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SOUTHEAST ASIA

OCTOBER 2015

DREAM TRIPS PLUS WILD INDIA HONG KONG SINGAPORE ARTS EATING IN YUNNAN MAD ABOUT THE MALDIVES

SINGAPORE S$7.90 / HONG KONG HK$43 THAILAND THB175 / INDONESIA IDR50,000 MALAYSIA MYR18 / VIETNAM VND85,000 MACAU MOP44 / PHILIPPINES PHP240 BURMA MMK35 / CAMBODIA KHR22,000 BRUNEI BND7.90 / LAOS LAK52,000


An enchanting hillside forest emerges on to incandescent white sands and sparkling azure hues for an unforgettable experience of refinement and relaxation. Discerning guests discover authentic, personalized service at Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui enriched by a warmth and generosity of spirit from the indigenous locals. Exceptional experiences await, be inspired at vanabellekohsamui.com

LIFE IS A COLLECTION OF EXPERIENCES LET US BE YOUR GUIDE Tel: (66)(77) 915 555 Email: luxurycollection.vanabelle@luxurycollection.com 9/99 Moo 3, Chaweng Noi Beach, Surat Thani, Koh Samui, 84320, Thailand

Š2011–2012 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, The Luxury Collection and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For full terms & conditions visit theluxurycollection.com/vanabelle


On the Cover

features HK As the prodemocratic movement in Hong Kong tries to gain 120 Generation steam—and the world watches—a new wave of artists, musicians and activists is filling the city with entrepreneurial energy and newfound optimism. By Jeff Chu. Photographed by Frederic Lagrange

At W Retreat & Spa Maldives, on Fesdhoo Island, North Ari Atoll. Photographer: Pornsak Na Nakorn. Stylist: Tunvardee Jutavarakul. Makeup and hair: Witthaya Kaeoaim. Model: Nathalie Ducheine. Bikini, Tan Tan; skirt, Pleat Please; shoes, Tory Burch; hat, stylist’s own.

Tickets to Paradise Across a trilogy of Maldivian islands, Jeninne Lee 130 Three St. John resists the urge to channel her inner Jonah, hops from boat to boat, and comes back with far more postcards than you could stuff in a shoebox. Photographed by Pornsak Na Nakorn

Walk in the Clouds Mushrooms make up merely the first 800 reasons a 142  Agourmand will gorge on Yunnan. Save some space for yak bacon, fresh-baked bread and a bevy of Chinese cheeses. Story and photos by Lillian Chou

the Big Cats Roam The 150th birthday of Rudyard Kipling finds Michael 150 Where Snyder playing Mowgli with the leopards and tigers of western India. It’s upscale camping with a conservation edge—and celebratory candles aplenty. Photographed by Lauryn Ishak

France Profonde A place of rugged and austere beauty, with long-cherished 160 La artisanal traditions and seldom-seen masterpieces of art and architecture, Aveyron is the enigmatic heart of the country. Elaine Sciolino uncovers the mysteries of a still-secret corner of France. Photographed by Simon Watson

F R O M L E F T : F R E D E R I C L AG R A N G E ; L AU RY N I S H A K ; P O R N SA K N A N A KO R N ; L I L L I A N C H O U

in the Slow Lane On the coast of Maine, farm-to-table cooking, artisanal 168 Life craftsmanship and small-town virtues aren’t anything to brag about—they’re just the way things have always been. By Heather Smith MacIsaac. Photographed by Andrew Rowat

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In Every Issue  t+l digital 16 contributors 18 editor’s note 20 the conversation 24 wish you were here 178

departments

2 9  Que Seraya Seraya Crete

colors in Indonesia.

3 4  Into the Woods Foraged food. 3 6  Trek Stars Urban hiking boots.

38

he Lean Principles A foodie’s Tfavorite regional specialties.

4 0  Wearing Is Caring Jewelry-

74  Seeking Shelter Protecting the

Plus Booking travel in Burma just got easier; new ocean-to-table dining in Hong Kong; and more.

79  Dublin by Design An emerging

haute cuisine in Paris.

Smith’s new hyper-flexible suit.

4 4  Leading Man Thai actor Ananda

Everingham’s take on Chiang Mai.

4 6  Posh Spice Souk-inspired style. 4 8  Mystical Maligcong The

magical Philippine rice terraces.

5 0  The DL on KL New nightspots.

Beyond The largest trove of Southeast Asian art goes up in Singapore.

60  A Great Return Award-winning 6 4 Igniting Ipoh The Malaysian city

is coming of age.

boutique in Burma’s limestonehill town Pa-An.

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

41

The Guide annual special on bucket listworthy Dream Trips.

Upgrade

Fortune’s second annual Best in Business Travel survey, along with how to squeeze more fun into your next work trip.

designer Dror Benshetrit’s Istanbul keepsakes.

70  Karen State of Mind A new

class of innovators in design, art and film is turning the page of a new chapter for the Irish capital.

101 Travel Smarter T+L and

68  The Takeaway Israeli-born

87

14 

heritage of ancient Berber granaries in Morocco.

87  A World of Possibilities Our

war photographer Nick Ut revisits Vietnam.

43  Tommy Hilfiger The designer’s

global influences.

57   Behold, the National Gallery

with-a-purpose from Finchittida.

4 1  The Flex Factor Testing Paul

52  A Balanced Meal Updated

Plus Ingenious packing solutions and new airport-napping spots.

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F R O M L E F T: M I C H A E L N O L A N / R O B E RT H A R D I N G WO R L D I M AG E RY / C O R B I S ; R U V E N A FA N A D O R ; C O U R T E S Y O F Z O U K ; I A N L L O Y D N E U B A U E R

Here & Now


+

t+l digital

LOOKOUT

BR AND-NAME BALI Bali’s Bukit Peninsula is booming these days and, with new and ever-more luxurious resorts crowding onto these coveted shores, there’s a room for everyone

5 PRIVATE ISLAND RESORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES Out of the 7,107 islands in this archipelago, these are some of the best to enjoy absolute peace and privacy.

ECO-GLAMPING IN TIBET T+L heads to a land of windswept prairies and ancient traditions for an experience on the wild side of Asia that is as luxe as it is sustainable.

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TLEDITOR@ MEDIATRANSASIA.COM

F R O M L E F T : N I KO L A KO ST I C ; F R A N C I S C O G U E R R E R O ; C O U RT ESY O F N O R D E N T R AV E L

THIS MONTH ON TR AVELANDLEISUREASIA.COM

Meet one of Thailand’s in-demand designers, Moo Piyasombatkul; Jack Lee emerges as Saigon’s hottest celeb chef; a new heritage center in George Town, Penang; the latest travel deals; and more. travelandleisureasia. com


Pornsak Na Nakorn

Lauryn Ishak

Three Tickets to Paradise page 130 — On the Thai photographer’s first trip to the Maldives, he shot from seaplanes, surf and dinghies, and he had model Nathalie Ducheine as muse. Another natural beauty that caught his eye? “When last light starts waving goodbye, and you can wish it well from aboard a gigantic yacht,” he says. “Daybreak and nightfall were the most spectacular moments, and they were never the same.” Which is just one reason Na Nakorn wound up with 10,000 photos of the trip. But that wasn’t the only thing he accumulated: “The food was great. I unwittingly gained weight.” Our apologies to your waistline. Instagram: @pornsaknanakorn.

Where the Big Cats Roam page 150 — On the hunt for rare wildlife with writer Michael Snyder, Ishak visited Jawai, “the cool and classy kid doing exciting things,” and Sher Bagh, “the grand old dame, with a more traditional safari experience.” Relaxing into these Rajasthan adventures was all about managing her expectations. “Strangely, for me there was a mix of calm, hope and slight resignation. These cats are so elusive, you had to prepare yourself not to see one.” Luckily, Rudyard Kipling was smiling down on them, and they found both leopards and tigers. “It’s extra special when you do spot one,” Ishak says. “They’re so majestic and elegant.” Instagram: @laurynie.

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Elaine Sciolino

Jeff Chu

La France Profonde page 160 — The former New York Times Paris bureau chief has lived in France since 2002 but only recently took a full-scale tour of the lesser-known southern department of Aveyron. “The region’s landscape is so pure,” she says. “Its roads look just as they did a century ago, without traffic or billboards.” Her trip highlights: the Musée Fenaille, in the town of Rodez, and meals like baby goat with sorrel at Chez Colette, in Cassuéjouls. One regret? “Not seeing the Knights Templar fortress towns.” Her new book, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, comes out in November. Twitter: @elainesciolino.

Generation HK pages 120 — “Hong Kong is such a unique mix of cultures because of its heritage as an import-export center—not only of goods but of ideas and cuisines, attitudes and fashions,” says Chu, who reported on the intersection of creativity and politics in the city. “The worst thing would be for it to become just another big city in China.” Chu has been visiting Hong Kong since he was a child, and no trip for him is complete without a ride on the Star Ferry, breakfast at a cha chaan teng (the local version of a diner), or buying stamps at the post office. “Stamps are fantastic little windows into local design and values.” Twitter: @jeffchu.

W R I T ER

3

18 4

P H O TO GR A P H ER

W R I T ER

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF PORNSAK NA NAKORN; COURTESY OF L AURYN ISHAK; GABRIEL A SCIOLINO PLUMP; COURTESY OF JEFF CHU

OCTOBER 2015

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P H O TO GR A P H ER

| contributors

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editor’s note

|

OCTOBER 2015

WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM VACATION? IT’S A QUESTION WE ALL

@CKucway chrisk@mediatransasia.com

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From My Travels

What do you do if your hotel brand bears the same name as the destination where you’re opening a new property? Well, in the case of Shangri-la, China—also known as Zhongdian and, in Tibetan, Gyalthang—the place to stay is Hylandia by ShangriLa. Confusing? Not really. The hotel embraces guests with touches of Tibet, China, Nepal and India all woven into the fabric of its lobby, a welcome retreat after some fascinating day trips around this unspoiled area in the northern reaches of Yunnan. The next stop, 1,600 or so arduous kilometers away overland, is Lhasa, making this retreat that much more special.

F R O M L E F T: N A PAT R AV E E WAT; C H R I S T O P H E R K U C WAY

relish, and the answers often fall into one of two categories: that once-in-alifetime experience or a return to a favorite foray. Our look at dream trips (“A World of Possibilities,” page 87) involves far-flung adventures in Mongolia and Papua New Guinea, as well as can’t-miss stops around Burma and Japan. Also this month, writer Jeff Chu visits Hong Kong (“Generation HK,” page 120), leaving me with a sense of déjà vu. He tours the Chinese village I called home for many years. He hikes across trails I know intimately and, through his story, I can feel the humidity that slaps and wraps the southern Chinese city and all who visit during the summer months. Chu uncovers an artistic side of Hong Kong, proving there’s more to it than the pursuit of mammon. Due north, Lillian Chou goes mushrooming in Yunnan and comes away with a delicious tale in “A Walk in the Clouds” (page 142). The dishes she forages, prepares and eats result in a promise to return to this region. Not becoming a meal themselves is the aim of writer Michael Snyder and photographer Lauryn Ishak on their trip to Rajasthan (“Where the Big Cats Roam,” page 150). With Rudyard Kipling’s 150th birthday imminent, the duo uncover the story behind conservation efforts at leopard and tiger reserves there. Call it a modern take on The Jungle Book—a dream trip if there ever was one.


Find something YOU WE REN' T looking FOR .

Š2015 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Le MÊridien, and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.


Discover our secrets and share Let Centara take you to your dream island, a fantasy made complete with gorgeous suites and private pool villas, all set on balmy, palmy white sand beaches off the shores of Thailand or Vietnam, the Maldives, Bali and Sri Lanka. Whether you’re seeking a little sun, wet and wild watersports; or some serious bliss at our spa and restaurants, we really do have the perfect spot just for you. Plus, you can take advantage of our flexible dining programmes from half board to all-Inclusive available at most of our properties. In the Maldives, you can also opt for incredibly convenient our signature “Ultimate All-Inclusive” carefree cash-free experience. THAILAND

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What is “dynamic currency conversion,” and should I use it?

ON OUR WATCH

WORLD’S WORST AIRLINES

We could extol the virtues of the best airlines in the world, but where’s the fun in that? Skytrax recently announced the winners and losers of its World Airline Awards. While the pan-Asia-Pacific region can be proud with all the top 10 carriers hailing from here (Qatar, Singapore and Cathay are Nos. 1, 2 and 3), the big news has been that the North Korean Air Koryo was rated worst in the world for the fourth year running, with just one star out of five. It should be noted that the listings are based on quality of service, not safety. “It’s a bit of a giggle,” Simon Cockerell, a travel agent specializing in the DPRK, told the AP. “They are clearly not the world’s worst airline.” They do, however, shill mystery-meat burgers to the

THE LATEST FROM OUR WIDE WORLD OF INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS: POSTCARD-WORTHY BRIDGES OF CONCRETE, WOOD AND STONE.

BURNING QUESTION

In recent years, travelers have been given a choice both by ATMs and merchants to select what’s called “dynamic currency conversion”: an option to convert the amount of your bill or cash withdrawal to your home currency on the spot—instead of your bank doing it later. The benefit is knowing right then exactly how much you’re spending in your usual currency, but the risk, says ThePointsGuy.com founder Brian Kelly, is overpaying because of a worse conversion rate, not to mention a fee for the service that is often undisclosed to the customer. “You could be adding up to seven percent to your purchase,” he says. The final word: Always choose to be charged in the local currency, and use a credit card that waives all foreign transaction fees. To stay abreast of the most current rates, download Oanda’s Currency Converter app, which tracks the day’s rates for more than 190 currencies.

#TLASIA

the conversation

Kintai Bridge, in Iwakuni, Japan, built in 1673. — @bowwdat

Tianmen Mountain suspension bridge, Hunan. — @rickymorant

A bridge on a bridge on the Thu Bon River, Hoi An. — @cece.cecil

tune of propaganda pop and ban on-board photography. Here’s what Skytrax reviewers have said about Air Koryo and some of the 21 airlines ranked, with two-stars, just above it. “I was fairly disappointed by the service, however was amused when both the pilots came around to say hello to the dignitaries,

PRESUMABLY LE AV ING T HE AIRCR AF T ON AU T OPILO T !” — JAMES COLE, ABOUT AIR KORYO

“It seemed that the best I could get from [the crew] was

IGNOR ANCE.” — BORIS DRENKOV, ABOUT BULGARIAN AIR

24 

“WORST AIRLINE AND

customer service I’ve seen, miserable staff who don’t smile.” — R. GILL, ABOUT TURKMENISTAN AIRLINES

“The cabin staff on the way out smoked behind the curtain and when my husband challenged them about this,

THEY ACTUALLY OFFERED HIM A CIGARETTE.” — E. COOMB S, ABOUT SYRIAN AIR

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

Richmond Bridge in Tasmania. — @teapear SHARE AN INSTAGRAM PHOTO BY USING THE #TLASIA HASHTAG, AND IT MAY BE FEATURED IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE. FOLLOW @TRAVELANDLEISUREASIA


BALI . BILOXI . CANCUN . CHICAGO . HOLLYWOOD, FL . IBIZA . LAS VEGAS . MACAU . NORTHFIELD PARK . ORLANDO . PALM SPRINGS . PANAMA MEGAPOLIS . PATTAYA . PENANG . PUNTA CANA RIVIERA MAYA . SAN DIEGO . SINGAPORE . TAMPA . VALLARTA . COMING SOON: ABU DHABI . CABO SAN LUCAS . DUBAI MARINA . GOA . HAIKOU . RIVIERA CANCUN . SHENZHEN . TENERIFE

YOUR HOTEL KEY

UNLOCKS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A ROOM.

see more of the story: HARDROCKHOTELS.COM ©2015 Hard Rock International (USA), Inc. All rights reserved.


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ART DIRECTOR DEPUT Y EDITOR SENIOR EDITOR AS SISTANT EDITOR SENIOR DESIGNER DESIGNER

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

REGUL AR CONTRIBUTORS / PHOTOGR APHERS Cedric Arnold, Jeff Chu, Helen Dalley, Robyn Eckhardt, Philipp Engelhorn, David Hagerman, Diana Hubbell, Lauryn Ishak, Mark Lean, Melanie Lee, Naomi Lindt, Brent T. Madison, Ian Lloyd Neubauer, Aaron Joel Santos, Adam Skolnick, Darren Soh, Stephanie Zubiri CHAIRMAN PRESIDENT PUBLISHING DIRECTOR PUBLISHER TR AFFIC MANAGER /DEPUT Y DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER SALES DIRECTOR BUSINES S DE VELOPMENT MANAGERS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PRODUCTION MANAGER PRODUCTION GROUP CIRCUL ATION MANAGER CIRCUL ATION AS SISTANT

J.S. Uberoi Egasith Chotpakditrakul Rasina Uberoi-Bajaj Robert Fernhout Varin Kongmeng Joey Kukielka Domenica Agostino Justin Williams Gaurav Kumar Kanda Thanakornwongskul Natchanan Kaewsasaen Porames Sirivejabandhu Yupadee Saebea

TR AVEL + LEISURE (USA) EDITOR-IN-CHIEF SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT / PUBLISHING DIRECTOR VICE PRESIDENT / PUBLISHER

Nathan Lump Steven DeLuca Jay Meyer

TIME INC. INTERNATIONAL LICENSING & DEVELOPMENT (syndication@timeinc.com) VICE PRESIDENT E XECUTIVE EDITOR / INTERNATIONAL SENIOR DIRECTOR, BUSINES S DE VELOPMENT SENIOR DIRECTOR, AD SALES & MARKETING

Jim Jacovides Mark Orwoll Jennifer Savage Joelle Quinn

TIME INC. CHIEF E XECUTIVE OFFICER CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER

Joseph Ripp Norman Pearlstine

TR AVEL+LEISURE SOUTHEAST ASIA VOL. 9, ISSUE 10 Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia is published monthly by Media Transasia Limited, 1603, 16/F, Island Place Tower, 510 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the Publisher. Produced and distributed by Media Transasia Thailand Ltd., 14th Floor, Ocean Tower II, 75/8 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoeynue, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 204-2370. Printed by Comform Co., Ltd. (+66 2 368-2942–7). Color separation by Classic Scan Co., Ltd. (+66 2 291-7575). While the editors do their utmost to verify information published, they do not accept responsibility for its absolute accuracy. This edition is published by permission of TIME INC. AFFLUENT MEDIA GROUP 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 Tel. +1 212 522-1212 Online: www.timeinc.com Reproduction in whole or in part without consent of the copyright owner is prohibited. SUBSCRIPTIONS Enquiries: www.travelandleisuresea.com/subscribe

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Bromo, East Java • Indonesia

Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost

During your busy life, sometimes you forget to stop and reflect. In Indonesia, we give you just that. Breathe. Pause. Enjoy the moment. Mountains, beaches, or even nightlife in the cities take your pick. Immerse in our traditions. Forget your responsibilities. It's time to play. When you let it, life will take you to unexpected places. We know you won't want to leave too soon. indonesia.travel

@indtravel

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Singapore Since 1925


Que Seraya Seraya

A new resort on a private island afloat in Indonesia’s Flores Sea, with its breezy blue-and-white vibe imported straight from the Mediterranean, is part Komodo, part Crete, and all yours to savor. STORY AND PHOTOS BY IAN LLOYD NEUBAUER

NEWS + TRENDS + DISCOVERIES

Sand and sea at Seraya Kecil.


/ here&now /

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Beneath

WHETHER YOU WANT TO CREDIT CARPE DIEM, sweet serendipity or the power of Poseidon, a Crete tapestry of blue and white has floated ashore in the Flores Sea. The blue you see has always been here, but the white is a new addition, courtesy of Crete-native Yannis Vlatakis. Vlatakis was kicking around the idea of retirement last year when he stumbled upon Seraya Kecil (Little Seraya), one of hundreds of volcanic islets orbiting Komodo Island. Within half an hour, he had tracked down a landowner and bought a strip of beachfront. “The second I saw this place, I fell in love with it,” Vlatakis says. “It reminded me of the Greek Islands before they were developed.” He then got to work pouring his 50 years of experience in hotel construction into creating a stylish, Greek-whitewashed barefoot resort that harmoniously blends high-end amenities with the island’s knockout natural beauty and local life. The most ingenious example is the 14-meter-long bar shaped like the bagan-style fishing boats of Indonesia that subdivides the dining room from the kitchen. It’s a cross section of an actual vessel that was used to ferry construction materials from Flores to Little Seraya Island, day in day out, for eight consecutive months until its hull gave way and it sank on the beach. Vlatakis describes its retooling as an act of gratitude and honor: “That little boat broke to build this place—I couldn’t just throw it away.” You feel that same tenderness across Seraya Hotel (serayahotel.com; beachfront bungalows for two, including half board and round-trip transfer from Labuan Bajo Port from €254 per night, three nights minimum), open since June. Each of the 23 beachfront bungalows has a spacious wooden deck and Balinese-

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

style bathroom with outdoor showers and pebble flooring. Inside they are pictures of tranquility, and elegantly furnished with fourposted beds. There’s also a two-bedroom villa with a plunge pool and wraparound wooden deck offering 270-degree views of Little Seraya’s fringing reef, an ever-changing canvas of shimmering blues edged by shiny white sandbanks and patches of sea grass. The coral is even more vivid up close—a Technicolor array of staghorn, elkhorn and brain corals as spectacular as a bursting supernova, heaving with marine life: royal angelfish the size of dinner plates, eagle rays and bizarre octagonal-finned cousins of the lionfish that resemble subaqueous spiders. Back on dry land, the resort’s alfresco restaurant and lounge embody Greek Islands chic. From the wooden deck surrounding the swimming pool, to the beanbags, wicker tables and chairs, and rustic chandeliers fashioned from driftwood, everything here is whitewashed and highlighted with splashes of cyan. The daily set menu, likewise, is Mediterranean to the core. Conceived by chef George Haryanto, a Flores native who cut his teeth at Sasa’ Italian restaurant in Bali, the daily set menu begins with a fresh Greek salad or calamari soup with flatbread. It’s followed by hearty mains like chicken stuffed with feta, mushrooms and eggplant; barbecued grouper with garlic and zucchini Parmesan bake; or simple penne marinara. Dishes are made for the most part from organic produce sourced from markets in Flores and the freshest of seafood Haryanto buys every morning from passing fishing boats. Let them conjure Poseidon to prep your dinner while you channel Pasithea, the Greek goddess of relaxation, and serenely sip your ouzo-coffee aperitif.

T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F W W W. F L O R E S T O U R I S M . C O M

the Flores Sea; the color scheme is inspired by the Mediterranean; Greek flavor is on the menu.


/ here&now / E VENTS

A Smorgasbord at Shangri-La

The first-ever Shangri-La International Festival of Gastronomy will run October 27-31, showcasing the taste bud-tantalizing talents of eight culinary masters in five cities across the world.

BANGKOK Angelini

SINGAPORE The Waterfall

Wunderkind Enrico Bartolini of Devero Restaurant, just outside of Milan, is the youngest chef to be awarded two Michelin stars in Italy, and he’s bringing his artful Italian classics to Bangkok’s riverfront.

Massimo Bottura, of Osteria Francescana in Modena, treats diners in Singapore to fresh twists on Italian favorites.

HONG KONG Petrus, Island Shangri-La

Expect dishes bursting with contrasting flavors, courtesy of two-Michelinstarred Mirazur’s chef Mauro Colagreco, flown in straight from the Riviera, at this French restaurant with great views of Victoria Harbour. Summer Palace, Island Shangri-La CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Mok

Kit Keung serves up Cantonese at Kowloon Shangri-La; chef Enrico Bartolini cooks Italian at Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok; Calypso Dining Hall, Shanghai, for dessert.

Iconic Chinese cooking techniques take center stage as Ip Chi Cheung, the resident chef, showcases his Cantonese staples. Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri-La

Chef Mok Kit Keung rolls out an innovative tea-andCantonese-cuisine pairing menu for the festival.

SHANGHAI Calypso, Jing An Shangri-La

Michelin-starred Casa Perbellini loans out chef Giancarlo Perbellini to Calypso to give Shanghai a sweet taste of scrumptious Italian confections. PARIS L’Abeille

Check out the view of the Eiffel tower at Michelinstarred L’Abeille while you feast on a special menu of decadent French favorites by executive chef Christophe Moret. Shang Palace

The country’s only Chinese restaurant with a Michelin star, Shang Place is lauded for its Cantonese and Huaiyang food, which new kitchen director Samuel Lee Sum elevates with his refined touch.

