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erth coming of age

The City of Lights sheds its sleepy town image

TRAVEL GUIDE

Your essential travel companion

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EUROPE

Spending 48 hours in MACAU Finding a home away from home in VANCOUVER

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MICA (P) 071/02/2012 PPS 1694/07/2012(022779) ISSN 0219-8967

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CONTENTS

ON THE COVER: PERTH

68

THAILAND

THAILAND

R CITY REPORTE

Bangkok in a Heartbeat

B

angkok is a city of many contrasts. This is where you’ll find a vibrant metropolis with glitzy skyscrapers, mega malls popping up one after the other, and international hotel names jostling for space to build their properties. Then there’s the other end of the spectrum – bustling open-air street markets, narrow sois (alleyways) that may not be as clean as we like but probably our best bets for achingly delicious fare, and one

Asia’s very own ‘City of Angels’ is loud, colourful and delicious – just the way we like it.

city we know where shopping on a shoestring budget is entirely possible. Something new seems to be happening each time we return; the hardest decision to make would probably be trying to extend our stay, how many spa sessions we can squeeze in, and if we can possibly slot in five meals a day – oh and still make space for the splendid cocktails available at Bangkok’s premier nightlife area, Royal City Avenue.

60

image RENAISSANCE

words NATALIE JOY LEE

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76

DESTINATIONS

52 60 68 76

COVER FEATURE: PERTH

Perth Coming Of Age Riding high on a mining boom, Perth is shedding its sleepy town image and transforming into an emergent metropolis

erth pcoming

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

Riding high on a mining boom, Perth is shedding its sleepy town image and transforming into an emergent metropolis

of age

words JOYCE HUANG images WESTERN AUSTRALIA TOURISM & 123RF

ASIA: MACAU

48 Hours In Macau Two days is all it takes for Biju Sukumaran to find himself completely captivated by Macau’s unique culture CITY REPORTER: BANGKOK

Bangkok In A Heartbeat Asia’s very own ‘City of Angels’ is loud, colourful and delicious – just the way we like it

52 escape!

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INTERNATIONAL: VANCOUVER

Vancouver Love

Blessed with gorgeous weather, charming scenery, and pleasant food, Vancouver is home away from home for Singaporean Desiree Foo

68 52

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52


CONTENTS 32

88

48

REGULARS

20

Calendar

24

Directions

48

Globetrotters

84 88

Jot these exciting events into your vacation schedule

Eat, drink, shop and sleep at some of our favourite destinations

Denise Keller and George Young share their travel experiences WEEKEND

Splish Splash Enjoy a series of water slides at Waterbom Bali, where fun meets adventure ON THE ROAD

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94

Take Me Home, Country Roads Ireland’s relatively quiet rural roads make car rental an attractive proposition. It allows us to see the more remote areas of the country and to do so at our own pace

92

40

FREQUENT FLYER

102 106

The Guru

Turkish Tourism expert Ali Gulen tells us why Turkey is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill holiday destination

108

LUXE STAY

Scraping The Sky Luxury gets taken to new heights at The Ritz-Carlton’s stupendous Hong Kong property

Subscription Subscribe to escape! and win a fabulous gift JOURNAL

Central China Travel Expo One of China’s most important regional tourism festivals saw thousands of participating visitors and the potential of its ever-growing tourism market. PARTING SHOT

Hamburg, Germany


EDITOR’S NOTE

photography DEREK RODRIGUEZ

5/2010 BALI

If you look you will find it How long does it take to decide whether or not you like a new place? For me, it takes the exact period of time equal to finding a clean toilet. Our contributors this month have slightly different opinions. Biju Sukumaran says two days is all it took for him to be enamoured by the spirit of Macau (pg 60). Joyce Huang spent a little over a week in Perth and had a fabulous time getting drunk (pg 52). Desiree

6 escape!

Foo uprooted herself and Bubbles, her bulldog, to Vancouver to discover a pet-loving city (pg 76). The key to falling in love with a city, just like with a person, I think, is finding that one thing you like about it. A single positive experience outweighs a few minor flaws there might be, leaving you with that precious holiday buzz. Most cities have that one thing; it’s just a matter of unearthing it.

DEREK RODRIGUEZ Editor derek@regentmedia.sg


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escape! MICA (P) 071/02/2012, ISSN 0219-8967, PPS1694/07/2013 (023000), is published bi-monthly by Regent Media Pte Ltd. 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)

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Special Feature

Bouddhanath

GARUDA INDONESIA – BALI VILLA COLLECTION With these 3D2N packages in Bali villas from Garuda Indonesia, a luxurious retreat has never been so accessible

W

ith pristine beaches and a lively nightscene juxtaposed with a tangibly rich cultural heritage, Bali has emerged as a world class destination. Bali is synonymous for its values of romance and kinship and is

12 escape!

especially popular for honeymooners and close friends and family. With Garuda Indonesia’s Bali Villa Collection, holiday makers can get to enjoy the invigorating vibe of Bali and at the same time, indulge in the luxurious privacy of their

own home away from home. Located either in the trendy district of Seminyak or idyllic Ubud, these villas offer so much more than private pools and butlers that cater to your every whim and fancy; they offer an invitation to a world of bliss and calm.


Special Feature

SUN ISLAND BOUTIQUE VILLAS & SPA

BALI ISLAND VILLAS & SPA From S$728 Bali Island Villas’ self-contained luxury one bedroom villas have been recently renovated, with Jacuzzi tubs replacing the initial double bathtubs in the spacious and well appointed bathrooms. Each of these 10 villas have their own swimming pool and boast modern entertainment systems, landscaped tropical gardens, a private rooftop area, a state of the art kitchen and adjoining dining area complete with private chef (if desired) to indulge any culinary whims you might want to satisfy. The complete Bali Island Villas experience has to be topped off with a visit to the Taman Merah Spa, located nearby.

From S$708 Located right at the heart of the Seminyak area and within 15 minutes drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport, Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa proudly presents 23 lavish villas. All the villas are generously appointed with private plunge pools, separate bathtub and shower, a smart kitchenette, cable TV, free Wifi, IDD telephone, and coffee and tea making facilities. To ensure all guests are pampered to contentment, Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa offers a personalised butler service, a doctor on call at all times, an in-house café and bar serving mouth-watering food and drinks and the island spa, which promises to knead all troubles away.

THE KAYANA From S$838 The Kayana’s 24 villas are gracefully arranged on a peaceful pathway. The style is classy, modern and minimalist with geometric lines and artistic flair, cleverly blending chic sophistication with the traditions of Bali. Each villa, with its fresh contemporary decor, is designed to provide peace and privacy, while being equipped with everything that you will need for your comfort and convenience. Facilities at The Kayana include the tranquil Ayur Spa, where you can relax your mind, body and soul. Choose from a menu of traditional massage and indulgent body treatments, and be pampered into a state of lingering bliss.

THE KUNJA VILLAS AND SPA

THE ROYAL PITA MAHA

From S$828 The Kunja Villas and Spa in Seminyak specialises in one and three-bedroom retreats for honeymooners, couples and families. The Kunja offers an outstanding level of personalised service within each villa including a fibre optic fed internet connection, on-location in-villa dinning staff and private chef on call, and a vehicle to take you wherever you need to go. The Kunja Spa offers treatments by professionally trained staff either in the privacy of the villas or in The Spa. Massages and dody treatment programs provide therapeutic, relaxing and rejuvenating experiences using all-natural products.

From S$868 Nestled in Bali’s cultural heartland of Ubud, right at the side of the Ayung valley, is the Royal Pita Maha, a beautiful place to unwind in private with your beloved. Each luxurious villa has a private swimming pool and enclosed garden. It is fully equipped with air-conditioning, satellite TV, private bar and other modern conveniences. Every villa is meticulously crafted, to bring to mind the splendour and power of the ancient Balinese palaces, and to let the guests revel in the utmost comfort and visual serenity.

THE ONE BOUTIQUE VILLA From S$798 This all-villa property in Seminyak offers guests a breathtaking amount of space. Each open-plan villa flawlessly integrates the lush outside milieu with the inside decor. Traditional materials fashioned In modern designs are used throughout the compounds creating an environment that Is uniquely Bali. The One Boutique Villa comprises of one spacious two-bedroom villa and five one-bedroom villas, each appointed with a large central living area, private swimming pool with sundeck, full-service kitchen, en-suit bathrooms and a large tropical garden. All the bedrooms at The One are fully air-conditioned and feature king size beds, satellite television, walk-in closets, and safety deposit boxes.

For more information or to book your stay, call +65 6250 2888 or email sin-reservation@garudaindonesia.com.sg

escape! 13


CONTRIBUTORS BILLY CLARKE is a maverick freelance writer with a sadistic and somewhat compulsive passion for words. Although he was administered to writing rehab, this failed miserably for the word addict, and he has been out peddling his wares around Asia ever since. Based in Hong Kong for over 20 years, the freak can now be found selling his textual creations, and acting as the occasional hired goon, for travel outlets, design publications, in-flight magazines, lifestyle periodicals, websites and the South China Morning Post.

BIJU SUKUMARAN is an American freelance writer based in Xiamen, a tiny island off the coast of China in the Taiwan Strait. Formerly head writer of Xiamen Wave, focusing on travel, lifestyle, and culture in Fujian Province, he has continued to contribute to websites and magazines. Though his writing tends to focus on cultural juxtapositions in Central and East Asia, he has recently developed a keen interest in exploring his own roots in Texas and India.

DESIREE FOO a vegetable devouring oddball who plays her part in saving the environment. She hasn’t used a straw in years and carries utensils in her bag to reduce plastic waste. She also rather gets burnt than bleach corals with sun block. She is currently living in Vancouver with her dog Bubbles.

LEN RUTLEDGE has been travel writing for 40 years. During that time he has written thousands of newspaper articles, numerous magazine pieces, more than a thousand web reviews and around 25 travel guide books. Along the way he has started a newspaper, a travel magazine, a visitor and TV guide and completed a PhD in tourism. His travels have taken him to more than 100 countries and his writings have collected a PATA award, an ASEAN award, an IgoUgo Hall of Fame award and other recognition.

CURRENCY CONVERTER US (USD)

SINGAPORE (SGD)

MALAYSIA (RM)

EUROPE (EURO)

USD1

1.30

3.15

0.79

1,185

SGD1

0.78

2.46

0.62

RM1

0.31

0.40

PHILIPPINES (PHP)

CAMBODIA (KHR)

43.75

14 escape!

SOUTH KOREA HONG KONG (HKD) (WON)

AUSTRALIA (AUD)

THAILAND (THB)

7.76

1.02

43.75

927.04

6.07

0.79

24.00

0.25

375.66

2.45

0.32

10.03

CHINA (CNY)

INDIA (INR)

INDONESIA (IDR)

MYANMAR (MMK)

JAPAN (YEN)

VIETNAM (VND)

4,047

6.34

55.34

9,319

840

79.64

20,820

USD1

34.22

3,165.38

4.95

43.29

7,259.66

656.97

62.28

16,283.57

SGD1

13.86

1,282.50

2.01

17.54

2,942.41

266.30

25.24

6,600.49

RM1


THIS MONTH, ESCAPE! GOES TO:

Ireland Starting from Dublin, traverse Ireland and Northern Ireland’s

Macau Have some egg tarts and hit the casinos

VANCOUVER, Canada A modern city with the wilderness in its backyard

BANGKOK, Thailand Shop till you drop, eat your fill, and then rinse and repeat BALI, Indonesia Make a splash at Bali’s wildest waterpark PERTH, Australia Talk a walk around the city and go bar-hopping

Chengdu

Wuhan Chongqing Kunming Changsha Xiamen

Kathmandu

Where are you going Click on  any  city  to with SilkAir this month? find  out  more

Hyderabad Bangalore Coimbatore Kochi

- Hyderabad Shenzhen Kolkata Hanoi Flight details: Daily flights departing Chiang Mai Singapore Pls refer to the following link for reference: Yangon Da  Nang http://www.silkair.com/mbe/en_UK/content/ Koh   S amui Siem  Reap Chennai destinations/in_hyderabad_orientate.jsp

Thiruvananthapuram

Phnom Penh

Phuket

Cebu

- Kochi

Langkawi Davao Flight details: Daily flights departing Kuala Lumpur Singapore Kota  Kinabalu Singapore Manado Pekanbaru - Thiruvananthapuram Kuching Flight details:ThriceBalikpapan weekly on Tuesdays, Palembang Penang Medan

Thursdays and Saturdays departing Singapore

Bandung

Solo

Surabaya Lombok

- Coimbatore Flight details: Thrice weekly on Wednesdays, Darwin Fridays and Sundays, departing Singapore For your  reference  only.  This  map  is  not  drawn  to  scale.

16 escape!


CONTEST HOW TO ENTER of about 500 Submit an ar ticle me “On board the the th wi s rd wo to Brunei es lin Air ei Royal Brun ”, detailing eo rn Bo Green Hear t of ct shor t rfe pe the is ei un why Br Singapore m fro n tio na holiday desti . es lin by Royal Brunei Air le, together with Send in your ar tic rticulars (name, your photo and pa mber, email nu e bil mo e, NRIC, ag address) to: TRAVEL WRITE I WANT TO BE A Ltd e Regent Media Pt ad Ro uth So k do 20 Be Singapore 469277

R

to: Or email your entry edia.sg marketing@regentm submission is The closing date for . 17 August 2012 idates will be The top three cand st 2012 and will gu Au chosen by 24 audition at the be invited to a brief . One winner ice off dia Regent Me d the two an d will then be picke ay with aw lk wa ll wi up srunner Royal m fro s ize consolation pr Brunei Airlines.

I WANT TO BE A TRAVEL WRITER This is travel writer? a g in be of mt Ever drea es is sending l Brunei Airlin ya Ro ! ce an ch your ip lly sponsored tr fu a on h it sm rd one budding wo iter’s Airlines. The wr ei un Br l ya Ro to Brunei on in escape! ll be published wi ip tr is th of account . et Magazine Asia and Lonely Plan

Sponsored by

www.bruneiair.com/singapore

Terms & Conditions nei with two return tickets to Bru • The winner will receive ided. accommodation prov to be in of the trip is expected • The exact date and time r. late lised fina be September and will an article with be required to submit • The prize winner will 2. 201 r obe Oct 1 by trip photos of the full usage al Brunei Airlines have • Regent Media and Roy , article for all advertising ed mitt sub the of ts righ es. PR and media purpos promotions, marketing, fied by post or email. • The winner will be noti

Official Magazines

www.bruneitourism.travel


DIRECTIONS

ÊUÊ  ,ÊUÊ*9ÊUÊ /ÊUÊ-"*ÊUÊ-/9ÊUÊ 7-Ê

1  You may know Dubai for its over-the-top architectures, myriad of shopping malls and flamboyant hotels, and its glitz and glamour lifestyle. Or you may draw memories from the action-packed movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, where Tom Cruise had so bravely glided along the glass windows of a towering building and drove precariously along the roads of Dubai in his flashy BMW concept car. words DARREN WONG

Despite the commercialism and western capitalism that have engulfed half the city, Dubai still upholds its heritage and nature dearly. Witness a different Dubai, where Emiratis take joy in their songs, dance and traditions during Ramadan. Sit by the waterway and watch the dhow (traditional wooden boat) traffic, or stroll through the multicultural Karama, a part of the older city that is full of soul and colours.

image SHUTTERSTOCK

escape! 19


CALENDAR

Now

to 31st OCT

THE WEDDING DRESS SINGAPORE: Head down to National Museum for a spectacular display of wedding dresses from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where celebrated designers like John Galliano, Vera Wang and Vivienne Westwood will showcase their masterpieces. www.nationalmuseum.sg

AUGUST Now

2

THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO EDINBURGH: The Scottish city

PURPLE SINGAPORE: Toy Factory

to 25th

will once again pay a spectacular tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Her Diamond Jubilee, with a 90-minute performance starring over 1,000 military and civilian performers, pipe bands and percussion groups. www.edintattoo.co.uk (tour packages: insightvacations.com)

20 escape!

nd to 18th

Production’s upcoming play, Purple, is a heartwarming tale inspired by a true story of a Singaporean transsexual, Maggie Lai. Directed by Rayann Condy, it will feature up-and-coming talents such as Shane Mardjuki and Rebecca Spykerman. www.toyfactory.com.sg/joolma

26

th to 27th

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL 2012 LONDON: One of the largest

27

th to 9th Sep

US OPEN 2012 NEW YORK: This international

street festivals in Europe that is to take place in West London, Notting Hill Carnival features 20 miles of vibrant colourful costumes, dancers, floats, parties, and hundreds of Caribbean food stalls.

tennis tournament will be held in Queens and will see some of the top tennis players competing for the championship title. Root for Novak Djokovic, previous US Open men’s champion, or cheer for your favourite tennis player.

www.thenottinghillcarnival.com

www.usopen.org


CALENDAR

1

1

18

OWARA KAZE-NO-BON FESTIVAL TOYAMA: The traditional

SINGAPORE NATIONAL GAMES SINGAPORE: Organised

PHOTOKINA COLOGNE: Photography

Japanese folk event is a celebration for protection against wind damage and for an abundant autumn harvest. See men and women parade down the streets playing musical instruments while others dance along to the rhyme in cotton summer kimono or short jackets and amigasa hats.

by the People’s Association, Singapore Sports Council and National Sports Association, this inaugural sporting event will see thousands participating to compete in various forms of sports, from athletic, badminton, basketball, bowling to dragon boat.

st to 3rd

st to 9th

th to 23rd

enthusiasts should take note of this biennial event where thousands come together to exchange expertise and exhibit their works. One of the world’s leading imaging fairs, this event will see representatives from major camera makers from Olympus to Pentax to Samsung. www.photokina.com

21

st to 23rd

2012 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX SINGAPORE: The annual Formula 1 Grand Prix night race returns this month for an exciting weekend of roaring cars, plus concerts by stellar artistes including the likes of Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Asian sensation Jay Chou. www.singaporegp.sg

www.singaporenationalgames.sg

22

th to 7th Oct

OKTOBERFEST 2012 MUNICH: Expect lots of beer, traditional costume parade, brass band concerts and numerous rides and performances during this major German festival. Originated from a wedding party thrown by King Joseph Maximilian to celebrate his marriage to Princess Theresa of Saxony, this tradition continues today. www.oktoberfest.de

words DARREN WONG

22 escape!

images: 123RF; KOELNMESSE; SINGAPORE GP; TOY FACTORY PRODUCTIONS; TOYAMA PREFECTURAL GOVERNMENT; VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM/V&A IMAGES

SEPTEMBER


DIRECTIONS PLAY

PAMPER YOURSELF IN ESPA words DEREK RODRIGUEZ & NATALIE JOY LEE

24 escape!

Sprawled across 10,000 square metres, ESPA is the largest luxury spa in Singapore and the luxury brand’s flagship in Asia. Designed for total relaxation and rejuvenation, the spa grounds is an oasis of calm – greenery aplenty, spacious treatment villas, onsen pools, a social relaxation room and even a sleep zone should you wish to take a snooze post-treatment. Offering body treatments, facials

and massages, a highlight is the Turkish Hammam: an age-old ritual of cleansing and purification in traditional heated Moroccan bathhouses. Our pick: the ‘Ultimate Hammam Ritual’ (120 mins; S$400). In the first hour, experience a scrub down using black olive soap, then a foam massage and nourishing body mask for soft silky skin. Then it’s another hour of rubdown, where

the masseur will customise your massage according to what your body needs – from the aromatherapy oil scent, sore areas that require more attention, skin sensitivity right down to music options. If you still have time, ESPA also has a gym, yoga studio, and the Tangerine Spa Café to laze the day away. Tel: 65 6577 8880 www.rwsentosa.com/ESPA


ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE NOW Bristol and Manchester become the centre of zombie virus outbreaks in September as 2.8 Hours Later, the epic real life zombie game hits the cities. The game sees players immerse themselves in a scenario of a city under siege from zombies. Armed with nothing but a map and a can-do attitude, players have to survive the onslaught

without being turned into the blood-thirsty undead themselves, and make their way to find Resistance HQ, the game climaxes in a zombie disco that goes on till late each night. The zombies first visit Bristol on 5-8 September and move onto Manchester on 26-29 September. 2.8hourslater.com

BOTANICA BAMBOO MASSAGE Spa Botanica has introduced a treatment that will be available from 1 August 2012 – the Botanica Bamboo Massage. The massage is a technique that incorporates bamboo canes of varying lengths and diameters to provide a deep tissue massage that is designed to improve blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and relieve muscle tension to provide a deep

sense of relaxation and well-being. A 60-minute Botanica Bamboo Massage is priced at S$180++ while the 90-minutes option is S$230++ (includes stretching). Both packages include complimentary use of the spa garden facilities which comprises float pools with cascading waterfall, mud pools and meditation labyrinths. www.spabotanica.sg

HALONG BAY ISSUES WHITE DECREE As Vietnam makes good on its selection as one of the world’s ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature,’ the authorities in the country’s premier tourist destination issued a whitewash decree in preparation for the summer cruising season: All tourist boats in the bay must be painted white. And all of those boats have complied, at least those now

ferrying tourists among the limestone-studded karsts. To wit, the Life Resorts: The resort management group launched a fleet of 22 traditional junks in 2011. The boats debuted in traditional colours, with brown wooden hulls and red-ribbed sails. In anticipation of the decree, the boats were hauled out of the water and painted white.

escape! 25


Special Feature

THE TRUSTED BAG

Decades of advancement and growth have made Eminent synonymous with sturdy and stylish luggage bags

F

ounded in 1979, Eminent has grown into one of the leading luggage brands in the world. Despite its strong reputation in the industry, the company, which is headquartered in Tainan, Taiwan, has not sat on its laurels and has continued to invest in research and development efforts in designing and manufacturing ABS, PP, PC, Nylon, and Polyester luggage and travel bags.

