See Super Cool Seoul

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I have been lucky enough to visit Korea in both the spring and the summer but with Singapore’s eternal summer I so wanted to get out and cool off and my most recent trip to Seoul was the perfect antidote for this trip.

It starts to get cold in November but it you want to have full on hats, scarf and gloves weather (and a little shopping indulgence pre-trip) and possible snow, visiting from mid December to late Feb is the best period to time your trip (more about the snow in my next post…)

If like me you want to experience Seoul at it coolest here are my must do’s:(apart from getting your super cheap flight from Singapore to Seoul at CheapTickets.sg)

Get your skates on: Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink

Seoul Plaza Ice skating rink

Seoul Plaza Ice skating rink

Open from 17 December to 9 February (in 2016) this is one of the best value winter activities in Korea! For only 1000W including skate rental you can zoom around the ice pirouetting and showing off your skills in the midst of downtown Seoul. If you are more realistic about your skills, like me, you can rent a helmet and elbow pads for free, just ask. Be sure to wear bring your own gloves or you will need to pay 500W as every skater needs to wear them.

How to time your skate: Sunday to Thursday- 10:00-21:30 / Friday to Saturday & national holidays – 10:00-23:00. Skate time is one hour. Ice cleaning for 30 minutes between each session.

Cheonggyecheon Digital Garden @ Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon Digital Garden opening times 2

Cheonggyecheon Digital Garden Stream light up times

Straight after your skate take the 400 metre walk along Sejong-Daero north towards Heungyemun gate. On your right you will see a large opening at the first main intersection, this is the entrance to the Cheonggyecheon Stream, home to the Cheonggyecheon digital garden. This year-round art light installation gets an added glow in the winter months with a special Christmas feature. The stream, which is more of a river can be followed for 8.4km but if its really cold you can get a good feel from the first 800 metres and do a loop around the stream (carefully) crossing the stream over one of the stepping stones and heading back to the start on the other side.

The times of the light up vary by month but from Dec- Feb you can view them from 18:00-20:00. We were lucky enough that they left the lights on until 20:40 the day we were there.

 

 

 

 

Too Cool: Charles H Bar at The Four Seasons Hotel

IMG_1586Want to warm your fingers and find out where all the other cool kids have been hiding? Just 200 metres walk away from the entrance to the Cheonggyecheon stream is this little gem of an old school ‘speakeasy’. Hidden at the basement level of the luxury Four Seasons Hotel (which I had the pleasure of staying 2 nights in and highly recommend) is the Charles H Bar. A little challenging to find since when you head down the stairs from the hotel lobby into the basement the bar is not signed posted anywhere (its part of the theme). Turn to your left and take the first left turn, yes it looks like a dead ended corridor but push the wall on your left and all will be revealed. My experience started with a small glass of champagne in a red curtained waiting area whilst I waited for my host to guide me into 1920’s New York and to a table. The staff are fantastic and along with the creative cocktail menu with stories behind each creation the bartenders are eager to show off their craft. A short chat revealed that some of the team are friends with the staff at Singapore local 10 Hong Kong Street- so if you have been there too your expectations will be high, and you won’t be disappointed. I went off menu and had a Cosmo followed by an Amaretto sour. Be warned this place is happening, be sure to make a reservation if you plan on coming after 8.30pm when the city workers descend into this secret spot.

Seoul_Blog_Map_Cheonggyecheon_Digital_Garden,_Charles_H_Bar_and_Seoul_Plaza

How to get from Seoul Plaza to Cheonggyecheon Stream and then to Charles H Bar at Four Seasons

Ginseng Chicken Soup

After all the cool it’s time to warm up and refresh yourself for your next adventure. Whilst there are now many places that claim to have been the founding restaurant of the famed Ginseng soup, Korea Samgyetang (고려삼계탕) restaurant claims to be the oldest and most established and who am I to argue now I have tasted their delicacy? Just around the corner from the Four Seasons is the second and smaller outlet of this family restaurant (why go far when you don’t have to?). The delicious soup was delivered very soon after ordering and was still bubbling away with its dates and garlic on top. Pour in your ginseng wine to the dish and get ready to feast. Whilst I found it a little troublesome to navigate around all the little chicken bones the tender meat was more than rewarding, and the surprise of the beautiful glutinous rice when you tore open the meat was such a delight. The meal with the usual array of Korean side dishes cost 15,000W. The restaurant closes at 9pm each day so don’t leave your meal too late.

After reading more about the Ginseng Chicken soup I discovered that it is actually a dish that Koreans like to enjoy in the summer when the country is at its hottest. They believe the soup can help to replace nutrients lost through sweating.

Korea Tourism has some details about the main outlet of the restaurant here. You can visit the restaurants own site here.

Ever wondered why metal chopsticks are used in Korea?

I am intrigued why metal chopsticks are used more commonly in Korea as opposed to wood or plastic. I don’t have the exact answer, but here are a few reasons why; apart from the fact that they are considered more hygienic as they are easily washed and sanitized they also prove less wasteful then throwing away wooden chopsticks as they are more durable. There is also the view that their use stems from social aspiration where brass and silver chopsticks were used by Korean royalty and aristocrats making it a desirable option. Some theories suggest that the king used metal chopsticks in ancient times to be able to test if poison had been added to their food by monitoring corrosion to the metal once it made contact with their meal before they ate it.

 

Want to find out more great places to visit in Seoul and Korea? Download the ‘Visit Korea’ App now for more information and on the go assistance to help you make the most out of your trip.

Download the visit Korea app for more information on visitng Korea

Go K-razy in starry starry Seoul & beyond

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You may or may not already be riding the K-pop wave and gotten totally K-razy over the all singing all dancing mega groups coming out of Korea: think EXO, 2NE1, Super Junior, global phenomena PSY and my new personal favourite Bigbang with the phenomenal G-DRAGON .

Whether you are already a Hallyu (한류) follower or not there are some places that you need to visit in Korea to get in touch with and grow your ‘fangirl’ side to appreciate this musical phenomenon. I have to admit that before this trip to Korea I was more of a Gangnam style dance floor hits kind of person but I have now fully fallen in love and am now proudly following the k-wave.

IMG_1462 (1)

PSY at the Grévin wax museum, Seoul

I started my journey with a red carpet experience at the Grevin Wax Museum in Seoul. Alongside the usual suspects (US President Obama, The Queen, George Cloony & Brad Pitt) you will also find a host of K stars in their ‘Hallyuwood’ (their name not ours!). Meet and greet stars from popular dramas and even have the opportunity to take your seat on a chat show sofa to interact with some of the stars before wondering off the red carpet and onto the international sports field. What’s different from other wax museums is that the Grévin museums promise entertainment, and they certainly deliver. Not only can you pose alongside worldwide stars but you can interact with them too; from playing roulette with the Oceans 11 cast to riding through the starry sky with ET or piloting Air Force One, you can do it here.

Entry into Grévin Wax Museum costs 23,000 W per adult, 18,000 W for students (ages 13-18), 15,000 W for children (ages 3-12), and 15,WKRW for seniors (ages above 65). Children under 3 get in free accompanied by an adult. Operating Hours: Open Daily: 10am-6pm.

