5 Hidden Gems to Add to Your Bucket Listing in 2023



With the almost full restoration of pre-2020 travel regimes, most travelers have likely already made their rounds to favorite destinations such as Bangkok, Tokyo, Taipei, Bali and Kuala Lumpur in the past 12 months. If you are looking for other ideas on where to go in 2023, check out this list for some of my recommendations on lesser known but accessible destinations to add to your bucket list. Most of these places are situated in countries and territories that are frequently visited and/or have easy flight connections from Singapore.

To help you save on these trips, use your Citi Credit Card to uncover these travel deals:

  • 20% off hotel bookings worldwide with Expedia
  • S$10 off minimum S$60 spend on Klook
  • Up to S$100 off on flights with Trip.com

 T&Cs apply. Limited redemptions.

Taiwan – Tainan

chimei museum in the outskirts of tainan

Why go: While Taiwan is a permanent fixture in most regional travelers’ wishlists, a trip down south, if at all, usually only involves Kaohsiung. Tainan is arguably one of the island’s cultural capitals with plenty to offer from colonial forts, a bustling night market scene, museums, temples as well as traditional cuisine. 

What to see: Tainan’s highly walkable central core hosts a number of attractions including the Chikan Tower, Grand Mazu Temple and the Hayashi Department Store. Afterwards, chill in one of the cafes or dessert shops along Shennong Street, venture to the outskirts for the imposing Chimei Museum and the insta-worthy Sicao Green Tunnel and have evening tipples at the award-winning Bar TCRC. 

Where to stay: Tainan is well-served with hotels – from local digs such as Silk Place Tainan Hotel to international chain hotels like Shangri-la Far Eastern Plaza Tainan and Crowne Plaza Tainan. Discover more Tainan hotels here.

How to get there: From Taipei, Tainan is a mere 1 hour 45 minute ride via the High Speed Rail (get tickets here). From overseas, Taiwan is most frequently accessed through Taoyuan International Airport. 

Italy – Lake Garda

the namesake town of garda

Why go: When international visitors think about Italy’s lakes, the one that always comes to mind is Lake Como. But why settle there when one can visit Italy’s largest lake instead? Lake Garda spans about 51km from north to south, offering a variety of landscapes and slight difference in climate conditions between the mountainous northern and the flatter southern portions. In between, there are plenty of charming towns and villages dotting the lake with some totally devoid of tourists.

What to see: Sirmione, at the southern end, has the imposing seaside Scaligero Castle. Elsewhere, historical points of interests dot the landscape including Salo where the short-lived Republic of Salo came into being in 1943, and the beautiful villa of Vittoriale. From late spring onwards, Lake Garda is also a popular place for water sports and fruit-picking.  

Where to stay: Lake Garda offers a variety of accommodation options, from seaside hotels to quieter cliffside options in the countryside. You can check for prices here.

How to get there: From Milan, the main lakeside train station of Desenzano del Garda is roughly 1 to 1.5 hour away by train. Milan is directly connected to Singapore via Singapore Airlines or with a stopover through Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines. Check for flights here.

Tip: Use your Citi Credit Card and save up to 20% on your hotel bookings with Expedia. More travel deals here.

Croatia – Split and Dubrovnik

Why go: Croatia may be a popular destination among European travelers but does not usually figure as a stop among Singaporean or Asian travelers’ European sojourns as much as other destinations like Greece or Italy. Croatia’s allure lies in its islands fringed with turquoise waters, old walled towns and delicious seafood.

What to see: The walled city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was a filming location for the TV series Game of Thrones. The city of Split boasts of Roman-era palace remains in a charming seaside setting with day trip options to nearby islands like Hvar.

Where to stay: The old town of Dubrovnik has plenty of small guesthouses while larger hotels are usually situated outside of the walled city. In Split, most accommodation options are independent boutique hotels. Check out hotels in Split .

