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Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 04 - Issue 04

Japan China Taiwan + Truly Malaysian Spa + Urban Living - Singapore + Siem Reap Top Attractions + Melbourne Arts Galore + 12 Things to do in Bali + Historic Duolun Road + New Zealand Food Trail

Vol 04 - Issue 04 www.unearthingasia.com IDR 50,000 SGD 7.50 RM 14 HKD 45 THB 185 AUD 6.50


contents

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 04 - Issue 04

Japan China Taiwan + Truly Malaysian Spa + Urban Living - Singapore + Siem Reap Top Attractions + Melbourne Arts Galore + 12 Things to do in Bali + Historic Duolun Road + New Zealand Food Trail

Vol 04 - Issue 04 www.unearthingasia.com IDR 50,000 SGD 7.50 RM 14 HKD 45 THB 185 AUD 6.50

On the cover – Lake Toya, Hokkaido, Japan

THE GUIDE ORIENTAL WINTERS 56 Hokkaido’s Winter Magic Explore the magic of winter in the northern-most island of Japan

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66 Hot Spring Rejuvenation Relax into the steamy heated goodness that nature has to offer in Taiwan 78 Freezing Fun in Harbin The province of Harbin boasts a wide range of winter attractions for tourists from all over the world

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88 100 46 18-23 BUZZWORTHY! Rock Bar Anniversary; Alila expands; Soneva Fushi, and more 32 SPOTLIGHT Urban Living 24 hour in the city state of Singapore 38-52 INSIGHTS Siem Reap; Melbourne Arts; Bali Attractions; Historic Duolun, and more

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88 STYLE GUIDE Shanghai Dreams 100 GOURMET TALES NZ Food Trail 112-120 TRAVEL PERSONALITY

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Wine tour by bike, Marlborough Photo: Ian Trafford

Welcome to the youngest country on earth


Spring Springhas hasarrived arrivedininNew NewZealand. Zealand.Feel Feelthe therefreshing refreshingcool coolbreeze breezeon onyour yourface. face.Marvel Marvelatatthe theexplosion explosionofof colours colourseverywhere everywhere––from fromthe theemerald emeraldgreen greenvineyards vineyardsbathing bathinganother anotheraacanopy canopyofofsunshine sunshinetotothe thebreathtaking breathtaking mountains mountainssandwiched sandwichedbetween betweenazure azurecrystal crystallakes lakesand andblue blueskies skiesaccentuated accentuatedwith withslivers sliversofofwhite whiteclouds. clouds. There's There'splenty plentytotodo dounder underthe thesun sunfrom fromSeptember September––November. November.


EDITOR’S notes

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. – Robert Louis Stevenson Winter beckons! And there we imagine the white, powdery snow; cool frosty air, the cheer of Christmas and its spirit of giving and merriment. But in Asia, the celebration of winter is ever-evolving with the unique cultures and traditions of each locales. This is what we are going to unearth in this issue of Unearthing Asia the magic of Oriental Winters.

With this in mind, we bring to you the charms of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island and its various winter attractions; and share with you the hot springs traditions in Taiwan, one that is best enjoyed in the cold of winter; and finally we head to freezing Harbin, where the humble ice lantern has started what is now an internationally renowned festival today.

This edition also brings us closer to the first year of our anniversary, and we would like to thank all our readers for your continued support throughout the year. We have some exciting plans up ahead for our birthday issue, so keep a lookout for our birthday issue coming up this December! Nikolas Tjhin Editor-in-Chief

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Lake Kussharo, Akan National Park, Hokkaido, Japan

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BEHIND THE SCENES

Commissioners Husein VP Consultant Kicky Alexander Achmad Sobari Editor in Chief Nikolas Tjhin Editors Michelle Lee Carrie Kellenberger Marketing Nadia Veronika Alexander Alvin Contributors Carrie Kellenberger Marie Teather Megan Eaves Debbie Reyes-Coloma Philippe Roy Grace Setiawan Vannara Putra Joanne Tay Publisher PT Tanindo Multi Media Distributor Pansing Pte Ltd PT Surya Wahana Sentosa Media Representative Media Link Pte Ltd PT Dinamika Media Legal Consultant Dr F. X. Arsin, SH

All rights in this publication and the name are owned and licensed to PT Tanindo Multi Media. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the permission of PT Tanindo Multimedia. All rights reserved. All opinions are of the writers’ and not necessarily endorsed by PT Tanindo Multi Media, and we accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, transparencies, or other materials.

For editorial and media enquiries, please contact Nikolas Tjhin nik@unearthingasia.com

Media Representative Singapore & Malaysia Dawn Khoo Media Link Pte Ltd (65) 6336 1725, (65) 6336 6116 medialink@pacific.net.sg Media Representative Indonesia & Bali Bella Liem PT Dinamika Media +62 21 9879 5659 +62 21 5367 8674 +62 817 808 777 dinamikamedia2010@yahoo.co.uk


contributors

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01 Carrie Kellenberger

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Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Carrie has kept a home base with her husband in Asia since 2003. A nomad at heart, Carrie’s deep love for travel, photography, and culture has lead her on frequent travels over the past eight years. Carrie has traveled throughout Asia, finding work as a writer, editor, educator, photographer, and night club singer. In addition to her freelance assignments, Carrie also writes and edits professionally for a publishing company in Taipei.

02 Joanne Tay Joanne is an independent theatre practitioner based in Singapore and Melbourne, Australia. She is passionate about intercultural communication and cultural diplomacy, and sees travel as a first step in peace building.

03 Philippe Roy

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Philippe Roy is an experienced commercial photographer with more than a decade of experience in the field. Through the years he have also gathered international experience where he have managed, produced and executed photo-shoots in North America, Latin America, India, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia.

04 Grace Setiawan This 22-years old designer is a recent graduate of the Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai, majoring in Fashion Design. She is now back in Jakarta and busy working as an Assistant Designer for Jeanny Ang, where she enjoyes the challenge and seek to find her true passion.

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05 Megan Eaves Megan Eaves is an avid traveler, writer, musician, explorer, teacher and free spirit. Her extensive background and travel experience over the years led her to begin writing and publishing freelance travel articles, many of them about China. Her first fulllength work, This Is China: A Guidebook for Teachers, Backpackers and Other Lunatics, is available now at www.meganeaveswriting.com.

06 Debbie Reyes-Coloma Singapore-based Debbie Reyes-Coloma is a freelance feature and lifestyle writer for various publications in the region. In this issue, she uncovers her personal paradise in two of New Zealand’s many attractions.

07 Marie Teather Marie Teather is a freelance journalist and editor who has worked on travel and lifestyle publications in London and Tokyo. When not trying to hit deadlines Marie became something of an expert on Japanese food through nights spent in hundreds of izakayas, bars, and restaurants as well as traveling throughout Japan’s islands. Marie has spent considerable time traveling throughout Asia and beyond. Feeding into this love of travel and international living, she specializes in travel, food, women’s travel, culture, and international and local city news.

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buzzworthy!

what’s HAPPENING AROUND THE REGION

EVENT KEEP ROCKING The AYANA Resort and Spa Bali has launched an extension to the wildly successful Rock Bar, coinciding with its 1st Anniversary Party on 5th August, when Third Eye Blind headlined a night of jamming on the rocks. The extension includes new oceanfront viewing platforms which add another 75 seats to the venue. A second service bar, an expanded kitchen and bathroom facilities have also been included in the expansion. “We are very grateful for the support of our guests and partners, who has witnessed the Rock Bar achieve a great amount of success since its opening over one year ago,” enthused Charles de Foucault, AYANA’s General Manager. “Our mission is to provide the highest caliber of worldclass entertainment to complement the Rock Bar’s stunning design and pictureperfect views.” KA.

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Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 03 - Issue 03

Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Leh Ladakh New Zealand Yunnan

Vol 02 - Issue 02 www.unearthingasia.com IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

+ NZ Adventure Capital + Tasty Taiwan + The Art of Humanity + Asia’s Little Dragon + Welness For the Soul + Chic Melbourne + Jakarta Capital Treats + Bali, Romance in Paradise

Vol 03 - Issue 03 www.unearthingasia.com IDR 50,000 SGD 7.50 RM 14 HKD 45 THB 185 AUD 6.50

+ Puerto Princesa Island Life + Hong Kong - More than Shopping + Singapore Shopping Hotspots + Kuta Beach, Bali + Unusual Festivals + Ride Like a Khan + A Sense of Touch


buzzworthy!

TECH VIDEO CONVENIENCE Rendezvous Hospitality Group and Tata Communications have announced a jointly opened public Telepresence room – the first of its kind in Singapore. This will give businesses in Singapore the ability to access high definition, immersive video conferencing for their virtual meetings with people around the globe.”RHG’s vision is to be an industry leader, [and] this partnership with Tata Communications to bring Telepresence into Singapore emphasizes that we are pushing to be at the forefront of the industry,” proclaimed Iqbal Jumabhoy, CEO of Rendezvous Hospitality Group. ML.

EVENT YOUTH OLYMPICS The first ever Youth Olympics Games started with a bang as The Youth Olympic Flame arrives at Singapore’s Marina Bay to a starstudded line-up of torchbearers and an exuberant welcome from the lively crowd. Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was also present at the Promontory at Marina Bay for the event. This first ever Youth Olympic Games drew over 3,500 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from 204 countries, competing in 184 events in 27 sports. ML.

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buzzworthy!

VILLA ALILA EXPANDS Asia’s leading luxury boutique hotels and resorts operator, Alila Hotels & Resorts, will expand its presence in Laos and India with the opening of two distinctive properties this October – Alila Luang Prabang and Alila Bangalore. These two openings, scheduled at October 2010, follow closely on the heels of Alila’s four successful openings last year, and will bring Alila’s portfolio of hotels and resorts to a total of 12 properties. Alila Luang Prabang will blend existing colonial buildings that were built between 1910 and 1920 with new structures that have been designed to complement and reflect traditional Lao architecture. In contrast, Alila Bangalore will be a unique business resort hotel embodying the hallmarks of the stylish Alila brand. NT.

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buzzworthy!

HOTEL EXPANSION The Swiss-Belhotel International has recently unveiled themselves to be the new management behind Bali Kuta Resort, a 250 room four-star hotel that will be renovated and renamed Bali Kuta Resort by Swiss-Belhotel. Located right in the middle of Kuta, Bali, the hotel boasts excellent accessibility to various tourist attractions and places of interests all around Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Nusa Dua and Bali. NT.

BEAUTY LIGHT AMAZING The NU.U Medispa is now offering various Omnilux treatments, a new tecnology based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) that is effective for acne, skin rejuvenation and wound healing. The non-invasive light therapy comes in three different options – Omnilux Revive, for skin repair and rejuvenation; Omnilux Plus, for wound healing and blood flow; and Omnilux Blue, which focuses on treating acne. All these are now available at NU.U Medispa at Orchard Paragon #09-22 (6562353456). ML.

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buzzworthy!

ECO MARINE IMPACT Soneva Fushi has announced a unique collaboration with Fabien Cousteau to help highlight marine conservation concerns in the Maldives. Fabien Cousteau, the 43-year-old grandson of the legendary oceanographer, will be staying at Six Senses’ flagship resort Soneva Fushi to help improve awareness of mankind’s overuse of marine resources and how we can treat our oceans more sustainably. Fabien will also be offering Soneva Fushi guests the exclusive opportunity to dive and dine with him and hear about his fascinating childhood growing up as a Cousteau. NT.


Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa © Shangri-La

Malaysia’s Spa Attractions Malaysia Spas and wellness retreats in this day and age are becoming increasingly popular as the trend in healthy living continues to grow. Taking a moment to refresh and rejuvenate your mind and body should play some sort of a role in your hectic lifestyle. We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite Malaysian spa and wellnesss retreats for you to choose from. The natural landscape of Malaysia; its rainforests, waterfalls, highlands, and hot springs (hot-springs are not hyphenated as in the original text), also provides provide the perfect backdrop for a truly unique Asian spa experience.

