It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Gardens by the Bay.
Christmas Wonderland is one of the biggest year-end festive events in Singapore, attracting millions of visitors since its debut in 2014. The Walk of Lights is the physical event of Christmas Wonderland’s series of festivities, featuring a picturesque self-guided tour at Gardens by the Bay where visitors can view eight light installations. In compliance with social distancing rules, a quota of a maximum of 430 people per 30-minute session is imposed.
On a normal Friday in early-December, the Walk of Lights was relatively vacant. Perhaps most had felt that it was too early to be celebrating Christmas.
However, I posit that the low season is the best time to visit the event — after all, in the wise words of former POTUS Calvin Coolidge, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind”. Despite the 30-minute time limit, the place was so empty that I was allowed as much time as I deemed sufficient to admire the installations, take photos for the ‘gram, and do my best rendition of the “Jingle Bell Rock” routine from Mean Girls.
My favourite light installation is the “Path of Tranquility”. I was engulfed in a sea of azure lights the moment I stepped foot onto the path, making the walk an immersive magical experience. Being in an enclosed area surrounded by friends, a great Christmas playlist and the blue lights was therapeutic and strangely liberating. As cliché as it might sound, I was momentarily dissociated from the chaos of the outside world in that archway of a million tiny lights. In this sense, “Path of Tranquility” is definitely an apt name for the installation.
The “Field of Lights” is another major installation. It featured hypnotic swirls of bright blue on one end of the field and a sea of deeper blue on the other. The combination reminded me of waves crashing on the shore. “Field of Lights”, accompanied by the backdrop of magnificent Supertrees illuminated in red, blue and violet in the nighttime, was a feast for the eyes. The installation served as a popular photo-taking spot as visitors flocked over to try to capture this breathtaking view.
Standing tall at 17 metres, “Spalliera” was colossal, albeit an anticlimactic finale to the Walk of Lights. The installation, inspired by Italian decorative backboards, is arguably the icon of the Christmas Wonderland franchise. However, 2020’s “Spalliera” pales in comparison to last year’s, which consisted of three towers and even a connecting roof. While Its characteristic unique design and colourful patterns are still prominent, the installation seems to be more support stands than lights, making it look bare overall. It was also difficult for me to get a good photo of the “Spalliera” design when standing inside.
To capture a decent portrait in the “Spalliera”, I would advise photographers to aggressively tilt the camera upwards to cut out all the negative space. Otherwise, pictures may resemble:
Overall, the Walk of Lights experience was definitely pleasant. Christmas Wonderland has always been a highlight of the Christmas season in Singapore. The event is family-friendly and even pet-friendly, so do consider bringing your family and friends (including furry ones) to view the beautiful light installations at an affordable price before the event ends on 3 January 2021! In the meanwhile, I will be praying for a day when we are allowed to enjoy pretty lights and jam to “Santa Baby” together without social distancing restrictions in Christmas Wonderland 2021.