Forget Tokyo, Niigata Is The Next Top Japan Travel Destination!

Where and what is Niigata, Japan all about exactly, you might ask?

Niigata prefecture prides itself for its agriculture and breathtaking scenery. Geographically blessed with a location near the coast, tourists will be able to enjoy the best seafood and local delicacies too!

There is definitely a whole lot to eat, see and do!

Hello Niigata

As Niigata is a relatively new tourist destination, Mediacorp TV Channel OKTO aired a two part series, Hello Niigata, that provided a peephole into the region’s best-kept secrets.

[caption id="attachment_21166" align="alignnone" width="960"] Autumn in Niigata[/caption]

The hosts chat up Niigata locals and provide tips on where to go, what to do and where to eat.

[caption id="attachment_21167" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Winter in Niigata[/caption]

To celebrate the preview of Hello Niigata, we were treated to a 5 course meal at Tomi Sushi that showcased Niigata’s culinary flair.

Niigata cuisine at Tomi Sushi

If you would like to have a taste of Niigata cuisine before travelling there, we’ve got you covered!

You can have an authentic gastronomic experience right here in Singapore. Tomi Sushi specialises in Niigata cuisine and gets all their fresh ingredients from Niigata as well.

Also, Tomi Sushi uses 100% Niigata KOSHIHIKARI rice and a special blend of soy sauce specially curated for the restaurant. The first Tomi Sushi was opened in Niigata and presently, they have opened 3 branches in our little red dot (Millenia, Novena, Katong).

These are the famous Le Lectier pears which were impossibly sweet and juicy.

They are also hard to get your hands on as they are only in season in November and December, a good justification of its nickname, “the Phantom Pear”.

While enjoying our meal, they screened the Hello Niigata trailers. We had a first hand experience trying the highly popular KOSHIHIKARU rice (the rice balls made an excellent pairing with sake!) from Niigata.

The owner of a rice farm in Niigata was present to explain all about KOSHIHIKARU rice.

It was exceptionally inspiring to meet the men and women behind the companies in the flesh, speaking passionately about their craft.

Many of the farms were passed on from one generation to the next so you can only imagine the amount of effort and sheer hard work it takes to shoulder family tradition and legacy!

Hello Niigata – Catch Up On The Two Episodes On Toggle

If you are planning a trip to the land of the rising sun, Niigata is a must visit destination.

[caption id="attachment_21168" align="aligncenter" width="796"] Nagaoka Festival At Niigata[/caption]

You can discover their unique culture and harvests, such as their famous rice, sake, tea and seafood. We can attest to that from our delightful experience at Tomi Sushi!

To find out more about Niigata, you can also watch the two part series on Toggle to witness everything Niigata has to offer.

[caption id="attachment_21169" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Cherry Blossoms in Takada, Niigata[/caption]

Both episodes delve into the lives of the natives where the hosts will get up close and personal with them, giving us an insider view to their hometown.

If you are wondering where the Le Lectier pears originated from, the series will take you on a tour of Shirone’s Kingdom of Fruit. It’s a garden that cultivates high quality fruits such as Le Lectier pears and Echigo Hime (Princess Strawberries) each season.

Besides the realm of culinary tourism, you will be exposed to other recreational activities. For example, Sado Island (an island within Niigata prefecture) is known for Sado Nishimakawa Gold Park and the preserved Shukunegi Village. At this village, you can explore traditional merchant houses and row your own tub boats.

[caption id="attachment_21170" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Tub boat rowing[/caption]

To help satiate your wanderlust tendencies, definitely watch Hello Niigata on Toggle. You’ll see a part of Japan that many tourists may not know about.

Who knows, you might be well on your way to booking your plane ticket to Niigata, Japan sooner than you think!

Hello Niigata on Toggle

7 Nearby Travel Destinations To Consider For Your 2017 Long Weekends!

7 Nearby Travel Destinations To Consider For Your 2017 Long Weekends!

Wanderlusters rejoice! This 2017 brings about a fantastic slew of seven long weekends, signalling you to dig out that travel bucket list and finally tick off some places.

If you are stumped for ideas on where to head to, here are some travel destinations you should totally consider. Whether you fancy a romantic getaway or an adventurous trekking expedition, we have complied a list of seven nearby travel destinations you can consider heading to for your 2017 long weekends!

1. Hua Hin, Thailand

Forget the shopping paradise of Bangkok. Thailand’s seaside beach town, Hua Hin, boasts a delightful mix of cosmopolitan meets seaside ambience. Located a short 3.5 hours bus ride away from Bangkok, Hua Hin is a cheaper and more convenient location than heading to the other resort islands!

[caption id="attachment_20731" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Credit: Credit: Heading To Thailand? Here Are Two Places You Must Visit For An Epic Holiday!

2. Boracay, Philippines

Located right in the heart of Philippines, Boracay is no doubt the ideal weekend island getaway for sun-lovers and young couples. Its pristine white beaches and clear turquoise-blue waters are postcard perfect and will certainly make you want to lounge in the sun all day.

[caption id="attachment_20737" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Credit:[/caption]


Besides suntanning, Boracay also offers various exciting water sports that are bound to keep you occupied the whole time! Indulge in exhilarating activities such as diving, snorkeling, paragliding, windsurfing and many more in the day.

At night, choose from a huge variety of restaurants and bars dotting the beach that serve up delectable multi-cuisines and cold drinks.

[caption id="attachment_20738" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Credit: Credit:[/caption]

While the trek up both Mount Merbabu and Mount Merapi is relatively challenging, the views are absolutely breathtaking. Likewise, both treks can easily be completed within a day, though we highly suggest an overnight climb as climbing in the day would prove to be extremely hot.

[caption id="attachment_20740" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Credit:[/caption]

Yogyakarta is also known for its rich culture and traditional arts. Of course, no trip is complete without paying a visit to the world-famous Borobudur Temple!

Ideal weekend getaway for: beginner and intermediate climbers

4. Sapa, Vietnam

Set in the mountainous region of Northern Vietnam, Sapa is increasingly becoming a hotpot for photography-enthusiasts. Host to several hill tribes, expansive rice terraces and lush vegetation, Sapa is a no doubt a picturesque town.

[caption id="attachment_20742" align="aligncenter" width="1600"] Credit: Credit: Credit: Credit:[/caption]

Take a stroll by along the seafront at Gurney Drive to walk off those full stomachs. Alternatively, explore the artsy-fartsy side of Penang by finding the numerous hidden street art located within the UNESCO Heritage site of Georgetown.

Ideal weekend getaway for: foodies and friends of foodies

6. Melbourne, Australia

Heading to Melbourne over the long weekend might seem a little far-fetched but it certainly is possible with the numerous flight deals! If cafe-hopping and getting high on caffeine sounds like your idea of a perfect long weekend getaway, then Melbourne is the place for you!

[caption id="attachment_20745" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Credit:[/caption]

Host to an overabundance of cafes, you will easily be able to pop into any one along the streets and grab one of Melbourne’s signature cuppas. In addition, Melbourne also boasts a wide selection of shopping options, from local designers to international brands.

[caption id="attachment_20746" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Credit: Credit:[/caption]

You absolutely cannot miss trying their local army stews, bibimbap and korean pancakes. Likewise, a food trip to Seoul will not be complete without indulging in delectable and savoury meats at a Korean barbecue restaurant! Additionally, if you have the time, you might even be able to catch a concert featuring some of Korea’s famous music artists or bands.

