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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

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

 

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.

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

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Colourful Korea: 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 😀

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 😀

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

Carrie’s Australia Adventure – New South Wales

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

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

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Map credits: Google maps

Day 1 – Sydney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CheapTickets.sg_Sydney_NSW Photo credits: tripadvisor

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

Day 2 – Sydney

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

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

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Delectable cheese!!

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

Day 3 – Hunter Valley

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

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Photo credits: Australian National Botanic Gardens

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

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

CheapTickets.sg, Australia expert

 

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

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

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

Day 4 – Port Stephens

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

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

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Photo credit: Port Stephens

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

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

Day 5 – Port Macquarie

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

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

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

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Photo credits: tripadvisor

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Photo credits: tripadvisor

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

Day 6 – Port Macquarie/Coffs Harbour

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

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Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

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Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays

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

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

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

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

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

Day 7 – Grafton, Byron Bay

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

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

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

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

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

Day 8 – Byron Bay

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

My choice of breakfast: Eggs Florentine. YUMMY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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