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JUNE 2010

Shop up a storm in the


Produced in International Media Production Zone





Eat your heart out in





Florida’s Gold Coast


Addis Ababa

Cool getaways Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the Gulf, with our guide to the most beautiful (and clement) summer locations on the planet


A stay in a beach villa on the Maldives’ Kanuhura island… KWT







Postcard moments in our Total Guide to China, p31.


CONTENTS 7 17 26 58

AGENDA Everything you need to know about travel this month ESSENTIAL SELECTION The hippest shopping cities on the planet PICTURE THIS Awe-inspiring photos to kickstart your travel plans COOL ESCAPES Nine fab destinations, from cold to warm (but never hot) 52 NAPLES


A city where art and food rule – what’s not to love?


Embrace the madness with the help of the 30-second concierge

Explore the 185,000 lakes with this month’s Drive Time


20 must-dos, from the haunting beauty of the Silk Route to a spot of herbal healing

74 FLORIDA’S GOLD COAST Alligator-spotting and beach-hopping



JUNE 2010

Shop up a storm in the


Abandon all preconceptions and explore this fertile land

Produced in International Media Production Zone





Eat your heart out in





Florida’s Gold Coast

Cool getaways Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the Gulf, with our guide to the most beautiful (and clement) summer locations on the planet


A stay in a beach villa on the Maldives’ Kanuhura island… KWT

KWT Cover final.indd 1



Luxurious dwellings will give you very Suite Dreams...


Addis Ababa

On the cover: Seljalandfoss waterfall, Iceland, shot by Christian Kober.

5/26/2010 10:06:09 PM

Produced by: HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC Managing Director: Victoria Hazell-Thatcher Publishing Director: John Thatcher Advertisement Director: Chris Capstick Editor: Ele Cooper Art Editor: Jenni Dennis Junior Designer: Matthew McBriar

Advertising enquiries +971 4 369 0917 Editorial enquiries +971 4 375 7617 Cover courtesy of Photolibrary. Additional images from Getty Images, iStockphoto, Victor Paul Borg (

Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. All prices mentioned are correct at time of press but may change. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in Kanoo World Traveller. ‘Total Guide to China’, ‘Neapolitan Scoop’ and ‘Florida’s Gold Coast’ features reprinted with the kind permission of Sunday Times Travel magazine.

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June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 5

( whisper ) let’s have dinner

There’s a time and a place, special moments, where couples share their intimate secrets; there’s no better place than paradise. We won’t intrude, just a little whisper to let you know what paradise can offer you. For a 5 nights stay in beautiful and serene surroundings at any of Sun Resort hotels in the Maldives and Mauritius, we will indulge both of you in 25 minutes of well deserved massage, a romantic dinner for two, an aromatic lover’s bath, up to 30% discounts in the hotel’s gift shop and a beautiful souvenir gift. It’s no secret we’ll take care of you with our very special packages to the Maldives and Mauritius, valid till the end of September 2010. We promise, your secrets will be kept between paradise and you. To book our “Whisper Promotion”, contact your preferred Travel Agent.

Regional Sales and Marketing Office - Middle East and GCC - Tel: +971 2 499 5613 - Fax: +971 2 499 5601

By Sun Resorts





PLAY IN TROPEZ Buried deep within a leafy Mediterranean garden – designed by Sophie Agata Ambroise, who also did the landscaping for Milan’s Bulgari hotel – the newly opened Muse Hotel in St Tropez provides a light, airy sanctuary. Take your pick from one of five suite categories, from the gorgeous Audrey (with balcony and pretty Provençal views) to the magnificent Romy, a duplex space with private garden and outdoor shower. Guests can travel to the beach in style using the Bentley shuttle service, or refresh themselves with a poolside home-made sorbet. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller





Tennis fanatics will be well aware that Wimbledon starts on June 21 – but if you haven’t been able to buy a ticket yet, don’t panic: we’ve got what is quite possibly the most luxurious package on the market, and it’s available exclusively to Kanoo World Traveller readers. The trip begins on a private eight-seater plane from Dana Jets (so take along a few friends if you want more of a party atmosphere). Before flying, you’ll have discussed exactly what you’d like to watch, listen to and eat on the flight (your favourite dish from a five-star hotel? No problem), as well as the departure time that best suits you (you can show up at the private VIP lounge as late as 15 minutes prior to takeoff). Once airbourne, the journey is tailored exactly to your requirements and a limo will meet you from the plane to whisk you to Brown’s Hotel – one of the oldest and most charming five-star

abodes London. Once there, you’ll be taken straight to your stunning suite, where you’ll be able to take advantage of in-room check-in, the expert unpacking service and a mobile phone that’s loaned to you for the duration of your three-night stay. Oh, and the tennis: the package includes VIP tickets to the Wimbledon men’s final (on July 4), where you’ll have top-class seats on Centre Court, endless drinks and canapés, a delicious fourcourse silver-service luncheon and, of course, plentiful supplies of strawberries and cream. The per-couple price of this package is $86,627, based on flights from Dubai (although Dana Jets will happily tailor packages from your closest airport). To avail of this offer, call Dana Jets on +971 7 244 8613 quoting ‘KWT Wimbledon offer’ – and send us a postcard…


As of June 23, flydubai (www. will be jetting to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo four times a week, making it the perfect time to book a holiday to the beautiful Indian Ocean island.

A souvenir with a difference

Suite offer

The Four Seasons Hotel Amman (www. is offering a very appealing incentive to people staying in June: book any of its elegant suites and you can take your pick from a one, two or three-hour treatment of your choice with its ‘All You Can Spa’ promotion. The therapists combine their Balinese and Thai roots with Dead Sea products to soothe away life’s stresses – and the hotel is gorgeous, set on top of the highest of Amman’s seven hills.

Many consider the UAE to be the gold-buying capital of the world, so it was only a matter of time before a vending machine came along to simplify the process. Emirates Palace ( has installed a gold-plated ‘Gold to Go’ machine in its lobby where you can purchase 1g, 5g and 10g gold bars as well as gold coins. As souvenirs go, it sure beats taking a toy camel home to the family.


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

Morocco, a place of fun for the entire family.


Welcome to Morocco, the land of contrasts. Vibrant and enchanting, where shadows meld with sunlight, and sky and sea kiss at the horizon. A land that for centuries has been romanticized by storytellers in their books. Weaving tales about its natural beauty, the warm hearts of its people and the elegance of its architecture. Not to mention its lazy beaches crawling on the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas, its snow-covered peaks, water springs and thick forests, as well as the stunning beauty of its old cities. Come, discover Morocco today. travel for real

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DOLL-SIZED DIVAS If your little princess demands the same level of pampering as you while on holiday, she’ll be thrilled to learn about the special under-12s spa menu now on offer at the Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa in Bali. As well as mani-pedis and chocolate massages for two to 12 year olds, there’s a 20-minute baby massage for tots younger than two. Apparently the olive oil-based treatment stimulates metabolism, strengthens muscles, and (our favourite bit) helps them to sleep more soundly.

Easy like Sunday morning… The western weekend falls on Saturday and Sunday, with many considering a lie-in on the latter a right rather than a treat – so imagine their chagrin at having to comply with an early hotel checkout time. US-based boutique chain Kimpton Hotels (which owns the 70 Park Avenue in New York,, among others) has decided to rectify this with a complimentary 2pm checkout on Sundays. Shut-eye is so much better when it’s free…



Most of us celebrate our birthdays with a small party, and maybe a slice of cake – but luxury hotel Al Faisaliah, in Riyadh, has opened an entire new wing now that it’s turned 10. The South Wing extension will eventually comprise 106 additional rooms and suites, and 39 of them are now open to guests, each coming with its own private butler (naturally). New restaurant La Cucina will be dishing up top-notch Italian fare by the end of this month, while the ladies-only spa is set to open its doors in October.


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

Ladies looking to shun the menfolk while they’re away will be pleased to learn that Vancouver’s Georgian Court Hotel (www.georgiancourt. com) has just made an entire level, named the Orchid floor, femaleonly. Complimentary extras include a yoga mat, InStyle magazine, additional skirt hangers, curling irons and upgraded Aveda amenities – perfect for a girls’ night in!


Indian summer

Craving a refreshing break? Kerala’s most exclusive hideaway, the Zuri Kumarakom Resort & Spa, may be the answer. During the tropical summer months until September 10, you can book a stay in a magnificent Presidential Pool Villa (which comes with private garden, pool and rain showers) for $1,526 per couple. The comprehensive package includes two nights’ accommodation; breakfast, lunch and dinner in a choice of venues; personal villa host on call around the clock; in-villa barbecue; a consultation with the in-house doctor to formulate a personalised rejuvenation programme; yoga; lagoon fishing; backwater cruise and children’s activities. Alternatively, you can opt for a Lagoon View room for $437 or a Zuri Cottage for $611 – a small price to pay for such luxury. Call Kanoo Travel to book – see p78 for your nearest branch.

LOUNGING AROUND Flying to Manchester this year? Etihad Airways ( has announced the British city will be the site of its third premium lounge outside of Abu Dhabi. The luxurious space will feature five-star dining facilities, business centre with high-speed internet access, prayer room, a family room complete with nannies, relaxation area with comfy leather seating, and swanky bathroom and shower facilities for a pre-flight freshen-up.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller



The month ahead…

Read on for the lowdown on the most interesting events around the world this June.


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, Vancouver, Canada June 3 to September 25 This is a truly great way to enjoy Shakespeare’s plays: with a 520seat main tent – which has an open back, meaning the scenery is provided by the breathtaking Canadian mountains and sea – and smaller spaces for staging his lesser known works, there’s something for everyone.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee, USA June 10-13 Dubbed the ‘American Glastonbury’, Bonnaroo will host over 100 musical acts – including Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z – and 20 comedians, including Rob Cantrell and Chelsea Peretti. It’s held on a 700-acre farm and you can hire an RV if you don’t fancy slumming it in a tent.

Holland Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands June 4-June 28 Celebrating a huge variety of arts, from music, dance and theatre to literature and architecture, the Holland Festival aims to open visitors’ eyes to art forms they may not have considered before. Starting proceedings is Egyptian star Amal Maher, while later in June you can experience Japanese Noh theatre.

Bali Arts Festival, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia June 12-July 10 This is a unique opportunity to experience traditional village culture (and tourists are more than welcome). With over 180 performances, ancient mountain dances, handicraft exhibitions and plenty of delicious food, it provides a fantastic introduction to this magical country.

Museum Mile Festival, New York, USA June 8 Nine of America’s finest museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian (left) and the Museum of the City of New York, open their doors for free in this very cultural block party – so popular with the public that it shuts down Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th.

Festival of Festivals, St Petersburg, Russia June 23-29 Held during the famous White Nights period, when the city is bathed in natural light almost 24 hours a day due to its northerly position, the Festival of Festivals is a non-competitive film event which screens over 100 movies, showcasing Russian cinema at its best.

Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque, New Mexico, USA June 9-13 At this celebration of all things flamenco, which includes film screenings, you can go to individual shows or head straight to the Fiesta Flamenca to see all the dancers perform together in what promises to be a quite spectacular show. Want a piece of the action? Book a place on one of the workshops.

Arctic Open Golf Tournament, Akureyri, Iceland June 24-26 Another event which capitalises on the extraordinary 24-hour summer sunlight that shines in the world’s most northern points, the Arctic Open allows enthusiasts to participate in a midnight game on the challenging 18-hole course at Akureyri Golf Club – officially the most northerly course in the world.



Embrace the land of saunas and log cabins on a verdant, week-long road trip. You’ll need to keep your wits about you for this expedition: moose are not only very stupid but very solid, and they abound on the roads of Finland. Vacuous mammals aside, though, the tarmac tends to be well-maintained and empty, all the better from which to admire the storybook scenery flying past the window. While this region may be dubbed ‘the land of one thousand lakes’, there are actually closer to 185,000, stealthily lacing the landscape and accounting for 10 per cent of the country’s mass – though they’re often hidden by the abundant forests of silver birch that carpet the countryside. You can easily create your own route according to how much time you have, stopping off to spend nights in cosy, brightly painted little timber cabins, warming your bones in the sauna (which you’ll find in every Finnish home) before complying with local tradition and dashing into the chilly waters of the nearest lake. Those seeking a step-by-step itinerary might start out in Helsinki and follow the winding path between lakes and through


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

quaint towns towards Turku, Finland’s oldest city, passing the imposing ruins of Raasepori Castle and Mustio Manor (a butter-yellow stately home). On the third day you’ll visit Urjala, the Glass Village, where you can try your hand at glass-blowing, before having your breath taken away by the appearance – and temperature – of Lakes Tampere and, a couple of hours further on, Jyväskylä. Wooden architecture is the order of the day in the gorgeous town of Mikkeli, while Punkaharju – your final stop before returning to Helsinki and a perfect example of pure, natural beauty – will likely make you contemplate emigrating to Finland. Go during the summer and you’ll be blessed with sunlight almost 24 hours a day – the perfect way to maximise your holiday hours, especially as the attitude of the locals is very much ‘go with it’, in other words, get up early and stay up late. When dusk, such as it is, finally sets in at around midnight or so, the lakes become swathed in a magical silvery glow – a little slice of Finland that will stay with you forever.

The Great Getaway Make your escape % with up to



Hilton Worldwide Summer Sale 30% off Book your holiday before 15 July and stay through 6 September 2010 at over 2,800 hotels worldwide for up to 30% less. Best of all, these rates include breakfast. Start planning your getaway today.

Visit and book now.

Enjoy room rates starting from: London GBP 74

Paris EUR 93

Cairo USD 164

Abu Dhabi AED 552

Dubai AED 671

Ras Al Khaimah AED 315

Al Ain AED 479

Mauritius EUR 248

Seychelles EUR 435

* Throughout Europe and the UK, The Great Getaway offer is only available at weekends, with the exception of 25th July through to the 5th September when the offer is available any day of the week. Subject to availability at participating hotels worldwide. Book between May 10, 2010 and 15 July, 2010 and stay between May 28, 2010 and September 6, 2010. Full non-refundable payment required at time of booking. Must book at least seven (7) days in advance of arrival. Participating Hilton Grand Vacations hotels require a three (3) night stay. Participating Homewood Suites hotels require a three (3) night stay for Tuesday arrivals and a two (2) night stay for Wednesday arrivals. Discounts vary by hotel brand (Unless otherwise stated by hotel, 30% at Doubletree; 25% at Hilton; 20% at Hampton, Homewood Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Garden Inn, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts). Discount relates to the Best Available Bed and Breakfast Rate at Doubletree, Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn hotels. Discount relates to the Best Available Rate at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hampton, Homewood Suites and Hilton Grand Vacations hotels. Offer not valid at Embassy Suites hotels, except at a few hotels (20% related to its Best Available Rate). Other restrictions apply. Go to for full details. Š 2010 Hilton Worldwide








SHOPPING CITIES Are you in the mood to flex your credit card – and pick up some air miles in the process? Ele Cooper has the insider’s guide to the eight hippest shopping cities in the world.

