CheapTickets.sg 10 Dream Date Destinations

Valentine’s is coming! That (sometimes) dreaded day of the year when you wake up on February 14th and panic: Have you booked a restaurant? Have you seen the price of flowers? Are there even any left? Do you actually have a ‘Valentine’?!

We say to heck with all that, you should show the one you love how much they mean to you all year round, not just on 1 day of the year. Show someone who means the world to you ‘the world’ with a trip to one of our guide to 10 Dream Date destinations.

CTSG dreamdate-Tokyo fish market#10: Lunch @ Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
Enjoy an early lunch at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan. Being there at 4am isn’t the only way to enjoy the market, sleep in and still enjoy the wholesale markets and the freshest fish. The market is scheduled to relocate to a new site at Toyosu in November 2016 so check online before you set out. After lunch, take a stroll into Hamarikyu Gardens next to the market (there is a small entrance fee around $8). Find the tea pavilion on the small island in the south east of the park and enjoy green tea and Japanese snacks looking out over the still waters and feel life’s stresses slip away. Book cheap flights to Tokyo now.

IMG_3665#9: Cingjing Farm, Nantou, Taiwan
Take your loved ones breath away with a trip to Cingjing farm in Nantou. The farm, 1,750 metres above sea level celebrates nature at its finest. Visit from March to June to see the new born sheep and cows wondering free, the peach, pear and apple blossoms in March and the wild chrysanthemums in May. From Taipei the farm is a 5 hour journey- you can get directions for public transport tom Kaoshiung and Taipei here.

 

CTSG dreamdate-Capital Territory#8 Dinner and Dolphins in Jervis Bay, Australia Capital Territory, Australia
Would the one you love, love pan seared scallops with a glass of Hunter Valley Chardonnay after a day out whale and dolphin watching in Jervis Bay? Order these picture perfect scallops at Stone Grill restaurant on Owen Street in Huskinson and take a ride out with Jervis Bay Wild from only $60 to recreate our perfect day. Get more brownie points by checking out the beaches in Jervis Bay National Park, said to be some of the whitest sand beaches in the world. Fancy a self drive around Australia’s Capital Territory from Canberra to Sydney? Check out our self drive route here.

CheapTickets.sg dream date in Macau#7 Macau walking tour, Macau
Many say the best way to really see a city is to explore it on foot. Take your loved one by the hand to explore one or more of Macau’s specially created walking trails to discover this cities unique cultural heritage with a fascinating mix of East and West. Macau is more than just a glittering gambling mecca, take in the magic of Macau’s forts, churches, and romantic baroque architecture- a reminder of its European heritage alongside incensed- filled Chinese temples and giant goddesses before setting yourself up for an evening of entertainment at the spectacular House of Dancing water show.
CTSG dreamdate-Sydney#6 Picnic in the park under Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
We stumbled across this set up under the Sydney Harbour bridge just before one lucky lady was being asked the big question during a flash mob style proposal around the corner at Luna Park… she said yes! We felt so privileged to have witnessed this ultimate romantic gesture. It doesn’t have to be a proposal, Valentine’s Day or an anniversary to pull all the stops out on a date, just go for it! Plan your trip to Sydney now!

 

