If you’re into history and food, these destinations may be of interest to you. I took advantage of a Jetstar promo and bought return tickets to Jieyang/Shantou for only $64. Here’s my itinerary:
Day 1 Jieyang airport is about half an hour from Chaozhou, an hour away from Shantou and two hours from Meizhou. You may actually start your trip from any of the three cities. For me, Shantou seems to be the logical place to start. The Jetstar flight timing is such that by the time you’re checked into your hotel, it’s almost time for dinner.
Fuyuan is the place to be for Teochew dishes.
After dinner, we took a long stroll towards Xiao Wu rice rolls (小吴肠粉), stopping by Suning mall along the way.
Day 2 The Shantou old city area is worth spending half a day to check out. Various traditional food outlets are littered throughout this area.
First stop, Laomagong (老妈宫) dumplings. It is named after the temple across the street, which is near the centre of the old city area.
To relieve the stomach from too much food, we visited the Shantou development museum, which is free admission and interesting enough. Still quite stuffed but had to proceed with lunch, at Fuhecheng (福合埕), just to check it off the list.
Day 3 There are frequent buses to Chaozhou, although it is somewhat annoying that the bus spends half an hour picking up passengers in Shantou before actually starting on the journey to Chaozhou. It is also possible to take a train to Chaozhou and the trip takes only half an hour (vs more than an hour by bus), but you may have trouble finding a taxi when you arrive! In fact, this was the biggest problem we faced when in Chaozhou. The taxis don’t go by meter and you have to haggle over the price. More importantly, you may not even be able to find a taxi when you need one!
Other than this very distasteful tourist trap of being swindled every time you need to get around, Chaozhou is a pleasant place to be, despite being very touristic.
Day 4 You could say this was the day when everything went wrong. My plan was to take a train to Meizhou. There was conflicting information on the train schedule and it turned out the 11am train I was hoping to take was no longer available since years ago. Lesson learnt: the train schedule that is actually available for booking online (via ctrip website for example) is accurate.
It’s unfortunate that Chaozhou and Meizhou are not well connected. There is only a single train trip per day at 530pm and two bus trips at 915 and 3pm respectively. The situation will be much improved when the high speed rail link is launched later this year (2019). If you’re interested to go to Meizhou, you might want to hold off your travel plans until the high speed rail is operational. It departs from the high speed rail station near Jieyang Chaoshan airport.
Anyway, I decided to catch a bus to Jieyang and transit to another bus for Meizhou. Little did I know, there was a detour from the usual 2 hours route from Jieyang to Meizhou due to road closure, and the journey became 4.5 hours! Anyway, this was still the best outcome possible, being able to arrive at Meizhou around 6pm. If I took the 3pm bus from Chaozhou or the 530pm train, I would have arrived at 8pm! It was raining the whole day anyway, and I may not have been able to do much anyway if I arrived at the planned timing 1pm.
Day 5 My original plan for the day was to visit the neighbouring small town called Songkou as well as the Nanyanfei tea plantation (雁南飞茶园) and Qiaoxi Hakka village (桥溪古韵). Instead, I moved the itinerary I had planned for the day before to the present day, and thankfully it worked even better this way.
Day 6 The plan for the day was to buy Hakka goodies and to have the final meal in Meizhou. The 1230pm bus arrived slightly ahead of the scheduled 230pm at Jieyang airport. Given we had more than 2 hours before the check-in counters open, we decided to explore the neighbouring villages. There isn’t any public transport at all, so we took a taxi to save some effort (the nearest village 孙畔村 is actually within walking distance). The fare had to be higher (20 Yuan) because the taxis usually take people into Shantou and Chaozhou instead of the nearby areas.
We knew we would arrive at the airport too early, so I did research and found out there were villages in the vicinity of the airport worth checking out.
Day 7 – I booked the Wang Gong clams picking tour (王功採蚵車摸蛤生態之旅) nearly two months ahead to ensure i got a place. You can do so via Facebook messenger, which was how i contacted them. Otherwise, you can also sign up for an adhoc tour at some of the restaurants in town, or, you could just walk to the beach area and DIY.
The highest concentration of nations is found in none other than Europe, which means you can experience the highest diversity of culture in the shortest time here. Europe also offers much in terms of places of historical significance, natural landscape, food, shopping and more, which is why you keep having to go back.
There are millions of permutations when planning for a Europe itinerary. Here’s how I am going to do it this time:
Days 1 to 8
Italy. I have been to Rome twice, yet there are many places near Rome I have not visited, such as Necropoli della Banditaccia (UNESCO heritage site) and Civita Di Bagnoregio. No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to The Mall, the famed luxury goods outlet centre. This would be my fourth time there.Continue reading Europe one month itinerary
It took 3 days to work out this itinerary and book all the hotels, so you could say a trip to Hokkaido is actually not difficult to plan for. I do still need to work out details like where to go for meals, finding exact view points to see, as well as to book a rental car (that will be another blog post), but once the accomodation reservations are done, the rest are less worrying.
