If you’ve moved to Asia from the UK, Europe or North America, the chances are you didn’t sign up for wet, windy weather and a bout of the winter flu you thought you’d left back home. Unfortunately, unless you’re straddling the equator, you could still find yourself feeling a little chilly this Christmas. Thankfully, with just a short plane ride you can be in a tropical oasis. These are the best places to escape for a quick winter getaway…
If you’ve dreamed of spending Christmas on the beach with a Singha in hand, you’re not the only one – Thailand is one of the most popular destinations around Asia at the tail end of the year. Between November and March, there’s scant chance of rain and the promise of near-constant sunshine. To escape the crowds, head to Khao Lak – a tranquil, idyllic island in Phang Nga province just 80km north of Phuket.
Vietnam offers a plethora of travel opportunities – from the ancient town of Hoi An to the bustling, vibrant cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. But if you’re looking for something more relaxing and for the chance to escape everyday city life, head to Phu Quoc. Situated off the Cambodian coast, the secret is slowly getting out about this little slice of paradise, so we’d advise going sooner, rather than later.
With a reputation for beauty that spans the globe, Tioman Island off the Malaysian coast promises thriving coral reefs, marine life and picturesque stretches of white sandy beaches. Tioman and its eight surrounding islands have been established as a marine park and reserve, protecting them from overfishing and promoting safe, ethical eco-tourism.
Travelling to Sri Lanka outside of the monsoon season is highly advised; ideal if you’re looking for a quick winter getaway (the dry season runs from December through to March). One of the most popular destinations for a beach break is Hikkaduwa Beach – badly affected by the 2004 Asian Tsunami, the tourism industry has helped the area recover at breakneck speed. It’s a hotspot for nightlife and DJ performances too, making this the perfect place for someone looking for a seaside getaway with a bit more buzz to it.
Palawan is an archipelago like no other – the region has become synonymous with crystal clear waters and deep blue lagoons, and is a fantastic place for scuba divers and snorkelers. Rains and monsoons tend to dry up by the end of October, so there’s no better time than the present to visit; El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa are growing in popularity as tourist hotspots.