Singapore 2011: Day 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck

Date: September 22nd, 2011

Yesterday turned out to be better than I hoped. Today I was adamant to make it even better!

Geylang wet neighbourhood Singapore

UNfortunately, it was raining (Taken on my phone)

Singapore post park mrt station

Fortunately, the rain was reduced to a slight drizzle a few minutes later

Singapore Post headquarters building

I took a bus and got down near the Singapore Post building

Malay village Geylang Singapore

I was on my way to the Geylang Serai hawker centre & fresh market

Geylang Serai hawker centre market Singapore

I wanted to check out the food stalls

Geylang Serai fresh market Singapore

This market was recently renovated

Geylang Serai market stalls Singapore

So I didn't really sense a "charm" to this place

Geylang Serai market meat shops SingaporeGeylang Serai fish market SingaporeGeylang Serai market fresh fish Singapore

Geylang Serai market fruits vegetable shops Singapore

I went upstairs to where the food stalls were

Geylang Serai market clothes Singapore

They have a few other stores too

Geylang Serai market history Singapore

This place is quite famous in Singapore -- or at least it used to be in it's original form

Geylang Serai hawker centre Singapore

I wondered what to eat

Malay biriyani stall Geylang Serai Singapore

This 'baryani' stall seemed fairly popular as they were dishing out hot plates is quick succession

Malay chicken biriyani Geylang Serai market Singapore

At $4 (Rs.160/$3/€2.4 ) a plate, the 'bariyani' was just about alright as far as taste went. Fairly similar to Hyderabadi biriyani in taste.

I shared my table with a local who began chatting with me after he asked me why I was taking photos of what I was going to eat. I told him about my website, and why I was taking many photos. He asked me whether I worked here, and I told him ‘no’. I gave him my brief life story and in the end, he complimented my English. He suggested I could try for a job in Singapore but all this while, my food was getting cold.

Sucks. The only reason I ordered the biriyani was because it looked piping hot as they served it. Most of the food served at these kind of stalls restaurants are rarely ever hot. They’re usually pre-cooked and served out of buffet trays as per order.

The local sat with me long after he finished his meal as he continued to make conversation with me. The only thing I asked him was “what other good hawker centres are there?” He told me a few, and I noted them down. I gave him the link to my website and we parted ways.

Post lunch, I headed straight to Funan IT mall to pick up my 70-200mm lens from John 3:16.

Maid cafe Funan IT mall Singapore

Fortunately my lens was fixed and I tested it by taking a few shots

They told me the Canon service center had to drill two holes on the filter and break the filter carefully so as not to touch the main lens glass. The lens was checked thoroughly and re-calibrated. Sadly, I had now lost my rather pricey HD filter, to which they said it’s not even required that I use those expensive filters, as even a standard UV filters would suffice. All said and done, the damage wasn’t over. The cost of all this repair: $130 (Rs. 5100!). I had no choice but to pay up. I was just glad to see my most expensive lens back in my bag in perfect working condition.

But when you’re unemployed and trying be very careful with your spending, losing $130 plus the $50 I spent day before yesterday at the clinic simply felt like unnecessary waste of money. Sigh…

Gaming world software store Funan IT mall Singapore

I prefer shopping at Funan IT mall over Sim Lim Square

Bally photo store soldier Funan IT mall Singapore

Nikon store John 3:16 Funan IT mall Singapore

The shops here are good and slightly more trustworthy

Central fire station building Singapore

Left Funan IT mall. This is the Central Fire Station bang opposite.

Ministry of Information Communications and Arts building Singapore

MICA building

The treasury building Singapore

Singapore parliament building junction

That's the Singapore parliament

Funan IT mall building Singapore

I walked to City Hall MRT and headed towards Marina Bay

Marina Bay blue building construction Singapore

Marina Bay was still buzzing with construction activity

Citibank building Marina Bay SingaporeConstruction site safety warning SingaporeMarina Bay trucks construction siteBusiness lady Singapore Marina BayWay to Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay financial center buildings

Panorama comprised of 7 shots

Marina Bay Sands hotel wooden promenade Singapore

Marina bay city gallery Singapore

Decided to see what was in here

Inside Marina Bay city gallery Singapore

Inside were interactive displays showcasing Singapore's development history

Singapore Marina Bay planning model

Specifically Marina Bay

Marina Bay model plan Singapore

Marina Bay was mostly developed by dredging and land reclamation

Singapore passing of land acquisition act

The Land Acquisition Act was passed in 1966

Singapore developing the city phase

The Merlion Statue at the mouth of Singapore River was installed in 1972

Singapore concept plan 1971

It was in 1971, with the help of the UN, that the first major infrastructure plan of Singapore was laid out

Review of Singapore masterplan 1980

They made some changes to the masterplan for Marina Bay in the early 1980s

Singapore masterplan 1998

It wasn't until the mid 1990s that Singapore even thought about implementing a Common Service Tunnel, which would house piping and essential utilities. At least they did it. How many cities in Asia have such massive underground infrastructure?

