If you have a fun and loving family to hang out with, Chinese New Year is going to be a blast. For those of us who spend most of our time avoiding awkward conversations during this festive period or have no plans to do any visiting, perhaps going on a holiday is a better option. After all, who doesn’t like taking time off to relax instead of dying a little inside every time someone asks, “so old already, not getting married?”
If you’re looking for a quick escape, it’s not too late to start planning. Here are some fun, affordable destinations to visit:
Go on a cultural tour in Chiang Mai
Love going cultural sights and scenes? You’ll enjoy a tour around Chiang Mai. From the gleaming Dog Suthep temple to ancient temples in Old City, you’ll get to experience Thailand’s rich culture and history here. Besides temple hopping, you can also visit Bo Sang Village, a place known for their colourful handcrafted umbrellas that have now become a symbol of Chiang Mai.
With lots of delicious street foods and markets in Chiang Mai, you’ll be able to feast on a wide range of cheap and delicious local food too! Khao Soi, a curry noodle dish, is one of the locals’ staples and it’s definitely a must-try. The dish is topped with crispy noodles which gives each mouth an interesting texture.
Interested in Chiang Mai’s street food scene and night markets? Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, Sunday Walking Street and Wualai Walking Street are some of the most popular night markets you can visit.
Enjoy the sea and sun in Pattaya
From exciting tourist attractions to down-to-earth local specialties, you’ll be amazed at what Pattaya has to offer. Located on the eastern coast of Thailand, the pristine beaches there give all tired urban dwellers a sense of refuge and a space to relax.
If you’re into water sports, Jomtien Beach is perfect for you. You can sign up for diving, catamaran sailing, windsurfing and kite-boarding there! However, if you prefer a quieter, more remote area, you should check out Wong Amat beach, one of Pattaya’s most pristine beaches.
In the evening, when you’re done with soaking up the sun, you can also enjoy delicious seafood and beer along Pattaya’s Walking Street. The street is filled with exciting bars, street performers and nightlife — a perfect way to just let your hair down.
Go on a cafe trail in Kuala Lumpur
You know how expensive cafe hopping is in Singapore. Good news is, you can easily go on a cafe hopping spree in KL without breaking the bank! One of Malaysia’s most modern cities, you’ll find that KL shares many similarities with Singapore — except the malls are bigger and it’s littered with great food options.
If you love Instagram-worthy dessert, you’ll need to drop by Whimsical — Gelateria & Caffe. They’re known for their fluffy Cotton Candy Affogato, where a cloud of cotton candy sits on a cup of gula melaka. Once you’re done taking photos, drench a cup espresso over your cotton candy and watch it slowly dissolve and melt into a wonderful mess!
Some other notable cafes you should give a visit include Coffee Societe, Merchant Lane, and Yellow Brick Road.
Enjoy the cool weather in Hanoi
One of the best things about Hanoi is the cool weather. The CNY period is perhaps the warmest period in Singapore and Hanoi’s weather is just what every Singaporean needs (honestly). Like many cultural cities in Southeast Asia, Hanoi is a 1000 year old city, filled with many centuries-old architectures.
While you’re admiring the city’s colonial architecture, don’t forget to try the street food in Hanoi. There’s nothing more satisfying than having a cup of cold, Vietnamese coffee in below 20 temperatures. Additionally, Hanoi is also famous for their Pho Cuon (rice noodle rolls) — a delightful finger food where beef and greens are wrapped in a large piece of rice noodle. If your taste buds are feeling a little adventurous, check out Oc Len Xao Dua (Sea Snails in Coconut Milk).
Besides venturing the city, you can also enjoy water sports like kayaking and canoeing at the beautiful Halong Bay. With emerald green waters surrounded by tall mountains, causing through the waters of Halong bay really makes you feel as though you were in an ancient painting.
You can try out:
Pho Cuon: 19 Ngũ Xã, Trúc Bách, Tây Hồ, Hanoi, Vietnam,
or try Oc Len Xao Dua: B1 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, Trung Tự, Đống Đa, Hà Nội.
Enjoy a tropical vacation in Bali
There’s a reason why so many tourists from all over the world flock to Bali. Although it’s not an under-the-radar beach destination, Bali’s beautiful beaches, natural surroundings and amazing entertainment have kept tourists coming back again and again for more.
Kuta Beach and Legian Beach are one of the most popular beaches. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, though, check out the quaint Sanur Beach. It’s a rustic fishing village where you can enjoy snorkelling with the backdrop of Mount Agung and Nusa Penida island in the distance.
Lazing on the beach with a cocktail in your hand aside, there are lots of adventurous activities you can get yourself into in Bali! If you love watching the sunrise, you can sign up for a climb to the top of Mount Batur to catch first light.
If you’re an animal lover, you can also go dolphin watching at Lovina Beach or play with monkeys at Ubud Monkey Forest!
We get it. You’ve endured years and years of awkward conversations at Chinese New Year gatherings. Sometimes, you just want a break — and what’s wrong with that! With lots of fun and affordable destinations in neighbouring countries, you don’t need to look far for a short escapade. Once in a while, it’s good to treat yourself and celebrate this holiday the way you want to.
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