While you may or may not celebrate National Day on August 9, the one thing that everybody loves — regardless of race, language, religion or patriotism — is the National Day Parade (NDP) fireworks.
This year, the colourful display will go off above the City Hall area, as the NDP 2019 will be held at its OG location Padang (instead of the Marina Bay floating platform).
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Fireworks are estimated to go off from 8 pm to 8.20 pm on the 6, 13, 20 and 27 July, and 3 and 9 Aug 2019. If you want to catch it, you have two choices: Either head to a free public spot or pay to access a “private” area within a restaurant, bar or hotel.
If you don’t want to pay to see the NDP 2019 fireworks, here are some free areas that are open to the general public:
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The Merlion Park at Fullerton Road has the best view, which means it’s also the most crowded.
If you don’t mind paying a little, there are some nearby restaurants and bars along One Fullerton that you can consider — think The Pelican, OverEasy and etc.
There’s also the 1-Altitude rooftop gallery bar, which promises a spectacular view of the fireworks from the 63F. You’ll have to pay a cover charge though. Similarly, you can try LeVel33 at MBFC — to reserve a table with a view, a minimum spend of $70/pax is required.
Alternatively, you can try your luck at the Esplanade area. You can go up to the rooftop of the actual building, or camp along Esplanade Drive (where the bridge and waterfront areas are). Behind the main road, there’s Queen Elizabeth Walk, which has a poorer view but will probably be a lot less crowded.
Other popular spots include The Promontory at Marina Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Bay East Garden at Gardens by the Bay.
One thing to note though: because they’re free and open to public, these spaces are usually flooded with people. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
If you’re thinking of heading there, make sure you go early enough to “chope” a spot, and be prepared to jostle with crowds. Those who are afraid of squeezing with sweaty, rowdy people can just forget it.
Now, this year’s National Day holiday happens to fall on the Friday before the Hari Raya Haji holiday (in lieu) on Monday. That makes a super long 4-day weekend.
Normally I’d recommend escaping town, but airfares are crazy expensive for dates between 9 to 12 August 2019. So maybe you can consider a staycation instead.
Many hotels around the Padang have guest-only areas (like rooftop pools and etc) that are perfect for catching the fireworks. While some — like the Ritz-Carlton and Marina Bay Sands — obviously cost an arm, leg and several non-vital organs, there are some affordable hotels in the area as well.
Here are some staycation options under $300 per night:
The cheapest hotel nearby is Destination Singapore Beach Road, at $165/night for the Superior Queen room. You probably won’t get a room facing the fireworks, but as a guest, you can go up to the rooftop pool. It’s quite far away from the Padang though (it’s at Beach Road).
Nearer to the main CBD is Naumi Hotel at Seah Street. It’s $234/night, and likewise, you’ll have to go up to rooftop infinity pool to see the fireworks. The hotel has a promotional package for firework-seekers however, which involves free flow of beer, soft drinks and canapes. Find out more here.
Marina Mandarin‘s cheapest Deluxe room is $294/night. You can probably catch the fireworks from the common areas, but if you want an in-room viewing experience, you’d need to pay $900/night for a Bay View room that guarantees fireworks outside your window.
The Westin, along with Swissotel The Stamford and Fairmont Hotel, also offer similar room rates under $300/night. Again, be prepared to splurge if you want a view to die for and an in-room experience of the NDP fireworks.
Note: The room rates listed here are the cheapest ones, taking into account certain promotions like early bird discounts, etc. Depending on room availability when you book, the rates may go up.
Ready to go? Don’t forget to check for NDP 2019 road closures.
Whichever option you decide on, I recommend taking public transport (over driving). Sure the trains may be crowded, but I’d rather tahan for 20 minutes than drive through a 2-hour traffic jam.
In addition to the small roads around the Padang, quite a few major roads like the Nicoll Highway and Esplanade Drive will be closed off too. For the full map and closure timings and dates, please refer to the official NDP 2019 traffic advisory.
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