Singapore masterplan 2003

In 2003, another draw-up of Marina Bay

Singapore infrastructure interactive display

If I had the time, I would have just sat there and read through it all

Marina bay future concept Singapore

I was really keen on learning about all this

Singapore Marina Bay gallerySingapore Marina Bay gallery display

Walter bunny art exhibit Singapore

This bunny is an art exhibit. He's been spotted around Singapore.

Oue Bayfront building Marina Bay Singapore

Had to crop this tight for a closer look

Audi Ultra sail boat Singapore Marina Bay

Audi had this impressive boat, but it was for invited guests only

Singa lion mascot Singapore marina

Singa, the mascot for Singapore's Happiness Movement. (Seriously).

Singapore Marina Bay Olympic walk

Marina Bay Sands walk mist cooler Singapore

They have placed these mist coolers to make the walk here more comfortable

Cool mist pipe Singapore Marina baywalk

But Singapore's humidity being what it is, the mist had little cooling effect

Marina Bay financial centre Singapore panorama

One final panorama before going in

The Shoppes Marina bay sands Singapore

Salvatore Dali art exhibit Singapore Marina Bay

There was an exhibition of Salvador Dali's work going on

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes Singapore

This was the mall

Marina bay sands shoppes mall Singapore

When I came here last year the mall was rather empty as Marina Bay Sands had just opened

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes Harley Davidson Ferrari Singapore

Marina Bay Sands shoppes fountain

The Shoppes has slowly started to fill up

Singapore Marina Bay Sands mall Venetian gondola boats

Marina Bay Sands Singapore is after all by same people behind The Venetian in Las Vegas

Singapore Marina Bay Sands mall Chanel Tiffany & CoElevated coffee bar Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Way to casino Singapore Marina Bay Sands

Enough of the mall. Time for the first thing on my to-do list - the casino!

I walked to towards the entrance, past the security and straight to the baggage counter. Last year when I came to Marina Bay Sands, I couldn’t enter the casino because I got wet in the rain and I was wearing shorts. There was a dress code and the casino was only open to foreign tourists. This time around, I came dressed in formal wear and now Singaporeans could enter — after paying a $100 entry fee (which is ridiculous!).

No bags are allowed, and more strictly – no photography… at all… not even using your mobile. Which sucked, because you should have seen how the casino looked! Man, the chandelier inside was huuuge! Hundreds of slot machines, and  other games with each one with scores of people playing.

I had never been to a casino before this, and had only seen them in Hollywood movies, so this was quite a revelation for me. I came with the intention of gambling a little bit, because hey, I didn’t have a job — so I thought I’d try my luck at winning some money! I even set aside a $100 just for this, but obviously I wasn’t going plonk it all down in one easy shot. Since I had never gambled before, I didn’t even know how to play most of the games. Slots was easy, pull a lever and hope you get match. Or at least that’s what I thought, because now, slot machines have gone digital — and they had way more buttons than a single lever.

You can play for as little as $1 and that made it easy for everyone to get in and begin. I converted $30 into chips/tokens and started with the Wheel of Fortune. Waged $10, placed my bets on a ‘x 10′ multiplier and a number. The lady spun the wheel and the needle stopped… at a number three stops after mine. Damn, there goes my first $10. The lady smiled and asked if I would want to try again. I thought, “Yeah, why not?” and put down another $10. She spun the wheel again, it stopped and she smiled again. I walked away after losing another $10. Sigh.

I then moved on to the slot machines and sat down at Queen slot machine. I played for $10, and ended up winning $17! I could have played for more but I decided to cash in my winnings and printed the receipt. Besides cards and tokens, the machines can use the same receipts to begin play. I had $17 with me and I started to wonder if my luck was improving. I walked past the roulette table and asked the attendant how the game worked. After he told how the game worked, I had to go and buy some more tokens as I obviously couldn’t place a receipt print on the table. So I got chips for $30 more.

