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Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

A Publication of


Explore New Zealand’s Picturesque Attractions with Misa Travels pg 24

For the latest travel news and tips, visit


Discover Australia’s Legendary Coastline with Jetabout Holidays

Get to Know Sarawak in More Ways Than One pg 18


Let CS Travel Take You to Korea’s Best Sights pg 26 Acquaint Yourself with the Arabian Wonders of Qatar

Experience India’s Exotic Beauty with Incredible India pg 21

Re-Discover France Through Its Charming Cities pg 14


pg 25

pg 10


2 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


Is a publication by


NATAS TRAVEL 2017 PROMISES TO BE THE BEST! Spend and stand a chance to win attractive prizes including air tickets, shopping vouchers and many more.

WWM PTE LTD Publisher General Manager Associate Editor Writers

Creative Director

Cecilia Woo Lilian Quek Cherlyn Ng Angelia TK Sarah Sathyamoorthi Nina Gee Tommy Hong

SALES & MARKETING Marketing Executive Melisah Roslan Gigi Fok FOR ENQUIRIES General Editorial WWM PTE LTD People’s Park Centre 101 Upper Cross Street #04-37 Singapore 058357 Tel: 65 6533 0400 The information contained herein is accurate at time of printing. Changes may have occurred since this travel tabloid went to print. WWM PTE LTD will not be held liable for any damages, loss, injury or inconvenience arising in connection with the contents of this travel tabloid.

Celebrating 50 fairs since 1987, NATAS Travel 2017 promises to be the best yet! With an amazing assortment of tour itineraries, cruise holidays and airline packages on offer, there is surely something for everyone. Exotic destinations, adrenaline inducing adventures, romantic getaways and family friendly vacations await you under one roof at the Singapore Expo, Halls 7 & 8. From February 17-19, 10am-9.30pm, come down to explore the best and most affordable deals in town, with over 66 travel agents and travel-related service providers spanning over 600 booths! Catch exciting stage performances and informative talks that will entertain and inspire over the 3 days. Every $500 spent at NATAS Travel 2017 gives you a chance to win the top prize of a pair of Singapore Airlines Business Class tickets to Stockholm in our highly anticipated Grand Draw! If you paid with your MasterCard Credit Card, the top 3 lucky winners will also walk away with a bonus $1,000 worth of shopping vouchers. Additionally, receive double chances to win when you pay with MasterCard. There are also prizes to be won daily, such as land tour and cruise packages, and other attractive goodies sponsored by our participating travel agents. In commemoration of our 50th anniversary fair, 50 goodie bags are up for grabs daily, so be sure that you are amongst the first through those doors! What are you waiting for? Grab your passport and see the world with NATAS Travel 2017 Fair today! Admission is free.

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3 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


February - March 2017


th Feb to


Chingay Parade

th Feb



th Feb

The Colour Rush MALAYSIA, Kuching

The annual street parade is known for its lively atmosphere, vibrant displays, and its dazzling performances. Besides its colourful and captivating ensembles, the yearly affair celebrates the country’s distinct cultural diversity. Encapsulating the multicultural spirit of Singapore, the Chingay Parade reflects the dynamic heritage and culture of Singaporeans. Since its inception in 1973, the event has blossomed into the largest float parade in Asia. This year, the festival is anticipated to be bigger than that of the previous, which received 8,000 local talents from 150 organisations, including performers from all around the world.

Organised by the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society, the 5km run not only increases awareness about the detrimental disease, but also gathers funds needed to aid families and children facing cancer. As the name suggests, the activity includes the use of bright coloured powders being thrown at participants. The Colour Rush essentially represents how children brighten our world and how they make our lives more colourful. This year the event has adopted JOY as its overarching theme to recognise the fortitude that these amazing children have displayed throughout their treatments and journeys. The run also takes place in Miri on the 19th of Feb.


th Feb to


th Mar

Hong Kong Arts Festival HONG KONG

From Chinese Operas to theatrical acts, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is back for another year to impress the public with its vibrant line-up. This year, audiences can expect performances by leading local and international artists. The programme line-up will include all genres of the performing arts as well as a diverse range of “PLUS” and educational events. The HKAF will also present over 1,600 of the world’s top artist and stars of tomorrow in 149 performances, placing equal importance on great traditions and contemporary creations. Besides hosting top-notch performances, the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) celebrates its 45th anniversary with the addition of a series of special events.



th Feb to


th Mar

The 27th Annual Kawazu Sakura Festival TOKYO, Kawazu

Kawazu, a town in the Shizuoka Prefecture, is famed for its cherry trees. Located approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes from Tokyo via train, this region produces some of the earliest-blooming cherry blossoms in the outlying areas of Tokyo. These beautiful flowers usually take a month to fully bloom and are known for their large petals and bright pinkish hue. Currently, the town is home to 8,000 cherry trees, most of which are situated along the streets. In full bloom, these trees provide a scenic vista as their brilliant colours seem to stretch on for miles. Every year, visitors flock to the region to witness the beauty and enjoy the splendor of cherry blossoms.


st Feb to


th Mar

Panagbenga Festival PHILIPPINES, Baguio City

Another flower festival to look out for is Panagbenga “Panagbenga” is derived from a Kankanaey term meaning “season of blooming”. The month-long event relies on its community’s involvement to thrive and sustain on a yearly basis. The annual event reflects the history, traditions and values of Baguio and the Cordilleras. Over the span of a week, the Baguio streets come alive with spectacular rhythmic dances, pulsating songs and colourful floral arrangements. Aside from the tourist benefits that it brings, the festival also provides the local community with a chance to embrace and showcase its cultural traditions.


th Feb to



th Feb

NEW ZEALAND, AUCKLAND Taking place in the scenic Auckland, the Splore Festival combines the best of art and culture to offer attendees an unforgettable weekend. With its eclectic music lineup, a diverse range of performances and many other activities and programs, Splore celebrates the spirit of togetherness amongst its community. Splore keeps its tickets affordable for families by providing free entry for children 12 years and under. All festival tickets also allow access to free camping - and what better way to spend some time with family and friends? Immerse yourself in this exhilarating three-day festival and discover a fun-filled weekend like no other.

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MARKET NEWS Malacca’s New Boutique Hotel: Estadia Revel in the magnificent splendour of the culturally rich heritage city of Malacca. The uniquely Peranakan-themed Estadia Hotel, marries contemporary sophistication with tradition. The hotel offers 196 delicately designed rooms focusing on quality, comfort and value. Additionally, it is paired with honest and genuine service. Estadia Hotel prides itself in meeting the needs of its valued guests. Whether you’re embarking on an adventure, family holiday or business trip, Estadia Hotel is the ideal accommodation in the UNESCO heritage city. Visit

Incredible India Evening by India Tourism Singapore India Tourism Singapore organised an ‘Incredible India Evening’ on the 20th of January 2017 at the Sophiya Cooke ballroom at Fort Canning Lodge for tour operators, media personnel, and key airline partners. The key players in the travel industry gathered at the start of a new year to celebrate the diverse and beautiful country that is India, as well as to honour and recognise partnerships in Singapore that aid with the promotion of India. It was a night filled with delicious Indian cuisine and exquisite cultural performances by the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society. His Excellency High Commissioner of India, Mr. Jawed Ashraf, graced the event as the Guest of Honour. During his speech, he encouraged tour operators to continue their efforts to promote India as a travel destination to Singaporeans. As a special guest, Dr. Felicia Tan shared her pleasant experiences during her time spent in India. The event concluded with a lucky draw with winners walking away with fantastic prizes. Visit

Dream Cruises: Redefining Luxury

Dream Cruises’ inaugural vessel, Genting Dream, will call Singapore its home port for a whole year starting from December 2017. This will be the first time that a ship as large as this will call Singapore its homeport. “We are truly excited to deploy Genting Dream in Singapore, a popular and well developed travel hub for the Asian region, with an excellent cruise and tourism infrastructure. Singapore’s prime geopgraphic location also makes it the ideal homeport for Getting Dream to cruise to popular as well as new ASEAN destinations,” said Mr. Thatcher Brown, President of Dream Cruises. From December 2017, Dream Cruises will offer an attractive and impressive range of 2-night weekend cruises and 5-night Sunday cruises from Singapore to various destinations.