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Advertorial

Spa Village

The Spa Village is an award-winning luxury spa brand whose spa concept combines the therapeutic properties of natural local ingredients with ageold healing practices. Each individual property offers guests an authentic and unique spa experience based on the traditional healing practices of the local area. Pangkor Laut’s renowned “Bath House Ritual” incorporates a 45-minute cleansing journey through a series of Chinese, Malay and Japanese treatments. This is matched by the “Mandi Bunga” or “Malay Floral Bath” at Tanjong Jara, which recreates the traditions associated with a Royal Coronation.

The Saujana

The Spa at The Saujana opens the door to an intimate world dedicated to the restoration of strength, beauty, and balance of mind, body and soul. Visitors can choose from various treatments such as stimulating body polishing, romantic bathing ceremony, rejuvenating beauty rituals and therapeutic massage designed to pamper and restore vitality. The treatments at The Spa include a variety of body polishes, baths and massages inspired by the healing traditions of Bali, India and Tibet.

Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa Voted as the “Best Spa in Malaysia” by the SpaFinder 2009 Readers Poll, the CHI spa at Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa resides in the calm and peaceful city of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. CHI offers an unusual spa design concept with its stand-alone “spa-vilage” which sits on an island that is connected to the resort via a private causeway. Each of the eight villas has its own herbal steam room, spacious relaxation area and private changing room. The traditional Borneo treatments on the spa menu are plant-based in nature, reflecting the multi-cultural heritage of the region.

The Banjaran, Perak

Opened in January 2010, The Banjaran is a 5-star retreat sanctuary consisting of 25 luxury villas offering holistic and authentic Malay, Chinese and Indian wellness and spa experiences. The Banajaran is surrounded by a cluster of towering limestone hills and features natural caves, pristine jungle, waterfalls and geothermal hotsprings. This gives The Banjaran an exclusive set of services and facilities, including four geothermal hot springs, natural outdoor rainforest shower, free-form landscaped pool, meditation cave, thermal steam cave, ice bath and so much more.

Borneo Highlands Resort, Sarawak The Jungle Spa at Borneo Highlands Resort offers a superb and extensive range of traditional Bidayuh treatments and therapies. The award-winning Peso Perong therapy, a traditional Bidayuh massage, helps to increase blood circulation and promote skin healing using homemade oil brewed from herbs, coconut, aromatic Sarawak pepper and ginger. Other services include a refreshing dip at the Simangas Pool, with its own jungle waterfall. Depending on weather conditions and availability, guests may also visit the neighboring traditional Bidayuh longhouse, try organic farming and flower nursing, learn traditional handicrafts, or experience a night walk among fireflies. Borneo Highlands Resort offers a number of other exciting activities to choose from.


Business + Leisure Kuala Lumpur Towering high majestically over the skyline of Kuala Lumpur, the Berjaya Times Square Hotel is a hub of entertainment and shopping. It is located smack in the heart of the city, and is a mere 15 minutes away from the world famous Petronas Twin Towers. Heavily influenced by the New York style in America, this all-suite hotel brings new meaning to the term ‘urban living’ Nikolas Tjhin

A Stellar Hospitality Experience

With a total of 650 suites, the Berjaya Times Square Hotel is the perfect choice for both your corporate and leisure travels. The rooms are furnished with the usual comforts you would come to expect, but more than that, its the small little details that makes the experience an unforgettable one. Like the en suite bathroom with a separate shower and long bath, or the various snacks and generous fruit basket on offer. And need we mention the view? Full-length windows give you an excellent view of the capital of Malaysia during the day, and make for a glitzy lightshow at night as you tuck into your comfortable bed.

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Advertorial

A Versatile Location

The hotel features four categories of suites, ranging from the modest Studio Suite to the two-room Brooklyn Suite, with 110 new corporate suites which span across five corporate floors. These corporate suites feature a new sleek design and include added exclusivity such as private check-in, a dedicated breakfast venue and special corporate club benefits for its guests. “We’re actually planning a step-bystep addition of even more suites and amenities exclusive for our corporate guests,” enthused Abel Nelson, Berjaya’s Director of Marketing & Communications.

The various amenities and facilities for corporate travelers are certainly remarkable. With the hotel surrounded by Kuala Lumpur’s major shopping centers and connected via monorail to most parts of the city, it is the preferred location for conventions, receptions, corporate meetings, events and product launches. The iconic pillar-less Manhattan Ballroom stands at an awe-inspiring 1,746 meter square, and is one of the city’s largest ballrooms. It can accommodate up to 2,000 guests for a cocktail receptions, or 1,400 guests for a seated banquet dinner. There are also eight other function rooms for smaller meetings, receptions or business lunches requiring a more intimate setting. With the help of a dedicated catering team to assist you throughout, managing your event at the Manhattan Ballroom should be an effortless excursion into the world of event planning.

The hotel’s business centers has everything you need for your work, with printers, photocopiers, fax machines, internet access and even courier and transportation services ready at your beck and call. The staffs are also specifically trained to handle your business needs, and will readily help you with your problems.

Leisure Amenities After a long day at work, you need to spend some personal time to unwind and refresh. Berjaya Times Square Hotel has the answer to that, with the rooftop Central Park on Level 15 built exclusively with a children’s playground, swimming pool, steam and sauna room, fitness centre and two squash courts. A dip in the pool will give you a magnificent view of the city, but do mind the sun and don’t stay out too long!

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The JoJoBa Spa is the hotel’s dedicated wellness center that offers an extensive list of treats that will pamper your senses and help you relax. Indulgent spa packages are designed exclusively to cater to the different needs of both men and women, and address concerns such as tension relieving, grooming and body toning. Two of the more popular treatments are the Tongkat Ali treatment and the Dragon Fruit Paradise treatment.

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Alternatively, you can also head next door to the Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall for eight stories of shopping extravaganza, up to 900 shopping outlets, 14 thrill rides in the indoor Como’s World Theme Park, 65 food and beverages outlets and nine Cineplexes! www.unearthingasia.com

Delectable Delights The Berjaya Times Square Hotel boasts not two, but three outlets to offer you the best in gourmet treats. At the Big Apple Restaurant on Level 14, you can indulge yourself in a range of American favorites, as well as local and international delights, all while savoring the spectacular view of the city center. The Broadway Lounge, located right next door, is an excellent place to unwind with a glass of good wine. Finally, there is also 7th Avenue, a business lounge exclusively prepared to cater to the Hotel’s Corporate Club Floor guests. If anything else, there is always the 24-hour room service when you’re too tired to head out.


Advertorial

The environment and philosophy of this retreat is designed to promote relaxation, fitness, healthy eating and overall renewal, encouraging a healthier lifestyle change for all who visit. In addition, the retreat was built by using eco-friendly practices and conservation is of the utmost priority here.

Holistic Retreat

Tucked away minutes from Ipoh in Perak, Malaysia, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is Malaysia’s first luxury wellness hot springs retreat nestled in a 16.59-acre valley. Located amid lush tropical jungle, natural geothermal hot springs and a cluster of magnificent limestone hills, the self-contained sanctuary comprises 25 luxury villas and a wellness village offering authentic, Asian holistic wellness and spa treatments inspired by Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures.

On arrival at the Retreat, guests go through a personalised wellness consultation to ensure their objectives are complemented by an itinerary that features appropriate activities so as to optimise their visit and time. Guests can also opt to undergo consultations in naturopathy, nutrition and fitness.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat presents the ultimate rejuvenation for the body, mind and soul. This amazing natural wellness destination also boasts a host of unique features including a thermal steam cave, meditation cave, and crystal cave; outdoor rainforest shower, foot reflexology walks, hot springs, dipping pools, an ice bath, Dr Fish Pool containing 6,000 exotic Turkish Garra Rufa fish, a swimming pool with naturally heated water from the hotsprings and a fitness centre. Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi are practiced on the Yoga Deck overlooking the hot springs lake against the breathtaking backdrop of its natural setting.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat’s extensive spa menu comprises authentic Malay treatments, Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It also offers treatments like colon hydrotherapy, antioxidant restorative therapy and hydrotherapy, in addition to energy healing treatments including Reiki and Chakra Energy Balancing, as well as a variety of massages, foot reflexology, organic facials and body treatments. Refresh and recharge your body, mind and soul just fifteen minutes from the town of Ipoh, for The Banjaran experience is truly centered around wellness and life enhancement. The Retreat welcomes adults and guests who are over the age of 16.

Various wellness programmes are available. For enquiries or reservations, call The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat at +60 5 210 7777 or email reservation.kl@thebanjaran.com. For a glimpse of your wellness journey, log on to thebanjaran.com


SPOTLIGHT SINGAPORE

Urban Living Singapore Take time away from the clamor of the city. Pace your day, savour the charm so often brushed aside by the urbanites. Open doors to Singapore’s gregarious culture that blends heritage and its metropolis seamlessly into one. Michelle Lee

08:00AM Breakfast Singaporean-style means toast with kaya, half-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee or tea. With a history that extends back to the 1950s, this traditional Singaporean breakfast set is available at hawker centers all over the island. Today, it represents a major part of Singaporean lifestyles, and it is something which people here never get tired of. Sit back, immerse yourselves in the local culture and enjoy the food, which is an unbeatable value at SG$2 to SG$4!

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SPOTLIGHT Singapore

09:30AM

10:30AM

After a hearty breakfast, take a stroll along the Henderson Waves, Singapore’s tallest pedestrian bridge linking Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill. It also connects several parks such as Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park and West Coast Park to form a stretch of green spaces known as the Southern Ridges of Singapore. Take your time to admire the scenery up there. The worm-like structure of the bridge renders an intriguing sight, seemingly like a caterpillar wriggling its way amongst the greenery.

Immerse yourself in the art culture at the Singapore Art Museum. Housed in a 19th century mission school, the building has been restored and now showcases the world’s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks with an expanding portfolio of international art pieces. The various galleries open doors to whole new worlds of painting, sculptures, drawings, photographs and many more. No photo taking is allowed, but many visitors bring home inspirations beyond pictures or words.

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SPOTLIGHT SINGAPORE

02:00PM With your stomach filled, step out onto the street and the dazzling Orchard Road is right before you. Waltz down the shopping belt of Singapore and a slew of shopping malls offering a wide assortment of shops await. From highend international brands to affordable local retail shops, you can find almost anything and everything here. Walk on!

12:30PM

All photos in this article are courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

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With a wild assortment of cuisines available in Singapore, where to eat lunch is always a tough decision to make. We recommend Chatterbox at Mandarin Gallery where you sit in the comfort of a posh restaurant with a variety of award-winning local delights to choose from. Chatterbox is famed for its chicken rice, which is a popular local dish not to be missed. Though Chatterbox is a littler pricey, it is the overall package of ambience and good food that makes it all worthwhile.

04:30PM After an afternoon of shopping head to Aramsa Spa, a lush haven hidden away from urbanity that is sure to rejuvenate your tired feet. Situated at Bishan Park, Aramsa Spa boasts more than 20,000 plants from over 200 species, providing guests with a variety of spa treatments right at the heart of nature and its floras.


SPOTLIGHT Singapore

08:30PM

07:00PM Make the most out of the night by dining up high in the skies with a panoramic view of Singapore’s skyline beneath your feet. Towering at 165metres above the ground, the Singapore Flyer is the largest observation wheel in Asia and has attracted millions of tourists each year. With a selection of local and international cuisines on the menu, you’re sure to enjoy a top-of-the-world dining experience. Be sure to have your

Take a stroll along the The Helix Bridge linking Marine Centre to the newly opened Marina Bay Sands. Its unique design resembles the structure of DNA and symbolizes life and vitality. The Central Business District is right across the straits, presenting a glistering view of Singapore at night.

