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Discover, explore & experience The WorlD

AsIA september/october 2010

Tibet

A LoST kingdom

the mystical beauty of Lhasa

PLUS

l the perfect trip around Japan l beyond baroque squares in prague l the most beautiful places on earth l In search of paella in Valencia, spain SGD 7.50 RM 15 NT 270 Rp 75.000 THB 195 MICA (P) 175/05/2010, PPS 1747/01/2011(028544)


www.tourismthailand.org www.tourismthailand.org.sg www.bangkokwelcomeyou.com


Available at all leading department stores


contents

heaven on earth 1

A journey to the dizzying heights of Tibet p34

VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3 / SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

6 share! Your questions, insider tips and holiday snapshots

postcards

8 sunset in the Grand canyon and other images from your travels

10 easy trips 18 mount everest, nepal Trek up the Himalayan mountains 19 Jaipur, india Soar above the city in a hot air balloon 19 vientiane, Laos Temple-hop during the Boun Ok Phansa festival 20 baa atoll, maldives Check out the manta ray feeding frenzy 21 singapore Satisfy your need for speed at the Singapore GP 21 bali, indonesia Rent a board and catch some waves at Kuta beach 22 seoraksan national park, south Korea Be the first to witness the splendid colours of autumn 23 nakhon phanom, thailand Watch the Mekong River light up 24 Kolkata, india Go pandal-hopping at the annual Durga Puja 26 cairns, australia Exotic marine life at The Great Barrier Reef

writinG home 28 tony wheeler On keeping it natural 30 From bbc correspondent Seeking Delhi’s “phantom squirter” 32 dan cruickshank Hotels with cultural identity

Features

Our showcase stories, plus how you can share in the experiences PHOTOGRAPHS: NICK DANZIGER; lOTTIE DAvIES; DAvID NOTON; MATT MUNRO; ROBERTO fRANKENBERG; TOH WEN SHIEN

34 end of the Line Author Tahir Shah takes the Railway to Heaven, from Beijing to the mystical land of Tibet 46 the perfect trip: Japan Take the hassle out of organising your trip with our guide – including sum¯o, temples, sushi and hot springs 60 the most beautiful place on earth? Six travel photographers reveal the places that blew them away 66 rediscover prague Beyond the Baroque squares and cobbles 78 in search of the perfect paella With Matthew Fort, in Valencia

insider 90 the Guide Unique honeymoons and how to photograph landscapes 92 the why of travel Allan Wu recalls downing maggots 93 don’t miss out Our guide to what’s coming up worldwide 94 subscribe and receive a FREE Lonely Planet Discover guide

mini Guides 99 auckland New Zealand’s largest, multicultural metropolis 101 black Forest Beer, gateau and highlands make for a heady mix 103 chiang mai Lanna influences, temples, mystical mountains and more 105 istanbul A cultural melting pot in this former imperial captial 107 Lyon Stroll the charming passageways of Renaissance Old Lyon 109 melbourne Enjoy cafe culture in this cosmopolitan city 111 win 3D2N at Tower Club at lebua, Bangkok, Thailand, worth US$1,050 2

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

4

tower trip

Prague’s infamous Žižkov TV Tower is just one of the reasons to rediscover the city p66


3

postcards

A sunset in the Grand Canyon - one of the places you’ve visited p8

the perFect trip to Japan 2

Follow our simple guide p46

5 4 2 6

4

5

2

3 2

1

1 9 3

where we’ve been this month Your guide to the destinations we’ve covered in this issue

5

4 7 10 3 6

5

6

the most beautiFuL pLace on earth?

Travel photographers nominate their most beautiful places, such as the Canadian Rockies p60

8

1

6

perFect paeLLa

Matthew Fort travels to Valencia, hunting down the world’s finest paella. And there’s no seafood involved p78

10 easy trips

18

2 Jaipur

19

3 Vientiane

19

4 Baa atoll

20

5 Singapore

21

6 Bali

21

7 Seoraksan

22

8 Nakhon phanom

23

9 Kolkata

24

10 Cairns

26

mini Guides 1 auckland

Xyxyxyxy 2008

page

1 Mount everest

page

99

2 Black Forest

101

3 Chiang Mai

103

4 Istanbul

105

5 Lyon

107

6 Melbourne

109


Need to get iN touch? subscription, editorial and advertising enquiries +65 6543 3681 advertising enquiries sales@regentmedia.sg subscription enquiries subscription@regentmedia.sg editorial enquiries lpmagazine@regentmedia.sg subscription, editorial and advertising enquiries Regent Media Pte Ltd 3 Loyang Way Singapore 508719 asia team Publisher Cecilia Woo Managing editor Joyceline Tully Contributing sub editor Evelyn Mak Senior writer Joyce Huang Writer Angeleigh Khoo art director Cally Han Graphic designer Diyan Julia Marketing manager Tasmin Chua Senior marketing executive Stefanie Yuan Finance manager Julie Khong Customer service executive Veronica Teo Senior business manager Joanna Teh Business manager Rose Koh uK team Editor Peter Grunert art director Hayley Ward assistant editors Amanda Canning, Natalie Millman Features editor Orla Thomas Publishing director Dominic Murray Managing director Peter Phippen Group editorial director Nicholas Brett head of international development James Hewes International partners manager Linda Ligios Syndication or licensing enquiries: intmags@bbc.co.uk media rePreseNtatives Brunei Lim Min Yaw (sales@purplemedia.asia) hong Kong/Macau Mariam Wong (mariam.wang@

publicitas.com) Indonesia Panca R Sarungu (psarungu@pristamedia.com) Japan Yoshinori Ikeda (pbi2010@gol.com) Thailand Hemant N Sonney (hemant@sonneymedia.com) Philippines Sabrina Chiu (sabrina@prostaffasia.com) distributors Singapore Region Periodicals Distributor Pte Ltd Malaysia MPH Distributors Sdn Bhd hong Kong Times Publishing (HK) Ltd Indonesia PT Java Books Indonesia Thailand Asia Books Co., Ltd Taiwan Formosan Magazine Press Inc Lonely Planet MICA (P) 094/07/2009, ISSN 2010-0825, PPS 1747/01/2011(028544), 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) Lonely Planet is distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.

A Publication of

4

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

Just where is the most beautiful place on earth?

We put that million-dollar question to six photographers and they came back with some glorious answers. but in all honesty, beautiful does not even begin to describe these places they’ve captured on camera, showcased here on pages 60 to 65. One thing is for sure — there is no shortage of contenders for the top spot, whether it is familiar old world destinations such as Prague, Czech Republic (p66) and Valencia, Spain (p78) or Lhasa, Tibet, perched at the edge of the world and accessible via an amazing train journey (p34). Closer to home, there is Japan, land of the rising sun and where we begin our quest for the perfect trip (p46). Last but not least, check out your shortlist of beautiful places, featured in this issue’s Postcards (p8) — please keep your photos and traveller’s tales coming in.

FROM TOP LEFT Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, Canada, photographed soon after sunrise. In the distance is the President Range, a section of the Rocky Mountains (p60); Yaks are a familiar sight across Tibet (p34); Make the perfect Paella (p78)

this moNth’s cover The magnificent Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

Joyceline tully, Managing Editor

PhOTOGRaPh PHOTOLIBRARY

coNtributors this moNth NicK daNZiger Nick is a photojournalist and documentary film maker. He has photographed Hamid Karzai and George W Bush, and heads to Tibet in this issue, p34.

mattheW Fort Matthew Fort is a regular Lonely Planet Magazine contributor. This issue, he travels to Valencia in search of the perfect paella, p78.

WeNdy yaNagihara Wendy Yanagihara grew up in America, but spent childhood summers in Japan. She takes us on the perfect trip around the land of the rising sun, p46.


Fly to a place of warm welcome

Experience our warm hospitality, friendly smiles and delightful surprises. Wherever you are. For reservations and enquiries, please call our Singapore Corporate Office at (65) 6338 8944, email sedona@kepland.com.sg or visit www.sedonahotels.com.sg

Experience Sedona, where welcome is not just a word, it's our philosophy.

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As the capital of a wine region, it’s no surprise Lyon has mild winters and warm summers. Go in June or July for Les Nuits de Fourvière, with open-air concerts on Fourvière Hill (nuits-de-fourviere.org).

hOW TO GO

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mINI GuIdE Sep/Oct 2010

Istanbul, See

WHEN TO GO

Visit April to May or September to October, when temperatures are moderate. It’s steamy July and August, in while snow is common winter. Room rates in can be up to 50 per cent cheaper from October to March (Christmas period aside).

HOW TO GO

Flights start at £55 return. Turkish Airlines flies from London, Birmingham and Manchester, while British Airways, easyJet and Pegasus fly from London. Low-cost carriers fly to Sabiha Gökçen airport, which is less convenient (20 miles out) than the larger Atatürk airport.

Turkey

Eat & drink

Café des Fédérations 6 is one of Lyon’s best-known bouchons. The caviar de la croix rousse

WHY GO?

An imperial capital for 1,600 years, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul European Capital is joint of Culture for 2010. Its mosques, churches, markets and cuisine have timeless appeal.

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From hawker stalls to fine dining, chaotic streets to tranquil beaches, this city has everything for a great stopover

stores, and islands and beaches are just a short ferry trip away.

lines

WhEN TO GO

LEFT Alfresco dining in atmospheric Old Lyon. RIGHT A stone lion from a building on Rue Juiverie

See

international artists making use of the illuminated mini-galleries. (61-3/9663-0442; citylightsproject. com; Centre Place & Hosier Lane)

BEST FOR chuRch 5 One of the world’s largest and

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Why GO?

You might think Paris would put Lyon in the shade – not a bit. Outstanding art museums and a dynamic cultural life lend this city a sophisticated air, while you can find an earthy quality in its bouchons (no-nonsense bistros) and traboules (hidden passageways).

Eurostar runs from London to Paris or Lille, where you can get a train to Lyon from £75 (5 hours). London flights with easyJet or British Airways start at about £50 return (1¾ hours). You can also fly from Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham.

Eat & drink

Fold 1 Melbourne’s favoured spot for occasion dining, Vue de Monde 6 is set in a 19th century barrister’s chamber and is starkly luxe. This is BEST FOR STROLLING 1 French and Modern Australian The traboules and cobblestoned cuisine, degustation dining with a streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) capital D.Fold (61-3/9691-3888; 2 invite wandering, with medieval vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little xxx and Renaissance houses on Collins Street; lunch & dinner Rue du Bœuf, Rue St-Jean and Rue Tue-Fri, dinner Sat; lunch/dinner des Trois Maries. Look out for menu gourmand from US$87/131) Brunswick gargoyles Street; breakfast & Juiverie, along Rue Laksa Me 7 is home to some home to lunch Tue-Sun; mains the Jewish US$7-14) community great Malaysian grub, and an the Middle Withina drink Ages.your list to make eccentric interior. Laksa is king here, liver quiver, Gin Palace 9 is the but there are also some out-of-theFOR 2 perfectBEST place to grabVIEWS a soft couch The Basilique Notre Dame ordinary entrée options like or secluded alcove, sip, and take it de Fourvière Chinese pastry triangles of daikon, Fourvière Hill slow. Martinis herecrowns legendary and offers aare GO? yamWHy bean and chive. (61-3/9639and it’sview. open very latemesmerising nights. city It’s also amost Take great example a skylineShop 9885; laksame.com; 1, 16New York’s, to rival (61-3/9654-0533; 190 Little Collins of enthusiastically set embellished it among islands and wooded Liverpool Street; lunch & dinner hills 4pm-late) and make Street; late-19th-century it architecture ideally Mon-Fri, placed dinner for stopovers Sat & Sun; mains for Take(00 home or sample long-haul thefourviere.org; 33 478 de 258619; flight destinations. US$8.70-12.20) and glamour, frenetic jour drops 7am-7pm; by theAdd glass grit from the free entry; tours £2-£4). Russian flavours infuse thecrowds and quiet wall of localescapes, you and international have Hong Kong, and lovingly prepared the Fragrant breakfast and BEST winesHarbour. FOR ART at City Wine Shop 310 . You lunch dishes at Babka Bakery The Musée can also Beaux-Arts buy by the des bottle. Counter on 8 and the heady Café, aromas of WHAT meals Lyon’s such asPresqu’île IS THERE TO crab cakes (peninsula) and DO? showcases sculptures and cinnamon and freshly baked bread goat’s cheese There’s omelette demand so more paintings from every makes even much to Hong Kong a coffee worth period of you make a hard-nosed night of it. (61-3/9654than bargaining just European and delicious 358 art, queuing for. (61-3/9416-0091; dim sum. 6657; 159 Kong Spring Street;including Hong 7am-late)works have you taking willRubens, Monet and pictures from every by Cranach, Matisse. angle, marvelling at how andThe cloister garden is city and that numBER an ideal picnic spot (00 33 TuRn OvER FORamap so often lOcaTiOnS 472 seems chaotic 101740; mba-lyon.fr; 20 Place somehow works perfectly. des Terreaux; closed Tue; £6). There is traditional art and september/october 2010 culture 109 among the designer

educational talks and kids activities run all weekend. (61-3/1300-882392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; corner of Queenswharf Road and

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See

BEST FOR kidS 4 Rays, gropers and sharks cruise around a 2.2-million-litre tank, watched closely by visitors from a see-through tunnel that traverses Melbourne Aquarium’s floor. There is a theatre that hosts

King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to mINI non-profit art space that has been GUIDE Feb-Dec; adult/child/family July/August 6pm shining away for over a decade. 2010 US$22/13/61)

LEFT Bag a bargain, such as a narghile (right), at the vast Grand Bazaar

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Eat & drink

BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE (lentils in a creamy sauce) 1 is a Built as a church must, and reservations are by Emperor vital Çiya Sofrasi 6 on Justinian in AD537, (00 33 478 282600; lesfedeslyon. the Asian then used as side a mosque under is one com, in French; 8 Rue Major of the city’s best the Ottomans, Fold 2 lunch lokantas – a style Aya Sofya is the Martin; and dinner Mon-Sat; of Turkish pinnacle restaurant serving four-course menu from £17). Byzantine architecture of The ornate Basilique Notre ready-made Dame A few years ago, chef Jean-Paul food. The self-service Istanbul’s most famous and de Fourvière overlooks the Café des Fédérations city meze is serves local Lacombe made the surprising delicious, and there monument. classics in a historic Now setting a museum, its are plentiful decision to turn his double vegetarian choices. interior contains BEST FOR ShOppING 4 a soaring domed Try Michelin-starred restaurant of apricots, chestnuts the stew into and 9rich Les Halles de Lyon is the city’s At ceiling Thomas mosaics. and lamb you a more accessible venue. The can enjoy On the shores of (00 90 212dining the Bosphorus, Fold 2 (00 90 216 330 3190; 522 0989; legendary indoor food market. formal Aya in the result, Brasserie ciya.com.tr; Sofya Square; restaurant Yeniköy is a popular WHY GO? Léon de Lyon or Güneslibahçe Sokak summer resort closed Buy St Marcellin cheese from eat in Mon; £9). the tapas-inspired 7 43; wine bar similar Cooking Alaturka cuisine The, has (such Black Forest offers beautiful as landscapes – fir trees serves 10pm; portions £2.50-£5).11.30amcheesemonger Mère Richard, (00 33 472 560476; tournedos of cod with lemon restaurantfood and runs cookery Anatolian crowd or Jésus de Lyon sausage from classes rolling thomas.com, BEST FOR BOAT concealing Every morning, chefs BEST villages French; 3 2& 6 Rue FORinof confit),the HISTORY but is morehighlands, TRIPS 4 affordable Auckland atwith many names. is a place butcher Collette Sibilia (102 Zübeyir Ocakbası Eminönü quay near Home to Its houses Sat & Sun; mains (00 33 472 the meanderingLaurencin; valleys Cours medieval –closed while the Ottoman 101112;inleondelyon. 7 prepare the Galata sultans for de Lafayette; 7am-12pm, 3pm £18-£23, four-course menu There’s a set four-course quality meats to Bridge is the starting 400 com; 1 Rue years, £36). Freiburg, thePléney; main city, the Topkapi Palace isbeTamaki lunchhas warmest andGermany’sPaul Makau grilled point for Maori name Rau,menu which daily 7pm Tues-Sat, 7am-12pm Sun). is Bocuse 10 has held changing copper-hooded barbecues:over dinner; trips north up the bursting with treasures. There’s menu £20). at Cooking weather,three-course best appreciated Bosphorus, in gardens. three spicy means since 1965. La Cave d’à Côté 8 is a its beer Alaturkalovers’, chicken‘isthmus past splendid palaces, of one also Michelin 9 . Favourite thousand a harem stars wings, flavoursome wine BEST FOR CINEMA 5 Located dishes thesuburbs, in the where sultan, ribs northern bar furnished like a gentlemen’s include Circassian and lamb sıs kebaps. fortresses of Europe the twin while his wives and concubines Visit cinema’s glorious beginnings chicken salad famous the 135,000 Be pleasure and Asia, dishes sure to include a truffle lived – club. The crafts WHEN filling themed TO GO evenings must with book (00 90 212 293 and the Ottoman it’s aninvented walnuts, extra £6.50 and quince stewed at the Musée Lumière, in the soup summer resort 3951; Bekar to visit for the be booked, and there’s a wide French (00 90 in syrup (00 90 212 of Yeniköy. The full Although itsSokak 212 the summer is most popularpresident marinas 28; 12pm-12am; 512visitors, with have lent art nouveau home of Antoine 0480; its most 458 topkapisarayi.gov. (00 33 trip to Anadolu 472 429090; selection of regional wine £4-£9).the city on cookingalaturka.com; 5919; Kavagı takes 1½ Behind the Karaköy tr;come Babihümayun Lumière. The first reels of the bocuse.fr; the landscapes L’Auberge into their hours one-way durable offer (00for Caddesi; du Pont de Akbiyik Fish first especially 33 walking, 478 283146; nickname: Caddesi Market of (£6.50), Sails’. 9am-5pm, ever motion picture were shot Collonges,closed 72a; lunch Mon-Sat, is Tarihi Karaköy the ‘City but there also are owncave-vin-lyon.com; de la£9). under mist or snow. Plage; intriguing festival40 is Rue theTues; Balık 7 RueOne Pléney; dinner by reservation; here in 1895. Today, classic Lokantası 8 , one trips available (ido.com.tr).shorter lunch and dinner; mains themed wine tastings films around of the menu Villingen-Schwenningen, from £26). are screened (00 33 478 781895; Villinger Fasnet in £45, menus old-style fish restaurants few One of the best rooftop £17). BEST from £115). FOR BROWSING 3 why GO? bars in left on a pre-Lenten celebration featuring bizarre institut-lumiere.org; 25 Rue Beyoglu, Mikla 10 the Golden BEST FOR WANdERING The Grand Bazaar du Horn. Top-class, in the Marmara (Kapalı Çarsı) 5 It’s hard to imagine Premier Film; Tue-Sun; £5). more geographically costumed TuRNcharacters Pera hotelblessed perfectly OVER FOR(narrozunft.de). Centred on the boulevard is a covered city MAp ANd NuMBER prepared yetaaffordable has viewscity. all of its over the Old LOCATIONS of Its two magnificent City. dishes frame Istiklal Caddesi, the with over 4,000 shops own, a After narrow include a great harbours a dryisthmus martini, stay for district of fish soup selling punctuated by volcanic (00 90 212 251 Beyoglu was Istanbul’s cones andthe modern Medby everything from jewellery surrounded fertile HOW TO GO 1371; Kardesim cuisine (00 90 to farmland. 212 293 June 2010 Sokak 30, Karaköy; On top of being the largest Europeanised suburb smart, of 5656; New themarmarahotels. Zealand’s 137 noon-4pm Basel Airport serves the southern old books. Come prepared for in the late com; Mesrutiyet Mon-Sat; cities, 19th century. Today hard-sells it is alsofrom the £9). most multicultural, mains and endless making it Caddesi GuidE a Sep/Oct it’s the heart 167-185; 2010 cups Black Forest with flights from mini 12pm-2am; mains of modern Istanbul, of tea (9am-7pm fascinatingly metropolitan and energetic £15-£25). city. Mon-Sat). with shops, London (1½ hours) and Manchester. galleries, restaurants and bars. TuRN OvER FOR Airlines include easyJet (from £40), mAP ANd NumBER whaT iS ThERE TO dO: lOcATIONS British Airways and Swiss. Strasbourg, Within an hour’s drive from the high-rise heart of the across the Rhine, is around seven city are dense tracts of rainforest, thermal springs, september/october 2010 hours by train from London. deserted beaches, wineries and wildlife reserves, 105

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MINI GUIdE Sep/Oct 2010

Black Forest,

See

Take a boat out or go for a swim in Lake Titisee

ringed by forest, with secluded bays for swimming and picnicking. Rowing boats and pedalos along the lakefront of Titisee-Neustadt village cost around £5.20 per hour (hochschwarzwald.de). BEST FOR HISTORY 5 The Black Forest Open-Air Museum gathers historic farmhouses together to create an authentic farming hamlet. Artisans are on hand to demonstrate their crafts, and it’s also a great place for kids, with farm animals to pet (00 49 7831 93560; vogtsbauernhof.org; Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum, Gutach; 11am-6pm; £5.50).

Auckland,

New Zealand

LEFT Kinzigtal valley. RIGHT The Black Forest is home to the cuckoo clock

Eat & drink

should you need a nature-fix. Yet big-city comforts have spread to all corners of the Auckland Region: a decent coffee or chardonnay is usually close at hand.

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Perched on a hill with valley views, Ackerloch Grillschopf 6 is a rustic barn that doubles as a butcher selling home-smoked Black Forest ham. Choose snacks at the counter and grill ‘em at the barbecue (00 49 7721 54421; ackerloch.de; Unteres Ackerloch; 11.30am-12am, closed Wed; snacks £2.50-£7). The Black Forest cake at Triberg’s Café Schäfer 7 is the real deal – confectioner Claus Schäfer has the original recipe to prove it. The aroma draws you to the glass counter showcasing the masterpiece (00 49 7722 4465; cafe-schaefer-triberg.de; Hauptstrasse 33, Triberg; closed Wed; coffee and cake £3-£5). Starring one of Freiburg’s best beer gardens, the Hausbrauerei Feierling 8 brewpub serves humongous schnitzels with Brägele (chipped potatoes), plus top veggie options (00 49 761 243480; feierling.de; Gerberau 46, Freiburg im Breisgau; 11am12am, to 1am Fri-Sat; mains £6).

See

Eat & drink

BEST FOR culTuRE 1 Within the Auckland Museum is a comprehensive display of Pacific island and Maori artefacts . Daily Maori cultural performances provide a good introduction to all things Maori. (64-9/390-0443;

Worth the trip alone – heavenly aucklandmuseum.com; adult/child Black Forest gateau

On a hot day, visit the Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World to cool off

US$3.60/free; 10am-5pm daily)

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BEST FOR VIEWS 1 Since 1888, the Peak Tram has climbed the steep Looking a bit like and densely a hotel ballroom, Fold 1 wooded City hillside Hall above Maxim’s Central to Palace 6 is Victoria Peak, the the place for real highest point on Hong Hong Kong island. sum, which is mostly Kong dim At the top you’ll eaten for be rewarded with breakfast and lunch. one of Flag down spectacular cityscapes the most a trolley loaded with baskets of com.hk; lower station (thepeak. steamed delicacies BEST FOR ATMOSPHERE 1 at and take your Road; US$3; 7am-12pm). 33 Garden pick (00 852 2521 A trip to Victoria The half-timbered villages of the Peak rewards 1303; 3rd fl, Low with impressive Block, City Hall, 1 horseshoe-shaped Kinzigtal city views Edinburgh Place; BEST FOR BROWSING from US$14; lunch valley are surrounded by almond 2 and dinner). Yung Kee is the BEST FOR ART 4 Take a stroll west place to goorchards, If you fancy an Italian for along and award-winningand cherry meal after The Hong Kong Museum roast goose shop-lined Hollywood antiqueall that dim sum, terraced vineyards. The villages of Road. At of Art on don’t miss the Kowloon waterfront number 124, Man discreet entrance Schiltach (schiltach.de) and Mo Temple is has to Rughetta 7 . galleries full of Chinese seven wonderfully atmospheric, Chinese food, and This basement restaurant Alpirsbach superb (stadt-alpirsbach.de) with views fine art and calligraphy, antiquities, curls of smoke rising of the Central skyline faultless Roman cuisine serves are among from the thethe most picturesque. historical across (00 852 pictures of Hong incense burners in harbour. After dinner, 2537 7922; 75-77 Kong and Macao, the main hall. Wyndham Street; head and contemporary Running upstairs US$21-US$28; parallel to is Aqua art 2 Cat Street (00 852 lunch and dinner BEST SpiritFOR NATURE bar for an 2721 0116; lcsd.gov.hk/hkma; (officially Upper Lascar extra dose of that Mon-Sat, dinner Sun). Row), which Carved view by river flowing to the 10 (00a852 Salisbury Road; US$1.20, is full of curio shops. 3428 8342; aqua.com.hk; Yung Kee 8 has free Wed; Rhine, the28/F, jagged Wutachschlucht been serving 10am-6pm Fri-Wed, One Peking Road; its signature roast to 8pm Sat). US$57-US$80; gorge goose from is a nature reserve lunch and dinner). birds raised on its own farms since supporting orchids and ferns, and 1942. There’s also Old-fashioned afternoon dim sum in the rare birds such tea as treecreepers remains popular smart dining room in Hong Kong, The full eight-mile 2pm-5pm and and there are few kingfishers. Mon-Sat and 11am-5pm rivals to the walk goes from Schattenmühle to Sun (00 cakes and sandwiches 852 2522 1624; yungkee.com.hk; served about 4½ hours Wutachmühle, in the neo-classical 32-40 Wellington Street; set menu splendour of the Peninsula(wutachschlucht.de). US$36; lunch and Lobby 10 (00 dinner). 852 2920 2888; peninsula.com; Go to Hutong 9 for imaginative BEST FOR STROLLING 3 Salisbury Road; US$36; and exquisitely presented afternoon northern Gabled houses cluster in tea 2pm-7pm daily). Freiburg’s medieval Altstadt (Old TURN OVER FOR Town), and rivulets of water run mAp AND NUmBER LOCATIONSalong footpaths. The 11th-century Münster is a red sandstone giant among minsters (freiburg.de). July/August 2010 103 BEST FOR SWIMMING 4 Titisee (stop giggling at the back!) is a shimmering glacial lake,

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Melbourne is a city that’s prolific in architecture, performances, live music and visual arts. It is also sporty and outdoorsy, with a wealth of wonderful parks, along with stunning beaches and bushland in close proximity. It is also worth taking time to explore a few inner city neighbourhoods to see what makes MINI GuIdE June Melbournians tick. Sophisticated and slick, edgy Melbourne’s and rough, physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnic population.

Right: Eat your heart out with regional dishes such as dim sum

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spot for 6 favoured Monde Vue de Melbourne’s barrister’sis dining, occasiona 19th century luxe. This in starkly is set and is Australian a with chamber and Modern dining xxx French degustation 1 & cuisine,D. (61-3/9691-3888; 430 Little breakfast maRkETing Street; Queen US$7-14) capital FOR & dinner your mains largest BEST 600 traders, Brunswick lunch vuedemonde.com.au; is the Tue-Sun; to make over Street; lunch/dinner 9 is the With lunch a drink list Market the southern Collins dinner Sat; US$87/131) site With from to some Victoriamarket in been on Gin Palacesoft couch Tue-Fri, quiver, to grab a and take it gourmand home Thousands open-air and has menu Me 7 is and an here, liver place sip, wide 130 years. grub, is king alcove,are legendary xxxx hemisphere perfect Laksa for the than use of Malaysian Laksa for more go there (61-3/9320or secluded here most nights. making great late interior. some out-of-theMartinis artists produce.Elizabeth of shoppers slow. open very Little Collins like eccentric are also 513 of fresh 190 international mini-galleries. range and it’s Thu, but thereentrée options of daikon, Lane) qvm.com.au; Tue & Sat, the illuminated citylightsproject. the de 5822; 6am-2pm (61-3/9654-0533; & Hosier ordinary pastry triangles 4pm-late) (61-3/9639Place (61-3/9663-0442; Street; Fri, 6am-3pm Street; home or samplefrom the Centre Chinese and chive.Shop 1, 16 com; Take by the glass 4 6am-6pm Sun) dinner yam bean cruise 10 . You kidS laksame.com; & mains 2 and international 9am-4pm jour drops FOR and sharks Shop 9885; Street; lunch local just tank, a BEST & Sun; naTuRE wall of City Winebottle. Counter gropers suddenly Liverpooldinner Sat from FOR at Rays, a 2.2-million-litre BEST drops away way to visitors wines buy by the cakes and the Mon-Fri, around closely by that traverses infuse and The citySpring St, givingbackyard, demand can also as crab US$8.70-12.20) flavours such omelette floor. watched tunnel avenues breakfast beautiful east of meals Russian Bakery of Stately cheese of it. (61-3/9654prepared see-through Aquarium’s Melbourne’s 7am-late) goat’s flowerbeds, a night that hosts at Babka aromas Gardens. lovingly activities elms, Street; Melbourne dishes heady bread Fitzroy English strange you makeSpring is a theatreand kids lunch 8 and the baked from 159 with and talks There lined 6657; lawns a short stroll worth (61-3/1300-882- ; Café, and freshly educational Parade, coffee 358 expansiveare just weekend. and just a cinnamon Road run all Wellington even fountains and Albert lOcaTiOnS makes for. (61-3/9416-0091; (Between Jan, to 392; melbourneaquarium.com.au 109 town. Lansdowne of Queenswharf numBER queuing and corner 9.30am-9pm Clarendon, map 3 FOR King Street; adult/child/family 2010 Streets) up OvER public, 6pm Feb-Dec; TuRn lighTing is a FOR 5 been US$22/13/61) september/october BEST Lights Project that has chuRch and The City art space a decade. largest FOR BEST the world’s for over in a small non-profit away One of shining are installedand along Place Lightboxes off Centrelocal and with alcove Lane Hosier

WhaT iS ThERE TO dO:

Why gO?

Eat & drink

here then fold

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Melbourne, like its famed city laneways, layers. Brainy and boasts many cool and cliquey, industrious, imaginative and creative; welcoming urbane and and generous; irrevocably resolutely suburban: contradictions Melbourne’s are worth uncovering.

OUT-OF-TOWN EXCURSION 5 With a fifth of Hong Kong’s landmass but only 2 per cent of its population, the outlying islands are a great escape. Lamma, 20 minutes away, has good beaches, hiking and seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan village (hkkf.com. hk; from Pier 4 in Central; US$1.50-US$3).

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and rough, Fold 2 edgy and slick, cultural and physicalby a dynamic, Sophisticated Melbourne’s is shaped landscape population. multi-ethnic

many boasts creative; and city laneways, gO? famed imaginative resolutely Why like itsindustrious, generous; and Melbourne, and Melbourne’s Brainy welcoming suburban: layers. cliquey, and cool and irrevocably uncovering. are worth urbane

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Why gO?

Melbourne, like its famed city laneways, 2010 boasts many Sep/Oct guidE mini layers. Brainy and industrious, imaginative and creative; rne, cool and cliquey, welcoming Melbou and lia generous; resolutely drink Austra urbane and irrevocably suburban: Eat & Melbourne’s contradictions are worth uncovering. See

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Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnic population. 109

3

WhaT iS ThERE

Australia

2010

Eat & drink

Melbourne,

september/october

Melbourne’s favoured spot occasion dining, for is set in a 19th Vue de Monde 6 century barrister’s chamber and is starkly luxe. French and This is Modern cuisine, degustation Australian dining with a capital D. (61-3/9691-3888; vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little Collins Street; lunch & dinner xxx Tue-Fri, dinner Sat; menu gourmand lunch/dinner from US$87/131) Laksa Me 7 Brunswick Street; great Malaysian is home to some lunch Tue-Sun; breakfast & mains US$7-14) eccentric interior.grub, and an With a drink Laksa is king list to make but there are here, liver your also quiver, Gin ordinary entrée some out-of-theperfect place Palace 9 is the to grab a soft Chinese pastry options like or secluded couch triangles of alcove, sip, and daikon, yam bean and slow. Martinis take chive. here are legendary it 9885; laksame.com; (61-3/9639and it’s open Shop 1, 16 very Liverpool Street; (61-3/9654-0533; late most nights. Mon-Fri, dinner lunch & dinner Street; 4pm-late) 190 Little Collins US$8.70-12.20) Sat & Sun; mains Take home or sample the Russian flavours jour drops by de the glass from lovingly prepared infuse the wall of local the breakfast and and lunch dishes wines at City international at Wine Shop 10 Café, 8 and Babka Bakery can also buy the by the bottle. . You cinnamon and heady aromas of Counter meals such freshly baked as crab cakes makes even bread and goat’s cheese just a coffee worth omelette demand queuing for. you make a (61-3/9416-0091; night 358 6657; 159 Spring of it. (61-3/9654Street; 7am-late) TuRn OvER FOR map and numBER lOcaTiOnS

TO dO: Melbourne is a city that’s prolific in architecture, performances, live music and visual sporty and arts. It is also outdoorsy, with a wealth parks, along of wonderful with close proximity. stunning beaches and bushland in It is also worth few inner city neighbourhoods taking time to explore Melbournians a to see what tick. makes

Sep/Oct 2010

mini guidE Sep/Oct 2010

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corner of Queenswharf Road and King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm Feb-Dec; adult/child/family US$22/13/61)

international artists making use the illuminated mini-galleries. of (61-3/9663-0442; citylightsproject. com; Centre Place & Hosier Lane)

See

BEST FOR maRkETing 1 With over 600 traders, Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and has been on site for more than 130 years. Thousands of shoppers go there for the wide range of fresh produce. (61-3/93205822; qvm.com.au; 513 Elizabeth Street; 6am-2pm Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun)

BEST FOR chuRch 5 One of the world’s largest and

BEST FOR kidS 4 Rays, gropers and sharks cruise around a 2.2-million-litre tank, watched closely by visitors from see-through tunnel that traversesa Melbourne Aquarium’s floor. There is a theatre that hosts educational talks run all weekend. and kids activities (61-3/1300-882392; melbourneaquarium.com.au;

BEST FOR maRkETing 1 With over 600 traders, Queen Victoria Market open-air market is the largest in the southern hemisphere and for more than has been on site 130 years. Thousands of shoppers go there for the wide range of fresh produce. (61-3/93205822; qvm.com.au; Street; 6am-2pm 513 Elizabeth Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun)

2

Lightboxes are installed in a small alcove off Centre Place and along Hosier Lane with local and

Sophisticated and slick, edgy Melbourne’s and rough, physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnicFold 2 population.

