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THE BEST THING IN LIFE Watching the kids have fun.

There should always be a special magic for the children when you go on holiday. Like exploring the underwater world with a snorkel, playing on a silky-soſt beach, riding water slides, catching a glimpse of an exotic culture, or enjoying the novelty of staying in a seaside villa. And did we mention eating great food? With Centara, the best things in life are there to be discovered.

Discover our BEST Rate Guarantee at www.centarahotelsresorts.com • T: +66 2101 1234 #1

THAILAND • BALI • MALDIVES MAURITIUS • SRI LANKA • VIETNAM

E: reservations@chr.co.th


Volume 08 / Issue 05

Contents

May 2014 Special 70 T+L Family Ten trips to take before you’re 10, tips from teens, Macau for kids and more in our annual round-up of the best in family travel.

Features

82 Neighborhood by Neighborhood Istanbul Part-time local a n ya von br emzen on her favorite places in the city—where to go now. pho t ogr a phed by mich a el ja m es o ’ br ien . gu ide page 91 92 From Splinters to Longboards On Papua New Guinea’s north coast, swell enthusiasts are riding a tourism wave via sustainable surfing. i a n lloy d n e u bau er borrows a board, paddles out and peers through the keyhole. gu ide a n d m a p page 97 98 Ghosts and Gods of Penang Trying to follow his great-grandfather’s century-old trail through the Malaysian melting pot, j eff ch u encounters guilds, gilt and guilt—and realizes that the Straits isle still is dancing a delicate quadrille between past and present. pho t ogr a phed by k it ch a n . gu ide page

107

108 Untamed Ireland On a journey to the rugged coast of County Galway, a n dr e w mcca rt h y finds small towns and quiet pubs, raucous musicians, and no shortage of Irish resilience and pride. pho t ogr a phed by chr ist opher ch u rchill .

MICHAEL JAMES O'BRIEN

gu ide a n d m a p page

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Artist Nick Merdenyan’s shop inside the Grand Bazaar, in Istanbul, page 82. T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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Contents

dest i nat ions

christopher kucway

40 Exploring the Empty Adventurers are searching cities for what others have left behind. by k ate

24 A Pirate’s Port Pulau Aman, once a pirate shelter, still holds secrets, including a bounty of pristine shores. by marco

Plus The region’s best new cruises; the lifecycle of Burberry’s iconic tartan trench; and more.

32 Sunday Fun Day jeninne lee - st . john spends her days-of-rest in a hedonistic blur of eats and treats from Koh Samui to Saigon that put standard soporific brunches to shame. 34 Kyoto Calling Awash in accessible history, the former capital offers modern treasures tucked in

whitehead

Point of View

50 For the Love of Pasta Spaghetti, gnochetti, fusilli tell the story of Italy. by anya von bremzen

64 The Fix Streamlining a multi-country vacation. 66 Planning The best educational adventures. 68 Deals Family getaways in Bangkok, Penang and the Maldives; a grand opening in Singapore; and more.

62 Tech The culture vulture’s digital toolkit.

A romp among the street art in George Town, in Penang. Photographer: Kit Chan.

Decoder 116 Hong Kong Fast-paced and frenetic, the city is continually changing, so lace up your walking shoes and get ready to uncover some new urban gems. by christopher kucway . photographed by philipp

Trip Doctor

55 Strategies Navigating Europe now—how to travel smarter on the continent.

On the Cover

engelhorn

Last Look

122

alberto buzzola offers a

close-up a look at some of celebration-happy Taiwan’s many festivals.

Cruise to Moorea, French Polynesia, on the Crystal Serenity, page 30.

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

quiet corners. by

21 Welcome to Your Castle We’ll never be royals. But we can stay at these historic estate hotels for less than a king’s ransom.

Departments 12 14 … i n b o x 16

e d i t o r ’s n o t e

contr ibu tors

Radar

ferrarese

10 …


Destinations

May 2014 GA LWAY

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123

82

ISTA N BU L 34

122

K YOTO

TA IWA N

106 PE N A N G

98 PA PUA N E W G U I N E A

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DESTINATION

PAGE

WHEN TO GO

WHAT US$5 BUYS

WHO TO FOLLOW

Galway

108

June to August is perfect for the beach, but the crowds thin during September and October, also a time of cultural festivities.

A pint of Guinness at the Olde Brewery in Oranmore, Galway.

@GalwayGaillimh

Istanbul

82

Mid-March through mid-April offers nice weather despite a bit of rain, thinner crowds and cheaper hotel prices.

Ten big pieces of Baklava at Hafiz Mustafa 1864.

@tgistanbul

Kyoto

34

Anytime. The weather is temperate, but March and April bring the delicate veils of sakura.

A one-day city bus pass.

@VisitKyoto

Papua New Guinea

92

November through March is when the waves are largest—perfect for thrill-seeking surfers.

A roundtrip bus ticket from Vanimo across the border to Jayapura, Indonesia.

@PNG_Tourism

Penang

98

Though hot and humid all year round, December and January are a little more pleasant with less heat but still plenty of sunshine.

A northern Indian meal for two at Kapitan’s on Lebuh Chulia.

@TimeOutPenang

Taiwan

122

September to November is warm and dry. Avoid typhoons in June through October.

A weekday admission ticket to Alishan Forest Recreation Park in Chiayi City.

@Taiwanderful

Long Weekend

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Beach

Active

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

Food+Drink

Shopping

Arts+Culture


Chef Masahiko Miura hovers over me, explaining in detail the ingredients and preparation of each of his dishes for my kaiseki meal. He tells me of the plum sauce at the bottom of one dish, points out the sharp taste of a small green bud in another. He brings me background reading material on the soy sauce. He prompts me to savor, in particular, the green tea ice cream. Adapting to my Japanese surroundings, I nod in appreciation, all the while trying to discern what he is saying. He’s speaking Japanese, while my ears are filtering English. In the end, it does not matter. My seven-course Tancho lunch is unforgettable, much like the rest of Kyoto’s new Ritz-Carlton, home to Mizuki, the restaurant in question. Melt-in-your-mouth sea bream, sesame tofu like no other, tuna sashimi and vegetables so fresh I imagine the garden is steps away. Can you say full pamper mode? I’m in town to attend a luxury-travel conference, meeting with several dozen movers and shakers in the industry, so my stay is timed perfectly. For a small taste of the former capital, turn to “Kyoto Calling” (page 34). For its part, the hotel incorporates touches of ryokans in its entrance, and intricate details from local designers throughout. Of course, our travels are often a blend of styles and, one hopes, ground us in a sense of place. This idea comes through loud and clear in Anya von Bremzen’s neighborhood by neighborhood take on Istanbul (page 82), where she says hotels run the gamut from rustic-chic guesthouses to former prisons to one that once was a tobacco factory. Then there’s the Grand Bazaar, which she describes as “both a tourist trap and fantastical treasure trove.” Making new discoveries among the old—if we’re traveling well, that happens as a matter of course. Witness Jeff Chu’s visit to Malaysia’s coast (“Ghosts and Gods of Penang,” page 98). He follows in the footsteps of his great-grandfather from a century ago and encounters the ongoing battle between restoring the historic and introducing the contemporary. As usual, it’s all in the details. —c h r i s t op h e r k u c way

Where to find me chrisk@mediatransasia.com @CKucway on Twitter

Our Next Stops

Beijing Palawan Siem Reap Byron Bay, Australia

The T+L Code Travel + Leisure editors, writers and photographers are the industry’s most reliable sources. While on assignment, they travel incognito whenever possible and do not take press trips or accept free travel of any kind. 12

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N A P AT R A V E E W AT

Editor’s Note


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Valid until 30 June 2014 and applicable to residents and expatriates with KITAS only

For direct booking and reservations, please call (62) 361 775 216 To enquire about our promotional rates, email us at reservation@chedisakala.com

JALAN PRATAMA 95 TANJUNG BENOA NUSA DUA BALI 80363 INDONESIA T (62) 361 775 216 F (62) 361 775 168 info@chedisakala.com


Contributors

Temi Adeniyi

Alberto Buzzola

Andrew McCarthy

favorite holiday activities Something chill. A night boat ride, or a massage. tips for kids stuck on a bad trip Talk to the concierge and see what offers they have. Explain that you don’t enjoy what your family has planned and want to do something else. Then try to convince your parents. best vacation Cape Town. It was just the people I met—they were really nice. That’s where I started to love to sail. The weather was great, and I saw my teacher there, which was kind of cool. should parents take their kids with them on trips? Yes. The experience of meeting new people when you’re young and the stories you can tell shape how you will be in the future. Plus, there’s no stress for kids: you don’t have to book flights—you just go!

how long have you lived in taiwan? Almost 20 years. Got here by chance with the intention to stay just a couple of months. But I just fell in love with it. festival culture Taiwan has preserved many old traditions that originated in China, and traditions also developed in Taiwan individually. It’s a unique place. Being an island affected by many influences (including China, Japan, Holland and local aboriginal culture), the mood for celebrating has always been strong. what’s your favorite festival and why? I enjoy tangyuan—glutinous rice flour dumplings—eaten during the Lantern Festival in particular. i’m hungry Where to eat? Everywhere! When it comes to food, from night markets to the simple local cheap restaurants, Taiwan is second to none.

dublin vs. galway While Dublin has become an international city, Galway is still a small, provincial town with its own confidence and point of view. galway is for... Anyone who wants to experience the Wild West of Ireland. where’s the best view in town? There are too many to choose just one, but I do love the rolling, treeless tundra around the Twelve Bens mountains. you were most surprised by... Just how much Irish is actually spoken among the locals. trip takeaways Connemara, to me, is really Ireland’s Ireland. And the deeper you’re willing to go, the richer the experience. Just stay away from the Bog Road at night.

Photographer “Last Look: Taiwanese Festivals” (page 122).

Writer “Untamed Ireland” (page 108).

‘Where to eat? Everywhere! When it comes too food, from night markets to the simple local cheap restaurants, Taiwan is second to none.’ —ALBERTO BUZZOL A

F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F T E M I A D E N I Y I ; C O U R T E S Y O F A L B E R T O B U Z Z O L A ; C O U R T E S Y O F A N D R E W M C C A R T H Y

Contributor “Family Special: Tips from Teens” (page 70).


Getaways

by Dusit

Whether you crave a relaxing seaside holiday with your family, an exciting city break with friends or an enriching cultural getaway, you can have it all with Getaways by Dusit. With accommodation starting as low as USD 80 and a host of value added privileges including spa treatments, dining oers and more, make your getaway one to remember.

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or +66 (0) 2636 3333

Dusit Thani Maldives


Inbox

Vacation: Unplugged Digital detox (February)... I like that phrase. f

Martin Glaeser

The Sumo Diet

Simplifying Your Suitcase

I love chankonabe (“Bowled Over,” November 2012)! It is actually more nutritious than a lot of other foods out there. What is not mentioned in your article is the fact that these guys pack down as much beer as the average Kobe beef steer, and immediately go to sleep after all that chanko and all that beer. f Harold Dodd manhattan beach , california

Thanks for the information in the articles about packing (“TripDoctor”). You have made my packing easier. Jeremy Cheong

Globetrotting

Thank you for giving us the best advice in travel. I’ve booked a trip to Europe and the U.S. after reading your columns. f Ishita Kashyap chandigarh , india

CONTACT INFO

Isle of Calm

I love Bali (“Through the Looking Glass,” November 2013)! It is a place of paradise with awesome scenic views and resort style. It gives everyone the time to slow down their pace and enjoy every moment, because everything is just simply too beautiful. f Yvette Lee singapore

tleditor@mediatransasia.com, travelandleisureasia.com, f facebook.com/ TravelLeisureAsia or @TravLeisureAsia.

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Comments may be edited for clarity and space.


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

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

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EXCLUSIVE OFFER Book on selected dates and receive a 20% discount per couple on our regular train fares. Please quote code EC20 at the time of booking.

Contact our luxury travel consultants on +65 63950678 or your local travel agent.

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TRAVEL+LEISURE SOUTHEAST ASIA VOL. 8, ISSUE 5 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; under license from American Express Publishing Corporation, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, United States of America. 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.

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Radar On Our

Entering the Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur.

News. Finds. Opinions. Obsessions.

t+l p i c ks

WELCOME TO YOUR CASTLE

© M A R T I N H A R V E Y/G E T T Y I M A G E S

We’ll never be royals. But we can stay at these historic estate hotels for less than a king’s ransom.

INDIA The 79 rooms and suites at Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace were once the chambers of the Maharaja, though it takes little imagination to experience living in that era. Luxury and comfort combine to ease guests into a different frame of mind, let alone time. The palace is best enjoyed early in the morning as the sun rises over Rajasthan and the ornate inner courtyard. tajhotels.com; doubles from Rs28,000.

CHINA While you won’t be in waiting for an audience with the Empress Dowager, the Aman at Summer Palace will leave you feeling part of a different era, one more than a century old. Just outside the East Gate of the Summer Palace, calm is the byword among the courtyards that anchor the traditional Chinese architecture. Each suite has its own layout and is fitted with Ming dynastyinspired furniture. amanresorts. com; doubles from RMB5,200.

TURKEY On the European side of the Bosphorus, Ciragan Palace in Istanbul is the place if you want to live like a Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Book any one of the 11 suites here and, alongside sweeping views of the Bosphorus from the balcony, you’ll also have something no sultan could have ever imagined: LCD televisions and wireless Internet access, all within a lavish and historic setting. ciraganpalace.com.tr; doubles from €420.

FRANCE Like an oenophile’s dream home, the 19th-century Renaissance-style Château de Mirambeau sits between Bordeaux and Cognac, perfect for visits to nearby vineyards. Of the 22 princely accommodations (canopied beds; silk-covered walls; marble baths), rooms in the main castle supply the best views of the pristine Gironde estuary beyond. relaischateaux. com; doubles from €225. —andrew sessa

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

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Radar icon

A Coat for All Seasons Lightweight and rainproof, Burberry’s tartan-lined trench has risen from utilitarian staple to jet-setter’s must-have. The Origins In 1879, English outfitter Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, a water-resistant fabric that he used to create comfortable rain gear—a godsend for oft-soaked Brits. London’s first Burberry shop (right) opened its doors in Haymarket in 1891. Call of Duty During World War I, the company provided these coats to British Army officers to wear in the trenches—hence the moniker.

r ec o n

This month’s need-to-know openings

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Royal Treatment Queen Elizabeth II granted Burberry a royal warrant in 1955. Today, the Duchess of

Cambridge dresses up her Sloane Ranger–worthy ruffled wool version with a clutch and pumps (left). On the Runway Christopher Bailey, the label’s chief creative officer, continues to evolve the look. Seen on Burberry Prorsum’s Spring/Summer 2014 runway: a featherweight knitted merino-wool trench (far left)—ideal for May showers.  —mimi lombardo

Hotels Pikaia Lodge (pikaialodgegalapagos.com) is raising the luxury stakes in the Galápagos Islands. The star attractions: a giant tortoise reserve and a private 30-meter yacht. In Thailand, Hansar Hotels & Resorts is opening the 17-room beachfront villa Hansar Pranburi (hansarpranburi.com) by the coastal seaviews and mountain backdrop of Sam Roi Yot National Park + The first Japanese property for Amanresorts (amanresorts.com) debuts in Tokyo’s Otemachi Tower in Marunouchi, providing the brand’s inimitable sense of calm in the frenzied city. Restaurants Parisian brasserie-inspired restaurant Cocette (facebook. com/CocotteHK), is adding a touch of European flare to Hong Kong’s oh-so-hip NoHo neighborhood. Chef Patrick Dang, of Amber fame, aspires to bring laid-back charm to the institution of fine French dining.

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 T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F B U R B E R R Y ( 3 ) ; C H R I S J A C K S O N /G E T T Y I M A G E S

Above: Burberry’s cotton gabardine trench with buffalo horn buttons, still made in the United Kingdom.

Daredevil-Approved Around the same time, Burberry became the go-to supplier of adventurers, including Sir Ernest Shackleton—who wore its outerwear to Antarctica in 1914—and John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, pilots who donned the company’s aviator suits in 1919 to complete the first nonstop transatlantic flight.


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Radar

d e to u r

A Pirate’s Port

Pulau Aman, once a pirate shelter off Penang, still holds secrets, including a bounty of pristine shores and secluded eateries grilling up seafood fresh. Story and photos by Marco Ferrarese

From top: The peaceful island; follow the map, find the bounty; fresh seafood at a local restaurant; some 300 fishermen live on Pulau Aman.

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When the busy streets of George Town fray the nerves, there’s a little-known oasis afloat between Penang and the southern coast of Seberang Perai. Pulau Aman (“peaceful island”) is so small that even most folks who live nearby are unaware of its serene shores. Yet, it’s a quick bumboat ride (RM6 roundtrip) from Batu Musang jetty, the mainland and modernity. Home to a community of about 300 fishermen, Aman’s quaint, car-free lanes offer timeless tropical bliss. It wasn’t always thus, for the short stretch of sea separating Pulau Aman from the uninhabited former pirate’s cove of Pulau Gedung was once a dangerous buccaneer’s sea lane. Visit by bumboat and hike to the top of the hill near Batu Perompak (“pirate’s rock”) to see the gravesite of pirate chief Panglima Garang, pairing spooky history with sterling views. Unwind with a fishing excursions—the offshore platforms are perfect for immersing yourself in the local fishermen’s life. Aman’s compact size and idyllic environment make it a pleasure to walk or cycle; rental bikes are available at the jetty for RM2 per hour. A hiking path to the top of a forested hill reveals

panoramas stretching to Penang. The quirky Golden Well is another worthwhile attraction; dug in 1789, it’s a seaside freshwater source in which a legendary villager found a golden vase. The quintessential Pulau Aman experience, however, is to kick back in front of a clear ocean view and savor mouth-watering seafood. With its gracious wooden veranda on stilts overlooking the bay, Restoran Terapung (120 Pulau Aman, Simpang Empat; 60-19/476-6125; meal for two RM20) specializes in prawns served with mee kuah, nasi goreng or fried koay teow (RM6 per serving). Fresh mantis prawns, the islet’s signature catch, are plucked live from tanks and cooked to order. For a choice of Malay dishes on rice, walk along the only coconut tree-shaded alley to homey, family-run Warung Kak Timah (60-13/433-4932; meal for two RM20). Though a fine day trip, private chalets and a homestay program are available for overnights. Koperasi Pelancongan Pulau Pinang (39A Kapitan Sq., Buckingham St., Penang; 60-4/262-2377) or Pulau Aman Fishermen Association (60-4/5307185) can arrange bookings. ✚


Radar

r e s tau r a n t s

Konnichiwa Noma One of the world’s best restaurants is turning Japanese, for the time being. By Scott Haas

Foodies in Japan are heading towards a banner year. Noma, ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world, is relocating from its base in Copenhagen and setting up shop in Tokyo for two months in early 2015. René Redzepi, the restaurant’s chef-owner, has been smitten with high-end Japanese cuisine since 2009 when he visited Kikunoi, a kaiseki restaurant in the Gion section of Kyoto run by chef Yoshihiro Murata. The menu at Kikunoi is artful and delicate and can include, depending on the season, dishes like sea eel and yuba rolls or sea bream sushi wrapped in bamboo leaves. This elegant cuisine and the educational experience made a deep impression on Redzepi. “I was awestruck by the richness of Japanese food culture,” he says on the restaurant’s website. “In some way since that first visit I’ve

been secretly planning this temporary relocation.” So five years after Murata’s initial invitation, Redzepi is making the move and taking the concept of the “pop up” restaurant to a trans-global extreme. What better place for an ingredient-obsessed chef than Japan, a country with 24 mini-seasons, some of which last five to seven days? What kind of food should you expect? “Although our entire staff will move to Tokyo, we’ll leave our ingredients at home,” Redzepi says, “Rather we’ll bring our mindset and sensibilities to the best of pristine winter produce from all over Japan.” The particulars, like the opening date and locale, have yet to be determined, but all will be revealed on noma.dk later this year. So grab your chopsticks, because these flavors are sure to transcend translation.

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

Chef René Redzepi is moving his beloved Nordic restaurant, Noma, from Copenhagen to Tokyo.


t u to r i a l

How to Ride a Vespa Like an Italian So you think you can just scooter around Rome like a carefree Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck? Think again. Mastering the iconic bike—not to mention the traffic—requires serious know-how. Claudio Sarra of Bici & Baci (bicibaci.com), which provides Vespas to the St. Regis hotel (stregis.com; doubles from €304), gives us tips on safe navigation.

1 Driving in Rome can be dangerous. Put on a helmet, fasten the chin strap and slide the visor down to protect against oncoming insetti.

2 Lift the Vespa off the kickstand before starting the engine and giving it gas, or risk losing control and launching it unpiloted into the street (a common mistake).

3 Avoid aree pedonali (pedestrianized zones) and bus lanes, which are marked with yellow paint. Everywhere else is fair game. Well, not sidewalks. C

M

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CM

MY

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4 Romans hardly follow routine traffic laws, let alone use hand signals; be hyper-attentive for other scooters veering in and out of gridlock, and bypass the busiest intersections.

5 With such narrow frames, parking is a breeze—and free (even in metered spots). Be sure to take your belongings with you, and don’t forget to lock up.—nate storey

K

T O M S C H I E R L I T Z . I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y M I C H A E L H O E W E L E R

trending

WELL-HEELED Though their name suggests otherwise, Swedish Hasbeens are firmly of-the-moment. Made from sustainably harvested limewood and available in a rainbow of leathers, they’re beloved by Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Williams and the style darlings who (literally) clog Stockholm’s cobblestoned streets. From US$125; swedishhasbeens.com.  —courtney kenefick

SALA Samui Resort & Spa Choengmon Beach, Samui Telephone: (66) 77 245 888 info@salasamui.com - www.salasamui.com


Radar Shades of blue → Look for oceanic accents of blue or aquamarine at Point Yamu. “I’m a fish, so the sea is very important to me,” says the Pisces-signed designer. “It’s an essential element of life.”

spotlight

Swimming in Style

↑ From frame to wall A local craftsman in Chiang Mai, who made photo frames using recycled wood blocks, was tapped to help with the hotel design. “I told him it was very nice, and asked if he could make a bigger one,” Navone says. He was astounded by the two 70-square-meter pixel walls he had to fill up at Point Yamu’s lobby.

