It’s time to rediscover the world again. That oh-so-familiar feeling of wanderlust is stirring once again in many hearts. The only question is - where to next?
For some, this is the time to visit that far-flung destination they’ve always dreamed of, but there’s something to be said for visiting familiar horizons. Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney, London - it stands to reason that these cities have stayed popular because they have plenty to offer beyond their famous landmarks. Some of them have even re-emerged as different creatures, with a fair share of exciting new finds.
For Citi Mastercard® members, it’s the perfect time to tap into their travel privileges again. Get a S$100 e-voucher when you do your airline bookings with participating airlines, and up to 22 per cent discount off hotels via Agoda - these added savings lets you get more value for your actual adventures. The Citi PremierMiles Mastercard even includes two complimentary airport lounge visits, so you can start that holiday right after check-in. Read on to find out all about these travel perks for Citi Mastercard members.
Whether you’re up for some delicious gourmand finds, creepy atmospheric walks, or breath-taking scenic escapes, these eight cities have got something just for you.
Hongkong: An explosion of culture
Famous for their dim sum and ding ding trams, Hong Kong’s has been working on its appeal over the past few years, and has decided on a strong injection of culture - with two projects boasting stunning views of Victoria Harbour.
The M+ is a striking addition that can’t be missed even from a distance. A giant multi-storey LED screen flickers with colourful visuals - hinting at the evocative displays within Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture. The modern pieces stand in contrast to the Hong Kong Palace Museum, just a stone’s throw away. With over 900 pieces on loan from the original museum in Beijing, many of the Chinese artefacts on display are national treasures, and some have never been seen by the public. After you’re done gawking at the nine galleries, don’t forget to sit under the impressive architecture and enjoy uninterrupted views of the Hong Kong skyline.
Speaking of uninterrupted, Cathay Pacific flies from Changi Airport directly to Hong Kong four times daily, with return tickets starting from S$310. If you’re going as a family or group of four, book your Cathay Pacific flight with your Citi Mastercard and enrol for the Citi Mastercard Spend & Get campaign.
Continue your artistic explorations with Juen Juen Gung. Within a sterile-looking building hides this strange cave domain - a work by Vaevae Chan charting her journey from depression to empowerment. Or opt for the Wang Tong Art Walk, where a community art initiative has chosen a set of abandoned buildings to display their pieces, leading to the most unexpected encounters.
Seoul: Go from Hallyu to hauntings
The meteoric rise of Hallyu (Korean wave) has made Seoul a shining destination, and pop culture and trends there have never moved faster. So how does a brand make their presence known? By pop-ups of course!
To stay on top of the trends, one must take a trip to Seongsu-dong. From new launches by skincare companies to an upcoming TV series, one can always spot an inventive concept shop appearing in the edgy neighbourhood overnight. Even international brands like Kinfolk chose to debut their fragrance line, Kinfolk Notes, there, and Dior’s jewel box of a project eventually became their permanent flagship.
If you’re ready to see a lesser-seen side to Seoul, try exploring Yongma Land Abandoned Theme Park. The attraction was built in the 80s before being closed in 2011, and the compound is an apocalyptic dream. But this is Seoul after all, so even as creepy gets a splash of glamour - the site has been featured in K-pop videos. For a true dose of the supernatural, try the Dark Side of Seoul Ghost Walk. You’ll be led through a walking tour filled with horrific tales of revenge, bloodshed and hauntings - like something straight out of a movie.
There’s no better way to visit Seoul than by its national carrier, Korean Air. Flying three times daily from Changi Airport to Incheon Airport, Citi Mastercard members can similarly get a S$100 Fraser (FRx) e-voucher when you enrol for the Citi Mastercard Spend & Get campaign.
Dubai: Heart-stopping adventures
When one thinks of Dubai, many will see it as a transit city, or a shopping destination purely for the rich. Who’d know that the city was also a giant theme park for those seeking thrills?
The waterparks for one, are next level. Aquaventure Waterpark lays claim as the world’s largest, and even has one slide that shoots you out from the top of a pyramid, and ends with an exhilarating whizz through a shark tank at the end. For certified divers, there’s Deep Dive Dubai. Another record-breaking achievement, the 60-metre deep pool is the world’s deepest, and is designed with themes to colour the descent.