LONDON The scene: Forget malls; London’s all about treading the streets in search of that perfect piece (so don’t forget to pack an umbrella). Dress code isn’t an issue: anything goes in the English capital as long as you wear it with confidence. Bag it up: Oxford Street provides the ultimate high-street shopping experience. Given that it boasts the world’s largest fashion store – the flagship branch of Topshop – and myriad other affordable labels, it’s best to go during the week when the crowds will be a little less daunting. Label-lovers will be in their element in any one of London’s department stores – try Harrods (pictured), Selfridges and Harvey Nichols for starters – although individual boutiques provide more in the way of atmosphere: check out Bond Street for big-name designers, King’s Road for funky London labels and Savile Row for world-class tailoring. Camden is home to the city’s best-known market, where throngs of weathered hippies and wide-eyed firsttimers swarm through stalls flogging tie-dye tat, unusual antiques and outlandish clothing. If you really can’t bear the thought of tramping through the rain, head to Westfield, Europe’s largest urban shopping centre. Stay: The Mandarin Oriental ( has a quintessentially British façade while within it exudes luxury: guests can dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant, and all rooms have views of the fashionable Knightsbridge streets or leafy Hyde Park.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller




Don Carlos at Grand Hotel Et De Milan; Above: The hotel’s Verdi Suite; Right: undercover shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

HONG KONG The scene: This neon-lit, high-tech city is a shopper’s paradise. A population combining locals and a large expat community means that everything you could possibly want is on offer, from posh labels to kitsch memorabilia. Bag it up: The IFC (International Finance Centre) mall should be the first stop for label lovers, although there are also plenty of high-street brands there if you’re on a budget but intend to do more than window-shop. What gives Hong Kong a special place in the hearts of die-hard fashion fans, though, are its astounding vintage offerings. Start with a visit to the historic Pedder Building, which houses numerous tiny treasure troves including the fabulous In Place. Each store is stuffed to the rafters with secondhand designer wares, some of which have been worn by Chinese celebrities. The street markets, meanwhile, are undeniably touristy, but they make for an entertaining night out and souvenir seekers are bound to find the perfect Chinese tea set there. Those seeking a more refined shopping experience should visit Sam’s Tailor – one of the world’s finest – where a shirt can be made within 24 hours, ideal if you’re short on time. Stay: Location-wise, you couldn’t get much better than the Peninsula (www., in the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui. Choose between the classic style of the original building or the modern tower, which offers views of Victoria Harbour – both are equally spectacular. 18 Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

The scene: Milan is famous for its achingly chic fashion scene – but high-end designer shopping isn’t the only option available here. This is a city to see and be seen in, so leave the tourist attire at home (the only bumbags permissible here are Louis Vuitton) and aim for an effortless, smart-casual look. Bag it up: Upmarket shopping revolves around the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quad), which contains some of the world’s most prestigious boutiques and atelier showrooms. Head to the mirror and steel-clad Spazio Armani, on Via Manzoni, or to 10 Corso Como, a boho palace dedicated to one-off pieces. For market mooching, head to Fiera di Senigallia on a Saturday morning and succumb to the gloriously riotous colours and insistent beats of Sengalese drummers while perusing the crafts, antiques, furniture and clothes. Via Torino, meanwhile, is your best bet if you’re after walletfriendly chain stores. Stay: For a cutting-edge blend of enchanting history and funky modernity, book a room at the sumptuously decorated Grand Hotel Et De Milan (www., just a stone’s throw from La Scala opera house.

MUNICH Ingolstadt Village

Exceptional Value

is always in style

LONDON Bicester Village DUBLIN Kildare Village PARIS La Vallée Village MADRID Las Rozas Village BARCELONA La Roca Village MILAN Fidenza Village BRUSSELS/ANTWERP/COLOGNE Maasmechelen Village FRANKFURT Wertheim Village MUNICH Ingolstadt Village


DUBLIN Kildare Village

Visit the collection of 9 luxury brand outlet shopping Villages to discover over 850 boutiques of your favourite brands with up to 60% off *, all year round. Smart shopping.

ENGLAND Bicester Village




An hour or less from some of Europe’s favourite cities, these beautifully designed open-air Villages are unique evocations of their regions’ cultural and historical heritage – the shopping destinations for your European itinerary.



Maasmechelen Village



Wertheim Village

PARIS La Vallée Village




MILAN Las Rozas Village


Fidenza Village

La Roca Village




© Value Retail PLC 2010 *the recommended retail price

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‘Shopping-wise, Munich has it all – but it’s the markets that really make it special’

NEW YORK The scene: ‘Bustling’ doesn’t come close to describing the frenetic streets of New York – its people are famously no-nonsense and this applies to their style, too – immaculate, head-to-toe grooming is a non-negotiable part of the NYC uniform. Be sure to book a pre-trip mani-pedi. Bag it up: New York is home to some of the world’s most famous department stores: head to Barneys for cutting-edge designs; Bloomingdale’s for well-priced American brands and its enormous lingerie department; Henri Bendel for Shoshanna dresses and vintage Tiffany jewellery; and Saks Fifth Avenue for its excellent range of diffusion lines. If you prefer to visit individual stores, check out Madison Avenue – which comprises 15 blocks of big-name boutiques – and SoHo, an arty, cobble-stoned area full of small retailers. Sports enthusiasts will be in their element at Niketown and Adidas Originals, while Century 21 stocks a vast collection of previous-season discount items. If, however, you’re seeking a current-season bargain, a factory sample sale is just the ticket: the local press will list the events that are happening while you’re there. Stay: The Plaza ( has featured in countless movies, and with good reason. It’s permanently buzzing with well-heeled clientele and just received a $450 million facelift – so there’s never been a better time to go.

Unique decorations at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski.

MUNICH The scene: A friendly, bustling and yet relatively conservative city, Munich has it all – of course, the usual array of designer boutiques and high street stores are there, but what makes it really special are its markets. Bag it up: The most memorable shopping experience comes in the form of the festive markets, which run from late November until December 31. Selling traditional Bavarian gifts, they’re full of good cheer and music – however, you don’t have to go in the chilly winter months to enjoy Munich’s markets: Viktualienmarkt is an excellent farmers’ market selling all manner of local specialities. Neuhauserstrasse and Kaufingerstrasse, the two main shopping areas, are bursting with big department stores and high-street chains. Those on the hunt for a designer bargain, however, should head to Ingolstadt Village, a 50-minute drive from the city centre. It’s one of nine dedicated shopping villages dotted around Europe (see for the full list) and houses over 100 outlets which offer discounts of up to 60 per cent. Stay: Ideally situated on Maximilianstrasse, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski ( makes for an extremely elegant setting in which to rest your shopping-weary bones. Oh, and each room is uniquely decorated, for that added drop of exclusivity.

Cosmetics shopping at Barneys; Above: Times Square is always buzzing.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller



Clockwise from here: Le Meurice offers elegant accommodation; Printemps is over 100 years old; Romantic dining at Le Meurice; Superb shopping at Printemps.

PARIS The scene: From haute couture ateliers to antique flea markets, Paris knows how to lure its shoppers in – as soon as you step foot in the French city, you’ll find yourself desperate to grasp hold of even an iota of the effortless style its people exude. Bag it up: Saying you bought your Hermes belt from the flagship store in Paris has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? If French designer labels are what you’re after, head to the Faubourg Saint-Honoré district, where you’ll also find Cartier, Chanel and Christian Dior among others. On the Boulevard Haussmann, department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, both over 100 years old, sit almost opposite 22 Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

each other, while arty types will love the eclectic pieces for sale in the Marais quarter. If you’re seeking an authentic Parisian experience, take a stroll along the Seine towards Les Bouquinistes – rows of bookstalls where seasoned connoisseurs will be able to get their hands on valuable first editions. Don’t be shy about haggling; it’s expected and if you don’t you’ll pay well over the odds. Stay: Luxury-lovers will fall head over heels for the Le Meurice (www., on La Rue de Rivoli, with its jaw-dropping views of the city and Eiffel Tower. Each one of its regal bedrooms has a marble bathroom and blissful soundproofing.



Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue.

The scene: With more malls per capita than anywhere else in the world, Dubai is a prime shopping holiday destination. While all the big brands’ main collections are present, they often stock Middle East-specific additions, which tend to be glitzier than the European and American lines. Bag it up: In the summer, temperatures can reach 50°C, so it’s no surprise that most shopping in Dubai takes place under highly air-conditioned cover. If you’re feeling energetic, heading for The Dubai Mall is a no-brainer: it’s one of the world’s largest shopping centres and houses 1,200 stores, from high-street labels to exclusive designer boutiques. However, more manageable options include Mall of the Emirates – which also has a mammoth indoor ski slope – or BurJuman, a high-end haven. At the other end of the scale are the souks: located in Bur Dubai and Deira, you can use your bargaining skills to purchase textiles and spices. Dubai is also known for its gold, which is much cheaper than elsewhere in the world – there are a few different gold souks throughout the city but the original one is located in Bur Dubai. Shop during the Dubai Summer Surprises period (June 17-August 7, and you’ll be able to score massive discounts as well as enjoy the entertainment that’s put on in the malls. Stay: You’re in the city of excess so why not live the dream by booking a suite at the beautiful Burj Al Arab ( It has a fabulous coastline location and privacy seekers will love the in-suite check-in service.

KUALA LUMPUR The scene: Decadent consumerism rules in the glittering metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, which is awash with shopping opportunities for everyone, young and old. Bag it up: Mall fans will love the Golden Triangle, which comprises several streets littered with towering shopping centres and hotels. Within lies Bukit Bintang, the ultimate shopping destination and home to the Pavilion, the city’s newest mall. The seven-storey retail haven houses numerous couture stores – Burberry, Prada, Versace – as well as a karaoke lounge, great for letting off some post-spree steam. The nearby Starhill Gallery, meanwhile, is an upmarket emporium with ‘Indulge’ and ‘Adorn’ floors bursting with designer labels and the ‘Muse’ floor awash with art galleries. For a contrast to these pristine, shiny spaces, step into the madness of the Petaling night market in Chinatown, where haggling is de rigeur and the street food delicious. Stay: The towering Ritz-Carlton (www. is the perfect place in which to retreat from the city buzz, and it’s located in the Golden Triangle so you won’t have to lug your shopping bags too far. Décor is inspired by Malaysia’s myriad cultures, and the hotel even offers a wrapping service if you’ve bought presents. 24 Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

Ritz Carlton; Above right: The allsuite wing; Right: Tea in the lobby.

Experience a Century of Service Excellence & Tradition in Dubai this Summer & Ramadan! Towering gracefully in the heart of Jumeirah Lakes Towers, just opposite Dubai Marina and only a 40 minutes drive from Abu Dhabi Airport, the Bonnington is a landmark of heritage and style. Located just next to the Almas Tower, the Bonnington provides a century of hospitality experience and a chic 5 star address to all who walk through her doors. 208 hotel rooms & suites, 272 hotel apartments, a variety of restaurants and our unique Leisure Deck on the 11th floor await you! Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers Cluster J - Jumeirah Lakes Towers PO Box 37246, Dubai Phone: +971 4 3560000, Fax: +971 4 3560400




LA DIGUE, SEYCHELLES If it’s a big resort you’re after, Anse Source d’Argent is not the beach for you. But if calm waters, soaring granite boulders, moon-like crescents of immaculate sand and palm trees so relaxed they’re practically lying down are, welcome home. Accessible by speedboat or helicopter, your stay here can be entirely car-free: hire a pushbike or just walk and you’ll have covered the length of La Digue in no time. The island was named after one of the French ships that discovered it in 1768, and the population still hasn’t swelled above 2,000. After visiting La Digue, you will likely come away thinking them the luckiest 2,000 people on Earth.













On initial appearance, this doesn’t look like it could have started life as a 12th-century fortress. However, the Palais du Louvre, which houses 35,000 pieces of art, has undergone countless extensions throughout its colourful history – including the addition of the I.M. Pei-designed pyramid, which has stood as part of the museum since 1988. Among the better-known pieces in the Louvre’s collection are the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but there are also over 5,000 works of Islamic art. Another Louvre will open on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island in 2012 – watch this space for images of its flying saucer-like shell, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel…




20 magic moments that will make your trip unforgettable – and how to experience them… No more dreaming – now is the time to turn China into a reality. This definitive guide packs all the must-do moments into 19 pages, whether it be CRUISING THE YANGTZE (page 51), or eating Peking duck in BEIJING (page 33). No other country crams in so many icons – THE GREAT WALL (page 40), FORBIDDEN CITY (page 32), and TERRACOTTA WARRIORS (page 37) – so get going: the Far East isn’t as far as you think.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 31

THE LAST EMPEROR MOMENT FORBIDDEN CITY, BEIJING ‘City’ is the operative word here – this vast palace makes Buckingham look like a granny flat. Dedicate at least three hours to the astounding Forbidden City, so-called because it was off-limits to commoners until after the fall of the Qing dynasty (1911), a moment captured by the film The Last Emperor. Built in the 15th century by the Ming dynasty, it took more than a million labourers to construct, and remains the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. The Outer Court merits a wander as it holds the Hall of Supreme Harmony, with ornate gold thrones and dragon motifs, where major

32Forbidden Kanoo World Traveller June 2010 City, Beijing.

occasions took place. But this is the busy end, so don’t buy your tickets here; instead walk up to the northern Gate of Divine Prowess, where the entry queues are much shorter. If you’re pushed for time, head straight for the quieter eastern side of the palace. Noisy tour parties tend to stick to the main halls, so you’ll have its peaceful courtyards – home to the jadeand-gold Treasure House and Emperor Qianlong’s quarters – all to yourself. Guides – both electronic and human – are available at the entrances; ask for the slightly older version of the audio guide rather than the flashy new sensor-

driven model. Why? Because it’s narrated by Roger Moore, which makes it the coolest audio guide on the planet. Visit Beijing in spring or autumn to escape the tourists and scorching summer weather. Arrive before the coach parties roll in, and end your trip in Jingshan Park, where you’ll get the best view of the Forbidden City. On Sundays, you’ll see groups of elderly singers performing the Communist songs they once sang on the Long March (park entrance $1). Open 8.30am to 5pm; $6 in winter, $9 in summer; Roger Moore audio guide $4; English-speaking guides from $20.




Duck at The Courtyard

Food is one of the main reasons to visit China; it bears little or no resemblance to the sweet-and-sour served at your local takeaway. Top of the bill in Beijing is the obligatory Peking duck dinner. The heavily marinated duck is roasted, and the crispy slices are eaten rolled in thin pancakes with spring onions and hoisin sauce. The best option is Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant (9 Shuaifuyuan Hutong; 00 86 10 6525 3310). The full bird will set you back about $24. But duck is only the beginning. In Beijing, there are cuisines from all over China. Spicy Sichuan food is popular, and the cheap-aschips Sichuan Government Restaurant the best place to try it – head north up the alley to the east side of the Chang’an Theatre, and turn right after 200m; the restaurant’s in the Government Building 50m along. Fresh chilli oil adds fire to fillets of grass carp, native to Eastern Asia, and cold chicken strips with noodles. Also big in Beijing is the Mongolian hotpot, usually enjoyed in the company of friends. Alone? Try Yingjia Hotpot, eaten outdoors in the Xidan Cultural Square, where everyone gets their own pot (about $4.50 a head). One of the best restaurants in the city is The Courtyard (00 86 10 6526 8883), opposite the eastern gate of the Forbidden City; the food is oriental fusion – try the sea bass with Japanese pumpkin (dinner around $40). Chinese restaurants sometimes have different dining areas with different prices, even though the food comes from the same kitchen. The cheapest is the open-plan area on the ground floor. And even cheaper? Street stalls. Try mala tang, a spicy noodle soup, or a plate of kebabs at the Donghuamen Night Market. For the truly adventurous there are chicken hearts, grasshoppers and chou doufu, or ‘stinky tofu’, a fermented variety so-called for its acrid odour. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 33


Clockwise from here: Sir Elly’s Bar; The Pudong skyline; HSBC bank and clocktower.


