This Hokkaido Ice Village Has Igloo Beds & A Crystal Chapel For Weddings

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Hosts Pristine Weddings In A Crystal Chapel

Those of us who’ve grown up in tropical climates often dream of winter wonderlands, crystalline snowflakes — especially after Disney’s hit movie Frozen.

While the holiday season has ended, the winter season is far from over. If you’re headed to Japan to see the Sakura trees in Feb, we’ve found a gorgeous ice hotel with rooms entirely made out of sculptured ice just for you!

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Ready to sleep like a king or queen of winter? We’ve done some research on your behalf and here’s what’s awaiting you in this luxurious destination.

Ice hotel with outdoor bath

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu boasts of an ice hotel that’s open from 19 Jan to 28 Feb.

The domed-shaped space is entirely built of ice with the walls and ceilings shining like illuminated crystals. Beds consist of expertly cut ice slabs topped with a sleeping bag which can endure extremely cold temperatures.

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If you’re not used to the cold, suit up and prepare for temperatures to drop between 14⁰C to 30⁰C below freezing.

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A night at any Japanese hotel isn’t complete without a hot bath, and you can get one here too, whilst surrounded by shimmering ice. The winter forest and bright lights make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the Chinese New Year.

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After you’ve indulged in a warm bath, you can sit back and grab your favorite drinks at their after-bath ice lounge. We’re not too sure about the reclined seats because thick blocks of ice aren’t exactly comfy.

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We’re sorry to burst your bubble, but luxurious destinations come with a hefty price tag. One night at their ice hotel is 23000¥ or $287.

Ice Village

Don’t have the budget to book a one-night stay in their ice hotel? No worries!

You can drop by their ice village for 500¥ or S$6! If you stay at their other hotels like RISONARE Tomamu or Tomamu The Tower – which are not made of ice – a trip to the village is free of charge.

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The ice village is composed of ice rinks, bars and cafes.

Bookworms can lounge in the Ice Books & Café where they can binge on books or read their Kindles whilst relishing the warmth of the fireplace. The fire is contained around a special glass so there’s no need to worry about drops of water landing on the pages.

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We’re sure you’ve dreamed about ice castles, but what about ice bars?

Their Ice Bar has more than 50 kinds of hard liquor and cocktail. You can even add an underground water from the “perpetual snow” of Daisetsuzan Mountain – also known as the water for long life.

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Parents bringing their kids along for the trip can join an activity called Ice Gao.

Here, children can play ice musical instruments, freezing soap bubbles and sculpt ice glass and keychains.

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Of course, no village is complete without a playground, so get on their ice slides and brace yourself for a fun-filled ride from the village’s overlook deck to the ice rink.

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Since we grew up in a hot climate, we’re definitely not confident about our ice skating skills. But you’ll definitely be tempted to rent a pair of skates and lace your boots once you’ve seen their ice rinks at night!

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Ice chapel

Frozen fans rejoice!

From 19 Jan to 15 Feb, their weddings ceremonies are held in an ice chapel that has a cross, altar, and chairs which are also made of ice. Now all you need is an Elsa-approved dress to make your once-in-a-lifetime walk down the aisle.

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Skiis & snowmobiles

For thrill-seekers and adventure lovers, a trip to Japan isn’t over until you’ve skied down slopes and ridden snowmobiles.

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You’ll be happy to find that the resort has an easy auto gate system that lets you visit their majestic mountaintops and bask on these scenic views.

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Those who don’t ski or snowboard can always opt for their Moonlight Snowmobile Tour. Have fun dashing through the snow whilst looking at the exceptionally beautiful pine trees and the bright full moon.

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The ski resort and snowmobiles are only available from December to March.

Booking a trip to this Frozen wonderland?

Now that Hoshino Resorts Tomamu is definitely on your radar, how do you get there?

You can book a flight from Singapore to New Chitose Airport via Scoot, Thai Airlines and Japan Airlines. From there, ride the Sapporo railway station and exit at Tomamu station. A shuttle bus to the resort will be waiting once you arrive. You can check out their website for more details.

If you can’t afford the $287 per night stay in their ice hotel, you can always check out their non-frozen accommodations on their website. The admission fee for their ice village is only
500¥ or $6! Thrill-seekers eager to try winter sports and other activities can check prices here.