WORLDLY GOODS

BASIC INSTINCT Based in Hannover, Germany, accessory designer Philipp Bree draws clear comparisons between his home and his new minimalist handbag collection, PB 0110. Both town and tote are quiet and well organized; emphasis is on timelessness rather than trend. “I think if I lived in Berlin or Paris, it would be different,” Bree says of his work. The sleek, orderly designs aren’t without surprises: the navy laptop-friendly tote, for example, has a clever adjustable strap. The midsize cross-body for women has been updated in olive green. From US$606; pb0110.de. —  JANE BISHOP

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

FROM TOP: COURTESY OF SHANGRI-L A (3); COURTESY OF PHILIPP BREE (2)

To find out more, visit shangrilalovesfood.com.


Escape Artists

Book Inle Lake trips online. BOTTOM: FlyMya’s founder Mike Than Tun Win.

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F F LY M YA ( 2 ) ; P H I L I P F R I E D M A N

NOTICED

Burma 2.0 Getting to Burma is a breeze, but planning travel within the country can still be a headache. Earlier this year it was a challenge to reserve flights on Burma’s domestic carriers unless you were actually in Burma, but the launch of FlyMya (flymya.com) in June ushered in a new era. The online booking service offers ticketing for six local airlines for flights to a total of 27 cities. “There’s been a tourism boom in Myanmar,” says

founder Mike Than Tun Win, “and I realized it was tough for foreign visitors and locals alike to book their domestic flights.” Win, who returned home to Burma in 2011 after spending most of his life in Singapore, says his vision is to haul even more of the country’s travel logistics onto a digital platform. “Lots of customers who book their flights with us also ask for tour recommendations,” says Win. “Many local tour agents are offline and we want to work together with them to offer tours to travelers.” Starting this month you can book hotel rooms and rental cars or drivers with FlyMya. Even multiple-destination tours like the Escape to Myanmar package (five nights, US$1,472 per person including domestic flights, hotels, guided tours and meals), bouncing through Rangoon, Lake Inle and Bagan, can be booked from start to finish on the website, so you can have your whole trip sorted out before you touch ground.

Autumn’s most promising new books offer a complete getaway—to places both real and imagined. The Big Green Tent, Ludmila Ulitskaya’s ambitious, newly translated Russian novel, tracks the lives of three young Muscovites from the death of Stalin to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Garth Risk Hallberg’s page-turning mystery City on Fire is set in the New York City blackout of 1977, where he examines the lives of the fortunate and the frustrated. Just as riveting is Mary Gaitskill’s intimate The Mare, a love story about Velvet, an abused Dominican girl, and the scarred horse she learns to tame. Any traveler will enjoy Rick Moody’s bizarre and often hilarious Hotels of North America, the fictional “writings” of an eccentric hotel reviewer. And lastly, Patti Smith returns, after the success of Just Kids, with musings on her peripatetic life in a new memoir, M Train. — THES SALY L A FORCE

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/ here&now / TRENDING

Into the Woods

Organic? Locally grown? Seasonal menus are so last season. Impress your snobbiest foodie friends by hunting for your own wild edibles. BY DIANA HUBBELL EDIBLE WEEDS

Doris Pozzi wrote the book on urban foraging—literally. Weekend gatherers can pick up a copy of Edible Weeds and Garden Plants of Melbourne, or try the more hands-on approach on a tour with the author herself. The walks are held in Yarra Valley, an hour outside of Melbourne, making them scenic but accessible for city dwellers. edibleweeds. com.au; Wild Edibles Foraging Walks from A$45. KOOMAL DREAMING

FROM TOP: Unearth black gold on a truffle hunt with The Truffle &

Wine Co.; let Koomal (left) show you the secrets of the outback.

THE TRUFFLE & WINE CO.

Forget Piedmont—fragrant black winter truffles are stashed away in Manjimup in Australia’s wild west. It takes an especially sensitive schnoz to find these beauts, so you’ll be paired with a trained canine companion to search for the black gold, which you’ll then be served fresh at a gourmet lunch. Hunts are seasonal and spaces fill up fast, so sign up well in advance to secure a spot. truffleandwine.com.au; truffle hunts late May through late August A$60, appetizer and wine pairing lunch sets A$30.

CLOSER TO HOME Is Oz too far afield? Check out these Asian options.

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LAOS

Venture into the jungles surrounding Luang Prabang in search of tasty hidden treasures and roaring waterfalls. laostravel-agency.com.

He may have been born Josh Whiteland, but the founder of this company prefers to go by his traditional Wadandi name: Koomal. Follow him into the depths of Ngilgi Cave for a didgeridoo jam session with Carnegie-worthy acoustics, then learn how to forage medicial plants in the bushes and build a fire. koomaldreaming.com.au; Aboriginal Food, Culture, Cave & Didge Tour A$98. SEIT OUTBACK AUSTRALIA

Test your survival skills in the Northern Territory as you scavenge for bush seeds. You’ll walk away with a newfound appreciation for the diversity of life in this stark, gorgeous landscape. seitoutbackaustralia.com.au; Bush Tucker and Reptiles tour A$92 per person, including transport to and from Ayers Rock Resort.

CHINA

Prized matsutake and porcini mushrooms in all shapes and colors grow in the rich soil of Yunnan province. Scour the woods for precious fungi,

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

then gorge on your glorious harvest. (See feature story on page 142.) shaxichina.com. THAILAND

A true immersion experience, this

five-day homestay in the rural Isan town of Koh Phet will have you hunting and eating frogs, insects and lizards, as well as more conventional plants. Intrepid

travelers can brag to their friends about combing for water beetles and scorpions, although the faint of heart— or stomach—should steer clear. thailand homestay.com.

FROM TOP: CR AIG KINDER; COURTESY OF KOOMAL DREAMING

Foraged foods may have reached superstar status at Noma and its emulators in Copenhagen, but lately the trend has been flourishing further south. Top tables in Australia including Attica (attica.com.au; set menus A$220), in Melbourne, and Orana (restaurantorana.com; set menus from A$80), in Adelaide, are luring diners with ingredients like cinnamon myrtle and sea blite. It’s not just chefs rooting around for chanterelles either; these days casual Aussie gourmands are getting down and dirty scrounging for prized edibles not far from their own backyards. With terrain this lush and varied, a few hours of toil can yield delicious results.


ges fique Voya My Magni


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MUST-HAVES

TREK STARS

The newest hiking boots for men are built to tackle any terrain, from city streets to rocky peaks. BY JANE BISHOP PHOTOGR APHED BY JAMIE CHUNG

FROM TOP: Lowa Vantage trekking boot, US$245. Adidas Outdoor Terrex Scope hiking boot, US$200. The North Face Ultra Fastpack hiker, US$150. Asolo Triumph hiking boot, US$230. Vasque Inhaler trekking boot, US$160.

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/ here&now / BEIJING

BANGKOK

“Everyone loves a good papaya salad,” Lean says. Her top pick is the guacamole-bar-style Somtum Der (somtumder. com; som tam for two Bt200) both for its unusually cool, modern wood-finished setting and for its 15 versions of Thailand’s beloved bite. “Best part is,” Lean says, “the rest of their menu is absolutely delicious too.”

THE DISH

The Lean Principles

Food Network Asia host Michele Lean cracks open her little black book of delectable dishes and guides you through a tasting tour of Asia. MICHELE LEAN SCOURS THE EARTH in search of

amazing food. The Food Network Asia host has been table-hopping Southeast Asia’s best restaurants and taste-testing their signature dishes in Food Wars and before that, she was traveling across China, meeting ethnic minorities and sampling local delicacies for CCTV’s Travelogue. Although this Beijing-based journalist has lived in the Middle Kingdom for the past eight years, she travels the world for work and play: “Aren’t all vacations food-driven?” This year alone, the Le Cordon Bleu-trained personality has already visited Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, so she’s well qualified to weigh in on food trends. She can tell you all about the burgers, brownies and craft beers that are making waves in this part of the world but her favorite development is the reinvention and modernization of regional signature dishes, whether it’s in the city of origin or in another. “I love the movement of these different cuisines,” Lean says, “as it brings so much more variety to a city.” Here Lean calls out the restaurants that best embody this trend in four of her top food capitals. — MONSICHA HOONSUWAN

RANGOON

Lean is obsessed with the mohinga fish soup served at Rangoon Tea House (fb.com/rangoonteahouse; mohinga for two K10,000). “It’s commonly a streetfood but they’ve spruced it up, loaded the bowl and made it one of the most heavenly treats you’ll ever encounter,” Lean says. The restaurant, set in a colonial building, reflects the golden days of Burma.

KUALA LUMPUR

Sabah’s staple breakfast ngiu chap beef noodles is given a new twist by Lean’s uncle at Ngiu Chap Wong (P-1-3 Plaza Damas, Sri Hartamas; 60-12/238-0009; noodles for two RM20), opened in June. Lean says the ngiu chap taste like home since it is her grandma’s recipe and the result is “just slow-cooked, homemade beef goodness.”

LEAN IN: The TV host’s secret to building up a Rolodex of gastronomic insight is a fearless approach to eating: “As a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t miss anything!” Imodium at hand, Lean tries everything, at least twice, including Manila’s balut (cooked developed duck embryo); chocolate-colored, jelly-like duck blood; and deep-fried salted silk worms. “If there are long lines and the locals love it, chances are, you will too,” Lean advises. “That’s how we discover new dishes, expand our palates and learn more about different cultures.”

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

High-quality ingredients, like the organic young chicken sourced exclusively for the koushuiji, or “saliva chicken,” make Transit (fb. com/transitbeijing; koushuiji for two RMB156) Lean’s go-to restaurant in Beijing. The koushuiji here is a balanced mix of tender meat and spicy sesameand-peanut sauce, which Lean says is “rich, creamy and spiced to perfection.”


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INTRODUCING

Wearing is Caring

The Finch sisters design jewelry that dazzles the eye and warms the heart.

T WIN SISTERS TIDA AND LISA FINCH

know a thing or two about selling jewelry for a purpose. When their mother fled Laos in the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, she sold a necklace she had hidden in her shoe to pay for dressmaking lessons that she would use to support her family. The sisters, who live and work in London, founded Finchittida (finchittida. com) shortly after graduating from University of the Arts London with design degrees in 2012. Their mission was to create a game-changing, purpose-driven brand with products as cool as its ethos. In the past three years, their elegant pieces have won the jewelry designers a celebrity following and a commission from Hollywood: Finchittida created a bridal headdress, laser cut from silver mirror Perspex, for Mila Kunis to wear in her role as Queen of the Universe in the 2015 film Jupiter Ascending.

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Finchittida’s fourth collection, Culture Clash, launched at London Fashion Week this September, fuses intricate design methods and motifs from across three continents: Asia, Europe and South America. Fresh from a month-long trip to Laos in April, the sisters encountered a Chilean artisan, Marcelo Martinez of Nativo Copper, whose handcrafted jewelry is inspired by his travels in South America. “Our vision was to reinvent his traditional methods of woven metals in a [contemporary] London style and combine them with our Lao motifs,” Lisa says, “to create a really fierce, fashionforward collection.” Of their own mixed heritage (their father is British), Tida and Lisa say they had always longed to connect with the Southeast Asian part of their identity while growing up in London. “Our way of

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

doing this is through fashion,” Tida says. “We love the concept of yin and yang; balance is everything.” Tida and Lisa have partnered with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Laos to support the clearance of bombs in their mother’s homeland. Some two million tonnes of ordnance were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War—the most ever per capita. When the twins discovered that one third of these had been left dangerously unexploded, Lisa says, “It was definitely a question of how do we help, and not whether we should.” For every piece of jewelry Finchittida sells, one square meter of land is made safe for future generations. So if you don their new engraved dragon hoop earrings, for example, you’ll both be a beautiful vision and help the Finch sisters realize their beautiful vision of a bomb-free Laos.

COURTESY OF FINCHIT TIDA FINCH

BY SAMANTHA LEESE


/ here&now / IN THE BAG

The Flex Factor

Dancer Storyboard P leaps across a New York rooftop in a new travel-friendly suit designed to be as supple as it is sophisticated. BY THESSALY L A FORCE

S T Y L I S T: J A N E B I S H O P. G R O O M I N G : L U I S G U I L L E R M O U S I N G D I O R H O M M E / O R I B E H A I R C A R E AT FA C T O R Y D O W N T O W N

PHOTOGR APHED BY RUVEN AFANADOR

WHEN YOU’RE THE DANCER

Storyboard P, life keeps you moving. “It’s a voice,” he says, describing what he feels when he dances. “It’s this inner momentum that’s motivating the direction I go, how long I hold a move, when I should change it, what should come out.” At the age of 25, Storyboard has already made a name for himself performing on and off the streets of Brooklyn, where he grew up. He’s the king of flex, an improvisational style of dance that’s equal parts balletic grace and strong hits, marked by contortionist stunts and smooth footwork. Recently his moves have landed him roles in music videos, with hip-hop stars such as Jay Z, and a performance at Mass MoCA, the prestigious modern arts outpost in western Massachusetts. So who better to give Paul Smith’s new “A Suit to Travel In” a test run? Storyboard, who is handsome >>

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM / OCTOBER 2015

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with wide-set eyes and has a soft way of speaking, danced (on a Brooklyn rooftop, in Nike Air Raids) for photographer Ruven Afanador to Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” subjecting the suit’s high-twist fibers to his particular athleticism. (He cites Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson as inspirations, and though he has some ballet training, he is largely selftaught from 1990s music videos and his peers.) The suit stood up. “I was expecting it to rip,” he admits. “The last time I wore a suit, it ripped. I went out and I was dancing. I was kind of embarrassed.” Where does he hope his talents will take him next? “I would love to go to Morocco,” he says. “Or Saudi Arabia. Enchanting places.”

SUIT UP “I travel all the time and often have to rush straight from the plane or train to a shop event or even to stand up in front of an audience at a talk, so having a suit that looks fresh is important to me,” Paul Smith says. The British designer had high expectations when searching for a fabric that could withstand a relentless travel schedule that those in the fashion world know so well. Made in styles for both men and women from 100-percent New Zealand wool, with a high-twist yarn, this crease-resistant suit—which comes in three classic colors (black, navy and dark gray), and in three different fits—has corozo-nut buttons that are extra hard. Smith adds: “It’s vital to have a suit that springs back to life easily.” US$1,530; paulsmith.co.uk.


/ here&now /

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2 C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F T O M M Y H I L F I G E R ; © C H R I S T I E ’ S I M A G E S / C O R B I S : C O U R T E S Y O F L E E L A PA L A C E H O T E L S ; COURTESY OF TOMMY HILFIGER (2); COURTESY OF EREDI CHIARINI; COURTESY OF R ALEIGH HOTEL

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MY FABULOUS WORLD

Tommy Hilfiger

The fashion designer and budding hotelier may be the embodiment of American style, but his outlook is entirely global. UNIFORM When I travel, my navy blazer is my briefcase. I put everything in the pockets: my passport, wallet, mobile phone, chargers and business cards. I get custom suits made at (1) Eredi Chiarini (eredichiarini.it), in Florence. CARRY-ON My memoir, American Dreamer (Random House), comes out next March. Every time I flew, I would take a hundred pages or so with me to edit while on the plane. It occupied a huge amount of time; I definitely didn’t sleep as much as I should have! ART FIX I met Andy Warhol when I moved to New York in the late 1970s, and have always been attracted to his work. I have a deep understanding of it, because I was very entrenched in that

pop-culture scene. My favorite piece is (2) Grace Kelly; it reminds me of my wife, Dee. COMFORT FOOD Whenever I’m in L.A., I love to eat at Madeo Ristorante (1310/859-4903; entrées US$30– 45), which is a great old-school Italian eatery. There’s nothing better than pizza and pasta—real carb-heavy dishes—but I also like lighter options like grilled branzino with a fresh salad. DREAM TRIP Last year I traveled to New Delhi, where we marked a decade of the Tommy Hilfiger brand’s presence in India with a big event at the (3) Leela Palace (theleela.com; doubles from US$375). Everything in that country is so inspiring—the people, the food, the smells, the colors­. I want to return to Jaipur and Bangalore.

CHECK-IN When the opportunity arose to buy the (4) Raleigh hotel (raleigh​ hotel.com; doubles from US$350) in Miami Beach, I jumped at it. The property is landmarked, so it still has this incredible charm. We plan to renovate and bring it back to its original state, which was so fantastic and unique. THE SHOW GOES ON To celebrate our 30th anniversary and our largest store opening in China, we recreated the (5) Fall 2015 runway show from New York Fashion Week in Beijing. It took place in a full-size mocked-up stadium, complete with Astroturf, a scoreboard and a Jumbotron. I think for an American designer to put on a spectacle like that really struck a chord with the Chinese. It was pure entertainment.  — As told to Katie James

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INSIDER INTEL

Leading Man

DR AMA RUNS IN THE FAMILY for Ananda Everingham. The Bangkokborn heartthrob has starred in some of Thailand’s biggest blockbusters, like Me… Myself, Eternity and Shutter, and while he’s played the leading man in many a rom-com, it might be hard to trump the suspense and intrigue of his own backstory. Everingham’s mother is Laotian, his father is an Australian photojournalist, and the 1983 NBC television movie, Love Is Forever, about a photojournalist who scuba dives the Mekong to rescue his lover from communist-ruled Laos is based loosely on their true tale. In addition to a flair for theatrics, hospitality is also an Everingham trademark. Before he was discovered at age 14, Everingham worked part-time in his parents’ Indian restaurant, Himali Cha Cha, a Bangkok institution. So in a satisfying second act, Everingham returns to hospitality with the opening of Hotel Yayee (17/5 Nimmanhemin Soi 17; 66-99/269-5885; fb.com/hotelyayee; doubles from

Bt1,900), a 14-room boutique hotel in Chiang Mai. “The inspiration and design came from the idea of building something for someone I was in love with,” the ever-romantic Everingham says. “That is the reason the hotel is called Yayee, which means sweetheart.” The love interest in this particular tale may very well be the city itself. “I moved to Chiang Mai in 2009 and figured that it would be important to invest in the town that I was now living,” Everingham says. “I spent so much time designing and working on the project that the only way to do the space justice was to turn it into a hotel.” Die-hard fans will quickly recognize Everingham’s obsession with photography, which he inherited from his father and showcases through the stunning black-and-white images hung in every guest room. His Lao heritage is also woven throughout, with fetching touches like throw pillows imported from his mother’s hometown. The local design motif extends to the rooftop

C O U RT ESY O F H OT E L YAY E E

Thai superstar and boutique hotelier Ananda Everingham shares his favorite excursions in and around Chiang Mai. BY DIANA HUBBELL


C LO C K W I S E F R O M TO P : C O U RT ESY O F H OT E L YAY E E ; SA KO N C H AO P H R A E K N O I ; C O U RT ESY O F BA A N M O N M UA N

terrace, which sports mountain views as swoon-inducing as the star himself— not to mention potent cocktails. Even the breakfast, which ranges from Thai khao tom (rice soup) to eggs and sausages, exhibits close attention to detail and cross-cultural sensibilities. Everingham is still lighting up the big screen, but his latest movie Love H2O opened at the end of August and there are no other releases slated for this year, so for now Everingham fans can get their fix by following his footsteps and tire tracks through the sleepy downtown and lush surrounding hillsides on some of his favorite expeditions in Thailand’s northern hub. + For local products like candles and trippy trinkets, Everingham heads to the city’s hippest strip, Nimmanhemin Soi 1 (nimmansoi1.com), home to stylish restaurants, art galleries and the annual Nimmanhemin Art & Design Promenade (December 5-10). + A pleasant walk with a culture edge “starts at the base of Khualek [Iron Bridge], where the local dek waen [street motorcycle racers] like to hang out, and leads to Chareon rat Road up past

Nawarat Bridge, where there are many cool boutiques and local restaurants with great organic food, handwoven products and crafts.” + Everingham’s ideal day trip is spent astride his motorbike. “I like to ride around the Mae Rim loop into Samoeng. On the route, there are many places to stop such as Pong Yaeng Ang Doi [Mae Rim-Samoeng Road, Mae Rim District; lunch for two Bt500] for lunch. The food there is good, and the ingredients are locally grown. On the way down to Samoeng, you’ll see a sign that reads fortune telling and beer, run by a cool old couple. Go there for a bite to eat, or to have a cold beer while having your fortune read.” + Also on the Mae Rim, Baan Mon Muan (Pong Yaeng, Mae Rim District; 66-83/318-6444; baanmonmuan.com; dinner for two Bt450) is one of Everingham’s top picks for “amazing local food made from the ingredients grown in the hotel’s backyard.” And as Everingham will tell you, when searching for Chiang Mai’s hidden charms, you often need look no further than the backyard.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A cross-cultural

breakfast spread at Hotel Yayee; peoplewatching at Chan-Neung Café on Nimmanhemin Soi 1; stop for a gardenfresh lunch at Baan Mon Muan. OPPOSITE: Ananda Everingham.


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MOOD BOA RD

Posh Spice

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Whether at a resort in Marrakesh or a shop on Madison, the season’s best offerings all have a touch of the souk. BY COURTNEY KENEFICK

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1. Lancôme mascara in Mon Regard Parisien, US$32. 2. Aveda eye color in Golden Ginger, US$15. 3. The pool at the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech, opening in October. 4. A look from Lanvin’s fall collection. 5. Valentino leather flats, US$875. 6. India (Phaidon), a photo book by Steve McCurry, US$60. 7. New York Stoneware ceramic vase, US$150. 8. Stella McCartney brocade clutch, US$1,955.

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C LO C K W I S E F R O M TO P C E N T E R : C O U RT ESY O F M A N DA R I N O R I E N TA L ; C O U RT ESY O F L A N V I N ; P H I L I P F I R E D M A N ( 6 ) . ST Y L I ST : C H A N E L K E N N E B R E W

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/ here&now / HEAD-TO-HEAD

Import Quality

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 M O T O R I N O ; C O U R T E S Y O F V O O D O O D O U G H N U T; C O U R T E S Y O F S M I T H & W O L L E N S K Y; C O U R T E S Y O F C AT C H

THESE AMERICAN RESTAUR ANTS HAVE ALL EXPANDED RECENTLY WITH INTERNATIONAL OUTPOSTS —BUT THEY DIDN’T JUST DO THE SAME OLD THING. HERE’S WHAT’S COOKING.

MOTORINO | SINGAPORE

The Move The Clarke Quay party district gets a branch of New York’s cult Neapolitan pizza joint—open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The Translation This is the first Motorino with outdoor seating. Naples’s San Gennaro Cathedral inspired the marble floor, and the chairs are from a Belgian flea market. The Draw The Soppressata Piccante pie is made with Italian salumi that’s illegal to import to the U.S. motorinopizza.com.

CATCH | DUBAI

The Move The Manhattan seafood hot spot has opened in the Fairmont hotel in Dubai. The Translation It’s about half the size of the three-story original, but graffiti-covered brick walls and industrial fans convey a distinctly American vibe. The Draw Only-inDubai dishes include the Land & Sea sushi roll (made with miso lobster and Wagyu beef) and the Pearl Necklace cocktail (vodka, passion fruit and oyster-and-star-anise cordial). emmgrp.com.

VOODOO DOUGHNUT | TAIPEI

The Move Portland’s outlandish doughnuts are now served in the shadow of the Taipei 101 skyscraper. The Translation It’s got the same Pepto-pink walls and takeout box, but there’s a lot more room, with 52 seats under chandeliers. The Draw Doughnuts here are 25 percent smaller (with 25 percent less guilt!). Try the Taipei Cream (Bavarian filling with maple-and-vanilla frosting). voodoodoughnut.com.

SMITH & WOLLENSKY | LONDON

The Move The steak house chain goes international in the Adelphi building on the edge of Covent Garden. The Translation This is, hands down, the most opulent location to date. The green-and-white color scheme is punched up with Carrara-marble bars and plush banquettes. The Draw The irresistible Sunday special: tender roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and potatoes cooked in goose fat. smithandwollensky.co.uk. —   JAY CHESHES


/ here&now / DETOUR

Mystical Maligcong

Hidden beyond the Philippine Cordilleras’ main route, this small town, with its distinct stone-wall rice terraces, has an unimagined beauty few travelers get to see.

