Incentive travel will return with intimate groups, wellness activities and outdoor pursuits. Here are some ideas to get started
Xperience Singapore’s Crazy Rich Asians Tour
While the hype surrounding popular film Crazy Rich Asians has calmed, tours inspired by the movie remain a wealth of rich cultural experiences for visitors to Singapore. In Xperience Singapore’s take of a behind-the-scenes journey, participants will visit a number of movie locations that also hold historical and cultural significance. These include the Gothic chapel CHIJMES and Newton Circus Food Centre with its Michelin-listed hawker stalls.
Finally, in a rare opportunity, guests can also partake in a private mahjong session with an expert. A gamble between four persons, mahjong is no longer played in public, making it almost inaccessible to visitors. The two-hour tours are kept small and intimate, ranging from two to a maximum of five individuals at a given time.
Sunrise at Mount Bromo and Breakfast on the Savannah
This two-day trip starts from Surabaya, where upon arrival at Juanda International Airport, delegates will be transferred to Cemorolawang Village near Mount Bromo for an overnight stay at the local hotel.
Guests will be then hop into a 4WD jeep at 03.00 to the Penanjakan view point to watch the sunrise, before continuing to the mountain’s crater, followed by a pony ride before climbing 245 stairs to the summit. After that exercise, delegates will be brought to a quiet area for a freshly-prepared breakfast served picnic-style.
Under new health regulations, group sizes will be limited to 15, while the jeep will accommodate only two instead of four.
Wildlife Encounters in Sabah
This two-day programme by Borneo Trails to Sandakan and the Kinabatangan River in Sukau, Malaysia is ideal for those who want to get away from the city.
It starts with a tour to see two endangered species, the orangutan and the Borneo sun bear at their respective rehabilitiation centres. At both centres, delegates will be briefed on what Sabah is doing to rehabilitate these animals so that they can be released back into the wild.
This is followed by a two-hour drive to Sukau, and a stay at the eco-friendly 12-room Borneo Nature Lodge, located along the Kinabatangan River. Guests can opt for a day or night cruise with an experienced guide to spot local wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, wild cats and hornbills.
This is suitable for small groups of up to 20 people, and with advance notice, companies will also be given the option to book the entire resort for the ultimate privacy.
Jetski Island Adventure Excursion
The four-hour jet ski excursion offered by Mega Water Sports explores the natural beauty of the southern islands of Langkawi, which is a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The experienced guide will share knowledge of what Malaysia’s Langkawi Geopark is about, the limestone formations along the way, as well as point out wildlife sightings of eagles, hornbills, long tailed macaques and dusky leaf langurs. A stop at a secluded island for delegates to swim and relax on the beach is also included.
This activity can take a maximum of 40 people at one time, split into four groups of 10 people on five jet skis.
Khmer Party in Chhreav Village
The Khmer people hold a gathering every year in the countryside to celebrate the rice harvest. Asian Trails can arrange for groups of between 26 to 60 to partake in the outdoor traditional event in Chhreav Village, a 20-minute drive from Siem Reap. It will be an evening of gastronomical delights and local cultural experiences.
The group will be able to taste Khmer cuisine, where the dining area is set up around a local craft market with stalls in wooden cottages. After eating their fill, guests will be able to try their hand at a sculpture workshop, making baskets, milling rice, shadow-puppet making, or fishing. There will also be a Bokator – Cambodian martial art demonstration – and a chance to dance to traditional music.
The Vietage, a 12-guest carriage, has launched luxury railway journeys through the Vietnamese countryside linking Danang and Quy Nhon.
It journeys for six hours between Anantara Hoi An Resort and Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, passing through local villages, the rural countryside, and stops at a few stations on the way.
Amenities onboard the custom-designed carriage include a sit-up bar, and a dedicated area with spa treatment chairs. An à la carte menu also offers premium wines, champagnes and treats such as local caviar and cheeses, all available for pre-purchase.
The Vietage runs for 11 months each year, taking a break during the annual Vietnamese Tet holiday period.
