You’re probably as keen as we are to squeeze some travel into your schedule. Luckily there are plenty of short trips from Hong Kong straight into paradise. We found a handful of stunning tropical getaways in Southeast Asia, from beach resorts and villas to mountain stays that make the perfect long weekend getaway.
#1 Escape to a private island
Telunas Private Island is easily reached from Singapore via a short ferry to neighbouring Batam in Indonesia’s Riau Islands, and then a leisurely connecting boat ride – sip on a cold drink or two and you’ll be there in no time!
The resort’s overwater rustic villas feature a sitting room, bedroom, cosy loft and private veranda. Food-wise, there’s delicious Western, Asian and Indonesian cuisine on offer from the resort’s executive chef at the Grand Lodge, located just down the wooden jetty. A perfect option for a romantic long weekend getaway or a short break with kids, this patch of paradise is listed in the top 10 percent of Hotels on Tripadvisor – and it just celebrated its 26th award from Tripadvisor, too!
Things to do
• Make the most of the sunny days by taking part in the complimentary activities, which include mangrove kayaking, a waterfall hike and stand-up paddle boarding
• Relax by the vibrant poolside Sand Bar while enjoying unblocked sea views – it serves everything from Long Island Iced Teas to mocktails that the kids will love
• During your short trip from Hong Kong, pamper yourself with a spa session in one of the overwater pavilions or in the privacy of your villa
#2 Bring the family to Bali
Need a bit of extra space for your rambunctious little ones? Villa JOJU is a spacious oasis that offers a family getaway where you won’t be stepping on each other’s toes!
The meticulously maintained luxury property is located in the heart of Canggu in Bali, just a short trip from Hong Kong. The villa sleeps up to 22 in its nine-bed configuration – plus, it’s fully staffed with a private chef, housekeepers, butlers and nanny services.
While the kids’ bunk room is stocked with toys and books, they’ll likely spend more time outside thanks to the pool, the bouncy castle, pet bunnies, a fish spa, and heaps of games and activities (including making slime! Each stay also comes with complimentary access to the nearby VIP beach club and water park. The whole family will be entertained, allowing you plenty of time to relax and feel the sea and sand between your toes.
Things to do
• Watch a magical sunset on Berawa Beach and try some world-renowned surfing
• Hire the villa driver for a day of exploring in Uluwatu, Seminyak or Ubud
• Venture into Canggu to enjoy a spa treatment and retail therapy before relaxing at Finns Beach Club
#3 Explore nature at its best
Tanjung Kelayang Reserve is a natural paradise located on the north coast of Belitung Island in Indonesia, which you can reach in under an hour by plane from Singapore. With white sand, calm ocean and protected forest, families can experience natural luxuries unlike anywhere else.
Nestled within the reserve is the Sheraton Belitung Resort, which offers modern and spacious suites or private villas on the beach
This area is also the gateway to a UNESCO Global Geosite filled with tiny islands and ancient boulders that rise from the cerulean water. You can take a traditional boat from the reserve’s sandy beach to explore these islands and coral reefs. This is a long weekend getaway that’s all about reconnecting with the natural world.
Things to do
• Explore a sea cave and historic lighthouse, take part in turtle and coral conservation, and walk through a protected forest with a biologist to plant a tree as part of a reforestation project
• Snorkel above coral reefs, paddleboard and visit a floating fish farm while island hopping
• Make sure to schedule some time for relaxing during your short trip from Hong Kong! Here you can have dinner on a private island beach and watch the sunset while lounging on top of an ancient boulder
#4 Nourish your mind, body and soul
Escape into Thailand’s tranquil mountains for a full body-and-mind reset. The Aleenta Retreat Chiang Mai is perfectly tucked away in the foothills on the edge of the city. While you revitalise, stay in a one- or two-bedroom pool residence designed from reclaimed wood, or a restored four bedroom teak villa with a private pool.
The highlight of the retreat is the Ayurah Wellness Centre and its six tailor-made wellness programmes. These programmes include a focus on natural healing, eliminating burnout, healthy living with diabetes, Vipassana meditation and self love. Plus, for yoga lovers or aspiring yogis, there’s also a full immersion programme.
Aleenta’s revitalisation theme is also evident at The Garden Restaurant, which puts a nutritious spin on Northern Thai Lanna cuisine and Western fusion food.
Things to do
• Test out your skills in the kitchen at a wellness cooking class and create a bespoke nutritionist-led plan to take back home
• Join in the complimentary daily yoga, Qi Gong, meditation and mindfulness classes over your long weekend getaway
• Work with a resident master healer, doctor, nurse and nutritionist to achieve optimum wellness and balance in your life
#5 A long weekend getaway in Phuket
Located on the sunset side of the Andaman Sea and pristine Natai Beach is the five-star Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort and Spa. This secluded paradise in Phang Nga province is just a 25-minute drive north of Phuket International Airport. Walking into your private suite, you’ll first notice the floor-to-ceiling windows that bring in the beautiful vista from outside. Each room also has a private pool or swim-up access, while the four-bedroom villas offer beachfront access.
Exploring the grounds, you’ll find the Ayurah Spa & Wellness Centre, with tailor made retreats where master therapists combine medical, holistic and nutritional wellness approaches to suit your individual needs. You’ll learn about boosting your immune system, new movement routines and tools to relax and refocus your mind – a superb souvenir to take back to Hong Kong!
Things to do
• Keen to get out on the green? Explore the area’s six world-class golf courses
• Visit iconic Phang Nga Bay to see huge limestone cliffs and rock formations
• Take your tastebuds on a journey trying new plant-based cuisines at The SEASONS Restaurant
#6 Enjoy a blissful beach resort
Perched on one of Bali’s iconic beaches is The Legian Seminyak, a boutique property of Studios, Suites and Beach Houses featuring local natural materials and with expansive ocean views. Or, for the ultimate privacy, choose to stay at The Club by The Legian Seminyak, Bali, an adjoining property whose one-, two- and three-bedroom Villas all come with private pools and Club services that include a personal butler and chauffeur, and cocktail hours.
The resort is currently offering a “Seminyak Neighbourhood” deal; book your stay at The Legian Seminyak or The Club, and get a complimentary neighbourhood guide to Seminyak, featuring the best things to do, see and eat in the area. The guide is a collaboration with the well-known LUXE City Guides. You get a host of other benefits with your stay, too, including resort credits. The offer is available for bookings up to 30 September and stays up to 21 December.
Things to do
• Indulge in a treatment by the sea at Wellness by The Legian, or enjoy daily activities like yoga, Pilates and spin classes
• Hit the resort’s restaurants for dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, including from the in-house organic garden
• Arrange a private Bali tour or even your own surfing lesson
#7 Unwind off the Malaysian coast
The Perhentian Islands, made up of Besar (“Big”) Island and Kecil (“Small”) Island, are among the most beautiful tropical getaways off Peninsular Malaysiaʼs east coast, with clear waters full of marine life, and lush jungle set against sparkling beaches.
Among those beaches is Long Beach, which is home to BuBu Resort and BuBu Villa, ideal spots for anyone looking for a total escape from city living. BuBu Resort is at the northern end of the beach, and features 36 modern guest rooms with all the amenities you need.
At the other end, half a kilometre away, is BuBu Villa, a collection of 18 single and two-room luxury villas featuring ethnic architecture and modern facilities. Once you’re checked in, private sun-loungers await, where you can soak in the sun, laze away the day and then sip on complimentary evening cocktails to cap things off! Sounds like an idyllic long weekend getaway.
Things to do
• Snorkel in the designated marine park and see fish, turtles and coral reefs
• Explore the tropical rainforest on an island hike
• Ramp up the romance with a sunset cruise or a candlelit dinner on the beach
Looking for more inspiration for your next long weekend getaway or short trip from Hong Kong? Check out our travel section.
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.