Singapore’s Marina Bay is in the heart of the city, located right next to the central business district and packed to the brim with restaurants, shops and attractions.
With major tourist hot-spots, including the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay must be on your itinerary when you visit Singapore.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about exploring Marina Bay.
How to get to Marina Bay
As with most parts of Singapore, the MRT is the most effective mode of transport to, from and around Marina Bay.
To use Singapore’s MRT, you will want to pick up either a Singapore Tourist Pass at the airport or an EZ-Link card.
The Singapore Tourist Pass gives you unlimited access to Singapore’s public transport system for 1-3 days and is super easy and affordable. Alternatively, you can get an EZ-Link card and top it up at an MRT station – this works out a bit cheaper but is also more of a hassle.
Once you have a card, it’s time to find your way to Marina Bay. How you do this will depend on where you are staying.
If you are staying centrally, you can probably walk to Marina Bay. Otherwise, jump on the North-South Line, Circle Line or Downtown Line. There’s plenty of stops in the Marina Bay area, but the Bayfront stop is the most centrally located.
Things to do in Marina Bay
Marina Bay is packed with exciting things to do. Some are expensive and worth splurging on, others are entirely free (like walking around the gardens). This makes it the perfect day for travellers of all budgets.
You generally can’t go too wrong getting off the MRT and walking around. That said, we’ve outlined below some of the best things to do in the area.
Gardens by the Bay
There is nothing in the world like Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. Here you will find giant plant-covered trees towering over a park with thousands of trees, lakes and picnic spots.
These magnificent, man-made structures are called Supertrees and are built out of concrete and steel with over 150,000 plants embedded into their ‘trunks’. They look like they belong on another planet, but they aren’t just a tourist attraction.
They provide solar energy, collect rainwater and help combat carbon emissions – the latter of which is a primary focus for the Singaporean government.
The OCBC Skyway is a sky bridge running 22-metres above the ground, connecting two of these Supertrees. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or ahead of time here and give you the chance to walk in the sky, amongst the Supertrees. The view is phenomenal and looks out over the entire Supertree Grove, as well as back towards Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
Finally, if you make your way here in the evening, you will want to make sure you don’t miss the Gardens by the Bay light show – Garden Rhapsody. This mesmerizing show displays the Supertrees lit up against the night sky in time to a beautifully composed piece of classical music.
This is one of the best free things to do in Singapore, and it runs at 7.45pm and 8.45pm every day of the week. Don’t miss it!
Cloud Forest and Flower Dome
These two domes are giant glass greenhouses which house two entirely different ecosystems of plants.
The Cloud Forest is an indoor, tropical rainforest with over 250,000 plants sourced from 6 continents around the world. On top of this, it is home to the second tallest indoor waterfall in the world – second only to the Changi Jewel, also in Singapore.
The Flower Dome is dwarfed in ‘coolness’ by the Cloud Forest, but is still worth a visit if time permits (or you’re a lover of flowers). Thousands of flowers and tropical palms are scattered throughout this greenhouse, with cool sculptures designed to transform the place into a magical wonderland.
You’ll need a few hours to explore both of the domes. Tickets to both domes cost $28 SGD, or you can get access to just one for $15 SGD by asking at the kiosk.
Marina Bay Sands
Everyone recognizes the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore – it looks like a cruise ship carefully balancing atop 3 huge skyscrapers.
Firstly, it’s a hotel. If your budget can stretch, we’d highly recommend staying here thanks to its convenient location, luxurious rooms and spectacular views over the city. Booking a room is also the only way to gain access to the stunning infinity pool at the top.
If you choose not to stay here (fair enough, it’s definitely not ‘budget’ accommodation), then you can pay to visit the observation deck (tickets here) where you’ll get panoramic views over the entire Marina Bay area and the surrounding suburbs.
Aside from the views, Marina Bay Sands is also a great photographic subject itself. Set yourself up far enough away and capture that perfect shot. Our favorite spots are near the helix bridge and next to the Merlion fountain.
At the base of Marina Bay Sands you will find an impressive luxury shopping center. This is a great place to shop and you can grab a bite to eat at the giant food court on the lowest fall.
Lastly, consider catching the fountain light show. It runs at 8pm and 9.30pm each day of the week – you can time this with the Gardens by the Bay light show at 8.45pm.
The Singapore Flyer is one of the world’s tallest ferris wheels and stand proudly next to the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
From the top you’ll find some of the best views over Singapore, we’d recommend visiting in the evening during sunset. Tickets are pricey (get one here which includes a drink, too), but are well worth it if it fits within your budget.
However, if you’re afraid of heights, consider visiting the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck instead.
The Marina Barrage is a purpose built, 350-meter dam in Singapore’s Marina Bay. It was designed to resolve two key issues in Singapore: insufficient water supply for Singapore’s growing population, and rising sea-levels causing floods in low-lying areas of the city.
Despite its utility-driven purpose, Marina Barrage fills up with tourists and locals thanks to its unique architecture and dog-friendly park. It offers a hub for recreational activities and a tourist attraction for visitors.
In terms of slotting this into your day, consider walking here either before or after going to Gardens by the Bay, as it is located very far South where the Marina Bay meets the ocean. There isn’t a train directly to Marina Barrage so it will require either a car or a bit of a walk.
The Merlion is a mythical half-fish, half-lion and is the official mascot of Singapore. Most countries pick real animals as their mascot, making the Merlion one of the most original national mascots in the world (and in our opinion, the coolest).
You’ll find the Merlion all around Singapore, often in the form of statues, logos or water fountains. One of the most popular is found in Marina Bay along the waterfront. This water fountain is unmissable and depicts a Merlion spurting water from its mouth.
It’s also conveniently located looking out towards the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Singapore Flyer, which makes for some spectacular photographic opportunities.