2015: My Kiasu Travel in Review + Win a Free Giveaway for Your 2016 Trip Planning

38 days on the road. 7 countries visited.

2015 is my best traveling year so far. For someone with a 9-to-5 to keep, I set out this year expecting no more than three trips. Happily, I managed six trips with just 16 leave days taken!

  • 19–22 February: Bali @ Indonesia (4D3N – 0 leave day)
  • 27 March–6 April: Japan (11D10N – 6 leave days)
  • 31 July–10 August: Qatar & Greece (11D10N – 6 leave days)
  • 2–4 October: Malacca (3D2N – 0 leave day)
  • 1–4 November: Hangzhou @ China (4D3N – 3 leave days)
  • 24–28 December: South Korea (5D4N – 1 leave day)

I hope my trips below could help plan your next great adventure!

Click here to jump to the free giveaway section right away!

Bali: Self-Pampering at the Oasis of Tranquility

Rimba Jimbaran by Ayana, Bali, Indonesia

Born in Indonesia, but never been to Bali!

I finally made amends by visiting my country’s #1 attraction last Chinese New Year, alternating between traditional temples, lush greeneries of Ubud, soaking my feet at Nusa Dua’s amazingly blue coastlines before ending our trip with sinful, sinful indulgence at the luxurious Ayana Resort—infinity pool, private beach, massage treat, it’s heavenly!

Read my Indonesia travel scribbles.

Japan: Spring Sakuras by Shinto Shrines

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

I planned this Honshu excursion around seeing the best of cherry blossoms on Tokyo’s bustling metropolis and Kyoto’s picturesque shrines. But along the way, I also caught a glimpse of the elusive Mount Fuji, breathed the air of Nara’s old-school charm and went food-hunting at Osaka.

Read my Japan travel scribbles.

Greece & Qatar: Happily Sunburned in the Mediterranean

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Greece is all about island-hopping, admiring white-washed houses and the soothing blue colour of Cyclades sea while basking in the warm summer sun. We saw the windmills of Mykonos, flowery waterfronts of Paros, and of course, the blue-domed churches of Santorini!

Beaches aside, we also visited Athens’ historic neighbourhood and the jaw-dropping Meteora monasteries perched on high cliffs. We even managed to squeeze in a 3-hour Doha city tour to admire Qatari arts and architectures.

Read my Greece travel scribbles and Qatar travel scribbles.

Malacca: A Peranakan Birthday

Christ Church, Malacca, Malaysia

Same same but different. This is my first time celebrating birthday away from my country of residence, but being a Chinese raised in a Malay-dominated region (though I’m not a Peranakan), how apt it is that I celebrated my 25th strolling the streets of Malacca and eating Peranakan food? Everything looks and tastes familiar, I could even find some housewares from my childhood in the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum!

Read my Malaysia travel scribbles.

Hangzhou: It’s Like an Autumn Painting

Guo's Villa, Hangzhou, China

Hangzhou is an advanced course in landscaping, cleverly juxtaposing yin and yang elements to enhance the beauty of West Lake with man-made structures. For eons, it has inspired countless poets and painters. We also took a day trip to the ancient water town of Wuzhen—a truly quaint and breathtaking place to visit.

Read my China travel scribbles.

South Korea: A Winter Sonata Odyssey

Garden of Morning Calm, Gapyeong, Korea

Korea was not the kind of place I expected to visit, but it surprised on all counts. The palaces and traditional villages in Seoul are colourfully ornamented and incredibly well-preserved. Busan’s street food ranks up there with some of the best. And even on a chilly winter, there are world-class attractions to be found in Gapyeong area (in particular, the light shows at the Garden of Morning Calm and snow-covered tree lanes at Nami Island—but alas, it didn’t snow the day we visited).

Read my South Korea travel scribbles.

Wrapping Up 2015

2015 is incredibly busy and exceeded my own expectation in many ways.

I always found myself planning for my next next trip before the first trip starts! Consequently, I haven’t been blogging that much this year, but now that I have so many exciting stories to share, I’ll try to make it up by posting more often in 2016 yeah? 🙂

I also managed to secure my first sponsored trip (Hangzhou), gets featured on a few publications (Visit Greece, TripZilla, Aplaus, etc.) and received a few collaboration offers. So I’m really happy that after 2.5 years, the blog is finally making something.

