Penang, Malaysia waterfront and city view

Penang is a bleisure travel hotspot that has it all. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

These 8 Destinations in Asia and Australia Are a Bleisure Traveler’s Dream

Imagine starting your day by an oceanfront pool, laptop and cup of coffee in hand, and clocking out in the afternoon for a mountain trek or swim in the sea. If this sounds like perfection, put a bleisure — business and leisure — trip on your travel radar. You’ll combine work and play and see the world at the same time. It’s truly the best of all worlds.

Read on for eight delightful destinations in Asia and the Pacific that are sure to please, whether you’re on or off the clock. And as always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

Penang, Malaysia

This island on the Strait of Malacca is a perfect blend of city and lush nature. Check into The Prestige Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels and start your day working from the plush upholstery of your glamorous room — or from the rooftop pool with superb sea views. Wander around George Town, Penang’s capital, where boutique clothing stores and art galleries occupy charming converted shophouses.

Browse books by local authors at the Hikayat bookshop and bring your laptop to one of the many digital-nomad-friendly cafés, such as the Bean Sprout Café or Black Kettle. For a nature fix, spend a few hours hiking the lush Penang National Park or sunbathing on Batu Ferringhi Beach.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Australia skyline from Brighton's beach and colorful bathing boxes
Head to Brighton for some beachside relaxation after a day downtown. (Photo: Getty Images)

The coffee capital of Australia, it’s no surprise that Melbourne is a popular place for bleisure travelers.

Hip and trendy Collingwood is home to establishments such as The Plant Society — part plant shop, part café. The flat whites here are excellent, and so is the kombucha. Brunswick is another quirky area that’s good for café-hopping.

There’s also much to explore outside of work — the Royal Botanic Gardens, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the beaches of Sandringham, Brighton (known for its colorful bathing boxes) and St. Kilda should all be on your list. And the vintage shopping in this city that takes fashion seriously is not to be missed.


Singapore River riverfront at sunset
See the best city spots in one day in Singapore. (Photo: Getty Images)

A combination of good urban planning and connectivity, Singapore has long been a global hub that attracts travelers for work, play and everything in between.

Being a compact island, Singapore makes it easy to spend half the day working (at your hotel, in cafés or in a co-working space) and the rest of it shopping on Orchard Road, museum-hopping or going on a nature walk — don’t miss the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The National Gallery Singapore and Asian Civilisations Museum are must visits, while the marshes in Kranji Nature Trail transport you to a different world. For a bit of fitness with a view, try a sunset stand-up paddleboard session with Aloha Sea Sports Centre at East Coast Park.

Taipei, Taiwan

A quieter alternative to Hong Kong or Shanghai, Taipei is an up-and-coming bleisure traveler destination. The Taipei Marriott Hotel in Neihu — a district known for technological innovation and surrounded by mountains — encourages you both get down to business and get out there.

Rooms come with large work desks with views of the Taipei 101 skyscraper and the Keelung River. There’s also a rooftop pool and Lobby Lounge that serves innovative cocktails under a soaring ceiling.

The metro system makes it easy to move around the city, whether it’s the Harajuku shops of Ximending or the glitzy malls of Xinyi that you seek. For a true escape, visit neighboring Yilan County, where mountain hiking trails and surf beaches beckon.

Busan, South Korea

The Westin Josun Busan modern indoor pool overlooking the water
Wind down by the water at The Westin Josun Busan. (Photo: Marriott International)

The lively coastal city in the south might be a summer party destination, but do not overlook it for a bleisure trip.

Busan has the comforts of a big city with a laid-back atmosphere. Straddling Haeundae Beach and Dongbaek Island (which is not actually an island) and backed by an exuberant mountain range is The Westin Josun Busan.

Rooms come with large work desks and the hotel also has a huge meeting space. During your downtime, wander about Gamcheon Culture Village and eat fresh seafood at Jagalchi Market. Reconnect with nature at Taejongdae National Park, which has sweeping views of the ocean.

Hanoi, Vietnam

A mix of old-world charm and modern luxury, the Vietnamese capital is another promising bleisure destination. In Hanoi, slow-drip Vietnamese iced coffee and steaming bowls of pho are abundant — the perfect food and drink combination to fuel your workday.

Hunker down with your laptop at one of Cong Caphe’s branches, where they serve a mean iced coffee; then have lunch at Pho Ly Quoc Su. The JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi has a lovely spa to relax in after a workday. Or have a quiet night out at Turtle Lake Brewing Company, an atmospheric brewpub in a big house by Hoan Kiem (Turtle) Lake.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh Courtyard hotel and city at sunset
Phnom Penh lights up at night. (Photo: Marriott International)

The Cambodian capital has just the right amount of buzz while exuding a certain calm. The Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh, which has a rooftop restaurant with views of the Tonle Sap River, is located near many sites of interest.

Backyard Café at 11B Street 246 and neighboring Fox Tale are excellent places to start the workday from. Need a break? Peruse Sa Sa Art Projects and FT Gallery, which both showcase the works of young Cambodian artists.

Wind down the evening with dinner at Romdeng, where the specialty is edible insects. Treat yourself to a body wrap at Bodia Spa, followed by a walk along Sisowath Riverside Park.

Weligama, Sri Lanka

The glittering waters in shifting shades of blue and luxuriant jungles are why surfers, yogis, and more recently, digital nomads, flock to the beach town of Weligama in Sri Lanka.

Wake up to the sound of waves at the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa and take your laptop onto the balcony to get a few hours of work in. But don’t forget to take a surf break — or change things up by working from the palm-tree-swathed pool. Put an afternoon aside to explore Handunugoda Tea Estate, an old tea plantation in the hills that does tours and tastings.