Happy National Day!
We know… it’s not a long weekend (the next one is not until September, read more here: Long Weekend in Yogyakarta: Charcoal Coffee & UNESCO Temples). But do you know what hump day holidays are great for? Travel planning! We’re still four months away from the December holidays, but if you’ve been procrastinating and putting off your year-end travel planning, you’re already late!
November – December Holiday Travel Inspiration Guide
As always, we’ve got you covered. If you can’t decide where to go, you could roll the dice… or you could read this super handy guide on the top travel destinations among Singaporeans and what each of them are famous for.
Under One Week – Southeast Asia
Only got less than a week to spare? Here are some ideas on where to spend those precious few days!
Season: Summer (~21 – 31 degrees Celsius)
Thailand is indisputably the king of quick getaways. The urbanites love Bangkok for its many night markets (Read more: See The Hottest Night Markets In Bangkok) and affordable shopping districts like Chatuchak. More recently, it’s also become a hit with the hipsters, who enjoy cafe-hopping and thrift-store shopping. With humble stores lining the streets and retro tuk-tuks on the roads, the city exudes rustic charm–perfect for the ‘gram!
That’s not all the land of smiles has to offer: Nature lovers can take a seaside holiday at one of its stunning islands like Pattaya, Koh Samui, and Phuket. Those who prefer a more cultural itinerary can visit the ancient temples. There are several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the famous Historic City of Ayutthaya.
#2 Hong Kong
Season: Autumn to Winter (~15 – 20 degrees Celsius)
Next up, we have Hong Kong–the shopping and food heaven! (Read more: We Put Hong Kong’s Most Popular Food to the Taste Test!, The Best Time (And Places) To Score Huge Discounts In Hong Kong)
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Aside from those, there’s Hong Kong Disneyland. Dubbed the Happiest Place in the World, it is a must-go! (Read more:The Sights & Sounds Of Hong Kong Disneyland) More theme parks? No problem. Hong Kong is also home to Ocean Park, an oceanarium and amusement park with everything from marine mammal exhibits to roller coasters. If you’re living in the city, don’t miss the daily Symphony of Lights display. Every night, the skyscrapers along the downtown Hong Kong skyline light up in a colourful light show. Hong Kong is also known for its hiking culture, and has scenic routes of varying levels of difficulty.
Season: Summer (~23 – 30 degrees Celsius)
Just a little under two hours away, Indonesia is another great place for short holidays. Indonesia has an oldish vibe similar to Thailand, and just as Thailand has the tuk-tuk, Indonesia has the becak–the local trishaw. There are main things to see in Indonesia: The religious sites (they have majestic ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples) and the islands.
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One of 2016 #Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women Sri Mulyani Indrawati were getting some rest and relax with her family in #exotic Labuan Bajo. Basking in unspoilt nature and incredible wildlife, the Indonesian Finance Minister complimented visitors who came there and joined the effort to keep the environment clean. East Nusa Tenggara holds the priceless treasure of picture perfect postcard and hidden nooks to explore. Come and discover more of #WonderfulIndonesia Photo source @smindrawati
Its most popular island is Bali, the world-famous resort destination of picturesque beaches, lush forests, and magnificent volcanoes. For sunrise hiking, try to conquer Mt Batur and Mt Agung. Bali is also a diving hot spot. The other islands like Bandung and Lombok are also slowly gaining in popularity.
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One – Two Weeks
Managed to get leave to holiday a week (or two) away? Good on you–we’re envious!
Season: Winter (~ 8 – 11 degrees Celsius)
Everybody loves Japan, right? Even within the Tokyo, there’s something for everyone–from the quirky Harajuku streets to the comic-crazy Akihabara district. With the seasonal light displays, Japan is especially beautiful in winter. Plus, there’s nothing quite like warming up onsen-style! It’s impossible to cover the whole of Japan in a week, but if you go by prefecture, seven days is just about right.
(Read more: Post-Tohoku Earthquake Japan: Is It Safe For Tourists?, Japan: Five Common Tourist Woes & How To Deal With Them, 4 Onsen in Japan That Welcome You And Your Tattoos )
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Here are the highlights, categorized by region:
- Tokyo: The capital city of Japan, Tokyo is an urban paradise. For every mega mall it has, there’s a hipster district to match. Of course, one of its biggest attractions is Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea. All Disneylands are by default labelled “must-gos”, but the Tokyo one is known to be one of the most well loved parks of the franchise.
(Read more: Tokyo DisneySea 101: Where Dreams Come Alive, Here’s Why Hakone Is A Weekend Hotspot In Tokyo, Must-Go Cafes In Tokyo To Put On Your Radar)
- Hokkaido: The northern island of Japan, Hokkaido is home to ramen city, Sapporo. This city is super popular for winter holidays, as it is a great place to ski and have fun at the large snow festival. It’s also famous for the fresh seafood–it’s crab galore here!
(Read more: What’s The Most Authentic Ramen In Japan?)
- Osaka: Although a colourful and vibrant city, Osaka is often overshadowed by its famous sibling, Tokyo. When in Osaka, don’t miss the entertainment district Dotonburi, and the Shinsaibashi shopping area. Of course, there’s Universal Studios Japan too!