BY MARCO FERR ARESE. PHOTOGR APHED BY KIT YENG CHAN

MALIGCONG’S AMPHITHEATER

of stone-wall rice terraces is one of the Cordilleras’ unsung insider secrets. The journey there, a hairraising 30-minute uphill ride from Bontoc’s bustling market in a packed-to-the-gills jeepney (five departures per day; P20), weeds out the faint hearted, but the pay-off is worth every bump in the road. Panoramas of rice steppes carved into rolling hills extend as far as the eye can see. It looks like a playhouse for giants, with ricecarpeted staircases zigzagging in every direction. This unesco World Heritage site is the sole example of pre-colonial stone construction in the country, but few have trod these fields. You can do Maligcong as a halfday trip from Bontoc but, with surrounds this stunning, it is worth putting down your bags and staying a while. Suzette’s Maligcong Homestay (63- 91/55463557; fb.com/maligconghomestay; doubles including dinner P1,000) is an intimate lodge with three rooms, each with rustic wooden fittings and a spacious veranda overlooking the valley. You couldn’t hope for a more gracious host than Ate Suzette, and her home-cooked pork adobo will warm your belly and your soul through Maligcong’s chilly nights. Suzette can arrange guided walks to the terraces and hikes to the hot spring in the nearby village of Mainit, but you can also just strike off by yourself on perambulatory excursions. Following Suzette’s advice, we hike to Maligcong’s primary school, a cluster of wooden houses dominating the valley from the top of the highest hill. As we leave the

village limits along the snaking stone path, we stumble upon a group of shy school kids on their way back home. We all walk in single file past local farmers working knee-deep in muddy water tending to the paddies. I bask in the slice-of-life moment, and tell myself that this is what travel is all about. As we trudge along the ridge to the top, the afternoon sun starts a shimmering light show in the hundreds-strong


patchwork of pools below us. I’m dumbstruck by the beauty of this ever-changing, three-dimensional checkerboard. Suzette had told us, “Even though I’ve lived here most of my life, it’s hard to get tired of Maligcong. It looks like a different place in every season.” Taking in the vastness of the view, I know exactly what Suzette means. I try to imagine what the stairs of the Gods will look like during my next visit.

FROM TOP: The

jeepney ride from Bontoc market to Maligcong is an intensely local experience; Maligcong is the only spot in the Philippines where you’ll find these picturesque stonewall rice terraces.


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A F TER DA RK

The DL on KL

From bars to super clubs, the city’s nightlife is on fleek. MARK LEAN gets turned up at three of the hottest new places to get down. WATCHING SUNRISE OVER A

mountaintop may be a magical experience, but I prefer my dawns to the backdrop of dubstep at super club Zouk (436 Jln. Tun Razak; zoukclub.com.my; drinks for two RM100, entry from RM25), which recently reopened its doors at the three-hectare TREC after decamping from its Jalan Ampang location. Built at the cost of RM38 million, the latest KL spinoff to the 24-year old Singaporean party hot spot is packed with 10 specialist rooms, each with its own distinct music policy, an exclusive members’ bar with private lift access, a VIP concierge and, sensibly, due to the club’s 5 a.m. closing time, a medical bay. Since the nightspot launched in KL back in 2004, it’s estimated that 100,000 night owls have slid past the velvet rope each year. At the new club, international night-clubbers who bring their passports get their own entry lane, along with complimentary entrance to the party. Slightly more understated in approach is pop-up 44 Bar (The Row, Jalan Doraisamy; 60-3/7958-1377; fb.

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com/44bar; drinks for two RM100), an arty back-alley cocktail joint on a street that was hip perhaps a decade ago. Here, interiors, the work of design firm Allthatissolid, are composed of trippy mind-bending motifs that recall an Austin Powers aesthetic. The bar’s movie-set aspirations have been realized

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

on a telenovela budget, which is part of its charm. The drinks here though shouldn’t be taken lightly. Or on an empty stomach. Head bartender CK Koh rolls out drinks like the Castaway, a knock-you-on-your-ass blend of Privateer amber rum, coffee liqueur, pineapple, and Monin salted caramel syrup; as well as fellow tiki-inspired rum cocktail, the Jungle Bird, made from Campari, pineapple and lime juice, purportedly invented in 1978 at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton. Drink up—44 Bar is at its current location until December. The city’s newfound appreciation for cosmic cocktails is obvious at Hyde at 53M (53M Jln. SS 21/1A, Damansara Utama; 60-3/7733-2303; fb.com/hyde53m; drinks for two RM100), a speakeasy in suburban Petaling Jaya with gleaming leather sofas and waitstaff donning bow ties and suspenders. The no-smoking policy means you get the tavern vibe without the cigar fumes, perfect for unwinding after work. A steady stream of creative types flock to this stylish and laid-back bar for mixologist Andrew Tan’s ever-changing roster of drinks that includes the mighty King Kong Bloody Mary, which owes its name to its serving portion as well as to its alcohol content. And for an equally oversize monster of a night, order the New Horizon here; the so-named tray of half a dozen pandan and coconut creamtopped shooters will set you on the right (or wrong?) path.

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 4 4 B A R ; C O U R T E S Y O F Z O U K ; C O U R T E S Y O F H Y D E AT 5 3 M

CLOCKWISE FROM BELOW: A Ginger Berry Julep makes a scene at 44 Bar; slide into the lounge at Zouk; mixologist Andrew Tan at Hyde at 53M.


/ here&now /

exotic & idyllic retreat ...where life is a private celebration

DINING

Go Fish

FROM TOP:

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

Chef David Lai, Fish School co founder; Lai’s catch of day.

This month, Davy Jones’s locker is spilling open onto Third Street in Sai Ying Pun with the opening of Fish School seafood restaurant. “Hong Kong began as a fishing village and seafood continues to be a unique pillar of its local culture,” says Hong Kong-born chef David Lai. “As a chef there is no better inspiration than these pristine gifts from nature.” Lai is designing the menu at the intimate 50-seater restaurant where the catches of the day—think fish, shrimp, lobster and crabs—are primarily sourced from small, family-owned fishing boats. Sea to serving platter, courtesy of mom and pop, oh and one of the top-rated chefs in Hong Kong. 100 Third St., Sai Ying Pun; 852/2361-2966; fishschool.hk.

TRENDING: JET-HOPPING IT’S LIKE A CRUISE SHIP IN THE SKY: the next ultra-high-end way to travel across multiple countries is in a private jet. Four Seasons is linking its best hotels via 757 on trips like January’s eight-nation “Timeless Discoveries” (fourseasons.com/jet; US$132,000 per person), which, in one L.A.-to-London itinerary, combines white-water rafting in Bali with flying in to Agra to marvel at the Taj Mahal. Remote Lands has two eight-seat Gulfstreams hopscotching Asia with stays at Aman resorts; the March departure (remote​lands.com; US$58,888 per person) offers lessons from a sword fighter in Tokyo and lunch with a Cambodian princess at her dance academy. And next September, Abercrombie & Kent’s tricked-out 757 will take 50 guests from the streets of Cuba to the stone statues on Easter Island to estancias in Patagonia (abercrombiekent.com; US$99,500 per person). —  ANDREW SESSA

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/ here&now / FOOD

A Balanced Meal

After years of rustic bistros, chef David Toutain is bringing fine dining back to Paris—with a twist.

FROM LEFT: Toutain’s wood-accented dining room; the chef, who is originally from Normandy.

COMPLAINING ABOUT THE FOOD

scene in Paris is like saying your private plane doesn’t have enough seats. But if you’ve been to Auckland or Melbourne or Singapore—or anywhere, really—and visited restaurants that are casually rustic, locally driven and generally modern in feel, then Paris’s reigning bistronomie trend can give you a sense of déjà vu. Frenchie and its successors remain popular and great, but it’s time for a new era in Parisian dining. A forward-thinking group of chefs is looking to modernize haute cuisine, with its labor-intensive sauces and elaborate plating, and make it a sophisticated but not stuffy experience. And no one nails it quite like David Toutain, whose namesake restaurant in the Seventh Arrondissement serves just two menus: nine courses for €72 and 15 for €105. If you’re lucky, you’ll be welcomed by the brilliant Canadian sommelier Linda Violago. Instead of the wine pairings, order whatever bottles she suggests to go with the night’s meal. The food changes daily, though most of it is ambitious and a bit strange: little balls of beef carpaccio with raspberries hidden inside; beets whittled into something resembling a film canister, then stuffed with more beets for a double dose of earthiness; hunks of eel with apple confetti in a pool of blacksesame sauce. All of it is formalist in execution, undeniably French, and mostly served on unglazed plates that

would’ve made Escoffier cringe. That’s kind of the point: fine dining need not be a religious experience, and Toutain gets that. At one point, just before the meat course, you even get to pick your own steak knife. (Too bad you can’t keep it.) The room is equally informal, alive with laughing locals, and decorated like a Stockholm Airbnb, with blond-wood tables and exposed bulbs dangling from cords. Dessert, too, is on the playful side. The night I dined, fresh strawberries arrived looking like the Sydney Opera House, propped up by little spheres of ice cream. Then came rich truffles served buried in the chef’s chocolate version of dirt. Dirt! That last bit of kitchen science is something many nouvelle gastronomie chefs have been riffing on for a few years now. Toutain’s success lies in taking something familiar, classic even, and simply doing it better. davidtoutain.com. — KURT SOLLER

ALAIN DUCASSE AU PLAZA ATHÉNÉE | The room resembles a Marie Antoinette version of Miami. The cheapest lunch menu costs €215. And it’s mostly vegetables. Strictly for those willing to indulge on (truly remarkable) carrots and artichokes. alainducasse-plaza athenee.com.

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CLOVER | The latest from star chef JeanFrançois Piège—who worked at the Hôtel de Crillon—and his wife, Elodie. The tiny St.Germain spot serves light plates like quinoa wafers and marinated fresh tomatoes that seem almost Californian in style. clover-paris.com; dinner prix fixe from €58.

SPRING | Opened by American chef Daniel Rose, it’s now one of Paris’s top affordable dining experiences. For €84, his team serves refined takes on dishes like chicken bouillon and squab with sweet-breads. springparis.fr.

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY | Go at lunch, when the chef offers a €110 carte of updated classics—raw oysters with seaweed and lemon granita or artichoke-andblack-truffle soup—in the penthouse of the Paris Mint, where it relocated in May. Swank, right down to the red-carpet entrance. guysavoy.com.

YAM’TCHA | Though the restaurant moved to a larger spot this summer, intriguing Asian-inflected dishes such as red-tea mousse still make its €60 lunch one of the toughest reservations to score in the world. yamtcha.com.

M AT T H I E U S A LVA I N G ( 2 )

GETTING YOUR FIXE Paris’s standout set menus, both simple and splurgy


The Best When you think of Bintan, resorts, spas and golf immediately spring to mind. But there’s more to the Indonesian getaway that meets the eye. And it’s those extras that should have you visit the lively island. For starters is the award-winning Mangrove Discovery Tour, a journey along the Sebung River into thick jungle that takes in unique plant life as well as monkeys, monitor lizards and king fishers. The day becomes a trip into the serene side of the island—and if you opt for the enchanting evening tour, you’ll find the mangroves bathed in the luminescence of fireflies and glittering stars. Exploring this island is the new thing on everyone’s to-do list, so the full-day South Bintan Heritage Tour takes visitors to Senggarang, an intriguing fishing village home to a 200-year-old Banyan tree and pilgrimage site for Buddhists. A giant statue of Buddha oversees all. On Penyengat Island, stops include a Dutch fort, old palaces and the Sultan of Riau’s Grand Mosque. No tour is complete without stopping in Tanjung Pinang to sample kerupuk, prawn and fish crackers. Separate tours of the island’s capital are also available. For the outdoor set, there’s the Gunung Bintan Adventure Trek. While only 340 meters high, the mountain is rich with soaring trees; rare animals such as silver leaf monkeys, sun birds and eagles; and a chance to plunge into a water fall for a local, natural and cool blessing.

Nature also comes into play with a Traditional Fishing Tour, where you get a chance to catch crab, shrimp and fish with bamboo and wire traps. And don’t miss the Eco Farm Trek that explores a 17-hectare farm growing fruit, vegetable and herbs, where you can indulge in a seasonal-produce tasting and take home some of the harvest. As if all these adventures weren’t enough, Bintan has introduced a number of new tours, including the Trails of Sea Gypsies, an in-depth and fascinating look at this intriguing way of life, centered on floating fishing platforms called kelongs, that is entirely separate from the modern world. The coastal views of traditional boat builders at work and villages hovering over the sea will take your breath away. Or, escape via both local seacraft and motorized trishaw to the Island of the Kings, where the long-gone Riau Kingdom is never forgotten. The island of Penyengat and all its attractions are pending listing as unesco World Heritage Sites. Gods & Dragons is a tour that delves into the roots of Chinese settlers, and takes you to visit temples, dive into nature and be awed by more than 500 life-sized statues, each different and unique. Rising above them all is Vihara Avalokitesvara, which houses the tallest Goddess of Mercy statue in Southeast Asia. It is, like most everything you’ll encounter in Bintan, a scene you will never forget.

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Behold, the National Gallery CULTURE

Two of Singapore’s grandest heritage buildings will reopen next month as a showcase for the world’s largest public collection of Southeast Asian art. Melanie Lee gets a sneak peek of the architectural masterpiece. PHOTOGR APHED BY DARREN SOH

The unaltered façade of the National Gallery Singapore.


/ beyond /C U L T U R E THE BARE WALLS AND QUIET CORRIDORS SET MY MIND R ACING.

What will this space look like when it is alive with art and teeming with tourists? There is a visceral sense of urgency as curators, videographers, construction workers and cleaners stride purposefully about the National Gallery Singapore the day I’m taken for a “naked” museum tour (seeing the museum without its exhibits). Its official opening is on November 24, and as the largest visual arts venue in Singapore, at 64,000 square meters (a little larger than Musée d’Orsay in Paris), it has expectations to live up to. Judging by first impressions, this gallery doesn’t have much to worry about. Housed in the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, two national monuments with towering Corinthian and Ionic columns, the National Gallery is a palatial wonderland where art, design and history merge. The adaptive reuse and conservation of these two iconic buildings from the 1920s and 1930s has been a five-year, S$530-million mammoth task undertaken by French architectural firm Studio Milou and CPG Consultants from Singapore. The key design concept is to add layers to the existing buildings rather than altering them too drastically. One of the most striking new features is a canopy made of glass and 15,000 aluminum panels draped over both structures. This unique, veil-like roof gives a dappled sunlit effect during the day and is supported by steel structures that look like chrome tree trunks. A basement concourse and two sky bridges have also been constructed to connect the two buildings. These contemporary additions are breathtaking, but it is the historical integrity seen in the restoration that truly gives the National Art Gallery its soul. Here are a few of the architectural showstoppers that are worth checking out on your visit.

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↑ The Rotunda Dome

The classical Rotunda Dome that was previously hidden from the public can now be viewed from the Supreme Court terrace. From there, you can also peek through the rooftop to see a close-up of the former Supreme Court’s copper main dome, which has turned bluish-green after years of oxidation. In its previous life, it was a law library, and if you make your way inside the Rotunda, you’ll find restored curved columns and cabinets that will hold volumes of browsable archival materials.

→ City Hall Chamber

The 1945 signing of the Japanese surrender documents, and the 1959 swearing in of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew: City Hall’s most stately room was also the site of its most significant national events. Its original wood panels and marble columns, with brass capitals set atop the pillars, remain and have been restored. There are no immediate plans to have any exhibitions or displays in this room—history speaks for itself.

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM


→ Former Supreme Court Balcony

Flip around and face the building façade, because besides offering a panoramic view of Singapore’s Civic District, this balcony also holds a fascinating historical footnote. Below the Allegory of Justice sculpture is a space where it looks like some kind of emblem has been scraped off. It is widely believed to have been the British coat of arms, and was probably removed by the Japanese during World War II. It’s just one example of why you need to keep your eyes peeled on a tour; buildings with this much history are layered with hidden details and secret stories.

← Former Supreme Court Foyer

Underneath the floor is a time capsule from 1937—containing currency from the Straits Settlement, and newspapers—that can only be opened in the year 3000. Luckily, no one’s in a rush to bust through the beautiful original Art Deco terrazzo flooring. Together with the staircases and airy, high ceiling with retro wooden panels, this space evokes F. Scott Fitzgeraldera affairs complete with martinis and shrimp cocktail. Interestingly though, since there had been a tight post-Depression construction budget, this was considered an “austere” building back in the day. 01-01, 1 St. Andrew’s Rd.; national gallery.sg; complimentary entry from November 24-December 6, 2015.

IN THE PIPELINE Here’s what to expect when the National Gallery Singapore opens this November: The world’s largest public collections of Southeast Asian artworks from the 19th and 20th centuries contained in the DBS Singapore Gallery and

UOB Southeast Asia Gallery. Restaurants such as National Kitchen by celebrity chef Violet Oon, and Odette by former Jaan chef Julien Royer. Gallery & Co., a store that will feature specially designed products for the

• •

museum such as books, a variety of collectibles and prints. Renowned visiting exhibitions to give more global context to the permanent local and regional collections. There will be a partnership with Centre Pompidou in April

2016 on the relationship between modernist art from Singapore and Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world. “Artist and Empire,” a collaboration with Tate Britain featuring artworks from the British Empire, will open in October 2016.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM / OCTOBER 2015

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/ beyond /T R A V E L D I A R Y

A Great Return

To mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, native son and prizewinning war photographer Nick Ut traveled to Saigon, his camera at the ready. JUST AFTER NOON ON JUNE 8, 1972, a South

1

Vietnamese Skyraider dropped napalm on Trang Bang, a village 40 kilometers northwest of Saigon. The payload, meant to hit occupying North Vietnamese forces, struck civilians instead, many of whom then rushed down the highway toward 21-year-old Associated Press photographer Nick Ut. His photo of nine-yearold Kim Phuc, naked and screaming as smoke filled the sky, galvanized international opinion against the war. The shot, which almost went unpublished because of the child’s nudity, helped Ut become the youngest winner of the Pulitzer Prize for photography at the time. In 1975, Ut escaped Saigon for a camp in San Diego with only a couple of cameras. “I was a refugee,” he says. “At the camp, I always had my camera.” He’s worked for the AP for decades, and now returns annually to Vietnam. This spring, to celebrate Liberation Day and the release of AP’s new book Vietnam: The Real War, Ut visited Saigon for the festivities, including a military parade. Ut, who has a historian’s breadth of knowledge and as keen a photographic eye as ever, shared these photos of his trip.  — SOO YOUN 

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3

1. MOMENT OF RESPITE At a lush highway rest stop in the Mekong Delta, Ut snapped these restaurant workers before ordering breakfast of hot soup with rice noodles. 2. FLOATING WITNESS This crocodile lurks on Con Phung Island in the Mekong Delta, an area Ut covered. During the war,

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peace activist Ong Dao Dua (or the Coconut Monk) lived nearby. There’s now a temple in his honor. 3. IN THE ZONE After his older brother, AP photojournalist Huynh Thanh My, was killed by the Vietcong in 1965, 16-year-old Ut began showing up daily and developing film at the bureau, until he got his brother’s job. “My brother said he was going to take a picture that would stop the war,” says Ut, pictured here at a combat base in January 1971. “When I took the picture of Kim Phuc, I thought, ‘I have it for you.’” 4. A VILLAGE REBORN Trang Bang 43 years later. The site of the bombing is directly behind the Cao Dai temple, seen here. >>

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

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/ beyond /T R A V E L D I A R Y

6 5 5. FRESH CATCH Ut spotted these red tilapia at a fishmonger in Sa Dec. Though he was in the French-colonial town to visit the famous setting of the 1992 film The Lover, he skipped the official tour to wander through the nearby open-air market. 6. NIGHT VISION Ut captured an after-dark aerial view of the anniversary celebration. Even after 40 years, he’s still on the AP clock day and night. 7. ON THE MOVE Like a paparazzo on the prowl, Ut asked his driver to speed up then slow down so that he could capture this family traveling along the highway on a motorbike to Saigon. 8. SIGNS OF LIFE “During the war, there were lots of Vietcong here,” Ut says, gazing out on the Mekong. “They were hiding under these plants and bombing American navy boats. That’s why American soldiers shot so many Vietcong in this area. John Kerry was right around here.” 9. COOL OASIS Ut’s room at the Sheraton Saigon, where he sometimes stays on his annual visits, looks out on this swimming pool. During the war, the hotel was an apartment building where Ut’s journalist colleagues Tim Page, John Steinbeck IV (son of the novelist) and Sean Flynn (son of Errol) all lived.

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM


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/ beyond /O N T H E R I S E

Igniting Ipoh A fresh batch of boutique hotels, cafés and restaurants is making Ipoh’s Old Town feel brand new. BY MARCO FERRARESE. PHOTOGRAPHED BY KIT YENG CHAN >>

​The start of Ipoh’s heritage trail is marked on the avenue facing the historical clock tower.​

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM


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/ beyond /O N T H E R I S E

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Art by

Ernest Zacharevic celebrates Ipoh’s white coffee; night view of Town Hall; egg tarts at Kedai Makanan Nam Heong. OPPOSITE: ​B eansprout chicken at Restoran Ong Kee.​

SLEEPY IPOH IS WAKING UP. The Malaysian city still has all the charm and elegance that wealth from its former life as a 1930s colonial tin-mining center once afforded, but until recently, it has been stuck in the past. Even the multicolored Chinese shophouses that line the charming lanes of Old Town seem to lean against each other, like they too have succumbed to the languid ebb and flow of time in the tropics, and nothing much seems to have changed in the way local shopkeepers tend to their century-old crafts. Much like the ore that put Ipoh on the map, the city had tarnished with age, but new flights from Singapore on Tiger (tigerair.com) and Malindo (malindoair.com) plus a spate of recently opened hotels and dining options have the dreamy destination spiffed up to a high shine.

HERITAGE HOTELS + Experience a modern take on true shophouse-living straight in Old Town’s pumping heart at the new boutique hotel Sekeping Kong Heng (75 Jln. Panglima; 60-5/241-8977; sekeping.com/ kongheng/home.html; doubles from RM220). The eight rooms, including two hanging glass boxes, are a luxe refit of a 1920s-era building that hosted the Cantonese opera troupe way back when. Visiting troupes performed regularly until the 1950s in the 1,500seat theater next door, which is now trendy bistro Plan B (605/249-8286; thebiggroup.co/planb; drinks for two from RM25). + Also in the center of Ipoh’s Old Town and nearby the Kinta River, another old Chinese shophouse is ready to host heritage-hunters

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

in spacious and fabulously renovated rooms. Sarang Paloh (16 Jln. Sultan Iskandar; 60-5/ 241-3926; sarangpaloh.com; doubles from RM238) welcomes guests in a throwback lobby furnished with Chinese vintage housewares and inspiring batik paintings. A spiral staircase leads to the second floor that housed a bank in the 1920s but is now a collection of tastefully refurbished rooms. IPOH EATS + Start your day like a local with a cup of white coffee; the quintessential Old Town brew is made from coffee beans roasted with palm-oil margarine and served with condensed milk. Sip a cuppa alongside a hearty breakfast at Kedai Makanan Nam Heong (2 Jln. Bandar Timah; 60-16/553-8119), known for its spot-on brews and silky egg tarts, while you listen to hawkers’ ladles crack and woks sizzle on the streets outside. + Try to find a seat among the locals at mom and pop Restoran Ong Kee (48 Jln. Yau Tet Shin; 60-5/253-1562; meal for two from RM20) for some of the best tauge ayam, or beansprout chicken, in town. Here the classic Ipoh dish is boiled to perfection, sprinkled with fresh bean sprouts and soy sauce, and served with noodle soup or rice.


+ In the mood to live a little dangerously? Loosen your belt and steel your nerves for the RM18 one-hour noodle free flow at Wheel Noodles (26 Jln. Market, under 1981 Guesthouse shop sign; 60-5/ 242-3777; fb.com/wheelnoodle; meal for two from RM15). This artsy bistro has lively touches like rows of hanging umbrellas, vintage bicycles, wooden tables and lofty interiors, and noodles come in old-style, crowing-rooster-decorated bowls. CULTURE QUEST + Eight murals by Ernest Zacharevic, the Lithuanian artist who made Penang a street-art star, are hidden throughout the lanes and walkways of Ipoh. Go on a treasure hunt to find them all. T+L TIP The artwork locations are marked on the Ipoh Tourist Map available at the tourism information office and most hotels. + The city’s newest heritage museum Han Chin Pet Soo (3 Jln. Bijeh Timah; free tour booking at ipohworld.org/reservation; RM10 donation optional) was originally founded in 1893 by tin magnate Leong Fee as a gentleman’s club for miners and tycoons. The space opened in February as a musuem, and offers a peek into the Old World charm of a Hakka Chinese clan house, complete with a central courtyard and packed-earth walls. The first floor recounts the history of Ipoh’s industrial past, while upstairs the quirky reproduction of a Chinese gambling and opium den with life-size statues of Fu Manchu-alike punters is definitely worth a look.

+ Take an evening stroll to see the light show at the fountain in the square facing Ipoh’s Taj Mahal—an apt local nickname for the sumptuous 1935 white marble train station. Walk the Kinta riverfront under LEDglowing trees, your red carpet to Ipoh’s nightlife, and lose yourself to the city’s quiet but infectious beat.

