Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. If you, like most people, are looking for something different to treat you and your loved one to, why not try a different holiday destination?
We spoke to Olivier Hannaert, Managing Director of Club Med, about which destinations are fabulous to visit in February.
Bintan Island, Indonesia
When South Africans talk about “a holiday in Asia” there is one firm favourite destination atop that list – Thailand. With its beautiful beaches, friendly people and variety of activities for all travel types, it’s not hard to see why it’s so loved.
But, there is another Asian destination that is quickly climbing the ranks of “best Asian holiday spot” among South Africans: Bintan Island in Indonesia. Bintan Island is truly a unique paradise with so much to offer couples, friends and families. The island is renowned as a wellness destination and provides refreshment to the minds and bodies of travellers who visit the island; and is a golfing paradise with its Ria Bintan golf course – one of the best in the world.
How long a flight from SA? A 10-hour direct flight from South Africa to Singapore, and then a 45 minute ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan island.
Travel tip: Why not add a city stopover in Singapore on your way into or out of Bintan Island? The best of both – city and beach.
Main language/s: Bahasa Indonesia is still the main language at Riau Islands, but formerly Riau Islands are the birthplace of Malay language and it is an official standard from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. English is widely spoken in most holiday resorts in Bintan.
The 1988 Beach Boys song Kokomo, which featured in the movie Cocktail, mentions a place in the Caribbean called Kokomo. “We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow…” As it turns out, there’s no such place as Kokomo. However, all the places mentioned in the song do actually exist.
One of these seemingly fabled place is the island of Martinique, well known for its beautiful beaches, inviting ocean and sense of romance. Home to the "Paris of the Caribbean" as well as Mount Pelé, Martinique offers a variety of landscapes and activities. The island's luscious scenery makes a wonderful playing field for world class water skiing and wakeboarding.
How long a flight from SA? +-10 hour flight from South Africa to Paris where you’d then stopover in Paris, and then hop onto a plane for an 8.5 hour flight from Paris to Martinique.
Travel tip: There are no direct flights from South Africa to Martinique, so why not spend a day or two in Paris on your way to Martinique?
Official language: French is the regional language, as well as Creole, but English is spoken at most holiday resorts.
Cancun is on the south east coast of Mexico, stretching out towards Cuba on the Yucatan Peninsula. Its name has become synonymous with partying and the high life, but this part of Mexico is also privy to some ancient ruins, beautiful beaches and relaxing luxury resorts. Club Med Cancún Yucatán is the ultimate all-inclusive family resort located at the tip of Mexico’s iconic Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo.
Alongside three white sand beaches and the world’s second largest coral reef, between the Caribbean Sea and the lagoon, Club Med Cancún Yucatán, offers an extensive array of water and land sports and easy access to the ancient Mayan wonders. February is one of the first very dry months in this part of the Caribbean so the chances of even a short downpour are much lowered as well – meaning, magnificent weather for most of the month.
How long a flight from SA? +-17 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta (USA, on Delta airlines) and then a 2.5 hour connecting flight to Cancun.
Travel tip: There are no direct flights from South Africa to Cancun, which allows you the opportunity to add a few days in your connecting city. Options include spending time in: Paris (if you fly Air France); Amsterdam (if you fly KLM); Sao Paolo (if you fly Latin America Airlines – LATAM); Atlanta (if you fly Delta airlines).
Official language: Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Mexico, but English is their second language (particularly in the main holiday areas which are frequented by English-speaking travellers).