__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

SoutheaSt aSia

december 2014

sydney

i n a l l i t s s a lt w a t e r - s w i m m i n g , w o m b at - h u g g i n g g l o r y

best of 2014

the must-visit hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops and more

Singapore S$7.90 Hong Kong HK$43 THailand THB175 ● indoneSia idr50,000 MalaySia Myr17 ● VieTnaM Vnd85,000 Macau Mop44 ● pHilippineS pHp240 BurMa MMK35 ● caMBodia KHr22,000 Brunei Bnd7.90 ● laoS laK52,000 ●

20 ways to travel better


Contents Special 77 Cheers! Travel globally, sip locally: sometimes all you need is a refreshing drink and a spirited crowd to get an inside view of a place and its culture. Go on, raise your glasses—2015 awaits with loads of new adventures.

Features

P E T R I N A T I N S L AY

112 Diving into Sydney In food-mad Australia, ga ry sht e y nga rt finds no end of epic breakfasts and

late-night dinners—and, of course, marsupials. pho t ogr a phed by pe tr ina tinsl ay . gu ide page

120

122 Artists Alone, Together Bandung is a conundrum of a cultural capital: mesmerizing yet modest, awash with talent that hasn’t coalesced. j eff ch u attempts to toot the Indonesian hill station’s horn. pho t ogr a phed by cedr ic a r nold . gu ide a n d m a p page 130

132 This is Burma’s Moment It’s on the cusp of great change, and there’s never been a better time to go than now. by a n dr e w solomon . pho t ogr a phed by fr édér ic l agr a nge . gu ide a n d m a p page 142 144 Great Group Getaways Our favorite places to escape from it all, all together. Gather the gang for sailing trips, safaris, slumber parties and more.

Sunset at the Sydney Opera House, page 112.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

9


Contents Radar 27 Gallery on the Gulf A lengthy art walk takes over Waiheke Island, New Zealand. 32 Twisted Tastes Classic Singaporean cuisine, modern edge. 34 A Beach Within Reach Negombo, Sri Lanka, near Colombo.

34

44

32

27

48

Best of 2014 As the region explodes with glam hotels, innovative eateries, funky shops and luxe spas, here’s a few favorite new spots.

Trip Doctor

87 20 Ways to Travel Better Trips, tricks and expert advice. 99 Strategies Travel Tech Awards for 2014. 104 The World’s Best Business Hotels 106 Deals

152

Decoder

152 Our Definitive Guide to Beijing

Last Look

158 South Korea A drone-captured dreamland.

In Every Issue t +l digi ta l

12

e d i t o r ’s n o t e

14

con tr ibu tor s

18 i n b ox

20

On the Cover In Sydney, you’re never far from the water, in this case Bondi Icebergs’ saltwater pool. Photographer: Petrina Tinslay.

10

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: I A N L L O Y D N E U B A U E R ; C O U R T E S Y O F K I R S T E N G O S S ; K O N S TA N T I N D I M O P O U L O S ; C H E R R Y L I ; C O U R T E S Y O F F L E E A W AY C A F É

44 Cape Town’s New Core South African cool on Bree Street.


T+L Digital

Vacation Snaps

Our readers have been honing their photographic skills on their breaks, and the results are outstanding.

Download Us T+L Tablet Edition

— instagram.com/travelandleisureasia t+l southeast asia

SoutheaSt aSia

2.

sydney / group getaways / burma / 20 ways to travel better / bandung

1.

december 2014

sydney

i n a l l i t s s a lt wat e r - s w i m m i n g , w o m b at - h u g g i n g g l o r y

best of 2014

the must-see hotels, resorts and restaurants

d e c e m b e r 2014

20

ways to travel better

Singapore S$7.90 ● Hong Kong HK$43 THailand THB175 ● indoneSia idr50,000 MalaySia Myr17 ● VieTnaM Vnd85,000 Macau Mop44 ● pHilippineS pHp240 BurMa MMK35 ● caMBodia KHr22,000 Brunei Bnd7.90 ● laoS laK52,000

12Cover.indd 1

11/14/2557 BE 10:46 AM

Available on iOS, Android, Win 8 and Zinio Desktop Reader.

↑ Get the December issue now.

— Visit Us

travelandleisureasia.com ↓ This Month’s Top Lists 3.

4.

4 Must-Do’s in Macau Asia’s Best Seaside Restaurants 6 Culinary Reasons to Visit Sydney Now

— Follow Us

twitter.com/ travleisureasia + facebook.com/ travelleisureasia + pinterest.com/ travleisureasia + instagram.com/ travelandleisureasia 1. Mount Fuji. (@ p i n d r o p c h a o s) 2. Loy Krathong festival, Chiang Mai. (@j oyj oy_ s a r a n ) 3. Two surfers heading out into the waves in Bali. (@ n e r d n o m a d s) 4. Greetings from a flippered friend, Indonesia. (@ l a u r i _ l e m p i c k a )

Share your favorite photos on Instagram and tag them with #TLAsia for a chance to be featured in the magazine.

12

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

f

Contact Us

tleditor@ mediatransasia.com


Editor’s Note

December 2014

R

Where We’re Going Perth Sumba Islands Philippines New Caledonia

The T+L Code While on assignment, Travel+Leisure editors and contributors travel incognito whenever possible. They also generally do not accept free travel or take press trips; we will clearly identify any instances in which we’ve made an exception to this policy.

14

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

N A P AT R A V E E W AT

WHERE TO FIND ME

chrisk@mediatransasia.com @CKucway on Twitter

emember the first morning you ever woke up in Sydney? If you’ve never been to the city, then you really need to start planning a visit. I recall pulling my hotel room curtains back years ago and catching that first glimpse of the sweep from Sydney Harbour Bridge to the iconic Opera House. I’d seen the view in photos so often that I felt like I’d been there before. This foreign-yet-familiar feeling pervades Gary Shteyngart’s account of his visit (“Diving into Sydney,” page 112). His antipodean adventure runs the gamut from downright weird—primary goal: hug a wombat—to delicious (an eight-stop, one-night bar- and restaurant-hop had better be), to intensely caffeinated. Warning: after reading this story, you’ll want to book a ticket down under immediately. Just as magical, but for entirely different reasons, is Burma, a nation shuttered from the rest of the world for too long. In “This is Burma’s Moment” (page 132), Andrew Solomon and photographer Frédéric Lagrange offer a primer on the country that has vaulted to the top of many must-see lists. As Solomon writes, “Nothing ever happens when it should; it’s amazing that the sun sets on schedule.” But the clock is ticking. The lesson is, visit now before too much changes. No matter where you’re heading next, “20 Ways to Travel Better” (page 87) provides handy suggestions to improve your trip. Among the indispensable advice: how to get through customs faster, when to carry on your luggage, and even how to keep your batteries charged. As the year draws to a close, we laud the “Best of 2014” (page 48). Our annual review of openings highlights some favorite new spots for everything around the region, from the next great restaurant in Singapore to cocktails with aplomb in Bangkok. On that note, let’s toast to the coming year. May the stories in this issue and those ahead help you to both improve your travels and create some lasting memories. —c h r i st oph e r k uc way


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Sofitel So Bang kok


C’EST MAGNIFIQUE! THE CHIC SOFITEL HOTEL BRAND MARKS ITS GOLDEN JUBILEE WITH LUXURIOUS NEW PROPERTIES IN ASIA.

Sofitel So Bangkok

i Sofitel Legend Metropol e Hano

A

nniversaries are a time to celebrate and French luxury brand Sofitel is ringing in its 50th with typical panache. Sofitel’s decision to move its marketing team from Paris to Singapore as it reaches its half century puts Asia at the heart of its plans. This means more destinations for the luxury traveller to choose from – and even more hotels that understand how to seamlessly blend culture, gastronomy and design, all infused with French elegance. There are now over 40 elegant Sofitels in Asia Pacific, with lavish properties across South East Asia – from Thailand, Cambodia and Laos to Vietnam and the Philippines – including flagship hotels for the fashion-forward Sofitel So and stately Sofitel Legend labels. Whether it’s in the heart of a city, perched on a beach or hidden away in the country, Sofitel has a knack for creating hotels that awaken all the senses. Take one of the flagship resorts, the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, as an example. Here, guests can spend a morning perfecting their swings on Cambodia’s first championship golf course before heading out to marvel at ancient temple towers in Angkor Wat, just 10 minutes away. In the evening, they can indulge in the outstanding French-Khmer fusion food at Mouhots Dream before unwinding with an Ayurvedic oil treatment in the So Spa.

Sipping an expertly mixed cocktail in a moonlit cabana while gazing out over Lumpini Park from the ninth floor lobby of the Sofitel So Bangkok is a unique experience hard to match in this City of Angels. The hotel, exemplified by the lobby, was designed as a one-of-a-kind collaboration by Christian Lacroix and five Thai design masters. It’s a perfect example of Sofitel So’s concept, wherein the boutique brand invites the world’s leading artists and designers and pairs them with famous architects, so together they can contemplate contemporary design. For something with a little more mystique, enter the Legend collection. Step into a fin-de-siecle-style suite in Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s colonial heritage building, just steps from the Opera House in Hanoi’s French Quarter. An award-winning flagship from the brand’s Legend collection, the hotel sets its refined experiences in centuriesold listed buildings bursting with historical character. On a constant look out for new addresses that fully embrace the French art de vivre, Sofitel will welcome two new hotels next year – Sofitel Luang Prabang and Sofitel So Hua Hin. Built in the early 20th century, the 23-room Luang Prabang property was converted from the local governor’s

mansion. Beyond the windows, the fiery hues of orange-robed monks dramatically swish past the lush greenery of a UNESCO World Heritage city. And in Hua Hin, just three hours from Bangkok, the contemporary Thai-style hotel will sit in Cha Am, an indulgent beach resort town famed for attracting royalty. For today’s demanding travellers, who expect nothing less than beauty, quality and excellence at every turn, Sofitel, Sofitel So and Sofitel Legend hotels and resorts tick every box. And with that very special French art de vivre, it really is time to celebrate. www.sofitel.com

Sofitel Angkor Ph okeeth ra Golf & Spa Resort


Contributors Jeff Chu ­— Writer “Artists Alone, Together” page 122

Petrina Tinslay ­— Photographer “Diving into Sydney” page 112

Gary Shteyngart — ­ Writer “Diving into Sydney” page 112

Sydneysiders, in three words Warm, friendly, adventurous. Top spot for a photo op Catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly before the sun sets—prime “magic light” time on Sydney Harbour. Favorite shoot subject Local enoteca and cantina 121 BC serves great wine and Italian food, with a lively vibe and a charming manager, Giorgio. I also had fun photographing the food-critic couple Pat Nourse and Myffy Rigby. Their appetite for life is huge! Travel essential My cameras are attached to my body like Edward Scissorhands.

How did you survive an eightrestaurant crawl through Sydney? I prayed a lot. I drank sweet-tasting Sydney water. I did pull-ups at the hotel. I’m lying about the last part. Meal to order Oysters after a swim at Icebergs. I love keeping things aquatic. Neighborhood you’d live in Surry Hills. That’s just how hip I am. A trip to Australia isn’t complete without... Going on a bender with the locals. What, if anything, surprised you? Whenever I was presented with a bill. A piece of toast costs HOW MUCH?

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F J E F F C H U ; C O U R T E S Y O F R A N D O M H O U S E ; C O U R T E S Y O F P E T R I N A T I N S L AY

Why Bandung? I’m intrigued by complicated, multicultural histories. What did you find? A laid-back city that doesn’t seem to pay attention to its Dutch colonial past. But there are layers in Bandung, and peeling them back in search of understanding is one of the joys of travel. Best meal One artist took me to a warung where you wash your hands at taps over open sewers. Some of her foreign friends in the past had refused to eat there. But it’s not like the sewers were right next to the kitchen! Anyway, the Sundanese food was the best I had. In 10 years... I hope that having an architect as mayor will inspire the city to care for its rich architectural heritage. A little TLC could turn Bandung into a paragon of restoration.


Inbox Wellington [“Long-Weekend Wellington,” June] is a great city. We were there in 2001 and had the best adventure. Kiwis are such gracious hosts! —Andrew Stuart

Viva Sevilla

Garden Party

I can’t remember the last time I was as transported by a story as I was by “Sleepless in Seville” [August]. The late-night tapas bars and sultry Sevillana clubs felt so alive, I decided to arrange a side trip to the city during my upcoming trip to Spain! —Taylor Boudle austin , texas

You are right: autumn is the best time of the year for coffees or beers or parties in gardens [“Backyard Bia Hoi,” October]. You should not miss this in charming Hanoi. —Kate Nguyen

Up, Up and Away

I also had the opportunity to go up in the bumblebee gyrocopter [“Flights of Fancy,” October] over Phuket, and it was amazing! —Amy Bensema phuk et

hanoi

Road Warrior

The new Martone bike [“Easy Rider,” September] may be a bit too blingbling for me, but looks nice with the basket on the front. I’ll stick with my racer on the London streets, but I would ride this in Amsterdam, no problem! —Simon Lie london

Ancient Eating

Visit us travelandleisureasia.com

A Japanese Gem

Nara [“Fawning over Nara,” June] is a gorgeous city, but beware the deer! —Victor Martinez austin , texas

Follow us f facebook.com/ TravelLeisureAsia + @TravLeisureAsia

Contact us tleditor@ mediatransasia.com

RIC H A RD MC L EISH (2)

Hoi An [“Six Dishes,” April] is one of the most beautiful villages in the world! Add this to your bucket list. —Marybeth Lyles Kemp boulder , color ado


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ART DIRECTOR FEATURES EDITORS DESIGNERS ASSISTANT EDITOR

Christopher Kucway Wannapha Nawayon Merritt Gurley Jeninne Lee-St. John Chotika Sopitarchasak Autchara Panphai Monsicha Hoonsuwan

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS / PHOTOGRAPHERS Cedric Arnold, Jeff Chu, Helen Dalley, Robyn Eckhardt, Philipp Engelhorn, David Hagerman, Diana Hubbell, Lauryn Ishak, Mark Lean, Melanie Lee, Naomi Lindt, Brent T. Madison, Ian Lloyd Neubauer, Aaron Joel Santos, Adam Skolnick, Darren Soh, Stephanie Zubiri

A Welcome Designed to Enthrall & Inspire

CHAIRMAN PRESIDENT PUBLISHING DIRECTOR

PUBLISHER DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER TRAFFIC MANAGER / DIGITAL CONTENT ASSISTANT SALES DIRECTOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PRODUCTION MANAGER PRODUCTION GROUP CIRCULATION MANAGER CIRCULATION ASSISTANT

J.S. Uberoi Egasith Chotpakditrakul Rasina Uberoi-Bajaj

Robert Fernhout Pichayanee Kitsanayothin Varin Kongmeng Joey Kukielka Domenica Agostino Justin Williams Gaurav Kumar Kanda Thanakornwongskul Supalak Krewsasaen Porames Sirivejabandhu Yupadee Saebea

TRAVEL + LEISURE (USA)

At LiT BANGKOK Hotel you will find a hotel with a wonderful complex character, a place filled with surprising design details but with a startlingly Bangkok flavour. In the heart of Bangkok.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT / PUBLISHING DIRECTOR VICE PRESIDENT / PUBLISHER

Nathan Lump Steven DeLuca Jay Meyer

TIME INC. INTERNATIONAL LICENSING & DEVELOPMENT (syndication@timeinc.com) VICE PRESIDENT EXECUTIVE EDITOR / INTERNATIONAL SENIOR DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SENIOR DIRECTOR, AD SALES & MARKETING

Jim Jacovides Mark Orwoll Jennifer Savage Joelle Quinn

TIME INC. CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER

Joseph Ripp Norman Pearlstine

TRAVEL+LEISURE SOUTHEAST ASIA VOL. 8, ISSUE 12 Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia is published monthly by Media Transasia Limited, Room 1205-06, 12/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2851-6963; Fax: +852 2851-1933; No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the Publisher. Produced and distributed by Media Transasia Thailand Ltd., 14th Floor, Ocean Tower II, 75/8 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoeynue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 204-2370. Printed by Comform Co., Ltd. (+66 2 368-2942–7). Color separation by Classic Scan Co., Ltd. (+66 2 291-7575). While the editors do their utmost to verify information published, they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy.

This edition is published by permission of TIME INC. AFFLUENT MEDIA GROUP 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 Tel. +1 212 522-1212 Online: www.timeinc.com Reproduction in whole or in part without consent of the copyright owner is prohibited.

T. +66 26 123456 www.litbangkok.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS Enquiries: www.travelandleisuresea.com/subscribe

ADVERTISING Enquiries: e-mail advertising@mediatransasia.com


subscribe now! Every month, more than 5 million people worldwide read Travel + Leisure, the world’s leading travel magazine. Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia is the most widely distributed international edition of the magazine, offering readers around the region a chance to experience the world. Timely and trusted advice on

where to go now, need-to-know travel tips and service details we all need, and a bold new look are what sets the magazine apart today. It’s your indispensable guide to Southeast Asia and the world beyond, a must-read for today’s cosmopolitan and sophisticated traveler.

For more information e-mail travelandleisure@mediatransasia.com. Contact us at Circulation Depar tment, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Media Transasia (Thailand) Ltd., 14th Floor, Ocean Tower II, 75/8 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Klong Toey Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand


SubScribe now for a chance To win a 2-nighT sTay in an ocean fronT honeymoon Pool suiTe aT Samabe bali SuiteS & VillaS Samabe Bali Suites & Villas is a 5-star world-class beachfront resort uniquely situated on top of the cliffs of southern Nusa Dua, boasting magnificent, uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. It offers a whole new all inclusive concept of luxury called “Unlimited Privileges.� The benefits include a full gamut of premium meals and beverages, 24-hour butler service, a wide selection of signature activities,

entertainment, spa treatments, return airport transfers, and more. The resort features 81 suites and villas, 2 restaurants & 2 bars, a glass wedding chapel and other outstanding venues. At Samabe, guests are invited to uncover the ancient secrets of Balinese culture with a whole host of leisure endeavors.

Samabe Bali Suites & Villas Jln. Pura Barong-Barong Sawangan Nusa Dua 80363, Bali, Indonesia. Tel: +62 361 8468633 Fax: +62 361 846 8632 Email: mail@samabe.com Website: www.samabe.com

To subscribe, visit

www.TravelandLeisureAsia.com


Radar News. Finds. Opinions. Obsessions.

art

GALLERY ON THE GULF Elaborate installations constructed by sculptors from around the world add a touch of modern art to a practically prehistoric New Zealand trail walk. Karryn Miller is blinded by this optical embarrassment of riches. ➔

Nic Moon’s Breath installation dotted Waiheke Island last year.

P HOTOG R A P H ED BY SON JA RE A D

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

27


Radar

Installations from previous years, clockwise from top left: Pavilion Structure by Gregor Kregar; Beyond Good and Evil by Konstantin Dimopoulos; Knotty by Jeff Thomson; Snake by Phil Price; Portrait of Traction and Transmission by David McCracken.

28

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Its numerous picturesque vineyards and white-sand beaches have made Waiheke Island, in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, one of the country’s fastest rising travel destinations. Its laid-back, bohemian vibe and proximity to downtown Auckland, just a 35-minute ferry ride east, have attracted throngs of city-weary commuters. But in addition to its status as a relaxing getaway from the mainland, this little island is a host to a thriving artist community. Waiheke now boasts more galleries than wineries. The epitome of the island’s creative undercurrent is “Headland Sculpture on the Gulf,” a biennial exhibition of large-scale art installations from 31 local and international artists—selected out of more than 100 submissions. The sculptures will be placed along a two-kilometer stretch of the island’s pristine coastline, starting at Te Miro Bay and following the craggy shore to Matiatia Bay. Since the first iteration of “Headland Sculpture on the Gulf” in 2003, the event has firmly established itself as New Zealand’s premiere outdoor art festival. In 2015, sculptors from around the world, along with six resident Waihekians, will showcase their works. Finnish duo Elin & Keino and Aucklandbased Korean artists Seung Yul Oh and Suji Park are among the

new exhibitors, while event regulars like steel sculptor David McCracken will also unveil creations. Park’s Garden will work with the environment through a range of amalgamated material being buried beneath and emerging from the landscape. Visitors will find there’s a more tech-savvy approach this year, with some artists inviting viewers to fully engage with the art using a smartphone or tablet. Shannon Novak’s Andante is a series of site-specific geometric structures designed for spectators to interact by snapping selfies. The two-hour sculpture trail walk—an hour of walking and an hour of viewing—is free to the public and, at the end, visitors can sample some of the island’s other specialties. The Headland Pavilion will be serving a Taste of Waiheke menu, designed by local chefs Nico Fini, who worked in a three-Michelin-star restaurant in France, and former MasterChef New Zealand runner-up Ana Schwarz. And of course, no visitor should come to Waiheke without tasting some of its famous wines and craft beers, also available at the Pavilion. The artwork will be even more spellbinding after you’ve knocked back a couple of glasses. “Headland Sculpture on the Gulf” exhibition runs from January 23 to February 15, 2015; sculptureonthegulf.co.nz. +


Radar

Hercules & Love Affair.

events

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK? Thailand’s first world-class outdoor music and arts fest, Wonderfruit, descends on Chonburi this month. by chef David Thompson, and feasts from some of Bangkok’s best eateries, like Appia and Quince. If the food ignites your inner gourmand, take a cooking or fruit-carving class. Into wellness? Try the cycling, rafting or yoga on offer; or fringe activities like chakra-balancing or reiki—to get your back-to-nature bohemian groove on. The onsite accommodations range from free camping to rentable airconditioned safari tents that come with beds, linens and lighting. There’s even a dog park and nanny service. The free

love-meets-glamping party is meant to both “inspire curiosity,” says organizer Pete Phornprapha, and “showcase some of the very best of Asian culture.” There will be Swedish electronica. There will be suckling pig. There will be Aura-Soma, whatever that is. It will be like Woodstock for yuppies. See you stage front—we’ll be the ones with flowers in our hair. December 19-21; wonderfruitfestival.com; adult threeday-pass tickets Bt5,000; rental tents Bt5,000, VIP camping from Bt15,000 for two people for the two nights. + goods

DESTINATIONS, DELIVERED Even if you can’t travel all the time, the world can come to you—thanks to new subscription services that package items from places near and far into tidy, curated boxes. Try the World (trytheworld.com) assembles locally made food items: chestnut spread in the Paris box, say, or dried seaweed in the Tokyo edition. And the collections by A Box From (aboxfrom.com)—so far, Seoul and Tehran, Iran— include what founder Elin Aram calls “silly small stuff.” Because nothing says Korean kitsch like a hamburgershaped post-it notepad. —brooke porter katz 30

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

F R O M TO P : C O U R T E S Y O F W O N D E R F R U I T (2) ; DAV I D A L E X A N D E R A R N O L D

Attention music lovers, festival fans and, apparently, yogis: the inaugural Wonderfruit Festival is a big deal. In a first for Thailand, an all-star global line-up is converging on Chonburi, Bangkok’s nearest seaside town, for three days of live shows from De La Soul, Hercules & Love Affair, Little Dragon, Jose Gonzales, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Nick Mulvey, to name a few; and bomb sets from DJs the likes of Jamie Jones, Ali Love and Boris Rubin. All the awesome music will set the soundtrack for mountaintop banquets


Radar

food

TWISTED TASTES Classic Singaporean cuisine with a modern edge is catching on in this sunny island. Here are four establishments that do it with finesse. By Grace Ma Wild Rocket

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar

Hopscotch

Flee Away Café

Chef Willin Low is widely credited as pioneering Singapore cuisine with a contemporary touch. His restaurant Wild Rocket reopened in July with a hot new look and revamped menu to match, with homey favorites like the pineapple sorbet with soy sauce, salt and bird’s eye chili powder, a tribute to the way Low’s father used to eat pineapples during his era. Order the ever-evolving Singapore fried noodles, served as kombu tagliarini with king prawn in prawn stock and lobster oil. facebook.com/ wildrocket.sg; omakase menu from S$128 per person.

“We’re a chill-out place but we take our food very seriously,” says Pidgin Kitchen & Bar’s chef Kenny Lim. You should too. Chef Lim infuses local flavors into common dishes to churn out crowd-pleasers such as bak kwa (savory sweetmeat) mac and cheese, foie gras with sweet rojak sauce, and tiger prawn wonton capellini with prawn-stuffed dumplings and slices of chorizo ibérico. Save space for the satisfying kaya (coconut jam) breadand-butter pudding and the Milo Dinosaur Version 2.1 chocolate dessert. pidgin.sg; three-course set dinner S$58 per person.

Just opened in October, pop-up craft cocktail bar Hopscotch is already blaring on the hipster radar. Expect obscure ingredients that are more commonly found in your grandmother’s kitchen or the neighborhood provision shop such as Bovril and coffee powder. Feeling adventurous? Try the Hop Kee, which contains white sesame oil steeped in vodka for a week; or the Arab Street, flavored with rose, saffron, pomegranate and apple, and garnished with a cherry-smoked cotton candy that simulates the smell of shisha. hopscotch.sg; drinks for two S$44.

The food here is as fun as the vintage toy motif lining its walls. We chomped down their signature le char kuey, a fried dough fritter shaped like a French baguette and stuffed with local fillings like dry spicy laksa noodles and chicken bak kwa with crushed cracker and wasabi mayo. New on the menu: milk shakes that come in flavors like grass jelly, black glutinous rice pudding and chendol, an Asian dessert mix of coconut milk, red beans and green jelly noodles. As the locals say, they’re sibei (damn) good. fleeawaywith.me; le char kuey for two S$25.+

32

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F F L E E A W AY C A F È ; G R A C E M A ; C O U R T E S Y O F H O P S C O T C H ; C O U R T E S Y O F F L E E A W AY C A F È ; G R A C E M A

Clockwise from top left: Fly-by fun at Flee Away Café; Hopscotch’s Joel Ne Win shakes it up; Arab Street cocktail at Hopscotch; tau kwa salad, Flee Away Café; Wild Rocket deconstructed strawberry cheesecake.


I N D E P E N D E N T M E A N S T H AT N O M AT T E R H O W G R A N D ,

L U X U R Y I S A LWAY S P E R S O N A L If you enjoy individuality, vitality, and epic luxury when you travel, discover the unique travel experiences of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Boutique.

Š2014 Preferred Hotel Group

Visit all 650 hotels and resorts at PreferredHotels.com/TLSEA

ANDARA RESORT & VILLAS Phuket, Thailand

THE CAPITOL HOTEL TOKYU Tokyo, Japan

THE FULLERTON HOTEL SINGAPORE Singapore

make your travel more rewarding

HOTEL KEPPLER Paris, France


Radar Clockwise from left: Negombo beach; the Dutch Canal stretches all the way to Colombo; St. Mary’s Church in Little Rome; farm-tofloor produce at the fruit market on King George Drive.

weekender

A BEACH WITHIN REACH A short drive from Colombo, the coastal city of Negombo proves the perfect welcome to Sri Lanka. Story and photos by Ian Lloyd Neubauer EAT The gelato, tiramisu

and crêpes at Dolce Vita (freewebs.com/dolcevita srilanka; crêpes for two Rs880) are good, but the sunset from the beachfront balcony—blood-red and uninterrupted—is out of this world. A short stroll down the strip, Samurai Sushi Bar (94-31/227-9500; dinner for two US$20), one of Negombo’s newest restaurants, buys tuna, prawns and lobster from the sprawling fish markets on the southern end of the beach. For tropical fruits that sell for peanuts, head down to the fruit market on King George Drive. 34

D E C E M B E R 2 014

DO Negombo’s Dutch Canal

was completed by Dutch traders in the 17th century, but the charming neighborhood it cuts through is known as Little Rome for its winding alleyways and pastelcolored churches. The standout is St. Mary’s Church, a Portuguese-era chapel on Main Street with stained-glass windows and intricate nativity frescoes splashed across its ceilings. See it on a self-guided walking tour or in a custombuilt replica of the speedboat James Bond used to leapfrog the local police in the 1973 film Live and Let

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

at a glance getting there

Fly into Bandaranaike International Airport and drive just 12 kilometers north. getting around

Motorized rickshaws are cheap and fun, but agree on a fare before getting in. natural wonder

Large numbers of shorebirds and people co-exist on the banks of Negombo Lagoon, a velvet-green estuary lined with mangroves and shanties. spice of life

Negombo’s written history dates back to the start of the spice trade in the 12th century and its cinnamon is considered the sweetest on earth. length of canal

Spanning 120 kilometers, it reaches all the way to Colombo. beaches

Negombo Beach Park is 6 kilometers of saffron-colored sand, teeming with seafront sports and activities.

Die. Hourly tours depart from Viksund Water Sport Resort (viksundboatasia. com; US$23 per person). Afterwards, rejuvenate with a Shirodhara oil massage at Spa Hundira (villahundira.com; US$31.50). Every corner of this sanctuary is festooned with art and antiques collected by the SwedishSri Lankan couple who built and run the place. Ayurvedic treatments are provided by a local healer. →


Radar

From left: The beachfront swimming pool at Hotel J; Pledge 3 offers some of the city’s most stylish rooms.

T+L SEA Ad_OP.pdf

1

6/10/14

6:26 pm

STAY Punching far above its weight is Hotel J (hotel-jnegombo-sri-lanka.ww.lk; doubles from US$53), where guests enjoy all of the deluxe necessities—beachfront pool and sunbeds, high-speed Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, hot showers, an in-house restaurant and snappy service; but none of the extra frills such as toiletries, minibars or room service. A few hundred meters up the strip, but on a completely different planet, the trendy Pledge 3 (hotelpledge3.com; US$305) is Negombo’s coolest place to stay. From the industrialchic furniture to the pop art wall prints, everything here is designer and cutting edge. Ask for one of the over-sized attic suites, which come with their own private sundecks, elegant desk alcoves and monsoon showers. +


Radar

spotlight

THE KING OF COMFORT

↑ Selections from the Tomas Maier Resort 2015 collection Leather-and-grosgrain espadrilles, US$450; canvas tote, US$225. On model: Velour hat, US$995; cashmere sweater, US$1,445; denim pants, US$280; leather clutch, US$750; leather flats, US$585.

“This line is about the casual side of life: traveling, the weekend, lounging at home,” Tomas Maier says of his first full namesake collection, composed of comfortable pieces ideal for long flights. For women, that means unfussy items such as dark denim shirtdresses, buttery leather skirts and pantsuits that aren’t overly structured or formal; for men, there are relaxed blazers, slouchy trousers and reimagined parkas and peacoats. Swimwear and accessories, including bold wooden jewelry, pointy flats and roomy totes, make an understated impact. For Maier, versatility—neutral colors; clean shapes—is a priority. “I’m interested in separates that pair together in various ways. They can be a little dressy or very casual, but always make you look and feel good when you travel.” Another goal for Maier, who is also creative director of Italian fashion brand Bottega Veneta, is attainability. “It was important for me to create thoughtful, well-made designer garments, but at an attractive price point,” he says. “There’s so much out there that’s very expensive; I wanted to do something different.” tomasmaier.com.  —rachel felder

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O L L I E R S C H O R R ; A N D R E W B . M Y E R S ( 2 ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F T O M A S M A I E R

Tomas Maier’s new collection offers travelers both fashion and function.


Suite views at Aman Tokyo.

debut

TOWERING IN TOKYO Aman, with its fleet of luxury beachside resorts and romantic villas, is flipping the script and getting citified. Its first fully urban property opens in Tokyo this month, taking up the top six floors of the newly completed Otemachi Tower. The 84 rooms and suites, each with panoramic views, are rumored to be some of Tokyo’s largest, and are peppered with clever design elements conceived by Kerry Hill Architects.

The wall of windows drench the space with light, while classic Japanese materials such as camphor wood, washi paper and stone play with balancing brightness and shadow. Each room has a large furo, a deep tub that’s long been a part of the Japanese bathing ritual. So whether you like soaking in sunlight or bubble bath, this urban refuge will have you happily submerged. amanresorts.com; doubles from ¥75,000. +

c u lt u r e

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF AMAN RESORTS; ©BBBAR/DRE AMSTIME.COM

MUSEUM MUSINGS Asia may not muster the cobblestone gravitas of Europe’s top heritage sites, but the museums in this region reflect equally, and often more, ancient cultures. A study by Tripadvisor crunched the numbers on travelers’ favorite museums in Asia and around the world. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that balanced the quantity and quality of reviews for museums, gathered over a 12-month period. Top 10 Museums in Asia: 1. The Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, Xi’an, China 2. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh 3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima 4. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi

Terra-cotta warriors.

5. Hellfire Pass Museum, Kanchanaburi, Thailand 6. Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Hanoi 7. Shanghai Museum, Shanghai 8. Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong 9. Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore  10. Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur  


Radar obsessions

QINGDAO COVER-UPS On a lone beach in eastern China, swimmers sport head-to-toe bathing suits that leave almost everything to the imagination. Photographer Philipp Engelhorn revels in the unrevealing. I live in a Hong Kong beach village and each morning the Chinese grandmas, or po pos, take to the surf for their daily swim. Watching this ritual has become a highlight of my day, so when I heard that in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao the same custom is associated with facemasks and full body suits, I had to go see for myself. Qingdao has many swim spots, but you can only find these wild mask-and-outfit combos on one stretch of sand in Huiquan Bay known as Qingdao Number One Bathing Beach. I went every day for a week, from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and snapped 150 different portraits. I was mesmerized; I had never seen anything like it. It reminded me of the lucha libre Mexican wrestling costumes, which I’ve always wanted to shoot. In that context, I wasn’t surprised to learn that some beaches ban these looks because, as one lifeguard told me, the get-ups might scare children. I saw his point. The overall effect can be a little creepy, but for me that just adds to the charm. It is fantastic that these often homemade outfits (though they are sold in a few stores) have nothing to do with performance; it is all just for personal use. This high-coverage swimwear is designed as protection from the sun and jellyfish stings, but most of the women I spoke to said the primary allure is aesthetic, preserving the light color of their skin. In China, as in much of Asia, pallor is considered a sign of class and beauty—just take the local axiom: “One whiteness can cover three kinds of ugliness.” But there’s an innate contradiction here that I love: the cover-ups may be designed to preserve beauty, but they also demonstrate a total lack of inhibition. These ladies don’t care about looking cool while out on the beach—they are just having fun and doing their own thing. + 40

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


HAVE YOURSELF A TROPICAL CHRISTMAS ON THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF LANGKAWI

The rustic charming world of Meritus Pelangi stretches over 35 acres of lush tropical greenery, overlooking the famed white sands of Cenang Beach. Designed in the style of a traditional Malay Village, 355 guestrooms and suites are housed in 51 Chalets. Come enjoy the tropics in the corner of paradise that is Meritus Pelangi Resort & Spa, Langkawi. For more information, please call (604) 952 8888 or email resvn.pelangi@meritushotels.com. *Terms & Conditions Apply.

www.meritushotels.com


Radar

the moment

RATHAUSPLATZ, VIENNA 9:19 p.m.

I remember a cauldron filled with molten beeswax, and my mother handing me a piece of string. I was seven or eight. It was Christmas, at a holiday market in Zurich. I dipped the string into the wax and pulled it out a few dozen times, and there was something amazing, even magical, about how the string turned into a candle, and about the smell of the wax, and the wintry crowds and the lights and the sounds. Today, 30-odd years later, the Mitteleuropa-style Christmas market is thriving, in Zurich, Prague and Munich, in Frankfurt and Vienna—celebrations of the season and places where families can still make memories of their own. —luke barr

42

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

P HOTOG R A P H ED BY MONIK A HOEFL ER


Radar

A necklace by Kirsten Goss.

Latitude 33’s café.

on the map

N

Alexandra Höjer Atelier.

Tapas at La Parada.

Serving up lunch at Borage.

44

D E C E M B E R 2 014

1 Heston Blumenthal protégé Frank Marks brings serious culinary cred to the strip with Borage, a loftlike bistro serving hearty European cuisine. The blackboard menu rotates frequently; arrive early to secure one of the deconstructed chicken pot pies, a curl of pastry encircling perfectly roasted bird, peas and onion petals drizzled in gravy. 7B Portside Bldg.; borage.co.za; dinner for two R220. 2 Irish-born Liam Tomlin opened Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen as a combination deli and kitchen store, its shelves lined with cookbooks, ceramic plates and exotic vinegars. An

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

adjoining streetfood counter serves lamb shawarma sandwiches and tandoori-chicken wraps to go. 92 Bree St.; chefswarehouse. co.za; lunch for two R320. 3 The bearded and bespectacled spill onto the sidewalks outside La Parada, a tapas joint with a Barcelona flavor: reclaimed parquet flooring; vintage Spanish posters; a golden bull-head trophy. What to order? Spiced oxtail cannelloni, paprika-spiced calamari and pitchers of sangria. 107 Bree St.; 27-21/426-0330; tapas for two R200. 4 Despite the region’s stellar reputation among oenophiles, Cape

Town lacked a great wine bar until Publik arrived on the scene, offering pours from the nearby Western Cape and beyond— many of them rare varietals or made from biodynamic grapes. 81 Church St.; publik.co.za. 5 After a morning riding the waves at Glen Beach, surfers beat a path to Latitude 33, a café/ boutique/gallery that serves locally roasted Truth coffee and hearty dishes (ostrich burgers with buffalo mozzarella) and stocks Aussie skate wear. 165 Bree St.; lat33.co.za; lunch for two R250. 6 A vintage BMW motorcycle greets the fashion-forward shoppers at Alexandra Höjer

Atelier, an industrial boutique and workshop with cracked concrete walls and Josef Frank–inspired wallpaper— a striking contrast to the Swedish designer’s impeccably tailored men’s and women’s lines. 156 Bree St.; alexandrahojer.com

7 Pick up a handcrafted geometric-print leather bag by Capetonian accessories line Missibaba and mod statement earrings from London-based designer Kirsten Goss at their hybrid boutique, also showcasing collaborations with homegrown designers. 229 Bree St.; missibaba.com; kirstengoss.com.  —colleen clark

BRE E ST.

Once-desolate Bree Street has become a microcosm of South African cool and a showcase for the region’s bounty.

2 3 4

5

6

7

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F K I R S T E N G O S S ; C O U R T E S Y O F L AT I T U D E 3 3 ; M I C K Y H O Y L E / C O U R T E S Y O F A L E X A N D R A H Ö J E R AT E L I E R ; M I C K Y H OY L E /C O U R T E S Y O F L A PA R A DA ; M P U M E L E L O M A C U/C O U R T E S Y O F B O R A G E

CAPE TOWN’S NEW CORE

1


THE BEST OF 2014


C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F K ATA R O C K S ; Z O N E X-9 8 ; C O U R T E S Y O F C H I B I M O M O ; C O U R T E S Y O F K A P O K . O P P O S I T E F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F S O F I T E L S O S I N G A P O R E ; C O U R T E S Y O F C A R B O N E

As our region explodes with glamorous new hotels, innovative restaurants, funky shops, luxurious spas and everything in between, we have a year’s worth of new favorite spots. From a mangrove-encircled beachfront resort in Cambodia, to a fitness craze in Australia, to a meditative labyrinth in Singapore, our writers on the ground weigh in on the hottest newcomers that are redefining our travels.

From top: Turquoise from the terrace at Kata Rocks, Phuket; dinner, drinks and art at Zone X-98, Hanoi; geometric clutch at Kapok, Hong Kong; precious plushies at kids’ store Chibi Momo, Manila. Opposite, from top: Tending bar at Sofitel So Singapore; “don’t shoot” shrimp scampi at Carbone, Hong Kong.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

49


Prix Fixe Also on the Paris end of Melbourne’s CBD but in a New York state-of-mind, Prix Fixe is Australia’s only ticketed dining room. Sold exclusively online or on the black market, the tickets offer diners guaranteed seating. Inspired by Melbourne’s vibrant art and music scene, the table d’hôte menu is rebooted monthly. Albert Place, Melbourne; prixfixe. com.au; four-course d’hôte dinner A$89 per person.

the best of

2014

AUSTRALIA By Ian Lloyd Neubauer

DRINK

Gordons Bay Winner of the New South Wales Architecture Award, this stunning five-bedroom home with its own gym, media room and pool overlooking Sydney’s Gordons Bay operates exclusively as a holiday home. Bookings with prestige letting agent Luxe Houses include airport transfers, Dom Pérignon on arrival, plus housekeeping and optional concierge services. luxehouses. com.au; from A$15,000 per week for a two-week minimum stay. Sheraton Melbourne If not for the Sheraton logo on the side of the luminescent 31-story building, you would assume this new hotel on the Paris end of Melbourne’s CBD was a privately owned boutique. From the alleyway entrance, to the cantina-style restaurant, to the mood-lit spa and pool, everything at this new Sheraton is practical, modern and boutique. 27 Little Collins St., Melbourne; 61-3/ 9290-1000; sheratonmelbourne. com; doubles from A$290.

Clockwise from top: Bay-view bathing at Gordons Bay; high-five the clouds with Skydive Airlie Beach; chef Mark Best’s innovative eats at Pei Modern Sydney; sultry speakeasy style at Magazin.

EAT

Pei Modern Sydney Two years ago, Sydney chef Mark Best flew the coop to open Pei Modern, a sexy little bistro that in short time became a culinary institution in Melbourne. Now he’s bringing the marquee to his hometown. Set on the ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel, Pei Modern Sydney stakes its claim as the city’s number one steakhouse thanks to Best’s wood-fired grill and dishes like the 800-gram dry-aged T-Bone. 199 George St., Sydney; 612/9250-3100; peimodern.com.au; dinner for two A$120.

50

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

DO

Bodyism Elle Macpherson swears by it. Hugh Grant credits it for his hot new physique. It’s called Bodyism—a blueprint for a lean and chiseled body based on short spurts of resistance training—and it’s now available for the first time in Australia at the space-age gym at the new One&Only Resort set on picturesque Hayman Island. Hayman Island, Queensland; 617/4940-1971; hayman.oneand onlyresorts.com; one-hour personal training A$180. Skydive Airlie Beach Once you’ve seen the wonders of Great Barrier Reef up close through a diving mask, see it from afar— 4,267 meters to be exact—at Australia’s most spectacular skydiving drop zone. Situated on Airlie Beach, the activity sees jumpers reach speeds of 220 kilometers per hour until the parachute is deployed and then float serenely to the beach while taking in an unparalleled bird’seye view of the coast and reef. Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach; skydive.com.au; tandem dive from A$234 per person.

I A N L L O Y D N E U B A U E R (4)

STAY

Magazin In an unsigned basement not far from the Kings Cross red-light district, this dark and moody speakeasy is Sydney’s first members-only bar. With soundproof booths and minimalist lighting, Magazin is exclusivity defined. Entry after 9:30 p.m. is by invitation only, but if you’re well-dressed or wellspoken enough, doors may magically open. 113 William St., Darlinghurst, Sydney; drinks for two A$40; annual membership is A$295 per person, plus a A$1,500 registration fee.


capital to fill the 165-room property and its onsite Italian restaurant, cigar lounge and wine cellar, sports bar, and spa. National Guest House Compound, Dekkhina Thiri, East Nay Pyi Taw; 95-67/810-5059; mgallery.com; doubles from US$104.

the best of

2014

BURMA

EAT

By Fiona MacGregor

The Lab Quality tapas and a convivial atmosphere make this haunt a favorite with Rangoon expats and locals alike, drawing an eclectic, informal crowd most evenings. The food is a creative collection of bite-sized dishes from home-made curd cheese, to garlicky, prosciutto-topped crostini at reasonable prices. Wash it all down with a stellar mojito. 70A Shwegondaing Rd.; thelab-yangon.com; dinner for two K50,000. Sasazu Chef Shahaf Shabtay is bringing his award-winning, Prague-based Asian restaurant to The Loft hotel in Rangoon. The menu concept combines five elements of Asian cooking: sambal (mixed with chili sauce), otak-otak (wrapped in banana leaves), flame (wok-tossed), roti (served with Indian stone-oven baked bread) and tai tai (combined with sticky rice, coconut and pandan leaves), into dishes that brim with fresh local ingredients. sasazu.com; menu not released as of press time.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : F I O N A M A C G R E G O R ; C O U R T E S Y O F K E M P I N S K I H O T E L N AY P Y I TA W ; C O U R T E S Y O F S A S A Z U ; F I O N A M A C G R E G O R

STAY

The Loft Boutique hotels remain something of a rarity in newly emerging Burma, so this 32room warehouse conversion in downtown Rangoon is a welcome arrival. Spacious rooms, with clean-cut modern design, provide a relaxing escape from the bustle of top city sights including Bogyoke Market and Sule Pagoda, which are just a few minutes walk from the hotel. 33 Yaw Min Gyi St., Dagon Township, Rangoon; 95/372-299; theloftyangon.com; doubles from US$209. Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel Bustling Botataung Jetty on the Yangon River, where the US$50million ship-conversion Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel is berthed, is a colorful, lively center of Rangoon daily life. Decorated in glamorous 1920’s style, and lit with Edison vintage bulbs, the 104-room hotel reflects the city’s colonial heritage. The highlight? Watching sunset from the deck. No. 6, Botataung Jetty, Botahtaung Township, Rangoon; doubles from US$250. Kempinski Hotel Nay Pyi Taw Seeking out the works of local craftsmen and artisans, the designers of this hotel have captured the glories of Burma’s artistic heritage in 141 rooms and suites set among landscaped gardens, proving Nay Pyi Taw is more than just a business hub. 11-12 National Guest House Compound, Shwe Pyi Taw Win Rd., Dekkhina Thiri Township, Nay Pyi Taw; 95-67/810-6061; kempinski.com; doubles from K200,000. The Lake Garden Nay Pyi Taw Accor’s upscale MGallery collection has opened a new hotel just a 40-minute drive from the Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, counting on the growing boom of tourism to the nascent

DRINK Clockwise from top: Whiskey-lovers unite at Cask 81; Burmese art graces the walls at Kempinski Hotel Nay Pyi Taw; Thai papaya salad at Sasazu; watch sunset from the deck of Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel.

Cask 81 Whiskey-lovers, set your sights on this intimate lounge for a night of peaty single-malts. The long wooden bar and rich leather seats create a “grandpa’s study” atmosphere that is perfect for puffing on cigars, sipping on scotch, and waxing intellectual. 81 Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd., Bahan Township, Rangoon; facebook.com/cask81; drinks for two US$16.

SHOP  

          Transit Shed No. 1
High-end shopping experiences are still relatively rare in Burma, but this gallery with rotating pop-up stores in a converted riverfront warehouse is leading the way. Between Lanthit Jetty and Kaing Dan No. 1 Jetty, Rangoon; 95/124-890; ts1yangon.com.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

51


EAT

Mahob Dig in at the latest venture from Seng Sothea, the young, ambitious Siem Reapbased chef behind Hot Stone Café and Palate Angkor. Set in a romantic, restored traditional wooden house, the eatery prides itself on healthy and artful renditions of Khmer cuisine— caramelized pork with palm sugar and ginger; handmade fish-ball soup with bitter melon. 137 Traing Village, Siem Reap; 85563/966-986; mahobkhmer.com; dinner for two US$30.

the best of

2014

Bassac Lane It’s hard to believe newly coined Bassac Lane was a trash-strewn alley just a year ago. Thanks to the inventive 30-something New Zealand Norbert-Munns brothers, it’s now home to a half-dozen pint-sized bars and eateries. Enjoy a premeal Negroni at aperitivo bar Seibur, a decadent burger and indie rock soundtrack at Meat & Drink, or a fresh fruit daiquiri at The Library, whose shelves are lined with second-hand books. Bassac Lane, off of Street 308, Phnom Penh. The Library: 85595/366-243. Meat & Drink: 85589/740-051. Seibur: 85592/839-440. Prices are similar at all three establishments with drinks for two costing US$10. Samai Taking advantage of Cambodia’s plentiful sugar cane and their Latin roots, a trio of South Americans has started the country’s first rum distillery in Phnom Penh’s residential Tonle Bassac neighborhood. On Thursdays, the space opens to the public, serving samples of its product and hosting exhibitions by the city’s best young artists. 9 St. 830, Phnom Penh; samaidistillery.com; 855-89/257449; drinks for two US$10.

CAMBODIA By Naomi Lindt

STAY

Pages Commissioned to design many of Cambodia’s most arresting properties, Asma Architects has become synonymous with an imaginative approach that honors the country’s architectural periods while celebrating a contemporary urban aesthetic. This 11-room boutique hotel, café and housewares showroom draws Siem Reap’s artistic elite. Street 24, Wat Bo, Siem Reap; 855-63/ 966-812; pages-rooms.com; doubles from US$48. Samanea Beach Spa Resort This resort’s 10 sprawling villas—starting at 90 square meters—are nestled between a mangrove forest and the sea, boasting four-poster beds, soaking tubs and ample space to take in Kep’s natural beachside beauty. Kep Road, Kep; 855-88/ 599-0484; samanea-kep.com; doubles from US$125. Teav Boutique Hotel Designed by two local architects, this hotel blends age-old Khmer imagery with stylish post-modern design. The 12 rooms and suites feature hand-painted Angkoreaninspired murals and a slate-gray and white-and-black palette, with furnishings made of recycled steel, terrazzo and unfinished wood. 14 St. 310, Phnom Penh; 855-23/981-818; teavboutique hotel.com; doubles from US$88.

52

D E C E M B E R 2 014

SHOP

Clockwise from top left: Local and international artists sell their wares at 1961 (2); stop by Seibur on Bassac Lane for a Negroni; fish-ball soup with bitter melon at Mahob; Samai rum distillery.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

1961 This boutique hotel has been reborn as a co-working and retail space for the town’s population of creatives. Stop by to peruse works by nearly a dozen local and international artists and artisans, from bold jewelry to obscure serigraphy prints. 211 Osaphear St., Siem Reap; 85515/378-088; the1961.com.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F 1 9 61 ( 2 ) ; C O N N O R W A L L ; C O U R T E S Y O F M A H O B ; C O U R T E S Y O F S A M A I

DRINK


Sohofama Here, Chinese cuisine staples like black truffle xiao long bao, yeung chow fried rice and tea-smoked duck are prepared with locally sourced organic produce. The restaurant, owned by Douglas Young (of G.O.D. fame) and the people behind Locafama—an eatery located in residential Sai Ying Pun— emphasizes the freshest farmto-table flavors on the island. G/F, Staunton, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St.; 852/2858-8238; sohofama. com; dinner for two HK$800.

the best of

2014

HONG KONG By Mark Lean

C LO C K W IS E F R O M TO P : C O U R T E SY O F M A M A S A N ; C O U R T E SY O F S O H O FA M A ; C O U R T E SY O F T H E WO O D S; C O U R E TSY O F T H E P OT T I N G E R ; C O U R T E SY O F P M Q.

STAY

The Pottinger With a discreet entrance fronting Hong Kong’s oldest ascending stone slab lane, this 68-room heritage property with its tasteful interiors, featuring the works of renowned local photographer and filmmaker Fan Ho, is both cozy and classy. All rooms are kitted out with LED televisions with interactive IPTV and sound systems, free Wi-Fi, Acca Kappa toiletries and essential—after a late night on the town—Nespresso machines. 21 Stanley St.; 852/2308-3188; thepottinger.com; doubles from HK$2,375.

EAT

Carbone An outpost of the Michelin-starred Carbone in New York, owned by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, pulled up on Hong Kong’s shores earlier this year. Hits in the memorable Italian-American menu include the prime porterhouse, the veal parmesan and the house specialty Mario’s meatballs, all served by tuxedoclad waiters. 9F, 33 Wyndham St.; 852/2593-2593; carbone.com.hk; dinner for two HK$1,100. Mama San Step into the chilled out Mama San, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d left Hong Kong’s rat race for the languid beach scenes of Thailand or Bali. Chef Will Meyrick has transported a slice of Southeast Asian paradise—along with its tastiest cuisines—onto buzzy Wyndham Street. The menu—a collage of Chinese, Singaporean, Indian, Indonesian, Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese fares—has winners like suckling pig, and soft-shelled crab in a mango, pineapple and peanut salad. 1F, 46 Wyndham St.; 852/28818901; mamasanhongkong.com; dinner for two HK$900.

DRINK

Clockwise from top: Chef Will Meyrick at Mama San, Hong Kong; Sohofama serves Chinese comfort food; pItcher-perfect at The Woods; cozy class at The Pottinger; an explosion of art at Kapok.

Ping Pong 129 Gintonería Hidden away on a non-descript street in Sai Ying Pun is a former ping-pong hall turned hipster watering hole. The bar stocks more than 50 different gins including 12 Spanish varieties as well as craft beers like Er Boquerón. L/G, Nam Cheong House, 129 Second St., Sai Ying Pun; 852/9158-1584; pingpong 129.com; drinks for two HK$160. The Woods More than just a bar for after-work drinks, The Woods offers fixed menus of cocktails precision-made with seasonal ingredients. Pressed for time? Sink into one of the leather armchairs, and let the bartender surprise you with an oak whisky sour—a shot of whisky with lemon juice, egg white and maple syrup. L/G, 17 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2522-0281; thewoods.hk; drinks for two HK$240.

SHOP

Kapok Home-grown brand Kapok’s sixth store in Hong Kong stocks labels like Seventy Eight Percent, Teddyfish, Void Watches, Berayah, and Latitude homeware. Founder Arnault Castel’s frequent collaborations with local designers infuse the store with stylish street cred. G/F, Hollywood, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St.; 852/2858-8170; ka-pok.com.


2014

INDONESIA By Holly McDonald

STAY

Double Six Luxury Hotel These glam beachside digs are composed of 146 sumptuously decorated suites with fly touches like round-the-clock butler service and Hermès amenities. An inviting 120-meter-long pool overlooking Double Six Beach meanders through the resort and the in-house Seminyak Italian Food restaurant, also with ocean views, hits the spot. 66 Double Six Beach, Seminyak, Bali; 62361/730-466; double-six.com; doubles from US$510. The Hermitage Built in 1923 as a Dutch telecommunications office in Art Deco style, The Hermitage in Jakarta’s salubrious Menteng district oozes delightful old-world charm. The eight-story hotel is peppered with vintage artifacts and artworks, has a chic rooftop infinity pool and bar, and is home to highly regarded L’Avenue, overseen by Chef Guillermo Varela Mata. Jalan Cilacap, Jakarta; 62-21/31926888; jakarta.hermitage.co.id; doubles from US$210.

EAT

Bambu The folks behind beachside institution La Lucciola have done it again. Savor impeccable cuisine inspired by

54

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

SHOP

Souq Be lured by Souq’s quietly tasteful emporium of homewares and fashion-forward items rarely found in Bali—think Irma Wy jewelry, Mianliao women’s clothing, as well as Chinese original trainers Shulong and Feiyue—but stay for the tasty café fare served in-store, such as potted salmon and fennel bagels with tarragon cream cheese. And be sure to take a peek at the pink flamingos in the bathroom. 10 Jln. Raya Basangkasa, Seminyak, Bali; 62-822/3780-1817; facebook.com/souqbali.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F S O U Q ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E H E R M I TA G E ; C O U R T E S Y O F D O U B L E S I X L U X U R Y H O T E L ; C O U R T E S Y O F S O U Q ; C O R U T E S Y O F S A LT Y S E A G U L L

Clockwise from top left: Irma Wy jewelry at Souq; La Vue rooftop bar at The Hermitage; glam beachside digs at Double Six Luxury Hotel; a Mianliao dress on display at Souq; table tennis at the Salty Seagull.

the best of

the Indonesian archipelago, such as barramundi baked in bamboo with sour star fruit, chilies, tomato and lemon basil, or Sulawesi street-style pancake with Toraja coffee and ginger ice cream. The soothing candlelit surrounds are magical, a pool-set pavilion adds romance and service is both attentitve and discreet. 198 Jln. Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali; 62-361/8469797; dinner for two Rp800,000. Kilo Bali This stylish Singapore import—all woods, polished concrete and angled glass— serves up imaginative ItalianJapanese fusion cuisine, heavy on fresh seafood. Dishes sound classic but are given innovative twists, such as spicy salmon sashimi folded with chili flakes, mint, toasted rice and lime. Cocktails are exceptional and music is carefully curated, so come early for a drink—we suggest the rosemary-infused gin and tonic with dehydrated lemon. 20xx Jln. Drupadi, Seminyak, Bali; 62-361/4741006; facebook.com/kilobali; dinner for two Rp900,000. Salty Seagull A throwback to the carefree days of 1970’s beachside holiday towns, retro Salty Seagull is riotously colorful and fun—down (unintentionally) to some stray concrete dolphins in the car park and (intentionally) ping-pong tables and crab racing inside. Food-wise, it’s all about ribs, crabs and old-style prawn cocktails—finger-lickin’ goodness served under a fairylight roof or on garden-set tables. 999 Jln. Petitenget, Kerobokan, Bali; 62-361/8497588; dinner for two Rp600,000.


DRINK

the best of

Barlai Its nondescript entrance might have once helped Barlai, the newest kid on the Pudu’s entertainment block, remain a charming insider secret. But as word spread, the lowbrow combo of cracked walls, wooden tables and naked light bulbs somehow rose to the rank of the city’s most happening watering hole. 3 Jln. Sin Chew Kee, Kuala Lumpur; 60-3/2141-7850; thebiggroup.co/bignightout/ barlai; drinks for two RM28. Fuego Grill & Bar Kuala Lumpur’s newest South American tapas bar steals the upmarket drinking scene with its bird’s-eye view of the city’s skyline. Facing the Petronas Twin Towers from the 23rd floor of the Troika skyscraper, it’s the perfect sundown cocktail setting. Level 23A, The Troika, 19 Persiaran, Kuala Lumpur; 60-3/2162-0886; troikaskydining.com/fuego; drinks for two from RM72. Narrow Marrow Recycling second-hand furniture with cheeky but stylish gusto, a couple of young interior designers transformed the threemeter-wide ground floor of their studio into a cozy tunnel for thirsty bohemians. Sip lattes and beers while a selection of indie tunes spins on the vintage vinyl player. 252A Carnavon St., George Town, Penang; 60-4/261-3795.

2014

MALAYSIA By Marco Ferrarese

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : M A R C O F E R R A R E S E ( 2 ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F F U E G O G R I L L & B A R ; C O U R T E S Y O F V I V A N TA B Y TA J , R E B A K I S L A N D ; C O U R T E S Y O F B A R L A I

STAY

Vivanta by Taj, Rebak Island Only a 15-minute boat ride from mainland Langkawi, these traditional Malaysian chengaltimber chalets house 94 rooms and suites stocked with thoughtful touches like Forest Essentials natural bath amenities, a pillow menu, and a trove of health drinks. Enjoy Vivanta-curated activities such as rainforest-expert-led walking tours, private Batik classes and a sunset yacht cruise. Or—as this is the only accommodation on the sprawling 158-hectare, ancient-forest-covered island— just soak up the sun in solitude. Kuah, Langkawi; 60-4/966-5566; vivantabytaj.com; doubles from RM1,100.

EAT

The Barn There’s much to love at Mont Kiara’s latest Italian and Spanish fusion grill. Steaks are cooked to perfection, and the selection of small plates paired with a glass of house wine make for perfect aperitifs. The attached wine bar and cigar lounge expertly conjure even more southern European spirits. G/F, 1 Mont Kiara, 1 Jln. Kiara, Kuala Lumpur; 60-3/6211-5620; thebarn.com.my; meal for two from RM50. The Big Fat Hen Express Diner This intimate family diner offers a mix of western deli and artsy atmosphere in Penang’s trademark retro pop style. The crispy butter-roasted ciabatta slices topped with macaroni and cheese or chilli con carne are best scoffed up to the soundtrack of local musicians strumming out good vibrations. Garden Inn, 41 Anson Rd., George Town, Penang; 60-17/537-7375; facebook.com/ bigfathen; lunch for two RM20.

SEE Clockwise from top: Expect murals instead of motor vehicles at Hin Bus Depot; lattes and lager at Narrow Marrow; hard liquor and hardbacks at Fuego Grill & Bar; Vivanta by Taj; minimalist Barlai.

Hin Bus Depot Art Centre Restored to host a solo exhibition by mural painter Ernest Zacharevic, this once-abandoned bus depot is now a retro art gallery with a lovely adjoining open-air garden. The almost monthly launch parties are great occasions to mingle with the Penang art scene’s usual suspects. 31A Jln. Gurdwara, George Town, Penang; facebook.com/ hinbusdepot; free entry to all art showcases.


Your Local Casual but not canteen, the Asian-infused comfort food and fabulous cocktails make this addition to Manila’s dining scene a popular choice for first dates. Order the smoked salmon donburi over corn and shiitake black rice. G/F, Universal LMS Building, 106 Esteban St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Manila; 63-2/8236206; yourlocal.ph; dinner for two P1,200.

2014

PHILIPPINES By Stephanie Zubiri

STAY

Kandaya Drink in the tropical modern architecture, which makes a lively splash on the otherwise utilitarian, dive-hotel landscape of Northern Cebu. The island’s colorful marine life and white sand beaches provide the perfect setting for this breezy property. Boasting a gym, spa, pool, yoga studio, tennis court and mixed martial arts center, there’s plenty to keep you entertained, with or without the scuba gear. kandayaresort. com; doubles from P12,000.

Clockwise from top: A Beach Pool Villa at Kandaya; 71 Gramercy, the hottest club in town; toy treasures at Chibi Momo; spiral into lunch at Blackbird; chef Bruce Ricketts at Mecha Uma.

EAT

Blackbird The 1930’s Nielson Tower, the only pre-World War II structure standing in Makati, has been transformed into an innovative eating space graced by chef-owner Colin Mackay’s impeccable taste. The menu reads like an airline route map. Voyage from Florence to Saigon, London to Karachi, New York to Bangkok with dishes like duck pappardelle and grilled pork belly skewers with noodle salad. Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati City, Manila; 63-2/828-4888; dinner for two P2,500. Mecha Uma Young and talented chef Bruce Ricketts turns out beautiful Japanese-inspired dishes with global flair such as matsusaka beef with charred eggplant, wasabi, scallion and Cabrales cheese emulsion. Score a spot at the 10-seat omakase counter and indulge in his brazen and spectacular bites.
G/F, RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center,
25th Street, corner of 6th and 7th Avenues,
Bonifacio Global City, Manila;
63-2/801-2770; dinner for two P2,000 à la carte, tasting menu for two P7,200.

56

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

SHOP

Blue Carreon Home The international fashion and lifestyle journalist Blue Carreon has made a spectacular debut into the world of interiors with his namesake boutique and brand. With a penchant for glamour and chinoiserie, he pulls together unusual objects from around the world and blends them with his own locally crafted designs resulting in a gorgeous, tiny space filled with objects of desire. bluecarreonhome.com. Chibi Momo Looking for something special for your “mischievous little peach?” That’s the translation of this sassy kids store’s Japanese name, and with its wide range of wares and Parisian chic interiors, it is truly a gem. Here you’ll find dapper little outfits along with traditional wooden toys and soft plushies. chibimomo.com.

