12 April 2017
South East Asia is the perfect destination for those looking for to immerse themselves in culture, enjoy unique cuisine or even just indulge at an idyllic beachfront retreat. Read on to discover five destinations that offer some of the best that South East Asia has to offer.
Thailand has something for every traveller – from bustling city street markets to pristine white beaches and everything in between. For travellers looking to experience the country’s unique culture, there are hundreds of stunning Buddhist temples and shrines scattered across the cities and villages, such as the dazzling Grand Palace in Bangkok. Built in 1782, the former royal residence houses Wat Phra Kaew – regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.
Just a short boat ride away from the Grand Palace, the Royal Orchid Sheraton is located in the heart of the city. Each guest room commands panoramic views of the Chao Phraya River, and the hotel boasts four restaurants, a tranquil spa, and two resort style swimming pools. Enjoy authentic cuisine at Thara Thong, or take advantage of the free shuttle boat to the Bangkok sky train and discover more of the city’s unique dining scene.
Well known for its palm fringed beaches, lush forests and incredible coastline, Bali is one of the most popular destinations for travellers looking for a tropical paradise. But it’s not just for relaxing – there’s plenty to do on this unique island including scuba diving, surfing and shopping.
Seminyak not only offers one of the most glorious beaches in Bali, it is also home to a wide variety of restaurants and boutiques. Within walking distance of Seminyak’s trendiest bars and shops, the Royal Beach Seminyak offers luxury and relaxation for travellers looking to indulge. Set amongst 4.5 hectares of tropical gardens, the resort features two stunning pools and exclusive villas overlooking the beach. For those looking to immerse themselves in the local traditions, the resort offers a tour to local markets and temples, followed by an opportunity to prepare Balinese culinary specialties.
Travel Counsellor Jelena visted Bali with her family, and offers this advice when exploring local cuisine, "To satisfy your taste buds, Bali offers a huge variety restaurants and coffee shops... Local food is cheap, but if you decide to go for any of the popular food chains then you can expect to pay 20 - 30% more. Whatever you choose is really delicious. A tip to remember - if you feel like having a lobster, choose the restaurant which has a set price on a lobster, and not the ones that charge per 100 gram."
Singapore is a beguiling mix of the old and the new. Shimmering skyscrapers tower above the bustling city streets, while elegant colonial buildings preserve the old-world charm. Although it is home to the world’s busiest port, more than half of Singapore is covered by greenery – with over fifty major parks and four nature reserves.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore offers a luxurious experience for those looking to stay in the heart of the city. Situated within a grand 1920s Neo-classical building, it offers a spa, infinity pool and a spectacular view across Singapore River – all within walking distance of the floating nightlife of Clarke Quay.
For those looking for a truly unique stay, the Parkroyal on Pickering is both lavish and eco-friendly, boasting a dedicated wellness floor and lofty sky gardens high above street level. Its close proximity to Chinatown also makes it ideal for shoppers looking to discover hidden gems.
Travel Counsellor Jeanette visited Singapore in February 2016, and loved exploring Chinatown: "It is made up of low rise buildings with culture bursting out onto the streets, from the fragrant smells of traditional cuisine to the bold red and gold tones that run through the neighbourhood. This is an area that’s proud of its heritage and always exhibits that. There are ornate Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples, museums galore and bustling streets lined with old shop houses."
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is perfect for foodies looking for an eclectic dining experience that won’t break the bank. A reflection of its diverse population, the city’s street food offer a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. Visit Bukit Bintang to try oyster omelettes, and banana leaf curries – all within walking distance of the luxurious Furama Bukit Bintang hotel. Offering spectacular city views, the hotel is conveniently situated in the Golden Triangle near the main shopping areas of the city.
Although the city is known for landmarks such as the Petronas Twin Towers (the world’s largest twin skyscrapers), Kuala Lumpur also boasts natural attractions such as the Batu Caves which are over 400 million years old. The labyrinth of limestone caverns also features temples and Hindu shrines, attracting thousands of worshippers during the annual Hindu festival, Thaipusam.
Koh Samui, Thailand
For those looking for an indulgent pampering experience, the Six Senses resort on Koh Samui island has everything you need. From the stunning infinity pool, gaze out at the sparkling Gulf of Thailand or experience a closer look with scuba diving at Ang Thong National Marine Park. The park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands, with towering limestone mountains, waterfalls, hidden coves and lakes to explore.
Koh Samui is also home to the some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world, and one of the most easily observed natural wonders of the island are butterflies. Overlooking the ocean, the Butterfly Garden allows visitors to experience tropical butterflies up close whilst strolling amongst spectacular scenery and nature.
Travel Counsellor Katrina visited Koh Samui in November 2016, and offered this advice: "I would really recommend whilst in Thailand that people try a thai massage. We had a massage on the beach in Chaweng which was amazing and cost very little. You should also sample the fabulous thai food. There are so many restaurants to try, from fresh fish dishes (you can select your fish from the catch of the day) to amazing thai curries."
If you would like to explore South East Asia, contact your Travel Counsellor to plan your next adventure.