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Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 03 - Issue 03

Leh Ladakh New Zealand Yunnan

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

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


Lake Benmore, Waitaki Valley.

Welcome to the youngest country on earth


Escape the heat. Enjoy a winter holiday in New Zealand from June to August. Join the buzzing après scene set against a breathtaking backdrop. Go skiing or simply frolic in snow. Take your taste buds on tour. Be whisked from one delicious destination to the next in style on a tailored food and wine itinerary. There are also plenty of outdoor pursuits to fill your days like hiking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, horse riding, cruising, jetboating or mountain biking. With so many amazing cool experiences to try, you’ll have a great time chilling out.


contents

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 03 - Issue 03

Leh Ladakh New Zealand Yunnan

Vol 03 - Issue 03

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

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

On the cover – Leh Ladakh by Scott Sporleder

THE GUIDE LOST PARADISE 52 Top of the World Head straight up towards the Himalayas, to Leh Ladakh

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62 Paradise Found Unearth two different slices of paradise in New Zealand’s Milford Sound and Waiheke Island 74 Leap of Beauty The Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the last few paradise left on earth

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52 www.unearthingasia.com

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1 Larkhill Road Sentosa Singapore 099394 TEL +65 6825 3888 FAX +65 6825 3878 sentosa@amarasanctuary.com


contents

36 84 17-23 BUZZWORTHY! Shanghai World Expo; Burj Khalifa; Hangzhou Paradise, and more 24 DATEBOOK Festivals and events not to be missed 26 SPOTLIGHT Puerto Princesa 24 hour in the old port of Puerto Princesa 32-47 INSIGHTS Hong Kong Attractions; Singapore Shopping; Kuta Beach, and more

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84 STYLE GUIDE Kaleidocope Oriental charm at the historic La Maison Bleus

www.unearthingasia.com

26 95 SNAPSHOTS Infernal Generals TRAVEL TALES 98 Ride Like a Khan Riding on horseback across the vast lands of Mongolia 104 Sense of Touch A personal paradise in the Island of Gods 114-120 TRAVEL PERSONALITY


EDITOR’S notes

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by

How often is it that we find ourselves sitting in front of our computers wishing we were somewhere else enjoying the beauty of the world, instead of living out the stagnancy of life? In this era of global urbanization, where cityscapes and metro-lines gradually take over earth’s natural facades, we often yearn for our own personal paradise. We look for them in spaces near and far, in both the real world and online world.

In this issue of Unearthing Asia, we uncovered these lost paradises left on earth. We trekked across the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China seeking Shangri-La, meandered through mountains in New Zealand to find two sides of paradises, and weathered across the Himalayas in Leh Ladakh to discover heaven on earth, just for you.

– Robert Frost

We are also evolving further, expanding and changing with the flow, in our never-ending quest to craft the perfect experiences for you, our readers. You can see in this issue, where we collaborated with Yahoo! Travel to bring our traveling inspirations to more people. You’ll also notice a small boxed code throughout the magazine, in our effort to combine traditional and online media to bring a seamless experience for you. Finally, we also explored deeper into the traveling lifestyle with our brand new segment – Travel Personalities, where we invited people from all walks of life to share with us their love for travel. After all, travel is not merely about going to places. It is about the people you meet, the culture you unearthed, the choices and the journey. But above all else, travel is about the connection that brings us all closer as the fortunate recipient of this truly beautiful place we call home. This is what we call the traveling lifestyle

Nikolas Tjhin Editor-in-Chief

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Milford Sound in the Summer © Rob Suisted

www.unearthingasia.com


BEHIND THE SCENES

Commissioners Husein VP Consultant Kicky Alexander Achmad Sobari Editor in Chief Nikolas Tjhin Editors Michelle Lee Carrie Kellenberger Marketing Nadia Veronika Alexander Alvin Jery Riyo Ronald Maengkom

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Contributors Carrie Kellenberger Pramy Radcliffe Dave Norman Scott Sporleder Megan Eaves Debbie Reyes-Coloma Andy Hayes Vannara Putra Publisher PT Tanindo Multi Media Distributor MarketAsia Pte Ltd PT Surya Wahana Sentosa 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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contributors

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04

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01 Carrie Kellenberger

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02 Pramy Radcliffe Traveler. Fashionista. Entrepreneur. Pramy Radcliffe juggles all kinds of responsibilities in her busy and hectic schedule. She is one of the partner in Stella.R, and up-and-coming ladies wear brand and also writes for various travel publications about her travels around the region.

03 Dave Norman Dave Norman is a full time freelance writer and travel junkie. His travel and cultural writings on Asia has appeared in newspapers, magazines and many others. He is currently work at hard on his travelogue, Following Josh, which follows one of his trips through Asia – Beijing to Munich by rail.

04 Scott Sporleder Since graduating from San Diego State University 4 years ago, Scott has dedicated 3 months a year to travel and photograph the world’s unique cultures. While not on the road, he can be seen every summer at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach, California. His travel photography can be seen at www.scottsporleder.com

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

www.unearthingasia.com

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

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

07 Andy Hayes Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, www.sharingtravelexperiences.com.

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buzzworthy!

what’s HAPPENING AROUND THE REGION

EXHIBITION WORLD EXPO Without a doubt, the biggest story of 2010 is the Shanghai World Expo. For the first time ever in the history of the World Expo, a developing country is hosting the event. The event will run through to October 2010, showcasing China’s growing influence in the modern world, and giving other countries an opportunity to establish a healthy relationship with China. Over 190 countries participated in the Expo, most going to great lengths to prepare their own National Pavilions. Local authorities have also stepped up security measures around Expo Park and in the city to ensure that the festivites run smoothly. NT.

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buzzworthy!

LUXURY WOLGAN VALLEY Emirates Hotels & Resorts has finally opened their first property outside Dubai, bringing a slice of extravagance to the Australian bush. Nestled next to a private nature reserve near the Greater Blue Mountains of New South Wales, the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa takes its inspiration from early Australian homesteads. The property, which boasts 40 luxurious suites, is decked out with handcrafted furniture, plunge pools, fireplaces and verandas. Various outdoor events such as wildlife safaris and horseback riding keep guests entertained. ML.

RESORT HANGZHOU PARADISE The Banyan Tree Hangzhou, located in Xixi National Wetland Park, comprises of 72 villas overlooking a garden pool. Within the park, Natural wetland areas and their ecological systems within the park have been preserved. The result is a property steeped in oriental charm, offering a taste of the city’s history as the onetime imperial capital of China. KA.

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buzzworthy!

OPENING RECORD HOLDER 2010 opened on a great note for Dubai with the opening of Burj Khalifa, a 828-meterhigh skyscraper that currently holds the world records for tallest building, highest mosque and the most elevated observation deck. “Burj Khalifa is the Arab world’s tribute to the art and science of modern engineering and design. Burj Khalifa symbolizes the aesthetic unison of many cultures – from Arabia and the rest of the world,” touted Mohamed Alabbar, the Chairman of Emaar Property, which manages the building. NT.

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Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

Raja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa Koh Pha Ngan Bali

Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

+ 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

and Attractions

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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

Inquiries Advertising – medialink@pacific.net.sg Editorial – nik@unearthingasia.com Subscription – info@unearthingasia.com


buzzworthy!

BOUTIQUE DEKUTA A new boutique hotel has opened its doors just steps away from Kuta Beach. dekuta (www.dekuta. com) celebrated their grand opening with a full day of festivities. Guests were treated to various exciting performances, including a personal serenade from the hotel’s very own General Manager, Erik Fatono. “A new type of traveler is walking through the door. These modern people are explorers, culture seekers, professional and shoppers. These are the people that dekuta embraces, and will similarly enjoy our services,” expressed Erik. KA.

VILLAS RECOGNITION Three of Alila’s newest properties—Alila Villas Uluwatu, Alila Villas Hadahaa and Alila Diwa Goa are placed in the recently released Conde Nast Traveler USA Hot List Hotels 2010. Alila Villas Uluwatu further secured a placing in Conde Nast Traveller UK’s The Hot List 2010. The three luxurious Alila properties are amongst 31 hotels in Asia on the prestigious USA Hot List. When it comes to the UK Hot List, Alila Villas Uluwatu is the only hotel in Indonesia and one of 13 hotels in Asia that is being named. KA. lost paradise

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buzzworthy!

VILLAS ALILA SOORI Located in the Tabanan Regency in West Bali, the Alila Villas Soori now graces the lengthy line-up of luxury villas in Bali. The resort boasts privacy and new experiences, with surrounding black sand beaches overlooking the Indian Ocean, verdant rice terraces and views of the majestic Mount Batukaru. Guests can indulge on horse-riding trips, exploring the surrounding area to learn of its royal heritage and how the unique terracotta roofs are made locally. KA.


DATEBOOK

festivals and events not to be missed

Chinese Opera Festival 2010 Throughout 48 days in Hong Kong, 12 troupes of Chinese traditional theatre will perform 8 different genres in an effort to promote Chinese traditional theatre in the community and to enable the public to gain insights into the beauty of Chinese culture. June 4th to July 21st, 2010 www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp Sail Banda Marine Festival 2010 The Sail Banda Marine Festival in Indonesia is an annual event to celebrate the marine beauty of Banda island. Guests will have the chance to explore the island with marine lovers from all over the world. July 24th to August 27th, 2010 www.sailbanda.com

Setouchi Art Festival The Setouchi Art Festival blends traditional folk customs, festivals and regional characteristics that have transcended the ages with the art, architecture and drama of our contemporary times. It focuses on the emergence of Seto Inland Sea in Japan as an important nexus of transportation. July 19th to October 31st, 2010 www.setouchi-artfest.jp/en/

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International Arts Carnival 2010 This annual summer arts festival in Hong Kong will present a wide variety of creative and unique programs, with an array of performers from all over the world. Performances range from multimedia, music, and drama to comedies, musicals and children’s films. July 9th to August 15th, 2010 www.hkiac.gov.hk


Muju Firefly Festival The fireflies of Muju are considered to be so special that they have been designated as one of South Korea’s natural monuments. This festival is held to commemorate that fact, as well as help visitors enjoy the beauty of the fireflies through various programmes. June 12th to June 20th, 2010 Boryeong Mud Festival This popular international festival sees tourists flock to Daeceon Beach, South Korea to experience the beneficial properties of Boryeong mud. Visitors are immersed in activities that include mud wrestling with strangers, mud-sliding and swimming in a large tub filled with mud. July 17th to July 27th, 2010 www.mudfestival.or.kr

Singapore River Festival Taking place every June, this festival sees the city-state come to life with a host of events and activities taking place on and along the river. From Boat Quay to Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, every spot along the river is bursting with entertainment and attractions. The 10-day festival also includes themed parties. Sumida Fireworks Festival On the last Saturday of July, Tokyo’s evening sky turns into a spectacle of dazzling colors from several tens of thousands of fireworks. This annual event is one of the major fireworks displays in Tokyo, which originated from a traditional Suijin Festival dedicated to a water deity. July 31st 2010

June 2010 Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival This festival celebrates the beautiful lotus flowers and highlights the importance of preserving them in nature. Held in Buyeo, South Korea, the festival offers various programs to the public, such as lotus flowers origami and handicrafts. July 22nd to July 25th, 2010

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SPOTLIGHT Palawan

Island Life Puerto Princesa Over the past decade, Palawan, Philippines has steadily grown into a top Asian destination for beach lovers and eco-adventurists. With nearby attractions including El Nido, Honda Bay, and the Subterranean River National Park, it’s no wonder that this beautiful region is also known as one of the world’s last natural frontiers. The old port and fishing city of Puerto Princesa is Palawan’s commercial hub and gatekeeper to this beautiful region. Visitors, in their haste to reach the region’s renowned natural wonders, often overlook this clean, green, and eco-friendly city. Travelers wanting to learn more about the region’s exotic and colorful history will find that the city and its surrounding area has a surplus of exciting activities from top-notch dive sites, beaches, and nature trails to fine dining restaurants and charming garden-side pensions. Carrie Kellenberger

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www.unearthingasia.com


SPOTLIGHT Palawan

10:00AM 08:00AM

09:00AM

Start your morning off at Kamarikutan Kapi at Galeri. This coffee house and art gallery, located just 100 meters east of the airport on Rizal Avenue, is set in the heart of a bamboo grove. The grounds include pebbled walking trails and a gently flowing stream, which offer a serene atmosphere for breakfast and a cup of coffee or a refreshing fruit shake. In the art gallery, you’ll find paintings by local artists, handmade jewelry, and handcrafted bamboo furniture.