DRINK

71 Gramercy Perched atop Manila’s tallest residential skyscraper, it is the hottest club in town. Experience the gorgeous skyline at happy hour or come late night to cut a rug with the local glitterati and good-looking expat crowd. 71F, Gramercy Residences, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City, Manila; 63917/847-7535; 71gramercy.com; drinks for two P500.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F K A N D AYA R E S O R T; C O U R T E S Y O F 71 G R A M E R C Y; C O U R T E S Y O F C H I B I M O M O ; C O U R T E S Y O F B L A C K B I R D ; C O U R T E S Y O F M E C H A U M A .

the best of


the best of

2014

DRINK

SINGAPORE By Brian Spencer

STAY

Sofitel So Singapore Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld designed the signature Lion’s Seal logo for this opulent, 134-room boutique hotel, housed within a restored 1920’s heritage building and perfectly positioned between Chinatown and Marina Bay. It’s the only hotel in town where all rooms come with iPads and iPhones, and the gold-plated rooftop pool and its swanky bar are classy spots to chill out before dinner at Xperience, where guest Michelin-starred chefs create exclusive seasonal menus. 35 Robinson Rd.; 65/6701-6800; sofitel.com; doubles from S$294.

EAT

The 1925 Microbrewery & Restaurant Helping fill a void created by the unfortunate recent closure of celebrated microbrewery Jungle Beer, The 1925 turned an old Jalan Besar hardware shop into a convivial bilevel bistro anchored by 600-liter-tank brewing facilities. The beer-friendly cuisine is an appetizing mix of bar snacks (try the wasabi fries), grilled meats, and fresh seafood. 369 Jln. Besar; 65/6294-9215; the1925. com.sg; dinner and drinks for two from S$60. Alt. Pizza This trendy eatery from rising-star chef James White overcomes a somewhat unfortunate location in Suntec City shopping mall with a winning

58

D E C E M B E R 2 014

Clockwise from top left: Hot pies at California import Alt. Pizza; microbrews and bar bites at The 1925 Microbrewery & Restaurant; Smith Street Taps; Sofitel So Singapore; the serene So Spa pool.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Smith Street Taps The brilliance of Smith Street Taps is found in both its setting and simplicity. Located on the second floor of a huge Chinatown hawker center, here Singapore’s most compelling selection of craft beers flows through up to eight taps—and that’s all there is to it. This no-frills approach leads to bargain deals on these normally pricey brews, plus the owners are happy to suggest hawker-food pairings for your pints. Hint: everything goes well with satay. Chinatown Complex, #02-062 Smith St.; 65/9430-2750; facebook.com/smithstreettaps; pints for two from S$20. Sugarhall This bar-and-grill from the team behind speakeasy Jigger & Pony arrived amidst an avalanche of new bars riding Singapore’s handcrafted libations craze, but Sugarhall’s simple steakhouse fare and 18 cleverly conceived cocktails help it stand out from the competition. The restaurant scores bonus points for a breezy soundtrack heavy on reggae, ska and hip-hop. 102 Amoy St.; 65/9732-5607; sugarhall.sg; dinner and drinks for two from S$60.

INDULGE

So Spa Taking over the nowclosed Spa Botanica, So Spa is the luxury chain’s largest facility in the world. Before your treatment in one of the spa’s 14 private rooms, unwind with a stroll through the outdoor “meditative labyrinth” and a soak in the mud pool—access is included with all one-hour treatments. The Singapore Resort & Spa Sentosa, 2 Bukit Manis Rd.; 65/6275-0331; singapore resortsentosa.com/sospa.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F A LT. P I Z Z A ; C O U R T E S Y O F 1 9 2 5 M I C R O B R E W E R Y & R E S TA U R A N T; C O U R T E S Y O F S M I T H S T R E E T TA P S ; C O U R T E S Y O F S O F I T E L S O S I N G A P O R E ; C O U R T E S Y O F S O S P A

combination of California craft brews and 28-centimeter pizzas at rock-bottom prices. Alt. Pizza is Asia’s first restaurant offering draft beers from the Humboldt Bay, California, microbrewery Lost Coast, and its DIY pies can be loaded with everything from manchego to blue crab to wagyu short-rib meatballs. Suntec City Tower 4, #01-6023, Temasek Boulevard; 65/6836-9207; altpizza.com.sg; dinner for two from S$35.


T

ransform the wedding of your dreams into reality that’s what “we do”.

When it comes to saying “I do”, couples can’t find a more romantic destination than The Racha on Racha Yai - one of the Andaman Sea’s most beautiful island resorts.

choose from a selection of beautiful venues on racha yai both indoors and out.

Whether it’s a simple barefoot beachfront ceremony for two or a grand affair, the resort’s enthusiastic and dedicated wedding consultants plan every event to its last detail - from luxurious accommodations to the intricate touches on a wedding cake. It’s no wonder that so many honeymoon and wedding couples choose to celebrate at The Racha. www.theracha.com Let The Racha realise your dreams. Contact the resort’s wedding professionals today at dos@theracha.com

X O

P R I VAT E

Celebrate romance with our Honeymoon Experience Package* at www.theracha.com. For stays from 11th January until 30th April 2015.

A menber of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

85 luxurious villas • 3 ozonated pools (excluding private ones) • 3 signature dining establishments & bar

world-acclaimed anumba spa • club del mar for chilling • personalized sea and land experiences • to-die-for-views complimentary tel: 66 76 355 455 fax: 66 76 355 637 email: reservation@theracha.com www.theracha.com

* terms & conditions apply


2014

THAILAND By Jeninne Lee-St. John

STAY

Kata Rocks Phuket goes mod at this whitewashed, cliffside resort where Italian leather-furnished villas have staff and pools. The spa is a tech-fusion haven with a chromotherapy chamber for chakra healing. No wonder this 34-room spot has snagged a ton of awards, despite having just opened. 186/22 Kok Tanode Rd., Kata, Phuket; 66-7/637-0777; katarocks.com; doubles from Bt35,000. Sala Ayutthaya Riverfront bliss abounds at this boutique. The cozy crisp-white rooms overlook an idyllic view of the Chao Phraya River and the ancient Phutthaisawan temple, which gleams on the opposite bank. 9/2 Moo 4, U-Thong Rd., Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya; salaayutthaya.com; 66-35/242588; doubles from Bt3,200.

Clockwise from top: Views from Sala Ayutthaya; the ground floor of velveteen Smalls; Hemingway’s Sazerac cocktail at Vesper; the brassy A.R. Sutton & Co Engineers Siam; baci pizza rolls at Peppina.

EAT

Peppina Rome wasn’t built in a day, but its dining scene might have been had Jarrett Wrisley and Paolo Vitaletti run the show. Following last year’s perennially booked Roman spot Appia comes their perennially full Neapolitan pizzeria. Vitaletti flew to Italy to study the art, and brought back an oven and chef to make dough. Grazie, we say. 27/1 Sukhumvit Soi 33, Bangkok; 66-2/119-7677; facebook.com/peppinapizza; dinner for two Bt1,000. Sensi Chef Christian Martena and wife, Clara—bright young things, both—front this homey Italian. The seasonal menu is full of emulsions but never veers to precious. Sit at Martena’s chef’s table: if anyone can woo you with a puff of smoke… from a jar… of wood-smoked shrimp, it’s this guy. Narathiwat Soi 17, Yaek 5,

60

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

DRINK

A.R. Sutton & Co Engineers Siam Bangkok’s most visionary bar designer, Ashley Sutton, has gone solo with this golden-hued speakeasy-meets-study. Fronted by a gilded cage, this wee tinceilinged fantasy land feels like the more sedate big brother of Sutton’s beloved Iron Fairies. Mature along with him, and order his house-distilled liquors. Park Lane, 18 Ekamai, Bangkok; drinks for two Bt500. Mikkeller and Craft These are two inevitabilities of the craft beer boom. At Mikkeller’s garden villa, choose from 30 taps (we say, Vietnamese coffee stout) then settle into your beanbag. Craft has 10 taps plus by a big fridge and a more sceney-city vibe. Either way, bottoms up! Mikkeller: 26 Ekamai Soi 10, Yaek 2, Bangkok; 66-2/381-9891; mikkellerbangkok.com. Craft: 16 Sukhumvit Soi 23; 66-2/6613220; craftbangkok.com. Drinks for two at both Bt600. Smalls This velveteen outpost breaks the monotony of the Sathorn strip’s five-star hotels. DJs preside over parties that pull in the cool kids. The open-air roof is social and sultry. Yep, David Jacobsen, of Q Bar infamy, has imprinted Smalls with his signature smooth. 186/3 Suan Phlu Soi 1, Bangkok; 66-95/5851398; drinks for two Bt550.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F S A L A AY U T T H AYA ; C O U R T E S Y O F S M A L L S ; C O U R T E S Y O F V E S P E R ; C O U R T E S Y O F A . R . S U T T O N & C O . E N G I N E E R S S I A M ; C O U R T E S Y O F P E P P I N A .

the best of

Bangkok; 66-2/117-1618; facebook.com/sensibangkok; degustation menus from Bt1,790. Vesper Why is dinner at Vesper so delightful? Maybe because co-owner Debby Tang plies our favorite salami orecchiette with the sweetest smile. Or, because of that carver slicing 5J ham in the corner. Or, maybe it’s just that a meal that moves from an oak-barrel-aged Negroni through pages of delicate cocktails is sure to be very delightful indeed. 10/15 Soi Convent, Bangkok; 66-2/235-2777; vesperbar.co; dinner for two Bt1,400.


Marking A New Era in Farrer Park’s Evolving Landscape

URBAN HOTEL

. LOFT APARTMENTS . SKYLINE HOTEL & SKY VILLAS

In the heart of Singapore, a new lifestyle experience excites the city state with its technology enabled offering of 243 contemporary chic accommodations; within 3 distinctive 'hotels within a hotel', nine innovative dining concepts, exclusive wellness and spa facilities and a state-of-the-art conference centre. Our products and services are thoughtfully conceptualized and crafted to meet, exceed and anticipate the expectations of our in-house residents and patrons. Resonating with notes of serenity with its 14 gardens over 20 levels and displaying a curated art collection of more than 500 pieces from Singapore and Greater Asia, a total lifestyle environment beckons at One Farrer Hotel & Spa.

A member of 1 Farrer Park Station Road, Singapore 217562 T (+65) 6363 0101 E enquiry@onefarrer.com W onefarrer.com


the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef/ owner crafts tacos and burritos from fresh local ingredients alongside his mother-in-law, who works as the sous-chef. 6 Tu Hoa, Hanoi; 84-126/613-4178; saltnlime.com; dinner for two VND305,000.

the best of

2014

VIETNAM

Cube Eclectic events from Latin reggae concerts to themed film nights spice up the scene at this chic venue, one of the more exciting additions to the southern city’s growing roster of restobars. 31B Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Saigon; 84-90/336-9798; facebook.com/thecubesaigon; drinks for two VND240,000. Mojito Bar & Lounge The cocktails here will knock your socks off. Try a wasabi martini or a pho cocktail—while the drink doesn’t include beef bones, it comes infused with spices and garnished with lime and chili, just like the soup. 19 Nguyen Quang Bich, Hanoi; 84-90/488-6266; drinks for two VND200,000.

By Elisabeth Rosen

STAY

Alma Courtyard Hoi An Located in the historic unesco World Heritage town of Hoi An, this tranquil resort bundles daily spa journeys that draw on Vietnamese culture and spirituality, from the Legend of One-Pillar Pagoda to the Hundred Knot Bamboo Tree, into the room rate. 326 Ly Thuong Kiet St., Hoi An; 84-510/3666888; almacourtyardhoian.com; doubles from VND3,255,000. The Shells Phu Quoc One of the newest resorts on this up-and-coming island in the Gulf of Thailand, The Shells offers spacious rooms with floor-toceiling windows overlooking the beach. Ganh Gio Beach, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc; 84-77/3718888; theshells.com.vn; doubles from US$320.

DO

EAT

L’Embellie Set in a colonial house, this bistro serves elegant versions of classic French dishes like bouillabaisse and rabbit à la royale stuffed with foie gras and immersed in a red wine and chocolate sauce. 49 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hanoi; 84-4/3943-0717; lembelliehanoi.com; dinner for two VND1,400,000. The Racha Room This sleek bistro turns out Thai-inspired tapas like chicken wings with fried basil and rice-encrusted sea bass, along with hand-crafted cocktails like the Hot & Stormy, which blends whiskey with chili, sugar cane juice and ginger beer. 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Saigon; 84-90/879-1412; facebook.com/ theracharoom; set lunch from VND160,000 per person. Salt ‘n Lime At the capital’s first authentic Mexican restaurant,

62

D E C E M B E R 2 014

Clockwise from top: Magical mixology at Mojito Bar & Lounge; pool-front suites at The Shells Phu Quoc; cool down at The Racha Room; Danang street-food tour; fashion-forward Zone X-98.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Danang Street Food Tour While many visitors skip Danang in favor of nearby Hoi An, this recently launched bespoke tour reveals the unique culinary highlights of the central city. Groups are limited to four, letting the organizer customize meals based on comfort level; options range from fresh seafood to steamed pig brains. 4 Tran Quoc Toan, Danang; 84-128/7796006; danangfoodtour.com; tours from VND950,000 per person for a maximum of four people. Zone X-98 Inspired by Zone 9, an arts complex that closed last year, this similarly styled fashion destination features boutiques spotlighting cool local designers. Take a break from shopping to duck into one of the fab offbeat bars or eateries, like German-style dessert shop Wunder Waffel. 97 Hoang Cau St., Hanoi; 8490/401-7007; facebook.com/ khux98.

CLOCK WISE FROM TOP: COURTESY OF MOJITO BAR & LOUNGE; COURTESY OF THE SHELLS PHU QUOC; COURTESY OF THE R ACHA ROOM; COURTESY OF DANANG STREET FOOD T O U R ; C O U R T E S Y O F Z O N E X-9 8 .

DRINK


Special advertiSing Section

Making a Splash at Vana Nava Hua Hin, Thailand My daughter Lucy is passionate about water parks. She talks about the ones she’s been to and the ones she would like to visit the way car enthusiasts talk about Ferraris. Over the years, we’ve been dragged to water parks in Hong Kong, Bali, Mumbai and Toronto. She’s spends hours online investigating water slides and rates them on an excitement level. A few days ago she discovered Vana Nava Hua Hin, a gargantuan new water park in Thailand that opens this month. She has already started lobbying and I know that we’ll soon be packing our sunblock and flip-flops and heading to the resort town of Hua Hin. For families, Vana Nava is fun waiting to happen. With 3.2 hectares of entertainment, the park features Asia’s First Water Jungle with more than 200,000 flora and fauna, year around

events, concerts and 19 water attractions for all ages ranging from the Lazy River where people bob placidly along on inner tubes to the amnesia-inducing AquaLoop. In Lucy’s never-ending quest from the ultimate water slide, the AquaLoop is the Holy Grail. A trap door opens, plunges you down and loops you 360 degrees back around at maximum G-force. It lasts only a few breathless seconds but is terrifying enough to make a grown man cry. Add to these, Thailand’s first Abyss ride—the largest slide in the country— where six people share a giant yellow inner tube and spin into a funnel at mad speeds; Boomerango that shoots you up and down a vertical wall at 45 kilometres per hour; and Vana Nava Falls, the tallest man-made waterfall in Asia. Whenever my daughter begs to go to a water park, safety is uppermost in my

mind. Vana Nava adheres to stringent international safety standards and provides a state-of-the-art, environmental water purification system. Knowing Lucy is getting her adrenalin rush in safety allows me to relax and take in some of the facilities that cater to parents. Early evening will find me chilling out in my bathrobe and flip-flop at the Vana Nana shop or at one of the half dozen restaurants cuddling a welldeserved cocktail.

Sales Office (Bangkok) : +662 105 4136 Email : info@vananava.com Website : www.vananavahuahin.com Facebook : www.facebook.com/VanaNavaHuaHin


Radar b o o ks

A WORD FROM THE KITCHEN Four new cookbooks bring the world to your table.

↑ Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is the credo of Massimo Bottura, who celebrates 20 years at the helm of Osteria Francescana, in Modena, Italy, with this beautifully produced book of recipes, stories and photographs. + In The Slanted Door, Charles Phan pairs signature dishes such as wokcharred eggplant and bún riêu soup with meditations on tea, cocktails and his revered San Francisco restaurant. + Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s encyclopedic Mexico: The Cookbook includes more than 600 authentic and accessible recipes, including selections by Enrique Olvera, Alex Stupak and other champions of the cuisine. + Heritage, the coffee-table-ready cookbook debut by Virginia-born chef Sean Brock, tells the delectable story of the evolution of Lowcountry cooking. —lindsey olander

television

What inspired screenwriter John Fusco (of Hidalgo fame) to create Marco Polo, a new Netflix series based on the life of the 13th-century Venetian explorer? An epic journey of his own—guided by nomads through Central Asia on horse and camel. After that 2007 trek (and later trips to far-flung corners of China), Fusco resolved to turn the story of the world’s first globe-trotter into a TV drama.

With unknown 24-year-old Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy (below) in the title role—“he reminded me of a young Brando,” Fusco says—shooting began in Venice in March. “And then, just like Marco Polo, we traveled east,” Fusco says. Kazakhstan (left) stood in for ancient Constantinople, Karakorum and other Silk Road stops, with hundreds of extras reenacting intense battles on the steppe. Later scenes, including those at Kublai Khan’s court, were shot on elaborate sets at a studio in Malaysia. It’s said that with his last breath, Marco Polo whispered, “I did not tell half of what I saw.” Fusco’s series should help fill in the blanks. Dec. 12; netflix.com.  —katie james

FROM TOP: PHILIP FRIEDM A N; N E TFLIX (2)

MARCO POLO RIDES AGAIN


r e s tau r a n t s

MEAT MARKET MANIA

COURTESY OF THE BUTCHERS CLUB

Looks like Bali is in the mood for meat. Hong Kong’s famed dryaged beef and burger joint, The Butchers Club Burger, is taking its show on the road with an opening in Seminyak this month. A proprietary dry-aging facility off-site will feed the menu, which will follow the Hong Kong branch’s formula: one staple dry-aged beef burger with maple-glazed bacon and cheddar cheese, supplemented by a rotating roster of secret selections accessible through a QR code. The first Butchers Club Burger opened in Hong Kong’s Wanchai in the spring, and this year the Butchers Club Deli and neighboring The Butchers Club Shop retail store in Wong Chuk Hang joined the fast-expanding outlets. Though the fourth venue is the only one outside of Hong Kong, Jonathan Glover, founder and owner of The Butchers Club, specifically calls it “the first of our

international outlets.” In fact, Bali is just the tip of the atlas. Talks are already under way for venues in Singapore, Dubai, Shanghai and even Sweden. “The market is truly international,” Glover says of Bali, “filled with holiday-makers and expats who we are certain will agree with the foodies of Hong Kong in thinking that ours is the best burger they have ever tasted.” As a bonus, he says, “it means we now have the perfect holiday destination—which I will definitely be visiting on a regular basis.” With the butcher-in-chief swooping in for fun, sun and quality control, we say, chow down! The Butchers Club Burger Bali: Jalan Cendrawasih, Lingkungan Umasari, Kerobokan Kelod, Jutautara, Badung. The Butchers Club Burger Hong Kong: G/F, Rialto Building, 2 Landale St.,Wanchai; butchersclub.com.hk; burgers for two HK$200. +

The Butchers Club’s doubledecker burger stands tall.


Radar 3

2 fa s h i o n

GOING IN STYLE From posh to practical, 20 must-haves for looking dashing (through the snow) this winter holiday.

4

5 1

1 Fountain pen with leather pouch, $1,650, Hermès. 2 In the Spirit Of travel book set, $295, by Juniper Books. 3 Leather bag, $1,995, Dressage Collection. 4 Leather-trimmed canvas jacket, $2,170, Prada. 5 Stainlesssteel-and-pink-gold Lucea watch, $7,950, Bulgari. 6 Cashmere-and-fox-fur scarf, $1,865, Inverni. 7 Leather travel wallet, $295, Want Les Essentiels de la Vie. 8 Leather suitcase, $8,650, Berluti. 9 Hand-knit Italian-yarn sweater, $795, Tabula Rasa. 10 Cashmere slippers, $350, Mara & Mine. 11 Wildly Gold Collection makeup palette, $95, and Touche Éclat highlighter. →

7

9

10

11

66

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

* Prices throughout are listed in US dollars, but may vary by country and retailer.

YA S U + J U N K O . S T Y L E D B Y M I M I L O M B A R D O . M A R K E T E D I T O R : C O U R T N E Y K E N E F I C K

8

6


ge fique Voya My Magni DUA NUSA BALI FITEL

RT

O H RES

BEAC

SO

ESCAPE ANTING ARM AN ENCH NESE CH TS BALI EE M CE TREAT EGAN RE EL T N CH FREN ACHFRO VISH BE DUA, , NUSA IN A LA , LOT N5

BTDC 9 2888 WISATA ) 361 84 AN PARI TEL: (+62 KAWAS NESIA COM 3 INDO L. 36 TE FI 80 SO BALI H9078@

Swim m ing

ill esi Clu b M

me

Poo l

Luxury Room with Pool Access

A taste of tropical luxury on the magical island of Bali BOASTING MAGNIFICENT VIEWS OF THE SHIMMERING SEA, SOFITEL BALI NUSA DUA BEACH RESORT’S SPACIOUS

ROOMS

AND

SUITES

OFFER

SOPHISTICATED

STYLE

AND

EXQUISITE

COMFORT.

REVEL

IN

A WORLD OF REJUVENATION WITH A SAVANT MIX OF WORLD-CLASS FACILITIES, FRENCH COSMETOLOGY AND TRANQUIL SURROUNDS. DISCOVER ALL OUR MAGNIFIQUE ADDRESSES ON

www.sofitel.com

JOIN OUR GLOBAL LOYALTY PROGRAM AT ACCORHOTELS.COM


Radar 12 15

14

A New Leading Light in City Living

13

16

18

LiT BANGKOK Residence offers that rare combination of downtown convenience that is also a haven of calm; a true home.

17

Innovative design, state of the art amenities, international service standards and delightful Thai touches are set to redefine contemporary Thai living. Come home to the city. 19

20

12 Cotton-twill backpack, $195, Skagen Denmark. 13 2-in-1 packable down jacket and neck pillow, $195, Tumi Outerwear. 14 Stainless-steel Oyster Perpetual diving watch, $10,400, Rolex. 15 Polycarbonate carry-on suitcase, $475, Rimowa. 16 Portable color palette, $55, Laura Mercier. 17 Leather cross-body bag, $595, Vince. 18 Down parka, $695, Polo Ralph Lauren. 19 Mini Luna sonic facial cleansing brush, $139, Foreo. 20 Mesh-and-rubber sneakers, $135, Swims. T. +66 26 123456 www.litbangkok.com


hotel experience in Maldives A LUXURY HIDEAWAY Experience the Ultimate luxury holiday in the Maldives at this 5 star hotel. A marvel of space, taste and refinement. Luxury without ostentation. Begin the U-experience: call (230) 402 2772/73 or visit us at www.constancehotels.com


Radar locafile

TAIPEI PERSONALITY It takes a seasoned touch to mine this capital’s vast quarry of cool. T+L asked three longtimers to tap into the city’s secrets. 1

5

6

2

4

THE DJ

THE WRITER Marcus Aurelius Resident DJ of Havana Pool Party Moved from the U.S. in 1998

favorite neighborhood The Xinyi area at night is a people-watching paradise, especially 1 Taipei 101 (taipei-101.com.tw) because ● lights up the background so superbly. in-town escape An hour floating in a saltwater tank at Dream Water (dreamwater.asia/en; sessions from NT$1,200) can give you great insight into your own mind. weekend getaway Taichung is the spot to find fancy romantic hotels at reasonable prices for your own private party with a loved one. best new find The Shrimp Daddy (11 Lane 180, Guangfu South Rd., Da’an District; 886-2/2771-0910; meal for two NT$2,000), a gumbo restaurant that serves dinner in a bag. quintessential taipei bite 2 Toasteria (toasteriacafe.com/en; ● sandwiches for two NT$200) has taken the grilled cheese sandwich experience to the next level. The food is exquisite and the ambience is always pitch-perfect. on fridays i’m usually Getting a quick DJ practice session in before heading out to Room 18 (B1, 22 Songshou Rd.; room18.com.tw; drinks for two NT$400) for the electronic dance music.

70

D E C E M B E R 2 014

Sunny Su Freelance writer and author of Au Tour de la France Moved from Kaohsiung in 2005 underrated outing Don’t miss

3 Yangmingshan National Park (english. ●

ymsnp.gov.tw). There are many beautiful paths for hikers and Xiaoyoukeng trail is my favorite. hotel recommendation Wego Boutique Hotel (we-go.com.tw/dazhi; doubles from NT$2,800) in Dazhi. There are more than 20 themed rooms; ask for the Lovely Bali room. last great meal Fried noodles at 4 Shuiyuan Market, in front of National ● Taiwan University. When I have no idea what to eat, I just go there. best reason to live in taipei You can do so much in a single day. Wake up early to go hiking at Yangming Mountain, then visit the National Palace Museum (221 Zhishan Rd., Section 2, Shilin District; general admission NT$250), and at night sing karaoke at KTV (Holiday KTV; holiday.com.tw). only in taipei can you go shrimp fishing (Fishes the Shrimp Field, 13 Zhishan Rd., Section 3, Shilin District) in the city. taipei tip Get an Easycard (easycard.com.tw). It makes it easy to get around on public transportation and you can use it instead of cash to pay for anything.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

THE ROCKER Freddy Lim Lead singer of Chthonic; writer; activist Born and raised in Taipei if taipei were a style of music it would be Indie pop, not too commercial but business-minded at the same time. on fridays i’m usually At Under the Big Tree (2 Lane 382, Jiaxing St.; meal for two NT$400). You eat seafood, drink beer, chat with friends. It’s the best combination. what nobody tells you Many well-known tourist 5 Chiang Kai-shek attractions such as ● Memorial Hall are named for the world’s fourth most murderous dictator. best live music venue Legacy (legacy.com.tw; Huashan 1914, 1 Bade Rd., Section 1). The lighting and sound are very professional, and even size of the venue can be controlled so that different bands can stage performances in their own way. quintessential taipei bite Stinky tofu. For that I go to A-Chiang’s Stinky Tofu (45 Jingmei St., Wenshan District, dinner for two NT$200) at Jingmei Night Market. 6 Beitou retains favorite neighborhood ● many historical monuments and rare places, and proves this is more than just a crazy growing city.—joe henley

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: © S E A N P A V O N E / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © M C Y E H / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © J I N G A I P I N G / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; M I C H A E L YA M A S H I TA / C O R B I S ; C O U R T E S Y O F F R E D D Y L I M ; C O U R T E S Y O F S U N N Y S U ; D U N C A N L O N G D E N ; C O U R T E S Y O F T O A S T E R I A ; C O U R T E S Y O F TA I P E I F I L M C O M M I S S I O N

3


Radar

point of view

THE UPSIDE OF JET LAG

M

ost people will tell you that sunset is the optimal time to visit Humayun’s Tomb, the red-sandstoneand-white-marble mausoleum in Delhi that inspired the Taj Mahal. (To my eyes it’s even more beautiful than its successor.) Me, I’m partial to sunrise. In this otherwise chaotic city, it’s one of the rare peaceful times to explore its hectares of Persian-style gardens planted with mango and lemon trees. Wandering the grounds one morning, enjoying the quiet while nibbling from a pack of shortbread cookies I’d grabbed from my mini-bar, I had the place to myself. Birdsong mingled with the whistles of distant trains and the aroma 72

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

of jasmine, cut grass and, from somewhere in the city, burning plastic. (This was still Delhi, after all.) Across the treetops, a brown sun peeked over a hazy brown horizon. Behind the mausoleum I passed the only other human on the premises: a groundskeeper trimming hedges with a scythe. He nodded at me and smiled. At that moment, from high in a banyan tree, two dozen macaques started to shriek and screech. En masse, they began dropping from the branches, floating to the ground like paratroopers—and suddenly a band of simian zombies was rushing straight at me. In no time, five or six were on my shoulders, swiping at my arms and tugging at my hair.

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y J O S H C O C H R A N

For travelers, early mornings are when a place truly reveals itself. By Peter Jon Lindberg


“The bees-cuits!!” the groundskeeper cried from across the lawn. “Throwww the beees-cuits!!” It took me a second to recognize the Britishism, then I let fly the cookies, shot-putting them into a fountain. The troop scrambled off in pursuit, setting upon their prize in a flurry of wet fur and fingernails. It was just past 6 a.m., and I was as awake as I’d ever been.

I

am not a morning person. I am a lover of evenings and midnights, firmly oriented to the post meridiem. (It took me some time to realize there was a 6 “a.m.”) On the road, however, I make a point of waking early. Just as safari guides have you up at dawn to catch the day’s prime activity, the world rewards those who rise before the sun. Jet lag often makes this imperative, as do crazy-early flight arrivals. I remember landing at Heathrow on a Sunday morning with my parents at age 13, only to learn our B&B wouldn’t take us till noon; we wandered London’s vacant streets for hours, searching in vain for an open restaurant. (Picture 28 Days Later, but with Samsonite roll-aboards.) But there are good reasons to hit the town before sunrise. Mornings are when a place is most specifically itself—before it’s properly dressed or put together, unaware that anyone’s watching when it steps out for the paper in a bathrobe. Like waking in a stranger’s bed, there’s a disarming intimacy to seeing a place in the pale light of dawn. Things are different just an hour or two later. Under the day’s full glare, a foreign place can appear too foreign, too harsh, too much. But in morning’s gauzy half-light, hard edges soften and the most overwhelming metropolis achieves a certain gentleness, before the heat and the clamor roll in. Some of my favorite travel memories are from 4 or 5 a.m.’s around the world, badly immortalized in hundreds of grainy, inchoate photographs. (It’s almost impossible to capture that particular, primordial light with a

UNDER THE DAY’S FULL GLARE, A FOREIGN PLACE CAN APPEAR TOO FOREIGN, TOO HARSH, TOO MUCH. BUT IN THE MORNING’S GAUZY HALF-LIGHT, THE MOST OVERWHELMING METROPOLIS ACHIEVES A CERTAIN GENTLENESS camera: in this case, you really do need to be there.) I remember, for instance, a predawn walk on the beach in Trancoso, Brazil: earth and sky and surf drained of color, hermit crabs scarcely bothering to move at my approach. Last night’s phosphorescence sparkled faintly on the sand. The world felt like a carnival ride that had yet to be turned on. I remember returning from a late night out in Paris, crossing the Pont Neuf as the sky went purple to pink. Off the Rue de Seine I passed the open door of a still-closed boulangerie, out of which came an intoxicating smell of butter and yeast. Someone had left a rack of warm baguettes in the doorway to cool in the crisp morning air. There was no one else in sight. I stood there for 17 seconds before realizing what had to be done. It was the best baguette I’d ever tasted. But mostly I remember mornings in Asia, where dawn’s transformational power feels most profound. It helps that the time zones are a half-day off from home, such that nocturnals like me are wide awake at daybreak— right in sync with the city itself. In Asia, morninglife feels like nightlife. It’s not just street sweepers and saffron-robed monks; there’s a whole parallel morning economy at work.

