Lonely Planet Sep/Oct 2012

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6 Share! Your quest ions, Insider t ips and holiday snapshot s

POSTCARDS 8 Camlguln Island, Philippines A cemetary bur led under the sea and other Images from your travel

ON THE ROAD 15 A round-up of news from around the world

10 EASY TRIPS 24 Vientiane, Laos Catch a glimpse of a rare phenomenon 24 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Deliberate over works of art 25 Tokyo, Japan Gaze into the world of sumo wrestling

26 Melbourne, Australia Experience the Victorian city's latest cultural hall 27 Central Hawke's Bay, NZ Of festivals, folklore and Immense fun 28 Phuket, Thailand Herbivore times at the Vegetarian Festival 30 Macau, China Take a walk into giant ice sculptures 30 Seychelles It's sensory overload time at Festival Kreol 32 Gnaraloo, Australia Get aqua inted with rare wildlife 32 Cebu, Philippines Beach paradise and an amazing underwater world

FEATURES 36 New Zealand A whirlwin d tou r of Earth's finest landscapes 44 The Perfect Trip: Andalucia Wa lks, arch itecture, beaches and mountain views, plus flamenco and sherry, In southern Spa in

56 Bhutan The achingly beautiful recluse is slowly opening up to the world 66 The City Of Eternal Spring Trujillo, northern Peru's brightest city, Is home to dancing, shamans and an abunda nce of pre-Columbian riches 76 Tasmania Gorgeous and spunky with a hea rt of gold - Tasmania Is a young lady you'd want to know better

INSIDER 86 The Guide Seas ide honeymoons, sunniest cities In t he USA and how to tango

88 Overnight Addresses to check into and deals to check out 92 In Our Case Travel beauty picks and brand happenings worldwide 95 Anything to Declare Author Neil Humpheys observes how Singapore has changed

MINI GUIDES 99 Hanoi This modern capita l sti ll pays reverence to Its past 101 Shanghai Futuristic and traditional make a perfect Eastern match 103 Naples Street life, delicious food and views of Vesuvius 105 Oslo Enjoy the cafe cultu re and Impressive museums 107 Toronto Savou r t he lifestyle in Ca nada's lakeside metropolis 109 Boston New England's intellectual and cultural powerhouse

I 2




1 THE Watching fll~m<'"

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WHERE WE'VE BEEN THIS MONTH Your guide to the destinations we've covered in this iss ue 10 EASY TRIPS


ETERNAL SPRING Swirling skirts and shaman in Trujillo, Peru pSG

o vientiane, laos e lumpur, o e e 8 o e •


Kuala Malaysia TOkyo, Japan Melbourne, Australia central Hawke's Bay, NZ Phuket Thailand Macau, china seychelles Gnaraloo. AustJalia cebu. Philippines


o e o o e Toronto, canada Hanoi, vietnam Shanghai, china Naples, l1aIy OSlo, NoIWay

. . Boston, USA


2. 2' 25 26 27 2. 30 30 32 32

." 99

101 103 105 107 109

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WeAre Culture Vultures Or at least that's what we wish to be after deciding on this issue's stories. We've all seen those books or travel articles: '100 Places to Visit Before They Disappear', 'Top 10 Must See Spots' or even your friend's 'World's To Do List', I'll be the first to admit-no such list exists for me, because hey, even if it's me heading back to my favorite Hong Kong city for the fifth consecutive year, a place never remains the same, not least since its people, establishments and even environment evolves daily. But there's one thing that sticks steadfast: a country's culture. And that's what we tried to convey through our writers' trips to Bhutan (p,56), New Zealand (p,36) and Tasmania (p.76) - glorious page upon page of cultural explosions, manifesting through the city's landscapes, people and food trails, The Lonely Planet Asia team also enjoys a good time of song and dance, which is why we hope you'll enj oy the flavourful stories wrapped around Andalucia (p.44) and Trujillo, Northern Peru - also known as the City of Eternal Spring (p,66), Enjoy!

FROM TOP LEFT ttJe Milky way Galaxy cuts a dramatic trail across the sky and over the Southern Alps from the shores of Lake Tekapo (36); ttJe two-mile-Iong stretch attracts hikers, cyclists and windsurfers, and is one of Tarifa's most popular beaches (pM); ttJe marinera is perfonned to musica criolla and is a flirtation between a man and a woman, who circle each other in a rhythmic courtship (p66)

THIS MONTH'S COVER Bhutan's national treasure: Taktsang Lhakhang

PHOTOGRAPH NatalieJoy Lee, Associate Editor



has contributed to more than 20 Lonely Planet gUidebooks, Including spam (p44)


FLASH PARKER Even though the freeZing cold weather killed both

hiS camera batteries, Shawn parker stili managed to take In New zealand's raw beauty (p36)

SHEENA CHEN Food and travel Journalist Sheena loves satisfying her lust for travel. This Issue she

discovers the natural wonders of Tasmania (p76)

For a swingin g good time on the links, far f rom the c rowds one can expect attop notch championship cou rses, check the golf offerings in Brunei, w here some of Asia's most challenging courses can be played only minutes away from downtown Bandar Seri Begawan, t he lovely capita l offrie ndly Brunei Da russalam, the prospe rous, safe a nd placid a ncient Sultanate nestled on the northern shores of the huge island of Borneo. Wor ld class golf is com pl emented by strong Malay, Islamic and Roya l t rad itions that effortlessly blend he ritage and piety with outwa rd looking modernity, tolerance and genuine hospita lity. In Brunei one can a lso enjoy easily accessi ble p ristine natu re, alongside excell ent meeting fa ci lities, from remote ju ngle lodges to pa latial resort accommodation, allowing discerning travele rs wholesome vacation experie nces at good va lue for money. Natu re , heritage, opulence ... Discover Br unei, t he Green Heart of Borneo.


Jalan Menteri Besar Bandar Seri Begawan BB3910 BRUNEI DARUSSALAM Tel :+ 673 -238 2822 / Fax: +673 路23 828 24

Email : info@brm eitol!"ism.travel


Howtomake this your magazine Send us your questions, pics or insider tips and we'll publish the best. Here are some of the ways you can get in touch with us ... Postcards Wherever you've been this month. send us your photos' and tell us the stories behind them. Email Ipmagazine@ MiniGuides regentmedia.sg Send usyourtips - see pageS lor Chiang Mai. Dubai. ' WE CAN ONLY PR INT Guangzhou. Taipei and POSTCARDS SUPPLIED IN Chicago to LANDSCAPE (RATHER THAN POOTRAID FORMAT. Ipmagazine@ regentmedia.sg - see page 97


MAGAZINE PROMISE Lonely Planet Magazine provides trusted, independent travel advice and information that has been gathered without fear or favour. We aim to provide you with options that cover a range of budgets and we reveal the positive and negative of all locations

we VISIt. Because we believe it is important that our journalists experience first-hand what they're writing about and because you require comprehensive information from every corner of the world, at times it may be necessary for us to seek assistance from travel providers such as tourist boards, airlines, hotels, national parks etc. However, when receiving such assistance, we ensure our editorial integrity and independence are not compromised through the following measures: • by publishing information on all appropriate travel suppliers and not just those who provided us with assistance • by never promising to offer anything in return, such as positive coverage.

You ask us Ilyou've gat a burning question about a holiday destination. etiquette. health or even a souvenir, email asklpmagazine@ regentmedia.sg -see page 86

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EDITORIAL INTERNSHIP Always on the look out for new journeys and challenges? Love to regaleyourfamily and friends with your travel tales and thrills? Lonely Planet Asia magazine is looking for resourceful, responsible and motivated interns with an avid sense of adventure, a strong passion for travelling, and creative flair for writing. If you have a keen interest In publishing, send your resume (with three sample articles) to Ipmagazine@regentmedla.sg

LmelyPl8net Magazine Asia is DJ ~ ished t¥ Regent Media Pte Ltd under licence from BBC fllagazines, a divioion of BBCWcrldwde Ltd, Media Centre, LQ1 Wooo Lane, LondonW12 7TQ, England. 0 2010, BBC Magazines Lim ited. Lonely Planet logo is trademark of Lonety Fianet Pu~ications Ply Ltd and is used under licence. BBC Worldwide owns a 75 por cen t stake in LonelyPlmet AJI ri ghts reserved . RelXoouction in whde cr pat lXoh ib ted withoot pormisoion ,The DJ ~ishers cannot accept responsi b lily for errcr s in advertisem ents, cr ticles, p'l otogrCVl s cr illustrations. BBCWorldwde Ltd is a registered data user wh ose entries in the Data Protection Register contain descriptions of soorces and disclosures of personal data This magazine can be recyded fcr use in newsp~ers and packaging - Dease dispJse of it atyoor local papor collection pJint AJl lXices cwec tatti me ofgdng to lXess. Sing~ cre full annual subscription rate fcr 6 issues S$45; Malaysia ' RM90; Hong Kong HK$336

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Send your pictures ~nd tell us t.he stories behind ~em: ~ emailipmagazlne@regentmedla.sg ~


Camiguin Island, Philippines

Last Light Jt::J::. My Filipino " friendand fellow landscape photography enth usiast invited me for a photo shoot, so I booked a flight and headed down south ofthe Philippines. The Sunken Cemetery was once a typical graveyard, but multiple eruptions from Mount Vulcan in the 18708 buried this part of the island under the sea. l! was only until19S2 thatthe people decided to build a giant cross on top ofthe solidified lava to commemorate the forgotten ones of ~ Camiguin. ~ currently working in singapore, Jose Mari Donaire spent his January chinese New Year holidays this year in southern Philippines.




Send your pictures and t ell us the stories behind them


Lyon, France

Morning sunshine ~ I had the " honourof attending the renowned Fete des Lumieres (Festival of Lights) in Lyon with an artist team representing Singapore. We arrived to grey skies and a drizzle, but when we ventured into Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) the next morning for its weekly Sunday markets, the sky began to clear. The sunshine that morning warmed us greatly, making for a great walk around the markets, as we took in the palette of colours and tastes, and accentuating the already stunning view when we sat down to tuck into oysters and champagne. C'est bon - it ~ was a good day! ~

Inscribed as a UNESCO world Heritage site, Old Lyon mesmerises with its Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

Munich, Europe

Street impressions ~ Mytripto

" Europewas my first going solo, the Contiki tour I signed up for taking us city hopping around Paris, Nice, Monaco, Florence, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam as well as Munich. It was here that I took this shot of a street artist working on his masterpiece, sprawled across the popular Marienplatz -the heart of Munich. Also the location for the famous Glockenspiel clock tower, Marienplatz is a popular tourist destination and I'm glad ~ I had the chance to visit. ~ iI!l Audrey Ng from singapore went to Europe in May 2012 and tries to save up as much as possible to go for overseas trips. Creating works of art at Munich's Marienplatz square.

iI!l Based in singapore, Michelie Tan is thankful for the privilege of travel. The City of Lyon embraced her with open arms last December.




The word -Samaya- is in Sanskrit,. a word that refers to the Inner sanctum of wellbeing, a reflection of peace

and tranquility where one finds refuge, a message conveying tranquility where one finds refuge, a message conveying '1 am with you', This unison is reflected In the personal feel and cozycharacterofThe Samaya, whilst the resort maintains it's private, serene and lavishly appointed character. it has also become

home from home to many. The Samaya Seminyak offers a prime beachfront location of Seminyak, which is also the vibrant playground of choice for Bali's resident fashionista crowd. With spectacular, unobstructed ocean views and arguably the finest view of the town's famous sunset, the resort is the natural choice for romantic couples and honeymooners wishing to escape the bustle of street life while remaining in walking distance of the area's famous boutiques, restaurants and bars. Each ofthe 30 villas has its own lap pool and commands a key location on Seminyak Beach; also available, Just across the street In a separate location, are 22 ultra spacious Samaya Royal Courtyard Villas, all with private lap pools in a tranquil Balinese village setting.

Jalan Laksmana Semlnyak Beach 8361 Bali-Indonesia Phone: +62 361 731149

Fax:+62361731203 Email: info@thesamayabali.com


Send your pictures and t ell us the stones behind them ~ emali lpmagazlne@regentmedia.sg POSTCAR OS !;II':'t

Send your ~ctures and tell us the stones behin d them ~ email ipmagazlne@ragentmedla.sg ~


Batam, Indonesia

Spirit of resilience ~ Thi s i s

" Tanjung Uma, a ce ntury-old fi shin g village w ith houses built o n sti lts ove r the waters. One thing that stru ck me was how happy th e children w ere, all smiles and singing songs even tho ugh they were living in w hat the world would term 'squatte r settlements '. One coul d se nse a feeling of free dom in th e air, despite th e fact that much of th e village is in ruins a nd its infrastructure destroye d . I truly admire the s pirit ofresilience within that hel ps see the m throu gh _ eve ry s ingle day. ~ il!l A freelance travel photographer based in Singapore, Jennifer Teo went to satam in June this year.

~~ ~1~ IVO(;TO I3 E R 2 012



Send your pictures and t ell us the stories behind them


Kerala, India

Fishy business ~ Iwasin the _ Alleppey district when my guide announced excitedly that! must witness 'shagara' - a fishing phenomenon that happens only a few months in a year, usually in June. Apparently, mud banks get formed naturally near the shore during the monsoon season, the oxygen and nutrients released from the mud attracting seafood in glorious abundance and thus causing this heavy . . traffic in the sea! ~

iiE Chef Devagi sanmugam travels widely to share her Asian cuisine expertise, and was in Kerala for 12 days in July 2012.

The beach comes alive with boats unloading fish, fishermen selling their catches and women haggling prices during the shagara season.

Istanbul, Turkey

Living on a prayer ~ Builtin 1560 . . and designed by legendary Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, the Riistem Pasha Mosque was purposefully built on top ofshops in the Eminon ii area ofIstanbul. It might be easy to spot the majestic 'rooftop mosque', butgettingthere may involve a bit of an adventure! Goingwith my instincts I zigzagged through narrow alleys and rows of shops, bumped into a dead end tvvice, before an old man showed me which shady staircase I must ascend to find the mosque. Peacefully quiet, the exquisite blue Izniktiles lining the interior was stunning, and definitely worth the trouble of _ getting there. ~

iiE Based in selangor, Malaysia, s~i Madihah fulfilled her childhood wish of vis~ing 1lJrkey in May this year. 14

~ 'C/



The impressive Rustem Pasha Mosque peeking out above Istanbul's busy shopping streets.



This month . Jaguars in Brazil . City at a glance - Simon Westcott's Melbourne • Black Forest gateau . The real von Trapps . Snails in Vienna . Blind Travel

Spotting the spots in Brazil Glimpsing one of the planet's most elusive creatures is now promised in the Pantanal wetlands Want to see a lion in the wild? Head to Kenya and you'll be fending them off with a rifle butt. Tigers are more tricky, but for many big cat enthusiasts, it is the experience of seeing a jaguar in its natural environment that takes the top feline spot. The world's third-largest cat is so solitary and well-camouflaged that sightings are incredibly rare. So the claim of Charles Munn, head of Latin American adventure travel company SouthWild, that everyone who signs up to his four-day 'Guaranteed Jaguar' camp will see at least one jaguar in the wild is certainly some boast, and one I was intent on testing as I headed to Brazil's Pantanal.

This is the world's largest wetland - 54,000 square miles of savannah, scrubland, floodplains and watervvays, and home to an estimated 5,000 jaguars. On the first day, we started the search by powering up the Three Brothers River in a small motorboat. Yet the jaguars stayed true to their elusive reputation and we had no sightings. There was plenty else to see, however: jabiru storks, hyacinth macaws and black-collared hawks, as well as howler monkeys, giant otters, caimans and capybaras. Still, I was promised jaguars and sure enough, on day two, Latin America's most solitary cat finally showed its spots. We

watched one sitting on the high riverbank, stretching its legs and wandering along the curve ofthe river, before slumping down in a preferable place further along. The next two days brought more sightings, including a jaguar pouncing on a caiman. This is no normal safari: seeing a threatened animal in its natural home, in broad daylight, is a real privilege. -southwild.com IS

tral/el INriI!er and

mouueer for BBe

I News. she lives Lomon.


~ C/


City at a Glance Melbourne

Simon Westcott is the founder and managing director of Mr & Mrs Smith Asia Pacinc. He grew up in London and was educated at Oxford and in the United States, but has made Melbourne and the Victorian Goldnelds home for over 10 years. The former global publisher and director of the Lonely Planet group, Westcott is a regular contributor to online and print travel media, including Travel + Leisure, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and has travelled extensively in Asia, Europe and the Americas.


~ 'C/


The capital ofthe Australian State of Victoria, Melbourne functions as the heart of all business , administrative, cultural and recreational activities. Consisting of 11 suburbs, the city is represented by a dynamic , multi-cultural population, with residents from over 140 nations living together. This harmonious circle is reflected also in Melbourne's physical landscape - sophisticated and slick, yet juxtaposed with edgy and rough sides at the same time. A wonderful city of contrasts, this is where it's entirely possible to lounge at the beach in the morning, have a picnic at the park for tea, before sinking into prolific architecture and catching a live music performance - all in a day.

With a name that offers a nod to the classic naughty-weekend pseudonym, boutique travel specialist Mr & Mrs Smith offers a hand-picked collection of more than 900 stylish hotels around the world. Each property has been personally approved by Smith, and anonymously reviewed by a "tastemaker", Smith's trusted band of movers and shakers in the art, food, music and fashion fields. Luminaries such as chef Raymond Blanc, entertainer Dita Von Teese and actress Sigrid Thornton have all penned intimate accounts oftheir Smith stays, published in Mr & Mrs Smith's award-winning guidebooks and on its website. We ask current resident Simon Westcott to share his hit-list around the Victorian city.

ONTHE ROAD 1. THE CULLEN Taking its cue from the art of Australia's enfant terrible,

the late and great Adam Cullen, The Cullen hotel in fashionable Prahran is lined with original artworks and head-tuming prints. Smart studios boast sinuous sofas, a nifty workspace and compact kitchenettes,

periect for whipping up a meal after shopping at Prahran Market opposite. I love the New York-style burgers and baked cheesecake at downstairs restaurant Gramercy Bistro, and the to-die-for dumplings and duck at neighbouring Hutong.

2. GERTRUDE STREET Melboume excels at the inner-city suburb, close to everything but retaining a neighbourhood chann. Fitzroy suburb is its epitome, and nowhere more

vibrant than Gertrude Street, y.,tjth its eclectic mix of fashion, vintage knick-knacks and fabulous food. For a while, everything was east of Fitzroy artery Brunswick Street, but heading west towards Exhibition Gardens is also now being colonised. My cUlTent favourite is the innovative Casa Ciuccio, from the guys who brought us Bar Lourinha. 3. DRINK

If youlre on Gertrude Street, try your luck at recent accolade-grabber The Everleigh, though you're likely be on 'call-back' with its de rigueur no-reservations policy. Or maybe it's time to leave the intellectual, boho North and head south of the river for more laid-back bayside style. Try the recently re-imagined Circa Bar at the Prince or local hot spot the Albert Park Hotel. The CBD is ground zero of Melbourne drinking right now, with more cocktails per square metre than Manhattan. Just fmd a laneway and follow the lights.


I never tire of going back to Craft on Flinders Lane, for gifts or something wearable or ornamental for myself. Don't be put off by the ICraft'; rather than crocheted quilts or stuffed teddy bears, think cutting-edge jewellery design, collectible ceramics and rotating exhibitions from some of the country's nnest artists and artisans. I hate shopping for clothes, but when I must, I kick up a block to the menswear hub at the top end of Uttle Collins Street, or to local shirtmaker and Japanese fashion importer Andrew Chiodo. 5. SEE

It may be a bit of a bleak and soulless journey down Sturt Street to the glorious old tin shed (and fonner Fosters Brewery) that now houses the Malthouse Theatre, but once there you'll see some of the best contemporary theatre in Australia. Expect both Malthouse-made creations and drama cherry-picked from the nation's independent theatre scene. Come early for dinner and a drink, pop across the courtyard to esoteric and under-visited ACCA for headscratching art installations, or limber up with a Saturday morning dance class at the adjacent Chunky Move studios.


~ 'C/



Snail-pace food

Return of the Kirschtorte Black Forest gateau, the mainstay of any 70s sweet trolley, is making a comeback in its German homeland. Nowhere makes it better than Cafe Schafer in Triberg; our writer met chef Claus Schafer, the heir to the original 1905 recipe, who revealed its secrets:

CREAM & KIRSCH Whip the cream until silky, blend in gelatine and two shots of quality kirsdl . Mine is 56 per cent and from a local distillery.

• ••• • ••• • ••• • ••



CHERRIES Tangy morello cherries offset the

cream's sweetness. The compote needs cherries, sugar, cherry juice and a pindl of cinnamon.

•• •• • LAYERING Spread compote and cream onto the bottom layers of sponge, and press on the top. Drizzle with kirsch, and cool in the fridge.


Kerry christiani lives in the Black Forest and co-wrote Lonely Planet's Munich, Bavaria and the Black Forest gUide.


4 Spread the gateau with cream, then decorate with piped cream, cherries, chocolate shavings and icing sugar.

No tourist Trapp The house of the real Sound of Music family has been turned into a hotel Did you know that there were ten, not seven, von Trapp children? Neither did I until I visited Villa Trapp, the former home of the family who inspired The Sound of Music, which is now a hotel. Beyond the attraction of sleeping in the real Maria's bedroom, this 19th-century mansion turned guesthouse is probably the only place in Salzburg to provide the truth behind the Hollywood legend. 'The children were disappointed by the way the film portrayed their father,' says hotel manager Christopher. 'He was a gentlenatured, music-loving man, who used his whistle as a bit offun; a way of gathe ring the brood in a pre-mobile age.' Maria was indeed a novice nun at the Benedictine abbey ofNonnberg and sent to the von Trapp family as a tutor, but that is where the similarity ends. 'The real Maria was kind but had quite a temper,' says Christopher. 'She taught the family to sing madrigals and saved them from financial ruin by renting out rooms during the Great Depression of the 1930s.' 18

~ 'C/


In that same decade, the musical talent of the Trapp Chamber Choir led them to victory in the 1936 Salzburg Music Festival. Two years later, when the Nazis took over Austria, the von Trapps refused to fly the swastika and sing at Hitler's birthday party. But instead of climbing every mountain to Switzerland, they left for the United States, where their concerts were a success well into the 1950s. Such are the stories guests share over the highly polished breakfast table at Villa Trapp, for this is where The Sound of Music has its home .• villa-trapp.com

Slow Food doesn't get much slower than this - snail caviar hits Viennese menus Andreas Gugumuck stands alongside his snail yard on the outskirts of Vienna and begins to tell me about the long, almost lost, tradition of snail farming in this city. The yard is the size of a basketball court, and sprinkled with half-chomped soup vegetables. Centuries ago, Andreas explains, snails were highly valued as a source of protein among the poor. By the turn of the 20th century, Vienna had become a world capital in snail production. Those halcyon days vanished, however, and snail farming had virtually died out until Andreas decided to pack in his IT job a couple of years back and revive the tradition. Today he produces two types of snails for Austria's tables - Helix pomatia, a variety common in Central Europe that has a gamey taste, and Helix aspersa, the variety most often eaten in France. 'The pomatia emerge from the ground in late March and begin mating,' he explains, casting an eye about. In a stroke ofluck, we discover a threesome. 'The act usually lasts about 12 hours. They lay about 40 or 50 eggs in the earth over about 20 days, and out of the earth emerge about 30 baby snails.' His snails, however, tell only half the story. Andreas also produces a snail caviar by harvesting their pearly white eggs. I tried it at Aubergine, one of Vienna's upmarket restaurants. It is served with Kalbsbeuschel, a Viennese veal offal entree based on sliced lung. It's surprisingly good, with no hint of awkvvard slime. • wienerschnecke.at/fuehrungen.html Anthony Haywood IS based In Germany, and has Just completed a new edition of Lonely Planet's vienna guide.


