WELCOME TO THE LITTLE RED DOT!
Welcome to the ultimate guide for the best photography places in Singapore. While Singapore may be a “little red dot”, a little exploration on the island state will surprise you with it’s multi-culture and many secret scenic photography spots.
This is a compilation of the many locations in Singapore that I have been to over the past years, and not just the “tourist worthy” photography spots that is. The main purpose of this post is to move people away from posting more “common” photos of the Marina Bay Sands and Merlion Park.
To anyone visiting Singapore – There is so much more than just those over-hyped places, it’s time to go on a small adventure in this urban jungle!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The town, the neighborhood. The heartlands are where most Singaporean live in, and they may appear to be boring places to visit at first. But take a walk down the street, or take the lift up to the top floor of some high rising blocks, and you will be amazed with the bird’s eye view. (Plus it’s free)
ANG MO KIO
Ang Mo Kio is Hokkein (Chinese dialect), and it translates to “Bridge of the Caucasian”. Just how did Ang Mo Kio get such a cheesy name? Because a Caucasian once lived here, and built a bridge in the area.
The Chinese people then started to refer to the place as “Ang Mo Kio”, and that name just got stuck for decades. Genius. But sadly today, the bridge is long gone.
Sunset from Block 310A
Take bus 133 from the bus interchange, just a couple of stops. You can take a 10 mins walk alternatively… which is not really *that* far.
Take the lift up to the highest floor (or anywhere you think high enough), open the door to the common staircase. You will be greeted by a bird’s eye view of the town. Great shot against the sunset.
This is a public housing estate, do not disturb the residents. West facing, and only good for sunset.
Sunset from Block 455A
Take bus 25, 55, 73, 74, 76, 132, 165, or 268 from the bus stop beside the MRT station. Just 3 stops, or you can take a 15 minutes walk.
Same layout as most new HDB flats – open the door to the stairs, and you will be greeted by a panoramic view of the town. Great shot against the sunset.
Public housing estate, do not disturb the residents. West facing, and good for sunset.
Panorama of Bishan Park
Take bus 262 from Ang Mo Kio MRT station, alight at block 315B.
Take the lift up the block (to a high enough floor), a nice panorama of Bishan Park awaits along the common corridor.
This is a public housing estate, do not disturb the residents.
Various buses from the bus interchange – 133, 136, and 262.
While you are in town, you might want to take a short detour to Bishan park. Which is not just a park, but a man made river plains. See the parks section.
The river can swell up during thunderstorms… just go find shelter when a thunderstorm rolls in.
Toa Payoh is Hokkein (Chinese dialect), and it translates to “Big Swamp”. Yep, our ancestors have a good and straightforward naming sense. Toa Payoh started as nothing but a swamp, but today, it’s a lively town.
Light trails from Block 195
Take bus 235 or 238 from the interchange, stop at blk 27 and take a short walk to block 195.
This block is right beside the busy highway. Come during the night, and there are plenty of chances to catch light trails. Just take the lift up, and find your best spot.
Public housing estate, do not disturb the residents.
The dragon playground
Take a short 5 mins walk from the train station.
A walk down memory lane. One of the few remaining dragon playgrounds in Singapore.
This may not be interesting for tourists, but it is something of nostalgia to the locals… Go get a photo of it before it’s gone.
Toa Payoh 5 fingers highrise from blk 190
Take a short 5 mins walk from the train station, up the top floor of the car park in blk 190.
The fabled 5 fingers mountain that pinned down the monkey god. Now in the modern form of housing estate.
There’s literally no one parking at this carpark… but still do be on the lookout for incoming vehicles.
Queenstown is one of the earlier settlements in Singapore, and when you get “queen” in the name, it has to be the British. It is named after Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1952.
Take a short 10 mins walk from the train station.
Panoramic views of Singapore from the sky gardens.
The block looks like some sort of private condo, but it’s public housing. Just take the lift up to the sky gardens. I am not sure if greedy folks will start charging “entry fees” to the sky gardens in the future. So go there fast while it’s still free.
TANJONG RHU AREA
This area used to be a dirty river, docks, and full of industrial warehouses. Somehow, the government decided to “challenge accepted” this area, and turned it into a high class residential zone.
Tanjung Rhu Suspension Bridge
Take a short 5 mins walk from the Stadium train station.
Singapore’s first suspension bridge. Great against sunset or twilight.
Quite a lot of cyclists in the area. Do keep an eye open.
Former Watch Tower
Right beside the suspension bridge
A watch tower that now stands silent. Another great place to chill against the sunset.
Not sure if the tower is open to the general public… the authorities here can be quite random on this.
5 minutes from the Nicholl Highway train station.
Personally love the architecture of Costa Rhu. A good break from the usual HDB (government housing). East facing, this place is good for sunrise photos.
