Singapore has very reasonable laws when it comes to flying UAVs (drones). Despite the most of the island is off the limits for drones due to the airports and downtown skyscrapers, you can still legally fly even in Marina Bay and capture the beauty of Singapore downtown. At this complete Singapore drone guidelines we will explain the rules, reveal some great take-off locations and give you tips to make the most out of your flying there.
Singapore drone guidelines – Rules
The rules are very simple for recreational use:
0. Edit – 2020 update:
Any unmanned aircraft (UA) with a total weight of above 250 grams must be registered before it can be operated in Singapore. First you need to buy registration label for $15, attach it to your drone and then register online. For that you need to be at least 16 years old. The procedure is quite simple and detailed instructions can be found here.
1. Do NOT fly over people, properties or vehicles.
This might sound like limiting, but if you consider that city center is surrounded by bay and river, it gives you plenty of space to catch the magnificent architecture of Singapore while complying with the rules.
2. Maximum flight height is 200 feet (60m).
For most of the areas, this is enough to have a great perspective. But to be honest, it is quite limiting rule when it comes to downtown area, because the buildings are much higher there, so you don’t really reach the point to capture it from the best perspective. If you want to fly higher than 200 feet you should have Class 2 activity permit (60$) from Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
3. Maximum UAV weight allowed in Singapore is 1.5kg / 7kg.
If weight of your drone is below 1.5kg you are fine only with UA registration (explained above at point 0.). For the most of us Mavic or Phantom pilots, this is our category. If you wonder what is the best travel drone, check our contest.
In case your drone weight is between 1.5kg and 7kg you need UA Basic Training Certificate.
4. Keep the drone within your sight and fly only during good visibility conditions.
The rules of Singapore drone guidelines are not specific about night flights, but when it comes to the drones they are actually more visible during the night, so we take it as night is situation with good visibility conditions. We actually asked security (despite he is not representing official body) if it’s possible to fly around Flyer during the night and he allowed us.
5. The last rule to mention, but probably the most obvious is not to fly within 5km of any airport/military base or within restricted and protected areas. Here is the link to the official map of Civil Aviation Authority which shows all prohibited areas.
In short the most interesting part around Marina Bay, Gardens of the Bay and National Stadium are free to fly.
You can check official website of Singapore Civil Aviation Authority from where we extracted these rules and created this Singapore drone guidelines.
If you plan to fly beyond any of these rules or fly for commercial or educational purpose, you should apply for Permit from Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
Where to fly drones in Singapore
Here we will list some safe places around the city center to fly a drone and get shots of the most iconic places of Singapore. Please note that we have created these Singapore drone guidelines to our best knowledge and experience but we can’t be held responsible for any consequences of your flights in Singapore.
1. Marina Bay – Flyer
There are several good spots around Marina Bay where to take-off to take pictures of Marina Bays Sands, Singapore Flyer and skyscrapers in downtown. One of the most easily accessible places is next to the Singapore Flyer.
This place is accessible by MRT, just ride to the station “Promenade” and walk to this take-off point. From here you can take amazing picture of Singapore Flyer or fly across the bay closer to Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands. This take-off point is especially impressive during sunset when you have sun behind the downtown skyscrapers.
2. Marina Bay – Gardens by the Bay
Since Gardens by the Bay park is No fly zone, this is probably the best safe spot to take off and have great views of the Gardens and Marina Bay Sands. Again great for sunset pictures.
3. Marina Bay – Downtown
This is very good take-off point for sunrise shots of Marina Bay Sands. Not only because of the composition of picture, but also because there are almost no people here during the sunrise. Just few hundreds meters away at Merlion Park there will be crowds of people trying to get postcard sunrise picture, but here you will barely meet few morning joggers.
4. National Stadium
We would recommend this place rather for sunrise, but we believe its gonna be beautiful at sunset as well.
It is quite a distance to fly from here to National Stadium, so keep your eyes on your drone, to maintain visual line of sight.
We walked to this take-off point from “Promenade” MRT station, it took us maybe 15 minutes. After you get out of the MRT station and cross the street, there will be parking lot on the left side. This is the place where you need to go, because only here you will be able to access the stairs which lead on the bridge to cross to the other side of the bay.
After you cross the bridge, its easy to navigate to this take-off point. Maps.me will never let you down. 🙂
5. Cargo Harbor
If you have enough pictures of city center, the cargo harbor is mesmerizing place with never ending container lines and huge cranes loading the ships.
Again this is very convenient location, because it’s just few hundred meters from MRT station Marina South Pier.
Officially the Sentosa island is free to fly (beside the cable car area – see the map above), but there are private properties all around the island, so it might be difficult to find take-off point. We didn’t fly there, so we can’t recommend any particular place. Just go with your common sense and if there are not many people around and you feel like not posing any threat to some millionare mansion nearby, enjoy the beauty of the island from above.
Where to stay – best Singapore drone base
Singapore is one of the most expensive places of South-east Asia, so it is not so easy to find good hotel, with reasonable price and location.
After long search we have decided for mid range Tai Hoe hotel. It is only 200m from MRT station Farrer park, which is directly connected to City Square Mall, so you walk basically all the time from the hotel to the MRT station in air-conditioned mall. And from this MRT station, you are in 15 minutes in city center. Hotel is clean, with air-con and very helpful staff (he even gave us discount coupon for grabcar). Another amazing feature of this hotel is street food market just across the street. You can find chinese, indian or indonesian food there, starting from 2$. It makes it great base for your drone trips around the city.
Of course our dream and the best option to stay in Singapore is at Marina Bay Sands hotel. Enjoying the view from the pool on the roof terrace during the sunset is once in a lifetime experience and you actually don’t even need drone to take amazing aerial like pictures there.
Extra tips for Singapore drone guidelines
1. The weather is changing very quickly here and the forecast seems totally unreliable. So if you see cloudy forecast for the sunrise, don’t believe it and set up that alarm clock anyway. It’s probably gonna be worth it.
2. City center looks the best just after the sunset (blue hour) when there is still some light from sun, but the buildings lights are on already.
3. This is more general photography tip. If you plan your drone flights ahead, Exsate Golden Hour application is our favourite planing tool. It shows you the best time to shoot the pictures at your desired location (golden hour, blue hour,…), angle of the sun at that particular place and it is also connected to weather forecast, so it can predict even the morning fog (most of the time:)).
4. If you are flying Mavic Air or Spark, we would recommend to switch it to FCC mode, because of the wifi interference at the city center. To check what is the best travel drone according to our team, check our Best Travel Drone Contest.
For a long time we were avoiding visiting Singapore, because we prefer nature over cities, but this is exactly the reason why you should visit Singapore. The way how they implement parks and greenery into city is amazing, they really take care of natural heritage and conserve it for future generation. This is something you don’t see very often in SEA, so it really warms our hearts. We see the Singapore as city of the future and you won’t regret the trip here. Just don’t forget to take your drone with you.