South Korea 05.03.2021 TransIndus
Never could we ever have imagined that borders would be closed for so long. From the comfort of our own homes, we are really beginning to miss the chaotic sounds of horns beeping, tuk-tuks buzzing, chickens crowing and the many throngs of people going about their day. Our days are filled with sitting at home and reminiscing about the good old days of travel - that luxury holiday to the Maldives just before this most recent lockdown or that family holiday to Phuket.
But the days of travel to Asia are just around the corner with many of the countries listed below being open to tourism already or taking all the necessary steps to get there. So here is our list of the best places for a long haul holiday to Asia in late 2021.
1: Anywhere you have travelled to before
As Asia travel specialists, we are normally huge advocates of travelling somewhere new each year. The challenge of experiencing a new culture, new food, sights and surroundings are all part and parcel of the pleasure of travelling. But for many, the anticipation of planning and preparing to travel somewhere new, not knowing what to expect or what each place will be like is an unwelcome feeling when there is now so much anxiety and uncertainty in our everyday lives. Because of this, places we want to travel to are being replaced on the bucket list by places we have been before. Knowing what to expect of the hotel, destination or country delivers a sense of security that we need more than ever.
Returning to a holiday destination you have been to before will allow you to see it in a whole new light and support the local communities who made your last holiday so special but who have now been most affected by the downturn in travel.
If you have travelled with us before, we have your old itinerary on file so get in touch to rebook for 2021.
2: Phuket, Thailand
Phuket in Thailand relied heavily on tourism pre-pandemic and the local communities there have struggled with a 78% drop in revenue in 2020. Now, the local government is planning to privately vaccinate 250,000 of its most vulnerable in the hope that the Thai government will allow them to reopen to international travellers by October 2021.
If this gets the go ahead, then the sandy beaches and luxury hotels in Thailand will be within our reach for the first time in over eighteen months and despite being restricted to the island, there is still plenty to see and do with over 30 beaches, night markets, and boat tours aplenty.
Best times for travel to Phuket
Should Phuket reopen in October, it would coincide with the best time to travel to the island with the weather being mostly warm and dry between November and March. Outside of this window, the humidity increases as does the monsoon showers.
Why travel to Phuket
Phuket has long been a busy, bustling island, full of travellers from every corner of the globe but to travel there in 2021 will allow you to experience Phuket at it's best while also supporting local communities who have suffered particularly badly during the pandemic. Phuket boasts luxury hotels, award-winning restaurants, miles of stunning beaches, warm weather and plentiful activities.
Find out more about our Thailand holidays here.
3: The Maldives
This list wouldn't be complete without the Maldives which is currently selling like hot cakes. The Maldives is unique in that you can fly direct to Male International Airport and board a boat or sea plane from there direct to your private island resort. You don't have to leave the international airport and tourists are currently banned from visiting the capital city. The Maldives is currently open for business and aside from having to remain in one hotel for the duration of your stay (island hopping is not allowed) there are few other restrictions to consider. It's a compromise easy to stomach when you have an overwater villa with a plunge pool to enjoy and we have put together our favourite family hotels to stay at in the Maldives.
Best times to travel to the Maldives
The best time to travel to the Maldives is between October and March when the weather is at it's best. However, the Maldives boasts hot weather year-round and in the summer months, you can snorkel with whale sharks and giant manta rays in the Baa Atoll.
Browse more of our holidays in the Maldives here.
One of the most under-reported success stories in this health crisis has been Vietnam. Despite a small number of infections here and there, the country went over 100 days without a local infection - something we are a long way off from achieving. It has achieved this remarkable feat by imposing the most stringent testing and containment measures anywhere in Asia.
Best times for travel to Vietnam
That depends on which part of the country you intend to visit. The seasons vary from north to south, and between the coast and the mountains of the interior. December to February are the coolest and driest months yet it can get quite cold around Hanoi and in Sapa. Find out more here.
Why travel to Vietnam
From unspoilt minority villages in the hills of Sapa to heavenly beaches along Vietnam's lengthy coast, picturesque port towns, historic capitals and some world-class karst limestone scenery, Vietnam ranks among Asia’s most varied of destinations.
Luxury hotels provide a moment of quiet away from the chaos of the towns where crossing the street and the many motorbikes and tuk-tuks is an adventure in itself. Bowls of rich and warming pho are served up on the street while cocktails can be enjoyed from rooftop bars.
Browse more of our tailor-made Vietnam tours.
5: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka recently announced it would reopen to UK travellers. Tourists will have to quarantine in Covid-safe hotels for fourteen days but will be able to use all the facilities and enjoy activities and excursions to some of the country's biggest sites. Places like Sigiriya Rock, the tea fields around Ella and Anuradhapura are all outside making social distancing easy.
Sir Lanka’s prompt action to halt the spread of Coronavirus has thus far ensured infection rates rank among the lowest in Asia, earning for it much praise from the international community. Sri Lanka has also had the WTTC.
Best times for travel to Sri Lanka
At any time of year the weather is guaranteed to be perfect on one side of the island or another. The optimal time for the south coast in March and early April; during our summer holidays, the skies are blue and rainfall is low on the heavenly and quiet east coast.
Why travel to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a favourite for honeymooners with beautiful boutique and romantic hotels throughout the tropical island. Few places in the world hold such a variety of landscapes, wildlife and world-class historic sites in so accessible an area. In a typical two week holiday to Sri Lanka, you can combine the wonders of the Cultural Triangle with a sojourn in Kandy and Tea Country, safaris to see leopard and elephants, and have plenty of time for a relaxing spell on a tropical beach.
Sri Lanka is also a one of our hottest tips for wellness holidays. Clifftop hotels nestled amid the palm canopy on the south and west coasts offer state-of-the-art wraps, scrubs and massages in blissfully calm surroundings. Relax in a thermal pool overhung by creepers or washed by breezes straight off the ocean.
An incredibly popular holiday destination for travellers from the UK towards the end of 2020, Dubai is likely to remain popular once we are allowed to travel again.
Best time to travel to Dubai
Dubai is a popular holiday destination for some Winter sun with hot weather between November and April. In the summer months, it gets scorching hot. It's also important to avoid travelling to Dubai over Ramadan if you are a foodie.
Why travel to Dubai
Dubai has everything from beaches to water parks, huge shopping malls to michelin-star restaurants. It's a fantastic place to relax, unwind and process the 2020 whirlwind. Only a short flight by long haul standards, flights take place regularly across the country so you don't have to transit through London Heathrow to get there.