Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Experiences in Seoul & Jeju Island

For all those who are wondering what to do on their trip to Korea, here is a list of top things to do in Seoul - the capital city of South Korea; and on Jeju Island - a destination offering gorgeous beaches, picturesque scenery, inactive volcanoes and other fascinating natural wonders. 

Top Experiences in Seoul


1.    Experience Royal Palace Life


Royal palaces like Gyeongbok Palace, Gyeonghui Palace, Changgyeong Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine are some of the must-see tourist attractions in Seoul. Explore the palace grounds, wear the Korean traditional costume of a royal guard, and participate in the guard-changing ceremony – a truly cultural experience!

2.    Bukchon Hanok Village


Take a leisurely walk admiring the beautiful traditional hanok houses in this unique village. Some of these houses are opened as guesthouses and you could choose to stay there for a night to experience traditional Korean lifestyle. Partake of the amazing array of local street food whilst you are there.

3.    Lovelock on N Seoul Tower


Located at the top of Namsan Mountain, the N Seoul Tower offers a bird’s eye-view of the city. Its main attractions include multi-coloured digital art projected onto the tower at night, a Digital Observatory, a Roof Terrace, the HanCook Restaurant and the n.Grill Restaurant. The Roof Terrace is popular for its "Locks of Love” where couples write their names on a lovelock and add it to the thousands of padlocks attached to the fence.

4.    Han River Cruise 


Enjoy a fine dining experience whilst admiring the scenery and the live performances on board the cruise on the Han River.

5.    Shopping & Nightlife 


Seoul is one of the most lively and dynamic nightlife capitals of the world. Even after midnight, throngs of people wander the streets in major shopping districts and popular downtown areas. The top attractions are Myeongdong Street - one of the primary shopping areas of Seoul; Dongdaemun Market for late-night shopping; and the Hongik University (Hongdae) neighborhood with its concentration of nightclubs. Enjoy local cuisine including Korean street food and fine dining at restaurants which are open long into the night.

Top Experiences on Jeju Island


1.    Hike up holy Mt. Halla


Hike up Mt. Halla which rises 1950m above sea level. Designated as a bio-reserve area by UNESCO, it offers breathtaking views of the island. Don’t miss the wonderful crater and lake at the peak of Mt. Halla. 

2.    Seongsan Sunrise Peak


Experience the mesmerizing beauty of Jeju Island from Seongsan Sunrise Peak. The climb up the peak’s northwest side ridge to the 180-meter highest point takes 30 minutes. A perfect spot to watch the sunrise with your loved ones! 

3.    Explore the Parks 


Visit Jeju Stone Park inspired by Jeju's legendary history about Grandmother Seolmundae who created Jeju Island and the stones of Obaek Janggun (the Five Hundreds Generals). Also visit Jeju Mini Land to take pictures with iconic buildings around the world in miniature sizes, or get lost in the labyrinth in Gimnyeong Maze Park.

4.    Relax at the beaches 


Experience the golden sands and blue waters of Jungmun Beach during the summers. At Hamdeok Beach, enjoy a banana boat ride and other leisure activities. Visit Hado Beach located in Gujwa-eup for its views of traditional fishing boats at sea and its amazingly clean and serene beach. 

5.    Partake of the Jeju Island Cuisine


The regional food of Jeju Island, which is located to the southwest of the Korean peninsula, is quite distinct compared to food from mainland Korea. Enjoy the traditional cuisine which is characterized by the spare use of seasonings to highlight the natural flavours of each dish’s ingredients.

Modern Day Flemish Masters

Travel with Rubens, Bruegel and van Eyck to their homeland Flanders, where art and creativity continues to prevail.

Indeed, Flanders is a joy for gourmands, fashionistas, and music lovers – with its fabulous food and fashion, delectable chocolates and boutique beers, edgy design and diamonds culture, and scintillating festivals all year long. Such delights are out of this world, really and they all originate in the DNA of Flanders: where state of the art craftsmanship could give rise to artistic talents such as van Eyck, Bruegel and Rubens, and where true Flemish Masters create masterpieces for the enjoyment of every traveller, day and again!

There is no better way to sample Flanders than by leisurely enjoying a local craft beer on one of the terraces of a café that has been run by the same family across many generations. A Trappist, brewed by monks, still today, following the same recipe for centuries, is like a journey back in time for your taste buds. Back to Rubens' day, for instance, as you sample Seefbier. Seefbier has been around since the 17th century and was given a new lease of life in 2012 thanks to a big crowdfunding campaign. The brewery of this beer is open to visitors at the Noorderpershuis at the Eilandje in Antwerp.

Antwerp today is the diamond capital of the world with approximately 80% of all rough diamonds traded here. But the history of diamond trading goes back many centuries, to which the DIVA, Antwerp’s exclusive diamond experience centre bears witness. Also, the painted portraits of the day depict the sparkling wealth of the bourgeoisie, as they posed in fashionable and lavish costumes, draped in jewels, pearls and diamonds. Many of those precious valuables were lost, but a necklace with 25 cut rock crystals set in gold, and 25 roses decorated with red and white enamel, can still be seen at the Rubens House.

