Doesn’t matter where you live, there are plenty of places to catch breath-taking views of the city’s jungles – concrete or otherwise.
They say the best things in life are for free. The breath-taking views of MacRitchie Reservoir’s treetops and the peacefulness at Marina Barrage are definitely worth experiencing yourself. Here’s a handful of spots to look out for without pulling out the wallet.
Come for the bridge, stay for the view. Take the hiking trail from Kent Ridge Park near Mount Faber to reach this incredible structure connecting Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park. With a 274-metre length, the bridge curves like the waves of a water barrel. By day you might encounter some cheeky monkeys – and at night, couples trying to smootch. Open 24 hours a day, it’s best seen when the lights are on between 7pm and 2am.
Henderson Road, Southern Ridges, Bukit Merah, 159557
Palawan Beach Towers
Hop over to Sentosa Island and keep heading south until you hit the coast. Palawan Beach is a great stretch of sand, along with bars and restaurants, but walk towards the east and you’ll spot the two viewing towers sitting on its own tiny island – among palm trees. The suspension bridge to reach them sits barely above the sea, though willing swimmers can also paddle over if they’re brave enough. Climb the towers and get a better view of the coast.
Palawan Beach, Sentosa Island, 099981
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands rooftop gardens
Level 5 of the shops is not clearly labelled – nor talked about – but is a goldmine of a spot if you’re looking to get a different view of the city. Take the escalators all the way up – or find the elevator from outside of the Shoppes facing the hotel – to access the roof. You’ll realise the curvature of the Shoppes’ roof, and see the Singapore Flyer from a rare angle. You can also get a shortcut to the Gardens by the Bay from here.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Level 5, 10 Bayfront Avenue, 018956
It’s amazing to know that there’s still a lot of people who haven’t taken the opportunity to get a view of the city from the roof of the Marina Barrage. It’s not the height that makes the difference – it’s only four floors up – but the uninterrupted view. With the grassy ground, the lack of close-proximity light pollution and relative quiet, this is still one of Singapore’s best spots for a free view.
8 Marina Gardens Drive, 018951
Sitting on the third floor of the shopping centre is a breath of fresh air. From the edge of the building you can take a look at the 300-metre waterfront boardwalk that crosses over to Sentosa Island. You can spot the Tiger Sky Tower and the cable cars travelling from Sentosa to Mount Faber. On the rooftop itself are little boats for the kids to use in pools not even knee-high in depth for a small fee, and most of it is covered in case the heavens open up. Most of VivoCity’s escalators should take you up there,
VivoCity Level 3, 1 Harbourfront Walk, 098585
You wouldn’t normally associate ‘free’ with ION Orchard, but take the escalators to the fourth floor – then the elevator to floor 56 – and you’ll be given a 270-degree view of Singapore from within the shopping district. Gawk at shoppers down below, or try out the modern electronic binoculars. Open from 3-6pm daily, this is a great way of taking it all in from a nosebleed-height – all for free.
2 Orchard Turn, Level 56, 238801
MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk
The MacRitchie Reservoir is definitely a worthwhile trek to take if you haven’t already. Some of Singapore’s natural fauna and flora on display at no cost at all – other than a bit of energy to walk around. Roughly two hours’ walk from MacRitchie Reservoir Park is the TreeTop Walk – a suspension bridge 250 metres high that surrounds you in MacRitchie’s greenery. There’s the nearby Jelutong Tower not far from the walk that gives you a 360-degree look, but nothing beats a bridge.
601 Island Club Road, 578775
Singapore Science Centre Observatory
While not the first thing you’d consider when it comes to getting a good photo, this is a fantastic spot to see the landscape of the cosmos. The Singapore Science Centre keeps its observatory open to the public at no cost. Keen observers of the skies are always on hand to explain to visitors what they’re seeing through the observatory’s lens – or in many cases, the telescopes of enthusiasts wanting to share the view with all. Stargazing sessions start from 7.45pm every Friday.
15 Science Centre Road, 609081
Mount Faber Park
At 105 metres high, Mount Faber Park is a great day excursion. Not only do you get to discover a great rainforest within Singapore – with tons of heritage trails, but upon reaching the top there are so many vantage points. Look to the south to see the jetties and docks of Pulau Keppel. Turn around and get a better view of nearby neighbourhoods.
Telok Blangah Road, 099448
For a Fee
Sometimes it’s worth throwing in a couple of coins to get a unique perspective of the city. Most of the places here are restaurants or bars that might not allow for freeloaders of the view they’re paying to have without a drink in hand.