[caption id="attachment_20747" align="aligncenter" width="1600"] Credit:[/caption]

With the onslaught of shopping and departmental malls, coupled with plenty of night markets, restaurants and cafes, Seoul is undeniably a heaven for foodies and avid shoppers alike!

Ideal weekend getaway for: major Korean pop fans, foodies and those seeking some retail therapy

Escape the hustle and bustle of the Singapore city life by heading to these destinations over the long weekends! Whether you are looking for a mad weekend getaway or a quick digital detox, these travel destinations will certainly fit the bill.

It is never too early to start making those travel plans for the upcoming long weekends in 2017! Furthermore, with the brand new year already starting, we highly suggest that you start scouring for exclusive travel deals now. As the saying goes: if not now, then when?

(Header image credit:

Also, read 7 Incredible Places In SEA To Discover With Friends!

Heading To Thailand? Here Are Two Places You Must Visit For An Epic Holiday!

This December, we were invited to fly over to Thailand on a 3D2N trip. Our ambassador, Valerie, flew over, and she had the opportunity to visit two PlearnWan Panich restaurants. One is located in popular metropolis Bangkok, and the other is located in a town exuding old world charm, Huahin.

[caption id="attachment_20646" align="aligncenter" width="709"] Valerie at the branch in Bangkok[/caption]

What exactly does ‘Plearnwan’ mean?

It means “to play and learn”, and the restaurants are designed to emanate an air of classical romance.

There is a unique theme at each branch. For example, the branch in Bangkok is gorgeously old-fashioned, nostalgic, and full of cute little knick-knacks

[caption id="attachment_20647" align="aligncenter" width="399"] Cute little display items at Plearnwan Panich Bangkok[/caption]

The interior design accentuates the theme and will enrich your dining experience.

Without further ado, let’s dive into Valerie’s experience at the Plearnwarn Panich branch in Bangkok! 

Plearnwan Panich in Bangkok

 The Plearnwan Panich branch is situated at Siam Square 1 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Blast to the past” best summarises the theme and overall, the restaurant gave off chill hangout vibes.

Just a 30 minutes ride from the airport, this is a great stop over before you head to other parts of Bangkok.

To our delight, the menu is presented in two languages – Thai and English!

When dinner was served, it was no less than a gastronomical fare.

[caption id="attachment_20667" align="aligncenter" width="399"] Old school biscuits to go with our drinks[/caption]

The mains were delish – authentically Thai food, just the right amount of spiciness, and oh-so-good.

Just when we thought the food couldn’t get any better, desserts were served! There are plenty of desserts to choose from, and they were as quirky and cute as the décor.

These were soft, moist and chewy. You can dip them in either condensed milk or kaya!

Last but not least, this dessert comes in corn and coconut flavor. Chewy on the inside, this was a real delight.

All in all, the ambience was delightful and serene. It was like being transported into a different world – back to the past with comfort food and homey décor.

Plearnwan in Huahin

Valerie then took a three-hour ride to Huahin, where she explored the wistful and cutesy village.

[caption id="attachment_20654" align="aligncenter" width="938"] There are booths featuring carnival games in the background![/caption]

There is a rustic charm to the ambience at both the village and hotel (Piman Plearnwan). Rudimentary elements are even incorporated into the facilities, so you enjoy the old-world charm in its entirety!

[caption id="attachment_20652" align="aligncenter" width="938"] A big water tub in the hotel. You’ll have to scoop the water out and shower yourself with it![/caption] [caption id="attachment_20651" align="aligncenter" width="938"] The intricately and intriguingly designed hotel room in Piman Plearnwan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20650" align="aligncenter" width="938"] The lounge area[/caption]

Plearnwan in Huahin opened 7 years ago.

Like the Bangkok branch, they serve comfort and homey food at affordable prices. Their food is so genuine, even their coffee beans are sourced locally. If you’re looking for a great place to chill over food, you won’t go wrong at Plearnwan at Huahin.

[caption id="attachment_20649" align="aligncenter" width="886"] Valerie loved her breakfast set so much that she had the same set for two days![/caption]

Anyone visiting Thailand should set aside some time to visit Plearnwan to soak in some old school nostalgia, whether in Bangkok or Huahin.

And each of the Plearnwan Panich branch is beautiful in its own way. The Bangkok branch’s décor, ambience and food made Valerie feel at ease and contented, especially after a flight.

On the other hand, the village (community) in Huahin is captivating with the traditional carnival booths and sentimental furnishings.

Coupled with good and affordable food, the Plearnwan Panich branches are simply unmissable and must-visit spots!

Plearnwan (Huahin):

Piman Plearnwan (the hotel Valerie stayed at in Huahin)

Also, read Because Bangkok Is Overrated, Let These Hidden Gems In Thailand Take Your Breath Away

Don’t Wait 11 Years For The Northern Lights. Just Head To The South!

Missed the opportunity to catch the best aurora in the northern hemisphere before May 2016? If north is not the right direction now, just do the opposite and head south! Catch the southern lights instead, it’s going to be the better experience for the next 11 years!

I’ve only heard of the Northern Lights. Do the Southern Lights really exist?

Yes southern lights, or aurora australis, like its legendary sister, is a natural electric phenomenon that creates bright and colourful light displays in the sky.

In the south, the auroras can be seen from places like southern Australia’s Tasmania, New Zealand and Chile. While the northern lights steals all the limelight, the southern lights is just as impressive.

In fact, the southern lights is said to be even more vibrant, with hues of orange, pink, purple and gold. Furthermore, say good bye to jet-lags as Tasmania is much nearer to Singapore. Read on to discover the 5 PERFECT spots for viewing the southern lights down under!

1. South Arm Peninsula

South Arm Peninsula, located 40 km southeast of Hobart – the capital city of Tasmania, is known to be a surfer’s paradise.

[caption id="attachment_13090" align="alignnone" width="3982"]south-arm-peninsula-tasmania-southern-lights Image Credit: Quartz[/caption]

Not only is the U-shaped peninsula a place with abundant pristine beaches, it also boasts wide shallow bays, ideal for catching fascinating reflection shots of the southern lights!

[caption id="attachment_13163" align="alignnone" width="1920"]south-arm-peninsula-southern-lights Image Credit: High Point Photography[/caption]

Great to know that this sleepy town about 50 minutes away from Hobart isn’t heavily populated with humans, architecture and artificial lights. No wonder South Arm Peninsula is one of the best spots professional photographers head to for the stunning lights!


2. Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

Located in the Central Highlands area of Tasmania, the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

[caption id="attachment_13086" align="alignnone" width="1080"]cradle-mt-dove-lake Image Credit: Aaron Jones Photography[/caption]

Besides being home to the world-famous Overland Track hikers love, the famous rugged mountain range is also a rich habitat for diverse vegetation and wildlife. There are a number of peaks you can conquer on the Overland Track, with heights ranging from 1,200 to over 1,500 metres above sea level.

[caption id="attachment_13160" align="alignnone" width="1200"]cradle-mountain-southern-lights Image Credit: Aaron Jones[/caption]

As you may already know, the chances of viewing aurora increases as it gets dark, darker and the darkest. Being high up there in the mountains, and far away from artificial city lights, makes it one of the ideal places to view the best aurora.

