Thursday, 22 December 2016

Asia Honeymoon Itinerary - Japan / Korea / Taiwan

TAIWAN HONEYMOON ITINERARY



If you're looking for a cheap but romantic destination in Asia, Taiwan is one of my favouritie countries to visit. I highly recommend visiting, and it is a place that I always find myself coming back to!

Go during January - March if you're a fan of the cold, so you can snuggle up with your other half while being bundled in pretty coats. It isn't too chilly either as the temperatures feel more like air-con levels, and there'll be sakura blooms at Yangmingshan as well if you're keen on that!

Here's a recommended 10-day itinerary which we planned when we went there to get some romantic time together.

Day 1: Land in Kaohsiung

- Pier 2 Art District
- Formosa Boulevard Station (Dome of Light)
- Cijin Island half-day island cycling (cheap seafood + lighthouse)
- Love River

Day 2: Kaohsiung (Zuoying)
- Lotus Lake
- Ancient buildings behind the old city wall 
- Travel to Taichung

Day 3: Taichung

- Dakeng Lovers' Bridge
- Xinshe Castle day trip (via car or bus)
- Feng Jia Night Market

Day 4: Taipei
- Travel to Taipei via HSR
- Bei Tou Scenic Area
- Bei Tou Geothermal Valley & Hot Spring
- Ximending shopping

Day 5: Taipei
- Taipei 101
- Maokong Gondola
- Yangmingshan (afternoon to night) OR Wufenpu shopping
- Raohe Night Market

Day 6: Taipei (Shifen & Jiufen)
- Day trip to Shifen Old Street (via train, go for the sky lanterns)
- Evening trip to Jiufeng (bus or car)
- Jiufen Night Market

Day 7: Hualien
- Travel to Hualien via HSR
- Taroko Gorge National Park

Day 8: Kenting
- Travel to Kenting via HSR
- Kenting National Park (Valley of Hanging Banyan, Fairy Cave, Silver Dragon Cave)
- Chu Huo Special Scenic Area (at night)

Day 9: Kenting
- Eluanbi Lighthouse Park (kissing rock)
- Nanwan Beach (for water sports)
- Kenting Night Market

Day 10: Kaohsiung
- Bus back to Kaohsiung for flight
- Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Centre
- Fly back


KOREA HONEYMOON ITINERARY



With the growing popularity of the K-wave spreading across Asia, it is no wonder that South Korea has quickly become a hotspot for couples inspired by the romantic love in K-dramas.

Fans of K-dramas will probably want to check out hotspots where Winter Sonata, Descendants of the Sun or other Joseon-era shows were filmed. You can easily find these locations via a Google search.

I recommend avoiding July - early September as summer in South Korea can get quite unbearable, even for a Singaporean used to the heat and humidity. September to November are the best times to visit as that will coincide with the autumn season, and you'll see the leaves turn a pretty shade of orange, making for extremely romantic walks with your other-half.

My itinerary focuses more on Seoul, Busan and Jeju as I'm more inclined towards the sights in these areas. It is easy to get around as South Korea has an extensive rail system and buses are also aplenty.

Day 1: Land at Incheon Airport
- Transfer to Gimpo Airport and fly to Jeju
- Yongduam Rock
- Mysterious Road
- Hello Kitty Island

Day 2: Jeju
- Love Land Sculpture Park
- Udo Island via ferry
- Cheonjiyeon Waterfall

Day 3: Jeju
- Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) crater and hiking
- Seopjikoji (canola flower field and lighthouse evening trip)

Day 4: Busan
- Travel to Busan via train
- Haedong Yonggung Temple
- Dinner at Jalgachi Fish Market

Day 5: Busan
- Taejong-Dae
- Spa Land

Day 6: Seoul
- Travel to Seoul by train
Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Bukchon Hanok Village
- Samcheongdong

Day 7: Sokcho
- Seoraksan National Park via bus

Day 8: Gangwon
- Nami Island (Forest of Sweethearts) day trip via ITX
- Jade Garden

Day 9: Seoul
- Hongdae Youth Street
- Seoul Tower (lovers padlock)
- Dongdaemun night shopping

Day 10: Seoul
- Ehwa University and shopping street
- Myeongdong shopping
- Fly back


JAPAN HONEYMOON ITINERARY



I've not been to Japan, so this itinerary was kindly contributed by my friend J who visited last year.


