With travelling on pause at the moment, this can only mean one thing — more time to make your dream vacay even dreamier! Having received almost 5,000 entries from Singapore residents via our A New Year, Renewed Resolutions contest, we know many of you just can’t wait to enjoy all the sights and bites from around the world. Be it soaking in an onsen at Kawaguchiko, dipping in the Bondi Iceberg Pool, getting a 360-view of the city skyline at Taipei 101, or enjoying a spectacular view of nature at Mount Halla in Jeju, we’ve compiled a hitlist of the top five destinations not to be missed and ranked them based on your votes, all in the name to ignite the wanderlust in you.
So, which is the most popular country to visit? Not one but many! Read on to see if these match up with your own travel wishlist!
A popular tourist destination, no other place comes close to Japan for a travel experience combining tradition and modernity. Known for its Insta-worthy landscape (think of the cherry blossom trees!), mouth-watering food, and warm-hearted people, the Land of the Rising Sun is guaranteed to make your tummy and heart full.
A city unlike any other that will make you smile and leave you in awe, Tokyo is one of the few places in the world that will turn every moment into an unforgettable memory. Whether you’re into the arts, music, nature, or just shopping, there’s an endless list of things to keep you thoroughly entertained. Besides the iconic Imperial Palace, Tsukiji Fish Market, Sensoji Temple, and Meiji Shrine, the Mori Art Museum is also a great place to begin your travels in Tokyo. Or explore the vintage clothing stores and bars in the bohemian village that is Shimokitazawa. Where tradition and custom sit alongside the modern and new, you’ll find yourself filled with wonder as you explore the streets of Tokyo.
With Sakura, snow and seafood, Hokkaido is a wonderland in Japan filled with magic and splendour, boasting some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. A popular winter destination for snowboarding and skiing, Hokkaido is also appropriate for summer activities like animal-watching, hiking and even camping. Perfect for outdoor lovers, a hike in Akan National Park will have you surrounded by nature and rewarded with spellbinding sceneries. Also, don’t forget to give Noboribetsu — Japan’s most famous hot spring town — a visit, and experience its healing properties. You’d also definitely not want to miss the mesmerising view of Hakodate at the Shakotan Peninsula. Best experienced during sunset, you’ll find yourself enamoured by the beauty of nature here.
A shopping haven and a foodie paradise, head straight to the heart of Osaka by taking an evening stroll and marvelling at the dazzling neon-lit Dotonbori. Then step back in time and check out Shinsekai. While its name means “New World”, it’s actually a funky retro entertainment district that offers you a glimpse into what Japan was like in the past. And if you’re looking for places to go with kids, you should definitely spend a day or two at Universal Studios Japan. In just 30 minutes from central Osaka, you’ll be able to find yourself in the best theme park in Japan. Then wander through the seemingly endless Shotengais (shopping arcade) for the quintessential Osaka experience. Be sure to check out Shinsaibashi for its endless rows of shops and eateries that will have you spend your entire day trawling through its streets. Don’t forget about Tenjimbashi-suji, Japan’s longest shopping arcade. At 2.6km long, even if you don’t snag a good deal, you’ll still be able to get a good workout out of it.
Get insight into the cultural quirks and etiquette in Japan as you plan for your trip there!
Even if K-dramas and infectious pop tunes are not for you, there’s a dazzling range of experiences, miles and miles of beautiful landscapes, and over 5,000 years of culture and history in South Korea that will certainly draw you to this country. Blessed with changing seasons, South Korea is not just an exciting place to travel, but also one to live in. From the cherry blossoms in Spring and the flower fields in Summer, to the stunning foliage in Fall and the wonderland it is in Winter, be prepared to have your breath taken away by its seasonal changes and its year-round festivals. Top that off with fascinating historical and cultural embodiments all over the country, including its magnificent palaces and traditional Korean houses, the hanok.