There’s many options to choose from no matter your budget – so you can have a magical holiday without breaking the bank.

Address: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido 079-2204, Japan
Check-In & Check-Out: 15:00pm to 11:00am
Website: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu

Featured image from Instagram.

Largest Don Don Donki In Singapore Opens At City Square Mall On 11 Jan

Third Don Don Donki Outlet Is The Largest & Has A Food Court Inside

If you’ve been to a Don Don Donki outlet, you’d know how huge the store is with its endless aisles.

One minute you’d be looking at sashimi and the next you’d be surrounded by shelves upon shelves of instant ramen.

Their first outlet at Orchard Central is enough of a big maze, but their third and largest one opening at City Square Mall on Friday (11 Jan) promises to be even bigger.

Fresh groceries, dining & bargain sectors

Every Don Don Donki outlet is designed to cater to the unique retail behaviour of customers in its location.

Since a lot of families visit City Square Mall, Don Don Donki’s new outlet will offer three unique features all families will appreciate — dining, bargain buys and fresh groceries.

Bargain section

Bargain hunters swarm around sale sections in stores like moths drawn to a flame. We try to snatch all the deals we can get and leave with more than what we intended.

If you’re guilty of that, you might want to stay away from Don Don Donki’s bargain section. Set in a corner of the store, bargains from as low as S$1 can be found here.

Items are placed in carton boxes with handwritten price tags spelling out the extremely low prices in bold, like in the original Don Quijote in Japan.

The displays that basically screams ‘sale’ would be too difficult to ignore, so maybe you should just give in to your temptations.

Legit ramen at food court

When you’re done shopping or simply need to pause and refuel, drop by the in-store food court for some authentic Japanese cuisine.

You can find everything there as the five food stalls sell both sweet and savoury dishes.

A piping hot bowl of ramen from Hokkaido Ramen Santouka makes the perfect comfort food after a long day of shopping.

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For dessert, try Naganuma Ice Co’s creme brulee soft serve ice cream which will round off your meal nicely.

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Japanese delicatessen pantry right out of MasterChef

To avoid splurging on Japanese food at a restaurant, you might want to play MasterChef and make your own instead.

Don Don Donki City Square Mall’s extensive range of fresh produce and delicatessen is much wider than its other outlets, so you’ll find everything you’ll need there.

There’s no excuse not to include fruits and vegetables in your diet when you can get the freshest ones flown in from Japan.

If you’re not in the mood to cook, just grab something from the delicatessen section and you’ll be good to go.

Opening day promos

The official opening ceremony for Don Don Donki @ City Square Mall will be on Friday (11 Jan) at 10am.

Be there to catch the Donpen Mascot and stand a chance to win attractive prizes.

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New and existing Don Don Donki mobile app members get a chance to spin a wheel of fortune. Spin-the-wheel prizes up for grabs include:

  • Limited edition Donpen plushies
  • 10 pairs of tickets to Airzone, the suspended playground in City Square Mall
  • 100 Don Don Donki Eco Bags

The first 1,000 customers who spend at least S$50 will win a limited edition Don Don Donki Tote Bag so make sure you get there early.

Pokemon fans should make a point to stop by too as Pikachu will be making special appearances on 11-13 Jan at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm.

Address: Basement 2, City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208539.
Opening hours: 9am-12am daily
Nearest MRT station: Farrer Park

All images courtesy of Don Don Donki unless otherwise stated.

GameMartz Is Selling PS4 & Xbox Games From $10 Till 11 Jan 2019

Massive Sale On PS4 & Xbox Games At GameMartz

Game consoles like PlayStation, Wii and Xbox already cost so much on their own.

You’d need to buy the video games too, and those don’t come cheap. You can wait for your ang bao money, but February seems so far away.

Well don’t stress about it too much because GameMartz is having a massive sale on video games at both its outlets.

Brand new PS4 & Xbox games from $10

Brand new video games can cost a fortune, often going for at least $50 each especially for the popular titles.

Forking out money to buy one can be painful but what alternative is there?

You can buy pre-owned games but nothing beats the thrill of tearing the plastic wrapper on a CD case that’s been untouched by human hands.

