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Nights in Singapore Part 1
Singapore is different things to different people. What most people would agree upon is that the city state is an ultramodern metropolis, renowned for its cleanliness and efficiency. Singapore also happens to be one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with over six million folks sharing just 720 km square of space. For photographers, nights in Singapore means wonderful night photography opportunities at every corner. The whole city blazes with lights like a magical citadel every night after sunset.
Changi International Airport Control Tower
The iconic control tower of Changi International Airport is what most visitors to Singapore encounter on arrival. Synonymous with the airport itself, the tower is a popular motif inside many murals and paintings within the country. It is also a symbol of pride for many Singaporeans.
Southern bank of the Singapore River
Once a chaotic spread of godowns, warehouses and bum-boats, the area was completely modernised in the 90s. It is nowadays the fringe of the financial district, and a popular nightlife spot.
The Singaporean skyline changed much in the last 20 years, with the addition of many new buildings and complexes. Of late, hotels have also been erected by the waterfront, which is now known as Marina Bay Reservoir. Every New Year's Eve, thousands gather here to watch spectacular fireworks lit up the midnight sky.
Created by the Singapore Tourism (Promotion) Board, the Merlion has long represented Singapore's hospitality to the world. It is half lion and half fish, and based on the myth of how Singapore was founded after a Srivijayan Prince saw a lion on the shores of the island. When visiting Singapore, do ask locals what else the name "Merlion" means. They would likely advise you not to "merlion" after a long evening of drunken revelry.
Orchard Road during Christmas celebrations
Orchard Road is Singapore's equivalent of Fifth Avenue and Champs-Élysées. Every year end, the entire stretch is decked out in fairy lights to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Since 2015, half of Orchard Road is also closed to traffic every first Saturday of the month. Do be ready for crowds, though, if visiting this shopping paradise on those Saturdays. It can get pretty packed.
Orchard Road is flanked by numerous buildings, many of which are affluent condominiums and service apartments. For visitors staying in the city state for longer periods, renting a service apartment could be an attractive option. They are usually expensive, but one is right in the heart of action, so to speak.
Singaporean Public Housing
Public housing brings to mind images of crowded, squalid slums. Not the case for Singapore. Singaporean public housing, in which 80 per cent of locals reside in, is clean, well maintained and serviced by many recreational facilities. Some public housing estates also have sprawling parks, and all these are connected by the subway (MRT) system. For any serious photographer in Singapore, a night shot of "HDB blocks" is considered a must for any photographic portfolio about nights in Singapore. The large variety of buildings and architecture also provides for a myriad of opportunities.
Festive light-ups, a must-see during nights in Singapore
Light-ups are something of an obsession in Singapore. With four official races and many colourful festivals, the entire year is full of opportunities for light-ups. The above picture shows the Chinatown area during the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, which is typically in September. Other ethnic light-ups include the Chinese New Year light-up, also in Chinatown. The Hari Raya Puasa light-up in the Geylang Serai district (Dates vary, depending on the Muslim calendar). And the Deepavali light-up in the Little India district, typically around October and November. All provide for wonderful evening excursions and colourful night photography opportunities.
Super Trees, Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore's newest tourist attractions. Located at the southern tip of the city, just opposite the financial district. it is beloved for its iconic and eye-catching Super Trees. These are vertical gardens capable of a myriad of functions, and some of them could be experienced up close by a gangway walk. Every night, the trees enchant visitors with two sound and light shows. Be sure to check the official website for timings if you intend to photograph these performances.
Super trees up close
A closer shot of the Super Trees to wrap up this feature of nights in Singapore.
Which of these Singaporean sights would you love most to photograph?
Part 2 of this double feature on Nights in Singapore
- Nights in Singapore Part 2
More night photography of the ultra-modern Asian metropolis that is Singapore. With a few bits of history about the founding of this ex British crown colony too.
© 2016 Kuan Leong Yong