Tony Giles Tony has visited all theworld's continents independently


travels around the world alone. despite being blind since birth I gotthetravel bugfrom stories my dad told me about histripsw~h the Merchant Navy

Then one of my friends from school started to gOtD gigs and stay in hostels overnight, so I began to go with him. My first trip was to Norwich of all places. I knew travelling as a blind person wouldn't always be easy, but I was brought up with the attitude to be positive . Once my mum

got her head around the factthatshe had a disabled SOil, shewanted to give me as much independence as possible. My travel breakthrough came when I went to study at a univers~y in south carolina

My friends arranged to gata Florida after term finished. Mickey Mouse isn't really my thing, sol decided to go to New Orleans on my own instead. Lots ofpeople

walking through jungle, or through my hearing. I can detect changes in

temperature and space. I'm very aware of energy in my surroundings. If I'm walking along a path and come into an open field, I can detect that the energy has changed and a space has opened up. It's the same if I'm walking through a forest, I can tell that the air has become squeezed, and that the space is a lot thinner. Different cities smell differently. Bangkok has a dirty smell of fumes mixed with incense. That's my vision of a country: the sounds and the smell. So places like Istanbul or Bangkok are great if you're visually impaired .

. . Different cities smell differently. Bangkok has a dirty smell of fumes and incense ~ warned me that it was a dangerous citybut I was determined. It was in New orleans that I became aware of the immensity of what I was doing. 1 got

information from the hostel about the direction ofthe tram-stop I needed for Bourbon Street. I walked out ofthe hostel, and just froze. My whole body shook with panic. But I said to myself, 'This is what you wanted. If you don't want it, go home.' I took a deep breath, turned left, walked down the street and never looked back. My biggest problem is money. In England, the notes are different sizes, but in the States, they're the same. I know that if I get $100 from the bank, it's usually five $20s. As long as I remember what I've spent, I'm OK. I've been short changed in the past - that's just part oftravelling.

I have to rely on the help of strangers while travelling.

People in Turkey were particularly helpful: they'd help me back to the hostel or start up a conversation. Big cities in America are difficult, and I found Morocco quite aggressive. Sometimes the language barrier can make places feel more unfriendly than they are. Being blind can break down

barriers, especially with women - they like the fact I'm not looking at them as sexual objects. PI us, I'm confident and willing to joke about my blindness, which helps once people have got over the shock of seeing a blind person travelling on their own. I almost always travel on my own.

Being blind does mean that I appreciate different things. Obviously, I'm not looking

I like the challenge. I have started to travel with my girlfriend, who's blind too. It's great, but does cause problems - I'm more protective. If I walk into things, I'm not bothered, I just bounce off them. When she walks into things, I have a heart attack!

at the sunset or the beautiful colours ofthe flowers. I appreciate things through my feet instead, like when I'm walking up a mountain, or through my skin, if I'm

seeing the world My way by Tony Giles IS published by Silverwood originals (US$14. Sl CJerwoodboo kscom)


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Tony's travels have taken in New orleans' trams, the feel of a $20 note, the energy of a forest. the scents of Bangkok, and the kindness of strangers in Turkey


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TRIPS Sumo wrestling in Tokyo, icy encounters in Macau, and motor sports mania in Gnaraloo


~ 'C/



Vientiane, Laos WHY GO NOW?

Vientiane exudes an irresistible quiescence, what with its reputation as Asia's most laid-back capital. The cool, dry season in October is an excellent time to visit, especially since the Naga Rocket Festival and Boat Racing Festival will also be taking place. Happening from 30 to 31 October, the festivals promise visitors a dazzling spectacle of music, HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN?

• Air ASia (alraslacom) files direct from Kuala Lumpur's LCCT airport to Wattay International Airport In Laos three times a week. From Singapore, fly direct to Laos via Lao Airlines (Iaoalrllnescom) • Overlooking the scenic Mekong River, Luang Prabang

dance performances, firing of handmade rockets, competitive processions of floats, and more. Be sure to stay for the highlight - spectacular fireballs shooting out from the Mekong River on the last night of the Lao Buddhist Lent. To catch a glimpse of this unusual sighting, make your way to Thaprabath District, Bolikhamxay Province, approximately 60 kilometres east of Vientiane. River Lodge offers 13 stylish and chic rooms that have all been fitted With modern amenities and furnishings The hotel IS also situated within close proximity to a couple of shopping, entertain ment and dining precincts (from US$40, Iua ng-pra ba ng-nver-Iodgecom)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia WHY GO NOW?

A multi-cultural city with a rich heritage and vibrant financial centre, Kuala Lumpur attracts millions of visitors every year to experience its wonderful Malaysian cultures, cuisines, sightseeing attractions, designs and art. From July to September, join Malaysia's capital as they host the 1Malaysia Contemporary Arts Tourism Festival, which showcases the works of established and up-andcoming artists. The contemporary art exhibitions are held at the KL Convention Centre, as well as the lobby of Putrajaya (tourism.govmy).


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• Singapore Airlines (slngaporealrcom), Malaysia Airlines (malayslaalrllnes com), Jetstar lJetstarcom) and Air ASia all cater direct flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur • Hotel Maya IS a five-star accommodation located In the heart of Kuala Lumpur This hotel sports spacIous rooms and sUites with contemporary settings, and offers resort-like spa featuring holistic treatments (from US$100, hotel maya cammy)


Tokyo, Japan WHVGONOW?


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We love Tokyo for its tantalising food, relentless exuberance of energy, and innovative architectures. Take Tokyo Skytree for example: officially opened this March, it stands at a staggering height of 634 metres, also taking the spot of second tallest structure in the world. One of Asia's leading fashion capitals, Tokyo also resonates with colourful cultures and festivals

galore, such as the Grand Sumo Tournament. Happening from 13 to 24 September. two of the six tournaments will take place at Tokyo's Kokugikan in the Ryoguku section of Sumida district, where visitors can witness the battle of the sumo wrestlers, or catch them strolling along the streets in their kimonos and wood clogs. For those who rise early, be

sure to catch sumo players' practice sessions at training


• Fly Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines (sg.jal.com) or All Nippon Airways (ana.co.JP) from Singapore to Nanta InternaTIonal Airport. Air ASia caters flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Haneda Airport

stables such as Tatsunami Stable and Izutsu Stable.

• Just three mnutes walk from JR KJnshl-cho station, Tobu Hotel LevantTokyo IS Idealty 1000ted near rrnjOr sightseeing atlracTIons, sportJng 382luxunous rooms and offenng state of the art faclliues (from US$&l; tobuhotelcoJP).


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10 EASY TRIPS Melbourne excels with its CtJltural edge, especially

with the re-opening of its Hamer Hall

Melbourne, Australia The Victorian capital has recently reopened its refurbished Hamer Hall, on the back of a two-year project that cost a whopping US$142.S million. Intensifying its status as Melbourne's premier concert venue, the 'new' hall features improved acoustics, cutting-edge stage layouts and technology, providing home-grown and international talents a bigger performance platform, while


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audiences will also be able to experience orchestral music by the best musicians worldwide in greater comfort. Further livening up the South bank area are a plethora of new dining establishments, such as Trocadero - the brasserie and bar found along the prime St Kilda Road terrace area, serving up Mediterranean fare with alfresco sittings and a lounge that can accommocate up to 180 at once.


HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN? • Melbourne'sTullarnarine Airport can be reached from Singapore direct with Emirates (emlratescom), Jetstar, Singapore Airlines and Qantas (qantascom) From Kuala Lumpur, fly with Air ASia X, Emirates or Malaysia AIrlines Regular buses run between the

airport and downtown (US$16, skybuscomau) • Located In the picturesque St Kllda diStrict, The Prince hotel Impresses With Its art deeD fa,ade, simple yet stylish communal spaces, and 40 rooms each with unique layouts so no one stay IS ever the same (from US$145, the prince com au)


Central Hawke's Bay District, New Zealand I


With a population of only 13,500, Central Hawke's Bay district located in New Zealand's North Island is like a breath of fresh air Waipukurau, the hub of CHB, settles along the serene Tuki Tuki River, and is honne to the Aero and Gliding Clubs, which hold the annual national aerobatics championships. This town is also a magnet to visitors and backpackers who enjoy honne or farm stays, as well as picturesque views of Ruahine Ranges and hills. From 6 to 9 September, the town will host the annual CHB The Festival, featuring a series of events including art, design and fashion exhibitions, wine and food tasting at selected cafes and vineyards, plus a BBQ workshop that not only provides you with recipes but also focuses on the skills and techniques of barbequing (thefestivai.org.nz).

HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN? • Fly Singapore Airlines from Singapore Changl Airport and Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Auckland Airport, then transit to Hawkes Bay Airport Frorn there, take Bay Xpress (bayxpressconz) buses to Walpukurau along the route that runs between Wellington and Napier via Palrnerston North • Hlneltl Hornestay IS a relatively new house situated on the outskirts ofWalpukuarau, with two double ensulte rooms and wide rural views There IS easy access to local beaches, golf courses and wineries and less than an hour drive frorn Hastings and Napier


variety of local food and wine

Enjoy tra nqu ility in the centrally located boutique hotel, surrounded by the cha rms of the old Melaka. At the end of exploring, relax under the stars with a chilled glass of beer in our lush garden, or book an indulgent spa treatment.

~ ~) hottJpari mrloko Hotel Puri Melaka 114 -118, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka.

Tel: 06 - 282 5588 Fax: 06 - 281 5588 Email: reservations@hotelpuri.com Website: www.hotelpuri.com


Phuket, Thailand WHYGONOW? From 15 to 23 October, Phuket celebrates the bizarre Phuket Vegetarian Festival. While the name Vegetarian Festival may not have you jumping off your

couch in excitement, this herbivorous shindig is much more than meets the eye. In fact, it is the most exciting and idiosyncratic tradition of Phuket province. The origins of the festival are unclear. Legend has it that the festival was brought to Phuket by a wandering Chinese opera 28

~ ".::J

group who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island. In response, the troupe decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and pray to the Nine Emperor Gods to purify the mind and body Upon recovery, a celebration was held in honour of the gods as well as to express their happiness at surviving what was, in the nineteenth century, a fatal illness. During the performances of religious rites at the temples, priests conduct various kinds


of dangerous acts to show the power of their gods and to rid followers of their bad luck. Acts include walking barefoot across a stretch of ground HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN?

• Thai AlrAsla, Tiger Airways (Dgeralrwayscom), SllkAlr (sllkalr com) and Jetstar ASia fly direct to Phuket from Singapore Qatar Airways, AIrAsla and Malaysia AIrlines fly direct to Phuket from Kuala Lumpur

paved with burning charcoal and cutting, striking or piercing parts of the body with sharp objects, among other deathdefying theatrics.

• Set In an exclusive area of Patong, Pacific light Hotel offers comfortable and SpaCIOUS accomrrodatJon for a relaxing holiday The hotel features a tropical landscape to enhance Its warm ambience (US$40, pac Iflcllghthote I com)

88 WAYS TO LOSE YOURSELF Cameron Highlands. Lose you~sl!!:lf in undulating valleys and peaks, in mystical mossy forests, sprawling tea plantations and classic:: strawberry farms. Lose yourself In the mists over the highest point of the highlands", and rediscover yourself again. There are many reasons to run away to the Equatorial Cameron Highl<!lnds. The nighest drive (!Ic::c:e$,s,ible point, the newly renovillted room$; o\'!Ind the best of illlI, the GiveOllwil!IY P"tQge with RM88 di!lily F&B c::redit. Spend it dClily or accumulate to splurge on fabulous meals. 50% of unused credit will be reimbursed upon check: out.


RM88 GI.._ '"cloo... N_ Room., SImo Bo.t Only II Equltorlll Como..n Hbi:hllndl. New renovated rooms with prices starting from RM198++ with RM88 F&B credit. C.111800 881800 or visit www.oqulto.III.CDm/clm Kea Farm, Brlnchan•• 39100 Cameron Hlahlandl, Pahana. MllaYlla. T +60549617771 F +60549613331 E Into@cam,equ.torlal.com



Macau, China WHY GO NOW? Texas hold 'em and slot

machines are the main tourist draw of Macau, but during the summer months, from May to September, the Ice World

exhibition gives another reason to visit the Chinese territory and offers a brief respite from the heat. Now into its second year, the Ice World 2012 is held at CotaiExpo Hall F at The

Venetian Macao. The exhibition, the largest of

HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN? • Tiger Airways files from Singapore Changl Airport to Macau International Airport, while Air ASia caters flights from Kuala Lumpur • The Venetian Macao-ResortHotel pays homage to the


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its kind in Asia, showcases ice sculptures designed and crafted by the Harbin artisans responsible for the much vaunted Harbin Ice Festival. A total of 10,000 ice blocks were used to carve the sculptures which include famous landmarks in Asia, a Magic Maze, and a Fairy tale Forest. The 18,000 square foot hall is divided into 10 thematic zones and is kept at a chilly minus eight degrees Celsius. canals and architecture of Venice Italy with stunning replicas of the city The rooms are luxuriously appointed sUites that start from a generous 755 square feet (from US$300,

venetia nmacao,com)


WHYGONOW? Touted as one of the world's most spectacular places to visit, Seychelles is a famed tourist destination that is renowned for its idyllic tropical beaches and magnificent landscapes. If you have been contemplating a trip to this tropical paradise, there is no better time to visit than this October, during the Festival Kreol. Considered to be the most important event in Seychelles' cultural calendar, Festival Kreol celebrates the Seychellois identity through an array of lively dances,

through vivid colours, flavours, sounds, fragrances and imagery

music, arts, cuisines, crafts

Views, promises to offer VIsitors

and folklore. Held from 25 to 31 October, visitors can expect to revel in all that Seychelles has to offer in just one festival, fully engaging

a luxurious retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of city lIVIng (from US$250, kemplnsklcom)

HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN? • The only international gateway to Seychelles IS the Seychelles International Airport, located on the Island of Mahe From Singapore and Malysla, fly direct to Dubal International Airport, then connect to Seychelles with Emirates • Nestled amid lush greenery and soothing seascapes, Kemplnskl Seychelles Resort, Bale Lazare, with ItS top-of-the line amenities and facilities, coupled with unrivalled scenic



Pack the most p'unch into your extra day in the city! Oakwood's Most Memorable Itineraries around its ser~ced apartments inAsia offer recommendations for places to go and thingsto do, with tips on getting around like localsofthe place Love history and culture? Don't miss the magnificent palaces of Pune1In-between,lunch atVaishali, snacks atKayanl bakery, then dinner and drinks at 11 East Street C3fe

Art lovers in Bangkok wll find a series of galleries in Sukhumvit including a bar with cool drinks, greattapas and interesting art and whffe must-try's are their Flaming Chouri~o and Chickm Ballotine Whether afoodie or art lover, shop-aholic or adventure-seeker, there's a Memorable ltineraryfor exploring the cities of Oakwood U


serviced apartments in Asia Visit www.oakwoodasla.oom/ memorable/itineraries to download for free. To make itmore exciting, oakwood is inviting all travelers to create their own itinerary for a chance to win a complimentary weekend stay in an oakwood serviced apartment in their city simply send a one or DNo-day itinerary in a city where Oakwood is located, with a brief description, tip or recommendation, and corresponding photo of the places mentioned Submit through WNWfacebookcom/oakwoodasia or email pr@oakwoodas1acom Entries will be accepted until Novembff 30,2012 and winners wll be announced on December 17,2012



The .110M Tmswd Xome ill 8c1'-viced ~\'Xlrrmellrs Ilorldcide:"


Gnaraloo, Australia WHY GO NOW?


Located on the western edge of Australia, at the Southern tip of Ningaloo Reel, Gnaraloo Station is famed for its spectacular coastline, wildlife, and fishing. The powerful and gigantic waves make Gnaraloo's coastal stretch one of the top surfing spots on the island, though casual surfers rightly shun thern. The rnarine life at Gnaraloo is second to none, with whale sharks, pods of ddphins, rnanta rays, and turtles arnong the exotic underwater life you will encounter should you go snorkelling or diving. In September, Gnaraloo also becornes the host of the third leg of the Australasian safari, an off-road endurance rnotorsport event Part of the Gnaraloo course is along the stunning coastal cliffs which hang two rnetres from the edge of the Indian Ocean.

• Qantas, Jetstar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways all fly direct frorn Singapore Changl Airport to Perth International Airport Air ASia and Malaysia Airlines fly direct frorn Kuala Lurnpur Frorn Perth, connect to Learrnanth Airport In Exrnouth on SkywestAlnlnes or Qanlils Alternatrvely you can Iilke a 12 hour dnve frorn Perth northwards to Gnaraloo • Cabins that accornrnodate up to three people are available at the Gnaraloo Hornestead. Both old and new cabins are fitted with hot water showers. In addiTIOn, the new ones have a gas barbeque, a cooktop and oven, and a sofabed (frarn US$135 far an old cabin and US$2:>J for a new cabin, IWWVgnaraloocarn)

Cebu, Philippines WHY GO NOW?

The rnany islands of Philippines offer a great variety of activities but if there is one place in the country to get an all-in-one experience, Cebu is where it would be. The gorgeous white sand beaches of its beach resorts are perfect for lazing around in your trunks and bikinis and if you don't rnind getting wet, you will discover an amazing underwater landscape teerning with rnarine life. In Cebu City, you will find a cultural richness personified by its architecture and entertainment options that will continue to occupy you long after sunset The plush private resorts of Mactan Island offer a luxurious getaway but at lower prerniurns cornpared to sirnilar accornrnodation elsewhere in the world. On top of this, there's a good chance of securing a lower rate if you visit during the off-peak rnonths of septernber and Octobe" which usually is in the rainy season. If you don't plan on


~ v:,:,.I


venturing beyond the boundaries of the wonderful resorts though, it is an inexpensive opportunity for a rornantic holiday for two. HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN?

• Cebu Pacific (cebupaclflcalr corn), SllkAlr (sllkalrcarn), and Tiger Airways (tigeralrwayscorn) fly direct frorn Singapore Changl Alrpart to Mactan-Cebu InternaTIonal Airport Frorn Kuala Lurnpur, fly Into Manila before connecting to Cebu With Alrphll Express (alrphllexpresscorn), Cebu Pacific, Philippine AIrlines (phlllppinealriinescorn) or Zest Airways (zestalrcornph) • Shangn-La 's Mactan Resort & Spa sets the benchrnark for the standard of service on the Island and has a wonderful beach that never seems overcrowded. Free shuttle services to the city depart regularly frorn the resort (frorn US$270, shangn-Iacornlcebu/ rnacta nresort) .Ia kevlewladge cornau)


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Text by, If you are seeking space and privacy, and a home-away-from-home experience when on holday, then a villa can give you all of the things that you're looking for A holiday villa OffffS you your own living space, in which you will experience all of the comforts of home while in a faraway destination A villa is a retreat where you can relax and take a complete break from your everyday life Moreover, a villa offers a completely different experience from a featureless hotel room, and you will be in a place that you don't have to share with other guests If you fill a villa with your family and friends you will find that it generally works out cheaper, per head, than a hotel stay Other great

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SlrHeservatlor@ga'" ud a ndorresiacom.& __

IALI UILLI ISSOtlRTION advantages of villas are the facilities - a swimming pool and gardens all to yourselves, WiFi internet access, a home theatre with a library of movies, books, toys and games Some villas even have gyms, saunas and spa rooms, bicycles, and a car and driver at your disposal, The icing on the cake is a villa manager and a team of staff, which will commonly include personal butlers and your OVln private chef, with babysitters and massage therapists on call, Stay in a villa in Bali and you will experience genuine hospitality, luxury, privacy, superb services and facilities, and very often a privileged insight into the Balinese culture, within some stunningly Jeautifullocations

why stay at villa ~

Garuda Indonesla-'"



You won't find famous fjords, windswept beaches, iconic lighthouses, geothermal hot springs, or cerulean glacial lakes in Christchurch. But what the city lacks in natural attractions it substitutes with architectural delights, whimsical art, transcendent culinary treats, and tranquil river cruises. A great way to get acquainted with the city is by punting the river Avoil. Punting has less to do with rugby, the country's favorite sport, and more to do with meandering down the river on a slow-moving boat. The 30-minute ride offers a crash course in Christchurch history, as it takes visitors from the Antigua boat shed at the Botanic Gardens and through the pulsing heart ofthe city centre. The punt is the perfect prelude to Re:START - a retail and design space that was originally conceived to bolster businesses affected by the quakes, but has proved so popular with locals and visitors alike that it is now a downtown fixture. The pop-up area is defined by the colourful shipping containers that play host to retailers, restaurants, shops, cafes, and green space, and has become an iconic symbol of the rebuilding city. If people watching is your thing, head to the Lyttelton Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. I filled my picnic basket with an assortment of farm fresh eggs, local cheeses, honey, bread, and signature preserves, but was unable to track down any kiwi breast for my post-breakfast barbecue. I was able to get my hands on fresh possum pie, a decent enough consolation prize. My culinary expedition continued at Cook'n with Gas, where I acted like an 18th Century European trapper by 38

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feasting on wild pork, rabbit rillettes, and venison pastrami. I managed to steel myselffor a late night in Christch urch with a few Gas Mules, a cocktail infused with ginger beer, a delectable national favorite. e PUnting ontheAvon, 2 Cambridge Terrace, punting.co.nz e Re:START, 128 cashel st., christcturch central, restart.org.nz e Lyttelton Farmers Market Lyttelton school grounds, tytlelton.net.nz ecook'n with Gas, 23Worcester Boulevard, ClTistchurch central, cooknwithgas.co.nz TOP A tram ride around the city centre takes you through tree-lined streets, colourful cafes and heritage buildings BOTTOM Lamb and venison are mainstays of the kiwi restaurant scene, and they both show up in unique incarnations at cook'n With Gas in christchurch


The Peifect Trip ~


On this journey, from the cities of Spain's south to its quiet country trails, we sample flamenco and sherry, Islamic architecture, pristine beaches and mountain scenery WORDS ANTHONY HAM I PHOTOGRAPHS YADID LEVY

The Perfect Trip ANDALuciA

Your trip mapped out Get a taste of Andalucfa - from aged sherry to the natural beauty of the landscape

Andaluda's fiery capital city isa place of twisting lanes. shady squares and unrivalled architecture - but it is flamenco that brings it to life.

_.-....... _·s

1.88 ............ 01-,0 alangthe SIerra IDIIIhem ftank.1s home to los . , . -........ SpaIn••

nte centrepiece of the region 's sherry Triangle, Jerez de Ia Frontera is home to more than 20 bodegas, most of them open to visitors.

