Colourful Korea Part II: Carrie’s 5D4N Jeju Island Discovery Trip

Have you ever heard of Jeju-do? Located just off mainland Korea, Jeju-do, or Jeju Island in English, is a wildly popular destination among tourists for its breathtaking and pristine natural scenery. The island is home to a number of UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites such as Manjanggul Cave and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, as well as distinct tourist attractions like the numerous oreums (Jeju dialect for small volcanic cones) scattered around the island. Apart from its stunning natural environment, Jeju is also known for its fresh and mouthwatering seafood, making it a destination not to be missed! 

Seondol Rock Jeju

Jeju!

Follow me as I share with you the best sights and tips of my recent 5D4N trip to Jeju! Of course, I got the cheapest flights to Korea and hotels at the lowest prices from CheapTickets.sg, with a flight and hotel package from only $715 :D

 Day 1: Arrival at Jeju
Jeju International Airport was a pleasant experience. The arrival hall is clean and uncluttered, and the immigration process was relatively hassle-free.

Jeju International Airport Arrival Hall

Arrival hall at Jeju International Airport

Once we had our passports stamped, we headed straight for the kt Telecom roaming center to rent our portable wifi “egg“. To get there, head to gate 5 where there will be a kt shuttle bus to the center, which is located ~5mins away. The 4G wifi coverage extends to most major areas around the island, very useful to Google translate stuff to Korean or search for directions. Highly recommended to rent one when you’re there! The charge is 8,000KRW (~S$9.80) per day, and a refundable deposit of 200,000KRW (~S$245) is needed for the egg rental.

kt WiBro wifi egg Jeju

Our cute little wifi egg! Super adorable :D

Stocks of the egg are based on availability, so best to make an online reservation a few weeks before your trip!

Manjanggul Lava Cave
First stop, the largest lava cave in Korea! Flowing lava beneath the hardened surface creates long, cave-like channels that are an astonishing creation of nature. Feels like you’re taking an ancient secret tunnel to somewhere mysterious.

Getting here: From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal, take the Donghoe Line Intercity Bus and alight at the car park near Manjanggul Cave Entrance. ~1hour 30mins

Manjanggul Lava Tube Jeju

The tunnel entrance

Manjanggul Lava Tube Jeju

Entrance ticket

Manjanggul Lava Tube Jeju

The tunnels…

Manjanggul Lava Tube Jeju

… are huge!

Gimnyeong Maze Park
Next stop, the nearby Gimnyeong Maze Park! The maze is cut into the shape of Jeju Island, and it can be seen from a bird’s eye view at the observatory.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try navigating through the maze without a map! With a map it only takes ~5mins to get through, but may take up to ~20mins to navigate without one.

Gimnyeong Maze Park Jeju

Let’s go!

Gimnyeong Maze Park Jeju

Err, okay..

Gimnyeong Maze Park Jeju

View from one of the skywalks!

Hallim Park
Really beautiful park, plenty of flora and fauna exhibitions here! There was also a special Hydrangeas exhibition going on (last 2 pics).

Getting here:  From the Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take a westbound express bus and get off at Hallim Park. ~50mins

Hallim Park Jeju

Flora…

Hallim Park Jeju

and Fauna!

Jeju stone figures

Jeju’s iconic stone man!

Hallim Park Jeju Hydrangess

Hydrangeas!

Hallim Park Jeju Hydrangeas

Really pretty

Hyeopjae Beach
Last stop for the day, Hyeopjae Beach! It’s right opposite Hallim Park.

Hyeopjae Beach Mermaid

Weet weet

Hyeopjae Beach Sunset

Sunset

Jeju Black Pork Belly

Dinner – Jeju’s famous black pork belly. Must try!!

Jeju Black Pork Belly

Has more fat and a stronger pork taste

 

Day 2: Cheonjeyeon Falls
Roughly translated as “Pond of God”, legend has it that fairies will descend here to bathe at night. Yeah, we chuckled when we heard it too, but you’ll understand why when you see the pictures!

Getting here: From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take Seogwipo-bound intercity bus and get off at Jungmun Resort ~50mins.
Walk 5-10 min to the entrance of Yeomiji Botanical Garden.

There are 3 parts to the waterfall: The first part only falls when there’s heavy rain, the second part is the main one where people usually go, and the third waterfall is pretty small.

Cheonjeyeon Falls Jeju

Part 1

Cheonjeyeon Falls Jeju

Part 2 – The main waterfall

Seonimgyo Bridge Jeju

Seonimgyo Bridge – Really big and pretty!

Cheonjeyeon Falls Jeju

Very pretty right? Yeah I know. The waterfall’s not bad either hehe

Cheonjeyeon Falls Jeju

You can rest at this traditional pavilion

Cheonjeyeon Falls Jeju

Wishing fountain!

Seopjikoji
Next stop is the beautiful eastern coast of Jeju Island – Seopjikoji! This is the filming location of the super popular gambling K-drama All In (2003). You can also ride a horse along the coast for just *gasp* 5000KRW(~$7)!

