There are trips and then there are trips. Like this one; a single around the world airfare offering five incredible stops – our Fare of the Month. One ticket, five countries, endless adventure. Come along for the ride as we see, taste and tour them all.
Could there be a better place to start? We think not. Paris is pretty, gritty with the human spirit, romance, art and history, all splayed out in architectural brilliance that’s forever pleasing to the eye. It’s also fun and delicious, presenting endless opportunities to see, taste and tour its many treasures.
SEE a Moulin Rouge Show
Consider it a right of passage, if not a fun, memorable night out. The iconic Parisian cabaret dates back to 1889. It’s the birthplace of the cheeky can-can dance that’s entertained locals, visitors, artists and other entertainers alike, from Salvador Dali to Elton John. Today, the Moulin Rouge is solely a tourist attraction and a popular one at that. The original house burned down in 1915 but the big red windmill standing in Montmartre today is as timeless as its predecessor. Enjoy dinner and a show and become a part of its history.
TASTE Classic French Fare
One thing that’s virtually a given is that you’re gonna eat well, especially if you eat local. From patisseries and boulangeries to cafés and bistros, get your fill of classic French fare to even begin to understand this quality-driven culture. Don’t bring your diet on this stop – indulge. Order the duck confit, the coq au vin, the steak frites, to-die-for crusty bread, creamy cheeses, rich butter-rounded sauces and decadent desserts. You only live once. Chase it all down with a Beaujolais and be nice to your waiter.
TOUR its Famous Parks & Gardens
Jardin des Tuileries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest and largest public garden in Paris, boasts perhaps the best views of the Arc de Triomphe. Jardin du Luxembourg holds spectacular fountains, over a hundred statues, and a stunning rose garden that competes with the ever-present chess players that are an attraction of their own. Canal Saint-Martin is one of the most popular spots in the city for a stroll along its banks. Check out these three famous parks and gardens and do as the French do, packing blankets, baguettes, fromage et vin for a perfect Paris picnic.
From La Ville Lumière to the Island of the Gods. The Indonesian island of Bali is the perfect solo or couples escape. Its enchanting cultural experiences, uneclipsed natural beauty and a laid-back disposition create the perfect setting for romance or introspective mindfulness and well-being. And the surf’s pretty good, too.
SEE a Balinese Dance Performance
Rich with symbolism, reverence, captivating postures and an ancient elegance, catching a traditional dance performance is a quintessential Bali experience. As a visitor, you’ll probably witness a Balih-Balihan, a genre saved for entertainment or social events. There are other, more sacred dances, too, performed to welcome and entertain gods, putting dancers in a possessed trance. The sacred Wali dance is seldom seen and can only be performed inside Balinese temples during ceremonies. But even the tourist version will amaze.
TASTE Nasi Goreng
If you think you’re staring down a simple bowl of fried rice, you’ll be gladly mistaken. Indonesia’s take on the Chinese staple is distinguished by its aromatic and earthy flavour, owed to a generous amount of tamarind and chilli, caramelized sweet soy sauce and powdered shrimp paste. It’s spicier than its Chinese counterpart, and although it’s also popular in Malaysia and Singapore, too, Nasi Goreng is mastered here and is widely considered the national dish. Break the yolk with your fork and get ready to fall in love.
TOUR Neighbouring Islands (Lombok, Gili, Komodo)
Bali isn’t big and it’s easy to arrange sightseeing, waterfall tours and hidden beach hikes to see much of it. For those that want more, there are accessible, equally stunning islands nearby. Lombok can be reached from Bali by ferry, speedboat or by air, and promises a less-polished tourist experience. As do the quiet Gili Islands, ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. Venture even further east and you’ll find Komodo National Park, famous for its dragons.
Skip from one peaceful island to an island city-state. From award-winning Changi Airport onwards, Singapore is a manicured marvel and a sight to behold, be it gleaming skyscrapers or its authentic Little India and Chinatown enclaves, seductive islands and beaches, too.
SEE the City from Marina Bay Sands Rooftop
To truly appreciate the sprawl of Lion City, you need a bird’s eye view. One of the best spots for a panoramic vista is the rooftop at Marina Bay Sands. The impeccably designed 5-star hotel strings together three skyscraping towers with a giant boat-like roof, holding a restaurant, bar and one of the most breathtaking infinity pools on the planet. While you need to be a guest to use the swimming pool, come for a nightcap to the Ce La Vie rooftop bar to gawk at the dramatically lit SuperTree Grove of Gardens by the Bay below.
TASTE the Chilli Crab
Mud crabs have never tasted better! For foodies, a fun side-attraction is to leisurely search out a favourite version of Singapore’s signature seafood dish, the chilli crab. Found in hawker stalls and seafood restaurants all over the island, the less-spicy-than-it-sounds delicacy can be addictive. Stir-fried in a thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce, the national dish is traditionally eaten with bare hands to best savour the juicy crab meat.