How to get there: City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1,2), Exit 6. Walk straight for 5 min. Or, Euljiro 1-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 1. Walk straight for 3 min.

IMG_1559 (2)Next up on the wave, dive into the K-pop concert world with a 30 minute K-pop showcase hologram concert at K-LIVE. Conveniently located to break up a shopping and eating fest in Dongdaemun on the 9 & 10th floor of Lotte FitIn, dance yourself silly (it’s a pretty dark room if you are shy) to the K-LIVE concert with stars such as G-DRAGON, Bigbang, PSY & 2NE1.

The 270° performance will captivate you with its interactive elements (be prepared for your face to be used as a backing dancer) and make you feel as though you are almost at a real concert. At 33,000 W its one of the most pricey activities you can do in Seoul for the time you spend there but if you are a big fan this might be as close to the real thing as you can get!

View of Dongaemun Design Plaza from K-Live balcony in the Lotte FitIn

View of Dongaemun Design Plaza from K-Live balcony in the Lotte FitIn

Concerts  can be viewed at 30 minute intervals from 2-10pm Tuesday- Sunday. How to get there: Located on floors 9 and 10 of Lotte FitIn. Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Lines 2, 4, and 5) exits 11 and 12 (connected by underground path). If you go to the K-LIVE centre at dusk you can get a pretty cool view from the balcony by the cafe inside.

IMG_1928If you want to the biggest chance to run into the stars* (my personal highlight of this K-tour) head to MBC World just out of Seoul City Centre. Visit 3 difference sections of this ‘world’ packed with photo opportunities and interaction zones using the latest technology to bring the stars to life before your eyes. From hanging on the sofa with your favourite singer and having him lie on your lap, performing with your favourite girl band to getting cheeky bed shots with a movie star (you need to go there to see how) you will be entertained for a full morning or afternoon.

I was lucky enough to ‘run’ into Yoo Jae Suk of running man fame at the coffee shop in MBC world. Nicked named ‘MC of the nation’ he certainly was tolerant of the sudden excitement at the quiet corner of the studios whilst I managed to get a snap of him before his entourage tried to calm us down J If you are a big fan, maybe research the when your favourite star is being interviewed or filming a series at the centre and try and spot them (but not in a stalkerish sense…).

Yoo Jae Suk

Yoo Jae Suk from running man needs coffee too!

*we can’t guarantee that you will see/meet one, although we would love to be able to promise it!

Petit France 1

View from the bell tower at Petit France

My final stop on the starry tour took me from stage to screen as I visited one of the most romantic places in Korea… where Do Min-jun and Cheon Song-yi from My Love from the Star had their first kiss in Petit France. I took some time to wonder around this beautiful French themed village in the foothills of the rolling countryside of the Gyeonggi-do region just to be transported to somewhere that could be in the Mediterranean or The Piedmont Alps. From is cafes to halls and galleries this little village will captivate you. My visit in the winter time was particularly enjoyable with all the festive decorations and lights twinkling as dusk set, and of course that cool wintery breeze offset by the hot chocolate I sipped looking out over the nearby lake. Entry into Petit France is 8,000 W for adults and is open from 9am- 6pm. If you are driving to this area combine your trip to nearby Nami Island and The Garden of Morning Calm to make the most of your day. You can book an hotel room in nearby Chunchon from only $70, located just on the edge of the Gangwon region. Spend the evening relaxing and eating at the famed ‘Chicken Street’. For more information on visiting Nami Island and surrounds visit our special site about visiting Gangwon.

N Seoul Tower

Show your love at the N Seoul Tower

Fans of My Love from the Star can take a dedicated tour from Seoul visiting Petit France among a host of other filming locations including the N Seoul Tower and Namsan Hanok Village. The tours guide will share all their insider knowledge and gossip from the show as well as help you create cool photos where the characters pursued their romance ending the day at Palm Piano Restaurant where you can tuck into the shows signature combo of fried chicken and beer (maekju) together called chimac. The tour can be booked online in advance (to guarantee your place) at CheapTickets.sg now for only $162.

 

To get information on where to visit and how to get there in Korea download the ‘Visit Korea’ App now. Plus until 15 January 2016 redeem a $30 discount on all return flights from Singapore Korea, book now! Get the download links and your discount code now at www.CheapTickets.sg/korea#promo

Download the visit Korea app for more information on visitng Korea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Korea! Discover Gangwon

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For those of you who read this travel blog regularly, you know I am an avid fan of taking my trips to Korea…Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, I always discover another treasure on my trips. Its not just the food that took me back this time (my stomach often leads my flight purchases) but my yearning to discover some new places that I hadn’t yet laid my bag. I got a direct from Singapore to Seoul for only $658 with Asiana Airlines. Normally I would save money and take one of the cheaper stop over flights to Korea but this was such a great deal I had to book the cheap flight deals from Singapore to Korea!

Eating the famous Dakgalbi in Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street

Eating the famous Dakgalbi in Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street

This time I flew into Seoul and started my adventure in the region of Gangwon-do. If you are out visiting Gangwon, a must do stop off (and on many of the tour bus routes if you are taking one of those) is the riverside town of Chuncheon. You can catch a direct train from Seoul Station to Chuncheon in just under 2 hours. A 10 minute walk from Chuncheon station you will find the ‘must try’ Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street. Nicknamed the Myeong-Dong of Chuncheon this now famous street started off with only 2-3 dakgalbi restaurants but today you can count no fewer than 25! This spicy stir-fried chicken with vegetables is not to be shared, your appetite will automatically increase when you get your plate, if they smell when you walk into the restaurant hasn’t already set your mouth watering. The region has been well known for its abundant amount of poultry farms for many years so you can also be sure you are getting the freshest chicken.

The ferry to Nami Island

The ferry to Nami Island

If you are heading to Chuncheon on the train or driving there you must visit Nami Island, a short coach ride, or 1.5 hours away on public bus. Although also easily accessible for a day trip from Seoul if you are really going to explore this little island of hidden gems, take the time to stay the nice in Chuncheon, or even book one of the cabins on the island. Famous for its tree lined roads this idilic island is home to watersports during the summer and beautiful walks in the winter. Did I mention there also a themepark with merry-go rounds and a roller skating rink? This is the ideal place for a couple to come and enjoy themselves, shame I left my better half at home this time! If you are going free & easy, that’s it, be brave, Book hire a car in Korea and explore yourself, you can catch the ferry over with your car at 10-20 minute intervals from 9am-6pm daily.

The entrance to the DMZ 2nd tunnel in Gangwon, Korea

The entrance to the DMZ 2nd tunnel in Gangwon, Korea

Are you keen to explore into North Korea? OK so maybe not fully over the border and into life up there but just to say you have stepped over, even if just for a minute. The 2nd Tunnel, as it is known was made by the North Koreans to invade South Korea and was discovered on 24th March 1975. The tunnel is 3.5kms long and going 50-160 metres below the earths surface at its deepest point. The tunnel can accommodate up to 30,000 people at any one time and is large enough for full size tanks to pass through. There are tours that you can pick up From Baengmagoji Station taking you around the major sites in the area from 6,000 KW. A train to here from Seoul would take 2.5 hours but if you are centralising in Chuncheon you will need to drive or book in on a private coach tour to the area.

