We all know that this would happen, that it was a mathematical certainty. Both Christmas and New Year’s day falling on a Saturday, which means that we have been deprived of a break in the middle of the week or a long weekend. But fret not! There’s a Chinese saying, “ First the bitter then to the sweet”(xian ku hou tian). ‘The sweet’, in reference to the properly aligned first and second day of the Chinese New Year, just before the weekend. Thus begs the question, “where to go for my first long weekend this holiday season?”
Being Singaporean, we pride ourselves as jet setters, flying our world renowned airline and flashing our internationally welcomed red passports. So this writer is not going to list a ‘top ten places to visit’ or claim unknown places that demands your attention. Instead, I am going to present my filtered options to you my dear reader and perhaps ask for help with my choice this CNY’s long weekend.
To start, I would like to segmentize this endeavor to three categories, namely, city, resort and local. When I think of taking a break, I broadly think of these three types. A city holiday is a holiday in a city(duh!), where a lot of shopping is being done, where the a big part of the experience includes taking the public transport, and whenever possible, every meal should be different. The resort holiday, well, does not have to be at a resort, but it needs to facilitate a slowing down of the day’s pace, where simply reading a book is an activity and the meals are savoured slowly to full effect. A local holiday is just that, anything local. It should involve arranging accommodation out of your own home and a drastic difference from the normal activities of our everyday lives.
A city holiday, since we are living in a city also, should be marked by how different the city is in terms of sights and sounds, culture, food and very importantly, the shopping experience. And so, keeping in mind that the weekend is only 4days 3nights long, my city of choice is Bangkok.
City of Choice: Bangkok
It may be a little common and not very exotic to us, but Bangkok is always a treat. Not to forget that it is comparatively easy on the pockets.
‘Take A Nap’ hotel would be would be my choice of accommodation during my time in Bangkok. As the name suggests, taking a nap would be what the room would be used for most of the time since I would be out and about the city. This budget hotel has dormitory rooms from S$12.50 per night to double rooms at S$47 per night. But the big draw isn’t the low prices and well kept rooms. The unique feature of this hotel is its thirty graphic-designed guest rooms. Each of the thirty rooms has its own style with an individual work of wall art. The featured art ranges from funky street art to beautiful fairy tale art, all of which will remind you of the city that hosts your stay.
Hotel Address in BKK
920-926 Rama 4 Rd, Suriyawongse, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
Where to eat? For meals in Bangkok, no expense will be spared. I have these two places in mind.
Basil is located at Sukhumvit, this restaurant serves a wide range of your authentic Thai food in a hip and stylist in interior. Here you can fulfil all your cravings for your Thai dishes like, Tom yam goong and Pad Thai.
250 Sukhumvit Road · Bangkok 10110 · Thailand
Long Table: From the people that brought you the city Bed Supper, this restaurant boasts of having the longest table in the world. It is located at at the 25th floor of the Column Residence on Sukhumvit Soi 16, meaning that you will have one of the best views of the city. A great way to end a full day of shopping.
Restaurant Address in BKK
25th Floor 48 Column Building. Sukhumvit Soi 16 Thailand
Bombay Blues is considered a hidden gem along the lane of Ram Brutri at Khao San Road. This Indian restaurant offers delicious and filling curries and other popular eastern Asia items with homemade roti. The serivice is excellent and the place draws you not just to have a meal, but just sit back relax and enjoy your vacation as it is.
Restaurant Address in BKK
Chana Songkhram Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
A trip to Bangkok will never be complete without ferocious shopping, you either leave with an extra bag of steals otherwise your bag must have been empty when you arrived. These shopping experiences must not be missed!
Chatuchak Market is a place that really needs no introduction. Here, the shopper in you is tested to the limit, you literally can shop till you drop and then shop some more. Even thought it has become mainly a tourist attraction, you can still drive a good bargain. From shoes t-shirts to pet dogs and squirrels this market will not let you down with the diversity of product you can get. Take note that it only opens in on the weekends.
Chatuchak Market is adjacent to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) about 5 minute walk from Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT)
Shopping centres in Bangkok
Like in Singapore, Bangkok has no lack of Shopping centres. I want to mention two. First, Siam Paragon and MBK. These are two contrasting malls. Siam Paragon holds all Designer brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton in its wide open marble floor spaces. Whereas MBK(Mah Boon Krong) has your more middle class products of fashion accessories luggage, electrical appliances, mobile phones and DVDs. All packed closely in the plaza.