← Siamese sway When Navone began this project, she envisioned a luxury resort that was contemporary, and yet still immersed in what she calls “Thai reality.” Stone elephants support the swimming pool umbrellas, while orange pillars nod to the saffron of monks’ robes.

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Mix and match ↑ A medley of design influences converge harmoniously in the resort’s private dining room: a wooden Buddha hand as a door handle, to reflect Thai culture; scratched mirror tiles that remind her of old European castles; and a lower wall padded with white linen for quiet dining. “My brain is like a garbage bin. Everywhere I go, I take something from that place and this is how ideas come to me very fast.”

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 P O I N T YA M U B Y C O M O ; C O U R T E S Y O F P A O L A N A V O N E ; B R E N T T. M A D I S O N ; C O U R T E S Y O F P O I N T YA M U B Y C O M O ( 3 )

Paola Navone, the renowned Milanese architect and designer who pioneered shabby chic, had a hand in the new Point Yamu by COMO in Phuket. Here, she shares snippets of her creative process with Melanie Lee..


Radar Crystal Serenity, all decked out.

Wind Spirit on the night seas.

Silver Discoverer sails Western Australia.

c r u is i n g

Maritime Mania

New cruise ships in Asia are offering more meaningful cultural journeys, with plenty of luxury to boot. Here, a few recent additions luring us to the seas. By Monsicha Hoonsuwan CELEBRITY CRUISES

This just in: brand new ports of call in Beppu and Kanazawa, Japan; Vladivostok, Russia; and Mystery Island, Vanuatu. Extended itineraries feature overnight stays in eight cities across the region including shopping meccas Tokyo, Taipei, Bangkok and Singapore. These Asian adventures all debut in 2015, but bookings open this month—and while you’re planning ahead, why not boost your budget so you can be among the first to try Celebrity’s Suite Class for butler service and VIP perks? celebrity cruises. com; 13 nights $999.

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CRYSTAL CRUISES

Fusing off-the-beatentrack treks and high-end urban stopovers, Crystal Cruises has doubled its Asian voyages to 14 trips. On one of the 40 new excursions ashore, you can drink with former headhunting warriors of Borneo; then make robes from tree bark while trekking along the rain forests of Malaysia’s Kinabalu National Park; and top it off with a stop by Lombok, Indonesia, for a visit to Sasak village where men sleep outside their daugters’ houses to protect them from being abducted into marriage. crystalcruises.com; 12 nights $4,055.

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

SILVERSEA EXPEDITIONS

How’s this for a highlight? A sail to the remote Buccaneer Archipelago, off Western Australia, where you can watch 149-meter tidal waves crash against two narrow coastal gorges, forming bizarre horizontal waterfalls. Go where few have ever set foot—including plenty of picturesque beaches and turquoise waters—via Silversea’s recently refurbished Silver Discoverer. Ritzy oceanview suites with private balconies will keep you in high comfort while the ship weaves through the Pacific. silversea.com; eight nights $6,950.

WINDSTAR CRUISES

Foodies can expect packed days and full bellies on Windsor Cruises’ sleek, 148-passenger yacht Wind Spirit that sets sail from Tahiti this month—for the first time, on a sevenday themed voyage to six French Polynesian islands. Take in all the beauty of the South Pacific, from lagoons to wild rainforests. Then dive into the local way of life over suckling pig in Bora Bora, courtesy of Windstar’s new privateevent service, facilitating in-depth cultural experience. windstar cruises.com; seven-day Dreams of Tahiti $2,799.

BOHAI FERRY

China’s largest roll-on, roll-off passenger ferries operator, Bohai is launching its cruise fleet with Costa Voyager, an 804-passenger ship that’s one of the fastest in the world. This recent purchase from Costa Cruises features three restaurants, a solarium, disco, casino, spa center and shopping gallery. Renamed Zhong Hua Tai Shan, the vessel will make an inaugural ChinaKorea-Japan trip this summer, then head to Southeast Asia during the winter. Details are pending so check travelandleisureasia.com for more information as the launch nears. ✚

*Prices are listed in US dollars and represent the starting rate per person, based on double occupancy

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 C E L E B R I T Y C R U I S E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F C R Y S TA L C R U I S E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F W I N D S TA R C R U I S E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F S I LV E R S E A E X P E D I T I O N S

Celebrity Cruises takes on new routes.


food

Sunday Fun Day

Nikki Beach knows how to cure your hangover: waterfalling back in with a beach party and buffet. Jeninne Lee-St. John spends her days-of-rest in a hedonistic blur of bounties that put soporific brunches to shame.

From top: Raw bounty at Nikki Beach Phuket; jamming with the saxist in Samui.

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If you don’t think a motorcyle-mounted belly dancer zooming around the pool with sparklers to a dramatic soundtrack straight out of a Rocky movie is the most effective way for bar staff to deliver that guy’s magnum of champagne, then this probably isn’t the brunch for you. If, however, you’d take your waffles and wontons with a healthy side of live saxophone, signature sangria and near Cirque de Soleil-level acrobatics, then spend your Sunday sunning at Nikki Beach. Because that guy just might buy a round of bubbly for the entire place, which is a surefire way to get everyone dancing on the daybeds. Not that they’d necessarily need more incentive. DJs spin poolside, outlandishly attired models pose and preen, that roaming saxist serenades, and hip-shakers groove on platforms—happy to take the hands of little kids who clamber up. Yes, this is relatively wholesome fun for a broad age range, having been named, after all, for the beloved daughter of the brand’s founder. Ah, but wait. We’re talking about brunch, which more than holds its ground here in a vast partyspanning spread. Jive and sway as you load your plate with everything from omelettes to sushi, Thai noodles to raw oysters. The carnivore station has been known to boast three kinds of beef, though I’m also partial to the porchetta with extra-thick crackling. And take this tip from an insuppressible DIYer: Stop by the prosciutto carver and then pick up some camembert or emmental at

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF NIK KI BE ACH; RICHARD MCLEISH

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C O U R T E SY O F N I K K I B E AC H P H U K E T(2). B O T T O M F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F M A R K E T 3 9 ; C O U R T E S Y O F K I S S O ; C O U R T E S Y O F C ATA L U N YA

the cheese station before hitting up the mainly sweets-stocked crêperie to custom-order yourself a savory, melty galette. Brunch ends at 4, but the fiesta rocks on until the last merrymakers boogie off their daybeds—dusk or beyond, in the high season. At this point, if you’re in Samui, you’ll be thanking the gods that this Nikki Beach, the first in Asia, is the brand’s only location with an attached hotel. Makes it a lot easier to drag yourself off to one of the 48 suites, bungalows or villas. But if you’re not staying on-site—or if, perhaps, you’re brunching at the justopened-to-much-aplomb Nikki Beach Phuket, which is a stand-alone beach club— the drive into the subdued street entrance and the stroll down an unassuming gabled path gives nary a hint of the delightful debauchery that awaits on the other side of the restaurant’s open-air pavilion. In fact, the party panorama is probably best

taken in from the ocean side. Just ask the daring guests who don aquatic jetpacks to swoop and soar above the sea—or the morethan-a-few patrons who cruise up on their yachts to wade through the shallows into the insanity. Like, say, that guy who’s buying that magnum or two… Nikki Beach Phuket

62/11 Moo 6 Cherngtalay; 6683/395-2665. Nikki Beach Samui 96/3 Moo 2, Lipa Noi; 66-77/914-500; nikkibeach. com; doubles from Bt11,000. At both, Amazing Sunday Brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bt1,500 per person including one glass of champagne, plus minimum spend for daybeds; reservations required. ✚

From left: Local b-boys battle atop the pool in Phuket; ready for round two in Phuket.

Three Free-Flow Brunches Beyond the Pale

SAIGON Market 39 Saigon dwellers convene here for goodbyes, welcomes and ensuring that Sunday slides smoothly into Monday. Greasing the wheels is free-flow Veuve Cliquot and other libations. Start at the vast seafood bar for shellfish raw or chilled or broiled. Then: the roast carving station. Palate cleanser? Perfectly parboiled beef pho—or a dip in the chocolate fountain. Just keep smiling, the roving band will keep playing, and the waiters will keep pouring. InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Corner of Le Duan and Hai Ba Trung; 84-8/3520-9999; ihg. com; VND1,298,000 all-inclusive; book ahead.

BANGKOK Kisso This new, refreshingly creative-but-not-crazy Japanese brunch is all-you-can-order à la carte, accompanied by all-you-can-drink sake and wine. It’s a refined binge-fest of a lengthy sashimi-to-hot pot menu filled with Hokkaido scallops and Canadian snow crab, served in a recently renovated den of serenity. The charcoal-grilled Wagyu beef with mushrooms and foie gras soy sauce truly impresses. The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, 259 Soi Sukhumvit 19; 66-2/207-8000; kissobangkok.com. Limitless Sunday Lunch Bt2,490 per person, plus Bt930 free-flow sake, wine and beer.

SINGAPORE Catalunya Singapore has figured out the non-hotel brunch, and what a revelation! A culinary theater in the round, Catalunya is in a circular glass building affording panoramic views from Marina Bay. But turn attention inward, lest you miss the show-stopping presentation of the suckling pig. This being a Spanish restaurant, dozens of other pork varieties clamor for your attention. Bull’s head-adorned walls and DJ-spun tunes round out the vibe. Fullerton Pavilion, 82 Collyer Quay; 65/65340886; catalunya.sg; brunch SG98 per person, plus SG48 free-flow cava, wine and cocktails.

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Clockwise from above: The bamboo grove in Arashiyama; fresh tuna at Mizuki; tea time at Ippodo Tea Co.; the entry to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

d i s c ov e r y

Kyoto Calling

Awash in accessible history, the former capital offers a trove of modern treasures tucked within its many quiet corners. Story and photos by Christopher Kucway Early morning silence in the

Arashiyama bamboo forest is

broken only by birdsong, a cool spring breeze rustling the tall grass and, nearby, the JR train zipping past. That’s Kyoto for you, a compact city with 1,200 years of history and a flair for all things modern. Clean and green, the former capital is home to more than 2,000 temples and shrines neatly tucked into every nook and cranny. A word of advice: do not attempt to turn your visit into a temple tour. Instead, choose three, maybe five, and visit

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them at a slow, appreciative pace. Kyoto is fascinating in pockets and asks to be absorbed rather than seen. After my stroll through the bamboo, I head to the nearby Tenryu-ji Temple complex, one of Kyoto’s 14 unesco World Heritage Sites, only to find visitors sprouting as quickly as the year’s first cherry blossoms. The 14th-century Zen monastery takes its cue from the calm forest next to it, almost in spite of the harried daytrippers. Come nightfall, back in the city’s historic Gion district, the ➔


Radar Kiyomizu-dera Temple is awash with

both crowds, who have come for the first pink bloom of Japan’s iconic spring trees, and vivid spotlights, part of an annual light festival. Yet the ancient capital is much more than ageless temples and shrines. New kid in town is the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto (ritz-carlton.com; doubles from ¥68,000), but do not expect standard fare from the global chain here. The design-centric urban resort is loaded with local touches—everything from the entrance along a man-made waterfall meant to mirror the look of a ryokan, to the in-room soaps, to the patterned, tactile motifs found along its hallways. And, yes, there’s a traditional Meiji house and courtyard reconstructed in its original spot, within what is now an otherwise modern Italian restaurant. In a city where tofu dishes reign supreme, the fine-dining Mizuki

stands out, mainly for its kaiseki options, the seven-course Tancho offering seasonal specialties that, on my visit, include a melt-in-your-mouth sea bream and sesame tofu soup. Chef Masahiko Miura is excitable (or maybe the word is passionate) and more than happy to explain in Japanese the subtleties of his artistic, flavorful dishes. Each of the servings look as good as it tastes. Speaking of her favorite course, one server told me, “I feel that when I have this dish that I am a destroyer.” A meal at Mizuki is enough to power you along the small streets just west of the hotel, where you’ll find the Ippodo Tea Co. (ippodo-tea.co.jp). Polite staff will offer a simple tea tasting so you can differentiate among matcha, gyokuro, sencha and bancha teas and all their subcategories. The only test is deciding which tea you like best. Buying some is a given.

Where to pour that tea? Avoid the too-cute-for-comfort stores and instead head for Creative Evolution on Traditional Values of Kyoto (kdnakatani.co.jp). The small pottery shop with the unwieldy name is on the north edge of Gion, its shelves laden with teacups, bowls and dishes turned by local hands, in both traditional and wacky designs, and of every color under the sun. Another must visit: Kyoto Design House (kyoto-dh.com). Think of it as an emporium for all that is beautiful from the city’s modern crafts people. The cast-in-place concrete shop itself—a Tadao Ando design—is a perfect home for the 1,500 different gift-worthy products available. Vivid leather handbags, wooden businesscard holders, paper iPhone cases—it’s all here. If your stay is short, make this your one stop. Yet in Kyoto, time should never be a concern. ✚

Clockwise from left: Kyoto Design House; paying respects at Tenryu-ji Temple; nightfall along the historic streets in Gion.

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Radar From views to snooze at OZO Chaweng, Samui.

debut

Suite Dreams

A new hotel’s soporific settings are making the shores of Samui even dreamier. By David Ngo OZO sleep experience,” says general manager Ingo Domaschke, “[and the] OZO touch points designed to make people happy.” Even the bedtime drinks, from Chamomile tea to hot toddies, are thoughtfully crafted to help guests nod off. With a room this cozy, forget sunrise yoga—go ahead: roll over in your Dreammaster bed, wrap yourself in the creamy cotton linens and plush down duvet, and hit the snooze button. ozohotels.com/ chaweng-samui; doubles from Bt2,800.

goods

IN FULL SWING We’re all ears for the latest collection from Italian jeweler Faraone Mennella (faraonemennella.com; price upon request)—especially these 18-karat gold, turquoise, motherof-pearl and rose quartz earrings. Named after Marina Piccola, the Capri beach where Jackie O. and Emilio Pucci lounged, they make a singular statement: it’s summer. —m.l.

F R O M TO P : C O U R T E SY O F OZO C H AW E N G (2); C O U R T E SY O F FA R AO N E M E N N E L L A

What’ll set you snoozing faster—a sheep-counting screensaver or a tummy-warming hot toddy? Both are on hand in the 208 seaside suites at the new OZO Chaweng, the “Sleep tight, wake bright” brand’s first foray into Thailand. There’s nothing wrong with a little lazing, and here, every detail of the environment can be customized to help you doze, from the lighting and temperature controls, to the black-out curtains and soundproofed walls. “We pride ourselves on the


comment ca rd Dear Travel Sl ob, Not to sound lik e your mother, but really? Is th wearing on th at what you’re e airplane? Ye s, we’re talkin those low-ridin g to you, youn g, sparkly-derr g lady—in ièred jeans an idea to dress fo d tube top. It’s r a security scre a good ening. It’s a ba strip search. A d idea to dress nd to you, dude for a in th your stuff belo e cargo shorts ngs in the over and flip-flops: head bin, not in Just like your your thigh pock mother, we say ets. this with love: you need to step sartorially spea it up. king, Now, don’t mak e that face. We all appreciate (especially on the need for co those transpac mfort ific red-eyes th looking pulled at arrive at 6 a. together doesn’ m.). But t mean you ha and it doesn’t ve to be uncom take much tim fortable, e or cost a lot of over-air-condi money. Beside tioned cabin yo s, in an u’ll want to ha don’t mean Lu ve a warm laye lulemon yoga pa r, and we nts. For women with a sweater , nice stretchy or blazer are ju jeggings st as good; for th a polo, and som e boys, jeans or e loafers. And khakis, m ay to dress up a di be a smart scar nner outfit, an f—you might ne yway. Also? So ed feet warm on th cks! They keep e plane, and off your that floor if yo (They also spar ur shoes are xe your fellow pa rayed. ssengers from a pedicure. Ye noticing your s, we’re in Asia, ne ed for bu t in the air, it’s a We’re not judg tight space, pe ing you. We’ll ople.) leave that to al stylish resort-g l those effortles oers and city-d sly wellers you’ll Meanwhile, ha encounter on ve a wonderful arrival. trip—and stan d up straight. Love, The T+L Edito rs

q& a

Archaeologist Joan Breton Connelly

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

The New York City–based scholar, whose new book, The Parthenon Enigma (Knopf), is rewriting ancient history, spills the dirt on a few of her favorite spots. Are there any great sites in Europe that are lesser-known? At his villa in Sperlonga (390771/548-028), 120 kilometers south of Rome, Emperor Tiberius created a fantasy world based on Homer’s Odyssey, filling a seaside cave with marble sculptures depicting the exploits of the Greek hero. The Neolithic ring of stones at Avebury (nationaltrust. org.uk), in Wiltshire, England, is the largest megalithic circle in the world—bigger than Stonehenge.

Tell us about your dig on Yeronisos Island, off the coast of Cyprus. Our excavations have shed light on the period of Cleopatra’s Cyprus rule (47–30 B.C.). We’ve found amulets, potsherds inscribed with Ptolemaic Egyptian script, a stone lion’s head and more. Can anyone dig with you? I’m proud of our Exec-UDig program (yeronisos.org), which, for a donation of US$10,000, allows a few donors to join us for a week of digging and exploration on

Yeronisos each season. Bill Murray joined us in 2006. Where does a lover of ancient history go on vacation? I rarely go anywhere that is largely contemporary. I always travel with a pair of vintage Newmarket riding boots— I’ve galloped on an Arabian horse past the Pyramids in Egypt; fox-hunted in Northumberland, England; and cantered across the French countryside. There’s is no better way to travel. — betsy perry


Radar Nature reclaims the abandoned Maya Hotel.

trending

EXPLORING THE EMPTY A new segment of adventurers is searching the cities for what others have left behind. By Kate Whitehead →

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Photographed by Jordy Meow


Radar

Urban Exploration, or haikyo in Japan. Clockwise from right: Room with a past; the creepy coaster in shuttered Dreamland; calculating the view from Gunkanjima school.

In the development boom across Southeast Asia, many skyscrapers, school buildings and even whole villages have been abandoned to the march of time. While these deserted megaliths may be eyesores to some, to others they represent a captivating window into culture and history. Urban Exploration or Urbex, is fairly edgy—you can’t trespass into derelict spaces without some risk involved— but that hasn’t stopped it becoming a global phenomenon. The investigation of abandoned, often inaccessible, built environments, is particularly popular in Japan, where it’s known as haikyo, literally translated as “ruins.” Most of the buildings of interest in Japan are less than a century old, often small, and usually in good condition. “Nothing has been stolen. Objects from the past can still be found along with the memories they hold,” says Jordy Meow, a photographer who lives in Tokyo and caught the haikyo bug in early 2010. Then, there were only a handful of foreigners into Urbex, but 42

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he estimates the number of Japanese haikyoists has now grown to about 600. Abandoned schools and derelict hospitals in particular help gin up the eerie vibe he tries to capture in his photographs. In such decay, it’s no surprise that some of the buildings lure more than intrepid photographers. “I have a Japanese friend who has seen a lot of ghosts and there are a few specific haikyo that seem to be full of them,” Meow says. And then there are the places that deliver a real buzz: “Exploring abandoned amusement parks and mines is not just about images and emotions—you go there for an adventure and the thrill,” says the 31-year-old Frenchman. “They are excellent getaways.” Leaving sites untouched is one of the few hard and fast rules of the mostly underground Urbex community. So while haikyo may still be on the tourism fringe, it’s breathing fresh life into aged edifices and giving the old walls new tales to tell. ✚

Do Not Enter Here are a few of the most oft-visited Urbex sites in the region. We don’t recommend braving the live electrical wires, angry dogs and rickety construction to summit these dilapidated buildings, but you can get a feel for the history just by taking in the façade. bangkok The 47-story Sathorn Unique, a long-empty residential tower, is a prized summit for reckless Urbexers. Intersection of Charoen Krung and Sathon Tai, Bangkok. taipei Nature is slowly reclaiming the “Green Mansion,” a huge abandoned house in Xizhi, on the outskirts of the city. Once the

location for movies and TV dramas, there is still evidence of its glamorous past. hangzhou For weird, you can’t beat the gated community of Tianducheng. Nicknamed China’s Parisian ghost town, it was constructed to resemble the French capital, complete with a 108-meter replica of the Eiffel Tower.


Radar

A view of the mountain chalet from Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa, in South Tyrol, Italy.

the moment

San Cassiano, Italy 6:04 p.m.

Pizzinini’s 18th-century cabin, which has been part of his family’s private reserve for generations. You can’t quite believe you booked a mountain bike tomorrow to visit the 15th-century church of St. Catharina in Corvara and its frescoes. And—despite the fact that dinner is at the hotel’s Michelin two-starred restaurant, St. Hubertus—you definitely can’t believe you’re already hungry. rosaalpina.it; doubles from €385. — lisa gr ainger

COURTESY OF ROSA ALPINA

It’s early evening, and as you walk back through wildflowerdotted meadows to Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa, you can’t decide which is more impressive: the light hitting the limestone crags of the Dolomites or the fact that you were actually scrambling over boulders up there this morning. Yes, you earned that hearty Tyrolean lunch you enjoyed a few hours ago—firegrilled steak, local cheeses and kaiserschmarrn (caramelized pancakes)—in hotel owner Hugo

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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

Bangkok, with Fresh Eyes

Face it, this isn’t your first time to Bangkok and it won’t be your last. Still, you want to do something new, this trip needs to be filled with new experiences in the Thai capital. First on the to-do list today is to hop a taxi to Pak Khlong Talaat, Bangkok’s famous flower market. It’s a mad medley of everything floral and a sight to be seen but best of all, it’s the place in Asia to buy inexpensive arrangements or simply bundles of fresh-cut flowers. Your morning never smelled so good. One spot that smells even better is the aromatic Karma Kamet Diner (30/1 Sukhumvit Soi 24; 66-2/262-0700). It’s known for its essential-oil products—there’s a store adjacent to the restaurant for retail therapy—though the emphasis is on whiling away an afternoon over coffee or cocktails. If your extended lunch wasn’t enough, by this point, the big city will leave you in need of a spa treatment. For a stylish hour or two, head to any of the Thann Sanctuary spas (thannspa.com).The holistic treatments aim to reawaken your physical and mental wellness. You can’t hit Bangkok without eating and drinking. For a night of it, head to Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55). Do not miss Soul Food Mahanakorn (56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55; 66-2/714-7708) for its mod-Thai specialties. Or, if you are up for a treat and fancy some authentic Italian cuisine, head to Attico Cucina (489 Sukhumvit Rd.; 66-2/302-3333), with amazing views from the 28th floor of the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok.

Pak Khlong Talaat.

Thann Sanctuary Spas.


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Tribal Pursuits

Calling all hunter-gatherers: these accessories are inspired by indigenous designs from around the globe. By Mimi Lombardo

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1 Hand-painted cashmere-and-silk scarf by Dianora Salviati (dianorasalviati.com). 2 Kilim-textile cross-body bag, Jadetribe (jadetribe. com). 3 Painted-wooden-bead bracelets, Alexandra Beth Designs (alexandrabeth.com). 4 Suede shoulder bag, Gucci (gucci.com). 5 Brass bib necklace, Soko (shopsoko.com). 6 Napa leather sandals, Stuart Weitzman (stuartweitzman.com). 7 Suede sandals, Ralph Lauren Collection (ralphlauren.com). 8 Straw-andwood clutch, Kayu (kayudesign.com). 9 Natural-horn-and-turquoise cuff, Kevia (kevia.com). 10 Leather bag with metal rivets, Etro (etro.com).

Photographed by Victor Prado

S T Y L I S T: R I C H I E O W I N G S F O R H A L L E Y R E S O U R C E S

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The Best of Both Worlds from the forest to the sea...

Enjoy two unique experiences at Bali’s only integrated resort: • 77-hectare estate above Jimbaran Bay, with the ocean-front AYANA Resort and Spa (awarded by Conde Nast Traveler readers as World’s Best Spa Hotel and Asia’s Best Hotel) and the forest setting of new sister hotel RIMBA Jimbaran Bali • Spectacular sunsets, 16 world-class dining venues and bars, Thermes Marins Spa including Spa on the Rocks, priority access to the iconic Rock Bar, and secluded white-sand beach www.rimbajimbaran.com

• Babysitting, Kids Club and interconnecting rooms and suites

www.ayanaresort.com


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Tonnarelli cacio e pepe at Flavio al Velavevodetto, in Rome.

For the Love of Pasta

Spaghetti, tortellini, gnochetti, fusilli—they tell the story of Italy. By Anya von Bremzen

I

learned my pasta basics decades ago from an old woman named Filomena. Learned them reluctantly. Witchlike Filomena with her chin whiskers and shrill cackle was my landlady in Assisi where, as a young piano student, I took summer master classes. “Sei ritornata?”—You’re back?—she’d screech when I tiptoed in after a date. She’d then perch on my bed, waving a crucifix and berate me about my morals. Going out became such a drag that I would spend evenings at home watching her cook. Filomena didn’t make fancy pasta with black Umbrian truffles. Mostly we ate that elemental linguine with garlic and oil and a weekend ragù fortified with some pork bones. But she cooked with 50

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

such spare elegance that I still retain the indelible image of her scrupulously removing garlic cloves from the sizzling oil—lest it turn bitter—and her conviction that an extra speck of pepperoncino was grounds to call the carabinieri. Years before discovering Marcella Hazan, I learned to simmer the sugo di pomodoro exactly until the oil separates. Learned that basil should be torn, never offended with the blade of the knife. That the sugo should veil each strand of pasta just so... and that a splash of the cooking water from pasta alchemically binds sauce and starch. In the end a fellow pianist did steal me away— to his home in Palermo. After Filomena’s austere cucina, I discovered an Arabic-inflected world of spaghetti with an intricate foil of fresh sardines, pungent anchovies, saffron, pine nuts and raisins. The pianist’s uncle took us fishing for octopus in the oily Sicilian night and la mamma cooked the chopped-up beast for hours into a messy, tomatoey marvel. We ate it over stubby tubetti at the family’s beachside cabana, followed by a searingly tart lemon granita. Pasta became my Italian talisman. It still is. I can draw a mental map of the boot. Women in black squat on stools, pressing thumbs into dough: we’re in a dim, narrow alley in Bari, and those are orecchiette—the “little ears” of Puglia— to be dressed with a peppery tangle of cicoria greens. Wormlike trofie fashioned from chestnut flour bring to mind a Ligurian lunch on the sun-dappled terrace of the trattoria La Brinca, suffused with the pervasive aromas of Prà-basil pesto. Sturdy bucatini, gritty with cacio e pepe (pecorino and black pepper), capture the brash essence of Rome. Veneto? Fat whole-wheat bigoli with the marine smack of sardines. Mantua? Tortelli di zucca bulging with pumpkin, Grana Padano cheese and crushed amaretti—a relic of the extravagant Renaissance banquets of the ducal Gonzagas. And how could I forget the tiny, toothsome tortellini of Modena, filled with pork, veal and prosciutto and dressed by my favorite chef, Massimo Bottura, in a cream of aged Parmesan that tastes like edible gold? Just when you think pasta can’t possibly get any more indulgent, Piedmont presents tajarin (tagliatelle), with its artery-clogging ratio of 40—40!—egg yolks per kilogram of flour. In a pool, please, of rich yellow butter. Time to swear off carbs—at least for a day or so. ➔

ERICK A MCCONNELL

Point of View


Point of View

Any pasta secca (dried pasta) pilgrimage must begin near the Amalfi Coast in Gragnano, once famed as Italy’s maccheroni capital. Since the 18th century, Gragnano has been a one-industry town and locals still talk about its perfect drying conditions: sun, sea breezes and fast streams that formerly powered the grain mills. Recently I visited Pastificio Gentile, a threegeneration producer run by the Zampino family. When Gentile was founded, in 1876, tiny Gragnano had 80 pasta factories; now a mere handful remain. Along the main street, Via Roma, noodles once flapped on racks, drying like laundry. Italian pasta snobs insist that each pastificio excels in one particular shape: the incomparable spaghettoni from Benedetto Cavalieri, in Puglia; the flat trenette produced by Latini, in Marche; the much-fetishized spaghettoro, extruded through gold dies by Verrigni, in Abruzzi. Gentile’s wheaty masterpiece is fusilli—but not the short corkscrews of your aunt’s pasta salad. I watched a trio of Gentile’s white-clad lady pastaie in action. With a quick forward sweep, each long strand was wrapped around a thin steel rod. Yes: hand-coiled fusilli. In the drying chamber, a fan and a heater simulated Gragnano’s outdoor conditions. “Lento, slow,” explained Natale Zampino, Gentile’s gray-haired patriarch. “Two days, as opposed to six hours for pasta industriale.” At low temperature, “to bring out that exquisite wheatiness.” And the wheat better be the artisanally milled, protein-rich, heirloom Senatore Cappelli variety. Afterward Maria Sorrentino, the family matriarch, sat me down for a plate of fusilli sauced with clouds of just-made ricotta, and the San Marzano tomatoes she puts up for her small canning business. She also dressed short, tubular paccheri—“slaps” in Neapolitan dialect—with potatoes, bay leaf and pancetta. The “exquisite wheatiness” factor? After 30 years of eating pastasciutta in Italy, I felt like I was discovering it for the first time. Another epiphany awaited that evening at the white-on-white dining room of chef Gennaro Esposito’s Torre del Saracino, down the coast in Vico Equense. Esposito’s grand tribute to arte bianca (white art) is a minestra di pasta mista—his riff on an old fisherman’s recipe—comprising more than a dozen shapes: spongy seashells, rings, twists, ridged strands. Served in a surreally concentrated soup of local reef fish and crustaceans, the dish resembles a broken-up Louise Nevelson sculpture—or an alphabet soup zoomed in on from on high. I remembered a Neapolitan mayor’s declaration that angels eat a diet of pasta. And I pilfered Esposito’s idea, and have been making my own Gragnano-produced minestra di past a mista at home in New York. My guests eat it and cast their eyes heavenward. ✚

C OU R T ESY O F PASTIFICIO G EN TIL E

Making fusilli by hand in 1970, in Gragnano.


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your travel dilemmas solved ➔ t h e b e s t a p p s f o r c u l t u r e s e e k e r s 62 … h o w t o p l a n a s t r e s s - f r e e m u l t i - c o u n t r y va c a t i o n 64 … a d v e n t u r e s w i t h t h e e x p e r t s 66 … o u r fav o r i t e m e n ’ s wa l k i n g s h o e s 67

Trip Doctor NAVIGATING EUROPE NOW

Whether you want to find the best airfares, avoid the pitfalls of car rentals or ride the rails like a pro, we’ve got the tips for getting around Europe today. PLUS A look at the new routes and services that are making travel easier.

HELSINKI OSLO

GLASGOW

ST. PETERSBURG

GÖTEBORG

HIGHSPEED RAIL

Flights Trains

Car-sharing programs

DUBLIN

MANCHESTER

BIRMINGHAM LONDON

HAMBURG

AMSTERDAM

DÜSSELDORF

PARIS

Better, faster, more convenient (page 58).

FRANKFURT

COLOGNE

BERLIN

PRAGUE

STUTTGART MUNICH

NEW FLIGHTS

BRATISLAVA

GENEVA

To up-and-coming destinations (page 56).

MILAN FLORENCE

BELGRADE

PISA

ZADAR

MARSEILLES

SPLIT

BARCELONA ROME

CAR SHARING CANARY ISLANDS

Possible in a lot more places (page 59).

BRINDISI

COMISO

CRETE

by amy farley, sarah l. stewart and ingrid k. williams, with additional reporting by tom samiljan T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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Strategies

The Big Ticket Booking a great fare to Europe has become increasingly difficult. Here’s how to bring down the cost of your next transatlantic flight.

affordable airfares to Europe last year were booked eight to 10 weeks before departure—so you

should start researching tickets at least three months out. You’ll find even better prices if your travel dates are flexible. As a general rule, European fares rise for travel beginning in the second week of May and don’t fall again until September. Expedia reports that the least

expensive months to fly to Europe are February, March and November. If you can, look for

tickets that depart for Europe on either a Tuesday or Wednesday and return on a Tuesday; they tend to be lower, according to Kayak’s research. (See “Fare Finders,” page 57, for

our favorite sites for finding affordable European airfares.) Be mindful of airport taxes and charges, which can account for a significant portion of your airline ticket. The higher these fees are, the more difficult it is for airlines to drop prices and make a profit. The most recent Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum ranks the United Kingdom second highest in the world for airport fees (they can account for roughly $250 on a $1,000 ticket). Finland, Iceland, Spain and Portugal are among the major European destinations with the lowest airport fees,

which means you can expect a wider range of discounted deals on tickets to these countries.

Booking your flights with smaller carriers can also mean higher savings as these boutique airlines often offer more competitive fares. Expedia’s analysis shows that prices on Air Berlin, Iceland Air, Air Europa and Aer Lingus over the past two years have been 12 to 23 percent less than the market average. And keep an eye on low-cost carrier Norwegian Air, which currently has flights from

Bangkok to a handful of European hubs including Stockholm, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice, with ambitious plans to expand further. Meanwhile, Japan Airlines,

British Airways and Finnair recently teamed up to offer joint services between Japan and Europe, so passengers can choose

from more itineraries and routes.

WHERE TO GO NEXT New intra-Europe airline routes mean better access to up-and-coming regions. A few on our radar:

Canary Islands

Crete Mediterranean Ryanair established its first Greek base in the city of Chania, on Crete’s northern coast, and now flies there from Dublin. The airline also has routes to Sicily’s new Comiso Airport, close to the south coast’s remote beaches and fishing villages.

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Canary Islands This Spanish archipelago off Africa’s northwest coast is a popular getaway for Europeans. EasyJet offers flights from Geneva to Tenerife, the largest of the seven main islands; Jet2.com has nonstops from the U.K. to Fuerteventura.

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

Bratislava, Slovakia Eastern Europe Air Serbia’s expansion to the emerging cultural hot spot of Belgrade includes service from Prague; Etihad Regional and Swiss launched flights from Geneva. And Czech Airlines now connects Prague to Bratislava, Slovakia, on the Danube.

Split, Croatia Dalmatian Coast Croatia’s coast is even more accessible, thanks to Ryanair’s flights to the medieval city of Zadar from Paris, Manchester, Oslo and GÖteborg, Sweden; Germanwings flies farther south, into Split, from cities such as Düsseldorf.

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

First there is the question of timing. According to Kayak, the most-


C L O C K W I S E F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F B R I T I S H A I R W AY S ; © Y E W W A H K O K / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © G V I C T O R I A / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © I O N U T V 91 / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; © A L E K S A N D R N E S T E R O V/ D R E A M S T I M E . C O M

BUDGET AIRLINES: WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BOOK SE AT ASSIGNMENTS

AIRPORT LOCATION

LUGGAGE FEES

COMFORT LEVEL

THE FINE PRINT

While legacy carriers such as Air France and KLM charge extra for premium seats (aisles; more legroom), most budget airlines tack on fees for any seat. Prices range from a few euros to about €30 per person, depending on the airline, flight duration and type of seat. Be sure to reserve seats online— some airlines charge double for you to pick your seat at the airport.

Budget carriers often fly to secondary airports, which can cost you time and money in reaching the city center once you land. Case in point: Germany’s FrankfurtHahn airport, 35 kilometers west of the city, is actually closer to Luxembourg city than to central Frankfurt. That’s almost a two-hour drive—€14 by bus or around €145 in a cab.

Be aware of bag weight, since standard allowances are often several kilos lighter than on legacy carriers. Compare KLM’s 23-kilo allowance to Norwegian Air Shuttle’s 20 kilos. Each additional kilo (equal to about two pairs of pants) can cost upwards of €11 at check-in. Didn’t mention you’d be checking a bag? You’ll often pay double or more at the airport than if you’d prepaid.

Be prepared for seats that may not recline and, in many cases, a few centimeters less of legroom than you’d get in a typical economy seat. Also, don’t expect free meal service—snacks and drinks (sometimes even water) are nearly always for purchase only.

Obscure fees can mean a costly surprise at the airport, so carefully read all terms and conditions on the airline’s website and be aware of service charges before booking. If you accidentally leave your boarding pass on the printer, for example, some carriers, such as Ryanair, charge nearly €22 to reprint it. And on Hungarian carrier Wizz Air, a carry-on can cost up to €19.

Legacy vs. Low-cost We compared two round-trip flights leaving at similar times from London Gatwick to Rome on a weekend in early June, pitting British Airways against budget giant EasyJet. The results may surprise you.

BRITISH AIRWAYS

208 € 0 € 0 € 0 € 0 € 208 €

wi n

ner

VS. Initial price Preflight seat selection Checked bag (23 kilos)

Snack

Water

Total

EASYJET

147 € 7 € 60 € 3.60 € 2.50 € 220.10 €

FARE FINDERS Our favorite tools for researching European flights—and why we love them. Adioso best for Allowing vague search terms such as “Singapore to Europe” or “departing any Friday.” Expedia best for Offering up money-saving insights, such as suggestions for alternate airports. Google Flight Explore best for The clear graphics showing the ideal dates to fly (google.com/ flights/explore). Kayak best for Its Explore function, which pinpoints how far your flight budget can go. Momondo best for Including low-cost carriers in search results. Rome2Rio best for Factoring in bus and train routes—flying isn’t always faster.

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

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Strategies

The 1931 Milano Centrale train station.

TRAIN TRAVEL: BEFORE YOU GO

The Fast Track

On Europe’s newest routes, speeds are higher (and prices lower). PARIS

BARCELONA

The final SNCF segment between Barcelona and the French border opened in December, cutting the once 12-hour travel time between the French and Catalan capitals in half. sncf.com. MARSEILLES

PARIS

Ouigo, the Continent’s first budget high-speed service, costs a quarter of the average fare. The catch? Lessconvenient stations, no catering and online-only booking. ouigo.com. Train passes

58

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HELSINKI

ST. PETERSBURG

The Allegro trains have slashed the formerly 5½-hour trip from the Finnish capital and Russia’s western metropolis to a mere 3½ hours. vr.fi/en. ROME

FLORENCE

Europe’s first private high-speed operator, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, has speeds and prices that are comparable to Italy’s stateowned Trenitalia, but better seats and service. italotreno.it/en.

Eurail is a longtime favorite among the backpacking set, but it’s also a great option for other types of rail rider, especially when spontaneity is a priority. The popular Eurail Select Pass—which covers up to four adjoining countries— can now be used to visit Turkey. Note that fees apply for

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

MILAN

2. PL AN AHE AD Porters are a rarity nowadays. If you can’t manage your luggage alone, make advance arrangements for extra assistance through your hotel or travel agent. 3. GET STAMPED When you have a train ticket that’s not issued for a specific departure time, you’ll have to validate it at a machine near the platform before boarding. If you forget, the fine can run as high as €218.

seat reservations (usually required on high-speed and international routes) and that passes can’t be used on certain trains, including the Circumvesuviana railway between Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento. eurail.com; raileurope.com.

DAV E L A U R I D S E N

In Milan and other major cities, remember to validate your ticket before boarding.

1. BUY YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE Skip the queues and ticket booths (many accept only credit cards with chips). In France and Belgium, e-tickets are fast replacing paper; in Sweden, they’re sent via text message.


Strategies

Volkswagen Up A small, fuel-efficient model that’s a cinch to park. europcar. com.

Car Rentals 101

HOT WHEELS: EUROPEAN RENTALS

What to know before you hit the road.

BOOK IN ADVANCE

GET IN GE AR

INSURE YOURSELF

Large companies, such as Hertz and Enterprise or Europebased Sixt, are best equipped to handle special requests (automatic transmission; GPS devices; children’s car seats). Local agencies often have lower prices but may not offer 24-hour service if something goes wrong.

When reserving online, check hours of operation for rental locations. Airports are usually open every day, but city-center sites may have limited hours, often closing for a few hours at midday and all day Sunday.

Most rental cars in Europe come with a manual transmission. When you’re booking, assume that if a car isn’t specified as automatic, it isn’t. Big agencies usually have automatics, but expect to pay a premium of 10 to 50 percent.

It’s not a given that your credit card or travel insurance will automatically cover you; many policies don’t extend to expensive vehicles or rentals in certain countries, such as Italy and Ireland. You may have to buy a collision damage waiver (CDW) from the rental agency.

Ferrari 458 Speciale When nothing but a supercar will do. luxeofitaly. com.

Can you guess what these European road signs mean (and where they’re from)?

a.

b.

c.

d.

e.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta La vita è bella in this sleek Italian sports car. sixt.com.

See below for answers.

TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS TO WATCH OUT FOR Limited traffic zones Look for circular red signs indicating areas restricted to registered vehicles (common in Italy’s historic centers). Some zones are always off-limits, while others are affected only during certain seasons or times of day. Cameras record your car, and your ticket will arrive in your mailbox months later. Proper equipment Some countries require every car to contain specific items,

such as a warning triangle and a reflective vest, or snow chains during winter (regardless of actual weather conditions). Ask the agency what you’ll need and make sure nothing is missing. Speed traps Beware of cameras that tag speeding cars on highways and secondary roads. You might see signs depicting a police officer or a camera when entering a monitored area. If you’re pulled over, be prepared to pay your fine on the spot (cash or credit).

Congestion fees Certain big cities, including Stockholm and London, levy congestion charges for driving in certain zones during peak hours (typically between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays). Road tax If you plan to visit Central Europe (including Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland), you will need a “vignette” sticker on your car as proof of road-tax payment. Ask your rentalcar company for one, or buy one at the border.

Getting around the city Taxis Prebook a ride on cabforce.com in 71 European cities or use apps MyTaxi and Hailo. Fans of Uber with cell service abroad can use the app in 14 cities, including Milan and Munich, but foreign-transaction fees may apply. + Car sharing Zipcar members can now unlock vehicles in London and Barcelona. In Germany, choose between a BMW or a Mini Cooper with DriveNow, or try an eco-friendly Smart car with Car2Go. In France, try the Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car-sharing app. + Public transportation The free MetrO app offers preloaded guides for local transport in 400 cities. + Bike sharing Programs are ubiquitous and affordable in Europe: a day pass for Antwerp’s Velo bikes costs less than € 3.50. answers a. No flammable materials (France) b. Moose crossing (Sweden) c. Speed camera ahead (Italy) d. Unbridged river crossing (Iceland) e. Fog warning (Czech Republic)

Renault Clio Europe’s reliable French hatchback. avis.com.

Peugeot 308 CC See and be seen on the French Riviera. hertz.com.

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

CHOOSE AN AGENCY


Tech

Want to share a travel app or ask a tech question? Tell us at tripdoctor@ travelandleisureasia.com.

THE CULTURE CONNOISSEUR’S DIGITAL TOOLKIT The European cultural landscape is vast. Tom Samiljan picks the best apps to navigate it. BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE

MAKAYAMA ARCHITECTURE POCKET GUIDE

US$3.99; iOS

Finding an app that can tell you about Rome’s Colosseum? Easy. Finding one that can tell you about Renzo Piano’s Auditorium Parco della Musica? Not so simple. Enter Makayama, which catalogues 1,000-plus 20th- and 21st-century buildings, searchable by city, architect or proximity. Try it alongside Phaidon’s Architecture Travel Guide (US$15; iOS), where you’ll find gems, such as Santiago Calatrava’s Turning Torso tower in MalmÖ, Sweden.

BEST FOR HISTORY

BEST FOR PERFORMING ARTS

BEST FOR ART

US$2.99; iOS

Whether you want to catch soprano Anna Netrebko at London’s Royal Albert Hall or hear Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at Vienna’s Wiener Staatsoper, this app provides the tools to make it happen. Enter your destination and dates to find upcoming concerts, festivals, theater performances and more—or connect to your streaming services (Google Play; Last.fm; Pandora) to get tailored suggestions. While Eventseeker’s focus is on discovery, partnerships with thousands of venues mean tickets are just a tap away.

Free; Android, iOS, Windows Phone

UNESCO WORLD EVENTSEEKER Free; Android, iOS HERITAGE

unesco’s register of World Heritage sites reads like a ready-made bucket list, so it’s only fitting that you can take it on the go and start checking things off. From classic monuments, such as the Acropolis, to lesserknown sites, including the medieval fair town of Provins, an hour outside Paris, this app unlocks Europe’s cultural treasures with photos, descriptions, maps and historical insights. Don’t think you’ll hit all 981 sites worldwide? Star your favorites to create a customized short list.

TRENDING NOW

Museums of the World uses your current location to deliver a comprehensive list of nearby galleries and exhibitions. The intuitive, clean interface compiles thousands of listings for institutions across Europe and beyond, each containing all the details you’ll need—hours of operation, addresses, phone numbers and, often, notes on both permanent and special collections­.