Costa Rhu actually sits on the eastern bank, on the side of Stadium MRT. But to get a good shot of this place, you need to stop at the western bank, the Nicholl Highway station.
Also note that the Singapore Sports Hub sits here, which gets crowded and noisy whenever big events are held.
SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB (FROM BLK 4 BEACH ROAD)
A 15 mins walk from the Lavender MRT station.
Go up block 4 of Beach Road, and you will get a bird’s eye view of the river and Singapore Sports Hub.
Pretty exciting place to be whenever there are fireworks display, or big concerts.
Down in the southern part of Singapore lies the heart of the city. This is where all the bustling financial districts and centers are at, alongside some of the earliest settlements in Singapore – You will find an interesting cross of the past, present and future all in the city area.
The street that is called Arab Street because an Arab merchant that once owned it. Today, this is a bustling street full of colorful textiles, carpets and good food. But do be aware that this has somewhat became a “touristy zone”, and the stuff are a little overpriced.
10 min walk from Bugis MRT Station.
Plenty of street art, and Masjid Sultan.
Remember to take your shoes off before entering Masjid Sultan.
This place is actually called “Niu Cher Sui” (oxcart water) in Chinese, and not Chinatown. Back in those days, plumbing was non-existent, and people had to buy water from water peddlers on oxcarts. Thus, the name of oxcart water. How it came to have the “Chinatown” name, is probably because of the Chinese majority living there.
Directly alight at the Chinatown MRT station.
Plenty of street photography opportunities around this area.
Do note that the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple closes at 7pm. No disrespectful clothing (shirt with f*** you message and that sort). You can go up any nearby public housing to catch a better view of the temple.
MARINA BAY AREA
This is where the old docks and piers are at, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you might be able to spot a few of those old buildings. Land reclamation has changed the skyline entirely, and in particular, Marina Bay Sands is actually sitting on reclaimed land.
A short walk from the Clarke Quay MRT station.
Light trails of boats passing by.
A lot of tourist, the food here is expensive… But good place to catch some photos of night life in Singapore.
A short walk from the Promanade MRT station.
The Fountain of Wealth
Wait for the night, and the fountain will light up. You will need an extremely wide angle lens, or even a fisheye lens.
MARINA BAY SANDS
MRT Bayfront station.
The famous Helix Bridge, “Flying Ship” and Artscience Museum.
It’s the city area. Lots of people during rush hour, do watch out if you carry a lot of photography equipment. Don’t kill people with your tripod by accident. A lot of “touristy” photo spots here, good for night photography and capturing light trails.
Directly from Esplanade MRT station.
Our iconic “durian”.
The rooftop is open to the public, and is a very nice vantage point to shoot the Marina Bay Sands wonderful light show at 8pm. Do not overstay, if I remember correctly, it closes after 10pm.
A short walk from the Raffles Place MRT station.
The world famous skyline and mythical creature.
This park is packed with tourists 24/7. Somehow.
MARINA COSTAL EXPRESSWAY
Directly from Esplanade MRT station.
Light trails of the passing traffic.
This place is actually pretty inaccessible. Wait for the night, possible mosquito and insect pester.
Singapore is an island surrounded by sea, and has 5 million in population. Which is why water is so scarce, and we have so many reservoirs on this island to provide all the fresh water needs. Good thing is that, most of them have “built-in” parks and nature trails that you can enjoy.
LOWER PEIRCE RESERVOIR
The second oldest reservoir in Singapore commissioned in 1912.
Plenty of buses 132, 163, 165, 166, 167, 855, 980.
The pavilion against the sunset, rocky coast.
Monkeys and wild boars in this area. Avoid bringing food.
Singapore’s first reservoir, now a favorite spot for kayakers.
Plenty of buses – 52, 74, 130 ,132, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 852, 855 and 980.
The pier at Paddle Lodge during sunset, tree top walk, and plenty of nature trails.
It’s a reservoir and natural reserve. Expect wildlife. Avoid bringing food, or you will be pestered by monkeys to no end. Do not stray off the walking paths if you decide to enter the nature trails.
UPPER SELETAR RESERVOIR
Singapore’s third reservoir, build after the world world to cater to the rising water demand.
Take bus 138 from Ang Mo Kio Interchange, the bus stop for Upper Seletar is rather obscure in the middle of the road…
Scenic reservoir that looks more like a lake. A few vantage points such as the jetty, rocket tower, and “marriage tree”.
Possible mozzie attack, monkey pester. Avoid bringing food.
GARDENS BY THE BAY AREA
The prized “man made garden” of Singapore. Somehow a sparked a controversy when this place should be about self-sufficiency, but costs a bomb to maintain. Anyway, just walk a little more away from that tourist buzz, and you will find some pretty nice views of the city.
GARDENS BY THE BAY WEST
A sprawling park that is completed in 2012. Costs billions to build, and made it’s way onto the world map.
