Instagramming Singapore in 48 Hours

This is perhaps my most favorite photo of Singapore I have ever taken. I understand people will never know it’s Singapore if I don’t tell, as there’s nothing to indicate here. However, for me, personally, it manages to capture the essence and aspect of the country that I most appreciate. While it lacks the blessings of Mother Nature, it more than makes up in human resourcefulness.

When I was 14, my parents took me to Singapore for holidays. It was my first time flying and being abroad. We were in a tour group and so squeezed in a lot of activities during our 4-day visit. Except for Sentosa and Night Safari, I don’t remember anything else. I was too young to grasp such concepts as fast-paced living, innovative urban planning, old and new architectural juxtaposition, or soulless shopping malls. However, I remember clearly something in me shifted; I realized that the world out there is quite different from where I grew up and lived, and I wanted to see more.

In the following 12 years, I stopped at Changi Airport many times on my way to the US and Europe. But that was it; I never got out of the airport to explore the country on my own. So, even though I had visited, I didn’t consider myself even remotely familiar.

So when planning my trip to Maldives, I made a conscious decision to squeeze in some time in Singapore. And in the 48 hours I had, I wandered around pretty much aimlessly and chanced upon many delightful, quirky, photogenic backstreets and alleyways as well as hip restaurants and coffee shops. Coupled that with a meet-up with my new Singaporean friends and a sushi dinner with my cousin, my short time there couldn’t have been more well-spent.

I’m still not a Singapore travel expert so I’ll hold off from giving you advice on what you should do. In this post, I want to share the snapshots taken with my iPhone of the less popular yet still very charming sights around the city. I already posted some of these on Instagram, so I’m going to embed them here. I also try to include the locations where I took the photos as accurately as I possibly can so that you guys can go if you feel like going 😉

(As for accommodation: I stayed at River City Inn, which is even cleaner than my own house and I can heartily recommend if you’re on budget.)

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Changi is the best airport in the whole wide world. I’m not paying lip service at all; I have been to about 50 different airports across 4 continents so I believe I’m qualified to judge in a way 😀

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This is Neil Road, a one-way road in Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar in the planning areas of Outram and Bukit Merah. The architectural simplicity and the white and yellow color combination are so pleasing to the eyes.

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Now we’re talking real business here. These colorful apartment buldings are part of Rochor Centre, which, I believe, has been demolished to make way for the construction of the North-South Expressway. So I was fortunate to pay a quick visit in January. 

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This was taken in the famous Chinatown pretty early in the morning. You know Chinatown is hardly ever this empty. To me, the whole structure is very LEGO-like; incredibly vibrant and uniform. 

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I’m not sure if even a local Singaporean can identify the exact spot of this because it’s the back of some building somewhere in Tanjong Pagar. I remember I sweated like a whore in a church and was bitten by mosquitoes when trying to take this photo. Really, it’s not Singapore’s lack of natural sceneries or its architectural uniformity that is most challenging for a photographer. It all comes down to the heat. Debilitating heat and humidity!

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Incredibly vivid mural near Bugis Junction Shopping Centre. It delighted and surprised me because Singapore is one of the most restrictive countries when it comes to street art and graffiti. I did some googling and learned that this is the work of talented and prolific Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic. His works can also be seen in Penang, Malaysia and other parts of the world.

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