Tanjong Beach Club
Sitting on a lounge chair facing the sea under a big umbrella is one of those quintessential show-off photos that people tend to do around this time of year. The mainstay for weekend chill-out sessions has updated its menu for the first time since its opening, with choices like quinoa salad, lobster burger and a deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. While not a cheap endeavour, it’s definitely a pretty one. Grab a bucket of beers, splash in the pool or just do a quick photo snap-and-run.
120 Tanjong Beach Walk, 098942
The Black Swan
If you’re in the mood for some Great Gatsby atmosphere, the European bistro is an easy throwback to the 1930s with its quirky cocktails, horse-shaped granite bar and shades of gold adorning the walls. Just announced is the restaurant’s alfresco garden area, with old-school lamps, hardwood floors and surrounded by trees in the heart of the CBD.
19 Cecil Street, 049704
Aura at The Scarlet Singapore
The renovated 19th-Century house in Chinatown has a great rooftop bar to relax. Try out the bar’s Sicilian-inspired street food and wine menu, surrounded by the neighbourhood’s terracotta rooftops – a lovely juxtaposition between heritage and the modern business hustle and bustle. Things are a little bit calmer up there, and every little bit of peace and quiet is appreciated.
The Scarlet Singapore Level 4, 33 Erskine Road, 069333
The Great Escape
The Projector is the best place to catch the films that the larger chains tend to avoid – they just showed the Kiwi flick Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Take a step outside to the car park for a unique café-slash-bar. Don’t be surprised if you come across an impromptu barbeque up here. Not only are the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands within view, but the Singapore Sports Hub too.
6001 Beach Road Level 5, 199589
Neighbouring bar CÉ LA VI atop Marina Bay Sands used to draw the attention of visitors, but since the completion of the Gardens by the Bay, Spago has become the bar of choice. Watch the brightly lit Supertree Grove sparkle during its daily show while sipping on a cocktail – the Supertree by IndoChine bar at Gardens by the Bay will let you sit among the lightshow itself, but up high the garden looks a little more amazing.
Sands Skypark Tower 2, Marina Bay Sands Level 57, 10 Bayfront Avenue, 018956
Arguably this is the best club to get a full 360-degree view of Singapore. The rooftop bar is shaped like a triangle, giving three different panoramic views of the city and beyond. There are usually weekly events like Ladies Night held at the 282 metre-high rooftop bar to make the prices a little more tolerable, though even for ten minutes this is an amazing spot to soak the view in.
1 Raffles Place Level 57, 048616
The S-shaped condominium is an impressive structure indeed. At 50 storeys high, The Pinnacle features the world’s two longest sky gardens at 500 metres. The top floor is a 360-degree rooftop skybridge that is accessible to the public for $5. Bring your EZ-Link or MRT card to Block 1G and pay to go up and get some wide photos of the city.
1 Cantonment Road, 080001
If you’re looking for a modern European brunch with a view, there’s definitely one here on the 70th floor – though it comes at a cost. The towering Swissôtel The Stamford skyscraper hosts the New Asia bar up top, but there’s also floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Padang, the durian-inspired Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and Marina Bay at Equinox.
Swissôtel The Stamford Level 70, 2 Stamford Road, 178882
Though you’ll only be four floors up, the rooftop bar has a decent set of Southeast Asian-inspired cocktails – and some modern Singaporean dishes like chilli crab fries – to try while staring out towards downtown CBD. With trees, shaded spots and a higher view of Raffles Hotel, it’s worth a visit during the day and at night.
Odeon Towers #03-07, 331 North Bridge Road, 188720
The rooftop bar and restaurant facing Marina Bay has a great panoramic view – from the Esplanade on the left to the financial district on the right. The restaurant has a kitchen that caters to three cuisines – Japanese, Chinese and French – to shake things up. Your best bet to enjoy is to find a spare cushy seat or one of the standing bars along the edge in the outdoor lounge and just soak in that view with a drink.
50 Collyer Quay, 049321
Cable Car Sky Network
You won’t get to travel any more stylishly to Sentosa than taking a cable car over the ocean. At $33 for adults and $22 for children for both the Mount Faber and Sentosa lines – the latter brings you over the beaches, the Sentosa Merlion and Universal Studios – you’re guaranteed a view not many have ventured.
109 Mount Faber Road, 099203 or HarbourFront Tower Two #01-00, 3 Harbourfront Place, 099254