Paying affordable prices for that satisfaction? That’s a dream you can realise at GameMartz which is selling PS4 and Xbox games for as low as $10.

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That’s $10 for a lifetime of entertainment — or however long your PlayStation survives for.

Hit Xbox One games like “Resident Evil Origins Collection” are sold for $25 or less, which is significantly cheaper than what most places offer.

Online retailer Lazada sells the game for $59.90.

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Nintendo 3DS games are also available at very attractive prices, so get ready to make it rain when you visit one of GameMartz’s stores.

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Sale ends 11 January

Awesome deals don’t last forever and this one will only be around till Friday (11 Jan).

Here’s all you need to know about both outlets to get your hands on your gaming haul ASAP.

GameMartz @ Plaza Singapura
Address: 68 Orchard Rd, #04-03 Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839
Opening hours: 11am-9.30pm
Nearest station: Dhoby Ghaut MRT

GameMartz @ Bugis Junction
Address: 200 Victoria St, #03-24B Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021
Opening hours: 11am-9.30pm
Nearest station: Bugis MRT

So gather your fellow nerds from the gaming community and hurry over to any GameMartz outlets soon to catch the deal while it lasts.

Alternatively, if you live nearer Yishun & Tampines, check out this sale instead.

GameXtreme Store Also Selling PS4 Games From $9.90 At Tampines & Yishun

Featured image from Facebook and Facebook.

Orh Gao Taproom Is A Craft Beer Kopitiam By Night Near Botanic Gardens

Orh Gao Taproom Giving Out Free Beer On 12 Jan From 4pm

When you turn the corner along Serene Centre, you’ll walk past a nondescript Killiney Kopitiam by day.

But once dusk falls, the entire premise is transformed into a chill hangout for Bukit Timah folk seeking refuge from the humidity with an ice cold beer.

Start with a toast, end with a toast

Orh Gao Taproom is aptly named after ‘Orh Gao’ or ‘黑狗’ — a Hokkien moniker often used in kopitiams for black stout beer brews.

Armed with a mission to put the kampung spirit back into the heart of our neighbourhoods, Orh Gao transforms from a coffee shop to a craft bar by nightime.

You’ll recognise the ‘Order Here’ sign and quaint coffee shop-style seating arrangements.

But now instead of an uncle pulling kopi from the long spout of a kettle, you’ll see beer baristas in snazzy aprons asking for your beer order.

Menu got what ah?

They tout an extensive bottled craft beer collection with salted chocolate caramel, espresso and yuzu flavours on the menu.

If you prefer your beers freshly pulled from the tap, you’ll love to check out their house pours.

Some are so fancy that they’re served in bespoke cups to help you enjoy them better.

Nibblets like panko-crusted Calamari paired with Sambal Tartar sauce goes for $12 for a sharing portion.

There’s also Har Cheong Chicken Wings ($10) — a classic Singaporean favourite that has wings marinated in shrimp paste and deep-fried to perfection.

And a bite-sized take on Pandan Chicken ($10) that’s served with a tangy and sweet Thai Chilli sauce dip.

Kampung atmosphere in Bukit Timah

We love that they’ve created a cosy hangout in the heart of atas district Bukit Timah for adults to unwind after a long day at work.

True to their name, dogs seem welcome at the establishment, like many other eateries along the Bukit Timah stretch.

Free beer at random intervals

What’s better than a deliciously smooth brew of craft beer? Deliciously FREE beer that comes when you least expect it.

Guests who head down to their outlet on opening night will randomly be served free beers from 4pm till late — while stocks last. Do note that each guest will only get 1 free beer each.

Opening Offers:
– 2 Beers for $22 (1 Regular + 1 Geek)
– 4 Beers + Bar Bites* for $49

*Chunky Mackerel Otah sandwich, Calamari with Sambal TarTar or Truffle Fries.

A lucky draw will also be held to dispense vouchers, “special edition beer” and house merchandise to the crowd.

1 min walk from Botanic Gardens MRT

Here’s a map they created to help you find the place located within Serene Centre.

It’s just a stone’s throw away from Botanic Gardens MRT, and free parking is available after 7pm along Farrer Road and Jalan Harom Setangkai. Here are the official opening hours of the coffee shop by day, and hipster bar by night.

