Asia Bali Japan Laos Singapore Travel Travel Tips Vietnam

Sonia’s Top Asian Spots

ASIA is a great mid-way destination for those who are seeking a family holiday without having to deal too much with jet-lag and long-haul travel. It is also a perfect distance for those who can only have a week or two away.

Here are some of my “Top Spots” in Asia – they may give you some ideas for your next holiday or an interesting stopover en-route to somewhere further afield:

HOI AN – Central Vietnam: Closest Airport – Danang

Snapshot: Hoi An is a fusion of French, Japanese and Chinese with a splash of Vietnamese. It is recongnised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and its old town is exceptionally well-preserved. Yellow colonial buildings hug the river. Bright, colourful lanterns adorn trees, shop fronts and streets.  Chinese-style pagodas and temples are pressed up against wooden shop houses. Cafes full of character and ambiance send enticing aromas out onto the street. The food market is brimming with hawkers and street vendors trying to tempt you with their wares.

Highlight Experience: A guided tour of Hoi An’s colourful central market followed by a hands-on Vietnamese cooking class.

 

KYOTO – Japan: Closest Airport – Kansai or Itami (Osaka)

Snapshot: The imperial city of Kyoto is famous for its Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, beautiful zen gardens, narrow streets and kimono-clad women. This city has so much to offer to both the first-time tourist and the returning traveller. It is magical in any season – the soft pinks of the spring-time cherry blossoms; the bright, lush greens of the summer; the burnt oranges and reds of the autumn; the snow-covered temple roofs in winter.

Highlight Experience: Guided walking tour of Gion, the Geisha quarter of Kyoto, followed by dinner and a private geisha performance in a hidden tea house.

 

BALI – Indonesia: Closest Airport – Denpasar

Snapshot: The island of Bali lies less than six hours by plane north-west of Brisbane, making it a very manageable journey for a short escape. Whether you want the beach, surfing, culture, shopping, day spas, great food, hilltop retreats, relaxation or adrenelin-fuelled activities, you can find it in Bali. The huge array of experiences and accommodation on offer mean that we can find the perfect holiday for any budget in Bali.

Highlight Experience: A Segway guided tour through rice paddies and local villages, learning about the people, their culture and seeing some of the islands natural beauty at the same time.

 

SINGAPORE – Singapore: Closest Airport – Singapore

Snapshot: As a stopover, Singapore is an easy destination for travellers to break their journey enroute to other corners of the globe. There is plenty here to keep families, solo travellers and couples busy for several days. Children enjoy trips to the Night Safari and Universal Studios. For adults, try a visit the Changi Museum or Old Ford Motor Factory. For the seasoned shopper this place is paradise – shopping malls line Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands is wall-to-wall high end fashion, while Little India is loud and colourful, packed with spices, food stalls, saris, jewellery and art work.

Highlight Experience: You can’t visit Singapore without a stop at the famous old-world hotel Raffles – either for High Tea, a Singapore Sling, or both! 

 

LUANG PRABANG – Laos: Closest Airport – Luang Prabang

Snapshot: A sleepy town nestled in a valley at the junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. It is picturesque – surrounded by mountains, with palm-lined riverbanks, ornate golden temples, ancient monuments and gardens bursting with colour. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some beautiful traditional Lao architecture and French 19th century colonial buildings. It’s the perfect spot to explore the Upper Mekong and to immerse yourself in Lao culture.

Highlight Experience: A boat trip up the Mekong to the limestone Pak Ou Caves, crammed with Buddha images of various styles and sizes.

Feeling inspired? Want more information on any of these fantastic Asian destinations? Email sjones@mtatravel.com.au for details.

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