May 02 2013
While exploring Singapore’s Chinatown neighbourhood it’s impossible not to notice the massive Pinnacle @ Duxton looming in the distance. This is the world’s tallest public housing building and its 50th storey observation skybridge is open to the public. With an entry cost of just S$5, you can think of it as a poor man’s Marina Bay Sands.
Given the high cost of living in the city-state of Singapore, more than 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built apartment blocks known as HBDs (so-called for the Housing Development Board you must apply to when you want to purchase one). Completed in 2009, the Pinnacle @ Duxton is the largest HBD to date and is comprised of seven 50-storey towers linked by open-air skybridges. With 1,848 apartments in total it falls short of being the world’s largest, but the Pinnacle @ Duxton does take the title of being the tallest public housing building in the world.
Not only is the Pinnacle an interesting opportunity to see how the average Singaporean lives, it’s a good alternative to overpriced viewpoints like Marina Bay Sands or 1-Altitude Bar which charge admission fees of S$20 or more.
The Pinnacle @ Duxton’s 50th storey skybridge is open to the public from 09:00 to 22:00 daily at a cost of S$5 per person. So not to impact the residents’ lives too much visitors are limited to 200 per day, but this quota is never reached except during special events like the National Day fireworks display. You can check the total number of visitors so far each day on the Pinnacle @ Duxton website.
The entry system is entirely automated and you must pay using an EZ-Link card – the same prepaid card you can use to pay for fares on buses, subways and taxis. After paying the entrance fee at the ticketing machine on the ground level, take the elevator to the 50th floor, tap your EZ-Link card against the electronic lock and access skybridge gate via a turnstile.
In one word, the view is stunning. As the buildings surrounding the Pinnacle don’t compare in height, there is nothing to obstruct the view as you look out towards Chinatown, the central business district, the busy Singapore harbour and Sentosa Island. There’s plenty of space on the skybridge and you may see residents of the building jogging or just relaxing with a newspaper.
Officially eating and drinking are not allowed on the skybridge, but this writer admits to buying a couple of cans of Tiger beer at the 7-eleven on the ground level to sip while watching the sun set. I wasn’t the only one flouting the rules – there was a couple having a dinner of chicken rice. There are security cameras, but as long as you clean up after yourself it shouldn’t be a problem.
The Pinnacle @ Duxton
1G Cantonnment Road, Singapore
Nearest MRT: Outram Park
Open to the public 09:00–22:00 daily
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