Top 10 travel experiences in Asia for the Christmas break

In terms of stunning and memorable destinations, Asia boasts an embarrassment of riches, and it's always a special place. 

Hot Air Balloon in Siem Reap
Hot Air Balloon in Siem Reap
23 Dec 2015

Hot Air Balloon in Siem Reap

How about floating at sunset over the Cambodian city of Siam Reap, drinking in an unrivalled exotic panorama? Drifting in a hot air balloon above this historic destination affords an unforgettable view: from the colonial and Chinese-style architecture of the Old French Quarter, made all the more surreal and beautiful by the shimmering heat haze, over the villages that cluster and merge along the river, to its famous temples, ensconced in the surrounding picturesque silk farms and rice fields. This serene bird's eye view imprints memories that last, whether for romantic couples, families or good friends.

Find out more here.

Sea Cruise in Koh Samui, Thailand
Sea Cruise in Koh Samui, Thailand
23 Dec 2015

Sea Cruise in Koh Samui, Thailand

If floating in the air doesn’t attract you, there's the more traditional sea-based kind. Thailand's beautiful and popular Koh Samui island is a great venue and offers a variety of excursions. You can spend a day cruising around its smaller islands on a 30 metre long sailing junk, visiting the most beautiful beaches around, snorkelling in crystal clear water, and relaxing on board on the expansive sun deck, doing little more strenuous than sipping cocktails or a glass of wine beneath gently billowing sails, or casting a rod from its fishing platform.

Find out more here. 

Hiking in Sapa, Vietnam
Hiking in Sapa, Vietnam
23 Dec 2015

Hiking in Sapa, Vietnam

If something a little more exerting attracts, you can't go wrong with a visit to the spectacular mountainous region of Sapa in northwest Vietnam. This is the region's number one trekking destination and boasts incredible scenery comprised of deep valleys, brooding mountains, rice terraces and serene hill-tribe villages. Here you can enjoy stunning hiking trails through the lush landscape, and learn about the diverse cultures scattered around the mountain loops.

Find out more here. 

Visit Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Visit Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
23 Dec 2015

Visit Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Photo: Halongbay.info

In northeast Vietnam is Ha Long Bay, famed for its emerald waters and rainforest covered vertiginous limestone islands, shaped by sea and time. It is arguably the country's most beautiful natural attraction. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions are the best way to see the 120 kilometre long bay and its amazing landscape, some of which towers to over 100 metres.

Find out more here

New Year's fireworks in the Philippines
New Year's fireworks in the Philippines
23 Dec 2015

New Year's fireworks in the Philippines

If you're looking for a traditionally raucous entry into the New Year, head to the Philippines. Nobody does festive fireworks like the Filipinos, seemingly due to an old belief that the noise exorcises evil spirits. In Manila, you can watch for hours as the already glowing urban metropolis is illuminated further, as if by a nocturnal battle scene between warring factions with a fetish for colour. But if Manila's all day explosions and chaos seems a little over-the-top, head to Vigan, in the northwest. This Unesco World Heritage site is the finest example of a Spanish colonial town in all Asia. The fireworks here are more restrained but, in their own way, just as stunning. 

New Year's fireworks in Hong Kong
New Year's fireworks in Hong Kong
23 Dec 2015

New Year's fireworks in Hong Kong

Another great spot in SE Asia for New Year's Eve is Hong Kong. At midnight, the beautiful Victoria Harbour is lit up by a highly synchronised 'pyromusical' display that illuminates the sky above the famous Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. But stake out your viewing spot well in advance of the moment, whether somewhere along the shoreline, from a boat on the harbour or up in a skyscraper, as, unsurprisingly, this stunning spectacular draws crowds!

Romantic dinner in Bali, Indonesia
Romantic dinner in Bali, Indonesia
23 Dec 2015

Romantic dinner in Bali, Indonesia

How about making time for a romantic dinner in the tropical paradise of Bali, perhaps for a wedding proposal, or simply to honour a valued relationship with a little extra romance? The bird's nest dinner overlooking the Ubud jungle is a unique location, where you can enjoy a five-course gourmet meal, while listening to the sound of the river below, as a canopy of stars segues from the sunset into the evening. Or how about dining in your own specially prepared cave on a private beach in the south peninsula? Enjoy the ultimate candle-lit dinner, served by your own butler, your soft conversation accompanied only by the gentle lapping of the sea, in a cave festooned with dozens of gently flickering candles.

Find out more here

Cruise the Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Cruise the Komodo National Park, Indonesia
23 Dec 2015

Cruise the Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Enjoy some of the richest marine bio-diversity on the planet with a cruise in Indonesia's Komodo National Park, part of the Coral Triangle. Explore the most beautiful and most secret spots of the park, and partake in some of the best diving to be had anywhere, with more than thirty sites to explore, six of them ranked five star on the international scale. Non-divers won't miss out either and can enjoy the abundant flora and fauna while snorkeling. And, of course, no visit to the park would be complete without a rendezvous with the famous Komodo dragon.

Find out more here.

Skiing in Seoul, South Korea
Skiing in Seoul, South Korea
23 Dec 2015

Skiing in Seoul, South Korea

Photo: Jpramses

If you're looking for a white Christmas, try skiing in South Korea. Just an hour or so from Seoul are the resorts of Yangji and Jisan. The former is an all-season recreational complex located in the stunning landscapes of the Dokjosan Mountains. It offers plenty of different ski runs to satisfy all visitors. The Jisan Forest Resort makes for the perfect day trip from Seoul. The 1.6 million square metre resort is covered in a beautiful white pine forest. Thanks to the resort's state-of-the-art snow management system, which counters bad effects from weather, they manage to sustain high quality snow.

Find out more here.
 

10. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
10. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
23 Dec 2015

10. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

For a truly magical and traditional Christmas experience, visit Singapore's Gardens by the Bay. The Christmas Wonderland experience there spans 35,000 square metres and features fairgrounds, the country's largest slide, dozens of beautiful light sculptures – including one 21 metres high – and indoor snow blizzards. Completing the festive feel are Christmas choirs and theatrical performances.

Related:
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8 things that give you the feels at Christmas Wonderland

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