Singapore is truly a photographer’s delight: a fusion of diverse cultures, incredible architectural innovations, a towering city skyline, and colorful historic buildings, all wrapped up in one tiny island nation. If you’re planning a visit to Singapore and want to up your photography game, keep reading for my guide to the top 10 most Instagrammable spots in Singapore (in no particular order).
Image courtesy of Hotel Indigo Singapore
1. Marina Bay Sands – CE LA VI Rooftop Bar
If you’re not trying to shell out mega bucks for a hotel room at Marina Bay Sands, there’s still a way to experience that signature Singapore view for a fraction of the price. Instead, head to CE LA VI, an open air rooftop bar at Marina Bay Sands. I recommend arriving about an hour before sunset for the best view. We paid around $26 SGD (~$19 USD) for each drink, which is more than I’d usually want to pay. But comparing that to the price of the SkyDeck viewing platform ($23 SGD), the viewing experience and drink combined weren’t a bad deal.
We were lucky enough to snag a table right by the railing to watch the sunset and light show over the harbor. Although swimming in the famous infinity pool is reserved for hotel guests, it was still cool to check out the view of the pool overlooking the city skyline (and to snap a few photos)!
2. Colorful Peranakan Houses at Koon Seng Road
These brightly colored traditional Peranakan-style houses are one of the most Instagrammable photo ops in Singapore. And the best part is, they’re free to visit! The houses are located in a residential neighborhood east of the city’s CBD on Koon Seng Road. Please make sure to be quiet and respectful of the residents, as people do live in the houses.
3. Old Hill Street Police Station
Formerly a police station, this rainbow building now houses Singaporean government offices, although it retained the Old Hill Street Police Station name. Cross the street to get a wide shot of this multicolored facade. Even better, try to catch a shot with a motorbike passing by for some visual interest!
4. Chinatown & Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
With its colorful buildings, pedestrian streets, and red lanterns strung overhead, Chinatown is one of the most visually interesting photo spots in Singapore. Perhaps the most notable piece of architecture in Chinatown is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Want to know my trick for capturing the best view of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple? Just west of the Temple is an old apartment building with a set of easily accessible exterior stairs. I was searching for a way to photograph the Temple from an elevated position, and although the stairs looked a bit sketchy, I figured I’d give it a try. I walked up maybe five flights of stairs and from an opening in the stairwell was able to capture a great vantage point of the Temple framed by Singapore’s skyline in the distance.
5. Gardens by the Bay: Supertree Grove & Cloud Forest
Gardens by the Bay is an iconic Singapore attraction and not one to be missed for those looking to photograph some of the cities most unique visuals. In fact, I visited Gardens by the Bay three times over the course of my Singapore trip to explore different parts of the attraction and to experience it during both night and day.
The Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove looks like something out of Avatar. The Supertree Grove, which is free to visit, is worth seeing both during the daytime and at night for the mesmerizing Garden Rhapsody light show. If you come to see the lightshow, which happens daily at 7:45pm and 8:45pm, be sure to arrive early and expect a crowd!
If you visit in the early morning, you can capture photos walking among the towering Supertrees with no crowds. If you’re not a morning person, you can still capture stunning vantage points of the Supertree Grove from the elevated OCBC Skyway ($8 SGD / $6 USD) or for free from raised pathways overlooking the Supertrees through some foliage.
Another must-visit attraction at Gardens by the Bay is the Cloud Forest, which together with the Flower Dome, costs $28 SGD (~$21 USD). I visited the Cloud Forest just after the 9am opening time and was able to capture empty photos of the famous 30 meter / 98 foot tall waterfall before the crowds arrived. There are so many interesting angles to capture the Cloud Forest from the various raised walkways—you can really get creative! One of my favorite shots captured Marina Bay Sands peaking out in the distance.
6. Hawker Centers
One of the most amazing things about Singapore is the FOOD! I am a huge street food enthusiast (I actually wrote my thesis on street vendors in China), and so had to check out Singapore’s famous hawker centers. In addition to their diverse food offerings, hawker centers are also a fascinating photographic destination, especially if you like to photograph people, food, and daily life. Some of the hawker centers I visited are Maxwell Food Centre, Chinatown Complex Food Centre, Market Street Interim Hawker Centre, Amoy Street Food Centre, and Lau Pa Sat. Each hawker center offers certain staples like chicken and rice, but it’s definitely worth checking out multiple, as each has its own specialties and unique atmosphere.
7. Little India & Tan Teng Niah
Little India is another fun place to capture colorful scenes and daily life. Probably the most famous site in Little India is the multicolored former house of Tan Teng Niah, the perfect rainbow backdrop to make your Instagram feed pop. I also recommend checking out the intricate architecture of the various Hindu temples located both in Little India and around Singapore.
8. Helix Bridge
Located adjacent to Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge is modeled after the structure of DNA. Although I didn’t arrive early enough to capture the Helix Bridge without the crowds, this unique piece of modern architecture also boasts excellent views of Marina Bay Sands and the harbor.
9. Kampong Glam & Masjid Sultan
Although Kampong Glam certain feels “glam” with its cool shops, the name originally derived from the Malay words “kampong,” meaning village, and “gelam,” the word for cajeput tree. One of the best photo spots in this Malay-Muslim neighborhood is the opulent Masjid Sultan mosque, pictured above. To capture this view through the arch, head to the corner of Muscat St. and Kandahar St. Take a wander around the neighborhood to photograph colorful street scenes and different angles of Masjid Sultan.
10. Chinese Gardens
Last but not least is Singapore’s Chinese Gardens. Although it’s a relatively long metro ride out from the CBD, the effort to get here is totally worth it. From the metro station, the Chinese Gardens are an easy five minute walk, and entrance to the gardens is free. The Chinese Gardens are filled with serene natural spaces and interesting architectural features, including pagodas, pavilions, and bridges. I recommend climbing up the 7-story pagoda for an amazing view over the gardens, as well as visiting the twin pagodas, pictured above.
BONUS: ArtScience Museum
Although I didn’t get the chance to visit the ArtScience Museum when I was in Singapore, I’ve since seen awesome photos of the museum’s light displays on Instagram. Definitely a spot worth checking out—I wish I’d gotten the chance to visit!
Thanks for reading!
Through Kelsey’s Lens
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