Ah, Singapore! Where modern gleaming skyscrapers kiss the clouds and ancient temples whisper tales of a storied past. But amidst the urban symphony, lies a mythical creature capturing hearts and cameras alike: the Merlion. And the gateway to its watery world lies in the vibrant embrace of Merlion Park, which is one of the Singapore Top 10 Must Visit tourist attractions.
Towering over the Marina Bay with its majestic presence, Merlion Park is a must-visit for any traveler to Singapore. It’s not just the iconic Merlion statue that draws in the crowds, but the entire atmosphere of the park, pulsating with history, stunning views, and vibrant energy. It is an iconic destination nestled in the heart of Singapore that seamlessly blends mythology, modernity, and breathtaking waterfront views. So, grab your camera, sunscreen, and a thirst for adventure, because we’re diving headfirst into the heart of Singapore’s tourism scene!
As you embark on this journey, get ready to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Singapore’s culture, surrounded by stunning skyline vistas and the mythical creature that defines this unique urban oasis.
Where is Merlion Park Singapore
Merlion Park Singapore is strategically located at One Fullerton, overlooking the picturesque Marina Bay Sands and the glittering Singapore skyline. Positioned at the mouth of the Singapore River, which is just stone’s throw from the bustling Central Business District (CBD), this landmark is easily accessible and holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and tourists alike.
How to get to Merlion Park Singapore?
Getting to Merlion Park Singapore is a breeze with a plethora of options!
MRT (Mass Rapid Transit): The most convenient way to reach Merlion Park is via the MRT. Alight at the Raffles Place MRT station (EW14/NS26) and take Exit B or hop on to Downtown Line and alight at the Downtown MRT station and take Exit A, or take the Circle Line and alight at Esplanade MRT station via Exit E. Follow the convenient signs that lead you towards the park, offering a leisurely walk along the picturesque Singapore River with glimpses of the city’s architectural wonders.
Bus: Several bus services, such as 10, 100, 107 and 131, have stops near Merlion Park. Consult the local bus schedules for the most convenient route based on your location.
Taxi: Always a reliable option, especially if you’re coming from a farther distance.
Walk: If you’re exploring the nearby attractions, consider walking to Merlion Park from areas like Marina Bay Sands or the Esplanade. The stroll allows you to soak in the vibrant atmosphere and appreciate the city’s unique urban planning.
Alternatively, you can opt for a BIG BUS City Tour. The guided tour will fill you in on the history of several attractions like Little India and Gardens By The Bay, as well as Merlion Park.
Merlion Park Singapore Opening Hour
Merlion Park Singapore remain open for 24 hours and 365 days. So you can come at your own convenient time. However, if you would like to have the best of the 2 worlds – day time and the stunning night view, it is best to visit before sunset (5pm onward).
Merlion Park Singapore Ticket Price
Yes, you hear it right, it is FREE!
What to see at Merlion Park Singapore
The Majestic Merlion
As you step into the park, prepare to be captivated. The star of the part, undoubtedly, is of course the majestic Merlion statue. Standing 8.6 meters tall and spewing water from its mouth, this mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s body is the embodiment of Singapore’s spirit. Its design cleverly blends the city’s historical identity as a fishing village with its modern aspirations as a global business metropolis.
It’s lion head roars silently, while its fishtail gracefully curves towards the shimmering waters of Marina Bay. The Merlion statue faces east, which in Feng Shui, is believed to be a direction that brings prosperity to Singapore. This auspicious orientation was preserved even after its relocation to the Merlion Park in 2002.
Capture panoramic views of the city skyline with the Merlion as your foreground, and don’t forget the obligatory selfies – it’s practically a rite of passage! From here, capture the glittering skyscrapers, the iconic Ferris wheel, and the bustling harbor in your lens. As the sun sets, the city lights paint the sky in a mesmerizing display, making it an ideal spot for a romantic evening stroll.
