Asia Vacation Destinations for 2016: Our 4 Picks

Note: Reading this in 2017 or 2018? All of the destinations we’ve listed below are still just as good as they were last year. In fact, new hotels, attractions and things to do mean that many are even better than before

It’s almost the end of the year, and vacation season is fast approaching. Here are our five picks for destinations that offer the best mix of convenience, natural beauty and adventure:


An old, reliable favorite, Bali is one of Asia’s most versatile destinations. There’s great surfing, a massive selection of excellent beaches, world class diving, cultural activities, great nightlife… and — well, lots more. If you’re searching for a place that does everything very well, it’s hard to look past one of Asia’s most enchanting islands. Just pick somewhere other than Kuta to stay.

Recommended resource: Bali Guide


Huh? Pattaya, of all places? What was once Thailand’s capital of all things seedy is quickly becoming one of Southeast Asia’s best seaside cities. Pattaya is now home to one of Thailand’s top hotels, the Hilton Pattaya, and boasts a variety of great resorts just outside the city. If you’re popping into Bangkok for a few days, there’s no reason not to make the short trip here.

Recommended resource: Guest Friendly Hotels Pattaya


Japan’s second city, Osaka doesn’t have quite as much to offer in terms of glitz when compared to capital Tokyo, but it makes up for it with a friendly atmosphere and plenty of unique sights of its own. Just be prepared to pack a coat, since the December/January weather can get pretty darn cold.

Recommended resource: Osaka Info


An old favorite, Singapore is one of Asia’s best destinations for people that love a smooth, clean and streamlined experience. From shopping on Orchard Road to enjoying the activities available on Sentosa Island, Singapore has something to offer for every visitor.

Recommended resource: Singapore-Guide


Dubai has grown rapidly over the past two decades, transforming itself from a minor city into a global phenomenon. From Jumeirah Beach to the myriad of shopping malls, supertall buildings and incredible attractions like the spectacular Dubai Fountain, Dubai has a lot to offer as a summer (or all year, really, as it’s never cold) vacation destination.

Just be aware that despite Dubai’s reputation as a place to relax, party and have fun, it’s still quite a conservative country. If you’re travelling with an unmarried partner, double check that your hotel is unmarried guest friendly before you book to avoid a frustrating experience once you arrive.

Recommended resource: The Sophisticated Life’s Dubai Guide for First-Time Visitors

5 Travel Accessories You Can’t Afford to Leave Behind

Planning a vacation soon? Here are the five travel accessories I never leave home without:

  • A good backpack. I’m not talking about a huge “backpacking” backpack, but a backpack that’s small enough to bring on the plane as carry-on luggage. Choose something with enough interior space for a change of clothes, your tablet, a few books and your usual everyday carry — it will help out a lot for day trips and adventures.
  • A reversible belt. Belts don’t take up much space in your suitcase, but packing them can be a major annoyance. They’re soft and take damage easily when your suitcase is bumped or knocked over, and there’s no need to pack two when you only need one. Choose a simple reversible leather belt with brown on one side and black on the other — it will look good with jeans or, if it’s a little smaller, fit in well in a formal setting.
  • A good compact camera. A DSLR might take better quality photos, but there’s nothing more annoying than carrying around a bulky full frame camera with you. Pick a compact camera with a large sensor, like my personal favorite the Ricoh GR.
  • Good headphones, preferably noise cancelling ones. From long flights to bus trips, having a pair of headphones and some good albums makes even the longest haul trips much more tolerable. TechRadar’s list of the best noise cancelling headphones is a good place to start your shopping efforts.
  • A hygiene and toiletries kit. Packing your toothbrush, deodorant, medications and other essentials is much easier with a convenient kit. Amazon has a great selection of toiletry bags, most of which are priced at $20 or less.

Ready to travel? Pack the five essentials listed above and you’ll be better prepared for any trip, whether you’re visiting a nearby city or spending several weeks touring an entire continent.

How to Run a Marathon

  • Start training early. I spent six months training for my first marathon and wish I had spent a year on it. The longer you train before the event, the better you’ll feel on the day (and the better you’ll run).
  • Seriously, make sure you don’t have injuries. If you have any slight injuries from years past, they will all come out during the event. Get everything checked — not just the obvious sports injuries, but things like your blood pressure.
  • Just like you started training early, start dieting early. You can run a marathon while you’re overweight, but it will hurt. Expect sore joints and a much harder time keeping a good pace. Runners World has a great diet guide for newbies interested in getting into shape from a nutritional perspective.
  • Cover your nipples. Seriously! Marathon runners can develop something called a fissure of the nipple caused by friction. The end result is pain, plus nasty stains on your favorite running gear. I recommend wearing a compression vest (LANBAOSI has a good, affordable one) to avoid any chafing. For women, silicone nipple covers (the type you wear with a backless dress) are also a good choice.
  • Take it easy on the carb loading. Yes, you need energy. No, you don’t need to eat like a pig. Change your habits suddenly before the race and you’ll feel awful once you get off the starting line.
  • After you do it, feel proud of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your achievement. You did something very few people ever do. Even if you walked, you still made it across the finish line.

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