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Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010

Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Vol 02 - Issue 02 IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

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

Jl. Goa Lempeh, Banjar Dinas Kangin, Uluwatu, Bali 80364, Indonesia Tel.: +62361 847 1000 Fax.: +62361 847 1111



Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010

Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Vol 02 - Issue 02

+ 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 IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

On the cover – one of the various finds at Shanghai’s Taikang Lu

THE GUIDE A TALE OF FOUR CITIES 46 Shanghai Hip Uncover Shanghai’s hip new facade through the eyes of Megan Eaves 58 Eden in the CIty Gastronomic wonderland at the fridnge of Singapore’s hottest shopping belt


66 The Heart of Seoul A natural refuge in the middle of modern downtown Seoul 74 Culture Capital Shop, dine and experience Sydney’s culture capital, the Circular Quay




1 Larkhill Road Sentosa Singapore 099394 TEL +65 6825 3888 FAX +65 6825 3878


34 82 17-25 BUZZWORTHY! Ungasan unveils; Resort World opens; Ubud celebrates; HK SZ Biennale; Dining in Singapore; and more


26 DATEBOOK Festivals and events not to be missed 28 SPOTLIGHT Taipei 24 hour in Asia’s Little Dragon, with local tips and suggestions 32-41 INSIGHTS Chic Melbourne; Wellness for the soul; Jakarta’s Capital Treats; and more

40 8

82 STYLE GUIDE Glitz & Glamour Luxury and glam at the newly renovated Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta

TRAVEL TALES 92 Adventure Capital The resort town of Queenstown is blessed with unrivalled natural beauty 102 Tasty Taiwan Carrie Kellenberger explores Taiwan’s street gourmet and shares her tale 110 The Art of Humanity El-Branden Brazil shares with us his love for the arts, for humanity and his encounters around the world

EDITOR’S notes

The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted – Bill Bryson

While many of us are looking forward to the warmth of Spring and blossoms, some others are just about to enter the cool of winter. Changing seasons are one of nature’s marvels, which sadly have more often than not, been taken granted for. In the ceaseless bustle of the metropolis, people walk in fast-paced rhythms, phones are constantly at our ears, minds ever pre-occupied with work and agendas. We hardly take note of the changing seasons anymore. The trees preparing themselves for the next season, the air – slowly but surely, different. Let’s take time to enjoy life wherever you are. There isn’t a need to buy a ticket and set off to a remote beach resort or a lush rainforest to understand life’s beauty. Being in a city surrounded by concrete and cement buildings behold a charm of its own. Dining indulgences, party hotspots and late-night shopping conjure the simple enjoyments for an urbanite, well-enlivened by the dazzles of city lights. My penchant for the city is how it brings forth an intricate blend of history and modernity. It’s an awe to see historical architectures and remnants of the past still living amidst the skyscrapers and highways. The concoction of old and new exudes a unique flavor to each city. Ride with us as we explore urban fascinations in fresh perspectives and see for yourselves just how vibrant and gregarious life as a cosmopolitan can be!

Nikolas Tjhin Editor-in-Chief



Commissioners Husein VP Consultant Kicky Alexander Achmad Sobari Editor in Chief Nikolas Tjhin Editors Michelle Lee Carrie Kellenberger Business Managers Nadia Veronica Alexander Alvin Contributors Debbie Reyes-Coloma Craig Ferguson Carrie Kellenberger Pramono Prakoso El-Branden Brazil Joanne Tay Philippe Roy Eugene Teh Huang Jing Xiong Dresscode Magazine Publisher PT Tanindo Multi Media

Fill out our survey to enjoy a Free 1 Year Subscription*! We are offering free one year subscriptions to residents of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.* Turn to page 42 for more details. * Terms & conditions apply

Distributor MarketAsia Pte Ltd Media Representative Media Link Pte Ltd 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 PT Tanindo Multi Media VBox 889826 Singapore 919191 OR

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01 Craig Ferguson


Photographer Craig Ferguson is an award winning photographer from Australia who has been traveling and living in Asia since 1997. Craig’s work has appeared publications such as Asian Geographic, Abitare, Lonely Planet, l’espresso, Taipei Times, Unearthing Asia, Verve and many more as well as online at National Geographic, Huffington Post and

02 Carrie Kellenberger


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.

03 Pramono Prakoso Pramono Prakoso is a freelancer photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. After finishing his diploma in IMAGO School of Advertising in 2007, he jumped into photography because of his love for passionate love for fashion and art, both audio and visual. He has worked for various magazine such as SOAP, CosmoGirl, iCreate, a+ and have also assisted in the production of music videos as an Assistant Director.

04 Philippe Roy 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.

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

06 Debbie Reyes-Coloma Singapore-based Debbie Reyes-Coloma is a freelance feature and lifestyle writer for various publications in the region.



Dresscode is the first fashion magazine in Indonesia with the unique concept of “non-article” magazine. They are fully dedicated to give you inspirations on what to wear, how to wear them, and where to find it! Grab your copy now in various locations in Indonesia, especially in major bookstores in Jakarta, such as Gramedia, TGA and Kinokuniya outlets.

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010


Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 - Issue 02

Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

+ NZ Adventure Capital + Tasty Taiwan + The Art of Humanity + Asia’s Little Dragon + Welness For the Soul + Chic MelbourneRaja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa + Jakarta Capital Treats Koh Pha Ngan Bali + Bali, Romance in Paradise IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

Vol 01 - Issue 01 IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo + A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine + Heeding the Call of Asia in Taiwan + Singapore Stopover + Spotlight on Jakarta + Flashpacking Essentials + A Tropical Affair

Unearthing Asia The latest addition to your list of essential reading, Unearthing Asia is a magazine dedicated to inspiring its readers to explore this beautiful region we call home. The magazine is an indispensable guide to Asia, featuring exciting adventures, stunning sceneries and unique attractions from all over the region. In this second issue, we are generously offering our readers free one year subscriptions. Turn to page 42 for more details.



© Resort World

RESORT RESORT WORLD Singapore’s first Integrated Resort, the Resorts World Sentosa, is finally ready to start its phased opening. The first phase sees four hotels opening their doors to tourists both local and foreign. Festive Hotel is designed for families. The hotel features plenty of kid-friendly fun and surprises for the whole family. At Hard Rock Hotel, you can let your inner child out and make your rock and roll dreams come true in its hip ambiance. The Crockfords Tower Hotel features elegant and intimate suites. This by-invitation only hotel includes a range of VIP facilities and amenities, including a 24-hour butler services and even a personal steam room. Last but not least, there is Hotel Michael, which was named after and designed by Michael Graves & Associates. The hotel pays tribute to Michael Graves’ design genius, with a collection of Michael’s favorite things adorning the deluxe rooms and suites. ML.

© Resort World

© Resort World

a tale of four cities




© dekuta

© dekuta

Located just steps away from Kuta Beach, dekuta ( offers a blend of unique personality and chic comfort interior like no other. This delightful boutique hotel serves comfort, ambiance and flair at affordable price. Dig into their traditional peranakan recipe or enjoy a mesmerizing sunset by the unpretentious rooftop bar, aptly called depalm rooftop & lounge. This is the perfect hotel for modern travelers looking beyond the usual jaunt of backpacker hotels. KA.

© dekuta

RESORT WESTIN STYLE The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali has just recently announced its guest room revitalization plan, an 8 million dollar renovation project which will include a comprehensive transformation which will result in sleek and sophisticated looking guest rooms with a tropical edge. KA.


© The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali


EVENT UBUD CELEBRATES The result of the annual readership survey from Cond’e Nast Traveler was a sweet surprise to the people of Ubud, as they were voted the Top City in Asia. Ubud tops the list with a score of 82.5 out of 100, which took in marks under 6 different criterias, namely – atmosphere / ambiance, culture / site, friendliness, lodging, restaurant and shopping. In the previous year’s result, Bangkok won the best city in Asia vote, followed by Chiang Mai and Hong Kong. Ubud has never made it to the list until this year, when it surged straight to the top, beating other cities with the highest score under the Friendliness criteria. “Indeed, it is a pleasant surprise and on behalf of the people of Ubud, I wish to convey our deepest gratitude to visitors of Ubud who had voted for us,” expressed Tjokorda Putra Sukawati, a well-respected descendant in the lineage of Ubud Palace. A small celebration was organized on Saturday, 30th January 2010 at the Ubud Palace to mark the hand-over of the Award plaque from Cond’e Nast Traveler. In a letter read aloud to the public, Chris Mitchell, vice president and publisher of Cond’e Nast Traveler, thanked the people of Ubud for extending their gracious hospitality and congratulated Ubud on this exceptional achievement. KA.

a tale of four cities



VILLA SONEVA KIRI More than five years in the making, Soneva Kiri is set to impress even the most loyal fan of the first two Soneva properties in the Maldives. Just one hour drive away southeast of Bangkok, the Soneva Kiri was unveiled as the new global benchmark for luxury, attracting discerning guests who enjoy a touch of hedonism with their sustainability. Located on Koh Kood, a pristine island on the south-east coast of The Gulf of Thailand, the selfcontained resort is situated on a 41-hectare in the first phase of development. The resort comprises 29 pool villas and 26 private residences along the beach front and on the hillside. NT.


Š Soneva Kiri


© The White Card

© The White Card

DINING THE WHITE CARD An exclusive dining privileges program is now open to serious foodies in Singapore. The White Card, in an exclusive partnership with MasterCard, offers unbeatable privileges at 37 of Singapore’s top independent restaurants and bars. It is the very first of its kind, a carefully-curated collection of independent restaurants offering dining benefits alongside their own delectable offerings. On top of that, members can expect extremely unique dining experiences and events to treat the palate. One such event was the collaboration with True Blue Cuisine showcasing a special taste of peranakan culture. Renowned chef Benjamin Seck recreated five forgotten peranakan delicacies that are rarely found in Singapore. Diners are treated to a unique recreation of raw banana blossoms with lobster, boiled papaya soup and king prawns fried with tamarind sauce, amongst others. NT.

© The White Card

© The White Card


© HK SZ Biennale

© HK SZ Biennale

ART HK SZ BIENNALE Over 46,000 square meters of exhibitions and events took over West Kowloon in December 2009, marking the first cultural event of international magnitude to take place in the area. The HK SZ Biennale, with the theme of City Mobilization: BYOB (Bring Your Own Biennale), was designed to inspire individual participation and networked collaboration among the citizens of Hong Kong. Through the Biennale’s many scheduled exhibitions and events, the public will be presented with the opportunity to have an active hand in evaluating Hong Kong’s cultural production and to speculate on what society’s impact on the metropolis could be. On top of public participation through a series of Open Calls, the Biennale will also feature exhibitions and contributions of international architects and cultural innovators both local and abroad, such as Shigeru Ban Architects, Daniel Wu, Edward Huang and Teddy Lo. ML.

© HK SZ Biennale

© HK SZ Biennale




© AYANA Resort & Spa

© AYANA Resort & Spa

© AYANA Resort & Spa

Following the rebranding and reopening of the AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, an Italian touch has been added to the resort’s chef lineup. Giordano Faggioli has recently been appointed as the Executive Chef. He will oversee its 13 restaurants and bars as well as in-room dining and banqueting services. With more than 20 years of experience in luxury hotels and restaurants to his role, Giordano is sure to rejuvenate the various establishments at AYANA. On top of that, AYANA is also proud to reopen Damar Terrace restaurant following major renovations by Yasuhiro Koichi, the acclaimed Japanese designer behind the Rock Bar. The new Damar Terrace combines comfort with modern Asian decor for a relaxed all-day dining. KA.

GOURMET TABLE FOR EIGHT The latest Chinese restaurant at Hotel Mulia Senayan has opened its doors. Table 8 serves Cantonese and Szechuan cuisines, ranging from favorite home-cooking and popular street food to various delicacies from both regions. The chic oriental interior is quite distinctive with a series of 23 pagodas standing at different heights in the center of the main dining area. ML.



© The Banyan Tree Ungasan © The Banyan Tree Ungasan

VILLA UNGASAN UNVEILS Perched 70 meters above sea level on the cliff-top of Bali’s southernmost peninsula, The Banyan Tree Ungasan boasts some of the most stunning vistas of the Indian Ocean from its expansive pools. The resort features 73 individual villas, each set in their own lush landscaped garden with outdoor jet pool, a marbled bathroom and sunken baths. Guests can enjoy small-group cultural tours around Bali, enjoy the famed Javanesse Lulur spa treatment or revel in the enchanting flavors from a pick of three stellar restaurants. NT.

© The Banyan Tree Ungasan

a tale of four cities



festivals and events not to be missed

Hong Kong International Film Festival To better serve Hong Kong’s cinema lovers, the 34th edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) will take place over 16 days. from March 21 to April 6, 2010. The festival aims to further enhance the experience by focusing on film activities within a concentrated period of time, providing new and existing festival-goers with more quality choices, global accessibility and relevance. March 21st to April 6th, 2010 Hong Kong Arts Festival The forthcoming 38th HK AF will be held in 37 different venues within a period of 32 days, from February 25 to March 28, 2010. The festival will present over 140 performances and related events from around the world. February 25th to March 28th, 2010 Arts in the City - Take a Moment Take A Moment, the first installment of Arts in the City, Singapore, is a unique exhibition of more than 25 sculptures and installations specially created by Korean and Singaporean artists. Set the in The Fullerton Heritage Precinct, Arts in the City seeks to make art more accessible to the public by placing it right in the heart of the city.

Cherry Blossoms The cherry blossom (sakura) is Japan’s unofficial national flower, one that has been celebrated for many centuries and holds a very prominent position in Japanese culture. The Japanese celebrate the onset of spring when the first cherry blossoms arrive in April. Families and friends gather underneath the delicate pink and white blossoms for traditional cherry blossom viewing parties called hanami.

February 1st to March 31st, 2010

April 2010

The Great Singapore Sale This yearly event marks the start of eight weeks of shopping extravaganza in the Lion City. Enjoy up to 70% off just about everything, everywhere. You’ll find fantastic value on fashion, watches, jewelry, electronics and more.

Tokyo International Anime Fair Held annually at Odaiba’s Big Sight convention center, this Japanese animation industry trade fair is one of the largest animation events in the world. Over 250 Japanese and foreign TV, film production companies, as well as toys, games and software developers will be in town for this anime extravaganza.

May to July, 2010


March 27-28, 2010

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Autumn colours Photo: Bob McCree

New Zealand Chill Factor

Frolicking Action In Autumn (March – May)

Kayaking with dolphins. Photo: Chris McLennan

Autumn is a magical time to marvel at nature's brilliant red and gold colours everywhere. The leaves usually begin to turn in late March. By April's end, the fall colours are in full swing. Stable, clear weather allows most outdoor pursuits. Walk in the hills by day, or snuggle up by a roaring open fire at night.

Chill tips... s.ATURETRIP SPECTACULARPARKSTHATENSHRINEAHUGEVARIETYOFLANDSCAPES VEGETATION and wildlife. There are plenty of hiking trails and climbing routes. Depending on the park you've chosen to explore, you can camp in the wild, kayak or raft the rivers, and snorkel the coast. (

addle, t, Harris S ghest poin : Rob Suisted hi s k’ ac Tr to level. Pho Routeburn above sea at 1,255m

Delectable din ing experiences ab ound


New Zealand has four seasons: Summer (14ÂşC from Dec to February), Autumn (10ÂşC from March to May), Winter (9ÂşC from June to August) and Spring (12ÂşC from Sept to November).


Little Dragon Taipei Ilha Formosa, better known as Taiwan, is a small island nation in the middle of the Taiwan Strait. The capital city of Taipei is a delightful Asian playground that offers a vibrant mix of ancient historical roots and modernism. These qualities are enmeshed in every aspect of city life, from worldcaliber museums and traditional art galleries to towering skyscrapers, bustling night markets, arcane temples, and ultra-chic shopping districts. Sightseeing in Taipei has never been easier. Whisk your way to the greatest sights in the city on its ultra-efficient MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system. Carrie Kellenberger

08:00AM Wake up in luxury at the Grand Formosa Regent Hotel. The spacious rooms and lavish décor offer a peaceful haven from the busy streets of Taipei. Hailed as the number one hotel in Taiwan, the Grand Formosa is known for its impeccable service and understated elegance. The hotel is located within walking distance of Zhongshan MRT station, making it the perfect starting-off point for our 24-hour itinerary.

10:00AM Temples are the true cultural heartbeat and community of Taiwan, and no visit to Taipei is complete without visiting at least one. Just a stone’s throw away from Yuanshan Station, you’ll find two of the most magnificent temples in the city. Bao An Temple has been restored in meticulous detail and has even won an award from UNESCO. You’ll be able to compare the ostentatious grandeur and colorful mythological artwork of this Taoist temple to the quiet, understated serenity of Taipei’s Confucius Temple located right next door.




01:00PM From Yuanshan Station, zip over to Taipei Main Station and hit the 2nd floor food court for a mélange of cuisines that are easy on your wallet and pure delight for your taste buds. You’ll find everything from Taiwanese local delicacies and Japanese themed snacks to desserts, bakeries, and international cuisines of every variety.

Hop on the blue line and ride to a favorite gathering ground for locals, Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. The traditional Chinese architecture of its sparkling white walls and dark blue octagonal roof combined with the brilliant red flower gardens are symbolic of Taiwan’s national flag. The National Theater and National Concert Hall are also on these grounds. There is an interesting guard-changing ceremony every hour on the hour and if you’re lucky, you might even be able to take in a concert or performance.

05:30PM Just a short walk from CKS Memorial, you’ll find jade accessories, embroidered goods, folk toys, lacquer ware, cloisonné enamel artwork, pottery, tea, and many more Taiwanese treats at the Traditional Handicraft Market. Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs to remind you of your time in Taipei.

a tale of four cities



07:00PM Rated by the New York Times in 1993 as one of the top ten gourmet restaurants in the world, Din Tai Feng is a must-visit destination for any tourist visiting Taiwan. Most diners come for Din Tai Feng’s signature dish of steamed buns stuffed with vegetables, meat, or mashed red buns. The buns are served with thin slices of ginger and dipping sauce. There is always a line-up outside any of these restaurants in Taipei, so get there early. Guests have been known to wait for up to an hour just to get a table!

09:00PM Unwind at the only authentic jazz club in Taipei, Brown Sugar. This trendy restaurant/bar offers an impressive list of wine, beers, and cocktails. Two house bands perform at this stylish bar/ restaurant, playing everything from jazz, blues, and funk to R&B and Latin music. Each night is devoted to a different musical genre, and a new lead singer is brought in every month or two to keep things fresh.


Local Tips One of the perks of living in Taipei is being able to get out of the city at a moment’s notice. Filmmaker and photographer, Tobie Openshaw, recommends a scenic drive to Yangming Mountain followed by a steamy, hot soak in the hot springs at the Calla Young Garden Resort. For special occasions, Sappho’s is always a nice choice. This stylish lounge bar features live music from the likes of the Sapphos band, David Foster, or Grace Weng. When Taiwan’s premier DJ, Marcus Aurelius, isn’t playing in Taiwan’s hottest dance clubs, he kicks back at any one of Taipei’s numerous basketball courts. An ardent lover of gourmet grilled Panini sandwiches, Marcus is a frequent guest at Toasteria Shida. Placing your order may be a problem, though. There are more than 20 kinds of Panini on the menu. When Marcus is looking for something a bit more extravagant, DOZO Izakaya on Guang-Fu South Road is his number one choice. With its understated elegance, trendy atmosphere, and creative Japanese cuisine, Dozo is a popular hangout for anyone with a fascination for Japanese culture. This beautiful Japanese beer hall offers authentic Japanese cuisine and traditional Ryukyu music early on in the evening. From 9:30pm onwards, resident DJs play a variety of music to keep patrons entertained.

a tale of four cities



For the Soul If you’re looking to de-stress, rejuvenate and refresh, the land of Asia is brimming with options. After all, Asia has always been associated with mystical and spiritual healing. Here are some of the best wellness retreats around the region, for your body and soul. Vannara Putra

Spiritual Healing in South India The spirituality of South India is one of colors, symbols, statues, incenses and flowers. Stay in inexpensive government-run hostels and do darshan (greet the Gods) in some of the holiest Hindu temples and pilgrimage sites in the region. Even outside the temples, India is a country that reeks with spirituality, from the fragrant garlands hanging in market stalls to the red paste adorning the forehead of men and the smell of burning incense left in offerings to the Gods. The holy island of Rameswaram is known as one of India’s most venerated and most visited shrines, dedicated to Sri Ramanathaswamy (or Sri Rama for short). Spend some time here to take in the epic story of Ramayana, and learn for yourself the workings of karma. Find your artha (purpose), limit your kama (pleasure or desire) and gain moksha (liberation) by completing your due dharma (duty).


Ayurveda Treatment in Sri Lanka Head towards Sri Lanka for a seaside retreat involving ayurveda, the 5,000 years old Indian healing system whose name translates as “the Science of Life”. You’ll be offered an array of holistic therapies such as herbal oil massages, steam baths, acupuncture, yoga and meditation. We recommend a thorough purging of the system by incorporating all of these treatments into your stay. Enjoy the beautiful ocean view as you practice traditional Hatha Yoga techniques from the resort’s roof top. At 56 km south of Colombo, Beruwela marks the beginning of a 130 km stretch of mesmerizing beach for your admiration. Spend a quiet moment or two as you stroll along the beach, a luxury you’ll rarely find anywhere else in the world.

Revitalize in Luxury Sign up for a Balance and Revitalize program at one of the many luxurious resorts in Ko Samui’s tranquil southern coast. The seven to 14 day holistic retreat is designed to help boost your energy levels, de-stress and make positive lifestyle changes. The program combines massage, nutrition and counseling, and unlike other wellness retreats, gives you the freedom to control your own lifestyle choices. Participants leave feeling refreshed and ready to implement positive lifestyle changes into their life at home.


Scuba Diving in Indonesia With more than 150 dive sites and an abundance of marine life, Indonesia is a hotspot for avid scuba-divers. The beauty of Indonesia’s marine environment is unparalleled. This is why Indonesia is know as one of the best diving spots in the whole world. Find a quiet island to relax on and forget about the hustle and bustle of the outside world for a few days. As you forget the stress and pressures of work and life, mesmerize yourself with one of the most pristine natural areas in the world. Swim with dolphins, sharks, giant turtles and even rare manatees as the seas guide you over vivid, unspoiled coral gardens.

Temple Stay in South Korea Seoul, South Korea, offers a variety of temple stays at a number of Buddhist monasteries throughout the region. One such place is the Woljeongsa Temple, a 7th century temple located in Pyeongchang County, a few hours east of Seoul. Wake up at four in the morning to the sound of moktak – a long, wooden, percussion instrument Buddhist monks use to start their day. Remember that tardiness is not tolerated. You’ll be asked to bow 3,000 times and have to go through a day of fasting if you’re late. The rigorous pre-dawn ceremony is designed to clear the mind and includes chanting prayers, standing and then bowing gracefully. This is repeated 108 times and symbolizes the 108 worldly desires that you need to renounce.

