8 of the hottest Asian winter retreats

8 of the hottest Asian winter retreats

Sit out the winter by boiling in Bangkok, heating up in Ho Chi Minh or marinating in Manila

As the mercury continues to drop in other parts of the world, here's a list of places in Asia with the most sweltering winters.

1. Bangkok, Thailand

January average maximum: 32 degrees Celsius
Bangkok Beer Garden
The mercury may stay at stubborn highs in Bangkok in January, but if locals say it’s winter, we’re not going to burst their bubble. 


2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

January average maximum: 32 degrees Celsius
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s best winter weather usually falls in January, with the rainy season out of the way, and toasty sunshine for most days.

Many locals take to the streets during Thaipusam, a Hindu holiday of penance and thanksgiving that falls on January 30. The street processions in Kuala Lumpur, led by a jeweled chariot, is a spectacle; as are the worshipping masses at the Batu Caves near the capital.

Alternatively, join the bargain-hunting masses at the city-wide End of Year Sale which ends on January 2.

Check out the Top 10 places to spend your 2010 Christmas.


3. Manila, Philippines

January average maximum: 30 degrees Celsius
Monsoon-free, with average temperatures not dropping below 21 degrees, January is a great time to visit Manila.

Most major towns and cities in the Philippines hold street processions for Santo Nino, the Child Jesus, throughout January.

In Tondo, Manila, young Ati-Atihan performers will traditionally dance on the streets and the city will host a string of masses held for the patron saint.


4. Singapore

January average maximum: 30 degrees Celsius
Visitors to Singapore in January will find it hard not to run into one arts event or another. M1 Singapore Fringe runs from January 5 to 16 with free and ticketed performance art showcases on the lineup.

Art Stage Singapore, which is held from January 12 to 16 at the Marina Bay Sands, is an inaugural art fair featuring exhibitions by over 90 galleries around the globe.


5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Average January maximum: 32 degrees Celsius
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh has tropical climes all year round, but those who want to duck the typhoons and rainstorms might want to visit in December and January, the start of the region’s dry season.

The French colonial architecture along Saigon’s four main boulevards Dong Khoi, Nguyen Hue, Le Loi and Le Duan will be lit up in celebration for Tet festival (or Lunar New Year) starting January 26.

The Nguyen Hue Flower Street on Nguyen Hue Boulevard will open for a week from January 31 onwards.

Read about the 10 top ski resorts to visit this winter.


6. Goa, India

Average January maximum: 32 degrees Celsius
Goa, India
January is smack in the middle of Goa’s peak season so if you're planning to visit, it pays to book a room well in advance.

But visiting Goa when everyone else does has its advantages. The skies are mostly clear and the waters are placid from November to March, making it a prime time to hit the beaches and get your fill of water sports.


7. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Average January maximum: 31 degrees Celsius
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
January is one of Phnom Penh's more pleasant months, characterized by less humidity and light breezes. Those who have done Phnom Penh's pagodas, markets and museums might want to check online listings sites like Ladypenh.com to see where best to experience the city’s nightlife.


8. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Average January maximum: 30 degrees Celsius
Colombo, Sri Lanka
The capital of Sri Lanka has balmy climes all year round, making it an ideal quick winter getaway. The Galle Face Green Promenade, which runs adjacent to the Indian Ocean, offers an unforgettable sunset-watching experience, while the Pettah Market is a bazaar to satisfy all kinds of shopping impulses.

For all its attractions, however, visiting Colombo is not for the faint hearted. Although fighting between the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE (or “Tamil Tigers”) ceased in May 2009, the country remains under the threat of political violence and terrorism.

Travelers should check for current government warnings before going.