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Archive for Winter

Hi Travel Buddies,

Thinking of a winter holiday to escape the heat in Singapore?  Melbourne is one of best place to chill out this season.

Read below to choose from a range of Victoria’s Alpine holiday packages.

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Categories : Seasons, Winter
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Hi Travel Buddies,

Fly Emirates to Dubai Shopping Festival from 20th January to 20th February 2011 and you will get to enjoy an extra night FREE when you pay for three nights hotel package starting from USD55 per person per night.  Hotel stays in Dubai are usually not cheap and we must say that this price is a steal especially when the current US dollar is weak.

There is no better time to visit Dubai now during WINTER time when the weather is cool and nice to travel.  Want to find out more what you can do in Dubai besides shopping?  Read our travel tale and check out our photos gallery.

Categories : Emirates, Great Deals, Winter
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Drift Ice in Hokkaido

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Hi Travel Buddies,

Hokkaido has always been one of the top destinations come to our mind whenever someone asks us for suggestion where to go for a unique winter holiday.

If you decide to travel to Hokkaido during winter, make sure you go for the ice-breaking cruise to tour the Okhotsk Sea, which will be filled with drift ice (also known as “Ryuhyo”) around late January to March every year.  If you are lucky, you may be able to spot seals relaxing on the ice.

There are 2 drift ice sightseeing boats in Hokkaido:
1) Aurora-gou at Abashiri (3300 yen/adult) or go slightly further north to 2) Garinko-gou at Monbetsu (3000 yen/adult).  However, do note that the cruise only operates when weather permits (depending on the current and wind direction on the day).

You can also take the tram service (“Ryuhyo Norokko”) between Abashiri and Shiretoko-Shari for 810 yen per  adult.  We watched in a TV travel programme that the train is equipped with a stove as a heater.  Passenger can purchase dried fish and cuttlefish onboard the train and grill them on the stove while enjoy the panaromic view of drift ice onshore the Sea of Okhotsk.

Another must-try is probably the Drift Ice Walk at Shari Town.  For 5000 yen, you can put on a dry suit to walk on the drift ice for a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The entire tour tour should last for around 90 minutes.

Lastly, do not miss the Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum at the top of Mt. Tento-zan, a suburb of Abashiri where you can get a simulated drift ice experience in a room.  We experienced that when we were there in summer in 2007. 😛  You can also get a chance to see the cute little Clione, also known as angel fish, which are normally attached to the drift ice.

So when is the best time to view the drft ice?  Mid to late February is probably a good time to visit, so you can start planning now for a memorable trip at the winter wonderland in Hokkaido! 🙂

Categories : Destinations, Japan, Winter
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Santa Claus Village

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Hi Travel Buddies,

Do you know the place where you can meet Santa Claus and cross the magical Artic Circle every day?  Yes, you can do this at Santa Claus Village at Lapland, Finland!

The Santa Claus Village is located 8 km north of Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland.

We can see the Artic Circle (called Napapiiri in Finlandas a visible line on the world map.  The coolest part we read is that the Artic Circle marker is conveniently painted on the roadside and built right on top of the Santa Claus Village.  The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis are especially visible to observers standing at or above the Artic Circle and striking during dark winter times.

You can arrange to send a postcard from Santa Claus Post Office during Christmas time and will bear an official Santa stamp.  You can also receive a Christmas card from Santa for €6.

Santa Park is a Christmas-theme amusement park, featuring all Christmas related stuff, magic sledge ride, an army of elves baking gingerbread, christmas carousel and of course Santa Claus himself!

About Lapland

Lapland is the coldest part of Finland, expecting minus 30°C or even lower during winter.  So when is the best time to visit?  June is muddy and mosquitoes are real nuisance in July.  August is great and falls colours set in September.  While thick snow during Oct to May, December draws crowds to Santa Claus, real reindeer and skiing activities.

Merry Christmas!  Yo ho ho-ho! 😀

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Hi Travel Buddies,

Harbin (哈尔滨) is the capital of Heilongjiang Province, or Black Dragon River, just across the border from Russia.  Every year, thousands of visitors brave the cold and flock to Harbin for the world famous’s Ice Lantern Festival during the winter.  If you travel down south by bus or trains from Harbin, you will reach Yabuli in just 3 hours.  Yabuli is the finest and biggest ski resort in China.

Our suggested itinerary

If you are flying into Beijing, you can plan a few days either before or after your skiing holiday.  We would like to do it after so that we can shop leisurely and no need to lug our shopping bags along the way.  Click on the link here to see our itinerary in Beijing for ideas.

When you are at Harbin, you will not want to miss the 27th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, starting from 5th January and typically runs for a month.  So set aside a day or more in the Harbin city.  Every year, the International Snow Sculpture Art Expo is held at Sun Island Park.  You can walk across the frozen Songhua River to Sun Island Park.  Take your time to admire the beautiful, majestic ice sculptures ranging from recreation of iconic buildings and palaces like Forbidden City, Tiananmen gate to churches, animals and people figures.  At night, these architectures lit up with colourful lights to create a magical and romantic effect.

If you are planning for a ski holiday this season and you are prepared to splurge, you can check out the all-inclusive package offered by Club Med Yabuli.  Club Med Yabuli is the first Club Med Resort in China, opens on 27th November 2010.  Since they have just opened, they may have some great offers to entice more tourists.  If Club Med is not your cup of tea, there are also a few other resorts for you to pick.

Getting to Harbin and Yabuli

  1. Take a flight to Harbin or Mudanjiang from Beijing.  You can arrange the resort van to pick you up or hire a cab from the airport.  Alternatively, you can take a train (3 hours from Harbin, 1.5 hours from Mudanjiang) to Yabuli.  Arrange the resort van to pick you up or hire a cab from Yabuli train station.
  2. Take an overnight train from Beijing to Harbin or Yabuli.  Arrange the resort van to pick you up or hire a cab from Yabuli train station.
  3. If you are traveling in and out Harbin, you can take the day ski train from Harbin directly to a new special train station (Yabulinan) that is located next to the entrance to the resort area. The train leaves Harbin station at 7:48 AM arriving about 10:30 AM and returns at 4:50 PM arriving Harbin about 7:30 PM.

Well, you may be wondering how cold is the weather over there now?  minus 19 degrees celsius at press time now 😛

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Categories : Destinations, Harbin, Winter
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