Hire a tricycle and head for the old Public Market in downtown Puerto Princesa to shop for souvenirs. This jam-packed traditional market is a hive of activity in the morning, brimming with fresh produce, the freshest seafood of the day, clothing, house wares, and souvenirs. Traditional Filipino hospitality, politeness, and dedication to service are all on display and you’ll find plenty of great photo opportunities here. Friendly smiles and waves are free.

Heading west on Rizal Avenue towards the city port, you can’t miss the towering blue and white spires of Immaculate Conception Cathedral. To date, the Philippines have the largest Catholic population in Asia. The Spanish proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of Mary the patroness of Puerto Princesa in 1872. Just across the street from the cathedral, Plaza Cuartel Park is also worth a visit. This tiny park commemorates the lives of 143 American POW soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. The park overlooks the Baywalk and fishermen’s village. lost paradise

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SPOTLIGHT Palawan

01:30PM Hire a trishaw to take you to the Butterfly Garden located 20 minutes south of the city center. At the back of this tiny cottage there is an enclosed garden full of shrubs, walkways, and dozens of brightly colored species of butterflies and moths that are native to the island of Palawan and other parts of Southeast Asia.

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12:00AM

03:00PM

Feast on a sumptuous seafood meal at Kalui. The menu isn’t extensive, but we promise you’ll love the set meals featuring the freshest seafood catches of the day. The restaurant is set in a garden and boasts fine handmade furniture and beautiful paintings from local artists. We especially enjoyed the fruit salad served in a half coconut shell and sprinkled liberally with brown sugar.

Baker’s Hill, a beautiful little bakery situated on a hilltop on Millionaire’s Row, offers a jaw-dropping view of Puerto Princesa and Honda Bay. This kid-friendly establishment not only has yummy pastries and baked snacks for sale, but also boasts a mini-zoo, playground, a stunning garden, and a number of charming cartoon statues for your amusement.

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SPOTLIGHT Palawan

07:30PM 06:00PM Wander down to the Baywalk to watch the sun descend into the horizon as night falls on the city of Puerto Princesa. This popular local hangout comes alive with colorful neon light displays, and there is a nice sea wall where you can watch the boats entering the port area while enjoying the fresh sea air.

When night time arrives, the city takes on a different appearance. For truly great food, drinks, and entertainment go to Kinabuch’s Restaurant and Grill. Firefly lights, giant flat screen televisions mounted in every corner, outdoor pool tables, and a great sound system make this restaurant the most popular evening hangout in town. The restaurant seats more than 200 guests, but you’ll want to get there early because it fills up fast. We recommend trying the fresh grilled blue marlin steak or the baby back ribs, washed down with an ice-cold San Miguel.

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SPOTLIGHT Palawan

Where to Stay Even the most budget-minded traveler will find good value for their money in Puerto Princesa. The best hotels and resorts start at around $100US a night, while budget accommodations go for less than $30US a night. The Legend has some nice options for travelers looking for mid-range and budget accommodations. There are several types of rooms available at the Legend, but the most recent addition, the Pads, particularly impressed us as being well suited to solo travelers. Starting at P800 per room per night with breakfast included, the Pads offer a hip, cozy alternative for solo flash packers. Budget travelers should check out the garden-side accommodations on offer at RAQ Pension for P800 pesos for a double room, including breakfast for two. Rooms here are basic, but clean. Call ahead and arrange free pickup and drop-off from the airport.

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Local Tips Jun Landicho “Puerto Princesa is paradise,” Jun Landicho replied when I asked why he likes living in Puerto Princesa City. “There’s virtually no crime here, no drugs, the work is good, and it’s clean. Puerto Princesa is a safe place for me and my family.” Jun recommends Binuatan Creations for unique souvenirs. The family-owned weaving business creates handmade placemats, table runners, and handbags in a delightful assortment of colors for a fraction of what you would pay in Manila. The owner also offers tours of the tiny factory, a chance to meet the artists, and a quick lesson on how to operate the looms. For a truly memorable dining experience, Badjao Seafront Restaurant can’t be beat. The restaurant, which is built on stilts and suspended over the mangroves, has an extensive seafood menu. By day, you can sit and watch fisherman wandering around the mangroves, and by night, the restaurant is transformed into a place of romance complete with soft music, fairy lights, and a firefly show. Jun suggests an early morning visit to the Baywalk for a fantastic view of Puerto Princesa Bay. If you get there early enough, you’ll also be able to watch the fishermen bring in their catches of the day.

Stephen and Marianne Yee Stephen and his wife, Marianne, own RAQ Pension on Malvar Street. “Most visitors seem to enjoy dining out in Puerto Princesa because the seafood is superb,” says Marianne. She recommends Kalui Restaurant on Rizal Avenue if it’s fine seafood dining that you’re after. When asked what makes Puerto Princesa special, Stephen replied, “Puerto Princesa really is your gateway to the last frontier. It is an exciting place to be.” “Don’t miss our city’s pride and joy, the Subterranean River National Park,” he adds. The 8.2km underground river winds through a spectacular cavern that flows directly into the sea. The entrance to the cave lies in an aquamarine lagoon that is surrounded by lush vegetation, monitor lizards, monkeys, and colorful birds.

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INSIGHTS TECH

Twitter

Online World We are now living in a world where individuals are very much connected with each other, thanks to the advent of the internet. Recently, mobile technology has also helped keep us connected, thanks to the massively popular iPhone that brought the world of smart-phones to the minds of teenagers and young adults. Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad, is set to give users the ability to stay connected even easier, everywhere and all the time, to “consume the web”. What does all this mean to the average traveler? Simply put, it means more information, data and advices to be consumed, which in turn affect the way we travel. It’s now much easier to inspire yourself about traveling, to find out more about a particular destination, and ultimately, to arrange your travel agenda and itinerary. Here at Unearthing Asia, we’re all for technology that can help you travel, and travel better. Here’s a roundup of the latest travel technology that is sure to change the way you approach your traveling lifestyle.

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Twitter is a simple web tool with unlimited application. It allows their users (“tweeps”) to share with their followers a short “tweet” on what they are doing. As the 140-character “tweets” make their way around the globe instantaneously, Twitter soon becomes the best way to share breaking news, and to keep your friends and family updated with what you are up to. It’s called micro-blogging, but it is so much more than that.  Twitter is a great tool for travelers who are looking for advice on a particular destination. Looking for things to do in Boracay, Phillipines? Tweet it. Researching for your backpacking trip in Central Asia? Ask away. Twitter gives you instant access to millions of individuals, most of which would be more than glad to help you out. One individual even took this to the extreme, traveling the world simply on the goodwill and advice of strangers he met on Twitter. Paul Smith, or better known as, the TwichHiker, managed to prove just how power social networking can be, and traveled around the world depending solely on freebies. So, what are you waiting for? Get Tweeting!


INSIGHTS TECH

QR Codes The QR Codes, short for Quick Response Codes, are two dimensional barcode that is designed to have its contents decoded at a high speed. QR Codes originated in tech-hungry Japan, where most mobilephones are equipped to scan the QR Codes to allow users to get to online content quickly and efficiently. It allows traditional media a way to instantly connect users with their online content, by providing a very user-friendly way to do so.

Aggregators

Instead of having users memorize the web address and pushing them enough to actually check it out, users can simply scan the codes and are forwarded to the appropriate content. This is something that we are starting to implement in Unearthing Asia, and you’ll notice the following code peppered throughout the magazine. This is a great tool to allow readers to communicate and interact with us and with each other. We’re excited to see how it turns out, so do whip out your phones and try them out.

There are more and more websites out there with the sole purpose of aggregating various online contents and bringing out the best. Recently, Yahoo! Travel started Travel Inspirations, which we are proud to be a part of. This was one such website, filtering the best of online contents and sharing them with their readers, giving contents an extended shelf-life and an exponentially larger distribution. Other sites have differing perspectives and filtering method, ensuring that every individual has their own needs fulfilled. There are, for example, travel sites that bring you the best of Travels in Asia, or Adventure Travels, or Budget Travels, and so much more.

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INSIGHTS city

2

Happy Valley

3

Relaxing at Lei King Wan

For those into a bit of gambling or just wanting a great night out, take the tram to Happy Valley Race Course, another of Hong Kong’s iconic landmarks. Bring your passport to get a tourist pass for HK$100 (roughly US$13) which gives you access to most areas of the course. The atmosphere is great, and there are always side-shows and activities for those less interested in the horses.

Hong Kong is often synonymous with a dirty, rowdy and cramped megalopolis that’s extremely easy to get lost in. Its streets are a maze of cheap shopping and street-side snacks, thronged on any given day with locals and tourists alike. Fortunately, there is plenty to enjoy in Hong Kong other than a frenzied shopping jaunt through Mong Kok. Here are nine suggestions to start you off on an exciting journey in Hong Kong. Nikolas Tjhin

1

Tramming Through

The HK$2 narrow double-decker city trams trundling on the north coast of Hong Kong Island are a Hong Kong icon. They are much slower than the MTR, but the route takes you by various points of interests such as the Western Market, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley before ending at Shau Kei Wan. They are definitely the cheapest sightseeing tours in Hong Kong Island.

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At the east end of the MTR route is Sai Wan Ho, a quiet coastal town that plays host to the Hong Kong Film Archive. We recommend taking a walk along the Eastern Tourist Trail, which passes by various temples on the way to Lei King Wan (Soho East). There are waterfront establishments in the area serving a wide array of cuisines, all of which offer some nice options for visitors looking for a slow, quiet dinner. An evening at Leu King Wan is sure to end on a high note!


INSIGHTS city

4

Exploring Lantau Island

Lantau Island is the biggest of the 230 or so islands belonging to the territory of Hong Kong. Take the MRT to Tung Chung, and make your way towards the Po Lin Monastery by a 30-minute cable car ride called the Ngong Ping 360. There is a cultural village at Ngong Ping where you can stop for refreshment and shop for souvenirs, but the main treat is the Giant Buddha statue.

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A Symphony of Lights

Directly within walking distance of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station is the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It celebrates icons of Hong Kong cinema from the past century, and the seaside promenade offers fantastic views, day and night. Every night at 8pm, you can also enjoy A Symphony of Lights, a spectacular lights and laser show that is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”.

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Stanley Town

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Mystic Reading

Accessible by bus, Stanley Town is a tourist attraction located in the southeastern peninsula of Hong Kong Island. Take a walk through Stanley Market, a large open-air marketplace that is similar to Mong Kok, but minus the crowds. The bargains here are mostly souvenirs such as ornaments, arts and crafts.

The Temple Street at night is filled with various fortune tellers who can give you readings for around HK$50 to HK$100. There are a varied bunch of fortune tellers here, each with their own set of skills, from reading tea leaves and palms to Tarot cards and traditional fortune tellers who tell your fortune based on your birth date and Chinese zodiac. Some of the more popular ones have queues up to an hour or so, and one stall I saw was fully booked for the rest of the week.

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Victoria Peak

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Nightlife at Lan Kwai Fong

Take the extremely steep Peak Tram and head towards Victoria Peak to enjoy a scenic view of Hong Kong. Up at the Peak, there is the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and also the recently renovated Peak Tower, housing an array of shops and establishments for your enjoyment. There are also various hiking trails and the Sky Terrace from which you can enjoy the best view in Hong Kong.

A buzzing center of clubs, bars and restaurants, this estate of trendy establishments is a popular hangout for night owls. Located smack in the middle of Hong Kong’s Central area, Lan Kwai Fong is crowded every night. You can also find various bistros and pubs around the area, serving midnight supper and snacks for bar-goers till late at night.

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INSIGHTS shopping

Shopping Hotspots Though small in size, Singapore has so much more to offer than meets the eye. Its gregarious round-the-clock city life has is a vibrant hub for endless eating, shopping and nightlife. For shopaholics in the region, Singapore is no foreign land. Orchard Road is a favorite amongst locals and foreigners alike with a plethora of shops catering to all markets. The CBD area also bustles with its mega malls, restaurants and cafes such as the Suntec City and Marina Square. Unearthing Asia uncovers the latest shopping hotspots as well as various hideouts providing a shopping experience that is uniquely Singapore. Michelle Lee

313@SOMERSET Since opening its doors in November last year, this 8-storey mall has garnered immense popularity amongst the locals, especially with retail favorites such as Forever 21, Zara and Cotton On fronting its front door façade. Four levels of Forever 21 and three levels of Zara flagship stores have set the ladies, ballistic with their wild selection of fashion wear. Uni-Qlo from Japan and popular music store HMV has also sets up base here, alongside popular brands such as Esprit, Mango and Lacoste.

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Located just above the Somerset MRT station, 313@Somerset also hosts three basement levels of restaurants, snack bars and eateries, offering gourmet selections that satisfy varying palates. Right beside 313@Somerset, Orchard Central is another new addition to the line-up. The mall is Singapore’s tallest vertical mall, catering to the stylish shopper with their European branded labels, from bsc Lingerie to DZ bags. The store-front facade lights up at night, a scene unto itself that is sure to draw in the crowds.


INSIGHTS shopping

ORCHARD ION Bursting into the scene with its vibrant architecture that added a fresh glitz and glam to Singapore’s shopping belt, Orchard ION has hit the headline with its upscale retail concept, featuring 15 flagship stores of prestigious brands such as Giorgio Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Cartier. The mall has reinvented the shopping space along Orchard Road linking two other malls Wisma Atria and Wheelock Place, and thus, creating an underground shopping paradise amidst the glitz and glamour of Orchard Road. Beyond the surface, venture four levels down and the last basement is an abyss of gourmet treats, much to the delight of local foodies. The rest of the basement levels are filled with middle to high range brands with a concept stores such as Kikki K, which offers designers stationery and gifts from Sweden making their debut in Singapore.

VIVOCITY Vivocity came to life as Singapore’s largest retail mall offering a holistic lifestyle experience. Armed with the largest cinema multiplex, a roof top amphitheatre, a water feature and the gateway into Sentosa Island, Vivocity is a melting pot of lifestyle entertainment, retail and international gourmet. The first Gap store in Southeast Asia opened doors at Vivocity, alongside other European brands such as Club Marc and River Island. Families with young children spend their weekends on the rooftop of the mall splashing away at the water feature, while the mono-railway station Sentosa Express is packed with beach-lovers heading to spend the day out in the sun.

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HAJI LANE Moving away from the limelight of Orchard Road, Haji Lane draws you away from the frenzy of cosmopolitan shopping into a secluded little haven where local hipsters and fashionistas gather. Homegrown designer brands and artworks are strewn along a oneway lane with linear shophouses facing each other, all of which, houses designs unique to start-up designers. Very often, this is the place of inspiration for nonconformists and the ideal shopping strip for those looking for individuality and style. With more than 20 shops for you to browse and explore, you’ll be sure to find some treasures at this favorite haunt of local art students and young creative types. Haji Lane brings you back in time to olden days Singapore, offering a quaint shopping experience with its nostalgic set up. Many wedding couples find this spot perfect for their wedding shoots too.

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ANN SIANG RD & CLUB ST

BUGIS VILLAGE

If you’re keen on the latest trends in fashion, don’t miss out on Ann Siang Road and Club Street. This little haunt tucked away deep inside the Chinatown area is host to various local brands, such as Asylum and Style:Nordic. From the outside, you’ll note the exotic pre-war shop-houses preserved to retain the oriental charm of old. But take a step into the shops and you’ll find yourself in boutiques offering the best of local creations and designs. The shopping experience here is chic and adventurous, blending traditional Chinese heritage with contemporary offerings.

Bugis is known for massive human flow and endless traffic jostling through the vicinity. Adding to the buzz and vivacity is Bugis Village, a bargaining haven for both local and tourists alike. With hundreds of stalls laced along the shophouses selling clothes, CDs, watches, bags and accessories, Bugis Village is Singapore’s number one shopping bazzar where you can find cheap and affordable products. The stalls are narrowly placed apart, bringing you a squishy, yet enlivening shopping experience. This is the essence of Bugis Village – a noisy, bustling environment for shoppers to haggle for the best prices. Not far away from Bugis Village is Iluma, a newly opened 10-storey shopping mall that focuses on not just retail shopping experience, but also the performing arts and entertainment.

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Advertorial

The New Crown Jewel Park Hotel Group is set to open a brand new chapter in its development with the opening of Grand Park Orchard in July this year. Grand Park Orchard and its stunning four-storey retail podium, Knightsbridge will be the flagship property of Park Hotel Group, a fast-growing premium hospitality chain in the Asia-Pacific. The Group’s quality developments also include Park Hotel Clarke Quay which has recently been awarded Asia-Pacific Property Award’s Best Hotel Construction & Design. Park Hotel Group’s flagship property is located at the heart of Singapore’s premium shopping district, Orchard Road. The property is emerging after an S$80 million makeover, and is set to be an iconic landmark on the world famous shopping street as it redefines the skyline with its outstanding herringbone designed glass facade and dramatic eightstorey tall media wall. The 5 star luxury hotel boasts 308 luxurious rooms and suites and stunning city views. Located on the 4th floor, the chic hotel lobby overlooks the outdoor swimming pool. Other facilities include a well-equipped gym with state-of-the art fitness equipment, and a pampering spa featuring treatments inspired by Asian therapies and philosophies. Club floor

Grand Park Orchard

guests will appreciate the exclusive privileges of Crystal Club and complimentary access to the Crystal Club Lounge. All the exquisite suites enjoy additional living space, with the extravagance of B&O televisions, Herman Miller work stations, gourmet coffee offerings by Nespresso as well as Crystal Club access. Additionally, a variety of restaurants and bars offer guests a wide range of cuisines, including all day dining restaurant Open House which features live cooking stations serving signature dishes of pizzas, dim sum, sandwiches, claypot dishes and roasts, ambient lounge Onyx Bar and the fashionable poolside Bar Canary which specialises in signature concoctions of Veuve Clicquot cocktails as well as 24-hour in-room dining. The comprehensive conference and meeting facilities come with same floor access to the lobby, restaurant, swimming pool, lounge, bar, spa and business centre; ensuring corporate guests a convenient and ideal location for their business purposes. With its excellent location, guests at the hotel will have easy access to everything the luxury development has to offer, from the quintessentially necessary to the absolutely indulgent. The Knightsbridge retail podium will

up the ante on luxury retailing as it unveils a collection flagship stores by a select group of luxury brands. All units will boast direct street access to Orchard Road and double volume frontages yet to be seen in Singapore.

Grand Park Orchard 270 Orchard Road Tel: (65) 6732 1111 Fax: (65) 6732 7018 Email: info.gpor@parkhotelgroup.com www.parkhotelgroup.com


INSIGHTS GETAWAY

Kuta Beach Bali has been Indonesia’s top tourist destination for decades, with Kuta Beach establishing itself as a surfing mecca on Asia’s popular backpacking route in South East Asia. Long golden beaches, stunning coral reefs, a vibrant island culture, international cuisines, luxury shopping, and world-class surfing are just a few of the activities that visitors can enjoy here. Today, Kuta is known as much for its luxury accommodations, fancy restaurants, and posh nightclubs as it is for its wild EAT LOCAL FAVORITES parties and festivities. Smack in the middle of Kuta Square, Dulang Amongst it all we managed Cafe serves unpretentious local cuisine at a to find a few rare gems that reasonable price. You’ll probably notice the have injected a fresh dose bright greenish-blue canopy while you walk of creativity to the lifestyle and and shop around the area. Head in and you’ll glamour of this once sedate find some of the best local fare in town, such fishing village. Kicky Alexander as the juicy Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup), which comes in two versions – one with fried meat, and another with stewed meat. Other local favorites include Ayam Penyet and the spicy Sambal Terasi that comes with it!

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PLAY SURF AND TURF Surfing is the name of the game at Kuta Beach. There are a number of options for surfers of every age and ability, so there’s no reason to miss out on the fun. Kuta Beach is famous for its sandy bottom, which not only creates a relatively safe environment for those just learning, but also allows surfers to cut loose without having to think about any coral reefs or rocks lurking below the surface of the water. Beginners can take their pick of various surfing schools in the area. Two of the most popular are Rip Curl School of Surf and Quiksilver Surf School Bali.


INSIGHTS GETAWAY

DRINKS PARTY ON

STAY BOUTIQUE CHARM

Not far from the Bali bombing memorial, M-Bar-Go, a large two-story bar has recently opened and created some fierce competition with other dance bars in the area. A favorite with expats and locals alike, M-Bar-Go has great music and even holds the occasional fashion show to spice up the atmosphere. Right next to it, Sky Garden is another happening venue.

Deep inside the famed Poppies Lane, dekuta boutique hotel has just recently opened its doors. The hotel is just steps away from the Kuta beachfront, but secluded enough to keep you away from the bin and din of the local nightlife. This unpretentious hotel offers a blend of unique personality and chic interior design. Travelers can expect comfort, ambiance, and flair at an affordable price. We recommend heading to the depalm rooftop bar and lounge to enjoy a mesmerizing Kuta sunset for a fresh change from the usual crowded bars of Kuta.


INSIGHTS culture

Unusual Festivals With its colorful local cultures and numerous differing locales, the region of Asia is brimming with bizarre and unusual festivals. Festivals create a special atmosphere and bring out the best of a local area, creating a top-notch attraction to plan your holiday around. Here are some of the most unusual festivals all around Asia to keep you amused and piqued with curiosity. Vannara Putra

» Kanamara Matsuri » Kawasaki, Japan » April Often mistaken for gigantic bachelor party or the Japanese equivalent of a grand Playboy bash, Kanamara Matsuri (or the Festival of the Steel Phallus) is a festive event showcasing replicas of the male gender’s ‘equipment’ in various colors and shapes. Originating from 17th century Japan, also known as the Edo Period, this annual fertility festival was initially organized by geisha escorts, in the hope that they would be protected from various sexually transmitted

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diseases. The Kanamara Matsuri is centred around a local penis-venerating shrine believed to grant divine protection not only against sexually transmitted diseases, but also in business and the clan’s prosperity, marriage and family harmony. Now, this Shinto gathering is a full-fledged attraction that are used to bolster tourism while creating awareness and raising money for AIDS research. Only in Japan would such a festival be made available to the public, and even to children!

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» Yi Peng Lantern Festival » North Thailand » November On a full moon of the 2nd month of the Lanna calendar, the skies of Northern Thailand are illuminated with thousands of translucent, glowing paper lanterns dancing in the night sky like fireflies. With the most elaborate ones held in Chiang Mai, the Yi Peng Festival is celebrated with the unleashing of these “Sky lanterns” into the air, symbolizing the a “physical” release of troubles and worries in life. This is seen as good luck and has garnered much popularity amongst locals and tourists alike. It is also a phenomenal and stunning sight with the entire night sky full of brightly-lit lanterns floating away into the horizons.


INSIGHTS culture

» Bau Nyale Festival » Indonesia » February The full moon shone brightly up on the dark nightscape of Lombok’s beautiful southern coast. It was February, the month of love and romance, and a throng of people were on the beach, looking out for… worms? Usually referred to as nyale, these sea worms are only seen during during the months of February to March. They are believed to be a manifestation of Princess Mandalika, and the locals celebrate their arrival with much excitement. Legend has it that Princess Mandalika, whose beauty was famed throughout the land, had numerous suitors competing for her love. Over time, the competition grew fierce, and the princess, not wanting to start a war among them, decided to sacrifice herself by plunging into the deep, cold sea. Since her death, reams of multihued sea worms mysteriously appear each year. The people believe that these sea worms are Princess Mandalika coming to visit her beloved people. They celebrate this with various events such as traditional war games, musicals and a stage rendition of the story of Princess Mandalika.