Keep an eye out for the small and cute Merlion cub, located not far away from its majestic parent. This smaller statue, measuring just 2 meters, adds a touch of whimsy to the scene, reminding us of the city’s youthful spirit and boundless potential. It’s a favorite among children and a perfect spot for another photo op.
Merlion Park Viewing Deck
This viewing deck beside the Merlion is extended into the Marina Bay water. Visitors will have the chance to view the Majestic Merlion from different angles. Always crowded with tourist as this is the perfect spot to take some real creative photos with the legendary Merlion. The most popular instagram-able and “must have” pose is to open your mouth and position yourself at the right spot and angle so that the resulting photo will resemble the water is spew out from Merlion’s mouth directly into your mouth.
This is also a perfect spot for photographers to take the panoramic views of the city, including Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the iconic Esplanade and the giant Singapore Flyer. Merlion Park Viewing Deck for panoramic views of the city, including the Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, and the impressive Singapore Flyer.
Merlion Park Light Show (SPECTRA)
Spectra is a breathtaking laser and water show that is held at Water Promenade every night, in front of the Marina Bay Sands Shoppes. But Merlion Park is also a perfect spot to watch it. At the time of the light show, the setting becomes mesmerizing with brilliance and glittering lights from the water and laser projections from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The vibrant light and water display illuminates the Merlion and the whole of Marina Bay, creating a magical ambiance that is real amazing.
The 15-minutes Spectra show, is actually telling a Singapore story of how it transforms from a small fishing village into a modern cosmopolitan city, by using innovative water-fountain technologies such as pyramids, jets, mist, gyroscopic arcs and lava, couple with state-of-the-art laser lighting effect. This is the largest laser and water show of it’s kind in South East Asia, so make sure you will not miss it!
Spectra Show Time:
Sunday to Thursday : 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday : 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM
What to do at Merlion Park Singapore
Waterfront Promenade Walk
Merlion park offers more than just a photo op (although that’s practically mandatory!). Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade toward the opposite side of Art Science Museum and The Shoppes, while soaking in the breathtaking panoramic view of Marina Bay. And enjoying the cool breeze.
You will pass through 2 bridges, the Jubilee Bridge which is a bridge with 4 bay views into Marina Bay water and The Helix Bridge, which is a foot bridge modeled based on a DNA. Spot historical landmarks like the Fullerton Hotel and the Esplanade Theatres as well as The Float@Marina Bay Grandstand, which is the Pit Grandstand of the prestige Singapore Formula 1 Night Circuit.
**Update 2024: The Float @ Marina Bay will be re-developed into NS Square, therefore pedestrians are advised to use alternate route via Raffles Avenue to reach Art Science Museum and The Shoppes.
Singapore River Bumboat Cruise
If you’re looking for an after dusk activity, embark on a captivating boat ride on the Singapore River Bumboat Cruise to catch the bright lights of the city’s urban nightscape of the Central Business District (CBD) and explore the Marina Bay Waterfront from a different perspective.
During the 40 minutes boat ride, visitors not only have the chance to soak in the golden light of the Merlion and Marina Bay District, but also will be greeted with many Singapore iconic architectures such as the modern Singapore founder statue – Sir Stamford Raffles, the century old majestic Fullerton Hotel, the unique durian-like structure Esplanade Theatres as well as the modern ArtScience Museum and the soaring Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
A Feast for the Senses
No Singapore experience is complete without indulging in its vibrant culinary scene. The One Fullerton Mall located just beside the Merlion Park offers a smorgasbord of options . When hunger pangs strike, you’ll be spoilt for choice with restaurants serving up everything from local delicacies to international cuisines. From casual cafes serving up fragrant kopi (local coffee) to upscale restaurants overlooking the bay, there’s something for every palate. Don’t miss the chance to try local favorites like chili crab and chicken rice, or grab a refreshing coconut drink to quench your thirst under the tropical sun. Enjoy your meal with the stunning cityscapes as your backdrop.
