Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Singapore
These days, cost-conscious travelers have more options than ever. The question is no longer “Where will we go?” but “How cheap can we get there?” Rest assured, we’re here to tell you the answer: pretty cheap! As evidence, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most budget-friendly travel destinations to watch out for in 2014. These places show it’s totally possible to plan an unforgettable trip to a unique, accessible, and culturally interesting destination, and still feel like you’re getting a deal. Trying to fit all these fabulous trips into a single year? Well, that’s another question…
1. Singapore It’s telling that Singapore Airlines spent the better part of this fall introducing over two dozen brand new 777-300ER planes into its fleet. The national carrier, consistently recognized as one of the top airlines in the world, is simply catering to demand as more and more visitors flock to this verdant Southeast Asian hub. Scores of new hotels are opening all over the city – many of them artfully designed and, best of all, reasonably priced. But it’s not just affordable lodging that keep travelers coming back. The city’s treasure trove of cheap hawker centers (food stalls), diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and abundant green spaces (Gardens by the Bay, for one) show why it’s becoming one of the region’s most accessible, yet endlessly entertaining modern metropolises. (See also: Off The Beaten Path In Singapore)
Singapore may have a hard time competing with US cities like Chicago, Miami, Portland, and NYC when it comes to “up-and-coming hotel neighborhoods,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great new hotels to be found. This fall, a spate of new 4-star and upscale properties hits the market, marking the city’s astonishing growth and development over the past few months, and making it hard to walk a few blocks without running into some new property rising up out of the ground. The trick, of course, is finding a way to sift through all the new-ness until you end up with a bargain.
Luckily, that isn’t hard to do. Despite the fact that Singapore is home to a few of the world’s most lavish (and, by definition, priciest) hotels, the newer properties manage to strike a balance between high-design and affordability. Take the Amoy Hotel (pictured above), for example, which sits right around the corner from Raffles Place – one of the busiest stops on Singapore’s MRT subway line. The brand new, 37-room hotel combines a sleek, modern aesthetic with influences from the Chinatown neighborhood that surrounds it (the building was in fact a former “shop house”). Inside, guests can choose between a “cosy” single room (compact spaces with replica wooden ceiling beams, large vanity mirrors, and full minibar) or a “deluxe” double room (slightly larger spaces with French double doors). Scheduled to open at end of 2013. Read more
We here at ShermansTravel see lots of luxury travel trends, but we feel especially predisposed to a sort of dumbstruck jealousy towards those lucky dogs who end up aboard a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER plane. With fully-flat, 78 inch-long beds, sheets and a duvet, leather quilted back cushions, and iPad-ready USB/HDMI ports, each individual ‘seat’ (and we use that term loosely) likely offers more amenities than the hotel room awaiting you at your final destination.
Next month, the brand new planes – complete with re-designed business and first class cabins – will go into service along the airline’s main Singapore-London route. But for $5867.38, is the seat alone worth the trip? Read more
The airline industry as a whole takes its fair share of flack. It seems that every other month, some new fee is being added, services are being cut, price increases are being slid into fares, and flexibility is nothing more than a cute notion. But for all the negatives, billions are being spent on airport expansions to make flying a little bit more pleasant. Here’s a look at three of the year’s biggest airport upgrades, though if immediate results are your thing, don’t get too excited. Some of the work isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2030. Read more
The Tour de France is happening as we speak, and aren’t you just kicking yourself for not being there to catch the action? Well, you can do more than just watch: Google’s current “Your Tour“ interactive site allows users to ride along with the cyclists, exploring the trails and scenery from their perspective. Google is unveiling new routes this week as the race progresses; keep an eye out for Champs-Élysées, set to be unlocked on July 21.
For nine more newly-debuted destinations to explore on Google Street View, read on! Read more
Like anyone else, we love the idea of a free trip. And that’s just what major airlines are offering when they advertise a “free” stopover in one of their home cities — essentially a bonus side trip to another city while en route to your final destination.
Not to be confused with a layover (a few hours in the airport while waiting for your connecting flight), a stopover is any stay longer than 24 hours in which travelers leave the airport and go explore the surrounding city. The length of a stopover is entirely up to the traveler, and since there is often no extra cost added to the original ticket, the stopover is considered free. (In airline speak, this is known as a “dual destination vacation.”)
