MBS Singapore

While visiting relatives in Singapore recently, an aunt suggested a trip to Marina Bay Sands for an experience at their SkyPark.  Her vivid description of the Sands SkyPark that crowns the trio of towers in one of Singapore’s most recognizable landmarks assured me that it is a must-see destination. 

So it was like a dream come true a few weeks later, when I was a guest at the Marina Bay Sands and discovered ten things to experience and enjoy here!

Night view of Marina Bay Sands Singapore from my
bumboat ride with the Singapore River Cruise
1.  Marina Bay Sands Singapore
This view encapsulates Marina Bay Sands Singapore as an integrated resort with the hotel housed in the trio of towers, crowned by the SkyPark above with the Shoppes in the mall below, an adjacent Expo & Convention Centre with an outdoor Event Plaza between two Crystal Pavilions.  In the foreground stands the imposing ArtScience Museum with its unique Lotus-inspired design and the MasterCard Theatres located just behind it.  By the time my boat returned from the river cruise, I easily recognised the sites outlined against the clear night sky.

Spectacular panoramic views of Singapore with landmarks
like the Singapore Flyer from the Observation Deck of
the Sands Skypark
2.  Sands SkyPark
One of the city’s coveted experiences is a stroll on the Observation Deck armed with a camera to capture spectacular and panoramic views of the Singapore skyline.  Spanning the length of four and a half A380 Jumbo Jets, with an impressive 12,400 sq mtrs of floor space, this is one of the world’s largest gravity-defying cantilevers.  Visitors have ticketed access here but as a hotel guest, I took every advantage to visit the SkyPark on the level 57 as often as I wish to experience the breathtaking views by day and by night!

Perched 200 meters in the air, the Skypark Pool is the
world's largest and highest outdoor infinity pool

3.  SkyPark Pool
Swimming 200 meters in the air to a stunning backdrop of Singapore’s skyline is an irresistible experience so I went for a dip in the SkyPark Pool, the world’s largest and highest outdoor infinity pool.  The 150-meter long pool has a section for the kids and guests who prefer more privacy can opt for soaking in several Jacuzzis situated in the landscaped garden.  The exclusivity of the SkyPark Pool area is maintained for hotel guests with access available to guided tours only. 

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is created
with an energy-saving design that
welcomes natural light into the mall

4. The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
A short walk through an underpass took me directly to The Shoppes, the adjacent mall that felt airy and spacious probably because of the natural light pouring into the wide corridors. 

This creates a unique and comfortable environment to browse in a range of designer boutiques and dine in celebrity chef restaurants. 

I can easily get lost in the maze of corridors but with the help of signposts strategically positioned in the sprawling mall, I found my way around and back into the hotel lobby quite conveniently.

Visitors admiring the Rain Oculus with its swirling vortex
of water in a 22-meter diameter acrylic bowl
5.  The Rain Oculus
An impressive collection of large-scale sculptures and installations contributed by seven internationally renowned artists is woven into the architecture of the integrated resort and I explored the Art Path to discover some interesting creations.  I found a crowd gathered around the outdoor rim of the Rain Oculus, a 22-meter diameter acrylic bowl set on a 90-ton steel and acrylic structure to watch the mesmerising, swirling vortex of water.  This 2009 creation by Ned Kahn allows water to run through a hole in the base of the bowl to fall two stories below!

There is also a nostalgic Sampan Ride on Chinese wooden
boats within The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
6.  Sampan Ride
The Sampan Ride is a nostalgic treat for city-slickers to have a glimpse of this early form of transportation common in the Singapore of a bygone era.  Embarking from the Canal Level in the mall, passengers enjoy a wooden boat-ride experience on the canal and around the cascading waters from the Rain Oculus.  And as the boat circles the Rain Oculus passengers are encouraged to make a wish!

The Art of the Brick exhibition in the ArtScience Museum
features masterpieces created from Lego bricks
7.  The ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum is a premier museum destination in Singapore for major international travelling exhibitions and current shows include “Outside In,” a photo showcase by three renowned photographers – Stuart Franklin, Mark Power and Jacob Aue Sobol – and “Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy,” the official exhibition of the 7th World Fujian Convention.  “The Art of the Brick,” featuring the largest collection of masterpieces created by Nathan Sawaya from Lego bricks, is a must-see exhibition for Lego enthusiasts of all ages.

Multi-award winning Jersey Boys is a musical playing
at the MasterCard Theatres since November
8.  The MasterCard Theatres
Renamed the “MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands” on Nov 19, the theatres continue to play host to the world’s best entertainment and offer MasterCard holders an exciting range of Priceless privileges like opening night shows, meeting the artistes, seat upgrades and discounted rates for the best shows here.  Through partnering with Base Entertainment, MasterCard is able to provide cardholders greater access to world-class entertainment.  I was thrilled to meet the cast and enjoy the Gala Nite show of the multi award-winning Jersey Boys – the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons at its Singapore premier for a 14-week season.  

Chill out with a relaxing Singapore River Cruise where
the pilot even welcomes you to take over the wheel!
9.  Singapore River Cruise
Take a ride on the updated version of the traditional bumboat in a 40-minute river cruise from the jetty next to ArtScience Museum.  Bumboats have plied the Singapore River for more than a century and it is a nostalgic cruise that glides smoothly under bridges, passing chic cafes and boutiques housed in old go-downs, landmarks like the Merlion and the Fullerton to Clarke Quay and back.  On the return, the pilot invited passengers to take over the wheel and I could not resist the opportunity to navigate the boat, just for a while!

Wonder Full is a 13-minute spectacular light and water
show set against the stunning Singapore skyline - FOC!
10.  Spectacular “Wonder Full” Show
Find a seat in the outdoor Event Plaza, located between the two Crystal Plazas to enjoy “Wonder Full,” a spectacular light and water show at two time slots every night.  I caught the stunning show of visual effects created by the clever play of a variety of lights, video projectors and giant water screens at 9.30pm.  The Singapore skyline by night provided a magnificent backdrop and just as the audience was wowed by the wonderful show, clouds of tiny bubbles descended as a finale of the electrifying show!

The writer’s experience with Marina Bay Sands Singapore was hosted by MasterCard Worldwide and Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Life & Times on 27 December 2012

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