Places to Visit in Singapore: Merlion

Merlion,  the tourism symbol of Singapore, the Merlion is a mythical beast, said to be half lion, half fish. The eight-metre high Merlion statue stands guard at the mouth of the Singapore River.

In ancient times, Singapore was known as Temasek which is Javanese for the sea. It was then, as it is today, a centre of trade.

At the end of the 4th century A.D, Temasek was destroyed by the Siamese, according to some historians, but by the Javanese according to others. As recorded in the legend in the Malay Annals,” Prince Nila Utama of the Sri Vijaya empire rediscovered the island later in the 11th century A.D. On seeing a strange beast (which he later learnt was a lion) upon his landing he named the island Singapura which is a Sanskrit word for Lion (Singa) City (Pura).

The Merlion, with its fish-like body riding the waves of the sea, is symbolic of the ancient city of Temasek. At the same time, its majestic head recalls the legend of the discovery of Singapore by Prince Nila Utama in the 11th century, when Singapore received its present name.

Opening hours: 7am to 10pm daily (the Merlion spouts water from 10am to 10pm).

Admission: Free Location: Near One Fullerton

Getting there: Take the MRT to Raffles Place (EW14) and walk towards the Esplanade. From Orchard Road, take TIBS bus 167 or 182

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Merlion Park is where you can meet the local character and well-known symbol from all over the world. One of the most well-known pictures of this sign is the statue at Merlion Park, a beautiful place in Singapore near the Central Business District at One Fullerton.

Before you go to this beautiful place, you might want to learn more about what the Merlion means and how it ties into the past of our country

Lion City and the Fishing Village

The story about the Merlion being part lion and part fish isn’t just skin (or stone) deep.

The fish-like body of the Merlion is a sign of Singapore’s past as a fishing village called Temasek. This name comes from the same root as the Malay word for lake, tasek

The head of the figure shows that the city was once called Singapura, which means “lion city” in Sanskrit. According to a story, a Srivijayan prince from Palembang named Sang Nila Utama landed on our shores during a storm at sea.

Near the mouth of the Singapore River, the prince saw a strange animal that he thought was a lion. This is how the city got its name, Singapura.

How the statue came to be

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In the figure at Merlion Park, you can still see echoes of this story.

The Merlion figure is 8.6 meters tall and weighs 70 tons. Water comes out of its mouth. It was first built at the mouth of the Singapore River by a local craftsman named Lim Nang Seng. It was planned by Kwan Sai Kheong, and then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew opened it on September 15, 1972.

When the Esplanade Bridge was finished in 1997, the figure could no longer be seen well from the waterfront. It was moved to the Merlion Park, which is in front of the Fullerton Hotel and looks out over Marina Bay.

Try to find other statues of our city’s national icon as you move around our island. This statue has been a source of inspiration for tourists, poets, and Singaporeans alike.

What Merlion Is

The Merlion (/mrlan/) is Singapore’s official mascot. It is shown as a mythical monster with a lion’s head and a fish’s body. As an important sign for Singapore and Singaporeans in general, it is often used to represent the city-state and its people in sports teams, advertising, branding, tourism, and as a national personification.

Alec Fraser-Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and the keeper of the Van Kleef Aquarium, made the symbol for the logo of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which was used from March 26, 1964, until 1997. Since July 20, 1966, it has been its trademarked symbol. Even though the STB changed their logo in 1997, the Merlion sign is still safe because of the STB Act.[2] It can’t be used until STB gives the green light. A lot of STB-approved gifts have the Merlion on them.

Original spot

On September 15, 1972, the Merlion statue was put up in an event led by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.[3] The first figure stood in Merlion Park at the mouth of the Singapore River.

It was thought up by the vice-chancellor of the University of Singapore, Kwan Sai Kheong, and built by the Singaporean artist Lim Nang Seng (Chinese: ; pinyin: Ln Làngxn) from November 1971 to August 1972.[4] It is 8.6 meters tall and 70 tons heavy.[3][5] About S$165,000 was spent on the project.

The original figure will be moved.

In 1997, when the Esplanade Bridge was finished, the Merlion could no longer be seen from the Marina Bay shore.[3] By that time, the place where the first Merlion stood was no longer where Singapore River started.[3] So, in 2002, the figure and its cub were moved 120 meters to the current Merlion Park, which faces Marina Bay. There, they stand on a newly reclaimed promontory in front of The Fullerton Hotel.

