Most of us will have to wait until March 1 to take a spin on the Singapore Flyer, the giant observation wheel that cost US$160 million and just under three years to complete. But 28 corporations have already booked tickets for inaugural rides from 11-13 February, just in time to usher in the Chinese Lunar New Year with celebratory lou hei noodles and canapÃ©s, while taking in breathtaking 360 degree views of the island nation. Bookings cost an auspicious S$8,888 (about US$6,271) per air-conditioned capsule, which can carry 26 people at a time.
At 42 stories high, the Singapore Flyer will be the largest observation wheel in Asia, and is taller than the London Eye by 30 meters. On a clear day, visitors are likely to catch views of nearby Malaysia and Indonesia. Afraid of heights? Check out the Retail Terminal at the base, which houses three levels of specialty and lifestyle shops and boutiques, and a lush tropical rainforest in the center.
The Singapore Flyer is part of a massive national drive to increase visitors to the country. The region is already abuzz with anticipation for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September 2008, and two Integrated Resorts due to open in 2010.