Cheap places to travel from Singapore and cheap holiday destinations from Singapore

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Cheap places to travel from Singapore and cheap holiday destinations from Singapore

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has cheap places to travel from Singapore and cheap holiday destinations from Singapore.
. Bali is one of the easiest destinations for Singaporeans to travel to for a short vacation on a budget. The flight is only 2.5 hours long and costs about $280. Any tourist from Singapore must also hold a passport that is valid for at least six months. Tourists will receive a free visa upon arrival, which lasts for 30 days. After that, most activities and products are very affordable whilst tourists are in Bali. For example, a traditional Balinese massage lasting for one hour costs about $10. I’ve had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten here – they’re known for their duck – that’s cost as little as $6 for a really high quality meal. Next, Bangkok’s food, accommodation and travel are all great value. I’d recommend that before anyone travels to Thailand, foreign residents should sign up with the Royal Thai Embassy’s online services, which allow them to get in touch in case of any emergencies whilst abroad. For long-haul flights, I’d recommend booking an off-peak flight which tends to be cheaper and, if you’re getting there by taxi, ignore the touts inside the terminal who offer to carry your bags – this is a scam that’s common at airports all over the world. Most attractions in the city are very cheap, if not free. For example, the Grand Palace costs about $21.70 for entry and the floating market tour costs under $20. Next, a trip from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City only takes two hours and costs around $170. Although you need a visa valid for at least six months to enter Vietnam, applying for one is straightforward and costs only about $33. Like Bali and Bangkok, most products and services are incredibly cheap in Ho Chi Minh City; for example, bottled water costs around $0.50 and a simple lunchtime menu in the business district of the city costs about $4.72. However, it’s particularly renowned for its natural beauty and rich history.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia is well-known for its rich cultural and artistic heritage. It is a popular travel destination and is often called the ‘Island of the Gods’. Located in Southeast Asia and only a 2.5-hour flight away from Singapore, Bali is an ideal place for a short getaway. Bali provides a unique experience for visitors. The island is home to an ancient and unique system of irrigation, which allowed a sophisticated rice-growing culture to flourish. The people of Bali are warm, friendly and deeply spiritual. The island has a rich and varied art scene. Regardless of the medium, the focus is usually on either religious themes or stories from the Ramayana or Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata. Dance and music are also an integral part of Balinese culture. The island is known for its gamelan music and various types of dance, including the famous Barong, Legong, and Kecak dances. Every day and night, there is a dance performance happening in some part of the island. Balinese food is also an interesting culture to explore. The most famous is Babi Guling, which is a suckling pig stuffed with a mixture of turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, black pepper and garlic. It is then spit-roasted until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender. The Balinese also celebrate many festivals, the most well-known being Nyepi. It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali and it is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. During this day, the island’s airport is closed and nobody is allowed to travel or to be seen outside. Tourists are advised to respect the locals by staying inside their hotels. The ‘ogoh-ogoh’ parade, which is the highlight of the festival, usually takes place a day before Nyepi. It is a colourful and exciting parade where Balinese men bring out demon statues – the ‘ogoh-ogoh’ – that are made of bamboo and paper-mache and carried around the village in a procession. Every tourist who comes to Bali will definitely also make a trip to the local markets. Some of the popular ones are the Pasar Badung (Badung Market), Kumbasari Market in Denpasar and the very famous Ubud Market. These markets are heaven for cheap and beautiful Balinese handicraft.

