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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrMerlion Park is an iconic landmark in the heart of Singapore’s central business district and home to one of the biggest statues of the Merlion , Singapore’s national symbol.
The MerlionThe Merlion became Singapore’s national emblem in 1966 when the Singapore Tourism Board trademarked the symbol. It was originally designed for the Tourism Board when they changed their logo two years prior.
The name ‘Merlion’ is a combination of “mer” meaning “sea” and “lion”. The sea creature body of the Merlion is a homage to Singapore’s roots as a fishing village named “Temasek” in Javanese, which literally means “sea town”. The lion part of the name is from Singapore’s old name, ‘Singapura’, “the lion city”.
History of Merlion ParkThe original Merlion Park was officially opened in 1964. Later on, the Merlion statue was installed on September 15, 1972, in a ceremony officiated by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew . Singaporean sculptor, Lim Nang Seng built the Merlion statue. It stands a little over 28 feet tall and weighs 70 tons. The Merlion stood at the mouth of the Singapore River, facing the east and greeting travelers to its shores.
The rapid growth of the city and the completion of the Esplanade Bridge in 1997, the Merlion statue could no longer be seen from Marina Bay. It was decided in April 2002 that the statue be moved to the other side of the Esplanade Bridge, on a pier built especially for it. It is no longer at the mouth of the river but near it. It costed $7.5 million USD to transfer the Merlion and the move was complete on April 25, 2002. The Merlion statue and its 6½ feet tall cub has stood, since then, in front of the Fullerton Hotel, still facing the auspicious east and overlooking Marina Bay.
Enjoying the ParkMerlion Park is a small park that gives you one of the best views of the Marina Bay waterfront. Central to the park is the huge Merlion statue spouting water from its mouth. The palm trees spreaded around the park does not distract visitors from the view, nor does it provide much shade on a sunny day. Tourists are plentiful in this park, despite the humid weather. Everyone enjoys taking in the opportunity of being near the Merlion, staring sternly at the east.
The Merlion cub sits amongst the trees. The cub’s back is turned to its bigger counterpart, spewing water from the mouth in its very own pool, and sometimes overlooked. It can’t be helped though. The huge Merlion statue dominates the park. Steps at the base of its pedestal lead down to the Singapore River, as if tempting people to come to cool down at its shores. To the left of the statue, a small pier juts out providing camera-toting visitors a better angle to capture the park, and in particular, the iconic Merlion. On windy days (and nights), the spray of water can reach the people standing on the bridge.
Across the bay, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel rises over the Bayfront like a guardian to the outside world. The ArtScience Museum sits prettily on the side of the hotel like a young flower catching sun. The Singapore Flyer also stands on the horizon, as river taxis busily cross the bay. To the left are the Durians, or the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.
At night, the Merlion is usually lit white, contrasting sharply against the backdrop of Singapore’s skyscrapers in the central business district. Sitting along the steps below the Merlion, you can watch Marina Bay Sands Light Show. The 15-minute show lights up the sky with colorful laser lights dance to music from the ship-shaped top of the hotel. The ArtScience Museum also joins in on the act every so often. The light show is on every night at 8 p0 feet and 9.30 p0 feet, with an extra show on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p0 feet
Getting to Merlion ParkYou can get to Merlion Park via bus nos. 10, 10E; 57, 70; 75, 100; 107,128; 130, 131; 162, 167; 196, and 19 and get off at bus stop B03011. The park is a quick walk away from the bus stop.
The nearest MRT station to the park is Raffles Place (NS26/EW14). Take the Exit H, towards Fullerton Hotel. The Merlion Park is on the bay side of the hotel.
Merlion Park is open daily to the public and has no admission fee.
Around the ParkAfter touring Merlion Park and while waiting for the Marina Bay Sands Light Show, there are a lot of other attractions to visit. You can head towards the mouth of the Singapore River and visit the Fullerton Hotel. Behind the hotel on the side of the river, there are three sets of truly unique statues. By Maybank Tower, you might be surprised by a group of merchants chatting on the sidewalk beside a cart. Before crossing Cavenagh Bridge, look for a sculpture of a group of boys that are playing at the edge of the river, about to jump in. At the side of Cavenagh Bridge, is a sculpture of a small family of Singapura cats. Across the bridge lies the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.
If you choose to, cross the Esplanade Bridge and you’ll come closer to the Durians theatre, or the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. You may want to catch a show or two while in Singapore or just enjoy its unique architecture.
Take a river taxi to cross the Marina Bay and visit the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Shop for luxury goods in the mall area or have a little fine dining in the many restaurants at the hotel. If your pockets are deep, book yourself a night at the second most expensive hotel in the world. For a bit more culture, the ArtScience Museum is a short walk from the hotel.
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Author: patricia16. Last updated: Mar 22, 2015