I think my husband thinks I am ALWAYS planning where to go next on holiday. He’s absolutely right. But the beauty of Jetlag & Mayhem is that I get to plot away and even though my own wallet won’t allow me to travel to all of these destination, hopefully some of you may be inspired.
If you’re thinking of getting away for a week of sunshine at Christmas then don’t leave it too late. It is a hugely popular time of year to travel (especially towards New Year) and unfortunately this means the prices go sky high. So if you are thinking of going somewhere, have a look at what I’ve got in store for you. I’m not affiliated to any of these countries, hotel chains, links etc. I do this out of a pure love for travel planning and living vicariously through other people’s holidays! You’ll find this list is Asian focused as if I start including other areas of the world, I’ll never stop…
I love Langkawi and my eldest daughter spent her first Christmas and New Year there, aged 7 months. The beaches are lovely, the cuisine is scrumptious and there are a huge choice of accommodation options. Whilst one of my favourite hotels remains the boutique Casa Del Mar, it’s not really a place for kids so I’d point you in the direction of the Four Seasons, the Westin or the more wallet friendly Frangipani.
A nifty little trip for those that want beach and culture is to combine the temples of Angkor Wat with Cambodia’s Koh Rong archipelago. Specifically I’m talking the resort of Song Saa my friends. Looks like something you’d get in the Maldives but is in Cambodia. A friend went over Easter and said it was amazing. It’s only a 1 hour flight by private plane (ha!) from Siem Reap, where you’ll find Angkor Wat.
Siem Reap has a plethora of accommodation options and December is a great time to visit the temples as it’s not too hot. If you’ve got kids in tow, here are some tips on how to navigate Angkor Wat.
If you are travelling in and out of Phnom Penh then check out Tammy’s amazing report of her stay, including a visit to the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
If you’re looking for a quick little beach break over the Christmas holidays, get yourself to Ho Chi Minh and on the short 40 minute flight to the island of Phu Quoc. No need for me to drone on about it again here when you can read in detail here!
Phuket has been my travel staple for the last three Christmases. I do prefer the more laid-back vibe of Koh Samui but the weather there can be unpredictable and in Phuket it’s almost always guaranteed sunshine at that time of year.
If you’re travelling in a group, why not think about hiring a villa instead of booking hotel rooms. For the same price as a luxury hotel room, you get the additional living space, kitchen, private pool and potentially even a chef! You can read about my experiences of hiring a villa in Phuket last Christmas at Loch Palm villa and the previous year at Villa Saitaan . Bear in mind that as with anywhere, prices increase dramatically at Christmas, usually demanding a 10 night minimum stay. This is why we chose villas that weren’t located on the beach as quite frankly, we couldn’t afford the ones that were!
If you dislike crowds and want to chill out on the beach, don’t stay in Phuket but hop on a boat to the island of Phi Phi. My family stayed at the Holiday Inn last December and absolutely raved about it – lovely beach chalets, beautiful beach and great pools.
On my hit list are the Koh Yao islands, equidistant between Krabi and Phuket. I have been fantasising about staying at the eco lush Six Senses Yao Noi (children under 12 stay and eat for free if more than 5 nights booked).
For more information on what to do in Phuket with the kids (and an amazing place for a night out!) then click here
Superior to the beaches in Thailand (Phuket’s Kata Beach was quite grotty last December), are those of Boracay. December is a good time to go as it’s dry season although like anywhere, around Christmas and New Year, it will be busy.
Now Boracay is a FAFF to get to unless Philippine Airlines are putting on a special Christmas charter from your destination (as they do over Chinese New Year in Hong Kong). So do bear this in mind if you are travelling with young kids. You can either fly from Manila to Catliclan and then take a 15 minute boat ride to Boracay. Or you fly to Kalibo, then take a 90 minute bus to Caticlan and then take the 15 minute boat ride. (side note – when I flew to Boracay, many moons ago, we were on ‘Asian Spirit’ whose tagline amongst my husband’s Filippino colleagues was ‘get on an Asian, get off a Spirit’. Needless to say I was very happy to get off that plane).
Now this is where I’m headed this Christmas. Forever on my bucket list, as you can imagine, I’m extremely excited. There is so much to do in Sri Lanka from the tea plantations of Kandy, the safari at Yala National Park to relaxing on the beaches of Galle, Unawatuna, Bentota and Mirissa.
There are many companies specialising in Sri Lanka travel. As I was booking a villa, I went through endless google searches and finally found one through the mysterious Villa In Sri Lanka (or villain Sri Lanka depending on how you look at it!) We are also combining our villa with a few days in a hotel, I found some great deals on Agoda for this part. Stay tuned for my Sri Lanka report this coming January….
Travelfish – an independent guide for South East Asia
Selective Asia – great page where you pick what month you want to travel and it shows you where best to go in Asia re: weather
Skyscanner – useful flight aggregator
Jetlag & Mayhem (!) – browse through the ‘search’ function for more hotel/villa reviews from myself and other readers