Bangkok, Thailand

Before going into the tiny details, Bangkok is really, really cheap (in a positive way) compared with Singapore. All attractions in central Bangkok are conveniently located next to public transport – either BTS Skytrain or MRT. In general, it is a great convenience for every traveller as there’s no need to spend extra money for a taxi or transport that beats all the jam. The best way to experience Bangkok’s top attractions are effortlessly done within a day, or even half a day. Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew is the most stunning attraction in the capital city of Thailand. Although most of the Thai people practice Buddhism, Wat Phra Kaew is actually a holy temple as it houses the Emerald Buddha, which is the most important Buddha statue in Thailand. It is very easily reachable with an 8-minute walk from the Ferry and Wat Arun, therefore giving travellers a memorable trip to both attractions. The Bangkok National Museum is the main branch museum, housing the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts in the country. It is a comprehensive introduction to Thailand’s art and history and it is great for all ages. On the downhill, the Siam district located in central Bangkok offers many modern shopping malls and the biggest movie theatre in the downtown area. And most importantly, it provides a fancy and air-conditioned experience to beat the Bangkok afternoon heat. Last but not least, as an alternative for packing up the day, Asiatique The Riverfront is an exciting place for dining, sightseeing, and hunting the best souvenirs. It exists the memory of the combination of the century-old Lhong 1919 and charming riverside warehouses with a wide range of shops and boutiques. The activities and attractions over there include the Calypso Cabaret, Thai puppet shows, Muay Thai Live, and daily Caribbean parade, giving ranging interests to people.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This truly is an exciting city! Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is still sometimes called, is the biggest and most populated city in Vietnam. It is a bustling, energetic and dynamic place. It is also the main transport hub of southern Vietnam. I think “vibrant” is the best word to describe this city! There are street vendors everywhere, selling all sorts of things. I was really surprised at how much variety there was. So many things were on offer – I saw fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, smoothies, toys, flowers, clothing, shoes, hats, sunglasses… you name it, you can probably buy it on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City! It is always busy, no matter what time or day it is. The street food is amazing too – I think I ate the best spring rolls I’ve ever had from one of the street vendors in the city. The traffic is another thing that surprised me – I’ve never seen so many scooters in all my life. They beep their horns all the time. It’s really loud! You’ve got to be very careful when you cross the road. There are also lots of motorbikes and bicycles too, although not as many as the scooters. There are traditional Vietnamese markets that you should visit in Ho Chi Minh City. Ben Thanh Market in District 1 is the most famous. It is a large marketplace selling a huge variety of things, including food, clothes, shoes and much more. The goods are all nicely organized into different sections, and the market traders are generally very friendly. You have to haggle over prices if you buy something from the market. This means you have to barter with the trader to agree on a price that you are both happy with. It can be good fun, but it does take some getting used to! I bought a really cool painting and a silk purse for my mum when I was there. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of this incredible city!

South Asia

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and is well known for its beautiful temples, the Himalayas, and also for being the gateway to most treks in Nepal due to its location. The many beautiful and picturesque sights in and around Kathmandu are what attract a large number of tourists to the country. In 2018, Nepal received over 1 million tourists, and this number is expected to grow as more tourists are attracted to the beauty and affordable travel options that the country provides. Another factor that has attracted Singaporeans to visit Nepal, including popular tourist destinations such as Kathmandu and Pokhara, is the 2015 Singapore-Nepal open skies agreement, which has significantly increased air connectivity between the two countries. This has made it more convenient and affordable for Singaporeans, as well as tourists from Nepal, to travel between Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Singapore. The open skies agreement has resulted in the Nepal Airlines Corporation, the flag carrier airline of Nepal, and also Singapore International Airlines (SIA) increasing their flights between Nepal and Singapore. The lower airfares and the increase in the number of direct flights have made Nepal an even more attractive travel destination for Singaporean tourists who are looking for affordable travel options. It can be seen that Kathmandu provides a variety of interesting and immersive experiences for tourists and backpackers of different ages and interests. The affordability of Nepal and the unique experience and beautiful sights that Kathmandu offers have attracted a significant number of tourists from Singapore and around the world to visit Nepal. It is no wonder that Kathmandu is quickly becoming one of Singaporeans’ favorite travel destinations in South Asia. The next time you are planning for a holiday, don’t forget to consider this hidden gem in South Asia and find out for yourself what Kathmandu has to offer!