EJ Arcos de j,. Tron tera

The capital of islamic Spain Wltil the 15th cantury. Granada is. city of historical

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r-O- S-IE- R-R-A-C-E--1......, ~~"(.1,,~ GRAZALEMA Best for walking

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--= wa 20 Miles

The rugged mountains of the

~ sierra de Grazalema hide


1IIIIfa ... some of SpaIn'. _ of_ ..... facing south. Aflica; add. Ws _ ....td~1II tdpsand. pretty oId-'"

peaks. valleys and gorges and pretty villages.. making them penect walking territory.

, - -- -.,.----FRAN~E



o Best for flamenco MILES INTO YOUR TRIP 0





Seville is the soul of Andalucfa, and flamenco is its soundtrack. This beguiling city, southern Spain's largest, is Andalucfa at once writ large and in microcosm: grand tapestries in stone -monuments to Spain's Islamic and imperial Christian pastwatch over intimate squares, all dressed in white and shaded by orange trees. But architecture tells only halfthe story in this place where so many peculiarly Spanish passions - bullfighting, fiestas and flamenco - find their most vivid expression. It was in the area surrounding Seville that flamenco was born among gitanos (Roma people) in the late 18th century. And to this day the true test of flamenco's authenticity, the guitar legend Paco de Lucia told a Spanish newspaper in 2009, is that it must 'sound like Andalucfa, its people and its traditions'. Passion stands at the heart ofthe genre. 'Up on stage, I'm in my own world,' says MarfaJose Vargas, a bailaora (flamenco dancer) at Tablao El Arenal, who has been dancing flamenco since she was 10. 'But whenever I catch a glimpse of someone crying in the audience, that's when I know I'm dancing well.' The live show at the Tablao - amid a formal, slightly old-world atmosphere, with bow-tied waiters and hand-painted

posters from early 20th-century Sevilleis love and tragedy rendered in musical form. Dancers such as MarfaJose, with her head as still as a sprinter's, flowers in her hair and polka dots on her dress, share a public camaraderie on stage with blacksuited male guitarists and singers. The delicacy ofthe hands and mesmerising quickness ofthe feet, the overwrought facial expressions and rapid shifts in tempo produce a performance in which the distance between ecstasy and agony is barely discernible. The tablaos (flamenco shows) can be expensive, but come with a guarantee of professional performers. In contrast, crowded flamenco bars with no scheduled performances carry a magical spontaneity. Casa Anselma, across the river in the old flamenco barrio (district) of Triana, is beloved by aficionados who every night launch into impromptu performances. And, according to MarfaJose, therein lies Seville's secret as Spain's top flamenco destination: 'Seville is special, partly because of flamenco's strong roots here, but also because there's so much more variety than anywhere else. And in a special Seville touch, we dress up for the occasion.' FURTHER INFORMATION

e Tablao EINenal: admission, show and drink US$41; Calle Rodo 7; performances at 8pm and 10pm daity (tablaoelarenal.com). casaAnselma: admission free, Pages del Corro 49; open from midnight Monday to saturday (sevilla5.com). WHERETO EAT

e El Rinconcillo: one of seville's oldest tapas bars specialising in cured meats and cheeses; tapas from US$2.45 (elrinconcillo.es).

Casa Anselma (left), in the old barrio of Triana, is a favourite of flamenco aficionados, and even the odd professional, who give impromptu performances; Maria Jose vargas (right), at Tablao EI Arena!, has been a flamenco dancer for 25 years


HOTEL AMADEUS MUSIC of a different kind IS the Inspiration for the family-run Hotel Amadeus. where some of the rooms have been soundproofed for plano or violin practice. The rooms are fine adaptations of an 18th-century seviliano mansion, and the location - In the heart of the Barrio de Santa Cruz but slightly removed from ItS clamour - couldn路t be better (from US$9? hotelamadeussevillacom)


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LEFT Bodegas Tradition; The two most important sherry grapes are the Palomino and the Pedro Ximenez; the result (bottom left), a refresh ing glass to accompany some tapas at wine bars across the city

along the way. And Jose (Pepe) Blandino, Bodegas Tradici6n's cellar master, who has worked in the industry for almost five decades, treats his sherries like his own offspring. 'When we start out, the wines are like little children. We have to teach them how to grow, to hel p them through the varying stages of getting older. It takes a lot oftime and hard work, so that they can become adults we can be proud of.' But even Pepe admits that each person's response to the final product is as important, and as personal, as his own role in the process. 'We can simply show people what to look for. But the only standard that really matters is whether or not you like it.' FURTHER INFORMATION

• BodegasTradicion organises guided visits by appointment (US$18.50; bodegastradicion.es). Also, visit sherryorg. WHERETO EAT

• La carbona: the decor evokes a cavernous wine cellar and its set menu is a lesson in sherry etiquette (set menu US$31; lacarbona.com).



Best for sherry MILES INTO YOUR TRIP 58 1m





One hour by ca- south from SENilie alorgthe A4jAP4,

There are many reasons to visit Jerez de la Frontera - the ornate and decaying whitewashed buildings at every turn, the Islamic-era Alcazar fortress crowning its summit, and the city's role as southwestern Andalucfa's heartbeat, thanks to its extravagant embracing of flamenco and thoroughbred Andal ucian horses. But none ofthese reasons is more compelling than the city's promise ofthe perfect sherry. Jerez (known as 'Sheris' in medieval Muslim times), along with Sanlucar de Barrameda to the west and EI Puerto de 48

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Santa Marfa to the south, is the centrepiece of Andalucfa's world-renowned Sherry Triangle. Here, a combination of climate and chalky soils provides the ideal conditions for sherry prod uction - the town is home to more than 20 bodegas (wineries or wine cellars). In the cellar of Bodegas Tradici6n, a niche producer of aged sherries, amid the gloom of 625-litre casks of American oak, the temperature is 25°C, while the thermometer outside edges close to 40°C. The smell of sherry is oV8rvvhelming. In the tasting room, among artworks by Goya and Velazquez and ceramic tiles painted by an eight-year-old Picasso, visitors eagerly try the produce. Among the bodega's most sought-after sherries is the Palo Cortado, which has a smoky smell and an aftertaste of dried fruit. Its full-bodied Oloroso somehow combines vanilla, ginger and the smell of Christmas and old wood. Sherry, more than any other wine, requires human intervention at every step


HOTEL BELLAS ARTES The four-star Hotel Bellas Artes occupies a small, converted 17th-century palace, and combines historic character with a central location. Behind the light sandstone fa,ade, architectural features such as the soaring ceilings pOint to a distinguished past, while warm colour schemes and modern bathrooms ensure contemporary comforts In summer, the rooftop terrace (With JacuzzI) has fine views of the cathedral's spires (from US$56, hotelbellasartescom)


Best for walking MILES INTO YOUR TRIP 108 1M






OrNe east of Jerez alorg the A382 to Arcas de la Frontera, tf-Bn take the eastbomd A372 to Grazalema,

Cities may provide the drama amid the rolling hill country of western Andalucfa, but in the east, where the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema rises from quiet rural byways like an apparition, the natural world takes over. Great buttresses ofrock silhouetted against the clouds soar above a forested landscape tinged with green even when the rest of Andalucfa turns yellow under a baking summer sun. Two whitewashed villages serve as gateways to the inner sierra. Grazalema, the largest ofthe region, is an ideal base for exploration, its narrow white lanes and terracotta roofs set against a backdrop of high mountains. And Zahara de la Sierra is one of Andalucfa's most striking villages, sashaying up a craggy, castletopped peak in the park's northern reaches. But in the Sierra de Grazalema they play second fiddle to the cinematic beauty ofthe landscape that surrounds them. Countless trekking routes weave through the park, of which La Garganta Verde (the Green Throat), accessible off the road between Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra, is the most spectacular. The initial trail, gently dropping through densely wooded country, provides few hints as to what lies ahead. Then, the final descent through the gorge begins, with steep rock-hewn steps climbing down

towards the base, towering cliffs either side. Lush stands oftrees and rocks shiny with moss evoke the sense of a kingdom hidden from the outside world, an eerie sensation heightened by the brooding presence of griffon vultures watching over the gorge. 'Few people associate hiking in Europe with the chance to see wildlife,' says Pedro L6pez, a local naturalist. 'But in the Sierra de Grazalema, we almost have our own ecosystem. It's not just the vultures; there are so many birds, especially in spring or autumn when migrating species funnel through the mountains on their way from or to Africa. There's also a good chance of seeing ibex if you get away from the road.' Even if you don't, the narrow passes connecting the villages lead over high mountain passes, drawing near to some of Spain's prettiest mountain scenery. FURTHER INFORMATION

• Hiking La Garganta verde requires a free permit from the Centro de visitantes EI Bosque - contact them up to two weeks in advance in summer (00 34 956 72 70 29). WHERETO EAT

• The game at Meson EI Simancon, from venison and quail to wild boar, is served up alongside more traditional meats such as beef and ham, all of which can be enjoyed on the terrace (mains US$6US$18.50; Plaza Asomaderos; elsimancon.com).

The Embalse de zahara reservoir (above) in the 200 sq-mile parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema, where goats are among the wildlife hikers might encounter


LAMEJORANA At the top end of Grazalema village, the five-room La MeJorana hotel IS reason enough to come to the Sierra de Grazalema With the atmosphere of a mountain lodge and the quality of a hotel, La Melorana has a sl'<1mmlng pool and good village views from Its terrace, while the rooms have simple wood and wrought-Iron furnishings (from US$62, lameJorananet)


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Best for beaches MILES INTO YOURTR IP 202






From B-azalema, drive the A2302, tmn the A2304 to Alcala de los Gazules, before ptnlng tte A381 motorway to Algeclras and then down the roastsl N340 to Tenfa,

On mainland Spain 's southern tip, a w orld away fro m th e overdeveloped resorts of its Mediterran ean coast, elementa l Ta ri fa restores the country's rep utatio n fo r havin g t he best beaches in all of Europe. Cooled by Atlantic


The Pelfect Trip breezes and backed by forested hills, the beaches that dot the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) are continental in scope: across the water, Moroo::o seems within swimming distance. 'It's a fascinating place, where two oceans meet and two continents almost touch,' says Katharina Heyer, Tarifa resident for the past 13 years and president and founder offirmm (the Foundation for Informa tion and Research on Marine Mamm als) . 'But what's the mos t special thing aoou t Tanfa? Itis pure nature.' About six miles from Tarifa's beautiful old town, n ature certainly seems to dominate the broad sweep of sand thatis the Playa de los Lances. Locals and visitors on horseback splash through the waves, while wildlife encounters of a different kind take place out at sea.


July. that set sail from With ,~


• Firmm's whal&-watching trips indude a wildlife briefing (1JS$31, firmm,org) WHERETO EAT

• Loc als fiod< to Restauran te La dla, where th e oo tdoor tables off8f a froot-rcw seat to the activity ofTarifa's peft (pa~las from US$ll, bodegalaollacomJ

Horse-riders on the dune of Ensenada de valdevaqueros (left) overlooking the Playa de los Lances beach (above). A protected area for bird life, the two-mile-Iong stretch attracts hikers, cyclists and windsurfers, and is one of Tarifa's most popular beaches




On a qLi et lane in Tarifa'sw hi tewas~d old tOINll, Posada La S3cristia, a CDnvE!ted 17thcentury tOlNllhouse, is 0100' of the lovel iest aCOJmmodation dloices in Spain's soo th The ten large, high-ceilinzed rooms bear elegant traces of Moori sh and Tha i Budcflist inspiration, am t ~re's a spa, restaurant and bar on si te The hotel can also help organise various sea si de activi ti es, from horseridinz and cyd inz to whale-watdlinz and windsurfirg (from US$124; lasacristianet)




The Perfect Trip The Palacio de los Leones (below right) reveals the intricate architectural detail typical of the Alhambra; the palace (left) as seen from Mirador San Nicolas lookout


o GRANADA Best for architecture MILES INTO YOUR TRIP 379 100




Drive along the coastal AP7, before tuming inland r€ar M ~ aga on the A45, tl-Bn east on the A92,

Granada is where Andalucfa's enduring historical legacy is brought to life. For more than seven centuries, Christian monarchs and the Islamic rulers of AI-Andalus battled over the Iberian Peninsula. And it was Granada - the capital ofIslamic Spain until its final defeat in 1492 -that came to be the symbol ofthe sophistication of AI-Andalus. Exquisite in the intensity of its detail, extravagant in its scope, the Alhambra palace is the culmination of a vision - of paradise, of earthly power, and of the vanity of attempting to combine the two. It is at once a pleasure palace built by rulers who imagined that Islamic rule would last forever, and a formidable defensive fortress because they feared it wouldn't. To visit the Alhambra is to walk with wonder through storied halls added down through the centuries by rulers eager to leave their mark upon history. In the Nasrid Palaces, a palace complex within the palace complex, the combination of building materials (wood, stone, ceramics and plaster) with traditional Islamic forms (intricate calligraphy, stuccoed ceilings and interwoven geometric patterns) reaches a point close to perfection. Marfa del Mar Villafranca, the director ofthe government body charged with conserving the Alhambra, cautions visitors not to rush past the fac;;ade ofthe Palacio de Comares: 'So many ofthe Alhambra's signature decorative forms are on display here,' she says. She points to the Patio de Arrayanes and the Patio de los Leones as her other highlights. Another indulgence is

to rest in the shade in the Alhambra's gardens, enjoying a sense of quiet refinement alongside the perfectly proportioned pools of water. The Alhambra's graceful use of space finds a counterpoint across the valley in the tangle oflanes that make up the old Islamic quarter, the Albayzfn, where cobblestone thoroughfares pass beneath high white walls that suggest more than they reveal: here, a jasmine-scented garden; there, a forgotten palace. The quarter is filled with the smell of incense and tobacco, with the sounds of shouted commerce and hushed conversation in candlelit tea rooms. The Alhambra's rare beauty also works its final magic in the Albayzfn, from the Mirador de San NicoLls lookout. 'What I love most about the Alhambra is its harmonious relationship between architecture and landscape,' Ms Villafranca says. With the Alhambra set against a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, it's easy to see what she means. FURTHER INFORMATION

• Upto 6,600ticketstotheAlhambra are available each day, but only one-third are sokJ at the ticket office

(US$1350); start queuing by7amto get one. Book in advance through AlhambraAdvance Booking (alhambra-tickets.es) or servicaixa (servicaixa.com). WHERETO EAT

• Find fine Moroccan food in the lower (western) Albayzin at RestauranteArrayanes, with good couscous, tagine and pastelas, but no alcohol. Here, heartfelt Arabic music and glittering, mirrored decor transport you to Morocco (mains from US$12; Cuesta Maranas 4; granadainfo.com/arrayanes).


HOTEL CASA MORISCA Arranged around an enclosed patio and occuPYing a 15th-century Albayzin mansion, Hotel Casa Morlsca has modern rooms, some with partial Alhambra views from the balconies, the rooftop Mirador room has great Views, The 10-mlnute walk Into town passes along the river below the Alhambra (from US$93, hotelcasamorlscacom)


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The Perfect Trip ANDALuciA

o LAS ALPUJARRAS Bestfor hilltop villages MLES INTO YOUR TRIP: 423

Looving El"anaru, driw 300m ab1gthgA44, ttrall f~kwthg signs to M'Jtril and too N323, Thg turn-ctf to Lanjaroo and tw A348 is \«J r gatwmy to Las AII)Jjarras.

LasAlpujarr8.3 is where the fame of Andalucla'swhitewashed villages (los pueblos blallcos) was born. Since being immortalisedin Gerald Brenan's 19203 Southjrom Granada, which told tales of isolated villages inhabited by curious characters , the area has drawn Europeans eager to escape the modem world. One of them, FrenchmanJean-Claude Juston, owner of L'Atelier (a vegetarian restaurant and cookery school in the village ofMecinaj, arrived in 1992. 'I first came here by complete chance to rest and read,' he says, 'And I fell in love with the area, because of the almost permanent sunshine, the natural beauty of its Berber villages, the warm th of its local residents, the silence, and the clean air and transparent waters.' Little has changed since Jean-Claude arrived. Throughout the region, uniformly

white villages have colonised the most unlikely terrain, clinging to steep slopes and seemingly at risk of sliding into the canyons below. The three villages of the Poqueira gorge - Pampaneira, Bubi6n and Capileira - in particular rank among the most dramatically sited pueblos. Away from the main roads, oldmenin berets and black-clad women watch the world go by, while donkeys wall:: along otherwise deserted main streets, flowers cascade from window boxes and people greet each other, friend or stranger. But it's the transition from winter to summer that Jean-Claude loves most about life here. 'The flowers of spring give way to summers that smell offireworks, village fiestas and a serious increase in the population as all the family homes reopen. At night. there are reunions, and people play cards and dominoes, eat together, sing - and sometimes there's even dancing in the streets .' It is as if the very heart of Andalucia spills out over the mountains. FURTHER INFORMATION

• There are tourist offices in Q giva, Pampaneira and Capilelra For more infcrmation on L'AteHer, visit rvu, crglat~ier WHERETO EAT

• Restaurante Ibero-Fusi6n se..-vesAndalucian, Ara ti c and Indian food, with great views from the upstairs dining room (mains from US$9S0; Calle Parra 1, Capil~ra; 00 34 958 7632 56)


CORTIJO CATIFALARGA High on tho> hill aoove Ca Dleira, serenaded by t~ sound of tricklirg water and covvbells, CoruJO Catifalarga prem ises gorgeoLB viEWS from its grounds and the terraces of its rooms In a w ilding of local stone, the rooms blend Slmplicitywith regi m al architectural features From the restaurant and breakfast room, you can see Africa on a dear day (from US$62; catifalargaCDm) ,1!:II

Jean-Claude Juston (below, right), the owner of L'Atelier, in Mecina. Among the white villages of the region is the village of Bubi6n (left)


SEVILLE ThePerfectTrip


"'"_""' .. _"_.•.,.",,,,,""'<=WY .., ......... """="""-< """" -"'''"'~~"",*"


mGetting there

sevllklArport dea. most~wllll domestIC flights. The easiest way to get to seville IS to fly to Barcelona from singapore or Malaysia via slngaporeArlll18s (singaporear.com). Then take a COnnecting flight to seville on AlrEuropa (aneuropa.com), Air


If there is one city in Andalucfa that most perfectly combines all the flavours of southern Spain, Seville wins out Here you will find tapas and flamenco, magnificent architecture and the rich legacies of Moorish times, Make Seville the first stop on your perfect trip to Andalucfa


Berllll (alrberlll1.com) or TAP

portugal (flytap.com).

III Getting around seville's fine pLiJlic transport IncUdeS buses, metro and trams


s.eville grew rich an the trappings of spain's empire - chrlstapher calumbus set sail from here - and the histaric ARCHIVO GENERAL DE INDIAS IS the molln archive an spain's American empire (admlsslan free; calle s.anta Tamas; rTC u,es)


has priceless paintings and the tamb af Chrlstapher calumbus, The Glralda, ance a Ma2/:1Ue minaret, is a fine piece af Islamic architecture (admlsslan US$9; calle Manuel ROjas Marcos; catedraidesevllla,es)

All things flamenco. fill the newry ape ned MUSEO DEL BAILE FLAMENCO, haused In an 18th-century bUilding, As well as displays, there are performances, classes and warkshaps (US$11, museofla rre nco.cam)


Nat far from the Musea del Balle Flamenco. In the City centre, PENSI6N CASA SOL Y LUNA IS In an earry 20th-century hame, with spanish-British awners, which IS filled with perlad furnishings (fram US$41, casasalyluna1 ,cam)

Lacated In an historic building In the heart of Barrio. de s.anta cruz, a five-minute walk from the cathedral and the Alcazar, HOSTERIA DEL LAUREL has bright, spaclaus roams with marble floors (from US$124; hasterladellaurel.cam)

The faur-star HOTEL LAS CASAS DE LA JUDERIA has gorgeaus roams surrounding a series af patlas In Barrio. de s.anta Cruz, The roams are decarated with antique furniture and paintings (fram US$215; casasypalaclas,cam)


At CATALINA the best fresh Ingredients and high-quality tradltlanal cured rreats and cheeses are presented In creative and unusual camblnatlans (tapas plates from US$10; Pasea de Catalina de Ribera 4)

A seventh-generatlan famlry tavern said to. the forebears af the present awners In 1850, and decorated with tiles dating from the 17th century, EL RINCONCILLO IS a bastian af aid Andalucia (tapas fram US$2.45, mains fram US$15; elrincanCillo.es)

AndaluCian-style fine dining IS given a cantemporary Basque mist at

EXTRAVERDE is a fresh addition In Barrio de Santa Cruz, This bright rrcdern bar and shop sreclallses In a choice of olive 011, and the Ingredients and drinks that best camplement It (tapas from US$2,45; Plaza Dana Elvira 8; extraverde,es)

close to. flamenco. spJt Tablaa EI Arenal, tapas bar MES6N CINCO JOTAS features great wines and Andalucia's finest faed, Tapas Include lterlan pJrk sirlaln in Pedro xlrrenezwine (tapas US$4; calle Castelar 1, mesanclncaJotas,cam)

A wine bar since the mid-19th century, CASA MORALES, In EI Arenal, has changed little, Huge tlnajas (earthenware jars) carry the days chalked-up tapas chalces


(one-trp tICkets start at US$1.40; tussam.es). AlrJX)rt buses to the bus statlOll cost US$2.4S, a taxI

US$21.50 (andalucia.colll; sevllia5.com). • Further reading PICk up Lone~ Planet's Andaluda (US$2199)ancSpall1(US$2699) godes, anc RooortWI.on's tlTrllff rhe Blind Man of seVIlle (US$9.90.

see spall1.ruo fa- more •




DRINK THE FINAL WORD 'The ar soft as that of Seville in fl..pril, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it'. Christopher Columbus ,.,~,...,


Dishes Include a temne af fale gras with haney, and latrster with hertrs (mains US$23-US$33; clased sunday; restaurantearlza,cam)

(hal plates US$12, closed sunda~

Garcia deVlnuesa 11)




arely twenty minutes after touchdown, our group of four climbs into a minivan and starts bombarding our Bhutanese guide, Kinley with a flurry of questions. Draped in a traditional gho - the highly versatile national robe hiked up to skirt length and paired with knee-high socks - our smartly-attired guide is unfazed. "You come from stress country, comes his sagely reply. "Relax! Welcome to happy land." Tucked high in the eastern Himalayas between two ofthe most populous countries in the world, India and China, it is almost forgivable if one has not heard ofthis Switzerland-sized nation, with a population fewer than 700,000. Isolated for centuries, the landlocked Bhutan first opened its elusive doors a crack in 1972 for KingJigme Singye Wangchuk's coronation, the now 56 year-old monarch responsible for single-handedly balancing the fine line between traditionalism and modern democratisation ever since. Fondly known as the father of Bhutan's modernity, the much-loved former king first opened the country to development - and the world - in 1971 by joining the United Nations, introducing English in the free and compulsory local schools, later also coining the

B TOP Backs bent over, rooting weeds out from the vast paddy fields enroute to the Divine Madman temple (top right corner)


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'Gross National Happiness' (GNH) index; the Buddhist country's measurement of national progress which places heavy emphasis on spiritual well-being. Tourist numbers spiked, though the nation was also careful to adhere to a policy of 'low volume, high value tourism', mostly to retain Bhutan's ecological, social, cultural and environmental beauty. Nonetheless, eager foreigners and international media came in to conquer with cameras and pens; Bhutan opened its arms and retained every single heart and soul that arrived.