Travelling to Asia is nothing short of a wanderlust experience. Explore a city where temples mingle with skyscrapers and traditional dishes are mixed with tasty trends. Whether it’s fashion, food, architecture or art, Seoul is a riding wave of creativity and a haven built for the curious and eager. Filled with mountains, spend your day hiking at the accessible Namsan, or even journey to the outskirts for a trek up Bukhansan. With a coffee shop at every corner, you’ll also find yourself immersed in the city’s rich coffee culture. So why not just kick back and relax in a space with free wifi, power to charge your laptop, and some coffee to recharge your soul? And what better way to end the day than with a bottle of soju at Gangnam, Hongdae, or Itaewon. That’s how the people in Seoul reward themselves after a long day of work.
Created some two million years ago from volcanic eruptions, this island with a slew of spectacular landscapes is truly a masterpiece of nature. Known as the Hawaii of South Korea, all thanks to its mild climate all year round, it’s no wonder Jeju is a haven for outdoor lovers. A short but steep 30-minute hike at Seongsan Ilchulbong handsomely rewards you with a beautiful sunrise. And watch the hardy haenyeo (sea women) bring in their daily catch at shore. Unique to Jeju, you’ll see these female free-divers who are tough as nails make a living off their haul, rain or shine. Make sure to stop by a local establishment for a taste of seafood cooked Korean-style. Whether it’s their abalone porridge or seafood stew, as long as you’re by the sea, you’ll be guaranteed to have seafood at its freshest.
Torn between visiting Seoul and Jeju? You’ll find the middle ground at Busan — a unique blend of coastal sights and urban districts. Known for its fresh seafood, Jagalchi Market is one of the places to be for live seafood. Just take your pick and have it cooked at one of the restaurants in the vicinity. Or you could try convincing the friendly ajummas at the market to offer you some free samples. No trip is complete with the beautiful, picturesque landscapes that countries in the Asian region offer. Get an impressive view of Busan’s iconic pastel houses at the Gamcheon Culture Village. Touted as the Santorini of Busan, you’ll be able to spot stacks of colourful houses against a stunning ocean backdrop, making it one of the world’s most beautiful places. And why not end off the day at the Seomyeon Shopping District? Known for its vibrant energy at night, you’ll find yourself surrounded by youths as you explore the shopping lanes, food streets, as well as the clubs on the streets of Seomyeon.
South Korea is one of the most dynamic and vibrant countries in Asia, with so many interesting spots to discover.
With its many national parks and incredible sceneries, it’s no wonder the Portuguese sailors who first discovered Taiwan in the 1500s saw it fitting to name this natural beauty ‘Ilha Formosa’ (Beautiful Island). And it’s not just the natural scenery, but also its cultural sights that make Taiwan one of the world’s most charming places not to be missed.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway in Southeast Asia, there’s something for everyone in Taiwan’s bustling and food-loving capital. From its complex history and creative arts, to the traditional temples and unrivalled natural scenery, Taipei’s got you covered. Get a bird’s eye view of the city at Taipei 101 — Taiwan’s most iconic structure that’s shaped like a bamboo stalk. Be sure to ride the world’s fastest elevator up to its observation deck and check out its 720-ton stabilising ball which protects it from earthquakes. Then go big on food or go hungry, because one doesn’t simply visit Taipei without spending an evening stroll at its famed night markets. Renowned for its street food, the night markets of Taipei are actually the country’s #1 tourist attraction! In fact, some of its night market vendors have even been recognised on the Michelin Bib Gourmand List! So be sure to check out the “Big Five” night markets which include Shilin, Raohe and Ningxia.
Laidback and even-paced, you won’t just fall in love with its natural beauty, but also its atmosphere. Hualien is a breathtaking mountainous town that’s perfect for middle-aged travellers and nature lovers who prefer an adventurous getaway. Many have praised the beauty of Eastern Taiwan, and that has most probably got to do with the Taroko National Park. Spanning an area of over 92,000 hectares and featuring many natural wonders, Taroko National Park is one of Taiwan’s nine national parks, and it’s what most people visit Hualien for. Head from the wilderness to catch some wildlife in action. If you like marine mammals, go whale and dolphin watching. We heard there’s a higher likelihood of sightings especially between April and October!