BEST FOR lighTing up 3 The City Lights Project is a public,

rough,

Why gO?Sophisticated

BEST FOR naTuRE 2 The city drops away suddenly just east of Spring St, giving way to Melbourne’s beautiful backyard, Fitzroy Gardens. Stately avenues lined with English elms, flowerbeds, expansive lawns and strange fountains are just a short stroll from town. (Between Wellington Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Albert Streets)

Melbourne,

Melbourne, and slick, like Melbourne’s its famed edgy and city physical layers. Brainy laneways, and boasts landscape and many cool and cliquey, industrious, is imaginative and cultural welcoming shaped by creative; urbane andmulti-ethnic and generous; a dynamic, population. irrevocably resolutely suburban: contradictions Melbourne’s Why aregO? worth uncovering.

Hong Kong

BEST FOR lighTing up 3 The City Lights Project is a non-profit art public, space that has shining away been for Lightboxes are over a decade. installed in a alcove off Centre small Place and along Hosier Lane with local and

BEST FOR naTuRE 2 The city drops away suddenly east of Spring just St, giving way Melbourne’s to beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. backyard, lined with English Stately avenues expansive lawns elms, flowerbeds, and strange fountains are just town. (Between a short stroll from Wellington Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Albert Streets)

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like its WhaT layers. Brainy and famed city laneways, iS ThERE

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BEST FOR viEwS 2 Höhengasthaus Kolmenhof BEST FOR aRT 4 thebegins. Sky Tower is the tallest 9 is where At The Auckland Art Gallery spreads the328m, Danube in thetuck southern After a hike structure in the woods, into hemisphere. over two buildings: the Main A lift takes you up to the observation Gallery houses both the European glühwein and trout in almond decks in merely 40 seconds; look and local collections while the New butter (00 49down 7723 through 93100; the glass floor panels Gallery houses contemporary art kolmenhof.de; An derafter Donauquelle, if you’re an extra kick. and temporary exhibitions. Martinskapelle; 11.30am-7.30pm (64-9/363-6000; skycity.co.nz; corner (64-9/379-1349; aucklandartgallery. Sat-Thu; mains of £8-£14). Federal & Victoria Streets; adult/ govt.nz; corner of Wellesley & Watch the child sun set over 8.30am-11pm US$18/6; Lorne Streets; admission free; Freiburg’s redSun-Thu, rooftops8.30am-midnight from the Fri & Sat) 10am-5pm daily) terrace and beer garden of BEST FOR 10 a hOT Greiffenegg-Schlössle whileday 3 BEST FOR aRchiTEcTuRE 5 The of biglamb attraction enjoying the likes with at the Kelly The Auckland University Clock Tarlton’s Encounter & wild garlic crust (00 49 Antarctic Tower is an architectural triumph. 761 32728; World3,is the permanent The stately ‘ivory’ tower tips its hat greiffenegg.de;Underwater Schlossbergring winter wonderland, Antarctic towards Art Nouveau (the mixing Freiburg im Breisgau; 11am-12am; Encounter. It includes a walk through of NZ flora and fauna into the mains £18-£23).

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109

2010

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of local and wines at City international Wine Shop 10 can also buy by the bottle. . You meals such 109 Counter as crab cakes and goat’s cheese omelette demand you make a night 6657; 159 Spring of it. (61-3/9654Street; 7am-late)

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OLD-FASHIONED TRAVEL 3 Though the trip gets ever shorter as harbour land is reclaimed (it’s now seven minutes), the Star Ferry is the classic way to travel between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and take in the Central waterfront (starferry.com.hk; Central pier-Tsim Sha Tsui US$0.30; 6.30am-11.30pm).pier;

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,

Sep/Oct 2010

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of Queenswharf Road and King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm Feb-Dec; adult/child/family US$22/13/61)

Melbourne

mini guidE Sep/Oct 2010

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MINI GU

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BEST FOR chuRch 5 One of the world’s largest and

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Australia mini guidE

WhaT iS ThERE

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is a non-profit art space that has public, shining away been for Lightboxes are over a decade. installed in a alcove off Centre small Place and along Hosier Lane with local and

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(61-3/9691-3888; Fri, 6am-3pm luxe.aThis is the wide French range 9am-4pm vuedemonde.com.au; Sat, of fresh produce. and Modern Sun) Collinscuisine, international 430Australian (61-3/93205822; Little Street; lunch artists making BEST FOR qvm.com.au; 513 Tue-Fri, dinner degustation the illuminated & dinner dining xxx Elizabeth(61-3/9663-0442; xxxx mini-galleries.use of naTuRE capital D.Sat; Street; lunch/dinner with a 2 6am-2pm The city drops menu gourmand (61-3/9691-3888; Tue & Thu, away suddenly citylightsproject. from US$87/131) vuedemonde.com.au; 6am-6pm east of Spring com; Centre Laksa Me 7 is just Fri, 6am-3pm Place & Hosier St, giving home to 430 Little Brunswick Melbourne’s great Malaysian way to Sat, Collins Street; 9am-4pm Lane) some Street; breakfast beautiful grub, and Sun) international lunch Tue-Sun; Fitzroy Gardens. BEST FOR eccentric lunch backyard, an& dinner & interior. Laksa xxx kidS 4 artists making Tue-Fri, Stately avenues lined with Rays, gropers dinner Sat; With a drink mains US$7-14) is king the illuminated use but are also English elms, here, of theremenu lunch/dinner and sharks list to make some out-of-theliver quiver, expansive BEST FOR around a ordinary flowerbeds, cruise your entrée gourmand 2.2-million-litre mini-galleries. lawns naTuRE 2 perfect placeGin Palace 9 is fountains The and strange watched (61-3/9663-0442; Chinese pastry options likefrom US$87/131) tank, the Laksa closely by are just citylightsproject. city to grab a dropsstroll triangles Me 7ofisdaikon, a short Brunswick or secluded town. (Between visitors from yam bean com; Centre awayfrom soft couch home to some suddenlysee-through and chive. Street; alcove, sip, tunnel thatPlace a great just of Spring St, & Hosier Malaysian slow. Martinis Clarendon, eastWellington Melbourne 9885; laksame.com; (61-3/9639andbreakfast lunch Parade, Lane) & take it grub, and an and giving Lansdowne Tue-Sun; Aquarium’straverses here are legendary Streets) There is a Liverpool eccentric Shop 1, Melbourne’s mains US$7-14) and Albert way to it’s open floor. 16 Street; lunch theatre interior. Laksa very alate beautiful backyard, With (61-3/9654-0533; educational BESTthat Mon-Fri, FORhosts most drink is king kidS 4 but Sat are& dinner Fitzroy Gardens. list nights. dinner here, liver 190 to make your talks & Sun; Street; BEST FOR run all weekend. US$8.70-12.20) there Rays,and also some out-of-thekids activities gropers Stately avenues 4pm-late)quiver,Little Collins lighTing Gin Palace ordinary entréemains lined withup and sharks (61-3/1300-882392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; The City 9 is Russian flavours English 3 perfect around Lights Project the options likejourTake home elms, corner or sample placethe a 2.2-million-litre cruise non-profit lovingly prepared Chineseinfuse to grab expansive lawns drops is a public, flowerbeds, the of Queenswharf de a soft couch pastry art tank, watched Road triangles of wall of localbyorthe secluded glass from and strange King Street; shining away space lunch dishes yam breakfast and that has been alcove, daikon, thesip, and by visitorsCafé, 9.30am-9pmclosely and international beanBakery forfountains over a decade. are just a short 6pm Feb-Dec; and take it and chive. (61-3/9639wines at Lightboxes see-through from a8 and at Babka Jan, Martinis here Cityslow. to stroll from the Wine tunnel 9885; adult/child/family town. (Between heady can also US$22/13/61) alcove off are installed cinnamon are laksame.com; that traverses 10. aromas of Melbourne buy and it’s Shop Centre Place in a small You legendary Wellington freshly baked open very Shopmeals Hosier Lane bottle. Aquarium’smakes evenandLiverpool 1, 16 such asby the Clarendon, Parade, and along late most nights. bread with local Lansdowne BEST just a coffeeStreet; (61-3/9654-0533; floor. There is a theatre crab cakes Counter goat’s cheese queuing and and Albert worth lunch & dinner and FOR Mon-Fri, dinner Streets) for. (61-3/9416-0091; that hosts omelette you make 5 One of the chuRch Street; demand190 Little Collins educational Sat & Sun; a night of 4pm-late) world’s largest talks and kids US$8.70-12.20)358 mains 6657; it. (61-3/9654159 Spring Take and activities run all weekend. TuRn Street;home BEST FOR or sample the 7am-late) Russian (61-3/1300-882-OvER FOR map flavours lighTing up 3 jour drops 392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; de and numBER infuse the by the glass lovingly prepared The City Lights lOcaTiOnS from the wall corner Project

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TO Melbourne is a city that’s dO: prolific in performances, architecture, live music and visual sporty and arts. It is also outdoorsy, with a wealth parks, along of wonderful with close proximity. stunning beaches and bushland It is also worth in few inner city neighbourhoods taking time to explore a Melbournians to see what tick. makes

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109

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Eat & drink

Thailand

10 Oct 20 E Sep/ GUID Chiang Mai,

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Sep/Oct 2010

Australia

A city loved for its Lanna influe temples and mystical moun nces, tains

MINI

Tucked away below a more formal restaurant, Tanuki’s Cave 6 is a hop sake bar that serves delicious grilled skewers and other Japanese snacks. (64-9/379-5353; 319 Queen Street; dishes US$2.80-7; lunch Wed-Fri, dinner daily) Euro 7 is a thoroughly slick Cap the day or start your night package of imaginative Mod-NZ with some cocktails at Whiskey cuisine, good-looking wait staff and sexy surrounds. The Clevedon restaurant-café-bar strip, the stylish oysters with balsamic vinegar are and dimly lit Whiskey 9 is a superbly fresh and plump, and quintessential bolthole for perfect with a glass of local fizz. music-industry types. There’s a (64-9/309-9866; Shed 22, Princes long list of cocktails and spirits, and Wharf; mains US$22.80-27.7; lunch a decent ‘classic rock’ soundtrack. & dinner) (64-9/361-2666; 210 Ponsonby The legendary French Café 8 Road; 5pm-3am) has been rated as one of When at Wine Loft, 10 head up Auckland’s top restaurants for the stairs for a chocolate-hued, almost 20 years now, and still sofa-filled loft that’s perfect for continues to excel. The cuisine is wine quaffing and platter sharing French but chef Simon Wright by an open fire (or the window manages to sneak in some Pacific come summer). An eclectic list Rim touches. Reservations are takes in wine from NZ, Australia, recommended. (64-9/377-1911; 210 South America and Europe. Symonds Street; mains US$25.60(64-9/379-5070; 67 Shortland 29.90; lunch Fri, dinner Tue-Sat) Street; 4pm-late Mon-Thu, Along Auckland’s busiest 2pm-late Fri, 6pm-late Sat)

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september/october

Melbourne’s occasion dining,favoured spot for is set in a 19th Vue de Monde 6 century barrister’s chamber and is starkly luxe. French and This is Modern cuisine, degustation Australian dining with xxxx capital D. (61-3/9691-3888; a vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little Collins Street; international lunch & dinner xxx artists making Tue-Fri, dinner the illuminated use Sat; menu gourmand lunch/dinner mini-galleries. of (61-3/9663-0442; from US$87/131) Laksa Me 7 citylightsproject. Brunswick Street; com; Centre Place & Hosier great Malaysian is home to some breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; Lane) eccentric interior.grub, and an mains US$7-14) BEST FOR With a drink Laksa is king kidS 4 but there are list to make here, liver Rays, gropers your also quiver, Gin ordinary entrée some out-of-theand sharks cruise perfect place Palace 9 is the around a 2.2-million-litre Chinese pastry options like to grab a soft tank, or secluded watched closely couch alcove, sip, yam bean and triangles of daikon, by visitors from and take slow. Martinis see-through chive. a tunnel that 9885; laksame.com; (61-3/9639here are legendary it traverses and it’s open Melbourne Shop 1, 16 Aquarium’s very Liverpool Street; (61-3/9654-0533; late most nights. floor. There is a theatre Mon-Fri, dinner lunch & dinner that hosts Street; 4pm-late) 190 Little Collins educational talks US$8.70-12.20) Sat & Sun; mains run all weekend. and kids activities Take home or sample the Russian flavours (61-3/1300-882jour drops by 392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; de lovingly prepared infuse the the glass from wall of local corner of Queenswharf the breakfast and and lunch dishes Road and wines at City international at King Street; 9.30am-9pm Café, 8 and Babka Bakery Wine Shop 10 Jan, to can also buy 6pm Feb-Dec; the by the bottle. . You cinnamon and heady aromas of adult/child/family meals such Counter US$22/13/61) freshly baked as crab cakes makes even bread and just a coffee goat’s cheese worth queuing for. omelette demand (61-3/9416-0091; you make a night 358 6657; 159 Spring of it. (61-3/9654Street; 7am-late) TuRn OvER FOR map and numBER lOcaTiOnS

BEST FOR chuRch 5 One of the world’s largest and

BEST FOR maRkETing 1 With over 600 traders, Queen Victoria Market open-air market is the largest in the southern hemisphere and for more than has been on site 130 years. Thousands of shoppers go range of fresh there for the wide produce. (61-3/93205822; qvm.com.au; Street; 6am-2pm 513 Elizabeth Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun)

Sophisticated and slick, edgy Melbourne’s and rough, physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnic population.

See

then fold along the

BEST FOR naTuRE 2 The city drops away suddenly east of Spring St, giving way just Melbourne’s to beautiful backyard, Fitzroy Gardens. lined with English Stately avenues expansive lawns elms, flowerbeds, and strange fountains are just town. (Between a short stroll from Wellington Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Albert Streets)

Why gO?

ations!

r recommend

Send us you

september/october

BEST FOR lighTing up 3 The City Lights Project is a non-profit art space that has public, shining away been for Lightboxes are over a decade. installed in a alcove off Centre small Place and along Hosier Lane with local and

Melbourne, like its famed layers. Brainy city laneways, and boasts many cool and cliquey, industrious, imaginative and creative; welcoming urbane and and generous; irrevocably resolutely suburban: contradictions Melbourne’s are worth uncovering.

MINI GUIDE Se p/Oct 2010

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FROM YOUR MAGAZINE TO YOUR POCKET …

France

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Black Forest, Germany

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The best place on earth for gateau, beer, cuckoo clock s and rolling highlands

A multicultura l metropolis blessed with stunning surro unding natur e

Tear out page here

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a replica of Scott’s 1911 Antarctic hut. (64-9/528-0603; kellytarltons.co.

decoration) and the Chicago School (the way its rooted into the earth). It’s usually open, so just wander inside. (22 Princes Street)

nz; 23 Tamaki Drivel adult/child TURN OvER FOR MAP ANd NUMBER LOcATIONS US$21/10; 9am-6pm daily)

september/october 2010

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Postcards Wherever you’ve been this month, send us your photos* and e us he s or es beh nd hem Ema pmagaz ne@ regentmed a sg – see page 8

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postcards where you’ve been and what you’ve seen


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The gondolas of Venice — a means of transportation, a tourist attraction and a livelihood for many Venetians

postcards

venice, Italy

Water City

I was in Venice on an assignment for a pre-wedding photoshoot. After the shoot, I took the opportunity to explore this mystical and enthralling ‘water city’. History, literature, architecture, music, fine dining and religion surround the daily lives of Venetians and this is why the city is so marvellous. You can walk for hours, days or years and you will discover something new each time and every time. Whether new emotions or sights, surprises await you at every moment. Being surrounded by water, the main mode of transport in Venice is via the water-taxi. Photographing the gondoliers ferrying tourists, I realise that the gondolas are not only important as a means of daily transport and a popular tourist attraction, but also as a livelihood for many Venetians. Chris Woon is from Singapore and was in Venice for 10 days in June 2009.

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postcards

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

Bangkok, thailand

Filtered beauty I had been preparing for my Bangkok trip since October 2009 so despite the unstable political situation in May, I went ahead. About 85km north of Bangkok is Ayuthaya, previously the capital of Siam from 1350 to 1767 and a fascinating place with many historic ruins and ancient monuments. While I was there, the weather was not particularly good; there were no blue skies, only thick clouds. But the beauty of the place made up for it. Trying to capture a shot of this big Buddha head, I got the idea to use a tobacco filter in front of my lens, and surprisingly, the result turned out great. Alex Hadisyar, an Indonesian, visited the Unesco world heritage site of Ayuthaya in may 2010. An air of serenity and tranquility permeates the Ayuthaya ruins

Lao cai, Vietnam

Among the Hmong During my recent trip to the Lao Cai province in Vietnam, I visited the Hmong minorities in the mountains of Sapa. The village was situated in the middle of the most majestic valley I have ever seen. The journey from one end of the valley to the other was about three hours and I had the opportunity to meet many curious and enthusiastic villagers, including this Hmong woman. Joshua Tay, from Kuala Lumpur, spent a week travelling across northern Vietnam. A Hmong woman working in a lush rice padi in Sapa

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september/october 2010


postcards The setting sun casts an orange glow on the magnificent Grand Canyon

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


arizona, Usa

Orange sunset

This was taken from the Watchtower Viewpoint of the Grand Canyon National Park. It was early evening and the winter sun was already setting, casting a beautiful orange glow on the canyon. We had originally wanted to go to another viewpoint, but this was quite simply the perfect vantage point to enjoy one of the most stunning landscapes ever. Toh Wen Shien, a Singaporean, visited the Grand Canyon while on a five-day holiday in Arizona.

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postcards

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

Beijing, china

Golden Sun While in Beijing, I wanted to capture the vastness of the Forbidden City. To get panoramic shots, I had to photograph it from the adjacent Jinshang Park. Shooting in the afternoon, I hoped to capture the golden reflection of the sun on the Forbidden City roofs. Unfortunately it was gray and foggy. I waited until it was almost dark and just before I was about to give up, I was surprised by the lights of Tiananmen Square. From behind the Forbidden City complex, the bright lights set the night sky ablaze, providing me with an alternative ‘golden sun’. This dramatic night view exceeded my expectations. Mochamad Arizona, a geologist from Kuala Lumpur, spent nine days in beijing. Lights from Tiananmen Square illuminating the night sky and the Forbidden City

penang, Malaysia

Past and present

On 7th July 2010, Georgetown celebrated the second anniversary of its listing as a Unesco world heritage site. This photo was taken outside the Meng Eng Soo memorial hall at Rope Walk Street. Moving away from the crowds, I ventured to this recently reconstructed hall meant for ancestral worship. This scene brought me back to the past; only the photographer in the picture hinted of the present. Teng Woan Shyan recently moved back to penang after living abroad for a decade.

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Past meets present in the streets of Unesco world heritage site, Georgetown

september/october 2010


Titi Anouzagren, a young woman from a nomadic tribe in North Eastern Mali, celebrates the bi-annual Tamadacht Festival in traditional costume.

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This September and October, trek the Himalayan ranges, surf the waves of Bali or soar above the city of Jaipur.

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Trek up the Himalayan mountain range and visit Sherpa villages and Buddhist monasteries

Mount everest, Nepal Why go noW?

while the mountain peaks are often lost in clouds from June to september, the cool and dry weather from october to december makes this the best season to visit the mountainous regions of nepal. the air is fresh, visibility is clear and the land practically blooms after the monsoon. what better time to tackle the world’s most popular and 18

spectacular hiking destination? one world trekking adventure travel offers a host of Himalayan trekking journeys. its newest Khumbu explorer trek is a 15-day cultural experience, with a route that brings the intrepid to many picturesque sherpa villages and Buddhist monasteries, and the grand Himalayan mountain views.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

hoW do I make It happen?

M Tribhuvan International Airport situated in Kathmandu is the sole international airport in Nepal. International services from Asia include Nepal Airlines direct from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong;

SilkAir direct from Singapore; and Dragon Air direct from Hong Kong. M Check out One World Trekking’s website (oneworldtrekking.com) for more of their Himalayan trek options. Customised itineraries are also available.

words: Joyce Huang and angeleigH KHoo. pHotograpHs: one world treKKing

10 easy trips


10 easy trips

Jaipur, india Why go noW?

this pristine jewel in rajasthan is lovingly called the “pink city”, thanks to the unique pink wash applied to the buildings in its old city. great warrior King sawai Jai singh ii (1693-1743), who first laid the foundations of the city, had a keen eye for details, so it is not surprising that Jaipur is well-known for its impressive forts, majestic palaces and its royal building, as well as its town planning. with the monsoon season over, now is a good time to appreciate the city’s beauty. to get a bird’s eye view, hop on one of sky waltz’s hot air balloons and fly over the

pHotograpHs: sKy waltz; taJ Hotels; 123rF

2 The islands around Krabi are surrounded by crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkelling or diving

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Visit the many magnificent temples in Vientiane

mesmerising city, taking in its riot of colours, forts and palaces (skywaltz.com). hoW do I make It happen?

M The Sanganer Airport is the only international airport in the state of Rajasthan and is 13km from the city of Jaipur. It can be reached on Jet Airways from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, with a stop in either Delhi or Mumbai. M Stay at Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces’ Rambagh Palace to relive the royal Rajputana era. Built in 1835, this property has been home to generations of royals for nearly two centuries (from US$850, tajhotels.com).

Vientiane, Laos Why go noW?

Take a hot air balloon ride over Jaipur and stay at the royal Rambagh Palace

come 10 october, the capital of laos will celebrate the Boun ok phansa festival,commemorating the end of the monks’ threemonth fast and retreat during the rainy season. at dawn, donations and offerings are made at temples around the city. take this opportunity to tour the friendly capital and experience laotian culture. in the evening, candlelight processions are held and hundreds of colourful floats are decorated with flowers, incense and candles, and set adrift down the Mekong river to pay respect to the river spirit. the next day, make sure you head back to the river early to grab a spot to catch the exciting boat race. Huge coloured boats

compete in pairs with 50 men aboard each boat while a skipper keeps pace on a ceremonial drum, making for a wonderful spectacle.

hoW do I make It happen?

M To get to Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport, fly AirAsia direct from Kuala Lumpur. From Singapore or Hong Kong, it is best to fly to Bangkok before taking either Lao Airlines or Thai Airways to Vientiane. M Beau Rivage Mekong is a quirky boutique hotel ideally situated along the riverfront in downtown Vientiane. Choose from 16 rooms that have garden, village or river views (from US$36, hbrm.com).

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10 easy trips

Baa atoll, Maldives Seasoned divers will know that the manta ray and whale shark species tend to be solitary creatures that only group together for feeding at certain times of the year. From now through October, seasonal tides and the steep sides around the area of Hanifaru Bay of Baa Atoll trap rich concentrations of plankton, attracting a swell of manta rays and whale sharks from all over the Maldives. As these creatures swim to the surface to feed, one does not need a diving license to appreciate this phenomenal sight — snorkellers can also catch a glimpse of the feeding frenzy.

hoW do I make It happen?

M Baa Atoll is a 30-minute flight by seaplane from Male International Airport. Fly direct to Male from Singapore via Singapore Airlines, and from Kuala Lumpur via Malaysia Airlines. M Four Seasons Resort Maldives Landaa Giraavaru is a mere 20-minute speedboat ride from Hanifaru Bay (fourseasons.com). Its current Manta Watch package (from US$3,510) includes four nights’ stay and a snorkelling session with the rays and whale sharks. After the feeding frenzy, check out the resort’s newly opened Marine Discovery Centre to learn more about the manta rays.

Join in the feeding frenzy in Hanifaru Bay

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photographs: scubazooimages.com; four seasons resorts maldiVes

Why go noW?


10 easy trips

singapore Why go noW?

the formula 1 grand prix returns to singapore for the third year running from 24 to 26 september. get set to be wowed by the world’s only street night race, as f1 drivers zip through the marina bay circuit at dizzying speeds. off track, delve into this year’s adrenaline-charged circuitside events: think freestyle trials, motorbike stunt shows, acrobatic capoeira demonstrations by Warriors of brazil, orchestral performances by the diV4s (soprano protégés of legendary tenor andrea bocelli), as well as gravitydefying acrobatic acts by

photographs: singapore gp; ministry of culture and tourism, republic of indonesia

Satisfy your need for speed at the Singapore GP

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italian production maestros studio festi. (singaporegp.sg)

Rent a board and catch some waves at Kuta before the rainy season hits

hoW do I make It happen?

M Singapore Airlines flies direct from most major Asian cities including Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok to Singapore Changi Airport. M While not exactly on the GP circuit, it is close enough for you to smell the burning tarmac and hear the revving engines. The newly opened The Fullerton Bay Hotel is situated on the sparkling Marina Bay waterfront, presenting breathtaking architecture, posh interiors and some of the most stunning views of the Singapore skyline (from US$370, fullertonbayhotel.com)

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Bali, indonesia Why go noW?

rolling waves, lush paddy fields, mystical temple ceremonies and an alluring spirituality. With a unique blend of arts, varied landscapes and a lively beach culture, bali has for years attracted travellers from around the world, many who descend upon her shores in July and august. While the period promises sunny days, cool evenings and infrequent rain, it also means heavily marked-up flights and limited hotel choices, not to mention throngs of foreign merrymakers at every turn. hoW do I make It happen?

M Major airlines including Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, as well as budget airlines Jetstar and AirAsia, fly to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport from major cities in the region. Kuta is a 15-minute drive from the airport, while Uluwatu is 30 minutes away. M Shack up in style at Alila Villas Uluwatu, a stunning property on Bali’s southern coast, just 10 minutes from key surfing spots such as Bingin and Dreamland. All villas come with private pools

but if paying cutthroat prices to jostle with sunburnt tourists is not your thing, book your tickets for september instead to catch the tail end of the dry season, before rain and humidity set in come late october. this is also when solid swells hit the reefs around Kuta and uluwatu, so rent a board and catch some waves! the breaks at Kuta are milder and suitable for newbies dipping their toes into the surfing scene, while serious surfers should head straight to the reefs around uluwatu for some killer breaks. and 24-butler service, and the spa is the place to go after a long day at sea. It is also easy driving distance to the famed Uluwatu temple, where you can catch the lively kecak dance at sunset. Bring your camera! M Surf newbies can sign up for lessons at one of the many surf schools along Kuta Beach. Odysseys Surf School (odysseysurfschool.com), located in the Mercure Kuta Bali Arcade, is a trusted favourite. Its instructors are all accredited so you can be sure you’ll be in good hands.

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10 eaSy TriPS

Seoraksan National Park, South Korea With thick pine forests, majestic mountains and white sandy beaches that lead out to clear blue seas, Gangwon-do is a nature lover’s dream come true. This predominantly mountainous region in eastern South Korea is favoured for its crisp, fresh air and breathtaking, scenic views. The best time and place to witness its splendour is during autumn at Mount Seoraksan National Park. The mountains are the first to be coloured in autumn shades in late September and come midOctober, the sight of gold and crimson leaves juxtaposed dramatically against rock formations and waterfalls is truly one to behold. Strap on your hiking boots and trek up the mountains – the 2.4km path leading up to Biryong Falls is the

easiest and most popular, while the four-hour Cheonbuldong Valley course will reward hikers with stunning views of peaks that resemble a line-up of a thousand Buddha statues. How do I make It Happen?

M Major airlines including Singapore Airlines and Korean Air fly to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport daily from major cities including Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Hop on a bus from Seoul’s Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Sokcho Express Bus Terminal in Gangwon-do (about four hours), then take city bus number 7 or 7-1 and alight at the mountain entrance (about 30 minutes). M Don’t neglect Seoraksan’s neighbouring attractions. Soak aching limbs in the hot springs of Seorak Waterpia or feast on ocean fresh seafood along the beach.

Experience the breathtaking colours of autumn at Mount Seoraksan National Park, then head to the beach to feast on stuffed squid

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7 PhOTOGraPhS: KTO

wHy go now?


Luxuriate in the idyllic charm of Nakhon Phanom, make a pilgrimage to the revered Wat That Phanom and catch the illuminated boat procession at nightfall

10 eaSy TriPS

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Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

PhOTOGraPhS: TOuriSM auThOriTy OF ThailaNd

wHy go now?

Set on the right bank of the Mekong River, the ancient Thai city of Nakhon Phanom, which means “city of hills”, is a unique melting pot of Vietnamese and Laotian cultures. Ethnic Thai farmers don Vietnamese conical hats as they plough the fields, while the Laotian staple sticky rice forms the basis of most meals. You are likely to hear locals conversing in Lao, even though Thai is the official administrative language. Nakhon Phanom sees the occasional jaded traveller in search of a dose of Isaan hospitality and

charming river views but most visitors are only there en route to Wat That Phanom, the most revered temple in northeast Thailand. The town, however, comes alive during the annual illuminated boat procession, locally known as “loi reua fai”, held during the end of the Buddhist Lent to pay respects to the Lord Buddha. The festival sees activities such as dragon boat races along the Mekong, cultural performances and food fairs. When night falls, illuminated boats fashioned into all shapes and sizes, are adorned with flowers, incense

and even pyrotechnics, and set afloat onto the Mekong River. This

How do I make It Happen?

M Many buses leave Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mochit 2 Bus Terminal) for Nakhon Phanom between 6am to 8pm daily. Choose an overnight bus to catch some shuteye on the 11-hour journey so you arrive fresh and early the next morning. Alternatively, Nok Air

year’s procession is held from 15 to 23 October.

flies to Nakhon Phanom from Bangkok’s Dong Mueang International Airport five times a week. One-way flights (about 45 minutes) cost about THB2,990/ US$92. M Situated 20 minutes from town and perched on the bank at the Mekong, Nakhon Phanom River View Hotel, makes the perfect base. (From US$47, nakhonphanomriverviewhotel.com)

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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10 easy trips

9 Join the locals in pandalhopping during the Durga Puja

Kolkata, india The capital of West Bengal and the second largest city in India, Kolkata is also regarded as the country’s cultural capital, having produced several cultural heroes such as Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore. Get set for a cultural immersion with the city’s plethora of artistic and literary attractions, including the Marble Palace, a 19th century mansion housing Western sculptures and other artistic bric-a-brac, and the extraordinarily large colony of bookstores along College Street. Witness the full glory of the Kolkatans’ creative artistry during 24

the annual Durga Puja, the largest festival in West Bengal held to honour the Hindu warrior goddess Durga. When night falls, the streets are awash with vibrant neon lights from the thousands of pandals, temporary structures to house idols of the goddess. Each is grandly lit and innovatively decorated, and the air buzzes with an electricity that has been likened to that of the Rio Carnival. Join the locals and go pandalhopping amidst a background of heady live music, traditional Bengali sweets and beating drums. This year’s puja will be held from 13 to 17 October. This

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

is also when Kolkata’s stifling humidity starts to let up, so you hoW do I make It happen?

M Singapore Airlines flies direct to Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport four times a week, while Kingfisher Airlines and Air India fly there with one stopover. From Kuala Lumpur, fly to Kolkata via Singapore Airlines or Air India with one stopover, or take one of the daily domestic flights from New Delhi or Mumbai on airlines including Spice Jet and Indian Airlines. If you fancy a rail journey, hop on

are less likely to spend your holiday drenched in sweat. the Duronto train that will take you from New Delhi to Kolkata’s Sealdah Station in just over 16 hours (indianrail.gov.in). M Be in the thick of the action when you stay at The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, which is centrally located in the main business and shopping district. (oberoihotels.com) M Stay prepared with brollies and ponchos when you head out for a night of pandal hopping as late monsoon rains may still hit Kolkata.

PHOTOGRaPHS: THE OBEROI GRaND KOlKaTa; aKaSH BHaTTaCHaRya; 123Rf

Why go noW?


Asia promises a feast of fascinating attractions. And we’re not talking about the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China. With SilkAir, you’ll discover the full splendour of this continent over 31 exotic destinations. From underwater spectacles to ancient temples, breathtaking mountains and intriguing cultures, there’s truly so much more that one must experience. So open your eyes and mind. Adventures await. After all, paradise is only found in the least expected places.


10 easy trips Dive into the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, australia Why go noW?

Australia’s adventure sports capital draws adrenaline junkies by the truckload. But those who look beyond the adrenalinecharged options will find that Cairns is also a wonderland for nature lovers. Lush rainforests, national parks and coral reefs teem with myriad wildlife including native birds, tree kangaroos and wallabies. Cairns is also the closest gateway to one of Australia’s most popular natural attractions – The Great Barrier Reef. Made up of 3,000 individual reefs and about 2,000 islands, the world heritage site spans over

2,000 km along Australia’s northeastern coast. Although diving is suitable all year round in the warm subtropical waters, the best dive season is from July to November when visibility is at its peak. To fully experience the reef, skip the day trip and spend a night, or three, cruising it instead, so you get more time to cover more marine sites. Arrive in early September and you may just catch the tail end of the whale migration season – about 5,000 Humpback and Dwarfe Minke whales migrate to Cairns’ warmer waters yearly.

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M Jetstar Airways flies direct to Cairns Airport from Singapore. Cathay Pacific flies direct to Cairns Airport from Hong Kong, or from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok with one stopover. Cairns is also well connected to other Australian cities including Sydney and Melbourne. Try domestic airlines Jetstar and Virgin Blue. M Many tour operators around Cairns offer snorkelling, diving

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and whale watching tours. Reef Magic Cruises (reefmagiccruises.com) is a reputable operator for snorkel and dive trips accompanied by marine naturalists or biologists. Or spend the night aboard Reef Trip’s luxury catamaran (reeftrip.com), which comes equipped with ensuite rooms and an easy-access water platform for hassle-free diving and snorkelling.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

pHoToGRApHS: TouRiSM AuSTRALiA

hoW do I make It happen?


A D DISNEY I NEY CLASSIC, CLLA IC PLUS PLUS LU A DISNEY DI NEY ORIGINAL! DI ORIGIN NAL! L! Tokyo yo Disney D Resort R offers ff the h best b off Disney D for f a fun-filled f fill d holiday h l d in Japan! J Tokyo T k Disneyland D l d gives you allll the h fun f off the h classi classic l Disney theme park, while Tokyo DisneySea invites you to explore seaports of adventure and imagination in total Disney style. World-class hotels, delectable dining, fabulous shopping, colorful entertainment and more are waiting for you here!

At this unique Disney park, you’ll set sail for adventure and imagination in seven themed ports filled with one-of-a-kind attractions that range from thrilling to kid-friendly. Live entertainment featuring the Disney characters offers fun and excitement for the whole family.

www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp Disney Hotel reservations and Park tickets available online.

I n our K ingdom of Drea ms a nd Mag ic, you’ l l fi nd dozens of classic Disney attractions, fun parades and shows, and lots more!

EASY ACCESS! Tokyo Station

Train about 15 min.

Bus about 60 min. about 30 min.

