Good news for all you poor souls with post-holidays blues. Malaysians will be enjoying several long weekends in 2018.
We’ve used up one official long weekend in January – New Year’s Day. But there’s still four more to go: Chinese New Year (Feb 16), Hari Raya Aidilfitri (June 15), Merdeka Day (Aug 31) and Malaysia Day (Sept 16).
The aforementioned days either fall on a Friday, Sunday or Monday.
You can also stretch that long weekend count by taking a day’s leave on Monday along with these celebrations that fall on Tuesday: Labour Day (May 1), Wesak Day (May 29), Awal Muharram (Sept 11), Deepavali (Nov 6), Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (Nov 20) and Christmas (Dec 25).
Here are some travel ideas to help you start planning those holidays.
Danang, Vietnam (Chinese New Year, Feb 16)
Escape the Chinese New Year crowd in your hometowns by enjoying sandy beaches, restaurants and nightlife in this coastal Vietnamese city.
Must-see places range from centuries-old pagodas to French colonial buildings and gothic-style cathedrals.
Cao Dai Temple and Danang Cathedral provide a nice spiritual touch. Meanwhile, history buffs will appreciate the unique museums dedicated to ancient Cham civilisation and beloved leaders.
For some shopping, Han Market and Con Market sell an array of local produce and handicraft.
Of course, the beaches – My Khe, Non Nuoc and Bac My, just to name a few – are not to be missed.
Pulau Tioman, Malaysia (Labour Day, May 1)
What better way to reward yourself for all the work that you’ve done than a getaway to a tropical paradise? Tioman, in May, is blessed with generally perfect weather and beautiful blooming flora.
Cascading waterfalls and an evergreen jungle all make for fantastic #blessed backdrops on Instagram.
Known for its dive sites, Tioman is surrounded by glorious marine life. Go scuba diving or snorkelling and be mesmerised by the huge amount of coral reef.
Bangkok, Thailand (Hari Raya Aidilfitri, June 15)
After all the festivities earlier in the year, June is markedly quiet and wet in Bangkok. But hey, that’s a small price to pay to enjoy cheaper hotel and flight rates during this off-peak season.
The bouts of rain can be made bearable by spending your time indoors at temples, aquariums and shoppings malls. Shopaholics, remember to buy extra baggage allowance as mid-June onwards is when the “Amazing Grand Sale” takes place.
Some of the capital’s notable shopping oasis are Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, Platinum Fashion Mall and Siam Discovery. Don’t forget to visit the weekend-only Chatuchak Market.
Before boarding the plane back home, do your tummy a favour and indulge in all the wonderful Thai food.
Colombo, Sri Lanka (Merdeka Day, Aug 31)
It takes less than four hours to get to the capital of Sri Lanka by flight – and this place has relatively pleasant weather during this period. Once you arrive, there’s plenty of rich colonial history and vibrant culture to take in.
That display of colourful culture is very much prevalent at the Gangaramaya Temple. The Buddhist complex consists of a library, a museum and a hall filled with gifts by devotees. Close to the temple is Beira Lake, a vast lake with a small island containing the Simamalaka Shrine.
For some people watching, head to the streets of Pettah. The old quarter buzzes with shops, stalls and markets.
Taman Negara, Malaysia (Malaysia Day, Sept 16)
Home to one of the world’s oldest rainforests, Taman Negara ought to be in the bucket list of all Malaysians. September is a good time to visit as it’s still the dry season and you’ll be avoiding the hordes of visitors in July and August.
Earn bragging rights on Facebook and Instagram by walking on the world’s longest canopy walkway. The national park is also one of the best places in the country to do jungle trekking with its many trails.
Some popular trails are Lubok Simpon, Gua Telinga, Bumbun Kumbang and Lata Berkoh. You can also opt to do a night jungle walk.
Elsewhere, activities such as visiting an Orang Asli settlement and rapid shooting will make for a memorable trip.
Luang Prabang, Laos (Deepavali, Nov 6 or Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, Nov 20)
With the dry season in full swing, November provides great travelling condition in Luang Prabang. Good weather will come in handy as the majority of the small city’s sights can be reached on foot.
This Unesco World Heritage Site is home to amazing attractions such as Mount Phosi, Kuang Si Waterfall, Wat Xiang Thong and the Old Quarter.
Something that you should certainly look out for is the alms giving ceremony. Wake up early to observe the sacred tradition of Buddhist monks walking throughout the city to collect alms (mostly in the form of food and fruits).