10 mins walk from MRT Bayfront station.
The famous super trees at night, the flower dome and cloud forest.
Tourist heavy zone. Expect a lot of people during weekends. Entering the park itself is free, but you will need to pay an entrance fee for the flower dome and cloud forest.
GARDENS BY THE BAY EAST
Is still a part of Gardens by the Bay, but lesser known because it is not as accessible.
Cross the bridge from Marina Barrage, or 15 minutes walk from Stadium MRT.
Beautiful skyline of Singapore city, espeically during sunset.
Not very accessible, and a lot of walking. Cycle if you can. Come during the sunset hours (5pm+) to avoid getting burnt to crisp from the afternoon sun.
Opened in 2008, the barrage keeps out seawater, and is actually Singapore’s 15th reservoir.
At the edge of Gardens By The Bay.
People usually kite here during the weekends. You might catch some good “sky fish” here.
A lot of walking, rather isolated place at the edge of the city.
Singapore is also called the garden city. There’s a reason for that, and it’s the sickening amount of parks that we have. While most of the town parks are just boring, some of them are actually photo worthy.
If I were to say that this place used to be a cemetery, many young ones will shake their head in disbelieve. Bishan park now, is a huge man made river plains.
Various buses from Ang Mo Kio bus interchange – 133, 136, and 262.
Sunset and plenty of opportunities by the river.
Mozzie attack, the river is safe to walk into during “low tide”. Just know that you will get wet… and do run for shelter during lightning storms. You do not want to stay outside in an open area.
SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
Founded in 1859, way before Singapore’s independence as “an experimental garden”. It has gone a long way, and is now a UNESCO heritage site.
Right beside Botanic Gardens MRT Station.
Plenty of nature and our national flower – the orchid garden. The bandstand, heritage trail, symphony lake, the orchid garden.
An oasis in the middle of busy Singapore. The Botanic Gardens close at 12am, and the Orchid garden at 7pm… don’t get stuck inside. [More info]
PUNGGOL JETTY PARK
This is yet another park that has seen history. It was once an execution site during the Japanese occupation in WW2. Today, it is a nice and peaceful beach to chill out.
Take bus 84 from Punggol Interchange.
Jetty and rocky beach.
Come here during low tide, or there will be no rocks or beach. Watch out for incoming tides too, they can rise pretty fast.
JAPANESE CEMETERY PARK
This cemetery lies hidden in the middle of private properties. Many people might think there is nothing to shoot in a cemetery, maybe except for graves. Not this one. This is a cemetery park… and you can just enter, enjoy a slow walk, and soak in some of that history.
Take bus 76 or 70M from Yio Chu Kang Interchange, stop at the Foursquare Gospel Church bus stop. Take a 5 minutes walk thereafter. [MAP]
A small piece of history in Singapore. Nice flower arches, and very Japanese architectures in Singapore.
This is still a cemetery, refrain from doing stupid things to disrespect the resting elders.
TIME SENSITIVE PLACES
There are plenty of events and hoo-haas in Singapore. So this section is dedicated to the places that will only light up on certain times or occasions. P.S. Yep, there should be plenty of events and I can’t cramp all of them into this post. So if you know of any interesting ones, feel free to comment below.
Chinese New Year (between Jan or Feb).
Chinese New Year decorations.
Marina Bay Sands
Daily at 8PM and 9PM.
The Spectra Light Show daily. [Link]
Gardens by The Bay Super Trees
Daily at 7.45PM and 8.45PM
Garden Rhapsody Light Show daily. [Link]
National Day Parade
8 Aug, and rehearsals in July.
Grand fireworks! Location changes every year, so please do some of your own homework. [Read my guide]
Daily at 8PM
Light and mechanical show, plus small fireworks every Saturday night at the crane dance. [Link]
Annual event in Singapore featuring art pieces of… light. [Link]
Singapore Night Festival
Plenty of light and art stuff. [Link]
Chinese New Year & Christmas.
The prized shopping district of Singapore will light up on major festival seasons.
THE MAP & EXTRAS
Coming from overseas to tour Singapore? Here is a small section on the things around town… My apologies that I cannot put everything in, so here are the few nuggets to getting around town.
Free WIFI at the airport, every MacDonald’s restaurant, and almost all Starbucks outlets. If you need something a little more convenient, get a prepaid SIM card at the airport or 7-11 outlets. There are 3 service providers here in Singapore – Singtel, Starhub and M1. Personally, I don’t have any preference.
Singapore is well connected with a network of trains and buses. You can get a copy of the train network online here. Google Maps do a pretty good job of getting around town. If all else fails, just call a cab or Uber.
Singapore is a food paradise. Just try to stay away from all the overpriced fancy restaurants. Good eats all over the island, feel free to use Hungrygowhere as a food guide.
Crazy. Hot and humid all year round. Rains without warning. Wherever you go, it is a good idea to have a bottle of water and umbrella.
HOW LONG TO STAY?
A short 3 days stay is good enough, but there’s plenty to explore on this island. One week should get you the most out of Singapore. If you are here for eats, be prepared for a month’s stay… and grow fat.
BEST PHOTOGRAPHY PLACES IN SINGAPORE
So just which are the most photogenic places in the long list? Here are my personal best picks :
Punggol Rocky Beach
The rocks will only show during low tide though, which is usually just about time for sunset as well.
Rooftop of Esplanade
Normally, this is quite a boring place. But at around 8pm when the light show at Marina Bay Sands fires up – This is one of the best vantage points.
Gardens By The Bay East
There is quite a bit of walking to be done here, but during sunset, you will get a beautiful skyline of Singapore City.
Plenty of stuff here at night – Light trails, street, and night life.
One of my favorite haunts. Sunset at the pier offers the best views – You can also catch Kayakers here.
MORE PLACES TO BE ADDED
Holy molly. Singapore is actually so huge that I don’t have all the photos. These are the places that I do not have decent photos of, shall revisit them someday and add them to the list.
But in the meantime, do drop comments below on locations that I missed out. Any constructive feedback on how to make this a better guide is welcomed too. Happy shooting!
LOWER SELETAR RESERVOIR
How to go : Take a 10 min walk from Khatib MRT Station [MAP]
What to shoot : Sunrise
What to expect : Mozzie attack!
How to go : Take bus 176 or 51 from Jurong East Interchange. [MAP]
What to shoot : Sunset
What to expect : Possible mozzie attack.
How to go : Take bus 69, 22, 28, 67, 65 or 18 from Tampines Interchange. [MAP]
What to shoot : Sunset
What to expect : Possible mozzie attack.
How to go : A 10 min walk from Promanade MRT station. [MAP]
What to shoot : You can buy a ticket and hop on the Flyer for some cityscape. Alternatively, you can have a photo of the flyer and Singapore skyline from Gardens by the Bay East.
What to expect : Tickets are not free, and they are not cheap… [LINK]
REFLECTIONS @ KEPPEL BAY
How to go : A long walk from HarbourFront MRT station. Enter from Keppel Bay Drive, follow along the pedestrian path, turn left before Keppel Bay Vista, and walk again… [MAP]
What to shoot : Reflections against the sunset.
What to expect : A lot of walking.
What to shoot : Various photogenic spots, including the Merlion Statue, Beaches and Resort World Sentosa.
What to expect : Tourist zone. Expensive transport, food and drinks.
How to go : Take a ferry off Changi Point Ferry Terminal [MAP]
What to shoot : A lot of stuff. Landscape and be prepared to go back to the 70s.
What to expect : Do take note of the timing for the last ferry. Although staying there overnight for sunrise is also another option.
PUNNGOL WATERWAY PARK
How to go : Take bus 84 from Punggol interchange, stop at the waterway park. [MAP]
What to shoot : Sunset.
What to expect : This is quite a popular location among joggers. Expect some walking.
PUNNGOL RIVERSIDE WALK / LORONG HALUS
How to go : Take the LRT from Punngol interchange, stop at Riviera station. Take a 10 mins walk. [MAP]
What to shoot : Lorong Halus Bridge, Punggol Dam, lalang field.
What to expect : A lot walking again. Do watch the weather forecast, this area is open and prone to lightning strikes.
WOODLANDS WATERFRONT PARK
How to go : Take bus 856 from Marsiling MRT station. [MAP]
What to shoot : The jetty, a panorama shot of Johor Bahru during blue hour.
What to expect : The skyline of Johor Bahru is sadly restricted to the jetty only. The rest of the area is all fenced up.
BUKIT BATOK TOWN PARK (LITTLE GUILIN)
How to go : Take a 10 min walk from Bukit Gombak MRT station. [MAP]
What to shoot : Sunrise at Little Guilin, reflections on the water.
What to expect : Pretty much boring once you get that “one shot”.
TELOK BLANGAH HILL PARK
How to go : Take bus 176, 272 or 273 from Bukit Merah Interchange. [MAP]
What to shoot : Terrace garden and Henderson Waves lighted up during blue hour.
What to expect : A lot of walking if you do not have personal transport.
CHINESE GARDEN / JAPANESE GARDEN
How to go : Take a 5 mins walk from Chinese Garden MRT station. [MAP]
What to shoot : The main gates, bridges, twin pagoda.
What to expect : A lot of walking if you do not have personal transport
SUNGEI BULOH WETLAND RESERVES
How to go : By cab, or 925C from Woodlands Interchange (Sundays and PH only). [MAP]
What to shoot : Wildlife, birds.
What to expect : Inaccessible place… you will need some wheels to get there, but a good place to catch some wildlife.