on the Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City or to Marina Bay.

The lobby is impressive with a marble curved staircase and a gold installation that hangs from the ceiling above a sculpture by Rafael Barrios, entitled Turbulence. The Conrad has an expansive art collection with about 3400 pieces.

The dining options include Cantonese at Golden Peony and buffets at Oscar’s. The lobby lounge is great for cocktails and afternoon teas.

The rooftop swimming pool features some very cool cabanas and there’s a gym if you want to work out.

From here, you can walk to Gardens by the Bay, Merlion Park, the National Gallery and the Singapore Flyer.

Address: 2 Temasek Blvd
Price: From $S273
Getting there: a 3-minute walk from Promenade MRT 
More information: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/sincici-conrad-centennial-singapore/

Marina Bay Sands

One of most well-known hotels in the world, the $S8 billion building was designed by Moshe Safdie and features a SkyPark on top of three 55-storey hotel towers. The crowning glory of this is the infinity pool, on the 57th floor, which can only be enjoyed by hotel guests. However, visitors can catch the view after forking out $S20 to get to the Observation Deck.

The hotel also has a casino, more than 20 restaurants, a food court and a shopping mall. There are more than 2500 rooms and suites have views of Marina Bay, the South China Sea or the Singapore skyline. There is a fitness club and spa especially for guests.

The 23 storey-high hotel atrium is impressive with check-in counters (near Tower 1) on one end and the Ce La Vi Skypark access counter (near Tower 3) on the other. Tower 1 also includes the reception booth for the Italian restaurant LAVO and the rooftop bar in Sands SkyPark, and the Asian-inspired hotel bar and lounge Renku.

There’s a seemingly endless range of dining – a food court in the basement, nine celebrity chef restaurants – Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, Bistro and Oyster Bar by Daniel Boulud, Long Chim by David Thompson, Osteria & Pizzeria Mozza by Nancy Silverton, Spago by Wolfgang Park, and two-Michelin starred venues, Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakuda and CUT by Wolfgang Puck.

The rooms have great views of either Gardens by the Bay, the harbour or the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows. There are family rooms that accommodate up to four and, while they don’t have great views on the second and third floors, they have a king-size bed and two twins and are quite spacious.

Getting around from here is easy with the Bayfront MRT station (on the Downtown line) connecting the hotel, shopping precinct, the expo and convention centre and Gardens by the Bay. The Riverside district is only two stops away (or a leisurely – and sight-filled – walk) from Raffles Place MRT. Orchard Rd is just four more stops after that.

Address: 10 Bayfront Ave
Price: rates start at $S369 
Getting there: a 5-minute walk from Bayfront MRT station (DT16), exit D  
More information: marinabaysands.com

Mandarin Oriental

The hotel has an impressive atrium as well as an amazing outdoor pool with water fountains and private cabanas that has stunning views of the city skyline.

You can choose from a restaurants such as the Cantonese Cherry Garden or the Italian Dolce Vita as well as The Steakhouse, an outpost of the well-known Morton’s.

Address: 5 Raffles Ave
Price: from $S349
Getting there: between the Promenade and Esplanade MRT stations 
More information: www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/marina-bay/luxury-hotel

Pan Pacific

Two tennis courts and a fully equipped fitness centre and spa are just some of the facilities on offer here. There’s also an impressive 35-storey lobby atrium with seating pods suspended over water and an exterior elevator with amazing views of the city.

Feast on Indian and Japanese food at Rang Mahal and Keyaki or Cantonese at Hai Tien Lo. There are also casual meals available at the Pacific Marketplace.

A covered walkway takes you to the Suntec Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Address: 7 Raffles Blvd
Price: from $S328
Getting there: a 6-minute walk from Esplanade MRT station
More information: www.panpacific.com

PARKROYAL Collection

This is also close to the Suntec Exhibition and Convention Centre – just a 450m walk. There’s a skybridge across the atrium from which guests can get a bird’s-eye view of the glass greenhouses and gardens below.

Dine on Cantonese food at Peach Blossoms and international fare at Peppermint. The two bars – Portman’s and the Skyline, which is poolside – serve up delicious cocktails.

Address: 6 Raffles Blvd
Price: from $S272
Getting there: a 5-minute walk from Esplanade MRT 
More information: www.panpacific.com/en/hotels-and-resorts/pr-collection-marina-bay

Ritz-Carlton Millenia

One of the focus point of the exterior architecture here are the octagonal bathroom windows and the mother of earl dome ceiling in the grand lobby. The art collection is also impressive with 4200 pieces including works by Ernest Zacharevic and David Hockney.