Silent Retreat in Thailand The idea of a silent retreat is simple. You go somewhere quiet and don’t talk. Not only that, most artificial sounds and distractions – reading, writing, music, caffeine, alcohol and music – are not allowed. The Suan Mokkh Temple in Thailand offers 10 days of silence in which you simply sit there and do nothing but meditate. Our minds are constantly bombarded and oversaturated with every day distractions and too much information. We are always thinking about the next project or contemplating the past. Silent retreats are designed to teach us how to confront these distractions by showing us how to recognize them and then let go of them. Only then will you be able to connect with your true self.

a tale of four cities


INSIGHTS shopping

Chic Melbourne Melbourne is like a younger sibling – cool, hipster rebellious, but downright charming when it needs to be. With its many chic but affordable goods, Melbourne city is a shopper’s paradise. A quick hop about town will take you from international brand name to intimate boutique in minutes. Joanne Tay

Laneways Your first landing spot will be at Swanston Street, the heart of Melbourne city. In this center you’ll find an array of shops, eateries and hidden laneways to explore and discover. While you’re along the Swanston Street belt, make sure to visit Flinders Lane and its numerous laneways. Laneways are home to intimate shops selling anything from vintage clothing and cameras, to freshly baked cupcakes. Once home to underground street artists armed with spray cans and subversive political statements, these


laneways have become Melbourne’s Gen Y hangouts. The organic expansion of laneways from grubby backstreet alleys into creative spaces was soon embraced by the City of Melbourne, who caught onto the ‘cool’ appeal and cleaned up the lanes. Art galleries, alfresco dining restaurants and bars have sprouted on these redeveloped spots. The Melburnian propensity for the quirky and eccentric means you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your finds. After a long day of shopping, refuel with a cuppa and cake at a café table next to towering graffiti. Dont forget to check out Degraves Street, Hosier Lane, and Hardware Lane as well. Getting there Most trams run through the city. Trains stop at Flinders Station and Melbourne Central.

Docklands Despite being a failed tourist’s attraction with relative distance from the city, Docklands is fast turning into a shopper’s paradise in recent times. The buckled Southern Star Observation Wheel, which now sits in pieces in a scrape-yard after a blistering summer heatwave in 2009, had caused turbulent times for retailers. Today, it has become a godsend for shoppers on the prowl for affordable items. The free City Circle tram drops visitors right in the front of Harbour Town at the Docklands. The newly opened South Wharf Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) at Docklands adds more shopping venues to an already long list. Close by, Spencer Street (previously Spencer Street DFO) at the Southern Cross Station with 120 shops guarantees a thrilling day out. Getting there The free City Circle tram passes both Spencer Street and the Docklands.

INSIGHTS shopping

Fitzroy: Indie Art and Design No Melbourne trip is complete without a pit stop at Fitzroy. The bohemian inner city suburb has become the quintessential must see for left-leaning yuppies and creative types. Brunswick Street, the main thoroughfare in Fitzroy, is home to an eclectic range of alternative music stores and venues, bookstores, cafes and bars, vintage second hand stores, craft shops and art galleries. Polyester Books, rightly self-proclaimed the ‘World’s Freakiest Bookstore’, stocks all reading materials for your inner degenerate. Getrude Street, Johnston Street and Smith Street in the Fitzroy vicinity are equally fascinating. The cluster of boutiques, arts spaces and eating spots make for a stimulating day trip.

The spectacular storefront display and interior of Industria, and its mind-boggling array of exmedical equipment, old industrial furniture and vintage everything; the mesmerizing screenprints of Spacecraft; the over the top brashness of Hats On - I could go on and on - are the first sign you’re in another world, one delightfully bold and whimsical. Need gift ideas? Cottage Industry, famous for handmade textile items sell one-of-a-kind bags, cushions, scarves, dresses, buttons, and that intangible etcetera – each and every item lovingly crafted by local designer Penelope Durston who is possessed with a magical ability to turn any fabric into a beautiful and usable product. Little Salon’s unique bite-sized brooches, handbags, jewellery, undergarments and everything petite bring a nice girly charm to any home. Fitzroy isn’t just a shopping belt. It’s a lifestyle experience. Getting there Tram 112 from the Collins Street, Tram 86 from Bourke Street. By bus, take 200, 201 and 207.

Chapel Street and Bridge Road Chapel Street is Melbourne’s premier retail, dining and entertainment district. The Street boasts 1000 stores over 2-kilometers, a mix of upmarket international names and local designer fare. Cutting edge fashion meets street chic, and while you’re at it, catch a movie at the Jam Factory. Around the corner, Prahran Market beckons with fresh produce, freshly ground coffee, handmade sweets and pastas, and delis. One suburb away in Richmond lies Bridge Road. The cheaper, younger sister of Chapel Street, Bridge Road is packed with factory outlets. A must visit for the shopper looking for a bargain – an extensive range of apparels is available on this belt. Getting there Chapel Street – Tram 72, 6, 8, 5 and 54 reach different parts of Chapel Street. Tram 78 and 79 run through the length of Chapel Street. By train, stop at South Yarra station. Bridge Road – Take Tram 48 or 75 from Flinders Street. By train, get off at the West Richmond Station.

a tale of four cities


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010


Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 - Issue 02

Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

+ NZ Adventure Capital + Tasty Taiwan + The Art of Humanity + Asia’s Little Dragon + Welness For the Soul + Chic MelbourneRaja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa + Jakarta Capital Treats Koh Pha Ngan Bali + Bali, Romance in Paradise IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

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Unearthing Asia The latest addition to your list of essential reading, Unearthing Asia is a magazine dedicated to inspiring its readers to explore this beautiful region we call home. The magazine is an indispensable guide to Asia, featuring exciting adventures, stunning sceneries and unique attractions from all over the region. In this second issue, we are generously offering our readers free one year subscriptions. Turn to page 42 for more details.


© Immigrant

Capital Treats Many travelers treat Jakarta simply as a stopover spot on their way to Bali’s island paradise. But this metropolitan capital to Indonesia certainly deserves more than a day or two,especially if you’re wanting to try all of the delightful eateries that add glam, glitz and style to the Big Durian. Sampled here are some of the capital’s best gourmet offerings, from interational to local delights alike! Vannara Putra The Apartment The Apartment lives up to its name in spectacular fashion. The interior of the restaurant is uniquely designed as an apartment complex. Diners can choose to be seated in the kitchen, living room, bedroom or even the bathroom! The decor plays right into the delightful food served by Chef Andry Winata, who specializes in modern European cuisine with Italian influence. PEPeNERO This well known restaurant has a branch in Jakarta and Bali. Its wholesome, authentic, homemade pasta is filled with creamy goodness. A homey and friendly spot where good times and good food reign, this simple Italian trattoria restaurant is well known to lovers of Italian food city-wide. The two storey restaurant is a great place for business lunches and brunches. It also serves as a comfy hangout for group dinners.


© Social House

© Social House

Social House This laid-back lounge style restaurant/bar is proving hugely popular. It is the latest addition to a long list of successes by the Ismaya group, who also runs the ever popular Blowfish, Dragonfly and Sushi Groove. Social House, or SoHo, as it is affectionately known, boasts huge windows and a panoramic view of the iconic Hotel Indonesia Kempinski and its surrounding.

Immigrant The recently opened new wing at Plaza Indonesia plays host to Immigrant as its crowning jewel. Located on the sixth floor, this flashy new restaurant-lounge is set to attract the city’s glam and glitzy crowd for the foreseeable future. Just like SoHo, Immigrant features an open air balcony offering diners a fantastic view of the city skyline. The people behind Immigrant are also responsible for the celebrated Rustic restaurant, so you can be sure the steak here is up to par. Le Seminyak Balinese food is much underrepresented here in the nation’s capital, but Le Seminyak, an intimate restaurant located on Pacific Place’s fifth floor, is a welcome addition to the short list of Balinese restaurants in town. The restaurant is a breath of fresh air, with mellow earthy tones and wooden decor completing the Balinese experience. Unfortunately, the restaurant does not serve Bali’s famed pork dishes, as they are a halal restaurant.

© Bibliotheque

© Mandarin Oriental Jakarta

Bibliotheque Behind the pillars of Sampoerna Strategic Square’s South Tower Entrance stands Bibliotheque, arguably the hippest restaurant bar in Jakarta at the moment. In a city constantly crying out for innovation, Bibliotheque stands out with its low-key and effortless concept, that of an old-school library with books and wooden panels. The food is a mix of Middle Eastern and Western cuisines.

© Mandarin Oriental Jakarta

Cinnamon After a two-year layoff for renovation, the Mandarin Oriental Jakarta is now open for business. Cinnamon, and all day dining and buffet restaurant, is located on the hotel’s ground floor. The restaurant features all kinds of Asian food, as well as a selection of familiar international dishes. A relic from the Mandarin Hotel of old, however, is the cake shop, which has now been revived as Cinnamon’s dessert counter. TeSaTe Located in the newly expanded Plaza Senayan, TeSate is a classy modern restaurant where you can try out local favorites transformed into gourmet offerings. Try out the satay, nasi goreng (fried rice) and the ever popular sop buntut (oxtail soup), reinterpreted and redesigned for your enjoyment.

© Dapur Babah

Dapur Babah For excellent Indonesian food with Javanese and Peranakan Chinese influences, head to Dapur Babah at Jl Veteran 1, near Merdeka Square. This restaurant reeks of colonial charms. It’s filled with various objects and items that look like they belong in a museum instead of a restaurant. Dapur Babah is more than just a restaurant. It is a living museum that will transport you to the Batavia of old. The cuisine on offer is similarly nostalgic, featuring some of the best renditions of traditional local delights you’ll ever taste in town.

© TeSaTe

a tale of four cities


© Métis

INSIGHTS romance

© Métis

Romance in Paradise The island paradise of Bali is a popular honeymoon spot for both local and international tourists, and rightly so. Irridescent rice terraces, majestic surf, enchanting dance rituals and sandy white beaches are just some of the reasons couples flock to this tiny island for a celebration of love. Here, we’ve compiled some of the best suggestions for lovebirds looking for a little romance in paradise. Nikolas Tjhin Pesta Lobster © AYANA

Spa for Two Chocolate is a symbol for love, so in celebration of love and all that is good in the world, why not indulge in a passion-filled spa experience inspired entirely by chocolate! The Villa Retreat at InterContinental Bali offers a 150 minutes Exotic Chocolate treatment that features a chocolate scrub, a chocolate body mask, and a full body massage using a rich blend of heavenly chocolate essential oils. Chocolate lovers rejoice.

Chocolate spa © Intercontinental Bali


Romantic Dinner For privacy and exoticism, the acclaimed Pesta Lobster is heads and shoulders above others. Set in a breathtaking private pier at the AYANA Resort and Spa’s exclusive jetty, there is simply nothing like it. From the cliff face, descend to sea level and step onto a wooden jetty stretching 30 meters out to sea. At the end of the pier, your table awaits, with soft music accompanying the sound of the ocean as you enjoy the beautifully presented 5-course lobster dinner in comforting privacy. For those looking for a little less privacy and a little more crowd, head down to Métis, the latest addition to a long line of swanky restaurants gracing the streets of Seminyak. The site used to be that of the legendary Cafe Warisan, but is now refurbished and rebranded into the modern Métis. Those longing for the usual favorite from Cafe Warisan’s time will not be disappointed. The menu has expanded significantly, but still includes old favorites.

The iconic Ku De Ta in Bali © Christopher Legget

© Alila Uluwatu

Sunset Lounge Ku De Ta lounge is an icon of Bali, and rightfully so. Since its opening in 2000, the swanky restaurant bar has become a playground for the young and restless. Settle down in a beachfront cocoon as you enjoy your cocktail, and let the magical show unfold – clouds of color burst into etched silver and a deepening hue of red spreads across the sky. As the sun sets, you’ll find yourself lost for words, and the memories etched inside you forever. Another magical spot to enjoy the setting sun is the Rock Bar at the AYANA Resort and Spa, which is fast becoming the new icon of Bali. This open-top bar sits on a cliff 14 meters above the Indian Ocean. Soak up the chic ambience and breathtaking views as the rhythm of the ocean merges with the tunes vicing from the DJ booth. You can’t get any closer to the sunset without setting sail.

Lotus Pool @ Four Seasons Sayan @ Four Seasons Sayan

Private Stay Deep in the heart of Ubud, the Four Seasons Resort at Sayan is a private haven perfect for a relaxing honeymoon. Beneath a lotus pool floating above treetops and Bali’s sacred Ayung River, the resort is an architectural marvel oozing with peace and tranquility. The thick, lush rainforest surrounding the resort will instantly make you feel as though you are one with nature.

Design junkies will find solace at the Alila Villas Uluwatu, a stunning expression of contemporary design and a model of complete environmental sustainability in harmony with its natural surrounding. Perched high above the white beaches of Bali’s rugged southern coast, Alila Villas Uluwatu sets a new standard for design and architecture.

a tale of four cities


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46 Shanghai Hip Uncover Shanghai’s hip new facade through the eyes of Megan Eaves 58 Eden in the City Gastronomic wonderland at the fringe of Singapore’s hottest shopping belt 66 The Heart of Seoul A natural refuge in the middle of modern downtown Seoul 74 Culture Capital Shop, dine and experience Sydney’s culture capital, the Circular Quay

the guide

Through alleyways and narrow cobblestones, Megan Eaves uncovers Shanghai’s new facade and shares her experiences. Photos by Philippe Roy.

the guide

The “New Heaven and Earth” is a hotspot of entertainment

Meandering alleyways in Xintiandi

Xintiandi Just north of Shanghai’s oldest neighborhood lies its newest modern quarter, Xintiandi. This nightlife and fashion district is nestled inside a series of restored tenement stone houses known as shikumen. Xintiandi, meaning “new heaven and earth”, really lives up to its name. It is a hotspot for entertainment, shopping and nightlife.

Unlike some of Shanghai’s other urban districts, Xintiandi is compact and navigable. Narrow cobbled laneways meander among shined-up grey stone buildings that nod to the city’s ancient past. Local businesses, which include international coffee shops, upscale bars and restaurants and ritzy boutiques, remind visitors that this is, indeed, the Shanghai of the future.

It’s entirely possible to spend the whole day in Xintiandi, though don’t expect to spend on the cheap – shopping and dining here gives prices in London and New York a run for their money (literally). Ironically, the shikumen in Xindiandi that were once meeting houses for Mao Zedong and the founding leaders of China’s Communist Party have now become a beacon of capitalist prosperity, attracting international visitors with upscale commerce. I like to start out by casually browsing the boutiques, many of which mix traditional Chinese designs with modern motifs to form a totally cutting edge, uniquely Shanghai style. The most famous of these is the venerable Shanghai Tang, one of China’s first luxury brands. Shanghai Tang’s clothing is a modern nod to ancient Chinese fashion, consisting mostly of tailored silk patterns and new takes on old Chinese clothing styles.

a tale of four cities


There is plenty to see and do in Xintiandi, from walking the numerous shopping arcades to lounging in a relaxing cafe by the pedestrian-only walkway

As a pedestrian-only walkway, Xintiandi is one of the few places in Shanghai that boasts no cars and, subsequently, a refreshing lack of exhaust fumes. Split into two, the North Block houses mostly traditional buildings, while in the South Block, the shikumen architecture is less obvious and has made way for a large shopping center. Though not light on your wallet, it’s hard to find anyplace more fashion friendly and chic in Shanghai. And that’s saying something. Xintiandi isn’t a difficult place to grab a bite. It is chock-a-block full of gourmet restaurants, bistros and eateries, everything from fancy fusion to traditional Chinese or straight-up Western food. Many of the restaurants offer outdoor seating, especially along the North Block, where the shikumen gates and tiled roofs create the ambiance of years gone by. I t is the ultimate place to people-watch, with a constant stream of Western tourists, rich Chinese, local gawkers and night crawlers passing through. Everyone is in a good mood in Xintiandi, simply enjoying Shanghai’s mix of old and new.


Shopping Just around the corner in the South Block, PH 7 is a local jewelry shop that specializes in unique bracelets, necklaces and earrings. The pieces are delicate silver decorated with traditional patterns. Chinese fashion designer Coco Ma is also cashing in on the avant-garde trends with Elements, an eco-friendly ladies clothing shop that carries women’s wear made from allnatural fabrics.

the guide

Food Munchies offers straight up American dishes like Cincinnati chili served by staff wearing tie dye, while Aniseed serves some of the best Vietnamese pho in town. Several restaurants in Xintiandi are on the front lines of fusion, such as TMSK, which calls itself “new wave Shanghaiese cuisine”, with interesting combinations of French, Chinese and Italian cuisines, and new takes on old dishes. How very Shanghai. Odds & Ends If you’re not hungry or don’t feel like shopping, there are plenty of other nooks and crannies in Xintiandi to check out, including several art galleries, a few good cafes and the UME International Cineplex in the South Block. Try the creamy chai at the Japaneseinspired Afternoon Tea, get a free haircut from the student stylists at the Vidal Sassoon salon in the North Block or discover what life was like in 1920s Shanghai at Wulixiang Shikumen Museum on Taikang Lu. Getting There Xintiandi couldn’t be easier to reach, and I’m sure the American architect who designed the district (Benjamin Wood) planned it that way. Just take the Metro Red Line 1 to South Huangpi Road Station and walk south for about two block until Xintiandi’s charming atmosphere and quaint brick alleys unfold before you!

Shanghai Tang is one of China’s first luxury brands. It’s clothing is a modern nod to ancient Chinese fashion, consisting mostly of tailored silk patterns and new takes on old Chinese clothing styles

the guide

Taikang Lu Just south of the Old French Concession, Taikang Lu (lu means ‘road’ in Chinese) runs east to west in an average Shanghai neighborhood. An area not unlike Xintiandi, this district is home to tiny alleyways where laundry is still hung out to dry in public and old men sit playing majiang on the sidewalk late into the afternoon. Taikang Lu was originally designated as an art district in 1998 when a dilapidated candy factory there was renovated into the International Artists Factory.

The difference between Taikang Lu and just about every other old Shanghai street is that it is now home to dozens of art galleries, eateries and fancy boutiques that cater to the city’s bohemian crowd. The surrounding alleyways are a strange mix of new Shanghai upmarket commerce and old Shanghai residents who, reluctant to accept the changes occurring around them, have stayed the course in this once gritty neighborhood.

Compared to Xintiandi, Taikang Lu is a little more laid back, a popular haunt for foreign expats, western-influenced Shanghai youths and local artists.

Although it is somewhat off the beaten track, Taikang Lu has become a haunt for foreign expats, westward looking Shanghai youth and local artists. Spending an afternoon sipping strong coffee in one of the district’s quaint back alleys, you’ll probably feel more like you’re a step away from an Italian piazza than exploring an ancient Shanghai laneway. Where Xintiandi offers truly upmarket shopping, Taikang Lu’s small boutiques and artsy shops present a range of local clothing designers, ceramics, furniture and, of course, art. Above shopping, eating along Taikang Lu is perhaps its largest draw. The laid-back, European feel of the alleyways that branch off of the main road make the district a supremely pleasant place to escape the bustle of larger Shanghai, as you are transported to a world of sidewalk cafes, French brasseries and artsy coffee shops. a tale of four cities


the guide

Shopping On my first visit to Taikang Lu, I went straight for its original artistic home, the International Artists Factory, a 4-story building that sits off the main road on Lane 210. NEST is a pricey retailer on the 2nd floor, carrying an artistic selection of just about everything, from one-of-a-kind handbags to children’s clothing. Roger & Guy is more of a trinket shop where you can find scented candles, ornaments, funky lamps and other bohemian accoutrements. Several other shikumen lanes along Taikang Lu are well worth exploring, but Lane 210 has the largest concentration of shops. INSH, which stands for “in Shanghai”, has become a legendary local brand there. Food Lane 210 is home to perhaps the most famous eatery in all of Taikang Lu, Kommune. This iconic café, which has been referred to as the epicenter of Shanghai’s creative quarter, is the place to see and be seen for the city’s arist and hipster crowd. But if you’re really hungry, make for Lane 248, which has the largest collection of food joints in the area. This narrow alley contains a paradisical mix of international cuisines, bars and outdoor tables. I stopped into Miss Ginger, a relaxing café, to rest my weary feet and sip on strong tea while watching the world go by at an outdoor table. Its sister restaurant, Ginger Indochine, serves excellent Asian fusion cuisine.


Odds & Ends Taikang Lu would be complete without exploring the thing that started it all: art. And here, you can pretty much find anything and everything. I started out at Shirt Flag, which is situated in Lane 210 and houses an assortment of new wave Communist paraphernalia. It’s intense and interesting, and their Chairman Mao satchels are a bit less tawdry than those being peddled for ¥10 elsewhere. Other places worth ducking into are Tune Long, a photography gallery that features massive photos of daily life in China, The Pottery Workshop for ceramics and mugs, ChinArt Gallery on Lane 200, which is a multimedia art space, and the nearby Music Pavillion. Getting There Unlike Xintiandi, Taikang Lu is not so easy to reach. Your best bet is to take the Metro Red Line 2 and get off at South Shaanxi Road South station and use Exit 4. Walk two blocks east on Huaihai Road and turn right onto Ruijin Road, following it south until you reach Taikang Lu. All told, the walk should take about 20 minutes. A quicker option would be to hail a taxi anywhere in Shanghai and simply say “Taikang Lu”.

a tale of four cities


There is enough art at 50 Moganshan to keep you busy for an entire day. The whole place is a maze of workshops, galleries and studios in a series of numbered buildings and art centers along the Suzhou Creek. Some of the galleries are run by foreign expats, such as the celebrated ShanghART (Buildings 16 & 18), which is run by Swiss native Lorenz Helbling. It is one of the oldest art spaces in the district. The pioneer gallery at 50 Moganshan is Eastlink (Building 6), which continues to play a pivotal role in the development of Shanghai’s art scene. Eastlink is run by Australian-Chinese artist Li Liang and, over the years, has housed some of the most controversial exhibitions on the scene. 50 Moganshan Less than 10 years old, 50 Moganshan Road, or M50 as it’s often referred to, is nothing if not modern. An old warehouse district from the 1930s, the buildings at 50 Moganshan Rd. once housed factories that made silk and calico. Up until 2000, when Shanghai art legend Xue Song moved his workroom into one of the restored spaces there, 50 Moganshan was essentially dead. Now, looking toward its 10-year anniversary, 50 Moganshan is the hottest art district in Shanghai, rivalled only by Beijing’s 798 as the center of Chinese modern art. More than 130 artists, filmmakers, architects and graphic design firms now inundate the area, and a visit to this Chinese art mecca means checking out some of the most avantgarde paintings and artistic works going on in the Middle Kingdom today.

Building 7 houses both the gallery and studio of elegant photographer Jin Xuanmin, as well as the main offices for BizArt, a non-profit foundation that promotes the work of young artists and supports new media and experimental installations. Art Scene Warehouse in Building 4 has a massive, white gallery space with an ultra modern feel. They present all types of events and exhibitions from both established and emerging artists and, since 2005, they have put on the Dragon Air Emerging Chinese Artist Awards to showcase rising Chinese talents. There are far too many galleries to name in 50 Moganshan. The best way to discover them all is by exploration. A useful map in the central courtyard of the district notes the names and locations of every gallery and provides a solid jumping off point for delving into the area.

the guide

Shopping Shopping is downplayed at 50 Moganshan, unless you’re intent on buying original pieces from the artists themselves. There are, however, a few shops and clothing stores, mostly owned and run by fresh young Shanghai fashion designers. Most notable are the artful designs of Shirtflag and its sister shop, Hi Panda. Shirtflag takes its inspiration from Chinese culture and history in making “revolutionary” designs that feature some of the more memorable icons from China’s history, including images of weapons, revolutionary slogans and Mao himself. Hi Panda does the same thing with China’s beloved national animal, the panda bear. Both shops produce Shanghai street wear with a focus on youth fashion that embraces jeans, t-shirts and funky accessories.

Another hidden gem at 50 Moganshan is Cinemoda, a quaint little shop tucked away near Aomen Lu. Their brightly colored dresses and sweet, feminine designs make them a favorite with Shanghai’s young female set. Food A few cafes and teahouses are scattered around M50, although it is neither the quaint outdoor café district of Taikang Lu nor the culinary hotbed of Xintiandi. Really, people come here for the art. That said, if you are hankering for a sit down or just need a nice bite, there are a couple of good options (after all, the artists have to eat, don’t they?). Bandu Music Café is a great place to grab a cup of coffee and explore the world of Chinese folk music. They have an extensive selection of CDs by local and national artists, and usually host live performances on weekend evenings. Located in M50’s Building 11, during the day Bandu is a quiet and cozy spot.

Another enjoyable option is the ambient Traveled Coffee & Tea, located in Building 1. This chic coffeeshop uses a modern Asian design element, with interesting basket light fixtures and photographs by local artists decorating the dark wooden walls. Pebbled floors, an interior gazebo and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall give the whole place a very airy feel. Getting There 50 Moganshan is not an easy place to reach. There is no direct subway service to the area, so you have to rely on buses, taxis or your feet. Use Line 1 to Shanghai Railway Station and take Exit 5. Walk out of the station and down to Tianmu Xi Rd., go right (west), cross the bridge and go right again onto Xisuzhou Rd., which intersects with Moganshan Lu. The whole affair will probably take close to an hour, so a taxi from Shanghai Railway Station might be a better idea. Otherwise, buses 76/105 to Changhua Road or 19/68/112 to Jiangning Road will get you in the near vicinity.

the guide


the guide

Journey into gastronomic wonderland with Michelle Lee as she uncovers paradise tucked away at the fringe of Singapore’s hottest shopping belt.


This page and opposite Right at the doorstep of Singapore’s bustling Orchard Road, Dempsey Hill is a tranquil spot in the midst of greenery

a tale of four cities


Dempsey Hill, surrounded by nature

Listen to the cacophony of the traffic dwindle into a distance as you pace your way towards Dempsey Hill. Within minutes, tranquil and greenery unfold with every step up Dempsey road, leading you gently into a hidden paradise right at the doorstep of Singapore’s bustling Orchard Road. Hardly a hill per se, Dempsey Hill has a history as a nutmeg plantation in its primitive days. It also housed the British army barracks a century ago and it was the headquarters for young Singaporean soldiers serving their national duty in the 1970s. Today, it has become a popular hangout spot for urbanites seeking the perfect escapade from the chaos of the city. Its colonial architectures are delicately preserved and restored, composing a rustic, yet homely aura. Rows of single-storey houses are lined up in an orderly fashion, well spaced from each other with lush flora encapsulating the vicinity.

“Every corner brings you something different!� raved Ms Kee Luah, PR and Marketing Consultant of Dempsey Hill. Over here, a galore of restaurants, galleries, furniture and lifestyle retail stores, bars and cafes keep you entertained. In the day, Dempsey Hill is a place perfect for solitude time away from crowds and the normalcy of life, luring creative individuals to hang around for fresh inspirations. The lunch crowd gathers, but it is nothing compared to how the area transforms as night falls. A chill-out place popular amongst the locals, the hill ruptures with life at dusk. Ferraris, Lamborghinis and BMWs fire in and the arena bustles with elites dressed to the nines, all ready to let loose for party-going. Unlike the claustrophobic metropolis, people in Dempsey emanate a festive feel, leaving you feeling refreshed and enlightened.

The entrance leading to Dempsey Hill

With over 20 restaurants and bars offering a vast variety of cuisine from all over the world, not only does the natural charm of Dempsey enhance every dining experience, it is also a place where we witness culinary craft of a whole new dimension.

The crowd favorite, Gunpowder Steak!

The Tippling Club at Dempsey Hill

Did you know that gunpowder can spruce up your palate indulgence? Well, it is so at Dempsey Hill. The Prime Society restaurant has a 150-seater dining capacity. With crimson brick pillars extending to the high ceiling, its ambience offers you a sense of grandeur filled with the thick aroma of pan-Asian spices and, maybe, a tinge of gunpowder.

Chef Mr Damon Amoz shared his passion

Australian chef Mr. Damon Amos sizzles with passion as he shares his extensive knowledge on the various cuts of steak on offer, the different cattle-rearing methods and how these methods lend each cut of steak a unique flavor.

“In short, we (The Prime Society) are all about diversity,” says Damon, who affably introduces himself as Dee. This belief is evident in their assortment of steak selections available on their menu. The gunpowder steak is one that captures attention. Gunpowder is essentially made up of elements such as potassium and magnesium, which are required parts of a balanced diet. The gunpowder that is used goes through stringent checks to ensure that there are no traces of sulphur in its content before serving. The question is, where do they get the gunpowder? “I concoct it myself,” Dee reveals. For those game enough for novelty, this is one dish you’ll have to try.

a tale of four cities


the guide

This page The terrace at the The Tippling Club at Dempsey Hill is comfy and relaxing Opposite page The offerings at the Tippling Club mixes a blend of aesthetics and science

the guide

Watch how food engages not just our taste buds but entices our visionary and creative senses as well. Gourmet artistry is what Tippling Club is all about. A blend of aesthetics and science, it is a wonder to see food in an unconventional presentation, yet still taste remarkably good. To enjoy the overall experience, the golden spot is at the bar where guests get to witness the owners in action. Award-winning mixologist Matthew Bax and Chef Ryan brought their expertise from down under Australia, and are now capturing the hearts of the local market with their degage concept tinged with élan.

The hill has attracted many business owners from all over the world. For those with a penchant for the East, Dempsey certainly enchants. The majority of the retail outlets here are thematically Asian, bringing about various Asian heritages from all over the region. There is a mélange of art galleries, furniture stores and lifestyle boutiques, most of which import their exhibits and products exclusively from all over Asia, enlivening the place with a collage of Asian touches.

Rouge, a French-design boutique with an Asian twist houses designs by French/Khmer designer Romyda Keth, who brings with her a fluent mix of her Cambodian roots and European influences. Romyda uses flamboyant colours coupled with fabric experimentations to churn out designs that enticed even the Queen of Spain and the Princess of Japan! From fashion wear to accessories, home furniture to lightings, there is a plethora of lifestyle inspirations to choose from, including those of designers Michele d’Albert and Catherine Denoual.

a tale of four cities


Red Sea Art Gallery

Almost an art village, Dempsey Hill is also where fine art enthusiasts hang around to check out artworks and antiques from all over the globe. The galleries here represent a good blend of international masterpieces and feature a number of Chinese, Indonesian and Vietnamese artists. It might be the the idyllic settings of the hill, but Dempsey Hill possesses the right atmosphere for the mind to stay clear of other distractions in life and dwell deep into the inspiration behind each artwork.

It is no wonder that Ms. Sharon BohFriberg, owner of designer eyewear boutique Seen@Dempsey is still very much charmed by Dempsey’s beauty. Ms. Boh Friberg recalls her first impression of the hill. “I fell in love with the lush greenery and its historical architecture. It is a secret garden within the city.” When the idea of opening a boutique optical store came to mind, she instantly thought that Dempsey would be the perfect place to open shop.

Over the years, Dempsey Hill has continued to flourish with vibrancy and oomph. The vicinity is also expanding rapidly, attracting a wide variety of retail and dining concepts to boost its appeal. While it is indeed paradise found amid the clutter of the Singapore cityscape, to enjoy everything and anything, you’ll have to pay a price. Get your wallet ready for a splurge. That aside, experiencing Dempsey Hill and its charming way of life is itself, a priceless encounter. Looking at how it has evolved and flourished since its launch in 2007, Dempsey Hill has now transcended to truly reflect its tagline “Paradise Found,” – with much more to surprise and marvel at down the pike.

the guide

Tawandang Microbrewery

Pork Knuckles at Tawandang Microbrewery

New At Dempsey - Tawandang Microbrewery Thailand’s most popular Thai German bar and restaurant hits Dempsey, spicing up the local dining scene with their famous Pork Knuckles, Tom Yum Kung, traditional German beer and blithesome entertainment. Tawandang is just the place for Thai food and German beer lovers alike to chill out for a night of good food, high jinks and awesome people. Join in the staff for a dance as they rock to the music on stage, bringing barrels of fun to the night.

a tale of four cities


Under the steel glare of modernization the inhabitants of Seoul havs found a natural refuge, Nikita Tham reveals.

Opposite, from left The Cheonggye offers a quiet place to slow down and relax; Daily, some 90,000 pedestrians visit the stream


This page Bustling Seoul is rapidly growing on both sides of the Hangang River

the guide

Smack in the middle of metropolitan Seoul, the Cheonggye stream is a refreshing canopy that shelters its various inhabitants from the steel glare of modernization. The very meaning of the name, “clear creek”, implies a natural clear water flowing through Seoul’s city center. A quick visit to this local hotspot would reveal just that – a sparkling river teeming with life. An abundance of fish glide their way among reeds, plants and small stepping stones placed at intervals throughout the stream. It’s hard to believe all this exists seconds away from the towering skyscrapers of Seoul. It’s even harder

yet to imagine the dry and polluted concrete that lay on top of it a mere five years ago. During the first half of the century, squatters filled the stream as Seoul’s homeless sought refuge there in makeshift shelters. The stream broke its banks whenever it rained, causing the area to reek of sewage. In 1968, it was paved over and buried beneath a lacework of elevated crosstown highways, a victim of Seoul’s swelling population. By the turn of the century, it had all been dead and buried, forgotten by Seoul’s inhabitants except for one, Lee Myung-Bak, the current president of South Korea.

An ambitious US$281 million dollar project to restore the stream was launched, starting with the concrete flyover. Out it went and in came 20 scenic bridges in its place. The stale, stinking water was flushed out and restored. Along with the new water, almost 11km of greenery and marine wildlife came as well. Attractions are spread throughout the entire stretch of the promenade flanking the river. You’ll find paintings and sculptures, live music performances and movie screenings, and a number of other surprises when you visit here.

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the guide

Right Smack in the middle of downtown Seoul, the Cheonggye stream provides a breath of fresh air to city-dwellers

Seoulites loved it. The beautiful night lights and natural embrace of the stream serves as an oxygen mask in a city that is quickly outgrowing its capacity to expand. The area started to come alive, throbbing to the pulse of city-dwellers who yearns for a touch of nature. To many, the stream provides a much-needed breath of fresh air, even though the supply to this “oxygen mask” is just as artificial. The problem is that during spells of dry weather, Cheonggye Stream would be nothing but a cracked stream bed. In order to keep it flowing all year round, water is now pumped from the Han River and from nearby sources. Detractors pointed out that the government has created a faux vision of nature instead of restoring the natural ecosystem here. Political opponents have derided the project as a costly folly.

Families gather around Palseokdam – a pond carpeted with various rare stones – to enjoy the beautiful surroundings while their children squeal in delight as they spot ducks and cranes. Adults soak their tired feet as teenagers splash around in knee-deep waters. Couples stroll arm in arm, enjoying the refreshing breeze and the occasional jet of water. Colorful murals adorn the walls flanking the stream.

Even so, it seems harsh to focus only on these and dismiss the project as a sham. Follow the windy breeze next to the river and you’ll notice right away how Seoulites have embraced the stream. Every day, some 90,000 pedestrians visit the stream banks.

Four years after the stream was uncovered, the environmental benefits can now be quantified. City officials are quick to pinpoint the emerging ecosystem under the artificial stream – fish, bird and insect species have all flourished and multiplied in the area.


Another noticeable improvement is the reduction of air pollution. The removal of three miles of elevated highways have dramatically improved the air quality and temperatures in the area. And yet, the dreaded gridlock did not ensue – even with the loss of substantial vehicle lanes, traffic has lessened instead of worsened. Various public transportation changes have helped. The city has improved its bus services, while higher parking fees and driving restrictions have also served their purpose. Cheonggye’s successes are plenty, and though mistakes have been made – both cultural and technical – it doesn’t detract from its achievement. The government has managed to reclaim an area of natural beauty in the heart of a bustling city, breathing life back into the tired old streets of Seoul.

Cruising down the Han River

a tale of four cities


the guide

Explore N Seoul Tower A trip to Seoul simply wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the newly renovated N Seoul Tower. Sitting on top of a 243 meter mountain, this freshly renovated 236 meter tower is a favorite local hangout. Enjoy a spectacular after-dark light show and one of the most awe-inspiring views of the city, both during the day and at night. The open air terrace is a popular spot that can be crowded on weekends. Couples can to partake in the local tradition of hanging locks in the terrace’s fences, decorating it with messages and drawings. Currently, thousands of such locks adorn the fences, a promise of undying love in scenic soulful Seoul.

Historic Changdeokgung Palace Just a short walk away from Insadong, this palace is high on the list of must-see attractions in Seoul. The Changdeokgung Palace is arguably the best preserved of all the Joseon palaces. The 600-year old attraction was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1997. Enjoy a leisurely walking tour that takes you by historic architectural stylings dating back to the 15th century. Peek into the symbolism, ancient customs, history and details of the building through your tour guide’s presentation. The highlight of the tour is undoubtedly the visit to the Secret Garden, a solitary pavilion flanked by tranquil lily ponds that are right out of the historical poetries of old.


Relaxing Hangang River On that inevitable day when you’ve finally exhausted yourself from the array of temples, palaces and attractions, grab your summer gears and head to the Hangang River for a relaxing day out in the sun. There’s no better way to escape the city! Try out Seoul’s water taxi service, where sleek 7-passenger boats zip you around, or enjoy a slower, gentler ride with the Hangang River Cruise. Charming Bukchon Village Flanked by the Gyeongbok Palace to the west and the Changdeokgung Palace to the east, Bukchon Village is the largest cluster of privately owned traditional Korean wooden homes, or hanok in Seoul. Explore the beautifully restored architectural features throughout the village and be easily transported to the days of yore. Enjoy the various cafes, art galleries and restaurants in the village as you admire scenic traditional Korea.

This page Intricate details adorn the 600-year old Changdeokgung Palace Opposite page, clockwise from top left N Seoul Tower ; Changdeokgung Palace; Hangang River Cruise;

a tale of four cities


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010


Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 - Issue 02

Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

+ NZ Adventure Capital + Tasty Taiwan + The Art of Humanity + Asia’s Little Dragon + Welness For the Soul + Chic MelbourneRaja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa + Jakarta Capital Treats Koh Pha Ngan Bali + Bali, Romance in Paradise IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00


Vol 01 - Issue 01 IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo + A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine + Heeding the Call of Asia in Taiwan + Singapore Stopover + Spotlight on Jakarta + Flashpacking Essentials + A Tropical Affair

Unearthing Asia The latest addition to your list of essential reading, Unearthing Asia is a magazine dedicated to inspiring its readers to explore this beautiful region we call home. The magazine is an indispensable guide to Asia, featuring exciting adventures, stunning sceneries and unique attractions from all over the region. In this second issue, we are generously offering our readers free one year subscriptions. Turn to page 42 for more details.

the guide


Shop, dine and experience Sydney’s Circular Quay in full extravaganza with Carrie Kellenberger

a tale of four cities


the guide

The Sydney Opera House, one of the most famous performing arts venue in the world Š Tourism Australia


© Tourism Australia

Sydney, Australia is among the greatest holiday destinations in the world. Located on the shores of one the most beautiful gulfs in the country, this vibrant city is probably best known for its stunning natural harbor. This charming, laid-back metropolis boasts some unique cultural treasures too. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Circular Quay. Situated in a small inlet called Sydney Cove, Circular Quay is where the first European settlement for Sydney and Australia got its start. The area was originally used for shipping, but today, it has developed into a recreational center with waterside dining establishments, pedestrian malls, parks, walkways, and a superb nightlife.

© Tourism Australia

On warm, summer days, the harbor front is a hot spot for tourists and locals alike, and there is no better way to see the harbor front and its commanding view of the city than on foot. In addition to the numerous activities and tourist attractions, you can learn about the history of Sydney by reading the plaques that are spaced at regular intervals along Writers Walk. The plaques commemorate the lives of Australian and international writers who are connected to Sydney and New South Wales through their writings and travels. Arranged in alphabetical order, the walk pays homage to literary giants such as Kipling, Lawrence, and Twain to name a few.

Make sure you stop by the Sydney Fish Markets to enjoy some of the freshest seafood in town. After downing a scrumptious dish of tiger prawns, you’ll probably be ready for a cool city excursion. Adventurous souls looking for a memorable travel experience should consider climbing up the Sydney Harbor Bridge for a one-of-a-kind view of the harbor. It’s the only bridge in the world to offer visitors a chance to walk along the top girders. A three-hour tour can be booked at any time during the day, but it’s the sunrise and sunset tours that are most popular. These tours sell out quickly, so reserve your spot in advance.

a tale of four cities


the guide


Walk through the top ridge of the Sydney Harbor Bridge Š Tourism Australia

© Tourism Australia

After your tour of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, head for Australia’s most beloved icon, the Sydney Opera House. As one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world, the Sydney Opera House books 1,500 performances a year. The opera house isn’t all about the arts, though. Its history and construction can rival any opera found on its stages. A onehour walking tour reveals the many engineering marvels pioneered here, including the controversial story of its construction and the row of “shells” that form the roof.

With its innovative design and timeless architecture, this modern marvel has stood the test of time as one of the architectural wonders of the 20th century. Besides its unique shape, the strategic location at the head of the harbor makes it instantly recognizable. It’s no small wonder the Sydney Opera House was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007.

A short distance away from the main quay, you’ll find a popular area called The Rocks. The area comes packed with a historical punch. The buildings here are some of the oldest in Australia, as this was where the first settlers landed when they came to Australia. It was also home to some of the country’s most notorious characters, dating back to the close of the 18th century.

a tale of four cities


the guide

© Tourism Australia

The Rocks still have the largest concentration of historic buildings in Sydney. Many of the buildings here have been immaculately restored and then recycled into kitschy tearooms and shops, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, and the like. The neighborhood has seen generations of fire, demolition and change. The scars are still visible and stories are written in the earth. You’re bound to find traces of Sydney’s early life at every stop. Cadman’s Cottage, Sydney’s oldest standing building, is in the heart of the Rocks. Hewn from stone, the cottage was named for transportedconvict-made-good John Cadman, who called it home during the 1820s. Other attractions in the vicinity include the Billich Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Book yourself a Rocks Ghost Tour and you’ll get the lowdown on historical locations in the area. The tour provides an interactive retelling of various entertaining and chilling ghost tales, deaths, and macabre happenings, which are told exactly where each event took place. Had enough of having your pants scared off? Explore shops and galleries in converted workmen’s cottages and sandstone terrace houses on nearby Playfair Street. The Rocks Farmers’ Market is open on Fridays. Are you feeling like a lamb kebab? Or how about something light, like strawberries? Either way, you’ve come to the right place.


After eating, shop for fresh produce and treats all the while taking in the chilled out tunes of Sydney’s buskers. The city warmly welcomes street musicians, allowing them to play in most areas, and the Rocks are certainly no exception. Some of the world’s best bands have gotten their start on the streets of this great city. At the end of the day, you’ll have to be feeling hungry again. And there are so many tasty restaurants to finish a long day in the life of the tourist. Put up your tired feet with a drink at one of the areas many watering holes and forget your troubles. Or did you bring the kids? Well then, Pancakes on the Rocks is a long-time favorite with visitors and locals alike. Platters of fluffy pancakes smothered in fruit and syrup are just the thing. Indeed, from places like Wolfes Grill to Lowenbrau Keller, you’ll find a diversity of cuisines to satisfy anyone’s palate. Then cap it all off with a drink or two at the Altitude Bar atop the Shangri-la Hotel. It boasts some of the best views in town and is the perfect way to send you on your way.

© Tourism Australia

© Tourism Australia

© Tourism Australia



style guide


Luxury and glam at the newly renovated Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta Photographed by Pramono Prakoso, with make up and styling by the Dresscode Team.

This spread Dress from Benten. Earrings and Bangle from Chloris. Shoes from Rotelli. Shot at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta, Pool Venue.


This spread Dress from Benten. Earrings from Chloris. Shot at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta, MO Bar.

a tale of four cities



This spread Dress from Benten. Earrings from Chloris. Shoes from Rotelli. Headpiece from Evita Peroni. Shot at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta, Outer Lobby.


Benten 62 815 1001 8910 Chloris ITC Kuningan, Ground Fl E1 #01 62 21 700 68687 Rotelli Plaza Indonesia 2nd Fl 11B #16 Evita Peroni Pacific Place Lt 1 9A 62 21 579 73240 Mandarin Oriental Hotel Jakarta Jl MH Thamrin PO Box 3392 Jakarta 10310, Indonesia 62 21 2993 8888

Photographer Pramono Prakoso Make up & Styling The Dresscode Team Modeled by Anastasia Yakubenko Heruko Models Indonesia


style guide

This spread Dress from Benten. Earrings and Ring from Chloris. Headpiece from Evita Peroni. Shot at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta, Suite Room.

tales adventure


Night time over Queenstown, New Zealand with city lights below. Lake Wakatipu and the Snow Capped Remarkables mountain range. Just after sunset.



Debbie Reyes-Coloma explores the resort town of Queenstown, blessed with unrivalled natural beauty that simply takes your breath away,

a tale of four cities


tales adventure


Queenstown’s astounding mountain scenery is even more enjoyable from the deck of a private luxury lodge Š Azur

Heli-hiking offers high altitude views © Destination Queenstown

Kayaking sections are a huge relief for sore, blistered feet © Chris McLennan

One of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life occurred on a cool moonlit night in New Zealand. I gazed up from my ground-level lodge’s balcony and saw the most amazing thing: hundreds of thousands of stars radiantly shining like diamonds in the skies. In the background, the vast, snow-capped Remarkables framed an image that I would remember for all time. It was mesmerizing. I didn’t want the moment to end. As it turned out, I was able to repeatedly watch the same star-studded display in almost every place I visited in this vast country of four million people.

In the background, the vast, snow-capped Remarkables framed an image that I would remember for all time. It was mesmerizing.

New Zealand was once thought of as just a lush, exotic destination somewhere down there, where there are more sheep than human beings, until Peter Jackson brought the country’s stunningly varied terrain to life on the silver screen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Filmed in more than 150 locations all over New Zealand, the trilogy won 17 Oscar awards and catapulted New Zealand into a coveted spot as one of the “must-see destinations” in the world. Its stunning landscapes left audiences so awed that Britain’s Express on Sunday wrote, “If locations were awarded Oscars, New Zealand would scoop the lot.”

a tale of four cities


tales adventure

© Blanket Bay

© Chris McLennan

But there’s more to New Zealand than movie locations and bungy jumping. The youngest country on earth is swathed in natural and man-made assets making it the perfect place for a holiday, especially during the hot and humid summer months in Asia. Autumn (March to May) and winter (June to August) are great seasons to cool off in one of New Zealand’s sensational spots. It is tempting to follow the throng of holidayers in Asia who head to the beach for temporary relief from heat. I, however, say ditch the beach! Instead, pack some warm gear and escape to Queenstown (South Island) to chill out. Celebrated for its magnificent scenery, adventure opportunities and luxury lifestyle, Queenstown sits prettily on Lake Wakatipu. The birthplace of bungy jumping, Queenstown’s wildly exciting environment is irresistible to adventure seekers. It is for this reason that it has been dubbed the adventure capital of the world. This bustling year-round destination simply rocks with adrenalin-stirring, sanity-reducing exploits of the most extreme kind— and a few leisurely pursuits.


© Ben Crawford

Autumn is a relaxing time to witness nature’s landscape transform from luscious green to brilliant red and gold. From March to May, Queenstown has stable, clear weather that allows most outdoor excursions. Every visitor to Queenstown should hike or ride to somewhere high. From the top of almost any hill, magnificent views await. Climb Queenstown Hill or Ben Lomond for fantastic views of Queenstown and beyond. Ride the Skyline Gondola for the classic postcard-perfect shot across Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. Ride a horse into the high country on a guided trek.

