Tatler Tips: Travel Plans For 2019 Long Weekends
1/13Nuanquan, Hebei, China
File February 4 as a vacation leave and have a four-day celebration of the Chinese New Year together with family and friends from February 2 to 5. And where else would you spend this awesome festival than the ancient cultural town of Nuanquam in Hebei province, China? This historical town few kilometres off of Beijing is known for well-preserved Ming Dynasty courtyards and houses, and most especially the famous Da Shuhua. This "Festival of Lights" is an annual tradition recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. According to legend, blacksmiths in this town used to throw hot melted iron against the walls during the eve of Chinese New Year to scare the demons away. Performers nowadays wear sheepskin coats and a hat as protection and use wooden ladle to quickly throw the molten iron.
2/13Cavinti, Laguna, Philippines
An alternate choice for the Chinese New Year is glamping in BLOC Camp Site in Cavinti, Laguna. Just a few hours drive from Metro Manila, spend the weekend with family or friends in cosy tents and savour the breathtaking view as an escape from the city's hustle and bustle. BLOC Camp Site offers fun land and lake activities. Besides Laguna, there are also other awesome camping locations around the Philippines you can try where you can enjoy February's perfect sunny yet breezy weather.
Before winter ends, tour around the spectacular Hokkaido Island in Japan where for some reason snow is quite different (and more enjoyable for fun activities). Every February, Sapporo Snow Festival showcases more than 200 snow and ice sculptures in Odori Park, Tsudome, and Susukino so be sure to check that out on February 23 to 25. There are also several ski resorts to choose from, and perhaps you may consider Niseko. If the cold weather becomes unbearable, you hot springs or onsens are numerous in the island and Noboribetsu is the best.
4/13Seco Island, Antique, Philippines
Visayas is an enchanting choice for a romantic getaway and so, why not have a post-Valentine's Day beach trip in any of the pristine islands of the region? There is the unadulterated strip of land near Boracay called Antique and it has a lot of secret wonders waiting to be explored. Like this secluded island here of Seco that boasts crystal clear waters, fine white sand, and almost-no living person around. If Seco is too adventurous for you and your partner, you may opt to visit other beaches around Visayas like Kalanggaman, Bantayan, or the Biri Rock Formation.
5/13Waianapanapa State Park, Hawaii USA
Kick off the summer season at the start of April with a week-long vacation in Waianapanapa State Park and experience Hawaii in its wild, natural state (as if you're in one of those Jurassic Park films, minus the dinosaurs). This particular spot in Hawaii has been hailed as the world's best beach because of its mesmerising black sand made out of basaltic rock, countless waterfalls, lush forests, freshwater caves with glistening waters, and many more interesting features. Moreover, its remoteness give tourists privacy and liberty, as long as its environment is taken care of.
For the April 9 holiday, take a leave on the 8th so you can have just enough time to enjoy Batanes. This is the place to be if you want to get away from the city without having to fly out of the country. April is also an ideal time because rain is scarce and the weather is not yet scalding.
Revel in the wonderful sunset at Vayang Rolling Hills on your first day. The next morning, take a boat to Sabtang Island for to visit the traditional Savidug villages and catch the breakthtaking view of the ocean at Sabtang Lighthouse. Finally, cap off the trip with a packed tour of South Batan where you will be greeted by vastly different landscapes that’ll make you wonder if you’re still on local soil.
7/13Red Centre, Australia
April is autumn in Australia, which is the perfect time to visit the country’s Red Centre. At the heart of the region is some of Aboriginal Australia’s most sacred sites: Uluru and Kata Tjuṯa (AKA Ayers Rock and the Olgas).
Getting there can be quite a challenge, but it’s all part of the adventure. You can fly to Darwin in the north or Adelaide in the south, take another flight to the outback city of Alice Springs, and go on a roadtrip for five to six hours to catch the majestic Uluru change colours at sunrise or sunset. Better yet, stay at the nearby Ayers Rock Resort for a truly one-of-a-kind glamping experience.
This year, the sacred rock is closing to climbers, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the whole Red Centre experience. Explore the cultures of the Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara Aboriginal peoples who look after the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, drive for about four hours to Kings Canyon to catch the breathtaking views in the Watarrka National Park which has been home to the Luritja Aboriginal people for more than 20,000 years, or drive 161 kilometres west of Alice Springs for the Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park where you can take a dip in any of the park’s water holes.
Set your pilgrimage to Uluru during the Holy Week on April 18 to 21 and extend it to seven days, which should be enough for this eye-opening journey.
8/13Ilocos Norte and Sur, Philippines
An eight hours-long drive from Metro Manila, Ilocandia is not only a heavenly getaway during the Holy Week but also a perfect destination for devout Catholics who want to have a spiritual reawakening. With its centuries-old churches, it is an interesting venue for visita iglesia or a pilgrimage of seven churches during the vigil on Maundy Thursday. Or for a more time-flexible visita iglesia, you may check out the Stations of the Cross of these churches on Good Friday. Before Holy Week starts, you may check out the Bangui windmills, the sand dunes in Pagudpud, or the old houses in Vigan and have a vacation that is one for the books.
9/13Lednice-Valtice, Czech Republic
August 24 to 26 is a great time to explore a cultural destination and one of the perfect places for this is the Liechtenstein dynasty's erstwhile residence and seat of power, the Lednice-Valtice estate, which is now in Czech Republic. This breathtaking spot in Europe is only about 280 square kilometres in size and have enormous palaces, lush landscaped grasslands, and other interesting architectural marvels.
10/13Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bagac, Bataan, Philippines
Locally, the must-visit cultural destination is this resort town in Bataan where famous bygone houses were replicated to recreate a colonial-period pueblo. Visitors may take the day tour or better yet, have a weekend stay in Hotel de Oriente and experience a nostalgic and opulent staycation.
11/13Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Celebrate Halloween in no other than Shibuya, Tokyo which is by far the craziest and biggest Halloween party in Asia! Dress up with friends and hop from one party to another in this special ward of Japan's capital city. Being a major commercial and business centre, you won't have a hard time looking for a place to shop, stay, and dine, not to mention the crazy clubs and bars where you can party all night. Besides the Halloween, Tokyo is a great city to wander around at this long weekend.
12/13Siargao, Surigao del Norte, Philippines
Usually at the end of October and early November, thrill-seekers are in San Juan or Baler for some surfing action. However, Siargao the surfing capital of the country is still a better option as not only it consistently offers tube-like waves, there are a lot of other fascinating places to explore. There is the Sugba Lagoon, Magpupungko Rock Pool, and Taktak Falls.
13/13A Scandinavian Excursion
December 21 to 25 and December 28 to perhaps January 1 or 2 of 2020 are both long weekend holidays and so, why not consider having a month-long winter journey through Scandinavia? Here are some stops you need to include in your trip:
In Denmark, bring fairy tales to life in Hans Christian Andersen's hometown Odense, explore the effortlessly cool streets of Copenhagen, and camp by the country's highest white cliffs on Møn Island. Take a ferry from Denmark to Norway, where you can marvel at enough fjords to last you a lifetime. Then in Sweden, experience proper winter wonderland in Lapland, and don't miss the charming Gothenburg for its bustling nightlife. Finally, a trip to Finland is incomplete without visting Santa Claus and a glimpse of the northern lights--if you're lucky.
While you're at it, maybe you can find out for yourself why Scandinavian countries have the best quality of life for its residents.