Singapore photography guide
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Singapore is located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and one degree north of the equator. A physically small island and a young nation compared to her neighbours, Singapore punches above its weight by being Southeast Asia’s most modern and developed city with the world’s third-highest GDP per capita, and is a nexus for global commerce, finance and transport. A melting pot of different cultures contributed by the myriad of ethnic races living in the densely-populated city-state, Singapore offers a variety of traditional festivals and holidays throughout the year, which adds to its cultural appeal.
Public transport within the city is excellent, with many public transport and taxi services plying the roads. Major tourist attractions, shopping malls and public housing in the heartlands are efficiently linked through the ever-expanding public transportation network.
As it lies near the equator, the weather is warm and humid all throughout the year, with the year-end months being particularly rainy due to monsoon winds. As such, the light can be at times incredibly dramatic whenever storm clouds roll in.
Despite Singapore’s rapid urbanisation, one can still find an abundance of national parks and gardens coexisting with the urban space surrounding them, providing an interesting contrast between the man-made and natural facets of the city. Nearly half of Singapore’s land area is covered by greenery, with carefully-manicured trees and plants lining the roads and public walkways. Visitors will also discover hidden historical gems within history-rich enclaves like Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India coexisting with modern downtown Singapore.
Most popular Singapore photo spots
Being a global metropolis with an iconic skyline, most tourists would prefer to stay in or around Marina Bay, which is located to many attractions around town.
Although the downtown skyline and the modern architecture are popular subjects for urban photography among visitors and locals alike, it is also recommended to explore the heartlands of Singapore, which is mainly populated by public housing estates in the densely-populated city. These freely-accessible apartments offer a different and unique view of Singapore from their common corridors, and getting to them is a breeze with the efficient transport network.
If you choose to stay in the city, you’ll be glad to know that there is virtually no shortage of photography spots. Attractions like Singapore Flyer, Esplanade Theatres, Jubilee Bridge and the Merlion Park are conveniently located within walking distance to each other. Public parks like Gardens By the Bay, Chinese Garden and Lower Seletar Reservoir are just as easily accessible via bus and train.
Singapore is generally an extremely safe and clean city to visit, with world-class amenities and hygienic public places. Even at night, the streets are safe, but do exercise common sense with your camera gear. With island-wide 4G network and wifi coverage, Singapore also boasts one of the world’s fastest Internet speeds. Procuring a SIM card for your mobile devices is definitely recommended in order to make the best use of Singapore’s extensive network coverage.
As public transport is the most popular way of getting around the city, it is also good to purchase an EZ-Link contactless smart card if you intend to get around the country via the public transport network.
If you are staying in Singapore between one and three days, you can purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass, a special stored value pass with unlimited travel privileges. Google Maps will be your best friend in getting around the city.
Singapore uses the standard UK three-pronged plug at 220/240V with a frequency of 50Hz.
Home to many different ethnic groups and races, Singapore offers a diverse cultural experience for the discerning traveller. Throughout the year, you can be sure that the calendar will be filled with a myriad of cultural events and festivals to be celebrated.
From January to March, New Year’s Day is celebrated by all with fireworks and performances downtown. This is followed by Chinese New Year, which typically happens in late January or early February. Head to Chinatown to enjoy the vibrant decorations and festivities of the occasion.
The Chingay Parade, an extravagant procession of masquerade and floats, and Thaipusam festival, a time of penance for past misdeeds observed by Hindus, follows closely after.
From April to June, Vesak Day is observed by Buddhists commemorating the birth, death and enlightenment of the Buddha. As such, temples all around the island will be bustling with activity, especially the most iconic temple in Singapore, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, which will be lit up for the occasion.
From July to September, Hari Raya Puasa marks the conclusion of the Ramadan fasting month for muslims. Naturally, Kampong Glam and Geylang Serai will be awash with festivities and street bazaars offering various muslim delectable goods. July and August is also the National Day period, which concludes on the 9th of August, Singapore’s day of independence.
During that period, everywhere in Singapore will be adorned with patriotic decorations, making it a prime time to photograph Singapore’s cityscape in iconic national colours. The highlight of this period would be the weekly fireworks from the weeks leading up to the actual day itself, so head to Marina Bay or the Singapore Sports Hub (depending on where the parade is being held) to photograph the vibrant display of fireworks.
From October to December, Mid-Autumn Festival is observed among the local Chinese, making Chinatown a prime place again to indulge in festivities.
Deepavali, which falls between late October and early November, is a Hindu festival that is celebrated with light displays and vibrant colours along Little India and Hindu temples.
Christmas is also another time of beautiful decorations, with downtown Singapore decked out in Christmas decorations and local churches holding celebratory services.
Singapore Tourism Board Website
Events and Festivals in Singapore
Singapore Tourist Pass
Getting Around Singapore
Jon Chiang Curator
Mathew Browne Admin
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