I placed $10 as that was the minimum bet for this table (there were tables with $20 and $30 minimum bets too, larger payouts obviously). He spun the wheel in one direction and then the ball in the opposite direction. As the ball slowly lost momentum, it did the bounce  – just as in the movies. But in my present real world scenario, it finally dropped into a number I didn’t select. So I tried again, and believe it or not, the ball stopped at a number just one spot away from mine.

So another $20 lost. So much for my hopes of being on a winning streak. I just played the slots after that. I won, wagered my winnings and then lost it all. At the end of it all, I had spent $60 and not really won anything big. I decided to stop.

I had no regrets though. It was an experience I smiled through. Looking around, it’s amazing how many people (most of whom were Chinese tourists) were spending so much money and I could only imagine how much money the casino was making — daily! You would think playing for as little as $1 is simple, harmless fun. But as I experienced it myself, human greed is what makes gambling harmful. And it’s as though the casinos have figured how a gambler’s mind works. There is a science to gambling and it’s a good bet to assume, very few ever make it out of a casino with more than what they spent in the hopes of winning big. It’s fair to see why gambling, to this day, remains controversial and banned in many places. Just because I stopped after losing $60, doesn’t mean others will. I even saw labourers from the sub-continent playing, and imagine how much they make in a month here in Singapore.

That said, there were the high rollers too. Some Korean guy came to the roulette table I was playing at and just dumped chips worth $1000. $1000, just like that! And to think above the two floors I could walk around on, were private rooms meant for even bigger players. Now think of the kind of money they’re playing for!

In the end, this place was not for a middle-class guy who spent the last eight years working and trying to save up as much as possible. I left the casino and collected my camera bag from the counter.

If you’re a foreign passport holder in Singapore, I still recommend visiting the casino at the Marina Bay Sands, the place is really well done up. The chandelier alone is worth seeing, it’s one of the world’s largest and it really is impressive.

Patek Philippe Vacheron Constantin Singapore Marina Bay Sands

I made my way to the hotel towers

Elevator up to hotel Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay sands hotel lobby Singapore

This is the lobby of Tower 3

Marina Bay Sands hotel reception

I walked towards Tower 1

Marina Bay Sands skypark ticket counter Singapore

Took a left and went downstairs to the ticket counter of the Sands SkyPark

When I came here last year, I made it all the way to the ticket counter, but only told be told that the SkyPark was closed due to rains that day. It rained earlier today as well, but fortunately the observation deck was open! I bought my ticket, which cost SG$20 (Rs. 800/$15/€12).

Marina Bay Sands Singapore modelSands SkyPark entrance Singapore

Inside elevator Marina Bay Sands skypark

On top Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Singapore

Here we go...

Marina Bay Sands Skypark first sight Singapore

The views from up here, are needless to say, awesome!

Gardens by the Bay construction panorama Singapore

The first thing you see is this - the Gardens by the Bay project (still under construction)

Gardens by the bay glasshouse Singapore

This Flower Dome will house plants and trees and re-create a Mediterranean climate

Supertree grove construction gardens by the bay Singapore

This is the Supertree Grove, another attraction part of the Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay Singapore aerial view

Singapore bay ships docked in sea panorama

This is how many ships are anchored outside Singapore Port...

Container ships waiting Singapore dock panorama

... and some more. It goes all the way like this until the port.

Singapore Marina Barrage reservoir ships sea

The Marina Barrage

Marina Barrage Singapore bay

It controls the flow of water in and out of the reservoir

Bay East garden Marina Bay Singapore

That's the Bay East gardens

Singapore East coast aerial view

I guess that's where East Coast beach is

Singapore flyer F1 circuit aerial viewSingapore Helix bridge aerial view

Floating stage zone 3 Singapore F1 circuit

The Zone 3 grandstand of the Singapore F1 circuit

View from Sands Skypark Marina Bay Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay skyline evening sky

I don't think I'll ever tire of this skyline

Singapore Marina Bay bank buildings panorama

Panorama comprised of 3 shots

Fullerton bay hotel Customs House Singapore

One Fullerton Hotel aerial view Singapore

The Fullerton Hotel & One Fullerton entertainment complex

Singapore Merlion park aerial view from Marina Bay Sands Skypark

The Merlion Park

Marina Bay Sands Arts Science museum Louis Vuitton

The Arts Science museum is one on the right

Louis Vuitton floating store Singapore Marina Bay

The Louis Vuitton 'floating' store

Avalon club Marina Bay Sands Singapore

I was disappointed to know the Avalon Club was down there since I had initially read it was up on the SkyPark

Boat ripple Marina Bay Singapore

But I was really happy I got my 70-200mm lens back

Marina Bay Sands convention centre mall roof Singapore

The Shoppes down below

Marina Bay financial center buildings panorama

You can tell the new from the old -- by the use of glass mainly

Singapore city concrete skyline buildings

Singapore concrete jungle aerial view

Concrete jungle or what!