» The Holi Festival » India, Nepal and Bangladesh » February or March This popular Hindu spring festival, observed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other Hindu countries, is also known as The Festival of Color. The festivities can last up to sixteen days, with the main day, Holi, celebrated by people applying (or sometimes throwing) colored water or powder at each other. The Holi Festival is a celebration of good over bad, and also of various Hindu legends. Culturally, Holi is a festival that brings brings the fabrics of society together and strengthens the community - not an easy feat in secular India, where caste and race plays a large part in social dynamics. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month, usually in the latter parts of February or March.

» Boryeong Mud Festival » South Korea » June or July The Boryeong Mud Festival on Daecheon Beach brings out the child in everyone. During this summer event, festival goers apply mud packs to their entire body, believing that the mud from Boryeong contains important minerals which reduce wrinkles and remove excess oils from the skin. Aside from the mass mud bathing, there are also mud body painting contests, a mud beauty contest, mud massages and even a mud sculpture contest. Those not so into mud can simply gawk at the scene while enjoying beach activities on the white sand of Daecheon Beach.

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INSIGHTS nature

Fun in the Israeli Sun Everybody has often seen photographs of tourists relaxing in the Dead Sea, floating and reading a newspaper. While experiencing the gems of being in the Dead Sea is an unforgettable experience, there’s plenty more along the Israeli shore to see while you’re enjoying some fun in the sun. Here are a few recommended stops along Israel’s other coastlines for your consideration. Andy Hayes

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» Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv

» Hof Hashaket, Haifa

Great seafood; summer beach parties and live music events

Calm and serene; a quiet paradise, perfect for rest and relaxation

Going to the beach in Tel Aviv means people-watching, so where else to go but where the masses are? Gordon Beach at Tel Aviv is one of the most popular beaches in Israel. The beach is nice and clean, and with plenty of amenities you can choose to relax in a lounger under an umbrella or just find a clear patch of sand and sun.Many swear by the Gordon Restaurant for tasty seafood snacks, refreshing salads, and other Middle Eastern treats. In the summer you can sometimes find a beach party or live music event going on, adding to the classic Tel Aviv seashore atmosphere.

Hof Hashaket is known as ‘the serene beach,’ mostly due to the fact that its location in Haifa Bay behind a breakwater makes it so calm it is virtually a salt water swimming pool. It is a very quiet place, perfect for relaxing in the sun and working on a golden brown tan. There are a few amenities in the area as well and the beach is easy to get to. Take note, though, that there are separate bathing days for men and women – Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday for women and Monday/Wednesday/Friday for men. Saturday is for both women and men.

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INSIGHTS nature

» Princess Beach, Eilat Water sports, romantic getaway, funky beats; outgoing atmosphere Most of Eilat’s sunny Red Sea shores will remind you of a tropical Caribbean hideaway, with bright multi-colored umbrellas, funky beats coming from nearby bars, and a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. At night the scene turns decidedly romantic – and who wouldn’t after seeing one of the famous Eilat sunsets, a dazzling show of fire. The beaches are clustered together near the city so it’s easy to get around; in fact, if you strayed too far you’d end up across the border in nearby Jordan. Eilat is also great for water sports, diving/snorkelling, as well as cycling and driving tours of the desert.

» Kineret Beaches, Sea of Galilee Spiritual retreat, breathtaking scenery, historical sights and nature reserves The Sea of Galilee has some heavy spiritual influence, but part of the draw to this region of the world is the breathtaking scenery – indeed watching a sunset along the shore of the sea is one of the most holy experiences you can get. The beaches around Kineret

vary from rocky and pebble-strewn to long, white sandy coasts. Beyond the beaches, the area is full of historical sights, nature reserves, and walks along babbling brooks and streams. Stay at one of the resorts along the sea as many of them have their own private beaches.

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Your one-stop guide for Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions www.unearthingasia.com THE GUIDE

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

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TALES ADVENTURE

© Blanket Bay

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.

© 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.

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The hill has attracted many business Rouge, a French-design boutique owners from all over the world. For those with an Asian twist houses designs with High a penchant for the East, French/Khmer designer Romyda above Queenstown is theDempsey Remarkables skiby area, whereenchants. skiiers and snowboarders certainly The majorityfind of a slice of heaven Keth, who brings with her a fluent © Ben Crawford the retail outlets here are thematically mix of her Cambodian roots and Asian, bringing about various Asian European influences. Romyda uses heritages from all over the region. There flamboyant colours coupled with fabric is a mélange of art galleries, furniture experimentations to churn out designs stores and lifestyle boutiques, most of that enticed even the Queen of Spain which import their exhibits and products and the Princess of Japan! From fashion exclusively from all over Asia, enlivening wear to accessories, home furniture to the place with a collage of Asian touches. lightings, there is a plethora of lifestyle inspirations to choose from, including those of designers Michele d’Albert and Catherine Denoual.

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

a tale of four cities

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010

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Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

© 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.in Varanasi Sewing

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a tale of four cities

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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

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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.

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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.

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the guide

52 Top of the World Head straight up towards the Himalayas, to Leh Ladakh 62 Paradise Found Unearth two different slices of paradise in New Zealand’s Milford Sound and Waiheke Island 74 Leap of Beauty The Tiger Leaping Gorge is one the last few paradise left on earth


the guide

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Majestic views of epic proportions is the reward for brave explorers to Ladakh, the Land of the High Passes.

A journey of epic proportions, to Leh Ladakh, the Land of the High Passes with Scott Sporleder


the guide

Several thoughts were running through my head as I pulled my rented scooter off to the side of the road some 20 kilometers outside the small mountainous village of Lamayuru. I was in desperate need of readjusting the torn pair of gloves I was wearing, and the thin blue ohm printed linen scarf I had purchased in Delhi was failing miserably to block any of the blistering winds which had attacked my face for the past eight grueling hours.

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The weather had taken a turn for the worse and my friend and I were in the middle of an early spring snowstorm. I was navigating hairpin turns on an icy road at some 4,000 odd meters in freezing temperatures on a rented 50cc scooter that had a blown clutch.  As I stood there bruised and exposed to the freezing elements of the Himalayas, my mind and soul could not have been warmer for I had made it to Ladakh, and it was everything I dreamt it would be.

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Ladakh, India, is a sparsely populated mountainous area in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir tucked away high in the Himalayas. Ladakh is a land known for its remote beauty and culture. It is often called “Little Tibet” because the area is strongly influenced by the Tibetan culture and sits only a few kilometers away from the Tibetan border. I was drawn to Ladakh after reading first-hand accounts of an enchanting place where people live amongst the clouds, one of the highest inhabited locations on Earth. Villages cling to the sides of granite mountains like magnets, and an ancient culture of a long forgotten time still lives on. Ladakh is like many places in today’s world, suffering from the growing pains of an ever-encroaching Western world and the fight to carry on its rich culture.


The Ladakh region is home to some of the most beautiful monasteries in the world

My friend and I had spent nearly 12 hours riding through switchback passes on neglected gravel roads during our journey from the capital city of Leh to Lamayuru. “Five hours or maybe six at most” said the young teenager in Leh whom we had rented our scooters from earlier that morning. The 125 km ride was supposed to take a fair bit of time, but you should be there well before the sun was down, we were told.

I had made it to Ladakh, and it was everything I dreamt it would be

A week earlier we had arrived in Ladakh, in early April, a good two months before the city of Leh would be bustling with a mixture of adventure hungry tourists and culturally curious visitors. Leh has counterfeit North Face gear galore and is known to be a trekkers fantasy land. We had been warned about the weather this time of year and the possibility of flight cancellations for days at a time because of the difficulty of flying into Ladakh. It was all entertainment to us though, for Ladakh was on our radar screen and we were going.

Little did we know that a few days later there would be a scooter voyage of epic proportions and along with it a life lesson from the mountains. We didn’t know it but Ladakh was going to teach us and teach us well. She was going to teach us the timeless lesson of patience, a virtue that every Ladakhi possesses, but backpackers often learn against their will. For a week we puttered through small villages at a snail’s pace, waving to young children in small clay brick homes and stopping to thaw out our icy bones with a delicious bowl of thukpa ( Tibetan noodle soup). A journey to Ladakh is like taking a step back in time, where the traditional way of life of an ancient culture continues to exist far away from the Western world. lost paradise

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the guide

This spread, clockwise from left Religious event in Ladakh; Carvings on stone ruins; A group of young monks; The city of Ladakh, 3500 metres above sea level


the guide

This page A river cuts through valleys of green Opposite page Ladakh is also known as Little Tibet

Town after town, a similar scene seemed to play out time and time again - the smile of an elderly woman wearing pabus (Traditional Ladaki wool boots) with rosy chapped cheeks and a wrinkled face that tells a story like a children’s pop-up book. It tells the tale of endless hours spent working the land to yield crops from a place that looks more like Mars than Earth. Rolling dirt hills and red dusty boulders are the only vistas visible for miles and miles with the everpresent snow capped peaks popping out behind it all. Ladakh sits in the rain shadow of the great Himalayas and the Karokaram range to the North, a rugged place where rain and snow rarely fall.

When you stand atop a hill looking back down on a village, it looks like the gods have taken a green crayon and smeared a line straight down a piece of aged brown paper. The vibrant green crops and trees are nestled next to the flowing rivers formed from glacial melt-off, providing the people a place to live and work just as they have for thousands of years. The woman’s face also tells the tale of a devout tantric Buddhist society, which has lived undisturbed for years. Of her thousands of laps around her local monastery, spinning prayer wheel after prayer wheel sending the mantras she recites under her breath up into the sky and to the ears of the gods.

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Ladakh has numerous scenic monasteries which are perched on the edges of cliffs throughout the region. They contain rich collections of Buddhist Thangka paintings, which have fortunately withstood the trials of time, unlike their neighbors to the north. The Monasteries of Ladakh sprung up over past centuries much as they did in Tibet while Buddhism made its trek North over the Himalayas. However, while Tibet was suffering tremendously under the destructive hands of the Red Army during the Cultural Revolution, Ladakh sat in peace like it always had.

Much remains the same today – inside the main hall of a monastery, the smell of yak butter candles and incense burns on while the soft murmurs of monks fill the air. Over their shoulders are paintings (Thangkas) depicting various Buddhist scenes which offer a powerful mirror for spiritual aspirants. Prayer flags can be seen flapping outside a window, running from a nearby home to the top of a hill. Ladakhis are an easygoing and cheerful population. They keep their faith close and their yak tea closer. Time ticks on and so does the rapid changes to this world. One can only hope that Ladakh remains above it all as it has for so many centuries.

We filled our lungs with the crisp Himalayan air one last time as we watched the sunset over Leh from the Sankar Gompa. Returning the day before was a bit somber, and soon we would leave Ladakh and the journey would be over. But all who have traveled here know that Ladakh never really leaves you. You can always close your eyes and envision a small village tucked away in a deep hidden Himalayan valley. In this village, the blossoms of apricot trees add a splash of pink against the stark desert backdrop with whitewashed clay homes sprinkled between it all. A resilient population of people, Ladakhi’s smiles and laughter warm even the coldest of winter nights, as they will continue about their peaceful way of daily life no matter what time throws in their way.


the guide

FAST FACTS » LEH LADAKH GETTING THERE Buses run directly from Leh from either Manali or Srinagar. This is the safest way to travel to Leh Ladakh, owing to the tense security situation in Kashmir. The road, however, is only open from June to mid-October due to snow fall. You can also ride in on a motorcycle when the roads are open. Another option is daily flights that are available from Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu. However, they are subject to weather changes and may be cancelled any time. GETTING AROUND The bus services run from Leh to surrounding villages, but are often overcrowded and generally disorganized. Taxis, on the other hand are fairly steep although comfortable. Most travelers prefer to rent motorbikes, which is the best way to get around the city and far cheaper than taxis. You can also ride a bicycle to get there, but be well-prepared for a long journey. IMPORTANT Indian military convoys often pass by. Make sure to pull over and let them pass. You may also have to pass glacier meltoff, and it’s best to do so during the earlier part of the day, when the flow is low and water is shallow. If you are renting your own vehicle, be it bikes or car, make sure to carry enough spares and tools. Learn basic vehicle maintenance, keep original documents and bring spare fuel. Carry any medication that you may need, and ensure that you are physically fit. Leh is above 3500 meters and other parts are even higher. As such, there is risk of altitude sickness and of dehydration.