Killiney Kopitiam
Mon-Sun: 7.30am-6.30pm

Orh Gao Taproom
Tue-Thu: 4pm-11pm
Fri-Sun: 12pm-12am

Beer as gao as your kopi

So the next time you’re walking out of Botanic Gardens after a lovely afternoon out with your friends and family, consider popping by Orh Gao Taproom to seek a cool remedy for the 34°C weather.

Just don’t go too early or you’ll be getting a kopi-peng instead of a beer gao.

All images courtesy of Orh Gao Taproom on Facebook.

VivoCity’s New Library Will Have Seaside Views & Opens On 12 Jan

[email protected] Is The Largest Mall Library & Has A Coastal Theme To Boot

If you remember Daiso at VivoCity fondly, you’ll also remember the spectacular view just outside of the enclosed store.

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We know you’ll miss stepping into the huge $2 haven but perhaps its departure from VivoCity was probably for the best.

[email protected] which opens in Daiso’s former space on 12 Jan 2019, will offer an unobstructed view of Sentosa across the sea.

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With such stunning surroundings, you won’t hesitate to put your phone away for some quiet downtime here.

Relax with a good book & seaside view

Bibliophiles would romanticise the idea of sitting by the sea at sunset with a book in hand because that perfect combination is too good to be true.

Now you might just be able to live that dream at [email protected] which has a reading lounge with a panoramic view of Sentosa.

The Straits Times posted a preview from an exclusive tour of the place on Facebook.

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There are deck chairs lined up along a stretch of floor-to-ceiling windows so you can pretend you’re at the beach, except the air is cooler because air-con.

Reading a book in the early evening when the natural light shines through the window and bathes everything in a warm golden colour would be heavenly.

Imagine the spectacular sunsets you can catch.

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Great space for groups

You wouldn’t want to keep such a beautiful place to yourself, so why not bring your family or friends over to lepak with you?

There’s bound to be something that they would like from the 200,000 titles on offer.

And the 460 seating spots available means everyone gets a comfy spot to chill in.

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If you want to be more high tech, you can browse through e-Newspapers or surf the Internet at one of the individual learning pods.

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Not just for reading

Poring over books for hours in the library can get dull, but that’s not all you can do at [email protected]

With a variety of fun activities and interactive spaces, the library isn’t a fun place for bookworms only.

The virtual reality (VR) glasses in the programming zone can take you on realistic adventures across the world.

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Life-sized animations flash across the walls in the Stories Come Alive room, making children’s storytelling sessions a much livelier experience.

You’ll get to see stories literally coming to life before your eyes, much like how comedian Hasan Minhaj does his shows.

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Young children who may want to try a more active form of storytelling can do so at Tinker Truck, a maker space where they can let their creativity shine.

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Activities for everyone

Whether you love books or have some sort of unexplained aversion to them, make a point to visit [email protected] soon.

There’s so much more to do than just read, which makes it an ideal place to chill at away from the city.

Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk #03-05 VivoCity, Singapore 098585
Opening hours: 9.30am-9pm
Nearest MRT station: HarbourFront

Featured image from The Straits Times on Facebook.

S’poreans Leaving Japan Must Pay S$12.50 Sayonara Tax From 7 Jan

Sayonara Tax Won’t Be Imposed On Children Below 2 & Transit Passengers

Planning to visit Japan soon in time for the sakura season? Here’s something important to take note of.

Starting next Monday (7 Jan), the Japanese government will be implementing a departure tax named “sayonara tax” that will affect all travellers leaving the country.

S$12.50 sayonara tax

Passed by the Japanese government last April, Japanese and foreign travellers alike will have to pay ¥1,000 (S$12.50) whenever they leave the country.

Children below the age of 2 and transit passengers who spend less than a day in the country will be exempted from the levy.

The sayonara tax is estimated to raise around ¥43 billion annually. Funds collected will be used to “expand and enhance” Japan’s tourist infrastructure.

These areas include:

  • Facial recognition gates
  • Multilingual guides at tourist attractions

Departure tax isn’t exclusive to Japan

Japan isn’t the only country with a departure tax. Here are other regional countries that have also implemented similar departure tax policies.

