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The Singapore Flyer

The World's Biggest Observation Wheel (For Now) Looms Over Marina Bay, Singapore


Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer

© Desmond Peh

The Singapore Flyer is the kind of thing you’d build if you were a small island with a reputation for thinking big – a project designed to be the largest of its kind in the world. So it is with the Singapore Flyer, a 540-feet high observation wheel that offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Singapore's Marina Bay.

Don't make the mistake of calling the Singapore Flyer a "Ferris Wheel". The management absolutely refuses to "use the F-word" - the Singapore Flyer is more appropriately called an observation wheel, along the lines of the famous London Eye. (It also beats the London Eye in the size department by more than ninety feet!)

The Singapore Flyer is mounted with 28 air-conditioned capsules, each one the size of a bus and able to take on up to 28 riders. The Singapore Flyer's builders boast that every passenger will experience a vibration-free 30 minute ride, with an incredible unobstructed view of the surrounding island-state, as well as glimpses of neighboring countries Indonesia and Malaysia.

For a picture tour of the Singapore Flyer, go here: A Look at the Singapore Flyer - Image Gallery.

For a more comprehensive checklist of other activities you can do in the general vicinity, read this: Top 10 Things to Do in Marina Bay, Singapore.

The Singapore Flyer’s Terminal Building

The wheel itself stands atop a three-storey retail terminal with over 82,000 square feet of retail space. A 1960s-themed food street called “the Singapore Food Trail” evokes Singapore’s more carefree days while providing a varied selection of cuisines. A number of other “experience” outlets let Flyer passengers try their hands at flying a simulated jet, driving a simulated Ferrari car, and getting a (real) fish spa experience for their tired feet.

Incongruously, the Singapore Flyer has become a hotspot for Singapore’s cocktail and wine aficionados. The Flyer Lounge, located in the terminal building, is a cozy bar that’s become the preferred venue for annual cocktail competitions. The Lounge is run by the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore (ABSS), who keep the place packed with its repertoire of award-winning cocktail recipes. (We’ve got recipes of our own – check out our A to Z list of cocktail recipes.)

The terminal also houses a central atrium housing the “Yakult Rainforest Discovery” exhibit and a stage for weekend performances and other events. (The fish in the pond can be fed by hand – buy fish food for SGD 1 and you’re all set.) Parking space is available for about thirty buses and almost 300 cars.

Your Singapore Flyer Flight

To avoid long lines, the Flyer permits ticket-holders to roam throughout the retail terminal, requiring them only to show up at the gate about 30 minutes before the flight time on the ticket.

Just before boarding, guests experience an interactive gallery titled “the Journey of Dreams”. The media-savvy impresarios behind the Singapore Flyer use the gallery to present Singapore in the best possible light, as seen through the Singapore Flyer rider’s vantage point. The “Journey” climaxes in views of Singapore as seen from a Flyer capsule, with the heady promise of a brightly panoramic Singapore of the future.

Each capsule can accommodate up to 28 people. The capsules are air-conditioned and UV-filtered. Synchronized double door entry/exit system and “step-on” design enables easy access from both sides of each capsule, even for babies in strollers, the elderly and handicapped.

At night, the wheel rim’s LED lighting activates, providing a colorful, rotating light show for both passengers and passersby.

The “flight” takes 30 minutes to complete, with the wheel revolving slowly to allow its passengers to take in the view. Passengers experience very little motion while aboard, thanks to the wheel’s engineering: the designers’ study of the dynamic wind load data and resulting wheel design permits smooth operation with almost no lateral movement or vibration. In short: a comfortable, scenic, and absolutely safe ride.

Well-heeled guests can enjoy champagne, cocktails, or even a Singapore Sling as they glide slowly around in the Flyer. Guests with money to burn can even call on Full-Butler Sky Dining to make a memorable evening.

An overhead compass in each capsule provides a measure of orientation for the passengers, and a description of the different sights that are visible from the windows. Places and structures visible from the capsules include ethnic enclaves like Singapore’s Chinatown and Little India, and places in the newly-rejuvenated Marina Bay like the Marina Bay Sands and the Marina Barrage. (Find out more about Marina Bay, Singapore Hotels.)

In the very remote eventuality of the primary drive failing to work, two independent back-up systems can kick in to power the wheel. Each capsule comes with an Emergency Comfort Pack containing some water, a first aid kit, toiletries and emergency hotline numbers.

The Singapore Flyer At A Glance

  • What it is: Observation Wheel
  • Location: 30 Raffles Avenue, on Marina Bay. Within walking distance of Suntec City, the Esplanade, and the Marina Bay Integrated Resort (compare rates|buy direct)
  • Operating Hours: Opens daily from 8:30am to 10:30pm (last flight at 10:15pm)
  • Ride duration: 30 minutes
  • Ticket Prices: Variety of prices and packages available, see official site for pricing and details: www.singaporeflyer.com
  • How to get there: Ride the MRT and disembark at Promenade Station (CC4). Pedestrian access also available via the waterfront, Raffles Avenue, and a helix-shaped bridge linked to the nearby Marina Bay Resort.
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