Easter holiday plan? The long weekend is coming up soon (April 19), and we can’t think of a better excuse to take off on a spring vacay. This time of year is absolutely gorgeous around Asia with mild temperatures, generally clear skies, and beautiful blossoms coming into bloom. Whether you only have a few days off for a quick getaway or plan on taking some extra days off, we’ve rounded up some of places to visit in Asia for an Easter holiday from beachy escapes to temple-touring trips, jungle adventures, epic train journeys and more.
Colombo & Galle, Sri Lanka
For a unique Easter experience, we highly suggest jetting off to Sri Lanka and taking the famous train ride from Colombo to Galle. The journey starts in the hustle and bustle of the capital city and then makes its way down the coast passing beautiful beaches, lush greenery, and traditional towns and villages along the way. Galle itself is a fabulous fortified city founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Here you can stroll the cobblestone streets, stopping in at historic churches, modern art galleries, and enticing eateries that overlook the ocean. April is the last month to go to Sri Lanka before monsoon season hits and temperatures average around 30 degrees.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Colombo take about 4 hours. Trains from Colombo to Galle take about 2 to 3 hours.
UJ Tip: For a bit of colonial elegance, book yourself into Amangalla. This five-star resort ticks all the right boxes with gorgeous rooms decked out in antiques, an ayurvedic spa, gourmet restaurant, and a beautiful garden pool. And if you go during off-peak season (May onwards), you’ll get some amazing rates.
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Easter falls in the middle of the dry season in Palawan, which means it’s one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia and the perfect time to enjoy some sun, sea, and sand on this gorgeous tropical island. El Nido is a great base to do some island-hopping and explore the many beaches, mountains, caves, and jungles nearby. Divers and snorkelers will also find plenty of underwater playgrounds, as Palawan sits in the Coral Triangle, an area renowned for its multitudes of marine life. Be sure to check out the Cabayugan River, the world’s longest navigable underground river. Temperatures average around 27°C.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Manila take about 3.5 hours. Flights from Manila to EL Nido take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
UJ Tip: If you’re looking for a private island kind of vacay, the Cauayan Resort is the perfect escape. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and towering limestone cliffs, the resort is all kinds of beautiful and it even has its own dive centre where you can arrange trips to fascinating underwater sites. (Read more in Best and Ultimate Romantic Getaways)
Flores made our list of the best islands in Indonesia for its incredible scenery, warm people, and opportunities for off-the-beaten-path adventures. We suggest flying into Labuan Bajo because there are tons of beautiful beaches nearby and it’s the jumping-off point to Komodo National Park where you can see the rare Komodo dragons. Snorkelling and diving are also big draws here as the waters are ultra clear and calm. Many of the locals in Flores are Christian, so don’t be surprised if you stumble across some lively Easter celebrations. April is the beginning of dry season in Flores and temperatures hover around 27 – 28°C
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Labuan Bajo take about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
UJ Tip: One of the best ways to see Flores from all angles is on a liveaboard yacht tour. We highly suggest Silolona, a gorgeous phinisi ship outfitted with all the comforts of a five-star hotel. Each day the captain and crew will take you to exciting new destinations around the archipelago where you can explore deserted beaches, vibrant coral gardens, and lush tropical jungles.
Hitome Senbonzakura, Japan
Springtime is cherry blossom season in Japan, and one of the most incredible spots to see the flowers in bloom is Hitome Senbonzakura in Ogawara Town. Here you’ll find thousands of cherry trees stretching for nearly eight kilometres alongside a river. It’s a pretty spectacular sight with the pink blossoms reflected in the water and snow-covered mountains in the background. The cherry blossoms are expected to be at their peak around Easter in mid-April. You may want to give yourself a few extra days though, because you’ll need to do a bit of travelling to get here.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Tokyo take about 6.5 hours. From Tokyo you can take a 1-hour flight to Sendai and then a 30-minute train ride to Hitome Senbonzakura in Ogawara Town.
UJ Tip: If you have time, take a trip into the mountains to visit the Akiu Onsen, where you can soak in a natural saltwater spring that many believe can cure arthritis. This is also a good base to trek to one of Japan’s most famous waterfalls. Akiu Otaki spans six metres across and cascades 55 metres down into a beautiful basin.
Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
Sarawak’s capital city of Kuching is a buzzing little spot with boutique hotels, cafes in old Chinese shophouses, dynamic hawker stalls, and a beautiful boardwalk along the river. But the real draw for most people is the abundance of nature nearby. Head out in pretty much any direction and you’ll find ancient rainforests teeming with wildlife, mangrove swamps, sandy beaches, and traditional Dayak villages with longhouses along meandering rivers. April marks the beginning of the dry season, so it’s a great time to get out and explore this corner of Borneo. Temperatures average around 32°C.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Kuching take about 1.5 hours.
UJ Tip: Seafood lovers will definitely want to check out the Top Spot Food Court where there are rows of stalls selling fresh lobster, prawns, snapper, mussels and more at very reasonable prices. It’s a bit tricky to find right away, as it’s on the top of a carpark, but well worth the effort.
Luang Prabang, Laos
If it’s culture and history you’re after, Luang Prabang has plenty to keep you entertained for days. This charming mountain town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its gorgeous colonial and Laotian architecture and beautiful Buddhist temples. Wake up at dawn to see saffron-robed monks collecting alms on the streets, then spend the day touring temples, waterfalls, and caves. April is a good time to go because it’s low season for tourists and the temperatures start to cool just before the rainy season. Temperatures average around 35°C.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Luang Prabang take about 3 hours.
UJ Tip: Get back to nature at the Rosewood Luang Prabang. Newly opened just last year, this beautiful resort is perched on a forested hilltop just outside Luang Prabang and features swish villas with sweeping views of lush greenery and the waterfall and river that runs through the resort. (Read more in Best New Boutique Hotels Asia)
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Most visitors to Vietnam make a beeline straight to the tourist hotspots of Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ho Chi Minh City. However, fewer make the trek to Phu Quoc, a gorgeous island that’s actually closer to the Cambodian coast than the coast of Vietnam. Around the island you’ll find powdery white sand beaches, lush forests, and quaint fishing villages. Easter falls just at the end of the dry season, so the days are typically sunny with maybe a few refreshing showers in the afternoons. Temperatures hover around 32°C.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City take about 2 hours. Flights from Ho Chi Minh City fly daily and take about 1 hour.
UJ Tip: For tasty local eats that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, check out the Dinh Cau Night Market. Here you can sample fresh seafood like cockles, squid, sea urchins, abalone and king fish caught fresh that day and grilled to order. You’ll also find the usual Vietnamese classics like spring rolls and pho.
Seoul, South Korea
Come mid-April, Seoul begins to take on a rosy hue with the blooming of the cherry blossoms. This is a great time to visit not only for the spectacular scenery, but also because tons of fun festivals take place all over the city. Head down to Seokchon Lake for concerts, dance performances, and tons of food trucks selling delicious local delicacies. Other popular cherry blossom viewing spots include the palaces, Kyunghee University, and Yeouiseo-ro (the street behind the National Assembly Building). Temperatures hover around 18°C.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Seoul take about 6 hours and 10 minutes.
UJ Tip: Be sure to check out Seoul’s thriving cafe culture in the Ikseon-dong hood, a charming historic area with narrow alleyways, traditional Korean houses that date back to the 1920s, artsy shops and tons of cafes. If it’s cool Instagram shots your after, this is the place to be. (Read more in Vacay Inspo: Four Awesome Days in Seoul)
Siem Reap & Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Cambodia makes for the perfect Easter weekend escape because the flights are relatively short, there are less crowds at this time of year, and the rainy season should still be another month or two away. Spend a day in Phnom Penh exploring old colonial buildings, dining on delish eats, and shopping at the local markets, then make your way to Siem Reap to do some temple hopping in the Angkor Archaeological Park. After a day of touring the ruins, you can unwind with a soothing massage at one of Siem Reap’s many spas. Temperatures hover around 35°C at this time.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Phnom Penh take about 2 hours. You can also catch a 2-hour flight direct from Singapore to Siem Reap or catch a 1-hour flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Yangon, Bagan & Inle Lake, Myanmar
If you can take about 5 days off, we highly suggest booking a trip to Myanmar and touring some of the country’s most famous attractions. Start in Yangon where you can see the ultra-revered gilded Shwedagon Pagoda. Then head to the Bagan and spend a day or two riding a bicycle around the thousands of temples that are scattered across the plains. End the trip at Inle Lake where you can stay in a bungalow on stilts over the water and visit unique floating monasteries. Temperatures can climb as high as 36°C.
How to get there: Direct flights from Singapore to Yangon take about three hours. Flights from Yangon to Bagan take about 1.5-hours. Flights from Bagan to Inle Lake take about 40-minute flight. Flights from Inle Lake to Yangon take about 1 hour.
UJ tip: Don’t miss sunrise in Bagan. A hot-air balloon ride is a great way to view it. Also, you’d be hard pressed to find a more scenic spot to stay than the Inle Resort & Spa on Inle Lake. Take your pick of villas overlooking the lake or garden bungalows tucked into into leafy groves.