Looking for sun, sea and sand? Whether you are planning your next holiday, or just looking for ideas for destinations for short getaways there’s plenty of options in Asia. Here at Expat Living we love a good beach break, so we have shared our experiences at some of our favourite beach getaways, as well as highlighted some other tropical spots in the region and beyond.
THAILAND – Hua Hin
“I recently visited Hua Hin, a seaside resort city approximately three hours by car from Bangkok. I stayed in the Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin, a kid friendly resort. It’s a short 10-minute drive from Khao Takiab Beach, where you can tuck into decently-priced, authentic Thai fare along the shores. There are water sports available too. Bring insect repellent or you’ll risk getting attacked by sand flies – I learnt this the hard way! Another lovely beach option is the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, which is just a five-minute drive from the Holiday Inn.
Apart from the beaches, there are other activities available in and around Hua Hin. Guests at the Holiday Inn can enjoy free access to Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle, a water park right next to the resort. You can easily spend half a day here as there’s a good mix of rides for everyone. Another must-visit is the Cicada Night Market, a seven-minute drive from the resort; expect lots of street food, artisanal handicrafts, clothes and live music. Finally, if you can squeeze in one more activity, opt for the Monsoon Valley vineyard tour, which is a 40-minute drive from Hua Hin.
The laid-back atmosphere in this city is infectious; it’s not as busy as Bangkok, yet no less vibrant! Another perk of being near the ocean is the breezy weather, which I really miss now that I’m back in Singapore.”
– Anthia Chng, Singaporean, Hair & Beauty Editor
INDONESIA – Bintan
“We’ve been going to Mayang Sari in Bintan for years. We pop over for our “fix” every two years or so. I love it because, although it’s nothing glamorous, if you get the sea-view rooms, you are right on the beach. I love lying on the hammocks or the sunbeds listening to the waves. And yes, there are actual waves (not huge) that you can play in; there’s no pool, so it forces you to get in the ocean.
You can also head to the water sports centre at Nirwana Gardens for activities such as jet-skiing and banana boating. There’s not that many people around, but there is a beach club further down the beach if you want to socialise. The restaurant has great Indian food with vegetarian options. You can hire a buggy and go further afield, and there are mangrove tours that are quite interesting. The resort also has its own spa – it’s a bit more expensive than external ones, but it’s good. You can have up to four people in a room and it’s nice and spacious, which is handy for families too.”
– Michaela Bisset, British, Digital Content Executive
UAE – Fujairah
“Fujairah is located on the east coast of the UAE; we drove from Dubai (as a lot of expats do for a beach break) where we were staying with friends. You can also take a taxi, around a two-hour drive from Dubai. The drive brought us past towering mountains of shale, with hardly a tree to be seen – so dramatic and different from the tropics. The water is also really clear, which makes diving a great option here. We stayed at the Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort, which was a bit dated, but it has a stunning location, with an old fort and mountains behind and the ocean and beach in front.
We stopped at a fort and museum along the way. The resorts here are quite isolated so you really go to enjoy the facilities and beach. My older kids went diving. There is also a kids’ club and outdoor water playground, but they really loved the big pool. I will always remember my birthday morning – we threw open the curtains and saw that the hotel staff had written “Happy Birthday” on the beach!”
– Danielle Rossetti, Australian, Integrated Communications Manager
MALDIVES – South Male Atoll
“For a more indulgent beach break (still affordable if you avoid the peak tourist season), the Maldives is our favourite getaway. It’s just over four hours from Singapore, easily workable for a short getaway of four to five days. When you see the breathtaking azure water and turquoise lagoons, you’ll feel you’ve landed in paradise.
A friend recommended the Holiday Inn Kandooma and we’ve been back several times now. It’s an excellent family-friendly resort. We like the stylish beach villas by the lagoon which you can get for around US$200 to $250 per night in low season (May to November). Kids under 12 stay and eat for free at the resort!
The snorkelling and diving are incredible here, and it has some of the best surfing spots in the world. The hotel runs a free snorkelling trip every morning as well as other excursions, from night fishing and coral reef conservation to Malé shopping and walking tours. Our favourite is snorkelling at Turtle Point. For the ultimate experience, take a seaplane flight over the atolls.
The kids have a fantastic time here, starting with the exhilarating 40-minute speedboat ride to the resort (we’ve spotted dolphins and even a blue whale before). From the array of water sports on offer (catamarans, kayaks, paddle boards and a banana boat) and racing crabs on the beach, to the kids’ club, activities centre and pool, there’s so much to do. After a great day out on the water, watching the magnificent sunset over the glistening Indian Ocean is truly magical.”
– Juliet Keys, British, Copy Editor
MALAYSIA – Penang
“We wanted to go away for a few nights just before Chinese New Year, and our friends had told us about a good deal they’d just got with the Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, so we tagged along with them. We flew Jetstar, spending just under $1,200 for return tickets for two adults and two children. From the airport, the car transfer to the hotel takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic.
We booked a Rock City Kids’ Suite, costing $1,100 for four nights, including a fantastic breakfast. The room itself was perfect for our family – a king-sized bed with tons of space in the main room, and a separate area for children with a single and trundle bed. There were televisions in both areas, although these were tricky to hear if both were on, but it was great to have that extra space. The hotel facilities are fantastic for children; the pool has giant slides, volleyball, a sandy area, and water play for youngsters. There’s a kids’ and teens’ club, and the hotel is right on the beach, where you can find horse riding (make sure you haggle), and a cheaper beach restaurant. There were also many eateries on the main road, which were generally cheaper.
