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.
For our October getaways list, we’re embracing the cool-down of the rain season around the region, and taking to trips that lie closer to home. One iconic hotel is finally open again after a grand renovation, whilst another design marvel celebrates a proud anniversary. We’re seeking peaceful retreats, delicious escapes, and plenty to tickle the fancy of anyone who likes to eat, play, and ‘gram in both elegant and eclectic locations – all under three hours away from home. From temple architecture to coffee culture, here are the four weekend trips near Bangkok you should take this October.
Featured and Hero image credit: Amantaka
There is something about Raya Heritage that makes it as peaceful to visit in person as it is to re-visit in memory after leaving. The Lanna-inspired resort on the Ping River is built on pillars of simplicity, sustainability, and tradition; all of which become beautifully apparent through its contemporary interiors, clean dining selection, and mindful service. It is no wonder why the elegant boutique hotel was the backdrop for Janesuda’s most recent fashion show, and indeed Raya Heritage offers the most ideal location to sport your finest resortwear linens. Between breezy open spaces and cosy corners, pace of life is slow and quiet here. It’s an ideal escape for the Bangkokian who needs to rest up, recharge, and embrace that serene Chiang Mai way of life – a few buffalos bathing in the river in the morning, an oversized pillow on your balcony for napping, and an organic afternoon tea set, et al.
Eat: Minced pork, chicken, or beef larb (with sticky rice, of course), Khao Soi soup, and plenty of Chiang Mai coffee
Play: At Looper & Co., an espresso bar by day and a vibe-y cocktail bar by night
‘Gram: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most sacred temples of the North
Raya Heritage, 157 Moo 6, Tambol Donkey, Amphoe Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, +66 53 111 670 73.
The ‘Grande Dame de Angkor’ is back. One of the most iconic hotels in Siem Reap, the Raffles Hotel Grand d’Angkor first opened in 1932, welcoming the likes of royalty and celebrity for over 80 years of its operation. Earlier this May, the French colonial style hotel closed its doors for a short period, unveiling just this October a grand renovation. With a brighter façade and an elegant upgrade to every suite and room, the Siem Reap sanctuary still boasts a lot of its original Art Deco charm, yet with a refreshed flair. Executive Chef Angela Brown is behind a series of exclusive new dining concepts at each of the hotel’s restaurants, and the iconic Elephant Bar has been giving a fabulously wider repertoire of gins — including Sipsmith’s Raffles 1915 gin. Any and every excuse to head back to the historic heart of Cambodia once again this October.
Eat: The national dish of Fish Amok curry, and banana pancakes for dessert
Play: Visit Phare Circus, a very unique and very cool theatrical performance, unlike many you may know
‘Gram: If you’ve done the 4am to Angkor Wat, perhaps head to Ta Phrom, the infamous Tomb Raider temple
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Siem Reap, Cambodia; +855 23 982 598.
Luang Prabang may draw in visitors for its cultural and spiritual heritage, but they stay and keep returning for its seductively serene pace of life. Just a ten-minute ride from the airport, Amantaka provides a prime location to experience this sense of calm; set in ideal walking distance to boutiques and restaurants, yet still nestled within its own enclave at the foot of Mount Phousi. Dubbing itself a ‘quiet place of contemplation’, the airy colonial resort offers everything to melt away any kind of worry, from a dip in the 26-metre pool to a massage at one of the two Spa Houses. This month, head to Amantaka between 12-14 October specifically, and experience the annual Laotian Light Festival here. Similar to our own Loy Krathong, it’s a special way to celebrate and show respect to the spirit of the river – the very same one that flows on over to our home in Thailand, too.
Eat: The traditional Luang Prabang Or Lam green vegetable stew, and a bottle of Beer Lao
Play: Visit the morning market and purchase some buffalo skin and spicy jaew for unique edible souvenirs to take back home
‘Gram: The sunrise on the Mekong from one of the river cruise boats
Amantaka, 55/3 Kingkitsarath Rd., Ban Thongchaleun, Luang Prabang, Laos, +856 71 860 333.
There are few hotels in the region as iconic as The Upper House in Hong Kong. Designed by the incredible Andre Fu (who is also behind the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, no less), The Upper House celebrates a special anniversary this year, marking ten years since its grand opening. To commemorate this momentous occasion, head to Hong Kong this September and enjoy celebratory menus at the hotel’s dining venues, as well as an exclusive 10 Year Wine List. The latter features a series of 2009 vintages as the perfect companion to sip and clink with for the special date. Warm and friendly and yet still sleek and sophisticated, The Upper House is a contemporary hotel that has quickly become a buzzed-about name in the Hong Kong cityscape.
Eat: Your weight in dim sum, of course, but also lo mai gai steamed lotus leaf with rice and meat, and a hot cuppa Hong Kong milk tea for dessert
Play: At The Old Man, the best bar in all of Asia
‘Gram: The view from the 49th floor at Cafe Gray Deluxe
The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong; +852 2918 1838.