Getting ready to Ski at the Alpensia Ski Resort in Gangwon, Korea

Getting ready to Ski at the Alpensia Ski Resort in Gangwon

There are so many other awesome places to visit in the Gangwon area. With the winter season coming and the Pyongchang area to host the 2018 Winter Olympics you can bet you are going to get good snow sports in the area. Many of the Cheap Hotels in Gangwon Korea will arrange transfers from Seoul during the high season. My favourite is the Intercontinental Alpensia for that little bit of luxury during the colder months.

The Donghae Sea Train in Gangwon Korea

The Donghae Sea Train in Gangwon

Heading further east in Gangwon you can take time to explore the coastal towns try picking up the Sea Train from Jeongdongjin station to Samcheok. Every seat delivers tourists ocean views with large windows to enhance your experience as you cruise along the coastline taking in majestic waves over 1 hour 20 minutes. Departure information can be found Travel information for the Gangwon East Coast Sea Train.

Wherever you want to go in Korea, CheapTickets.sg makes sure you get your travel at the cheapest flight price from Singapore to Korea. Visit our special Korea website now to check out all our favourite places to visit.

Exclusive Korea travel promotions from CheapTickets.sg

From now until 31 August get $30 discount on your return flight from Singapore to any Korean destination. Get your Korea flight discount and book now- Click here

Book return flights from Singapore to Korea for 2 people and a minimum of 4 nights at a Book a cheap hotel deal at CheapTickets.sg and get 2 complimentary tickets to see Fanta-Stick- the Fusion ‘Gukak’ Music Show in Seoul, worth 50,000 Won per person.

CheapTickets.sg 5D4N Korea deals

 

Paradise in Palawan- Puerto Princesa

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Looking for the ultimate place for relaxation, adventure and above all,  an amazing holiday? Step into paradise in Palawan, home to the highest concentration of islands and forests in The Philippines. Explore outstanding biodiversity or marine life as well as flora and fauna on one of the world’s best islands.

Whilst there are no direct flights (yet) from Singapore to Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan there are daily flights travelling through Manila with Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Return flights can be bought from CheapTickets.sg from only $366 all-in (the prices quoted on searching always include the taxes).

Once you land in Palawan take a local taxi to nearby hotel in Puerto Princesa, it should cost you around SG$6 to get to one of the coastal resort hotels just 6k from the airport. 4* hotels such as the Blue Palawan Beach Club can be booked from only $99 per night and are perfect for a 1 or 2 night stay at the start or end of your Palawan adventure.

Entering the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Entering the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

From your hotel you can book to take a trip to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. This UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the 7 wonders of nature is an 8.2 kilometre river, estimated to be the longest navigable underground river in the world winds through caves and under a mountain range and out into the South China Sea. Cruise along the river on a small paddled outrigger boat by searchlight to discover wonders of nature, untouched by sunlight. The national park the river is located in is home to more than 800 plant species, 195 bird species, 30 mammals and 19 reptiles. A trip to the river will take a whole day since many tours visit places such as Elephant mountain and include a lunch stop. The boat ride itself will be about 45 mins. You can also consider to book a Sabang X-Zipline or a Mangrove Tour in addition to the cave. You can DIY the trip by going to apply in person for the pass on arrival but passes usually have to be purchased at least 2 weeks in advance this way, unless there are passes left to redeem since there is a maximum number of people allowed in the cave during a set period.

Puerto Princesa Underground RiverA trip to Honda Bay, a cluster of islands just 15 minutes away from the main city area is perfect if you are just looking to relax on the beach after your journey or take the plunge into the crystal waters. Most cruises will make a first stop at Pambato reef, its best to start the tour early to get the smoothest waters and take a swim. You can rent snorkel gear to get the best view of all the fish and corals. You will be provided with life jackets so you can just float on the water and take in the reef.

Luli Island Palawan

Luli Island Palawan

Next up is Lu-li island, this bank of white sand where you can paddle into the sea and swim in the shallow water with the fish (a bit of bread helps them to come your way!). Lunch can be at Pandan island where you can indulge in freshly cooked seafood cooked to order from one of the many vendors. Next ask you boat driver to drop by Starfish island, you can spot up to 3 different colours of starfish in the waters. Last up will probably be Cowrie Island, this small, clean beach island is great to just relax and enjoy the end of the day. You can rent your own boat from Php1,300-1,800 (SG$40-50) depending on the boat size but be prepared to negotiate if you don’t want to share with anyone. If you are not on a set tour you will need to pay an average of Php 50-120 (SG$1.5-3.60) per island that you visit as an entrance fee

If you want to plug some romance into your trip you can take a trip to see the Fireflies on the Iwahig river. Its best to go when there is a small moon to get the best view of these real life fairy lights. If you are planning to DIY the visit by taking 45 tricycle ride (make sure you get the driver to wait there as there are no other options to get back) get your hotel or a tour guide to make a reservation for you before hand to ensure that you get a boat trip, if you just turn up you risk having to wait a really long time. The 45 minute boat trip can be done in a canoe with a guide who might even show you how the bio luminescent phytoplankton and how they light up as you swish you hands in the water. There are other tours on larger boats with seafood buffets but if you prefer something a little more personal the canoe tours are for you. Doing it DIY you will pay about Php 800 for the transport to the boat and Php 1,200 for the boat, around 1,000 per person where a package will be about 1,200.

Next up on a trip Paalwan you can explore the areas of El Nido and Coron, coming up in the next blog!

Get cheap flights from Singapore to Palawan from CheapTickets.sg

Carrie’s Ultimate Travel GlOAT Book 2015

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Chinese New Year is here! It’s time to get off that high horse and have a little gloat.

CheapTickets.sg 2015 gloat bookWe know that gloating perhaps isn’t considered the most savory of activities, but then when you post up your pictures of those beautiful and amazing destinations you have travelled to for your friends to see online, it’s kind of the same thing. Let’s think of it more as inspiring our fellow travellers to go out and have a little gloat themselves? Besides, with everyone having access to book the cheapest flights to almost anywhere in the world, why not let them share in the experience…
I have put together some gloat-worthy places and experiences for your travel bucket list in this year of G.O.A.T.

1. Finland: Rovaniemi

See the Northern Lights in Finland: Rovaniemi

See the Northern Lights in Finland: Rovaniemi

Step into a magical winter wonderland in the official hometown of Santa Claus and gateway to Lapland with a return flight from Singapore to Rovaniemi starting from $1371! From September to late March the spectacle of the Northern Lights, scientifically terms aurora borealis can be seen from the city itself on 200 nights of the year. Head to the riverfront behind the Arktikum museum or take a personal tour, even riding on a blanket coated husky sledge to watch the lights in full technicolour in front of your eyes.

2. Ecuador: Galapagos Islands

Fly to the Galapagos Islands via Quito, Ecuador

Fly to the Galapagos Islands via Quito, Ecuador

OK, we agree that this is a long shot in terms of travel distance and most budgets but The Galapagos archipelago, which played a huge part in Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, is a terrific natural heritage site to visit. From Singapore it’s a hefty flight time of up to 30 hours to Quito in Ecuador and costs from $3000 where you will need to arrange an additional flight with either TAME or AEROGAL airlines for a flight over to the Galapagos, but the pictures you will get from the flight in alone will be worth the trip. A limit to the number of visitors a year has been imposed so if you made the cut, you deserve to have a little gloat over it!