But how exactly does one go about booking a stopover? And is it a better deal in the long run?
First off, it is important to understand why certain airlines provide free stopovers. In almost every case, these are major international carriers based in major hubs (Emirates/Dubai; Singapore Airlines/Singapore; Japan Airlines/Tokyo; etc.) that want to lure more tourists to their destination. Enticing travelers with a “free” stopover leads to hotel bookings, restaurant meals, and other tourism dollars that otherwise wouldn’t have been spent.
To book a stopover, select “multi-destination” or “multi-city” on the airline’s website and plug in the specific dates for your desired stopover. As long as your stopover is in the airline’s home city, chances are it will cost the same price as a ticket without a stopover.
For example, if I’m looking up flights from New York to Budapest in October, Kayak tells me that Aeroflot offers the cheapest route for $808, with a 3.5 hour layover in Moscow. If I then go to Aeroflot’s website and type in a multi-destination trip that includes two days of sightseeing in Moscow, the flight is the exact same price: $808.
Here are some more examples: Read more
It was voted one of the top places to travel in 2013 by the New York Times, and on August 9, Singapore will go into overdrive during National Day, the country’s equivalent to July 4th. Tourist-driven spots like Marina Bay Sands, Clarke Quay and Orchard Road will be their usual pedestrian-clogged selves, but for travelers seeking a subtler, more engaging experience, you won’t have to look far.
On a recent trip, I bypassed all the spectacle and cheap thrills that the city is usually known for, and found another side to Singapore that contradicted everything I’d previously read: elegant concert halls, artsy boutique hotels, a nature reserve accessible only by ferry. I left with a greater appreciation for the city, its unique history, and the bright future that seems to be unfolding for it.
I’ll start with Gardens By the Bay, the only place on my list that might technically be considered touristy. Too bad. The lush, man-made garden is set on a 250-acre plot behind Marina Bay Sands, and its assortment of lily ponds, footbridges, vertical gardens, and suspended walkways create a surreal haven within the bustling city. Make a beeline for Cloud Forest ($22/person), a giant glass dome that houses a 115 foot tall man-made mountain covered in native rainforest plants. As you ascend up the walkway, you’ll feel mist from the plunging waterfall settling on your face. Read more
As the saying goes, ‘getting there is half the fun.’ But there’s nothing fun about getting a ticket (or, worse, arrested) for a law you didn’t know existed while traveling in a foreign country. Take our advice and make sure you never…
…Travel with an un-stamped ticket in Italy
Italian cuisine is known for its simplicity, but the same unfortunately cannot be said for the country’s rules around bus, train and metro tickets. Unlike in the US, where it suffices to simply purchase a ticket, in Italy passengers are required to validate their ticket before (or at the moment of) boarding. The act of stamping the ticket takes just a second, but without doing so, you could be on the receiving end of a grouchy carabinieri‘s ticket book. Read more
This summer, take the international vacation you’ve always dreamed of with Accor Hotels’ Super Sale. Enjoy a romantic vacation to Paris, explore the sights of Hong Kong, soak up the arts and culture of Sydney, and many more international destinations. With this sale, you’ll save up to 50 percent on seasonal rates at the same hotels. Valid for stays from July 6 through September 1, select properties include: Read more
People travel for plenty of reasons: business, pleasure, to start life under a new identity after faking your own death. Many travelers also plan entire trips around visiting a particular landmark that will bring them good fortune – like kissing Ireland’s Blarney Stone to gain the gift of gab. Sure, hanging off a cliff to make-out with a rock makes perfect sense, but is it silly to think you could find wealth and happiness based on where you sit on a plane? Jetstar Asia, a Singapore-based carrier, doesn’t seem to think so; they’ve become the world’s first airline to entice passengers with the benefits of feng shui, and believe finding health, friendship, and love is as easy as planting yourself in Row 14, Seat B. Read more
In Singapore, eating is a national obsession. So much so, that upon greeting each other, Singaporeans will often throw out a “have you eaten yet?” before asking, “how are you?” The city’s culinary scene is constantly exploding with new restaurants fueled by innovative fusions and celebrity chefs, but for the visitor on a budget, the long-established Singapore hawker centers (numbering more than a hundred) are the Holy Grail for delicious eats on the cheap.
Hawker centers are temples for food worshipers, purpose-built facilities bursting with as many as 200 food stalls specializing in different dishes. The term “hawker” is a throwback to the days when migrant food vendors trolled Singapore streets hawking their fare; later, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, in the name of food safety and hygiene, the vendors were relocated to designated hawker centers throughout the city. Today, stalls are strictly monitored and must display their grades as awarded for hygienic standards and stall cleanliness, so that customers can enjoy the street food experience without any uncomfortable side effects. Read more
The Philadelphia Zoo’s resident orangutans were recently awarded some newfound freedom to roam. Using a set of enclosed trails, called the Great Ape Trail, the orangutans can travel around the zoo property at will, suspended above visitor walkways. Lemurs and small monkeys at the zoo have been doing this for a year on their Treetop Trail. The Philadelphia Zoo is not alone in letting some of their tenants roam the grounds. Other zoos around the world have made similar concessions to their primate inhabitants. In fact, some let their animals roam freely among their human guests.
Airlines, bloggers, cruise lines, and resorts flood our inboxes daily with travel contests and sweepstakes. The prizes are always tempting, but it’s tough to figure out which giveaways are worth your valuable time (and contact information) and which you should demote to the spam folder. To up your odds of scoring a free vacation, we’ll feature one travel contest each week – and say why it’s worth your while.
Contest: Angry Birds aficionados will attest that the mobile game is crazy addicting, and eight lucky gamers will get to prove it onboard Finnair’s Angry Birds Flight from Helsinki to Singapore September 20. The entire plane will be decked out in Angry Birds paraphernalia – think game-inspired entertainment, Angry Birds-themed crew uniforms, and a real live Angry Bird – and each seat equipped with a mobile tablet to master the game. When the plane reaches cruising altitude, the Angry Birds Asian Challenge commences; the highest-scoring players, as well the eight Finnair contest winners, advance to the final competition.
Winners receive not only a seat on the Angry Birds flight but also transportation from their home airport to the appropriate destinations; Finnair will also provide accommodations in Helsinki and Singapore, if necessary.
Whether killing time or scrambling to find last-minute souvenirs, most of us are at one time or another saved by airport shopping. Yes, every airport comes with the standard magazine stands and tacky gift shops, but our top 10 airports for shopping take their retail seriously. We’re talking endless duty-free arcades, luxury boutiques galore, and, maybe most notably, small local retailers that supply homegrown items unique to the destination itself. And isn’t that what souvenir shopping is all about? These gateway hubs span the globe, from Portland to Dubai, and offer the traveler more than just a distraction before boarding – they provide a viable (not TSA-related) reason to arrive the recommended three hours before (international) departure time. Get a sneak peek at the goods with our Top 10 Airports for Shopping slideshow, then read our Top 10 Airports for Shopping article to plot your next layover.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find flight, hotel, cruise, and more travel deals.
Backpackers flocking to Southeast Asia for its cheap accommodations, favorable climate, and dazzling natural scenery can trade in crowded hostels for five-star comfort. Sample delectable Balinese curry, dance the night away in Singapore, and watch the sunset on the shores of the Bali Sea from just $1,703 (with fuel surcharge) when you book your package through Singapore Airlines Vacations. Travelers can fly out of every Singapore Airlines gateway around the U.S., including Los Angeles, New York, and Houston.
• Round-trip airfare
• Airport and hotel transfers
• Two-nights’ accommodations at five-star Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore
• Three-nights’ accommodations at five-star Nusa Dua Beach Hotel in Bali
• Daily breakfast in Bali
• Half-day Singapore city tour
• Full-day Bali city tour, including lunch
• Complimentary bus pass in Singapore
THE CATCH: You’ll have to recruit a travel buddy, as rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes of $110 are not included in the package price.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.singaporeairlinesvacations.com to book through August 31. Travel between September 1, 2010 and November 30, 2010, or January 1, 2011 and March 31, 2011.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Browse other International Vacation deals.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find other great deals on vacation packages, airfare, hotels, and cruises.
FOUND A BETTER DEAL? Tell us.
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals