Marina Bay and Downtown - Singapore

The Marina Bay at Singapore is an awesome sight, especially at night. Filled with skyscrapers and historic monuments, there are plenty of attractions to see. In olden days, the Marina bay was devoid of commercial buildings and traffic and was a perfect place to enjoy the sea breeze and exchange gossips. Story tellers and book enthusiasts often met here and talked about their stories or their recent studies. Today, the Marina Bay is known around the world for its extraordinary skyline view.
Night view of the skyline from Marina Bay
The Singapore downtown, often known as 'downtown core' by locals is the area around Marina Bay. With bronze sculptures, historical monuments, parks and interesting activities, it is quite a fun place. Walking on the bridges while enjoying the beauty of the land and water is a popular activity among Singaporeans.  If you don't mind, let us explore some of the key features of Marina Bay and the downtown.

Singapore has more than 4300 high-rises, which includes plenty of skyscrapers in the downtown. So, what is the tallest building in Singapore? There are 3 skyscrapers with the exact same height! United Overseas Bank Plaza One, Overseas Union Bank Centre and Republic Plaza all share the title of being the "tallest building" in Singapore. These tall buildings and skyscrapers light up during nights, the river reflects the light which makes it an amazing sight to see.
Marina Bay Sands - connected by a terrace at the top; Lotus shaped museum to the left
Marina Bay Sands ResortThis amazing structure has a unique design based on a deck of cards and is the highlight of Singapore's skyline. There are three separate 55-story towers , which are connected only at the top floor. If you look closely from anywhere in the Marina bay, you can spot some trees on the top floor - these are real palm trees. The top floor is called the skypark, which has an amazing swimming pool, restaurants, clubs and an observation deck. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel includes the largest ballroom in Asia, a casino, shops and is also home to the lotus shaped ArtScience museum.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay: More commonly referred to as the "Durians" since the aluminium domes resemble the spiky durian fruit, this building is a place for musical plays and cultural entertainment. In olden days, this was a place where Wayang, the Chinese opera would be performed. A century ago, the entrance fee cost 50 cents to watch the Chinese opera at the same location. One of world's renowned art centers, the Esplanade theaters can seat thousands of people and has a concert hall, a theater, shops and restaurants.
Merlion, the national symbol of Singapore is 28 feet tall
Merlion: The merlion, which has the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is located at the Merlion  Park. It is used as the official mascot of Singapore. Most people assumed that this mythical creature was invented in Singapore. However, merlions have been depicted before in Ajanta caves in India and have also been on coat of arms of British cities. This merlion stands 28 feet tall and spits water from its mouth. Behind this huge statue is a cub merlion 6.5 feet tall, and is made up of tea cups, spoons and other ceramic ware. In 2009, the giant merlion was attacked by a worthy opponent, none other than lightning. The merlion endured the attack, but lost a few feet of its head and officials quickly repaired the statue.
A view from Cavenagh bridge - skyscrapers, durians & bumboats under a bridge
The downtown has no shortage of bridges. Why? The north side of the city was dominated by Chinese traders and the south side was dominated by Tamil merchants. Without these bridges, they had to use boats for transporting goods and people alike. There are just too many bridges to tell you about, so I will just mention a few.

Cavenagh Bridge: This is the country's only suspension bridge and its parts were manufactured in Scotland and assembled in Singapore. This bridge was built in 1869, and was named after the Colonel Cavenagh, the last the last Governor of the Straits Settlements (1859 - 1867) under the rule of British India. No motor vehicles are allowed although pedestrians and bicycles are permitted. In the past, bullock carts and horse carriages busily crossed the river using this bridge. Unfortunately, the bridge is built too low and boats can't travel under it during high tide!

Elgin Bridge: This bridge was built in 1929 and named to honor the then governor General of India, Lord Elgin. It replaced an old wooden bridge that existed at the same location, which was the oldest bridge in Singapore. The two roads connecting the bridge on either side were named North Bridge Road and South Bridge Road, according to their sides.
The helix bridge, designed based on abnormal DNA
Helix Bridge: A fancy, colorful bridge connecting the Marina Bay and the Marina Centre was opened in 2010. With a unique design of left-handed DNA, contrary to the normal DNA on earth, it has a stunning view.  There are four pairs of letters C, G, A and T which light up the bridge at night to cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine, the four bases of DNA.

Other bridges worth seeing are Anderson Bridge, Alkaff Bridge, Benjamin Sheares Bridge, Clemenceau Bridge, Coleman Bridge, Esplanade Bridge, Ord Bridge, Pulau Saigon Bridge and Read Bridge. In some angles, Singapore downtown does resemble the city of bridges.

A dock for loading and unloading ships is called a quay. Singapore river has three quays, which are packed with history and their individual ambiance. These quays have a great view when you travel by boat on the river; however, you can enjoy them while walking on these docks or eating at fancy restaurants located on the quays.

Boat Quay: Raffles made Singapore a free port, which created a frenzy among immigrants, who rushed into the country. Within a few years, this quay became very busy. In fact, it was the busiest port in the Singapore in the 1860s. Hard working immigrants loaded and unloaded goods and trade flourished. The Boat Quay's popularity started dimming in 1960s, as the boats became more mechanized. In the 1980s, traders moved out and Boat Quay became an abandoned place. In the 1990s, Boat Quay became a pedestrian mall, and is now known for its restaurants, clubs and shops. Today, thousands of tourists spend their evenings here enjoying cocktails and eating delicious food while enjoying a nice view of the river.
Colorful Clarke Quay at night, the historical quay is now a pedestrian mall 
Clarke Quay: As the Boat Quay became too busy, many started mooring in another location, which marked the birth of Clarke Quay.  Until 1985, Clark Quay was bustling with bumboats and barge lighters. Today, the waterfront warehouses have become nightclubs, restaurants and souvenir shops and retail shophouses. Interestingly, some of the old bumboats have become 'floating restaurants'. Reverse bungee, a popular heart-stopping ride is held in Clarke Quay in the name of "G-Max Reverse Bungy"

Robertson Quay: A not so busy quay when compared to its rivals, Robertson Quay is mostly visited by old-timers and people who like to relax in quiet. There are plenty of restaurants and bars here too. It was historically used for warehouses and trading offices. Some of the old warehouses with huge windows still stand here today, reminding us of the past.

There are plenty of bronze sculptures that adorn the streets of downtown Singapore. These are packed with the history of Singapore and depict scenes from olden times. Most of these carvings are life sized, and are accurately carved to create a reality-like scenario.
Officially called "First Generation", these sculptures often startle tourists who think these kids are real
Bronze Kids Jumping: These are life like kids made of bronze jumping into the Singapore river. 100 years ago, you would see this activity everyday, in real life. While a kid is in mid-air, there is another one being pushed into the river! Made in the year 2000, these statues are located near Cavenagh Bridge. These ingenious, gravity-defying sculptures were made by Chong Fah Cheong and is a popular meeting point for locals. Officially called the "First Generation", these sculptures mimic the past and remind you that such a sight is impossible in modern day Singapore.
From Chettiars To Financiers - An interesting sculpture with a time travel concept
From Chettiars To Financiers: Another interesting and unique sculpture which shows the history of Singapore. The Chettiars from Tamil Nadu, were very popular and astute traders. They were masters at lending money and their bookkeeping techniques were excellent. In the sculpture above, a Chettiar is seated with a notebook and explains the compound interest rate to a Chinese trader to the left. The Chinese trader uses an abacus, an ancient invention, to calculate the complex numbers. On the right, a modern day financier with a palmtop raises her hand, probably to explain or ask a complex math question to the Chettiar. A rewarding sculpture for the Tamil Chettiars, since they arrived into Singapore in 1820s and played a key role in building the economy of Singapore.

Fun Activities In Downtown:

1. Don't miss the Asian Civilizations Museum, located right across the Cavenagh Bridge. It is one of the unique museums in the world, and has thousands of artifacts from all over Asia.

2. Take the river cruise to familiarize yourself with Marina Bay attractions. It is a (video) guided tour, which provided valuable information about all the areas around the Singapore river. It takes you around the quays, skyscrapers and shopping areas, while you enjoy the amazing view of Singapore downtown.
Flight Experience Flight Simulator - A very popular activity in Singapore
3. If you want to get a bird-eye view of Singapore, try the Singapore Flyer, which is a giant wheel that takes you 540 feet above ground. This is the world's tallest Ferris wheel, and gives you an astonishing view of the beautiful country. Another important activity, Flight Experience is also located in the same area.

4. 'Gardens By The Bay' is another popular attraction, located beside the Marina Bay. A magical sight while walking through exotic plants, it is one of the top attractions of Singapore.

Finally, don't underestimate the amount of time you can spend in Singapore downtown and Marina Bay. You could stay here all long and marvel at the historical structures mixed with modern day skyscrapers. There are plenty of activities to do and attractions to see making this one of the top 10 attractions of Singapore.


Oh my god! This place is so cool. I can't wait to go there!!!

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