3. Nagtobon Beach, Palawan, Philippines

Find a private beach in Nagtabon Beach Palawan

Find a private beach in Nagtabon Beach Palawan

No, not the Palwan on Sentosa. Passing through the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan and into the city, nicknamed the city in a forest (and voted the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines) head an hour north to the magical Nagtoban Beach. What is there to do there? Absolutely nothing except taking photos to gloat with later… you might even be the only person on the beach, just like on your own private island? Get cheap return flights from Singapore to Puerto Princesa, Palawan now from only $350.

4. Turkey: Bosphorus Strait

Bosphorus Strait Turkey

Bosphorus Strait Turkey

The Strait at the edge of Istanbul that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia is a sight to behold. Spanning the strait is the Bosphorus Bridge, located between Ortaköy (European side) and Beylerbeyi (Asian side). Book your return flight tickets from Singapore to Turkey from only $803. Take the opportunity to drive across the bridge or simply admire the marvelous view from the Strait – and don’t forget to check in your location when you are at the crossing point of Europe and Asia!

5. United Kingdom: Trent and Mersey Canal

Hire a canal boat in theUnited Kingdom on the Trent and Mersey Canal

Hire a canal boat in the United Kingdom on the Trent and Mersey Canal

Have you been on a week long canal boat holiday before? Thought not! Hire a narrow boat from Avante Classic Narrowboats and embark on a canal adventure along the Trent and Mersey Canal. You get to enjoy exclusive use of the boat so feel free to explore anywhere along the beautiful canal. Imagine lying on your bed looking at the constantly shifting landscape and waking up every morning to a different view! Not forgetting all the British pubs along the canal routes to tuck into a full English Breakfast, full roast dinner or just a well deserved freshly poured pint. (Nearest Airport: Birmingham International Airport- get return flights from Singapore to Birmingham from only $1373 )

6. Spain: Montserrat

Catalan Pre- Coastal Mountain range of Monserrat Spain

Catalan Pre- Coastal Mountain range of Monserrat Spain

Not to be mixed up with Montserrat in the Caribbean (though it is also pretty amazing), this is actually part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. Simply take a train down from Barcelona and you are ready for some spectacular views of the peak. You might even come face to face with a mountain goat – so apt for a gloat-worthy experience! Return flights from Singapore to Barcelona are available from $1137.

7. Namibia: Etosha National Park

Go wild camping in the Etosha National Park Nature Reserve

Go wild camping in the Etosha National Park Nature Reserve

Camp at Etosha Reserve to have almost guaranteed game sightings at the waterholes. With a salt pan so large that is visible from space, Etosha offers an uncommon sight of nearly 150 mammal species including several endangered species such as the Black Rhino, Black-faced Impaia, Tsessebe and Gemsbok. It is a completely different experience from visiting the zoo. You’ve got to try it for yourself! (Nearest airport: Windhoek International Airport- return flights from Singapore to Windhoek from $1708)

8. Myanmar: Bagan

Hot balloons at dawn in Bagan, Myanmar

Hot balloons at dawn in Bagan, Myanmar

Let the hot air balloon flights in Bagan lift you over 4000 pagodas in just 45 minutes! Experience the magnificent view and extraordinary serenity of the city while having a toast with your loved ones in the pink sunset. Simply take a domestic flight on Air Bangan from Yangon (alternatively take an 8-hour drive) and you are ready for your adventure at this gloriously unsullied destination! Check out cheap return flight deals from Singapore to Yangon starting from $218.

9. France: Louvre Museum

The facade at The Louvre Museum Paris

The facade at The Louvre Museum Paris

People say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but at Louvre, you can. The entrance of the museum is a glass Pyramid sculpture which qualifies as a tourist attraction spot on its own (Selfie sticks at the ready for bragging uploads). Apart from being the largest museum in the world, it is so conveniently located in the city centre of Paris you have no reason to give it a miss! Return flights from Singapore to Paris start from $865.

10. South Korea: Jeju Island

Diving with the Haenyeo women of Jeju, South Korea

Diving with the Haenyeo women of Jeju, South Korea

Even if you have been to Jeju Island, you probably didn’t know that you could have a Haenyeo experience at Sagye-ri Village! With just 25,000 won (about 30 SGD) you can experience diving as a Haenyeo in the shallow coastal area and trying on Haenyeo clothing! Take the opportunity to gain greater appreciation for Jeju through the Haenyeos – a part of Jeju’s history and unique culture. Return flights from Singapore to Jeju are available starting from $568.

The year of G.O.A.T. is all about Going On A Trip! If you find the Ultimate GloatBook a little too ambitious for you, you can always start with our Long Weekend Getaway Guide or create your own GloatBook with our cheapest flight deals!

 

Carrie’s 2015 Long Weekend Getaway Guide

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Hello travellers! I’ve been really busy sorting out my weekend getaway ideas and planning out my travels for the year. Let me share with you how I am going to maximize Singapore public holidays in 2015 to go on 10 long weekend getaways with just 3 days of annual leave!

Visit Palawan Philippines cheap flights from Singapore $448

Hidden beauty beach, El Nido, Philippines

I am all ready for my Chinese New Year Long Weekend adventure! This will be my first time visiting Palawan in the Philippines and I have already booked a Honda Bay Island Hopping + Firefly Watching Tour to experience the beauty of nature. Since I have four days over there, I am also going to explore hidden beaches and shrines in El Nido.

In case you are wondering if it is too late for you to hop on a plane to Palawan for the long weekend, I have just done a quick search for you and return flights from Singapore to Puerto Princesa (Palawan) are still available from $448! Book Now.

If you think booking your Chinese New Year long weekend getaway now is a little too rushed for you, feel free to join me in my next adventure in Japan during Good Friday Long Weekend. I am so excited to be visiting The Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo during Japan Cherry Blossom Season on an Easter Weekend.

Visit The Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo during Cherry Blossom's this Easter

Visit The Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo during Cherry Blossom’s this Easter

In order to have more time to explore Fukuoka as well as being able to witness the full bloom of cherry blossoms, I have decided to take one extra day off to make it a 4-day trip. Hurry make your return flight bookings to Japan from $502 now before the tickets are gone!

Are you bitten by the travel bug yet? Check out the full guide of 2015 Long Weekend Getaway Guide here to get some inspiration on where to go and what to do for the rest of the long weekends! Make full use of 2015 public holidays to check your dream destinations off your travel bucket list!

My tip for making the most of the 2015 Singapore Public Holidays Long weekends: Always plan ahead and book early to get the best deals possible.

48 hours in Magical Macau

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The island of Macau is well known for its casinos and bright lights due to its 33 casinos. However, what’s less well known is that this former Portuguese colony actually offers so much more to intrigue travellers than just poker and baccarat. Having been colonized for 442 years – from 1577 till 1999 Macau has a rich history steeped in contrasting heritage and architecture. A casual evening stroll down the quaint streets might just leave you wondering if you’ve stumbled into old Europe, while a lion dance happening on the next street will bring you straight back to Asia. Macau is a perfect long weekend destination, time to squeeze in a combination of culture, shopping and of course plenty of eating. I spent only 48 hours discovering the magic of Macau but I will definitely be back for more.