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/ beyond /T H E T A K E A W A Y BR ACELET My family is incredibly superstitious, so evil-eye symbols were prevalent during my childhood. I found this one at Paşabahçe, a famous glassmaker. I keep it on a shelf in my office alongside other collectibles. pasabahce.com; TL60.

RUG A Turkish client gave this to me. I loved the geometric pattern, so I bought a few more in the Bedesten section of the Grand Bazaar. You can tell it was made a long time ago, yet it feels very current. TL750.

TOWEL

PEN Whenever I have to sign something special, I use this pen. It was given to me by a client, who bought it at the Grand Bazaar. The Turkish people have such an amazing gifting culture.

Every time I’m in town, I go to the hammam—Kılıç Ali Paşa is my favorite. This traditional cotton cloth is worn at the baths; I bought some to use at home. The fabric is airy, but still soaks up water. kilicali​ pasa​hamami.com; similar styles for TL60.

CARD CASE

I’ve developed an obsession with Turkish coffee. I drink it every day, but I only use these cups from Hiref when I take the time to make a proper brew. Hiref; 90-212/345-6038; TL300 for the pair.

I like to look for vintage pieces—things that have a certain memory. This silver box, which I discovered at the Grand Bazaar, feels very traditional. I gave it to my wife, but I don’t know if she even uses it! TL300.

DROR BENSHETRIT | DESIGNER | Istanbul  For buildings like New York’s SoHo Synagogue and for products for Tumi, Target and Alessi, the Israeli-born Benshetrit finds inspiration in symmetry and geometry. Both are in ample supply in Turkey’s largest city, where his firm, Studio Dror (studiodror.com), has a major architectural project under way. “The heritage of the Ottoman Empire, mixed with European and Asian influences, makes the city so diverse,” he says. The designer picked up these keepsakes from the Grand Bazaar (istanbulgrandbazaar.org) and at shops in Karaköy. — K ATIE JAMES

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PHOTOGR APH BY JAMES WOJCIK

S T Y L I S T: L I S A F L U D Z I N S K I

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/ beyond /D I S C O V E R Y

Buddhist imagery adorns Kawgun cave.

at the swimming hole on the outskirts of Pa-An, the capital of Burma’s Karen State, this balmy afternoon. A rocky promontory provides the ideal leapingoff point for a queue of young Burmese lads. The pool itself—a cool, clear expanse fed by a natural spring—is an aquatic free-for-all where kids pilot inflated car-tire inner tubes and splash about in noisy water fights. As the younger teenagers frolic, an older crowd packs out a collection of ramshackle wooden restaurants. Boys pick out classics on guitars while girls fix their makeup by using the reverse cameras on their mobile phones. The local guys aren’t the only rock stars around however. As my friend and I stroll down to the pool we are accosted by groups of fearless smiling admirers who take turns posing for photographs with the giant Western interlopers. I’ve found that such eagerness is harder to come by in many of the region’s tourist hot spots, but here in Karen State— where many areas remain closed due to ongoing conflict between ethnic armies and the central government—visiting foreigners are a rare and welcome sight. Little happens at a breakneck pace in Burma. Boats take days to chug their way up the country’s rivers while a creaky road and rail infrastructure means that patience is a virtue that even the crankiest visitor must adopt when it comes to getting around. In keeping with the somnolent way of things, the country’s tourist strategy has also taken its sweet time to diversify, focusing mainly on a handful of destinations including Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Rangoon. Yet Pa-An and its surrounds are now emerging as appealing additions to any Burmese itinerary. Bordering northern Thailand, Karen State has plenty in common with its neighbor to the east. It’s a land of lush river valleys, emerald paddies and towering limestone peaks. >>

Kyauk Kalap Monastery sits on a limestone pedestal.

Karen State of Mind A new boutique in Pa-An is making it easier to visit this entrancing Burmese limestone-hill town in style. BY DUNCAN FORGAN

Sashaying through the green grounds of Hpa-An Lodge.

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C O U R T E S Y O F H PA - A N L O D G E ( 3 )

THINGS ARE GETTING ROWDY


BOROBUDUR BROMO CANGGU CILANDAK MENJANGAN - WEST BALI NATIONAL PARK CRUISES

DHARMAWANGSA KOMODO SUMBA TUGU - PUNCAK UBUD


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“A-door-able” service at Hpa-An Lodge.

C O U R T E S Y O F H PA - A N L O D G E

Pa-An is an easy bus ride 290 kilometers east of Rangoon and enjoys an enviable setting on the banks of the mighty Salween River. Here you’ll find a few serviceable eateries, the excellent communitycentric Veranda coffee shop (verandacafe.weebly. com; coffee from K700) brewing beans from Shan highlands, and an attractive central lake. The jungle-clad bulk of Mount Zwekabin is a sacred symbol of peace and an easily identifiable landmark in an expansive countryside that offers a wider host of outdoor adventure: visitors can walk or cycle to a variety of caves and pagodas, swim in natural pools or simply luxuriate in the bucolic landscapes. Doing all this has become a whole lot easier, not to mention appealing, following the opening of Hpa-An Lodge (hpa-an-lodge.com; 95-9/253-307-774; doubles from US$210 per night) in November of last year. The boutique lodge has set an impressive new standard for luxury in the area. Cradled in a serene valley at the foot of Mount Zwekabin, the property features 18 cottages handcrafted from local wood and stone by French carpenter François Jacquey and his team. Cottages are kitted out with tasteful furniture made from the mahogany-like thitka and come with a huge deck equipped with a daybed, while trimmings such as Beats USB speakers make lazy monsoon days even more amenable. If the weather is fine—as it was when I visited— the great outdoors is well worth exploring. We start our first day in Pa-An with a brisk two-hour climb


DUNCAN FORGAN

to the top of the mountain. The trail is steep and the steps are slippery due to recent rains, but the view from the top is as gorgeous a reward as one could wish for. After a tasty Thai lunch in town at the hilariously named Golden Cock restaurant (95-9/314-999-28; lunch for two K25,000) we visit the Kawt Ka Taung Cave before indulging our fans with some photo opportunities at the nearby swimming hole. Sunsets around here are particularly wondrous, the early-evening light injecting extra luminescence to the scenery. We end the day with a cold Myanmar Beer at a restaurant looking out over the Kyauk Kalap Monastery, a pagoda that straddles a tall limestone outcrop in the middle of a lake. Back at Hpa-An Lodge, we opt for the Burmese set dinner, a risky choice as the merits of local cuisine are often disguised by the overuse of oil. But there are no such negatives here. Highlights of the meal include a delicate myin kwa ywet thoke (pennywort salad) and wet that sipyan (pork curry) with tender chunks of pork belly coated in a perfectly spiced ginger and tamarind gravy. Pa-An is nobody’s idea of a nightlife hub, but the lodge’s comfortable bar makes a convivial spot to sip wine. With several of the area’s sights ticked off the previous day, our final morning is spent lounging around the

Reflections on Kawt Ka Taung Lake.

property’s attractive pool and admiring the view over the valley from its raised deck. Hungry for some ballast before the long drive back to Rangoon, we stop for an espresso and a pizza at the friendly Italian-themed Hotel Gabana (hpaanhotelgabana.com; doubles from US$50) in the center of Pa-An. We order “a margherita” and wait eagerly. Forty minutes later our server reappears with… an icy margarita. So we remain hungry, and the salty tequila drink will delay our drive, but we don’t mind—with mountains, lakes and rivers providing the backdrop to a weekend of pure relaxation, it is impossible not to go with the flow.


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Seeking Shelter

On a tour of ancient granaries in the arid landscape of southern Morocco, Eve Kahn discovers the picturesque history of these architectural marvels—and the plan to rescue them from ruin.

THE ZIGZAGGING PATH LED to a stone fortification on a cliff. Its curved, monolithic walls faced a towering mountain range, fading into the landscape. For centuries, Berber tribes and nomads locked up food and other valuables here and fought off any marauders who made it to this remote spot. As I walked the loose-rock trail, I was outpaced by the fortress’s aged caretaker, Mohamed Amarir, who led my family and our guide, Hassan Idfath. Inside the entry gate, we ducked through hobbit doorways into mazes of storerooms. Crouching along the sandy floors, we found ourselves in a

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cool, tall cavern, with storage jars half-sunken into the earth. Slit windows overhead reduced the Moroccan sun to dusty gold rectangles. At eye level, I glimpsed an oasis, a blaze of green palms, carob and oleander in a rust-colored canyon. The building, called Agadir Aguelluy, is one of Morocco’s hundreds of communal granaries, known as igoudar in a Berber dialect (the singular is agadir). Communal granaries exist elsewhere in North Africa, but the Moroccan structures are the most attractive. They’ve also become a cause célèbre among philanthropists and travelers,

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

offering a fascinating glimpse into a quickly disappearing North African culture. Donors, including the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and Moroccan royal agencies, are financing agadir restorations to boost tourism and create jobs. This spring, I visited half a dozen igoudar in a three-day whirlwind. Many still serve as storage spaces for provisions, but most are abandoned. They range in shape and height, some honeycombed into hillsides, others surrounded by villages or perched on hilltops. I based my itinerary on suggestions from >>

A M A R G R O V E R /J A I / C O R B I S

Agadir Aguelluy, in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, is one of Morocco’s bestpreserved granaries.


THE SPIRIT OF REFINED ELEGANCE IS REBORN FOR TODAY’S TRAVELLER The Patina, Capitol Singapore emerges onto the social stage with grace. Reflecting a rich heritage of art, culture and refinement, our most talented débutante plays to the needs of today’s discerning global audience. Poised to change the experience. Discover the hospitality of a true host.

INSPIRING JOURNEYS INDEPENDENT MINDS

PAT I N A HOT ELS.CO M/SI N GA P O RE


/ beyond /T H E Q U E S T Salima Naji, a charismatic architect and anthropologist working to preserve igoudar, and Zhor Rehihil, the brilliant and feisty curator of the Moroccan Jewish Museum, which is helping document traces of vanished rural Jewish communities. I began in Idfath’s coastal-resort hometown, also called Agadir. From there, the drive inland to Aguelluy takes about 2½ hours—often on newly paved highways—and there are granaries scattered across the hills for hundreds of kilometers around. Imagine a road trip across a vast sunbaked landscape, with no souvenir stands and hardly any signs or tourists. Wherever we stopped, even just to ask directions, the locals invited us to share mint tea with them. The Moroccan government is a stable U.S. ally, and the people are endlessly hospitable to my family of American travelers. Though most old

customs remain, a little modernity has crept into these parts. Nomads install gleaming solar panels outside their tents. Teenage girls, in billowing robes called haiks, ride donkeys while chatting away on their mobile phones. Standing within the fortress at Aguelluy, Idfath translated as caretakers explained the repairs under way and the traditional uses of the compartments. Locals still lock

hewn-plank doors with wooden keys the size of spatulas to safeguard grain, honey, oils and jewelry. Long ago, sentinels would have kept a lookout, which allowed nomadic families to roam for weeks on end. After harvesting the land, they would have lugged their stockpiles back to the cool, dark agadir. I imagined them feeling safe and secure as they left the stronghold, heading back into the Moroccan sun.

THE DETAILS GETTING THERE The most convenient airport is in Agadir, easily reached via Casablanca. You can skip the plane connection, rent a car and drive five hours south. HOTEL Dar Infiane Tata A spectacular desert oasis

with views of red-rock formations. dar​infiane.com; doubles from US$101. GUIDES & RESOURCES Bart Deseyn The Belgian photographer offers an online visual record of Moroccan granaries. assarag.net.

Hassan Idfath This Berberspeaking guide brings a tireless enthusiasm to his custom-tailored itineraries. hassan​idfath.com. Salima Naji The architect’s website has a comprehensive list of restoration projects that are worth visiting. salima​naji.org.


/ beyond /T H E S C E N E

Dublin by Design

The recession scared many young people away from Ireland’s capital. But for a group of creative entrepreneurs, it was just the inspiration they needed. William Shaw visits the world they’ve created. PHOTOGR APHS BY MATTHEW THOMPSON

Garrett Pitcher at the headquarters of his design firm, Indigo & Cloth.

IT’S 8 P.M. ON A WEDNESDAY at the Rooftop Bar

of Dublin’s Dean Hotel, a 52-room property set in an 18th-century Georgian building. But it feels like midnight on a Saturday. Groups of twenty- and thirtysomethings are eating pizzas topped with Parma ham and sipping Jameson cocktails, fueling up for a night in Grafton Street’s clubs. Since opening less than a year ago, the Dean has established itself as a haven for artists, creators and fresh-faced entrepreneurs. But it’s the corridors James Earley wants to show me. The 33-year-old designer and graffiti artist is giving me a tour of the impressive art collection—which he knows well, since he handpicked all 270 works. >> TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM / OCTOBER 2015

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FROM TOP: A suite at the Dean Hotel; Rosie O’Reilly of We Are Islanders with Cian Corcoran (center) and Ahmad Fakhry of Designgoat at South Studios; artist James Earley; O’Reilly working on a hand-painted shirtdress.

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Aside from a single neon Tracey Emin sign, every piece is by a young, homegrown artist. “I just thought the time was right to celebrate the rich talent Ireland has to offer,” Earley says, pointing to a stylized print by design duo Ronan Dillon and Peter O’Gara of Me&him&you. That collaborative energy extends to the hotel’s contemporary, unfussy logo and signage, created by the Dublin branding firm Indigo & Cloth. From top to bottom, the Dean is a showcase for a close-knit group of influencers who are turning their city into Europe’s latest design capital. As the 2015 World Design Hub (an honor bestowed by the International Association of Designers) and the home of Irish Design 2015 (an initiative sponsored by the national government), Dublin is midway through a yearlong program of exhibitions and events celebrating everything from furniture and architecture to animation. Seven years ago, the story was very different. The country was in the throes of a severe recession after the so-called Celtic Tiger boom, which lasted from the late 1990s until 2007. Property values crashed. Buildings were abandoned. Dillon, a recent college graduate at the time, estimates that more than half of his classmates up and left Ireland altogether. But a downturn can offer opportunities. Dillon’s two-man company moved into deserted rooms on South Great George’s Street—they occasionally had to chase out the pigeons but they paid no rent. For its first project, Me&him&you installed rocking chairs made from old cable reels, palm trees and a piano onto Dame Lane in the dead of night. Residents who’d gone to bed on a dirty street woke up to a grown-up playground. Earley also saw the neglected city as a blank canvas, and he began covering unused walls in elaborate paintings celebrating Ireland’s heritage. Elk, bears and wolves, long extinct on the island, started once again appearing around town. “I’m not a massively nationalistic person, but I felt it was time to make us feel a bit more proud to be Irish,” he says. In 2009, Dublin’s artists and designers launched the Offset conference, three days of workshops and presentations by local and international experts in animation, fashion, film and beyond. “Before that, there was more of a culture of hiding your homework. Those events brought people together,” says David Wall of graphicdesign company Conor & David. Perhaps the single most conspicuous change in Dublin today is in the area surrounding George’s Street Arcade, around the corner from Me&him&you’s original installation. The city had attempted to revitalize this Victorian district before the crash, but it wasn’t until 2012 that there was enough momentum from young designers to establish it as the Creative Quarter, a city government designation. When Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey set up Irish Design Shop—an emporium of locally made products like prints and cushions—there, in 2013, some of the neighboring buildings were still empty. Now, it’s an epicenter of productivity. There’s Designist, which sells wooden egg cups, colorful pendant-lamp shades and other handmade items. Around the corner, Industry carries a mix of vintage and modern furniture and housewares, like factory-style steel storage units and graphic rugs. Shop owners often congregate at Kaph, a diminutive,


THE DETAILS HOTEL S Dean Hotel Dublin’s newest boutique hotel has a hot rooftop restaurant and an impressive collection of local art. deanhoteldublin.ie; doubles from €160. Dylan Hotel At this 44-room hotel in the swank D4 area, expect ornate velvet armchairs, heated marble floors and a hip see-and-beseen bar. dylan.ie; doubles from €210.

light-filled café that hosts art exhibits and serves gluten-free baked goods and single-origin coffee. Elsewhere, abandoned warehouses and factories are also becoming centers of creativity, notably South Studios, set in an old brewery south of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. On the top floor, you’ll find the intense, fast-talking Rosie O’Reilly, of the fashion label We Are Islanders, who uses sustainable materials to create pieces like bamboo-silk bomber jackets and wool trousers. “It’s about supporting local weavers and seamstresses, making what they do more contemporary,” she says. Architecture firm ABCG and photographer Kieren Harnett are also among O’Reilly’s neighbors. To the north, across the river Liffey, Cian Corcoran and Ahmad Fakhry of Designgoat have a workshop in a former distillery. The pair, who met as seniors at the National College of Art & Design, devise aesthetic identities for shops and restaurants, including the bespoke wood furniture at the specialty coffee shops 3fe and Sister Sadie. Nearby, the Chocolate Factory is shared by an experimental theater company, several artists, and a recording studio. In a former Temple Bar garment warehouse, Garrett Pitcher presides over Indigo & Cloth. Like the Dean Hotel, it’s a place that embodies Dublin’s collaborative spirit. The painting of a fantastical beast on the outside of the building? That’s by Earley. Designgoat was responsible for the fresh, wood aesthetic of the ground-floor coffee shop and the first-floor clothing store. Pitcher also heads the biannual magazine Thread, which showcases peers who are pushing boundaries in fashion, art, film and music. “People leave if there’s not a community,” says Corcoran, sitting in the Fumbally café on the doorstep of South Studios. “The important thing was to stick with people who were here.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Conor

Nolan (left) and David Wall of the graphic-design firm Conor & David; Irish Design Shop owners Clare Grennan (left) and Laura Caffrey; a locally printed calendar from the shop.

CAFES Fumbally Mingle with designers and other creatives who come here for excellent pulled-pork sandwiches and avocado toast with fermented red cabbage. thefumbally.ie. Kaph This pint-size, sunlit café has gluten-free pastries, single-origin coffee and rotating artwork. kaph.ie. Sister Sadie The sibling café of much-loved Brother Hubbard is dedicated to all things local, from the bread (by a nearby bakery) to the salt (from Achill Island). brotherhubbard.ie/sistersadie. 3fe Order an espresso flight at this coffee-obsessed spot by the Irish Barista Champ. 3fe.com. SHOPS Designist Find affordable and quirky crafts like hand-bound notebooks and colorful felt placemats—all by Irish artisans. shop.designist.ie. Indigo & Cloth Once a garment warehouse, it’s now part coffee shop, part clothing store. indigoandcloth.com. Industry Go for vintage and modern housewares, including industrial-style storage units and graphic rugs. industryandco.com. Irish Design Shop In creative haven George’s Street Arcade, Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey sell locally made prints, clothing and more. irishdesignshop.com. ACTIVITIES Block T A tile factory turned art hub complete with a gallery, dark room and T-shirt printing workshops. blockt.ie.

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Ad v e r t i sem en t

P RE S E N T S

SECRETS OF

3 CITIES NEW YORK | MEXICO CITY | ISTANBUL

There’s nothing like a world-class city to stir a sense of wanderlust and adventure. Join Hyundai for a unique spin through New York, Mexico City, and Istanbul—and see the bigger picture as you take in local neighborhoods where the secrets of each city live. Fit for every adventure, Hyundai is your ultimate travel companion, wherever the journey takes you.


Ad v e r t i sem en t

NEW YORK Legendary sights. High-energy experiences. Dive into them all with a fresh perspective, and start to unearth what this seductive city is all about.

Nonstop NYC Hop on a city bus with Hyundai, and take in New York’s larger-than-life sights from a local’s point of view.

© 2015 TIME INC. AFFLUENT MEDIA GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For a perfect start, while away the morning hours in an Art Deco café, or see the city stretch awake in one of its famous parks. A bigger vision of New York City will come into focus—especially when you expand your journey to take in some of its fascinating boroughs.

Manhattan The mere mention of its name conjures up excitement and fascination. Stroll through Central Park, the city’s green heart, or window shop on Madison Avenue. Head to Midtown to gaze at Jackson Pollocks in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and swing by the East Village to wolf down a mouthwateringly good pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen. If money’s no object, feast at Harry’s Café and Steak—long a favorite of the Wall Street elite for its dry-age porterhouse, jumbo Maine lobster, and Kobe burgers. Take it all in atop One World Observatory, granting visitors the best views of NYC’s iconic skyline.

Queens

The Bronx Explore this borough’s hip-hop roots and Yankee baseball spirit. Catch a flick on the roof of the Bronx Terminal Market, wander the charming gardens at Wave Hill, or pop into Dominick’s on Arthur Avenue for some of the area’s best Italian fare— the veal parmesan and chicken scarpariello are unforgettable.

In this culturally diverse borough, take a walk ‘n’ taste tour to sample Italian, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, and Greek cuisine. Head to Socrates Sculpture Park to marvel at its creativity, or take your seat for a performance at Queens Theatre— sipping a glass of wine before your show in the Rotunda Lobby, a beautiful glass-walled room that overlooks the park.

Brooklyn Walk over the famed Brooklyn Bridge—then comb around Brooklyn Flea for vintage finds, take in a free concert in Prospect Park, or let the salt air and funnel cakes spoil your senses on Coney Island. For a caffeine kick, go to Stumptown Coffee Roaster; locals will attest it’s the best place for those bitten by the bean.

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Polanco In posh Polanco, shop at the luxurious boutiques along Avenida Presidente Masaryk, the area’s answer to Rodeo Drive; wine and dine at world-class eateries; and rest up at some of the city’s best hotels along Campos Eliseos. Don’t miss the pride of Mexico City: Auditorio Nacional, one of the world’s best venues for concerts, art, theater, and dance performances. The auditorium even hosted gymnastic events at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

MEXICO CITY Discover an endless, beguiling landscape that beckons to be explored. Hone in on key neighborhoods to get the best feel for this sophisticated metropolis. Take to the bustling streets with Hyundai, and enjoy free Wi-Fi on Mexico City’s buses.

Santa Fe

High-Octane Hub A 571-square-mile labyrinth of Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, experimental art, and mouthwatering cuisine, Mexico City is one of the world’s largest and best-loved urban hubs. To get a feel for its heart and soul, climb preHispanic pyramids, capture images of colonial buildings, and dine at unique and authentic avant-garde restaurants.

Just five miles west of the city center lies Mexico City’s newest and most modern neighborhood—a favorite of young professionals enticed by its bustling restaurant, nightlife, and culture scene. Surrounded by picturesque desert landscape, the stunning Santa Fe Opera House has been hosting premier performances since 1957; epitomizing southwestern flair, the open-air design is sure to ignite the senses.

San Angel Once a retreat for Spanish nobles, this beautiful neighborhood of cobblestone streets and colonial-era housing is full of artistic and antique treasures. Stroll around Casa del Risco, a Baroque fountain made of broken porcelain fragments, or Iglesia San Jacinto, a 16th-century church. Troll for treasures at the colorful San Angel Saturday Bazaar and Art Fair, showcasing some of the best artwork in the country. Negotiate with the artists themselves for the best keepsake.

Roma & Condesa Point your compass south to these two bohemian enclaves to sample the city’s hippest cafés, art galleries, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. The creative collective revived these once-bourgeois neighborhoods of Art Nouveau mansions—but people don’t come for the sights as much as they do for the food and drinks. Slide into La Boguedita de Medio, a cozy Cuban restaurant renowned for its ceviche and strawberry mojitos. For authentic, “chic Mexican” fare, El Parnita on Avenida Yucatán is wildly popular among locals.


Ad v e r t i sem en t

Revel in the intersection of East and West, ancient and modern, throughout this bewitching, colorsplashed Turkish city.

ISTANBUL Once the capital of three empires—Byzantium, Constantinople, and Ottoman—Istanbul is now Turkey’s thriving cultural and financial hub. To unravel what the city is all about, steer yourself through three of its quintessential neighborhoods. Bosporus

© 2015 TIME INC. AFFLUENT MEDIA GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A Magical Metropolis Istanbul’s skyline beams with skyscrapers, but beneath its shimmering veneer are palaces, mosques, and minarets—relics that harken back to an ancient world. A stroll through its streets will delight visitors with faded Byzantine frescoes, kebabs, and tulip-shaped tea glasses.

Old City A main attraction of the postcardpretty Old City, the Grand Bazaar in Beyazit houses just about everything under the stars. Comprising 61 covered streets and more than 3,000 vendors, this 15th-century traditional destination showcases rugs, silks, wood-block prints, and trinkets that have caught the attention of the fashion elite. Wind your way through the wholesale district and grab a commuter ferry to take in the illuminated sights from a distance.

