Unless you’ve taken a business trip abroad or have been lucky enough to be onboard a cruise to nowhere, it’s been a real hot minute since any of us stepped foot out of the country.
For those of us consumed by wanderlust every year once December rolls around, we understand how painful it must be to stay rooted in one place for long — with only past memories and photographs taken overseas to immerse ourselves in. But what if we told you Japan’s a whole lot closer than you might think? Or that an afternoon walk through the vibrant city of Buenos Aires is but a train ride away?
AVENUE ONE gathered 15 Instagrammable places to visit to experience the ultimate tourist-y vibes right here in Singapore. Read on for all the photography inspiration you’ll need in these scenic gems in our ‘hood. And you just might trick a peer or two with their resemblance to overseas locations on your socials!
1. Hạ Long Bay | Vietnam
This natural wonder in northern Vietnam features over 1,500 square kilometres of scenic bay area covered in more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets — it’s no wonder this splendid destination is a UNESCO World Heritage listing.
Singaporean lookalike: Xiao Guilin
Its doppelgänger? Little Guilin, or also known to locals as Xiao Guilin, was modelled after Guilin in China. But you’ve gotta admit it, with its towering rock cliffs that overlook the tranquil lake, this majestic sight closely resembles Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay an awful lot!
Bukit Batok East Ave 5, Singapore 650242
2. Punta Cana | Coconut Coast, Dominican Republic
The resort town of Punta Cana welcomes beach-lovers, golfers, and honeymooners all year round thanks to its warm weather no matter the season.
Singaporean lookalike: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
With a climate similar to the Dominican resort, palm trees that line the scenic beaches there can be found right outside one of the most bustling areas downtown on the little red dot herself!
Pick up your camera and take a shot amongst the lush spaces right outside the Marina Bay Shoppes, facing the ArtScience Museum. With just a bit of photoshop and sufficient elevation, you’ll be able to channel serious seaside vibes this year-end.
2 Bayfront Ave Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
3. La Boca | Buenos Aires, Argentina
Brimming with pulsating street performances and infectious laughter along every street, La Boca exudes strong European flavour. One alley, El Caminito, in particular draws crowds with its vibrant atmosphere and colourful line of houses.
Singaporean lookalike: House of Tan Teng Niah
Save for the street performances (and the occasional theft), the House of Tan Teng Niah is a colourful villa with a similar vividness to the Argentinian street.
Now used as commercial space, this rainbow-highlighted landmark was constructed in 1900 by local businessman Tan Teng Niah. Drop by this historic villa that’s just a block away from Little Indian MRT Station.
37 Kerbau Rd, Singapore 219168
4. Pagoda of Fogong Temple | Shanxi province, China
Located in Ying County in the Shanxi province of China, this famed structure stands close to 70 meters above ground against a backdrop of countryside serenity, Mount Heng, and the Songgan River.
Nicknamed “Muta”, meaning timber pagoda in Chinese, this 964-year-old cultural relic is the oldest existing fully-wooden pagoda left standing in China,
Singaporean lookalike: Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery
You can find a local, albeit a lot younger, version of the tiered tower over at Tao Payoh. Yes, you read that right.
Lian Shan Shung Lin Monastery plays host to the magnificent Dragon Light Pagoda right in the heartlands of Singapore. Explore the peaceful grounds of the monastery and gardens amongst several other structures, including beautifully-adorned temples, halls, and featured walls.
184 Jalan Toa Payoh, Singapore 319944
5. South Putuo Temple | Xiamen Fujian, China
Founded in the Tang dynasty in the Chinese city of Xiamen, the South Putuo Temple is a popular tourist destination on the picturesque island, framed by the breath-taking Wulao Peaks range brimming the horizon in the background.
Singaporean lookalike: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Behold, its identical twin is a Buddhist temple and monastery in Bishan, built by founder Zhuan Dao in the early 20th century.
This monastery remains active with notable cremations taking place at its crematorium, including that of former politician Dr. Lim Hock Siew, local veteran actor Huang Wenyong, and business mogul and philanthropist Ng Bok Eng.
88 Bright Hill Rd, Singapore 574117
6. Heceta Head Lighthouse | Florence, Oregon
Dreaming of a lightkeeper’s life? The Heceta Lighthouse is the brightest light on the Oregon coast, and is also said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States.
Singaporean lookalike: Johor Straits Lighthouse
Here in Singapore, we’ve got our very own variant located at the tip of Raffles Marina’s breakwater. The retro-esque stature of Johor Straits Lighthouse measures up to 12 metres in height, overlooking the Tuas Second Link bridge in the distance.
If you’re lucky enough, you might even capture some opulent yachts cruising in the background, channelling the ultimate luxe vibes. This lighthouse might even look cooler in a night shot, as it remains one of the few operating ones left in Singapore.
10 Tuas West Dr, Singapore 638404
7. Bywater Street | Chelsea, London
Besides the great shopping experiences Chelsea offers, it’s home to some of the world’s most colourful line of houses. Stunning is an understatement for these pastel-coloured beauties, especially if you’re into architecture.
Singaporean lookalike: Koon Seng Road
But fret not as we have our very own line of gems in the colourful enclaves of Joo Chiat and Katong. Take a stroll down the district and you’ll spy beautiful Peranakan-styled shophouses along the vibrant street of Koon Seng Road.
Featuring rainbow-rues from green to purple to pink, these hallmarks are adorned with intricate designs that embody the richness of the Peranakan culture. Do remember to ask for permission before you snap a shot!
287 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427540
8. Penataran Lempuyang | Bali, Indonesia
Controversy aside, you’ve most likely come across this popular tourist attraction on your Instagram feed often dubbed as the “Gates of Heaven” — one glance at this image and you can probably figure out why.