Singapore Padang grounds stage Esplanade Marina Bay aerial view

The lawn in the back is the Padang stage, where the big concerts this F1 weekend were going to happen

Esplanade theatres by the Bay aerial view Singapore

The Esplanade theatres glow at night -- imagine the sight from up here!

Singapore boat Clarke Quay aerial view

Singapore river, passing through Boat and Clarke Quay

Singapore port view from Sands SkyPark

That's Singapore port, in the back

Singapore port container cranes

One of the busiest ports in the world

Way to swimming pool Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore

Okay, now time to check out the coolest attraction at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Infinity pool trees Marina Bay Sands hotel guests Singapore

The infinity swimming pool!

Infinity pool trees Marina Bay sands hotel Singapore

Quite possibly the most famous infinity pool in the world

Infinity pool access Marina Bay Sands hotel

The swimming pool is accessible to hotel guests only. Damn, so there goes my plan to just sit by the pool and have a drink.

Infinity pool view Marina bay sands hotel Singapore

How cool is this view!

Couple swimming infinity pool Singapore

Sigh, one day. One day I will definitely stay at this hotel.

Marina Bay Sands hotel kids playing infinity pool

And to those who think: "Oh my god, it looks so scary!"

Marina Bay Sands infinity pool walkway Singapore

Don't be, it's just an illusion. There's no way you are going to fall over. I mean, you could try...

 Marina Bay Sands observation deck visitorsMarina Bay Sands skypark visitors Singapore

No access door infinity pool sands skypark

Access is for hotel staff only

Marina bay sands skydeck steps Singapore

Went back up to take one final look around

Roof top garden Singapore marina bay sands skypark
Marina bay sands hotel skypark sea view

Singapore Flyer east coast highway panorama

I had plans to even go on the Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer observation wheel panorama

A ride on this costs $29.50

Singapore Flyer view from Sands skypark

But look at the height difference!

I don’t mind checking out the Singapore Flyer now… but I decided to keep it for next time. If you had to choose between the two, I’d recommend the Sands SkyPark over the Flyer any day.

Singapore evening traffic jam aerial view

Evening traffic was starting to pile up, that too with the diversions due to F1 work

Container ships sea Singapore

Traffic, even at sea :)

Singapore building skyline hill distance

Wonder which hill that is in the background

High rise buildings concrete jungle Singapore from above

Took the last few shots, just to make sure I got every view possible

Residential apartments new construction Singapore

Wonder what they're constructing over there

Singapore skypark observation deck Marina Bay Sands

It was 6pm, time for me to leave

Marina Bay Sands view from skydeck panorama

One final panorama

Mithun Divakaran Marina Bay Sands skypark Singapore

Got a picture of myself taken... (yeah, Mithun in formals, save it)

Marina Bay Sands sky park restaurant panorama

... and I left the SkyPark

Closed road Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore F1

Mithun has left the building

Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino Singapore panorama

I tried to fix the distortion in this panorama as much as possible

Helix bridge Marina bay sands hotel Singapore

Planned to walk on the Helix Bridge next

Helix bridge during Formula 1 Singapore

The Helix Bridge is closed during F1 weekend as it's one of the entry points to the circuit

Helix bridge Marina Bay Singapore

Still, people were walking on it, so I figured I could check it out until a certain point

Helix bridge Singapore evening

The Helix Bridge lights up, and looks even more impressive at night

Helix bridge Gate 10 Singapore F1

Pedestrians couldn't go beyond a few metres from here as there was a private event taking place

Arts Science museum Marina Bay from Helix bridge Singapore

So I walked back

Marina Bay river cruise Helix bridge Singapore

Singapore river cruise Marina Bay station

You can take the river cruise from here too

Steps to Arts Science museum Singapore Marina bay

ArtsScience museum Marina Bay Singapore

The design of the ArtsScience museum is inspired from a lotus flower

Salvador Dali melting clock display museum Singapore

The signature melting clock artwork of Salvador Dali

ArtsScience museum Singapore

There's an entry ticket here too

Singapore ArtsScience museum logo water reflection

Marina Bay Sands ice skating rink panorama

Went back into the mall for some air-conditioning (Panorama comprised of 5 shots)

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes panorama

Empty stores Marina Bay Sands shoppes Singapore

I guess there's still more leasable space left

Marina Bay Sands shoppes mall interior

'The Lion King' was in town

Singapore marina bay arts Science pool

What was that?

