Asia’s best ski resorts for winter vacations
Asia is the largest continent in the world, offering all types of travelers some of the best destinations for the perfect vacation. While the beaches and calming azure waters of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia offer tranquility to those seeking refuge from the routine of city life, the snowy slopes and mountainous terrain of Korea South, Japan, China and India are where tourists can get their adrenaline pumping by opting for activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
Additionally, the continent is renowned for having some of the greatest ski resorts in Asia. One of them is Shymbulak, which is the biggest ski resort in Central Asia. It is famous among expert skiers and amateurs – even Prince Harry, an experienced skier, has been spotted on the Kazakhstan track. Meanwhile, Shiga Kogen in Japan is one of the largest and highest ski resorts in the country, comprising 18 ski areas. It offers some of Nagano’s best spring skiing opportunities.
Besides these adventurous activities, there are many other reasons to visit a ski resort. Some of the best spots feature state-of-the-art interiors and offer luxurious amenities such as heated pools, lavish spas with traditional treatments, signature dishes infused with local flavors and more. Plus, in such cold weather, the cozy nooks provide comfort for visitors with bonfires, steaming hot chocolate, lively bars, and wintry charm to immerse themselves in.
Best time to visit
Whether you’re an expert skier or someone looking for a relaxing ski resort vacation, the best time to visit is between December and March. During this period, the weather conditions are most conducive to skiing. It offers perfect snow cover for every visitor who partakes in some of the best “winter only” activities such as snowboarding, skiing and heliskiing.
Here are some of the best luxury ski resorts you must visit in Asia
The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, India
Promising a unique experience, the luxury resort is surrounded by a coniferous forest and offers spectacular views of the Pir Panjal mountain range in the Himalayas. Built in the traditional Kashmiri style, the Khyber resort has 85 rooms with state-of-the-art air conditioning features as well as architecture that promotes the local. Basoli art.
The luxury resort offers guests a mix of true fine dining and casual experiences, with restaurants serving global cuisines, tea and appetizers, and meat grilled on charcoal barbecues.
It also has a Sheesha Lounge which is a cozy corner to relax in the evening. Among other luxuries, the Khyber has a well-equipped spa and heated swimming pool. With a kids’ club, mini-theatre, and dedicated activities concierge, this resort is a true reflection of luxury in India.
One of the best ski resorts in India, the resort is just a short walk from the Gulmarg Gondola, the second longest and highest gondola lift in the world. The ski lift takes everyone to Kongdoori Mountain near Apharwat Peak at a height of 13,870 feet.
How to get there: A 90-minute drive will take you to Khyber from Srinagar Airport, which is only 65 kilometers from the resort.
Solang Valley Resort, India
Perched on the banks of the Beas River in the Kullu Valley, the Solang Valley Resort reflects the beauty of Himachal Pradesh. The resort has 70 luxurious rooms constructed from local teak wood and houses vintage furnishings with old world charm. Dhauladhar forms the backdrop to the ski resort and offers every guest a picturesque view of the snow-capped mountain range from the property.
Keeping in mind the culinary preferences of guests, the luxury resort serves authentic flavors of Himachali cuisine in Dhaam. Its Italian restaurant The Gazebo stays true to its roots and prepares delicious wood-fired pizzas and other traditional Italian dishes. Meanwhile, the Malana Bar has an elegant setting that offers drinks and delicious small dishes.
The Solang Valley resort is also a popular destination for adventure sports. Tourists can come here to experience the best of tubing, camping, and hiking, among other activities, in winter. It is also one of the most famous ski destinations in India.
How to get there: Solang Valley Resort is 154 kilometers from Joginder Nagar Railway Station and 60.2 kilometers from Kullu Manali Airport. You can also opt for a bus ride at Manali Bus Depot, which will take you to the station located 10.4 kilometers away.
The Vale Niseko, Japan
One of Asia’s top ski resorts, the Vale has 49 fully-equipped apartments, including two luxury penthouses with ultra-luxury amenities. A number of these apartments have private onsens with views of Mount Yotei, Niseko’s famous semi-dormant volcano. A heated outdoor swimming pool and a traditional kakenagashi (free-flowing) onsen (hot spring) are available for all guests.
