Written and Photographed by Frankie Spontelli
If you can handle the 18-hour plane ride from San Francisco, then Singapore will greet you with incredible sights, delicious flavors and amazing foods. Visiting Asia for the first can be overwhelming for some but Singapore is delightfully clean, alive with business/banking and welcoming with warmhearted locals. There are countless tourist activities of which we experienced many – I brought my camera along for our trip to Singapore and have mapped out eight locations that can’t be skipped if you wish to capture the essence of Singapore.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum
Situated directly next to Chinatown is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, displayed inside this museum the left canine tooth of Buddha ‘’which has been recovered from his funeral pyre in Kushinagar, India and displayed in its grounds’’. Be respectful with your camera both inside and outside the Temple the only restrictions or signs that I noticed said ‘No Flash Photography’. I was able to grab this cool angle while we lit a few incense before entering the temple.
Gardens by the Bay
Another super popular location in Singapore are the Gardens by the Bay, an
Avatar-like garden that cost over $1.0 Billion to build. Singapore knows how to spoil it’s visitors with some next level attractions and Gardens by the bay is certainly one of those places. On our visit we went during the day time (you could also go visit at night! I’ve seen some incredible images at night), I wanted to capture some images of Singapore’s largest indoor waterfall inside the Cloud forest Conservatory. We went during one of the ‘mist timings’ so we could watch them water the entire inside of the Cloud forest dome (it was epic).
Suspension Skyline Walkway
At the same location you’ll also find an incredible suspension skyline walkway, try to see if they have it open during the night time and plan to shoot this location in the dark. The lights inside the Gardens by the Bay are magical and also give a very Avatar-like feeling, excellent for portraits, light bokeh shots and long exposures.
Mariana Bay Sands
Outside the Gardens by the Bay you will find one of the most unique hotel properties in Asia: the Marina Bay Sands. Stunning rooftop views of the entire city and their iconic infinity pool spilling off into the skyline, makes this another popular tourist spot. At night the bay lights up with amazing skyscrapers and Asia’s leading bank building — there is also a free laser and water show that you can’t miss. Check the showtimes during your visit however this show runs every night of the week – (insider tip: walk over
to the Louis Vuitton store and wait for the show to start using their outdoor balcony).
Lens: Sony 16-35mm F4 shot at 16mm
Camera: Sony A7rii
Pro Tip: go at night time!
Singapore is filled with impressive architecture and design — if you’re lucky to stay in an AirBnb in one of their massive residential buildings, this can provide some unique perspectives of the city. Lucky for us we had friends staying in one of Singapore’s tallest residential buildings and because of the coastline being really close to the city this provided a mix of really unique shooting conditions for either daytime or nighttime shots. Here’s some images I captured on the 278th floor.
Singapore is mecca for different foods, flavors and cultures from all over Asia including a part of town called ‘’Little India’’. Singapore’s Little India has a few Instagram worthy photo spots such as Tan Teng Niah House with it’s colorful walls and unique architecture for a moment you’ll feel like you’ve stepped inside a Dr. Seuss novel.
Just outside the Buddha Tooth Relic is a collection of streets named ‘China Town’ with vendors who have perfectly tidy booths and ‘Hawker’ centers scattered about the alleyways. Here you can buy everything from fancy chopsticks to suitcases to jerky to cell phone cases – it’s also an exceptional location to pull your camera out (perhaps with a 50mm or 55mm) and just take the moment in as these streets are very lively and entertaining, you’ll definitely be able to capture something unique. A great section of town for a mix of street photography and portrait images.
Bonus Location: Art Science Museum
During our visit to Singapore the Art Science Museum had an incredible mix of exhibits and one perfect for some portrait and low-light photography called: Future World. We lapped this part of the Museum maybe 3-4 times so I could get the images I wanted ‘’Enter the heart of Celestial Space for the breathtaking finale of your journey. Be spellbound by the beauty and magnitude of the cosmos and thrill in watching your actions forge the shape of a monumental digital universe.’’