Getting here: From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal, take the intercity bus that runs on Il-ju Road to the east and get off at Seongsan-eup Goseong-ri. (~1hour 30mins) Go the rest of the way on a cab, should take about 5-10mins at most.

Seopjikoji Jeju

The Seopjikoji coastline

Seopjikoji Jeju

Rugged but still beautiful!

Seondol Rock Jeju

The ‘Seondol’ rock

Seopjikoji Jeju

Ride a horse for just $7!

Ojo House of Women Divers
Final stop of the day: Jeju’s famous abalone porridge at this place near Seopjikoji. The servings are very generous and all the sea produce are hand-harvested by the renowned Jeju ‘Hanyeo‘, or sea women. The meal only cost us about 11,000KRW (~$13) in total!

Jeju Hanyeo Abalone

One of Jeju’s must eats!

 

Day 3: O’sulloc Tea Museum
Really cool tea museum, teaches you all about traditional Korean tea culture. Sells really amazing matcha ice cream, swiss rolls and yogurt too!

Getting here: Take a taxi! Public transportation doesn’t reach this museum.

O’sulloc Tea Museum Jeju

Inside of the tea shop

O’sulloc Tea Museum Jeju

Best matcha ice cream I’ve ever eaten!!

O’sulloc Museum Jeju

Green tea swiss rolls, sold out really quickly

Innisfree House
Next to the tea museum is the newly opened Innisfree House, a popular Korean cosmetics and skincare brand. You can attend a soap-making workshop here for just 15,000KRW (~$19). Super fun to make the soaps :D, just have to knead them into the dough and use the tools to create your own design!

Innisfree House Jeju Soap workshop

There’re iPads to guide you along!

Innisfree House Jeju Soap workshop

The soap kit

Innisfree House Jeju Soap workshop

Ta-da!

 

Day 4: Seongsan Ilchulbong
Dragged ourselves up at 4:30am to watch the sunrise at Jeju’s iconic Seongsan Ilchulbong peak! It’s said to be one of the best places in Korea to catch the sunrise, hence earning it the nickname “Sunrise Peak”. And it doesn’t disappoint! The moment the sun started to come up, we could only stand and gape at it.

Getting here: From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take the ‘Dongilju‘ bus bound for Seongsan and get off at Seongsalliipgu bus stop. ~2hours

Seongsan Ilchulbong Jeju

This is the iconic peak

Seongsan Ilchulbong Jeju

Simply stunning!

After the sunrise, we headed to the top of the peak. Amazing view of Jeju and a refreshing sea breeze made us so tempted to set camp there for the rest of the day!

 

Day 5: Hallasan Mountain
Sitting proudly at the centre of Jeju, Hallasan Mountain is one of Jeju’s most recognizable landmarks. Follow one of the 7 hiking trails to explore this dormant volcano’s many exciting treasures!

Getting here: From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take an intercity bus 5.16, and alight at Seongpanak. ~30mins

Hallasan Mountain Jeju

Flowers in full bloom!

Hallasan Mountain Jeju

Can see the mountain from almost anywhere in Jeju!

 

Final Stop: Jeju International Airport
Once again, time to go home :( Don’t forget to return your wifi ‘egg’ on your way to the airport if you rented one! 

Korea has really enthralled us during this Jeju trip and our previous trip to Seoul. There’s a special indescribable vibe in Korea, be it in the natural beauty of Jeju or the urban class of Seoul, that really added colour to our trips. Enjoy this 5D4N Jeju Island Discovery Trip from just $715 nett!! We’re sure you’ll find it equally magical as well. You can also get an additional $30 discount off your flight to Korea at www.CheapTickets.sg/Korea/Discount. For more information and booking, visit www.CheapTickets.sg/korea/packages.

Till the next time, stay tuned!
Love, Carrie

Colourful Korea: Carrie’s 5D4N Seoul & Busan Discovery Trip

Have you been to Korea? It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. Packed with countless sights to see and places to visit such as the ancient palaces, traditional markets, and fantastic shopping. Korea is a modern nation that still retains the exquisite charm of its glorious past. Follow me as I share with you the best sights of my recent trip 5D4N trip to Seoul as well as the beautiful coastal city of Busan! Of course, I got the cheapest flights to Korea and hotels at the lowest prices from CheapTickets.sg with a flight and hotel package from only $650.

Day 1: Arrival at Seoul
Upon arrival at Seoul Incheon airport, we were pleasantly surprised at its beautiful architectural design. But, no time to admire as we had to hurry and catch our 11:50 KTX train from Seoul Station to Busan!

KTX to Busan

KTX to Busan

The view along the way was really spectacular, especially around the Gyeonggi-do region and the Sangdong-myeon area. The trip was also relatively short, about 2hours 45mins. Not surprising though, since the KTX trains travel at an incredible *gasp* 300km/h!
*psst* Carrie’s secret tip: Try to get seats on the left for the best views along the way!

After settling down into our lovely hotel, we headed straight out to explore Busan!


Taejongdae Park
Getting here: From Busan Station, take the city bus #88 or #101 that will bring you straight to the park.

