Laid Back Laos

CNY 2012 Travel Inspiration

Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011

Are you a planner or a procrastinator?

Either way, we know you love a good holiday.

Now’s the time to book Chinese New Year because we all know the best spots get snapped up FAST.

Our top tip is to escape the throngs of tourists and enjoy a mellower CNY in laid-back Laos. Here’s why:

Though it still feels off the beaten track, Laos is about to become much easier to get to with direct flights from Singapore to Vientiane. Leaving on Sun (22 Jan) and returning Tues (24 Jan), these flights mean you can have the perfect two-night CNY culture-and-luxury fix in nearby Luang Prabang.

Loved for her quaint intimacy, this little town is swimming in old-word colonial charm, gleaming wat temples (36 of them!), saffron-robed monks and vibrant local markets. It is also home to some surprisingly luxurious boutique hotels (Amantaka, La Residence, 3 Nagas and Satri House), so you can spoil yourself rotten whilst having an authentic experience. Refuel at the great bars, restaurants and street stalls nearby and market-hop (free from the normal haggling hassles) to hunt for jewellery, lanterns and traditional hill tribe fabrics.

Want more? Enjoy a two-pronged trip… Nip off on Thursday to spend the weekend luxuriating in Laos, then fly direct to one of these destinations on the Sunday for your Chinese New Year finale:

+ Hanoi + Halong Bay Dodge mopeds, slurp ph? and meander through the crumbling French colonialism of Hanoi’s Old Quarter; bed down at the historic Sofitel. Next, take to the jade-coloured seas of Halong Bay on an overnight junk cruise sailing past jaw-dropping limestone islands.

+ Siem Reap Go temple hunting at UNESCO-protected Angkor Wat, a breathtaking 12thC complex of gnarly ruins – explore by bike at sunrise or gaze down by hot air balloon. Back in town, join in with the Chinese New Year dragon dances and pamper yourself at the Hotel de La Paix.

+ Bangkok After the rural adventure of Laos, a cosmopolitan adventure hitting Bangkok’s shopping and nightlife hotspots might be just the ticket! Use the sleek, sexy Metropolitan as your base for hitting the riverside CNY festivities and the party atmosphere in Chinatown.

* Packing tip: On Chinese New Year’s Day, wear red for happiness and gold for wealth!

These escapes were brought to you by Lightfoot Travel p. 6438 4091, e. info@lightfoottravel.com, a Singapore-based luxury tour operator offering expert travel advice & inspiration, tailor-made itineraries & full booking services.

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