Chinese New Year Travel
Looking to escape the thronged streets and overspilling restaurants this Year of the Monkey? Here are some recommendations to get you on the move over Chinese New Year.
...The Palms Retreat
Starting from $1,180 per night, The Palms Retreat on Koh Samui is definitely one of the most competitive offers around over the break, but with its “New Year, New You” deal ending Jan 31, you’ll have to move fast. The owners are also throwing in free nights, along with either body scrubs, Thai cooking classes or gym sessions, depending how long you book for. The Palms’ Detox program offers one meal per day alongside health shakes but if that sounds too extreme, the Rejuvenate program provides the regulation three meals on top of the shakes. All food and accommodation is included, as well as the use of a semi-private pool, daily yoga, meditation or aqua aerobics, massage and airport transfers. Book by Jan 31, stays valid until March 31. Plailaem Soi 6, 59/64 Moo 5 Tambol Bophut, Koh Samui, (+66) 9-4579-5065, [email protected], thepalms-retreat.com.
Fijian Laucala Island
Fancy being treated like royalty this CNY? With a team of 350 providing the highest staff-to-guest ratio of any property in the world, this is entirely possible on the all-inclusive, 25-villa private Fijian Laucala Island—but it’ll cost you close to a king’s ransom. This week of traditional celebrations and activities offering guests the opportunity to “Live like an Emperor” includes a personal chef, child-minding service, laundry and dry cleaning, celebratory food and drink, “Tray of Togetherness” snack box, personalized embroided slippers, foot massage, aromatherapy spa treatments, sky lantern beach party and more. A travel guide and welcome pack will also be available in Chinese. The Chinese New Year deal is for the period February 7-13. Prices start at $37,400 per night for a one-bedroom villa for two, to $92,000 per night for a three-bedroom villa for six. All rates are subject to eye-watering local government taxes of 25 percent. Laucala Island, Fiji, (+679) 888-0077, laucala.com.
Fancy kicking the Year of the Monkey off with a very different experience—on water? You can, courtesy of Yangon’s iconic Strand Hotel, which has just launched its Strand Cruise. The hotel is offering a contemporary river cruise experience over Chinese New Year exploring the fabled Irrawaddy River. The 61-meter colonial-style cruiser boasts cabins and suites, a gourmet restaurant, wine cellar, spa, lounge/library, gym and swimming pool and a “golden age of travel” vibe. With a regular schedule of three- and four-night sailings between Bagan and Mandalay, excursions will take in landmarks such as the ancient U-Bein teak bridge and the sprawling temples of Bagan. The Chinese New Year promotion’s four-night cruises start from $22,500. Entertainment on the five-star colonial-style cruiser includes mahjong, treasure hunts and competitions, firecrackers and an exchange of traditional red packets, culminating in a Chinese banquet. Cruise departs from Bagan to Mandalay on February 8. [email protected], thestrandcruise.com
Flight Centre has a bunch of last-minute CNY deals. If a city break appeals, Bangkok starts from $4,559 per person, including economy flights with Hong Kong Airlines, three nights at the Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 and breakfast. If you’re really looking to get the wintery weather behind you, prices for Puerto Princesa on the tropical island of Palawan are from $6,499 per person, and include economy flights flying Philippines Airlines, three nights at Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa and breakfast. For Myanmar, prices start from $19,499 and include return flights flying Dragonair, two nights each at Yangon, Bagan, and Inle Lake, breakfast, ground transfers, an English-speaking guide and Inle Lake sightseeing and entrance fees. Finally Sri Lanka deals are from $19,899 per person, including economy flights flying Singapore Airlines, one night at Negombo and two at Habarana and Kandy respectively, breakfast, ground transfers and entrance fees. flightcentre.com.hk.