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

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!

CheapTickets.sg Deals you'll love

Australia’s Northern Territory- Kakadu National Park

After a busy day in Darwin my long weekend adventure continued with an early start to venture into Australia’s Northern Territory area of Kakadu National Park.

Travelling in comfort with an AAT Kings tour (I also recommend self driving this region but due to my short trip I went with the professionals this time) we headed out of the traffic free city of Darwin towards the Arnham Highway and the park. Stopping off on the way for a ‘Spectacular Jumping Crocodile’ Cruise I captured the mightly saltwater crocs jumping out of the muddy river for their red meat breakfast. We were also fortunate to get some great close ups of the amazing birds swopping in for the food.

Birds of prey on the jumping crocodile cruise

We stopped in for lunch at the Wildman Wilderness Lodge for a sumptuous lunch with a view out across their personal landing strip and the open landscape. I definitely recommend staying over night here if you can plan it in your trip! We were treated to a leisurely cruise along the Wildmans Home Billabong capturing exotic bird life and getting very close to their local crocs, and a water buffalo!

Crocodile on a plate at Aurora Kakadu ResortNext it was onward to our overnight accommodation at Aurora Kakadu Resort. This group and family friendly resort has large rooms with equally sized bathrooms overlooking their shaded pool (croc free!) and perfect to cool off in. There are not many places to eat nearby here but the hotel restaurant, along with the price of the room is great value for money. I sampled buffalo, fresh oysters and of course crocodile! (the address is amusingly in South Alligator- you can find out the story behind that when you visit).

I awoke early the next morning in anticipation of our day in Kakadu, a World Heritage- listed site accredited for both its natural and cultural wealth. Covering over 19,000 square metres of dramatic landscapes from towering escarpments and waterfalls to floodplains. The changing scenery of the area from the wet season (now) to the dry season makes this a year round destination. To add to my excitement at being in this wondrous destination I was also going to get up close with some of the oldest examples of Aboriginal rock art in Australia.

Wild birds at Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu National ParkWe wet our appetite for the park on another cruise, this time on Yellow Water cruises on Jim Jim Creek. I captured Whistling Ducks, Magpie Geese and Kingfishers to name a few birds, carefully perching around yet more crocs. The near by Barra Bar and Bistro at Cooinda Resort around the corner from the cruise departure point served us up a hearty buffet lunch with a huge selection of cut meats to energise us for the afternoon walk.

CheapTickets.sg Carrie at NourlangieThe highlight of the day was the hike through Nourlangie. Following a 1.5km walk amongst the impressive natural rock structures we learnt the stories handed down through generations of Aboriginal people through their art. Get your cameras ready for the panoramic shots available at the tip of the walk!

A great place to start your Kakadu trip is at the Bowali Visitor centre. As well as collecting your obligatory National Park pass for Kakadu you can collect information on the area as well as refresh and buy a few souvenirs.

CheapTickets.sg Carrie Eaten by a crocThe remainder of my day was spent sitting back and watching the landscape pass by from my comfy seat, sipping on some ‘Pauls’ iced coffee, an iconic brand of The Northern Territory, bliss.

Just wait until you see what was in store for me on my final day in Australia’s Northern Territory!

Win flights to Australia's Northern Territory with CheapTickets.sgThere is still time for you to win return flights for you and a friend to Darwin, Australia to start your Northern Territory Adventure. Enter our sweepstakes contest before 22 September 2014 at http://woobox.com/wzhz9e.

For more information about travelling to The Northern Territory log on to www.CheapTickets.sg/Australia/NT to get the cheapest flight and hotel deals now.

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