10:00PM Finally, join the after hours crowd at Chivas@KPO as you while away the night. The building was formerly a post office and is now a popular chill out spot for the yuppies. Located at the heart of Orchard Road, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and other posh cars fill the lots, adding much heat and glamour to the night.


SPOTLIGHT SINGAPORE

Local Tips Charissa Hui A typical weekend begins with a morning cycle along East Coast Park. For Charissa, living in a country with a small land area means close proximity to many places on the island. A short twenty-minute drive brings her from the city to East Coast Park. The crowd usually packs in on the weekends with people cycling, roller-blading, jogging and picnicking along the beach. “East Coast is a haven for sports lovers. You get the sun, sand and sea with a myriad of sporting facilities available. For water sports lovers, you have got to try the challenging cable ski!” enthused Charissa. There are also chalets and over 80 barbeque pits available, providing an economical getaway for families and friends. “One of the highlights when I’m here is the food at the hawker centre,” reveals Charissa. Situated right by the beach, this hawker centre at East Coast houses almost all the best local delicacies. Its open structure allows customers to enjoy the sea breeze while being sheltered away from the sun and rain. “Tourists must try the barbecued stingray. It might not seem as tasty as it sounds, but is has been my all-time favorite since I was a child. You have to try it to believe it!”

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INSIGHTS ATTRACTIONS

Siem Reap The former outpost of a pariah state run by the Khmer Rouge has risen admirably into an international tourist destination that boasts the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and plays host as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Only twenty years ago, the region was still off limits to tourists; its local denizens ruled over by terror and fear of the atrocities of one of the bloodiest regimes in the world. Vannara Putra Now, Siem Reap is a booming city alongside the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat that drew more than two million international passengers coming and going from its international airport in 2009. While Angkor Wat remains the top attraction in the area, the city of Siem Reap itself is not lacking in sights, boasting some of the best hotels, restaurants, museums and galleries in Cambodia.

AWE INSPIRING ANGKOR WAT

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Angkor Wat is a jewel in the crown of Angkor’s extensive palace complex: the biggest, best preserved and most intricately designed temple in Indochina. It is a source of national pride and international renown, covered with beautiful bas-relief carvings depicting the Ramayana epic of Hinduism. Like most temples in Asia, it is best seen at dawn or during sunset, when the colorful sun-lit sky accentuates the five towers for an exquisite scene. www.unearthingasia.com


THE NUMBER NINE To know Asia is to understand the continent’s superstitions, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the massive Angkor Thom, a temple fixated with the number nine. The pronouncement for “nine” is similar to the word for “development”, and almost everything on the temple can equate to this number – 54 carved towers, 216 faces on the towers, 54 gods on the left of the entrance, and 54 demons on the right – all those numbers adding up to 9.

RIVER REVITALIZATION

TONLE SAP

Around 50 km northeast of Siem Reap is the River of a Thousand Lingas, an impressive river that streams into the Siem Reap River. Thousands of lingas – phallic symbols prevalent in Cambodia – have been carved along its riverbed. They are estimated to have been carved between 1100 to 1300 AD and are thought to have been used in a form of fertility ritual.

Siem Reap boasts not only one of the world’s most famous archeological sites, but it is also home to one of Southeast Asia’s biggest and most colorful lakes. Tonle Sap is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a marine wildlife reserve that has some of the world’s most exotic birds, and at the same time it is the only river in the world whose flow of water changes twice a year. oriental winters

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CONTEMPORARY ART

OTHER TEMPLES One of Angkor’s best-known temples is Ta Prohm, a picturesque temple boasting hundred-year-old giant roots that thread themselves around the temple. This makes it one of the most photogenic temples in the Angkor Wat complex, and it is a big hit with the tourists. Bayon is known as the “Temple of Faces”, and once you’ve been there you’ll easily know why – as you climb the steep stone steps into the inner sanctum of the temple, you’ll find hundreds of large stone faces looking down upon you. There is also the Banteay Srei, a temple filled with awe-inspiring elaborate carvings covering every single inch of stone there. Even with today’s technology it is almost unbelievable that such precise and intricate patterns and sculpture can be made from stone.

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The fine arts scene in Siem Reap is burgeoning, and you can find anything from cheap souvenirs to luxurious fine arts. Some of the highlights for arts lovers include: The McDermott Gallery, where world-class photography of Angkor and its surrounding region are on display; The Red Gallery, where the most extensive collection of contemporary Cambodian art is hosted; and The Asia Craft Center, which stocks lots of unique Cambodian and Southeast Asian traditional handicrafts.

COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE Siem Reap has a whole host of colonial buildings left by the French, which are now put to pretty good use. Set among lazy boulevards, the architecture is now home to some truly incredible hotels, restaurants and galleries, such as the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor, the city’s first ever luxury hotel, established in 1932. The hotel boasts an array of VIP guests, including King Norodom Sihanouk, Charlie Chaplin, the Sultan of Johor and even Jacqueline Kennedy.

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INSIGHTS ARTS

Arts Galore

Tim Burton, Untitled, Creature Series, 1992

The National Gallery of Victoria

Melbourne Melbourne’s colder than usual winter bodes well for the snowbound traveler, but if wind and powder are not your fare, fret not. The great indoors offers plenty of opportunities for the cold-weary traveler, and we don’t mean just shopping. Melbourne is Australia’s culture capital for good reason, and winter is the perfect season to stay indoors and enjoy the city’s many blockbuster cultural events. Many festivals and quality live entertainment run throughout the year in Melbourne, providing residents and guests with a packed monthly schedule of events to choose from. Joanne Tay The annual Winter Masterpieces, now in its seventh year, showcases the best in visual expression. This year, the Masterpieces series brings European Masters: Städel Museum 19th-20th Century at the National Gallery of Victoria and Tim Burton: The Exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to Melbourne. Close by, the Broadway smash hit Mary Poppins lands in Melbourne in July 2010 at Her Majesty’s Theatre. So throw off your booties and coats and thrill your senses with Europe’s finest art, Tim Burton’s gothic horror and Ms. Poppins, in the heart of Australia’s cultural capital, the city of Melbourne.

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EUROPEAN MASTERS The National Gallery of Victoria presents the European Masters: Städel Museum 19th-20th Century this winter from 19 June to 10 October. Marrying culture with populist appeal, the Masterpieces showcase attracted 170, 000 people at Dali’s retrospective in 2009 and looks set to wow audiences this year with a stellar allstar line up.

European Masters at The National Gallery of Victoria

The collection features over 100 remarkable works from 70 artists including Picasso, Degas, Renoir and Munch from Germany’s world-renowned Städel Museum. Some of Europe’s most iconic art pieces make an appearance at the exhibition. Immerse yourself in Degas Orchestra Musicians, Renoir’s After the Luncheon; Monet’s The Luncheon and other spectacular pieces from Europe’s finest painters. This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to explore major artistic movements across Europe, covering Realism, Impressionism and Post Impressionism, German Romanticism, Expressionism and Modernism, and French Symbolism. Many of these paintings and sculptures have not been seen outside of Europe and present a major coup for the Asia-Pacific region. Don’t miss this highly popular showcase of some of the art world’s biggest rock stars. 19 June -10 October 2010; daily 10am–5pm; until 9pm Wed

European Masters at The National Gallery of Victoria

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INSIGHTS ARTS

TIM BURTON We’ve seen it all – Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a host of other top-grossing films from the master of gothic horror, Tim Burton. Now look further and delve into the whimsical genius of Burton as a conceptual artist, illustrator and director. Direct from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York comes Tim Burton: The Exhibition, a showcase that brings Burton’s most iconic works to Melbourne. Housed at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image from now till October, the exhibition, partly curated by Burton himself, displays over 700 works which include paintings, drawings, maquettes, sculptures, puppets, costumes, storyboards, directorial notes and scribblings from Burton’s best-loved films. The three-part exhibition covers Burton’s formative years in Burbank, California, his time at the California Institute of the Arts as a student and a Disney illustrator, and finally his Hollywood career, which spans across two decades. Curators at MoMA, who were allowed to roam free in Burton’s home, emptied drawers, boxes and shelves to bring us some of Burton’s most personal artifacts, including early films from his teenage years.

The National Gallery of Victoria

MARY POPPINS

Tim Burton, Untitled, Creature Series, 1997-98

You’ll discover other out-of-this world showings - a violent Japanese Hansel and Gretel film made for Disney in 1983 (shelved after one late-night showing), a life-sized Edward Scissorhands, the Mad Hatter’s costume (Alice in Wonderland), Jack Skellington skulls (A Nightmare Before Christmas), Sarah Jessica Parker’s severed head (Mars Attack!), and other bizarre mementos. This exhibition is a must-see treasure trove for movie lovers of all ages. 24 June - 10 October 2010; daily 10am-6pm; late night Thurs until 10pm

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Before Nanny McPhee dropped in, Mary Poppins ruled the roost. The Disney and Cameron Mackintosh Broadway spectacular Mary Poppins flies into Melbourne this winter. Adapted from the beloved books by P. L. Travers and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins promises to dazzle and delight audiences with hit favourites like Chim Chim Cher-ee, A Spoonful of Sugar, Jolly Holiday, Step in Time and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. When the shops close at 5pm and you find yourself lost for after hours activities, make your way down to the Her Majesty Theatre in Melbourne’s CBD for an awe-inspiring and breathtaking night out at the theatre. The smash hit has entertained audiences all around the world from New York to London, Europe and now Australia. And yes, she flies! Mary Poppins is a theatrical experience you won’t want to miss. 14 July – 17 October 2010


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INSIGHTS GETAWAY

The Lotus Pond © The Four Seasons Sayan

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Bali From water-sports to shopping, the island of Bali has it all. Pamper yourself with a chocolate spa treatment before partying the night away at one of its trendiest nightspots, and don’t forget to squeeze in an exquisite gourmet meal or two. Here are some sights and activities that you definitely shouldn’t miss while you’re visiting the Island of God. Nikolas Tjhin


Sunset at Ku De Ta © Ku De Ta Bali

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HIDE AWAY

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ARTS & CRAFTS

No trip to Bali is complete without experiencing the hillside tranquility of Ubud. Fresh off winning the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Magazine award as the World’s Best City, the small hillside town is now abuzz with tourism and renewed popularity. However, there are still spots to relax and unwind. Head to Dirty Duck Cafe (Warung Bebek Bengil) for a tasty serving of crispy, deep-fried duck with mouthwatering sambal on the side. Various trekking and cycling tours are also available for you to take through the maze of never-ending terraced rice paddy fields.

The arts and crafts scene in Bali is well developed and highly sought after in the international market. Numerous artists have made Bali their home, drawing from the colorful culture and charming island life that Bali has to offer as their inspiration. Balinese wood-carving is popular amongst tourists, and you can find some of the best in business at Tegallalang, Pujung and Sebatu. For elegant ceramics, Jenggala Ceramics in Jimbaran is the place to go. The spacious gallery, just 10 minutes away from the airport, offers world-class locally made crockery at reasonable prices in a wide range of designs.

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DRESS UP

When it comes to shopping in Bali, there is only one place for trendsetting fashionistas – Seminyak. This shopping area on the southern coast of Bali is filled with fashionable treasures waiting for you to unearth. BIASA, the undisputed queen of fashion, sells classics for grown-ups and a few flirty styles for the younger crowd too. Other local favorites are Paul Ropp, Papillion, Innuendo and Flamingo.

