As Chinese New Year approaches, take some time away from the noise and hectic atmosphere. We’ve rounded up four places in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia for that perfect getaway.
While the endless feasting, reunions and giving and receiving of angpows is enjoyable during Chinese New Year, there are times we just want to get away from the endless loops of new year songs and prying questions by relatives, and just relax.
Take advantage of the long weekend and explore these nearby places, where you can jet off to at a moment’s notice, and still come back in time to spend the rest of the Lunar New Year with your loved ones.
Point Yamu by COMO – Phuket, Thailand
Located on Phuket’s quiet East coast overlooking the Andaman Sea and the UNESCO protected site of Phang Nha Bay, is COMO’s Point Yamu. Take your pick from 70 rooms and suites, as well as 27 private luxury villas, designed by award-winning architect, Jean-Michel Gathy. With hues of blue and white, you’ll feel like you’re basking in the Mediterranean.
Not to be missed is their signature Shambhala spa for some inner peace, with a yoga studio, seven treatment rooms, massage alcoves, steam rooms and a gym. As always with COMO, dining takes centre stage, and the resort offers six different restaurants where you can choose from Italian, Thai or their healthy COMO Shambhala cuisine. This is the ideal holiday for those looking to come back fit and healthy (and prepared for all the Chinese New Year feasting). 225 Moo 7, Paklok, Talang.
Tel: +66 76 360 100
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa — Boracay, Philippines
For those looking for a family resort that comes fully decked out with all the kiddie trimmings, the Shangri-La Boracay will not disappoint. With four types of rooms, a Seaview Suite (complete with outdoor jacuzzi) and nine luxurious villas, ranging from treehouse villas to private pool villas, your loved ones will have a ball. With an indoor playground called the Adventure Zone, kids can take part in daily activities, arts and crafts, or simply play on the drop slide or ball pit, while mum and dad can take a leisurely swim in the pool or go sunbathing. There is also an entertainment centre for older kids with arcade and video games, billiards, ping pong tables, as well as karaoke rooms. Then head down to Sirena, the cliff-top seafood restaurant, where the stunning view of the sea will enthrall both the young and young at heart.
Family activities abound with boat trips to nearby islands, with picnics, snorkeling, or good old-fashioned exploring available for you to enjoy. Last but not least, the resort is also located on one of the most beautiful stretches of beach, the Puka Shell Beach, in the Philippines – absolutely divine. Barangay Yapak, Boracay Island, Malay Aklan. Tel: +63 36 288 4988.
Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
Located off Cambodia’s largely untouched southern coastline, Song Saa is the country’s only private island resort. It is fairly convenient to get to from Phnom Penh despite its’ remoteness, requiring a three-hour drive and then 45-minute boat ride. The resort itself is spread over two islands connected by a wooden bridge, and consists of 27 rustic overwater, jungle and beach villas, each with their own private pool.
A strong advocate for sustainability, each of the luxury villa is built with reclaimed timber and materials from the mainland, and the decors include discarded oil drums as lamps, driftwood tables and floors made from salvaged wood. Their food is also locally sourced, and is a fusion of Khmer and Western cuisine. Expect wild Ibis rice from farmers in the North, meaty coconuts from nearby villages, and the distinctive flavour of the rare Kampot pepper infused in their cuisine at the poolside Vista Bar & Restaurant. Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia. Tel: +855 92 609 488.
Villa Song Saigon — Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Built in the early 1900s, the beautiful French Vietnamese house is situated on the banks of the Saigon River. The 23-bedrooms are spacious with high ceilings, huge beds and with balconies either overlooking the river or the huge 30-metre pool.
Breakfast at Villa Song Saigon is almost an event in itself – sitting in the expansive garden area and watching the ships pass by allows time for quiet contemplation, before venturing out to explore the beautiful mix of French colonial and modern architecture that fills the city once known as the “Pearl of Indochina”. If you’re feeling a little peckish, head down to Bistro Song Vie, the all-day dining restaurant which offers traditional Vietnamese and International cuisine. Highlights include Pan-seared Duck Breast, scrumptious Sambal Fried Rice and the instagram-worthy Dulcey Lava Cake. Should you tire of the traffic, hop onto the hotel’s speedboat and zip down the river to any of the riverside restaurants for some fresh seafood. 197/2 Nguyen Van Huong Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2. Tel: +84 28 3744 6090