At the end of this city holiday, one should feel like a marathon has been completed. Looking forward to the comforts of one’s own home and the slower pace that accompanies it. But of cos utterly satisfied of the amount of activity accomplished within such a short period of time.
Choice Of Resort: Bali(Bvlgari)
On to my choice of a resort holiday. There are actually quite a number of options to choose from. In my research, I found that South East Asia has the best selections of resorts and ‘resort style’ Holidays, thanks to our neighbours Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. My choice is rather extravagant one, Bvlgari resort Bali.
Let me start by not mentioning the price attached to this luxury resort. ‘High’ would suffice as the adjective. But, when you are there, I believe that money would be replaced by beauty and comfort.
The resort offers a private beach for its guest between the cliff and the water’s edge. It is accessible from the resort’s inclined elevator that brings guest to the beach as well as to the beach club.
The design of the Bvlgari Resort stays true to Balinese tradition and is described as a ‘medieval fortress town’ Each stone in construction has been cut and chiseled on site by hand. The resort offers 3 different villas plus its premiere Bvlgari villa The ocean view villa, premier ocean villa and the ocean cliff villa are the two bedroom villas. All with a private garden to soak in the sun and also its own individual plunge pool. The major difference is the views from the villa. The Bvlgari villa however is two notches up. This is the description from the website.
‘A private entrance conducts to this 1,300 square meters unit that includes two bedrooms, a living room with bar, a spacious dining room, a private cinema, a kitchen and a spa treatment room. The 20-meter pool and a meditation pergola surrounded by an extensive terrace and small pavilions where to eat and live in the open complete this one-of-a-kind scenario, perfect for private events, weddings or a family holiday.’
Needless to say it costs a bomb and a half/night to stay at the Bvlgari villa.
Other perks and services at the resort includes, beach butler service, spa with 8 treatment rooms, fitness center, herbal steam rooms and a swimming pool with waterfall and whirlpool jets. Buggy service is provided throughout the property with car and van rental also available onsite. For dinning and drinks, the resort has one bar, two restaurants and one restuarant and bar.
Pictures do say a thousand words, as this writer will now demonstrate.
Staying in Singapore
What if it was a vacation staying in the same country? A stay-cation? Singapore as we know is host to millions of visitors each year, and we do our best to make our home as exciting and comfortable for visitors as possible. Here in a stay home vacation, the goal would be to take full advantage of that.
Firstly, where to stay? With no lack of hotels all over Singapore, we would all be spoiled for choice. But of late, boutique hotels like the Hotel 1929 has been a wonderful trend, so lets go with that. And the selected boutique hotel is the Wangz hotel located at 231 Outram Road.
Wangz is one of the newest boutique hotels to date, but that really has little to do with my choice. Its location serves as a convenient base to the holiday, a short 5 mins away from the mrt and from the aromatic food locales of Tiong Bahru. When you enter the hotel, you are immediately drawn by the elegant naturalistic yet modern deco. The hotel obviously spared no expense with trying to impress guest. In their rooms, the same design and effort is seem through its large bathrooms and plush furnishings.
So, what to do in sunny Singapore? Plenty! Here are 3 suggestions. Dinner at the Singapore flyer, visit the Singapore Zoological Gardens and enjoy a luxury spa.
I doubt that many locals have been on the Singapore flyer, so why not do it in style? The Flyer offers the world’s first full butler service dinning experience in the sky. Enjoy the view that is world renowned while being served dinner like royalty!
The Singapore Flyer
30 Raffles Avenue 039803 Singapore
I have visited the Singapore Zoo plenty of times, but it never gets old. The Zoo is always bringing new animals to Singapore and their shows are constantly fresh. The maintenance of the zoo is never lacking and so greeting you is a clean and natural environment. You can always rely on a day out at the zoo for fun!
The Singapore Zoo
80 Mandai Lake Rd
When we mention spa we usually think of travelling abroad to pamper ourselves that way. But did you know that right here in Singapore we have one of Asia’s largest spa? Amrita Spa is spread over 50,000 square feet. It is on 3 levels and offers more than 35 treatment rooms. And offers all that you can possibly want in a spa session. Talk about pampering yourself!
The Amrita Spa at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road Singapore 189673
So here we are, at the end of my daydream of vacations for the first long weekend of the holidays. Which would you pick, if the choice was yours?