Taejongdae Park

Taejongdae Park


Reputed for its craggy cliffs dropping straight down into the sea, the Taejongdae park is truly a sight to behold for nature lovers. Over 200 pine trees and camellias line the coast at this really gorgeous park. We visited the famous Mangbuseok statue too – named after a woman who waited day and night at the coast for her husband, who was taken away to Japan.

Jagalchi Fish Market
Getting here: Take city bus #30 from Taejongdae park which will take you directly to the market.

The bustling Jagalchi Fish Market!

The bustling Jagalchi Fish Market!

What’s the best thing about visiting a coastal city? The seafood of course! This hugely popular market had the freshest produce for us to sample and the market atmosphere was a really unique local Busan experience. In particular, the Mackerel fish is a Busan specialty. YUM!!
Day 2: Busan Part 2

Gamcheon Village (aka “Taegeukdo Village”)
Getting here: Take bus #17 or #61 from Busan Station and alight just outside the village.

View from the top!

View of Gamcheon Village  from the top

 

The lovely alleyways of Taegeukdo Village!

The lovely alleyways of Taegeukdo Village!

Nicknamed “Korea’s Santorini”, our eyes were delighted with a visit to this little village in Gamcheon. Low-rise apartments sporting colourful hues sat side by side on a gentle mountain slope by the sea, making it a truly wonderful sight to behold. After navigating our way up the mountain through the lovely winding alleyways of the village, we found a great view of the sea!

Haeundae Beach
Getting here: Take bus #6 out of Gamcheon Village to the Goejeong Station and change to bus #1001.

The beautiful coastline!

The beautiful coastline!

Arguably the most famous beach in Korea, the Haeundae Beach has a truly amazing backdrop along with refreshing coastal breezes. Next to the beach is also the Busan Aquarium, perfect location for a family outing or a romantic date!

Day 3: Back to Seoul

Said bye to our lovely Busan hotel :(, headed back to Seoul on the KTX. Once again, amazing views along the way!

Back in Seoul, first stop - Gyeongbokgung Palace!
Getting hereFrom just outside Seoul Station, take bus #1711 or #7016 straight to the palace.

Changing of Guard Parade at Gyeongbokgung!

Changing of Guard Parade at Gyeongbokgung, Seoul!

Arguably the grandest and most beautiful of the “5 Grand Palaces”, this 6-centuries old palace is one of Seoul’s most recognizable sights. Remember to catch the impressive changing of guards parade as well as the National Museum of Korea while here!

Seoul Tower
Getting here: (1) By Cable Car – Hop onto subway Line 4, alight at Myeongdong Station(Exit 3). Keep to the left of Pacific Hotel and walk for about 10mins, the cable car platform should come into view.
(2) Hop onto the subway Line 3 or 4 and alight at Chungmuro Station(exit 2). Take the yellow bus from the bus stop, which will take you straight to the parking lot of N Seoul Tower.

N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting atop Nansam Mountain (243m), the 236.7m tall N Seoul Tower offers an exhilarating panoramic view of Seoul. We also paid a visit to the acclaimed N Grill revolving restaurant, highly recommended!! It gives really amazing views while you dine.

Day 4: Seoul Part 2

Namdaemun Market
Getting here: Hop onto subway line 4 and alight at the Hoehyeon Station.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market in Seoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Named after Korea’s National Treasure Namdaemun (South Gate), this market is popular among local residents for its great deals in street food, clothing and accessories. Tiny stalls pack the streets selling practically anything imaginable, making this the perfect place to experience Korea’s amazing market culture!

Myeong-dong
Getting here: Hop back onto the subway line 4 to Myeongdong Station.

Myeong-dong (read: shopping paradise)

Myeong-dong (read: shopping paradise) in Seoul

After market shopping in Namdaemun, we headed over to the more upmarket and modern part of Seoul in Myeong-dong. It is a shopping haven for Korean cosmetic and beauty products. Internationally renowned brands such as Laniege, Etude House, Faceshop etc are all housed here and prices are really super attractive, can be up to *gasp* 60% cheaper than in Singapore! No better place to go on a 6-hour shopping spree than here.

Day 5: Seoul Part 3 & back home

Ganghwa Ginseng Center
Getting here: Take the subway line 1 to Yeongdeungpo Station. Hop onto bus #88 just across the Shinsegae department store to Ganghwa terminal. From the terminal, turn right and walk for about 300m to the ginseng center.

Ganghwa Ginseng Center, really top grade ginseng!

Ganghwa Ginseng Center in Seoul, really top grade ginseng!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before heading home, we visited this small market to buy home some authentic Korean ginseng. Widely considered the best quality ginseng, be sure to check for the Korea Insam seal which ensures that the product you’re buying is quality Korean Panax ginseng instead of a cheaper version imported from China!