In 2018, the cruise line will offer new itineraries for adventures across the South China and Java Seas. Offering an ‘Integrated Resort’ experience at sea, the Genting Dream is decked in luxury. The Dream Palace offers passengers a ‘ship within a ship’ experience, with personalised butler services, penthouses, exclusive pool and sundeck areas, private restaurants and exclusive gym access; all designed for a discreet and exclusive vacation experience. Genting Dream also has the iconic Zouk nightclub, which allows passengers to indulge in some heart-thumping, highenergy entertainment at sea. From quality accommodations to thrilling shows and world-class dining options, this liner is made for those with a taste for the finer things in life. Visit

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6 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

IT BEGINS WITH A TRAIN TO BUSAN Let CS Travel take you on a ride through Korea’s best


ou don’t have to travel to the other end of the world for a winter experience. In Asia itself, heading to Korea for winter will prove to be quite an adventure. From themed festivals to unique places of interest, Korea turns into a postcard-worthy dreamland. If you are a fan of the many successful television series and blockbuster movies coming out of Korea, then it is the place to be to witness your favourite scenes come to life. Take the famous Korea Train eXpress (KTX) to Busan, which is the set for the bulk of the movie Train to Busan or hop on board a cruise to the second largest island of Korea, Geoje Island the filming location of popular drama serials such as My Love from the Stars, God of War and The Innocent Man. Read on to learn about the many different experiences that await in beautiful Korea!


In Busan, head to a park named Taejongdae. Located at the southernmost tip of Yeongdo-gu, it offers a beautiful view of rock beach. Visitors have the option to purchase a ticket to take a tram ride around the park and hop off at different designated locations to explore on foot. Visit the Yeondo

lighthouse – which doubles up as an art gallery and naturehistory museum of sorts - for spectacular views of the ocean. At the Yong Du San Park, home to three great mountains and the 118-meter-high Busan Tower. Head to Gamcheon Cultural Village – a residential area made up of pretty pastel-coloured houses that look as though they have been stacked on top of each other – to admire the vibrant and eclectic street art. Another great place to check out is Nampodong Street, Busan’s dedicated theatre district, with rows of movie theatres and play houses. The area also hosts the annual Busan International Film Festival, and winners of the festival will leave imprints of their hand and foot on copper plates, a little similarity with the Hollywood walk of fame. The street also has many eateries and shops for you to explore. If you are up for an intensive shopping spree, then the Seomyeon Shopping Street is your best bet. With inexpensive food and clothes on sale, shopaholics will be in paradise at Seomyeon!

Geojedo and Daegu

Geojedo Island is the second largest island in Korea. It’s breath taking views make it an ideal filming location for many

Gamcheon Cultural Village

popular Korean dramas. On the island, you can visit three different idyllic sites. Get close to the unique structures of the Haegeumgang rocks, stroll through Mongdol Beach, and relax on the green and inviting island of Oedo Paradise Island. Fans of Garden of Eve and Romance should visit The Windy Hill on the way to the Haegeumgang village. A must-see at the city of Cheongdo is the Cheongdo Wine Tunnel. Originally built for steam locomotives, the railroad tunnel has been turned into an attraction where you can purchase bottles of wine made using Cheongdo persimmons, a local specialty. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a wine tasting experience when you find yourself here!


For a little bit of Korea’s history, visit the Ho Am Art Museum which houses 15,000 artworks. After a tour of the galleries, head outside to the back of the museum and relish the pretty street peppered with Cherry Blossoms.



Yongdusan Park, Busan Tower

One of the most unique features of the city of Gwangmyeong may be the fact that it is the only metropolitan city with a cave in it. The Gwangmyeong was the heart of evolution of modern industries in Korea, and a historical site of the Japanese colonies. Now, it has turned into a museum that exhibits mysterious geological materials. Visit the recreational area of Yeouido Park, for a time of rest and relaxation with nature. Enjoy strolling through the park and if you happen to visit at the right time, may bear witness to cultural events happening in the area! For more information, visit



Recommended Package!

8D6N New Experience in Korea CS Travel Geojedo Island

T : 6534 1188 E : W :

7 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

8 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


NAKHON SI THAMMARAT You may think you have explored all there is to explore in the Land of Smiles – but

we’re here to introduce you to one of Thailand’s elusive gems: Nakhon Si Thammarat.



ocated in the south, the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the second largest in Thailand. Nakhon Si Thammarat used to be an important trade link between Thailand and the rest of the world, and the remnants of the ancient transactions are evident today in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s cuisines, temples, and historic monuments. There are many ways to get to Nakhon Si Thammarat. You can fly in from Bangkok, or hop on to a mini-bus at an inter-provincial bus terminal. You can also make your way through Hat Yai, which can be used as a gateway to reach the province. Before heading further into Nakhon Si Thammarat, you may want to tick the following few places off your bucket list!

Things To Do in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Visit a Waterfall Relish in the beauty of nature when you take a day trip down to one of the many waterfalls in Nakhon Si Thammarat. There is nothing like sitting in the cool waters of a stream, soaking up the sun and getting drenched in the waterfalls, in the middle of a dense rainforest. The ethereal Karom Waterfall Yong Waterfall and Phrom Lok Waterfall are some of the noteworthy beauties to check out.


Check Out Khanom’s Art Scene Mr. Suchart Subsin is a shadow puppet maker and performer in the province of Nakhon. Incorporating Thai music, poetry and culture into his work, Mr. Subsin pioneered the delicate craft of shadow puppet performances in Thailand. Ban Nang Talung Suchart Subsin is a museum dedicated to Mr. Subsin’s craft and is a treasure trove of symbolic artefacts.

Aquaint Yourself with the Locals Take a peek into the lives of locals as you set foot into

Kiriwong Village. Located less than an hour away from the airport, this endearing village is an experience like none other. The pace of life in Kiriwong - with its surrounding mountain, slow-moving river, and lush greenery - will make you want to ditch the city life.

Dolphins in Khanom! As one of the main highlights of the small town, it is incredibly easy to book a boat tour to spot the friendly mammals. These creatures are not easily found in other parts of the world, and they only inhabit waters that are extremely clean with a healthy ecosystem.

Travel Back in Time Make a stop at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, one of the most important and impressive historical sites in Thailand. The great Buddhist pagodas and surrounding buildings are hosts to relics, religious artefacts, architecture, and legends that date back to 291 AD! One of the must-visit districts in Nakhon Si Thammarat is the small, unpretentious and beautiful town of Khanom - still yet to be touched by the fanfare of tourism. Littered with palm trees, paddy fields and rubber tree plantations, Khanom ticks all the right boxes for that authentic, laid-back island life: pristine, sandy white beaches that you can enjoy all to yourself; friendly locals that have yet to be daunted by the flurry of tourists; and tasty local food that will leave you craving for more.