Follow my lead, roust yourself from your Tokyo hotel bed at 4 a.m., and you’ll see what frenzied activity goes down before the sun is up. Your taxi will glide down empty expressways as if you’re in rural Nebraska, not a city of 13 million. On the sidewalks of Ginza, stray revelers are staggering home from their revelries. One girl is dressed as Snow White. You’ll start to wonder if you’re actually awake. Finally, you’ll pull up at the Tsukiji Fish Market, amid a madcap ballet of forklifts. They careen at you full tilt, then swerve at the last possible moment. Everyone is wide awake, smoking and wearing rubber boots— except you. You are wearing an ill-advised pair of loafers, which in a few hours will be summarily tossed in your hotel trash bin, the reek of fish guts so pervasive that no amount of free shoe-shining could possibly remove it. You make your way inside to the famous tuna auction. From a corner you watch the action unfold, and in your transpacific delirium you’re convinced you understand what’s going on. Men with poles are poking a lifeless 220-kilogram tuna while smoking and shouting at each other. This could get ugly quick. You escape out a side door. Moments later you’re at Sushi Dai, a workaday joint beside the market, sipping ice-cold Sapporo while queuing for a counter seat. Soon you’re properly and irretrievably drunk, at 6:15 a.m. on a Tuesday, gorging on botan ebi and sake as if it were Friday night. Back at your hotel, the newspaper’s not even on the doorknob yet.

B

ut my all-time favorite morning ritual is a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, which, on winter mornings, drapes itself in a lacy veil of mist. Willows dip their branches in the jade-green water. A red-lacquered wooden footbridge leads from the shore to a small island temple, where tendrils of incense rise to meet low-hanging clouds. The bridge is called the Huc, or “place of morning sunlight,” although it is →

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

73


usually shrouded in fog, such that as you cross you’re bound to feel you’re stepping into nothingness. A recent visit was no different. I rose at dawn to make a few circuits round the lake. As always, a cluster of elderly Vietnamese women were silently practicing tai chi on the grassy banks. Farther along, a rowdier group had assembled, flash-mob-style, for their performance of what we used to call “calisthenics.” One can chart the globalization of Hanoi life by the soundtrack: in the 90’s it was lilting Vietnamese folk tunes; now it’s “Single Ladies.” Back then, the women wore traditional pajamas; today they wear yoga pants or counterfeit tracksuits emblazoned juicey culture . After swiveling hips en masse, they circled up to form a 40-car massage train. In the park, four boys dressed in blue-and-white school uniforms

r ec o n

THE LATEST NEED-TO-KNOW OPENINGS hotels ’Tis the season for Four Seasons hotel debuts: Johannesburg welcomes the reborn Westcliff (fourseasons.com; doubles from R4,685), with five restaurants, a spa and a bold new look (zebra prints; vibrant blues). Meanwhile, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach (doubles from Dhs2,755) stakes its claim on prime Persian Gulf waterfront. The 237 spacious rooms have marble floors, walk-in closets and balconies looking out onto the Burj Khalifa and the

laughed over an increasingly competitive game of badminton. The sidewalk pho vendor was already serving breakfast; early-shift workers crouched over steaming bowls of broth. The odd Hanoians who still ride bikes—there are a few—were visible at this hour, before the motorbikes and SUV’s scared them back into hiding. The jingle of old bicycle bells is the sweetest sound you can imagine. After my pho and another lap around the lake, the sun finally broke through the mist, and the heat of the day settled in. When it got too hot I returned to my hotel to take refuge in the lobby AC. But by now the pho vendor’s hearty broth had made me sleepy, like it often does. So I climbed upstairs and slipped back into bed, with the sights and sounds of the morning still jostling in my head, and I dreamed of incense and shuttlecocks and bicycles and bridges to clouds. +

rest of the skyline. The Adam D. Tihany–designed rooftop bar enjoys the same view. + Good news for travelers looking to escape cold climates: there are two new properties debuting in sunny Bali. Set in a former fishing village, Fairmont Sanur Beach (fairmont.com; doubles from US$350) is a charming four-hectare property home to 94 suites and 26 pool villas, which range from one to three bedrooms. A more urban escape, smack in the center of the island ’s hustle and bustle, the 321-room Mercure Bali Legian (mercurebalilegian.com; doubles from US$46), is a walkable distance to Seminyak and Kuta . + An epic 16th-century love story between a Vietnamese princess and a Japanese merchant

unfolds throughout 119 elaborate guestrooms at Hotel Royal Hoi An (mgallery.com; doubles from US$149), while canopy beds, traditional textiles and views of the Bon River keep the romance alive. restaurant Only a couple of months after receiving a Michelin star for his Upper Modern Bistro, chef Philippe Orrico has opened the two-level ON Dining Kitchen and Foodie Bar (28-29/F, 18 On Lan St.; menu not released as of press time) in Hong Kong’s Central. The food is a blend of southern European and zesty Mediterranean flavors. Guests can observe the action in the open kitchen, or walk up a floor to enjoy casual bites and cocktails.


CHEERS! KANPA

SKOL!

!

PROST

COURTESY OF STOCK TON

I!

! FURAH

IA!

Travel globally, sip locally: no matter the destination, sometimes all you need is a refreshing drink and a spirited crowd to get an inside view of a place and its culture. Go on, raise your glasses—2015 awaits with loads of new adventures. ↑ The Ribston Apple Punch, a spiced rum, Amaretto and apple cider cocktail, at Hong Kong’s Stockton Bar, is sure to put you in the holiday mood.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

77


Above Eleven, in Bangkok.

NEW YEAR’S VIEWS Fireworks are more dynamite in the open air. If you’re traveling on December 31, consider one of these hotels with alfresco bars where you can drink in the scene.

YIN ON 12 Beijing beijing. newworld hotels.com

ROCK BAR Bali ayanaresort. com

AZURE BEACH CLUB Cebu crimsonhotel. com

ABOVE ELEVEN Bangkok frasers hospitality.com

The Setting

The Vibe

The Drinks

A polished roof terrace at the New World Hotel is split between a lively grill and a cocktails-only bar.

Upmarket swagger with old-school views of the Forbidden City.

Single-malts that pair beautifully with Cuban cigars, or try the Long Yin Iced Tea and savor the sweet chrysanthemum kick.

Sheer drama. Waves crash against platforms on rocks at the ocean’s edge of Ayana Resort.

Exotic exclusivity to which drinkers are delivered via a private funicular.

We like the broad use of ginger in the tropical cocktails. Get the flavormelding Harakiri: sake, fresh ginger, wasabi, passion fruit and lime.

The Crimson poured US$2 million into their perfect-for-sunset hotspot, newly opened in October.

A friendly buzz engulfs the tanners in the sand and the gourmands in the eatery.

Life’s a beach! The Foamy Colada is the obvious choice.

An enchanted garden on Frasers Suites serves sweet cityscapes and PeruvianJapanese food.

Salsa to hiphop, daybeds to rocking chairs: this green roof has something for everyone.

A menu that includes three varieties of pisco sours and sake-inflected cocktails maintain the fusion theme. —jeninne lee-st. john

C O U R T E S Y O F S O H O H O S P I TA L I T Y

The Place


Justin Dunne

Namsaah Bottling Trust A veteran expat player in the local scene, Dunne has handled some of the city’s most formative projects including Bed Supperclub, Ku De Ta and now Namsaah. His partnership with Bangkok’s highest profile chef, Ian Kittichai, has resulted in this latest sensory adventure nestled in a colorful old colonial house in Silom. signature drink Sangsom Whiskey Sour, balancing the potentially lethal local spirit with caramel syrup, egg white and a pinch of salt. facebook.com/ namsaahbottlingtrust.

Joseph Boroski

J. Boroski Mixology The enigmatic Boroski is a man about town, but we found him lurking in his new secret namesake bar in Thonglor. In true Boroski style, this bolt-hole has no website, no map, no sign, not even an official name— just a great reputation for bespoke cocktails, cozy surrounds and a savvy crowd. Plus, a peacock. signature drink The bar menu is so mysterious, it doesn’t even exist. Drinks are made based on what you feel and what the maestro has on hand. Recent journeying has seen him return with mezcal from the U.S., pink guava from Taiwan, lava salt from Hawaii... any or all of which may wind up in your glass. josephboroski.com.

Chanond Purananda

Hyde & Seek Peek-a-Boo This dapper Bangkok boy and mixology mentor often judges cutthroat bartending competitions like Bacardi Legacy and the Monin Cup. These days, Purananda helms the bar at Hyde & Seek’s new iteration, Peeka-Boo—a brave foray of the established brand into the cluster of outlets at Groove@CentralWorld. signature drink The St. Tropez Smash, a blend of Ketel One vodka, fresh passion fruit, watermelon, vanilla and citrus, is the pinnacle pour of the cocktail institution. hydeandseek.com.

MEN BEHIND BARS Meet the gents grooming Bangkok’s ever-sophisticated after-dark scene. From barrel-aging techniques to an artisanal distillery, these five bold barkeeps push this city’s cocktails a cut above the rest. By Richard Mcleish

P HOTOG R A P H ED BY C H RISTIA N HOGU E AT A . R. SU T TON & CO ENGIN EERS SIA M . ST Y LING A N D P ROPS BY M AC HIN E AG E WORKSHOP


Thomas Anöstam U.N.C.L.E.

Anöstam, along with the Sorum brothers, is part of the trio you could call the godfathers of Bangkok mixology. They’ve steered the openings of Rocket, Lady Brett Tavern and Viva Aviv, for example. Their latest, the well-heeled speakeasy-ish U.N.C.L.E. cocktail den, is a study in all the Swedish team is about: premium drinks in considered settings, with that unwavering Nordic eye for detail. signature drink What Your U.N.C.L.E. Drinks, featuring Calvados, tawny port, fresh tangerine, pomegranate, lime, light vanilla bean syrup and dry ginger ale. avunculus.com.

Ash Sutton

A.R. Sutton & Co Engineers Siam Sutton leaves an impression as lasting as his quirky bar-design legacies that have shaped the city’s nightscape over the past few years. His latest imaginative romp in Ekamai is like a colonial Wonka Factory, with a Brothers Grimm undertone. signature drink A lowball of the homeinfused Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum—that is, until Sutton gets his white-liquor distiller cranking. fb.com/ a.r.sutton.engineers.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

81


WINE REGIONS TO WATCH T+L exper ts Bruce Schoenfeld and Merritt Gurley identify four emerging destinations—and the best bottles in each.

KHAO YAI

MOLDOVA

SWARTLAND

TASMANIA

This hilly region in Thailand is still in the nascent stages of churning out fine wines, but fresh talent and grape varieties are vastly improving the vintages.

Local producers are creating bold wines from international varieties (Merlot, Syrah) as well as indigenous grapes such as Fetească Neagră.

A hour and a world away from South Africa’s manicured Cape Winelands, entrepreneurs are growing old-vine Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Cinsault.

Fruity Pinot Noirs and full-throttle Rieslings are replacing sparkling wines as the Australian island’s most exciting exports.

T+L Pick The GranMonte 2009 Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah (granmonte.com) blend is full-bodied and fruit-driven: you’ll taste the red berries, bell peppers, plums, vanilla and spices.

T+L Pick A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and regional grapes, the Purcari 2008 Negru de Purcari (purcari.md) could pass as an exotic, pricey Napa red, with notes of anise and raspberry jam.

T+L Pick Sadie Family 2012 Old Vines Series Pofadder Cinsault (thesadie​family. com) looks like a rosé, tastes like tart cherries, and has the full-​bodied punch of a great Syrah.

T+L Pick There’s a lingering, Burgundy-like finish to the plum-​colored, cherry-scented Freycinet Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir (freycinet​ vineyard.com.au).

Where to Sip The vineyard’s onsite VinCotto Restaurant (granmonte.com/ vincotto; dinner for two Bt1,200) has an impressive wine library and charming garden terrace.

Where to Sip Carpe Diem (wine​shop.md), a well-stocked shop and tasting room in the capital, Chişinău.

Where to Sip On the shaded terrace of Bar Bar Black Sheep (bbbs.co.za; dinner for two R350), in the 17thcentury town Riebeek-​Kasteel.

Where to Sip Ethos Eat Drink (ethoseatdrink.com; prix fixe with wine pairing from A$150), one of Hobart’s most creative kitchens, also has a wine and cocktail bar downstairs.

T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F G R A N M O N T E A S O K E V A L L E Y V I N E YA R D . C E N T E R R O W , F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F G R A N M O N T E A S O K E V A L L E Y V I N E YA R D ; C O U R T E S Y O F P U R C A R I ; C O U R T E S Y O F S A D I E F A M I LY W I N E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F F R E Y C I N E T. B O T T O M R O W , F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F G R A N M O N T E A S O K E V A L L E Y V I N E YA R D ; C O U R T E S Y O F C A R P E D I E M W I N E S H O P & B A R ; C O U R T E S Y O F B A R B A R B L A C K S H E E P ; C O U R T E S Y O F E T H O S E AT D R I N K

GranMonte Asoke Valley vineyard.


Special promotion

A New Look LANdmArk While the Mandarin Orchard Singapore has been a landmark on Orchard Road for more than 40 years, it’s a hotel that is forever looking forward. Newly renovated Mandarin Premier Rooms are designed with guest feedback in mind and, at their heart, focus on space, comfort and functionality. That means generous work areas, bathrooms with separate showers and bathtubs, 42-inch flat screen TVs, state-of-the-art lighting, and easily accessible data and electrical ports. Meritus Club Lounge at Top of the M exudes a feel of exclusivity for business travelers high above the city. Any visit to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without a taste of iconic local dishes. That’s where Chatterbox comes into play, with Mandarin Chicken Rice—the best selling dish on the menu here since it was introduced in 1971—Lobster Laksa and King Prawn Fried Hokkien Noodles. Any visit to this Asian powerhouse wouldn’t be complete without trying these dishes. www.meritushotels.com


Liquid Laundry Kitchen & Brew.

The guys behind Craftpoint Brewing Co.

Fishrider Pale Ale at Joe’s Brew.

ASIAN ALES Southeast Asia’s craft beer craze is beyond firmly established, and it’s still spreading. Brian Spencer rounds up some of the region’s newest and most notable breweries.

HONG KONG

MANILA

Stainless steel fermentation tanks anchor the minimalist Tipping Point Brewing Co. (tippingpointbrewingco. com), Hong Kong’s first proper gastropub. Chef and founder Que Vinh Dang ups the ante on bar bites with such savory succulence as Vietnamese pork neck skewers and General Tsao’s chicken wings; draft brews are conveniently available by the take-away cup. + Nine Dragons Brewery (ninedragonsbrewery.hk) is one of the only Hong Kong microbreweries bottling. Look for their big-bodied Double Hoppiness IPA and grassy New Territory Pilsner at specialty shops like HK Brewcraft (hkbrewcraft.com).

Launched by three seasoned homebrewers, Craftpoint Brewing Co. (craftpointbrew.com) so far offers two signature ales: a light, luscious Summer Sessions Blonde Ale—the perfect gateway beer for craft neophytes— and the complex, full-flavored Liberation Pale Ale. + The Fish Rider Pale Ale from Joe’s Brew (joesbrew.com) is a hot climate-friendly floral bomb.

SHANGHAI A slick spin-off of the city’s award-winning Boxing Cat Brewery, Liquid Laundry Kitchen & Brew (facebook.com/ theliquidlaundry) is the gastropub playground of BCB brewmaster Michael

Jordan and chef Kelley Lee. Snack on housemade sausages while watching the brewers in action and sipping the froths of their labor (the Tripel Threat is a Belgian-style beer infused with ginger and Sichuan peppercorn), which flow from most of the 15 taps.

SINGAPORE Helping lead the revival of the Jalan Besar district, The 1925 Microbrewery & Restaurant (the1925. com.sg) is in an old hardware shop repurposed as a lively brewpub. Try the juicy, citrus-forward Small Monster IPA and silky Manuka Stout, brewed with honey and espresso. An impressive range of mostly British craft imports rounds out the tap list. +

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F T H E 1 9 2 5 M I C R O B R E W E R Y & R E S TA U R A N T; C O U R T E S Y O F L I Q U I D L A U N D R Y K I T C H E N & B R E W ; C O U R T E S Y O F J O E ’ S B R E W ; S H U T T E R P A N D A P H O T O G R A P H Y

Frothy pints at The 1925.


Special promotion

Christmas in Bali Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, invites you to revel in the season where electrifying cocktails, delectable cuisine and an extraordinary setting amplify the days & nights! Celebrate life, love and happiness with Discovery Festive Season events with Christmas tree and decorative lights while various dining venues are offering special festive menus for a memorable experience. New Year’s will be an extra special celebration as SUPER VEGAS has been dubbed as the official theme party of this year, where vibrant scene is set up with an unparalleled line up that will electrify the night. CHRISTMAS EVE BUFFET DINNER Enjoy an international buffet on Christmas Eve filled with classic festive dishes, from roast carvings and fresh seafood to live cooking stations and certainly a wide range of delicious dessert. The Pond Restaurant; 7PM onwards; Rp. 375.000++/person, inclusive of welcome cocktails or mocktails CHRISTMAS BRUNCH On Christmas day, make your way to Tepan Noodle Restaurant and join us for a veritable feast, showcasing signature dishes from around the world. From freshly baked Christmas breads, cakes & pies to extensive selections of International dishes and roast turkey will be available. We also have live music and Carol Singer who will play festive classics. Tepan Noodle Restaurant; from 11AM – 3 PM; Rp. 180.000++/person CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER Or bring the beauty of Christmas to your dining table on Christmas Day. Let yourself be pampered by the splendid creations of our culinary team who have created a sumptuous five course set menu for you and your loved ones to enjoy. La Cucina Restaurant; 7PM onwards; Rp. 425.000++/person, inclusive of Christmas Cocktails SUPER VEGAS Ring in the New Year as Discovery Kartika Plaza bids a fond farewell to 2014 and welcomes in 2015 with a Bang! Adapting from Super Heroes & Vegas show, this year’s line up features entertainers that will visually astound you and keep you on your feet dancing until the early hours of the morning, promising to be unforgettable. Guests will enjoy an all-you-can-eat exquisite buffet dinner with free flow of beer, house wine & soft drink while entertained by one of the many spectacular shows on stage. Kharisma Ballroom; 7.30PM onwards; USD 200++/person

www.discoverykartikaplaza.com +62 361 751067

BEACHFRONT AFICIONADO AT TEPAN Heat up the night at Tepan Deck before making your way to dinner. Or if you prefer cocktails to food, we’ve got you covered. And for those who aren’t ready for the night to end, make your way down to Tepan Deck where our Resident DJ puts all his personality into spinning just the right mix until the wee hours. Open all day – 2AM


your travel dilemmas solved ➔ p h o n e s , ta b l e t s , c a m e r a s a n d m o r e : t + l’ s a n n ua l t h e w o r l d ’ s b e s t b u s i n e s s h o t e l s 104 … t h i s m o n t h ’ s t o p t r av e l d e a l s 106

t r av e l t e c h awa r d s

99

P R O P S T Y L I S T: A R I A N A S A LV AT O

Trip Doctor

WAYS TO TRAVEL BETTER Tips, tricks and road-tested advice from T+L’s Trip Doctor news team. r e p o r t e d by l isa c h en g, n i k k i e kst ei n, a m y fa r l e y, k at i e ja m es, c h r is k uc way, b r oo k e p o r t e r k at z a n d to m sa m i l ja n. p h otog r a p h e d by a n d r e w b. m y e rs * Prices throughout are listed in US dollars.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

87


Trip Doctor

20 Ways to Travel Better

no .

GET PAID FOR A FLIGHT DELAY

3

no .

MASTER THE METER

2

no .

UNDERSTAND CODE SHARES Think you’re getting credit for all your frequent-flier miles by traveling on a partner airline? Not necessarily. Each partnership works differently: some offer full mileage and elite-qualifying credit for tickets on other carriers; others offer reduced (or even zero) credit. And since some regional loyalty programs calculate miles based on money spent (rather than distance flown), you may even bank more miles if you buy directly from a partner airline. Check the terms of each code share with your preferred carrier before booking.

Get from point A to point B with a single tap of a smartphone screen. Here, our five favorite regional taxi-booking apps.

GRABTAXI grabtaxi.com

SPLIT IT split-it.sg

TAXIWISE taxiwise.co

UBER uber.com

DIDI DACHE xiaojukeji.com

Locations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam Coolest Feature: Driver ratings, so you can book a driver who has gotten good reviews— safety first. free; Android, BlackBerry10, iOS

Location: Singapore Coolest Feature: Uses Facebook and GPS to help you locate people nearby who are going your way, so you can share the cab and split the fare. free; Android, iOS

Location: Hong Kong Coolest Feature: Lets you reserve a taxi in advance, rather than just on the fly, with more reliable scheduling than most of the other apps on the market. free; Android, iOS

Locations: 45 countries, including Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam Coolest Feature: The app tracks the taxi ride, so you can monitor your route as you go or, if you booked for a friend, you can follow their progress. free; Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Location: China Coolest Feature: Integrated within the WeChat (wechat.com) social chatting application, so WeChat users can find, book and pay for taxis within a single platform. free; Android, iOS, Windows Phone

88

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

L O G O S , F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F G R A B TA X I ; C O U R T E S Y O F S P L I T I T; C O U R T E S Y O F TA X I W I S E ; C O U R T E S Y O F U B E R ; C O U R T E S Y O F D I D I D A C H E . I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y Q U I C K H O N E Y

1

If time is money, then air travel collectively owes us all. A few regional carriers are tipping the scales (slightly) back in the travelers’ favor. Tune Insure AirAsia Travel Protection (airasiainsure.com) roundtrip international flight insurance costs $10 and can get you up to $480 in cash back (the costs and payout vary by country) if your flight suffers long delays. You can rack up $60 per six-hour delay period, and are eligible for a payout of up to $160 if you miss your next connecting flight. There’s also an up to $160 payout if your luggage shows up late, to offset your inconvenience. Strict European Union regulations mean that passengers departing from any European airport (or flying a European carrier into the union) are eligible for compensation of up to $750 for a delayed, canceled or overbooked flight. If you need assistance making a claim, AirHelp (getairhelp.com) will go after your money for you, minus a 25 percent commission.


4

WATCH YOUR SHOWS ON THE GO

cost

Want to binge-watch the latest season of Game of Thrones at cruising altitude or catch up on Downton Abbey from your Bali bungalow? Here, a breakdown of the best services to use, and when.

downl oa da b l e ?

no .

COURTESY OF SLINGBOX

DISH ANYWHERE

SLINGBOX

$1.99–$4.99 per episode

Free with a Dish Network subscription

$149 for the Slingbox M1 (sling.com)

Yes

Yes

No

Globally

Globally

Globally

Purchasing while traveling internationally must be done via data roaming, but you can switch to Wi-Fi once your download begins.

Watch live TV, movies and premium content on your DVR over Wi-Fi—or transfer recordings to your tablet to watch offline.

Stream anything that you could watch on your TV at home, from sitcoms to sports, anywhere you can find high-speed Internet.

streaming?

w h at t o know

EDISI DEC kubu.pdf 1 11/5/2014 5:17:52 PM

GOOGLE PLAY

Escape to the peace and tranquility of Kamandalu Ubud, a 5-star boutique resort situated amid lush paddyfields in the green hills of Ubud. From your very own Balinese-inspired villa, step out to enjoy the warm hospitality of our staff and explore the natural surroundings that lie just beyond.

HERITAGE OF SERENITY

Jalan Andong Banjar Nagi Ubud, Bali 80571 Indonesia T +62 361 975 825 reservation@kamandaluresort.com www.kamandaluresort.com kamandalu

kamandalu

kamandaluresort


Trip Doctor

20 Ways to Travel Better

5

no .

THE POWER STRIP Can’t find enough outlets? The candybar-size Outlets to Go Power Strip ($20, monsterproducts.com) provides four three-prong outlets with enough space to allow for even the bulkiest plugs.

THE BATTERIES If your power is running low, try the Nokia DC-19 ($40, microsoftstore.com, pictured), a compact battery pack that delivers one of the fastest charges around. For maximum power, try the Mojo Battstation Optimus 20400 ($130, ibattz.com): it has two USB ports and stores enough power to fully charge your phone eight times.

THE RECHARGEABLE PHONE CASE The Mophie Space Pack ($250, mophie. com, pictured) protects your iPhone from drops, doubles battery life and adds up to 64GB of memory (for more photo, video and music storage). We also like the slimmer Jackery Leaf ($60, jackeryusa. com), which offers an additional 110 hours of use time; it’s available for iPhone only—for now.

GET THROUGH CUSTOMS FASTER Avoiding peak times at Asia’s international airports has never been a bigger concern, but there are ways to skip the queues. The most obvious is to sign up for an APEC Business Travel Card (travel.apec.org), which is good in 19 countries around Asia Pacific, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand among others. If you don’t qualify for an APEC card, it’s worth checking for private companies at individual destinations in advance. Get into the Thailand fast-track lines, for instance, via Bangkok Fast Track (bangkokfasttrack.com). Staff meet you at your gate, escort you through immigration and customs, and help you avoid annoying touts, not to mention delays of up to an hour. There are similar services in Jakarta, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, with costs averaging around $42 per person.

7

no .

how to earn

how to spend

s tat u s p e r ks

bot tom line

90

D E C E M B E R 2 014

6

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

EARN MORE FOR HOTELS AND AIRLINE TICKETS

Book a flight or room through an online travel agency, and you’ll get both miles from the airline and perks and rewards from the agency’s own program. Three to consider:

EXPEDIA

ORBITZ

CHEAPTICKETS

Get one point for every $5 spent on flights; two for every $1 spent on hotels and cruises.

Cash back on every purchase, in the form of Orbucks. The return: 1 percent for flights, 3 percent for hotel bookings.

The site offers reward credit for almost all airfare—as high as $50—but the amount you get is up to chance.

Points can be applied to flights, hotels and even meals (e.g., 3,500 points = $25 toward a room).

One Orbuck is worth one dollar. You can apply your balance to any purchase made on the site.

CheapCash credits can be applied to hotel bookings within 30 days.

Spend $5,000—or book seven room nights—to attain silver status, which comes with bonus amenities (upgrades, complimentary wine) at 1,400 hotels.

Gold members (people who book four room nights a year) get perks such as upgrades and free in-room Wi-Fi at partner hotels.

None. This isn’t your typical loyalty program.

With a poor return on points, Expedia’s program is all about the VIP hotel service.

Instant rewards make this ultra-transparent program very gratifying.

It makes sense when you are planning to book both airfare and hotel through the site.

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF MONSTER; COURTESY OF MICROSOF T DEVICES; COURTESY OF MOPHIE

KEEP YOUR BATTERY CHARGED

no .


8

no .

USE A DIGITAL ASSISTANT If you’re a Google user, it’s time to get on board with the app’s built-in digital assistant, which puts Siri to shame. More than just a smart voice search, the service scans your Gmail and Google Calendar for booking details and appointments, learns your preferences via your browsing history, and monitors your daily habits to deliver relevant updates (local weather, currency conversions) within the app. What you’ll get:

no .

REAL-TIME UPDATES

SCHEDULING ASSISTANCE

REBOOKING HELP

ITINERARY MANAGEMENT

Get info about flights, including delays and gate changes, starting 24 hours before departure.

Based on traffic and your preferred mode of transportation, it’ll tell you when to leave for the airport, a dinner reservation, and meetings and appointments.

If your flight is canceled, Google provides a direct link to Google Flight Search, which displays alternative flights.

A new feature launching this month pulls up your flight and hotel confirmations, restaurant bookings and more. Simply say “OK Google, show me my trip.”

9

STAY CONNECTED FOR FREE

Subscriptions to Wi-Fi hot-spot provider Boingo (boingo.com) cost $59 a month for worldwide coverage. But if you have an American Express Platinum Card, you can now get a free subscription to all of Boingo’s land-based hot spots. You can enroll at amex.boingo.com. T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

91


Trip Doctor

20 Ways to Travel Better

10

no .

GET FLEXIBLE WITH AIRFARE Two of our favorite search tools, Adioso and Google Flight Search, enable creative approaches to booking tickets. Below are five techniques we love. THE OPEN-CALENDAR STRATEGY

THE DESTINATIONAGNOSTIC SEARCH

THE PRICE ALERT

THE FARE-DROP WATCH

THE LOYALIST APPROACH

Specify where you want to go and for how long, and Google’s bar-graph-style calendars will show you when fares are lowest over a threemonth window. Adioso lets you search for flights nearly a year into the future.

Both sites will look for all flights under broad search terms: you can ask for tickets to “Japan,” “Europe” or even (on Adioso) “somewhere warm.”

Adioso’s alerts let you combine multiple open-ended search parameters and get e-mail notifications for flights that, say, “leave on Fridays” and “return three days later” in the “next six months” and go “anywhere in Asia” for “less than $400.”

The DealsRadar, from Adioso, collects price drops on flights from your area to a customizable set of destinations around the world. Among our recent finds: a $189 four-day roundtrip fare from Singapore to Darwin (down 42 percent from the average).

Google makes it easy to search by entire alliance group (Oneworld, SkyTeam, Star Alliance) from a drop-down menu, helping you maximize your loyalty earnings.

DON’T SETTLE FOR THE HOTEL GYM If hitting the stationary bike just isn’t enough, go to Gym Visit (gymvisit.com) to search for gyms that offer day passes. This site lets you compare the day rates of facilities near your hotel to find the best deals. Crossfit (map.crossfit.com) fans can check out the club’s online directory of international locations, while yogis should download Lululemon’s Om Finder (lululemon.com/apps) app to hunt down yoga classes while on the road. If your hotel gym doesn’t cut it and there aren’t any viable options nearby, you can always just download the Daily Work Out (dailyworkoutapps.com) for 30- to 40-minute exercise routines that you can do from the comfort of your suite. 92

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

12

no .

RENT A CAR WITH STYLE Sometimes, getting there really can be half the fun. Case in point: Priceline’s new and aptly named Fun Rides collection, which gathers the lowest prices for sleek specialty cars, like convertible Mercedes-Benz E350’s, Corvettes and Mini Coopers.

© R O B W I L S O N 3 9/ D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y Q U I C K H O N E Y

11

no .


13

no .

REASONS FOR DELAYED BAGS

5%

KNOW WHEN TO CARRY ON Most travelers are aware that connecting flights are the primary cause of mishandled bags, accounting for 45 percent of delays. Less well known: a smaller—though not insignificant—proportion of bags are deliberately pulled because of weight restrictions. This happens most frequently at high altitudes and on hot days; when the temperature rises, the air thins, making it more difficult for planes to take off. So carry your bag when the mercury peaks in Bangkok.

3%

transfer mishandling

8%

failure to load ticket error/ bag switch/ security/other

8% 45%

loading error airport/customs/ weather/spaceweight restriction

15%

tagging error arrival mishandling

16%

F I G U R E S F R O M T H E 2014 S I TA B AG G AG E R E P O R T.


Trip Doctor

20 Ways to Travel Better

15

no .

CARRY THE RIGHT CARD

14

no .

GET SOCIAL WITH YOUR HOTEL What’s more valuable to hotels today: a loyal customer or one with a loyal social following? It may be the latter. Case in point: the new Kimpton Karma loyalty program rewards guests who post selfies at the pool or tweet to the hotel’s customer service team, granting them expedited access to the “Inner Circle.” Once in, travelers get complimentary nights and a $50 restaurant credit at new properties. Marriott Rewards, meanwhile, is

16

no .

94

D E C E M B E R 2 014

offering members up to 2,000 monthly points for social updates. (Instagram photos and Facebook “likes” are each worth 25 points.) The new Hotelied app (free; Android, iOS) accesses travelers’ social networks and loyalty programs. Participating hotels can use this information to offer discounts to targeted demographics—for example, 35 percent off for New York–based techies. It is U.S.-only for now, but international roll-out is slated for 2015.

PUT YOUR AIRFARE ON HOLD

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Popular with commuters across Asia’s major metropolises, smart card payment systems like Hong Kong’s Octopus (octopus.com.hk), Bangkok’s Rabbit (rabbitcard.com/en) and Singapore’s Ez-link (ezlink. com.sg), not only speed you through public transit, but also offer special discounts and loyalty rewards at an everexpanding group of retail outlets. An alternative to carrying cash or paying credit card transaction fees, these cards are available at local transportation ticket offices for minimal cost.