Breakfast on Cathay Pacific Business ClassTaking an early morning flight from Singapore to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, I planned to have a leisurely on board breakfast followed by catching a couple of the hundred or so films on offer- however the heavenly new flat beds now on offer in business class stole away a couple of my hours to sleep. I still managed a light breakfast and a big latte to get my adventure off to a good start.

Cathay Pacific Business Class from Singapore to Hong Kong

The new business class seats on Cathay Pacific from Singapore to Hong Kong

Carrie on the TurboJet ferry to MacauOn arrival at Hong Kong International Airport it was a short 5 minute walk through the arrivals terminal where I easily found the ferry connection desk just before immigration. After a 50 minute cruise on the TurboJet ferry I arrived at Macau ferry Terminal where I jumped on the free shuttle to my new home at The Holiday Inn Macau and grabbed a map from reception and off I went on my adventure. (you can get a free ferry transfer from Hong Kong Airport to Macau when you book a return flight and a hotel room at www.CheapTickets.sg until March 2015!)

St Paul's selfie

St Paul’s selfie

Having seen the iconic Ruins of St. Pauls in pictures for years I was happy to start my trip with a selfie there to share with my friends on facebook (it’s important to share myself being cultural and not always shopping!) .This iconic monument is one of the most recognizable sights of Macau. Most of the old church was destroyed by a fire in 1835 and all that’s left standing today is the front facade and grand steps. The ruins of St.Pauls has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005 as part of the Historic Center of Macau! Ironically, just at the foot of the steps of the ruins is a huge Forever 21, and a starbucks… so naturally I had to check these out (where I met some fellow Singaporeans).

 

 

Portuguese Egg Tarts in MacauNext it was off for an afternoon treat- of Portuguese Egg Tarts. Ok, I dropped the first one whilst being overly keen to get a good picture of me tucking into it (serves me right?) but really, it was the best egg tart I have ever tasted… so I had quite a few. My favourite tarts being from the stall in the picture- I didn’t catch the name but you can find it on the left on the way down the hill from St. Pauls ruins to Senado Square. On this hill you will also find at least 20 Bakkwa shops, you can easily get your fill by having tasters from each one, you will notice 50% of the other tourist have purchased bags of the stuff.

St Dominic's church Senado Square Macau

St Dominic’s church Senado Square Macau

After realising quite how many calories were in the foods that I had just consumed and one of my KPI’s of this trip to be to find baked duck rice I thought I had better get on with some exercise. The lovely people at Macau Government Tourist Office have come up with 4 walks around the city following different interest areas. From Senado Square I picked up the East Meets West Macau Walking tour taking in picturesque St. Lawrence’s Church, St Josephs Seminary and Church and the contrasting culture of Mandarin’s House and A-Ma Temple. The route highlights the cultural intersections of the influence of both the Portuguese and Chinese people.

CheapTickets.sg at the A-Ma Temple Macau

A-Ma Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As evening fell I took a cab across to the water to Taipa Southern Island of Macau to explore some of the big hotels and casinos. The bright lights of the tunnel to the City of Dreams attracted me to check out the ‘city’ inside. Unfortunately the cast of the water spectacular ‘House of Dancing Water’ whose show is based in the entertainment complex were having a couple of weeks off to recoup but instead we were treated to the 18 minute immersive experience of ‘Dragons treasure’. This 360 show inside a 30 metre dome will have you marvelling at the special effects. At only SG$8 per adults and half price for children, it’s a bargain entertainment. With showings every 30 minutes on the hour and half past from 12 noon to 8pm don’t miss this show. If you eat at the City of Dreams restaurant, bar or shop and spend over MOP200 (around $34) you can redeem a free ticket to the show There are tonnes of shows and entertainment events in Macau to keep you captivated all year.

Dragons Treasure City of Dreams Macau

Dragons Treasure City of Dreams Macau

Macau tower at night

Macau tower at night

 

 

 

 

Post show I was famished and so wondered across and into the spectacular Venetian hotel in search of more food. Before wondering the streets of Venice I stumbled upon a huge food court in the hotel, I didn’t manage to get the baked duck rice I had been so avidly searching for but the chicken pot rice certainly didn’t disappoint. Still with more food to hunt for, there is always a reason to come back to Macau!

Venetian Macau panoramic

Venetian Macau panoramic

To end my perfect day in Macau I jumped in a cab back to Senado Square to capture the scene at nighfall where lights had perfectly illuminated the historic buildings for some final snaps. After a 10 minute stroll back to the Holiday Inn hotel I settled down at the hotel bar to reminisce about my day- and plan for my next adventure.

Check out my video of my trip to Macau here!

Getting to Macau

There are 23 flights daily from Singapore to get to you to Macau. Direct flights taking just over 3 hours 30 minutes with Tigerair depart Singapore twice daily or there are 21 flights from Singapore to Hong Kong International Airport where you can hop straight on a Turbo Jet ferry to Macau, taking only 50 minutes. Transfer from flight to ferry in Hong Kong airport is quick and easy, on arrival head towards immigration, you will signs directing you to the ferry services (do not pass through immigration! This will be done in Macau). From now until 30 March 2015, book a flight to Hong Kong and at least 1 nights stay in Macau and get a free 1 way ferry transfer from Hong Kong International Airport to Macau! With return flights from only SG$233 all-in and 3* hotels from $80 a night, get booking at www.CheapTickets.sg.

Getting about Macau

On arrival at the Macau International airport on Taipa or by ferry from HKIA you will arrive at Macau ferry terminal (except on the 10:15 service which berths at the Macau Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal) you will find complimentary shuttle buses departing every 30 minutes to most major hotels. No worries if you’ve just missed the bus, taxis can be caught just outside the terminal with fares similar to what you are used to in Singapore. Once in the city most hotels run a shuttle service between Macau (the northern part attached to the mainland) and Taipa, the southern island where the airport is so you can easily explore what Macau has to offer. One of the best ways to see the beauty of historical Macau is by following a walking tour. Check out Macau walking tours.

Australia’s Northern Territory- A day in Darwin

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You all know how much I love Australia, with fantastic food, fine wine and blue skies I am always looking for a reason to hop on a flight down under. Having ticked off some great destinations (Melbourne, Sydney and The Gold Coast) already this year I was running out of time for an extra adventure, but I certainly found one worth squeezing in- Australia’s Northern Territory!

Explore Australia's Northern TerritoryMy outback adventure in Australia’s ‘Top End’ started with a short 4 hour flight from Singapore to Darwin (SilkAir fly this route direct with free wifi entertainment on board). With flights from only $377 all-in, this is a cheap Australian destination to fly to. After a 10 minute transfer I arrived at my central Darwin hotel ready for my adventure to start. With only 4 nights to explore I got straight down to business- with a fantastic sunset meal at Char restaurant, sampling a selection of some of the fine Australian beef on offer- washed down with a sumptuous chocolate espresso martini…

CheapTickets.sg Carrie at Crocosaurous covecroc cove

At Crocosaurous cove

The next morning I was up bright and early to blue skies, for a spot of fishing for NT’s famous inhabitants- crocodiles. (For all the keen swimmers out there, the NT’s pristine beaches and cool water holes are not for swimming in, due to their strong jawed inhabitants, there are signs informing where there are croc free pools for your enjoyment) My first encounter with the crocs happened at Crocosaurous cove. I enjoyed a close up encounter feeding 4 different crocs and even holding a baby one. The crocs are surprisingly soft skinned, but definitely not cuddly! For the daring amongst you book in for the ‘cage of death’ experience, swimming in a croc pool with Perspex between you and their teeth!

