KL Yong earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies in 1999. His interests include history, traveling, and mythology.
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, efficiency, and prosperity. 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 thus mean wonderful night photography opportunities at every turn and corner. The whole city blazes with lights like a magical citadel each night after the sun goes to sleep.
Changi International Airport Control Tower
The iconic control tower of Changi International Airport is the first major Singaporean landmark most visitors encounter on arrival. Synonymous with the airport itself, the tower is a popular motif found in numerous murals and paintings within the country. It is also a symbol of pride for many Singaporeans.
The Singapore River
Once a chaotic spread of godowns, warehouses, and bum-boats, the banks of the Singapore River were completely modernized in the 90s. It is nowadays the fringe of the financial district and a popular nightlife spot.
The Singaporean skyline changed tremendously over 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 nowadays 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 in the earliest years of independence, the Merlion has since represented Singapore's hospitality to the world. It is half-lion and half-fish, inspired by 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 the incoming New Year, this light-up itself one of the most anticipated Singapore night events of the calendar 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.
Modern City Residences
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 here could often be the best accommodation option. Needless to say, these apartments are also extremely photogenic during night time.
Singaporean Public Housing
Public housing brings to mind images of crowded and squalid slums. Not the case for Singapore. Singaporean public housing estates, of which 80 percent of locals reside in, are clean, well maintained, and serviced by many recreational facilities. Some public housing estates also have sprawling parks, with the estates themselves all connected by the subway (MRT) system. For photographers 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
Festive light-ups are somewhat of an obsession in Singapore. With four official races and many colorful festivals, the entire calendar year is full of opportunities for such celebrations. The above picture shows the Chinatown area during the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, which typically happens in September. Other festive light-ups include the Chinese New Year light-up, the Hari Raya Puasa light-up in the Geylang Serai district, and the Deepavali light-up in the Little India district. All provide for incredible excursions and exciting photography opportunities during nights in Singapore.
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, the lush spread is beloved for its display domes and its iconic and eye-catching Super Trees. These man-made trees 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 Super Trees also enchant visitors with two sound and light shows. Be sure to check the official website for timings if you intend to photograph these performances.
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 Yong Kuan Leong