Things To Do in Khanom

Hit the Beach Nadan Beach is 10 kilometers of perfection. The shores are clean and free from crowds – perfect for a time of real rest and relaxation. The town’s only beach bar – CC Beach Bar, a fantastic little place well-stocked with great food and drinks – can be found at this beach. About a 20-minute drive away from Nadan is Ao Thong Yee beach, another solitary piece of paradise. Finding a coastline that is not packed with touts is a rarity, so take the time to enjoy the tranquility. Go Pink Dolphin Sighting Don’t miss out on the chance to snap pictures of Pink

Pink Dolphins

What to Eat

One of the greatest things about Thailand is their ability to serve immensely flavourful dishes. Khanom La is one of the products of the district of Nakhon. It is a light, crispy and airy dessert in a tube-like form, made from flour, eggs and honey. Another signature item is the Khanom Jeen – soft and thin fermented rice noodles. You can drown your Khanom Jeen noodles in your choice of curry (you can also pick multiple flavours!) and have it together with pickled vegetables. Mouth-watering, light, and nothing short of perfection – a bowl of Khanom Jeen is a must-have. Kaeng Som is a tasty fish dish that can be enjoyed as a curry or a soup, brimming with vegetables, served with a side of steamed rice. The dish is a crowd favourite with locals throughout Thailand; it hits all the right notes with its spicy, sour, and sweet elements. Hungry yet?

Where to Stay

Despite the fact that this part of Thailand has yet to see an influx of tourists, there are still plenty of excellent accommodation options to suit every traveler’s budget! Beach-side accommodations include Talkoo Beach Resort, Khanom Golden Beach Hotel, and Le Pes Villas. For more information, visit http://www.tourismthailand. org/sg

9 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


This island paradise is ideal for families, couples, or groups of friends looking for rest and adventure.


ocated in the province of Chumphon, Ko Samui is an island 80km off the coast of the south of Thailand. This piece of paradise, which is also the second largest island in the country, is only a 2-hour direct flight away from Singapore. Ko Samui offers immaculate beaches, luxurious resort and spa facilities, and a range of varied and unique experiences to suit all your beach getaway needs.

to meet fellow travellers, learn more about the nuances in Thai cuisine from your knowledgeable hosts, make your own cocktails, and of course – feast on a 15-dish, 3 course meal!

Rest and Relax

Sometimes the best thing you can do whilst on holiday is

to not do anything! Enjoy the captivating beauty of Samui by lounging idly on the beautiful and clean beaches of Chaweng, Lamai or Bophut. Catch the sun setting at one of the beaches with a drink in hand, and watch as the skies turn into a vivid masterpiece. Visit


Hop onto a speedboat and zoom off at full-speed to the nearby islands or Koh Tao or Koh Nang Yuan, where you can snorkel at several different sites, in crystal clear turquoise waters! You could also set sail from the island of Samui to experience the natural beauty of Ang Thong National Park, which consists of 42 scenic islands. Explore lagoons and caves on a sea-kayaking adventure, snorkel or swim in the emerald sea and tuck into some delicious Thai food (included in most day full-day boat tours) during your expedition.

Alternative Dining

The Thai Experience is rated the top thing to experience if you ever find yourself in Maret, Samui. This dining place aims to redefine eating out – making your dining experience communal, experiential, cultural, and social. The Thai Experience will make you feel as if you have just been invited to a friend’s place for a dinner party; you get

Chaweng Beach

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11 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017



ith stretches of sparkling beaches and spectacular hinterland, this 900km drive along Australia’s east coast is as legendary as its name suggests. It’s one of the greatest road trips you can embark on, taking you from the vibrant harbour city of Sydney all the way up to the Gold Coast. Explore rugged coastlines, spot plenty of wildlife and indulge in delicious local seafood and fresh farm produce.

Day 1 Sydney to Port Stephens (Drive time: 2 h 45 min)

The first stop on the route will be at Port Stephens, the Dolphin Capital of Australia. Get ready to be enthralled by the natural beauty of this coastal town and the multitude of adventures it has to offer. On the top of your list should be a dolphin watch cruise - there are 150 resident bottlenose dolphins to spot! You can also try parasailing and spot wildlife from above as you take in incredible views of the coastline. Another vantage point is the summit of Mount Tomaree; a hike to the top will reward you with magnificent views of the coast. For something even more adrenaline-pumping, head to Stockton Beach to sand board or quad bike down the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere!

Arrive at the beautiful seaside town of Port Macquarie and be enchanted by its pristine beaches. Take a morning stroll from Shelly Beach to the striking Tacking Point Lighthouse before heading to Australia’s only Koala Hospital to visit the adorable, recovering. Then, spend an afternoon picking strawberries straight from the vine at Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries, where you can also indulge in a hearty, wholesome lunch.

Sydney, New South Wales Recommended Package!

Fr$1070* per person

Day 3 Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour (Drive time: 1 h 55 min)

On the way up to Coffs Harbour, stop by the town of Nambucca Heads - famous for its meandering rivers and clear turquoise beaches. Don’t forget to leave your mark on the colourful Nambucca V-Wall, an outdoor rock wall art gallery. Be sure to try the delicious chocolate-coated frozen bananas at the Big Banana at the iconic Coffs Harbour. Kids will love the opportunity to get up-close to dolphins and seals at the Dolphin Marine Magic. To end the day, drive down to the Forest Sky Pier for a magical sunset overlooking the coastline.

Day 4 Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay (Drive time: 2 h 50 min)

At the hippie beach town of Byron Bay, one of the top things to do is to catch the sunrise at Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse. During the whale migration season from May to November, you may even spot a Stopover: Hunter Valley, Port Stephens, Port few humpback whales breaching from the water! When the Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay & Brisbane warmer months arrive, the Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is an Includes: 6N Accommodation + 6D Car Rental underwater sanctuary where you can snorkel or Jetabout Holidays dive with sea turtles. Visit T : 6743 1818 Byron Bay Markets are some of the best in BOOTH 8H10 E : W : for exclusive Australia. Walk through the Byron Bay Farmers



Forest Sky Pier-New South Wales. Photo from Forests New South Wales

Watching dolphin at Jervis Bay

Market, Byron Artisan Market and Byron Beachside Market to find plenty of local produce, handmade crafts, delicious food and unique pieces of art. For a unique dining experience, try a wholesome brunch prepared from fresh, local produce at the Three Blue Ducks, located on a farm!

Day 5 Byron Bay to the Gold Coast (Drive time: 1 h 10 min)

The drive to the Gold Coast will take you through Tweed Heads, where the Catch-A-Crab cruise offers unique, first-hand experiences of catching crabs and fish straight from the sea. Enjoy the reward of your hard day’s work with a fresh seafood platter for dinner! Discover more than 500 varieties of fruit at the spacious grounds of Tropical Fruit World. There is even an on-site Aussie farm and bushland reserve area nestled in a rainforest setting which allows you to get up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies and emus before hitting the Gold Coast to end your five-day long road trip! Visit for information on tours and packages to Australia or visit Jetabout Holidays at Booth 8H01 during Natas Travel Fair for exclusive offers!


Day 2 Port Stephens to Port Macquarie (Drive time: 2 h 40 min)

Cape Byron Lighthouse

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13 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


Let Jetabout Holidays take you to dizzying sights and exquisite sites. Christchurch to Queenstown

Part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, which recognises a piece of land for its fine quality of starry nights, the town of Lake Tekapo is a three-hour drive from Christchurch. The lake of the same name is a unique shade of turquoise, getting its colour from the rock-flour (ground by the surrounding glaciers) which can be found in the waters. The solitary and beautiful Church of the Good Shepard can be found on the shores of the lake, and from here you will be able to revel in the sights of the Southern Alps. Make a stop at New Zealand’s tallest mountain – Aoraki Mount Cook. Enjoy your lunch at the The Hermitage Hotel located in the village of Mount Cook. Savour the food and relish the sights of the remarkable scenery. Continue the visual feast as you head south through the tawny tussock of the Mackenzie Country. Indulge in some afternoon tea in the serene town of Omarama and if time permits, a visit to the picturesque Jones Family Orchard near Cromwell, for a basket of fresh fruits!

Milford Sound Hobbiton, Waikato


riendly locals, jaw-dropping sights, endless activities, and home to the beautiful Maori culture; New Zealand is, without a doubt, every traveller’s dream destination. We’ve rounded up some of the many sights that you absolutely must see during your time there.