Most major museums in Europe—from the Prado to the Uffizi— offer dedicated apps for both Android and iPhone these days, each with insightful commentary that rivals any audio tour.

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THE STANDOUTS

The Rijksmuseum Listen to some of Amsterdam’s leading contemporary art experts (painter Marc Mulders; designer Ineke Hands) as they discuss the Dutch masters and their greatest works. Free; Android, iOS. The Tate Guide to Modern-Art Terms Learn the distinction between Abject art and abstract art, among other nuances, before taking on London’s largest contemporary collection. US$2.99; iOS. Musée du Louvre HD Turn your favorite works into your phone’s wallpaper with the push of a button. US$2.99; iOS.

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

Admit it: that big bowl of carbonara tastes a lot better when you know you’ve walked 17,000 steps at the Roman Forum. Our preferred fitness band, the Basis Carbon Steel Edition, shown here with the colorful Electric Spring strap (US$35), can track your stairs and more. See how much you’ve run, cycled or slept on vacation— then get feedback about your habits (results include everything from calories burned to minutes of deep slumber). US$199; mybasis.com.

Illustrated by Jameson Simpson

COURTESY OF BASIS

Gadget Alert

Museum Guides

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MUSEUMS OF THE WORLD


The Fix

Q: 64

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I HAVE THREE WEEKS IN ASIA. HOW DO I STREAMLINE A MULTI-COUNTRY VACATION?

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

Illustrated by Wasinee Chantakorn


By Diana Hubbell

A: A three-week sojourn is an ambitious undertaking, especially if you try to pack too many countries into a relatively short time frame. “Clients need to be realistic in planning and evaluating how much can be done,” Karin Hansen, one of T+L’s top travel agents in the region, cautions. “They need time to relax and not tour eight hours a day.” In other words, steer clear of the temptation to jam half a dozen countries into the trip and concentrate on enjoying maybe two to five destinations at a reasonable and leisurely pace. When whittling down your hit list, consider grouping countries by geographic proximity and climate. Though most of the countries in Southeast Asia have distinct wet and dry seasons, when they fall varies by a surprising amount. November through December brings sunny skies to Thailand, Laos, the Philippines and Cambodia, but torrential monsoons to Indonesia. Even if you do stick to similar areas, dramatic differences in elevation— think Malaysian Borneo, which features steamy jungles and snowcapped peaks—and other factors mean that packing light, collapsible, fast-drying layers is a must. One of the biggest hurdles of such a trip, or course, is the price. Tickets even on budget airlines such as AirAsia or Nok Air add up quickly. If you’re planning several flights within a short period of time, consider going for an air pass, such as the one offered by Bangkok Airways

(bangkokair.com/pages/ discovery_airpass/discoveryairpass). The pass, which is also valid with Lao Airlines, allows travelers to purchase vouchers for tickets at a discounted rate, provided they buy three or more. Many vouchers start as low as US$88, making this more economic than most low-cost carriers. Alternatively, Malaysia Airlines (malaysiaairlines. com) allows passengers to book multi-city tickets that encompass up to five international destinations, meaning you don’t have to shell out for a series of pricey one-way flights. If you’re traveling from outside of Asia, the best deal of all comes from oneworld Visit Asia Air Pass

(oneworld.com/flights/ single-continent-fares/ visit-asia), which offers unlimited flights within Asia on Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Dragonair, Japan Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways, S7 Airlines and their affiliates. The catch is that you must be a resident of a non-Asian country, and your journey must start outside of the continent. But this might be the closest thing you can get to a Eurail pass in Asia. Another option is simply to research your prices. Fare comparison sites such as the ever-popular Hipmunk or apps such as Skyscanner can help, but often you can find

discounts just by going to the airline’s actual website. “I’ve seen Singapore Airlines quote a fare from Bangkok to Singapore for US$700,” says Patrick O’Connell from Asia Transpacific Journeys, “but offer the same exact flight on their website for US$250.” If you’re worried about spending half of your trip languishing in airport terminals, opt for other methods of culture-crossing, border-spanning transport. Spice Roads (spiceroads.com) offers multi-country cycling trips through Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and more, while Smiling Albino (smilingalbino.com) has tours on dirt bikes and motorcycles. And if you’d like a slightly less active trip, river cruises up the Mekong, such as Viking Cruises (vikingrivercruises. com), allow travelers to take in the scenery with less effort. No matter how you choose to travel, make sure you look into your vaccination history and requirements before embarking. For an Asian trip, “It’s always wise to make sure your tetanus is up to date and Hep A and Hep B immunizations are recommended in most of these countries,” notes Jarrod Hobson, also of Asia Transpacific Journeys. “Typhoid and even malaria prophylaxis may also be recommended for some destinations.” Ideally, go for a checkup at home and, just in case, pack a translation app such as iHandy that can help explain your medical needs to doctors in 52 different languages.

Q: HOW DO I AVOID INTERNATIONAL DATA OVERAGES ON MY PHONE?

A: In many Asian countries, from Indonesia to Thailand, you can get a local sim card with a data package at the airport; in Singapore, go to a convenience store (passport required) and in Vietnam, to any street vendor (passport definitely not required). But if you need to keep your home number, be sure to turn off push notifications, location services and auto updates. Use Wi-Fi for social media and any other data-rich needs. Google Maps lets you download info in advance. App CityMaps2Go offers detailed directions sans connection. Others, like My Data Manager and Onavo, will help track your usage—and stay within your plan’s limits.

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Planning

Have a question for T+L’s Trip Doctor? Contact us at tripdoctor@ travelandleisureasia.com. Follow @TravLeisureAsia on Twitter.

Colorful tapestries ripe for photographing in Bhutan.

History buffs can revel in the ancient ruins of Siem Reap.

Q: I’M LOOKING TO LEARN SOMETHING ON MY NEXT ADVENTURE. ANY IDEAS? One of the benefits of an organized tour is the chance to travel with experts and discover their insights. Here are some of our favorites. By Diana Hubbell for photography

Bhutan, Black Tomato

If your snapshots aren’t living up to their original subject matter, then this trip might be the one for you. Black Tomato pairs aspiring photographers with professional snap-happy experts, ensuring pictures that are leagues above the usual vacation selfies. With stops at a local monastic school, remote villages, the prayer-flag strewn Chelela Pass, and an archery contest, there’s plenty of material to capture. The resulting albums are sure to be the envy of your Instagramfollowers and friends back home. blacktomato.com; 12-night Bhutan: Click the Thunder Dragon tour from £2,149 per person.

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for art history

Cambodia and Laos, Cox & Kings

On-site lectures by Denise Heywood, a renowned art historian, set this sojourn to the temples of Angkor apart. In addition to five days of exploring the majestic ruins around Siem Reap, travelers can traipse through the serene surrounds of Luang Prabang, cruise the Mekong River, and spelunk through the caves around Pak Ou, Laos, to find ancient images of Buddha. So slide into the Venn diagram crossover of appealing pursuits for action-junkies and history buffs. coxandkings.co.uk; November 7-19; 13-day The Temples & Treasures of Laos & Cambodia from £3,495 per person.

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for marine biology

Australia, Coral Princess Cruises

Sail to the Great Barrier Reef with a resident marine biologist aboard the Coral Princess and get ready for guided snorkeling and scuba sessions, as well as trips on a glass-bottomed boat and forays onto sun-drenched islands. With no more than 50 passengers, guests are guaranteed an intimate experience as well as top-notch lectures about the region’s flora and fauna. The ship stops places many tourists miss, such as the Savannah Hinterlands, which have rich ecosystems to explore. coralprincess.com.au; seven- night cruises of the Great Barrier Reef from A$2,968 per person, double occupancy.

for anthropology

China, Kensington Tours

This journey from the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an to the fabled Shangri-la in Yunnan partners travelers with a whole host of historians, artists and journalists. The A-list tour guide is Jeff Fuchs, an author and explorer specializing in Himalayan trade routes, oral history, and both Han and indigenous cultures. The journey begins at a Beijing craft brewery and then roams from the picturesque town of Lijiang to the heights of Tiger Leaping Explore China with Gorge. kensingtontours. author and com; departure September explorer Jeff 14; 13-day China & The Tea Fuchs. Horse Road with Jeff Fuchs from US$8,195 per person based on double occupancy.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F B L A C K T O M AT O ; C O U R T E S Y O F K E N S I N G T O N T O U R S ; C O U R T E S Y O F C O X & K I N G S ; C O U R T E S Y O F K E N S I N G T O N T O U R S

Tour China with a whole host of historians, artists and journalists.


Packing

by Mimi Lombardo

Espadrilles, Ted Baker London. US$110

Gum-soled tennis shoes, Lacoste. US$110

Lightweight leather loafers, Tommy Bahama. US$128

Q: I NEED A PAIR OF WALKING SHOES FOR MY UPCOMING TRIP TO HONG KONG. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

­A : The perfect men’s travel shoe can be comfortable and good-looking. Here is a range of options that could take you from strolls on the beach to the city.

B O T T O M R I G H T: C O U R T E S Y O F L A B S E R I E S

Supportive enough for seaside walks, Teva. US$40

Wing tips with cushioning technology, Cole Haan. US$228

You should also pack...

A dress shirt made from a sporty, moisture-​wicking fabric works at museums and at dinner. US$108; Ministry of Supply.

Photographed by Tom Schierlitz

Sunglasses with adjustable rubber nose pads stay put when you’re walking or running. US$149.99; Under Armour.

This all-in-one aftershave promises anti-aging properties (and it’s small enough to carry on a flight). US$29; Lab Series.

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Deals

So Cosy room at Sofitel So Singapore, opening May 31.

T+L READER SPECIALS THAI COOKING CLASSES FOR KIDS, SNORKELING IN THE MALDIVES, A WORLD HERITAGE TOUR IN MACAU... THIS MONTH’S DEALS WILL ENTERTAIN THE WHOLE FAMILY.

MALAYSIA What Family Fun Package at Golden Sands Resort, Penang (shangri-la.com). Details Two nights in a Superior Hillview room. Highlights Four hours of daily admission to Adventure Zone with lunches for two children; two Polly the Parrot soft toys; one lunch of two wood-fired pizzas; and daily breakfast and dinner for two adults and two children at Garden Café. Cost From RM1,320 (RM660 per night), double, through September 30. Savings 28 percent. THAILAND What Family Moments at The Peninsula Bangkok (peninsula.com). Details

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A stay in a Deluxe room. Highlights Fifty percent off an adjoining room for children under 12 years old; a complimentary daily activity including educational entertainment like Junior Chef Cooking Class at The Peninsula Kids Academy; and free dining for children when ordering items from the kids’ menu. Cost From Bt9,800, double, through December 20. Savings 25 percent. MALDIVES What Family Package at Maalifushi by COMO (comohotels.com). Details Seven nights in a Water villa. Highlights Robinson Crusoestyle picnic on a private island; a family snorkeling expedition on

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

the island’s house reef; and Dhoni fishing trip. Cost From US$8,725 (US$1,246 per night), twobedroom villa, through December 25. Savings 20 percent.

Opening

SINGAPORE What 100 Dollars, 100 Days at Sofitel So Singapore (sofitel.com). Details Stay in a So Cosy room. Highlights S$100 credit towards exclusive dishes prepared by a Culinary Designer, and beverages—valid for 100 days. Cost From S$348, double, through September 7. Savings 36 percent.

City

HONG KONG What Executive Traveller Package at The Excelsior, Hong Kong (excelsiorhongkong.com). Details Three nights in an Executive room. Highlights Liven up your layover with a complimentary three-hour stay in Hong Kong International Airport’s Plaza Premium Lounge for two; upgrade to the next room category; 20 percent discount at The Excelsior’s restaurants and bars; and 20 percent off facial and body treatments at The Excelsior Fitness Centre. Cost From HK$7140 (HK$2,380 per night), double, through December 31. Savings 47 percent.

COURTESY OF SOFITEL SO SINGAPORE

Family


JAPAN What The Luxury of Spring at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo (mandarinoriental.co. jp). Details Three nights in a Deluxe or Deluxe Corner room. Highlights ¥10,000 dining or spa credit per room; complimentary room upgrade upon booking: Deluxe room upgraded to Tokyo Skytreefacing Deluxe Premier room, and Deluxe Corner room upgraded to 60-squaremeter Mandarin Grand room. Cost From ¥117,000 (¥39,000 per night), double, through June 30. Savings 18 percent.

Spa

PHILIPPINES What Holiday Bliss at The District Boracay (thedistrictboracay. com). Details Two nights in a Deluxe room. Highlights One-hour regular massage per person; grill-to-order dinner for two; daily buffet breakfast; and roundtrip airport transfers from Caticlan. Cost From PHP19,780 (PHP9,890 per night), double, through May 31. Savings 30 percent. VIETNAM What Natural Living at Fusion Maia Da Nang (maiadanang.fusionresorts.com). Details Seven nights in a Pool villa. Highlights Massage and body treatments at Maia Spa; group and individual Natural Living wellness activities; resort-hosted wellness excursions; and dining options including spa cuisine and Vietnamese raw food. Cost From US$3,254 (US$465 per night), double, through June 30. Savings 40 percent.

Romance

THAILAND What Welcome Back Package at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok (fourseasons.com). Details Two nights in a Deluxe room. Highlights Bt3,000 spa

credit per person; 20 percent off any additional spa treatments; and daily breakfast for two. Cost From Bt13,000 (Bt6,500 per night), double, through October 31. Savings 52 percent. VIETNAM What Romantic Indulgence at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort (danang. intercontinental.com). Details A stay in a Club Peninsula Suite. Highlights A soothing 60-minute massage session for two; 20 percent discount on spa treatments; threecourse dinner for two at Citron; and a HARNN body care gift set. Cost From US$786, double, ongoing. Savings 40 percent.

Culture

MACAU What Macau Cultural Discovery at Mandarin Oriental (mandarinoriental.com). Details A stay in a Deluxe Corner View room. Highlights One four-hour sightseeing tour highlighting the city’s unesco World Heritage Sites, offered in five different languages; themed turndown amenities; and buffet breakfast for two at Vida Rica Restaurant. Cost From HK$4,988, double, through December 29. Savings 20 percent. CAMBODIA What More for Less at Samar, Siem Reap (secret-retreats.com/samar). Details Four nights in a Junior suite. Highlights One night free of charge with promotional code SRNEWS-0314; 15 percent off spa treatments at The Samar Spa; roundtrip airport transfers; and daily breakfast served at time and place of your choosing. Cost From US$340 (US$85 per night), double, through September 15. Savings 40 percent. ✚


M AC AU FO R K IDS, T RIP S FO R TOTS, H IG H FAS H IO N FO R L IT T L E J E T-S E T T ERS, TIP S F RO M T EEN S A N D M O R E IN O U R A N N UA L ROU N D U P O F T H E R EGIO N ’S B EST FA MILY T R AV EL .

Cooling off with playful pachyderms.


TRIPS TO TAKE BEFORE YOU’RE TEN

COURTESY OF ELEPHANT VILL AGE

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SWIM WITH THE ELEPHANTS. Riding elephants is fun… bathing is even better. For a cool experience, splash it up with these gentle giants in the river with White Elephant Adventures Laos (white-elephantadventures-laos.com).

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Lion family, Singapore Zoo.

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TAKE A TRIP TO THE ZOOS Our region has some of the world’s best zoos. Here are four cities to walk on the wild side. ➝ Taipei Zoo The largest

zoo in Asia has all kinds of cool critters to check out. english.zoo.taipei.gov.tw; NT$60 per person. ➝ Singapore Zoo Night Safari and Kidzworld are just some of the cleverly designed features at the Lion City’s animal kingdom. The attractions, which house more than 2,800 animals, are spread throughout the city, and merit several days of exploration. zoo.com.sg; standard tickets S$28 per person, with various combination passes for the different parks. ➝ Taronga Zoo, Sydney With more than 4,000 animals from at least 350 species, not to mention an admirable conservation program, this zoo sets the bar high. taronga.com.au; A$44 per person. ➝ Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Malaysia Fine, feathered creatures flutter all over the free-flight aviary, a massive open space where kids can see Indian blue peacocks and others flashing their plumage. klbirdpark.com; RM48 per person. 72

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climb the wall is so you can slide down it. Carts come equipped with brakes, and two-seaters are available for parents with extra-

small ones, meaning the ride is thrilling but still safe. Mutianyu section of the Great Wall; mutianyugreat wall.net; cable car and toboggan combination ticket RMB60. ➝ Ride camels along the Silk Road In Dunhuang, Gansu province, let your kids channel their inner explorer and venture off on the path set by ancient spice traders. travelchinaguide. com; four-day tour packages with camel ride and

accomodations from US$469 per person. ➝ Travel to a distant world The towering limestone karsts of Zhangjiajie National Forest, part of unesco site Wulingyuan Scenic Area in Hunan province, are so surreal they inspired scenery in the film Avatar. Your kids may not see any aliens, but they should watch out for monkeys. Three-day national park passes RMB248.

Camel rides in Dunhuang.

Classic Khmer moves.

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DO A LITTLE DANCE Traditional Khmer dance features gorgeously ornate costumes that your kids will love. The best part is that when they see a show or sit in on a class run by Cambodian Living Arts, the ticket fee goes towards helping other children pursue their passions. cambodian livingarts.org; US$15.

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

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GO ON AN EPIC CHINA ADVENTURE Forget about the palaces and pagodas; instead build a Middle Kingdom docket chock full of awesome stuff no one else’s kid is doing. ➝ Toboggan the Great Wall A great reason to


Kidzania, Bangkok xxx xxxxx xxxxx.

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THE BEST PLACES FOR WINTER SPORTS ➝ Sledding at Everland, South Korea

Kids play chefs at Kidzania, Bangkok.

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GET THE BEST OF BANGKOK Non-stop fun for the juvenile jet set. ➝ The Artist’s House

C LOC K WISE F ROM TOP : COU R T ESY OF K IDZ A NIA ; COU R T ESY OF NISEKO VIL L AG E; COU R T ESY OF ST U DIO G HIBLI M USEU M

Thai shadow puppets are an ornate display sure to keep the kids entertained. Baan Silapin; Soi Wat Thong Sala

Ngarm, Phasi Charoen; 66-83/034-9858. ➝ Kidzania Children enact their grown-up fantasies as pilots who fly simulation planes, firemen who spray real hoses, and much more. bangkok.kidzania.com; tickets Bt650 for children

four to 14, inclusive of all activities. ➝ Siam Park City Need a great way to escape the scorching temperatures? Head to the waterpark, complete with a massive wave pool. siamparkcity. com; US$30 per adult.

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TOUR TOKYO MUSEUMS T , then head straight to the Studio Ghibli Museum (ghibli-museum.jp/en) for a visit with Totoro, Kiki and many other popular animation characters from films released by the studio. End the day with a dessert at the Jiyugaoko Sweets Forest (2-25-7 Midorigaoka, Meguro; 81-3/5731-6600), a confectionary complex decorated with whimsical pink trees.

Studio Ghibili Museum, Tokyo.

This all-purpose theme park out in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, sets up a ride called the Snow Buster, which hauls children’s tubes to the top of a slope, then lets them careen down. It’s a bit of a schlep from Seoul, but worth the trip. everland.com; park day-pass W44,000. ➝ Skiing at Niseko, Japan Teach kids how to safely swoosh down the slopes at one of Asia’s top ski areas. Niseko Village Snow School; niseko-village. com; kids’ group lessons from ¥8,000. ➝ Ice skating at Houhai, Beijing The extensive lakes in this city park, which wind around historic hutongs, freeze in the winter, making them a popular place for families to strap on their skates. Multiple vendors around the three lakes rent skates for roughly RMB20 per day.

Powdery pursuits at Niseko Village.

Baby sprinkle (n.) Baby showers are usually reserved for first pregnancies only, while a more low-key version, known as a ‘sprinkle,’ is the celebration of all subsequent children. Let the sibling rivalry begin!

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SAVE THE ANIMALS Conservation and vacation go surprisingly well together, especially if there are aspiring young Captain Planets in the family. ➝ The Borneo Big Three

person) nurtures orphaned baby apes. Meanwhile the

This Malaysian eco-haven spoils environmental tourists for choice. Turtle Islands Park (turtleisland borneo.com; RM60 plus RM10 camera fee per person) off of Sabah allows visitors to witness new hatchlings being tagged and documented. Proceeds go to turtle research and aid. If you like your animals cute and furry, Sepilok

Conservationists in Suluwesi started this center to rehabilitate victims of animal trafficking. Volunteers can see sun bears, orangutans, cockatoos and other fab fauna. tasikoki.org. ➝ Chengdu Panda

Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (Sepilok Rd., Sabah;

60-88/248-698; RM30 per

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

(proboscis.cc; RM60 per person) is home to island’s funniest-looking primates. ➝ Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre, Indonesia

Breeding and Research Center At Sichuan’s famed

attraction you can see these cuddly bears roam in a large, natural-looking habitat. panda.org.cn; RMB58 per person. The Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu.

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RIDE ROADS AND RAILS ➝ Borneo: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei This

island has a continent’s worth of biodiversity, and the day-long drive is one of the best ways to take it in. Stay at the Gayana Eco Resort’s over-water villas (gayana-eco-resort.com; villas from RM905), then swim in Asia’s largest man-made saltwater lagoon pool at The Empire Hotel & Country Club

(theempirehotel.com; family rooms from B$360).

Water villas, Gayana Eco Resort.

➝ Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Thailand For twoand-a-half hours, pass through some of the lushest tropical jungles anywhere. Stop at Charin Garden Resort (Mae Suai Dist., Chiang Rai; 66-5/391-8628; Bt35 per slice) for a slice of the owner’s homemade pies. ➝ Perth to Sydney, Australia Cross this starkly beautiful countryside as you travel from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific in your very luxe steel steed on the Great Southern Rail (great southernrail.com.au; cabins from A$1,849 per person based on double occupancy). — di a na h u bbe l l

Sip and see (n.) An alternative to the traditional baby shower, this event takes place after the baby is born, so guests can meet the new addition, and the mom, no longer a human incubator, can enjoy a big flute of bubbly.

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F R O M T O P : © J O Y F U L L / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M ; C O U R T E S Y O F G AYA N A E C O R E S O R T; © P A U L A B R O N S T E I N / G E T T Y I M A G E S

Running the shores of Hikkaduwa.