Local Alike “Covid Therapy” Activities
Ethically-conscious community-based tourism enterprise Local Alike in Thailand has debuted a series of six post-Covid therapy activities.
They are Aural Therapy through folk music and the sound of nature in Chiang Mai; Endless Horizon Visual Therapy in a village nestled in the mountains of Mae Hong Sorn; Breath of Life Oxygen Therapy in Chulapornpattana local community in Yala; Eat Well to Live Well Therapeutic Gastronomy at a community in Rayong; Forest Bathing to revitalise the body at Baan Rai Jai Kaew organic farm with an included homestay; and Spiritual Therapy Path to Peace in Lamphoon.
Each trip is usually 2D/1N long but can be customised according to a group’s preference, and is limited to 20 pax or less.
9 Hornbills Tented Camp
Probably no form of accommodation is more suited to social distancing than glamping, and the secluded, adults-only 9 Hornbills Tented Camp on Ko Yao Noi Island in Thailand will take all the bite out of the necessary health and safety measure.
The seven tented villas here open out to a view of the sea, and each dwelling boasts its own private infinity pool where floating breakfast platters and butler service are order of the day. Groups that book out the entire resort will have the property’s private beach all to themselves.
Snooze in a beachside hammock, snag a kayak or paddle board and hit the water, or rent motorbikes or bicycles to explore the island. Teambuilding activities or local explorations can also be organised by the resort, or through its partner, Khiri Travel.
Soneva Fushi Island Buyout
Soneva Fushi, a luxury beach resort in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll, recently released an Island Buyout Offer.
Prices start from US$100,000++ per night, and are inclusive of accommodation in any of the one- to nine-bedroom villas for as many people as an event planner desires. However, prices do not include meals, experiences or transfers.
Guests will be able to watch films at the outdoor Cinema Paradiso, saunter into any restaurant at any given time of the day for a bite, head to the spa for a soothing scrub, cycle on trails through the island jungle, snorkel with manta rays, or just laze by the beach with a cocktail in hand.
Pure Adventure with Nature
This five-day, four-night programme in New Zealand’s Queenstown is packed to the brim with all the adrenaline activities one could dream of.
Planners will have a slew of land and water activities to choose from, ranging from bungee jumping and skydiving to whitewater rafting and horse riding. Winners will also be brought to restaurants such as Waikatipu Grille and Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, to taste dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients.
There will be a chance to interact with the Maoris, and work with the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust, a volunteer-led community organisation that aims to protect and restore the native biodiversity of the region through revegetation projects. Group sizes range from 20 to 120 pax.
Lamma Fisherfolks’ Village
Situated on Lamma Island, the 1,858m2 floating exhibition area is the only venue in Hong Kong that preserves the local fisherfolk culture and history of the fishering industry.
Participants can discover what life was like on the island, through various exhibits and activities such as hook-less fishing, traditional net fishing, cocktail mixing with preserved salted tangerine, or even Hakka tea pudding class in just half a day.
The open-air setting is a plus as groups can be split up and take part in different activities simultaneously. It should be avoided during the typhoon season, as well as on the weekends as it gets crowded with locals.
Sideline programmes like hiking and cultural tours at So Kwu Wan are also offered, while in the summer, guests can even try their hand at dragonboat paddling.
Geopark Wonders Walk
Sharp Island in Hong Kong – a UNESCO Global Geopark – is a long and narrow south-north island located a stone’s throw from Sai Kung Town Centre.
A three-hour tour, led by a certified EcoGuide, will take visitors on a hike around the island to look at various kinds of igneous rocks, such as volcanic breccia, quartz monzonite and rhyolite.
Visitors will also get to see evidence of a huge ancient caldera – it is believe that around 140 million years ago a volcano was located in Sai Kung – and walk across a tombolo (a sand bar) to another smaller island.
The tour is available all year round, with summer tipped as a good season for photos and clear blue sky and sea. Group sizes range from two, to a maximum of 10.