Whilst Bangkok is a cool 27 degrees and low-humidity haven at this time of year, it’s always refreshing to get out of the city – be it even just for the weekend. As a wonderful way to ease your mind, indulge your senses, and escape the never-ending buzz of the city, we’ve put together four resort weekend trips to inspire you this January. 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 the new year already: to travel brilliantly.
Resolutions in mind, our theme for weekend trips in January is that of reset-button-like relaxation, and recovering from the post-festive season madness (and the maddening calories we consumed). Think, resorts and retreats. Hidden sanctuaries. Blissful beaches. A sun-kissed nose deep into a novel on self care. Eat Pray Love your heart out. Just a few car or flight hours away from Bangkok, here are our top picks.
Featured and Hero image credits: SO Sofitel Hua Hin
For a creative escape of the most scenic kind, take a road trip to the SO Sofitel Hua Hin. From the geometrical landscaped courtyards to the charming artistic figures and the stylish accents envisioned by renowned Thai fashion designer Polpat Asavaprapha, the seaside resort has something of a dreamy Alice in Wonderland vibe. And now, with its recent 2-acre expansion and the opening of a brand new wing, the Cha Am resort boasts all the more reasons to enter and explore.
For a romantic couples’ getaway, stay in one of the all-new one-bedroom SO pool villas and enjoy a private dip and a swim. Thrill-seekers should head to the Signature main pool, home to Thailand’s first ever Wibit adventure water playground. After a stroll on the beach, enjoy one of the poolside movie screenings, or go for a beachside cabana dinner. Located on the serene western coast, the resort is a mere 2.5 hour drive away from Bangkok, and with its playful touches and no-worries aura, it makes for a great escape to watch your worries drift away on the Cha Am beach waves, too.
Play: Party it up at one of Thailand’s most exclusive beach clubs, Baba Beach Club Hua Hin
‘Gram: Take an Arabian style selfie at the Morrocan-inspired Villa Maroc
SO Sofitel Hua Hin, 115 Moo 7, Tambol Bangkao, Amphur Cha-Am, Phetchaburi, Hua Hin, +66 327 09 555
Designed by the noted Bill Bensley after the concept of a luxe Laotian hilltop station, the Rosewood Luang Prabang opened to much anticipation last spring – and the hype has been well worth it. An hour and a half away from Bangkok by plane, the resort sits idyllic in a forest in north central Laos, inviting guests to explore the region’s cultural and spiritual heritage against a beautifully tropical backdrop.
The exclusive enclave is the second Rosewood property in Southeast Asia, and consists of 23 guest rooms, villas, suites, and even tented accommodations. Each located around a stunning natural waterfall, the resort offers much privacy, yet is still located only a mere ten minutes away from the historic city of Luang Prabang itself. Stay in one of the tented residences for the ultimate idyllic sanctuary experience, and fall asleep to the sound of the gentle water streams outside your room. Meditate. Become one with nature. Inhale the good vibes. Exhale any bad ones. Bliss.
Eat: Khao Piak Sen sticky rice noodles paired with a pint of Beer Lao. End your meal with a café au lait at a French café (bonus points if you throw in a chocolate croissant)
Play: Luang Prabang became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Explore its stunning colonial French architecture, IndoChinese villas, and gilded Laotian temples, and capture them with a vintage film camera for a photograph souvenir to take back home
‘Gram: Wat Chom Si on Mount Phousi at sunset
Rosewood Luang Prabang, Nauea Village, Luang Prabang, +856 7121 1155
If you’re looking to truly Eat, Pray, Love it out in Southeast Asia, do as they did in the book and the movie, and board that flight to Bali. Aman’s Ubud retreat, Amandari, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and is offering guests a series of special events as a window to the island’s rich culture. The resort itself is modelled around the layout of a Balinese village, and with views of the Ayung Valley’s jungled slopes, even the guest suites take on the form of charming luxe bamboo village houses.
For its special anniversary this year, guests to Amandari will get to take part in a series of events, from traditional dance performances and food festivals to art exhibitions and painting classes. For a rare-find spiritual experience, take part in the full moon blessing, which takes place on the night of the full moon each month. Beginning at Amandari’s temple, guests will receive blessings from the monks, before heading on a trek through the orchards of the valley at sunset. As it rises, enjoy a picnic under the light of the moon, and come back feeling as cleansed as a Balinese fish out of water. New year, new moon, new you.
Eat: Thai moo ping skewers are cute and all, but the original satay comes from Indonesia, so definitely be sure to sample a few
Play: Check out Monkey Forest, home to free-roaming and fun-loving monkeys
‘Gram: The Tagalalang Rice Terraces in Northern Ubud
Amandari Kedewatan, Ubud, Bali, +62 361 975 333
For the ultimate weekend escape, you can’t go bigger, better, or bolder than with your own private villa. Located along one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful and as yet untouched beaches, the Anantara Quy Nhon Villas are located just 10km outside Quy Nhon town in south central Vietnam. The private stretch of beach overlooks the East Sea and the Bay of Quy Nhon, and is dotted by 26 exclusive villas. Choose from either a cliff-edge ocean view villa or a beachfront villa, with a personal butler on call for all your needs (including gourmet street eats, water sports, cooking classes, or even a four-hands massage at Anantara Spa).
If you’re looking to stay just a little over a weekend, go the whole ten yards (and beyond, way beyond) and book Anantara’s special private jet experience. Taking off from Bangkok, the MJets private jet will take you from Don Muang airport to the Anantara Hoi An Resort for 3 nights, before heading to the Anantara Quy Nhon Villas for another 3 nights, and back to Bangkok again. A truly exclusive experience from the moment you set foot at the airport, find out more here, and throw your January blues right out the (private jet) window.
Eat: The daily fresh catch, as well as Banh canh cha ca fish cake noodle soup
Play: Did you know that Quy Nhon is the birthplace of martial art Viet Vo Dao? Take a class for a fun workout with a true kick
‘Gram: Thap Doi temple, for a beautiful insight into 11th century Cham temple architecture
Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, Bai Dai, Ghenh Rang, Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province, +84 256 3840 077