CATCH SOME WAVES IN SRI LANKA Learn a sport, tackle a new ride, or take in the local marine life. ➝ Ride the Surf Even little ones can learn how to board at either Hikkaduwa or Arugam Bay. Surf Lanka; surflanka.com; lessons from US$30. ➝ Watch Whales Track down blue whales, dolphins, orcas and whale sharks on this family-run ship that sets sail from Mirissa Beach. Raja & the Whales; rajaandthewhales.com; Rs6,000 per person. ➝ Go Banana Boating Hang on for dear life as the boat bounces and weaves through the waters of the Bentota River, in Aluthgama. Sunshine Watersports Center; srilankawatersports.com.


why go

MACAU WITH THE MOPPETS

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 V E N E T I A N M A C A U ; C O U R T E S Y O F G A L A X Y M A C A U ; C O U R T E S Y O F C I T Y O F D R E A M S M A C A U ; C O U R T E S Y O F M G M M A C A U

It’s easy to exchange the Blackjack tables and roulette wheels for playful pursuits the kids will love. by helen dalley

Dragon’s Treasure at Hard Rock. Clockwise from left: Rotating art shows at MGM; Dreamworks fun at the Venetian; make waves at Galaxy Macau.

RIDE THE WAVES AT GALAXY MACAU

Book into integrated resort Galaxy Macau and get the family to test out the water at the Grand Resort Deck, which features a 4,000meter skytop wave pool capable of creating 1.5-meter-high waves. There’s even an artificial beach for bucket and spade action. If you are aching for air-conditioning, check out the UA Galaxy Cinemas for the latest family-friendly blockbusters. galaxymacau. com; from MOP2,588 per night for a Galaxy King room at the Galaxy Hotel.

TAKE IN A SHOW AT THE CITY OF DREAMS

Dragon’s Treasure is the largest multimedia experience in Macau, an 18-minute show where kids are transported to magical aquatic kingdoms. Similarly immersive is Vquarium, a virtual aquarium where mermaids perform a good-luck dance as sea creatures swim up to you. The hotel also hosts the House of Dancing Water, the largest water-themed show in the world. cityof dreamsmacau.com; from HK$1,998 per night, double, at the Hard Rock, including two adult tickets to the House of Dancing Water.

GET DREAMWORKS FEVER AT THE VENETIAN

The grand dame of Macau accommodation is now home to a colorful cast of Dreamworks characters, from movies including Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, who later this summer will be joined by the dog and his mischievous owner from new movie Mr. Peabody & Sherman. There’s even a daily Dreamworks all-star parade. Other kid-friendly activities include gondola rides, mini golf and playing in one of the hotel’s four outdoor pools. venetian macao.com; From HK$2,548 per night for a Bella Suite.

GET ARTY AT MGM MACAU

The MGM’s Art Space opened last December with a Boticelli exhibition that featured one of the Italian Renaissance painter’s most famous works, Venus. Expect exhibitions of a similarly high caliber to follow in 2014; the next one will open mid-May, with details yet to be announced. mgmmacau.com; exhibition admission free; from HK$2,688 per night for a Grand room.

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fa sh i o n

LOOKS FOR LITTLES

Across the region new designers are popping out outfits that are runway-fabulous and playground-ready. shea stanley, founder of familytravel website LittleStepsAsia.com, shares the season’s hottest additions. INDONESIA Duduk, Jakarta

Zolima

Colorful pillows, sleeping bags and other adorable accessories round out this unique collection for kids. duduk.bigcartel.com. Coco and Ginger, Bali

This brand has taken florals, colors and batik prints to a whole new level of eye-popping appeal. cocoandginger.com. HONG KONG PAPINEE

PAPINEE inspires kids with extraordinary design.

These extraordinary designs tie together travel, adventure and color. Look for the Design Atelier opening this month in Hong Kong. papinee.com.

Capturing the magic of the 1930’s Far East and the splendors of retro French design, Nicole Andrianjaka de Surville sells her kids’ clothing and accessories at more than 40 boutiques globally. zolima.com. Le Petite Caravane

Founder Thuy-Tien Crampton celebrates her Vietnamese heritage and love of French design through her awwwinspiring limited edition clothing in vibrant colors. lapetitecaravane.com. MALAYSIA Petibisou

The fabrics for these

fabulous pieces are sourced from trips around India, highlighting their expanding global vision for jet-setting stylish tots. petibisou.com SINGAPORE Elly

Serving up chic treats and pretty play clothes designed by sister act, Carol and Audrey Ng, Elly is a fastgrowing brand in Singapore. Have fashionista middleschoolers to placate? Check out the sisters’ new pet project, Twelve by Elly, dedicated to pre-teen designs and cool accessories. facebook.com/ Twelvebyelly.

PERIPATETIC PAGE-TURNERS

T+L contributor and author Melanie Lee tells us about her new children’s book and shares her favorite reads for toddling globetrotters. You have a two-year-old son. Do you travel with him often? Yes, I think it’s wonderful to expose children to travel because their minds are still so open to new experiences. Best book to read a toddler on a trip? Books that require participation like What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson. My son loves

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searching for and scratching the sparkly ladybird. Best kids’ book about travel? Usborne’s Look and Say Holiday Book because it introduces children to a wide variety of holidays. This book affected our son so much that, for a while, he would wake up every morning and yell, “Holiday!” Can you tell us a little bit

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about your upcoming book? I’m writing a six-book series called The Adventures of Squirky, about a five-year-old alien who travels through space, looking for his birth parents. The first one comes out in June. What inspired The Adventures of Squirky? We adopted our son from Indonesia two years ago. These

stories are my way of letting him know that it’s OK to find out more about his birth parents and his origins when he is older. But I think my love for travel got thrown into the mix as well—the whole metaphor of going on a journey to discover more about who you are as a person is a universal human experience, after all.

b a b y t a l k Push present (n.) Often a diamond, this is a gift bestowed on a new mother by the baby’s daddy to thank her for compromising her physique in order to bear their progeny.

TO P : C O U R T E SY O F PA P I N E E (2). B OT TO M : C O U R T E SY O F M E L A N I E L E E (2)

b o o ks


fo o d

BRUNCH WITH BUBS

Big on brunch with the family in tow, but don’t know where to go? Here are four spots that will your keep your kids thoroughly entertained, so you can focus on the food. by shea stanley

Teamwork Tech Here are a few apps to help smooth out family travel. by di a na h u bbell

Gogobot offers tons of sample itineraries and activities all over the world. Our favorite feature? It has a special family filter that helps sift out kid-friendly options. Android, iOS; Free.

Baby Pack & Go creates a go-to packing list based on your child’s age bracket and gender. Android, iOS; US$0.99. Infinity pool, Tanjong Beach Club. Right, from top: Tanjong Burger; kids dig into brunch at Zuma.

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 TA N J O N G B E A C H C L U B ( 2 ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F Z U M A R E S TA U R A N T. 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

HONG KONG Zuma Weekend Brunch

For a feasting affair at one of the best sushi restaurants in town, visit the weekend brunch at Zuma where you will find a sushi bar overflowing with Japanese delights, indoor and alfresco options, and a designated playroom to keep the kids busy. Book in advance. Landmark, Levels 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Rd.; 852/3657-6388; zumarestaurant.com; brunch HK$490 for adults, free for kids under 10. SINGAPORE Tanjong Beach Club

Escape the city buzz and enjoy a full day of sun, sea and sand at this stylish beach restaurant in Sentosa. The weekend brunch is packed with

families lounging by the 20-meter infinity pool overlooking a white-sand beach. Kids have their own scrumptious menu and highchairs are available. 120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa; 65/6270-1355; tanjongbeachclub.com; brunch for two S$70. BALI Prego at Westin Nusa Dua

This new Sunday brunch bliss in Nusa Dua combines good food with kiddie play. Indulge in a huge Italian spread with a mini buffet for the wee-jetsetters. The restaurant has carved out an indoor and outdoor kids’ corner, and offers regular weekend activities including treasure hunts, dress-up, pastry-chef classes and more. Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua BTDC

Lot N-3, Denpasar; 62-361/ 771-906; facebook.com/ pregobali; brunch Rp7350,000 for adults, Rp150,000 for children 4 to 12, and free for younger kids. KUALA LUMPUR Marmalade Café

Start the day off right at this delightful neighborhood brekkie haven, offering up gems like homemade pastas, pies and pancakes. For your little feasters, there is a dedicated kids’ menu with healthy options such as free-range scrambled eggs and fresh juices. Kids can top off their meal with an ever-socosmopolitan chocolate sprinkled babyccino! IF-18, 1F Bangsar Village II, No, 1, Jalan Telawi Dua, Bangsar Baru; RM25 per adult, RM12 for kids.

A Family Matters boasts more than a thousand conversation starters and activities to keep everybody entertained. iOS; US$1.99.

FlightTrack 5 provides up-to-date info on flight statuses for more than 1,400 airlines, helping you dodge a nasty layover and the dreaded “Are we there yet?” Android, iOS; US$4.99.

Family GPS Tracker keeps tabs on each member of your family, so you can corrall the team. Android, iOS; free.

b a b y t a l k Manny (n.) Following in the heart-warming footsteps of Tony on Who’s the Boss?, the recent boom in hiring men for the role of babysitter has given rise to this cheeky title.


q &a

TIPS FROM TEENS

Parents are in charge of vacation planning—but are they missing the mark? We talked to NIST International School students in Bangkok to get the kids’ perspective on family travel.

go to Amsterdam and Prague because they look really pretty. Tips for parents Balance things. The kids may want to do a lot of shopping, and the parents want to go to museums, so go shopping one day and then to the museums the next day. Pet peeves Eight hours driving in a car is boring. ZIM JEARRAJINDA, AGE 15, FROM THAILAND Ideal vacation I went to

SHIKHAR “SHIKHU” KAPADIA, AGE 13, FROM INDIA Dream destination

the Maldives last summer with my family and friends. It was great because there are so many activities like swimming with dolphins, paragliding and diving. Pet peeves Arguments can spoil a whole trip. Tips for parents Don’t let things be too rushed. Travel is for relaxing, right?

Anywhere in Spain. I want to see other parts of Europe too. It is quite versatile— you can do a lot of different things there. Ideal vacation It should have a little bit of luxury. The hotel should be five-star. And I like trying out new things that are special about the country I’m visiting. For example, suppose I go to a cold country where it snows, I’d like to learn snowboarding.

Favorite part of travel

Seeing how things work and how people are different from and similar to us. DANIQUE EHMANN, AGE 14, FROM HOLLAND Ideal vacation Not typical

and touristy. Something that not a lot of people do, like going to a wet market where all the Thai people go instead of going to a

monkey show or something. Tips for parents Don’t do too many activities in one day. Make a schedule so you don’t have to hurry. Pet peeve When we go out to a restaurant and my parents make me try the local food because we are

Favorite activity I’m into

photography so I like to learn about a new culture by photographing it. I also like to try different kinds of foods—I’m a big foodie. Tips for parents Pre-plan it. Find out things that you can do and don’t just laze around the hotel. Even if it is a five-star hotel, if you are just going to stay in the room, there’s no point. And base the trip on one thing. Like if I went to Africa, I’d just base the trip on safari. Trying to fit in too many things isn’t always the best.

there and may never be back—but all I want is pasta. Tips for teens Pack entertainment. Phones. Games. Cards. Anything to keep you entertained when you get bored, or are at a long dinner or something.

b a b y t a l k Bumpdates (n.) Weekly text, image or video updates via blog or social media network on the status of one’s pregnancy (which those beyond the very closest friends and family will find about as scintillating as watching paint dry).

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF GAIA SEGUSO; COURTESY OF ZIM JE ARR AJINDA; COURTEST Y OF DANIQUE EHMANN. T H I S S P R E A D , 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

GAIA SEGUSO, AGE 13, FROM SWITZERLAND Dream destination I want


SHERALYN KOH, AGE 17, FROM SINGAPORE Dream destination I tend

to gravitate more towards lazing around, fun-in-thesun kind of trips. But I’ll pretty much go anywhere as long as there’s stuff to do and stuff to see. Ideal vacation Every family member should enjoy what he or she is doing. It shouldn’t be too expensive nor should you spare expenses that are necessary.

Tips for parents Everyone

should have activities to do. Don’t just plan a spa trip for the adults and chuck the kids off somewhere. Tips for teens Usually it is the transport that bores most people so you should bring something to occupy yourself for that amount of time. Like a book or video game. You can entertain yourself and let others do their thing. Pet peeves Being swindled. It brings the mood down.

TEMI ADENIYI, AGE 16, FROM NIGERIA Dream destinations If I

had kids I would take them to Cape Town. Or I’d introduce them to sailing and take them to Dubai. Ideal vacation Sightseeing and activities of cultural importance, to see how other people live. Pet peeves Being disorganized. One time we went to the United States and my dad took too long to book so everything was full. We went to Texas instead of New York and it was just horrible for me. Oh, and

COURTESY OF TEMI ADENIYI

ADRIJA CHAUDHURI, AGE 15, FROM INDIA Dream destination I watch

a lot of TV shows like Sherlock and I’ve never been to the UK so I want to experience it first hand. Ideal vacation I really like sightseeing because I’m a big fan of history. If you take me to a historical site, I will probably enjoy myself. I also like trying cuisine, especially from that particular area and I like spending time with my family—the more the better.

Pet peeves Expensive restaurants. They don’t feel authentic. Tips for parents Consider your kids’ interest as you plan your trip. So if a kid doesn’t like Roman history, don’t take them to the Colosseum as they probably won’t be interested. Favorite part of travel I think it gives kids a sense of globalization. It is globalizing world so we need to be accepting of other people’s cultures and backgrounds.

b a b y t a l k Babymoon (n.) A pre-baby vacation allowing the parents-to-be to glory in their fleeting days of quiet and privacy.

events

TRIPS FOR TOTS

shea stanley rounds up the summer’s most family-friendly fun.

fanny packs. People need to stop wearing fanny packs on holidays. I hate those. Favorite part of travel If everyone could experience each other’s cultures they would probably be able to understand each other a lot more and there wouldn’t be as many cultural boundaries. We’d be more open-minded because we’d see what everyone else goes through. If you travel at a young age, you are instilled with multicultural values and you will probably end up being a much more well-rounded individual.

+Get sloppy at the annual Boryeong Mud Festival in Boryeong, South Korea. Located in a scenic city outside Seoul, this festival celebrates all things muddy with mud wrestling contests, photo competitions and delightfully goopy mud massages. July 18-27; boryeongmudfestival.com. +Cast your eyes to the skies at Kite Festival Singapore, spanning three weekends this summer. Fly your own wings in one of Singapore’s popular parks or pop up a picnic and watch the experts perform extravagant tricks. August 23-24; act3international.com. sg; free to the public. +Southeast Asia’s most acclaimed and culturally diverse literary event, Ubud’s Writers and Readers Festival offers book fans of all ages a slew of activities. October 1 to 5, 2014; ubudwritersfestival.com; tickets available online starting July. +The annual Macau International Fireworks Display celebration will elicit big oohs and ahhs from the kids. Set off at Macau’s waterfront area, hundreds of teams from all over the world participate. September 14, 19, 21, 28 and October 1 at 9:00 p.m. and 9:40 p.m.; fireworks. macautourism.gov.mo; free. +Hong Kong’s biggest music fest, Clockenflap is a favorite for Hong Kong families and visitors alike. The kids’ lawn is a must with various art installations, entertainment and wee-sized discos. clockenflap.com; December 2014, dates TBD.

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May 2014

In This Issue

STU GIBSON

82 Istanbul 92 Papua New Guinea 98 Penang 108 Galway, Ireland

Surf’s up in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea, page 92.

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Salt Galata, a contemporary art center in Istanbul’s Karaköy neighborhood. Opposite: Artichoke pâté with goat-milk cheese at Kantin, a restaurant in Nişantaşi.

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ISTAN BU L neighborhood by neighborhood

Part-time local ANYA VON BREMZEN on her favorite places all over the city—where to go now. PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL JAMES O’BRIEN

On my first visit to Istanbul, in the mid 1980’s, donkey carts still trundled across the iron → Galata Bridge between the historic Old City and the Europeanized Beyoğlu quarter. And right away I was hooked...on faded Byzantine frescoes and smoky kebabs and tulip-shaped glasses of tea.

I’m even more smitten today, as I gaze over the Bosporus boat traffic from the window of a little apartment I bought in the leafy Cihangir quarter. Istanbul is a global megalopolis now, a place where grit and gloss, East and West, secularism and Islam all collide with a jolt—or just as often cohabit gracefully. This is my Istanbul.


OLD CITY

hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet Sentence yourself to the luxury of this fragrantly historic 65-room hotel converted from a 19thcentury prison. Or at least have cocktails at its new neo-Ottoman rooftop lounge, with the massive buttress of Hagia Sophia at eye level. fourseasons. com; doubles from 510. Hotel Empress Zoe This rustic-chic guesthouse is such an inviting, affordable option that its 25 rooms are booked months in advance. emzoe.com; doubles from 140. Hotel Ibrahim Pasha A welcoming family vibe, tasteful guest quarters and delicious fresh breakfast jams in a 19th-century town house off the Hippodrome. ibrahimpasha. com; doubles from 190.

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Pride of Byzantine emperors, Ottoman → sultans and clingy amateur guides, the historic peninsula is postcard Istanbul come to throbbing, haggling life. Sophisticated locals didn’t frequent the Old City—unless they wanted fabrics from the wholesale streets of Mahmud Paşa. Lately though, they’ve been bathing at the new Ayasofya Hamami, near Hagia Sophia and under domes constructed by Mimar Sinan, the Michelangelo of Ottoman architects. Or blowing fortunes on haute couture and crafts at the Armaggan concept store in the fast-gentrifying Nuru Osmaniye street. Could the imperial city be plotting a renaissance? A lunch of moist grilled sea bass at stately Balikçi Sabahattin is just dreamy. Ditto a dinner of Aegeaninflected meze in the garden of Giritli. But easy on the raki, Turkey’s compulsively quaffable anise spirit. Best to keep a clear mind for the bazaar day ahead. Sixty-four streets, more than 4,000 vendors, ferociously expensive retail spaces: the 15th-century Grand Bazaar is both tourist trap and fantastical treasure trove. Textiles? Ikat silks and wood-block prints at Sivasli Istanbul Yazmacisi draw the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier. Rugs? Choose between geometric patchworks recycled from old kilims at Ethnicon and gorgeous classics collected by the Sorbonne-educated owner at Şişko Osman. Snack on a slender döner wrap from the cult favorite Gül Ebru Kantin nearby. Then off to Koç Leather & Fur for butter-soft jackets and on to Kafkas, where locals buy their wedding jewels. Eğin Tekstil is for soft, striped hammam towels; elite vintage baubles gleam at Epoque; and Iznik Classics sells beautifully crafted ceramics.

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From top: The rooftop bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet; a soap massage at the Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamami. Opposite: Artist Nick Merdenyan’s shop inside the Grand Bazaar.

Head spinning? Relief awaits at the modern dining room of Nar Lokanta, inside the Armaggan store. Its consulting celebrity-chef-scholar, Vedat Başaran, romances Ottoman flavors with delicate zucchini-flower dolmas and thimblesize imperial-style manti (dumplings). I love winding my way down to the Spice Market through the wholesale district, for everything from screwdrivers to head scarves. Then I buy baklava from Hamdi restaurant’s pastry shop, to savor while crossing the Galata Bridge; as the dusk gathers, the minarets are illuminated, and commuter ferries glow like fantastical lanterns.


BEYOĞLU Historically settled by foreign envoys and non-Muslim minorities, Beyoğlu (formerly Pera) has always been Istanbul’s cosmopolitan heart. After flourishing at the turn of the 20th century, the neighborhood floundered in the 1980’s, but now reigns again as the city’s creative Western-minded dining and entertainment quarter. Best savored by staying at one of its new hotels, Beyoğlu is actually an eclectic patchwork of sub-quarters.

KARAKÖY + GALATA

Istanbullus are abuzz over the unstoppable gentrification of Karaköy, the docklands area once known for hookers and hardware shops. It started with the tiled meze haunt Karaköy Lokantasi (now very crowded), continued with the stylish Lokanta Maya (the zucchini fritters are eternally wonderful), and took root when the Salt Galata contemporary art center opened in a palatial 19th-century bank building. As Karaköy awaits a slew of hotel openings, the action is on the once-seedy backstreets. Dive into a half-hidden alley and behold a vision of raven-haired voluptuaries sipping frothy Viennese coffee by the distressed vinecovered façade of boho-chic Karabatak, Beyoğlu’s café-of-the-moment. Visitors buy adorable gifts at Atolye 11 and order crisp kokoreç (rolled offal) on brioche at the restaurant Unter, whose retroindustrial look and eclectic menu would go groovily in Berlin—or Brooklyn. Me? I still find time for the classics: breakfast of briny cheeses and olives at Namli Gurme (a Eurasian Dean & DeLuca); the sublime, unadorned grilled lüfer (bluefish) and views at Tarihi Karaköy Balikçisi fish restaurant; the Ottoman craftsmanship of the leather notebooks at the century-old Ece Ajandasi. The roar of construction is drowning out ferry whistles in Karaköy. I sigh and wonder if the precious old Citir simit bakery (for Istanbul’s iconic sesame bread rings) will survive the next wave of development. Up its steep slope, anchored by a conical 14th-century Genoese tower, is trendy

Galata. From the beat-up cobblestones of Serdar-i Ekrem street you wouldn’t know it was Beyoğlu’s chicest shopping corridor. But look! The futuristic, sharply cut silhouettes of Arzu Kaprol and the flowy, whimsical dresses of Bahar Korçan­—the grande dames of Turkish couture both have boutiques in Galata. Lunapark Shop has a jazzy remix of nostalgic local brands—ah, the Proustian scent of Rebul cologne—and emerging designers of housewares and accessories (grab the cool tea set by Faruk Malhan). Nearby, the ceramics shop Sir updates and declutters old Iznik patterns. And why not wear a playful, Istanbul-themed necklace from Aida Pekin to dinner at the new Yeni Lokanta? At his handsome neo-meyhane (drinking den) young chef-owner Civan Er roasts killer lamb shanks in a wood-burning oven, and sprinkles New Anatolian accents—tamarind; smoky “burnt yogurt”—onto traditional meze.