Prayer Piety Touring Bhutan requires stamina: shoes come off at all sacred sanctuaries; some require long drives and further walks before reaching; others have innumerable steps that separate us from the temples. And rivalling our doggedness in capturing Bhutan's beauty through our lenses are none other than the locals themselves. Trudging up 72 steps towards the Changangkha Monastery in Thimphu, I meet numerous baby-toting parents with young children in tow, seeking blessings for their descendents. The first act of worship is inevitably

spinning the monastery's prayer wheels, each fitted with the mantra of compassion, where every clockwise spin is equivalent to a mantra recital. Following an elderly lady moving slowly along on her walking aid, I switch off my camera as we enter the main monastery hall, the wizened woman painstakingly bowing before the altars three times before retreating to a corner to meditate. Enroute to Punakha, we take a quick lunch break at Chimi Lhakhang Cafeteria in Lobesa, where Kinley claims is home to Punakha's cleanest toilet. Bobbing on my heels in anticipation to the vast, green paddy fields that stretch out endlessly before me, I see a family of five walking my way and pause to ask for a picture. Daddy registers my surprise on seeing his toddler hiding behind his back, a sorry picture of swollen and watering eyes. "We are going to see the Divine Madman," he smiles. "My child shall be well." Lama Drukpa Kunley is the highly revered man in question, albeit slightly different than most saints. Receiving his nickname due to his proficient use of bawdy language, penchant for wine and gorgeous women, the Divine Madman nonetheless owned superhuman powers; including the ability to banish demons and restore barren wombs. A 30 minutes

walk from the cafeteria via dirt roads and wheat fields, childless women will cross continents to Chimi Lhakhang, a well-known fertility temple in the region. Children plagued with illnesses also come here instead of visiting a doctor, the Bhutanese still steeped in a deep reverence to such godly reincarnations as the Divine Madman.

Wisdom from Above Travelling down from Thimphu to our accommodation at Punakha for the night, the van pulls to an abrupt halt, our driver Tenzin hops off and walks towards the commotion in front. We wait thirty minutes before he returns to announce that a huge lorry has veered down the slippery mud ahead, now tilted sideways and blocking the narrow roads. Obviously used to such occurrences, Kinley proceeds to amuse us with his vast knowledge ofthe kingdom, including an interesting story of the retired King. Known to own ahome within Thimphu's forested areas, the fourth king is famous for his frequent bicycle rides while donning the gho - a difficult feat for most. Once, he had to flag a cab down after his


young monks gathering to catch a Bhutanese show; seeking prayer blessings for their youngest child at chimi Lhakhang or the Divine Madman temple; prayer wheels can be found in almost every temple


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BHUTAN bicycle malfunctioned in the woods. Along the ride, the Bh utanese cabby spoke of his financial worries and taxi loans he could not pay, all the while unknowing that he was chauffeuring the king, until he reached the royal gates. With great pride, Kinley recounts how the king had gone home to retrieve an amount that overpaid the cab ride, thus allowing the driver to offset his loans. This story still resonates with the people, the king's wisdom and grace apparent also in his parliament - a statement I can testify to thanks to the Prime Minister's display of cycling home from work the day before, which Kinley explains is because every Tuesday has been designated 'Pedestrian Day'. The sky frowns in shades of gray, raindrops start falling pitter-patter on our van. More vehicles come to a standstill, forming a chain behind us. To my utter amazement, not one person fires off his anger through the horn, but every car that stops a driver or passenger moves out wielding a torch, all heading to the accident site to offer help. The tow truck comes and we are finally good to go after an hour, the minor incident etching a deeper fondness to this country that's steadily growing within me. FROM LEFT Another busy day at the centenary Farmer's Market in Thimphu; Kinley demonstrating the chant spoken while spinning a prayer wheel, and the Mahayana Bhuddhist mantra of compassion tucked within


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Colours of the Wind Colourful flags wave cheerily along every turn along the road, across treetops, between buildings, even above high altitude mountainous areas. They represent the five elements ofthe universe: fire (red), water (white), environment (green), sky (blue) and earth (yellow). Astrologers will identify the


specific element(s) lacking in a person, and the solution is to simply hang up the corresponding flag. That's religious. Then there are the flags for play - in the national sport of archery. We see the huge flags billowing in the wind even before reaching the sporting field (read: parking lot), and the players flexing their biceps with bow in hand - but that's about it. Still trying to wrap my mind around how the current player before us will shoot his high-tech carbon fibre compound bow 150 metres (that's further than the typical Olympic distance) towards the target and across dust -filled air, I immediately hear a gong then cheers from the other end - one point for the sharp-shooter. The winning team breaks into song and a wild dance, meant to egg on the rest of their members. Even as we leave, I spot a cow ambling slowly across the shooting range, but the arrows simply whiz past anyway - a game is a game, absol utely nothing and no cow will get in their way. Colour is also evident in the Centenary Farmer's Market, the main weekend market where Thimphu residents stock up on vegetables, produces and spices. Teeming with bobbing heads and lots of flies, my camera gets quite a few stares, my cue that I may very well indeed still be in a country untapped and untainted by mass tourism. Stuffing powdered chilli in my bag, we cross over to the alfresco stalls opposite. To our right vendors peddle cheap Billabong shirts and Sponge bob shorts; to our left a traditional treasure trove, where my travelling mate scores a gorgeous handheld prayer wheel and learns the chants to go along while spinning the wheel clockwise, over and over.





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Flying the Tiger Over the days, I quickly learn that every climb we make, the distances we cover on foot and the muscle pulls we earn will finally cumulate to our trip's single most trying site: the Tiger's Nest. Perching precariously 10,000 feet above sealevel in Paro, legend has it that around the eighth century, the reverend Guru RiIDJXlche flew across the mountains on the back of a tigress, making the Taktsang Lhakhang home. A must-visit attraction in Bhutan and plastered across postcards countrywide, the monastery was built in 1692, but suffered the ruins of afire in early 1998. Now renovated and restored to its former glory, the aim is to scale this national treasure, and return home glorious. Testing out our walking sticks, I look up to see Kinley and Tenzin already 10 metres ahead and waiting patiently for us to finish our warm ups. I ask how many times they've both been up the Tiger's Nest, and immediately wish I hadn't. "Two hundred and tvventy times Miss Natalie," chirps Kinley, before zipping his way up the uneven terrain. I do not wait for Tenzin's reply as he grins at our group, determinedly making my way up the forested area. As we go higher, the paths narrow inwards and become trickier to navigate, often bypassing bumps, tvvistingturns , and lots of cow dung. It still amazes me how the animals manage to climb this high to graze, but my resolve is clear - to make it to our first checkpoint: the cafeteria. One hour and ten minutes later, our first-timer trekking group wheezing in slight disarray, we arrive to steaming hot black tea and buttery biscuits. We wolfthe treats down; surprised at our own hunger since breakfast was a pretty hearty affair earlier. Breath steady now, I pause to gape at the commanding sight before me, where some say the cafeteria provides the best views directly across the Tiger's Nest. No time to lose, we continue our hike up the well-trodden trek. The record to beat was nine hours - the longest time ever recorded to conquer the Tiger's trek. Reaching the top at exactly noon, we grudgingly hand our cameras and cell phones to the solitary police officer there - no photography is allowed at any temple, no questions asked. Heading up more flights of steps, Kinley takes us to the first oftwo temples within the sacred site. As we sit to rest on the cool stone floor, Kinley points out newer paintings that cover the areas that were devastated by the fire, and how Guru Rimpoche's statue at the altar area had miraculously survived the blaze. At the next pilgrimage site we see a young monk prostrating repeatedly before the altar - an act I later learn signifies respect to the gods, and a way of accumulating good fortune for oneself. Climbing higher sends an excited ripple through the group, when we finally ascend to the peak and to nature's glorious abandon. Tucked in a position right beneath the clouds and above some of the world's highest peaks, no words can describe the weightless feeling of surmounting Taktsang Lhakhang, a personal feat I will remember for years to come. Journeying down proves way easier, where I count exactly 785 steps before reaching the cafeteria for

lunch. Our guides are still eating as we leave, giving us a 30 minutes lead time before joining us on the way down. I try to conceal my shock (quickly turning into exasperation) as we turn a particularly steep bend, only to see Kinley waving cheerily before us. We spend some time at the mountain's base checking out jewellery, trinkets and prayer wheels being sold at the makeshift stalls, make our purchases and leave. Oh and for the record , our climb took a total of seven hours. Mission accomplished.

The Democratic Dragon At its core, Bhutan is a sleeping dragon, holding close to its roots where its people are required to dress in traditional garbs: kiras for women and ghos for men; where coloured sashes indicate societal rankings; and smoking banned. Tradition also decrees that kings receive white scarves upon coronation - but Bhutan's newest king was having none ofthat. Receiving the raven crown from his father, fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the young OxfordeducatedJigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck became the first king to lead Bhutan into democracy in November 2008, also the world's youngest reigning constitutional monarch at age 28 then. Known as K5 - the fifth king - and the 'prince charming of the Himalayas' thanks to his easy smile and slicked back hair, the Elvis fan may steer clear of daily governance, but stays true to his father's vision of upholding the GNH, defending Bhutan againstthe worst aspects of globalisation. The world subscribes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) , but Bhutan favours instead the Gross National Happiness (GNH). Here, happiness is not just a term; it literally is a way oflife. It doesn't matter if countries are banning the growth of poppy plants (the Blue Poppy is Bhutan's national flower), it doesn't matter if Lady Gaga is marking Bhutan as one of her concert stops (just a thought), it doesn't even matter ifthe deadline is tomorrow and the work is only half done. Ifthe family, a friend or personal matter calls for attention, then the Bhutanese does what he or she has to do - drops everything on hand and quite simply, leaves. I might add that this doesn't necessarily equate to a lack of diligence - but rather the Kingdom's emphasis of happiness and wellness over materialistic lifestyles. And there must be some truth to this emphasis, because the United Nations has officially implemented 'happiness' as part ofthe global agenda in April this year, after a unanimous vote by the General Assembly in late 2011. K5 probably sums it up best: "I believe that while Gross National Happiness is inherently Bhutanese, its ideas may have a positive relevance to any nation, peoples or communities - wherever they may be". I snap one last picture ofthe King and his Queen smiling down at me from a billboard at Paro Airport's singular runway, send a prayer to the heavens for a safe trip home, and leave with a quiet hum of joy in my heart. 1!iI


FROM TOP National treasure and must-visit for tourists and locals: the Tiger's Nest; an 80 year-old woman makes her long way home at Taktsang Lhakhang; many rest stops on the way up the Tiger's Nest for a refreshing splash; horses are available to take you up a certain distance should you need help scaling Taktsang Lhakhang


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Ii!! Getting there From september 2012, direct flights are available from singapore to Para Airport via Drukalr (drukalr.com.sg), With a refuel stop at Kolkata, India. From Kuala Lumpur, fly to Bangkok suvarnabhuml Airport before connecting to Para Wlttl Drukalr, the national carrier airline of Bhutan.


Happy and holistic, the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan is preciously untouched by mass tourism, where unspoi~ forests, serene monasteries, Mahayana Buddhist historical relics and smiling monks will take your breath (and heart) away


Ii!! Getting around Independent travel IS not permitted In Bhutan; the only way is via a tour operator who will arrange your

accommodation, transport with dr iver and gUide, meals and visa with a flat fee (US$200 low season, US$250

peak season). In singapore, try booking with Druk Asia Private Limited (drukasla. com), or VISit the Tourism council of Bhutan's website (tourism.gov.bt) for a list of tour operators. • Further reading See Lonely Planet's Bhutan (US$26.99), or go to tourism .

gov.bt. •

climate 125


Foreign influence has deflnltery seered Into. the Buoohlst natlan In the form of pUDs and cluDs, where local yaungsters revel In night haunts such as INSOMNIA at Para. Ladles' nights are an Wejne9Jays aswell, where locals and foreigners rreet an the dance floor, and are askej pJlltely to. leave by 12 midnight

Legend tells where Bhutan's natlanal animal was created by the DIvine Madman, camblnlng the carcass af a caw and a gaat's skull. s.ee the animals grazing at the TAKIN ENCLOSURE In Thlmphu, where yau can get the gentle creatures' attentlan by feeding them leaves from deCiduaus trees nearby

in exclusIvity, the IS unrivalled. Accessible anly via a bridge and five-minute buggy ride Into. the forest, the Intimate ledge SitS serenely as a former farmhause bUilt by Her Majesty the Queen Mather, naw refurbished IntO. just eight sUites spread across three short bUildings (fram US$1,560; amanresorts.cam)

The 3,050 rretres high DOCHULA rewards yau with beautiful panoramic views af the snawcapped Himalaya mauntalns an clear days. Walk amangst the 108 chortens, bUilt In hanaur of faurth King Jlgme slngye wangchuck Proceed for lunch at the sale restaurant there, tucking Into. lacal dish ema datshl- a dellclaus mix af chilli and cheese

The flve-starTAJ TASHIIS an Ideal starting pJlnt In exploring Thlmphu, centralry locatej from the main tawn and local pJpular hangaut, Hang Kang Street. As ane af the biggest hatellers with 66 rooms, the Taj features handdrawn murals and luxe marble-floored bathroams In Imreccabry stylish raams, where guests can awake to. sunrise views af Tnlmphu's rmuntalns (from US$475; tajhatels.cam)

IS a swanky hatellocatej near the ParaAlrpJrt also. hasting the wedding of Hang Kang actors Tany Leung and Carina Lau In xos. With 20 standard rooms and nine prrvate villas, the resort aver100ksthe Para valley, txJastlng cultural architecture an the autslde - but familia r rrcdern settings within (from US$290; camahatels cam/umaparo)

TheTASHICHHO DZONG Isthe site of the Gross Natlanal Happiness office, also. where the changing af guard cerermnytakes place dally at frve In the marnlng and evening A huge temple also. hauses the central rmnk bedy, where fifth Kmg Jlgrre Khesar Namgyel wangchuck received his coranatlan and held his marnage ceremany In :2\)11 aswell

SitS like a painting amidst the rushing Ma and Pha Rivers, an ImpJrtant rellglaus site bUilt In 1637. The first caurtyard hauses the gavernment afflces, sarre temples In the secand, while the third Innermast ane - also the mast breathtakingwas the main temple where f~th King Jlgrre Khesar Namgyel wangchuck's ""ddlng was held

BUDDHA POINT gives an Impressive 3CD degree Vlsta af the Thlmphu valley, aoout a 15 minute drive up from tawn With bUilding works expectej to. t€ campleted by :2\)13, the gleaming Buddha IS Bhutan's largest statue, reverently averlooking ItS people and a rerfect place for photo-taking apportunltles

For the






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Trujlllo's c_at and main square sit among the colourful buildings that reflect the town's colonial history

New York, London, Paris, Trujillo ... no city has a richer, more bracing multicultural heritage than this colourful city in northern Peru, where the horses dance and the shamans banish your bad spirits WORDS TIM MOO RE

I II r







Ronaldo Ramirez Trujillo and Lizet c astaneda - current champions of the marinera.

Peru's national dance

AID out atthe edge of the sandy low lands th at separate the Pacific from the northern Andes, Trujillo is an overlooked outpost of an overlooked country. A few hundred miles north of Peru 's capital, Lima, Trujillo is a low-slung city of 900,000 inhabitants, most often associated with the prod uction of asparagus and shoes. And, inexp licably less often, with some of th e world's greatest food, its mightiest archaeology and a huge and happy civic festival that celebrates the most gloriously explosive cultural collisions in history. Trujillo has dubbed itself the city of etern al spring, w hi ch you soon realise is a poetic way of sayi ng that the thin mist hanging over the town isn't going anywhere fast. It's a by-product of the Humboldt Current, meteorological progenitor of what everyone here sombrely refers to as 'el fen omena del Nino' (the phenomenon ofel Nino). Blue-skied mornings are almost unheard of, but as the day rolls on it's an unexpected relief, this near the equator, to find the mercury hovering forgivingly in the comfort zone. The definitively temperate climate has fostered a low-key, easy-going civic mood that infuses eve ryon e but the swarming, horn-happy tax i drivers. Trujillo's backstreets are a study in faded grandeur, defin ed by winsomely neglected colonial hou ses sprouting enclose d wooden balconies in the Hispano-Is lamic fashion. The narrow pavements are thick w ith ve ndors haw king eve rything from puppies to quails' eggs, but their sales patter is sc rupulously restrained. At regular intervals a record ed chorus of Happy Birth day bla res out ofa shop, followed by gentle applause. The main squ are, the plaza mayor, exudes an approp riate sense ofvenerable calm. Its polished flags tones are flanked by state ly palms and smart, old civic ....






'FIRST HELD IN 1950, THE INTERNATIONAL SPRING structures, painted bright blue civilisation, incumbents for TOP LEFT Champion marinera dancer Lizet and yellow by the colonists as a the previous six centuries. counterpoint to the milky skies. Castaneda dances in The arrival ofthe Spanish the traditional style Icon-toting religious then heralded 500 years of barefoot. The marinera processions file regularly into pan-global immigrationis performed to mClsica the twin-towered cathedral. criolla and is a flirtation slaves from Africa in the 16th It's appropriate that one ofthe between a man and century, indentured hacienda a woman, who circle very few Peruvian cities given labourers from China in the each other in a a Spanish name - the original 17th, economic and political rhythmic courtship. Trujillo, back in Extremadura, TOP MIDDLE Peruvians refugees from Germany, Italy love streetfood and the Spain, was conquistador and Britain throughout the Francisco Pizarro's hometown- International spring 19th and 20th. The Festival is no exception. should feel more Hispanic than consequence is an TOP RIGHT National almost anyvvhere else in the energetically muddied gene dancing competitions country. The city keeps Spanish form another part of the pool. No-one in Trujillo feels festival's events hours: shops close in the any more or less Peruvian afternoon then stay open til late, than their neighbour, and restaurants don't fill up until 9 or 10, and every October they all come out into the elderly couples are still filing into the pefias streets to untangle the many threads in (clubs) -where the Latin music is live and their city's cultural DNA. The city that the dancing obligatory - at midnight. plays together, stays together. Organised by local businessmen and IVEN that Peru is home to by first held in 1950 , the International Spring far the largest indigenous Festival has matured into Trujillo's big day Amerindian population of out. The centrepiece Sunday parade sees 100-odd carnival floats - sorry, 'allegoric any South American country, carts' -trundle colourfully down avenues Pizarro should, by rights, be despised as the foreign invader who came, lined with 200,000 politely enthusiastic saw and brutally conquered. But ethnic spectators. 'International' means paying identity is never straightforward in this garish tribute to the city's melting-pot part ofthe world. For a start, the Incas had heritage: there are Chinese dragons, lederhosen-clad musicians and goldonly been in charge of what is now Trujillo for a few decades when the conquistadors masked Incan dance troupes aboard marched in, having supplanted the Chimu an allegoric cart dominated by a giant



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inflatable corn-on-the-cob. Somehow, it also means the presence of several dozen specially imported Canadian majorettes and small-town Kansas beauty queens, all wearing tan tights and expressions of deep bemusement. Perhaps they represent a commitment to multicultural inclusivity. You'd need to ask those local businessmen. Among the dropped batons and bowlerhatted trombonists, two svelte and graceful performers carry on their gentle artistry immune to the multicoloured chaos around. Trujillo is the spiritual home ofthe marinera, Peru's national dance, and the actual home of its current champions, Ronalda Ramirez Trujillo and Lizet Castaneda. From the formal yet sinuous grace ofthe dance to Lizet's elaborate, heftily-skirted dress, the Spanish contribution to the marinera is apparent. At the same time, there 's a lot of movement on the offbeat, and she isn't wearing shoes. 'The marinera is a classic mix of our cultural influences, ' says Ronalda afterwards. 'African slaves on the sugar haciendas saw colonial families doing Spanish dances, and mixed it with their own styles and movements. And if you look in museums, you see Incan figures making some of the poses we make.' Most ofthose haciendas are still there, out in the irrigated flatlands north of Trujillo. So too are the descendants ofthe two horses that Pizarro brought over,

FESTIVAL HAS MATURED INTO TRUJILLO'S BIG DAY OUT' selectively bred over subsequent centuries into a breed uniquely adapted to traversing the huge plantations. 'The caballo de paso horse is like a Rolls- Royce,' says Arribal Vasquez, an aristocratic Marlboro man who keeps a few dozen at the family's stately hacienda in Paijan, and shows off the best of them at the Trujillo festival. 'It has this silent, smooth gait which makes it comfortable to ride long distances.' He insists that women still beg to be taken to the distant maternity hospital by horse rather than taking the apparently bumpier ambulance option. The caballo de paso almost died out in the '70s, when national pride and demand for nOll- mechanical transport were both at a low ebb. 'They were seen as oldfashioned, as part of a way oflife people wanted to forget about,' remembers Vasquez, with the air of a man accustomed to having the last laugh: at auction, his horses now fetch more than the limousines he compares them to. That much is plain at the Trujillo festival's caballo de paso event, held at a discreet distance from town at an exclusive equestrian parade ground: the apparent entry requirements are a Man From Del Monte suit and a brand new Range Rover. This is the last bastion of old-money, old-school colonialism, though that hasn't stopped a surge of populist nostalgia for the animals trotting regally around the

showground. So complete only just begun to realise the TOP LEFT Dancers competing at the is the caballo de paso's commercial potential of International spring niche-market diversification. rehabilitation that it was Festival in Trujillo, which recently declared an official runs from late September Asparagus grows here yearnational monument, along round, and over the past decade to early October. with the likes ofMachu Picchu. TOP MIDDLE The Trujillo has established itself as festival's floats parade The event is the essence the world's leading exporter. is led by the Queen of of cultivated restraint, It's not a low-profile business: spring, followed by notwithstanding the bottles of international and every couple of minutes, a truck Johnnie Walker Black Label Peruvian beauty queens. surreally weighed down under TOP RIGHT Another its tousled green wig of bushy cl ustered on every clubhouse dancer with full skirts table at an ambitiously early fronds rumbles past on the delights the crowd. The hour. The horse's small, Pan-American Highway. marinera aside, famous quick steps endow a nimble The sudden availability of Peruvian dances include the zamacueca and precision well-suited to the what must be the world's most vals peruano dressage-type contests that complete array of ingredients has combined with Trujillo's predominate, and to the equestrian marinera performed as a convoluted heritage to fuel an show-closer. 'It's about grace, but also extraordinary surge of pride in the region's stamina and strength,' says Vasquez, with multinational cuisine. Trujillo's taxi a brilliant smile. 'This horse mixes the drivers spontaneously rhapsodise over softness of Peruvian women with the their country's gastronomic splendour, machismo of our men.' insisting that a shared love offood is what Vasquez is a dedicated traditionalist. unites this otherwise disparate and diverse nation. They'll boast that Lima is now The sugar-cane pulp he feeds his horses is grown in the family's hacienda, one ofthe home to 23 catering academies, that very few in the valley that still harvests Trujillo's markets stock 2,000 varieties of nothing else. The fields around are steadily potato, that Peruvian cuisine is set to be annexed by a bewilderingly varied the next big thing in global faa die circles. cornucopia: peach trees, garlic, star fruit, 'Argentina is just meat, Chile is just pasta, kiwi. From apples to pineapples, anything but we have everything. Everything!' You and everything flourishes in Trujillo's get the point quite quickly, and it's a lot less doughtily benign climate, though the tedious than having taxi drivers bang on region's more adventurous farmers have about how great their nation is at sex or ... SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

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'AT AUCTION, HIS HORSES NOWFEICH MORE THAN LIMOUSINES' RIGHT The Trujillo festival's caballo de paso event is held at an exclusive equestrian parade ground

cricket. And, unusually, the taxi drivers of Trujillo are absolutely right. The arrival of the conquistadors in Peru sparked a culinary collision whose shockwaves still reverberate. The unique indigenous staples of potato, com and chilli proved a neat fit with Spanish gastronomy, and invigorating twists were added to the mix by all those far-flung immigrants . They brought theirrecipes, and from olives and strawberries to ginger and rice, Peru's climate delivered the raw ingredients. And that's before anyone has mentioned fish, the basis of what is truly magnificent about Peruvian food in general and Trujillan food in particular.

