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Cocktails at Ku DĂŠ Ta overlooking the heart of Singapore, page 90.

Volume 06 / Issue 10


October 2012 Features

jessIca sample


The Spice of Life Nutmeg trees and coral reefs abound in the Banda Islands. On the trail of colonial invaders—and wild dolphins—adam skolnick discovers how these Indonesian islands helped birth the modern world. photogr aphed by foued k addachi . guide 94


The Sustainable Seven Luxury and ecotourism can coexist. naomi lindt checks out some options.

104 Global Vision Awards This year’s standardbearers for responsible tourism—from a private island in Cambodia to a Peruvian village on the verge of a travel boom. 112 A Different Nature For centuries, the gardens of Kyoto have defined a unique, subtle aesthetic—

an otherworldly fusion of landscape and design. by roxana robinson . photogr aphed by tetsu ya miur a . guide


118 Escape to the South Seas A thatched-roof hut. A blue lagoon. And not a soul in sight: In search of the ultimate get-awayfrom-it-all fantasy, andrew mccarthy explores the atolls of French Polynesia, each more remote than the last. photogr aphed by jessica sample . guide 126

A lookout over Cook’s Bay on Moorea, French Polynesia, page 118. 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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dest i nat ions

by merrit t gurley


Walking the Long White Cloud Te Araroa, in New Zealand, is one of the longest walks in the world. k arryn miller offers an adventurer’s guide to this seven-city journey by foot.


habitat that’s home to a new species of gibbon.

Boom to Bling A fashion company is buying back undetonated explosives and transforming the metal into stylish jewelry.

Combusting in Camiguin An island in the Philippines has a lush natural beauty that could be gone in a molten minute.

Plus Experimental fashion designer Amy Winters; Asia’s most amazing races; Ferragamo through the years; and more. Trip Doctor 69

Singing with Gibbons nick y sullivan ventures into the rainforest of Cambodia to explore a

How Low Can You Go? Low-cost carriers are leaving their mark around Southeast Asia. naomi lindt reads the fine print.


Gorilla Safari How to explore mountain gorillas’ last remaining habitats.


It Ain’t Easy Being Green jennifer chen examines greenwashing in the travel industry.

by gabrielle jaffe




Finding Lost Gadgets Tracking services to help you recover lost devices.


T+L’s Top 40 Adventure Outfitters Choosing that next great trip into the outdoors means knowing what kind of adventure you’re after. Our directory of standout specialists for seven types of getaways, ranging from safaris to biking tours. Best Deals The brandnew Banyan Tree Lăng Cô in Vietnam, a spa break in Singapore, get romantic in the Maldives. Plus Explore Brunei’s rich heritage with a package holiday. Decoder

128 Los Angeles From Venice to Downtown, L.A. has evolved into a stylish collection of urban enclaves—full of to-die-for shopping, art, eating and,

Departments 14 16 … i n b o x 18

e d i t o r ’s n o t e

contr ibu tors

Radar 26

12 …

yes, stargazing. by david a . k eeps . photogr aphed by amanda friedman

Last Look 134 Chiang Rai, Thailand At the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. photogr aphed by marisa marchitelli

on the cover The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Phuket. Photographed by Brent Madison. Model: Daojai Tanommuang. Styling by Tawn C. Make-up & Hair by Albert Schipps. Assistant: Stacy Nicole Thomas.

The bathroom of a tented villa at Banyan Tree Madivaru, page 23.


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c o u r t e s y o f b a n ya n t r e e



october 2012 123 lonDon, 50 112 K yoto

florence, 47 128 los angeles



l aos

camboDIa, 23, 63

Banda isl ands




new Zeal and







Banda islands


january through march are the driest months, with temperatures ranging between 21 and 33 degrees celsius. avoid june, when it’s certain you’ll see rain.

a good breakfast complete with nutmeg jam.




expect fine weather between april and june, with november to january being the coolest time of year on these tropical islands.

the price of admission to the ardent Hot springs for you and four friends.




spring and autumn are the best times, so that means in march, april, october and november. summers can be sticky, winters too cold.

anything made from Kurodani japanese paper since Kyoto is one of the few places where the genuine paper is still made.




the coolest and driest season for the country extends from november to february. once april rolls around, the temperature soars.

a cappuccino made with locally grown coffee beans and a baguette sandwich.


los angeles


october through December are cooler in the city, with the lows dropping into the teens around christmas.

In-n-out burger’s trademark Double Double cheeseburger and regular fries.


new Zealand


spring time, october and november, is a great period to go trekking, though you might need rain gear in your pack.

a tasting flight of five wines at cloudy bay vineyard, in marlborough on the south Island.


Long Weekend


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Editor’s Note

where to find me @CKucway on Twitter

adapt and make a Difference

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. 14

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Next to the Kinetic Rain sculpture in Changi Airport.

our next stops


Phuket Japanese ski holidays Ever-changing George Town

lee cHIng wern


n airport is the last place you expect outdoor gardens worth visiting, but that’s where I find myself as we’re putting together this, our annual green issue. Just think along the lines of sunflowers, cacti, orchids and departure boards. It’s all a part of Singapore’s revamped Changi Airport and, for once, I am not rushing to catch a flight—instead I’m checking out a butterfly garden. This is an airport where passengers can swim in an outdoor pool, indulge in a massage at any one of four spas or simply be mesmerized by the public art on display. (Hint: head to Terminal 1 for a glimpse of Kinetic Rain, a sculpture of more than 1,200 bronze raindrops that perform a 15-minute well-choreographed dance, stopping most in their tracks.) Changi, my guides tell me over a great bowl of laksa, is meant to be more than simply an airport, which means constantly tweaking the existing facilities and adding more to cope with demand—and that’s where its success lies. So, take some time to wander around next time you’re passing through Singapore and don’t be surprised to see more changes in the near future. That ability to adapt is a common thread throughout our green issue. Nowhere is the power of innovation more apparent than in our second annual Global Vision Awards (page 104), where Asia continues to have a strong presence, whether it’s at a large hotel chain such as Shangri-La or Taj, in far-flung regions such as Ladakh or Pingyao, or programs where you can participate in a community-building project or preservation work. The results are thought provoking to say the least and are likely to spur you into planning your next vacation with an eye towards making a difference. The awards, and this month’s other green stories, underscore the fact that being green does not necessarily mean giving up on luxury or comfort. You’ll see this woven throughout our look at eco-resorts (“The Sustainable Seven,” page 96). The more adventurous among you will want to look into trekking in New Zealand (“Walking the Long White Cloud,” page 40), where writer Karryn Miller offers the lowdown on traversing the country by foot, which you have to admit is one green way to travel.— christopher kucway


Karryn Miller

Tetsuya Miura

Andrew McCarthy

Writer “walking the long white cloud” (page 40).

Photographer “a Different nature” (page 112).

Writer “escape to the south seas” (page 118).

hiking makes you feel... Energized and healthy. My body craved fresh air while I was living in Hanoi, and it doesn’t get any fresher than in the woods in New Zealand. reinvigorating old traditions There’s more focus on preserving Maori culture than when I was younger. This year, Auckland’s Maori Statutory Board recommended to the city council that learning Maori language at school be compulsory. best new zealand view Looking out over the South Island’s Milford Sound from a prop plane at 2,100 meters. favorite wildlife The kiwi, our native flightless bird. It may not be the most colorful or have the most beautiful song, but it is unique and a symbol of the country. where’s your trail leading you next? Mumbai, India, for two years.

quintessential kyoto Walking Miyagawa-cho’s alleys, with their rows of teahouses and strolling geishas, lets me slip back in time. best time to visit The beginning of April, when the cherry trees are often in full bloom. The end of November is also beautiful in Kyoto, when the leaves are aflame with autumn color. what’s in your own garden? I dream of one day having a real garden at my home in Tokyo; until then, I fill my balcony with geraniums, gum trees and lavender. favorite photo subject Frozen lakes. I’m most inspired by landscapes covered with snow. if you weren’t a photographer, you’d be... A chef.

how to truly let go Leave the devices at home (gulp!) and then give time time. food to fly back for Poisson cru—raw tuna soaked in lime juice and then doused in coconut milk. It should be French Polynesia’s national dish. I had it everywhere. you’re stuck on a desert island. what will get you through? The novel Stoner by John Williams and Bruce Springsteen’s album Born to Run. first-time visitors to tahiti should... Watch out for falling coconuts! read all about it My travel memoir, The Longest Way Home (Free Press), was published last month. Follow him on Twitter @ AndrewTMcCarthy.

‘leave the devices at home (gulp!) and then give time time.’ —andrew mccarthy


tweet for your travels Thank u, page 91 in T+L’s August issue [“How social media will change the way you travel”] is perfect. Just what I needed! Congrats on another outstanding issue. @danelleruth Oolong Pairing? I’ve tried oolong macarons at Paul Lafayet in Hong Kong [“Mad about Macarons;” September 2012]. Wonder if they go well with oolong tea. @wik_ky Dishing Bali When I first saw your September issue, I thought, not another Bali story. Then I read about cooking schools there [“Bite-Size Bali”]. Now I’m convinced that signing up for a class or two is a great way to learn about the island and pick up a few culinary skills on the way. Sandy Oh hong kong

Is it just me or should we be amazed that travel agents even still exist? Unless you’re planning a specialized trip where you need someone with a very specific understanding of a place or type of journey, with the growth of online planning, I can’t see much use for agents anymore. I do all my bookings myself and find that airlines and hotels often offer special discounts to those of us who do. I’ve become my own best travel agent. It’s really just a case of knowing where best to look when you’re planning your trip. Lucinda Ching singapore

contact info

Sounding off A Street Staple Everyone has an opinion of local dining around Asia, so “Street Food 101: A Global Guide” [September] hit a nerve, especially in Singapore. It’s a city that knows its street food and a few readers pointed out that it was an oversight to exclude the seafood restaurants along the East Coast Parkway. Meanwhile, the T+L Tip Sheet struck a positive chord among readers, offering advice on dining al fresco. What to order? There are more dishes worth trying than days in your vacation.

Got something to say? Tell us at,, f, or @TravLeisureAsia. Comments may be edited for clarity and space.

editor-in-chief art director features editor senior designer designer assistant editor—digital assistant editor

Christopher Kucway James Nvathorn Unkong Merritt Gurley Wannapha Nawayon Chotika Sopitarchasak Wasinee Chantakorn Diana Hubbell

regular contributors / photographers Cedric Arnold, Jennifer Chen, Robyn Eckhardt, Tom Hoops, Philipp Engelhorn, David Hagerman, Lauryn Ishak, Naomi Lindt, Jen Lin-Liu, Brent Madison, Nat Prakobsantisuk, Aaron Joel Santos, Adam Skolnick, Darren Soh, Daven Wu

chairman president publishing director

publisher digital media manager senior account manager business development managers consultant, hong Kong/macau chief financial officer production manager production group circulation manager circulation assistant

J.S. Uberoi Egasith Chotpakditrakul Rasina Uberoi-Bajaj

Robert Fernhout Pichayanee Kitsanayothin Joey Kukielka Michael K. Hirsch Louisa Daly Shea Stanley Gaurav Kumar Kanda Thanakornwongskul Supalak Krewsasaen Porames Sirivejabandhu Yupadee Saebea

american eXpress publishing corporation president/chief eXecutive officer senior vice president/chief marKeting officer senior vice president/chief financial officer senior vice president/editorial director vice president/publisher, travel + leisure u.s. eXecutive editor, international publishing director, international

Ed Kelly Mark V. Stanich Paul B. Francis Nancy Novogrod Jean-Paul Kyrillos Mark Orwoll Thomas D. Storms

travel+leisure southeast asia vol. 6, issue 10 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

news. finds. opinions. obsessions.


c o u r t e s y o f b a n ya n t r e e m a D I Va r u

going glamping looking for the rustic charm of camping paired with the glamour and comforts of a five-star resort? you are not alone—this winning combination is growing in popularity throughout southeast asia and has earned itself the portmanteau “glamping.” Here are a few glamp sites in the region worth checking out. ● Thailand Hintok river camp is set on the river Kwai, amid the lush jungle and rolling hills of Kanchanaburi.; doubles from Bt6,000 per night. ● Cambodia 4 rivers floating lodge is a nature-lover’s nirvana, with 12 luxury yurts surrounded by mangroves on the mekong.; doubles from US$152 per night. ● Maldives ever fantasized about being shipwrecked on a private island? banyan tree madivaru is that dream realized, but with lavish tent-villas and personal butlers.; doubles from US$2,255 per night. ● Indonesia amawana is the only resort on the island of moyo, and this protected marine park has some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world.; doubles from US$135 per night plus US$800 initial board charge. ● India oberoi Vanyavilas, on the outskirts of the ranthambhore tiger reserve, is a hedonistic hideaway that proves that sometimes more is more.; doubles from Rs39,000 per night.—merritt gurley

One of the tent-villas at Banyan Tree Madivaru. 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 t u to r i a l

Sarah Rutson the style-setter offers tips on packing creatively, and lightly.

Sarah Rutson, the fashion director of luxury Asian retail powerhouse Lane Crawford, is a celebrated fixture at London, Paris, Milan and New York fashion weeks. Her scene-stealing looks at these events are the stuff of blogosphere legend, but the London-born, Hong Kong-based Rutson is most sought after for her visionary seasonal edit of clothes that sets the tone for the company’s collection of five stores in Hong Kong and one in Beijing. “We include key and pivotal items as well as ‘wow’ pieces we know customers will gravitate towards,” she says. “Design is all about creativity and story-telling so we need to ensure a balance of both high fashion and commercial pieces to continue the designer’s story and tell it to our customers.” + Packing strategies: Rutson approaches packing with an eye for practicality. “I travel very lightly on business trips. Two suitcases are all I can take so my wardrobe must be flexible, interchangeable and, most of all, chameleon-like.” And for vacations, the less-ismore philosophy still applies. “I take many bikinis and strapless sundresses, two pairs of flat thong sandals—and that is it. I typically only have carry-on luggage for beach vacations.” + Favorite destinations: “I love Italy—Taormina, Panarea and most of the Aeolian Islands are divine.” For short weekend trips, Thailand tops the list. + Rutson’s preferred travel uniform: “I always wear a pair of cargo pants from J brand or Junya Watanabe, a pair of sneakers from Golden Goose, a Vince T-shirt and a sweatshirt from American Apparel.” + Must-have inflight accessory: “I travel with my goose down pillow. I fall asleep on every flight, from the shortest to the longest. There is something about airplanes—I don’t want to be awake for even a second while we’re in the air!”—mark lean

How to tie a sarong Does your beach cover-up never seem to stay on? Designer Milo Migliavacca—whose batik-print silk wraps are sold at the four seasons resort bali at jimbaran bay—shows how to do it right.

1 Hold unfolded sarong behind your back, leaving excess fabric on left side. fold right side to middle of waist.

2 wrap left side across your waist, pulling up the right edge. continue wrapping around the torso.

3 switch grips, and tie ends together in a simple double knot at the right hip.

what’s in Her Bag “I am constantly on the lookout for strapless cotton sundresses, especially when I’m in bangkok or India. I find these will go from the beach to an evening out, and always be the right look no matter where you are.”


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“I only wear flat thong sandals on vacation—my prada and sam edelman versions go with everything from a bikini to a dress and are always appropriate.”

“I love topshop opshop and eres res bikinis as my vacations are always somewhere warm by the sea. and nd of course a straw hat is a must for sun protection.”

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4 tuck knot and ends into waist and smooth out. sarong should hang flat and reach below ankles. —marguerite a. suozzi

l e f t: c o u r t e s y o f l a n e c r aw f o r D ; I l l u s t r at I o n s b y l- D o pa

t r av e l u n i f o r m

Radar jewelry

Boom to Bling

Peacebomb “story bangles.” Top: Molding the metal. Below: A bangle in its new home.


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This winding story starts with the war in Vietnam and ends with a bangle in Laos. Here’s the background: During the 60’s and 70’s, when the United States was mired in conflict with Vietnam, neighboring Laos became ensnared in what later was known as the Secret War. Over nine years, the U.S. dropped more than 1.5 million tonnes of explosives on Laos, making it the most highly bombed country per capita in history. After the war came to an end, the landscape was still covered in artillery, mortar shells, mines, rockets and grenades. Around 75 million unexploded bombs remain today. In the aftermath, a mysterious man from Houaphan journeyed west, collecting scrap metals from the war debris along the way. Seeing an opportunity in the ordnance, he melted the aluminum and poured the molten metal into molds that he’d carved out of wood, creating little spoons. When he settled at Naphia Village in 1975, his trade intrigued the

locals. He taught the Bouchon family how to replicate his work and, after he left the village, the father-and-son team took over. They now oversee 10 families who supplement their income by repurposing scrap metal. But the market for simple spoons was local, and there wasn’t a farther-reaching vision until 2009 when Elizabeth Suda arrived on the scene. Suda made her first trip to Laos on a research assignment with a Swiss NGO to generate sustainable electricity through hydropower. In Naphia she was inspired by the local craft but saw its limitations. “A spoon,” Suda says, “wasn’t going to do it, but a bracelet that would tell their story back home in the U.S. and the world over, that could really have an impact.” So she launched Article 22, (named after an entry in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights) a fashion company, and Peacebomb— the project to transform pieces of old artillery, like the stabilization fins of cluster ➔

courtesy of artIcle 22

a fashion company is buying back undetonated explosives from the world’s most heavily bombed nation and transforming the metal into stylish jewelry. by merritt gurley



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Peacebomb line. “After initial skepticism about their ability to make the bracelets, artisans are now stretching their technical skills and creativity to show that they can make even more than bangles and spoons,” Suda says. The jewelry range has grown to include a wider selection of designs, including cufflinks and necklaces, with two new items—a talisman bracelet and a “jewelagram” necklace—scheduled to launch this month. Demand for these items is on the rise. “Generally, consumers across the world are becoming more interested in products that have complementary aesthetic and social values,” Suda says. “They realize that their dollars can make a difference—that what they wear can not only look good but also represent that difference.”; bracelets starting at US$16. ✚ Where to Shop

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From top: Three Peacebomb bracelets; the coin-wrap bracelet and tribal necklace; spoons crafted from melted war metal.

courtesy of artIcle 22

bomb casings, into wearable jewelry. Suda began by training the local villagers, who already had experience and a supply chain in place for working with bomb metal, on how to make bracelets instead of spoons. There are a number of problems with having unexploded bombs littered across a country. Who wants to build schools, lay new roads or till farmland in the middle of a minefield? The danger of death or maiming is very real. The unexploded ordnances (UXOs) make it extremely difficult for the country to develop and for subsistence farmers to rise above the poverty line. For the economy and safety of the country to really improve, the bombs have to go. The Peacebomb jewelry line is designed to create a sustainable business model that will bring new sources of income to Laos while helping rid the country of bombs. “It’s trade, not aid,” Suda says. For every bracelet sold, Article 22 donates enough money to sweep three square meters of bomb-scattered territory. In 2011, that meant clearing the equivalent of 10,000 square meters of land. According to Suda, Article 22 expects to double that contribution this year. In addition to removing bombs, there are other benefits of the arrangement: “We’re able to pay the villagers who craft the bracelets four times what they’d make on the local market,” says Suda, “and we donate 10 percent of earnings to a fund that goes to providing the village with electricity and schools.” Now that there’s been a measure of success for the simple aluminum bangles, Article 22 is expanding the

Radar hotel

Natural Touches The 86-room Hotel Fort Canning provides an unexpected sanctuary in the middle of Singapore’s bustling downtown. Formerly an administration building for British colonial troops, this classily restored 1926 building is nestled amid the rich foliage of Fort Canning Hill, Singapore’s first botanical garden and former residence of ancient Malay kings. 11 Canning Walk; 65/6559-6770;; doubles from S$298.—melanie lee

to preserve the hotel’s historical legacy and charm, the building retains its original colonial façade with antique french doors.

In the Deluxe garden room, guests can enjoy their own private outdoor patio. the Andalay daybed is the perfect spot to lounge and admire the surrounding greenery.


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earth-toned silk linens from jim thompson, inspired by the bucolic environs of this boutique hotel, drape each of the beds.

courtesy of Hotel fort cannIng

a stand-alone bathtub greets guests at the room’s entrance. this feature is a tribute to majapahit royalty who used to have hot baths at fort canning’s natural spring.



Lights, Sound, Sundress

Does your top match the view? experimental designer amy winters creates clothing that alters in appearance depending on where you wear it. by merritt gurley

courtesy of amy wInters

Since Amy Winters unveiled her label, Rainbow Winters, just over two years ago, she’s been lighting up the fashion scene—often literally— with her mesmerizing blend of technology and stylish silhouettes that range from wearable to downright wild. The London-based multimedia artist trained as a costume designer at Central Saint Martin’s, where she experimented with fusing lights and opera costumes for some pretty funky frocks. After she graduated in 2006, Winters worked on a research and development project to generate a new kind of fabric: holographic leather. This novel composition was showcased in the electroluminescent Thunderstorm Dress, which debuted at the Made in Future exhibition in Milan. After the success of her more surreal ensembles, Winters launched a ready-to-wear collection on the runways of the 2010 London Fashion Week. Since then Winters has experimented with a variety of ultramodern materials and profiles that push the boundaries of science and fashion. Here we explore how technology, nature and travel have been constant sources of inspiration for the color- and pattern-changing collections.