Want to book a flight but unsure of your travel dates? Some airlines let you secure a seat without losing money if your plans change—but their terms vary. For example, if you make a Singapore Airlines (singaporeair.com) booking at one of their offices or travel agents, you can hold the fare for up to two days before paying. Note that this requires a face-to-face interaction; if you book online, your credit card will be billed immediately. Some airlines make it easier, like United’s FareLock (from $6.99), which lets you hold your itinerary either 72 hours or seven days before booking. Even some budget carriers are showing flexibility: Thailand’s Nok Air (nokair.com) gives you 24 hours to fork over the fee, and payment can be made at a 7-Eleven or certain ATMs.


17

no .

BOOK ON AN INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE It is a universally acknowledged truth that airfare varies from minute to minute, website to website. But did you know that there can be differences between the rates you find on various international versions of the same site? This often happens when travel companies are trying to gain market share in a new country, explains Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group. That means you may find a substantially different ticket price for the same flight on Expedia.com and Expedia.co.jp, the Japanese version. (Don’t worry: it’s in English.) You can find similar discrepancies for internal foreign flights on an international carrier’s own website by changing your “residence” to the airline’s home country. One caveat: you’ll be booking in the local currency, so try to use a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. We tested the theory. ROUNDTRIP BANGKOK TO TOKYO

Expedia.com

348.67

$ $

303.18

s av i n g s

13%

Expedia.co.jp

ROUNDTRIP KUALA LUMPUR TO TOKYO

Expedia.com

434.00

$

392.43

$ Expedia.co.jp

s av i n g s

10%


Trip Doctor

20 Ways to Travel Better

RENT A CAMERA LENS

no .

19

LOOK SHARP

There’s nothing worse than getting caught with stained clothing on the road, far away from a trusted dry cleaner. Enter travel-ready solutions such as Tide to Go (tide. com), a discreet spottreatment pen that instantly lifts stains. The airport-security-friendly Sea to Summit Pocket Laundry Wash (seatosummit.com) packets contain detergent strips, great for washing clothes in the sink. And then there’s Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (downy​wrinkle​releaser​plus. com), a small spray that removes creases from any garment—an unpacking essential. 96

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y Q U I C K H O N E Y

18

no .

Attention, shutterbugs: there’s no need to pony up for that pricey super-zoom lens when you can get just rent one at Phase One (phaseone.com), which has outlets in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. If you are traveling to or from the United States, check out BorrowLenses.com, owned by Shutterfly, which rents out lenses, camera bodies, lighting kits, video equipment and even underwater cases for beach getaways.


20

no .

TALLY UP YOUR CRUISE BILL IN ADVANCE The base fare of a cruise is often just a starting point for what you’ll pay. Unless you go with an all-inclusive luxury line, you’ll likely be charged for dining at specialty restaurants, alcohol, gratuities and more. So when comparing your options­­, keep in mind how costs can add up. To give you a sense, we averaged the per-person fare and additional expenses associated with a seven-night voyage in the western Mediterranean on three premium lines.

C

M

b a s e fa r e

$2,149

a i r fa r e (f r o m s i n g a p o r e )

$2,130

Y

CM

MY

r o u n d -t r i p t r a n s f e r s (f r o m a i r p o r t t o s h i p) t h r e e s h o r e e xc u r s i o n s

$91 $248

CY

CMY

K

$91

g r at u i t i e s s p e c i a lt y r e s ta u r a n t s (f o u r v i s i t s)

$400

alcohol p o r t f e e s , ta x e s and fuel charges

$120 t o ta l

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y Q U I C K H O N E Y

$182

$5,411


SUBSCRIBE NOW TO OUR DIGITAL EDITION Available at www.zinio.com 1 year / 12 issues for US$29.99.


Trip Doctor

Strategies T+L’s 2014

Travel Tech Awards

1. Best E-Reader Kindle Voyage Glare-resistant, hi-res and thinner than ever, Amazon’s latest e-reader means business. Among our favorite features: a translation tool to help you conquer Don Quixote in its native tongue and the ability to turn pages simply by squeezing the device, thanks to haptic feedback technology. $199; amazon.com.

1

Every year, we road-test hundreds of gadgets to determine which are the most deserving of your precious carry-on space. These winners made the grade—not just for their sleek design but also for their impressive performance. By Tom Samiljan. Photographed by Nigel Cox

2. Best Wearable Moto 360 There is no perfect smart watch—yet. But for Android users, Motorola’s take comes close. Its swipe-motion interface offers everything from virtual boarding passes to turn-by-turn directions, helping you get around without looking like a tourist. $250; motorola.com. 3. Best Headphones Bose QuietComfort 25 The gold standard for over-ear noise-canceling has gotten an upgrade in both performance and design (custom colors! Matching carrying case! A fold-up frame!). From $300; bose.com.

3

2

S E T S T Y L I S T: B R I A N P R I M E A U X

4. Best Travel Speaker Soundmatters Dash7 Don’t underestimate this tiny powerhouse, which uses a custom-engineered set of 25-millimeter “twoofer” speakers to deliver high-fidelity tones from a small-size body. $199; soundmatters.com.

5 4

* Prices throughout are listed in US dollars.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

5. Best Earbuds MA750i Even without active noise-canceling, these durable buds block out most ambient noise. What sets them apart? Handmade drivers for true-to-life sound and memory-foam earpieces that stay in place. $130; rha-audio.com.

D E C E M B E R 2 014

99


Trip Doctor

Strategies

Tablets 1. Best for Outdoor Use Sony Xperia Z2 Available in jet black or glossy white, this sleek-​yet-rugged tablet is dustproof, sturdy and water-resistant. Plus, the 10-inch screen’s viewing angle is wide enough that your travel companions can tune in alongside you. From $500; sony-asia.com.

1

2

2. Best for Families Toshiba Encore Mini Toshiba’s 7-inch tablet goes big on entertainment, with up to 144GB of space for photos, music and movies. With full Windows 8.1, it also supports Xbox Live gaming—perfect for restless teens. $120; toshiba-asia.com. 3. Best for Movie-Watching    Samsung Galaxy Tab S Samsung’s 8.4-inch tablet is ultralight and slim, with a multi-window work flow that lets you use two apps at once. The standard-setting display uses advanced technology to preserve battery life while offering a faster, sharper response rate—and remarkably vivid color quality. $400; samsung.com.

↑ Best Hybrid

Surface Pro 3 Microsoft has finally nailed the tablet-laptop hybrid. What you get: a 12-inch touch screen with a fully adjustable kickstand, nine hours of battery life, and an accurate, detachable keyboard. $799; microsoft.com.

4 3

4. Best for Long Hauls Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+ Even on the most cramped of tray tables this 10-inch device is comfortable to use, with a retractable stand that keeps the display at a slight incline. What’s more, the Yoga outlasts nearly any flight, offering 18 hours of battery life. $249; lenovo.com.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE CASE The ever-growing range of tablets on the market is matched only by the number of accessories to pair them with. This year’s best: Logitech’s FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, which acts as a full-size keyboard attachment, folio-style cloth case and dual-view stand for the iPad Air. $150; logitech.com.

100

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


1. Best Bang for Your Buck Asus Eeebook X205 Our top pick in a new wave of low-price laptops, this 11-incher just launched in the U.S. and may soon make its way to Asia. Weighing in at barley 900 grams, it cuts out excess bulk without sacrificing substance. It features a chiclet-style keyboard, a fast processor and intuitive controls—with 12 hours of battery life to boot. $179; asus.com.

1

Laptops

2. Best for Business Travelers Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook This 14-inch model—the lightest in its class—is all about functionality, with an anti-glare, smudgeresistant touch screen; a spacious (and silent) keyboard; and a durable carbon-fiber casing that withstands shocks, dust and even the occasional spilled coffee. $1,187; lenovo.com. 3. Best for In-Flight Entertainment Samsung ATIV Book 9 2014 An Ultrabook without the heft, this 15.6-inch HD touch screen is ideal for watching movies. Unlike its competitors, it’s only 1.3 centimeters thick, leaving you with plenty of extra carry-on space. $1,499; samsung.com. 4. Best for Connectivity HP ChromeBook 14 Currently available for purchase in Australia and India, this 14-inch Chrome OS netbook is slim and lightweight, and offers high-end hardware for a fraction of the price. The biggest draw for travelers: a built-in memory-card slot for easy photo uploading and instant sharing. $300; store.hp.com.

2

3

4

WHY WE STILL LOVE THE MACBOOK AIR It may be over a year old, but the MacBook Air ($899; apple.com) continues to be our favorite travel laptop. It’s fast and slim, with a keyboard that can’t be beat. Reports at press time were pointing to an early 2015 release of a next-gen upgrade—most likely with an ultra-hi-res Retina screen and an even thinner profile. In other words, good news for travelers.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

101


Trip Doctor

Strategies

1. Best Zoom Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Pocket-friendly and ergonomic, Canon’s high-performance point-and-shoot stands out for its top-of-the-line 30x optical zoom. The Creative Shot mode is like Instagram for dummies: it offers five color variations and modifies the crop on any frame automatically. $300; canon-asia.com.

Cameras ← Best Camcorder

1

2. Best Rugged Olympus TG-3 This compact, 16mp camera handles underwater (up to 15 meters) and land adventures alike, with dedicated settings for time-lapses and action shots, as well as GPS tagging. $350; asia. olympus-imaging.com. 3. Best for Sharing Nikon CoolPix S810c Snap, edit and upload straight from the 3.7-inch screen of the Wi-Fi-enabled CoolPix, which comes preloaded with full Android software for built-in social sharing. Other draws: a retractable 12x optical-zoom lens, a lightning-fast start-up speed, and instant cloud storage via the app of your choice. $350; nikon-asia.com.

2

3

4. Best All-Around Sony a6000 If you haven’t yet switched from a bulky DSLR to a lightweight mirrorless (MILC) body, Sony’s palm-size model makes a compelling case. It takes stunningly clear shots, with a big 24.3mp sensor, sharp autofocus and wide-ranging ISO. $650; sony-asia.com.

102

D E C E M B E R 2 014

JVC Everio GZ-R70 This 1080p HD camcorder has a shockproof body; 40x optical zoom; high-quality mic, which homes in on whatever is in focus, even if it’s a faraway sound; and an f1.8 lens, which enables well-balanced low-light footage. $500; jvc.net/asia.

4

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


1

Phones

3

1. Best All-Around HTC One (M8) With twin stereo speakers, a user-friendly interface and availability in Android and Windows, this phone is all about high performance. It’s also one of the best-​looking—and most ergonomic—models on the market. From $699; htc.com. 2. Best for Video Nokia Lumia 930 This Windows phone delivers the most powerful mobile camera around, with hardware that rivals some DSLR’s. Among the pro-quality features: full 1080p HD video capability; four built-in microphones; a 20mp sensor; and a Carl Zeiss lens. From $599; microsoft.com. 3. Best Display LG G3 This 5.5-inch screen has four times the resolution of standard HD, going big on clarity and color richness without adding any extra heft (it weighs just 150 grams). Another feature we love: the camera’s shutter can be triggered simply by saying “cheese.” From $600; lg.com.

2

4. Best Design Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Japan and South Korea will be among the first countries to welcome the Edge and its innovative Quad HD screen that wraps around the edge of the phone to display personalized notifications (time and weather; news headlines) from a side panel, ideal for easy bedside viewing. Price unavailable at press time; samsung.com.

4

APPLE’S BIG MOMENT Upgrading to the iPhone 6 should be a no-brainer for travelers: it packs in longer battery life, up to 128GB of storage and an improved camera. Why pick the supersized 6 Plus? Better low-light shooting capabilities and a killer video-stabilization feature that makes for jitter-free footage. From $649; apple.com.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

103


Trip Doctor

World’s Best

Vote for your favorite business hotels and more in the 2015 World’s Best Awards survey at tlworldsbest.com/intl

T+ L S PECI A L

What are the top hotels for business travelers? Here are the winners, as voted by T+L readers in our annual survey.

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong.

The Peninsula Shanghai.

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.

Shangri-La Bangkok.

barcelona

TOP 5

Hotel Arts 85.85 W Barcelona 80.00 Le Méridien 72.00

OVERALL 1. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 98.00 2. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong 97.90 3. The Langham Chicago 97.65 4. (tie) Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest 97.14 4. The Peninsula Chicago 97.14

TOP HOTELS BY CITY INTERNATIONAL bangkok Shangri-La Hotel 95.56 The Peninsula 94.71 Mandarin Oriental 94.63

104

D E C E M B E R 2 014

Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane 92.38

Park Hyatt 89.60 Sydney Harbour Marriott 88.57

paris

toronto

beijing

Le Bristol 92.22 Hôtel Le Meurice 90.67 Four Seasons Hotel George V 90.53

cancún, mexico

Hotel Hassler Roma 89.00 St. Regis 88.97 Westin Excelsior 87.78

JW Marriott Hotel 91.43 The Peninsula 88.89 Ritz-Carlton 86.25 Ritz-Carlton 92.00 Le Blanc Spa Resort 86.25 JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa 84.35

hong kong

Four Seasons Hotel 98.00 Mandarin Oriental 97.90 The Peninsula 95.76

london

The Connaught 94.44 Stafford London 93.75

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

rome

shanghai

The Peninsula 95.00 Four Seasons Hotel 92.94 Westin Bund Center 88.75

singapore

Four Seasons Hotel 88.00 Conrad Centennial 86.25 Raffles 84.76

sydney

Shangri-La Hotel 92.63

Great Value (US$250 or less)

Ritz-Carlton 92.73 Four Seasons Hotel 86.83 Park Hyatt Toronto Yorkville 86.43

vancouver

Four Seasons Hotel 90.26 Fairmont Pacific Rim 87.00 Fairmont Waterfront 86.67

This list is based on results from the 2014 World’s Best Awards survey. All of the included cities had at least three hotels place within the top 500. For more on the World’s Best methodology, visit tandl.me/wbmtd14. Complimentary In-Room Wi-Fi

C L O C K W I S E F R O E T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F F O U R S E A S O N S H O N G K O N G ; C O U R T E S Y 0 F T H E P E N I N S U L A S H A N G H A I ; C O U R T E S Y O F S H A N G R I - L A B A N G K O K ; C O U R T E S Y O F M A N D A R I N O R I E N TA L H O N G K O N G

2014 WORLD’S BEST BUSINESS HOTELS


Memorable moments await with a complimentary night Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Explore a new city or reconnect with a familiar one. No matter the intention, Hyatt hotels will help you make the most of your stay. For an even greater experience, enjoy a complimentary fourth night at any of the participating Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in Asia Pacific when you pay with your American Express® Card.

Hyatt Regency Changbaishan

Hyatt Regency Chongming

This offer is only valid for bookings made between 1 November 2014 to 28 March 2015, for stays between 1 December 2014 to 31 March 2015.

ParticiPating Hotels Hotels offering a comPlimentary foUrtH nigHt witH tHree Paid nigHts Hyatt Regency Chongming

Hyatt Regency Hangzhou

Hyatt Regency Tokyo

Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort

Park Hyatt Beijing

Hyatt Regency Jinan

Grand Hyatt Fukuoka

Grand Hyatt Beijing

Hyatt Regency Fukuoka

micronesia Hyatt Regency Guam

Park Hyatt Changbaishan

Hyatt Regency Jing Jin City Resort and Spa

Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa

Hyatt Regency Saipan

Hyatt Regency Changbaishan

Hyatt Regency Qingdao

Hyatt Regency Kyoto

cambodia Park Hyatt Siem Reap

Grand Hyatt Dalian

Hyatt Regency Tianjin East

Hyatt Regency Osaka

PHiliPPines Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino Manila

Grand Hyatt Guangzhou

Hyatt Regency Suzhou

greater cHina Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

Grand Hyatt Lijiang Grand Hyatt Macau

indonesia Grand Hyatt Bali

Grand Hyatt Shenzhen

Grand Hyatt Jakarta

Grand Hyatt Shenyang

Park Hyatt Shanghai

Grand Hyatt Taipei

Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai

Hyatt Regency Chongqing

Grand Hyatt Shanghai Hyatt on the Bund

aUstralia Hyatt Hotel Canberra - A Park Hyatt Hotel Grand Hyatt Melbourne Hyatt Regency Perth

Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui

soUtH Korea Park Hyatt Seoul Grand Hyatt Seoul

singaPore Grand Hyatt Singapore

Grand Hyatt Incheon

tHailand Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok

Hyatt Regency Bandung

Park Hyatt Busan

Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta

Hyatt Regency Jeju

Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort

Hyatt Regency Dongguan

JaPan Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

malaysia Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Vietnam Park Hyatt Saigon

Hyatt Regency Guiyang

Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa

To book, please visit www.hyatthotels.hyatt.com/amex/ Terms and Conditions: • Offer is valid for reservations made during the promotion period commencing from November 1, 2014 and ending March 28, 2015 (both days inclusive) (“Promotion Period”) with stay period from December 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts in Asia Pacific, including Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency. • Guest must use the offer code AX701 at time of reservation and pay the ‘Amex Buy 3 Get 4’ rate plan with an American Express Card. • Reservations are subject to availability and must be made in advance during the Promotion Period. • Offer is not valid for groups or conventions and may not be combined with other promotional offers. • Prices are based on double occupancy, standard guestroom accommodations unless otherwise noted. • Additional charges apply to room-type upgrades. • For the ‘Amex Buy 3 Get 4’ rate plan, minimum four (4) nights length of stay is required. • Complimentary night is reflected in rate at time of booking. • Promotional blackout periods may apply due to seasonal periods or special events, and normal arrival/departure restrictions apply. • Limited to one (1)complimentary night per stay. • Two or more consecutive nights at same hotel are considered a stay regardless of whether guest checks out. • Complimentary night is not combinable with Family Plan rooms. • Offer does not include tax or service charges, or any other miscellaneous charges. • Additional guests may be subject to additional hotel charges. Any Hyatt Gold Passport award stay and Suite award are not applicable. • A limited number of rooms are allocated to this promotion. • Hyatt reserves the right to alter or withdraw this promotion at any time without notice. • These Terms and Conditions may be translated into other languages and in the event of conflict between different language versions, the English version shall prevail. • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts® encompasses hotels managed, franchised or leased by subsidiaries and affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. • The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts®, Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, HYATT house™, Hyatt Zilara™, Hyatt Ziva™, Hyatt Gold Passport®, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. © 2014 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.


Trip Doctor

Deals

T+L RE A D E R S PECI A LS

THIS MONTH’S BEST DEALS From skiing the snowy slopes of Nagano to swimming in the sunny seas off Goa, these offers make for action-packed holidays. sp ec i a l china rmb4,000 p e r n igh t

A 75-square-meter Manor suite at Rosewood Beijing, in China.

BEIJING The Deal More Rosewood from Rosewood Beijing (rosewoodhotels.com), an elegant new address in the CBD. Stay Three nights in a Manor suite. The Highlight A complimentary third night for every two nights booked. Cost RMB8,000 (RMB4,000 per night), double, through February 28. Savings 30 percent. ASIA The Deal The Preferred Winter Sale from Preferred Hotel Group (preferredhotelgroup.com), a global collection of unique luxury hotels and resorts in more than 85 countries. Stay A night

106

D E C E M B E R 2 014

in a standard room. The Highlight Ten- to 50-percent discount on best available room rates at 14 participating hotels in China, Hong Kong and Thailand. Cost From US$100, double, through February 15. Savings Up to 50 percent. VIETNAM The Deal Winter Special from Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa (victoriahotels.asia), in Lao Cai province near the Chinese border northwest of Hanoi, famed for breathtaking rice terraces and diverse hill tribes. Stay A night in a Superior room with a private terrace. The Highlight Twenty-five-percent discount on room rates

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

S u pe r S ave r

BURMA The Deal Opening promotion from Kempinski Hotel Nay Pyi Taw (kempinski. com), a new address in the capital flaunting traditional Burmese design. Stay A night in a Deluxe room. The Highlight Special room rate with European buffet breakfast for two. Cost From US$140, double, through December 31. Savings 40 percent.

with daily buffet breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi included. Cost From US$124, double, through December 22. Savings 25 percent.

Dining SINGAPORE The Deal Holiday Cheer from The Fullerton Hotel (fullertonhotel.com), 400-room heritage hotel in the country’s landmark, repurposed post office building. Stay Two nights in a Courtyard room. The Highlights Dining credit of S$48 per stay and late checkout at 4 p.m. Cost From S$676 (S$338 per night), double, through January 11. Savings 20 percent. ➔

COURTESY OF ROSEWOOD BEIJING

Culture


Trip Doctor

Renaissance Ratchaprasong’s gleaming exterior, in Bangkok.

PHNOM PENH The Deal So Gourmet from Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra (sofitel.com), a riverside, colonial-style hotel in the city’s old quarter close to numerous shopping centers. Stay A night in a Superior room. The Highlight Daily US$60 food and beverage credit. Cost From US$240, double, ongoing. Savings 24 percent. THE PHILIPPINES The Deal Christmas package from Atremaru (atremaru.com), a sustainable spa resort set in the jungle of Ulugan Bay, Puerto Princesa. Stay Two nights in a suite. The Highlight A special Christmas farm-to-table menu that includes a vegetarian

108

D E C E M B E R 2 014

Christmas pizza with Pinoy pineapple and New Year’s ginger-and-lemongrass crab. Cost From P19,350, double, December 1-January 15. Savings 50 percent. BANGKOK The Deal Gastronomic Delights of Bangkok from Banyan Tree (banyantree. com), offering 11 diverse dining options from a Thai dinner cruise to a rooftop bar-and-grill. Stay Two nights in a Banyan Tree Club room. The Highlight A three-course dining experience for two at 61st-floor, open-air Vertigo Grill. Cost From Bt30,000 (Bt15,000 per night), double, book by December 21. Savings 40 percent.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Active

Beach

JAPAN The Deal Ski and the City from Backyard Travel (backyardtravel.com), Asia travel specialists. Stay Nine nights in four-star accommodations. The Highlight A guided tour of trendy and historic districts between the ski slopes of Nagano and the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. Cost From US$1,649 per person (US$184 per night) double, through March 31. Savings 15 percent.

THAILAND The Deal Add-up package from Wendy the Pool Resort (wendythepoolresort.com), the latest rustic-chic member of Captain Hook boutique family on remote Koh Kood. Stay Two nights in a Pool Access Sea View villa. The Highlight An optional package of two lunches, two dinners and a round-trip speed boat transfer at a discounted rate of Bt4,000 per person. Cost Bt25,000 (Bt12,500 per night), double, through May 31. Savings 16 percent.

GOA The Deal Family Getaways from Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village (vivantabytaj.com), 142 Goan-Portuguese cottages and villas on Sinquerim Beach. Stay Two nights in a Superior Charm cottage with balcony. The Highlight One outdoor activity per person: choose between rock climbing and rappelling. Cost From Rs43,500 (Rs21,750 per night), double, through March 31. Savings 20 percent.

CHINA The Deal Opening offer from Shangri-La’s Sanya Resort and Spa, Hainan (shangri-la.com), the brand’s first entry in mainland China. Stay A night in a Superior room. The Highlight A complimentary foot massage with any spa reservation for two people. Cost RMB988, double, through December 31. Savings 33 percent.

Romance

Family

BANGKOK The Deal Pride and Joy LGBT couple package from Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel (renhotels. com), a 22-story tower in Bangkok’s famous shopping district. Stay A night in a Deluxe room. The Highlights Twentypercent discount on food and alcoholic beverages; 20-percent discount on à la carte menu at Quan Spa; and a bottle of sparkling wine per stay. Cost From Bt5,000, double, through September 5. Savings 20 percent.

MALAYSIA The Deal Live. Bond and Relax from Berjaya Waterfront Hotel (berjayahotel. com), in Johor Bahru, five minutes from the causeway link to Singapore. Stay A night in a Deluxe room. The Highlight One-day excursion to Legoland Malaysia or Universal Studio Singapore including a round-trip transfer. Cost From, for two adults and one child, RM548 including Legoland admission, or RM848 including Universal Studio admission, through April 30. Savings 18 percent

BALI The Deal Romantic Getaway from Hu’u Villas (huuvillasbali.com), a tony boutique property with sleek lofts, two-level villas and a three-bedroom penthouse in Seminyak. Stay Two nights in a one-bedroom villa. The Highlight A 60-minute Balinese massage for two. Cost US$877 (US$439 per night), double, through March 31. Savings 15-20 percent.

SINGAPORE The Deal River Safari Panda package from Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park (ramadasingapore.com), on historic Balestier Road, home to a wander-worthy heritage trail. Stay A night in a standard city view room. The Highlight Tickets for two to River Safari Singapore, a river-themed zoo. Cost From S$228, double, December 1-March 31. Savings Up to 54 percent. +

C O U R T E S Y O F R E N A I S S A N C E R AT C H A P R A S O N G

Deals


A 24/7 ESCAPE. TRANQUIL BY DAY. ELECTRIC BY NIGHT. SITUATED BETWEEN MAENAM AND BO PHUT, IT HAS THE FINEST AND MOST PRISTINE BEACH LOCATION IN THAILAND, OVERLOOKING STUNNING BEACHES AND LUSH FORESTS, W RETREAT KOH SAMUI AWAKENS AS THE SUN GOES DOWN, IGNITING THE UNEXPECTED. ILLUMINATING.. ENVIRONS. TAKE IT EASY. SURROUNDED BY VERDANT FOLIAGE, EACH OF OUR 74 PRIVATE-POOL RETREATS BOASTS A PRIVATE OUTDOOR POOL AND INFINITE ISLAND VIEWS. INSIDE, PREMIER TECHNOLOGY MEETS W SIGNATURE BED, BLISS® SPA AMENITIES AND WHATEVER/WHENEVER® SERVICE. W RETREAT KOH SAMUI T 66 77 915 999 / F 66 77 915 998 EXPLORE WHAT’S NEW / NEXT WRETREATKOHSAMUI.COM WHOTELS.COM/KOHSAMUI


December 2014

Features

CEDRIC ARNOLD

112 122 132 144

Sydney Bandung Burma Great Group Getaways

Artist Arin Sunaryo in his Bandung studio, page 122.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

111


DIVING INTO SYDNEY In Australia’s food-mad metropolis, Gary Shteyngart finds no end of restaurants and bars, epic breakfasts and late-into-the-night dinners—and much more, including vast swimming pools, and, of course, marsupials.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY PETRINA TINSLAY


Oysters served with champagne mignonette at Bondi Icebergs, a swim club and restaurant. Opposite: The club’s saltwater pool.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

113


I ARRIVE IN SYDNEY WITH THREE VERY IMPORTANT ITEMS ON MY AGENDA:

Eat some of the best breakfasts in the world, swim like a saltwater fiend in the city’s gorgeous outdoor pools and hug a wombat. That furry, bewhiskered marsupial—third fiddle to the koala and the kangaroo—has been on my to-hug list since I was a kid rifling through the W volume of the encyclopedia. Thirty hours after taking off from JFK, I stumble into the Sydney sunshine, not sure if I’ve gained a day or lost a day, given the 16-hour time difference. In a sense, I’ve lost eight years, as this outrageously expensive city seems, at least superficially, to have avoided the global financial crisis that has ravaged the rest of the Englishspeaking world. I’m also here to read at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, which, for those who still like to read books, is possibly the classiest and best-attended of its kind. (I end up doing panels with both Amy Tan and Irvine Welsh, just to give you an idea of its breadth.) My hotel is practically beneath the quaint Art Deco


Featherdale Wildlife Park, in Doonside, outside Sydney. Opposite, from left: Specialty coffee at Single Origin Roasters, in Surry Hills; Izakaya Fujiyama’s swordfish-belly sushi.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

115


Clockwise from top left: Bulletin Place, a downtown bar; Bondi Icebergs’ Campari cocktail with blood-orange soda; charred sweetbreads, asado ribs, and crisp-fried brussels sprouts with lentils and mint at Porteño, in Surry Hills; local food writers Pat Nourse and Myffy Rigby inside Bentley, a restaurant downtown; matchboxes from Porteño; stopping for photographs on the walk from Bondi Beach to Clovelly Beach; ricotta hotcakes, a breakfast special at Bills, in Darlinghurst.

116

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


monster that is the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a brief jaunt from the Sydney Opera House, about which more later. I walk over to the festival’s headquarters and ask if they can help me find a wombat. My previous telephone calls to the various zoos and wildlife refuges around Sydney have produced no leads. There are liability issues because wombats apparently have very sharp claws and are illdisposed toward visiting American writers. The crack staff at the festival promise to do their best. And so it’s time for breakfast, or brekkie, which contemporary Sydneysiders eat in fascinating quantities. I cab over to a restaurant called Bills on happy, hilly Liverpool Street in Darlinghurst, the hipster Victorianterrace-covered “suburb” just east of the Central Business District, or CBD. (The weird down-under nomenclature refers to normal urban neighborhoods as “suburbs.”) The first restaurant of international food god Bill Granger, Bills is a blond-wood paradise where moms with Kato buggies and content providers with MacBook Airs cluster around a communal table covered with magazines like Sturgeon— sample article: “I Like Dachshunds, You Like Chickens.” But it’s the lighter-than-oxygen, honeycomb-buttered ricotta hotcakes, with a banana playing the supporting lead, that blow my jet-lagged mind. I slurp a delicious flat white, the region’s contribution to the latte family, as people around me talk brightly in the difficult Australian language. I am able to understand one discussion, two young men of working age planning the day ahead of them. Keep in mind that it’s 10 a.m. on a Monday. “I’m going to the beach after this,” one says to the other. “What are you doing?” “I think I’m going back to sleep,” his tousled-hair friend says. God, in my next life, please make me a Sydneysider.

B

reakfast here is an obsession, but coffee-drinking borders on the hysterical. Sydney folk are convinced that at this point in the development of our civilization, Sydney has the world’s best coffee. Single Origin Roasters, in the even-cooler-than-Darlinghurst suburb of Surry Hills, just south of downtown, takes things to truly Portlandia levels. Coffee can be prepared with such abstruse methods as “the Syphon,” which uses water pressure and a vacuum in some mysterious way and was pioneered in Berlin in the 1830’s and then favored by Toulouse-Lautrec during his coffee binges at the Moulin Rouge. But “the Syphon” machinery is out of whack today, and I’m directed to a “pour over” of a Kenyan blend. “It’ll take ten minutes,” my adorably intense coffee professional tells me, her eyes gleaming with caffeinated vigor beneath her glam-nerd glasses. While I chew on banana bread with espresso butter, I study the veritable Talmud of coffee that serves as the menu. A “pour over…produces a cup of extreme clarity and roundness of body.” And finally it arrives, its nutty, sour taste depositing me on the banks of Kenya’s Kambuku River from whence it came; its texture is that of weak tea. “Such a clean way of drinking it,” my coffee professional nods approvingly.


