Saturday, 18 July 2015

Singapore NDP 2015 Fireworks: Viewing from the Bay

In every national parade, the fireworks display is no doubt one of the highlights. Being the largest NDP celebrations ever, Singapore's 2015 NDP is so large that there is no way you can watch everything. Yes - even the privileged few who got tickets into Padang are actually missing a lot. As a fireworks fan, I am of course here to share with you my experience at NDP 2015 Fireworks, as an external spectator. Let's celebrate SG50!

SG50 NDP Fireworks Marina Bay

My Experience

I watched SG50 National Day Parade during the preview show on 18 July 2015. There are a total of 4 previews on 11 July, 18 July, 25 July and 1 Aug before the actual national day weekend. For these previews, the only show going on is at Padang - the subsidiary events at Marina Barrage, Promontory and Floating Platform will only be on the actual weekend.

SG50 aerial display will feature almost 50 aircraft!
It is not SG50 unless this picture is shown! Haha!

For non-ticket holders, there are 3 main highlights in NDP 2015 - Mobile Column, Aerial Display and Fireworks. As the day I went is less crowded, I was able to watch all 3 components from 2 different places: Fireworks at the Esplanade area and Mobile Column and Aerial Display at the Civilian War Memorial.

The mobile column gives you an excellent opportunity to see some of the newest equipment SAF and the Home Team are using.

There are 2 main locations for fireworks: Padang and Marina Bay. Of course, Marina Bay got a lot, a lot more. However, one thing I don't like is that the fireworks will come on and off for about 20 seconds each time, rather than 1 long continuous show. On 18 July, the short segments are at 7.45pm, 8.00pm and 8.15pm and the finale is at about 8.20pm. The finale part is about 3 1/2 minutes. Let's hope the actual day fireworks is longer.

This is one of the 20 second segments before the finale show.

Compared to the other major fireworks event: Year end Countdown, this one is shorter but the fireworks are brighter denser. I also wish the fireworks come with accompanying music all around the Bay like during countdown. I personally rate this fireworks as better than USS but worse than Hong Kong Disneyland.

The fireworks are really extensive and extend to the skyscrapers behind!
When leaving the venue, a lot of areas are barricaded up - far more than countdown so there are few exit routes. Honestly, I really salute the professionalism and efficiency of the crowd control and security team. 

However, at least at the Esplanade area, the planning people really overestimated the ability of the underpasses and escalators in taking the crowd. Even on this less crowded day, and with ALL escalators set to operate in 1 direction, there are are least 6 bottlenecks on the way to the MRT. Promontory and Marina Bay Sands should be better because the MRT is directly beside the viewing area.

NDP Fireworks 2015 Crowded
This is the crowding level just before the fireworks. It is about half the density of people during countdown.

Some tips:

Alright, as I say before, there is no way you can view everything in this year's NDP. Even the people at Padang will miss the best fireworks - at the Bay. So, I have compiled a little map that will show you the best places to view certain components of the show. Please take note that this is a general guide and the locations listed are non-exhaustive. The amount you can view will also depend on crowd level.

SG50 Fireworks Best Location to Watch

Other than that, here are other tips:
  • The outdoor theatre at Esplanade provides some good entertainment before the show starts. Just make sure you chop a standing place early!
  • Singapore River is not as controlled as the other viewing areas, so it is a good choice if you want to leave the venue quickly.
  • If you don't want to travel so far and squeeze, consider participating the the NDP Screenings or National Day Observance Ceremonies of your local CC. Some CC screenings also come with fireworks.
  • Mobile Column and Aerial Display is between 6pm and 7pm, and fireworks is from 7.45pm to 8.20pm. All displays are on-off and not continuous, though.
The outdoor theater at Esplanade provides some entertainment between the Aerial Display and Fireworks
Alright, that's all for NDP 2015, the experience outside Padang. For more official information, is the one stop shop for the National Day Weekend. However, Second Drop will provide you with on-the-ground experience and guides, so don't forget to support us by liking the Second Drop Facebook Page!