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.
As the rain season begins to sneak us into June, we’re seeking refuge under tropical mangroves and in our favourite metropoles. After all, everyone has their own recipe for a rainy day, even if said recipe includes a flight ticket abroad. Whether you’re seeking a city escape to eat your weight in soup dumplings, or a private rainforest villa retreat for the nap of your lifetime, here are the four weekend trips near Bangkok you should take this June.
In a highly competitive market on an island with much to swoon for, it can be difficult for yet another luxury resort to really bring an original “oh wow” feeling to the table. But not for Keemala. The incredible villa-only wonderland lies far away from the mainstream chaos of the crowds, and is bringing the stuff of wanderlust dreams to life with its immersive rainforest location, and a charming series of private havens. Overlooking Kamala Village and the Andaman Sea, Keemala was inspired by the story of four clans, and unravels this theme with four distinct types of villas. It’s not really the case that any one villa type shines more than the other, between tented, two-floor, and opulent treehouse-like accommodation (all with their own pools, no less), there’s something for any and every kind of preference here. Lush greenery meets a luxe and inspired resort design for what is quite possibly the most Instagrammable location on the island. A dive into the rainforest, the holistic escape is a great place to fall in love — be it with your travel companion bae, or the beautiful surroundings you sit within.
Eat: At Acqua Restaurant, where you’ll get to gorge on award-winning chef Alessandro Frau’s incredible Sardinian-inspired creations made with fresh local goods (check out our exclusive interview to get the taste buds buzzing)
‘Gram: Your Keemala Bird Nest villa. Let’s be honest: you won’t come across one quite like it in a while
Keemala, 10/88 Moo 6, Nakasud Rd., Kamala, Kathu, Phuket +66 76 358 777
There is a charm to Siem Reap unlike many other cities, from the romantic arched roofs of the airport to the sweet sleepiness of the markets along the Siem Reap river boulevard. Aiming to inspire guests with an authentic Cambodian village atmosphere, Phum Baitang is made up of 45 stilted villas built after traditional Cambodian wooden housing. Consider it the perfect complement after a day out exploring the UNESCO World Heritage sites nearby, as you return back to your private plunge pool in an originally crafted and thoughtfully decorated retreat. To indulge, honour the temple that is your body at the Spa Temple housed within the Phum Baitang premises, before heading to the colonial-style farmhouse for cocktails and cigars. Between rattan wing chairs and oriental carpets, the Siem Reap sanctuary is a peaceful and cultured escape well suited to any city dweller looking to get lost if only for the weekend. Not a skyscraper in sight and not a honk of traffic to fill the air.
Eat: Cambodia’s must-eat dish, Fish Amok curry, and their spicy mango salad
Play: Check out the incredible Phare Circus, an experience unlike any traditional circus show you will have ever witnessed before
‘Gram: No visit to Siem Reap is complete without a visit to Angkor Wat (or Bayon, or Ta Prohm, or Angkor Thom)— go at sunrise if you can brave it, and capture the century-old temples in all their morning glory
Whilst Vietnam’s coastal provinces are getting a lot of the hot travel hype in recent years, there’s no denying that Ho Chi Minh City is still very much worth the visit to anyone seeking out an adventure in Vietnam. Bringing a Southeast Asian essence of the Mekong Delta to its city-centre location, the Park Hyatt Saigon manages to balance a great urban escape with a tranquil environment. Elegant and colonial style furnishings make up the 245-room hotel, with a grand 20m pool at its heart. The architecture is a stunning reflection of the French-style buildings just outside, and is seamlessly combined with hi-tech interiors (in-room iPads et al). In perfect walking distance to the Opera House, coffeeshops, and boutique stores, it’s a great starting and ending point for anyone looking to explore one of Southeast Asia’s most history-laden cities. Simultaneously, it’s also a great place to dive into duvets and order and an endless supply of summer rolls to your room. Win-win.
Eat: Pho and Vietnamese coffee, duh. (But also typical Saigon Hu Tieu Lien noodle soup and local Chinese-influenced Mi Vit Tiem braised duck and egg noodle soup)
Play: Get a good deal at the Dan Sinh American Market or the An Dong clothing market, and end your day with a traditional water puppet show
‘Gram: The many French colonial landmarks, from the Notre Dame Cathedral to the 19th century post office
Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Square, Ho Chi Minh City, +84 28 3824 1234
We’re going to say it flat out, right here, right now: Taipei is not getting enough credit. The Taiwanese capital with a truly impressive food scene and wildly thriving drinks and nightlife scene is an ideal urban weekend escape in many ways, and yet rarely comes up top like its other 4-hour destination companions of Bali or the Maldives. Taipei feels almost like an exclusive members-only club for cool cats, embracing the high way of life, at lounges, late night street food markets, and an endless supply of luxury labels to shop ’til downright drop. An icon amongst it all, head to the Mandarin Oriental Taipei this June to take in the city in all its glory. Foodie insiders will recognise the hotel for its region-wide renowned pineapple tarts, whilst hotel lovers will enjoy the trademark service and sophistication of the luxury brand. Featuring the largest hotel spa in all of Taiwan, combine cityscape with wellness escape, after a day of walking (the temperatures this time of year are a true refresher) and bubble tea-drinking. You’ll come back a few kilos heavier, but also some definite cool points richer.
Eat: Your heart out. Taipei is the city to eat and drink. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the endless options, go for the classic Taiwanese beef noodle soup, or pop into Din Tai Fung (the original!) for some soup dumplings
Play: Taipei’s bar scene is truly one to watch. Check out Indulge Experimental Bistro for great drinks. It ranked No.28 on the World’s Best list, just saying
‘Gram: The 360-degree views of the city at the recently opened Cé La Vi Taipei, the highest lounge in the country, directly opposite the iconic Taipei 101 tower
Mandarin Oriental Taipei, No. 158 Dunhua North Rd., Taipei, +886 2 2715 6888