Marina Bay is Singapore's newest district, created on reclaimed land just east of Riverside. It includes the areas east of Shenton Way and Esplanade Dr.
The label "Marina Bay" is a little fuzzy. Technically, it's 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. With many more upcoming developments planned, Marina Bay is now truly the focal point in any visitor's itinerary: mixing business, shopping, entertainment and culture in one accessible district.
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). Alternatively, 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 (located 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.
The Marina Bay Cruise Centre is a direct gateway into the heart of Singapore, serving as the docking point for some of the world's largest cruise ships. To get to/fro the Cruise Center, you can use the North-South Line at the Marina South Pier station.
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 foreshore, which are great in the day, but even more spectacular at night.
phone: +65 6688 8868address: 4 Bayfront AveSingapore'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 16 applies, and you'll need to bring ID.
address: Marina Bay SandsSingapore'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.
address: 10 Bayfront AveArtScience 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.
address: Marina Bay SandsA 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.
Gardens and parks
phone: +65 6420 6848address: 18 Marina Gardens DrThe 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.
Conservatory complexThe gardens houses two cooled conservatories; the Flower Dome simulating a dry-climate area and the Cloud Forest for more tropical highlands plants.
OCBC SkywayTwo of the larger super trees are linked by a skyway, giving visitors a 50-m view off the ground.
OCBC Garden RhapsodyLight shows at night. The supertrees get illuminated.
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.
phone: +65 6534 9339address: Marina South PierThe 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.
phone: +65 6325 5707address: 31 Marina Coastal DrIn the same building as the ferry terminal, this exhibition showcases the Singapore shipping industry.
phone: +65 6514 0111address: 11 Marina Boulevard, #01-01In 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.
phone: +65 6828 8377address: 1 Esplanade DrSingapore'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.
phone: +65 6333 3311address: 30 Raffles AveSingapore'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.
Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prixaddress: Marina Bay Street Circuit, SingaporeThe Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race, which is on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The first race held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit was the 15th round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. It was also the first, and thus far only, nighttime event in Formula One history. Night races are held in September, in conjunction with a comprehensive entertainment schedule. Officially known as the Grand Prix Season Singapore, the lead-up to the final race will include parties, race-themed events, music concerts, exhibitions, and dining and shopping .
i Light Marina BayAsia'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.
phone: +65 6883 1122address: 9 Raffles BlvdUpscale mall known for housing Singapore's best collection of luxury watch retailers.
phone: +65 6825 2667address: 3 Temasek BlvdAt 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.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay SandsThe 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.
BudgetAs 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.
Gluttons Bayphone: +65 6336 7025address: Esplanade Mall #01-15Run 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.
Mid-rangeThere 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.
address: Supertree Grove, Gardens by the BayA mix of dining options ranging from noodles to fast food to sandwiches.
SplurgeMarina 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.
phone: +65 6688 7688address: Marina Bay Sands SkyParkA branch of the famous bar/restaurant KU DE TA in Bali, although it had to recently 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).
Waku Ghinphone: +65 6688 8507address: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Atrium 2, L2-02Chef 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.
There are a few interesting places around Marina Square and in the Gardens of the Bay as well.
phone: +65 6604 9988address: Flower Dome, Gardens by the BayOffers innovative, Mediterranean-influenced, modern European cuisine from the ideas of Jason Atherton. The restaurant gets fresh herbs and vegetables straight from the in-house garden.
phone: +65 6338 3788address: 7 Raffles Ave #03-01A 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.
phone: +65 6688 7448address: Marina Bay Sands Crystal Pavilion South L1Another mega club, in a fancy glass pavilion set on the waters of the Marina Bay Reservoir. Regularly brings in headline trance and house DJs.
phone: +65 6834 3133address: Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 #33-01Billed 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.
phone: +65 6334 8888address: 2 Temasek BlvdNew and impeccably tasteful hotel, next to Suntec City, but a bit far from the MRT. Very good value.
phone: +65 6688 8868address: 10 Bayfront AveThe 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.
phone: +65 6336 8111address: 7 Raffles Blvd, Marina SqFree in-room wireless and wired internet. Its Cantonese restaurant, Hai Tien Lo is famed for its great service and ambience. Marina Bay Sands entertainment complex is easily accessible via the "Helix Bridge".
phone: +65 6337 8888address: 7 Raffles AveModern 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.
- 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.