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Technology Winters relies on a lot more than silk or cotton to craft her signature pieces. “I work directly with scientists and technology companies in developing the latest fabrics in smart textiles,” she explains. Her arsenal of materials includes sunlight and water reactive inks; electroluminescent panels; LEDs; digital bioluminescent prints; holographic leather; and polymer opal lycra, to name a few. Winters says these cutting edge textiles elevate the designs, lending that inscrutable oomph. “The technologies are an extra special ingredient,” she adds. “First of all, it is important the clothes are aesthetically beautiful, but adding an extra layer can turn a garment into a magical and interactive experience for the wearer.”

courtesy of amy wInters

Nature From her avant-garde Thunderstorm Dress (shown here) that flashes bolts of lighting in response to sound, to the Rainforest Dress that changes colors when it is exposed to water and direct sunlight, Winters creates clothing that has eye-widening reactions to the external environment. “Especially for my conceptual pieces, I imagine the clothes have a character and will take on the personality of an element,” Winters says. The latest collection, Autumn Winter 2012, highlights a new fabric dubbed polymer opal lycra. This shimmering material mimics the structural properties found in nature—the colors diffract rather than absorb light—like a beetle’s wings. And the fabric changes hues in response to stretch, reflecting different shades as you move. With biological elements acting as a pivotal source of inspiration for Winters’s work, it is no surprise that the multimedia designer takes an eco-friendly approach to manufacturing the clothing. The clothes are all hand-printed in her hometown of London with water-based inks, which she says she chooses because of their low impact on the environment. Travel From swimsuits to sundresses, Winters’s wearable concepts are designed for all her fellow adventurers. The chameleonic clothes were developed as part of a capsule collection for the “party lifestyle when traveling,” she says. “On trips, you never know where you’ll end up by the evening, and when you break away from routine, multi-adaptable clothes become even more essential.” ➔ t r av e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m o c t o b e r 2 01 2




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sea-flower and the classic stripe were given a modern overhaul.” Winters has a new collection currently in development that intends to explore the emotive and experimental capabilities of technology through the use of sensors. The details are under wraps for the time being but Winters’s recent musings may hint at what’s in store for her customers: “Imagine a white ‘postcard’ T-shirt that would act as a blank canvas, which could absorb the sounds and colors of the

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wearer’s holiday, serving as a visual and audio souvenir of their travels,” she tells me. “The final product would offer a snapshot memory of the holiday experience.” ✚ Where to Shop; The Autumn Winter 2012 collection is available for purchase worldwide online at, and in Hong Kong at; Thunderstorm Dress: £3,000; Autumn Winter 2012 collection pieces range from £139-£750.

courtesy of amy wInters

And while Winters makes clothing that is great for packing—one dress can be worn twice and look entirely different each time—travel has an even deeper impact on her creations. Her collection The Island was driven by shapes and colors she saw during her visits to the Greek island of Mykonos. “I noticed the pretty whitewashed buildings, the great blend of coral and turquoise, and weaved those through the collection,” she says. “The silhouettes reference vintage holidays, while prints such as the toile de Jouy

Radar fa m i ly

fac e-o f f

Asia’s Best Hotels for Families

dream suites at sea which is the most over-the-top new cruise cabin? you be the judge. by jane wooldridge

Reflection Suite

1. Discovery Shores Boracay, Philippines 97.02. 2. Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur, India 96.92. 3. Capella Singapore 94.25. 4. The Peninsula Shanghai 92.80. 5. Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, India 92.63.

6. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort Siem Reap, Cambodia 92.50. 7. Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur, India 92.22. 8. Ayana Resort & Spa Bali, Indonesia 92.00. 9. Oberoi Amarvilas Agra, India 92.00. 10. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 89.83.

scores shown have been rounded to the nearest hundredth of a point; in the event of a true tie, properties or companies share the same ranking.

launch october 2012

may 2012

the stats two bedrooms, two baths, 500 square meters (including veranda)

one bedroom, two baths, 610 square meters (including veranda)

wow moment

H ot e l s

HigH and migHty

basking in all that space—including his and hers walk-in closets

geek factor

the jw marriott marquis Dubai opens its doors this month, claiming the title of world’s tallest stand-alone hotel. the former record holders—all left in the dust:

221 meters

oceana Riviera

Celebrity Reflection

rinsing off in the glass shower cantilevered over the ocean

321 meters

Owner’s Suite


customizable mattress with a zero-gravity effect

current record 355 meters

3-D tV in the living room (glasses provided)

details for the 1%

333 meters

two crystal chandeliers, a wendell castle coffee table, hot tub on the balcony

226 meters

Hasley cashmerecovered armchairs, a deep soaking tub, a baby grand piano

let the butler... ...transport your bags from ship to limo to hotel 1977 Detroit Plaza Hotel USA

1986 Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore

1999 Burj Al Arab Dubai

2009 Rose Rayhaan by Rotana Dubai

2012 JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

the tab from us$11,999 per person, double, for seven nights

reported by kelsi maree borland. note that hotels in mixed-use buildings were excluded.


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from us$12,000 per person, double, for seven nights

Duty-freeze (v) To spend so much money at airport duty-free that your bank puts a hold on your credit card.

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...bring up a tray of manhattans and canapés at 2 a.m.

c l o c K w I s e f r o m t o p l e f t: ; c o u r t e s y o f D I s c o V e r y s H o r e s b o r a c ay; c o u r t e s y o f o c e a n I a c r u I s e s ; I l l u s t r at I o n b y l- D o pa

reported by nate storey


t+l p i c ks

amaZing races sate your appetite for adrenaline on some of the most stunning racecourses in the world. Here are our top destinations for pairing physical prowess with geographic majesty. china Great Wall Marathon

get ready to feel the burn. this race requires participants to run up and down 5,164 stone steps along the great wall of china and, if you can make it past all the stairs, the course weaves through villages and picturesque rice fields, for a unique, if calf-agonizing, experience. May 18, 2013;

nepal Everest Marathon

stow your vertigo for this test of physical endurance. the highest marathon in the world, the race starts from the everest base camp, at an altitude of 5,364 meters, and finishes nearly 2,000 meters lower at namche bazaar. the 42 kilometers over rough mountain trails are all worth it for the snow-capped views. May 29, 2013;

indonesia Bintan Triathlon

only a 55-minute ferry ride from singapore, getting to bintan is a breeze, yet the island has the charm of a far-away escape. Quiet sandy shores, a mangrove lagoon and turquoise waters add the element of exoticism to this coastal triathlon. May 18, 2013; bintantriathlon. com.

mongolia Sunrise to Sunset

on the northern border of mongolia, this long-distance run winds through Hovsgol national park and around its alpine lake. the rolling hills are grazed by herds of horses, camels, yaks, reindeer and ibex. the race across this pastoral paradise can span either a 42-kilometer or a 100-kilometer course, depending on the stamina of the contender. Aug. 7, 2013;

thailand Laguna Phuket Triathlon

this tropical trail is set on the popular island of phuket. competitors swim in the andaman sea and a fresh water lagoon, sprint barefoot on the beach, cycle the challenging naithon Hills and run through the surrounding luxury resorts for an action-packed day. Nov. 29, 2012; lagunaphukettriathlon. com. —merritt gurley

Runners braving the Great Wall Marathon.

Radar hiking

Walking the Long White Cloud

Emerald Lakes in Tongariro National Park.


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Š DmIt ry pIc H ugIn / Dre a mstIm

one of the longest walking trails in the world, te araroa winds from cape reinga in the north of new Zealand to bluff in the south. Karryn miller offers an adventurer’s guide to this seven-city journey by foot.

f r o m t o p : © l u c I D wat e r s / D r e a m s t I m e . c o m ; © r u t H l aw t o n / D r e a m s t I m e . c o m

Cape Reinga’s lighthouse.

In the 1970’s there were murmurs throughout the Land of the Long White Cloud (a translation of the Maori name for New Zealand) of carving a trail that spanned the length of the two islands. The pathway would start at Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s windy northern tip, where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide. From the lonesome lighthouse up top, it would wind down past black sand beaches and through colossal kauri tree forests; it would take in the country’s rich diversity from grassy plateaus to rocky dormant volcanoes. But such a grandiose concept seemed too far out of reach and so the chatter faded for 20 years until Kiwi journalist Geoffrey Chapple resurrected the idea. In 1998 he set out on a yearlong journey proving that the walk could be done. Thanks to his dream and the work of a team of volunteers over the course of more than a decade, Te Araroa ( opened to the public in December 2011. The 3,000-kilometer track is a combination of existing trails and new pathways. The full trek takes about four months and is best started in November or December. Smaller sections, like the ones listed below, can be tackled in a matter of hours or days.

waitangi forest track, Bay of islands The North Island’s Waitangi Forest Track is a culturally significant section of the pathway. The 14-kilometer stretch begins at the coastal town of Kerikeri, where indigenous Maori welcomed missionaries back in 1819. It takes in pine forests along with native bush and gives walkers scenic views of the turquoise Bay of Islands.

Overlooking Waitangi Bridge and the Bay of Islands.

The easy two-and-a-half-hour walk ends at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where in 1840 British settlers and Maori chiefs signed the country’s founding document. Today, the humble wooden paneled home of the first British resident stands in a manicured lawn nearby Te Whare Runanga, a Maori meeting house decorated with wooden carvings of ancestors and panels heavy with tribal designs. stay: The family-run Wharepuke Subtropical Gardens (190 Kerikeri Rd., Kerikeri; 64-9/407-8933;; cottages from NZ$150 per night) has five self-contained cottages set amid two hectares of verdant garden. In 1938 an organic orchard was planted there; 74 years later the place continues in the same vein. The owner, Robin Booth, is a keen landscape gardener who has worked internationally as a consultant for sustainable living through fruit growing. ➔ 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 tongariro alpine crossing, ruapehu

Hiking the volcanic terrain of Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Queen charlotte track, marlborough The Queen Charlotte track starts near the top of the South Island at Ship Cove and makes its way southwest to the coastal town of Anakiwa. The 71-kilometer four-day hike follows the craggy landscape of the Queen Charlotte Sound passing by isolated sandy bays and through lush native forests. From the ridgeline, walkers look out over undulating hills and calm coves. stay: Lochmara Lodge (Lochmara Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough; 64-3/573-4554;; units from NZ$90) has a selection of 14 chalets and units and runs a wildlife recovery center that breeds native endangered species, rehabilitates injured animals and educates guests on the

Kayaking on Lake Wanaka.


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Along the Queen Charlotte Track.

surrounding flora and fauna. The lodge’s Sculpture Trail features distinctly local art like Punga People—statues carved into the dead parts of the trunks of the punga tree fern.

glendhu Bay track, wanaka Otago’s Lake Wanaka has a number of trails that follow the jagged shoreline of this 192-square-kilometer pristine pool. Surrounded by the towering Southern Alps and grassy meadows, the postcard-worthy scenery makes for an enjoyable walk. The Lake Wanaka section treks range from two to four hours. One stint is the 15-kilometer Glendhu Bay Track that starts at the small lakeside township of Wanaka and follows the shore west to Glendhu Bay. stay: The Edgewater resort (Sargood Drive, Lake Wanaka; 64-3/443-0011;; rooms from NZ$190), with 104 rooms, suites and apartments, is located along the Glendhu Bay Track. The four-hectare lakefront property was the first hotel within Wanaka to be awarded Qualmark Enviro Gold, which at the time was the highest level of green rating available in New Zealand. ✚

f r o m t o p c l o c K w I s e : © D aV I D c H a D w I c K / I s t o c K p H o t o s . c o m : © H u g H m a c D o u g a l l / I s t o c K p H o t o s . c o m : r u t H l aw t o n / D r e a m s t I m e . c o m

Near the North Island’s center, at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the beauty of the country’s unstable volcanic terrain is most evident. Although the majority of Te Araroa has been designed for those of an average fitness level, this six- to eight-hour trek covering 19.4 kilometers is no stroll. The landscape is steep at parts and the weather can quickly change. But those who walk the scoria path towards Tongariro’s peak and nearby Mount Ngauruhoe will pass by mountain springs and emeraldcolored pools. They will see steam vents, an active crater and old lava flows. stay: The Bayview Chateau Tongariro (State Highway 48, Mt Ruapehu; 64-7/892-3809; chateau.; rooms from NZ$195) has stood regally at the base of Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park since 1929. The 106-room lodge is a throwback to the era of its opening with grand chandeliers, Art Deco paintings and Victorian furniture. The hotel supports several environmental endeavors in the park including The Mistletoe Project, which protects native species of the plant.

Radar icon

Bravo, Ferragamo! a passion for shoemaking has turned this Italian brand into a lifestyle powerhouse that defines la dolce vita. by mimi lombardo

c l o c K w I s e f r o m t o p l e f t: c o u r t e s y o f f e r r a g a m o (6) ; c o u r t e s y o f l u n g a r n o H o t e l s

↑ The Stars after opening a Hollywood shop in 1923, salvatore ferragamo became an a-list favorite. Here, he fits sophia loren, circa 1955. The Innovations ↑ among ferragamo’s more than 350 patents? the corksoled wedge. this version was designed for judy garland in 1938.

The Clothes → salvatore’s daughter giovanna introduced ready-to-wear in 1965. this look from ferragamo’s fall 2012 collection is by current creative director massimiliano giornetti.

The Hotels ↓ salvatore ferragamo’s son leonardo runs the lungarno collection, including Hotel lungarno in florence (below); another son, massimo, opened tuscany’s castiglion del bosco.

↑ The Museum rotating exhibitions at the company’s florence headquarters showcase famous ferragamo pieces, including the stiletto heels marilyn monroe wore in 1959’s Some Like It Hot.

↑ The Shoes men’s loafers were launched in the 1970’s—instant classics. these crocodile drivers have gold detailing.

←The Luggage a new addition to the brand’s repertoire: rolling bags, shown here in aluminum and leather.

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Radar reboot

tHe peninsula Hong Kong 2.0

the vanity has a fully lit, retractable mirror, while at the work desk (left), a universal adapter pops up with a single touch.

connect your laptop, smart phone or memory card to watch movies or slideshows on the 117-centimeter flatscreen television. free HD and 3-D movies are also available.


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the 10 multi-language touch-screen panels placed around the room control the lights, curtains, thermostat, television and Internet radio (all 3,000 stations).

guests can make free international calls on the wireless phones with VoIp (voice over Internet protocol).

Samsung Galaxy tablets (three per room) can be used to order room service, turn on the Do not Disturb sign, make housekeeping requests and more.

pHIlIpp engelHorn

the custommade sofa by Italy’s cassina has a built-in magazine rack and mini pullout shelves complete with drink coasters.

the he design incorporates subtle Asian-inspired accents, such as a brushed-metal peach blossom wall appliqué and lacquered burl wood.

the 84-year-old grande dame just unveiled the next-generation rooms of its modern tower, part of a HK$450 million, 15-month renovation. (the original building will reopen in april 2013.) t+l got an advance look at the 21stcentury makeover, complete with cutting-edge technology hatched in the hotel’s own r&D lab and a sleek new design that maximizes space and functionality. Salisbury Rd., Kowloon;; doubles from HK$5,880. —jennifer chen

Radar s e r i o us ly ?


tours gone wild

Kit Kemp


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If you’ve stayed at a Firmdale Hotel, such as London’s recently reopened Dorset Square (, you know that the group’s design director and co-owner has an affinity for patterns and embroidery. Kit Kemp—who just completed a new collection for Chelsea Textiles and a book, A Living Space (Rizzoli)—reveals her inspirations on the road. Biarritz, France “The shop Mimi’s Corner (33-6/19-13-3131) is owned by an eccentric Outsider artist who vandalizes pictures; I bought four of Queen Elizabeth II for the Crosby Street Hotel. Staying at Hotel du Palais ( is like being on the bridge of the Titanic, with sweeping views of the Atlantic.”

From left: London’s Dorset Square; Kemp’s new book.

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Kit Kemp at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel.

Udaipur, India “The rooms at the Oberoi Udaivilas ( have beautiful details. There are many shops hidden in the walls of the city palace, including Ganesh Emporium, which sells fabrics and saris.” Vienna “I love the way the Viennese wrap their rosebushes in muslin and rags for winter—like Christo sculptures. Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession movement also appeal to me, so I always visit the Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art (5 Stubenring; mak. at).” —shane mitchell


mini meals penny-size pancakes, teensy rice cookers, itty-bitty sushi. Re-ment (re-ment.—hyper-perfect plastic miniatures of foods and kitchen gadgets that I discovered in tokyo’s legendary Kiddy land toy store— embodies what I admire most about japanese culture: a laser-like focus on detail, devoted to even the most mundane parts of life, and a near-religious obsession with cuteness. re-ment is a spin on cracker jack: a toy comes in a small box with a token piece of candy, and you never know what you’re going to get (please, let it be the vintage toaster!). some surprises even grown-ups can’t resist. —jennifer flowers

c l o c K w I s e f r o m b o t t o m r I g H t: c o u r t e s y o f m o n a c e l l I p r e s s ; I l l u s t r at I o n b y l- D o pa ; a n g e l a m a n n e r s o n ; c o u r t e s y o f D o r s e t s Q u a r e H o t e l ; m a l l e y p r I e b e .

Here at t+l we’re increasingly concerned about the judgment of certain tour operators. ever in search of novelty, they’ve lately stumbled upon some questionable gimmicks. we’ve seen a spike in sight-jogging tours (“okay, we have four minutes to see the entire left bank—now go!”) along with the deeply embarrassing trend of guided segway rides. some jokers are even offering motorcyclesidecar tours of beijing. terrific! let’s go out in a tiny, exposed vehicle where we can get a frontrow view of exhaust pipes while chain-smoking drivers ash on us out their windows. sorry, but we’ll take the sidewalk. —peter jon lindberg

Radar A beachside view of the volcanic Mount Hibok-Hibok.

g e taway

Combusting in Camiguin “Our small island has seven major volcanoes. One is still active. If it blows up, it’s bye-bye Camiguin.” Our guide Bebok’s words, as we stand atop Mount Hibok-Hibok at 1,332 meters, do not exactly fill us with confidence. Perhaps remaining stoic in the face of this possibility is the price you must pay for visiting this paradisiacal island. Most travelers in the Philippines head straight to Boracay’s mega resorts in the Visayas region. It’s harder to get to, but if you head a little further south, Camiguin offers unspoiled beaches (no hawkers pushing sunglasses here) and a


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wild interior. Though small enough to circumnavigate in a day—the island is only 23 kilometers long and 14.5 kilometers wide—it has enough natural beauty to keep you exploring for weeks. Yet it’s a beauty that could disappear at any moment. As we clamber up a path of boulders that were once a molten lava flow, Bebok recounts Hibok-Hibok’s last eruption in 1951: “My father reached a boat in time and got out to sea. He watched the lava cover his town.” Today, thankfully, the island’s volcanology observatory promises more warning for residents and visitors alike.

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The view from the summit—not just to Camiguin’s own shore but also the islands beyond—is expansive and memorable. When we reach the bottom three hours later, I am grateful for the Ardent Hot Springs that lie at the foot of Hibok-Hibok and provide a natural Jacuzzi. Nearby, (everything is nearby in Camiguin) is Katibawasan Falls, which appears lifted straight out of a Gauguin painting: water plummets 76 meters through impossibly green foliage as oversized butterflies loop by. Camiguin’s landscape is equally rich offshore. One day, we ride out 10 ➔

© r ay m o n D l o w

an island in the philippines has a lush natural beauty that could be gone in a molten minute. gabrielle jaffe explores the precarious wonders.



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Natural wonders on Camiguin.

How to get there Oceanjet ( runs daily two-hour ferries between Camiguin’s Benoni port to Jagna in Bohol from P600 one-way. For a stunning aerial view of the island, consider chartering a plane with Aviatours ( from P41,400 for a two-seater from Camiguin to Bohol. Cebu Pacific ( flies from Manila to Tagbilaran in Bohol from P10,000 return (including taxes and baggage fees).

when to go Camiguin lies just outside the Philippines’s typhoon belt and has its own unique microclimate with steady temperatures throughout the year

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(in the high 20’s Celsius in the daytime; in the high teens at night). With no monsoon season, rainfall is pretty constant with an average of around one to two hours daily (mostly in the mountains while the beaches stay dry) but February to May is the driest period.

where to stay

Camiguin Action Geckos Dive & Adventure Resort Agoho; 63-88/3879146;; private bungalows from P1,800. Bahay Bakasyunan Mambajao; 63-88/387-0131;; doubles from P3,300. Enigmata Treehouse Maubog; 63-88/387-0273;; doubles from P800.

