Photo by: xiquinhosilva

Asia is the most populated and crowded continent on earth, so weekend retreats have become not just a fun idea, but an absolute necessity. National Parks and mountain hideaways see lots of honeymooners and wealthy locals and expats. Many destinations are classical colonial cities that were built by French, British, or Portuguese settlers to escape the heat and crowds of Asian cities. Others are modern, futuristic resorts and spa complexes like Macau, Asia’s version of Las Vegas.

  1. Macau, China China’s Las Vegas is just forty miles west of Hong Kong, across the Pearl River Delta. Luxury hotels, casinos, beaches, colonial architecture, and the latest in Chinese modernity.
  2. Himalayan Hill Stations, India These hill stations such as Nainital and Musoorie Himalayas were built by the British in the foothills to escape the intoxicating heat and crowds of New Delhi and other Indian cities. Today they are lined with charming inns, honeymooners, and peaceful overlooks.
  3. Nearby Islands, Singapore Within an hour ferry ride from Asia’s favorite city state there are dozens of tropical island escapes favored by expats. You’ll find beaches, camp grounds, bungalows, parks, picnic areas, and a complete escape from the crowded streets.
  4. Goa, India The urban middle and upper classes of Mumbai have one place on their minds every weekend when they need to get out of the city: Goa. The white sandy beaches frequented by foreigners and partiers are the best escape from the sweltering heat and crowds of the city.
  5. Cat Ba Island, Vietnam This small island in Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage site, is just a short trip from the noise of Hanoi. Not much to do but walk the beaches, eat seafood, and explore the surrounding islands and caves.
  6. Da Lat, Vietnam This cool mountain hamlet centered by a small lake surrounded by colonial mansions and has been an escape for foreigners and wealthy Vietnamese from the city for more than a century.
  7. Tama Region, Japan Just an hour west of Tokyo’s concrete jungle sits breathtaking mountains and gurgling streams. Stay at a lodge on Mount Takao, visit the monkey park, or hike around Mount Fuji.
  8. Fuchun, China The most exclusive golf and spa resort in mainland China was inspired by a 700-year-old painting. The complex here sits just 80 minutes from Shanghai by train.
  9. Khao Yai National Park, Thailand Waterfalls, posh resorts, and searching for wild elephants, monkeys, and tigers; plus the short distance from Bangkok makes this world heritage sight the most visited national park in Thailand.
  10. Kanchanaburi, Thailand The Bridge over the River Kwai is not just a song or movie, but an actual bridge in this charming retreat from Bangkok with a Tiger Temple, boat restaurants, a WWII museum, and loads of clean air.