Ten years ago I turned down an opportunity to live and work in Singapore. The timing was wrong and I wasn’t ready to commit to such a change in my life. I moved on and forgot about Singapore until I signed up for Instagram. When you follow other travel accounts you get exposed to places that constantly appear in your feed. A certain infinity pool gauged my interest and a sci-fi like garden won me over. As I planned my trip to New Zealand I knew I had to make a stop in Singapore.This city really comes alive in the evening and the falling temperatures make walking so much more enjoyable (the daytime heat was seriously a bit too much for me, and escaping into cold air-conditioned buildings only played tricks on my body thermostat). Follow me to some futuric sights as we explore Singapore by night!
Gardens by the Bay
Despite arriving sleep-deprived and exhausted from my 13 hour overnight flight I went straight to Gardens by the Bay on the first night after the hotel check-in. The supertrees were my main reason for visiting Singapore and I just couldn’t wait to see them. The garden seems to be endless and it’s only when you get an aerial view that you really understand how big it is.
The supertree grove looks spectacular any time, but the whole place is transformed into a sci-fi movie when darkness falls.
To top it all a free light and music show is performed twice every night. It was really captivating to watch the supertrees change colours to the sound of music. I saw a lot of relaxed people laying on the ground looking up at the trees.
For photography I liked the elevated area opposite the skyway the best (look for the rocks behind the railing). On a normal night there should be enough space to set up a tripod without being that guy. Night owls are rewarded with uncrowded shots. Overall I spent so much time at Gardens by the Bay that I had to drop other locations from my itinerary (and then I still didn’t see all of the garden). I had a glass of white wine at the open air supertree bar, but sadly I didn’t get to walk on the skyway due to rain and long ticket ques.
Admission to the outdoor area at Gardens by the Bay is free except the skyway. The cooled conservatories Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are ticketed attractions, 28 SGD give you access to both. At Cloud Forest you’re welcomed by the highest indoor waterfall in the world. To get a clear self portrait view just arrive late and wait for the crowds to thin out after the last admission (make sure you get a re-entry stamp if you visit in the day and intend to come back at night).
The Marina Bay area is home to the financial centre, esplanade theatre, helix bridge, Singapore Flyer, ArtScience and Marina Bay Sands. From the west side you can also see the conservatories and super trees. The skyline is spectacular whichever way you look! Bring a tripod and catch light trails of river boats with long exposures.
The iconic triple-towered Marina Bay Sands hotel is connected at the top by a giant “ship”. Entry to the world-famous inifinity pool is reserved for hotel guests only, but the Skypark observation deck is open to the public for 23 SGD.
The ArtScience Museum is located inside the giant lotus flower, however its light exhibitions fit well with the night photography theme. I didn’t expect much but really liked it.
Inspired by the double-stranded DNA structure, the pedestrian helix bridge completes the walking loop around Marina Bay. The bridge has four viewing pods, the one closest to Marina Bay Sands provided my favourite view.
Where to stay
If you can afford to stay at Marina Bay Sands then go for it! I bet the infinity pool experience is amazing. Being a solo traveller with another five weeks on the road after Singapore I just couldn’t justify spending that much money on accomodation. Instead I stayed in a windowless room at Clover the Arts in Clarke Quay on my first three nights and then treated myself with an upgrade to Jen Orchardgateway on my final night in Singapore. Jen Orchardgateway also had a rooftop infinity pool and the cityscape view was more than good enough for me.
Although Singapore becomes more photogenic at night it looks pretty good in day light too! Besides the locations above I’d also recommend a visit to Jurong Bird Park and Botanic Gardens. There were some places I wanted to visit for night photography, including 1-Altitude and Henderson Waves Bridge, but I ran out of time. I was still happy with my visit to Singapore and I’ll be back here sooner or later anyway. Next stop on my trip was Auckland, New Zealand.