Here it is, finally! The event the whole country has been waiting for: The 2015 National Day Parade to commemorate Singapore’s SG50 Jubilee year.
For us, we are continuing our family’s little ‘tradition’ to chase, or to catch the fireworks and the aerial displays. We were thrilled to know that although the celebration proceedings has moved to the Padang – site of the first National Day Parade, the fireworks and the position of the general aerial displays have not changed much. In fact, there are MORE aerial displays, MORE fireworks, everything is bigger and better . After all, at 50, we have much to celebrate as a nation considering the challenges we had had to overcome.
Granted that the best seats in the house are, well IN the house (or rather at the Padang), the rest of us mortals who are unable to get within a whisker of the grandstand but still want to soak in the revelry and experience the euphoria of the displays, we share our tried and testing opinions of the best alternative locations to view this year’s NDP aerial displays and fireworks as well as giving you a sneak peek of the action we caught during yesterday’s rehearsal on July 4th 2015.
The best alternative place to view, in my opinion, would be none other than the Jubilee Bridge. “What bridge?” you may ask. Yes, opened on 29 March 2015, it’s the new pedestrian bridge next to the existing Esplanade Bridge that links Merlion Park and the Esplanade waterfront promenade. It’s even more significant that the bridge, which is built as part of Singapore’s jubilee celebrations was actually mooted by the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to provide Singaporeans with a safe and comfortable walk to enjoy the vista of the Marina Bay. True to his sharp vision, the bridge provides one of the most ideal location to take in the Jubilee Celebrations. Here are some reasons:
- Best vantage for the aerial displays: The fighter jets would enter the bay with the formation of 5 and 0. It is best viewed from that angle, which is exactly the same angle as the folks in the padang. All the other aerial displays enter from that same angle as well and you’ll have lots of time to take in the displays and get a good shot.
- Best vantage point to ‘greet’ the contingents: At the end of their march past at the Padang, the troops gather for debrief at the Esplanade Bridge! It’s a wonderful opportunity to see them marching pass us within a nose’ reach and to see them fall out subsequently. Awesome.
- Bright and Safe: The Jubilee Bridge has wide and illuminated pathways. It is a purpose-built pedestrian bridge therefore it is safe for young kids to toddle around while you enjoy a leisurely picnic while waiting for the action to unfold. Besides, there are lots of security personnel on duty and shelter nearby at the Esplanade and One Fullerton.
- Transport and Parking: The Jubilee Bridge is right in the middle of the Esplanade and One Fullerton where you’ll have a wide choice of eateries and toilet facilities within a short stroll. It is also near Esplanade MRT and Raffles Place MRT. For those who drive, do note that roads leading to Esplanade would be closed early. Therefore parking at the Esplanade would be closed. We parked at One Fullerton from 5pm and paid $5 for carpark when we collected our car at the end of the event. The carpark fees might be steeper on NDP Actual Preview and on National Day itself.
Timings of Aerial Display and Fireworks:
Due to the increased number of displays as part of the Jubilee Celebrations, there’s been a slight change in the time of these aerial displays and the fireworks. Here’s a general guide on the approximate timings on when to expect what, as seen from the Jubilee Bridge.
5:30 pm – The Red Lions…look up!
6:05 pm – The Black Knights Aerial Display…look ahead towards MBS!
6:30 pm – The A380 makes it debut over the Padang! Look to the left of MBS.
6:40 pm – The National Flag Fly Past … look ahead, to the right of MBS and salute!
6:45 pm – The Fighter Jets Salute … look ahead and up.
6:50 pm – The Cannon Salute…near the Esplanade Merlion Park, it’s loud….very loud. Close the kids’ ears!
6:50 – 7:00 pm – More Aerial Displays. Look head, look up.
7:15pm – Contingents March onto the Esplanade Bridge…look to the back and wave ‘Hi!’
7:30 – 7:40pm – A Burst of Fireworks from the Bay.
7:50 – 8:00pm – Another Burst of the Fireworks
8:15 – 8:25pm- National Anthem and Pledge Moment at 2015 (20:15 hours) This is it! Raining fireworks! The whole sky is lit up! Keep your eyes open and mouths closed! There are so much fireworks this time around that the we were soaked in gun powder (or GSR for CSI fans!) so do expect some debris of the fireworks to rain down…be prepared, put on hats on little kids and soak in the moment. It’s part of the experience!
Views from other Popular Sites:
I’ve compiled the annual NDP fireworks shot from different vantage points in this video to commemorate NDP 2014 where the parade was held at the Floating Platform for the last time after 8 years. In the video, you can see the photos which I’ve taken over the years from the public viewing areas around Marina Bay. Hope this post will be a useful guide for families planning to catch a slice of the NDP action from the fringe!
Alternative Vantage Points in the Video:
2010 – MBS Sky Park (00:50)
2011 – Marina Promontory (01:30)
2012 – Esplanade Outdoor Promenade (02:00)
2013 – Sky Park (again!) & Floating Platform (02:22)
2014 – Marina Bay Sands & Floating Platform (03:40)
Do note that during our visits to the Sky Park on both occasions, tripods are not allowed. My photos were therefore taken handheld and it is definitely one of our favourite places to watch the fireworks. But be prepared for the REALLY loud jets.
Remaining NDP 2015 Dates to catch the action:
- Jul 11, 18 and 25 – National Education Show.
- Aug 1 – NDP Preview Show.
- Aug 9 – National Day Parade 2015.
“Dana, remember this flag…”
Most importantly, when you’re there with your family and kids, amidst the revelry, do pause and share with your kids what it means to be a Singaporean and what they can do for their country.
May the stunning vistas of the Marina Bay and the toil of the NDP participants remind us of the commitment put in by our countrymen to uphold the many values that make us uniquely Singaporean. May we always stand united as one, regardless of race, language and religion. Majulah Singapura!