RUJILLO seems to shyly turn its back on the provider of this prized resource; you forget the Pacific Ocean is on the city's doorstep until you drive out past the airport and catch it shimmering behind the dunes. A couple of miles on lies Huanchaco, a town that embraces the sea and its associated traditions, old and new: the squat, grey waves are shared by wetsuited surfers and fishermen kneeling in tiny canoes made from bundles of totora reeds in ama=er that dates from preColumbian times. Ceviche is the dish Trujillans nominate as their epicurean superstar, and in the incarnations served alongHuanchaco's seafront you understand why: the tender freshness of sea bass, the bite of onion, lemon and three kinds of chilli, the crunchy counterpoint provided by the toasted com that accompanies it. Trujillan ceviche is fusion at its finest: native constituents play the dominant role, with strong support work from NorthAfrican lemons (small, lime-like), Spanish onions and marinating techniques honed overrecent decades by the nation's many Oriental chefs. The excellence of Trujillo's fish cooks





might also have something to do with that relationship between practice and perfection. Most pre-Columbian civilisations were enthusiastic fishermen, and a visit to the Chimu's capital city, Chan Chan, suggests they cared about little else. It's an extraordinary place. Such is the scale of those mud-brick walls that even after 1,200 years ofEl Nin o-led erosion, from a distance they suggest a range of mighty hills rising from the scrubby sand. At 7.6 square miles, Chan Chanis the world's largest adobe city, home to 100,000 at its height, yet strangely ignored. There can't be many Unesco World Heritage sites you can have to yourself in the middle of

the day. Foreign visitors are fixated on Inca sites, and the Peruvians seem overwhelmed by theirembarrassment of pre-Columbian archaeological riches: one sprawling 1 ,500-year-old adobe pyramid complexin Lima was used as a motocross track until the mid- '80s. Excavation restoration work began in earnest at Chan Chan only recently, and a small team is now chipping away at the wind-sculpted detritus to reveal the vibrant reliefs on every ÂŁlank of Chan Chan's imPJsing administrative and religious structures. A theme emerges. There are fish, fishing nets, fishing canoes and more fish. And a pelican. 'The Chimu trained these







u: II

.. ... T

T~"5Pproad'l to

Huaca.de la llma

(rnple of the moon).

n arcnaeologi~1 site in northern Peru th ~wa s once ~he hotheJo}the


ancient Moche people.

~birds to fish for them,' says Maria Avila Vega, Chan Chan's principal of conservation. 'But we do have a squirrel somewhere.' She has been working at the site for three years, but with new murals unearthed daily, the thrill of discovery is undiminished. 'It's magical to find all this hidden art, to feel close tathe people who made it.'


HATbond has always been strong. Ten per cent of Peruvians still speak Quechua, a language thought to predate the Incas and, despite healthy church attendance, spiritual traditions have never gone away. Amid the stacks

of skinned guinea pigs and technicolour fruit at Trujillo's mercado mayorista (main market) lies an aisle devoted to shamanic remedies. There are deer hooves and dried frogs, herbs to lower blood pressure, soaps to raise libido. The shamanic arms- race means you can buy a love potion, a potion to break a love potion and a potion to break that. There are baskets filled with hunks of the mind-altering flora so entrenched in Peruvian tradition that even the Catholics had to embrace it. The hallucinogenic cactus so prized by pre-Col umbian society is today known as San Pedro: like heaven's gatekeeper, it opens the doors to another world.

San Pedro was a hit with the Moche people , who preceded the Chimu and built the region's oldest adobe step-pyramids. As lead archaeologist at the Moche site nicknamed EI Brujo (the witch-doctor), Dr Regula Franco felt justified in undertaking a San Pedro all-nighter on academic grounds. 'All the time I had a recurring vision of a puma,' he recalls, 'and the next week we excavated one of our most amazing finds - a headdress, decorated with pumas. ' Thus inspired, Dr Franco now offers visitors a one-an-one experience with Nofaen, a local shaman, though without the psychoactive element. In truth, the setting is eerie enough as it SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

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is. Peruvians lived around El Brujo for 4,000 years until the late colonial era, but today the site is as dusty and bleak as Luke Skywalker's home planet. The Moche pyramid is still turning up treasures the looters missed - in 2002, Franco's team dug into the tomb of a female ruler, her mummy draped in gold and precious stones - but the most compelling artefacts are the blood-red reliefs that decorate the wall behind the pyramid's yawning ceremonial plaza. On a technical level, these don't quite match the better preserved artworks closer to Trujillo at the Huaca de la Luna, the temple ofthe moon. But they're more dramatic. Naked prisoners are depicted being led to their sacrificial death; some incorporate real human bones. There's an unsettling contrast between the brutal pageantry that took place here and the windswept desolation that now defines it. The shaman's lair lies some way out across the lonely sand, beyond the hollows left by shovel-mad grave-robbers. The final approach to Nofaen's subterranean temple is a rough stairway that winds down to an ancient Moche well. Nofaen himself stands barefoot in a 74

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TOP Striking murals inside Huaca de la Luna. RIGHT Nofaen, himselfthe son of a shaman, uses many tools, from tobacco to burnished sticks, to help banish badness from the human body

heavy poncho, dark skinned and red eyed. Arranged on a crude altar beside him are ceremonial accessories that blend Peru's history with its prehistory: a postcard of the Virgin Mary, tobacco, a bottle of perfumed alcohol and a collection of burnished sticks and pebbles. Expelling the badness from your body involves applying these in a number of unexpected ways, and ends with an immersion which reveals the well's black waters to be home to a large and inquisitive catfish. He's probably 4,000 years old. When Nofaen motions dismissively at your clothing and utters a brief instruction in Spanish, that innocent spring festival seems very far away. Further if you don't speak Spanish, and only find out later that he was asking you to keep your pants on.1!iI

• Paijan





Machu Picchu may get all the glory, but it isn't Peru's only city worth exploring, Passing civilisations have left their mark along the crashing surf of Peru's northern coast, from the adobe city of Chan Chan, to the colonial mansions of Trujillo



I!I Getting there Bnlrates (emirates. com) flies from singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Lima, then connect to TrUjillo on LAN Airlines (from US$457 return; Ian. com)

II Getting around Don't bother With public transport - buses eXist but, cUriously, are banned from central areas. TaxIs are ubiquitous and cheap but agree a fare In advance and close your eyes at Junctions. •

Budget Modern, trim and equipped with wl-fl and cable TV, HOTEL KORIANKA IS close to TrUJillo's main square and offers a decent breakfast. Best sUited to those who value a qUiet night more than a long lie-in - the hotel backs onto a school with a very active brass band (from US$S8; korlanka.com)

With a traditional facade and a white-painted central courtyard, the GRAN BOLIVAR HOTEL In TrUjillo IS steered In ambience. It also serves the city's best PISCO Sour - the national cocktail of lemon Juice, whisked egg white and grape brandy (doubles from US$76; granbollvarhotel.net)

The best hotel In TrUjillo byfar IS the LlBERTADOR, situated on the main square. The smallish rooms don't qUite live up to the promise of the grand colonial exterior, but bag one overlooking the lavish pool area and you'll have a view that atones (from US$133; Ilbertador.com.pe)


Forego your hotel breakfast, untlllOam and 9::1ueeze In with the locals for brunch at the

Enjoy lunchtlrre ceviche sreclalltles (seafcxxJ In a CitrUS marinade,

The sreclality IS a hefty chicarron (crunchy fried pork) bun, brought to your table by one of the army of crisply uniforrred staff (from US$2; Jiron Francisco Pizarro 330-332)

Set in a rambling old manSion, RESTAURANT RUSTICA offers an authentic Peruvian buffet Try causa (mashed yellow potato dumpling with lemon, chilli and onion), pachamanca (meat cooked on hot stones) and local teer Pllsen TrUjillo (buffet from US$11, Jiron Bolivar 446)

Five major archaeological Sites can easlry be reached from TrUjillo by taxI, Including CHAN CHAN, the world's largest adobe city - though only part IS open to visitors. To get more from your VISIt, JOin a tour from TrUjillo such as TrUjillo Tours (from US$22; truJlllotours.com) or hire a guide on-site, around US$S an hour (US$3 entrance; 9am-4.30pm)

If you've got the energy at the end of the day, shimmy down to RESTAURANTE TURIsTICO CANANA, a multi-level, orenair dance club shaken up by a fantastic 12-piece Latin band warning: try to leave before 1am and the manager will personally frogmarch you back to your table (US$2.80; calle San Martin 791)

The surfing at Huanchaco teach IS the best In Latin America, and at the OLAS






20 • • • • • • • • • •• •







• • Temp maX/min


• Rainfall

THE FINAL WORD '1 only had it on special occasions at home. Marmalade's very expensive in Darkest peru.' paddington Bear




30 • •



telow) from RESTAURANT BIG

BEN's terrace and watch reed- toat fisherrren at work (US$6US$24, dal~ until

5.30pm, blgten huanchaco.com)


be taught by a national champion (from US$47 for three days' tuition, including ooard and wetsult hire, olasnorte_rnn@hotmall.com)


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Gorgeous and spunky with a heart of gold Tasmania is a young lady you'd want to know better WORDS SHEENA CHEN

t L

-- i







TOP LEFT Homegrown fruit at Gourmet Sauce company; gazing out at Josef chromy's cellar Door; one of Tim's prized sauces; postcardperfect breakfast at Gourmet Sauce company LEFT A peek at Ashgrove cheese

THIS BEAUTY KNOWS THE FINE TRAIL TO FOOD AND WINE Exquisitely crisp home-grown pinat nair, beautifully-cooked seasonal produce and contemporary furnishing overlooking 150 acres of panoramic vineyard views - just some de riguer experiences you'll enjoy while eating at cattle farmer-turned-winery owner JosefChromy's Cellar Door restaurant at Launceston (370 Relbia Rd; josefchromy.com.au). Dining here sets the bar real high for the rest of Tasmania (or Tassie, as affectionately known to locals) but fortunately for the heart-faced Aussie state, gastronomy is synonymous with

everyday life. Just a couple minutes drive away from Cellar Door is an infamous trail punctuated with a trio of sinful nibbles: farm-fresh raspberry, artisan cheese and fine chocolate. The giddy scent of decadence wafts through the air on this food-lovers' grail. I know what you're thinking, and I empathise: how can one afford fair tummy real estate for all three delights? Grazing, as it turned out, proved a useful art for this dilemma - a revelation that escaped my mind as my palate got primed at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm & Cafe (9 Christmas Hills Road, Elizabethtown; 78

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raspberryfarmcafe.com). Placidly sitting by an expansive farm, the quaint family-run boho-chic cafe serves up the juiciest (not to mention largest) rasperries I've ever seencooked, stewed, baked and slushed in every permutation possible. Think crimson sprinkled salads, raspberry-spiked sausages, chutneys, pancakes and even beer (the Razzmatazz was a refreshing buzz). While tough to decide, my favourite takeaway from here is definitely the chocolate-coated raspberry nibs. A perfect alchemy of citrus bittersweet, the nibs are a result of months oflabourious kitchen experiments and make just the loveliest, most addictive pops in your mouth. Forget about hauling the seductive treat home, though. The highly-perishable delight has a knack of finding its way to your mouth before you hit the driveway out. What better way to balm the sweet than with a dash of savoury. Heaving with award-winning Cheddars, Ashgrove Cheese (6173 Bass Highway Elizabeth Town; ashgrovecheese.com.au) is also home to Tassies', dare I say, best wild wasabiinfused cheese. Many have tried replicating the fascinating, oddly delicious blend, but no one seems to have hit the right spot of savoury heat the way Ashgrove has. All I could coax out ofthe third-generation fromagerie owner was that the wasabi used in his hallmark infusion is cultivated right here in Tasmania. Who knew the heady rhizome grew out of Japan? You know what they say about chocolate. There's always room for it, especially when you're at House of Anvers (9025 Bass Highway; anvers-chocolate.com.au) which

in my books is pretty much a scene out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Apart from the usual artisan truffles, pralines and fudges, the Bennett family-run chocolatier also hosts a tidy museum showcasing ancient moulds and vintage cocoa collectibles; as well as a glassed-up factory where seasoned hands work magic into all variations of chocolate. Feast your eyes on the plethora of crafted chocs and sauces for takeaway sale, or do as I did and chill over the house specialty of chilli hot chocolate at the attached cafe. I'm a Manuka honey advocate. Well, correction: I was. A casual chat with the affable owner/strapping beekeeper Julian Wolfhagen at Tasmanian Honey Company (25A Main Road; tasmanianhoney.com) was all it took to convert me to a Leathervvood honey fan. Tassie Leathervvood trees where the amber hive nectar is harvested from sit on an optimal honey-prod ucing latitude shared only by New Zealand's South Island and Tierra del Fuego, and offers the same antibacterial and antioxident properties Manuka honey is lauded for- sans the premium price. In fact studies by Astrott and Henle and several laboratories have found that the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) used to market the Kiwi miracle nectar sketchy in measuring its touted health benefits. Ifthat hasn't quite convinced you to try the Leatherwood alternative, the oh-too-pretty vintage tins the honey is sold in and boggling variety of yummy flavoured nectar just might. With a name like Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company (174 Leighlands Road Evandale; gourmetsauce.com.au), I was expecting a stiff upper-lipped shop piled with bottles of mono type corsiva-Iabelled sauces as I drove out for breakfast. The truth couldn't be further, save for the gourmet sauce bit. Run by one ofthe funniest, most grounded man I've met on this trip, the spot is no more intimidating than a rehabilitated bungalow surrounded by grafted fruit trees, an alfresco cooking-cum-dining shed and a quirky topiary garden. It's a place where I can easily see myselfidling glorious days away from a weathered iron wrought chair, licking spoonfuls of award-winning jams. Apart from crafting gold-standard Whisky marmalades and Plum & Pepperberry chutneys, owner Tim is also quite an expert at manicuring hedges into living art.



THE LADY WITH ABIGHEART FOR ANIMALS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS Rising 1545m above sea level, Cradle Mountain is not only famous for being one ofTassie's lankiest landmarks but also for its Overland Track-a multi-day walking trail coveted by hikers across the globe. Native animals such as wallabies, wombats, possums and Tasmanian Devils roam abundant and free here, the former three often squirrelling among the many lodges nestled within the park. The skies were a tragic slate grey at three pm when I checked into Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge (4038 Cradle Mountain Road; peppers.com.au/ cradle-mountain-lodge) for my wild-luxe respite. Despite the battered weather, the National Park still glistened with organic charms, one of which was the Night Spotting Tour -an educational and spritely mini-van trip that saw me up close with active nocturnal animals. Though I must 80

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say, the beauty of Cradle Mountain truly blossoms come day time. One of60 "Great Short Walks" peppered all around Tasmania, the Enchanted Forest Walk is an easy 20-minute circuit route just a stone's throw from the lodge; and apt as its name, the scenic route is carpeted with cotton candy moss and mushrooms playing peekaboo from giant trees. A visit to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (593 Briggs Road, Brighton; bonorong.com. au) is a humbling experience that will surely leave you undervvhelmed with your accomplishments in life. How many of us can boast knowing, at age eight, exactly what we want to be when we grow up? Well, Greg Irons did. Now at a sagely age of 27, his childhood dream to save and rehabilitate injured and orphaned native animals is a heaving reality. Primarily run by volunteers, Bonorong educates the public on wildlife protection via guided park tours, school talks and classes on basic animal rescue, transport and temporary care. Here, you'll get plenty offace-time with the elusive and endangered Tasmanian Devil (which looks nothing like its sinister name), feed kangeroos and flirt with feathery friends of all sorts. All proceeds gathered from the sanctuary's entrance fee and tour is pumped back into conservation efforts.

ABOVE FROM LEFT Greg cuddling up to one of Bonorong Wildlife sanctuary's resident Tasmanian Devils; the sanctuary is committed to rehabilating all the native animals; glide through the breathtaking Enchanted Forest walk BELOW The wet yet cool surroundings in the Enchanted Forest invite shrooms of all varieties

THIS LASS LOVES A GOOD THRILL, TOO It's hard to picture the wholesome state spitting out a gambling, school-dropout, and contrarian oddball like David Walsh. But that's the beauty of Tasmania, chiefly golden with an occasional edgy kick in the form of folks like Walsh. Despite making bank through professional gambling and acquiring status as Australia's largest private art collector, Walsh still has the altruistic Tassie blood running in his vein. And thanks to that, people from all over the world can enjoy his massive collection of quirky, provocative and some say borderline offensive artwork housed at the Museum of Old and New Art-or MONA (651-655 Main Road Berriedale; mona.net.au). Superbly curated and housed in an underground labyrinth of a winery (with a tennis lawn serving as entrance), the artwork here runs the gamut from ancient Egyptian tombs to interactive and experiental installations such as the "poo machine". As icing, every visitor receives an iPod Touch which not only registers nearby displays via wifi as you meander around and emails you your personal "route map" at the end of your journey, but also lets you like (or hate) artworks via an inbuilt application. Personally I find the term "cruise" extremely misleading at Pennicott Wilderness Journeys' Tasman Island Cruise 82

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(Dock Head Building, Franklin Wharf Hobart; pennicottjourneys.com.au). My day ride out on their state-of-the-art, 40-plus-footer RIB (rigid inflatable boat- a su per sonic marine vessel) was more a scene out of Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel than Titanic. I'm talking two expertly-equipped and informative crew and a gaggle of Gortex-suited thrillseeking customers contained on a daredevil boat, pounding through four-metre swells at lightning speed, rollercoaster style. Exhilarating couldn't even begin to describe the experience. The reward? Moving close-ups of seals playing and hunting, giant albatrosses gliding by the dozens, azure waves whitewashing up legendary cliffs and rockclimbing sites like the Candle Stick. On the note of deceptively-named thrills, my ride with Mount Wellington Descent (tour departs from Brooke Street Pier, Franklin Wharf Hobart; mtwellingtondescent.com.au) immediately comes to mind. The adventure appeared rather innocent on its website. You take a leisurely bus ride to the pinnacle of Mount Wellington and spend a couple ofleisurely hours cycling down the giant mound while soaking in the city's sight. As with most things in Tasmania, the name isn't always quite what it seems. Sure, the whole gig about a lazy 20-minute bus ride up the mountain was accurate; but lady Tassie's precarious temper couldn't possibly leave the experience as such. While trembling my cotton socks off, I discovered that the term "cycling" in Tassie is pretty much exchangable with "serious mountain-

ABOVE FROM LEFT palpating light installation at MONA; albatrosses galore on the Tasman Island cruise; Hobart Paddle offers a gorgeous lunch spot to go with their complimentary fish and chips

biking". Don't be frightened by that though. I have never rode a mountain bike before this, nor embarked on any cycling adventures beyond circling the well-paved East Coast Park of Singapore; and I'm happy to report that I (not only survived but) really enjoyed the ride - despite the unexpected cold and embarrassing tumble off the dirt trail. Beyond descending the mountain, which works up quite a sweat, powerpeddling through the city's streets and gardens was itself a breathtaking journey. Another cool perspective ofthe city I got was from sea kayaking with Hobart Paddle (freycinetadventures.com.au/hobart-seakayaking). The two-hour tour involved some ducking under piers, weaving through big-boy boats in picturesque harbours and grabbing your take-away parcel offish and chips from a fishing trawler. Beyond that, all that's required of you is a listening ear to the guide's insider tales of surrounding architure, Tassie's rich history and entertaining boat trivia. Oh, and a hearty appetite to polish off the generous, complimentary lunch too. 1!iI


TASMANIA AUSTRALIA'S DEBUTANTE ",-",""'_ ,d,,'_,,'odd· '''''''';'''''''"''''' ''''''-''''''''''-


I!I Getting there Air ASia (alraSla.cOm),



Emirates (emlrates.com), Jetstar Airways Uetstar.com), Malaysia AIrlines (malaysiaairllnes.com), Qantas (qantas.com.au) and singapore Airlines (singaporealr.com) fly direct to Melbourne from singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Then transfer to Tasmania's Hobart International Airport or Launceston Airport.

Salamanca Weekend Market

I!I Getting around International car hires like AVIS, Budget, Europcar and Thrifty have booking desks at airports and in major towns, with rates ranging from US$60 to US$80 a day for a small-car hire. Alternatively, you can leverage on the state's bus network system on Redllne coaches (tasredllne.com.au) and TassieLink (tass lei Ink. com.au).

28 Gates

Port Arthur


A stronghold of 3:)0 stalls convene here every Saturday rmmlng to hawk a gamut of Jewellery, woodwork and fashion knick-knacks under the glorious Tassie outdoors. Though one of the most Iconic attractions In cosrmpJlltan Hobart, local stalls here st111 create, groward rmke what trey 9211

30 minutes away from the nearest town, 28 Gates is Tasmania's first truly luxe txJutique farm stay hotel that boasts a splendidly appJlnted three-ted room lodge nestled In 5000 acres of sweeping pastures (:?3gates. com. au)

The small convict settlerrent on the Tasman peninsular offers qUiet respite with a slice of history. Check out the Port Arthur historic site for a taste of regal architectural rUins and retrace convict footprints


Hotel collins - couple of streets from the weekend rmrket, central business district and waterfront - IS par for excellence on rrcdern arrenlties and world-class service. Apart from complimentary Internet access, the hotel also offers a kitchenette In every of their apartrrent-style rooms. (US$127; hotelcoilins.com.au)

where else but 28 Gates' only two-Ievellcdge that sleeps SIX Fully decked In European kitchen appliances, flat-screen televiSions and decadent bathrooms, the cabin also hosts little spoils like a Nespresso machine and Merino throws made from sheep that roam ItS doorstep

Stewa rts Bay Lodge IS one of Port Arthur's rmre luxurious accommcdatlons. All cabins Sit on the waterfront and are self-contained with rmdern kitchen and laundry faCilities (stewa rtsbaylcd ge. com. au)


check out Beauty and the Bees, a local label seiling leathervvocd honey-based creams, soaps and lotions handmade from 100% natural ingredients (l:€el:€autycom)


• Further reading See Lonely Planet's Tasmania (US$24.99), or go to discovertasm an ia. com.

