YEAREND is a peak period for tourists in Southeast Asia, a time when travelers from around the world congregate in the warm, tropical region for a dash of sunshine and splash in the sea.
While the West and those in the Northern Hemisphere brace for winter’s harshness during this period, enjoy some temporary respite from the cold in Southeast Asia.
Here are a few places to soak up the sun in the region:
Bangkok may be the most-visited city in the world, but you can venture away from the bustle to Hua Hin, a sun-splashed seaside resort enclave on the Gulf of Thailand. While there, book yourself into Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa; it’s in the heart of the city but also features stunning views of the Gulf. The best of both worlds, one would say.
While booked in here, check out the newly renovated Executive Rooms located from floors 12 to 16 and sporting unobstructed sea views. Guests can also make use of the Resort Lounge for continental breakfast buffet, a la carte American breakfast, afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails, evening canapés, refreshments throughout the day, and complimentary internet access.
If traveling in a group, party central Pattaya is a great place to stay, eat, drink, and participate in lengthy basking sessions on the beach. Hilton Pattaya is where you want to be for a feel of the action: Its location at Central Festival Pattaya Beach Complex – the largest entertainment complex in Pattaya with food, cinema, and shopping options – means you can easily pick up a chic beach dress for your stylish seaside getaway.
Few travelers need introduction to Phuket, a sometimes-hedonistic island packed to the brim with entertainment options. Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa is located along the golden sands of the Karon beachfront and allows you to revel in the natural beauty of the island away from the commercial storefronts.
The resort also caters to families by way of a Kids Club option for the little ones, babysitting services, a playground, a children’s menu at the in-house restaurants, cribs, and high chairs. Stressed parents can head to eforea spa to relax and rejuvenate with a range of holistic spa experiences.
Indonesia is far more than just the crowded beaches of Bali. The country has plenty to offer in its natural landscapes, authentic experiences, and most of all, the hospitality of its people. Start with the capital of Jakarta which is a hive of activity balanced with a fair share of hidden gems and unique experiences. While there, the DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta is an excellent centerpoint to explore the exciting side streets and delicious Indonesian cuisines in the city and beyond.
You should also consider pencilling Bandung into your itinerary – it’s a trendy, mountainous town in Indonsia’s West Java province with sprawling vistas and hip shopping and dining options clustered along Jalan Setiabudi and Jalan Riau in the Dago district spearheaded by some of Indonesia’s coolest.
The city is set against volcanoes and tea plantations, the perfect backdrop to the colonial and art deco-themed architecture that’s peppered throughout the city. Thanks to its elevation, the city also enjoys a cool tropical weather that varies from the sometimes-stifling heat in other parts of the country.
While in “Paris van Java” – as it’s affectionately known – Hilton Bandung will make sure you have a comfortable stay, and is easily accessible to the town’s popular shopping centers and eateries.
Malaysia is rich in cultures and cuisines, and makes for an exciting Southeast Asian getaway. Away from the frenzied capital of Kuala Lumpur, head up north to Penang, the country’s food capital and an all-round charming town. DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang along the coast of Batu Ferringhi will be joining the Hilton portfolio very soon, and will surely shine along the tourist-heavy strip. The hotel’s location means you’ll get to bask by the beach but you’re also nearby the state’s iconic street food options in George Town.
If you’re interested in Malayan colonial history, head down to the heritage town of Melaka where the Portuguese once occupied and many of the original colonial structures remain. DoubleTree by Hilton Melaka another exciting new addition to Hilton portfolio this December – will ensure you’re nearby historical attractions while ensuring you’re well taken care of during your stay.
And don’t forget about East Malaysia, home to some of country’s most beautiful rainforest landscapes and rare wildlife. In Kuching, overlooking the Sarawak River, lies Hilton Kuching, a hotel with a captivating view. From there, nature lovers can venture to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Bako National Park.
Meanwhile, in the state of Sabah, Hilton Kota Kinabalu is within close proximity to plenty of local attractions including shopping malls, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park islands, the mari-Mari Cultural Village, and of course, Malaysia’s highest point, Mount Kinabalu. Or if you prefer to stay in, simply relax by the hotel pool or indulge in the all-day dining and grill-specialty restaurant.
While many travelers may choose Ho Chi Minh over Hanoi, the latter is superior in charm and for a more “true-to-life” reflection of Vietnam. Whether you’re sitting down to a traditional water puppet theater performance or wandering into tiny alleys for a steaming bowl of phở, Hanoi will continually excite even the most jaded of travelers.
Smack in the middle of the city’s historic French Quarter is the Hilton Hanoi Opera, an icon in and of itself. The property is within walking distance to the bustling business district, the popular Hoan Kiem Lake, and of course, the landmark Hanoi Opera House, which inspired the architecture of the hotel.
You can also opt to stay at Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi, close to a variety of popular attractions, entertainment options, and Fortune 500 companies. The property is located on the intersection of Tran Hung Dao and Phan Chu Trinh street; in other words, it’s in the crux of the city’s pulsating heartbeat.
Myanmar may be internationally renowned for its temples and heritage sites, but few are aware that the country plays host to a set of stunning beaches. A case in point is Ngapali in Rakhine State which houses Hilton Ngapali Resort & Spa along the palm-lined shores of the Bay of Bengal. A highlight here is the infinity pool which looks out to the ocean, and beyond that, the stunning ombre shades of sunset.
In Mandalay, the cultural capital of Myanmar, Hilton Mandalay is where you want to be for easy access to major attractions such as Mahamuni Pagoda, Golden Palace Monastery, Eindawya Pagoda. As a bonus, the hotel overlooks Mandalay Hill and the majestic Royal Palace, both which are icons in the city.
Meanwhile, the capital of Nay Pyi Taw might be more popular for ministerial events and functions, but a leisure trip there is worthy of a detour if you know where to look. If you put up in Hilton Nay Pyi Taw, rest assured you’ll be nearby family-friendly attractions including the Pyinmana Market, the State Museum, and the Water Fountain Garden.
Philippines may be home to over 7,000 islands but if you’re down with family or friends, don’t skip the capital of Manila for its unique blend of Spanish colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers. The district of Intramuros is also reflective of the country’s colonial past, and is a must-visit for history buffs.
When there, the Conrad Manila will have you sorted for a comfortable stay. The property is perched on the edge of the Manila Bay and offers a peaceful respite from the hurried nature of Makati. But fret not, you’ll still enjoy easy access to a variety of shopping including S Maison, a connected luxury complex sporting a range of designer labels.