Beyoglu Dubbed as the city’s creative, Western-minded dining and entertainment quarter, Beyoglu is an eclectic patchwork of sub-quarters. Peruse through Serdar-I Ekrem street, Beyoglu’s shopping corridor, or head to Grande Rue de Pera if it’s luxury you’re after. The pedestrian avenue and its web of side streets are dotted with trendy cafés, bistros, and restaurants. Go to Balik Pazari, Beyoglu’s heralded fish market, for the freshest catch; then sample Istanbul’s finest of chocolates in Meshur Beyoglu.

Those after romantic enchantment need look no further. This 19mile strait, split down the middle between Europe and Asia, blesses visitors with waterfront mansions, shoreline palaces, and colorful marinas. Spend a day ducking into the area’s artisan workshops, bakeries, and barbershops, and take in an unforgettable sunset. With such an abundance of things to see, and so little time to squeeze it all in, make sure a Bosporus cruise is in the cards. How else can one see all six Ottoman palaces in such jawdropping splendor?

Begin your next adventure behind the wheel at #HyundaiTravelmate. facebook.com/hyundaiworldwide twitter.com/hyundai_global instagram.com/hyundai_worldwide


In Celebration of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 5th Cycle Birthday

SYMPHONY CONCERT Samara State Symphony Orchestra, Russia Conductor: Alexander Anissimov Programme: Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture “Romeo & Juliet,” Festival Overture 1812 and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9

Monday 5 October (7.30pm) Baht 3,000 / 2,500 / 2,000 / 1,500 / 800

Unforgettable evening with one of the leading classical ballet companies in Latin America. Celebrating its 80th anniversary.

NATIONAL BALLET OF URUGUAY Ballet Nacional Sodre Sunday 11 October (7.30pm) Baht 2,500 / 2,000 / 1,600 / 1,200 / 800

Hotline 02 262 3191 www.thaiticketmajor.com (24 hrs)

www.bangkokfestivals.com

VENUE: Thailand Cultural Centre. Free shuttle from MRT station Thailand Cultural Centre, Exit 1, during 5.30-7.00pm


AWorld of Possibilities

We know what gets you excited about travel: personal interaction with locals, off-the-beaten-path adventures, the thrill of the unexpected. But we also know that making those things happen isn’t always so easy. Which is why we’re introducing T+L Journeys—a new series of tailor-made vacations that delivers all these things, and more—which you can book quickly and easily. On the following pages are 20 trips spanning the globe, from Morocco to Mongolia, that our editors have created in partnership with Black Tomato, a leading travel company with offices in London and New York that’s known for providing insider access and experiences. Read on for a snapshot of the itineraries; for full day-by-day outlines and information on how to book, go to tandl.me/journeys.

JA N E SW E E N E Y / G E T T Y I M AG ES

MORE DETAILS ABOUT T+L JOURNE YS ARE ON PAGE 99.

Ger Camp in Terelj National Park in Mongolia.

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the

/ guıde /

t+ l j o u r n e y s

What is it that elevates a humble vacation to that romantic, lofty-sounding thing, a trip of a lifetime?

Outside the Ion hotel. CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The Jökulsárlón

glacier lagoon; hiking Iceland's Vatnajökull ice cap; the Seljalands­f oss waterfall.

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The destination, of course, is allimportant. It must be a place that is in some way exceptional—be it culturally, or architecturally, or in terms of its natural beauty. But the way in which you visit must be exceptional, too. There must be comfort—luxury, even; there should be variety, and a genuine sense of escape. Most important, though, such a trip should provide a sense of connection with a place, and an understanding of the qualities that make it unique. If ever a destination can be said to be truly exceptional, it is Iceland. Perched on the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, this rugged island is one of the most volcanically and seismically active places on earth. Icelanders know that their world is one of absolute uncertainty, that their singular land of fire and ice is liable to change at any moment. For a visitor—especially one accustomed to a cozy urban cocoon— Iceland provides a rare opportunity to reconnect with this elemental uncertainty, with our planet as a living thing. It was not a feeling I had prepared for. Like many people, I assumed Eyjafjallajökull—the volcano that erupted in 2010, sending a giant plume of ash across mainland Europe and bringing international air traffic to a weeks-long standstill—was a freakish, one-off event. “Eyjafjallajökull was a very nice eruption, very trivial,” said Arnar Hugi Birkisson, my guide on an experience called Inside the Volcano. “People were going up to the lava and cooking hot dogs on sticks,” Birkisson said, as he and I were lowered, on a repurposed windowcleaning rig, into the gaping chimney of a dormant volcano called Þríhnúkagígur, in the southwest of the country.

C LO C K W I S E F R O M TO P L E F T : R O B E RT P O ST M A / D ES I G N P I C S / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; ST E V E A L L E N / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; C O U RT ESY O F T H E I O N H OT E L ; I Z Z E T K E R I BA R / G E T T Y I M AG ES


A view of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, part of the Vatnajökull ice cap, in southeastern Iceland.

LENGTH 8 NIGHTS,  9 DAYS

TO S H I SASA K I / G E T T Y I M AG ES

Iceland Down in the chamber, some 120 meters belowground, Birkisson told me about Grímsvötn, a volcano that blew in 2011, producing the same amount of ash in 36 hours as Eyjafjallajökull did in 40 days. Then there was Bárðarbunga, which last year spewed up a lava field the size of Manhattan. A two-meter-tall Viking type in a hard hat and fluorescent all-weather gear, Birkisson had a cheerful tone that reduced these earth-shattering events to fairy tales. Around us, the interior of the volcano rose up in a cathedral of purples, reds and yellows, blasted onto the rock by minerals oxidized during Þríhnúkagígur’s last eruption, 4,000 years ago. Peering up at it all, I couldn’t decide which was more humbling: the earth’s mind-boggling power, or the Icelanders’ capacity to withstand it. “Iceland has been steadily growing, one eruption at a time, for 18 million years,” said my driver, Einar Óli Matthíasson, as we sped through conditions that switched from sunshine to storms on an almost hourly basis. “This has made us very good at

dealing with situations as they arise.” He pointed out an arctic fox as it skipped across a lava field, disguised in a summertime coat the color of milky tea. Come winter it would be pure white again, Matthíasson said. It struck me that every living thing on this island was adapted to its shifting environment. For most of the inhabitants, it was still the only way to survive. As a longtime city dweller, I began to enjoy being put in my place by Iceland’s geological grandeur. The sensation trailed me everywhere: while bouncing across the endless, otherworldly landscapes of Þórsmörk Canyon on a “super-jeep safari”; as I hiked on Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier and a backdrop for numerous film and TV productions, including Game of Thrones; as I zoomed in a Zodiac between aquamarine icebergs in Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon; as I stood in a natural, moss-clad amphitheater behind the vast, thundering falls at Seljalandsfoss; as I waited, nervously, for the ice-blue thermal springs at Stokkur to spit scalding water 20 meters into the air.

COST PER PERSON FROM $12,600

Even on their own, these experiences would have qualified Iceland as a dream trip. But aside from all its natural wonders, the country has a whole range of ways to cosset a visitor after a bracing day outdoors. There are wonderful, world-class hotels like the Ion, with its industrial-chic design, where I soaked in an outdoor thermal pool overlooking a misty lava plain. There are delightful family-run places like Hótel Egilsson, set in a 150-​year-​old wooden house near the harbor at Stykkishólmur, where, in a sun-drenched dining room, I breakfasted on skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and cured salmon on house-made toast. There was fantastic Icelandic cuisine, like double-smoked lamb with white cabbage and buttermilk, served by stylish young Icelanders at Reykjavík’s Matur og Drykkur restaurant. And, on the walk home after dinner, there were views of the midnight sun as it dipped, just briefly, behind burnished fishing boats in the city’s harbor. There was no doubt about it, this place had been exceptional—as had the journey. — FLORA STUBBS

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Because it really is possible to see how the great khans lived and traveled, and to sleep under the stars in pristine wilderness.

WHY GO

You don’t go to Mongolia unless you’re up for two things: horseback riding and glamping—some of the best in the world. Barely an hour outside the fastgrowing capital of Ulaanbaatar, buildings give way to wildflower-filled meadows and green valleys, where nomads still raise horses and sheep. For nearly a week you’ll be bedding down in a private ger (tent), complete with amenities like heated showers, sundowners and personal chefs, and diving into the tribal lifestyle. After a native horseman shows you the correct way to saddle up, you’ll ride for hours on end, even into the vast Terelj National Park, and join in on milking mares and making airag, a fermented drink that is traditionally offered as a symbol of hospitality. Next, fly northwest to the shores of cobalt Lake Khovsgol, where sables, moose, deer, ibex, and marmots still have free rein, to kayak the glittering waters. You’ll also visit local yak herders, take an archery lesson, and have a traditional hot-stone barbecue. You’ve never seen cowboy culture quite like this. Cost based upon a party of four; from $14,370 for two.

COST PER PERSON FROM $9,055

A yak grazes on a green pasture in Mongolia.

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LENGTH 9 NIGHTS, 10 DAYS


LENGTH 11 NIGHTS, 12 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $3,780

India WHY GO Because relaxation doesn’t come in purer form than in Kerala, with its ancient wellness culture and lush landscapes.

F R O M TO P : LU I S DAV I L L A / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; CA L L E M O N T ES / P H OTO N O N STO P / C O R B I S

Fishermen polling along Lake Vembanad, in Kerala.

Burma Because the country is on the cusp of major change, following the end of a 49-year military rule. Mass tourism hasn’t descended on the temples, mist-covered hills, and rural villages—yet.

WHY GO

As you spend a few days in each of Burma’s most compelling corners, what will fascinate you most are the people and their distinctive culture. In the bustling city of Rangoon, men still wear traditional longyi (floor-length wraparound skirts) and women cover their faces with thanaka to protect their skin from the sun. Fly an hour north to Heho, drive to the colonial town of Kalaw, and set out to see remote mountain communities. Here, locals

From the minute you arrive at Purity, a striking modern villa on the shore of Kerala’s Lake Vembanad, you’ll begin to breathe a little deeper. The horizon stretches away endlessly in front of you, and the only sound is the dipping of boatmen’s oars out on the water. In contrast to much of India, relaxation is part of this southern coastal region’s culture. A daylong backwater cruise in a kettuvallam, or houseboat, is immersion in the calm simplicity of waterfront life. For four nights, you’ll stay in jaw-dropping hotels, from the grand, historical Brunton Boatyard in the port of Cochin to a tree house set on a 160-hectare coffee and spice estate in Wayanad. During two days at Bison Camps in Kabini National Park, just over the border in Karnataka, you’ll spot elephants, leopards and possibly tigers as they roam the banks of the Kabini River. Conclude with three full days at Neeleshwar Hermitage, a resort on Kerala's Malabar Coast. Try holistic treatments like abhyanga, where two therapists massage special ayurvedic oils into your skin. Wellness might be a focus of many India itineraries, but Kerala— the birthplace of ayurveda—is the place to experience it.

LENGTH 11 NIGHTS,  12 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $12,600

go about their daily chores, carrying wood on their backs and preparing mohinga, a ricenoodle and fish soup. Nearby Inle Lake is where life revolves around the water. You’ll glide on a boat past villages that rise up on stilts and be completely amazed by fishermen who, as if by magic, balance on one leg, hold a paddle in the other, and use both hands to cast their nets. The ancient city of Bagan, a short flight east, is more about the people who once lived there: between 1044 and 1287, more than 10,000 Buddhist temples and stupas were built. Today, some 2,000 remain, and the most breathtaking view is from a private sunrise hot-air-balloon ride organized by Black Tomato. Resist the temptation to snap photo after photo. You won’t need them. This is an image you will never forget.

Shwedagon Pagoda, the spiritual center of Burma.

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LENGTH 9 NIGHTS, 10 DAYS

Because the country’s stark desert landscapes and traditional bedouin camps give you a glimpse of the Middle East as it was centuries ago.

WHY GO

The lobby at Oman’s Chedi Muscat hotel.

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Nearby Dubai gets all the ink but Oman, a destination that couldn’t feel more different, deserves share of the glory. In the city of Muscat, the skyscrapers are mountains; the best shopping is found in the winding Muttrah souk, where you can bargain for gold, frankincense, and antique coins. Which is not to say this thriving metropolis, where you’ll spend two days, doesn’t have its modern charms: there’s the 14-year-old Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, one of the few places of

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worship open to non-Muslims. (See that Persian carpet? Six hundred women spent four years weaving it.) And don’t miss boarding a wooden dhow—refitted with luxe amenities—to sail to the coral reefs of Bandar Al Khayran. Over the course of nearly a week outside the capital, history will reveal itself at every turn: you can see beehive-like tombs built by the Umm Al Nar culture in 2500 B.C.; the ruins of Al Balid, an Islamic settlement dating to the 10th century; and Mudayrib, an 18thcentury fort. And once you drive 2,000 meters up into the peaks to stay at the new Alila Jabal Akhdar resort, passing outlying terraced villages, or get a glimpse of farmers living in wadis (oases), you’ll marvel at how very far away the 21st century feels.

C O U RT ESY O F C H E D I M U S CAT

COST PER PERSON FROM $13,780


Papua New Guinea

LENGTH 16 NIGHTS, 17 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $26,775*

Because this is your oncein-a-lifetime chance to go rogue for nearly a month in a country where tribal culture still thrives.

C LO C K W I S E F R O M TO P L E F T : D E N N I S FAST / C O U RT ESY O F C H U R C H I L L W I L D ; A L EX F R A D K I N ; RYA N M CVAY / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; B L A K E E V E R S O N / C O U RT ESY O F B L AC K TO M ATO

WHY GO

Though you're just north of Australia, being in Papua New Guinea feels like you’re way out there. This is a trip that requires mental and physical preparation (don’t expect room service). The reward, however, is complete disconnection from technology and some of the most memorable hiking and intense local encounters of your life. Begin with two nights at the Grand Papua Hotel in the capital, Port Moresby, where you’ll explore the city’s markets and play highland darts with locals before flying to the village of Fogomaiyu, deep in the rain forest. For the next three weeks, Black Tomato has arranged overnights at remote camps that offer access to the ancestral hunting grounds of the Kosua, a tribe of roughly 1,000 people. Guides will introduce you to these villagers, who paint their bodies crimson and wear incredible feathered headdresses. You’ll also be spelunking in limestone caves, sleeping next to roaring waterfalls and hiking deep into the Bosavi Crater, home to fanged frogs and giant woolly rats. You might even learn to set a bat trap. After these immersive days and nights, you’ll return stronger, leaner, confident in your ability to hunt iguana and— who knows?—maybe even bearing a tattoo from a Kosua tribeswoman.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort tents along the banks of Bedwell Sound, on Vancouver Island. FROM TOP LEFT: A polar bear in northern Manitoba; Fogo Island Inn.

Canada Because it is filled with unsung frontiers—beautiful, vast and pure, where wildlife far outnumber people.

WHY GO

A member of Papua New Guinea’s Kosua tribe.

LENGTH 23 NIGHTS, 24 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $14,175

An adventurous and lavish crosscountry trip spans Canada. Start on Vancouver Island for North America’s version of an African safari—deluxe tents with antique rugs, oil lamps and heirloom china included. During four days at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a luxurious camp set among oldgrowth forests, the routine is blissfully simple; look out for black bears foraging onshore and whales breaching in Cow Bay. A stop in Vancouver, with its dynamic restaurant and nightlife scene, is a perfect urban jolt before almost a full week back in the wilderness, this time in northern Manitoba. Seal River Heritage

Lodge on Hudson Bay—where you can track beluga whales and polar bears—is as spectacularly rustic a setting as you’ll find in North America. Then, after a night in Winnipeg at Inn at the Forks, Black Tomato will show you a day in Toronto before your flight to Newfoundland. Here, where icebergs loom just offshore in the Atlantic, Canada’s pioneering spirit reveals itself at places like Fogo Island Inn, a hotel reachable by ferry off Newfoundland’s northeastern coast. There’s a distinct sense of place and community: bedspreads and furniture are crafted by local artisans, and the chef sources ingredients from caribou moss to pine mushrooms—a testament to being at one with the great outdoors. *A 10-night itinerary is also available.

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Moai in Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park.

LENGTH 9 NIGHTS, 10 DAYS

Because few places can thrill both epicureans and nature lovers quite like this South American country.

WHY GO

Ask any number of big-name chefs where they’re looking for inspiration these days, and many will point their knives toward Chile. Santiago is the undisputed culinary hub, with its abundance of fresh seafood, exotic ingredients (for those, head to the Mercado Central, where the peoplewatching is as good as the eating), and talented young chefs. You’ll spend two days grazing your way through the city before heading north for a total scenery swap: in the desolate Atacama Desert, the only things reminiscent of high-rises are the curious geological formations in the aptly named Moon Valley. With just eight elegant adobe and thatched-roof rooms, the Awasi Atacama is South America’s spin on the adventure lodge, a little piece of luxury dropped into the middle of nowhere. You’ll need three days to explore the flamingo-filled salt flats and spot foxes and llamas; back at the hotel, there are cooking classes to satisfy any craving. If Atacama feels like you’ve landed on another planet, Easter Island is a time warp by several hundred years. Over three days, you’ll have the opportunity to hike to Mount Terevaka’s summit for 360-degree views, visit isolated Ovahe Beach, and come face-to-face with the massive moai. The 887 statues all differ; some have coral eyes, while others were never even raised. Historians aren’t sure why. What isn’t up for debate is that the statues are all the more haunting in person.

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M I C H A E L N O L A N / R O B E RT H A R D I N G WO R L D I M AG E RY / C O R B I S . O P P O S I T E PAG E , C LO C K W I S E F R O M TO P L E F T : A L F R E D O M A I Q U E Z / LO N E LY P L A N E T I M AG ES / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; C O U RT ESY O F T H E M U KU L ; M AT T H E W M I CA H W R I G H T / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; S P E N C E R LOW E L L . B OT TO M : A N A D O LU AG E N CY / G E T T Y I M AG ES

COST PER PERSON FROM $5,515


LENGTH 8 NIGHTS, 9 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $4,920

Cuba Because, as the doors open for U.S. travelers, now’s the time to go, before chain hotels appear and those ’57 Chevys vanish.

WHY GO

Climbing Nicaragua's Cerra Negro Volcano. CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Library at the

American Trade Hotel, in Panama; the Panama Canal; a beach cabana at Mukul.

Nicaragua & Panama Because, combined, the two offer a slice of unspoiled wilderness and exciting urban life that’s off the typical tourist track.

WHY GO

Sunny. Under the radar. Both Nicaragua and Panama are emerging as Central America’s “It” destinations. Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, where the pristine beaches are marked only by their rolling waves, now lures a fashion-forward, eco-conscious crowd. They, like you, are checking in to Mukul, the country’s top resort and the vision of local billionaire Carlos Pellas. All 37 rooms overlook the Pacific; for four nights, you’ll be in a modern bohio (tree house) that was built from sustainable teak and pine. Fill your

LENGTH 7 NIGHTS,  8 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $6,300

days with surfing lessons and seaside dinners. Or a private guide can lead you to Ometepe, one of the 365 islets in massive Lake Nicaragua, to swim under waterfalls and walk a trail lined by petroglyphs. An equally stylish crowd is descending upon Panama City, where you’ll be for three nights at the American Trade Hotel. Set in a landmark 1917 building, this cool newcomer is central to the city's historic Casco Viejo district, which has gone from gritty to glamorous with its galleries, shops, and restaurants, such as the SpanishMediterranean-influenced Madrigal. And in true jet-set style, Black Tomato will set up a private evening helicopter tour, flying over the San Lorenzo Fortress and the famous canal for first-class views of this emerging destination.

There’s no denying the country’s fascinating time-capsule quality, with its gloriously crumbling cobblestoned plazas and beautiful faded façades in Old Havana. But this trip will show you that the city’s revitalization is in full swing. You’ll see it in the sophisticated apartments for rent, like Penthouse Ydalgo, your base for three nights in the leafy Vedado neighborhood, or in the spate of new paladares (private, family-run restaurants) popping up in unconventional spaces like neglected tenements and refurbished factories. You’ll encounter aspiring musicians at Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a renowned cultural venue, and artists at the Instituto Superior de Arte, a hotbed for young talent. But Cuba is much more than Havana, so slip back in time for four days. Head west to Viñales, an agricultural town lined with wood houses, and you’ll pass oxen plowing tobacco fields. Down south, in colonial Trinidad, you’ll stay at Finca Kenia, built in the 19th century, and tour the vestiges of sugar plantations, where ruins linger like ghosts.

Musicians in Havana.

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LENGTH 7 NIGHTS, 8 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $9,450

Italy Because Milan and Lake Como are one glamorous getaway, combining la dolce vita by the water with of-themoment culture and fashion in the city.

WHY GO

Lake Como’s vibe can be summed up in two words: no pressure. Sure, there are mustvisit landmarks like Bellagio, a hillside village lined with pastel villas; Comacina Island, a tiny spit of land, perfect for a champagne picnic; and Villa Sola, an 18thcentury Baroque estate where the dukes of Serbelloni would summer. But the beauty of Como lies in exploring without rushing, and just reveling in its splashy fabulousness. Black Tomato has organized leisurely trips to all these locations, as well as a drive (on your own, at your own pace) in a vintage Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider. You’ll be chauffeured around on a 1961 Venetian motor launch owned by the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, an Art Nouveau landmark from the early 1900s with not one, but three pools. Follow four nights on Lake Como with three nights at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan, now arguably Italy’s most opulent city. New attractions include the pedestrian walkways of La Darsena, the revitalized waterfront that was part of this year’s Expo (the paths are staying put after the fair ends). And in Porta Romana, Fondazione Prada’s new campus, designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas, is an impressive new home for screenings, dance performances and special art exhibitions from the culturati’s top tier.

Outside the Fondazione Prada, in Milan.

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C O U RT ESY O F FO N DA Z I O N E P R A DA . O P P O S I T E , C LO C K W I S E F R O M TO P L E F T : J O N AT H A N I R I S H / N AT I O N A L G EO G R A P H I C C R E AT I V E / C O R B I S ; M E L ST UA RT / W EST E N D 6 1 / C O R B I S ; N AT I O N A L G EO G R A P H I C C R E AT I V E / C O R B I S ; M AT T H E W W I L L I A M S - E L L I S / R O B E RT H A R D I N G WO R L D I M AG E RY / C O R B I S

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LENGTH 8 NIGHTS, 9 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $10,435

Spain Because Madrid and Seville offer high fashion, serious art and incredible food—all of it experienced with the country’s connected insiders.

WHY GO

Hvar’s harbor. FROM TOP LEFT: Swimming off Koločep, one

of the Elaphiti Islands; an oyster from the Bay of Mali Ston.

LENGTH 10 NIGHTS, 11 DAYS

Croatia

COST PER PERSON FROM $7,560

W H Y G O Because the

stunning Dalmatian Coast conjures the Mediterranean of yesteryear—the setting for your own private Odyssey.

With their cobblestoned alleys, intimate restaurants, storied palaces, and secluded caves, Croatia’s beautiful islands—places like Vis, Brač, Biševo and Hvar—have, surprisingly, been off the radar. Yet they offer all the charm of the Greek Cyclades or Italy’s Amalfi Coast, and are great to sail to and from with friends or family. Over a weeklong islandhopping jaunt—with a crew on hand to navigate, of course—you’ll swim in

Arrive hungry. You’ll be eating your way through Madrid and Seville for more than a week. An excursion to Madrid’s gourmet market Platea, with Michelin-approved chef Ramón Freixa—followed by a cooking class and dinner prepared by Freixa himself—kicks off the trip in proper style. Don’t worry: you’ll work off the paella as you shop with beauty queen and Bilbao-born model Inés Sáinz and tour the masterpieces in the Prado and Reina Sofía. In Seville, you’ll see the Real Alcázar by night: Black Tomato has opened the doors after hours, just for you. And after a day at Granada’s Alhambra, it’s back to Seville for a flamenco lesson and a guided crawl through the city’s best tapas spots, including Casa Román. You’ll return home well rested (those siestas are for real), your suitcase brimming with local ceramics and leather goods, and a newfound resolve to live like the Spanish. As Pablo Picasso said: “It takes a long time to become young.” Flamenco in Seville.

crystal-blue seas, taste local wines too delicious to ever be exported, and eat fresh local food at konobas (taverns). When you’re not relaxing under an umbrella, you’ll go on private tours of a medieval castle and cathedrals, or taste just-plucked oysters in the Bay of Mali Ston. Lore and history are wonderfully entangled here: discover Korčula, Marco Polo’s rumored childhood home; the walled city of Dubrovnik; and the lush island of Mljet, dotted with ancient pine forests. It's said to be Ogygia in Homer’s Odyssey, where Calypso held Odysseus for seven years. After you arrive, you’ll find yourself asking: Why did he want to leave? Cost based upon 10 people sharing a chartered yacht.