Get away from the city bustle and dive right into Tasmania's unspoilt, stress-free landscapes, where you can easily get around from one place to another in just a day's drive,


The se~-contained compound offers marked walking routes, fishing lakes, as ""II as plenty of photography and wild-lie spotting 0ppJrtunltles

The ex-prison site IS haunted with ghost tales, and what better way to tac kle the chilling past than ta ke on The paranorrmllnvestlgatlon Experience? The four to five-hour tour allows VISitorS to ghost-hunt with the latest technology and offers everyone a DVD footage of their findings (pJrtarthur.org.aUl paranorrmltour)


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NANTA Singapore,









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

Travel deals and choice spots to check in and check out.

Travel beauty picks and brand happenings worldwide.


ANYTHING TO DECLARE Author Neil Humphreys on why Singapore is still the best.







BLEND IN AT A TANGO HALL Spare your blushes with our guide to tango-hall etiquette Tango IS a serious business. At an established mllonga (targo dance hall), choosing a partner Involves many hldcl2n codes, rules am signals After all, no serious mllorguera (female regular) wants to have someone steppl rg on rer tces Ideally, you should Sit with easy access to the floor. couples Sit furtrer back. If a man arrives with a woman, she IS 'his' To dance with others, trey either arrive separately, or the man may ask amther woman, and then 'his' partner IS open for as~rg The cabezazothe qUick nod, eye contact and uplifted eyebrow; that signals a man would like to dance - can happen from across tre room. The woman either nods yes and the man escorts her to the floor, or pretends to have mt noticed. ~'s polite to dance at least two sorgs; If you are given a curt'gra:::13s' after one, consider that partner unavailable for the night If you don't wart to dance w"h anyone, don't look around too much - you could be breaking hearts sandra Bao, co-author of the Lonely Planet gUide to ArgenDna (US$26W)

THE SHORTLIST Which are the sunniest cities in the USA? Florida's position at the southem end of the us East coast, poinDng towards the caribbean, has earned It the nickname the 'sunshine state' yet other states could steal the tl~e. Weather stations across the us measure the proportion of hours between sunrise and sunset with clear, sunny skies Of the bigger cities, It'S a tie between Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson, all In the southwest, which enjoysunshlne for around 85 per cent of all daylight hours through the year comparatively New York IS on 58 per cent, while Juneau In Alaska enJoys the least sunshine of any us C"y at Just 30 per cent

AVERAGE SUNSHINE 1) Phoenix , Arizona 85% 1) Las Vegas, Nevada 85% 1) Tucson, Arizona 85% 4) EI Paso, Texas 84% 5) Fresno, California 79% 6) Sacramento, California 78% 7) Albuquerque,

New Mexico 8) Los Angeles, California 9) Honolulu , Hawaii 10) Miami, Florida

76% 73% 71% 70%

Sources, NalJmai Omatic Data C9nlEr (rrct:nosagtJvj


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Check in, check out

ENJOY YOUR STAY Capri by Fraser @ Changi City, Singapore Set to unveil over 73 new properties across 39 cities worldwide over the next three years, serviced residences leader Frasers HOspitality pte Ltd (Frasers) will be launching a capri by Fraser property In singapore by the third quarter of 2012. With ItS extensive range of facilities and customlsable serVices, this new kid on the block IS set to rival or even surpass the standards of five-star luxury hotels, but without the hefty price tag Each studio will be equipped with a slew of Intelligent urban services Including IPad activated check-ins, interactive e-conclerge

WSingapore - Sentosa Cove Set on the grounds of the Idyllic Island of Sentos3, W singapore - Sentosa cove, with ItS top-of-the-range amenities and first class facilities , IS pOised to become one of the prime luxurious beachfront retreats In singapore Slated to open cs doors on 16 september, the hotel ",II feature 240 sea and marina facing guestrooms, Including five WOW (presldentlaD suces - all stylishly fitted with top-of-the-Ilne 42' LED TVS, mood Ilghtlngs, plus a 88

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feather-top maWess and goose-down comforter for a sound night's rest To celebrate Its debuc In singapore, the hotel IS offering the 'Island Glamour welcome' package, I'<1hlch Includes a one-nlght-stay, breakfast for two at W's signature restaurant, The Kitchen Table, and specially concocted cocktails. Prices start from US$310++ per package

21 Ocean way, singapore 098374, Tel: +65 6808 7288; whotels.com/singapore


and WI-FI e-Prlnt facilities for businesses, meeting rooms with Interactive walls, and a Data Box to charge all digital devices. Studios are also decked out In a tasteful selection of furniture and furnishIngs, including home entertainment systems, DVD players, Geneva Lab audio systems, luxurious bathrooms, spacIous walk-In wardrobes, kitchenettes and more - fully epltomlslng the definition of 'staYing In'

3 changi Business park central 1, singapore 486037, Tel: +65 6933 9833; capribyfraser,com


Swire Hotels Travellers who are looking for a chic and comfortable stay that will also cater to your urbane technological reeds, look no further than EAST, Beijing offering panoramic views of oowntown Beijing, the 369-roomed EAST will officially open "S doors at INDIGO In chaoyang DiStrict, Beijing thiS September creck out the special opening rates from USD$125+ per night, valid tl1l31 December 2012


Life Resorts There IS no better way to appreciate the magnificent scenery, pristine coastline and awe-Inspiring limestone formations surrounding Ha Long Bay than with life Resorts' newly launched summer package, which allows VIsitors to enjoy a private cruise within Ha Long Bay's spectacular Central , Eastern and Western Isles. Designed only for

two at anyone time, the USD$4 53 per couple package Includes a onenight stay aboard one of the fourstar life Resorts' heritage junks, entrance fees to major attractions within the bay dally meals, unlimIted non-alcoholic drinks as well as free usage of kayaks, snorkeiling and fishing gear


Banyan Tree Hotels

and Resorts To celebrate the brand's Inaugural foray Into Vietnam , Banyan Tree Group IS extending an Introductory offer, Must stay Banyan Tree L~ng C6, to all who wish to experience a stay In the exclusive 28-hectare Integrated resort nestled In the picturesque Chan May region and In close proximity to UNESCO

word Heritage sites. Slated to open Its doors on 1 November 2012, the promotion Includes a dally breakfast for two, complimentary hotel credits and private round triP transfers. Rates start from USD$735++ per night valid till 30 March 2013 with a minimum stay of two nights





LUXE RETREAT After a luxurious update, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur now exudes luxury, style and substance - everything a discerning traveller would be looking out for, and more. pened to the public in February 2012, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur is an urban oasis located in the heart of Malaysia's bustling capital that offers both business and leisure travellers exquisite style, convenience, spacious guestrooms, and most importantly, seamlessly intuitive service. Past the glass doors, InterContinental's interior paints a picture of luxury and designer chic. From the top , an opulent chandelier cascades 4.5 metres down, creating a spectacular waterfall-like


ill usion of floating crystals in the midst of four grand columns, encased in gleaming silver rods and imposing black forest marble. The designers have spared no effort and expense in creating a luxe ambience, which is guaranteed to impress anyone who steps foot into the hotel premises. Another highlight of this hotel is the new Concierge Lounge. While waiting for keys to the room, guests can rest comfortably on cozy sofas, or be entertained with the iPads and iPod docking stations that are conveniently available.

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

For reservations or more information, please call +60 3 21611111 orlog on towww.intercontinental-kl.com.my


travel Celebrity Cruises Presents All-Glass Shower

Oantas Customers To Book Flights On Mobile Site

The 1,63&square-foot Reflecbon su"e w"h a 194-square-foot veranda will t:e celebrity cruIses' fllst two-bedroom su"e, com plete With its dlstmctive sea-view bathroo mwith soothing rain shJwer, and tre mst of amen",es asSOCiated ~ celebrrtVs luxury SU"es, Including the brand's round-the-clock Euror:ean butler seMce The Reflection SUite ISadjacert to the brand's frJe new "signature su"es," each offering a 441-sqLJare-foot stateroom area and 118-sqLJare foot w randa, ~ floor-ta-ceiling wlnoow; am veranda doors

the ASia PacifiC region

Jetstar Japan JOins the low fares network of Jetstar branded airlines In singapore, Vietnam, Australia and New zealand. Jetstar Hong Kong IS scheduled to launch dUring 2013 subject to regulatory approval The broader Jetstar Group operates up to 47 return flights between Japan and Australia, singapore, Manila and Taiwan

Held on 3 August 2012 at the singapore Flyer, the puducherryTourism Road Show was staged In bid to promote puducherry tourism In singapore Throughout the evening, heavywelghtflgures such as puducherry's welfare Minister P Rajavelu and Tourism secretarywvR Murthy spoke enthusiastically about the highlights and places of Interests In puducherry that are set to capture the attention of VISitorS

Qartas today launched a new functionality to Its ~= mobile site enabling :~ Qantas customers to book domestic and International flights via qantas,com on tllelr mobile phone Initially launched In 2008, the Qantas Mobile site provides customers With the ability to check In for the II domestic flight, receive SMS flight updates and check the status of the II flight The search and booking funcDon IS available to customers departing Australia, New zealand, singapore, UK and the USA


Jetstar Japan Takes Off

Puducherry Tourism

-=... ..... :==


Jetstar Japan's fllst flight has taken off The new aliline will leverage and help grow the eXisting Jetstar network across

Road Show

News from the industry

Transasia Airways Upgrades Its Services

Tre aliline has ope red another allport lounge at Taipei Taoyuan InternatJo nal Airport for Its Business Class passengers With seating capacity for I!J passengers, the lounge provides a r:ersomllsed touch to their valLEd customers Also, to prolOde better IIl-flIght entertainment experlerce for medium-haul passengers, IPads are soon to be available on board In BlJSlness Class on alllnternatJonal ro utes, Including Japan, Macau, slngapJre, South Korea am Vietnam, along With. other tElC hnology enhancement to be Implernented In phases other new servlce-orl ented Initiatives InclucE redes ign of crew uniform, overs~n by the renownedTalwanese desi gner Mr Xla Pelgun, as well as Irtroduclll6 fine dining on board, among others

Launching of "Inspiring & Sharing" MICE Campaign 2012 The singapore KTO'S MICE team has just launched her fllst MICE campaign on 15 August 2012. proudly sponsored by Korean All, samsung, The courtyard Marriott Hotel seoul , Hotel The Plaza seoul, The Face Shop, CJ Food and Todal singapore, this IS a photo / video campaign targeted at MICE travellers Participants are encouraged to share their most memorable moments of thell trrps to Korea with them , In photo story or video format on any tOPICS containing MICE element. winning entries will be judged based on the uniqueness and creativity The campaign IS opened to singapore-based residents only, who have made or gOing for their trips to Korea for MICE activities between September 2011 and October 2012. All entrres have to reach them by 31 October 2012 by email to koreamlceslngapore@gmallcom Winners will be announced by 16 November 2012 To further engage the targeted audiences, they will be sharing updates and Information on the MICE products and facilities on our Facebook page and other promotional vehicles durrng the 8-weeks campaign period More details at facebook.com/ ko reato Ufl Sm0 rga nizatlo ns i nga po reoffice


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Your Beauty Treats 2


1. Biodenna Sensibio H2O, from US$13 Cleanser and makeup remover rolled into one, the water-like, non-rinse formula easily swipes off smudges even on the go, or dab a little on skin when facing sudden climate changes while travelling.

•, •

2. Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Eye Cream, US$62



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Protect the fragile skin around your eyes with this richly hydrating cream, that promises to diminish appearances of crow's feet, smoothen lids and firm up saggy skin in just one month.



3. Estee Lauder Pure Color Ave Color Eyeshadovv Palette in Violet Underground, US$64 The multi·tasker colours your eyes w~h pale pink and crimson, matte black doubles up as your liner, and fuchsia for your cheeks. If you need a heavier coverage, simply apply wet for a vibrant, lasting finish .

4. Burberry Body EDT, from US$64 The same sensual blend but lighter this time, w~h added notes of refreshing green apple and gentle tea extracts perfect for date nights.

5. Chanel Rouge Allure, US$36 Dress up your lips with 16 new alluring shades, soft on your lips with moisturising almond oil. And because red never goes out of style, so says Gabrielle 'coco' Chanel, pick pirate, mixed w~h bluish undertones which complement Asian skin.

6. Guerlain Parure de Lumiere Creme Foundation, US$66 The luxurious gel creme is perfect on drier skin or cold weathers, the




formula infused with marine springwater rich in minerals and silica so

skin is kept smooth, plumped and luminous·looking.

7. Penhaligon's Peoneve EDP, from US$176 Like an English garden in summer, the scent blossoms with the velvety peony flower, peppery Bulgarian rose and warm cashmere wood.

8. Dr Wu Acnecur Pore Rehning Serum, US$40


New ingredient EVermat™ works to reduce sebum protection for a shine·free face, the serum also pumping collagen to smoothen and tighten skin.

9. Prada Candy Collector EDP, US$148 The limited edition birthday bottle celebrates the brand's signature alluring scent combining white musk, mellow benzoin and sweet caramel, packaged in shocking pink, yellow and glinting gold for the bold and beautiful.


10. Crabtree & Evelyn Himalayan Blue colaction, from US$22

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. , 10

The collection exudes freshness w~h mandarin and lemon whiffs, centred along warm ginger, pink pepper and sandalwood for the adventurous woman. We love the the bath & shower gel which conditions skin with botanical extracts, while the body lotion nourishes with green tea oil and luxurious shea butter.


Palace Hotel Tokyo Dip into evian's first spa in Japan, the exclusive 1,200 square metre area fitted with just five treatment rooms and a spa suite - each aptly named after a peak in the French Alps, and boasting panoramic views of Mt Fuji on a clear day. The spa's Vitalizing Signature comes highly recommended, the 50 or 80 minute body treatment inspired by the Japanese philosophy of seitai, where pressure is applied using fingers, thumbs and elbows to stimulate energy flow. After, get snug in the heated baths, then pick between the marble sauna, cold plunge pool, dry sauna or the scenic indoor pool, before taking a quick shuteye at the relaxation lounges. palacehoteltokyo.com/en/evianspa

DFS Galleria Singapore

Aesop Tokyo The Australian brand with over international 50 stores has launched their third and fourth signature stores at Yokohama Bay Quarter and Shin路 Marunouchi in Tokyo, Japan. spearheaded by Aesop's creative team and awardwi nnin g Torafu Arch itects, thousands of wooden splinters were compressed together to form oriented strand board - the textural element used across both stores, expertly showcasing the Japanese' emphasis on elegance, simplicity, and functionality. On top of cleansers and masques, check out also a myriad of scrupulously formulated hair and body care products to pamper from head to toe, the Jet set a particularly nifty addition to your tOiletry kit too. 1.aesop.com


Luxury travel retailer DFS has revamped Singapore's Beauty Hall, the massive 15,000 square feet hall not only stocking over 50 familiar brand favourites such as Guerlain, MAC and SK路II, but also new additions Benefit, La Mer, and Kiehl's. The real icing however, is the store's exclusive rights to Giorgio Armani Beauty's make up and skincare productsalso the International luxury brand's first foray into the local scene. Need beauty fixes in a jiffy? store patrons can check into the DFS Beauty conCierge, offering complimentary beauty services like personalised skin consultations, hand massages, eyebrow shaping services, makeovers and even airbrush makeup workshops. dfsgalleria.com

ION Orchard, Singapore Beefing up an already stunning portfOliO of homegrown and international retail brands, ION orchard has welcomed another slew of prolific names, including Yves saint Laurent Beaute boutique - also southeast Asia's first flagship store, parisan haute couture store carven, as well as beauty newbie Beauty by Nature from Australia. Men are equally catered for with the launch of Lab series' skincare and hair solutions store, while their female partners can zip straight to the newly opened Victoria's secret and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) outlet, the latter due to open by end 2012. ionorchard.com




Start planning now for some of the best events in Singapore 8 - 9 NTUC Income K~e Festival

10 - 30 cats of the world

25 -30 NANTA

singapore 2012 FDr the fourth year running, thiS evert plans to gather !Gte erthuslasts, as we ll as those who farcy a day of kite flymg to excl~ng k~e performances from Intermtloml kite masters, kite ma~ng workshops and art performances This year's sr:eclal- K~e Messages campy allow; par~Clpants to send their messages of love through an 8m by 1.5m IrGtalla~on (act3Intermtlomlcoms!'!

Exhibition Held atTre Arts House, this exhlMlon showcases photos of our feline friends taken by aspiring and professloml photographers on 15 and 22 thiS morth, there 1'<111 also be a saturday 'purrzaar Market', wnlch IS a cat-themej flea market that offers Irteres~ng cat-relatej merchandise and crafts (theartsholJSecoms!'!

originating from the traditional Korean musIc performance samufnori, thiS thrilling theatrical spectacle will see four regular-loo!Gng chefs "cook up" a series of IGnlves-tosslng and utenSils-fliPPing acrobatic sturts and comedy (marlnabaysandscom)

Now - 31 The wedding Dress The collaboration between the N~oml MlJSeum ofslngapJre am VictOria am Albert MlJSeum In Lomon sees a splemld collection of wejdlng dresses from celebratej deslgrers such as John Galliano, Vera wang \1vlenre Westwood am tre likes. There will also t:e a preserta~on of Westem am tradl~onal wejdlng costumes worn bySIrte;3p:Jrean women of various ethnic groups (natlonalmuseums!'!

19 - 20, 26 - 28 sentosa spooktacular 2012 Tre braves am adventurous should not miss thiS event held at Fort Slloso, Sertosa. With five temly1ng trails, Including a haurtej army camp am a creepy cb ll maker's house, coupled With ghoulish characters roaming around the compound, Halloween IS never gOing to t:e the same (spooktacular coms!,! I


Now - 24 Feb 2013

A Life of practice - Kuo Pao Kun Not onrywas Kuo Pao Kun a forerunner In singapore's arts and culture Imustry, hewas also an art ac~vlst am public Intellectual celebra~ng the 10th anniversary of the passing of thiS singaporean talent, the National MlJSeum of singapore presents KUO'S life through a selec~on of photographs, manuscripts, letters, costumes am archival footage (na~omlmuseums!,!

Newly Updated from Lonely Planet

The Accidental Adventurer

Ben Fogle (MPH; US$15) Fogle recounts tales of adventure, courage and Indomitable SPilit - set to keep readers' eyes peeled throughout Adventure buffs will relate to exciting encounters including walking to the South pole, rowing across the Atlantic and skating across sweden, serving also to inspire those who aspire to step

out of their comfort zones and achieve the Impossible As the book unfolds, readers will be taken on a Journey Into the extraordinary life of Ben Fogle, a once shy and Introverted boy who eventually emerged out of his shell to become one of the most accomplished adventurer of our times

Lonely Planet Not For Parents: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know - Cities Bundle (US$29,99) A good companion when travelling with the kids, the colourful read features over 400 eye-catch Ing photos, Interactive maps and fanciful Illustrations, delving deep Into Interesting aspects of some of the world's most popular cities that even some adults would not know of


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Old you know that New York's official muffin IS the apple muffin, or that a New Yorker designed the tuxedo In the 1800s' Now we do. The set Includes an edition for London, paris and New York, with an additional travel activity book to keep t he young ones busy


september • Japarese Phrasebook &Audlo CD, 2nd ej~lon, LG$12W • car:e Town &the GarcEn Route 7th ejmon, US$21.9? • Costa Rica 10th ejl~on, LG$24W • Maldives 8th ej~lon, LG$22W • south PacifiC 5th ejmon, US$28W • Discover New York City 2m ejl~on, US$21.9? october • Artarctrca 5th ejl~on, US$28W • Barcelona 8th ej~lon, US$19W • New orleans Ith ejl~on, LG$19W • pragLE & tre czech RepubliC 10th ejmon, US$19W • washington, OC 5th ejmon, LG$19W


hin todecl Neil Humphreys Can you remember your first holiday? It was probably a caravan holiday In clacton, Essex. In the UK, the caravan IS the working man's holiday home. Today It takes 90 minutes In a car from my hometown Dagenham to reach Clacton. When I was a kid, It seemed to take a fortnight Our fllst caravan cost ÂŁ500, but those childhood memories are priceless. Having said that, we had no toilet, so If you needed a tWilight crap, you were In trouble

Can you share some hideaways you discovered while living in Australia the past five years?

Neil Humphreys has returned with his latest book, Return to a Sexy Island and tells us where the best places in Singapore are.

The Big Rock Inside the You yangs mountain ranges between Melbourne and Geelong. Panoramic, almost post-apocalyptic views - which IS why Mel Gibson's Mad Max was filmed there. Kennett River along the Great Ocean Road In VictOria IS the best place to see koalas In thell natural habitat, with the ocean as a backdrop I saw my first wild wombat at VictOria'S Wilsons promontory National park, and stopping the car at dawn to allow an emu to cross the road with her chicks as the sun rose behind them IS an Image that will never leave me. Oh, and sWimming near wild seals In Port Philip Bay off oueenscllff was pretty special too. Swam over a stingray and thought I was going to do a Steve Irwin

Name three places in Singapore which are underrated. I'll give you three great places that are unappreciated Blshan park, the Southern Ridges and the reservoirs bemg linked together around sengkang and punggol

How different is Singapore from when you used to live here? At the northern shore of sentosa, where the old ferry terminal used to be, there used to be a creaking gift shop that sold the crapplest gifts known to Mankind and a couple of tired looking exotic birds who'd squawk a lame "hello" at vIsitors. At that exact spot today Resorts World Sentosa has bUilt the stunning crane Dance, a free water and anlmatronlCS show like nothing I've ever seen anywhere Just behind t hat IS universal Studios singapore, which I've not vIsited 13 times

Which part of the world do you always like to return to, and why? pulau Ubln, the rural, kampong Island off singapore It'S a reminder of what singapore once was, a visual reminder of what the country both gained and lost For that reason alone, It should never be urbanised. I don't think It will be now, but you never know It'S only a 10-mlnute bumboat ride from one of the world's most sprawling, densely populated cities and yet a short bike ride takes you deep Into a forest of monkeys, hornbills, snakes, monitor lizards and wild boars

What are three essentials to have whenever you travel? More than one form of currency - cash, credit card, International ATM card etc. Invariably at least one of them won't be accepted somewhere. And I must get the local newopaper, It gives an Immediate feel for the style, language, tone and Issues of a town as soon as you arrive

Could you share with us a personal favourite travel snapshot accompanied with a short explanation of it? I loved the Railway corridor, the green spine running through the middle of singapore from top to bottom. The site of the former KTM Malaysian railway line that carried trains into JB IS a wonderful, hidden green gem, possibly unique In such a dense city I walked through most of It and the Railway corridor has the lot, forests, wildlife, seclusion, tranquillity history heritage, great old bUildings

What is your dream travel destination? somewhere green, qUiet, natural and full of nahve wild animals, preferably with an air-conditioned hut with satellite TV to watch English Premier League football at weekends. That sounds like paradise Return to a sexy Island (Marshall cavendish, US$15.99) is nowavallable at major bookstores.


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The World's Best Street Food PLUS Whale of a time at funtown Perth 96




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Experience frenetic Asian city life alongside ancient pagcx:Jas

From Viking ships to a 2lst-century opera house, Oslo is an eye-opener




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Old and new combine in a gjalTKJrous

Tm home of pizza and Mount

city of remarkable contrasts

Vesuvius is also rich in architecture

Enjoy art, gastronomy, film and comedy at this diverse destination

The 'Cradle of Liberty' has historical and cultural treasures in abundance

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perforations ...