© Holger m e t t e / Istoc K p

minutes on a fisherman’s hopper to White Island. Little more than a sandbar, it is a great base for snorkeling. The seabed is crowded with perfectly shaped starfish, color-camouflaged bottomdwellers and clownfish hiding in purple anemone. An hour is quickly lost beneath the waves. On our return, the tides have transformed the sandbank. “Sometimes it’s shaped like a U, sometimes an S, sometimes an E,” laughs one of the fishermen, as he hands us opened urchins, pulled from the sea just minutes ago and seasoned with calamansi lime. Elsewhere on the island, a sanctuary run by local volunteers provides a haven for six clam species, including the onemeter-wide giant clams that have been harvested almost to extinction. Though small, Camiguin has an important history. The explorer Magellan is said to have landed here in the early 16th century. In 1901, during the Philippine-American war, Camiguinons led a speared rebellion against the occupying American soldiers, and later generations fought the invading Japanese during World War II. The most visible traces of its past are its Spanish colonial-era churches, the most atmospheric of which is found at Bonbon. With its thick stonewalls and cliff-top position, the ruins have the imposing impact of a fortress. But it could not withstand Mother Nature: an earthquake in 1871 toppled the church’s roof and today it stands overgrown with moss. Nearby, a sunken cemetery, which slipped into the sea during the same earthquake, is marked with a giant cross, which makes for a beautiful, if eerie, sunset vista on our last night. When we discover that the ferry service from Camiguin to Bohol is suspended, I am almost glad—I could easily spend another week here. But I have plane to catch, so I ask Michele Hess, the manager at Action Geckos Resort, to organize a charter plane. She smiles and says, “Transport can be tricky, which is why not too many tourists make it here. But we like it that way.” As I fly out that afternoon, looking for one last time at Camiguin’s dramatic peaks, I can’t help but agree. ✚

Radar on the map

Chinatown, Canadian Style

keefer st.

union st.


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500 ft (152 m) Clockwise from the top: A recent Martin Creed exhibit at Vancouver’s Rennie Collection at Wing Sang; Peking Lounge’s Tang dynasty figurines; family-style dining at Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie; a welcome sign at Charlie & Lee boutique.

1 Rennie Collection at Wing Sang culture mavens seek out works by risk-taking artists such as mona Hatoum and richard jackson at this opium factory turned gallery. 51 E. Pender St.;

4 Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie at the always-packed restaurant— whose walls are adorned with kitchen knives and silver-plated trays—diners sit at wood tables to share truffled pork dumplings and stir-fried sticky-rice cakes. 163 Keefer St.;

2 Peking Lounge the museum-like showroom peddles a carefully curated mix of contemporary furniture and chinese antiques (vintage armoires and chairs; tang dynasty clay figurines). 83 E. Pender St.;

5 Charlie & Lee the owners of this cozy boutique scour the globe for up-andcoming indie labels. favorites include shanghai-print tunic dresses from australia’s style stalker and natural-dye ankle boots by copenhagen’s Dico. 223 Union St.;

3 Keefer Bar In-the-know tipplers are buzzing about mixologist Danielle tatarin’s apothecary cocktails, inspired by traditional chinese medicine. try the Dragonfly, made with gin, pearl sake, lemon, ginger syrup and a magnolia-bark tincture. 135 Keefer St.;

b e au t y

one for all The latest go-to product for jet-setters: beauty balm. An Asian skin-care secret for years, the combination anti-aging concealer, moisturizer and sunscreen adapts to almost any skin type. And it’s finally going global, thanks to South Korea’s Dr. Jart, whose Premium variety ( is said to promote collagen production. Dior got into the game with Hydra Life BB Crème (, which blends a mattifying powder with hydrating plant extracts. Lab Series even created one for men ( They don’t call it the Swiss Army knife of skin care for nothing. Clinique’s oil-absorbing Age Defense formula ( uses light-reflecting pigments for a healthy glow. —christine ajudua


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f r o m t o p : s I t e p H o t o g r a p H y; H u b e r t K a n g ; j o s H u a m I c H n I K ; j a n I s n I c o l ay. b o t t o m , f r o m l e f t: c o u r t e s y o f D r . j a r t; c o u r t e s y o f c H r I s t I a n D I o r ; c o u r t e s y o f c l I n I Q u e ; c o u r t e s y o f l a b s e r I e s

3 4

main st.

andy livingstone park


e. pender st.

quebec st.

1 2

columbia st.

e. hastings st.

with galleries and boutiques leading the way, a historic downtown Vancouver neighborhood is coming into its own. Here, where to see and be seen. by Karen burshtein

Radar c o n s e r vat i o n

Singing with Gibbons

nicky sullivan ventures into the rainforest of cambodia to explore a wildlife habitat that’s home to a new species of gibbon.

© c o n s e r Vat I o n I n t e r n at I o n a l b e n r aw s o n

An adult male gibbon moves effortlessly in the treetops.

The rich forests of Ratanakiri province in northwest Cambodia are home to a recently discovered species of gibbon. This remote habitat, called the Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area, is a safe haven in which the population hopefully will thrive. A newly developed conservation initiative aims to protect the forest and this species through funding generated by ecotourism. There are only 15 gibbon species in the world, so the discovery of a new one three years ago was big news. The northern yellow-cheeked gibbon is found across northeast Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, but the small population faces growing threats: poaching, illegal

logging and agricultural development could destroy the environment that sustains them. Habitat destruction has already decimated gibbon populations in Vietnam, and conservationists hope that the influx of revenue from tourists will help the small population of 500 family groups in northeast Cambodia avoid a similar fate. I set out on a journey through the jungle in hopes of spotting the amber apes with my own eyes. Only mated gibbon pairs sing and as we stood in the gray pre-dawn on the edge of thick woods, we heard the first eerie notes, like the mournful song of a lost and lonely whale. After a short while, the female

chimed in with a rising call, and soon the pair launched into a delirious whooping, whirling duet that could be heard up to three kilometers away. The song, which marks the family group territory, lasts for up to 10 minutes—a brief window of time for the guides to find the singers. So they leapt into the forest and, without hesitation, we plunged in after them. We raced on, barely able to see the person ahead through the dim light and dense foliage, until our guides brought us to a stop. They had found the family casually going about their morning rituals. We watched in breathless fascination as they moved across the canopy, 30 meters up in the treetops, in a ➔

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At home in Ratanakiri.

In the last three years, new species of skink and bat have also been discovered in this “biological hotspot,” and protection of the site’s biodiversity is the primary focus of the project. “The idea of the ecotourism project is to make a link between conservation, using gibbons as the central focus, and livelihood security for the local community,” says Ben Rawson, the regional primate expert for Conservation International The goal is to convince local communities that preserving the environment is more lucrative than destroying it. It is a method that has

Climbing through the foliage.


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worked at some other sites across Cambodia, for example at Tmatboey, in Preah Vihear Province, where conservationists were able to protect the wild giant ibis population. On the tour, we spent two heartpounding hours tracking the gibbons, while the air hummed with the music of bugs and birds. Our guides, who seemed to be able to see through trees, pointed out dainty tree frogs; electric blue lizards; owls; squirrels; and dozens of other mysterious creatures that populate the enigmatic jungle. The camp is set in the middle of this wilderness and is fittingly rudimentary. It wouldn’t be an adventure otherwise. And the focus is, of course, not on our creature comforts, but on the comfort of the creatures.; US$400 per person for two people; US$300 per person for three to six people.✚

A common scops owl out on the prowl.

c l o c K w I s e f r o m t o p : © n I c K y s u l l I Va n ; © p e t e r j o n e s ; © n I c K y s u l l I Va n

languid flow that was embarrassingly at odds with our own stumbling, puffing progress below. In the jungle, it definitely makes more sense to be a gibbon. The family was entirely unperturbed by our presence—if they took note of our clumsy maneuvers at all, I imagined it would have been to laugh. But they have become used to humans, most often in the form of researchers with pots running around trying to catch their falling droppings, which must seem an odd pastime to the gibbons. The scientists are studying the gibbons’ role in seed dispersal, an essential part of the forest’s regeneration and survival. We were on the inaugural tour here in a partnership program of Conservation International, two Cambodia-based tour companies and the Kavet, the local hill tribe, who share the territory with the gibbons. The Kavet live in harmony with the apes, which they believe to be ancestral humans, forced into the trees after an ancient flood. Other communities in this area, where international borders mean little, have other ideas however, and the gibbons are hunted for the pet trade, meat and their supposedly medicinal body parts. Ending the poaching of gibbons has been an on-going struggle.

your travel dilemmas solved ➔

s m a r t t r av e l e r

76 …


78 …

a dv e n t u r e

Trip Doctor

80 …

de a ls


How low can you go? As low-cost carriers leave their mark around Southeast Asia, ticket prices keep dropping. naomi lindt pores through the fine print so you can get even more out of your inexpensive flights.

Illustrated by Wasinee Chantakorn

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asia’s newest lccs

scoot Website: Hub: singapore Destinations: bangkok; sydney; the gold coast; tianjin; taipei; tokyo Sample one-way fare: singapore to taipei; s$188 Cool perk: rentable ipads preloaded with a selection of films, television, music and games

peacH Website: Hub: osaka Destinations: sapporo; fukuoka; nagasaki; Kagoshima; okinawa; seoul; Hong Kong; taipei Sample one-way fare: osaka to Hong Kong; ¥10,380 Cool perk: free 10 kilograms of carry-on baggage—that’s three more than the usual seven

tHai smile Website: Hub: bangkok Destinations: chiang mai; Krabi; macau; phuket; surat thani Sample one-way fare: bangkok to macau; bt3,275 Cool perk: members of thai airways’s frequent-flier program, royal orchid plus, earn 100 percent mileage on smile flights


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ir travelers in Europe and the United States just can’t seem to get a break these days. They’re forced to reach deeper into their pockets to cover steeper fees and taxes while watching services and amenities disappear. And it looks like things could get worse before they improve, with grim forecasts for 2012 profits and oil prices rising. But here in Asia, not only do we have some of the world’s best airports and airlines, but we’re also in the midst of a low-cost carrier (LCC) boom that’s changing the face of regional air travel. Recent months have seen industry leaders bulking up with new brands like AirAsia Philippines, AirAsia Japan and Jetstar Japan, while major carriers, on the hunt for a bigger chunk of the action, are launching budget-friendly subsidiaries like Singapore Airlines’s Scoot and Thai Airways’s Thai Smile. There’s even movement in places like Vietnam, where the long-dominant, state-run national carrier is now competing with low-cost VietJet Air. The Asia-Pacific airline market is the fastest expanding in the world according to PhoCusWright, an authority on travel industry research. And LCCs are playing a starring role. The report found that the four largest LCCs in the region—Jetstar, AirAsia, Indonesia’s Lion Air and Japan’s Skymark Airlines—have maintained consistently higher profitability than the 10 largest network carriers over the past three years. What’s more, LCCs will triple the growth of traditional carriers in 2012. Despite concerns about the ripple effect of an economic slowdown in India and China, the aviation market continues to grow at a “torrid pace,” says the senior director of research at PhoCusWright, Douglas Quinby, who notes that orders for planes from those two countries are being placed in record numbers. Across the whole region, passenger revenues grew by 19 percent in 2011 and are projected to increase another 10 percent in 2012.

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That’s partly thanks to the new spending power of the emerging consumer classes. “The Asia-Pacific region is fertile ground for LCCs because, with growing middle-class populations, there is a continued, enormous influx of new travelers into the regional market, with an insatiable demand for low fares,” Quinby explains. “The first places these travelers are going to are local, affordable destinations that cater to their travel interests and budgets.” The numbers speak for themselves: In Indonesia, for instance, travelers taking to the sky are supposed to double in the next five years. Three of the world’s five fastest-growing airports (by passenger traffic) are in Southeast Asia—Jakarta, Bangkok and Singapore—while Beijing is threatening to knock Atlanta’s Hartsfield out of the top spot for passenger volume in the next few years. The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) estimates that Asia-Pacific’s 50-some LCCs account for about one-fifth of global seats. That’s up from roughly 12 percent five years ago. Experts predict this figure to climb to 30 percent—or a value of US$23 billion—by 2014. In Southeast Asia, about half of the region’s traffic is now driven by budget carriers. Since launching in 2001, AirAsia has come to define the Asian LCC. The company has ballooned to include five

Here in Asia, not only are we blessed with some of the world’s best airports and airlines, but we’re also in the midst of a low-cost carrier boom

regional subsidiaries—Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan—in addition to long-haul international carrier, AirAsia X. It has flown more than 150 million passengers to 85 destinations including Sri Lanka, Australia and Burma. Among the 40-plus routes launched over the past two years are Kuala Lumpur to Lombok, Sydney, and Seoul; Penang to Hong Kong; Phuket to Bali; Bangkok to Delhi; and Chiang Mai to Macau. Services will also be expanded to China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia. Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines launched low-cost subsidiary Citilink in 2001; this year, the carrier became a separate business entity, underwent a major rebranding and will see its network expand to Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Australia. Citilink has set its sights on becoming a major regional budget carrier and hopes

to carry 8.3 million passengers by 2013 (up from 2 million last year), with the goal of contributing 30 percent of Garuda’s revenue by 2015. The Philippines’s Cebu Pacific has also bolstered its coverage, introducing Manila to Siem Reap, Hanoi and Xiamen, along with Hong Kong to Kalibo (Boracay). The airline intends to add four Airbus A330s to its fleet in the next two years, which Cebu says will allow it to drive long-haul fares 35 percent lower than those currently offered by other carriers on the same routes, and as much as 80 percent less during fare sales. The carrier is also exploring options to provide non-stop service to destinations like Europe and the United States to target Filipino populations overseas. Jetstar, the largest LCC in Asia Pacific by revenue, now makes more than 3,000 flights a week to some 60 destinations and 16 countries across the region, ➔

• To keep up with the latest fare sales, make sure to “like” airlines’ Facebook pages and follow them on Twitter. • LCCs are getting in the loyalty game with programs like Tiger Airways’s Stripes, which gives members first shot at deals, and AirAsia’s Big, which offers free flights for points, while Jetstar travelers earn Qantas frequent-flier points.

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including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and, most recently, Japan. The airline has been actively expanding in Southeast Asia and is increasing routes to Indonesia, Burma, Thailand and China. Long-haul options connect cities like Singapore and Melbourne; Beijing and Auckland. Beating AirAsia Japan by a month, Jetstar Japan launched in July and a Hong Kong brand is slated to begin operations starting in 2013. Joining the budget airline boom in Japan is a third competitor, Peach Aviation, which launched flights from Kansai earlier this year. And all three LCCs are backed by national carriers— AirAsia and Peach by All Nippon Airlines; Jetstar by Japan Airlines. “Full-service carriers have launched their own LCCs in order to capture the growth in the budget end of the market,” says Brendan Sobie, a chief analyst at

CAPA. “As LCCs expand into more markets, they stimulate demand by lowering fares. Consumers and the overall economy stand to benefit.” With the launch of Thai Smile in July, Thai Airways is elbowing its way into the LCC market to regain some of the business it lost to Thai AirAsia and domestic budget airline, Nok Air. Thai Smile, a light-premium carrier, offers fares roughly 10 to 15 percent lower than its parent company’s to places like Phuket and Macau. And Singapore Airlines’s Scoot, which began flights to Sydney in June, will add Bangkok and Tianjin to its roster in coming months. All told, it’s a pretty picture for travelers in the Southeast Asia, whether they’re looking to explore their own country or head beyond borders and check out the regional at large. Says Sobie: “Overall, the outlook for Asia’s aviation sector is rosy. ✚

fare factors cHeaper is not always Better—maKe sure to consider tHese variaBles Before you BooK a ticKet witH a Budget carrier.

Which airport does it fly into? In Kuala lumpur, buses to the low cost carrier terminal take twice as long as the train to the International terminal. In the thai capital, the fast train to suvarnabhumi takes the stress out of sitting in bangkok traffic. but lccs— including airasia as of this month— usually fly into the city's farther-afield old airport, Don muang.


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What are the costs for food and baggage? If you’re flying long haul or spending several days away from home, you likely will need to check bags and eat something along the way—both of which you’ll pay extra for on an lcc.

How are the connections? lccs generally sell pointto-point tickets only, meaning you’ll have to go through immigration (if flying internationally), pick up your bags and check in again if you’re connecting to another flight. If you miss your connection, it’s your own fault and you might have to buy a brand-new ticket.

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Are you physically fit? If you’re pregnant, nursing a broken limb or in a wheelchair, think twice about a budget carrier. they often depart from the most remote gates and require passengers to take buses, climb stairs and walk considerable distances to board the aircraft.

lcc search engines • to see which budget carriers serve your airport or destination, start by checking sites like and that’ll tell you who flies where. • founded by two melbournians, unearths the cheapest fares between two places on any given date, while also providing a monthly overview of prices. unconventional search options like “bangkok to International” or “Hong Kong to phuket early December” set this site apart from others. • europe’s hunts for the lowest fares around the world on more than 400 airlines, including 100 budget carriers. the site’s easy-to-read results chart highlights the best deals within a seven-day range and can be filtered by number of stops and price. • singapore- and edinburgh-based compares fares on more than a 1,000 carriers. travelers can browse prices across an entire month or over the next year (choose between a handy chart or calendar view) to get the best possible ticket. • scours more than 500 travel sites, including major booking engines, national carriers and lccs to track down the top deals. the colorful site goes one step further with city guides and user-written blogs packed with travel advice. • for an easy, one-step search for the best flights over the next 15 days on airasia, jetstar, tiger airways and cebu pacific, check these no-nonsense sites:

Trip Challenge so How do i plan…

a gorilla safari?

what to Know Before you go

there are fewer than 800 mountain gorillas left on the planet. Here’s how to explore their last remaining habitats:

tHe climate In both countries, rains are heaviest from March to May, with a lighter rainy season from October to mid-December. Rwanda is at a higher altitude than Uganda, making temperatures slightly cooler. pacKing essentials Hiking boots with ankle support; a dry pack for camera gear; waterproof pants and jacket; gaiters; gloves; binoculars.

Inc. (; three nights from US$3,290 per person, all-inclusive) offers itineraries through Bwindi with seasoned local trackers. ✚


N bwindi impenetrable national park democratic republic of the congo uganda

virunga national park rwanda

safety tip Both countries were free of U.S. State Department travel warnings at this writing, though caution is recommended near the Congolese border because of civil unrest. Visit travel.state. gov for the latest information.

volcanoes national park


20 mi (32 km)


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BooK parK permits first only 64 permits are granted per day in bwindi. plus, it can take a day to travel from the lodges to one of the three entry points. make sure your outfitter books the lodge closest to the entry point noted on your permit.



one to watcH: democratic repuBlic of tHe congo the 12-bungalow mikeno lodge just opened in Virunga national park in the D.r.c. while political instability currently impedes travel to the country, Virunga has the highest biodiversity of any park in the world.

fast facts GETTING THERE outfitters take you from rwanda’s Kigali airport to Volcanoes park; reach bwindi by chartered plane from uganda’s entebbe airport.

tHe Best approacH the point of your trip is to view gorillas, but bwindi is rich with other flora and fauna. between tracking days, look for whitebearded l’Hoest’s monkeys, hike to waterfalls or visit a local village.

Hire your own porter though they are typically not included in your permit or guide price, hire one at the park gate. for just us$20 a day, he can assist you with your backpack and your water, or help give you that extra push up a hill. (a us$15 tip at the end is customary.)

outfitters Passage to Africa (; four nights from US$3,695 per person, all-inclusive) leads customized trips with the best guides to Bwindi and Volcanoes parks; Explore

WHEN TO GO jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov Dec

Michael Lorentz, owner of the custom-safari operator passage to africa and cofounder of, a social-media platform for wilderness enthusiasts, shares what he’s learned from his 30 gorilla treks.

VISAS required for uganda (available upon arrival).

VACCINES/MEDICINE yellow fever required; hepatitis a, typhoid, meningitis, rabies and antimalarials recommended.


put tHe camera down take all the photos you want, but remember you’ll only have about an hour with these amazing creatures, and this will probably be your one chance to see them in the wild.

mIcHael lorentZ

tHe destination The ideal option for value and almost guaranteed sightings is Uganda, where you’ll find the mist-capped Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, while Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda, is traditionally known as the best place to track.

Smart Traveler

By Jennifer Chen

It ain’t easy being green

more hotels tout their eco-friendly programs, while tour operators claim to follow “sustainable” practices. but should you take their word for it? jennifer chen examines greenwashing in travel. Eco-friendly. Low-impact. Sustainable. Since the release six years ago of An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary on former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore’s quest to raise awareness of global warming, environmental catchphrases are regularly bandied about by hotel chains and tour operators eager to prove their do-good credentials. Perhaps to their detriment. Sure, there are plenty of green initiatives from the travel industry that deserve praise—the decision by hotel chains Shangri-La, Peninsula and Fairmont to take shark fin off their menus, for instance. Like sustainable seafood menus, community programs and building schools, too, are efforts that should be applauded. But it’s hard to fend off cynicism when an “environmentally planned” resort island development includes an airport, casino and golf course. Or when a


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hotel points to a tiny garden and those “reuse your towel” cards as proof of their eco-conscience. So how do we do our part as travelers to support the right companies? For starters, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that travel has an impact on the environment. Air travel is a culprit, but it doesn’t stop there. Every hotel guest generates an average of one kilogram of trash per day. Hotels also use immense amounts of water—think of all the laundry and cleaning that goes on at a property, then tack on the number of toilets being flushed, baths being drawn and infinity swimming pools that need to be filled and that’s a lot of H2O down the drain. Estimates range from 750 to 900 liters of water per guest per night. In a report last year, U.K.-based nonprofit Tourism Concern cites tourism as the main cause of an impending water crisis in Bali. And

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then there are the hard-to-measure effects, such as the way the culture of a community can be changed when it becomes a tourism hotspot. So instead of shrugging off green efforts, here are some key ways to evaluate whether a hotel or tour operator is making a difference: Look beyond the hype. Would you simply believe a hotel that claimed to have the cheapest rates or the most luxurious rooms? The same holds true for ethical, environmentally sensitive travel. “I get suspicious if I see the words ‘eco-friendly’ in the hotel or the activity’s name,” says John Roberts, founder of the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, which has programs in northern Thailand. “Generally those that understand the terms don’t feel the need to use them.”

