Singapore's city buses are made in the U.K. and Germany (Mercedes Benz), and their public transportation system is quite efficient & affordable. A few of these sleek buses are double deckers, and provide a spectacular view as you ride through the city. I did what any self respecting photographer would do when presented with scenes like this: I started taking photos.
Words & Photos By Nathan Allen
Out the Window of a Double Decker
If you are lucky enough to get a front row seat on the upper level, you will have an elevated, panoramic view as you pass by some beautiful and historic Singapore landmarks. In the photo below you'll find colorful Rochor Centre, which is actually scheduled for demolition sometime soon.
As you can see, up here you can sit directly behind the windshield. The driver is down below, so the view is 100% unobstructed. From this vantage point it kind of feels as if you are flying above the city streets.
Also, being up so high provides a unique perspective on everyday life in the city. As you are just on a commuter bus, you can observe the comings and goings on the streets below...and do so unnoticed.
Here you'll find St. Andrew's Cathedral, which is the largest in Singapore, and quite a prominent landmark.
Also note the subway commuters, as this is the City Hall MRT Station. I had to be quick to capture this picture...the trees block much of the view, and the bus passes this area quickly.
Below is the same location, but view of North Bridge Road & Peninsula Plaza (on the right).
Clean, Uncongested City Streets
Along with Tokyo, Singapore has some of the cleanest streets in Asia. However, what Singapore doesn't have is the crowds. I remember when I first visited Singapore, I asked a local when rush hour was. They just laughed.
It is prohibitively expensive to own a car in Singapore, and in my opinion, that's a very good thing. With hardly any traffic, Singapore is very efficient, and residents enjoy some of the best quality of life in the world.
Yes, fewer cars on the road means cleaner air...but also helping out in this department are the beautiful trees that can be found all over the city. Not only do they help to clean the air, but they shade and cool the landscape as well. When it comes to heat and humidity, Singapore, being right on the equator, could use all the help it can get.
Seriously, these stately trees are one of my favorite things about Singapore. These are even small compared to some of the giants I have seen while exploring the country. I'm so glad they incorporated all this green space into such a modern, metropolitan area. I hope to write more about this soon.
(continued below, but I do hope you'll consider following along with me...)
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Photos of the Bus Ride Through Chinatown
I "hovered" right through the heart of this historic district - where tradition and modernity collide.
Above you can see the base of The Pinnacle@Duxton, a 50 storey high-rise with the largest sky gardens in the world.
Below is the "Buddha Tooth Relic Temple", which is not only incredibly striking, but also (clearly) wins the award for best named temple.
If you were wondering, yes, this photo was taken from the bus, too (you can see the window border in the upper left hand side). Hard to believe, but there really is a LOT to be seen on this route!
Church of St. Teresa - Further Down the Road
Seriously, could this bus commute get any more scenic?? St Teresa Church sits on a small, picturesque hill just beyond Chinatown.
Labrador Park MRT / Overhead Bridge
A few kilometers later I decided to get off the bus...though I do wonder what else I would have seen if I continued! Next time, I guess. I just walked around Labrador park and enjoyed the sunset before returning back to the city center.
A DIY "Commuter Tour"
So yes, if you're ever in Singapore on a nice day, don't hesitate to take one of these double decker buses! Sure, the SMRT train might be faster, but as you've seen above, you'll miss out on a lot of colorful scenery on the way to your destination.
Again, every photo on this page was taken from a window seat on one of these buses.
(If you were wondering, these pictures were shot with a Ricoh GRII camera. It's basically a DSLR that fits right in the palm of your
hand. You can check it out on Amazon...or if you're in Asia, on Lazada. Using these links will find you a great deal, but also help me out...doesn't cost you anything extra at all)
- Nathan Allen
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