The hotel is located on the outskirts of Upper Hirafu Village, giving guests easy access to some of Niseko’s liveliest restaurants, bars, and patisseries.
Traditional Japanese dishes, as well as contemporary fusion and foreign cuisine, are featured in the beautiful restaurants in and around Niseko Village. Visitors must try locally produced sake, Hokkaido wines and brewed beers. The village pastry shops offer a wide choice of Japanese pastries, chocolates and cakes. Delicious dishes are ideal when accompanied by gourmet coffee, tea or other beverages.
The resort also has a ski rental shop available where both beginners and experienced skiers can rent equipment on the snowy slopes.
How to get there: Tourists can hire a taxi from Okadama Airport, 62 km from the resort. The nearest bus, train or subway station to The Vale can be boarded at Hirafu Station, which is 1.8 kilometers from the resort. Guests also have the option of renting or driving their own vehicle to the ski resort.
Park Hyatt Changbaishan, China
Among other ski resorts in China, this luxury property is touted as the best in the region and one of the best ski resorts in Asia. It is located on the mountain slopes of one of Asia’s most popular winter destinations. Nestled in a forest, the hotel reflects a beautiful blend of contemporary design, traditional Chinese art forms and local residential characteristics.
The five-star resort has 163 rooms including 10 villas and 36 suites. Each room has been added with elements of traditional Chinese decor, heated floors and ultra-luxury amenities, and offers a beautiful view of the gardens and the snow-capped mountains.
Guests looking for some downtime can relax in the Park Hyatt’s heated indoor pool with underground music or in its outdoor hot mineral pool that connects them to nature. The spa takes a holistic approach to rejuvenating your body through ancient Chinese therapies and healing hydrotherapy.
Promising views of the ski areas, including snow-capped slopes and mountains, the all-day dining restaurant Living Room offers a specially curated menu serving a wide selection of Chinese and Western comfort food.
It also has a cold kitchen and an open pantry. Rather than being presented with a menu, guests are encouraged to speak directly with the butlers or chefs about what they want to eat.
How to get there: One way to get to the Park Hyatt is to book a taxi from Changbaishan Airport, which is 40.8 kilometers from the resort. Parking is free, so you have the option of renting a car or driving your own vehicle.
Intercontinental Alpensia, South Korea
The luxury alpine resort is nestled in the Taebaek mountain range in Pyeongchang. It is a modern property with 238 rooms and suites that offers each guest a breathtaking landscape of Lake Alpensia and Mount Balwang. Each room has temperature control and smart lighting.
This eco-friendly luxury resort is home to Flavors Restaurant, an all-day dining restaurant specializing in artisan stone-oven pizzas, dishes cooked with seasonal produce, and fresh seafood prepared in an open kitchen . It also has Oxy Deli, a gourmet bakery that sells freshly baked cookies, cakes, and chocolates. The hotel’s Oxy Lounge is a chic nook offering an excellent selection of premium liquors, wines, coffees and teas.
This resort is inspired by European alpine villages and sits as a popular ski resort in the resort town of Alpensia in South Korea. Alpensia’s main attractions create memorable experiences for guests with two spectacular ski jumping slopes, the Ocean 700 water park and a golf course.
How to get there: The Intercontinental Alpensia is the closest to the Yangyang International Airport 44.8 kilometers. You can reach the resort by hiring a taxi from the airport.
Appi Kogen, Japan
Japan’s all-season luxury resort is where guests can enjoy winter adventure sports such as snowboarding and skiing, with slopes covered in the finest, freshest powder snow. All rooms have been furnished with modern amenities in mind and offer views of the scenic Appi Kogen Highlands.
One of Asia’s top ski resorts, it offers guests an authentic Japanese dining experience with dishes made from the finest local ingredients available at Nanashigure and Sushi Nagata. They also have a bar that serves premium wines including Japanese sake.
The Appi Kogen resort also has the Appi hot spring, a mineral-rich natural hot spring that will rejuvenate the mind and body of all weary souls.
It is a true reflection of Japanese culture as well as being a popular destination as a ski resort in Asia.
How to get there: The nearest airport is Iwate Hanamaki Airport, at a distance of 77.7 kilometers, which will take around 1.5 hours to reach the Japanese resort town.
This story first appeared on PrestigeOnline Malaysia