Bright lights, big city. Singapore during the night time is lit up like a Christmas tree and it is apparent even as you are on a plane, making the descend onto a very well-lit tarmac at Changi International Airport for the first time.
While there are many wonderful and fun benefits that you can associate with living in a country that is brightly lit—safer streets and a city that never sleeps—you can be forgiven for thinking that the one thing you won’t have a chance of enjoying is a view of a night sky that’s filled with twinkling stars.
But you would be mistaken. Living in this tiny nation does not mean having to give up on lofty astronomy aspirations or plain romantic stargazing. In fact, we have a list of six great places on the little red dot that you can enjoy a starry, starry night, and we’re sure you will discover more as you get to know this city-state a little better.
The Science Centre Observatory
There are not many observatories found next to the equator and the observatory located at the Singapore Science Centre just happens to be one of them, which offers you the rare opportunity to view the constellations in the northern and southern hemispheres. The observatory is the proud owner of a 40cm main telescope and 15cm sub-telescope. The 5.5m steel dome can pivot in any direction so as to point at any particular object of interest in the sky.
Do note that because there are limited places, you will need a Q card to view the main telescope, which will be given out every Friday at around 7:30pm at the registration counter. Their stargazing session occurs between 7:45–10:00pm on Friday nights.
Woodlands Galaxy Community Club
This community club (CC) located in northern Singapore isn’t like any other. Sure, it has a gym, badminton courts, cooking courses, mahjong sessions and the like, but it is the only CC that houses an astronomy observatory and a 30cm telescope to boot, lending you some seriously good views of space. The Galaxy CC Observatory has a Facebook page you can follow so you can know when they are gathering for an event. The observatory is open on Friday and Saturday evenings and welcomes anyone who wants to view the stars, the moon, meteor showers or a passing comet!
If you’re looking to just enjoy the night sky with the naked eye or have your own telescope, the following are a few places that you can visit for some mighty fine stargazing.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Located at 1 Cluny Road, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is without a doubt a refreshing breather and a quiet, peaceful respite from the bustling city life. Organise a small gathering of your friends and family or plan a romantic picnic date and enjoy the garden’s natural surroundings and fresh air as you lay down on your mat enveloped by the trees, flowers and the twinkling night sky. The gardens are open till midnight and open again at 5:00am.
You may also want to check out Sidewalk Astronomy, a group of volunteers that bring their telescopes out to the open space at the entrance of the Botanic Gardens MRT station so that members of the public can do some stargazing for free.
The Changi Boardwalk is popular with couples looking for a romantic, quiet and breezy stroll by the waterside. Incidentally, the boardwalk has an amazing view of the sunrise and sunset so you might want to factor that into your plans. Romance your partner with a romantic meal and a dazzling sunset, followed by a night of chilling and relaxing under the starlit skies.
Make sure also to check out all the yummy eats at Changi Village while you are in the area. There are eateries serving local favourites that are open 24-hours if you are feeling peckish after all that stargazing.
Fort Canning Park
Fort Canning Park is situated at the top of a hill, approximately 48m above sea level. With plenty of wide open space, the park provides you with a nice vantage point from which to lay under the stars or to set up your telescope for a great view of the moon and stars.
For something really out-of-the-way, take a trip to the Yishun Dam, a relatively secluded part of the island that is only accessible by car. This is another favourite hangout spot for couples looking for a little quiet and alone time, but on a clear night, it is also a good option if you want to look up at the stars in relative privacy.
Labrador Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is the only place in Singapore that has a rocky sea-cliff and it also has an amazing view of the sea. While stargazing, don’t be surprised if you hear the unique sounds coming from bird species like the Black-naped Oriole or the Oriental Magpie-robin, both of which have made the nature reserve their home.