Kathmandu, Nepal

Another great travel destination very close to Singapore is Kathmandu, Nepal. A quick search on the internet or some air ticket sites shows that the airfare is about $200. And that is a very good price to pay and save for a great trip. The living cost in Kathmandu is very low, a bowl of Momo (some kind of famous local dumplings) cost you less than a dollar and you will feel full. Other than that, there are loads of things to do and visit in Kathmandu. For example, you can do sightseeing because there are a number of historical and culturally important ancient and medieval cities such as Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (The Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath Temple and Baudhanath Stupa. You can visit these places in just 2-3 days. Also, you can have the panoramic view of the mountains. There is a bungee jumping sport available in Kathmandu which is the most popular adventure sport in Nepal. The ultimate thrill of a bungee jump can now be experienced in the country at perhaps the best site in the world. The jump, at 160m, was designed by one of New Zealand’s leading bungee consultants, and is operated by some of the most experienced jump masters in the business. Last but not least, you cannot miss the shopping in Kathmandu because Kathmandu is the core of Nepal’s largest gateway to transportation and goods distribution. Local and imported goods of all kinds, meaning it is possible to get everything from all parts of the country in one place. There are even shops along the trekking routes. All of these reflect the history of a rich and unique mixture of culture from all the different areas of Nepal. Kathmandu provides a nice mix of both tradition especially shopping and modernity, which can be seen in the lifestyles and advanced facilities in the city. It can be an overpowering experience at first when one sees the crowded, narrow streets and the variety and differences of things to be found in the centre. But given time, its fast pace allows people to earn better and nice place in the tourism industry of the world. Oh, an advice for you: if you go to Kathmandu, must buy a down jacket from there. Because the price is super cheap, around $80 only and the jacket is super duper warm and light. It is worth for the money.

Colombo, Sri Lanka

All in all, Colombo is a city mixing with modern life and colonial past. Its culture and heritage make the city an attractive place to visit. The food is great, the people are friendly, and there are some great shopping. And comparing to other cities, the cost of eating and shopping is not expensive. So come to Colombo and take a 2-3 days break to explore the capital!

Last but not least, we should not miss the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque, which is the famous ‘Red Mosque’. The Mosque’s bright red color and unique design make it hard to miss among the surroundings. It is situated in the heart of bustling Pettah’s market area. The Mosque has amazing pattern designs that add great aesthetics to the building. It was designed by the Indian architect and it is a city’s iconic architectural masterpiece. There are tours for non-Muslim visitors to get into the mosque and you can have a closer look at the inside fascinating interior beauty.

At the northern end of the Galle Road, we found the Galle Face Green. It is small compared to the Viharamahadevi Park but I bet it has the best sunset view in Colombo. Galle Face Green was initially used by the Dutch for horse racing and as a Golf course, and even as a Cricket field during the British rule in Sri Lanka. It is like a place to everyone; families having evening stroll, kids flying kites, friends having small talks on the green and travelers like us, enjoying the beautiful twilight. And also, you can find the famous colonial-style Galle Face hotel along the coastline, facing the Galle Face Green. Galle Face hotel is one of the oldest and most popular hotels in Sri Lanka.

First, Viharamahadevi Park is the oldest and largest park in the heart of Colombo. It is a good spot for family as it has a kids play area for children to enjoy and a good place to have a break and de-stress from the busy city life. Just nearby the Viharamahadevi Park, we can find the Town Hall. The building is built in front of the park but you can easily miss it as it’s not facing the park or share direct to any main road. The architectural designs of the old building tell the stories of British colonial era. The Town Hall is now the home to the Colombo’s Municipal Council. A further 5 minutes walking from the Town Hall, there is a scenic view to the old and new parliament building. Both of the buildings have their own unique grandeur and history which remembering the times of the colonial era.

