The New year celebration in Singapore: a once-in-a-lifetime experience

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The EPIC New year Celebration at Singapore Marina Bay Countdown
The EPIC New year Celebration at Singapore Marina Bay Countdown

Imagine at the stroke of midnight on January 1, you usher into a new decade with 16,000 fireworks and 500 drones lighting up the sky along with an on-ground 90-minute high octane, colourful performance by dozens of unicyclists, ballet dancers and fire entertainers. Seems too good to be true, right? But that’s what I witnessed during the New Year Celebration in Singapore.

I am not a fan of showing your love towards your near and dear ones on special days like the Valentine’s Day, Rose Day, Friendship Day, Mother’s Day, and the other innumerable ones that were invented by marketing folks to sell their products. However, the New Year celebration has always been very special as it marks the beginning of something promising – a new year filled with new hopes and dreams. Now it has become a kind of a ritual to ring in the new year at a new destination every year with my close friends. This year was no different as I witnessed one of the best New Year celebrations in the world – Singapore Marina Bay Countdown.

Why did I choose Singapore?

Singapore is one of my favourite cities in the world for a city break – thanks to excellent international connectivity and fab local transport, everyone can fly-in easily and explore the city without any hassles. From swanky shopping malls of Orchard Road to unspoiled nature of Pulau Ubin, there’s no shortage of choices in Singapore. Whether you are looking for shopping, eating, exploring or just having a good time, Singapore always has something for you. Communication is never an issue, as English is the primary language. When it comes to food – you can have what you want – all kinds of international cuisines are readily available (unless you are looking for vegetarian food in a hardcore Chinese neighbourhood).

After experiencing the fireworks in Australia, Europe and America over the last few years, I wanted to start a new decade with a bang. And, the New Year Celebration in Singapore happened to be a perfect choice. 

What’s unique about Singapore Marina Bay Countdown

New year celebration in Singapore is a once-in-lifetime experience
New year celebration in Singapore is a once-in-lifetime experience

While you can soak in year-end celebrations all across the island, the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is one of the city’s largest and most popular parties. It’s truly a feast for the senses —the year-end festivities light up the iconic Marina Bay skyline with a scintillating display of fireworks and on-ground festivities filling the bustling streets.

Ringing the new decade in Singapore

On December 30, I arrived with my friend Swapnil Kulkarni from India to meet another friend of ours, Denise, who was travelling from another country.

For me, the new year celebration in Singapore was all about spending quality time with friends
For me, the new year celebration in Singapore was all about spending quality time with friends

Our journey started with a happy and comfortable note as we were travelling with my favourite Airlines, Singapore Airlines. I genuinely love them (nobody paid me to say this) for their impeccable timing, service, food, inflight-entertainment, staff attitude, overall comfort and above all, the Changi Airport, that is like a destination in itself.

Boarding the Singapore Airlines plane to begin my new year celebrations in Singapore
Boarding the Singapore Airlines plane to begin my new year celebrations in Singapore

After checking-in at our hotel Carlton Singapore, we straight away ventured out to check the fantastic light projections that transformed the facades of some of the most iconic buildings of Singapore – the ArtScience Museum, the Merlion and the Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Singapore Marina Bay countdown: my celebrations began with the Light Projections
Singapore Marina Bay countdown: my celebrations began with the Light Projections

The interesting thing about these projections was that they were a part of ‘Build a Dream’ campaign designed to support the underprivileged in fulfilling their dreams and personal development. And, the artworks beamed on the buildings were made by the same kids whose lives were being transformed. Now isn’t that a great way to celebrate a New year? 

When in Singapore, it's a must-do to get clicked on the Helix Bridge at Marina Bay
When in Singapore, it’s a must-do to get clicked on the Helix Bridge at Marina Bay

Next day after a delicious breakfast, we decided to explore the city. Until lunch, we roamed around the Marina Bay area to absorb the festive vibe of the town. The tourist attractions and malls were bustling with revellers. Wherever we looked – we saw happy faces rejoicing the live DJ performances, exploring the family-friendly entertainment zones, or munching the wide variety of mouth-watering delicacies at the food village. Singapore became a mini world – there were tourists from as far as Latin America, Europe, North America, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Invoking the childhood

Attending the Great Circus of Europe in Singapore was a good way to get back to childhood
Attending the Great Circus of Europe in Singapore was a good way to get back to childhood

Post lunch we decided to do something that we hadn’t done for ages – watching a circus – the Great Circus of Europe, presented by Uncle Ringo, as part of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2020 celebrations. The show brought together an ensemble cast of world-class performers from across Europe who entertained us by their action-packed circus acts. ⠀

We thoroughly enjoyed the acts at Attending the Great Circus of Europe in Singapore
We thoroughly enjoyed the acts at Attending the Great Circus of Europe in Singapore

 The acts were so exciting that they kept us on the edge of our seats. The whole time I held my breath looking at the perfectly timed intricate acrobatics, gravity-defying aerial performances, daredevil motorbikers in a circular iron cage, and more! While families mostly attended it with young kids, there were a lot of youngsters as well as senior citizens too. There were many games and fun activities to involve the audience.

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While the New Year’s Eve was an unforgettable night spent watching the 90-minutes fireworks show at Marina Bay, the day was equally fun. ⠀ ⠀ The day was well spent absorbing the festive vibe of Singapore and watching the Great Circus of Europe, presented by Uncle Ringo, as part of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2020 celebrations. The show brought together an ensemble cast of world class performers from across Europe who entertained us by their action-packed circus acts. ⠀ ⠀ The acts were so engrossing that they kept me on the edge of my seat. The whole time I held my breath looking at the perfectly timed intricate acrobatics, gravity-defying aerial performances, daredevil motorbikers in a circular iron cage, and more! After the awe-inspiring performance, I relished the carnival games, thrilling rides and delectable delights at the food street. Spending time here was going back to childhood. It’s a must-visit for families. ⠀ PS: Do watch all the videos with sound on 📢📣🔊🔈 ……………………………………………… ⠀ ⠀ How was your New Year’s Eve? ⠀ ……………………………………………… ⠀ @MarinaBaySG @ringocircus #MBSC2020 #MarinaBaySG #ringocircus #uncleringo #uncleringosg #sgcarnival #uncleringocarnival #uncleringoclub #singaporespecial #singapore #singaporeinsiders #singapore🇸🇬world-class #singaporeig #singaporean #singaporelife #singapore_insta #singaporetrip #singaporeinsta #singaporecity #singaporephotographer #singaporeflyer #singaporestyle #singaporediaries #singaporeevents #singaporebound #singaporetraveller

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Once the awe-inspiring performance was over, I walked through the carnival area buzzing with activities – different kinds of games, thrilling rides and delectable delights at the food street. Spending time here was going back to childhood. It’s a must-visit for families. 

The carnival area was buzzing with games, thrilling rides and delectable cuisines
The carnival area was buzzing with games, thrilling rides and delectable cuisines

Singapore Marina Bay Countdown 2019

And, finally, the moment that I had waited for months arrived. Around 7:30 pm, we reached ‘the Float’ at Marina Bay, where the main event was to take place. Although, the actual event was to start at 10:30 pm but to avoid the traffic and crowd we decided to reach early and have dinner at the venue itself which was thronged by long queues of people standing for food and drinks.

A house-full to see the Singapore Marina Bay Countdown 2019
A house-full to see the Singapore Marina Bay Countdown 2019

At 10:30 pm the multi-sensory musical show started. Centred around the theme – A SPACE ODYSSEY – the show transported spectators to a mysterious parallel galaxy where we experienced the magic of an immersive and futuristic Hanabi (Japanese word meaning Fireworks) cultural and entertainment show. The experience was designed to make us travel through space across six sections: Ceremony, Another Earth, Galaxy Party, Gravity, Microcosmos and the Grand Finale. Each section was choreographed to a unique soundtrack delivered via 3D surround sound technology. We could hear the sound from different directions and distances, mimicking the way we listen to things in real life.

