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 been anticipating it for weeks now, but the proof is finally in the puddles: it’s July, and the rainy season has officially begun. And just as the rain cools down our temperatures and washes away our troubles from the first half of the year, the second half of the year greets us with a slew of fresh getaway findings from across the region. From sparkling new hotel openings to historical and classical retreats, here are the four weekend trips near Bangkok you should take this July.
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Pattaya has been gifted yet another beach resort, yet before you eye-roll and sign it off to mainstream, there’s something about MASON Pattaya which is different, modern, and originally executed. The luxury pool villa resort is made up of 35 contemporary units, set on a private beachfront at Na Jomtien Beach. With five villa types to choose from, guests can pick between one and two bedroom villas, each equipped with a choice of saltwater pools, jacuzzis, and sun decks. A romantic escape for the urban couple, the resort racks high in design points, with a series of interior elements conceptualised by local artists. A city-like design with the breeze and tranquility of the beach, it’s a fine match of two worlds. Also, given MASON Pattaya’s very recent opening, they’re currently offering a series of fabulous opening offers and promotions, too. It’s time to head back to the OG weekend trip from Bangkok: Pattaya (but make it fashion).
Eat: At MAYs Urban Thai Dine for modern local cuisine
Play: On a yacht for the day with Ocean Marina Yacht Club
‘Gram: The sunset from your own private piece of undisrupted Na Jomtien Beach, a rarity you can reach just two hours from Bangkok
MASON Pattaya, 285 Moo 3, Sukhumvit Rd., Na Jomtien, Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand, +66 38 194 699
For those travellers who love a sense of heritage and story, it’s time to visit what was once known as ‘the Pearl of the Orient’: Penang. The magical Malaysian island was the first British trading post in the East back in the day, and presently still rings with the same grand elegance and graceful colonial charm. Known as ‘The E&O’ by insiders, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel was and still is paramount to this reputation, very much famed back in 1885 for boasting “the longest seafront of any hotel in the world” at almost 275 metres. It was founded by the same group of Armenian brothers behind the iconic The Raffles in Singapore and The Strand in Yangon, and much like its counterparts has hosted a number of world famous guests. From Noel Coward to Rudyard Kipling, this July let the E&O transcend you into your very own travel novel of sorts.
Eat: Char Koay Teow rice noodle stir fry, Penang Assam Laksa soup, Curry Mee noodles, and Penang Chendul for dessert
Play: At the ‘Made in Penang’ Interactive Museum
‘Gram: The street art trail and numerous wall murals by renowned street artists throughout George Town
Eastern & Oriental Hotel, 10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, +6 04 222 2000
Did you know that Hainan is known as the Hawaii of China? Famed for more than just poached chicken, Hainan’s Sanya is providing many a reason to visit lately, with the very recent opening of Capella Sanya. The secluded resort lies on the tropical southern coast of Hainan island, and was inspired by the stories and tales of the historic silk road. Between lush gardens and calming views of the sand and sea, the elegant sanctuary is the ideal escape for those looking to unwind in a lesser conventional hideout. What’s more, renowned hotel architects Jean-Michel Gathy and Bill Bensley are behind the design of the premises, ensuring sophisticated touches at every corner. From Cantonese fine dining indoors to street food staples by the pool (lest we forget, Hainan’s food scene is crazy good), it’s a grand excuse to kick back with creative flavours and cosy surroundings. Hawaii can hang on for a sec.
Eat: Hainan rice noodle rolls, Wengchang chicken, Hele crab, Calamansi tea and Hainan mango rolls
Play: Knock your street food heart out with a scrumptious snacking session at Haikou’s Qilou Snack Street
‘Gram: The infamous Nanshan Temple, built to commemorate over 2000 years of Buddhist belief in China
Capella Sanya, Tufu Resort Area, Yangzhou Town, Lingshui County Hainan Province, China, +86 898 8309 9999
Chances are high that you’ve never heard of Labuan Bajo or even Flores, but both Labuan Bajo and Flores kind of like it that way. The small town of Labuan Bajo lies on the west coast of Flores island, about an hour’s flight away from its wildly popular sister Bali, and has a (albeit not too loud) claim to fame that is linked largely to a very particular kind of reptile. Flores is part of the Komodo Islands, and is home to the UNESCO-recognised Komodo National Park. This July, become one with the dragons, and visit AYANA Komodo Resort to revel in all the natural beauty the island has to offer. Combining rich culture and rustic beauty with the comforts of a luxury retreat, AYANA is all about living the relaxed resort lifestyle. Whether you lounge on the pink sand beach, spend a day cruising the calm seas aboard the 54-meter yacht, or get a massage at the Flores Spa, it’s an island getaway of the best kind. July, our weekends are ready for you.
Eat: Ayam Bakar grilled chicken, Sop Buntut oxtail soup, and Kue Putu pandan rice cakes for dessert
Play: Stand up paddle yoga and night diving at Waecicu Beach
‘Gram: The extremely millennial-coloured pink sand beach
AYANA Komodo Resort, Pantai Waecici, Labuan Bajo, Kab, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, +62 385 244 1000