How to get there: Turkish Airlines flies to Dubrovnik from Singapore with a stopover in Istanbul. Alternatively, Qatar Airways flies to Zagreb, the capital, from Singapore with a stopover in Doha. Explore flight options here.

Tip: Remember to check flight prices on Trip.com to get up to S$100 off with Citi Credit Cards!

Vietnam – Hue

Why go: Many are familiar with Central Vietnam destinations such as Da Nang and Hoi An but not many make the 2-hour trip north to the former capital of Hue. Hue today is a midsized city renowned for its cuisine and even Vietnamese people from other parts of the country regularly come here just for the food. While here, don’t miss out on quintessential dishes such as Com Hen (baby clam rice), Bun Bo Hue (Pork Knuckle Noodle Soup), Banh Khoai (Crispy Pancakes) and Banh Beo (Steamed Rice Cakes). 

What to see: Apart from cuisine, Hue is known for its imperial citadels, ancient mausoleums and pagodas. A trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Purple Forbidden City is a must. You can book join-in tours covering these areas here.

Where to stay: If you prefer to stay in the center, Melia Vinpearl Hue or Indochine Palace Hotel are reliable options. You can also choose to luxe it up by staying in a luxury resort in the outskirts such as Banyan Tree Lang Co. Discover more hotels in Hue here.

How to get there: The nearest international airport is in Da Nang which is roughly 2 hours away by car from Hue. If you are flying domestically within Vietnam, Phu Bai Airport in Hue offers limited domestic flights from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. 

Tip: Use Citi Credit Cards to book local tours and attractions with Klook to get S$10 off with minimum S$60 spend.


Why go: There is no other place like Bhutan and you’ll discover this as soon as your plane makes the dramatic landing at Paro International Airport. The landlocked kingdom’s prosperity is measured differently – through a metric called Gross National Happiness that prioritizes well-being over material wealth. 

What to see: The country offers plenty of hiking trails, Tibetan forts called “dzong” as well as monasteries perched in dramatic locations. Do not miss climbing up the Tiger’s Nest Monastery situated in a cliff some 3,000 meters above sea level.

Where to stay: Bhutan offers mid-range lodgings to luxurious digs. Many of the top hospitality brands have properties here including Aman, Como and Taj. Book your Bhutan hotels here.

How to get there: DrukAir, the flag carrier of Bhutan, operates weekly flights between Singapore and Paro International Airport, the main air gateway to Bhutan.

Get closer to your dream trip with every dollar spent on your Citi Credit Card:

Citi Travel Deals

  • 20% off hotel bookings worldwide with Expedia
  • S$10 off minimum S$60 spend on Klook
  • Up to S$100 off on flights with Trip.com

Limited redemptions available so book these deals now! Discover more Citi Travel Deals here.

Accelerate Your Holiday Plans

Earn up to 4 Citi Miles per S$1 qualifying spend in foreign currency from now till 30 June 2023 with Citi PremierMiles Card. Don’t have one yet? Receive up to 30,000 bonus Citi Miles* when you apply for a Citi PremierMiles Card as a new cardholder. The Citi Miles don’t expire, so you can accumulate them for your next adventure.

*T&Cs apply. Welcome Gift is valid till 31 Mar 2023. Applicable for new Citi Credit Cardmembers only. Find out more here.

Great Giveaways

Don’t miss out on the Citi Great Giveaways! Enroll now on the Citi Mobile App® and stand a chance to win a S$10,000 Travel Voucher^ with a minimum S$2,000 in qualifying spend on your Citi Credit Card from 15 Feb to 31 May 2023. ^T&Cs apply.

Now you’ve got more ways than before to get even closer to enjoying your next trip with Citi.


Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Alternatively, you can also email me at b i n o (at) iwandered.net. You can follow I Wander on Facebook, Telegram, or Instagram.
Also, if you liked this article, please feel free to SHARE or RETWEET

More PostsWebsite



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here