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5 places to be awed by the night sky and Southern Lights

Sometimes, all we have to do to see magic is look up.

Catching the Northern Lights – a transfixing display of lights caused by charged particles entering the atmosphere – is one of the most sought-after experiences of all time.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to travel all the way to Iceland – their counterpart, the Southern Lights, is just right around the corner! There are so many places in Asia where we can chase after the beauty of the night sky and go star-gazing.

Here are five of them to get you started.

1.Lake Tekapo (South Island), New Zealand

In the day, Lake Tekapo offers a picturesque view of the dramatic Southern Alps – by night, it transforms into a whole new destination.

Part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, the lake has some of the darkest skies in the world, forming the perfect viewing spot for the Southern Lights. Seize the winter season (June to August) to catch the illuminating lights display, with a full array of colorful lights dancing in the night sky.

You can also head to Mount John Observatory, which houses some of New Zealand’s largest telescopes, to get up close and personal with millions of stars.

New Zealand Southern Lights Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo during the day offers a picturesque view of the dramatic Southern Alps.

2.Flinders, Australia

There’s no doubt that the Melbourne city center has a lot to offer, but by nightfall, seek new attractions elsewhere. Make your way to the unassuming town of Flinders, a 90-minute drive away from the city.

Located on the southern coast of the Mornington Peninsula, the beaches of Flinders offer an uninterrupted view of the night sky and its magnificent lights. With an absence of noisy tourist crowds or sounds of the city, you can marvel at the other-worldly Southern Lights in complete serenity and peace.

Southern Lights Australia Flinders
The beaches of Flinders offer an uninterrupted view of the night sky and its magnificent lights.

Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne Flinders Street

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Strategically located just steps away from the arts and entertainment district, DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne Flinders Street is a choice location for when you do spend time in the city. Start your trip with a warm DoubleTree welcome with their signature chocolate chip cookie, and take full advantage of the proximity to attractions like Federation Square and the historic Flinders Street Station.

3. Halong Bay, Vietnam

With its pristine emerald waters and towering limestone islands, Halong Bay has long become a fan-favorite among those looking to take a day trip out of central Hanoi.

The experience here gets even better at night! Get aboard an overnight cruise and set sail on a journey off into the starry, starry night. Without the smog and light pollution from the city, you’d have full view of the clear skies and constellations. The universe has never felt so vast.

Get aboard an overnight cruise and set sail on a journey off into the starry, starry night.

Stay: Hilton Opera Hanoi

When back in the city, head to Hilton Opera Hanoi to continue the rest of your travel adventures in style and comfort. This iconic landmark is situated in the historic French Quarter of Hanoi, and offers locally-styled rooms and traditional Vietnamese cuisine for the full Vietnamese experience.

4. Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand

If you are up for some adventure, look no further than Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest peak! No matter how difficult the hike, it’ll certainly be worth it in the end. Literally translating to the “City of Stars”, Doi Chiang Dao offers ethereal views of star trails, and takes you so high up, the stars are almost within your grasp. If you are keen to sleep among the stars, overnight camping is available, but be sure to get a permit in advance.

Twilight at third hightest peak in Thailand
Twilight at third hightest peak in Thailand, Doi Luang Chiang Dao

5. The Maldives

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The Maldives is often considered to be paradise on Earth, and for good reason – from untouched white-sand beaches, exhilarating sea-sport activities to the ultimate in resort-styled luxury, you’re sure to have the getaway of your dreams. By day, bask in the sunlight and soak up your fair share of Vitamin D; by night, kick back with a cocktail and take in the mesmerizing view of the sea of stars. With these clear Maldivian nights, you’re almost guaranteed to catch a shooting star. Time to make your wish!

Southern Lights Rangali Island
Catch a shooting star!

Stay: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Set on Rangali Island, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is one of the Top 100 Greatest Destinations in 2018, and home to the world’s first undersea residence, THE MURAKA. With its distinctive design and focus on personalized experiences, you can even star-gaze from the luxury of your own living room.

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