Located a short 2-hour flight apart from Singapore, Colombo is Sri Lanka’s capital and largest city. It has a rich colonial heritage and it is a city with many popular attractions for the traveler. Colombo was established principally as a port city during the colonial era; the capital of the island was at Kotte, which is now a suburb of Colombo. The city has many highlights that cater to all ages and interests. The good thing about Colombo is that it is a relatively small city, and most of the attractions are close by to each other, making it easier for tourists to move around and visit various places of interest and infuse into the local life and culture.


The Maldives has come a long way from being a backpacking haven to a diverse and much-loved tourist destination. Maldives is a destination that sees the arrival of almost a million tourists every year. So, how did a destination with such humble beginnings rise to the rank of an elite and upper-class holiday destination in the world? All this could be attributed to the tourism industry, which today is the largest foreign exchange earnings. The Maldives offers a free 30-day visa on arrival to all and any nationality. And not just that, it is also free of charge. What a deal! Despite being such a small nation, it offers a variety of activities for mass tourism and different kinds of tourists. For instance, there are day-to-day trips, halfway trips, or probably the most preferred trip, night fishing. It is not that the tourism industry in the Maldives just started yesterday. The government has been keen on promoting the development of various tourist staples from resorts to different water villas. By creating more luxurious options, it indirectly enriches the Maldives; creating jobs and also developing more and more infrastructures. Thus, you will see the price of resorts and nice guesthouses shooting up every year. Even homemade products are being promoted to boost tourism. It is no doubt that tourism plays an important role in the economic development. And despite the numerous global challenges it faces, be it economical or environmental, the government of Maldives adheres to the vision that the tourism industry will be the country’s main and priority sector in development, to make an effective contribution towards achieving broader national objectives and also to ensure that the industry continues to grow and benefit the nation as a whole. In conjunction with this, the government shall not only facilitate and implement policy decisions to ensure that tourism can be developed in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner, and can maintain for future generations, a viable economic activity that contributes to the protection, management, and understanding of the earth’s heritage and environment.

Goa, India

Goa is located on the western coast of India and it is a former Portuguese colony. It is known for its beautiful beaches and it is a very popular tourist place not only when it comes to tourists from Singapore but also tourists from all over the world. The people here are generally very friendly and Goa is a relatively safe travel destination. There are a lot of things that you can do and visit in Goa. If you like a beach vacation, sandy beaches such as Baga Beach, Calangute Beach or Anjuna Beach are extremely popular among tourists. You can relax on the beaches or take part in water sports such as water-skiing, parasailing, snorkeling or windsurfing. If you rather prefer a historical and cultural experience, you can explore and admire the architectural beauty of Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the body of St Francis Xavier is kept or visit other historical monuments and local villages across the city. Night life is another attraction in Goa because most of the beaches will have music, flea markets and beach huts that are open until late night. Such a night life is hard to find in other cities in India because Goa is a lot more liberal and diverse. But because of the close proximity to the equator, the sun sets quite early around 6:00 pm. Lodging is cheap in Goa, with options such as beach huts, budget hotels and even youth hostels. Buses, taxis and motorcycles are available for rent, making traveling from places to places easy and convenient. A budget meal will cost only about S$5 and you should really try the local Goan cuisine which is a blend of Portuguese and Indian cuisine. One personal recommendation is the seafood in Goa, probably because Goa is rich with fresh fish and prawns. For people who are looking for a cheap and yet interesting travel place with both sunshine and cultural experience, Goa, India is a perfect match for you. I hope that my essay has helped you with your travel plans and until next time, happy reading.