SURF’S UP

While Bali is no longer a frontier surfing destination, it still boasts some of the best surfing spots in the world. It has over 20 top quality breaks on the southwest and southeast coast of the island, and a wide range of breaks catering to all skill levels. Beginners can head to Kuta Beach to enroll at the various surfing schools available, while other areas, such as Uluwatu and Padang, offer world-class reef-breaks for those of higher skill level. oriental winters

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Chic interior © Ku De Ta Bali

5 Gourmet treats © Metis

DOLPHIN WATCH

Tourists can head towards Lovina, 3 hours north of Kuta, which is famed for their dolphin sightseeing tours. These tours leave the main beaches each morning at dawn with the price usually set at Rp75,000 per person. If you are in a group, chartering your own boat may be a more worthwhile option.

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SIP A GOOD MARTINI

For Bali’s best martini drop into the legendary Naughty Nuri’s Warung on Jl Raya Sanggingan, a 10-minute drive west from the centee of Ubud. The classic chilled martini and margaritas are some of the best you’ll find on the island, and they also serve a mean rack of pork ribs. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing, a perfect way to while away your afternoon after a tiring day.

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PARTY AWAY

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PAMPER YOURSELF

If partying is high on your list then the Kuta Beach area is where you want to go. Most parties kick off at noisy discotheques with various dance shows to draw in the crowd. They usually start around midnight and go until the wee hours of the morning. Hulu Cafe prides itself as “the only real gay bar in Bali”, and has drag shows three times a week which can be quite fun. Casablance, Peanuts, Bounty Ship, M-Bar-Go and Sky Garden are a few of the numerous watering holes in the area ready to serve whatever drinks you may want.

As the bastion of luxury travel in South East Asia, Bali boasts some of the world’s best in the art of spa pampering. Kayumanis Private Villa & Spa offers the ultimate indulgence – a chocolate spa treatment. The treatment combines traditional Balinese massage using chocolate oils, followed with a chocolate scrub, chocolate bath, chocolate facial and finally, a serving of chocolate ice cream to top it off at the end. Plenty of other hotels and villas offer high-quality Balinese massage using special medicated oils to help you relax and unwind.


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EAT LIKE A KING

Bali is home to some of the finest restaurants in the region, offering highend culinary treats mixed with the great island atmosphere and a friendly face. Over the years, there have been a few mainstays, such as the legendary Ku De Ta, Sarong Bali, and Kafe Warisan (which is now revamped as Metis). The price is steep, but you do get what you pay for.

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WATER SPORTS

Tanjong Benoa is Bali’s premier water-sports hub with various activities available for you to choose from. Parasailing, snorkeling, jet-skis, wakeboarding and banana-boats are but a few of the choices available here. There are also white-water rafting operators further north (near Ubud) with the Telagawajah and Ayung River being two of the most popular options.

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SCUBA DIVING

There are quite a few scuba diving sites around Bali. Some of the popular ones are diving for wrecks at Tulamben in the east, exploring the serene reefs around Menjangan Island, and drift-diving off Nusa Penida in the south. For beginners there are also various dive centers affiliated with PADI and SSI offering introductory courses.

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CLIMB MOUNT AGUNG

Mount Agung is the highest mountain on the island of Bali. The mountain is not only home to the Temple of Besakih, it also holds spiritual significance for the people who live on the island. There are three climbing routes up the mountain, but be forewarned that all three routes are quite difficult and should only be attempted by the physically fit. The rewards, however, are most definitely worth it, with some awe-inspiring views of the mountains across flat rubble plains. Getting a local guide is a must. Fees for local guides vary from USD40 to USD100 depending on the guide and the route taken.

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INSIGHTS CULTURE

Historic Duolun Shanghai If places like Taikang Lu and Xintiandi are a contemporary and historical melting pot of Shanghai-ness, then Duolun Road is its timeline. When 50 Moganshan was still nothing more than a textile factory, some of the most radical and freethinking writers of their time were chilling out on Duolun Road. Megan Eaves It started with Lu Xun, China’s most celebrated literary son, who moved to the area in the 1930s. Other writers like Guo Moruo, Mao Dun and Ding Ling followed. Before long, Duolun Road had blossomed into a vibrant cultural district of writers, artists and Chinese liberals. The entire Hongkou District, just north of the Bund, where Duolun Road is located, was at one time a settlement of American and British diplomats, and thus has always prevailed as an area of Shanghai where internationalism flourished. When Duolun Road was first built in 1911, it was called Darroch Road after a British missionary who had once met with the Emperor during the Qing Dynasty. The road was renamed “Duolun Lu” in 1943, after the People’s Republic of China was established. By the end of the 20th century, Duolun Road had been pedestrianized and much of it restored, repainted and revitalized.

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Photographs by Philippe Roy

Eating Cultural districts never have a shortage of quaint cafes, and Duolun Road is no exception. Several small eateries are dotted along the road in between antiques shops and historic buildings.

Shopping Despite the many social, political and aesthetic changes around Duolun Road throughout the last hundred years, the street still runs its same course in an L-shape, connecting at its two ends with the bustling Sichuan Bei Lu. A hodgepodge of architectural styles interlace the road, weaving together a map of the street’s age like lines on a tree trunk. Old bookshops, antiques stores and trinket stalls line the edges of the street and give visitors a chance to partake in the Bohemian feeling of what was once the greatest literary center in all of China.

Shopping is not why people go to Duolun Road, but it is one of the perks of being there. That is, if you are interested in antiques, because antiques are really all you’ll find on Duolun Road. A few dusty bookshops leave their doors open to passersby interested in historic and used books, most of them Chinese. Unnamed trinket shops sell archaic bits of jewelry – beaded bracelets, jade necklaces and old fans. And the dozens of antiques stores you’ll find there house fine examples of traditional Chinese furniture, wooden objects and historic porcelain (just be on the lookout for fakes, because they’re around, too). There is even some revolutionary paraphernalia to be found in the mix, if that’s your thing.

If you’ve ventured far afield enough to find Duolun Road in the first place, you’ll want to step inside Old Film Café, which pays homage to Shanghai’s contributions to the silver screen with their showings of old Chinese movies. Though their menu is limited, the classic film-heavy ambiance shouldn’t be missed. The Koala Garden House and Eucalyptus Café is perhaps the best spot on the street for a quick bite and a strong Illy coffee, which can be enjoyed in the café’s cute cottage setting amid a mishmash of colorful walls and stone columns. If it’s a truly hearty meal you’re after, a branch of the popular Japanese ramen noodle chain, Ajisen, is just around the corner on Sichuan Bei Lu. Though by far the smallest branch of Ajisen, the food is just as tasty and there is often a line out the door for lunch.

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Odds & Ends The tie that binds Duolun Road together through a century of history is the architecture, and that too is the most charming thing about a walk down the street. The strong presence of Duolun Road’s artistic past can be felt immediately as you enter the street from Sichuan Bei Lu. The first thing you encounter is the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art, which in truth is not as interesting or important as much of the art you’ll find at 50 Moganshan. However, the Shanghai MOMA is the only subsidized museum of modern art in China, and for that it has an important place in the world of Chinese modern art.

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Further down the road, Hong De Tang, the Great Virtue Christian Church, offers up a sublime architectural fusion, with its firmly European brick façade embellished by distinctly Chinese upturned eaves. A bit of neo-Classical French architecture is evident in the white-washed iron balconies of the Tangenbo residence just past Duolun Road’s L-curve; and at the end of the street, even an Islamic presence is visible in the Kongxiangxi house, a stately granite structure with rounded windows that suggest its Central Asian influences. And in between these, along Duolun Road’s stretch of cobbled stones, sit dozens of examples of Lilong houses in the style typical of Old Shanghai. Narrow, dense and packed together like stacked cardboard boxes, these buildings remind the visitor that yes, this is still Shanghai after all.

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Getting There Though most listings will tell you to take a bus directly to Duolun Road (No. 21, 939, 231, 47, 854, 79, 18), the nicest way to go is actually by subway. If you take Metro Line 3 (yellow), get off at Dongbaoxing Road From there, it’s only a 5-10 minute walk to the entrance to Duolun Road at Sichuan Bei Lu, and is a pleasant way to see some of the authentic residential backstreets of Shanghai. Use Exit 1 and go right, following Hailun Xi Lu west to Sichuan Bei Lu, where you’ll turn left. You’ll know you’ve reached Duolun Road, again on the left, by the large historic stone gate that marks the entrance to the street.


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the guide

56 Hokkaido’s Winter Magic Explore the magic of winter in the northern-most island of Japan 66 Taiwan’s Hot Spring Rejuvenation Relax into the steamy heated goodness that nature has to offer 78 Freezing Fun in Harbin The province of Harbin boasts a wide range of winter attractions for tourists from all over the world

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Explore the magic of winter in the northern-most island of the Land of the Rising Sun, Hokkaido Marie Teather No longer the secret retreat for Japanese wanting to escape the summer humidity, nor just for sushi connoisseurs wanting to sample the reputed ‘best nigiri in the world’, Japan’s northern most island, Hokkaido, has firmly established itself as Asia’s premier winter playground. From the first snowflake that falls on the central mountaintops in September until the official last day of the ski season in May, rather than quivering under the six-month-long Siberian cold, Hokkaido flourishes through the ice. Tourism booms as people flock to see the impressive ice sculptures at the Sapporo Winter Festival, welcome the salmon back to spawn at the ‘Come Back Salmon’ festival, watch the lively Japan national dogsled races, glance out over eerie frozen lakes, and of course, ski.

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Yet it is thanks to skiing that Hokkaido’s fixture on the winter travel calendar has truly been established. It all started in the nineties when word got out on what has been described as ‘the world’s best powder snow.’ Ski enthusiasts came from all over the world to discover the driest, lightest, and freshest snow to be skied on. Coupled with the attractive, high-tech ski resorts that shot up during Japan’s hedonistic, late-eighties’ ‘skiboom’ and Hokkaido quickly became the ski destination to be seen at. But that’s all old hat these days. Step a little, or a lot, further away from the slopes and Japan’s second largest island has an astounding line-up of winter activities and attractions, buzzing cities, natural beauty and unique wildlife to discover. With so much to do you won’t want to compromise on the time you spend in Hokkaido—and that counts for non-skiers too.


Mesmerizing sunrise at the expansive Lake Toya , Hokkaido, Japan

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Sapporo Winter Festival Š enggul

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Sapporo Winter Festival © Hokkaido Tourism

Lively Sapporo Say to any Japanese that you’re heading to Hokkaido and they’ll ask if you are going to Sapporo. Being the main hub of transport to and throughout Hokkaido, this laidback metropolis makes a great place to start any trip to the island. With a bustling population of two million it’s hard to imagine that the city was home to only seven people in 1857. It was then that Sapporo was chosen as the island’s administrative center and, thanks to strict city planning, unlike most cities in Japan Hokkaido’s capital is laid out in a Western-style grid pattern with plentiful parks and wide, tree-lined streets.

The transient influx of skiers and snowboarders who stop in the city before moving onto the slopes make Sapporo a refreshing change to exploring Japan’s more historic cities, and it is a great place to enjoy nightlife, local beer, and specialty foods. Be sure to try some steamed snow crab or the more oddly named hairy crab, while on really cold days go for the famously warming curry soup. For many however, ‘Sapporo’ means beer. Sapporo Breweries, the oldest beer company in Japan, was set up in 1879 after Seibei Nakagawa returned; obviously impressed by the beer he had learnt to brew in Germany. Today, the current brewing and bottling factory has been moved out of town and the original red brick brewery has been turned into the popular Sapporo Beer Museum. Whether you make a trip to the brewery or not, it would be rude not to enjoy a night eating and drinking your way through the local delicacies.

Sapporo Winter Festival © enggul

The highlight of Sapporo’s (and even Japan’s) winter calendar is the Sapporo Winter Festival that springs the city into life in February. A fantastic display of ice sculptures which take months to plan and weeks to make, can be seen along the parks and boulevards, while ski jumping, concerts, snow golf, karaoke, and dancing takes place throughout the city and in bars and clubs. Some of the previous super-sized sculptures have included a replica of Trafalgar Square, the Taj Mahal, Cinderella’s crystal carriage, and even Harry Potter.

