Rising Asian getaways

These are a couple of tropical beach getaways for 2011, according to a hotel booking site.

Based on real customer feedback and travel trends, the Fresh Destinations list by hotel booking site Agoda.com names Asia’s emerging travel hotspots. These places aren’t yet mainstays but provide a fresh perspective on some of Asia’s most travelled regions.

Agoda.com president, Robert Rosenstein, commented, “Agoda has been making online hotel reservations in Asia for many years, and many of our customers are classic trailblazers. We watch where they are going to get ideas for fresh destinations, and this year’s list shows that you don’t have to sacrifice style or services when trailblazing.”

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A fishing boat with a catch to produce Phú Quoc Island’s famed fish sauce. — AFP

The destinations and properties below stood out for the praise they received from Agoda.com customers. For up-to-date pricing, user reviews and more detailed information of the destinations in the list, you can visit the website

Phú Quoc Island, Vietnam

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A hot tropical beach getaway for 2011 according to agoda customers.

Phú Quoc is in the Gulf of Thailand, off the south coast of Cambodia, west of Vietnam.

It is Vietnam’s largest island with mountainous terrain covered in thick tropical jungle. In July 2010, Phú Quoc National Park became a part of the Unesco World Biosphere Reserve for its plant species and marine ecosystems.

Phú Quoc has been likened to Phuket, pre-development. It offers idyllic tropical beaches with solid tourist infrastructure, while maintaining a rough, edge. The main town of Duong Dong has a sleepy fishing village ambience. Seafood is a highlight of Phú Quoc, and the island is renowned for its fish sauce made from anchovies.

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Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam is fast becoming a place to be in 2011.

Agoda.com saw an increase in travellers to Phú Quoc of nearly 97% from 2009 to 2010, and with plans for an international airport underway, Phú Quoc won’t be much of a secret for much longer. Phú Quoc was popular with northern Europeans, North Americans and Australians. Domestic tourism, while less prolific, is growing.

The best time to visit is between December and May, the dry season, with April and May being the hottest months (up to 35°C). The easiest way to get there is to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Phú Quoc Airport, a journey that takes one hour and costs around US$60 (RM182) on Vietnam Airlines.

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Find the shade under a coconut tree and relax the afternoon away.

Demand for rooms in Phú Quoc outweighs supply during the high season, so book early. One reviewer remarked on the “commando mosquitoes” and another recommended visiting during the hot months.

A UK traveller remarked: “Touring the island gave us a great thrill and sense of adventure. Some roads do not yet have tarmac and really give a sense of how life used to be, both simple and fulfilling. You must visit this gem before commercialism takes over.”


Chanthaburi, Thailand

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A hot spot as voted by agoda travelers!

Chanthaburi is on the Gulf Of Thailand, bordering Cambodia and wedged between Rayong and Trat provinces, 650km south of Bangkok.

It is a topographically diverse and mineral-rich province with fruit orchards, waterfalls, limestone hills and caves, dense rainforest and long stretches of beach. Complementing its natural attractions are gem markets and dealers, temples, chedi and many other places of historical and religious interest.

Chanthaburi’s primary attraction are its beaches. Chao Lao Beach is the province’s most popular. There are also eco-trails through the rainforest, glass-bottom boat cruises to coral reefs, plus colonial relics left over from the French occupation in the 19th century, including the country’s largest and oldest gothic cathedral.

Thai travellers dominate the tourist market, with a small but growing number of German, Swedish, Australian and Americans also discovering its charms.

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The next place to hang out in 2011 according to the travelers on agoda.

When is the best time to go? For beaches, it’s best to visit Chanthaburi during the cooler dry season (November to January), but for waterfalls, the wet season is best (May to October). February to April is the hottest time of year.

Chanthaburi is easily accessed by road. From Bangkok, it’s a four-hour drive on the highway.

Travellers complimented Chanthaburi on being a great place for family travel due to its affordability and quiet beaches.

As one Thai reviewer noted, “The location is great for travellers to use as a base for hopping to other areas in eastern Thailand, e.g. Trad, Koh Chang and Koh Kud.”

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Sunset on Chanthaburi, Thailand.

ARTICLE SOURCE: thestar.com.my


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