Shanghai’s famous thoroughfare was born in the 1920s, left to rot when Mao’s men moved in, then re-imagined for the 21st century as the city’s swishest street. A series of grand Art Deco buildings at the edge of the Huangpu River, it faces Pudong, the financial district on the other side of the water. In its heyday, the Bund drew American tourists (some 40,000 back in 1918). Now, explored at dusk when the falling sun reflects from Pudong’s gleaming skyscrapers, it’s very 34

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different. Commuters weave between ballroom dancers and people practising t’ai chi – the Bund may once have been expat central, but it’s totally Chinese now. For a more meaningful meander, hire Peter Hibbard, president of the Royal Asiatic Society (, to accompany you. He’ll bring the Bund’s past to life with anecdotes and pictures of how these buildings looked when they first went up. Highlights include HSBC bank, where

a domed ceiling displays mosaics of cities across the globe, and No. 18, where the Deco details have been restored and now complement luxury stores, a genteel coffee bar and glitzy Bar Rouge, with its terrace overlooking the skyline. But the perfect place for a souvenir snapshot is Sir Elly’s Bar, at the top of the new Peninsula Hotel ( Right at the start of the Bund, it has a view of the entire drag – as well as the best drinks in town.

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TERRACOTTA WARRIORS, XI’AN Imperial capital to 11 Chinese dynasties, Xi’an is arguably more important than Beijing in the annals of Chinese history. In the countryside around this central city, you can hardly move without tripping over a royal barrow – as a couple of local farmers found in 1974, when they stumbled on one while they were sinking a well. And what they found was the greatest archaeological discovery since Howard Carter shone his torch into Tutankhamun’s tomb. The Terracotta Army guards the tomb of the First Emperor, the founder of China – a certain Qin Shi Huang. Qin is something of a poster boy for deranged tyrants, and his tomb shows all the overblown sense of scale you’d expect. It is guarded by approximately 8,000 well-armed, life-sized terracotta soldiers, each one an individual portrait. So far, 1,000 have been excavated. Standing in wide trenches beneath canopy roofs, looking a little dazed by all the attention after 2,000 years underground, they form one of the world’s most famous tourist sites. Work hasn’t yet begun on the large burial mound beneath the emperor,

but historical records tell of a complex of wonders, a world whose ‘heavens’ are studded with pearls and whose ‘seas’ are made of mercury. Xi’an is awash with tours to see the Terracotta Army, less than 30km from the city. Ask at your hotel, or hop on one of the minibuses that run from outside the train station. Expect crowds and souvenir-selling on an industrial scale (although it’s better early on a weekday). Some visitors feel that tourism has defeated the Terracotta Army once and for all. For those we have a hot tip: Han Yangling. Less than an hour away, this is also an imperial tomb guarded by terracotta soldiers – but that is where the comparison ends. The figures at Han Yangling may be smaller and fewer, but the sophisticated design of the museum and the relative lack of crowds allow you to savour the strangeness and romance of the moment in a way that can be diffcult among the masses at the Terracotta Army. Terracotta Army: open daily, 8am-6pm; $10. Han Yangling Museum: open daily, 8.30am7pm; $9.

Unflinching determination is a must if you hope to spot a panda plodding freely in the wild – just to capture a photograph of its droppings is considered a privilege in China. The giant panda is the rarest member of the bear family; its image was used to launch the World Wildlife Fund in 1961. Fifty years on, the future of these beauties is looking up, as conservation efforts seem to be working. For guaranteed sightings, base yourself in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, where there’s a centre dedicated to breeding and research. Chengdu Panda Base (www.; $7.50) was launched in 1987 with six bears, but its captive population now exceeds 80. Get here early, when the creatures are at their most active; feeding takes place at 9am, and there’s plenty of preprandial frolicking from 8am. After that, head for the nursery, which houses panda cubs in incubators beside snoozing mothers. If you want to try to see the bears in the wild, the Chinese government has established more than 50 reserves, protecting 45 per cent of the remaining natural giant panda habitat. These are epic landscapes, and there’s no guarantee you’ll see anything, but the help of an expert could prove worth its weight in gold. From Chengdu, organised tours head out to the Min Mountain range. Among the reserves are Tangjiahe, where abrupt slopes, narrow chasms and dense forests conceal blue sheep and golden monkeys; or there’s Jiuzhaigou, a World Heritage Site, with shampoo-advert waterfalls. In these spectacular regions of true wilderness, you’ll feel the presence of the giant panda long before you’ve spotted any paw prints.

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VISIT TO A CHINESE DOCTOR Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow paraded those odd shoulder burns at a film premiere? This is the effect of cupping, one of a clipboard-long list of traditional Chinese therapies in vogue in the Western world. Try the real deal in Hong Kong: Dr Kelly Chain speaks fluent English, and your first consultation is free. She’ll monitor your qi, or energy flow, by studying your hands and

‘Dr Kelly may suggest moxibustion – using heated mugwort herb to clear qi blockages’

Traditional Dan at Peking opera.


Ear-splitting or rhapsodic? Whatever your take as a tourist, Peking opera is still going strong, even 300 years after Qing Emperor Qianlong discovered it on a tour of south China. He was so impressed with the bright costumes, sword dances and energetic operatic performances of the Anhui and Hebei provinces that he nicked their ideas (not to mention their opera troupes) and brought them to Peking, now Beijing. A heady mix of song, dance and gymnastics, these operas are based on Chinese history and literature, and feature four main characters: Sheng (male), Dan (female), Jing (painted face) and Chou (clown). The music can be unbearable – it was originally performed in marketplaces, so singers had to develop a high-pitched style in order to be heard above the noise – so if you can’t 38

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stick it out for a full show, make sure you don’t miss one of the battle sequences (the plays tend to alternate between civil and fight scenes, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long to see one). The artists combine graceful acrobatics with martial arts moves, notoriously hard to train for. Their costumes are designed to billow out as they move, making the jumps look even more spectacular. So where should you see it? The Beijing Traditional Opera Theatre (8 Majiapu Dong Lu; 00 86 10 6756 2287) subtitles its performances in English, which is handy if your Mandarin is a bit rusty. If you don’t fancy a full show, then the Chaoyang Theatre offers daily hour-long highlights from its acrobatics and opera performances (36 Dongsanhuan Bei Lu; 00 86 10 6507 2421; tickets from $25).

pulse. She may suggest moxibustion, which uses heated mugwort herb burned above the problem area to clear qi blockages. Or perhaps acupuncture which, it’s claimed, boosts fertility, lowers stress and eases chronic pain. Treatments at Chain’s Medicare from $100 ( In Shanghai, try the Shanghai Qigong Institute (00 86 21 5306 4832), and in Beijing, the China Academy of TCM (00 86 10 6301 4195).



It’s said that China has the best teahouses in the world, and Chengdu has the best teahouses in China, so expect whole days to disappear here (drinkers sip free refills for hours). You’ll find teahouses all over the city – in parks, on street corners – but try the Great Mercy, where servers pour tea from a great height without spilling a drop. Buying loose tea can be more complicated. Watch out for teahouse scams in tourist hubs such as Shanghai and Hangzhou, where you might be invited to a traditional ceremony only to face a bill of up to $150. If you want to take some back with you, stick to well-known outlets where tea is sold by weight: try Huangshan Tea Company in Shanghai (Xintiandi), and Maliandao (or ‘Tea City’) in Beijing.

Chinese tea ceremony involves far more than simply pouring from a pot. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 39

The Xizhazi Village in Huairou County.


No visiting dignitary is allowed to leave China without the mandatory photo opp on the Great Wall (outfits for this are on sale at the entrance, and include great emperors and golden monkeys as well as Red Guards). But fancy dress isn’t what China’s first emperor had in mind 2,000 years ago when he began construction of the Wall: it was built to keep out the horsemen of Central Asia, who had a habit of sweeping down on Chinese cities and running riot. Stretching 6,000km from the Yellow Sea to the sands of the Gobi, along what was once China’s northern 40

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frontier, the Wall is so vast that the last significant renovation, under the 16thcentury Ming dynasty, took 100 years. (Although, as Genghis Khan pointed out, a wall is only as strong as the courage of those who defend it.) Numerous day tours operate from Beijing to various locations on the Wall; book through your hotel reception. At the bottom end (under $15pp) you may be crammed into a minibus with a gaggle of fellow tourists. At the top end ($82pp) you can hire a private car for the day. Whichever way, avoid weekends. The

busiest location is at Badaling, 70km from the capital, where the crowds rival the population of Dubai and the souvenirsellers have the manners of Gestapo interrogators. Far quieter are Simatai and Jinshanling, around 100km from Beijing, but well worth the effort. At all these locations you get to wander along the top of the Wall, admiring the magnificent views over tumbling hills. A great excursion is the hike between Jinshaling and Simatai, in part along the Wall itself. It’s fairly strenuous: reckon on a good three or four hours.



In the fairytale mountains of Guilin, deep in the tribal lands of southern China, lies one of the most extraordinary landscapes in the country. Built in a distant age when men were giants and mountains were nothing, the Longsheng rice paddies are a spectacular feat of engineering. Hugging the contours of steep slopes, shored up by hope and an intricate network of stone walls, the terraces are irregular staircases rising 1,000m past the villages of tribal people such as the Yao and Dong. The terraces are ravishingly beautiful: in spring, ooded for planting, they tumble down the slopes like a shattered mirror, reecting farmers ploughing with their buffalo.

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The Mongolians are the Yin to the Chinese Yang: where the Chinese are orderly and industrious, the Mongolians are unruly and carefree – and probably the world’s greatest horsemen. There are two Mongolias – Inner and Outer – and the former has been part of China on and off for centuries. Since the revolution, Chinese immigration and development into the area has transformed the province – nomads are rather more scarce. But the landscapes are as thrilling as ever: grasslands which fostered the armies of Genghis Khan stretch to the horizons, and the Gobi Desert lends the land a prehistoric simplicity. Accommodation is invariably in comfy yurts, and a horse ride is almost obligatory. 42

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The fire dragon dance being performed during Chinese New Year.


Bigger than Christmas, brighter than Bonfire Night, Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the national calendar. Typically falling in late January or early February (it’s a lunar festival, so varies slightly each year), it sees the country at its most colourful: houses decorated with good-luck messages, and stalls selling paper money, drums and costumes. Firecrackers are let off to scare ghosts away, and everyone is keen to set a positive tone for the coming year.

Debts are paid off, houses cleaned and feuds ended, if only for a day. Many of the festivities are family-focused and take place at home, but there’s a buzz about the streets that is completely addictive. For the visitor, the main attractions are the fairs, where a host of entertainment awaits: street performers, craft workers, martial-arts acts, traders and all kinds of snack stall. Remember to wear something red – the colour brings good fortune at New Year. There is a price to pay for all

this seasonal fun, in higher hotel rates and limited availability, so try to book your accommodation at least six months in advance. Travel is also extremely diffcult, with trains and buses packed as people hurry home to be with their families. For visitors, it’s best to stay put and enjoy. Hong Kong is probably your best bet, with decent weather and English widely spoken, making it easier to join in the fun. But Beijing runs a close second, even if the weather can be very cold. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 43


YUNNAN PROVINCE Sean Thomas takes a divine trip through Yunnan. I’m getting traveller’s déjà vu. I’m sure I’ve seen this before: those bright red paper lanterns; the teahouses of venerable wood; sparkling streams purling under willowpattern bridges towards the delicately tiered pagodas. Truth is, I have seen this place before: in my mind. Lijiang, a beautiful, canal-laced old city, with its squawking scarlet parrots perched outside Tang Dynasty pavilions, makes you think ‘I’ve seen this already’ because it’s everyone’s idea of how historic China should look. No doubt the miraculous preservation of old Lijiang is one reason why the Yunnan province is now the second most popular domestic tourist destination in China (after Beijing). Here in China’s exotic yet accessible Deep South you can see Himalayan gorges, meadows of wild azaleas, jewel-blue mountain lakes, lushly tropical forest and exquisite towns such as Lijiang or Dali – in one user-friendly package. The popularity of Yunnan does bring with it crowds of chattering (yet affable) Chinese tourists. But a half-minute stroll from Lijiang’s central spine of Sifang Road, you can still find whispering passageways and concealed courtyards where 500-year-old camellias blossom beneath the blue skies of April or November (the best times to visit Yunnan are spring and autumn, when the weather is cloudless and perfect). MAKING TRACKS My next stop is Kunming, the vigorous capital of Yunnan. The outskirts of the city are a tad Stalinist: grubby apartment blocks and sprawling toy factories abound. But the inner city is a fascinating monument to the rise of the Red Superpower. Right in the centre there are still a few dusty, evocative wooden streets, mumbling their memories of old Kunming. This city has quite a history – 1,000 years back it was a major capital in the independent Muslim sultanate of 44

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Nanzhao. Since then, it has been occupied by the Burmese, the Japanese and the Mongolians. Kinetic, prosperous and very friendly, Kunming is not just a good place to rest up (the hotels are top drawer), it is also a fine place to eat. Thanks to Yunnan’s fertile orchards and meadowlands, the local tucker is fresh and various. Try yiliang (honeyroasted duck); delicate, peppery compressed rice cakes (erkuai); or the spiced-up, claypot-cooked chicken known as qiguoji. After my restorative sojourn in civilised Kunming, I’m tempted to take that slow road south to languid, tea-growing Xishuangbanna – or simply ‘Banna’ to the locals – and enjoy the orchid-filled, tiger-haunted rainforests with enigmatic hill tribes, such as the Jinuo, the Hani, the Lisu or the mighty Wa. Then again, I am tempted by a lot of destinations in Yunnan. I could also trek the Tiger Leaping Gorge in the west. It’s one of the world’s most impressive canyons, but not for the faint-hearted – if you want to do the whole epic trail, plan for three days of ankleturning, jaw-dropping yomps along the mighty Yangtze river. Alternatively, I could kick back in bohemian Dali – arguably, an even more picture-perfect Chinese town than its neighbour, Lijiang. But with so much Yunnan, and so little time, my final destination virtually chooses itself. SHANGRI-LA No, seriously – that’s where I’m headed. Just an hour’s flight north from Kunming, this charming, rough-edged, Tibetanspeaking town, surrounded by icy alpine lakes and baize-green yak meadows, used to be known as Zhongdian. But the tourist authorities recently renamed it after the Himalayan paradise described in James Hilton’s 1930s novel, Lost Horizon. It’s a bit of a cheek, naming a town after a fictional haven. And yet an experience I have in Yunnan leads me to think that maybe

The postcard-perfect Black Dragon Pool, Lijiang.


‘It’s a bit of a cheek, renaming a place “Shangri-La” after a fictional paradise. But I think maybe they were right.’

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Lijiang old town glows at night.

the tourist agencies were right to make this audacious change. On my very last day there, I take a scenic, winding, threehour drive from Shangri-la. Balagezong comprises an ancient Tibetan village, sitting on a colossal butte of rock, overlooking 1,000m-deep jungle gorges, and ringed by awesome snow-streaked mountain peaks. It’s so isolated, the villagers speak their own dialect; the first dirt road up to the hamlet was only completed eight weeks before my visit. Not surprisingly, I am one of the first Western tourists to make it here. The guide 46

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‘Flags flutter in the breeze, high above the chasms of jade green’ walks me around the wooden village, with its extraordinary views. I am gasping, and not just because we are 2,500m up, but because this is perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever visited. We stop for a rest by the chalk-white village stupa, where the red and yellow prayer flags flutter their petitions in the silent breeze, high above the chasms of

darkening jade green. The mountains look down on us, imperturbably. I am moved to tears by the sense of conscious grandeur, of a universe that somehow listens to these fluttering prayers. The guide stares at me, confused by my reaction. I pretend I have something in my eye. In the taxi back to Shangri-la (the bus for Nirvana was late) I start to wonder. What just happened? Maybe it was just too much local pu-er tea, and not enough oxygen. But I can see why the Chinese are falling in love with this corner of their homeland. Yunnan is divine.


‘Wild, untamed, and largely empty, the landscapes are the antithesis of the green China we imagine’

The incredible Silk Route, which winds through Xingjiang. Right: A thirsty native; Below right: Xingjiang is rife with dramatic gorges.


ALONG THE SILK ROUTE For millennia the Silk Route was the thread that linked East and West, the road that travel writer Freya Stark called ‘the oldest, the richest, the longest, the most persistent and most romantic of all the chequered streams of trade’. This is China’s epic journey – to lands where the food was suspect, the landscapes bewildering and the people barbaric – and it ends (or begins, depending on which way you travel) at Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Army and fulcrum of so much incredible Chinese history. The departure from Xi’an is unchanged today; the old city is still walled and the looming gateways that greeted Silk Road travellers are intact. The route then skirts the Gobi, and loops around the great western desert known as Taklimakan (meaning ‘you go in but you do not come out’). Wild, untamed, and largely empty, the landscapes are the antithesis of

the green, well-cultivated China we often imagine. Finally you enter Xinjiang province. Even though there has been considerable Chinese immigration into Xinjiang over the past 50 years, residents are mainly Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic people who bring a Middle Eastern flavour to the area, with mosques giving the call to prayer and street stalls grilling mutton. The Silk Road provides a great adventure for independent travellers, and you should give yourself at least two weeks to do it justice. Trains run to Urümqi, the rather characterless provincial capital, from both Xi’an and Beijing; and buses will connect you to the charming oasis towns of Turpan and Kuqa. Don’t miss the Caves at Dunhuang or, best of all, Kashi, a Central Asian crossroads where the world’s greatest bazaar, little altered since the days of Marco Polo, is held every Sunday. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 47


As you ponder your escape from Shanghai Pudong Airport, you’ll encounter the first sign that you’ve reached the future. The fastest way into town is not by taxi (communication breakdowns and long traffic jams), but aboard Maglev, the city’s electromagnetic super-train, which whizzes its passengers through outer suburbs towards the centre in eight minutes ($12 return). You’ll just have time to witness the train’s speedometer hitting 400kph before you’re turfed out at Longyang Road metro station, feeling slightly fuzzy. Next, take the green underground line five stops to Lu Jia Zui, the city’s chaotic, consumerist version of Canary Wharf. It’s best not to take the Shanghai tour guides’ traditional cry of ‘Look upwards to see the best of the city’ to heart, since the pedestrian tunnels and walkways are still being built. It’s more a case of eyes firmly on the road as you throw yourself to the mercy of the roaring traffic and hope someone stops. When you do look up,

the skyline is truly heart-stopping and, luckily, a handful of these incredible hulks are navigable. The shiny, Barbie-pink Oriental Pearl TV Tower (00 86 21 5879 1888; $15) is a favourite with Chinese tourists: its revolving teahouse is the most atmospheric place to see this immense city unfurl below you, bordered by the Earl-Grey waters of the Huangpu River. Most foreigners, however, prefer the calm surrounds of the Grand Hyatt (, one of the world’s tallest hotels, which sits on the 53rd to 87th floors of the Jin Mao Tower. You have two options here: one, book a room and admire this sparkly sprawl from your bed (a risky strategy, as jet lag and floorto-ceiling windows can conspire to create dreadful vertigo); two, have a drink at trendy Cloud 9, on the 87th floor. Note to daredevils: you can bypass the Grand Hyatt altogether, and instead whizz to the 100th floor of the nearby World Finance Center, where exercise classes take place on a clear-glass

walkway, 474m above the ground (00 86 21 5047 5101; $10). If that’s given you a head for heights, the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel ( has rooms that rise to a less-scary floor 36 and come with binoculars for spying at the goings-on along the Bund, across the river. To really get to grips with the size of Shanghai, though, you’ll need to visit the Urban Planning Centre (00 86 21 6318 4777; $6). It’s not as dull as it sounds – its perfectscale model of the city illustrates how big this place will be in 2020 (you could hold each building in your hand, but the model still takes at least three minutes to circumnavigate). Expo 2010, which the Shanghainese are hoping will show just how forward-thinking they are, runs until October 31. Featuring pavilions from around the world (the British one looks like the Terminator’s pet hedgehog), it will be dominated by a gigantic scarlet China pavilion. No prizes for guessing the political message here...

The Grand Hyatt boasts awesome views; Left: The Oriental Pearl TV Tower; Above: Plush surroundings at the riverside Pudong Shangri-La.


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These delicious little parcels are a staple in southern China, especially Hong Kong: they’re basically meat, fish, seafood or veg, wrapped in translucent rice-flour skins and steamed, or tucked in pastry.

‘Fung-jao – chicken feet – are much more tasty than they sound (and look)...’ Perfection realised at the Hangzhou garden.


Long before Europeans created the upstart city of Shanghai in the 19th century, the twin jewels of eastern China were the cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou. Marco Polo was a fan, declaring Hangzhou ‘the most magnificent and beautiful city in the world’. This is a trip into ancient classical China, a world of pagodas, gardens and lakes, moon gates and men with long wispy beards. Hangzhou is famous for its beautiful Xi Hu (West Lake). Enclosed by parklands, the lakeshore is a Chinese painting come to life – causeways, trees, hills, drooping willows and strolling lovers. Boatmen with small canopied boats will offer you an excursion on the lake; or take a paddleboat on your own. Suzhou, famous for its beautiful silks, gardens and women, is a couple of hours from Hangzhou by car and just an hour from Shanghai by train. This city of canals

and grey-tiled old houses is a great place for wandering with no particular purpose, although you mustn’t miss the gardens. To the Chinese, gardens are an art form, using water, rock, vegetation and pagodas, often on a very small scale, to achieve the balance and harmony that is essential to peace and happiness. Suzhou attracts considerable numbers of Chinese tourists who, in large groups, can bring imbalance and disharmony instantly to any garden. To avoid the crowds, try to visit the three most popular gardens – Wangshi Yuan, Shizi Lin and Zhouzheng Yuan – before 10am (most gardens open at 7.30 am). You can then spend the rest of the day contemplating the art of Chinese horticulture at the lessfamous, but equally beautiful, gardens of Canglang Ting and Ou Yuan, hopefully without the surging masses.

The best way to experience them is as part of yum cha, or dim sum brunch. Try Lin Heung (160-164 Wellington St; 00 852 2544 4556), in Central, for sheer chaos and atmosphere; or, for gentility, Lung King Heen in the Four Seasons (8 Finance St; 00 852 3196 8888). Star of the dim sum show is har-gau (steamed shrimp dumplings) or fung-jao (chicken feet) – much tastier than they sound (and look). All this is swilled down with cha or tea, paraded round the restaurant by waitresses with trolleys.

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It takes guts to join the OAPs limbering up in one of the city’s many pretty parks: though these practice sessions are open to all, both the participants and their t’ai chi masters will studiously ignore you while simultaneously performing age-defying swoops and leg-lifts. Nervous novices may prefer to take a crash-course before joining them. Pure Tai Chi ( 50

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runs four-session, one-on-one courses (from $100) in the leafy surrounds of Century Park, in which you get your own teacher to guide you through the moves. When you’ve mastered ‘pushing hands’, the best place to show off is the pocket-sized patch of Shaoxing Park at 7am, where you might even garner a few smiles from the friendliest octogenarians in town.

Think of group tours and a bossy woman probably runs across your imagination, waving a flag in the air as 52 confused tourists follow behind. This is what you can expect from escorted tours, yet it can be a great way to see China if you’re short on cash but want guidance. Not all tours are 40-strong, however; The China Travel Company (www.thechinatravelcompany., for example, promises maximum group sizes of 12, while Explore Worldwide ( monitors its groups according to destination – sizes vary from 12-18, so you’ll get excellent individual care. These guides also speak good English and will be unfazed by any question you ask as they’re used to foreign tourists. Or try Milestones Tours (www.milestonestours. com) or Page & Moy (www.pageandmoy. com), which also specialise in escorted tours. If you want a personal guide, you need to know where to look. Beware the pushy chap at the Forbidden City who ignores your questions once he’s taken your money, or the smiling tuk-tuk driver who offers to guide you, then stops at his brother’s gem store. No – you need an on-the-ground tourism agency. One of the biggest and best is the China International Travel Service (, which knows the country inside out. Guides are usually young tourism students who speak good English and have as much interest in you as you do in their city. It’s not an expensive addition either: a half-day tour of Shanghai, for example, is $75 if you’re alone, or $50pp if there are two of you – and this tour can take in whatever you fancy, whether it be street food, art, live music or architecture. It can be tricky to know whether to tip since China is, of course, a Communist country, but it’s suggested you do – 10 per cent of your tour cost should be ample.


‘Painters have spent entire careers trying to capture the Yangtze’s soul’

The River Yangtze offers plenty in the way of dramatic gorges.


To the Chinese the Yangtze is simply ‘Chang Jiang’, the Long River. Painters have spent entire careers trying to capture its soul. In Chinese legends it is not so much a setting as a character, mysterious and treacherous. When it broke its banks, emperors were perceived to have lost the Mandate of Heaven and dynasties fell. And when Li Bai, China’s most popular poet, drowned in the river in the 8th century while trying to embrace a reflection of the moon, he seemed to symbolise a national obsession. After the Amazon and the Nile, it is the world’s longest river. Rising in Tibet, it runs almost 6,500km to the sea: the Chinese say if you haven’t been up the Long River, you haven’t been anywhere. There are two choices for a Yangtze river trip: Chinese passenger boats or foreign-operated tourist boats. Both run between Chongqing and Yichang, a journey of three days downriver or four days going up. The Chinese boats offer all classes, from small, functional, first-class cabins to dormitories shared with 23 other people. You can buy tickets at the

boat office in Chongqing and at the dock end of Shaanzi Lu at Chaotianmen; ask at your hotel for advice, assistance and translation. A two-berth, first-class cabin will cost about $150. For the foreign cruise ships, it’s best to book through a tour operator. These boats come with comfortable cabins, observation decks and good restaurants. By common consent the Yangzi Explorer is currently the best boat on the river, with larger cabins and fewer passengers. The Three Gorges Dam, completed in 2006, has changed the riverscape by raising the water level. The fearsome Yangtze currents are no more and, of course, flooding downriver is now controlled. Purists will argue that the river gorges are not as spectacular as they once were, but a voyage down the Yangtze, where scenic drama still lies round every bend, remains one of the world’s great river journeys. It also offers some of the most restful days on any Chinese itinerary – you sit in your deckchair while the boat does the moving…

Get around

Train travel is a fascinating – and often time-effective – way to get around China. There are three classes (‘soft sleeper’, ‘hard sleeper’ and ‘seat’), though major routes offer ‘deluxe soft sleeper’, which means you get a twoberth ensuite cabin. Soft sleepers are four-berth with shared toilet, while hard sleepers are in communal cabins of 36 (but with bedding, contrary to what the name suggests). You can see timetables and fares at www.chinatravelguide. com and In China, tickets can be bought at the station once reservations ‘open’, between five and 20 days before departure; the easiest way is to ask your hotel to book your tickets. Fares from Beijing to Shanghai in a soft sleeper cabin vary from $65 one way when bought from a ticket office in China, to $130 through an agency; seats start from $45. The website www. is an invaluable source of information on train travel in China.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 51

52 Kanoo World Traveller June 2010


Neapolitan scoop With a reputation as fiery as Vesuvius, Naples stays largely touristfree. But Rachel Spence uncovers the real story: high fashion, divine cooking and hospitality to warm your heart.


he sun is beaming on pristine, treelined streets. On a canopy-shaded café terrace, thoroughbred Italian signore with palomino manes and Euroyacht tans are sipping drinks, surrounded by designer shopping bags. I’ve spent the morning checking out conceptual art galleries – of which there are at least four crammed into one square kilometre – but been distracted by a handmade silk tie and the latest Prada sandals. Dangerously delectable window displays beckon at every turn of the head. I’m in Milan, right? Maybe Rome? Wrong. I’m in Naples. Dodgy, dirty Naples. The city which, according to reports, is sinking ever further into a slough of despond thanks to a combination of organised crime and disorganised rubbish collection. Or is it? Feeling peckish, I hover in the doorway of Pescheria Mattiucci (www., an enticing eatery that doubles as a fish shop. Trays of glistening fresh fish and tropical-green herbs are laid out under a vibrant, ceramic-tile mural of Vesuvius disgorging smoke out over the azure Bay of Naples. A clutch of fashionably smart-casual diners eat at a counter balanced on fish tanks with live occupants. A nanosecond later, Naples’ native hospitality kicks in. The first time I came to the city, I clutched my handbag to my chest and refused to meet anybody’s eye – this was difficult as everybody from the taxi driver to the waiter was talking to me. After about an hour, I surrendered and I have been making friends here ever since. In Mattiucci, the customers ply me with morsels of fish from their own plates, while Luigi, the owner, asks the chef to prepare a dish for me.

I fork up the silky-smooth pasta, flakes of white fish, potatoes and pan-fried pomodorini. And I discover that Luigi’s slick hybrid venture – line-caught fish, get-what-you’re-given lunch menu, raw-fish canapés in the evening– is the 21st-century incarnation of a family business that started more than a century ago when his great-grandfather went clam-hunting in the bay. Contemporary and yet rooted in tradition, Mattiucci embodies the ‘other Naples’. The Camorra – the city’s local mafia – and their dealings in drugs, waste disposal and protection rackets, were superbly documented

‘The pizza, with its canopy of basil leaves, stretches my stomach to match my eyes’ in the 2008 film Gomorrah. They have done their best to paralyse progress here in the last few years, but they have failed to prevent a stalwart group of enterprising individuals from creating new businesses. Restaurants, shops, hotels, art galleries… The chic, cosmopolitan profile is quite at odds with the perception of Naples as a lawless, poverty-stricken ghetto. At the heart of this style revolution is Chiaia, where Mattiucci has set up. With its Art Nouveau palaces and shops bordered by a palm-lined riviera, it’s like a Knightsbridgeon-Sea. What a change from a couple of years ago, when TV screens worldwide were filled with images of streets drowning in rubbish because of the lack of adequate landfill sites. That situation has been resolved, but tourist numbers dwindled. Their dearth is the only

way to explain how I found a room at the Hotel San Francesco al Monte at such short notice. Perched in Vomero, a residential district overlooking the bay, the 16th-century convent has been converted into a retreat so dreamy that, anywhere else, it would have been booked up months in advance – a fresco here, majolica tiles there, tonnes of Pompeian red everywhere. On Friday morning, after a dip in the pool and some fresh figs, croissants and cappuccino among the magnolia trees in the garden, I am ready to take my chances in the Archaeological Museum (http://marcheo.napolibeniculturali. it; $9). This four-storey palace just to the north of Naples’ Centro Storico used to have inexplicably closed rooms, grumpy staff and nonsensical signage – but fortunately, the museum is sprucing up its act. The core display – which contains a collection of ancient statues snaffled by Pope Alessandro Farnese to decorate his 17th-century Roman residence – has been treated to a much-needed remount. The centrepiece remains the Farnese Bull, so realistic it’s more snuff-movie than sculpture. It shows the Theban queen, Dirce, being roped to the hooves of the rearing toro by two muscular young men. Another novelty is the museum’s long-hidden collection of Pompeian painting. With a cast of coy nymphs, cheeky satyrs, avenging heroes and winsome heroines, the drama is so realistic you feel you could step into the canvases and travel back in time. But if you’re feeling lazy – and let’s face it, you are on holiday – there’s no need to go to so much trouble. Naples’ ancient roots are part of the fabric of the city. In Museo, the nearby underground station, a display of recently excavated coins and ceramics reminds you June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 53


Clockwise from here: Pizza is big business in Naples; Baroque fountain; Vesuvius towering behind Naples; A light breakfast; Mozzarella is part of the staple diet.

that this was the Imperial Romans’ holiday resort of choice. But the beauty of the city today is that ancient and modern sit happily side-by-side – the next stop, Piazza Dante, has walls adorned with conceptual art installations: a jumble of dirty old shoes by Jannis Kounellis and a strip of neon calligraphy by Joseph Kosuth that spells out a phrase of Dante. I stifle my inner critic (who wants to know why art produced two millennia ago is both prettier and less perplexing than work made yesterday?) – then I plunge into the grid of arrow-straight, Graeco-Roman streets that criss-cross Naples’ Centro Storico: Spaccanapoli. Classical urban planning aside, abandon reason all ye who enter here. Wailing sirens, tooting mopeds – three to a bike and one helmet between them – and cursing taxi-drivers form the cacophonous backdrop to this bizarre blend of low life and high culture. Graceful, centuries-old buildings, their façades crumbling and strung with smog-stained washing lines, are home to tiny, open-fronted shops filled with everything from loaves, Parmesan and pizza to saucepans, joss sticks and plaster nativity figures. Should the chaos overwhelm, take a pew at Scaturchio ( In the heart of Spaccanapoli, in Piazza San Domenico

‘Graceful buildings are home to tiny, open-fronted shops selling everything from Parmesan to joss sticks to saucepans’ Maggiore, this café acts as an alfresco sittingroom for Neapolitans of all persuasions. To fit in, order an espresso and a cake. But be warned: Neapolitan coffee is the strongest in the world – apparently because of the volcanic minerals in the water. If your nervous system survives the shock, it’s the best way to stiffen your sinews before confronting Caravaggio’s The Seven Acts of Mercy, which hangs in the nearby chapel Pio Monte della Misericordia. Prone to melodrama in life as well as art, the 17th-century painter turned up in Naples after killing a man in a duel, and this work’s intensity may reflect his own longing for forgiveness. The canvas is rather dingy – Caravaggio was keen on shadows – which means that spotting all seven can prove a challenge. Yet the pleasure of seeing a masterpiece hanging in the place it was painted for, rather than enshrined in a museum, makes it well worth the squint.

With sunset approaching, the prospect of a pre-dinner drink at Mattiucci lures me back to Chiaia, where my eyes graze longingly over a window display of hand-beaten silver jewellery. Its creator, Vincenzo Oste (00 39 081 764 5849), is the son of a sculptor; within minutes, he has not only told me his life story, but we have also made an appointment for a tour of La Sanità the next morning with his mate Massimo, a local tour guide and historian. La Sanità lies just north of the Medieval stone portal of Porta San Gennaro, which marks the perimeter of Spaccanapoli. It is one of Naples’ most intriguing districts: in ancient times, Greeks and Romans buried their dead here because it lay beyond the city walls. Yet although its streets are mired in folklore and legend, few foreigners venture this way. This is a shame because the locals are more likely to kill you with kindness than anything more sinister. Our tour starts early on Saturday in the local street market, where pyramids of gleaming black mussels, scorfano fish and mottled skate are being picked over by bowed, sallow-skinned signore. Resisting a punnet of strawberries bedded in a lettuce leaf, I follow Massimo along the Via dei Vergini, which takes its name from an ancient cult of chastity. Lined with shabby-but-stunning Baroque residences, June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 55


Clockwise from here: Hall entrance at Casa D’Anna; The lounge; Casa D’Anna’s gorgeous archways overlook the courtyard.

‘I wonder how many treasures are buried beneath Naples’ 21stcentury crust’ the thoroughfare has a jewel in its Palazzo Spagnolo building, which has been restored to pistachio-and-cream-fronted glory. As Massimo and I criss-cross each other going up and down the spectacular double staircase, it’s easy to see why 18th-century architects thought its playful charm would take the sting out of the multi-storey climb. La Sanità’s streets ring with Neapolitan dialect, its indecipherable vocabulary the legacy of multiple invaders – from ancient Greeks to Normans, Spaniards and Austrians. The sights are varied, too. One modern apartment, with a satellite dish and a pair of jeans drying on the balcony, was the birthplace of Totò, Naples’ late, much-loved comic film star. A wobbly ladder on the floor of a shabby warehouse leads to a damp, earthbound cave: ‘Gli Ipogei Funerari Ellenistici’ (Via Santa Maria Antesaecula 129) announces the ancient Greek underground tombs. As I crouch in the loamy gloom, gazing at a rare Greek carving of a skirt-clad soldier and a panther, I can’t help wondering how many more treasures are hidden beneath the city’s 21st-century crust. 56 Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

Back at sea level, a brief panino pause in a bakery furnishes us with bulging frisbees of chewy, salty, crusty bread and creamy, succulent mozzarella, with an unforgettable flavour that still haunts me every time I contemplate a soggy supermarket sandwich. La Sanità’s rough-and-ready reputation has kept it out of the tourist league – at least, so far. But that could change, now that an enterprising Italo-Scottish couple, Ken McTaggart and Carmine D’Anna, have created a sumptuous B&B (Casa D’Anna) on the second floor of a 17th-century palace. A blend of antiques, original frescoes and designer details (modchintzy Pierre Frey curtains), it overlooks the vine-shaded garden where Vincenzo’s father has his studio. Brimming with sculptures at every stage of development, it’s open to the public and is a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of an old-fashioned artist at work. Ignoring my mozzarella-induced pleas for mercy, the lads are determined to lure me into their favourite pizzeria, Oliva Concettina aitre Santi (00 39 081 290037), in a sidestreet off Via dei Vergini. Soon, plates of delicious, deep-fried treats – Sicilian tomato and rice balls, crispy vegetables, golden-brown mozzarella – cover the table. And sure enough, the perfection of the pizza, with its canopy of basil leaves and tomato-intense taste, stretches my stomach to match my eyes.

The following day, I power-walk to the Museo di Capodimonte (www.museo-capodimonte. it; $10), perched on a hill overlooking the city. During the week, you might have to share its stupendous painting collection with a party of schoolchildren; at the weekend, it’s empty. Linger in the early rooms, which are devoted to the Renaissance, and seek out the wily old Farnese Pontiff by Titian. Then beetle down the corridor towards a diaphanous white light that is Caravaggio’s Flagellation. Nearby, you’ll find Judith Beheading Holofernes: it’s as gory as it sounds, but its poetic realism makes it one of the great Baroque paintings. It was the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, who had an awful life and never got the recognition she deserved. Some might say Naples has shared the same fate. In fact, I’m tempted to say that the city is as perilous as everyone fears, in the hope she remains my own dark secret. But that, of course, would be unfair on the good guys…

Where to stay Hotel San Francesco Al Monte, Corso Vittorio Emanuele 328 (www., from $200 B&B. Casa D’Anna, Via Cristallini (www., from $140 B&B.

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IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT… As sweltering temperatures engulf the Middle East, escaping to cooler climes has never looked more appealing. Whether you crave freezing snowscapes or clement sunny scenes, we’ve got the ideal solution for every kind of traveller.


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010


CHILLY: 0-10°C LAS LEÑAS, ARGENTINA Average July temperature: 8°C The ski season runs from June to October at this classy South American resort, where cloudless blue skies are par for the course. The fact that it’s a flight, rather than a drive, away from Buenos Aires makes it quiet during the week, with queues for the 13 lifts generally very small, and the excellent range of pistes cater for everyone from beginners to experts (there’s also some outstanding heli- and off-piste skiing on offer for dare-devil types). The most luxurious place to stay in Las Leñas is the Piscis Hotel (, a five-star, 90-bedroom retreat with a heated indoor-outdoor swimming pool and onsite ski school and hire shop. WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND Average July temperature: 8°C New Zealand’s capital makes for a fantastic city break. Sprawling alongside a pretty harbour and backed by lush green hills, the arty city offers numerous picturesque walks and nature-spotting opportunities (seals abound along the coast), as well as the adventure sports the country is famous for – night-rafting being one of the more Blue Lagoon geothermal pool; Above left: Skiing in Las Leñas; Above right: Wellington seen from above.

extreme options. With more restaurants per capita than New York, eating out is big business here and, unsurprisingly, cuisines from all over the world are available. Accommodation-wise, you can’t go wrong with the InterContinental (www., centrally located on the harbour with a fabulous health club and chic, quiet rooms. REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND Average July temperature: 10°C The city may have fallen on hard times but this hasn’t dampened the spirits of its quirky, creative residents. Reykjavík is one of the most enchanting places on the planet, with an excellent local arts scene, some of which you can check out in the gallery at the boutique 101 Hotel (www.101hotel. is). Be sure to visit the Fish Market (www. and sample local delicacies such as reindeer or smoked puffin – but don’t confine your trip to the city itself: exploring Iceland’s moonlike landscape is an experience you’ll never forget, and you mustn’t leave without sampling a geothermal (ie naturally hot) pool with your head poking into the chilly air – it has proven dermatological benefits. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 59


The Nyhavn waterfront in Copenhagen; Opposite: Boulders Bay; Below right: Decadent living at the Palazzo Versace.

MILD: 11-20°C CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA Average July temperature: 12°C The laidback vibe in this something-foreveryone city is contagious – stroll along the V&A Waterfront (www.waterfront., taking in the Victorian architecture, maritime tradition, African culture and 400 shops, before visiting the hundreds of penguins that hang out on nearby Boulders Bay. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, a cable car trip up Table Mountain (so-called because of its flat top) will reward you with panoramic vistas of the city below. The newly refurbished Cape Grace ( provides a soothing waterfront setting as well as the opportunity to charter a private yacht – undoubtedly the most stylish way to do Cape Town. AUSTRALIA’S GOLD COAST Average July temperature: 17°C Bordering one of the most beautiful areas of Australia, the Gold Coast boasts over 70km of beaches – so it’s easy to find a spot to call your own. Our pick, though, has got to be the stretch belonging to the Palazzo Versace (www.palazzoversace. com). Accessible by boat from its private five-star marina, the designer hotel reeks of opulence, with Versace furnishings lending 60

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the property a grand European ambience. (Incidentally, until September 10 they’re offering guaranteed room upgrades to all Middle Eastern travellers booking 45 days in advance, and halal meals are served in the hotel.) The winter sun provides the perfect temperature for sweat-free sunbathing and the poolside cabanas provide a sublime setting in which to do it. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK Average July temperature: 18°C The cosmopolitan Scandinavian city is a great place for those travelling with families, as it’s clean, safe and practically everyone speaks English. Located on the Danish coast, Copenhagen offers enchanting castles, fantastic modern architecture and scenic winding canals. On your first morning, climb the 209m-long spiral walk up the Rundetårn, Europe’s oldest functioning observatory, and get your bearings as you survey the city rooftops, before fully immersing yourself into city life. In terms of where to stay, the Copenhagen Island ( is the capital’s hippest hotel: built on a manmade island in the harbour, it draws on Scandinavian design principles to lend its rooms a cool, airy, modern feel.

‘Accessible by boat from its private fivestar marina, the Palazzo Versace reeks of opulence’


The verdant Madeira mountains; Below: Hotel Royal; Bottom: Mountain oasis near Salala.

‘During the monsoon season, Salalah springs to life before residents’ very eyes in a riot of jewel greens’

WARM: 21-30°C EVIAN, FRANCE Average July temperature: 21°C It’s not just the mineral water – which is said to have medicinal qualities – that makes this spa town such a popular destination: nestling alongside Lake Geneva in the shadow of the magnificent Chablais mountains, with tree-lined boulevards, the Jardin Anglais and a sparkling new marina competing in the photo opp stakes, it draws visitors from the world over in its warmer months. The lake offers water sports aplenty but if you’d prefer to appreciate its beauty from dry land, the 18-hole Evian Masters Golf Club (www.evianroyalresort. com) offers stunning views. All this is best done when staying in accommodation fit for a king – and the Hôtel Royal (www. fits the bill admirably: elegant, high-ceilinged rooms and a worldclass spa make it the first choice of luxury travellers in the know. MADEIRA, PORTUGAL Average July temperature: 24°C The volcanoes at the centre of this spectacular island are encircled by sapphire forests, which in turn have white beaches nipping at their feet. Adventurous types are well-catered for here: the north coast is wild and rugged, and a 4WD safari up


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

into the mountains is sure to provide a few white-knuckle moments. Nature-lovers can swim with dolphins or paddle down a 40-million-year-old laurel forest – and then, at the end of the day, retreat to the Royal Savoy (, which offers breathtaking views of Funchal city, the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. SALALAH, OMAN Average July temperature: 26°C Salalah is a failsafe option for Middle East residents seeking somewhere that’s not too far away but is considerably cooler than neighbouring areas. Situated alongside the Indian Ocean, the southern Omani province experiences a monsoon season from June until September, which leads it to spring to life before residents’ very eyes in a riot of jewel greens. Base yourself in the pretty, low-rise Hilton Salalah Resort (, which features a huge freeform pool overlooking the pristine white beach, but do try to get out and explore too: highlights include the stunning Palace of Sultan Qaboos (where the man himself stays during the summer months) and Wadi Darbat. Located about 30km east of Salalah, it is quenched by a dramatic waterfall at its southern end during the monsoon, and is fringed by dense forest.

ESCAPE TO THE EMERALD ISLE IRELAND PACKAGE (7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS) Four-star property: Gresham Hotel, Dublin $797 Cost includes: • Six nights’ accommodation • Daily breakfast • Transfers between airport/hotel/ airport based on private vehicle Prices given are guidelines, subject to change without prior notice. Kanoo Holidays terms and conditions apply to all bookings. 64

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Five-star property: The Westin, Dublin $1,060 FOR RESERVATIONS CONTACT: Saudi Arabia: 03 8822206 (Al Khobar) 01 4772228 Extn.311, 314 (Riyadh) 02 2632875 (Jeddah) UAE: 04 3341444 (Dubai) 02 6313900 (Abu Dhabi) Qatar: 4413441 (Doha) Bahrain: 17 828797 Muscat: 24700249 / 279




The land of 40 shades of green and plenty more besides…



CITY SLICKERS The lowdown on Ireland’s three biggest cities.

Dublin Lively and fun-loving, Dublin is situated on the stunning east coast of Ireland. Its energetic modernity is complemented by an intriguing history: the name of the city itself comes from the Gaelic Dubh Linn, meaning ‘black pool’ – a gurgling tar pit now located in Dublin Zoo – and the stunning Trinity College was founded in 1592. A trip to Dublin would be incomplete without shopping in Grafton Street (make sure you stop to watch the buskers and also pop into Brown Thomas, the Irish equivalent of Harrods). St Stephen’s Green, one of the oldest parks in Ireland, is also well worth a visit.

The dramatic White Rocks of Portrush, Co. Antrim.


ave you ever craved a holiday that provides a unique fusion of awe-inspiring natural beauty, fabulously lively cities and people so friendly you’ll wonder whether you’ve met them somewhere before? Look no further: Ireland is the island that has it all.

Affectionately known as the Emerald Isle, or the land with 40 shades of green, it’s no surprise that Ireland is one of the most verdant places on Earth. With areas of outstanding natural beauty at every turn, you’ll struggle to pick a favourite (though some of ours are mentioned in ‘The It list’, overleaf). Naturally, this is reflected in the number of outdoor activities on offer, with excellent golfing and fishing available throughout the land. What may come as more of a surprise, however, is how cosmopolitan Ireland is. In fact, its vibrant, exciting cities constitute just as exciting an element of a holiday there as the stunning scenery that’s all around: with world-class shopping, out-of-thisworld gastronomy and numerous luxurious accommodation options (including staying

in your own castle), even the most worldly traveller will be impressed. It’s also been found to be one of the cheapest destinations in the eurozone, and admission to many top cultural attractions is free. When it comes to going out, you’ll find an atmosphere that’s overwhelmingly welcoming. The Irish people have repeatedly been voted the friendliest in the world, and as well as being eager and proud to share their rich culture with visitors, they’ll be curious to learn about you and where you come from. This positivity inevitably extends to their attitude to – and love for – life. Rarely does a night go by when a spontaneous singsong isn’t instigated, along with the obligatory enthusiastic dancing; quietly watching from the sidelines is not an option. The Irish love for craic – having a good time – is legendary, and they would never let an opportunity for fun pass by. On top of all this, Ireland is a culturally diverse land, with Islam the second biggest religion, and everyone is immediately made to feel at home. If you need any more convincing, read on for our in-depth guide to the very best ways to enjoy the Emerald Isle…

Belfast Due to phenomenal amounts of investment, Belfast has become a very sophisticated city indeed. Its relentlessly upbeat people and manageable size make the northeastern, coastal city a joy to explore, and the surrounding rolling hills and enchanting River Lagan only add to its charm. The ill-fated Titanic was constructed here, and you can learn all about its history on the Titanic Boat Tour, while architecture buffs will love the magnificent Victorian buildings in the Cathedral Quarter.

Cork Situated on the picturesque southern coast, this safe, bustling city has won numerous tourism awards. Built on marshland, it’s actually more of an island, surrounded by the north and south channels of the River Lee. The best way to see the sights is by booking a historical walking tour, although if you want to gain a sense of perspective you’re best climbing to the top of Patrick’s Hill, which affords fantastic views over the city rooftops. If you have a love for the macabre, check out Cork City Gaol, which in the 19th century housed all sorts of unsavoury types but nowadays makes for a fascinating day out.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 65

THE IT LIST Be sure to tick these ten must-do activities off your Ireland list… 1. Castles Along with the shamrock, the castle is a hugely representative Irish symbol, and no matter where you are on the island, you’re bound to be close to one. Among the best are Co. Mayo’s grand-looking Ashford, which oozes elegance; Dromoland, fresh out of a fairytale and located in Clare; the regal ruins of the east coast’s Trim Castle – the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Europe – and the Northern Ireland-based Belle Isle, set in an impressive country estate. The best thing about the castles that are still standing is that you can usually stay at them – or even hire one out for yourself (see p68). Who’s king of the castle now?

2. Blarney Stone Ever wondered why some people have the gift of the gab and others… well, don’t? It may be a simple matter of a kiss. Legend has it that touching your lips to the Blarney Stone – which involves climbing to the top of Blarney Castle (about 8km from Cork), lying at the edge of the parapet and leaning backwards to kiss a block of bluestone – gives you great skill in flattery (and we all know that gets you everywhere).

3. Lakelands Serene natural beauty is just as much a part of the Irish experience as jovial crowds and uplifting music. It would be difficult to find a more tranquil area than the lakelands and waterways stretching from Belleek to Limerick. Spend a few hours relaxing at the end of a deserted pier, surveying the calm waters and splendid green forests beyond, and you’ll feel more relaxed than you have done in years. For a more handson experience, hire and captain a boat – no experience required – and stock up on maps and suggested itineraries.

4. Gardens of Ireland Ireland’s not known as the Emerald Isle for nothing: everywhere you look, the landscape vibrates with verdancy, and nowhere is this more immaculately showcased than in the countless gardens dotted around the 66

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island. If you’re near Co. Kerry, make like the late Queen Victoria and check out the Muckross Gardens, which are particularly gorgeous during the summer months when the mature rhododendrons explode into a riot of pinks and reds. Staying in the North? Mount Stewart Gardens, in Co. Down, have been designed in the style of an Italian villa garden and never fail to wow visitors.

5. St Patrick’s Day The national day of Ireland is (raucously) celebrated the world over, but nowhere will you find an atmosphere quite as electric as St Patrick’s home country. Each year on March 17, the Irish take to the streets and party harder than ever – no mean feat in such a fun-loving land. Despite blue being the original colour of St Patrick’s Day, green is much more widely associated with it – no doubt due to the shamrock – so get into the spirit of things and wear your finest emeralds (or at least a green T-shirt) to mark the occasion.

6. The Ring of Kerry Exuding a distinctly Irish sense of mystery, the haunting beauty of the 179km Ring of Kerry road trip will stay with you forever. Offering dramatic waterfalls, an old abbey and chocolate-box villages, the route (which starts in Killarney) is so spectacular it beggars belief. Be sure to leave time to stop off at the beaches, which are some of Europe’s finest.

7. Eat! It’s not all about potatoes you know (although admittedly they do feature on Irish plates quite a lot). The locally caught seafood is world class, though if you’re in the mood for something warming and wholesome, you can’t go wrong with Irish stew – a tasty lamb-based concoction containing carrots, onions, parsley and, okay, potatoes – mopped up with soda bread. Colcannon is a national favourite and is a simple dish made from mashed potatoes, kale (a type of cabbage), butter, salt and pepper.


‘Exuding a distinctly Irish sense of mystery, the haunting beauty of the Ring of Kerry will stay with you forever’ 8. Galway This bohemian city, also known as the ‘City of the Tribes’ due to the way it was historically ruled, is best explored by foot – in fact this is often your only option, as many of the cobble-stoned streets are pedestrianised, all the better for soaking up the music-saturated atmosphere from. Eyre Square makes for a very pleasant shopping experience while the Spanish Arch is a fascinating remnant of Galway’s ancient defences and the Salt Hill Promenade boasts serene sea views.

9. Cliffs of Moher Set along the County Clare coastline, the Cliffs of Moher are, quite simply, magnificent. Stretching proudly along 8km of land, at their tallest point they loom an epic 214m above the Atlantic Ocean, which has landed them a place on the finalists list for the New Seven Wonders of Nature (the winners will be decided in 2011). Climb to the peak on a clear day and you will be rewarded with views of the picturesque Aran Islands. Trust us, it’s worth the hike.

10. Giant’s Causeway Legend has it that this incredible World Heritage Site was built by a giant warrior who intended to construct a path all the way across the sea in order to fight his Scottish opponent. Why he didn’t complete his task is subject to debate, though the most popular train of thought seems to be that he fell asleep (you’d be tired too if you’d erected 40,000 interlocking basalt columns). Scientists, however, believe that Giant’s Causeway is the result of volcanic activity 50 million years ago. Spoilsports. Clockwise from top left: St Patrick’s Day is celebrated by everyone; The epic Giant’s Causeway; Island on Lough Erne; The Ring of Kerry; The Cliffs of Moher; Fresh seafood is abundant; A riot of colour at Mount Stewart Gardens.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 67

READY, STEADY, GO! It’s impossible to be bored in the Emerald Isle...


ome rain or shine, Ireland’s enchanting great outdoors provides countless opportunities for entertainment. With so many waterways and lakes – not to mention plentiful coastline – incorporating a relaxing boat trip into your holiday is a no-brainer. Check out to find out how you can captain your own boat and sail through the centre of Ireland without any sailing experience. It’s the perfect way to capture the character of Ireland and suits active young families and romantic couples in equal measure. If you’d rather be in the water than on it, there’s a wealth of water sports at your fingertips: rowing, sub-aqua diving, canoeing, snorkelling or windsurfing are all available (although in the cooler months hiring a wetsuit to protect yourself from the chill is advisable!). Another sport which you might not automatically associate with Ireland is surfing – but the waves on the west coast


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

are world class; Donegal has hosted the European Surfing Championships in the past. All this water also means there is a surplus of fresh, tasty seafood ripe for the catching: from riverside coarse angling to game angling and pike fishing, there are infinite options – including, of course, deepsea fishing – and tuition is available for firsttimers. Dinner tastes so much better when you’ve caught it yourself, doesn’t it? Back on dry land, Ireland could rival the Middle East for its horse-riding passion. All over the island there are equestrian centres catering for novices as well as experts, and viewing the country from a horseback perspective is truly exhilarating. To learn about how the multi-million horse-breeding industry works, pay a visit to the National Stud in Co. Kildare. The charismatic guides will talk you through the history and pedigree of the Irish horse, and the 958-acre complex has 288 boxes for mares, foals and stallions, which house some of the country’s finest thoroughbreds. The Stud’s gorgeous

Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra’s Garden are also well worth a meander. If it’s the drama of horse racing that you love, then Ireland’s the place for you: this month, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby takes place at the Curragh, while the annual highlight of Punchestown – which is often referred to as the Irish Cheltenham – has got to be April’s National Hunt. The thrill of the beat of hooves and passionate crowds cheering on their favourite is contagious. An altogether more peaceful experience can be had from Ireland’s myriad golfing opportunities: there are over 400 clubs and you’ll find a third of the world’s natural links courses there. So great are Ireland’s courses that Kildare’s K Club hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006 and in 2011 Killeen Castle in Co. Meath will stage the Solheim Cup. History buffs will love playing in the sand dunes at Castle This page, top left: A spot of fishing at Lough Muckno; Top right: Enjoying the surf in Sligo; Below: Horses racing on Rossbeigh Strand. Opposite page from left: Adare Manor Castle Hotel; Rowing in Carrigaholt, Co. Clare.


Rock Golf Club in Co. Londonderry, which were inhabited during the Neolithic and early Bronze Ages and are now protected under the Historic Monuments Act. Other courses worthy of note include Carton House in the East and Adare Manor in the Southwest. Needless to say, the social element of golf is not undervalued in Ireland – in fact the clubhouse tends to be known as the 19th… But the fun isn’t all outdoors-based. Wellness fanatics will be in their element on the Emerald Isle, which is why it’s now one of the world’s leading spa destinations. While most health clubs make great use of the fresh, local produce available throughout the land to create healthy meals, spa treatments tend to hold a distinctly international flavour: ayurveda, reiki and Thai massage are all

Did you know?

‘If you love the drama of horse-racing, this is the place for you’ common (and will often feature on one menu). Among the best are Co. Wexford’s Monart Spa (, where water comes from its own aquifer; Aghadoe Heights ( in Killarney, where Aveda and Biodroga treatments are available; and Galgorm Resort & Spa (www., 30 minutes from Belfast Airport, with riverside log cabins as well as hotel suites. A combination of relaxing treatments, rejuvenating diet and fresh country air will mean that you leave Ireland feeling better than you have done in years.


It’s easy arranging a trip to Ireland – for visas, simply contact your local embassy, details of which can be found at’s a good choice of airlines, too: those travelling from Saudi Arabia can fly via London with bmi or British Airways; there are also numerous other options for GCC travellers with carriers such as British Airways, Emirates, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Qatar Airways, bmi, Oman Air, Gulf Air and Virgin Atlantic, all connecting through London to Ireland. UAE-based passengers can fly direct with Etihad from Abu Dhabi-Dublin or with Emirates or BA from Dubai-London then onto Dublin, Belfast or Cork with Aer Lingus. Dublin-bound Dubai fliers can also go with Air France connecting in Paris, KLM connecting in Amsterdam or Turkish Airlines connecting in Istanbul.

Belfast was the birth place

Ireland rocks – in fact

Author CS Lewis, who

‘There are no strangers

of legendary footballer

Dublin is the home of

penned the classic

here; only friends we

Smooth operator Pierce

George Best, whose

legendary band U2. Its

Chronicles of Narnia series,

haven’t met yet’ perfectly

Brosnan, who played James

immense skills and

members met at Mount

was born in Belfast in 1898.

sums up the Irish attitude

Bond from 1995 to 2004

popularity earned him the

Temple secondary school

He later became great

– and these famous words

and, more recently, Sam in

honour of having an airport

way back in 1976 and were

friends with JRR Tolkein,

were written by the Nobel

Mamma Mia!, was born in

– George Best Belfast City –

signed to Island Records

author of The Lord of the

prize-winning Irish poet

Co. Meath in 1953.

named after him.

within just four years.

Rings and The Hobbit.

WB Yeats.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 69


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Need help pl anning your trip? Ca ll +971 4 316 6170, em ail info@ tourismirela or vis it www.discove rireland. com/ae

WHERE TO STAY From quaint bed and breakfasts to imposing castles, there’s a home from home for everyone in Ireland. The North • BELLE ISLE BRIDGE HOUSE Lisbellaw, Co. Fermanagh; +353 1 288 9433; This gorgeous two-bedroom property is perfect for those seeking self-catering accommodation. Taking its name from the nearby bridge linking Belle Isle to the main shore, the house has its own mooring point and offers postcard-perfect views of Lough Erne and its abundant wildlife. • MERCHANT HOTEL 35-39 Waring Street, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast; +44 28 9023 4888; A listed property in the heart of Belfast, the Merchant may ooze old-fashioned elegance through its décor, but its approach to customer service is altogether more modern. During the booking process you can pre-order food, DVDs, flowers, pillows, even the temperature of your room – so you’re guaranteed the stay of your dreams.

Dublin • WESTBURY HOTEL Grafton Street, Dublin 2; +353 1 679 1122; This luxurious five-star hotel has recently undergone extensive refurbishment and is enviably situated on Grafton Street. Take afternoon tea by the window in the Gallery and watch city life unfold before you, enjoy an Irish Black Angus steak at Wilde – The Restaurant, or simply relax in your stylish, airy bedroom, fashionably decked out with flock feature walls and Frette linens. • WESTIN College Green, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2; +353 1 645 1000; Located in the 19th-century former Allied Irish Bank building, the Westin features magnificent domed ceilings and elegantly

decorated bedrooms. Indulge in an in-room spa treatment, relax beneath the stars in the Atrium Lounge (which has a high glass ceiling), and enjoy dinner at the art decoinspired Exchange Restaurant.

The East • RITZ-CARLTON POWERSCOURT Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow; +353 1 274 8888; This fabulous 200-room resort showcases Palladian architecture at its finest and is set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful estates, with extensive walking and cycling opportunities. Stay here and you can play golf on two championship courses, dine in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and enjoy all that the 30,000-square-foot spa has to offer. • ROSSNAREE Slane, Co. Meath; +353 41 9820 975; Having been in the Law family ever since its construction in the Victorian era, Rossnaree is an elegant stately home. Its owner, Aisling Law, has an interest in art and drama, reflected through the courses she holds at the property – and the refined way in which she has decorated the four distinctly different rooms (we love the Bird Room, with hand-painted birds and blossom trees).

The West • FREWIN HOUSE Ramelton, Co. Donegal; +353 7491 51246; This beautiful B&B is in an elegant Victorian house surrounded by mature woodland. A stone’s throw from golf, fishing and top-notch restaurants, Frewin House is rife with impressive period detailing – think interestingly shaped rooms, high ceilings and intricate ceiling cornices – and if you’re seeking privacy, you can opt to self-cater at Frewin Cottage, in the grounds of the house.

• THE G HOTEL Wellpark, Galway; +353 91 865200; With Philip Treacy as design director, it’s no surprise that the g is one of Ireland’s most glamorous hotels. MATZ at the g, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, fuses contemporary Irish and European cuisines, the space itself being brought to life by jewelly hues. Bedrooms are given cheeky design touches through edgy animal prints, ironic paintings and over-the-top, shell-themed cushions.

The South • HAYFIELD MANOR Perrott Avenue, College Road, Cork City; +353 21 484 5900; Set in two acres of mature gardens, Hayfield Manor provides a haven of serenity yet is centrally located just behind University College in the vibrant city of Cork. As well as a heated indoor swimming pool, the ivyclad building houses individually decorated rooms, with antique furniture aplenty. For dinner, sample exquisite Irish cuisine while overlooking the gardens at the onsite Orchids Restaurant. • LISMORE CASTLE Lismore, Co. Waterford; +353 58 54288; It doesn’t get much better than a stay at a stunning Irish castle – especially if you rent the entire thing for yourself. Lismore sleeps up to 23 and is the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire, whose personal butler will be at your disposal throughout your stay should you require him. Stroll alongside the Blackwater River, play golf on a course described by Fred Astaire as ‘delightful’, or throw a dinner party in the 75-seater banqueting hall. Top to bottom, left to right: Lismore Castle; Frewin House library; Frewin House; Junior suite at the g hotel; MATZ at the g hotel; The Westbury; The Merchant’s lounge; Great Room at The Merchant; Presidential Suite at the Westbury.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 71


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APRIL 2009

Country house hotels that will blow your mind



New Zealand Your total guide to blissful Kiwi experiences, from trout-fishing in Lake Tarawera to helicopter hiking on the Hump Ridge Track...

Locals’ tips on Madrid

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New Orleans bounces back





Greek Islands

All you need for a life-affirming trip, from checking out the Boulders Beach penguins to cruising Route 62…

Will you pick Paxos, choose Chios, select Schinousa or opt for the Ionians? We’ve uncovered Greece’s finest holiday spots, from Agistri to Zakynthos…




Cultural fun in Vilnius

South Africa

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Insider guides




Last minute Eid options

Wizard in Oz














Korea Advice







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MURANO RESORT, MARRAKECH Why should I stay here? Quite simply, it’s a no-brainer: when you’re spending your days exploring such a dynamic city, retreating to a hotel that is a little removed from the action will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to head back out the following day (rather than simply wanting to cower under the duvet). Our resort, located in quiet northeast Marrakech, is split into five riads arranged around a central Moroccan courtyard, but before reaching the front door you won’t fail to notice the head-turning, red-tiled, 32m swimming pool. What should I do while I’m in Marrakech? The city is divided into two parts – the famous Medina, which is the historical area, and the modern, European-style district of Gueliz. In the Medina, wander the souks and be sure

to spend an evening in the atmospheric Djemaa El-Fna, a square packed with dancers, drummers, musicians and storytellers. For a more peaceful experience, it’s worth visiting the Majorelle Gardens in Gueliz; then in the afternoon check out the ornate Bahia Palace. Where should I head for dinner? If you’re out and about, Yacout (+212 2438 2929, near Bab Doukkala) should be your dinner destination of choice: located at the end of a maze of lantern-lit alleys, it shuns menus in favour of dishing up fresh Moroccan cuisine which changes on a daily basis. Within the principal riad at the Murano, meanwhile, there’s a spectacular restaurant offering healthy Moroccan and French food in an outdoor setting.

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 73


South Beach, Miami.

Visit Florida’s Gold Coast Sun-baked beach or shady glade, this shimmering shoreline is worth its weight, writes Josephine Davies. You’d be forgiven for thinking this stretch of south Florida coastline was named for the colour of its beaches – 100km of butter-coloured sands licked by the warm Atlantic. In fact, the explanation is far more swashbuckling: the Gold Coast story harks back to precious coins washed ashore from sunken Spanish galleons (residents still find them now and then). Anchored by buzzing Miami at its southern end, and stretching north to Jupiter Inlet, this balmy stretch has come a long way since the Spanish landed, although the endless beaches backed by feathery casuarina pines, cyan seas and 74

Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

year-round sunshine remain (temperatures rarely drop below 24°C). Exploring is a cinch – start with a shot of urban cool in Miami, then head north on US1, turning off the coast-hugging highway to investigate timewarped Hollywood, the old-money enclave of Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale’s maze of canals. In between, you’ll find pockets of pristine wilderness, home to nesting ospreys, palm-shaded waterways and citrus groves bulging with juicy oranges. UNDER THE SUN Beach lovers should take their pick from Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park for unspoiled natural beauty and

one of Florida’s oldest lighthouses; South Beach for celebspotting; John U Lloyd Beach State Park for family picnics; and Red Reef Park for awesome snorkelling. More than 800 pastelhued ’30s buildings line the sidewalks of Miami’s South Beach district. Ogle the Art Deco architecture on a tour run by the folks at the Miami Design Preservation League ( Riddled with palmlined canals and waterways (hence its nickname, the ‘Venice of Florida’), Fort Lauderdale has a goslow tropical vibe. The best way to get a feel for the city is from the water: catch a canaryyellow water taxi (www. – a $12 all-day ticket buys you unlimited boardings from 11 stops. Florida has a wild side: the Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (10216 Lee Rd, Boynton Beach; loxahatchee) is the

most northern stretch of the Everglades, with an observation tower for bird-watching; while at the Daggerwing Nature Center (11200 Park Access Rd, Boca Raton) you’ll find acres of swampy splendour where you can spot lazy alligators.

ASK THE LOCAL Natalie Boden has lived in Miami for more than 10 years and heads Boden PR company. ‘For posh food without a painful price tag, try the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (1650 SE 17th St). Its Chef’s Palette Restaurant is run by talented trainee chefs. A peaceful spot for a stroll is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (; $9) in Delray Beach, with its bamboo groves and tinkling waterfalls. Half-close your eyes and you could be in Japan… Cuban coffee fuels South Florida; get your final hit at the airport branch of La Carreta, where porters and pilots queue at the hole-in-the-wall for coffee and pastelitos de guayaba (guava pastries).’


Clockwise from here: Art Deco buildings; Colourful Miami homes; Fort Lauderdale; Pillars Hotel’s ‘secret garden’ restaurant; Florida is famous for its sweet oranges.

MEGA BITE: Florida is home to two million alligators (that’s one for every eight humans). STORMY WEATHER: More hurricanes occur here than anywhere else, so keep an eye on the forecast during hurricane season (June 1–Nov 30). JUICY FRUIT: Florida is the world’s second-largest producer of oranges; fruit grown here is so juicy, it’s around 25 per cent heavier than in other US states. FEEL THE BURN: Apparently, Miami Beach pharmacist Benjamin Green invented the first suntan cream in 1944. IN THE SHADE For an insight into the lives of the Palm Beach elite during its 19th-century heyday, drop by the Flagler Museum (1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach; www.; $14). In Miami, design fans shouldn’t miss the Wolfsonian (www.; $7), while the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (101 West Flagler St, Miami; www.; $8) charts the region’s past, from prehistoric Indian settlers to the ’60s Cuban exodus. Florida’s malls are a shopaholic’s dream. For designer gear, you can’t beat Bal Harbour (www.balharbourshops. com), an indoor-

outdoor collection of sleek stores. For sheer variety, Dadeland ( wins hands down, while for bargains you should head for Sawgrass Mills ( for its excellent factoryoutlet stores. Florida is famous for its sweet citrus fruit. The season runs from around November to May, and most prized is the HoneyBell, a tangerine-grapefruit hybrid available only in January. Stop by one of the Gold Coast’s groves for just-picked fruit: Bob Roth’s New River Groves (5660 Griffin Rd, Davie; www. sells key lime pies and homemade fudge along with citrus fruit.

WHERE TO STAY NO EXPENSE SPARED W Hotel 401 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale (www. The W is the most stylish spot in Fort Lauderdale. Right on the beach, it comes with a trendy Bliss spa and one of Florida’s coolest pools – overlooking the ocean, it has a glass-enclosed stairway allowing guests to walk up from the lobby ‘through’ the pool. From $340, room only. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Pillars Hotel New River Sound, 111 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale (www.

This cosy, colonial-style retreat lies right on the Intracoastal Waterway, so you can watch boats sail by while wallowing in the pool. Its 22 rooms are classic rather than cool, with hardwood floors and rattan-andmahogany headboards. Enjoy dinner beneath the stars at the ‘secret garden’ restaurant, open only to guests staying at the hotel. From $200, room only. WHERE TO EAT NO EXPENSE SPARED Lola’s On Harrison 2032 Harrison St, Hollywood (www. An unexpected gourmet find in this dozy seaside town, Lola’s On Harrison serves up posh comfort food in

sophisticated surrounds (think chrome lights and neutral hues). Tuck in to Coca-Cola BBQ beef ribs with creamed corn, and purple potato skins with sun-dried tomato crème fraîche and caviar. Mains around $23. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Bradley’s Saloon 104 Clematis St, West Palm Beach (www. This decked, opensided restaurant emits laid-back appeal and is prettily decorated with fairylights. Join a preppy crowd for sesame-crusted tuna salad with wasabi soy vinaigrette, and Caribbean fish wrap with cherry pepper aïoli. Mains around $12. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 75


Blue Nile Falls.

Visit Addis Ababa

Ethiopia’s culturally diverse capital is all about reggae dancing, big communal meals and lively marketplace haggling. When you imagine Ethiopia, do you picture a dry, arid landscape? If you answered yes, think again: it actually has one of the greenest, most fertile terrains on Earth, with soaring mountain ranges, endless expanses of lush green fields and glittering rivers winding purposefully into the horizon – not to mention eight World Heritage sites. In Addis Ababa, the dynamic capital, music and cooking aromas infuse the streets – injera, the national staple, is served with nearly every meal. It’s a crêpe-like bread 76

Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

served on a shared platter, which you tear off and use to sponge up the rest of the meal – which can range from spicy hummus to chilli chicken (knives and forks don’t feature much in these parts). A day wandering the streets of Addis, as it’s commonly shortened to, will provide more crazy photo opps than an entire week in other cities, with goats and donkeys strutting around as if they own the place, and ad hoc games of table tennis going on in the middle of the thoroughfare. Ethiopia is a country for explorers and

adventurers: don’t treat your itinerary like it’s the be-all and end-all of your trip. The locals are unfailingly friendly and will take you under their wing – undoubtedly the best way to discover the real Ethiopia, be it in bustling Addis or in the profoundly beautiful surrounding areas. IN ADDIS Merkato market – said to be Africa’s largest, with around 250 stalls – is great fun if you’re after some interesting pieces, like intricate wood carvings, to take home (although you can also pick up livestock and

computers). Haggle as if your life depends on it. Go dancing: the local love for reggae – and the unique way this infuses itself into contemporary Ethiopian music – makes for a brilliant night out. The best place to head varies according to the day of the week; ask your hotel concierge for recommendations. As well as having one of the oldest civilisations on the planet, Ethiopia is where the world’s most ancient hominid was found. The skeleton of ‘Lucy’, who would have stood at around

one metre tall, is 3.5 million years old and an exact replica (made from a cast of the original) is on display at the Ethiopian National Museum (between Arat Kilo Avenue and the University of Addis Ababa Graduate School). OUT OF ADDIS A trip to Ethiopia would be incomplete without escaping the urban areas. The landscapes are beyond beautiful – they’re profoundly moving, and provided that you’re willing to be removed from your comfort zone, make for some lifechanging encounters.


Clockwise from here: The Hilton pool; Gondar castles; African drumming; Merkato market; The Hilton Addis Ababa.

CALENDAR CONFUSION: Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, meaning that there are 13 months in the year (they’re currently in 2002). HOT OR COLD? Addis’s high altitude means temperatures can differ by as much as 24°C in a 24-hour period, with daytime highs of 27°C and evening lows of 3°C – so be sure to pack layers. WAKE UP! Ethiopia is famous for its rich coffee so it stands to reason that there’s a ceremony – which involves freshly roasting, grinding, then brewing the beans in a traditional clay pot known as a ‘Jebena’ – to accompany drinking it. The country is home to over 80 different ethnicities and these include indigenous tribes, each with their own language and traditions. Hire a guide to take you around the country and you’ll be left with memories that will last a lifetime. Head to Bahir Dar, set on the southeastern shore of Lake Tana – the source of the stunning Blue Nile – where you can sit and watch as fisherman catch their wares from papyrus boats, and observe the phenomenon known as ‘Smoking Water’ – the vaporous effect created by thousands of gallons

of water plunging into the gorge below. Often referred to as the Camelot of Africa, Gondar is awash with fairytale-like castles. They were built between 1632 and 1855, and are remarkable to look at due to their wide architectural influences, which range from Arab to Baroque. WHERE TO STAY NO EXPENSE SPARED Sheraton Addis Taitu Street (www. Picturesquely located atop a hill overlooking the city, with breathtaking National Palace views,

the Sheraton is a great option for those seeking luxury (the underwater music in the pool is a very cool touch). If you don’t want to stay in the main hotel, book a private three-storey villa – bliss. From $270 B&B. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD Hilton Addis Ababa Menelik II Avenue (www. Situated in a central spot, the Hilton comes complete with a large heated pool and tennis courts. Bedroom balconies offer city, mountain or garden views and during your stay you must

take advantage of the Jacaranda Restaurant, which specialises in decadent lobster. From $140 B&B. WHERE TO EAT Habesha Bole Road, next to Sabit Building (www. Set in a candlelit hut with low wooden tables and dishing up freshly cooked Ethiopian specialities – including ‘gored gored’, cubes of raw beef in a herbal butter sauce – Habesha is the place to head for an authentic experience, with wait staff leaping up to dance

at every opportunity. Mains from $3. Ristorante Castelli Piazza, Mahatma Gandhi Street (00251 1 563580) Claimed by rock star and Africa aficionado Sir Bob Geldof to be the world’s best Italian restaurant, Castelli’s (as it’s affectionately known) was founded in 1948 by an Italian soldier and is still run by his widow and her brother. If you want a recommendation, try the Spaghetti allo Zafferano Piccante, which makes use of locally popular saffron and turmeric. Mains from $5. June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 77

Feeling excited about your holiday? Check through our list of the most popular Kanoo Travel offices, find one near you and head down or call up to turn your getaway dreams into reality... BAHRAIN Abu Obeidah Avenue Wroad No. 302 Manama Tel. 17 576950 Mahooz Tel. 17 828754 Awali Branch Sitrah Avenue Road No. 4522 Awali Tel. 17 756487 Al Moayd Tower Manama Tel. 17 220220 Kanoo Holidays Mahooz Tel.17 828802 Kanoo Travel Refinery Tel. 17 755012 Airport Office Bahrain Tel. 17 321325 Egypt Air Manama Tel. 17 220747 Lufthansa Mahooz Tel. 17 828763 Air India Manama Tel. 17 220788 Cyprus Airways Manama Tel. 17 220 849 British Airways Manama Tel. 17 220701 Qantas / Jetabout Manama Tel. 17220743 Thai International Mahooz Tel. 17 828771 Air Canada / Austrian Airlines / Polish Olympic Airways / Sudan Airways / Sas / Swiss Int’l / Tunis Mahooz Tel. 17 828770

EGYPT Alexandria Booz Allen 1 Youssef El-Shazly Street Roushdy, Alexandria Tel. 002 03 5459265


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

Alexandria 14 May Str, Sayadlia Building Symoha Tel. 020 03 424 1050 Aswan Abtal El-Tahrir Street Corniche El-Nil Tel. 002 097 2306983 Heliopolis Business Travel Centre 33 Nabil Elwakkad St Heliopolis Cairo Tel. 002 02 4130375/6 Cairo Halliburton C/O Halliburton Overseas Ltd Kilometer No 10 Land No 30 Ein Sokhna Road North Kattamia Cairo Tel. 002 02 27591690 Cairo 07 Dr. Kamal Hussin Heliopolis Cairo Tel. 002 02 26251307 Cairo Schlumberger C/O Schlumberger Zeiny Tower 25 Misr Helwan Road Maadi Tel. 002 02 7684700 Ext.. 1014 Cairo U.N.D.P C/O U.N.D.P., 4th Fl, World Trade Center 1191 Cornich El Nil Tel. 002 02 25804491 Cairo Kasr El Nil 15 Kasr El Nil Street Down Town Tel. 002 02 25747991 Cairo Nile Hilton Nile Hilton Hotel Down Town Tel. 002 02 25785001 Cairo 1 Wahib Doss Str. Office No 9 Maadi Tel. 002 02 27513930 El Areesh Mfo C/O Mfo Northern Sinai Tel. 002 068 3502868 Luxor Winter Palace Hotel Tel. 002 095 2378333

FRANCE Foreign Exchange 11 Rue Scribe Paris 75009 Tel. +33 1 5300 9897 Foreign Exchange 11 Cours de I’Intendance Bordeaux 33000 Tel. +33 5 5600 6336 Bureau de Change Kanoo Printemps Dept. Store 64 Boulevard Haussmann 75009 PARIS Tel. +33 1 4282 4181

OMAN Kanoo Travel LLC PO Box 75 114 Jibroo, Muscat Tel. +968 24700249

QATAR Museum Street Old Al Salatta, Doha Tel. 441 3441 Corporate Centre Al Hithmi, Doha Tel. 448 3777 Salam Tower West Bay, Doha Tel. 483 7826, 483 7297 Ras Laffan Commercial Complex Ras Laffan Tel. 474 8772 / 4

SAUDI ARABIA WESTERN PROVINCE Kanoo Centre Medina Road, Jeddah Tel. 02 661 4950 Bab Makkah Jeddah Tel. 02 644 9030 Bamaroof Centre Hail Street, Jeddah Tel. 02 653 0541

Al Nawa Commercial Centre Al Sinnaiyat, Yanbu Tel. 04 321 3607

Kanoo Holidays, Retail Airline Centre, Khobar Tel. 03 882 2206 / 2601 / 2249

Gulf Air Jubail Tel. 03 363 0982/ 84 / 85 /86

Albishar Commercial Centre King Abdulaziz Street Al Bahar, Yanbu Tel. 04 322 1087

Kanoo Holidays, Wholesale Airline Centre, Khobar Tel. 03 8821626 / 1851 / 8820161 Hertz Khobar Tel. 03 882 2005 / 5597

Kanoo Tower King Saud Street, Damman Tel. 03 833 9793

Umalquara Street Hayfer Makkah Tel. 02 544 7741 Kanoo Travel Sharafiya Tel. 02 643 9426 Kanoo Travel Taif Tel. 02 736 4211 Kanoo Travel Rabigh Tel. 02 423 2785 Kanoo Travel Medinah Tel. 02 263 3040 Air India Jeddah Tel. 02 668 0303 / 669 6571 Gulf Air Jeddah Tel. 02 668 0303 / 669 6571 / 646 Singapore Airlines Jeddah Tel. 02 657 9898 Srilankan Airlines Jeddah Tel. 02 263 2959 Air Canada Jeddah Tel. 02 263 2996, Ext. 190 Kenyan Airways Jeddah Tel.02 263 2959 Ext. 108 Philippine Airways Jeddah Tel. 02 263 2959 Ext. 100 / 122

Airport Office Dammam Tel. 03 883 2660 / 2660 British Airways Khobar Tel. 03 882 2000 British Airways Dammam Tel. 03 835 5714 British Airways Jubail Tel. 03 362 1069 Air India Khobar Tel. 03 882 2478

King Khalid Street Khobar Tel. 03 864 7471 47th Street Rahima Tel. 03 667 0388 Al Quds Street Qatif Tel. 03 851 5009 City Centre Al Mahoob Buidling Hufuf Tel. 03 586 3823

Air India Jubail Tel. 03 362 3454

Kanoo Building Corniche Road Jubail Tel. 03 362 2340

Qantas Khobar Tel. 03 882 3711 / 2467

Municipal Street Al Khafji Tel. 03 766 0045

United Airlines / Air Canada / Singapore Airlines / Swissair / Austrian Airlines Tel. 03 882 1518/ 2962 / 2602 / 03 882 4477 / 4442 / 4890 / 4533

CENTRAL PROVINCE Kanoo Tower King Abdul Aziz Road Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228

Srilankan Airlines Khobar Tel. 03 882 2789 / 2675 / 2792

King Faisal Foundation Al Khairia Complex Riyadh Tel. 01 463 4454

Gulf Air Khobar Tel. 03 896 8496 / 9393 / 8493

Wazir Street Al Azizea Building

Gulf Air Dammam Tel.03 835 4194 / 4917 / 4952 Gulf Air Qatif Tel. 03 852 9384 / 854 5240

Khamis Abha Main Road Khamis Mushayat Tel. 07 222 3624

United Airlines Jeddah Tel. 02 263 3021 / 2959 Ext. 196 / 197

Prince Sultan Street Gizan Tel. 07 317 4285


Gulf Air Rastanura Tel. 03 667 8041/ 7972

Airline Centre King Abdul Aziz Street Al Khobar Tel. 03 882 2206

Gulf Air Hofuf Tel. 03 585 3358 / 4080 / 2252

Aboobacker Al Siddiq Street, Medina Tel. 04 823 9120

Dhahran Street Damman Tel. 03 833 7694

Riyadh Tel. 01 411 4780 Batha Riyadh Tel. 01 403 0368 Al Kubaih Street Buraidah Tel. 06 325 0888 Airport Road Hail Tel. 06 543 0430 Sharjah Street Hotat Bani Tamim Al Hotah Tel. 01 555 0304



Silsilah Road Onaiza Al Qassim Tel. 06 362 0080 Main Street Al Khamseen Wadi Ad Dawasir Tel. 01 784 6500 Kanoo Travel Naseem Tel. 01 232 8519

Green Community Mall Jebel Ali Road Dubai Tel. 04 885 3321 Kanoo Travel – American Express Hermitage Building Al Karama Tel. 04 334 9219 Najda Street Abu Dhabi Tel. 02 678 0400

Air India Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 295 / 296

Kanoo Holidays Dubai Tel. 04 334 1444 / 315 6624

Gulf Air Olaya, Riyadh Tel. 01 461 0589 / 462 4902

Marine Travel Services Dubai Tel. 04 335 1314

United Airlines / Air Canada Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 289, 290

Airport Office Dubai Tel. 04 393 1963

Qantas Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 288, 305 Srilankan Airlines Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 292 X 293 Philippine Airlines Kanoo Tower, Riyadh Tel. 01 477 2228 Ext. 237 X 238 Air India Buraidah Tel. 06 324 6514 / 325 0888 Gulf Air Hail. Tel. 06 532 0280 Gulf Air Buraidah Tel. 06 324 6514 / 325 0888 Singapore Airlines Kanoo Tower Tel. 4734102 / 4734103

UAE Jebel Ali LOB 16, Ground Floor Jebel Ali Free Zone Tel. 04 881 5050 Karama Al Fathooi Centre Dubai Tel. 04 334 1222 Kanoo Building Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street, Bur Dubai Tel. 04 507 2242 Dubai Internet City Building 12 Tel. 04 390 1992 Deira City Centre Dubai Tel. 04 294 1481 Kanoo Building Al Orouba Street, Sharjah Tel. 06 561 6058

Kanoo Travel Corniche, Abu Dhabi Tel. 02 631 3900 / 631 8187

UK Birmingham American Express Bank House. 8 Cherry Street Tel. 0121 644 5514 / 0121 644 5560 Bournemouth American Express 95A Old Christchurch Road Tel. 0787 260 0528 / 01202 780 752 Brighton Amex House Implant American Express Ground Floor Amex House Edward Street Tel. 01273 525 041 / 040 Bristol American Express 74 Queens Road Tel. 01179 065 107 / 105 Cardiff American Express 3 Queen Street Tel. 02920 649 305 / 02920 649 301 Coventry American Express 5 Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre Tel. 02 47 622 5511 / 0787 260 0528 Croydon American Express 2-4 High Street Tel. 0208 256 0808 / 0805 Edinburgh American Express 69 George Street 0131 718 2508 / 0131 718 2505 Essex Lakeside Bureau American Express Lakeside Shopping Centre West Thurrock Way West Thurrock Grays Tel. 01708 890 654

Glasgow American Express 66 Gordon Street Tel. 0141 225 2905 / 08 Guildford American Express 38-40 High Street Tel. 01483 551 607 / 01483 551 605 Leicester American Express 1 Horsefair Street Tel. 0116 242 1808 / 05 London Haymarket American Express 30 – 31 Haymarket Tel. 0207 484 9674 / 0207 484 9600 London Credit Swiss, First Boston American Express Travel Office C/O Credit Suisse One Cabot Square Canary Wharf Tel. 0207 888 4196 London Holborn Bureau American Express 156a Southampton Row Tel. 0787 260 0528 / 0207 837 4416 London Kensington High St. American Express 84 Kensington High Street Tel. 0207 795 6703 London Knightsbridge American Express 78 Brompton Road Tel. 0207 761 7908 / 7900 London American Express 1 Savoy Court, The Strand Tel. 0207 240 1521 Milton Keynes American Express 670 Silbury Boulevard Tel. 01908 608 877 Manchester American Express 10-12 St Mary’s Gate Tel. 0161 833 7301 Nottingham American Express 2 Victoria Street Tel. 0115 924 7705 / 01 Plymouth American Express 139 Armada Tel. 01752 502 707 / 702 Sheffield American Express 20 Charles Street, Sheffield Tel. 0114 263 9308 / 05 Southampton American Express 99 Above Bar Tel. 02380 716 808 / 805


Feeling the need to escape? We’ve got three nights’ complimentary bed and breakfast for two in the Maldives to give away. Kanuhura (, accessed by seaplane, is a coral island offering some of the world’s most incredible scuba-diving, with the outer reef dropping 2,000 metres. Privacy is paramount here, with beach villas – where the winner will stay – each awarded their own slice of soft white sand, and in-villa dining a speciality. For the ultimate dining experience, though, you can book a night on Jehunuhura Island, which you’ll have all to yourself. For your chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime prize, answer the following simple question and email your answer to us at

Q. What is the name of the island you can visit for a private dinner during a stay at Kanuhura? a) Jehunuhura b) Jamaica c) Jersey TERMS AND CONDITIONS Entries must be submitted on or before June 30, 2010. Prize must be redeemed before December 19, 2010 (subject to availability). Prize cannot be transferred to a third party or exchanged for cash.

York American Express 6 Stonegate Tel. 01904 676 505

June 2010 Kanoo World Traveller 79



The Lebanese capital is one of the greatest cities on the planet: its buildings are beautiful, its people are friendly beyond belief and its food is out of this world. It’s also noisy, fume-filled and manic – so when staying there, it’s best if you’ve got a peaceful pied-à-terre to escape to. Enter the Grand Royal Suite at the InterContinental Phoenicia, a 21stfloor haven of tranquility with breathtaking sea views. It truly is fit for a king, with grandiose furniture – which includes a Versace-bedecked armoire and twinkling crystal chandelier – complementing the modcons. If switching on the television is the last thing you want to do when on holiday, relax in your private Jacuzzi and sauna, cook up a storm in the state-of-the-art kitchen, make use of your high-tech personal gym or check out the rare books in the in-suite library.


Kanoo World Traveller June 2010

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Kanoo World Traveller_June'10  

The Middle East’s highest-circulating travel magazine

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The Middle East’s highest-circulating travel magazine

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