The oldest city and ancient capital of Taiwan, Tainan has its culture deeply rooted in tradition and food. Not to forget, its warm climate all year round makes it a great place to visit. Travel right to the heart of Tainan and head to where education originated in Taiwan — the Confucius Temple. Built in 1966 before the end of the Manchu Dynasty, catch a glimpse into the past, and get a sense of calm as you take in the beautiful surroundings of the temple. Then find a blend of old and new along the alleyways of Shennong Street — a well-known historical road that’s home to fashion boutiques, charming cafes, old shophouses, and small temples. Authentic and enchanting, Shennong Street is especially popular with photographers and Instagrammers right before sunset.
And if you’re planning to see a different side of Taiwan, we heard there are plenty of scenic cycling routes that could turn your next holiday into an adventure.
A land filled with sunshine, nature and endless stretches of gorgeous beaches. Find yourself surrounded by the ocean, reefs and thousands of islands, and stumble upon National Parks, rainforests and the great Outback as you travel inwards. With generally mild weather all year round, Australia has plenty to offer as a holiday destination.
Travelling to Australia? There’s plenty to see, do, and eat in the cities there, perfect for those travelling with kids as well. Hip, dynamic and exciting, Melbourne is full of character and the fine works of nature. Known for its many lanes of street art, cultural diversity, and dining options, this cosmopolitan city is somehow able to exude charm and keep its best spots hidden at the same time. An important food hub of Melbourne since 1878, the Queen Victoria Market is home to some of the city’s tastiest produce stalls and delicatessens. Located in a spectacular Victorian architecture, you’ll also find many crafts made by local creatives, as well as souvenirs to bring back home. Within walking distance from the city centre is the Botanic Gardens, an oasis of calm right outside the bustling city. A popular sport for walkers and joggers, the gardens offer breathtaking landscapes and foliage perfect for a quiet stroll.
From historical and cultural sites to natural sights, Perth strikes the perfect balance between its big tourist attractions and idyllic scenery. Explore the outdoors while remaining in the city at one of the biggest city parks in the world. Find yourself surrounded by astonishingly tall trees and manicured gardens as you get inspired by the greenery around you. And why not continue your stroll along the Swan River, a picturesque place for walking and cruising if you’re on your way to Fremantle and Elizabeth Quay? Or just hop on the Rottnest Island Ferry if you prefer the great outdoors and pay Pinnacles Desert a visit. Then wander through the winding portside streets of Fremantle to learn about the city’s culture.
Can’t decide between the beach or the city? Why not have both in Sydney? Take a walk in this harbour city and admire the spectacular white sails of the Sydney Opera House, and the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge. Don’t forget to discover Sydney’s off-the-beaten-path gems that accurately capture its diversity and vibrancy. Explore one of Australia’s oldest neighbourhoods, The Rocks, an area that has become a trendy locale filled with boutique stores and quaint cafes that line its cobbled streets. Looking to soak up that Australian sunshine? A quick getaway to Bondi Beach will not disappoint. Get a tan and watch time go by while tuning in to the best beats on your headphones, or take a dip in the turquoise water, like Aussies do. Or just take a dip in the famous Bondi Icebergs swimming pool if the ocean isn’t really your thing.
Filled with wanderlust and torn between choosing Sydney or Melbourne? Consider the different unique activities and sights both cities offer.
From its incredible scenery to its adrenaline-filled activities, there are just so many reasons to plan your next travel to New Zealand! With all its amazing national parks, glacier trekking and extreme sports, there’s perhaps no other place as beautiful as this for those who seek adventure. What’s more for the wanderlust? Its rich history and incredible Maori culture make it a perfect getaway unlike anywhere else in the world.
