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

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Carrie’s Ultimate Travel GlOAT Book 2015

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This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Travel Book 2018 for the year of the Dog.

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!

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Travel Book 2018 for the year of the Dog.

 

Australia’s Northern Territory- A day in Darwin

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This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Australia’s Northern Territory-A day in Darwin.

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

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Australia’s Northern Territory-A day in Darwin.

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

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

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Colourful Korea: Carrie’s 5D4N Seoul & Busan Discovery Trip

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

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

KTX to Busan

KTX to Busan

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

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


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

Taejongdae Park

Taejongdae Park


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

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

The bustling Jagalchi Fish Market!

The bustling Jagalchi Fish Market!

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

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

View from the top!

View of Gamcheon Village  from the top

 

The lovely alleyways of Taegeukdo Village!

The lovely alleyways of Taegeukdo Village!

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

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

The beautiful coastline!

The beautiful coastline!

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

Day 3: Back to Seoul

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

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

Changing of Guard Parade at Gyeongbokgung!

Changing of Guard Parade at Gyeongbokgung, Seoul!

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

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

N Seoul Tower

N Seoul Tower

 

 

 

 

 

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

Day 4: Seoul Part 2

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

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market in Seoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Myeong-dong (read: shopping paradise)

Myeong-dong (read: shopping paradise) in Seoul

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

Day 5: Seoul Part 3 & back home

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

Ganghwa Ginseng Center, really top grade ginseng!

Ganghwa Ginseng Center in Seoul, really top grade ginseng!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Final stop: Incheon Airport

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

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

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Colourful Korea: Carrie’s 5D4N Seoul & Busan Discovery Trip

Discover Japan- Tokyo Part 1

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

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

Shop it up at Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Shop it up at Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

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

Have a shopping spree at Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Enjoy a shopping spree at Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

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

Enjoy two experiences at Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Enjoy two experiences at Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

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

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

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

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

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

Soar to greater heights at Tokyo Skytree, Japan

Soar to greater heights at Tokyo Skytree, Japan

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

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

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

Discover Japan- Kobe, Kyoto, Nara

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Discover Japan – Kobe, Kyoto, Nara.

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

Tour the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, Kobe, Japan

Tour the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, Kobe, Japan

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

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

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

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

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

Experience Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan

Experience Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan

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

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

Stroll at Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama, Japan

Stroll along Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama, Japan

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

Experience tranquility at Bamboo Groves, Arashiyama, Japan

Experience tranquility at Bamboo Groves, Arashiyama, Japan

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

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

Visit Todaiji, Nara, Japan

Visit Todaiji, Nara, Japan

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

Feed the deers at Nara Park, Japan

Feed the deer at Nara Park, Japan

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

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

This article also appears on CheapTickets.sg/blog: Discover Japan – Kobe, Kyoto, Nara.