  • China: S$18
  • Hong Kong: S$20 (air), S$3 (ferry)
  • Malaysia: S$24
  • Thailand: S$30

It is also common practice for some airlines to include departure tax into the pricing of their air tickets. So travellers may also have paid for it unknowingly during their previous travels.

Mixed reactions from Singaporeans

Japan’s sayonara tax has led to some mixed reactions from Singaporeans.

Some netizens predict that Japan will implement a konnichiwa tax following the implementation of the departure tax.

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For the uninitiated, sayonara and konnichiwa translate to goodbye and hello respectively in English.

Another netizen feels S$12.50 is peanuts relative to what’s typically spent on a vacation to Japan, so visitors shouldn’t be making a fuss.

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Lastly, this netizen thinks that the timing of the sayonara tax is not purely coincidental.

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Enough of a deterrence?

Will the sayonara tax be enough a deterrence for travellers to reconsider visiting Japan? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, do you think Singapore should implement a departure tax of our own? Let us know down below.

Featured image from Big Trip To Japan.

Crabtree & Evelyn May Close Singapore Stores As Canadian Arm Goes Bankrupt

Crabtree & Evelyn Canada Reportedly Accrued S$20.8 Million In Debt

As we bid farewell to 2018 in the coming hours, Singaporeans may also be saying adios to one of our most beloved skincare brands.

That brand is none other than Crabtree & Evelyn — the American brand famous for their natural body and home products.

Sadly, the Connecticut-based company has found themselves in financial trouble, with its Canadian arm filing for bankruptcy earlier this month.

Since then, some have speculated that this is the beginning of the end for the American brand’s operation internationally.

Crabtree & Evelyn Canada accrued S$20.8 million debt

The company has also started shutting its brick and mortar stores and has made plans to liquidate its inventory in order to repay its creditors.

Crabtree & Evelyn Canada has reportedly suffered “significant losses” due to non-traditional forms of consumerism, in particular e-commerce.

As of 4 Dec, the company has accrued $15.2 million (S$20.8 million) of debt.

Impending closure in Singapore?

While it appears only Crabtree & Evelyn’s Canadian arm has filed for bankruptcy thus far, Daily Vanity reported that physical stores in Singapore will also be closed gradually.

But not to worry, as the skincare brand will reportedly transition to a fully-online model, allowing consumers to still grab their Crabtree & Evelyn skincare products off the internet.

As of the publication of this article, there has been no official announcement regarding Crabtree & Evelyn SG stores’ closure. MS News has contacted Crabtree & Evelyn Singapore for comment.

Storewide sale of up to 70%

While Crabtree & Evelyn’s Singapore operations may be in doubt, the cosmetic company is having a storewide sale of up to 70%.

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So boyfriends and husbands who have yet to buy a gift for their partners this festive period, you know what to do.

Featured image from Google Maps

Sleep In A Soju Bottle Or Roll Of Korean Won At This Quirky Hotel Near Seoul

Cozy Theme Pension In Gyeonggi-do Has 7 Themed Rooms

The Cozy Theme Pension in Gyeonggi-do, Korea literally lets you sleep inside a massive soju bottle and banana milk container.

The quirky complex boasts of 7 themed rooms with funny decorations and one-of-a-kind beds that will make you laugh and help you escape from the city stress.

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Located in Gapyeong-gun in Gyeonggi-do province – the pension house is an ideal location for a day trip to the famous Nami Island and Seoul – which are both popular K-drama hotspots.

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If you’re ready to live a little and have some fun, here’s what to expect.

1. 50,000 Korean won bed

Ever dreamed of being uber rich that you could literally fill your mattress with money? You can now make your wish come true through this giant roll of 50,000 Korean won.

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Superstition says that money baths can improve your financial luck. While you might not get a luxurious soak in cash, this bedroom might bring money and good fortune to your life.

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2. Binggrae banana milk bed

Fans of Korea’s Binggrae banana-flavored milk will have a blast inside this room.

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If you’ve never tried Korea’s famous banana milk before, now’s the time to run to the convenience store and grab a pack. Enjoy the creamy deliciousness of milk, whilst sleeping with monkeys and dreaming of bananas.

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3. Massive Soju bottle

Feeling down in the dumps because of a recent breakup or work-related drama? Drown your sorrows inside this bottle of soju.

