SINGAPORE - A new observation deck at Gardens by the Bay giving unobstructed views of the Marina Bay area is open to the public from Friday (Dec 27).
The 50m-high observatory on top of the tallest of 18 supertrees has two storeys - a lower air-conditioned deck and an upper open-air circular rooftop. Visitors ascend to the top via a lift concealed within the tree trunk.
The lower deck has an indoor area with full-height glass windows, an outdoor walkway and a cafe. Four video panels highlighting the effects of climate change are lined along the windows.
A short flight of stairs leads to the rooftop deck, the highest point of the gardens. Visitors can download the Supertree Observatory smartphone app which uses augmented reality to provide information about the surrounding landmarks.
Scanning the skyline with a camera will reveal landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, as well as additional information.
Several tourists were among the eager visitors on Friday. Londoner Josh Hasley, 24, who was making a three-day stopover in Singapore, said: "This is a perfect place to get some good views; it is really breezy as well. I did not know of this at all and just happened to pass by so decided to check it out."
Photography enthusiast Lin Kai Pao, who has lived in Singapore for over 10 years after leaving China, said in Mandarin: "I've been to the skyway many times and you get a much better view here. This is one of the best spots to take photos as the view is unobstructed and you can play with the photo angles to get good shots."
While the view is perfect for fireworks, the public will be out of luck as the observatory opens from 9am to 9pm, with the last entry at 8.30pm.
The space took about six months to be refurbished into an observatory. It was built to complement the limited capacity of the OCBC Skyway - a 128m long aerial walkway 22m above ground.
Unlike the observatory, which can accommodate 120 visitors, the skyway could hold just 80 people. The space was previously owned by restaurant IndoChine, which has other outlets in areas such as Chijmes and Holland Village.
Mr Ng Boon Gee, senior director of conservatory operations at Gardens by the Bay, said: "This observatory was designed to give it a futuristic and modern look. The skyway had limited capacity and was dependent on the weather, but this new observatory has both indoor and outdoor elements, making it more complete."
The entrance fee for the observatory costs between $6 and $14, with foreigners having to pay slightly more. Prices also depend on age and will be cheaper for those with membership at the gardens.
Tickets can be bought on-site or online from www.gardensbythebay.com.sg