As a major feature of the park, Cradle Mountain is a top spot where you can enjoy your hike and look out for the southern lights at the same time. Try your luck on a clear dark wintry night on the Cradle Mountain, and count your lucky stars when you do catch them!


3. Dodges Ferry

Dodges Ferry is a small town with less than 3,000 residents in south eastern Tasmania. There’s a beautiful beach here where you can indulge in some fun water sports or just relax by the bay.

[caption id="attachment_13104" align="alignnone" width="1181"]dodges-ferry-southern-lights Image Credit: Precious Lady 2[/caption]

Blessed with favourable natural conditions (read: vast open land with limited light pollution), this is another gem spot for unrivalled views of the southern lights!

[caption id="attachment_13168" align="alignnone" width="640"]dodges-ferry-southern-lights Image Credit: Instagram @mattglastonbury[/caption]

 Most importantly, Dodges Ferry is very accessible, just half an hour’s drive from Hobart CBD!


4. Eaglehawk Neck

About an hour’s drive south of Hobart, arrive at the small coastal town of Eaglehawk Neck. It is so named because of the narrow strip of land known as the Neck.

[caption id="attachment_13105" align="alignnone" width="1100"]eaglehawk-neck-southern-lights Image Credit: Lisa Pagotto[/caption]

Once known for the defence line of chained dogs deterring convicts from escaping the Port Arthur settlement, Eaglehawk Neck is now synonymous as the gateway to the stunning Tasman Peninsula. Marvel in awe at some of the most rugged towering cliffs in Tasmania.

[caption id="attachment_13157" align="alignnone" width="1500"]eaglehawk-neck-southern-lights Image Credit: Brendan Davey[/caption]

Furthermore, expect to witness one of the most spectacular southern lights display in this laid back countryside with secluded bays and striking rock formations as the backdrop.


5. Huon Valley

Mention Huon Valley to any Australian and you will most likely hear “apple orchard” being linked to the beautiful region. However, there is more to the alluring region, only 30 minutes’ drive from south Hobart, than just juicy Tasmanian apples.

[caption id="attachment_13155" align="alignnone" width="1920"]huon-valley-southern-lights Image Credit: Dave Condon[/caption]

The valley is noted for its remarkable variety of picturesque landscapes, from the tranquil Huon River to the splendid Hartz Mountains National Park. In addition, there are the vineyards where you can indulge in a fine glass or two while soaking in the picturesque beauty of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

[caption id="attachment_13156" align="alignnone" width="1000"]huon-valley-southern-lights Image Credit: Nick Monk[/caption]

Last but not least, include the fascinating glow of green and red light displays blanketing the sky at night. Surely all these make Huon Valley THE excellent spot for an extraordinary southern lights holiday?


A must-do on your travel bucket list!

The southern lights is definitely a one-of-a-kind natural phenomenon that deserves much more attention than it does now. Compared to the northern lights, putting an aurora australis Tasmanian holiday in place is better, because:

  • you don’t have to travel far from Singapore to see it. Tasmania is just a 9-hour flight away.
  • the southern lights is more vibrant, boasting more colours than the usual green and red!
  • although the best time to see the lights is during winter, the southern lights can be viewed all year round in convenient locations around Tasmania, if you are lucky.
  • the temperature in Tasmania during winter is much more bearable than northern lights destinations. So no need to dig deep into your savings for extreme winter wear clothing!
  • the best time to catch northern lights is over, as the 11-year solar cycle enter a dormant phase after May 2016. Therefore, it’s really hard to see the brilliant lights at the north for the next 11 years.

With so many advantages of chasing the southern lights over its highly-publicized sister, it’s definitely a BETTER experience you must do on your travel bucket list! Procrastinate no more. Make plans to visit Down Under for the epic trip!

Also, read Here Are Some Of The Most Gorgeous Photos Of Tasmania’s Lavender Farm And Southern Lights!

Dreaming Of Sandy Beaches From Your Office Cubicle? 2 Hours Is All You Need

One great thing about Singapore is, we’re strategically smacked between wonderful beaches. Yes, they may not be as well known as Hawaii or Maldives but if you’re desperately in need of a beach vacay, how about turning to our neighbours for a sweet escape?

We present you 6 beach getaways near Singapore for 6 types of beachgoers.

1. For the lazy bums – Bintan, Indonesia

[caption id="attachment_13139" align="alignnone" width="1032"]Image source: Club med Image source: Club med[/caption]

If you’re too lazy and desperately in need of a beach vacay (and Siloso is not an option), just head to Tanah Merah, hop on a ferry and take off to Bintan Island! Although it’s more like a stay-in-a-resort type of getaway, the ride to the island only takes an hour! And that’s what we call a hassle free vacay!

[caption id="attachment_13140" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image source: City Nomads Image source: City Nomads[/caption]

We highly recommend the white sandy Image source: beaches and islands Image source: Image source: Thousand Wonders Image source: Thousand Wonders[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13214" align="alignnone" width="900"]Image source: Bohemian Trails Image source: Image source: Expat Living Image source: Image source: Hayes & Jarvis Image source: Image source: Lomboksup Image source:  For the surfer dudes and dudettes, this is defo the place to go for some wave chasing.  We heard that surfers love the big waves at Bangko-Bangko (also known as Desert Point) and if surfing is not your thing, go snorkeling in the beautiful reefs of the Gili islands or even volcano exploring at Rinjani.

[caption id="attachment_13230" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Image source: Home is where your bag is Image source: Image source: Reddit Image source: Reddit[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13233" align="alignnone" width="936"]Image source: Expedia Image source: Expedia[/caption]

Lombok is slowly catching up on their tourism so you might wanna visit them soon before it becomes the second Bali.

Getting there: Take a 2 hours and 15 mins direct flight to Lombok via Silk Air.

4. For the party people – Boracay, Philippines

Getting to Boracay might be a bit of a hassle but trust us, all the transits and waiting time will be worth it.

[caption id="attachment_13236" align="alignnone" width="999"]Image source: Wikipedia Image source: Wikipedia[/caption]

This paradise is divided into 5 areas and White Beach Station 1 is where most of the action takes place (read: swamped with tourist). If you go beyond that section, you’ll find turquoise like water with soft silky sand and a peaceful ambience. Boracay never sleeps, especially Station 1 and 2.

[caption id="attachment_13238" align="alignnone" width="878"]Image source: Travel Planner Image source: Image source: Express Miles Travel Image source: Image source: Traveldigg Image source:
for some heart thumping moments. And when they’ve had enough of the sun, head to Kuah town for some duty-free shopping.

[caption id="attachment_13245" align="alignnone" width="900"]Image source: Pix Daus Image source: Ima Image source: Jim Boud[/caption]

Getting there: Take a 1.5-hour direct flight to Langkawi via AirAsia.

6. For the honey-mooners: Batu Batu, Malaysia

Pulau Tengah may be a privately own island in Johor but there’s one resort on the island where bae and you can enjoy some private time on a paradise nestled between coconut groves, powder white sands and tropical breezes.

[caption id="attachment_13248" align="alignnone" width="640"]Image source: The Holiday Planning Guide Image source: has very limited accommodation so do plan your trip ahead. Especially if you’d like to catch the giant leatherback turtles who visit the shores yearly in July.

