Which do you prefer: The hustle and bustle of urban metropolises or the laid-back lounging of tropical islands? Asia offers both, from Singapore’s big-city bars and eateries to Thailand’s lesser known slices of paradise. Here’s a snapshot to help make up your mind.
Stopover in Singapore
By Angela Saurine
No matter how many times you’ve visited Singapore on a stopover, you will always find something different to do. Head to the grand Raffles Singapore to learn how to make the hotel’s famous Singapore Sling cocktail at a masterclass before checking out the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred eateries; the first Michelin guide to Singapore was released in July 2016 and two hawker stalls – Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle – were each given one star. Or dine at 3-star French restaurant Joel Robuchon Restaurant on the island of Sentosa.
Singapore also has fabulous hidden bars, including the intimate The Other Room at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, LongPlay vintage record bar and the speakeasy-style The Library (you’ll need to obtain a password from Facebook or Twitter to enter the latter).
Find a Private Paradise in Thailand
By Ian Neubauer
For a patch of paradise you can call your own, try one of Thailand’s lesser-known islands. Koh Phayam is a kangaroo-shaped landmass skirting the Andaman coast, where there are no nightclubs or big-brand resorts – just a little motorbike track, bungalows and long, empty beaches.
Along with Phuket, Koh Phayam is also a departure point for boat trips to Koh Surin National Marine Park in the Kuraburi district of Phang-nga. Free of coastal run-off, the seas around this isolated archipelago are fantastically clear and boast colourful coral gardens.
Koh Kam Nui, northeast of Phang-nga, offers seaside camping in a setting so untravelled there aren’t even fishing boats on the horizon. To get there, take a long-tail boat from Ban Kampuan jetty in Ranong Province.
Not into camping? South-west, down the Andaman coast, near Malaysia’s maritime border, Koh Lipe offers the same dreamy combination of remoteness and picture-perfect beaches with luxury boutique hotels and modern conveniences, like a 7-Eleven.
Last but not least is Ko Kut. Situated southeast of Bangkok, this sublime rainforest-covered island is dotted with village homestays and beachfront bungalows.
* Featured image: The turquoise Andaman sea laps idyllic Koh Lipe in Thailand. Image: Getty
These articles first appeared in Travel ideas – WOW List 2017.