Unique destinations in Asia to celebrate New Year 2020: Sabah, Sri Lanka, Taichung, Redang, and Java
With 2019 marking the end of a decade, the celebration to herald the start of 2020 should be one out of the ordinary. Straying from your routine coundown and firework display at Marina Bay, take a (short) trip to these destinations that are unlike the usual suspects. Eschewing overtly popular spots like Bali and Kuala Lumpur, we think these gems would be the perfect place to reset your mind, body, and soul — all to ring in the beginning of a new decade.
Also known as the 'Pearl of Borneo', Sabah will keep you occupied with its countless ecotourism activities and beach retreats. Give your new year's resolution of leading a more active life a head start by scaling Malaysia's highest peak, Mt Kinabalu. Explore nature reserve Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and end the day by unwinding at the Poring hot spring.
Where to stay: Sutera Sanctuary Lodge
Slightly off the beaten track lies Gal Oya National Park, a hidden gem that remains untouched by the hands of man. Sail down Sri Lanka's largest reservoir, Seneneyake Samudraya, as you take in the scenic views. An interactive trail with The Vedda, one of the last remaining indigenous people of Sri Lanka, a traditional cooking course surrounded by the lush greenery of the forest and a jungle night walk are just some of the unique activities you can indulge in that will momentarily whisk you away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore.
Where to stay: Gal Oya Lodges
Dive into Redang's picturesque sandy white beaches with crystal clear waters that sets the scene for a multitude of water sports — swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving-against the brilliant hues of the delicate corals, anemones and marine life. Not your cup of tea? You can always trek through the island and marvel at its vast wildlife, which may even outshine the water activities that are available.
Where to stay: Taraas Beach & Spa resort
Aside from the fact that Taichung is the birthplace of the wildly popular bubble tea, it is also endowed with rich history and beautiful scenery. December in Taiwan is usually accompanied by pleasantly cool temperatures with the occasional snowfall, which gives you a temporary respite from Singapore's sweltering heat and humidity. Go hiking at the Hehuanshan mountain peak, which is one of the most accessible high altitude trails in Taiwan, where you can set up camp and witness an unforgettable sunrise. Other places to check out include the Rainbow Village and the breathtaking Zhong She Guan Guang Flower Market, which are guaranteed to brighten up your IG game.
Where to stay: The Landis Taichung
Java, often usurped by the more popular Bali, has its fair share of attractions that will have 2019 adjourn on a spiritual and emotional high. Swing by Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, and Prambanan, a hindu temple with remarkable architecture, both of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. If you are feeling a little adventurous, catch the sunset right from the edge of Mt. Bromo's crater, one of Indonesia's many active volcanoes.
Where to stay: MesaStila Resort and Spa