EMINENT 6054 Even though the company manufactures a broad range of products for travellers, it has recognised the growing demand for soft bags as more and more customers are looking for light and versatile luggage bags. The Eminent 6054, one of the company’s latest soft bags, has been conceptualised according to customers’ needs.

26 escape!

Made from 1680 Denier Nylon, the Eminent 6054 is strong and yet, lightweight. It has an in-built TSA combination lock, an aluminium retractable trolley system as well as a dual-rotary wheels system. It comes in three sizes in sleek white/purple or stylish

black/orange, with a complimentary luggage protector. Eminent bags are available at The Travel Store (Jurong Point, Marina Bay Sands, Plaza Singapura, Suntec City), Eminent (Funan DigitaLife Mall), and DICOTA (IMM Building).


DIRECTIONS SHOP

SUMMER GLAMOUR words DARREN WONG

28 escape!

The Ted Baker spring/summer 2012 collection embodies the true essence of sartorial elegance. The menswear symbolises a self-portrait, capturing all the elements of a gentleman’s personality. Through that is a series of shirts with vivid colours and details,

coupled with chinos in slim and classic fits that come in a rainbow of bright and earthy shades. For summer, try on the pastel and check chino shorts for maximum comfort. Ted Baker’s womenswear features defined waist, full skirts and cut away detailing. What’s

more attractive is its floral theme with laser cut appliqué and intricate floral cutwork, which adds interest to its dresses, tops and flirty shorts. Available at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.


CHIC BEATS Powering up the sound of your MP3 player is Sony MDR-V55, which features closed and dynamic sound quality and excellent sound isolation. The swivelling earcups is reversible and at the same time can be folded flat, saving storage space. The street-smart urban design is eye-catching as it boasts a range of colours from black, white, red to blue. It is also matched with the ring-style earpad colour accents that match its tangle-resistant cable. The great part of this headphone: it is chic enough to take you anywhere from being on the road to a cool party. Available at all Sony stores and Sony-authorised outlets.

DIGITAL INNOVATION

HYDRATING AID

TAB AWAY

THE MAN

Canon EOS 650D is the world’s first DSLR with a touch screen interface. Featuring a 3-inch 3:2 ratio Vari-angle Clear View LCD II screen, it enables users to pinch, zoom and swipe the images on screen. A wider ISO – 100 to 12800 (expandable to 25600) – allows sharper images in a wide variety of lighting conditions.

Bio-Oil minimises dehydration on the skin during air travel with vitamin A and E, which aids in skin’s elasticity, texture and tone. It also increases moisture content of the epidermis that makes the skin softer, and the rosemary oil eases puffiness around the eyes.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is an impressive tablet that features a host of Google applications such as the Android Market, Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Maps. It features the first super AMOLED screen, delivering brilliant colours and ultrasharpness. Weighing only 340g, it is as portable as a mobile phone.

Paul Smith Man 2 is an exciting fragrance with fruit notes of cardamom, mandarin and grapefruit accented with a twist of granny smith apple. Its heart notes consist of lavender and cashmere wood, giving it a playful yet smart scent.

Available at all Canon authorised dealers.

Available at Guardian, Watsons, Sasa, all major pharmacies and selected hospitals.

Available at all authorised retailers.

Available at Metro Paragon, Robinsons Centrepoint, TANGS Orchard and other major department stores.

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DIRECTIONS SHOP EYE RECHARGE Those who find sleeping on long or short haul flights a difficult task, will inevitably suffer from eye fatigue such as dark eye circles and puffiness under the eyes. With Biotherm High Recharge Eye Shot, such problems can be resolved in no time. The three powerful ingredients – caffeine, sericoside and manganese can successfully deflate eye bags, attenuate dark circles, refresh and hydrate eye contours. Its 24-hour moisturising effect leaves you looking fresh and alert at any time of the day. Available at all Biotherm stockists.

DEEP HYDRATING Formulated with hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and preserve optimum moisture balance, Hada Labo Moisturising Lotion is especially popular among the ladies and boasts the number one face lotion in Japan. Enhanced with three types of

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MULTI-TASKER hydrating agents – hyaluronic acid, super hyaluronic acid and nano hyaluronic acid – it is able to penetrate deeply into the epidermins, keeping skin moisturised, healthy and lower skin irritation. Available at major pharmacies.

If you do not have a toiletry bag as big as a shoe bag yet intend to bring a dozen facial products, then Sunplay Skin Aqua BB cream is for you. Boasting a 7-in-1 function – sun protection, oil control, concealer, whitening, moisture, anti-ageing and foundation – the

BB cream is a great aid to improve one’s skin texture. It is formulated for different skin types such as oily to normal skin and normal to dry skin. A difference of SPF29 or SPF36 offers maximum protection from the sun. Available at major pharmacies.


Special Feature

NO FINER PLACE

Swiss-Garden Hotels and Residences is a lush urban retreat right inside downtown Kuala Lumpur

L

ocated right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, nestled between Bukit Bintang and Chinatown, Swiss-Garden Hotels and Residences is the choice for visitors who want to experience the vibrancy of Malaysia’s capital city. However, with its range of food and beverage outlets and relaxation options, you will delight in staying in if you choose to do so. Swiss-Garden boasts 310 guest rooms and suites with accommodations ranging from the basic Deluxe Room to the 56 square metre Executive Suite. Families will be especially spoilt for choice; the 50 square metre Family Room fits in a family of four in comfort and the huge Two Bedroom Premier units include a spacious dining room, kitchenette and living area.

Restaurant on the first floor offers many different cuisines under one roof. Its contemporary furnishing presents a comfortable setting for buffets as well as quick meals on the go. For a more healthy proposition, head to Green Treats Delicatessen, where you can get a strong selection of freshly baked organic breads, wholesome sandwiches, selection of noodles, cakes, gourmet teas and coffees as well as freshly squeezed juices. On top of all this, you get to enjoy complimentary Wifi access. The Blue Chip Lounge is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of shopping. The

bar features live music and an ambience made for private, informal discussions or simply relaxing.

HEALING THE SOUL The Samsara Spa at Swiss-Garden is devoted to pampering both mind and body. The spa treatments are performed by professionals trained in traditional Balinese beauty and healing rituals. One of the treatments you can opt for is the RM270 Samsara Signature. Lasting one hour and 45 minutes, it incorporates Thai, Balinese, Malaysian, and Hawaiian massage styles, leaving you completely de-stressed and blissful.

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD Kuala Lumpur is a city known for its gastronomic variety and this is reflected in Swiss-Garden’s inhouse restaurants. Flavors

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DIRECTIONS STAY

words MICHELLE YEE

HOTEL MAYA KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA Hotel Maya Kuala Lumpur, a tranquil boutique urban resort situated in the heart of Malaysia’s capital city, offers the perfect getaway for sophisticated travellers who fancy a quaint yet chic moment in an easily accessible area. Strategically located along Jalan Ampang, and just a stroll

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away from Malaysia’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers, the main highlight of this boutique hotel is undoubtedly the impeccable service provided by its dedicated team of staff, who strives to make all their guests feel at home. Housing 207 contemporary designed rooms (100 studios

and 107 suites), each room has been luxuriously outfitted with a slew of amenities including in-room DVD players, flat-screen television, broadband Internet access, Wi-Fi and air sterilisers. 138, Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: +60 3 2711 8866 www.intercontinental-kl.com.my


VILLA MALY AND KAMU LODGE, LUANG PRABANG, LAOS

images IMAGE DESIGN HOTELS

Travellers heading to Luang Prabang, Laos in the month of September can now enjoy the best of both worlds with the Discover Luang Prabang package, which consists of a two-night stay at Villa Maly, a boutique hotel in Luang Prabang, and a one-night stay at Kamu Lodge, an eco-resort perched on the banks of Mekong River. The Discover Luang Prabang package, includes round-trip airport transfers, a visit to the world famous Pak Ou Caves, dinner

at Villa Maly, a massage at Kamu Lodge, and free access to a slew of cultural activities at Kamu, such as rice-planting, fishing, archery, a tour of Kamu village and gold-panning. The package is now priced at a pocket-friendly rate of US$174 per person, which is a whopping 65 percent off the regular price. 44/3 Ban Wat Nong Kham Kong Road, Luangprabang Lao P.D.R Tel: +856 71 260 319 www.kamulodge.com

J PLUS BOUTIQUE HOTEL, HONG KONG Although the J Plus Hotel only entered the Hong Kong hotel scene in May this year, it has already made an impression far beyond what its diminutive, 56-homely guest rooms and suites would suggest. Situated in bustling Causeway Bay, the hotel is famed for its design-centric and sleek interior, which is the masterpiece of renowned French designer, Philippe Starck. The rooms, which feature a range of upscale amenities such as flat screen TVs, surround sound, home theatres and more, have been designed and outfitted to resemble trendy apartments; a nice change from cookie-cutter hotel rooms. To celebrate its launch under a new name, the hotel is offering a promotional “Suite Rendezvous” package, valid till 31 August 2012. Priced at US$630, the package includes one night’s stay in a Philippe Starck designer suite, a chauffeur-driven Mercedes limousine offering round-trip transfers anywhere in Hong Kong, and a four-course dinner with champagne for two at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, The Drawing Room. 1-5 Irving Street Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Tel: +852 3196 9000 www.jplushongkong.com

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DIRECTIONS STAY RIVA SURYA, BANGKOK, THAILAND Riva Surya Bangkok is set on the banks of the famed Chao Phraya River and offers guests magnificent views of the riverside scenery and Bangkok’s bustling skyline. The boutique hotel, which is located within close proximity to some of the city’s most treasured historical sites and lively entertainment districts, stands proud with 68 well-equipped rooms that feature fine beddings and furnishings, and two cafes and bars that serve up a great selection of delectable dishes and tasty cocktails. 23 Phra Arthit Road, Phranakorn Bangkok, Thailand 10200 Tel: +66 2652 2424 www.rivasuryabangkok.com

L HOTEL, BALI, INDONESIA Singapore-based hospitality management company, L Hotels & Resorts Pte Ltd has just launched the L Hotel in Seminyak, Bali, which promises to offer guests with a unique boutique hotel experience that is second to none. Exuding

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a gentle, quiet charm amidst its busy surroundings, which include popular joints such as Potato Head, Ku dé Ta, Sarong and Metis on Jalan Petitenget, visitors will be drawn to step beyond L Hotel’s glass façade, into a polished yet

cozy, 30-Suite abode with impeccable service. Guests can also look forward to a slew of personalised services and upscale hotel amenities, such as luxurious spa therapies, personalised butler services,

Kiehl’s range of toiletries, a pillow menu, lush furnishings and more. Jalan Raya Petitenget No. 8L Seminyak Bali 80361 Tel: +62 361 473 3147 www.thelhotels.com


TREE TOP LOFTS, RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA, SINGAPORE Perched 12 metres above the ground amongst lush greenery, Tree Top Lofts at Resorts World Sentosa, which consists of two unique tree top lofts, Angsana and Tembusu, is a hotel quite unlike its neighbours. Sitting on one of the highest points around this area, the site is not only breezy but the loft also completely closed off to the surrounding buildings – like a fortress of privacy, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Aside from boasting a quaint and tranquil ambience, Tree Top Lofts personifies true hospitality. Here, visitors can expect to receive exclusive treatment from the team of service staff and be pampered with top-of-the-line hotel amenities. Tel: +65 6577 8899 www.rwsentosa.com


DIRECTIONS STAY

LE MÉRIDIEN BANGKOK, THAILAND Nestled in the heart of Silom area is Le Méridien, an ultra chic hotel that is relatively new, but boasting some of the best hotel facilities and amenities around the region. Be greeted by a totally different perspective from the outside world upon entering the hotel, where a spacious lobby with well-informed and pleasant hotel staff welcome their guests with

grace and hospitality. Sporting 282 rooms overlooking the city, these rooms are categorised into Vista rooms, Vista Plus rooms (with 180º panoramic city view), Circular rooms (popular amongst honeymooners), suites, Avantgarde suites and the Grande Avantgarde suite. The attention to details and

its admirable amenitie, spring pleasant surprises on its guests and guarantee absolute comfort. Le Méridien also offers a distinctive restaurant and two exquisite bars that are perfect for business gatherings as well as leisure dining. Latest Recipe features all-day dining, a la minute creations from the chef, buffet and a la carte delights. Fancy a martini?

Head over to Bamboo Chic, a tasteful bar offering a selection of signature cocktails, wines and spirits, and accompanied by a variety of snacks, sandwiches and delicatessen. 40/5 Surawong Road Bangkok 10500 Tel: +66 2 232 8888 www.lemeridien.com/ bangkoksurawong

GRAND HYATT KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA The hotel consists of 370 guestrooms and 42 suites that have all been thoughtfully outfitted with upscale amenities, but the highlight of each guestroom is undoubtedly the luxurious and spacious bathroom, which features a liquid crystal glass (LCG) enclosed cube, complete with bath and rain shower fixtures. For the benefit of business travellers, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur also boasts several

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meetings and events spaces that allow guests to hold intimate business meetings, conferences and more. Other highlights of this hotel include Essa Spa, and THIRTY8, a restaurant, lounge and bar that offers a wide range of delectable cuisines and beverages. 12 Jalan Pinang 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: +60 3 2182 1234 www.kualalumpur.grand.hyatt.com


Special Feature

LUXE RETREAT After a luxurious update, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur now exudes luxury, style and substance – everything a discerning traveller would be looking out for, and more.

O

pened to the public in February 2012, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur is an urban oasis located in the heart of Malaysia’s bustling capital that offers both business and leisure travellers exquisite style, convenience, spacious guestrooms, and most

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importantly, seamlessly intuitive service. Past the glass doors, InterContinental’s interior paints a picture of luxury and designer chic. From the top, an opulent chandelier cascades 4.5 metres down, creating a spectacular waterfall-like illusion of floating crystals in the midst of four grand columns, encased in gleaming

silver rods and imposing black forest marble. The designers have spared no effort and expense in creating a luxe ambience, which is guaranteed to impress anyone who steps foot into the hotel premises. Another highlight of this hotel is the new Concierge Lounge. While waiting for keys to the room, guests can rest

comfortably on cozy sofas, or be entertained with the iPads and iPod docking stations that are conveniently available. InterContinental Kuala Lumpur also offers guests easy access to a couple of attractions and shopping haunts, such as the city’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the Central Market, Chinatown and Independence Square. Guests hoping to plan their leisurely days ahead of time can pick up the travel guides and books available, or head to the ‘In The Know’ corner – where a knowledgeable team of local staff are on-hand to provide travel tips on how to best maximise their time in Kuala Lumpur.

For reservations or more information, please call +60 3 2161 1111 or log on to www.intercontinental-kl.com.my


DIRECTIONS EAT

SUSHI ICHI words NATALIE JOY LEE

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Sushi doesn’t get any fresher than at Sushi Ichi, the sister-branch of the wildly popular chief outlet located in Tokyo’s Ginza district – bearer of the prestigious one-Michelin star for its choice ingredients and warm hospitality. Strictly using only seasonal ingredients freshly imported from Japan’s famous Tsukiji market four times a week, pick a counter seat and watch as grand sushi master Chef Yuji Yabe whips up his

degustation bests (S$60 for lunch; S$210 for dinner for a four-course menu), serving up classic favourites like tuna, mackerel and sea urchin marinated and sliced to perfection with his extraordinary knife skills. The other half of the Japanese power-duo heading the restaurant is acclaimed Kyoto Kaiseki Ryori craft master, Chef Hiroki Sudou responsible for ensuring that every dish that gets served up before you is artistically intriguing and

flawless for a complete sensory and gastronomic experience. Located at Scotts Square, the restaurant also boasts an in-house sommelier who’ll recommend wine pairings for your meal, such as Sake and Shochu selections. Our vote goes to the fruity yuzu sake, which has a delicate eight percent alcohol percentage – perfect for a light afternoon drink. Tel: +65 6299 0014; www.sushiichi.com


BAY SUSHI Fresh from the launch of the very successful TODAI – an international seafood and sushi buffet restaurant – the people at Bay F&D have set up Bay Sushi, located in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Expect unique creations such as Angry Salmon LV 17, Lion King Roll, and check out also the plates on the conveyor belt; each dish differentiated by famous bays worldwide, such as Korea’s Busan Bay, Hawaii’s Honolua Bay, and of course, Singapore’s Marina Bay. What we liked: the soft yet intensely flavoured chawanmushi, and spicy salmon gunkan wrapped in radish instead of seaweed. Tel: +65 6688 7707; www.baysushi.com.sg

THE TERRACE, THE SENTOSA, A BEAUFORT HOTEL Carnivores will love ‘Steak Nights at The Terrace’, where the meat experience is no longer limited to ordering off the menu but rather, making your selection at the butcher’s showcase, deciding on the weight according to how hungry you are, then following the chef out to the open-grills

TWG TEA No time for travel? Check out TWG’s Weekend Teas Collection, designed to arouse vivid sensory escapes to some of the world’s most exotic destinations. Get carried away into the picturesque promenades of fruits and berries of the Cote d’Azur in St Tropez; enjoy Venice with a luxurious mix of pineapple, forest berries and rose petals; or a blend of exotic fruits and flowers of desert city Dubai.

and watching him fire up your steak to perfection. Meat choices are aplenty: black angus rib-eye, wagyu rump, Australian lamb rack, live seafood, English Cumberland sausages and more. Side dishes are equally stunning, our favourites being the mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potato and

bleu cheese. We recommend the signature fillet mignon, which comes with two sides and choice of one sauce from just S$15++, accompanied by a soup, salad and dessert buffet for an additional S$25++. Tel: +65 6371 1414 www.thesentosa.com

CAPELLA SINGAPORE Closer to home is Hong Kong with a concoction of blossoms and toffee; or Singapore’s brew of sweet caramel and tart red fruits. Together with the first five teas in the range: Bombay, Casablanca, Istanbul, Moscow and Shanghai – all 10 flavours are available in customisable sets of two, three and five, from S$60 onwards. Tel: +65 6735 1837; www.twgtea.com

Get ready to have your taste buds tingling with six radical chocolate flavours from the Capella Chocolate Collection! Discover the richness of raspberry lemongrass with chilli padi, yuzu hazelnut, black truffle ganache, blueberry-violet ganache and also the kueh lapis spice with coffee and prune jelly pieces – a nod to Singapore’s diverse food heritage. If savouring the kalamansi ganache, do pair it with Gryphon’s

constellation tea: a delicate blend of Darjeeling white tea infused with rosehips, grapes and a sprinkle of gold dust – somewhat like looking at the galaxy in your cuppa. A box of 24 chocolates is priced at S$128++, and S$14++ per pot of constellation tea at the Knolls, Cassia and Bob’s Bar. Tel: +65 6591 5046; www.capellahotels.com/singapore/ dining-en.html

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JAZZ UP YOUR MOONCAKE SHOPPING THIS YEAR WITH UNIQUE FLAVOURS THAT TASTE EVERY BIT AS GOOD AS THEY LOOK!

PEACH BLOSSOMS, MARINA MANDARIN SINGAPORE Inspired by life’s ups and downs, Chef Kerene Cheng created a set of four snowskin mooncakes depicting sour, sweet, bitter and spicy, collectively known as Mini Heavenly Treasures Mooncakes. All using a white lotus base, sour is represented by semi-dried hibiscus; sweet, osmanthus; bitter, bitter gourd and cashew nuts;

and lastly the spicy chocolate version which zinged up our tongues almost immediately. We especially love how the mooncakes come in mini sizes, so we can eat all we want without worrying about our waistlines after! Priced at S$52.80+ per box. Tel: +65 6845 1118; www.meritushotels.com

DELI, GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL Known almost exclusively as the king of all durian pastries and especially mooncakes, the people at Goodwood have pushed the boundaries, offering not just its signature D24 durian snowskin mooncake this year, but also the premium Mao Shan Wang – giving durian lovers a punchier, thicker, and more

satisfying load of the delicious fruit at once. For something more unique, try the mango with pomelo, cempedak, or blood orange with banana snowskin mooncakes. Prices start from S$26 for two pieces. Tel: +65 6730 1867; festivepromotions. goodwoodparkhotel.com

SZECHUAN COURT, FAIRMONT SINGAPORE

MAN FU YUAN, INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE

Impress your family and friends this festive season with Fairmont’s luxe mooncake offerings. Savour the richness of dark chocolate complemented by a refreshing pop of salted caramel with the mini snowskin salted caramel dark chocolate mooncake, or go oriental with the Yin-Yang delight – a baked mooncake with black and white

The prized Mao Shan Wang is making regular appearances this year, though the one at Intercontinental is giving the premium durian a slight twist, infusing coconut for a refreshing mix. Matcha lovers will enjoy the snowskin green tea paste with dragonball jasmine mooncake, or go straight for the perennial favourite – the signature high

sesame in white lotus paste. For fail-proof flavours, the snowskin champagne truffle and chocolate ganache, as well as the rum and raisin chocolate truffle are top favourites; as is the baked mooncake with roasted pine nuts in white lotus paste. Prices start from S$53 per box. Tel: +65 6338 8785; www.fsfestiveorders.com

mountain sweet potato mooncake with champagne chocolate. You can also mix and match your favourite flavours, or get the premium gift set which comes with an assortment of 16 mooncakes, tea set and Pu’er tea cake. Prices start from S$28.80 for two pieces. Tel: +65 6820 8519; www.intercontinental.com

All mooncake sales start from mid August, ending 30 September 2012. For early-bird offers, log on to the various hotel websites above for more information.

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DIRECTIONS NEWS

THAI AIRWAYS AIRBUS A380 words DEREK RODRIGUEZ & DARREN WONG

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Come autumn, Thai Airways will introduce its first Airbus A380 carrier, joining the other airlines – Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Korean Air, etc. – to cater better quality aircrafts to its valued customers. Boasting the best cabin in the sky, A380 is spacious, quiet and features cutting-edge designs, different light tones and state-of-the-art entertainment facilities.

Compared to Boeing 747-400, the Airbus A380 is created with high environmental quality such as lower noise pollution, minimal carbon dioxide emission and lower fuel burn. The aircraft also uses advanced materials that reduce its total weight by 25 percent. The new aircraft complements Thai Airways excellent service and tantalising airline meals. Be greeted by

its amiable cabin crew, who ensures that its customers’ comfort and react to fulfill most of their requests in the hastiest manner. The higher passengers capacity in A380 allows more travellers to experience its notable amenities, service and food while providing a more spacious environment, especially important for long-haul flights. www.thaiairways.com


JETSTAR ADDS OSAKA CONNECTION Operated by Jetstar Airways, the existing Darwin-Singapore service will now continue on from Singapore to Osaka three times a week from 1 November 2012. The everyday lead-in fare for the route is US$375. A sale fare of US$270 is on offer for a limited time. The Darwin-Singapore leg will be operated by an A321 while the long haul SingaporeOsaka sector will be operated by an A330 with both economy

and business class. With this new service, the Jetstar Group will operate up to 31 international services per week to Osaka including long haul services from Cairns and the Gold Coast in Australia with Jetstar Airways and short haul international services from Singapore via Taipei and Manila with Jetstar Asia. Jetstar Airways also operates a A330 service from Melbourne to Singapore, which can then connect to the Osaka flight.

REDEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR DOWNTOWN EAST NTUC Club today announced the master plan in the pipeline for the Downtown East landscape. The five-year plan aims to update NTUC Club’s offerings and to meet the changing social needs of members and the public. A total of S$200 million will be invested by NTUC Club over the whole project. Phase One of the redevelopments will include the construction of a new Costa

Sands Resort (Downtown East) and the expansion of the water park, Wild Wild Wet. Phase One is expected to last till 2015 with the first portion of the new Costa Sands Resort ready by 2014. Phase Two will complete the transformation of the Downtown East landscape by the addition of a permanent meeting and convention facility and is targeted to be completed in the second half of 2017.

TIGER TO LAUNCH SINGAPORE-PHNOM PENH FLIGHTS

CEBU PACIFIC’S FLIGHTS FROM SINGAPORE TO ILOILO Cebu Pacific is set to begin a thrice weekly direct service from Singapore to Iloilo on 9 November, making the central Philippine city the airline’s fifth domestic hub. In line with the announcement of direct flights from Singapore to Iloilo, CEB will also be launching

twice weekly flights from Hong Kong to Iloilo, four weekly flights from General Santos to Iloilo, and increase the frequency of the daily service from Manila to Iloilo to seven times a day. CEB currently operates 10 Airbus A319, 20 Airbus A320 and 8 ATR-72 500 aircraft. Its fleet of

38 aircraft – with an average age of 3.6 years – is the largest aircraft fleet in the Philippines. Between 2012 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 22 more Airbus A320 and 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft orders. It is slated to begin long-haul services in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

Tiger Airways is growing its paw print in Indochina with daily flights to the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. The inaugural flight will take off on 1 October 2012. This is Tiger’s first foray into Cambodia, and follows hotly on the heels of the launch of new flights to Hyderabad on 27 September 2012. Tiger, one of the leading low cost carriers in Asia, has been steadily growing its network, which now extends to over 35 cities in the region. Earlier in the year, it launched new services to Dhaka, Kochi and Colombo.

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Special Feature

Bouddhanath

NEARER THAN HEAVEN Let SilkAir take you to Darwin, Hanoi, and Kathmandu, three charming multifaceted holiday destinations with UNESCO sites KATHMANDU, NEPAL Once thought of as the fabled Shangri-La, Kathmandu’s exposure to the rest of the world has just enhanced its reputation as a destination blessed with exotic charm and beauty. It is extremely popular with independent travellers, such as those seeking spiritual enlightenment. Kathmandu Valley, which encompasses the three largest cities in Nepal, including Kathmandu, has seven UNESCO

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World Heritage sites within its borders. Important monuments in the valley include Hindu shrines and Buddhist stupas. Other Kathmandu Attractions UÊvÊޜÕʏœÛiÊ̅iʜÕÌ`œœÀÃÊ>˜`Ê extreme sports, Kathmandu is the place to be. There is no shortage of companies that operate trekking tours from Kathmandu and if this is too tame for you, turn it up a few notches with whitewater rafting and bungee jumping.

UÊ œÕ`…>˜>̅ʈÃÊ>˜Êˆ“«œÀÌ>˜ÌÊ place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, ̅iÊÀi>ÌÊ-ÌÕ«>ʜvÊ œÕ`…>˜>̅]Ê built in the fifth century, is one of the largest in the world. As a spiritual site, it greets visitors with an aura of tranquility. UÊ/…iÊÜi‡`iVœÀ>Ìi`Ê-iÌœÊ Machhendranath Temple is one of the more important temples in Kathmandu to Hindus and Buddhists alike. During the Seto Machhendranath Festival in

March/April, an idol of Seto Machhendranath is placed on a chariot and paraded around town. Getting There SilkAir flies five times weekly to Kathmandu from Singapore – on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. The flight takes approximately five hours and 10 minutes. Economy class all-in return fares start from S$928*.


Special Feature HANOI, VIETNAM Hanoi is one of the emerging cities in Southeast Asia. It possesses an enticing mix of Chinese and French influences, and despite its recent prominence, is largely unspoiled by modernisation. One thing left intact is the friendliness of its people who are always willing to help point a lost tourist in the right direction. Halong Bay, located 170 kilometres east of Hanoi, was appropriately named one of the new ‘Seven Wonders of Nature’. With over 1,500 limestone islands and islets scattered over its emerald waters, the UNESCO World Heritage site presents a otherworldly appearance to awestruck visitors. Other Hanoi Attractions UʜʓÕÃiՓʅœ««ˆ˜}ʈ˜Ê>˜œˆÆÊ a must-visit is the Museum of Ethnology, which documents and exhibits the different ethnic groups of Vietnam. Not only is it a museum, it also serves as a research centre that aims to preserve each of the individual cultural identities. UÊ>˜œˆÊˆÃÊ>ÊÌÀÕiÊVՏˆ˜>ÀÞʅ>Ûi˜Ê that will satisfy gourmands of all budgets and tastes. Whether you are having a bowl of Pho on the

street or indulging in fine international cuisine, you can be sure that your palate will be a happy one. UÊ7ˆÌ…ÊÜi‡«ÀiÃiÀÛi`ÊVœœ˜ˆ>Ê and pre-colonial architecture, the Old Quarter’s 36 streets are fantastically atmospheric and a great place to get lost in. Other than delicious street food, you can also hone your bargaining skills at the many little shops in this district. Getting There SilkAir flies three times weekly to Hanoi from Singapore – on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. The flight takes approximately three hours and 20 minutes. Economy class all-in return fares start from S$508*.

Kakadu national park

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA The capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is home to a multi-cultural population that has provided a blend of food, language, and culture. Its proximity to natural attractions and diversity of wildlife make this city a one-of-a-kind holiday destination. A four-hour drive from Darwin brings you to the massive Kakadu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park, which is the largest in Australia, is famous

Florence falls

for its spectacular landscape and its proliferation of fishes, reptiles and other animals, many of which are endangered. It also fulfills a crucial role in the environment by providing a sanctuary for migratory birds.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Other Darwin Attractions UÊ7ˆÌ…Ê>ÊÀˆV…Ê…>LˆÌ>Ìʜvʓ>Àˆ˜iʏˆvi]Ê Darwin Harbour is the perfect place to explore by cruises or private yachts. Here, you can discover shipwrecks, see dolphins in their element and fish for Barramundi. UÊ œ“iÊv>ViÊ̜Êv>ViÊ܈̅ÊܓiʜvÊ the largest saltwater crocodiles in the world at Crocosaurus Cove, located right in the heart of the city. The children-friendly park also has a good reptile enclosure

and an aquarium that is modelled after the rivers in Australia’s Top End. UÊ/…iÊvÀii‡>`“ˆÃȜ˜ÊÕÃiÕ“Ê >˜`ÊÀÌÊ>iÀÞʜvÊ̅iÊ œÀ̅iÀ˜Ê /iÀÀˆÌœÀÞÊ­ /®ÊŜÜV>ÃiÃÊ>Ê huge collection of art and items from Aboriginal, Southeast Asian and Oceanic history. One of the most well-known is “Sweetheart”, the five-metre crocodile that was responsible for boat attacks in the mid to late 80s. Getting There SilkAir flies four times weekly to Darwin from Singapore – on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The flight takes approximately four hours and 40 minutes. Economy class all-in return fares start from S$698*.

*Subject to seat availability. Terms and conditions apply. Other attractive promotional fares also available. To book your flights, please visit www.silkair.com facebook.com/SilkAir

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GLOBETROTTERS

words MICHELLE YEE

WHO DENISE

KELLER

IN A NUTSHELL “Be a traveller,” she says, “not a tourist.” Popular TV personality Denise Keller shares her thoughts on exploring foreign lands, her encounters with kind strangers, and how she prefers to ditch the map for awhile and simply get lost in the wonders of the world.

A peripatetic lifestyle is nothing new to veteran model and VJ, Denise Keller, who grew up shuttling between Europe and Asia (her German father’s from Southern Germany, BadenWüttermberg, and her Chinese mother is from Malaysia). Even after starting her career as a model in her teens, far-flung commissions had her travelling to Tokyo, New York and throughout Asia. Having travelled extensively across the globe as a model and VJ, Denise is now swapping low back dresses and stilettos for abayas and flats, for her role as travel host of Discovery TLC’s two episodes of Passage to Abu Dhabi, where she unravels the wonders of the exotic city. For this self-professed happy wanderer with a penchant for spontaneous trips, who counts countries such as Borneo, South Africa, New Zealand and Germany as some of the most memorable places she has

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visited, she has no qualms about leaving a cushy environment to explore off the beaten path countries. “The part that I really love about my job is that I get to share so much of what fascinates me with everyone else. The nature of the job requires me to take a really deep dive into different countries,

very inviting, it was overwhelming. A common misconception that people had is that they were kind of conservative and private but they weren’t, in fact, everyone was really friendly and generous in showing me around and in making me understand their culture,” she quips. When asked how she

transition was a pretty major change in direction for my career. Moving to a different segment in entertainment was a new challenge and I was determined to create my legacy, besides, I really enjoy travelling and meeting new people.” For this world traveller who

I was determined to create my legacy so I dove right in, besides, I really enjoy travelling and meeting new people. Once I got into the swing of things the role started to grow on me. customs, and their cultures, which has amplified my drive to travel, explore, and certainly broadened my perspective.” One pleasant surprise during her stay in Abu Dhabi was the way its people welcomed her, she said, adding that “everyone was

felt about making a career switch from being one of the entertainment industry’s most popular VJs to hosting a travel show, Denise avidly responds, “It’s the best job in the world! To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive at first as the

has seemingly scoured half the globe, she shares that the place that is on the top of her list of places to visit is the West African nation of Wadiya. “I want an audience with Admiral General Aladeen!” she exclaims.


GLOBETROTTERS

words DARREN WONG

WHO GEORGE

YOUNG

IN A NUTSHELL Besides the love for computer games, the Chinese-Greek host/actor is thankful that his job has taken him to places all across the oceans.

Don’t live your travel experience behind a screen. Take some time off your camera and look outside

‘Swimming With Sharks’ will take place from 20 Sep to 7 Oct, starring George Young, Adrian Pang and Janice Koh. Tickets available at SISTIC now.

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I always have the impression that George is an eloquent young man who is adventurous and has seen quite a bit of the world. And I was right. Dressed coolly in a tee shirt and track pants, and without a hint of arrogance, George’s pleasant personality and cheerfulness has an infectious effect to people around him. Having just returned from Taiwan for a holiday, he excitedly relates his experience, “Taiwan is amazing! I went to several places like Taipei 101, Snake Alley, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Long Shan Temple.” His favourite part of this trip is the visit to Fulong Village, northeastern Taiwan. It was where the 13th Hohaiyan Rock Festival took place, as local bands and tribal groups performed in this annual summer festival. “I love the juxtaposition of greenery on one side (opposite bank of the river) and the sandy beach on the other,” he recalls. The perfect weather, exciting music and lovely scenery has definitely made George a very delightful holidaymaker. Growing up in the UK, he sees a lot of differences between the English city and Singapore. “Singapore is one of the ultra-modern places with efficient transport system and clean environment, and at the same time home to numerous cultures,” he says, “but I do love London too, as I have a lot of history there.” To George, balance is key. He lives in a city, but frequent the countryside whenever he needs a break. “Nowadays I would take a quick trip to Taiwan if I want to experience a different season,” he says. From hosting ‘Million Dollar Money Drop’ to acting as a young lawyer in ‘The Pupil’, and now starring in two Chinese dramas ‘Joys of Life’ and ‘Yours Fatefully’ on Channel 8, George has come a long way within a very short period of time. His upcoming projects include his first professional play ‘Swimming With Sharks’ with co-star Adrian Pang. “It’s very exciting and a great experience for me. I can’t wait for rehearsals to start!” he says with great enthusiasm.


p

erth coming of age

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Riding high on a mining boom, Perth is shedding its sleepy town image and transforming into an emergent metropolis words JOYCE HUANG images WESTERN AUSTRALIA TOURISM & 123RF

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O

n the morning I was to explore Perth city, the weather could not be any better: the sky was resplendent in a royal shade of blue, rendered prettier by a flock of fluffy, cotton-white clouds; the sun enthusiastically emanating shine and warmth generously while the soothing embrace of cool breezes made it more comfortable than bearable. Perth is known for its favourable climate of mild winters and warm summers, and boasts more hours of sunshine than any other Australian city. I stepped back from my balcony overlooking Kings Park and Botanic Gardens into my bedroom, let out a longing sigh towards the inviting mess of sheets and pillows on the bed and decided to head out to the park. Considered one of the world’s most isolated cities due to its vast distance away from the next nearest city, Western Australia’s capital Perth is currently home to 1.7 million people. With its laidback lifestyle, oodles of natural parkland and uncrowded beaches, and diverse population, this emergent metropolis has always been ranked high on world’s most liveable cities lists. In fact, just four hours away from Singapore, Perth has not just enjoyed being a popular convenient travel destination for Singaporeans, but has also seen many choosing to study and even retire there.

1. The government House in Perth 2. An Aboriginal man plays the didgeridoo in Kings Park Botanic Gardens 3. Alfresco Dining in James Street, Northbridge 4. An aerial view of Perth

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ORIENTATION ON FOOT

After an invigorating morning at Kings Park and a hearty lunch at one of Perth’s many excellent cafes, I met up with Ryan Zaknich of Two Feet and a Heartbeat (www.twofeet. com.au) for a leisure walking tour around the city. Founded in 2007 by Ryan and his old friend, coincidentally also named Ryan, Two Feet and a Heartbeat is a walking tour company providing quality guided group tours. Groups are kept intimate while local guides pique the interest of visitors by introducing them to the sights, sounds and tales of the city’s interesting history, culture and heritage through informal yet informative story-telling. As this was my very first visit to Perth, I figured a tour with Ryan would be able to give me a good foundation and overview of the city. Born and bred in Perth, Ryan’s passion for his native-city is evident as he rattles off tale after fascinating tidbit from Perth’s history during our tour around the city, while stopping every now and then at pertinent landmarks. “I can tell you dates and detailed numbers and names about all these places, but will you remember them? I would rather regale you with the stories that they preserve between their walls because it is the stories that will stick,” Ryan said before proceeding to narrate a soap-drama worthy story of love, deceit and murder that took place in the Government House. As if knowing that my time in Perth was limited, the weather decided to take a turn for the worse, determined to show me the city under shower. Naturally, neither of us had umbrellas to we temporarily sought shelter as Ryan gave me an education on Perth’s history and its recent developments. Perth’s history is intricately tied with the

ups and downs of the mining industry. The city is currently riding high on the spoils of a mining boom, translating to an exponentially increasing population. With figures showing an extra 5000 people moving into the city centre, at a rate of about 20 a week, in the past five years, the city is undergoing major infrastructure developments to expand the borders of the city centre to cater to this swell in people living within the fastest growing city in Australia. One such massive plan is the AU$440 million (US$455 million) redevelopment of Perth’s Waterfront into an expansive promenade of residential apartments, commercial and retail space and extensive tourism facilities. No longer just a big country town, Perth is playing catch-up with Australia’s other state capital cities and now almost everywhere you turn, change is picking up. Knowing the city like the back of his hand, Ryan continued the tour, cutting across buildings and weaving through streets and alleyways while trying to dodge the rain as much as possible. But we inevitably ended up at a juncture where we would most definitely have to get wet. North of the city centre is the district of Northbridge. Regarded as Perth’s cultural heart and entertainment hub, Northbridge is home to the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Western Australia Museum, as well as funky specialty shopping and other independent cultural venues. Thanks to it being a predominantly ethnic precinct, Northbridge also boasts a kaleidoscope of cafes, restaurant and bars that offer a wide array of cuisines. Northbridge is currently still separated from Perth’s central business district by the


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Fremantle and Joondalup railway lines, but construction is underway to sink 325 metres of railway down to connect the two districts As we stood on the Perth CBD side of the construction, the only way over the massive boarded-up construction site to get to Northbridge, where our tour was scheduled to end, was to cross an unsheltered overhead bridge. “There is actually another way over but that will take quite a number of detours and I cannot guarantee that you still won’t get wet,” Ryan let in, “Your choice.” And so we made a run for it, braving the rain, which seemed to have purposely gotten slightly heavier. While on that bridge, looking down into the massive construction site below and taking in the extent of this development, I could not help but chuckle to myself how our dash across the bridge to get to Northbridge could be funnily allegorical to Perth’s advancement as a city. walks over to explain, “There is a different Buddha for each day. People pray to the Buddha for the day that they are born. What is yours?” I cannot recall, but nevertheless I wish I could, so as to find the correct one to pay respect to. Bung is one of the guides who work for Phantip. His dusky skin reflects a beautiful shade of brown, and the wrinkles around his eyes bear the imprints of his seasoned smile. His humour is impeccable. Even when the heat becomes unbearable, it never dampens his mood. “How many seasons are there in your country?” Bung asks me. “One, and it’s a year-round of summer,” I reply obligingly. “In Thailand, we have three seasons – hot, hotter, hottest!” He burst out laughing, and so do I. Bung’s suggestion of a monkey show takes us to the road again. My initial

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thoughts are seeing monkeys in a zoo. “No, not the zoo,” Bung says, “but the training school.” The van turns into a dusty lane, surround by tall coconut trees. From a distance a monkey climbs up a tree in leaps and bounces, seemingly effortless, and even graceful. It wraps its hands around a coconut, which is hanging just below the leaves. A good 20 metres above 56 escape!

ground, the monkey feels at ease, and it starts to twist the coconut. The coconut is turned round and round for umpteen times, until the stems finally snaps and the monkey then plonks it down onto the ground. Upon completion of its job, it descends at an amazing speed, and within seconds, it is back to its original post – a fallen tree trunk.

A squeak sounded from the other side of the plantation. Another young monkey is sitting on a sawed tree trunk. Wearing a mischievous smile on the face, it hugs a fresh coconut like a mother protecting its baby. Then, with poignant interest, it starts peeling off the outer layer of the coconut. Monkey Kong suddenly raises its head as someone approaches. The caretaker


AUSTRALIA RAISING THE BAR

King’s Park

whistles, and waves something in his hand. Like children naturally prone to hanker after forbidden things, the monkey leaves his position, and swift as a snake but quiet like a shadow, it tears across the intervening space, and does a somersault, back kick and a spin. Jumping a full circle with its legs flips high up, it lands almost silently on the ground, like a kungfu master.

“Cheeky little thing, isn’t it?” Bung says. Young monkeys are trained in this area, and after acquiring necessary skills, they are sent to various parts of the island, and even mainland Thailand, for performances and entertainment. If I can, I will place a bet that our little kungfu friend will eventually become a star in the monkey kingdom.

That evening, I tagged along on another one of Two Feet and a Heartbeat’s most popular walking tours – Eat Drink Walk Perth. This evening small bar tour brings one through the city’s emerging social scene, discovering unique and hidden bars. Yes, the tour drops in on three different watering holes each night but this is no wild pub-crawl. As our friendly local guide, Michael, shared with us throughout the evening, Perth’s bar scene, as with the city’s other developments, has been revitalised, to cater to a bigger, more discerning and sophisticated crowd. Not letting the slight drizzle dampen our moods, we kicked things off on a high note at The Conservatory (theconservatory.net. au). Claimed to be Perth’s original rooftop bar, The Conservatory on the corner of Murray Street and Prince Lane is an innovative and exciting bar and restaurant concept, its modern colours and luxurious décor – complete with a retractable roof to enable patrons to bask in sunshine on a beautiful day or drown in the stars on a clear night – lead to a cosy open-air garden that boasts astro turf, barbecue grills and a stunning backdrop of Perth’s cityscape. Perth’s other famous rooftop bar is found at The Aviary (www.theaviaryperth.com.au), a restaurant, bar and event space concept located right above the Perth Underground train station. Stepping out onto The Nest feels like entering an elevated park as the playful outdoor space features lush trees and plants, daybeds and lounging furniture, and a bird’s eye view of the CBD skyline. As we walked over to our next pitstop, Michael explained to us about the “Forgotten Spaces – Revitalising Perth’s Laneways” strategy the city has been undertaking. Inspired by the success of similar projects in other Australian cities, the City of Perth decided to embark on a long-term plan to revitalise and improve the physical form of the city’s laneways within the CBD area. As the city’s population continues to expand, the efficient usage of space within the city is essential. The Perth City council targets underutilised areas, spruce them up, and make them avail to small boutique businesses, plenty of them bars and cafes. Not only does this bring new life to otherwise neglected spaces, it adds on an exciting dimension to the city dynamics, and is a project which has been approved encouragingly by locals. Weaving our way through the streets and laneways, Michael brought us to Wolf Lane, one of the earliest laneways to undergo upgrading back in 2002, even before the city officially implemented the strategy. escape! 57


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1. Andaluz resembles a refined old gentlemen’s club 2. The Aviary is a push rooftop bar

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Here we were introduced to two bars – Wolf Lane and Cheeky Sparrow. Apart from the huge and iconic mural of a “boy in wolf clothing” wrapped around its building, Wolf Lane (www.wolflane.com.au) appears to be a discreet, underground bar, with only a small sign and an inconspicuous black door to state its presence. But inside, the bar resembles a stylish New York City loft, with exposed brick work and high ceilings contrasted with eclectic vintage furniture and antiquated finishing touches. The bar serves up a carefully chosen selection of boutique beers, local and international wines, delectable cocktails and spirits. We, however, dove into Cheeky Sparrow (www.cheekysparrow.com.au), a quirky café cum bar that brings the bird theme to life with hanging birdcages, nest lamps and sparrow wall decals as décor. Order up a couple of their charcuterie boards or pizzas as bar snack accompaniments to their house-specialty cocktails, which include fairy floss martini. With our insides suitably warmed up from the alcohol buzz, we headed outside again and found that the night turned cooler, the earlier showers having brought a nip in the air. We brisk-walked our way to the last stop of the evening. Like Wolf Lane, Howard Lane was also a recipient of upgrading under the Forgotten Spaces project. It is a tight, dim (when at night) alleyway that snakes behind buildings and it was not for Michael leading us, I would never have thought to venture into this narrow lane of garage entrances and rubbish bins. But that is where the beauty 58 escape!

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of the Forgotten Spaces strategy lies – successfully gentrifying previously neglected areas. Turn the corner and you will find two of the trendiest bars in Perth, Andaluz and Helvetica. Located in the basement of the Parker and Parket building, Andaluz (www. andaluzbar.com.au) is a low-lit space with elegant burgundy leather couches and gilt-framed mirrors, regal and academic like a refined old gentlemen’s club. They have a decent range of cocktails and a strong wine list though it is really their delicious array of tapas that take centre stage. Over at Helvetica (www.helveticabar. com.au), space might be lacking but the bar’s warm decor, cosy atmosphere and all-round convivial vibe more than makes up for it. Also, it boasts an extensive whiskey list like no other bar in Perth, with bottles from Scotland, Japan, Australia, and the US. A smartly curated beer and wine list as well as a solid cocktail menu ensure that no one leaves thirsty. It was barely 10pm but Helvetica was

packed – with a good mix of young lawyer and creative types. True, the Forgotten Spaces project and the relaxing of liquor licenses might have spawned this proliferation of bars around Perth, but the strict regulations on operation timings remain and bars rarely stay open past the 1am mark. Bar owners and bar goers alike, however, are patient and hopeful that this will eventually change in their favour. I ended up in conversation with a lady originally from the Czech Republic, She had just moved to town a couple of weeks ago after spending five years in Melbourne, and her husband was due to join her in a months’ time after tying up loose ends in the capital state of Victoria. I asked, “Why Perth? Why now?” She replied, “We really like Melbourne but Perth’s shaping up to be pretty exciting, what with all the developments. It might take a while but I guess we would like to be part of it.” I smiled, raised my glass in toast, and made a mental note to come back and check in on the city, in a couple of years’ time.


FACT BOX AUSTRALIA - Perth Don’t get offended if someone wants to borrow your thongs. In Aussie, “thongs” refer to the UXEEHUEDFNOHVVVDQGDOVZHOLNHWRFDOOàLSàRSV GETTING THERE Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways all fly direct from Singapore Changi Airport to Perth International Airport. AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines fly direct from Kuala Lumpur.

GETTING AROUND Perth’s CBD is compact enough to walk about though if you are looking to venture out, a range of transport options are available. A Free Transit Zone (FTZ) operates in the

Perth city area where passengers can travel for free on any bus. Free Central Area Transit (CAT) bus services also operate in the Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup city centres. Five train lines service the Perth metropolitan area, departing from the Perth city centre, Armadale/ Thornlie, Fremantle, Midland, Joondalup and Mandurah. Taxis are also widely available. Hertz cars are available for hire from Perth Airport and downtown Perth.

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THE RICHARDSON HOTEL & SPA

ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL If there’s only one place to splash out on for a meal in Perth, make it Rockpool Bar & Grill over at Burswood Entertainment Complex. This Perth outpost of leading Australian chef Neil Perry brings with it the elegant dining experience, impeccable service, and superb menu dedicated to the finest and freshest local produce, which made Perry’s first Rockpool restaurant in Sydney famous. www.rockpool.com

Highest

Conveniently located within walking distance from Perth city centre, The Richardson Hotel and Spa is the city’s leading five star boutique hotel. Boasting the most spacious accommodation available in Perth, The Richardson has 16 rooms and 58 suites spread across nine floors, all include one or two-bedrooms with king of twin beds, separate lounge, dining area, galley bar and a private balcony that looks over either Kings Park or the city. Indulge in pampering ESPA treatments down at The Spa and innovative fine dining in the celebrated Opus Restaurant. www.therichardson.com.au

CLIMATE Perth has a mediterranean climate, which means that for most of the year, the weather is fine and sunny. Winters are relatively cool and wet, with most of Perth’s annual rainfall falling between May and September.

CURRENCY AU$1 = S$1.30/RM3.26

TIME ZONE UTC+8; same time zone as both Singapore and Malaysia

CALLING CODE Australia’s country code is +61; Perth’s area code is 08

LANGUAGE English is the main language spoken in Perth, and no the Australian twang is not too strong.

VISA Both Singaporeans and Malaysian citizens do not need a visa to enter

Australia though they require an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), an electronic authorisation to travel to and stay in the country for no more than three months. Application for an ETA can be done online at (www.eta.immi. gov.au), or through travel agents or at airline offices, and will incur an AU$20 service charge.

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MACAU

48Macau hours in

7ZRGD\VLVDOOLWWDNHVIRU%LMX6XNXPDUDQWRÀQG himself completely captivated by Macau’s unique culture words & photography BIJU SUKUMARAN

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images 123RF


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MACAU This page Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral Opposite 1. A western style garden 2. Golden statue in a Thai Temple 3. Our Lady of Carmel Church 4. Inside the church 5. Money Clock Art in Taipa 6. The iconic striped cobblestones of Senate Square 7. A girl walks along Taipa Street

F

ar from the buzz of baccarat tables and slot machines, I find myself in an apartment off a side street of Taipa village, south of the main Macau strip. Aaron, an American expat and performer in one of the area’s many stage productions, is my host for the day. Levi, his shaggy dog with the floppy ears and cheerful disposition of a Cocker Spaniel, pads around the apartment as he describes what it’s like actually living in a town that evokes the sort of mystique found only in James Bond films. As an expat myself, I know that long-term daily life has a profound effect on first impressions. It’s hard to get to know Macau, but as Aaron prepares for work at a job on the stage, he talks of long 62 escape!

walks with his dog, of potlucks, and favourite neighbourhood hangouts. After mixing a protein shake for an intense practice session involving acrobatics and Capoeira he’s out the door, and I’m left with Levi’s soulful gaze and the feeling that maybe, if I tried, I’d have the chance to see another side of Macau’s glitzy exterior. I decide to take a hint from my host, and follow Aaron and Levi’s regular route through a back path at the end of their street, a path filled with side avenues leading to gardens. Heading towards the old Taipa Village centre, I reflect that Aaron’s descriptions of expat life are not too surprising. After all, Macau has been a home to many expats over its long history. The year 1535 marks the date Portuguese traders began anchoring ships

for trade, but in the mid 16th century their presence became more permanent. Houses and churches were erected as a system of tribute was agreed upon for settling the area. But it was only in the 1840s that the Portuguese were allowed selfadministration rights. Today’s Macau is a result of the “one country, two systems” policy, an arrangement that designates Macau a Special Administrative Region, allowing it a degree of self governance economically and politically while under China’s rule. But to visitors, it’s the culture and architecture where this duality is most keenly felt.

PORTUGUESE IDENTITY

I float along with the general movement of a few tourists through colonnaded squares, local children and families lounging at ease, drifting past out-of-place European-style arches and the more expected local Buddhist shrines and temples. I finally reach Rua Do Cunha, Taipa’s walking street, crowded with Chinese tourists jockeying for position to see and taste. The walking street is crammed with small coffee shops, vendors, and art stores. Every shop seems to have a specialty, with its wares open to the street. One specialises in ginger cookies, another in sweets, while the next store, with racks upon racks of stacked and cut dried meat, focuses on jerky. But between the busier shops are the easier to overlook eateries, restaurants like Dumbo, a popular establishment that serves Macanese food, influenced by Chinese, Malay, Indian, and African cuisines. With the tourist frenzy on Rua Do Cunha, I almost miss O Santos, a traditional Portuguese restaurant, located right on the walking street. O Santos is always busy, but it’s a different sort of busy. Peering over grilled sardines, crunchy chorizo, and refreshing homemade sangria, I observe that most of the clients are families, and the chef and owner treats them as such, repeatedly emerging to greet friends in Portuguese, imbuing the restaurant with a close-knit, neighbourhood feel, in odd counterpoint to the studied distance experienced on the more urban Macau Peninsula. Earlier in the day, I was dropped off at this peninsula, at the Macau-Hong Kong ferry terminal, where I headed to the nearby Fisherman’s Wharf. The cobblestone promenade stretches along the coast, covering an area of roughly 111,000 sq m. Re-creations of popular world landmarks are spaced evenly throughout. I passed a Roman-style amphitheatre, the Potala


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Palace, a Middle Eastern fort, and even a volcano. Restaurants, shops, and rides are interspersed, but the streets were quiet, and the monuments had a ghost town-like feel. I later realised that the real action was, as always in Macau, inside the nearby casinos. Continuing along my hosts’ walking path, I stop to take in the Taipa Fortress, a vestige of old Portuguese colonial 64 escape!

fortifications, as well as the Taipa Houses Museum, a series of preserved colonial houses detailing what it was like to live in the Portuguese settlement, when Macau was still making the transition from a fishing village to an international port. The houses march along the shore, tourists and locals alike walking sedately through gardens and relaxing in benches facing the towering new

buildings of the Cotai Strip. As day fades to a more scintillating light, where the flashing neon casinos and hotels gain ascendency, I grab a favourite Macau snack at one of the many corner shops at the border between the village and the Galaxy Casino. A rich, yet simple dish, it’s a whole fried pork chop in a bun. Not quite Portuguese, not quite Chinese, it’s a


MACAU

uniquely evolved Macanese dish that evokes the greasy satisfaction of fish and chips in a bag.

FOR THE WYNN

Energised by this local favourite, I decide to tackle the casinos that made Macau internationally famous, stopping outside the Wynn Hotel where choreographed jets

of water ebb and surge with coloured lights and gouts of fire to the tune of Broadway hits. Inside Wynn is a labyrinth of corridors and rooms, each with a different specialty. There are high-end stores, selling clothing and hand bags, restaurants of all styles, bars, and of course, the main attraction. I head for the slot machines, but the game of choice in Macau is baccarat. The

atmosphere around the card tables is much different than in Las Vegas, emphasising a different mentality of Eastern gamblers. To them, this is serious business, more akin to investment, than having a good time on the floor, and no place is this more apparent than the more private rooms for high rollers.

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SOUTH ISLAND SOJOURN

The next day I find myself in Coloane, the southernmost island, now connected to Taipa by land reclamation. Cotai has a beach town feel, with forested hiking and biking trails, campgrounds, and a stretch of black sand beach within sight of the Westin. Nearby the popular local restaurant, Fernandos, serves up Portuguese faire and drinks with a relaxed atmosphere. A stop in Coloane Village is mandatory, both for the churches and architecture, and for a taste of Lord Stowe’s egg tarts, small puff pastries filled with caramelised custard. Passing by the chapel of St Francis Xavier munching tarts, its bright yellow facade fitting into the multi-hued pastels of houses and restaurant fronts, the relaxed atmosphere is all pervasive. But it’s the iconic ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral on the Macau peninsula that 66 escape!

draw me now, and I follow hordes past Senado Square after a cab ride to what is considered Macau’s historic town centre. The square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with shops selling antiques, and serves as a natural meeting point and rest stop before heading to the cathedral, its stained and worn face reflecting the history of Macau as surely as any of the museums in Taipa. One block away I find Macau Soul, a small but upscale eatery specialising in wines, tapas, and high-end spirits like single malt scotch and Portuguese wines. I’ve seen the locals’ love of wine, especially in Taipa, while older locals gather for a sip and a bite of grilled sardines. And I learn even more by an afternoon visit to the Macau Wine Museum, where a ticket will not only get you into the museum, but also a complementary wine tasting, and entrance to the Grand Prix

Museum next Door. There visitors can learn about Macau’s love affair with racing, with replicas of the old racing cars, dedications to racing champions, and a model of the old racing course. People are drawn to this former colony in the Pearl River Delta for the thrill, for the excitement, and the spectacle. I’ve eaten the food, I’ve seen the lavish hotels and casinos and the museums. But at this moment, I’ve placed a bet on a greyhound at Macau’s Yat Yuen Canidrome. The stands are sparsely filled, but the trainers have just finished walking their charges. The dogs are in their starting positions and as the race starts the white rabbit flies, launching streaks of grey across the marked path. A roulette table twirls, a slot machine spins, I’m yelling along with my fellow gamblers, and in these fleeting moments before the finish, I’m drawn into Macau and the thrill of the race.


FACT BOX - Macau LAOS Macau has one of the biggest gambling areas in the world, after Las Vegas

GETTING THERE

GETTING AROUND

Tiger Airways flies from Singapore Changi Airport to Macau International Airport, while AirAsia caters flights from Kuala Lumpur.

Buses and taxis are the major mode of transport in Macau. The construction of a light rail system is currently being planned. Bikes can be rented in Taipa Village.

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A humid subtropical climate sees high humidity between 75% and 90%. July is the warmest month while January has the coolest temperature of the year

CURRENCY MOP$10 = S$1.50 / RM4

TIME ZONE GMT +8

CALLING CODE The code for Macau is +853.

LANGUAGE

images HONGKONG TOURISM; 123RF

Macau’s official languages are Cantonese and Portuguese. English language is hard to get by in Macau but service staff at most midrange and top-end hotels, casinos, restaurants and tourist

THE RESIDENT GODDESS

PEARL OF THE EAST

The origin of the name “Macau” comes from the Chinese goddess known as A-Ma or Ling Ma. She is especially popular amongst seafarers and fishermen, who worship her for protection in the sea.

A short ferry ride away lays the effervescent Hong Kong, which is a shopping and food paradise for people around the world. What’s fascinating about this region is the amazing juxtaposition of old and new – lines of stores carrying luxury brands from Louis Vuitton to Burberry; night markets with stalls hawking street food, souvenirs and artefacts.

zones are able to converse pretty well.

VISA Singaporeans and Malaysians are not required to get a Visa for entry into Macau for a period of up to 30 days.

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THAILAND

ER CITY REPORT

Bangkok in a Heartbeat Asia’s very own ‘City of Angels’ is loud, colourful and delicious – just the way we like it. words NATALIE JOY LEE

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THAILAND

city we know where shopping on a shoestring budget is entirely possible. Something new seems to be happening each time we return; the hardest decision to make would probably be trying to extend our stay, how many spa sessions we can squeeze in, and if we can possibly slot in five meals a day – oh and still make space for the splendid cocktails available at Bangkok’s premier nightlife area, Royal City Avenue.

image RENAISSANCE

B

angkok is a city of many contrasts. This is where you’ll find a vibrant metropolis with glitzy skyscrapers, mega malls popping up one after the other, and international hotel names jostling for space to build their properties. Then there’s the other end of the spectrum – bustling open-air street markets, narrow sois (alleyways) that may not be as clean as we like but probably our best bets for achingly delicious fare, and one

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VERTIGO MOON BAR This is the place to see and be seen, where the hip and happening crowd chill on the rooftop grill and bar of the 61-storey Banyan Tree Bangkok. Sited on a former helipad, elevated platforms and low walls ensure spectacular 360° views of Bangkok even as you tuck into succulently grilled seafood and premium steaks in a luxurious ambience. 21/100 South Sathon Rd. Tel: +66 2679 1200 www.banyantree.com

AFTER YOU DESSERT CAFE It’s hard to miss the snaking queues often seen here, crowds waiting to order the café’s famous desserts, cakes and notably, its toasts. If here for breakfast, dig into their signature baked egg toast: a satisfyingly thick bread stack with melted cheese oozing out beneath the egg and ham. Other top sellers: Shibuya honey toast, hazelnut pancake with nutella sauce, and the unique toffee macchiato to kickstart your day.

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EAT

It’s East meets West, plus a dash of spice thrown in, as you go around savouring the various fares Bangkok has to offer. Being Thailand’s capital also means you’ll find no shortage of swanky restaurants serving international cuisines, though you should not miss a trip to their open air food markets – a perfect opportunity to experiment and tantalise your palates.

THE VEGETARIAN COTTAGE They call their food ‘happiness you can eat’, probably since all dishes are vegetarian, using the healthy soy as a core ingredient. The best part: their meat alternatives really do taste like the real stuff, and are ridiculously delicious. Oozing an English cottage charm, the fine-dining venue serves up Thai, Chinese, Japanese and European fare, with a freezer stocked full of packed mock meats – garlic sausage, lamb, shrimp and more – so you can pack some health home with you. Bur Dubai creek side Al Seef Road. Tel: +971 4 232 9333

GREYHOUND CAFÉ Food meets fashion at this design-centric café – from the décor, furnishing, waiters’ attires right down to the menu and dishes with creative twists. Initially established as a men’s casual wear store in 1980, Greyhound later expanded to the food industry, the upscale café now a popular haunt with locals and tourists. Must try items: French onion soup, Greyhound famous fried chicken wings, spaghetti with crab meat in prawn cream sauce, and complicated noodle – a tasty layering of fresh noodle sheets, lettuce, minced meat and chilli. The Emporium, 622 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: +66 2664 8663 www.greyhoundcafe.co.th

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1. A sweet and savoury tea affair at the posh Erawan Tea Room 2. Dining in style and creatively presented food at Greyhound Cafe 3. It’s dining with a seriously awesome view at Vertigo and Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Bangkok

ERAWAN TEA ROOM Over at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok’s resident Thai restaurant, dining is a luxurious yet affordable affair, especially with its famous Thai afternoon tea set, served from 2.30pm to 6pm daily. Directly overlooking the sacred Erawan Shrine, choose from both Thai and Chinese iced or hot teas, with flavours like lemongrass, Thai black assam with rose, and oolong. Signature dishes include the Erawan fried rice (with crab roe and chilli paste), Yam Pla Dook Foo (catfish salad with green mango dressing) and the Sangkaya Maprao (coconut crème brulee). 494 Rajdmari Rd. Tel: +66 2254 1234 www.erawanbangkok.com/tearoom.php

images GRAND HYATT ERAWAN BANGKOK; NATALIE JOY LEE; BANYAN TREE BANGKOK

Siam Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Rd. Tel: +66 2610 7659 www.afteryoudessertcafe.com


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ATTRACTIONS

Sights are not just limited to downtown Bangkok, there are many fascinating areas waiting to be explored and that are just a convenient hour’s car ride away. Blessed with a charming history, rich culture and a rising arts scene, there’s always something new to expect each time you visit.

SIAM WINERY A 45 minutes drive away from central Bangkok is South East Asia’s largest winery, located in Samutsakorn province. Learn all about the intricacies of wine-making in the 120 minutes tour, which include stops at their de-stemmer machines where grapes are crushed, the fermentation room filled with barrels holding up to 1200 gallons of juice, and the bottling assembly where brews are stored and labelling done. End the trip at their mart, where you can cart home bottles of Spy Wine Coolers – aromatic blends of wine, sparkling water and tropical fruits in seven flavours.

1. The imposing and majestic royal Vimanmek Mansion Museum, filled with the Kingdom’s historical treasures 2 + 3. TCDC’s permanent exhibition area and Resource Centre 4. Fermenting of wines in process at South East Asia’s larget winery 5. Gliding past the glowingly gorgeous Temple of Dawn

images NATALIE JOY LEE; TCDC; BANYAN REE BANGKOK

9/2 Moo 3 Tumbon Bangtorud Mueang District Tel: +66 0348 4533 440 (ext 223) www.siamwinery.com

VIMANMEK MANSION MUSEUM It’s a pity no photography is allowed in this former home of Thailand’s King Rama V. Still, hundreds come daily for hourly tours through the world’s largest wooden teak mansion, where guides take you through 72 rooms built in Victorian style, with antique photos of the royal family interspersed throughout. The King loved visiting Europe, evident through his many English memorabilia; as well as a deep love for his subjects, demonstrated by rooms housing gifts the Thais gave the King while on his sightseeing trips. Note that proper dressing is required, the best is to go with jeans and a tee-shirt. Dusit Palace Park. Tel: +66 2281 8166 www.vimanmek.com

ASPARA CRUISE BY BANYAN TREE What better way to experience Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River than sailing across it –

with a luxurious dinner spread to boot? Operated by the Banyan Tree brand, set sail in a vintage teakwood vessel, enjoying famous sights like the Temple of Dawn and Royal Palace, while tucking into contemporary Thai cuisine, canapés and various drinks (alcohol options available). River City Pier. Tel: +66 2679 1200 www.banyantree.com

AKSRA THEATRE Thai culture is world-famous, and the best place to enjoy a traditional puppet performance is at the Aksra Theatre. With a seating capacity of 600, the modern stage lights up with orchestral shows and classic dances, though visitors mostly come for the Ramakian: where puppeteers narrate elaborate stories of Hindu God Vishnu through striking humanlike poses with their knee-high puppets. 8/1 Rangnam Rd. Tel: +66 2677 8888 www.aksratheatre.com

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THAILAND CREATIVE & DESIGN CENTER Serving as Thailand’s leading resource centre for all things related to design, the 800sqm area is divided into a temporary exhibitions zone, and a permanent exhibitions area exploring the cultures of 10 leading design countries like France, Italy and Japan. For first time visitors, get a free pass into the TCDC Resource Center: a fascinating library housing over 26,000 design related publications, plus cosy reading rooms, multimedia rooms and iPods to help stimulate guests’ creativities. The Emporium, 622 Sukhumvit Rd Tel: +66 2664 7667 www.tcdc.or.th

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SHOPPING

Known as one of Asia’s favourite shopping destinations, your shopping extravaganza begins at Central World Plaza, after which it’s pretty much a straight walk down Bangkok’s famous shopping strip, where you can mall hop across Siam Paragon, The Emporium, MBK Center, Big C and warehouse paradise – Platinum Fashion Mall.

1. Just some of the funky and creative items you’ll find at Asiatique The Riverfront 2. Retail therapy fulfilled at the mega Central World Plaza 3. A smaller replica of San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge, hanging impressively across two floors at Terminal 21

2,88 Sukhumvit Soi 19(Wattana) Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: +66 2108 0888 www.terminal21.co.th

CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET Probably one of the most famous outdoor markets, the sprawling Chatuchak is 15,000 stalls crammed into narrow alleyways, selling literally anything you can think of. Split into 27 zones – the outermost sells clothing, footwear, the odd florist stall and even pets; further in are accessories, pottery, furniture, Thai silk and souvenir stops. Avoid noontime where it gets crowded, and load up on iced drinks and street food available at every turn, and yummy fruity treats like guava with chilli. Download a map of the place before your trip for easier navigation.

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Ratchaprasong Intersection, Patumwan. Tel: +66 2640 7000 www.centralworld.co.th

PLATINUM FASHION MALL Anyone who has been to Bangkok will tell you that this is the place to go for fashion finds at warehouse prices. Thailand’s largest with 2,500 shops; the mall recently built a second extension to its current building, promising shoppers a dizzying array of apparels, accessories, footwear, bags and even evening wear. Our tip: set aside at least half a day to explore and buy what you like on the spot – since chances are it’ll be near impossible to find your way back after. Petchaburi Rd. Tel: +66 2121 8000 www.platinumfashionmall.com

ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT Injecting life into the Chao Phraya River district is this massive shopping and lifestyle complex, with over 1,500 shops segmented into covered zones designed to imitate Bangkok’s historic east Asiatic warehouses. Other than fashion, jewellery and home décor, this is the ultimate souvenir haunt – and at very affordable prices too. Dine at the many restaurants, bars and beer garden available, and perhaps even catch a performance by Calypso – the famous ladyboy cabaret.

Thanon Kamphaeng Phet 3 www.chatuchak.org

CENTRAL WORLD PLAZA The largest lifestyle shopping mall in Bangkok, the 550,000 sqm complex boasts over 500 shops, over 100 dining choices and also the host venue for several local film festivals and fashion events. Other than stocking local

threads from Naraya and Jim Thompson at the Thai designer’s zone, find also international names such as Miss Sixty, Zara and Kate Spade. Fill your tummies at the award-winning Central Food Hall on level seven, leaving space also for other snacks knacks scattered across the floor.

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2194 Charoenkrung 72-74 Rd. Tel: +66 2108 4488 www.thaiasiatique.com

images ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT; NATALIE JOY LEE

TERMINAL 21 More than retail (over 600 shops!), this new mall also provides its visitors a sensory experience – all nine floors designed to bring the world’s top cities together. Enter the main doors and arrive into the Caribbean floor, then head up to see Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco and finally Hollywood on the topmost level. Floors follow an airportinspired layout, with arrival and departure signs as you hop on escalators, and funky themed toilets reflecting the level you are on.


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the hip hop zone consistently attracting more to the dance floor. Tel: +66 2203 0936 www.route66club.com

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NIGHTLIFE

images BED SUPPERCLUB; SIROCCO; VIVA & AVIV THE RIVER

Hosting some of the most vibrant nightlife scenes in Asia, Bangkok’s Royal City Avenue (tell your cabbies RCA and they’ll know) is the launch pad for party revellers; the various pubs and bars a pulsing technicolour of energy catering to a diverse range of clientele who’ll pack the clubs full almost every other night.

SIROCCO One of Bangkok’s most coveted dining spots, dinner will be all the way up on the 63rd floor of Tower Club at lebua, also known as the world’s highest al fresco restaurant. Here, chefs will serve up quality Meditarranean fare using the freshest ingredients and seafood, while you sway to the beats of live jazz music played nightly and sip your cocktail from the award-winning Sky Bar. Don’t miss a trip to the deck – which fans out dramatically towards the highest 64th floor, leaving you literally halfway up the sky.

1. The chic, all-white interior of Bed Supperclub 2. Wine and dine at one of Bangkok’s most coveted spots, the Sirocco 3. Bartenders whipping up your drinks as you take to the dance floor at Viva & Aviv The River

11 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: +66 2651 3537 www.bedsupperclub.com/bangkok

VIVA & AVIV THE RIVER There are plenty of chill-out spots along the Chao Phraya River, though what really pulled us into this bar was its pirate-themed interior, the alfresco area equally welcoming with constant breezes and splendid views of the River. Opened by a Swedish trio – the same people behind renowned event catering business Flow – Viva naturally has a stunning drinks selection (think names like Cuban Smuggler and St. Tropez Smash), while DJs get the dance floor going every evening with funk, hip-hop and pop tunes. River City, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Yota Rd. Tel: +66 2639 6305 www.vivaaviv.com

BREW As its name suggests, the brewery serves up Thailand’s largest selection of beers and ciders, a variety of over 140 bottled labels and 10 available on draft. For the uninitiated, a wall chart dictates and contrasts the various beer and cider varieties, though the mostly-savvy crowds who throng the place have mostly gotten their favourites down at the back of their minds. Hungry? Grab a nibble from the kitchen, offering bar snacks and platters with pan-European flavours.

The Dome at lebua, 1055 Silom Road. Tel: +66 2624 9555 www.lebua.com/en/the-dome-dining

ROUTE 66 The name itself is a pulling factor, paying tribute to America’s famous highway. Almost always packed with party goers and especially on weekends, the club plays host to the young and trendy crowd, where one can pick from four zones – north, south, east and west – all playing different music genres, with

BED SUPPERCLUB The famed restaurant not only has its address in RCA – Bangkok’s premier nightlife area – its four walls also regularly welcomes the rich and beautiful, who don’t mind the expensive cover charges. Of clean lines and stark white interiors, its floors may host the posh partying clientele, though patrons of the club also see Bed as an art gallery, theatre and at its core a dining establishment serving modern eclectic cuisine helmed by Chef Dan Ivarie.

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Sukhumvit 55 Soi 13. Tel: +66 2185 2366 www.brewbkk.com

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THAILAND DREAM HOTEL BANGKOK Blending the exotic elements of the Oriental East with the whimsical playfulness of the West, Dream is the brainchild of American hotelier Vikram Chatwal, who had visions of creating ‘Hautel Couture’ stays. Located in the bustling Sukhumvit area and near the new Terminal 21 mall, the 195-room boutique hotel is anything but ordinary – think ethereal light glowing from beneath your bed, 300-threadcount Egyptian bed linen for a good night’s rest, and a hypnotically designed lobby. 10 Sukhumvit Soi 15. Tel: +66 2254 8500 www.dreambkk.com

MANDARIN ORIENTAL BANGKOK Wake up to glorious views of the Chao Phraya daily in all 358 rooms of this luxury hotel situated beside the famous river. For a bit of history, check into the themed Authors’ Suites – in tribute to famous authors Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and James Michener who stayed here years ago. Unwind with a good rubdown in The Oriental Spa’s rustic, restored century-old teakwood house, while culinary fans should also signup at the Cooking School, taking home some of Thailand’s best recipes.

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HOTELS There’s never a lack of places to rest your head, many of which are located in proximity to Bangkok’s main shopping spots in the Chit Lom area. From homely residential apartments, fascinating boutique stays to luxurious five-star international offerings – options are aplenty, with new hotels popping up almost every few months.

RENAISSANCE BANGKOK RATCHAPRASONG HOTEL One of the brand names under the Marriott International brand’s umbrella is this luxurious five-star hotel, a sleek new landmark in bustling Ratchaprasong district, just minutes away from Central World Plaza. Designed primarily with glass, stainless steel and marble for a classy finish, Renaissance bridges the gap between business and leisure, where all 333 rooms are spaciously stylish, and modern glass-enclosed bathrooms blend seamlessly with subtle Thai touches. Don’t forget to check in at Fei-Ya – the award-winning Chinese restaurant specialising in wood-roasted Peking duck and 30 rare teas imported from China. 518/8 Ploenchit Rd. Tel: +66 2125 5000 www.renaissancebangkok.com

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1. The stunning mood lit lobby of Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel, where a resident DJ keeps spirits high with the latest tunes and mixes all day long 2. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s alluring Oriental Spa settings 3. Overseas but still with a taste of home at Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Bangkok

FRASER SUITES SUKHUMVIT BANGKOK For luxury with a taste of home, the 163 serviced apartments by the Frasers Hospitality group should do the trick. All suites come with fully-equipped kitchens, Internet, online concierge, stylish living rooms and spacious ensuite bedrooms; plus access to the pool with sunbathing decks, gym, sauna and a children’s play area. Nana BTS station is close by, though adventurous ones might opt for the complimentary daily tuk tuk service available, zooming across the Thai capital in glorious abandon. 38/8 Sukhumvit soi 11. Tel: +66 2207 9300 www.bangkok-sukhumvit.frasershospitality.com

THE SUKOSOL Recently rebranded (previously the Siam City Hotel), the Sukosol also renovated its rooms in the Ayuthaya Wing – coincidentally the most sought-after by guests. Find value-added facilities like beauty salons, laundry services and money changers; while admiring hundreds of exquisite Chinese and European antiques on display too. Families travelling with kids will be glad to know the hotel is child friendly, offering one-to-one babysitting services and complimentary stays for children under the age of 12. 477 Si Ayuthaya Rd. Tel: +66 2247 0123 www.siamhotels.com/siamcity

images RENAISSANCE BANGKOK RATCHPRASONG HOTEL; MANDARIN ORIENTAL BANGKOK; FRASER SUITES SUKHUMVIT

48 Oriental Avenue. Tel: +66 2659 9000 www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok


FACT BOX - THAILAND Bangkok Clink glasses with your friends and yell ‘chai yo!’ which means ‘cheers!’ in Thai. GETTING THERE Several airlines operate regular flights to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport from Singapore, including Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Thai Airways. From Kuala Lumpur, direct flights to Bangkok include AirAsia, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways.

GETTING AROUND Public transportation is widely available and relatively cheap. Buses, taxis, the Bangkok Metro

and the BTS Skytrain are popular modes of transport. Most taxis operate on a metered fare but it is still a good idea to enquire before getting in, as some cabbies might quote one-off rates that are probably way higher than the actual amount required. Hertz cars are available for rent at Suvarnabhumi Airport’s Arrival Hall terminal, on the second floor.

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images RARINJINDA WELLNESS SPA; VIVA & AVIV THE RIVER; NATALIE JOY LEE

Get Your Spa Fix at RarinJinda Wellness Spa The urban spa operates outlets in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phuket, though the one in the Thai capital only operates day spa services. Operating at high international standards, you can pick from traditional rubs such as the aromatherapy oil massage, hot stones massage and a Thai herbal massage. Though being the country known for their fantastic massages also means you can expect state-of-the-art facilities for more advanced treatments – Splashy Vichy Massage, Hydropool Therapy, Infrared Sauna, Herbal Steam, Cellutech and more. Book your spa session at Grande Centre Point Hotel and Residences, but if you prefer somewhere in the prime area, the brand has recently opened a branch called Let’s Relax at Bangkok’s latest mall – Terminal 21.

Highest Lowest

CURRENCY 100 Baht = S$3.97/RM10

TIME ZONE

Bangkok has a tropical climate and is hot all year round. The coolest period lasts from November to February; March and April make up the hot season. Rainy days begin from September through October, where rainfall can get pretty extreme.

GMT +7hrs

CALLING CODE To call into Bangkok, dial +66 2 before the number.

LANGUAGE Thai is the official language in Bangkok and is also the most commonly spoken one. Few Thai people are fluent in English, though those in the tourism trade

should be better versed in the language.

VISA Whether on leisure or business trips, Singapore and Malaysia citizens do not need a visa to enter Indonesia if they do not stay longer than 30 days.

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CANADA

Vancouver

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Blessed with gorgeous weather, charming scenery, and pleasant food, Vancouver is home away from home for this Singapore-足born writer words & photography DESIREE FOO


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Buntzen Lake is located North of Port Moody, about an hour’s drive east of Vancouver

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W

hen I was living in Singapore, I remember thinking to myself on those blistering hot afternoons and sticky humid nights, “I wish someone would build a giant glass dome over our heads, and air-condition the entire island”. Seeing as that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, I constantly packed my bags and took off to other parts of the world, searching for a place like home, except with better weather. Enter, Vancouver. Located on the West coast of Canada, the weather is mild, with average

Agassiz-Tulip of the Valley Festival

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temperatures settling at a cool 11°C. During the winter and summer months, the lows average at 1°C, and highs average at 22°C. Although snowfall is rare in lower mainland, rain is a staple diet for the luscious foliage that grows in abundance, creating a city that never feels too far removed from nature. This sort of weather is perfect for fashionistas to layer their clothes, creating that casual-chic look that when attempted in Singapore, is simply a recipe for a heatstroke. The thing about Vancouver I enjoy the most is undoubtedly the dog-friendly environment. Dogs here aren’t pets, they’re family. There are dog parks in every

neighbourhood, beaches that are specially designated for dogs, cafes and restaurants with a patio commonly have dogs lounging by their owners’ feet, an abundance of specialty pet stores selling pet accessories, grooming services, doggy day care and get this, dog food that has been tested and certified as edible by humans (thehonestkitchen.com)! And unlike the streets of Orchard Road where the only dogs we see are handbag-sized Chihuahuas stuffed into tote bags, the streets of downtown are filled with people proudly walking their dogs, and being stopped ever so often by passersby who can’t resist showering the pooches with some love.


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As a city situated so close to nature, there are tonnes of options available to those who want to take a break from the city. During winter, one can always book a cabin up in Whistler for a weekend getaway. The drive from downtown Vancouver up to Whistler takes only two hours via the gorgeous sea-to-sky highway, and for those who wish to bypass the crowd and explore other ski trails, there is always Grouse and Cyprus Mountain, each 20 and 30 minutes away from downtown respectively. If you’re in Vancouver during the summer months, you should definitely attempt the grind on Grouse Mountain. With a peak elevation of 853m and a

distance of only 2.9km, you can only imagine how steep this is. I’ve always taken pride in my ability to keep relatively fit, but all that was crushed on the grind, and I was put to shame by senior citizens who cheered me on as they effortlessly breezed past me. It was humbling to say the least. But after 1hr 45mins (average time for novice hikers range from 1hr30 to 2hrs), I was finally at the peak. If you’re a sucker for tourist paraphernalia, the peak sells t-shirts that say, “I survived the Grind”. But please don’t. That’s akin to buying a shirt that says, “Singapore is a Fine city”. Adrenaline junkies can get their fix from skydiving with a 45 minutes drive outside of Vancouver in Abbotsford (www.vancouver-

skydiving.bc.ca). First jumps cost US$255 if you pre-book your jump date, otherwise be prepared to drop US$285 if you just decide to show up. Prices are pretty astronomical, but on a clear day, the price is worth its weight as you get an unobstructed bird’s eye view of the horizon. Rather than making it a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am affair, bring as many friends as you like, and turn it into a full day party. Show them just how Asian you are by squeezing every cent out of your dollar! There are volleyball nets, picnic benches and bbq pits available for use all day. Unless you got sick from your jump, then those are pretty useless to you, but you’d be glad to know that there are clean toilets on site for you to freshen up.

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I’LL HAVE A DOUBLE-DOUBLE

Vancouver is famous for its abundance of coffee shops with local names such as Waves Coffeehouse, Blenz, Bean Around the World, JJ Beans, and Café Artigiano serving up excellent brews. My weekends are usually spent hitting up Main Street, ordering myself a large cup of London Fog with a shot of espresso (if you have a chance, try it. You won’t regret it!), savouring it while I read the day’s news on my iPad. Should the sun be out, I would sit outdoors and people watch, striking up conversations with whoever is unfortunate enough to be sitting next to me. If Bubbles (my dog) is with me, she’s usually a fantastic conversation starter, and I usually leave the café having made quite a few new friends. My observation is that for any single guy/girl hoping to hook up, their best weapon would be to invest 1 2

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in a cute puppy, for nothing draws attention more innocuously than a four-legged furry sidekick. After this, I would walk along the individual shops that line Main Street, perusing their offerings of comic books, second hand shops, vintage clothing, antique shops and end my day at Front and Company (www.frontandcompany.ca), a consignment shop that offers the best selection of clothes, shoes and other odds and ends to complete a hipster look. While many frown upon the idea of wearing second hand clothes, I personally love the thought of acquiring pre-loved goods, and I enjoy constructing elaborate fantasies about the clothing’s owner just to make myself feel like I got my hands on a treasure. Not to mention, buying second hand helps reduce the amount of goods ending up in the landfill too!

BURGER BINGE

With eating listed as our national hobby, naturally I was worried about not finding enough food to satisfy my pampered palette. Thank goodness, like Singapore, there is no shortage of good food in this city. Besides the usual spread of Western, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food that we can find easily back home, there is an abundance of other culinary pleasures such as Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, Middle Eastern, African and Mexican. For vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions (egg/wheat/gluten/ dairy-free), there is no scarcity of restaurants that will go that extra mile to make it their business to feed those with plenty of clauses in their food orders. Growing up in Singapore, I never realised just how lucky I was to have food available almost 24/7. Here, upon the

1. Capilano Dam’s reservoir 2. Hadden Park (One of the many places where dogs are allowed to be offleash and play in the water) 3. JJ Beans on main street 4. Fritz Fryhouse, home of the best poutine 5. Front and Company

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stroke of 10, most restaurants close for the day, and the only food available would be the MacDonald’s drive-thru. Interestingly, if you want to order food from the drive-thru, you must do so from a car. On our way up to Whistler, we met a couple who was starving, but the MacDonald’s staff refused to take their order because they said it’s a drive-thru and could only take orders from drivers! Fortunately, Naam is a vegetarian restaurant that is open 24/7. Started over 30 years ago in the hippy district, the restaurant aims to serve healthy, hearty food by heaping your “Dragon bowls” with mountains of vegetables and whole grains. Burgers are made of succulent vegetarian patties, and desserts are an assortment of pies and cakes that come with gluten-free options, so everyone gets to have their cake and eat it. But just because it’s healthy, 3 4

doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. In Singapore, I always judge the quality of food by 1) the crowded, 2) how bad the service is, and 3) how little attention they pay to dressing up the food. If the place is still packed despite bad service and ugly food, it is highly likely that the food is worth going back for. And that’s exactly how it is with Naam (2724 West Fourth Ave. Tel: +604 738 7151; www.thenaam.com).

tea, then have yourself a little taste of Taiwan in the outlet at 3377 Kingsway. Apart from its offering of Taiwanese food on the menu, the place is stocked with Asians sporting a collection of miniature soft toys on their mobile phones, complete with waitresses batting their false eyelashes and asking if you would like “preals” in your drink (www.bubbleworld.ca).

A CUP OF ASIA

Even if you’re not a fan of bubble tea, Bubbleworld is definitely worth a visit. The milk teas are rich and creamy, with a thick layer of froth on top. The pearls have the right consistency of gooeyness, and are always perfectly coated with the right amount of honey. My favourite of the lot would be Earl Grey milk tea; a perfect combination of East meets West. But if you’re not in the mood for bubble

TOP FROM LEFT 1. Downtown Vancouver, Robson Street 2. Patio seating at JJ Beans on Main Street 3. One of the many street performers that pop by during the summer months 4. Bean around the world in Mainstreet

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CANADA

EXPERIENCE VANCOUVER

In order to get a sense of what Vancouver is about, spend a couple of days chatting up the locals and immersing yourself in its natural wonder. DAY 1 ˆÌÊÕ«Ê>Êv>À“iÀ½Ãʓ>ÀŽiÌÊ>˜`ÊÌ>ŽÊÌœÊ some of locals (www.eatlocal.org). There is a substantial portion of people here who are both environmental and health-conscious. The vendors are friendly, and always happy to share tips that range from growing your own tomatoes, to selecting the freshest meats. Besides fresh food, there are usually stands or food trucks that sell cooked food, so tuck in to a meal that is made from wholesome locally sourced ingredients. In the afternoon, make your way to Granville Island. Previously an industrial sawmill, the place has gone through several revamps, and is now converted into a public market, an art school, and an assortment of restaurants and shops. Take your time to wander through the market, and gawk at the spread of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, meats, cheeses, confectionary, sweets, breads… grab a few items to go, and make your way to the seats by the docks, and watch the brazen seagulls steal food from the unsuspecting passerby. Be warned though, these birds can drop deadly bombs on you, so either wear a hat, or Žii«ÊޜÕÀÊw˜}iÀÃÊVÀœÃÃi`Ê̅>ÌÊޜսÀiʘœÌÊ target practice for these gulls. For dinner, make your way to any of ̅iÊâ>Ž>Þ>½Ãʈ˜Ê`œÜ˜ÌœÜ˜°Ê/…iʘ>“iÊ “izakaya” consists of “i” (to stay) and “sakaya” (sake shop), indicating that izakaya originated from sake shops that

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allowed customers to sit on the premises to drink. Here, alcohol is served, but the patrons mainly come here for the tapas style of food orders. Guu (www. guu-izakaya.com) is my go-to spot for Izakayas. Here, you can get the regular dishes such as sashimi (raw fish slices), okinomiyaki (Japanese pancake) and takoyaki (octopus encased in batter and fried), alongside more interesting dishes such as Kabocha Korokke (pumpkin and boiled egg croquet), Nankotsu (deep fried chicken knee), and Oden, their very own version of what looks like Yong Tau Fu to me. For Oden, there is a soup base, and you choose from a list of items such as eggs, fishcake, fried tofu, sticky yam cake… I wonder which came first? Oden, or Yong Tau Fu? Hmmmm… DAY 2 ,ˆÃiÊ>˜`Êň˜itÊ̽ÃÊ̈“iÊ̜ÊܜÀŽÊœvvÊܓiÊ œvʏ>ÃÌʘˆ}…̽ÃÊ`ˆ˜˜iÀtÊ-Ì>ÀÌÊ`ÀˆÛˆ˜}ʘœÀ̅ÊvœÀÊ about 20 minutes, and make your way to Lynn Canyon Park. Located in North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a well-kept secret from the public, as it is a free alternative to the otherwise pricey and overrated Capilano Suspension Bridge. Hanging at 50m above the gurgling brook, the bridge is flanked by towering trees and a cascading waterfall by the side. Should the trails get too much for you, just stop, and jump into one of the many swimming holes to cool off! Close by is the Capilano Dam. Although there is nothing much to do here, it is a pretty spot to have a picnic, and just savour ̅iÊۈiÜʜvʘ>ÌÕÀi°Ê*>ÀŽˆ˜}ʈÃÊvÀiiʭ̅>̽ÃÊ hard to find in Vancouver!), and you can stay there as long as you like. Follow the Àœ>`ÊvœÀÊ>˜œÌ…iÀÊwÛiʓˆ˜ÕÌiÃ]Ê>˜`ÊޜսÊ find yourself at the foot of Grouse Mountain. You can either get to the top via the Grind, or, take the easy way out and ride the gondola. Either way, the view at the top is amazing. For dinner and drinks, head over to Yaletown. The place is a fusion of Emerald Hill with Holland Village, and is notoriously famous for harboring yuppies. There are four rows of restaurants and watering holes to choose from, and lots of people to watch.


FACT BOX - Vancouver There are more than 200 parks in the Vancouver area

GETTING THERE Philippine Airlines fly from Singapore to Vancouver International Airport with one stopover, while Delta Airlines fly to Vancouver with two stopovers. From Kuala Lumpur, fly Royal Dutch Airlines to Vancouver International Airport with one stopover at Amsterdam.

GETTING AROUND Vancouver is well served by bus service. If one fancies a more scenic route, rail options and public rapid transit are also available. Hertz cars can be rented from Vancouver International Airport.

CLIMATE

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STANLEY PARK

images 123RF

6>˜VœÕÛiÀ½ÃÊwÀÃÌÊÕÀL>˜Ê «>ÀŽÊ>˜`ʜ˜iʜvÊ̅iÊVˆÌÞ½ÃÊ main attractions, there are plenty to do at this park for a leisure day out. Attracting more than eight million visitors every year, this park boasts a paved 8.8km seawall path circling the area. Forested by an estimated half a million tress, it is perfect for family picnics and gatherings. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium, located within the park, where it houses a range of marine life from dolphins, belugas, sea lions to sea otters.

A GRAVY KIND OF LOVE Although Poutine is a French-Canadian dish that originated in Quebec, there are restaurants everywhere that serve this on their menu. It is essentially a bed of fries that is topped with bits of cheese curds, and drenched with gravy. Sounds simple enough, but the kryptonite lies in the gravy sauce. Fritz European Fry House’s gravy manages to find the perfect balance of that smoky-salty flavour to complement its freshly crisped fries. Throw in the melted cheese into the equation, and that’s the perfect post-clubbing comfort food. Step aside egg prata and Milo dinosaur, next to Poutine, you have lost your superpowers (718 Davie St. Tel: +604 684 0811; www.fritzeuropeanfryhouse.com).

Highest Lowest

One of the warmest Canadian cities, Vancouver experiences dry summer months, but receive high rainfall frequencies from November to March

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT VANCOUVER

CURRENCY

UÊ/…iÊVˆÌÞʅi`Ê̅iÊÓä£äÊ Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics. UÊÎx¯ÊœvÊ6>˜VœÕÛiÀ½ÃÊ population is foreign born, and this city has a very large Asian population, many of which are former residents of Hong Kong. UÊÌʈÃÊ̅iʅœ“iÊ>Ài>ʜvÊ artistes like Ryan Reynolds, Pamela Anderson and Jason Priestley.

TIME ZONE

CA$1 = S$1.20/RM3.10

GMT -8 with DST +1 hour

LANGUAGE Most of the population speaks English as a first or second language. As a cosmopolitan with multicultural groups, other languages spoken include Chinese, Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish.

CALLING CODE The code for Canada is +1 and the city codes are 236, 778 and 604.

VISA Singaporeans and Malaysians are not required to get a Visa for entry into Canada for a period of up to 30 days and 90 days respectively.

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WEEKEND

Splish Splash Enjoy a series of water slides at Waterbom Bali, where fun meets adventure words DARREN WONG images WATERBOM BALI

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he year 1993 has a colourful calendar of events that took place around the world. It was the year when Bill Clinton became the president of the United States; the bombings that occurred in Bombay; and Whitney Houston at the top of her game with the hit song ‘I Will Always Love You’… It was also the year that marked the completion of Waterbom Bali. Waterbom Bali experienced a tough beginning, as the concept of a waterslide park struck the locals as new and unusual. Many were not able to grasp the idea of 84 escape!

engaging in recreation there when beaches and sea activities appeared aplenty around the island. Set in a tropical landscape, Waterbom Bali carries the facade of a lush green park, riding on the opportunity of Kuta, a district where greenery is abundant. WaterBom Bali has successfully managed to avoid constructing a concrete complex, and instead, has kept its nearly four hectares of natural heritage in tact – the use of fibreglass on the slides help to blend in with the green backdrop. It has previously been recognised at the ‘Industry Leader’ by

the World Waterpark Association, then awarded a silver certification in 2011 for being a sustainable green business that is recognised by ‘EarthCheck International’, and finally given an Emerald award for the most conscious – spiritual, environmental and human harmony – tourism destination in Bali.

THE SLIDES

As the morning begins, most rides are getting warmed up for the day. It won’t be long before crowd streams into the compound for a day of thrilling fun and


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quality time. The note-worthy rides include Climax, a sneaky ride that takes one 19 metres above ground into a chamber, which at first appeared harmless, until the trap door opens, exposing a vertical dip that takes one right down, and then back up again and loops around. Doubling the fun is Race Track, where the slide allows one to zip down at high speed with two accompanying drops. The rush of water against the skin coupled with an adrenaline push is sensational. Screaming can be heard from another area where Boomerang, a slide as high as

20 metres, is located. The spiral slide takes one from the top to the bottom, twirling and splashing in a circular maze. Before one has time to recover from dizziness, the slide has been designed to bring the person back up again, repeating the thrilling process. Similar to Boomerang but ending at a huge cauldron, Superbowl has an aqua tube that carries one at tremendous speed and flushes one right into a large pool. If such thrilling slides are too much to take, head over to Jungle Ride, where, compared to the aforementioned rides, are milder. Slide down the water trail and enjoy the

1-5. Waterbom’s rides range from the tame to the downright exciting

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WEEKEND view of a lush jungle right beside, where tree branches and leaves bend over, displaying a view of a tropical dream. Certain water slides are deemed a little inappropriate for very young children, but Waterbom Bali’s Funtastic Aqua Playground and Kiddy Slides are designed to provide great fun for the small ones. Supervised by the park’s staff at all time, the Funtastic Aqua Playground features water cannons, jets, body slides, rides, and interactive play toys suitable for the young.

A WHOLESOME EXPERIENCE

Setting Waterbom Bali apart from other water-themed parks are the world-class facilities beyond its impressive 17 slides. A Michelin star chef heads the kitchen, offering a variety Balinese cuisines, as well as Italian and French delights. For those who deem the water slides too strenuous to the heart might be delighted to sit by the personal cabana (thatched roof Gazebos) or sun chair for a relaxing massage session, which offers a range of massages from foot, neck to shoulder. A service not often found at a common theme park, Island Ink, an airbrush tattoo service, caters to those who find thrills in temporary tattoos. It has a total collection of 750 different designs, available in both black and coloured. The close resemblance to a real tattoo might be a good surprise to friends and family, furthermore the ink lasts for five to seven days, making the money worth. Experience the gravity-defying

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eurobungy where one gets catapulted nine metres above ground, and in between gets flipped a couple of times to give it an adrenaline rush. Otherwise take part in a water fight at Waterblaster, where water guns are used to shoot the opponent, with the ulterior motive of getting the person wet. An entertainment complex for families, friends and honeymooners, Waterbom Bali allows visitors to escape into a paradise of fun and laughter, and at the same time appreciate nature and its eco-friendliness. There may be plenty of water-themed parks around but this particular one stands out with its renowned water slides and services that remain unbeatable in the region.


D a o r e h t n O

TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS words LEN RUTLEDGE

photography PHENSRI RUTLEDGE

the relatively quiet rural roads of ireland make car rental an attractive proposition and allows us to see the more remote areas of the country 88 escape!


W

e are driving through stunning landscape; vibrant green fields to our left, crashing waves against giant cliffs to our right, cute little villages and cosy pubs ahead and behind. It is exhilarating, stimulating and culturally rich. We are free of the everyday worries and rigidity of life. Like Borneo, Ireland is occupied by two countries. The Republic of Ireland takes up most of the island but the north-east corner is Northern Ireland with ties to Great Britain. Northern Ireland was plagued by troubles for around 30 years and so visitors stayed away. Now they are returning and new attractions are bringing them in droves. We want to be some of the first to experience this new enthusiasm so we rent a car in the Republic capital, Dublin, and head north.

DAY 1 200 km Traffic is slow as we leave central Dublin but within a few kilometres we are on the M1 motorway heading north. Our first stop is at 1 Drogheda, an attractive medieval town straddling the River Boyne, which was originally founded by the Vikings. We visit St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church to see the shrunken head of the martyr Oliver Plunkett who was hanged in 1681. Next we explore the Millmount Cultural Quarter, on the great artificial hill that towers over the town. The Millmount Museum (Tel: 041-9833097; www.millmount.net) is situated inside a fort and there are also craft shops, art galleries and a café. Our immediate destination now is 2 Newgrange, a remarkable passage tomb built 5,000 years ago. This is only one of about 30 monuments in this area but it is the most well-known. We find the Visitors Centre (Tel: 041-9880300; www.newgrange. com) and discover that access to Newgrange is only by guided tour. After exploring the Centre we cross the river by pedestrian bridge and take a shuttle bus to the site. Two hours later we are back in our car, our minds filled with stories and wonderful memories of walking down the narrow passage to the tomb chamber. It is certainly one of the most significant pre-historic sites in Europe. We are back on the M1 and follow it to its end just north of Dundalk. Road N1 soon turns into A1 as we cross the unmarked border into Northern Ireland and at Newry we turn east across the Mourne Mountains to 3 Downpatrick and Strangford. We visit Castle Ward (Tel:

ON ROAD THE ROAD TRIP 028-44881204) an intriguing mansion built in 1760 in two distinct architectural styles and see the small Strangford Castle before taking the car ferry to 4 Portaferry. This picturesque village on the banks of Strangford Lough makes a good lunch stop. The historic Portaferry Hotel (Tel: 028-42728231) has a nice lunch menu and I enjoy the salmon while my wife has the House Pie. 5 Belfast is only 45 minutes away but we want to make one more stop. The 6 Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (Tel: 028-90428428; www.nmni.com/uftm) is at Hollywood, 11 kilometres east of the city. This traces Northern Ireland’s past with cottages, farms, schools and shops all with costumed guides demonstrating traditional crafts. The Transport Museum is crowded with horse drawn carriages, steam locomotives, electric trams, and vintage cars. The Hilton Hotel Belfast (Tel: 028-90277203; www.hilton.co.uk/belfast) is our central Belfast home for the night.

marvel. Before exploring this brand-new attraction we have lunch in Bistro 401 on the ground floor. The visitor attraction itself spreads over four floors in nine magnificent galleries. This is really a state of the art experience and we are continually amazed by the technology on display. The final gallery is stunning with a huge video display of the ship at the bottom of the ocean. Don’t miss this place. We are super impressed. After this stunner we need some quiet time so we walk back to the central city and visit the Metropolitan Arts Centre (Tel: 028-90235053; www.themaclive.com). This new centre is home to all kinds of exhibitions, blockbuster performances, experimental works and so forth. There is also a nice restaurant but we pass on this by giving preference to a pint of Guinness at the nearby Duke of York pub (Tel: 028-90241062) and dinner at The Cloth Ear (Tel: 028-90262719) at the wonderful Merchant Hotel.

Newgrange

Drawing office where the Titanic was designed

Day 2

DAY 3 230 km

We leave the car parked and start the day with a Black Taxi Tour (Tel: 077-11757178; www.harpertaxitours.com). This iconic tour shows us Northern Ireland’s dynamic capital and its emerging, distinctive quarters from the back of a traditional black cab. After exploring the central city, seeing the wall murals in the Shankill and Falls Road areas and checking out some historic pubs we ask to be dropped off at the new iconic Titanic Belfast. Here we join a Titanic Walking Tour (Tel: 075-46489875; www.titanicwalk.com). First stop is the drawing office where Titanic was designed. Next we explore the slipway, dry dock and pump house where the giant liner was built and outfitted. One hundred years slip easily away as we stand at the bottom of the dry dock, unchanged since Titanic stood here. Titanic Belfast (Tel: 079-66276993; www. titanicbelfast.com) is a 97 million pound

We leave Belfast early and head north along the Causeway Coastal Route. Some authorities rate this as one of the world’s top ten road trips but we see nothing for the first hour as we slowly travel through thick fog. Finally the sun breaks through as we approach the 7 Carrick-a Rede Rope Bridge (Tel: 028-20769839; www. nationaltrust.org.uk) at Ballintoy. Fishermen used to erect a rope bridge to a small island over a 30m-deep and 20m-wide chasm to check their salmon nets. Today, the National Trust operates a bridge challenging visitors to cross to the rocky island. Despite my fear of heights we take the challenge and do the return trip without incident. It is only a short drive to the next point of interest. 8 The Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site (Tel: 028-20731855) is Northern Ireland’s most famous visitor attraction. Formed over 60 million years escape! 89


ON THE ROAD beech-hill.com). We find the lovely property in richly wooded countryside just a few kilometres from the bustling city of Londonderry. A walk through the delightful grounds is a fitting end to a great day.

Beaghmore Stone Circles

DAY 4 170 km Dunlace Castle

ago, when molten lava cooled suddenly on contact with water, the Giant’s Causeway is an awe-inspiring landscape of huge hexagonal basalt columns. An alternate story involves a legendary giant named Finn McCool and his Scottish rival. Whichever you believe you see the thousands of stepping stones reaching down to the sea and the dramatic background of cliffs which rise 100 metres. The huge new Visitors Centre has five interpretive zones revealing interesting facts and stories about what makes this site so unique. There is also a shop and food area but we opt instead for lunch at the adjacent atmospheric Causeway Hotel (Tel: 028-20731210). This being Ireland, we can’t miss the chance to see the Old Bushmills Distillery (Tel: 028-20731521; www.bushmills.com), only a few minutes from the Causeway. The craft of whisky making has been carried out here for over 400 years using the same traditional methods. There is an admission charge for a tour but the gift shop and cafe are available to everyone. Heading west we encounter 9 Dunluce Castle (Tel: 028-20731938). This is probably Ireland’s most romantic and picturesque castle dating back to the 14th century. It clings to rocky cliffs overlooking the North Atlantic and although it was constantly fought over it was only abandoned when part of it fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639. We decline a guided tour in favour of wandering around ourselves amongst the ruins trying to pick-up on the wonderful stories these ancient walls could tell. We continue west along the coast through the resort towns of Portrush and Portstewart before reaching Coleraine. Just outside town, 10 Mountsandel Wood is the earliest known settlement of man in Ireland dating to around 7700BC. We see the Norman-times earthen fort and walk down to the banks of the Bann River. The day is almost gone so we push on to our accommodation at Beech Hill Country House Hotel (Tel: 028-71349279; www. 90 escape!

We are up early and after an excellent breakfast we are in 11 Londonderry by 9am.It is easy to find a car park and soon we are standing on the walls looking down on the city. Derry is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of a Walled City in Europe. The walls were constructed as defences in the early 17th century. We read the information panels set into the walls at various points, see the great cannon, Roaring Meg, and some of the city’s principle attractions such as St Columb’s Cathedral. We climb down from the wall and walk to The Diamond, the centre of the city, before heading to Tower Museum (Tel: 028-71372411). Old guns on Londonderry walls

The museum contains two permanent exhibitions. The Armada Shipwreck, La Trinidad Valencera recounts over four floors the ships foundering in 1588 and its discovery nearly 400 years later. The Story of Derry details the history of the city from very early times to the present. Just around the corner we find the Craft Village, which has all the characteristics of a bygone age. Delightful in its layout it houses the Cafe Del Mondo (Tel: 028-71366877) where we have lunch. We figure it is time to get back in the car and head further west. Suddenly we are back in the Republic, heading to the rugged Atlantic Coast. This is sparsely populated country with the majestic Derryveagh Mountains and the magnificent gardens at Glenveagh National Park. We reach the spectacular coastline with its rocky inlets and secluded beaches and find that there is a muted colour about everything. We travel south for awhile and then return across the mountains and boglands to Derry. We enjoy a delicious dinner at the superb Ardmore Restaurant at the Beech Hill Country House Hotel before retiring for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 5 195 km We leave Beech Hill reluctantly but are excited when we arrive at the 12 Ulster American Folk Park (Tel: 028-82243292; www.nmni.com). Here we follow the emigrant trail used by many Irish people over the centuries from the thatched cottages of Ulster to the log cabins of the American frontier. Along the way we meet an array of costumed characters who explain history, candle making and spinning. We see an Irish blacksmith’s forge, a weaver’s cottage, a school house and a great streetscape before we pass through a full scale emigrant sailing ship where we experience the appalling conditions suffered by the emigrants on their Atlantic voyage. On the American side there is a settler’s cottage, a farm, a log house and more. Next stop is the An Creagan Visitor Centre (Tel: 028-80761112) with its exhibition, shop and restaurant. Here we learn of the bronze-age 13 Beaghmore Stone Circles so we drive there and find there are seven low stone circles of different sizes, and various other structures. Further on we visit 14 Springhill (Tel: 028 8674 8210), a 17th century whitewashed fully-furnished manor house with nice grounds and an interesting costume collection. Our accommodation tonight is at 15 the Olde Post Inn (Tel: 353-4755555) in Cloverhill.

DAY 6 130 km Dublin is calling but we stop in Kells to see the round tower and four 9th century high crosses in the St Columba churchyard, before arriving at Fore. This tiny village overlooks Fore Abbey one of Ireland’s most atmospheric monastic ruins. This region is alive with history and we see more evidence of this at 16 Trim Castle (Tel: 046 943 8618) where its turrets, towers and drawbridge were captured in the film Braveheart. The easy drive to Dublin allows us time to find accommodation before we set out to explore Ireland’s capital.


ON THE ROAD

3 Driving Tips By Hertz

UÊ Petrol Stations might be tough to find, especially in rural areas so don’t wait too long before you top up the tank. UÊ When planning for the trip, overestimate the time needed as some roads might not allow you to travel quickly. UÊ Be alert at all times as animals regularly cross the road.

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FREQUENT FLYER

THE GURU

Turkish Tourism expert Ali Gulen tells us why Turkey is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill holiday destination

interview DEREK RODRIGUEZ

ALI GULEN HAS SPENT MANY YEARS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA PROMOTING TOURISM IN TURKEY AND HAS WITNESSED HOW TOURISTS’ DEMANDS HAVE CHANGED OVER THIS TIME. HE TELLS US WHY TURKEY MAKES SUCH A FANTASTIC COUNTRY TO VISIT. Tell us a bit about what you do. I conduct tours and serve as an information guide explaining the historical background and significant points of interest of Turkey. I answers tourists’ questions and provide maps, informational and historical pamphlets and brochures to visitors and travellers across the state and outline tour routes. I also attend travel fairs in Asia Pacific countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam in order to promote Turkey. As a travel destination, how is Turkey special? Turkey has so much to offer her visitors; breathtaking natural beauties, unique historical and archaeological sites, steadily

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improving hotel and touristic infrastructure and a tradition of hospitality and competitive prices. Therefore, it is not surprising that this country has recently become one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. Due to Turkey’s diverse geography, one can experience four different climates in any one day. Turkey is also blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter and summer tourism and sports of all kinds. What advice would you give someone who is visiting Turkey for the first time? You should come prepared with a detailed map of Turkey, pack clothes based on the season, definitely have a taste of Turkish cuisine and do some shopping. Also bring a good camera with a large memory card. What other countries/cities do you think make great holiday destinations? Tokyo, Papua, Brazil and Ho Chi Minh.

What do you always take with you on holiday? I always bring my camera, my iPod and an electrical converter. I also bring a good guide book and a map. Even if I have been somewhere loads of times, the guide book will still come up with something new to do. What is your biggest travel annoyance? Over officious airport staff and kids kicking the back of my seat are my biggest annoyances. What is one thing you will never fail to do when visiting a new country? Tasting traditional food and visiting the local street markets.


LUXE STAY

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Scraping The Sky Luxury gets taken to new heights at The Ritz-­Carlton’s stupendous Hong Kong property words BILLY CLARKE images THE RITZ-CARLTON

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Over the last twelve months, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong has come to be an iconic happening address, with luminaries, leading politicians and stars such as Lady Gaga having graced the towering heights of the property. Up on the top floors of the behemothic International Commerce Centre building, the property features a forward-looking design scheme that includes tasteful fittings and refined ornamentation such as hand-tufted wool, earthen-toned carpets, hand-sculpted marble counters, plus organic motifs and timber walls throughout. While numerous leading investment banks take up the majority of the 232,252 square-metre Grade A office space in the building, The Ritz-Carlton is the jewel in the crown at the top, with the property taking up floors 102 to 118. Elevators that reach speeds of nine metres per second zoom guests around the hotel, which has a lobby complete with a massive eight metre-high atrium of gleaming marble on the 103rd floor.

open kitchen positioned as the heart and soul of the restaurant. Off round the walkway conveniently connected to Tosca is the one-Michelin starred Chinese restaurant called Tin Lung Heen, which also features views into the kitchen and high ceilings ornamented with oversized chandeliers. However, while the views and design are still top-notch, diners will be hard-pressed to be distracted from the mouth-watering Michelin-rated dishes which include items like gold-dusted har gow and caviar-topped siu mai. The other food and beverage highlights in the hotel include the all-day Lounge and Bar where afternoon tea is served accompanied by live bands, a cute pastry

GOOD TASTE IN EVERY SENSE

There are six food and beverage venues which start on the 102nd floor. The bulk these are located off from the lobby, uniquely arranged around the edges of the building and connected by a dramaticallyilluminated walkway – complete, of course, with wine cabinets. Each of these venues also takes full advantage of the eye-goggling panoramas on offer, with large floor-toceiling windows maximising the views and the natural light. Possibly the most prominent of these outlets is Tosca, which is perhaps the highest spot one can enjoy an Italian meal in the world, and most definitely the highest place where one can enjoy an Italian meal of this quality. Named after a famous opera by Giacomo Puccini and decorated with a subtle water theme and a menu influenced by the coastal region of southern Italy, Tosca is an awesome balancing act for the senses, with a large

shop called Pastry Gems which has options to take-out or dine-in, plus Café 103, a relaxed lounge where guests can enjoy desserts or the signature chocolate buffets. A mention of the food and beverage offerings would not be complete without a reference to the crowning glory of the hotel which is Ozone, the highest (and a good contender for quite possibly one of the most stylish) bars in the world. There is a distinct Alice-in-Wonderland vibe about the whole interior, which features blown-up inspirations of nature that become apparent through elements such as a neon colour-changing forest-like entrance, a beehive-resembling ceiling and marble-shaped bamboo.

STYLE & SUBSTANCE

The discriminating design scheme continues into the 312 guest rooms and suites of the hotel, which were all styled with tailor-made precision to embrace the magnificent harbour and city view. The hotel also boasts an 860-squaremetre spa by ESPA, which comes complete with a glass-enclosed infinity pool, a ceiling comprised of 144 LED screens, plus nine deluxe treatment rooms and two couples’ suites. There is also a 24-hour fitness centre with an outdoor terrace and an extensive range of Technogym equipment. As the icing on the cake, privileged hotel guests will also get to indulge in the club facilities of the hotel which includes The Ritz-Carlton’s club signature offering of six daily food and beverage presentations. The design here is lushly homey, with gleaming white marble countertops delicately streaked with orange and grey counterbalanced by a dark Brazilian marble floor and mirrored columns near the windows. With such hype and exclusivity surrounding this property before it even opened, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company had a lot of high expectations to live up to. Thankfully though - for those privileged enough to be able to tackle the vertiginous heights and enjoy a drink, meal or stay at the hotel - it is clear to see the group did a fine job, with the expectancy met and stylishly exceeded with ease.

1. The Ritz Carlton boasts a spectacular view of the harbour and the city 2. F&B options include the michelin-starred Tin Lung Heen Chinese Restaurant 3. Rooms are luxuriously appointed 4. The stylish lobby is located on the 103rd floor

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Destinations AUSTRALIA

BRUNEI

AUSTRALIA has plenty of vast open spaces to explore along with vibrant cities, gorgeous beaches and the awe-inspiring great Australian outback.

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BRUNEI is a prosperous and peaceful Sultanate in Borneo. Covered in pristine tropical rainforests, it is an ecotourism paradise for nature lovers.

TOURISM AUSTRALIA #08-03 United Square, 101 Thomson Road, Singapore 307591. Tel: 65 6255 4555; www.tourism.australia.com; www.australia.com

BRUNEI TOURISM Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Jalan Menteri Besar, Bandar Seri Begawan BB3910 – Brunei Darussalam. Tel: 673 238 2829; www.bruneitourism.travel

AUSTRIA

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CHINA

GERMANY

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GERMANY Boasting enchanting medieval villages with festivals and regional specialities, picturesque countrysides with castles, palaces and abbeys, Germany is a land of a thousand possibilities. GERMAN NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE #12-00 Singapore Land Tower, 50 Raffles Place, Singapore 048623. Tel: 65 6231 0856; www.discover-germany.sg/tourism.html

HONG KONG

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AUSTRIAN EMBASSY #24-04/05 Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188778. Tel: 65 6396 6350; www.austria.info/sg

CHINA NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE #12-02A Suntec Tower 1, 7 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 068898. Tel: 65 6337 2220; www.cnto.org

HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD #34-03 Suntec Tower 2, 9 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038938. Tel: 65/6336-5800; www. discoverhongkong.com

AUSTRIA is one of the world’s premier skiing regions. Apart from snowy slopes, it is also home to historical buildings, magnificent mountains, established hiking trails, museums and galleries.

BRITAIN

CHINA has a rich history and is home to many of the world’s most revered treasures. You can also find spectacular architecture and towering skylines in Shanghai and Beijing.

DUBAI

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VISIT BRITAIN 600 North Bridge Road #09-10 Parkview Square, Singapore 188778. Tel: 65 6511 4301; www.visitbritain.sg

GOVERNMENT OF DUBAI, DEPT OF TOURISM AND COMMERCE MARKETING 10/F, Oxford House, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 852 2827 221; www.dubaitourism.ae

BRITAIN Towering castles, quiet villages, ancient ruins, posh shops, top nosh... there’s so much to do in Britain, we reckon you’ll never ever want to go home!

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DUBAI is a great holiday destination, with year-round sunshine offering the finest facilities and renowned Arabian hospitality.

HONG KONG From quaint teahouses to lively night markets, Hong Kong is a city of cultural and gastronomic attractions. Shop up a storm, hike up rural mountains, and drink in the magnificent skyline.

INDIA

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INDIA From rugged deserts to serene backwaters and architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal, it is truly an incredible destination for intrepid travellers. INDIA TOURISM #01-01 United House, 20 Kramat Lane, Singapore 228773. Tel: 65 6235 3800; www.incredibleindia.org


TRAVEL UPDATE INDONESIA

MALAYSIA

PHILIPPINES

INDONESIA Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago with over 17,000 islands filled with both natural and manmade attractions.

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MALAYSIA is home to cosmopolitan cities, colourful festivals and deliciously varied cuisines that will please both culture vultures and city slickers.

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INDONESIA TOURISM Lot 125, 1st Floor, Wisma MPL, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 603 2145 6411; www.visit-indonesia.com.my

MALAYSIA TOURISM PROMOTION BOARD Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board 9th Floor, No.2 Tower 1, Jalan P5/6, Precint 5, 62200 Putrajaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 8891 8000; www.tourism.gov.my

PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM 4/F DOT Building, T.M. Kalaw Street Rizal Park, Manila 1000, Philippines. Tel: 632 525 3826; www.tourism.gov.ph

JAPAN

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JAPAN From ancient shrines and futuristic cities to mystic mountains, Japan offers a wealth of sights both old and new. JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION S’PORE OFFICE #15-09 Hong Leong Building, 16 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048581. Tel: 65/6223-8205; www.jnto.org.sg

KOREA

MEXICO

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SEYCHELLES

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MEXICO Choose a romantic getaway, or take a cultural tour to learn more about the Mayans and Aztecs. Enjoy shopping in the luxurious malls and be blown away by the cuisine.

SEYCHELLES Seychelles is perfect for an island hopping adventure. Powdery white beaches, turquoise waters, and an idyllic uncrowded atmosphere provide a setting made for pure relaxation.

MEXICO TOURISM BOARD 2-15-2-3F, Nagata-Cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0014 Japan. Tel: 813 3503 0290; www.visitmexico.com

SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD Bel Ombre I PO Box 1262 Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles Tel: 248 67 13 00; mob: 248 72 42 11; fax: 248 62 06 20; www.seychelles.travel

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH KOREA Explore the picturesque mountains and lush rice paddies, visit temples and pagodas, or shop up a storm.

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NEW ZEALAND With breathtaking scenery, being in New Zealand will make you feel like you’re in a whole new world.

KOREA NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION #01-02 Korea Plaza, Samsung Hub, 3 Church Street, Singapore 049483. Tel: 65 6533 0441; www.visitkorea.or.kr

TOURISM NEW ZEALAND 391A Orchard Road, #15-06/10 Ngee Ann City Tower A, Singapore 238873. Tel: 65 6738 5844; www.newzealand.com

MACAU

PHILIPPINES The Philippines is home to palm-fringed beaches, natural wonders like the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and some of the world’s best diving sites.

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NEPAL

MACAU Besides glitzy casinos, the former Portuguese colony is also a destination to experience a fusion of European and Chinese cultures.

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NEPAL Nepal is a land of scenic splendor, diverse culture, rich heritage and home to some of the best hiking trails on earth.

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MACAU GOVERNMENT TOURIST OFFICE #12-06 Keypoint, 371 Beach Road, Singapore 199597. Tel: 65/6292-5383; www.macautourism.gov.sg

NEPAL TOURISM BOARD 230 Serangoon Avenue 4 #07-71 Singapore 550230. Tel: 65 6498 0294; www.welcomenepal.com

SINGAPORE

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SINGAPORE Explore cultural precincts and religious landmarks, shop up a storm at quirky boutiques and swanky malls, hike up leafy walking trails and feast on food. SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD Tourism Court, 1 Orchard Spring Lane, Singapore 247729. Tel: 65 6736 6622; www.visitsingapore.com

SPAIN

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SPAIN This passionate country is also where you can visit world-class museums, see gorgeous baroque architecture and explore world heritage sites and medieval towns. SPAIN TOURISM BOARD #09-04 Liat Towers, 541 Orchard Road, Singapore 238881. Tel: 65 6737 3008; www.spain.info

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Hotels / Resorts MALAYSIA

INDONESIA

EQUATORIAL CAMERON HIGHLANDS Kea Farm, Brinchang, 39100 Cameron Highlands, Pahang Darul Makmur Tel: 605 496 1777 www.equatorial.com/cam/

PARKROYAL PENANG Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Penang Tel: 604 881 1133 www.parkroyalhotels.com

GRAN MELIA Jalan HR Rasuna Said Jakarta Capital Region 12950, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 526 8080

GRAND MILLENNIUM KUALA LUMPUR 160 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2117 4888 www.grandmillenniumkl.com

PRINCE HOTEL & RESIDENCE KUALA LUMPUR 4 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2170 8888 www.princehotelkl.com

HOTEL ARCADIA JAKARTA Jalan Kyai Haji Wahid Hasyim Jakarta Capital Region 10340, Indonesia Tel: (0)21 230 0050

HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Penang Tel: 604 881 1711 www.hardrockhotels.com

SUNWAY RESORT HOTEL & SPA Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7492 8000 www.sunwayhotels.com

HOTEL KEMPENSKI 62 21 23583800 JL. MH Thamrin No.1, Jakarta Capital Region 10310, Indonesia

HOTEL ISTANA KUALA LUMPUR CITY CENTRE 73 Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2141 9988 www.hotelistana.com.my

SUNWAY HOTEL SEBERANG JAYA 11 Lebuh Tenggiri Dua, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, 13700 Prai, Penang Tel: 604 370 7788 www.sunwayhotels.com

HOTEL NIKKO Jl. MH. Thamrin 59, Jakarta 10350 Indonesia Tel: 62 21 2301122

HOTEL MAYA KUALA LUMPUR 138 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2711 8866 www.hotelmaya.com.my

SWISS-GARDEN HOTEL & RESIDENCES KUALA LUMPUR 117 Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2141 3333 www.swissgarden.com

INTERCONTINENTAL JAKARTA MIDPLAZA J1 Jend Sudirman Kav. 10-11

IMPIANA KLCC HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR 13 Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2147 1111 www.impiana.com

THE SAUJANA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7843 1234 www.thesaujanahotel.com

MANDARIN ORIENTAL Jl. Mh Thamrin, 10310, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 2993 8888

ONE WORLD HOTEL First Avenue, Bandar Utama City Centre, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7681 1111 / 603 7712 2222 www.oneworldhotel.com.my

THE ZON ALL SUITES RESIDENCES ON THE PARK KUALA LUMPUR 161-D Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2164 8000 www.zonhotel.com.my

MILLENNIUM HOTEL SIRIH JAKARTA Jalan Fachrudin Jakarta Capital Region 10250, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 230 3636

PACIFIC REGENCY HOTEL SUITES KH Tower, Jalan Punchak Off Jalan P.Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2332 7777 www.pacific-regency.com PALACE OF THE GOLDEN HORSES Jalan Kuda Emas, Mines Wellness City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 8946 4888 www.palaceofthegoldenhorses. com.my

PARKROYAL KUALA LUMPUR Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2147 0088 www.parkroyalhotels.com

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INDONESIA

CROWNE PLAZA 2-3 Jalan Jenderal Gatot Subroto Jakarta Capital Region 10270, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 526 8833

GRAND HYATT Jalan M. H. Thamrin Kav. 28-30, Jakarta Capital Region 10350, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 3901234

GRAN MAHAKAM HOTEL 6 Jl. Mahakam I 12130, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 720 9966

JW MARRIOT Jalan Lingkar Mega Kuningan Kav E 1. 2 No 1 Jakarta Capital Region 12950, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 5798 8888

SARI PAN PACIFIC JAKARTA HOTEL 6 Jl. Mh Thamrin, 10340

SHANGRI-LA 1 Jalan Karet Pasar Baru Timur Jakarta Capital Region 10210, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 570 7440


TRAVEL UPDATE Hotels / Resorts INDONESIA

ASTON BALI BEACH RESORT & SPA Jll. Pratama 68X Tanjung Benoa Nusa Dua, Bali Tel: 62 36 177 3577 www.astonbali.com

ST REGIS BALI Kawasan Pariwisata, Nusa Dua, Lot S6, PO Box 44 Nusa Dua, Bali 80363 Indonesia Tel: 62 361 771 327 www.stregis.com

HARD ROCK HOTEL BALI Jalan Pantai, Banjar Pande Mas Kuta, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 761 869 jakarta.grand.hyatt.com

THE 1O1 LEGIAN Jl. Raya Legian no. 117, Bali Tel: 62 361 3001 101 www.the101bali.com

HARRIS HOTEL & RESIDENCES Jl. Raya Kuta, No. 62A, Badung Bali - Indonesia 80361 Tel: 62 361 761 007 www.harrishotels.com

THE KUNJA HOTEL Lebak Sari 8, Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 80361 Indonesia Tel: 62 36 173 3128 www.thekunja.com

KOMANEKA - BISMA Jalan Bisma, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 971 933 www.komaneka.com

THE OASIS LAGOON Jl. Danau Tamblingan No. 136 A Sanur 80228 Tel: 62 361 282 264 www.theoasislagoon.com

KOMANEKA - MONKEY FOREST Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 976 090 www.komaneka.com

THE ONE BOUTIQUE VILLA Jl. Cendrawasih 99, Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 80361 Indonesia Tel: 62 36 1473 8600 www.theonevilla.com

KOMANEKA - RASA SAYANG Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 975 491 www.komaneka.com

THE SAMAYA SEMINYAK - BALI Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 36 173 1149 www.thesamayabali.com

KOMANEKA - TANGGAYUDA Br. Tanggayuda, Kedewatan, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 978 123 www.komaneka.com

THE SAMAYA UDUD - BALI Jalan Laksmana, Desa Sayan, Ubud 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 36 173 1149 www.thesamayabali.com

MAYA UBUD RESORT & SPA Jalan Gunang Sari, Peliatan Ubud Bali 80571 Indonesa, PO Box 1001 Ubud, Tel: 62 36 197 7888 www.mayaubud.com

THE SPOT Jl. Raya Legian, (Ground Zero) Troppozone Lane No. 8 , Kuta - Bali - Indonesia 80361 Tel: 62 361 8548 990 www.thespotbali.com

NIKKO BALI RESORT AND SPA Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, PO BOX 18 Nusa Dua 80363, Bali - Indonesia Tel: 62 361 773 377 www.nikkobali.com

THE STUDIO ONE Jl Bypass Nusa Dua 7X Nusa Dua - Bali Tel: 62 361 7410 946 www.studioonebali.com

PAT-MASE VILLAS Jl. Karang Mas Sejatera 100x - Kawasan Bukit Permai Jimbaran Bali 80364 - Indonesia Tel: 62 361 708 708 www.swiss-belhotel.com

WESTIN BALI Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua, BTDC Lot N-3, Nusa Dua 80363, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 570 7440 www.shangri-la.com

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SWITZERLAND

Travel Agencies ALIVE TRAVEL & TOURISM PTE LTD 55 Market Street Level 10, Singapore 048941 Tel: 65 6521 3118 Fax: 65 6521 3001 www.alivetourism.cc

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SWITZERLAND has a gorgeous landscape of snowy peaks and sparkling lakes, and offers the experience of German, French and Italian cultures. TOURISM SWITZERLAND C/O EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND 1 Swiss Club Link, Singapore 288162. Tel: 65 6468 5788; www.MySwitzerland.com

THAILAND

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THAILAND Be charmed by the Thai’s famed hospitality whether you are hunting up bargains in street markets, chilling out on white-sand beaches or visiting ancient temples.

APPLE VACATIONS SINGAPORE PTE LTD 2 Havelock Road #01-10/11/12/13, Singapore 059763 Tel: 65 6533 5161 Fax: 65 6533 5261 www.applevacations.com.sg CITYSTATE TRAVEL PTE LTD 3 Pickering Street (Enter By China Street) #01-18/19, Singapore 048660 Tel: 65 6372 4999 www.citystate.travel/holidays DHESU TRAVEL & TOURS (M) SDN BHD 7th Floor, Wisma Cosmic No. 33, Jln Tuanku Abdul Rahman 50100 KL Tel: 603 2692 5525/2691 6999 www.dhesu.travel DIVINE INTERNATIONAL EXPLORE & TREKS (S) PTE LTD Blk 230 Serangoon Ave 4, #07-71, Singapore 550230 Tel: 65 6498 0294 Fax: 65 6383 8327 www.divineexplore.com.sg

NAM HO TRAVEL SERVICE (SINGAPORE) PTE LTD 100 Eu Tong Sen Street #01-14/16/18 Pearl’s Centre, Singapore 059812 Tel: 65 6221 8433 Fax: 65 6225 2588 www.namho.com.sg NEW SHAN TRAVEL SERVICE PTE LTD 20 Maxwell Road #01-02 Maxwell House, Singapore 069113 Tel: 65 6546 7333 Fax: 65 6220 1833 www.newshan.com NEWAY TRAVEL SERVICE 1 Park Road, People’s Park Complex #02-29, Singapore 059108 Tel: 65 6438 7478 Fax: 65 6438 9794 www.newaytravel.com.sg SEIKI TRAVEL 302 Tiong Bahru Road #04-2A Tiong Bahru Plaza, Singapore 168732 Tel: 65 6276 9009 www.seiki.com.sg SINGEXPRESS TRAVEL PTE LTD 260 Tanjong Pagar Road 9th Floor, Singapore 088542 Tel: 65 6318 9555 www.singexpress.com.sg

DYNASTY TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL PTE LTD 35 New Bridge Road Level 5 Dynasty Travel Hub, Singapore 059395 Tel: 65 6532 5313 Fax: 65 6338 3337 www.dynastytravel.com.sg

TRADEWINDS TOURS & TRAVEL 3 Tampines Central 1, #02-03 Abacus Plaza, Singapore 529540 Tel: 65 6506 7777 Fax: 65 6490 0525 www.tradewindstours.com

EU HOLIDAYS PTE LTD 2HR (former Apollo Centre) 2 Havelock Road #01-21, Singapore 059763 Tel: 65 6535 8535 Fax: 65 6307 7060 www.euholidays.com.sg

WEGO PTE LTD 230 Victoria Street #04-01 Bugis Junction Towers, Singapore 188024 Tel: 65 6438 8242 Fax: 65 6438 8245 www.wego.com

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FIVE STARS TOURS PTE LTD 1 Park Road #05-01 People’s Park Complex, Singapore 059108 Tel: 65 6535 9988 Fax: 65 6536 3430 www.fivestarsonline.com

WTS TRAVEL & TOURS PTE LTD 1 Jalan Anak Bukit #B1-52 Bukit Timah Plaza, Singapore 588996 Tel: 65 6314 8558 www.wtstravel.com.sg

TAIWAN VISITORS ASSOCIATION #31-11 UIC Building, 5 Shenton Way, Singapore 068808. Tel: 65 6223 3546; www.taiwan.net.tw

FOLLOW ME JAPAN PTE LTD 16 Raffles Quay #B1-14D Hong Leong Building, Singapore 048581 Tel: 65 6221 4250 Fax: 65 6226 7293 www.followmejapan.com.sg

TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND Royal Thai Embassy, 370 Orchard Road, Singapore 238870. Tel: 65 6235 7901; www.tourismthailand.org.sg

TAIWAN

TAIWAN Big cities, small towns, rustic villages — you can find them all in Taiwan. Savour the country’s famous street snacks while visiting their many temples and museums.

TURKEY

G.E.T. MANAGEMENT PTE LTD 1 Syed Alwi Road #06-01 Song Lin Building, Singapore 207628 Tel: 65/6296 2886 Fax: 65/6296 1663 www.getlesisure.sg

TURKEY Exciting, exotic Istanbul fascinates travellers. Take your pick of museums, churches, mosques and palaces to explore.

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H.I.S. INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PTE LTD 100 Tras Street #17-01 Amara Corporate Tower, Singapore 079027 Tel: 65 6224 1512 Fax: 65 6224 7129 www.his-travel.com

TURKEY EMBASSY TOURISM & INFORMATION OFFICE M-W-2, Mezzanine Floor, West Wing, Rohas Perkasa Building, 9 Jalan P. Ramlee, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 603 2164 4060; www.goturkey.com

M ASIA TRAVEL PTE LTD 101 Upper Cross Street People’s Park Centre #B1-17K, Singapore 058357 Tel: 65 6456 6678 www.mat.com.sg

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Car Rental HERTZ CAR RENTAL INDONESIA RESERVATION CENTRE Komp. Ruko Atap Merah, Block D 10-11 Jl. Pecenongan no.72 Jakarta 10120, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 384 2199 Email: hertzgsa@discoverjkt.net www.hertz.co.id MALAYSIA RESERVATION CENTRE Office Suite 19-10-1, Level 10, UOA Centre, No 19, Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 603 2715 8383 Email: hertzgsa@discover-kul.com www.hertz.com.my SINGAPORE RESERVATION CENTRE 350 Orchard Road, #14-08 Shaw House Singapore 238868 Tel: 1800 370 3388 Email: reserve@hertz.com www.hertz.com.sg


TRAVEL UPDATE Hotels / Resorts MALAYSIA

SINGAPORE

MANDARIN SINGAPORE Marina Mandarin Singapore 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039594 Tel: 65 6845 1000 www.meritushotels.com

BERJAYA TIMES SQUARE HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR 1 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2117 8000 www.berjayahotel.com

FAIRMONT SINGAPORE 80 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189560 Tel: 65 6339 7777 www.fairmont.com

NAUMI 41 Seah Street Singapore 188396 Tel: 65 6403 6000 www.naumihotel.com

BERJAYA LANGKAWI RESORT Karong Berkunci 200, Burau Bay, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman Tel: 604 959 1888 www.berjayahotel.com

GRAND PARK CITY HALL 10 Coleman Street Singapore 179809 Tel: 65 6336-3456 www.parkhotelgroup.com

ORCHARD HOTEL SINGAPORE 442 Orchard Road Singapore 238879 Tel: 6734 7766 www.millenniumhotels.com.sg

BERJAYA PENANG HOTEL 1-Stop Midlands Park, Burmah Road, 10350 Georgetown, Penang Tel: 604 227 7111 www.berjayahotel.com

HILTON SINGAPORE 581 Orchard Road Singapore 238883 Tel: 65 6737 2233 www.hilton.co.uk

PAN PACIFIC SINGAPORE 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039595 Tel: 65 6336 81111 www.panpacific.com/singapore/ overview.html

BERJAYA TIOMAN RESORT P.O.Box 4, 86807 Mersing, Johor Darul Takzim Tel: 609 419 1000 www.berjayahotel.com

HOTEL REI @ Pearl’s Hill 175A Chin Swee Road Singapore 169879 Tel: 65 6827 8220 www.hotelre.com.sg

PENINSULAR EXCELSIOR HOTEL 5 Coleman Street Singapore 179805 Tel: 6337 2200 www.ytchotels.com.sg

BERJAYA SINGAPORE HOTEL 83 Duxton Road, Singapore 089540 Tel: 65 6227 7678 www.berjayahotel.com

HOLIDAY INN SINGAPORE Singapore Orchard City Centre 11 Cavenagh Road Singapore 229616 Tel: 65 6733 8333 www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/ singapore

SINGAPORE MARRIOTT HOTEL 320 Orchard Road Singapore, 238865 Tel: 6735-5800 W: www.marriott.com

BUKIT GAMBANG RESORT CITY, KUANTAN Carribean Bay Suites, Jalan BGRC Utama, 26300 Kuantan, Pahang Darul Makmur Tel: 609 548 8000 www.bgrc.com.my

INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE 80 Middle Road Singapore 188966 Tel: 65 6338 7600 www.singapore.intercontinental.com

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, SINGAPORE 22 Orange Grove Road Singapore 258350 Tel: 65 6737 3644 www.shangri-la.com

CITITEL PENANG 66 Jalan Penang, 10000 Penang Tel: 604 370 1188 www.cititelpenang.com

KLAPSONS THE BOUTIQUE HOTEL 15 Hoe Chiang Road Singapore 089316 Tel: 65 6521 9000 www.klapsons.com

SWISSTOTEL THE STAMFORD SINGAPORE 2 Stamford Road Singapore 178882 Tel: 65 6338 8585 www.swissotel.com/singaporestamford

COLMAR TROPICALE, BERJAYA HILLS KM48, Persimpangan Bertingkat, Lebuhraya Karak, 28750 Bukit Tinggi, Bentong, Pahang Darul Makmur Tel: 609 288 8888 www.berjayahotel.com

MARINA BAY SANDS Marina Bayfront Ave Singapore 018956 Tel: 65 6845- 000 www.marinabaysands.com

THE FULLERTON HOTEL 1 Fullerton Square Singapore 049178 Tel: 65 6733 8388 www.fullertonhotel.com

EASTIN HOTEL PETALING JAYA 13 Jalan 16/11, Pusat Dagang Seksyen 16, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7665 1111 www.eastin.com

MANDARIN ORCHARD SINGAPORE 333 Orchard Road Singapore 238867 Tel: 65 6737 4411 Fax: 65 6235 6688 www.meritushotels.com

THE RITZ-CARLTON MILLENIA, SINGAPORE 7 Raffles Avenue Singapore 039799 Tel: 65 6337 8888 www.ritzcarlton.com

EASTIN HOTEL PENANG 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queensbay, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang Tel: 604 612 1111 www.eastin.com

CARLTON HOTEL SINGAPORE 76 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189558 Tel: 65 6338 8333 www.carlton.com.sg

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Hotels / Resorts MALAYSIA

INDONESIA

EQUATORIAL CAMERON HIGHLANDS Kea Farm, Brinchang, 39100 Cameron Highlands, Pahang Darul Makmur Tel: 605 496 1777 www.equatorial.com/cam/

PARKROYAL PENANG Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Penang Tel: 604 881 1133 www.parkroyalhotels.com

GRAN MELIA Jalan HR Rasuna Said Jakarta Capital Region 12950, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 526 8080

GRAND MILLENNIUM KUALA LUMPUR 160 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2117 4888 www.grandmillenniumkl.com

PRINCE HOTEL & RESIDENCE KUALA LUMPUR 4 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2170 8888 www.princehotelkl.com

HOTEL ARCADIA JAKARTA Jalan Kyai Haji Wahid Hasyim Jakarta Capital Region 10340, Indonesia Tel: (0)21 230 0050

HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG Batu Ferringhi Beach, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Penang Tel: 604 881 1711 www.hardrockhotels.com

SUNWAY RESORT HOTEL & SPA Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7492 8000 www.sunwayhotels.com

HOTEL KEMPENSKI 62 21 23583800 JL. MH Thamrin No.1, Jakarta Capital Region 10310, Indonesia

HOTEL ISTANA KUALA LUMPUR CITY CENTRE 73 Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2141 9988 www.hotelistana.com.my

SUNWAY HOTEL SEBERANG JAYA 11 Lebuh Tenggiri Dua, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, 13700 Prai, Penang Tel: 604 370 7788 www.sunwayhotels.com

HOTEL NIKKO Jl. MH. Thamrin 59, Jakarta 10350 Indonesia Tel: 62 21 2301122

HOTEL MAYA KUALA LUMPUR 138 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2711 8866 www.hotelmaya.com.my

SWISS-GARDEN HOTEL & RESIDENCES KUALA LUMPUR 117 Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2141 3333 www.swissgarden.com

INTERCONTINENTAL JAKARTA MIDPLAZA J1 Jend Sudirman Kav. 10-11

IMPIANA KLCC HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR 13 Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2147 1111 www.impiana.com

THE SAUJANA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7843 1234 www.thesaujanahotel.com

MANDARIN ORIENTAL Jl. Mh Thamrin, 10310, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 2993 8888

ONE WORLD HOTEL First Avenue, Bandar Utama City Centre, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 7681 1111 / 603 7712 2222 www.oneworldhotel.com.my

THE ZON ALL SUITES RESIDENCES ON THE PARK KUALA LUMPUR 161-D Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2164 8000 www.zonhotel.com.my

MILLENNIUM HOTEL SIRIH JAKARTA Jalan Fachrudin Jakarta Capital Region 10250, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 230 3636

PACIFIC REGENCY HOTEL SUITES KH Tower, Jalan Punchak Off Jalan P.Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2332 7777 www.pacific-regency.com PALACE OF THE GOLDEN HORSES Jalan Kuda Emas, Mines Wellness City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor Darul Ehsan Tel: 603 8946 4888 www.palaceofthegoldenhorses. com.my

PARKROYAL KUALA LUMPUR Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 603 2147 0088 www.parkroyalhotels.com

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INDONESIA

CROWNE PLAZA 2-3 Jalan Jenderal Gatot Subroto Jakarta Capital Region 10270, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 526 8833

GRAND HYATT Jalan M. H. Thamrin Kav. 28-30, Jakarta Capital Region 10350, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 3901234

GRAN MAHAKAM HOTEL 6 Jl. Mahakam I 12130, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 720 9966

JW MARRIOT Jalan Lingkar Mega Kuningan Kav E 1. 2 No 1 Jakarta Capital Region 12950, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 5798 8888

SARI PAN PACIFIC JAKARTA HOTEL 6 Jl. Mh Thamrin, 10340

SHANGRI-LA 1 Jalan Karet Pasar Baru Timur Jakarta Capital Region 10210, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 570 7440


TRAVEL UPDATE Hotels / Resorts HONG KONG

INDONESIA

ASTON BALI BEACH RESORT & SPA Jll. Pratama 68X Tanjung Benoa Nusa Dua, Bali Tel: 62 36 177 3577 www.astonbali.com

ST REGIS BALI Kawasan Pariwisata, Nusa Dua, Lot S6, PO Box 44 Nusa Dua, Bali 80363 Indonesia Tel: 62 361 771 327 www.stregis.com

HOTEL NOVOTEL HONG KONG CITYGATE 51 Man Tung Road Tung Chung, Hong Kong Tel: (+52) 36028888 www.novotel.com

HARD ROCK HOTEL BALI Jalan Pantai, Banjar Pande Mas Kuta, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 761 869 jakarta.grand.hyatt.com

THE 1O1 LEGIAN Jl. Raya Legian no. 117, Bali Tel: 62 361 3001 101 www.the101bali.com

HOTEL NIKKO HONG KONG 72 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2739 1111 www.hotelnikko.com.hk

HARRIS HOTEL & RESIDENCES Jl. Raya Kuta, No. 62A, Badung Bali - Indonesia 80361 Tel: 62 361 761 007 www.harrishotels.com

THE KUNJA HOTEL Lebak Sari 8, Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 80361 Indonesia Tel: 62 36 173 3128 www.thekunja.com

DORSETT REGENCY 18 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2655 5526 www.dorsettregency.com

KOMANEKA - BISMA Jalan Bisma, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 971 933 www.komaneka.com

THE OASIS LAGOON Jl. Danau Tamblingan No. 136 A Sanur 80228 Tel: 62 361 282 264 www.theoasislagoon.com

KOWLOON SHANGRI-LA 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2721 2111 www.shangri-la.com

KOMANEKA - MONKEY FOREST Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 976 090 www.komaneka.com

THE ONE BOUTIQUE VILLA Jl. Cendrawasih 99, Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 80361 Indonesia Tel: 62 36 1473 8600 www.theonevilla.com

THE LANGHAM 8 Peking Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2375 1133 www.hongkong.langhamhotels.com

KOMANEKA - RASA SAYANG Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 975 491 www.komaneka.com

THE SAMAYA SEMINYAK - BALI Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 36 173 1149 www.thesamayabali.com

SHERATON HONG KONG 20 Nathan Road, Kowloon Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR Tel: (852) 2369 1111 www.sheraton.com/hongkong

KOMANEKA - TANGGAYUDA Br. Tanggayuda, Kedewatan, Ubud Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 361 978 123 www.komaneka.com

THE SAMAYA UDUD - BALI Jalan Laksmana, Desa Sayan, Ubud 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 36 173 1149 www.thesamayabali.com

COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL 387-397 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 3552 1111 www.cosmopolitanhotel.com.hk

MAYA UBUD RESORT & SPA Jalan Gunang Sari, Peliatan Ubud Bali 80571 Indonesa, PO Box 1001 Ubud, Tel: 62 36 197 7888 www.mayaubud.com

THE SPOT Jl. Raya Legian, (Ground Zero) Troppozone Lane No. 8 , Kuta - Bali - Indonesia 80361 Tel: 62 361 8548 990 www.thespotbali.com

THE LUXE MANOR 39 Kimberley Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 3763 8888 www.theluxemanor.com

NIKKO BALI RESORT AND SPA Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, PO BOX 18 Nusa Dua 80363, Bali - Indonesia Tel: 62 361 773 377 www.nikkobali.com

THE STUDIO ONE Jl Bypass Nusa Dua 7X Nusa Dua - Bali Tel: 62 361 7410 946 www.studioonebali.com

THE MERCER 29 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2922 9988 www.hemercer.com.hk

PAT-MASE VILLAS Jl. Karang Mas Sejatera 100x - Kawasan Bukit Permai Jimbaran Bali 80364 - Indonesia Tel: 62 361 708 708 www.swiss-belhotel.com

WESTIN BALI Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua, BTDC Lot N-3, Nusa Dua 80363, Bali, Indonesia Tel: 62 21 570 7440 www.shangri-la.com

THE RITZ CARLTON, HONG KONG International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: 852 2263 2263 www.ritzcarlton.com

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JOURNAL

Astindo International Travel Fair 2012 Running from 16-18 March 2012, the second installation of AITF 2012, the largest of its kind in Indonesia, was a roaring success

T

he first consumer fair fully organised by Astindo, the show, held at Cendrawasih Hall, Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), aimed to connect players from the tourism industry and its supporting industries to promote and sell domestic and international tourism destinations to consumers. A total of 77 exhibitors, which was made up of 45 travel agents, nine domestic and international tourism promotion boards, seven national and international airlines, hotels, tourist destinations, cruise lines, banking, travel insurance and media partners participated in the event. Visitors to AITF 2012 were able to get updated information on travel destinations and the latest travel trends. At the same time, they were also able to purchase airline tickets and holiday packages at promotions prices. Seven leading airlines participated in the fair, offering special prices on fares that were available only during the three days of the event. These were Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Also present at the event were the tourism boards of Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand and West Nusa Tenggara. 106 escape!

Chairman of the organising committee of AITF 2012, Anto Haditono, reported that the total number of visitors over three days reached 45,000 people. “Compared with the previous AITF, we recorded an increase in the number of visitors for about 18 percent. Some favourite destinations of visitors were Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Malaysia. The top destinations for domestic tourism continues to be Bali, Surabaya, Lombok and Yogyakarta,” said Anto. “For three days, AITF 2012 scored sales transactions (sales volume) amounting to IDR 48 billion (US$5.23 million), generated from the sale of domestic and international tickets (ticket issued) and holiday packages,” he added. AITF also witnessed the relaunch of escape! Indonesia edition, which is published in Bahasa Indonesia. Held at the escape! booth, the reception, which was attended by representatives of NTOs and travel agents, also offered subscribers the chance to pose in front of a Dubai backdrop and got their photos printed instantly. The Dubai supplement that was distributed free of charge at the booth received an overwhelming response. Special thanks to BCA for their generous support during AITF 2012.


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Central China Travel Expo One of China’s most important regional tourism festivals saw thousands of participating visitors and the potential of its ever-growing tourism market.

T 1. Opening ceremony of Central China Travel Expo 2. International media and travel agents; fourth from right, Mr Tian Xin, director of China National Tourist Office (Singapore); second from right, Ms Cecilia Woo, publisher, Regent Media 3. Exterior of Central China Travel Expo

106 escape!

he biennial Central China Travel Expo (CCTE), held at Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, was jointly organised by the National Tourism Adminstration of the People’s Republic of China (CNTA) and the People’s Government of Hubei Province. Thousand of visitors from all parts of China, as well as international guests, turned up at the Wuhan International Conference & Exhibition Centre for this highly anticipated travel fair. Themed as “Openness, Cooperation, Innovation and Win-Win”, this travel fair aimed to promote tourism, as well as creating the awareness of inbound and outbound tourism for the Chinese market. Wang Guosheng, the provincial governor of Hubei and Shao Qiwei, the director of China national Tourism Administration

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Simply fill in the correct answer and mail it to: FTDBQF&"45*/)05&-1SPNPUJPO 3FHFOU.FEJB1UF-UE  #FEPL4PVUI3PBE4JOHBQPSF CZ4FQUFNCFS  0STFOEBOFNBJMUPescapemail@regentmedia.sgUJUMFE FTDBQF&"45*/)05&-1SPNPUJPOXJUIUIFDPSSFDUBOTXFS 1MFBTFJODMVEFZPVSGVMMOBNF *$OVNCFS DPOUBDUOVNCFSBOE BEESFTT Terms and Conditions: t5IJTQSPNPUJPOJTPQFOUPBMMFYDFQUTUBGGPG3FHFOU.FEJBBOETQPOTPS t1SJ[FTNVTUCFUBLFOBTQSPWJEFEBOEBSFOPUUSBOTGFSBCMFPSFYDIBOHFBCMFGPSDBTI t8JOOFSTXJMMCFOPUJmFECZQPTU FNBJMPSQIPOFBOEQSJ[FJTUPCFDPMMFDUFEBUBEESFTTTUBUFE POOPUJmDBUJPOMFUUFS t5IFNBOBHFNFOUSFTFSWFTUIFSJHIUUPSFQMBDFJUFNTXJUIUIPTFPGTJNJMBSWBMVF t5IFNBOBHFNFOUTEFDJTJPOJTmOBMBOEOPGVSUIFSRVFSJFTXJMMCFFOUFSUBJOFE t&OUSZJOGPSNBUJPONBZCFVTFEGPSGVUVSFNBSLFUJOHBOEQSPNPUJPOBMQVSQPTFT

escape! 107


PARTING SHOT words & photography DARREN WONG

One of Hamburg’s main attractions, Miniatur Wunderland is created by twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun. It has the world’s largest model railway system and a miniature landscape of 1,100 square metres. Find realistic mini-figurines and spectacular views of Las Vegas, the Alps and Norwegian fjords, all under one roof.

HAMBURG, GERMANY

03/2012 108 escape!


escape! - 2012 Aug/Sep  
escape! - 2012 Aug/Sep  

escape! is a handy and valuable travel resource for readers to explore new destinations and rediscover old haunts. It is packed with travel...

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