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A beautiful sunset shines down at Cape Erimo, Hokkaido, Japan. Hokkaido boasts plenty of attractions to suit all age and taste, from the nature lover to adrenaline seekers, and even to animal lovers.

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© kamuimintara

Beyond the initial embarrassment of getting naked with strangers and the occasional inquisitive glance from locals, an hour in an onsen is a relaxing experience. The Japanese talk of the virtues of ‘naked communion’ for breaking down barriers and getting to know each other and really there no quicker way to get to know your traveling companions than sharing a bath with them. Be sure to read up on onsen etiquette before entering and don’t be afraid of the naked grandma or granddad who is likely to put you right when you get it wrong.

Powder Appeal From Sapporo it’s an easy route out to the ski slopes thanks to the comprehensive network of buses and trains to the various resorts. Niseko, the most popular resort in Hokkaido by far, continues to grow yearly with skiers and snowboarders coming from all over the world. Expect a laidback and friendly vibe from the locals and the Aussiestrong foreign community, while the snow–covered peaks and never-ending, slow falling powder snow guarantees an almost magical environment.

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A day of skiing (or in fact any form of sightseeing in Japan) is not complete with the obligatory soak in an onsen (hot spring). Seated upon three volcanic mountain ranges, Hokkaido’s hot springs have been bubbling away for centuries and offer more than two hundred onsen to choose from. Each with its own claim to healing properties and often with a beautiful snow mountain backdrop, sitting outside in a steamy hot onsen while the snow falls around you is like being sat in the centre of a snow glome that has just been shaken.

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Just one hour from Sapporo, Noboribetsu Onsen is one of the most popular onsen in Hokkaido attracting more than three million visitors a year. You will, however, find onsen throughout the island. Some hotels even have onsen attached, and often it can be the smaller more remote baths that provide the more authentic experience. Of course when temperatures can drop as low as -10°C, it’s not just humans that take to the hot waters. Images of red-faced snow monkeys bathing neck high in Japan’s onsen are a regular fixture on tourist campaigns, yet surprisingly in Hokkaido these monkeys are hard to spot.


© Hokkaido Tourism

© Hokkaido Tourism

Winter Wildlife

While the snow monkey, or Japanese macaque, is not native to the northern island, a troupe of 70 can be found at an onsen in Hakodate on the southern tip of Hokkaido. Twenty were brought over about 30 years ago to make a snow monkey onsen attraction although the experiment almost failed when the original monkeys couldn’t be persuaded to take the plunge. Park owners eventually enticed them in with food, and now they can’t get them out.

If it is more wildlife than action sports that takes your interest, Hokkaido is increasingly drawing animal lovers and photographers to view some of the most breathtaking winter wildlife and landscapes in the world. As with most animal centers in Japan, you are best advised to skip the Ashiyama Zoo and the Noboribetsu Bear Park and head out to see wild and rarely spotted breeds. Over in Eastern Hokkaido near the city of Kushiro you’ll find a large number of red-crested white cranes on the 45,000 acres of boreal marsh. Its here where most of the cranes in Japan congregate in the winter and with the river mist, frosty trees, and gentle winds you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled much further into the unknown to see these beautiful and iconic birds.

© Hokkaido Tourism

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© Hokkaido Tourism

Other wildlife attractions include spotting Whooper Swans at Kussharo Lake as they warm themselves in the hot spring water that flows into the lake; Steller’s Sea Eagles at the port town of Rausu which, at over a meter tall, are some of the largest raptors in the world; 600 brown bears that roam Shiretoko National Park; the whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals that can be spotted on tours from Muroran, as well as the wild foxes and deer to be found all over Hokkaido.

Eerie Ongoings Over in Abashiri, white-tailed sea eagles and seals can be spotted on board of the Aurora Drift Icebreaker Cruise that takes tourists out three times daily. Crushing through the drift ice that has drifted in from the Sea of Okhotsk, the icy, silent seas and pale cool skies make a breathtaking voyage. Yet for many Japanese, the word ‘Abashiri’ holds the same fearful fascination as ‘Alcatraz’ does to westerners. The prison, which is still in use today, was set up at the end of the nineteenth century for some of the country’s most hardened criminals. Getting sent to Abashiri was equivalent to getting sent to Siberia from Russia. Trapped between the Sea of Okhotsk to the north, Lake Abashiri on the south and Lake Notori to the west, escaping and surviving was unlikely. Today the original prison is a museum allowing tourists to experience what it is like to be trapped in the deepest winter terrain with nothing but the cracking and crunching sound of the slow-moving icebergs as they float past to break the silence.

© Hokkaido Tourism

Other effects of the harsh Hokkaido winters can be found at Lake Mashu, the ‘Mysterious Lake,’ so called as it is so rarely seen through the thick mist and the cascading yet completely frozen waterfalls at Sounkyo Gorge, which look as if a new ice age has just begun. And still there is more. Few places in the world are able to offer such a fascinating and fruitful insight into the beauty and fun of a winter world. It’s almost surprising that it would be found here in Asia, and yet being in Japan you’re glad that it is. Where else would display such respect and appreciation of the harshest of what nature has to offer? Now, if you can only drag yourself away from the ski slopes, you may be coming back to explore this island for years to come.

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Sit back, breathe a sigh of release, and relax into the steamy heated goodness that nature has to offer in one of Taiwan’s natural hot springs Carrie Kellenberger Photos by Craig Ferguson Taiwan’s location atop two of the earth’s major tectonic plates has blessed the island with mountainous terrain and an active volcano that have given rise to more than 130 natural hot springs scattered all over the island. Owing to its high concentration and variety of natural springs, Taiwan is ranked as one of the top hot spring destinations in the world. Hot springs, cold springs, mud springs, saltwater springs; springs that vary in color from milky-white, blue, and green to clear and muddy, and springs that vary in mineral content from sulfur to sodium and iron can all be found on this tiny island.

Moreover, hot spring locations throughout Taiwan are acclaimed for their healing and restorative benefits, which may offer relief from a number of ailments that include arthritis, chronic dermatitis, muscle soreness, stress, and chronic fatigue. It’s no wonder that Taiwan has such an ardent and active hot spring culture, and with such a large number of bathhouses and lavish spa resorts, Taiwan is quickly gaining an international reputation for being an ideal Asian destination for relaxing and recharging both the mind and body.

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Whispering Pines Hot Springs in Beitou, Taiwan

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Whispering Pines Hot Springs in Beitou, Taiwan

The History of the Hot Springs Taiwan’s hot spring culture didn’t really get underway until the Japanese established colonial rule in Taiwan in 1895. Less than a year later, Taiwan’s first hot spring hotel, Tenguan, popped up just outside of Taipei in Beitou Hot Spring Valley. The hotel was not only an instant hit with Japanese soldiers, but it also blazoned the trail for dozens of other hot spring resorts that were soon to come. The 70s and 80s saw a brief decline in the popularity of spas and resorts, but a large-scale promotional effort sponsored by the government in 1999 renewed interest in Taiwan’s hot spring culture once again. Over the past ten years, hot spring resorts and spas have been constructed all over the island, thereby becoming firmly ensconced in Taiwanese culture. Today, no trip to Taipei is complete without visiting at least one of its two major hot spring destinations: Beitou Hot Spring Valley and Yangmingshan. Both areas, which claim roughly ten fountainheads between them, are accessible either by car or public transit and can be reached within 30 minutes.

Beitou Hot Spring Valley An aboriginal legend of the Ketagalan tribe claims that a witch once lived in the northern outskirts of Taipei in the foothills of a volcano. She made her home next to a pond whose piping-hot waters permeated the air with sulfurous fumes and swirling white smoke. This area, known today as Hell Valley or Geothermal Valley, is the hub of Beitou’s hot spring culture. Overlooked by traditional Japanese style inns and luxurious hotels and resorts, Hell Valley’s boiling pond, eerie smokefilled air, and lush vegetation looks as if it comes straight out of a fairy tale. As every fairy tale is wont to do, there is a message within the scalding hot and extremely acidic waters of that sulfurous pond: Jumping in most certainly means death.

Spring City Resort, Beitou, Taiwan

Often teeming with locals and visitors alike, Beitou owes its ever-growing popularity to a natural abundance of hot springs and a tourist infrastructure that includes five-star resorts, cheap public pools, fine restaurants, and traditional Japanese beer halls and tea gardens. Very few cities in the world can boast of a backyard full of worldclass geothermal hot springs that have been shaped into a spa connoisseur’s idea of heaven.

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Villa 32 Hot Spring Resort, Taiwan

Nominated by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the most popular new hotels in the world in 2006, and lauded in 2007 as one of the best new hotels in the world by Australian Gourmet Traveler, Villa 32 promises an unmitigated excursion into the land of luxury spas in Taiwan. The rate for a private hot springs suite starts at $180US for three hours. Resorts such as the ritzy Spring City Resort are designed for hedonistic pleasure, with activities to occupy guests every second of the day. Each room comes equipped with its own hot spring bath, but those who are searching for more of a communal bathing experience are sure to find something on the resort’s extensive grounds, which include warm sulfur hot springs, swimming pools, an extensive health club, fountains, cafes, and areas for children to play in.

With all of these blue-ribbon wonders, is there anything left for the frugalminded? Budget travelers need look no further than the Public Hot Springs for a cheap outdoor bathing option in Beitou. Located within walking distance of Xinbeitou MRT station, the Public Hot Springs offer six piping hot pools filled with milky-white water. The waters top out around 60 degrees Celcius, and for a mere US$1.25, a long, lazy day of soaking should be your top priority here.

Discerning travelers also revel in the opulent private hot spring rooms of Villa 32, Taiwan’s quintessential spa playground. Devoted to providing a top-notch spa experience through its many prestigious services, Villa 32 embraces nature through three types of hot springs, serene waterfalls, and rock gardens, and its guests are treated to lavishly decorated rooms with every kind of modern amenity you can think of.

Finally, if you’ve finished soaking and you’d like to absorb a little local history, don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the history of Beitou’s spas and bathhouses in the Hot Springs Bathhouse Museum. The museum, which was built in 1913 during Japanese occupation, was once the original spa used by Japanese soldiers, including Japan’s kamikaze pilots of World War II.

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Villa 32 Hot Spring Resort, Taiwan

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the guide

Spring City Resort, Beitou, Taiwan

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Outdoor Public Hot Spring

Villa 32 Hot Spring Resort, Taiwan

Yangmingshan Hot Springs Yang Ming Mountain has remained a first choice getaway for city residents for decades. Fondly referred to by locals as the Imperial Garden of Taipei, Yang Ming Mountain, enclosed in Yangmingshan National Park, offers an entirely different kind of bathing experience from the sulfur hot springs in nearby Beitou. Spring waters in Yangmingshan, ranging from 60~70°C, are clear, odorless, and are touted to be extremely effective in healing skin diseases, gout, and muscular pains. Jin Shan, just one of several popular hot spring destinations in the area, is located on the northern side of the mountain. If you can imagine bathing partway up a mountain in an outdoor hot spring that is surrounded by towering mountains on every side, you might have some idea for what you’re in for with a visit to Jin Shan.

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The rugged area is known for its scenic hiking trails, and many people come here to get attuned with nature before ending the day with a nice, long soak in the hot springs at Calla Young Garden Hot Spring Resort in Jin Shan Village. The resort offers unlimited soaking in a number of outdoor pools that range in temperature. The most impressive feature of Calla Young Garden Resort is its outdoor public pools, which provide a sweeping panorama of the prolific natural scenery. After you’re done soaking, proceed to the main dining area to enjoy a sumptuous Taiwanese meal that is included in the price of your bathing ticket.

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A little further down the mountainside in Jin Shan Village, an inexpensive mountain hot spring experience awaits you at Jin Shan Hot Springs. You can soak for as long as you want in their steaming hot spring waters in either a private hot spring room or the public pool for US$20 and US$5 respectively. Jin Shan Village is a good hour’s drive away from central Taipei, but it’s well worth the journey. You can expect to pay around US$15 each way in cab fares. When the chill winter weather arrives in Taiwan between the months of October and April, hot springs become packed with enthusiasts in search of the warmth and relief that comes from bathing in Taiwan’s heated groundwater. So don’t forget to sit back and indulge in a heaven-sent natural resource when you visit this green island in the Pacific.


Calla Young Garden Resort, Taiwan

Insider Tips Room rates are usually cheaper in Taipei. You can expect to pay between $5 to $20 US for a soak. Most hot spring locations will have public pools where you can bath by the hour or by the day. It’s perfectly acceptable to see the facilities first, and don’t forget to check the temperature of the water before you pay. Unwritten Rules Take a shower before entering the hot springs. Don’t bath in the hot springs 30 minutes before eating or 1 hour after eating. Drink plenty of water before and after soaking in the hot springs. Don’t soak for too long. 30 minutes is long enough. People with heart problems or women who are pregnant shouldn’t soak in the hot springs. Women who are on their menstrual period shouldn’t bathe in hot springs. Wear a swimming cap if you see other bathers with caps on. If you’re in a resort that separates male and female bathers, you’re expected to soak naked. Don’t show a lot of physical affection in public pools.

Directions Beitou Hot Spring Valley By MRT Take the MRT to Xinbeitou Station. From there, you can walk or get a free shuttle to any number of spring resorts in the area. Alternatively, you can take the red line to Beitou MRT station, and then catch the shuttle bus or bus #25.

Directions Jin Shan (Yang Ming Shan) By Bus Bus 260 leaves from Zhengzhou Rd every ten minutes. From Jiantan MRT Station, Bus Red 5 leaves every 15 minutes. From Beitou, Bus 230 leaves every 30 minutes. The journey from Taipei Main Station takes about 40 minutes at NT$30.

By Bus Bus number 6, 9, 216, 218, 223, 230, and 266 heads to Xinbeitou

Calla Young Garden Resort No. 33-3, Linkou Jhonghe Village, Jinshan Township, Taipei County, 20841 Tel: [02] 2408-0001 http://www.calla.com.tw/

Spring City Resort No.18, You Ya Rd, Hsin Peitou, Taipei Tel: [02] 2897-2345, [02] 2897-5555 www.springresort.com.tw Rooms from US$225 and up. Spring Suites from US$396. Private hot springs US$20/ person per hour. Villa 32 No 32, Zhongshan Rd, Hsin Peitou, Taipei Tel: [02] 6611-8888, fax: [02] 6611-5000, www.villa32.com Doubles from US$529. Private hot spring rooms from US$60 to US$90 for 2 guests for 90 minutes.

Rooms from $157US per night.Outdoor public hot spring pool and private hot spring rooms. NT$800 includes all day soak and meal. Jin Shan Hot Springs No.1, Ching Nian Rd, Jin Shan Township, Taipei County. Tel: [02] 2498-1191, fax: 2498-3621 Private hot spring rooms US$20 per session and public pool US$5 per person (unlimited).


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A giant Buddha ice sculpture welcomes visitors to Harbin, China’s premier winter destination

Harbin owes its popularity as a winter-time attraction to the humble ice lantern. Now, the province boasts plenty other attractions and attracts tourists from all over the world. Megan Eaves China’s northernmost city of Harbin is a popular winter destination for both local and international tourists alike. Hundreds of thousands flock in freezing January temperatures to attend the Ice Lantern Festival, an annual festival of international prominence that sees the city play host to a multitude of magnificent ice and snow sculptures. This does not mean, however, that the city has nothing else to offer – in fact some of northern China’s best historical sights and recreational resorts are located here.

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The Ice Lantern Festival has grown from a humble beginning to become one of the largest cultural event of international proportions

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City of Ice The famed Ice Lantern Festival was first established in 1985, and it is held annually from the beginning of January through the month of February. The city’s location and arctic climate provides an abundant amount of ice and snow that is so necessary for the festival’s success. One of the key components of the festival is Harbin’s humble ice lanterns, which were originally created by local peasants and fishermen who used ice lanterns as jacklights in winter. These windproof lanterns gained great popularity in the region, and from then on novel changes and advancements in techniques resulted in the various delicate ice lantern displays.

Subsequently the Ice City of Harbin grew to become the center of ice and snow art sculptures in China, and now the Harbin Ice Festival is not only a showcase of ice and snow art, but a cultural event for international exchange, with artists and fans from all over the world gathering in Harbin to participate in the festival. From November onwards, the Snow Sculpture Exposition is open at the Sun Island Park, the world’s largest indoor ice and snow art museum. There is also the Harbin Ice and Snow World, one of the world’s largest ice architecture parks, with sculptures deriving from traditional Chinese fairy tales and world famous architectures. Zhaolin Park is another must-see attraction that features a traditional showcase of ice lanterns with water, lights and natural ice from the Songhua River. Touring the various ice lantern parks are a popular tourist activity here, and other than sight-seeing, there are also various activities such as ice fishing, skiing and much more.

The exhibits are best viewed at night when the sculptures are lit from within in tones of pink, red, blue, green and yellow. The numerous ice sculptures and exhibits around the park can be toured in the park on foot, but frequent stops at tea tents on the grounds are of the utmost importance if you want to keep somewhat comfortable in the sub-zero weather. The tea tents are outfitted with cozy space heaters and piping hot tea, which are much needed after a mere thirty minutes outdoors atop the ice sculptures. A tour of the grounds can also be arranged with one of the many horse and carriage operators in the area. Be warned, though. Physical exercise makes a big difference in body temperature and there’s no way to keep warm from the back of a carriage. We recommend doing a short, quick tour of the grounds by carriage before continuing the rest of the way on foot.

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The gothic inspired architecture of Harbin is also a sight to behold, and offers an intriguing outlook into the cultural mix of this northern China province

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the guide

Siberian Tiger Preserve

Zhaolin Park

The Sun Island Park is the largest recreation center in Harbin, and one of its must see attractions is the Siberian Tiger Preserve. The Preserve is home to the endangered Siberian Tiger, the largest member of the cat family. These beautiful creatures can grow up to 320 kg! The park boasts about 800 Siberian Tigers of all ages, which makes it the largest natural reserve for Siberian Tigers in the world.

Zhaolin Park, located at the northern end of Zhaolin Street at the bank of Songhua River, is also worth a visit. Set up in 1900, the park was built in memory of the General Li Zhaolin, and was originally named Daoli Park before having its name changed in 1046. The park’s enchanting scenery is the main draw, with the Hua Guo Mountain to the East and the Mei Gui Mountain to the West. The park is sectioned into various gardens and man-made lake with a skating ring and exhibition hall.

Visitors can ride in an open bus with metal caging around it, and purchase strips of meat to hand feed the tigers. If you’re into it, you can buy live animals such as ducks, chickens, and even goats or cows to feed the tigers. Park employees will set your animal free among the tigers for a showcase of animal instinct at its most basic. This option is definitely not for the fainthearted, nor for obsessive animal lovers.

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The Park is home to the original Ice Lantern Festival, and while the newer and larger Snow and Ice World in Sun Island Park attracts a larger crowd, a smaller, more traditional festival is still held here in Zhaolin Park. Unlike the internationally inspired structures at the Snow and Ice World, the ice structures in Zhaolin Park are all Chinese inspired, with various traditional elements such as the red lanterns, dragons and flowers aplenty.

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Yabuli Ski Resort Finally, there is also the Yabuli International Ski Resort, about 200 km east of Harbin, the perfect place to go if you’re into skiing. Located in Shangzy City, this is the largest ski resort in China, and it provides excellent ski conditions with high mountains and natural snow.

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The ski resort is sectioned into two separate areas – the competitive section and the leisure skiing section. The competitive section is built to international skiing standard, providing an environment for professional skiers with altitude reaching up to 1,374 meters. The leisure section is about 1,000 meters high and provides a comparatively safe environment for leisure skiing. Tourists can easily ski down a giant slide from the top of the mountain. This is made especially for skiers who are not confident enough yet to ski on their own.

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The resort is approximately 4 hours away from Harbin, with various buses and trains going to and from throughout the day. Besides skiing, visitors can also enjoy a multitude of entertainment facilities at the resort, such as hot-air balloon rides, paragliding and mini golf. The beautiful scenery makes this an excellent destination for your winter sojourn, and even in the summer tourists can escape the heat and enjoy an array of outdoor activities.


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STYLE guide


Esteemed photographer Philippe Roy of The Junction Studios explores the dreamy backdrop of Shanghai. Attires by Grace Setiawan. Make-up by Clarissa Lukmandjaja. Hair Accessories by Niki Wulandari. Modeled by Kemelly.

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STYLE guide


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STYLE guide


STYLE guide


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STYLE guide


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GOURMET TALES

Cafe culture is alive and well and living in Ponsonby Road Š Kieran Scott

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The distinctive taste of Green Lipped Mussels is complemented by the flavours of the Pacific Rim © Kieran Scott

GOURMET TALES

New Zealand’s abundantly lush natural surroundings make it a rich source not only of spellbinding landscapes and thrilling adventures but also a delicious supply of some of the world’s freshest food and finest wines. Debbie Reyes-Coloma Some of the most sumptuous gourmet experiences I’ve ever had happened on a tour of New Zealand recently—and it took me a few weeks to purge a few kilos. It was an exercise of futility not to give in to delicious lamb chops, succulent beef, fresh salads, juicy Bluff oysters and mouth-watering desserts that I washed down with homegrown Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. I’m not a wine connoisseur so I won’t even venture into varietals, bouquet and other such jargon to describe every one I sampled. Suffice it to say that when in New Zealand, a glass or two will undoubtedly complete the dining experience.

Arrive at Umoya Lodge with an appetite for life. The fourcourse gourmet dinners are truly legendary © Umoya Lodge

Whether you’re a foodie or a gourmand, go on a food trip and satisfy your craving for an adventure on the road. One way to do it is to opt for a tailored food-and-wine itinerary and be whisked from one delicious destination to the next in style. Alternatively, you can do up your own itinerary, hire a car and follow your nose. Savor every delicious moment as you sample the flavors and textures of New Zealand from north to south. The journey also offers a chance to find plenty of stirring culture, awesome adventure and stunning scenery.

When it comes to food, every region of New Zealand has its specialties. Northland has award-winning cheeses and subtropical fruit. Rotorua is the place for hangi, a traditional Maori feast cooked in an underground oven. Marlborough is the place for scallops and green-lipped mussels. Canterbury serves up the very best rack of lamb. And in Bluff, a foodie’s world revolves around the biggest, fattest oysters you’ve ever seen.

