Hidden #Instaworthy Asian locations – Part 1

Gone are the days where analog films were used to preserve memories. With the advancement of technology, we can capture moments of love, laughter and life in just a matter of seconds and share these on social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram where our friends and family can see our joyous moments.

Some may say that the art of photography is lost in the streams of #ootd posts and edited landscapes. However, one cannot deny that beautiful scenery is worth sharing with our followers.

You don’t have to travel far or spend much of your precious savings to get the perfect Instagram shot. Here are the first five out of a list of 10 #instaworthy spots from around Asia.

1. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore (Singapore)

Calling all nature lovers! It’s time to head towards Marina Bay, Singapore. Measuring between 25 and 50 metres tall, each of these Supertrees serves as a vertical garden, which will have you and your followers in awe as they keep hitting the “like” button.

They are designed with large canopies that provide shade in the day and come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night. Aerial walkways connect the treetops so you can visit the top and check out the view of the gardens from above.

Cost: The Supertree Grove section of Gardens by the Bay is free for all. However, do take note there is a fee if you want to visit the top and walk the aerial walkways.

Pro Tip: Try taking photos from some of the elevated platforms that you come across before you completely make your way down to the Supertrees to capture the Supertree Grove in all of its glory.

Keep an eye out for viewpoints as you enter and make your way to the trees, too. You won’t want to miss them.

2. Jiuzhai Valley National Park, Sichuan (China)

Moving on, it’s time to warp to Jiuzhaigou County, where the dreamlike scenery is sure to take your breath away. The valley earned its name, meaning nine villages, from the nine stockaded villages of Tibetan origin.

This great masterpiece of nature combines blue lakes, waterfalls, verdant forests, snow-covered mountains, and the folk customs of the Tibetan and Qiang people that’ll definitely win the hearts of all Instagrammers.

If you’re lucky, you might also spot the numerous flora and nationally protected fauna, including giant pandas, takins, golden monkeys, marmots, and blue sheep.

However, since its reopening after an earthquake on Aug 8, 2017, visitors are required to take the sightseeing bus.

Cost: Don’t worry, the bus only costs 90 yuan (approximately RM54), and covers the whole scenic area.

Pro tip: Those aged six to 18, as well as seniors aged 60 to 70, enjoy half price on entrance tickets when they produce official identification.

The place is also home to a small population of Tibetan and Qiang people and provides a good opportunity to get to know more about the locals’ unique way of life and culture.

3. Sipiso Piso Waterfall, Kabanjahe (Indonesia)

Set in the beautiful highlands of North Sumatra, the stunning Sipiso-Piso waterfall is located on the North side of Lake Toba, 24 km from Kabanjahe. This long but narrow waterfall drops 120 metres into an impressive gorge below.

Surrounded by a lush green mountainscape and with a rainbow forming at the base of the waterfall, it’s hard to imagine a more impressive subject for a photograph or selfie.

Under the waterfall, you’ll feel sharp splashes of water on your skin, that gave the waterfall its name of Piso or Pisau that means knife. With its peaceful environment and pleasing scenery, it’s a lovely spot to unwind and relax from the rush of city life.

Cost: The private tour is expensive at RM288, but good news for the jocks, if you prefer to explore on your own and take the notoriously-tiring hike, the entrance fee is ridiculously cheap at only RP 4000 (RM1.25).

Pro tip: When you arrive at the bottom of the waterfall, don’t forget to point your view to the beautiful hills surrounding it.

Remember to pack a lunch to enjoy after spending time at the bottom of the waterfall, and if you still have time on your hands, consider taking a visit to a nearby two-coloured waterfall in the area for those extra Instagram “likes”.

4. Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, Lantau Island (Hong Kong)

Maybe you’re the type who prefers taking in the scenery in the comfort of your seat, and going to new heights – literally. If you are, then this cable car is perfect for you.

This visually spectacular ride will take you on a 5.7km journey between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island.

Visitors will be greeted by stunning (true to its name) 360 degrees panoramic views of the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, South China Sea and beyond from a standard, crystal or private cabin.

Cost: The ride is also quite affordable at RM76 and takes around 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to snap pictures along the way.

Pro tip: This is usually a very popular tourist spot, so be sure to skip the hour-long queues by getting up early in the morning. If you book ahead, you can also get a 20% off the cable car prices.

If you have the cash to spare, also consider taking the Crystal Car as there’s a shorter line for that, and the floor is clear so you can get a view of what’s below.

5. Okunoshima, Takehara (Japan)

Heads up furball fanatics, because here comes Japan’s bunny Island. Home to more than 300 wild rabbits, these cute usagis are sure to melt the hearts of every visitor.

From the moment you step off the ferry, they come bounding up to visitors hoping to get fed.

There is also a visitor centre (free admission) that for such a small island is quite large and well stocked with information about the island’s fauna and flora.

For those with an interest in Japanese history and culture, the island is also home to another darker attraction that is about as far from cute as it is possible to get, the Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum.

Cost: Guess what? There’s no entry fee for the island beyond getting there. Rabbit food is available from the visitor centre at RM3.70 per pack, though you can also bring your own. Entry cost for the museum is also RM53.

Pro tip: Consider buying fresh vegetables for the rabbits from the Family Mart beside Tadanoumi Station, and walk away from the crowds once you arrive, because there will be dozens of hungry bunnies around every corner.

Bring food for yourself, too. There are vending machines on the island but not much else. In summer, the island also gets tropically warm, so dress adequately and pack water.

This article first appeared in thenewsavvy.com

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