Visited People’s Park Complex rooftop for the purpose of more Chinese New Year festive light-up photos. Some of which I shared in a previous post.
Ignorant me actually didn’t know of this place till a fortnight ago. This, despite years of seeing awesome photographs taken from it, and despite having lived in Chinatown for two years.
Looking back, I guess I somehow always assumed the area was off-limits, accessible only to residents of the complex. That there is also no signage within the complex highlighting the rooftop likely added to this impression. Or maybe I simply never thought of taking photographs from the rooftop. It felt too “out of bounds.”
Not to get florid, but People’s Park Complex rooftop is truly an oasis in the heart of downtown Singapore. It’s huge, easily the largest open space in the vicinity.
It also has a distinctively un-Singaporean feel. I say un-Singaporean for while the space is reasonably maintained, there is a grungy feel everywhere, down to the décor of the hippy eatery situated at one end.
Of course, there’s also the looming residential block. Brutalist architecture, or hints of it? The façade feels more Hong Kong to me than Singapore. Especially when viewed up-close via camera lens.
Chinese New Year Festive Market Photo-Taking
With sweeping views of the city along half the perimeter, the rooftop was full of photographers and v-bloggers when I arrived. It’s sprawling enough not to feel crowded, though. That was, except for one highly prized spot offering a bird’s eye view of the Chinese New Year festive market.
That stretch of the parapet, around three metres or so only, was squashed full of photographers from early evening onwards. I barely managed to secure a spot and had to “chope” my place by standing there for near an hour. The effort was reasonably rewarded upon sunset, though. I got the shot I wanted. More importantly, all the advanced photography gear surrounding me inspired me to experiment with new settings. This was the first time I ever shot street views with four-digit ISO. I shan’t explain why I’ve never attempted this before. 😛
Feeling guilty at the sight of late-coming photographers solemnly queuing behind me, I left the sweet spot before it was completely dark.
Thankfully, there were many other spots with wonderful views. I think what’s most eye-catching about the panoramas here is the contrast between the traditional architectures of Chinatown and the ultramodern skyscrapers in the background. Very touristy feel, yes. But let’s be honest. Who doesn’t like such views? Especially during evening.
How to Get to People’s Park Complex Rooftop
There are two ways to reach the rooftop.
- The easier way is to use the lifts located at the front entrance of People’s Park Complex. Note that this is NOT the main entrance with the food stores and MRT station entrance, it is the smaller one facing Eu Tong Sen Street and Chinatown. Take the lift to the fifth floor. Next to the lift, to your right as you step out, is a staircase. Climb one floor and you are on the rooftop. Incidentally, the Chinese New Year festive market photo “sweet spot” is to the left of you as you emerge from the staircase. You have to first step over a few air-conditioning fittings, though.
- Alternatively, you could use the cargo lift. This is located at the rear end of the complex, near the hawker centre. Again, go to the fifth floor and you wouldn’t miss the staircase next to it. Climb one floor and you’re at the rooftop. However, I wouldn’t recommend this route. If only because the lift is rather, how should I put it, gritty.
Read my other Singapore festivals posts.
Update: July 10, 2017
Was in Chinatown again, and it was a brilliant day. Thus headed up and snapped some new shots.
Update Sep 19, 2017: Oh no! Lepark is closing down on Sep 30, 2017! However, the rooftop will remain open to the public.
Read my other Festive Celebrations in Singapore posts.