Again, this is no fancy story about quitting job and booking a one-way ticket out of home. It’s all down to extreme kiasuism and strategic vacation planning, so yes, YOU can do it too!

So… Why Not Go Somewhere Awesome in 2016?

To help you in your 2016 trip planning, I have an awesome free giveaway for you all! In collaboration with GPSmyCity, 20 lucky readers of this blog will receive a promo code to download a self-guided city walk app for FREE (worth US$4.99)!

A detailed step-by-step walking route maps are provided in each walk and they are designed to work offline without internet connection. So you don’t need to worry about expensive data plan or getting lost in foreign countries!

How to win this awesome free app giveaway:

1. Decide which city you want to go in 2016 from this list: click here.

2. Leave a comment on this blog indicating one city you’d like to go in 2016 that you’d like to receive the free app on (kindly also indicate Android or iOS version) [+1 point]

The first two steps are compulsory. The below two steps are optional, but they will increase your points and chances of winning!

3. Like Scarlet Scribbles’ Facebook page via this link. [+5 points]

4. Follow my Twitter account: @AndrewDarwitan. [+5 points]

Good luck! Feel free to share this giveaway with your family and friends!

Terms & Conditions:

– This giveaway is open worldwide, starting on 31st December 2015 (00:01; UTC+08:00) and will end on 31st January 2016 (23:59; UTC+08:00).

– The 20 winners will be randomly selected, beginning from entries with the highest points. Kindly leave a valid email address (will not be made public) as the winners will receive the app’s promo codes via email on early February 2016.

– If you use a different name for your Facebook and Twitter account, kindly also specify the account names in the comment box to help points verification.

– Entries that are incomplete or inaccurate will be deemed invalid.

– Each promo code is tied to one city only.

– The promo codes work with iOS and Android devices only.

[Updated on 21st January: The promo code is now available on Android device as well. For readers participating before 21st January, I will re-verify your preference.]

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. Love to get the Washington DC app! Hoping to visit sometime next year.

    Like

  2. Love to get the Washington DC app! Hoping to visit there in 2016.

    Like

  3. Yohanes says:

    New Zealand, Auckland! And possibbly both the north and south islands.. Reliving the LoTR.

    Happy new year!! ^^

    Like

  4. Mermairina says:

    Greeceee!!!!! Been saving freaking hard for it!! 🙂

    Like

  5. Mermairina says:

    Greece!!! Been saving freaking hard for it!!:)

    Like

  6. Canyo Wang says:

    Happy new year 2016 !
    After narrowed down the list from the dilemma, I’m definitely down with Eqypt- Luxor ! 😄😄
    Bring me there pleaseeee 😁😁😁😁

    Like

  7. I’d like to see Paris, France. It seems a lovely city.

    Like

  8. Chelsia Chua says:

    Brisbane~~~ PICK ME

    Like

  9. You certainly managed to see a lot with only 16 days off work. Fab photos of the Kyoto shrine and the Korean light show, especially I learned about the Peranakan last time I was in Singapore, would love to try their food.

    Like

  10. C.K says:

    Helsinki would be great!

    Like

  11. Dina says:

    I’ll be going to so many places in 2016 but I’d love the map for George Town, Penang!

    🙂

    Like

  12. Liliana Tan says:

    Seoul and Jeju would be great!

    Like

  13. Stevensen says:

    New York, USA. Would be interesting if I could go there.

    Like

  14. Liliana Tan says:

    Kyoto, Japan

    Like

  15. shalim1991 says:

    The eternal city Rome!!! 🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹 And the IOS version for me please 😁

    Like

  16. Liliana Tan says:

    Android version for me

    Like

  17. Elisabeth says:

    Singapore!
    Although i have been to Singapore many times, but Singapore always has something which is interesting and new! Singapore has a special charm that makes me never get bored of it!
    I am using Android.

    Like

  18. Paulina Tan says:

    Reykjavik, Iceland ❤️

    Like

  19. Lia Herman says:

    Athens, Greece (Android)

    Like

  20. Cynthia says:

    Kyoto (Android)

    Like

  21. Elicia says:

    Switzerland, Bern (Andriod)

    Like

  22. Daphne Poon says:

    Greece- Athens

    Like

  23. Melinda Tan says:

    George Town, food paradise

    Like

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