The grand show opened at 10:30 pm: Singapore Marina Bay Countdown
The grand show opened at 10:30 pm: Singapore Marina Bay Countdown

After approximately 20 minutes, we witnessed Singapore’s largest drone show with 500 drones synchronised to spectacular 16,000 fireworks, light projections, 3D sound and pyrotechnics. The drones lit up the night sky at Marina Bay, creating formations such as a spaceship and a whale, and culminating with an eight-minute fireworks display at midnight. Japanese entertainment group Avex produced the fireworks show.

500 drones synchronised to spectacular 16,000 fireworks, light projections, 3D sound and pyrotechnics
500 drones synchronised to spectacular 16,000 fireworks, light projections, 3D sound and pyrotechnics
Singapore Marina Bay Countdown: The 90 minutes show culminated with dazzling 8-minute fireworks at midnight
Singapore Marina Bay Countdown: The 90 minutes show culminated with dazzling 8-minute fireworks at midnight

 As the new year live countdown began, we hugged and wished each other a happy new year at the stroke of midnight. For 90 minutes the dazzling fireworks display bedazzled the onlookers. It was indeed a night to remember. 

On top of attending the most epic 2020 NYE fireworks display in Singapore, something else caught my attention too. I noticed how well an event of such a mega-scale was organised. There were over one hundred thousand visitors in the area, yet everything was in order — no chaos of any kind and no leftovers. A team of 250 cleaners and more than 150 National Environment Agency’s litter-free ambassadors went around the Marina Bay and Civic District to clean up the area after the countdown party.

I wish someday we can organise an event of this scale so efficiently. Attending the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2020 was one of the best new year celebrations I have attended so far. I highly recommend it.

Travel Tips to plan a similar trip to Singapore

How to plan a trip to Singapore
How to plan a trip to Singapore
  • Tickets: Book your flight tickets and Marina Bay Countdown tickets well in advance as they get sold out very soon. 
  • Accommodation: I highly recommend staying close to Marina Bay as you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a traffic jam. I stayed at Carlton Singapore and found it pretty good in terms of amenities, service and central location. 
  • Visa: You should apply for a Singapore Visa a month before your travel. The visa fee is INR 2050, and if your travel record is right, you can quickly get a two-year visa.
  • Flights: While there are many economical options to fly, I prefer Singapore Airlines for its above-average service.
  • Food: Vegetarian and vegan food are available but please don’t go out hunting for food too late in the night at places like 7/11 or Chinese food markets. I struggled a lot – had to do with bread and chips.
  • Local transportation: Get an MRT card for the subway. It is the fastest and cheapest to get around. Grab taxi is reliable and comfortable too.
  • Shortlist the attractions: A lot of events happen during New Year Celebrations in Singapore and it’s not humanly possible to attend all. Therefore it’s better to map out your route and the preferred activities you want to partake.
Singapore Marina Bay Countdown: Activities
Singapore Marina Bay Countdown: Activities

Itinerary: 5 Days Singapore itinerary (any time of the year)

  • Day 1: Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Flyer
  • Day 2: River Safari, Singapore Zoo, Rainforest Lumina and Night Safari or explore the offbeat areas of Singapore like Pulau Ubin
  • Day 3: Singapore Cable Car, Universal Studios Singapore and Wings of Time or Sentosa Island
  • Day 4: Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands Skypark and Shopping at Orchard Road
  • Day 5: Jurong Bird Park and The Southern Ridges

5 Days Singapore itinerary (during year-end celebrations)

  • Same as above except for the Day 3. Visit Uncle Ringo Circus (or any other family event at Marina Bay) followed by the Marina Bay Countdown at the Star Island.

