Vietnam Time

7/4/2018 9:39:38 AM

Vietnam’s Sapa among cool weather holiday destinations for Singaporeans

Why wait for winter or travel far for cooler climates? From the Vietnamese mountain town of Sapa to the Philippines’ ‘summer capital’ of Baguio, CNA Lifestyle lists some of the region’s best sweater weather destinations Singaporeans can visit right now.

Sapa in Vietnam. (Photo: Pixabay/thanhtungo)

SAPA, VIETNAM

Located 350 northwest of Hanoi, this quaint mountain town enjoys cool weather throughout the year – it rarely goes above 25 degrees Celsius and it never drops below 17 degree Celsius even during the “hottest” periods between June and August. Your best bet for a chilly holiday would be from November to February, with average high temperatures of between 17 and 11 degrees.

Travel folks sell their wares at the Bac Ha Sunday market in Sapa. (Photo: sapa-tourism.com)

Once there, you can enjoy trekking through the Hoang Lien National Park, and catching a glimpse of Vietnam’s highest peak, Fan Si Pan, as well as views of terraced rice paddies. There are also lots of highland tribal culture to be seen, at villages such as Cat Cat and Ta Phin, as well as in markets. It also has its own colonial history – French military and missionaries set up camp here in the 19th century.

CAMERON HIGHLANDS, MALAYSIA

For Singaporeans, this famous hill station in Pahang is the most obvious cool holiday alternative, with temperatures consistently hovering in highs of around 24 degrees Celsius and lows of 15 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

Cameron Highlands might be best known for its tea estates, including that of popular brand Boh Tea, but there are many other things to keep you busy. There’s a golf course; its climate makes it perfect for produce like strawberries and flowers (as well as butterflies and honeybees); and a memorabilia museum. Nature-lovers can go up Peninsular Malaysia’s highest point, Gunung Brinchang and explore the “mossy forest”. You can also hop on a Land Rover for a tour to see the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia and visit a tribal village.

Kundasang in Sabah, Malaysia. (Photo: Wikipedia)

KUNDASANG, MALAYSIA

Over at East Malaysia is this small resort town in Sabah, near the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mount Kinabalu National Park. If you don’t mind a potentially wet holiday thanks to the regular rainfall, the average temperature here is at a consistent 20 degrees Celsius all year round. It rarely goes above 24 degrees Celsius and drops to 16 degrees Celsius at night.

Located 2km above sea level, the temperate climate makes it conducive for plantations and farms – so you’ll get a lot of fresh veggies here. But there’s not much to do (there’s a World War II memorial, if you want) but it can be a jumping off point to Mount Kinabalu.

CIPANAS, INDONESIA

Don’t let its name deceive you – this village is far from being panas (which means "hot" in Bahasa Indonesia). Situated in the valley of Mount Gede in West Java – around 86km from Jakarta – it has an average temperature of 19 degrees Celsius and rarely goes beyond 25 degrees Celsius. If you want to snuggle up at night, better start planning – the temperature drops to 13 degrees Celsius during the months of July, August and September.

So what’s with the name? It’s actually Sundanese for “hot spring” and there are a few in the area, which indicates that it was a health retreat for the colonials back in the day. And today, it continues to be a popular destination for Jakartans. Popular attractions include the Taman Bunga Nusantara, a 23 hectare garden filled with all types of flora; a Rabbit Village (wee!) and the area’s very own Little Venice.

Baguio in the Philippines. (Photo: baguio.gov.ph)

BAGUIO, PHILIPPINES

Located in the mountainous region of the northern part of the country, Baguio been nicknamed the Summer Capital of the Philippines. It has served as popular getaway for locals since its early roots as an American colonial hill station in the early 1900. Temperatures rarely rise above the early 20s and can even drop to 13 degrees Celsius at night during the months of January and February.

Sagada in the Philippines. (Photo: Pixabay/rmac8oppo)

It used to be a sleepy university town back in the day, but has since evolved into a crowded must-go destination. The city is known for a lot of things - it has one of the coolest contemporary art scenes in the country and a reconstructed village called Tam-Awan, where you can learn more about the Philippines’ northern tribal culture. It’s also the jumping-off point for a trip to the more laidback hippie-vibe town of Sagada, which is famous for its traditional hanging coffins.

Alishan in Taiwan (China). (Photo: Pixabay/zhanghongxin)

ALISHAN, TAIWAN

Okay, so this isn’t actually in Southeast Asia but it’s still within a pretty reasonable five-hour trip radius. The mountain township is located southwest of Taipei and enjoys both deliciously cool weather and pesky rain. Around this time, the temperature peaks at 24 degrees Celsius but gradually dips down as the months go by. For a super cold experience, December to February is your best bet, with highs of 16 degrees Celsius and on-second-thought-lets-stay-indoors lows of 6 degrees Celsius.

It’s considered a base for trekkers and mountain climbers but there are other attractions, such as the YuYuPas Tsou cultural tribe park and the Jiao Lung waterfall, the couuntry’s tallest. An excellent, scenic way to experience the place is by hopping on an Alishan Forest Railway train that takes you up and through the misty woody area./.

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