Final stop: Incheon Airport

It’s time to go home. :( can’t believe 5 days flew by so quickly! Already started missing Korea before even departing, but one thing for sure - I’ll definitely be coming back soon to explore more of Korea, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, why not head to Korea and experience the amazing sights in person? Let the wanderlust grip you and enjoy our 5D4N Seoul + Busan Discovery Tour from just S$650 nett! You can also get an additional $30 discount off your flight to Korea at www.CheapTickets.sg/Korea/Discount. For more information and booking visit www.CheapTickets.sg/korea/packages

Carrie’s Australia Adventure – New South Wales

Sydney, the capital city of Australia, is regularly voted as the world’s best for its natural beauty and iconic landmarks. I embarked on The Legendary Pacific Coast self-drive in October last year… I guess it’s about time for me to share my awesome experience! ;-)

Check out our super fun self-drive route on The Legendary Pacific Coast!! We drove approximately 930km over 8 days.

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Map credits: Google maps

Day 1 – Sydney

Upon arrival at Sydney we went straight for afternoon tea at The Grounds of Alexandria, a holistic café situated in a heritage-listed warehouse that roasts their own bean and grow their own organic ingredients. The rustic interior is sure to calm any post-flight discomfort and settle you right into the relaxed mood of Sydney.

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If you traveled by dog, please park it here. Hehe.

The Grounds of Alexandria
Address
: Building 7A, No. 2 Huntley St. Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: +61 2 9666 2225

After settling ourselves down with some good coffee, we headed to our accommodation for the next two nights at Blue Sydney – A Taj Hotel. A boutique hotel in the heart of a luxury marina, entertainment and apartment complex, many shopping districts and tourist attractions are within walking distance, including the Sydney Opera House!

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Blue Sydney – A Taj Hotel
Address:
6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone:
+61 2 9331 9060
Website: www.tajhotels.com/sydney

We then strolled along the Woolloomooloo wharf, located just by the hotel. Woolloomooloo is the longest timbered-piled wharf in the world! It used to be a busy wool and cargo dock, but is now known for its relaxed atmosphere for people to stay, eat and drink.

In the evening, we took a stroll at Darling Harbour, and walked towards Darling Quarter entertainment precinct for good food and entertainment at Stacks Taverna.

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW Photo credits: tripadvisor

Stacks Taverna
Address
: Southern Building, Shop 24/25 Darling Quarter, 1-25 Harbour St Sydney
Phone: 1300 989 989
Email: restaurant@stacksbar.com.au
Website: www.stacksbar.com.au

Day 2 – Sydney

First thing in the morning, we visited Bondi Beach for the world’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exihibition, Sculpture by the Sea. Held from 24 October – 10 November last year, the sights were amazing. With the beach as its natural backdrop, the sculptures were beautifully woven into nature. What’s better is that the exhibition was free to the public!

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After soaking in some morning sun we proceeded to have lunch at Formaggi Ocello, a contemporary Italian restaurant-café serving superb coffee, wine and quality deli goods.

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CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW

Delectable cheese!!

Formaggi Ocello
Address
: 16/425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 2 9357 7878
Email: sogna@ocello.com.au
Website: www.ocello.com.au

Day 3 – Hunter Valley

Departed Sydney for Hunter Valley! Our first stop was the Hunter Valley Gardens, which feature 10 stunning gardens in the heart of Hunter Valley vineyards. Be transported into a whimsical wonderland as you roam the gardens – a perfect activity for the young and old. Join the Mad Hatter for afternoon tea in the Storybook Garden!

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Photo credits: Australian National Botanic Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens
Address
: 2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin, NSW 2320
Website: www.hvg.com.au

We moved on afterwards to the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory, where we got the chance to try even more cheese! They house award winning cheeses, delicatessen products – and take the opportunity to view their cheese maker in action!

CheapTickets.sg, Australia expert

 

Hunter Valley Cheese Factory
Address
: McGuigan Wines, McDonalds Road, Pokolbin 2320
Phone: +61 2 4998 7744
Email: huntervalleycheese@westnet.com.au
Website: www.huntervalleycheese.com.au

Time to check-in to our hotel! We were hosted at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Just look at the greenery surrounding the pool that makes it perfect for a carefree break –

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Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Address
: 430 Wine Country Drive, Lovedale, 2320
Phone: +61 2 9380 0228
Website: www.crowneplazahuntervalley.com.au

Day 4 – Port Stephens

After breakfast, we made our way to Port Stephens, a 2-hour drive from Hunter Valley. When we arrived, I was amazed at how pristine and clean the beaches were, and how white the sand was! It was a breathtaking sight.

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Our next activity was the Quad Bike Tour, organized by Quad Bike King!

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Photo credit: Port Stephens

It was a super exciting and unique way to explore the sand dunes and eco-system of Stockton Beach, as we rode across the dunes, catching glimpses of the beautiful ocean, bushland and Newcastle. It was a great activity for groups like us, and we had lots of fun racing each other across the dunes!

Quad Bike King
Address
: 2130 Nelson Bay Road, Williamtown
Phone: +61 2 4919 0088
Email: sales@quadbikeking.com.au
Website: www.quadbikeking.com.au

Day 5 – Port Macquarie

We departed Port Stephens in the morning for Medowie Macadamias, a macadamia plantation established in 1980, with more than 12 acres of land harvesting five different varieties of macadamia nuts! A family business, Medowie Macadamias makes sure to be involved in every stage from production of nuts to experimenting with new, tasty products to be taken home.