Next I took a short drive over The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory to meet another croc, the 5 metre, 780kg sweetheart, who thankfully is now static as part of the exhibit, phew. The highlight for me was discovering more about the history and art of the aboriginal people of the Northern Territory, and the evolution of their unique culture and artwork. You can also learn about Cyclone Tracy that hit Darwin back in 1975 and how the city has rebuilt itself.

Lunch at the Cornocopia Cafe DarwinA spot of lunch on the Cornucopia café veranda overlooking the waterfront was well deserved in my opinion. With a huge chicken caeser salad and cold Pinot Grigio inside me I ready to move on to Darwin’s Top End Tourist Information Centre back in the city centre to gather information for the remainder of my trip. The friendly team there will be able to provide you information on tours, self drive route maps and attractions to visit. You can also get more information before you leave at http://www.tourismtopend.com.au/.

From here I took a 20 minute stroll from the Tourist Information centre through some of the most historic parts of Darwin and down into the darwin waterfrontharbour can passing through the relaxing waterfront area where you can sip coffee or enjoy a sumptuous dinner watching the world go by or dip into (a croc free area) of the wave lagoon in the centre of the waterfront- this will be something I do on my next trip.

After picking up an evening cruise to watch the magical NT sunsets over the Timor Sea, and more wonderful food I headed over for some retail therapy at the Mindil Beach Markets. These open air markets operate Thursday and Sunday evenings until the last Thursday in October and are the place to mingle with the locals as well as buy a few souvenirs (croc skin related mainly!) tuck into local produce and watch the many entertainers who perform around the market.

Sunset cruise from Darwin Harbor

Sunset cruise from Darwin Harbour

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets Darwin

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets Darwin

After a busy first full day I was ready to get to my comfy bed ready for my adventure into Kakadu National Park the next morning.

To win flights for you and a friend to experience Australia’s Northern Territory for yourself enter at the CheapTickets.sg facebook contest now at http://woobox.com/wzhz9e before 22nd October.

Win flights to Australia's Northern Territory with CheapTickets.sg

Ski in Style in Korea

With all the talk in the news this past week of people having ‘snow day’ around the world due the amount of beautiful white fluffy stuff falling from the skies and our friends in Hong Kong experiencing almost freezing temperatures some of us might be feeling a little hard done by.

Pyeongchang 2018 ski jump imageMake your snow dreams happen with a winter trip to Korea and experience the snow for yourself, you’ll be surprised how quick and easy it is to plan your trip! With Korea being the host nation for the next winter Olympics in 2018 and the games being held in Pyeongchang in Gangwon-do province, there has never been a better time to go.

The CheapTickets.sg guide to booking your ski trip:

Step 1: Book a cheap flight from Singapore to Seoul with CheapTickets.sg. You can grab flights for the last couple of weeks of February until mid March when the snow should still be good from only $500! *Purchase your travel insurance with your flight booking and save up to 40%* (more on travel insurance at the end of the blog).

Step 2: Book a room. Whilst there are many resorts within a couple of hours from Seoul we recommend you head out to Gangwon-do in the east of Korea. You can book rooms in Jeongseon and Pyeongchang on CheapTickets.sg from only $98 per night.

Step 3: Head to the slopes! Our trip to check out the snow took us the brilliant facilities at High1 Ski Resort in Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon do. Getting there from Seoul airport is super easy with a daily bus taking you from arrivals to your hotel at 7.30 each day, great if you are arriving on the Korea Air 644 or Asiana 752 flights (there are plenty of places to get a snack and a hot drink whilst you wait for the bus). You need to reserve your seats in advance here: http://www.purpleskibus.com/. There are also numerous departures from around Seoul city out to High1, Alpensia Ski Resort and Yongpyong Ski resort in Gangwon. The journey takes about 4 hours to get to the resorts and costs about $48 SGD return for the bus.

High1 Ski Slope Map

High1 Ski Slope Map. I skied the AT3-AT3-1

Step 4: Plan your snow time! All the resorts run shuttle buses to the slopes around the timing of the ski sessions, usually split into AM and PM. If you are a first time Skier you should arrange your lesson in advance to ensure you have an English or Mandarin speaking instructor. You can either contact the ski resort you will be travelling to directly or get the hotel to assist with this on your behalf. Ski lessons are can be carried out 1-1 or with a group and cost about 350,000W for the day (AM & PM session). Ski passes including the gondola range from 40-55,000W per session, you need to buy this in addition to your lessons.

Step 5: Look the part. If you have your ski clothes, great! If not you can easily and fairly cheaply rent your gear at the ski lodge. Estimate prices for the ski gear we rented:

Ski plate, Ski pole & boots: 20,000W
Ski clothes: Jacket & trousers: 15-20,000W
Ski Googles: 5-8,000W
Gloves are not able to be rented but we bought ours for 10,000W next to the clothes hire booth.

CheapTickets.sg Travel Guru Carrie gets her Ski on at High1 resort, Korea

CheapTickets.sg Travel Guru Carrie gets her Ski on at High1 resort, Korea

Step 6: Ski! This was my first experience out on the powder and man was it fun! I spent an hour with an instructor in a group lesson learning the basics (walking forwards and backwards, clipping in and out of the boots and falling over and getting up) before going to the nursery slope to learn to go downhill and very essentially how to slow yourself and stop. Once I had graduated from ski school the instructor took me out to the smallest beginner run. If and when you are ready your instructor will accompany you down a beginner slope in a small group, try and take it slowly as you won’t know what’s around the next corner- for me, my first big slope (which my instructor insisted was small) felt huge but he gave me lots of confidence to get through it and was always nearby. You will be given a special colour coded bib to wear on the slopes so other skiers and instructors around know you are a novice, and who you are with! After the first time going down the slope, which felt like it went on forever I felt like I had conquered a mountain. My instructor quickly guided us to the gondola to give me a pep talk and to go back up and do it again. It was certainly one of the best experiences of my life so far! If you are still a beginner or even staying off the slopes your gondola pass will allow you to go to the mountain top where you can indulge in a snack or even have lunch at the restaurant with fantastic views over the mountain at a reasonable price, the ride up is also a highlight.
You can check out the snow and the slopes through the webcams at High1 here:

Step 7: Après Ski!

Après Ski at High1 Resort Korea includes Churros Sabre fights!

Après Ski at High1 Resort Korea includes Churros Sabre fights! Super yums!

This is often the most fun part of the ski trip! Straight from the slopes I headed for the Churros stand conveniently placed by the gondola exit. It’s warm dough and sinful sugar was so welcome to refuel after my first ski session, don’t be fooled thinking it’s all downhill, it’s tiring work (but we still had the energy to pretend it was a light sabre!).

