Freelance writer, mum of two who loves living in sunny Perth.
Published June 18th 2012
Top 5 Holiday Destinations for Australian Travellers
Whilst Perth is one of the world's most isolated cities, there is something to be said about its lonely location on Australia's western coastline, and its proximity to some great holiday hot spots in Asia. With so many airlines opening up new routes to Asia and adding to their existing timetable, its often as cheap to fly out to Asia as it is to fly interstate. Check out these top 5 fabulous holiday destinations easily accessible from Perth as a taster for what is on our doorstep.
Head overseas from Perth to some great holiday hotspots
Probably one of the most frequented holiday hot spots in Asia for Perth folk based on a short flight time (approx 4 hours) and the plenitude of accommodation choices available to suit all budgets and tastes. The party animals seem to choose (and dominate) Kuta, but there are plenty of other choices for those who want a quieter holiday or those travelling with kids. For families, the areas of Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Legian, Tanjung Benoa and Sanur are very popular and there are a number of resorts in these areas offering kids clubs in addition to family rooms and multi bedroom suites.
For the more intrepid of travellers, and for those wanting to taste a little more of the 'real balinese culture', you might want to head a little further afield to Ubud. Located 35km inland from Densapar Airport, the journey there will take you about an hour. However, this is enough time to take you into the real Bali where you'll have slightly cooler temperature and be able to view and purchase beautiful hand crafts and art work in addition to being rewarded with stunning views of the lush countryside. If you're travelling to Ubud with kids, a great tourist attraction here is the Ubud Monkey Forest where you can take a wander through a beautiful park with a populous of around 600 monkeys for you to take pictures of or hand feed.
Another popular tourist attraction in Bali is the Marine and Safari Park which is a must if you have children. The park provides you lots of opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of animals including the chance to feed elephants. The 'marine' element of the park is a little overrated, but the safari aspect of the park certainly makes up for this.
Flights available with Garuda Airlines, Qantas, Jet Star, Air Asia
With a flight time of around 5 hours, Singapore has been a popular stopover on the way to Perth for many a year. However, due to the investment in some fantastic tourist attractions over recent times, Singapore has become a destination where a weekend or a few days is no longer enough. Of particular note, Sentosa Island has recently added the popular Universal Studios to its list of attractions, to compliment its existing choices featuring a butterfly park, mega zip adventure, nature discovery centre, cable cars, sky tower, underwater world and dolphin lagoon to name but a few. Away from Sentosa, downtown Singapore has retained its reputation as a tax free shopping haven for overseas visitors, with fabulous malls and fantastic markets; a great place to get your designer buys cheaply and to source the latest gadgets and technology. Don't forget to head to Orchard Road for the renowned Singapore Sales, which are held usually between the end of May and end of July, yearly. Your best buys will be clothing and accessories.
One of the festivals in Singapore very popular with visitors
If you're travelling with children, another star attraction is the Singapore Zoo which houses animals from all over the world in addition to running the famed Night Safari, where you can visit the zoo after hours and take a safari tour through the darkness, spotting nocturnal animals as they wander past your safari bus. This is an absolute must.
Singapore has accommodation to suit a variety of tastes and budgets, and the best buys can be found on price comparison websites such as Agoda, Asia Rooms or Asia Hotels.
Direct flights available from Perth with Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Jet Star, Tiger Airways.
With cheap flights available direct to Kuala Lumpur (KL), and a variety of connecting flights available thereafter to take you onto the fabulous beach resorts, Malaysia offers something for everyone.
Shopping malls are giant here; some even include theme parks
Flight times to KL are just over 5 hours from Perth and from there you can take a quick flight to some of Malaysia's other top spots. If you're staying in KL popular attractions include the shopping, the Petronas Towers, temples and family attractions such as the famous bird park. Many travellers will fit in a couple of days retail therapy in KL before jetting off to the beach. Popular beach spots include Langkawi and Penang on Malaysia's west that are popular with honeymooners and families alike.