East Asia

Now that we have explored Southeast Asia and South Asia, it only makes sense for us to venture into East Asia. The first stop on our list will be Taipei, the bustling capital city of Taiwan. Offering a variety of delicious local cuisine, a rich combination of modern and historical architecture, and plenty of opportunities for both shopping and hiking, it’s no surprise that Taipei is fast becoming a popular travel destination. One of the top things to do in Taipei is to take a gondola ride up to the famous tea houses on Maokong Mountain. Maokong is the place to go for a tea-tasting experience and it’s the perfect remedy to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. I think it’s easy to see that the tea culture in Taipei is highly regarded. With the increase in the popularity of bubble tea worldwide, it’s definitely worth trying some authentic local bubble tea and Taiwanese teas at the many small tea houses dotting the mountain. Culture lovers will also revel in the city’s many art spaces and museums, including the iconic Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. I’m sure Taiwanese food is popular back in Singapore. However, despite various Taiwanese food trends reaching our sunny shores – such as cheese tea and bubble tea – nothing beats the experience of sampling the gastronomical pleasures of the nation in its home. You will be spoilt for choice with the many night markets, such as Shilin Night Market, home to countless food vendors and stalls offering some of the best night market snacks. In addition to being a feast for the taste buds, the clothing and game stalls add to the vibrant and bustling atmosphere, especially at night when the locals come out to explore, eat and socialise. Did I mention that everything is really affordable here? Coupled with the amazing variety of food and the beautiful blend of old and modern culture, I would definitely recommend Taipei as a holiday destination for anyone looking to explore East Asia.

Taipei, Taiwan

As a popular point of entry to Taiwan, it should be quite easy to get flight tickets to Taipei. There are many direct flights from Singapore to Taipei, and the price is reasonable if you book early. From Taipei Taoyuan Airport, head to the city centre by bus or travel to the Taipei Main Station via the Airport MRT (a high-speed train). For someone who used to live in Taipei for over 4 years, this list provides most of the renowned scenic spots in Taipei. Ximending is a shopping district popular with the youth. It has a lot of trendy clothes shops, and when you are tired of shopping, there are always a lot of food stalls that offer different kinds of snacks. Most people do not know that there is a night market specifically for food. The Shilin Night Market houses the “Shihlin food court” which is air-conditioned and opens at 5pm. Do not miss out on the famous Shilin fried chicken steak. It is very delicious and I am sure you will not regret ordering it. After that, you can visit the Shilin residence which was the former home of Chiang Kai-Shek, a former key political figure in that region. There are different types of cultural halls and parks, and this is surely a place suitable for families with kids. Last but not least, if you want to get a panoramic view of Taipei city, you can consider taking the bubble tea-shaped gondola at Taipei Zoo Station and travel to Maokong. Maokong is famous for the traditional tea culture, and there are many teahouses situated on the hills. I bet you will gonna like it if you are into this kind of peaceful environment.

Seoul, South Korea

Another fantastic option in East Asia is South Korea’s capital, Seoul. Seoul will certainly appeal to the urban explorer, foodie, and shopper in you. First, let’s start with food. As the birthplace of K-beauty and the home of endless shopping streets, Seoul is a city of vibrant trends that marry modernity with tradition. And speaking of shopping, you need to visit Myeongdong if you’re in the mood to stock up on beauty goods. There’s a huge variety of shops at this popular shopping paradise, and there’s always a sale happening somewhere. But if you prefer a more creative, artsy community, head over to the Hongdae area. This central spot is home to Hongik University, where the youth trend-setting culture is in full bloom. Today, the area caters to alternative, indie trends and underground subcultures. You’ll find unique coffee shops, modern galleries, and quirky waffle stores on every corner.

Tokyo, Japan

If you want to experience the beauty of Japan’s cherry blossoms and save at the same time, you might want to consider visiting Tokyo in mid to late March or early April. During this season, the city is usually lit with the lovely pink and white cherry blossoms as it is springtime in Tokyo. It is the best time to enjoy Tokyo’s cherry blossoms during the day and head over to the izakaya, a Japanese bar which serves drinks and food, for some all-night blossom viewing parties with the locals. As this is not during Tokyo’s peak travel season, which is late May and June, at this time, the price of accommodation in Tokyo is cheaper and you will be able to secure better hotel deals. For example, while the price of a night’s stay in a four-star hotel near Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s largest shopping and entertainment districts, can go up to 44,652 Japanese Yen in April, the price may skyrocket to as high as 80,128 Japanese Yen in May. Also, by coming to Tokyo in April, you can avoid the extra crowd and long lines during Tokyo’s peak travel season, which allows you to enjoy your vacation to Tokyo to the fullest. Moreover, the overall air ticket and hotel expenses during the off-peak travel period (in this case, April) might turn out to be even lower than the package tour deals advertised in Singapore. For example, after doing some research, I found that the cost for booking your air ticket to Tokyo from Singapore seven days in advance could be as low as $576.40. For a seven-day stay in Tokyo, the total cost for a return ticket and a stay in a four-star hotel can be about $2,798.80. However, a five-day package tour trip to Tokyo from Singapore advertised by a popular Singapore travel agent costs $2,880. So, by planning and customizing your own trip; from choosing the best time to visit Tokyo to selecting your own hotel, you will not only experience a different level of personalization to your trip but also manage to secure even greater cost savings.


Oceania is a region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. It is well known for its stunning and popular travel destinations such as the Australasian region. The Australasian region of Oceania includes countries such as Australia, the Indonesian part of New Guinea, and the independent island of New Guinea. One of the most publicized travel destinations in Oceania is Perth, Australia. Perth is the largest and the only capital city of Western Australia. According to the “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey, Perth is ranked 61, making it the most affordable city to live in Australia. As Perth is located on the same time zone as Singapore, it is good for travelers who are seeking for a short getaway from Singapore to Perth. One of the most favored places in Perth is the Central Business District. Here, one will find the city’s largest and most diverse collection of arts, culture and entertainment including a range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, retail outlets, theaters, leisure areas and public facilities. There are numerous activities and landmarks that travelers may want to visit in Perth, including the Perth Mint, which is the oldest operating mint in the world. Visitors may go for a guided heritage tour, get an insight into Western Australia’s golden history and view a stunning collection of gold bars and natural gold nuggets. Another prominent travel destination mentioned in the guide under Oceania is Auckland in New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in New Zealand with a population of over 1.4 million people, which is more than one third of the country’s entire population. The city is described as an exciting mix of natural wonders and urban adventures. Furthermore, it is well known as one of the most affordable travel destinations in the world. Dining and shopping in Auckland is one of the best in New Zealand. From the latest New Zealand designers to the freshest local produce, the incredible choice of shopping and dining hotspots in Auckland is sure to impress. Last but not least, the guide lists Fiji as another option of affordable travel destination in Oceania. Fiji is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean. It is well known for its stunning and luxurious private islands, all-inclusive resorts, top spas, culinary destinations and outdoor adventures as thus many people think of it as an expensive travel destination. However, it is still possible for travelers to visit Fiji on a budget. For example, travelers may go visit the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool, which is one of the most popular natural attractions in Fiji. It is located at the foothills of the Sabeto Mountains and the experience of covering yourself and your friends in the rejuvenating mud followed by a dip in the hot pools is enjoyable and memorable in nature. With all these beautiful places to see and fun activities to do, it is justified that the “Budget Travel Destinations from Singapore” guide is so popular among travelers on a budget because it provides reliable and informative suggestions and tips for affordable travel.

Perth, Australia

Sure, the guide is full of great travel advice; from present advice for the no frills traveler to the ultimate luxury experience. Also, as a regular traveler, I am sure that every tip and advice provided is nothing less than miraculous. Not ensue about trust the guide, and to make find even better, many of the travel writers who provide the advice actually reside here year round. This guide is a revamp of the older edition. Although the free edition has all the basic information to get around town, but to inn to up market restaurant, I have to upscale to the paid edition. Not that or else that are the attractions, must go sights, places of interest and museums. With over 20 must go attractions and another 30 places of interest, I’m not too sure if I could see them all. However, either to be an European or an Asian in Perth, my guide advice is to live in the holiday apartment rather than staying in a hotel. Well, the reason is simple, and that is because the value for money; a three bedroom apartment overlooking the beautiful Swan River may only cost about the same as a small twin bed rooms in a guest house or an inn. What makes the paid edition stand out will be the restaurant and it is because I am a fan of seafood. The coastal area which is famous for seafood and that makes me excited. Oh, before I missed it, the stingray feeding at Barrack St Jetty. It is near to the ferry terminal and is just next to the Swan Bells. I believe that the jetty is a place that should be visited; not only for the stingray feeding but also because of the peaceful and relaxed environment. Also, I agree with my travel writer when they insist that everyone should visit the Perth Mint Museum and that is the only place where visitors are allowed to see the biggest gold bar in the world. The gold bar is worth more than $400,000 and it weighs a massive 27.5 kilograms. All in all, this paid guide is well worth the money. By following the well-written advice, I think that my trip will be nothing less than perfect. I can’t wait to be there!

