It’s a new year, and if your resolution is to travel more, you’ll know that there’s lots to do within the region. From adventures off the beaten track to new hotel openings, here’s what you can expect in 2016. Check these out:
1. A local start-up doing personalized trips
Bespoke travel operator Chickenfeet Travels, specializes in South East Asian off-the-beaten-track trips. Among the itineraries is a four-day trek to Sumatra’s Gunung Kerinci through tea plantations and wetlands ($492 per person). Prices exclude flights and insurance.
2. A new Potato Head hotel in Bali
The 58-suite boutique hotel Katamama is designed by Indonesian architect Andra Matin (known for his AM Residence) and is adjacent to the Potato Head Folk beach club. Suites are a mix of Balinese exteriors and vintage European furniture. Facilities include the Akademi bar by London with bartending legend Dre Masso and restaurant by Australia-based Spanish restaurant group MoVida.
3. Trekking reopens in Nepal
World Expeditions is bringing back itineraries to the Manaslu Mountains and Langtang National Park from Mar 2016. Of note is the 17-day Langtang & Gosainkund Lakes Trek (about $2,948) from Apr 2-18 where travelers will visit the Kyanjin Gompa Buddhist monastery and the sacred lakes of Gosainkund.
4. Sexy new villas in Phuket
Keemala Phuket is a new all-pool villa resort overlooking Kamala Village and the Andaman Sea. The resort’s 16 clay pool cottages, seven tent pool villas, seven two-story tree pool houses and eight bird’s nest pool villas are joined together by a network of jungle walkways. Rates start at about $562 per night.
5. A new search engine for cruisesThe new, mobile-optimized site Cruise.me (www.cruise.me) is an aggregator and booking portal for cruises around the world. Tweak your selection of itineraries from Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean, along with the regions, travel dates and price ranges for different suites on board. You can see the interactive deck plans, facilities, and use the price tracker.
6. A heritage COMO in Perth
The Treasury is now open along Cathedral Avenue in the Central Business District. Designed by Singapore firm Kerry Hill, the 19th century building has been restored with dormer windows. There’s the rooftop Wildflower restaurant, and Post, serving Australian dishes with a French twist. Facilities include a heated indoor pool, and a spa with a wellness center for Pilates and yoga.
7. A new Muslim tour operator
Created by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and new online tour operator Halal Trip, a new Muslim-friendly guide (ow.ly/WdhI2) details what to do and includes locations of prayer facilities and halal places to dine at in the country, Australia and Jeju Island. So far, only the guide to Indonesia is available in both English and Arabic. Book flights, hotels and other packages with Halal Trip to destinations as far as Sarajevo, the Maldives and South Africa.
8. Travel writing with a professionalWorld Expeditions has teamed up with award-winning travel writer, Rob McFarland on Apr 30 next year. The itinerary, Travel Writer’s Cambodia (ow.ly/WcNFm), involves an eight-day tour from Siem Reap and ends in Phnom Penh with tours to the Royal Palace and the Killing Fields. Participants will submit a story to McFarland for feedback when they return. The trip costs $3,067 for one and covers most meals, a bilingual guide and airport transfer for a day. Flight fares are not included.
9. A new guide for surfers and wannabes
SurfGuide will help you plan your next surfing trip, tailored to your preferred type of swell size, consistency, air temperature and water temperature range. Options include nearby schools and public pools, accommodation and free Wi-Fi. The website will then give you a list of recommendations so you can hang ten.
10. A marathon that traverses the Great Wall of China
Tour operator Albatros Travel is gearing up for its annual Great Wall Marathon on May 21, faturing a full marathon (42.195km), half marathon (21.1km) and a 8.5km fun run. The run is part of a seven- or six-day package (about $1,804-2,100) respectively from either May 17 or May 18 onwards with the run being the last thing you do. International flights are not included, but it’s a pretty thorough introduction to Beijing.