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VOLUME 8 ISSUE 1

MAGAZINE ASIA A JANUARY 2017

JANUARY 2017

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Explore More of Tantalizing Thailand with Best Western With hotels in many exciting destinations across the country, Best Western is the perfect choice for your next Thai adventure

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EDITOR’S LETTER

RAEWYN YN KOH KOH, ASSOCIATE EDITOR

…we’re unveiling our annual list of the greatest destinations and experiences for 2017 with Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 (p56). With pink sand beaches, underground trampoline parks, solar eclipses, and so much more, this year’s list brings back Lonely Planet’s philosophy of inspiring travellers to push boundaries. If you’re planning for something for the winter, check out the lush bamboo forests in Anji County (p27), or discover the majestic wintry landscapes of Iceland with Tom Mackie (p68). Finally, what better way to kick off the year with a cocktail in hand? We’ve curated a list of the best places to stay with the best bars just for this issue (p74).

JANUARY 2017

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In this issue... P OSTC A R DS

Where has the centre for illicit liquour production during Prohibition turned into a new era of spiritmaking? p41

Your travel photos and stories 8 The Pushkar Camel Fair and more images from around the world

GLOBE TROTTER

The latest travel news and discoveries 13 Our latest, greatest Travel Book, a new president’s guide to Washington, DC, Berlin’s latest hip hang-out, and more

E ASY T R IPS

Short breaks you can take right now 27 Recharge for the year ahead in Anji County 28 Celebrate the urban canvas of Singapore 29 Sydney’s summer is for stimulating the senses 30 Unexpected places to ski this winter, or even all year round 32 Review of the Month: Wyndham Sea Pearl Phuket

C I TY AT A G LANCE

A low-down of the best on offer 34 A brief sojourn to Finland’s compact little capital is a truly satisfying journey

GRE AT E SCAPE

Your next big trip mapped out 41 Mix urban, rural and full-on wilderness on a road trip round New York State

F E AT U RE S

More ideas for your bucket-list 56 Looking for travel inspiration for 2017? Here’s our run-down of the places you must visit next year 68 Iceland truly lives up to its name in winter, when its landscape takes on an extra majesty 74 Extraordinary places to stay: Best hotel bars

M IN I GU IDES

Themed guides to take with you 83 Northumberland’s scenic glories 85 Edinburgh’s museums and heritage 87 The best of Lisbon on a budget 89 Art, music and architecture in Venice 91 A greedy guide to New Orleans 92 Wine in South Africa’s Western Cape

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Revealed! Our number one country for 2017 p56


DESTINATION INDEX

Iceland’s magical wintry landscapes p68

PHOTOGRAPHS: DAN HALLMAN, GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO-SITIKKA, TOM MACKIE, VISIT FINLAND - JUSSI HELLSTEN

Pour yourself a classic cocktail or a specialty house drink at these Extraordinary Places to Stay p74

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Look for these symbols to quickly identify listings

Which city in Finland is overrun by bunnies and squirrels?p34

Sights

Tours

Drinking

Beaches

Festivals

Entertainment

Activities

Sleeping

Courses

Eating

Shopping Information & Transport

All prices correct at time of going to press. Prices for hotel rooms are for double, en suite rooms with breakfast in low season, unless otherwise stated. Flight prices are for the cheapest return fares, including one piece of hold baggage, unless otherwise stated.

Australia South Australia Sydney Bermuda Canada Chile Hysén China Anji County Colombia Ethiopia Finland Helsinki France Bordeaux Paris French Polynesia The Tuamotus Iceland India Kashmir Pushkar Indonesia Bali Yogyakarta Italy Pistoria Venice Macedonia Ohrid Mexico Mérida Mongolia Myanmar Nepal New Zealand Taranaki Franz Josef Valley Peru Choquequirao Portugal The Azores Lison Russia Moscow Scotland Edinburgh Singapore South Africa Cape Town South Korea Seoul Thailand Phuket United Arab Emirates Dubai Oman United Kingdom London Northumberland North Wales United States of America Georgia Los Angeles New Orleans New York Portland Washington, DC

JANUARY 2017

p15 p63 p29 p59 p57 p63 p27 p58 p61 p58 p34 p65 p10 p64 p68 p30 p8 p76 p12 p15 p62 p89 p66 p66 p59 p61 p59 p62 p15 p62 p62 p67, p87 p67, p87 p84 p28, 31, 77 p94 p65 p66 p32 p30 p60 p76 p83 p63 p64 p65, p77 p91 p41 p67 p16

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HOW OUR TEAM OF WRITERS MADE THIS ISSUE

Subscription enquiries subscription@regentmedia.sg Advertising enquiries sales@regentmedia.sg Editorial enquiries lpmagazine@regentmedia.sg General enquiries Regent Media Pte Ltd 20 Bedok South Road, Singapore 469277 ASIA TEAM Managing Director Dennis Pua Publisher Ben Poon Associate editor Raewyn Koh Senior writers Josmin Ong / Jonathan Gan Creative director Eric Wong Art director Cally Han Senior marketing manager Tasmin Chua Marketing executives Karlyn Ho / Rachel Tan Finance executive Julie Khong HR executive Wendy Chua Business directors Marie Yeo / Thomas Leow / Kelly Koh MALAYSIA TEAM Sales and marketing director Jessly Pak Business director David Choo Business manager Carmen Leow Customer service executive Nurul Hanizah UK MAGAZINE Editor Peter Grunert

U N I Q U E E AT S

LONELY PLANET TEAM Director of Magazines Sue Coffin Foreign Rights Joe Revill MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES Hong Kong/ Indonesia/ Macau/ Thailand Abu Dhabi/ China/ Dubai/ Turkey/ Australia/ Japan / South Korea/ Taiwan Marie Yeo marie@regentmedia.sg India RMA Media

Tinned bear meat? Smoked roach (of the fish variety, not the insect)? These are only a few of the interesting wares being hawked in Helsinki’s Old Market Hall. With a strong emphasis on local sourcing and foraging, the Finns have developed a rather unique diet. But they also boast a variety of superfoods such as seabuck thorns and cloudberries.

DISTRIBUTORS Singapore Pansing Distribution Pte Ltd Malaysia MPH Distributors Sdn Bhd Hong Kong Times Publishing (HK) Ltd Thailand Asia Books Co., Ltd Lonely Planet Magazine Asia MCI (P) 101/12/2016, ISSN 2010-0825, PPS 1747/12/2012(022909), is published bi-monthly by Regent Media Pte Ltd under licence from Lonely Planet Global,Inc (part of the Lonely Planet Group). The words “Lonely Planet” and the Lonely Planet symbol are trademarks of Lonely Planet Global,Inc. © Lonely Planet Global,Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part prohibited without permission. No part of this publication is to be reproduced, stored, transmitted, digitally or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher. The information contained herein is accurate at time of printing. Changes may have occurred since this magazine went to print. Regent Media Pte Ltd and its editors will not be held liable for any damages, loss, injury or inconvenience, arising in connection with the contents of the magazine. Regent Media Pte Ltd will not accept responsibility for unsolicited contributions. Printer: KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd (197801823M) Lonely Planet is distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan.

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Persatuan Penerbit Majalah, Malaysia Magazine Publishers Association, Malaysia

JANUARY 2017

CAFFEINE ADDICTION Coffee Break is hands down the best cafe on Koh Yai Noi. Probably because it’s also the only one. The owner-cum-barista moved to the island after marrying a local girl, and set up shop right outside his house making legit espressos, cappuccinos, and even some trendy ice blends. They even have a TripAdvisor page. Snazzy.


COMING NEXT MONTH

CYCLADES

Get your sea legs ready for an island-hopping trip, starting with ancient and modern side by side in the Greek capital, Athens, before flitting about on ferries to discover hidden coves, experience traditional rural life and fill up on local food, then finally kicking back to watch the world-famous sunsets.

Getting to know the RAIL SWITZERLAND by train What to do in and around PYEONGCHANG before 2018’s Winter Olympics Upping camping’s glam factor with GLAMPING


Postcards

WHERE YOU’VE BEEN AND WHAT YOU’VE SEEN

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POSTCARDS Send your pictures and tell us the stories behind them: email lpmagazine@regentmedia.sg

Visitor numbers swell in Pushkar during the Camel Fair and a range of small businesses cater for the inux of people to the Rajasthani town

PUSHKAR, INDIA

Barbershop quartet Held each November at the time of the full moon, the Pushkar Camel Fair is a spectacle on an epic scale, with Bedouin tribesmen selling tens of thousands of camels, cattle and horses from all over the country in a period of 14 days. Here, in what is just a stretch of desert, a city appears for two weeks with a giant carnival, games, food stands and all kinds of camps for the animals. One night, as I was walking back from the fair to my tented hotel, I came across this pop-up barber shop. I was drawn to the scene because of the vibrant, contrasting colours. I walked over and quickly took just this one shot. It is one of my favourites of the festival.

Laura Grier, a self-proclaimed jet-setter, lives in Venice Beach, LA

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POSTCARDS The 210-metre skyscraper Tour Montparnasse, lies to the south-west of the city centre and commands rare high views of low-lying Paris

PARIS, FRANCE

Sky-high lights I was in Paris for work and only had one day to see the sights, almost ďŹ ve years to the day since my last visit. I explored the city on foot, visiting the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and so on, before heading to Tour Montparnasse in the evening. I wanted to get a perspective of Paris high up. It gave me a feeling of how big and spread-out the city really is. The skyline is very different to London, with the majority of buildings only a few storeys high, which is amazing for a major city. I love this image as it captures the blue hour in Paris. It makes me yearn to go back and spend a few more days, rather than just one day, to see it all.

Navjit Bhamra works in operations for a software company in London

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POSTCARDS

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POSTCARDS INDONESIA, YOGYAKARTA

3D Mandala

Borobudur, a Buddhist stupa in the Mahayana tradition, is a threedimensional mandala and a visual representation of Buddhist teachings. Indonesia’s spectacular site, allows you to travel back in time to enjoy an unrivaled combination of history, culture, spiritually and natural beauty. I thoroughly enjoyed the astonishing experience afforded by the world’s biggest Buddhist monument that has survived 1,200 years of natural and man-made disasters. This truly was an unforgettable experience and a highlight of Yogyakarta.

The Borobudur Temple consisting of nine stacked platforms topped by a central dome was built in 750 AD

Sirsendu Gayen is an Assistant Professor in Chemistry of Vivekananda College Kolkata, India

FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER, NEW ZEALAND

Freeze frame This picture was one of the first I took on my trip to New Zealand. It shows the Franz Joseph Valley with the glacier itself in the background. What made me reach for my camera was a desire to capture the feeling of calm that nature this magnificent gives. I can still hear the roaring river, and see the clouds dance on top of the mountains with the icy-blue water breaking through the landscape with such determination. The moment left a very big impression in my memory.

Trine Sørensen was travelling after studying abroad in Melbourne 12

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Franz Josef Glacier, on New Zealand’s South Island, was named after Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1865


Globetrotter A WORLD OF TRAVEL NEWS AND DISCOVERIES

Welcome home

PHOTOGRAPHS: STEVE HERUD

BERLIN’S NEWEST HOTEL has its guests believe they’re staying in the mansion of old friend Sir Savigny, a consummate traveller and man of exquisite taste, finally putting down roots in the neighbourhood of Charlottenburg. Expect rooms individually styled with the epicurean’s intriguing art and curios, fireside aperitifs in the library, and fine burgers emerging from the ktichen (bedrooms from US$142; sirsavignyhotel.com).

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A WORLD OF TRAVEL TRIVIA EMBARK ON A JOURNEY AROUND EVERY COUNTRY ON THE PLANET WITH OUR NEW EDITION OF THE TRAVEL BOOK. HERE’S A SMALL TASTER OF THE RIDE

CAPITAL Castries POPULATION 163,000 SEE The jagged Pitons (right), two volcanic formations towering over the island. RANDOM FACT Although the British invaded in 1778 and the French ceded the island for good in 1814, old traditions linger: most people speak a French-accented patois, are Catholic and live in towns with French names.

KEN YA

TA IWA N

CAPITAL Nairobi POPULATION 44 million DO Follow a Maasai guide on a walking safari through one of the Masai Mara’s private conservancies. RANDOM FACT Nairobi National Park is the only national park in the world to be in a capital city. On its plains, it is possible to view rhinos, giraffes, lions and other species with the city as a backdrop.

CAPITAL Taipei POPULATION 23 million SEE The city view from the 509-metre-high Taipei 101 tower (above).

EC UA D OR CAPITAL Quito POPULATION 15 million DO Go wildlife watching in the Galápagos Islands and see giant tortoises, sea lions, and both land (above) and marine iguanas. 14

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RANDOM FACT Both instant noodles and bubble tea (also known as ‘boba’ or ‘pearl milk’ tea) were invented and popularised in Taiwan.

RANDOM FACT Tiny Ecuador (109,484 square miles) is home to some 300 mammal species and over 1,600 bird species, which is more than all of Europe and North America combined.

PHOTOGRAPHS: JUSTIN FOULKES, MARTIN HARVEY/GETTY, CRAIG FERGUSON/GETTY, ROLAND FANKHAUSER/500PX, MATT MUNRO, LOTTIE DAVIES, DAVID NELSON/SHUTTERSTOCK

ST LUCIA


GLOBETROTTER

A USTRAL I A CAPITAL Canberra POPULATION 22 million SEE Paradisiacal beaches and an astounding underwater world as you island hop around the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef. RANDOM FACT Great Australian inventions include the bionic ear, the black box flight recorder, the notepad and the wine box.

ITA LY CAPITAL Rome POPULATION 62 million DO Enjoy a dawn stroll as Venice (right) sleeps, taking in Piazza San Marco, bewitched by the spires of Basilica di San Marco. RANDOM FACT On average US$3,090 a day is tossed into the Fontana di Trevi, Rome’s lucky fountain that promises another visit to the capital in exchange for a coin.

LESOT HO

G R E E N LAN D CAPITAL Nuuk POPULATION 57,714 DO Seek out the national costume, which is decorated with hundreds of glass beads, originally signifying the wealth of the owner.

RANDOM FACT Numbers in the Greenlandic language only go up to 12. After that, there is only the word ‘amerlasoorpassuit’ (many); otherwise you have to revert to Danish numbers to continue counting.

CAPITAL Maseru POPULATION 2 million SEE The breathtaking Maletsunyane Falls (right), which at 192 metres high is almost twice the height of the much more famous Victoria Falls bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia. RANDOM FACT The Basotho people are traditionally buried in a sitting position, facing the rising sun and ready to leap up when called. JANUARY 2017

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GLOBETROTTER NEW TOUR Renowned primatologist Dr Jane Goodall has teamed up with G Adventures to offer a new range of wildlife trips. All are bound by a strict animal welfare policy while offering a chance to explore the habitats of some our closest genetic relatives. ‘Experience Borneo’ includes a river safari in search of native species like proboscis monkeys, grey gibbons (below) and orangutans (from US$2,100 pp for eight days; gadventures.com).

SOMETHING TO DECLARE: Forget the headlines – travellers enjoy a warm welcome in the Middle East I woke at 6am to the sight of a vast sandstone gorge stretched out beneath a silken rose-blue sky. It was one of the most beautiful views I’d ever seen – and I had it completely to myself. Al Nawatef Camp, in Jordan, was completely deserted. I’d arrived the night before, by bicycle, and had my pick of the tents overlooking the canyon. The owner apologised for the lack of electricity and running water. ‘We only put it on if we have enough guests,’ he said ruefully. Business was slow. ‘We only had 300 bookings last year. Before the Arab Spring, we’d have 600 in November alone.’ The Syrian War and the rise of terrorist groups has decimated the tourist industry in Jordan, and across the region as a whole. Dahab, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, was once a thriving scuba-diving paradise, but now the streets are near empty. A man forced to close his hotel last year voiced his frustration to me: ‘People talk about trouble in the Sinai and stay away, but they’re actually talking about an area 450 miles north of here.’ And there’s the rub. While certain dangers exist, concerns about the Middle East are often overblown. When I announced my plan to cycle through it alone, confidence in my ability to stay alive seemed low. My mother was convinced I’d be ‘robbed or raped – at best’. Others thought I’d be captured or killed by ISIS. Some suspected I was on my way to join them. Yet beyond the fear and bombast surrounding these countries, there is so much to enjoy. Their tremendous warmth and generosity. Their love of foreigners. Their protective community

HYGGE HAPPINESS A Danish concept that roughly translates as cosiness, hygge (pronounced ‘hoogah’) has inspired a global lifestyle trend and countless books and newspaper articles. There has never been a better time for fireside lounging and candle-lit suppers.

Most attempts to import the seasonal traditions of our northern European cousins have invariably depressing results, from uninspiring winter-theme parks, budget Laplands to half-baked town-centre ‘German markets’ distributing tat, rather than festive spirit. 16

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REBECCA LOWE is a freelance journalist who recently cycled 6,000 miles from London to Tehran. Read about it at thebicyclediaries.co.uk and follow Rebecca at @reo_lowe

ILLUSTRATION: JIRI SLIVA.

MAGIC-FREE WINTERLANDS

spirit. Their aversion to petty crime. Their music, sweetmeats and spices. Their boundless capacity for tea. The greatest hazard for me was not terrorists, robbers or rapists, I quickly learnt. It was the often suffocating hospitality of locals. In a remote Egyptian village, I had to physically wrestle a 10-year-old girl to reach freedom after being fattened like foie gras on endless supplies of mashed fava beans. In Iran, one young scholar held me hostage until I’d read his eight-page literary critique of Sherlock Holmes and given credible interpretations of various British idioms, including ‘Bob’s your uncle’ and ‘mad as a bag of ferrets’. But despite all of this, I survived to tell the tale. And my life is all the richer for it.


GLOBETROTTER

IT’S TIME TO PLAN FOR THE LUNAR NEW YEAR!

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO DURING THE CELEBRATORY FESTIVAL? SG: Indulge yourself in an iconic art destination like JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach (US$245 per night, opening special)

Do you want to stay in the country or go abroad?

SINGAPORE/ MALAYSIA

ABROAD

City or rural? Alone? City

Rural

No

Yes

MY: Escape to award-winning The St Regis Langkawi for a luxurious weekend escapade (US$460 per night) 2017 Lunar New Year Fireworks Display by the Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong is emblematic to both locals and tourist alike to usher in the Year of the Rooster

Foodie?

Yes

SG: Marina Mandarin’s Peach Blossom has the perfect Lunar New Year menu comprising Barbecued Whole Suckling Pig & Baked Boston Lobster with creamy salted egg yolk and cheese MY: Troika Sky Dining offers five luxe restaurants and bars to accompany the fireworks at Petronas Twin Towers

No

MY: Take a stroll along bustling Petaling Street area in Chinatown to witness lion dances and grand firework displays

Bangkok is home to Thailand’s largest Chinatown. Burst into festivities and celebration during Lunar New Year. Yaowarat will see more food stalls and lights than usual and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn usually graces the occasion

Crazy

Quiet

A bell is a traditional symbol of the Lunar New Year and the Chinese believe that ringing a large bell can drive away bad luck and receive good fortune. Head to Hanshan Temple in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province to catch this amazing custom

SG: River Hongbao is the quintessential event for locals to celebrate the Lunar New Year in style at the Floating Platform @ Marina Bay IMAGE: FREEPIK.COM

Quiet or crazy?

For the cultural and history buffs who wish to seek a peace of mind during the festivities, head to Kerala, India and explore its pristine nature parks and rivers JANUARY 2017

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NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE

WASHINGTON, DC

Outgoing President Obama inaugurated this latest addition to DC’s already thriving museum scene. The building’s three-tiered shape was inspired by a Yoruban crown, and exhibits include potent symbols of the black American experience, including clothing worn by civil rights activists (free entry; nmaahc.si.edu).

WATERGATE HOTEL Best known as the site of the ’70s scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, this historic hotel has recently reopened after renovation. Rooms reference its heritage with vintage-inspired design, and the rooftop bar has 360° views of the Potomac River and Washington Monument (from US$272; thewatergatehotel.com).

Now taking bookings for December, this will be the first POD Hotel to open outside of New York City. Offering small, smartly designed rooms in the diverse downtown district of Penn Quarter, it’s excellent value for money. Mostly-millennial guests can congregate in bar-diner Crimson, serving Southern comfort food and whiskey cocktails (introductory rate US$98; thepodhotel.com).

