Singapore has been blowing up on Instagram recently. In case you have not seen 10 million photos of Gardens by the Bay yet, well you should. It’s gorgeous. More and more people are flocking to SG with their camera phones and ethereal dresses, stoked to #DoItForTheGram. (Got to say I was guilty myself) This colorful city/country in Southeast Asia is a dream come true for Instagrammers and photographers. But before you are ready to strike that contemplative stare pose beside the Merlion, there are some tips and advice you’d want to know. This post shares a couple of things you should avoid when visiting the popular Instagrammable Places in Singapore, including ways to kill a photo and bad etiquettes.
Don’t visit on weekends
This is kind of a good rule to go by for most tourist destinations around the world but especially true for Singapore. With a population of over 5 million, the small city quickly gets crowded on the weekends. Trust me, you don’t want to deal with the sweat fest that is locals and tourists combined. Try your best to conquer your top places of interest on weekdays (from Monday to Friday) when the Singaporeans are working. If you really can’t avoid the weekends though…read the next tip.
The Botanic Garden is a beautiful getaway to nature in the middle of the metropolis. Here I was, enjoying a leisurely stroll on a Thursday.
Don’t visit in the middle of the day
Not only are there worst days to visit, there are worst times to visit. Avoid outdoor places during the middle of the day. For one thing, while you will try to smile for the camera, you will actually be melting and crying on the inside. For another thing, the sun is at its brightest at this time, making the lighting way too harsh and unflattering for photo taking. My secret for photography is always go in the early mornings. It works every time and was no exception during my experience in Singapore. Not only can you enjoy better lighting and cooler temperature, there are likely way less people.
Gardens by the Bay = Real life Avatar.
I was here at 9 am. Already a bit late TBH, but still barely a soul in this area of the park during this time.
Don’t bring large equipment
If you travel solo like me, you probably hull around a tripod on your shoulder. I don’t need any help! You proudly declare. I get it sister and I’m with you…But you may want to reconsider this in Singapore. In case you haven’t heard, Singapore is fricken hot! To tell the truth, I was dying after a while of walking around in the insane heat and humidity, carrying my bag containing my tripod and DSLR. They really seemed to get heavier by the second! I just wanted to throw everything away and lay down in an AC room with a bubble tea for eternity. Do anything you can to travel lighter. Getting rid of a full sized tripod is a good place to start. Some places don’t allow tripods anyways, like the ArtScience Museum. Ask someone else to take your photo, plop your camera on a ledge…there are other ways!
Pro tip: Get this cute mini tripod that’s the size of a palm and weight almost nothing. After I was told my big tripod is not allowed in the ArtScience Museum, I luckily had this backup gadget as my saving grace. I was able to use it in the exhibitions without taking up people’s space and the photos turned out just fine.
Don’t dress impractically
You would be walk around A LOT and Singapore’s climate is, again, no joke. I know some people who didn’t like Singapore because they felt uncomfortable and sticky all the time. I thought that was such a shame to hear, that Singapore’s beauty and essence could not be enjoyed by them because of the heat. Try your best to stay cool and not burden yourself with clothing that may make things more challenging. Yes….get rid of that chic jean jacket and that huge statement necklace you’ve already packed. Go minimal!
Disclaimer for those who saw this photo of me roaming around the Katong/Joo Chiat neighbourhood: those heels were on for literally only 5 minutes for the sake of the shoot. Don’t be fooled. The rest of the time I was in sneakers LOL. I know…Viola, the Queen of being extra. Bring accessories if you must. Don’t wear them all day. You won’t survive.
Don’t linger forever at the photo spots
Many of the instagrammable places in Singapore are residential and business areas, like Katong/Joo Chiat and Little India. Yes they are colorful and adorable, and you may be inclined to squeal in excitement. But remember that locals live and work here. Be respectful, not disruptive. Take your photos and be done. Don’t hang around like a stalker. For places that were built for tourists as well, it’s a No No to hog the spots. Give other people a chance to take photos too. After all, we are all just travelers looking to capture a good memory.
The House of Tan Teng Niah in Little India is a popular backdrop for girls to take their ootds. I was there early (since I was staying in Little India) and there was nobody there. But when I passed by later on, there were tons of people trying to get a shot in. Moral of the story: Just go early.
Don’t only visit instagrammable places
Lastly, remember that Singapore is so much more than just insta worthy spots. It’s a country bursting with diverse cultures, inspiring nature, and delicious foods! Still dreaming about the laksa I had on my trip. Allocate enough time to appreciate the rest of Lion City instead of spending too many hours taking photos. These days, I am trying to adopt a personal rule where I spend no more than 15 minutes with the camera at a location. Then, I can used the rest of the time to take in the surroundings with no distractions or travel to the next destination.
The rainbow colored Old Street Hill Police Station is #InstagramGoals, but really, there is nothing much else to do here other than snapping a couple photos. Check it out briefly and you can move on to other explorations.
Going to Singapore soon? Plan your trip in 4 easy steps
Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine.
Find A Hotel: Score affordable accommodation on Booking.com. Receive $16 off your first booking with my link here.
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Read up on the best advice: Love a good old fashion guide book. Suggested reading: Lonely Planet: Singapore Travel Guide