Historic Georgetown is also just a 40-minute taxi ride away, where you can get your snaps in front of the many murals. We also made a pit stop at China House, one of the most amazing cake shops we’ve ever been to. We were already talking about extending our stay by another day before we left, a clear indication that we will go back again.”
– Amy Brook-Partridge, British, Home & Property Editor
More Great Beach Breaks
There are plenty of things we love about Telunas Resorts, and the easy proximity to Singapore is just one of them. Others include the tastefully designed overwater Sea Villas, the freshwater infinity pool and the complimentary kids’ club – plus, there’s a newly opened overwater spa; it all adds up to a genuine respite from the busy city.
The more upscale of Telunas’s two sister properties is Telunas Private Island, where guests have exclusive access to the aforementioned spa, located on the tip of a 15-hectare island, along with other Private Island-only amenities. Additionally, you can take one of two daily shuttles to enjoy the 500-metre beach at Telunas Beach Resort; or stay and explore the three intimate beaches on the Private Island.
Special offer: Book a stay this May using code “ELMay-Promotion” and get one additional night free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for offer details
email@example.com | telunasresorts.com
Discover Indonesia’s charms on a fascinating cruise to Bali, Flores and Komodo. This itinerary has been created by the team at Shanti Travel, who specialise in tailor-made trips and guided tours for travellers, family and honeymooners. It’s a trip that balances discovery and relaxation, taking in everything from rice field terraces to temples and beaches.
The journey kicks off in Bali, where you’ll relax on the beautiful white sand beach of Bingin, while watching surfers tackle one of the region’s great breaks. In Flores, firstname.lastname@example.org | telunasresorts.com visit Penggajawa Beach, with its unique covering of blue and turquoise pebbles and incredible wild marine life. Equally colourful Komodo Island has an amazing pink sand beach, and of course a resident population of the giant monitor lizards referred to as dragons. Pack your bags and discover it all for yourself!
Special offer: Expat Living readers who book the cruise in May can enjoy a five percent discount. email@example.com | shantitravel.com/en
Opened in 2016 in the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Baa Atoll, Finolhu is the all-villa sister resort of Amilla Fushi. Among its many impressive offerings is a unique lunch spot known as the Fish and Crab Shack – about as laid-back as dining can get. Located on Finolhu’s 1km sandbank, and a short speedboat hop from the main resort, the Shack is the place for sipping a wine as you savour a bucket of fresh prawns or other seafood delights. (Grilled Maldivian lobster or a Sri Lankan mud crab, anyone?) There’s a range of delicious signature cocktails designed to pair with the restaurants’ signature dishes, too; with your feet in the sand and smooth beats in the air, it’s the ultimate Finolhu experience.
A final tip: Try to time your stay at the resort to include a Tuesday, when the Shack presents a special Seafood Extravaganza menu.
firstname.lastname@example.org | finolhu.com
Comprising Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the Cayman Islands are located between Cuba and Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea. Three miles below the surface, great volcanic chimneys gush subterranean water hot enough to melt lead. Happily, you won’t see any of that from your seaside hotel!
The islands’ combination of tropical climate and high standard of living make it an ideal holiday destination. There’s abundant marine life to entice divers and snorkellers, and a plethora of water sports on offer from jet skiing to paragliding. You can swim on the sandbank that’s known (for good reason!) as Stingray City, and encounter turtles and dolphins at various spots.
Of the world-class hotels along pristine Seven Mile Beach, the newly renovated Marriot Beach Resort boasts floating pontoons in the sea, outdoor movies, and fab food and drinks (including an impressive selection of gins), while state-of-the-art Kimpton Seafire Resort has an open-air design to make the most of the captivating sunsets.
To avoid tourist traps and crowded beaches, the team at Flight Centre suggests holidaying at an exclusive beach retreat instead. Six Senses Con Dao is a luxe island hideaway with a conscience, set on an untouched archipelago in a Vietnamese national and marine park. The resort is sustainably built so that it blends seamlessly into the lush natural surrounds, and it’s run with an appreciation and respect for the indigenous wildlife and a commitment to reducing its ecological footprint.
Spacious suites, a dreamy pool and personalised service are the order of the day at this tropical boutique hideaway. And Flight Centre will take care of all the small details so you can concentrate on a total island indulgence. Grab your swimsuit, crack open a coconut and sit back in the sun – real life can wait for a week or two.
Special offer: Quote “Expat Living” and book no later than 31 May for travel by 31 October, and enjoy three nights for the price of two, plus $100 credit to use through Flight Centre.
6692 9764 | email@example.com
Singapore is made up of 63 islands, so of course it has a bunch of beaches; and the best of them for a tropical stay without leaving home is Sentosa. Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is Singapore’s only beachfront resort, with over 450 rooms with balconies, many of them with views of the South China Sea.
Dine On 3 is a destination-dining concept featuring three restaurants under one roof, from live cooking stations to traditional Chinese meats and noodles, and Siloso Beach Bar beside the swimming pool offers a chill-out spot with an ice-cream bar. T he Cool Zone is the resort’s comprehensive children’s club, with various activity centres including the Toots Club for ages five to 12, and Mini Toots Club for younger ones.
There’s also CHI, The Spa, a 24-hour gym, an outdoor playground and outdoor spa baths, and a Sea Sports Centre if you decide to get active on the water.
6371 1088 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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