THINGS TO DO The main tourism sites relate to Tibetan Buddhism and the stunning landscape. Ladakh is home to some of the most beautiful monasteries in the world, and also blessed with barren natural beauty. When visiting monasteries, please be respectful – these are holy places and monks live in most of them. In late June and early July, the whole Ladakh region comes alive with festivals. Trekking is a popular activity. Most trekkers go with a guide and some pack horses, which can be easily arranged in Leh. Independent trekkers are advised to consult with the locals before embarking on their journey.

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Two different slices of paradise, Debbie Reyes-Coloma uncovers the stunning Milford Sound and the serene Waiheke Island

In perfect weather Milford Sound is like a mirror, in wet weather it comes alive with waterfalls Š Adventure Films


the guide

New Zealand’s breathtaking natural landscape has served as a backdrop to scores of films and television series that include Lovely Bones, The Last Samurai, Perfect Strangers, Sylvia, The Piano, Once Were Warriors, Vertical Limit, Hercules, and Xena to name just a few.

Legend has it that Fiordland, a geographical work of art, was hand-carved by a Maori demi-god. © David Wall

Even before Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings made New Zealand famous to movie fans, more than 150 international movies had been filmed in the country over two decades. Rumours have it that the cast of Jackson’s film purchased holiday homes after filming on location. Oscar-winning Sir Anthony Hopkins, who played the lead role in the 2005 film The World’s Fastest Indian, which was largely shot in New Zealand, said he was trying to convince his wife to move there. He told local Maori that he had never known such peace as he experienced in the deep south of the country, and described the movie as “the best thing I’ve done - the best experience I’ve had.”


Emmy-award winner Kiefer Sutherland, who starred in the war drama River Queen, a fictional tale of love and hardship set against the backdrop of the New Zealand Land Wars, said he once came close to buying a farm and a dozen sheep in New Zealand. According to reports, the Canadian actor revealed he was drawn to the film by the beauty of the country, and the opportunity to learn more about its Maori culture.

Milford Sound

I am no celebrity. But I sense that I felt the same emotional connection to New Zealand that these luminaries must have experienced — serenity, awe-inspiring moments and a strong urge to move to this overwhelmingly beautiful place. It’s easy to find patches of paradise at every turn, as I discovered during a recent New Zealand trip. There is an invigorating breath of fresh air and an abundance of positive aura in every place I visited from south to north.

The Kiwis are passionate about their work and their country. Everyone I met was affable, from cab drivers and artists to winegrowers and lodge owners. Kiwis love to share their stories, taking pride in their history, geography, where they came from without sacrificing the element of fun — mirroring the Kiwis’ genetic passion for all things New Zealand. Their enthusiasm for their country is contagious. Most of all, the youngest country on earth (New Zealand was the last major landmass to be discovered only a thousand years ago) is draped in natural assets that have earned it the title God’s movie set. Even if one uses a disposable camera, it takes little effort to capture postcard-perfect images.  

A fiord (also fjord) is a long, narrow deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs typically formed by the submergence of a glaciated valley. Milford Sound is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within Fiordland National Park, which runs 16km inland from the Tasman Sea and is surrounded by rock faces that rise approximately 1200m on either side. Known as one of the wettest inhabited places in the world, rainfall can reach 250mm during a span of 24 hours. The rainfall creates dozens of temporary waterfalls (as well as a number of major, more permanent ones) cascading down the cliff faces, some reaching a thousand meters high. Smaller falls from such heights may never reach the bottom of the sound, instead the water drifts away in the wind. The lush forests cling precariously to the cliffs. Seals, penguins and dolphins frequent the waters. Frolicking whales can be spotted from time to time.

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Such exquisite beauty, all carved by nature’s hand through time

Scenery like this is what motivates around 14,000 people to walk the Milford Track every year Š Rob Suisted


It takes about five days to complete Milford Track, but the memories will last forever © Heidi Coppock Beard

There are a few options to get there: by coach, by cruise, by air and/or any combination of these (although scenic flights are weather dependent). Milford Sound is by far the best known of all the fiords and the only one that can be accessed by road. It is a stunning alpine drive. Self-drive is the way to go as it will allow for periodic stops at the numerous viewing points or short walking opportunities en route, just to get out of the car and take in the amazing scenery. The 119 kilometer stretch from Te Anau to Milford Sound is a sealed road that can be traversed in two hours non-stop.

The scenic four-hour Fly-Cruise-Fly itinerary is a good alternative, starting with the 30-40 minute flight from Queenstown. The dramatic views of the mountains, lakes and fiords of the Mount Aspiring and Fiordland national parks will leave anyone speechless. From this high vantage point one can take in sights that are not visible from ground level—hanging valleys, cascading waterfalls, alpine lakes and cloud-piercing summits. As if the view from the top is not enough, the cruise (approximately one hour and 40 minutes to two hours) that follows is equally riveting. Travelling the full length of the Milford Sound, the route is dotted with astonishing visions of mountains sandwiched between azure waters and infinite skies. They include Pembroke Glacier, a remnant of the historic glaciers that carved out Milford Sound. Located on the slopes of Mt Pembroke, it is one of the highest mountains (2014 meters) in Milford Sound.

Mitre Peak rises to a spectacular 1682 meters and it is believed to be one of the world’s highest mountains to emerge directly out of the seas. Sinbad Gully is a hanging valley enclosed by the slopes of Mt Philips, the Llawrenny Peaks and Mitre Peak. Harrison Cove is the fiord’s most sheltered natural anchorage. The melted snow of Mt Pembroke flows into the fiord at the cove through the Harrison River. For a look at life below the water’s surface, there’s an underwater observatory in Harrison Cove. You can see black coral, 11-legged sea stars and delicate anemones, as well as intriguing snake stars that wrap themselves around the black coral. There is no other place I’ve visited that offers such exquisite beauty, all carved by nature’s hands through time. I’ve seen many photos of Milford Sound but nothing prepared me for the incredible feeling of actually being there. No wonder famous poet and writer Rudyard Kipling called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

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Catch a ferry to the cellar doors and vineyard restaurants of Waiheke Island Š Kieran Scott


the guide

Te Whau Lodge owners Liz Eglinton & Gene O’Neill © DRC Media

American artist Gabriella Lewenz © DRC Media

Waiheke Island We all dream of finding our paradise. Some lucky people have found it in Waiheke, an island just 30 minutes by ferry from Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. For some, paradise means being surrounded by tranquillity and harmony in a secluded spot. For others, it means permanently re-planting their roots in a foreign country they would be happy to call home for the rest of their life. Still, there are those who would be happy to just escape the mad rush in the city for a week or a weekend. For accomplished American artist Gabriella Lewenz, a resident of Waiheke Island for more than a decade, her vision of paradise was a rural island community close enough to the city. The owner of Church Bay Studio Gallery originally planned to build just a studio but ended up expanding it to include a main house, a guesthouse, a studiogallery and a courtyard reminiscent of Mediterranean architecture.

Local couple Jenny and Nigel McDonald gave up their day jobs for a less stressful life on Waiheke ten years ago to start Ananda Tours, which offers visitors a personalised swing through the island. Converts to island life Liz Eglinton and Gene O’Neill abandoned their corporate lives in Auckland to become fulltime Waiheke residents in the past decade. The owners of Te Whau Lodge, a boutique four-guestroom accommodation perched on a ridge with dramatic views of Putiki Bay in the foreground and across Waitemata Harbour overlooking Auckland, personally attend to their guests from the time they welcome them at the door to the moment they leave for the ferry back to the city.

Waiheke Island is a 92 square kilometer stretch of picturesque farmland, forests, beaches, vineyards, olive groves, art galleries and seaside villages. Waiheke (in Maori wai is water and heke is movement) off the North Island is a great day trip or weekend destination for locals and overseas visitors alike. Locally produced food and wine are in abundance. Waiheke’s maritime climate and ancient soil structures enable a dedicated group of award-winning winegrowers to produce outstanding reds and whites. There are roughly 25 vineyards scattered around the island, some of which also offer delicious lunch and/or dinner menus.

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Check in for a weekend or week of total luxury. Boutique lodges are built for pleasure © Kieran Scott

The vineyards of Waiheke Island complement a famously relaxed lifestyle, where time is encouraged to move slowly © Nick Servian

Mudbrick Restaurant and Vineyard has one of the most magnificent dining settings I’ve ever seen. And the food is divine. You can nibble on produce nurtured in its landscaped vegetable gardens. The ‘red wine poached beef eye fillet’ and ‘taste of Waiheke lamb’ as mains are particularly delightful. I made a mental note to add Mudbrick on my list of favourite restaurants.

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Lest you think Waiheke is only about vineyards, food and arts, popular island activities include walking on the beach, swimming, golf, mountain biking, wind surfing and sea kayaking.

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I’ve experienced paradise in both stunning Milford Sound and serene Waiheke Island. But the reason for my deep emotional connection for both places is as clear as the plentiful crystal lakes enveloping New Zealand: the pleasant, good-natured Kiwis I encountered in my journey. After all, a paradise without people would be nothing more than a wilderness.


Enjoy a glass of the finest Waiheke wines at one of the various vineyards in the island Š DRC Media

Mudbrick Restaurant & Vineyard Š DRC Media

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the guide Grape harvesting © DRC Media

FAST FACTS » MILFORD SOUND  FLIGHTS Scenic flights depart daily from Queenstown, Te Anau or Wanaka, with unsurpassed views of the mountains and glaciers en route. Helicopter flights are also available, which allows landing inside the park boundaries if the weather permits. DRIVING Take a sightseeing tour or self-drive from Queenstown or Te Anau. The journey is around 2-3 hours from Te Anau, passing through breathtaking scenery. IMPORTANT The road can be icy between June and November, and is also subject to avalanches. Cars must carry chains in winter. High risk sections of the road are marked with a red cross on a blue background and with a “no-stopping” sign. HIKING Adventurers can opt to hike the Milford Track, a popular 5-day walk going through breathtaking valleys and gorges. The track is serviced by helicopters. For more information and tips – www.fiordland.org.nz

FAST FACTS » WAIHEKE ISLAND  GETTING THERE The most common way of getting to Waiheke Island is by ferry from Fullers ferry terminal located in downtown Auckland, which often runs on the hour or more frequently during the day (www.fullers.co.nz). You can also charter helicopter flights to Waiheke. GETTING AROUND The bus goes to the main populated areas between Matiatia Wharf, Onetangi and Rocky Bay. All-day passes are available. Taxis are also available, as well as rental cars at the ferry terminal. STAY Check out www.waihekenz.com for a selection of accommodations ranging from affordable guesthouses and self-contained apartments to luxury lodges. A highly recommended place is Te Whau Lodge (www.tewhaulodge.co.nz), a contemporary luxury lodge where guests can enjoy the best the island has to offer. THINGS TO DO Ananda Tours (www.ananda. co.nz) offers various day tours through Waiheke Island. Experience Waiheke’s award winning wines along the wine trails, or explore the arts and crafts of Waiheke. Mudbrick Restaurant & Vineyard (www.mudbrick.co.nz) offers great ambiance and food lovingly crafted by true-blue Kiwis. Visit www.newzealand.com for more information

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A day trip to Waiheke Island begins when the ferry docks at Matiatia Š Kieran Scott

Oamaru Bay, Waiheke Island Š DRC Media

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Megan Eaves heads up north towards the Yunnan province to discover one of China’s last piece of heaven – the Tiger Leaping Gorge


the guide

The trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge passes through some of the last vestiges of heaven


I had to experience for myself this gem of a place – the last of China’s lost heavens

Somewhere high up in the Himalayas, the mighty Yangtze River embarks on a long and arduous descent. Beginning its journey as a tiny creek at its apex, the Long River (as it is known in Chinese) transforms over its course, forming a series of bounding rapids and hurtling waterfalls before settling into its slow, flat demise into the East China Sea. 