[caption id="attachment_13250" align="alignnone" width="640"]
Image source: Batu Batu Resort Image source: Batu Batu Resort[/caption]

Getting there: Take a 2-hour direct bus ride to Mersing (most buses leave from Golden Mile Complex near Lavender MRT), followed by an approx 20-minute speed boat ride arranged by the peeps of Batu Batu.

With 6 stunning beaches to choose from, who is excited for some fun under the sun? Time to start planning your annual leaves and make the bookings! Don’t forget to share these gorgeous beaches with your family and friends and everyone can go together.

Also, read Picturesque & Hidden Spots In Thailand You Must Discover Before They Get Crowded!

Here Are Some Of The Most Gorgeous Photos Of Tasmania’s Lavender Farm And Southern Lights!

Located off Australia’s south coast, Tasmania is an isolated island state filled with rugged picturesque scenery.

Because it was one of the world’s major apple producers, literally the apple fruit, it became known as the “Apple Isle”. But it’s more than just an apple producer.

Just to put things in perspective, the Apple Isle (68 km²) is 95x the size of Singapore (719 km2)! Despite that, Singapore (5.5 mil) is 10x more populated than Tasmania (517k). What does this mean? Wilderness & beautiful scenery abounds in Tasmania!

Tasmania holds so many gems on its vast wild landscape that you will wanna visit over and over again! Discover why Tasmania is the new MUST visit place for a life full of wilderness!

1. This Mountain-Lake with Southern Lights

For a few days, hike through fascinating glacier-carved valleys, ancient rainforests, alpine meadows, waterfalls and more beautiful scenery. You can end your long walk at Lake St. Clair. Soak in the amazing and tranquil scenery at the deepest lake in Australia!

[caption id="attachment_13257" align="alignnone" width="2048"]cradle-mountain-tasmania-wilderness Image Credit: Craig Gibson[/caption]

Even if you don’t feel fit enough for the 65 km long alpine walk, fret not. There is a variety of day walks for visitors who are looking for a great scenic hike at Cradle Mountain.

[caption id="attachment_13086" align="alignnone" width="1080"]Image Credit: Aaron Jones Photography Image Credit: Aaron Jones Photography[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13258" align="alignnone" width="1200"]lake-st-clair-tasmania-wilderness Image Credit: Signature Luxury Travel[/caption]

Don’t forget to look out for native wild vegetation, glacier rocks as well as the photogenic boat shed along the walk. Note that Cradle Mountain is also a hotspot to catch the spellbinding southern lights. So make this your first stop for some awesome Tasmanian wilderness!

2. Check out towering sea cliffs + more spots for Southern Lights

[caption id="attachment_13320" align="alignnone" width="3264"]tasman-waterfall-bay-coastal-trail Image Credit: A Penchant for Travelling[/caption]

How does walking along one of the most spectacular coastlines, with some of the country’s tallest sea cliffs sound to you? If that’s your idea of fun, follow the Tasman coastal trail within the splendid Tasman National Park.

[caption id="attachment_13321" align="alignnone" width="1200"]tasman-national-park-cape-raoul Image Credit: Isolate Yourself[/caption]

Discover the power of nature from the impressive rock formations at Tasman Arch. Also, try standing on the edge of the lookout to see if you can spot the bottom of the steep soaring cliffs.

[caption id="attachment_13322" align="alignnone" width="1200"]tasman-national-park-southern-lights Image Credit: Yuichi Takasaka[/caption]

Of course, this popular Tasmania nature spot is also one of the best places to see the impressive southern lights!

3. Roam freely in the largest lavender farm in the world

Many people flock to Hokkaido in summer for the pretty lavender farms. But do you know that the world’s largest commercial lavender farm is actually in northern Tasmania?

[caption id="attachment_13306" align="alignnone" width="1920"]bridestowe-lavender-tasmania-wild Image Credit: Bridestowe Lavender Estate[/caption]

Bridestowe Lavender Estate is about a 45-minute drive from the state’s second largest city – Launceston. If you visit the Apple Isle from November to January, seize the opportunity to visit the beautiful lavender farm in full bloom.

[caption id="attachment_13307" align="alignnone" width="1920"]bridestowe-lavender-bobbie-bear Image Credit: Bridestowe Lavender Estate[/caption]

Run through the purple lavender fields without a care in the world. Feel in heaven with the aromatic fragrance of the blooming flowers. As you roam freely on the 260-acre huge fields, capture picture-perfect shots anywhere you want.

4. Feel on cloud nine at Mount Wellington

Accessible via a short drive from Hobart CBD, Mount Wellington is one of the top wilderness spots in Tasmania. It offers fantastic bird’s eye views of southern Tasmania as well as great walking and mountain biking trails.

[caption id="attachment_13189" align="alignnone" width="1200"]tasmania-wilderness Image Credit:[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13302" align="alignnone" width="1200"]mt-wellington-tasmania-wilderness Image Credit: Jennifer Holder[/caption]

Literally feel on top of the world as you look down from the 1,270 m summit!

Of course, at such high altitudes, do prepare warm and windproof clothing as you ascend the summit. Surely you want to be in your best form when walking on cloud nine, don’t you?

5. See adorable native animals up close

Last but not least, how can we forget about Tasmanian wildlife? After all, you can’t be bushwalking in the marvellous national parks with your eyes closed, can you?

[caption id="attachment_13311" align="alignnone" width="3770"]tasmanian-devil-wilderness Image Credit: Barry Irons[/caption]

Look out for the Tasmanian Devil, the largest carnivous marsupial found only in the wild in Tasmania. The cute bear-like marsupial is a local pride and joy of the island state.

[caption id="attachment_13319" align="alignnone" width="1600"]pademelon-tiny-kangaroo-tasmania Image Credit: Animal Kingdom[/caption]

Besides the Tasmanian Devil, there’s a rich variety of fauna that can be found on the island. Keep your eyes open for the likes of adorable wombats, pademelon, eastern quoll as you enjoy the great walks in the numerous national parks.

Essentially, you don’t get to see them up close anywhere else except in Tasmanian wilderness!

With so many natural gems on the Apple Isle waiting for you to unveil, it’s probably hard not to fall in love with the rugged scenery! Filled with activities that will satisfy all, Tasmania certainly deserves more attention than it does now.

Rather than make repeat visits to the usual Australian cities such as Perth, Sydney or Melbourne, why not check out a different side of Australia? Create a unique Tasmanian holiday that will make you wanna live in wilderness!

Also, read Picturesque & Hidden Spots In Thailand You Must Discover Before They Get Crowded!

Because Bangkok Is Overrated, Let These Hidden Gems In Thailand Take Your Breath Away

Thailand has long been one of our top favourite travel destinations. Instead of flocking to the usual tourist spots such as Bangkok and Phuket, how about visiting somewhere different and undiscovered?

Head to these 9 picturesque & hidden spots in the Land of Smiles before everyone discovers it!

1. Northern Thailand

Surrounded by dense forests and tall mountains, northern Thailand enjoys a cooler climate compared to the rest of the country. For a long time, it was pretty much cut off from the rest of the world due to political issues. While it has since opened up, the area is still pretty rustic and retains much of its original charm!


a. Grand Canyon Chiang Mai

[caption id="attachment_12799" align="alignnone" width="2289"]Mind-Blowing-Grand-Canyon-Chiang-Mai Image credit: VacayHack Grand Canyon Chiang Mai[/caption]

Less than an hour away from the city centre of Chiang Mai lies the unexpected and beautiful Grand Canyon Chiang Mai.

There are no insane crowds as of now, because the awesome landscape is still pretty much a local secret. So swim, sunbathe and cliff jump all you want in this offbeat tranquil space before others know about it!

Address: 244 M.3 T.Namphrae A.hangdong, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50230

How to get there: Be adventurous and rent a motorbike! Follow Google Map directions after keying “Grand Canyon Chiang Mai”. You can also arrange a red truck or taxi to bring you there.

b. Phu Chi Fa

[caption id="attachment_12855" align="alignnone" width="1600"]phu-chi-fa-sunrise Image Credit: Book Thailand Now Phu Chi Fa[/caption]

This hidden spot is one of the locals’ favourite places to catch the sunrise, especially during winter from October to February. Because of its remote location and winding roads, it is still an undiscovered and secret spot to most foreigners.

Trek up the 1.8 km trail to the summit and be rewarded with spectacular and breathtaking views, particularly the sea of clouds at dawn! On a clear day, you can even soak in lovely views of the Mekong River and Laos.

Address: Amphoe Thoeng, 130 km from Chiang Rai city. Phu Chi Fa is a mountain located in the area of the Pa Mae Ing and Pa Mae Ngao National Forest Reserve. It’s in Amphur Thoeng in the Chiang Rai Province.

How to get there: 3-hour bus ride from Chiang Rai bus terminal at 1 pm.

2. Southern Thailand

Southern Thailand is a haven for many popular beach and island resorts in the country, including the original Thai paradise island – Phuket, Ko Samui and Krabi.

However, there are many more less well-known but surreal beaches and picturesque islands. 


a. Railay Bay

[caption id="attachment_13185" align="aligncenter" width="1500"]Credit: RailayBay Credit: Railay Bay is a narrow peninsula near Krabi. It is accessible only by boat. Known for mind-blowing views of the sunset, this small crescent beach comes alive in the evening. But not to worry, you will still be able to find your private space easily on this amazing beach.

railay-beach-climbing-tourImage Credit: Almond Beach Club
Railay Beach rock climbing

Rent a kayak on Railay West Beach from the resorts or right in front of Walking Street. Paddle out to the south of the beach towards the rocky coastline and you can glide through some natural cave tunnels for a fun thrill!

Witness the crumbling limestone cliffs by the bay that will be tinted with rich red and orange colours as the sun sets. Feeling adventurous? Challenge yourself by climbing these towering cliffs for a magnificent bird’s eye view of the pristine beach.

These are just some experiences that will surely guarantee an unforgettable vacay!

How to get there: Take a 15-minute boat ride from Ao Nang Beach in Krabi

3. Northeast Thailand

Northeast Thailand, or Isan as it is commonly known, is home to the best national parks in the country. Here are two fascinating sites in Ko Chang – Thailand’s third largest island. You’ve got to discover it before everyone else does!


a. Koh Chang’s waterfalls

[caption id="attachment_12802" align="alignnone" width="800"]mind-blowing-waterfall Image credit: Geocaching Kai Bae Waterfall[/caption]

Koh Chang is famous for its waterfalls. One of the better and hidden ones is Kai Bae. Tourists may flock to the other waterfalls, but Kai Bae is a well-kept secret of Koh Chang’s local residents and long term expatriates.

It cannot be found on the tourist map, but good news: the waterfalls is relatively easy to access! Free for all to enter, this hidden waterfall is just 30 minutes from the beach!

The best time to visit is from May to November, where there will be enough water plunging from the top to the plunge pool below. Enjoy the refreshing swim and create memories with your loved ones.

How to get there: It’s so undiscovered, it deserves better directions.

Start your walk at the 7-eleven opposite the entrance to Kai Bae Hut. Take the dirt road leading inland, passing by workers’ homes on the right and Sanook Sanag Resort on the left. Following, you will see the laundry for Sea View Resort on your left.

The dirt road now meanders through a pomelo field, passing by the water tower on your right. A few hundred metres further on, look for a stone walled compound about 50 metres off the road on your left.

Another few hundred metres and you will come to a paved road with a couple of bungalows and a concrete sign in Thai. Look out for a sign in English pointing the way to the footpath leading to the waterfall shortly.

4. Western Thailand

Characterised by high mountains and steep river valleys. Western Thailand is home to most of the country’s less-disturbed forest areas. If you are seeking an adventure after your usual shopping haunt in Bangkok, head to Kanchanaburi. It’s just a 3 hours’ drive from the capital city, and the Thais believe it is one of the most beautiful provinces in the country!


a. Srinakarin National Park

[caption id="attachment_13046" align="alignnone" width="2880"]huay-mae-khamin-waterfall Image Credit: Amazing Wallpapers[/caption]

Featuring natural waterfalls, hot springs, and caves, the Srinakarin National Park spans a total area of 1,532 square km. Furthermore, the lush deciduous forest is filled with abundant native wildlife such as leopard cat, slow loris and civets.

Do not forget to check out one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand – the breathtaking 7-level Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall!

How to get there:

By Boat: Charter a boat at Mong Krathae Pier or Tha Kradan Pier, 12 km from the intersection leading to Srinagarindra Dam. It costs 1,500 THB (10 persons) to 3000 THB (30 persons). Upon arrival at Huai Mae Khamin Pier, walk for about 200 metres to the waterfall.

By Bus: Take a Song Thaeo from Wat Thung Lat Ya in Amphoe Mueang passing Ban Ton Maphrao, Ban Nam Mut, Phut Ta Sian and Namtok Huai  Mae Khamin. The bus departs at noon and is about 4 hours’ ride. (Note: Departure time subject to change.)

Admission fee: 300 THB for adults, 200 THB for children

b. Elephant’s World

[caption id="attachment_12863" align="alignnone" width="1600"]elephants-world Image Credit: The World Is Not That Big[/caption]

At Elephant’s World, it’s you who will be working for the elephants, not the other way around!

How is this possible? Elephant’s World is a non-profit elephant refuge that offers an interesting and responsible alternative to the usual tourist elephant camps. Functioning like a “retirement home”, the village houses sick, old, disabled, abused and rescued elephants within the jungle-clad mountains by the River Kwai.

Led by a volunteer guide, you can help take care of Elephants by gathering food, feeding and bathing them. The idyllic environment allows visitors plenty of time and space for intimate encounters with the elephants. Enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience that brings you up close to the lovely animal.

Leave the camp feeling great that you have done something good for the elephants rather than harm them. Moreover, we don’t get such experience in modern Singapore!

Address: 90/9 Moo 4, Baan Nong Hoi, Amphoe Mueang, Tambon Wang Dong, Kanchanaburi 71190, Thailand

How to get there: From Kanchanaburi, follow the 3199 road and turn at the intersection 38/1 for going to Nijiko Resort and Country Club – นจโกะรสอรท แอนด คนทรคลบ and follow the Elephant’s World signs.

With these awesome hidden spots in Thailand so close to Singapore, it seems like your next mind-blowing vacation neither needs to be far away nor expensive!

Rather, what you need is an open mind! Furthermore, there’s so much to do in each of these secret places in Thailand.

You don’t even need to spend big bucks or endure long exhausting flights that sap your energy before you reach paradise! Head to these surreal places before they get too crowded for comfort.

Also, read Singapore’s 63 Islands! Here Are 6 Islands You Can Visit To Get Away From The Crowd!