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Zambia & Zimbabwe

COST PER PERSON FROM $8,820

Because these often overlooked countries offer safaris for safari purists—without the tourist hordes.

When it opened in May, Wilderness Safaris’ Linkwasha Camp introduced Botswana-level luxury to Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, home to one of the densest concentrations of wildlife on the continent. Elephants, lions, southern giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs—you name it, and you’ll probably spot it on twicedaily drives through the rolling floodplains. And at the eco-chic Ruckomechi Camp, you’ll lose count of how many hippos and crocodiles emerge during unhurried canoe tours along the rushing Zambezi River. It’s a marvel to see, all the more so because there are so few other visit­ors—the destination is only now establishing high-end tourism. Its neighbor Zambia often gets passed over, too, but it shouldn’t: there’s everything from prime game viewing to vistas of Victoria Falls (and value, to boot). Here, the late conservationist Norman Carr pioneered the immersive walking safari, now a staple activity at some of Africa’s most exclusive lodges. No trip to Zambia would be complete without a stay at one of his bush camps. At the lavish new Chinzombo Lodge, an openplan, six-villa complex overlooking the Luangwa River in South Luangwa National Park, it’s all about the plains animals: zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, leopards. The two countries together, about a week in each, are what a bucket-list safari is meant to be.

An elephant on the Zambezi River, in Zimbabwe.

The High Atlas Mountains; CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: La Mamounia; Aït Benhaddou, a fortified city and unesco site in Ouarzazate; display of merchandise in Marrakesh’s medina.

Morocco Because this is a place where you can have it all— incredible history, luxe hotels, flavors you’ve never tasted and as much shopping as your luggage will allow.

WHY GO

LENGTH 14 NIGHTS, 15 DAYS COST PER PERSON FROM $14,960

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Morocco is sensory overload in the best way possible: it’s accessible yet exotic, urban yet completely wild, distinctly North African with a global, cosmopolitan edge. There’s nothing more glamorous than lying by the palm-tree-shaded pool at Marrakesh’s La Mamounia, a hotel that has drawn the glitterati (everyone from Marlene Dietrich to Jennifer Aniston) for nearly a century. And few experiences are more humbling than driving up a twisty, narrow, two-lane road through the High Atlas Mountains, trekking with nomads in the Jebel Saghro range, or landing in the desert—arguably the true soul of Morocco. Riding camels and sleeping in a deluxe tented camp on the Erg Chebbi dunes of the Sahara is like being on a movie set come to life. It’s the perfect foil to the splendid chaos of your next stop: the medieval medina in Fez, which is still inaccessible to cars and has a mazelike souk where you can hunt for exquisitely crafted Berber necklaces, carved wooden boxes, handwoven rugs and saffron that smells like the real thing, because it is.

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C LO C K W I S E F R O M B OT TO M L E F T : I M AG E S O U R C E / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; V I S I O N S O F O U R L A N D / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; J O C H E N S C H L E N K E R / R O B E RT H A R D I N G WO R L D I M AG E RY / C O R B I S ; M I C H A E L M A R Q UA N D / G E T T Y I M AG ES ; C O U RT ESY O F L A M A M O U N I A

WHY GO


New Classics Five more trips to favorite destinations.

Japan LENG T H 10 NIGH T S/ 11 DAYS PRICE $ 9,8 40 PER PERSON

TOTO R O R O / G E T T Y I M AG ES

Japan is defined as much by its hypermodernity as by its heritage, and you can see the best of both worlds. In Tokyo, stay at the serene new Aman hotel, tour pulsating Shibuya and visit Senso-ji, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple. In Hakone, dip in onsen and taste kaiseki cuisine before bedding down in a ryokan. End by hopping the bullet train to Kyoto, where you’ll stroll the Gion geisha district and seek inner peace at the tranquil rock garden at Ryoan-ji.

walk the colorful streets of Cartagena, taste local coffee on a lush plantation, float along the Vieja River aboard a bamboo raft and weave baskets with local artisans— all before the week is out.

red-hot music scene (check out the Grand Ole Opry on a VIP behind-the-scenes tour) as well as Knoxville, which has become a foodie mecca thanks to Blackberry Farm, a Relais & Châteaux property.

California

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

LENG T H 3 NIGH T S/4 DAYS PRICE FROM $1,960 PER PERSON

Highlights of this sunny trip to Palm Springs include a stay at the retro-chic Avalon Hotel and a tour of the destination’s Midcentury landmarks with local architecture expert Trevor O’Donnell.

Colombia

Tennessee

LENG T H 6 NIGH T S/ 7 DAYS PRICE $ 5,860 PER PERSON

LENG T H 4 NIGH T S/5 DAYS PRICE FROM $ 3,390 PER PERSON

This South American jewel is ripe for exploring. You’ll

You’ll see two sides of Tennessee: Nashville, with its

LENG T H 6 NIGH T S/ 7 DAYS PRICE FROM $ 5,670 PER PERS ON

Yes, Asia is full of beautiful beaches, but if you are going to fly halfway around the world to the Caribbean, seek out the still off-the-radar places. Combine three days at sea on a wooden schooner— sailing, swimming with turtles, snorkeling the pristine Tobago Cays—with three days of lounging at Petit St. Vincent, one of the region’s most exclusive resorts.

Kyoto’s geisha district, Gion.

ABOUT T+L JOURNE YS Rates are in U.S. dollars, per person, and do not include airfare or transportation unless otherwise noted. Specific hotels are subject to availability; meals, drinks and gratuities are not included unless otherwise noted. Travel + Leisure Journeys are presented to our readers through a partnership with travel company Black Tomato. For the complete itineraries, and to book with Black Tomato, go to tandl.me/journeys or call London (44-20/7426-9888) or New York (1646/558-3644). The Travel + Leisure brand earns a commission based upon each trip booked.

High-end luxury overlooking a tropical forest The luxury of grand spaces, expansive views, lush vegetation, superb understated architecture, a 33-meter lap pool, and the warm hospitality of the Komaneka family for more details please visit komaneka.com

KOMANEKA at Bisma

Your home address in Ubud - Bali


Singapore Since 1925


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The Best in Business Travel

For our second annual survey with Fortune, we asked road warriors to divulge their real travel habits, name their top cities and reveal their favorite airlines to fly. (Spoiler: most of them sneak in some fun between meetings.) Turn the page to see readers’ picks—plus our guides for squeezing more enjoyment into your next work trip. TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM / OCTOBER 2015

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1. London

2. Sydney 3. Toronto 4. Dubai 5. Hong Kong

A guide to city hot spots that will make you feel plugged-in—plus a dose of culture for your few spare hours. POWER LUNCH

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First opened in 1917, the (2) Ivy (the-ivy.co.uk; mains £14.5–44) has long been a favorite among West End bigwigs. Its harlequin stained-glass windows are still intact after a recent revamp by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, and now there’s also a lighter menu, a new bar and additional corner tables. SEAL-THE-DEAL DINNER

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Follow up your winning presentation with a meal and a killer view at the 31stfloor restaurant Aqua Shard (aquashard.co.uk; mains £19–140). Here, chef Ben Spalding—the buzzed-about protégé of Gordon Ramsay and Simon Rogan who just took over the

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Exposure to new places and different cultures

Taking a break from family

60% Visited a museum or other cultural sight

61%

Fell off their exercise routine

19%

Drank a little too much

54%

Extended a trip by a day or longer for leisure

kitchen—turns out modern British fare like the twiceroasted Blythburgh pork belly. CLIENT COCKTAILS

The team behind the Wolseley restaurant has opened the Beaumont hotel— and inside, you’ll find the clubby American Bar (thebeaumont.com), a.k.a. Jimmy’s. Your colleagues won’t mind talking business over whiskey and cocktails amid walls covered in photos of circa1930s celebrities. A FREE AFTERNOON

The South Bank is

25% USED A CLIENT MEETING AS AN EXCUSE TO EAT AT A HOT NEW RESTAURANT

lined with cultural institutions, including the (1) Tate Modern (tate.org.uk). Now on display: “The World Goes Pop” (through January 24), showcasing Pop art from around the globe. PRODUCTIVE UNWINDING

The lobby of the recently opened (3) Hoxton, Holborn (thehoxton.com; doubles from £70) has four desktop Macs and offers free printing and Wi-Fi, while the restaurant and lounge have charging stations strategically placed near every table, chair and sofa. 

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Enjoying hotels and restaurants on my expense account

2%

Being pampered/ taken care of by hotels

FAVORITE PARTS OF BUSINESS TRAVEL

4%

Creative inspiration

31%

Meeting new people/ solidifying relationships with colleagues and clients

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12%

Getting away from the office

OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

8%

Earning loyalty points/miles

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F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F T H E TAT E M O D E R N ; PA U L W I N C H F U R N I S S ; C O U R T E S Y O F H O X T O N , H O L B O R N

Best Cities for Business

TRAVEL HABITS

PROOF THAT HITTING THE ROAD FOR WORK ISN’T JUST ABOUT, WELL, WORK.


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2. Paris 3. London 4. Amsterdam 5. Vancouver

1. Sydney

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Here’s how to make the most of your leisure time Down Under. IF YOU HAVE A DAY

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM

(icebergs.com.au; adult pool entry A$6.50) and watch waves crash over the Instagramworthy lap pool. For dinner, head across town to LuMi Bar & Dining (lumidining. com; eight-course tasting menu A$95), where Federico Zanellato turns out an innovative Italian-Japanese menu. Stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney (park.hyatt.com; doubles from A$1,030) for its central location and unbeatable harbor views.

IF YOU HAVE A WEEKEND

First, go for a stroll on the fourkilometer Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk. A 15-minute drive away, Paddington is the go-to spot for shopping. Make time for a stop by (1) Intersection Paddington (the​ intersectionpadding​ ton.com.au), a strip lined with stylish boutiques that spotlight local designers like Bassike and Josh Goot. Join a well-heeled crowd at star chef Matt Moran’s Chiswick (chiswick​​restaurant. com.au; mains A$29–$76) for lunch in a lovely garden. The next morning, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art (mca.com.au)—its 4,000-strong collection includes varied works by brilliant and paradigm-shifting Australian artists. Next, wander the lively streets of gritty turned bourgeois Surry Hills before ending up at the Basqueinfluenced (3) Firedoor (fire​door. com.au; mains A$16–$138). (Tip: you’ll want to make a reservation.) Lennox Hastie is so dedicated to cooking with fire that the kitchen isn’t even wired for gas.

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 I N T E R S E C T I O N PA D D I N G T O N ; P E T R I N A T I N S L AY; N I K K I T O

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Start with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House (sydneyopera house.com)—it’s worth the 7 a.m. call time to see the inner workings of Jørn Utzon’s masterpiece. For a late Levantineinspired breakfast of eggs with tomato, za’atar and feta salad, head to Bondi Beach staple Sefa Kitchen (sefakitchen.com; mains A$9–$36). They serve a ‘hero blend’ coffee by boutique-roaster Single Estate that is creamy and potent. Funnel the energy into a short walk to the iconic (2) Icebergs Swimming Club


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INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES FOR BUSINESS TOP 5 OVERALL

Emirates rolls out the red carpet for business-class travelers, with free chauffeur service to and from the airport. On board, seats come with a personal minibar and side table.

TOP 3 ECONOMY 1. Singapore 2. Air New Zealand 3. Virgin Atlantic

TOP 3 PREMIUM ECONOMY 1. Singapore 2. Virgin Atlantic 3. Air France

TOP 3 BUSINESS CLASS 1. Emirates 2. Singapore 3. Qatar

TOP 3 FIRST CLASS 1. Cathay Pacific 2. Emirates 3. Lufthansa

Avillion_Travel + Leisure SEA_APC_20150902_revised.pdf

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

HERE’S A LOOK AT WHAT SETS THEM APART FROM THE REST.

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MEAL SERVICE Many of its 15,000 menus are tailored to the route map. First- and businessclass fliers leaving from London, for example, can have a delicious full English breakfast. 9/3/58 BE

CHIC SHOPPING KrisFlyer Spree, the airline’s new online mall, means passengers can earn miles shopping through a catalogue of 2,000 brands—from Paul Smith to Muji.

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CABIN UPGRADES A new premium economy class started flying in August, with 38inch seat pitch, custom leather seats, foldout leg rests and 13.3-inch HD screens.

GOLD-STAR SERVICE A new customerexperience management system will soon give crew members access to passengers’ travel preferences.

COURTESY OF SINGAPORE AIRLINES

1. Singapore Airlines 2. Emirates 3. Air New Zealand 4. Cathay Pacific Airways 5. Qatar Airways


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HOTEL BRANDS FOR BUSINESS TOP 5 OVERALL

TOP 3 CUSTOMER SERVICE

1. Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts 2. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group 3. The Peninsula Hotels

TOP 3 BUSINESS/ MEETING FACILITIES

1. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts 2. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company 3. Gaylord Hotels

TOP 3 LOYALTY PROGRAMS

1. Fairmont President’s Club 2. Starwood Preferred Guest 3. Leaders Club

REPORTED BY: Christine Ajudua, Jonathan Chew, Claire Groden, Rachel Levin, Paola Singer, Emma Sloley and Christopher Tkaczyk.

Travel + Leisure/Fortune online reader survey conducted by Wylei, March 2015.

PENINSULA HOTELS This small luxury chain—with properties in just 10 cities— sets the standard for amenities tailor-made for road warriors: gyms and business centers are available 24/7 upon request, jet-lagged execs can indulge in a rejuvenating “sleep ceremony” at the spa, and some locations have no set check-in time. There’s also an obsessive focus on technology. In the Hong Kong (pictured), Tokyo and Paris hotels, for example, guests control the TV, lighting and thermostat, order room service, and send concierge requests by touching a bedside panel. And high-speed Wi-Fi is free— even in the Rolls-Royce Phantoms used to shuttle guests back and forth from the airport in Hong Kong. 

COURTESY OF PENINSUL A HOTELS (2)

1. The Peninsula Hotels 2. Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts 3. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group 4. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts 5. Park Hyatt

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TRAVEL PREP 101 | YOUR PACKING-MADE-EASIER CHECKLIST INGENIOUS STR ATEGIES FOR TR AVELING LIGHT, SAVING SPACE AND ARRIVING AT YOUR DESTINATION WRINKLE-FREE AND READY FOR ANY ADVENTURE. WHAT TO PACK __ Go light on the clothing. Follow this formula: three tops for every bottom. (Trust us, you can get away with repeating pants or skirts.) As for footwear, limit yourself to sneakers and two pairs of shoes—one casual and one that’s more formal. __ Choose wrinkle-repellers. Blends containing nylon, Lycra or polyester can be pulled out of your suitcase relatively unscathed. If you prefer natural fibers, go for wool or stretch cotton. Textured fabrics (ruched jersey, seersucker) and busy prints also help mask fold marks. __ Bring a just-in-case kit. Prepare for emergencies (of the wardrobe variety) by bringing Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus and Tide to Go stain remover. __ Keep tabs on your bag. Use a luggage tracker like LugLoc (US$70; lugloc.com) to locate your suitcase in the event that it gets lost. Also important: label your bag tag with an e-mail address, rather than a home address, so that you can be more easily contacted in transit. __ P rep your carry-on. Layers are essential for chilly airplane cabins. You’ll also want a toothbrush and at least a day’s worth of prescriptions in case your luggage is delayed. __ Invest in useful tech gear. The compact Fuse Universal Dual USB adapter has plugs for 150 countries and two built-in USB ports (US$30; fospower.com). The Mophie Powerstation Plus simultaneously charges multiple gadgets at four times the speed of a standard charger (US$80; mophie. com). To make a long flight a lot more bearable, spring for noisecanceling headphones, such as Bose’s QuietComfort 20i earbuds with tanglefree cords (US$300; bose.com).

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HOW TO PACK __ Decide what to roll, and what to fold. If you’re using a duffel, roll everything. Otherwise, reserve that technique for knits (T-shirts, light sweaters) and fold garments that have more structure (blazers and trousers). __ Get space-efficient. Packing cubes, like Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Specter Cubes (from US$13; eaglecreek.com), keep swimsuits, gym clothes, delicates and dirty laundry separated. Squeeze out all the air for extra compression. __ Use trash bags to fight wrinkles. Here’s how: line the bottom of your luggage with a garbage bag; then, after you’ve packed, add another on top. The slippery surface keeps the creases from setting. __ A rrange contents strategically. Stash footwear and other heavy items near the wheelbase; this prevents the suitcase from tipping over. Then layer in this order: packing cubes, rolled garments, folded clothes and bulky sweaters or jackets. Leave your crushables for last. __ Maximize every nook. Snake belts around the bag’s perimeter. Stuff shoes with socks and fill the molded cups of bras with underwear (this prevents the foam from crinkling). Tuck jewelry and ties (rolled inside out) in a side pocket—you can store earrings in pill cases and string delicate necklaces through drinking straws, taping the clasps to each end.

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SUITCASE SMARTS Pick the bag that’s right for you. 1 Measure  your carry-on. If your bag is no longer than 51 centimeters end-to-end, it will fit in most overhead bins. We like the hard-sided Quartermaster by Ebby Rane (US$825; ebbyrane.com), with builtin carryalls for liquids, tech and more. 2 Know  the full-size-case rules. Fourwheeled hard-sided models are best— they’re least likely to topple. Choose one that has a sturdy handle and butterflies open (for easier packing), like the Herringbone Luxe Hardside Extended Journey Spinner by Hartmann (US$399; hartmann.com) or the Victorinox Spectra 2.0 (US$380; victorinox.com).

ILLUSTR ATION BY VALERO DOVAL


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Pod People

N A P P I N G AT T H E A I R P O R T H A S N E V E R F E LT M O R E O T H E R W O R L D LY. Rip Van Winkle meets Captain James T. Kirk in the latest airport trend. No longer will you weary travelers have to sprawl across three seats at your gate, trying to mold your body around the arm rests. Tandem-chair hobo or hotel: those used to be the only options for catching zzz’s at the airport, but from sleep pods to micro hotels the classic travel siesta is getting a modern makeover. BY MERRIT T GURLE Y

The Haven There are 18 nap rooms at The Haven, each with a real single bed, a TV, a vanity and a LAN cable to hook up to fast Internet. It is like a tiny little hotel room: clean and modern, but definitely basic. thehaven. com.sg; three-hour package from S$71, including a shower, meal and lounge access.

Narita International Airport, Tokyo Ninehours The units in this facility look like the sleeping quarters in a futuristic spacecraft used to transport whole populations to the far reaches of the galaxy. Rows and rows of bed capsules are slotted into a massive wall, each little entry window glowing from the Sleep Ambient Control

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System default lighting setting. The dimensions are a snug 110 centimeters wide x 220 deep x 110 tall. So climb into the compartment and enjoy a few hours of statis. ninehours.co.jp/en/narita; ¥1,500 for the first hour and ¥500 each hour thereafter.

Dubai International Airport SnoozeCube This station near gate C 22 is made up of 10 soundproof units all in a cozy cluster. Slide open the bubbly white door and you’ll find yourself in a micro-room that’s big enough for just a bed (single or double), a touch-screen TV and a spot to store your carry-on luggage. The murals painted on the wall depicting vacation scenes, like a beachfront sunset or babbling brook, will get you revved up

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for your holiday. snoozecube. com; Dhs75 for a single cube per hour, Dhs100 for a shared cube, two-hour minimum.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport SnoozeKL This newbie, just opened in August, has the catchy slogan, “Fall into sleep here, to land on your feet there.” Rooms are 3 x 1½ meters, with bunk beds that can accommodate up to two adults and one child. The founder, New Zealand-native Wetini Mitai, says his vision was to create a safe and comfy spot for travelers to tango i te moenga, the Maori phrase for “take a nap.” Why Malaysia? “We love the culture, food and more importantly, the people,” Mitai says. snoozekl.com; RM35 per hour, per person, two-hour minimum.

EUROPE IN 40 WINKS NAPCABS, MUNICH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Picture a vending machine you can sleep in. napcabs. com; from €10 per hour. YOTEL, LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT

The standard cabins are seven square meters and look like a hybrid between a first-class seat on an airplane and a sleeper carriage on a train. yotel.com; from £9 per hour, four-hour minimum. GOSLEEP, HELSINKI AIRPORT

Still in development, the GoSleep pods at Helsinki Airport will look like ergonomic egg chairs, but with cocoon doors and fully reclining seats. gosleep.aero; one hour from US$14.

C PH O OTO U R T ECSRYE D OIFT NTA EC EK AAY S A & PA R T N E R S

Changi International Airport, Singapore


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DEALS | T+L READER SPECIALS

CITY SEOUL

From surfing at a former-headhunters’ island in Indonesia to a quest on the ancient Tea Horse Road in China, many of this month’s offers meld culture and comfort in a single trip. Imperial Palace, in Seoul.

Imperial Palace Get you Gangnam groove on at this European-style art space in the city’s posh shopping and entertainment district. Its collection of 400 artworks worth more than US$1.2 million, spacious mirror-lined guest rooms and daily laundry service will keep you looking smart and Psy-lish. The Deal Seoul Searching: seven nights in a Standard room, from US$945 for two, through December 26. Save up to 30%. preferredhotels.com. CHINA

Wanda Realm The new 283-room hotel in Tai’an, 500 kilometers south of Beijing in Shandong Province, is a great launching point for a trip to sacred Taishan mountain, a unesco World Heritage site settled by humans since the Neolithic period. Their signature “Bed of Realm” and “Dream Catcher” services (which include calming fragrances, music and reading materials) will soothe you into a good night’s sleep. The Deal Introductory offer: a night in a Deluxe room, from RMB598 for two, through December 31. Save up to 40%. wandahotels.com.

CULTURE

SUPER SAVER Away Koh Kood, Thailand Your escape to this border island in the Gulf of Thailand will help you find balance without giving up luxury. It includes breakfast for two and a 10-percent discount on food and beverages. The Deal Buy One Get One Free: two nights in a Duplex Bungalow, from Bt4,248 for two, through October 31. Save 50%. awayresorts.com.

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INDONESIA

Nihiwatu Twice the size of Bali, the isolated Sumba Island is home to 650,000 inhabitants

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F I M P E R I A L PA L A C E ; C O U R T E S Y O F AWAY K O H K O O D

ASIA

Belmond A tropical retreat on the beach of Bali; a cruise into the Chindwin jungle along Irrawaddy’s largest tributary in Burma; or a riverside base for your Angkor exploration, Belmond’s collection of accommodations and tours offer some of the region’s most comfortable and unique experiences. The Deal Aspects of Asia: two nights in a standard room, from US$806 for two; book by December 17. Save 30%. belmond.com.


whose ancestors were known for being fierce, headhunting warriors, as well as to Occy’s Left, a left-hand break made famous in the movie The Green Iguana. Meanwhile, non-surfers can ride horses, trek, paddleboard, dive or get a massage by a private pool. The Deal Stay 7 pay 5: seven nights in a one-bedroom villa, from US$3,750 for two; book by October 31. Save 28%. nihiwatu.com. CHINA

Hylandia by Shangri-La The hotel is set at a brisk 3,260 meters in the clouds, but the staff, composed of hospitable locals, will warm your stay with tales of the history-rich location on the ancient Tea Horse Road passageway into Tibet. There’s much to explore, from a 1,000-yearold Dukezong Old Town to an artisanal black pottery village. The Deal Introductory offer: a night in a Deluxe room, from RMB850 for two, through October 31. Save 22%. shangri-la.com.

SPA

COURTESY OF CAPELL A SINGAPORE

KRABI

Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve Rekindle your romance at this hideaway overlooking the Andaman Sea. The perfect panorama sets a stunning backdrop for a joint wellness journey. Bond with each other during a lesson on body scrub and scalp massage techniques, followed by an aromatherapy bath and a couple’s massage. Then, fall in love with the fish on a snorkeling trip to Koh Hong, accessible via the hotel’s daily shuttle boat service, which your dedicated butler can help organize. The Deal Lessons of Love: three nights in a Reserve Pavilion, from Bt62,400 for two, through April 16, 2016. Save 30%. ritzcarltonreserve.com.

luxury hotel rooms with views of historic palaces, N Seoul Tower and Cheonggyecheon canal walk. You can rejuvenate with authentic Korean sauna after a day of serious shopping at nearby Myeong-dong district or spend your daily W100,000 credit savoring delicious bites at the hotel’s seven dining outlets, from a New York speakeasy to a European market hall. The Deal Opening offer: a night in a Deluxe room, from W445,000 for two, through February 28. Save 28%. fourseasons.com.

BEACH SAMUI

Santiburi Recent revitalization of the beachfront resort results in the addition of six new Spa Pool villas, where you can relax with a 60-minute signature treatment for two, guiltlessly indulge in the healthy dishes and handover any extraneous tasks to the butler. Make as many trips to Santiburi Samui Country Club as you wish with complimentary two-way transfers before refueling pre-dinner with daily high tea sets at The Lounge. The Deal Cocoon of Serenity: two nights in a Spa Pool villa, from Bt44,900 for two, through December 19. Save 42%. santiburisamui.com.