Illustration by Wasinee Chantakorn

Are they comfortable with questions? If a little digging doesn’t turn up answers, you should be able to pose queries directly to a tour provider or hotel. Here are some questions to ask a tour operator, along with the ecofriendly answers to look for: Q: Do you employ local guides and purchase locally sourced supplies for your trips? A: Yes. Q: How big are your groups? A: Small. Q: Do you have a revenue-sharing scheme with the local community? A: Yes. Be aware that communities don’t benefit much from all-inclusive packages. Q: What kind of accommodations are on the itinerary? A: Family-run or certified by a green hotel program. For hotels: Q: Do you have a wastewater system and other energy-efficient plans? A: Yes, and we use water-saving shower heads and toilets, energy-efficient light bulbs and

a system that automatically shuts off electricity when a room isn’t occupied. Q: Do you recycle? A: Yes. At the least, a hotel should sort its trash and have in-room recycling bins. Q: How do you dispose of garbage? A: Minimizing pollution and landfillcreation are key. Trash is a major problem in places like Bali, where landfills are overflowing. Some hotels, like the Alila group, work with local NGO Bali Fokus to compost and properly dispose of their waste. Any property powered all or in part by biomass is doing really well. Q: Do you employ locals and run outreach programs for the community? A: Yes. Providing jobs is the most direct way of ensuring that neighboring communities benefit from tourism. Q: Do you serve locally sourced food? A: Yes. By sourcing ingredients from nearby farms, not only do we ensure fresher food, but we also plow money

back into the economy. Organic can be a bonus, but it doesn’t make sense to be importing organic strawberries from California to a resort on the other side of the world in Thailand. Are they certified? Certification by a globally recognized program such as Green Globe or Earth Check is arduous, time-consuming and expensive. Auditors demand reams of hard empirical data, and, to maintain their certification, businesses are rechecked every year. So it’s safe to assume that any hotel or tour operator willing to undergo the rigors of certification is earnest about being green. Travelocity, which works directly with certification programs, currently has the largest directory of green hotels. You can rest assured those listed aren’t greenwashing: only hotels that have undergone tough second- or third-party certification make the cut. ✚


By Tom Samiljan

never again fear a dead battery: the pocket-size Verbatim Dual USB Power Pack ( is powerful enough to charge your phone and tablet simultaneously.

finding lost gadgets If you’ve ever reached into your carry-on only to find an empty space where your phone, computer or camera used to be, you know how thoroughly a lost or stolen gadget can ruin your trip. Fortunately, there are services to help track down your missing gear and protect you against identity theft. GadgetTrak Mobile Security ( brings the features built in to Windows Phone and iOS to Android and BlackBerry users: it will locate your phone using GPS and Wi-Fi and can also lock the device or wipe your data—even if someone inserts another SIM card. CameraTrace ( tracks a registered camera using metadata embedded in digital photos, so it can find any pictures taken with your camera that have been uploaded to one of many popular imagesharing sites.


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Knowing the location of your device is useful if you’ve simply misplaced it, but in the case of theft, it won’t do you much good without the help of the law. Unfortunately, limited resources mean few police departments will bother pursuing stolen tech gear. But when a laptop enabled with LoJack for Laptops ( is reported stolen, the program’s forensic tools automatically contact LoJack for Laptops’s central command every 15 minutes, making it easy to collect evidence that police can use for, say, a search warrant. LoJack for Laptops also employs a team of recovery specialists. “We have about 60 ex-police officers working for us,” says Mark Grace of Absolute Software, the company behind this product, “and they know how to work with law enforcement authorities across the globe to get these cases solved.” ✚

rest easy knowing your home is safe with Dropcam HD (, a personal HD surveillance camera. monitor online or via smart-phone app.

tired of all those cords? the sleek Duracell Powermat (iPhone 4/4S; duracell wirelessly charges your device using a custom phone case.

c l o c K w I s e f r o m t o p l e f t: D aV I D a l e x a n D e r a r n o l D ; c o u r t e s y o f V e r b at I m ; c o u r t e s y o f D r o p c a m I n c . ; c o u r t e s y o f 24 H o u r p o w e r s y s t e m b y D u r a c e l l p o w e r m at

t+l tech picks


t+l’s top 40 adventure outfitters

Choosing that next great trip into the outdoors means knowing what kind of adventure you’re after—and finding the right outfitter to match. We’ve created a directory of standout specialists for seven types of getaways, ranging from safaris to biking tours. But first, what traveler type are you? Answer the questions below and follow your path to a T+L exclusive trip. by bree sposato, with additional reporting by nikki ekstein and nina fedrizzi

discover your adventure personality. art here st

So you’re up for an adventure?

Yes, but I’m looking to keep my heart rate low (doctor’s orders).

How about cycling?

Can we break for Camembert and Bordeaux along the way? Count me in.

the glamtrotter page 81


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Definitely! It’s all about the adrenaline rush...

Errr...even lower than that.

...that you get...

...braving the wind and cold. the company of lions... Which can only be improved by...

How do you feel about traditional homestays?

...dogsledding lessons with an Alaskan musher. C’mon, this is a vacation! I’ll need turndown service...and a spa.

...paddling through Class Five rapids.

Sounds great— especially if there are yurts.

the culture Buff page 82

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...while... through the bush with biologists to track and tag them. ...landing my 360 in half a meter of fresh powder.

...sipping a freshly made G&T from the guarded veranda of my luxury tent.

...emperor penguins.

the weekend Zoologist page 83

the thrill seeker page 84

Illustrated by Wasinee Chantakorn

Trekking, Walking and Biking

traveler type

the glam-trotter An avid traveler who’s not afraid to get his or her hands dirty (so long as there’s a sink and top-quality soap nearby). The only thing better than seeing Machu Picchu last month? The bazillion-threadcount linens at the Sanctuary Lodge.

Alpine Ascents Adrenaline-inducing mountaineering trips that tackle the world’s tallest peaks, including less extreme itineraries such as a seven-day hike up Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. 1-206/378-1927;

Role Model meryl streep in Out of Africa (before she sold her good china). Gear the Handpresso portable espresso maker, since there’s no trek that can’t be improved by a great Italian dark roast (

t+l trip pick Volcanoes of Iceland beginner and intermediate climbers conquer Hvannadalshnúkur, the country’s highest summit. July–Sept. departures; nine days from $5,000.

Accessory moncler roxane jacket ( T+L Exclusive Trip Hiking the amalfi coast with gray & co. trek in style on this Italian jaunt along ancient roman coastal paths, which includes a private tour of the blue grotto, a cave on capri, hilltop stargazing (with a cold glass of limoncello) and overnights at le sirenuse, in positano. Year-round departures through 2012; seven days from $7,000.

Austin-Lehman Adventures Outstanding guides lead multisport excursions through the American West, Central and South America, and beyond. t+l trip pick California Wine Country go sea kayaking in tomales bay to spot seals, cycle through napa Valley and hike the redwood forests. June–Oct. departures; six days from $2,898.

Butterfield & Robinson Specializes in easy guided biking tours in culturally rich regions from Europe to Asia. New, more affordably priced Bistro trips in Europe adopt a can’t-miss formula: a laid-back pace, stays at family-run inns and good food. 1-416/864-1354; t+l trip pick Tuscany Bistro Biking pedal through the tuscan hills, stopping to sample pecorino and taste wine in chianti, cortona and pienza. June–Oct. departures; six days from $3,995.

Country Walkers Moderate and challenging walks

(and a few small-ship cruises) in 80 destinations around the world with a roster of insider guides, such as Morocco native Saida Ezzahoui, an expert on native flora and fauna. 1-802/2441387; t+l trip pick Turkey: Turquoise Coast sail from antalya’s old town to Istanbul, with visits to little-known roman ruins and secluded coves. Year-round departures; eight days from $4,298.

Gray & Co. Founder Cari Gray offers behind-the-scenes experiences— such as barrel tastings in Burgundy’s Bichot caves—on her finely tuned walking and biking itineraries in Europe, South America and more. 1-416/9984082; t+l trip pick For a T+L reader exclusive hiking trip in Italy, see “The Glam-Trotter,” above.

Prices throughout the Adventure Outfitters guide are listed in US$

Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures Serious treks through Western Europe (the Mont Blanc region; the Italian Dolomites), the Himalayas and southeastern Utah. Accommodations vary by region, from luxury tents to intimate chalets. 1-802/244-1387; t+l trip pick Italian Dolomites Trek Hike through quaint villages, magestic peaks and flowering alpine meadows on this trip through Italy’s famed mountain range. June 30, 2013 departure; seven days from $3,580.

VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations This 40-year-old Vermont- based operator leads relaxed bike tours in North America and Europe with an emphasis on food and history. t+l trip pick Maryland: Cycling the Chesapeake Bay

ride over gently sloping hills, feast on crab and stay at historic inns. Aug.–Oct. departures; six days from $1,795.

Local Culture Adventures by Disney Family-focused, immersive trips range from spotting scarlet-throated frigate birds in the Galápagos to lessons in kite making in China. New trips for 2013 go to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. 1-754/520-5100; t+l trip pick Jewels of Southeast Asia explore cambodia’s angkor wat, visit a working rice farm and take a cruise down the mekong river. Year-round departures; 12 days from $4,849. ➔

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Backroads Active travel (cycling; walking; sea kayaking; rock climbing) paired with unexpected cultural experiences (storytelling in Ireland; a game of boules in Provence; visiting mask makers in Bali). Multiple route options appeal to all skill levels. 1-510/5271555; t+l trip pick Holland and Belgium: From the Dutch Countryside to Beautiful Bruges pedal past flower fields, canals and pitchedroof farmhouses, with stops to learn how to make gouda cheese and to visit the unesco world Heritage site of Kinderdijk (known for its 19 preserved windmills). July–Aug. departures; six days from $4,198.

Boundless Journeys Culturally immersive itineraries in Africa, Asia and Europe, among other places, are infused with

the expertise of local staff such as Sangay Wangchuk, who has written a memoir about growing up in rural Bhutan. 1-802/2531840; t+l trip pick Bhutan: Across the Kingdom explore temples, hike to tiger’s nest monastery and learn about shamanism on visits to traditional villages. Sept.–Nov. departures; 18 days from $6,795.

Brown & Hudson This outfitter, founded by Philippe Brown, a 16-year luxury travel company veteran, creates bespoke private trips that explore the world—from Costa Rica to Cambodia—through the lenses of food, wellness and wine, to name a few. 44-20/3358-0110; t+l trip pick Burma study enlightenment with an abbot at a monastery, charter a plane into the heart

of the rainforest, snorkel in the mergui archipelago and recharge at a traditional teak house. Yearround departures; seven days from $20,000.

Classic Journeys Unbeatable access to experiences around the globe—learning firsthand about a family-run organic coffee plantation in the Galápagos; dining in a private home in Delhi—are woven into every walking-based excursion, from Ireland to Bhutan. 1-858/ 454-5004; t+l trip pick For a T+L reader-exclusive trip in Turkey, see “The Culture Buff,” below.

G Adventures Small groups, the use of local transportation and guides, and one-on-one connections are the cornerstones of the company formerly known as

traveler type

the culture Buff Speaks four languages, two of which are extinct. Owns a collection of Etruscan pottery fragments that’s the envy of the anthropology club. Recently acquired a rare shrunken head from the Shuar tribe of Peru. Role Model Indiana jones. Gear pantech element, at&t’s waterproof tablet, is ideal for research on the road—or at the excavation site ( Accessory steamline stylist series luggage ( T+L Exclusive Trip turquoise coast & cappadocia with classic journeys. start in Istanbul, then board a 21-meter gulet (teak yacht) to explore the coast. along the way, see cappadocia from a hot-air balloon and snorkel to ancient underwater ruins. Sept.– Oct. departures; nine days from $4,795.


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Gap Adventures. Hundreds of trips are on offer worldwide, but this year marks the company’s first foray into North America. 1-416/260-0999; t+l trip pick Guatemala Local Living learn how to make tortillas and weave colorful textiles during a homestay in a village on lake atitlán, in the central highlands. Nov.–Dec. departures; eight days from $499.

Geographic Expeditions This trailblazer explores the remote corners of every continent using guides with extensive on-the-ground networks, such as San Francisco–based Vassi Koutsaftis, who has been leading trips into Burma, Tibet and Nepal for 25 years. Newly added: a small selection of family trips. 1-415/922-0448; t+l trip pick Shikoku and the Naoshima Islands of Japan take a soba-making class, trace the old shingon buddhist pilgrimage route and sleep at a traditional ryokan. May–Oct. departures; seven days from $5,665.

Kensington Tours A vast range of personalized itineraries, including working on archaeological digs in Israel and trekking through the jungle to see gorillas in Rwanda. t+l trip pick Bali Orangutans and Dragons explore bali, fly to Indonesian borneo to observe orangutans and sail to rinca and Komodo islands to get up close to Komodo dragons. Apr.–Nov. departures; 10 days from $3,950.

Red Savannah All trips are tailor-made at this outfitter, opened last year by George Morgan-Grenville, a 24-year luxury travel veteran, and share an emphasis on meaningful interactions with

locals in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 44-12/4278-7800;

traveler type

t+l trip pick Machu Picchu, Trek in Style meet indigenous Quechua people before taking a guided tour of machu picchu. April–Oct. departures; eight days from $4,320.

the weekend Zoologist Asked for a butterfly net for fifth birthday; at 10 it was a microscope. Spotted rare birds on four continents and is currently ranked No. 48 on the American Birding Association’s competitive international list. After that black-grouse sighting at Loch Lomond, hopes to make it to No. 47 by year’s end.

Tauck This Connecticut-based company offers close to 100 trips, including river cruises in Europe and volunteer conservation programs in Grand Teton National Park.

Role Model jack Hanna. Gear sony cyber-shot Digital camera (Dsc-tx200V). It’s waterproof and dust-proof, and with its high-speed auto-focus, you’ll capture that hairy-nosed wombat every time (

t+l trip pick Culturious Costa Rica Visit small villages and coffee plantations before taking a horseback ride through a private hacienda and kayaking through a mangrove forest. Year-round departures; eight days from $2,770.

Accessory Dpc outdoors cotton/canvas mesh safari hat ( T+L Exclusive Trip rare shoebill safari with journeys by Design. channel your inner ornithologist on this Zambian safari, which has some of the best bird-viewing on the continent (rare shoebill storks; wattled cranes). Nov.–March and May departures; seven days from $3,955.

Travcoa Small-group journeys with luxury accomodations and local experts are Travcoa’s specialty. 1-310/649-7104; t+l trip pick Splendors of India with Sri Lanka and the Maldives set sail from mumbai on the 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey, stop for a cooking class in a goan home and snorkel among coral at uligamu, a northern island of the maldives. Nov. departures; 18 days from $11,480.

River and Ocean Explorers’ Corner Founder Olaf Malver often serves as a guide on his company’s legendary expeditions into the polar regions; less intrepid, warm-water kayaking trips are also available. 1-510/559-8099;

t+l trip pick Antarctica: The Ultimate Polar Wildlife Adventure sail aboard the 16-meter Northanger, disembarking to explore mountains and fjords, and to camp atop the ice. Dec. 4 departure; 28 days from $16,900.

Frontiers International Travel Founded more than four decades ago, this fishing outfitter has a huge global presence, with access to pristine spots from Canada to Mongolia. 44-85/4299-6212; t+l trip pick Bahamas: Delphi Club on Abaco Island excellent bonefish trolling for serious anglers; the intimate eight-room Delphi club serves as a base, with access to

a golf course and a white-sand beach. Oct.–June departures; four days from $3,532.

Mountain Travel Sobek More than 40 years of experience arranging hiking, trekking, rafting and kayaking excursions, with group or private itineraries. t+l trip pick Alaska: Rafting the Tatshenshini River brave class two and three rapids through the world’s largest contiguous wilderness area, passing icebergs and stopping to walk among mountain goats and spot bald eagles. June–Sept. departures; nine days from $3,195.

Rod & Gun Resources Fishing trips to Alaska, the Amazon, Argentina and beyond,

with stays in comfortable jungle lodges, cabin barges and tented camps. t+l trip pick Bolivian Adventure the company’s first venture in bolivia goes to the remote caño negro river, home to the exotic peacock bass. July–Dec. departures; four days from $3,895.

Row Adventures This outfitter now runs landbased trips, but its main focus remains white-water rafting in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Ecuador and the Galápagos. Environmental scientist Peter Metcalf shares his in-depth knowledge on trips down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, in Idaho. 1-208/765-0841; ➔

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t+l trip pick Middle Fork of the Salmon Rafting Descend 914 meters aboard a raft along the 160-kilometer-long river, pausing to view hot springs and to visit historic pioneer homesteads. June–Sept. departures; five days from $1,625.

Off the Grid EpicQuest The brainchild of serious athletes, EpicQuest leads active trips from skiing untouched terrain in Alaska to fishing off the Kenyan coast. 1-907/783-4330; t+l trip pick South American Ski Adventure Head to the chilean andes to tackle some of the world’s longest heli-skiing runs. July–Sept. departures; eight days from $12,500.

travels from the polar-bearfilled arctic svalbard south to nordland, where reindeer roam along fjords. July 13, 2013, departure; 13 days from $9,999.

Momentum Adventure Created in 2008 by mountain climber Matthew Robertson, the U.K.-based group leads daring multisport forays (capped at six travelers each), including pioneering ski trips in Lebanon and Kashmir and canoe trips in the Yukon. 44-18/9278-4646; t+l trip pick The Last Degree a combination of flights and serious trekking from chile to the south pole. Nov.–Jan. departures; 21 days from $80,000.

Quark Expeditions Quark’s ice-class vessels— equipped with not only helicopters but also biologists, historians and ornithologists—

ply remote polar waters in comfort. This year, Quark launched hot-air balloons on select North Pole trips. 1-802/7351536; t+l trip pick Antarctic Express fly over the Drake passage, on the southern tip of south america, then board the 61-cabin Clipper Adventurer to spot glaciers, penguins and whales (polar camping is optional). Feb. 2013 departures; eight days from $7,995.

Wild Frontiers British journalist Jonny Bealby founded the London-based Wild Frontiers, which has multisport trips (rafting; trekking; horseback riding) in 40 countries. 44-20/ 7736-3968; t+l trip pick Wild Walk in the Hindu Kush cross glaciers, rivers and pastures as you journey from the yarkhun river region to the

glacier- and river-filled Ishkoman Valley in northern pakistan. June 28, 2013, departure; 17 days from $3,817.

Safari Abercrombie & Kent Trips in more than 100 countries with an emphasis on Africa, where well-appointed mobile tented camps ensure that travelers view wildlife in comfort, whether they’re tracking the Great Migration in East Africa or gliding through Botswana’s Okavango Delta in dugout canoes. 1-630/725-3400; t+l trip pick Wings Over the Migration follow the great migration, view a private masai dance performance and camp near the ngorongoro crater. Sept.–Dec. departures; 15 days from $13,470.

Epic Tomato This adventure-minded offshoot of tour operator Black Tomato creates extreme custom journeys such as 10-day treks in the Borneo jungle in search of the Penan tribe and horseback crossings of the Bolivian salt flats. Many guides have military and Special Forces backgrounds. 44-20/7426-9899; t+l trip pick For a readers-only jungle expedition in Malaysia, see “The Thrill Seeker,” right.

Lindblad Expeditions Its small-group, naturebased trips aboard expedition ships equipped with kayaks and Zodiacs go to such farflung destinations as Alaska, Antarctica and the upper Amazon. 1-212/765-7740; t+l trip pick Impressions of Northern Norway the 148-passenger National Geographic Explorer


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traveler type

the thrill seeker

Keeps his souvenirs where he can see them. That scar on his forehead? From a hang-gliding mishap in Rio. The mark on his knee? Cave diving in Borneo. Likes to start the day with a nice bowl of fear. That’s right: he eats fear for breakfast. Role Model bear grylls. Gear north face’s powder guide abs vest: inflatable nitrogen airbag pouches protect the wearer in the event of an avalanche or rock and tree collisions. ( Accessory revo’s waterway titanium sunglasses ( T+L Exclusive Trip t+l borneo trip with epic tomato. fly a twin otter aircraft into borneo’s interior, where you’ll drive an atV along the selungo river and visit gunung mulu national park, which has the world’s largest cave chambers. March–Oct. departures; 15 days from $10,275.

Cox & Kings Founded in 1758, Cox & Kings is one of the world’s longestrunning travel companies and has a global portfolio with jungle excursions, culinarily focused tours, sea voyages and extraordinary safaris. 1-323/6551758; t+l trip pick Portrait of Kenya spot somali ostriches and reticulated giraffes in samburu national reserve, balloon over the masai mara savanna and adopt an elephant at the Daphne sheldrick elephant orphanage. July–Oct. departures; 12 days from $9,835.

Voluntourism Biosphere Expeditions This nonprofit runs wildlife volunteer expeditions that connect travelers with conservation researchers in the field. 44-87/0446-0801; t+l trip pick Namibia Help wildlife ranchers collar and monitor leopards and collect demographic data on african cat populations in central namibia. July-Nov. departures; 12 days from $2,423.

route to machu picchu and stay in luxury lodges. March–Dec. departures; 10 days from $3,130.

