Asia's Coziest Chill Spots

Tuesday 19 December 2023
Asia's Coziest Chill Spots

Cuddle up with friendly felines at a cat cafe

Nothing warms a cold morning better than a hot cup of coffee… unless it’s a cuddly cat curled up on your lap. Right? That’s the philosophy behind cat cafes, a phenomenon that originated in Taiwan in 1998, boomed in Tokyo (where many apartment renters aren’t allowed to keep cats at home) and has since taken the world by storm.

Typically, cat cafes charge for blocks of time, rather than per drink consumed. The best cafes have a balance of cats of all ages, from young to old, while others work with animal shelters—so you might even be able to adopt the friendly feline who’s captured your heart.

Drop by cat cafes like The Cat Cabin (Jakarta), My Purradise (Kuala Lumpur) and Caturday Cat Cafe (Bangkok) to zap the rainy day blues.

If cats aren’t your thing, Singapore’s What the Pug and Hong Kong’s Rabbitland Cafe might have the perfect furry friend for you.

Curl up with a good book at a library

What could be cozier than curling up with a good book on a rainy day? With over 60,000 books in its collection, the Taipei Public Library in Beitou is a stunning wooden building that boasts some of Taiwan’s most eco-friendly architecture, including smart solar and thermal design, plus rain-catching systems to ensure not a drop of rainwater goes to waste.

Another architectural eye-catcher and public paradise for booklovers is Starfield Library in Seoul, South Korea, located inside the COEX Mall in Gangnam. Its dramatic 13 meter-high shelves house over 50,000 books and magazines across two floors, providing plenty of stories for you to lose yourself in on a stormy day.

Beat your buddies at a board game cafe

Why suffer through a rainy day in solitude? Bring family and friends along to a board game cafe for an afternoon of competitive, cheerful camaraderie while it pours outside.

A craze that’s gained popularity in Hong Kong, board game cafes offer coffee and tea as fuel for hours of fun, friendly feuding. Choose from classic board and card games such as Monopoly, Risk, Uno and Scrabble, or more recent hits such as Settlers of Catan, Rummikub, or Codenames.

In Hong Kong, visit Wheat and Wood in Kennedy Town or Jolly Thinkers, with several locations in Prince Edward, Wan Chai, or Mong Kok. Winner gets bragging rights—and maybe a dessert to go with that coffee.

Pamper yourself at a day spa

From Chinese acupuncture to Thai massage to Javanese lulur to Philippine hilot, Asia has a rich storied tradition of ancient healing arts. Many of these homegrown beauty and wellness methods thrive in our modern times thanks to the ubiquitous presence of day spas.

The range of day spa services in Asia is truly vast, from affordable to luxurious. Pampering yourself needn’t break the bank. Many spas offer a range of different methods, such as Yunomori Onsen in Bangkok, which combines traditional Thai massage with onsen, the Japanese art of healing hot baths.

In Singapore, pop in for a quick massage on your lunch break at Nimble/Knead in Tiong Bahru, a quaint day spa in repurposed shipping containers. Better yet, spend a whole day (or plan a weekend escape) at a decadent oasis like ESPA at Resorts World Sentosa, with over 10,000 square meters of gardens, pools, and ponds, 24 treatment rooms and private beach villas with sea views.

We can’t think of a more relaxing way to wait for monsoon showers to pass.

Warm yourself with a cup of tea at a traditional teahouse

Another ancient Asian tradition that brings comfort in cooler temperatures, the art of tea offers a meditative moment and slow serenity. Experience this contemplative ritual to the fullest by visiting a traditional teahouse—perfect activity for a rainy day.

Taiwan produces 20 percent of the world’s oolong tea. Its traditional tea houses are tucked into quaint wooden buildings with courtyard gardens that make you feel as though you have traveled back in time. Located in Taipei’s foodie Da’an district, Qingtian Tea House 青田茶館 in Taipei was a former dormitory for National Taiwanese University professors, now a teahouse that serves single origin teas in the traditional gongfu style, with a sprinkle of inspiration from British afternoon tea.

Nearby, the teahouse at Mata Market 聚落山海永康館 next to Yong Kang Park brings a breath of the lush green countryside into the big city. Whether you come for a leisurely tea service or a vegetarian lunch, the casual yet serene atmosphere is sure to calm even the stormiest of moods.