On the 32nd level, the club lounge has panoramic views of the city’s skyline. Marble bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes feature in the 608 rooms, which start at 51sqm, and suites, which have a range of views – marina and city.

Be prepared to eat some amazing Cantonese food at the one Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion or Asian at Colony.

There’s an adults-only swimming pool and an impressive fitness centre and spa.

Address: 7 Raffles Ave
Price: from $S575
Getting there: a 5-minute walk to Promenade MRT station 
More information: www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/singapore

Mid-range

Oakwood Premier AMTD

In the OUE Downtown mall precinct, this hotel/serviced apartment complex has an infinity pool on the 7th floor and a restaurant, SE7ENTH, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Guests can take advantage of the complimentary shuttle bus, which picks up and drops off guests to the CBD during the week and CityHall/Orchard Rd malls on weekends.

There are 268 apartments in a range of configurations from deluxe studios between 28 and 32sqm to one bedrooms (31-58sqm) and two bedrooms (70-98sqm). The facilities vary according to apartment type, for example, the studios don’t have cooktops, the one bedrooms have combination washer/dryers, the two bedrooms have separate appliances, and some two-bedders have bathtubs.

One of the quirky features of the Oakwood is the mobile bar, which replaces the executive club. This is included in some packages or can be bought as an add-on. The mobile bar will visit your room twice a night with a selection of cocktails, wine and spirits and hors d’oeuvres.

Address: 6 Shenton Way
Price: from $S328
Getting there: a 3-minute walk to Tanjong Pagar MRT station
More information: oakwood.com/singapore/singapore/premier-singapore

Where to Eat & Drink

Gluttons Bay Marina Bay

If you’re seeing a show at Theatres on the Bay or perhaps visiting the National Gallery of Singapore, this centre has a wide variety of local street food such as satay, oyster omelette and fried carrot cake.

Stalls to try:

Gluttons Bar

Sweet Spot

Syifa’ Satay

Old Satay Club Mee Goreng

Huat Huat BBQ Chicken Wing & Carrot Cake

Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee

Kebabchi Charcoal BBQ

BBKia Stingray

Big Bern’s American Grills

Do Rae Mee

Shen Xi Soup

Address: 8 Raffles Avenue, #01-15, Esplanade Mall
Open: Tuesday to Friday 4pm–10.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 3pm–10.30pm, closed Monday
Getting there: Near City Hall MRT Station, walk towards Esplanade link-way;
Buses – 36, 56, 70, 97, 111, 133, 162, 174M, 195, 502, C1, C2, C3, 75, 77, 106, 171, 700A, 857, 960, 961, NR 1, NR 2, NR 5, NR 6, NR 7 & NR 8)
More information: https://www.facebook.com/makansutragluttonsbay/

Rasapura Masters

Rasapura, which means “City of Taste”, is in the basement of Marina Bay Sands and offers a collection of street food stalls with dishes from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and China.

From the atrium, take the escalator to the basement and continue through the shopping district to the food court on the first basement floor (in the opposite direction from the MRT station).

Address: 2 Bayfront Avenue, 50-53, Canal Level The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Open: Sunday to⁠ Thursday, 8am⁠–⁠10pm; Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday, 8am⁠–⁠11pm
Getting there: Near Bayfront MRT (CE1/DT16), take exits C and D; buses – 77, 97,97E
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/rasapura-masters.html

Singapore Food Treats

Perfect if you’re visiting the Singapore Flyer, this food hall is right at its base and has a variety of stalls. It’s been designed to look like Singapore of the 1960s and reflect a long-gone era of street-side dining. Favourites here are satay, barbecued seafood, laksa, and chicken rice.

It’s a short walk from Promenade MRT station and is open daily from late morning through late evening.

Address: 30 Raffles Ave
Open: Sunday to Thursday, 10.30am–10.30pm, Friday and Saturday 10.30am–11.30pm
Getting there: near Promenade MRT (CC4/DT15), take Exit A and walk for 8 mins; buses – 36, 36A, 36B, 70A, 70M, 97, 97e, 106, 111, 133, 162M, 502, 502A, 518, 518A, 700A, 857 (bus stop 02171 opposite the Ritz-Carlton)

Conclusion

Marina Bay is the place to hit to see many of Singapore’s top attractions – from the Gardens, the Merlion and the ArtScience Museum to the Flyer as well as Marina Bay Sands.

More area guides

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Link to Eastern Singapore area guide
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Want more of Singapore?

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