Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 3)

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.

Riding the “Mad Max” vehicle is a major part of the fun. Cigarette-wielding badass-looking chauffeur, check.

Continue reading Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 3)

Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 2)

Day 4 – South bound. Main attraction of the day – Brown Boulevard, named so after the advertisement shot here. Win.

The eastern coast enroute to Taitung is quite scenic

Continue reading Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 2)

Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 1)

This is my third time to Taiwan in ten years. I have been to all the major tourist attractions, save for Taroko Gorge. Nevertheless, I managed to put together a 9 days itinerary that worked well.

Our trip began with sampling the beef noodles at Ling Dong Fang. At 9pm, there was still a queue. Waiting time was 20 minutes or so.

The new outlet has a nice facade

Continue reading Not your usual Taiwan itinerary (Part 1)

Europe one month itinerary

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

Villa d’Este http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1025

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

Hokkaido 9 days 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

Krabi and Phuket 4 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.

Here’s what i have worked out for my trip:

Continue reading Krabi and Phuket 4 days itinerary

Pearl River Delta 5 days itinerary

Chikanzhen
Chikanzhen (https://postcardsfrombeijing.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/guangzhou-part-1-chikanzhen-and-kaiping/)

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

Jakarta 3.5 days itinerary

Situ Gunung (http://www.unmotivating.com/situ-gunung-park-indonesia%EF%BB%BF/)

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

Kyushu 8.5 days itinerary

Shiratani Unsuikyo (www.japan-guide.com)

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

Korea 10.5 days itinerary

Ssang Waterfalls (image from www.meetup.com)

This is not quite the Korea itinerary many people will do. If you read my past travelogues, you’ll notice that i try to cram as much as i possibly can into any trip (in the spirit of Fast Travel), so for Korea, i will be going to all the important/popular sites in 11.5 days, covering Seoul, Seoraksan/Sokcho, Jeju and Busan.

The first and most important travel tip i would like to offer is this – use Korea Tourism Organization’s Visit Korea website (http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/) for your trip research. While doing my research, i gathered information from various sites/blogs, but i eventually realized that everything that is worthy of your time/calories is on the VisitKorea site! i immediately changed my trip research strategy – to using the VisitKorea site exclusively for shortlisting attractions and food places. The information presented on the VisitKorea site is very comprehensive, and despite the disclaimer that “VisitKorea does not guarantee the quality of products or services introduced on its site”, i found that everything listed on the site carries sufficient weight and are basically “disappointment-proof”.

My trip doesn’t happen until May, but as i’ve mentioned before, it’s always a good idea to make advanced arrangements to secure the best deals, such as flights. I booked flights on Jeju Air as soon as they were available for sale, and they’re pretty cheap –  Seoul to Jeju KRW 37100 (S$45), Jeju to Busan KRW 29100 (S$35) and Busan to Fukuoka KRW 88000 (S$105). Japan (Kyushu) is the destination of the second leg of my three weeks trip. So here’s my Korea itinerary: Continue reading Korea 10.5 days itinerary