The uncle/auntie guide to camping out for fireworks
It could be River Hongbao, or National Day (with its many Saturday rehearsals), or New Years’ Eve. It could even be Chingay, or F1, or a smaller-scale neighborhood celebration.
Whether you’re a budding photographer with an eye for cityscapes, or simply a pyrotechnics aficionado, you’ll know that the grandest fireworks in Singapore pretty much happen at Marina Bay. While that’s usually a big area, the many boardwalks and waterfronts surrounding the water make ideal open spaces for thousands of people to crowd into, to view the display up-close.
To guarantee yourself a first-class, unobstructed view or photographic frame, the safest option is to chope your spot as early as 3pm (for the NDP) or 6pm (for NYE). Of course, 6 hours is a painfully long time to pass, and Singapore’s weather isn’t kind at all to kiasu people holding their spot for hours, and getting a very nice sun tan in the process. Here’s what you’ll need to kill the time, with as much comfort as possible.
Quick checklist for the photographers reading this – skip on to the next section if you have no interest in clicky clicky devices.
Aside from your camera and lens, the two most important things for good long exposure photos are a solid tripod, and a reliable remote shutter release.
Check out Sirui carbon fibre tripods for a relatively cheap and very effective stability, while rising Chinese brand Pixel will settle your needs for a fully functional, wired/wireless intervalometer (Canon/Nikon/Sony) – ie. a super fancy remote shutter release. Working wirelessly gives you extra freedom to watch and enjoy the fireworks display, without worrying about accidentally shaking your carefully positioned camera. Be very sure that you are buying the appropriate set with the right cable terminal for your camera model’s remote trigger port!
It’s gonna be at least 3 hours before crowds start to really pack in, and another 3 hours before showtime. Settle in for the wait with a camping-style foldable chair! Don’t be fooled by the minimal canvas material and skeletal look of these chairs – you’ll be surprised how comfortable they are, especially when the alternative is sitting on sun baked concrete. Most models with armrests also come with a convenient drink holder. PS: be considerate and take up as little space as possible. If it gets really crowded, consider packing up your chair and standing for the last hour or two. You get to lean against the railing for support anyway.
Being smack in the city centre and all, drinks from convenience stores or pushcarts will come at marked up, touristy prices. Pack your own supply of bottled water or ice-cold beer (strictly before 10:30pm, or don’t get caught!) with cooler bags to keep your beverages refreshingly chilled for hours on end.
Speaking of keeping cool, stay unfazed by Singapore’s tropical heat with a portable, battery-operated fan. With railings surrounding most of Marina Bay, get yourself a fan with a clamp to easily mount it at head level for a constant, cooling breeze.
You’ll no doubt be depending heavily on your phone too, to communicate with other friends joining the party, or stay entertained with your music, videos, and games, so don’t forget to pack plenty of extra juice! Take your pick of the latest Xiaomi powerbanks here.
Oh and one more thing…
As thanks for reading all the way to the end of this post, here’s a hot tip for finding your ideal spot: be aware of the prevailing wind direction!
As hot and humid as Singapore is, it is seldom windless, especially with Marina Bay being so close to the open waters. Even a light breeze can send smoke from the pyrotechnics drifting towards you, obscuring your front-row view of the fireworks display, or worse, making ashes rain on you and your belongings (yes, fireworks do have ashes).
During National Day (ie. June to August), winds tend to blow from the South. That means should avoid the Merlion or Esplanade, and aim for a spot around the MBS Boardwalk.
On New Year’s Eve however (end December), winds usually blow from the opposite North-ish direction. In other words, avoid settling at the MBS and Marina Promontory areas to minimize the risk of disappointment.
Your best bet is to keep an eye on weather forecasts before you set out for the day, to decide where to plant yourself.
With that, we wish you the best of luck to your viewing endeavours! Did we miss any good tips or items out? Let us know in the comments below!