3 Days Singapore itinerary 

  • Day 1: Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Flyer
  • Day 2: River Safari, Singapore Zoo, Rainforest Lumina and Night Safari or explore the offbeat areas of Singapore like Pulau Ubin
  • Day 3: Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands Skypark and Shopping at Orchard Road

Have you been to Singapore during the New Year celebration? How was your experience? Please do share your feedback in the comment section below.

Further reading

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Disclaimer

I was invited to Visit Singapore during New Year’s Eve celebration. Everything expressed above is based on my personal experience in the country. All images used were either shot by Swapnil, me or provided by the company. Please don’t use any image or text without my written permission

10 Comments

  • Ej Requina says:

    I plan on visiting Singapore Q4 of this year. I have always wanted to go to this country as I heard a lot of great places to visit here. And I agree Marina Bay is definitely where the action is.

  • Shreya Saha says:

    Singapore is the place where everyone would love to spend their time once in a lifetime. In your blog, you have nicely described lots of places where 31st night will be more beautiful like – Marina Bay Singapore countdown is the best place. I would love to be there on next year NYE.

  • Arnav Mathur says:

    Looks like you had a killer NYE in Singapore, and the photos are speaking for themselves Archana. I loved how you’ve drafted some sample Itineraries, which i feel gives an excellent framework to the first time traveller to Singapore, such as myself. Somehow haven’t been able to include Singapore in my plans yet, but now i am keeping my 2021 celebrations reserved for Singapore, as the celebration looks EPIC.

  • Shreya Saha says:

    I have seen firework scenes in Europe, Thailand and Australia before that’s why I can relate to you; however, I haven’t been to Singapore yet but I am really intending to spend the NYE next year there. I am really impressed by the drone show. How amazing it would be to see so many drones flying in a synchronized way. Great work on providing different itineraries as well. Thanks for the blog.

  • Ami Bhat says:

    Initially, when I read the heading, I was like why Singapore. It’s so done with but after reading through your experience, I am like – Why not Singapore. As you rightly said, it is a treat to all your senses. It brings the kid out in you with all that carnival and circus and at the same time, you feel like a belle in a ball with all that glamour. Good tips on how to plan a 5 day here – somehow even that seems less with the number of things Singapore has to offer.

  • Jennifer Prince says:

    So great that the show was 90 minutes – that’s a long time for fireworks. It looks like a lovely way to ring in the new year! I didn’t realize that Singapore was so easy to get to – I need to make a stopover there sometime. I hope you have a great 2020!

  • Subhashish Roy says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed seeing Singapore in the night with all its lights. Reminded me about my trip during last August when we were there during National Day. Marina Bay looks awesome in your pic. Nice to see friends having a great time together.

  • Swati says:

    The fireworks looks beautiful in pictures and I am sure it would have been an amazing experience standing there and enjoying in person. Some good tips and itinerary suggestions I must say for Singapore. You can also add shopping in Buggis street and a visit to the Chinese temple. Staying closer to the Marine Bay especially during such events makes more sense.

  • Yukti Agrawal says:

    It looks that you had an awesome time in Singapore and that too when the whole world is waiting to welcome the New Year. I loved the light projections at Singapore Marina Bay countdown. It is really interesting about these projections as they were a part of ‘Build a Dream’ campaign which was designed to support the underprivileged to fulfil their dreams and personal development. This is really a great way to celebrate new year. I would also love to go for the Great Circus of Europe in Singapore to bring back my childhood and I would surely go for Uncle Ringo for all childhood fun.

  • Aareeba says:

    I have always wanted to visit Singapore and now after reading your post, I know when to visit there. I love watching fireworks and countdown during the new year and I usually spend time in Disneyland or Disney world during that period. I guess I have to travel to Singapore next time for a new year’s experience

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