The Sukosol, Bangkok

Be it shopping, flopping by the pool, an island sojourn or a city break, the neighbours can assist.


Go for the food, people and direct flights to Bangkok and Phuket. The newest hotel in Bangkok, The Sukosol, is celebrating flinging open its doors with happy-hour cocktails, free dinner at its restaurant, Patummat, late checkout and wi-fi. Choose a Club Siam deluxe room and save $120 on stays until March 30. Costs from $320 for two nights. +66 0 2247 0123,
Koh Samui, on the Gulf of Thailand, can be reached from Bangkok, Singapore, Phuket or Pattaya. Book a two-night Escape to Samui package in the top-of-the-line sanctuary pool villa at the Banyan Tree Samui and save on the best rate. You’ll get a set dinner at the Banyan’s Saffron restaurant, hydrotherapy sessions for two, a honey and milk bath, daily breakfast and transfers. Costs from 82,150 baht ($2560) a villa, which sleeps four, for two-night stays until March 31. 1800 050 019,
Trisara, a resort about 15 minutes’ drive from Phuket’s airport, is where eight people can stay in a four-bedroom ocean-front suite with chef, butler and driver, food and beverages, transfers and unlimited spa treatments. There’s a helicopter tour over Phuket and a day’s sailing on a private yacht through the beautiful Phan Nga Bay, too. Available until April 30. Costs from $25,110 for eight people for two nights. +66 76 310 100,


Jean-Michele Cousteau Resort
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is set on the northern island of Vanua Levu. The resident marine biologist will help you explore the beauty of Fiji’s underwater world on snorkelling trips, night dives and seashore walks. Stay six nights, pay for four in a garden-view bure, and receive six dives and three massages as well. Bures can accommodate up to two adults and two children under 13. The package includes all meals and the resort has a kids’ club. Save $3110 on stays from now until December 21 and January 7-March 31. Costs from $4296 for six nights. 1300 306 171,
Likuliku Lagoon Resort, voted Fiji’s top resort this year, is modelled on a traditional village – if villages had over-water bures, plunge pools and private bathing pavilions. Stay five nights and get the sixth night free, until March 31. Costs from $2271 a person. +679 672 0978,*Please note: Likuliku Lagoon Resort was badly damaged by Cyclone Evan and will not be reopening until March 2013.


Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa has a 30 per cent discount on seven-night stays, with breakfast and a massage thrown in, if booked by December 25 for travel until March 31. Samoa is heading into the rainy season. Costs from $1666 a villa. +685 25191,
Phuket, Thailand

Cook Islands

The Little Polynesian Resort in Rarotonga is the place from which to throw your watch into the turquoise waters and relax. The resort’s ares (villas) are by the beach and usually cost from $460 a night. Stay three nights, pay for two, if booked by December 10 for travel until May 31 (excludes stays from December 21 to January 13). Costs from $920 for three nights. +682 24280,


Villa Kubu is down a quiet gang (laneway) in the heart of Seminyak. Stay four nights, pay for three, or stay seven nights and pay for five, until March 15 (excluding December 15- January 8). Costs from $US245 ($235) a night for a one-bedroom villa with a plunge pool. +62 361 738 905,


The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. Stay each fourth night for free, with free daily breakfast, when booking the hotel’s Sunshine on Sale deal (excludes December 26- January 4). Costs from $US1035 for four nights. 13 12 34,


The Warwick Le Lagon resort in Port Vila has a four-night deal. The package includes return economy airfares with Air Vanuatu, breakfast and spa discounts. Book now for travel until December 14, or from January 16 to March 13. Costs from $1445 a person, twin share. 13 13 81,


Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka are on the itinerary of a seven-day Raw Japan tour that usually costs from $1520 a person, twin share. Book by December 31 for a January 20 departure into Japan’s rather chilly winter and the tour costs from $1064 a person. Tour begins and ends in Tokyo and includes taking the Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto and two days spent in Osaka. 1300 791 485,


The Hard Rock Hotel, on Batu Ferringhi beach on the resort island of Penang, has 250 rooms, wi-fi, iPod docks, CD and DVD players and satellite TV. The hotel also has a kids’ club and club for teenagers, pool, spa and gym. Batu Ferringhi hosts a lively night market, is a popular site for parasailing and windsurfing, and has street eats and upscale dining venues aplenty. The Hard Rock’s Rockin’ Internet Deal is a discount of up to 40 per cent on the standard room rate. Costs from $167 a night.

Hong Kong

One of the hottest shopping destinations on the planet, Hong Kong is on the boil, while little sister, Macau, makes for a perfect side trip. The Mandarin Oriental’s Christmas Extravaganza package includes a two-night stay in the oriental presidential suite at its second-tier hotel, The Excelsior, and a third night free at the Mandarin Oriental, Macau. Includes massages, transfers, champagne and hampers, gift cards and bathrobes. Normally $9753, save up to 35 per cent when staying between December 20 and January 1. Costs $7173 for three nights. 1800 123 693,

Sri Lanka

Deep inside, you’re a surf goddess and yoga goddess, too. If in doubt, head to Sri Lanka to make it happen. Surf Goddess Retreats is running two eight-day programs (from January 4 to 11 and January 14-21) that include daily yoga sessions, surf lessons, all equipment, six hours of spa treatments, cultural exploration, accommodation and meals. Costs $US2595 a person, save $US500. The retreat’s villa is near Unawatuna, about five kilometres south of Galle on Sri Lanka’s south-western tip, and is a short tuk-tuk ride from several beaches (for beginner surfers) and reef breaks (for advanced surfers). Galle Harbour was the island’s key southern entry point, and its fort, built by Portuguese and then Dutch colonisers in the 16th and 17th centuries, is a World Heritage


You’ll rarely be outdone in, say, a dinner party conversation when you say you spent the Christmas break trekking remote mountain paths, crossing glaciers, traversing valleys and climbing passes to arrive at Everest Base Camp. This 15-day journey begins and ends in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, and includes a flight to Lukla, before participants trek between teahouses and monasteries to the base camp. Save $216 if booked by December 24 for travel on December 29. Costs $1219. Maximum group size is 12, minimum age of trekkers is 16 and accommodation includes 12 nights spent at teahouses. 1300 018 871,

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald