'Fly & flop' is a bit of a dirty word in the Selective Asia office, as we don't typically sell pure beach holidays - there's much more to Asia than sand and sunloungers, so we make sure our journeys are well balanced between sights, activities, rest and recuperation. But Asia boasts some of the world's finest coastlines, and every holiday ought to have some time by the water - it's good for the soul, after all!
That leaves three questions - which beach (there are thousands of great ones to pick from!), how long to spend on it, and where to fit it into your itinerary.
People tend to assume that the beach bit of a holiday must always come last, but that's really not the case. In fact, there are many good reasons to do beach stuff first, before you head off touring or trekking.
Put it this way - would you rather get off your long haul flight from the stresses of daily life and go straight into a tour... or straight to the beach for a couple of days?
Leaving the beach til last often means that you'll be doing the more energy-hungry touring first, when you should really be in R&R. This is especially true for families, who may need longer to adjust to the new habitat, and honeymooners also quickly grasp the benefits of going straight to the beach after the stress of organising an important family event.
There are other pragmatic benefits of moving the beach from the end, too. Put it in the middle and you'll often benefit from at least one less internal flight, cut costs by hundreds and allow your itinerary to flow more naturally from place to place.
Sometimes, geographically speaking, the beach will be at the end of your journey - for example if you're travelling from the centre of a country to its coast. In these cases it does make sense to keep the beach til last, but perhaps still take a break on arrival by spending a night or two in a peaceful retreat, such as the An Lam Saigon River in HCMC, or the Siam in Bangkok (beware - you might be tempted to forget the balanced itinerary and spend a fortnight at either of these!). This is a great option if you want a short stint of R&R when there's no beach in easy reach.
Of course, if you want beach at the end of your holiday we'll make sure you get it, but don't do it because you think you have to.
The experience of weighing up all the alternatives when we're at the tailoring stage of an itinerary is often really beneficial for our existing clients - they start to see the possibilities, and how we can help to make their holiday their own.
Thailand – Pranburi – 2 hours drive from Bangkok Airport – Anantara Hua Hin Resort
Vietnam - Ho Tram – 2 hours drive from Ho Chi Minh City Airport – Ho Tram Beach Boutique Resort & Spa
Sri Lanka – Bentota - 1½ hours drive from Colombo Airport – Rock Villa
If you'd like to contact Ed or any of our other Destination Specialists about tailoring your own Asia itinerary, get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 1273 670 001.