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With more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline, New Zealand has a wealth of fresh seafood on its doorstep © Kieran Scott

GOURMET TALES

North Island A La Carte

Auckland Viaduct Basin, Chancery and the inner city suburbs of Ponsonby and Parnell are rich sources of restaurants. Take cooking lessons at the Auckland fish market. Shop for delicious souvenirs at BeesOnline in Kumeu (there’s also a café that demonstrates the culinary uses for honey). For a divine wine time, Waiheke Island, Matakana and Kumeu are within easy distance. Auckland’s wine growing areas produce rich, ripe Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, as well as smooth, fruity Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. www.aucklandnz.com

Brick Bay Wines, Matakana © Kieran Scott

At wine festivals and vineyard restaurants, food and wine are inseparable © Kieran Scott

Northland Bring home delicious memories dripping in chocolate, nuts, oysters, cheeses and olive oil. Don’t miss the famous fish ‘n chips in Mangonui where you can select the fish you want. Sample a 7-course menu on the Russell waterfront in the Bay of Islands. Try a do-it-yourself Paihia at cooking schools within various luxury resorts. Sample well-rounded whites, sensational Syrah and savoury Cabernet/Merlot blends. www.northlandnz.com Hawke’s Bay New Zealand’s secondlargest wine region produces sophisticated reds and finely structured Chardonnays. Hire a mountain bike to tour the vineyards, or organize a driver to whisk you from one cellar door to the next. Around lunchtime, stop by a vineyard restaurant for exceptional provincial cuisine perfectly matched with homegrown wine. www.hawkesbaytourism.co.nz www.hawkesbaywinemakers.co.nz

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Pinot Noir grapes © Kieran Scott

When wine has a colourful and interesting history, the bouquet seems richer © Chris McLennan

Rotorua Arrange an indigenous Maori food tour with Charles Royal, an innovative Maori chef who uses his knowledge of traditional cooking methods and native herbs to keep you entertained and well fed. For an authentic historic experience, book a tour at the Tamaki Maori Village. A hangi feast, cooked in an earth oven, is part of the entertainment. www.rotoruanz.com www.maorifood.com Wellington Buzzing with cafés, delicatessens and restaurants. There are walking gourmet tours of the inner city culminating in a 3-course tasting lunch matched with New Zealand wines. Special food experiences include a chocolate café, a restaurant that puts a new spin on traditional Maori food and a seafood restaurant that’s housed in a restored historic woolshed. You may also make an advance booking with Wild About Wellington or Zest Food Tours and they’ll organize everything for you. www.wellingtonnz.com www.wildaboutwellington.co.nz www.zestfoodtours.co.nz Kapiti Coast Visit an organic winery on the shores of Lake Horowhenua. Enjoy country cooking at a pioneer museum. Taste New Zealand-made schnapps, liqueurs, oils and vinaigrettes. Drop in at Lindale Farm for some delightful local cheese and ice cream. Don’t miss the Ruth Pretty Cooking School, which runs most weekends from March to December.

Wairarapa and Martinborough Fabulous wine culture, with Pinot Noir taking centre stage, and a veritable Garden of Eden of ingredients to choose from. Take a leisurely stroll or bike around amazing vineyards and olive groves. Some of the vineyards have a restaurant/café to keep your energy levels suitably topped up. www.wairarapanz.com Wanganui and Palmerston North Stay in a country homestead or farm stay, where outdoor pursuits will whet the appetite for great home cooking. Koriniti Marae provides a homestay with traditional Maori hangi food. Feilding town hosts an excellent artisan food market on Fridays—fruits, vegetables, pate, specialty bread, wine, pesto and more. Drop by the herb farm in Ashurst, where a café makes good use of the fresh herbs grown on the farm. www.manawatunz.co.nz

Taranaki Beer, cheese and seafood are three very good reasons to visit. Tour the three boutique breweries to discover Taranaki’s greatest beers and a fruit winery specializing in luscious raspberry and boysenberry wine. Nibble to your heart’s content at the cheese bar in Bridge Street, and add Eltham to your cheese-y itinerary. Relish Taranaki’s legendary seafood, including the paua (New Zealand black abalone). www.taranaki.co.nz

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GOURMET TALES

Bluff oysters grow slowly in the cold, clean waters of Foveaux Strait, which runs between the South Island and Stewart Island Š Kieran Scott

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Those who love a good brew will enjoy exploring The Tap Room, where beer is king Š Kieran Scott

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GOURMET TALES

Fine food, wine and conversation are key to the Te Whau Lodge experience © DRC Media

South Island On A Platter

Wine, food and music are three of the happiest words in the world, as any gourmand would agree © Scott Venning

Quality cuisine © The Spire Hotel

Marlborough New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc capital. There’s also the muchacclaimed supple Pinot Noir as well as the vibrantly fruity Chardonnays and crisp Rieslings. Scores of vineyards rub shoulders along the Wairau and Awatere Valleys with both flat areas being ideal for a gentle gourmet cycle tour. Try delicacies like smoked salmon and blue cod. Blenheim offers succulent mussels nearly everywhere. www.destinationmarlborough.com Nelson Its culinary approach is best described as ‘slow food’—it’s about creating rather than producing, and savoring rather than consuming. There’s a multitude of privately owned boutique vineyards. Dine among the vines, along the waterfront with fabulous views, at a country café, or in the city. Seafood is a specialty, from chowder and garlic mussels to fish‘n chips. www.nelsonnz.com

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Canterbury – West Coast From Waipara, Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs to Christchurch, Mackenzie Country, Aoraki/Mount Cook and West Coast, there are celebrated wineries and local gourmet tours that will take you on a tantalizing journey to boutique producers of wine, beer, olives, cheese, eel, salmon, ostrich, lamb, beef, berries, herbs, hazelnuts, honey and chocolate. www.christchurchnz.com www.southisland.org.nz www.kaikoura.co.nz www.mtcooknz.com Dunedin, Coastal Otago & Southland Discover gourmet treasures that can’t be found anywhere else in the country, like single malt whisky, haggis and Bluff oysters. For cheese connoisseurs, a tasting session at the Whitestone cheese factory is compulsory (be sure to try the Windsor Blue). Central Otago’s Pinot Noir is richly praised. There is an excellent range of restaurants in Dunedin, and most of New Zealand’s chocolate is made here. You can take a tour of the factory and watch the chocolate being made. There are great tours at Speights Brewery. www.dunedinnz.com www.southlandnz.com www.centralotagonz.com


Alfresco dining, Bay of Islands © Destination Northland

Explore New Zealand’s tradition of sublime dairy delights © The Spire Hotel

Queenstown The extraordinary alpine landscapes are as bold and captivating as its food and wine. Gibbston Valley’s cellar door staff at wineries will lead you through a tasting of beautifully crafted wines. Vineyard restaurants offer a warm fireside setting for superb winter lunches which are matched with stunning Pinot Noir, light, intense Riesling or crisp, spicy Pinot Gris. Boost your kitchen skills at Queenstown Resort College or the Ki Tao cooking school. www.queenstown-nz.co.nz Wanaka The lakeside town has informal restaurants serving a mouth-watering range of local and international cuisine with stunning views across the lake. Fine dining, in intimate surroundings, can also be found in award-winning countryside restaurants on the edges of town. A boutique brewery offers daily tours and a tasting room where you can sample its highly acclaimed Vienna larger, dark lager and Pilsener. www.lakewanaka.co.nz.

Wind down or warm things up over a tantalising cocktail or two © The Spire Hotel

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special deals

Alila Villas Uluwatu

A very special promotion for Unearthing Asia readers. Stay 2 Nights, Pay just 1 (u.p. at US$1000/night) at the One Bedroom Pool Villa at the luxurious Alila Villas Uluwatu. For bookings or enquiries, email us at info@unearthingasia.com Terms and Conditions applied.

Gending Kedis Luxury Villas & Spa

A very special rate for Unearthing Asia readers. Stay at the Rangana Villas (Two Bedroom Villa with Private Pool) at just USD350/night (u.p. at USD600/night) For bookings or enquiries, email us at info@unearthingasia.com Terms and Conditions applied.


PROMOTIONAL OFFERS

Miskawaan Resort

Ramadhan Promo

Ramadhan Mubarak

Enjoy 3 Days and Pay Only 2 or Enjoy 4 Days and Pay Only 3

At the Swiss-Belhotel Mangga Besar Jakarta, Rp 550.000 nett/room/nights. Includes breakfast or sahur for 1 or 2, welcom drinks, 20% discount on laundry, complimentary pressing, 20% discount on food, free up grade, free extra bed, and free tajil. Vaild 9 August to 8 September 2010.

Enjoy a very special rate at Swiss-Belhotel Borneo Samarinda of Rp 550,000 for Superior rooms and Rp 650,000 for Deluxe rooms. Inclusive of welcome drink, daily buffet breakfast, daily newspaper, complimentary tea & coffee, wi-fi, swimming pool, gym, jacuzzi, sauna & steam bath, 50% off buffet dinner. Terms and conditions apply.

Terms and conditions apply. Offer is not available during Christmas and New Year period. This offer is only valid for bookings deposited by November 30, and only valid for new bookings. Offer can be used twice in one booking, but cannot be used with other promotions.

www.miskawaan.com reservations@miskawaan.com +66 7733 2271

Jl Kartini Raya No 57 Jakarta 10750, Indonesia 62 21 6393 888 jakarta-sbmb@swiss-belhotel.com www.swiss-belhotel.com

Jl Mulawarman 6 Samarinda 75112 East Kalimantan Indonesia 62 541 200 888 samarinda@swiss-belhotel.com

dekuta

Ciputra Semarang

Park Hotel Clarke Quay

Set in modern minimalist design which equipped with LCD TV 32�, rain shower and wi-fi internet connection in all areas, dekuta is strategically located in the heart of Kuta. Currently, we offer a very special rate at just IDR 745.000,- nett per night for a Superior room.

Hotel Ciputra Jakarta is a four-star international hotel managed by Swiss-Belhotel International. Hotel Ciputra Jakarta offers special rate during Ramadhan, starting from Rp 700,000nett / night in Deluxe Room which includes sahur, tajil and box of home made festive cookies. Valid only on August 9 – September 19, 2010.

Club Single/Twin Room for S$238++ per night. Inclusive of complimentary buffet breakfast, unlimited internet access and local calls, unlimited evening cocktails and beverages, Meeting Room usage and laundry, Mini-bar, Executive set lunch at Brizo Restaurant & Bar, River Taxi ride from Clarke Quay, and late check-out till 6pm. Terms and conditions apply.

Jl Poppies Lane II #8 Kuta, Bali, Indonesia Tel: (62) 361 753880 Fax: (62) 362 752787 Website: www.dekuta.com

Jl Let Jen S Parman Jakarta 11470 Indonesia 62 21 566 0640 jakarta@swiss-belhotel.com www.swiss-belhotel.com

Park Hotel Clarke Quay 1 Unity Street, Singapore 237983 Tel: (65) 6593 8888 Fax: (65) 6593 8899 Website: www.parkhotelgroup.com


citibank highlights

AYANA Resort and Spa Bali

Four Seasons

The Bulgari Resort, Bali

Stay 3 Days 2 Nights • Rooms start from IDR1.670.000++ including breakfast

Special Weekend Package Deluxe Room at IDR1.099.000 inclusive of breakfast buffet for 2 on Friday, Saturday and Public Holidays. Valid until 20 December 2010

• Save 5% from Best Available Rate and get a Room Upgrade with a minimum of 3 nights stay.

Stay Minimum 3 Nights • Complimentary 2x entry to Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pool

Stay 3 Nights Pay 2 Nights IDR 2.850.000 for Deluxe Room inclusive of daily breakfast for 2 adults. Valid until 20 September 2010.

• 10% discount at il Ristorante.

Lai Ching Restaurant 50% discount on a-la carte menu on Saturdays and Sundays. Valid until 20 December 2010.

• 15% discount only valid for the Bulgari Villa during Low Season. Early Check-In & Late Check-Out based on availability.

Valid until 20 Dec 2010. Terms and Conditions applied.

Terms and Conditions applied.

Valid until 31 August 2011. Terms and Conditions applied.

The St. Regis Bali Resort

Kupu Kupu Barong

Le Meridien Jakarta

Kupu Kupu Barong is a 5 star hotel located above 3 hectares of tropical forest overlooking the Ayung River and paddy fields. This luxe resort encompasses 34 villas, and is one of the most romantic boutique hotel in the world.

