Spending some quality time with your family in your beloved hometown during Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid al-Fitr) is the longstanding tradition for most Muslim families. There’s no place like home, right?
But many find that there are other ways to spend the holidays. After all, there’s only so much “How much do you earn?”, “When are you getting married?” and “Have you gained weight?” you can take. Seeing that there’s time to spare, why not go somewhere else instead?
If you’re looking to go on a vacation over the Eid holidays, below is a list of top five international destinations for your consideration:
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok needs no introductions as a popular getaway as it has everything that makes a great holiday, from unique architecture and exciting nightlife to lip-smacking street food. It’s no wonder that Bangkok is on top of everyone’s mind for value-for-money indulgences.
For a taste of Thai culture, you simply can’t miss the luxurious palaces like the Grand Palace and Vimanmek Palace, as well as beautiful temples like Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew. Each of these sanctuaries keep a wealth of intriguing designs and fascinating legends that never ceases to amaze.
There’s a reason why the city is known as a prime shopping destination. Do you enjoy your retail therapy with a luxurious setting? Bangkok has glittering shopping malls like Icon Siam and Central World. If you prefer bargain shopping, hone your negotiation skill at places like Pratunam Morning Market and Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Bangkok also caters to everyone, from those who party hard at Khaosan Road and Sukhumvit, to families with kids who have the option to go to the Siam Ocean World and Dream World Park. All are welcome!
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. Book your seats now at airasia.com
2. Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Chennai is considered to be one of India’s major cities, and with the opening of its modern metro service it has become easier to access everything the city has to offer. And with both Tamil heritage and remnants of the British colonial era, it’s definitely a city worth exploring.
Drop by Kapaleeshwarar Temple, San Thome Cathedral and Ramakrishna Mutt Temple to get a glimpse of Chennai’s colourful history. If you are an architectural enthusiast, Fort Saint George and Madras High Court are good examples of British-colonial-era structures.
Chennai might be a historic city, but it also has its modern side. Cholomandal Artists’ Village with its extraordinary collection of modern art is a good place if you appreciate fine paintings and sculptures. Trendy pubs, bars and cafés can be found in neighbourhoods such as Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar and Kodambakkam.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Chennai. Book your seats now at airasia.com
3. Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
There’s something magical about Bali. Sure, it’s a sunny tropical island, but it’s so much more than just a place where you can work on your tan or catch a wave, although there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches like Balangan or Medewi. If you prefer to hit the beach, party and repeat, head to Kuta and Legian. For more sophisticated partying and shopping, go to Seminyak and Canggu.
Many choose to have their Eat, Pray, Love moments in Ubud, a great choice to acquaint yourself with the rich and fascinating culture of Bali by visiting temples like Pura Saraswati and palaces like Ubud Water Palace. From there, drop by Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, which are not just pretty to look at, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Slightly bigger than the whole country of Brunei, Bali is larger than you might think and offers oodles of natural attractions. Have fun exploring mighty mountains like Mount Agung and Mount Batur, refreshing waterfalls like Banyumala and Yeh Mampeh, and tranquil lakes like Batur and Tamblingan.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar, Bali. Book your seats now at airasia.com
Singapore might be tiny, but it packs a wallop. For one, traveling around the island-nation is a breeze with its efficient public transportation system. As a modern Asian city right in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is perfect as a jump-off point to the vast and bewildering region.
Essential is a visit to the Marina Bay Sands Area, where you can marvel at the ArtScience Museum, the Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sand Skypark, which gives you fantastic vantage point of the city. Singapore means business, but it knows how to party as well, especially around Clarke Quay, Orchard Road and Sentosa beach bars.
Despite the skyscrapers and the busy roads, Singapore is surprisingly green. Catch a breather in Gardens by the Bay, MacRitchie Reservoir and Singapore Botanic Gardens, and appreciate how far removed the city-state is from your typical smog-choked capital cities of Southeast Asia.
It is also a melting pot of cultures, with three major ethnic groups of the Chinese, Malays and Indians. Visit neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India to have a taste of Singapore’s diverse heritage.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Book your seats now at airasia.com
5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hanoi might be the capital, but nothing beats Ho Chi Minh City if you’re looking for that raw and exciting Vietnamese city that is always on the highest gear.
Many global brands have factories in Vietnam, so shopping is definitely a thing in Ho Chi Minh City. For some bargain shopping, head to Ben Thanh Market and Binh Tay Market. For a unique shopping experience, drop by Roobik Zoo, and if you like trendy local products head to Cargo Event Space in District 4.
Vietnam was a French colony, and as a former capital city of French Indochina, Ho Chi Minh City has a collection of beautiful architecture to its name, evidenced by the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Saigon Opera House and the City Hall.
Get to know Vietnam’s tumultuous history in the city that has seen it all via the Reunification Palace, Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum. It can be solemn at times, but this is an important part of your visit to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City (or just Saigon to most) is Vietnam’s most populous city, so this is where all the action is. From local eats along Nguyen Hue Walking Street to cheap booze along Bui Vien Street, the party continues well after dark in this city of contrasts!
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City. Book your seats now at airasia.com