August 14, 2019

Beyond the Beaches and Urban Jungles of Asia

Go off the beaten track past modern city skylines and tropical seashores towards the lush jungles and breathtaking heritage sites in Vang Vieng and Buriram

Step back in time with a trip to Buriram and explore one of Thailand’s extraordinary ancient kingdoms.

Bangkok. 14 August 2019 ‒ When it comes to holiday planning, a beach paradise with blue skies and crystal clear seas quickly comes to mind. Countless daydreams of lounging by the pool with a cool drink and salty breeze continue to entice travellers, making Asia home to some of the best islands in the world. But dreams of the perfect holiday come in many shapes and sizes, with others preferring an urban adventure in busy cities with a variety of attractions to visit, shopping outlets to seize and restaurants to appreciate.

With so many of these popular destinations becoming overcrowded and overvisited, a trip back to the tranquility of nature might just be the next perfect getaway. Step back in time to a place where stunning scenery and rich heritage seamlessly coexist, with a pinch of excitement and discovery to be had. Travellers can try something new for their next holiday with a cross-country trip from Luang Prabang to the hidden Laotian gem of Vang Vieng, or a rural town with a rich history and direct exposure to the Esarn culture in the northeastern Thai province of Buriram.

Find sanctuary at Amari Vang Vieng, where simplicity and smart design meet calming scenes of the karst peaks and river.

Vang Vieng

A four-hour drive from both Luang Prabang International Airport and Vientiane International Airport, the road to Vang Vieng takes you through hills and otherwise arduous pathways, with the simple reward of scenic karst peaks and rice paddy backdrops.

From the calming waters of the Song River that flows through the land to the steady forests and lush green fields that add colour and life, Vang Vieng takes travellers away from the restlessness of city life and offers a pure escape to fresh air and amazing views of the rock formations beneath the mountain at Tham Jang. These elements of Vang Vieng are reflective of its natural beauty, but none as vibrant as the energy and charm of its inhabitants.

Be sure to reserve a table at Essence Restaurant for a dining experience with a view.

Traditional Laotian food from roadside eateries make for delightful stops in between the beauty and wonder, giving visitors an insight into the nature of the locals, as well as a taste of their favourite flavours, from herb-infused Lao-style sausages and rich bowls of noodles, to the savoury mok pa (steamed fish in banana leaf) and localised baguette sandwiches. However, for travellers craving something more familiar and comforting, Essence Restaurant at Amari Vang Vieng offers an array of classic international dishes using fresh ingredients throughout the day.

Find contemporary interiors with views of Nam Song River and the vibrant town at Amari Vang Vieng, ideally located for both relaxation and adventure. Rates start at 60 USD++, but ONYX Rewards members receive an additional 10% off their stay, as well as 10% off treatments at Breeze Spa and the culinary delights at in-house restaurant Essence. Learn more about earning points for a free stay, and sign up for your complimentary ONYX Rewards membership at

Rent a bike to ride around town and explore more of the highlights near Amari Buriram United.


Situated on the Thai-Khmer border, Buriram is one of the biggest cities in the northeastern provinces of Thailand. Most famous for being an Asian sports hub with the Chang International Circuit, where numerous major races are held, as well as its football stadium and sports arenas that host regional league games for their champion hometeam, Buriram United FC. However, beyond the excitement and adrenaline lies a rich culture and history of an ancient kingdom with grand castles and dormant volcanoes that remain.

Less than 400 km from Bangkok, a road trip to Buriram offers many underrated highlights along the way through the magnificent waterfalls of Saraburi and vast national parks in Khao Yai, which remain a local favourite weekend destination in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima. Travellers could also take a scenic, seven-hour train ride from the iconic Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok or jump on a one-hour domestic flight from Don Muang International Airport.

Buriram’s bright, warm climate makes for the ideal excursion.

Stepping back in time through the ancient ruins of Phanom Rung Historical Park takes visitors through one of the world’s most fascinating temple complexes, with a 160-metre long processional walkway, grand Naga bridges and epic sandstone carvings from Hindu myths like the Ramayana dating as far back as the 10th century. In fact, many structural aspects of Phanom Rung are meant to reflect the key sites from the religious Hindu scriptures of creation, such as the 23-metre high tower symbolising Mount Meru. However, if visitors time their holiday just right, they may be lucky enough to experience the unique phenomenon where the sun’s rays shine through all 15 portals of the temple, bringing to life the otherwise still remains of Phanom Rung.

Like many other major Thai cities, Buriram is also home to a giant Buddha image atop Khao Kradong Forest Park, another must-visit site located on an extinct volcano. Previously known as Khmer Phanom Kradong, the Buddha statue watches over the surrounding forests, local wildlife and indigenous flora that only grow in areas with volcanic soil. After climbing 297 Naga raj steps to the top, visitors are rewarded with a panoramic view of Buriram’s calm countryside. With so much to see and do, it’s important to have a place to comfortably retreat to afterwards, which is why Amari Buriram United makes the perfect base. Located in the city centre, Amari Buriram United offers 60 rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant with Thai and international flavours, modern meeting facilities and a variety of ways to play, ranging from a pool and fitness centre to tennis courts and, of course, football fields ― after all, this is Thailand’s first football-themed hotel.

Explore more of the local gems Buriram has to offer with complimentary bike rental at Amari Buriram United and complimentary late check-out until 14:00 when booking stays until 31 December 2019. Rates start at 1,100 THB++ per night. Learn more at

Looking to save an additional 10% off your stay? Become an ONYX Reward member today at for special discounts and other exclusive benefits.

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