LA JAMBE RADIATOR Celebrating mid-century DC, when the street on which it sits was lined with car dealerships and auto repair shops, the interior of this smallplates eatery features garage-style doors and old car parts. Fun, tapas-style dishes include grilled octopus, bacon fat fries and lamb belly tacos (tapas from US$8; radiatordc.com).

Run by a French woman wistful for the culinary experiences of her homeland, and by her DC-born husband, this neighbourhood bar and restaurant is big on all things fromage and charcuterie. The décor is a nostalgic nod to Paris, no mean feat in such a thoroughly modern building. Around 20 wines are available by the glass, and twice as many by the bottle (cheese plate from US$17; lajambedc.com).

FARE WELL DISTRICT DISTILLING A change in the law means it’s newly legal for DC premises to produce their own alcohol on-site. This distillery-bar is the first to do so, making vodka, gin and whiskey in an atmospheric 19th-century townhouse. Book a tour of the handmade copper pots before heading to the bar for a negroni (tour US$10, cocktails from US$10; district-distilling.com). 18

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Part bakery, part diner, part bar, this hard-to-define new opening on H Street services Washingtonians from dawn to dusk. By day it serves a veggiefocused menu in a dining room reminiscent of a retro diner, but in evenings and weekends the focus shifts to drinks, including local beers on tap, root beer floats and well-crafted cocktails (cocktails from US$11; eatfarewell.com).

PHOTOGRAPHS: MILLERIUM ARKAY/SHUTTERSTOCK, ALAN KARCHMER/COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE, COURTESY OF THE WATERGATE HOTEL, ANDREW PROPP, APRIL GREER, STANISLAV HONZIK/PATHE UK, LHF GRAPHICS/SHUTTERSTOCK, COURTESY OF PATHE UK

POD HOTEL


GLOBETROTTER

A UNITED KINGDOM IS AN UNLIKELY REAL-LIFE LOVE STORY with an alluring African backdrop, telling how Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern-day Botswana), and London office worker Ruth Williams defied fierce opposition from their families and governments when they married in 1948. Director Amma Asante shares her insights on shooting the film in Botswana. Q: HOW DID BOTSWANA INSPIRE YOU AS A FILM-MAKER? A: There really isn’t anything like an African sunset, and I think Botswana has the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen, because the land is so flat and the sun doesn’t disappear behind a hill or a mountain. I wanted to be able to show that – those big Botswana skies. Q: HOW DID LOCAL PEOPLE REACT TO FILMING? A: It was a welcoming reaction, but questioning. People are curious as to how you’re going to present their country. While scouting locations, in each village we wanted to look at, we had to speak to their chief. We had a representative who did the talking for us and presented our case. Q: WHICH WERE THE MAIN LOCATIONS USED? A: Serowe, where Seretse came from – but it’s really built up now, so to recreate his village as it was, we also went to Maralani, which is more rural. Q: WAS THERE A SIDE TO THE COUNTRY THAT YOU WANTED TO SHOW? A: Oftentimes, films set in Africa are about its hardships. I’m not saying that isn’t a part of Africa, but there’s more to it than that. I wanted to show the environment that Seretse and Ruth lived in, to show that wildlife-world that existed around them, that positive aspect of Africa. Find more about travel in Botswana at lonelyplanet.com/botswana.

Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo play the lead roles in A United Kingdom, filmed in Botswana. ABOVE Director Amma Asante on location

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GLOBETROTTER

For us living this near to the equator, a trip to a wintery wonderland is both exhilarating and awe-inspiring because it defies expectations of the naked eye. While many are eager to document these snow-filled memories through photographs, shooting in frigid conditions often presents challenges that make even the most familiar of surroundings seem foreign. Here’re some quick tips for capturing the best winter photos. 20

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GLOBETROTTER •Know and observe your environment Frost-covered objects often make for visually appealing shots. To capitalise on this, set your alarms and gear up bright and early before the frost melts. Once out and about, find an interesting subject that you can position in the foreground to add a good measure of contrast to your image. In general, mist does not have too much of an impact on subjects close to the camera though objects further away tend to fade into the fog. This results in images that reflect a tremendous sense of depth. For more finesse in your shots, employ the Rule of Thirds. To fully utilise this composition technique, position your point of interest at the two-third mark of the frame to create an off-centre focus.

• Pack the right equipment Cold temperatures can prove to be an obstacle for both you and your camera – imagine having to tweak your camera settings in the freezing cold. Thick woolen gloves would be able to protect your fingers from the cold but they inevitably hinder how easily you will be able to adjust the settings on your DSLR. The solution is to bring along tactile gloves that facilitate greater ease in operating your camera. At the very least, thin woolen gloves will aid in flexibility in maneuvering switches and buttons. To further maintain a steady grip, attach your camera to a neck or wrist strap to avoid accidental slips when wearing gloves. Batteries are known to deteriorate at an accelerated rate under arctic conditions. To overcome this, keep a spare battery in your pocket and alternate between both throughout the day. Warming the batteries helps to prolong their lifespan so as to ensure enough battery power for the whole day. • Protect your gear Heat generated from cameras can cause snowflakes to melt upon contact and result in damaging condensation and moisture to components. To protect your equipment, use a waterproof camera case when shooting in snowy situations. Another trick to prevent condensation from building up is to seal your camera in an airtight plastic bag.

PHOTOGRAPHS: CANON IMAGING ACADEMY

experiment with exposure from +1/3 to +2 stops depending on the composition of the shot.

•Don’t be afraid of exposure Fresh clean, white snow is almost always light and reflective. As such, cameras tend to capture shots of the white flakes as grey-tinted images. This happens because the camera initialises underexposure to neutralise what it understands as an overly bright subject. To counteract this problem, engage in exposure compensation. Exposure compensation allows users to deliberately lighten or darken their exposures. Most cameras allow photographers to vary the compensation from a plus or minus one-third of a stop up to plus / minus three full stops. When photographing snow in particular,

•Striking the right (white) balance White balance adjusts the camera to suit the overall colour characteristics of the light source that photographers are shooting under. Although many photographers choose to rely on the ‘Auto White Balance’ function, shooting outdoors involves factors that this function is often unable to counterbalance. While the ‘light source’ will naturally be the sun, differences in the time of day, geographic region, and weather conditions can make a huge difference in the colour temperature of your photograph. In such situations, use pre-sets that match your light source and weather conditions most closely. For instance, on sunny days with clear blue skies, snow tends to pick up a slight blue tint. In this case, try experimenting with the Cloudy or Shade white balance settings to warm up the overall colour and neutralise that blue colour cast.

The above tips are brought to you by Canon Imaging Academy (CIA), who regularly organises travel photography trips. For more information about CIA, visit www.canon.com.sg/training.

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GLOBETROTTER THE SANYA EDITION Conceived for the China of today and tomorrow, The Sanya EDITION was designed for people of all ages. The spectacular oceanfront destination on Hainan Island, just off the coast of Southern China, is the latest addition to EDITION hotels, a brand in partnership with Marriott International. Sanya, which was known as ‘the end of the sky and ocean’ in ancient times, was the inspiration for this hotel. It is set within 50 acres of meticulously landscaped lush tropical greenery and features a striking 20,000sqm private ocean overlooking the South China Sea. The property is divided into various zones, each with its own specific purpose yet can be enjoyed by all kinds of guests. There are zones for fun, water, family, nightlife, entertainment, relaxation, and many more. While toddlers and children have their fun on water slides and a tree house, adults can have their fun at the meditation forest or find sanctuary at The Spa. There are also various activities to suit all travellers, such as rock climbing and paddle boarding, or even mahjong at the Mahjong Rooms. The Sanya EDITION comprises 512 residential-style guestrooms, including 46 suites, and an additional 17 exclusive hotel villas with private pool and outdoor space. All guestrooms also offer stunning ocean views (edition-hotels.cn).

SOFITEL TAMUDA BAY BEACH & SPA The luxury hotel brand’s latest project is the Sofitel Tamuda Bay, which is located in M’diq, a town located on the northern coast of Morocco. 104 bedrooms and suites, eight bungalows and five villas are offered at this opulent accommodation that is situated on one of the most beautiful Moroccan beaches of the Mediterranean and is set against the stunning backdrop of the Rif Mountains. The award-winning hotel’s design was conceived by Galal Mahmoud, the famed and celebrated Lebanese architect of GM Architects. Galal Mahmoud took cultural references of northern Morocco and reinterpreted them to be more contemporary. The final results are a fusion of the opposing shores of the Mediterranean: the French Riviera’s world of art and glamour on one end, and Morocco’a charming traditional crafts and authentic lifestyle on the other. These are reflected in the vibrant colours and textures used and the subtle modern French art de vivre represented in the rooms (sofitel.com).

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GLOBETROTTER

AIR NEW ZEALAND’S AIRBAND WINS INNOVATION OF THE YEAR Air New Zealand’s Airband has been named Innovation of the Year at the 2016 CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Awards. The Airband is a revolutionary wristband given to children aged five to 11 who are travelling unaccompanied with the airline. The innovation was first introduced late last year and gives parents and guardians peace of mind as it allows them to track their children’s journey. The Airband is embedded with a chip that is scanned at key stages of the journey to trigger text notifications to up to five nominated contacts. Notifications are sent during check-in at airport to confirm registration, when the child is boarding the plane, when the flight has landed and they are handed over to ground staff, and when they are picked up by the designated pick up person. Airbands can be booked online and cost US$10 per child per way for domestic flights, and US$28 for international flights (airnewzealand.com.sg).

BRITISH AIRWAYS’ BOTLER AT YOUR SERVICE Let BOTler show you the ‘best of the best’ insider’s scoop around London this winter. British Airways has launched its new BOTler, a personal Facebook Messenger BOT that serves customers by highlighting numerous reasons to visit London. BOTler will offer live updates on exclusive deals and personalised recommendations on top of attractions and experiences tailored for individuals. The smart BOT is able to interact with users of the Facebook Messenger app by asking questions and providing suggestions so as to learn more about what the user is looking for during their stay in London. Exclusive BOTler deals include luxury for less stays at the Rosewood London, and up to 60% off at Biscester Village and a VIP Pass and discounts at Westfield London. Start engaging with BOTler at m.me/BritishAirways.

Celebrate 2017 with low fares from Fiji Airways Start the year in style by visiting the untouched paradise of Fiji. The flag carrier of Fiji has its hub at Nadi International Airport and offers more than 400 flights per week to 21 destinations in 13 countries. Travellers flying from Singapore are now able to enjoy twice-weekly direct flights onboard the comfortable Airbus 330-200 aircraft that seats 24 in Business Class, and 249 in Economy class. The 13-hour flight includes in-flight meals featuring South Pacific cuisine accompanied by award-winning international wines and beers, and served with Fiji Water. For entertainment, enjoy a selection of movies, TV programmes and audio channels on 15.4” or 10.6” screens. Economy class tickets for adults are currently priced at US$482 for the season (fijiairways.com).

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South Australia, where you can taste nature and live cultures

Barossa Valley, as old as fine wine Satiate your inner fill for fine wine in Australia’s oldest and finest wine producing regions Wishing to sit atop undulating hills which offer row after row of vineyards while listening to the explanations of a master connoisseur on how to taste fine wine? Then journey 60 kilometres northeast towards the northeast of Adelaide to find Australia’s finest vineyards in Barossa Valley. Settled in 1842 by European immigrants, the fabric of the land remains natural with some 150 wineries and cellar doors awaiting your arrival. The preferred mode of transport here certainly favours those who have learnt the art of balance, as the sensation of fresh wind bellowing across one’s hair amid the activity of cycling is really second to none, unless one decides to travel by hot air balloon or helicopter and witness from above the 24

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astonishing views the valley offers. After a day of sightseeing, enjoy the fresh seasonal produce, artisan foods or awardwinning restaurants but most importantly one should not miss out on the wine. Sip from the region’s flagship spicy tasting shiraz or visit Eden Valley for more varieties of Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. For an unforgettable afternoon of fine wine and dining, we recommend the Jacob’s Creek Cooking Class where you will find a rejuvenated appreciation for food. Learn the roots and past stories of the Barossa Valley through the Barossa Heritage Trail which will connect you to many charming heritage towns, historic sites and cellar doors housed in historic buildings. Barossa Valley is certainly an ideal place to indulge and unwind.


A D V E R T I S E M E N T F E AT U R E

Adelaide’s Central Market A bustling city centre with nearly 150 years of history Attempting to figure out the fastest way to understand Australian culture? Look no further than the Adelaide’s Central Market which oozes with history and merchants. Ask any Adelaideans and they would probably recall fond memories of coming here as an infant or perhaps with a regular old friend. First opening its doors on the 23rd of January in 1869, the market opened with just a mere 500 people with all stock being sold out by 6 am in the morning. Boasting a total of 80 traders today under one roof with some 8.5 million visitors each year, Adelaide Central Market has evolved to a point of recognition after being crowned as the 2016 South Australian Tourism Gold Award Winner. Take in the variety of food offerings from veges to meats, cheeses to bakery goods buzzing with vibrant colours all year around. Whether its fine foods you seek or gourmet cafes, the Adelaide Central Market is the place to be to discover food flavoured the Australian way.

Fleurieu Peninsula

Offering a perfect blend of indulgence, culture and outdoor adventure Situated just 45 minutes from Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula offers an opportunity to enter into all sorts of year-round fun. Whether its world-class wineries, picturesque townships, surf beaches or national parks, Fleurieu Peninsula is sure to have something for everyone. The peninsula has a fairly stable temperate climate of between 24 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius in summer, perfect for those who love the balmy warmth of summer. If it’s the taste of fine wine in which you seek, look toward the regions of McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Currency Creek and Southern Fleurieu which offer intimate cellar door experiences and superb quality wine. If you’re longing an ultimate coastal escape, look towards Victor Harbor, a seaside town with spectacular scenery that offers a horse-drawn tram. Choose to escape to a time when trains ruled the transportation landscape with the Steam Ranger’s Heritage Railway which offers a number of different heritage steam and diesel hauled tourist trains to bring you on a leisurely journey from the station at Mt Barker Junction to Victor Harbour. Weave your own tales of adventure when you journey into the tapestry that is Fleurieu Peninsula. JANUARY 2017

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Top 10 country to visit in 2017: Myanmar

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 The Best Trends, Destinations, Journeys & Experiences for the year ahead.

Available in all good bookstores. Visit lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel


EASY TRIPS

Easy Trips THIS MONTH... recharge for the year ahead in Anji County,

celebrate the arts on the urban canvas of Singapore, and stimulate the senses in summery Sydney

WORDS: RAEWYN KOH. PHOTOGRAPH: ALILA ANJI

A NJ I C O U N T Y, C H I NA

Natural connection Kickstart 2017 to be your best year yet with a weekend getaway to Anji County in Zhejiang Province, China. The offbeat and serene location, with its breathtaking nature, is the perfect place to recharge from end-year blues. Anji County in winter paints an ethereal picture of snow-capped mountains, lush bamboo forests and a tranquil lake in the heart of it all. Its effortless hiking trails into the bamboo forests will certainly ease anyone into getting started on new year resolutions of exercising and living in the moment more. The bamboo forest is also great for indulging in an activity called “forest bathing”, which involves breathing in the fresh air produced by flora to reduce stress and increase relaxation.

MAKE IT HAPPEN To get to Anji County, take a direct flight to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport first. China Eastern flies thrice daily from Singapore, while Shanghai Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia X all have one direct flight daily from Kuala Lumpur. From Shanghai, take a four-hour bus ride from Shanghai South Railway Station to Anji County; buses depart hourly. Indulge in Alila Anji, a peaceful oasis situated on a hillside overlooking Tian Fu Lake. Go on a hike through bamboo forests, harvest winter produce for a “farm-to-table” dinner, unwind with a spa treatment, and much more with the Winter Weekend Escapade, available now till 31 March 2017 (alilahotels.com/anji). JANUARY 2017

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SINGAPORE

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Singapore Art Week The island-city transforms into an urban canvas once more with the fifth edition of Singapore Art Week 2017. The 12-day affair sees a celebration of the visual arts take place in venues across Singapore, from galleries and museums to art precincts and non-profit spaces. Art transcends age this year with multiple events targeted at families and young children, such as the Tanjong Goodman: Imaginary Compound & Weekend Market, and The Art of Stories that encourage children to get hands-on and creative in interactive activities. There are also “less traditional” exhibitions to look forward to, such as Aliwal Urban Art Festival that focuses on contemporary art and graffiti, and State of Motion, a bus tour that roves around filming locations featured in Singapore cinema. 28

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Singapore Art Week runs from 11 to 22 January 2017. A full event schedule, as well as links to reserve tickets to ticketed events is available on artweek.sg. There’s also a handy feature to break down events by location for travellers hoping to focus on certain areas in Singapore. Immerse art into your stay at Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore. The centrally-located hotel will be taking part in Singapore Art Week as the host of Art Apart Fair 2017. The highly interactive exhibition explores the ways in which art mingles with living spaces on three levels of the hotel, including its suites and Penthouse (panpacific.com/ singapore).

PHOTOGRAPH: NATIONAL ART COUNCIL; ALIWAL ARTS CENTRE; STATE OF MOTION – DAVID BOWIE-RICOCHET; GOODMAN ARTS CENTRE

EASY TRIPS


EASY TRIPS

S Y D N E Y, AU S T R A L I A

Sydney Festival Incite the senses at Sydney Festival, the annual cultural fest of the summer. There are 150 events this year, of which, a staggering 73 of are free, and cover dance, theatre, opera, cabaret, comedy, circus and more. This year’s performers also hail from 15 countries in total. As the senses are a key focus for the year, audiences are encouraged to participate in a series of events and performances incorporating sensory enhancement and deprivation. See, or rather, smell, Sydney in a new sight with Cat Jones’ Scent of Sydney, a free immersive exhibition by the conceptual and olfactory artist, or intensify tactile communication with Imagined Touch by deaf-blind artists Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens. Other highly anticipated acts include Briefs: The Second Coming, which has been described as a love child of RuPaul’s Drag Race and an Australian version of Cirque du Soleil, as well as the world premiere of Nude Live, a contemporary dance performance performed in the nude.

PHOTOGRAPH: SYDNEY FESTIVAL

MAKE IT HAPPEN Sydney Festival will run from 7 to 29 January 2017. Most programmes are ticketed but there are numerous free performances as well. Check the full schedule of events at sydneyfestival. org.au. Celebrate Sydney by staying at the recently launched Primus Hotel Sydney, housed at the former 1930’s Sydney Water Board headquarters. The CBD, Hyde Park and emerging Koreatown are all on this art deco boutique hotel’s doorstep (primushotelsydney.com). JANUARY 2017

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EASY TRIPS

Asia’s overlooked alps

Kashmir Conquer the Himalayas in a new light by skiing down the challenging and steep slopes of Gulmarg in Kashmir. Although not an obvious destination for skiing, Gulmarg is getting increasingly popular for its off-piste skiing. Gulmarg experiences thick snowfall each year that produces fine, powdery snow the locals call ‘curry powder’ due to the similar texture of the spice that features heavily in Kashmir cuisine. While there are ski resorts with gentler slopes, the real thrills begin 13,000ft above sea level that is only accessible by gondola and requires a ski guide who knows the terrain to bring skiers down the slopes. Off-piste skiing here often brings encounters with wildlife, such as foxes, and even bears and snow leopards. For après skiing, return to the ski resorts for authentic Kashmir hospitality – curried stews, tandoor-baked breads and hot tea to warm up cold and fatigued bodies. 30

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MAKE IT HAPPEN Ski Gulmarg offers some of the most comprehensive and inclusive ski packages in the region that includes accommodation, two-way airport transfer, ski guides and more. For advanced skiers, off-piste skiing is also available through their website. Ski season runs from 1 January to 31 March each year (skigulmarg.com).

PHOTOGRAPH: JASON MAXTED; YANIK TURGEON / SKIGULMARG.COM

Unexpected places to ski in Asia away from maddening crowds and with a different take on après skiing


EASY TRIPS

Dubai There may not be snow this side of the Middle East but it hasn’t stopped skiers from dropping by the world’s entertainment centre for a chance to ski any time of the year. Ski Dubai is the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and the world’s largest indoor snow park. The all-year ski resort is covered by 22,500sqm of real snow and is set at a comfortable temperature of -1 to -2˚C. Ski Dubai has five runs that vary in difficulty, height and gradient, which is perfect for beginners just off the bunny hill or professional skiers looking for a new ski experience. There is also a separate Freestyle Zone specifically built for snowboarders to practice stunts without getting in the way of other skiers. After a full day of skiing, appreciate après skiing with a twist by riding the Snow Bullet, the world’s first indoor sub-zero zipline, or catch the March of the Penguins, a colony of Gentoo and King penguins that make their way around Ski Dubai a few times a day.

MAKE IT HAPPEN Ski Dubai sells various packages ranging from an all-day Ski Slope pass (inclusive of equipment rental; US$58) to an all-day Snow Park pass (Ski Dubai Experience; US$138). There are also ski lessons available for children as young as three to adults (from US$50; skidubai.com).

PHOTOGRAPH: 123RF; URBAN SKI

Singapore Just like Dubai, Singapore does not experience snow but this hasn’t let the cosmopolitan be left out of skiing fun all year round. For those who’ve gotten a taste of skiing and want to indulge in the activity more without having to pay for expensive flights and accommodation to ski resorts halfway around the world, Urban Ski is a good alternative to feed ski cravings way past ski season. The ski slope is not covered in snow here but is a state of the art indoor revolving ski slope that has adjustable steepness and speeds to suit all skill levels. This is also a great place for those who’d like to be more familiar with skiing or snowboarding before heading out to bigger slopes elsewhere. There are personal coaches who will be able to help novices get acquainted with coordination and more experienced skiers and snowboarders improve technique. Après skiing here is definitely more tropical – step outside into Singapore’s year-round warm sunshine and enjoy museums, walking trails through cultural alcoves, shopping at Orchard Road, world-class cuisines, and even the beach!

MAKE IT HAPPEN Urban Ski has various rates for private groups and public sessions for various skiing and snowboarding levels (from US$70). Public sessions are not available for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Book at urbanski.com.sg JANUARY 2017

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EASY TRIPS

REVIEW OF THE MONTH P H U K E T, T H A I L A N D

Wyndham Sea Pearl Phuket WHY PHUKET? Phuket is known as the pearl of the Andaman Sea, and this label conjures up images of five-star luxury resorts that line the beaches of Phuket. But the seasoned (and sophisticated) traveller to Phuket knows that there’s much more to this fascinating island than the raucous crowds on the beach. Phuket has a rich Peranakan history and is fast becoming a major dining destination due to its designation as a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a ‘City of Gastronomy’.

WHY WYNDHAM? The brand is one of the most globally represented, with hotels and resorts in more than 22 countries and on five continents, in key resort and urban locations. The Wyndham Sea Pearl Phuket is far from the hordes of tourists and is set on 16 acres of lush hilltop with views of Patong Bay and the Andaman Sea, while boasting a location convenient enough for guests to access the plethora of entertainment along the beach, without compromising on peace and tranquillity. 32

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WHAT’S MY ROOM LIKE? The 181 rooms and suites are well appointed and done in a modern contemporary style, and come with dark wood flooring and modern amenities. The biggest draw is that each room has its own private balcony and outdoor Jacuzzi.

WHAT AM I EATING? Dining is exceptional, with three restaurants to choose from and a 24-hour room service menu. The buffet at Blue Waters Restaurant allows you to binge on the freshest seafood, while the Alfa Club and Restaurant offers delightful cocktails with grilled meats including steak, and endless streams of satay.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE? There are a number of places to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Head to Carissa Spa for warm Thai hospitality with traditional Thai body massages and skincare treatments. If your personal Jacuzzi proves too small for swimming laps, there is also the Club House where a 35m club house pool and fitness centre with recreational activities are available.

BEYOND THE FRONT DOOR For a glimpse into the simple joys of farm life, look no further than Vanich Farm. Curiously wedged between buildings, the farm is a beacon of agrotourism in cosmopolitan Phuket. Get all sorts of hands on as you experience working a rice field, harvesting corn, and participate in a little cooking action for lunch. If looking for other great getaway options beyond the tried and tested islands of Koh Phi Phi and the monolithic karsts of Phang Nga Bay, opt for Blu Anda’s ‘Sawasdee Koh Hong Krabi’ itinerary (bluanda.com) that will take you to the sheltered bay of Koh Hong and the private Big Tree Island. Blu Anda does all the preparations so that you don’t have to – they provide the works, from protective shoes and snorkelling gear to endless refreshments and a sumptuous picnic lunch to be enjoyed mid-day.

WHAT’S THE DAMAGE? Rooms start from US$165 per night, going up to US$950 per night for a Carissa Pool Villa that comes with its own private pool, spacious terrace, lounges and an outdoor shower (wyndhamseapearlphuket.com).

WORDS: MELISSA LORRAINE CHUA. PHOTOGRAPH: WYNDHAM SEA PEARL PHUKET

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The Carissa Pool Villas boast uninterrupted views of Patong Bay and the Andaman Sea; rejuvenation is the keyword for the luxurious Carissa Spa; all rooms come with its own private balcony and Jacuzzi


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City at a glance:

HELSINKI Finland’s compact little capital is filled with charming harbourside attractions, a growing gastronomic scene, and such titillating design that even a brief sojourn to the city can prove to be a truly satisfying journey of fashion, food and fun

Harbourfront housing is just one of the many tranquil benefits of life in Helsinki

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PHOTOGRAPH: VISIT FINLAND - JUSSI HELLSTEN

WORDS MELISSA LORRAINE CHUA


The Port of Helsinki is a hub of life for this waterfront city

Cheeses galore at the Old Market Hall

PHOTOGRAPHS: © VISIT HELSINKI -SEPPO LAAKSO, THEMES/HELSINKI BY THE SEA

T

HE STYLISH AND YOUNG (by Nordic standards) capital of Finland is a hotbed of design that churns out some of the most electrifying fashion and art in the world today; Helsinki was designated the World Design Capital in 2012, and has not lost any of its momentum since. A hipster heaven of craft-beer bars, boutique coffee roasteries, artist workshops and galleries, and glorious art-nouveau buildings, the city (once ruled by the Swedish, then the Russians) is an intriguing microcosm of cutting-edge design and innovative gastronomy juxtaposed against stoic centenarian architecture and the conservative Finnish demeanour. But in spite of its more cosmopolitan vibe in recent years, Helsinki still reflects much of traditional Finland’s slower pace of life, with emphasis on sports and physical health, a commitment to work-life balance (most office hours end at 430pm so parents can pick their children from school), and a deep involvement with nature. Food in Helsinki has a strong emphasis on local sourcing, with cream-based dishes making a more significant presence during the winter months. Other interesting eats including smoked reindeer, canned bear meat, pickled herring, and a variety of nutrition-rich ‘superfoods’ including cloudberries, sea buckthorns, and birch sap. On multiple occasions you will find white fish and seafood bulking up most of the protein in your meal, while forest flavours such as

version of the candy that has been flavoured with ammonium chloride. With the recent launch of Finnair’s direct route from Singapore to Helsinki, and the StopOver Finland program – jointly organised by Finnair and Visit Finland – that allows passengers travelling via Helsinki to transit for up to five days before continuing on to their destination country, Finland has never been more accessible than it is now, whether it’s a quick sampling of Helsinki,

“God did not create haste.” - Finnish proverb

beets and mushrooms round out the earthy palate of most Finnish dishes. Sauna (correctly pronounced sao-nah, not saw-nah) is the way of life in Finland. That and liquorice; even chocolates here come with liquorice centres. For the daring of heart, be sure to sample some salmiakki while you’re here, a salty

a visit to Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, or an extended trip up to Lapland for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. 2017 will also be a great year to visit Helsinki because of its centenary, which means a plethora of celebrations, exhibitions, and special events for you to play away under the midnight sun. Suomenlinna ferry in winter

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Attractions Suomenlinna One of the most popular attractions in Helsinki, this 18th-century fortress and naval base has seen Finland through three stages of rule: under the Swedish, under the Russians, and in defence of its independence. Suomenlinna has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1991, and features as a unique monument of military architecture that is best explored through a guided walking tour; learn about the fortress’s colourful past as you saunter through the Great Courtyard and visit the dry dock, once the largest in the world. For more information, contact the only authorised guide service Ehrensvärd Society at guidebooking@suomenlinnatours.com. Osuomenlinna.fi 36

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Stunning aerial view of Loyly; a traditional smoke sauna; Helsinki Senate Square at night; the sun-dappled grounds of Suomenlinna

Helsinki City Museum Pass the grand Helsinki Senate Square with its recognisable dome-shaped roof and statue of Alexander II in its front square, and you’ll find the petite but educational Helsinki Design Museum. This unique little showcase of modern Helsinki history even includes a smell room, where visitors are invited to identify a mystery smell – related to life in Finland – that changes monthly. The museum’s main purpose is to create a connection between visitor and history, which explains why its main tenets are immersion and interaction; visitors can physically inject themselves into a fully replicated living room of the 1950s, or visit a vintage diner with fully functioning jukebox that plays a rotational setlist of 24 songs. Ohelsinginkaupunginmuseo.fi/en

PHOTOGRAPHS: PAUL WILLIAMS / VISIT HELSINKI, JUSSI HELLSTEN / VISIT HELSINKI

Löyly The hottest new place in town (no pun intended) is Löyly, a magnificent public sauna built to be environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly, and a self-dubbed “urban oasis on Helsinki’s waterfront”. Löyly’s saunas are a thing of beauty, offering a traditional smoke sauna as well as a wood-fired sauna. The purpose of the compound’s outdoor seating area is to allow guests direct access to the sea, where they can dip to cool off in between steam sessions. Even if you’re not looking to participate in sauna, Löyly is also a great place to catch up over drinks, with the outdoor decks overlooking the water being exceeding popular during summer. Löyly loosely translates to mean “the steam that rises when you throw water onto hot stones in a sauna”, because yes, that’s how much the Finns need a word for that. Oloylyhelsinki.fi/en


H E L S I N K I AT A G L A N C E

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Two-thirds of Vinkkeli’s charming team; sapas, Finland’s answer to tapas; newly renovated, the Old Market Hall is now brighter and more inviting

Vinkkeli It’s easy to fall in love with Vinnkeli for its dedication to timeless, elegant dining; unpretentiously warm and witty service (a rarity as Finns are usually more reserved); and honestly good food. Founded by a trio of Savoy alumni, the restaurant sports completely no whiff of pretentiousness, with owner personally running the floor and kitchen. They also serve a wonderful birch sap wine – sounds funky but tastes wonderfully crisp and fruity. Oravintolavinkkeli.fi/ en

Kuurna One of the more sought-after restaurants in town – it features on the Michelin Guide so be sure to book early – Kuurna offers a three-course set menu for dinner and an ever-changing selection of blackboard specials that showcase what’s best in season at the time of dining. Although quite near the harbourfront, the restaurant has an intimate cellar-like atmosphere that seats only twenty at once. We recommend opting for the seafood every time. Okuurna.fi

Juuri Exuding an air of casual disrepair and “unfinished chic” with paint peeling off the walls and exposed brick peeking through, Juuri serves a delightful range of Finnish tapas – named sapas. A variety of small dishes featuring heavily of pickled fish, sour cream and horseradish is rounded off with a richly spiced carrot cake that is heavy on the ginger; just the way we like it. Ojuuri.fi/en

PHOTOGRAPHS: PEKKA KERÄNEN / VISIT HELSINKI

Food Old Market Hall Pop in to the Old Market Hall for some local produce and interesting eats; this landmark has served customers since 1888 and was reopened in 2014 after a complete renovation. Stall keepers who have been in business for decades have returned and are joined by attractive new restaurants and café; one of the longest-serving businesses is Juustokauppa Tuula Paalanen which peddles a mindboggling variety of cheese. Look out for stalls hawking handcrafted teas (we brought home a loose leaf infusion of strawberry, nettle, birch leaf and liquorice root), exotic cured meats and smoked seafood (expect fresh organic pork sausages, deshelled prawns larger than your fist, and more varieties of gravlax that you can shake a stick at), and even a vegetarian store that specialises in raw and sprouted food. Ovanhakauppahalli.fi/en

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Klaus K Hotel A member of Design Hotels™ that’s also located along the Bulevardi strip, Klaus K Hotel is an ode to the Kalevala, a 19thcentury volume of poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot about Finnish folklore and mythology. From its lobby to its rooms and award-winning Toscanini restaurant, the hotel’s interiors are arrestingly dramatic, yet retain a distinctly organic aesthetic. Oklauskhotel.com

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Elegant digs along Bulevardi with Klaus K Hotel; harbour views are part of the package with Hotel Haven; fuss-free accommodations with Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo Helsinki – Boulevard Move into the Hotel Indigo Helsinki – Boulevard for the best springboard to visit the city’s Design District. The new kid on the block, this five-star boutique hotel is rich with tastefully curated furnishings, and has the added bonus of being on the IHG portfolio for membership benefits. Ohotelindigo.com/helsinki

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PHOTOGRAPHS: CENTRAL RESTAURANTE , MAIDO

Hotels

Hotel Haven If leaving a smaller carbon footprint helps you sleep better, then the eco-friendly Hotel Haven is for you. Exclusive comfort and high quality service is bundled with homely warmth (there’s a fireplace right in the lobby) and tasteful, elegant furnishings. The best part – the Lux Sea View rooms come with the added bonus of a harbour view! Ohotelhaven.fi


H E L S I N K I AT A G L A N C E

Design District Helsinki’s Design District encapsulates all that is chic in the city – and there’s even a touring map to help you navigate the highlights. The Design District collective is a cluster of creative businesses brimming with the very best of local design, including jewellers, antique shops, art galleries, and apparel boutiques. Membership to the collective is strictly qualitycontrolled, and members pay a nominal annual fee that funds promotional efforts. Browse and purchase art and homeware at Lokal; pick up Japanese-inspired designs at 2OR+BYYAT; or step out in style with a pair of FINSK’s atelier shoes. Odesigndistrict.fi/en

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Art galleries and boutique fashion studios densely populate the Design District; whimsical designs are a trademark of Minna Parikka; TRE’s first brickand-mortar store

PHOTOGRAPHS: ST. REGIS ABU DHABI, EMIRATES PALACE

Shopping

TRE The first physical store for online retailer TRE is a 400-square metre concept store filled with the biggest collection of Finnish design and fashion under one roof. Expect furniture, apparel, skincare, and books; beyond marimekko. There’s even an in-house café for shoppers who need a caffeine boost. Oworldoftre.com

Minna Parikka We went a little crazy for Minna Parikka’s iconic bunny-eared collection – glitter, faux fur, and high-cut sneakers are the way to a girl’s heart. Even the window display is appropriately eccentric, with neon planetary baubles framing a stylish spaghetti monster-esque model posing oh-so-coquettishly. Join the following that includes Taylor Swift, Daisy Lowe, Kylie Jenner and Suki the Pug (yes, a celebrity pug). Ominnaparikka.com JANUARY 2017

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There’s a lot more to the Empire State than its most famous city: head upstate to discover farm-to-table feasts in the Catskills, a vast wilderness of lakes and mountains in the Adirondacks and cutting-edge art in Hudson, before drinking in Brooklyn’s spirit scene and setting sail for the Hamptons @SophieLMcGrath O PHOTOGRAPHS DAN HALLMAN

@DanHallman

G R E AT E S C A P E

WORDS SOPHIE MCGRATH

Montauk Point Lighthouse dates from 1796, and stands on Long Island at the easternmost tip of New York State

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Plan your trip 1

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Traverse lakes and scale mountains in the Adirondacks, one of the largest wildernesses in America (p48).

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Discover trailblazing art and design in the shops, studios and galleries of the revived town of Hudson (p50).

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Head back to the big city and raise a glass to inventive drinking in Brooklyn’snewcrop of bars and breweries (p52).

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Take to the water in the Hamptons to discover this wellheeled seaside retreat’s surprising maritime past (p54).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: ANDRII GORULKO/ALAMY, ROB LATOUR/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, RICHARD LEENEY/GETTY IMAGES, MOVIESTORE COLLECTION/ALAMY, PIXELFORMULA/SIPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, MATTEO PRANDONI/BFANYC.COM/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Feast on country produce straight from the source, just a few hours from the city in the farms and restaurants of the Catskills (p46).

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ON THE ROA ROAD

Sink S

From Singapore, fly United Airlines to Newark Airport with a stopover in San Francisco (united.com; from US$903). If flying from Kuala Lumpur, fly Qatar Airways to JFK with one stopover in Doha (qatarairways.com; from US$890).

HOW TO GET AROUND A hire car is the best way to explore Upstate New York. All the usual car-hire firms have locations at New York’s airports (from around US$50 per day; dollar.com). State law means minimum liability insurance is included. Carry at least US$25 in cash for tolls, especially in and out of New York City; an electronic pass can save 5% (US$25; e-zpassny. com). It’s also possible to do most of this itinerary by public transport: the river-hugging Adirondack train connects New York City’s Penn Station with Hudson town (2¼ hours; amtrak.com), and also Westport (six hours) from where there's a 45-minute bus connection to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. The Hamptons are 2½–3½ hours from Penn Station on the Long Island Railroad (lirr42.mta.info).

HOW LONG TO SPEND Plan to spend a couple of days in each place – ideally more in attractionpacked New York City, and also in the Adirondacks, with its vast areas to explore. The round-trip is nearly 1,000 miles, so be sure to factor in driving times and rest breaks. It’s possible to complete the trip in about 12 days, but best to allow two weeks or longer.

WHAT TO BUDGET Costs vary across the state. A typical hotel and evening meal might cost US$185 and US$40 respectively in New York City, less than this in the Catskills and more in the Hamptons. However, budget-friendly options like guesthouses, street food and cafés are available across the route. Petrol costs

roughly US$2 per gallon (about 50¢ per litre); budget around US$123 in total for a full-size vehicle. Most purchases incur a state sales tax of around 9% – be sure to factor this into prices. Don’t forget to tip: around 10%–20% for taxi drivers, 15%–25% for waiter service and at least a dollar per drink for bar staff.

WHEN TO GO This trip is best taken between late spring and mid-autumn, after which the Adirondacks are carpeted with snow and many places in the Hamptons close for the off-season. Avoid high summer, when New York is stiflingly hot and muggy. In May and September you’ll find milder weather, fewer crowds and lower prices. Mid-October is prime time to witness the state’s glorious autumn foliage.

Read Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City (US$14.45; Free Press), a guide to the city’s rollicking past that includes maps and walking tours.

Look out for

Stars such as Paul McCartney, Gwyneth and Steven Spielberg – just a few of the celebrities who up sticks to the Hamptons in summer.

WHO CAN HELP Independent planning is easy to do for this trip, but many operators offer customisable self-drive itineraries. America As You Like It includes a 13-night option with stops in the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks and the Catskills (from US$1,600 incl flights, accommodation and car hire; americaasyoulikeit.com).

HOW TO PLAN Pick up Lonely Planet’s Eastern USA guide (US$24.99) or download the ‘New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania’ chapter (US$4.95; lonelyplanet.com); there’s more road trip inspiration in the New York & Mid-Atlantic’s Best Trips guide (US$24.99). Find additional resources at nylovesu.co.uk, and regional websites visitthecatskills. com, visitadirondacks.com, gotohudson.net, nycgo.com and hamptonsvc.com.

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Fr Fresh-from-the-barrel craft beer from the state’s ever-expanding crop fro of microbreweries – like the fruity Ubu ale from Lake Placid Pub & Ub Brewery, or Catskill Brewery’s Br heady Devil’s Path IPA (7.5%). he

Buy

Garnet jewellery made by artisanss in the Adirondacks, home to one of the world’s largest deposits of thee red stone (also the state gem).

Watch Cult classic Dirty Dancing, set in a resort in the Catskills in the ’60s, when New Yorkers flocked to the area for their summer holidays.

Bring Sandals for ambling along the he beaches of the Hamptons, which can get as hot as the local gossip.