There are a number of hotels where we stayed in Jeongsun and the High1 resort own a number of hotels including Kangwonland, a huge hotel and casino complex. Entry to the casino is free to foreigners and there are over 200 tables. Be warned, the locals take their gaming very seriously, our 5,000W bets were slightly frowned upon but they warmed up to our gaming style in the end. There are regular shuttle busses from the hotels in High1 to Kangwonland, just ask at your hotel reception. There is also a cinema and a choice of eateries.
Whilst we were staying at High1 Hotel, a couple of KM’s up the hill we found it was very quiet in the evenings and the restaurant closed early (room service was also not available after 2pm) so a trip to Kangwonland in the evening is a must. However one of the plusses of this hotel was its direct gondola going to the mountain top which then carried on back down the mountain to the Ski House if you fancied the ride rather than taking the shuttle bus to start your experience.

Pyeongchang Olympics

Getting ready to do a ski jump at Alpensia Resort (no this is not real, its a trick-eye)

Getting ready to do a ski jump at Alpensia Resort (no this is not real, its a trick-eye)

With the 2018 Olympics new fast approaching I had a little behind the scenes tour into what the athletes will experience during the games. If you are staying at Alpensia resort take time to go to the ski jumping stadium. Take the ride up to the cafe where you can enjoy a huge range of hot drinks (I went for the Mocha) and get fantastic views over the mountains. I was lucky enough to be able to go out to where the ski jumpers will begin their medal winning efforts- check out my video below!

 

 

 

 

Want to take an organised tour to the slopes? Book a day tour from Seoul or a 2-3 day trip with CheapTickets.sg from only $65 here and have the organisation taken care of for you!

Want to find out more great places to visit in Seoul and Korea? Download the ‘Visit Korea’ App now for more information and on the go assistance to help you make the most out of your trip.

Download the visit Korea app for more information on visitng Korea

 

Note: CheapTickets.sg advises all skiers; novice or seasoned athletes to hire and wear a helmet (its included in your basic equipment hire, just ask for it) whenever you are out on the slopes. No matter your experience, please take precautions against severe injury from accidents. CheapTickets.sg travel insurance, underwritten by AIG insurance provides coverage for skiers taking part in sporting activities that are open to the general public without restriction (provided you are not going against general health or fitness warnings). It provides coverage for activities undertaken by local operators provided you are under the supervision of qualified guides or instructors when carrying out the opportunity. If you have any queries as to the coverage of your insurance please drop an email to CheapTickets.sg@travix.com so we can assist you.

Take a journey through Japan’s Locality

You probably already love Japan? Us too! Whether you are seasoned visitor and explored Japan’s established tourist spots such as Tokyo and Osaka or hard core Japan enthusiast, having eaten at that secret udon spot on the foothills of Mt Fuji there is always more to explore. Take a journey of culinary and cultural discover through Japan with CheapTickets.sg this autumn as we discover Japan’s Localities.

Explore Kyushu

Located in the southern part of Japan, the region of Kyushu is the third largest island in Japan. Made up of 7 prefectures Kyushu boasts a choice of natural and historical places to visit. The gateway from Singapore to Kyushu is through Fukuoka Airport, only 6 hours 15 minutes direct flight time from Singapore. With return flights from only $408, it’s a great time to plan a getaway to explore the region of Fukuoka.

Yatai Stalls in Fukuoka- Kyushu

Yatai Stalls in Fukuoka- Kyushu

Once you arrive into Fukuoka, the first thing you should start with is filling your belly with some Japanese delicacies. ‘Yatai’ ,the local pastime of gathering at the cities outdoor food stalls to enjoy dishes such as Ramen, Udon and Yakitori can be done each evening from around 6pm- 2am when over 150 Yatai stalls open throughout the city. The most popular spot for tourists is in the strip along Nakasu Island, a 15 minute walk from Hakata Station.

After a flight one of the best ways to relax in Japan is indulging in Japanese Onsen. Beppu Onsen is widely known to have some of the best hot springs in Japan has over 2500 baths to offer including mud, sand and steam baths. Head to Tanayu hot springs, part of the Suginoi Hotel, offering outdoor pools overlooking the city. Next door to Tanayu you can enjoy the springs in your swim suits at Aqua garden, a rarity in Japan. Admission is ¥1500 (weekdays) and ¥2000 (weekends) and open 9am-11pm with last entry at 9.30pm.

8 Hells of Beppu

8 Hells of Beppu

For a different experience, try out the ‘8 Hells of Beppu’ where you can boil eggs and vegetables. For more information on visiting Kyushu including cheap flight and hotels deals in Fukuoka, Beppu Onsen and Kurokawa Onsen visit the CheapTickets.sg guide to booking a trip to Kyushu.

Experience and be impressed by Chubu

Our next stop is northwards to the region of Chubu, in the centre of Japan. If you are starting your trip here you can take a direct flight from Singapore to Nagaya in 6 hours 45 minutes. A direct flight will cost you from $800, you can save by taking a stopover flight that will only cost from $430. You can check out today’s cheapest flights to Japan at CheapTickets.sg flight deals page.

Misonikomi noodles in NagoyaAside to the beautiful temples and palaces of this city the must do is to try the speciality dish of this region, the Misonikomi dish, noodles in a Miso Broth. Some say that the origin of Nagoya’s miso-nikomi noodle is the hoto noodle dish of the Yamanashi Prefecture, dating back from the warring states period where warlords brought back the hoto noodles, used as battle food.  The clear based soup is created from a stock of dried bonito, shiitake mushroom and kombo kelp and seasoned with thick soy sauce and sweet sake. What makes this dish truly special is the use of haccho-miso, a salty red paste made only from beans without using koji rice malt. Another distinction is the serving style: one serving is boiled in a small earthen pot and is served piping-hot often with the addition of chicken, egg, green onion, shiitake mushrooms or mochi rice cakes.  There are many restaurants in Nagoya that specialise in the Misonikomi, some recommendations can be found here..

For more places to visit in Chubu and special flight and hotel promotional deals from CheapTickets.sg visit the designated special site for Japan.

Recharge in Tohoku

If you feel like cooling off, playing in some snow* whilst savoring in some of the freshest seafood and widest varieties of fruits and beef, Tohoku is the region for you. Easily navigable by the Shinkansen and local trains you can fly into Akita in the north of Tohoku via Tokyo and then explore the region.

With the ski season lasting from December until the end of March, beginners to experts can enjoy 15 different slopes and 12 courses including a 10k downhill course. During the winter season visitors can also enjoy the famous Zao Onsen ‘Ice Monsters’. These natural wonders grow through the season and are best seen during the night time illuminations.

Matsushima Bay in Tohoku Japan

Matsushima Bay in Tohoku Japan

Beautiful at any time of year, and celebrated as one of Japan’s 3 most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate, Matsushima Bay is dotted by over 200 pine tree covered islands. Take a sightseeing cruise around the bay before exploring the local area, enjoying some of the freshest seafood around.

For more information on visiting Tohoku and getting the best hotel deals for stays in the locality including Zao, Hiraizumi and Matsushima click here.

Get in touch with Japan’s Locality with CheapTickets.sg now and enjoy promotional flight and hotel deals.