CTSG dreamdate-margaret river#5: Wine tasting in Margaret River, Western Australia
The drive from Perth down to Margaret River is one of the easiest and most relaxing driving experiences we have ever had, with spectacular scenery at every corner on the coastal route you might want to take your time getting down there with stops at Busselton and Geographe Bay. Check into your hotel and put the car keys down before you head out to the vineyards to get the full tasting experience. Stretch out the date with dinner in the town at, no doubt followed by some more drinks in one of the lively bars along the small main strip. Want some more information to help you plan & book this date? Check out our guide to The Margaret River.
CTSG dreamdate-Seoul#4 Seoul N Tower, Seoul, South Korea
We couldn’t help but fall in love with this place. Starting the journey from street level on the stair lift to the cable car and out on to the platform below the tower you will find endless couples looking into each other’s eyes and taking selfies. At the platform you will find one of the biggest collections of locks in the world, brightly coloured and inscribed with messages from visitors from all over the world. If you don’t have a lock be assured someone will be there to sell you one! Afterwards make the journey to the top of the tower to see the twinkling lights of the city. Valentine’s Day can be made even more romantic by the cold crisp air at this time of year making snuggling almost obligatory to keep warm. Don’t have the budget for the fancy restaurants in the tower, take your beau to ‘The best burger in Seoul’ where the patties are made by a Michelin star chef at the 1F level of the tower plaza. Plan and book your trip to Seoul at the best price now!
# 3 The Rock Pool cafe, Mousehole, Cornwall, UK#3 The Rock Pool cafe, Mousehole, Cornwall, UK
Go the distance to create your dream date with a trip to Cornwall in the UK. Pick up a rental car (from as cheap as $25 a day) and drive to the south western tip of the UK mainland. Reward your romantic side with the crab sandwich (they do not scrimp on the filling!) followed by a full traditional cream tea in the beach hut at The Rock pool cafe. Leave your car at the public car park next to the cafe and stroll around the beautiful town of Mousehole exploring the little shops; you might even catch one of the local fishermen coming in and out of the harbour on their traditional style boats.
Book the cheapest flights to London now- from only $843!
CTSG dreamdate-Phuket#2 Private long tail boat trip, Nai Yang beach, Phuket, Thailand
We are so full of love for Thailand with its white sand beaches, perfect hospitality and glorious weather. Our perfect date would be to take a long tail boat out for a snorkelling trip and surprise a loved one with releasing a Krathong into the sea. One of CheapTickets.sg team recently organised this for her parent’s 40th wedding anniversary whilst staying at the wonderful Dewa Hotel (5 mins from Phuket Airport in perfect location right next to the beach and lots of fantastic beach restaurants). The hotel team seamlessly organised the outing along with a romantic beach side bqq dinner to celebrate the occasion.

 

#1 Sunset, anywhere, worldwide
It was just too difficult to pick our top dream date destination. There were so many places that came close; sunset at The Nobbies on Philip Island in Victoria, Australia came close. Cycling along the Amsterdam Canals and into the Vondelpark during sunset nearly got it. Watching the sun go down over Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong from Hutong Restaurant in Kowloon was sooo close. What all our favourite experiences have in common is enjoying a serene sunset with the ones that we love. So grab a glass and toast to the love of travel, show the one they mean the world to you with a dream date!

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Ski in Style in Korea

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

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

The CheapTickets.sg guide to booking your ski trip:

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

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

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

High1 Ski Slope Map

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 7: Après Ski!

Après Ski at High1 Resort Korea includes Churros Sabre fights!

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

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

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

Pyeongchang Olympics

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Download the visit Korea app for more information on visitng Korea

 

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

See Super Cool Seoul

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

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

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

Get your skates on: Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink

Seoul Plaza Ice skating rink

Seoul Plaza Ice skating rink

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

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

Cheonggyecheon Digital Garden @ Cheonggyecheon Stream

Cheonggyecheon Digital Garden opening times 2

Cheonggyecheon Digital Garden Stream light up times

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

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

 

 

 

 

Too Cool: Charles H Bar at The Four Seasons Hotel

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

Seoul_Blog_Map_Cheonggyecheon_Digital_Garden,_Charles_H_Bar_and_Seoul_Plaza

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

Ginseng Chicken Soup

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

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

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

Ever wondered why metal chopsticks are used in Korea?

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

 

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

Download the visit Korea app for more information on visitng Korea

Go K-razy in starry starry Seoul & beyond

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

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

IMG_1462 (1)

PSY at the Grévin wax museum, Seoul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yoo Jae Suk

Yoo Jae Suk from running man needs coffee too!

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

Petit France 1

View from the bell tower at Petit France

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

N Seoul Tower

Show your love at the N Seoul Tower

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

 

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

Download the visit Korea app for more information on visitng Korea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Paradise in Palawan- Puerto Princesa

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

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

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

Entering the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Entering the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

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

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

Luli Island Palawan

Luli Island Palawan

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

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

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

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