Auckland, New Zealand

My flight arrived in the afternoon, and by the time I had cleared customs and immigration, it was nearly 5pm. Taking my first look at Auckland, I was immediately struck by how modern and efficient everything seemed – orderly traffic, well-dressed people heading home from work, spotlessly clean streets, and a clear blue sky. It all felt somewhat surreal and dream-like, especially for someone like me, who was used to the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. The airport shuttle dropped me off at the hostel on Vincent Street, right in the city center. I had opted for a backpacker’s hostel as it was cheaper, but the place was clean and well-managed, and the staff were friendly and helpful. Not wanting to waste time, I hastily unpacked and headed out to do some exploring. The area around Vincent Street and Queen Street is known for its numerous cheap eateries that cater mostly to students and backpackers. As I was on a tight budget, I decided to try out some fish and chips at one of the takeaways. It was only the next morning, when I ventured out into the city in daylight, did I realize how beautiful Auckland actually is. The city is situated between two large harbors, and from the top of some hills, one can get magnificent panoramic views of the waters and the numerous small islands dotting them. Even in the city, there are several parks – each a green oasis full of mature trees and beautiful flowers. I spent the whole day just walking around and taking in the sights, and even managed to catch one of the local rugby teams in action at a small park. The Kiwi fans were as friendly as they had been described in the guidebooks, and they soon had me cheering and clapping with them. All in all, the few days I spent in Auckland were well worth it. I made sure to pay a visit to the Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. I even found time to take a ferry to Devonport, a nearby harborside suburb. The ferry ride was cheap – only about eight New Zealand dollars, or three pounds, return – and the views of the city from the waters were stunning. I am already looking forward to my next trip to Auckland and New Zealand!


To go to Fiji from Singapore, you can take a flight from Singapore Changi Airport. This flight route usually passes through Brisbane or Sydney in Australia. There is also a flight option that passes through Hong Kong. However, there may be transit visa issues for some passport holders upon arrival at Fiji’s Nadi International Airport and transferring to a flight for Hong Kong. You need to check the visa requirements based on your nationality. There are several airlines that operate from Singapore to Fiji including Qantas Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. I understood that Fiji is a good destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. However, I was surprised to find how expensive the diving and snorkeling activities are in Fiji. Even the activities in the Yasawa Group, which is supposed to be cheaper, is still more expensive than most of the other popular dive destinations I have visited so far. For example, a single tank dive in Fiji could easily cost about FJ$70-100 (which is about S$50-70). Given the price, I think diving in Fiji could be a painful experience for dive lovers like me, who know that there are cheaper options elsewhere. This has fueled my interests in searching online for diving tips in Fiji. Based on the tips I found online, most of the dive operators in Fiji run their own dive shops on the islands. These dive shops usually charge prices at similar levels and there is no cheap and good “HDB heartland style” dive operators in Fiji. Dive sites are scattered on different islands in Fiji – they may be 40 minutes boat ride away from the dive shop to one hour boat ride away. This means that most of the diving trips are full day activities and usually we will be offered two or three dives a day. I am attracted by the fact that there are opportunities to see pelagic when I dive in Beqa Lagoon, which is about an hour’s boat ride away from the main island of Viti Levu. These include sharks, tuna, and eagle ray.