Waitomo is the place to be for adventure junkies. The Waitomo Caves offer Black Water Rafting, a magical expedition with glow worms, guided walking tours through the Ruakuri and Aranui Caves, as well as a journey through Middle-earth. The Glow Worm Caves is a novel activity on your itinerary – a boat ride will take you through the caves as the glow worms illuminate your path below ground, turning the caves into a dazzling starry wonderland. Fans of the Lord of the Rings will get to walk through the private farm that was transformed into The Shire for Sir Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. There are plenty of picture opportunities for lovers of the series as you explore 12 acres worth of iconic locations.

Southern Alps

Spend a full day uncovering the magnificence of the

Southern Alps - a mountain region on the South Island of New Zealand. Begin a tour on the agricultural plains of Canterbury – the area which produces over 80% of the country’s crops. Heading to the stunning Waimakariri Gorge, don’t miss out on a chance to hop on board a jet board that runs through the foothills of the alps. A 4-wheel drive will then take you on a drive across Mt Torlesse Station – a 10,000-acre sheep and cattle farm at the base of the majestic Alps. The stunning panorama of blue skies meeting the rolling hills will leave you in awe. Stop for a bite of lunch at a cosy country café – there is really nothing like a little cottage to make you feel the spirit of the countryside. Head back through the Canterbury terrain to Arthur’s Pass – the highest pass over the Southern Alps. Before reaching the 900m peak of the pass, make a stop at the large, hourglass shaped beauty that is Lake Pearson. Arthur’s Pass National Park is made up of two parts: one side is wide riverbeds and beech forests and on the other, dense forestry over and alongside rivers. A great way to take in the beauty of Arthur’s Pass is through the world-famous Tranz Alipne train service which will take you through farmlands, forests and river valleys. Sit back and relax in a world-class carriage, perhaps with a glass of wine in one hand, as you watch the unparalleled beauty of New Zealand roll by.

A New Zealand trip is not complete without a step into the heart of Milford Sound. Experience the world-famous fiord in all its glory - rich in dense rainforest, glacier carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls. A great way to experience Milford Sound is through a Southern Discoveries Scenic Cruise For more information, please visit: www. or see you at NATAS 2017, Booth 8H10 for exclusive offer.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

Recommended Package!


9D7N Contrasts of New Zealand fr S$2,500 per person* Includes: • 7 nights’ accommodation • Return airport transfers • Domestic flights from Rotorua to Christchurch on Air New Zealand • Full Day Hobbiton & Waitomo Experience (Auckland - Rotorua) with Lunch • Full Day Alpine Safari Tour with Lunch • Full Day Milford Sound Tour with Lunch • Full Day Mount Cook Day Tour Milford Sound, Fiordland

*Price stated are for per person based on twin sharing basis. Conditions apply.

Visit BOOTH 8H10 for exclusive offers!

14 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

Liberation Square and the Palace of Dukes of Burgundy

EXPLORING THE CHARMING CITIES OF FRANCE Re-discover France through its lively and historical cities.


rance has long since be revered for its romantic ambience and for its dynamic art, fashion, gastronomical and cultural scene. Besides exuding an atmosphere that charms travellers from all walks of life, the country is notable for its places of interest, and sights steeped in history.


With a history that dates back to the Roman times, the city of Dijon, the capital city of the Burgundy region in eastern France, is famed for being a prominent wine-producing region. Another thing that this charming town is known for is the popular and most consumed condiment in the world: the Dijon Mustard. Besides dating back to the Roman times, Dijon also has a rich and vibrant culinary history. If you have an affinity for antiquities or would like to learn more about the town’s past, the city houses a number of museums and places of interest. If you have to explore the region, drop by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon). It is one of the oldest museums in France and is housed in the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy.

“Located in French region, Brittany, the coastal city of SaintMalo is known for its turquoise blue waters, sun-kissed beaches and its walled citadel.”

The structure originally provided a strategic viewpoint, as it overlooked the Loire River and the Loire Valley.

Mont St Michel

Situated at the mouth of the Couesnon River, the rocky islet of Mont St Michel stands conspicuously 170 metres above sea level - when measured from the spire at the top of the Abbey’s bell tower. As one of the most visited attraction in France, the granite outcrop houses the famed Abbey of Mont Saint Michel. Dedicated to Saint Michel or more commonly known as Archangel Michael, the historic building was built on 16 October 709. The Mount and its bay was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and receives more than two million visitors per year. Besides its religious monuments, the site is also comprised of narrow streets, hotels, souvenir

Known as the “Garden of France”, the Loire Valley is renowned for its fine wines and vibrant cities such as Orléans, Tours, Saumur and Angers. Orléans, which is situated on the banks of the Loire River, this city rose to prominence after Joan of Arc defended the country from the English siege. Remnants of her feats still exist around Orléans to this day, statues, stained-glass windows and museum exhibits of the Maid of Orléans can be seen all around the city. While here, you can stop by the Château d’Amboise, a fortress that was seized by Charles VII, who modified the building’s features and converted it into a royal residence.

Amboise Castle, France


Loire Valley

15 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


shops, boutiques and restaurants. Most of the dining and entertainment options are catered to the tourists visiting the Mont St Michel. A new footbridge was built to connect the mainland to the Mont Saint Michel making it easily accessible on foot. Alternatively, you could also visit this site via bicycle, motorbike or by car.


Located in French region, Brittany, the coastal city of SaintMalo is known for its turquoise blue waters, sun-kissed beaches and its walled citadel. However, besides providing scenic vistas the city was also notorious for being Brittany’s pirate haven. Yes, that’s true, this was the hideaway for corsairs who seized enemy ships during the 17th and 18th centuries. The English, Dutch and the Portuguese who had the misfortune of encountering them had everything taken from them, sometimes even their lives. Behind the walls of the city, they lived peacefully in their comfortable country houses and adopted the mannerisms of country gentlemen. The city takes visitors back in time with its cobbled streets, tall granite buildings and medieval stone walls. Although

Michel Bay, Saint-Malo

ancient, the city is a popular tourist destination for a few reasons. Besides its picturesque beach, there are a number of activities one can engage in, including sand-yachting and windsurfing. St-Malo also caters to the needs of its visitors by offering cosy, seafront accommodations - with unhindered views of the expansive sky and the vast sea. In addition to waking up to breathtaking views, you can also indulge in the freshest seafood in the country.


If you’re a foodie, especially the kind that has a penchant for oysters, then this is the place for you. Cancale is one of France’s leading producers of oysters - growing as many as 15,000 tonnes each year. France grows two types of oysters - the indigenous flat oyster and the imported hollow oyster. The region is notable for cultivating the latter, which have replaced the flat oysters. If you would like to go behind the scenes and learn more about the history and production of oysters, you can always drop by the La Ferme Marine. In addition to getting a sneak peek into the lives of farmers at work, you can also visit

a shellfish exhibition and snag a souvenir or two from their shop to always remember your time here. Besides having a chance to tantalise your tastebuds with fresh seafood, you will also get to learn more about the religious history of Cancale. The town accommodates the historic Église St Méen, or better known as the church of St Méen, which was built between 1715 and 1727. The church was named after a Welsh saint. The building houses the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires (Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Cancale) and showcases the history of the town. For more information on tour packages, please visit

Central Europe


Recommended Package!