INDONESIA

The Oberoi, Lombok Your trip to Bali’s less bustling cousin is still awash in the Hindu island’s charms: teak bed, thatched roof and handtufted rugs of natural fiber are supplemented by the distant view of the revered Mount Agung and the scent of frangipanis. Savor the Balinese sweets served with afternoon tea at the Amphitheatre, let your mind go in this calm atmosphere. The Deal Unforgettable Experience: five nights in a garden-view Luxury Pavilion room, from US$1,700 for two, through December 26. Save 30%. oberoihotels.com.

PHILIPPINES

Club Paradise Palawan Part of the Palawan Biosphere Reserve, the private island resort takes pride in its protected house reefs, home to marine life such as endangered giant clams, cephalopods and nudibranchs. A field of sea grass right off shore is also frequented by dugongs and turtles. Plus, a dinner for two made with ingredients sourced from local villagers come complimentary at Ocean Restaurant. The Deal Seascape Deals: two nights in a Hillside room, from P13,560 for two, through October 31. Save 39%. clubparadise palawan.com.

SINGAPORE

Capella Singapore Just stepping into the colonial buildings built by the British army in the 1880s is a dream. Luxuriate in some of the largest guest rooms in Singapore, with views of neatly landscaped gardens lush with native plants and azure South China Sea. Personal assistants are always on call, while books, board games and refreshments are readily available in the Library. The Deal Capella Escape: three nights in a Premier Garden room, from S$1,500 for two, through December 20. Save 30%. capellasingapore.com.

CAMBODIA

Song Saa Private Island A stay on these private twinislands in the Gulf of Thailand is all-inclusive, from an in-villa breakfast to a beachside picnic and an over-water dinner. Access to house wines and spirits is unrestricted, while the minibar is restocked daily. Nature lovers can also take a guided tour of the surrounding marine ecosystem, kayak and sail through the turquoise sea. The Deal Stay 4 Pay 3: four nights in a Jungle villa, from US$5,332 for two, through December 31. Save 25%. songsaa.com. — MH

A Premier room at Capella Singapore.

SEOUL

Four Seasons Seoul Making a high-profile debut in South Korea this month are some of the city’s largest

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


L AURYN ISHAK

A Rabari herdsman bringing his cattle home in Jawai, Rajasthan.

/ OCTOBER 2015 / The next Hong Kong generation | Three ways

to live it up in the Maldives | Foraging and gorging in Yunnan | Wild India celebrates Kipling’s 150th birthday | Artisanal France | Going Maine-style upscale

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AS THE PRODEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT IN HONG KONG TRIES TO GAIN STEAM—AND THE WORLD WATCHES—A NEW WAVE OF ARTISTS, MUSICIANS AND ACTIVISTS IS FILLING THE CITY WITH ENTREPRENEURIAL ENERGY AND NEWFOUND OPTIMISM.


GENERATION

HK

BY JEFF CHU PHOTOGRAPHED BY FREDERIC LAGRANGE

Doryun Chong, chief curator of M+, a new museum for visual culture, at the museum headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui. OPPOSITE: Rising above Central.

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life. Memory matters more than ever: Hong Kong’s unique heritage continues to define how its people see themselves. Marks of the British—roads named for royals, colonial architecture—endure; the Star Ferry, still just HK$2.50 to cross Victoria Harbour, offers as wondrous a view as ever. Yet go where the locals go, and you’ll find that imagination is constructing the future, in restaurants and tattoo ink, organic produce and song. And many Hong Kongers are learning to cultivate something that can’t be bought or sold with traditional currency: optimism.

“FREE HONG KONG! FREE HONG KONG!” OR ME, AS FOR SO MANY BEFORE ME,

Hong Kong has been a haven. This destiny was written into its name, a rough transliteration of the Cantonese words for “fragrant harbor.” Safety smelled to me like stinky durian and sweet lychee, exhaust and sweat. I can still feel the backs of my eight-year-old legs sticking to the vinyl seat of a double-decker bus (upstairs, always). I can still hear my relatives’ voices, their rapid-fire Cantonese swelling and ebbing as they processed the rises and falls of the day’s stock prices. This was, in a manner of speaking, home: my parents had emigrated from Hong Kong to America in their twenties, and I was born in California. They carried with them their culture—hence my bowlcut hair, my fried-rice-and-pot-sticker lunches, my sense of shame. But whenever we returned to this city of hybrids, of Cantonese movies and English street signs, I felt less alien, my head just another black-topped dome in a sea of them. I’ve visited to see family, to eat, to imagine what it would be like to live here all the time, to make my own memories. Neither imagination nor memory, though, are among Hong Kong’s most prized virtues. Instead, natives pride themselves on their pragmatism, and one thing that I inherited from my parents, along with the permanent identity card that officially binds me to this city, is an ethic driven by practicality. You can’t survive on nostalgia. Certainly neither imagination nor memory allowed me to dream that, nearly 20 years after the British returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to China, the streets would heave with prodemocratic protesters calling for universal suffrage. A year after the Umbrella Movement unfurled in such spectacular fashion, most of the cameras—and the protesters—have gone home. I wanted to see whether the demonstrations had left any mark. What I found was a place undergoing a remarkable transformation. Hong Kong today is a city that, though long defined by financial profit, increasingly questions what constitutes a truly good

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On a warm summer night, the chants, in English, crept through my window in the traditionally working-class Kowloon neighborhood of Mongkok. I was staying with family, not far from where my parents grew up. Most tourists don’t visit this area, but if they did, they’d find the Bird Garden, where old men bring their caged thrushes and warblers, as well as the city’s main flower market. Bougainvillea and bamboo fill storefront after storefront, and rolling carts stacked with orchids crowd the sidewalks. At night, vendors wrap the displays in green netting. Downstairs, I found the floral purples and magentas replaced by the red of soccer jerseys worn by hundreds of delighted fans. A week after winning a World Cup qualifying match against Bhutan, Hong Kong had triumphed again, this time over the Maldives. Both matches took place at Mongkok Stadium, about half a kilometer from the intersection of Nathan Road and Argyle Street, one of the sites where prodemocratic protesters clashed with police last autumn. The wins weren’t the big news. (If Hong Kong is a soccer minnow, the Maldives are a guppy and Bhutan, plankton.) Hong Kong doesn’t have its own anthem, so during the raising of its flag, China’s anthem plays. The crowd had booed. Such bursts of anti-Beijing sentiment reflect enduring popular frustration in the wake of the Umbrella Movement, which has produced no democratic reform. “There are lots of hopeless things every day, especially with the political aspect,” prodemocratic activist Agnes Chow Ting said when we met for coffee in Wanchai. Chow, an earnest 18-year-old with long hair and a touch of a lisp, once served as a spokeswoman for Scholarism, the most prominent prodemocratic student group, and is in her second year of university. “We see how the central and local governments neglect opinions about democracy for Hong Kong people,” she continued. Like the soccer fans, Chow has channeled her energies into alternative forms of protest. She cohosts a Tuesday night radio show that


18-year-old prodemocratic activist Agnes Chow Ting, in the Central district.


Bandmates Adonian Chan (left) and Milk Tsang at the restaurant Tfvsjs.syut.


purportedly focuses on Japanese culture, especially pop music and animation. “There are hidden messages in animation, and I try to link them to the issues,” she explained. Take a manga series called Attack on Titan. “It’s about giants trying to break down walls and eat people living in a city,” she said. The corners of her mouth edged up in a slight smile. “People may imagine the central government as the giants.” It’s this kind of imagination that gives birth to a character like Umbrella Man. On October 5, 2014, protesters massed in the Admiralty neighborhood by the Central Government Complex, a hulking steel-and-glass office tower. They had been coming by the thousands, after class and after work, for nearly a week. On this night, a precarious threemeter-tall figure made of wood blocks joined them. His upraised right arm held aloft a yellow umbrella. (Though the protest site has become something of a tourist attraction, there’s little left to see.) Umbrella Man was the creation of artists Tong Sin Chun and Milk Tsang. I met Tsang, 23, in Ngau Tau Kok, an up-and-coming section of Kowloon filled with warehouses. As we walked, he said he didn’t want to talk about the sculpture, and expressed sadness at the current state of affairs. “You talk to someone on the street about the situation—they just want to be in their own little world,” Tsang noted, as we took an elevator up to a restaurant on the 10th floor of an old factory. “I don’t see any hope.” Tsang’s statement puzzled me. His varied portfolio, which includes sculpture, painting and film production, pointed to Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial promise. Tsang is a guitarist in a rock band called Tf.vs.js, and the restaurant, called Tfvsjs.syut, is run by four of his five bandmates. Bassist and chef Sean Yeun, who oversees an eclectic European-inspired menu that incorporates local ingredients like Chinese yam, said hello. Guitarist and co-owner Adonian Chan, who doubles as a graphic designer, joined us for dinner. He echoed Tsang’s glum commentary. “I’ve shifted focus,” he said, as we picked at spaghetti carbonara and a roasted duck leg with a sauce of Guinness and puréed beets. “What we can change is within ourselves—and then within a small community.” With its big casement windows, bare concrete floors, and mismatched chairs, Tfvsjs.syut has the marks of a hipster hangout. The place draws young creatives, who, between meals, participate in Chan’s curated slate of activities, ranging from literary readings to jam sessions. In a nearby studio, Chan works on Chinese typography; one of his most successful typefaces, inspired by Hong Kong’s midcentury neon signage, has been featured, ironically, in a government-funded project. “The government is always promoting revitalization,” Chan said, dismissing long-gestating plans to turn

this part of eastern Kowloon into a business district. “We believe the people can do it by themselves.” When I expressed surprise at how Tsang and Chan skip freely among mediums, they seemed surprised that I was surprised. “For me, it’s all art, not different things,” Tsang said. This fluidity has also struck Lars Nittve and Doryun Chong, executive director and chief curator, respectively, at M+, a new visual culture museum being built in the West Kowloon Cultural District. Nittve was founding director of the Tate Modern in London, and Chong came to Hong Kong from New York’s MoMA. Nowhere else, they told me, have they seen this kind of crossover. “Many of the best artists are also the best graphic designers and architects,” Nittve explained, as we sat in the sleek offices of M+ on the 29th floor of a tower in Tsim Sha Tsui, with the cultural district, now a construction site, below us. With its embrace of architecture, film and design, M+ is positioned to capture this new local dynamic with programs that are not limited to what’s typically classified as contemporary art. “These are Western constructs, and we are not in the West.” Of course, Hong Kong has become a global art magnet, with the Art Basel fair drawing thousands of exhibitors and collectors each spring. But while Basel has injected energy into the local scene, most of what happens is not indigenous. The wave of protest-related art, including Tsang’s sculpture, on the other hand? “It was a spontaneous expression of maybe dormant desire. It felt like a special moment of defining the self for a young generation,” Chong said. “It’s uniquely Hong Kong.”

CERTAINLY NEITHER IMAGINATION NOR MEMORY ALLOWED ME TO DREAM THAT, NEARLY 20 YEARS AFTER THE BRITISH RETURNED SOVEREIGNTY OVER HONG KONG TO CHINA, THE STREETS WOULD HEAVE WITH PROTESTERS' CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE

THE MORE TIME I SPENT WITH HONG KONGERS,

the more I realized that politics was less a cause than an effect of a broader reevaluation. “These days, there’s definitely a stronger sense of community and an emphasis on returning to life’s basics,” said Nic Tse, proprietor of the Mei Wah Tattoo Parlor, in Kowloon. In some ways Tse’s shop, located on the gritty northern section of Shanghai Street, is quintessentially Hong Kong, importing ideas from everywhere. Climb the narrow steps of

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the old tenement building to his fourth-floor studio, and you’ll likely find a prominent tattoo artist visiting from Europe or America. You’ll also see reflections of the changing ethos in what they’re asked to ink. Tse recently tattooed the English word courage on the wrist of a local activist. More and more, Hong Kongers are also concerned with reconnecting, in modern ways, with heritage and history and culture. Take Wanda Huang, whose family has a small farm on Cheung Chau, a carless island a 35-minute ferry ride from Central. There’s almost always something to harvest among their 40 types of fruit trees. But what draws visitors to the farm are the educational programs that Wanda runs. She teaches a greener, more sustainable way of living and eating— one that honors the herbinfused healing knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine. Huang, whose father, naturally, is a Chinese herbalist, is one of Hong Kong’s only professional

'HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHO WAS RIGHT OR WRONG? I WOULDN'T DIE FOR A CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT—BUT IT'S SOMETHING I WOULD DO ONSTAGE' —OPERA SINGER ANGEL LEUNG

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foragers. (Though the city is often perceived as an urban jungle, 70 percent of its land mass is actually green space.) “These abandoned farmlands, beaches and woods contain an abundance of wild ingredients,” Huang told me. “Wild ginger flower. Different types of seaweed. Bamboo shoot.” She’s trying to domesticate some of these plants; what she can’t, she often forages for local chefs, including Uwe Opocensky of the Mandarin Oriental. “There’s a sea of wild watercress next to Wanda’s farm,” says Finnish-born restaurateur Jaakko Sorsa, the executive chef of FINDS, a modern Nordic restaurant housed in the Luxe Manor in Tsim Sha Tsui. “She also brings me passion fruit—in the wild, they’re more acidic.” Sorsa, who was recently named Hong Kong Chef of the Year by the local magazine Foodie, remains faithful to his European roots. His 12-course “Nordic Express” tasting menu reimagines smørrebrød, the Danish open-faced sandwich, and features sea buckthorn berry and pickled spruce shoots. But the restaurant has also evolved to honor local culture (a family-style menu is popular) and to include Huang’s bounty (her licorice goes in the desserts). The two are working on a book about subtropical foraging. “People say, ‘What do you mean that herb was picked here?’ ” Sorsa said. “It’s all an education.”

NOTHING STAYS THE SAME FOR LONG IN

Hong Kong—not the skyline, not the fashion, not the slang. Even the fortune-telling business at the Temple Street Night Market, a tourist magnet in Kowloon, has shifted. Traditional numerologists and clairvoyants who read palms to predict the future used to dominate. “A few years ago, the tarotcard readers began to take over, appealing to Westerners,” Paul Chan, who heads up Walk in Hong Kong, told me. He regards such change with aplomb—that’s capitalism, and this is Hong Kong, after all. A former political aide and lecturer who then went into finance, Chan recently quit banking to give walking tours full-time. His itineraries are varied—one spotlights Sheung Wan, a Hong Kong Island neighborhood beloved by expats that’s full of art galleries and third-wave coffee joints, but several wend through Kowloon, where he grew up. “For a comprehensive feel, go to Hong Kong Island,” Chan said. “But you must come to this side as well.” Chan’s meticulously researched itineraries use the streetscape as a classroom, weaving together history, economics and anthropology. A couple of blocks north of the night market, we stopped into Yim Yeung Tin, a traditional singing parlor, where the mere HK$23 cover charge gets you a cup of tea and entrée to one of the kitschiest experiences in town. Plastic printed with gaudy pink roses covered the tables, and disco balls showered rainbow light


Nic Tse at his Mei Wah Tattoo Parlor, in Kowloon. OPPOSITE:

Forager Wanda Huang at her family farm on the island of Cheung Chau.


Cantonese opera actress Angel Leung, who performs at the Yau Ma Tei Theatre.

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all over the scuffed linoleum floors. Onstage, under fluttering paper banners wishing you a happy new year, a woman in jeggings and a rhinestone headband sang Cantonese and Mandarin pop standards, accompanied by a seventysomething man in khaki shorts and Crocs playing a Yamaha keyboard. It was magical. “To get in touch with local culture,” Chan said, “you have to visit these places.” Like many people I met, Chan kept referring to Hong Kong’s “core values.” In his view, they had shifted over time. “One of the underlying causes of the Umbrella Movement was a value change between the generations,” he said. “In the past, the focus was on efficiency, prosperity and stability. Now, it’s cultural preservation, work-life balance and conservation.” Conservation honors heritage, and heritage provides context. One morning, I visited the refurbished Yau Ma Tei Theatre. Built in 1930, it is one of Hong Kong’s only surviving cinemas from the silent-film era. Today, its Art Deco touches restored, the theater stages Cantonese opera, and performances take place at least once a week. (Though the operas are in Cantonese, Englishlanguage programs guide foreign visitors through.) I sat in the 300-seat auditorium with Angel Leung, a law student and rising operatic star. She explained that Cantonese opera features minimal sets—when an actor opens a door, you’ll see no physical door, just vigorous hand gestures. Costumes, however, are lavish constructions of silk. The stories in Cantonese opera are always rooted in history and typically reflect traditional Confucian values, such as filial piety. A few days earlier, Leung had performed in a piece that told the tale of a general who sends his son to war. The son falls in love with a woman, and his father orders him executed for getting married during wartime—a distraction to the warrior’s spirit. The story takes place some thousand years ago, during

the Song dynasty, when China was also politically riven. “In those days, it wasn’t just one leader,” she said. Leung was cagey about her own views toward Beijing, but noted that her generation isn’t as politically monolithic as it may have seemed in reports about the protests. “How do you determine who was right or wrong? I wouldn’t die for a change in government—but it’s something I would do onstage.”

IN THE LATE 1200S, A CONTINGENT OF WARTIME

refugees reached Hong Kong. The Song dynasty was in its sunset, and the court of the child emperor Duanzong fled south, taking shelter at Silver Mine Bay. Today, the bay remains a lovely escape, popular on weekends and holidays. But this was a Monday afternoon. When I boarded the boat from the Central Ferry Pier to Lantau Island and the village of Mui Wo, which sits on Silver Mine, I counted no more than 20 other people. At the beach itself, a few elderly women in conical hats swept the sand. Turning my eyes landward, I saw a path leading uphill, toward Discovery Bay. So I took it. Over the past decade, hiking has become very popular here, and a friend had recommended this route. Yet I had it all to myself—and I quickly learned why. The steepening path turned to stairs and more stairs. My thighs screamed, and in the sauna-like afternoon my shirt was sopping. My eyes scanned for shade, but I saw only more stairs. Farther uphill, I sat on a step to take in the lovely view. Cicadas erupted in a loud chorus, as if to urge me on. At the top, I collapsed onto a bench and caught the panorama. From here, Hong Kong looked like a collection of half-filled green pincushions holding skyscraper needles, sitting atop a blanket of glitter and blue. The city and its worries felt far away. A few clouds hung in the sky. The seas were calm. Everything seemed possible.

THE DETAILS HOTELS Hullett House Once the Royal Marine Police headquarters, this boutique in Tsim Sha Tsui fuses elegant colonial-era architecture with top-notch service and modern comforts. hulletthouse. com; doubles from HK$6,120. The Salisbury—YMCA of Hong Kong The Peninsula’s surprisingly comfortable next-door neighbor is arguably the best deal in town. All rooms were recently renovated, and some offer spectacular harbor views. ymcahk.org.hk; doubles from HK$1,680. Mandarin Oriental The iconic

original Mandarin is a Central neighborhood hang-out for the well-heeled, with its barbershop, Captain's Bar and three Michelinrated restaurants. Take a highfloor harbor-view room. mandarin oriental.com; doubles from HK$3,600. ART & CULTURE Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre Nine floors of studios, showrooms, shops and a teahouse. jccac.org.hk. Osage Art Foundation A wellregarded gallery with shows that seek to foster up-and-coming

local talent. oaf.cc. Walk in Hong Kong Guide Paul Chan takes guests deep into the culture and politics of Hong Kong’s neighborhoods. walkin.hk; tours from HK$250 per person. Yau Ma Tei Theatre At this refurbished Art Deco theater, young singers perform Cantonese opera several times a week. hkbarwoymt.com; tickets from HK$70. Yim Yeung Tin Singing Parlor Kitschy and relentlessly oldschool, this nightspot features pop standards and no pretense. 49-51 Temple St., Yau Ma Tei.

RESTAURANTS FINDS "Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden" inspire chef Jaakko Sorsa at the city’s only Nordic eatery. finds.com.hk; tasting menus from HK$498. Tfvsjs.syut A musician-run hangout in a gritty, industrial building in Kowloon East. 10F Unit B, Gee Luen Factory Bldg., 316-318 Kwun Tong Rd.; fb.com/tfvsjs.syut; dinner sets HK$320. Tin Lung Heen The Ritz-Carlton’s Chinese spot offers elevated dim sum—as well as sweeping views of the water. ritzcarlton.com; dim sum for two HK$500.

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THREE TICKETS TO PARADISE ACROSS A TRILOGY OF MALDIVIAN ISLANDS, JENINNE LEE ST. JOHN RESISTS THE URGE TO CHANNEL HER INNER JONAH, HOPS FROM BOAT TO BOAT, AND COMES BACK WITH FAR MORE POSTCARDS THAN YOU COULD STUFF IN A SHOEBOX.

photogr apher : pornsak na nakorn

st ylist : tunvardee jutavar akul

makeup & hair : witthaya k aeoaim

model : nathalie ducheine


Mermaids rise at dawn to revel in the richest part of the W's coral reef, near the spa, in swimsuit by Tan Tan.

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I REALIZE THIS SOUNDS RIDICULOUS, BUT I DIDN’T PARTICULARLY WANT TO GO TO THE MALDIVES. In my defense, it had been a rough couple of months, capped off by the passing away of my brilliant, beloved, cranky-pants grandmother. She lived in New York City’s Chinatown, and every time I’d return home from Asia, she’d scold me for not visiting more often, ply me with food… and then try to hustle me away again. “Go back to work,” she’d say. “Go see the world. Send me a postcard.” I always did, from every trip. This was an old-school woman with an immigrant’s work ethic, but she also loved getting mail. I’m pretty sure the power of the postcard was just as persuasive to her as pride in my job. So, I headed back to Bangkok from a bittersweet American springtime to repack for the Maldives, an endeavor into which I had to put more thought than you’d imagine. Because the plan was to do the Indian Ocean nation three ways: glammed out, under the sea and a cultural deep-dive. The recently refit W Retreat & Spa, the Anantara Kihavah oasis and the brand-new Loama Resort respectively specialize in each of these angles, though, as I would soon discover, there are few picture-perfect vacation postcards any of these hotels, spread, though they are, smack out in the cerulean sea, can’t bring to life for you. We landed at Malé in a midmorning haze. Even an overcast sky couldn’t conceal the pure beauty of the place. The seaplanes in every color in the gumball machine lined up along docks like so many Matchbox cars with wings. Click— mental postcard for Poa Poa. We were only in the airport, and I was already scrapbooking this country. A quick layover in the W lounge (a romper room festooned with

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oversized lollipops and Bliss bodycare products in the full bathroom) and then we were boarding our adorable airborne taxi. Flying over the Maldives is itself part of the pleasure of the visit. My mind reeled: How many shades of blue can there be? How is it possible that these farflung atolls, round specks topped with green and ringed with golden sands and ridges of reefs, could be in a single country? We were all first-timers to this unreal place, and just as we re-hinged our dropped jaws, we were landing at the W, the glass of champagne handed to me as I disembarked just the first of countless bubble bottles we happily popped on this trip. That’s how, four days after leaving Manhattan, I found myself on a different kind of island entirely. This one had a pumping club, but it was below sea level. It had Alex Monopoly-painted street art… on a speedboat. It had bright lights, if you reserved an over-water rotunda for a private dinner within a sexy ring of fire. It had diverse and raucous nightlife—best found on the plentiful house reef during an evening, UV-lamp-lit snorkel (though the two whale sharks we spotted snuggling into a crater turned in a bit early for my tastes). And for VIP sections? Charter a sail on the two-masted yacht Escape, FROM TOP: Chillin' at W

Spa, in swimsuit by Vilebrequin, cover-up by Tan Tan, shoes by Tory Burch; a W over-water villa; all smiles at Loama. OPPOSITE: Ready to take off, in dress by DVF, shoes by Tory Burch, accessories by Wear to Kill.


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WE DANCED ON THE DOCK IN THE SETTING SUN’S BURNT-SIENNA WAKE


CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE TOP LEFT: The

W beach, in swimsuit by Vilebrequin; the Sea, Fire, Salt, Sky dining complex at Kihavah; sunset at Loama; in a W ring of fire, in dress by Philosophy; on Gaathafushi, W's private isle; warriors at Loama; a giant prawn at Sea restaurant, Kihavah; post-snorkel at W, in swimsuit by Wear to Kill; camouflaged in W waters; the boys of Kihavah's dive center; gabbing grannies run this corner, on a local island tour by Loama.