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WHY GO? Hanoi is perhaps Asia's most graceful and exotic capital city - a place of grand old boulevards and ancient pagodas where locals practise their tai chi moves beside tree-fringed lakes, For all of its timeless charm, it's also a 21st-century metropolis,

WHEN TO GO Hanoi is at its hottest and rainiest between May and September, Taking place in late January or early February, Tet is the Vietnamese New Year, marked by flower exhibitions and markets, while the CAMA Festival in June features music from Polynesian hip hop to Japanese garage-rock (camafestivaLcom),

HOW TO GO Several airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways (tigerairways,com) and Vietnam Airlines (vietnamairlines,com) fly direct from Singapore to Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. AirAsia (airasia,com), Malaysia Airlines (malaysiaairlines,com) and Vietnam Airlines cater flights from Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi. Taxis are the best way to get around the city, Also try cyclos, or pedicabs, which are cheaper alternatives, LEFT A temple in the Old Quarter. RIGHT Bicydes are a hugely

_____~~~~~~~e_~f_tr_a:~~~i:~:~O~ _______________________ ---tt-tl See

In Eat & drink

BEST FOR DISTRICTS 0 The Old Quarter's narrow, congested streets are thriving I'<1th commerce. Some of them are named after the products that were tradlDonally sold theremese days, P Hang Gal peddles silk and embroidery while P Hang Quat IS the place to purchase candlesticks and flags

Quan Ly 0 IS one of HanOI's most tradltJOnal bars, specialising In ruou, a Vietnamese IlqUJr made from rice, with a number of varieties on sale There's also abundant bla hOI- a light Vietnamese dral1Sht beer (82 Le Van HUU, glasses of bla hal US$020) Invariably packed to the rafters, Quan An Ngon 0 offers Vietnamese street food from all corners of the country, with a series of mini-kitchens arrangej around a large courtyard Try chao tom (grilled sugar cane rolled In spiced shrimp paste) Do be prepared to walt for a table dUring peak periods of the day (00 8488299449,15 P Phan BOI Chau, dishes from US$1 BJ) Highway 4 0 IS the birthplace of a family of restaurants specialising In cUIsine from Vietnam's northern mountains There's an astounding array of dishes - from bite-sized catfish spring rolls to pork fillet with shrimp sauce (hlghway4com, 3 P HangTre, dishes from US$5)

BEST FOR HO CHi MINH 0 contrary to his wish for a simple cremation, Hi) Chi Minh's Mausoleum IS a monumental marble edifice. Deep In the bowels of the bUilding, the former leader's body IS stored In a glass sarcophagus (Dec-Sep, 5 Pho Ngoc Ha, admission free) BEST FOR TEMPLES 0 Founded In the 11th century and dedicated to confucIus, the Temple of Literature IS a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture, Entrance was originally only granted to those of noble birth - these days the hal polloI are free to explore Inside (P QUoc lU Gla, admissi on US$050)

BEST FOR LAKES 0 Hoan Klem Lake - which translates as 'Lake of the Restored sword' - IS a popular symbol of old HanOi Legend

states that the Vietnamese once used a magical sword to drive the chinese from their lands, before a giant tortoise grabbed It and disappeared Into the lake BEST FOR MUSEUMS 0 The Vietnam Museum of Emnology IS one of Vietnam's major museums, displaYing tribal art, cultural artefacts and textiles In the grounds are examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture (vmeorgvn, Nguyen Van Huyen Rd, admissi on US$160)

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Set in a handsome French colonial mansion, Ly Club 0 has an Impressive dining room featUring elegant oriental light fittings and a menu of ASian and European dishes (Iyclubvn, 4 Le Phung Hleu, meals from US$ll) La Badiane Ci> IS a st\1lsh bistro located west of HanOI's Old Quarter French techniques underpin the menu, although ASian Influences creep Into some dishes - try the tomatoes stuffed with Vietnamese spices and turmeric rice (Iabadlane,hanoi sltewcom; 10 Nam Ngu; set lunches US$16)


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MINI GUIDE Hanoi, Vietnam

Find your way

iii see III Eat & drink El sleep


Essentials GETIING AROUND HanoI has an extensive public bus system - pick up a bus map from Thang Long Bookshop (PTrang Tlen) A few cyclo (bicycle ricksha", drivers frEl:1uent HanoI's Old ouarter - agree a price before peddling off and be sure to take a map as few drivers speak English 500 ~

TYPICAL COSTS • Pho noodle soup US$0.80 • Mid-range meal US$5-US$16 • Mid-range hotel US$63-US$142 • High-end hotel from US$142

r!I Sleep

Your recommendations

Hidden away In the narrow lanes of HanoI's Old Quarter, Hanoi Elite CD IS a great-value place to stay Its 12 guest rooms have comfortable beds and ItS breakfasts are cooked to order (hanolelltehotelcom, 10-50 Dao DUylU St, from US$55) The Art Hotel G IS a new opening currently making a name for Itself In HanoI's Old Quarter - spacIous rooms have spotless bathrooms, while the surrounding area can claim some of the City'S best street food (hanolarthotelcom, 65 P Hang Dleu, from US$63) sporting an assortment of textiles, ethnic art and locally made furniture, 6 on sixteen m has Just SIX sparsely decorated rooms close to Hoan Klem Lake Breakfast Includes freshly baked pastries and robust Italian coffee Try to bag a room with a balcony as the rooms at the back have tiny windows (sixonslxteen,com; 16 Bao Khanh, from US$71) A stylish hotel overlooking the StJoseph's Cathedral, the Cinnamon Hotel mdeftly combines onglnal features, such

STRING THEORY puppets which dance on water, traditional musIc and fol~ore come together at the Thang Longwater puppet Theatre, gMng VIS"orS an InSIght into ancient tradltJOns and an artform which originated as far back as the 11th century In the rice fields of North Vietnam. Go with an open mind and Ignore the cramp~ seating and you will find It enchanting (thanglongwater puppetorg, 57b Pho DlnhTlen Hoang, admission from US$l) Teresa MCErlane


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as wrought Iron and window shutters, with more minimalist Japanese aesthetics. All of the six rooms have balconies (clnnamonhotelnet, 26 P Au Tlleu, rooms from US$71) A hotel that has been the preferred address of the great and the good In this City for a century, the sofitel Metropole Hotel mhas an Immaculately restored colonial fa,ade and mahogany-panelled reception rooms. Guest bedrooms In the old wing offer old-world stylethe more modern wing of the hotel doesn't qUite have the same character and charm (sofltelcom, 15 P Ngo Quyen, from US$300)



SCHOOL:S IN On the edge of HanoI's Old Quarter, Hanoi cooking centre IS more than Just a cooking school Also on offer are eye-opening tours of markets, fascinating street eats experiences (not the sanltlsed version for tourists one might expect l), a delightful courtyard cafe and a shop - all on an InDmate, fllendly scale and run I'<1th passion and knowl~ge (hanolcooklngcentrecom, 44 Chau Long St, classes from US$55) Tony Stansby



MEMORIES OF HOME Lonely Planet forum users (Ionelyplanetcom/thomtree) rate HanoI's Memorial House, This traditional merchants' house IS one of the Old Quarter's best-restored properties, and IS sparsely but beautifully decorated, with rooms set around two courtyards and filled with fine furniture, There are also crafts and tllnkets for sale here, Including silver Jewellery and basketwork (87 P Ma May, admission US$020) FIND OUT MORE To find out more about HanoI, see Lonely Planet's HanoI & Halong Bay Encounter (US$11) or Vietnam gUide (US$251, or download the HanoI chapter from lonelyplanetcorn (US$5) The New HanOlan IS also a good resource (newhanolan com) . Parts of Graham Greene's The QUiet Amencan (US$13, Vintage) are set In HanOI, and scenes from the 2002 movie were filmed here

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WHY GO? In an ancient land five millennia old, Shanghai feels like it was born yesterday, There are few age-old temples and monuments here, instead you'll discover an extreme blend of art deco architecture, high-speed Maglevs, skyrocketing buildings, European colonial neighbourhoods and charming 19th-century alleys,

WHEN TO GO From April to May and late September to November the temperature is periect, avoiding summer's humidity and chilly winters, During these periods, catch Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), the International Literary Festival and the Longhua Temple Fair.

HOW TO GO From Singapore, fly Singapore Airlines (singaporeair,com) or China Eastern Airlines (flychinaeastern,com) directly to Shanghai. Malaysia Airlines and China Eastern Airlines fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai. Travelling around this city is made easy with a good number of taxis and are quite affordable, Alternatively, the metro system and buses are also good means of transport,

LEFT Shanghafs modern skyline. RIGHT Red lanterns are a symbol of Chinese culture

-----------------------------------------------------l:;F-In Eat & drink Fold 1

tl See BEST FOR HISTORY 0 The shanghai Museum resembles an anCient Chinese ding vessel See fantastic bronze and ceramic treasures as well as beautiful paintings and Chinese calligraphy The audlogulde IS well worth the extra US$6 (00 86 21 63725300 132; shanghalmuseum,netJen; 201 Renmln Ave, 9am-5pm Mon-FrI, 9am-8pm sat, free) BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE 0 symbolic of old shanghai, the Bund was the cltys wall St, a place of fortunes made and lost The area remains at the heart of the city Amble along the waterfront and compare the bones of the past I'<1th the fast emerging geometry of pudong's skyline across the Huangpu liver. BEST FOR WANDERING 0 The French Concession IS a reSidential, retail, restaurant and bar district I'<1th tree-Ilnm streets It spreads from Huangpu DIStllCt, through Luwan and xuhul and slices of changnlng and Jlng'an Districts. It'S excellent for random exploration, on foot or by bike

BEST FOR GARDENS 0 With carp-filled pools, pavilions and whispering bamboo, the yuyuan Gardens are popular at weekends. A fine example of Mlng landscaping, the gardens come Into bloom In spllng The heavy petalled Magnolia grandlflora shanghai's flower -IS particularly pretty (00 86 21 63260830, Yuyuan, 8.300m-5.30pm, US$5) BEST FOR VIEWS 0 The 492 metre-high shanghai world Fmnclal Centre IS the world's third-tallest bUilding, I'<1th the world's highest observation decks on the 94th, 97th and 100th floors (swfc-shanghalcom, 100 century Ave, 8am-11pm, US$22)

The CltyS most famous sesameseed-coated film dumplings unquestionably belong to Yang's Fry-Dumpling O Queues can stretch for miles as eager diners walt for them to be dished out onto communist-era enamel dishes. order at the left counter then lOin the queue on the right to pick up your order (54-60Wullang Rd, lunch, 4 dumplings US$080) Dishuidong O IS the locals' choice for spicy Hunanese cooking In unpretentious surroundings, Its greatest claim to fame are the cumin ribs, but there's no excuse notto try the chicken and chilli clay pot or even the classIc balled frog (00 86 21 625320:39, 2nd FI, 56 South Maomlng Road, lunch and dinner, mains US$3-US$13) Factory 0 IS all about creativity, With a recording StUdiO, exhibition space and retail shop But It'S also a restaurant serving delicIous kung pao chicken salad and peppercorn scallops (00 86 21 6563 3393, Bldg 4,29 shallng Rd, lunch and dinner, mains US$4-US$28)

Set In a three-storey 1913 villa, Fu 1039 0 IS a must Try the smoked fish starter and stewed pork In soy sauce or the sweetand-sour Mandalln fish. The entrance is unmarked and the staff speak little English (00 86 21 6288 1179, 1039 YUyuan Road, lunch and dinner, dishes US$6-US$43) High end Jean Georges ~ has a flJSlon menu featUring crab with mango, and beef tenderloin In a mlso red-wire sauce, It'S divided Into casual am formal Ueangeorges com, 4th Floor, 3 The Bund, zhorgshan Dorg YI Rd, lunch and dlnlEr, set dinner US$79)


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MINI GUIDE Shanghai, China

Find your way

iii see III Eat & drink El sleep


The shanghai metro currertly runs elgrt lines, With No 1 and No 2 being tre prillClpalllres (tickets from US$080) Ta)Js are cheap and hassle-free (from LG$160) Whatever mode of transport you use, try to avoid rush hours betw~n 8am and '13m and 4.30pm and 6pm 200


TYPICAL COSTS • Hand-painted tea cup US$13 • Mid-range meal US$9-US$24 • Mid-range hotel US$79-US$197 • High-end hotel from US$197

r!I Sleep

Your recommendations

Quintet Gi IS an Intimate b&b Just SIX rooms In a 19303 townhouse, Some rooms are small but each IS decorated with stylish art deco furniture, silk furnishings and deep bathtubs Sometimes the friendly staff members organise a BBQ on the roof terrace (00 86 21 62499038, qUintet-shanghai com, 808 changle Road, from US$118) The 1930s red-brick bUilding of Old House Inn has been lovingly restored to create an exclusive yet affordable place to stay All 12 rooms are decorated with care and attention and have wooden floorboards, traditional Chinese furniture, stylish artwork and antiques (00 86 21 62486118, oldhouse.cn, Lane351, No 16 Huashan Rd, from US$134) Hidden down an alleyway Number 9 al has no sign and IS hard to find. But once InSide the large wooden gate you'll see a gorgeous art deco mansion with a pretty garden Family-owned, the house IS decorated with a mix of anhques and chinese oblets d'art (00 86 21 6471 9950,355 West Jlanguo Road, from US$158)






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Astor House Hotel aJ IS situated near the Bund. Its pedigree reaches back to the early days of Concession-era shanghai Rooms are colossal I'<1th wooden floorboards For an

extra cost you can stay In rooms once used by Einstein and Charlie Chaplin (astorhousehotelcom, 15 Huangpu Road, from US$197) combining historiC charm and luxury Mansion Hotel lD was originally the reSidence of JlnTlng sun, a business partner of two of shanghai's gangsters It has antiques, plush carpets, double showers and upholstered wooden furniture (00 86 21 5403 9888, chlnamanslonhotel,com; 82 Xlnle Road, from US$434)



The Donghu Hotel IS an Impressive old colonial manSion, with a garden surrounding the bUilding The original wooden floors have been kept throughout the hotel and bedrooms, and It has this wonderful shanghai style of the 1920s. It once belonged to Du Yuesheng, a feared gangster of the period There IS also a good Sichuanese restaurant opposite this hotel called Long Men Zhen (donghuhotelcom, 70 Donghu Road, from US$150)

CD AI particularly GRAND PLAN enloyed the shanghai urban Planning Exhibition Hall. Behind this unpromising name lies a bright and modern museum Wlth a gigantic scale model of shanghai and Interesting Interactive exhibits on the past and (prospectively ecological) future of the city It also has a pleasant cafe overlooking Renmln square In front (100 Renmln Ave, 9am-5pm, closed Mon, US$440) caroline cavendish

)Ie Zhu ~

TOP TAPAS EI Willy IS a recently established spanish tapas restaurant named after ItS chef, GUillermo Willy' Trullas Moreno, In the French Concession area It specialises In modern tapas, such as slow-cooked beef cheek with banana and passion fruit, and CriSPY suckling pig with pear tatln. The result IS excellent food In an atmospheric and lively setting (elwillycomcn, 20 Donghu Road, dishes from US$580) George Gouldmg


FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet's Shanghai (US$219?) IS a comprehensive gUide to the city while shanghai Encounter provldes a handy pocket-sized version (US$129?) You can download the shanghai chapter from the Chma gUide at lonelyplanet com (US$495). Stella Dong's shanghai The Rise and Fall of a oecadent eily 1842-1949 offers a sketch of the city For listings, see cltyweekend,com,cn

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WHY GO? Naples is an exhilarating mess of UNESCO-listed historic buildings, citrus tree-filled cloisters and electrifying street life, Once the heart of Roman Neapolis, the historic centre is a warren of narrow

streets, which open up to an Imperial 18th-century seaside promenade with romantic views of Vesuvius.

WHEN TO GO With the warm weather and Maggio dei Monumenti cultural festival in full swing, May and June are great months to visit, Alternatively, visit in September or October and catch the infamous pizza-making competition, Pizzafest,

HOW TO GO Air France (airirance,com), KLM (klm,com)and British Airways (britishairways,com) fly from Singapore to Naples, while Air France and KLM also offer flights from Kuala Lumpur, An ANM airport shuttle serves the centre of town, and taxis are also readily available, A taxi costs US$23-US$28 LEFT Neopolitan street scene. RIGHT A Roman bust at the

Museo Archeologioo Nazlonale

tl See BEST FOR HISTORY 0 The oldest and most famous of Naples' ancient catacombs, the catacombe dl San Gennaro date from the 2nd century Decorated with early Christian frescoes, they contain tombs, corridors and vestlbules(0039J817411071,Vla dl capodlmonte 13, tours every hour 9am-3pm Tue-Sat, 9am-12pm sun, US$7) BEST FOR STREET LIFE 0 The Mercato dl Porta Nolana IS a heady street market where bellowing fishmongers and greengrocers pstle with delis, bakeries and contraband cigarette stalls (Via carmlgnano, 8am-6pm Man-Sat, 8am-2pm sun) BEST FOR SCULPTURE 0 The cappella sansevero's simple exterior belles the sumptuous sculpture InSIde. Giuseppe San martino's exquIsite figure of Jesus is covered by a stone veil so realistic, lis tempting to try and Ilftlt(00390815518470, museosanseverolt; Via Francesco de Sanctls 19, 10am-5.40pm Man and Wed-sat, 100m-lpm sun, US$9)

BEST FOR ANTIQUITIES 0 The Museo Archeologlco Nazlonale houses one of the world's finest coliecDons of Greco-Roman artefacts including treasures from pompeII (00 39J 81 4422149, museoarcheologlco nazionale.cam paniabeniculturall ,it; Piazza Museo NaZlonale 19; 9am-7.30pm Wed-Man, US$9) BEST FOR SUNSETS 4) Marking the eastern end olthe lungomare (seafront), Castel deli' Ova IS Naples' oldest castle, dating from the 12th century To the west, Piazza Vlttoria marks the beginning of the RIviera dl Chlala, a long boulevard that offers the best sunset views of VesuvIus

Da Michele 0 IS Naples' most famous pizzeria. It serves only two types of pizza margherlta With tomato, basil and mozzarella, and marinara with tomatoes, garlic and oregano But, boy, are they good (00 39J 81 5539204, damlchele.net, Via Cesare sersale 1-3, lunch and dinner Man-Sat; pizzas from US$560) Everyone from students to professors squeeze around the communal tables of Trattoria Mangia e Bevi 0 They come for home-coo~ng at rock-bottom prices Enpythe likes of IUICY pork sausage and peperoncino-splcm local broccoli (0039J 815529546, Via sedlle dl Porto 92, lunch Mon-FrI, mains from US$560) Almost 150 years old, La scialuppa 0 IS Ideal for romantic harbourslde dining seafood IS the star, from the frltto mlsto (mixed fried seafood) to the wine-Infused seafood risotto (00 39J 81 764 5333, lasclaluppalt, In Italian, Borgo Marinaro 4; lunch and dinner Tue-sun, mains from US$13)

Dora 0 IS one of Naples' finest seafood restaurants. Dive Into chargrilled prawns as the owner breaks into song. Reservations are essential (0039J 81680519, Via Palasclano 30; lunch 1Ue-sun, dinner Man-Sat, mains from US$22) La stanza del Gusto CD has a cheese bar for grazing, and an upstairs dining room serving Inventive dishes such as chicken liver flan I'<1th strawberry salsa (00 39J 81 401578, lastanza delgustocom, Via costantlnopoll 100, lunch and dlnnerTue-sat, dinner Man, lunch sun, set lunch US$24, dinner mains from US$60)


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MINI GUIDE Naples, Italy

Find your way

iii see III Eat & drink El sleep

Essentials GETIING AROUND Naples has three metro lines and three funiculars up and down the CltVS steep hills. The Unlco Napoli ticket IS valid on all public transport (24-hour ticket US$4, unlcocampanla.lt). TaxIs are available at most big squares (ccy-centre Journey US$8-US$13) 200





TYPICAL COSTS • Pizza from US$2.40 • Mid-range meal US$24-US$40 • Mid-range hotel US$118-US$221 • High-end hotel from US$221


r!I Sleep Four rooms Wlth vintage cotto (flied clay) floor tiles and meticulous artisan decor create a st\1lsh scene at b&b Diletto a Napoli m Set In a 15th-century palazzo, the communal lounge comes With a kitchenette and dining table (00 390 81 033 0977, dilettoanapoillt, Vlcolo sedll capuano 16, from US$79) Located In a 17th-century bUilding, Belie Arti Resort al IS a modern boutique hotel wch arty period features. Four of the seven rooms, some almost like sUites, have ceiling frescoes and all have marble bathrooms and artfully painted headboards (00 39J 81 557 1062, belleartllesort com; Via Santa Mana dl costantlnopoll 27, from US$118) On a historic street lined v.1th bookshops, portalba Relais stays faithful to the literary theme with an Impressive library The rooms are furnished In muted tones and have mosaic showers Most look out over Piazza Dante, a favourite hub for students and Neapolitan literati (00 390 81 564 5171, portalbarelalscom, Via portalba 33, from US$l77)



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Your recommendations

liT 11 -r


HIDDEN GEM La Trattoria 7 soldi can be found In a little street off the Via Toledo (also call m Via Roma) It has a small eating area and a busy pizza takeaway The food IS good, basIc Neapolitan, served up with the local wine -the purple frlzzante Gragnano. There IS a complete absence of non-Italian customers, so a few phrases of the language would be handy The staff are polite and helpful and the food IS reasonably priced (00 390 81 418 727, VICO Tre Re a Toledo 6, ouartlerl spagnoli) Stephen White


The Decumani Hotel de Charme IS fresh, elegant and In the former palazzo of cardinal SiStO RlallO Sforza, the last bishop of the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples Rooms have 19th-century-style furnlture(00390815518188,


de::::umanl.lt; Via San Giovanni Magsrore Pignatelli 15, from US$181) Housed In a 16th-century former monastery the Hotel San Francesco al Monte IS Naples' most historic hotel. cells


have been convertm Into cosy rooms, Vv'hlle the cloister houses an open-air bar, There's a sWimming pool on the seventh floor (00 39J 81 423 9111, hotel sanfrancesco.lt; Corso VittoriO Emanuele 328, from US$237)



PERFECT PIZZA ' " Naples has faultless pizza, but nowhere does It better than pizzeria sorb ilia doughy chewy crusts, and enormous depth of flavour yet stili as light as a feather. The margherlta IS heaven on a plate, wch a delicate tomato sauce and silky cheese that melts In the mouth. I would happily fly to Naples for the day for the pizza at sorbilio (00 390 81 446643, Via del Trlbunall 32) Aysha Begum


STAR ATIRACTION Lonely Planet forum users (Ionelyplanetcom) rate palazzo Reale In caserta, 14 miles north of Naples The colossal palace with ItS 1,200 rooms IS dubbed the Italian Versailles, and IS one of the greatest examples of Italian baroque architecture, It IS also where Tom cruise shot scenes for MIssIOn Impossible Iff and where George Lucas filmed Interior shots for Star Wars (reggladlcaserta. benlcultu ra 11 .lt, closed Tue, US$16) FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planet's Naples 6; the AmalfJ coast (US$21 95) has compmhenslve coverage o.f the CIty 'lou C8n 81so. download the ~~aples chapter at lonelyplanetcom (US$4 95) Enjoy the eler:trlc l~e8pollt8n street life In D8n Hofstadter'S evocative love story ,calling Palace' A Rornance or Naples (US$6) For more IniOrrnatlon, check out Inaples,lt and for listings, see napoli com

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WHY GO? Located at the head of the Oslofjord inlet and hemmed in by miles of woodland, Oslo is the only European capital that offers hiking, kayaking, sailing and skiing within its city limits. It's no cultural slouch either, with a vibrant cafe and bar scene and world-class museums showcasing local talents such as the artist Munch.

