If the Internet is to be believed, there are 2 main sights that need to be seen in Singapore. The 1st is the statue of the lion shooting water out of its mouth, and the 2nd is the Marina Bay Sands hotel. These are always the things that I see pictures of at least. You’ve also seen pictures of these somewhere before, right?
This is the area that we'll explore night. This post is really more of a photo stream than anything else, to be honest.
Again, we all have Kendal, my Singapore adviser, to thank for this post.
Marina Bay Sands
We had been instructed to arrive at the Marina Bay Sands hotel before sunset so that we could watch the light change from the observation deck. We were running a bit late so instead of taking the train we just jumped in a taxi. The ride from Little India cost us 11.50 SGD (8.20 USD).
Now, I had been told that the only way to go up to the top if you are not a guest at the hotel is to assume the pretense of drinking at the bar up there. That had been my understanding at least. But when we told the taxi driver where we wanted to go, he dropped us off at the entrance to something called the ‘Sky Park’. We didn’t know any better so we went for it.
It turns out that the Sky Park is an observation deck, which is 1 level below the actual hotel’s roof top area. It costs 29.00 SGD (20.68 USD) to go up. I was not happy about this information, but seeing no other immediate alternative, forked out the money.
We went up to the top and the view was pretty amazing. Singapore is a pretty small island, and that is the way that I think about it, so I feel like the reality of Singapore’s size had eluded me up until this point. But Singapore is HUGE!
I was a bit frustrated to be stuck out on the observation deck with the riff-raff when the Marina Bay Sands restaurant and bar, called Cé La Vi, was so painfully close. Over a barrier of bushes covered in Christmas lights dined Singapore’s elite. On the other side of the Sky Park I could see the infinity pool. I was envious of the people swimming around in front of that view.
In the words of Wayne Gretzky, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I went over to guard at the gate of the bar and asked if I could go in to buy a drink. To my surprise, he said yes! So I strolled in like I was supposed to be there. It was a classy place. Smooth jazz and Christmas lights set the foreground for this view, which was getting more spectacular by the minute as it got darker. At the bar I was overjoyed to discover that Hogaarden, my favorite beer, was the cheapest thing on the menu. It still cost 19.00 SGD (13.48 USD) though. I did my best to savor that beer but couldn’t escape the feeling that I was just drinking my money.
It wasn’t long before the charm of this place wore off and I realized the view actually had been better out on the observation deck. I finished off my beer and headed back out towards the gate but the guard stopped me. I had to dig out my ticket to prove that had indeed been out there in the first place. “Come on man, you let me in like 15 minutes ago” I muttered as I rooted through my pockets. It turns out that the observation deck was the more exclusive place to be. The grass is always greener on the other side, guys.
Darkness was really started to descend over Singapore now, and the city was lighting up like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Suddenly, opera began blaring and lights started flashing below us. Directly in front of the board walk below we could see that a light show had started. It began with lasers and spot lights but before too long there were some serious pyrotechnics involved. Even from a bird's eye view, it was very cool.
People from all over the world were snapping pictures, so I took a few of these photos. I had fun showing these pictures to the people that had been in them. They all had funny reactions. One older Chinese man just said “UH!” when I showed it to him… maybe you just had to be there.
Once the light had finished changing, we decided to move on, but when we got the elevator, we discovered a line to get out that almost did a complete circle of the observation deck. Apparently we had the idea to leave about 15 minutes too late. It took us FOREVER to get through that line. But eventually we did.
Walking Across The Bay To The Lion
We were now walking across the bay to find that lion. It was a long walk. By that point, I don’t know if my feet have ever hurt more, but I soldiered on. Beneath the Marina Bay Sands is a massive mall complex. The air conditioning was a welcome addition to our walk.
We walked the length of the water front, eventually finding an ATM and making our way over to the far side. As we approached the lion, there were entire restaurants and bars operating out on the sidewalk and dock. It was a great atmosphere out there, but I got the feeling that I didn’t have the funds to partake.
Eventually we got to the lion. I don’t know what I was expecting but was pretty anticlimactic. I ducked and dodged my way through a crowd of Asian tourist who were all trying to get the same picture. The camera would be angled so that it looked as if the lion was spurting (or perhaps vomiting) water into their mouths like a drinking fountain. I snapped this mediocre picture for y’all, and then we hit the road.
We had one thing left on the list. We were going to go to the highest rooftop bar in the world. After my legendary run of rooftop bars in Bangkok, I was excited to track this one down.
World's Highest Rooftop Bar
The name 1 Altitude, and it is on the 62nd floor of one of Singapore’s skyscrapers. I’m pretty sure my feet were close to bleeding when we got there, so I was very disappointed when I overheard the reason that the troop of drunk, French teenagers in front of us was turned away. The woman in line told them that after 10pm, you must be 25 years old or older to go up to the bar. Neither of us was 25 yet.
Remember was Wayne Gretzky said? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So I strolled up and asked how much the cover charge was. The woman asked to see my ID.
“(Sigh) We’re not 25” I said flatly.
“I think it’s okay… because you both look old. They (gesturing to the crestfallen group of teenagers, now talking on their phones about 100 meters away) looked very young!” the woman replied.
“... Hokay then, great!”
The cover charge was 30.00 SGD (21.39 USD), but it included a drink, which we got to pick out from a menu before we went in. That’s actually a much better deal than what we did at Marina Bay Sands. I chose the red wine because I’m a classy betch now.
When we got onto the elevator the alarm went off, signifying that we had surpassed the weight limit. One of the bouncers instructed the large South African man standing next to us to move closer to the outside corner of the elevator. He did, and I guess because of the redistribution of weight, the alarm shut off.
“Okay!” the bouncer said with a smile. The doors closed and we all looked at each other uncomfortably. I did my best not to look out the glass windows as we rocketed upwards. When we finally got to the top though, the world looked pretty good.