High above Queenstown is the Remarkables ski area, where skiiers and snowboarders find a slice of heaven Š Ben Crawford

a tale of four cities


The Karawau Bridge Bungy © AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

Ski, snowboard or hike on Queenstown’s scenic backdrop – the Remarkables mountain range. © Ben Crawford

tales adventure

Tranquil Lake Wakatipu © Tourism New Zealand

If your legs are skied-out, try your hands on a gold pan or a fishing rod. There are plenty of exciting activities to choose from. Bungy jumping, horse trekking, 4x4 bike adventures, fishing, golfing, jet boating, tandem skydiving, and white water rafting are just a few of the activities on offer here. Better yet, enjoy lunch on a steam boat or soar in the air in a hot air balloon. There is also a pedestrian mall that links souvenir shops with ski stores and high fashion boutiques to satisfy your shopping itch.

Queenstown is part of the Central Otago region, the fastest growing wine district in the country. Book a wine tour or hire a car and visit the vineyards in Gibbston Valley, known for its seriously good lunches and wine tasting. You can also tour Gibbston’s wine cave and cheese factory. From June to August, Queenstown turns into a winter playground, positively vibrating with snow activities and enthusiasm. With two ski areas in close proximity, this resort town is the place to escape to if you want to beat the sweltering heat in Asia. Fancy being a part of the apres scene? Queenstown is filled with chic restaurants, nightclubs and cafes. If you’re lucky, you might even get a window seat overlooking snow-capped mountains. A cozy seat by a roaring fireplace where you can snuggle up and drink the night away is also a delightful way to spent an evening.

Head over to minus5º where you can have a drink in a bar that is made of hand-sculpted ice. The walls, the bar, the sculptures, the seats and even the glasses your drinks are poured in, are all crafted out of ice! It is a unique experience that will chill your bones and delight your senses. Let one of the ice guides take you on a tour you will never forget. The two ski fields closest to Queenstown are Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. A mere 20-minute drive uphill, Coronet Peak probably has the most European feel of the lot. Choose a bar or restaurant to relax at and enjoy some of the love music acts on the outdoor stage. You might even see the occasional celebrity accompanied by an entourage.

Explore Skippers Canyon with Nomad Safaris. This area offers both amazing man-made and natural features. Following the Shotover River valley, the Skippers Road was carved by hand through solid rock. The road clings to sheer cliff sides with breathtaking drops into the river gorge below. This route has breathtaking views at every hairpin turn, across the spectacular Skippers suspension bridge. The Ledge and Nevis Highwire Bungy sites reinforce the reputation of Queenstown as the “home of bungy”. It offers Queenstown’s only winter nightbungy—suspended 400m above the nightlights of Queenstown (open from 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm). The Ledge Bungy is a harness jump as opposed to the traditional foot tie jump of other sites. It is accessible via the Skyline gondola making this a one-hour return trip experience.  Queenstown and its neighboring towns are only the tip of the iceberg. There is an abundance of places to experience and attractions to explore. Nature has bequeathed New Zealand with unrivalled beauty. This is the one place on earth that will absolutely take your breath away.

a tale of four cities


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions


Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010


Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 - Issue 02

Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

+ NZ Adventure Capital + Tasty Taiwan + The Art of Humanity + Asia’s Little Dragon + Welness For the Soul + Chic MelbourneRaja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa + Jakarta Capital Treats Koh Pha Ngan Bali + Bali, Romance in Paradise IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

Vol 01 - Issue 01 IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo + A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine + Heeding the Call of Asia in Taiwan + Singapore Stopover + Spotlight on Jakarta + Flashpacking Essentials + A Tropical Affair

Unearthing Asia The latest addition to your list of essential reading, Unearthing Asia is a magazine dedicated to inspiring its readers to explore this beautiful region we call home. The magazine is an indispensable guide to Asia, featuring exciting adventures, stunning sceneries and unique attractions from all over the region. In this second issue, we are generously offering our readers free one year subscriptions. Turn to page 42 for more details.

tales gourmet




Carrie Kellenberger explores Taiwan’s street gourmet, and shares her tale of adventure. Photos by Craig Ferguson. Ask anyone who has been to Taiwan what the national pastimes are and they will undoubtedly tell you shopping and eating. It’s no small wonder, then, that Taiwan’s night markets play such a vital role in daily life. You can find just about anything at Taiwanese night markets from food, clothing, and household items to family-style games and entertainment. And, of course, the food is out of this world.

This spread, from left A wide variety of meat and seafood; Fatty pork sausages; Colorful stalls light up the night

The origins of Taiwanese cuisine can be traced back to its aboriginal tribes and through the immigrants who came to Taiwan from Mainland China. Over time, Taiwan has developed its own unique culinary culture. Taiwanese basil, star anise, white pepper, crushed peanuts; chili, pickled vegetables, and oyster sauce are just a few common ingredients that can be found in Taiwanese cuisine. Adding a variety of herbs, seasonings, and sauces to your meal will bring a whole new dimension of flavor to your dining experience in Taiwan. Most dishes are represented by several major categories that are eaten on a daily basis. Known locally as xiao-chi, these traditional dishes are categorized according to their primary ingredients.

a tale of four cities


tales gourmet

Poultry It’s not unusual to see kids snacking on Taiwanese fried chicken fillets or deep-fried chicken chunks at school. Tender white chicken breast is dipped in a special batter and then coated with flour before it’s deep-fried. Vendors offer a number of seasonings, such as white pepper, chili, Taiwanese basil, curry, dried laver, plum, and garlic to give it an exotic flavor. Poultry dishes in Taiwanese cuisine generally consist of duck, goose, and chicken, which are cooked in a number of ways to give it a rich flavor. San bei ji, also known as three-cup chicken, is one dish in particular that packs a flavorful punch. This local dish has its origins in China’s Jiangxi province, but a liberal amount of Taiwanese basil, garlic, and fresh ginger make it uniquely Taiwanese. A cup of wine, a cup of sesame oil, and a cup of soy sauce are the main ingredients in this spicy chicken stew. Meat Taiwanese meat dishes have found fame for their flavor and taste as well as their unusual ingredients. Taiwanese fatty pork sausages are a popular snack in Taiwan. These sweet tasting sausages are formed with chunks of emulsified pork fat and chopped pork. In night markets, they are usually served on a stick and can be glazed or topped with many different condiments. Pig’s Blood Cake is a hot, spicy snack served at night markets in Taiwan. The cake is made from a combination of sticky rice and hot pig’s blood, which is cut into rectangular pieces and served on a stick. Then, it is dipped in a combination of soy sauce, hot sauce, and topped with powered peanut and cilantro.

This spread, clockwise from top left Pig’s blood cake, hot and spicy; Fresh oysters; Squids, ready to be grilled


Fish and Seafood Food in Taiwan reflects the culture of this Pacific island by incorporating plenty of seafood and fish. The most popular seafood snack in Taiwan is an unassuming little dish called an oyster omelet. Made with eggs, fresh oysters, tapioca starch, Garland chrysanthemum leaves, and cilantro, the omelet is then fried over a high flame and eaten with a sweet and spicy sauce. Squid is also a popular and extremely tasty snack in Taiwan. Large squid is marinated, grilled, and served on a stick. Deep-fried squid balls are another alternative. Squid balls are skewered, dipped in flour and then deep-fried to a deep golden brown. White pepper, chili, and fried basil are added to give it a spicy taste.

Grilling meat

Squid meat, ready for grilling


Peeling corns


Fresh seafood

Sugar cane juice vendor

tales gourmet

Sweet and savory Small cake vendors can be found in every night market. Just look for the vendors pouring cake batter into hotmetallic molds. The cake is quickly cooked into various shapes and sizes and come with a variety of fillings including cream, red bean paste, and peanut butter.

Fresh mushrooms

Noodles and Dumplings Taiwanese are passionate about their noodles and dumpling dishes, with endless variations and flavor combinations that are both nourishing and appetizing. Oyster vermicelli is a thick, hearty soup bursting with flavor. Made with fresh oysters, pig intestines stewed in soy sauce, black vinegar, special sauce, and fresh cilantro, its exotic flavor is heightened by red vermicelli, which lends a delightful chewiness to the dish. Served in 15 seconds flat for $1-2US, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper or faster way to fill your belly. Dumplings and steamed buns can be found in any convenience store or night market, but it’s an ample bowl of soup dumplings that no traveler to Taiwan should miss. Pop one of these bitesized packages in your mouth and you’ll experience a flavorful explosion that has the unforgettable taste of spiced soup broth and tasty meat stuffing.

Bean curd Tofu can be found all over the island of Taiwan in various kinds of vegetarian dishes, but nowhere is it more apparent than at a stinky tofu stand. We promise you’ll be able to find one. All you have to do is follow your nose. The aroma of stinky tofu is a full-on assault of the senses, causing eyes to water and your nose to shut down. The smelliest tofu, however, is often the best. While many people are disgusted by the smell of this fermented tofu dish, those who rise to the challenge are often won over by this tasty treat. Cubes of fermented tofu are usually deep fried and served with pickled vegetables and a sauce made with soy paste, garlic, and spices. Don’t miss the grilled version. It comes glazed with soy sauce and is then dipped in a spicy Mala sauce made with duck blood.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, candied fruit sticks are a sticky bite-sized delight. They come in all sorts of flavors. Crabapples stuffed with preserved plums and strawberries are two local favorites. Beverages Pearl milk tea, known throughout the Western world as Bubble tea, is a delightful combination of fragrant black tea, milk, and chewy tapioca balls. Whether it’s drunk hot or cold, the special taste of this drink has made it an instant island-wide favorite and a unique Taiwanese invention that is now available around the world. Juice and tea stands can be found all over Taiwan and are especially popular on hot summer days. These refreshing drinks range from freshly squeezed fruit juices to fruit and bean smoothies made with milk and crushed ice. The most popular flavors are papaya, mango, watermelon, mung bean, and azuki bean.

a tale of four cities


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tales ART

The Art of


Nepalese girl

Hanuman dancing in flames

See the world through the eyes of photographer El-Branden Brazil as he shares with us his love for the arts, for humanity and his encounters around the world that inspired not just his works, but also his perspectives in life. El-Branden Brazil, a bit about yourself please... Although it may seem unlikely, due to the exotic-sounding nature of my name, I was born in England. I had a very artistic upbringing, due to my parents having a theatre company. This fostered a keen interest in all kinds of Arts. In particular, I’ve always been attracted to writing, photography, painting and drawing.

And that’s how you got started in photography? Pretty much. My introduction to photography began at the age of nine, when my grandmother presented me with a vintage 1932 fold-out camera. Nothing could be further removed from the digital cameras of today! During my university years I took a course on the history of photography, which helped me develop a deep appreciation and understanding of the choices photographers make in the creative process.

I didn’t really get into it until my first trip to China, back in 1998. People responded positively to the images I had taken there, and I started to believe that perhaps I had some skill worth exploring and developing. You most certainly do! You travel quite often I see... Traveling is my passion. It challenges and awakens the soul. As St Augustine wrote, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” I couldn’t agree more. Likewise! Where in the world have you traveled to? Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by Asia, partly because of my affinity with Buddhism. Asia is easily my favorite region of the world, and I realize how fortunate I have been to have the opportunities to explore it. However, there is still so much more for me to see and experience.

a tale of four cities


Sewing in Varanasi

After graduating from university, I packed my bags and moved to Tokyo, where I have been for the past 14 years. Japan is a photographer’s dream. Everyday, there is something to discover and take photographs of. My travels have gone well beyond Asia, taking me to countries such as Egypt, Peru, Bolivia, across Canada, the whole of Western Europe, 26 states in the US and a few other places. I am absolutely fascinated by different cultures, and I love to traipse through the sites of ancient civilizations. I also


enjoy trekking, having climbed in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, the Rockies and Mount Fuji, as well as hiking in the Amazon and in the jungles of Asia. If the truth be told, I would fly anywhere, if given the opportunity. In the past six months, I have been to Indonesia, India, Nepal and Thailand. They are places that present the photographer with unique cultural gems to shoot. Soon, I’m planning to return to Thailand to take photographs of Burmese refugees for a project I am working on.

