A breath of fresh air

Venues set in the great outdoors, offering attendees lush natural landscapes, free-flowing fresh air and plenty of space to network are gaining favour in a post-lockdown world. Here's a list of interesting options available in Asia-Pacific.

Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia
Hold a memorable gala dinner inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, with the ruins of either Prasat Kravan or Wat Thommanon as a stunning backdrop. A traditional Khmer feast can be prepared for a party of no more than 120 people. Complete the Cambodian experience with cultural Apsara dance performances, which utilise the vibrantly illuminated ruins as an enchanting backdrop.

Angkor Archaeological Park. Photo credit Jaya Catering

Gili Rooftop at Taronga Zoo, Australia
Set against a stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline, including the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, Gili Rooftop at Taronga Zoo is the ultimate showstopper for a business event.

Gili Rooftop has space for 90 guests for a banquet or 100 cocktail-style, and serves up sustainably-sourced and locally-produced dishes. After the day’s activities, groups have the option of wandering back to one of the 62 suites at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, and fall asleep to the sounds of nature on their doorstep.

Angkor Archaeological Park. Photo credit Jaya Catering

Halong Bay, Vietnam
Sail away in UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, and take in the natural landscape of towering limestone islands and calm, emerald waters before making landfall on a private beach for a seafood barbecue dinner.

Entertainment can be provided via a liveband or DJ, and the setting would be perfect for a 200-pax themed corporate party – think fearsome pirates or tropical mood.

Halong Bay, Photo credit: Asian Trails

Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand
An event at Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, New Zealand is an experience to tantalise visitors’ senses, as guests find themselves engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

The Marketplace makes a spectacular venue for special events, transporting 1,000 guests to the bustling markets of Middle-earth, while The Party Marquee is a fully-themed space with an outdoor garden bar – good for 350 pax – overlooking Hobbiton. Catering is available, and covers everything from canapés to a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit.

Hobbiton Movie Set

NgĂ£raratuatara Marquee, Te Puia, New Zealand
Enjoy the unique taste of MĂ£ori cuisine at Te Puia Geyser in Rotorua. Guests can gather at the NgĂ£raratuatara Marquee, and watch as fresh New Zealand mussels, whole king prawns, corn and vegetables are placed in flax woven baskets and poached in the geothermal spring. A maximum capacity of 30 is allowed here at any point in time, but Te Puia also has five other function spaces available for hire.

Te Puia Geyser, Rotorua

Palawan Green, Singapore
Meet on a green turf along Palawan Beach in Sentosa, which comes with a sea view to boot. Located next to the Beach Station monorail, the lush space is able to take a 500-pax banquet or 1,000 in a standing reception.

An event here can also be combined with a teambuilding or water-bonding activity at Tanjong Beach. For larger gatherings, the New Mempari Site – also on Palawan Beach – can incorporate a barbecue dinner under the stars, or planners can go luxe with butler-passed canapés.

Palawan Green. Photo credit: Sentosa Development Corporation

The Habitat Penang Hill, Malaysia
Imagine hosting a sunset cocktail function or a gala dinner in the heart of a 130 million years old rainforest, and getting serenaded by the sounds of nature.

That dream is brought to life at The Habitat Penang Hill, which offers event organisers three multipurpose, outdoor event spaces that can adhere to social distancing requirements. Curtis Crest can safely accommodate groups of 150 pax, while the Andaman Tent and Retail Rooftop can take in 100 pax and 25 pax respectively.

The Habitat Penang Hill

The Timber Yard, Australia
Built on a philosophy of recycling and upcycling, The Timber Yard in the Port Melbourne industrial precinct is a restored timber storage and fabrication facility that has been transformed into a gorgeous event venue.

Designed to bring the flavour and personality of the country into the city, The Timber Yard is an customisable urban sanctuary spanning 1,000m2 of turfed area. Space hire comes complete with food and drinks, with the option for organisers to hire food trucks and play up a festival vibe.

The Timber Yard

Xiengkeo Palace, Laos
Standing on an idyllic location on the banks of the Mekong River and framed by mountains, Xiengkeo Palace was once the royal residence of the Lao prime minister, Prince Phetsarath. Today, it is home to the Grand Luang Prabang Hotel and Resort. The 70-key property offers a full resort buyout for 150 delegates, with the main outdoor event space ideal for dining under the stars. Folk dances by ethnic minorities, Laotian performances or a Baci Ceremony (well-wishing ceremony) can be arranged.

Xiengkeo Palace. Photo credit: The Grand Luang Prabang
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