Singaporean lookalike: Fort Canning Park
While it might not seem possible to replicate the incredible mountain peak in the background, the pair of ancient ruins flanking the elevated platform looks a lot like Fort Canning!
Give the park a visit nearing to dusk and be rewarded with a natural #goldenhour filter that sets the entire place alight.
River Valley Rd, Singapore 179037
9. Streets of Pulau Penang
Ask any street art-enthusiast worth their salt, and they’re likely to introduce the nostalgia-evoking wall murals lined up on the streets of Penang. Of course, you can’t bring up murals without mentioning the children on the bike.
As one of the more popular ones in the area, the playful portrayal of the siblings pair seems to strike a chord with locals and travellers alike.
Singaporean lookalike: Katong
If you’re willing to travel east just a bit, you’ll find similar heritage trails bearing unique paintings on the walls of Joo Chiat and Katong.
This one in particular is located right behind Kim Choo Kueh Chang, features a young female dressed in traditional Peranakan attire, holding up a fistful of dumplings as balloons — certainly something to add to the Instagram feed.
109 East Coast Road, Singapore 428800 (behind Kim Choo Kueh Chang store)
10. Palm Springs, California
Most notably known for its mid-century modern architecture, Palm Springs is a definite go-to for those seeking a little Hollywood glamour and fun. This laid-back destination retains a wonderful blend of nature and sophistication.
Singaporean lookalike: Parkview Square
May we suggest paying North Bridge Road a visit? There you’ll find the Gotham-inspired Parkview Square building hovering above the district’s most iconic spaces, coupled with the lush greenery that’s sure to transport you to another country altogether.
Take your best #lookup shots with the curved architecture of the DUO Residences in frame for an extra pump of mid-50s style.
600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778
11. Bars of Taipei, Taiwan
The nightlife in Taipei offers amazing experiences for sure. Be it for a chill night out with co-workers or all-out clubbing with besties, it’s almost as if each bar in Taiwan comes accompanied with awesome neon-lit decor as a silent rule.
Singaporean lookalike: Loof Rooftop Bar
Pick up a drink and create your party experience with Loof Rooftop Bar this weekend. The establishment offers several fluorescent lighting fixtures — aspiring influencers, take your pick!
331 North Bridge Rd, #03-07 Odeon Towers Extension Rooftop, Singapore 188720
12. Fushimi Inari-Taisha | Kyoto, Japan
The iconic torii path leading up to one of Japan’s most important shrines is a definite photo spot when visiting Kyoto. You might recognise its popular lookalike here in Singapore.
Singaporean lookalike: KOMA
While there aren’t exactly a thousand torii gates situated at the entrance of the incredibly aesthetic Japanese restaurant, KOMA, be sure to steal an envy-evoking shot between these orange structures when you pay this latest highlight a visit next time.
Psst, don’t miss the unbelievably well-decked out interior of the restaurant as well! Featuring a traditional Japanese foot bridge, reflecting pool, and a oriental Japanese bell, we think you’ll be left utterly speechless from the decor alone.
Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave, #B1-67, Singapore 018972
13. Metropol Parasol | Seville, Spain
Consisting of six large parasols that take the form of giant mushrooms, this wooden lattice structure is recognised for its timber patterns that create shadows that move continuously throughout the day.
This dynamic landmark is said to be the world’s largest building held together primarily by glue! What a sight to behold.
Singaporean lookalike: Marina One “Green Heart”
Its lookalike in Singapore bears uncanny resemblance with its innovative design that circles around a green oasis consisting of over 350 different well-thriving variants of trees and plants.
Flanked by four towers inspired by Asian paddy field terraces, this remarkable masterpiece stands tall with its green and brown colour scheme. Be sure to dress in something bright to contrast with the background!
7 Straits View, Singapore 018936
14. Choi Hung Estate | Hong kong
Besides the scrumptious splendor of dim sum that we’re eyeing when in this metropolitan, Hong Kong’s humble public housing estates offer a cluster of Instagram-worthy shots that’s not to be missed as well!
These colourful blocks at Choi Hung Estate draw photographers and influencers from around the globe but can we find our very own version here in Singapore?
Singaporean lookalike: People’s park complex
Since it looks like we might not be able to travel to the region’s most urban-dense cities well till next year, the best replica we have in mind is the People’s Park Complex.
Constructed in 1973, this residential block is one of the very last few brutalist architecture building left in Singapore. Well-loved for its ‘blocky’, rigid appearance as well as geometric style, it’s definitely reminiscent of Hong Kong’s urban complexes.
Do note that permits will be required for photographic or videographic shoots on site, as previous cases of vandalism and privacy concerns shared by residing persons in recent years have come to light.
1 Park Rd, Singapore 059108
15. Kinkaku-ji | Kyoto, Japan
It’s almost indisputable that Kyoto holds the title of the most scenic city here in Asia. Let this picture of the Kinkaku-ji temple tell you why.
If you’re missing the Golden Pavilion and its majestic Mirror Pond, perhaps the Japanese Garden will satisfy that wanderlust.
Lookalike: Japanese Garden
At first glance, the Japanese Garden might not appear favourable for a Insta-worthy shot. But with a good eye and some creativity, you could easily capture the essence of the Land of the Rising Sun with its relaxed vibes and breezy surroundings you rarely find in the bustling city of Singapore.
Spend an idyllic day on the grounds of the Japanese Garden situated right next to Chinese Garden at Jurong Lake Gardens when the park reopens to the public next year!
1 Chinese Garden Rd, Singapore 619795l