Our Top Accommodation Picks for January
Check out our selection of amazing hotel choices for January from the Southeast Asian region.
A Little Lodge in Samkar, Inle Lake, Myanmar
A Little Lodge in Samkar is a tiny hotel that sits in the heart of Samkar, a rural lakeside village at the southern end of Inle Lake, far away from the madding tourist crowds. Situated on the lake’s edge, the little teak lodge, with its thatched roofs and view from the rooftop terrace restaurant, is almost magical.
Its bungalows, with traditionally carved wood interiors and private balconies, make it a really unique property among other luxury resorts on Inle Lake. Its remoteness, breath-taking scenery and the experience of staying in a simple, authentic Shan village are a perfect draw for anyone with an affinity for nature.
The lodge is operated by the local Pa’O ethnic minority, who like to show off their organic vegetable garden and can provide guests with tours and treks to the surrounding area.
Villa Hundira, Negombo, Sri Lanka
Tucked away inland, separated from Negombo’s busy stretch of beach hotels lies Villa Hundira – a family-owned villa that is ideal for travelers needing to recuperate after a long flight, or as a place to wind down before the journey home.
The host family and their staff are always welcoming and friendly and will go out of their way to make you feel at comfortable. Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with modern amenities, while still retaining a local rural charm.
Villa Hundira also has a kitchen of talented chefs and the food is simply amazing – just wait till you try it! The best part is that it’s a family-friendly place with family-room options, as well as a special play area for kids. Ralph, the proprietor of the house is a former Swiss motocross champion and has many stories from the past which he loves to share with guests.
The most interesting project that they run is the Thimble Arts and Crafts Workshop. Indira, the lady of the house, launched the initiative in an effort to empower the less fortunate women of nearby fishing villages. It helps to provide local communities with a much-needed source of income, thus enabling them to enjoy a better standard of living.
Girls and women involved in Thimble have developed real skills as creative artists and craftswomen, and they are now receiving an income for putting these skills to good use. They handcraft a range of wall hangings, tapestries, cushions and stuffed toys with their own distinct style.
You can also join the local women and try your hand at making some of the souvenirs to take back home. Khiri Travel Sri Lanka fully supports this initiative and most of the gifts that we include in our guest welcome packs are sourced from Thimble.
Inthira Thakhek Hotel, Thakhek, Laos
Inthira Thakhek is in a lovely renovated colonial building located in the very heart of Thakhek, just a minute’s walk from the Mekong River and the local market. The French colonial-era building has been beautifully restored with many original features kept throughout. The high-ceilinged loft-like rooms offer attractive touches such as exposed brick, teak furnishings and rain showerheads.
The hotel caters to all accommodation needs and houses a fantastic open area kitchen that is very popular with locals and tourists alike. Belonging to the Inthira Group of Hotels, the Inthira Thakhek Hotel has been designed with an artistic, contemporary feel and all the necessary luxuries that will put you at ease.
On the ground floor is the hotel’s café and Khop Chai Deu Thakhek restaurant, which offers guests a menu of traditional Lao and Thai dishes like chicken laab, fresh spring rolls, yellow curry, tom yum soup, or fish in banana leaves. For those yearning for a taste of home, there’s also a selection of international cuisine, including steaks, burgers, pizza, pasta and even homemade desserts.
Khammouane Province’s forested mountainous terrain is a paradise for outdoor adventure seekers keen to follow such pursuits as kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, trekking or cycling, all of which can be arranged through the hotel.
Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Immersed in the beautiful rural countryside of Ninh Binh Province, Emeralda Resort is the perfect base from which to explore this captivating region of Vietnam. As you arrive in the beautifully manicured grounds of this rural retreat you’re greeted by a traditional pagoda and a vast, wood-beamed lobby.
The resort is less than 15 minutes’ walk from the entrance to Van Long Nature Reserve, with its glorious limestone pinnacles and extensive wetlands. You can also take a tour to Trang An, a scenic area near Ninh Binh that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its boat cave tours.
After a day of discovery, return to the resort and relax with a massage, a gentle swim in one of the resort’s two pools, or head straight for the wine bar to kick off the evening in style. The resort has two restaurants – the main one decorated in Vietnamese artwork, with large windows overlooking the pool and a menu of organic Asian and Western cuisine.
Rooms are sumptuously designed in a colorful northern Tonkin village style with modern amenities, including flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and mini bar. In addition to the two pools and restaurants, there’s a spa, sauna, a gym and even a mini golf course.
