At first glance, it may seem that the constant push to become a world-class city has turned Singapore into a concrete jungle of characterless high-rise buildings and condominiums. Gone, it seems, are the charming sites of old, leaving few sights to spark memories and inspiration.
Of course, much may depend on the eye of the beholder. When it comes to buildings, it's hard to say what would catch a photographer's attention. To some, heritage sites may just be chunks of crumbling masonry still left standing despite their age, while to others, the modern face of Singapore is nothing short of boring.
But, hey, if you don't take a look, you'd never know if you'd like what you'd see. Old or new, grandiose or delicate, let's explore some of the places in Singapore worth a picture or two.
Shophouses are a distinctive sight in Singapore, a quintessential part of the country's colonial legacy. Every shophouse has a story to tell, be it the peeling paint on the walls, its fading signboards, or its dust-encrusted ceiling fans.
Chinatown, especially, is a good place to start, where the restored shophouses come in a kaleidoscope of colours, where crowds throng during weekends. It can be a heady experience, a perfect place to people-watch -- and to grab great shots of local life in action.
Read up more about shophouses in our feature article!
Housing Development Board (HDB) estates
Most of these buildings do look plain and boring, being geometrical clones of one another, painted almost invariably in the same shade of biege. That's hardly a surprise -- after all, many of these blocks of flats were built in the early years of Singapore's independence, when there was an urgent need to house as many people as possible. Practicality, and not aesthetics, was the top concern of the day.
HDB apartment blocks in Chinatown
So, if it's the Singapore vibe you're out to capture, then an HDB estate is definitely the place to be.
Old Supreme Court Building
Grandeur, sophistication and elegance -- these could be some of the words that come up to mind when you visit the Old Supreme Court Building. Its tall, Corinthian columns echo with history, recalling the glory of a faded empire and bearing witness to a new nation's struggle into gleaming modernity.
The New Supreme Court Building looms in the background, offering a sharp contrast to its predecessor. For shutterbugs, the two buildings offer a striking juxtaposition, an apt description of how old and new coexists in Singapore.
The best time to visit is during the night, when the lights come on and the shadows grow long, accentuating the architectural features of either building.
For a more in-depth review of Colonial Architecture, do check out our article.
Marina Bay Sands
It's currently the world's most expensive integrated resort, and offers plenty of architectural marvels for picture-hungry photographers to shoot and capture. It is at night, however, when the Marina Bay Sands and surrounding area comes to life. As the lights come on, a constellation of shimmering stars glitters across the facade of three gleaming towers that comprise the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, creating a postcard-perfect picture for all to see.
Marina Bay Sands
You can also ascend to the Sands SkyPark, perched on roofs of the hotel, to also get breathtaking views of Singapore's skyline and the adjacent sea. From this lofty vantage point, the city unfolds wondrously before your eyes.
A melting pot of the past and present, Clarke Quay is where the shophouses of old have been updated into a showcase of cosmopolitan comforts. Modern shopping malls are complemented by sheltered pavements, allowing visitors to roam with leisure, rain or shine. Pubs and restaurants also line the streets, making this a popular watering hole for Singaporeans and tourists alike.
Photography buffs will be delighted by the myriad of shapes and colours, the multiple tones and hues of the different landmarks around the area. Clarke Quay is a feast for the eyes, and certainly one for the lenses.
When night falls, the area comes to life. Enjoy a sip of gin and tonic as you watch the crowds stream by, offering up lusty scenes of revelry and delight. But if it's something more tranquil you're after, take your lenses to the banks of the Singapore River, and grab shots of river boats chugging past against a backdrop of neon colours reflected on the water.
Henderson Waves (Southern Ridges)
Singapore is a squeaky clean country -- perhaps a tad too squeaky for those who long for scenes of greenery. The place to be, then, is the Henderson Waves, a pedesterian bridge that is part of the Southern Ridges Walk.
The Southern Ridges is basically a 9km nature walk, spanning Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park. Perhaps if you would like to take more stills, this trail would be perfect as it offers some of the best spots in Singapore scenery wise.
Spanning 247m, Henderson Waves is a peculiar structure featuring undulating steel 'ribs' combing the entire bridge. You may even chance upon fauna scampering among the trees surrounding the bridge, or get snapshots of Singaporeans taking brisk walks along the wavy structure.