Asia Transpacific Journeys With 25 years of experience in the region, Asia Transpacific Journeys operates both group and private trips through Asia and the Pacific. 1-303/443-6789; t+l trip pick Sacred Mountain Kingdoms— Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan meet monks in remote monasteries, observe a riverside Hindu ceremony and explore ancient temples. April 11, 2013, departure; 20 days from $10,495.

Journeys by Design

Elevate Destinations

Founder and environmental scientist Will Jones designs trips to eastern and southern Africa, where he spent 25 years. 1-315/9556842;

All of Elevate’s trips focus on community development; many are created to deal with current events. This year, guide Andrew Mersmann, author of Frommer’s 500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference, is leading service trips to Haiti. 1-617/661-0203;

This São Paulo, Brazil–based company offers customized yacht cruises on the Amazon and wildlife tours in the wetland regions of the Pantanal. 55-11/3071-4515;

t+l trip pick South Africa Fair-Trade Safari a rhino safari is followed by volunteer work at the Dyer Island conservation trust, which protects endangered species, including the african penguin. Year-round departures; 10 days from $5,650.

t+l trip pick Lençóis Maranhenses go by foot, land and air from são paulo to rio de janeiro, stopping to explore lençóis maranhenses national park—a sandy landscape with thousands of freshwater lagoons. Year-round departures; 15 days from $7,500.

t+l trip pick see “the weekend Zoologist,” page 85, for a reader-exclusive Zambia trip for bird lovers.

Ker & Downey This community- and conservation-minded outfitter has led tours through Africa, India and South America for more than 50 years. 1-281/3712500; t+l trip pick Primates of Africa come within two meters of habituated gorillas in the republic of the congo and rwanda. May–Dec. departures; 17 days from $13,195.

Regional Specialists

Micato Safaris


Bespoke safaris in eastern and southern Africa and India with on-the-ground experts. 1-212/5457111;

This Peruvian-owned company organizes low-altitude hikes and extreme treks in Peru, Bolivia and the Galápagos. It has strong relationships with local communities. 1-312/239-8726;

t+l trip pick Discover Africa’s Heritage Visit unesco-protected areas such as Kenya’s lake nakuru and Zanzibar’s stone town. Yearround departures; 12 days from $11,525.

t+l trip pick Lodge to Lodge Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu follow the picturesque salkantay


Off the Beaten Path Cofounders Bill and Pam Bryan deliver the ultimate American West experience. Veteran guide Darrell Norman, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, arranges traditional dinners with tribe members in his Montana residence. t+l trip pick Alaska’s Winter Magic spend time with a family of husky trainers, then strap on snowshoes and peer up at the northern lights. March–April 2013 departures; six days from $3,795.

emerging destinations western china

Why Now the culturally rich region of Diqing provides a glimpse of tibetan culture without the red tape, and now it’s easier to reach, thanks to a new road that connects the area to major cities. Don’t Miss the scenic and remote tibetan village of benzilan, located in northwestern yunnan province. How to Visit along the tea and Horse caravan trail with abercrombie & Kent. 15 days from $12,400.


Why Now after decades of isolation, burma is an untouched portrait of buddhist traditions and culture. Don’t Miss the shwedagon pagoda—whose dome is covered with 54 tonnes of gold. How to Visit Dream trip– myanmar: Into the Heart of burma with cox & Kings. 11 days from $7,665.


Why Now the country is rehabilitating the wildlife-rich gorongosa national park and niassa national reserve. Don’t Miss Dhow sailing and wild camping around the Quirimbas archipelago. How to Visit private Dhow sailing adventure with journeys by Design. 12 days from $5,995.


Why Now luxe new lodgings, easier road access and more flights are making this remote area more accessible. Don’t Miss Horseback riding with gauchos in chile’s torres del paine national park. How to Visit bespoke patagonia with gray & co. Eight days from $12,000. ✚

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Best Deals Indonesia

At the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel.

us$1,000 per night


Hong Kong

What sweet Deal for two at jw marriott Hong Kong ( Details a stay in a Deluxe room. Highlights complimentary bottle of moët & chandon, one nine-piece chocolate box and daily breakfast for two. Cost from HK$4,700 per night, double, through December 31. Savings 10 percent.


What Honeymoon or just pure romance at naladhu ( Details three nights in an ocean house. Highlights champagne and chocolates on arrival, romantic dinner with wine, daily breakfast in bed and 10 percent discount on spa treatments. Cost from us$8,100 (us$2,700 per night), double, through january 9, 2013. Savings 20 percent.


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What fun fall at phi phi Island Village beach resort and spa ( Details a stay in a superior bungalow. Highlights Daily breakfast for two and 10 percent discount on spa treatments. Cost bt3,167 per night, double, through october 31. Savings 76 percent.


What Island getaway at nusa Dua beach Hotel & spa ( Details three nights in an agung suite or a nusa Dua suite. Highlights us$1,000 food-and-beverage credit, roundtrip airport transfers by limousine, 10-hour car usage and access to palace club lounge including breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. Cost from us$3,000 (us$1,000 per night), double, ongoing. Savings 33 percent.

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Beach vietnam

What must stay at banyan tree lăng cô ( lang_co). Details two nights in a lagoon pool villa. Highlights us$735 in hotel credits redeemable at the hotel’s restaurants, spa and gallery Cost us$1,470 (us$735 per night), double, from november 1, 2012, to march 30, 2013. Savings 50 percent.


What summer Indulgence at Indigo pearl phuket (indigo-pearl. com). Details two nights in a one-bedroom Designer pearl shell suite. Highlights 20 percent discount on all treatments at coqoon spa and complimentary breakfastin-bed for two. Cost bt22,500 (bt11,250 per night), double, through october 31. Savings 25 percent.

family macau

What the macau premier experience at mandarin oriental macau ( Details a one-night stay in Deluxe corner View room. Highlights complimentary breakfast at Vida rica restaurant and roundtrip turbojet premier ferry tickets between Hong Kong and macau for two with access to the turbojet premier lounge. Cost from HK$3,888, double, through December 31. Savings 58 percent.


What summer special at centra taum seminyak bali ( Details a stay in a centra studio room. Highlights complimentary daily breakfast and wi-fi access. Cost from us$68 per night, double, through october 31. Savings 20 percent.

courtesy of nusa Dua be acH Hotel



c o u r t e s y o f u l u - u l u n at I o n a l pa r K


What serenity Hideaway spa at the Intercontinental samui baan taling ngam resort (samui. Details two nights in an ocean View room. Highlight one signature two-hour baan thai spa treatment of your choice, daily in-room or buffet breakfast, private yoga session for two and a 20 percent discount on any additional spa treatments during your stay. Cost bt19,800 (bt9,900 per night), double, through December 22. Savings 35 percent.


What simply spa at the sentosa ( Details a stay in a Deluxe room. Highlight one two-hour spa treatment per


person with use of spa gardens before and after treatment. Cost from s$685 per night, double, ongoing. Savings 48 percent.

B$312 per day

bruneI trip of tHe montH the operator royal brunei airlines (, brunei’s official carrier, also offers package tours to help you explore the country’s rich natural and cultural heritage. highlights ➔ explore ulu temburong national park with an experienced guide ➔ watch the sunrise during your morning stroll through the picturesque jungle ➔ cruise the temburong river by long boat

➔ trek to a local waterfall ➔ Kayak or raft down the river, surrounded by trees ➔ embark on a night tour and see a different side of the rainforest ➔ Visit one of the local markets in bangar town

cost the three-day, two-night ulu-ulu national park resort overnight tour starts at b$936 for two and includes accommodation, guided trips, transportation to and from the park and some meals. this offer is valid through march 31, 2013.

October 2012 in this issue

c o u r t e s y o f n I H I wat u r e s o r t

90 Banda islands 96 eco resorts 104 global vision awards 112 Kyoto 118 south seas

At Nihiwatu Resort in Sumba, Indonesia.

In the aftermath of a 1988 volcanic eruption, coral formations have flourished on the underwater lava flows off Gunung Api. Opposite: Nutmeg trees populate a tiny islet in the Bandas, an archipelago that was once the spice’s only source.

The Spice

of Life Nutmeg trees and coral reefs abound in the Banda Islands. On the trail of colonial invaders—and wild dolphins—adam skolnick discovers how these Indonesian islands helped birth the modern world. photographed by foued kaddachi

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Clockwise from far left: A smiling local; the village on Run island—which, in 1667, equaled Manhattan in value; a diver is dwarfed by giant table coral.


bba was humming again. It was his happy affliction. I heard it when he was asleep in our shared second-class cabin onboard the Pelni ship from Ambon, once more when we endured a near-lethal disembarkation scrum, and again when Abba, a 37-year-old Banda native, hotel operator and tour guide, led me and four others into Benteng Belgica, a hulking fort built in 1611 by Dutch colonists greedy for nutmeg. We followed him past mossy iron cannons strewn in the courtyard and into the dank prison, where his tune pinged off thick stonewalls and washed over a tiny clutch of fruit bats napping on the ceiling. “This is where the Dutch put the Bandanese when they traded their nutmeg with the English,” he said between melodies. “Back then nutmeg was worth more than gold.” Back then, the Banda islands were the only source of nutmeg in the world. Prized by 16th- and 17th-century Europeans for its natural healing properties, and declared a cure for everything from the common cold to flatulence to the plague, the spice propelled this baby archipelago, in presentday eastern Indonesia, from anonymity to supremacy on the working maps of Western kings. The hunt for nutmeg and cloves, which then only grew here and in Ternate and Tidore, in present-day Maluku, lured Columbus on his accidental journey


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to the West Indies in 1492. Though the Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach this remote sprinkling of rock, lava and sand, it was the Dutch who conquered the Bandas, and battled for half a century with the British for the nutmeg trade monopoly—until April of 1667 when the English crown gave up, trading their tiny, windswept island of Run to the Dutch in exchange for New Amsterdam (that is, Manhattan). The Bandas helped shape the modern world; their Dutch colonizers reshaped the local population, killing or exiling the vast majority of the Bandanese. Sailing into the archipelago in 2012, it’s hard to believe such a small tropical cluster could have held that much sway. And it seems incongruous to witness a Banda native like Abba hum his way through an account of that brutal history. But no matter where you wander here, you’ll be greeted by warmhearted locals who still rely primarily on spices and fish for subsistence; you’ll find fascinating relics of the region’s past flaking in the tropical sun; and, if you don’t dive, you’ll want to get your certification as soon as you see the powdery white-sand beaches and aquamarine seas full of sunken shipwrecks and rich coral reefs. These remote islands overflow with natural and historical glories. Bandaneira is the islands’ access point, and it’s also the best place to explore Bandanese history, with countless old colonial

Clockwise from top left: In nutmeg fruit, red mace encapsules the spice’s seed; an old entrance to Run’s walled village; walking home from school on Bandaneira; a bell recovered from a Dutch shipwreck.

structures in various states of restoration (read: disrepair). A light rain began to fall as we exited the prison and scaled a rusted ladder with razor-thin rungs to one of the fort’s five turrets. Here was a 270-degree view of Bandaneira’s glassy natural harbor sheltered by the island’s jungled hills, and of nearby Pulau Gunung Api, dominated by its perfectly formed volcano. The sight lines were equally impressive. Contemptible though they were with local labor, the Dutch knew what they were doing when they built this place. Their enemies couldn’t sneak up on them, not even those pesky, well-armed English. As the sun set, a bronze sky refracted on the black channel between Bandaneira and the nearby almond- and nutmegtree-wrapped isle of Banda Besar, where a handful of small villages cling to a rocky shore. The cries of chickens and children, the put-put of outboard motors, and the competing calls to prayer all mingled together in the gloaming. All that was missing was the cannon sounding to announce an approaching fleet. But maybe the spice hunters were already ashore. “The big nutmeg harvest is in August,” said Paulman, the giddy 27-yearold Indonesian trader who was also on his first trip here. He’d recently been hired by DKSH, the Dutch conglomerate that owns L’Oreal and is expanding in Asia. His new gig was an old

one: “I’ll come again next month and buy all the nutmeg I can and send it to the Netherlands.” We visited Rumah Budaya, the archipelago’s main museum, with Abba on our second morning in town. Once owned by a Bandanese nobleman, this 200-year-old house with its original marble floors was piled with 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and Portuguese coins, muskets, swords and a table cannon; massive meter-high clay pots in which European sailors kept drinking water on their old wooden ships; a nutmeg-plantation bell; and baskets used by the pickers. “They were like slaves. They got paid very little and lived in one house together,” Abba said as we entered the parlor. He stopped cold in front of a vintage gramophone. As the rain started up again, he smiled, cranked up the old machine and needled the groove, and early-days swing warbled out of the turquoise tarnished-brass horn. He had to hum along with it. Couldn’t be helped. Of course, the draw here has as much to do with its idyllic outlying islands as its colonial heart. Pulau Hatta—named for Indonesia’s founding father—is a stunning saucer of jungleswathed limestone trimmed with luscious white sand. Offshore is some of the best snorkeling in the entire Indonesian archipelago, with vast schools of tropical fish, an underwater 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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coral arch and stately table corals, where I spotted three turtles and a blacktip reef shark. Afterward, I lounged on a virgin beach, then wandered into Kampung Lama (“old village”), one of the island’s two settlements where concrete paths branched toward cinder-block homes brushed in sun-faded pastels. It was harvest time and the whole town was suffused with the sweet smoked-cherry scent of cloves. Pak Sardin and his three brothers, two of their wives, and six children sorted a gargantuan pile of just-plucked clove flowers that looked like candelabras, and set them out on sheets to dry in the sun. I joined in and began separating flowers from stems as Sardin spoke of selling his bounty to one of 70 buyers in Bandaneira. “Life is better for us now, since there is free trade,” he said, referring to the more-recent dark days of the spice trade, when Tommy Suharto, the dictator’s notorious son, was granted a clove monopoly that lasted throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. First there were the Dutch and English… then Suharto, who sold all of his cloves to the cigarette manufacturers. But that was in the past, and while cash could be scarce and Pak Sardin still complained about weighty school fees, there was plenty of joy, togetherness and abundance here too. The clove season is long. Blossoms linger on trees for up to seven months, and when the waves and wind are too strong to fish, the men can always climb their trees and pluck them. A similar rustic, laid-back vibe is palpable on the isle of Run, that once-astronomically valuable trading chip. There are stunning cream-colored beaches and chunks of limestone swathed in spice trees, with spectacular coral-crusted walls, ideal for diving, that sheer into the swirling cobalt depths. Led originally by Nathaniel Courthope, the British claimed Run in 1616 and held on to its unparalleled nutmeg groves on and off for nearly 50 years. But thanks to the Dutch ability to execute blockades and at least one brutal massacre of the Bandanese, the British never managed to get their spices to market. At one point Dutch traders convinced Run villagers that the nutmeg bark was also valuable, so they began stripping—and killing—their own trees. This was just another dirty trick employed during the spice wars: the Dutch had sourced nutmeg on Banda Besar and wanted to prevent any competition. Before long, the entire Run grove was ruined. “All except for one tree,” said Abba, heading for the ruins of the old English fort on the island’s western edge. According to local lore, that plant weathered the war and sprouted new life. These days there are countless nutmeg trees growing on Run. After a dive and a walk through town, we lunched on Pulau Nailaka, an obscenely sweet, petite, sandy crescent sprouting with scrub and ribboned with azure shallows. I laid back, listening and contemplating the egos and drama of centuries past and how none of that cacophony endured at the source of it all. I guess all that noise was exported to Manhattan. Here there would always be blue sea, white sand and spice trees. Here there would always be space for silence. On the way back to Bandaneira, we encountered a pod of about 50 dolphins. I couldn’t help myself. I had to free-dive down, eavesdrop on their high-pitched chatter and spy their smiles as they wiggled through the infinite blue. Once they were gone, I surfaced, climbed back into the boat, watched the sun drop and listened to Abba hum all the way home. ✚


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t l guide Getting There you don’t want to take the pelni ship, trust us on that. book one of three daily flights to pulau ambon from jakarta, surabaya or makassar, via Garuda (, Batavia Air ( or Lion Air ( then, connect to Nusantara Buana Air (62-21/835-3783;, the only carrier that links ambon and bandaneira, with three weekly flights—one each on wednesday, thursday and friday. since it’s not a major carrier and flight schedules vary, it’s best if someone local books for you.

stay Mutiara Guesthouse is like a boutique hotel meets a homestay. the hospitable owners throw a nightly seafood buffet that attracts visitors from all over the area. Jln. Kebun Siri, Bandaneira;; 62813/3034-3377; doubles from Rp150,000. Delfika has colonial, old-world charm and an atmospheric garden, while the brand-new rooms at harbor-side Delfika 2 may be the best on the island, with their bay and volcano views. In both, rooms are basic but super-clean and comfortable. Delfika, Jln. Geraja; Delfika 2, Jln. Gateway; 62-819/4508-1239; air-conditioned doubles from Rp150,000 including breakfast. eat the guesthouses above have the best kitchens on the island. but you should also try the day market for smoked marlin and sticky rice, dried

nutmeg-fruit slices, delicious halua kenari (almond brittle) and, in December, anggur, which look like black olives but taste like mildly astringent grapes. tour the beauty of staying with Abba at Mutiara Guesthouse is that he can and will book all your flights, handle your layover in ambon and organize any manner of excursions for you once on bandaneira, including tours to the spice plantations of banda besar. see and do stroll the ramparts of benteng belgica and benteng nassau, then wander among Bandaneira’s many colonials and peer into the island’s conflict-riddled past. we especially like the Hatta House and the schelling House. ● Visit Rumah Budaya museum for a dose of Indonesian history. exhibits include english-captioned antique maps and photographs. Jln. Gereja Tua, Bandaneira. ● Snorkel off of Pulau Hatta then laze on the deserted, powdery beaches. a chartered trip to Pulau Run will put you on one of the world’s most historic islands. Hike to the remains of the british fort, stroll empty beaches and snorkel or dive along her coraldraped drop-off. Chartered runs from Bandaneira to Pulau Hatta or Pulau Run start from Rp500,000. ● Dive, matey, dive! there’s only one (seasonal) land-based dive operator in the bandas: germanowned Blue Motion Dive Center knows the dive sites intimately, has new gear and a solid speedboat. fuel surcharge for distant reefs (like run and Hatta). 62-812/4714-3922;; two tanks from Rp300,000. ●

Low-impact activities in the Big Lagoon, near El Nido Resorts in the Philippines.

The Sustainable Seven

is there room for luxury in ecotourism? NAOMI LINDT checks out a few of the region’s greenest resorts—trailblazers that focus on both pampering and preservation.


c o u r t e s y o f n I H I wat u r e s o r t; o p p o s I t e pa g e : c o u r t e s y o f e l n I D o r e s o r t s

eco cred One of the few hotels in the world to be 100 percent powered by biofuel; comprehensive recycling; wide use of sustainable construction materials (including in the ongoing renovation being conducted by a team of top eco-designers and -architects); turtle and bird rescue projects; local, organic food; and a carbon-offset program that so far includes 64,000 trees planted—Nihiwatu takes its eco-stance seriously. It is also a good neighbor to the more than 20,000 Sumbanese people: A portion of profits benefits the resort’s Sumba Foundation, which runs water, health and community development programs to better the lives of islanders, from whose ranks nearly all of Nihiwatu’s staff is drawn. (For more information on these good works, please see page 109, and the specs Nihiwatu is the kind of place where you start planning your return the moment you leave; don’t be surprised if you find yourself gushing the words “magical” and “paradise.” An hour by charter flight from Bali’s crowds, it’s worlds away in terms of peace and solitude. Spend your days surfing and swimming, practicing yoga in an open-air spirit house or indulging in massages and cocktails as the setting sun blazes. Built on 162 hectares of tropical forest, rice terraces and grasslands hugging a long private beach, Nihiwatu has a shoesoff, Robinson Crusoe atmosphere coupled with all the five-star services and amenities, as well as a strong dedication to both the community and natural environment. the rooms The villas and bungalows containing the resort’s 12 bedrooms were built by local craftsmen, with stone, wood and palms. Fourposter bamboo beds are covered in gauzy cotton, with intricate weavings by Sumba’s famed artisans hanging on the white walls. Private pools abound. can’t-miss experience Check out the Sumba Foundation’s award-winning work with a tour of the clinics, schools, wells and farms that it supports—better still, jump in and volunteer yourself. details; doubles from US$695 per night, seven-night minimum.

From top: A long stretch of private beach; the Boat House Bar; the Sumba Foundation supports local causes, including 15 schools.

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hERItaNCE KaNDalama

From top: The hotel blends into the area; greeting deer on a nature trek; ancient city Polonnaruwa, near the resort.

eco cred Hailed as Sri Lanka’s most eco-friendly resort, this biomass-fuelled five-star was the first hotel in Asia to receive Green Globe certification—a worldwide program recognizing high standards of sustainability—and recently won the Green Apple Gold Award for Built Environment, a prestigious honor for sound environmental structures. The Kandalama’s extensive list of socially and environmentally conscious activities includes supporting the local community, recycling 100 percent of its waste and harvesting rainwater (its wastewater recycling plant is Sri Lanka’s most sophisticated). The resort’s landscapers used only indigenous plants on the grounds of the property and have created an 81-hectare forest. the specs Tucked away deep in the jungle down an unpaved road overlooking a lake, the Heritance Kandalama was designed by the country’s foremost architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa. Shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, the “tropical modernist” design effortlessly blends into the flora- and faunarich surroundings. The Kandalama is about five hours by car from Colombo, and close to five UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the ancient sacred cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. the rooms The 152 rooms have large windows and balconies with gorgeous views of the lake and forest. Design is contemporary eco-chic, with polished wood floors and furnishings offset by a masculine palette of cerise, charcoal, black and brown. While soaking in the foliage-facing, glass-fronted baths, you’re likely to see wild monkeys and birds. can’t-miss experience Book a melodic, naturalist-led early morning trek to observe some of the area’s more than 230 bird species, including egrets, ibises and the rare white-rumped charmer. details kamdalama; doubles from US$144 per night.