CIHANGIR + ÇUKURCUMA

Once the preserve of bearded, chainsmoking artistes, the gracious, stylish streets of Cihangir below Taksim Square are being taken over by young Turks and expats, myself included. Developers are noisily refurbishing peeling Art Deco façades. Travelers have discovered the secret panoramic perch that’s the tiny garden of the neo-Baroque Cihangir Mosque. But our courteous old butchers and greengrocers keep alive the unselfconscious neighborhood charm. On weekends it’s breakfast at the sidewalk tables of Journey and Smyrna cafés, which morph into drinking dens after dark. Or bring handcrafted Anatolian cheeses from Antre Gourmet Shop to the thronged tea garden by the petite green Firuzaga Mosque. Across the busy street the seasonal fruit flavors at the new gelateria, Mua, run by a Florentine expat, are fab. One treasures such relics as the pungent pickle shop, Asri Turşucu, in business since 1913, and the homey embrace of Özkonak,

Above: Georges Hotel owner Alex Varlik outside the property, in the Galata neighborhood. Opposite, clockwise from top left: Views of the Bosporus from Tarihi Karaköy Balikçisi; Myrthe van Oeffelen, the manager of Unter, in Karaköy; glass pomegranates at Atolye 11; inside Salt Galata.

hotels

Adahan Warm recycled wood, white walls—and nary a kilim—create a Zen-like effect in the rooms of this eco-conscious hotel, an Italianate 19th-​century former apartment building. adahan​istanbul.com; doubles from 110. Georges Hotel Galata An unmarked door leads to a Parisian​style hôtel particulier with a rooftop restaurant for breakfast croissants and Bosporus vistas. The 20 highceilinged rooms have original Neoclassical moldings. georges. com; doubles from 249. Mama Shelter Cool kids adore the cheeky Pop vibe and the Batman masks at this Philippe Starck–designed fun house on Istiklal Avenue, Beyoğlu’s pedestrian artery. mamashelter.com; doubles from 69. Marti Hotel This sleek 11-story hotel near Taksim Square has serene blue-hued rooms created by local design goddess Zeynep Fadillioğlu. martiistanbulhotel. com; doubles from 245.

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At Karabatak, a café in Karaköy.

a lunch canteen. Was it the caramely top on Özkonak’s mastic-scented kazandibi pudding that had me move to Cihangir? Behind Firuzaga Mosque, in the adjacent Çukurcuma antiques district, even the feral street cats seem hip to the market value of Midcentury Modern. Here, visitors peruse the heartrending mementos of fictional love— and real old Istanbul—arrayed within novelist Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence—before sifting through the hoarder’s troves of curios at the Works (which supplied various items to Pamuk). Ladies admire the feathery, beady, crocheted vintage purses and hats at Pied de Poule; shelter-magazine addicts search for lamps, paintings and statuary at Hakan Ezer, owned by a celebrity interior decorator. Even if you don’t buy anything at A La Turca House—four swoony floors of exquisite kilims, antique globes and greenglazed pottery—owner Erkal Aksoy will treat you to some cherry liqueur, a nice prelude to the juicy chargrilled meatballs at Çukurcuma Köftecisi. 88

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ASMALI MESCIT

Though the dark, narrow alleys north of Istiklal are falling prey to tequila guzzlers, I’m still drawn to the area’s restaurants. For a lesson in smoke I book a counter seat at Zubeyir Ocakbaşi (a kind of Turkish robata) and let the parade of skewers begin. Among the area’s signature meyhane (think meze and rivers of raki) Asmali Cavit is the choice, for sublime cornmeal-crusted sardines, petal-thin flash-fried slices of liver and an insider clientele of actors and writers. And while Mikla’s woodchrome-and-marble interior and jaw-dropping vistas have been much lauded, its charismatic Turkish-Finnish chef-owner, Mehmet Gürs, makes the place. His new set menu marries Nordic minimalism with sunny ingredients sourced in remote Turkish villages. Ask, and the glamorous manager-sommelier Sabiha Apaydin will talk you through local Bogazkere and Emir wines one grape at a time.


hotels

Clockwise from left: Arzu Ersen, of Yastik, a shop for cushions in Nişantaşi; the daily menu at Kantin, in the same neighborhood; a cheese-mushroom flatbread at the restaurant.

NIŞANTAŞI Just north of Taksim Square, leafy Nişantaşi embodies the European aspirations and tastes of Istanbul’s early-20th-century haute bourgeoisie. The city looks—almost—like Paris. With its chic café life and women in Louboutin heels clicking past Art Nouveau façades toward Cartier or Cavalli or local couturiers’ ateliers—Nişantaşi is fashion central in Istanbul. Watch the skinny-jeans-and-stilettos set forsake their fad diets for wicked double-chocolate brownies at high-design Delicatessen. Then trail them to Fey boutique, where Fatoş Yalin Arkun, formerly of Turkish Marie Claire, curates a sexy mix of 1950’s Lanvin scarves, handmade Turkish porcelain and snakeskin ballet slippers. Close by, step into the future through the angular entrance of V2K Designers. At this hip offshoot of the Vakko department store created by local style icon Demet Müftüoğlu Eşeli, mannequins clad in Maison Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan pose in an avant-garde space from the trendsetting Autoban firm. (Their design showroom is down the hill, in the Akaretler fashion row.) Linger too long at Room, a new multi-brand showcase of young Turkish fashion talent, and you’ll never get in for lunch at Kantin. High priestess of the locavore faith Şemsa Denizsel imperiously refuses to take reservations; by 1 p.m. fashionistas and foodies practically beg at the door of her sage-colored bistro for a taste of such ethereal blackboard specials as baby lamb braised with spinach roots and a pilaf of the season’s first artichokes. Nearby is Yastik, fashion designer Rifat Ozbek’s nook dedicated to cushions; the Central Asian ikat fabrics arrayed against blinding-white walls are sleekly Orientalist eye candy. End with a pliant, charred round of the city’s best lahmacun (thin Turkish pizza) at Tatbak. Here Nişantaşi looks—and tastes—Turkish.

Park Hyatt Istanbul MaÇka Palas The 90 airy rooms retain the spacious layout and original detailing of the Art Deco building. Nostalgic blowups of Istanbul by the iconic local photographer Ara Guler add old-world glamour. park. hyatt.​com; doubles from 350. Sofa Hotel & Residences Expect to find museum-worthy contemporary art in the lobby, 82 designer rooms with rain showers in the gray marble bathrooms—plus the city’s most happening jazz scene at its upstairs restaurant, Frankie. thesofa​ hotel.com; doubles from 175.


BOSPORUS

hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus It has an exclusive resort ambience, ultra-plush rooms, three private hammams, and a majestically marbled waterside terrace. An attendant cleans your sunglasses while you splash in the pool. fourseasons.com; doubles from 530. House Hotel Bosphorus At this stylish 26-room mansion, the design—by the über-cool Autoban firm—seamlessly blends old and new, the Bosporus gleams outside the swank lounge, and the lovely general manager plots her guests’ eating and shopping adventures. thehousehotel.com; doubles from 263. Shangri-La Bosphorus The 186-room property opened last May inside a 1930’s former tobacco factory next to the Dolmabahçe Palace. No gardens or grounds, but really large guest quarters with views that create an illusion of floating on water. shangri-la.com; doubles from 400.

You come to Istanbul for the mosques and bazaars and leave bewitched by the Bosporus. This legendary 23-kilometer strait—one side is Europe, the other is Asia—besots the locals too with its salty breezes, medley of boats, shifting aquatic light illuminating lengths of lyrical shores dotted with palaces, and elaborate waterside mansions called yali. On the banks of the Bosporus Muslim families light portable grills, gruff anglers threaten to snag you with fishing rods, lovers loll, old men play tavla (backgammon)—and shiny Porsches jam entrances to nightclubs. And everyone argues forever about the ultimate fish restaurant. Formerly the summer refuges of aristocratic Istanbullus (now prime real estate for city dwellers), the genteel old villages on the European shore offer pure romantic enchantment. I like starting from the northern ones, closest to the Black Sea, then slowly making my way toward the city center. Emirgan’s laid-back sweetness is best savored at its cluster of languorous tea gardens shaded by plane trees. Then it’s Ottoman art at Sakip Sabanci Museum (its fusion restaurant Müzedechanga is fabulous) and an amble among furry pines and wooden chalets in Emirgan Park. From here a quick taxi ride brings me to the 15th-century Rumeli Fortress—Mehmed the Conqueror built it with miraculous speed for his conquest of Constantinople—where I rejoin the passeggiata, toward the gorgeous shores and affluent buzz of Bebek. Mornings, arty locals colonize tables by a pretty marina at the ramshackle Bebek Kahve (great eggs sizzling in a copper skillet) while macaron lovers have chichi breakfast trays at the venerable patisserie Baylan. If it’s dusk, decide between gin and tonics on the waterside deck of the old-school Bebek Hotel or satsuma-orange martinis at the jeunesse dorée hangout Lucca. Either way, nab vividly nutty marzipans from the stern dames at MeŞhur Bebek Badem Ezmesi—to nibble while strolling southward past the Art Nouveau extravaganza of the newly spruced-up Egyptian consulate. From here a heart-stoppingly scenic coast leads to nostalgic Arnavutköy, with its florid wood carvings on waterfront yali and teetering old-style wooden houses leaning over steep

A penthouse suite at the House Hotel Bosphorus.

narrow backstreets. At Adem Baba, a beloved fish joint, extended families devour piles of greaseless fried mussels and anchovies—good luck finding a table. Should a party mood strike, join models and wannabe moguls on the deck of the Anjelique nightclub. But wait! The Asian shore! Hillier, greener, slower, more residential. Magical sunsets. I love the authentic mahalle (neighborhood) spirit of the formerly Christian village of Kuzguncuk (walk here from the Üsküdar ferry pier), where the barbershops, bakeries and artisans’ workshops are from a sepia snapshot of another time. I love buying the crunchy thin-skinned cucumbers of Çengelköy from the altar-like grocers’ displays, plus some shaggy, buttery börek (savory pastry) from Çengelköy Börekçisi, to savor while watching the sun sink at the Çinaralti Aile Çay Bahçesi teahouse. And now for that ultimate fish restaurant.... Mine is Suna’nin Yeri, farther north in Kandili. It’s a simple place, no menus or ceremony—just tables set out on cobblestones by the water—that serves basic meze and tasty fried tekir (mullet). But the setting! Lights twinkle on the soaring Bosporus bridges, seagulls caw overhead, a passing tanker sends its wake swelling against mossy stone banks. Just as I take my first bite of the velvety fava-bean spread and the first sip of raki, the muezzins’ calls echo across the water. This is what I miss most when I’m away from this city. ✚


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T L Guide

Istanbul EAT OLD CITY Balikçi Sabahattin 1 Seyit Hasan Sk.; balikcisabahattin.com. 

Giritli 8 Keresteci Hakki Sk.; giritli​ restoran.com.  Gül Ebru Kantin 4 Aci Çeşme Sk.; 90-212/​512-3393.  Hamdi Baklava 17 Kalsin Sk.; hamdi.com.tr. Nar Lokanta 41 Nuru Osmaniye Cad.; narlokantasi.com.  BEYOĞLU Antre Gourmet Shop 40 Akarsu Cad.; antregourmet.com. Asmali Cavit 16B Asmalimescit Cad.; 90-212/292-4950.  Citir 83-85 Mumhane Cad.; no phone. Çukurcuma Köftecisi 1/A Hacioglu Sk.; cukurcuma​ koftecisi.com.  Journey 21 Akarsu Cad.; journeycihangir.com.  Karabatak 7 Karaali Kaptan Sk.; karabatak.com. Karaköy Lokantasi 37 Kemankeş Cad.; karakoylokantasi.com.  Lokanta Maya 35A Kemankeş Cad.; lokantamaya.com.  Mikla Marmara Pera Hotel, 15 Mesrutiyet Cad.; miklarestaurant.​ com.  Mua 126/B Kaybaşi Cad.; 90-212/299-8484. Namli Gurme 1/1 Rihtim Cad., Katotopark Alti; namligida.com.tr.

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Özkonak 46B Akarsu Cad.; 90-​ 212/​244-2466.  Smyrna 29 Akarsu Cad.; 90-212/244-2466.  Tarihi Karaköy Balikçisi 30 Tersane Cad., Kardeşim Sk.; tarihi​ karakoybalikcisi.com.  Unter 4 Karaali Kaptan Sk.; unter. com.tr.  Yeni Lokanta 66 Kumbaraci Yokuşu; lokantayeni.com.  Zubeyir Ocakbaşi 28 Bekar Sk.; 90-​212/​293-3951. 

The Shangri-La Bosphorus.

NIŞANTAŞI Delicatessen 19/1 Mim Kemal Öke Cad.; delicatessen istanbul.com.  Kantin 30 Akkavak Sk.; kantin. biz.  Tatbak 38/B Akkavak Sk.; tatbak.com.  BOSPORUS Adem Baba 2 Satis Meydani Sk.; adembaba.com.  Baylan 52-54 Cevdet Paşa Cad.; baylangida.com.  Bebek Hotel34 Cevdet Paşa Cad.; bebekhotel.com.tr. Bebek Kahve 18 Cevdet Paşa Cad.; 90-212/257-5402.  Çengelköy Börekçisi 41 Çengelköy Cad.; cengelkoyborekcisi.com. Çinaralti Aile Çay Bahçesi 4 Çengelköy Cad.; cengelkoycinaralti.com. Lucca 51/B Cevdet Paşa Cad.; luccastyle.com. Meşhur Bebek Badem Ezmecisi 53 Cevdet Paşa Cad.; 90-212/263-5984. Suna’nin Yeri 4-17 Iskele Cad.; 90-216/332-3241.  DO OLD CITY Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan

Hamami Ayasofya Meydani; ayasofyahamami.com. Grand Bazaar grandbazaar istanbul.org. BEYOĞLU Museum of Innocence 2 Çukurcuma Cad., Dalgic Çikmazi; masumiyetmuzesi.org. Salt Galata 11 Bankalar Cad.; saltonline.org. BOSPORUS Anjelique 5 Muallim Naci Cad., Salhane Sk.; anjelique.com.tr. Sakip Sabanci Museum 42 Sakip Sabanci Cad.; muze. sabanciuniv.edu. SHOP OLD CITY Armaggan 41 Nuru Osmaniye Cad.; armaggan.com. Eğin Tekstil 1 Yağlikçilar Cad.; egintekstil.com. Epoque 38 Sandal Bedesten Sk.; no phone. Ethnicon 58-60 Takkeciler Sk.; ethnicon.com. Iznik Classics 188 Ic Bedesten Serifaga Sk.; iznikclassics.com. Kafkas 4-6 Kalpakçilar Cad.; kafkasjewellery.com. Koç Leather & Fur 22-46 Kapalicarsi Kurkculer; kocderi. com. Şişko Osman 15 Zincirli Han; siskoosman.com.

Sivasli Istanbul Yazmacisi 57 Yağlikçilar Cad.; 90-212/5267748. BEYOĞLU Aida Pekin 44A Serdar-i Ekrem Sk.; aidapekin.com. A La Turca House 4 Faik Paşa Yokuşu; alaturcahouse.com. Arzu Kaprol 22 Serdar-i Ekrem Sk.; arzukaprol.com. Asri Turşucu 9 Ağa Hamami Cad.; 90-212/​244-4724. Atolye 11 47 Mumhane Cad.; atolye11.com. Bahar Korçan 9 Serdar-i Ekrem Sk.; baharkorcan.org. Ece Ajandasi 30 Necati Bey Cad.; eceajandasi.com. Hakan Ezer 5 Faik Paşa Cad.; hakanezer.com. Lunapark Shop 17/B Serdar-i Ekrem Sk.; lunapark.com.tr. Pied de Poule 19/1 Faik Paşa Yokuşu; 90-212/​245-8116. Sir 38/1 Serdar-i Ekrem Sk.; sircini.com. The Works 6/1 Faik Paşa Cad.; fleaworks.com. NIŞANTAŞI Autoban 20 Şair Nedim Cad.; autoban212.com. Fey 9 Mim Kemal Öke Cad.; feyistanbul.com. Room 109 Teşvikiye Cad.; room2shoppers.com.

restaurants  Less than 35  35 to 100  100 to 200  More than 200 *Rates represent approximate price of a three-course dinner for two, excluding drinks.

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Lido kids surf baby waves on hand-carved bodyboards called splinters.

s d r a o b g n o L to ll enthusiasts S R E e T N a st , s w I o c h L t P inable r nor a a S t f s ’s u a s FromOn Papua NedwinGguaintoeurism wbaovrerovwias a board, paddles

are ri AU ER . B U E eyhole DN k Y e O h t L L gh g. I A N throu surfin t and peers ou 78 92

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Vanimo Surf Lodge. Left: “Hi, Wally!” the kids greet Matt Lemmo. Right, from top: A local grin in Lido; wave carving in wood.

ey?” h , D R A O B RF U S o “N says Matt Lemmo, the 26-year-old California surfer with a bushy blonde beard and kind blue eyes who meets me at the airport at Vanimo, in north Papua New Guinea. “Normally we don’t lend them out. But since you’re our only guest, you can use one of mine. Follow me. The van’s this way.” Set on a peninsula edged by sugar-white beaches and backdropped by colossal jungle-clad mountains, Vanimo is an epic place to fly into. Not that you have a choice: With no roads connecting it to the country’s other provinces, it’s impossible to drive into except from Jayapura, capital of the restive Indonesian province of West Papua. This is the road we’re taking west, along a palm-fringed coast that runs to the international border. At the 5-kilometer mark, we reach a fork in the road that leads to a compound with a wooden carving of a figurine riding a wave on the front gate. “We’re here,” Matt says. “Welcome to Paradise.” Paradise it may be, yet luxurious it is not. With four dorm-style stilt huts, a communal bathroom, intermittent

generator-supplied power and a sand-bottomed dining room, the Vanimo Surf Lodge is spartan to the core. But it’s the sea, not the amenities, that’s the attraction here. In truth, I can’t really surf. I had a few lessons near my home on Sydney’s Bondi Beach in preparation for the trip, but standing up on a Styrofoam longboard on the whitewash of North Bondi and riding a pointy fiberglass board on the 3-meter tubes for which these breaks are renowned are two very different things. This was an aquatic, athletic and anthropological quest borne of a mystery package. Back in 2011, I’d received a DVD in the mail from a public relations firm in New York. It was a film called Splinters. Winner of Best Documentary at that year’s London Surf Film Festival, it told the story of an intrepid Australian pilot who, in the early 1980’s, landed his seaplane along Papua New Guinea’s remote north coast, and spent the weekend near the village of Lido riding perfect, endless waves. Before departing, he gifted his surfboard to curious locals who’d been riding hand-carved wooden bodyboards (known as splinters) for generations but never fathomed standing up. They took to the sport like fish to water and soon everyone in Lido was carving up the waves. Despite tackling serious issues like domestic violence, poverty and corruption, Splinters is an uplifting story that


conveys the aspirational value of surfing in Lido, where the sport is not only a pillar of life but a means to prestige.

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i, Wally!” yells the gang of naked village kids that surrounds us in Lido. “Wally, hi!” Using the local salutation for white men, they have an obvious affection for my host. Lemmo first came to Lido in 2010 as a volunteer with Walu International, a U.S.-based NGO that tasked him with him delivering sanitation solutions to the 1,500 residents of Lido. Eighteen months later he switched to the private sector and took on the role of general manager at the then-new Vanimo Surf Lodge, owned by a Papua New Guinean and a group of Australian investors, and operated under guidelines from the Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea. The association charges visiting surfers 20 kina (about US$8.50) per day, which it then passes on to landholders and stakeholder groups in Lido village. One main problem the association is tackling, says founder Andy Abel, a businessman based in capital Port Moresby, is rubbish on the reef and the beach. Acknowledging that education takes time, Abel is planning to use a percentage of the surf levies to help buy a tractor and trailer to comb the beachfront several times a week.

“I have seen some very good contributions made by the surf projects,” says Sam Akwi, a Lido villager—the vast majority of whom are perpetually unemployed, surviving on what little money they can make fishing, farming and collecting their share of the few thousand dollars the lodge gives the village every year in recognition of their rights as traditional custodians of the reef. “They are run by committed people who are trying to make life better for us.” Adds his neighbor Brigit Tonte: “Surfing makes people forget the bad things that happen and think positively about things. Now our girls are surfing, too. It shows they can be the same as men.” The walk-and-talk comes to an end at a half-moon cove where dozens of naked children are surfing splinters on baby waves. The sounds of laughter and splashing water permeate through the air—hot, sultry and tainted with the perfume of burning coconut husks. It’s like a scene out of Splinters come to life. “The surf in PNG is nowhere as big as you get in places like Hawaii or Australia. But in those places you have to share the waves with hundreds of surfers,” Lemmo says. Here, you will only ever share one of the eight gorgeous breaks in the area with a maximum of 20 total surfers daily. Here, you can often get an entire break to yourself. “What did I tell you? Paradise, hey?” T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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A waterfall cut straight out of the Garden of Eden. From left: Little boy, longboard; filming Splinters.


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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 ; S T U G I B S O N ; I A N L L O Y D N E U B A U E R

he days melt into a vortex outside of time. From the moment I unpacked, I jumped into the water and proceeded to spend a week rarely out of it. Lemmo told me not to sweat my inexperience, and he was right. The largest waves manifest from November through to March, when ocean swells travel south across thousands of kilometers of unobstructed ocean before making landfall on Papua New Guinea’s far north coast. This being May, the waves only average 1 to 2 meters—perfect conditions for a beginner like me. On day one, it takes me about 15 minutes to paddle across a lagoon to the rear of a point break, where curved mirrors of water peel endlessly over a sand-covered coral reef. There are only two others surfers out on the water—one, a small boy, who flashes me a toothy grin before springing to his feet and riding a wave effortlessly back to shore. I try doing the same but am unable to find the sweetspot on the board, toppling into the water every time I try standing up. But that doesn’t discount from the pleasure of bobbing up and down on a gin-clear lagoon with 180-degree misty mountain views. Every morning, I awake shortly after sunrise, paddle out to the reef and spend an hour or two working on my form. After breakfast, I lounge around on a hammock thumbing through old surfing magazines and talking philosophy with Anton, the lodge’s septuagenarian caretaker. One day after lunch, his 10-year-old grandson, Thomas, offers to take me to visit Waromo Waterfall I kept hearing so much about. The route follows the banks of a gentle freshwater stream where we see villagers bathing, preparing food and washing their clothes. The river grows larger and louder as it ascends into the jungle, morphing into formidable whitewater rapids pockmarked with boulders and fallen logs. Ninety minutes after setting off, we reach a series of freshwater pools crowned by a waterfall that cascades over an oblong-shaped limestone bluff. With vines hanging from the canopy Thomas uses to swing from pool to pool and natural water

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slides etched into the rock, it’s an aquatic center cut straight out of the garden of Eden. The day before my departure, Lemmo drives me to the border, where passport holders can receive permission to visit the Indonesian market on the West Papuan side. But Westerners are a rare sight here and when we line up in the queue we attract the attention of Badan Intelijen Negara— the Indonesian intelligence agency waging a bloody war of attrition against West Papua’s beleaguered independence movement. A Javanese man in plain clothes tails our every move while nonchalantly filming us with an antiquated Handycam, while another swoops by taking stills with his camera phone. The immigration officer bearing the all-powerful stamp eyeballs us suspiciously but nevertheless lets us through, warning us that photography is not permitted and that he’ll be checking my camera on the way out. Yet when we return to the checkpoint a few hours later on, both he and the snap-happy intelligence operatives are nowhere to be seen. Later that afternoon, as the sun begins to fade, I grab my borrowed surfboard for a final dalliance with the waves. My paddling speed has improved significantly over the past week, a fact I put to good use as the first wave begins to form in my rear. Maneuvering myself into position, I give it all I’ve got and feel a hollowing in my stomach as my board is propelled forward with gusto. I push my chest up, shoot to my feet in position and before I even know it, I’m riding a wave! I get wiped out two seconds later, yet can state with absolute certainty that I surfed in Papua New Guinea. I catch another wave and then another and another again, each time remaining a few seconds longer on my feet. I keep on at it well into dusk, surfing the tropical twilight like a bandit from hell. On my final attempt I see the sun, a burning planet, setting in the keyhole of a barreling wave—a glorious moment in travel and time that I’ll take with me to the grave as proof of a life lived to its fullest, amen. ✚

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T L Guide Getting there Air Niugini (airniugini.com. pg) operates international flights to Port Moresby from Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, and 90-minute hops from Port Moresby to Vanimo.

STAY Vanimo Surf Lodge 61411/823-500; vanimosurflodge. com; surfvanimo@bigpond.com; from A$130 per night for dorm-style accommodation including meals and airport transfers. DO Waromo Waterfall The lodge

offers guided walking tours into the jungle for about A$10 per person. Offshore reef breaks Boat transfers to offshore breaks cost approximately A$60 to A$80, which goes directly to local boat owners. Market in Indonesia Hail a minibus from Lido village traveling west to the border for A$20 to A$30. There, passport holders can obtain a free on-the-spot day-pass to cross into Indonesia. WATCH Splinters, the award-winning documentary on surfing in Papua New Guinea, at splintersmovie. tumblr.com.

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Ghosts and Gods of Penang


The gilt interior of restored Suffolk House. Opposite: An installation of Art is Rubbish/Rubbish is Art by Ernest Zacharevic, in George Town.

Trying to follow his great-grandfather’s century-old trail through the Malaysian melting pot, JEFF CHU encounters guilds, gilt and guilt—and realizes that the Straits isle still is dancing a delicate quadrille between past and present. PHOTOGRAPHED BY KIT CHAN T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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Penang’s grande dame has modern appeal. Opposite, from top: Architect Laurence Loh; breakfast at Eng Loh coffee shop; tuk-tuk tourism.


he violins had long stopped playing at Suffolk House by the time Laurence Loh arrived. The Georgian manse stood on a Penang pepper estate created by Captain Francis Light, who claimed the island for the British in 1786. In the early 19th century, nothing else on Penang matched its prestige. The governor lived here for a time. During balls, the silks of ladies’ gowns swept the wide, wooden verandas, which overlooked riverside lands tamed to resemble English countryside. When Loh, a Malaysian architect who has restored some of Penang’s finest historic buildings, visited in the 1990’s, the house was dilapidated verging on destroyed, the forest waging a reclamation campaign. “People said it would be impossible to bring it back to what it was,” Loh says as we sit in his firm’s offices, in a residential precinct of George Town, Penang’s capital. He starts to refer to the house as “she.” “She didn’t give up her favors easily,” he says, shaking his head. “She is a very naughty lady.” Nobody had the full picture of how Suffolk House originally looked, so Loh played forensic archaeologist. Meanwhile, over seven tortuous years, she won his heart. Today, he speaks of her with supernatural wonder. “Put it this way, la,” Loh says. “Suffolk House is a secular building, but she is one of the most spiritual also. You just feel the different types of spiritual energy. Go and see for yourself.” Later, exploring Suffolk House, I feel mainly sweaty and sad. A droopy floral arrangement sits on a foyer table. The ground floor houses a dusty, usually closed souvenir shop and a restaurant serving British cuisine, an odd nod to colonial times. Then I climb the stairs to the colonnaded veranda, where my mind runs wild, coloring in the picture. I can smell gentlemen smoking and hear them playing cards in the drawing room. Dancing ladies whirl around the ballroom to a little night music. How is this possible? Looking around, I see nobody. So I do a spin on the ballroom floor to a

quadrille only I can hear. Then I think, “How very Penang.” GHOSTS AND GODS drew me to Penang. I’d come in part to retrace my great-grandfather’s missionary journey a century ago. He converted to Christianity as a young man in Hong Kong. Why he then boarded a ship to colonial Malaya is lost to history, but it’s not hard to see Penang as a proselyte’s perfect destination: a marketplace not just of spices and goods but also cultures and ideas, it welcomed hustlers, hucksters and salespeople of all stripes and sectors. One of the Straits Settlements enriched by the British East India Company, Penang rose much like Singapore and Hong Kong did. All three owed their fortunes and diverse demographics to the seas. In its early decades especially, translators were particularly in demand in George Town: you could hear Armenian and Arabic, Chinese dialects and various English accents, French and German, a dozen languages of the Indian subcontinent and, of course, Malay. But while Singapore and Hong Kong attained stratospheric wealth in the 20th century, Penang, the oldest by several decades, didn’t. Especially after it lost its free-port status in 1969, the economy foundered. Skylines tell the story: Hong Kong has nearly 300 buildings taller than 150 meters. Singapore has about 70. Penang? One. Penang’s silver, teak and terracotta lining is an architectural and aesthetic fabric that’s better preserved than Singapore’s or Hong Kong’s. Six years ago, George Town’s charming historic core was declared a unesco World Heritage Site—acknowledging the past’s importance to the place’s present and future. History matters—that’s why I was in Penang. But change is inevitable too. The unesco status has increased the premium on George Town’s storied buildings, squeezing locals out. How do you honor the old while forging the new? And who gets to decide whether street art, espresso machines, and other markers of globalizing hipsterdom and gentrification belong in a culture defined by intermingling? T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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Tempost fugiat Molor solorior Aut Voloreh Sa Sit etur lorum Agnihiti

Would Little Girl in Blue have better luck than the author in entering goldsmiths’ guild Ta Kam Hong? Opposite: Self-guide on two wheels.

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MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER left no diaries. The last time I saw him, he was in his early nineties. I was eight. Like most kids, I had little sense of history but great awareness of the old. I remember no conversation, just his wrinkly face and near-toothless grin. It’s easier to decipher what he couldn’t have done in Penang than to know what he had. My first morning in town, I stand on my balcony at the Eastern & Oriental. A grande dame dating to 1885, the hotel hosted Kipling, Coward and Maugham. As I gaze at the sea that brought my great-grandfather to these shores, it isn’t lost on me that he couldn’t have afforded a room at the E&O. After breakfast, I meet historian Marcus Langdon at China House, a coffee bar/restaurant/gallery in a restored shophouse. At RM10, coffee is 10 times the price in an old-school café. “This is a good example of what’s happening,” Langdon shouts over a La Cimbal espresso machine. There’s RM12 tiramisu. “Nothing’s local.” As the midday sun begins to pummel Penang, we loop through the fast-changing historic center, past buildings like the gracious, early20th-century Whiteways Arcade. Originally a general store, it houses a Subway. “There’s a lot of Western and Singaporean money coming in,” he says. “Maybe you lose the things that attracted you in the first place—the crafts, the noises, the smells.” 104

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Eventually, we arrive at the Eng Loh, a century-old, open-air coffee shop where the ceiling fans struggle to cut the humidity. Little seems to have changed in decades, except the portraits of Malaysia’s king and queen—new monarchs are installed every five years—who watch us from high on the seafoam-green walls. The Eng Loh isn’t a place where one uses the term “barista.” As Langdon and I talk, a cleaver-wielding cook chop-chop-chops a chicken and another chef clack-clack-clacks his metal turner against a wok of noodles. They’re barely sweating, whereas I look as if I’m mid-shower. My glass of iced milk tea—RM1.60—drips puddles onto a chipped marble tabletop that appears old enough to have held my great-grandfather’s tea too. As rents rise and tastes change, can places like the Eng Loh survive? “Penang is such an amalgamation of historical and modern,” Langdon says. “These things have to live together. The question is how.” I WANT TO HUG Wazir Jahan Karim when we meet at Jawi House, her gallery/crafts shop/restaurant on Armenian Street. She gets, better than most, the potency of personal history. “Everyone is tracing roots—maybe you find an Arab great-uncle or a Turkish grandfather,” she says. “This is what it means to be in this postmodern, cosmopolitan city.”

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Wazir, a British-educated anthropologist, opened Jawi House last year to spotlight her roots in the uniquely Malaysian culture of the Jawi Peranakan. It originated with 19th-century Muslim immigrants to the Straits Settlements from South Asia and the Middle East. Mostly prosperous and educated, they often married Malay women. “It was a very upper-middle-class, progressive, pro-Empire group,” Wazir says. “Religion was the common factor.” Over the decades, Jawi Peranakan culture faded. The government cultivated a more strictly Malay identity, and as Malaysia became more diverse, there was a desire to be seen as more singularly Malay—however historically inaccurate that is. Wazir mentions an aristocratic friend who declared: “My heritage is pure!” “The royalty she belongs to is half-Thai! ” Wazir says indignantly, “and the Malay DNA is one of the most plural in the world.” Wazir sees shifts toward embracing diversity. Especially among the younger generation, she believes, the modern Malay identity—and the modern Malaysian one—doesn’t require homogeneity. “It’s fashionable to be hybrid now,” she says. “By reclaiming our hybridity, we’re also reclaiming our history.” The Jawi Peranakan’s ancestral lines converge on the Jawi House menu. Hummus echoes Levantine


Snacking and backpacking on Muntri Street. Opposite, from left: Jawi House’s lemuni rice and chicken curry; Wazir Jahan Karim and Nuril Karim Raza run Jawi House; Komtar Tower, Penang’s tallest.


cuisine. Biryanis summon India. Meat rendang and serabai, a rice-flour cake traditionally served during Ramadan, honor Malay cookery, though the former immigrated too, centuries ago, from Sumatra. The most unusual dish: lemuni rice. At Jawi House, this Jawi Peranakan specialty features chicken curry served alongside basmati rice flavored with lemuni leaves. Also called the chastetree, the lemuni has been used for millennia to aid female reproductive health. “Try it!” Wazir prods, promising that men can appreciate it too. Savory and visually stunning, the rice is studded with blue tualang (butterfly pea) blossoms. The dish— something borrowed, something blue—is quintessentially a Penangite union, like Jawi Peranakan culture itself. “Penang is eclectic. It is messy. Behind that mess is something of a method,” Wazir says. “We have stories to tell, but we also have new stories to learn. We are people with many different narratives. This is where they come together.” And, she hopes, where they continue for generations. While Wazir created much of the menu, she handed control of the kitchen to chef Nuril Karim Raza—he’s her son. PERHAPS MY CANTONESE great-grandfather, a jeweler’s apprentice at the time, had registered in the logbooks of the Ta Kam Hong, on Muntri Street. Founded in 1832, the goldsmiths’ guild drew its membership from Cantonese families. The grand temple, built in 1903, honors Wu Ching, patron deity of goldsmiths. When I learned that, I doubted my great-grandfather, given his fervent faith, would have entered its gates. But I’d never know, because I couldn’t enter its gates either; whenever I walked past the building, they were locked shut. While I only glimpsed history’s facade, present-day Penang teased me through Little Girl in Blue, a mural over the temple forecourt by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic. He and his girlfriend, the novelist Gabija Grusaite, backpacked to

Penang in 2011 and stayed, finding inspiration and a home. “It’s the community—very unique, multicultural, laidback,” he says when I visit his studio. “Also, it’s cheap.” Zacharevic painted Little Girl in Blue, and the more-famous Two Children on a Bicycle on Armenian Street, in 2012. The latter is mixedmedia—the kids are painted, but the bike is real. One day, I go to the Tanjung Tokong suburb to meet the real-life kids, Tan Yi and Tan Kern; their parents, Ashley Teoh and Adrian Tan; and a friend, the artist Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, known for his impressions of Penang streetscapes. The family met Zacharevic through Urban Sketchers, an art group founded by Ch’ng. “Starting with unesco, people have been coming in and exploring Penang,” Teoh says. “It’s very encouraging that we’re having this exchange of culture.” The three adults reminisce about their childhoods, mostly spent in George Town’s historic precincts. All three laugh when Teoh mentions the “toilets” of their youth. Even in the 1980’s, they used modified chamber pots—“buckets, actually,” Tan says— kept in a cubbyhole accessible from the street and emptied by sanitation workers, “usually around 6 a.m.,” Ch’ng recalls. “Our parents would say, ‘If you don’t study seriously, you’ll end up like them!’” Teoh says. (Threats of shameful professional failure survived the journeys of the Chinese diaspora undimmed.) After lunch, we drive to their old neighborhood. They’re hankering for a coffee at an alleyway café that has endured from their youth. Parking proves pure tribulation—we circle and circle. “We used the streets as our playground. We played badminton. There were no cars,” Tan says sadly. “Sometimes I wonder if, with all the foreign investment, we’re actually eroding the culture. Locals have been forced to move out. Sometimes we don’t even want to come here.” Their original move was born of modernity’s draw; now, suburban living is a practical matter. “We appreciated new things, not old ones,” Teoh says. Tan adds that it wasn’t


until foreigners began buying old houses that locals realized their value: “Now that we want to own them, we can’t afford to.” LANGDON SAID Penang beyond George Town might provide windows to a more pastoral past. So on my last day, I go touring. Within minutes, urban surrenders to rural, echoes of what Rudyard Kipling, who visited Penang in 1889, describes in From Sea to Sea. “We struck into roads fringed with native houses on piles, shadowed by the everlasting coconut palms heavy with young nuts,” he writes. “There was a mutter of thunder in the hills which we were approaching.” As we putter along sinusoidal roads, dodging foraging chickens, I tell my guide, Mr. Quah, a retired cooking-gas salesman, I want to visit a nutmeg farm Langdon had mentioned. It’s one of the last remnants from the 1800’s, when plantations proliferated in a British attempt to break the Dutch stranglehold on the spice supply. Mr. Quah insistently narrates the treescape as we drive: “Durian tree. Rubber tree. Rambutan tree. No nutmeg! Durian tree. No nutmeg!” Eventually, we find the Ghee Hup farm. Seedlings line the parking lot. Under a lean-to, a saleswoman gives a five-minute primer in pidgin English about the nutmeg. “Nutmeg mace! Good for joint pain!” she says. “See? Male seed. Cannot get baby. Female seed. Get baby.”

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T L Guide STAY Eastern & Oriental Hotel 10 Farquhar St., George Town; 60-4/222-2000; eohotels.com; doubles from RM930. Seven Terraces 2-16 Stewart Ln., George Town; 60-4/264-2333; seventerraces.com; doubles from RM550. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion The famed “Blue House,” this century-plus-old manor of a Hakka magnate and diplomat once housed the Chinese Vice-Consulate, as well as Cheong’s favored seventh wife. 14 Leith St., George Town; 60-4/262-0006; cheongfatttzemansion.com; doubles from RM420.

EAT+DRINK Jawi House Café Gallery 85 Armenian St., George Town; 60-4/261-3680; jawihouse.com; lunch for two RM50; open until 7 p.m. China House 153-155 Beach St., George Town; 604/263-7299; chinahouse. com.my; dinner for two RM200. Yin’s Sourdough Jalan Bukit Penara, Balik Pulau Garden, Balik Pulau; 6011/2419-5118; yinssourdough.com. Eng Loh Coffee Shop 48 Church St., George Town; 604/261-5526; tea or coffee for two RM3. Toh Soon Café 184 Campbell St., George Town; 60-4/261-3754; coffee for two RM2.

I buy some whole nutmeg—in foodie-obsessive Brooklyn, I might shave it on spinach and serve with a story—but as we leave the farm, I began to sense the foolishness of chasing Penang’s past. I’m finding only shadows. I can’t know the reality of what my great-grandfather experienced. And it’s both patronizing and impossible to decide what is worth “preserving.” Yet the foreshadowing of the future seems strangely discomfiting too. After we lunch in Balik Pulau, Mr. Quah mentions that an acquaintance has asked him to buy bread here. This is apparently no ordinary Malaysian

Patio Opened last year, this indoor-outdoor tapas bar has live music, grilled ribs and signature sangria. 49 Weld Quay, George Town; 60-12/ 311-442; facebook.com/ patiopenang; drinks for two RM60. SEE+DO Suffolk House 250 Jalan Air Itam, George Town; 604/228-1109; suffolkhouse. com.my; admission for two RM20. Self-Guided Street Art Tour George Town; tourismpenang.net.my/pdf/ street-art-brochure.pdf. Ghee Hup Nutmeg Factory 202-A Jalan Teluk Bahang, Balik Pulau; 604/866-8426; free admission (and nutmeg-juice samples).

roti. We find the shop, Yin’s, in a strip mall on edge of town. Proprietor Chan Su Yin learned to make sourdough in Portland. Upon returning to Malaysia, she tinkered with recipes to adjust for climate, opening Yin’s in 2013. “I make my own kefir too!” she says, as if from a Portlandia Goes to Penang script. “When I got back from Oregon, I couldn’t find it anywhere.” I buy a still-warm coconut bun, the only thing in the bakery that seems vaguely, stereotypically Penang. I swallow it nearly whole, along with my guilt, judgment and confusion. And as much as I don’t want to say so, it’s delicious. ✚

Two Children on a Bicycle. Right: The two children—Tan Yi and Tan Kern—in real life, with parents Ashley Teoh and Adrian Tan. Opposite, from top: Nutmeg at Ghee Hup; baker Chan Su Yin and her goods; a temple on Love Lane.

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The shores of Lough Inagh, in County Galway, Ireland.


Untamed Ireland On a journey to the rugged coast of County Galway, Andrew McCarthy finds small towns and quiet pubs, raucous musicians, and no shortage of Irish resilience and pride. Photographed by Christopher Churchill

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The sky is without stars or moon. There are no lights, no sign of life in any direction, only the night—and the road. The car’s headlights shine into blackness, revealing the thin, crooked, ungraded ribbon of tarmac disappearing into mist. When I step out the wind is ripping. The rain has stopped. I think perhaps I can hear something through the wind, someone calling. I listen harder, and then I hear it again. Voices? This is the Bog Road outside Clifden, in Connemara, County Galway, in the far west of Ireland. I’ve been told it’s haunted. Dublin is just over three hours away—a straight shot across the width of the country. It’s a different Ireland out here, and always has been. On an island famous for its natural beauty, this far reach of land has a raw, unmanicured grandeur that even the Irish concede demands a hardy soul. Covered in large part by mountains, nearly treeless tundra, bog and rock, this is “the Old Sod”—not wholly transformed by EU cash or Celtic Tigers. It is the stronghold of the Irish language. A region without formal boundaries, Connemara is as much a state of mind as anything else. Galway city (population 75,000) is the unofficial “capital of the west,” and the gateway to Connemara. It’s home to the famous Galway oyster and the National University of Ireland, which dictates the town’s tempo. But to me, Galway has always been a city of music. On the buzzing pedestrian mall of Shop Street, outside a store selling fine Irish linen, I pass three young guys with fiddles and a banjo slashing their way through a traditional Irish reel. And then there are the pubs—music seeping out of nearly every one of them after dark. A trio leans hard into a jig at Tig Cóilí, on Mainguard Street. Across the River Corrib, on Lower Dominick Street, it’s open-mike night at the Róisín Dubh. A heavily tattooed young girl strums an acoustic guitar for an adoring crowd of university students. Then, out along the Sea Road, I follow the sound of searing fiddles into the session at Crane Bar. 110

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Clockwise from top left: A Connemara pony; a young Irishman on the fabled Bog Road; smoked salmon from Connemara Smokehouse, in Ballyconneely; downtown Clifden; a sitting room at Clifden’s Quay House; local band Mikey & the Scallywags performing at Crane Bar, in Galway.


Clockwise from above: A local student waits for the bus to Galway; tuna with black-eyed-bean salsa and aioli at Kai Café & Restaurant; on the street in Galway; the exterior of Crane Bar.

Inside, under black-and-white photos depicting Galway’s not-too-distant peasant past, and in front of a mixed crowd of pensioners and twentysomethings, a handful of musicians are letting it rip. It’s a fluid, informal group; fiddles and flutes, bodhran, concertina accordion and whistle, trading riffs, then surging as one to a crescendo. When they finish, the musicians, so alive to the subtlest shift in tempo while playing, sag on their stools like marionettes whose strings have been cut. Then, in the corner, a woman begins to sing an unaccompanied lament of longing and the sea, and the music starts up again. Later, Mick Crehan, who bought Crane’s 14 years ago, sips a Guinness and settles into one of Ireland’s favorite topics of conversation in recent years: The Bust. The Irish rags-to-riches-to-rags-again story has been well documented, but the famous high tide of prosperity created by the Celtic Tiger did not raise all boats equally, and the subsequent crash hit this part of the country particularly hard. (Throughout Ireland home prices are down 45 percent from their high in 2007, and unemployment is 12.3 percent.) Though not everything created by the current hardship is necessarily a negative. There’s little disagreement that Ireland’s famous hospitality suffered during those heady days of easy money.

