The skyline of the island city-state of Singapore is dominated by an enormous observation wheel, and in this post, we’ll take a closer look at some fun and interesting facts about the Singapore Flyer, one of the best places to get amazing views of the city!
1. It’s located at the Downcore Core of Singapore
The Singapore Flyer is a giant observation wheel located at the Downtown Core of the island city-state of Singapore in Southeast Asia. This is really the central area of the city which also features the historical city center.
On the other side of Marina Bay, we can find other fascinating landmarks in Singapore such as the incredible Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino, the fascinating Helix Bridge right next to it, and Gardens by the Bay with the iconic Flower Dome.
The central location of the Ferris wheel ensures it provides the most amazing views possible of the Singapore skyline and its most amazing landmarks.
2. It took 2 and a half years to build this remarkable landmark
The initial plan to build a Ferris wheel in Singapore came about in the early 2000s when a German businessman named Patrick MacMahon of Melchers Project Management came up with the idea. This plan ended up being announced by the Singapore Tourism Board on June 27, 2003.
The plan eventually ended up being approved and a company named “Singapore Flyer Pte Ltd” was formed. This company leased the plot of land on which the structure was built from the Singapore Land Authority who owns it for a period of 30 years.
Construction of the tourist attraction eventually started in 2005 following some delays. It was eventually completed in 2008 following a construction period of 2.5 years!
3. It was the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world upon completion
The Singapore Flyer has a total height of 165 meters (541 feet), an incredible height that made it the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world upon completion in 2008!
It also has a diameter of 150 meters (492 feet) and was built on a plot of land of 33,700 square meters (362,700 square feet) along the Marina Promenade.
It held this record until it was surpassed by the High Roller in Las Vegas in 2014. The observation wheel in Nevada is just 2.6 meters (9 feet) taller with a total height of 167.6 meters (550 feet).
4. The structural engineer had experience building a wheel like this
The contractors that were about to build the observation wheel were announced in July 2003 and these were to be Japanese, namely the Takenaka and Mitsubishi companies.
The structural engineering company that oversaw the work, global British firm Arup, was already familiar with building Ferris Wheels. In 2000, the company oversaw the work on the London Eye which is located on the South Bank of the River Thames and which is a prominent landmark in London.
The wheel was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007), one of the leading exponents of the Metabolist movements. He was the designer of one of the most peculiar landmarks in Tokyo, the Nakagin Capsule Tower.
With a height of 135 meters (443 feet), the London Eye was the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world upon completion in March 2000 as well!
5. The main funding of the project came from foreign investors
Building the wheel wasn’t a sinecure because there weren’t that many investors lining up to fund the project. When talks with various investors ended up without a deal, the future of the Singapore Flyer looked rather bleak in 2005.
This all changed when two German banks, including a subsidiary of Dutch bank ABN AMRO and HypoVereinsbank, provided equity worth S$100 million and S$140 million respectively, the financial issues were solved and construction started shortly after.
6. Completing a roundtrip on the wheel tales over half an hour
The wheel revolves rather slow, which is a good thing because it allows visitors to have plenty of time to take magnificent pictures of Singapore and its wonderful landmarks.
A roundtrip of the wheel is completed in exactly 32 minutes. Each of the capsules has a capacity of 28 people which means that the wheel can accommodate 7.3 million visitors a year.
7. There’s something special about the Flyer’s capsules
The Ferris wheel is equipped with 28 air-conditioned capsules (yes this is needed in a tropical country) which offer astounding views of the city.
This is possible because the capsules are attached to the outside of the rim of the wheel, something that ensures that visitors can enjoy unobstructed views.
8. The first tickets were sold for a particular amount of money
Even though the wheel was effectively completed on October 2, 2007, it didn’t open to the general public until April 15 of 2008, an event that was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Before this event, several occasions were used to promote the wheel, including the first public rides on Valentine’s Day of 2008 and a soft launch a few weeks later on March 1.
The first tickets were sold between February 11 and 13 to corporate guests for the special total price of S$8,888, a number which is supposed to bring good fortune according to the local culture.
9. The future of the wheel was saved by 2 Singapore companies
Even though the Ferris wheel quickly became a popular tourist attraction in Singapore, the good fortune didn’t last long because of the company involved in the project.
This company was “Great Wheel Corporation” and was a consultant for the Singapore Flyer until their shady business tactics came to light and it was officially charged with embezzlement by the Berlin prosecutor in May 2010.
There were initial talks with Merlin Entertainment in 2014, the entertainment company managing the London Eye and various theme parks around the world, ended up without a deal, the future of the wheel looked rather bleak yet again.
Two Singapore-based companies saved the future of the wheel on August 28, 2014. Straco Leisure Pte. Ltd., an entertainment company that operates attractions in China, and WTS Leisure Pte. Ltd., a successful tour bus operator in Singapore, acquired 90% and 10% of the Singapore Flyer’s ownership respectively.
Thanks to these 2 companies, we can still enjoy an amazing ride on the wheel today!
10. It offers stunning views of the Singapore skyline at night
And what an amazing ride it is, right? This fascinating tourist attraction is situated in such an amazing position that it provides astounding views of all of the most popular landmarks in Singapore!
We feel that the best way to enjoy a roundtrip on the wheel is at night, because then the city really comes to life!