Wakatobi Dive Resort, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Far away from the congested streets of Jakarta and the overdeveloped beaches of South Bali, is an unspoiled archipelago called the Wakatobi islands that lie in the southeastern corner of Sulawesi. The islands make up the Wakatobi Regency and the name ‘Wakatobi’ derives from the first two letters of the Regency’s four main islands, namely, Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko.
Situated on a tiny idyllic island just off Tomia is the 5-star Wakatobi Dive Resort, renowned for having some of the best diving facilities in the world. Established in the late 1990s by a group of Swiss friends, the resort first started out as a simple wooden shack on an empty beach. Back then traveling to Wakatobi could take up to 18 hours from Bali, but thanks to the construction of an airstrip in Tomia – developed and also owned by the resort – the travel time is now a mere three hours on a Garuda chartered flight that leaves Bali twice a week.
The marine life of Wakatobi is renowned around the world, with many unique endemic species of fish to be found. Over the past two decades the resort has worked alongside local people to preserve the environment and abolish devastating fishing methods, like the practice of blast fishing to stun and catch fish. The reef is now thriving, with most of the dive sites intact and in very good condition.
Situated directly on the edge of a beautiful white-sand beach, Wakatobi Dive Resort offers guests bungalows with stunning sea views, as well as elegant pool villa’s. For families with children there is a kids’ club and for those that don’t have a keen urge to dive, there are plenty other activities, including a spa and opportunities to visit local communities in the area.
Because this is a small resort staff are very personable and friendly – addressing you on a first-name basis and going out of their way to be as helpful and accommodating as possible. Not only do they remember your preferred dishes, service on their boats is top-notch – making this an unmatchable holiday and diving experience.
Shinta Mani Wild, Kirirom National Park, Cambodia
Describing itself as a ‘private nature sanctuary’ in tune with nature, Shinta Mani Wild is a stylish 5-star modern retreat – a radical new concept of luxury camp – located deep in Cambodia’s Kirirom National Park that is set to have its grand opening in late September. Currently, only five of its 15 luxury tents are in operation.
Part of The Bensley Collection, Shinta Mani Wild combines world-class design and hospitality with conservation that not only aims to protect threatened areas of the Kirirom National Park, but will also develop new sustainable opportunities for local people in the region.
Situated in an unprotected wildlife corridor connecting Bokor National Park with Kirirom National Park, the camp is working together with Wildlife Alliance, The Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Cambodian Government to help protect 350 hectares of river valley from poaching, mining and logging.
The luxury camp’s custom-designed tents are perched over the swift-moving waters and waterfalls of a jungle river, providing a view and experience unlike any other resort in Asia.
Guests will be able to spend days exploring the untrammeled waterways of the park’s ecosystem aboard one of Shinta Mani Wild’s private, fully-equipped expedition boats, or accompany rangers and researchers, as they check camera traps and study the indigenous wildlife.
Alternative accommodations in Cambodia offering similar experiences that also have a conservation element are Cardamom Tented Camp and 4 Rivers Floating Lodge.
COMO Point Yamu, Phuket, Thailand
Situated at the tip of Cape Yamu in Phuket, COMO Point Yamu resort has an amazing 360-degree view overlooking the Andaman Sea. The interiors of each room, suite and pool villa have been crafted by Italian designer Paola Navone and feature bright aquamarines to reflect the ocean.
The resort offers some of the best dining in Phuket, with the poolside La Sirena serving fresh Italian cuisine all day, as well as healthy, flavour-rich COMO Shambhala Cuisine, developed over a decade to help maximise personal performance, increase concentration and calibrate blood-sugar levels. In addition, the resort’s Nahmyaa restaurant uses southern Thai food as inspiration, while its Aqua Bar serves inventive cocktails.
Physical wellbeing and spiritual balance can be nurtured at COMO Shambhala Retreat, which offers a full range of holistic treatments, from Asian-inspired therapies to the signature COMO Shambhala Massage. These take place in the mosaic-tiled treatment rooms that look out across the ocean through large floor-to-ceiling windows. There is also a fully equipped gym and steam rooms.
For active guests, COMO Point Yamu provides a range of experiences, from bike trips through Yamu village, to Thai boxing, cooking classes and yoga classes. For those who want to escape the mainland bustle, COMO Beach Club, set on a tropical island off the east coast of Phuket, is just a 40-minute ride away. Here, treatment Salas cater for wellness, while the beach-style bar and restaurant serve up authentic Thai dishes and refreshing juices. Guests can make the most of the Oceanside setting with a number of watersports available, including kayaking and windsurfing.