26 May 2013

10 Shopping Areas in Tokyo, Japan

In Tokyo, shopping is so fun that even Tokyo tour packages include time for a quick shopping spree in its itineraries. Why not though? There are so many interesting things sold in the malls, markets and stalls in Tokyo – from food to gadgets. When it comes to fashion, stores in Tokyo sell apparels and accessories which basically start trends in the fashion world. Therefore, it is really worth it to try shopping when in the city.

But the question is: Where to go to shop? Here are some suggestions:

1. Akihabara

As Japan is known for its advanced technology, it is no wonder why people come to the district of Akihabara. Most stalls there sell electronic gadgets and computer games; although recently, it is becoming a hub for otaku fans as stalls selling anime items like mangas and souvenirs came sprawling.

2. Ameyoko Arcade
 Photo from TripAdvisor
The famous Ameyoko Arcade is an old open-air market that majestically exudes the Shitamachi (low city) aura. It is the place to find fresh fishes, fruits and vegetables, second hand clothing, and more. Souvenir items in Ginza may be found here for cheaper prices. However, it is recently recognized as a blackmarket district. It is parallel the JR Yamanote Line.

3. Nakamise-dori

One of the most interesting shopping areas in Tokyo is the Nakamise-dori. The long line of stalls selling mostly souvenirs and local delicacies leads to the famed Senso-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.

4. Marunouchi

Known as the financial district of Tokyo, it is not a surprise why many of the world’s leading brands in fashion can be found in Marunouchi. Most stalls are seen in Nihombashi; as well as in malls like Oazu and Marinouchi Building by Tokyo Station. Furthermore, the district is home to impressive architectures so one can do sightseeing while shopping.

5. Hachiman-dori

Many are attracted with the unique fashion sense of Japanese people so they come to Tokyo to find these attires. Most of which can be spotted in Hachiman-dori then. It is a shopping hub where flares of local designs can be found. It is an interesting shopping destination because most items found here can only be found in Japan.

6. Kappabashi

Between Ueno and Asakusa is an interesting street where stalls sell food, which cannot be eaten. Also known as the Kitchen Town, stores sell plastic food models which many restaurants use as display. In addition to that, the stores in Kappabashi make available almost everything that has to do with starting a restaurant business.

7. Takeshita

In the heart of Harajuku can be found Takeshita, a pedestrian street which features fashion and souvenir stores, caf├ęs, and restaurants. It is a favorite hub for many teenagers as boutiques mostly cater to them. There are many international brands here as well.

8. Omote Sando

As the center of Tokyo’s haute couture, Omote Sando is another favorite for many fashion enthusiasts who come to Japan. It is where independent fashion designers sell their creations. Second hand stores can be found there.

Japanese furniture had always been a point of interest anywhere in the world and in MISC, people can actually buy it. The area has more than 60 shops selling vintage furniture and antiques.

10. Ginza

Probably the most upscale area in Tokyo, Ginza is the home to major department stores. Tourists will find international luxury brands here and is a good place for some chic shopping experiences.

There are many reasons to buy cheap tickets to Tokyo but no one can deny that shopping is one of the major purposes. It is, after all, an essential part of the exciting culture of the beautiful nation that is Japan.

Related Read:
* Things to Do when in Tokyo, Japan!

14 May 2013

Top 10 Singapore Attractions to Visit

There is no denying that Singapore is a very stunning country. Clean, disciplined, and brimming with beautiful places, the nation is definitely a favorite destination by many jetsetters. There are lots to do when there and below are some suggestions (most required to buy Singapore attraction tickets for admission).

1) Universal Studios Singapore

A premier attraction in the country is the Universal Studios Singapore. A first-class amusement park, it is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family. Thrill rides and fun adventures await you! Each area transports guests to a new world where all the excitement are within reach. When visiting the place, it is best to buy tickets online to avoid the long queues.

Universal Studios Tickets
Adult One-Day Pass: S$74.00
Child (Ages 4 to 12) One-Day Pass: S$54.00
Senior Citizen (Ages 60 & above) One Day Pass : S$36

2) Singapore Zoo

One of the most spectacular zoos in the world is the Singapore Zoo. Perched on a heavily forested area that covers up to 28 hectares, it serves as a natural habitat to almost 500 species of animals including pandas, white tigers, monkeys, guanacos, and pink flamingoes.

Singapore Zoo Tickets
Adult: S$22.00
Child (Ages 3 - 12): S$14.00
Senior Citizen (Ages 60 & above): S$11.00
* Admission for child below 3 years old is free
** Senior Citizen admission only applicable for Singaporean or Singapore PR aged 60 and above. Senior citizens are required to present proof of identification.

