Southeast Asia has long been a rite of passage for backpackers around the world, yet this same region possesses a superlative, luxury side too. We take a look at why anyone looking for a luxury vacation should be considering Southeast Asia.
The very best luxury accommodation
We only select the finest hotels in Southeast Asia, many of which are second to none in their truly exemplary service and standards of luxury. Your personal travel designer will help you handpick those to suit you and your trip. For more on what we believe are the ultimate luxury hotels to be found in Southeast Asia, see our inspiration list here.
Unparalleled customer service
We all know that it’s the people you meet that make a vacation truly special. Southeast Asia has a strong tradition of gentle and genuine customer service and our hotel choices reflect this. From 24-hour butler service on board the E & O, Penang, Malaysia, to an out-of-this-world massage at the award-winning Amanpuri spa in Phuket, Southeast Asia offers the best in personal, friendly and flawless service.
From jungle backdrops to urban sophistication, Southeast Asia has spas to suit every taste. Indeed, this region has made itself famous worldwide for its heavenly retreats, wellbeing spas and pampering. We’ve rounded up the top spas to be found in Southeast Asia in this inspiration list.
Pools to take your breath away
You are sure to get distracted from your swim by the stunning sea views at the three-tiered infinity pool at Amankila in Manggis, Bali. For another real ‘wow’ moment, try out the beautiful infinity pool at the private island Song Saa resort in Cambodia.
Also captivating is the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa. Here, the tranquil riverside location of the pool provides an unusual and soothing spot to rest and refresh.
Island vacations have to be the ultimate retreat. Wildlife haven Moyo Island is a protected island paradise exclusive to one hotel, the luxurious Amanwana, plus a few small traditional fishing villages. From here, you can journey to the Komodo Islands, home of the mysterious and unique Komodo dragon. Another of our favourites is tiny Tioman Island in Malaysia, home to postcard-perfect sandy white beaches where you can sleep in chic beachfront or cliff-side chalets at the Japamala, each of them unique in design.
Despite being Thailand’s fourth largest island, Koh Kood is surprisingly untouched. You can roam free to explore jungle, rainforest, fishing villages and deserted beaches with hardly a tourist in sight.
Just off Borneo’s coastline is Gaya Island and the Gayana Eco Resort where you can let the gentle sound of the sea soothe you to sleep in villas that are suspended over the beautiful bay. But why restrict yourself to one island when you can visit any number of tiny islands and bays? Just sit back and let us design your own adventure around the archipelago of Raja Ampat in Indonesia.
Jacada Travel can provide the best expert guides and scholars who take a huge pride in their history and culture, showing you the lesser known and less busy sides of iconic locations such as the UNESCO Heritage Site, Angkor Wat. If animal life is more your thing, private tours revealing the wildlife of Borneo, are led by conscientious experts who know the mountains, sea and jungle intimately, and can take you to the best spots for discovering the huge wealth of animal life this island shelters.
City lovers can sample the delights of Vietnamese street food on a private tour with a local expert in Hoi An, or explore local life along Bangkok‘s klongs (canals), and start to understand what it must be like to live in this bustling, unforgettable city.
Some of the best restaurants in the world
All Jacada Travel designers have worked, lived or travelled extensively in the regions that they specialise in, so can recommend hidden gems or confirm reservations in the city’s finest restaurants.
For instance, for fine dining in Bangkok, we might recommend Nahm, winner of the San Pellegrino best restaurant in Asia 2014, and best restaurant in Thailand. Nahm is located at the Metropolitan, Bangkok and is the brainchild of Australian chef David Thompson, with cuisine inspired by ancient Siam recipes.
More informal is the recently opened Uma Cucina, at Uma by Como, Ubud. Uma Cucina is an Italian inspired and casual restaurant with a choice of communal, antipasto style dishes or traditional dining. The brick-fired oven and charcoal grill give a hint of smokiness to the dishes, creating a unique but unforgettable blend of the best of Balinese and Italian.
Secret sailing destinations
One of our luxury sailing trips will be a voyage like no other. The UNESCO World Heritage site Halong Bay is breathtaking. Easily added onto any trip to Vietnam, you can drift through these emerald waters on a luxury junk boat, passing caves, sandy coves and beautiful grottoes.
It would be hard to surpass Langkawi , Malaysia, for a tropical experience. From renowned diving sites to traditional villages, the beauty of this region is in its variety. The first step is to chat with one of our travel designers, who can run through possible routes, and then it is up to whether you prefer boats such as the Si Datu Bua or Silolona for the ultimate romantic sailing voyage.
Experience a slice of history
The best way to learn more about culture and history is to put the guide books to one side and experience the culture, first-hand.
The grand Victoria Xiengthong Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos, was once the residence of the royal family of Laos. Now restored, you can stay there and marvel at its architectural splendour. Also in Luang Prabang is the Amantaka, a converted French colonial mansion with a light and airy feel, from which you can explore this UNESCO-protected town.
For something with high glamour appeal, the Amansara in Siem Reap, Cambodia is built from the ruins of the guest villa of King Sihanouk, and has played host to such names as Peter O’Toole, Charles de Gaulle and Jacqueline Kennedy.
If you really want to get under the skin of a country, your personal travel designer can arrange unforgettable experiences such as a one-to-one cooking lesson in Thailand or a dance class in Ubud, Bali.