Medowie Macadamias
Address
: 672 Medowie Road, Medowie
Phone: +61 2 4982 8888
Email: sales@medowiemacadamia.com.au
Website: www.medowiemacadamias.com.au

We visited the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre in the afternoon, immersing ourselves in rich Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna. This rainforest is one of the largest, least disturbed and most diverse coastal rainforests in NSW.

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Photo credits: tripadvisor

CheapTickets.sg_PortMacquarie_NSW

Photo credits: tripadvisor

Sea Acres Rainforest Centre
Address
: 159 Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6582 3355

Day 6 – Port Macquarie/Coffs Harbour

We started the morning with a visit to The Koala Hospital, a one-of-its-kind and first ever Koala Hospital, established since 1973. The hospital has featured in various documentaries and wildlife programs throughout the world, and is Port Macquarie’s most visited attraction! You can even adopt a wild koala – proceeds go towards helping sick koala’s treatments and preservation causes. Just look at their cute squishy faces!!

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Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

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Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

The Koala Hospital
Address: Macquarie Nature Reserve on Lord St, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6584 1522
Website: www.koalahospital.org.au

Time for some strawberry picking at Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries! Tall strawberry vines climb up beside tomato houses in beautiful shady enclosures.

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Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries
Address
: 221 Blackmans Point Road, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6585 0633
Website: www.ricardoes.com

Departed Port Macquarie for Coffs Harbour, which is 2 hours away. Visited The Big Banana when we arrived, tried some local banana produce and took an exciting toboggan ride!

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The Big Banana
Address
: Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour
Phone: +61 2 6652 4355
Website: www.bigbanana.com

Day 7 – Grafton, Byron Bay

We headed to Grafton in the morning for the Jacaranda festival – a floral festival from the last weekend of October up till the first weekend of November, opening with the crowning of the new queen in an open ceremony under the beautiful canopy of Jacaranda blooms.

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After a long drive in the afternoon, stopping for oysters at Yamba and taking photos along the way on our road trip, we finally arrived at Byron Bay. Immediately, we checked into our rooms at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. Enjoy the seemingly endless summer here at The Byron, which promises only the most comfortable rooms and best services.

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The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
Address
: 77-97 Broken Head Road, Byron Bay
Phone: +61 2 6639 2000
Website: www.thebyronatbyron.com.au

We then headed for dinner at Fishheads Restaurant that offers fresh local seafood cuisine, available for takeaway too!

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Fishheads Restaurant
Address
: 1 Jonson Street at Main Beach, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Phone: +61 2 6685 6011
Email: functions@fishheads.com.au
Website: www.fishheadsbyron.com.au

Day 8 – Byron Bay

Breakfast at Byron Beach Café – perfectly positioned with views of both mountains and the sea, and offering both indoor and alfresco dining, you get to pick your setting for the ultimate breakfast experience.

My choice of breakfast: Eggs Florentine. YUMMY!

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Byron Beach Café
Address
: Clarkes Beach, Lawson Street, Byron Bay
Phone: +61 2 6685 8400
Email: ben@byronbeachcafe.com.au
Website: www.byronbeachcafe.com.au

No breakfast is complete without coffee! Although there was no café at Zentveld’s Coffee for us to sit down for a kopi break, the aroma of the coffee beans was enough to wake us up.

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Zentveld’s Coffee
Address
: 193 Broken Head Road, Newrybar NSW 2479
Phone: +61 2 6687 2045
Website: www.zentvelds.com.au

We then headed to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens, showcasing acres of lush gardens, panoramic views, amazing natural crystals and exquisite jewelry. The Shambhala Gardens features giant crystals and sacred statues, including the incredible World Peace Stupa, unique in the southern hemisphere! Also, stroll along the Buddha Walk and see Australia’s biggest Blessing Buddha.

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Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens
Address
: Monet Drive, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482
Phone: +61 2 6684 3111
Website: www.crystalcastle.com.au

After a holy afternoon at the Crystal Castle, we proceeded to the Cape Byron Headland Reserve, Australia’s most easterly point. We went up the lighthouse, taking about a half-hour walk as we soaked in sights and sounds of the ocean and distant mountains, and when we finally reached the lighthouse, we were generously rewarded with spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean.

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Cape Byron Headland Reserve
Address
: Lighthouse Road Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Phone: +61 2 6620 9300
Website: www.environment.nsw.gov.au

As our trip came to an end it was time to say bye to our trusty cars that carried us across The Legendary Pacific Coast. This self-drive was one of the most exciting and adventurous trips I had ever embarked on. From food, to nature, wildlife and adventure, it was all easily accessible thanks to the self-drive!

 

For more information on our Australia self-drive packages, don’t hesitate to contact our Aussie specialists: 

Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm at +65 6372 4217
or email cheaptickets.sg@travix.com

Visit www.CheapTickets.sg/Australia now for more information about all things Australia!

Plus, from now till 24 April 2014, receive $60 off when you book a flight to Sydney! Just use the code: SYD60 before check-out to redeem your discount. More details at www.CheapTickets.sg/Australia/discount. Don’t miss it!

Chef Carrie’s Top 10 Eggs of the Week

Tradition has it that Easter eggs represented a new lease of life – the tough outer shell representing Jesus’ tomb, and the hatching of chicks a representation of new life. Hence, Christians used Easter eggs as a way to remind themselves of Jesus’ ressurection. In Singapore though, the Easter egg tradition is not practiced, but at CheapTickets.sg we’re interested to bring the tradition a little differently… Singaporean-styled!

If you’re a foodie like me, you must definitely love eggs! Chef Carrie has picked out her top 10 favourite del-egg-table egg dishes from all around the world, in no particular order:

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1. Hong Kong: Portuguese Egg Tarts

Crispy on the outside and unbelievably soft on the inside, this heavenly Portuguese egg tart hails from Macau, an ex-Portuguese colony. It is said that these egg tarts are quite different from those in Portugal, although they may look similar. The Hong Kong take on these egg tarts are completely different as well! Coming fresh out of the oven, you can expect the best egg tarts along many street bakeries.

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Lord Stow’s Bakery, Macau

2. France: Croque Madame

A classic ham and cheese sandwich topped with a sunny-side up, the sandwich is named as such because the French thought that the egg resembled a lady’s hat. And yup, you got it – without the egg, the sandwich is called the Croque Monsieur. How glamorous, right?

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Au Petit Suisse, Paris

3. Taiwan: Oyster Omelette

Better known in Hokkien as oh-ah-jian­, this dish is popular in Singapore as well. The Taiwanese version is slightly different, topped up with specially concocted sweet and sour gravy. Oyster omelette is commonly found along the streets and at night markets, energizing you for even more shopping!

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Take your pick from Shilin Night Market (士林夜市), Taipei

4. Japan: Ajitsuke Tamago

If you think about it, it’s just a half-boiled egg. But what sets it apart from regular half-boiled eggs is that it’s perfectly marinated and cooked just long enough to keep the yolk runny and amazing. The perfect addition to any Japanese ramen, it’s no wonder that nobody can resist them!

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Carrie’s R-egg-omendation: Takano (多賀野), Tokyo

5. England: Scotch Eggs

Wrapped with minced sausage and bread crumbs, just wait till the yolk’s yellowy goodness oozes out and it’ll be gone in seconds.  A popular food item in bars, it goes well with beer (you might even forget the alcohol while gobbling the egg down).

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Harwood Arms, London

6. Spain: Tortilla

Don’t confuse the Mexican tortilla with this Spanish one! While we are familiar with the Mexican tortilla chips, Spanish tortilla consists of a thick egg omelette made with potatoes fried in olive oil. Don’t underestimate this typical-looking omelette, and try the best Spanish omelette Carrie reggommends!

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Meson de la Tortilla, Madrid

7. China: Century Eggs

A nice touch to regular porridge, this healthy preserved egg is perfect for the health-conscious – through its preservation it retains most of the vitamins and proteins, less the carbohydrates. Only for the acquired taste, the century egg is not for everybody, but Carrie approves.

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Bandao Jiu Lou (半島酒楼), Shanghai

8. New York: Eggs Benedict

Packed within an english muffin, ham, bacon, egg and hollandaise sauce, the origin of the Egg’s Benny is highly disputed. But who cares – as long as it’s good, we love it.

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Peacock Alley, New York City

9. Korea: Gyeran-bbang

Crispy, soft; savoury, sweet – all things good packed in a punch is what the gyeran-bbang (literally translated as egg bread) tastes in a bite. A common street snack among locals and tourists, queues at these stalls are always long but don’t worry, because they move fast.

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Get one freshly made from street stalls, all over Seoul

10. Italy: Frittata

A simple omelette enriched with vegetables, pasta, meat or cheese, the fluffy Frittata is a classic favourite for all, young or old. A bite into this savoury goodness just leaves you wanting more! Pair it with some butter chicken or Florentine steak for more Italian goodness.

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Carrie’s R-egg-ommendation: Trattoria Sostanza (Il Troia), Florence

How about you? What are your favourite unique egg dishes? Share them with us in the comments section below!

3 reasons to book with CheapTickets.sg during their NATAS pre-sale

CheapTickets.sg NATAS Pre-Sale has startedEveryone’s favourite local travel fair is back, but are you dreading the hassle of squeezing with the crowds and waiting in line at the Singapore Expo this weekend? Abandon those plans and try booking from CheapTickets.sg in the comfort of your own home instead! It’s a simple philosophy: save time, save money!

1. Get it cheap

In lieu of NATAS, various major airlines have already reduced their fares by large margins of up to 40%. CheapTickets.sg is providing an exclusive $70 off every flight booking from now till the 3rd of March! Just key in this code: NATAS70 when booking to be automatically entitled to this awesome discount. If you still want to compare our prices with those at the NATAS travel fair, simply use our mobile site while you’re at the fair and compare the air fares for yourself!