Crossing over to the east coast, Redang has become something of a luxury snorkelling haven, with its eastern neighbour of the Perhentian islands providing great diving spots for the more budget friendly traveller. For the non sun worshipper, Malaysia has plenty to offer and the avid walker with nature lovers particularly favourting the trails of the Cameron Highlands, with views of the tea plantations, strawberry fields and the gorgeous lush vegetation. If beautiful countryside is your thing, a visit to Taman Negara is also a must; one of the finest parks in South East Asia, walks and treks around this park will show you the most beautiful vistas of flora, fauna, waterfalls and rivers. Not one for small children, but older families and independent travellers will adore.
Direct flights from KL can also take you over to the Eastern Malaysian state of Sabah where recent years have seen Kota Kinabalu grow as a tourist destination, offering a centre for visitors to base themselves whilst exploring Sabah and Borneo. A great attraction to add to your to do list is the climb up Mount Kinabalu, Borneo's tallest mountain which is typically possible over a 2 day period.
There really is so much on offer in Malaysia and a multi destination holiday is a perfect way to fit in so much into your holiday time.
Great flights to Malaysia can be sought with Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia.
Bargain flights are available to Cambodia from many of the international airport hubs in Asia. I found an extremely cheap deal flying Air Asia from KL and this took me direct to Siem Reap, the gateway to the not to be missed Angkor archaeological site; containing the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire. For many, Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple complex in the world, is the jewel in the crown on their visit; but for me, my favourite temple complex was Angkor Thom with its main temple The Bayon leaving me speechless.
Many travellers spend just a day or so in this area, before departing to Cambodia's other great travel spots, such as Phnom Penh and Kampot and Kep, however, I happily spent a week in Siem Reap and just couldn't get enough of visiting temple after temple and enjoying the countryside. If temple hopping is your thing, book your accommodation close to Angkor so you can get a head start on the hoards of tourists that descend on the temples during the day. Cambodia is a great destination for a family holiday particularly if you've got some intrepid adventurers in your clan. There are many family appropriate accommodation options, and the people here are very welcoming to younger family members. As another plus point, the food is cheap and fantastic in Cambodia, especially the delightful bakeries.
Prior to travel, check out visa requirements and ensure that your passport is up to date. A tourist visa costs US$20 and requires a passport photo.
Visitors to Asia often summarise Thailand as the country that has it all and for all tastes, budgets and travel needs. To this end you'll find family resorts, luxury honeymoon options,budget friendly guest houses for the independent traveller and plenty of activities ranging from the gorgeous beaches, temples, tourist traps and more than enough lush landscapes and jungle esque hills for those wanting to explore off the beaten track.
Flights from Perth can take you straight to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, or you can bypass the country's capital and head on a direct flight from Perth to some of the beach resorts such as Phuket and Koh Samui.
Of its 10 million visitors a year, many of these repeat customers, so what keeps them coming back? I imagine it's no one thing but the heady combination of friendly smiley people, amazing food, beaches and islands to die for, the fact your western money goes really quite far and the beautiful sunshine.
The most popular beach resorts are Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, Krabi, Koh Samet but away from this list I should also add in the area of Khao Lak - very easily accessible to Perth folks with just a 45 minute transfer from Phuket.
Many travellers to Thailand that arrive in Bangkok, will spend some time exploring the temples, the Grand Palace and enjoying the bustling nightlife before making good use of the fantastic domestic flight connections available. Independent travellers make a bee line towards Chiang Mai for fabulous night markets in addition to mountain treks, elephant rides and river excursions.
Wanting to get a little further off the beaten track? Try heading to Koh Chang which plays home to the country's National Marine Park, and still retains some of the peaceful tranquillity untouched by mass tourism.
When travelling overseas, it's always good to learn a couple of local phrases to help you out. This is never more true than in Thailand, when a couple of 'sawadee kha's' and 'kob khun kha's' will genuinely make someone's day.
With so much to see and do in Asia, it's a destination you can go back to again and again to visit and still not have seen nearly enough. Check climate information before you travel so that you don't end up on the beach in the rainy season. Other than that, happy travels.