The view would still be blocked by the bridge if the Merlion was put on a platform at its original spot, which was another idea that was thought of. Nicoll Highway Extension Bridge, Esplanade Park, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, a promontory site at Marina Centre (near where the Singapore Flyer is now), a promontory site at Bayfront (near the tip of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort), and Kim Seng Park were also thought to be good places to move the stadium. But none of them were good enough or technically possible.[3]

Damage by lightning

On Saturday, February 28, 2009, around 4:26 p.m., lightning hit the Merlion in Merlion Park.[10] Local radio station 938NOW broke the news with a picture of pieces of the Merlion’s head on the ground.

On Sunday, March 1, 2009, workers put up wooden scaffolding to get a better look at the hole and quickly looked at the damage. The accident happened because the Merlion itself didn’t have any lightning protection.

The Merlion in Singapore is a must-see sight.

The Merlion is Singapore’s mythical symbol and by far the most famous place to visit on the whole island. Visit this half-fish, half-lion statue during the day to see groups of tourists jostling for position in front of the 70-ton concrete figure for Singapore’s most popular photo op. The figure is 8.7 meters tall and has a water fountain that shoots water into the beautiful Marina Bay.

Merlion Park is free to visit, and there are several cafes, restaurants, gift shops, and bathrooms there. You can get close to the figure or walk along the jetty that sticks out into the bay. This is the best place to take that all-important vacation photo. Extra points if you can make it look like the water from the Merlion’s waterfall is falling into your mouth.

The 16 Best Things to Do in Marina Bay

In Singapore’s fast-paced growth, Marina Bay has benefited the most. The whole Marina Bay area has changed in a huge way, and it is now where most tourists go when they come to Singapore. The S$5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands complex is the center of the bay, and many of the best things to do and see in the area swirl around this amazing building and resort.

The Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is an amazing futuristic park with huge man-made trees that climb into the sky. This area is called the “Supertree Grove.” This Singapore attraction has won a lot of awards and continues to amaze tourists who can get up close and personal with the trees on the impressive Skywalk over the gardens.

ArtScience Museum

At Marina Bay in Singapore, the ArtScience Museum is an icon in and of itself. Most art or science museums draw people in because of what they have inside, but this is not the case at the ArtScience Museum.

The building’s design, which is based on the lotus flower, is so beautiful that it is worth going to see just for the architecture. Inside is just as amazing, with more than 20 galleries covering a total of 50,000 square feet and showing off Singapore’s art and history (exhibitions change often).

Marina Bay Sands SkyPark

Going up to the Sands SkyPark, which is at the very top of the amazing 3-pronged Marina Bay Sands complex, is a great way to see the famous Singapore city in all its glory.

Adults pay about S$23 and kids about S$12 to get in, but you can get almost the same views from the expensive Sky@57 restaurant or the expensive CE LA VI Skybar, which are both on the top floors of the Marina Bay Sands resort.

Read more: Places to Visit in Singapore: Kranji War Memorial 


The figure of the Merlion is not like other statues. This 70-ton, half-mermaid, half-lion statue made of solid concrete shoots water out of its mouth. It is a mythical sign of Singapore and probably the most popular place for tourists to take pictures in the city-state.

Even though the famous statue is the main attraction, the area around it has a nice, free terraced sitting area where you can relax, enjoy the view, or have a picnic (or a beer at night). There is also a purpose-built jetty that goes out into the water. This gives you a great place to take that all-important shot of the Merlion or the rest of the beautiful Marina Bay.

Singapore Flyer

The Singapore Flyer is one of the biggest viewing wheels in the world, and it’s a great way to see the beautiful skyline of Singapore. With a height of 165 meters and a width of the same size (it’s a big circle), guests can get some amazing views while going around the loop at a very slow rate of 0.21 meters per second.

Marina Bay Sands Casino

The famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel has a huge casino that covers 15,000 square meters. Inside, there are more than 500 gaming tables, more than 1,600 slot machines, and a huge seven-ton chandelier with more than 130,000 Swarovski diamonds in the middle.

This Singapore draw is a lot more than just a place to lose your vacation savings or win a lot of money in one night. In fact, a lot of people come here just to watch the intense betting action, especially at the poker and blackjack tables, or to have a little fun on one of the 5, 10, or 20 machines.

Theaters on the Bay are on the Esplanade.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is a large arts and culture center in Singapore’s Marina Bay. It has a separate concert hall, theater, and outdoor performing area. This venue is used for many different things, like live shows, local and foreign music performances, and cultural displays.

The small number of people who say Singapore doesn’t have enough culture need look no further than this great place, which also has free events that are fun for the whole family. Take the MRT to the City Hall or Esplanade Circle Line station to get to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. From there, it’s just a short walk; just look for the two big domes made of aluminum and glass on the riverbank.

Marina Bay Sands’ Spectra Light Show

The award-winning, jaw-dropping Spectra light show takes place every night in Marina Bay in Singapore. Every night at 8 p.m., bright lasers are shone across the water from the top of the famous Marina Bay Sands Resort and the nearby Art Science Museum, which is right next to it. There are also later shows.

The golf course at Marina Bay

The Marina Bay Golf Course was the first 18-hole course in Singapore, and anyone can play there. Marina Bay Golf Course has great facilities and difficult fairways, but what really makes it stand out are the amazing views it has of the Singapore skyline and the vast Marina Bay.

CE LA VI is on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands. From there, you can see the city and bay without any obstructions. Since a cocktail at CE LA VI costs about the same as getting into the Marina Bay Sands viewing desk and the venue is a little higher up, it has quickly become one of Singapore’s most popular rooftop spots.

Experience a flight to Singapore

In Singapore, the Flight Experience center on Raffles Avenue is a one-of-a-kind place where you can “fly” your own Boeing 737-800 in a very realistic model. You get some pre-flight training and your own qualified pilot to help you with takeoff, cruise, and landing, which can take up to 90 minutes.

You can choose from 24,000 airports, and you can fly over some famous towns at night or during the day. Some of these are the scary descent into Hong Kong’s harbor airport or the breathtaking flight over Manhattan’s skyline into New York’s JFK.

Marina Barrage

Marina Barrage is a place in Singapore that serves more than one purpose. It is part dam, part tourist draw, and part place to play. It’s on the very southern tip of the main island and close to another of the city’s top sights, Gardens by the Bay.

People like to relax and fly kites in the rooftop park on top of the dam. The place is popular with tourists and people who want to watch the beautiful Singaporean sunsets from the main elevated part of grass that looks out over the city.

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands is an important part of Singapore’s skyline, which is growing all the time. What looks like a high-speed train is balancing dangerously on top of the 3 tall buildings. In fact, this is one of the best things about the Marina Bay Sands Hotel: a big pool on the roof with a view of Singapore that goes on for miles.

The Singapore National Stadium

The National Stadium in Singapore is a multipurpose sports arena where you can watch the Singapore National Football team play home games, as well as exhibitions of cricket, rugby, athletics, and live music.

With its retractable roof and red and white seats, the dome-shaped stadium is one of Singapore’s most famous sights. It can be seen from all over the city. The stadium is by far the largest in Singapore. It can hold up to 55,000 people, but the seats can be changed to make it smaller for smaller events.

Formula One race in Singapore

Only the Singapore Grand Prix takes place at night. Every year, the seasonal GP also has a cool mix of top music acts and more action on the track. The Marina Bay Street Circuit is the street-based F1 track in Singapore that goes around the bay. The beautiful harborside location is 5.1 km long and has 23 turns. It has been compared to the courses in Monaco and Valencia.

Singapore Beach South Beach

The skyline of Singapore Downtown is partly made up of South Beach Singapore. Two 40-story buildings tower over the Marina Bay area, and the area also has a lifestyle mall, a couple of luxury hotels, office space, and hundreds of permanent homes.

The building is on South Beach Road, which is where it got its name. You can walk to famous places in Singapore like Raffles Hotel, The Marina Bay, Esplanade, and The Singapore Flyer. The South Beach Singapore, a fancy private hotel, is also there.


The Merlion figure is 8.6 meters tall and weighs 70 tons. It has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It is in this 2,500 square meter park.

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