As much as we love Bangkok with all its hearty hustles and buzzing bustles, it’s always good to get out of the Big Mango – even if only for the weekend. Every month, we put together a list of four weekend trip ideas to bring you a refreshing dose of travel inspo from around the region. Go on one of them or go on all of them, and prepare a big fat red marker to check off this one resolution for 2019 on the monthly: to travel brilliantly.
We’ve got the best, most exciting long weekend of the year coming up in the middle of the month, making it the best, most exciting time to travel. In the spirit of the Thai New Year and the warm embrace of Thai summer, we’re taking inspiration from the infamous Weezer song this month, and going with the theme of islands in the sun. Some a direct flight away, others a bit of an adventurous trek and climb to reach, these island resorts encompass the epitome of summer living: cocktails at sunset, endless beachside selfies, and plenty of good times and tans.
The perfect spots for some serious R&R, if you had to be stranded on a deserted island this April, make it any one of these.
Hero and Featured image credit: The Sanchaya
Think of the famous Thai islands and it’s likely the holy holiday trinity of Phuket, Krabi, and Samui are the first to swirl to mind; yet the gorgeous Gulf of Thailand is actually home to a sprinkling of more, lesser mainstream islands to visit and explore. Translating to ‘Little Long Island’, Koh Yao Noi lies within the prestigious Phang Nga Bay, and is only accessible via a short boat ride from either Phuket or Krabi. Bringing the island lifestyle to new heights almost quite literally, stay at the adults-only Tree House Villas Koh Yao Noi for an intimate retreat inside a lush jungle canopy. You’ll enter via a suspended bridge (yup) and stay within an eco-friendly and mindfully designed treehouse, engaging in adventurous water and land activities during the day, a hillside massage at the cave-like spa in the afternoons, and al-fresco dining beneath the palms and stars come nightfall. Between an unspoiled treetop view of the sea and two private cosy floors to enjoy it from, it’s the perfectly green romantic getaway for sun- and thrill-seekers.
Eat: The infamous great seafood, some of the best in the country.
Play: Kayaking through the sea caves and lagoons in Phang Nga Bay.
‘Gram: The sleepy town, rice paddy fields, and traditional fishing villages.
Tree House Villas Koh Yao Noi Luxury Beach Resort, 21/21 Moo 4, Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga, +66 76 584 450
Not to be confused with Thailand’s Krabi, Southern Cambodia’s Krabey welcomes a brand new hotel opening this month: the Six Senses Krabey Island. Made up of 40 free-standing private pool villas, the tropical destination is a short boat ride from the resort’s Sihanouk jetty (though private jets can also be facilitated for those who prefer to be a mile higher), and offers a serene escape from the mainland hustles. Inspired by a classic Khmer fisherman house, the design of the resort is an invitation to indulge, with each of the villas boasting dreamy canopied beds, opulent bathtubs, and a private plunge pool and sunshine deck. Dine alfresco beneath the stars, or get a massage at the infamous signature Six Senses Spa, before heading on a stroll on the oceanfront boardwalk or to the stars from the sky observatory. Between sun salutations at the yoga pavilion and a traditionally Khmer cooking class at the cookery school, it’s a tranquil escape in a wholly new and as yet largely undiscovered location.
Eat: Fish Amok Curry, Cambodia’s beloved signature dish.
Play: A movie under the stars on the island’s Cinema Paradiso.
‘Gram: Yourself on a stand-up paddle board — if you manage to keep your balance!
Six Senses Krabey Island, Koh Krabey, Ream Commune, Preach Sihanouk Province, +855 69 944 88
For the city dweller that still likes their summer escape to bear some traits of the town, here is a convincing compromise. Less than an hour away from Singapore, The Sanchaya lies on the beautiful island of Bintan as a stunningly-designed sanctuary on the beach. A little bit colonial cream romance and a little bit Gatsby summer, the island escape stands out on our list for incredible interior (and exterior) décor points. Giving tropical glamour new meaning, the beachfront estate features 29 villas and suites, each with a view of the South China Sea. Between a 50-metre infinity pool, a snazzy wine bar and a croquet lawn (yup), it’s the classy Bintan getaway that has a bit of a Southeast Asian Hamptons feel to it. Sun hats, summer dresses, and linen shirts? Pack ‘em.
Eat: Missing home food? Sample the Thai street food at Bangkok-inspired Tasanee Grill.
Play: A host of really cool resort activities, from pétanque on the beach to papillionaire bicycle cycling, BloKart sailing, and archery.
‘Gram: The white sand beach. It’s spectacular.
The Sanchaya Estate, Lagoi Bay, Bintan, Riau Islands, +62 770 692200
Crazy Rich Asians may have been based on a Singapore setting, but insiders will know that it was actually Malaysia’s picturesque island of Langkawi that was used as the idyllic backdrop for several of the holiday scenes. For a getaway that is as equally swoon-worthy as the love story of Nick Young and Rachel Chu, head to The Datai. Located within a rainforest, the resort is nestled between tranquil tree canopy greens and breezy Andaman Sea blues, offering an escape that is close to nature and far from worry. The rooms are divided into distinct categories, whether you choose to stay in a villa on stilts near the resort-own stream, or in a beachfront garden villa. During the day, take part in a host of unique activities, between listening to wild stories by the Resident Naturalist, going sailing aboard the resort’s 30-metre Malaysian junk schooner, or heading to their very own 18-hole golf course.
Eat: Nasi Campur Malaysian fried rice, with plenty of spicy chili sambal, of course. Throw in a nice seafood laksa too, as this is Langkawi after all. Also don’t leave without snacking on plenty of signature saté.
Play: Follow the mangrove trail and stroll along the Canopy Walk, and explore the Butterfly Gardens.
‘Gram: A Great Hornbill or Sunda Colugo flying lemur, both of which are not uncommon sightings at the resort.
The Datai Langkawi, Jalan Teluk Datai, Pulau Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman, +60 4 9500 500