WHEN TO GO Oslo winters are long and harsh, with temperatures dropping to -2S0C and less than two hours of sunlight in December and January. May, June and July see the most sunlight and some of the city's best festivals. They are the best months for many outdoor activities.

HOW TO GO Singapore Airlines (singaporeair.com)' Scandinavian Air (flysas.com) and KLM (klm.com) fly to Oslo from Singapore, transiting in Amsterdam, London or Copenhagen. From Kuala Lumpur, fly Malaysian Airlines (malaysiaairlines. com) to Oslo via Amsterdam. Boasting a reliable network of public transport, one can easily get around by trains, longdistance express buses and local buses, as well as express passenger boats. LEFT The capital d Norway has risen uparuund its harbour. RIGHTYou can ski in OsIo'sWinter Rlrk

til See BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE 0 Desi.gned by Oslo crmitectural firm sno~tta, t~ Opt5a Hoose resembles a floating gjadt5lt's at its moot magical in ltiewintt5ln SlJllmt5, ytJu can suri:l atho> on the roof I[:D 47 2142 2121, cp t5am m ; Kirsten Flagstads jlass 1, 10am-ll lJ:Tl Mon-Fri, llam-lllJ:Tl sat noon-1Cp1l ::lin; tOLfSUS$ll) BESTFORHISTORV 8 Dominating the haroour front is Akershus Cas~e Built in the 13th century, itwas transformed into a Renaissa rce palace in the 17th century Uri vt5sity students in period dress lead guided tours (CO 47 23J? 3553; visitoslocom; 10am-4pm Mon-sat 12:xpm4pm Sun May-Aug; US$13) BEST FOR CULTURE 0 TIle 18th-cmtury TeHhLBbakkm and Damstredet districts wt5e once shanty towns Now m c residential neighboorm ods for artists, they're great to exjl ore Reach ltiem bywalking m rth past the Var Frelsers graveyard wht5e the playvvrights Bjornson am loom, and artist Mm ch are w ri ed

The glass and concrete structure of t he mode m Opera House

BEST FOR MUSEUMS 0 Launched in 1892, the Polarship Fram was the strongest ship of its time and spent much of its life stuck in ice in the race to reach the North Pole. You're allowed to explore the ship and imagi~ life at sea I[:D 47 2328 2%0; frammLBeUm m ; Bygd0yflesvelm 36; 9am-6pm Jun-Aug; US$ll) BEST FOR ART () TIle Munch ML13eum has over 1,100 paintings, induding Tre SCream, 4,EOJ wateroo oLfs and 18,00J j:fints beqlEathed by Munch himself It is a landmark wllecti oo (CO 47 2349 NJJ; munm.museum .no; Toyergata 53; 10am-Spm Jun-Aug; US$ll)

At llam, Ibsm would leave his apartmmt on Drammmsveien and walk to Grand Cafe 0 for a lunch of ~rrill& beer and one shot of aquavit His table is still ht5e. DJn't wcrry, though, tht5e's more than ht5ring on the mmu Pick fr em reindet5, Arctic char and mussels I[:D 47 2321 XXD; grand no; Karl Johans gate 31, lunch and di m er; mains from US$Zj POllilar with Ncrwegian families at Christmas, tho> Theatercafeen presents dassic dishes, such as relnde t5 steak, in Viem ese-sty1e surrom dings (CO 47 2282 4COJ; hotelconti~ntal no; Stortingsgata 24, lurch and ci n~r Mon-sat din~r Sm ; mains from US$2l) Smia Galleri 0 is one of those resta Lfants Oslo residents are so food of they almost hate to share it TIle leafy pabo is pt5fect on summer aftt5noons If they have it try the rhubarb crumble with wild strawberry scrbet (CO 47 2219 593J; srniagall t5i.no, in Norwegian; Opplandsgata 19; closed Mon; mains fr em US143)


Located on Akt5 Brygge beside the harboor, Solsiden 0 is great on summt5 evenings TIle menu only features fish; the spedality is a toNt5ing plattt5 of shellfish (CO 47 2233 36JJ; sct siden.no; S0ndre Akt5 shuS Kai 34; dinner May-Aug; mains from US$4l) Feinschmecker Cil has made a name for itself with its innovative moot5n take 00 traditi ooal Ncrwegian food Ds~s such as sauteed crayfish tails in aw le ddt5 are immaculately j:fesented (CO 47 2212 928J; fel nsc:rm eckt5 no; Balwns gate 5; dinnt5 Mon-sat; mains fr em USU5)




MINI GUIDE Oslo, Norway

Find your way

iii see III Eat & drink El sleep

Essentials GETIING AROUND oslo has a network of buses, trams, T-bane trains and femes The oslo Pass, valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, can be used on all public transport and gives access to many museums (from US$40, visitoslo,com). You can hall taxIS, or contact Oslo TaxI (osiotaxi no)



TYPICAL COSTS • Norwegian wool slippers US$32 • Mid-range meal US$40-US$63 • Mid-range hotel US$15Q-US$251

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Your recommendations

Located In a qUiet neighbourhood, the Ellingsens pensjonat GI offers one of the best deals In the capeal The bUilding dates from 189:) and many of the original features remain. Rooms are simply decorated with pine fumlshlngs, and there's a small garden for sunny days (00 47 22W 0359, elllngsenspensJonatno, Holtegaca 25, from US$118) Founded In 1891 as a sanatorium by Dr Ingebrlgt Christian Lund, the castle-like Holmenkolien park Hotel Rica G offers great views and good-value luxury accommodation. The hotel also puts on an enormous breakfast buffet (00 47 2292 2000, hal menkollenparkhotel. no, Kongevelen 26, from US$150) Tre Thon Hotel Astoria G mlgrt t:e marketed as a 'budget hotel, but If eweren'tfor tre sllghW small bathrooms am lack of a mini bar, trere would be mthlngto dlsDngulsh It from some much more eXP9rGlve options. Rooms are comfortable am tre locaclon IS central (00 47 2414 5550, tmnmtelscom, Dronnlngens gace 21, from LG$166) 106

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STATUESQUE Lonely Planet forum users (Ionelyplanetcom) rate vigeland park. This extraordinary open-air sculpture park IS a showcase of the work of Gustavvlgeland (1869-1943), Norway's best-loved sculptor There are 212 granite and bronze sculptures In all, and vlgeland's work ranges from entwined lovers and tranquil elderly couples to contemptIIdden beggars The sculpture park IS located within the larger Frogner park (vlgelandmuseum nO/enlVlgeland-park, free)


Grims Grenka eJ has modern, minimalist rooms, with semitransparent bathroom cubicles, artfully placed lighting and designer furnishings In addition, there's a stylish rooftop bar and an excellent ASian-fusion restaurant (00 4723107200, grlmsgrenka,no; Kongens gate 5, from US$237) Brimming with history and period character, the regal Grand Hotel mhas long been considered the benchmark of true elegance In Oslo. The rooms are beautifully appointed and there IS an on-site spa If you book early some good bargains are available (00 47 23212000, grand no, Karl Johans gace 31, from US$3OO)


FOLK TOWN Forum users also rate the W Norwegian Folk Museum, This open-air museum features more than 150 bUildings, mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries, relocated from allover Norway paths wind past old barns and rough-timbered farmhouses with turf roofs spouting wildflowers. There's folk musIc and dancing every sunday In summer (00 47 2212 3700, norskfolkemuseum, no; Museumsvelen 10, US$17) ~


RAIDERS' REST To get an InSIght Into the habits of Norwegians' seafallng ancestors, forum users recommend the viking Ship Museum, There IS something Intimidating about the sleek, dark hulls of the oseberg and Gokstad, both bUilt from oak In the ninth century and used as bUlials for nobles. The Jewels bUiled with them may have vanished, but the longs hips are the finest of therr kind (00 47 2213 5280, khm.ulo no, HukAveny 35, LG$11) FIND OUT MORE Lonely Planets Norway gUide (US$23W) offers comprerenslve coverage of tre capital Download the OSlo chapter at lonelyplanetcom (U$$495) Engage With the spire of Polar exploraclon In RoaldArnundsen's The South Pole The Norwegian EXpedldon In The Fram' (US$25, Hurst & co) FOr general tau liSt office InformatlOn, see vlsttoslo,com; for hiking, tUristforenlngenno

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WHY GO? Characterised by a mish-mash of ethnic communities, Canada's biggest city can lay claim to world-class museums and gastronomy, North America's tallest tower and year-round festivals and cultural events.

WHEN TO GO Toronto has heavy snowfall in winter and hot, humid summers. July marks the Toronto Fringe Festival (fringetoronto.com) while the Toronto International Film Festival takes place in September (tiff. net).

HOW TO GO Air Canada (delta.com) flies from Singapore to Toronto, while KLM (kim. com) caters flights to Toronto Pearson International Airport from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Airport Express operates a bus service connecting Pearson International to downtown Toronto returns US$40; torontoairportexpress.com).

LEFT A harbour view of the eN Tower. RIGHT Steam Whistle Pilsner, which is brewed in Toronto


tl See

In Eat & drink

BEST FOR TOWERS 0 The star of Toronto's skyline since 1976, the eN Tower IS primarily a radio and TV tower, but It has a sideline In transporting VISitorS up to the skies. A glass elevator whizzes up to a lofty observation deck, where there's a walletbusting revolVing restaurant (cntowerca, 301 Front St West, admission from US$9)

More than a dozen types of beer are brewed at Mill street Brew pub 0 , an artisan mlcrobrewery In the Distillery District order a sample platter so you can try everything from pale ale to organic lager lYplcal pub food, such as burgers and sandwiches, IS In on hand to prOVide ballast (milistreetbrewpubca, 55 Mill St, beers from US$7) something of a local Institution, the Queen Mother Care 0 IS much-loved for ItS cosy woodenbooth Seatlrg and an accomplished pan-ASian menu It also cbes a fine line In canadian comfort food, With steaks and burgers In support (queenmoteercafeca, 208 Ql!2en St west, lunch mains from US$11) counter service meets haute CUISine at the Gilead cafe 0 In East Toronto, With an ambitious menu SCribbled up dally on ItS chalkboard. The kitchen serves up the likes of poutlne - fries With cheese curds, braised beef and gravy lJamlekennedyca, 4 Gilead Pl,lunch mains from US$ll)

BEST FOR CULTURE 0 A lO-acre cultural complex on the

redeveloped waterfront the Harbourfront centre Includes an alfresco concert stage and guerilla gardening spaces Its POwer Plant gallery displays contemporary canadian art (thepowerplantorg, 231 Queen's Quaywest gallery admissi on US$6) BEST FOR HISTORY 0 BUilt by the British In 1793, Fort York represents something a~n to a birthplace fonoronto There's a handful of bUildings, all restored after US troops destroyed much of the fortress In the 19th century (torontoca/fortyork, 250 Fort York BCJd, admission US$8)

BEST FOR MUSEUMS 0 The Royal Ontario Museum has been expanded In recent years, wch a crystal-shaped structure making for a controversial new centrepiece, collections Include dinosaur fosSils and Egyptian mummies (rom,on,ca; 100 Queen's Pk, admission US$16) BEST FOR LOCAL LIFE 0 Toronto's 12-acre Distillery District sees clusters of galleries, deSign shops, coffee houses and restaurants springing phoenlxlike from a 19th-century distillery In summer, ItS red-brick streets play host to jaZZ concerts and food events (thedlstilierydlstrict com, 55 Mill St)


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A sleek destination diner situated In downtown Toronto, Bymark 0 has a creative kitchen that mixes and matches local Ingredients In some unlikely combinations - such as wild truffles, quail and soft-shell crab (bymarkmcewangroupca,oo wellington St West, from US$27) Harbour Sixty steakhouse ~ serves up a formidable range of steaks and seafood In an opulent Baroque dining room For those who can't choose between field or ocean, there's a 'surf and turf option Book ahead (harbourslxtycom, 60 Harbour St, mains from US$55)



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MINI GUIDE Toronto, Canada iii see III Eat & drink El sleep


Essentials GETIING AROUND The Toronto Transit Commission operates the subway, tram and bus networks (ttcca) single fares (US$3), day passes (US$11) and weekly passes (US$38) are available. Trams tend to be slower than subway serVices, but they do stop every block or two CLIMATE 125






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TYPICAL COSTS • Bottle of Steam Whistle Pilsner US$3 • Mid-range meal US$16-US$47 • Mid-range hotel US$110-US$19J High-end hotel from US$190

-------------------------------Your recommendations


r!I Sleep


Les Amis Bed & Breakfast OI lS a 19th-century townhouse with colourful rooms decorated by the PariSian owner's artwork, In the finest French tradition, gourmet vegetarian breakfasts Include omelettes and croissants, and the leafy decking area round the back makes a pleasant place to relax (bbtorontocom, 31 Granby St, from US$118) Au petit paris Bed & Breakfast occupies an


exquIsite Victorian bay-and-gable bUilding In East Toronto, with some skyllt guestrooms looking out onto the garden Breakfasting on the roof patio IS a good way to start tre day (bbtorortocom/auretltparls, 3 selbySt, from US$126) A 19JQ-era hotel with a grand red-brick fa,ade, The Hotel victoria IS one ofToronto's best downtown hotels and has benefited from a refurbishment In recent times. The stately marble lobby harks back to turn-of-thecentury glamour, while ItS comfy rooms have hardwood floors and cortemporary decor (hotel vlctorla-taranto,com; 56 yonge St, from US$142)



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L:CEUF AT FIRST SIGHT Eggspectation IS a great place for breakfast and brunch It specialises In eggs -If you want them served with bacon and maple syrup then go ahead, but I prefer mine with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce. They also serve lunch and dinner, but you can't start the day In a better place than here when you're In Toronto (eggspectatlonscom, 220 yonge St, dishes from US$6) Linda smyth


The century-old, recently revamped Drake Hotel OI lS a bohemian favourite, Idiosyncratic rooms feature vintage furniture, rugs and bare-brick walls. There's a rooftop patiO and a basement bar that regularly hosts live musIc (thedrakehotelca, 1150 Queen St West, from US$190) One o!Toronto's longestserving hotels, The Gladstone Hotel has 37 Individually designed rooms, v.1th themes ranging from canadian forests to motorbikes. One floor IS dedicated to exhibitions, and local sourcing applies to everything from the food to the bathroom products (gladstonehotelcom, 1214 Queen St West, from US$260)





CITY ARCHIPELAGO The Toronto Islands are around 10 minutes from the City centre by a scheduled ferry service (torontoca/parks/lsland, US$6) Three ports give access to an amusement park, numerous picnic and boating areas as well as one of ontario's cleanest beaches. Try and avoid Saturdays, especially dUring the busy summer months, VISit ward's Island for ItS unique homes, bicycle routes and City views Bryan Pereira


' " Fabarnak IS a Ictle gem of

a restaurant offering a delightful combination of flavours. What makes It truly special are Its social programmes all profits go to the community centre next door, Fabarnak offers a menu that IS over 60 per cent locally and sustarnably produced Its speciality IS a saDsfylng bento box, dubbed the square Peg ~ offers a gourmet take on salad, a vegetable side, a main and a taste of dessert (fabarnakcom, 519 Church S, closed sun, mains from US$13) A/em Tedeneke

FIND OUT MORE For more on Toronto, read lonelv Planet's cana(la (US$26Q?) or download trle ()ntarIO chapter from lonelvplanetcom (US$4 95) lourlsrn Toronto has I!jeas tor both activities and accommodatloilin Hle Cit:; ,:seetorontOIlOW com:' Read in the Skm of a Lion - a novel t,.y' resident M!chael ondaatle, set In the WI tllO 19?ClC US$141

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WHY GO? Boston is America's revolutionary town - for centuries

it was the cultural and academic epicentre of the United States, This grand old dame of a city has daring museums, world-leading universities and some of the most progressive politics in the country,

WHEN TO GO Autumn is the time to catch New England's legendary autumn foliage in all its glory, Harboriest in July is a week-long Independence Day celebration (bostonharborfestcom), while October heralds the Head of the Charles Regatta (hocr,org),

HOW TO GO Singapore Airlines (singaporeair,com) flies from Singapore to Boston with a transit in London, while Delta Airlines (delta,com) flies from Singapore to Boston, and transits in Tokyo, Visitors from Malaysia can also take Delta Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Boston, with a transit in Seoul. Take the inexpensive metro, which can bring one to almost everywhere within the city,


LEFT Faneuil Hall in Boston's Government center.


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tl See

In Eat & drink

BEST FOR MODERN ART 0 The ICA IS Boston's showpiece contemporary museum of arta striking glass bUilding Jutting above the waterfront As we ll as housing Installations and sculptures, the bUilding's theatre regularly hosts performance art showcases (Icabostonorg, 100 Northern Avenue; closed Man; admission US$16)

providing a masterclass In baking, Flour O Implores Its customers to eat dessert first - cakes, brownies and cookies could well distract those popping In to lunch on gourmet sandwiches and pizzas at ItS canteen-like tables (flourbakerycom, 12 Farnsworth St, coo~es from US$2) Oleana 0 , a panMediterranean restaurant that's situated In the neighbourhood of Inman square, takes Its inspiration from the cUIsine of Greece and Morocco. The Innovative range of meze options lead the charge on the menu (oleanarestaurant com; 134 Hampshire St; meze dishes from US$5) Giacomo's Ristorante 0 IS a worthy ambassador for southern Italian gastronomy Its no-frills dishes nonetheless arrive In generous portions - try the zuppa dl pesce, a dish Involving shrimp, scallops, calamari and lobster (glacomosblog-boston blogspotcom, 355 Hanover St, mains from US$14)

BEST FOR HISTORY 0 The Freedom Trail IS two-and-ahalf miles of revolutionary history Beginning at Boston common, the tour concludes at the uss constitutIOn - a frigate that fought off the British In the wars of Independence Take In the views from the Bunker HIli Monument (thefreedomtrallorg)

BEST FOR ACADEMIA 0 cambridge IS home to two academic Juggernauts - Harvard university and MIT Leafy cafe-lined squares and stately mansions belle the area's history as a hotbed of progressive politics Harvard operates free tours of ItS campus (harvard eduNlsltorS)

BEST FOR ISLANDS 0 Boston's 34 Harbor Islands are a welcome retreat from the urban hubbub. VISit Georges Island's Fort Warren or Little Brewster Island's Boston light lighthouse seasonal ferry services run from Boston Long Wharf North (harbor express com, ferries from US$14)

BEST FOR ISABELLAS 0 A venetian-style palazzo houses the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with a remarkable art collection Including works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt Also, If your name IS Isabella, you get In for free (gardnermuseum org, 280 The Fenway, US$13)

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One of the chef's trattonainspired dishes at sportello

The diminutive Ten Tables 0 only has a handful of covers. The emphasIs IS on the kitchen, wh ich makes the most of seasonal produce, with seafood given prominence - try the pan-seared bluefish with roasted Jerusalem artichokes (tentablesnet, 597 Centre St, mains from US$2 0) sportello Ci) bills Itself as a modern reinvention of a classIc diner, serving up sophisticated soups and salads at lunch, with decadent polenta and pasta dishes In the evening (sportello boston com, 348 congress St, mains from US$20)


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MINI GUIDE Boston, USA Find your way

iii see III Eat & drink El sleep '/

Essentials GETIING AROUND MBTA operates buses within Boston - routes can be confusing, so check their website's Journey planner (standard fare US$l.l!J, mbtacom) Boston's subway system IS America's oldest, With four lines extending Into the cltys suburbs (from US$2, mbtacom)


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TYPICAL COSTS • Slice of Boston cream pie US$3 • Mid-range meal US$24-US$47 • Mid-range hotel US$126-US$173 • High-end hotel from US$173

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r!I Sleep

Your recommendations

Beacon Inn mIS spread over two 19th-century brownstone bUildings In Boston's leafy suburb of Brookline. Rooms are named after a Boston landmark, personality or neighbourhood Dark-wood panelling, Persian rugs and ornamental fireplaces all add to the old-world charm (beaconlnncom, 1037 & 1750 Beacon SI, from US$110) An Itallanate mansion located In the bohemian Jamaica Plain area, Taylor House G has been lovingly restored In more recent times. Three guestrooms are decorated with bold, contemporary art and furnished with polished wooden floors and sleigh beds (taylorhousecom, 50 Burroughs St, from US$142) Despite the name, you don't require any membership to stay the night at The college Club ID - a guestmuse run by an allfemale graduate society (but open to male vIsitors) Baywlndows and spacIous rooms are tYPical of the Vlctorran houses In this part olthe C"y (thecollegecl ulxlflxlstoncom, 44 commonwealth Ave, from US$150)

PALE AND INTERESTING Just off Harvard square IS the perfect place to while away a few hours - John Harvard's Brew House, After a day walking the Freedom Trail, catch the subway - the T - to cambridge and order a pint of John Harvard's pale Ale and some ale-battered onion rings Here IS an excellent example of an American brew-pub: fantastic beer brewed on site, delicIous food and a rela)Jng atmosphere 1J0hnharvards.com, 33 Dunster St, mains from US$9) sarah Alcock


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Dating back to 1882, the Newbury Guest House ~

occupies three Interconnected townhouses on Boston's historic Newbury Street. period rooms come with moulded ceilings and carved mantles (newbury guesthousecom, 261 Newbury St, from US$158) A swanky hotel In a downtown high-rise, omni parker House ID IS hands down Boston's most historic hotel- charles Dickens lived here for two years, Malcolm X worked In the kitchen, Ho Chi Minh was a pastry chef and the Boston cream pie - the official state dessert- was Invented here (omnlhotelscom, I!J school St, from US$205)



GET YOUR CLAWS INTO... ' " If you're after big buckets of crabs - from Jonah to blue, snow to Alaskan - Lonely Planet forum users (Ionelyplanetcom) suggest a VISit to The Barking crab. The hearty menu also offers up lobster, clams, crayfish, shrimp and swordfish . JOin In the Jovial atmosphere by eating at the communal picnic areas overlooking the water (barklngcrabcom, 88 Sleeper St, mains from US$13)

CD WHERE IT ALL BEGAN A VISit to also Faneuil Hall,

known as the 'cradle of liberty', IS also recommended by forum users - a marketplace and m~tlng hall since 1742, It was once the site of much revolutionary rabble-rousing and Inflammatory speeches encouraging American Independence from Great Britain. It IS normally open to the public and you can hear about the bUilding's history from National park Service Rangers (faneullhallcom, free) FIND OUT MORE see Lonely Planet's Boston (US$19 99) city gUide for more Information. The New England (US$2199) and USA (US$2999) gUides also cover the city Bo ston 's tounst board has details of accommodation options (bostonusacom) Also, read Nathan iel Hawthorne's classIc Ame ri can novel of 1850 The Scarlet Letter, set In 17th-century Boston (US$9, Vintage ClassIcs)





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