Story by Petti Fong
Travel bargain hunters head south to sunnier climes this time of year. But let’s try something different this month and head east. The Far East, that is. It’s Chinese New Year, a time of festivities and colourful sights and of course, being in Asia, gastronomical feasts on street corners and some of the top restaurants in the world.
Never been to Nanjing? Here’s your chance. China Airlines has a flight leaving Vancouver February 24 and returning March 2 for $1,005.42 (all prices in Canadian dollars). Nanjing’s 600-year-old Ming City Wall is a great place to stroll and take in some of the most visible signs of the city’s past, present and future. Plan to stop along the Qinhuai River where boats depart from wharves and museums and historic gardens all within walking distance of each other. Make sure to spend some time at the Confucius Temple where imperial examinations used to take place for thousands of hopeful scholars through the centuries.
One of our favourite airlines, Cathay Pacific, has a very good deal for Vancouver travelers heading to Hong Kong for next week so you can still catch the tail end of Chinese New Year. Prices are as low as $854 Cdn for round trips and packages can be booked with hotels such as the InterContinental Grand Stanford, which is a convenient 10-minutes walk to the Star Ferry, the commuter/tourist/historic passage that takes travelers across Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
We know food lovers in Canada and Australia who make a point of stopping in Singapore any chance they get just so they can eat. The street food and restaurants can tempt even non-foodies. Calgary travelers can take advantage of a good deal from Singapore Airlines that takes them from YYC to Singapore’s airport known as SINYYC for 6 days for $1,608.49. Try the carrot cake, one of Singapore’s signature dishes once you land. This isn’t the carrot cake that we know from here with cream cheese. Singapore’s version is like an omelet with eggs, scallions and spices.
Japan Airlines has a special explorer pass for travelers who want to jump off from Tokyo and to other domestic destinations. The fare can be used to get to more than 30 cities in the airline’s domestic network. Prices range from $130 (which gets you from Tokyo to Sapporo, for example) to $650 for a five-stop journey. Our recommendation?
Use AirBnB Japan and take advantage of some of the unique travel experiences homeowners can offer like this one that caught our eye: a Tatami & Tea ceremony experience in the Kurokawa District in Miyagi for $24 a night.