August 15, 2017

#NoFilterNeeded: How to take the perfect shot at Asia’s most Instagram-worthy travel destinations   

Asia is home to some of the world’s most Instagrammed locations, so Cathay Pacific roped in some experts to share the 10 top spots and how to take that envy-invoking shot.

1. Visit Chiang Mai’s ‘Umbrella Village’

Bor Sang Village in Thailand is one of the few places in the world that known for creating beautiful and delicate “Sa” paper umbrellas and parasols. Visitors to the village, located just outside the charming city of Chiang Mai, are greeted by a sea of beautiful and intricately designed umbrellas, just waiting to be captured and added to your Instagram feed.



Bypass the Instagram filters when the goal is to convey the natural colours and vibrancy of a scene. Try to use the manual photo editing functions instead to manipulate brightness, contrast and warmth, to achieve a more pleasing effect.

2. Take a selfie with Confucius

The Temple of Confucius in Beijing is the largest Confucian temple in China and was built in 1302 A.D. While this temple is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Beijing, the sheer size of the complex along with its many intricate and fascinating features means there’s always a unique angle to capture that others may not have thought about.



Use your individuality to your advantage when it comes to snapping a pic of popular attractions – play with angles by taking photos from unusual vantage points, like a bench or even while lying on the ground.

3. Snap a new profile pic in Shanghai’s ‘Slaughterhouse’

The 1933 Slaughterhouse in Shanghai is a delightfully eerie four-storey Gotham-Deco building made of concrete, glass and steel. Formerly an abattoir, the building was designed for efficiency, but it’s style and aesthetic make it an architectural wonder. As the last of its kind in the world, the Slaughterhouse is a must-see for ‘grammers visiting the city.


Compose yourself; with the angular concrete design and many interlocking stairways of the Slaughterhouse, it’s important to have a strong focal point in the frame to direct the viewer’s eyes to a subject. Take some time to understand what you want your photo to “say” to the viewer, before taking it.

4. Strike a top of the world pose on Lion Rock

The top of Lion Rock in Kowloon, Hong Kong, is the perfect place to capture the classic city-scape photo – just remember to take a friend along who can snap a picture of you against the stunning backdrop! The 2.8 kilometre hike from Wong Tai Sun is well worth the effort, if only to catch a glimpse of Hong Kong’s incredible skyscrapers, Victoria Harbour and lush greenery against the backdrop of the hazy hills beyond.



Take advantage of natural light which offers the best contrasts and shadows you can achieve without the use of a filter. Make sure you hike on a clear and sunny day so you can capture Hong Kong’s skyline in all its natural glory, without those pesky clouds getting in the way.

5. Take an ‘Instawalk’ through Old Phuket Town

Old Phuket Town in Thailand was established in mid-19th century and, aside from being a hotspot for local delicacies and artisanal ware, it offers a variety of amazing photo opportunities. It’s a vibrant marketplace with a diverse array of people and local culture buzzing about and going about their day amid well-maintained Sino-Portuguese buildings lining the streets. Blink and you might miss an opportunity for the perfect shot – but the chance to take a great photo here is never far off!


Candid photos are often the most interesting, so avoid the static posed picture here and opt for an “active” picture instead – this is when we get to see the true character of people within their environment come to life.

6. Add a classic island selfie to your travel album

Escape the Bangkok’s bustling city centre and head for the Thai island of Bang Krachao. Known as the “Green Lungs” of Bangkok, this lush and tranquil oasis is an ideal escape for the wandering traveller in search of a little ‘me time’ – and a little ‘gram time too! Go on a hike along the winding trails, or rent a bike and cycle around if you like.


Even if you’re a particularly proficient cyclist, as a tourist you may not be familiar with traffic patterns or unwritten road etiquette in a city you’re visiting for the first time. Attach a filming device or camera to your bike or helmet and capture the action safely.

7. Catch a glimpse of a virtually untouched fresh-water waterfall in Bali

Take a dip in the pristine and refreshing valley at the bottom of the Benang Stokel Waterfall, located in Lombok, Bali. This 20-metre high waterfall is surrounded by a wall of lush greenery and a variety of vegetation, and is just an hour’s drive from Mataram. Get a friend to snap a few photos of you frolicking in the water as the falls gush down from above, because every Bali Instagram feed needs a waterfall!



Lighting is key when it comes to capturing great nature shots. Early morning and evening outdoor lighting tends to be softer, creating an aesthetically pleasing hue of colours.

8. Take your followers on a tour of Nguyen Hue Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

For those who enjoy people watching, Vietnam's Nguyen Hue Street is the place for you. The street leads to the stunning French colonial style city hall and is lined with a range of exquisite boutiques and cafes, forming the perfect backdrop for a Ho Chi Minh by Night photograph.



Increase engagement with your Instagram posts by improving your hashtags to help more people find and appreciate your posts. Think about what people would search for, and be sure to leverage existing hashtags that are already trending.

9. Indulge your techie side in Tokyo

Akihabara, also known as Akiba, is considered the birthplace of the “Otaku” fan culture, which refers to a specific group of young people in Japan who are obsessed with tech and pop culture, such as the Manga and Animé genres. Anyone looking to photograph something a little different is bound to find the perfect ‘gram in Akiba – from costumed comic heroes to modern architecture.


Make use of the rear-facing camera instead of the front camera that is most used for selfies – the rear-facing camera offers a higher resolution, resulting in sharp, high quality images.

10. Take a picture-perfect boat ride along the Yamazaki River

The Yamazaki River in Nagoya, Japan, is ideal for capturing picturesque nature shots of glistening water lined by lush cherry blossom trees – just be sure to visit during spring, when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. There is also a variety of tantalising food truck stops to enjoy along the way that the foodie photographers will love!



Position your phone horizontally when taking photos. Landscape shots allow you to include more scenery in the picture, which you can then crop based on the details you want to display. Remember, the best photos tell the viewer a story.

GO HERE WITH SURE: Light up your Instagram feed with your own Asia shots. Sure Travel’s airline partner Cathay Pacific flies daily from Johannesburg to Hong Kong, with connecting flights onwards to every corner of Asia. Ask your nearest Sure Travel consultant for details, or visit the online flight search / call 0861 47 48 49. 


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