Sail acorss the emerald waters of Halong Bay
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Picture sailing across emerald waters among thousands of ancient limestone islands, with the breeze soft in your hair and a cocktail in your hand. The timeless beauty of Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best taken in while on an overnight cruise aboard a junk. There are many cruises to choose from, and most overnight itineraries include an offshore visit, be it swimming on a nearby island or visiting caves in the bay.
Watching the sun rise on Borobudur is a sight to behold
Borobudur Temple Sunrise, Indonesia
Yogyakarta’s Borobudur Temple is the world’s largest Buddhist monument, and the ancient site set in an unspoilt green valley framed by majestic mountains is truly a sight to behold. To avoid peak crowds, plan to stay overnight in Manohara, a hotel situated right beside the temple complex. Purchase the sunrise pass that allows you to stroll to the monument early (around 4:30am) to await the sunrise. Watching the morning mist lift as the sun begins its steady ascent is a truly magical and spiritual experience.
The tropical paradise of Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
A 50-minute flight and worlds away from Saigon’s urban buzz, Phu Quoc Island has been steadily gaining popularity among tourists. Visit now while the tropical paradise still retains its idyllic vibes, even as resorts sprout along the beachfront. The National Park covers more than half of the island, so there’s plenty of untouched nature to discover. On top of that, the beaches are secluded and clean, and the marine life is unparalleled — a haven for divers.
Gaya Island is the Maldives of Malaysia
Gaya Island, Malaysia
For a stay in a stunning water bungalow that will rival those in Maldives, plan a visit to Gayana Eco Resort, located off the coast of Borneo. Nestled between dense jungle and the South China Sea, the resort’s 52 water villas sit on stilts over clear waters, and many offer direct access to the sea from the deck. The resort’s strong marine ecology programme means there’s lots to experience and learn about the region’s rich underwater life, alongside other nature-inflected activities like kayaking, hiking and exploring mangroves. Of course, you could also kick back and spend all weekend frolicking in the sea.