Update Sep 19, 2017: Oh no! Lepark is closing down on Sep 30, 2017!
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 no signage pointing to it within the complex 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 exaggerate, People’s Park Complex rooftop is an oasis in the heart of downtown Singapore. It’s huge. Easily the largest open space in the vicinity and with 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.
With sweeping views of the city possible 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 the 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. I got the shot I wanted. More importantly, all the advanced 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 queuing solemnly behind me, I left the sweet spot before it was completely dark. Thankfully, there were plenty of other spots with wonderful views. I think what’s most eye-catching about the panoramas here is the contrast between the traditional architecture 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.
Directions to People’s Park Complex Rooftop
If you haven’t been to People’s Park Complex Rooftop, directions are as follows:
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. This is NOT the main entrance with the food stores and MRT station entrance. This 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.
The Chinese New Year market photo sweet spot, by the way, is to the left of this staircase. You have to, mmm, step over a few air-conditioning fittings.
Alternatively, you could use the cargo lift. This is located at the rear 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.
Finally, here’s the website for the eatery at the rooftop. I’d definitely be checking this out on my next visit.
Update: July 10, 2017
Was in the vicinity, and it was a brilliant day. Went up and snapped some shots.