With the surplus of official long weekends scheduled in 2021 and popular destinations getting booked up, jet-setting families are getting ahead with their bookings for 2021! Check out this groovy guide on where and when to book your vacation escapes for all the big holidays. Enjoy.
|The first day of January||1 January||Friday|
|Lunar New Year’s Day||12 February||Friday|
|The second day of Lunar New Year||13 February||Saturday|
|The fourth day of Lunar New Year||15 February||Monday|
|Good Friday||2 April||Friday|
|The day following Good Friday||3 April||Saturday|
|The day following Ching Ming Festival||5 April||Monday|
|The day following Easter Monday||6 April||Tuesday|
|Labour Day||1 May||Saturday|
|Birthday of the Buddha||19 May||Wednesday|
|Tuen Ng Festival||14 June||Monday|
|Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day||1 July||Thursday|
|The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival||22 September||Wednesday|
|National Day||1 October||Friday|
|Chung Yeung Festival||14 October||Thursday|
|Christmas Day||25 December||Saturday|
|The first weekday after Christmas Day||27 December||Monday|
Long Haul: New Zealand
If you are planning your Chinese New Year holidays for 2016, it is a fantastic time to visit New Zealand. The beaches are busy, the great outdoors are at their finest, and there are festivals and sporting events that take place almost every weekend. If you have a week to explore, we recommend heading to the South Island and basing yourself around the picturesque city of Queenstown. Located on the stunning Lake Wakatipu, the area is packed with family friendly activities that include kayaking, zip-lining, hiking, farm visits, cruises through the nearby Milford Sound, Dart River Jet Safaris, Segway tours as well as visits to various Lord of the Rings film locations. The lodges that ring the lake are some of the best in the country. Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand fly direct to Auckland daily, and then it’s a short domestic flight down to Queenstown.
Short Haul: Niseko, Japan
Given that it's the most convenient ski destination from Hong Kong, Niseko’s popularity amongst families has skyrocketed in the past few years. With some of the freshest powder in the world, the resort is perfect for wobbly kids still finding their ski legs, but there are enough advanced options to keep experienced skiers happy. Hirafu Village is relatively small, so it’s easy to walk from the slopes to your chalet or apartment, and then on to the various restaurants and shops around town. The majority of lodgings feature private onsens, (or hot springs) which are incredible for soaking sore muscles, and they are something the kids are sure to enjoy. The recently opened Ki Niseko has received rave reviews from Lightfoot guests, and is one of the only ski-in ski-out properties in Hirafu.
Long Haul: Bhutan
If you are looking for a new adventure off the beaten path, Bhutan is a great go-to spot. Though it’s opened up considerably over the past 20 years, it is not rife with tourists, and the country remains much the way it always has been. The local Bhutanese are incredibly friendly, and being exposed to the culture is a great learning experience for the kids. There are national parks full of birds, animals, and flowers; rambling family hikes that younger kids can take part in; horseback riding along trails; and children will get a kick out of witnessing day to day life in Bhutan. This trip is definitely one for families looking to trade the all-inclusive resort stay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with real authenticity!
Short Haul: Hanoi & Halong Bay, Vietnam
Northern Vietnam is just coming into season in March, and four nights is ideal to take in the capital city of Hanoi plus beautiful Halong Bay, just a 4-hour drive away. Spend two nights in Hanoi, where there is plenty for kids to do such as visiting the Cong Vien Nghia Do Park which has all kinds of fun equipment to play on, including a zip-line; taking in a water puppet show; exploring the Old Quarter where families can navigate the quaint winding streets; and visiting the night market with its street food and stalls selling all manner of nick knacks. Next up, Halong Bay is known for its towering limestone islands by the thousands, where guests can spend a few nights aboard a boat as it cruises through the bay. Kids will enjoy cycling trips along the quiet islands, kayaking atop the bay’s emerald green waters and exploring the area’s numerous caves.
Koh Samui, Thailand
A direct 3-hour flight from Hong Kong, Koh Samui is warm and dry in April, and fantastic for families looking for a beach destination requiring minimal travel time. The island is quieter and somewhat less touristy than Phuket, with a huge range of private beachfront villas, which are ideal for several families traveling together or an extended family looking for that added element of privacy. Samujana is a collection of 27 private villas, each with between 3-8 rooms, which offer facilities and services such as in-villa cinemas, pool fencing for the younger kids, Muay Thai boxing classes and 24-hour nanny service if required.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo
Under 3 hours flying time from Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu makes a great long weekend getaway. If you’re looking to scale the mountain (we recommend a minimum age of 10 years for this activity as it is quite challenging), you will need at least four days, but for a simple beach break, three days will do quite nicely. The Shangri-La Rasa Ria is our accommodation of choice for families, due to its excellent children’s facilities and kid’s club. Most excitingly, it also features its own orangutan sanctuary which is amazing for kids and parents alike!
Given that it’s just under a 5-hour flight away, we find that a minimum of four days works best when it comes to Bali. The weather is perfect in June, but the island hasn’t hit the peak season of July and August, so you’ll avoid some of the traffic and crowds. Jimbaran is one of the most popular areas for families given its long stretch of beach, and the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is our property of choice for its kid’s club, kid’s pool and superb babysitting services.
Danang & Hoi An, Vietnam
One of the most convenient beach destinations from Hong Kong, Danang is just a quick 1.5-hour flight away, followed by a short drive to your hotel. If you’re looking to spend most of your time on the beach, opt for one of the beautiful properties that line Danang’s serene coastline. The Nam Hai features multi-bedroom villas that are perfect for families, and its staff is renowned for being particularly good with kids. If your holiday is more about culture, we recommend staying in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An itself, a charming old town located 30-minutes from central Danang. The Anantara Hoi An is located just steps from the town, and is a convenient place to base yourself for cycling trips into the countryside, market tours and cooking classes, and it features a large pool that is perfect for post-sightseeing afternoons.
September is a great time to visit Chengdu as the intense heat that blankets much of the country during the summer has eased, and the city is much more pleasant for sightseeing. Stay at the newly opened Temple House, a beautiful property with connecting rooms, an indoor pool, and plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. The panda sanctuary just outside the city is a must-see for animal lovers. Arrive at 7.30 am in order to avoid the crowds, and leisurely walk through the tastefully designed park, getting up close to the pandas chomping down on their bamboo breakfasts. Introduce the kids to the street food that Chengdu is famous for, and take them to a face changing opera in the evening – a unique performance that gets rave reviews!
A (friendly) assault on the senses for children and adults alike, Japan’s capital can easily be explored over a long weekend, and the weather is very pleasant at this time of year. Spend a day at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea – its water-themed sister park, before making your way to The Cup Noodle Museum in nearby Yokohama. Stroll down Takeshita Dori in Harajuku, sampling snacks and picking up souvenirs, observing the extreme fashion styles that the area has come to represent.
Myanmar is wonderful in October as the rains have passed, the temperatures are cooler, and the peak season tourists haven’t yet arrived, making travel extremely pleasant. With a week to spare, you can comfortably visit the capital of Yangon, the temple hotspot of Bagan, followed by a visit to the beguiling Inle Lake. Yangon is charming enough with its crumbling colonial buildings and golden Shwedagon Pagoda, but it’s Bagan where the magic begins! Picnic out in the countryside, go on scavenger hunts in the temples armed with the Myanmar issue of Leap & Hop’s travel book series, soar over the temples in a hot air balloon, and take a sunset cruise followed by a game of dodgeball with the locals. In Inle Lake, kids can discover the unique paddling methods used by local fishermen, as they cruise around the lake in traditional teak boats.
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