Why you don’t find Marina Bay on old maps of Singapore

When you think of Singapore, you might think of the impressive Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the futuristic Gardens by The Bay and the giant Singapore Flyer. All located in marina bay. But if you look at an old Singapore map, you will notice that the area around the bay didn’t exist a few years ago. So how come the Marina Bay became one of the most popular areas in Singapore, housing some of the metropolis’ most famous sights?


When you think of Singapore, one of the first things that come to mind is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, with its iconic three pillars and the world’s largest rooftop infinity tool facing the Marina Bay. However, If you look at an old Singapore map, you will notice that not only the hotel but also the whole area don’t exist. In fact, before 1969, the bay area, which includes the two planning districts Marina South and Marina East, was nothing else than the open sea.

So how did the district with the famous name become a bay?

This happened through sand reclamation, which most of us know from more recent works in the United Arab Emirates. But long before large projects like the palm in Dubai gained international attraction, Singapore created an 360-hectare extension to its adjacent Central Business, including a bay area that was named Marina Bay. The sand reclamation began in 1969 and took decades. During the process, the Telok Ayer Basin and Inner Roads were removed from the map by reclaiming land, while the Singapore River now flows into the Bay. The material for the land reclamation came from Tampines (another district in Singapore), that produced redundant earth from housing developments.

Today, the Bay Area is internationally known. Especially since the Urban Redevelopment Authority spent $400k on branding exercises to name the area into Marina Bay and creating a distinctive image with international landmarks, such as the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Marina Bay Financial Centre, the Waterfront Promenade, and popular condos with impressive names like “The Sail @ Marina Bay” and “Marina One”.⁠

Other than that, the Marina Bay district is home to some of the most famous tourist attractions of the metropolis: The Singapore Flyer, the Helix-Bridge, and, last but not least, the Gardens by the Bay with the famous avatar trees and the worlds largest conservatories, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.




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