Tiger Leaping Gorge is the steepest and narrowest canyon on earth situated in a remote suburb of Shangri-la. The mere mention of a place so alluring whetted my appetite for true paradise on earth that is becoming a rarity in our modernized world. I had to experience for myself this gem of a place– the last of China’s lost heavens.

About 65 km north of Lijiang in Yunnan Province, the river descends into one of the deepest and most intensely beautiful canyons on earth – the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Legend has it that many years ago, a local hunter was chasing a fierce tiger that leapt onto a rock in the middle of the gorge’s narrowest junction to his escape, leaving his legacy in the name of the place – Hu Tiao Xia or Tiger Leaping Gorge.

My journey to Tiger Leaping Gorge begins in the city of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient architecture and ethnic minority, the Naxi People. Once a trade center along the old tea roads to Central Asia, Lijiang is one of the last stops before Tibet and its series of waterways and canals meander through carved wooden edifices that are interconnected by cobblestone streets. 

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Local legend has it that a hunted tiger leapt through the valley to elude its hunters, giving birth to the name, Tiger Leaping Gorge

Hiking along one of the two trails that span above Tiger Leaping Gorge requires just a short day. But why rush through the experience without savoring its beauty and splendor? So I opted instead to spend two nights and three days hiking the gorge.

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Camping here is virtually impossible because the trails are extremely narrow; however, there are many guesthouses operated by the locals who once made their living farming grains. They are now spending their days providing food and accommodation to adventurous foreigners who come seeking the thrills of Tiger Leaping Gorge. The gorge measures about 15 km long, but hiking through the sandy paths created by the locals for access in and out of their homes on the steep cliffs proves to be a much longer journey, almost double the gorge’s length. Two trails provide a way in: the low road and the high road. The low road offers quick access to tour buses and the high road is a steep hiking trail sought out mostly by the adventure seekers. 


The trek begins in the tiny town of Qiaotou, where, equipped with a handdrawn map, I side-stepped a truckload of touts and made my way to the start of the trail. The Yangtze flows right through Qiaotou, which is not more than a one-lane village with loose chickens crossing the road under the beginnings of mountain green mountaintops. Most inbound hikers to Tiger Leaping Gorge are required to pay a ¥50 entrance fee, but that day the dusty guard station was empty, so I continued along the path, which was lined in wildflowers and weeds and narrowed into a small track carved into the hillside. Below, the mighty Yangtze narrowed with it in a rush of grey water, and before me the hill swept up into a swath of green.

The first few kilometers trek steadily upward in a gentle incline until you reach the 28 Bends, an aptly named series of steep switchbacks that bring you over a tangle of rocks and weeds straight up the cliff side. The view becomes intense, at times almost vertical as the gorge opens like a chasm below and little more than a few dusty boulders separate you and imminent death. As the bends wore on, my feet began to burn and slip under the loose rocks, and about halfway to the top, I met a toothless lady selling green tea and Snickers bars. “Hashish?” she asked with a wry smile. I gently declined, ordering instead some cold tea to sip on.

A high wind caught the flags flying over the Tea-Horse Trade Guesthouse, where I stopped for the day and readily ordered a large bottle of cold Tsingtao and a plate of fried noodles. The huge porch here offers stunning views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which stands in awesome grandeur on the opposite side of the gorge. Despite early May’s spring temperatures, the mountain was still capped in a white blanket of snow, indicating its altitude and, below, the green river steamed in quiet serenity.

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the guide

the stunning Jade Dragon Snow Mountain stood in grandeur on the opposite side of the gorge The following day, I made my way down to the Tiger Leaping Stone, where the mythic tiger supposedly landed midriver as he fled from the hunter. To get there required a tricky encounter with a waterfall before arriving at a serene bamboo grove. Below, the gorge dived into what seemed like eternity, while the bamboo trees above wafted back and forth like feathers. Terraces of tea fields laced along the slope of the gorge and the icy azure waters of the Yangtze flowed in harmony below, winding their way out to freedom.  To get down to the Stone, you must follow a long, narrow staircase before finally arriving to the roar of the river’s rapids. An unstable-looking rope bridge offers the possibility of retracing the tiger’s jump across to the massive boulder, which sits like a sentinel in the middle of the gushing waters. I took the chance and, once across, laid down there on my back, watching the walls of the canyon rise like rocky pillars above me and enjoying the sprinkles of the mighty river over my face. 

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My second night on the gorge was spent at Sean’s Guesthouse, one of the last inns along the high road. The inn’s leafy Eden-like gardens brought spring to life and a scenic place to relax. Here, I met several backpackers from all over the world, and we strayed into a dreamy evening, drinking cheap Tsingtao around a glowing campfire. As the river flowed steadily below us, we exchanged stories about our travel experiences, about lives back home and most interestingly, the various encounters on the road to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Too soon, the fire quelled to dying embers and my friends retreated into their rooms to sleep, leaving me alone under the inky sky, trying to find the North Star. My final day on the gorge was one of goodbyes and of photo taking. The last stretch of trail before returning to the road and the bus back to Lijiang offers amazing panoramas of the canyon’s sweeping vistas and the vast horizons beyond. Looking back toward the trail’s beginning, Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain extend into the skies with one on each side of the gorge, sliced sharply in two by the Yangtze.

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Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the few remaining places in the world so undisturbed that even the “flawed” dirt paths and muddy slopes are made perfect in its splendor. As more infrastructure is forced into the natural beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge, I fear it may lose some of its grandeur to the masses of tourism. But for now, Tiger Leaping Gorge still exists as a place off the beaten track where peaks rise to the heavens and myths meet the helm of reality.


Across the valley is the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain


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Kaleidoscope Silk Twill Blouse, Wool Twill Pants, Bauhaus Silk Satin Square Scarf, Chinese Knot Silver Ring, Double Fish Pashmina Shawl Shanghai Tang


style guide

Kaleidoscope Rising star Richard Ramos frames the historic La Maison Bleus in Penang, Malaysia, with classic elegance and traditional diaspora. Modeled by Sun Fei Fei, styled by the Shanghai Tang team.

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STYLE GUIDE

The sun is setting behind the western hills, And swiftly all the valleys fill with shadow.

Silk Crepe Bias Cut Dress Double Happiness Bangle in Metal Enamel Love Bangle in Metal Enamel Shanghai Tang


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Between the pines, the moon brings in night’s cool, The sound of wind and stream is full and clear.

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style guide

Phoenix Shearling Jacket with Metallic Studs, Scarf Collar Blouse in Silk Twill and Wool Twill Pants Shanghai Tang


STYLE GUIDE

Now almost all the woodsmen have returned, The birds are perching somewhere in the mist.

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Hand Drawing Flower Trench Coat in Silk Satin Chiffon Blouse with Detachable Bow in Silk Satin Chiffon Silk Cashmere Cardigan with Frog Buttons Crop Pants in Wool Twill Spandex Double Happiness Bangle in Metal Enamel Love Bangle in Metal Enamel Shanghai Tang


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style guide

A s I am expecting you to come and stay, I take my qin and wait on the ivy path.

– Waiting for Ding, Meng Haoran

Wool Twill Short Coat with Fur Collar Cloud Coat in Iridescent Silk Jacquard Crop Pants in Wool Twill Spandex Bauhaus Box Clutch in Snake Skin Chinese Knot Silver Ring Shanghai Tang


THE INAUGURAL ISSUE WIN HOTEL STAYS IN BALI, HK AND MORE!

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

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snapshots tradition

Infernal Generals The Infernal Generals, or Jiajiang, are costumed trance dancers who are usually the center of religious pilgrimages in southern Taiwan. They perform coordinated martialarts displays, blending it with practiced foot movements as well as elements of religious symbolism. Some scholars believe the Infernal Generals to be tied to the “Five Deities of Plague Control�. They are the bodyguards or lieutenant generals for the Five Deities who sweep away plagues troubling local residents. The Five Deities were students of the Jade Emperor (a Zeus-like figure in Chineze culture) who sacrificed their lives to save the local residents. The Jade Emperor rewarded their sacrifices by designated them the Five Deities of Plague Control, as well as assigning the Infernal Generals to assist them in protecting the civilian. Another version of the story was that the Infernal Generals were bandits before becoming religious figures. Cheng Huang, the God of Cities and Castles, forced them to turn over a new leaf and appointed them as his righthand men. Many others simply believed that then Infernal Generals are religious figures of ancient policemen who are now worshipped as ambassadors of the underworld. Adrian Thorburn


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snapshots tradition

Adrian Thorburn has been living in Taiwan for nearly ten years with his wife and daughter, and is now located in the south of the island in Kaohsiung. Through his work he have lived in Western, Middle East and now Asian culture. He is particularly passionate on images of religious culture and events that took place in the temple. One particular area that both captured his eyes and imagination was that of the Eight Generals, they never ceased to amaze him with their decorations and facial paint. He is hopeful that the images he took can help people outside of Asia and Taiwan see a side of life here that is not well documented in Western culture.

Interested in having your photography featured here? Email us at info@unearthingasia.com with low-resolution thumbnails of your photos as well as a short story explaining them. The photos can focus on any particular aspect of Asian culture, lifestyle or scenic beauty.


TALES adventure

Ride Like a Khan

Dave Norman journeyed on horseback across the vast lands, diving straight into the heart of Mongolia

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tales adventure

Horsemanship was at the very heart of Mongol culture. And it still is.

They even established the world’s first postal delivery system, a network of horse-borne messengers that linked their khanates—like states—with each other and the great khans back in Mongolia. Those who stayed behind in their homeland tended their flocks of sheep and yaks, and hunted the taiga forests and the grasslands around the Gobbe Desert. Genghis Khan’s empire stretched from China to Europe, throughout modern day Russia and the Middle East—better than any modern-day empire on Earth. His men rode from their native Mongolia by horseback, taking months or even years to cross their empire. Riding the horses they gathered and bred back on the steppe, they were swift in battle and quick to spread their rule.

Whether a nomadic herder or a Golden Horde warrior, horsemanship was at the very heart of Mongol culture. And it still is. The best way to see Mongolia today is as the Khans did eight hundred years ago—by rounding up some horses and setting off across the vast lands.

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I arrived in Ulan Bator by train from Beijing, a two-day journey with a fantastic sunset over the windswept Gobbe. The land around the Mongolian capital is steppe, with their low rolling hills covered in a short shag of grass and scrub plants. Barely arable, the land is poor for farming but good for grazing. A tour of the menus around town showed meat stews, meat shishkabobs, cooked ground meat, and a few root vegetables like carrots (served slightly fermented) and potatoes—a meat-based culinary legacy from the land’s nomadic people. Much of the population still lives the nomadic way, following their herds across the vast tracts of open land. They live in gers, which is their word for what Westerners call a yurt. These circular structures consist of leather or, more often these days, heavy canvas material stretched over a collapsible wooden framework. Each ger is large enough for a family of four to live in close quarters, and collapses for seasonal transport in horse or yak-drawn carts. True nomads live in their gers year-round, from the mild summers to the bitter-cold winters with their -40c temperatures. Beside the National Department Store is a large ger turned into a restaurant, but the real deal is better found a day’s ride out of town.

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Riding out of town can be arranged in advance, or upon arrival, depending on your budget and style. Tourists can arrange day trips riding horseback through Gorkhi-Terelj National Forest— near the capital—and true adventurers can sign up for multi-day or multi-week adventures across Mongolia’s varied natural landscape. The truly nuts can sign on for the Mongol Derby, a 1,000km horseback race across Mongolia arranged by The Adventurists. The draw there is to recreate the harrowing, high-speed run through wide open spaces and comewhat-may that challenged the Khan’s messengers and most daring warriors. Whereas the mounted archers needed to learn how to ride backwards while shooting their bows with speed and precision, modern riders need to cope with mundane things like saddle sores, lack of sleep, and a lifetime of people not believing their stories.