Add an extra attraction or two to your itinerary with discounts when you hold a Citi Platinum, Titanium, World or World Elite card. You can enjoy 5 per cent off attractions and tours - up to eight times each year - when you apply the promocode on Klook and checkout with your card. For attractions, use “MCATTN5”, and for tours, use “MCTRAT5”.
If that’s not enough for you, how about something in the air? XLine Dubai will have you ziplining between two buildings - from the 16-storey Amwaj Towers straight into the Dubai Marina Mall, as you hurtle above the waters. For more aerial antics, check out the kooky Gyrocopter flight. The lightweight plane offers stunning views along with powerful acrobatics that belie its size. But nothing will likely beat the zany Dinner in the Sky. Join a bunch of other like-minded diners as you are hoisted 50 metres above the ground seated at a special table, as you are served meals prepared by Le Meridien and The Westin Mina Seyahi Marina. This is a dinner with quite the view!
Racer fans can also live out their dreams with Dream Racing or Dubai Autodrome. The Arabs love their shiny cars and so it’s no surprise that the ones used at the attractions are just as professional as the real ones. The fastest way to Dubai is with direct flights by Emirates. Flying three times daily from Changi Airport. Enrol for the Citi Mastercard Spend & Get campaign when you book your flights by Emirates.
Shanghai: Eclectic pleasures for everyone
In July this year, China announced the resumption of 15-day visa-free travel for Singaporeans – a move that coincided with the acceptance of international credit cards to digital wallets such as AliPay and WeChat Pay. One can say there’s never been a bigger sign to visit.
Shanghai is a great place to start for its cosmopolitan vibes, with its eclectic mix of sights and activities to welcome all temperaments.
If you want to catch the country’s famed acrobatics, visit Shanghai Circus World. The mind-boggling acts showcase the amazing feats that can be achieved with the body through rigorous training, and is a visual spectacle to behold. For another sensory treat, head into the iconic Peace Hotel by the Bund, and visit their Jazz Bar. The musicians here wear their silver hair with pride - they are arguably the world’s longest-performing jazz band. Come by anytime to hear them play classics from a bygone era, or visit after nine at night to enjoy crooning from a local songstress.
Over in Xuhui district is the sprawling West Bund open park. Alongside the beautiful Huangpu river, try your hand at bouldering on one of their climbing walls - it’s free, though no equipment is provided.
Then do some insta-exploring at 1933 Old Millfun. The art deco building was once an abattoir, but thankfully, leaves none of its legacy behind besides the beautiful structure. Enjoy an afternoon weaving through the odd compound, and discover cute little shops and cafes for a photogenic outing. For something a little more traditional, make a day trip to Zhujiajiao. The watertown is as charming as they come, and offers man-powered boat rides down its scenic waterways of pretty houses.
Staying in Shanghai is as unique as they come. The InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is the world’s first underground hotel - though really it’s just built into a quarry. It does, however, feature two floors submerged in the waters. As one of the last countries to open its borders, it’s good to verify if the accommodations you seek have resumed full operations. Make your hotel bookings via Agoda and checkout with a Citi Mastercard, because cardmembers can enjoy 22 per cent off their Agoda bookings.
Bangkok: Thematic trails and oddities
Almost everyone you know would have likely been to Bangkok. This “backyard” destination checks all the boxes that Singaporeans love in a vacation - food, massages, shopping and all at affordable prices. Another bonus: The city’s non-stop transformation gives one a new experience every time.
Recently, pedestrian streets have found favour with locals, and the new Siam Square Walking Street has become a buzzing hotspot. Go during weekends to enjoy the wide boulevard and spontaneous young busker performances - so reminiscent of Hongdae in Seoul - or discover the many exciting shops and eateries in the area.
Ong Ang Canal Walking Street is another ideal strolling spot near Chinatown. Once the waterway was cleared up, trees and lights by the side livened up the stretch and shops began to return again. A little further out is Harajuku Thailand. However, the entire area looks like an entire section of Kyoto with its merchant houses, and there’s plenty of eats to enjoy as you wander about.
