The UrbanWire

5 Free Lookouts with Insta-worthy Sceneries

Places such as The Pinnacle@Duxton, Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands’ SkyPark Observation Deck charge admission fees for access to a bird’s eye view of the skyline. 

But if you’d rather save the money, check out the following free lookout points where you can enjoy unblocked views of different parts of Singapore and capture them with your lens.

 

1. Jurong Hill Lookout Tower

The Jurong Hill Lookout Tower hasn’t received any facelifts since its opening in 1968.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

Located at the end of a desolated road that bounds Jurong Bird Park, the Jurong Hill Lookout Tower sits atop a 60m hill formerly dubbed the “VIP Hill”. This nickname came about after many VIPs including Queen Elizabeth II and the late Deng Xiaoping made a stop here between 1969 and 1984 to see Singapore’s progress, according to information on the commemorative plaques at the park’s Garden of Fame.

The tower, equivalent to the height of a six-storey Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat, offers a seamless view of the Jurong Industrial Estate as you walk up its spiraling ramp. A room on the top floor which once served as a reception hall for prominent guests is no longer accessible.

 

The industrial estate in Jurong was set up in the 60s to draw foreign investments to Singapore.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

From the tower, you get to see Jurong Pier Flyover and numerous petrochemical plants on Jurong Island, an area that has remained closed to the public since the September 11 attacks in 2001. You will also see the cranes at Jurong Shipyard.

There aren’t many visitors to the tower, especially after a popular Teppanyaki restaurant at its basement level closed in 2014. This is great for those who want to enjoy the scenery in peace and take as many photos as they want without interruptions.

 

2. Seletar Rocket Tower

Just like the Jurong Hill Lookout Tower, the Seletar Rocket Tower is also gazetted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority as one of Singapore’s four heritage towers.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

Standing at 18m tall, the Seletar Rocket Tower was officially opened together with the neighbouring Upper Seletar Reservoir in 1969. It was also the same year astronauts from the Apollo 11 space mission landed on the moon. In an article by The Straits Times, the National Heritage Board (NHB) confirms that the tower’s rocket-shaped facade was a reflection of the space craze at the time.

 

Apart from the iconic Seletar Rocket Tower, the other highlight of Upper Seletar Reservoir Park is its fishing area.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

The seemingly endless flight of steps leads to a lookout with a complete view of Upper Seletar Reservoir and its surrounding greenery.

Sometimes, you’ll get to watch a speedboat that leaves crisp trails as it zips across the glistening reservoir. A slight turn to the left grants you a sneak peek of the eastern end of the Singapore Zoological Gardens.

Similar to the Jurong Hill Lookout Tower, the Seletar Rocket Tower doesn’t get many visitors owing to its remote location and lack of attractions. You can take your time to work on your landscape photography.

 

3. Observation Tower at Chestnut Nature Park

Lots of park-goers enjoy posing for photos from different levels of the tower.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

Flanking the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), Chestnut Nature Park is home to an unnamed observation tower that overlooks the surrounding woodlands. It’s a popular attraction for hikers and mountain bikers who frequent the park, as well as residents of the neighbouring Bukit Panjang area.

From its base, the predominantly wooden tower features a pair of intertwining staircases that spiral across a mid-level viewing deck before leading to an unsheltered lookout at the top. You will then come across benches that curve around the tower’s centre supporting concrete pillar, which many park-goers use as a platform to get a better view of the surroundings. 

 

The two colourful HDB blocks in Bukit Panjang have been around before the observation tower was constructed.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

The lookout offers a clear view of the towering trees in the park and the nearby nature reserve. If you face south-west, you’ll see some tall residential buildings amid the greenery. Behind them are transmitting stations from Bukit Timah Hill on the left and Bukit Batok Nature Park on the right. Once in a while you’ll see flocks of birds gliding gracefully over the trees. 

The tower is accessible via a trail from the Zhenghua Park Connector, which is also a short walk away from a bus stop along Bukit Panjang Road, so there are certainly more visitors here. Be prepared to have to wait for your turn before you can take your scenic shots from the best vantage point. 

 

4. Play Tower at Coastal PlayGrove, East Coast Park

Coastal PlayGrove was built on the former site of Big Splash, an iconic water park which operated from 1977 to 2006.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi

 

Opened in March 2021, the 4.5-hectare Coastal PlayGrove is an outdoor recreational area at East Coast Park that features an outdoor classroom by the sea and a natural playgarden. It’s also home to Singapore’s tallest outdoor play feature, the Play Tower.

With a height of 16m, the Play Tower has a vertical net play area, several rope-based obstacles and two tall slides. 

 

Although the seaview from the Play Tower is blocked by trees, the other side still offers a good look at the skyline.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

A few steps right of the slide are two lookout spots, where you can see the surrounding amenities and a lineup of condominiums along the East Coast Parkway. On good days, the west-facing lookout spot offers a gorgeous view of the paddlepop-like skyline during sunsets. 

While Coastal PlayGrove is filled with children in the day, the crowd thins out in the evening. Here’s your chance to work on your sunset photography in peace. 

 

5. Block 445B, Clementi Crest, Clementi Avenue 3

Clementi Crest is among the newer residential buildings in the area.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

Unlike the previous spots, this lookout point isn’t on a tower. Just a five-minute walk from Clementi MRT Station, the 40-storey HDB block at Clementi Crest offers a great view of the residential estate in West Coast, the Pandan Reservoir as well as the rows of factories and industrial buildings that extend to the coastal area where Penjuru Terminal is at.

 

Residents and visitors at Block 445B, Clementi Crest, can enjoy this beautiful view at sunset.

Photo Credit: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani

 

This particular lookout hasn’t been popularised on social media platforms. But a handful of residents can be seen with their professional cameras on tripods at the stairwell areas on the 38th, 39th and 40th floors – all ready to capture a timelapse of the fleeting sunset. If you plan to do likewise, be sure to arrive early to mark your spot. 

All the lookouts recommended in this article are accessible around the clock except for Chestnut Nature Park, which opens from 7am till 7pm. You can refer to our interactive map for their exact locations.       

 

Interactive Map

Edited By: Charlotte Chang

Proofread By: Teo Yin Yan and Kuan Qin Yi Tricia

 

 

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