For a detailed destination guide on Niseko, please visit this post on my travel blog The T List.

It’s not like I have traveled extensively for holidays this year but I would like to recommend two locations as part of the ‘Best of 2014′ series. These two places are poles apart and would appeal to different preferences: Ko Lipe in Thailand for a beach getaway and Niseko in Japan for a taste of winter wonderland.


1. Ko Lipe, Thailand

Ko Lipe is a small island in the Adang-Rawi Archipelago of the Andaman Sea, in the Satun Province of southwest Thailand, close to Malaysian border (got this from Wikipedia). It is a small island that is accessible to other islands such as Ko Adang or Ko Tarutao. This place is also a paradise for scuba divers.


Very clear waters and beautiful beach scenery. The easiest way to get to the island from Singapore is via Langkawi. There are speedboats operating to and fro the island and Langkawi only during the peak season from November to May. Traveling from Singapore to Ko Lipe (via Langkawi) took almost half a day including flight and waiting time in between.


I stayed at Lipe Beach Resort, which boasted a beautiful view of the Andaman Sea. The beach bar has a few wooden sundecks which I could laze at for the whole afternoon, enjoying the sound of the sea. Please note that the sea-view bungalows are quite rustic with no air-conditioning. If you need hot shower and air-con, you should go for the Family Room which is located further from the sea.

Another recommendation is Castaway Resorts, which has better bungalows and delicious breakfast, but less of a view compared to Lipe Beach Resort.


Beach bar at Ko Lipe. You could lie down on the mat and admire the stars at night.


What are the things to do at Ko Lipe? I was there on a yoga retreat, so I had the luxury of sea view yoga every morning and evening. You can also engage in sea sports (kayaking, snorkeling, diving) and rent a boat to check out the neighbouring islands. There is also a small walking street where you could enjoy Thai street food, massage and shopping.


We rented a boat and went to Ko Adang and did a short hike up to admire this beautiful view!


Sunset yoga at Ko Adang!

This is a rustic beach getaway for those who want something different from the usual spots such as Phuket or Bali. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking! However, do bear in mind that Ko Lipe is a small developing island, so if you are into more luxurious holiday accommodations, this might not be a suitable option for you.

PS: If you are interested in joining yoga or dive retreats, you could check out my friend’s website (Qi Retreats) and join her organised trips!

2. Niseko, Hokkaido (Japan)

Niseko is a famous ski area in Hokkaido, well-known for its powdery snow. I just returned from a ski trip there and I must say, the powder snow, great onsen and delicious food at Niseko are addictive!


There are 4 main areas in Niseko – Niseko Village, Hirafu, Annupuri and Hanazono. I stayed at a resort in Niseko Village (The Green Leaf Hotel), and did snow sports in the day, onsen at night. It was a very relaxed trip.




The view from the chairlift.


Because Niseko is a holiday destination that attracts visitors from all over the world, most of the service staff there have no problem with English. It is very easy to get from one point to another if you are staying in an established hotel, or you could utilise the shuttle buses. If you are an adventure junkie, you could explore night skiing and challenging slopes there.

For newbies (like me), I attended ski classes at Niseko Village to learn the fundamentals and the overall experience was great, thanks to my patient senseis (Japanese for instructors)!


The trick to keeping warm in sub-zero climate is to invest in good winter gear. I bought most of my ski stuff from Columbia and The North Face prior to my trip, although you could rent ski jacket and pants at the ski school.

Winter season ends in March, so it is not too late to plan a trip there early next year to enjoy the snow!

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