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Photo credit: Disney

2. Get it online

CheapTickets.sg provides additional services that are not yet provided by any other online travel agency – to help you increase your savings, take advantage of the unique features of CheapTickets.sg:

  • 24/7 access to live updates of the cheapest fares available
  • Compare fares between all airlines – from budget to full-fledged airlines
  • Mix and match flight carriers to get the cheapest fares on your ideal travel dates, without having to make multiple bookings on different sites

With all these amazing functions, the savvy traveler in you is given the freedom to independently search for your preferred dates of travel, rather than be restricted to structured packages offered by other travel agents.

3. Get it now

The NATAS travel fair means competitive prices not just from the travel fair, but from airlines and various travel agencies as well. This means that a large influx of bookings will be expected by the end of the week, and seats on the best flights will definitely fill up quickly. CheapTickets.sg recommends our dear travelers to secure your ideal holiday dates early to avoid disappointment!

To help you start your search, CheapTickets.sg has found great deals to a few of your favourite destinations!

CheapTickets.sg NATAS deal to Bangkok

 

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What are you waiting for? Hurry over to www.CheapTickets.sg/NATAS to grab these awesome deals now!

Discover Japan- Tokyo Part 1

Last week, we shared our adventure in Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto and Nara. This week, we speed forth to Tokyo for some shopping and sightseeing! The fastest way north is to catch the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) from Kyoto to Tokyo for up to 7,980 yen (Approx. SGD $98), which would take you between 2 hours 20 minutes (Nozomi trains) and 4 hours (Kodama trains), depending on which train. Visit http://www.shinkansen.co.jp/ryoukin_tokaido_sanyo.html for more information. Alternatively, if you want to put that time to better use, then add the Osaka to Tokyo route to your multi-city trip during your flight selection at http://www.cheaptickets.sg! That will only take you less than half the time to get to Tokyo!

Being one of the top global fashion cities, Tokyo is definitely a must-go for shopping! Here are some popular shopping districts in Tokyo that you can’t miss!

Shop it up at Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Shop it up at Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

With several major department stores, electronics retailers, shops and boutiques, shopping arcades and theatres, Shinjuku is one of the largest shopping and entertainment districts in Tokyo. You may even find yourself an unexpected bargain at the dozens of shops located in the underground mall! You can get here conveniently via the subway and alight at Shinjuku station.

Have a shopping spree at Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Enjoy a shopping spree at Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Just a 30-minutes bus ride from Shinjuku is Shibuya, the heart of the fashion world for young people and the birthplace of many of Japan’s youth fashion trends. With trend setting clothing mall like Shibuya 109 housing more than 100 boutiques, and several other small boutiques along the streets, Shibuya is one of the largest shopping districts in Tokyo.

Enjoy two experiences at Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Enjoy two experiences at Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

After your shopping spree in Shibuya, you can walk along Meiji-dori street (which has several fashionable shops along it) for about 15-20 minutes to get to Harajuku. With two parallel shopping streets that cater to very different shoppers, you will enjoy two different kind of experience all in one place. On one side, Omotesando features upscale boutiques and several leading designer brand shops while on the other, Takeshita Dori is a centre of youth fashion and counter-culture. If you want to experience the teenage culture, visit Harajuku on a Sunday as that is the time when many teenagers gather together to engage in cosplay (“costume play”).

After all that shopping, it’s time to gear yourself up for a bird’s eye view of Tokyo city! And where else can we have a panoramic view of Tokyo city but in Tokyo Tower and/or Tokyo Skytree itself?

Have a bird's eye view of Japan from Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan

Have a bird’s eye view of Japan from Tokyo Tower, Japan

Do you know that the Tokyo Tower is 13 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower of Paris? With a height of 333 meters, visitors can ascend 150 meters to the main observatory and 250 meters to the special observatory to get an amazing view of Tokyo city. In the day, if you’re lucky enough, you may even see Mount Fuji in the distance! At night, the Tokyo Tower lights up and add glamour to Tokyo’s night scenery. Adult ticket prices to the main observatory is 820 yen (Approx. SGD $10) and an additional 600 yen (Approx. SGD $7.30) to access the special observatory.

Soar to greater heights at Tokyo Skytree, Japan

Soar to greater heights at Tokyo Skytree, Japan

If you think you want to soar to greater heights, then pay a visit to the Tokyo Skytree! Opened in May 2012, Tokyo Skytree is almost twice as tall as the Tokyo Tower, with a height of 634 meters! It has two observation decks at a height of 350 meters (Tembo Deck) and 450 meters (Tembo Galleria), making them the highest observation decks in Japan and some of the highest in the world. After taking in the panoramic views of the city, you can even visit the aquarium and large shopping complex located at the base! Adult ticket prices to the Tembo Deck is 2,000 yen (Approx. SGD $24.30) and an additional 1,000 yen (Approx. SGD $12.15) to the Tembo Galleria.

If you think that Tokyo is just about shopping and sightseeing, think again! We are about to embark on a journey to discover Japan’s rich culture and heritage in Tokyo, so join us next week to hear about our adventures!

In the meantime, if you can’t wait to get to Japan, www.cheaptickets.sg has an exclusive $30 discount for your Japan flight! Enter the discount code JAPAN30 at the checkout page for any return flight booking to Japan from Singapore on a full-fledged airline before 14 Feb and enjoy your $30 flight discount!

Discover Japan- Kobe, Kyoto, Nara

After our adventures in Osaka, we are now heading down to Kobe, only about 30 minutes away via the Hankyu Railway, from Umeda Station (Osaka) to Sannomiya Station (Kobe) at a cost of 310 yen (Approx. SGD $4).

Tour the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, Kobe, Japan

Tour the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, Kobe, Japan

Kobe’s Nada district is Japan’s top sake (rice wine) producing region due to its availability of high quality rice, purity of water filtered from streams and good weather conditions. You can spend half a day just exploring some of the breweries there. I would recommend for you to visit the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum which is about a 5-minute walk from Hanshin Sumiyoshi Station. The museum offers comprehensive English coverage, including pamphlets and video clips of sake production. Visitors can also enjoy a taste of Hakutsuru sake that cannot be found elsewhere. With free admission, what are you waiting for?

Witness the brewery in action at Shushinkan Brewery, Kobe, Japan

Witness the brewery in action at Shushinkan Brewery, Kobe, Japan

If you are visiting in the winter, why not check out the Kobe Shushinkan Brewery, where you can see the brewery in action. About an 8-minute walk from Ishiyagawa Station, where reservations have to be made one day in advanced for a free guided tour to its sake cellar and brewery. For more information, visit http://www.enjoyfukuju.com/english/our_brewery/index.html.

Now that we have toured Kobe, it’s time to experience some Japan’s traditional culture! And the best city to truly experience that is none other than Kyoto – a world of traditional beauty! You can get to Kyoto easily in about 30 minutes from Kobe via Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train). Kyoto is home to many World Heritage sites, as well as temples and shrines. Many shops here also allow visitors to try their hand at traditional pastimes like tea ceremony, flower arranging or even wearing kimonos!

Experience Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan

Experience Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan

One temple that you must visit is the Kiyomizu-dera (literally “Pure Water Temple”), located in Southern Kyoto. Established in 778, Kiyomizu-dera houses many important cultural monuments, and has 15 colourfully-painted halls and pagodas. The two most famous places of the temple are the Main Hall (Hondo) and the Kiyomizu Stage, which is a porch of the Main Hall. The Main Hall has been designated as a national treasure, where it houses the Eleven Headed and Thousand Armed Kannon Bodhisattva. The Kiyomizu Stage offers a great spot to have a spectacular view of Kyoto’s city centre. During Spring (mid March to mid April) and Fall (mid November to early December), there will also be special evening illuminations that enhance the beauty of Kiyomizu-dera. For more information on the opening hours and admission fees, check out http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/lang/01.html.

Another district that you must visit is Arashiyama, located at the western outskirts of Kyoto.

Stroll at Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama, Japan

Stroll along Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama, Japan

The landmark of Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge is famous for its views of cherry blossoms and autumn colours. It is also a romantic place for couples to stroll at. Surrounding the bridge are many small shops, restaurants and other attractions, including some historical shrines, temples and even the famous bamboo groves.

Experience tranquility at Bamboo Groves, Arashiyama, Japan

Experience tranquility at Bamboo Groves, Arashiyama, Japan

If you would prefer a serene experience here, I would recommend you to visit the bamboo groves in the night. Can you imagine how splendid it would be to walk along this path while being surrounded by a forest of tall bamboos in the night? It would definitely be an experience you can’t forget!

Since you’re in Osaka, your trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting Nara Park in central Nara. To get to the city, you can take the Miyakoji Rapid Service from Kyoto and connect to Nara in about 45-50 minutes.

Visit Todaiji, Nara, Japan

Visit Todaiji, Nara, Japan

At Nara Park, you can find Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple), one of the most famous and historically significant temples in Japan, and a landmark of Nara. It was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all of Japan’s provincial Buddhist temples. Todaiji’s main hall (Daibutsuden) is the world’s largest wooden building and houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha.

Feed the deers at Nara Park, Japan

Feed the deer at Nara Park, Japan

Nearby Todaiji, be in for a unique experience as you get up close to the deer – yes, you saw it right! – deer that roam freely around the park! With nearly 1200 of them, these deer have become a symbol of the city and have been designated as a natural treasure of Japan. Don’t worry, these cute little creatures are calm and friendly, so you can safely feed them with deer crackers that can be purchased around the park for about 150 yen (Approx. SGD $2). Some of these deer have even learned to bow to visitors in order to be fed!

We’re about to make our journey north to the Capital City Tokyo. So join us next week to hear all about our adventures! If you want to join us too, enter our contest at http://bit.ly/1i4wrbt to win a pair of return flights to Japan – including taxes and fees!! Hurry before the entries close on 30th Jan!