It goes without saying that Japan has always been a popular dream honeymoon destination for many Singaporean couples. In fact, two of my best friends who got married this year are heading there for their honeymoon as well (a completely unplanned coincidence!).

It is a unique country where one can experience ancient traditions, world-class cuisine, romantic scenery in quaint rural village, great nature trails and of course, the cherry blossoms.

My must-do in Japan is to take a sunset helicopter cruise over Tokyo's dramatic skyline. It may be a little more expensive, but well worth every penny of your 20 minutes. Without further ado, here's the suggested itinerary for couples:

Day 1: Tokyo
- Land at Narita airport
- Shinjuku district
- Sunset helicopter cruise
- Shinbuya shopping

Day 2: Kamakura
- Day trip to Kamakura via train
- Engaku-ji temple complex
- Jochi-ji temple complex
- Back to Tokyo via train

Day 3: Nikko
- Day trip to Nikko via train
- Tokugawa Ieyasu Mausoleum
- Kegon Waterfall
- Lake Chizenjiko
- Yumoto Onsen

Day 4: Kyoto
- Travel to Kyoto via Shinkansen train
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Maruyama-koen Park

Day 5: Kyoto
- Nijo-jo Castle
- Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
- Okochi-Sanso Villa

Day 6: Himeiji
- Day trip to Himeiji Castle via Nozomi train
- Yoshitake Shrine
- Japan Toy Museum
- Travel back to Tokyo overnight

Day 7: Hokkaido
- Fly to Hokkaido
- Sapporo shopping
- Otaru Canal and Sakaimachi Street

Day 8: Hokkaido

- Hakodate Morning Market
- Mount Hakodate sunset

Day 9: Hokkaido

- Date Jidaimura theme park
- Noboribetsu Onsen

Day 10: Hokkaido
- Jozankei Onsen
- Hoheikyo Dam
- Futami Suspension Bridge
- Shiraito Falls OR Pool of Maizuru
- Fly back at night


---- Other Sites & Booking Resources ---

As this is a consolidated overall view of itineraries for 3 countries, I focused more on the attractions and things to do rather than the nitty-gritty details of where to stay, what to eat, transport arrangements in between, etc. You can easily find that via a quick Google search, or decide on the itinerary you'll like to follow and browse other blogs where they describe (some) of the to-and-fros in detail.

Japan, Korea and Taiwan are fantastic destination choices because all of them have an amazing inter-city rail system, and it is really easy to get around via public transport. You'll come to know them like the back of your hand after spending a few days there.

When it comes to booking all the different activities, I tend to rely on Klook - and you can check out this post I did where I back-tested their prices against various travel-booking sites for various destinations and they almost always came up as the cheapest. Most importantly, I really appreciate their instant-booking mobile ticketing system for many of the sites, which allows you to literally book the ticket while you're standing outside the gates and get immediate entry, therefore skipping the queue. Saving time is of the essence if your aim is to cover as many sights as possible!

Budget tip: Get $10 credits free for booking your activities with this Klook link (no minimum spend required) and an additional S$5 off your first booking with the voucher code KLOOKBUDGET


Klook.com

I've also deliberately excluded hotels and flights, as it makes more sense to tap on whatever promotions are available. If you're thinking of saving on the flights (therefore going via budget airlines), you can also check out this post I put together previously on how you can score great flight savings.

For all of my trips overseas, I usually book my accommodations via Agoda as they have really low prices for different types of accommodations (budget hostels to luxury villas) and offer a fantastic rewards system which rewards you for continued bookings. I've been using Agoda for a good few years now.

Here's wishing you a romantic honeymoon with lots of savings!

With love,
Budget Babe

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