Now that I’m full of jittery resolve, I wander north to the pretty Botanic Gardens, where one sign celebrates our convict heritage and another national sorry day, the day non-native Australians apologize to their Aboriginal predecessors for stealing their children during the 19th and 20th centuries and trying to turn them into “white” Australians. Every country, I think, should probably have a Sorry Day. The gardens empty out onto the visage of the Sydney Opera House. I’m not one for guided tours, but a building with this much élan and iconic power deserves a ramble if only to marvel at the otherworldly concrete ribs that hold it together. The impressive main hall can be rented out for a mere A$8,000; Miley Cyrus, it must be said, will be playing it soon. And now it’s time to take a quick cab ride to the eastern suburb of Bondi for my first swim of the day. That’s the beauty of this town: one can go from Miley Cyrus to Bondi Beach in 20 minutes. Sydney is deep into the antipodean autumn when I visit, winter is beckoning, but the air is a ridiculous 22 degrees and the water temperature in the high teens. This means but one thing: the Bondi Icebergs. Jutting out into the Tasman Sea, the famous Icebergs swim club offers a year-round chance to dip into a true ocean pool, the temperature slightly colder than the actual water temps because of the pool’s concrete construction. The first freezing lap is deadly, the second feels like I’ve just drunk three cups of Kenyan “pour over,” the 10th is exhilarating, and by the 20th I don’t want to leave. When I surface, I glimpse the infinite stretch of sea just a stone’s throw beyond the pool. Kayakers brave the fearsome surf in the distance, while all around me kids squeal in their wet suits as fat-insulated older men do their best polar bear impressions, scampering into the pool as if diving off an ice floe. After my laps, skin tingling with salt water and raw energy, I bound up the stairs leading from the pool to the spare and trendy seafront bar, where I slurp on some rock oysters, chow down on a basket of polenta chips with sour cream, and have a Campari drink lit up with sparkling blood-orange soda. Desperate to keep the oceanfront magic going, I decide to do the two-hour coastal walk from Bondi to Clovelly Beach, hugging the eastern shore of suburban Sydney. Maniacal joggers and terriers, as well as beautiful tanned octogenarians, compete for the narrow space alongside oyster-shell-smooth rock formations. Below, children play in tidal pools, adept as seals. The next day I get an exciting e-mail from the Writer’s Festival folk: my wombat is ready for hugging. I am driven 50 minutes westward to the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where a lovely young park worker named Kellie introduces me to Bumble, a two-year-old wombat whose sweet, wiry fur is coarse to the touch, and whose expression is one of deep marsupial tranquillity. Actually, she’s just coming out of a nap. Her claws are already formidable and there are the red beginnings of a pouch. I hold on to the 13 kilos of love

that make up Bumble, and she looks back at me, her soft, plushy nose wiggling along with her thick white whiskers. After I bounce around with a dusty kangaroo, I’m taken around to visit Kane the koala. This individual, who looks rather like a dazed exiled Russian intellectual, gets 18 to 20 hours of sleep per day and is visibly unhappy when I try to give him a back rub. Koalas are the punk rock stars of the animal world, stoned most of the day on eucalyptus oil and rife with chlamydia. “Given that they’re asleep most of the day,” I say to my driver, “how do koalas even have sex?” “Very slowly, I imagine,” he says. That, I believe, is an example of Australian wit.

I

n no time at all, I’ve knocked off the three items on my bucket list: saltwater swimming, wombat cuddles and some grand, over-caffeinated breakfasts. Now I’m ready for something a lot more serious—dinner. Recently Melbourne has been stealing most of the thunder on the dining scene with restaurants such as Attica and Cumulus, but Sydney is no koala when it comes to dining, it’s fast awake and working hard. I’d written to Pat Nourse, one of Australia’s preeminent food writers, and he suggested we do a bit of a food-anddrink crawl though Sydney. What I don’t quite realize he meant is that we will crawl through eight restaurants and bars in one night. I meet the handsomely bald and pinstripe-suited Pat at our first stop, Bentley, in the CBD. The restaurant is a wonderfully open and dramatic room done up by the irrepressible Melbourne designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb with a kind of floating space-age pick-upsticks décor, perfect for Sir Ridley Scott, who is munching away at a table when we enter. “He’s the best sommelier in the country,” Pat says of Bentley’s Nick Hildebrandt, who immediately sets us up with a glass of 2013 Jauma Blewitt Springs Sand on Schist, a South Australian take on Chenin Blanc that tastes more like antipodean spring than the autumn gathering strength outside. We chase the wine with potato crisps covered in

I GOT A CHANCE TO HEAR AN OBNOXIOUS MATING CALL. ‘ARE WE ON A DATE?’ HE ASKS. ‘HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU WANT?’ beef and sage, and amaebi prawns from Western Australia’s deep waters. By the way, when Pat describes someone as Australia’s best sommelier, I would listen to him. This is the kind of critic who complained of one restaurateur: “His plating is so 2008.” Our next indulgence is steak at the Rockpool Bar & Grill, just a few blocks away. “Australia has had twenty-two years of unbridled economic growth,” Pat says as we enter the soaring interior of what used to be the Art Deco lobby of an


Sundown at the Sydney Opera House.

insurance company, “and this is the result.” According to Pat, there’s a guy at the Australian Financial Review who writes a whole column about who’s eating with whom at this banker’s paradise. We order a spicy minute steak at the bar. “This is full-blood Wagyu, not the McDonald’s kind,” the bartender informs us of the steak’s august lineage. He’s right to be boastful. The perfectly seared beef will make you want to apply for Australian citizenship the next day. With the sun now fully extinguished, we leave Sydney’s CBD—a kind of Toronto skyline plunked down by the gorgeous harbor—and head back into the dining paradise of sometimes-posh, sometimes-sketchy Surry Hills. What’s a good snack after a steak? Fish fingers, anyone? The ones at Bodega, the first brainchild of chefs and best buddies Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz—whose name I will have to appropriate for a future novel—feature pieces of toast upon which float a complement of cold wonders: yellowtail ceviche, diced cuttlefish, onion, and shavings of mojama, or salt-cured tuna. This is what fish fingers have struggled to be all along, if only we’d have let them. Pat’s girlfriend, Myffy Rigby, who’s the chief food and drink critic for the local edition of Time Out, shows up wearing a floral dress and a fashion-forward red head-scarf. She insists on the steamed-milk-bun sliders, which hold a nice fat barbecued tongue topped with crabmeat and salsa golf, the vibrant Argentinean mayo. It’s an impressive choice. Our next Surry Hills stop is a wine bar named 121 BC, after an ancient vintage mentioned by Pliny the Elder. In Jungle Beach. aUga darkly joyous, Felliniesque room with a long red wooden

table and one wall taken up entirely with wines, 121 BC is a wine geek’s heaven. The geek-in-charge is Giorgio de Maria, an adorable Piedmontese whose next task is to set up shop in Hong Kong, or “Honkers,” as the locals call it. Almost every successful Australian I meet jets up to Beijing or Shanghai or Honkers on a regular basis. Indeed, selling its mineral wealth to China is how this country has kept ahead of most of the rest of the world, despite the fact that “the population of Australia is the size of a Chinese city you’ve never heard of,” as one furniture designer tells me. We are now only halfway though our food-and-booze crawl, and I don’t want the night to end. Our fifth stop is Izakaya Fujiyama, a few blocks away. Everything in Surry Hills feels just a few blocks away, as if the neighborhood were one big gastrointestinal block party. We pour in for a sashimi nightcap at the cavernous Fujiyama just as they’re closing up. The master of ceremonies, Kenji from Hokkaido, does an amazing swordfish belly or a smoked bonito in soy sauce on a sweet-potato shell with popcorn. Yes, popcorn! Take that, every other izakaya in the world! We walk up a few streets to Porteño, the latest venture from Milgate and Abrahanowicz. It’s hard not to love this retro-styled Argentinean mega-restaurant, with its large outdoor tables and a parrilla that’s always smoking. Open for only four years, it’s already a part of the global Meatand-Malbec industrial complex, thanks to dishes like the gorgeously charred sweetbreads and the famed asado ribs. I return to Porteño a few days after my first visit, just to sit beneath a kitsch poster of Juan and Eva Perón, nose T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

119


buried in a glass of thick red, marveling at the house-made chimichurri and the crispy fried brussels sprouts with lentils and mint. Grilled meats be damned, the best dish at Porteño is arguably this intense, nutty-tasting creation. But for now we cab over to our seventh stop, a bar called Bulletin Place, back in the CBD. Ten drinks into the evening, things are getting a bit hazy, but if my shaky notes are correct, Bulletin Place is a cool, living-room-size, Berlinquality bar that can be found behind an unmarked alleyway door and up a flight of stairs. Fruit rules the roost here; my Spiced Bird magically crams in Pampero rum, pineapple, ginger, Campari and lime. The staff is composed of a duo of wonder boys, but I also got a chance to hear the obnoxious mating call of the head of information technology for a major Australian investment bank as he hits on Myffy. “Are we on a date?” he asks, leaning into her with his red-veined beak. “How many children do you want? May I taste your drink?” And then he says something so unprintable that I’m suddenly reminded we’re in Tony Abbott’s Australia, he being the dunderheaded prime minister who, during my visit, manages to wink when a pensioner tells him she has to work on a phone-sex line to make ends meet. There is an eighth stop on this food crawl, as promised, a visit to the quasi-secret back room of a famed subterranean beer and pizza joint called Frankie’s, but I’d be lying if I told you I remembered anything that happened there. Apparently, at one point Myffy addressed my person with the exclamation “I want to pour a beer on you!” but she later confirmed that she meant it in a positive way.

T

he next day I feel like I’ve eaten just about everything Sydney has to offer, but there’s more. At the ethereal Quay, located smack in the middle of the harbor on the top floor of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, I take my time ingesting an untidy dish of baby octopus and shrimp soaked in some rich XO sauce and topped ingeniously with dried Spanish ham. An iconic greenand-yellow Sydney ferry named Friendship passes directly underneath, while the millions of tiles that make up the sails of the Opera House glisten in the near distance. Can anything match the view? Yes, a dessert called “the snow egg” that frankly shouldn’t be eaten, because nothing in the rest of your life will ever measure up to it. Suffice it to say it looks like something out of the snowy portion of HBO’s Game of Thrones and it tastes like a brain-freezing, heartwarming explosion of strawberry, guava granita and custard-apple ice cream. Dinnertime finds me at Ester, a muscular, arched space of concrete, wood and brick in the ever-happening suburb of Chippendale, right next to the riches of Surry Hills. Continuing with the XO theme—there’s China and its influence again—I eat a very primal dish of bone marrow in XO; the fish sauce, marrow, and butter forming a heavenly mess of heat and spice, the whole thing looking like a detail in a Brueghel painting. Then there’s a kangaroo tartare in fried-egg sauce, a dish that benefits mightily from an 120

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

aerial assault of deep-fried capers. As I ingest the air-dried meat of the marsupial’s shinbone, I feel mildly conflicted: just yesterday I was playing with a ’roo, and now I’m eating one. So it goes in swinging Sydney, where you always eat the one you love. In the midst of all this feasting, I manage to get back into the water. Walking north across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the Opera House at my back, brings me right to the North Sydney Olympic Pool. What strikes me most about this almost-80-year-old Art Deco wonder is its democratic nature. On this breezy early evening, it seems that everyone is here, young show-offs in their budgie smugglers—the tight-fitting Speedo-like swimwear unabashedly worn by Tony Abbott in the fashion crime of recent years—grandmas in retro one-pieces, middle-aged perma-tanned Sydneysiders who look like they’ve been carved out of a single thick piece of red hardwood. I do a mellow breaststroke for the better part of an hour, rewarded with a view of the pylons of the Harbour Bridge every time I surface. Sydney offers unpretentious good living, marsupials warm to the touch and sweet to the taste, and, yes, possibly the most advanced coffee in the world. I hereby resolve to do like the locals. I will wake up and gorge on my monster brekkie by the ungodly hour of eight in the morning. Life this good simply cannot wait. +

+

T L Guide

Sydney STAY Four Seasons Hotel Overlooks Sydney Harbour. 199 George St., CBD; fourseasons.com; doubles from A$395. InterContinental Historic hotel near the Sydney Opera House. 177 Macquarie St., CBD; intercontinental.com; doubles from A$378. Park Hyatt A complete overhaul in 2012 updated this 155room property. 7 Hickson Rd., The Rocks; parkhyatt.com; doubles from A$930. EAT Bentley 27 O’Connell St., CBD; thebentley.com.au; dinner for two A$120. Bills 433 Liverpool St., Darlinghurst; bills.com.au; dinner for two A$70. Bodega 216 Commonwealth St., Surry Hills; bodegatapas.com; dinner for two A$50. Bulletin Place Level 1, 10-14 Bulletin Place, CBD; bulletin​ place.com. Ester 46-52 Meagher Court, Chippendale; ester-restaurant.

com.au; dinner for two A$75. Frankie’s Pizza 50 Hunter St., CBD; frankiespizzabythe slice.com; dinner for two A$15. Izakaya Fujiyama Shop G09, 38-52 Waterloo St., Surry Hills; izakayafujiyama.com; dinner for two A$80. 121 BC 4/50 Holt St., Surry Hills; 121bc.com.au; drinks for two A$35. Porteño 358 Cleveland St., Surry Hills; porteno.com.au; dinner for two A$160. Quay Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, 5 Hickson Rd., The Rocks; quay.com.au; dinner for two A$350. Rockpool Bar & Grill 66 Hunter St., CBD; rockpool.com; dinner for two A$140. Single Origin Roasters 60-64 Reservoir St., Surry Hills; singleoriginroasters.com.au. DO Bondi Icebergs 1 Notts Ave., Bondi Beach; icebergs.com.au. Featherdale Wildlife Park 217-229 Kildare Rd., Doonside; featherdale.com.au.


ARTISTS ALONE, TOGETHER Bandung is a conundrum of a cultural capital: mesmerizing yet modest, bursting with artistic talent that hasn’t quite coalesced. JEFF CHU attempts to toot the Indonesian hill station’s horn.

122

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


P HO T OGR A P HE D BY CE DR IC A R NOL D

Clockwise from top left: School girls queue outside the Museum of the Asian-African Conference; Scrap, by Arin Sunaryo; Jalan Braga, one of Bandung’s oldest promenades; Jalan Serang and its mosque; Wiki Koffie; green chili rice at Kopi Selasar Sunaryo; at Selasar Sunaryo gallery space, Interlokusi Lagak #3 and #2, by Maharani Mancanagara; Arin Sunaryo at his studio.


more beguiling. As I slowly discovered Bandung’s facets—there are many—I realized that an important part of its magic is that this iconoclastic city is still discovering what it wants to become.

One man’s ash is Arin Sunaryo’s treasure. Steer past the driveway of his studio, in the hills ringing Bandung, and you might think it’s a construction site. Dozens of 25-kilogram bags of fine volcanic ash—from Mount Merapi’s 2010 eruption—are piled higgledy-piggledy, waiting to be added to the resin with which Arin creates his art. “In the painting context,” he says, “it’s new material.” Yet it’s not. The ash is actually a very old thing in a new form. When Merapi exploded 440 kilometers away, magma—molten rock and gas that had bubbled under the earth’s surface since who knows when— spewed skyward, solidifying into ash. Arin mixes this dust, this apparent waste product, with pigmented resin. Then he climbs a ladder and hurls his self-made paint at his work surface in layer upon layer, until it’s at least 2.5 centimeters thick. “The splash itself reminds me of the explosion,” he says. “It’s never the same. The resin surprises me.” The works sell for upwards of US$8,000 and reside in New York’s Guggenheim and Tokyo’s Mori Museum. Harder than a Formica countertop—“you can wipe it!” Arin says—they look like something Jackson Pollock might have done if he’d had restraint. He takes scraps of waste resin and aggregates them into exuberant sculptures that look like rainbows exploded into shards and then clumped together. But he resists reading the spellbinding swirls and shapes. “This is about the materials, about the medium,” he insists, in his soft-spoken but stubbornly artist way. When I say some of the paintings resemble still lifes of giant mutant orchids, he just smiles. You see what you want to. So it is with Bandung. This burgeoning city of 2.5 million people has layer upon rich layer of history, culture and creativity. In colonial times, the Dutch filled the center with one of Asia’s finest collections of Indo-European and Art Deco architecture. Bandung’s universities are some of Indonesia’s best. Its artists garner global acclaim. Its designers concocted some of the country’s most famous brands, including clothing- and housewares-focused UNKL347 and T-shirt specialist Ouval Research. But Indonesia’s third-largest city remains oddly introverted. Though Jakartans throng here each weekend to shop, it’s otherwise off the tourist trail. It seems constitutionally incapable of pushing itself on anyone. If Jakarta has capital-city swagger and Yogyakarta artsy selfassurance, Bandung is the modest metropolis. But that makes it all the 124

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

“ T HIS IS A N ISL A ND C ULT UR E ,” says Febie Babyrose, a member of the acclaimed artist collective Tromarama, as we sit at Warung Inul, an open-air Sundanese eatery. The cheery proprietress, wearing a bright blue hijab, brings dish after dish to our picnic table: fried fish, snakefruit, anchovy cooked in banana leaves, stir-fried wild mushrooms, nasi cikur (rice redolent with garlic, red onion and galangal), fresh tofu. Tromarama’s work has traveled worldwide, to exhibits across Asia and Europe. “But sometimes in an island culture,” Febie continues, “people are frightened by the things that come from outside.” Often, fears fade over time, only to be replaced by new ones. Several years ago, Febie and her Tromarama collaborators, Herbert Hans and Ruddy Hatumena, created Silent Dialectica, an installation featuring mechanisms harvested from maneki neko, the lucky Japanese cat figurines with beckoning paws. It included an audience-participation element asking viewers to write down their fears. Predictably, people cited poor health and bad people. “One of the most memorable writings that stuck in our head,” Febie says, “was ‘the impermanence of life.’” Change, of course, is inevitable—and what’s fascinating about the sense of stranger danger is that Bandung owes its prominence to outsiders. It was a relatively small town when the Dutch East Indies Company began filling the surrounding


Bandung Central Mosque. Opposite from top: Members of the Tromarama artist collective: Febie Babyrose, Ruddy Hatumena and Herbert Hans; Sunaryo Soetono, the artist behind the art space Selasar Sunaryo, in his soon-to-open sculpture garden.


hills with tea and coffee plantations. The cool climate offered respite from steamy Jakarta— then called Batavia—140 kilometers away. A century ago, when boutiques filled with European imports and sidewalk cafés hosting the colonial beau monde lined Bandung’s streets, the city was dubbed Parijs van Java—the Paris of Java. The Dutch liked Bandung so much that, in the 1920’s, they decided to make it the capital of the East Indies. But the plans never came to fruition, halted by World War II and then Indonesian independence in 1945. The past seems omnipresent in today’s Bandung. It survives in stories, such as those about a resident ghost that several locals recounted to me. In one version of the tale, during World War II, the Japanese killed a Dutch nurse in a building that now houses Bandung’s Public School No. 5. She supposedly still haunts the place. Everyone seems to know someone who has seen Nancy. Indonesia’s conflicted relationship with colonial-era ghosts is reflected in the dilapidation of many Dutch-era buildings. Unlike Penang and to a lesser degree Macau, which have renovated and restored to touristic glory, Bandung has largely abandoned its architectural gems, some of which survive only in nostalgia-tinted images. When I visit Tromarama’s studio, Herbert Hans sits at his Mac and retrieves images of Ons Aller Belang. The 2012 piece is 30 Delft-style porcelain plates encircling the projection of a stop-motion

WHO SHOULDN’T THINK ABOUT HOW WE LIVE, AND HOW WE LIVE TOGETHER? animation of the images they created for those plates. Superimposed on a picture of Ons Aller Belang, a long-gone building that housed a soldiers’ union, are 30 photos of modern traffic—cars, mopeds, street life—taken at the spot where the building once stood. The installation is Tromarama’s way of commenting on what is and what was. “There are so many buildings from the Dutch that were demolished for ‘progress,’” Febie says. Her words are particularly poignant since “Ons Aller Belang” is the Dutch for “our common interest.” “It’s bad,” agrees typeface designer Gumpita Rahayu, who takes me for a walking tour of Bandung’s aging architecture one afternoon. The old structures inspire his typefaces. The Swarha Islamic Building, once an elegant hotel, would suit a post-apocalyptic movie set; peering into the abandoned upper floors, I half-expect a zombie to pop out and say hello. “This is our heritage,” says Gumpita, whose Swarha Neue font has lines echoing those of the Art Deco edifice. “I wanted to improve the value of this building with the typeface.” The Driekleur building, whose Art Deco balconies would feel at home in Miami Beach, endowed Gumpita’s Driekleur typeface with its curvaceous Z, B and K. The Warenhuis de Vries, an old warehouse


restored as offices for the OCBC Bank, inspired the font family Oud Warenhuis (literally, “old warehouse”). “The Dutch who colonized Indonesia left something for us,” Gumpita says. “Why don’t we take this heritage and do something with it?”

MO S T B A NDUNG A R T IS T S A ND DE SIGNE R S , including Tromarama’s members and Gumpita, owe their careers indirectly to the Dutch. All studied at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), one of Indonesia’s premier universities. Alums include two former Indonesian presidents, numerous politicians and tycoons, and one Miss Indonesia—Maria Selena, class of 2013. The school has its roots in a colonial institution, the Technische Hoogeschool te Bandoeng, founded in 1920 to train engineers to build roads and—very Dutch—canals. But its key infrastructural impact today may be cultural. It birthed artistic and design thinking that’s unique to Bandung, and distinct from that of Yogyakarta, Indonesia’s other, better-known contemporaryart center. While traditional Javanese culture infuses Yogyakarta’s arts, Bandung historically has drawn heavily on ideas imported from Europe, especially formalism. Every artist I meet also describes Bandung as introverted. In Yogyakarta, artists gather frequently for openings, symposia, parties. Not in Bandung. Even the geographic distribution of Bandung’s galleries reinforces the diffusion— they’re scattered among tile-roofed bungalows

From above left: and concrete-block houses in the hills, making it Typeface designer impossible to walk among them. Gumpita Rahayu and “I don’t see a lot of structure in the art the inspiration for his Swarha Neue font; community here,” says Aviandari Lestari, rice paddies still dot director of the Platform3 art space. The closest Bandung. Opposite thing to a Bandung arts district might be the from top: Members cluster of studios and galleries on the road leading of the Kandura ceramics collective; to Selasar Sunaryo, eight kilometers northeast of the Sheraton’s pool. central Bandung. Selasar, as it’s known, was opened in 1998 by Sunaryo Soetono, one of Indonesia’s most renowned artists and father of painter Arin Sunaryo. Its elegantly austere gray concrete-and-glass buildings provide a hardedged contrast to the softness of the surrounding trees. It has won wide respect for highlighting both famous artists and rising talents. Sunaryo Soetono, 72, has dabbled in everything from sculpture to textiles. He’s now building a sculpture garden down the road—and one afternoon, his son took me for a sneak peek around the unfinished plot, which has lovely views over a valley. When it opens next May, it will house some of Sunaryo’s massive sculptures, and stones and boulders he has collected from across Java. “This is a legacy project,” Arin says.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

127


A studio shared by father and son is a few Clockwise from right: Wiyoga minutes’ walk downhill, near the workspace of Muhardanto, the ceramics collective Kandura. And this seems installation artist to be as close as the arts community gets. Is this an and co-founder of unwitting communal expression of characteristic Platform 3; Bandung Institute of Dutch reserve? “I asked my dad about it once,” Technology. Arin says. “He said it was always like this. Bandung used to be a place for the Dutch to rest. So maybe there’s just some kind of vibration that makes the people like this.” Perhaps, though, the “problem” is not Bandung’s artistic introversion but the traveler’s expectation. Have we become overly accustomed to “gallery districts” like New York’s Chelsea or London’s Shoreditch? Why should a city be arranged for a visitor’s convenience? One day, as the sun begins to sink, I wander the tightly packed areas between Bandung’s train station and its historic core. Occasionally, a bright façade—sky blue, cotton-candy pink—violates the concreteblock monotony. Four little girls bat around a half-deflated red balloon, laughing delightedly as they try to hit the fluttering paper flags that crisscross above. Around the corner, three boys, maybe six or seven years old, play soccer—one wears the all-black top and trousers of the Sundanese pangsi, an outfit usually seen in the countryside, paired with gray and pink Crocs. Spotting my camera, they shriek happily, and as I walk down their narrow playing field, they follow—hiding behind gnarly tree trunks, then popping out to yell, “Hello!” Then and there, I realize: maybe Bandung’s beauty is that it’s not a mainstream destination. It isn’t trying to be anything but a place where

128

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

people live and work and play—in other words, it’s already a community.

S OME B A NDUNG CR E AT I V E S are prodding the

public to reexamine its conception of the communal. The installation I saw at Platform3 was Ada Perlu Sebentar, by Wiyoga Muhardanto, who co-founded the gallery. The name means, roughly, “Can you hold?” Wiyoga put in rows of plastic waiting-room chairs, inviting people to sit. But the chairs perch atop detritus—a Yakult bottle, for instance—cast in resin, leaving the seating off-kilter. On opening night, Wiyoga hired guards to create a second component of the piece, by asking people to park their mopeds inside, on the gallery floor, adjacent to the seating. “Some of the audience did not want to park inside,” he says. “They wanted to be able to get out first. They were thinking of their own convenience.” The indoor parking and wonky chairs disoriented the audience. “People asked, ‘Where’s the exhibition? What’s the art?’” Aviandari says. “And then we just let them be confused.” Wiyoga’s point was to tweak viewers’ thoughtless experience of public space. “Especially in the social-media era, everyone feels they are important,” he says. “I’m critiquing all of us. I want to challenge the idea of you being any more important than the others.” An impish provocateur, Wiyoga has spent much of his career critiquing consumer sentiment. Ease seems to make him uneasy. Several years ago, inspired by his mother’s Louis Vuitton handbags, he created a cast-resin AK-47 covered with the Vuitton logo. He has an especially prickly view of the shoppers who crowd


Bandung on weekends, seeking bargains in its many fashion outlets. Wiyoga’s point is well taken—who among us shouldn’t think more about how we live, and how we live together? It’s no bad thing that he and other Bandung creatives are pushing their city to consider the communal, not for outsiders but for themselves. House the House, a multidisciplinary design studio, has created public events with two goals: first, to highlight Bandung’s eclectic heritage, and second, to reclaim the streets. “In a third-world city like this, we tend to utilize private cars too much,” says House the House principal Sakti Nuzan. “It’s bad for all of us.” He tells me this as we drive around in his Honda. House the House has pioneered cuisinecentric festivals in Bandung. One series, called Keuken (Dutch for “kitchen”), launched in 2011 and has drawn thousands, with food trucks and culinary demonstrations. The studio also runs Braga Culinary Night, which on its debut last year drew dozens of vendors and 25,000 people to Bandung’s most historic thoroughfare, where you’ll still find Dutch-inspired restaurants and bakeries. (Warning: most of Bandung’s “Dutch” pastries are to Parisian patisserie as the sewagetinged Cikapundung River is to the Seine.) These events have been so successful that Braga Culinary Night has since become regular, and the studio is teaching community leaders to conduct mini-Keukens in their own neighborhoods. The administration of Ridwan Kamil, an architect and ITB alumnus elected mayor of Bandung last year, has encouraged efforts like Keuken. Ridwan, an iconoclast who made his family home’s façade out of Red Bull cans, has emphasized spatial redesign. He has created a series of themed parks, including one—much ridiculed but also much used—designated for single people to meet one another, and one for skateboarders. All of them have free Wi-Fi. “Bandung is young,” Sakti says. “It’s dynamic. It’s quite small. The prospects are very nice for small businesses and creative enterprises. The most fundamental thing that needs work is the infrastructure. But if we want to, we can partner with anyone and everyone.” He cites the support his events have received from the government. “The spirit,” he says, “is moving fast.” Perhaps the best metaphor for Bandung is a massive work-in-progress—bigger than a queensize bed—that fills the center of Arin Sunaryo’s studio. As we survey it, Sunaryo says something about his ash-turned-art that applies equally to his hometown: “It has a narrative. It has a history—where it came from. It talks about identity. It talks about Indonesia.” And it’s not done talking yet. + 130

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Indonesia

L AMPUNG

JAVA SEA

JAK ARTA

BANDUNG

YOGYAK ARTA

N

0

50 K M

INDIAN OCEAN

+

T L Guide Getting there Bandung’s Husein Sastranegara International Airport has nonstop flights from Kuala Lumpur via AirAsia (airasia.com) and from Singapore via AirAsia and SilkAir (silkair.com). From Jakarta, it’s a three-hour drive—rent a car from Avis (avis.com; two-day rental from Rp1,187,000)—or train journey (fares from Rp175,000).

STAY Hyatt Regency Bandung Mountainviews in the middle of town, adjacent to Bandung Indah Plaza shopping area. 51 Jln. Sumatera; 62-22/421-1234; bandung.regency.hyatt.com; doubles from Rp983,967. Sheraton Bandung Hotel & Towers A hillside resort-like property outside the city center. 390 Jln. Ir. H. Juanda; 62-22/250-0303; sheratonbandung. com; doubles from Rp1,480,000. Sayana Bed & Breakfast An airy, centrally located bungalow is home to this pristine, design-centric guesthouse. 14 Jln. Buton; 62-22/ 423-8958; sayanabnb.blogspot.com; doubles from Rp300,000. EAT+DRINK Rijsttafel Resto Dutch-Indonesian cuisine. Jalan Pasirkaliki; 62-22/6018573; dinner and drinks for two Rp130,000. Braga Permai Formerly Maison Bogerijen, this Jalan Braga institution has occupied the same spot since 1923 and hearkens back to colonial Bandung. 58 Jln. Braga; bragapermai. com; 62-22/4233-7788; ice cream for two Rp40,000. Hummingbird Eatery Stylish spot for

breakfast and lunch near some of the city’s most popular shopping. 14 Jln. Progo; 62-22/421-2582; lunch for two Rp80,000. The Kiosk Pasar Dago Sundanese and other Indonesian food in a clean, comfortable, upscale setting. 48 Jln. Insinyur Haji Djuanda; 62-22/4265123; the-kiosk-bandung.blogspot. com; dinner for two Rp70,000. Sumber Hidangan Historic Dutch bakery formerly called Het Snoephuis. 20-22 Jln. Braga; 62-22/423-6638; bread for two Rp20,000. Wiki Koffie Café popular with young Bandung. 90 Jln. Braga; 62-838/ 2223-3402; coffee for two Rp18,000. VISIT Selasar Sunaryo Art space. 100 Bukit Pakar Timur; 62-22/250-7939; selasarsunaryo.com; free. Platform3 40 Jln. Cigadung Raya Tengah (Belakang/Studio Rosid); infoplatform3.wordpress.com; free. Museum of the Asian-African Conference Commemorating the landmark post-colonial summit of 1955, this museum is housed in a historic Art Deco building. 65 Jln. Asia Afrika; 62-22/423-3564; asianafrican museum.org; free. SHOP Aroma Coffee This historic roastery has been selling local coffee beans since 1930. 51 Jln. Banceuy; 6222/423-0473; ground coffee from Rp5,000 per 28 grams. UNKL347 Flagship store of this Bandung-based clothing, housewares and lifestyle brand. 4 Jln. Trunojoyo; 62-22/420-0515; unkl347.com. Ouval Research Cool typefaceinspired T-shirts and accessories. 64 Jln. Buah Batuh; 62-22/2730-6697; rschtruetype.com.


YOUR TRUSTED TRAVEL COMPANION WHEREVER YOU ARE.

Norway

Iceland

Sweden

Canada Ireland

UK

France Portugal

United States

Estonia Latvia Lithuania

Germany

Spain

Poland

Ukraine

Slovakia Slovenia Croatia Serbia Bulgaria Macedonia

Italy

Greece

Georgia

Turkey

South Japan Korea

China

Hong Kong Saudi Arabia

Puerto Rico Caribbean

India

Taiwan

Myanmar

Vietnam

Thailand

Philippines

Malaysia

Africa

Singapore

Brunei

Indonesia

Papua New Guinea

South America

Australia

New Zealand

FAST, ACCURATE, ACTIONABLE AND UNBIASED BUSINESS NEWS.

cnbc.com

CNBC

@CNBCWorld


A fisherman on Inle Lake, in central Burma.