Other Option:
Singapore Zoo entrance fee with tram ride
fr. S$ 48.00 per pax (for group of 4)

3) Singapore Flyer

No tour is complete without trying Singapore Flyer. Similar to London’s Eye, it is a huge Ferris Wheel which provides people who ride it with an unblocked and spectacular view of Singapore’s cityscape.

Singapore Flyer Tickets
Adult (Ages 13 & above): S$33.00
Child (Ages 3-12): S$21.00
Senior Citizen (Ages 60 & above): S$24.00
* Children below the age of 3 are allowed to ride for free

Other Option:
Singapore Flyer & M.V. Cheng Ho Cruise Tour at Marina Bay
fr. S$ 52.00 per pax (for group of 4)

4) Merlion in Sentosa

There are numerous Merlion statues in Singapore and the one in Sentosa Island probably offers the best experience. Inside, learn about the history of the iconic Merlion and know more about the legendary sea dragons and mermaids. It also has an observation deck that offers a panoramic view of Sentosa Island and the country’s southern islands.

Merlion Admission Tickets (Observation Deck)
Adult (Ages 13 & above): S$8.00
Child  (Ages 3 - 12): S$5.00
*Free for Merlion Walk

Other Option:
Sentosa Afternoon Tour
Includes: Land transfer, One-way cable car, Images of Singapore, Underwater World, Dolphin Lagoon, Merlion Tower and Songs of the Sea
fr. S$ 75.00 per pax (for group of 4)

5) Gardens by the Bay

A new spectacle in Singapore is the Gardens by the Bay. Located at the Marina Bay area, it is a huge complex that features various plants and trees which are not often seen in Asia. It has two major attractions: Cloud Forest and Flower Dome.

Gardens by the Bay Admission Rates:

*Sightseeing outside the 2 domes is FREE. There is also a free daily light & music show at the SuperTree Grove area every 7:45pm & 8:45pm where everybody is invited to sit down, relax, and watch the beautiful lights of the Gardens by the Bay.

Other Option:
Gardens by the Bay Package
Includes: One-way transfer to Gardens by the Bay, Admission to Flower Dome & Cloud Forest
fr. S$ 30.00 per pax (for group of 4)

6) Jurong Bird Park

Tagged as Asia’s largest of its kind, Jurong Bird Park is a primary tourist destination in Singapore. It is a vast landscaped park perched on Jurong Hill that gives home to almost 5,000 birds from 380 species. The aviary is open and birds can fly freely around. Interacting with the birds is also possible, with all the bird shows prepared for guests.

Jurong Bird Park Tickets
Adult (Ages 13 & above): S$ 20.00
Child (Ages 3 - 12): S$13.00
Senior Citizen (Ages 60 & above): S$10.00
* Admission for child below 3 years old is free

** Senior Citizen admission only applicable for Singaporean or Singapore PR aged 60 and above. Senior citizens are required to present proof of identification.

Other Option:
Jurong Bird Park Package
Includes: Admission ticket with tram ride and return transfer
fr. S$ 42.00 per pax (for group of 4)

7) Night Safari

If you are looking for a unique experience, go to Night Safari. Located close to the Singapore Zoo, it is a good place to continue your ‘animal’ trip. It is the first nocturnal zoo in Asia and gives home to animals normally found in safaris, as well as night creatures like flying bats, tarsiers, and more.

Night Safari Tickets
Adult: S$35.00
Child (Ages 3 - 12): S$23.00
Senior Citizen (Ages 60 & above): S$17.50
* Admission for child below 3 years old is free
** Senior Citizen admission only applicable for Singaporean or Singapore PR aged 60 and above. Senior citizens are required to present proof of identification.

Other Option:
Night Safari Package
Includes: Admission ticket with tram ride and return transfer
fr. S$ 51.00 per pax (for group of 4)

8) Underwater World

Located at Sentosa Island, Underwater World is a stunning oceanarium which features more than 2,500 animals from 250 species. It features a 252 feet-long tunnel that would allow you to see the beautiful marine ecology. Tickets to this attraction also cover entrance to the Dolphin Lagoon at Palawan Beach.