As one of the Top 10 most stylish destinations in the world, Antwerp is also a shopping paradise for fashionistas. With its conceptual and avant-garde taste, world-renowned Fashion Museum (MOMU), and constant supply of new talent from the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy in Antwerp, the city is the centre of modern day Flemish Masters of Fashion.

And then there are the mouth-watering chocolate delicacies prepared with an immaculate sense of detail in taste and texture – the Belgian chocolate. It is the “maître chocolatier” – a “master” in the true sense of the word – who continues to refine and reinvent the age-old tradition of chocolate making that has put Belgium in the mind and heart of chocolate lovers worldwide.

Indeed, this - and so much more - is state of the art craftsmanship that any traveller to Belgium should indulge in.

So, on your journey to Flanders, home of the Flemish Masters, you come to realize that it is not about art alone – it is about an experience of the culture, cuisine, design, landscape, and lifestyle of Flanders and its people. That is true art – the art of living!

To partake in this wholesome soul-stirring journey, visit www.flemishmasters.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Go home with more stories than souvenirs!

The spirit of discovery runs deep in Nevada. Whether it is the famed cowboy culture or the wide-open country side, the state offers endless opportunities for adventures that lets your spirits soar high …literally!

The cowboy is symbolic to the state's image, a distinctive social subculture, a unique style of dress and a lifetime's worth of acquired riding skills – on both horse and cattle. When we talk about cowboys in Nevada, it’s about the men and women who ride horses and rope cows. Constantly ranked as one of the Best True Western Towns in the United States, Elko is complete with true cowboy charm. This town is where Nevada’s real cowboys work and play, and the Wild West spirit is catching.

With an exciting past stretching back more than 150 years, it's no wonder that Virginia City, Nevada is one of the country’s largest historical district. Even to this day, Virginia City hasn't changed much from its rough-and-tumble beginnings. The mostly original wooden boardwalk and historic structures like 19th century homes, churches, museums, saloons and cemeteries still remain, allowing visitors to feel like they’ve teleported to another time. Virginia City hosts more than a few special events and parades each year, including the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks, The Virginia City Grand Prix and Christmas on the Comstock.

A great way to explore the scenic charms of Nevada is to drive through the transcontinental highway, famously known as the Loneliest Road in America on the US route 50. Along the way you can make pit stops for burger-eating challenges, dip into natural hot springs and try your luck to mine garnets along the way. You could make a game of it, grab a copy of the official Highway 50 Survival Guide and get it stamped as you sway through the old mining towns on this highway.

When you trace US route 50 a little more closely, you will find that the highway is the best way to reach one of the most iconic landmarks of Nevada, the scenic Lake Tahoe. It is the nation’s largest alpine lake, 22 by 12 miles of sparkling water surrounded by 72 miles of pristine shoreline. Life moves a little slower on Tahoe’s north shore, where the focus is on celebrating a quiet mountain life. The old Tahoe charm is even reflected in major hotels with modern amenities, like a private beach and a pier equipped with wireless Internet access.

The trip will be incomplete without a visit to the Great Basin National Park, where you can tour the Lehman Caves or hike up 13,063-foot to Wheeler Peak. Nevada’s largest national park is filled with fabulous natural treasures, from spectacular alpine lakes to limestone caverns and even imposing glaciers.

Lace up, strap in and soak in the heart and soul of the American wild west countryside. Experience authentic America, as the silver state of Nevada welcomes you to an unconventional journey like never-before.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Discover a world of perpetual Spring at Gardens by the Bay

The Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore is home to almost 30,000 plants of over 150 species in 9 different gardens. Stop and smell the flowers in the colourful changing displays of the Flower Field, which reflects different seasons, festivals and themes.

The beauty of pretty pink cherry blossoms returns to Singapore with Flower Dome’s annual cherry blossom floral display ‘Sakura Matsuri’ from 16 March to 8 April 2018. Stroll along cherry blossom tree-lined pathways and discover picturesque Japanese-themed elements like a tea house, rickshaw and tori gates. Lifelike resin dolls are dressed in elegant kimonoxs and pose in meticulously-created miniature scenes of life amidst sakura.

Be amazed by colourful tulips in a garden of magical burrows, multi-coloured eggs and bunnies during the ‘Tulipmania’ floral display from 13 April to 13 May 2018. Pop by and explore an imaginary world filled with whimsical possibilities! The ‘Begonia Brilliance’ which follows from 25 May to 1 July 2018 is an innovative display of begonias, inspired by a brilliant vision of architecture shaped by sustainability.