All my itineraries are planned with the same basic assumption – that i will never visit there again. This itinerary covers all attractions that are significant in Hokkaido, including places that seem less attractive, like Hakodate. I guess everyone has different preferences and pacing when it comes to how they do a trip, and few people will do it like i do. Nevertheless, i believe i have tips to share that may be useful for reference and consideration.
My trip happens in mid June, and unfortunately, the timeframe is in between the Pink Moss and the Lavendar bloom. Some people might be going to Hokkaido specifically for these. If so, to catch the Pink Moss, you need to be there mid to late May, and for Lavendar, mid to late July. Continue reading Hokkaido 9 days itinerary
I grabbed cheap tickets to Krabi, at S$60 per person, from more than a year ago, and it’s time for me to work out the details of the itinerary. I guess few would do this – visit both Krabi and Phuket in the same trip. In fact, i suspect very few know that Krabi and Phuket are only 3 hours apart by car.
There are slight differences to the kinds of attractions you find at Krabi vs Phuket. Besides islands and beaches which are common to both Krabi and Phuket, there are also on-land attractions such as hot spring, waterfall, lakes and mangrove in the region around Krabi. On the other hand, Phuket is far more developed and has more hospitality offerings as well as city vibe.
My initial plan was to just stay around Krabi, but i actually found it hard to fill 4 days worth of activities. Granted, i have two very young kids travelling with me, and safe for taking the long tail boat, we will not be able to be engaged in most of the water-based activities (e.g. kayaking) that are popular around here. So I thought, why not kill two birds with one stone. I probably won’t need to visit Phuket again.
So, i picked up cheap flight tickets to Hong Kong. It cost a total of S$533 for 2 adults and 2 kids plus one piece of check-in luggage, which works out to be S$130 per person, in case you’re wondering. These are the cheapest tickets i have gotten for Hong Kong, ever. My last trip there was 2 years ago, and it was mostly a food trip. This would be my 6th time to Hong Kong. You can probably imagine that there’s almost nothing left for me to discover there. To make the trip more worthwhile, i decided i had to expand my exploration to places in the Pearl River Delta region. Continue reading Pearl River Delta 5 days itinerary
Indonesia remains one of our favourite destinations for a short escape, and this time, we decided to fly to Jakarta. The last time we were in Jakarta was more than 5 years ago, and having spent only half a day in town in the wrong places (Ancol and Gandaria City Mall), i can’t say i have actually been to Jakarta.
Because we booked the flights rather late (less than 7 weeks away), budget flights were not budget friendly at all (it normally cost S$80 or less), and i ended up getting a flight on Malaysia Airlines for S$93 from CheapTickets. It does mean i have to transit in KL, adding 2.5 hours to the overall travel time, but i still feel better, paying more or less what a budget flight would have cost, but getting a non-budget flight instead. I’m rather impressed with CheapTickets by the way, as i’ve managed to book flights through them, more than once, for which i was prevented from completing the booking process on the official carrier websites, due to strange constraints or bugs on those websites. Continue reading Jakarta 3.5 days itinerary
This is the second leg of my 3 weeks holiday happening in May. Fukuoka is a mere 50 minutes’ flight from Busan, which is why I am combining a trip to Korea with a tour of Kyushu, southern Japan. Actually, the more important reason is that the open jaw flight (Singapore – Seoul, Fukuoka – Singapore) was being offered at the same promotional price by Vietnam Airlines (S$450) as booking a return flight. The downside to travelling on Vietnam Airlines is having to transit in Vietnam, which stretches 5 hours on my way to Seoul, but for the return flight, i specifically chose the longest transit time available – 21 hours, so i’ll have the chance to check out Hanoi. I’ll definitely do the overnight transit in Vietnam again if i fly with Vietnam Airlines in the future, for the food.
8.5 days probably sounds like a very short time to most people for going around Kyushu, and within this time frame, i’m actually going to cover Yakushima as well (pictured above), an island south of Kyushu (35 minutes flight time or almost 3 hours by ferry from Kagoshima). It is one among the most highly rated attractions in all of Japan (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, no less), so i’m making it a point to get there despite the trouble. Kyushu is relatively small compared to Korea and Honshu, so the distances are more manageable. I’m choosing to fly from Yakushima directly to Fukuoka, which saves me more than half a day if i travelled on land instead, and i think it is worthwhile despite the slightly higher cost. By the way, only Japan Airlines operates flights to/from Yakushima, and there is hardly any discount on the fare for such an exclusive destination, but you should do advanced reservations/purchase of the tickets anyway (more than 75 days ahead) to secure the lowest possible fare. Continue reading Kyushu 8.5 days itinerary