132 122

D N EOCVEEM MBBEERR 22014 014

TTR RA AV VEELLA AN ND DLLEEIIS SU UR REEA AS SIIA A..C CO OM M


This is burma’s Moment

IT’S A NATION ON THE CUSP OF GREAT CHANGE, AND THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO GO THAN RIGHT NOW. BY AND REW SOLOMON PH OTOG RAP HED BY F R ÉDÉR I C LAGR AN GE

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

133


Y

ou might not want to go to Burma yet. You might want to wait until the country becomes a full-fledged democracy, possibly led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and icon of righteous courage. You might want to wait until the Muslim problem settles down, and until the armed conflict with minority groups is resolved. You might hold out for utopia, as lots of Burma’s citizens appear to be doing. You might sit tight until the political prisoners have received their reparations, censorship is truly of the past, and the sometime junta has written itself out of existence. You might want to wait until it becomes what it is now becoming. You might, however, be well advised to go right now. Go before the place internationalizes and loses the look of old Asia that has been preserved by its harshly imposed self-isolation. Go before irreligiosity strips Burma of its mystical Buddhist purity. Go before the people in remote villages grow accustomed to tourists and lose their curiosity about you, before people switch to global ways of dressing and thinking. Go before they fix the English on the menus and signs. Go before the place gets wealthy and ugly, because if one can generalize from the little pockets of prosperity there, economic miracles are not going to make for an attractive sight. Go before everyone else goes. I had anticipated a time of hope in Burma. In the few years prior to my visit, political prisoners had been released, censorship of the media had been eased, parliamentary elections had taken place, and international sanctions had been lifted. Foreign investment was beginning to invigorate the economy. Suu Kyi, freed from about two decades of house arrest in 2010, was engaged in a campaign aimed at the presidency. The country seemed to be barreling toward both wealth and democracy. But what I found was an extremely cautious neutrality. The exuberance of transition tempered by the Buddhist philosophy of a people who had seen too many rays of hope extinguished. The population had been optimistic, perhaps, in the lead-up to independence in 1948; they had been optimistic again in 1988, when student uprisings promised a new justice; they had even had a streak of optimism during the Saffron Revolution of 2007, when thousands of monks rose up against the government only to be brutally crushed. By 2014, they had eliminated such buoyancy from their repertoire of attitudes and were merely waiting to see what might happen next. 134

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

That did not make it an unwelcoming place to visit—in fact, quite the opposite. Besides being a land of spectacular landscapes and buildings, Burma boasts a fierce, proud and kind population who will go to almost any lengths to make you feel welcome. Sammy Samuels, a Burmese Jew who owns a travel agency called Myanmar Shalom, said that people had had absurdly high expectations that with reform, foreign investment would pour in, new airports would be built, and everyone would become wealthy. Many were disappointed to realize how sluggish development is; the Burmese call the Internet the “internay”—nay being the Burmese word for slow—and Internet penetration is only about 1 percent. But there were still incontrovertible changes. “Two, three years ago, every time I come back from the United States, I am so scared at the airport even though I have nothing on me,” Sammy said. “The immigration officer starts asking, ‘What were you doing there?’ Now, they’ve start saying, ‘Welcome back.’ It’s a happier place.” Author and presidential advisor Thant Myint-U, chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust, said, “For the bottom fifty percent in terms of income, daily life is not much better at all. But the country was based on fear, and now the fear has been taken out of the equation, and people are discovering how to debate or discuss their own fates.” Golden stupas (or pagodas: the terms are interchangeable) glitter in the sun wherever you go in Burma. In the shadow of these towers, peasants labor in rough conditions. One local drily remarked to me that the country is rich, but the people are poor. For many, life seems to have gone on largely unchanged for the past 2,500 years: peasants, oxcarts, the same kinds of food and clothes. The same glittering pagodas, covered in gold in the richer towns, and merely painted in the poor ones. Nothing ever happens when it should; it’s amazing that the sun sets on schedule. My voyage among these contradictions and inefficiencies was impeccably curated, partly thanks to my charming guide Aung Kyaw Myint, with whom my friends and I spent our time learning history, geography, culinary arts and cultural fluency.

W

e began our trip in Rangoon, the heart of the country. Its Shwedagon Pagoda is among the holiest sites in the land, and people come from near and far to worship at it. The central stupa is covered in gold—not gold leaf, but thick plates of solid gold— and there are receptacles full of jewels near its apex. The Burmese maintain that the pagoda is worth more than the Bank of England. Incongruous amid the modernizing city, it feels momentous and transcendent, a sort of St. Peter’s Basilica of Theravada Buddhism. Burma’s cuisine is largely unknown outside the country. The national dish, lahpet, is a salad of fermented tea leaves mixed with chiles, sesame oil, fried garlic, dried shrimp, peanuts and ginger. In Rangoon, we ate at the local favorite Feel, which serves excellent noodles; at Monsoon, the chic


Clockwise from top left: Colonial-era buildings in Rangoon; a pair of monks in Bagan; narrow waterways surrounding Inle Lake.


136

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


Mornings in burma often find bewitching mists hovering in the valleys and around the hills. We sat to watch the sun rise over the pagodas

Myohaung, a former imperial capital.


The Golden Rock, a Buddhist pilgrimage site northeast of Rangoon.


favorite of the international crowd, which offers delicious Burmese and Pan-Asian food; and at Padonma, which is a splendid, traditional operation out near the Belmond Governor’s Residence hotel. The historic colonial center of the city, which Thant Myint-U’s group is trying to preserve, has the majestic sweep of the Raj. After a few days in Rangoon, we headed northwest to Rakhine state, center of anti-Muslim prejudice in Burma and locus of some of the country’s greatest sights. We flew to Akyab, capital of the state, a depressing place with an extremely colorful fish market.

to get this kind of experience at amusement parks: going dizzyingly fast up and down and around tight switchbacks. The place was mobbed with pilgrims, Buddhist monks and nuns, and more. Street foods and the ingredients for traditional medicines were being hawked everywhere: porcupine quills; a goat’s leg soaked in sesame oil; bunches of dried herbs. Many people were sleeping on bamboo mats or in makeshift tents. Thousands upon thousands of candles flickered, the hum of chanting was ubiquitous, and the air was heavy with incense. Young couples come not only out of piety, but also for the chance to interact in the anonymity of the crowd, and younger boys and girls in groups pay respect arly the next morning, we boarded a boat to the Buddha and have a raucous good time; we saw and for the five-hour ride to Myohaung, an heard them singing Burmese pop songs. Flashing, Chineseimperial capital from the 15th to the 18th sourced LED displays were draped over the buildings, even century. In Burma, take as many boats as the animist shrines and holy outbuildings. If I were to say you can. The life of the country unfolds that it made Grand Central Station at rush hour look like a on the rivers, and they make for smoother meditation retreat, I’d be underselling the anarchic chaos. journeys than the badly paved roads. Everyday scenes Yet for all of that, it felt peaceable; one sensed a layer of holy appear as picturesquely as in genre paintings, the breeze is calm just beneath the wildness. delightful, and there is always another pagoda ahead. If you The Golden Rock itself is an extraordinary sight: a are staying at the Princess Resort in Myohaung, you will get boulder, nearly round, six meters in diameter, balanced on to embark in one of its old wooden barges—and the food on the edge of the mountain as if on the verge of plummeting. board is delicious. Legend holds that three hairs of the Buddha keep it on its The Princess is not opulent by precarious perch. The entire rock is international standards, but its covered in gold leaf, which devoted charming campus of pretty little pilgrims keep adding, so in some cottages around a pool of lotus places, the gold is 2.5 centimeters flowers is overseen by the nicest thick and stands out in lumps. Atop possible staff. After visiting a few the rock, far out of reach, is the pagodas and other Buddhist sites, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. The gold orb which is a high expression of we returned to the hotel for a dinner the country’s Theravadan ideals glows at sunrise, in afternoon light, that included a delectable salad of at sunset, in the floodlit nighttime. banana flowers. The next morning, When the light changes, the effect the hotel manager woke us at 4:45 for a drive through the shifts subtly, but it is never less than awe-inspiring. We eerily darkened byways of the impoverished town to the foot climbed under it, stood beside it; from every vantage, one of a small mountain with steps carved into it. We went up feels the fragility of its odd balance, the drama of its massive and found at the summit that hotel staff had come even heft, and the tranquillity that holy places can have. It has earlier to arrange our breakfast, and we sat there to watch the grandeur of a fire, a rushing river, a mountaintop the sun rise over the pagodas. Mornings in Burma often find panorama. We descended the mountain by pasha-worthy bewitching mists hovering in the valleys and around the hills, sedan chairs, surveying the surrounding jungle in a delineating what is small and close and what is large and far; semi-recumbent posture. though temples and monuments may look similar in size There are 500,000 monks and 150,000 nuns in Burma— upon first glance, the blurring of their edges bespeaks the which is to say that nearly 1½ percent of the country is in distance. I called our Myohaung sunrise Pagodas in the Mist. orders. Most boys spend at least some time as monks before We had Rakhine breakfast at the hotel, which is fish soup returning to their families. As a visitor, you pick up a bit of with rice noodles and a lot of spices and condiments, then Buddhism as you go along. To wit, there are six types of sailed upriver to visit Chin villages. The Burmese king used religious structure: the pagoda or stupa (or zedi), a solid to take beautiful women for his harem; to protect structure with no interior that often contains a relic; the themselves, according to legend, the Chin began tattooing temple, a hollow square building in and out; the cave, which their faces with lines like spiderwebs, a custom that serves as a meditation center for monks; the ordination hall; continued long after the threat had abated. the monastery, which is a residence for monks; and the We headed south the next day, driving from Rangoon, library, where the scriptures of the Buddha are kept. We stopping at various pagodas and other sacred sites before visited examples of all. Most of the images of Buddha are reaching the Golden Rock. At the base of the mountain on made of a base of brick, or occasionally limestone, with a which it sits, we boarded one of the “ascension trucks.” As covering of plaster and lacquer. The standard policy is to fix we drove, I kept reminding myself that people actually pay the plaster and lacquer as they fade or chip, which results in

E

There was not much optimism in Burma, but there was also very little pessimism,

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

139


From left: Fresh-caught fish from Inle Lake; a local girl on a dock at the lake.

statues that look like they have been reupholstered; no elegant patina of age comes to settle on them. The restoration of the 11th-century reclining image of Buddha at Thaton looked as if it had been fashioned by a pastry chef. The small city of Hpa-An lies on a flat plain interrupted by limestone hills so abrupt that they resemble furniture delivered by an incompetent moving company and left to be positioned later on. The south of the country is less developed (which is saying something) and the roads are pretty bad. We stopped at various holy caves, in which ornament has been carved from and applied to the rock itself and dozens of large lacquered Buddhas stand guard. We took a boat, another gorgeous river trip, to Moulmein; the cities of the region have some charm, but the high points were the countryside’s wooden pagodas and caves. We headed up north of Rangoon, to Mandalay, the last royal capital of the country. The city is more beautiful as a romantic idea than as an actual place, but it was there that we boarded the Road to Mandalay, a floating bit of Western luxury owned by Belmond. It plies the stretch from Mandalay to Bagan, stopping one night in Mandalay, sailing for a day down the Irrawaddy River to Bagan, and then staying a night at anchor in Bagan. Its cabins are elegant, the food is divine, and the crew are so coddling that you’re 140

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

surprised that they don’t tie your shoes. The top deck is a teak platform with straw chairs and a small swimming pool and bar; there is enough space so that you can have privacy even when many other passengers are up there. Our second night on the boat, we were invited up on deck for a “special treat”: six little boats, hidden upstream, set afloat 1,500 tiny banana-wood rafts, each with a candle burning inside a colored-paper shade, and we watched as the current carried them down the water. It was almost unimaginably poetic. Bagan was the capital from the ninth to the 13th century. In this period, it became fashionable to build pagodas and temples, and noblemen competed to construct grander and more splendid ones; poorer people built more modest structures. The detritus of that spiritual one-upmanship is a 42-square-kilometer plain festooned with 4,446 religious monuments. It’s impossible to understand through photographs, because its power lies in its sweep. We walked among the pagodas; we drove among them; we climbed one of the temples to watch the sun set; we surveyed the whole gloriously littered landscape from a hot-air balloon. Even in person, it’s hard to compass the scale of Bagan’s Plain of Temples. It’s bigger than Manhattan, more than eight times the size of the gardens of Versailles. Some buildings were badly restored by the junta, others are dilapidated but still


coherent, many are in ruins. Whichever you are looking at, you see a thousand more over its shoulder. If one feels exalted by the Golden Rock, one is humbled by Bagan, by the glory that was and the splendor that is. We ended our trip at Inle Lake, in central Burma: a shallow lake where the locals have lived for eons by fishing. They stand up in their boats and paddle with one leg to keep their hands free for their nets. It’s a spectacular sight: they stand erect and move with astonishing grace in a serpentine full-body undulation. You go by boat to visit the lake’s many shrines. Local weavers produce cloth from the fibers of lotus stems; I brought some home and had a summer jacket made from it, and later learned that one of the Loro Piana cashmere billionaires had done the same thing after his visit. There are numerous pagodas, of course, and picturesque villages, and an abandoned temple complex, now overgrown. There is a famous floating market, which is rather touristy, and some others along the shore that are less so. The Princess Resort there is as lovely as the one in Myohaung, and its creator, the French-trained Burmese hotelier Yin Myo Su, has also constructed the Inthar Heritage House—a building of perfect traditional style that houses a breeding operation for Burmese cats and a restaurant where we had our best meal of the trip. But on the lake’s eastern shore is a gash in the landscape, the site of a construction project that will triple the number of hotel rooms at Inle Lake. There is no way that the lake’s fragile infrastructure can support such a deluge of tourists. The lake itself is silting up from unsustainable farming practices, and the narrow waterways around it are already crowded. The beauty of the lake—indeed the beauty of Burma—is in considerable part a consequence of its longterm inaccessibility. It is on its way to becoming so accessible that there may soon be nothing to access. People I met shook their heads over such development, but they had made their peace with tougher things. I was surprised at first by the fact that the country is not in a time of tremendous optimism—but I was astonished in the end by the pervasive equanimity that seemed to exist among even those with little hope of personal betterment. There was not so much optimism in Burma, but there was also very little pessimism, which is perhaps a high expression of the country’s Theravadan ideals. Between my explorations of Burma’s landscape and monuments, I interviewed a dozen former political prisoners there. Many of them spoke of being grateful for their experiences. In prison, they said, they had had time to develop their minds and hearts, often through meditation. They had in most instances set out knowingly to do things that would result in their imprisonment, and they had marched into their cells with their heads held high. When they were released, their heads were still held high. The writer and activist Ma Thanegi told me that the best way to oppose the regime was to be happy in prison. If they could be happy there, then their punishment had failed, and the regime had no power over them. As she explained it, their adamantine cheer was both a discipline and a choice. + 142

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

Shan noodle salad at Inthar Heritage House, at Inle Lake.

+

T L Guide

Burma

N

I N DI A

CHINA

M A N DA L AY BAGA N M YOH AU N G INLE LAKE

TH A I L A N D GOL DE N ROC K R A N GOON MOU L M E I N

BAY OF BE N GA L

0

240 K M

Need to Know Obtain a visa prior to departure through the Burmese embassy in your country of residence. If you plan to fly in to the airports in Rangoon, Mandalay or Nay Pyi Taw, you can also use the new eVisa option, which is available for US$50 on the government’s website (evisa. moip.gov.mm) and takes five working days to process.

STAY The Strand 92 Strand Rd., Rangoon; 95-1/243-377; hotelthestrand.com; doubles from US$424. Belmond Governor’s Residence 35 Taw Win Rd., Rangoon; 95-1/229-860; belmond.com; doubles from US$488. Blue Bird Hotel C101 Myatlay St., Bagan; 95-6/165-440; bluebirdhotelbagan.com; doubles from US$152. Hill Resort Hotel 9 Kwin 416B 10th St., Mandalay; 95-2/35638; mandalayhillresorthotel. com; doubles from US$240. Inle Princess Magyizin Village, Inle Lake; 95-81/209-055; inleprincessresort.net; doubles from US$225. A-LIST AGENT Rebecca Mazzaro Having traveled extensively through Burma, Mazzaro has relationships with managers at the country’s top hotels. She can set up hot-air balloon rides in Bagan, guided hikes around Inle Lake and biking trips through the Shan state. Asia Transpacific Journeys, Boulder, Colorado; rebecca@asiatranspacific.com.


Our exclusive Digital Destination Guide covering the latest and the best of Penang and Langkawi

FREE download available at www.travelandleisuresea.com/penanglangkawi


Great Group Our favorite places to escape from it all, all together.


F R O M F A R L E F T: I A N L L O Y D N E U B A U E R ; R I C H A R D M C L E I S H ; C R A I G L O V E L L / C O R B I S

Challenge your pals to an ATV race in Koh Samui. Left: Bask in the soulful sunsets while sailing the Whitsundays. Right: Admire mama-baby bonding between orangutans in Sarawak.

Getaways T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

145


THE ULTIMATE HOUSE PARTY thailand.

By Jeninn e L ee- St . John Photog raphed by Rich ard Mclei sh What makes a great group trip? This season, when we traditionally gather family and friends to celebrate what’s really important, seems an opportune moment to pose the question. But the answers are, of course, timeless: they involve good food, low stress and lots of laughs. A common cause coupled with the freedom to float along in the collective adventure at your own pace. Reasons to reminisce. No, the best of pals don’t need an excuse to get together, but it’s always nice to go on tour with the band. At the most basic level, a great group trip involves a cushy home base, somewhere to cocoon, a place you’re more than happy to return even after thrilling outings you wished would never end. That’s what I realized on a recent visit to Koh Samui. Six of us took over a brand new, kitted-out, 24-hour-staffed, seaview villa at Panacea Retreat, and, fanning out the first night across the enormous property, we had no idea of the manifold group bonding activities in store for us. Let me put it this way: languid breakfasting, sala barbecuing and private dance-partying were just the relatively standard indulgences in which we partook that long weekend. We rolled in from the airport at night, and entered a softly illuminated grand salon. It seemed like a homey reception area until someone pointed out the full kitchen. Wait, this was actually home. Our home. The top half, anyway. Below awaited the garden and the 25-meter pool boasting an in-water bar and an above-water cheeky iron sculpture by Bill Bensley (who also did all the landscaping), not to mention four horizon-view bedrooms. And thank goodness for that, for the morning brought all manner of purple haze—eggplants and violets and magentas detonating from the east. More revelations followed: in the main house was a tennis court, a muay Thai ring, a red-velvet movie theater, a billiards-and-cards room, and a 146

D E C E M B E R 2 014

karaoke lounge ostentatiously dominated by a giant fish tank. If the recreation you desire isn’t already onsite, arrangements shall be made. We, for example, ordered up yoga lessons and in-room massages. We felt like carving up the waves, so activities director Sunny Matklang reserved some Jet Skis and delivered us to the bay. He didn’t have the power to deliver us from the torrential sheets of rain into which we rather thickheadedly drove way out in the middle of the ocean—but Koh Phangan… looked… so… close… We also felt like hooting and hollering and getting muddy, so Sunny booked us a quad bike expedition. Rivers were forded, clothing was mucked, gravity was defied. We felt, as anyone would after such effervescent group activity, like retiring in solitude then reconvening for relaxing drinks and dinner. So our agreeable, mellow staff asked the chefs for delicious, deceptively simple, fortifying, multi-course, wine-paired meals that they served at our leisure, leaving us free to insta-reminisce about how awesome everything had been and was in the process of being. See, the major point the Panacea crew understands is that a true vacation with friends means not having to look after your friends. It means running around with them, expending all the energy you can muster and then collapsing on each other in a big love heap. Sounds great, right? Read on for five more equally bond-erific venues. Bangkok Airways (bangkokair.com) flies into Koh Samui from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other Thai cities. Panacea: 6677/430-074; panacea-retreats.com; residences from US$1,900 per night for up to eight people, with three-night minimum, including breakfast, minibar, transfers, laundry, babysitting, and one massage and yoga or cooking class per person per day.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


Jet Skiing is more fun en masse. Clockwise from below: Mango with sticky rice completes lunch at Panacea; muay Thai lessons in the on-site ring; Panacea’s pools overlook the Gulf of Thailand.


Seventy-four sun-kissed islands, thousands of whales and up to eight favorite friends... What’s not to love?


CATAMARAN CRUISE australia.

Stor y an d photo by Ian Lloyd Neubau er Australia’s best sailing takes place in three very different destinations: the windswept, deep-south island-state of Tasmania; the spectacular, mansion-lined Sydney Harbour; and the Whitsunday archipelago, a group of 74 sun-kissed islands fringing the Great Barrier Reef. The last is a perfect combination of remote and accessible. “You catch a two-hour flight from Sydney and within an hour you’re out here, on the water, all on your own,” says skipper Luke Butchers, casting his eyes over a maze of ice-blue seas and tall green islands edged by belts of sand. My partner, two friends and I start our trip on Hamilton Island, home to Great Barrier Reef Airport. Super yachts that rent for A$10,000 a day and sleek Sydney 38s, the weapon of choice at The Americas Cup before hydrofoil sailboats came of age, bob on the water, competing for attention like starlets at Cannes. Our home for the next few days is humble in comparison, but rock star by normal standards: a 13-meter airconditioned catamaran with four en-suite cabins, a kitchen, two dining areas and a forward cockpit. We are excited to move in and spread out. The vessel was designed for the Sunsail charter company, which in the Whitsundays rents 10 different catamarans and monohulls manned by skippers like Butchers who can handle the boat solo but happily will teach you to sail. Groups with one competent sailor can rent a yacht sans-skipper—which these guys call “bareboating.” No boating license is required, but you need to have sailed a similar vessel for five days in the

past two years, and attend a briefing about the boat, anchorages, park regulations and hazards. One of those hazards is whales. Right. From May to September, thousands of southern humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the Whitsundays to feed, mate and calve. Not two hours after departing the marina, we come across a female humpback nursing her calf in a placid blue bay. What strikes us most is their perfect stillness. They are either oblivious to our presence or know we mean them no harm. As noted in 100 Magic Miles of the Great Barrier Reef, the how-to book on sailing the Whitsundays, skippers must keep 300 meters from whales. But humpbacks are inquisitive and, not having read 100 Magic Miles, sometimes will come over to you. Extended sightings of whales like this are rare, and it energizes our group. We remain mute, gazing in wonder at the display of human-like maternal bonding until Butchers breaks the silence. “I had a whale go right under my boat while we were sailing. The guests asked me what we should do and I shrugged. There’s nothing in the handbook about what to do in case a whale surfaces with us on its back,” he says. Err... “Luckily it resurfaced somewhere else.” That night, after a soulful sunset sail sweetened by champagne, we moor our cat at Hayman Island, where we have dinner reservations at Amici, the Italian at the sublime new One&Only resort. The stop is part of a new Sail & Dine experience offered by Sunsail, long-practiced by yachters in places like Greece and

Croatia, but here with an Aussie flavor. We’re meant to restaurant-hop to feast on native produce and wines; I order a wood-fired pizza with spicy sausage and Tasmanian truffles. The dinner is delectable, but the next night’s beats it yet. In the lagoon-like waters of a jungle-clad gorge on the southern end of Hook Island, it is a simple meal made with love. Everyone pitches in. I peel and devein the prawns, el Capitan mans the barbecue, my partner rustles up a pear-and-walnut salad while our friends marinate steaks and keep our glasses topped up. There’s nothing to distract us besides each other’s company and the stories we tell. Butchers relays his most memorable cruise; it was with an exhausted British family. “I could tell the father, who ran a bank in London, didn’t want to be here, and he cracked it when he heard there was no Wi-Fi on board,” he recalls. “The next morning, we woke up on Whitehaven Beach. One by one they crawled out of bed onto the top deck and stared in awe at the view, speechless. The dad turned and said to me: ‘This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Thank you.’” Clinking our glasses, we say the same. Several airlines fly into Great Barrier Reef airport, and Proserpine airport (two hours away by road and ferry), from Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns and Brisbane. Sunsail: 61-2/8912-7040; sunsail.com.au; five nights on a catamaran for up to eight passengers bareboating from A$4,075, or for up to six passengers and a skipper from A$5,650; food and drink extra.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

149


malaysia.

By Mar c o Ferrar e se “Wow… look at the tree over there.” My brother is pointing at the branches overhead, half laughing. I’m still helping my girlfriend get off the bumboat and onto the pier, but he keeps pulling at my arm. “Will you look? It’s so funny.” In the thicket above us, a furry creature the size of a small man quietly stuffs long leaves in his mouth, ruminating slowly. But it’s the big, reddish, eggplant-shaped nose emerging from the center of his hairless face that’s the source of my brother’s glee. The gold fur on top and at the sides of his head make the bare proboscis nose even more ludicrous. “I read that it attracts the females,” my brother laughs even louder. Whatever small argument we’d had upon boarding the bumboat to Bako National Park’s main waterfront, it is now forgotten in monkey-awe. Our group of friends surrounds us quickly, amused at nature’s answer to Cyrano de Bergerac. But soon, as if annoyed by 150

D E C E M B E R 2 014

a bunch of paparazzi, the monkey turns its funny protuberance towards us, opens its mouth wide, and scolds us with a deep throaty hoot before climbing down the tree trunk. That’s when we realize that we, too, had been observed: just meters behind us on the beach, three other proboscis monkeys stand watching and furrowing their noses. This peaceful species survives only in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo, and is very social among its own kind. Moving cautiously on long gray limbs, they slide under the pier to join Cyrano and take to the marshes, hooting until they disappear into the branches of the farthest scrubs. We had come to Bako with Borneo Adventure—which assures meetings with flying lemurs and silver leaf monkeys, as well as proboscis—not expecting to see more than one exemplar of the famed big-nosed Bornean, but they’re everywhere. Getting our plates full this fast turns out to be incredibly inebriating: we’re

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

so psyched about the proboscis monkey melee that when we happen upon a herd of equally rare Borneo bearded pigs sniffing around the park’s headquarters, we decide they must be queuing up for tickets. Giddily we stumble back to the gardens of the Kebun, a gracious organic farm on the edge of Kubah National Park with chalet bungalows and an Iban longhouse with common veranda—an ideal spot for our group to while away the night over cards, monkey jokes and shots of tuak, potent rice wine from Sarawak. I don’t know if it’s the tuak that has helped cast the jungle spell we are under, but on this safari, we get along as a wolf pack. Waking up early, we pile into one of the cars that the Kebun provides complimentary with our rooms, for the drive to Semenggoh orangutan sanctuary, where a team works to rehabilitate semi-wild orangutans of the pongo pygmaeus species native to Borneo. The animals return to the center for feedings at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. As soon as we arrive at the viewing platform, the thicket crackles and four men of the forest majestically surface from the undergrowth

© A L E X A N D E R S H A L A M O V/ D R E A M S T I M E . C O M

SIMIAN SAFARI


Getting up close and personal with proboscis monkeys can bond besties into a wolf pack.

ANOTHER TRIO OF TEAM TRIPS BY ST E P H A N I E ZU B I RI

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F N I S E K O V I L L A G E ; B R YA N O C A M P O ; C O U R T E S Y O F P A D D L E N E P A L

SKI TRIP japan.

floating on lianas. Seeing them swing down and gently pluck ripe fruits directly off the ranger’s hand is amazing and scary. A mother orangutan carries a small baby clinging to her waist as the cutest fanny pack ever. Still not completely covered in fur, he keeps glancing curiously into our camera lenses as if wanting to make sure that he doesn’t belong to our hairless and inquisitive kind. Mommy keeps pushing chunks of fruit between his lips. “Don’t stare,” she seems to reprove him with pursed black lips and a grave stare. “Eat this melon, and soon you’ll have a nice orange fur, and won’t look like a human anymore.” The baby opens his mouth, eats the fruit, and finally looks away. Whatever the species, moms always get their way. + Several airlines fly into Kuching from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities. Borneo Adventure: 60-82/245-175; borneo adventure.com; tours from RM78 per person, five-day Best of Kuching tour RM1,646 per person. The Kebun: 6014/577-5666; thekebun.com; doubles from RM520 including meals and car.

Dubbed “the Aspen of the East,” with its consistent snowfall and chic set, the powdery slopes of Niseko have made it a hotspot in the ski circuit. And the hottest spot of all? In front of the modern fireplace in the Glasshouse, a stunning five-bedroom designer home whose windows overlook spectacular Mt. Yotei. The terrain has a multitude of intermediate slopes, easy for ski bunnies of all levels to enjoy. For the more intrepid, there are monitored off-piste areas as well as heli-skiing options. Après ski with sake, Sapporo or whiskey, as you exchange stories about “the best run ever” at the legendary, hard-to-find Bar Gyu. One night go all-out on a Hokkaido seafood degustation at the famed Kamimura. The next, warm your cold bones with a steamy bowl at soba master Tatsuru Rai’s Sobatei Rakuichi, a 12-seater shack at the edge of the forest, then hit one of Niseko’s many onsen—or pile into the Glasshouse’s Jacuzzi, nodding in agreement that this is as good as it gets. Glasshouse: nisekoalpineaccomodation.com; from ¥22,300 per person per night for a full house off peak. Bar Gyu: gyubar.com. Kamimura: kamimura-niseko.com; ¥13,000 per person for a nine-course degustation. Sobatei Rakuichi: 81-1/3658-3170; from ¥1,300.

RAFTING EXPEDITION nepal. For an adventure whose very success depends on teamwork, grab your favorite thrill-seekers and go white-water rafting in Nepal. Snake your way through the many

rivers nourished by the icy, melting Himalayan snow—such as the relaxed, Trisuli that runs across terraced rice fields, idyllic valleys and impressive gorges; or the more extreme Marshyangdi, known as “The Raging River”—and finish the day camped out by the riverbanks enjoying a cup of hot cocoa. Run by the members of Nepal’s National White Water teams, Paddle Nepal is one of the best outfits, with ISO-certified equipment and food that goes beyond the simple lentil curry. And you’ll need the nourishment to navigate the up-to-Class-V rapids. What better way to bond than putting your lives in each other’s hands? paddlenepal.com; two-day getaway allinclusive packages leaving from Kathmandu or Pokhara from US$125 per person.

FOOD TOUR philippines. There’s nothing better than sharing a good meal with good friends—or, as you call your besties in the Philippines, barkadas. Here, food tripping has become very popular, and a favorite barkada getaway is a two-hour drive from Manila to Pampanga, a province known for its spectacular produce and authentic cuisine—fern salad with fried grasshoppers, anyone? Book a food tour with Bryan Ocampo. Passionate about the region’s culinary heritage, he offers three meals, snacks, a baking lesson and visits to a museum and the factories of local delicacies. For the next day, reserve lunch at famous chef and artist Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung, where he and his wife Mary Ann welcome you to their traditional home and offer their sumptuous slow-roasted lechón (pig) done five ways. You’ll be sated and ready to eschew a sit-down dinner that evening in favor of a wine-drenched sunset picnic set up by Green Canyon resort, at which you’ll all lean back and let out a simultaneous sigh of satisfaction. Bryan Ocampo: mangankapampangan.com; P2,900 per person for a minimum group of eight. Bale Dutung: baledutung.com; P1,750 per person for a minimum group of 12, or join another group for lunch. Green Canyon: greencanyon.com.ph; doubles from P11,000.


Our Definitive Guide to

CCTV Headquarters. Opposite: A slurpy bounty at Noodle Bar.


Beijing’s cool cachet is rising. Gabrielle Jaffe leads the way to hutong hotels and nouveaux-Sino restaurants—and provides the insider’s take on the capital’s classic sites.  Photographed by Cherry Li T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

153


BEIJING N CAOC H A N G DI

A Peony room at The Temple. Below: Check in at Opposite House.

