The Best Places In Singapore For Cityscape Photography
The tiny island of Singapore, with its limited space, tends to build upwards and often. Singapore’s cityscape presents any number of fascinating architectural juxtapositions, from the grandiose Palladian and Victorian buildings of the Civic District, to the beautiful and historic shop houses of Chinatown, to the bustling markets and temples of Little India. There is a surprising variety to the architecture. In recent years, Singapore has also entered the world of iconic architecture. This guide will help camera enthusiasts to discover my favourite locations for photographing landmarks which capture Singapore’s unique characteristics.
Though physically small, Singapore is an economic giant. It has been Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century. The city blends Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures and religions. Its unique ethnic tapestry affords visitors a wide array of sightseeing and culinary opportunities from which to choose. A full calendar of traditional festivals and holidays celebrated throughout the year adds to its cultural appeal.
So, before we dig into the photography locations, let’s talk about the camera gear I recommend. Singapore is a city in which you can run-and-gun to your heart’s desire – there is so many interesting photography subjects. Fisheye and wide angle lenses work great in downtown and the Central Business District around the Marina Bay area. A tripod is a must have for long exposures during sunrise and sunset time as well for blue hour shots. And also, consider to bring some ND filters in your camera bag. The combination depends on your personal shooting preferences but as this article deals with the wider urban captures of Singapore I recommend a wide-angle lens. Street and portrait photographer might choose a different lens setup.
Singapore is a challenge for a first-time visitor. The first impression is one of a rather sterile modern city with little of the atmosphere of neighbouring countries. Take your time to explore and you will find places of photographic interest. Most people start their Singapore experience at the Marina Bay Sands area.
One of the best views can be enjoyed from the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands. I recommend to go there a one or two hour before sunset so you can enjoy the city view at daytime, sunset and night.
Central Business Disctrict
Located between the Singapore River, Marina Bay and Chinatown, the Central Business District, commonly referred to as “the city” or CBD, is the centre of all commercial and financial activities. Some of the most prestigious companies, both local and international, have their offices in this densely built area. Here you find the impressive skyscrapers that are part of Singapore’s beautiful skyline and the backdrop for dazzling attractions of the Marina Bay. The scenery gets especially dramatic during the evening hours when the sun sets directly behind the CBD.
LeVel 33 Singapore
This bar is included in of the high-rise buildings at the Marina Bay area and gives you a great panoramic perspective.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay: Rooftop Terrace
Offering a magnificent view of the city and Marina Bay, the Roof Terrace is a popular space for many to grab the perfect photo of Singapore’s modern skyline or to relax.
Merlion Park is one of the major tourist attractions in Singapore. Merlion Park is home to Singapore’s mythical beast, Merlion, which has the body of a fish and the head of a lion. Located in the business district of the city, the Merlion Park covers an area of almost 2,500 square meters. Visitors to Merlion Park will have a fantastic view of Marina Bay Sands across the water.
Gardens by the Bay at Night
Gardens by the Bay is a huge, colourful, futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore. The famous supertree structures offer an impressive skywalk over the gardens, over-sized seashell-shaped greenhouses recreate chilly mountain climates and there are hundreds of trees and plants to discover, making this destination great fun for both kids and adults. It is a beautiful place to visit even if you are not a big garden fan. The garden is only a short walk from Marina Bay Sand so you can visit both place within a day. Definitely go at night for the best possible experience.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown Singapore has beautiful architecture carvings and decorations. The chamber which holds the relic is very peaceful and has space for meditation. On one floor is the museum which has many artefacts with explanations. The main temple itself is very impressive with hundreds of individually made Buddha statues. The colours are amazing and the cultural ambience is superb. The smell is beautiful. It was a very moving watching people remembering their loved ones.
The 165-meter-high Flyer of Singapore’s offers a 30 minute ride with a great view of the city as well. It’s hard to capture through the glass but with some luck you can create some great captures at blue hour and night time.
Telok Ayer Markt / Lau Pa Sat
One of my favourite hawker centres in Singapore is the Telok Ayer Market. This food court – also known as Lau Pa Sat – is in a heritage building that is worth a visit in its own right. On the opposite side of the market you can find a car park, from where you have a great view of the skyscrapers and the food court.
The Arab Quarter
The Arab Quarter (Kampong Glam) was originally home to Singapore’s Malay royalty in the 1800s. Although the sultan’s rule is over and his palace has been refashioned as the Malay Heritage Centre, the area still serves as a gathering place for Malay-Muslims to eat, pray and shop. Kampong Glam is a relatively easy walk form Bugis MRT station.
Residental building near PAssion WaVe @ Marina Bay
At the shore near Singapore Grand Prix Site Office you have a great view of a residental building on the other riverside near the PAssion WaVe @ Marina Bay. This spot is a great one for capturinga sunrise behind the residental apartement complex.
One note about the region of Singapore. Around August to November there is a country-wide burning session that takes place in the rice fields of Indonesia. Due to the trade winds pushing west-to-east from Indonesia, the haze makes its way over Singapore and creates foggy skies. Weather can be a bit tricky from September to January as the rainy season throughout the region is in full effect during this time. So, if your travel plans have you going there in these months, be sure to bring a zippered raincoat to quickly stow a camera as the rain comes on quite quickly.
Other Points of Interest
- Singapore Flyer
- The Pinnacle @ Duxton Skybridge
- Explore the residential areas
- Chinese Gardens
- Chinese Quarter
- Little India
- Orchard Garden
That’s about shooting in Singapore. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on the post.