We love a fairground ride, and a fairground ride with a view, what could be better? Well, a fairground ride with a view and Champagne of course! Ok, we’re getting carried away — we didn’t do the Champagne ride, but it’s an option.
At the edge of Marina Bay, the 165-metre high Singapore Flyer held the title of the world’s tallest ferris wheel for the six years until 2014. That’s the problem with being “the world’s tallest, largest etc” — someone is bound to outdo you. Regardless, it’s still Singapore’s largest, and we think pretty impressive.
Twenty-eight air-con glass capsules are mounted on the outside rim of a 150-metre diameter wheel, providing unobstructed views on a clear day to Indonesia and Malaysia. Each can hold up to 28 passengers or five wheelchairs. Twenty-eight is a significant number to the local Chinese as it sounds like “double prosperity” in Cantonese.
On a similar note, interestingly when the Flyer first opened it turned counter-clockwise when viewed from Marina Bay Sands — according to local Feng Shui masters this was taking fortune away from Singapore. Of course that would not do, and the wheel was reversed at a cost of a six-figure sum to rebuild the sensors.
One scenic spin takes about 30 minutes, which is plenty of time to soak up the views. Premium options are available which include Champagne, Singapore Slings and dinner rides. The standard capsule for the ride provides a couple of hard bench seats, but honestly you’ll probably spend the time standing to take photos. The Champagne and cocktail rides (S$69) add a VIP-themed capsule (only available at specific times). For dinner flights (S$269++ per couple) the capsules are decked out like a restaurant and include a four-course meal and two rotations.
The Singapore Flyer operates daily from 08:00 until 22:30. Except for the premium flights, there are no set times — the wheel spins slowly enough to board and disembark as it rotates (0.76 kilometres per hour). On weekdays it’s possible to grab a capsule to yourself; just ask to wait for the next one if there’s not much of a queue. Otherwise a private capsule is available for just S$1,500 (includes free mixed nuts!).
Tickets include entry to the “Journey of Dreams”, a mostly corny multimedia exhibition you walk through to get to the wheel, however it does contain an interesting section on the engineering and building of the Flyer and some arty spherical sculptures.
The Flyer sits above a small collection of other attractions and restaurants including a flight simulator and a 1960s-themed hawker centre.
At S$33 for a standard adult ticket we think the Singapore Flyer is a bit pricey, however we enjoyed the views and experience slightly more than those at nearby Sands SkyPark Observation Deck, so if you’re tossing up between the two, this is the one we’d do. If the weather isn’t great, it’s probably better to wait for a clear day. A slight discount is sometimes available online.
Promenade is the nearest MRT station — use exit A.
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 26th May, 2016.