Singapore Arts Science space in pool

Clever design

Rectangle gap in pool Arts Science Singapore

Pretty cool none the less

Arts Science museum Dali exhibition SingaporeSingapore Marina Bay waterfrontMarina Bay Sands hotel casino Singapore

Marina Bay buildings Singapore

Again, I keep photographing this skyline

Louis Vuitton floating store Marina Bay Singapore

Marina Bay Louis Vuitton customers Singapore

Felt like stepping in, just to see what the store looked like from the inside. Not like I could afford anything in there anyway.

Steps Marina bay SingaporeMarina Bay Sands shoppes wedding shoot Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay Sands hotel panorama

Panorama comprised of 6 shots

Avalon club Marina Bay Sands Singapore evening

Avalon Club

Avalon Club Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Sunday night - The Chemical Brothers, it's going to be one heck of a Sunday for me!

Hippo River Cruise station Marina Bay

Hippo River Cruise is another boat tour company

Marina Towers blue glass Audi boat Singapore

Panorama comprised of 5 shots

Audi sailing boat Singapore dock Marina Bay

Pretty impressive sail boat

Wedding photograph Marina Bay Singapore

I guess a lot of wedding shoots happen at Marina Bay

Marina Bay solar panels jogging park

Instead of taking the MRT, I decided to walk around the bay area a bit more

Marina Bay link Singapore

I guess this connects you straight to the MRT station

Customs House Marina bay Singapore

A lot of choice for the bankers in the area to hang out after work

Skyscraper Marina Bay SingaporeMarina Bay traffic signal people tree SingaporeMarina Bay junction road office buildings SingaporeI walked to Raffles Place MRT and boarded the train from there. Got down at Bugis, simply because I felt like walking through the area I first saw when I visited Singapore last year.

Bugis Junction mall Singapore

Did a bit of mall hopping

Bugis street shopping market Singapore

Walked through the Bugis Street Shopping market, where they had recently opened an upper level

Bugis Chinese market statue Singapore

After doing a bit of shopping at Bugis Street, I walked around the adjoining Chinese market

Fu Lu Shou complex Bugis SingaporeAlbert centre Bugis Singapore

Bugis apartment complex shops building Singapore

I somehow just enjoy walking and soaking up the local life, even if it isn't always buzzing

Raffles hospital junction Singapore at night

The junction at Raffles Hospital

Kampong glam at night Singapore

I walked to Kampong Glam (the 'Arab area'), which is where I stayed last year

Singapore Zam Zam deer meat biriyani Kampong Glam

Deer meat. As weird as it sounds... I felt the temptation to try it.

Grand Sultan Mosque at night Singapore

The Grand Sultan Mosque

Grand Sultan mosque Kampong Glam alley SingaporeAlsacoff Arab school Kampong Glam SingaporeKampong Glam area at night Singapore

Victoria street traffic signal Singapore

I decided to walk to Victoria MRT

Victoria street apartments at night SingaporeTall apartment at night Singapore

Wendy's Victoria street Singapore

Spotted a Wendy's across the road, knew right away what I wanted for dinner.

Had a shrimp burger meal from Wendy’s, one of my favourites from the chain. Also picked up some donuts from a local bakery in the same block and then took the MRT back to Aljunied.

Today was a good day. I was really happy with the photographs I clicked, though I do wish I got a bit of sunshine, which seems to be something of a rarity in Singapore.

Tomorrow begins the first of my three day F1 weekend.

Next posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 6 – F1 Saturday (Rick Astley, Shakira and Shaggy concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 7 – Little India, F1 Sunday race, Linkin Park concert and Avalon Club

Leaving Singapore, and discovering certain truths about this famous city state

Previous posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 3 – Bukit Timah and Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore 2011: Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and… *ouch!*

Singapore 2011: Day 1 – Landing a second time; walking around CBD

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  • Alistair MacDonald

    I liked your photos, and enjoyed your comments.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Alistair :)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.dnambiartravelblog.com/ d.Nambiar

    Awesome pictures. Mithun. My visit to Singapore was very short. I feel like I’ve seen a lot more than I did, thanks to these images here. Thank you. :)

    [Reply]

  • Stacey Olson

    Thanks for the visual tour! Great photos!!!

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks for your comment Stacey! :)

    [Reply]