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You’ll be happy to find that the beds are spacious and comfy. Once you’re too drunk to care, simply collapse in bed.

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Don’t forget to bring your BFF or lover to help you recover from your soju-filled weekend.

4. Nap inside a hexagonal football

Sports fanatics can watch world-class football matches and cheer for their favorite team in this bedroom.

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Feel free to go crazy and be the best cheerleader whilst lounging inside this soccer ball.

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5. Pickup some slack inside a truck

Every pickup truck junkie inevitably dreams of spending warm and comfy nights in their truck bed. Lucky for us, you can get the same experience inside this bedroom, which is complete with tire-themed lighting.

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Fancy a date in a drive-in cinema? Grab some popcorn and cuddle with your beau whilst movie through their flat screen TVs.

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The screen might not be as big but at least you can have a private and intimate experience — and a fake steering wheel to boot.

6. Relive the good ol’ 70s & disco era

Music lovers eager to relive the 70s can get their fix in this shiny disco-themed room.

A bright disco orb lighting fixture draws the eye as the room’s main focal point.

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The monochrome-styled room has walls sprawled with eye-catching silver sequins that look flashy and dramatic.

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For added effect, play your favourite ’70s tunes or K-pop songs and dance the night away.

7. Minimalist chic

The luxurious room follows a faux-industrial design with its metal fixtures, monochrome furniture and scattered bits of red that add vibrant pops of color.

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The master bedroom perfectly mimics the design of opulent homes, so you can feel like royalty for a night.

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Outdoor BBQs & fancy baths

Ultimately, a trip to Korea’s countryside is an opportunity to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and their fancy bathtubs are perfect for this.

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Each room is equipped with medium-sized bathtubs that can be decorated with scented candles for a calming and soothing atmosphere.

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If you eventually get tired or hungry, visit the terrace and fire up the grill. Feel free to binge on good ‘ol Korean meat selections like samgyupsal and chadolbagi, with sides such as japchae, lettuce and kimchi.

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Once you’ve had a hearty meal, sit back and enjoy the incredible scenery of these pine trees.

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Trip to Nami Island & Seoul

A trip to Gyeonggi-do isn’t complete without a visit to Nami Island. It is the home of the Petit, France in Korea which is exceptionally beautiful during autumn months when it’s bathed in pumpkin spice-coloured pine and maple trees.

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The iconic island is the filming location of famous dramas like Winter Sonata, My Love from the Star, Secret Garden, and even some episodes of Running Man.

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Seoul is another destination to add to your must-visit list because it’s only 40 minutes away by train.

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The famous city is home tourist hotspots like N Seoul Tower, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung & endless hipster shopping districts at Hongdae.

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Flying to Korea?

You can book a trip from Singapore to Gimpo International Airport via SIA, AirAsia or Korean Air. You can then ride Noryangjin MRT station and get off at Gapyeong MRT station. From there, take a bus at Baekdun-ri End Point and depart at Yangji Village. The pension house is a 2-minute walk from the village’s bus station.

Cozy Theme Pension is an ideal destination for those looking for unique rooms for a quirky staycation.

At S$121-184 per night, it’s a bit pricey compared to most budget hotels, but we’d do anything to forget all our problems and sleep inside a bottle of soju.

Address: 567-10, Baekdun-ro, Buk-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do 12406, South Korea
Check in from: 2:30PM – 6:00PM
Check out until: 11:00AM
Website: Cozy Theme Pension

Featured image from Cozy Theme Pension.

10 Landmarks China Has Cloned That Are Actually Decent, Including Gardens By The Bay

10 Landmarks China Has Cloned That Are Actually Decent

Ever dreamed of visiting iconic landmarks across the globe? Well, surprise surprise — you can clear your bucket list all-in-one country.

In recent years, China has built knock-off versions of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Angkor Wat — and our very own Gardens by the Bay.

While you might scoff at these clones, we’ve found that some actually do measure up to the real thing. Here are 10 versions of world-famous landmarks that you can find in China.

1. Angkor Wat

Fancy a trip to the Khmer Empire’s greatest temple?

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A cottage version of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat exists in Nanning, Guangxi Province.

Dubbed as the “Amazing Angkor”, the $21.8 million temple complex includes earth-coloured structures, carvings and statues that look legit close to the real deal.

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Feel free to walk in awe as you marvel at the smiling Buddha statues and soak in the warm rays of the sun.

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The destination was duplicated as a part of the new Fantawild “Asian Legend” theme park, which includes other tourist destinations in ASEAN countries.

2. Gardens By The Bay’s Supertrees

Gardens by the Bay anyone?

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If you ever want to feel like home away from home, you can drop by Shanghai to find miniature versions of our very own supertrees by the road.

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It might not measure up to ours size-wise, but at least it can provide a bit of shade and serve as good-looking streetlights.

3. Eiffel Tower

If you’ve ever wanted to visit the City of Lights because of its dazzling boulevards and bridges, we’ve got awesome news for you!

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At Tian Du Cheng, you can get a taste of Paris while in China through their amazing recreation of the Eiffel tower.

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And it’s not just a replica, they wanted to capture the look and feel of Paris too!

The area is filled with European-style parks, buildings and boulevards that’ll make you feel far from the East.

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4. Arc de Triomphe

Always wanted to see the world famous Arc de Triomphe, but don’t feel like booking an expensive ticket to Paris?

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Don’t worry, China has you covered.

Four versions of the triumphal arc are found in Jiangsu’s Huaxi Village, Shenyang, Zhejiang’s and Zhengzhou. The 20-metre-tall structures aren’t even twice the size of France’s 50m original, but it can pass as a smaller version.

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You’ll undoubtedly feel like a king or queen whilst strolling across the tree-lined boulevards, beautiful marble floor and sparkling water fountains.

5. Rome’s Colosseum

The Colosseum is definitely one of the greatest architectural feats in history, but you don’t have to go very far to relive the past.

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Macau’s Roman Colosseum looks eerily similar and is big enough to seat 2,000 people. It’s not a life-size match for the main destination which can house about 50,000 spectators, but the outdoors are an ideal venue for watching concerts and performances.

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Too bad you won’t find gladiator-style matches.

6. Florentia Village

China’s Florentia Village – built by an Italian developer in 2011 – is an accurate replica of Italy’s ornate fountains, bridges and canals. The quaint village is located in Wuqing, halfway between Beijing and Tianjin.

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Hopeless romantics will be happy to find that they can make their gondola ride dreams come true in their Venice-like waterways.

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The landmark also serves as an outlet mall with 200 shops, which includes Italian brands and restaurants, like Gucci, Fendi, and Prada. While you might not be a crazy fan of luxury goods, you’re bound to enjoy their pastel-themed establishments.

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7. London’s Tower Bridge

If you think that Chinese replicas only make things smaller, think again.

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China’s version of the Tower Bridge at Yuanhe Pond in Suzhou, Jiangsu is twice the size of the original. While London’s version has a rising bridge and two turrets, China’s has four turrets and a dual carriageway, which also serves as a large highway for vehicles.

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Talk about being competitive.

8. Hallstatt Village

To prove that everything can be “made in China”, the country spent US$940 million to recreate the original Austrian alpine village of Hallstatt.

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While China’s climate is far from Austria’s snowy alps landscape, the postcard-esque view is to die for!

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9. Sphinx-es of China

You might have heard of China’s recent beef with the Egyptian government when it created a replica of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Hebei province.

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In the end, the Egyptian government complained to UNESCO and the replica was torn down.

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But you know what they say…

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

The Chinese built two more replicas in Lanzhou and another one at a theme park in Chuzhou.

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10. Athens’ Parthenon

The majestic ruins and dignified white marble at Greece’s Parthenon are now in China too.

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At Lanzhou, there’s a replica of Athena’s famous temple complete with cracked columns and ceilings.

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Both the Sphinx and Parthenon replicas are a part of China’s ‘Great Wall Dream World International Tourist Recreational Garden’ project.

All-in-one destination?

China is definitely an all-in-one destinations for travellers who want to experience everything on a budget. It has the Eiffel Tower, Angkor Wat and even our very own Gardens By The Bay. While it won’t beat the original — these replicas are also a sight to behold.

Plus, the prices of food and hotels could be more affordable than the real deals, so we would include these places on our must-visit lists.

BRB, while we plan our next trip to China – aka The Middle Kingdom – for real.

Featured image from Instagram.

Kawaii Igloos At Panda Village Near Osaka Are Next To Onsens & Pristine Beaches

Panda Village At Shirayama Features Onsens & Beaches

The Panda Village in Shirayama, Japan is a bizarre mash-up of the kawaii culture that Japan is so famous for, and a seaside retreat from urban civilisation.

The sprawling complex boasts of larger than life panda-themed igloos situated on lush green lawns.

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Located in Shirahama – a resort town 2 hrs from Osaka – the village is near famous onsens and pristine sandy beaches with imported sand from Australia.

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If you’re ready to experience the cuteness overload and gorgeous seascapes, here’s what to expect.

Panda overload

Panda Village is made up of dome-shaped igloos designed to resemble ginormous panda heads.

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If you’ve ever wanted to embrace a giant panda, this time you can hug panda-themed concrete.

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They’ve got miniature pandas too, but this version isn’t furry either.

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The village looks like a splash of bright colours during the day, but at night it transforms into a postcard-perfect sight straight out of a fairy tale.

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21 differently designed domed igloos

Of course, the main highlight of the village’s sprawling grounds are the 25 differently designed domed igloos for guests.

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From pandas masquerading as prima ballerinas to mad scientists, and even king crabs – you’re bound to find a panda that suits your personality.

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If you want to sleep with the fishes, you might want to stay inside this charming panda fish.

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Those who have a sweet tooth can opt for this chocolate layered cake igloo with panda icing.

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Can’t choose a favourite? Here’s a map which shows all their designs.

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Comfy rooms & Japanese buffets

Ultimately, a vacation to the countryside is an opportunity to take a break from the stress of city life and their igloos are perfect for this.

Each room has cozy interiors fully equipped with comfy beds, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, showers, and other amenities.

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A room can accommodate about 5 to 6 people, so it’s perfectly fine to bring your family and friends along.

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Sit on tatami floor mats and feel like a local whilst relaxing inside the minimalist Muji-like interior.

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A Japan getaway conjures images of authentic Japanese sushi, so you’ll be pleased to note that their buffets are so diverse, even the pickiest eaters will walk away with their cravings fully satiated.

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Relaxing onsens

A trip to Shirayama isn’t complete without a dip at their world-famous onsens, and there are many options to choose from in the vicinity of Panda Village.

The nearest onsen is Toretore-no-yu which is a 7-minute walk from the village.

Enjoy a soak in these natural hot springs while indulging in the warm bath. We’re not so sure about the aroma of sulphur, though.

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If you want to explore more onsens, Choisei no Yu is only 24 minutes away by foot. The hot spring facility includes an open-air bath, bincho charcoal bath, and indoor bath.

The towering trees and plants make the hidden resort the perfect place to indulge in a relaxing soak surrounded by nature.

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Don’t miss a trip to one of the three most famous onsens in Japan – Nanki Shirahama Onsen – also about 30 minutes away.

Japanese emperors and members of their courts often bathed in these hot springs, so you’ll feel like royalty while basking on this panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.

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White sand beach & clear waters

Shirahama Beach is another place to hit up on your must-visit list, thanks to its enchantingly pristine white sand, clear blue waters and azure skies.

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The name “Shirahama” literally translates to “white beach” and Japanese officials took great lengths to preserve it. Waves and typhoons washed away the sands of the original beach, so they shipped white sand from Perth, Australia.

The result is a very clean beach with no traces of seaweed or trash whatsoever.

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Hike up to the top to enjoy a spectacular view of blue green waves gently crashing rhythmically against the cliffside.

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Flying to Japan?

You can book a trip from Singapore to Nanki-Shirahama Airport via SIA, Japan Airlines or Korean Air. From there, take a 10-minute cab ride to Panda Village.

Panda Village is an ideal destination for those looking to relax in Japanese onsens and quartz-sand beaches. A ticket to the hotel comes with a a cruise on a yakatabune or private Japanese boats.

At $93+ per person, it’s a bit pricey compared to nearby inns, but the pandas are surely worth it.

Address: 2498-1 Katata, 白浜町 Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2201, Japan
Check in: 3:00PM – 6:00PM
Check out: 11:00AM
Contact: +81 739-42-2200
Website: Panda Village

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Featured image from Instagram.

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