Stay 3 Nights Pay 2 Nights Superior Room IDR 850.000 nett/night Deluxe Room IDR 1.000.000 nett/night

• Guaranteed room upgrade to next category within Suite Room Category. • A warm welcome with arrival assistance and luggage handling at the airport. • A comfortable transfer to/from the Airport in our luxurious limousine. • 24 hour St Regis Butler Services. • One relaxing session at the Aqua Vitale pool, for 45 minutes per person.

Valid until 19 December 2011. Terms and Conditions applied.

FREE 90 minutes Spa Treatment at Mango Tree, Spa by L’occitane – for a minimum of 2 nights stay.

Valid until 31 March 2011. Terms and Conditions applied.

Inclusive of buffet breakfast at La Brasserie Restaurant for 2. Applicable for arrivals on Fridays.

Valid until 30 September 2010. Terms and Conditions applied.

Exclusively for Citi Ultima, Citi Platinum and Garuda Indonesia Citi Cardholders. For more info, call Citi Platinum Concierge at 62 21 7591 2874. Terms and Conditions applied.


Which one is your favorite place, and why? I have lived in three different cities throughout my life Jakarta, Perth, Singapore – I call them my “Golden Triangle”. On top of that, I have been to many cities and countries in Asia, Europe, US and New Zealand, and based on these experiences, I must settle for Perth. Why? First is because of its proximity to my hometown Jakarta where my family and many of my good mates lives. It also has an excellent infrastructure, clean fresh air, green space and a huge river in the middle of the city centre that you can view from my apartment. There are heaps of yummy Asian foods, alfresco cafes and restaurants, fresh beer and wonderful wines. But above all else, I found a perfect balance between work and family life that I couldn’t find in Jakarta or Singapore. To me, this city is just fantastic and with a booming economy, the future looks bright.

travel personality

Please tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? My name is Edo, I am presently running a Gourmet Burger Joint called the V Burger Bar in one of the most beautiful cities on earth – Perth, Western Australia. I started this together with a few partners who are passionate about running our own business, delivering tasty fresh food to people, as well as event marketing. My other passion is for airplanes and aviation. I love anything about airline flying and pilot training, which happened to be my current new project with a highly regarded pilot training figure in Australia. With him, we are opening an Australian Flight Instructor Training School, as Western Australia is proven to be one of the best landscapes in the world for a safe, cost effective pilot training. So all aspiring airline pilots in Asia Pacific, watch out for this space early next year!

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Share with us your love of travel. What was your most memorable travel experience? I reckoned almost everybody I know love to travel. It’s an essential part of our everyday life, either from home to work and occasionally away for holidays or multiply other reasons. And with my love of airline flying, naturally, I love to travel myself. I travel for pleasure at least once or twice a year. All the travel I did were all memorable, as it presents its own uniqueness and special experiences that enriched my personal perceptions towards its people and cultures. They broaden my horizon and I enjoyed and appreciated each and every single story that place had to tell during my visit there. For example, Bali with its great beaches and resorts, Ubud with its yummy food, and Perth which offers fresh clean air, awesome weather and excellent quality of life. Queenstown in New Zealand with its breathtaking alpine mountain view and marvelous lakes, I can’t help to be awed of the Creator for being able to create such magnificent natural scenery that human can never truly fathom.

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What is your favorite activity or attractions in that particular city? Well, this favorite city of mine has become my home since I came to live here last year in 2009. Since the mining and property boom in the mid 2000, this city has become more vibrant and alive. What I love about it is that, if you feel like going for a break from the metro area, you can just pick what posh car you fell like driving on the weekend and go down south to Margaret River region where the road is super smooth, while heaps of wineries and local fresh produce awaits for you in there. In fact, my favorite jazz singer, the uber-chic Michael Buble is having a concert in March next year at one of the vineyards. How cool is that? Wine and Michael Buble’s jazz. It’s going to be magical. And oh yeah, I’ve got the front row tickets! Can you share with us what will be your perfect winter holiday? For some fun in the snow, you can’t go wrong with Switzerland during Christmas. Sing along to Silent Night by a comfy fireplace in a log cabin. Through you window, you can enjoy the cloudless full moon on Christmas Eve, as you enjoy sipping through your cabernet merlot after a simple and delightful roast turkey with plum sauce. Top it off with an apple pie dessert with vanilla ice cream. What a feast – that’s a meal worth dying for!


travel personality

Which one is your favorite place, and why? I had the fortune to stay in San Francisco for a year for work, and I really loved the place. I love how relaxing and lively it was, there were so many events and festivals happening literally every day! I was also a big sports lover, and nothing comes close to the atmosphere and excitement of the NBA and NFL. On top of that San Francisco is also very close to various attractions, such as the Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon and last but definitely not least, Las Vegas.

Share with us your love of travel. What was your most memorable travel experience? My love for traveling is inspired by this colorful world we live in. I love meeting new people, experiencing various cultures, and immersing myself in a local perspective. I’m intrigued by how unique everybody is with their differing background and cultures from their respective countries.

Please tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? Eugene Teh here, I’m currently a Strategy Consultant for DHL based in Singapore. I studied Computer Science and Management Science at the NUS and Stanford University. I have a strong passion for volunteering and my dream is to be able to leverage my knowledge in business strategy to ameliorate the lives of people in developing nations.

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During my studies, I try to make at least one weekend trip each month, and two longer trips every year – one in the summer and another in winter. One of my favorite travel experience was this 2 weeks volunteering trip to a small rural village in Cambodia. Through that trip, we were able to experience living like a local, down to the little gritty details such as pumping the well for water, helping plow the rice paddies, and even buying groceries for our own cooking, with almost zero knowledge of the language! I love the warmth and affections that the villagers share with each other, and how everyone cares for each other. Doors are always open and you can freely walk into your neighbor’s house.

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I love taking a drive along the coastal line where I can enjoy the sea breeze and the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Ocean. The Yosemite National Park is just a few hours drive, a place where I can truly enjoy nature and indulge in my other hobby, photography. And as mentioned earlier, the events and festivals! I was on the San Francisco Convention & Visitor Bureau mailing list and I would often just pop-up to any interesting festivals or conventions that was happening. Can you share with us what will be your perfect winter holiday? One of my most memorable winter holiday was in Alaska. It was a haphazard trip but it was well worth it. We got the chance to enjoy the magical Northern Lights when we were at Fairbanks, one of the most heavenly view on Earth. We also went glacier sight-seeing at Anchorage, where we chartered a private jet to take us towards the snowcapped mountains at sunset. It was one of the most stunning view I’ve ever experienced.


travel personality

Please tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? My name is Grace Setiawan. I’m turning 22 this past August and am currently in the process of finding what I really want and need. I just graduated you see, so I’m trying out different options and just transitioning from school to professional life. It’s tough! I currently work as an Assistand Designer at Jeanny Ang, it’s a challenging and fun job that teaches me something new everyday.

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Share with us your love of travel. What was your most memorable travel experience? Travel is one my biggest passion in life. Who doesn’t love travel? I enjoy traveling because I get to experience a new adventure, a new setting that’s always unpredictable and exciting. I love it! I try to travel at least twice a year as I find it to be an excellent way to rejuvenate and refresh my soul. One of my most memorable experience was when I went to the Sun Island Resort, Shanghai with a group of friends. The crowd definitely makes the holiday sweeter, as we simply spent the whole weekend playing guitars, cooking and barbecuing, playing the music out loud and just being ourselves. It felt like there were noone else around, just us! Which one is your favorite place, and why? My favorite city is Shanghai. I’m so in love with it, especially because of the three years I spent there that made me consider it my second home. Shanghai is a great place to be, it is the perfect fusion of oriental tradition and the modern West.

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What is your favorite activity or attractions in that particular city? I love how big and friendly Shanghai is – you can always make new friends easily, and I enjoy everything I do in Shanghai, especially the simple daily routine. Daytime is the erfect time to shop in Central Huai Hai Rd or Chang-Le Rd, followed by snack time in a local cafe. Taikang Rd is also an icon of Shanghai, always a convenient place to grab a bite and tour the local stores. I really do miss those carefree days! Can you share with us your perfect winter holiday, or some fun in the snow? For me winter is not complete without snow, and as such Shanghai gets my vote for this! I spent my last winter holiday in Shanghai and truly enjoyed it. The roads were decorated with ice sculptures with white and blue lamps dotting the road. I love playing around in the snow and just doing silly things like snowball fights and making a giant snowman. But I do think I’ll seek newer pastures this coming winter, not sure yet where I’ll go tho – bring out the map!


travel personality

Please tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? My name is Fadlan, I’m in the entertainment industry. My career started from the world of modeling, which then led to opportunities as presenters, actors and now as an artist. Initially however, I was an architecture graduate with a passion for travel and music! I love traveling the world and looking out for new things to learn from other cultures. Even in Indonesia we are truly blessed with the diversity of cultures and traditions, which led to countless interesting stories and experiences! Share with us your love of travel. What was your most memorable travel experience? I used to travel often, but unfortunately work has been very hectic recently and I have not been able to indulge myself too much. Whenever the opportunity presents itself I will always try to seek out my close friends and family for a trip, be it a short weekend trip to Bandung, or a month-long backpacking tour through Central Asia, I’m up for anything! My most recent travel was to Cape Lesung, West Java, which was especially memorable because I had the chance to travel with my close family, as well as my twin brother Fadli and his family.

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Cape Lesung is an amazing place where you can truly enjoy the natural marine beauty of the beach and the sea. It’s actually one of my favorite place, especially considering how easy it is to head there from bustling Jakarta. I don’t have to spend hours on the plane just to enjoy the marine beauty, which is a big plus. It is my favorite weekend indulgence, to just head there and forget all about work and rejuvenate, far from the noise and pollution of urban Jakarta. Can you share with us your perfect winter holiday? What is your idea of some fun in the sun? Adventure! Traveling solo through the wonders of Europe. In fact, that’s one of my lifetime dream, and one I’m planning on currently. Not sure when though, but I’ve got the gist of the itinerary planned out. I’m hoping to be able to fit in a major international festival inside that as well, hopefully the World Cup or Euro Cup. I can’t wait!

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travel personality

Where is your favorite thing to do or place to hangout in Shanghai? Tian Zi Fang, an old street with local Shi Ku Men (stone gate) style houses adjoined side by side. It’s a place where you can while an afternoon away in a laid-back café, and enjoy the artistic make up of modern arts and traditional old lanes. Check out the bamboo poles above your head, which is an old-style method of sunning the clothes - a practice still kept till this day.

Jing Jing spent a few years in Singapore completing her studies in Mass Comm before heading back to Shanghai to craft a career out on her own. A seeker at heart, she never fails to enjoy life - wherever she may be - to the fullest. Unearthing Asia seeks her out to share about her experience living in a foreign country, as well as listen to her tales and ravings about Shanghai. How would you compare Singapore and Shanghai? Singapore is like a well-behaved lady. It is safe, orderly and yet, a pleasure to be with and have fun with. Shanghai on the other hand, is more unpredictable, like a rebel teenager. You will never know what you are going to see in Shanghai within the in next second.

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Which places would you recommend to travelers who are heading to Shanghai? If you are coming in fall, you have to include Lu Wan District into your “must-see” list! As you walk down this old French Concession area, feel the breeze and the falling leaves from old trees all around you. Stroll along the “Road of Romance” and you will find time seemingly paused here. For the shopping avid, you can walk long Huai Hai Road, which is often lauded as the fashion hub in the area. And finally, you have to go and check out Xin Tian Di - the latest, hottest place in Shanghai, for a happening night out! Over there, you can get to experience a different side of Shanghai with a slew of luxe restaurants, shores, bars and clubs. List down five words that you would use to describe Shanghai! Happening, busy, arrogant, colourful, multiple-personalities. Especially that last one!


Unearthing Asia Issue 04  

Oriental Winters

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