Pro tip: grab a fistful of napkins and roll up those sleeves. Also, the annual Singapore Food Festival is held each July.
TOUR Sentosa Island
Offering hours, if not days, of fun and respite from the city, Sentosa Island is both an excellent place to kick back as well as an action-packed attraction. AJ Hackett offers the only bungee jumping in the country here, as well as the Vertical Skywalk to get the blood flowing. Mega Adventure Park boasts the MegaZip, the steepest zip line in Southeast Asia. Adventure Cove Waterpark lets you snorkel among freshwater fish and scream down water coasters. Here is where you’ll find Universal Studios and beautiful Siloso Beach.
Until you’ve been, you haven’t seen anything like it. Tokyo is a mind-boggling attack on the senses, be it incense wafting out from timeless temples and the freshest sushi imaginable, or head-turning street fashion and a look into the future, now. Tokyo is lit, in all the right ways.
SEE a Sumo Wrestling Match
Japan’s most popular sport is complex but you don’t need to understand its finer points to appreciate the centuries-old rituals and traditions. After a ceremonial entrance, the basic objective is to force your opponent out of the ring. A wrestler can also lose if he’s forced to touch the ground with anything other than the bottom of his feet. The most prestigious tournaments take place every other month starting January, and last 15 days. Matches begin at 8 am and continue until 6 pm, and a ticket will allow you to attend all the matches in a single day.
TASTE Japanese Whisky
Japan has a penchant for quality whisky that goes beyond drinking Scotland’s stash. Although there are only a handful of distilleries in the country, what is created here is respected the world over. It could be that Japanese whisky is more similar to Scotch whisky than any other, surely the result of great care and craftsmanship. Suntory and Nikka are the two best-known distillers and both produce blended as well as single malt whiskies, and blended malt whiskies, too. Both are widely available in shops and Shinjuku’s izakaya-filled alleyways. Sip with care!
TOUR the Onsen
An onsen is a Japanese geothermal hot spring and can also refer to the bathing facilities that are part of a traditional inn or spa surrounding a hot spring, indoor or out. Being a volcanic archipelago, there are thousands of onsen throughout the country. A culturally immersive experience year-round, onsen are naturally best enjoyed with a chill in the air. While traditional mixed-gender bathing still takes place in rural Japan, most onsen surrounding Tokyo are gender-specific.
Please note: if you sport a tattoo, check the policy of the onsen you are planning on visiting before you go. More than half of onsen operators have banned bathers with body art to keep out Yakuza gang members.
“If you have just one tattoo, the best thing to do is to cover it up with a medical sleeve or gauze. It’s usually ok if the tattoo isn’t visible and the proprietor and other patrons just can’t see it…The attitudes towards tattoos are still extremely serious, so there’s no talking your way around it.” Expert Traveller Mariel Clayton, Oakville Flight Centre.
Eyes wide open, cultured and refreshed, make your way from the Land of the Rising Sun to the City of Angels for your final adventure. Reacclimate to Western ideals in one of America’s most vibrant cities or tour up and down the gorgeous coast as you please before returning home.
SEE a Stand-Up Comedy Show
L.A. is blessed with some of the world’s most notorious comedy clubs, venues where countless soon-to-be superstars cut their teeth en route to superstardom. Catching a comedy show in Los Angeles, whether it’s improv, sketch or stand-up, can leave you entrenched in the scene’s colourful history and can even introduce you to the next big thing. One thing it will surely do is leave you rolling in your seat, whether you’re at Hollywood Improv, Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store or Second City.
TASTE Juice Bar Smoothies
Think of them as healthy mocktails. L.A. is obsessed with eating (and drinking) right and as evidenced by the city’s modelesque population, it has mastered it. It may be the only place in the world where juice bar-hopping is a thing but after your first sip of an expertly-crafted smoothie at Clover Juice, Pressed Juicery or Moon Juice, you’ll quickly get why. Spinach kale blueberry smoothie anyone?
TOUR Celebrity Tattoo Parlours
Get healthy and get inked, if that’s your thing. Follow in the footsteps of your favourite celebrity and get your body art from a real artist to the stars. From The Shamrock Social Club on Sunset Boulevard (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, David Beckham) to Ink Ink Tattoo’s unique all-female staff in Venice, take your pick of some of the world’s best tattoo artists. Although many accept walk-ins, it’s always best to make an appointment.
What would you see, taste and tour? Our Fare of the Month is fully customizable allowing you to spend as long as you like in each destination and to book any side trips you may want along the way. Arrange your around the world ticket with an Expert Traveller today.