EL Hong Kong|June - August 2020
My favourite beach is Alona Beach on Panglao Island, Bohol, in the Philippines. You can either fly to Manila and transfer to Bohol International Airport, or fly to Cebu, get a taxi to Pier 1 and take a fast ferry to Tagbilaran Seaport. A great place to stay would be my four-bedroom house on Airbnb, of course! There are other excellent hotels such as Henann Resort Alona Beach (a large one with hundreds of rooms) or The Bellevue Resort (less crowded).
The diving and snorkelling there is incredible! Scoot over to Balicasag Island for its amazing drop-offs and sea turtles in the shallows. You can even take a ferry ride or helicopter to Oslob and swim with whale sharks. Alternatively, do a day trip into Bohol to see the Chocolate Hills, Loboc River and tarsiers (tiny primates), visit adventure parks, or cruise around in vintage cars – it’s like Cuba in the Philippines!
You can also rent a scooter and explore on your own. The people are amazing and will always help and steer you to some adventure. There is also amazing food on the islands, from local to international – it’s a smorgasbord of some of the best foods!
A favourite moment from my visits to the area was being alone on a little outrigger boat between Panglao and Balicasag Island, with only my family and the boat captain. We shared the morning on the sea with pods of wild dolphins. It was a magical hour or so with them before they left to feed.
Brian Kennett, Reader
I’m more of a winter holiday girl but I really loved my first trip to Koh Samui two years back. Stepping out of the plane to blue cloudless skies and loads of greenery, I knew I was in for a good time.
I stayed at Santiburi Samui, a gorgeous resort along Maenam Beach in the north of the island, which is only about 20 minutes from the airport. The hotel has all sorts of rooms, from one- to two-bedroom suites to garden, pool and beachfront villas. Within the property, there’s loads to keep you occupied. Besides lounging by the beach or pool, there’s the Lén Spa (I had the collagen boost massage and it was amazing!) and the water-sports centre (I kayaked, paddle-boarded and rode a Hobie Cat). There’s also a lovely private beach along Maenam so it was great not having to jostle with the crowds.
If you’re keen on heading out, I recommend checking out the popular Fisherman’s Village. It’s packed with shops, restaurants and bars, and on Friday nights there’s a market selling all sorts of clothing, handicrafts and local food.
Lindsay Yap, Editor
We visited Sri Lanka for the first time early this year and swiftly fell in love with the place! We spent nine days exploring the country’s vast landscapes, from Colombo and Ella, through to Kandy and Uduwalawe.
After a week of non-stop adventure and hikes, our final few days were dedicated purely to R&R. Unuwatuna was perfect for this: an endless stretch of white sand, towering palm trees and crashing turquoise waves. We stayed at the gorgeous Villa Sulanga by The Chatham Collection, a three-bedroom beachfront property that’s so pretty it successfully removed any inkling of guilt for not leaving the villa at all until the afternoon on most days.
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June - August 2020