Explore the rest of the Flower Dome, the World’s Largest Glass Greenhouse, home to 9 different gardens with unique plants from across Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Take in the cool and dry Mediterranean climate as you wander amongst thousand-year-old olive trees and unusual African Baobabs.

Cloud Forest

New wonders await you at the Cloud Forest - a mysterious world veiled in mist, surrounded by over 60,000 plants. Embark on the coolest indoor hiking adventure amidst orchids, pitcher plants and ferns in the cool-moist Tropical Montane regions.

Be amazed as you come face-to-face with the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 35 metres! Go on a trek behind the waterfall and enjoy the refreshing cool air and majestic views of the waterfall below. Descend through the surreal mist-filled Cloud Walk and Treetop Walk.

Be inspired by the films ‘Green World’ and ‘+5 Degrees’ to learn more about climate change at the Cloud Forest Theatre. View striking graphics, diagrams, artefacts and videos at the Cloud Forest Gallery to learn more about the five mass extinctions in history and our role in preventing the sixth. Explore the diverse habitats of limestone forest and caves at the Secret Garden to admire rare begonias and exquisite miniature orchids.

Supertrees & OCBC Skyway

Stand in awe of the towering Supertrees – vertical gardens that are home to over 150,000 plants from more than 200 species.

Take in panoramic views of the Gardens and the surrounding Marina Bay skyline. At a height of 22 metres, the OCBC Skyway which is a 128-metre long aerial walkway is an experience not to be missed. During the day, a stroll along the OCBC Skyway presents glorious photo-taking opportunities to capture the scenic beauty of the surrounding flora.

As dusk falls, the captivating Marina Bay skyline emerges and the entire area comes alive nightly with the Garden Rhapsody – a free light and sound show at 7.45pm and 8.45pm.

Heritage Gardens

Experience the diverse history and culture of Singapore’s main ethnic groups during the Colonial period at the outdoor Chinese Garden, Indian Garden, Malay Garden and Colonial Garden.

Rediscover your sense of wonder at Gardens by the Bay.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Experience Uluru-Kata Tjuta - The heart of the Red Centre

Set in the heart of the Australian outback, the Red Centre encompasses a vast area in the Northern Territory including the thriving township of Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges, Watarrka National Park (home to Kings Canyon) and the unforgettable monoliths of World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Considered the spiritual heart of Australia, this region’s gem is Uluru (Ayers Rock), but the region offers visitors so much more! Every visitor to Uluru will attest that pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s a region full of majesty and other natural wonders; with Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) neighbouring Uluru and Kings Canyon a few hours’ drive away. 

One of the great natural wonders of the world, Uluru towers above the surrounding landscape. Geologists say its formation began about 550 million years ago. Uluru is not only a spectacular natural formation; it’s a deeply spiritual place. Explore Uluru by taking to the skies in a helicopter, or up close by circumnavigating its 10.6 kilometre base on a guided segway tour, or climb onto the back of a camel to meander through the rich red sand dunes with an awe-inspiring backdrop. Learn more about the local flora, fauna, bush tucker, dot painting and the ‘tjukurpa’ (foundations of life and society) from the local ‘Anangu’ Aboriginal people.

Kata Tjuta is 40km west of Uluru, the 36-weathered ochre-coloured rock domes are an intriguing and mesmerising sight. Meaning 'many heads,' Kata Tjuta is sacred site to the local Anangu men, who have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years. It forms an important focus of their spiritual life. Kata Tjuta offers two walks that will take you between the majestic domes. The Walpa Gorge Walk is a 1-hour walk along a gentle rocky track that rises gently and passes rare plants and leads to a grove of spearwood. The Valley of the Winds is a 3-hour hike, taking you on a loop through the heart of the domes. Alternatively, capture panoramic views of Kata Tjuta from the dune viewing area where you can sight this ancient wonder glowing and appearing to change colour at sunrise or sunset.

Only 3 hours from Uluru, Kings Canyon is a majestic destination featuring 100m-high sandstone walls, palm-filled crevices and views that stretch across the desert landscape.  The guided Kings Canyon Rim Walk enables marvellous views of Watarrka National Park. You could choose a shorter walk across the boulder strewn canyon creek bed or descend into the green oasis of the ‘Garden of Eden’. Known as Australia’s outback pioneering town, visitors to Alice Springs are surprised to discover its trendy café culture, contemporary art scene and historic sites. Framed by the MacDonnell Ranges and the desert landscape, Alice Springs has all the conveniences of a modern township enriched with Aboriginal tradition and European explorer history. See the animals that live in Central Australia's habitats at the wildlife park, wander around Australia's only arid zone botanic garden, view outstanding galleries of Aboriginal art, cycle to Simpsons Gap to see the permanent waterhole and the colony of rock wallabies, or watch kangaroos bound across the spinifex plains from a hot air balloon at dawn.

The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs and are an adventure playground with hiking trails, four-wheel drive tracks, swimming holes, and camping spots.

Don’t wait! Add a little outback to your next Australian adventure.