The Singapore Flyer looms 540 feet high over Marina Bay in the island-state of Singapore – it’s the world’s biggest observation wheel, built in with a lot of superlatives. Guests “fly” in the Singapore Flyer within its 28 bus-size air-conditioned capsules. Each ride takes 30 minutes to complete, completing a single revolution at a stately 0.78 feet per second. At least for now, the Singapore Flyer is the biggest observation wheel in the world, squeaking by the London Eye in the size department.
The images following this one in this gallery will give you an inside look at the inner workings of the Singapore Flyer – ticketing, its pocket jungle at the middle of the building, the cocktail scene in the Singapore Flyer building, the view from the top of the Flyer, even a wedding staged in-capsule!
The Ticket to Your Singapore Flyer Flight
Tickets to the Singapore Flyer cost SGD 29.50 per adult, SGD 20.65 per child from 3 to 12 years old, and SGD 23.60 for seniors above 60 years of age. There are also a variety of prices and packages on offer, depending on the season and the size of the party. The official site for the Singapore Flyer provides up-to-the-minute info on special pricing packages: www.singaporeflyer.com
The volume of visitors to the Singapore Flyer rules out the use of regular queues. To prevent overly long lines, the Singapore Flyer management has instituted a flight-style check-in. Ticket-holders are permitted to roam within the retail terminal at the base of the Singapore Flyer, only checking in 30 minutes before the flight time specified on the ticket.
Rides at the Singapore Flyer start 8:30am and finish at 10:30pm, with the last flight taking off at 10:15pm.
Under the Singapore Flyer, Shopping and a Pocket Jungle
The designers of the Singapore Flyer knew they would have to do more out of their allotted space in the island than just a big wheel going round and round. So they made a three-storey mall out of the pedestal at the base of the Flyer: a retail terminal offering over 82,000 square feet of retail space, where Flyer passengers can wait for their turn in the wheel, spending their money and having fun while they’re at it.
Apart from retail therapy, the retail terminal also provides a jet simulator, a Ferrari racecar simulator, and a fish spa to tickle your toes as you wait. (Read about Fish Pedicure in London.)
At the terminal’s central atrium, directly under the slowly revolving wheel, the “Yakult Rainforest Discovery” exhibit replicates a tropical rainforest, alongside a stage for events.
More information on Singapore Flyer’s retail terminal on their official site (offsite): Singapore Flyer Retail Terminal Directory.
The Flyer Lounge and Other Singapore Flyer Food Adventures
Level 3 of the Singapore Flyer terminal building houses a special Singapore spot for wine and cocktail lovers: the Flyer Lounge. Run by the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore (ABSS), the Lounge is open from 11am to 11pm daily, offering a wide range of award-winning cocktail recipes throughout the day and into the night. Try one of the Lounge’s award-winning cocktails (sourced from the yearly National Cocktail Competition), and an absolutely authentic Singapore Sling.
You can dine in the cozy interior of the lounge, or take your drinks outside to the al fresco area that overlooks the scenic Marina Bay.
The rest of the retail terminal also offers great foodie finds, including a 1960s-themed food street called “the Singapore Food Trail”, which serves up Singapore favorites like nasi lemak, satay, popiah, and the classic Singaporean chicken rice.
Proceed to this overview of the Singapore Food Trail for a first-hand look at the foodie paradise on the ground level. For more on Singapore hawker cuisine, read this article: Ten Dishes You Should Try in Singapore.)
A Journey of Dreams before Boarding the Singapore Flyer
To give Flyer riders a bit of context to the panoramic views, they’ll be shepherded through an interactive gallery titled “Journey of Dreams” just before the flight. An exhibit animating Singapore’s past, present and future, the Journey of Dreams aims to put the Singapore Flyer experience in its proper place, as one great Singaporean accomplishment among many.
The Journey takes many forms, from a Dreamscape showing a number of images projected onto a number of geometric shapes; a Fragment of Dreams that literally shines a light onto Singapore’s timeline; to a Reservoir of Dreams that graphically represents the intended future for Singapore. The latter features an internally-illuminated PufferSphere that projects images from Singapore and the Singapore Flyer onto the sphere’s surface. (Pictured above.)
The resulting experience is supposed to be an immersive walk-through of Singapore’s years of toil, from its beginnings as a simple fishing village to a creator of technical marvels like the Singapore Flyer.
More on their official site (offsite): Singapore Flyer - Journey of Dreams.
Disembarkation Platform: Singapore Flyer’s Almost-Foolproof Entry and Exit
After the Journey of Dreams exhibit, you will then be ushered into one of the capsules waiting for riders. Each Singapore Flyer capsule is air-conditioned, UV-filtered, and can accommodate up to 28 people on a regular day. Access is provided on both sides of the capsule via synchronized double doors.
Entry and exit is safe even for the elderly and for babies in strollers, but it’s not 100% foolproof. An absent-minded father lost control of his child’s stroller, sending stroller, child and all tumbling off of the disembarkation platform. Luckily, a safety net caught the boy unharmed.
The Singapore Flyer Capsule: Roomy Viewy Wonder
Inside a Singapore Flyer capsule, riders experience an extremely smooth ride to the top, with almost no vibration or lateral movement; the engineers certainly did their homework. The wide, UV-tinted windows provide a 360-degree view of the Singapore skyline.
The capsule’s interior measures a roomy 300 square feet. A pair of benches at the very center allows guests to take in the view while seated. More courageous guests can stand right up close to the glass.
The Flyer used to spin from west to east, until a feng shui master intervened; the Flyer was supposedly draining Singapore of good fortune and energy. Could the Singapore Flyer revolve in the opposite direction? Out of respect to tradition (and hedging all their bets) the Singapore Flyer management complied; the Flyer now spins from east to west.
Special Occasions Celebrated in the Singapore Flyer
The view from the top makes the Singapore Flyer a great place to celebrate special occasions with colleagues or loved ones, and the Flyer management has stepped up with a number of packages for riders who want to get a little something extra out of their Singapore Flyer flight.
For starters, the Flyer’s “Moët & Chandon Champagne Flight” adds a little privacy and class to the ride, with a VIP-themed Private Capsule stocked with flutes of Moët & Chandon champagne. Champagne Flights are limited to five rotations a day – at 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Each Champagne Flight will set you back about SGD 69 per head.
The “Solemnization Package” allows guests to throw a wedding within the capsule, in the presence of a small group of relatives and friends. (See above.) The thirty-minute single revolution permits enough time for the “I dos” to be said, the ring to be slipped on the finger, and the bride to be kissed – sadly there’s not enough room to throw the bouquet.
View from the Top of the Singapore Flyer
From the top, Singapore Flyer passengers see some of the best views of Singapore – guests see most of the historic areas of Singapore, which bleeds into the modernizing districts of the Marina Bay and the Business district. Ethnic enclaves like Singapore’s Chinatown and Little India can be seen from the top of the Flyer.
Passengers can get a measure of orientation from the overhead compass provided in each capsule. You can count on the compass for guidance, or get an audio guide to accompany your ride. You can reconcile the magnificent views with Singapore’s history as you listen to the Singapore Story Audio Guide, or discover how ancient Chinese geomancy shapes Singapore’s skyline to this day through the Singapore Feng Shui Audio Guide.
The Singapore Flyer at Night: Lighting Up the Singapore Skyline
As the Singapore Flyer continues to revolve late into the night, the wheel lights up as dusk sets in; LED lights illuminate the rim of the wheel, making the Singapore Flyer just as impressive a sight in the dark as it is in the daytime.
The lighting setup (designed and installed by Dutch electronics giant Philips) is intended to create a colorful light show without needlessly harming the environment, and without impeding the nighttime view from inside the capsules. This was accomplished by the use of LED lighting modules, state-of-the-art lights that can display up to 16 million colors while being “six times more energy-efficient than conventional lighting sources”. (source; PDF file)