10D7N Fine Tour In France

Highlights: Champagne Tour, Cheese Farm, Truffle Hunting, Dijon Mustard Tour, Oyster Bar

EU Holidays

T : 6535 8535 E : W :

Mont St Michel

16 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017




Probably the best selling Europe group itinerary in Singapore

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• 7 Nights of chances to observe Northern light •Aurora hunting program• Sea- Eagle Safari Dep Dates : Mar 3,10,15,22



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• 6 nights of chances to see Northern light Dep dates: 2017 Feb - Mar




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Cfm Dep: Apr 28, May 26, Jun 8 Dep Dates: 2017 Apr 6, 21, 28 May 12,18,26 June 2,9




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• Te Puke Kiwi Fruits Orchard Tour • Queenstown Skyline Gondola + Buffet Dinner Dep Dates: Apr 6, May 3, 31



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13D/14D Highlights of Eastern Europe 11D Scandinavia

Prague/ Fussen/ Dresden/ Berlin/ Krakow/ Wroclaw/ Budapest/ Vienna/ Salzburg/ Hallstatt Dep: Mar 10, 16, 25, Apr 4, 11, 18, 25 28, 30, May 10, 7, 24, 31, Jun 6, 10, 13, 20, 23, 27



• Floibanen Funicular - Panoramic View of Bergen • Geirangerfjord Scenic Cruise • Briksdal Glacier Tour Dep : May - Oct 2017




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17 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

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18 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

A GUIDE TO SARAWAK’S BEST Take a peek into the soul of Kuching, Sarawak!


Library of Celsus

two-hour flight away from Singapore lies a piece of paradise that many have yet to uncover. Sarawak is a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, and is best known for its lush greenery and dense rainforests. It is a welcome change of scenery from the city life, but also offers so much more than just an idyllic escape from a concrete jungle. Let us take you through Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, for a time of grooving to world-class music, food trails, and river cruises!

Food and Heritage Trail

A Singaporean’s love for food knows no boundaries. The mere thought of a hot bowl of freshly made Kolo Mee (Sarawak’s comfort food), or a plate of authentic Ayam Penyet accompanied with sambal belachan is enough to make one’s mouth water. Sarawak has a total of 22 unique local dishes and the best way to enjoy this gastronomic experience is by embarking on a Kuching Food Trail. The Food Trail, like a scavenger food hunt, brings you to various local eateries where you can find the food that is not only unique to Sarawak, but considered by most to be the best of its kind. To walk off all the calories, one might be interested in learning more about Sarawak’s history and culture with a Heritage Trail. The Heritage trail is a culmination of the Sarawak Heritage Society’s efforts, and is a walkabout tour that begins at the Kuching waterfront, working its way through historical monuments, temples, museums and galleries, as well as living heritage sites. Hire a local guide to take you on an in-depth tour of Kuching of you could venture out on your own by downloading an e-copy of the walking trails! Link:

Rainforest World Music Festival

The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique, annual music festival taking place this year from the 14th to 16th of July. Taking place at the Sarawak Cultural Village - at the foot of the majestic Mt. Santubong - the jungle comes alive with music and dance, thanks to the renowned musicians who travel down from all the corners of the earth. The line-up includes musicians from the different parts of Borneo as well, allowing you move to the rhythms of the third-largest island in the world. Its formula of an afternoon full of informative workshops, followed by evening performances on the main stage has proven to be a hit with the audience, made up of locals as well as international fans. The festival grounds will be littered with food and drink stalls, an arts and crafts area, as well as festival memorabilia, Sarawak souvenirs, and merchandise by the performing artistes. So, bring along a picnic mat or a lawn chair, and get ready to celebrate quality music in the great outdoors!

Sunset Cruise on the Sarawak River

Happening during Rainforest World Music Festival

End a day in Sarawak by watching the sun set while on board a relaxing river cruise. Enjoy the fiery hues of the setting sun as you cruise along the Sarawak River and take in the magic that is Kuching’s Waterfront. The 900-meter long esplanade is filled with restaurants, food stalls, and entertainment. Many of Kuching’s historical buildings have also been incorporated into the overall design, allowing you to glance into the city’s humble beginnings and colonial past. For more information, please visit

Sunset at Kuching Waterfont

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20 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

To know more, visit or contact


Tel: +65 6235 3800 Email:

21 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017



Get the low-down on the best ways to explore and experience the sensuous beauty of India.


iscover the exotic and unique blend of flavours that will take you on a journey steeped in culture and tradition. Travel Journal interviews Mr Suman, the Singapore Representative of India Tourism Board, for the most up-to-date travel information one needs to effectively navigate around India. Could you describe India in a sentence? India is a country that has a spectacular mixture of tradition, culture and landscapes, it never fails to surprise anyone who is ready to unravel some of the deepest mysteries of India. What do you think are some of the key selling points of India tourism? There are definitely nice sceneries like snowy peaks, deep historical roots and diverse cultures. We found out that more and more tourists are embarking on an trip to India, and recently we introduced medical tourism, which includes Ayurvedic treatment. Tourism in India is gaining popularity in the recent years, are there any future plans or strategies to enhance the travel experience to India for Singapore tourists? To provide a more convenient access for tourists in Singapore, there will be more direct flights to Goa and Amritsar by AirAsia, Scoot and Tiger Airways. In the near future, Singapore Airlines will also be adding Jaipur (known as the Pink City) to their latest route network. Are there any iconic festivals that our readers should take note of? The most prominent festivals would be Deepavali (Festival of Lights), that ranges from one to three days in different provinces, Durga Puja in October and in the month of March, the Festival of Colors. There are also different festivals celebrated across regions and provinces such as the hot air balloon festival in Munnar.

“India is a country that has a spectacular mixture of tradition, culture and landscapes, it never fails to surprise anyone who is ready to unravel some of the deepest mysteries of India.” Crows Lake in North Sikkim

Are there any places or attractions that you would highly recommend to travellers planning a trip to India? Honestly, this is an extremely difficult question to answer (laughs). Every province of India embraces different cultures and of course different architectural wealth, hence almost every part of India have something to interest the tourists. Which places would you recommend to travellers who have never visited India? I would definitely recommend India’s Golden Triangle formed by Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, as it is the country’s most popular tourist circuit. The cities emanate a unique charm, offering an unforgettable travel experience to first-time visitors.

Mr. R.K. Suman, Director of India Tourism Board

Speaking of India’s Golden Triangle, I’m guessing that no one should miss the beauty of Taj Mahal? Yes, it is one of the most splendid masterpieces in the world, the imposing and grand mausoleum comprises of white marble and was built in Agra between 1631 and 1648. I always believe that every heritage site in the world illustrates an incredible story, and you will only be able to truly appreciate the beauty after knowing the history of the place. For instance, the Taj Mahal was built by the grief stricken Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his beloved wife. Shahjahan invited master craftsmen from as far as Italy and Persia to aid in the design of his ambitious tribute to his late wife.

In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as the jewel of Muslim art in India. I understand that the Taj Mahal is accessible via three gates, which entrance should independent travellers use to avoid the crowd? First of all, you need to be early, since well-known historical heritage sites are obviously places of interest tourists flock to. However, independent travellers can easily avoid the crowd by entering from the south gate, as tour groups mainly enter from the east and west gates. What advice would you give to travellers preparing for their first trip to India? Remember to prepare winter clothing if you are visiting India during the winter season. Besides that, prior to your trip, you should do enough research and get a licensed travel guides to take you around the country. Finally, touching on the topic that most Singaporeans would be interested in, what are the best things to buy when shopping in Delhi? Handicrafts like painting, accessories, leathercraft are worth buying. The diverse culture and tradition in India has inspired the creation of these handicrafts, which exhibit high-quality craftsmanship. Besides that, the customised clothing is another highlight, they are cheap and fuss-free. www.

22 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


There is much to experience in New South Wales. Prepare to be wowed by rugged cliffs, picturesque vineyards and stunning beaches with these road trips from Sydney. The Blue Mountains

The beautiful Blue Mountains offer vast, unobstructed views of eucalyptusforests. Here, you will get to see the world-famous Three Sisters from different lookouts, or take a short hike down to Honeymoon Bridge where you can cross over to the ‘First Sister’! Be sure to explore the magical Scenic World with an Unlimited Discovery Pass. Take the world’s steepest Scenic Railway right into Jamison Valley, where you can walk along a 2.2 km elevated board through rainforest and open woodlands. Glide above lush canopies while standing on the Scenic Skyway’s glass-floored cable cars, also Australia’s highest cable car, strung across steep limestone cliffs.

The Hunter Valley Sydney, NSW

Recommended Package!

The Three Sisters at the Blue Mountains


4D3N The Blue Mountains, Bushwalker & Hunter’s picnic amongst the Vines

About 2 hours’ drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is home to one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. With charming towns and quaint villages, the Hunter Valley’s rich history of Australian wine pioneers include Audrey Wilkinson. You can even visit a museum dedicated to Ms. Wilkinson and enjoy a wine tasting session as well as a masterclass with the in-house experts! End your visit to the Hunter Valley in a memorable fashion – with a stroll through the vineyards followed by an afternoon picnic with a bottle of the region’s well-known Semillon or Shiraz.

Sydney, NSW

Port Stephens


Recommended Package!

Port Stephens is home to the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. Those looking to fill up their time with a little more adventure could spend hours sandboarding or revving through the golden lands on a quad bike. Visitors can also treat themselves to a 360-degree, panoramic view of the vast lands and fresh water lagoons from the top of the Sand Dunes.

3D2N Port Stephens Sand Dunes & Dolphins

Dolphin Watch Cruise

Did you know that Port Stephens is the Dolphin Capital of Australia? Board a Dolphin Watch Cruise to spot a few of the 150 resident bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the water. During the whale migration season from May to November, you may even see playful humpback whales breaching from the water!

Sydney, NSW


Recommended Package!

4D3N Grand Pacific Drive & The Magical Oyster Tour

Sand Dunes, Port Stephens.

Grand Pacific Drive

Hop into a car and cruise through one of Australia’s best coastal routes. The Grand Pacific Drive brings you through national parks, hugging dramatic cliffs on the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and past beautiful seaside towns Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven. Sky-diving, surfing and apple-picking are just some of the many experiences you can enjoy. Don’t forget to check out Kiama’s Blowhole – the world’s biggest blowhole – a spectacular spot for a photo opportunity!

Oyster Farm Cruise

Sea Cliff Bridge, Grand Pacific Drive

Visit a working oyster farm with Magical Oyster Tours, where you will have the chance to cruise on the wild, beautiful Pambula Lake, learn about oyster farming, the river estuary and of course, savour the famous and fresh Sydney Rock Oyster straight from the waters! Learn about the stories behind bringing your plate of oysters to the table – from its history, modern farming techniques and biological sciences. The entire tour takes approximately two hours and is an enriching travel experience like no other.

23 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF VIVID SYDNEY Enjoy Sydney’s icons both day and night as they light up during the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. Vivid Sydney

The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas – and Australia’s biggest event – is back from 26 May to 17 June 2017. This free, public event transforms Sydney into a colourful, bedazzling outdoor art exhibition, with light installations and projections on famous buildings that is bound to take your breath away.

Sydney Opera House

This world famous icon needs no introduction. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, the Sydney Opera House was quoted as “one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind”. Step into this superbly built building and unveil the stories behind its creation. During Vivid

Sydney, the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House are illuminated with stunning designs and flashy hues – a sight that never fails to fascinate.

Darling Harbour

There are plenty of things to see and do around the bustling Darling Harbour. Step into the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo to meet the real locals – kangaroos, koalas and other friendly animals. Discover amazing sea creatures through Australia’s unique fresh water and marine environments at the SEA Life Sydney Aquarium, including a new ride-through expedition to see sub-Antarctic King and Gentoo penguins! When night falls, Darling Harbour gives one of the best views during a fireworks display – so be sure to check out the latest fireworks schedule when you are there during Vivid Sydney!

Sydney Tower Eye

The Sydney Tower Eye is the tallest building in the city. Standing at 250 meters, it offers fantastic panoramic views of the city, where you can take in its famed landmarks all at once. On a clear day, you can even gaze at the silhouettes of the Blue Mountains from afar – a beautiful sight, especially during sunset. Watch the city glow with an orange hue atop Sydney’s highest point as buildings light up one by one, an experience made even more magical during Vivid Sydney.

The Rocks Walking Tour

This is where European settlers chose to step ashore in 1788 and The Rocks became the birthplace of modern Sydney. Walk on the charming, cobbled streets of this historic area and be amazed with the early settlement story of the First Fleet of convicts and how they occupied The Rocks and Sydney Cove. The storehouses, pubs and working class cottages remain, reminiscent of the precious past of this vibrant town. At night, the place lights up with spectacular light art installations and large-scale illuminations during Vivid Sydney. Stroll along the waterfront and be entertained by live music performances. It is also one of the best places to take in the Lighting of the Sails.

Sydney, NSW


Recommended Package!

4D3N Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour & The Rocks

Sydney Tower Eye

6538 0318 W:

E: The panorama view on Sydney Tower Eye. Blk 531A Upper Cross Street, #03-104 to 107 Hong Lim Complex S’pore 051531



Vivid Sydney, 26 May - 17 June 2017

24 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


Discover the feel of the open road and freedom to explore New Zealand with MISA Travel.


here is much to see and so much more to experience in New Zealand. Thanks to MISA Travel, you can truly delve deep into this beautiful country and pick itineraries that have been carefully crafted to maximize your money’s worth. These independent tours provide one with the freedom and ease of exploring without the stresses of planning or coordinating. We’ve rounded up a few highlights for you to check out what MISA Travel has to offer.

The Southern Explorer on Wheels

Maneuver your way through the South Island in your rented car and explore the beauty and glory of New Zealand’s natural wonders at your own pace! This 10-day extravaganza will take you to some of the best spots. Visit the Tasman Glacier – the largest glacier in New Zealand – which can be found at the base of the highest mountain in the country, Mount Cook. The lake surrounding the glacier is a captivating site to explore while on a boat ride. Here, you will be able to find icebergs of many different shapes and sizes that tear away from time to time, allowing you to touch (and even taste!) these pieces of ice. For a truly memorable holiday, embark on a Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike Tour, which provides visitors with panoramic views of the west coast glacier landscape whilst on a helicopter, followed by a guided hike to the most intact and natural glacier spots. Hop on board a cruise to take in the sights of Milford Sound – one of the most awe-inspiring fiords in New Zealand. Have the experience of a lifetime on a heart-pumping Shotover Jet boat ride! first stop on the route will be at Port Stephens, the Dolphin Capital of Australia. Get ready to be enthralled by the natural beauty of this coastal town and the multitude of adventures it has to offer. On the top of your list should be a dolphin watch cruise - there are 150 resident bottlenose dolphins to spot! You can also try parasailing and spot wildlife from above as you take in incredible views of the coastline. Another vantage point is the summit of Mount Tomaree; a hike to the top will reward you with magnificent views of the coast. For something even more adrenalineFr New Zealand pumping, head to Stockton Beach to sand Recommended Package! board or quad bike down the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere!


10D9N The Southern Explorer on Wheels

Land Package: Heli-Hike Franz Josef, Glacier Explorer Tasman Glacier, Milford Sound Cruise, Shotover Jetboat

Coromandel and Rotorua on Wheels

New Zealand


Recommended Package!

Spend a full day getting acquainted with Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. The cove is located near the Hot Water Beach. The latter allows you to build and relax in Land Package: Farm Stay, Hobbiton, Black your own personal makeshift ‘spa pool’ as the hot Water Rafting, AgroVentures waters bubble through the sand. Many visitors to New Zealand are also avid fans of The Lord of the Rings. The country became that much more popular after the fantasy series filmed a bulk of the scenes in Matamata, a rural town in the North Island. Visitors can embark on a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour where they will learn more about how the set was created.

4D3N Hobbits, Maori and Caves Adventure

Bucket List Experiences

Spend a night on farm to experience life in the countryside! What better way to experience life in New Zealand than in a cosy farm house with some home-cooked dinner and conversation with friendly local hosts. In the North Island of New Zealand, head to the region of Waitomo to experience Black Water Rafting in the legendary Ruakuri Cave. Here, you can abseil through pitch-dark limestone cave. When you reach the bottom, the water will carry you out through the tunnels which was cut out by the rocks naturally, while you sit on an inflatable tube. Enjoy the fascinating sight of what seem to be a million stars – but are the many glow-worms that live in the cave. For more information on tours and packages to New Zealand, please visit:

New Zealand


Recommended Package!

8D7N Coromandel and Rotorua on Wheels Land Package: Coromandel, Tauranga, Rotorua, Matamata Discount 15% Off for 2nd Pax !

The Northern Adventurer on Wheels

Start off your 8-day North Island adventure in Wellington. Visit the world famous Weta Caves Workshop, walk through the Art Deco city of Napier and Fr New Zealand visit some extraordinary creatures in Recommended Package! Zealandia! Get a taste of the Maori culture by joining the authentic Mitai Maori Village experience. You will be able to see Land Package: Wellington, Napier, warriors dressed in their traditional tribal Whakatane, White Island Volcano, Rotorua, wear, paddling an ancient warrior canoe Auckland down the Wai-o-whiro stream. Tuck into a traditionally cooked hangi meal, enjoy a cultural performance filled with captivating facts about the Maori’s past and ta moko (tattoo art), and top off the experience with an energising hake finale that will leave you speechless.


6538 0318

W: E: The panorama view on

Blk 531A Upper Cross Street, #03-104 to 107 Hong Lim Complex S’poreEye. 051531 Sydney Tower


8D7N The Northern Adventrure on Wheels

25 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

QATAR, THE GEM OF MIDDLE EAST Antiquity and modernity meet; cultures and traditions collide. Discover the best of this real-life Arabian fairytale.


trategically located in the Arabian Gulf region on the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar is a beautiful country that exudes warmth and friendliness. Besides being known for its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and for having the largest natural gas and oil reserves, Qatar is a beautiful and historic gem filled with soul. With colossal and modern buildings built side by side, there are hidden treasures in the maze of traditional streets - brimming with culture and history.

Souq Waqif

Back in the day, Souq Waqif used to be a place for trading. It is located close to the harbour - a meeting place for merchants and traders from across the globe. A souq is a term for open-air marketplaces in West Asian and North African cities (much like the Persian term, bazaar). Souq Waqif buzzes with a plethora of stalls selling exotic garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is a place of heritage and culture, the air thick with nostalgia of its kaleidoscopic history. Travelers walking through the marketplace can get a sense of what used to be - the present scene before them a hint of Souq Waqif’s bustling past. Chill out at one of the many local eateries offering delicious and authentic Qatari cuisine - savour not just the mouthwatering cuisines, but the rhythm and tunes of Qatar as well!

Museum of Islamic Art

This museum is located on the Corniche in Doha, and was designed by the world-renowned architect, Mr I. M. Pei. It

displays a vast variety of artwork and artefacts of the Islamic World, such as ceramics, metal artefacts, rugs, some of which date back to the 14th century. Recognised as one of the world’s top cultural institutions, its enormous and simple exterior with sleek and modern interiors has impressed visitors from all around the world. Overlooking the bay, this four-story architecture is breath-taking. To pique interests and keep visitors coming back for more, the museum has a wide range of special-themed, temporary exhibitions. If art exhibitions are not your cup of tea, then simply enjoying a cup of coffee whilst taking in the views of the bay is time well-spent here. Admission to the museum (except for its temporary shows) is free.

Katara Cultural Village

Katara emerged from a long-standing vision to position Qatar as a cultural beacon, radiating in the Middle East through theatre, literature, music, visual art, conventions and exhibitions. As the largest and the most multidimensional cultural project of Qatar, it plays host to international, regional Katara Culture Village and local festivals as well as workshops, performances and exhibitions in its beautiful theatres, concert halls, exhibition galleries. The Katara Amphitheatre is the gem of the cultural village that combines classical Roman architecture with Islamic features. With a seating capacity of 5000, it holds many world-class events since its completion in 2008. The only place for orchestra fans to see the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra is at The Opera House.

The Golden Masjid is a must-see as it is adorned with millions of small golden chips that represents Ottoman architectural styles.

Desert Safari

A trip to Qatar would be a waste without an adventurous journey into the heart of the desert. A choice of overnight, half day, or full day package tours are available to suit your budget and interests. The tours will take you to the amazing sand dunes in the south and to the inland sea. Experience sand bashing, sand boarding, camel rides, quad biking or simply enjoy a dip in the Gulf ocean. A half-day tour, enables you to experience the thrill of sitting in a 4 x 4 luxury car across the sand dunes, and the serenity of the inland sea. On a full-day trip, you get to experience all the available exciting activities and set-up camp at the nearby crystal sand beach. Do include this itinerary into your upcoming holiday trip you will never know the excitement that awaits until you step into this amazing country! PROMOTION: Travellers travelling on Qatar Airways are eligible for a free transit visa for a minimum of 5 hours up to 96 hours. Applications can be made online through https://transitvisa.

For more information on tour packages to Qatar, please visit

1400 years of art in one day.

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26 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

Snowsledding at Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival


Experiencing the coldest season of the year in Korea as a local would WORDS BY: GIGI FOK In January, I had the privilege of embarking on a wintry adventure to Korea, thanks to Korea Tourism Organization. In theory, I was familiar with the many different winter festivals, but experiencing the real deal was something else altogether! Over the course of five days, I traversed the mountainous areas of Hwacheon, Pyeongchang and Jeongseon, embarked on exciting adventures and acquainted my tastebuds to mouth-watering Korean delights.

Day 1

I arrived at Seoul, Incheon International Airport, thrilled to begin my journey. After meeting up with my friendly tour guide, we set off for Hwacheon. Located in the Gangwon Province, Hwacheon is one of the nine provinces in Korea. Before we headed off to the Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival, we tucked into some delicious Dubu Jeongol (tofu stew), which consisted of simple, yet surprisingly flavourful ingredients. When we reached the festival, the temperature dropped to a record low of -15 degree Celsius, making it the perfect day for ice fishing. Participants were provided with a fishing rod and some bait to fish for trout from a small hole in the ice. Lowering my rod into the icy waters, I bobbed the bait up and down, in impatience and excitement. I felt a tug on the rod, and

Side dishes

was about to pull out what I had thought would be my first catch, but to my dismay the fish had swam away. However, I did manage to successfully nab a couple of fish for dinner. Off the menu, we also ordered some spicy and sour-tasting trout, as well as trout sushi! Another exciting activity that was scheduled for the day was hand fishing, where each participant was given three chances to catch a fish with their bare hands. Other must-try activities at this festival include snowboarding and ice-sledding. After partaking in a number of exciting activities, I was famished! I stuffed myself with barbequed pork chops at a restaurant called Mugunghwa. The original and the signature spicy pork dish was superb and was grilled using coal and hardwood, leaving the meat tender with a smoky aftertaste. Before retiring for the night, we explored the tranquil village, which was lighted up by 27,000 (equal to Hwacheon population) trout-lanterns. These charming lanterns were made by the retirees of the small town, as part of the government’s initiative to provide jobs to retirees and to attract more tourists into the town.

Day 2

We woke up early for breakfast, then made our way to the Alpensia Ski Resort, one of the venues for the 2018

Barbeque Pork

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The resort is comprised of 171 rooms and accommodates up to 3000 guests. It is famous for its water park and its world-class skiing facilities. Approximately 98 percent of its infrastructure is ready for the Olympics. The sheer size of the stadium – it seats 11,000 – was astounding. We took a cable car up to the Ski Jump Tower platform and were greeted by a scenic vista of the surroundings. The dangerously steep platform lets skiers take off at high speeds and as far as 125 meters. We stopped for lunch at one of the oldest restaurants at Hwangtae Hall. We savoured the pollock fish, a local favourite, which can only be found in regions with a cooler climate. The chewy delicacy is topped with a red pepper sauce, and is considered to be a high-nutrient, lowcholesterol dish that can be enjoyed generously without worry. After lunch, we visited the Daegwallyeong Sky Ranch. Founded in 1974, the facility has been open to the public since 2014. The ranch, which is well-preserved and free of pollution, provides you with scenic sights of the surroundings. Besides offering picturesque views, the site provides optimal conditions to produce the finest breed of Korean cows called Hanu. A short walk from the Sky Ranch will take you to the sheep farm (that looks like it is straight out of a children’s storybook)

Tofu stew

27 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

Ice fishing

Sheep Farm, Sky Ranch

where we got to feed some adorable sheep! I also got to visit the Traditional Korean Food Culture Experience Center in Jeong Gang Won. An interesting architectural fact about this traditional village is that it was built with wood – but without any nails to secure the pieces together. While here, I also got to make my own bibimbap for dinner!

Day 3

The next day we made our way to High1 Resort, a leisure resort that provides a relaxing getaway from the bustling city life. The Go-Go Ski Festival is held at the High1 Resort in the coldest month of winter. It is equipped with top-class skiing facilities and also provides skiing lessons for beginners. In the -11-degree weather, I geared up and nervously headed to the ski grounds to ski down the steep snowy slopes. My incredibly helpful coach guided me on the dos and don’ts of skiing. In addition to teaching me how to maintain the correct body posture, gliding down a slope and slowing down, he also taught me how to fall safely and pick myself up after. After my mini-skiing adventure, which left me quite winded, I was thankful for lunchtime – juicy pork cutlets at the food court! The tour group then headed to the Hanbo Coal Mine, a leading coal mine back in 1980’s. It had stopped operations since 2008 when the coal industry was replaced

Food Culture Experience Center at Jeonggangwon

Taebaek Mountain Snow Festival’s Sculpture

28 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017 by gas and electricity, but it rose to fame once again after the filming of the Korean drama series, Descendants of the Sun. Then, we popped into the Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival, which is held for 10 days annually. The 24-year old festival was started by locals who found the amount of snow on the ground unbearable, and decided to make snow sculptures. Today, the festival is a fun competition amongst expert sculptors and university students, who use this opportunity to showcase their amazing talents. Last year, the festival attracted 50,000 visitors over a ten-day period. To facilitate easy travel to the festival, a special ‘Snow Train’ is designated to take visitors to Taebaek.

Street Food-ddukbokkie and fish cake

Artefacts of tribes in Samtan Art Mine

Day 4

In the morning, we started off the day with a visit to the Samtan Art Mine – a coal mine that operated from 1964 till 2001, when the mining industry was at its heyday. It is now a site primarily used for filming purposes, and over the years it has filmed many popular dramas and TV programs such as Descendents of the Sun and Running Man. The Samtan Art Mine is a large building which plays host to an art gallery, a cave gallery, restaurant and also serves as an accommodation for artists and tourists. We saw an old lift that could hold up to 400 people and went down as deep as 650 meters. Once you reached the bottom of the pit, you could step into the lives of miners as you walk through the abandoned shower spaces and boot-washing areas. I was surprised to learn that they even had a little hall in which miners could get married in to save cost! After a tour of the museum, we went to the Learning how to ski at Jeongseon 5-Day market, High1 Resort which is held on every 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd and 27th of each month. The bustling street comes to life as locals gather at this market to purchase items such as traditional mountain herbs and vegetables. If you’re not planning on getting any greens, then perhaps the wide-selection of delectable, authentic Korean food will keep you (and your stomach) happy for hours. Alternatively, you could also munch on

Arirang Village

some ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes), hot pancakes, or a bowl of Kotdeungchigi noodles. We ended a day with a trip to Arii Hills (Byeongbangchi Skywalk), which is situated at the top of Byeongbangsan Mountain. We stood on the Byeongbangchi Skywalk, an observation deck extending site from the side of a cliff, and indulged in the stunning views of the mountain terrains. We also had an unhindered view of the “U” shape curve of the idyllic Sahaengcheon Stream. On my final day in Korea, I reminisced my time in this dynamic country as I made my way to the airport.

Hopefully next winter I’ll be back to embark on more memorable adventures! Special thanks to Ms. Irin Lin (Korea Tourism Organization); Ms. MJ and Jenny (Gangwon Province); Director of Taebaek City Hall, Park Si-Hyun and Chairman of Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival. For more information, please log on to www.english.

Byeongbangchi Skywalk

29 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

30 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

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31 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


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QUESTION ESTADIA HOTEL is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. True or False? Experience the charm of Baba & Nyonya Revel in the magnificent splendour of the culturally rich Malacca heritage city at our uniquely Peranakanthemed Estadia Hotel where contemporary sophistication meets tradition. Offering 196 delicately designed rooms with the concept of quality, comfort and value paired with our honest and genuine service, Estadia Hotel is pride in meeting the needs of our valued guests. Whether you’re going on a travel adventure, family holiday or business trip, Estadia Hotel is the ideal accommodation for you in the Malacca UNESCO heritage city. For more details about Estadia Hotel, please log on to or find us - “Estadia Hotel” on Facebook.

ESTADIA HOTEL Jalan Merdeka, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia. Tel : 606 - 227 9600 Fax : 606 - 227 9611 Email :

HOW Email your answer to, with the subject header as “GUESS THE PLACE” with your Name, NRIC and your contact details by 3rd March 2017. The result will be published in the April issue of Travel Journal and winner will be notified by email within 2 weeks. *This contest is subject to the Contests & Lucky Draw Terms and Conditions available at http://wwm. sg/terms&conditions. The contest is only open to Singaporeans T&C for the Estadia Hotel stay: • Original voucher is to be presented upon check-in. • Voucher is valid for 3 months from 17 Feb 2017. • Prior reservation must be made. Subject to room availability. • Non-redeemable for cash and no refunds applicable. • Non-transferable unless authorized. • Voucher is not valid on/during special promotions, weekends, eves of public holidays and public holidays, unless authorised.

32 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

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33 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017


Mr Sulaiman Shedek, Country Manager from Ministry of Tourism Republic of Indonesia

Mr. Vunam from Marketing Department of Tourism Promotion Division of Vietnam

Daw Khin Than Win, Deputy Director General from Ministry of Hotels and Toursim of Myanmar


Shaping South East Asian Tourism


The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a regional effort to promote the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as one destination for leisure travellers. It is an annual event that involves key tourism industry players such as Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Each of the member countries take turns to host this prestigious event. This year, Singapore had the privilege of hosting this event. This will be the 36th edition of ATF since it’s inauguration in Malaysia in 1981 and the third time in Singapore. ATF aims to promote travel, to the various ASEAN destinations, not just to the international body of travellers but to travellers from the member countries themselves. The event is also an avenue for the travel industry to exchange ideas and review various developments to increase travel to South East Asia.

Datuk HJ Hamzah Rahmat, President of MATTTA

Ms. Fiona Estrop from Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board

For more information, please visit

Ms HJH NUr Fariza Munyati HJ ABD AJI from Tourism Development Department of Brunei

Mr. Gustino Basuan and Ms Daniella Lupi Balan from Sarawak Tourism Board

Ms. Maricon B. Ebron and Mr James A.SY from Tourism Promtions Board (TPB) Philippines

34 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

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36 | Travel Journal | Issue 16 | February 2017

Travel Journal February 2017  

An independent, free tabloid that provides a fresh perspective on travelling around the world.