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By: Nessa Anwar
InstaScram skirts around the shores of the deep blue sea, all the way to the edges of the bright blue sky. We might be a biker travel show, but that does not mean we cannot explore the seas on two wheels. We take to the waters that surround our little island, to capture some magnificent views, sights, and photographs.
First up, we take a trip to Tuas, to uncover the story behind a particular lighthouse, that has been the subject of many incredible pictures captured by Singaporeans. Located in the far west of our island, the Raffles Marina Lighthouse is one of the only lighthouses not managed by the Marine and Port Authority of Singapore. Instead, the lighthouse is managed by the Raffles Marina as it resides at the tip of their pier in the marina. It has been widely known as the Johor Strait Lighthouse, before it was officially renamed in 2017.
Not much is known about the history of this structure, but it is one of the smallest lighthouses in Singapore, standing at just 12 metres high. It is actually a replica of the bigger Raffles Lighthouse, which ascends to a height of 40 metres. You can find out more about more existing lighthouses in Singapore here.
But even for the small size of the lighthouse, it used to play a crucial role back in the 1990s, directing numerous sea vessels safely into the Raffles Marina Club. It used to flash an amber beam every 10 seconds from dusk to dawn. As of now, it is merely ornamental and no longer functions as a lighthouse.
Its remote spot in Tuas does not deter the locals who make their way here to snap some epic pictures. During the day, the lighthouse looks magnificent enough, especially with the Tuas Second Link bridge in its background. As daylight fades, the view is just as enchanting, as it stands against the backdrop of a darkened sky and the faraway dots of streetlights. On the opposite side of the pier is a tableau that is just as charming, boasting rows of docked yachts and boats belonging to the members of the club.
Even if you are not a member, the lighthouse, the pier, and the restaurants are open to the public. We were able to ride the Triumph Bobber right onto the pier at Raffles Marina with their permission. But at our next location, we ditched our wheels at Marina South Pier.
Marina South Pier, and Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, replaced the Clifford Pier, which closed in 2006. The building that houses the cruise centre seems nondescript from a distance. But up close, we can see the deliberate design of the roof to imitate rolling waves of the sea. Marina South Pier has been around since the early 2000s, but had gained more attention after its MRT station, Marina South Pier MRT Station, opened in November 2014, making it more accessible to commuters and passers-bys.
This is your starting point of your sea voyages to the Southern Singapore islands, like Kusu Island, Lazarus Island, and St. John’s Island, hotspots for weekend daytrips amongst locals and tourists alike. Regardless of your travel plans, the Singapore Maritime Gallery, located on the second floor, is great for a day out with the kids. With development costing over $5 million, it is a one-stop entertainment and education hub for all things related to Singapore’s maritime history, from ship handling simulators, to exhibits detailing our maritime beginnings and technologies.
The open-decked rooftop gives an immensely stunning view of the sea, the ships and even the central business district skyline on the other side. And if you are looking for a lunch with a view, there is always Stewords Riverboat.
Stewords Riverboat, which is a vessel built in 1991, in the image of Mississippi steamboats that were all the rage during the 1800s in America. It is the only one of its kind left in Southeast Asia, as the other two that were built with it, were shipped to Australia. The riverboat has housed an A&W fast-food outlet, a Chinese restaurant and even a beer garden, and used to be anchored off Sentosa before the Stewords Riverboat management took over. It has been berthed at Marina South Pier since 2006, where you can find two dining options on this floating platform, the Santa Fe Tex-Mex Grill, and the Wood & Steel Gastrobar.