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See the state’s first dawn... 44

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The Atlantic laps onto Sagg Main Beach at Sagaponack, part of the Hamptons, at the prosperous eastern end of Long Island

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1. The Catskills Émigrés from the big city have transformed the dining scene in this hilly, rural part of Upstate New York, making the most of an abundance of superior local ingredients

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N DELAWARE COUNTY, EVEN breakfast is a feast. The dishes scrawled on Table on Ten’s chalkboard menu – ‘Red Egg in a Pan’, ‘Ham & Cheese’ – may sound simple, but the flavours are not: perfectly runny eggs in a rich, slow-cooked marinara; smoky prosciutto with mozzarella and home-made pesto; honey-drenched granola with delicately scented maple yoghurt. This inviting spread is served at plain tables dressed with jars of flowers, in duckegg blue rooms with bare floors: an aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the trendier neighbourhoods of New York City. Instead, Table on Ten occupies a rickety old farmhouse in Bloomville, a hamlet in the western Catskills. A scenic expanse of mountains and rolling fields, this unsung region is at the heart of a budding culinary movement, with new restaurants and growers championing local produce and conjuring inventive farm-to-table cuisine. ‘It’s pretty cool to have this in the middle of nowhere,’ says chef and waiter Scott Neild, a former actor who upped sticks from New York City to live in a log cabin up the road in Bovina. The Catskills have form in enticing jaded city-dwellers: Table on Ten came about after Inez Valk-Kempthorne fell for the area during weekends visiting friends. Like many recent arrivals she was inspired by the potential for a freer, more communal life on the land. Today, her restaurant serves a seasonal menu based on ingredients supplied by neighbouring farmers and growers – it changes depending on what they bring through the door. ‘Everyone here works so hard providing pure, wonderful food,’ says Scott as he gathers a pile of logs to stoke the restaurant’s pizza oven. ‘It’s a real community.’ Later, the old farm and its light-strung garden will hum with locals and weekenders sharing Table on Ten’s much-loved sourdough pizzas – like their signature shaved dark chocolate, ricotta and honey – as a band strums an accompaniment. One pioneer of farm-to-fork dining in the Catskills was nearby Peekamoose, where the ethos of living off the land is writ large. Its art and furniture are made from fallen trees, farm tools and old barn timber. A stuffed coyote named Phyllis peers from the rafters, one of a cast of taxidermied beasts. 46

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Peekamoose was founded when top NYC restaurateurs Devin and Marybeth Mills moved upstate to be closer to the produce they used; now, these ingredients feature in daily changing dishes like slow-braised beef or rainbow trout, accompanied by a drinks list of local craft beers and spirits. The Catskills’ agricultural pride is evident everywhere you look. Rural roads are lined with farm stands and wagons displaying dusky turnips, crisp greens and canaryyellow squash. At farmers’ markets like the one in the small town of Delhi (‘dell-high’), dozens of producers show off their wares. As a folk band plays in the main square, fruit and veg sellers chat with bag-laden shoppers browsing wild-haired carrots, soft peaches and tomatoes in traffic light colours. A woman with bees painted on her nails sells gleaming jars of raw honey; next to her are stalls laden with maple syrup and home-made blueberry wine. The air is a patchwork of shifting scents, basil and thyme mingling with Gouda cheese. Although the Catskills’ food scene is enjoying a bit of a moment, nearby Danforth Jersey Farm could be considered two centuries ahead of the game – it has been churning out the area’s best dairy products since 1817. ‘We’ve become part of this amazing local food network,’ says sixthgeneration farmer Shannon Mason as she tends to a field of chestnut cows shining in the noon sun, the warm air thick with the chirrup of crickets. She lives on the farm with her children and parents, plus a whole menagerie of animals: in the old hay barn a litter of newborn kittens mewl, while Charlie the golden retriever circles the yard. ‘The cows are like extended family – you develop a relationship with them,’ says Shannon, who recognises each of her 100 Jerseys instantly and knows their different personalities. ‘This is not only our home, it’s their home, and we feel a big responsibility to give them the best life we can.’ This love is reflected in the farm’s Cowbella-branded products – their butter, for example, gets its bright yellow hue because the herd is left free to graze outdoors day and night. The family business was born out of this single product – Shannon’s widowed great-greatgrandmother provided for her six young children by making and selling butter. The company has since greatly expanded its

range, making everything from simple whole milk to yoghurt, and the Eastern European drink kefir, using herbs, fruit and maple sourced from surrounding farms. In turn, Cowbella supplies ingredients to the growing number of establishments that share a passion for wholesome, homegrown food. ‘There are a lot of local restaurants popping up that are willing to go the extra mile to make sure the food is coming from a place people can believe in,’ Shannon says, cows lowing and chomping contentedly around her. ‘It’s really exciting to see it happen and to be a part of it.’ Drive for 3½ hours north along Interstates 88 and 87, passing increasingly rugged scenery, to the wild lakes and mountains of the Adirondacks.

Essentials

In Roxbury village, The Roxbury Motel offers a range of spacious rooms, many extravagantly themed, among them the opulent Mozart-styled ‘Amadeus’ Bride’ (pictured) and homages to film noir, Indiana Jones and The Wizard of Oz. There’s also a firepit deck and a spa with hot tub and sauna (from US$93; theroxburymotel.com). Table on Ten is open from Thursday to Sunday (breakfast from US$5.50; tableonten.com) and Peekamoose from Thursday to Monday (mains from US$20; peekamooserestaurant.com). Delhi Farmers’ Market runs on Wednesdays (Jun–Sep). Email for tours of Cowbella (cowbella.com).


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Table on Ten’s Red Egg in a Pan. LEFT The ramshackle exterior of the restaurant. RIGHT Chef and waiter Scott Neild

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Vintage farm machinery is a common sight in the Catskills. RIGHT Produce at a farm stand near Roxbury. FAR RIGHT A pet chicken outside a local farm

Cows graze at Danforth Jersey Farm. LEFT A folk band plays at Delhi Farmers’ Market. FAR LEFT A nearby farmstand

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2. The Adirondacks Half a day from New York City is the largest natural preserve in the continental US – a place of serene lakes, rare wildlife, forest, waterfalls and towering peaks

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T’S NOT YET DAWN AS GUIDE Rivka Cilley makes her way downriver, the rhythmic slip and plunge of her oars amplified in the still night. Now and then, a sudden noise interrupts the quiet: an unseen bird darting overhead; the scuffle of reeds against her canoe; a gust of wind as she emerges onto Lower Saranac Lake. And then, slowly, pink light spreads over the glassy water, tiptoeing up to its shoreline thick with cedars and white pine. As the plaintive howls of loon birds echo over the water, the clouds part and shift to reveal, bit by bit, a ring of distant, undulating peaks. This is the Adirondacks: a six-millionacre park as large as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Great Smoky Mountains national parks combined, with change. For thousands of years, the native Algonquin and Iroquois peoples came here seasonally to hunt and fish in dugout canoes, and their legacy endures in many place names (Adirondack itself means ‘bark-eater’, an Iroquoian insult to their neighbours). Though it’s now crossed by roads, there are few more scenic ways to explore than by the Adirondacks’ old highways: its rivers and lakes. ‘There are so many different places to paddle – big lakes, small ponds,

Rivka Cilley steers her canoe across Lower Saranac Lake. INSET Views of Lake Placid from Whiteface Mountain, where visitors can see as far as Montreal on a clear day 48

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creeks, white water,’ says Rivka as she nudges her canoe around a pine-covered island. ‘It’s endless, I’ve not seen it all.’ Nature-lover Rivka and her husband run St Regis Canoe Outfitters, which offers trips in the park’s north and west, where many of its 3,000 lakes are found. Lower and Upper Saranac Lake are two of the prettiest, garnering the lyrical Algonquian names of Lake of the Clustered Stars and Lake of the Silver Skies, but to Rivka, the whole area is enchanting. ‘The combination of the mountains and the lakes makes it so beautiful’, she says. ‘It’s pristine – you get to see a lot of different animals and flowers’. The survival of this place is no happy accident. In the 19th century, writers such as Henry David Thoreau sought respite here, soon followed by waves of citydwellers and industrialists. The ensuing development, combined with timbering, decimated the park. But this disaster led the state to impose strict laws; today, the Adirondacks is, in the legislature’s poetic words, ‘Forever Wild’. It’s now home to more than 50 mammal species, from itinerant moose and black bears to bobcats and flying squirrels, while bald eagles often take to the skies.

Framing Lower Saranac Lake is another of the Adirondacks’ great attractions: the 46 mountains of the High Peaks. Rising in folds from the landscape like crumpled napkins, their geology is technically out of this world, featuring billion-year-old anorthosite, found often on the moon but rarely on Earth. Each of the High Peaks reaches close to or above 4,000 feet (1,220 metres), but getting to the top needn’t be a daunting task: at Whiteface Mountain, for example, a hairpin road snakes all the way to a craggy summit. Other peaks make for a pleasant challenge along some of the most exhilarating stretches of the park’s 2,000-plus miles of trails. On the short, steep path up 877-metre Mount Jo, a little effort yields big rewards. Butterflies flit over the narrow trail as it winds through dense forest, the cover of trees – copper and silver birches, maples in showers of ruby red and dolly mixture pink – giving way now and again to a flash of sky or a dizzying glance over the valley below. Lined with milkweed and tiny mushrooms, the path finally opens onto the wide rock ledge of the summit, where the hulking forms of much bigger peaks – Wright, Algonquin, the very tallest, Mount Marcy – loom in the distance.


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Essentials

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Beside Mirror Lake in the town of Lake Placid, The Haus has ten light-filled suites, with Nordicstyle bare-wood floors, earthy hues and décor carved from birch trees. Each has a kitchen and fireplace (from US$167; thehauslakeplacid.com). St Regis Canoe Outfitters runs canoe and kayak trips (½-day from £55; canoeoutfitters. com). High Peaks Mountain Adventures arranges tailor-made guided hikes and other outdoor activities (from US$204; hpmountainguides.com). Drive south along Interstate 87, heading back through the mountains to the artistic hub of Hudson, about three hours away.

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A work by Eli Merritt at 46 Green Street Studios. ABOVE FROM LEFT The space also houses artists’ studios; the gallery’s co-founders Dave Schwing and Bob Bacigalupi

3FortySeven offers an eclectic range of antique and vintage finds inside an Art Deco service station

3. Hudson The once-neglected riverside town of Hudson has blossomed into a centre of cutting-edge art, design and culture

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T’S UNBELIEVABLE. TEN YEARS ago they were talking about how Hudson would be, and now it’s happening,’ says curator Dave Schwing as he casts an approving eye around the latest exhibition at his gallery space, 46 Green Street Studios. Arranged on the walls and floor around him is a Franken-menagerie of creatures, the work of previously unknown local artist Eli Merritt: a scrap-metal lion with a bright cable mane, a wire-sculpted man with hinge knees and light-bulb lungs, and a dinosaur straight out of a Jurassic junkyard. These found-object pieces could be considered a metaphor for Hudson itself – an old and somewhat abandoned place, recently revived by creative forces. Dave and two friends founded 46 Green Street Studios three years ago in a run-down old accounting office, and its popularity has surprised even them.

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‘I don’t think either of us knew the extent of the art community here,’ says Dave as he visits one of the on-site studios, strewn with paint-smeared palettes and stacks of canvases. ‘Everyone’s coming north’. As artists and art-lovers discover Hudson, just over two hours’ drive from Manhattan, new ventures are adding spark to the town’s already-electric cultural scene. It’s quite a transformation. A former port upstream from New York City on the river for which it is named, in its 19th-century heyday Hudson was a booming merchant town and base for artists, drawn to the area for its delicate light and rugged scenery. But in the post-war decades, it became a place of boarded-up shop-fronts and grand buildings fallen into disrepair, as its fortunes followed local industry into decline. Things began to turn around in the 1980s, when the first of 70 or more antique dealers moved in. Now, spurred on by its vintage treasures and the

pressures of ever-pricier NYC, artists and makers are flooding in once again. By the station, a former train wheel foundry is now the Basilica Hudson cultural space, hosting film screenings, art shows and live music in its halls. And in a 1930s theatre, renowned performance artist and local resident Marina Abramovic is at work on a new multidisciplinary arts venue, opening next year. Nowhere is Hudson’s infusion of creativity more palpable than on Warren Street, the lively main drag that runs the length of the neatly gridded town. Inside its parade of colourful townhouses are an array of indie boutiques, galleries and antique dealers – 70 and counting – their wares spanning the centuries: from an ornate 19th-century opium bed to ’50s shop signs and milk bottles. Cafés with pavement tables are full of people drinking coffee and chatting, while reggae drifts from the open doors of a record store. ‘Shop Local’


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Warren Street’s colourful façades house offbeat shops such as Behida Dolić Millinery. LEFT Antique milk bottles for sale

demands one business’s chalkboard sign; here, it’s impossible not to. The phrase could be the unofficial slogan of the Hudson River Exchange, a buntingstrung shop midway along Warren Street selling work from a rotating selection of upstate artists. Forget-me-not-blue bowls, hand-printed notelets and asymmetric dresses are among the items on sale today. Tucked behind the shop, opposite a tiny room overflowing with boldly patterned second-hand clothes, is the studio of jeweller Russell Jones. ‘Hudson’s perfect’, he says emphatically as he carefully cuts a length of silver wire, his tiny eye-glasses giving him the look of a madcap inventor. His worktable is strewn with scattered gems and wispy curls of metal, the raw materials of his elegant, nature-inspired pieces. After nearly a decade living on a boat in Brooklyn, Russell came to Hudson two years ago feeling he’d be more at home among its jewellers and designers. ‘It’s a really nice community of people who make things, and recognise quality,’ he says. ‘There’s lots of opportunity here.’ Warren Street’s shops attest to the unconventional craftspeople who’ve made

their mark in Hudson, whether with handloomed batik fabric, ’40s-inspired hats, or the outlandish offerings of Flowerkraut. Founded last year by a Scottish flower designer, it displays a bizarre trio of goods: plant pots full of the season’s blooms hang from the walls and ceiling, shelves display artisanal ceramic pots, soap and stationery,

and in the corner is a fridge packed with jars of sauerkraut. In most places a flowers-andfermented-cabbage shop might raise an eyebrow or two, but not here in Hudson. Drive south along the Taconic State Parkway to New York City, passing through the Bronx and Queens to Brooklyn on a journey of 2½ hours.

Essentials Inside a handsome old boarding house, WM Farmer and Sons is a welcoming hotel with beautifully designed suites full of antique and vintage pieces. Hand-picked by the chef-and-designer owners on their travels, these include items like weathered wooden chests and historic maps. Downstairs, there’s a coffee shop selling pastries in an evocative timbered space, and a bar-room offering craft cocktails (from US$148; wmfarmerandsons.com). For details of upcoming exhibitions and events at 46 Green St Studios and Basilica Hudson, see 46greenstreetstudios.com and basilicahudson.com. Follow progress on the future Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) at mai-hudson.org. See more of Hudson’s antique shops and boutiques at gotohudson.net, and find info about the Hudson River Exchange, Russell Jones Jewelry and Flowerkraut Hudson at hudsonriverexchange.com; russelljonesjewelry.com; flowerkrauthudson.com.

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The Hudson River Exchange sells locally made goods. BELOW LEFT The entrance to the Ecosystem boutique


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4. Brooklyn Nearly a century since Prohibition, one Big Apple borough is toasting a new era of spirit-making and creative drinking

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Manhattan Bridge seen from Washington Street in Brooklyn. BELOW Leyenda’s Tia Mia mixes mezcal, rum and orange curaçao

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OPEFUL NEWCOMERS to New York City may not have found streets paved with gold, but in the 1860s they might have seen them stream with whiskey. Back then, Brooklyn was a hotbed of illicit liquor production: its gangs prospered despite the efforts of the army, who’d march in and smash up their stills, pouring barrels onto the cobblestones. It wasn’t until the start of Prohibition in the 1920s, however, that the state called time on Brooklyn’s spirited tradition. Now, inspired by the past, drink-loving entrepreneurs are bringing liquor-making back to the borough. Heading up this revival is Kings County Distillery, the first local whiskey producer since Prohibition. Its founders began with moonshine, testing their (initially horrible) creations on friends; five years on, they’re based at the Brooklyn Navy Yard – the grand brick building once housed soldiers tasked with rooting out bootleg booze-sellers, but now whiskey is distilled here using organic New York State corn. It’s stored upstairs in the ageing room, where light streams through tall windows onto rows of labelled oak barrels. Next door, a tasting room offers samples of the final products: smoky, spicenoted bourbon; a cacao-infused mix; and the original moonshine, now much improved. In nearby East Williamsburg, Brooklyn native Bridget Firtle is championing another drink. ‘Rum was the country’s first spirit, and most Americans don’t know that,’ she says, pouring a shot at the Daq Shaq bar inside her distillery. ‘We drank so much of it in the colonial era, it became a huge part of society, trade and culture.’ The first American distillery on record – in 1660s Staten Island – made rum, but the drink eventually fell out of favour to whiskey. In 2011, Bridget began renovating an old furniture factory. ‘I wanted to bring rum distilling back to my hometown,’ she says. Now, it’s The Noble Experiment, a distillerybar with high timber ceilings and a counter stacked with ’20s-style bottles of Bridget’s white rum, Owney’s. Both distillery and rum pay homage to Prohibition: The Noble Experiment was the government’s nickname for it, while Owen ‘Owney’ Madden was a notorious gangster who made a fortune as a rum-runner and speakeasy magnate, and survived being shot 11 times by rivals. ‘He’s the most badass boss you’ve never heard of,’ says Bridget. ‘He really strikes a chord with me.’ Rum, smuggled in from the Caribbean, saw a resurgence during Prohibition, and this

history piqued Bridget’s interest. ‘I grew up in a house with an old speakeasy in the basement, and hung out on a beach where a ton of rum was run in.’ Prohibition liquor was also of famously poor quality, and here, happily, the Daq Shaq breaks with history. Over in the Cobble Hill neighbourhood, Latin American-inspired Leyenda instead pays tribute to the borough’s present. ‘Lots of Brooklyn is very much Latin – whether Mexican, Dominican or Puerto Rican,’ says co-founder Ivy Mix as she gives a cocktail a musical shake. ‘We’re representing and celebrating that part of the world’. With her surname, Ivy has always been destined for a life behind the bar. Recently awarded Best American Bartender at the Spirited Awards (mixology’s Oscars), she cut her teeth a decade ago while living in Guatemala. Leyenda is Latin in both drinks and décor, its bar crowded with spirits like Brazilian cachaça and mezcal from Oaxaca, arranged in colourful Guatemalan cabinets built to hold images of saints. And there’s an almost religious devotion to the art of cocktails: votive candles flicker in alcoves and reflect off a tin ceiling embossed with crosses, while drinkers squeeze into old church pews. It’s a far cry from the spit-andsawdust bars of ’20s Brooklyn. ‘There’s a new level of refinement in food and drink here,’ says Ivy as she adds a magenta orchid to a drink the colour of sunset. ‘The bar’s been raised.’ Strike east along the coast, following the Long Island Expressway (I-495) for 2–3 hours to reach the dunes and golden beaches of the Hamptons.

Essentials

In Midtown Manhattan, a short metro trip from Brooklyn, Park South has a rooftop bar overlooking the Chrysler Building and the city skyline. Elegant, Art Deco-inspired rooms have big windows (from US$225; parksouthhotel.com). Join tours including tastings at Kings County Distillery (US$14; kingscountydistillery.com) and The Noble Experiment (US$9, or free with a drink purchase at Daq Shaq; tnenyc.com). Cocktails at Leyenda start at US$9.25 (leyendabk.com).


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Ivy Mix bartended across Latin America and at New York’s prestigious Clover Club before opening Leyenda, where each cocktail on the ever-changing menu is a unique creation JANUARY 2017

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Montauk Point Lighthouse stands at Long Island’s windy eastern tip. LEFT Lobster roll and local ale at the Clam Bar near Montauk. FAR LEFT Alexandra Ali prepares her boat.

5. The Hamptons A summer playground for New York’s rich and famous at the tip of Long Island, the Hamptons still offer glimpses of the area’s turbulent maritime past

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RE SNUG AND WELL stowed, like a seaman’s abode, lies a village o’ three thousand people,’ begins an anonymous 19th-century poem about Sag Harbor, and the lines still ring true today. American flags flutter lazily on the town’s main street as visitors window-shop in the sun and yachts bob gently in the harbour. A well-to-do to air hangs like heady perfume over Sag Harbor, as over all the communities that comprise the Hamptons – the most upscale of New York seaside getaways. The eastern tip of Long Island can feel like an I-spy of celebrity mansions, see-and-beseen bars and boat shoes. Even in less ostentatious corners, the atmosphere is one of untroubled leisure. At East Hampton’s Main Beach, couples amble with their dogs along golden, dune-fringed sands, while children fly kites on salty breezes. Nearby, holiday-makers stop by gourmet ice-cream vans and seafood shacks serving lemondrizzled lobster rolls under bright parasols. Life in the Hamptons may be laid-back, but this was once the frontline of maritime America. Early 19th-century Sag Harbor was a prosperous whaling port, whose crews embarked on perilous journeys in search of the creatures that could provide them with valuable lamp oil. Often at sea for years at a time, the men faced a dangerous life, from unfurling sails while balanced on a rope 20 metres up, to harpooning whales as heavy as 80 tonnes – a break-neck pursuit over the water, known as a Nantucket sleighride. Whaling declined after 1850, but the ocean loomed as large as ever in the Hamptons, 54

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a string of fishing communities that knew intimately the fruits and the fears of life on the Atlantic. Despite lighthouses standing sentinel along the coast, they saw merchant ships wrecked offshore, lost in storms or fog. Today, this dramatic past is mostly just hinted at, in gift shops full of nautical stripes and whale-shaped souvenirs. Real relics do remain, like the ship-owners’ lavish homes, yet Hamptons visitors today don’t all need a mega-yacht-sized income to take to the seas. At Montauk, where imperious seagulls watch over jetties heaped with nets and lobster pots, Alexandra and Darius Ali take landlubbers out to learn the ropes (literally). ‘See that powerboat? It’s probably going somewhere special. But on a sailboat you’re already there,’ says Alexandra, co-founder of Sail Montauk, as she guides a little red craft out of the harbour while Beyond the Sea plays from a speaker. Out on the water, the boat moves smoothly, a gentle wind ruffling the flags strung from its rigging. Nearby, a cormorant emerges from the water, neck curved like a question mark, before darting back down. With easy familiarity, Alexandra adjusts the tiller and tightens the mainsail’s ropes, steering a course beside the beaches of the Hamptons’ north coast. As easy-going as her playlist, Alexandra worked crewing in the Caribbean, where she met New Yorker Darius; now they live in an old fisherman’s cottage in Montauk for half the year. ‘Montauk is a great place to learn how to sail,’ she says. ‘It has a good wind, and all these little crannies where there’s no development – we see lots of wildlife.’ Though whales are still few, she sees huge

pods of dolphins and schools of fish. ‘I love how peaceful it is – it’s like you’re the only person out here,’ she says. ‘I see the sunset every day, and it’s never the same.’ This evening’s is a sailor’s delight of red, rose and purple, the low sun turning cresting waves into liquid gold. As Alexandra steers back towards harbour, she gazes to the horizon, as bright and beckoning as it might have looked to the seafarers of centuries past.

Essentials

The eco-friendly Forever Bungalows in Sag Harbor is a laid-back alternative to the glitz of the Hamptons. Colourful rooms have quirky touches like bathroom tiles made from recycled glass. It also provides otherwise-pricey beach parking permits (from US$150; foreverbungalows.com). Sail Montauk offers private trips and lessons (trips from US$92pp, minimum two people; May–Sep; sailmontauk.com). Learn more about local maritime history at sagharborwhaling museum.org and montauklighthouse.com.

SOPHIE MCGRATH is editorial assistant at Lonely Planet Traveller. This trip gave her a new love of canoeing (and Dunkin’ Donuts).


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N E W YO R K S TAT E

Voyagers watch the sun set on a Sail Montauk trip through waters rich with historic sights, from an island gifted by Charles I to an 18th-century wreck JANUARY 2017

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Strike out across the planet in the coming year for pink sand beaches, underground trampoline parks, solar eclipses and much, much more

Glacial runoff colours the waters of Peyto Lake an icy blue, in western Canada’s Banff National Park 56

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» DON’T MISS The best way to experience Canada’s wilderness is via its impressive national parks system. (Banff National Park is pictured here.) Admission to all 47 parks is free in 2017.

CANADA Bolstered by the wave of positivity unleashed by its energetic new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and with dynamic cities that dominate global livability indexes – plus its reputation for inclusiveness and impeccable politeness – the world’s second-largest country will usher in its sesquicentennial in 2017 in rollicking good health. Marking 150 years since confederation, the birthday party promises to be heavy on bonhomie and highly welcoming to international gate-crashers. The weak Canadian dollar means visitors should have plenty of pocket money to spend on Canada’s exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine.

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» DON’T MISS Wander the walled Old Town of Cartagena, with its sunsoaked streets, Spanish-built churches and bougainvilleadraped courtyards.

Decades of civil war and violent crime meant Colombian passport stamps were once for hardcore travellers only. Fast-forward to the present day, and the lost years seem but a dust speck in Colombia’s rear-view mirror. There are no world wonders here, but the country’s mix of vibrant culture, nature and hospitality is a rich tapestry woven by welcoming arms. More than a decade into its dramatic about-face, this South American jewel is even expecting a visit from the world’s No. 1 Catholic. When Pope Francis kisses Colombian soil in 2017, it will mark the Andean nation’s first papal visit in 30 years.

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» DON’T MISS The Finnish summer brings a bonanza of the world’s tastiest blueberries, cranberries, wild strawberries and highly prized cloudberries.

‘Forwardthinking cities and vast unspoilt forests and lakeland – Finland enriches the soul.’

Blueberry-picking in Finland. ABOVE RIGHT The historic church of San Pedro Claver in Cartagena, Colombia. BELOW RIGHT A beach near Portsmouth, Dominica

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» DON’T MISS Feel the mist from a pounding waterfall on a rainforest walk along the 115-mile Waitukubuli Trail; each of its 14 segments is designed to be done in a day.

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Gemma Graham, Destination Editor, Northern Europe

DOMINICA Locals joke that if Christopher Columbus rose from the grave and returned to the Caribbean, Dominica is the only island he would still recognise. One glimpse of its prehistoric ferns and deserted shores, and you’ll see what they mean. For decades, an absence of shiny white beaches has helped keep at bay the resort development that has swept through other parts of the Caribbean. Coconut palms are the only skyscrapers you’ll see here. Visit before Dominica gets its first large-scale chain resorts in 2018, which will pave the way for a new era of tourism.

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FINLAND Long fought over by Russia and Sweden, Finland finally gained independence in 1917. The Finns will celebrate their centenary with gusto: expect everything from outdoor concerts and communal culinary experiences to sauna evenings and vintage travel poster exhibitions. There’s even a new national park: 27,000 acres around the village of Hossa, studded with pine forests and crisscrossed with rivers. With the country also playing host to the World Figure Skating Championships and the Nordic World Ski Championships in 2017, there’s never been a better time to discover Finland’s proudly unique culture and landscapes.

PHOTOGRAPHS: CULTURA/LAURIE CASTELLI/GETTY, SCOTT DUNN/GETTY IMAGES, JUSTIN FOULKES, ANTON JANKOVOY/GETTY IMAGES, WOLFGANG KAEHLER/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY, SITIKKA/GETTY IMAGES

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» DON'T MISS View the Himalayas from the rim of the Kathmandu Valley or see the mountain peaks up close and personal on treks to Annapurna, Kanchenjunga and Everest Base Camp.

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» DON’T MISS Bermuda’s pink-sand beaches – made from a mix of crushed coral, calcium carbonate and the shells of single-celled organisms called foraminifera – are a huge draw.

NEPAL Even natural disasters can’t keep Nepal down for long. The 2015 earthquakes caused devastation, but what is most striking from a traveller’s perspective is not how much was lost but how much remains. Landmark temples crumbled, but others came through with just the odd tile out of place, and whole swathes of the country escaped serious damage, including most of the popular hiking trails. Nepal has all the skills required to repair monuments and infrastructure, but what it does need is income. By visiting Nepal now and supporting local culture and people, you could help a nation rebuild and bounce back even stronger.

Nepal’s Himalayan terrain makes for exciting roads. BELOW Pink sand between the rocks at the edge of Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay

BERMUDA The British territory of Bermuda is often mistaken for a Caribbean island, and those in the know might not correct the misunderstanding, in order to keep the place to themselves a little longer. About 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina, Bermuda is a bit of Britain mixed with island flair. In June, Bermuda will host the America’s Cup, where the United States will defend its title. Temperate climates and favourable winds make Bermuda the perfect location for this historic sailing race – and for your next trip.

‘History, beaches, water sports – Bermuda wraps all your holiday dreams into a single package.’ Bailey Johnson, Destination Editor, Central America & Caribbean

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» DON’T MISS Giant wrestlers, thundering horses and sharp-shooting arches make Naadam festivals Mongolia’s most visually spectacular events.

MONGOLIA In 2017 Mongolia will raise the curtain on a brand-new capital-city airport, a state-ofthe-art facility that symbolises the rapid modernisation of this country of steppe nomads. Ulaanbaatar has been the biggest beneficiary of an economic boom – the capital’s transformed skyline bristles with glass and steel towers. At the centre of this development is a £380 million Shangri-La hotel complex, to be completed by 2017. Beyond the city lies Mongolia’s stunning and sparsely populated countryside. Lake Khövsgöl, known as the Blue Pearl of Asia, is an undoubted highlight. In 2015 the lake was connected to Ulaanbaatar by paved road, cutting driving time by 10 hours.

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The mid-17th-century Nizwa Fort stands at the heart of the city of the same name in Oman’s interior

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» DON’T MISS The rarely visited Musandam Peninsula is called the ‘Norway of Oman’ thanks to its khors (fjord-like inlets) that teem with marine life.

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OMAN Oman has been Arabia’s ace in the hole for a while, but with more flights than ever before and high-end hotels popping up, the sultanate looks ready to raise its game again. Luxury accommodation, including the award-winning duo of Six Senses on the remote Musandam Peninsula and Alila in Nizwa, has long had a foothold in Oman. Now, glitzy properties from Anantara, Kempinski and other luxury names are slated to open soon. The burst of construction doesn’t stop there, though: the £100 million Majarat Oman, a futuristic indoor theme park to the west of the capital Muscat, is scheduled to open in 2017.

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» DON’T MISS The ancient city of Bagan was a contemporary to Cambodia’s Angkor – come here to see temples poking out from the plains in every direction you look.

‘What curious traveller isn’t tempted by the chance to explore newly opened areas where few tourists have been?’

PHOTOGRAPHS: JUSTIN FOULKES, PHILIP LEE HARVEY, ANDREW MONTGOMERY

Laura Crawford, Destination Editor, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar & the Philippines

MYANMAR Change has been a long time coming in the nation also known as Burma, but the election of the first civilian government in half a century has all eyes on the future. No-one is pretending that all of Myanmar’s problems have gone away, but things are moving in the right direction, and Southeast Asia’s most secretive country is now poised to receive an influx of travellers. Visiting comes with challenges, but the reward is a window onto a vanishing Asia, where the difficulties of travel are part of the appeal. You’ll find a land with more stupas than office towers, where life moves to the timeless rhythms of chanting monks and monastery bells.

A worshipper by a church in Lalibela, Ethiopia. BELOW LEFT Temples eight or more centuries old are dotted across Bagan – an old capital of Myanmar

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» DON’T MISS Enjoy a multi-day hike through the heights of Ethiopia's Simien Mountains National Park, where you’ll walk amid hundred-strong troops of baboon-size grasseating gelada monkeys.

ETHIOPIA With its own calendar (where else can you get 13 months of sunshine?), timekeeping, script, language, cuisine, church and coffee, Ethiopia is as exotic as countries come. And whether you’re hiking through the Simien Mountains to see wildlife that roams nowhere else on Earth, climbing to a church carved into a remote cliff face in Tigray, or boating across the waters of Lake Tana to visit an age-old monastery, you’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape. In 2017, new airline links will make the country more accessible than ever; be one of the first to get on board. JANUARY 2017

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» DON’T MISS Unique to Choquequirao are the stone llama blanca (white llama) figures. The designs are inlaid into the lower terraces, forming a pattern of animals across the slopes.

Choquequirao, hidden across the deep Apurimac Valley, was the last Inca refuge from the Spanish conquistadors. There’s a growing traveller buzz to see it. A cable car will whir into life in 2017 (or possibly later; bureaucratic feet are dragging), gliding as many as 3,000 visitors a day to the ruins in just 15 minutes. Visit in the early days, or take the four-day trek in Inca footsteps, and have a taste of how Machu Picchu was before the crowds. You’ll encounter only a couple of visitors – plus the archaeologists who continue to peel back the jungle, which still cloaks two-thirds of the spectacular site.

Llamas are a mainstay of rural life in Peru and other Andean countries. BELOW RIGHT At 2,351m, Montanha do Pico is the highest point in the Azores

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» DON’T MISS Paddle Sete Ciades, São Miguel’s twin crater lakes; one is a deep blue, the other a brilliant turquoise.

‘For spectacular landscapes and chances to experience adventure without the crowds, there are few better places to go.’ Tom Stainer, Destination Editor, Iberian Peninsula & Turkey 62

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» DON’T MISS The Pouakai Crossing is a day hike sidling around Mount Taranaki volcano, with panoramic views.

TARANAKI, NEW ZEALAND The joke goes that most travellers who reach Taranaki have just taken a wrong turn, a gag backed by statistics showing that just two per cent of New Zealand’s international visitors venture out this way. But a new motto – ‘A Little Bit Out There’ – offsets the region’s remote location in the southwest corner of the North Island with a deliciously offbeat new gallery dedicated to effervescent kinetic artist, filmmaker, painter and poet Len Lye. In nearby Egmont National Park, meanwhile, a fantastic hiking trail is emerging from the shadows to challenge the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing as the country’s finest one-day walk.

THE AZORES, PORTUGAL Blending volcanic green landscapes and cool Iberian culture, the nine islands of the Azores offer easy access from North America and Europe without the abundance of travellers who have discovered Iceland as a cross-the-pond pit stop. The archipelago’s natural assets resemble an array of superlative sights pulled from other destinations: Hawaiian volcanoes, medieval Portuguese villages, gurgling Scandinavian hot springs, towering Irish cliffs and rugged Patagonian craters. But the secret won’t last: the Azores saw a 31 percent increase in tourism over the past year, so visit before things take off.

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PHOTOGRAPHS: ENRICO VILLA/500PX, VOLANTHEVIST/GETTY

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» DON’T MISS Blaenau Ffestiniog’s Llechwedd Slate Caverns has a new deep-mine tour into the Stygian depths of the Snowdonia region. The caverns are North Wales’s most popular attraction.

NORTH WALES, UNITED KINGDOM On the site of an aluminium factory in the Conwy Valley, Surf Snowdonia wave pool, featuring the longest man-made waves, is the most headlinestealing example of the region’s current reinvention. Meanwhile, Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry has the world’s fastest zip line, and Bounce Below offers giant trampolines in the caverns beneath the old slate-mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Capping things off, Snowdonia National Park has been named a ‘dark-sky reserve’ – telescopes out, people.

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AYSÉN, CHILE

PHOTOGRAPHS: CHERYL CHAN, PHILIP LEE HARVEY, KHOROSHKOV/GETTY, ALBERTO LOYO/GETTY IMAGES

» DON’T MISS Visit at least a couple of the 13 distinct wine-growing regions that help make South Australia responsible for nearly half of the continent’s total wine output.

Caves along General Carrera Lake, in southern Chile’s Aysén region. ABOVE Cliffs near Elliston in South Australia

Trampolining below ground at Snowdonia’s Bounce Below

» DON’T MISS The Calluqueo and San Rafael Glaciers are more accessible than ever thanks to newly developed tour routes. Visit these cities of blue ice before it’s too late.

Its climate may be hot, but South Australia offers the coolest mix of world-class wine country, abundant produce festivals, stark and stunning tracts of picturesque outback, and crowd-free beaches that could be the envy of the Caribbean. The Queen Mary 2 transatlantic ocean liner is putting South Australia on her travel list in 2017, choosing to dock not only in the state’s artistic capital, Adelaide, but also taking in the rustic charms of Kangaroo Island.

There’s only one road into the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia. If you follow its unpaved contours from start to finish, you’ll experience a kaleidoscopic journey where foggy fjords give way to brooding rainforests, bone-dry grasslands and powder-blue lagoons. Shaped by the forces of the Patagonian Ice Field, Aysén is an extreme landscape in constant flux. But with fresh routes to glaciers, a booming craft-beer scene in remote hamlets, and the massive new Parque Patagonia nature reserve, green-lit for national park status, Patagonia’s last frontier has never been such a delight to explore. JANUARY 2017

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Âť DON’T MISS Tumakohua Pass, off Fakarava atoll, has a fabulous array of ďŹ sh life –especially its concentration of grey sharks at incoming tide. Go nose to nose with them on a dive.

THE TUAMOTUS, FRENCH POLYNESIA Close your eyes, and imagine this: you land on a strip of coral, surrounding a glinting lagoon of every hue of blue from lapis lazuli to turquoise – a perfect ring of islets edged with sandbars and breeze-rufed coconut trees. Remember that tropical paradise that appears in countless advertisements? Here’s the real thing. As if that weren’t enough, the Tuamotu islands rank among the world’s best scuba diving destinations, and that reputation has never been so justiďŹ ed: the number of dive areas is growing, and Master Liveaboards is launching a new dive boat for the archipelago in 2017.

‘Divers adore the Tuamotus’ underwater PHQDJHULHRIGDUWLQJoVKVKDUNVDQGUD\V

Lauren Keith, Multi-region Destination Editor

Burps & Giggles in the Malaysian city of Ipoh. ABOVE RIGHT Cockspur Island Light, north of Georgia’s Tybee Island

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Âť DON’T MISS Cumberland Island is a slice of unspoiled paradise, with a mix of beaches, forests, marshes, mudats and tidal creeks. Stay the night if you can (the GreyďŹ eld Inn is a great option – also the only one).

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 DON’T MISS Ipoh’s signature dish ayam tague (chicken and bean sprouts) reigns supreme here. Locals love Restaurant Lou Wong for its version.

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PERAK, MALAYSIA Perak’s capital, Ipoh, is nurturing a bloom of vintage-style cafÊs and boutiques. The nucleus of this old-meets-new makeover is Kong Heng Block, surrounding the imaginative Sekeping Kong Heng hotel. Here, cheerful joints like Roquette CafÊ, Burps & Giggles and Bits & Bobs pull a vibrant crowd to shop, dawdle and slurp ais kepal (ice balls) in this historic neighbourhood. Meanwhile, guesthouse owners and tour guides on Pangkor Island are starting to lead sustainable nature walks and village tours. In this sunbather’s paradise, an emerging focus on wildlife is a breath of fresh, sea air.

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 DON’T MISS Nothing beats landing on Skellig Michael, the larger of the two Skellig Islands, and climbing the 600 treacherously steep stone steps to reach the chambers left by the monks.

COASTAL GEORGIA, UNITED STATES You’ve probably heard of Savannah – that Southern belle with a stellar restaurant scene and gorgeous 19th-century mansions framed by oaks dripping with Spanish moss. But most visitors never know what lies just beyond: a coastline with quirky towns, historic treasures and wilderness-covered islands. Hollywood has taken notice and started ďŹ lming major movies here, including the Baywatch reboot, due out in spring. If you’re seeking a coastal getaway of uncommon beauty without the crowds, go now.

THE SKELLIG RING, IRELAND A long time ago, far, far away‌ a small band of monks established a hidden base on a remote, wave-pounded hunk of rock rising out of the Atlantic like a giant triangle. With a setting like this, it’s no wonder the island, Skellig Michael, made the new Star Wars location list. To get to this far-ung isle, you’ll have to take a boat trip from the Skellig Ring in the west of County Kerry, perhaps Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline.


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» DON’T MISS The Gironde riverfront is Bordeaux’s new focal point. At its epicentre is the Miroir d’Eau, a vast reflecting pool; in summer, its picturesque, cooling mist is a magnet for Bordeaux’s citizens.

BORDEAUX, FRANCE They used to call her the ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ but – though she’s hit the snooze button a few times – Bordeaux is now wide awake and ready for action. The new LGV Sud-Ouest high-speed railway line, due for completion in mid-2017, connects the city with Europe’s high-speed train network and cuts travel time from Paris to just two hours. Its timing is perfect. The recently opened Cité du Vin continues the impressive redevelopment of the Garonne riverfront with a state-of-the-art winethemed experience, and the city’s gastronomic revolution keeps building on its own success.

Bordeaux’s Pont de Pierre opened in 1822. BELOW RIGHT Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

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» DON’T MISS To reach Table Mountain’s 1,000-metre-high plateau, you can ride the revolving cable car or hike up one of the many rewarding trails such as Skeleton Gorge.

‘At I Love My Laundry, one of many hybrid businesses in Cape Town, you can sip wine, eat Korean dumplings and shop for art – all during one spin cycle.’

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA Cape Town’s deceptively laidback folk have been working hard to add cultural and culinary cred to the Mother City’s famous natural charms, cementing its reputation as an African city with a global outlook. Local gastronomy is as impressive as the flattopped mass of Table Mountain, with historic wine estates in every direction, markets selling the fruits of the Cape’s fertile terrain, and inventive restaurants winning global plaudits. The art and design scene will be given a boost in September 2017 by the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the world’s largest museum of contemporary African art and a post-industrial architectural triumph occupying a centuryold grain silo.

PHOTOGRAPHS: JUSTIN FOULKES, RICHARD TAYLOR/4CORNERS

Matt Phillips, Destination Editor, Sub-Saharan Africa

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» DON’T MISS Save a day for the beaches. Whether you head to Venice to see street performers or to Santa Monica pier, you’ll see why the West Coast has become such a big draw.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA Despite its reputation as a land of celebrities, health fanatics and all-round superficiality, LA has been gaining steam as a cultural destination, and it’s more accessible than ever. The 2016 Metro expansion has made getting from Downtown to Santa Monica and everywhere in between much easier; city initiative Car Free L.A. helps tourists navigate without wheels; and almost 50 new hotels are in the works. This isn’t just a beach town, either; it’s also a commerce capital, where movie producers mingle over sashimi and kale salads. JANUARY 2017

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» DON’T MISS The secret to visiting the popular Maya site of Chichén Itzá, featuring astounding pre–Hispanic structures 75 miles east of Mérida, is getting there around 8am, before the crowds arrive.

Mérida’s cultural offering is like no other on the Yucatán Peninsula (sorry, Cancún, you’ve got pretty beaches, but party culture doesn’t count). On any given day you’ll find a dizzying array of live music, art shows and dance performances, and the booming culinary scene is hotter than a habanero pepper. Mérida has been designated the American Capital of Culture, meaning visitors can expect a colossal cultural extravaganza as organisers stage a series of large-scale events throughout 2017. And here’s the kicker: the beautiful town ranks among the safest places in Mexico nowadays.

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» DON’T MISS Crossing the over-water walkway past Lake Ohrid’s cliffs takes you from the old town to the small sandy cove of Kaneo, perhaps Ohrid’s most idyllic place.

‘A sense of spirituality permeates both the historic quarter and the sublime lake.’ Brana Vladisavljevic, Destination Editor, Southeastern & Eastern Europe

Fiesta time in Mérida. ABOVE RIGHT The church of St John at Kaneo overlooks Lake Ohrid

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» DON’T MISS The beating heart of Pistoia is Piazza della Sala, a market square since medieval times. Come evening, the piazza transforms into an outdoor lounge bar.

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PISTOIA, ITALY Pistoia is sometimes referred to as ‘little Florence’ for its concentration of art and architecture. But despite its charms, this Tuscan town sees just a fraction of Florence’s tourists. That’s set to change in 2017, when the city will take its turn as Italy’s Capital of Culture. Pistoia earned the title in recognition of its impressive cultural credentials and devotion to grassroots ideas and local entrepreneurship. The award offers the city a chance to showcase an alternative to Tuscany: one that eschews grand-slam sights in favour of small towns full of personality and dynamic, living culture.

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» DON’T MISS Join a tour at Seoul’s former royal Changdeokgung Palace for access to the ‘secret garden’ of Huwon.

OHRID, MACEDONIA Overlooking the extraordinarily blue waters of its eponymous lake, Ohrid enjoys a stunning position that is best viewed from a boat. From the water you’ll see the town’s terracotta roofs broken up by centuriesold church spires (the city claims to have once had 365) and overlooked by the turreted walls of Czar Samuel’s castle. Ohrid has transformed itself from Macedonia’s religious centre into a popular holiday focus, and its beaches are the best by far in this otherwise landlocked nation. However, a planned new lakeshore development will likely change this sleepy town forever, making now a great time to go.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA The Korean capital is striving to become a more attractive and user-friendly metropolis. Following successful projects such as the Cheonggyecheon, where an ageing and unsightly elevated highway was replaced with a park and waterway, the city will unveil in late 2017 the Seoul Skygarden. This time, the old highway in question – a 938-metrelong, 17-metre-tall overpass – will become the platform on which trees, shrubs and flowers will be planted to create an arboretum of local species.

PHOTOGRAPHS: CELIA HUECK/GETTY, AYHAN SÜLEYMAN/500PX

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» DON’T MISS Moscow’s revamped green spaces, Gorky Park and Hermitage Gardens, are now centres of urban life, with art exhibitions, music festivals, street food, dance classes and public bike paths.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA Russia may not have revealed all its plans for the centennial of the 1917 revolutions, but it’s clear that there will be radical changes in Moscow. The city will host football matches in the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, so the race is on to bring an inkling of the ultra-modern to a metropolis renowned for bombastic architecture. The upgraded Zhukovsky airport and a new metro line will mean an all-time high in connectivity, and Moscow will gain a blockbuster attraction in the Polytechnic Museum and Educational Centre, a science museum being relocated to a striking building in the Vorobyovy Gory hills.

‘Vast and venerable, Moscow is a city as layered as a Russian doll.’ Oliver Smith, Senior Features Writer

A distant Mount Hood towers over Portland. LEFT Sweet-toothed Lisboetas flock to the Confeitaria Nacional

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PHOTOGRAPHS: PATRICK CAMPBELL/500PX, MATT MUNRO

» DON’T MISS The Miradouro de Santa Catarina (a viewpoint in boho Santa Catarina) offers fantastic views of Lisbon. Reach it via the Elevador da Bica funicular.

LISBON, PORTUGAL It has sights, culture and cuisine, yet Lisbon is rarely mentioned alongside southern European heavyweights such as Barcelona and Rome. If this mystifying lack of recognition is what helps the Portuguese capital remain a bargain, long may it continue. If you need more persuasion, consider the museums: from Egyptian artefacts at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum to pop art at Berardo Collection Museum, Lisbon has plenty, and one devoted to Portugal’s Jewish history is coming to the Alfama district in 2017.

For more on the hottest destinations, trends and travel experiences, including further themed lists, see Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 book (US$14.99) and lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel.

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» DON’T MISS Portland is a city of gardens, most famously the International Rose Test Garden, which will celebrate its centennial in 2017.

PORTLAND, OREGON Portland is America’s city of the future: a friendly, sustainable and ethical place that values good living and leisure over acquisitiveness and ambition. Bisected by the Willamette River and surrounded by peaks, it is also a preternaturally attractive place. What better spot could there be for viewing one of nature’s great spectacles: the total solar eclipse on 21 August 2017. Although the eclipse will be partial in Portland, if you drive a few miles south into the Willamette Valley or hike up Mount Hood, 50 miles to the east, you’ll be cast in the moon’s deep umbra between 9.06am and 11.38am. JANUARY 2017

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The Photographer’s Story TO M M A C K I E

Iceland in winter I’ve been going to Iceland for the past five years. I usually spend a week or two there in February, shooting and leading photography workshops. In winter, the sun stays low toward the horizon and gives a beautiful light. Every time I go, I see something completely different, because the weather is so changeable, and the landscapes so unpredictable. In Iceland, the Earth is continually evolving, regenerating new land mass all the time – it’s unique. Outside Reykjavík, you enter a very rugged, desolate landscape, and what strikes me most is the lack of background noise – you can hear the birds flying overhead, the seals barking in the distance at a glacial lagoon. It’s as if sound comes alive. It can be challenging shooting here because you have to fight the elements – wind, rain, sea spray – but you can get some amazing images. It’s one of the most dramatic landscapes I’ve experienced, and one of the harshest as well. They go hand in hand, and that’s the beauty of Iceland. TOM MACKIE is an American landscape photographer based in the UK. For more of his photography, and details of his workshops, visit tommackie.com.

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T H E P H OTO G R A P H E R ’ S S TO RY This shot, which seems to show a face in the northern lights, was a pure fluke. I took it in a field in the village of Hali, just after dinner – for the northern lights to come so early in the evening, and at the base of mountains, was really unusual. When this image came up on my camera, I couldn’t believe that I was seeing a face; by the time I looked back up at the sky, it had gone.

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T H E P H OTO G R A P H E R ’ S S TO RY Here you can see Gulfoss, a huge series of waterfalls that cascade down into a gorge. It’s one of the biggest attractions in Iceland. To capture this shot I ventured to the upper end where there are tiny cascades, with ice grippers on my shoes as there was ice everywhere. When the water splashes it can freeze into unusal shapes – I liked the contrast between them and the flowing water.

MAKE IT HAPPEN Iceland remains mostly accessible (and is much cheaper) in the winter. Temperatures can be surprisingly mild, though the weather is unpredictable, and you should travel in late winter if you want more than a few hours’ daylight. Most of Iceland’s popular destinations are accessible year-round, including those featured here (Gullfoss is on the Golden Circle, while Vatnajökull and Hali, in southeast Iceland, are on the Ring Road); major roads remain open, though many interior routes require a 4x4. Tom Mackie’s week-long photography workshop visits places on the Ring Road – book far ahead as spots go quickly (tommackie. com – alternative destinations to Iceland are also offered). Icelandair’s six-day ‘Hidden Powers & Northern Lights Hunt’ package includes the Golden Circle, Vatnajökull and Reykjavík’s Blue Lagoon (from US$915 including flights; icelandair.co.uk). To get to Iceland, fly British Airways from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur to London Heathrow and then take Icelandair to Rejkjavik (from US$1,331; ba.com) .

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Extraordinary places to stay WORDS JOSMIN ONG

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The world’s best hotel bars factor in numerous elements, and it usually includes something bespoke for every traveller. These include swanky accommodation types, a distinctive façade and interior décor of the hotel and hotel bar, and most importantly sensational signature cocktails that will leave patrons coming back for more. While overindulging is often a sin, a little tipple once in awhile is perfect for unwinding and releasing stress. From incredible interior designs to glamorous and stylish settings, here is our roundup of the world’s best hotel bars. Cheers to a new year!

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London, United Kingdom

YOU OUGHT TO TRY THIS DRINK: Martinis were first invented in 1850s and have become a legend in alcoholic beverages. Today, to elevate the experience of a perfect martini, The Connaught Martini Trolley has been voted the world’s best martini experience with its quietly stirred concoction with extract choices of lavender, coriander, cardamom, ginger, grapefruit, vanilla and liquorice. This ceremonial element was created in reminiscence of the historical English hotel. Other exclusives include a handpicked selection of the world’s elite vintages, champagnes, wines, spirits and liqueurs. Champagne connoisseurs may also pick from 10 options that reflect the individuality and subtlety of the hotel such as the Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut. WHAT ARE THE ADDITIONAL DRAWS? English Cubist and Irish 1920s art inspired the design of the intimate 54-seater bar. Apart from

include Rock My World and Taragon Margarita (from The Rock Stars collection) and Rokatonic (Rock, Gin & Tonic collection). Perched atop a distinguishing rock formation along Jimbaran coast, Rock Bar Bali is world renowned for its unparalleled location showcasing the panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. As the sun sets and the seductive night crawls in, premier international DJs will heighten the experience from the custom DJ booth carved directly into the cliff face.

world-class cocktails, there are also Michelinstarred cuisines available within the establishment. If that is not enough, book yourself a pampering spa treatment at lush Aman Spa before residing within your classic elegant and contemporary room of choice. All beds are dressed in luxurious Italian linen with cashmere throws guaranteeing a good night’s rest. RATE: US$450++ per night the-connaught.co.uk

WHAT ARE THE ADDITIONAL DRAWS? Smart attire is compulsory to enter the venue, so you know you’ll be sitting with beautifully dressed travellers alongside the scenic viewpoint. Bali is also famed for its beaches and tropical climate, and keeping cool is as important with the constant summer heat. At Ayana, you can choose from 11 swimming pools and a ton of other facilities, activities and services for your personal pleasure.

2. AYANA RESORT AND SPA Bali, Indonesia

YOU OUGHT TO TRY THIS DRINK: Spa on the Rock, one of Rock Bar’s hot favourites made up of vodka, blackcurrant liqueur, blueberry, cranberry juice and brown sugar. This cocktail complements the colours of the exquisite setting sunset coast of Jimbaran. Other popular drinks of choice

RATE: US$245++ per night ayana.com/en/bali/ayana-resort-and-spa

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PHOTOGRAPHS: THE CONNAUGHT, AYANA RESORT

1. THE CONNAUGHT


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3. CHATEAU MARMONT HOTEL

Los Angeles, United States of America YOU OUGHT TO TRY THIS DRINK: A classic Sunset Sour will complete the old Hollywood vibe as you retreat to the opulent Bar Marmont. The Chateau Marmont is closely associated with glamour as plenty of celebrities have flocked in for decades, including Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Taylor, Lindsay Lohan, Mick Jagger and Kristen Stewart just to name a few. The cocktail menu is built on vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila and gin for an extensive list of quirky creations to match every discerning drinker. With a focus on a balanced palate, fresh local produce and

4. THE RITZ-CARLTON

simplistic yet flavourful share plates, Bar Marmont aims to heighten the gastronomic dining experience for every visitor. WHAT ARE THE ADDITIONAL DRAWS? Modelled after a French royal residence in Loire Valley, the castle is a hotel and residential choice for any travellers seeking a fine cocktail or a lust worthy encounter. Each of the 63 rooms, cottages and bungalows is a home in its own right and majority of it provides full kitchen, sitting areas, living rooms, formal dining halls, balconies and private terraces – perfect for hosting that impromptu boisterous party with its soundproof walls. RATE: US$450++ per night tchateaumarmont.com

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Moscow, Russia

YOU OUGHT TO TRY THIS DRINK: For an immersive Russian experience, try the Moscow Mule, made of Grey Goose vodka, ginger, lime juice and sugar or the Red Square, a blend of cîroc vodka, raspberries, rosemary, lemon juice and sugar – perfect for the sweet toothed. Award-winning O2 Lounge is a landmark rooftop restaurant and bar sitting proud and well The Ritz-Carlton Moscow, following a spectacular refurbishment in 2015. With unrivalled views over Red Square and the Kremlin, delectable delights such as gourmet Peruvian cuisine and the finest caviar paired with

PHOTOGRAPHS: CHATEAU MARMONT, THE RITZ CARLTON, THE CLUB

E X T R A O R D I N A RY P L A C E S T O S TAY


sophisticated house-mixed cocktails, there is nothing quite as spectacular as this. As with all things grandeur, there is a price to pay.

5. THE CLUB

WHAT ARE THE ADDITIONAL DRAWS? Situated right within the heart of Moscow city centre on Tverskaya Street, The Ritz-Carlton Moscow is a lavishly appointed base for visitors looking to explore the city’s abundant architectural, historical and cultural wonders. Alternatively, for travellers who wish to stay indoors, Ritz Kids will delight and engage children to interact with their surroundings in a fresh and exciting way while the adults rejuvenate within its classy spa retreat.

YOU OUGHT TO TRY THIS DRINK: It is quite hard to put a finger to a particular drink in B28 as it offers over 200 Scottish single malts and 30 rums from all over the region. If the shelves of rare single malt whiskies do not entice you, then maybe the wide variety of cocktails from the prohibition era made with premium ingredients will. Ask a local where one of the best speakeasy bars in Singapore is and you will probably get this place on the list. With a sophisticated lounge filled with leather armchairs, original jazz artworks hung off the wall and mahogany lockers exclusively for members to store their spirits – this is pretty much the best gentlemen’s

RATE: US$380++ per night ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/Europe/Moscow

Telok Ayer, Singapore

club you can find in town (don’t worry, there are plenty of women patrons too). WHAT ARE THE ADDITIONAL DRAWS? The Club is an affordable luxury boutique hotel housed in Singapore’s popular F&B spot – Ann Siang Hill. Expect to find masses of cafes, bars and restaurants tucked within this happening area. But if you wish to stay indoors, the noteworthy establishment is F&B-focused and provides the option of three restaurants along its 20 luxurious rooms in the 1900’s heritage building. The Disgruntled Brasserie is our personal favourite with modern European cuisines of Baked Miso Cod and Foie Gras Beef Burger. RATE: US$415++ per night theclub.com.sg

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JANUARY 2017

Mini Guides S I X T H E M E D G U I D E S T O TA K E O N T H E P E R F E C T S H O RT B R E A K

page 83

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From your magazine to your pocket…

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FOLD again to make a handy pocket-size guide.

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Northumberland’s windswept Embleton Bay, backed by sand dunes

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Castles ALNWICK CASTLE The imposing ancestral home of the Duke of Northumberland has changed little since the 14th century, making it a favourite with filmmakers (it starred as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films). The interior is extravagant, with a vast display of Italian paintings. The castle is set in parklands designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. (alnwickcastle. com; closed Nov–24 Mar; US$18).

MINI GUIDE

Scenic Northumberland Starkly beautiful, this is the wild heart of Northeast England, where desolate beaches frame a landscape dotted with dramatic fortress ruins and a brooding national park.

Coast

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FARNE ISLANDS This rocky archipelago is an important seabird sanctuary; during breeding season (May to July) you can see feeding chicks, including puffins, kittiwakes, Arctic terns, and cormorants, as well as some 6,000 grey seals. Dolphins and whales are also sometimes seen in the waters. A medieval chapel on Inner Farne commemorates St Cuthbert, a Christian missionary of the 7th century (nationaltrust.org.uk). Local boat tours run to the islands (from US$20; farneislands.com).

WARKWORTH CASTLE

This dramatic castle was built around an 11th-century Norman keep, and later played a key role in the border wars of the 13th and 14th centuries. It was restored in the 19th century by Lord Armstrong and is still home to the Armstrong family. Top billing goes to the neo-Gothic King’s Hall with leaded windows and hefty beams (bamburghcastle.com; 10am–5pm daily mid-Feb–Nov, 11am–4pm Sat & Sun Dec–mid-Feb; US$14).

Although today little more than a ruin, in its 14th-century heyday Warkworth Castle was a seat of great power as home of the Percy family. The castle, which lords over a cluster of houses around a loop in the River Coquet, features in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, and the film Elizabeth was shot here. Just upriver, Warkworth Hermitage is carved into the rock (www. english-heritage.org.uk; castle 10am–4pm Sat & Sun; US$7).

Inland

EMBLETON BAY A wide arc of sand, Embleton Bay stretches from Dunstanburgh past the endearing village of Embleton and curves in a broad vanilla-hued strand around to Low Newton-by-the-Sea, a whitewashed, National Trust-preserved village. Secreted behind the bay is Newton Pool Nature Reserve, an important spot for breeding and migrating birds such as black-headed gulls and grasshopper warblers.

BAMBURGH CASTLE

The impressive vaulted ceiling of King’s Hall at Bamburgh Castle

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HADRIAN’S WALL

The Farne Islands are home to a large colony of Atlantic grey seals

THE HOLY ISLAND OF LINDISFARNE There’s something almost other-worldly about this tiny, two-mile-square island. Connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway that only appears at low tide, it’s fiercely desolate and isolated. As you cross the empty flats it’s easy to imagine the marauding Vikings who repeatedly sacked the settlement of Lindisfarne between AD 793 and 875, after which the monks who resided here took the hint and left (holy-island.info).

This mammoth structure, built around 122–128 AD to separate the Romans from Scottish Pict tribesmen, cut a swathe across northern England for 73 miles from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, and would have included 16 forts, 80 milecastles and 160 turrets. Haltwhistle, Hexham and Corbridge make good bases for visiting the Unesco-listed ruins (visithadrianswall.co.uk).

Early morning mist and dew on a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall

KIELDER WATER AND FOREST PARK

NORTHUMBERLAND NATIONAL PARK

Kielder Water is Europe’s largest artificial lake and surrounding its 27-mile-long shoreline is England’s biggest forest, with 150 million spruce and pine trees. The park is great for kids, with climbing walls and zip wires, cycle trails for all abilities and dozens of forest walking trails from which explorers might spot badgers, roe deer, otters, shrews, red squirrels and birds of prey (visitkielder.com).

Although the park encompasses 405 square miles of natural wonderland, it is the country’s least populated national park. The finest sections of Hadrian’s Wall are on the park’s southern edge and the landscape is dotted with prehistoric remains and fortified houses – the peles (towers) were the only solid buildings built here until the 1700s (northumberland nationalpark.org.uk).

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MINI GUIDE Scenic Northumberland

LOCAL SNACKS FOR THE TRAIL

TRANSPORT

The sumptuous Bill Baggs Cape room at The Joiners Arms

crown.co.uk; from US$85). The characterful, individually styled rooms at Otterburn Castle are everything you’d expect from a plush country house hotel. The fortified building hugs the edge of Northumberland National Park (otterburncastle. com; Otterburn; from US$125). WHERE TO STAY A cross between a country inn Crown & Anchor is a locally and a sumptuous gentlemen’s run traditional pub-with-rooms on club, The Joiners Arms offers five Lindisfarne. Its four simple rooms boutique rooms with exposed(one dog-friendly) offer views of brick walls, rural views and rollthe castle, priory and church, and top baths, plus gastropub dining the bar serves good homemade (joiners-arms.com; Newton-bypub grub (holyisland the-Sea; from US$175). 84

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Sights

Sleeping

The know-how

Essentials Newcastle is the gateway city for Northumberland. KLM flies from both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with a stop in Amsterdam (from US$825; klm. com). Virgin Trains East Coast runs rail services from London King’s Cross to Scotland via Newcastle, Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick (from US$21; virgintrainseastcoast.com). Public transport around the region can be patchy, especially in remoter regions – see travelinenortheast. info. Northern Rail operates local train services from Newcastle heading west to Corbridge (US$8) and north to Alnmouth (US$13; northernrail.org).

Activities

Northumberland’s countryside can be isolated, so it’s worth stocking up on picnic supplies. OCorbridge Larder, close to Hadrian’s Wall, sells gourmet picnic items, including bread, cheeses, chutneys, cakes and wine (you can get hampers) as well as made-to-order sandwiches, pies and quiches (corbridgelarder.co. uk; 18 Hill St; sandwiches from US$5). OOpposite Hexham’s abbey, a colourful window display of breads, cheeses, olives, pâtés and cakes entice you in to Deli at Number 4. Or dine in on soups and sandwiches (deliatnumber4.co.uk; 4 Beaumont St; dishes from US$2.50). ORobson & Sons is a much-loved family-run smokehouse in the fishing village of Craster. It is famous for kippers and smoked salmon (kipper.co.uk; Haven Hill; kippers US$7.50/kg).

FURTHER READING Lonely Planet’s Great Britain (US$29.99) covers Newcastle and the Northeast and the chapter can be downloaded at lonelyplanet.com (US$4.95). Northumberland-walks.co.uk gives practical info on trails and absorbing photographic diaries. Glimpse the world of 8th-century monks from the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the world’s most celebrated and well-preserved medieval manuscripts, using the British Library’s online site (bl.uk/onlinegallery/ (bl sacredtexts/ s sa li lindisfarne html).

COMPILED BY LORNA PARKES, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM CATHERINE LE NEVEZ. PHOTOGRAPHS: LEE & JIMMY FISHER/EYE EM/GETTY, JUSTIN FOULKES, PARKERPHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY, RADIUS/SUPERSTOCK, WASHINGTON IMAGING/ALAMY

Beaches


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History and art MUSEUM OF EDINBURGH Behind the colourful façade of Huntly House, built in 1570, is a museum covering the city from its prehistory to the present. Exhibits include a copy of the National Covenant of 1638 and a feeding bowl that belonged to Greyfriars Bobby, the city’s most famous dog (edinburghmuseums.org.uk; 142 Canongate; 10am–5pm Mon–Sat, noon–5pm Sun in Aug only; free).

MINI GUIDE

Edinburgh museums Scotland’s capital has enough museums to crowd the Royal Mile, as well as a thousand years of fortune and glory tinged with ghoulish history to discover around town.

Quirky Edinburgh SCOTCH WHISKY EXPERIENCE

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Housed in a former school, this multimedia centre explains the making of whisky from barley to bottle in a series of exhibits and demonstrations that combine sight, sound and smell, including a collection of 3,384 bottles of Scotch (scotchwhiskyexperience. co.uk; 354 Castlehill; 10am–6pm Apr–Aug, to 5pm Sep–Mar; tour and tasting from US$18).

CAMERA OBSCURA Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura is a curious attraction from 1853 that uses lenses and mirrors to throw a live image of the city onto a large, white table. The accompanying commentary is entertaining and the whole experience has a quirky charm, complemented by an intriguing exhibition dedicated to illusions of all kinds. Stairs lead up through various displays to the Outlook Tower, for great views of the city (camera-obscura. co.uk; Castlehill; open daily, see website for seasonal hours; US$18).

SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

Raeburn’s most famous work at the Scottish National Gallery

CITY ART CENTRE

Scotland’s premier collection of art is housed in this imposing Neoclassical building. The galleries devoted to Scottish art include glowing portraits by Allan Ramsay, rural scenes by Sir David Wilkie and landscapes by William McTaggart. Look out for Henry Raeburn’s Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch (nationalgalleries.org; The Mound; 10am–5pm, to 7pm Thu; free).

The largest and most populist of Edinburgh’s smaller galleries, the CAC is home to the city’s collection of Scottish art, ranging from the 17th century to the 20th (including works by the Scottish Colourists), as well as many fine paintings, engravings and photographs showing views of Edinburgh at various stages of its history (edinburghmuseums. org.uk; 2 Market St; 10am–5pm Mon–Sat, noon–5pm Sun; free).

Royal sights

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EDINBURGH CASTLE

The Camera Obscura is housed in a Victorian-era rooftop chamber

SURGEON’S HALL MUSEUMS Inside a grand Ionic building from 1832, this trio of museums provides a fascinating look at anatomy, dentistry and surgery in Scotland from the 15th century – when barbers also performed bloodletting and amputations – to the present day. The highlight is the grisly exhibit on the 1820s Bodysnatchers Burke and Hare, which includes Burke’s death mask and a pocketbook bound in his skin (museum.rcsed.ac.uk; Nicolson St; 10am–5pm; US$7.50).

Watching over the city from its brooding black crags, Edinburgh Castle has served as both royal residence and military stronghold. It houses the Honours of Scotland (the country’s crown jewels) and every day except Sunday it echoes to the sound of the One O’Clock Gun, fired from the northwestern walls (edinburghcastle.gov.uk; Castlehill; 9.30am–6pm Apr–Sep, to 5pm Oct–Mar; US$20.35).

HOLYROOD PALACE At the eastern end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse (to give its full name) is the royal family’s official Scottish residence, but is more famous as the 1560s home of the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots. Tour highlights include portraits of monarchs in the Great Gallery, Mary’s bedchamber and the ruins of Holyrood Abbey next door (royalcollection.org.uk; Canongate; 9.30am–6pm Apr– Oct, to 4.30pm Nov–Mar; US$15).

The Royal Yacht Britannia was launched at Clydebank in 1953

ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA Since her last royal service in 1997, HMY Britannia has been moored permanently in the port of Leith. An audioguide tour through its 1950s-style interiors lifts the curtain on the everyday lives of the royals and gives an intriguing insight into the Queen’s private tastes (royalyachtbritannia.co.uk; Ocean Terminal, Leith; 9.30am–4.30pm Apr–Sep, to 4pm Oct, 10am–3.30pm Nov–Mar; US$18.50).

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MINI GUIDE Edinburgh museums

Edinburgh essentials TRANSPORT

WHERE TO STAY While its 27 bedrooms are contemporary in style, the public spaces at B+B Edinburgh are a Victorian extravaganza of carved oak, stained glass and elaborate fireplaces (bb-edinburgh.com; 86

The know-how WALKING TOURS

Edinburgh Waverley station has direct train services from across Scotland and as far south as Penzance. Its airport is seven miles west of the centre, with the most direct flights from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur on KLM via Amsterdam (from US$825; klm. com). Otherwise fly BA direct to London and take a long-distrance train to Edinburgh (additional 4½ hours; from US$80 rtn; virgintrainseastcoast.com). Cheap train tickets sell out fast so book as far ahead as possible. Edinburgh city centre is quite walkable, but there’s an extensive bus network (lothianbuses.com) and also a tram (edinburghtrams.com; bus and tram single tickets US$2).

JANUARY 2017

Wallace’s Arthouse is within the former Leith Assembly Rooms

3 Rothesay Terrace; from US$125). Wallace’s Arthouse is a Georgian flat in Leith offering bed and breakfast. The rooms are styled by former fashion designer Wallace, who is an unfailing source of local knowledge(wallace sarthousescotland.com; 41/4 Constitution St; from US$150). The Witchery is set in a 16th-century Old Town house in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. Its nine lavish Gothic-style suites are extravagantly furnished with tapestries and open fires (thewitchery.com; Castlehill, Royal Mile; from US$400).

Sleeping

Edinburgh is a favourite stomping ground for ghost tours (pictured below) as well as less supernatural jaunts: Cadies & Witchery Tours Leads a Murder & Mystery tour of the Old Town, famous for its ‘jumper-ooters’ – costumed actors who ‘jump oot’ when you least expect it (witcherytours.com; US$12). Edinburgh Literary Pub Tours An enlightening two-hour trawl through Edinburgh’s literary history – and its associated howfs (pubs) – in the entertaining company of Messrs Clart and McBrain (edinburghliterarypubtour. co.uk; US$15 online). Trainspotting Tours A tour of locations from Irvine Welsh’s notorious 1993 novel Trainspotting, delivered with wit and enthusiasm. Not suitable for kids (leithwalks. co.uk; occasional dates; from US$5).

FURTHER READING Lonely Planet’s Pocket Edinburgh (US$13.99) includes walking tours, day planners, reviews and neighbourhood maps for the city. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of Ian Rankin’s Scottish crime novel series, Rebus, set in and around Edinburgh – the latest instalment is Even Dogs in the Wild (US$10; Orion). The Scottish capital prides itself on its extensive roster of festivals – many of them in August, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: edinburghfestivalcity.com is a sophisticated portal covering them.

COMPILED BY LORNA PARKES, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM NEIL WILSON. PHOTOGRAPHS: CAMERA OBSCURA/ PHOTO TONY MARSH, GERAULT GREGORY/HEMIS.FR/GETTY, ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA/PHOTO MARC MILLAR PHOTOGRAPHY, MARTIN THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY, REVD DR ROBERT WALKER (1755-1808) SKATING ON DUDDINGSTON LOCH-ABOUT 1795-SIR HENRY RAEBURN/SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY/THE NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND

Sights


Fold 2 Views towards Lisbon’s historic centre and the National Pantheon

Sights MUSEU COLEÇÃO BERARDO Billionaire José Berardo’s collection of Abstract, Surrealist and Pop Art is a rocket ride through modern art, from greats such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Miró. The ultra-white, minimalist gallery is the star of the Centro Cultural de Belém; its temporary exhibitions are among Portugal’s best (museuberardo.pt; Praça do Império; 10am–7pm; free).

MINI GUIDE

Budget Lisbon Lisbon is a cinematically beautiful city of promenades, monumental squares, heady views and cobbled alleys made for strolling – happily, its appeal is wallet-friendly, too.

Activities

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WANDER ALFAMA’S BACKSTREETS Moorish history seeps through the backstreets of Alfama, Lisbon’s medina-like old town. It’s an enticing jumble of cobbled alleys and flowerdraped squares filled with flapping laundry and fado song, where steep stairways climb to castle- and river-facing miradouros (viewpoints). Spend some time wandering here and you’ll be rewarded with snapshots of daily life and will be privy to unexpected beauty and local banter.

MOSTEIRO DOS JERÓNIMOS

MUSEO NACIONAL DO AZULEJO

There’s nothing like the moment you step into this Unesco-listed monastery in Belém, which was commissioned by Manuel I to trumpet Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to India in 1498. The honey-stoned cloisters are dripping with organic detail in their delicate arches and columns wrapped with leaves and vines (www.mosteirojeronimos.pt; Praça do Império; closed Mon; US$9).

Azulejos (hand-painted tiles) are a calling card of Portuguese design dating back centuries, and Lisbon’s Museu Nacional do Azulejo does them justice. Housed in a 16th-century convent in the historic Alfama district, here you’ll find every kind, from early Ottoman geometry to Goan intricacies (museudoazulejo.pt; Rua Madre de Deus 4; closed Mon; US$5).

Eating & drinking

TRAM 28 This bright-yellow tram is like the full-scale version of a Hornby model and the perfect mode of transport for a tour of Lisbon. It’s a gloriously rickety, old-fashioned ride from Praça Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique. Expect moodlifting views and steep climbs. Use bom dias (good mornings) to bag a space by the window (US$3for a single trip or US$5.45 for a 24-hour pass, from metro stations).

A lobster-phone by Salvador Dalí at the Museu Coleção Berardo

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BONJARDIM

Tram 28 passes in front of the Sé cathedral in Lisbon’s old quarter

HANG OUT AT MIRADOURO DE SANTA CATARINA Lisbon is a roller coaster city of seven hills, which means knock-out viewpoints hidden around every corner. Our pick is the precipitous miradouro in Santa Catarina, where students bash out rhythms, pot-smoking hippies lounge, pram-wielding parents stroll and loved-up couples meet. The views are fantastic, stretching from the river to the Ponte 25 de Abril and Cristo Rei (Rua de Santa Catarina).

Try the real Nando’s at this no-frills joint near the Palácio Foz in Rossio, which serves juicy, spit-roast frango (chicken) with a brush of spicy piri-piri sauce and a mountain of fries. The décor is simple and the pavement terrace is elbow-to-elbow in summer, but it’s totally worth it (00 351 213 424 389; Travessa de Santo Antão 11; noon–11pm; roast chicken for two US$12).

POIS CAFÉ A laid-back vibe prevails at this fresh-food café in Alfama, close to the Sé (cathedral), where sofas encourage lingering breakfasts or lazy afternoons sipping coffee. Its changing menu includes creative salads, sandwiches and fresh juices, plus a delicious daily special of a soup, main and a drink for just US49 (poiscafe.com; Rua de São João da Praça 93; open daily until 11pm; mains from US$6).

Typically hearty lunch on offer at friendly and relaxed Pois Café

EL REI D’FRANGO You’ll feel stuffed after eating at this simple, local haunt in Baixa, where the chefs rustle up plates piled high with salmon and febras (sautéed pork strips) for pocket money. The menu is all about unpretentious, traditional Portuguese food, and the huge portions make this churrasqueira (grill house) a great deal (00 351 213 424 066; Calçada do Duque 5; noon–3.30pm and 7pm–10pm Mon–Sat; dishes from US$5.55).

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MINI GUIDE Budget Lisbon

Lisbon essentials

Eating

Sleeping

The know-how TIPS FOR A BARGAIN

TRANSPORT KLM flies one of the cheapest and most direct routes from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur with a stopover in Amsterdam (from US$792; klm. com). The quickest way to reach the centre is by metro (single US$1.25) or the AeroBus shuttle, which runs every until 11pm (US$3.20; yellowbustours.com). The AeroBus ticket gives free passage on the entire city bus network for the rest of the day. A taxi will cost you around US$15. Lisbon’s public transport network is cheap and efficient. Single tickets for the metro/bus/tram cost US$1.25/1.60/2.70. However, a 24-hour pass covers all three, as well as the funiculars (US$5.50).

WHERE TO STAY In a prime spot on the edge of Bairro Alto, Independente Suites & Terrace is stylish and has some Art Deco details. The hostel has a bar, two restaurants and a beer garden (theindependente.pt; Rua de São Pedro de Alcantara 81; 88

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The artful chill-out area at the Lisbon Lounge Hostel

from US$55). Lisbon Lounge Hostel in Baixa is ‘flashpacker’ territory; rooms are en suite and breakfast is free. Three-course dinners, bike hire, walking tours and DJ nights are all part of the experience (lisbonloungehostel.com; Rua de São Nicolau, 41; from US$65). The 11 rooms at Casa Amora are bright, elegantly furnished and uniquely designed. The hotel is in the peaceful neighbourhood of Amoreiras and there’s a garden patio where breakfast is served (casaamora.com; Rua João Penha 13; US$80).

Lisbon consistently ranks as one of the cheapest European capitals to visit, but every bit helps for a great-value trip: OSave your museum trips for Sunday morning, when many offer free entry. OCouvert (the bread, olives and other goodies brought to the restaurant table as appetisers) costs. You pay for what you eat, but it’s fine to send it away if you don’t want it. OSandemans offers fun, free, informative walking tours of downtown Lisbon at 11am and 2pm daily, from the monument on Praça Luís de Camões (newlisbontours.com). OThe Lisboa Card is excellent value, offering unlimited public transport, entry to museums ms and attractions, plus 50% discounts on tours and cruises (lisboacard.org; 24-/48-/72-hour cards cost US$20/35/40).

FURTHER READING Lonely Planet’s Pocket Lisbon (US$13.99) gives a good insight into the city, with more ideas and tips for seeing it on the cheap. Lisbonlux.com is a comprehensive online city guide with up-to-theminute reviews and news about new openings in the city. Crime writer Robert Wilson skillfully intertwines contemporary and WWIIera Lisbon in his awardwinning thriller, A Small D Death in L Lisbon (US$9; Harper H Collins).

COMPILED BY LORNA PARKES, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM REGIS ST LOUIS. PHOTOGRAPHS: ANDREA ARMELLIN/ SIME/4CORNERS, DANIEL VIÑÉ GARCIA/GETTY IMAGES, MIGUEL SOBREIRA/SUPERSTOCK

Activities


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Art GALLERIE DELL’ACCADEMIA

A corner of the Doge’s Palace overlooking the Venetian Lagoon

MINI GUIDE

Culture in Venice Venetians have been in love with art, music and theatre for centuries, and today Italy’s most watery city shouts its creativity and artistry from its opulent canalside rooftops.

Architecture

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DOGE’S PALACE The grand Gothic Palazzo Ducale was the official residence of the Doge (the mostly ceremonial leader of the Venetian Republic) and seat of the government until its end in 1797. On the first floor, roaring lions and world maps grace the walls of the Doge’s Apartments; from there, a golden staircase dripping with gilt stucco ascends to the lavish Grand Council Hall (palazzoducale.visitmuve.it; Piazzetta San Marco; 8.30am– 7pm, to 5.30pm Nov– Mar; combined ticket US$17).

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION The palatial canalside home of the eccentric American heiress Peggy Guggenheim now shows off her stockpile of Surrealist, Futurist and Abstract Expressionist art, with works by up to 200 artists, including Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Henry Moore, Giacometti, Salvador Dalí and her ex-husband Max Ernst (www. guggenheim-venice.it; 10am– 6pm Wed–Mon; Palazzo Venier dei Leoni; US$13.50).

Venice’s more modern side at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

PUNTA DELLA DOGANA Built in 1677, Venice’s old customs house has been transformed under architect Tadao Ando into a dramatic space to house works belonging to art collector François Pinault, as well as rotating exhibitions of contemporary art from some of the world’s most prolific and provocative creative minds (palazzograssi.it/museo/ punta-della-dogana; Dorsoduro 2; 10am–7pm Wed–Mon; US$13.50).

Performance

ST MARK’S BASILICA With its Byzantine domes and glittering mosaics, the Basilica di San Marco is an unforgettable sight. The current building dates to the 11th century and reflects Venice’s cosmopolitan image, with a Greek cross layout and walls clad in marbles imported from afar (basilicasanmarco.it; Piazza San Marco; 9.45am–5pm Mon–Sat, from 2pm Sun, closes 4pm Sun Nov–Easter; free).

Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Canaletto… all the great local masters are represented at this historic gallery. The old convent complex makes a fitting home for staggering works of Venetian art ranging from the 14th to the 18th centuries (gallerieaccademia.org; Campo della Carità 1050; 8.15am– 7.15pm, to 2pm Mon; US$10, first Sun of the month free).

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TEATRO LA FENICE

Cover up knees and shoulders to enter St Mark’s Basilica

SANTA MARIA DEI MIRACOLI This chapel was built around 1480 to house Niccolò di Pietro’s Madonna painting, which started miraculously weeping in its outdoor shrine. The lofty vaulted interior and domed apse seem effortless but they’re marvels of early Renaissance engineering, achieved without the Gothic gimmick of buttressing. Angels and mermaids are carved right into the railings of the chancel staircase (Campo dei Miracoli; 10am–5pm Mon–Sat; US$2.20).

When it opened in the late 18th century, La Fenice was the envy of Europe. Rossini and Bellini staged operas here, and Verdi premiered Rigoletto and La Traviata. Tragedy befell the opulent theatre in 1996 when it was destroyed by fire; it took a faithful reconstruction to resurrect it (teatrolafenice.it; Campo San Fantin; tours 9.30am– 6pm; theatre tours US$9, opera tickets from around US$25).

TEATRO GOLDONI Named after the great Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni, Venice’s main theatre has an impressive dramatic range that runs from comedy to Shakespearean tragedy (mostly in Italian), plus ballets and concerts. The stark post-WWII façade is dominated by huge bronze doors, but the theatre was first built in 1622, and its jewel-box interior seats just 800 (teatrostabileveneto.it; Calle del Teatro; tickets from around US$6).

A performance of the ballet La Bayadère at La Fenice

INTERPRETI VENEZIANI Once you’ve heard these classical musicians perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, it’ll forever remind you of summer storms erupting over the lagoon and snow-muffled footsteps hurrying over footbridges in winter’s-night intrigues. Concerts are staged in an atmospheric old church (interpretiveneziani.com; Chiesa San Vidal, Campiello di San Vidal; doors open 8.30pm; US$26).

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MINI GUIDE Culture in Venice

Venice essentials

Sleeping

The know-how LOCAL ARTISTRY

TRANSPORT Qatar Airways flies from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur via Doha to Venice Marco Polo airport, five miles from the city across its lagoon (from US$673; qatarairways.com). From Marco Polo, a ferry service (from $13.50; alilaguna.it) takes 45 to 80 minutes to reach most destinations in Venice. Buses (one-way S$7.40; atvo.it) depart from the airport every 30 minutes and take 20–30 minutes, traffic permitting. Venice’s main mode of public transport is the vaporetto (water bus). Single rides cost US$7 (actv. it); for frequent use, get a timed pass (one-day US$18, two days US$28, three days US$38).

Hotel Flora is hidden in Venetian style down a narrow backstreet

462; from US$92). Surrounded by glitzy San Marco neighbours, Hotel Flora is a classy, ivy-covered retreat with an enchanting courtyard garden. Rooms feature antique mirrors and fluffy duvets atop hand-carved beds (hotelflora.it; Calle Bergamaschi 2283a; from US$125). WHERE TO STAY For a luxurious stay in Venice, B&B Corte Vecchia is a stylish it has to be a palace. Hotel steal just, a stone’s throw from Palazzo Barbarigo has 18 plush Peggy Guggenheim Collection and rooms combining modern Accademia. The three rooms are all elegance and masquerade intrigue. simple yet understatedly cool, with Junior suites overlook the Grand contemporary and vintage objects Canal (palazzobarbarigo.com; Calle (cortevecchia.net; Rio Terà San Vio Corner 2765; from US$210). 90

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O Glass By the 15th century,

FURTHER READING

Venice was setting unrivalled glass-making standards. On the island of Murano, a 10-minute ferry ride from the city, you’ll find dozens of workshops and studios selling jewel-bright glass (pictured below) – some tacky, some exquisite. O Paper Traditional embossing and marbling techniques for bindings and endpapers have taken on modern lives: look out for paper-made handbags, lamps and even furniture. O Textiles Venice’s handmade lace graced the décolletage and ruffs of European aristocracy for centuries. On the colourful island village of Burano, a 50-minute ferry ride away, the Museo Del Merletto charts the rise and fall of the craft from the 16th to 20th centuries (museomerletto. visitmuve.it; closed Mon; US$5).

Lonely Planet’s Venice & the Veneto (US$21.99) is an in-depth guide to the lagoon city and its islands, while Pocket Venice (US$13.99) is ideal for weekenders. Listings site Venezia Da Vivere is useful for music performances and art openings in the city (veneziadavivere.com). An award-winning tale of Vivaldi’s Venice, Tiziano Scarpa’s 2009 book Stabat Mater is based on the true story of the composer’s orphan-girl orchestra (US$10; Serpent’s Tail).

COMPILED BY LORNA PARKES, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ALISON BING AND PAULA HARDY. PHOTOGRAPHS: © MICHELE CROSERA, © PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION VENICE PHOTO ANDREA SARTI/CAST1466, ALVARO LEIVA/ AGEFOTOSTOCK, STEPPENWOLF/ALAMY, JAN WLODARCZYK/4CORNERS

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Creole & Cajun UPPERLINE Owner JoAnn Clevenger loves her city – its art, architecture and cuisine – and Upperline reflects these passions in its menu. Dishes such as duck étouffée (a spicy Cajun stew) with corn bread and pepper jelly are classics prepared with a modern sensibility. The restaurant resides in a beautiful old house (upperline.com; 1413 Upperline St; 5.30pm–9.30pm Wed–Sun; mains from US$20).

The French Quarter is the historic heart of New Orleans

MINI GUIDE

Eating in New Orleans Tastes from Europe, Africa and the Americas blend into the Creole cuisine of Louisiana’s main city, joined by the down-home Cajun cooking of the surrounding marshlands.

Budget

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CAKE CAFÉ & BAKERY On weekend mornings the line is quite literally out the door at this café and bakery in the picturesque Creole quarter of Faubourg Marigny. The breakfast menu includes a roll call of Southern staples such as local catfish, boudin sausage and fried oysters and grits (seasonally available), while the bakery whips up sweet creations (take a look at the king cake!) and fresh bagels (nolacakes.com; 2440 Chartres St; 7am–3pm Wed– Mon; breakfast dishes from US$6.25).

CLANCY’S

ELIZABETH’S

This white-tablecloth restaurant embraces style, the good life and Creole cuisine with a chattering joie de vivre and top-notch service. Its specialities include fried oysters and brie, veal with crabmeat and béarnaise, and lobster and mushroom risotto. Try to reserve ahead, and dress up a little (clancysneworleans.com; 6100 Annunciation St; lunch Thu– Fri, dinner Mon–Sat; lunch mains from US$17, dinner mains from US$29).

Elizabeth’s is deceptively divey but it provides a quintessential New Orleans experience: smiling sass, weird artistic edges and overindulgence. Cajun-style brunch and breakfast are top draws, with dishes such as French toast and sinful praline bacon or a breakfast po’boy sandwich (elizabethsrestaurantnola.com; 601 Gallier St; 8am–2.30pm daily, 6pm–10pm Mon–Sat; breakfast po’boy US$8).

Pub Food

COOP’S PLACE Coop’s is an authentic Cajun dive in the French Quarter with an air of chaos and a reputation for surly staff but it’s worth it for the food: rabbit jambalaya and chicken with shrimp and tasso (smoked ham) in a cream sauce – there’s no such thing as ‘too heavy’ here. You have to be 21 or over to enter (coopsplace.net; 1109 Decatur St; 11am–late; mains from US$7.75).

Elizabeth’s is a friendly spot in the Bywater neighbourhood

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SYLVAIN

The Cake Café & Bakery’s king cakes, in Mardi Gras colours

WILLIE MAE’S SCOTCH HOUSE

The fried chicken at Willie Mae’s has been dubbed some of the best in the world by the revered James Beard Foundation. It’s a simple, atmospheric diner where the kids can get peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches while the adults munch on soul food. This place is all about the chicken, coated in the perfect blend of spices; try it with a classic side of butter beans (williemaesnola.com; 2401 Saint Ann St; 10am–5pm Mon–Sat; fried chicken & side US$11).

The focus at this rustic yet elegant gastropub is Southern haute cuisine and excellent cocktails, and its chefs are passionate about using local ingredients. Rich, refined and delicious dishes such as duck confit served on a bed of black-eyed peas are indicative of the gastronomic experience (sylvainnola.com; 625 Chartres St; 10.30am–2:30pm Fri–Sun, dinner daily; mains from US$14).

Evening outside on the patio at Nola Brewing’s tap room

MIMI’S IN THE MARIGNY

NOLA BREWING

Mimi’s is a late-night institution that draws neighbourhood crowds for Spanish tapas and beer. It’s attractively dishevelled with a house-party vibe and dim, brown lighting like a fantasy in sepia. The food is surprisingly gourmet, with dishes such as crab gazpacho, and mushroom and goat’s cheese empanadas (mimismarigny.com; 2601 Royal St; kitchen open 6pm–late; tapas from US$5).

It’s a bit of a meat-fest in Nola Brewing’s Uptown taproom, where the award-winning McClure’s BBQ has set up shop, serving pulled pork, burgers, brisket and ribs galore to soak up the two dozen craft beers on tap. Every Tuesday there’s a pop-up restaurant (11am–11pm) serving more refined small plates (nolabrewing.com; 3001 Tchoupitoulas St; 11am–11pm daily; burgers from US$8).

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MINI GUIDE Eating in New Orleans

New Orleans essentials TRANSPORT

The know-how MENU DECODER

Fly United Airlines; there's one stopover in San Francisco from Singapore, and two in Narita, Japan and Houston, Texas from Kuala Lumpur (from US$1,056; united.com). The Airport Shuttle links the airport to hotels in the downtown area (single S$20; airportshuttleneworleans.com) while a taxi costs US$30 for one or two passengers. Single trips on buses or streetcars (trams) cost $1.25 (exact change needed), plus 25¢ for transfers (norta.com). A Jazzy Pass gives you unlimited rides (one/three days US$3/9) and can be bought at local Walgreen’s. For a taxi, call United Cabs (unitedcabs.com).

Beignets Flash-fried puffy squares of dough, dusted liberally with powdered sugar. Boudin Spicy Cajun sausage made with pork and rice. Grits A thin, corn-based porridge similar to polenta, Southern-style breakfasts are usually served as a side. a highlight at La Belle Esplanade Gumbo A spicy, full-bodied soup or stew served over rice. Coastal 2216 Esplanade Ave; from US$170). gumbo teems with oysters, The French Quarter location jumbo shrimp and crabs, while and Creole ambience of Soniat prairie-bred Cajuns turn to their House are hard to beat. Some barnyards and smokehouses. rooms open onto a courtyard Jambalaya A mixed rice dish of with fountain and ferns, while fowl, shellfish or meat, with winding stairways lead to elegant, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper antique-filled quarters and seasonings (pictured). (soniathouse.com; 1133 Chartres Po’boy An overstuffed sandwich St; from US$235). served on local French bread WHERE TO STAY Audubon Cottages is a luxury and dripping with roast beef, There’s an Alice in Wonderland collection of suites set in restored fried shrimp and/or fried feel to La Belle Esplanade – a b&b French Quarter houses. Wroughtoysters. in the historic Tremé district. iron loungers frame a saltwater Snowball Furnishings in the five themed pool and the exposed-brick rooms Shaved ice in suites vary, but plush chairs and exude a period New Orleans a cup with claw-foot tubs are characteristic charm (auduboncottages.com; flavoured features (labelleesplanade.com; 509 Dauphine St; from US$305). syrup. 92

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Sleeping

FURTHER READING Lonely Planet New Orleans (US$19.99) is a comprehensive guide to this US city, while Pocket New Orleans (US$13.99) is ideal for short breaks. Find more restaurant reviews at bestofneworleans.com. Partly written after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Richard Campanella’s collection of essays and articles titled Bienville’s Dilemma shows how the geography, history and culture of New Orleans have helped to shape its present (US$23; University of Louisiana).

COMPILED BY LORNA PARKES, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM AMY C BALFOUR AND ADAM KARLIN. PHOTOGRAPHS: JORDAN BANKS/4CORNERS, JERRY MORAN NATIVE ORLEANIAN LLC, LAURI PATTERSON/GETTY

Eating


Fold 2 The vineyards of the Warwick Estate in Stellenbosch

Around Stellenbosch WARWICK ESTATE This family-run winery started life as an 18th-century farm and its bordeaux-blends are legendary. It offers an informative ‘Big Five’ wine safari (referring to grape varieties) through the vineyards, and picnics championing locally sourced produce, perfect for a lazy afternoon on Warwick’s lawns (warwickwine. com; R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts; tastings US$1.25, wine safari US$2.50).

HARTENBERG ESTATE

MINI GUIDE

South Africa’s Winelands Indomitable mountains provide a backdrop for vast wine estates in South Africa’s Winelands. There are over 200 historic vineyard estates to tour, all within a day’s drive of Cape Town.

Around Franschhoek GRANDE PROVENCE

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At the heart of this winery is a beautifully revamped, 18thcentury manor, home to a stylish restaurant and a gallery displaying contemporary South African art. There is a range of tasting options, including grape-juice tasting for the kids, and charming rooms. Franschhoek is a five-minute drive away (grandeprovence.co.za; R45, Main Rd; tastings from US$1.85, cellar tours US$1.25).

LEOPARD’S LEAP A more casual approach greets tasters at Leopard’s Leap, where the bright, modern, barn-like tasting room has comfy sofas strewn around and the lawns have a jungle gym for kids. Cooking classes are available once a month. The vineyard’s owners are passionate about the conservation of the Cape Mountain leopard, which roams these parts, and their work with a local trust is outlined through displays on the estate (leopardsleap.co.za; R45, Main Road; tastings from US$1.25).

Spier’s wine tasting bar, with its eye-catching chandelier

SPIER

Lounging picturesquely on the slopes of Bottelary Hills, Hartenberg is a pretty place to spend some time and produces award-winning reds, particularly shiraz. Bird-spotting, boules on the lawn, wetland walks and fireside lunches make visitors linger, too. Underground cellar tours can be arranged in advance (Mon–Fri) and there’s a play area for kids (hartenbergestate.com; M23, Bottelary Rd; tastings US$1.25).

A chandelier made of Spier wine bottles hangs above the bar at this estate, which has excellent shiraz, cabernet and red blends. But a visit here is less about wine and more about other activities on offer, such as bird of prey displays, Segway tours of the vineyard and a Saturday farmers’ market. In summer, the Spier Winelands Express train runs from Cape Town to the vineyard (spier.co.za; R310, off Annandale Rd; tastings US$1.85).

Around Paarl Valley

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SPICE ROUTE

A table set for lunch in the shade at La Motte wine estate

Resembling more of a village than a single wine estate, Spice Route is known for its complex red wines, particularly the flagship syrah. It has a lot else going on, such as glass-blowing demonstrations, a local artists’ studio, chocolatier, craft beer and biltong bar, and two restaurants. The estate has views over the Simonsberg Mountain range (spiceroute.co.za; Suid-AgterPaarl Rd; tastings from US$1.25).

GLEN CARLOU LA MOTTE This sprawling estate just west of Franschhoek has lots to keep visitors entertained, including a three-mile circular hiking trail, a sculpture amble and a history walk through the estate. La Motte’s shiraz is superb and its Pierneef à la Motte restaurant dabbles in wine-pairing lunches and dinners. The restaurant is named for South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef and a collection of his work is on show (la-motte.com; R45, Main Rd; closed Sun; tastings US$2.50).

Glen Carlou is a relatively young upstart compared with many other Wineland estates, but the wines are award-winning. The tasting room has a panoramic view of Tortoise Hill and Paarl Valley, there’s a contemporary art gallery and a wild garden bursting with indigenous flora. The estate is renowned for its bordeaux blend and sumptuous chardonnay (glencarlou.co.za; Simondium Rd, Klapmuts; tastings from US$1.25).

Decanting a fine bottle of red at the Spice Route winery

KWV EMPORIUM The bonus with KWV Emporium is that it’s just a short walk from Paarl’s train station so no restraint is needed at the tasting table. The estate has won awards for its fortified wines and innovative tasting pairings, including brandy and fudge, wine and nougat, and a combo that matches wines with biltong and nuts. There’s also a tea and chocolate pairing for nondrinkers (kwvwineemporium. co.za; Kohler St; tastings from US$2.50).

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MINI GUIDE South Africa’s Winelands Drinking

TRANSPORT

ADMIRING THE VINES

Cape Town is the gateway city for forays into South Africa’s Western Cape Winelands and Qatar Airways flies from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur via Doha (from US$743; qatarairways.com). Buses run from the airport into Cape Town every half hour (US$4.30 single). Frequent trains run from Cape Town to Stellenbosch in around an hour and to Paarl in 75 minutes (metrorail.co.za; US$1 single). There’s a tourist bus, the Baz Bus, which runs from Cape Town to Stellenbosch (bazbus. com; US$14). You’ll need to take a taxi from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek. Alternatively, hire a car at the airport (from US$12 per day; avis.com).

WHERE TO STAY With its elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture, Stellenbosch makes a good base for wine touring. Summerwood is a stately guesthouse by a nature reserve, with bright rooms and 94

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OIf you don’t want to drive,

Chamonix is situated high above the fertile Franschhoek valley

a pool (summerwood.co.za; 28 Jonkershoek Rd; from US$25). Chamonix is a wine estate in Franschhoek with a Cape Dutchstyle lodge, luxurious ‘bush’ forest suites as well as basic self-catering units. There’s also a private wildlife reserve and guests may spy zebra, ostrich, eland and springbok (chamonix.co.za; from US$55). Grand Roche is a divine Cape Dutch manor house in the shadow of Paarl Rock. Historic outhouses have been transformed into over 30 luxurious suites. Plus there’s a swimming pool and award-winning restaurant (granderoche.com; Plantasie St; from US$135).

and a tour group doesn’t appeal, try the Vine Hopper, a hop-on, hop-off service that visits 12 wineries in Stellenbosch (vinehopper.co.za; US$12 per day). OBikes ‘n Wines Tour is a highly recommended carbon-negative company that organises short cycle rides taking in a handful of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek wineries. Trips range from half a day to two days (bikesnwines. com; tours from US$30). OThe Franschhoek Wine Tram (pictured) is a fun alternative to the usual tour and uses a tram and open-sided bus to provide a hop-on, hop-off service. There are four routes to choose from (winetram.co.za; from US$11). OFor an unforgettable experience, take a hot-air balloon trip over the Winelands, departing from Paarl with Wineland Ballooning g (kapinfo.com; US$178).

FURTHER READING Lonely Planet’s Cape Town & the Garden Route (US$21.99) covers the Winelands – its Day Trips & Wineries chapter can be downloaded at lonelyplanet.com (US$4.95). Platter’s South African Wine Guide is the top annual guide to the nation’s wines, with tasting notes and ratings (wineonaplatter.com). To get to grips with wine tasting try Love Your Wine written by Cathy Marston (US$15.99; Bookstorm), who also runs a South Africa-based wine blog (cathymarston.co.za).

COMPILED BY NATALIE PARKES, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM LUCY CORNE

South Africa essentials

Sleeping


PRIZE DRAW

WIN a 2-night stay in Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong (2 sets to giveaway)

Cosmo Hotel Wan Chai Hong Kong is an exquisite boutique hotel in Hong Kong well situated amid the bustling and hustling city centres – Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, where guests can immerse themselves into both the local interests and the contemporary lifestyle in this vibrant city. The hotel is a mere 8-minute walk from Causeway Bay subway station with Times Square mega shopping mall nearby, making it one of the most convenient hotels in Wan Chai Hong Kong. * Terms & conditions apply

PRIZE DRAW ENTRY FORM COSMO HOTEL HONG KONG Promotion For your chance to win this fantastic prize, fill in your details and post this form to: Regent Media Pte Ltd, Lonely Planet Asia Jan 2017, 20 Bedok South Road Singapore 469277

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To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, simply answer and fill in your details on the entry form and send it to: Regent Media Pte Ltd, Lonely Planet Asia Jan 2017, 20 Bedok South Road Singapore 469277. Alternatively you can email to lpcontests@regentmedia.sg, titled Jan 2017 COSMO HOTEL HONG KONG Promotion with your full name, ID number, contact number and address. Competition closes 31 Jan 2017 at 11.59pm. Terms and conditions apply.

JANUARY 2017

95


Travel Quiz

What on Earth?

4

Château Frontenac is said to be the world’s most photographed hotel. Which country is it in?

3

Which city is the main home of Cantopop?

5

Which northern ry invented country ort’ of the ‘sport’ arrying? wife-carrying?

7

2

Whichisland African country, Which country – 50 50 years independent on years independent from 30 is the theSeptember, UK on 30 November main setting forflag, The No. – has this and1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Bridgetown as novels? its capital?

International Mountain Day is marked on 11 December. Excluding undersea peaks, which mountain range is the world’s longest?

6

Burgundy wine bottles traditionally have sloping shoulders. Which French city gives its name to this more rounded shape of bottle?

8

In which country do most of the world’s 22 million speakers of Amharic live? Its Ge’ez script is also used in Tigrinya and other local languages.

9

Which town links 30 November, Prince William and golf?

9) ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (NAMED AFTER THE SAINT WHOSE FEAST DAY IS 30 NOVEMBER, AND HOME TO PRINCE WILLIAM’S FORMER UNIVERSITY AND THE ROYAL AND ANCIENT GOLF CLUB). 1) THAILAND. 2) BARBADOS. 3) HONG KONG. 4) FINLAND. 5) THE ANDES. 6) BORDEAUX. 7) CANADA (QUÉBEC CITY). 8) ETHIOPIA.

YOU WANT ANSWERS? 96

JANUARY 2017

COMPILED BY RORY GOULDING. PHOTOGRAPHS: GNOMEANDI/GETTY IMAGES, MARK RUBENS/GETTY, ANDREW CHIN/GETTY IMAGES, TIMO HARTIKAINEN/REX/ SHUTTERSTOCK, BARTOSZ HADYNIAK/GETTY, JEAN DESY/GETTY, RWEISSWALK/ALAMY, DANNY MARTINDALE/GETTY

1

Lopburi town puts on a tropical fruit banquet for monkeys in late November. Which muchvisited Asian country is it in?



Lonely Planet Asia – January 2017