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eco cred The Marine Ecology Research Centre is the heart and soul of Gayana Eco Resort. The MERC, as it’s known, is a conservation and education facility that runs the robust Save the Giant Clams campaign, which over four years has nurtured 3,000 of these endangered mollusks that are vital to the local ecology. There’s also a reef program that regenerates coral and plants artificial structures. the specs Head off of Malaysian Borneo into the South China Sea for close encounters with a cornucopia of plant and animal life: monkeys, wild boars and hornbills in the mangroves and rainforest; hundreds of species of fish in the aquamarine waters. Much of Gayana is on stilts, getting you as close as possible to the water, while also minimizing the place’s impact

on the environment. The local chef concocts fantastic Chinese and Western fare using organically farmed seafood and veggies. Sabah, home to Mt. Kinabalu and a rich cultural history, is just a short boat ride away. the rooms The 52 thatched-roof, stilted villas—made of local, durable hard wood—offer jungle, mangrove, lagoon and sea views from their private decks. But if your focus is on the world below, book one of the new glassfloored palm villas. can’t-miss experience Participate first-hand in the MERC’s work, by becoming a reef “foster parent” and planting your own coral frame, which will eventually get a new home in the sea, or by spending a day as a marine biologist, researching and learning about the ecosystem. details; doubles from RM904 per night.

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Clockwise from far right: Stilted Alu Alu Seafood restaurant; aerial view of the resort and its reefs; a giant clam; young coral the MERC will plant in the ocean.

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Clockwise from far left: Antiques fill a guestroom; lunch by the farm; the misty mountains of Khao Sok park.

thaNyamuNDRa ORGaNIC REsORt eco cred Thanyamundra’s own 6.4-hectare organic farm provides the resort with homemade dried fruit, jams and sorbets, and supplies produce to several of Phuket’s most prestigious hotels and resorts. Plastic use is limited to recycled water bottles, and dried leaves are turned into stationery. The resort works to teach area villagers about the perils of poaching, while offering them alternative career paths, such as tour guiding. Even the resort itself is recycled: it originally was built as the dream home of a wealthy German entrepreneur. the specs Perched on the fringes of a rainforest in Khao Sok National Park, Thanyamundra overlooks misty mountains, limestone karsts and the rolling terraces of its famed farm. The focus here is on wellness, not only for the environment but also for guests, who can take long walks in the jungle, swim in the


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lap pool, work out in the athlete-standard gym, sample organic gourmet cuisine and partake in otherworldly massages. Butlers are on-hand to meet any request should the beauty of the place not spoil you enough. the rooms In two golden teak villas, the nine high-ceilinged suites range from 40 to 130 square meters, boast spacious verandas with dramatic vistas and are filled with regional antiques from the owner’s private collection, like high-backed mahogany chairs and Tibetan wall hangings. Feel-good products prevail, from the taro wood used as an air freshener to the all-natural toiletries produced by Thai aromatherapy manufacturer, Lemongrass House. can’tmiss experience Book one of the custom treks designed by Thom Henley, an author and expert on Khao Sok. Lucky guests have encountered wild elephants, tigers and leopards. details; doubles from Bt10,500 per night.

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eco cred The resort’s Wakatobi Collaborative Reef Conservation Program has created one of the world’s largest privately funded marine protected areas. The resort holds its dive masters and divers to the highest standards, implementing strict rules to minimize environmental impact, and conducts regular reef monitoring and cleaning. It treats wastewater to prevent it from polluting the ocean, recycles as much as possible, provides full-time employment to roughly 100 islanders and actively supports the community through schools and education programs. the specs World-class luxury unites with what many consider the world’s best diving at the 26-room Wakatobi on Tolandano Island, a two-and-a-half-hour charter flight northwest of Bali. The turquoise waters and hundreds of kilometers of reef that comprise the Wakatobi National Marine Park are brimming with psychedelic-hued sea life and whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, tunas and marlin. Once you resurface from a day of astounding sub-marine exploration, the fullservice spa and top-flight dining provide the pleasures of life on land. the rooms Comfortable wood and sandstone bungalows and villas are topped with soaring, exposed thatched roofs. Chill out on your private balcony or in a hammock strung between two trees to admire the best features: gorgeous greenery and lapping waves at your doorstep. can’t-miss experience Experienced divers should book a private Fluo-Dive, a pioneering nocturnal excursion that uses fluorescent light to cast reef life in neon colors and just might reveal never-before-seen animals and animal behavior. details; rates start at US$365 per person per night, and include room, board and three boat dives per day. Given Wakatobi’s remote location, stays are pre-set for specific dates and there is a minimum of five nights.

c loc K wIse from top: DIDI lot Ze (3); rob Da rm a nIn

Clockwise from top: Tolandano Island, the resort’s home; Wakatobi’s waters offer great diving experiences; villas on the beach; a pigmy seahorse.

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the specs Every El Nido in the Palawan archipelago seems too good to be true: not only is each on some of the clearest waters in the world, but they also all are committed to sustainable, conservation-minded tourism that protects the area’s rich biodiversity. Nature-lovers choose the youthful, rustic Miniloc property, in a cove surrounded by limestone cliffs. Lagen Island is all about sophisticated design and privacy. Remote Apulit speaks to those seeking a gorgeous stretch of isolated beach along with a dose of adventure, while the most discerning travelers head to Pangulasian and its deluxe villas. No matter where you stay, expect some of the most jaw-dropping land- and seascapes you’ve ever seen. the rooms The 10 Deluxe Seaview rooms at the 50-room Miniloc are wholly solar-powered. Lagen Island’s 50 rooms, suites and cottages were built from timber sourced from old Filipino homes. At Apulit, 50 stilted cottages command unobstructed views of the azure Taytay Bay and its imposing cliffs, while Pangulasian’s 42 contemporary villas—several of which have their own plunge pools—are a spacious 65 square meters. can’t-miss experience Hire a kayak from your resort to discover secret beaches, magical lagoons and caves hiding among the limestone cliffs. details; doubles from P14,500.

From top: Palawan by Hobie Cat; newly hatched sea turtles; The bungalows at Miniloc.


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eco cred A marine biologist-led environmental team ensures the four El Nido resorts adhere to the highest standards of ecological conservation and that all activities—diving, snorkeling, kayaking, trekking—are low impact. There are comprehensive wastewater treatment and desalination plants, and a rainwater harvesting system. Solar panels are installed at several sites to offset the resorts’ carbon footprint, and restaurants serve vegetables grown at El Nido’s organic farm.

Clockwise from top: Touring with a local guide; the Butterfly spa service; a salad of local produce; the restaurant.


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eco cred The Daintree voluntarily meets and in some cases exceeds sustainability standards set by the United Nations, the WTO, the International Ecotourism Association and the Australian government’s Greenhouse Office. The avid reducereuse-recycle approach includes a self-sufficient natural water supply and a wastewater treatment system. Its buildings were constructed to minimize the impact on the fragile environs— part of a preservation philosophy the resort shares with its local aboriginal community partners. the specs Having notched more than 40 awards for its architecture, service, spa and sustainable tourism efforts, this family-run lodge is widely recognized as one of the world’s best eco-retreats. In far north Queensland, a 90-minute drive north of Cairns and less than an hour from the Great Barrier Reef, the

property nestles in the Greater Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest living ecosystem of its kind, encompassing forests, rivers, mangroves and beaches. The resort’s acclaimed, birdsong-filled spa offers treatments that integrate ancient Aboriginal wisdom and medicines, which you can learn more about through cultural experiences with the Kuku Yalanhi people. the rooms Cool marble floors and bamboo furniture offset the humid environs in the 15 rustic stilted cottages. Five rooms have Jacuzzis on their screened-in balconies, from which you’re likely to spot butterflies and curious possums. With no TVs or radios, you’ll leave the real world way behind. can’t-miss experience Head to waterfalls or cultural sites with an aboriginal guide, who’ll offer insight into the local Kuku Yalanhi’s way of life in the rainforest. details; doubles from A$550 per night. ✚ 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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To determine this year’s standard-bearers for responsible tourism, we scoured the globe—from a private island in Cambodia to a Peruvian village on the verge of a travel boom. Here, all the winners, plus 20 trip ideas so you can experience their efforts firsthand, five of our favorite innovators and the results of our Facebook poll on going green.

edited by nikki ekstein, amy farley and nina fedrizzi

illustrated by labour

reported by lisa cheng, darrell hartman and stirling kelso. additional reporting by kelsi maree borland, jenneke oostman and corinne white.


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the winners 15

8 3 12


18 1 17



4 7

2 20




5 16

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 y V e s b é H a r ; c o u r t e s y o f b o n n I e b u r n H a m ; c o u r t e s y o f g r e g o r y c a r r ; c o u r t e s y o f D aV I D g e n s l e r ; s e r g I o V I l l a r e a l ; c o u r t e s y o f j o s e p H s t I g l I t Z a n D a n ya s c H I f f r I n ; r e n n I o m a I f r e D I ; c o u r t e s y o f H o K w o n p I n g





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1 ITC Hotels India 2 Volcanoes Safaris uganda and rwanda 3 Alaska Airlines seattle 4 Song Saa Private Island Koh rong, cambodia

5 Cristalino Jungle Lodge alta floresta, brazil 6 Rosalie Bay Resort rosalie, Dominica 7 Four Seasons Maldives male atoll and baa atoll, maldives 8 Biosphere Expeditions norwich, england

behind the scenes

t+l’s 2012 global Vision awards jury weighed in on dozens of projects— including hotel and school programs, voluntourism initiatives, eco-lodges and an energy-efficient airline— to select 20 winners in five categories. our panel of experts ranked their short lists of nominees, and all the scores were averaged to determine the top contenders.

9 Wilderness Safaris johannesburg, south africa 10 Shangri-La Hotel Group Hong Kong 11 Taj Hotels India 12 Vail Resorts broomfield, colorado

Community building


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13 Nihiwatu sumba, Indonesia 14 Rockhouse Hotel negril, jamaica 15 Huna Totem Corporation juneau, alaska 16 Tongabezi Lodge Victoria falls, Zambia

17 Belcampo Belize toledo, belize 18 Namgyal Institute for Research on Ladakhi Art & Culture ladakh, India 19 Pingyao Cultural Village pingyao, china 20 Grupo Patrimonio Cultural andahuaylillas, peru

the Jury

yves Béhar Industrial designer and founder of award-winning design firm fuseproject

Bonnie Burnham president and ceo of the world monuments fund, which protects endangered sites

gregory carr conservationist and philanthropist, who is helping restore gorongosa national park in mozambique

david gensler leeD-accredited consultant and an executive director of global design firm gensler

Ho Kwon ping executive chairman of banyan tree Hotels & resorts, a past global Vision awards winner

Zainab salbi founder of women for women International, providing practical and moral support to female survivors of war

Joseph stiglitz and anya schiffrin nobel prize–winning economist and director of columbia university’s media and advocacy program

John wood founder and co-chair of room to read, which promotes literacy and gender equality in education

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T+L Global Vision Awards

the standout

ItC hotels india/global

What It Is A South Asian hospitality brand with 10 properties in nine destinations that have been certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. How It Works ITC has prioritized sustainability for 15 years, but its luxury properties raise the bar: using almost 30 percent less energy than the U.S. EPA’s benchmark for comparable hotels (half of the energy they use is generated by wind farms); reusing 85 percent of wastewater for cleaning and landscaping; and recycling 99 percent of solid waste, such as plastic and scrap metal. Take the Trip The new LEED Platinum ITC Grand Chola, in Chennai, spans more than three hectares, with three rooftop pools and 522 rooms.; doubles from Rs8,999. t+l editors ’ pick


Cité de l’Ocean et du surf this site-sensitive oceanic museum in biarritz, france—designed by steven Holl architects— unites high-end design with an earth-friendly mission: raising awareness about marine ecosystems. 106

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volcanoes safaris uganda and rwanda

What It Is An African tour operator that is helping to save gorillas and chimpanzees while introducing sustainable tourism to post-conflict countries. How It Works Four solarpowered eco-lodges serve as a base for conservation and community programs: land around the camps is purchased to create a buffer zone between wildlife and nearby villages, while funding is provided for chimp research, local schools and resource-management training for farmers. Take the Trip Spot chimps at Uganda’s Kyambura Gorge Lodge, near Queen Elizabeth National Park.; six-day Uganda safari for two from US$5,598.

alaska airlines seattle

What It Is America’s most fuel-efficient large airline. How It Works In the 1990’s, Alaska Airlines pioneered satellite navigation technology that maps the shortest possible flight path, reducing its carbon

footprint by 30 percent since 2004. It’s also the first U.S. airline to commit multiple commercial flights to biofuel and, in 2011 alone, in-flight recycling diverted 450 metric tonnes of trash from landfills. Take the Trip Catch one of 25 daily flights to Hawaii, with new direct routes this fall.

song saa private Island koh rong, cambodia

What It Is An ultra-luxe resort that’s providing a template for responsible development in Cambodia. How It Works Constructed using regional bamboo, vines and recycled materials, and located inside a marine reserve, the resort is working with the national government to expand its protected area. It has even opened the country’s first ocean-discovery center (for guests and locals) . Take the Trip Tour nearby Prek Svay fishing village to receive a blessing from local monks and visit sustainable fruit orchards.; doubles from US$336.

f you said...


of t+l facebook fans will spend an extra us$25 a night to stay at a green hotel.

Data collected from a Facebook poll conducted by T+L U.S. in July 2012.

rolanD Halbe

“people want to create spaces that tell their story,” global Vision awards jury member David gensler says. “they want to be direct and inspiring in a complicated world.” these four winners embrace the idea that building and operating sustainably is not just about the latest green amenities but a commitment to a long-term mission.

the standout

Cristalino Jungle lodge alta floresta, brazil

What It Is The company behind this privately owned

eco-friendly lodge is protecting Brazil’s southern Amazon basin against extreme deforestation. How It Works Cristalino has purchased vast swaths of land and is working to convert roughly 8,000 hectares (twice the size of the island of Manhattan) to reserve status, safeguarding some 2,000 butterfly and 595 bird species. The lodge is expanding its efforts through partnerships that support research on the region’s many unstudied plants and animals—allowing Cristalino to lobby the Brazilian government for additional protected land. Take the Trip Stargaze from the lodge’s expansive floating river deck—warmed by an open fire pit.; doubles from US$315.

Rosalie bay Resort rosalie, dominica

courtesy of tesl a motors

What It Is A 28-room hotel that has restored endangered sea-turtle populations on the island of Dominica. How It Works The property engages community volunteers to patrol and clean up nesting beaches, educates local school groups and collects data. In 2003, Rosalie Bay had seven leatherback turtle nests. By 2010, there were 69—and, over the past four nesting seasons, the recorded survival rate for new hatchlings has been 100 percent. Take the Trip Visit between March and October to watch baby sea turtles make their way to the ocean.; doubles from US$210.

“natural ecosystems will not survive unless humans are motivated to conserve them,” philanthropist, and t+l juror, gregory carr says. the winners in this category understand this concept, whether they’re securing a threatened forest or coastline, or offering hands-on opportunities for travelers and locals to help protect endangered species such as snow leopards and sea turtles. f you said...


t+l editors ’ pick of t+l facebook fans think that eco-friendly vacations are less luxurious.

Four seasons maldives male atoll and baa atoll, maldives

What It Is Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru are working to protect the archipelago’s marine life. How It Works In a reefregeneration project, hundreds of artificial frames (partly sponsored by guest donations) provide support for more than 40 species of coral to grow, breathing new life into formerly

bleached and empty areas. What’s more, the resorts’ Manta Trust research project brought international attention to local manta ray populations, resulting in Marine Protected Area status for two study sites. Take the Trip Snorkel the reefs at Landaa Giraavaru, guided by a staff marine biologist.; doubles from US$900.

biosphere Expeditions norwich, england

What It Is A nonprofit whose partnerships with top research institutions are bringing serious results for 11 conservation programs around the world. How It Works Volunteer travelers select their project and are trained on-site in telemetry studies, animal tracking and more. (Biosphere channels two-thirds of trip costs to the effort.) Past successes include the creation of two protected areas for migratory birds and snow leopards in Europe and Asia. Take the Trip Tag and release threatened marsupials on a new excursion in western Australia. biosphere-expeditions. org; nine days from US$2,030 per person.


model s tesla this new model s sedan, released recently by electric-car pioneer tesla, has sleek, aerodynamic lines and seats up to seven without compromising on speed. 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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T+L Global Vision Awards the standout

wilderness safaris johannesburg, south africa

What It Is A safari operator with 70 camps in nine countries, Wilderness has been a champion of responsible travel in Africa for nearly 30 years. How It Works Overseeing a portfolio of roughly 3 million hectares of protected land, Wilderness supports 40 projects that benefit 1,250 endangered species. In addition, many of the operator’s sustainable camps (which utilize solar panels and rainwater-harvesting techniques) are created as joint ventures with the local communities, who share profits while receiving training and employment. Take the Trip Ride aboard a member of Abu Camp’s resident herd on an elephant-back safari in Botswana.; all-inclusive; safari for two from US$3,878 per night.

shangri-la hotel Group

hong kong/global

What It Is A five-star hotel company that’s aiding disadvantaged communities at each of its 72 properties. How It Works Individual hotels adopt a local health or education program for 10 to 15 years, spending at least US$50,000 on it annually. These programs—which include a home for children of prisoners in Fuzhou and a training program for the deaf in New Delhi— helped more than 2,000 adults and 9,500 children last year. Take the Trip Staff members at Shangri-La Wuhan, in China, volunteer at the hotel’s Love Kitchen project, which provides healthy meals for children at a local rehabilitation center.; doubles from RMB704.

taj hotels what makes a good leader? for these india/global companies, it’s about giving back—in dollars What It Is This brand is tackling poverty and inequality in India. and in deeds—to the places where they How It Works Taj trains more operate while creating tools and infrastructure than 2,000 underprivileged youths in hospitality sectors such for self-improvement. “philanthropy should as housekeeping and restaurant be a two-way exercise,” says t+l jury member service. It has also spent US$2.3 million on goods produced Ho Kwon ping of banyan tree. t+l editors ’ pick


John besh Foundation chef john besh set a new benchmark for new orleans restaurants. now his chefs move initiative is doing the same for public service: providing scholarships to help enterprising residents rise from, say, dishwasher to executive chef, while offering micro-loans and marketing advice to local start-up farmers. 108

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by local NGOs, women’s collectives and small-scale entrepreneurs. These efforts often benefit disenfranchised groups, including people with disabilities and victims of sexual exploitation. Take the Trip Scout for Indian bison at the Mahua Kothi safari lodge in Madhya Pradesh, India, where Taj reintroduced a herd in 2011.; doubles from Rs35,000.

vail Resorts

broomfield, colorado

What It Is A mountain-resort company that’s raising the bar for sustainability and philanthropy in the Rockies. How It Works Attentive monitoring and green retrofits have reduced the brand’s energy usage by 10 percent since 2008, and water consumption efforts save more than 3 million liters a year. Vail Resorts also contributes US$6 million annually to 150 Colorado nonprofits, aiding in disaster relief, conservation and more. Take the Trip Game Creek Chalet, in Vail, is offering a 50 percent ski-season discount for the brand’s 50th anniversary.; discounted rate US$1,000 per night.

f you said...


of t+l facebook fans consider themselves sustainable travelers.

t+l editors ’ pick fashion


by bringing health care, literacy and funding to those in need, these winners prove that empowerment is the backbone of progress. says juror Zainab salbi, “self-sufficiency is not only defined by income. It brings joy, peace of mind and stability to whole communities.” the standout

Nihiwatu sumba, indonesia

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What It Is By raising more

than US$4 million in donations, this jungle resort has improved the lives of 20,000 Sumbanese on one of Indonesia’s most impoverished islands. How It Works Villagers had to walk a half-day’s distance to see a doctor until Nihiwatu built and staffed five strategically located health clinics. Malaria has since been reduced by 85 percent—and the clinics supply clean water to 15,000 people. The property also provides jobs for island residents (95 percent of its employees live nearby), who take part in training programs in such skills as cooking and traditional Javanese construction. Take the Trip Participate in community projects, from helping out at a clinic to playing soccer with local kids.; doubles from US$695, seven-night minimum.