Chop Chop Kali Pok – Explore Melaka In Just 14 Hours!

A month ago, I visited Melaka for the first time. At least it is the first time that I could recall (my mother tells me we visited Melaka more than a decade ago, but I have no recollection). Melaka, also known as Malacca, is a state in Malaysia most well known for its historic past and amazing food choices. Just four hours from Singapore by bus, it is an ideal place to check out for a day trip or weekend jaunt.

If, like me, you have heard a lot about Melaka but have never been to the historic state, don’t fret. There are so many things to do in this UNESCO World Heritage City, but we’re telling you that you’ll be able to accomplish a lot even in just 14 hours.

Don’t believe us? Read on to find out what you should try:

Melaka in 14 hours – 8 AM: Breakfast

Whether you’re in the mood for a fruit platter or a plate of warm, yummy chicken rice balls, Melaka’s got you covered for the best local breakfast dishes you can try.

For breakfast, we avoided the “famous” restaurants with a queue and popped by one of its quieter competitors across the road. It was a risk, but to be fair, most restaurants in the Jonker Street district are pretty decent, so you won’t go wrong with a few dishes of chicken and rice. Plus, by doing that, you effectively gain another 20 to 30 minutes in your itinerary. Yay to trying more food and exploring even more!

[caption id="attachment_10905" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @nicholasng925 / Instagram Image Credit: @nicholasng925 / Instagram[/caption]

If you’re up for dessert, try Christina Ee’s Nyonya Cendol. While it may come in a small bowl, it is deceptively filling. It’s affordable at RM 3.80 per bowl and it hits the spot every time. Furthermore, with the shop hidden away in an alley on Jonker Street, you’ll definitely get a seat and good service.

[caption id="attachment_10906" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @addy_lynne / Instagram Image Credit: @addy_lynne / Instagram[/caption]

However, if you want something healthier, try Melaka’s Tropical Fruit Farm for a morning of fruit plucking and eating. Only 20 minutes from Melaka Town via car, you will be able to enjoy fruits like durian, rambutan and others. What’s more, the entrance fee is extremely affordable at only RM 4 for adults and RM 2 for children!

Christina Ee Pineapple Tarts & Cendol
Address: 75200, 8, Jalan Hang Lekir, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-281 2023
Opening Hours: 10.30 AM – 7 PM except Thursdays

Melaka Tropical Fruit Farm
Address: Sungai Udang, Malacca, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-351 0130
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily except Saturdays

Also, read Comfort Food Always Wins! 7 Local Desserts That Steal Our Hearts

Melaka in 14 hours – 10 AM: Sightseeing

By 10 AM, you must be ready to hit the attractions. Having secured its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, Melaka has quite the heritage to boot. If you’re a history buff, you’ll find yourself enamored with old churches, and what is left of forts, museums and palaces.

A Famosa Fort

The image below is a photograph of the A Famosa Fort gate, which was built by the Portuguese after conquering Melaka.

[caption id="attachment_10907" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @luxuryfitnesstraveller / Instagram Image Credit: @luxuryfitnesstraveller / Instagram[/caption]

Nonya and Baba museums

Plus, don’t miss out on the Nonya and Baba museums that will give you a better insight to Melaka in the late 1500s when the Chinese had migrated to the Malaysian city to trade and do business. Many interracial marriages, between the Chinese and local Malays, were formed in that period and resulted in what is now called ‘Peranakan’ culture. For the Baba Nonya Heritage Museum on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, there is an entrance fee of RM 16.

[caption id="attachment_10908" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @enialeeee / Instagram Image Credit: @enialeeee / Instagram[/caption]

A Famosa Fort
Address: Jalan Parameswara, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-552 0888

Baba Nonya Heritage Museum
Address: 48-50, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-283 1273
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 12.15 PM, 2 PM – 4 PM daily

Melaka in 14 hours – 12 PM: Lunch

It’s noontime! Are you hungry again? If your feet hurt, try sitting down at a restaurant like Nancy’s Kitchen. It boasts scrumptious Peranakan dishes. The owner and chef — Nancy, obviously, is a Peranakan lady who was born and raised in a small town called Batu Berendam in Melaka.

Growing up, she watched and helped her mother in the kitchen, and learnt to cook at a tender age. The restaurant is pretty popular with travellers, and everything is fresh, so Image Credit: @marygem / Instagram Image Credit: @marygem / Instagram[/caption]

And if you are not a fan of sitting down, or prefer standing while you finish your lunch, try Jonker 88. If you’re lucky, you might just get a seat but going to an extremely popular restaurant might just mean you won’t be resting your legs any time soon. Our favourite is probably the Assam Laksa, which is just the right amount of spicy.

[caption id="attachment_10911" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @theparadeux / Instagram Image Credit: @theparadeux / Instagram[/caption]

Nancy’s Kitchen
Address: 13, 13-1, 13-2, Jalan KL 3/8, Taman Kota Laksamana, Seksyen 3, 75200, Melaka, Malaysia.
Tel: +606-2836099 / +6013-6183608
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 5 PM Sundays to Thursdays, 11 AM – 9 PM Fridays and Saturdays, 11 AM – 9 PM Public Holidays, Closed on Tuesdays.

Address: 88, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 19-397 5665
Opening Hours: 9.30 AM – 5.30 PM Sundays to Thursdays, 9.30 AM – 8.30 PM Fridays to Saturdays

Also, read 8 Best Laksa In Singapore For Thick, Flavourful & Spicy Broth

Melaka in 14 hours – 2 PM: More sightseeing!

Check out a few more attractions like the Royal Malaysian Navy Museum, Christ Church Melaka or even the official Mamee Jonker House, a great place to relive your childhood days.

The Royal Malaysian Navy Museum is an indoor-and-outdoor facility that offers you an insight into the role of the Royal Malaysian Navy since it was established. You will be able to see actual uniforms worn by the navy officers, medals awarded, and the sort of communication devices used back in the day. If you’re feeling tactile, leave the indoor premises of the museum to visit the Sri Terengganu Warship, which looks like quite a wonder. Pity you won’t be able to sail it any time soon!


Originally painted in white, Christ Church Melaka is an Anglican church built in the 18th century. Today, it is still functioning as a church, and conducts three services within its premises every Sunday. Regardless of religion, many travellers are interested in the church for its Dutch Colonial architectural flair and its role in Melaka’s Dutch era.

[caption id="attachment_10955" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @meychan178 / Instagram Image Credit: @meychan178 / Instagram[/caption]

Founded in Melaka, snack brand Mamee can be seen everywhere, especially in the city centre, plastered on walls and advertising billboards. So, while you’re in town, why not check out the Mamee Jonker House? See how the company makes its famous noodle snack and get a few souvenirs for friends back home who grew up eating this fantastic crunchy delight.


Royal Malaysian Navy Museum
Address: Muzium Tldm, Jalan Merdeka, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-283 0926
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 5.30 PM daily except 12.15 PM – 2.45 PM on Fridays

Christ Church Melaka
Address: Gereja Christ, Jalan Gereja, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 17-824 6391

Mamee Jonker House
Address: 46 & 48,, Jalan Hang Tuah 2 & Jalan Hang Tuah, Taman Bukit Terendak, 76300 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-286 7666
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM Mondays to Fridays (closed on Tuesdays), 10 AM – 7 PM Saturdays to Sundays

Melaka in 14 hours – 4 PM: Chill out

Take a break from visiting attractions and learning more about the historic nature of Melaka by sipping some coffee at a cafe. Melaka has many amazing cafes that you can sit back, relax and chill at. We have selected three for you to visit!