Get in touch with Japan's Locality with CheapTickets.sg

*CheapTickets.sg is not able to guarantee snow on your vacation!

10 romantic places to visit from Singapore- near and far… on the cheap

J-Lo once quoted ‘Love don’t cost a thing’, whilst technically true, we like to think that a little bit of investment goes a long way, especially when it comes to travel. Are you looking for that ultimate romantic getaway with your Valentines, or maybe looking to take your loved one somewhere for that intimate break from city life? OK so not all of these destinations might be cheap in everyone’s budget- but if you are going to do them, we’ve have found the cheapest ways of doing getting there… Here are some of Carrie, the CheapTickets.sg travel gurus list of romantic places to travel to from Singapore.

1. Matala beach- Crete

Matala Beach at Sunset

Matala Beach at Sunset- from the bar!

A few years ago a boyfriend of mine (who incidentally is now my husband) took me to the island of Crete in Greece. This beautiful island nestled south of mainland Greece in the Mediterranean is host to both historic treasures and plentiful Greek hospitality, and of course great food. My favourite spot is the beach town of Matala in the south west of the isle, 1.5 hours drive from the airport, pick up a hire car at the airport from only $22 a day. The beaches unique artificial caves were created in the Neolithic Age. In the 60s they were occupied by hippies and even inspired a Joni Mitchell classic. Why here? The sunset from your front row seat in one the small restaurants along the beach can’t be beaten. Being a small town there are limited hotel rooms available- book ahead to secure a room in the summer months. Make the most of your hire car by exploring the islands villages and coastal towns. Tip: avoid Malia unless you are looking for an extreme night out with drunk 18 year olds. Return flights to from Singapore to Crete are only $1400.

2. Perth and surrounds- Australia

Rottnest island Perth Australia

Rottnest island Perth Australia

The city of Perth serves as a gateway to hundreds of kilometres of stunning coastline and beaches. The beaches that scream romance to me are those on Rottnest Island. A short ferry ride away from the mainland from Barrack Street Jetty you can reach the fine white sand beaches and dip your feet in the crystal waters. Staying overnight on the island is a breeze with rooms from only $53 per night for a beach side room. Return flights from Singapore to Perth are as cheap as $310 on CheapTickets.sg.

3. Venice- Italy

Bridge of Sighs- Venice

Bridge of Sighs- Venice

Venice is a old classic, and its only going to get older. Romance is embedded in the veins of this city in its alluring canals winding around the city. Hop aboard a classic private gondola or go cheap with a Venice city card and hop about on the public boats. Sweep your loved one off their feet and onto the land to abundance of cute little cafes and bars to meaner in and out of whilst glimpsing at the iconic architecture from the Doge’s Palace to the Rialto Bridge. With return flights from Singapore starting at only $997 all in, yes until $1000 its cheaper than you think to get to the romantic city of Venice.

4.San Francisco- USA

cheap flights to san franciscoSan Francisco might not be on the top of most people’s places to take a romantic trip but trust me, hire a bike from many of the bike shops along by Fisherman’s Wharf and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to the small town of Sausalito for a spot of lunch to recuperate from the cycle. I guarantee you will get some brilliant selfies, and a work out at the same time. The romantic part? The ferry ride back to the wharf (the cycle hire companies will sort you out with the tickets in advance) sailing past the famous Alcatraz and into sight of the famous split street skyline. Book cheap return flights to San Francisco from only $1099.

5. The Maldives

Aeriel view of Bandos Island resort and spa maldives cheap hotel

Aeriel view of Bandos Island resort and spa maldives cheap hotel

The Maldives aka honeymoon headquarters isn’t reserved by the newly weds. Bask in the natural romance of the hundreds of islands on offer with peace and mind this isn’t a budget blowing trip. Return flights to Male are now as cheap as $410 and hotel rooms from as low as $120 per night. Cheap romantics beware, the cost of the sea plane transfers from the airport can end up costing as much as your flight from Singapore. Check out which resorts can be accessed by boat transfer such Bandos Island resort (fr $300 per night).

6. Halong Bay- Vietnam

Cruising along Halong Bay with a yellow sail above on your ship cruising amongst the iconic limestone islands whilst taking afternoon tea on deck… romantic? I think so! This unfortunately still remains a dream of mine since when I went last August a cyclone had blown into the bay making it unsafe for the boats to sail out. We still had a fun day out and made friends on the journey with our other disappointed comrade travellers… because of this try and avoid travelling to the bay in July and August. You can easily arrange a cruise from the many vendors in Hanoi, just realise you get what you pay for. Expect to pay at least $120 per person per night to be in some comfort. Flights from Singapore to Hanoi are now available from as cheap as $255.

7. Fukuoka, Japan

Amazing Ramen restaurant in Fukuoka

Amazing Ramen restaurant in Fukuoka

The romance of Fukuoka starts in the Onsen spas and ends in food, and lots of it! The town of Beppu  is famous for its hot spring spas but if you don’t have the time there are plenty in the surrounds of the city. My romantic day in Fukuoka started with a trip to a hillside onsen spa in the Fukuoka countryside. Taking a 30 min free shuttle from outside the main station enjoy 2 hours in a private spa hut with outside bath from only $20 per person then have access to the baths. English is limited at the spa but your hotel can help. In the evening a foodie paradise opens up with ‘Yatai’ the given name for street food in Fukuoka being the most attractive fare. There are over 150 stalls spread over the city. I recommend to head to the Nakasu Yatai along the riverside to mix with the locals. There is fantastic food all over the city but the fun is finding it! Cheap flights from Singapore to Fukuoka, Japan are available to book from only $504 return all in.
8. Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur Temple Indonesia

Borobudur Temple Indonesia

From sunrise to sunset the temple of Borobudur is a towering sanctuary in the sky, heaven on earth for romantics. To visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site Book a cheap flights from Singapore to Yogyakarta from only $174 all in return and take the 40km drive into the hills for a mesmerising experience. Stay at one of the countryside retreats nearby for a truly out there experience. Best to avoid visiting during Vesak since this is a pilgrimage destination.

9. Nurwara Eliya- Sri Lanka

Heritance Tea Factory Hotel rooms, Nurwara Eliya

Heritance Tea Factory Hotel rooms, Nurwara Eliya

Journey into the tea plantations of central Sri Lanka to experience serenity, and a perfect cup of tea. Take long walks with your loved ones through the manicured trails through the tea and enjoy the cool weather of the hills during the winter months. For a heritage experience check in at Heritance Tea Factory, a converted hotel offering colonial style rooms amongst the rolling tea plantation hills from only $250 per night. Return flights from Singapore to Sri Lanka start from only $320 all in.

10. Singapore

What? You can stay in Singapore and have a romantic break? Yes! There are so many deals to enjoy when you book a staycation in Singapore (think of all the money you can save on airfare!

With Valentines around the corner this weekend its not too late to book a romantic break in a 5* hotel in Singapore. We have some fantastic deals for rooms in Singapore on 14th Feb
5* Swissotel Stamford fr $165
5* Pan Pacific fr $300
5* Carlton Hotel fr $176
5* Grand Copthorne fr $168
5* Grand Park Orchard fr $252

Happy Valentine’s to all our CheapTickets.sg travel lovers!

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