Lucky for us, some of the world’s most glorious beaches are only a short plane ride away, plus you’ll also get a spot of culture at these Southeast Asian destinations
Not everyone wants the same thing out of a holiday. Maybe you want nothing more than to laze on a beach, but your travel companion is more keen on traipsing through temples and cities, uncovering local hideaways. Either way, you’ll find the best of both worlds on this fab list curated by our globe-trotting friends at Lightfoot Travel – so no fallouts over disagreements. These destinations in Asia boast an abundance of cultural sites to explore and seemingly never-ending coastlines to relax on. Get booking!
The splendour of Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat complex has lured millions of visitors from all over the world. Start off your holiday by exploring the stunning and well-preserved temples (many dating back several centuries) in this vast plain. A guided tour is the best way to experience and understand the rich history of Angkor Wat. After a full-day of temple-hunting, relax in one of the city’s best hotels, the Belmond La Residence d’Angkor.
If you need some R&R, head to the coast. Surprisingly, Cambodia’s coast is not as popular (yet) as its temples, but that just means you have more beach to yourself! Make a reservation at Song Saa, an exclusive resort located on a private island, for the best experience.
More details of this exclusive itinerary here.
Short on time but want a quintessential Thailand experience? Look no further than our Phuket and Chiang Mai escape. Kick off your holiday up North as you explore Chiang Mai and its numerous temples, sample the delicious cuisine, try out a cooking class and go on a hike and uncover hidden waterfalls and viewpoints.
Then, hurry off to Phuket, where you can relax by the beach, go island-hopping, visit Old Phuket and its Sino-Portuguese splendours. The Surin is a winner with its tranquil setting on Pansea Beach and plethora of activities to enjoy; you have the option to be as relaxed or active as you wish.
Ah Bali; always the perfect escape from our hectic city lives! Sometimes, we like to mix things up a little by starting off with the beach holiday, so that we’ll be bursting with energy and all ready for the cultural part of our getaway. We recommend first hitting the beach at Canggu to try your hand at surfing or partake in one of Hotel Tugu Bali’s many activities (Balinese dancing, anyone?). In the evenings, head into Seminyak, which is just a 15-minute drive away and enjoy Bali’s diverse wine & dining scene.
Once you’re rested and relaxed, it’s time to make your way to Ubud, where your next mountainside retreat awaits. Komaneka at Bisma is nestled in the hillsides by Campuhan River Valley and is a haven of tranquillity. From there, you can explore the many temples that call Ubud home, or go white-water rafting or trekking.
Start your Bali adventure here.
A Hue-and-Hoi An getaway gives you the best of beach and culture in both cities and yet the experiences remain distinct. Hue, once the capital of Vietnam, is home to the majestic Imperial City, one of the country’s best-preserved remnant of royal living quarters. We recommend a stay at La Residence Hue, a former colonial residence in art deco design which will take you back in time to the 1930s, when it was built.
On your way towards Hoi An, opt to stop a couple of nights at Lang Co & chill at Angsana Lang Co for a few days. Otherwise, make the three-hour drive in the same day and reach The Nam Hai sooner. You’ll be charmed by Hoi An the moment you step foot on its ground. The truly charismatic town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best explored on foot, so you can stop and marvel at the Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese influenced architecture, and follow the river that runs through the town. Don’t forget to visit the colourful markets and take a bicycle ride through the countryside. At the end of the day, laze by The Nam Hai’s beach and pool.
Sri Lanka and Maldives
For the ultimate beach and cultural retreat, nothing beats a holiday that incorporates Sri Lanka’s diversity and the heavenly beaches of the Maldives. First up on the agenda: Sri Lanka. To really experience the best of what Sri Lanka has to offer, head straight to the tea country for a stay at one of the country’s most reputed hotels, Ceylon Tea Trails. Admire sprawling tea plantations, learn how Sri Lanka’s quality tea is produced, hike up Adam’s Peak, enjoy a train ride up to the tea country… there’s no shortage of things to do while you’re there. Once you have fully explored the area, head to Galle Fort, located in the south. Here, prepare yourself for colonial charm at every corner as well as exciting tours – think whale watching, gem-shopping, savouring local delicacies and so much more!
Finish off your exciting holiday with a bang at the Six Senses Laamu, a Maldivian paradise. The term barefoot luxury perfectly epitomizes this amazing resort, the only resort on the virtually uncharted Laamu atoll. Heavenly!
This article was brought to you by Lightfoot Travel, a Singapore-based luxury tour operator offering expert travel advice & inspiration, tailor-made itineraries & full booking services.