If you have small children, a morning/afternoon outing might be all you can do some days. My children never slept in a pram for more than 30-40 minutes which results in not being able to sight-see endlessly for days on end. If your time poor or in need of a short activity or a brief walk to see the sights, Merlion could be for you.
The Magic of Merlion
Merlion is a porcelain and cement statue standing 8.6m tall and weighing over 70 tonnes. The word Singapore is the Malay word for Lion City. Merlion is half fish and half lion. The fish part represents the humble beginnings of the city, fishing. The lion part representing the Lion City. He originally sat at the mouth of the Singapore river to welcome visitors. With the construction of the Esplanade Bridge the view of Merlion was blocked so he was moved in 2002 to a park in front of the Fullerton Hotel.
First Generation by Chong Fah Cheong was commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board. The lifelike sculpture is of boys jumping into the river. I was mesmerised by this and many more sculpture throughout the bay area.
The twilight session
When travelling with kids it’s always good to leave ‘the’ attraction till last. It’s a nice walk from Marina Bay to Merlion but it is possible to go the other way. I recommend seeing Merlion about 4.30 and then walking around the bay to the Esplanade – this amazing building is home to arts and performance in Singapore and is shaped like that stinky durian fruit. The architecture alone around the bay is awe-inspiring. At the Esplanade, Makansutra Glutton’s Bay is a good nearby location for dining. They open each evening at 5.00pm. Hawker food is a true experience you must do when in Singapore, even if it is overnight. Trip Advisor reviews rave about this place and you won’t be let down. It’s cheap, quick and easy.
If you’re able to go out later the Esplande is a great vantage point for watching the Marina Bay Sands Light and Water show. The show is free and on at 8.00pm and 9.30pm each night. I absolutely recommend this if you can wait around. Gardens by The Bay is open in the evenings and often more pleasant as the temperature drops somewhat. If the temperature and humidity are still high – the children’s garden is quipped with water play for cooling off.
If you have time the various bumboats are a relaxing way to see the bay’s sights and if your children are anything like mine, being allowed to say ‘bum’ was worth the $8. He was amused. And isn’t that the aim of most activities on holidays?
Merlion – the truth
Merlion is not a true mythical creature from Singapore. It was developed as a marketing logo originally which is sad really. I prefer to believe in some magical fairytale behind the statue, furthermore much easier to build excitement with children. My son has created a comic of how Merlion came to be. It’s a on the fly holiday project. Enjoy!