Rockhouse hotel negril, jamaica

What It Is On an island where resorts often feel detached from the people living around them, the Rockhouse has brought much-needed attention to education in Negril. How It Works Since 2004, the Rockhouse Foundation has invested more than US$1.5 million to renovate the city’s schools, install waterfiltration systems, build safe play spaces and supply computer labs. It doesn’t stop there: Rockhouse quadrupled the size of Negril’s library and subsidizes the schools’ water and electricity bills, student meal programs and teacher salaries. Take the Trip The Rockhouse Foundation offers weekly tours to the schools it supports; guests can also volunteer to read to the youngest students.; doubles from US$125.

huna totem Corporation juneau, alaska

What It Is Its privately owned seaport has reinvigorated the traditions of the Huna Tlingit Native Americans in Hoonah, in southeastern Alaska. How It Works Cruisers get a noncommercialized look

this south african fashion collective, created by a human-rights activist, partners with artisans from emerging economies—think silk blouses embroidered in India and maxidresses made with javanese batik—to create an exclusive line for barneys new york.

at a little-known culture, with lessons in totem-pole carving and Huna dancing, plus visits to a historic salmon cannery. The community uses tourism dollars to repair the town’s economy—boosting conservation projects and creating jobs that have given the area a renewed sense of cultural pride. Take the Trip Sail to Hoonah on one of Royal Caribbean’s voyages.; eight-day cruises from US$499 per person.

tongabezi lodge

victoria falls, zambia

What It Is The safari outpost’s Tujatane school has single-handedly developed a local academic system. How It Works Tujatane began as a preschool for the staff’s children; it now enrolls 198 students from the area— and has produced national champions in poetry and dance. Thanks to generous guest sponsorships, students can attend high school in nearby Livingstone; some go on to earn degrees in Zambia or in the U.S. Take the Trip Visit during the summer months for your best chance at seeing a lunar rainbow over Victoria Falls.; meals and activities included; doubles from US$970. 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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T+L Global Vision Awards

t+l editors ’ pick digital initiative

pack for a purpose

“Heritage is both an economic asset and a source of pride,” juror bonnie burnham says. by preserving what makes each community special—from culinary traditions to sacred sites— these organizations are championing some of the world’s lesser-known cultural destinations.

belcampo belize toledo, belize

What It Is This eco-lodge is devoted to saving Belize’s indigenous cuisine and the heirloom crops that define it. How It Works The property’s 1,200-hectare organic farm is filled with native crops from chaya (similar to spinach) to culantro (coriander). Guests can learn to make local dishes with the ingredients on a traditional comal hearth. Partnerships with San Francisco–based Blue Bottle Coffee and Chicago’s Vosges Chocolate are helping the lodge build a global marketplace for Mayan products. Take the Trip Cocoa lovers can pick and taste fresh cacao fruit, learn about chocolate making and even produce their own bars on site.; doubles from US$330.


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Namgyal Institute for Research on ladakhi art & Culture (NIRlaC) ladakh, india

What It Is The trust is restoring the Sumda Chun Gonpa temple complex, a rare example of 12th-century Tibetan monastic architecture located 4,000 meters above sea level. How It Works After mapping the structural elements and intricate interior paintings, nirlac stabilized the building, cleaned the original artworks and created guidelines for future work. The project has drawn visitors who provide financial support to the resident monks, and doubles as a model for other religious sites in need of repair. Take the Trip Bespoke itineraries to Ladakh, Leh and Pangaong are available each summer with Wild Frontiers.; 13 days from US$2,340 per person.

pingyao Cultural village pingyao, china

What It Is China’s last remaining walled ancient city was a wealthy banking center and cultural hub for five centuries. With the rise of industrialization, it fell into disrepair—until now.

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How It Works unesco status has brought travelers back to the city. And thanks to the U.S.-based Global Heritage Fund Foundation, Pingyao has restored several of its historic buildings, which now house artisan complexes where local traditions can thrive. Take the Trip Walk along the top of Pingyao’s ancient city wall with its 3,000 crenels representing each of Confucius’s disciples.

Grupo patrimonio Cultural andahuaylillas, peru

What It Is A youth group tasked with saving the historic Church of San Pedro and their town’s entire cultural fabric. How It Works The young men and women behind Grupo Patrimonio catalogued every building in this Andean town, archiving not just architectural features but also multigenerational accounts, documented with video clips, drawings and photos. The result? Andahuaylillas now has the tools to sustainably manage impending growth. Take the Trip Plan a stop on a drive from Cuzco to Puno. The 386-kilometer route is filled with Incan ruins and jagged mountain vistas.

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of t+l facebook fans think making a donation is the best way to give back while traveling.

j s c o t t r o t H n e y / c o u r t e s y o f pa c K f o r a p u r p o s e

the standout

carting just two extra kilograms of supplies—from blood-pressure cuffs to deflated soccer balls—can make a huge difference to a disadvantaged community. pack for a purpose posts supply lists online for travelers visiting affiliated properties in developing nations, then arranges for donated items to be picked up from the hotel.

Photographed by Tetsuya Miura

a Different Nature For centuries, the gardens of Kyoto have defined a unique and subtle aesthetic—an otherworldly fusion of landscape and design. by roxana robinson


was having breakfast on the 17th floor of the Hotel Okura. One long wall of the restaurant is window, so I was overlooking half of Kyoto. Below was the Kamo River, flowing between old stone terraced banks. Beyond this was a patchwork of single-story buildings, interspersed with a few swooping orange temple roofs. The city spreads on to climb the lower slopes of Mount Daimonji, then stops abruptly, giving way to forest. This rises to an elegant skyline: a long, wooded mountain ridge, lightly brushed with soft clouds, drifting silver mist. I was in Kyoto to look at gardens. I’m interested in the way different cultures respond to landscape, and in the fundamental question of what a garden is. In Japan, a deep connection to landscape is part of the culture. Shinto, Japan’s oldest religion, considers certain natural forms—rocks, trees, groves or mountains—to be sacred, representing the kami, ancestral spirits or deities, who inhabit them. Shinto is still widely practiced, coexisting peacefully with Buddhism; a profound engagement with nature is central to both religions. Mountains are sacred spaces, and building on them was long prohibited, except for shrines or temples. That’s why this beautiful forested mountain, scarved with clouds, was still untouched, dreaming silently above the city. Clockwise from top left: A forest pond at Saiho-ji, Kyoto’s “moss temple”; the ceremonial main gate at Ryoan-ji temple; asters at Shisen-do; the Zen garden at Ryoan-ji; the veranda off the main room at Shisen-do; moss-covered rocks at Saiho-ji; stone steps from the lower garden at Shisen-do; a cluster of stones at Ryoan-ji. Center: A hillside pathway at Saiho-ji. 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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In America, the love of nature is individualistic. It isn’t universally shared, nor incorporated into our mainstream religions. As newcomers, we viewed our land as something to be conquered. The Japanese never had to conquer theirs. They are a part of it, and their love for it is deep, ancient and communal, as well as spiritual. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, from 794 to 1868. Emperors and shoguns built palaces there; Shinto and Buddhist priests built temples; all of them planted gardens. Many have been preserved—though “preserved” sounds bloodless. These gardens have been clipped, watered, weeded, pruned, swept, walked in, gazed at, prayed in, honored and cherished for hundreds of years. If you’re interested in gardens, Kyoto is the place. My friend Patrick Chassé, a landscape architect, told me where to go. On the grounds of Katsura Imperial Villa and Sento Gosho are two great “stroll gardens.” This is a form that flowered during the Edo period (1603–1867). Before, aristocratic gardens were designed primarily for a stationary viewer, but the stroll garden invited the emperor and his party to amble along a path, offering a slowly changing viewpoint. These are supremely sophisticated landscapes that employ all sorts of design elements that were unfamiliar to me: use of the diagonal; “hide and reveal”; shakkei, or “borrowed landscape”; the incorporation of miniature and metaphor. In the West, traditionally we have used straight lines, frontality and symmetry. We admire a direct approach, a doorway centered on a wall. But the Japanese favor the oblique, and their doorways are on one side. They admire subtlety and indirection. The great imperial villa at Katsura is designed on the diagonal: the front door is off-center, and so is the walkway leading to it. It is surprisingly unsettling. Western design says, “Center and symmetry mean ‘important.’ ” Japanese design says, “Don’t make assumptions.” Japanese design says, “Pay attention.” I like this. “Hide and reveal” is a subtle way to manipulate the viewer’s experience. Coming around a corner you find your view blocked by a tree or a berm, and a flicker of frustration heightens your


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delight when, a moment later, a vista suddenly appears: a waterfall with an exquisite pattern of ripples, or a teahouse framed by cherry trees. “Borrowed landscape” is the use of a distant view—a hillside, or a mountain—seamlessly integrated into the garden, so that the larger vista reads as part of the garden composition. Tucking a mountain into your garden is quite an ambitious endeavor, requiring patience, vision and— let’s face it—affluence. Katsura and Sento Gosho are a writer’s dream. They’re narrative gardens, filled with sequential delights: exquisite stepping-stones; charming arched bridges; dark, limpid pools. The slope of the hill, the shape of the stones lining the shore, the placement of the teahouse against the trees, the carefully plucked pines—this feels like a pinnacle of beauty and refinement. Japanese garden design is more than a thousand years old, and it has perfected things we’ve never dreamed

t o p r o w, m I D D l e a n D r I g H t, a n D b o t t o m r o w, l e f t: r o x a n a r o b I n s o n . p r e V I o u s s p r e a D, t o p r o w, m I D D l e : r o x a n a r o b I n s o n

emperors and shoguns built palaces in Kyoto; shinto and Buddhist priests built temples; all planted gardens. many have been clipped, watered, pruned, swept, walked in, gazed at, prayed in and cherished

Clockwise from top left: Overlooking Ryoan-ji’s Zen garden; a pond at the Katsura Imperial Villa; Shisen-do’s raked sand; the lower garden pavilion at Shisen-do; one of Saiho-ji’s mossy pathways; a bridge at the Sento Gosho stroll garden.

of. On a pathway, you walk without looking along broad single stones. At a pair of stones you look down to find your footing. This is intended: as you look up, something special lies before you. The subtlety of approach, the perfection of the presentation and the extraordinary sophistication make these gardens a series of unfolding surprises. The religious gardens draw on both Shinto and Buddhism. The latter came from China, a hugely powerful cultural influence, and the source of those gorgeous, swooping, scarlet-trimmed tiled temple roofs, as well as tea. Buddhism became the official Japanese religion in 594; several centuries later, the sect of Zen Buddhism arose, as a protest against worldliness. Zen taught austerity, simplicity and meditation, and created a new garden form. Zen gardens, which are “dry gardens,” were intended as an aid to meditation. They are modest in size, and enclosed.

On one side, wooden steps may rise to the veranda of a temple. The other three sides may be rammed-earth walls. The garden consists of an expanse of sand with a few carefully set stones. Moss may pool around the stones. The sand is raked into patterns. That’s all there is. The garden is absent of life. No birds, no creatures. No flowers, few plants. Nothing stirs, even in the wind. It’s silent and motionless. You can’t go into it. Is it still a garden? Yes. Sitting silently on the steps above it, you realize that the dry garden performs a sort of magical transformation. The spare composition becomes the world, both the outside world of the physical, and the interior world of your consciousness. From the steps above the famous Ryoan-ji, built around 1450, you become aware that a rough upright stone can be a mountain; the raked sand, the sea. Or perhaps the rough stone represents enlightenment, the raked lines, the world. They 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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sea of Japan

Japan Kyoto

toKyo pacific ocean

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sento gosHo

K amo river

suggest some unanswerable riddle, some mysterious permanent flux: your eye keeps moving, from stone, to sand, to stone. Something about these shapes, and the relationships between them, both quiets and engages the viewer. Around you, silent people muse on a metaphorical landscape that’s five centuries old. The dry gardens expanded the possibilities of the form, offering a garden that would do more than merely delight the senses: it could engage the soul. The meditation garden took other forms. Shisen-do, the Scholar’s Garden, was completed in 1641 by Ishikawa Jozan, a samurai who left the martial world to become an intellectual. Shisen-do is on the flanks of Mount Daimonji, above the city, in a quiet residential neighborhood. I arrived there early one autumn morning, before the garden opened. The air was clean and fresh, and the stone walkway had just been washed. When the gate opened I climbed the steps alone, between tall trees. The sun illuminated the landing, revealing the entrance to the temple. It’s a low, modest building, intimate and personal: it was Ishikawa’s house. I took off my shoes and walked through the silent rooms. The open veranda beyond gave onto a wide stretch of raked white sand, radiant in the early light. Beyond this was a bank of dense green azaleas, sheared into long, smooth, rounded forms, mysterious against the shining white sand. Above them rose luminous clouds of morning mist. It was a place you felt like staying in forever. But perhaps the greatest Japanese temple garden is Saiho-ji, the Moss Temple. It was designed in 1339 by the Buddhist monk Muso Kokushi. Muso believed that the natural world itself enhanced meditation, and he saw the garden as a means of attaining enlightenment. Saiho-ji is at once a Buddhist temple garden, a Shinto site and an early stroll garden. It’s also one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. To enter Saiho-ji I had to apply in writing, from within Japan, a week beforehand. I received permission, and I arrived at the designated time. Inside the temple, I was shown into a large room. While black-robed monks chanted prayers, I sat cross-legged at a low desk among other visitors. Using an inkstone and calligraphy brush, I traced a page of Buddhist sutras. Then I carried my sheet to the altar, bowed and offered it on the pile. Only then might I enter this garden of paradise. Saiho-ji’s three hectares of serene woodland contain a series of small linked ponds that form the Japanese characters for “heart”—as in “courage.” The water is dark and gleaming, flecked with a few tiny islands. In one pool, two sets of ripples expand outward, meeting endlessly on the quiet, shimmering surface. A path follows the shoreline. The woods are open, clean and entirely carpeted by moss, which is deep and lush, dense and miraculously luxuriant. It forms a tapestry of textures— silky, fine, plush, coarse, loose—and of shades: silvery, iridescent, brown. Moss has a transformative presence; visitors speak only in hushed, respectful whispers. Moss-topped wooden bridges link the shore and islands. A few narrow rills run through the deep beds of moss, making a muted liquid noise. The quiet sound of birdsong is continuous. Two huge, ancient trees are hung with Shinto rice-straw garlands, declaring the presence of kami. The sense of calm is deep and absolute: this whole space is sacred. ✚

Hotel oKura Hotel monterey


Katsura imperial villa

Kyoto station


1.6 Km


t l guide Getting There fly in to osaka’s Kansai International airport (KIx), 100 kilometers from central Kyoto and served by most major international airlines. or take the shinkansen train from tokyo, a 2¾-hour trip.

Getting Around buses, trains and high-speed rail provide moderately priced, reliable transportation throughout the city. (most public transit lines make announcements in english.) Visit for information.

Visiting the Gardens with 35 years of experience, Emerald Global (etours-japan. can arrange guided visits to saiho-ji temple, while travelers interested in seeing the Imperial gardens at Katsura and sento gosho can apply separately at sankan.kunaicho. apply at least four days before you plan to visit.

stay Hotel Monterey centrally located 327-room hotel near sanjo-dori. 604 Manjuya-cho, Nakagyo-ku;; doubles from ¥25,000. Hotel Okura sleek, understated property with a traditional tea-ceremony room. 537-4 Kawaramachi-oike, Nakagyo-ku; okura.kyotohotel.; doubles from ¥18,000. do Katsura Imperial Villa Katsura Misono, Nishikyo-ku; 81-75/2111215; reservation required. Ryoan-ji Ryoan-ji Goryono-Shita cho, Ukyo-ku; Saiho-ji 56 Matsuo Jingatani-cho; Nishikyo-ku; 81-75/391-3631; reservation required. Sento Gosho (Sento Imperial Palace) Kyoto-Gyoen, Kamigyoku; 81-75/211-1215; reservation required. Shisen-do 27 Kadoguchi-cho;

South Seas Escape to the


A lookout over Cook’s Bay on Moorea, with Mount Rotui in the distance.


naked—and alone— walking over an exposed bed of coral under scorching sun. The open Pacific slams into the reef a a meter or so to my right. The wind rips past my ears. I turn inland and (gingerly) thrash barefoot through dense underbrush, beneath palm and tiare trees. A hundred meters later I break out and the turquoise lagoon is waiting. I step into the placid water up to my knees. There is no wind on this side of the atoll. When I take another step, a blacktip reef shark, just over a meter long, darts from behind a coral outcrop to my left; it’s close enough that I feel the water displace on my legs as it swims off. That I don’t jump out of my skin—or do anything except laugh and say “Cool”— coupled with the fact that I’m naked and tromping around like nature boy, lets me know that my time in French Polynesia is having the desired effect. I had come to the South Pacific to escape. For most of my life I’d harbored this fantasy—disappearing to a remote island, vanishing without a trace. When I saw the movie Cast Away (filmed in Fiji), the only thing I couldn’t understand was why Tom Hanks wanted to get off the deserted island. And I’m not the only one: in this age of the “black-hole resort,” where high prices are paid for the privilege of no Internet, phone or TV, there’s a growing awareness that the more hyper-connected we are, the more we have to fight for any true connection. Personally, I find it increasingly difficult to hear myself think, or even to slow down enough to try—and the more I consult my iPhone, the more difficult that becomes. So I decided to check out. Strung out nearly halfway between South America and Australia, covering an area roughly the size of Western Europe, the 118 islands and atolls of French Polynesia have been the stuff of dreams since explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville wrote in 1771 that the local women possessed the “celestial form of that goddess Venus.” When Paul Gauguin arrived almost a century and a quarter later to paint the scantily clad natives, the deal was sealed. But when I arrived in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, located on the island of Tahiti, it was anything but the paradise I had imagined. Moldering buildings, exhaustchoked streets and hungry-looking natives greet the visitor. Seedy shops selling black pearls—French Polynesia’s number one export—cluster beside tattoo parlors. Clothes hang from drooping lines in a halfhearted attempt to dry in the heavy air. Of French Polynesia’s 270,000 residents, nearly two-thirds live on Tahiti, most of them crowded into and around Papeete. The first impression is jarring.


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Clockwise from left: Overwater guest bungalows at Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa, on Rangiroa; Papeete’s MarchÊ Municipal; a vendor at the market; on an open-hulled boat between islands.

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One block in from the sea at the Marché Municipal, lazy chaos reigns. The morning’s catch is on display beside giant papayas and red taro root. Old women with flowers in their hair sell pain au chocolat; Chinese men hack up grilled pork for a long line of customers. A man with tattoos covering every visible portion of his body, including his face, swipes the top off a coconut with a long machete and hands it to me and I drink its sweet water. Once night falls, the hip crowd congregates at the Chocco Latte Lounge, in the Hotel Tahiti Nui, on Avenue de Prince Hinoi. Young ladies wear a uniform of extremely short, clinging black dresses; stumbling in impossibly high heels, they huddle and talk only with one another, while young men slouch in corners. Techno music blares. A few blocks away, down by the dock, a dozen roulottes, white minivans modified into rolling kitchens, have set out plastic chairs and tables and the air is thick with smoke from their overworked grills. Under fluorescent lights a relaxed and mangy crowd mingles. I wolf down greasy pommes frites at midnight. There’s a decrepit charm to the city, and I find myself lingering longer than expected. But perhaps the best thing that can be said about Papeete is that it’s where you catch the ferry to Moorea, 18 kilometers across the Sea of the Moon. The remnant of volcanic mayhem, where jagged peaks and spires plunge into densely foliated and impenetrable valleys, heartshaped Moorea is where Polynesian dreams begin to come true.