Underwater World Tickets
Adult : S$25.90
Child: S$17.60

Other Option:
Underwater World & Dolphin Lagoon Package
Includes: Admission tickets, one-way cable car and return transfer
fr. S$ 69.00 per pax (for group of 4)

9 & 10) Marina Bay Sands Hotel &  Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

Marina Bay Sand Hotel

Definitely one of the most beautiful hotels in Asia and in the world, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a 5-star lodging establishment that has become an icon of Singapore. It features three buildings, connected by a ship-like structure on top. Aside from its luxurious amenities and services, it features a casino, theaters, museum and a huge shopping complex, including the largest Louis Vuitton store.

Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

Located at the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands hotel is the spectacular Marina Bay Sands Sky Park. It is a favorite destination for many guests and plain tourists as it provides a spectacular view of Singapore. It is also famed for its outdoor infinity pool.

Marina Bay Sands Sky Park (Observation Deck) Tickets
Adults: S$20.00
Child (Ages 2 - 12): S$14.00
Senior Citizen (Ages 65 & above): S$17.00
*Children under 2 years may enter for free

Tour Option:
Singapore Night Tour at Marina Bay
Includes: Marina Bay Sand's Sky Park and River Taxi, and Gardens by the Bay light show
fr. S$ 52.00 per pax (for group of 4)

Must-See :
* Stay outdoors and look for the best spot in front of The Shoppes Mall at Marina Bay Sands to watch the "Wonderfull" Lights & Water show every night at 8:pm & 9:30 pm.


10 May 2013

10 Best Diving Sites in Bali, Indonesia

Most of the travelers who avail flight deals are scuba divers looking for the perfect venue for their hobbies. They tend to look for cheaper transportation costs because scuba diving could be a little expensive. There are a lot of preferences when it comes to destinations; but definitely, Bali is one of the most famous choices.

As Bali is hailed as a paradise in Indonesia, it is home to a marvelous underwater ecology which scuba divers definitely love. For first timers, here are some of the best diving sites in the island:

1) USAT Liberty

USAT Liberty was actually a steamship that sank after getting torpedoed by the Japanese troops in 1942. After a few decades, it has become an artificial reef where many underwater attractions have flourished. Known as the Liberty Shipwreck, it is now hailed as Bali’s most popular diving site. Aside from the corals and sponges, the area is also home to schools of big-eyed jacks, emperors, batfish, and parrotfish.

2) Tulamben drop-off

Located close to the shipwreck, the Tulamben drop-off is a typical diving site for many professional scuba divers. It is quite deep but the underwater scenery in the area is truly breathtaking. Whale sharks and sunfishes are usually spotted here. Tulamben is located in the northeast coast of Bali.

3) Amed

At the southeastern part of Bali lies Amed. It has beautifully retained the relaxed ambience of the salt-panning and fishing village that it used to be – which greatly contributes to the relaxing appeal of the place. Scuba divers would definitely love the drift dive at Gili Selang which is the easternmost point of the island.

4) Lipah Shipwreck

A part of Amed, the Lipah Shipwreck is another exciting artificial reef in Bali, Indonesia. The wreck is located in the north end of Lipah Bay and may be reached easily by divers. The area is considered home to copper sweepers, school of batfish, hard corals and other marine species. This is preferred by many professionals as the current can be a little strong in the area.

5) Gili Tepekong

The interesting thing about Gili Tepekong is that it’s a place where divers can feel like they are seeing a lot of Medusa heads underwater. These are actually sea fans, tunicates and sponges resting on a huge volcanic hump. The environment deep there is incredible, especially when the schools of jacks, tuna, sharks, and mola mola are there.

6) Blue Lagoon

For amateurs, the Blue Lagoon near Padang Bai is the perfect diving spot. As the coral reefs can already be seen after a 3-meter dive, it is a good introduction to many. There are a lot of leather corals and anemones to be seen there. Underwater photographers would surely love it here.

7) Napoleon Reef

Near Pamuteran is the Napoleon Reef. It was called that way after a large Napoleon wrasse was seen here. Professional and amateur divers will surely enjoy it here because it boasts of beautiful deep and shallow areas. The cotton-candy corals are a sight to see!

8) Menjangan Island

The drop-off is definitely an exciting place. Divers will be greeted by schools of batfish and colorful coral reefs. Small underwater caves are also possible to be explored.

9) Crystal Bay

One of the safest places to dive for many professionals and amateurs is the Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida. However, the current can be very strong so divers are still advised to take and observe necessary precautions.

10) Manta Point

As how the name suggests, this area is a hub for many manta rays, including a purely white one that seems like a heavenly creature. Coming to Manta Point is not exactly easy; but it’s surely worth it.

Whether just learning how to dive or looking for a real thrill, people should visit Bali for these spots. As said, the underwater ecology in the island is definitely spectacular. There should be no room for hesitations.

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