6 Travel Routes To Consider If You're Itching For A Holiday Getaway

Admire beautiful architecture, unique cultures, and more!

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Want to hop on the travel bandwagon and have a change of scenery before the year ends?

If you haven't used up your annual leave and are looking to take a break, it's time to renew your passport and book your flights.

In collaboration with CIMB OctoTravel, your one-stop platform to plan your holiday, we've specially curated a few travel routes. Whether you're craving for a solo adventure or an opportunity to reconnect with your loved ones, there's something for everyone!

From relaxing beach vacays to exploring dreamy European scenery, we've got a plethora of options for you! Check out these travel routes and pick one that suits you:

1. Melbourne - Sydney - Brisbane (Australia)

Ready to explore the east coast of Australia to discover beautiful beaches, gorgeous art-filled galleries, and meet cute creatures like koalas? Start your journey in the city of Melbourne where you'll find hidden laneways and art galleries to explore, before heading on a drive to Sydney, where you can enjoy beaches, fresh seafood, and iconic landmarks. End your adventure in Brisbane by visiting local markets filled with souvenirs, art, and lots of street food.

Activities and spots worth visiting:

- National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne): A trip to Melbourne is not complete without a visit to the oldest public gallery in Australia, where you can admire more than 70,000 works of European, Asian, Oceanic, and American art.

- Westgate Park (Melbourne): If you want to experience the biological phenomena of watching the blue lake turn pink, then head over to Westgate Park's lake in summer. Plus, you can also have a picnic with friends and family, while spotting various species of birds.

- Sydney Harbour Bridge (Sydney): Overcome your fear of heights by joining the bridge climb, where you'll get a 360° view of the city on the world's largest steel arch.  

- Bondi Beach (Sydney): From surfing to diving, Bondi Beach is a paradise for beach lovers. Feeling a bit more adventurous? You can take a two-hour walking tour along the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk and adore the stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays, and rock pool.

- West End Farmers Market (Brisbane): Don't miss out on visiting Brisbane's most vibrant community market for hot street food, local goods, and more, held every Saturday morning from 9am to 2pm, along the Brisbane river.

- Mount Tamborine (Brisbane): Want to take a step away from the bustling city life? Take a day trip to Tamborine Mountains and be transported to a totally different world, where you can stop by local stores selling various crafts or admire the view while enjoying a glass of wine with your meals.

2. Seoul - Busan (South Korea)

From K-pop, K-dramas, and street food to jaw-dropping temples and palaces, South Korea has it all. Both Seoul and Busan are unique in their own way, so you'll be in for a treat, as you'll get to experience the old and new era of Korea. Starting in Seoul, you can explore the history and culture of the villages before making your way to the city to shop till you drop. Then, take a train to Busan (don't worry, got no zombies, hehe :P) and admire the breathtaking view of mountains and greenhouses along the way.  

Activities and spots worth visiting:

- Jogyesa Temple (Seoul): Want to live like a Buddhist monk for a day or two? Stay over in one of the oldest Buddhist buildings in Seoul through their Templestay programme and experience baru gongyang (Buddhist sacred eating practice), dado (traditional Korean tea ceremony), and the 108 religious prostrations. 

- Namdaemun Market (Seoul): From souvenirs to street food, you'll be overwhelmed with choices as they have over 10,000 stalls, making it the biggest traditional market in South Korea.

- Bukchon Hanok Village (Seoul): Filled with hundreds of traditional houses that have been converted to museums, handicraft shops, and more, this village will make you feel like you've gone back in time to the Josean dynasty days. Be sure to rent and dress up in a hanbok to snap photos that look straight out of a historical K-drama.

- Busan Fish Market (Busan): You'll come across every possible species of fish at this market. Pick a restaurant or two and try out their fresh seafood.

- Gamcheon Culture Village (Busan): Strolling along the streets and alleys filled with colourful houses and street art will make you want to take selfies and IG stories at every corner. 

- Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (Busan): Situated by the sea, this scenic spot is one of the main attractions of Busan, showcasing dozens of shrines, statues, and stupas. Feeling a bit unconventional? Take the trail towards Songjeong Beach and you'll come across secluded beaches, fishing villages, and beautiful nature views. 

3. Rome - Florence - Cinque Terre - Venice (Italy)

Looking to practise your Italian and learn about their culture and ancient ruins? Italy is not only known for their pastas and pizzas, as the whole country is rich with history. Starting from Rome and ending in Venice, take regional trains around each town, capturing photos of bountiful architecture and indulge in authentic Italian cuisine at every stop.

Activities and spots worth visiting:

- Campo de'Fiori Market (Rome): Want to try a bunch of tasty food samples at a picturesque and multifunctional square? Before noon, walk around one of the oldest markets in Rome filled with local stalls selling traditional Italian cuisine, local goods, and more.

- The Vatican (Rome): Join an early morning tour to avoid the crowds, so you can fully enjoy the The Vatican Museum. Don't forget to spend some time at the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, where you'll be awed by gorgeous artwork and architecture.

- Duomo and climb the Dome (Florence): Be prepared to climb 463 steps to reach the top of the dome, where you'll be mesmerised by marvelous paintings like Last Judgement.

- Palazzo Vecchio (Florence): Go inside to walk around the museum and learn about the Roman Ruins, or take a climb to admire panoramic views of the city from the top.

- Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Di Santa Maria Novella (Florence): Discover different oils, elixirs, and perfumes, or simply put your nose to the test by smelling the potent fragrance of flowers and spices, at one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. 

- Guided tour from La Spezia (Cinque Terre): It's a must to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site with colourful towns perched along the coastline of Italy. Just walking around and visiting the various towns is a cultural experience on it's own.

