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 we recoup our energy in the calm after the Songkran storm and Thailand’s Royal Coronation weekend, we’re seeking the escape of serene and secluded spots across Southeast Asia as the travel inspo for weekend trips this May. Think remote, lesser mainstream locations, private villas, and made-to-measure experiences. As we prepare for the rainy season that is rumoured to drizzle into being at the end of next month, here’s where we can still enjoy a douse of summer in the region. Between cultural explorations and coconut groves, here are the four weekend trips near Bangkok you should take this May.
Hero and featured image credit: Banyan Tree
Whilst Phuket and Samui may get all the hype, Krabi is slowly but steadily climbing the ladder to become one of Thailand’s most beloved beach destinations. Located along the coast of the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand, Rayavadee sits at the heart of the Phranang Peninsula just along the border of Krabi Marine National Park. The eco-conscious resort features 96 two-storey unique private pavilions, as well as five luxury villas, each just a few minutes away from infamous Railay beach. Inspired by Thai art and culture, each of the pavilions sit amongst the property’s tropical gardens and coconut groves, offering an intimate retreat amidst natural surroundings. Each of the villas come with private butler service, tending to every need from private poolside dining to body wraps and scrubs, and speedboat trips and adventures.
Eat: Thai street food favourites from Pad Thai noodles to Moo Ping skewers — bonus points if you get these from a long-tail boat food vendor
Play: Set amidst a rainforest, take a dip at the Klong Thom Hot Springs
‘Gram: The Railay beaches and caves, arguably one of the best beaches in the country
Rayavadee, 214 Moo 2, Tumbon Ao-Nang, Krabi, +66 2 301 1861 3
Part of the Secret Retreats group of really special boutique hotels, there is something about Satri House that feels warmly and quintessentially Laotian, and truly goes back to the root and essence of what it means to be a luxury boutique hotel. Built in 1904 by Prince Souphanouvong’s parents, the first President of Lao People’s Democratic Republic grew up here as a young boy, with that strong sense of heritage still breezing through the French colonial style property. Made up of 28 guest rooms, Satri House may be small, but offers plenty of ‘grammable corners and romantic hideouts, much like the stuff of an early 1900s novel. A magical stay unlike many mainstream others, and one of the most exceptional ways to experience beautiful Luang Prabang – from the hotel’s vintage Rolls Royce airport pick-up (yup) to their sunset cruise on the Mekhong.
Eat: Khao Ka Moo pork leg rice, khao piak sen sticky rice noodles, alongside a sip of the (beware: shockingly strong) Laolao whiskey, or Beerlao if you’re less hardcore
Pray: Watch or take part in an alms giving ceremony in the early morning, one of the most sacred Lao traditions
‘Gram: The Kuang Si Waterfalls, about a 45-minute car ride from Luang Prabang
Satri House, 57 Photisarath Rd., Ban That Luang, Luang Prabang, +856 71 253 491
Vietnam is quite possibly the hottest destination for holidays in Southeast Asia right now, and we’re not just talking sun smooches. For a private and paradisiacal escape in lesser discovered Central Vietnam, head to the Banyan Tree Lang Co. Nestled between the East Vietnam Sea on one side and the Truong Son mountain range on the other, the all-pool villa resort features private havens with up to three bedrooms, each boasting sweeping sea views and plenty of living (and lounging) space. Where the East Sea sands tickle your toes, and the Vietnamese sun kisses your nose, enjoy private beach access, seaside massages, lagoon-side dining, or a good game of golf at the resort’s Laguna Golf Lang Co golf course. You’ll be surrounded by three incredible UNESCO World Heritage Sites in close proximity too, so there’s plenty of reasons to both stay in or go out. The best of both worlds.
Eat: Hue tiny mussel rice, pho noodle soup (of course), and Vietnamese coffee (of course)
Play: Rent a motorcycle and ride on the infamous Hai Van Pass
‘Gram: The UNESCO World Heritage sites of the imperial city of Hue, the old town of Hoi An, and the My Son historical ruins
Banyan Tree Lang Co, Cu Du Village, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, +84 234 3695 888
As far as cool island getaways go, Siargao is definitely one to watch. And whilst the Philippines boast over 7000 islands to uncover and explore, the surfer’s paradise has recently become a bit of a of an insider’s luxury escape. At the heart of it lies Nay Palad Hideaway; a private villa-only resort offering the most tranquil of environments for island indulgence. With interiors decked out in light fabrics and wooden accents, the villas offer a grand living space of up to 400 square metres, and are decorated with dedicated detail – from a wooden rocking horse to a regal bed canopy and an imposing rainforest shower and treetop nest. Beyond the visuals, the hideaway also prides itself in being a no-wallet-needed destination. Every drink or delicacy, and every massage or activity is provided without the need for cash and bills until check-out. Could be risky, be you a sucker for a sunset cocktail or seven, but you’re on vacation, right?
Eat: Filipino Bulalo beef shank and bone marrow stew, Pan de Coco coconut bread, and a coconut cold brew
Play: Beachside volleyball in the afternoon
‘Gram: Island hopping around the bay exploring the nearing little isles of Pansukian, Daku, and Guam
Nay Palad Hideaway, Malinao, General Luna, Siargao Island, +63 917 701 7840