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Being a poor backpacker with limited budget and no fixed plan, I was at the mercy of my guesthouse owner, who, like other guesthouse owners, presented the modern adventurer with a long list of options. Formal guide companies and independent operators can meet just about any budget, and with enough time and tugrik (local currency), take you anywhere you want to go. With twelve days, more money, and a little insight, I could have taken the Mongolian Classic tour through the Equitors company. But with forty bucks and only two free days, I linked up with a local man who offers rides in his spare time and home-stays with his family in their gers far outside of town.


He prepared for our arrival by setting off at dawn on horseback, riding across the surrounding vicinity to round up a few more horses. When not hauling tourists or dragging loads, his herd wanders freely around the steppe. The land is open, and relatively flat, such that losing an animal is not a concern—it is just a matter of riding long enough to find the number from your herd you need. It’s an amazingly open and free system, where brands tell one family’s horses from another’s, and the animals are only in captivity when needed. For the rest of the time, they are free to roam and play and graze as they wish.

My horse’s name was De’art, he said, and standing just a little shorter than me, was a fine example of that ancient Mongolian horse breed. Riding him across the open flatness, he alternated between a natural canter and a wildeyed sprint. My traditional Mongolian saddle was high in the back, forcing correct posture despite my natural slouch, with large cast metal stirrups dangling from wide leather straps. The reins had a three-foot leather thong my guide used to whip his horse; unwilling to lash my horse, I urged De’art faster through my posture and the energy in my voice as I goaded him in a language he could not understand. It worked, through that connection between man and beast that is as ancient as the steppe.

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Riding out ahead of my group, with the wind in my hair, there was no sign of civilization or modernity anywhere—no trash, no roads, no telephone poles and no sound beyond the wind rushing past my ears and the clopping of De’art’s unshod hooves. He smelled of dustpowdered hair, the grass he churned a sweet smell on the breeze. I let the reins go slack and De’art took the lead, his whim taking us down a steep valley and up the other side on a path not more than one hoof wide; his feet knew the land like I never could.

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That is what it must have sounded like, looked like, smelled like; that is how it must have felt for the Khan’s men to ride so freely across the world. They met all the cultures of Euro-Asia—and subjugating most of them—during a horseback campaign that lasted for generations. I had only two glorious days. And it was just enough to feel the heart of Mongolia.

THE MONGOLIAN DERBY The Mongol Derby is the world’s longest and toughest horse race held annualy in Mongolia. A band of courageous riders will mount their steeds deep into the Mongolian steppe to face a gruelling 1000 km race across the empty wilderness. The Mongol Derby is based on Chinngis Khaan’s legendary postal system which could relay messages thousands of miles in a matter of days. With then days to cover the 1000km course, this is no ordinary horse race. It is not a test of the horse’s speed but the rider’s skill and endurance – this is the mother of all equine adventures. Riders interested in this once in a lifetime adventure can find out more at www.theadventurists.com, but be warned – this is dangerous!

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Join us online at www.unearthingasia.com or follow us on Twitter @unearthingasia Over 100,000 pageviews monthly! FILL OUR SURVEY AND GET A FREE 1-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION! THE INAUGURAL ISSUE WIN HOTEL STAYS IN BALI, HK AND MORE!

Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 02 Mar/Apr/May 2010 Culture, Lifestyle

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

Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

Raja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa Koh Pha Ngan Bali

Shanghai Singapore Sydney Seoul

+ 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

and Attractions

Vol 01 - Issue 01 www.unearthingasia.com 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

Inquiries Advertising – medialink@pacific.net.sg Editorial – nik@unearthingasia.com Subscription – info@unearthingasia.com


TALES wellness

A Sense of Touch

Pramy Radcliffe finds her oasis of personal paradise in Bali, the Island of Gods

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tales wellness

A massage is a journey of discovery that arouses the mind, body and spirit. The sense of touch is magical, bringing a caring feeling of warmth, love and intimacy to the guests, one of the countless ways to have your piece of personal paradise. In Bali, Island of the Gods, this is especially true – the combination of immensely enjoyable spa treatment and the island’s idyllic tranquil setting makes it one of the top spa destination in Asia, if not the world. For centuries, the Balinese used massage therapy to restore health and cure various ailing. Traditional Balinese massage utilizes a combination of techniques, such as acupressure, reflexology and aromatheraphy. It is now a staple in numerous modern spa, and you’ll most definitely be able to find a version of Balinese massage wherever you go. Exclusively for our readers, we have selected some of the most innovative, uniquely intriguing signature spas in Bali for your total pampering. Enjoy your journey towards total bliss!

Tea Tree Signature Spa Surrounded by soothing water features and the sound of ocean waves lapping nearby, Tea Tree Spa is a refreshing sanctuary from the stresses of life at the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna. Upon arrival at the oceanfront spa, your therapist will be ready to take you away for 150 minutes of pure pleasure. The session starts with a foot wash in warm water filled with roses and bath salts. A chocolate scrub follows, which the therapist claimed is used to exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal a younger and smoother layer of skin, every woman’s dream scenario. Aloe Vera moisturizer is then applied to restore your skin’s pH level, before washing it off with a refreshing warm shower.

Finally, the pampering begins! The massage I tried use heated basalt stone that has been carefully selected from the local river, which the therapist used to apply therapeutical essential oil into the skin. The heated stone is a welcome change from the usual human touch, which can be a great option for those who find them ticklish. The heated stone helps you relaxes your muscles and releases negative energy as well as allow the therapist to apply stronger pressure. Ending the treatment is a 30 minute Decleor express facial where your face is cleansed, toned, scrubbed and massaged for a radiant glow.

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Therapeutic Massage Ingeniously created to give an illusion of floating on a pond, the treatment villa at Alila Villas Uluwatu is decked in chic white interior, with green bamboo accents and warm ambient lighting offering you a comforting prelude to your treatment.

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While enjoying your foot bath in warm water filled with sliced lemon, lemongrass and bath salts, a refreshing drink of ginger lemon tea is served to cool you down. What follows is a complete body re-awakening therapeutic massage at the hand of your therapist. A combination of citrus-spice blend of rosemary, petit-grain and lemon essential oils is used to clear your head and add the spring back into your step.

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The 90 minutes session uses various massage techniques, from fluent strokes of differing depths and intensity to acupressure points for specific simulation as well as a hint of Thai-style stretching. The treatment is perfect for the tired soul – I checked out with a revived vitality!


tales wellness

Chocolate Indulgence Does anyone need an excuse to indulge in chocolate? Other than being sweet and delicious, chocolate is also proven to be good for your health. It contains a high percentage of anti-oxidant that is believed to prevent aging. Located in the midst of coconut groves and rice paddy fields, Kayumanis Private Villa & Spa Jimbaran is the perfect setting to submit yourself to this indulgence.

The three hour treatment begins with the mandatory foot-bath, this time with peppermint mixed into the warm water to help you prepare for total relaxation. What follows is a traditional Balinese massage using chocolate oils to help release tensions in the body, improve blood circulation and calm the mind. After which, a chocolate scrub is applied to gently moisturize the skin enhancement.

Next, luxuriate in a 30 minute hot chocolate bath that rejuvenate the skin metabolism and gives you the chance to relax and retreat into pure bliss. A chocolate facial, scrub and mask ends the treatment, with a serving of chocolate ice cream to top it off at the end.

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Rejuvenating Treats NU.U Clinic is proud to present the NU.U Medspa, an all-in-one center for pampering and rejuvenation in the premises of Paragon Medical Centre, smack in the middle of Orchard Road. The Medspa offers the latest technologies to boost your body, providing treatments that have all been medically-proven to provide real results for men and women of all ages. The Medspa provides skin and body care solutions that do not require administration by a professional doctor. For clients who does require medical aesthetics treatments, Dr Chew, founder of the NU.U Aesthetics Clinic and Medspa, is able to provide consultation just next door.

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The Oxygen Chamber The Medspa is the first spa in Singapore to bring in an oxygenated hyperbaric chamber for spa treatments. Using the latest Hypo2 Hyperbaric Bed, oxygen levels are raised above the regular concentration within a pressurised chamber. This facilitates and increases the delivery of oxygen into the bloodstream via the blood plasma, which is delivered to all parts of the body. Oxygen is essential to life, and raising oxygen levels in the body has been shown to provide a number of benefits that include wound recovery, healing of the skin, and refreshing the body.


Advertorial Dr Chew Khek Kah Medical director and founder of NU.U Aesthetics & Welness Clinic, Dr K K Chew is widely recognized locally and in the region as a pioneer in the field of aesthetic medicine. He is also the pioneer in the AccuLift laser facelift treatments and not only conducts seminars but also trains aesthetic doctors from around the region of this exciting new technology.

Nutrition Advice Apart from offering spa treatments, NU.U Medspa also believes in proper nutrition for the body. To that effect, we have a pharmacist who specializes in nutrition advice providing free consultation advice to our clients. Simply inform our staff that you wishes to have a consultation, and we will facilitate an appointment for you.

Signature Treatments NU.U Medspa has several signature treatments that include the NU.U Facial, designed to provide customized treatments for individuals depending on their skin conditions. Using the latest technologies, the staff first cleanse the skin before a skin resurfacing treatment that cleanses, exfoliates and heals all at the same time. There is no risk of skin irritation, damage or other effects that alternative treatments such as microdermabrasion can sometimes cause. The treatment is non-invasive and particle-free, and also rejuvenates the skin using specially designed serums that can treat hyperpigmentation, dehydration, acne, oily skin, sun damage, and fine wrinkles.

Body Shaping The Medspa offers a non-invasive alternative to liposuction with the latest in laser lipolysis, which provides definite results with no pain, no needles and no down time. Using a low laser therapy which irradiates the fat cells, causing them to release the liquefied fat that is broken down by the body and removed via the lymphatic system naturally. The treatment has no side effects, neither does it affect other structures in the body – it simply breaks down the fatty cells, and as such it also reduces the likelihood of regaining weight easily.

Skin Therapy Finally, the Medspa also provides the latest in non-invasive light technology which rejuvenates the skin, eliminates acne, reduces sun damage and skin lesions as well as aids wound healing. The treatment is medically proven and can treat all skin types. It provides quick and effective results. The Omnilux system is designed to provide a quick and comfortable solution to your dermal needs.

Currently the Vice President of the Singapore Society of Aesthetic Medicine and an internatonal member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons, he is one of the few accreditated Macrolane injectors in the region and is also a certified trainer for Hyacorp injectable filler for the breast. He has a keen interest in the use of hyaluronic acid fillers for facial contouring as well as non-surgical breast augmentation. In 2007, Dr Chew was acknowledged for his innovative work in Gold Thread Lift Rejuvenation with a fellowship from the Society of Gold Surgeons Korea. Pharmacist Consultant – Lim Eng Teck Lim Eng Teck is a qualified Pharmacist registered with the Singapore Pharmacy Board and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. He has practiced for 20 years, with a special interest in Nutritional Medicine. During this time he has also studied with the Life Extension Foundation in the US in anti-aging science nd body rejuvenation therapy. Eng Teck is also actively involved in counselling patients on holistic management of cancer. He works closely with the Colo-rectal Cancer Support Group of Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The Life Extension Foundation is a 30-year old scientific foundation from the US that funds and conducts research to develop new scientific methods of preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases. Eng Teck is currently responsible for the Life Extension Foundation’s activities and business in Asia.


special deals

Alila Villas Uluwatu

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

Terms and Conditions applied.

Gending Kedis Luxury Villas & Spa

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

Terms and Conditions applied.


PROMOTIONAL OFFERS

Ciputra Golf

Saturday Seafood Barbeque

Swiss-Belhotel Kendari

Ciputra Golf, Club & Hotel Surabaya known as the friendliest golf resort in East Java, provides a four-star one stop full golf service.

Manado is well-known as a city for marine tourism and seafood. Indulge in fresh Seafood BBQ by the pool at Swiss-Belhotel Maleosan Manado.

Swiss-Belhotel Kendari, the jewel of Southeast Sulawesi is the first four-star international hotel in Kendari. The hotel is strategically located nearby Kendari Bay, only 20 minutes from Haluoleo Airport and five (5) minutes from town.

Enjoy “Super Swing & Stay” package by staying in our Deluxe rooms and take advantage our premium Family Club facilities. Packages start from Rp 995,000 until Rp 1,995,000 inclusive of 18-holes golf, breakfast, driving balls per player, 30% discount on Food & Beverages at our Golf Resto & Cafe, free wi-fi access, 50% discount on traditional massage treatment and more. Terms and conditions apply.

The special May promotion is featuring a wide variety of fresh seafood on the grill live stall, including prawns, cuttlefish, squids, crabs, and selection of fish. Available on Saturday night from 07:00-11:00 p.m. at USD 15++ per person.

Swiss-Belhotel Kendari offers special opening package rate, starting from Rp 475,000nett/room/ night in Superior Room with breakfast for two (2) persons, airport transfer and free internet access. Valid only during the launching period, from 19 April to June 2010.

Jl. CitraLand Utama, Surabaya, Indonesia Tel: (62-31) 741 2555 Fax: (62-31) 741 4622 hotel@ciputragolf.com

Jl. Jenderal Sudirman Kav.85-87 Manado 95122, North Sulawesi Tel: (62-431) 861 000 Fax: (62-431) 862 000 manado@swiss-belhotel.com

Jalan Edi Sabara No. 88 By Pass, Kendari 93122, PO Box 88, Indonesia Tel: (62-401) 312 8777 Fax: (62-401) 312 7799 kendari@swiss-belhotel.com

dekuta

Ciputra Semarang

Park Hotel Clarke Quay

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

Hotel Ciputra Semarang is a five star international hotel in Semarang managed by Swiss Belhotel International. They are 15 minutes away from Semarang’s Ahmad Yani Airport, and a landmark located in retail, dining and entertainment complex on the famous Simpang Lima Square. It has direct access to Ciputra Mall, the most comprehensive shopping mall in the 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 Simpang Lima, PO Box 1288 Semarang 50134, Central Java, Indonesia Tel: (62) (24) 8449888 Fax: (62) (24) 8447888 E-mail: hcs@hotelciputra-smg.com

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

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


citibank highlights

Sentosa Private Villa and Spa

The Haven

InterContinental Bali

Villa Sentosa gives you the best in Bali luxury villas. Various options are available, from 1 to 5 bedroom villas, each with private pool and garden. Shared amenities includes large swimming pool, a restaurant and bar.

The Haven Seminyak is proud to present 60 new suites with minimalist design inspired by the tropical eden of Bali. Each suites is furnished with full kitchen cooking capability, flat-screen LCD with digitial audio system, broadband and daybeds in the balcony.

Touting its white sandy beaches and the mesmerizing view of Jimbaran Bay, InterContinental Bali Resort provies 418 rooms on its 14 hectare property.

Special offer Save 45% from Published Rates!

Special offer Spend 2 Nights, Pay 1 Night!

Special offer Save 15% from “Cherished Moments” package.

Terms and Conditions applied. Applicable till December 31, 2010.

Terms and Conditions applied. Applicable till December 24, 2010.

Terms and Conditions applied. Applicable till December 20, 2010.

The Kayana Villas

Anantara Seminyak Bali

Gending Kedis

The Kayana is a luxury private villa in Seminyak, Bali, boasting 24 pool villas with a contemporary setting designed for comfort and privacy.

Pamper yourself in a luxury suite overlooking the Indian Ocean under the beautiful Bali sky. Each of the 59 resort suites offers luxury, privacy and comfort.

Special offer Rp2.100.000/nett for Deluxe Villas, Rp2.400.000/nett for Pool Villas, and Rp4.200.000/nett for Two Bedroom Villas.

Special offer Rp2.750.000++ for Suite, Rp3.000.000++ for Pool Suite, and Rp3.250.000++ for Ocean Suite.

The name Gending Kedis comes from the Balinese language which means “Song of the Bird”. The resort is located in Jimbaran, where guests can enjoy a relaxing stay in the middle of Bali’s scenic beauty.

Terms and Conditions applied. Applicable till December 30, 2010.

Terms and Conditions applied. Applicable till June 30, 2010.

Special offer Save 35% from Published Rates – Stay 3 Nights, Pay 2 Nights.

Terms and Conditions applied. Applicable till December 15, 2010.

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


travel personality

Tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? My name is Nur Cahyadi Nyoman, I am a hotelier with over 20 years of experience. Currently I am the GM of the Hyatt-Regency property in Yogyakarta. My passion is in Fine Arts, particularly Fine Arts Photography. I spend my free time taking pictures, and I am interested very much in capturing people’s expression on film. In my job, I deal with all different kind of people and their expectations and that is what makes the job is rewarding. Currently, I am also dabbling in painting and sculpting, both of which are forms of expressions that truly amazes me. How often do you travel? What was your most memorable travel experience? Not enough. I wish to travel a lot more. It is another passion of mine, and my dream is to visit as many countries as possible before I die. My most memorable travel experience is when I visited the Taj Mahal. I travelled the whole day from New Delhi, witnessing  very colorful life between villages along the trip. It was amazing to see how they live, and the contrast between city and village life was exceptionally astounding for me. And in the end, to learn the history behind the making of Taj Mahal, and to enjoy its exquisite beauty – it all made that long trip worthwhile.

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Which is your favorite place/city? Why? What is so interesting about that place? I absolutely love Bangkok. Being a Balinese, I find Bangkok is somewhat similar with my island of Bali, but unique in its own way. The colorful culture and the warmth of the people as well as their creativity reminds me of Bali. But at the same time, they still strongly preserves the culture and tradition that makes Thailand one of the most popular destination in Asia. What is your favorite activity or attractions in that particular place? I love people watching – I can sit down for hours just checking out passers-by and mingling with the local. It allows me to go a little further in understanding a culture and their way of life. And I capture them in my camera. At a deeper level, I realized that people are the same wherever they are. In a group of 10, there are always people who talk a lot, or a little quiter, the leader, the follower, the joker, the complainer, etc.

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Share with us your perfect beach holiday. What is your idea of a “dream paradise”? A perfect beach holiday is to go to a quiet, off-the-beaten-path beach with turquoise, calm water where you can see the colorful marine life without going too deep, like The Maldives. You can simply swim and snorkel and enjoy the beautify of the sea. As for my dream paradise, it is a beautiful scenery combined with rich culture, warm people and plenty of attractions. Sounds like Bali, isn’t it?


travel personality

Please tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? Hi, my name is Erik Fatono. I’m currently the Managing Director at dekuta hotel. We just opened last December and had our grand opening on April 09. Other than travel and managing the hotel, one of my passion would be my obsession in music. I love music so much! I’ve been making hundreds of song and soundtrack by myself and with the band also. I was playing at the Grand last week and had a blast, and am looking forward to playing more gigs in future.

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Share with us your love of travel. What was your most memorable travel experience? Traveling is definitely on the A list of my life. I love to travel, but unfortunately I haven’t got much time to do so these past 2 years. I’m still focusing at the hotel, me and my family has been putting so much effort to make this hotel as one of the hippest in Kuta, or even in Bali! One of my most memorable travel experience would be Australia. It was so much fun being there, it’s such a great culture and country. I love the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, which combined with amazing natural beauty makes for an unbeatable combination!

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Which one is your favorite place, and why? Melbourne! The city has always been characterized by innovation and enterprise. I heart Melbourne – so much memories and experiences in my 7 years living there. Every corner of the city has a story to tell. It’s an extremely open and friendly place – art on street corners, tree-lined boulevards and parks that extend right into the heart of the city. The unique tram system also makes it easy to get around and enjoy every nook and cranny of the city. What is your favorite activity or attractions in that particular city? Melbourne has something for everyone. It has depth, style and soul. It has presence. You can’t absorb its energy in a quick glance. I love it because there are so many opportunities to get immersed in the pulse of life. My favorite activity was to just relax and enjoy its vibrant arts and music scene. Melbourne also hosts world class sporting events, is a fashion capital and much more. Can you share with us your perfect beach holiday? What is your idea of a “dream paradise”? My perfect beach holiday would be in Bali of course. Hanging out with friends, just sitting and relaxing while drinking coconut and eating bakso (meatballs). I love to surf, sometimes we also play water sports. Other than that I would love to go to the Pacific and Caribbean Coast. And Maldives! They have some amazing beaches. Maybe on my honeymoon trip in the future.. haha..


travel personality

Tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? My name is Richard Kevin, an actor and entrepreneur. I love my family, my job and my company (ICON Group) more than anything! This three are my passion in life and the things that keep me alive. How often do you travel? What was your most memorable travel experience? I love traveling so much, but I can only travel at least once a year due to my job as an actor and my company. Sometimes however, work and pleasure mixes and I love to be able to travel for my work! One of my most memorable travel experience was not far from home. I had the chance to visit Komodo Island and got to see the Komodo dragon, Indonesia’s legendary reptile.

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Which is your favorite place/city? Why? What is so interesting about that place? I’m torn between Paris and Christchurch in New Zealand. Paris is just a beautiful city, it’s full of romance, luxury, glamour and sophistication. Christchurch on the other hand is simply the most beautiful natural scenery I have ever seen. New Zealanders are truly blessed! What is your favorite activity or attractions in that particular place? I enjoy walking around aimlessly and just trying to fit in with the local culture as much as possible. Another thing I enjoyed is taking public transportation to get around and see random sights. This is something that you can’t really do or enjoy in Jakarta, but outside of Indonesia it makes for a great way to see the city and its surrounding suburbs. I love the randomness of it, and just hunting around for great spots to sight-see and relax! In Paris, the shopping and architecture are two of the main draws for me. As for Christchurch, the scenery there truly draws me in.

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Share with us your perfect beach holiday. What is your idea of a “dream paradise”? For me the perfect beach holiday starts with contentment. I want to just sit back and relax and not have to think or worry about anything. It’s blissful and lazy, perhaps in Raja Ampat or the Maldives, where I can also enjoy the marine beauty.


travel personality

Please tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is your passion? I’m Dian Adriani. I run a company specializing in ready-to-wear garments where I work as the Designer and Creative Director for our brands. We have ADRIANI, a high-end ready-to-wear line, and LILOU, a youthspirited and affordable line. Fashion and films has always been my passion since I was a little girl. It is always fun to create concept inspired by strong characters in the movies, visualizing them to wear what I create.

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Share with us your love of travel. What was your most memorable travel experience? Traveling has always been something that I look forward to, whether for work or for vacation. It’s the perfect to try new dishes, new local activities, and explore different point of views. It is important to refresh and enrich the mind. Currently, I travel frequently to Bali to supervise the Radiant Hotel in Tuban. But before, when I was doing my studies in France, I traveled even more! I love exploring the various European cities such as Barcelona, Florence and London. One of my most memorable experience is when i visited Ile de Ré in France. Together with my cousin and her friend, we decided to do a tour around the island on bicycles. We simply rode around, being mesmerized by the warmth atmosphere of the villages and vineyards. We conveniently forgotten how far the way back was, and ended up laughing at our joint pains when we got home.

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Which one is your favorite place, and why? My favorite city is Bruges in Belgium. The medieval architectures and the canals made me feel like I’m in a children story book. What I love also is how I can wander around the city and unexpectedly find cute little boutiques. What is your favorite activity or attractions in that particular city? Bruges is filled with the spirit of craftsmanship. I had the chance to see amazing handmade lace-makers in process and I was truly impressed by their ability to concentrate in meticulous details. I also enjoyed tasting as many sweets and chocolates in the confectionaries. It is truly a dreamy city. Can you share with us your perfect beach holiday? What is your idea of a “dream paradise”? When I think of beach I always think of Bali because of the wonderful weather and the friendly local people. There are also many options whether to go in a calm beach to play with the family, to try water sports, or to enjoy sunset parties. My dream paradise is undoubtedly fictional. A fair on top of white cotton clouds full of rainbow colored hanging lanterns, countless types of sweets and pretty objects.


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Unearthing Asia Issue 03 - Lost Paradise