Backlane Coffee Shop is exactly what it sounds like – a cafe tucked away in the back alley of a street. Take a breather with a beverage and some refreshments. With glass windows that almost go from wall to floor, and high ceilings, the bistro is a breath of fresh air. It has quite a range of desserts and drinks to choose from. Plus, borrow one of their many board games to kill some time.

[caption id="attachment_10988" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @shanlukerichards / Instagram Image Credit: @shanlukerichards / Instagram[/caption]

Calanthe Art Cafe and Restaurant is another brilliant choice if you’re looking to escape from Singapore’s hustle and bustle with some artsy respite. Plus, it boasts coffee offerings from all 13 states in Malaysia, making your coffee adventure a little more exciting than usual.

[caption id="attachment_10989" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @norhanfahmierayza / Instagram Image Credit: @norhanfahmierayza / Instagram[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10990" align="alignnone" width="700"]greentealatte Image Credit: @calantheartcafe / Instagram[/caption]

Truly Two Cafe is the sort of place you’ll want to visit if you have a particularly sweet tooth. Indulge in slightly over-the-top milkshakes and other desserts at this cafe — no regrets needed!

[caption id="attachment_10991" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @fatinlahh / Instagram Image Credit: @fatinlahh / Instagram[/caption]

Backlane Coffee Shop
Address: 129, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-282 0542
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 11.30 PM Sundays to Thursdays, 11 AM – 12 AM Fridays to Saturdays

Calanthe Art Cafe and Restaurant
Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-292 2960
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 11 PM Sundays to Wednesdays, closed on Thursdays, 9 AM – 12 AM Fridays to Saturdays

Truly Two Cafe
Address: No. 9, Jalan PNBB 2, Pusat Niaga Seksyen IV, Mukim Bukit Baru, Melaka, 75150 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-284 3488
Opening Hours: 12 PM – 9.30 PM daily except Thursdays

Melaka in 14 hours – 6 PM: Jonker Street

In the day, Jonker Street may look just like any other street in Melaka, but do not be fooled. At night, the street comes alive with hawkers selling all sorts of things, from malt candy to watermelons to radish cake to little knick knacks.

Go slightly earlier and take your time while walking down this street because chances are, if you see something you like, it’ll be pretty difficult to go back to that specific stall later on.



Melaka in 14 hours – 8 PM: River Cruise

For only RM 15 per adult, you will be able to enjoy an unmissable opportunity. Learn more about Melaka and enjoy scenic river view at night for 45 minutes on its signature River Cruise. It’s best to go on this cruise at night since it’ll be a lot breezier and well, your legs are probably tired from all that walking.

The ticket also comes with a complimentary gift pack, which includes a beverage and some snacks, in case you get hungry on the cruise! We would recommend buying your tickets about 30 minutes earlier.

[caption id="attachment_11383" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: Casa Del Rio Image Credit: Image Credit: @gezgincift / Instagram Image Credit: @gezgincift / Instagram[/caption]

Of course, there is a lot more to Melaka than a 14-hour itinerary, but if this is your maiden expedition to a food paradise/ historically alive state/ wonderful land of fresh air and places to chill, check out these suggestions!

As for us, we’ll just count down to the days we have till we visit Melaka again. To the most scrumptious Peranakan dishes, the graffiti on the walls, the beautiful cafes and river view…

(Header image credit: Hung Nguyen Leong/Shutterstock, words by editor)

Also, read True Thoughts – Singapore From The Eyes Of A Tourist

Impossibru! Travel From Singapore To The Rest Of Southeast Asia BY TRAIN!

We have come a long way since the first aeroplane was invented, and today, scooting off to a random destination is relatively easy if you have the funds. But if you are in dire need of a holiday, one that allows you to fall in love with changing backdrops and a slow-paced itinerary, hop on a train adventure this year!

Whether you’re a first-time train hopper or a seasoned choo-choo enthusiast, check out our list of five destinations you can visit via old school trains, from the nearest to the further. And if you’re feeling brave and a little adventurous, how about taking a train adventure to each location, one after another?

Train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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If you’ve never been on a train (the MRT doesn’t count), this may be the best way for you to experiment with something easy, instead of an itinerary too complex and arduous. Think of it as baby steps.

[caption id="attachment_10146" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @sevenadr / Instagram Image Credit: @sevenadr / Instagram[/caption]

From Singapore, you can buy a train ticket to Kuala Lumpur at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint for around $10 (second class seat), $12.50 (2nd class sleeper), or $40 (1st class deluxe sleeper) depending on how luxurious you want your seven-hour journey to be. You can purchase tickets at the counter or

You can purchase tickets at the counter or online.


Petronas Towers
Address: Wilayah Persekwutuan, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Operating Hours: 9 AM – 9 PM daily

Batu Caves
Address: Batu Caves, Sri Subramaniam Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park
Address: 3, Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, 46150, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 46150, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3-5635 8000
Operating Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM daily

Also, read [KL] 14 Die Die Must Try Food & Places To Go!

Train to Butterworth @ Penang, Malaysia

[caption id="attachment_10147" align="alignnone" width="700"]Image Credit: @edward.chlee / Instagram Image Credit: @edward.chlee / Instagram[/caption]

From Kuala Lumpur, you can buy a train ticket to Butterworth in Malaysia, an idyllic town in Penang. There are two train journeys you can choose, which would take around 6.5 hours to 9 hours respectively. The fare should range from $11 to $28.

You might also wonder: there are so many places to take a train to from Kuala Lumpur, why Butterworth? Well, think of Butterworth as a layover destination, one where you can take a breather and chill out before heading on the next train to… Bangkok!

You can purchase tickets at the counter or online.


Penang Bird Park
Address: Taman Burung Seberang Jaya, Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya, 13700, Perai, Pulau Pinang, 13700, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-399 1899
Operating Hours: 9 AM – 7 PM daily

Taman Selat Rope Walk
Address: Jalan Selat, Taman Selat, 12000 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Tow Boo Kong Temple Butterworth
Address: 894 & 896, MK14, Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-331 8717

Train to Bangkok, Thailand

That’s right! Did you know that you could visit Bangkok from Singapore by train?

[caption id="attachment_10148" align="alignnone" width="700"]bkk Image Credit: @yongsn / Instagram[/caption]

From Butterworth, you can take a train ride of almost 20 hours to Bangkok’s Hualumphong Station for around $40 (adult ticket). Out of the three train rides mentioned for this train adventure, this is probably the one you would write home most about.

One of my favourite things about this particular train adventure is how whenever the train pulls up into the station, you’ll be greeted by men and women on the platform hawking hot food and drinks from porridge to a packet of nuts, and if you wanted something, you’d just pay for it over your train window.

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Bangkok, of course, is almost every Singaporean’s favourite Asian city for nightlife, cheap food and shopping. Don’t forget to stop by weekend markets by Chatuchak and visit the local attractions, from the Grand Palace to the various art and history museums.

For this trip, you will have to buy your tickets in person or through a travel agent. That is because the train is operated by the State Railways of Thailand, and will not be available for reservations on the official KTM website.