Tokyo Disney Resort

Cirque du Soleil ® Theatre Tokyo presents "ZED " only at Tokyo Disney Resort! www.zed.co.jp TM

Narita Airport Haneda Airport


WriTing home

Tony Wheeler

Keeping it natural Lonely Planet’s founder recommends some of the world’s most green and pleasant lands, from Costa Rica to Tasmania

photographs: alamy, lonely planet images

e

CO-TOURISM, green travel and sustainable tourism are all buzz words of our day. I’m a little suspicious of fashionable words being indiscriminately bandied around so that this year’s low-impact travel mysteriously morphs into next year’s green travel, and all the time it’s exactly the same trek which kicks off in A and ends up in B. Nevertheless, there are some destinations that have marketed themselves well as places that look after nature – New Zealand is one of them. The 10th anniversary of New Zealand’s 100% Pure campaign came up recently. It’s regularly credited as one of the most successful travel slogans ever coined and, let’s face it, New Zealand is a place that scrubs up very well in the clean tourism stakes. It’s ridiculously attractive: mix fjords that look like they were stolen from Norway with peaks grabbed from Switzerland and neat green fields that could have come from the English countryside, add some stunning beaches and it’s almost unfair that it also has a cosmopolitan nightlife. Over the years, I’ve travelled around both islands on a motorcycle and enjoyed some tramping (as the Kiwis like to redefine walking or trekking). But one of my best trips was a south-island circuit in a camper van. My two children were much younger then and we had enough room in the back to pick up hitchhiking backpackers as we drove out of small towns. Our kids loved the constant supply of new faces to entertain them. In Central America, it’s Costa

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Rica that’s flying the flag for green travel, and it was only this year that I made my first visit. Over a couple of weeks, I packed in as many Costa Rican experiences as possible: I walked the trails beneath the Arenal Volcano, raced down zip lines in the rainforest at Monteverde, lounged on the beach at Montezuma and did some scuba diving off Isla Tortuga. It’s interesting how the Costa Ricans have realised that tourism can be a far more sustainable – and profitable, I assume – activity than simply chopping the trees down for timber or clearing more rainforest for farmland. Australia’s green island, Tasmania, has a more schizophrenic relationship with eco-tourism. It has a handy selection of outdoorsy attractions, including the dramatic Franklin River, and the country’s most popular long-distance walk (the week-long Overland Track). Throw in a bunch of interesting offshore islands, numerous other testing walks and some unique wildlife and the place is a green traveller’s dream. Except that, back in the 1980s, saving the Franklin from a government hell-bent on flooding it for hydro-power was Australia’s biggest-ever conservation battle, and the fight to keep Tasmanian forests out of the reach of a logging company is an ongoing conflict to this day. After all, Tasmania used to be home to the Tasmanian tiger. It was the state’s best-known animal, but they still wiped it out. Tony Wheeler founded Lonely Planet with his wife Maureen in 1973.

september/october 2010

‘The cosTa ricans have realised ThaT Tourism can be far more susTainable Than chopping Trees doWn for Timber’ Flying the flag for green travel, top to bottom: New Zealand’s Mitre Peak looks over the Milford Sound fjord; Tasmania’s charmingly named pigface flowers; the Monteverde National Park, Costa Rica


Experience the Magic of Christmas in Europe Vienna, Prague & Budapest Departure dates 14 Nov – 27 Dec 2010. 7 days from US$ 1,150* per person twin share • Visit Vienna, Prague and Budapest • Explore the cobbled streets of Cesky Krumlov and see the medieval castle • Enjoy a guided visit to magnificent Schonbrunn Palace and gardens in Vienna • Walk within the walls of Prague Castle to visit St Vitus Cathedral • Look out over Budapest from the lofty heights of Gellert Hill

Smaller Groups More Legroom Selected Hotels Desirable Locations Leisurely Paced Itineraries More Included Sightseeing Delicious Dining More Personalised service

German Christmas Markets Departure dates 23 Nov – 14 Dec 2010. 8 days from US$ 1,525* per person twin share • Visit Berlin, Dresden, Nuremberg and Munich • Visit Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, Germany’s best preserved medieval town • Spend time as you wish in Germany’s most famous market, Christkindlmarkt! • Learn about the traditional German Christmas Pyramid • Visit Leipzig’s Thomas-Kirche

Winter Wonderland Departure dates 27 Nov – 18 Dec 2010. 9 days from US$ 1,475* per person twin share • Visit Frankfurt, Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Lucerne • Enjoy an exhilarating ride by cable-car to the summit of Mount Pilatus for stunning views over Lucerne • Drive along part of Germany’s Romantic Road and the scenic Black Forest • See Heidelberg’s ruined castle and visit the Old Town • Visit Salzburg’s Old Town and see Mozart’s birthplace

Highlights of Europe Departure dates 27 Nov – 27 Dec 2010. 14 days from US$ 2,825* per person twin share • Visit Brussels, Heidelberg, Munich, Salzburg, Venice, Rome, Florence, Lucerne and Paris • Cruise along the romantic Rhine past medieval castles and leafy vineyards • Ascend the Eiffel Tower for panoramic views over Paris • Glide along the atmospheric canals of Venice by traditional gondola • See Michelangelo’s original statue of David in the Academy Gallery in Florence

For enquiries, please call Insight Vacations Asia Regional Office (Singapore) at +65 6338 7338 or email to info@insightvacations.com.sg

Prices are per person, twin share, land tour only. Airfare is not included. Prices may vary per departure. Prices will be converted to local currency based on prevailing exchange rates for payment.

TA731

www.insightvacations.com


wrItIng home

from BBC Correspondent

seeking delhi’s ‘phantom squirter’ Every day tourists fall victim to scammers relieving them of some money, and often a little dignity. The BBC’s former South Asia correspondent, sam miller, has developed a certain admiration for one such miscreant

photographs: alamy, rex features

I

need help. For five years I have been obsessed with finding a man whose dexterity and gall I admire beyond reason. His magical feats and evanescent persona have become legendary among my family and friends, though they are slightly fed up with hearing about him. The world at large sees him as criminal for the way he has relieved tourists of many thousands of rupees, but in my view he is no more than a minor miscreant. He has outsmarted me many times, and I still have not solved the mystery of who he is and may never do so. I first became aware of his existence 10 years ago, but subsequent investigations have revealed that he’s been plying his trade, if that is the right phrase, for more than 25 years. I was in Connaught Place, in the heart of New Delhi, and as I emerged from an underpass a shoe-shine man came up to me, and whispered into my ear. He then pointed at my right shoe on which sat, to my surprise, a small worm of brownish goo. He offered to wipe it off, but I knew that something was, well, afoot, and cleaned my shoe with a few leaves. Some months later it happened again and I had a minor altercation with the shoe-shine man. Then one day I decided I would photograph the person who squirted my shoe. But I was daydreaming as I went through the underpass and was squirted again. The same man appeared, clearly not recognising me. I was embarrassed to have been caught a third time, and, I am ashamed to say, I became incandescent with rage. I grabbed the man and cleaned 30

my shoe on his trousers. I became obsessed. I began researching the history of the scam. There are dozens of accounts on the internet and several acquaintances had similar stories to tell. The trick goes back to at least the 1980s. Only foreigners get squirted, it seems, and only those wearing closed shoes. My epiphany came when I read the rantings of an American blogger, who described with pride how he pushed and swore at the shoe-shine man, adding, ‘I feel pretty enlightened that I didn’t make him lick it off.’ My sympathies were suddenly with the squirter. I now sought him out. I wished to befriend him. I wanted to find out his life story, how he learnt his trade, whether it is a father-son thing. How much money does he make on a good day? Has he ever been caught? What are the mechanics – does he use a turkey baster perhaps, or a syringe? And, most of all, what does he tell his family that he does for a living? I wrote about the phantom squirter in a book about Delhi and after its publication I went several times to the underpass, once with a camera crew in tow, discreetly following me. I tried to look nonchalant. To my great disappointment my shoes remained spotlessly clean. I did an internet search to check that the squirter had not gone to ground and, yes, there were several more reports from angry victims. There was also a video on YouTube, in which an American visitor to Delhi read out a poem. He, like me, was rather impressed, declaiming that, ‘With 20 million beggars roaming through that nation, at least one guy showed me some imagination.’ A few weeks later a friend

september/october 2010

‘how had the squIrter learnt hIs trade? dId he use a turkey Baster perhaps, or a syrInge?’ Above: the bustling streets of New Delhi are plied by many a helpful trader (below) but there is also a famous scammer with a cunning trick up his sleeve

called me. ‘You’ll never guess what happened,’ he said. He had been in Connaught Place with his girlfriend, and as they entered the underpass he told my story of the squirter. And yes somehow, he did not know how, he was squirted. And he saw the funny side of it. Just a month ago, I went back to Connaught Place and made a final desultory attempt to find the phantom. I walked through the underpass and nothing happened. I was then strolling in a nearby park when a shoe-shine man came up and pointed at my shoe. I had been caught again. I turned to the shoe-shine man. I explained in Hindi that I wasn’t angry, that I wanted to meet his accomplice, and I even offered him some money. He ran away, without the money, as fast as he could. Will I ever learn the true story of the phantom squirter of Connaught Place? I am beginning to doubt it. Unless one of you can help me?


writing home

Dan CruiCkshank Few people have travelled further than Dan Cruickshank, explorer of the man-made world and a leading expert in architecture

Checking in

Not merely a place to rest your head on your travels, but a symbol of a city’s aspirations – Dan discovers the hotels with a cultural identity

photographs: dan cruickshank, getty images, alamy. illustration: Jenny dunn/inkshed

h

otels can be more than just places to sleep and eat. the best can be worlds in themselves – indeed, for many travellers, hotels become of huge importance while lodged in a distant, strange and perhaps dangerous land. they are at once home and refuge, places of meeting and of escapist fantasy. And if their design and ambience is particularly distinguished, some hotels even become a symbol of their home city – historic and cultural landmarks that, in various ways, represent national aspirations. Yet, because hotels can be symbols, they can also be sinister places if the regime they represent is threatening. one of the most memorable, if menacing, hotels I have ever stayed in was the Al Mansour in Baghdad, before the fall of saddam Hussein. An ugly slab of a 1970s Modernist building, it was a state-controlled hotel and the lobby was usually filled with secret police masquerading as guests, staff or taxi drivers. A symbol of saddam’s regime, the Al Mansour was used by him as a meeting place and so was bombed then occupied by invading forces in April 2003. It is now back in operation as a four-star hotel. the taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai is also a symbol – not just of the city but also of India – and for this reason it was also recently attacked and occupied. Its history is, in many respects, the history of modern India. Built in 1900 by a rich Parsee businessman as a reaction against the racist codes excluding many Indians from the grander european hotels, it hosted key meetings in India’s run-up to independence in 1947. With its mighty domed profile, inspired by st Paul’s Cathedral and the 16thcentury taj Mahal tomb at Agra, the taj was shattered by terrorist attack on 26 November 2008 when gunmen stormed inside, took and murdered hostages and then set part of the hotel ablaze. I was touched by the decision that the taj would rise again, and almost by a miracle, part of 32

september/october 2010

it was open for business before the end of the year, and restoration continues. thankfully, its mighty dome and beautiful staircase were undamaged, but what the reborn taj will feel like I cannot image. Can it recapture its old grace and luxury? Another hotel that’s a national institution is the American Colony in east Jerusalem. Founded in the late 1890s and housed in a collection of traditional stone-built structures, the hotel has been owned by American, swedish and english families. It has formed a ‘neutral’ oasis in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful and yet most turbulent cities, and has weathered many an international conflict with aplomb. the quest for hotels that are declarations of national aspirations can become an obsession. I found another candidate recently in Paro, Bhutan. the newly constructed Zhiwa ling is a perfect expression of the nation’s determination to build a modern society that incorporates Bhutan’s distinct cultural identity. the hotel is entirely up-to-date but of traditional design and consists of ornately carved stone and timber-built pavilions set within a dramatic mountainous landscape. Although the architecture is a serious attempt to combine the old with the new, the hotel is not without moments of wit. It houses the Mad Monk bar, which commemorates a 15th-century Buddhist sage who would apparently battle his foes by extending his penis to a monstrous size and wrapping it around them. to this day, the penis retains auspicious associations in Bhutan, being a symbol of protection and of plenty. You’ll see it painted next to front doors, and timber phalli are sold as tokens of good luck. A drink in this bar can be a very educational experience.

From the top: the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai before the 2008 attacks; Baghdad’s once-menacing Al Mansour hotel; The American Colony in East Jerusalem.


xyxyxyxyxyxyxy

End of the line Author Tahir Shah fulfills a long-held dream by travelling by train from Beijing to Lhasa, the fabled capital of Tibet PhotograPhs NICK DANZIGER

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


Dawn at a nunnery, and two nuns play the dungchen, a long trumpet that is played in pairs or multiples at tibetan Buddhist ceremonies

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

35


XYXYXYXYXYXYXY

RIGHT The 48-hour soft sleeper (main class) ticket for the Railway to Heaven (above), from Beijing to Lhasa

O

CEANS of people, many of them clutching sacks filled with their worldly possessions, were shuffling forwards, away from Beijing’s immense West Station, as if fleeing a natural disaster. Diving into the human stew, I pushed upstream, arms flailing against the current. With a great effort, I eventually arrived at the gate to the fabled Lhasa Express. Pushed up in a holding pen, waiting to board the train, I could hardly believe that the journey I had anticipated for so long was at last about to start. It sounds so clichéd but Lhasa is one of the world’s last remaining mythical destinations, like Timbuktu or Mandalay. Ever since I had heard of the Beijing to Lhasa railway opening, four years ago, I had been desperate to get myself aboard. It was an obsession which began in childhood, on reading Heinrich Harrer’s classic, Seven Years in Tibet. Harrer’s writing paints a candid picture of Tibet, a land quite untouched by the modern world. Seven Years is a time capsule of a book, illuminating in freeze-frame a way of life that changed irrevocably with the Chinese invasion 60 years ago. My tatty dog-eared copy was tucked away in my luggage. In some strange way I felt as if I were taking it home. Modern China is a land of tremendous engineering achievement, one in which the word ‘impossible’ simply doesn’t exist. And the cherry on the Cake of Marvels is surely the railway line that now spans the route from Beijing to the Tibetan capital. Known locally as Kien Liu, the Railway to Heaven, it’s something of which all Chinese are justifiably proud. But at the same time it’s been controversial. The easy access it now 36

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

provides for ordinary Chinese to visit Lhasa threatens the cultural fabric of Tibet. Suddenly a whistle sounded, and the holding pen’s door slid back. A ferocious scramble followed. Arms, legs, and luggage heaving forwards, a maelstrom of passengers tore down the platform and up into the carriages. Unused to the frenzied hysteria of Chinese railway stations, I must have been the last to board. A minute after I clambered inside there was silence, as train T27 glided out of Beijing West precisely on time, at 21.30. Most of the passengers were Chinese tourists, eager for a glimpse at Tibet, a province that’s become for them a kind of exotic Disneyland, an extension of their own land.

All aboard the railway to heaven From the moment the train slipped through the suburbs of Beijing, to the time of its arrival at Lhasa, my fellow passengers galvanised into a ubiquitous routine: slurping pots of minute-noodles, gambling incessantly, texting each other madly, slugging back small bottles of gut-rot liquor, chain-smoking in the corridors, gorging themselves in the dining car, and embarking on marathon sessions of mahjong. For two days and nights a hard sleeper berth was my home. Across from me lay a woman whom I never once saw move. She was covered head to toe in sheets of newspaper. Beneath her, on the lowest berth, an old teacher from Shanghai, named Mr Ma, said the woman was not to be trusted. He wouldn’t reveal why, but instead spent most of the journey enquiring how I could help get his son into Cambridge University. A railway journey gives a fleeting cross-section, a blend of blurred detail against a backdrop of gradual change.

Modern China may be all about the urban, but it’s the rural topography that’s still the heartland. And what a vast, uncompromising place it is: endless vistas of fields and lakes, little hamlets, forests, and great swathes of emptiness, save for the odd herd of sheep, or goats. I roamed the train’s entire length. Clambering from one carriage to the next meant hoisting oneself over the seat-less, their babies, and their bales of luggage. Mr Ma said that those without seats were Tibetan, adding darkly that they were not to be trusted either. In the middle of the train lay a kind of no-man’s-land: three carriages of hard chairs, a raucous day and night jamboree of Chinese college students. Seething with hormones and alcohol, iPods buzzing, they spent their time eyeing each other up, playing it ice cool. Beyond them was the dining car with its ferocious waitresses and bowls of steaming pig-fat stew. And, beyond that, was the Promised Land – the soft sleeper compartments: piped muzak, pristine toilets, miniature TVs and all mod cons. By dawn of the second day, the train was ascending steeply. With the wheels grinding hard against the tracks all morning, the locomotive hauled us up to the highest point, the 5,000-metre Tangu-la Pass. I rooted through my bag, took out Harrer’s book, and held it tight in my hands on my bunk. I was filled with an almost electric anticipation. I could feel Lhasa drawing near. Down below me, now wearing a pair of royal-blue silk pyjamas, Mr Ma got a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop. The woman across from him moaned that the altitude had given her a headache. Then she fainted. A minute later there was a gushing sound and we all perked up. The engineers had thought of everything, even pumping


TIBET

Life onboard the express train consists of rounds of noodles in the dining car and endless card games (right)

‘A railway journey gives a fleeting cross-section, a blend of blurred detail against a backdrop of gradual change’

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Yak and sheep graze along the shore of Yamdrok Lake, halfway between Lhasa and Gyantse

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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TIBET oxygen into the compartments through little nozzles built into the walls.

Finally reaching Lhasa

As the train rolled on towards Tibet, the scenery changed. The weeping willows, farmland, and screens of rustling poplar died away, replaced gradually by stark steppe, peppered with thousands of black dots – grazing yaks. There were black yak-wool tents as well, home to nomads whose lives have altered little since ancient times. And the closer we drew to Lhasa, the more wondrous the feats of Chinese engineering and technology – vast dams, power stations, tunnels, roads and sprawling bridges, set beneath great boiling cumulous clouds. All of a sudden Lhasa arrived. Gliding into the station was like slipping into a military encampment on alert. The platform was awash with soldiers in camouflage, marching double-time, weapons held tight over chests, eyes fixed on the distance. I watched as an American tourist, trying to take a photo of the station’s name, was tackled for his camera. Photography was against the law here. As he said goodbye, Mr Ma ordered me to beware of yak meat, which he said was not to be trusted in the least. We shook hands, and he was gone. Reaching Lhasa was itself a profoundly moving experience. For a long while I just stood on the platform staring at the sign. Then I dug out my copy of Seven Years in Tibet and held it up in the air, although a little uncertain why. It was a kind of trophy, the spark that had first ignited my obsession 30 years before with all things Tibetan. I never quite imagined my feet would find their way onto Tibetan soil or, rather, the concrete of its railway platform.

These days you don’t need to be as intrepid as Herrer to visit Tibet. I can hardly imagine an easier land to wander through. The few Western tourists I met in Lhasa staggered about like me with a cloud-nine glow wrapped over their faces, as though they’d won the jackpot.

Visiting the past

Unsurprisingly, it is within the Buddhist community that the true lifeblood of the Tibetan realm remains most in tact. At Lhasa’s Tsamkhung nunnery, I saw prayer books hand-printed on slivers of wood, as they have been done for centuries. And at the imposing Potala Palace, which looms down over the capital like a great medieval citadel, lines of pilgrims pour ghee on the flickering lamps. Shuffling forwards mumbling prayers, blocking out the world with almost hypnotic contemplation, their robed forms mingle with the droves of Chinese tourists, many of them coutured head to toe in Burberry. To enter the Potala is to descend back in time, through the interleaving centuries of Tibetan culture, a society bound unflinching to the serene heritage of the Buddhist faith. It’s not easy to say exactly why the cramped halls of the Potala affect all who enter them as they do. As you trail through the labyrinth, up narrow staircases, down sweeping corridors and past the endless shines, pungent with incense and smoke, you feel a part of something both archaic and important. It’s as if you’re being bathed in a thousand years of raw energy, left by supplicants whose names are lost, but whose devotion lives on. And so life, rooted in Buddhism, goes on. The Tibetan people pray at Lhasa’s Jokhang temple complex, with its gilded bronze roofs, prostrating themselves every few paces until they reach inside. They

A hand-printed prayer book at Tsamkhung nunnery. LEFT Monks are ubiquitous in Lhasa, even at a game of pool in a side street

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‘They make the circuit around the Barkhor Bazaar, spinning


In Lhasa’s Barkhor, a quadrangle of old narrow streets surrounding the Jokhang temple, a woman turns the prayer wheels alongside the temple’s outer wall

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hand-held hand-heldprayer prayerwheels, wheels,to tobestow bestowgood goodkarma karmaon onus usall’ all’

Nuns at Tsamkhung nunnery. LEFT Soldiers patrol Lhasa – here they’re marching anticlockwise around the Barkhor, while pilgrims always go clockwise SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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TIBET The 13-storey Potala Palace, Lhasa, was the principle residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled to Dharamsala. It is now a muchvisited museum

‘To enter the Potala is to descend back in time, through Tibetan eat yak-meat momo dumplings in the backstreets of the old town, shop for rancid yak-butter, vegetables and for second-hand clothes. And they make the pilgrim circuit clockwise around the Barkhor Bazaar, spinning hand-held prayer wheels as they go, to bestow good karma on us all. Much of my time in Lhasa was spent standing on street corners, staring at the well-honed melody of life. On one street corner, a stone’s throw from the Jokhang complex, a street seller stepped up and tried to interest me in a pair of immensely long brass trumpets, adorned with exquisite silver appliqué. He was a short man, with large hands, and the kind of smile you can’t quite forget. I asked him how I’d ever get the instruments home. They must have been 20 feet long. Without wasting a second, he collapsed the trumpets in on themselves, telescoping them down to the length of a shoebox. ‘Now they are hand luggage,’ he said with a grin. 40

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

Living under the regime

The impressive thing about Lhasa is that life continues as it does, despite the unflinching gaze of the Chinese system. There are soldiers on every street corner and at every crossing, many of them outfitted in riot dress, batons and shields gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight, tear gas canisters ready to be deployed. There are lookouts, too, on the rooftops, and even on the minaret of Lhasa’s main mosque. Nothing is overlooked, neither by the soldiers, nor by the spies mingling with the general populace. The heightened state of alert is the result of civil uprisings just over two years ago. The military lock-down is what you notice first, but dwelling on it would perhaps be to miss the bigger picture. And that is the gradual dilution of Tibetan culture and the ancient circle of life. The medieval Tibet of Heinrich Harrer has largely disappeared, at least in Lhasa.

Except for the old town, the capital is essentially a modern Chinese city like any other. Most of the shops are packed with Chinese goods and staffed by Chinese; although there are some Tibetans selling, too. On one street corner in the old town, I noticed an elderly farmer standing with a yak. The animal looked very old, as if it were diseased. One of the shopkeepers saw me wondering whether the animal was for sale. He said, ‘Have pity on this old man. Buy his yak, take it to your own country, and nurse it back to health. You have good medicines there.’ I told him that I lived a great distance from Lhasa and that yak transport wasn’t as easy or as affordable as it ought to be. The shopkeeper seemed worried for a moment, then said, ‘If you buy the yak I promise to look after it for you.’ Visitors to a place are sometimes presented with a concocted hybrid, a kind of illusion that’s passed off as reality. And for me – despite the old town’s astonishing


Pilgrims praying outside Jokhang temple complex, the most sacred in Tibet. RIGHT Prayer wheels

At dawn a family of pilgrims wait for the Jokhang Temple to open. LEFT An artist paints a religious scene on silk

culture, culture,aasociety societybound boundto tothe theheritage heritageof ofthe theBuddhist Buddhistfaith’ faith’ charm – Lhasa is becoming like that. But spend a little time roaming the countryside, and you glimpse snapshots of a society that in many ways has hardly changed since the time of Genghis Khan. You get the feeling that rural Tibet goes on quite untouched by politics. It’s a life where Buddhist belief, and yaks, are at the centre, a life that’s in perfect harmony with nature. It is the genuine article. Farmers and their families out in the fields winnowing the wheat. Nomads in their smoky yak-wool tents pounding the yak-butter with giant pestles. A clutch of pilgrims pausing at crisscrossed prayer flags swooshing in the wind. The deafening rumble of gongs and elongated trumpets shattering the silence at dawn.

Away from the crowds

One afternoon, my driver, guide and I were welcomed at a nomad encampment a few hours southwest of Lhasa. Three or four

coarse yak-wool tents filled with burning yak-dung smoke. The tents can withstand even the strongest gale because the wind tears through the weave, rather than sweeping over it. Inside lived an old woman called Pemayangchen. Her face terribly chapped by the elements, she was pounding yak-milk to make butter and cheese to sell down in Nangartse. Hung above her from a low central beam, wrapped in plastic, were the family’s prized possessions: a few inches of Buddhist text, a sharp knife, a silver brooch, and half a bottle of homemade perfume. That night we camped near the nomads, in a steep-sided valley, the verdant slopes grazed close by yaks. Either side of us there were glaciers. They hung between the crags, translucent, prehistoric and compacted ice, the colour of aquamarines. All through the night a freezing wind ripped down from the ice mountains, followed by hail and rain. My expensive

North Face tent collapsed completely, leaving me in a wretched mess of tent poles, plastic sheeting and soaking quilts. The driver and guide, whom had slept in the van curled up like kittens, split their sides in laughter when they saw me emerge at first light. The driver mumbled something and cackled in delight. ‘What did he say?’ My guide wiped a hand over his face. ‘Only a fool would buy a tent not made of yak wool,’ he said. Although Lhasa’s Potala Palace, the Jokhang and Tibet’s other major monasteries are intensely atmospheric, the smaller shrines provide face-to-face and spontaneous contact with the Buddhist clergy. It’s something that I rate as the greatest highlight of my journey to Tibet. At a tiny outlying monastery on the road to Nangartse, I found an 80-year-old hermit-monk crouching in a niche little bigger than himself, carved out from the rock. He’d been in there three decades. In SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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FROM LEFT The oldest nun at a nunnery in a side valley on the road to Nangartse; a stupa containing Buddhist relics; yaks are a familiar sight across Tibet

‘Rural Tibet is a life where Buddhist belief, and yaks, are at the centre, a life that’s in perfect harmony with nature’

PHOTOGRAPH: LO WING TONG

The grand 9-storey Gyantse stupa is the largest stupa of Tibet

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


TIBET

Prayer flags at the Kamba-la Pass between Lhasa and Gyantse, in Tsang. The red, green, yellow, blue and white flags represent fire, wood, earth, water and iron

a whisper he said he remembered seeing the Dalai Lama when they were both children. Before leaving, I held up a camera. The monk became very excited. He begged me to take the photo to freedom, to Dharamsala, the exiled Dalai Lama’s home. A mile or two away, atop a precipitous slope, with sweeping views of the plateau below, I came to a nunnery set beside a towering stupa, encircled by large bronze prayer wheels. At first my guide had resisted making the steep climb on foot. Given the altitude, it was like staggering forwards wearing diving weights. I assumed his reluctance to be inspired by a dislike for hard physical activity. But then, when we reached the nunnery, one that’s on no tourist itinerary, I realised that his apprehension came about for fear of the authorities. Even there, he said, we would encounter spies. And we did. One of the nuns, an old woman with a mischievous grin and a shaven head, cocked her creased brow in the direction

of a young man sitting in the central courtyard. When we were out of earshot, she exclaimed that she didn’t care any longer, at least for herself. ‘We close our eyes,’ she said softly, ‘and we are free.’ As dusk became night, one of the nuns cooked up a thick vegetable broth, and served it with momo dumplings and green tea. In the distance there was the sound of a girl singing, a shrill ribbon of tone, mixed with the intermittent clanging of a yak-bell far away. I slept more deeply than on any night I can remember, huddled up on an old rope bed, a patchwork quilt pulled over me. I was up at dawn, in time to see the nuns take up their positions for the first chorus. As the first hint of sunlight warmed the darkness, I couldn’t help but be affected in the most spine-chilling way. As we were about to leave, I saw a round loaf of home-baked bread sitting on the nunnery wall. I could smell it from quite a distance, all fresh-baked and warm.

Surprised that something so tempting would have been abandoned, I asked my guide to whom it belonged. ‘The nuns believe that charity should be anonymous,’ he said, ‘that you should give to benefit someone in need and to help them, rather than to receive thanks. That is why the bread is on the wall.’ Descending down to the plateau, the villagers streamed out of their homes with pots, pans, whistles and drums. The sky was darkening, as if night were approaching – a solar eclipse. As soon as the moon slipped over the sun, the villagers banged their pots and pans together, shrieking for all they were worth. Until then I had worried deep down that Tibet would one day be subsumed into the folds of China. But at that moment, as the daylight faded momentarily into night, the villagers frightening away the Devil, I realised that Tibet, the real Tibet, has an essence which will endure for eternity. LP SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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TIBET xyxyxyxyxyxyxy

Dawn at a nunnery, and two nuns play the dungchen, a long trumpet that is played in pairs or multiples at tibetan Buddhist ceremonies

End of the line Author Tahir Shah fulfills a long-held dream by travelling by train from Beijing to Lhasa, the fabled capital of Tibet PhotograPhs NICK DANZIGER

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From Beijing to Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet, and into the countryside, here’s how to make the most of your trip

Getting there Air China flies from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Lhasa with a stop in either Beijing or Chengdu (from US$700; airchina.com) For details of the Lhasa Express, see opposite.

3

Getting around

Wander around the Barkhor

Foreigners aren’t always allowed to buy tickets on local transport; check the latest advice in Lhasa. It’s fairly straightforward to rent a 4WD vehicle and driver in town. For info on permits and visas, see opposite.

Budget SEE

Further reading Pick up Lonely Planet’s Tibet (US$25.60) and Heinrich Harrer’s Seven Years in Tibet (US$13.50; Harper Perennial).

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THE FINAL WORD ‘Go to Tibet and see many places, as much as you can; then tell the world.’ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

EAT

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Stay at the House of Shambala

Luxury

Lhasa’s most interesting pilgrimage circuit is around the quadrangle of streets known as the BARKHOR. Here you’ll find prostrating monks, street stalls selling jewel-encrusted daggers and the circuit itself, taking in several chapels and temples.

Thick with the smell of yak butter and echoing with the murmur of mantras, the JOKHANG temple complex is the most revered religious structure in Tibet, and dates back to the first century (admission US$10.70; Dazhao Si).

POTALA PALACE is one of the great wonders of world architecture. Once home to Tibet’s Dalai Lamas, the huge palace is now more of a museum, with reception rooms, meditation halls and murals (US$15.30; Budala Gong).

BARGAIN! A very friendly and well-run choice, HOTEL KYICHU is in a central location. The rooms are simple but pleasant, there’s a decent restaurant, a library and a garden (US$56; hotelkyichu.com).

With ornate Tibetan-style decor, a good restaurant and superb location in the old town, DHODGU HOTEL is a great midrange choice. The rooftop bar has views of Potala (US$68; dhodgu-hotel.com).

Hidden in the old town, Tibet’s first boutique hotel, HOUSE OF SHAMBALA, has 10 rooms decorated in wood and stone with antique Tibetan furniture, and a rooftop terrace (US$93; houseofshambala.com).

Charming English-speaking PENTOC runs an eponymous teahouse north of Barkhor. The food served is authentically TIbetan, from momo dumplings to yak-meat dishes (from US$1; off Beijing Donglu).

BARGAIN! TASHI I has long been a Lonely Planet favourite, with great service and food. Special praise goes to the bobi bread, with cream cheese, fried veg or meat (from US$1.50 corner Zangyiyuan Lu & Beijing Donglu).

Old-timer NAM-TSO is one of the top hotel-restaurants in town. Food is mainly western, and the sunny roof setting is one of the few places you can dine outdoors (from US$3.80; Banak Shol hotel).

Bazaar-style TROMSIKHANG MARKET in the old town has a wide selection of local fruit and nuts and is the place to buy Tibetan specialities (off Beijing Donglu).

Opposite the Shangbala Hotel, MANI THANGKA ARTS sells thangkas (silk paintings with embroidery) made with mineral paints by local artist Phurbu Tsering (Zangyiyuan Lu, Barkhor).

DROPENLING is a nonprofit enterprise that aims to bolster Tibetan handicrafts, such as carpets, made to traditional techniques (stone coaster from US$15; tibetcraft.com).

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WAYS TO DO LHASA…

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ILLUSTRATION: DAVID ATKINSON. PHOTOGRAPHS: NICK DANZIGER, GETTY, 123RF, LO WING TONG

ESSENTIALS


TOUR OPERATORS

INTREPID TRAVEL Small-group operators Intrepid Travel runs an eightday Trans-Tibetan Express tour, with two days exploring Beijing, the Lhasa Express and three days in Lhasa. All accommodation and train travel is included in the price; flights are not (from US$1,385; intrepidtravel.com).

The Beijing to Lhasa (or Lhasa Express) train travels along the Qinghai-Tibet railway, which fully opened in 2006

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED Lonely Planet’s Tibet author, Robert Kelly, gives you the lowdown on a trip to Tibet IS IT RIGHT TO VISIT TIBET? Not even the Dalai Lama asks for a boycott on travel to Tibet. Tourism is an important part of the local economy and a source of employment. Visitors are both wanted and welcomed. It is ordinary Tibetans who suffer most when the region is closed off. CAN I TRAVEL INDEPENDENTLY? You can no longer travel independently in Tibet. You must purchase (in advance) a full travel package from an agency in China. The agency handles permits and provides a Tibetan guide, driver and Land Cruiser. You can’t take public transport and your guide must accompany you to major sites, though he doesn’t have to be with you at every moment. Agencies include: Tibetan Connections (tibetanconnections.com); Snow Lion Tours (snowliontours.com); Sims Cozy Garden Hostel (gogosc.com); and Café Spinn (cafespinn.com). HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO PLAN? Two months’ pre-trip planning is usually involved. In addition to a China visa you need a Tibetan Tourism Bureau travel permit. For travel outside Lhasa you need an Alien Travel Permit and possibly others.