T From top: A boat at the Tetamanu Village dock, on Fakarava; Eric Lussiez (center), proprietor of the atoll’s Raimiti guesthouse, and his family. Opposite: A palm-frond cottage at Raimiti.

he idea of time, it is very foreign here,” Philippe Guéry tells me under passion-fruit and mango trees on the edge of Opunohu Bay, one of the two deep and shockingly lush inlets that dominate the island’s northern coast. The age-old lament of “island time” holds true in French Polynesia, but with a distinctly French existential shrug of the shoulder. “The concept of tomorrow, in a way, it does not exist,” Guéry says. He and his wife, Corinne, came to Moorea from the Basque region of France six years ago and have no intention of going back. “Why?” he spreads his arms wide by way of explanation. It’s a little farther along Opunohu Bay that I see three young and improbably beautiful women with dusky skin and long, loose black hair wade into the water under a star-fruit tree, their brightly colored sarongs rising around them and floating to the rippling surface as they laugh and gently splash one another. Around the bend in Paopao, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the community gathers and fills the pews. Women in hats and men in floral shirts sing and pray and then loiter outside for a Sunday chat. By the water, beside the long canoes, I watch and am eventually pulled into a game of pétanque. Men drink Hinano (the local beer), fish smokes on the open grill and a mother dances with her small daughter to French pop music playing from someone’s boom box. Farther round Cook’s Bay, I find Ron Hall, a native of southern California who came to French Polynesia back in the 1970’s to crew on actor Peter Fonda’s yacht. Fonda went back, Hall didn’t. “No wonder there was a mutiny,” he says, referring the famous uprising that occurred on the HMS Bounty in 1789 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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(two film versions of the mutiny were shot on these islands). “Would you have gone back to Manchester?” There’s an easy welcome on Moorea, and riotous beauty, but there are fences and locked gates as well as several large resorts with the obligatory overwater bungalows, and when I get caught in a traffic jam behind a garbage truck, it’s time to move on. “The modern world has arrived here. They’ve gotten to us,” Hall tells me with a shrug. “You need to head out to the Tuamotus. You’re at nature’s mercy out there, on the edge of the world.” Sounds perfect.


ising barely three meters above sea level at their highest point, the 78 atolls that make up French Polynesia’s Tuamotu Archipelago are palm trees, sand and that’s about it. Small coral islets—motus—string themselves out like beads on a necklace and encircle vast and tranquil lagoons, while the open Pacific pounds the outer reefs. It’s in the lagoons of these tentative claims at land that most of the world’s black pearls are farmed; in their ocean passes that some of the sea’s best scuba diving is done; and in their coral-rich soil that there is exactly one winery. Sébastien Thepenier, from Burgundy, in France, arrived on Rangiroa—354 kilometers northeast of Tahiti and the largest atoll in the Tuamotus—to become the head winemaker for Vin de Tahiti in 2002. “It is crazy, completely,” he confesses immediately. “When I arrived, I did not know if we could do it. That first year we produced 500 liters. But this year, 30,000.” Thepenier, with his thick glasses and serious manner, seems more like a college professor than a winemaker. He takes me by boat out to the motu where his 24,000 vines grow over seven hectares. It’s an incongruous sight—rows of neatly ordered vines abut a forest of shaggy palm trees beside the lapping lagoon under a blistering sun. “It is not an easy choice, but it is a beautiful life,” he says. The other oasis of sophistication on scruffy Rangiroa sits on the bank of the Tiputa Pass, one of two deepwater channels that funnel life in and out of the massive lagoon. Denise Caroggio, an elegant grande dame in pearls and full makeup, arrived in

Papeete from Paris in 1979 and found her way here nearly 15 years ago. “When I first arrived,” Caroggio leans close, her blue eye shadow perfectly applied, “there was one plane a week. After two days I called Air Tahiti and said there was an emergency and that I needed to get off.” She laughs and looks out across the churning pass from the deck of her chic, seven-suite pensione, Les Relais de Joséphine. “Then I fell in love with this spot, this pass. All life has to go right past my backyard.” The majority of Rangiroa’s 3,000 residents live in the village of Avatoru—the main metropolis of the Tuamotus, with its two banks, post office and handful of stores. There is one paved road, and in the evenings I ride my bicycle under the few dim streetlamps, past simple homes, some with satellite dishes affixed to corrugated-metal roofs, while blue light flickers out from otherwise unlit windows. The air is pungent with the smell of tiare, the white, star-shaped flower that keeps French Polynesia smelling like perfume. Inside one of the island’s five churches, a choir practices, voices carry across the open water of the lagoon. Back at Les Relais de Joséphine, my simple, elegant, thatched-roof bungalow furnished with reproductions of French-colonial antiques is steps from the pass. I lie in my four-poster bed, the sliding doors open wide, and watch dolphins leap from the water ahead of the incoming tide as it races to fill the lagoon at dawn. Aside from the charms of Caroggio’s salon, and the overwater bungalows at the glamorous Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa, Rangiroa’s appeal is a raw one. “It’s what Bora-Bora was 20 years ago,” Kia Ora manager Gerard Garcia tells me. “It’s still pristine here, still remote.” But when I see a cruise ship sailing through Tiputa Pass, I know Rangiroa is not isolated enough for me. About 240 kilometers to the southeast, I find the spot that is: Fakarava, population 700. Dogs sleep in the shade of ironwood trees; snails twice the size of my fist inch across the crushedcoral road; the sun burns down. “There’s a lot of quiet here,” Margareth Burns assures me from behind the register of the island’s bakery, Boulangerie Havaiki (where I get the single best croissant I’ve ever tasted outside of Paris—16,000 kilometers away). The island’s sleepy Tetamanu Village guesthouse also runs a dive center.

Also in the South Seas Kosrae Micronesia often overlooked for more popular islands such as bora-bora, 109-square-kilometer Kosrae is ideal for those who prefer adventure to sunbathing. search for ruins or dive to see reefs and a pirate shipwreck. the rooms at Kosrae Village (; doubles from €111) are rustic but comfortable.


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laucala island Fiji set on an exclusive private island, laucala resort (; doubles from €3,035) is located on a 1,214-hectare former coconut plantation with an 18-hole golf course, equestrian center and spa. the 25 villas are outfitted with plunge pools; the resort’s four restaurants source ingredients from local farms.

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palau Micronesia the 586 mushroomshaped atolls of this island republic are famous for their marine life: the coral reef, with its 1,450 fish species, is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. at the palau pacific resort (; doubles from €271), on Koror, guests can snorkel right off the beach.

pitcairn islands Halfway between new Zealand and peru, the four volcanic and coral specks that make up this british overseas territory include the pristine, uninhabited Henderson, a unesco world Heritage site. on pitcairn Island, the pitcairn museum has surprisingly impressive exhibits on ancient polynesian and naval history (

vanua levu Fiji Hike to waterfalls or picnic on one of the beaches that ring fiji’s second-largest island. High-profile guests such as edward norton and Donna Karan stay at namale (; doubles from €1,523) on the Koro sea, with 19 villas and bures, or traditional fijian houses. —stirling k elso

The paradoxical sensation of so much peace and feeling so alive is impossible to ignore

The restaurant at Tetamanu Village, a guesthouse on Fakarava.

A small boy, just leaving the island’s lone school on his bicycle, overtakes me on the road and the race is on. Laughing, we pedal hard until he leaves me in the dust next to a lagoonside outdoor restaurant with hanging shells. Cecile Casserville, a former ski instructor from the Alps, opened Teanaunua 10 years ago with her Moorean partner, a sarong-clad Adonis named Enoha Pater. “We have been all over the Tuamotus, and there is something special here. You feel it right away, no?” I nod, savoring freshly grilled tuna Casserville has just prepared for me. “We don’t like cities, cars, noise. This is what we want.” Nearby, a nurse shark circles, waiting for scraps— Pater saunters over and obliges. “But if you want real peace, go south. It is very remote. You will be happy there.” And then I’m in a five-meter, open-hulled boat, racing over still water toward an isolated motu in the southern part of the lagoon. Already a wild and insubstantial spot, Fakarava begins to break apart. The motus become more spread out, more inhospitable. Signs of life are few, then nonexistent. After nearly two hours, I spy a small dock jutting out into the water from a lush motu. As the boat ties up, I can see a few simple buildings hiding among the palms, set just back from the coral-bound coast. A deeply weathered man with white hair walks out to greet me. Eric Lussiez, from the Republic of the Congo, is a man of artistic temperament with a survivor’s demeanor, and he’s created a South Seas paradise of simplicity with Raimiti. On a small and narrow motu he has built 10 cottages, five on the lagoon, and five—90 meters away—on the ocean. The first thing Lussiez shows me is how to operate my kerosene lamp. My small cottage, made of palm fronds, has hot running water, a wide bed and no electricity. “You are the only guest. You will have quiet,” Lussiez tells me, and walks away. I stand in front of my cottage and look out over the lagoon. The air is palpably still. Nothing is happening. Then the longer I’m still, the more my surroundings come to life. The aroma of the tiare flower is strong. Frigate birds swoop and dive into the turquoise water. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of silver, nearly translucent fish leap out of the lagoon in unison, and then leap again. A snail inches along beside my toe. This is where I’ve wanted to be—even before I knew of its existence. This place is deeply familiar, in the way only somewhere you’ve never been to before can be. At dawn, I’m on the ocean side of the atoll, atop a wide bed of coral. There are nearly a hundred primitive towers of stacked coral—cairns—lining the coast. The silhouetted statues are an eerie sight before the sun comes up over the Pacific. “I built the first one,” Lussiez says when I see him later, “and then guests continued. I hope you will add to the garden.” Lussiez settled in French Polynesia 34 years ago. “I had a restaurant on Moorea for 30 years, and would come here, just for myself. But then.…” He shrugs. And in his shrug, I understand. Perhaps it’s a result of being so close to the edge of the world, but the paradoxical sensation of so much peace and feeling so alive is impossible to ignore. Late in the day I’m back in the coral garden, stacking a tower high, laying small claim on this moment in this place. The sun hangs. Sweat rolls down my back as I lift chunks of coral and add


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to my creation. Without really noticing, I slip out of my bathing suit. It’s when my work is done that I turn inland, thrash through the undergrowth and emerge beside the lagoon, where I step into the water and the blacktip reef shark zips past me. I laugh. For an instant I wish I had my camera, and it occurs to me I have no idea where my iPhone is—and then I realize, I don’t care where it is. It’s going to be very difficult to put my clothes back on. ✚

n avatoru tiputa pass r angiroa

French Polynesia

faK ar ava opunoHu Bay cooK’s Bay paopao papeete



soutH pacific ocean 0

56 Km


t l guide Getting There a few major airlines (air france, air new Zealand, air tahiti nui and Hawaiian airlines) fly into papeete, tahiti’s faa’a International airport; direct flights from asia-pacific are available from auckland and tokyo. Getting Around air tahiti offers extensive service throughout french polynesia, including to the tuamotu atolls. traveling by boat between tahiti and moorea is easy, a 30- to 60-minute ferry or catamaran trip. or reserve a spot aboard one of Paul Gauguin Cruises’ small-ship tours (; 10 nights from US$4,747 per person).

stay Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa Rangiroa;; doubles from €937. Les Relais de Joséphine Rangiroa;; doubles from €254. Raimiti Fakarava;; doubles from €415. Tetamanu Village Fakarava;; doubles from €293.

A dive instructor on Fakarava.

eat Boulangerie Havaiki Rotoava, Fakarava. Chocco Latte Lounge Hotel Tahiti Nui, Ave. du Prince Hinoi, Papeete; Teanaunua Rotoava, Fakarava; cocktails for two €32. do Marché Municipal François Cardella and Colette Sts.; Tetamanu Diving Center gear up here to explore the reefs and underwater caves. Fakarava; Vin de Tahiti Rangiroa;

our definitive guide to


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From Venice to Downtown, L.A. has evolved into a stylish collection of urban enclaves, each with its own personality窶馬ot to mention to-die-for shopping, art, eating and, yes, stargazing. By David A. Keeps. Photographed by Amanda Friedman

Urban Light, a permanent installation by Chris Burden at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (lacma), in Mid-City.

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los angeles

n Hollywood west Hollywood silver laKe ecHo parK

Beverly Hills maliBu santa monica

mid-city culver city


venice pacific ocean


8 Km

Lay of the Land

Lounging in the lobby of the Shore Hotel, in Santa Monica.


tHe BeacH Venice has the canals. santa monica, the shopping (we’re partial to montana avenue). malibu, the legendary beaches with low-key fish-fry shacks.

Seeking a beach escape? Or a Beverly Hills hideaway? L.A. has a hotel for every type of traveler. BuZZ factor

fashion photographer matthew rolston curated the design of Hollywood’s The Redbury, with english upholstery and suzani bedspreads. theredbury. com; from $272. you’ll find shiny white minimalism in a steel-and-glass space at the W Hollywood.; from $359. the philippe starck– designed SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills houses chef josé andrés’s equally imaginative bazaar. slsbeverlyhills. com; from $399. steps from rodeo Drive, the Montage Beverly Hills’s courtyard setting pays homage to mediterranean mood and architecture.


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montagebeverlyhills. com; from $421.; from $435.

on tHe BeacH

from the pink exterior to the bungalows, the Beverly Hills Hotel is a celebrity favorite. beverlyhills; from $495.

built of only sustainable materials, the Shore Hotel’s glass showers look out over the ocean.; from $325. the cape cod-style Shutters on the Beach has interiors by the obamas’ decorator, michael s. smith. shuttersonthebeach. com; from $525.

movie-star romance

a-listers love the art Deco Sunset Tower Hotel and its killer city views. sunsettowerhotel. com; from $295. a hideaway for l.a.’s hip set, Chateau Marmont evokes the noir glamour of Sunset Boulevard.

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urBan contemporary

Iron Chef contestant eric greenspan has a sceney restaurant at the stylish new Hotel Wilshire. hotelwilshire. com; from $225. In a glass building by l.a. live, you’ll find the modern JW Marriott (; from $299) and, above it, a Ritz-Carlton (; from $309), offering jaw-dropping views. L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is a beige-hued,

Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood still draw shoppers and sightseers, but a new generation of talented young transplants has helped transform Hollywood and Downtown into exciting and navigable playgrounds.

five-star addition to the Viceroy Hotels group. viceroyhotelsandresorts. com; from $465.

grandes dames

built in 1946, Hotel Bel-Air was recently revamped by alexandra champalimaud and the rockwell group. hotelbel; from $515. renovated rooms at the Four Seasons at Beverly Hills have marble baths, private terraces and french doors.; from $475. unsurpassed elegance in a whitewashed mansion awaits at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.; from $495. Hotel prices are in US$ for double occupancy.

Beverly Hills the 90210 area has more luxury emporiums than any other u.s. zip code. culver city this once industrial neighborhood is now a thriving design district. mid-city come here for the shopping meccas of melrose and la brea, the farmers’ market and the museums on wilshire boulevard. Hollywood tacky-touristy by day, the formerly seedy neighborhood blossoms after dark thanks to high-design hotels and nightclubs. silver laKe and ecHo parK Head to this area for local fashion, vintage shops and the best music venue, the echoplex. downtown a loft boom and new hotels (the ace Downtown is expected in fall 2013) have fueled a sophisticated foodie scene.

shop A neighborhood guide to shopping—don’t forget your wallet. Brentwood

minnie mortimer gives east coast prep a kicked-back california breeziness with shirtwaist dresses and beachy striped tops at the Mini Shop (11973 San Vicente Blvd.; minnie nearby is Brentwood Country Mart (225 26th St.; brentwood, a warren of food stalls and shops by stylish clothiers including dressmaker jenni Kayne, designer james perse and queen of Indian prints roberta freymann.

aBBot Kinney

trend-setting jewelry, custom fragrances, international housewares— there’s always something intriguing on Venice’s abbot Kinney boulevard. we love the luxe leather bags at Kendall Conrad (No. 1121), the Danish and swedish furniture at Huset (No. 1316 ½), Linus Bikes’s (No. 1413 ½) french-style city cruisers and ChocoVivo (No. 1504) for stone-ground dark chocolate.

la Brea

Known for surf/skate brands, the stretch of la brea

avenue between first and second streets has the latest arrivals: Kelly Cole (175 S. La Brea Ave.; sells classic rock t-shirts and unique collectors’ items, and housewares shop A+R (171 S. La Brea Ave.; is a great source for modern lighting and furniture. the main attraction is Shelter Half (161 S. La Brea Ave.;, where you’ll find only u.s.-made goods, from save Khaki men’s apparel to olmay Home accessories.

Clockwise from left: Mini Shop’s resort casual line, in Brentwood; the boutique Shelter Half, on La Brea Avenue; a selection of Big Spoon nut butters at Shelter Half; Den.m Bar’s chalkboard jeans display, in Downtown.


some of the world’s most coveted premium jeans are produced in industrial neighborhoods just outside los angeles. now, downtown l.a.’s Den.m Bar (111 W. Seventh St., suite R3; lets men and women customize their own. the bespoke pants are so popular that clients are encouraged to book an appointment. while in the building, check out Buttons & Bows (suite R11;, a vintage shop opened by bob marley’s daughter Karen.

Nightfall at Griffith Observatory.


see do Four simple—and classic—pursuits in the City of Angels.


watch a film in style at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (chinese, in chinatown, or Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome (


go for a nighttime top-down drive on winding Mulholland Drive, from Interstate 405 to laurel canyon boulevard. take in the magical lights of the city and the san fernando Valley.


Hike through Griffith Park. start at the los angeles Zoo and head to griffith observatory, made famous by Rebel Without a Cause. stop at Trails Café (; US$14 for two) for

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lunch. see gustavo Dudamel conduct the los angeles philharmonic at frank gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall ( or catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl (


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los angeles From left: A-Frame, in Culver City; an artichoke pizza and salads at Bottega Louie, in Downtown.

Want to spot a celebrity? Nightlife impresario and VIP events producer Bryan Rabin tells T+L where to find them. Have breakfast at the beverly Hills Hotel’s Fountain Coffee Room or lunch at the hotel’s Polo Lounge. pretend not to notice regular jon Hamm at Little Dom’s, in los feliz. other star supper haunts: Il Covo, Bouchon in Beverly Hills and Tower Bar at sunset tower Hotel. sip late-night drinks in the living room at Chateau Marmont. mingle with the fashion crowd on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel, in beverly Hills. shop at Fred Segal on melrose or Kitson and Chanel on robertson boulevard, and search for vintage finds at the weekend Malibu Country Mart.


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The hottest new tables in L.A. dish up a meaty selection of fusion cuisines. a-frame In a former IHop, roy choi of Kogi food-truck fame recently opened this lively ski-chaletstyle restaurant, serving up such inventive dishes as beer-marinated crispy chicken with kimchi and two salsas. 12565 Washington Blvd.;; $80.

Bottega louie you’ll swear that the parisian patisserie ladurée had launched in l.a. when you walk into bottega louie. It is a morning pastry shop and market, lunchtime café and all-day dining room decked out in white marble and gilded french antiques. go

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for the perfect pizzas, mâche with chicken— and macarons. 700 S. Grand Ave.; bottegalouie. com; $150.

inK Top Chef winner michael Voltaggio takes an arty approach, piling sugar snap peas up like a jenga puzzle surrounded by nitrogen-cooled coconut. a penchant for molecular gastronomy doesn’t distract from triumphs such as egg-yolk gnocchi, but makes Ink as serious as its sexy, all-gray space. 8360 Melrose Ave.;; $170.

umamicatessen l.a.’s craze for gourmet

ground beef has pushed umami to the forefront with 12 socal locations. Its latest success offers 11 types of burgers, classic deli sandwiches, pork treats and fried-to-order german chocolate doughnuts. 852 S. Broadway;; $60.

sotto and picca stacked atop each other in a new york–style town house, these two restaurants couldn’t be more different. sotto (; $120) specializes in Italian-accented cocktails and neapolitan pizzas. upstairs, picca (; $100) is

run by ricardo Zarate, a trained sushi chef who incorporates his peruvian roots and the region’s tangy ají amarillo pepper into small plates that are even more delicious than they are gorgeous. 9575 W. Pico Blvd.

tar & roses this boisterous gastropub in santa monica focuses on farm-to-table vegetable dishes such as wood-roasted peas with mint, plus charcuterie and plates of rib-sticking braised lamb belly. 602 Santa Monica Blvd.;; $100. Restaurant prices are in US$ for dinner for two.

t H I s s p r e a D, I l l u s t r at I o n b y l a u r e n n a s s e f

Star Search


From left: Levitated Mass, a sculpture by Michael Heizer at lacma; inside Brentwood Country Mart’s Diesel, a Bookstore; summer rolls and a papaya salad at Gingergrass, in Silver Lake.

Local Take Three Angelenos share their favorite places in the city. rasHida Jones Kris morningstar

James cuno

Executive chef, Ray’s & Stark Bar

President & CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust

Actress, producer, star and co-writer of Celeste and Jesse Forever

Where I go for...

Where I go for...

Where I go for...

a QuicK Bite

great art

a ligHt luncH

I head to the original Farmers’ Market (6333 W. Third St.). Try the mole poblano at Lotería Grill (Stall 322;; $21) or get a burger at Short Order (Stall 110;; $12).

I love Matthew Marks Gallery (1062 N. Orange Grove; matthew, in West Hollywood, and Gagosian Gallery (456 N. Camden Dr.;, in Beverly Hills.

The Vietnamese dishes at the low-key Gingergrass (2396 Glendale Blvd.;; $60), in Silver Lake, are always delicious.

a drinK

a good read

La Descarga (1159 N. Western Ave.;; cocktails for two $26) is a bar with an Old Havana vibe and a focus on agave and tequila.

Santa Monica’s Diesel, a Bookstore (225 26th St.; has a wellcurated selection.

inspiring arcHitecture


lacma (5905 Wilshire Blvd.; lacma. org) is one of my go-to spots.

I bike the Pacific Coast Highway. The light and views are restorative.

Art Crawl Along with the Getty, MoCA and lacma, check out these venues.

Culver City more than three dozen contemporary art galleries (ccgalleryguide. com) are packed into an easy-to-stroll triangle.

Downtown Art Walk Don’t miss this monthly event (downtownartwalk. org) that showcases new painting and photography by emerging artists.

tHe Basics

Broome Street General Store (2912 Rowena Ave.; broomestgeneral. com) sells the best of everything— artisanal coffee; toothpaste; organic beauty products. a relaxing afternoon

Raven Spa (2910 Rowena Ave.; gives wonderful traditional Thai massages.

Bergamot Station In a three-hectare industrial tract (, 40-plus galleries and shops display anime, sculpture and more. 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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last look

Photographed by Marisa Marchitelli

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Wisdom and beauty the new elephant researcher program uses scientific games to study intellectual development theories, with the goal of improving our ability to communicate with elephants (Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle; triangle; 66-53/910-200). Family portrait

That smile of self-recognition elephants know their own reflections—a trait they share only with great apes, dolphins, orcas, one bird species and, of course, humans. this means that, besides being delighted by her own good looks, tang mo here sees herself as a separate being and so can form deeper social bonds.

Don’t you forget about me their trunks are nimble, their minds just as dexterous. according to research by think elephants International, pachyderms cooperate, understand rewards, problem-solve and, yes, have stellar memories.


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since logging was banned in thailand, many elephant trainers have followed their gentle giants to sanctuaries like the golden triangle asian elephant foundation. mahouts are more than pachyderm caregivers; they often bond for life—which, in the case of elephants, is about 70 years.

October 2012  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia October 2013

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