Chatuchak Weekend Market
Address: 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

Grand Palace
Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 623 5500
Operating Hours: 8.30 AM – 3.30 PM daily

Dusit Zoo
Address: IBT No.71,Rama 5 Road,Dusit 10300, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 281 2000
Operating Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM daily

Train to Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Located in the North of Thailand, Chiang Mai is great for nature lovers and those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle that is city life. You can visit Chiang Mai via a train from Bangkok; head over to Hua Lumphong Station and get yourself an overnight train ticket to Chiang Mai for around $9 to $40 — prices vary according to the level of comfort you’re willing to part with.

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You can also get a sizable Thai dinner on the train itself in another cabin, which will make you feel like you’re in a Wes Anderson movie. Do take note that Bangkok to Chiang Mai trains are seriously popular among locals and tourists, so try to get your tickets well in advance.

Tickets will only be available in person at the counter or through a travel agent.


Doi Suthep
Address: Doi Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Chiang Mai Night Safari
Address: 33 Moo 12, Hang Dong District, 50230, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 53-999-000
Operating Hours: 11 AM – 10 PM daily

Chiang Mai National Museum
Tel: +66 53 221 308
Operating Hours: 9 AM – 4 PM, Wednesday to Sunday

Train to Hua Hin, Thailand

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Only four hours from Bangkok by train, Hua Hin has always been a popular choice for Thais when it comes to quiet family vacations, which means you’ll probably not have to hassle yourself with booze-spilling tourists with bad beach etiquette.

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Say hello to some good ol’ R&R with the Sun and your buns with this short train ride that won’t cost you much either. Like how you would go to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, head over to Hua Lumphong Station to take a train to Hua Hin, passing by the smaller and EVEN quieter Cha Am. Tickets can cost anywhere upwards of $1.50 or so, going up to $15.

Tickets will only be available in person at the counter or through a travel agent.


Hua Hin Night Market
Address: Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin, Thailand
Operating Hours: 6 PM – 11 PM daily

Black Mountain Water Park
Address: 1, Khao Hin Lek Fai 2, หินเหล็กไฟ, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110, Thailand
Tel: +66 32 618 444
Operating Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM daily

Phraya Nakhon Cave
Address: Kui Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
Tel: +66 89 782 6002

Don’t stop there! There are many destinations from Hanoi to Moscow to London you can visit by train if you have the time and money, although they will all require you to switch to a bus journey at some point. Like American author Marianne Wiggins said, “…what thrills me about trains is not their size or their equipment but the fact that they are moving, that they embody a connection between unseen places.” Start planning for a train adventure today!

(header credit by @nitisa1989, words by author)

Also, read Need A Break? Plan Your Staycay With These 9 Newly Opened Hotels!

7 Incredible Places In SEA To Discover With Friends!

Always wanted to travel, but never had the time or budget to go far? Let’s face it, we can’t all have enough stamina and budget to jet-set halfway across the globe. Right here in Southeast Asia are regional alternatives that come packed with sights and fun as well.

Who says you have to sacrifice distance for fun?

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

1-saigon-central-post-office-saigon-central-post-officeImage source: There’s no doubt that travelling to Southeast Asia is perfect for a cheap and quick getaway. Forget Bangkok with all the tourist traps. Try hitting the land of pho insteadIt comes as no surprise that a bowl of hearty and authentic rice noodle soup comes at only a fraction of the price here, alongside with a whole throng of Vietnamese street cuisine just waiting to be discovered.

8639599756_44d7bd514f_b-0Image source: And with their colourful history reflected in their architecture, from the Notre Dame Cathedral to the Saigon Central Post Office and floating temples, you’ll be choking up pictures for your Instagram feed for months to come.

Estimated flight duration: 2 hours
Estimated travel cost: $141 via Jetstar

Bandung, Indonesia

Bandung-And-Vicinity-79897Image source: Expedia

This relatively unheard part of Indonesia is fast gaining popularity in recent years thanks to its gorgeous natural sights and affordable shopping streets. Touted as the ‘Paris of Java’, this city is situated some 700 metres above sea level, which means that the weather here is cooling and unlike anything we’re accustomed to in Singapore.

view5Image source: Medischfun

Feast your eyes on the striking crater lake of Kawah Putih where the sulphuric content changes the colour of the pool, or skirt along Tangkuban Perahu, an actual active volcano with an amazing view to boot.

Estimated flight duration: 3 hour 40 mins
Estimated travel cost: $227 via AirAsia

Hua Hin, Thailand

Santorini-Park-15Image source: This seaside resort city in Thailand allows you to enjoy the sea breeze without the crowds and tourist traps from popular beach destinations like Bali.

Hua-Hin-Beach1-copyImage source: Drop by Hua Hin beach and enjoy the sunset while you ride a pony, or enjoy the stunning architecture of the Monkey Temple with numerous monkeys to accompany you around the temple grounds. They even have a Santorini Park with buildings that feature the minimalistic white walls and distinctive blue frames and doors. 

Estimated travel duration: 3 hours drive from Bangkok
Estimated travel cost: $211 via Tigerair (Bangkok)

Bagan, Myanmar

Balloon-Rides-in-Bagan-960x600Image source: Instead of metallic structures and high-rise infrastructures, try a change of scenery and visit Bagan instead. Exuding some major rustic charm vibes, this ancient city is filled with historical temples and pagodas with stunning details.

Dhammayangyi-1400x525Image source: Take a break from the hustle and bustle of our urban jungle and explore Bagan. Perhaps the best way to do so is to hop on a hot air balloon and take in all that this magnificent city has to offer from a bird’s eye view.

Estimated flight duration: 3 hour 30 mins
Estimated travel cost: $246 via Myanmar Airways

Vientiane, Laos

b87eff6c7e93195f0ee8b46eeb35a57b-patuxaiImage source: Time seems to stand still in this capital city of Laos. Located along the Mekong River, the best way possible to explore this laid back place is to take things slow. Bask in the intricate architectural details of Vientiane’s French and Laotian buildings.

buddha-park-1000Image source: The Buddha Park is filled with over 200 different sculptures that encapsulate this religion’s curious blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences. Not to be missed is also the Patuxai Victory Monument which draws close comparison with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 

Estimated flight duration: 2 hour 50 mins
Estimated travel cost: $440 via Vietnam Airlines


[caption id="attachment_7951" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Bandar Seri Begawan, Sultanate of Brunei, on the island of Borneo Image source: 20110921-102018Image source: Thekidtravels

They even have a floating fire department and schools – take a peek into the locals’ lives and imagine a life where you never have to step foot on land.  

Estimated flight duration: 2 hours
Estimated travel cost: $560 via Royal Brunei

Bohol, Philippines

Philippines, Chocolate Hills at sunriseImage source: Taking a trip to Bohol is like stepping into a page of your geography textbook. Visit a Tarsier Sanctuary and interact with these adorable nocturnal creatures, or capture the beauty of Chocolate Hills – these hills are a unique formation in Bohol that consist of over 1260 hills that are covered with luscious greenery. There’s also a man-made mahogany forest perfect for nature lovers. 

Estimated flight duration: 7 hours with layover at Manila
Estimated travel cost: $283 via Tigerair (Manila)

It seems like gorgeous sights and attractions are also available around our region. Without having to travel so far, you’ll be able to save up a fair bit of time and spend them more on soothing that travel bug itch.

(Header image: Under SGD500 – 5 Nearby Places For A Weekend Getaway