$$$: Super generous ang bao haul. Thanks folks!
Wow! What a year! With a top ang bao haul you can really ball it out. From tucking into the finest sushi in Tokyo, to having that cuppa in the amazing cafe’s that Melbourne has to offer, you will have plenty of options with your haul.
Dazzling Tokyo could take years to explore so do your research and find what angle you are most interested in experiencing. Get a glimpse into old Japan with a visit to Senso-ji temple and, for a uniquely Japanese experience if you are in town in January, May and September, catch some sumo at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan tournament. Head to the Shibuya Crossing for amazing photos and if it’s fresh seafood you are after, then a dawn trip to the Tsukiji market will reap dividends for your tastebuds!
Slap on the sunscreen as the first stop on your Sydney vacation is iconic Bondi Beach where you can enjoy a tumble around in the waves with people from around the world. Take a walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a good workout and great city views before catching a show at the Sydney Opera House. For top food experiences, head to the funky Chippendale district or the Tramsheds Harold Park for a great meal and drink.
Cutting edge Seoul attracts growing numbers of visitors each year so join the crowds and see the latest the city has to offer at Seoullo 7017, the Korean capital’s version of New York’s High Line. Come here at weekends for free gigs and exhibitions alongside top city views. Foodies and shoppers will enjoy an afternoon spent at Namdaemun Market and those looking for a glimpse at Korea’s heritage should pay a visit to the beautiful Changdeokgung Palace, with guided English language tours departing twice daily (book in advance).
Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne offers plenty of distractions for the arty from the superb National Gallery of Victoria to the Melbourne Museum. Kids will enjoy a visit to the spooky Melbourne Gaol and die-hard shoppers will find bliss in the boutiques and galleries around the Laneways. Out of town, take a trip to the see the 12 Apostles in the Port Campbell National Park along the Great Ocean Road and remember to keep your eyes peeled for photogenic penguins waddling about on the beaches. For your caffeine fix, Melbourne boasts some the best places in the world to have your cuppa. We recommend Manchester Press.
$$: Generous ang bao haul
With your generous ang bao haul you could find yourself lazing away in style on the picture perfect beaches around Bali or taking instagram-worthy pictures of the cute quokkas in Perth!
Perth may be one of the most isolated cities on earth (closer to Jakarta than to Sydney), but don’t less this stop you! Sights such as Kings Park and the Botanic Garden are great pit stops, and beach fans will love exploring the different zones for surfers and snorkellers at Cottlesloe Beach. Further afield, rent a car and explore laid-back Margaret River to pop into a winery or two, go whale watching and take a dip at the stunning swimming beaches at Prevelly and Gracetown.If you fancy something cute, take a trip to Rottnest Island to take the iconic selfie with the cute Quokkas.
Friendly Taipei is full of heart and packed with great things to do from the eating your way round amazing night markets of Raohe and Shilin to relaxing on the gondola ride up to Maokong for an afternoon spent sipping delicious Taiwanese tea in a teahouse. For the best city views, a trip to the top of Taipei 101 is a must, and those wanting to see the cooler sides of Taipei should spend some time hanging out at Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
7. Bali (Denpasar)
Gorgeous Bali will restore your mind and soul whether it be through a yoga or spa break in the emerald hills around Ubud, or through leaping into the waves with a surfboard at Echo Beach. Divers can dive wrecks around Amed or untouched coral reefs off up-and-coming Nusa Penida. For those looking for that perfect blend of lively nightlife, beach bliss and underwater adventures, there are frequent shuttle boats to the heavenly Gili Islands off the north coast of Lombok.
Get to grips with gargantuan Manila on a walking tour of the historic Intramuros district which is home to Spanish churches, colonial architecture and Fort Santiago. Manila is a great nightlife destination for those inclined to party so head to Makati bars such as 71 Gramercy or B-Low Nightclub to see the city at its best after dark. Out of town, spectacular Lake Taal offers relaxing boat trips around the country’s third biggest freshwater lake inside a volcanic caldera, so don’t forget your camera as the views here are truly spectacular!
$$$: Reasonable ang bao haul
From sampling the delights in the foodie paradise of Ho Chi Minh City, to shopping in the dizzying Chatuchak market of Bangkok, this year’s reasonbale Ang pao haul can bring you to amazing places!
Bangkok is the perfect city break for those who want a bit of everything. To see the city at its best, take a trip down the Chao Phraya River, breaking your journey at attractions including Wat Arun and the Grand Palace. Shopaholics will find Nirvana and some of the finest tees on sale in Asia at the festival-like Chatuchak Market. Health nuts can get their fix with a day at a Muay Thai camp, or, for those on a shoestring, a free workout with banging tunes at Lumpini Park at sunset with crowds of other Bangkokians.
Rivalling Bangkok as the epicentre of Southeast Asian street cuisine, historic Penang packs in loads of holiday options for such a small island. You can enjoy splendid isolation and rainforest life at the Penang National Park, flop on a beach or experience adrenaline pumping thrills at Escape Theme Park in Batu Ferringhi or visit clan jetties, ancient temples, heritage shophouses and feast on the world’s best char kway teow in packed hawker centres in Georgetown, and with a few days to spare, you can do all of these things and more!
First port of call in Yangon has to be the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Try to time your arrival for just before sunset to see the transformation from day to night at this magical temple complex. Bring your camera for a ride around the city on the Circular Line, and enjoy the views from the Yangon Yangon rooftop bar before heading out of town to see the Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo Pagoda for spiritual vibes, endless views and great hiking.
12. Ho Chi Minh City
Hold on tight as a holiday in Ho Chi Minh City is quite a ride. With insanely busy streets, packed pavement cafes and bars, HCMC is possibly Southeast Asia’s liveliest (and noisiest) city. Grab a cup of potent Vietnamese coffee (washed down with a cup of green tea, naturally) and head out into to the city to see the War Remnants Museum and the kitsch Reunification Place before getting up close and personal with the arty side of the city on Ð Le Cong Kieu, which is packed with galleries and antique shops. After dark, feast on amazing seafood at pavement cafes and party the night away around Pham Ngu Lao St.
O (Kosong!): Not the best year for ang pao but don’t let that stop you!
Just because you lucked outl this year doesn’t mean you still cant travel! With some gorgeous destinations nearby such as Tioman Island and Bintan, you don’t need to jump on a plane for beautiful beaches, underwater adventure and rest and relaxation. And, if you’re really counting pennies, rent a bike and spend a day exploring our very own Coney Island!