Agencies will obtain all permits for you but you need to decide your itinerary beforehand. HOW DO I GET TICKETS FOR THE LHASA EXPRESS? Your agency will handle this as part of the package. Tickets can’t be purchased more than 10 days in advance and are difficult to secure in summer. WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I’M ON THE TRAIN? Trains are functional rather than luxurious and get dirtier as the trip progresses. The toilets can get particularly unpleasant. Sleeping carriages feature rooms with either six padded berths or four; the latter are much more comfortable. Cabins have oxygen pumped in at higher elevations. Decent, inexpensive Chinese food is available in dining rooms and hot water (for cooking noodles etc) is available in each carriage. Vendors sell drinks and snacks on the train. HOW SHOULD I BEHAVE IN TIBET? Respect for religious sites and tradition is paramount. Dress modestly and don’t take pictures in a temple or monastery without asking for

permission. Many Tibetans will discuss sensitive topics in private with you. Avoid public political talks, however, and don’t carry or distribute pictures of the Dalai Lama. Never take pictures of military installations. HOW DO I MAKE SURE MY MONEY GOES TO LOCAL BUSINESSES? Use a travel agency that employs Tibetans and/or donates to Tibetan causes (such as the ones we recommend on this page). Ensure your guide and driver are Tibetan and inform them you want to patronise locally owned businesses – but be aware that travel restrictions will not always allow this. When buying gifts, shop at co-ops or directly from artisans. In monasteries, leave donations on the altar, as entrance fees go to the government. In some places you will have a choice between local guesthouses and a Chinese-owned hotel but often the choice will be made for you because of regulations and availability. Make your request known to your guide, however, as you don’t have to pre-book accommodation before you arrive.

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL Responsible Travel lists 25 different tours of Tibet on its site, including ones combining trips to Nepal and China. Its 18-day China Holiday and Rail Journey Across Tibet takes in Beijing, the Yellow River, the terracotta army at Xian, the train journey to Tibet and three days in Lhasa (from US$3,382, including flights; responsibletravel.com).

GW TRAVEL If you prefer a little luxury with your train travel, hop aboard the Shangri-La Express, which runs from Hong Kong to Lhasa. The 17-day tour on board this luxury train brings you through China (including pandas at Chengdu and the Tangu-La Pass) and ends with three nights in Lhasa (from US$12,795, gwtravel.co.uk).

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Whether as a geisha in Kyoto or a superhero in Tokyo, dressing up is enjoyed by many Japanese people. RIGHT The neon-lit alleys of Tokyo’s west Shinjuk¯u district

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Japan The Perfect Trip

Japan packs a wallop of cultural wealth, natural beauty and modern oddities into its compact geography – so you can travel from the metropolis of Tokyo to a two-person hot spring in a matter of hours

WORDS WENDY YANAGIHARA PHOTOGRAPHS LOTTIE DAVIES

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The Perfect Trip JAPAN

Your trip mapped out

Take two weeks to explore the best of eastern Japan, from Tokyo’s unique nightlife, to Kyoto’s historic temples and the Kii Peninsula’s hot springs TOKYO Best for sum¯o wrestling, people watching and a night out

l Kick off your trip in the capital, where you can see sum¯o wrestlers in training at Arashio Stable. l Then spot the outrageous fashions being flaunted in the Harajuku neighbourhood. l Experience the distinctive nightlife around Shibuya crossing.

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KYOTO Best for temples and traditional cuisine KII PENINSULA Best for the outdoors and onsen

l Step out into the sacred outdoors and walk the trails of the Kii Peninsula’s famous pilgrimage routes, which have been used for more than 1,000 years. l Finish your walk with a restorative dip in one of the region’s mineral-rich onsen (hot springs).

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l Next, head to Japan’s cultural capital to explore just a few of the city’s historic temples, which number more than 1,600. l This is the best city in Japan to appreciate the artistry of its elegant traditional cuisine.


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ARASHIO STABLE, TOKYO

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Fly into Tokyo and spend three days seeing sum¯o, cosplay and nightlife before heading off by bullet train

MAP ILLUSTRATION: TINA ZELLMER

It’s humid in the Arashio sum¯o stable (training house). Damp seems to emanate even from the slapping and feet sliding across the sweat-spattered, dirt practice ring. Perspiration glistens on the bodies of the stable’s rikishi (wrestlers) of varying rank – from the coltish teenager whose flat abs betray his age to the most senior

of this stable, whose imposing demeanour matches his formidable mass. Up close, these giants are solid. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t survive the practice drills in which they repeatedly charge, slam their foreheads into a senior rikishi’s shoulder and push his more than 17 stone bulk across the ring. ‘Before I started training I used to think that big people must be very soft. But when you begin sum¯o training, you realise that running into these rikishi is like hitting a wall,’ says S¯okokurai, the highest-ranking rikishi at Arashio Stable. A native of Mongolia, S¯okokurai began studying sum¯o at the age of 19. ‘Of course sum¯o has changed me; it’s made me much stronger mentally as well as physically.’ At the end of the six-hour training session, the rikishi perform cool-down exercises, taking turns shuffling rhythmically around the ring with palms upturned. Then it’s bare backsides on the dirt floor for deep stretches that condition the thighs for those emblematic sum¯o squats. After relaxing for a few minutes in the relatively cool air outside, the rikishi take a meal of the sum¯o staple chankonabe, a stew made with seafood, meat, vegetables and noodles. Then, finally – a midday snooze. FURTHER INFORMATION l His Sum¯o Tour has English-speaking guides leading small-group tours to Arashio Stable to view the morning practice, followed by a chankonabe lunch at the stable (US$215; hisexperience.jp/ culturalactivities/sumo.html).

ABOVE Sum¯o wrestlers at their morning practice in the Arashio sum¯o stable in Tokyo. BELOW Lower-ranking rikishi help prepare a meal in the kitchen. Traditionally, sum¯o wrestlers eat chankonabe stew to gain weight. BELOW LEFT Wrestler S¯okokurai

WATCHING

A TOURNAMENT Six Grand Sum¯o Tournaments occur during the year across Japan. Check the official Japan Sum¯o Association page for schedules and locations (sumo.or.jp/eng). The booking page is in Japanese – if you don’t have a Japanese speaker to help you, go through a local tourist bureau such as Japan National Tourism Organization (jnto.go.jp/eng). It’s possible to turn up at the stadium on the morning of a match (arrive early) and buy general admission tickets, at around US$25.

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The Perfect Trip JAPAN

LEFT The rockabilly look at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park ABOVE Traditional taiko drummers in Yoyogi BELOW Hidemichi Sawa and Chika Hamamoto in Daikanyama; cosplay costume wearers

HARAJUKU, TOKYO

Best for people watching

Anime (animation) superheroes with architectural hair, goth Lolitas frothy with lace, and kids in full-body animal outfits: this could only be Harajuku, the neighbourhood whose name has become synonymous with images of cosplay (costume play) kids dressed up in outrageous fashions. Sundays on Jing¯ubashi, the bridge outside Harajuku station, are the domain of cosplayers inhabiting their alter egos. Though each has her reasons – and the majority are girls – many are bullied or marginalised socially, and find an escape and a tribe in their motley collective masquerade. Day-to-day life in Japan can be oppressively rigid, and cosplay is a creative reaction against the pressures. And really, who wouldn’t rather be a weekend warrior-princess with fabulous hair? Predecessors of cosplay from the ’80s still gather down the road at the entrance to Yoyogi Park. Mostly men in their 40s, decked out in the black leather, dark sunglasses and pompadours of American ’50s greasers, they blast Japanese rockabilly 50

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tunes from a boombox and dance coolly in pointy-toed shoes. Each man embodies his identity with the same artistic precision as the girls on Jing¯u-bashi. Meanwhile, pointy-toed shoes of the designer variety parade down Omotesand¯o, the boulevard leading away from Harajuku station, lined with stores such as Gucci and Chanel. In the alleys off Omotesand¯o, vintage shops and boutiques sell the looks of the moment to the hipsters who roam these alleys, like rare butterflies in their individuality. Tokyoites delight in expressing themselves with sartorial playfulness, not only in the realm of cosplay, but in the everyday. ‘I wear things to make myself feel good, but my style changes every day according to my mood,’ muses Hidemichi Sawa, dressed in a grey waistcoat and shirtsleeves as he strolls through fashionable Daikanyama with girlfriend Chika Hamamoto. ‘Today? I’m worried about something. But a walk in this neighbourhood is one of my favourite things to do.’ He takes Chika’s hand and they saunter into the sunlit afternoon. FURTHER INFORMATION l Metropolis Magazine, Tokyo’s free English-language weekly, covers what’s on and is distributed at numerous points around the city (metropolis.co.jp).


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Picnickers celebrate the arrival of spring under the cherry blossom in Yoyogi Park, in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighbourhood

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TOKYO

DIRECTORY

SHIBUYA, TOKYO

Best for a night out

Shibuya Crossing, Friday night. Dusk has fallen, pedestrian lights turn green and a wave of humanity converges in the middle of the five-way intersection before dispersing again in all directions. The junction’s streets lead to towering department stores, music venues, dance clubs and all-you-can-eat dessert cafés, all catering to the district’s young. Teetering on stilettos, immaculately made-up 20somethings tap on mobiles to coordinate the night’s meeting place: Karaoke-kan. Location confirmed, they head off for a night of singing and drinking in a private karaoke box. Three sharpsuited guys toting briefcases stride by before ducking into a dark, convivial izakaya (Japanese pub serving food), Gonpachi. Greeted with shouts of ‘Irrasshaimase!’ they are ushered to a table, sit cross-legged and get down to business: pitcher of beer, perusal of picture menu. Summoned by the buzz of a tabletop button, a waiter appears and kneels with handheld computer, taking the order for 52

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edamame (soya beans), barbecued chicken skewers, sashimi (raw fish), braised black pork and seaweed salad. Now the banter begins as social straits are loosened. Nearby, the old-school Nombei Yokochō (Drunkard’s Alley) welcomes escapees from Shibuya overstimulation. Many of these pre-WWII shacks by the train tracks are so small that their full house of six patrons literally rub shoulders. Bar owner Genji Araki enjoys receiving foreign patrons at his place, Non. ‘They’re mostly expats. Foreigners tend to order normal things… like beer.’ Shake things up by ordering a local drink, such as a sh¯och¯u (rice or potato spirit) cocktail or a black-tea liqueur. ABOVE Tokyo’s five-way intersection, Shibuya Crossing, becomes a pedestrian free-for-all on the green light. BELOW A chef works at the grill in izakaya Gonpachi, Shibuya

FURTHER INFORMATION l Karaoke-kan: 30-8 Udagawa-ch¯o, Shibuya l Gonpachi: 14F, E Space Tower, 3-6 Maruyama-ch¯o Shibuya-ku; gonpachi.jp/en/shibuya/home/location l Non: Nombei-yokoch¯o, 1-25-10 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku

WHERE TO STAY BUDGET Capsule Inn Akihabara – capsules are not for the claustrophobic, though they are roomier than they might seem: checking in for a night in a capsule hotel is an only-in-Japan experience. Men and women sleep on separate floors (US$48; capsuleinn.com). TOP END Shibuya Granbell Hotel makes the most of its small spaces, using glass walls to partition the bathrooms from bedrooms, with curtains for privacy. Grander suites afford room to move, which you’ll want when you find that there’s a high-end record player and a set of vinyl waiting to be played in each (from US$250; granbellhotel.jp). WHERE TO EAT Try Japanese small plates, beer and sake in Himonoya (pictured above), a rustic izakaya. Dark wood and partitioned rooms keep a sense of privacy amid the general merriment (meals from US$24; B1F, 33-8 Udagawa-ch¯o, Shibuya-ku).


The Perfect Trip

NORTHERN HIGASHIYAMA, KYOTO

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Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto is 290 miles and 2½ hours from Tokyo by bullet train

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Known as ‘the city of a thousand temples’, Kyoto actually has more than 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shint¯o shrines. Even along the poetically named Path of Philosophy – a popular stroll in spring’s sakura (cherry blossom) season – several temples are within easy reach from the path. Some of Kyoto’s architectural treasures, such as gold-leafed Kinkaku-ji, are gorgeous icons of the city. But innumerable small temples exist in neighbourhood alleys, while a tiny shrine might reside in the nook of a wall.

Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, was reconstructed in 1955 after a young monk burned the temple to the ground

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It’s often an incongruous sight, spying the telltale stone fox guardians of an Inari (the Shint¯o harvest god) shrine, crouched in a narrow gap between buildings that grew up around it, and smiling inscrutably. Up on a Kyoto hillside sits Fushimi-Inari Taisha, the head shrine of over 30,000 Inari shrines throughout Japan. The shrine grounds are abuzz with activity, with renovations being made for its 400th anniversary next year. Walking past the red-trimmed grand hall, priest Takahiro Nishino’s robes swish with each step as he shows the way to a path sheltered by large vermilion torii (shrine gates). Just beyond, around 10,000 smaller torii are lined up one after another, forming a pair of red, rectangular tunnels through the trees. ‘Traditionally, people gave offerings to Inari for bountiful harvests, but nowadays Inari is also associated with success in business; each of these torii was donated by a business, as an offering.’ ‘Heaven, hell,’ says Nishino, gesturing to

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the two tunnels with a trace of a smile, before returning down the path to his duties at the shrine office. A walk up the curved path to hell feels calm, peaceful – and leads to the same spot as the tunnel to heaven. From there, the shrine’s mountain circuit begins: another walking meditation, a place to ponder heaven, hell and the unreadable smile of the fox guardian. FURTHER INFORMATION l The Path of Philosophy: pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/ en/theme/activities/activity l Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion: 1 Kinkaku-ji-ch¯o, Kita-ku) l Fushimi-Inari Taisha, Japan's head Inari shrine: Yabunouchi-ch¯o, Fukakusa, Fushimi-ku LEFT One of the many stone fox guardians of an Inari shrine, Inari being the Shint¯o god of the rice festival. BELOW A striking tunnel of red torii (shrine gates) at Kyoto’s Fushimi-Inari Taisha shrine


The Perfect Trip JAPAN

DOWNTOWN KYOTO Best for cuisine ‘The water from our well is remarkably pure and soft,’ explains Kosuke Tatsumi, a sake brewer at the Horino Memorial Museum. This former sake brewery was established in 1781 because of the water – ‘the quality is crucial, as sake only has four ingredients’ (rice, water, koji mould and yeast). He sets out a tasting of three types of sake, and a dish of tuna carpaccio, taro (root vegetable) croquette and a spring roll stuffed with shredded carrot and sweet flatfish. Each is paired with a particular sake – it is, after all, meant to be enjoyed with food. ‘And sipped! Sake shouldn’t be…’ Kosuke mimes the cartoonish gulp of a shot. Savouring the subtlety of a cloudy sake, it’s easy to forget it comes from simple elements. As do the intricate dishes that make up kaiseki-ry ri (multi-course meals), a cuisine designed to be appreciated not only for its taste, but texture, contrast, beauty and harmony with the season. The feast might begin with a wooden spear of bite-sized steamed dumplings in candy colours. To follow is an endless procession of delicate dishes using fresh, seasonal foods with exquisite presentation. Kaiseki-ry ri is Japanese food at its most refined, best eaten in the cultural capital, Kyoto, and served in specialist restaurants. Once the kaiseki-ry ri plays out its last act with green tea and sakura mochi (sticky rice cake), the Japanese phrase ‘gochis sama deshita,’ (‘thank you for the delicious feast’) doesn’t sound hyperbolic at all. FURTHER INFORMATION l Horino Memorial Museum, 172 Kameya-ch¯o, Nakagy¯o-ku, Kyoto. WAK Japan does sake tasting with an English-speaking guide (US$65; wakjapan.com).

Steamed rice and bamboo shoots with pickled greens

Cherry blossom sticky rice cake

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Dumplings on a skewer with mugwort tofu

Month Sea bream and2010 potato dumpling in broth

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DIRECTORY WHERE TO EAT Kikunoi is a top Kyoto kaiseki restaurant (lunch from US$97; kikunoi.jp/english/store). WHERE TO STAY MID-RANGE Yonbanchi is a b&b in a classic Japanese home, near the Path of Philosophy (US$120; yonbanchi.com). TOP END Sakanoue is a ryokan (traditional lodge) – rates include a kaiseki dinner and breakfast (US$245 per person; sakanoue.net)

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Caption Ut iriustionsed te con utat. Ut nonuim qui tis delwisci liquiius adio odionse exerosdto odolort incipit praessi. facipis dwertolor capti

KUMANO KODO, KII PENINSULA

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Next, head to Shing¯u on the Kii Peninsula, 200 miles and 4½ hours by direct train from Kyoto

Fog rolls over the mountain peaks, lifting to reveal a lone, blooming sakura amid the temperate forest, then enfolds the landscape again into watercolour obscurity. Below the mist, water droplets slide off broadleaf pines and Japanese cedars. A nightingale sings out. Long considered a spiritual place, the Kumano mountains are rich with a complicated history of religion and legend, including Japan’s origin myth of the first emperor, said to have been led out of the woods by a three-legged crow. The pilgrimage routes, known collectively as the Kumano Kod¯o, wind around the Kii-hant¯o (Kii Peninsula) to link some of Japan’s most sacred sites, and have been in use for over 1,000 years. Devotees of various beliefs, such as the ascetic Shugend¯o faith and the Shingon school of Esoteric Buddhism, made these 56

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treks as rites of worship. The Nakahechi section of the route, along with the three major Shint¯o shrines it links, was named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2004. Modern monks and nuns still travel these paths in ritual worship, through this region rich with a spiritual syncretism of Buddhism and Japan’s native Shint¯o faith. Stretches of this 190-mile route have become paved roads connecting the peninsula’s towns; other sections twist gently through tiny villages, then resume a path through the woods along stone stairs and dirt trails. Even the waterways of the region are considered part of the Kumano Kod¯o, and can be travelled by flat-bottomed boat or kayak. Nowadays, most walkers following the trails are younger people out for adventure, and cheerful middle-aged day-hikers. Along with the solitude and occasional trailside jizō (a Japanese bodhisattva) statue in a faded red bib, there is the unexpected – a grandmotherly vendor selling pickled wild vegetable shoots who begins juggling beanbags she has for sale, or the ersatz bus stop where an elderly farmer couple of mannequins wait, smiling in welcome. The forest opens up to tiny villages and hillsides cultivated with terraces of tea and rice. And real bus stops, in the settlements along the route, ferry hikers to trailheads and back to train stations or local ryokan. Along with the farming families who have lived here for generations, these tranquil

mountain villages have drawn newer residents who explore the waterways by kayak, or find inspiration for their art. It’s a magical kind of place for artists, as Hiromi Dulce Sawa and Tatsuya Muchacho will attest. Having returned from living on the rural gulf coast of Mexico, they found a parallel vibe in Kumano. Tatsuya says simply, ‘I like that there’s nothing here.’ Resting in their sunny home, filled with Hiromi’s sinuous paintings and Tatsuya’s wood sculptures, Hiromi says, ‘I love the warm atmosphere here, of the people and community, and it all goes into my art.’ And the warm atmosphere will colour the contemporary pilgrim’s time on these ancient routes, too. This sense of longrunning community, wrapped in natural beauty, invites its own kind of reverence. FURTHER INFORMATION l Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau: tb-kumano.jp) l Local rivers comprise parts of the Kumano Kod¯o, and English-speaking kayak guides from Kumano Experience can take you onto the water (kumanoexperience.com/01/en).

ABOVE FROM LEFT Japanese maple in Dorokyo Gorge in the Kumano region; a local sells berries, honey and pickled vegetables; trekking the pilgrimage routes.


The Perfect Trip JAPAN

Tsuboyu Onsen, sheltered by a wooden shack over the river, is the only Unesco spring where people can bathe. ABOVE Soaking at Adumaya Ryokan in Yunomine

KII PENINSULA DIRECTORY

YUNOMINE, KII PENINSULA

Best for onsen

All good walks in the woods in Japan must meander to an end. In the best scenarios, sinking (slowly, slowly…) neck-deep into water almost too hot to stand brings any journey to a delicious close. Fortunately, the forests and mountains of the Kii Peninsula are home to hot springs (onsen) that have been used for thousands of years. The land of Japan’s spiritual beginnings seems a fitting place to be inducted into the cult of onsen. Ritual purifications have always been integral to Shint¯o practice, and pilgrims on the Kii Peninsula would stop at notable onsen to perform their ablutions. Tsuboyu Onsen is one such landmark, and the only Unesco World Heritage hot spring in which people can

bathe. From the outside, the wooden shack lacks distinction, but inside lies the cloudy pool whose purportedly life-saving waters are said to change colour seven times a day. It’s unclear what ailments might be cured from a soak in Tsuboyu, but emerge after half an hour and you’ll feel detoxed. The source that feeds tiny Tsuboyu is called Yunomine Onsen, which also flows into the public baths and the hot-water river sidling through Yunomine hamlet. By the river, visitors squat above a walled-off pool boiling eggs, and a mild smell of sulphur hangs in the air. At Ryokan Adumaya across the road, all meals are cooked using onsen water, imbuing the food with mineral goodness. Several miles down the road, the vegetables at riverfront Fujiya Ryokan are also boiled in local onsen water. ‘I’ve bathed daily in Kawayu Onsen since before I was born,’ states Yoshiko Kobuchi, the 13th-generation proprietress of the inn. ‘When I go on business trips, any other water feels harsh. It’s always a relief to come home and bathe.’

WHERE TO STAY MID-RANGE B&B Café Hong¯u has a minimalist feel (from US$120; bbcafehongu. blogspot.com). Go to Ryokan Adumaya in Yunomine for a combo of rooms, food and a hot spring bath (from US$190; adumaya.co.jp/english). TOP END Fujiya Ryokan has enormous rooms with tatami floors and split bathrooms. Several modern rooms have private baths on their balconies overlooking the river (from US$285; fuziya.co.jp). WHERE TO EAT At Bocu, a macrobiotic restaurant in Nakahechi, along the Nakahechi pilgrimage route, they grow as much of their own food as possible (mains US$17; 203 Chikatsuyu, Nakahechi-ch¯o).

FURTHER INFORMATION l Tsuboyu, Unesco hot spring (US$10 for a 30-minute session; tb-kumano.jp/en/onsen/yunomine.html) l Kumano Hongu¯ Heritage Center (entry free; city. tanabe.lg.jp/hongukan/en) LP

Wendy Yanagihara first toured Tokyo, age two, on her mother’s hip. She grew up in America, but spent childhood summers in Japan. She’s written for Lonely Planet’s Japan guide and Tokyo Encounter.

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MAKE IT HAPPEN

JAPAN The Perfect Trip

The Perfect Trip

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Japan The Perfect Trip

Japan packs a wallop of cultural wealth, natural beauty and modern oddities into its compact geography – so you can travel from the metropolis of Tokyo to a two-person hot spring in a matter of hours

Words wEndy yanagihaRa PhotograPhs lOTTiE daviES

Whether as a geisha in Kyoto or a superhero in tokyo, dressing up is enjoyed by many Japanese people. rIght the neon-lit alleys of tokyo’s west shinjuk¯u district

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When planning a trip like this, it makes sense to fly in to Tokyo and out of Osaka. Carriers like All Nippon Airways (ana.co.jp) and Japan Airlines (jal.com) offer multi-city bookings that allow you to plan such flights. These and other carriers like Delta Air Lines (delta.com) and United Airlines (united.com) also offer direct flights from major Asian cities to Narita International Airport in Tokyo.

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A view of Mount Fuji

Further reading Check out Lonely Planet’s Japan guidebook (US$29), and get more trip ideas from the Japan National Tourism Organization (jnto.go.jp).

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Visit Hiroshima Castle

Okinawa's tropical waters

Hakone

Hiroshima

Okinawa

MOUNT FUJI has inspired haiku, woodblock prints and wonder, but it is often enshrouded in clouds. From Hakone, the views of Mount Fuji are fantastic… when they’re there. When they’re not, take solace in Hakone’s Open-Air museum, botanical gardens and onsen (hot springs).

Hiroshima, through its horrific devastation by the A-bomb, has emerged as a living testament to peace. Though famous for its tragic history, the city has its charms: the HIROSHIMA CASTLE and Shukkei-en garden (right), for starters.

The most beautiful beaches are some of the least reachable – but OKINAWA’S laid-back feel and underwater beauty are worth going the extra 970 miles for. Okinawa is distinctly different from Japanese culture, as is the subtropical climate.

With its own onsen, the riverside HOTEL OKADA makes a relaxing base from which to explore the Hakone region. There is a choice of Japanese, Western or fusion-style rooms (US$210 per person including breakfast and dinner; hotelokada.co.jp).

It’s always a pleasure to return to a ryokan – a traditional Japanese inn – after spending a day walking around a new city. SERA BEKKAN is a friendly place to stay and has large baths and a peaceful garden. Rates including meals are also available (from US$205; yado.to).

Naha is the jumping-off point for farther-flung destinations in Okinawa, so it makes sense to get your bearings here. Despite being totally flattened during WWII, Naha’s now a thriving city. HOTEL SUN PALACE is a good choice, with internet access (from US$160 including breakfast; palace-okinawa.com/sunpalace).

The curiously named ODAKYU ROMANCECAR departs from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station to Hakone-Yumoto more than 20 times a day (US$24 single; odakyu.jp). A hotel shuttle will then take guests the five-minute trip to Hotel Okada.

Getting around Travelling by train is the most convenient way to get around, especially between widely dispersed destinations served by shinkansen (bullet trains). In Tokyo, the above-ground trains and extensive subway network cover the entire metropolitan area, while Kyoto is well served by subway and bus lines. Around the Kii Peninsula, buses travel between the small towns, while trains loop along the coast. Consider booking a Japan Rail Pass (14-day pass US$540; japanrailpass.net), which allows unlimited travel except on the super-express shinkansen. As a visitor, the JR Pass can only be purchased outside of Japan; find details on the website.

MORE WAYS TO EXPLORE JAPAN…

WHY GO?

Getting there

STAY

ESSENTIALS

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GETTING THERE

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Whether or not the sakura are in bloom, Japan’s pleasures can be enjoyed year-round. Highspeed rains give access to all corners of the country, ensuring its mountains and beaches are within your grasp

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Hiroshima is five hours from Tokyo on a HIKARI (EXPRESS) SHINKANSEN (US$210). The seats are comfortable and a snack cart makes regular rounds. Or, buy your own bento (lunch box).

ANA and JAL offer DISCOUNTED DOMESTIC FLIGHTS if you book from abroad when arranging your flight to Japan. Flights between Tokyo and Naha take less than three hours and cost from around US$270 return, depending on which airline you use and travel dates.

WORDS: WENDY YANAGIHARA. ILLUSTRATION: NINA ZELLMER. PHOTOGRAPHS: LOTTIE DAVIES, PHOTOLIBRARY, 123RF; SHUTTORSTOCK

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CHASING CHERRY BLOSSOM

Admire the cherry blossoms in a Kyoto park

A BLUFFER’S GUIDE TO JAPANESE ETIQUETTE You’ll get a pass when it comes to the finer points, but take these key tips to heart SHOES Take your shoes off when entering a private home or anywhere with a tatami floor. Sometimes slippers are provided, with a separate set for the toilet. MAKING A PAYMENT In a shop, instead of handing cash to the assistant, place your money on the small tray they keep next to the till. VISITING A SHRINE Entering a shrine can be a bewildering experience. Just past the gate you’ll find a chozuya (trough of water) with a hishaku (long-handled ladle) to purify yourself. Take a ladle, fill it with water,

pour some over one hand, then transfer the spoon and pour water over the other hand. Finally pour water into your cupped hand and rinse your mouth, spitting the water onto the ground. PUBLIC BATHS Bathing at an onsen (hot spring) or sento (public bath) is a quintessentially Japanese experience. Baths are separated by gender, and the changing room will have baskets or lockers for storing clothes and a bath towel. Bring a washcloth and toiletries with you into the

TWO OF THE BEST TOUR COMPANIES INTREPID TRAVEL offers short-stay highlight tours, trips focusing on food and active adventures at very reasonable prices. A nine-day Japan Basix tour takes you from Tokyo to the Nikko shrines, then the Hakone onsen to Kyoto. Some trips, like the one outlined here, are also carbon-offset (US$1,950; intrepidtravel.com).

INSIDE JAPAN TOURS uses guides with intimate knowledge of Japan’s history and culture to lead themed trips. Sign up for a 13-day trip hiking in the Japanese Alps and visiting a samurai castle (US$3,880), or explore less-visited regions like snowy Sapporo or coastal Japan. Self-guided and custom options are also available (insidejapantours.com).

bathing area (soap and shampoo are often provided). There will be a row of taps along one wall. Find an empty spot and scrub yourself down. Once you’re clean, rinse completely before going anywhere near the baths. The communal baths are meant for soaking and shouldn’t be adulterated by soap, or – shock horror – dirt. Onsen or sento may have a variety of baths with varying temperatures, cold pools, saunas or even an electric bath. If there’s a rotenburo (outdoor bath), you should give it a try. There’s nothing more satisfying than soaking in the open air with steam curling around your ears as you

In Japan, celebrating the advent of springtime includes a bout of sakura fever, with each year’s predicted blooming dates closely tracked by meteorological organisations. As the season nears, a profusion of sakura-laced sweets and souvenirs mirrors the progressive explosion of blossoming trees. Most Japanese welcome the season with a hanami party, where they flock to admire the blossom. On a philosophical level, hanami is a way of honouring the impermanence – the flowers only stay in bloom for a few days before they begin shedding petals in the breeze. Japanese parks harbouring blossoming cherry trees suddenly transform into a patchwork of blue tarpaulin, held down by picnickers drinking beer and sake. Hanami is crowded, noisy and festive, and it’s a brilliant chance to see the Japanese at their most relaxed. To join in the revelry, all you’ll need is a tarp (US$1 from a convenience store), a drink and a bento. Check japan-guide.com/e/e2011. html for a guide to the predicted blooming season and popular viewing spots. Climate 40

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THE FINAL WORD ‘In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.’ Kobayashi Issa, Buddhist priest and poet

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What happens when you ask six travel photographers to reveal the most beautiful place on earth ? The following… MARK READ Övre Soppero, Sweden Mark is a Lonely Planet Magazine regular – having photographed for the magazine in Wyoming, Cuba, Mexico and Slovenia (markreadphotography.co.uk).

Whenever I think of the most beautiful places I’ve photographed, I generally return to frozen landscapes, such as Övre Soppero in Swedish Lapland. I was there not long before the shortest day, with the sun rising at 11am and setting just after 2pm. The temperature was -35°C, so numbingly cold. This is the best time of year to see the Northern Lights. Of all nature’s phenomena, they are the one I feel most of us should try to witness at least once in our lives; however spectacular they look on film, the experience of having them drift over you as their form and colour morphs in the sky is truly unique. Good landscape pictures should capture the experience you’ve had there – here I was deep within Lapland, staying with a wonderful Sami reindeer herder’s family, and the whole journey was mirrored in this shot of the serene, silent landscape, with the Northern Lights overhead. After spending a good few hours getting the right shot, I rushed into the building in the picture, which happened to be a sauna, and was warmed up while being whipped with birch twigs!

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The Northern Lights flare out across mid-winter skies in Swedish Lapland – a sauna awaits below


THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH?

Forming a stretch of the Sahara in western Libya, the Ubari Sand Sea is made up of wind-blown dunes interspersed with oases. Pictured is Umm al-Maa – the name means Mother of Water

JONATHAN GREGSON Ubari Sand Sea, Libya Food and travel photographer Jonathan’s recent trips include Thailand for Lonely Planet Magazine and India for the Gordon Ramsay book Gordon’s Great Escape (jonathangregson.co.uk).

In the Sahara you could be forgiven for thinking there is an absence of life. On my trip through the Libyan area of this great desert I was surprised to find that could not have been further from the truth – juniper bushes rose out of rocky crags, desert foxes patrolled the dunes at night, and the Tuareg people were to be found in mountain settlements far from

conventional civilisation. The Sahara hides its secrets well and the oasis Umm al-Maa, located in the Ubari Sand Sea, is surely one of the best kept. The night before arriving there, I camped under the stars with Mohammed, a Tuareg guide who seemed to read the featureless desert like an Ordnance Survey map. The following day we travelled through the Ubari Sand Sea, with its endless honey-coloured dunes of the finest sand. The way the light played on the dunes at sunrise, picking out the wind-sculpted ripples in the sand, was unimaginably beautiful. I arrived at Umm al-Maa about an hour before dusk and set up the camera at the edge of the lake. The scenery could not have been more perfect; if you were asked to imagine an idyllic oasis, I doubt you could do better than to picture Umm al-Maa. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, Canada, photographed soon after sunrise. In the distance is the President Range, a section of the Rocky Mountains (with bear and moose, just out of shot)

DAVID NOTON Rocky Mountains, Canada Award-winning landscape and travel photographer David spent much of his childhood in Canada and has returned to photograph the Rockies several times (davidnoton.com).

The allure of the Canadian Rockies never diminishes. I could spend a lifetime photographing this vast wilderness and never come close to exhausting its potential. Pictured here is Emerald Lake, incomparably situated with its creamy-jade glacial waters surrounded by the towering peaks of the President Range. To get there you first head over the 62

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Kicking Horse Pass and into Yoho National Park. Great names – don’t they alone just make you want to come here? Being a landscape photographer means a life covered in cobwebs; it’s the prize for being the first along the trail in the darkness before dawn, stumbling over roots by torchlight, wondering about the strange rustling noises in the woods. I once came head to head with a startled moose in the half light; we both glared at each other, pondering what the other was doing out at such an hour. It does feel so good to be on the dawn patrol in Canada though. When I took this shot, the combination of the previous day’s rain and a big overnight drop in temperature had delivered a thick layer of mist lying on the lake in the dawn light. This is what I’d been searching for – it all came together.


THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH?

Who’s observing who? Just after dawn, in a traditional Nuba encampment set in the Kordofan region of Southern Sudan, a local girl comes to inspect photographer Philip Lee Harvey at work

PHILIP LEE HARVEY Kordofan region, Southern Sudan Philip has photographed in more than 100 countries on advertising and editorial shoots, and his images appear in most issues of Lonely Planet Magazine (philipleeharvey.com).

I had known of the work of George Rodger since I was child, when he had been described to me as a great photographer and adventurer. He was a founding member of the photographic collective Magnum and one of his most celebrated photographic essays was of the Nuba people. Having only recently photographed the Bergen-Belsen

concentration camp at the end of World War II, he came to appreciate the respect the Nuba people showed one another. Sixty years later, I sought the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. I travelled through Southern Sudan and arrived at a series of rock formations known as jebels. At their base was an encampment of the Nuba’s conical huts surrounded by ancient baobab trees, with the desolate desert stretching beyond. I found myself appreciating the simplicity of this place. As I walked around the village at sunrise, the girl in this photograph came up to me and stood there quizzically, wondering what I was doing. George Rodger had been interested in how change was affecting the Nuba, and this encounter left me wondering how the region will seem to this girl 60 years from now. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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The view from the outskirts of the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Inhabitants include miners, seals, walruses and polar bears

LOTTIE DAVIS Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway Lottie is a portrait, travel and fine art photographer. Her first feature for Lonely Planet Magazine was in Greenland.

Svalbard is a large archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, way up in the Arctic Circle where there is midnight sun in the summer and 24-hour darkness in the winter. It is remote, cold, and astoundingly beautiful. In Longyearbyen, the only town on the island of Spitsbergen, it feels as if you are in the last truly frontier town in the 64

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world. Locals carry high-powered rifles to protect themselves from polar bear attacks, which thankfully are very rare. This image was taken on my final day in Svalbard, at the spot where the road stops a mile or so out of Longyearbyen. Looking at the mountains you can imagine the prehistoric seabed from which they were formed. In town, the buildings feel mostly temporary, built between old mining machinery and above-ground gas pipes. The permafrost and months of snow mean that the houses need to be set on stilts driven into the ground. The sea is clear and clean, and you feel as if you’re breathing air which has been waiting, untouched, until you arrived. Svalbard is remarkable – tough, practical and very welcoming. Go there if you can.


THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH?

Rising above and beyond the crowds of the Côte d’Azur, Mercantour National Park and the Alpes-Maritimes, to the eastern side of Provence, are a haven of peace year-round

NICK DANZIGER Alpes-Maritimes, Provence, France Nick is a photojournalist and documentary film maker. He has photographed Hamid Karzai and George W Bush, and recently visited Tibet, see page 34 (nickdanziger.com).

I often travel to three or four continents a year, covering locations from furnace-like deserts to teeming mega-cities. I spend too much time at 30,000 feet, but once home I am in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. As I look out of my window in the south of France, I can see the beginning of the Mediterranean Alps. Within an hour and

a half, my family can trek to unspoilt wilderness areas, walking on to picnic in solitude by a lake set in an amphitheatre of mountains. Trekking along the border between France and Italy means every picnic is a feast of pain de campagne and bresaola, coated in olive oil and lemon, with olives, cheese and wine. We trek in all seasons, which offers us clear blue Mediterranean skies in summer, blankets of descending mist in autumn, snow in winter, and crisp but usually dry weather in spring. If we are lucky we will spot a chamois or ibex; they are as curious to watch us as we are to watch them. It is not just the physical beauty of this place that takes my breath away, but three elements – home, family and the mountains – that combine to give me the greatest of all possible pleasures. LP SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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REDISCOVER

PRAGUE

Baroque palaces, cobbled squares and a round-the-clock pilsner moustache – it’s tempting to go with the flow in Prague, but swim against the tourist tide and you’ll surface in some far more intriguing places

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WORDS TIM MOORE ❘ PHOTOGRAPHS MATT MUNRO

Opposite: Prague’s architecture – from Gothic spires and baroque domes to Cubist facades – has long charmed visitors and a wander around the city, or a hop on the tram (above) will reveal beautiful frescoed buildings

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THE BEST CAFÉS ARE ON THE UP

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RAGUE is well known for its grand cafés but raise your sights: the city’s most refined and atmospheric downtown cafés are all on the first floor, wondrously ignored by the visiting masses. The period interiors are stunning, the coffee unfailingly perfect and the smart clientele look like they’re discussing Milan Kundera or their latest ceramic collectable. There’s the Grand Café Orient above the Cubist Museum, decorated in such detailed sympathy even the cakes come garnished with an oddly angled wafer. The fin de siècle Café Louvre, perched over an entirely forgettable modern rival, was a favourite with Kafka and Einstein, and serves a fabled hot chocolate you can stand a spoon up in. Should the mood take you, an adjoining hall is home to five billiard tables. Set on the first floor of a 1920s arcade that’s barely changed since, the dim and rather louche Lucerna Palace affords a view of a provocative David Cˇerný installation, slung from the pastel-glazed dome: a full-scale inversion of the hallowed statue in Wenceslas Square, depicting the good king riding an upside down and very dead horse. l Grand Café Orient, Ovocný trh 19, grandcafeorient.cz.

Cafe Louvre, Národní 22, cafelouvre.cz. Lucerna Palace, Štepánská 61, lucerna.cz

GO BEYOND THE WELLTRODDEN MAIN SQUARES

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O shun the gorgeous Old Town and Castle district would be an act of tourist perversity, but Prague’s story is a long one, and those gothic and Hapsburgian squares tell only a couple of chapters. Few cities blossomed so gloriously as did Prague in the 1910s, when entire new suburbs of magnificent art nouveau mansions were laid out all around the old city, and thankfully the legacy of those breathless years has survived. Gentrification is now scrubbing the patina of Soviet-era neglect from the gilded frescoes and theatrical, swirly bas reliefs. Lyckovo Square, in the rather sombre Karlin district, offers the best beforeand-after overview. But for a more complete and exhilarating appraisal of Prague’s development since 1900, go to Jiˇrího z Podˇebrad Square, which lies in the peculiar shadow of the asymmetric Soviet-built Žižkov TV Tower. The art nouveau townhouses on its western flank are among the city’s most breathtaking: one is dominated by a huge, almost psychedelic fresco of a bare-breasted Mayan goddess. At the square’s centre, past the metro ventilation shafts that represent post-war Prague, lies a legacy of the over-excitable inter-war years – a loopy modernist church that suggests a gigantic cargo vessel made out of bricks. All in all, it’s a wonder the legions of dog-walkers who throng the square can concentrate on the job in hand. l Lyckovo Square, Karlin. Jiˇrího z Podebrad ˇ Square, Vinohrady

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ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK MORGAN

Left: the Church of The Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, on Jiˇrího z Podˇebrad Square, was built in 1932. Inspired by Egyptian temples and early Christian basilicas, the building features a massive, tombstonelike bell tower pierced by a circular glass clock-window. Opposite: founded in 1902, the French-style Café Louvre is one of Prague’s most amenable grand cafés – pop in for a hot chocolate or coffee and a game of billiards


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REDISCOVER PRAGUE

PRAGUE, NOT PARIS, FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

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HE Czech capital has a long-standing fascination with the avant garde, so it’s fitting that the city’s own answer to the Pompidou Centre is housed in Veletržní palác, the Trade Fair Palace, a glass-andsteel monolith that caused a sensation across Europe when it was opened in 1928. In the Soviet years, no other Eastern Bloc country had so much creative expression to bottle up, and though it has been 20 years since the Velvet Revolution, it’s still seeping out. Sometimes messily. David Cˇerný first came to attention in the heady aftermath of 1990, when the young artist went out one night and painted a Soviet-tank war memorial in pink. Perhaps in appreciation of this belated act of rebellion, or maybe to atone for the arrest that followed it, Prague’s authorities have since given Cˇerný free rein: no artist in modern times can have left such a prominent and controversial mark on a city. Thanks to Cˇerný, a dozen gigantic babies now crawl along the Žižkov TV Tower, Prague’s most conspicuous structure; a life-sized Sigmund Freud hangs by one hand from a pole sticking out from a roof high above the Old Town; and in the garden behind a west-side art gallery stand a colossal pair of splayed legs – visitors climb a ladder, wedge their heads where the sun doesn’t shine and enjoy a video of Czech politicians feeding each other slops, as We Are the Champions thunders from a colon-mounted speaker. Take the Cˇerný tour and you’ll begin to wonder what’s more intriguing, the actual installations themselves or the city’s apparent eagerness to approve even the most willfully outrageous. The best place to look for an answer is probably the Franz Kafka Museum, near the western end of the tourist attraction that is Charles Bridge. Cˇerný’s tribute to Prague’s most feted writer? Two nude animatronic men voiding themselves into a pool shaped like the Czech Republic, their streams spelling out quotations from national literature.

WHERE BEER IS BREWED, LIFE IS GOOD

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l Veletržní palác, Dukelských hrdinu˚ 47, ngprague.cz.

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Žižkov TV Tower, Mahlerovy sady 1. Franz Kafka Museum, Cihelná 2b, kafkamuseum.cz.

Opposite: Cˇerný’s giant baby installations climb up the Žižkov TV Tower, which stands high above the city’s traditional skyline. Above: the microbrewery at Klášterní Pivovar, which was once a monastery, opened in 2001 and serves six varieties of beer

RAGUE is a nation that downs more beer per head than any other, but it is possible to find establishments where quality is valued above quantity. Most of the big Czech brewers are now owned by multinationals, and their mass-produced output shares little with the dark ales and wheat beers consumed across the land until 1842, when a Bavarian brewmaster turned up to grant the townspeople of Pilsen the gift of bland and uniform lager. The old ways were repressed under the Soviets, but since the 1990s, a scattering of small-scale pub-breweries have opened across Prague, reacquainting locals with a multifaceted drink that can be sometimes nutty, sometimes sweet, and sometimes limb-flappingly potent. All these and more are on offer at Klášterní Pivovar, housed in the hilltop Strahov Monastery, on a site where monks pulled their first pint of home-brew back in the 14th century. The microbrewery here opened in 2001, but its huge and gleaming copper kettles lend the bar an air of age-worn tradition. ‘The Czechs know how to drink beer,’ says manager Marek Kocvera, ‘but we’d forgotten how to make it.’ The six varieties brewed and bottled here are supplemented by four seasonal blends; Marek’s particular favourite is their Christmas ale. ‘It helps me survive winter. Lots of vitamin B6, and nine per cent alcohol.’ l Klášterní Pivovar, Strahovské nádvorˇí 10; klasterni-pivovar.cz

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SOUVENIRS: SAY NO TO BOHEMIAN CRYSTAL

N WE’RE ONLY HERE FOR THE… WINE?

D Top: the pagoda at Vinicˇní Altan vineyard offers visitors hilltop views over the city while sampling Czech wine. Above: Vinicˇní Altan uses three grape varieties to produce its wines. Right: Maxim Velcˇovsý’s White collection at Qubus is very popular among local collectors. Opposite: pick up a unique souvenir at Bric a Brac, Prague’s answer to Aladdin’s cave

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ON’T mention it to the young male visitors who arrive here in such thirsty droves, but as the city’s beverage of choice, beer is an upstart. Blessed with long, warm summers and girdled by south-facing hillsides, the residents of Prague have been quietly raising grapes with alcoholic intent for over 1,000 years. And although Czech wine can hardly boast a lofty global reputation, there’s no better place to find out what you’ve been missing than at Vinicˇní Altan, an elaborately trellised low-rise pagoda set in the grounds of a grand 19th-century villa. The terrace offers spectacular views over the city across the steeply pitched vineyards; grapes literally cascade onto your table, granting an opportunity to sample both raw material and end product. It’s a world away from the downtown beer halls. ‘We are caught between Austria and Germany,’ says waitress Irina Rostovykh, pondering the reasons for Czech wine’s low profile, ‘and maybe our vineyards have been pushed out by these big countries and their big winemakers. Our wine has a more individual, sort of homemade taste.’ Vinicˇní Altan produces 12,000 bottles a year from three grape varieties, including what Irina declares to be the world’s northernmost pinot noir. But if Czech reds prove at best plucky curiosities, the top white wines are a revelation: densely floral yet tart, with none of the blandness that undermines so much of the neighbouring competition. Even the plonk is like Blue Nun with attitude. l Vinicˇní Altan, vinicni-altan.cz

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O-ONE has more experience of working with ceramics than the Czechs: the oldest finds have incredibly been dated to 25,000 BC, predating all global rivals by well over 10,000 years. You can bag a souvenir that combines this unique tradition with the national fascination for the shocking and new at Qubus, a contemporary ceramics gallery round the back of the Old Town square. Sperm-shaped coffee spoons, a gold-glazed baroque clock fronted with a 1970s LED readout, willow-patterned porcelain wellies, a teacup the size of a punchbowl: everything on the shelves is either odd, mischievous or both, but always beautifully crafted. ‘Most Czechs are still relearning how to appreciate good design,’ says Roman Christov, the pale young man behind the counter. ‘All we learned from the Russians was how to put up with cheap and ugly things.’ Some of these things, along with many more intriguing and desirable old curiosities, have now found their way to Bric a Brac, the definitive Aladdin’s cave of junk-shop lore. This is the place to find a Stalin-era Bakelite telephone or a 1930s trapeze-artist’s outfit – if you’re prepared to put in a shift picking through the engrossing, shadowy chaos. Co-owner Martin Mican is proud to distance himself from ‘fancy antique shops’. ‘We’re not snobs,’ he says. ‘This place started out with a tray full of old Kinder Egg toys.’

l Qubus, Rámová 3, 00 420 222 313 151, qubus.cz.

Bric a Brac, Týnská 7, 00 4 20 222 326 484.


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IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY…

A Above: for a Czech gastronomic delight, head to La Dégustation Bohême Bourgeoise and try dishes such as corn-fed chicken with mushrooms and mash (below). Opposite: city dweller Adrian loves the open space at Divoká Šárka. Right: local residents prepare for an open-air opera at Divoká Šárka

CZECH DUMPLINGS: FOOD OF THE GODS

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ITH its emphasis on beer-friendly stodge, traditional Czech cuisine presents a challenge to any imaginative chef – one that few high-end Prague kitchens have been prepared to accept. A delightful exception is La Dégustation Bohême Bourgeoise, whose 14-course tasting menu pays adventurous homage to classic national dishes. ‘All our recipes originate from a 19th-century book the manager found years ago in a junk shop,’ says chef de cuisine and co-owner Oldrˇich Sahajdák. ‘It’s some kind of housekeeping manual for new brides.’ This unlikely inspiration, with its faded pages now plastered with coloured Post-It marker strips, takes pride of place in manager Filip Trcˇka’s office. ‘This book goes back to the top time for Czech culinary art,’ he says. ‘I think we lost our way a little bit since then, particularly in the Soviet years when good ingredients were hard to find.’ That’s no longer a problem for Sahajdák, who tweaks his menu daily after sampling the seasonal produce offered by local organic suppliers. Take a seat at the chef’s table and you can watch him and his team of six craft their bijou variations on Czech staples. Beef in dill cream, a tavern standard, is distilled into a tender cube of oyster-blade steak and a sauce that adds citrus overtones to the rich sweetness of the original. There’s a Heston Blumenthal flourish to most courses: the workaday dumpling is reinvented as a featherlight mousse of barley and pheasant. Opt for the paired, local wine-tasting menu, dispensed and deftly described by one of La Degustation’s three sommeliers, and your re-education will be complete: Czech cuisine is criminally under-appreciated. Though if you want to stick to that verdict and take it home with you, it’s probably best to eat here on your last night.

l La Dégustation Bohême Bourgeoise, Haštalská 18, 00 420 222 311 234, ladegustation.cz

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LTHOUGH it’s just a short tram ride from the centre, Divoká Šárka is made of far sterner stuff than your typical urban park. As befits the fierce maiden warrior of Bohemian myth after whom it’s named, the park is cut through by an epic gorge and densely wooded area, with an ambience more reminiscent of some remote national forest. Albeit a forest planted with a commendable profusion of fruit trees: depending on the season, you can admire branches winsomely weighed down with snow, blossom or a picnic-padding harvest of cherries, apples and six types of plum. Divoká Šárka hosts a free open-air theatre in late summer, but that aside, locals and visitors come here in search of soft recreational options: plenty of uphill hiking, then a high dive into the reservoir. Don’t be fooled by the tamer-looking swimming pool across the gorge, which is stream-fed and thus shudder-inducing in any weather. The locals will tell you it is busiest in winter, when bathers have to break the ice with an elbow. It follows that the park attracts city-dwellers whose physical and spiritual horizons stretch beyond a jog round the block. People like Adrian Dragonari, who uses the park to get his two slavering Czechoslovakian wolf dogs in shape for the sledding season. ‘Of course I love this park: if it did not exist, then I could not have these animals,’ he says. ‘It’s only 10 minutes from the city, but it feels like another world.’ Šárka surely would have approved, although tram passengers may wish to be reassured that Adrian and friends travel to the park by car. LP l Divoká Šárka, Devjice (trams 20,26)


REDISCOVER PRAGUE


MAKE IT HAPPEN

PRAGUE RediscoveR

prague

Baroque palaces, cobbled squares and a round-the-clock pilsner moustache – it’s tempting to go with the flow in Prague, but swim against the tourist tide and you’ll surface in some far more intriguing places

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ESSENTIALS Getting there Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates fly from major Asian cities to Prague with a stop in Europe or Dubai (from US$1,120). Getting around Public transport is cheap and efficient. Get a multiple-use transfer ticket or short-term pass from metro stations and Tabáks, then use on the subway, buses and trams (five-day pass, around US$26). Further reading Lonely Planet’s Prague City Guide (US$20) has all you need to know. For quick trips, get the shorter Prague Encounter (US$8.50). Climate 40

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Budget SLEEP

A colossal pair of splayed legs? Must be Cˇerný

WAYS TO DO IT…

Terryho Ponozky poster store

It’s not exactly downtown, BARGAIN! but a four-stop tram-ride into the southern suburbs is a small price to pay: the HOTEL INOS is comfortable, well-run and incredibly good value (from US$75; hotelinos.com).

Chic style at Hotel Leonardo

Luxury

Located in a cobbled street just outside the tourist congestion zone, the HOTEL LEONARDO is a nicely kitted-out establishment with free wi-fi and a well-stocked breakfast buffet (from US$113; hotelleonardo.cz)

Located in the Old Town, the MAMAISON PACHTUV PALACE offers the best combination of location and ambience: a riverside baroque mansion with individually designed suites and a pretty garden (from US$280; pachtuvpalace.com).

BARGAIN! U MEDVÍDKU˚ (left) serves Czech food and beer. Its microbrewery claims to have the strongest ale in the world, from US$6 (umedvidku.cz).

It’s a little-known secret, but Prague makes some of Europe’s finest ice cream. Enjoy a superlative scoop or two at HÁJEK & BOUŠOVÁ (from US$0.60, Vodicˇkova 791/39).

SHOP

Eastern Bloc pop art has to be seen to be believed. Buy an original and extraordinary 1960s film poster at TERRYHO PONOZKY (Terry’s Socks), which is attached to an arthouse cinema and very popular with locals (from US$6; terry-posters.com).

Czech designers inspired the world between the wars, a legacy that MODERNISTA pays tribute to with its range of reproduction ceramics and furniture (modernista.cz).

SEE

For a free gawp at a mighty hunk of Stalinist gothic, head to the HOTEL CROWNE PLAZA. The lobby has a monumental tapestry of Prague as it was in 1957, and the exterior is unchanged except the roof’s big red star is now green (Koulova 15).

If you can’t get enough of Cˇerný, his controversial portrayal of the EU states as an Airfix kit of crass stereotypes is on display at the new DOX CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART (US$15; doxprague.org/en).

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Cave dining at Svata Klára

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Opposite: Prague’s architecture – from Gothic spires and baroque domes to Cubist facades – has long charmed visitors and a wander around the city, or a hop on the tram (above) will reveal beautiful frescoed buildings

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Whether there’s snow on the spires, rain on the cobbles or long shadows stretched across hot, ochre courtyards, Prague is one of those rare cities that always seems to look its best. Here’s a quick rundown of how to make the most of the Czech capital, whatever your budget

As goth as it gets, SVATÁ KLÁRA is a high-end restaurant, established in 1679, housed in a baroque-draped, candlelit natural cave located 50ft underground (taster menu around US$104; svataklara.cz). If you have a spare US$7,540, bag yourself a bespoke violin at KAREL VAVRA (left), or simply hang around to admire the fatherand-son team at work (housle-vavra.cz). Enjoy a tour of the Old Town from the comfort of a 1920s Czech car. VINTAGE CAR TOURS start at US$98 per person for three hours (guide-prague.eu/ en/vintage_car_tour/).

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Singapore Winter Time Outlets:

Malaysia Winter Time Outlets:


IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT

PAELLA Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia makes for an ideal summer break, particularly when you indulge in its famous local dish WORDS MATTHEW FORT | PHOTOGRAPHS ROBERTO FRANKENBERG

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The Albufera region is home to the top-quality rice needed for paella. Opposite: Matthew gets to grips with the staff at La Pepica who use the same recipes at the restaurant as when Ernest Hemingway used to visit


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OME and climb, if you will, the circular staircase to the top of the tower that forms part of the Cathedral on the Plaza de la Virgen. It’s testing, but worth it. Now look over the battlements and down on the city spread out around, and see how it has grown. Directly below, a tight ball of streets marks the medieval centre, formed around the heart of the old Moorish souk. Just beyond that, a little higher and grander and more full of themselves, are the art nouveau and art deco palaces and town houses of the citrus fruit barons of the late 19th and early 20th century, with their extravagant fluid or regular ornamentation, according to the style and period. Beyond these is a wide girdle of modern buildings, less distinguished it has to be said, until your eye catches the green belt that snakes through the city where the river Turia once ran. It was diverted after a devastating flood in 1957, and the old river bed converted into a public path feeding from the delightful zoo at one end to the Cuidad 80

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PAELLA ORIGINATES IN VALENCIA… ‘We all know what paella is, don’t we? It’s one of the world’s iconic dishes’ Above: explore Valencia to work up an appetite for paella, which uses locally grown bomba rice. Below: Matthew learns the secrets behind the dish

de las Arts y las Ciencias, City of Arts and Sciences, at the other; where Santiago Calatrava’s extrovert architectural creations soar and cavort. It’s hard to think of Birmingham or Manchester or Glasgow embracing extravagant architectural fantasy in the way Valencia has. Here is a sequence of buildings to astound the world: the colossal, white, leaping Palau de la Música; the Hemisfèric planetarium which, from certain angles, sits like the head to the long skeleton of the Museo de las Ciències Príncipe Felipe, Princípe Felipe Science Museum, and the Oceanográfic beyond. Indeed, it’s hard to reconcile this flat, watery antique world with such exuberant modernism. Quite the reverse of Valencia’s gastronomic gift to the food world, paella. Paella. We all know what paella is, don’t we? A great, round shallow pan piled high with rice the colour of sunflowers, adorned with chunks of chicken, prawns, mussels, sausages and heaven knows what; a great declaration of rustic generosity and colour. Paella is one of the world’s iconic dishes.


No, no, no. That’s not paella at all. That is a vulgar travesty of the real thing. That’s not how the people of Valencia build their paellas, and they should know, because that’s where the dish was first created. Not that long ago, as it turns out. It was first so named in a local paper in 1840. This was, however, the end of a long process of gestation and development that began when the Moors ruled this part of Spain, if not before. The pan in which it’s cooked dates back to the Romans, who knew it as patera or patina or padella depending on which dictionary you use. It’s worth spending a bit of time on that pan because it holds clues as to what differentiates a passable paella from a prime paella. As the world knows, it’s broad bottomed and low sided – with a slight dip towards the middle. That dip is important because it helps concentrate heat from the fire (preferably wood, gas for convenience) in the centre of the pan. This, says José Luis García Mascaraque, chef of the Altaviana Cookery School, is so you can fry the chicken and rabbit nice and brown before pushing them to

…WHICH HAS A RICH SUPPLY OF PRODUCE ‘Now it’s time for the beans. They grow around here, in the huerta – market garden’ Above and below: fruit, veg and rice from around the city are delivered to the Mercado Central, Valencia’s fine market housed in an art deco building

the cooler sides of the pan to keep warm while you go ahead constructing the rest of the paella. ‘Chicken and rabbit?’ Chef Mascaraque is painstakingly going through the ingredients for paella Valenciana in his spotless, gleaming, stainless steel kitchen. He is an amiable man, with thinning hair and winning enthusiasm. ‘Rabbit and chicken,’ he says. ‘Some people add snails when they’re in season.’ ‘What? No prawns or mussels?’ ‘Not in paella Valenciana. Prawns will go into paella mariscos, with fish and langoustines.’ ‘So no mussels at all, then?’ ‘We put mussels in if tourists ask us to,’ says chef Mascaraque kindly, and goes back to his task of listing the ingredients. Olive oil. Not extra virgin. 30ml to every 100g of rice. That’s the right amount for one person. And it has to be particular rice, of course. ‘Bomba or bahia,’ says chef Mascaraque, with a smile and all the authority of his position. ‘We use bomba in restaurants and bahia at home. Bomba is superior rice.’ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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Then there’s tomato, garlic, pimentón and saffron. Some restaurants will cheat and use colouring. Chef Mascaraque disapproves of colouring. It has to be saffron. And beans, four kinds of beans – rochet, which has flat green pods splashed with red; ferraura, which has flat green pods not splashed with red; garrafon, a large fresh butter bean; and tavella, a small fresh butter bean. And you can add artichoke hearts. And then there’s water. Well, that seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

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AHIA?’ said Santos Ruiz, managing director of the rice board of Valencia, as we survey the fields of mud where they grow the one and only arroz de Valencia, just outside the limits of the city. ‘Bomba, yes. Bahia, not really. It isn’t really grown any more. There’s senia. It’s the descendant of bahia, but it’s better.’ Oh dear. Here we go. Things are never that simple when it comes to food. We 82

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THE RICE IS OF KEY IMPORTANCE… ‘At La Albufera, rice growers and the watchers over the lake live in easy congruity’ Above: rice fields surround Lake Albufera, a protected national park. Below: four types of beans go into a traditional Valencian paella

look out across the flat, murky plain. A tractor trailed by sea gulls like strips of newspaper is skimming over the surface of the rice fields, crushing the stooks of last season’s rice plants back into the mud to compost and oxygenate the sloppy earth. The fields stretch away, regular and rectangular, marked by low mud walls. In the distance I can see the cranes of the container port marking the sea; blocks of flats stretching up into the blue sky, to where Santiago Calatrava’s Palau de la Musica seems to take flight through the clean Mediterranean air. It is a curious conjunction. The rice fields themselves surround the great, shallow expanse of the lagoon of La Albufera, a watery kingdom strewn with reed beds from which 100 or so fishermen still earn a living catching fish and running restaurants in which they serve them. As the wetlands are home to uncountable native and migrant water birds, and a natural park of world renown, the balance between agriculture and the ecosystems has to be carefully managed. Still, rice growers and the


watchers over the area live in easy congruity, according to Signor Ruiz. Rice is grown elsewhere in Spain, but that of Valencia is particularly fine, and is protected by DOC (Denomination of Origin) status. The rice is sown between April and May, when the temperature is optimum for germination, and then is harvested between September and October, roughly 120 million kilos of it. That’s a lot of rice, it seems to me, a lot of paellas, because this rice isn’t much good for anything else. You see, its primary quality is its lack of individual flavour. ‘You shouldn’t taste the rice,’ says chef Mascaraque. ‘The rice is there to absorb the flavours of the paella.’ He moves the chicken and rabbit pieces to the edge of the pan as they turn a rich, golden brown. The air in the kitchen has taken on the familiar caramel, butterscotch and apricot smells of cooking meat. Now it’s time for the beans. The garrofon and tavella are added as they are, fat white blobs. The rochet and ferraura are torn up by chef Mascaraque’s strong fingers. ‘Never cut them with a knife,’ he

...AND SEAFOOD IS SHUNNED FOR MEAT ‘Rabbit and chicken. Some people add snails when they’re in season’ Above and below: as well as the rabbit and chicken required for the paella, the Mercado Central supplies favourites such as cheese and jamón

says. These need to be cooked over a low heat for five to ten minutes. How can you tell when they’re ready? Chef Mascaraque raises a finger to his eye. ‘When you cook this most weekends during the summer, you just know. You can tell by looking at them.’ Naturally. And where do you find them? ‘They grow around here, in the huerta,’ he reveals. Huerta? I had to look it up. It means market garden, the term Valencians use to describe the rich countryside around the city, from which come the fruit and vegetables, the fish and the shellfish, the meat and the poultry, for the Mercado Central. The Mercado Central is a city father’s dream and a food shopper’s fantasy, a magnificent art deco cathedral of gastronomic worship. Here, in the heart of the city, it’s a broad-shouldered, light, airy place with cast iron arches soaring high overhead to bear up a roof of glass and wood. Beneath, orderly shoppers make their purposeful ways… to where? The fish section, loaded with shimmering, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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glinting, gleaming heaps of dorada, sardinita, sepia, gambas rojas, quisquilla (shrimp), merluza (hake)? Pausing to pick up slices of ham or sausage from a stall selling cured meats, legs of jamon Iberica, jamon pata negra, jamon Jabugo all hanging like great fruits in rows above the counter? Jamming a bag of pimentón dulce or arroz Valenciana into the bags from one of the stalls dealing in spices and pulses? And that’s before heading for the fruit and vegetable stalls piled high with hummocks of artichokes; radishes as large and round as scarlet cannon balls; broad beans; peas; tomatoes streaked with green, and puckered around the stalk like someone who’s lost their teeth; and oranges, of course, navelinas, hernandinas, naraja de sangre and zumo de naranja. And beans, rochet, ferraura, garrofon and tavella, ready and waiting for the paella maker. As the beans begin their journey of transformation, Isabella, one of the school’s students from Ghana, has been grating garlic and tomato. The grating is important because it produces a pulp, which can be quickly cooked, boiling the 84

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SAMPLE THE CITY’S BEST PAELLAS… ‘True paella is a social dish, a dish that embodies the beauty and bounty of Valencia’ Above: Matthew tucks into a traditionalstyle paella at Mateu in El Palmar; the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, one of the city’s architectural showpieces

water out of the tomatoes. Chef Mascaraque deftly flips the tomato and garlic pulp around, and their fruity, acrid notes join the meaty musk in the air. Now it’s time for the pimentón dulce, sweet pimentón, which adds the richness of a cardinal’s surplice to the dish’s colour and flavour. ‘You must stir quickly and firmly to stop any burning. That would be a disaster.’ The layers of the paella are being built up in a methodical manner. Now chef Mascaraque pulls all the ingredients, the rabbit and chicken pieces, the beans and tomato pulp, together in the middle of the pan. He adds the threads of saffron, not too many, and tips water over the ingredients until the pan is almost full, and he turns up the heat until the placid, oily, red-tinged surface breaks into a seething boil. Clouds of fragrant vapour begin to rise up from it. ‘That needs to cook for exactly 25 minutes from the moment it starts to boil.’ He turns the heat down to a genial simmer. And exactly 20 minutes after the paella pot has begun to reduce, chef Mascaraque turns up the heat to full again. The liquid


PAELLA VALENCIA

has dropped to below the level of the rivets of the pan by this time, and has ceased to be just water with a bit of flavour to it, having become a stock, ready for the rice. He pours the rice along the middle of the pan in a single wall before spreading it out evenly across the pan. ‘Now it must boil hard for three minutes. Then it must simmer for nine minutes, then it must be left over a low fire for four minutes. And then it must rest for three minutes. And then you can eat it.’

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UCH precision in timing makes Heston Blumenthal look like a slouch. But as it is cooking, I can see the paella taking shape, thickening up as the rice absorbs the juices. And behold, at the end of 19 minutes, there is the authentic paella Valenciana, no more than 1.5cm deep, except where the bits of rabbit and chicken rise up from the yellow, brown, umber, textured surface of the rice, blotched here and there by beans. It all looks like a river bed from which the water

…SO YOU CAN RECREATE IT AT HOME ‘Spend time on the pan – it holds clues as to what differentiates a passable paella from a prime one’ Above and below: after exploring the city and its food and architectural highlights, be sure to return with the perfect Valencian souvenir – a paella pan

has suddenly drained away; the meat like pieces of flotsam left on the dry bed. The rice is glossy with oil, and fat with natural stock, each grain oozing flavours of caramel, butterscotch and boiled milk. The meats hold their tastes, as if focused by cooking. The beans are soft and buttery. Each element is separate but orchestrated to make every mouthful complete. This is senior cooking, and no mistake. And as I dawdle over each effect, there’s a sudden fluttering around the pan, like gannets diving on a shoal of fish, as the students from chef Mascaraque’s pastry class next door descend with cries of delight and broad smiles. ‘Is good?’ ‘Is very good.’ In a minute or two, all that’s left of the paella is the odd grain of rice and a scattering of discarded bones. ‘Bueno?’ ‘Tremendously bueno.’ Oh, you can go and have perfectly acceptable paellas in perfectly admirable restaurants, and I did. There was a dinky, black, fishy treat at Submarino in Oceanográfic; a classic Valenciana at Mateu in El Palmar, in the heart of the rice SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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PAELLA VALENCIA CLOSER TO HOME

Make the perfect paella Some of the authentic beans may be hard to find in certain Asian cities but you can use the replacements suggested below, or simply increase the quantities of the available beans. Serves 4

Matthew learns the secret of the perfect paella from chef José Luis García Mascaraque, of the Altaviana Cookery School

growing area; and paella Marinara at La Pepica down on the waterfront in Valencia; a fourth at a stall beside the Mercado Central; and a fifth at, well, you get the picture. But none quite had the magic of chef Mascaraque’s impromptu delight. Was it the perfect paella Valenciana? No, because that’s the one I’m going to make at home next weekend with friends and family all standing around, giving advice and watching in wonder. It’ll be made with 86

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bomba rice and it’ll have rabbit and chicken and four kinds of beans in it. It’ll be hearty and hefty and steeped in warm flavours, and there’ll be lots of it because good, true paella is not a dish to be cooked in private and consumed in solitary splendour. It is a social dish, a convivial dish, a dish that embodies the beauty and bounty of Valencia, certainly, a dish that celebrates the pleasures of collective cooking and collective eating. That’s the real secret. LP

Heat the oil in your paella pan (or large shallow frying pan) and add the chicken and rabbit. Cook until brown then push to the sides of the pan to keep warm. Add the garrafon and tavella beans whole, tear the rochet and ferraura beans with your hands and add, and cook over a low heat for 5-10 minutes. Grate the garlic and tomato, add to the pan and stir. Add the sweet pimento, stir quickly and firmly. Bring all the ingredients to the middle of the pan, add a pinch of saffron strands and pour water over until the pan is almost filled to the top. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat to full, pour the rice across the middle of the pan, then spread out evenly. Boil for 3 minutes, simmer for 9 minutes, then leave over a low heat for 4 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes then serve with the lemon wedges.

PHOTOGRAPH: MYLES NEW

2 tbsp olive oil 700g chicken, cut into bite-size pieces 300g rabbit, cut into bite-size pieces 100g garrafon beans (these might be called large lima beans, otherwise you can use butter beans) 100g tavella beans (young white kidney beans) 200g rochet beans 200g ferraura beans (or use green beans) tomatoes (enough to grate to make 12 tbsp) 1 tbsp sweet pimento pinch of saffron strands water 320g Bomba rice (if you can’t find it, any other short-grain paella rice will be fine) lemon wedges, to serve


MAKE IT HAPPEN

VALENCIA in search of the perfect

xyxyxyxyxyxyxy paella valencia

paeLLa Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia makes for an ideal summer break, particularly when you indulge in its famous local dish Words MaTThEw fORT | PhotograPhs ROBERTO fRankEnBERg

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the albufera region is home to the top-quality rice needed for paella. opposite: Matthew gets to grips with the staff at La Pepica who use the same recipes at the restaurant as when Ernest hemingway used to visit

ESSENTIALS Getting there Air France, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines fly from major Asian cities to Valencia with a stopover in Paris (from US$1,110).

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Uncover Valencia’s rich Moorish history and daring modern architecture as you stroll through the maze of narrow streets that spiral from the old Moorish souq, then follow your nose to the best paella joints

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WAYS TO DO IT…

Getting around Valencia has an integrated bus, tram and metro system. The tram is a speedy way to get to the beach and paella restaurants of Las Arenas. Further reading Lonely Planet’s Spain guide (US$22.60) has a chapter on Valencia. The Spanish and Valencian tourist boards (spain.info, turisvalencia.com) have tips on places to stay and eat, and attractions.

Seafood at the Mercado Central

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‘All you have to do now is declare the day a national holiday and invite all your chums round…‘ Keith Floyd’s tip on how to enjoy recreating the world’s largest paella at home

Luxury Eat in the elegant SUBMARINO IN OCEANOGRAFIC, surrounded by marine life. Head upstairs if you don’t fancy eyeballing the fish while you eat their mates (Camino de las Moreras; 00 34 9 6197 55 65).

Famous both for its seafood and for being a former Hemingway haunt, LA PEPICA is among 30-odd seafood restaurants on promenade Las Arenas. Ask for a table on the terrace (lapepica.com).

SLEEP

The family-run HOSTAL ANTIGUA MORELLANA is tucked away on a quiet street near the central market. The 18th-century building has 18 good-sized rooms, most with balconies (US$75; hostalam.com).

Friendly, welcoming AD HOC MONUMENTAL, deep in the old quarter, offers comfort and charm within its restored 19th-century walls plus a splendid restaurant (US$106; adhochoteles.com).

Rooms in modern, boutique HOSPES PALAU DE LA MAR are decorated in white and cream and surround a tranquil internal garden. There’s also a sauna, Jacuzzi and a tiny pool (US$166; hospes.com).

DO

Take a gentle walk around medieval Valencia from PLAZA DE LA VIRGEN. Download Lonely Planet’s Valencia chapter for details (US$2.30; lonelyplanet.com).

Within the Cathedral’s GOTHIC CAPILLA DEL SANTO CÁLIZ see what’s claimed to be the Holy Grail and climb the tower (US$5.60; catedraldevalencia.es).

CIUDAD DE LAS ARTES Y LAS CIENCIAS is home to architectural and cultural wonders: an aquarium, planetarium and science museum (combined ticket US$42; cac.es).

SHOP AND COOK

Stock up on Valencia’s coveted paella rice and spices at the art nouveau MERCADO CENTRAL (Plaza del Mercado; 7.30am-2.30pm Mon-Sat).

LAS ANADAS DE ESPANÃ is a great deli near the train station, selling jars of olives, oils, pickled veg and local wines (lasanadas.es).

ESCUELA DE COCINA ENELDO is the place to go to master Spanish dishes. Cooking is a demonstrative discipline so don’t worry if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch – your paella-making skills soon will be (cocinaeneldo.com). Altaviana runs a cookery NVQ (altaviana.com).

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THE FINAL WORD

Mid-range

There are a dozen restaurants in El Palmar, a fishing village by freshwater lagoon La Albufera (nine miles south of Valencia) but MATEU is best for paella (Calle Baldoví 17; 00 34 96 162 02 70).

mm

10

Dare to order fish at Submarino

EAT

Climate 40

˚C

The flamboyant cathedral

BARGAIN!

BARGAIN!

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Revel in the history and culture of China when you visit the Forbidden City, see p92

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THE GUIDE Want travel advice you can trust? Our experts will answer your questions

insider 92

93

Allan Wu recalls downing maggots and an Indian flood

Early notice on what to book when, and some last-minute travel tip-offs

WHY OF TRAVEL

DON’T MISS

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER month 2010

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INSIDER

the guide

How to honeymoon off the beaten track, photograph landscapes and choose the ideal backpack THE BIG THREE… ‘We are trying to decide where to go on our honeymoon this summer. We’re not beach lovers and don’t want to go anywhere too touristy, but would like a culturally rich experience. We also want to avoid any monsoons. Have you any ideas?’ Lavinia Pinto, USA

WE CAN HELP!

Our experts are waiting to suggest ideas for your next trip. Write to us at asklpmagazine@ regentmedia.sg

JANE THOMPSON Jane is regional publisher in Lonely Planet’s Australia office

TOM HALL Tom is Lonely Planet Publications’ UK travel editor

1 CHIAPAS, MEXICO

2 UZBEKISTAN

3 KALININGRAD

Mexico’s southern-most state is wonderful, particularly San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a colonial town that’s remote enough to miss the Yucatán tourist hordes, but gets you close to traditional Mayan villages and ruins, like Toniná or Palenque. Stay at 17th-century Parador San Juan de Dios (from US$135; sanjuandios.com), then spend your week browsing the crafts market, taking a Spanish course, visiting the Mayan Medicine Museum, enjoying local coffee and watching live bands in Plaza 31 de Marzo. Worthy day trips include San Juan Chamula, a Mayan village whose church floor is covered with pine needles and worshippers burping out evil spirits! Another classic is to take a boat trip past crocodiles in the Sumidero Canyon. Stay in colonial Comitán, 60 miles away, and visit the El Chiflón waterfalls and the Chinkultic ruins, or picnic beside the emerald Lakes of Montebello.

With more than 2,000 years of Central Asian culture, but no beaches and being off the beaten track, it has to be Uzbekistan. Fly to Tashkent with Uzbekistan Airways from Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Beijing. Wander the Old Town, explore Chorsu Bazaar and visit the museums. Foodwise, try National Food (dishes less than US$3; Gafur Gulom 1) for local colour and cuisine. Catch a flight to Nukus and visit the Savitsky Karakalpakstan Art Museum, which houses Central Asia’s greatest art collection (savitskycollection.org). South of Nukus is frozen-in-time Khiva; walk through the outer walls and savour the sight of the famous inner-walled city. Hire a driver for the day (US$56) and visit the ancient ruined forts of Elliq-Qala, then spend a night in a yurt beside Lake Aidarkul with Sputnik Camel Camp (US$56; sputnik-navoi@ yandex.ru). Go to Samarkand, a magical place of domes, minarets and monuments. For a cultural stay, try the family-run Antica b&b (from US$56; anticasamarkand@hotmail.com).

It’s hard to find corners of Europe that aren’t overrun with visitors in summer, but Kaliningrad fits the bill. This Russian region on the shores of the Baltic is cut off geographically from the rest of the country, with Lithuania to the north and Poland to the south. It makes for an excellent introduction to Russia: small, easy to get to and a touch friendlier than the Motherland. Start in Kaliningrad city, with its red-brick cathedral, medieval fortifications and neighbourhoods, such as Amalienau. Cherepakha Hotel is a great place to stay (rooms from US$137; turtle-hotel.ru). Stand-out excursions include the Curonian Spit, a strip of sand that splits the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon, which is perfect for boating and fishing. Nearby are huge sand dunes and pine forests full of deer and bird life. Flying is the best way to reach Kaliningrad, with Aeroflot and UTair Aviation via Moscow or St Petersburg. Remember you’ll need a visa, so get guidance from Way To Russia (waytorussia.net).

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sunday is market day in San Juan Chamula, Mexico, when locals come to shop, trade and go to church

ROBERT REID Robert is Lonely Planet’s New Yorkbased USA travel editor

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


FOR OUR CASE

THE SHORTLIST

Hardy daypacks to take on both off-road treks and city strolls.

Which are the least peaceful countries in the world?

Crumpler Bumper Issue (US$92.50)

1 Iraq 2 Somalia 3 Afghanistan 4 Sudan 5 Pakistan 6 Israel 7 Russian Federation 8 Georgia 9 Chad 10 Democratic Republic of the Congo The Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks 149 countries based on how peaceful they are according to 24 indicators such as their human rights record, military expenditure and crime rate. In the 2010 index, Iraq remains the least peaceful country for the fourth year. While Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan countries are prominent on the list, these regions are becoming more peaceful, with greater political stability, better relations with their neighbours and less access to weapons cited. New Zealand and Iceland are the most peaceful countries, with the UK ranking 31st – its highest position since the index began in 2007.

PHOTOGRAPHS: ALAMY, PHOTOLIBRARY, SHUTTERSTOCK

Source: 2010 Global Peace Index, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (visionofhumanity.org)

The GPI ranks Russian Federation the seventh least peaceful country due to conflict and violent crime

Quench your thirst on outdoor trails with this water-resistant hydration pack, which features a two-litre hydration bladder, roomy interior pockets, and side clips to secure essentials such as trekking poles. Remove the hydration compartment and you’ve got a funky mini backpack for the city.

The North Face Borealis (US$119)

HOW TO…

Photograph Landscapes Inspired by our Tibet landscapes (p34)? Learn how to capture scenery like a pro with these handy tips l Don’t feel you have to get everything into your composition – landscapes don’t have to always take in the big scene. Isolate elements that say something about the environment and complement panoramic views. As with all good compositions, there should be a point of interest to hold the viewer’s attention. l As you compose landscapes, pay attention to the horizon – make sure it is straight in the picture. If the sky is dull and lacking detail, it will look flat, so place the horizon in the top third of the frame. If the foreground is uninteresting, place the horizon in the bottom third. If neither sky or foreground do anything for the photo, eliminate them by zooming in. l To ensure sharpness of focus from front to back, choose a high aperture (eg, f16) if you have a manual camera. Combine with a sensor setting of ISO 100 (again useful for sharpness) and shutter speeds will drop below 1/15, so consider using a tripod. l When we look at a scene, we might see the colour, beauty, scale and main features – we see straight through power lines, rubbish bins or the toilet block on the left. Scan your viewfinder before you release the shutter to check for unwanted elements. l Don’t accidentally photograph your shadow. You have to be especially careful when shooting very early or very late in the day when shadows are at the longest. Shoot from a low angle or position your shadow in a shaded area of the composition. Richard I’Anson, Travel Photography (Lonely Planet, US$24)

Free of unnecessary embellishments, the 30-litre bag has just two large compartments — a padded main pocket that holds a 17” laptop and a secondary section with organisational sleeves. The front X-bungee cord keeps maps within easy reach.

Deuter Spectro 28 SL (US$171) Deuter’s latest SlimLine hiking bag features specially shaped shoulder straps and hip belts to fit more feminine physiques and slight male frames while offering its trademark durability and ergonomic fit. The new Aircomfort Flexlite back system gives you 25% less perspiration — perfect for hot and humid destinations.

Timberland Mountain Athletics Flight Bag (US$108) Keep your carbon footprint in check as you travel the world. This solid, eco-conscious backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester and is ideal for active, adventurous types. Its sleek design will not look out of place in the urban jungle either.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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INSIDER

the why of travel ALLAN WU

The host of The Amazing Race Asia and The Amazing Race: China Rush on blended maggots and driving through an Indian flood

Why my best travel experience began… with a US$100 ticket Almost 12 years ago, I purchased a US$100 courier flight ticket from Los Angeles to Hong Kong after my friend convinced me to give Asia “a try”. Despite my apprehension, it turned out to be my best travel experience as that three-week trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan turned into a career and I now have a family in Asia, too. It made me realise that anything is possible as long as you have faith and take a chance.

WORDS: ANGELEIGH KHOO. PHOTOGRAPHS: ALLAN WU; 123RF; SHUTTERSTOCK

Why my heart belongs… in Asia Although I’ve lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong and am currently based in Singapore, I still feel that there is so much to explore and experience throughout Asia. Even with all the travelling I’ve done for work and to film The Amazing Race Asia, I know that I am only scratching the surface of Asia’s cultural diversity and rich history. At this time, I have my sights set on moving to China.

Why I spent all day… in a hay field I was in Prague to film the second season of The Amazing Race Asia. It was my first time to Eastern Europe

and I was really impressed with the country’s history, architecture and people. However, I had to spend an entire day in a hay field near a beautiful lake in the countryside, waiting for the last team to arrive during one of the legs. I will never forget how much more of the country I could have seen if they weren’t so lost!

Why I couldn’t avoid… an Indian flood I was working on a campaign for Honda that required me to really go off the beaten track. I had to drive through four states in India, from Mumbai to Delhi, to meet individuals who were doing their part to save the environment. It was interesting as I visited parts of India I would never have gone if I were on vacation. The trip did require me to drive through a flood in Rajasthan — the water almost came up to the car window on one stretch of the road. It was crazy, seeing the water slowly seeping into the interior, but I’m glad we made it through unscathed and relatively dry.

Why I had to drink… 21 shots of blended maggots, beetles, worms and fisheyes I guest-starred in the Halloween special of NBC’s Fear Factor 5 and one of the challenges required me to battle my way out of the Fear Factor Bar by taking down as many bottles as I could with an automated machine gun. The number of bottles left represented the number of shots of Fear Factor Fire Water I had to drink. Those 21 shots were the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

Allan’s choice, clockwise from top: The Great Wall of China; Beijing’s Forbidden City; Driving through a flooded road in India; Prague at sunset

Why I’m always excited to visit… Beijing

‘It was crazy, seeing the water slowly seeping into the interior, but I’m glad we made it through unscathed and relatively dry’

There is always so much to explore, no matter how many times I’ve been there. I revel in the history and culture of China each time I make it out to The Great Wall or the Forbidden City.

Why I never travel without… my running shoes Because I never know when the end of the tour is only the beginning of my personal journey through a new and distant land.


INSIDER

don’t miss out

Start planning now for some of the best events in the world

BOOK IT the ancient treasures of Sumatra at Sumatra: Isle of Gold. Held at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, the exhibition will showcase Bronze Age artefacts, treasures unearthed from shipwrecks, and even royal heirlooms. acm.org.sg.

2 Art comes alive in Toronto,

over 130 free contemporary art projects.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca

1 to 31 Toast the famous Shaoxing

rice wine during the Chinese Yellow Rice Wine Festival 2010, which celebrates the liquor that’s made the province of Shaoxing famous. Activities include an elaborate opening ceremony, art performances, Shaoxing rice wine tastings and more. vintageshaoxing.com

1 to 31 Gourmets are in for a treat during the month-long Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, when restaurants all over Kuala Lumpur offer special festival menus and delicious offers. migf.com

22 to 24 Korea makes its inaugural appearance on the Formula 1 Grand Prix calendar, with the Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix. Get your tickets online at koreangpticket.com. Christmas comes alive at the Magic of Advent in Vienna 2010, Austria’s most famous Christmas market. christkindlmarkt.at

NOVEMBER 2010

20 to 2 Jan

Shop to your heart’s content, or till your wallet is empty, at the annual Malaysia Year-End Sale.

7 to 8 From the evening of 7 Dec and into the early morning of the 8th, the village of Villa de Leyva in Colombia comes to life with processions and fireworks for the Festival of the Lights, commemorating the Day of the Immaculate Conception. colombia.travel/en

28 to 1 Jan Be the first to ring in

the new year at Sydney New Year’s Eve. This gigantic countdown party held at the Sydney Harbour features two fireworks shows, a Harbour of Light Parade, and performances and aerial displays that begin as early as 5pm. sydneynewyearseve.com

EARLY WARNING 13 to 30 January 2011

3 February 2011

11 to 12 February 2011

Catch more than 150 of the world’s top Celtic and World music talents as they perform around Glasgow during the Celtic Connections music festival. celticconnections.com

Join the Japanese as they celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring with the Setsubun Matsuri. At temples and shrines all over the country, classical dances are performed to banish evil spirits.

Take part in one of Southeast Asia’s grandest street parades, the Chingay Parade Singapore 2011. This year’s event will open with a Fire Party and end with a spectacular and heart-warming candle lights procession finale. chingay.org.sg

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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DECEMBER 2010

WORDS: EVELYN MAK. PHOTOGRAPHS: CITY OF TORONTO; CITY OF SYDNEY; LIEVE BOUSSAUW

fireworks set off to musical pieces at the 11th Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival. The annual event is held at Pudong’s Century Park, with 25-minute shows performed nightly.

13 to 24

frosty wonderland at London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which boasts London’s largest open-air ice rink, a giant observation wheel, a big-top circus, exhilarating rides and attractions, and yes, Father Christmas and his elves! hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

costumed contestants at the Great Christmas Pudding Race carry a Christmas pudding through Covent Garden, via an obstacle course in a bid to bring home the treasured Christmas Pudding trophy, and raise funds for Cancer Research UK. xmaspuddingrace.org.uk

30 to 6 Oct Catch spectacular

22 to 26 Music, parties and surfing come together in Phuket’s Kata Beach during the Quiksilver Thailand International Surf and Music

19 to 4 Jan Escape into a

4 Watch in glee as teams of

Festival. The five-day fiesta will be sure to keep you occupied with a full surf contest, live band performances and beach parties.

are expected to come together for Earthdance 2010, a global dance festival held in different locations around the world, in conjunction with International Day of Peace on 18 September. earthdance.org

OCTOBER 2010

Canada, at the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche. For one sleepless night, explore the three zones in the city centre that will house

17 to 19 Over 200,000 people

SEPTEMBER 2010

1 to 7 Nov Discover


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An earthly beauty XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX PHOTOGRAPH: MATT MUNRO

The best of Mother Nature beckons in Argentina and Chile

96

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


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Melbourne’s favoured spot for occasion dining, Vue de Monde 6 is set in a 19th century barrister’s chamber and is starkly luxe. This is French and Modern Australian cuisine, degustation dining with a capital D. (61-3/9691-3888; vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little Collins Street; lunch & dinner Tue-Fri, dinner Sat; lunch/dinner menu gourmand from US$87/131) Laksa Me 7 is home to some great Malaysian grub, and an eccentric interior. Laksa is king here, but there are also some out-of-theordinary entrée options like Chinese pastry triangles of daikon, yam bean and chive. (61-3/96399885; laksame.com; Shop 1, 16 Liverpool Street; lunch & dinner Mon-Fri, dinner Sat & Sun; mains US$8.70-12.20) Russian flavours infuse the lovingly prepared breakfast and lunch dishes at Babka Bakery Café, 8 and the heady aromas of cinnamon and freshly baked bread makes even just a coffee worth queuing for. (61-3/9416-0091; 358

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BEST FOR CHURCH 5 A fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, St Patrick’s Cathedral has an imposing bluestone exterior. Inside are several tones of bells and ornate stained-glass windows. (61-3/96622233; melbourne.catholic.org.au/ cathedral; corner of Gisborne Street and Cathedral Place; 8am-6pm daily, closes at noon on public holidays) BEST FOR LIGHTING UP 4 The City Lights Project is a public, non-profit art space with lightboxes installed in a small alcove. Local and international artists regularly make use of the illuminated mini-galleries. (61-3/9663-0442; citylightsproject. com; Centre Place & Hosier Lane)

See

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hOW TO GO London to Paris or from Eurostar runs can get a train Lille, where you (5 hours). to Lyon from £75 with easyJet or London flights start at about British Airways hours). You £50 return (1¾ Edinburgh, can also fly from Birmingham. Manchester and

Istanbul,

Turkey See

with one foot An imperial capital for 1,600 years, Istanbul is joint in Europe and the other in Asia, 2010. Its mosques, European Capital of Culture for have timeless appeal. churches, markets and cuisine

WHEN TO GO

er to October, when Visit April to May or Septemb steamy in temperatures are moderate. It’s common in July and August, while snow is to 50 per winter. Room rates can be up March cent cheaper from October to (Christmas period aside).

HOW TO GO

Airlines Flights start at £55 return. Turkish and flies from London, Birmingham , easyJet Manchester, while British Airways Low-cost and Pegasus fly from London. airport, carriers fly to Sabiha Gökçen out) which is less convenient (20 miles than the larger Atatürk airport. LEFT Bag a bargain, such as a narghile (right), at the vast Grand Bazaar

in LEFT Alfresco dining Lyon. atmospheric Old lion from RIGHT A stone Juiverie a building on Rue

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BEST FOR KIDS 3 In the Melbourne Aquarium, rays, sharks and more cruise around a giant tank. Talks and kids activities run all weekend. (61-3/1300-882-392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; corner of Queenswharf Road and King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm Feb-Dec; adult/child/family US$22/13/61) BEST FOR NATURE 2 The city disappears east of Spring St, giving way to Melbourne’s beautiful backyard, Fitzroy Gardens. Stately avenues lined with English elms, flowerbeds, expansive lawns and strange fountains are just a short stroll from town. (Between Wellington Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Albert Streets)

BEST FOR MARKETING 1 With over 600 stalls, Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and has been on site for more than 130 years. Go there for a wide range of fresh produce. (61-3/9320-5822; qvm.com.au; 513 Elizabeth Street; 6am-2pm Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun)

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wines at City Wine Shop 10 . You can also buy by the bottle. Counter 109 meals such as crab cakes and goat’s cheese omelette demand you make a night of it. (61-3/96546657; 159 Spring Street; 7am-late) Fold 1

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Melbournians tick. LEFT The mesmerising Southbank LEFT The mesmerising Southbank Melbourne skyline RIGHT Cafe Melbourne skyline RIGHT Cafe culture cultureis isbig bigin inMelbourne Melbourne

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

TURN OVER FOR MAP AND NUMBER LOCATIONS lovingly prepared breakfast and lunchSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER dishes at Babka Bakery 2010 Café, 8 and the heady aromas of cinnamon and freshly baked bread makes even just a coffee worth queuing for. (61-3/9416-0091; 358

Eat Eat& &drink drink

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Cathedral has an imposing bluestone exterior. Inside are several tones of bells and ornate stained-glass windows. (61-3/96622233; melbourne.catholic.org.au/ cathedral; corner of Gisborne Street and Cathedral Place; 8am-6pm daily, closes at noon on public holidays)

See See

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In the Melbourne Aquarium, rays, sharks and more cruise around a giant tank. Talks and kids activities run all weekend. (61-3/1300-882-392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; corner of Queenswharf Road and King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm Feb-Dec; adult/child/family US$22/13/61)

Melbourne’s favoured spot for BEST FOR MARKETING 1 occasion dining, Vue de Monde 6 With over 600 stalls, Queen Victoria Melbourne’s favoured spot for BEST FOR MARKETING 1 Market is the largest open-air is set in a 19th century barrister’s 6 occasion Vue deThis Monde Withinover stalls, hemisphere Queen Victoria market the 600 southern chamber anddining, is starkly luxe. is andMarket has been for more than French and Australian ison thesite largest open-air is set in Modern a 19th century barrister’s 130 years. for a wide range cuisine, degustation marketGo in there the southern hemisphere chamber and is dining starklywith luxe.aThis is of fresh produce. (61-3/9320-5822; capital D. (61-3/9691-3888; and has 513 beenElizabeth on site for more than French and Modern qvm.com.au; Street; vuedemonde.com.au; 430Australian Little Shop for fresh local produce at Dine at Melbourne’s favoured 6am-2pm Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, range Collinscuisine, Street; degustation lunch & dinner 130 years. Go there for a wide dining with a dining spot, Vue de Monde Queen Victoria Market 6am-3pm Sat, produce. 9am-4pm(61-3/9320-5822; Sun) Tue-Fri, dinnerD.Sat; lunch/dinner of fresh capital (61-3/9691-3888; menu gourmand from US$87/131) BEST FOR LIGHTING UP 4 Brunswick Street; breakfast & qvm.com.au; vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little lunch Tue-Sun; 2 Elizabeth Street; Laksa Me 7 is home to some BEST FOR NATURE513 The CityShop Lights Project a US$7-14) for fresh localisproduce at Dine atmains Melbourne’s favoured Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, Collins Street; lunch public, non-profit art space with With adining drink list toVue make your The city6am-2pm disappears east of Spring St, great Malaysian grub, and an& dinner Queen Victoria Market spot, de Monde liver quiver, Gin Palace 9 is the giving way to Melbourne’s beautiful eccentric interior. LaksaSat; is king here, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun) lightboxes installed in a small Tue-Fri, dinner lunch/dinner alcove. Local and international backyard, Fitzroy Gardens. Stately but there are also some out-of-theperfect place to grab a soft couch Brunswick Street; breakfast & BEST FOR LIGHTING UP 4 ordinary menu gourmand from US$87/131) artists regularly make use of the avenues lined with English elms, entrée options like or secluded alcove, sip, and take it lunch Tue-Sun; mains US$7-14) The City Lights Project is a Chinese pastry home to some BEST FOR NATURE Laksa Me 7ofisdaikon, illuminated mini-galleries. flowerbeds, expansive lawns and2 triangles slow. Martinis here are legendary (61-3/9663-0442; citylightsproject. strange fountains just a short yam bean great and chive. (61-3/9639very alate most drink list nights. to make your public, non-profit art space with The cityare disappears east of Spring St, Malaysian grub, and an and it’s openWith com; Centre Place & Hosier Lane) stroll from town. (Between Wellington 9885; laksame.com; Shop 1, 16 (61-3/9654-0533; 190 Little Collins 9 lightboxes installed in a small Liverpool giving way to Melbourne’s beautiful eccentric interior. Laksa is king here, liver quiver, Gin Palace is the Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Street; lunch & dinner Street; 4pm-late) Local5 and international perfect placethe to grab backyard, Fitzroy Gardens.BEST StatelyFORalcove. but there also some out-of-theAlbert Streets) Mon-Fri, dinner Sat & are Sun; mains CHURCH Take home or sample de a soft couch glass from the sip, and take it A fine example of Gothic Revival artists regularly make use of US$8.70-12.20) the secluded alcove, avenues lined with English elms, ordinary entrée options likejour drops byorthe 3 Russian flavours infuse the BEST FOR KIDS of local and St Patrick’s illuminated mini-galleries. slow.international Martinis here are legendary flowerbeds, expansive lawnsarchitecture, and Chinese pastry triangles of wall daikon, lovingly prepared breakfast and wines at City Wine Shop 10. You Cathedral has an imposing In the Melbourne Aquarium, rays, (61-3/9663-0442; and it’sbottle. open Counter very late most nights. strange fountains short yam beanBakery and chive. (61-3/9639lunch dishes at Babka exterior. Inside are citylightsproject. sharks and more cruise aroundare a just abluestone can also buy by the 8 tones com; of bells and ornate giant tank. Talks and kidstown. activities crab cakes and 190 Little Collins heady aromas of Shopmeals Centre Place & HosierCafé, Lane) and the stroll from (Betweenseveral Wellington 9885; laksame.com; 1, 16 such as(61-3/9654-0533; stained-glass windows. (61-3/9662run all weekend. (61-3/1300-882-392; goat’s cheese omelette demand cinnamon andLiverpool freshly baked bread Street; 4pm-late) Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Street; lunch & dinner 2233; melbourne.catholic.org.au/ melbourneaquarium.com.au; corner you make a night of it. (61-3/9654makes even just a coffee worth BEST FOR CHURCH 5 queuing for. (61-3/9416-0091; Take home or sample the de Albert Mon-Fri, dinner358 Sat & Sun; mains cathedral; corner of Gisborne of Queenswharf RoadStreets) and King 6657; 159 Spring Street; 7am-late) A finePlace; example of Gothic Revival jour drops by the glass from the US$8.70-12.20) Street and Cathedral Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm 8am-6pm daily, closes at noon on Feb-Dec; adult/child/family architecture, St Patrick’sTURN OVER FOR wall of local and international BEST FOR KIDS 3 Russian infuse theLOCATIONS MAP flavours AND NUMBER public holidays) US$22/13/61)

E TO WhaT iS ThERthat’s prolific in architecture, a city also Melbourne is visual arts. It is live music and ul performances, lth of wonderf oorsy, with a wea in and bushland sporty and outd stunning beaches to explore a parks, along with th taking time y. It is also wor es close proximit to see what makIdE June neighbourhoods MINI Gu few inner city tick. Melbournians

TEAR the guide out along the perforations…

Melbourne is a city that’s prolific in architecture, performances, live music and visual arts. It is also sporty and outdoorsy, with a wealth of wonderful parks, along with stunning beaches and bushland in close proximity. It is also worth taking time to explore a few inner city neighbourhoods to see what makes Melbournians tick.

WHAT IS THERE TO DO:

Melbourne, like its famed city laneways, boasts many layers. Brainy and industrious, imaginative and creative; cool and cliquey, welcoming and generous; resolutely urbane and irrevocably suburban: Melbourne’s contradictions are worth uncovering.

WHY GO?

Lyon, France

Dine at Melbourne’s favoured dining spot, Vue de Monde

LEFT The mesmerising Southbank Melbourne skyline RIGHT Cafe culture is big in Melbourne

Melbourne, MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

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109

TURN OVER FOR MAP AND NUMBER LOCATIONS Brunswick Street; breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; mains US$7-14) With a drink list to make your liver quiver, Gin Palace 9 is the perfect place to grab a soft couch or secluded alcove, sip, and take it slow. Martinis here are legendary and it’s open very late most nights. (61-3/9654-0533; 190 Little Collins Street; 4pm-late) Take home or sample the de jour drops by the glass from the wall of local and international wines at City Wine Shop 10 . You can also buy by the bottle. Counter meals such as crab cakes and goat’s cheese omelette demand you make a night of it. (61-3/96546657; 159 Spring Street; 7am-late) Fold 1

Eat & drink

Melbourne,

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

2

Melbourne, like its famed city laneways, boasts many

Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnic population. Fold 2

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Shop for fresh local produce at Queen Victoria Market

Melbourne’s favoured spot for occasion dining, Vue de Monde 6 is set in a 19th century barrister’s chamber and is starkly luxe. This is French and Modern Australian cuisine, degustation dining with a capital D. (61-3/9691-3888; vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little Collins Street; lunch & dinner Tue-Fri, dinner Sat; lunch/dinner menu gourmand from US$87/131) Laksa Me 7 is home to some great Malaysian grub, and an eccentric interior. Laksa is king here, but there are also some out-of-theordinary entrée options like Chinese pastry triangles of daikon, yam bean and chive. (61-3/96399885; laksame.com; Shop 1, 16 Liverpool Street; lunch & dinner Mon-Fri, dinner Sat & Sun; mains US$8.70-12.20) Russian flavours infuse the lovingly prepared breakfast and lunch dishes at Babka Bakery Café, 8 and the heady aromas of cinnamon and freshly baked bread makes even just a coffee worth queuing for. (61-3/9416-0091; 358

Melbourne is a city prolificsuburban: in architecture, urbane andthat’s irrevocably Melbourne’s contradictions areand worth uncovering. performances, live music visual arts. It is also sporty and outdoorsy, with a wealth WHAT IS THERE TO DO: of wonderful parks, along with prolific in architecture, Melbourne is a city that’s performances, live music and visual arts. It is also stunning beaches and sporty and outdoorsy, bushland in close proximity.with a wealth of wonderful parks, along with It is also worth taking time stunning beaches and to explore a few innerproximity. bushland in close is also worth taking cityItneighbourhoods to time to explore a few inner seecity what makes neighbourhoods to Melbournians tick. see what makes

layers. Brainy and industrious, imaginative and creative; WHAT cool IS THERE TO DO: and cliquey, welcoming and generous; resolutely

WHY GO?Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough,

Head to this cosmopolitan city for a dose of cafe culture Eat & drink

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

BEST FOR CHURCH 5 A fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, St Patrick’s Cathedral has an imposing bluestone exterior. Inside are several tones of bells and ornate stained-glass windows. (61-3/96622233; melbourne.catholic.org.au/ cathedral; corner of Gisborne Street and Cathedral Place; 8am-6pm daily, closes at noon on public holidays) BEST FOR LIGHTING UP 4 The City Lights Project is a public, non-profit art space with lightboxes installed in a small alcove. Local and international artists regularly make use of the illuminated mini-galleries. (61-3/9663-0442; citylightsproject. com; Centre Place & Hosier Lane)

See

Australia Australia

Melbourne, MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Melbourne, like its famed city physical laneways, boasts many Melbourne’s and cultural layers. Brainy and industrious, imaginative creative; landscape is shaped byand a dynamic, cool and cliquey, welcomingpopulation. and generous; resolutely multi-ethnic urbane and irrevocably suburban: Melbourne’s contradictions areGO? worth uncovering. WHY

Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, 2 multi-ethnicFoldpopulation. Fold 2

Tear out page here then fold along the dotted lines

BEST FOR KIDS 3 In the Melbourne Aquarium, rays, sharks and more cruise around a giant tank. Talks and kids activities run all weekend. (61-3/1300-882-392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; corner of Queenswharf Road and King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm Feb-Dec; adult/child/family US$22/13/61) BEST FOR NATURE 2 The city disappears east of Spring St, giving way to Melbourne’s beautiful backyard, Fitzroy Gardens. Stately avenues lined with English elms, flowerbeds, expansive lawns and strange fountains are just a short stroll from town. (Between Wellington Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Albert Streets)

BEST FOR MARKETING 1 With over 600 stalls, Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and has been on site for more than 130 years. Go there for a wide range of fresh produce. (61-3/9320-5822; qvm.com.au; 513 Elizabeth Street; 6am-2pm Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun)

Australia

Melbourne,

1

WHAT IS THERE TO DO: WHY GO?

Stroll the charming passageways of Renaissance Old Lyon

,

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

Tell us about your favourite restaurant, hotel or attraction in Taipei, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Manila, Delhi and Vientiane. Email us at lpmagazine@regentmedia.sg and we’d love to run your recommendations in a future issue.

FROM YOUR TEAR OUT AND KEEP MAGAZINE TO YOUR POCKET…

Melbourne is a city that’s prolific in architecture, performances, live music and visual arts. It is also sporty and outdoorsy, with a wealth of wonderful parks, along with stunning beaches and bushland in close proximity. It is also worth taking time to explore a few inner city neighbourhoods to see what makes Melbournians tick.

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Melbourne, like its famed city laneways, boasts many layers. Brainy and industrious, imaginative and creative; cool and cliquey, welcoming and generous; resolutely urbane and irrevocably suburban: Melbourne’s contradictions are worth uncovering.

Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnic population. Fold 2

Experience the cultural melting pot of this former imperial capital Eat & drink

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red spot for Çiya Sofrasi 6 on the Asian rations 6 is one 6 Melbourne’s favou 1 Café des Fédé Vue de Monde n bouchons. BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE side is one of the city’s best occasion dining, of Lyon’s best-know rousse ry barrister’s croix Built as a church by Emperor lokantas – a style of Turkish LLING 1 is set in a 19th centu ly luxe. This is The caviar de la ) is a BEST FOR STRO stark in AD537, then used as t serving ready-made lestoned a creamy sauce Justinian restauran in cobb s (lentil chamber and is The traboules and vations are vital ern Australian a mosque under the Ottomans, Lyon (Old Lyon) food. The self-service meze is must, and reser French and Mod streets of Vieux 0; lesfedeslyon. n dining with a , with medieval Aya Sofya is the pinnacle of (00 33 478 28260 delicious, and there are plentiful cuisine, degustatio invite wandering 8 Rue Major e es on Rue com, in French; (61-32/9691-3888; Byzantine architecture and vegetarian choices. Try the stew Sat; Renaissance hous capital D.Fold xxx and nds Fold 2n; lunch and dinner Monn and Rue u; 430 Little and lamb famous Marti most chestnuts Istanbul’s apricots, of du Bœuf, Rue St-Jea out for vuedemonde.com.a dinner ations serves local from £17). e Café des Fédér & four-course menu ciya.com.tr; a gmuseum, its Maries. Look 3190; Now settin t. Paul 330 ic Trois 216 90 monumen des Jean(00 chef Cooking Alaturka serves Anatolian s in a histor Collins Street; lunch classic & Juiverie, Fold 2 kfast 320Rue A few years ago, xxxx t; brea lunch/dinner along yles k Stree gargo food and runs cookery classes interior contains a soaring domed Güneslibahçe Sokak 43; 11.30amue Notre Dame Brunswic the surprising On the shores of the Bosphorus, Tue-Fri, dinner Sat; h community The ornate Basiliq US$7-14) th Lacombe made thes Jewis (00 90 from US$87/131) un;tomain oks the city mosaics. home can enjoy ceiling and 9rich Yeniköy is a popular summer resort his double you 10pm; portions £2.50-£5). lunch Tue-S menu gourmand de Fourvière overlo es. Its Ages.your At Thomas decision to turn 7 or home to some list tolemake the Midd Square; urant s making use of Sofya chefs atwith many nam Aya resta restaurant into 522 0989; Withina drink 212 Every morning, in the Laksa Me is l dining international artist Michelin-starred forma There’s a set four-course daily Palace 9 is the 7 and is a place e. The wine bar galleries. grub, and an ich Gin 4 ckl ired prepare r, venu ı wh £9). 2 -insp Au quive Mon; Ocakbas u, closed 4 liver pING Zübeyir Ra the tapas great Malaysian the illuminated mini- htsproject. a more accessible eat in FOR VIEW Makau a softScouch de BEST FOR ShOp BEST BEST FOR BOAT TRIPS changing menu at Cooking – fir trees urantaki Laksa is king here, over ? Léon de Lyon ; citylig grilled place to grab isbeTam GOserie dsc is the city’s Dame e to 472s 560476; resta perfectThe Y, Bras quality meats 33ape Notretake eccentric interior. it result (00 (61-3/9663-0442 WH 9 . Favourite Basilique asutiful lan ers’, dishes Les Halles de Lyon e, sip, andFourv e (such Eminönü quay near the Galata Maori namoded barbecues: spicy rs bea Alaturka some out-of-the nd lov French; 3 2& 6 Rue cuisin & Hosier Lane) offe ges ded alcov m, inof simila HISTORY 7 has ck r food market. as.co villaFOR ns dary ière Hill thousa Forrest or secluFourv BEST copper-ho thom but there are also com; Centre Place ière crowlegen mains legendary indoo chicken salad The, Blaedos us of one with lemon , concealing ncin; closeile Bridge is the starting point for include Circassian d Sat & Sun; hmflavoursom g city options like of cod inis here aare e ribs ‘ist sultans for cheese from the Ottoman mesmerisin ngquince tourn the roll wings, – wh Laure slow. Mart ing highlands Home to chicken means ordinary entrée Buy St Marcellin fts filliand and offers late stewed most nights. ple wd rd, 4 re crawalnuts, ering valleys ly just ourse menu £36). more affordable gles of daikon, trips north up the Bosphorus, is cro with Richa very exam is four-c and but asu to ), Palace 23, sure great open me Be ple a confit Topkapi £18-£ 0 the and it’sview. It’s also Little 400 ,00 stthe Chinese pastry trian (61-3/9639and lamb sıs kebaps. s cheesemonger Mère ge from elyon. BEST FOR kidS ses2;inleond rme wayears, hou 212 458 5919; 90st se 10 has held 10111 to 190 callyCollin val ny’sPaul past splendid palaces, the twin while the90135 3;siasti WHy GO? . 472 Bocu embellished in syrup sausa die sharks cruise 33 There’s mo (00 me treasures. its (00 212 293 3951; Bekar with stars (61-3/965 enthu or Jésus de Lyon andGerma , has bursting islands ecture of 4-053 yam bean and chive Shop 1, 16New York’s, book (00 Rays, gropers and lunch it among since 1965. set s. t the city mainy; city lin yard, Sibilia (102 Cours 1 Rue thePléne e len Miche fortresses of Europe and Asia, garden -litre tank, cookingalaturka.com; Akbiyik om; to rival r also skyline com; havm; Take 4pm-late) the sultan, £4-£9). iburg, 9th-century archit ; laksaame.c butcher Collette Fre 12pm-12a Street; late-1 a harem where 28; as in its beethree 9885 Sokak around a 2.2-million marin de iere.org; r a northern suburbs, for iated £20). -course menu ils’. le the placed 12pm, 3pm & dinne r; three lunch Mon-Sat, 9; fourv 72a; avenues or samp dinneer, of Sa and the Ottoman summer resort its 25861 Located in the e 478 and make it ideally by visitors from hills best apprec 8 is a wine hom s lived – Street; lunch 33 Fish de Lafayette; 7amTake(00 and poolwooded and concubine e a truffle : the ‘CityCaddesi Liver his wives Behind the Karaköy weath watched closely ; tours £2-£4). from kname n; menu £17). us dishes includ 7am-12pm Sun). entrythe La Cave d’à Côté Add grit Sun; mains The full trip to Anadolu glass ons. reservatio Sat, nic werbeds, free famo by Yeniköy. the e of Sat & destinati dinner Tuesel that traverses by 7pm; s 90 flight l abl h 7pm (00 7amvisit to long-hau Frenc dur -Fri, dinnesr for £6.50 a gentlemen’s jour drop extrated is Tarihi Karaköy Balık Mon stopover for the it’s aninven Market see-through tunn nal bar furnished like soup and nge and internatio Kavagı takes 1½ hours one-way One of the best rooftop bars in arium’s floor. , 472 42909 0; quiet localescapes, 2.20) rayi.gov. tors .70-1 topkapisa wall of ed evenings must visi GO 0480; 33 frenetic crowds and US$8 hent them (00 212 Melbourne Aqu Lokantası 8 , one of the few MA 5 glamour, TO wit512 The and club. EN Shop310 . You the Marmara FOR ART WH t stroll from BEST FOR CINE wide urs infuse the st popularpresid BEST (£6.50), but there also are shorter that hosts Beyoglu, Mikla 10 incity. City Wine ir du Pont de s at isamo ian flavo Caddesi; theerge wineHarbour. yun Russhave us beginnings L’Aub x-Art mer ’s ed, and fish restaurants left on ter s on the Fragrant Babihüma tr;com There is a theatre se.fr; book old-style Kong, sumthere e into be sed over the Old Hong e. Coun e des you bottlBeau kfast and h the Musé lly bles on dscapesbocu Visit cinema’s glorio The brea has views oug Plage; ton Parade, by the hotel y GO? Top-class, hica and kids activities trips available (ido.com.tr). Pera buy de la£9). Althselec ) wh regionalg,wine re, in the geograp can also , closed tion of wa lovingly prepared theTues; educational talks 9am-5pm is Rue the Golden Horn. 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Today by Kong King Street; 9.30a ten celebra ltur 30, .Karaköy; dim sum. farm ).is a covered city Sokakland TION delicious n is and/941 6-0091; 358 unft.de bargainin 33 478 781895; a pre-Len /child/family most multicu 12pm-2am ; mains £15-£25). ject is a public, NuMBER LOCA shops selling rrozANd the £9). Beyoglu was Istanbul’s smart, se. The cloister garde 472 alsofrom MAp are screened (00 queuing for. (61-3 Matisand FOR(na 6pm Feb-Dec; adult racters s, it is mains with over 4,000 every angle, energetic city. Mon-Sat; OVER citie ed cha TuRN rg; 25 Rue du that has been costum have you taking pictures from picnic spot (00 33 Europeanised suburb in the late ropolitan and institut-lumiere.o an ideal US$22/13/61) aTiOnS inatingly met everything from jewellery to £5). Place 137 20 un; lOc fasc r; so BER that city and num er a decade. 19th century. Today it’s the heart Premier Film; Tue-S 101740; mba-lyon.f Tue; £6). marvelling at how amap June 2010 Come prepared for NS books. old d lOcATIO 10 NumBER : TuRn OvER FOR 20 mAP dO Rch 5 ct alled in a small des Terreaux; close TO of modern Istanbul, with shops, p/O TuRN OvER FOR ER EANd the Secups often seems chaotic somehow endless BEST FOR chu HOW TO GO ves the southern and idE 109 ni Gu whaT iS Th drive from the high-rise heart of ’s largest and lace and along mihard-sells galleries, restaurants and bars. One of the world er 2010 ngs, el Airport ser works perfectly. There is r’s (9am-7pm Mon-Sat). tea ctob of Bas from st, thermal spri september/o Within an hou ocal and 105 with flights r 2010 ts of rainfore , r/octobe traditional art and culture se trac septembe Black Forest life reserves Manchester. city are den e eries and wild hours) and win s, che ), comforts hav among the designer London (1½ deserted bea t (from £40 x. 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See

Melbourne, Australia

Lyon, France

From hawker stalls to fine dining, this chaotic streets to tranquil beaches, er city has everything for a great stopov

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uly/August 2010

Kong

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MINI GUIdE

Sep/Oct 2010

Black Forest,

A city loved for its Lanna influences, temples and mystical mountains

Germany

Right: Eat your heart out with regional dishes such as dim sum

Eat & drink am has densely Central to est point on e top you’ll of the most (thepeak. at 33 Garden ).

Auckland, New Zealand

valley. LEFT Kinzigtal Forest is k RIGHT The Blac oo clock cuck home to the

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See

A trip to Victoria Peak rewards with impressive city views

BEST FOR ART 4 The Hong Kong Museum of Art on Kowloon waterfront has seven galleries full of Chinese antiquities, fine art and calligraphy, historical pictures of Hong Kong and Macao, and contemporary art (00 852 2721 0116; lcsd.gov.hk/hkma; 10 Salisbury Road; US$1.20, free Wed; 10am-6pm Fri-Wed, to 8pm Sat).

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(64-9 enly.com; adult/child rctic Encounter restaurant-caf ; Unteres Ack heaveum cuisine, good-look Clevedon alone –mus Tarlton’s Anta off skey 9 is a ackerloch.de ; auckland . The Worth the trip World to cool and dimly lit Whi ole for m, closed Wed Underwater -5pm daily) sexy surrounds gateau bolth 11.30am-12a mic vinegar are Black ForestUS$3.60/free; 10am 4 quintessential ). e’s a oysters with balsa plump, and BEST FOR aRT snacks £2.50-£7 ustry types. Ther and ry spreads at ic-ind a swim 2 Galle mus and cake s, Art st S superbly fresh out or go for of viEw enh tails and spirit The Auckland FOR The Black Fore Kolm Take a boat 7 is the BEST glass of local fizz. aus long list of cock ings: the Main r is the tallest dtrack. ee perfect with a es é Schäfer Höhengasth , the Sky Towe over two build sic rock’ soun pean in Lake Titis At 328m 6; Shed 22, Princ s Triberg’s Caf a decent ‘clas Danube begins. hern hemisphere. both the Euro (64-9/309-986 9 is where the ture in the soutinto fectioner Clau 27.7; lunch Gallery houses New 6; 210 Ponsonby struc woods, tuck real deal – con pe to (64-9/361-266 observation mains US$22.80ctions while the rf; the Wha d you up to the ) and local colle the original reci to art After a hike in A lift takes st, with seclude look almond up Road; 5pm-3am Schäfer has contemporary 8 s you trout inmere & dinner) ly 40 seconds; ringed by fore Loft, 10 head Gallery houses aroma draw French Café ls glühwein and decks in When at Wine ming and exhibitions. d, prove it. The 93100; The legendary glass floor pane sing the 7723 throu gh theuelle bays for swim and temporary chocolate-hue , nter showca artgallery. as one of butter (00 49downder ing boats and the stairs for a Donauq 5; ct for the glass cou -1349; auckland has been rated an extra kick. /379 perfe for An s ; ts after (64-9 that’ picnicking. Row lakefront of uran er resta (00 49 7722 446 kolmenhof.deif you’re0am sofa-filled loft of Wellesley & ing -7.3 g the Auckland’s top skycity.co.nz; corn masterpiece 0; 0pm govt.nz; corner and platter shar lle; 11.3 -600 pedalos alon s now, and still r-triberg.de; ts; adult/ wine quaffing Martinskape (64-9/363 admission free; almost 20 year tadt village cost ed cafe-schaefe (or the window Lorne Streets; ral & Victoria Stree ns £8-£14). l. The cuisine is Titisee-Neus 33, Triberg; clos by an open fire ) Sat-Thu; mai of Fede continues to exce r 8.30am-11pm per hour ove 8/6; Hauptstrasse . An eclectic list 10am-5pm daily 5). set n Wright US$1 mer) sun Simo sum around £5.20 e com and cake £3-£ Watch the child ralia, the idnight Fri & Sat) c French but chef fromm-m zwald.de). Wed; coffee best from NZ, Aust tops8.30a Thu, in some Pacifi RE 5 k wine roof Sunin cTu s (hochschwar hiTE take of Freiburg’s manages to snea rvations are Freiburg’s red and Europe. BEST FOR aRc ersity Clock Starring one auerei r garden of 3 South America 5 Univ , the Hausbr Rim touches. Rese /377-1911; 210 terrace and bee a hOT whileday TORY The Auckland ph. 0; 67 Shortland T FOR sle 10 beer gardens BES . (64-9 es hlös (64-9/379-507 itectural trium BEST FOR HIS Open-Air 8 brewpub serv recommended -Thu, ction at the Kelly Greiffenegg-Sc US$25.60Tower is an arch attra st biglam b with The of Feierling t; 4pm-late Mon r& Street; mains tower tips its hat Stree y’ unte likes onds The Black Fore historic Enco Sym rctic 8; schnitzels with -late Sat) Anta3272 g The stately ‘ivor enjoying the Tarlton’s t ers dinner Tue-Sat) humongous eau (the mixin ), plus 2pm-late Fri, 6pm t (00 49 761 is the permanen 29.90; lunch Fri, ’s busiest Museum gath ther to create er Worl ped potatoes towards Art Nouv a into the rwatberg wild garlic crusUndeloss ringd3, toge Brägele (chip rctic g Auckland faun Sch Anta Alon nd, farmhouses derla let. ons (00 49 761 of NZ flora and greiffenegg.de;winter;won farming ham 11am-12am; a walk through the Chicago 46, top veggie opti des sgau aTiOnS an authentic decoration) and the .de; Gerberau numBER lOc Encounter. It inclu 1911 Antarctic Freiburg im Brei its rooted into on hand to 243480; feierling FOR map and . Scott’s it’s School (the way Artisans are sgau; 11amTuRn OvER mains £18-£23)a replica of -0603; kellytarltons.co. lly open, so just their crafts, and Freiburg im Brei £6). t) earth). It’s usua demonstrate , with hut. (64-9/528 Fri-Sat; mains ld (22 Princes Stree place for kids Drivel adult/chi 12am, to 1am ctober 2010 wander inside. also a great 7831 nz; 23 Tamaki september/o to pet (00 49 -6pm daily) ATIONS US$21/10; 9am farm animals NUMBER LOc uernhof.org; FOR MAP ANd 93560; vogtsba eum, TURN OvER Freilichtmus 101 Schwarzwälder 0 pm; £5.50). /october 201 Gutach; 11am-6 september

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Looking a bit like a hotel ballroom, 6 City Hall Maxim’s Palace is the place for real Hong Kong dim 1 sum, which is mostly eaten for OSPHERE breakfast and lunch. Flag down BEST FOR ATM villages of the d a trolley loaded with baskets of The half-timbere Kinzigtal haped steamed delicacies and take your ond horseshoe-s ounded by alm pick (00 852 2521 1303; 3rd fl, Low valley are surr for ards, and goorch place Block, City Hall, 1 Edinburgh Place; chetorry Yung Kee is the and villages of goose roastced vineyards. The award-winningterra from US$14; lunch and dinner). iltach.de) and If you fancy an Italian meal after ) Schiltach (sch dt-alpirsbach.de . all that dim sum, don’t miss the ch (sta views que superb Alpirsba 7 Chinese food, and most pictures discreet entrance to Rughetta . ng thethe across are amo of the Central skyline This basement restaurant serves 2 harbour. After dinner, head NAT faultless Roman cuisine (00 852 anURE T FOR bar for Spirit BES to the upstairs to Aqua river flowing 2537 7922; 75-77 Wyndham Street; ed by (00a852 view Carv schlucht extra dose of that US$21-US$28; lunch and dinner jagged Wutach the28/F, Rhine, hk; 3428 8342; aqua.com. reserve re Mon-Sat, dinner Sun). 80; e is a natu US$57-US$ and gorg One Peking Road; ids and ferns, Yung Kee 8 has been serving supporting orch treecreepers lunch and dinner). its signature roast goose from tea as afternoon birds such Old-fashionedrare full eight-mile birds raised on its own farms since Kong,rs. The in Hong kingfishe remains popularand nmühle to 1942. There’s also dim sum in the from Schatte tosthe rivals goe walk and there are few 4½ hours smart dining room 2pm-5pm s served mühle, about cakes and sandwiche Wutach t.de). Mon-Sat and 11am-5pm Sun (00 uch splendour schl al tach in the neo-classic(wu 852 2522 1624; yungkee.com.hk; 10 3 of the Peninsula Lobby (00 32-40 Wellington Street; set menu STROLLING com; 852 2920 2888; peninsula. BEST FOR in US$36; lunch and dinner). afternoon houses cluster Salisbury Road; US$36; Gabled Go to Hutong 9 for imaginative l Altstadt (Old ieva tea 2pm-7pm daily). Freiburg’s med of water run and exquisitely presented northern lets Town), and rivu The 11th-century g footpaths. e giant LOCATIONSalon red sandston TURN OVER FOR mAp AND NUmBER . Münster is a s (freiburg.de) among minster

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

5 OUT-OF-TOWN EXCURSION With a fifth of Hong Kong’s landmass but only 2 per cent of its population, the outlying islands are a great escape. Lamma, 20 minutes away, has good beaches, hiking and seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan village (hkkf.com. hk; from Pier 4 in Central; US$1.50-US$3).

The best place on earth for gateau, beer, cuckoo clocks and rolling highlands

Black Forest, Germany MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

RAVEL 3 ever shorter claimed (it’s , the Star Ferry travel nd Hong Kong e Central .com.hk; a Tsui pier; .30pm).

Istanbul, Turkey

ust 2010 MINI GUIDE July/Aug

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

A multicultural metropolis blessed with stunning surrounding nature

Auckland, New Zealand

2010 MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct

99

MINI GUIDES 103 4 IMMING BEST FOR SW ling at the back!) gigg Titisee (stop , ing glacial lake is a shimmer

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


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Auckland is a place with many names. Its Maori name is Tamaki Makau Rau, which means ‘isthmus of one thousand lovers’, while the 135,000 pleasure crafts filling its marinas have lent the city its most durable nickname: the ‘City of Sails’. WHY GO?

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Auckland,

New Zealand

It’s hard to imagine a more geographically blessed city. Its two magnificent harbours frame a narrow isthmus punctuated by volcanic cones and surrounded by fertile farmland. On top of being the largest of New Zealand’s cities, it is also the most multicultural, making it a fascinatingly metropolitan and energetic city.

WHAT IS THERE TO DO: Within an hour’s drive from the high-rise heart of the city are dense tracts of rainforest, thermal springs, deserted beaches, wineries and wildlife reserves, should you need a nature-fix. Yet big-city comforts have spread to all corners of the Auckland Region. LEFT Sky Tower dominating the city skyline RIGHT Rugby — the national sport of New Zealand

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BEST FOR CULTURE 1 Within the Auckland Museum is a comprehensive display of Pacific island and Maori artefacts. Daily Maori cultural performances provide a good introduction to all things Maori. (64-9/390-0443; aucklandmuseum.com; adult/child US$3.60/free; 10am-5pm daily)

Eat & drink

On a hot day, visit the Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World to cool off

BEST FOR VIEWS 2 At 328m, the Sky Tower is the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere. A lift takes you up to the observation decks in merely 40 seconds; look down through the glass floor panels if you’re after an extra kick. (64-9/363-6000; skycity.co.nz; corner of Federal & Victoria Streets; adult/ child US$18/6; 8.30am-11pm Sun-Thu, 8.30am-midnight Fri & Sat)

BEST FOR ART 4 The Auckland Art Gallery spreads over two buildings: the Main Gallery houses both the European and local collections while the New Gallery houses contemporary art and temporary exhibitions. (64-9/379-1349; aucklandartgallery. govt.nz; corner of Wellesley & Lorne Streets; admission free; 10am-5pm daily)

BEST FOR A HOT DAY 3 The big attraction at the Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World is the permanent winter wonderland, Antarctic Encounter. It includes a walk through a replica of Scott’s 1911 Antarctic hut. (64-9/528-0603; kellytarltons.co. nz; 23 Tamaki Drivel adult/child US$21/10; 9am-6pm daily)

BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE 5 The Auckland University Clock Tower is an architectural triumph. The stately ‘ivory’ tower tips its hat towards Art Nouveau (the mixing of NZ flora and fauna into the decoration) and the Chicago School (the way its rooted into the earth). It’s usually open, so just wander inside. (22 Princes Street)

Tucked away below a more formal restaurant, Tanuki’s Cave 6 is a hip sake bar that serves delicious grilled skewers and other Japanese snacks. (64-9/379-5353; 319 Queen Street; dishes US$3-US$7; lunch Wed-Fri, dinner daily) Euro 7 is a thoroughly slick package of imaginative Mod-NZ cuisine, good-looking wait staff and sexy surrounds. The Clevedon oysters with balsamic vinegar are superbly fresh and plump, and perfect with a glass of local fizz. (64-9/309-9866; Shed 22, Princes Wharf; mains US$23-US$28; lunch & dinner) The legendary French Café 8 has been rated as one of Auckland’s top restaurants for almost 20 years now, and still continues to excel. The cuisine is French but chef Simon Wright manages to sneak in some Pacific Rim touches. Reservations are recommended. (64-9/377-1911; 210 Symonds Street; mains US$26US$30; lunch Fri, dinner Tue-Sat) Along Auckland’s busiest

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Cap the day or start your night with some cocktails at Whiskey

restaurant-café-bar strip, Ponsonby, the stylish and dimly lit Whiskey 9 is a quintessential bolthole for music-industry types. There’s a long list of cocktails and spirits, and a decent ‘classic rock’ soundtrack. (64-9/361-2666; 210 Ponsonby Road; 5pm-3am) When at Wine Loft, 10 head upstairs for a chocolate-hued, sofa-filled loft that’s perfect for wine quaffing and platter sharing by an open fire (or the window come summer). An eclectic list takes in wine from NZ, Australia, South America and Europe. (64-9/379-5070; 67 Shortland Street; 4pm-late Mon-Thu, 2pm-late Fri, 6pm-late Sat)

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MINI GUIDE Auckland, New Zealand

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Getting out on the water is an intrinsic part of the Auckland experience. Pride of Auckland offers a range of trips on glamorous 50ft yachts, from the 45-minutes Sailing Experience (adult/child US$34/19) to full-day tours (one to 12 people, US$655 to $1,805). (64-9/3774557; prideofauckland.com; corner of Quay & Hobson Streets)

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Expect commanding harbour views at Hilton Auckland

Set in what was Auckland’s very first hotel (The Commercial Hotel in 1841), Hotel DeBrett’s 14 iconic building has been stylishly reinterpreted into a 25-room boutique hotel. Every room is individually designed and furnished with eclectic furniture and art. (64-9/925-9000; hoteldebrett.com; 2 High Street; rooms from US$205) Situated 300 metres out to sea off Princes Wharf is the impressive Hilton Auckland 15 . All rooms feature decks or balconies, offering guests beautiful views across Auckland’s inner harbour. The outdoor heated swimming pool comes with an underwater viewing window. (64-9/978-2000; hilton. co.nz; 147 Quay Street, Princes Wharf; rooms from US$260).

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Opening its doors in 1929, the Civic Theatre is one of the world’s seven ‘atmospheric theatres’ and a survivor from cinema’s Golden Age. The auditorium has lavish Moorish decoration and the foyer has a distinct Indian influence. Try to attend a performance here. (64-9/309-2677; civictheatre.co.nz; corner of Queens & Wellesley Streets)

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SIDE TRIP Few stretches of sand have more personality than the black volcanic sand beach of Karekare. Wild and gorgeously undeveloped, this beach 50km west of Auckland city was the site of a ruthless massacre of the local Kawerau tribe by Ngpuhi invaders in 1825. Those prone to metaphysical musings have

Take a stroll on the black volcanic sand beach of Karekare

described it as ‘spiritual’ and ‘brooding’. The strong surfs and ever-present rips, however, are not ideal for swimming. FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet’s New Zealand Travel Guide (US$18) has a chapter on Auckland, which is available for download at lonelyplanet.com (US$5). If you are into cycling, check out Lonely Planet’s Cycling New Zealand guide book, the Auckland chapter of which can also be downloaded at the website (US$5). For more info, visit aucklandnz.com.

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM: PETER DRAGICEVICH; PHOTOGRAPHS: TOURISM NEW ZEALAND; 123RF

See Ponsonby & Grey Lynn Map (p114)

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If you’re planning to stay for a week or longer, make the recently renovated Red Monkey 11 villa your home away from home. There are lamps, bedside tables and built-in wardrobes in all the smartly decorated rooms, including three in the quiet back garden. (64-9/3607977; theredmonkey.co.nz; 49 Richmond Road; weekly s/d/apt US$125/160/180) Housed in one of the city’s grandest historical building, the apartment-style Elliot St Hotel 12 is much plusher than its price implies. Rooms may not be huge but the high ceilings will make your spirits rise. (64-9/308-9334; esapts.co.nz; corner of Elliot & Wellesley Streets; apt US$105-US$165) The city’s newest luxury hotel, the Westin Auckland Lighter Quay 13 has outdone itself with simple, exquisite design, Maori art and sumptuous furnishings. We love the 250-thread-count sheets and goose-down pillows. There’s water everywhere you look – in the form of the harbour or tinkling water features. (64-9/909-900; westin.com/ Auckland; 21 Viaduct Harbour Ave; rooms US$185-US$365)

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WHEN TO GO Auckland has a mild climate, with the occasional frost in winter and high humidity in summer. Summer months have an average of eight days of rain, but weather is famously fickle, with ‘four seasons in a day’ possible at any time of the year.

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GETTING THERE Singapore Airlines flies direct from Singapore Changi Airport to Auckland Airport (from US$1,460), while Malaysia Airlines flies direct from Kuala Lumpur (from US$2,035). Beginning March 2011, Jetstar Asia Airways will connect Singapore and Auckland directly.

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WHY GO? The Black Forest offers beautiful landscapes – fir trees crowd the rolling highlands, concealing villages of medieval houses in the meandering valleys – while Freiburg, the main city, has Germany’s warmest weather, best appreciated in its beer gardens.

WHEN TO GO Although the summer is most popular with visitors, especially for walking, the landscapes come into their own under mist or snow. One intriguing festival is the Villinger Fasnet in Villingen-Schwenningen, a pre-Lenten celebration featuring bizarre costumed characters (narrozunft.de).

TYPICAL COSTS l Slice of Black Forest gateau £3 l Mid-range meal £10-£25 l Mid-range hotel from £70 l High-end hotel from £130

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Black Forest,

Germany

HOW TO GO The southern Black Forest is served by the EuroAirport Basel-MulhouseFreiburg, an international airport 70 km south of Freiburg. Carriers like Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, British Airways and Air France will get you there from major Asian cities with a stopover in an European city. LEFT Kinzigtal valley. RIGHT The Black Forest is home to the cuckoo clock

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BEST FOR ATMOSPHERE 1 The half-timbered villages of the horseshoe-shaped Kinzigtal valley are surrounded by almond and cherry orchards, and terraced vineyards. The villages of Schiltach (schiltach.de) and Alpirsbach (stadt-alpirsbach.de) are among the most picturesque. BEST FOR NATURE 2 Carved by a river flowing to the Rhine, the jagged Wutachschlucht gorge is a nature reserve supporting orchids and ferns, and rare birds such as treecreepers and kingfishers. The full eight-mile walk goes from Schattenmühle to Wutachmühle, about 4½ hours (wutachschlucht.de). BEST FOR STROLLING 3 Gabled houses cluster in Freiburg’s medieval Altstadt (Old Town), and rivulets of water run along footpaths. The 11th-century Münster is a red sandstone giant among minsters (freiburg.de). BEST FOR SWIMMING 4 Titisee (stop giggling at the back!) is a shimmering glacial lake,

Eat & drink

Take a boat out or go for a swim in Lake Titisee

ringed by forest, with secluded bays for swimming and picnicking. Rowing boats and pedalos along the lakefront of Titisee-Neustadt village cost around US$8 per hour (hochschwarzwald.de). BEST FOR HISTORY 5 The Black Forest Open-Air Museum gathers historic farmhouses together to create an authentic farming hamlet. Artisans are on hand to demonstrate their crafts, and it’s also a great place for kids, with farm animals to pet (00 49 7831 93560; vogtsbauernhof.org; Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum, Gutach; 11am-6pm; US$9).

Perched on a hill with valley views, Ackerloch Grillschopf 6 is a rustic barn that doubles as a butcher selling home-smoked Black Forest ham. Choose snacks at the counter and grill ‘em at the barbecue (00 49 7721 54421; ackerloch.de; Unteres Ackerloch; 11.30am-12am, closed Wed; snacks US$4-US$11). The Black Forest cake at Triberg’s Café Schäfer 7 is the real deal – confectioner Claus Schäfer has the original recipe to prove it. The aroma draws you to the glass counter showcasing the masterpiece (00 49 7722 4465; cafe-schaefer-triberg.de; Hauptstrasse 33, Triberg; closed Wed; coffee and cake US$5-US$8). Starring one of Freiburg’s best beer gardens, the Hausbrauerei Feierling 8 brewpub serves humongous schnitzels with Brägele (chipped potatoes), plus top veggie options (00 49 761 243480; feierling.de; Gerberau 46, Freiburg im Breisgau; 11am-12am, to 1am Fri-Sat; mains from US$10).

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Worth the trip alone – heavenly Black Forest gateau

Höhengasthaus Kolmenhof is where the Danube begins. After a hike in the woods, tuck into glühwein and trout in almond butter (00 49 7723 93100; kolmenhof.de; An der Donauquelle, Martinskapelle; 11.30am-7.30pm Sat-Thu; mains US$13-US$22). Watch the sun set over Freiburg’s red rooftops from the terrace and beer garden of Greiffenegg-Schlössle 10 while enjoying the likes of lamb with wild garlic crust (00 49 761 32728; greiffenegg.de; Schlossbergring 3, Freiburg im Breisgau; 11am-12am; mains US$28-US$36). 9

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MINI GUIDE Black Forest, Germany

Getting around

See

Eat & drink

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Essentials FIND YOUR WAY Buses and trains link towns and villages in the Black Forest (efa-bw.de for bus, bahn.com for rail). A trip from Freiburg to Schiltach takes 1½ hours by train (US$27). Europcar and Avis have Freiburg offices, with rental cars from around US$47 per day.

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Your recommendations

Sleep With views to the summits of Feldberg on one side and Schauinsland on the other, Kirchlehof 11 is a farmhouse in Hofsgrund, a great base for walking and cross-country skiing. Rustic apartments feature balconies and kitchens (00 49 7602 247; kirchlehof.de; Hofsgrund; rooms from US$55). Family-run vineyard Winzer und Obsthof Roser 12 is a quiet retreat 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of the medieval town of Gengenbach. Light floods the country-style rooms and apartments. Sample home-grown wine and schnapps on the patio (00 49 7803 3723; winzerhofroser.de; Einachstrasse 15, Gengenbach; rooms from US$71). Rosemarie and Ulrich continue the tradition of 19 generations at the 16th-century Weysses Rössle 13 inn, in the village of Schiltach. Countrified rooms are decorated with rosewood and floral fabrics, plus there’s a good beamed restaurant (00 49 7836 387; weysses-roessle.de, in German; Schenkenzeller Strasse 42, Schiltach; rooms from US$95). 102

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A ‘Modern’ room at Hotel Schwarzwälder Hof

At Hotel Schwarzwälder Hof 14 a wrought-iron staircase sweeps up to clean-lined rooms decorated in chalk whites and chocolate browns. Some have views of the Old Town (00 49 761 38030; schwarzwaelder-hof.eu; Herrenstrasse 43, Freiburg im Breisgau; rooms from US$125). A haven of style in kitschy Triberg, 400-year-old Parkhotel Wehrle 15 has hosted Napoleon and Hemingway. Rooms fuse the contemporary with 19th-century Biedermeier elegance. The spa has a starlit ice chamber and underwater music in the pool (00 49 7722 86020; parkhotelwehrle.com; Gartenstrasse 24, Triberg; rooms from US$205).

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Lonely Planet forum users rate the Münsterplatz food market in Freiburg. The stalls gather in the square around the city’s cathedral, and are at their most numerous and varied on a Saturday. For just about the cheapest meal in town, go for the wurst-in-a-bun, topped with fried onions – a Freiburg tradition (freiburg-schwarzwald.de/ freiburgermuenstermarkt.htm; 7.30am-1pm Mon-Fri, to 1.30pm Sat). LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN Forum users also recommend Schauinsland peak for tremendous vistas over the Rhine Valley and the Alps from the lookout tower atop the 1,286m summit, whose name in German means, appropriately enough, ‘look into the country’. The two-mile Schauinslandbahn cable car is a speedy way to reach the Black Forest highlands, and begins just south of Freiburg (bergweltschauinsland.de; Bohrerstrasse 11, Horben; 9am-5pm, to 6pm Jul-Sep; US$11).

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WINE/WEIN/VIN For a cross-border excursion, Breisach gets a nod from Lonely Planet forum users. The Rhine separates the town of cobbled streets and candycoloured houses from NeufBrisach on the French side, complete with a star-shaped fortress from master architect Vauban. Wine is king on both sides of the frontier, especially during the Breisach Wine Festival held on the last weekend in August (breisach.de).

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FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet’s Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest (US$20) has a chapter on the Black Forest region, which you can also download from lonelyplanet.com (US$5). For more information, visit blackforest-tourism.com or tourismus-bw.de. The village of Gengenbach appeared in the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, standing in for Düsseldorf.

PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY, SHUTTERSTOCK, 123RF

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Fusing commerce and culture between points further north and west in modernday China, Laos and Myanmar, Chiang Mai is among Thailand’s largest cities, though it retains the charm of a small town. WHY GO? Snuggled in the foothills of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a sanctuary of sorts with a refreshing combination of city accoutrements and country sensibilities. A southern slice of the great Himalayan Mountain range and a laid-back cultural capital are what entices visitors.

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Chiang Mai,

Thailand

WHAT IS THERE TO DO: The city is loved for its Lanna characteristics, its quaint temples, and its surrounding mountains with legendary mystical attributes. Cycling, hiking, elephant trekking, bird watching and river rafting attract those interested in the province’s natural surrounds. LEFT Chiang Mai is known for its exquisite Buddhist architecture RIGHT Catch an elephant show while in the city

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BEST FOR TEMPLES 1 Chiang Mai’s most visited temple, Wat Phra Singh houses the city’s most revered Buddha image, the Phra Singh (Lion Buddha), and has a fine collection of classic Lanna art and architecture. (66-53/814-164; Th Singharat; admission is free though donations are appreciated) BEST FOR HISTORY 2 The Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre offers a fine primer on Chiang Mai’s history. The first floor has an engaging display on northern Thailand while the second floor brings you back to historical Chiang Mai. (66-53/217-793; chiangmaicitymuseum.org; Th Ratwithi; 8.30am-5.30pm, Tue-Sun; adult/child US$2.80/1.20) BEST FOR CONVERSATION 3 Some of the temples in Chiang Mai offer a ‘monk chat’, where a resident monk or novice fields questions from foreigners as a chance to practice their English. Wat Suan Dok has a dedicated room for foreigners to interact with monastic students. (66-53/808-411; Th Suthep; 5-7pm, Mon, Wed & Fri)

Eat & drink

Chiang Mai’s most visited temple, Wat Phra Singh

BEST FOR SHOPPING 4 Chiang Mai’s oldest marketplace, Talat Warorot is technically two multi-storey buildings, but so much activity surrounds these enclosures, it is hard to specify its boundaries. Vendors peddle anything from food and dried produce to clothes and handicraft. (corner of Th Chang Moi and Th Praisani; 6am-5pm daily) BEST FOR CULTURE 5 In the northern outskirts of the city, Tribal Museum houses a collection of costumes, handicrafts, jewellery, ornaments, household utensils, agricultural tools, musical instruments and ceremonial paraphernalia from Thailand’s major hill tribes. (66-53/210-872; off Th Chang Pheauk; 9am-4pm, Mon-Fri; admission free)

Buddhist society-affiliated Tien Sieng Vegetarian Restaurant 6 serves a variety of pre-made vegetarian dishes over rice. Dishes don’t contain meat, garlic or onions but are still tasty – for US$0.60, you get a choice of two dishes. (66-53/206-056; Th Phra Pokklao; 6.30am-5pm) A self-described island in a sea of rice, Amazing Sandwich 7 delivers bread to the wheatdeprived. Expats rank the make-your own sandwiches right up there with sliced bread. (252/3 Th Phra Pokklao; 8.30am-8.30pm; dishes US$3-US$5) Jerusalem Falafel 8 is a lively place to assemble with friends and nosh on a meze platter of falafel, shashlik, hummus and tabouli. Yoghurt, halloumi and feta cheese are homemade here. (66-53/270-208; 35/3 Th Moon Muang; dishes US$3-US$7) One of Chiang Mai’s first urbane eateries, Dalaabaa Bar & Restaurant 9 has aged gracefully into a stylish old friend

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Head to buzzing night markets for cheap shopping and street eats

with subdued lighting washing over orange and red silks. The Thai menu is artful and affordable considering the sophistication factor. (66-53/242-491; 113 Th Bamrungrat; dishes US$4-US$11) Anusan Night Market 10 is a buzzing food market best known for its Thai-Chinese seafood restaurants. The restaurants surround large cluster of tables where each has a section allocated with its own waiters. Some stand-alone stalls have their own prawn holding ponds acting as centerpieces for their menu specialty. (Anusan Night Bazaar, Th Chang Khlan; 6pm-midnight; dishes US$6-$11)

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MINI GUIDE Chiang Mai, Thailand Date

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A glorified guesthouse, Buri Gallery 11 occupies a converted teak building decorated with Lanna handicrafts. The upstairs deluxe rooms are quieter than ground floor rooms, and have internetenabled computers. (66-53/416500; 102 Th Ratchadamnoen; rooms from US$50) Modelled upon a stylised rice village, Banthai Village 12 has 33 rooms, big enough to walk around in without bumping into hard corners. Rooms occupy several Lanna-style terraced houses with generously-sized beds and glass-fronted bathrooms with mini soak-tubs. (66-53/252-789; banthaivillage.com; 19 Soi 3, Th Tha Phae; rooms from US$140) Smart and stylish Thapae Boutique House 13 delivers all the flashpacker standards: a plum bed, bamboo-themed décor, cute bathrooms and breezy outdoor sitting areas. (66-53/285-295; thapaeboutiquehouse.com; 4 Soi 5, Th Tha Phae; rooms from US$25) An anomaly in Chiang Mai, DusitD2 Chiang Mai 14 is the hotel version of an urban hipster fuelled by funky cocktails and 104

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121 156 160 12 42 118 172 Wat Pan 158 Ping District Offices Soi 5 Wat Dok 142 137 32 Wat U Mong Klang Wiang Euang 98 Wat U 198 Th Inthawarorot 65 Sai Kham 135 95 25 148 Pratu 86 140 Wat Chai 73 Wat Duang Di 24 Tha Phae 144 Phra Kiat 8 70 91 146 3 52 102 47 110 94 167 109 58 66 174 e Wat Th Ratchadamnoen 171 2 Th Tha Pha 87 44 Thung Yu Sunday Walking 139 31 104 56 151 181 28 21 36 192 60 120 Street 161 154 117 116 103 39 106 175 57 Wat 30 191 170 Phan An 76 15 51 63 131 Soi 8 96 119 124 194 99 129 48 157 Soi 2 33 Th Ratchamankha i2 So 22 9 7 Wat Loi Wat Phra 177 Th Lo Wat Meun Khraw 11 Jao Mengrai i Kroh 34 Ngoen Kong 197132 Wat Phan 80 Tawng Soi 5 145 6 7 29 Soi 49 59 64 105 16 Th Ratwithi 23 27

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GETTING THERE SilkAir flies direct from Singapore Changi Airport to Chiang Mai International Airport (about three hours, from US$435), while Air Asia flies direct from Kuala Lumpur (about two and a half hours, from US$230)

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WHEN TO GO Most visitors will find the weather in Chiang Mai to be most enjoyable during the cool season, November to February. From March to June, Chiang Mai experiences its hottest season when temperatures can be brutal and green forests become dry and brown. The annual monsoons usually last from June to October.

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More recommendations

Chiang Mai’s exalted river is the Mae Ping, which starts in the mountains of Chiang Dao and winds through the highlands to the fertile Mae Sa Valley. Mae Ping River Cruises offer daytime cruises in roofed long-tail boats to explore this waterway. (66-53/274822; maepingrivercruise.com; Wat Chaimongkhon, Th Charoen Prathet; US$14 for a two hour boat ride)

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Stay at the luxurious Four Seasons Chiang Mai

pulsating lounge music. The rooms are more functional than fashionable. There’s a top-floor fitness room with a view of Doi Suthep. (66-53/999-999; dusit.com; 100 Th Chang Khlan; rooms from US$250) Four Seasons Chiang Mai, 15 . the province’s first premier destination resort, features vaulted pavilion suites and residences spread over eight hectares of landscaped gardens and rice terraces. The resort is north of the city and includes a cooking school, an award-winning spa, a swimming pool and tennis courts. (66-53/298181; fourseasons.com/chiangmai; Th Mae Rim-Samoeng Kao; rooms from US$590)

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An old-school spot, John’s

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triangular wedge of Th Ratchamankha and Soi 2 with neon and beer bellies. Head to the roof deck where you and your drinking buddies can take turns playing ‘beer norng’ – a variation of the Thai tradition where the youngest of the group has to make sure everyone’s mug is always full. (Th Moon Muang) SIDE TRIP The Chiang Dao Caves are located 72 km north of Chiang Mai city along the way to Fang and Tha Ton. The expansive cave complex is thought to extend for

Take a leisurely cruise down the Mae Ping

10-14km into Doi Chiang Dao Mountain. Five interconnected caverns are open to the public (admission US$0.60). The initial segment, Tham Phra Non, is illuminated and can be explored on one’s own. It contains several religious shrines, which are regarded as holy meditation sites. FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet’s Thailand Travel Guide (US$19) has a chapter on Chiang Mai, which you can also download from lonelyplanet. com (US$5). For more info, visit tourismthailand.org.

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM: CHINA WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPHS: TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND; 123RF; MARKUS GORTZ

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WHY GO? An imperial capital for 1,600 years, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul is joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. Its mosques, churches, markets and cuisine have timeless appeal.

WHEN TO GO Visit April to May or September to October, when temperatures are moderate. It’s steamy in July and August, while snow is common in winter. Room rates can be up to 50 per cent cheaper from October to March (Christmas period aside). TYPICAL COSTS l Slice of Black Forest gateau £3 l Mid-range meal £10-£25 l Mid-range hotel from £70 l High-end hotel from £130

HOW TO GO

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Istanbul,

Turkey

Turkish Airlines flies direct from major Asian cities including Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo, to Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport. Singapore Airlines also offers direct flights from Singapore to Istanbul, while those departing from Kuala Lumpur can fly direct with Malaysia Airlines.

LEFT Bag a bargain, such as a narghile (right), at the vast Grand Bazaar

See

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BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE 1 Built as a church by Emperor Justinian in AD537, then used as a mosque under the Ottomans, Aya Sofya is the pinnacle of Byzantine architecture and Istanbul’s most famous monument. Now a museum, its interior contains a soaring domed ceiling and rich mosaics. (00 90 212 522 0989; Aya Sofya Square; closed Mon; US$14).

Eat & drink

On the shores of the Bosphorus, Yeniköy is a popular summer resort

BEST FOR HISTORY 2 Home to the Ottoman sultans for 400 years, the Topkapi Palace is bursting with treasures. There’s also a harem where the sultan, his wives and concubines lived – it’s an extra US$10 to visit (00 90 212 512 0480; topkapisarayi. gov.tr; Babihümayun Caddesi; 9am-5pm, closed Tues; US$14).

BEST FOR BOAT TRIPS 4 Eminönü quay near the Galata Bridge is the starting point for trips north up the Bosphorus, past splendid palaces, the twin fortresses of Europe and Asia, and the Ottoman summer resort of Yeniköy. The full trip to Anadolu Kavagı takes 1½ hours one-way (US$10), but there also are shorter trips available (ido.com.tr).

BEST FOR BROWSING 3 The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarsı) is a covered city all on its own, with over 4,000 shops selling everything from jewellery to old books. Come prepared for hard-sells and endless cups of tea (9am-7pm Mon-Sat).

BEST FOR WANDERING 5 Centred on the boulevard of Istiklal Caddesi, the district of Beyoglu was Istanbul’s smart, Europeanised suburb in the late 19th century. Today it’s the heart of modern Istanbul, with shops, galleries, restaurants and bars.

Çiya Sofrasi 6 on the Asian side is one of the city’s best lokantas – a style of Turkish restaurant serving ready-made food. The self-service meze is delicious, and there are plentiful vegetarian choices. Try the stew of apricots, chestnuts and lamb (00 90 216 330 3190; ciya.com. tr; Güneslibahçe Sokak 43; 11.30am10pm; portions US$4-US$8). Every morning, chefs at Zübeyir Ocakbası 7 prepare quality meats to be grilled over copper-hooded barbecues: spicy chicken wings, flavoursome ribs and lamb sıs kebaps. Be sure to book (00 90 212 293 3951; Bekar Sokak 28; 12pm-12am; US$6-US$14). Behind the Karaköy Fish Market is Tarihi Karaköy Balık Lokantası 8 , one of the few old-style fish restaurants left on the Golden Horn. Top-class, perfectly prepared yet affordable dishes include a great fish soup (00 90 212 251 1371; Kardesim Sokak 30, Karaköy; noon-4pm Mon-Sat; mains from US$14). There’s a set four-course daily

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Cooking Alaturka serves Anatolian food and runs cookery classes

changing menu at Cooking Alaturka 9 . Favourite dishes include Circassian chicken salad with walnuts, and quince stewed in syrup (00 90 212 458 5919; cookingalaturka.com; Akbiyik Caddesi 72a; lunch Mon-Sat, dinner by reservation; menu US$27). One of the best rooftop bars in Beyoglu, Mikla 10 in the Marmara Pera hotel has views over the Old City. After a dry martini, stay for the modern Med cuisine (00 90 212 293 5656; themarmarahotels.com; Mesrutiyet Caddesi 167-185; 12pm-2am; mains US$24-US$39).

TURN OVER FOR MAP AND NUMBER LOCATIONS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

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MINI GUIDE Istanbul, Turkey

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FIND YOUR WAY The historic centre of Sultanahmet is walkable. To find out about the city’s metro, bus and tram services, visit istanbul-ulasim. com.tr and iett.gov.tr. A yellow taxi across the Golden Horn costs around US$9.50 in daytime but check the meter is working first.

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TYPICAL COSTS • A narghile pipe from US$32 • Mid-range meal US$11 • Mid-range hotel from US$110 • High-end hotel from US$280

Your recommendations

Expect pale lemon walls and polished wooden floors in the small rooms at Hanedan Hotel. 11 A roof terrace overlooks the sea and Aya Sofya (00 90 212 516 4869; hanedanhotel.com; Adliye sokak 3, Sultanahmet; from US$55). Roughly translated, Dersaadet Oteli 12 means ‘The Place of Happiness’. In a restored 19th-century Ottoman wooden house, the interior has painted ceilings and custom-designed wooden furniture. The roof terrace has Sea of Marmara and Blue Mosque views (00 90 212 458 0760; dersaadethotel.com; Kapıagası Sokak 5, Küçük Aya Sofya; from US$110). Located in the bohemian Beyoglu district, in a wooden building dating from 1842, the Anemon Galata 13 has been almost completely rebuilt inside, with a classical foyer and modern rooftop bar-restaurant. Rooms have ornate painted ceilings, king-size beds and marble basins in the bathrooms (00 90 212 293 2343; anemonhotels.com; cnr Galata Meydani and Büyükhendek Caddesi, Karaköy; from US$125).

ISTANBUL RIVIERA

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After a day’s sightseeing, soak in the views from Dersaadet Oteli

The enticing garden suites at Hotel Empress Zoe 14 overlook a flower-filled courtyard where breakfast is served in warm weather. The rooftop loungeterrace has excellent views (00 90 212 518 2504; emzoe.com; Akbıyık Caddesi 4/1, Sultanhamet; from US$166, but tiny rooms are discounted from US$80). At the Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus 15 , service is exemplary and the setting on the Bosphorus, incorporating an Ottoman guesthouse, is magical. The outdoor pool overlooks the strait that separates Europe from Asia (00 90 212 381 4000; fourseasons.com; Çıragan Caddesi 28, Besiktas; from US$595).

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

neighbourhood in Istanbul, located on the Bosphorus, where one can find many nice (and small) cafés and restaurants, book stands, and stalls selling delicious baked potatoes stuffed with different kinds of vegetables and sauces. Try them topped with lemon-mayonnaise sauce. Or enjoy a cold beer with the view of the bridge that connects the two parts of Istanbul. A romantic experience, especially at night! Charbel Torbay ISLAND ESCAPE For a great day away from the city, take the scenic ferry ride to the Princes’ Islands (Kızıl Adalar) in the bay. We stopped at Büyükada, a lovely traffic-free island, with a picturesque town and forested interior. A horse and carriage ride takes you round the island, before stopping off for a meal and people-watching in the town square (ido.com.tr; departs Kabatas dock; 1¾ hours; US$2). Jill Hanlon

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SULTAN’S GLORY Lonely Planet forum users (lonelyplanet.com) rate the Blue Mosque, also called the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Completed in 1616, this grand and perfectly proportioned mosque is named after its imperial sponsor, as well as the tens of thousands of blue tiles covering it. Numbers of non-worshippers are controlled to preserve the sacred atmosphere (00 90 212 518 1319; closed to visitors during prayer times; donation requested).

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FIND OUT MORE The newly updated Lonely Planet Istanbul City Guide (US$20) is a comprehensive guide to the city. For a pocketsized guide, Lonely Planet’s Istanbul Encounter (US$12) is ideal. Istanbul is the setting for My Name is Red – a 16thcentury murder mystery by Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk – and the evocative Inspector Ikmen series of novels by Barbara Nadel.

PHOTOGRAPHS: ALAMY, PHOTOLIBRARY

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WHY GO? You might think Paris would put Lyon in the shade – not a bit. Outstanding art museums and a dynamic cultural life lend this city a sophisticated air, while you can find an earthy quality in its bouchons (no-nonsense bistros) and traboules (hidden passageways).

WHEN TO GO As the capital of a wine region, it’s no surprise Lyon has mild winters and warm summers. Go in June or July for Les Nuits de Fourvière, with open-air concerts on Fourvière Hill (nuits-de-fourviere.org).

HOW TO GO

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Lyon,

France

The Saint-Exupéry International Airport is located 20 km east of Lyon, and serves as a base for domestic and international flights. Fly there from major Asian cities with Air France, with a stopover in a nearby European city like Paris or Lille. From Paris or Lille, it is also possible to take a train (5 hours) to Lyon.

LEFT Alfresco dining in atmospheric Old Lyon. RIGHT A stone lion from a building on Rue Juiverie

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BEST FOR STROLLING 1 The traboules and cobblestoned streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) invite wandering, with medieval and Renaissance houses on Rue du Bœuf, Rue St-Jean and Rue des Trois Maries. Look out for gargoyles along Rue Juiverie, home to the Jewish community in the Middle Ages. BEST FOR VIEWS 2 The Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière crowns Fourvière Hill and offers a mesmerising city view. It’s also a great example of enthusiastically embellished late-19th-century architecture (00 33 478 258619; fourviere.org; 7am-7pm; free entry; tours US$3-US$6). BEST FOR ART 3 The Musée des Beaux-Arts on Lyon’s Presqu’île (peninsula) showcases sculptures and paintings from every period of European art, including works by Cranach, Rubens, Monet and Matisse. The cloister garden is an ideal picnic spot (00 33 472 101740; mba-lyon.fr; 20 Place des Terreaux; closed Tue; US$10).

Eat & drink

The ornate Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière overlooks the city

BEST FOR SHOPPING 4 Les Halles de Lyon is the city’s legendary indoor food market. Buy St Marcellin cheese from cheesemonger Mère Richard, or Jésus de Lyon sausage from butcher Collette Sibilia (102 Cours de Lafayette; 7am-12pm, 3pm 7pm Tues-Sat, 7am-12pm Sun). BEST FOR CINEMA 5 Visit cinema’s glorious beginnings at the Musée Lumière, in the art nouveau home of Antoine Lumière. The first reels of the first ever motion picture were shot here in 1895. Today, classic films are screened (00 33 478 781895; institut-lumiere.org; 25 Rue du Premier Film; Tue-Sun; US$8).

Café des Fédérations 6 is one of Lyon’s best-known bouchons. The caviar de la croix rousse (lentils in a creamy sauce) is a must, and reservations are vital (00 33 478 282600; lesfedeslyon.com, in French; 8 Rue Major Martin; lunch and dinner Mon-Sat; four-course menu from US$27). A few years ago, chef Jean-Paul Lacombe made the surprising decision to turn his double Michelin-starred restaurant into a more accessible venue. The result, Brasserie Léon de Lyon 7 , has similar cuisine (such as tournedos of cod with lemon confit), but is more affordable (00 33 472 101112; leondelyon.com; 1 Rue Pléney; lunch and dinner; three-course menu US$32). La Cave d’à Côté 8 is a wine bar furnished like a gentlemen’s club. The themed evenings must be booked, and there’s a wide selection of regional wine on offer (00 33 478 283146; cave-vin-lyon. com; 7 Rue Pléney; themed wine tastings from US$41).

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Café des Fédérations serves local classics in a historic setting

At Thomas 9 you can enjoy formal dining in the restaurant or eat in the tapas-inspired wine bar (00 33 472 560476; restaurantthomas.com, in French; 3 & 6 Rue Laurencin; closed Sat & Sun; mains £18-£23, four-course menu US$57). Paul Bocuse 10 has held three Michelin stars since 1965. Located in the northern suburbs, famous dishes include a truffle soup invented for the French president (00 33 472 429090; bocuse.fr; L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, 40 Rue de la Plage; lunch and dinner; mains around US$71, menus from US$180).

TURN OVER FOR MAP AND NUMBER LOCATIONS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

107


MINI GUIDE Lyon, France

Getting around

See

Eat & drink

Sleep

FIND YOUR WAY Public transport (buses, trams, a metro and two funiculars linking Vieux Lyon to Fourvière/St-Just) is run by TCL (00 33 820 427000; tcl. fr; day ticket US$6). Taxis hover at both train stations, or call Allo Taxi (00 33 478 282323) or Taxis Lyonnais (00 33 478 268181).

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TYPICAL COSTS • Bottle of Côtes-du-Rhône US$7 • Mid-range meal around US$40 • Mid-range hotel from US$160 • High-end hotel from US$255

Your recommendations

The fantastic-value Hôtel de Paris 11 is set in a 19th-century bourgeois building in Lyon’s shop-packed heart. Some rooms sport retro 1970s decor (00 33 478 280095; hoteldeparis-lyon. com; 16 Rue de la Platière, Presqu’île; from US$71). With a dash of old-fashioned charm and chivalry, the Hôtel du Simplon 12 is enchanting. A loyal clientele seeks out its 37 rooms year after year (00 33 478 374100; hoteldusimplon.com; 11 Rue Duhamel; from US$110). There is a refreshingly different feel to Collège Hôtel 13 . After the reception area, which is decked out in warm, cosy ochre tones, the white minimalism of the bedrooms is dazzling. Enjoy breakfast on your balcony, or in the breakfast room decorated like an old-fashioned classroom. A roof-terrace garden is an added bonus (00 33 472 100505; college-hotel.com; 5 Place Saint-Paul; from US$160). In business since 1895 but recently redesigned from top to toe, Le Royal 14 gives its guests stylish salons, an unusual

16 QUEEN OF TARTINES

Century-old Le Royal has received a thoroughly modern makeover

open-plan kitchen, and the best in fabrics and furnishings. Rates vary wildly depending on date and availability (00 33 478 375731; lyonhotelleroyal.com; 20 Place Bellecour; from US$260). Four 14th- to 17th-century houses wrapped around a Vieux Lyon traboule make the Cour de Loges 15 an exquisite place to stay. Italianate loggias and spiral staircases in the public areas lead to individually designed rooms mixing bathroom fittings from Philippe Starck with elaborate headboards and historical features such as beamed ceilings (00 33 472 774444; courdesloges.com; 2-8 Rue du Bœuf; from US$330).

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

L’Epicerie-Bistrot à Tartines is a delightful little restaurant, which serves a variety of delicious ‘tartines’ (open sandwiches on toasted bread). Furnished with an old stove, various vintage knick-knacks adorn the walls and the place has a very relaxed, retro feel. The staff are extremely friendly and it’s definitely worth saving room for dessert (2 Rue de la Monnaie). Emma Handford

17 BOUCHON MENU

Supposedly the oldest ‘bouchon’ in Lyon, Café Comptoir Abel does not disappoint: salade lyonnaise (with bacon and poached egg), quenelles de brochet (fish dumplings), black pudding with apple and various local meat specialities all feature on the menu. A visit to Abel promises to be a true Lyonnais experience (00 33 4 78 37 46 18; cafecomptoirabel.fr; 25 Rue Guynemer; closed Sun; mains US$17-US$32). Claire Brook

RESISTANCE MUSEUM Founded by former World War II French Resistance members, in the Gestapo’s old headquarters, the Centre d’Histoire de La Résistance et de la Déportation helps you to understand Lyon’s recent history and is very moving. Temporary exhibits often cover more contemporary human rights issues (00 33 4 78 72 23 11; chrd. lyon.fr; 14 Avenue Berthelot; Wed-Sun; US$6). Isabel Nicholson

18

FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet’s France guidebook (US$25) has a comprehensive chapter on Lyon and the Rhône Valley. You can also download it at lonelyplanet.com (US$5). Watch 1980 film A Week’s Vacation by Bertrand Tavernier to see Lyon schoolteacher Laurence Cuers wander around town, taking a week off from school and her daily life.

PHOTOGRAPHS: 4 CORNERS, ALAMY

Sleep

108

Essentials


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Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic, multi-ethnic population. WHY GO? Melbourne, like its famed city laneways, boasts many layers. Brainy and industrious, imaginative and creative; cool and cliquey, welcoming and generous; resolutely urbane and irrevocably suburban: Melbourne’s contradictions are worth uncovering.

WHAT IS THERE TO DO:

MINI GUIDE Sep/Oct 2010

Melbourne,

Australia

Melbourne is a city that’s prolific in architecture, performances, live music and visual arts. It is also sporty and outdoorsy, with a wealth of wonderful parks, along with stunning beaches and bushland in close proximity. It is also worth taking time to explore a few inner city neighbourhoods to see what makes Melbournians tick. LEFT The mesmerising Southbank Melbourne skyline RIGHT Cafe culture is big in Melbourne

See

Tear out page here then fold along the dotted lines

BEST FOR MARKETING 1 With over 600 stalls, Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and has been on site for more than 130 years. Go there for a wide range of fresh produce. (61-3/9320-5822; qvm.com.au; 513 Elizabeth Street; 6am-2pm Tue & Thu, 6am-6pm Fri, 6am-3pm Sat, 9am-4pm Sun) BEST FOR NATURE 2 The city disappears east of Spring St, giving way to Melbourne’s beautiful backyard, Fitzroy Gardens. Stately avenues lined with English elms, flowerbeds, expansive lawns and strange fountains are just a short stroll from town. (Between Wellington Parade, Clarendon, Lansdowne and Albert Streets) BEST FOR KIDS 3 In the Melbourne Aquarium, rays, sharks and more cruise around a giant tank. Talks and kids activities run all weekend. (61-3/1300-882-392; melbourneaquarium.com.au; corner of Queenswharf Road and King Street; 9.30am-9pm Jan, to 6pm Feb-Dec; adult/child/family US$22/13/61)

Eat & drink

Shop for fresh local produce at Queen Victoria Market

BEST FOR LIGHTING UP 4 The City Lights Project is a public, non-profit art space with lightboxes installed in a small alcove. Local and international artists regularly make use of the illuminated mini-galleries. (61-3/9663-0442; citylightsproject. com; Centre Place & Hosier Lane) BEST FOR CHURCH 5 A fine example of Gothic Revival architecture, St Patrick’s Cathedral has an imposing bluestone exterior. Inside are several tones of bells and ornate stained-glass windows. (61-3/96622233; melbourne.catholic.org.au/ cathedral; corner of Gisborne Street and Cathedral Place; 8am-6pm daily, closes at noon on public holidays)

Melbourne’s favoured spot for occasion dining, Vue de Monde 6 is set in a 19th century barrister’s chamber and is starkly luxe. This is French and Modern Australian cuisine, degustation dining with a capital D. (61-3/9691-3888; vuedemonde.com.au; 430 Little Collins Street; lunch & dinner Tue-Fri, dinner Sat; lunch/dinner menu gourmand from US$87/131) Laksa Me 7 is home to some great Malaysian grub, and an eccentric interior. Laksa is king here, but there are also some out-of-theordinary entrée options like Chinese pastry triangles of daikon, yam bean and chive. (61-3/96399885; laksame.com; Shop 1, 16 Liverpool Street; lunch & dinner Mon-Fri, dinner Sat & Sun; mains US$8.70-12.20) Russian flavours infuse the lovingly prepared breakfast and lunch dishes at Babka Bakery Café, 8 and the heady aromas of cinnamon and freshly baked bread makes even just a coffee worth queuing for. (61-3/9416-0091; 358

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Dine at Melbourne’s favoured dining spot, Vue de Monde

Brunswick Street; breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; mains US$7-14) With a drink list to make your liver quiver, Gin Palace 9 is the perfect place to grab a soft couch or secluded alcove, sip, and take it slow. Martinis here are legendary and it’s open very late most nights. (61-3/9654-0533; 190 Little Collins Street; 4pm-late) Take home or sample the de jour drops by the glass from the wall of local and international wines at City Wine Shop 10 . You can also buy by the bottle. Counter meals such as crab cakes and goat’s cheese omelette demand you make a night of it. (61-3/96546657; 159 Spring Street; 7am-late)

TURN OVER FOR MAP AND NUMBER LOCATIONS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

109


MINI GUIDE Melbourne, Australia

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WHEN TO GO Warm summer days and nights attract the crowds from December to February, Melbourne’s busiest times for tourism. Autumn brings mild, still days with the state’s gardens and parks bearing all the tints of a European autumn. June and July are the coldest months.

Fitzroy St

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More recommendations National Gallery of Victoria

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GETTING THERE Air Asia, Emirates, Jetstar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Singapore Airlines fly direct to Melbourne from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (about eight hours, from US$585 return).

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The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Australia houses an extensive collection of Australian paintings, decorative arts, photography, prints, drawings, sculpture, fashion, textiles and jewellery. (61-3/86202222; ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvaustralia; Federation Square; 10am-5pm Tue-Sun; admission to NGV collection is free but fees may apply to special exhibitions)

16

The opulent Hotel Windsor

Crown Tower’s ‘diffusion line’ hotel, Crown Promenade 14 , is linked to the mother ship by an air bridge. It is much more laid-back than the Towers and offers large, modern and gently masculine rooms with luxurious bathrooms, big windows, flat screens and Sony Playstations. (61-3/9292-6688; crownpromenade.com.au; 8 Whiteman Street; from US$215) Guestrooms at the Sofitel 15 start on the 36th floor so you’re guaranteed views that will make you giddy. Corner rooms have double the panorama. The rooms are opulent rather than minimal, and more up-to-date than many other five-star stays. (61-3/96500000; sofitelmelbourne.com.au; 25 Collins Street; from US$235)

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

At Bar Lourinha, Matt 17 McConnel’s wonderful northern Spanish-Portuguese specialties have the swagger and honesty of an Iberian shepherd, but with a metropolitan touch. (61-3/9663-7890; barlourinha. com.au; 37 Little Collins Street; tapas US$7.80-13; lunch & dinner Mon-Fri, Sat dinner) SIDE TRIP An easily-accessible national park in the area around Melbourne is the Dandenong Ranges National Park, just 35km from the city. European settlers planted deciduous oaks,

Cycle amongst the lush greenery of Dandenong Ranges

elms and poplars, and now the landscape is a patchwork of exotic and native flora, making for fantastic day walks among towering trees. Visit parkweb.vic. gov.au for more information. FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet’s Melbourne & Victoria City Guide (US$14) is a one-stop shop for information. The pared-down Melbourne Encounter Guide (US$8.40) is ideal for quick trips. The city’s tourism office also provides information on its website, visitmelbourne.com.

WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM: DONNA WHEELER; JOCELYN HAREWOOD; CATH LANIGAN; ROWAN MCKINNON PHOTOGRAPHS: VISIONS OF VICTORIA; HOTEL WINDSOR; 123RF

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Australia’s most famous and grandest hotel, Hotel Windsor 11 is a five-star example of Marvellous-Melbourne-era opulence. It exudes old-fashioned luxury; think walk-in wardrobes, large marble bathrooms and high ceilings. (61-3/9633-6000; thehotelwindsor.com.au; 111 Spring Street; from US$230) The ultimate in like-a-local living, the Majorca Apartment 401 12 is housed in one of the city’s loveliest Art Deco building and watches over a bustling vortex of laneways. It is stylishly furnished with timber floorboards and huge windows. Minimum two nights stay. (61-3/9428-8104; apartment401.com.au; 258 Flinders Lane; from US$175) With its conservative appearance, you’d never guess this new kid on the block is promoting itself as a ‘green’ hotel. Alto Hotel on Bourke 13 is fitted with water-saving showers, energyefficient light globes and doubleglazed windows that open. (61-3/9606-0585; altohotel.com.au; 636 Bourke Street; rooms from US$120, apartments from US$140)

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Getting around

CENTRAL MELBOURNE


PRIZE DRAW

WIN 3 DAYS/ 2 NIGHTS STAY* AT TOWER CLUB AT LEBUA TYPICAL COSTS l Slice of Black Forest gateau £3 l Mid-range meal £10-£25 l Mid-range hotel from £70 l High-end hotel from £130

THE PRIZE

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HOW TO ENTER

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, simply fill in your details on the entry form and send it to: Lonely Planet Asia September/ October 2010, 3 Loyang Way Singapore 508719. Alternatively you can email lpcontests@ regentmedia.sg, titled Lonely Planet Asia September/October 2010 – TOWER CLUB AT LEBUA Promotion with your full name, ID number, contact number and address. Competition closes 31 October at 11.59pm. Terms and conditions apply.

PRIZE DRAW ENTRY FORM For your chance to win this fantastic prize, simply fill in your details and post this form to: Lonely Planet Asia SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010, 3 Loyang Way Singapore 508719 Title

First name

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Address

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Regent Media Pte Ltd may contact you with details of our products and services or to undertake research. If you prefer not to receive such information from any of these companies by post or phone, please tick this box . * Please include your email address on your entry if you prefer to receive such information by email. We may occasionally pass your details on to carefully selected companies whose products and services we feel may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive such information by post or phone, please tick this box .

Terms & Conditions. This prize does not include air flight tickets to Bangkok, Thailand. This promotion is open to all except staff of Regent Media and sponsor. Prizes must be taken as provided and are not transferable or exchangeable for cash.

Winners will be notified by post, email or phone and prize is to be collected at address stated on notification letter. The management reserves the right to replace items with those of similar value. The management’s decision is final and no further queries will be entertained. Entry information may be used for future marketing and promotional purposes.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

111


PRIZE DRAW

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come with LCD television monitors with free video on demand, exclusive Bvlgari amenities as well as complimentary use of the mini-bar. Guests also enjoy exclusive access to Tower Club Lounge on 52nd floor. The exquisite and eclectic selection of restaurants and bars at the Dome at lebua is a

culinary dream for connoisseurs. Be it Mediterranean, Italian, Asian, Indian or Lebanese, the cuisines and tipples offered by Sirocco, Mezzaluna, Breeze, Skybar, Ocean52 and Distil ensure that you need no longer wonder, where to eat in Bangkok. * Terms & conditions apply

TURN THE PAGE TO FIND OUT HOW TO ENTER 112

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010

PHOTOGRAPH: TOURISM BANGKOK

US$1,050


India Tourism, #01-01 United House 20 Kramat Lane, Singapore 228773 Phone: (65) 6235 3800 • Fax: (65) 6235 8677 Email: info@indiatourism.com.sg


Lonely Planet Magazine Asia - 2010 Sep/Oct