Specialty at Merlion Park Singapore
Embracing a nautical ambiance and featuring a menu brimming with American comfort food, PS Café stands out as an excellent choice for unwinding, letting go of stress, and relishing a delightful meal, especially following a visit to the iconic Merlion.
Perched atop The Fullerton Bay Hotel, this rooftop bar pays tribute to the crimson lanterns that once adorned Clifford Pier. Delight in exquisite cocktails and savor the moment as you linger, captivated by the breathtaking view.
The Story of the Merlion Singapore
The Merlion stands as a mythical creature, boasting a lion’s head atop a fish’s body, and has become not only a widely embraced mascot but also the national personification of Singapore.
Originally conceptualized as an emblem for the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) in 1964, this iconic symbol features a lion head majestically perched on a fish body, symbolizing Singapore’s identity to the global audience. The mastermind behind this design was Mr. Fraser Brunner, a dedicated member of the souvenir committee and the curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium.
The lion head pays homage to the lion spotted by Prince Sang Nila Utama during the rediscovery of Singapura in 11 AD, as chronicled in the “Malay Annals.” On the other hand, the fish tail of the Merlion holds a deeper significance, representing the ancient city of Temasek, meaning “sea” in Javanese. This name predates Singapore, and the fish tail underscores the city-state’s humble origins as a fishing village before Prince Sang Nila Utama bestowed upon it the name “Singapura,” meaning “lion city” in Sanskrit. Thus, the Merlion encapsulates Singapore’s rich history and cultural narrative in its mythical form.
Surrounding Tourist Attractions
Once you’ve had your fill of Merlion Park, venture further and explore the surrounding gems:
- Marina Bay Sands: A stone’s throw away from Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands is a world-renowned integrated resort, housing a casino, The Shoppes shopping mall, and the stunning SkyPark with an infinity pool as well as the futuristic ArtScience Museum. Take a walk on the SkyPark, marvel at the infinity pool, or visit the casino and shops at this iconic integrated resort.
- Singapore Flyer: For those seeking a bird’s-eye view of the city, the Singapore Flyer, one of the world’s largest observation wheels, offers breathtaking vistas of Singapore Marina Bay district and a unique perspective of Merlion Park.
- Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay: An architectural marvel, the Esplanade which resemble the shape of Singapore king of fruit, Durian, is a performing arts center that hosts a myriad of cultural events. Explore its theaters, concert halls, and outdoor spaces for a dose of Singapore’s vibrant arts scene. This architectural marvel houses world-class performing arts venues and offers stunning views from its rooftop.
- Gardens by the Bay: Immerse yourself in the futuristic Supertrees and explore the diverse plant life in these breathtaking gardens. Immerse yourself in the futuristic Supertrees and explore the diverse plant life in these breathtaking gardens.
Tips for Travellers
- The park is open 24 hours a day, but the best time to visit is during the early morning or evening hours to avoid the crowds and enjoy the cooler temperatures.
- The best visiting time actually is in the evening, where you can have the best of both world – the day and night view of Merlion Park and the stunning Marina Bay Waterfront. You can enjoy the famous laser light and water show, the Spectra also.
- Bring sunscreen and a hat, especially if you’re visiting during a sunny day.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking.
- Allocate at least 2 hours for the whole Merlion Park and The Waterfront Promenade exploration.
- Don’t forget your camera! You’ll want to capture all the amazing sights and memories. Alternatively, bring a power bank if you are using your phone for most of the shooting.
- Pack some snacks and drinks, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
A Final Roar
Merlion Park in Singapore is not merely a tourist attraction; it’s a symbol of the city’s rich heritage and its commitment to embracing the future. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a casual wanderer, this iconic landmark promises an unforgettable experience, making it a must-visit on your Singaporean itinerary. No tourist ever returns from Singapore without witnessing the Merlion in all its glory. So, immerse yourself in the magic of Merlion Park and create memories that will linger long after you’ve bid farewell to the Lion City.