(Read more: Love & Travel: 1 Week Honeymoon in Kansai, Japan)
- Kyoto: Away from the city, Kyoto is much more suited to those who enjoy cultural immersion and scenery. The birthplace of the geisha tradition, Kyoto is famous for its stunning temples, shrines, and castles.
(Read more: 3 Specialty Dishes To Try While In Kyoto, Japan)
#2 South Korea
Season: Winter (~ -5 – 3 degrees Celsius) *Warning–severe winter!
You’ve seen it on your favourite shows, so you know what to expect! Aside from makeup shopping, this is the place to reenact your k-drama fantasies: To survive the freezing cold, make sure you go for a meat barbecue, and pair some fried chicken with beer! Some of the seasonal winter street food include chestnuts and roasted sweet potatoes too. If you’re game, you can also go ice-skating at Seoul Plaza (City Hall).
For adrenaline junkies, there are two huge theme parks: Everland and Lotte World (Read more: Theme Park Showdown: Lotte World VS Everland). And as with Hokkaido, Seoul is a hot skiing destination. The most popular tour, however, is the one to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA)–this is the border separating the two Korea peninsulas, and is the closest you can get to North Korea! (Read more: DMZ Tour: The Closest You Can Get to North Korea, Between North & South Korea: The Demilitarised Zone & Joint Security Area)
Season: Winter (~ 13 – 18 degrees Celsius)
Yet another diverse country, Taiwan has a little bit of everything. For some warm supper food and knick-knack shopping, head straight for the bustling night markets of Taipei. The most famous one is the Shilin Night Market, where you can get your crispy XXL fried chicken and bubble tea fix. (Read more: The Best Taiwanese Food Souvenirs To Bag Home)
Dubbed the Santorini of Taiwan, you must visit the former mining town, Jiufen. If you’re looking to release those sky lanterns like they do on TV, add Shifen to your itinerary. Want some serene scenery? There’s the Taroko Gorge and Alishan. More of a party animal? Go ahead and get drunk at the lively nightspots of Taipei! (Read more: The Most Popular (And Instagrammable) Spots In Taiwan, Scenic Spots In Taiwan To Capture Your Wedding Photos, Taipei Nightspots For A Night You Won’t Remember)
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Season: Spring – Summer (~ 16 – 26 degrees Celsius)
Alas! A not-so-nearby, non-winter destination: Perfect for December holidaymakers who can’t stand the cold, the lands down under (more on New Zealand below) are great for some sun, sand, and vitamin sea.
(Read more: Hitting The Great Ocean Road? Well, You’ll Need An Australian Tourist Visa, Travel Diary: One week in Gold Coast & Sydney)
First thing that comes to mind is the Great Ocean Road–with the Twelve Apostles slowly disappearing, there’s no better time to go than now! We absolutely recommend Australia for the wildlife-nature enthusiasts, as well as the cafe-hopping millennials. Iconic to Australia are the koalas and kangaroos, both of which are native to the country. There are many safari and wildlife tours that’ll take you to cuddle up with the local animals. While in Melbourne, make sure you go on a cafe food hunt: Voted the most livable city in the world, Melbourne has a cafe culture that’s great for brunch or just a teatime cuppa. Of course, that means it’s great #foodstagram material too. If you’re headed for Sydney, make sure you at least snap a shot with the Sydney Opera House.
(Read more: See the Nearby, Equally Beautiful Southern Lights with Just $223)
Australia’s got its share of activities for thrill seekers too: There’s DreamWorld and WhiteWater World, and a whole slew of extreme sports for the daredevils. You can bungy jump, go swimming with massive crocodiles, or diving to explore the mystical underwater world.
#5 New Zealand
Season: Spring – Summer (~ 20 – 30 degrees Celsius)
It’s true that sheep outnumber people in New Zealand, but don’t expect to be seeing walking balls of fluff at every turn. New Zealand is split into two, the North and South Island. The North Island is most famous for Hobbiton, the scenic and picturesque filming site for the Lord of the Rings movie series. (Read more: The Shire Really Exists, And It’s Way More Beautiful In Real Life) It’s also where you can learn about the Maori tribal culture.
The South Island is where the other natural wonders reside; most notably, the Milford Sound, Glaciers, and Mt Cook. The northern region is also popular for vineyard-hopping and wine tasting. At its heart is Queenstown, an extreme sport paradise where you can book tours to skydive, paraglide, and hang glide. From Invercargill, you can also plan a day trip to Stewart Island.
New Zealand is huge, and the towns are usually quite a fair distance away. As such, if you’re not going on a tour, it’s best to rent a car to get around. (Read more: Driving in New Zealand: Don’t Kena “Saman”!)
Season: Winter (~ 5 – 15 degrees Celsius)
Think U.K. and images of the Queen and her royal family come to mind. Of course, everyone is going gaga over the cutest new members Prince George and Princess Charlotte, but U.K. is much more than their royal family! The region is famous for their castles and historic sites, as well as the picturesque rolling hills and greenery. Iconic spots include the Big Ben, Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Hyde Park, and more. The most famous (and controversial) monument though, would have to be the Stonehenge in Wiltshire. There are many theories, but nobody is quite sure what this ancient structuer was built for–so go for yourself and make a guess!
You can also do quite a bit of shopping in U.K.. And it’s not the budget kind, like in Thailand! It’s all about high street (or even high end, if you can afford it) fashion here! What else can you expect from the hometown of London Fashion Week?
Ready to embark on your adventure?
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