Thailand’s untameable spirit can also be found in their quirky buildings. There’s one that looks like an elephant at Chatuchak; another which resembles a robot next to Saint Louis BTS; and a whole dragon wrapping a temple named Wat Sam Phran. And if those oddities aren’t enough, check out Snake Farm to milk out venom, the Siriraj Medical Museum for its macabre display of organs, and the time capsule that is Papaya Studio - a vintage shop bursting with collections from way past.
Thai Airways flies to Bangkok from Changi Airport three times a day, and the airline is included in the Citi Mastercard Spend & Get promotion where you can receive a S$100 Fraser (FRx) e-voucher when you book with Citi Mastercard.
Sydney: The great outdoors down under
From its iconic opera house to bustling urban beaches, Sydney plays gateway to a plethora of natural sights in New South Wales - with some tucked into the city itself.
Enjoy the company of koalas, echidnas and platypus with a stay at Taronga Zoo. Roar and Snore is a glamping package that includes guided tours after hours, and the privilege of falling asleep to the sounds of wildlife. Travel a little ways out to Dubbo to the sister property, Taronga Western Plains Zoo. There, one can experience a full African safari-style experience right from the deck of their tents, watching giraffes, zebras and antelopes roam the native bushland.
Just a two-hour train ride from the city, the beautiful Blue Mountains are a choice hiking spot for those wanting to experience its majesty. But far from the city lights, it is also a perfect spot for some stargazing with an astrophysicist. Learn to tell the constellations apart, and for a full disconnect, opt for a bubble tent stay. If you prefer to drive there, consider tapping into the Hertz promotions for Citi Mastercard members, with 10 per cent off car rentals - not just in Australia, but participating locations in Asia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Europe too.
Couple your appreciation of nature with a tasty finish. Be guided through the process of oyster farming at a family-owned business, and tuck into freshly-shucked platters standing in the same waters they are harvested from. Then better understand the value of truffles with a hunting expedition. Join hounds as they track down the elusive subterranean fungi at Borrodell, and enjoy a decadent truffle dinner after. Complete your epicurean journey with a visit to Distillery Botanica. The innovative founder creates his spirits from pure botanicals, and offers delicious free tastings of his concoctions.
But when it comes to food, don’t forget to look out for Citi Mastercard dining deals when you’re in a city across Asia Pacific. Enjoy 1-for-1 offers, or a complimentary main course the next time you visit a partner restaurant.
For the ultimate adventure, there’s The Seven Valleys. The region is a nature lover’s paradise, complete with bushwalks, mountain biking, and water sports. It’s also famous for its scenic train rides on a charming locomotive, which takes you to experiences like caves and even a glow worm tunnel.
London: Add to your social media memories
Some picture London as a grey and gloomy city but that’s not stopping others from having abundant photogenic opportunities there. Whether you’re wanting an edgy vibe or just clock in at the newest sites, the English dame has plenty hiding in plain sight.
Leake Street Arches is a street culture haven with its striking mural walls - London’s longest legal graffiti wall. This means that no two visits are the same, as aspiring artists continue to layer the arches with their own expression. Equally vibrant is the House of Dreams by Stephen Wright. The mad array of items that gather to become mosaic to the house is actually a physical diary of the artist, with a story behind every doll head and vintage glass.
The city’s subway is the oldest in the world, so imagine a capture of you dining inside the tube. This is possible at Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum. And since we’re on the topic of transportation, head down south towards Isle of Dogs to locate the sculpture by Pierre Vivant. The Traffic Light Tree is every driver’s nightmare, but the quirkiest photo op for the rest of us.
There’s so much to cover in London and nothing gives smarter peace of mind than with the London Pass Go City. Save up to 50 per cent off top attractions in the city with over 90 on the list, including popular bus tours, castles, museums, and even dining. Citi Mastercard members can stack on this savvy tip, with 10 per cent off its purchase when you input the code “MASTERCARDSUMMERLONDON” when you check out on the Go City website.
