New year, new ways of travelling. As the sun rises on 2024, it’s time to dust off that resolve to try something of a different speed and prepare for brand new adventures.
Whether it’s a heart-pumping hike in the wilderness or an idyllic island getaway, these eight escapades promise breathtaking vistas, surprise encounters and some quality, contemplative time in the great outdoors.
So what are you waiting for? Put some of these ideas on your travel bucket list and get planning for your next epic adventure.
1. Jump on the Korean-style camping trend
Book a flight to: Seoul
Camping has become something of a national sport in South Korea since the pandemic eased, when millions of travel-starved locals descended upon the hundreds of campgrounds across the country to satisfy the urge for a different experience.
Take a leaf from their book and camp with style: think tents but with creature comforts, such as fairy lights and movie screenings with compact projectors. Or try out bulmeong, a local camping craze that involves zoning out while staring at a fire.
No Korean gathering is complete without a feast, so break out your cast iron pots for some campfire spicy stew with Korean beef and steaming bowls of rice.
For tips on camping near Seoul, read our full story here.
2. Bliss out on island getaways off the coast of Singapore
Book a flight to: Singapore
Just a pebble’s skip away from the cosmopolitan hub of Singapore – past the Indonesian border – are some world-class island getaways that boast crystal-clear waters, luxurious resorts and activities for couples and families alike.
Fulfil your island-living dreams in the gorgeous adults-only bamboo villas on Cempedak Private Island in Riau, a three-hour journey from Singapore. Its smart design offers the best of living in nature, while the exceptional hospitality and sumptuous meals ensure you won’t want to leave.
Kayak around the island or explore on land by foot – either way, keep an eye out for hornbills, hawksbill turtles and other wildlife. For a family-friendly version of this eco-luxury experience, check out its sister resort Nikoi Island, a short ferry ride away.
Seeking something more off the grid? Head to Telunas Resorts on remote Sugi Island, also in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago, where you’ll swap Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and television for water sports and spa treatments.
For more island escapes near Singapore, read our full story here.
3. Walk on the wild side with the elusive leopard in Sri Lanka’s nature reserves
Book a flight to: Colombo
Spotting the majestic leopards in the wilderness of their natural habitats is no walk in the park, so it’s best to seek out these elusive creatures alongside expert wildlife guides and naturalists, who can teach you how to do so responsibly. In the cold light of dawn, you’ll train your senses to attune to the subtlest signs, such as prey alarm calls, markings in the soil and lingering notes of fresh kills.
To track the elusive leopard at Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park, a wildlife sanctuary, there’s no better guide than Hilton Yala Resort’s head ranger Sajith Withanage, the most qualified tracker in the country. His preternatural senses and deep respect for wildlife ensure that every jeep ride with him is filled with surprise sightings and thrilling stories from his 11 years of safari experience.
4. Travel by train through Vietnam’s rustic east coast
Book a flight to: Da Nang
Quaint villages emerging like mirages in a sea of rice paddies, disused whistle-stop stations and straw hat-clad farmers tending to their fields – one of the best ways to soak in the tranquil sights of Vietnam’s countryside is aboard a train on Vietnam’s colonial-era railway network.
The first-class comfort on The Vietage, a 12-guest train carriage that takes you between the cities of Da Nang and Quy Nhon in six hours, makes this journey all the sweeter. Here, you can get your shoulders massaged and sip on cocktails as you make your way across Vietnam’s eastern coast.
Find out more about The Vietage and Vietnam’s rich history of train travel in our full story here.
5. Cycle off the beaten track on Turkey’s idyllic Heybeliada
Book a flight to: Istanbul
Just an hour’s ferry ride from Istanbul lies a charming archipelago of islands called Princes’ Islands – their history dates back to the Byzantine era, when they served as refuge for exiled royalty.
Motor vehicles are not allowed on the islands, making getting around by horse-drawn carriages and bicycles the norm. Its second-largest island, Heybeliada, is ideal for exploring by bike, as it sees less traffic than its bigger sibling Burgazada. Here, you can take in cerulean waters, picturesque skyline and eclectic architecture.
Cycling around the approximate 6km route around this cosy island makes for an ideal half-day sojourn out of Istanbul. Whizz past Victorian-style homes with charming wooden details and orange-hued rooftops of Byzantine buildings that dot the island. Once you’ve taken in the sights, park yourself in a local café for some kasar peynirli tost (grilled cheese).
Find out more about what it’s like to explore Heybeliada by bike in our story here.
6. Help save the seas at these beach resorts across the Asia-Pacific
Book a flight to: Male or Okinawa
Contribute to the health of our oceans while getting in some tropical beach time at resorts where marine conservation meets luxury. Dive into the crystal-clear warm waters off the Okinawan coast and transplant young corals in its biodiverse reefs at Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort, or help give waste plastic a second life at the Fairmont Maldives’ Sustainability Lab.
Science geeks can join researchers at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands for drone-flying excursions to collect data on marine plastic aggregation and understand how marine trash is carried by currents.
For more ideas on planning your marine conservation-minded getaway, read our full story here.
7. Chase flowers and foliage through the seasons in Kanagawa’s peaceful temples
Book a flight to: Tokyo
Along the coastal expanse of Kanagawa Prefecture and just an hour away by train from bustling Tokyo, the ancient capital city of Kamakura entices visitors throughout the year with a rotating schedule of beautiful blooms and foliage.
Delicate plum blossoms grace from February to March, followed by the iconic sakura or cherry blossoms from March to April. Elegant blue, pink and white hydrangeas burst into bloom in May and June. And don’t miss the flurry of fall foliage between October and December.
Pair your floral pursuit with a bowl of matcha in one of the city’s many temple grounds, while meditating upon the Japanese philosophy of tea: ichi go, ichi e, or “one time, one meeting”. Just like the blooming of a flower, a moment can never happen the same way twice; it is an invitation to appreciate life as it comes.
Read more about flower-chasing in Kamakura here.
8. Trek across Sri Lanka’s rugged landscapes
Book a flight to: Colombo
This hill-dotted tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean has much to offer in the way of hikes. If you are up for a challenge, tackle a 300km journey through the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country on the Pekoe Trail, past cascading waterfalls and rolling valleys.
Those who prefer a more leisurely hike can scale Pidurangala, a soaring rock that overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sigiriya – an ancient rock fortress built in the 4th century AD by King Kasyapa. Cool off after with a glass of iced Ceylon tea and cardamom-spiced dessert.
Take your pick among seven Sri Lankan walking trails in our story here.
For more information on Singapore Airlines flights to the above destinations, visit the official website.