Whether you admit it or not, most people get a twinge of satisfaction when they see the likes stack up on a perfectly composed image. Maybe you hiked on a long hot day to get the shot. Maybe you woke up early just to find the perfect angle as the sun hits.
What we’re saying is, we get it. Fly your share-loving flag proud, people! No judgement here.
Singaporeans in particular are one of the most avid social media users in the world and with the city brimming with diverse cultural artefacts and insane architecture around every corner, it’s easy to see why.
Recently we were in town to experience Singers up close and personal. And so, armed with a camera, tripod and our trusty SSH (Singapore Stopover Holiday) cards, we traipsed from one side of the sprawl to the next, hunting down the most colourful, cool and quirky places to snap the Instagrams of your social-media dreams — and have a great time in the process.
These are our findings…
Start your adventure off with a little light introduction to the city. The best way to get the lay of the land (and river) is via traditional ‘Bumboat’ ride with Singapore River Cruise (if you’re on an SSH Holiday your passes are FREE. Awesome right?).
You board at Clarke Quay, which is a kaleidoscopic mix of old colonial Singapore against a backdrop of futuristic skyscrapers. Once a bustling hub of local trade, most recently it’s become a haven for foodies enjoying relaxed outdoors drinks by the water in many of the rows upon rows of bars and restaurants.
The half hour trip from Clarke Quay towards Marina Bay is arguably one of the most romantic things to do (especially if you’re on a budget). Just kick back and keep your eyes peeled for that perfect lens flare between the buildings (and the friendly otters that call the waterways home).
TIP: Skip the mid-day heat and save your camera for the good light. Sunset in Singapore is around 7.20pm so we recommend jumping on-board around 6.45pm. The last cruise is at 10.30pm so it’s also worthwhile waiting until about 8pm when you can ride across the water enjoying the nightly laser show from Marina Bay Sands.
Koon Seng Road In Joo Chiat
Now that you’ve captured the more modern side of the city, it’s time to juxtapose your feed with a little colonial history and no place is Singapore’s multicultural personality better personified than along colourful Koon Seng Road in Joo Chiat (read more on this fascinating neighbourhood here).
It’s a one-block stretch of rainbow Straits Eclectic buildings. Mixing influences from the East, West and everywhere in between, it’s a style of architecture unique to the region thanks to the Paranakan descendants of the Chinese and Indian immigrants who married indigenous people from the Malay Archipelago in the 15th century.
The best part? No filter required.
TIP: The northern side of the street is considered the most picturesque, so if you go in the morning you’ll get the sun hitting the facades just perfectly. However the bright colours mean that they’ll pop all times of the day so this is a safe bet if you have a bit of time to kill.
Cloud Forest, Gardens By The Bay
Time to celebrate some of that trademarked Singaporean ingenuity because the Cloud Forest at Gardens By The Bay is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Mostly because it’s entirely man-made but with vegetation that flourishes with wild abandon of even the lush rainforests of Gondwanaland. Like something out of Avatar, you’ll see sky-bridges that appear to float over the greenery, waterfalls splashing all around you, all housed within a sci-fi inspired biodome.
While this is a popular attraction for photographers, the beauty is, there are seemingly endless nooks and crannies to angle into to get your own original shot.
TIP: You could do this in the middle of the day to escape the heat (that feeling as the cool mists brush over you as you pass through the entry is practically transcendent) but we challenge you to hold up until about 5.30/6pm, when the skies outside turn purple and the crowds ease off.
**Access to the Cloud Forest and most other Gardens By The Bay attractions are FREE when you flash you SSH card.**
Palawan Beach, Sentosa
The three main beaches on Sentosa Island are Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong, each with their own unique characteristics. Siloso is for more adventurous types with its manmade wave and whirlpools. Meanwhile Tanjong caters to the city’s more sophisticated set with its popular Tanjong Beach Club.
But if you’re an avid photographer you won’t be able to resist the Robinson Crusoe vibes of the Palawan Beach rope bridge leading onto the southernmost tip of continental Asia.
TIP: We suggest avoiding the middle of the day for traipsing around the park for photo opps. Rather, spend time enjoying the facilities (SSH card holders can access 2 of the park’s major attractions, such as the butterfly house for free) and cooling off in the water. Then head over to Palawan as the sun gets softer, which will give your shots a more romantic touch.
EXTRA TIP: Skip the drive and instead head to Faber Peak to catch the cable car directly across to Sentosa. Operating from 8.45am – 10pm all day every day, this is an experience in itself and is a fun way to get your heart beating a little faster as you pass high over the docked cargo ships.
Ahh the great Singapore Flyer. We know you’ve probably already sized it up as some kind of tourist trap but we guarantee it’ll surprise you with its absolutely breathtaking scenery. So you’re a tourist? Who cares! Embrace it and you’ll be rewarded with the kind of bird’s-eye views that’ll make your follower’s trigger-fingers quiver with joy over the Like button.
TIP: Once again, this is FREE on your SSH card. Save this one for sunset and don’t be scared to ask for the private booth. The flyer assistants are pretty accommodating, especially when you have a tripod in hand. It’s like the international symbol for ‘I mean business’.
Sitting quietly as you rise slowly into the sky with the soothing sound of your timelapse camera clicking in the background has got to be one of the best ways to get an appreciation for the lay of the land.
and one honorary mention…
Don’t disregard the under passes
When is an underpass never just an underpass? When it’s an underpass in Singapore. Bless those meticulous town planners for their thoughtful design because everything, including something as utilitarian as a concrete walkway has been designed for max aesthetics.
The ones beneath the waterside highway in Marina Bay have soft sweeping curves and artful negative space that lets the sunlight glimmer in just-perfectly. They. Are. Mesmerising.
Head to One Fullerton, near the Merlion statue and you’ll find a cluster of delicious street-food stalls tucked in the shade. It’s the only place in the world you’ll be happy to sit and watch the cars go by and consider it a beautiful sight.
Your own SSH experience can be purchased in conjunction with any Singapore Airlines flight from an additional $AUD45, inclusive of accommodation, return airport transfers, unlimited rides on the SIA Hop-on Bus, and admission to major attractions (worth more than $AUD600).
Find out more about how you can extend your stopover for as little as $AUD45 a day here.
Heading to Singapore? Make sure you read our Singapore Airlines Premium Economy A380 review in our Flight Mode section
In Singapore? Be sure to read: Singapore: 5 Ways This City Will Open Your Mind (& Challenge Your Perceptions)
CITIZENS OF THE WORLD travelled with Singapore Airlines on a Singapore Stopover Holiday (SSH). Your own SSH experience can be purchased in conjunction with any Singapore Airlines flight from an additional $AUD45, inclusive of accommodation, return airport transfers, unlimited rides on the SIA Hop-on Bus, and admission to major attractions (worth more than $600).
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