The Singapore flyer became the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world when it began operating in 2008. It stands 165 metres high, located near the Marina Bay Sands hotel complex.
We had purchased our tickets online for the signature cocktail flight upon our arrival we were escorted to their complimentary flyer lounge for an exclusive check in, where we had the room to ourselves to relax, read, use of a computer and a refreshing drink while we waited for the capsule to be ready.
Later, we were shown to our capsule as we passed the large queue of people waiting in line, I felt nervous as we passed everyone, knowing that they would be wondering why we were able to race to the front, we aren’t celebrities, we aren’t famous, we just thought this would be a good package for our family.
The capsule has a 28 person capacity but because of our plan we had the whole capsule to ourselves. As we entered we were handed over our cocktails and Rei his mocktail. The drink was a concoction of whiskey, sour apple, lychee syrup, triple sec, caracao, lime juice topped off with soda. I wouldn’t rave about the drink but it was nice And quite strong.
The Singapore flyer takes approximately 30 minutes to make a full revolution . The panorama views from the capsule captures the Marina Bay Skyline and on a clear day glimpses of Desaru in Malaysia and Bintan and Batan Island in Indonesia.
The speed of the wheel is slow and after the initial excitement that lasts a few minutes, the view is kind of monotonous. Singapore’s skyline doesn’t match up to the likes of London even though the Singapore Flyer is 30 metres taller than the London Eye.
With alcohol and music blaring from the speakers with the likes of Katy Perry, Rihanna and Bruno Mars singing their lungs out, the rest of the time was spent dancing away with our night club moves.
Since returning from Singapore we have read that the Singapore Flyer has gone into receivership.
Details on why it went bankrupt are scarce but the fact is that observation wheels can find it difficult to survive on revenue alone. Even the most famous and arguably most successful wheel in the world, the London Eye, has had to depend heavily on sponsorship.
Perhaps one reason why depending mainly on revenue to survive is difficult, which is what appears to be the case for Singapore Flyer, is because the novelty factor of a giant observation wheel wears out real fast.
Of course, all tourist attractions experience that eventual loss of novelty. But it is harder to regenerate excitement and repeat visits for a wheel compared to other tourist attractions.
A zoo or an amusement park can continually bring in new displays or new rides, construct new sections and expand, or even have an entire rehaul of the place. That can be tough to do for an attraction which consists of one main draw – a huge and heavy 42-storey-tall wheel.
Another possible reason is just bad timing.
Construction began shortly after its owners secured financing in 2005. Just two years after the Flyer’s opening, Marina Bay Sands was up and running, offering a higher and arguably better view of Singapore, immediately dwarfing the Singapore Flyer and nudging it towards irrelevancy.
Have you been on the Singapore Flyer? What was your experience like?