798 A R T ZON E

G U LOU

LAMA T E M PL E SA N LIT U N GON GTI

G UOM AO H ISTORIC C E N TE R

0

1 KM

Lay of the Land Historic center At Beijing’s heart, the Forbidden City has stood guard for 600 years. To its south, the other big-hitters: Tiananmen Square, Mao’s mausoleum and Qianmen. Guomao This CBD is a modernist playground, home to high-end hotels, restaurants and towering skyscrapers. Gongti + Sanlitun The entertainment district is chock-a-block with stylish restaurants, bars and clubs. Gulou + Lama Temple Between the drum and bell towers (known collectively as Gulou in Mandarin) and the Lama Temple is a maze of traditional alleys, dotted with cafés, bars and boutiques—a hipster haven. 798 + Caochangdi The city’s two art districts, packed with galleries and design shops. Getting around The subway is fast and easy, with English signs, but some areas still aren’t served. The arrival of Uber is a welcome plan B to taxis, whose drivers mostly don’t speak English and are hard to hail.

154

D E C E M B E R 2 014

Stay Whether in an ancient classic or modern marvel, you’ll sleep like an emperor. RAFFLES Beijing’s grande dame, close to the Forbidden City, once hosted Charles de Gaulle and George Bernard Shaw. After a revamp by Raffles, it has the comfort and luxury to match its heritage. 33 East Chang’an Ave.; 86-10/65263388; raffles.com; RMB1,550. THE TEMPLE Tucked in an atmospheric alley, this eight-room boutique in a converted 600-year-old temple keeps things fresh and funky with modern art and 1960’s furniture mixed in with Qing-dynasty carpentry. 23 Shatan North St.; 86-10/8401-5680; thetemplehotel.com; RMB2,000. ROSEWOOD The new kid on a very wellappointed block, this CBD hotel boasts stylish, modern Asian

design and views of the iconic CCTV tower. Jing Guang Centre, Hujialou; 86-10/6597-8888; rosewoodhotels.com; RMB1,800. W BEIJING Halfway between Tiananmen Square and the CBD, this newbie has top dining options and a spa, and all the mod-cons and playful design you’d expect from the W brand, including “W insiders” who can book you that Peking opera class last minute. 2 Jianguomen South Ave.; 86-10/6515-8855; wbeijing.com; RMB2,200. OPPOSITE HOUSE Stunning, open, modernist design by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma meets Chinese contemporary art in the center of buzzy Sanlitun. 11 Sanlitun Rd.;

86-10/6417-6688; theopposite house.com; RMB2,100. AMAN AT SUMMER PALACE A lot of hotels claim to offer the royal treatment, but this grand resort backs onto the Summer Palace, giving guests after-hours access to the Dowager Empress’s playground. Daily tea ceremonies, other cultural offerings and elegant courtyards add to the imperial appeal. 1 Gongmenqian St.; 86-10/5987-9999; amanresorts.com; RMB3,000. GRACE Hip, affordable boutique in 798 district, with a popular weekend brunch that draws the local art crowd. 2 Jiuxianqiao Rd.; 86-10/6436-1818; gracehotels. com; RMB585.

Hotel prices represent starting rates for double occupancy.

ONE TO WATCH The Orchid In early 2015, this Gulou boutique, much in demand for its restored wood-beamed buildings and open terraces, will launch its second outpost in Dashilar, an increasingly trendy ’hood just south of Tiananmen. A rooftop pool improves on the original winning formula. theorchidbeijing.com.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


Shop

Local designs with global appeal.

LOST & FOUND A charming vintage and retroinspired trove on the same tree-lined street as the Confucius Temple offers a window into Beijing’s past and is a great place to pick up souvenirs. 42 Guozijian St.; 86-10/6401-1855; lostandfound.cn. PLASTERED Tongue-in-cheek, funky t-shirts, hoodies and bags make this a standout on a bustling pedestrian lane in Gulou. 61 Nanluoguxiang; plasteredtshirts.com.

1 2 F A C E S M I N I AT U R E V A S E S E T: C O U R T E S Y O F S P I N

FEI SPACE Covetable furniture and clothes by Chinese designers plus rare-in-China labels like Topshop. B-01, 798, 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd.; 86-10/5978-9580; feilook.com. SPIN Beautiful, modern ceramics envisioned by local designers and crafted by artisans using old techniques in Jingdezhen (the country’s porcelain capital for almost 2,000 years). 6 Fangyuan West Rd.; 86-10/6437-8649. BRAND NU At this charity shop selling upcycled clothes and fair-trade jewelry and crafts by minorities, you’re sure to find something interesting. 61 Wudaoying Hutong; 86-10/6407-8425; brandnuproject.com.

Clockwise from right: Women’s clothing at Lost & Found; ceramics in Spin; Lost & Found; faces on vases at Spin.

PEARL MARKET At the enormous Hong Qiao Market, stalls hawk everything from Chinese fans to top-quality pearls—for the best of these, head to the top floor. Whatever you buy, bargain hard. 9 Tiantan Rd.

+

See Do FORBIDDEN CITY, TIANANMEN SQUARE AND QIANMEN GATE The big boys align on a northsouth axis. The energetic can cover all three by foot in one day. For full enlightenment and saucy tales of court intrigue, bring along an engaging guide from Newman Tours. newman tours.com; from RMB290. SUMMER PALACE Escape the city to wander gardens, orchards and pavilions, and to boat out on the lake. It’s especially pretty during April blossom season. 19 Xinjian Gongmen St.; RMB30.

National Centre for the Performing Arts.

TEMPLE OF HEAVEN The complex, whose highlights include an ancient sacrificial altar and an ingenious echo

Smart ways to get your cultural fix.

wall, is enclosed by a lively park—arrive by 7 a.m. to see Beijingers doing water-brush calligraphy, tai chi and swordplay. tiantanpark.com; entrance RMB30. NATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Affectionately nicknamed “The Egg,” this ultra-modern icon hosts internationally acclaimed orchestras, Western and Peking opera, ballet and theater groups, in a setting as dramatic as the performances. chncpa.org THE HUTONG From Beijing specialties to Shaanxi noodles, this cultural hub offers cooking classes for regional cuisines from across China, as well as heritage and history courses. thehutong.

com; cooking classes from RMB280. THE GREAT WALL Some of the most picturesque parts are an easy drive from Beijing. Hire a driver to get to remote Jinshanling or Gubeikou, then soak tired limbs at the open-until-late Feng Shan Hot Springs Resort (10 Mangshan Rd.; 86-10/60711188). Trek wild sections of the Great Wall with Beijing Hikers (beijinghikers.com), or stay the night at charming retreats beside the wall such as Chinese Box Gubeikou Great Wall (greatwallbox. com; RMB1,200 for a private ensuite) and the Brickyard at Mutianyu (brickyardat mutianyu.com; RMB1,480), so you can see the wall early in the morning and late at night, daytripper-free.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

155


BEIJING Clockwise from left: The tranquil interior of Transit; a Noodle Bar chef works his magic; Transit’s spicy Sichuan noodles.

Eat

Nightlife

Chow your way through China at the capital’s most coveted tables. DA DONG For the ultimate Peking duck, where the bronzed birds are carved tableside with the precision of China’s synchronized swim team, a visit to Da Dong is a must. For added glam, try the swanky new Gongti branch. Workers’ Stadium East Gate; 86-10/6551-1808; dadongdadong.com; RMB600.

NOODLE BAR This adorable, chic 12-seater has an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs hand-pull your artisanal, northern-style wheat noodles. It’s the perfect fuel for a day of sightseeing. 1949 Complex, Gongti North Road; 86-10/6501-1949; elite-concepts.com; RMB100.

LOST HEAVEN Savor the fragrant, chili-andherb-inflected flavors from a melting pot of regions, including Yunnan, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand, in a stylish building that originally served as the American embassy. 23 Qianmen East Ave.; 86-10/8516-2698; lostheaven. com.cn; RMB300.

IKI At its new Gongti location, this Taiwanese-Korean barbecue restaurant draws a fun, young crowd thanks to its delectable marinades, quality marbled meats and fabulous cocktails. China View Building 6, 2 Gongti East Rd.; 86/152-1006-4588; RMB300.

156

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

TRANSIT A sophisticated, modern take on spicy Sichuanese cuisine that will have you saying wow after every mouthful. 3F, Taikoo Li North, Sanlitun Road; 86-10/64179090; RMB400. XIAN LAO MAN This old favorite has the best dumplings in town and scores of Beijing delicacies. An Englishlanguage menu and revamped décor mean it’s busier than ever. Locals eat dinner early so go for lunch or around 8 p.m. to avoid the queues. 252 Andingmen Inner St.; 86-10/6497 2097; RMB100. Restaurant prices represent approximate cost of dinner for two.

End an afternoon touring with a frosty one at A TAPROOM (capitalbrew. com), the newest, sleekest addition to the wave of microbreweries popping up in Beijing. For an imperial sundowner, head to the roof bars of either Emperor hotel (theemperor.com.cn); one overlooks the Forbidden City, the other a spectacular vista of Qianmen and Tiananmen. Time-travel to Janes and Hooch (janeshooch.com), a 1920’s-style speakeasy that attracts a set as sophisticated as its cocktail list. Party all night at one of the two popular bars at Migas (migasbj.com)—the roof is packed in summer; the industrial-chic indoors draws trendy young things all year with its outstanding house and funk DJs.


From left: UCCA gallery; spears of candied haw fruit; up-and-coming labels at Brand New China.

Local Take LIU LU

WANG GE

I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y W A S I N E E C H A N TA K O R N

Editor, Vice China Magazine

Beijing has an inspiring indie scene. Hidden behind an unassuming red door, Yugong Yishan (yugong yishan.com) is the spot for leading local and foreign acts, from rock to hip-hop. Beijing’s punks gather at School (53 Wudaoying Hutong), and Dada (206 Gulou East Ave.) is great if you like electronica. If you’re in the mood for experimental sound, Zajia Lab (zajialab.org), in a former Taoist temple, has weekly music, art and film events. Independent, edgy Chinese films are screened at UCCA gallery (ucca.org.cn).

Art Scene

Fashion designer and founder of Luvon label

LILLIAN CHOU

Food writer and consultant

Search out traditional snacks from hutong holes-in-the-wall. Look for cumin-grilled lamb kebabs (chuan’r) made by Muslims from west China. A convenient trio of shops offers old delights: “stinky tofu” at Mao Family Stinky Tofu (147 Dianmen Outer St.); fluffy hunks of red date cake at the next window; and, nearby, roast nuts at Fragrant Autumn Chestnut shop (2 Di’anmenwai Dajie). Cyclists sell spears of sweet and sour candied haw fruit, while sweet potatoes are roasted in barrel ovens on corners.

If you want “Designed in China” instead of “Made in China” clothes, Brand New China (Taikoo Li North, Sanlitun Road; 86-10/6416-9045) is the place. The large boutique has the most complete collection of up-andcoming designers. Sophisticated Dong Liang (102, Bldg. 2, Central Park, 6 Chaoyangmen Outer Ave.; 86-10/8404-7648) and funkier Water Stone (0662 B1 Bldg. 6, Jianwai SOHO, Middle East Third Ring Road; 86-10/5869-9456) carry selected local labels and international collections.

Chinese contemporary art is among the world’s hottest now. In 798 district, former factories provide spartan-cool backdrops for galleries. It’s easy to take a serendipitous stroll through the tightly packed area but don’t miss big-hitting show spaces such as Pace (pacebeijing.com), Faurschou (faurschou.com) and UCCA. The more spread out and art-serious Caochangdi district has Galerie Urs Meile (galerieursmeile.com) Three Shadows Photography (threeshadows.cn) and Pekin Fine Arts (pekinfine arts.com) all promising exciting shows but the area is hard to navigate. Hire a car for the day or Bespoke Beijing (bespokebeijing.com) for tours and private studio access.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

D E C E M B E R 2 014

157


Last Look

Photographed by Seong Joon Cho

South Korea Above it all High above the crowds at Haeundae Beach in Busan, the distance transforms umbrellas and bathing rings into pinwheels and breakfast cereal. This photo, like the rest on this page, was taken by a drone.

A glimpse of the past The autumn leaves of ginkgo trees coat the landscape around this old house at Cheongna Ginkgo Village in Boryeong, an area notable for its unspoiled nature, filled with wildflowers and edged by the sea.

Rapid descent Kayaking down the Naerincheon Valley near Inje brings an adrenalin rush of white water. The northernflowing river has spectacularly clear waters—in the stretches along its 57-kilometers that are actually calm.

Seven centuries later Inhabitants of the unesco-listed Naganeupseong Folk Village, a fortress town near Suncheon, live in thatched-roof, stone cottages without indoor plumbing, much like their ancestors did in the 1300’s.

158

D E C E M B E R 2 014

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT WITH T+L SOUTHEAST ASIA DECEMBER 2014

i n s i d e r

ShINE oN

W hoTELS’ SPARKLINg WINTER hoTSPoTS ARE WhERE SMART TRAvELLERS EScAPE To WhEN ThE REST of ThE WoRLd IS ShIvERINg ANd SNEEzINg. W RETREATS IN Koh SAMuI, BALI ANd ThE MALdIvES ouTShINE oThERS WITh ThEIR uNIquE BLENd of TRANquIL LocATIoNS offERINg BLISSfuL SPA TREATMENTS ANd cuTTINg-EdgE fITNESS PRogRAMS ALL IN A chIc STYLE. ThE REcENT RESTYLINg of W MALdIvES RETREAT WAS INSPIREd BY ThE ABuNdANcE of SuRRouNdINg NATuRE foR ITS ThEME TITLEd LET IT gLoW. BoRRoWINg fRoM ThE INdIAN ocEAN’S vIvId MARINE LIfE ANd ThE TWINKLINg STARS of ThE cLEAR NIghT SKY, ThE RETREAT uNvEILEd A SENSoRY ExPERIENcE WITh ITS BEAch oASIS INTERIoR dESIgN, WhILE ThE ocEAN oASIS dESIgN MIMIcS ThE ENERgY of ThE SEA LIfE. foodIES cAN ExPERIENcE ThE cuLINARYdELIghTS of ThREE vENuES, INcLudINg fISh, ThE ouTdooR RESTAuRANT ThAT focuSES oN fRESh, LocAL INgREdIENTS. ALSo ThIS YEAR, W hoTELS LAuNchEd ThE W fIT WITh TARA STILES RETREAT PAcKAgE WoRLdWIdE, WhIch INcLudEd W BALI IN SEPTEMBER WhERE 200 YogA ENThuSIASTS SALuTEd ThE SuNSET oN ThE BEAch. ThE NExT oNE TAKES PLAcE IN W MALdIvES ThIS MoNTh. go oN, You KNoW You WANT To!

W RETREAT Koh SAMuI

W RETREAT & SPA - MALdIvES

W RETREAT & SPA BALI – SEMINYAK


138

S E P T E M B E R 2 01 2

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M


RocK ThE EMPIRE W hoTELS chINA cAuSEd A SENSATIoN WhEN IT oPENEd ITS dooRS IN BEIjINg To REvEAL A vIBRANT vIBE ANd A focuS oN dESIgN, fAShIoN, MuSIc ANd 24/7 SERvIcE Hip, happening and with a hint of history. That’s the dazzling new W BEIjINg chANg’AN, which opened its doors last month. Fusing the old with the new, the fabulous and funky hotel features the best of cuttingedge designs inspired by the grandeur of the city’s past. Located on Chang’an Avenue moments from the distinguished diplomatic center and iconic landmarks such as the foRBIddEN cITY and TIANANMAN SquARE, and modern monoliths like the CCTV tower, W BEIjINg chANg’AN enhances the neighborhood’s dynamic metropolitan vibe. The focus of the hotel is on design, fashion, music, 24/7 service and insider access. Captivated by the shapes of the city’s celebrated monuments, award-winning global architects RTKL and Hong Kong-based interior design firm AB coNcEPTS have created an original and eye-catching interior for W BEIjINg chANg’AN . The hotel’s public rooms incorporate spectacular installations, vibrant colors, dynamic textures and bold lighting, such as the W lounge, which has an “imperial” ceiling design in round and square patterns, a LED-lit catwalk in the middle of the room that leads to a circular bar and an awesome

DJ booth hanging from the ceiling. A secret space shaped like a birdcage is tucked away behind the bar, while the other side of the room houses the cube, a light-filled space inspired by the iconic WATER cuBE. The lounge’s informative Whatever/Whenever desk speaks for itself. In YEN, the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, local history is once more the key, while the X25 chill-out lounge at the top of the hotel offers stunning views over the old city wall and is where DJs mix original beats and mixologists create bespoke drinks. The unveiling of the new 349-room W BEIjINg chANg’AN followed China’s biggest and most prestigious design event, BEIjINg dESIgN WEEK (BjdW). Around 1,000 talents from the global design and architectural community attended the BJDW launch party and experienced an exclusive preview of W Beijing Chang’an through a five-meter-tall glass cube.The cube also hosted a press after-party. In collaboration, the hotel and BJDW presented ‘2014 W Beijing Chang’an Rising Designer’, an award that recognizes outstanding young talent, and which was this year won by Chi Zhang, a Beijing-born, Milan-trained fashion designer famous for his cutting-edge gas mask designs.

AT W BEIjINg chANg’AN BOOK YOUR PACKAGE AND RECEIVE A CNY 600 HOTEL CREDIT USE YOUR CREDIT AT OUR BARS AND RESTAURANTS OR ENJOY A RECOVERY TREATMENT AT OUR AWAY SPA T (86) 10 6515 8855 WHOTELS.COM/BEIJING


#hEATWAvE

W guANgzhou

W hoNg KoNg TEAMEd uP WITh W RETREAT & SPA – MALdIvES ANd ABSoLuT vodKA foR PooLSIdE REvELRY uNdER ThE STARS.

W hoNg KoNg

It was a long, scorching summer and W hoNg KoNg ignited the spark with its sizzling pool parties – hEAT WAvE. Plunging head first into the highly anticipated summer series, W Hong Kong teamed up with the exotic W Retreat & Spa – Maldives for the first splash out in June when it gave away a free trip to the Maldives to one lucky partygoer. Sponsored by ABSoLuT vodKA, the five-poolside extravaganzas from June to August at W Hong Kong’s iconic rooftop pool WET – 76 floors up – were the highlight of the season. Guests needed little encouragement to get their groove on at the city’s highest outdoor pool where they strutted their stuff under the stars and above a stunning panoramic harbor view. Sexy summer white was the theme brought to Hong Kong by W RETREAT & SPA – MALdIvES, which added the white beach elements to W hoNg KoNg with the addition of white hammocks, palm trees and dancers dressed in white. The revelry continued at the after-party in the clouds at the WooBAR, the hotspot for fashion and music, where the entire team of W Hong Kong’s resident DJs, Kenji Hidaka, Andrew Hendley and Parvenu mixed it up on the decks.

ThE RESIdENcES AT W SINgAPoRE SENToSA covE

W SINgAPoRE

W RESIdENcES VIBRAnT. WELCOMInG. EXCLuSIVE

ATLANTA – doWNToWN AuSTIN BALI BoSToN dALLAS

foRT LAudERdALE guANgzhou hoBoKEN hoLLYWood Koh SAMuI LoNdoN NEW YoRK – doWNToWN SANTIAgo ScoTTSdALE

138

S E P T E M B E R 2 01 2

THERE ARE 17 W RESIDEnCES In VIBRAnT CITIES AnD EXOTIC DESTInATIOnS OFFERInG HOMEOWnERS THE uLTIMATE In HOTEL SERVICES AnD AMEnITIES. JOIn THE FEW THAT ARE LuCKy EnOuGH TO CALL T R A VW E L THEIR A N D L E IHOME. S U R E A ShTTP://WWW.WRESIdENcES.coM/ IA .COM

SINgAPoRE SouTh BEAch TEL AvIv vERBIER


INSIdER AccESS

PINg PoNg BAR

Hello and a wonderful welcome to the world of W! That’s the greeting guests receive in my welcome letter from W hoNg KoNg. They can also download the W INSIdER guIdE and connect with me that way. W Insiders are the first point of contact guests have with W Hotels and we have an amazing shared network in which we exchange wow! moments as well as guests’ unique preferances and special arrangements. We’re dedicated to elevating guests’ experience with personal recommendations and insights. We dig deep behind the glamorous postcard images and explore off-the-beaten track places. I’ve never felt like it’s a job, it’s natural for me to be curious and I’m happiest when I can share my discoveries with others. What do I enjoy most about being a W INSIdER? When I’m able to create that special moment for people. We have guests who travel to all our properties and they are often surprised to find W Insiders greet them with the same familiar friendliness that makes them feel at home. The city may change, but the welcome is the same.

EdITuS

chARLIE’S ToP SPoTS

MouTAIN hIKE gETWAY

chARLIE W hoNg KoNg

SALLY W SEouL

The former PoLIcE MARRIEd quARTERS (PMQ) is a historic building that’s now a quirky, creative hub with designer boutiques. MAN chEuNg Po at Tai O, Lantau Island is the perfect place to relax and unwind. It has breathtaking views, waterfalls and a natural infinity pool. PINg PoNg 129 gINToNERIA is a former warehouse that has been transformed into a bar serving exquisite gin-based cocktails. Visit ThE Ed1TuS ShoWRooM for sophisticated designs .

PMq

chuNKY W RETREAT & SPA – MALdIvES

cARA W SINgAPoRE

joYcE hSu W TAIPEI

MIo W BANgKoK

AMANdA zhENg W guANgzhou

zITA W RETREAT Koh SAMuI

RIKA W BALI

dINo W BALI

04 05 ExPLoRE WhoTELS.coM


PoSE IN PARAdISE W RETREAT & SPA BALI SEMINYAK hoSTS ThE fIRST YogA SESSIoN oN ThE BEAch AT SuNSET AS PART of ThE W fIT RETREAT PAcKAgE WoRLdWIdE

More than 200 yoga enthusiasts gathered on the beach at W RETREAT BALI on Saturday September 13 to enjoy an evening of fun and fitness with celebrated expert TARA STILES. The sunset and the ocean at the Saturday night class were the perfect backdrop for movements such as the sun salutation yoga sequence, for which DJ Josep and his band from Barcelona provided gorgeous live beats. A well-earned cocktail party followed the class. Tara Stiles is the founder and owner of STRALA YogA, the high-energy movement system that is said to ignite freedom, and her nonpurist take on yoga offers a refreshing alternative to traditional practice. The fitness guru said everybody at her W RETREAT BALi yoga sessions had an amazing time “Being at W Bali is absolutely fabulous. The scenery is beautiful, everybody is always smiling – it’s warm, friendly and lush …everywhere you look is super inspiring and gorgeous.” This was a first-time event for the retreat and was part of the third exclusive W fIT WITh TARA STILES retreat Package Worldwide, which saw guests kick-start each day with a sunrise Strala yoga session in various Balinese beauty spots. Organic menus, devised by Stiles to suit a hectic lifestyle, were part of the package.


06 07 ExPLoRE WhoTELS.coM


duBfIRE AT SPf 2014

MISS KITTIN AT SPf 2014

SIP. PLAY. fLIRT. you know it’s the hottest party of the year when you’ve got the best bangin’ beats at a sizzling retreat like W Bali. Just as well there was plenty of SPF – that’s SIP. PLAY, fLIRT 2014 – on a steamy July night of glamour and grooves at WooBAR. When headliner dj duBfIRE stepped up to the decks to pound out his signature house and techno, the crowd erupted. The American – one-half of the Grammy Award-winning duo dEEP dISh – delivered the mix of dark, pulsating techno and syncopated tech house that has earned him the reputation as the “DJ’s DJ”. As if that wasn’t enough, the up4it crowd was also treated to a sultry set by sassy French DJ Caroline Herve aka Miss Kittin, the electro-clash pioneer and mistress of monotone. Topped off with a firework display on the shoreline of Seminyak beach, eager partygoers lapped up the fun until the early hours.

SuNSET vIBE

hEATWAvE cLoSINg PARTY fT. dEfEcTEd

There was a fantastic vibe at W RETREAT & SPA BALI – SEMINYAK on the night of the hEAT WAvE closing party in September. not surprising, given that the legendary dj SIMoN duNMoRE of dEfEcTEd delivered a cracking set. The successful house label ended its South East Asia tour in Bali and closed W’s summer series with the maestro taking to the decks alongside Australian star SoNNY fodERA. The duo’s carefully curated and flawlessly mixed house beats set the scene at Woobar against the backdrop of a magical Balinese sunset. It was the perfect end to a season of packed out parties.

IMS – IBIzA 2014

INTERNATIoNAL MuSIc SuMMIT - ASIA PAcIfIc W SINgAPoRE SENToSA covE will play host to one of the most exciting music events of the year this month when the IBIzA INTERNATIoNAL MuSIc SuMMIT (IMS) presented by legendary DJ Pete Tong, rocks up on the shores of Sentosa Cove. nine hours of fun will kick off at midday on Thursday December 11, the day before zouKouT, Asia’s biggest dance festival. IMS is a celebration of electronic music and a platform for those involved in the creation of the genre and its future success. The aim is to educate, inspire and motivate while creating awareness of, and appreciation for, electronic music and all related art forms worldwide. It’s where the best minds on the scene create new apps, exclusive remixes, and music technology trials. The event also showcases opportunities for breakthrough artists and record labels. IMS ASIA-PAcIfIc 2014 has been timed to coincide with the annual zouKouT so that many artists and industry players, who are expected to be present at both events, will also have an opportunity to gather together and discuss topics relevant to the region. It’s a big deal for the industry and the region, and it’s also a top excuse to party. The closing event and celebrations will take place at W Bali Retreat & Spa Seminyak on Sunday December 14.


W guANgzhou WET BAR

AcTRESS MS. gAo YuAN YuAN

MARRY ME

MR. vIc zhou, MS. MIRIAM YEuNg, MR. LouIS Koo

W guANgzhou has played a starring role in a box office hit by a top director. Hong Kong’s Johnnie To filmed part of his romantic comedy doN’T go BREAKINg MY hEART 2 on location in the city and W Guangzhou featured in some of the scenes. It couldn’t have been more apt as W guANgzhou is a perfect wedding and reception venue in a romantic location. There was much excitement among onlookers as the stars and film crew converged on the stunningly designed luxury hotel. Leading actor, LouIS Koo caused a stir as he scaled the outside of a building as a stunt for his role, surprising the people inside. The funny and engaging film is a sequel to the popular 2011 original is about two lovers who find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other despite being engaged to other people. The star cast includes Louis Koo, Gao yuanyuan and dANIEL Wu, as well as Miriam yeung and Vic Chou. The story doN’T go BREAKINg MY hEART 2 went on general release last month.

food RE-dESIgN A dish of light bulbs might not seem like the most delicious dinner, but it’s the kind of feast participants in W Taipei’s latest project might well cook up. W TAIPEI and TAIWAN dESIgN cENTER (Tdc) launched the food RE-dESIgN Tdc x W TAIPEI project in July, headed by the hotel’s executive chef Colin Chun with a team of experts including Dutch designer Annelies Hermsen – who has created edible lightbulbs – as well as nine Taiwanese designers. Over four months the designers have been using W Taipei’s The Kitchen Table restaurant as their workshop and stage to showcase their creations. The main focus of the project is to combine culinary art and design aesthetics on the theme of LIghT/ hEALThY food, with designers putting forward new proposals for products such as utensils, space and dining styles. The results of the project will be unveiled this month and there will be a fabulous finale at the end of the year.

food REdESIgN EATABLE LIghT BuLB, chERRY BY SPENcER huNg

08 09 ExPLoRE WhoTELS.coM


W doES BRuNch

W doES BRuNch Food and fashion were served at ThE KITchEN TABLE W BANgKoK this summer. Guests partaking of leisurely late breakfasts were presented with the chance to meet newly discovered designers and view their creative collections as part of the W doES BRuNch concept. On the first Saturday of each month, from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, culinary delights prepared with top quality ingredients were presented to diners. They included dishes such as foie gras and black truffle terrine, king crabs’ legs, queen scallops and roasted beef rib-eye, washed down with fresh juices or cocktails and accompanied by chill-out tunes from the DJs.

WoW NAILS It was excitement and adventure all the way when W RETREAT Koh SAMuI and London’s edgiest nail art brand got together this summer. WAh NAILS took on the challenge of creating two exclusive designs using off-the-beaten track locations in BANgKoK and Koh SAMuI as inspiration. By way of W hoTELS’ INSIdER ExPERIENcE, Sharmadean Reid, founder of the Wah nails, explored a side of Thailand that can’t be found in the guidebooks. From emerging Thai fashion designers and innovative art exhibitions to in-the-know nights on the town, Sharmadean used her customised Insider Experience to create the EAST MEETS W-EST nail art designs, each reflecting the hottest trends in both iconic Thai destinations.

cELEBRITY ModELS AT W LouNgE foR TAIPEI IN STYLE

ShARMAdEAN REId

TAIPEI IN STYLE W TAIPEI teamed up with Taiwan’s top fashion event for the second year running to highlight more than 200 brands in a stunning four-day showcase in november. Taipei In Style is Taiwan’s official fashion event, which has been supported by the TAIWAN TExTILE fouNdATIoN since 2006. It includes a wide range of occasions such as fashion shows, trunk shows, seminars and business-matching meetings, all geared towards further boosting Taiwan’s powerful presence in the region’s fashion arena. During the course of the four days, an amazing 13 runway shows were presented, featuring original work by senior designers and up-and-coming local talents. There was also an exhibition section that included around 200 fashion brands, which was open to international buyers, the media and the public on different days. This event was another feather in the very stylish cap of W hoTELS, which has created a global platform to help rising fashion stars shine.


LET IT gLoW A renowned fashion designer paid tribute to the natural beauty of the Maldives with a stylish collection that included colours and shapes inspired by the island nation’s glorious aquatic life, vibrant coral reef and white sand beaches. In collaboration with W Retreat & Spa – Maldives, TAhIR SuLTAN unveiled his latest creations at the duBAI fAShIoN foRWARd catwalk show last month, which was set to the sound of music curated by Michaelangelo L’Acqua, global music director of the W Hotels. The show unveiled Sultan’s next spring/summer collection, which was inspired by his visit, as well as revealing the unique wardrobe soon to be worn by the fashion-forward staff of W Maldives. Tagged INfINITE dAYS & INfINITE NIghTS, the collection represented work and fun, and borrowed from nature’s colour palette incorporating shades of turquoise, amethyst, electric blue and aqua into the designs, while prints and embellishments referenced fish scales, pearls, coral and reefs. During his time at W RETREAT & SPA – MALdIvES, Sultan met with staff in all departments in order to create practical pieces suitable for the tropical environment. Sultan’s collection is available at W The Store at W Maldives and in luxury retailers around the Gulf and India from this month.

cuTTINg EdgE

W RETREAT & SPA MALdIvES ANd TAhIR SuLTAN MAKE A SPLASh AT ThE duBAI fAShIoN foRWARd cATWALK ShoW

W SEouL hosted two glamorous events this year. The first took place in October when guests enjoyed a stylish dinner buffet while being shown what’s new in fashion, design and music. The gouRMET couTuRE event was created in collaboration with designer KAThLEEN KYE and W Seoul’s Chef Jonathan who produced some awesome culinary creations. Then, last month, around 300 celebrities, VIPs, fashionistas and industry experts turned out to support the design stars of the future in The cuTTINg EdgE fAShIoN show. The collaboration with top magazine, cEcI, included a panel of editors from leading Korean magazines, who chose two emerging Korean designers to show their work. KWoN MuNSoo and YooN chooNho, showcased their 2015 S/S collections in WooBAR as W DJ Lab’s Gio and Wendy spun the tunes. Ceci magazine has been championing new design talent for more than 40 years. cuTTINg EdgE fAShIoN AT W SEouL

10 11 ExPLoRE WhoTELS.coM


Profile for Travel + Leisure  Southeast Asia

December 2014  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia December 2014

December 2014  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia December 2014

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded