The art of travel is a purely subjective pleasure, dependent on where it lies in one’s Maslow Hierarchy of Travel needs – some might decide that visiting Bali every year is considered enough adventure while others might prefer countries with names that are almost impossible to pronounce. For the latter holidaymaker, consider these destinations that are relatively unknown, all in the name of pleasure and/or photos.
Kuredu Island Resort & Spa
The Kuredu Island Resort & Spa is an ideal vacation spot in the Maldives with its bountiful lagoon and long stretches of white, sandy beach. It also happens to be the only resort on the island of Kuredu, Lhaviyani Atoll.
A seaplane from Velana International Airport will take one there in 40 minutes. The Maldives’s other popular resorts are seen as ideal couple or family destinations, but Kuredu’s 100 beach bungalows and villas, equipped with their private pools and jacuzzis, are set to overtake the competition.
While the resort is famed for its 5.8 Undersea Restaurant (named after how far it stretches beneath the sea in metres), seven other restaurants – including a beach shack and Mediterranean restaurant – and various other activities backed by sustainable programmes are additional draws.
Kuredu Island Resort & Spa practises the reuse of water for secondary applications while also exercising responsible purchasing – only eco-friendly chemicals are procured for use in daily operations while food and beverage products are locally sourced.
Fun fact: The temperature in the Maldives averages out to 30 degrees Celsius in February, making the destination excellent for suntanning and for visibility during diving – perfect for spotting local marine life like manta rays and reef sharks.
Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace
Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace is 140 minutes by railway from Chubu Centrair airport and boasts guest rooms with dramatic and extraordinary views.
Within the resort are multiple dining spots, such as “hd’or” for French cuisine, “igrek Shima” for Japanese-style seafood and vegetables, and the Café Lounge, where one can enjoy pastries and fruits on top of the breezy terrace. When guests are fully satiated, a large hot spring offers a prime view of the ocean. Alternatively, one can go on a private boat trip to the surrounding islands.
The common destination that comes to any holidaymaker’s mind when Japan is mentioned would be Tokyo with its various shopping districts and stores, but Miyako Island offers a more tranquil retail experience. Here, one can spend money at a more relaxed pace on its cuisine and local souvenirs like Awamori sake and homegrown mangoes. The latter happens to be one of its most popular souvenirs as Miyako Island produces the most mangoes in Japan.
Fun fact: February temperatures in Japan average around 10 to 3 degrees Celsius, so be prepared for a chilly nightcap.
The Leela Palace Udaipur
Located by the tranquil Lake Pichola and flanked by the views of the Aravalli mountain range right in the middle Indian city, The Leela Palace, Udaipur is a palace hotel evoking old-world grandeur and opulence.
All 80 rooms at the hotel are uniquely embellished with framed paintings of classic architecture and monuments that are inspired by the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan. They also enjoy scenic views of the city and mountains with a dedicated butler or a buggy service that will take guests to every corner of the palace.
The most popular tourist destination of India is typically Delhi – a place of both great scenery, rich history, and shopping opportunities – but one is not likely to experience a royalty-like atmosphere there as he would within the lavishly decorated walls of The Leela Palace. When one is bored of his palatial surroundings, he can opt to head to Haldighati, a mountain pass that has witnessed the battle between Maharana Pratap and the Moguls or scale the Sajjangarh Fort, an observatory that dates back to the 18th century.
Fun fact: Temperatures in India for the following months will average between 30 degrees Celsius in the day and 19 degrees Celsius at night, so one is encouraged to pack a little extra.
Sea Gypsy Village Resort and Dive Base
Situated in Johor, Malaysia, the Sea Gypsy Village Resort and Dive Base boasts a range of seaside leisure options, such as traditional chalets made of wood and palm, the Dive Bar that is fully stocked with refreshing cocktails and fruit juices, and the trademark Dive Centre that lets guests dive and snorkel around Pulau Sibu to spot marine creatures such as stingrays, clownfish, and multiple types of colourful nudibranch.
A mere two-hour drive from Johor Bahru, guests can also opt to book in advance for the daily road transport from Singapore.
While there are other hotspots in Malaysia, where one can enjoy the blue waters and even go diving, the clear waters of Pulau Sibu are just as suitable for diving and snorkelling. It will also be less crowded than the other popular locations like Pulau Tioman, and favoured coastal regions like Langkawi will not allow one to experience the quaint living spaces of the chalets at Sea Gypsy Village Resort.
Fun fact: Average temperatures for Malaysia in the upcoming months range from 30 to 33 degrees Celsius, so one will want to take a dip into the crystal clear water.
Resorts do not get any newer than Alamayah, which will open in April 2020. This five-star all-inclusive boutique hotel is tucked away in a jungle beachside village in Sumba, which is a two-hour drive from Tambolaka Airport.
The experience here is meant to be a therapeutic one, focused on internally healing processes such as wellness massages featuring oils made from indigenous curative botanicals, rooftop yoga sessions, and the simple act of gardening in the resort’s permaculture farm. This conscious choice of all-round wellness extends to its dining offerings too – farm-to-table cuisine is cultivated by a chef that specialises in holistic nutrition.
While most people visiting Indonesia would simply relax with a weekend spent at beach destinations in the likes of Bali, Alamayah, on the other hand, provides a more wholesome experience with hikes, mountain biking, snorkelling, and even surfing under the Sumba sun that will leave one’s body feeling much fresher and even healthier than when he arrived.
Fun fact: Indonesia’s temperatures in April will average out to 28 degrees Celsius, so pack light.
By Jordan Liow. This story first appeared in the February 2020 issue of Men’s Folio Malaysia.