Rising from the Singapore skyline is this man-made wonder, a building comprised of three towers spaced widely apart and connected together at the very top by a long floor which spans all three of the towers and the gaps between them. The Marina Bay Sands was built at a cost of US$8 million and covers 15.5 hectares with a total floor area of 581,000m². Feng Shui experts were consulted during construction which was a complicated process. The resort property opened in 2010 and encompasses a hotel, convention center, exhibition area, theatres, event venues, stores and restaurants. There are 2,561 hotel rooms and 55 storeys in each tower. The attractions in the building’s three towers include Sands SkyPark; indoor skating rink; nightclubs; The Shoppes at Marina mall; a casino; the ArtScience Museum and Wonder Full a nighttime multimedia sound, water and laser spectacle which you can see from Event Plaza. A canal runs through The Shoppes mall in the same way the Las Vegas’ Venetian Hotel has internal waterways. But here you can take a ride in a Sampan rather than a gondola.
There are many reasons to visit the Marina Bay Sands, whether it is as a hotel guest or to visit one of the venues, attractions or see one of the shows. On the top floor which connects the three towers there is the open-air Sands SkyPark with views across the city and covering 12,400m². SkyPark has restaurants, tropical gardens and a 150 meter eternity pool (for hotel guests only) overlooking the city. You can visit the SkyPark Observation Deck for panoramic views of the city. Alternatively the buildings can be seen from a distance in all its glory.
This park gets its name from the famous statue which adorns its lawns. The Merlion is a fish and lion mix and the national symbol of Singapore. The park is located near Marina Bay and is home to two of the famous Merlions, the mother Merlion and her cub. The park was designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964 and officially opened in 1972.
The Merlion figure with the head of a lion and body of a fish perched on a wave became so popular it became a cultural icon. It represents Singapore’s origins as a fishing village. The original name was Singapura or “lion city” in Malay. The statue itself stands in front of the Hotel One Fullerton.
At the base of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a structure resembling a lotus flower or the welcoming hand of Singapore. Through the tip of each “finger” natural light filters into the exhibition space of the ArtScience Museum. The structure holds 21 galleries spread over three floors with floor space of 4645m². This world-class exhibition space hosts international temporary exhibitions in collaboration with leading institutions like the Smithsonian and American Museum of Natural History.
Sasanaransi Buddhist Temple
This Temple was established in 1875 by Burma expat, U Thar Hnin and is also known as the Burmese Buddhist Temple (BBT). In 1907 a Burmese traditional medicine practitioner U Kyaw Gaung became the first trustee of the Temple. He traveled to Sagyin Hill, north of Mandalay and purchased a large block of white marble weighing more than 10 tones and standing 3.3 meters high. A Buddha statue was carved out of this block and brought to Singapore in 1921; it is now the highlight of the Temple.
The temple is an important testament to the influence of surrounding countries on Singapore’s culture and development. The Temple originally stood off Serangoon Road on Kinta Road in Little India but was relocated to its present position in 1991. Another outstanding feature is a gold standing Buddha statue and Buddha relics. The Temple hosts a number of regular programs in Buddhism and spirituality.
Lau Pa Sat Festival Pavilion
Singapore’s most historic market is both a shopping experience and a cultural one. The market is set within a beautiful structure dating back to the 19th century and located in the Financial District. Lau Pa Sat (Old Market) is also called Telok Ayer Market and is a national monument. The distinctive design of the market building is octagonal and the roof is supported by ornate columns devised by British architect George Coleman who also designed the Old Parliament House.
In 1894 the market was relocated from its original site on the waterfront and James MacRitchie given the task of retaining the authentic architectural features. He had a clock tower added and a cast iron supportive frame structure. As recently as 2014 the building has been renovated but it still has the distinctive Victorian features like the arches, thin columns, filigree work and fretted eaves.
Abdul Gafoor Mosque
This mosque is situated in Singapore’s Little India neighborhood and is one of the country’s national monuments. This magnificent Singapore mosque was originally constructed of wood in 1859 to service the residents who had come from Southern India. In 1881 the mosque was made official and a waqf or endowment in Islamic law was granted to use the land for religious purposes. The mosque was put in the hands of two trustees, Ismail Mansor and Abdul Gaffoor, whose name was given to the mosque. Gaffoor was responsible for the construction of shophouses around the mosque. The rent from these properties went towards the building of the permanent mosque. Construction of the mosque with more permanent building materials commenced in 1907. When Gaffoor passed away in 1919 his son became the manager of the mosque and adjacent Muslim properties until 1927. Today the shophouses opposite the mosque are used for religious instruction.
National Museum of Singapore
Singapore’s oldest museum was established in 1849, it settled into its current location in 1887 within the Museum Planning Area. The National Museum of Singapore is one of four national museums and specializes in the history of the country. It is officially called the Singapore History Gallery. The museum holds 10 National Treasures and showcases the history of the country in chronological order. The exhibits are presented in a fun and exciting way. Visitors are surrounded by images and video montages showing the everyday life of Singapore and in the background harmonious music plays.
St Andrews Cathedral
This is Singapore’s Anglican church and the largest cathedral in the country. The land where the cathedral stands was set aside by Sir Stamford Raffles the founder of Singapore specifically for the construction of a house of worship. The original church was designed by George Drumgoole Coleman and completed in 1837. Due to lightning damage the church was closed down in 1852 and later demolished in 1855. The next incarnation of the Anglican church was designed by Colonel Ronald MacPherson and construction was done by Indian convicts and competed in 1861. The building was made a National Monument in 1973.
Kuan Yin Thong Hood Cho Temple
This Chinese temple was built in honor of Guanyin (Kuan Yin), the Goddess of Mercy and compassion and worshipers come here for good luck and fortune. The temple was established in 1884 and rebuilt in 1895. After you cross through the ornate gate way you enter a courtyard and screened anteroom then get to the Main Hall. Here there are three altars to Kuan Yin, Boodhidharma and Hua Tuo a Chinese patron of medicine. Thankfully this temple survived WWII without damage and in 1982 it underwent a facelift which increased its size.
The temple structure shines with bright blues, yellows and greens while the roof has the traditional raftings and good luck decorations. A large urn in the courtyard is used to burn incense and candles rather than damage the ceiling by lighting them inside. Visitors need to remember that this is a functioning place of worship. A great time to visit is during the Chinese New Year when the temple stays open all night and overflows with devotees.
At the temple you can expect fortune tellers, flower sellers and peddlers standing around the entrance. Next door is the Sri Krishnan Hindu Temple and up the road in the large Buddha Maitreya bronze bell which people touch for luck.
Culled from Visitacity