“We lost the run of ourselves, there’s no doubt about that,” Mick says. “But we’ve come back to our community roots. That’s not a bad thing.” This notion of return is echoed by Jess Murphy, who recently opened Kai Café & Restaurant just down the street from Crane’s. “People are eating differently now. Before it was foie gras and filet mignon, now it’s nose-to-tail again. Corned beef and cabbage; oxtail soup. This is who we were. This is how we ate. Forget the sourdough from France—it’s back to the brown bread.” Yes, Kai is a return to Irish staples, but with a decidedly modern take. All the food is locally sourced, and the menu changes daily, depending on what the farmers and fishermen bring in (like the Connemara crab in the salad I order). “The recession has brought out the best in a lot of people. We’re not looking to Dublin and Europe anymore. Artisans are springing up, making their own beer; I’m getting raw milk and cheese from just out the road.” Even the décor at Kai, a combination of reclaimed woods and salvaged, rough-hewn metals, with a large skylight to allow in the constantly shifting Galway sky, has a sophisticated yet improvisational feel. There’s a pleasing pattern to life in a city as accommodating as Galway. Hours can pass amid the


This is not the twee Ireland of patchwork-quilt plots separated by adorable drystone walls. This is wild and merciless land.

rambling shelves of Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, and the pretty girls parade around Eyre Square rain or shine. Eventually I rally and head out along the coastal road. Within 16 kilometers I’ve gone back in time and am deep in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) village of Spiddal, on Galway Bay. When I walk into Tigh Hughes Pub, three men are hunched over the bar, furiously whispering in Irish, their heads inches apart in the otherwise empty room. They stop speaking and turn in unison to stare at me—I feel as welcome as a priest in a whorehouse. The wood-planked floor squeaks as I approach the bar and order a cup of tea. “You’re American,” the red-faced, white-haired bartender informs me. Once this fact is confirmed, my intrusion is forgiven and we talk hurling—a traditional Gaelic sport. We are all in agreement that it’s much more dangerous and (given the company I’m in) better than American football. In time the men go back to their urgent whispers in Irish, until the bartender apologizes: “We don’t mean to be rude, we’re just discussing some village business.”

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onnemara has the largest concentration of Irish speakers in the country, and it’s home to TG4, a television station that broadcasts in Irish (including, believe it or not, dubbed versions of SpongeBob SquarePants). “The profile of the language has shifted,” TG4’s commissioning director, Micheál ÓMeallaigh, tells me. “It used to be associated with poverty and backwardness, not pride.” Micheál looks out his office window. Nearby, a herd of cows graze an uneven field littered with substantial boulders. “I mean, let’s face it, you’ve got to be tough and hard to make a living farming rocks and fishing. If you can survive in Connemara, you can survive anywhere.” Fierce local pride is not uncommon in Ireland (or in most countries, for that matter), and here it’s accompanied by an almost whimsical acceptance of the fate that goes along with the demanding life—and a desire to be nowhere else. “It’s the best place in the world if you can find a way to support yourself,” Graham Roberts tells me as we stand at the end of Bunowen Pier outside the tiny village of Ballyconneely, far out along the region’s filigreed southern coast. Graham has taken over his father’s business and today produces some of Ireland’s finest organic smoked salmon at Connemara Smokehouse. Over in Roundstone, an idyllic fishing village just down the road, Malachy Kearns agrees. “It’s a different world out here, to be sure,” he says. The premier bodhran drum maker

in Ireland, Malachy came out from Dublin 34 years ago. “I had a wild call to be by the sea and I couldn’t wish it away.” Trad musicians come from all over the country to his seaside workshop. Malachy is an outsize man in every way, his blue eyes full of mayhem. Over a cup of tea, he puts on a display of the fine art of conversation, the likes of which you can still find in the Irish countryside. Our chat rambles from the tyranny of the banks and the wisdom of the elders, to fading prejudices—“If the bodhran maker can have a wife from Ghana, like I do, you know things are changing”—to the complexities of life in a small Irish village: “I’ve got kids from two different families asking me for a job. If I give it to one and not the other, I’ve got one family that won’t speak to me for thirty years.” And it’s from Malachy that I first hear mention of the haunted Bog Road. “I was giving a lift to two old fellas who insisted that they would get out of the car if I turned down the Bog Road.” Malachy shakes his mighty head and shrugs, “Who am I to say?” I hear a similar statement from Clodagh Foyle, who works at the Dolphin Beach House, a cliff-side B&B about 24 kilometers from Kylemore Abbey, a 19th-century estate with classic Victorian gardens. “People say the Bog Road is haunted, if you believe that sort of stuff. And folks do drive off of it a good bit. I wouldn’t be driving it at night, and certainly not alone.” One place that poses no threat at all is the very welcoming Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, outside the village of Recess. Down a long drive through 180 wooded hectares, on the banks of one of Ireland’s finest salmon-fishing rivers, Ballynahinch is a soft landing in rugged country. The present house was built in 1756 and owned, over the years, by “Humanity” Dick Martin, who founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and by cricket legend and Indian prince, Maharajah Ranjisinhji. Portraits of the hotel’s storied past, as well as photos of enormous fish in the hands of smiling men, adorn the walls. Inside the Fisherman’s Pub, the wood is dark, the peat fire warm. The slow-braised belly of Connemara pork sends me to my overstuffed bed fat and happy. When I tear myself away from the soft life, the land along the road to Renvyle, on the far northern edge of Connemara, rises up and crumbles down to the sea without reason, as if the hand of nature had laid the country out smoothly— rich green fields by deep blue sea—and then at the last second scrunched it all up like a wad of paper. Narrow roads are pushed around like so many pieces of string. A small bay opens on my right—I thought I was far from the sea. Peaks jut up and tumble down into windswept lakes. Up over a steep rise, the Twelve Bens, which form the spine of Connemara, come into view—or is it the Maumtruk T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A .C O M

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Tales of spirits are legend in Ireland, and of course no one believes them anymore... but the night is long and dark, and the hairs on the back of my neck are standing on end Kylemore Abbey, near Clifden.

Mountains I’m looking at? All sense of direction is lost. Farther on, the land is scarred where rows of turf have been cut and stacked to dry in the wind—fuel for the coming winter. This is not the twee Ireland of patchworkquilt plots separated by adorable drystone walls. This is wild and merciless land. Harsh, untamed and thrilling. Most roads this far west funnel out toward Clifden, a workhorse town by the sea that’s home to the 14-room Quay House. But before I get there, a small sign by the side of the twisting road, pointing off into an empty-seeming field, catches my attention. In the middle of Derrygimla bog, a rock-strewn meadow a few hundred meters from the road, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi, dubbed the father of radio, sent the first transatlantic radio signal from the station he constructed here, in 1907. At one time the 120-hectare site employed 300 people and was serviced by its own narrowgauge railway. All that remain now are cement foundations of a half-dozen buildings amid the wind and sheep.

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here’s an exhilarating recognition of the ambition such an undertaking must have demanded, coupled with a mournful sense of loss at its dissolution. The wind-worn place is a haunting reminder of the ravages of time and the temporary claims we make on it. I linger in the fading light longer than intended and by the time I return to my rental car the rain has begun and darkness has fallen. I make a wrong turn, as I so often do on the unmarked roads in Connemara, and eventually right myself. It’s then that I come upon the Bog Road. A large boulder creates a hulking blackness beside it in the dark. The Twelve Bens are far off to my right, though I can’t see them through the night. I sit behind the wheel a long while, staring into the darkness. My radio has no reception. Only then do I get out of my car, feel the wind, and think I hear someone’s call. Then I’m sure I hear it again. Tales of spirits are legend around Ireland, and of course no one believes them anymore...but the night is long and dark, and the hair on the back of my neck is standing on end. I climb back into the car, press the clutch, and take the long way round. ✚

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T L Guide

County Galway N OR TH E R N I RE L A N D

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DUBLI N

I RE L A N D RE N V Y LE

C E LTIC S E A CON N E M A R A N ATION A L PA RK REC ESS

C LI F DE N

ROU N DSTON E

N OR TH ATL A N TIC

GA LWAY S PI DDA L

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32 K M

STAY Ballynahinch Castle Hotel Recess; ballynahinch-castle. com; doubles from 180. Dolphin Beach House Clifden; dolphinbeachhouse.com;

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49 per person sharing. G Hotel Wellpark, Galway; theghotel.ie; doubles from 150. Quay House Beach Rd., Clifden; thequayhouse.com; 75 per person sharing. EAT AND DRINK Connemara Smokehouse Ballyconneely; smokehouse.ie. Crane Bar 2 Sea Rd., Galway; thecranebar.com. Fisherman’s Pub Recess; ballynahinch-castle.com; set menu 65 per person. Kai Café & Restaurant 22 Sea Rd., Galway; kaicaferestaurant.com; dinner for two 80. Róisín Dubh Lower Dominick St., Galway; roisindubh.net. Tig Cóilí Mainguard St., Galway; 353-91/561-294. Tigh Hughes Pub Spiddal; no phone.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SMART IDEA, THAT SMARTPHONE Hong Kong waits for no man or woman, visitors to the city included. That’s why Hotel ICON has introduced complimentary smartphones to each of its 262 luxurious rooms and suites. With this modern guestroom amenity in hand, you’ll receive unlimited international and local calls that cover 25 countries as well as Hong Kong, and unlimited 3G data and Wi-Fi tethering capabilities to other devices. The smartphones also offer a number of useful travel apps, a series of helpful articles about the best of Hong Kong and even a currency converter that can handle any shopping expedition. Want to connect back with the Hotel ICON as you roam around the city? The smartphone does that too, as easily as if you were lounging in your room. Hotel ICON continues to present the innovative and stylish side of Hong Kong through its interior design, by William Lim; through classic touches by fashion doyenne Vivienne Tam in the exclusive designer suite; and in the clean-cut outfits of the helpful staff, which were designed by Barney Cheng. Don’t overlook the hotel’s eclectic art collection, home to some of Asia’s best artistic talents. Of course, you can find more information on your hotel smartphone. T 8 52 3 4 0 0 10 0 0 w w w. h o t e l-i c o n . c o m 17 S c i e n c e M u s e u m R o a d , Ts i m S h a Ts u i E a s t , K o w l o o n , H o n g K o n g


Our Definitive Guide to

Fast-paced and frenetic, the city is continually changing, so lace up your walking shoes and get ready to uncover some new urban gems. By Christopher Kucway. Photographed by Philipp Engelhorn


The bright lights of Central. Opposite: At Hotel Indigo

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HONG KONG

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Sheung Wan Sai Ying Pun Star Street

Tai Hang Chai Wan

Aberdeen

2 KM

Lay of the Land Sheung Wan The first sign that modern Central is creeping west, this part of town continues to evolve. Sai Ying Pun Here the focus is on bars and restaurants along First and Second streets, and up the steep Centre Street. Star Street Tucked into a corner of Wanchai, this makes for easy night out. Aberdeen A minor trek from Central, the south side of the island is home to a handful of galleries and restaurants. Tai Hang Southeast of Causeway Bay, it sells itself as a slower paced Soho with its constantly changing eateries. Chai Wan Off the beaten path but still on the MTR, a neighborhood with new book and coffee shops. Getting Around The MTR (mtr.com.hk) is the best way around, though it’s a crush at rush hour. Taxis are inexpensive, but are divided into cabs serving Hong Kong Island, Kowloon or the New Territories.

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A twin room at pentahotel.

Some new addresses and two landmark hotels. THE NEWCOMERS Indigo A little bit of the street creeps into the hotel’s interiors with eyepopping colors, mixing quirky style with modern comfort. Rooms, while small, make good use of their space—for the most airiness, request a corner room, where two walls are glass. ihg. com; HK$1,600. Mira Moon This 91-room newbie in the depths of Wanchai aims to lend traditional Chinese motifs a contemporary European touch, with mixed results and a slightly cramped feel. On the upside, the funky bathrooms have soak-worthy standalone tubs. miramoon hotel.com; HK$1,440.

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pentahotel First hint that something fun is afoot: the signage makes this hotel look like an old cinema. Further evidence includes aged brick walls and reclaimed oak backdropping this playful property that continues with the theme of Hong Kong-inspired touches from local design brand G.O.D. pentahotels.com; HK$800. Hotel ICON Call it rooming with roaming: the innovative Hotel ICON now offers its guests smartphones loaded with info on Hong Kong, not to mention the ability to make calls locally and to 25 international

countries without roaming rates. Rooms are smartly designed and comfortable, but if money is no object (it’s HK$30,000 a night, if you must ask) opt for the Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam—it feels like a personal apartment, one with great views of Hong Kong Island. hotel-icon. com; HK$1,950. THE CLASSICS Mandarin Oriental The official hotel for this month’s Art Basel, the property is awash in an artistic theme— from artisanal chocolates to an in-house exhibition. Snag a special room rate May 14 to 19 that includes entry for two to Art Basel. Even if

you’re not staying here, stop by for a meal or drinks: special dining menus include tickets to the fair; at M Bar, a series of cocktails tied into Art Basel is available May 5 to 25. mandarinoriental.com; HK$5,999. Peninsula Fresh off its 85th anniversary last year, this landmark isn’t slowing down. Many head to the Pen for high tea; for a change of pace, book a table at Spring Moon for dim sum. High-tech rooms are fitted with customized, interactive tablets, along with touch-screen wall panels, to control your stay. peninsula.com; HK$4,480.

Hotel prices represent starting rates for double occupancy.

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

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

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See Do Art, history and hiking this month in Hong Kong.

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Art Basel This month sees Art Basel take on the city, showcasing more than 3,000 artists and 245 galleries from 39 countries. The main event (this year, with a film-focused component) runs May 15 to 18 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Each of the first three nights, Berlin artist Carsten Nicolai will turn the 118-floor International Commerce Centre into an audio-visual installation; download the mobile-phone app to participate in it via audio. artbasel.com.

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Asia Society Set on Justice Drive in Admiralty, the Asia Society offers exhibits and talks that simply wouldn’t be available elsewhere. The downside is that there’s not always a program on offer, so best check ahead. This month’s Asia Society Art Gala is May 12, to coincide with Art Basel. asiasociety.org.hk.

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Liang Yi Museum If Chinese antiques are your thing, then this new museum with Peter Fung’s collection of Ming- and Qing-dynasty furnishings is a must. The former banker views his 1,860-squaremeter showcase as a chance to reunite long-lost pieces of furniture—one pair of chairs took him 20 years to track down and purchase. 181-199 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan; 852/28068280.

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Sai Kung Had enough of culture, cuisine and Central? Take a day to hike the natural side of Hong Kong in Sai Kung. Head to the coast near Long Ke Wan and you’ll be amazed at this pristine corner of the South China Sea. En route are Chinese fishing villages, bamboo forests, twisting rock columns and a few simple restaurants that are perfect for a mid-hike lunch. discoverhongkong.com.

Shop

Pata Negra House. Right: A throwback at Chenmiji.

Clockwise from top: A sweep of beach in Sai Kung; two of the exhibits the Liang Yi Museum; Art Basel lights up the night.

Three offbeat takes on retail therapy around the island.

SQUARESTREET Where else in Hong Kong but in Sheung Wan would you expect to find a watch and leather goods shop run by two Swedish designers? All of the items for sale here—extending to eyeglasses and some jewelry—key in on simplicity and functionality. Designs for both men and women are continually changing, so sign up for the shop’s newsletter. GF, 15 Square St., Sheung Wan; 852/2362-1086.

CHENMIJI This shop is a trip back in time. It’s chockablock with rescued European furniture and electronics from the 50’s and 60’s. Think a bulky Braun radio dating back to 1962 (HK$11,000) or a coffee table inlaid with hand-painted ceramics (HK$4,000) and you begin to get the idea. 4 Sun St., Wanchai; chenmiji. com.

PATA NEGRA HOUSE When on the lookout for new food, tasting is a pleasant necessity. This shop in Sai Ying Pun offers three different sampling menus of its Iberian wines and hams, hand-cut by a slicing master. The Monday to Saturday parties last from 7 to 10 p.m., the only hitch being you need at least eight people to participate. Shopping has never tasted so good. Shop E, 1 Second St., Sai Ying Pun; 852/25275181.

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Eat

From left: A new-look chicken bao at Little Bao; outside the always busy Chom Chom on Peel Street.

Some menus are new, others reinvented, but there’s never a shortage of great meals around Hong Kong.

121BC Two things to know here: book well in advance and heed the advice of the sommelier. Bianchi Macerati (whites grown like reds) are a specialty. The continually changing chalkboard menu— note the fresh pastas, which never miss a beat—is a winner, so make a point of ordering something you’ve never had

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before. 42-44 Peel St., Central; 852/2395-0200; HK$800. CIAK—IN THE KITCHEN Another Italian entry with an excellent wine list. The name at this casual stop stems from the onomatopoeic sound of a movie clapperboard closing. And casual it is, based on the idea of an Italian grocery where you can either eat in or take away. Save room for dessert: the muchlauded bakery churns out organic treats made from a yeast produced from Italian grapes. 3F Landmark Atrium, Central; 852/2522-8869; HK$400. SERGE ET LE PHOQUE A contemporary French restaurant in Wanchai that uses Japanese and European

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ingredients on its constantly rotating menus—think pea gazpacho or lamb atop grilled eggplant. To top things off, wait staff in this minimalist space often seem downright Parisian in their indifference. 3 Wan Chai Rd., Wanchai; 852/5465 2000; HK$1,000. LITTLE BAO Warning: Just before it opens at 6 p.m., there could be a queue of two dozen or more, significant since there are only 17-odd stools in the place. Staff is beyond friendly—not always a given in Hong Kong—despite the hectic pace, and everything on the small menu is a hit. Must

order: chicken bao. And please note the sign: “No Bao Cutting.” Stop in for a snack or a full-on dinner. 66 Staunton St., Central; little-bao.com; HK$450. CAPRICE How do you replace a Michelinstarred chef? Usually, the right answer is that you cannot, but at the Four Seasons that doesn’t matter with the arrival of Fabrice Vulin, whose signature dishes— such as frogs’ legs Provençale with black olive breadcrumbs— cover French diaspora flavors from Brittany through to Provence and down to Morocco. 8 Finance St., Central; 852/3196-8860; HK$2,560.

Restaurant rates represent approximates prices for dinner for two.

I N S E T: C H R I S T O P H E R K U C W AY

CHOM CHOM There’s a laid-back vibe at this Vietnamese outpost with a small, energetic drinks menu. Vietnamese food is made with myriad ingredients that aim to pique your taste rather than overpower. Try the beef spring roll starter and you’re well on your way. 58 Peel St., Central; HK$500, no reservations.


Local Take Three residents share their favorite spots in the city.

UMBERTO BOMBANA MAGNUS RENFREW

JOHANNES PONG

Curator, Art Basel

Writer and editor

“If you want to keep up with the arts in Hong Kong, visit open studios. Contemporary art stops that I recommend include Parasite Art Space (para-site.org.hk) and Asia Art Archives (aaa.org.hk), both in Sheung Wan, and Spring Workshop (springworkshop.org) in Aberdeen. I travel a lot—I’ve been in London, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and New York recently—and think that the art scene in Hong Kong is worth more than just a quick look.”

Chef, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana

“Though I run an Italian restaurant, “In Hong Kong, things aren’t always in my recommendations for eating in the most obvious place. Mott No. 32 (mott32.com; drinks for two HK$200), a Hong Kong revolve around one thing dark, sexy underground cavern and one thing only: Cantonese food. oozing industrial Chinoiserie chic, Try Celebrity Cuisine (852/36500000) at the Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, the just opened in the basement of the dim sum at always popular Maxim Standard Charter Bank Building. Go Palace (852/2521-1303) in City Hall, for the Peking duck and the creative and don’t overlook the chain Din Tai cocktails. Amid the old Cantonese Fung (dintaifung.com.hk). While Hong eateries on Second Street and Kong has the best Cantonese food in Pokfulam Road, an old ping-pong the world, you can also find food from gymnasium is now Ping Pong Ginoteria (129 Second St.; drinks for any other country as well, so I think two HK$200), a new gin bar with a that makes the city one of the top hipster clientele who prefer the high three places in the world to eat.” ceilings and bohemian neighborhood.”

After Dark

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Ham & Sherry Like something out of Portuguese Macau, the blue-and-white tile restaurant/ bar is the go-to address when it comes to Hong Kong’s newfound love of all things iberico. Can’t snag a table? Head down the side alley to the small bar in back for Cleansing (beers), Water of Life (vodkas), Botanicals (gins), Sugar Cane (rums) or Agave (tequilas). GF, 1-7 Ship St., Wanchai; 852/2555-0628; HK$180. Salon No. 10 With the feel of an old gentleman’s club but sporting a small dance floor, Salon No. 10 is the spot to chill with a cocktail or two. Sure, you could go for a classic martini—but absinthe is also a late-night option. GF, 10 Arbuthnot Rd., Central; 852/2801-6768; HK$200.

Tipping Point Brewing Co. An easy choice on a humid night in Hong Kong. There are seven or so well-curated beers on tap on any given evening, a series of offerings from New Zealand’s MOA being the most current. MOA Noir, for example, tastes of coffee and chocolate. GF, 79 Wyndham St., Central; 852/2868-2892; HK$160. The Lounge & Bar If you’re in need of an exclusive spot for a drink, you couldn’t do much better than one of the 12 leather seats at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong’s reworked bar. With floor-to-ceiling windows on the 102nd floor, the bar is overseen by mixologist Lewis Tsang. His creations includie a Vesper martini, named after James Bond’s first love, Vesper Lynd. International Commerce Centre; 1 Austin Rd W; 852/2263-2270; drinks for two HK$396.

Clockwise from above: Tipping Point for microbrews; a Vesper martini; at Ham & Sherry.

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Last Look

Photographed by Alberto Buzzola

Taiwanese Festivals Confucius’s Birthday The 37-part, hour-long Confucian Ceremony in Taipei is a precisely choreographed tribute by students and politicians, musicians and dancers, to the “Prince of Culture,” who was born 2565 years ago this September 28.

Donggang Wang Yeh Every three years, Donglong Temple in the southwest hosts an eight-day festival culminating in the burning of diety Wang Yeh’s boat—meant to expel pestilence and evil. Every job, from boat building to sedan carrying, is hereditarily assigned.

Dragon Boat (or, Duanwu Jie) With boat races on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (this year, June 2), the festival is commonly said to appease Qu Yuan, a water spirit who drowned in 278 BC and is fed rice balls, wrapped in bamboo leaves as protection from a poaching dragon.

Ai Jin Li In the mountain village of Wu Feng, members of the small Saisiyat tribe annually commemorate their ancient defeat of neighboring aboriginal group believed to have first come from Africa.

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Profile for Travel + Leisure  Southeast Asia

May 2014  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia May 2014

May 2014  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia May 2014