The adventure capital of the world and the birthplace of bungee jumping, Queenstown is a beauty to behold all year round. From jumping out of a plane, and flinging yourself off a bridge to wine tasting, with an endless list of activities and stunning sights, there’s something for everyone. Flowing from the Southern Alps through Skippers Canyon and into the Kawarau River is the Shotover River. The best way to experience it? On the famous Queenstown jet boat ride. A hit with visitors and locals since 1965, find yourself marvelling at magnificent scenery as you power through the narrow Shotover River Canyons. Or if you prefer to take things a little slow, just head out for a picnic at Moke Lake – the perfect spot to kick back and relax, perfect if you’re looking for a place to bring the kids, even those on the strollers. Up for an adventure? You can always take a dip in the chilly waters of the lake after completing an easy two-hour hiking trek right after your picnic.
Vibrant and energetic, the city of Christchurch boasts amazing street art and state-of-the-art architecture, while remaining true to its English heritage. Find your inner-city escape among flowering gardens, native blooms, and plant conservatories at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens when you go travelling to New Zealand. Then go river punting along the 14-kilometre long Otakaro/Avon River which bends round the gardens before continuing through the CBD and out to the Pacific Ocean. Also considered to be the most English city outside of England, what can be more fitting than going on an open-top double-decker tour to catch all the city sights and learn about this beautiful garden city.
Also known as the City of Sails, New Zealand’s largest and most diverse city is also home to some 70,000 boats. Filled with character, Auckland has lots to offer with all its different attractions and remarkable landscapes. Take a hike or a bicycle ride to explore some of Auckland’s natural wonders, including The Waitakere Ranges, Shakespear Regional Park, and the Hunua Ranges. Marvel at the beauty of this city with a full 360-degree view of Auckland at The Sky Tower, which overlooks the Hauraki Gulf, the North Shore, and other parts of the city. A favourite even among locals, Waiheke Island is home to white-sand beaches, adventure activities as well as art galleries. Just catch a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown for a scenic ride across the Hauraki Coast.
And while you may have heard all about the Northern Lights, you’d be surprised that the Southern Hemisphere has its own light show to offer too.
Tick off dream destinations on your bucket list
Feeling inspired to travel already? Why not start planning for your next trip now instead of just waiting around? Just explore other articles on our website to get yourself inspired today.
Best time to visit
Head to Japan during the months of March and April and September and November. Tokyo, Hokkaido, and Osaka are perfect places to be in during the spring and autumn months. You’ll be able to catch vibrant seasonal hues.
The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (JP¥).
Book when borders reopen
Get to Japan in 6hr 54min via direct flights from Singapore. Then, domestic flights to Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka, and other cities will have you there in a shorter time frame. If you wish, you may also take direct flights to cities from Singapore itself. If Japan is in your travel checklist, search and book for flights here once borders open!
Best time to visit
Visit Seoul, Jeju Island and Busan during the spring months of April to June, or during autumn between September and November when the weather is cool with little rainfall which makes it perfect for sightseeing.
The official currency of Indonesia is the South Korean Won (KRW).
Book when borders reopen
Get to South Korea in 6hr 35 min via direct flights from Singapore and hop on to your next enroute to Jeju Island and Busan. If South Korea is in your travel checklist, search and book for flights here once borders open!
Best time to visit
Head to Taipei between March and May where it's summer but with moderate temperatures. Hualien is best during the month of October, where it’s less crowded and more affordable. Tainan is best visited between November and December and March and April.
The official currency of Japan is the New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
Book when borders reopen
Get to Taiwan in 4hr 45min via direct flights from Singapore. If Taiwan is in your travel checklist, search and book for flights here once borders open!
Best time to visit
Perth, Melbourne and Sydney offer a lovely springtime charm between September to November with little rainfall, while warmer months of March to May are perfect to visit just before winter kicks in.
The official currency of Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Book when borders reopen
Get to Australia between 5 to 7hr via direct flights to your destination city from Singapore. If Australia is in your travel checklist, search and book for flights here once borders open!
Best time to visit
Head to Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland between December and February where it's summer and outdoor excursions can be wonderful.
The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Book when borders reopen
Get to New Zealand in 9hr 50min via direct flights from Singapore. Different destinations such as Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland may vary in time taken. If New Zealand is in your travel checklist, search and book for flights here once borders open!