- St Mark's Basilica (Venice): Dating back to 9 AD, this cathedral has a beautiful mosaic interior and is home to The Pala d'Oro, a high altar retable that's covered in gold and studded with almost 2,000 gems.

- Cruise the canals (Venice): Take a 30 to 60 minute ride on a gandola or vaporetto down the canals of Venice. Float along as the city passes you by, and hop off whenever you like to explore.

4. Johor - Singapore - Jakarta (Southeast Asia)

Wanna experience fun-filled entertainment and shopping adventures for the whole family? These major cities will give you exactly that! Start your trip right here in Malaysia by exploring the waterfront complex and indulging in delicious local eats in Johor. If you're travelling with kids, take a day to relax and stay over at the LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort, where you'll be impressed with their immersive LEGO experience and themed rooms. 

Then, head to Singapore by bus or car the next day to have a blast at the prettiest rooftop garden and see the city sights. Finally, fly to Jakarta to immerse yourself in Indonesian culture and feast on yummy food.

Activities and spots worth visiting:

- Danga Bay (Johor): Take a stroll by this waterfront complex and enjoy a beautiful dining experience with a view. If you have kids, bring them to Danga Bay Park to enjoy some traditional amusement park rides. 

- Blue Lake of Kangkar Pulai (Johor): Take a 15-to 20-minute hike to the peak and get a majestic view of the baby blue hued lake, surrounded by gorgeous flora and fauna. 

- Gardens By The Bay (Singapore): Home to over 1.5 million plants that come from every continent, this national garden is definitely worth a visit. Plus, they have a light and sound show in the evening.

- Parkview Museum (Singapore): This contemporary museum has an extensive range of contemporary art from across Europe and Asia, in addition to hosting exclusive exhibitions, events, and guided gallery tours for art enthusiasts.  

- Grand Indonesia Mall (Jakarta): With over 500 shops spread throughout seven levels, you will be spoilt for choice as you go on a shopping spree. 

- Day trip to Thousand Islands (Jakarta): If you want to escape from the chaotic city of Jakarta, take a boat ride and spend a few days on Thousand Island, where you can go diving or just relax by the beach. 

- Museum Wayang (Jakarta): Displaying puppet characters from Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India, and more, visitors will truly experience the art of different types of wayang, including learning about their origins.

5. London - Paris - Barcelona (Europe)

Image via Rue Margaux

If you've always dreamed of escaping to Europe, now is the time to just book a flight and go. Start by exploring unique attractions in London, then take a train to Paris to enjoy their pastries and immerse yourself in the Parisian lifestyle. From there, head to Barcelona by train to admire rolling landscapes and scenic views.

Activities and spots worth visiting:

- Abandoned Tube Stations (London): Join a tour that takes you behind the scenes at some of the city's busiest stations, uncover secret spots, and hear fascinating stories of London's Underground.

- Stephen Wright's House of Dreams (London): You'll find objects such as dolls' heads, false teeth, wigs, and trinkets collected for over 20 years on the interior and exterior surface of this London artist's home. 

- Montmartres Sinking House (Paris): To capture this quirky optical illusion, make your way to the top of the hill as you walk up towards Sacre-Coeu, where you'll come across a small patch of grass on the right. 

- Watch Moulin Rouge (Paris): Want to elevate your Parisian experience? Visit Moulin Rouge and prepare to be amazed by the live theater show with fancy costumes and lots of dancing.

- The Gothic Quarter (Barcelona): Explore the narrow alleys filled with boutiques, cafes, and street-side vendors at one of the oldest portions of the city.

- Palace of Catalan Music (Barcelona): If you're looking for modern architecture in downtown Barcelona, this concert hall is a must-visit, as the interior of this monument is breathtaking.

6. Bangkok - Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City (Southeast Asia)

Something these three cities have in common is that they are mainly populated with Buddhist devotees. As such, their architecture is heavily inspired by the religion, especially their temples. Yet, in each city, you can see the details vary based on Indonesian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese design.

Start your trip in Bangkok, where you'll be greeted with an abundance of food choices and traditions practiced by the locals, before making your way to Siem Reap by bus. After exploring the Cambodian culture, take a bus to Ho Chi Minh City to unravel the other side of Southeast Asia with their river cruise and nightlife. It will be truly an unique experience in these three countries!

Activities and spots worth visiting:

- Bangkok Art & Culture (Bangkok): The centre is filled with cafés, commercial art galleries, bookshops, craft shops, and an art library. 

- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (Bangkok): A trip to Bangkok is incomplete without visiting their floating markets, which offer a great selection of local food and unique items.

- Phare, The Cambodian Circus (Siem Reap): This circus is unique as it combines not only modern circus act, theatre, dance, and music, but also uniquely tells the Cambodian culture with stories of history and folklore. 

- Lotus Farm by Samatoa (Siem Reap): Want to make handicrafts from the by products of lotus flowers? At this lotus farm, you can join a bunch of workshops taught by locals, while admiring beautiful views of lotus ponds and enjoying a cup of lotus tea.

- Bonsai River Cruise (Ho Chi Minh City): If you want an introduction to Vietnamese food, then hop on this cruise that includes an interactive buffet and fusion shows.

- Pham Ngu Lao Street (Ho Chi Minh City): Looking to experience the nightlife of Vietnam? Head to this lively street for downtown clubs, bars, and street vendors. 

Ready to plan for your holiday to any of these amazing routes? Download the CIMB OctoTravel App now or log on to their website to enjoy exclusive travel deals with your CIMB credit card!

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