Nice. What elements and or topics attract you as a photographer? People are the focus of much of my photography. I am drawn to the stories that a well taken portrait can convey. In particular, the expressions of the sublime, religious and spiritual have a great deal of attraction for me. I’m also very much engaged in human rights, and I do volunteer work for Refugees International Japan. At their 2009 annual fundraising auction, I donated three of my photographs, which managed to raise $1600. I am also a very determined Free Burma activist. I believe that people should find a cause and fight for what they think to be right. I have no patience for those apathetic to the suffering and cruelty that exists in the world.

A lady in Patan

A coconut seller in Thiravannamalai

Very passionate I can see. What about photography projects? What’s keeping you busy nowadays? I currently have an exhibition with two other photographers in Berlin. The money raised is going towards supporting a charity project in Zanzibar. The exhibition was first shown in the Spiegelsalon Café, and has since been shown in Potsdam and Quasimodo. It is presently on show at the Anabalon Art Gallery in Berlin. This is an ongoing project.

I’m also preparing an exhibition in Los Angeles, for the nonprofit organization, Monks Without Borders. Two years ago, I was approached by Zachary Perlman, the founder of the organization and an ordained priest, to supply photographs for their website. The organization’s aim is to promote interfaith communication and world peace, as well as initiate fundraising activities for charity projects. I was asked to be an adviser on issues appertaining to Burma, as well as being their chief photojournalist.

a tale of four cities


Balinese Hindu priest

Wow.... Definitely a life-changing experience Most certainly. I took many photographs of what I saw, but to this day, I still feel uneasy sharing them.

What’s your most memorable travel experience so far? Perhaps the most life changing experience was the tsunami in 2004. During the days leading up to the disaster, I was traveling in South India. On that awful day, I arrived in Kanyakumari, unaware that a major event had occurred just two hours before. It soon became apparent, as I walked through the fishing village, that something terrible had happened. Boats were snapped in half, pylons were bent over, debris filled the streets and people struggled to remove personal items from their damaged homes.


At night, as I lay in my hotel room, with my window open, I could hear people calling names out to the sea, desperately trying to locate their loved ones. Sadly, 260 fishermen in Kanyakumari had lost their lives to the tsunami. As news continued to come in, it was impossible for me not to try and get involved with some of the relief efforts. In Pondicherry, I managed to get in contact with a local group of volunteers, who were delivering water, food and supplies to destroyed villages along the Tamil Nadu coastline.

Understandably. All right then, last call out. Anything else you’d like to share with us? I request that everyone show their solidarity for the long-suffering Burmese people. Please get involved and be a voice for those that are silenced by the regime. This year is a very important one, because they will have their first election since 1990. However, unless the constitution is restored to its pre-2008 conditions, before it was tooled in favor of the military junta, there will be no fair result. The Burmese have suffered enough and their plight is all too often ignored by the world. The more people involved in the cause, the stronger the pressure on world politicians, and ultimately the regime.

Burma Inle A Burmese boy and his squirrel



Swiss-Belhotel Ambon

Swiss-Belhotel Borneo

An elegant all-day dining restaurant serving contemporary Asian and Western dishes. Shutters boasts of a romantic outdoor terrace area with a breathtaking view of the Amara skylight feature and an open-concept kitchen where diners can watch chefs work their magic.

This first four-star hotel in town is accessible to any business and tourism destinations. Stay in Pearl in Ambon’s Suite Room (2D/1N) in inclusive Suite Room with sea and mountain view at USD 182nett. Rates include American buffet breakfast, airport transfer, free entrance to spa and fitness centre, high speed internet access and special turn down service. Terms and Conditions apply.

Swiss-Belhotel Borneo Samarinda, is strategically located in the business district of Samarinda with a panoramic view overlooking Mahakam river. Stay with Swiss-Belhotel Borneo Samarinda from period February to July 2010 and get an opportunity spend holiday in Sydney. Terms and Conditions apply.

Open daily Buffet breakfast Lunch Dinner

0700am to 1030pm. 0700am to 1030am. 1130am to 0230pm. 0630pm to 1030pm.

1 Larkhill Road, Sentosa Island, Singapore 099394 T: +65 6825 3866

Jl Benteng Kapaha Ambon 97214, Maluku – Indonesia T: +62911 322 888 +62911 322 777

Jl Mulawarman 6, Samarinda 75112 East Kalimantan – Indonesia T 62-541 200 888 F: 62-541 201 888 E-mail :


Swiss-Belhotel Bay View

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. We offer a very special rate in March at IDR 728.000,- nett per night for a Superior room, inclusive of breakfast for two.

Rejuvenate Spa Package 3D/2N at one (1) bedroom suite, at only USD 308++/ package, inclusive of daily breakfast and one set menu candle light dinner at Roof Top Sky Terrace Restaurant, round trip airport transfers, two “Journey to Sparadise” spa treatments for couples, 10% discount on food and beverage, welcome fruit basket and free shuttle service to Nusa Dua Beach and Kuta shopping area.

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:

Jl Kebo Iwa, Taman Mumbul Nusa Dua, Bali – Indonesia T: 0361 847 8000 F: 0361 847 8001

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

citibank highlights Citi Platinum Travel Privileges with preferred airlines • Airport Meet and Greet Service – Sail through arrival and departure formalities. With a personal escort to assist you with arrivals, check-ins, accelerated immigrations clarance and luggage for all international flights at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport • Airport Transfer Service – Provides safe, reliable and cash free ground travel with a selection of premium vehicles to and from airports and in and around foreign countries. • Other Unique Services – Interpreter Referral, Lost Passport Assistance, Embassy Referral, Legal Referral, Lost Luggage Assistance and Bail Bond.

For more information, call Citi Platinum concierge at 6221 7591 2874 Terms and Conditions applied

Garuda Indonesia Citi Card

Double Your Miles. Fly Free Even Faster. Only Garuda Indonesia Citi Card can offer you Fly Free Faster! For every transaction and every purchase of Garuda Indonesia flights (L Class and above), you will earn “Double Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer (GFF) Miles”. This program will allow you to collect GFF Miles faster, so you can show the world to your family for free! Also enjoy our extra privileges just for you: • 2500 GFF Miles activation bonus • Free 20kg additional extra baggage • Free Travel & Overseas Medical Insurance • Free access to Citibank Executive Lounge for two persons • 5% discount on Garuda Indonesia ticket at Garuda Ticketing Office

For more information, call 69999 from your cellphone Terms and Conditions applied

travel horoscope

Aquarius (Jan 20 - Feb 18)

Pisces (Feb 19 - Mar 20)

Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 19)

Nothing irritates the best out of you but the calls of nature (cooing pigeons, buzzing bees, ceaseless honking and screeching of cars…) Worse still, these happen all in the morning and yank you right out of your dreams before your alarm does. These are the reasons why you’re the most likely candidate to hit our recommended spots for relief and relaxation on pg 32. Need we say more?

A joyful sign this season with absolute tolerance for endless criticism and antics. To keep your sanity intact, the spring at Jeju Island, South Korea will provide much more meaning to life with its flowering beauty and the fresh scent of delight in the air. Head down there this April Fool’s Day and you’ll stay pretty happy away from senseless pranks and unwanted attention.


As the stars wait in anticipation for the arrival of summer’s sun, tan and fun, you’ll find yourself an insatiable thirst for sweet, lucid coconut juice fresh out of its husk. Being the purest liquid second to water, coconut juice contains electrolytes (this is scientifically proven), thus keeping you hydrated and fresh for the day! For the best coconut experience, the signs have aligned themselves above the island of Koh Samui, Thailand. Remember – the younger the fruit, the better it tastes!

Taurus (Apr 20 - May 20) The Airhead Stars aligned themselves outside the doors of Taurus residences this spring. For those taking a break and traveling – have you got everything checked? House keys, passport, money in the right currency? As the holiday calls out to you, don’t neglect the smallest details, as they are probably far more important than what you think.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20) The twilight saga – eclipse of the moon has affected the stars in more ways than one. The ceaseless battle between good and evil, animals and vamps are taking a toil on you. Take refuge in the beautiful state of Kerala in South India. A sanctuary where you’re safe from the clutches of the unknown, protected by the powers of picturesque scenery and beautiful people. Cancer (June 21 - July 22) Fresh seafood in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a live testimony that nirvana exists on earth. We do not encourage cannibalism but those pieces of succulent and tasty crabmeat are worth betraying your species for. Leo (July 23 - Aug 22) When things aren’t going so well for you, there is an absolute need to stay vigilant and focused. For a start, make your morning ritual a simple visit to your local budget airlines’ website for limited-period-only flight promotions that are too good to be true. Let no golden opportunity pass you by, right? Virgo (Aug 23 - Sep 22) Traveling a wee bit too near Mars, you’re gonna feel pretty heated up this season. It’s time to stop being a dear and show what a true Virgo has got. For a start, authentic Thai Tom Yam is the best way to begin. It gets you all fired up, yet eliminates the negativity with tantalizing spices and flavors that make you feel less guilty about being all hotheaded and fiery.

Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 21) Scorpio seems to have spiraled out of the galaxy, looking out of sorts lately. Is it the Valentine’s season that brought many over the moon, or the fact that it’s over made you woebegone. You need a tinge of pink to spark a glow on your face once again. Introducing the Bandung drink. Popular in Singapore and Malaysia, this tasty pink beverage will bring back sweet love, not just for Scorpios but just about for anyone else actually. Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) You Saggies are galloping away at an amazing speed. What’s the hurry? Relax and plan your days. Even the immigration takes time to issue visas. Speaking of which, have you applied for yours before you embark on a holiday to a place where visa is needed?

Libra (Sep 23 - Oct 22) Seriously, stop hiding behind the balance scales. Life ain’t that easy even for Librans. Instead of fretting over come-what-may, we suggest you put your energy into things that are more constructive and fulfilling. Hitting the malls at Sydney’s Crown Street at Surry Hill can be made reality within minutes (See Leo’s predictions). A plethora of vintage outlets that stimulate endorphins as you shop-till-youdrop. This is also typically known as, retail therapy.

Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 19) Clothes. New clothes. Yes, that’s what makes you happy. And we aren’t talking about those you find in the malls, or on the streets. You need one that is uniquely yours, such as a tailored-made traditional Vietnamese costume in Ho Chi Minh City. Simple yet chicly oriental, this costume dons best on the Capricorn body (regardless of size, truly)!

a tale of four cities


bon voyage

Traveler. Fashionista. Entrepreneur. House-wife. Our graceful lady Prami Radcliffe juggles all kinds of responsibilities in her busy and hectic schedule. One of the partner at up-andcoming brand, Stella.R, she took time off to chat about the best things in travel – culture, fashion and food! I’m big on culture, fashion and food. These are the three things that attract me to travel, and unsurprisingly, I love going to the cities – London, Hong Kong and Tokyo are some of my favorite destinations. London is just so diverse and seductive. It is rich in culture, art and fashion, and the gourmet offerings found there are out of this world! Hong Kong is a destination that I visit at least a few times a year. Initially, my visit there was all about business, but now that I have more leisure time on hand, I often fly back there to visit my girlfriends, drink, dine and shop. It’s a great destination for girlfriends since it accommodates what all girls want – dine, shop, spa. Swim and relax at the W Hotel. Shop the day away at Lane Crawford and SOHO. And end the day with dinner at J’oel Robuchon and drinks at Felix Bar. What a perfect day!


My very first impression of Hong Kong was one of awe. I still remember vividly how I got off an evening flight arriving in Hong Kong. The bustling neon lights attracted me like moths to a flame, and I wanted to just get out and explore the city. Unfortunately, I was unable to do so, since my schedule the next day was jam-packed and I had to prepare myself for my appointments. I made a promise to myself that the next time round, I will treat myself to a few extra days exploring the city. Tokyo was a different experience but just as memorable. I was 16 years old, and it was the very first time I traveled overseas independently. Everything was quite a blur however, but I do remember plenty of ramens and udons. Delicious! I also love how quirky creative and wonderful the Japanese packagings and shop displays are decorated. They put so much effort and thought into a simple wrap.

Unearthing Asia  

Issue 02 - A Tale of Four Cities

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