Showcasing the city’s contrast in offerings, the Lee Valley White Water Centre promises an unlikely picture of you rafting in Olympic-style rapids. The tamer ones can choose to paddle in the scenic lake nearby instead. Battersea Power Station represents the height of the city’s developments, and the new retail and leisure zone is chock full of things to do. We recommend the Chimney Lift for sweeping views of the River Thames for those social media-worthy moments.
For all the Potterheads, there's House of MinaLima. Tucked in Soho and run by two artists who actually met and worked together in the movies, the shop and exhibition store is a dream visit for Harry Potter fans. Those more into high fantasy can head towards St. Dunstan-in-the-East gardens. The site is home to the ruins of a church that first suffered a fire, and then bombing from the Germans, but has since seen nature’s hand transforming it into an ethereal secret garden - one that in autumn, looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings.
Flying into the city of Big Ben by Emirates? Use your Citi Mastercard to enjoy discounts off your fare to London and all other destinations (except Melbourne) operated by Emirates. Enjoy 5 per cent off all Saver categories or 10 per cent off on all Flex and Flex+ options when you fly Economy or Business Class, or 8 per cent off Flex and Flex+ plans on Premium Economy.
Pair it with hotel bookings via Agoda and checkout with a Citi Mastercard as cardmembers can enjoy 22 per cent off all reservations on the platform. Better yet - use the money saved to book a flight class upgrade maybe?
Amsterdam: Delicious in Dutch
Amsterdam can be a mixed bag for some. On one hand, the canals and museums give it an idyllic pace, but the throngs of cyclists can be quite overwhelming. Thankfully, finding respite is usually just a short walk away.
If there is time only for two museums, then make it the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. The former displays over 8,000 works of art from Dutch and European history, with incredible pieces from masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer, while the dedicated one for Van Gogh is an in-depth look into the famed artist’s life and works. If you have time to spare, the nearby Vondelpark is also a tranquil spot for a picnic or cuppa, and inspired fans can cross a few waterways to visit Oudemanhuispoort, where Van Gogh used to browse used books for inspiration.
Gourmands will know that Amsterdam is also a rising star in the Michelin food scene. Go all the way with three-star top stalwarts like De Librije, which offers packages including accommodation and behind-the-scenes experiences. Or visit new entrants like De Kas for its farm-fresh food and giant greenhouse setting.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for it, there are plenty of fabulous dining opportunities to be had. For the quintessential Dutch food experience, there’s no better destination than De Silveran Spiegel, which has been serving up a traditional menu in its historical setting for 300 years. Prefer something more contemporary? Then head out to Mediamatic ETEN. Diners can enjoy a canal-side private glasshouse dining, with written word performances by a local artist. There’s spectacular views to be found at REM Eiland. This is because the restaurant is within a sea rig situated 22 metres above the waters. The former pirate radio station is as unique a dining spot as they come - another entry to the city’s burgeoning food scene.
Travel better with Citi Mastercard
Seeing the world with Citi Mastercard, is one that comes with many privileges. With the Citi PremierMiles Mastercard, the travelling perks just keep stacking. Earn up to 2 Citi Miles per S$1 spend, and because miles never expire, you never have to chase after deadlines. Join the jetsetters with two free lounge passes every year. Enjoy a limited welcome gift of up to 30,000 bonus Citi Miles* when you become a Citi PremierMiles Mastercard member, and kickstart your plans for that next getaway. Apply now.
Don’t forget to enrol for the Citi Mastercard Spend & Get promotion where you can receive a S$100 Fraser (FRx) e-voucher when you make a minimum spend of S$1,000 with your Citi Mastercard on selected airlines. The participating 5 carriers include Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, Thai Airways.
To enrol, send an SMS in the prescribed format: CITIAUGMC last 4 digits of your eligible Citi Mastercard number (eg. CITIAUGMC 1234) to 72484 using your registered mobile number. Capped at the first 1,500 eligible customers. Valid from 14 August to 13 October 2023.
And book out that dream stay you’ve always wanted with 22 per cent off Agoda with Citi Mastercard, valid till 30 September 2023.
*T&Cs apply. Valid till 31 October 2023. Applicable for new Citi Credit Cardmembers.
This story is brought to you by Citi.