If the idea of snow, ice, family arguments and the stress of feeding the 5000 is just too much for another year, then a Christmas getaway to the tropics might be just the ticket. South East Asia is the perfect place to spend a relaxed holiday away from everything that causes the blood to boil. If you need some inspiration as to where to stay, here are five of our favorite properties for a chilled break in South East Asia:
Soneva Kiri (Koh Kood, Thailand)
This is one of our favorite beach properties and the perfect place to unwind far from the madding crowd on one of Thailand's more peaceful islands. It's great for families as much as couples, with a brilliant kids' club.
Sandoway (Ngapali Beach, Myanmar)
If you really need peace and quiet, Myanmar's Ngapali Beach is spot on. This tranquil beach is on the Bay of Bengal and has managed to, so far, avoid mass tourism. The Sandoway is a chilled resort right on the beach; the seafood is a real highlight here.
Extend: Grand Tour of Myanmar
Song Saa Private Island Resort (Cambodia)
This eco-resort is Cambodia's first luxury private island hotel and has collected countless awards for its eco credentials and design. There are only 27 overwater villas here, so you'll be able to spend the festive season in a state of serene indulgence.
Alila Purnama (Raja Ampat, Indonesia)
Surely one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world, Raja Ampat provides an unbeatable backdrop to any Christmas escape. On board a luxury phinisi boat such as the Alila Purnama is the best way to sail through this dazzling archipelago, and October to December also happens to be when the water is at its calmest.
Amantaka (Luang Prabang, Laos)
Sublime Luang Prabang wins everyone over with its combination of colonial history, local traditions, delicious food and chilled ambience. This is the town that nobody wants to leave and it's a great place to relax over what is usually a rather frantic time of year. The Amantaka is close to the centre of Luang Prabang, but it could be miles away for all you'll know when you're reclining by the pool.
Extend: Temples, Terraces and Angkor Wat
Christmas is the peak season for South East Asia, so don't delay in booking; July to August is the latest you should be making plans. One reason why travel agents (ahem, like us) are useful when booking a trip in a busy period is the fact that they can often secure your reservations when hotels seem fully booked, due to being notified of cancellations before the availability appears online.