HOW MANY DIFFERENT SHADES OF BLUE CAN THERE BE?


or book out the private island and sleep under the open sky with only seabirds for neighbors. This is a place where you’d be tempted not to stray far from your daily cupcake- and fruit-infusedvodka-shot-replenished pool villa. But then you go to the spa, and off your sprawling treatment room is a deck big enough for a barbecue. You stand under its outdoor shower looking out over the Tiffany blue turn to turquoise turn to Iris before it melds with the powder-blue sky and you wonder why you ever thought this place wouldn’t bring you the peace you so sorely required. On my first night there, a skyline of palm trees and stilted bungalows had replaced my bridge and tower views, and the only big apple in sight was the setting sun, leaving T+L art director, Nay, and me no choice but to dance on the wooden dock in its burnt-sienna wake.

M A N TA R AY S : C O U R T E S Y O F A N A N TA R A K I H AVA H

M

anta rays aren’t exactly cute, but they are graceful, otherworldly and aware. They have the largest brain-tobody ratio of all rays and sharks, after all. My first encounter came while swimming out towards the trench in the protected marine park where they feed: looking straight ahead, I didn’t notice the giant ray approaching from behind until its snowflake-speckled head was right under my chin. Reflexively, calculating it to be no more than a meter below me, I spread my limbs wide, kicked my feet as gently as possible and flapped my arms in

FROM TOP: Swimming with manta rays, one of Kihavah's signature adventures; a picnic on Goimaru, Loama's private island; picking the best spot to let out the lines, on a Loama fishing trip. OPPOSITE: W-tinted sunglasses by Emporio Armani.

mirror motion of its pterodactyl fins. I’d like to say we engaged in an underwater pas de deux, but really the ray loop-the-looped me, doing backflips and darting away and back, that tease, while I struggled to keep up, laughing through my snorkel. Laughing, that is, until it led me head-on into a pack of its compatriots, their disproportionately elongated mouths gaping open presumably to inhale as much plankton as possible but looking like I was supposed to swim in and dock like the alien spaceship à la Independence Day. And wouldn’t that have been quite the aquatic adventure? Well, that was why we were here—life on the water. In addition to the seaplane transfer, I boarded four different boats at Anantara Kihavah: the one that chugged us out to meet the rays; the aptly named Freebird parasail party-boat that flung us 150 meters up in the sky; the luxe 25-meter Ocean Whisperer yacht that seems purpose-built for a seafaring sunset wedding (we skipped the vows and went straight to the champagne toasts); and the dinghy that picked us up from our morning dive along and into the creature-rich caves of the gorgeous house reef they call the Golden Wall. Super-smiley lifeguard-of-all-trades Coco, whom we dubbed our ocean concierge, was present on every vessel—including that dinghy, into which he had to physically haul me mock-kicking and screaming, so much did I want to stay 12 meters down on the reef. But I shouldn’t have been so upset, as we were heading right back to it, on the other side of the island, for lunch at Sea, a submerged aquarium in-the-round where it’s unclear whether the fish swimming by are on display for you or the other way around. I’m told sea turtles come out at night, and that dolphins are frequently spotted. We saw neither but it hardly mattered. The place is magic, plus I made a friend: the orange-striped triggerfish playfully bumping his nose up against my window throughout the meal. The little, lippy, turquoise guy was as postcard-worthy as any fiveTR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM / OCTOBER 2015

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meter manta, and it sounded like he was used to posing for Instagram, to boot. “He comes every day,” our waiter Almas confided. “The fish have a schedule for work. ‘I’m off, guys,’ they say. ‘Now, it’s your turn.’” Not that you’re ever hard-pressed to find photogenic fish at this place. The entire resort interacts impressively with its seaside setting. The mansions that pass for overwater “bungalows” (I’d say each pool villa could sleep 12, assuming some of your friends are happy to snooze in hammocks above the waves) are so well designed, airy and glassbottomed that you feel like you’re in and of the ocean. The bathtub is glass-bottomed. Sure, it’s difficult to spot fish through a bubble bath, but it would’ve been rude not to try. My butler, Osama, had drawn it for me to show off his petal-scattering skills, which were impressive. Of course they were. I’m pretty sure I’ve never encountered an entire hotel staff that seemed so enamored of their jobs as that at Anantara Kihavah. It was as though the chairman of the International Institute of Modern Butlers, Steven Ferry, had flown in to train not only the villa hosts like Osama but everyone from the housekeepers to the resident marine biologist, French dreamboat Joseph. These guys live in paradise, and they act like it, literally whistling while they work, remembering names and morning-coffee and Bloody Mary requests, and calling out, “Haalu kihineh?” (how are you?) to me as I rode around the resort on my bicycle, bottle of Moët in the wicker basket and white sundress fluttering behind me.

P

eople who knock the Maldives point to a lack of cultural-experience options. Loama Resort, not far from Kihavah, nearly single-handedly shuts that grumble down. For starters, it’s built on an island, Maamigili, that’s a legit archaeological site, and from the

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moment you arrive you feel the sense of place. The welcome dock has an over-water gallery showcasing a rotating roster of contemporary Maldivian art, and the lobby doubles as a museum for the collection of primitive Maldivian tools, as well as old imports that point to the atoll’s former role as trading way-station: a terra-cotta oil lamp likely from pre11th century Sri Lanka or India, for example, and 500-year-old Chinese porcelain found fully preserved in urns unearthed on the island. And then there’s the triplebarreled pièce de résistance. A 125-year-old traditional wooden house complete with carved teak panels, recovered from Kan’dholhudhoo Island and lovingly reassembled here, is tucked in the woods near two symmetrical ancient bathing pools, known as vevu, whose excavation is being led by the hotel’s heritage and culture manager Umair Badheeu and in which, when sun rays slice through the draping greenery, you can picture the preIslamic-era bathers performing their ablutions. Inspired, I spent an unplanned big chunk of my time at Loama in the water. Dive master Rasheed is a careful but fun instructor, and like at the W and Kihavah, the house reef here is a stunner that this resort probably doesn’t up-sell enough. An SSI scuba certification under my belt, the accompanying adrenaline had me bouncing. Good thing we had an afternoon journey ahead—a visit to nearby Maakurathu Island, where an old goat herder shimmied up a coconut tree to tap the trunk’s nectar, which we then bought in old soda bottles from his wife. Young men with thick hair, oversized aviators and tight jeans played pool

FROM TOP: Parking in

front of a Kihavah over-water villa; getting her paddle on at W, in swimsuit by Wear to Kill; a sprawling king pavilion at Loama. OPPOSITE: Seaplane views are the best.


THE MANTA RAY LOOP THE-LOOPED ME, DARTING AWAY AND BACK, THAT TEASE


A BUNCH OF BOISTEROUS BIDDIES IN HIJABS GABBED IN THE LANEWAY


CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE LEFT: Kihavah's aptly named

Fire restaurant; schools of lunch guests at Kihavah's Sea; on the W's Escape, in outfit by Philosophy, shoes by Tory Burch; Kihavah's sunny main throughway; lunch at Kihavah's pool bar; Kihavah for "commuting."

in covered halls, looking like a 1970s movie. A bunch of boisterous biddies in a kaleidoscope of hijabs gabbed in the laneway, clearly lorded over by one boss lady in red reclining in her chair, ribbing her pals and generally commanding the deference my grandmother always did from her friends and family. We continued the cultural immersion by catching our own dinner, the old-fashioned way. A dozen of us guests tooled out to a tidal confluence, where the captain assured us of good fishing. Donning Mickey Mouse gloves to protect our skin, we let fly over the side of the boat baited and weighted hooks, carefully leading the simple lines through our hands until we sensed they hit the seabed. Then, we reeled our lines back in a bit, and waited for the tug of a hungry fish. It reminded me of how my grandmother had taken us crabbing when I was a kid—summer evenings after long days on the beach, tying chicken bones to lines and dropping them into the bay. There was a whoop! as someone’s line was jerked, and with the quickhands help of one of the congenial crew, a young Chinese honeymooner

reeled in the first catch of the night, a humpback snapper she giddily posed for photos with. Soon, the boat was bursting with fish, people pulling them in on their own as we learned to gauge the pressure of a bite on the line. I’m proud to say I won the day with a six-fish haul: an emperor, a red snapper, a bluestriped snapper, two humpback snappers and, unexpectedly, a skinny, creepy barracuda. Having set sail at sunset, we returned to Loama in deep night, the stars shining like bright bulbs 180-degrees in all directions with the Milky Way directly above blanketing me and Nay, lying on the boat’s roof, with complete calm. This would seem like the likeliest point for me to commune with my grandmother. But we bonded not over nature, but food. So it was when we got back to the hotel that I really channeled her, ordering three of our massive fresh fish for dinner—one deep fried, one grilled and the last steamed, with ginger, garlic, scallions, soy and just a touch of hot oil, the way Poa Poa made it best. We took a ton of photos, less for postcards than posterity, and then dove in. “Hurry up,” I could hear her saying. “It’s getting cold.”

THE DETAILS HOTELS

W Retreat & Spa Fesdhoo Island, North Ari Atoll; 960/666-2222; wretreatmaldives.com; doubles from US$1,570. Anantara Kihavah Kihavah Huravalhi Island, Baa Atoll; 960/660-1020; kihavahmaldives.anantara.com; doubles from US$1,520. Loama Resort Maamigili Island, Raa Atoll; 960/658-8100; loamahotelsandresorts. com; doubles from US$730.

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A Walk in the Clouds Mushrooms make up merely the first few hundred reasons a gourmand will gorge on Yunnan. Save some space for yak bacon, fresh-baked bread and a bevy of Chinese cheeses. story and photos by lillian chou


At the new Amandayan. OPPOSITE:

Lijiang’s bounty.

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A palpable excitement brightens the damp mist that hangs over

OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

Handmade shoes from Shaxi; Duan Jiping picks eggplants to cook at Dancing Mule Café; raw Pu’er tea; a forager from Duan Village; Xizhou’s famous baba, this batch filled with scallions and salted pork crisps; in Lijiang’s old town; plush Amandayan; a traditional breakfast buckwheat baba at the Old Theatre Inn; sheets of erkuai hang to dry.

a patchwork Bai minority village beneath Langwoshan, or Wolf’s Den Mountain. I’m in Heqing, Yunnan, China’s southwesternmost province and have been up since dawn. At 3,800 meters—the altitude giving name to Yunnan, which means Southern Clouds—I’m lightheaded from both the steep climb into this thin air and the thrill of foraging headfirst into the start of mushroom season here. Lush lands hedged by majestic mountains have carved lively villages, home to 26 minority groups, though this part of Yunnan is dominated by the Bai and, on higher ground, the Yi. Their diverse cultures revere and cultivate what seems like every possible type of the fungus. It is generally believed that more than 800 varieties grow in Yunnan and, from late summer through late fall, this land springs to life. “These are our mushroom suppliers and they control this mountain,” says James Bao, food-and-beverage manager of the brand-new Amandayan, an hour away in Lijiang, who has accompanied me on this mushroom excursion with executive chef Steven Miao. We are shown a makeshift shelter beneath one of the many pines that dot the steep mountainside where the aptly named pine mushroom grows. Twigs, branches and pine needles protect these noble mushrooms, allowing them to grow to significant sizes; the large and perfect A-grade stems fetch higher prices. A guide uses a spindly branch and carefully brushes the earth away to reveal a sienna round cap with a long white stem. He bends the stick to release a thick-stemmed mushroom called songrong by the locals, and matsutake by the Japanese— who love them. In fact, these rank among the highest quality Chinese exports to Japan where, in 36 hours, they will sell in Tokyo for as much as ¥600 per gram. On lower ground, in a humble tented kitchen, we sit down to a feast of thick golden and white niuganjun, better known as porcini, thin pale raw shavings of just-picked songrong, thick slabs of Yunnan’s revered cured country ham, a warming chicken soup flecked with dried shitake, along with a plateful of potato wedges tossed in chili. This is an immersive celebration into Yunnan’s brilliant local

cuisine, little known outside China. Even if we weren’t ravenous (which we are), I’d marvel at eating a mushroom that an hour ago, I’d plucked from the wild.

WITH ITS WEATHERED, postcard-

perfect wooden houses, Lijiang’s Old Town was declared a unesco World Heritage site in the late 1990s. I first visited five years ago and have come back to this area for mushroom season, and to gorge myself on an array of culinary secrets you’ll never find on a Cantonese dim sum menu. Hand-pulled cheeses, pumpkincolored buckwheat pancakes, baba flatbreads… These edible delights, still made the traditional ways by local ethnic groups, imbue the age-old lanes of Lijiang, Shaxi and Dali with as much authenticity as do the newly restored heritage hotels slowly springing up. I’m here to forage on many fronts. A stroll around the serene courtyard grounds of Amandayan reveals an old gate that opens onto the ancient gardens of Wenchang Temple across from the hotel’s idyllic teahouse. We’re perched up on Lion Hill, known for its magnificent view over the village of Dayan, better known as Lijiang’s Old Town. Lijiang is best in the early morning, when you can wander the empty pedestrian lanes of this sectioned-off historic grid while the quiet gurgle of ancient water canals trickles calmly alongside stone lanes overseen by white-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the quintessential Chinese landscape. Local residents, a concentration of Naxi minority, a matriarchal society descended from Tibet, still dress traditionally in blue aprons and caps. Wielding woven basket-backpacks, they head to Zhongyi Market where a bustling kaleidoscope of colors and strange scents brings an incredible sight even to seasoned travelers. Witness the trays of local fermented tofu whose fluffy layer of mold functions like the blue spots in ripe Roquefort. Everywhere, people sell fresh wild mushrooms including smaller stems of songrong; dark, large caps of tiger’s paw; long, curly-stemmed jizhong, meaning “chicken taste;” and dark ruffled ganba, or beef mushroom. Dinner is an elegant study of local cuisine where chef Miao has taken the bounty of Yunnan and applied Chinese culinary mastery at Man Yi Xuan restaurant. Flavors pop and textures explode in a parade of dishes with local ingredients like Sanchuan huotui, the local aged country ham. Crisp bits of scorched rice along with chewy ganba together elevate humble fried rice to haute cuisine. Though the mushroom menu is not to be missed, Chef Miao sprinkles local tastes as

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broadly as possible—breakfast the next day, for instance, includes yak bacon made using Chinese charcuterie techniques with local livestock that is rich, salty and intense, a perfect partner to poached eggs.

THE ANCIENT TEA HORSE ROAD

was a vital trading route of caravans traveling through treacherous passes that linked Tibet, Burma and Bengal through China’s southwest including what are now Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces. Shaxi was a central stop, and I’m heading for a tiny hamlet just outside called Duan Village, which offered one of very few options in the region for overnight stays when I first visited. Today Shaxi has plenty of choices but I crave calm countryside—not to mention cook Duan Jiping’s memorable breakfast baba: a bready pumpkin-hued pancake tinted by local buckwheat, topped by a soft-centered fried egg, and sweetened by local chestnut honey from nearby Mapingguan village. So I return to the renovated guesthouse renamed the Old Theatre Inn and its Dancing Mule Café. I am rewarded by the tasteful upgrades made by owner Chris Barclay. The petite residence still holds its charm with five rooms furnished with local antiques, plush beds and modern bathrooms, and Duan’s pancakes are as delicious as ever. The property’s centerpiece is a three-story playhouse with intricate arched roofs in traditional Bai architecture. Now protected by the Jianchuan county as a historic relic, it is surrounded by verdant fields of rice and tobacco. Local Bai ladies run the inn, and, with advanced notice, anything can be arranged including a cooking demonstration or a seasonal mushroom hike, for which, of course, I signed up. Our quest is thwarted by rain, as well as impatience when we learn that our young guides had already gone out to forage that morning. But wandering through the incline of forest in the drizzle, I am grateful nonetheless for the beautiful hike… and all my disappointment disappears when I’m handed a generous gift of stunning golden niuganjun— richly scented, pristine porcini mushrooms from the guides’ early hunt. At the Dancing Mule Café, the mushrooms are stir-fried in local Bai style with green chilies and garlic, an abundance of soft sweet mushrooms with a spike of heat that seems unusual, but is how mushrooms are locally eaten. Barclay and his wife believed that a visit to a local Buddhist temple—where they prayed to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy associated with fertility—blessed them with the birth of a child. In thanks, they personally funded and

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oversaw the neglected site’s restoration, also a protected relic. Renamed the Pear Orchard Temple for the aged pear trees that surround the grounds, Barclay designed a restaurant within the grounds specializing in local dishes. Sweet kernels of yellow corn, strips of yellow squash with garlic, and cubes of golden-fried local cheese called rubing—made here with bovine milk, but elsewhere with goat’s—were a particular delight. The next morning Ms. Yang, the elegant head cook, brought me to her neighbor, whose two resident cows supplied the milk that simmered in a wood-fired wok. Watching it curdle into a warm ricotta-like fresh cheese, I was desperate for a drizzle of good olive oil and flaky salt, but this was Shaxistyle, and until it was strained into colorful cotton handkerchiefs and knotted into tight bundles, it would not be called rubing. It was Friday and I cycled towards Shaxi for the traditional market where everything imaginable is sold including a ground display of vibrant colored medicinal barks and roots, twisted buns of clipped human hair and piles of hand-rolled incense. Clusters of Bai women in ruffled hats picked excitedly at the season’s first Sichuan peppercorns. Their citrusy scent tickled the air while their neighboring compatriots arranged knotted bundles of justmade rubing. All villages have central plazas called Sifang Jie, or Square Street. Shaxi’s is crowned by an abandoned theater that is bordered by small cafés and shops including one selling cakes of fresh hand-pressed Pu’er tea, a Yunnan specialty. Horse bells jingle and their hooves clop down the cobblestone roads through emerald rice fields as they return, led by cowboy-like Bai guides, from treks to Shibaoshan mountain, a legendary hike that passes through ancient Buddhist grottoes. At the Karma Café, off the canaled pedestrian path, hidden inside Laomadian Lodge, the first guesthouse I stayed in years ago that sits on the spot of an important trading post of the Tea Horse Road, I ordered tender Tibetan steamed momo dumplings, chabale (summer crust happiness) crispy yak patties, and crunched on a fresh salad with local walnuts while taking in the antiques and artifacts decorating the walls.

OPPOSITE: Made from steamed rice, erkuai cakes are fresh-pressed daily in Xizhou.

SWIFT HANDS TWIST COOLED DOUGH INTO STRINGS OF BIG BEADS

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OPPOSITE, FROM TOP: A patch of

tobacco field encircled by rice paddies, under the Cangshan mountains in Dali; a banquet of Bai specialties at the restaurant in Pear Orchard Temple.

DEEP, DARK SKIES COVER the mountains and farm valleys on the road to Dali, now a fast two-hour drive thanks to a new highway. Along the way, between Erhai, the region’s great lake, and the foot of the Himalayas is the small village of Xizhou and the gorgeous Linden Commons, locally known as Bao Cheng Fu. This boutique heritage hotel is the third preservation endeavor by Brian and Jeanee Linden, who have garnered praise and awards for maintaining authenticity and promoting culture while revitalizing an old village without disrupting local life. This

THE DETAILS GETTING THERE China Eastern (flychinaeastern.com) flies directly from Hong Kong to Lijiang. Thai Airways (thaiairways.com) and SilkAir (silkair.com) fly to Kunming International Airport with connections through Lijiang or Dali. Seventy-two-hour transit visas with restrictions are available on arrival for certain passport holders, otherwise visas must be secured in advance. (Check iatatravelcentre. com for details.) Transport by private car from Lijiang to Shaxi and Shaxi to Dali is available via each establishment for approximately RMB600800 each way. HOTELS Amandayan 29 Shishan Lu., Gucheng, Lijiang; 86888/533-9999; aman.com; doubles from RMB5,003.

Bao Cheng Fu at The Linden Commons 3 Fuchun Li, Xizhou, Dali; 86-872/245-3000; lindencentre.com; doubles from RMB980. Old Theatre Inn Duan Village, Shaxi, Dali; 86872/472-2296; oldtheatreinn. com; doubles from RMB520. RESTAURANTS Karma Café Laomadian Lodge, Sideng Jie, Shaxi, Dali; 86-872/472-2777; dinner for two RMB170. Pear Orchard Temple Reserve in advance through the Old Theatre Inn; 86135/7725-8117; dinner for two RMB200. Dancing Mule Café The Old Theatre Inn; dinner for two RMB170. Man Yi Xuan Amandayan; dinner for two RMB350. Restaurant & Bar at Bao Cheng Fu at the Linden Commons Dinner for two RMB200; drinks for two RMB100.

elaborate villa, built in 1939, has been returned to its original splendor under strict state council level historic protection status with stunning Bai architecture such as intricate wood carvings, arched roofs and a painted back courtyard wall. A terraced bar overlooks manicured grounds, dotted with ancient stones. The estate’s charms include valuable antiques, collected over the Lindens’ many years in China. In Yunnan, it’s impossible not to marvel at the similarities to Italy’s foodways. At the morning market tour (complimentary to all Linden property guests), a cheese maker stretches mozzarella-like fresh cheese called rushan, or “milk fan” for its appearance after it’s pulled and dried around a bamboo pole. The result is an air-dried cheese that is fried and served with sugar, or grilled and spread with rose petal jam. Nearby, a workshop makes erkuai, a fresh chewy rice noodle. Rice is soaked, steamed, ground and then pressed through rollers like Italian pasta. Popping air bubbles crack loudly as gloved workers shape hot dough on worn slabs of beautifully streaked gray marble, one of Dali’s best-known products. Swift hands twist cooled dough into strings of big beads and press them into carved wooden molds that are quickly released, then inked with a red seal. Large sheets of erkuai hang on bamboo rods drying. They are sold fresh or dried in different shapes with a chewy and heavier texture than Yunnan’s other common soft rice noodle, mixian. Xizhou is probably best known for it’s legendary baba, an addictive flatbread made savory with pork and scallion, or sweetened with local black sugar, red bean paste and rose petal jam. The easy five-kilometer bike ride to Zhoucheng, where indigo-tie-dyed batik fabric is made by traditionally costumed Bai grandmothers, is dotted with Xizhou baba bakers. Vendors are ubiquitous, cooking their breads in a makeshift oven of stacked metal trays. Throughout the nearby Sifang Jie, colorfully crowned Bai women in pink and red tunics roll baba variations, some with a cracked egg on top of salt pork or a Muslim version with scallion and butter. On a rainy afternoon, I learn to make baba at a cooking class at the Linden Centre. In the kitchen, my floury fingers twist dough bundles just like the street sellers. While they bake, we enjoy drinks at the antiquated bar, each sip heightening the anticipation for our warm breads. They are flaky, filling and comforting, the ideal snack for a rainy day, and I know that when I make these again—and I will—wherever I am, I’ll be transported back up to the clouds.

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where the

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An elusive leopard stalks the earlymorning hills of Jawai.

THE 150TH BIRTHDAY OF RUDYARD KIPLING FINDS MICHAEL SNYDER PLAYING MOWGLI WITH THE LEOPARDS AND TIGERS OF WESTERN INDIA. IT’S UPSCALE CAMPING WITH A CONSERVATION EDGE—AND CELEBRATORY CANDLES APLENTY. PHOTOGR APHED BY L AURYN ISHAK

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FROM LEFT: A welcome roommate presides over a luxe Jawai tent; an evening game drive through Jawai. OPPOSITE: Picnic is served, at Jawai.

here are parallel worlds here. The leopards live above, the people below,” Adam Bannister, a lanky South African who’s spent so much of his life working in the bush that it’s difficult to imagine him setting foot on pavement, tells me on our daybreak drive as he scans the interstices of a sandstone hill for the sharp green glint of leopard eyes. “It’s only at this time of day that those worlds intersect.” Moments later, as if on cue, we overhear a pair of leopards arguing over the remains of a several-day-old kill. The animal, Bannister says, had been taken from a cattle pen in the nearby village, a typical food source for animals in this area, a hidden, but not at all remote, valley in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. The valley, known as Jawai, gives its name to the luxury tented safari camp where Bannister works as head of field operations, and is home to at least 178 species of birds, ghost-like Asiatic wolves, long-tailed langurs, and what might well be the densest population of leopards anywhere on earth—about 30 in the 150-squarekilometer area used regularly by the Jawai field team. That same area is also home to some 5,000 people, and while the leopards abscond with, on average, 100 head of livestock from each village annually, there has not been a single human death by leopard recorded in the last 160 years. Poaching here is equally rare. Jawai is not a park or

a sanctuary: it is a living ecosystem in which humans and animals coexist without outside interference. Now at the end of their second season here, the field team at Jawai has only just begun uncovering the secret of how exactly that ecosystem works. They’re in a unique position to do so: Jawai is the first and, to date, only tourism operation in the whole 1,000-square-kilometer valley, and backed by a family-owned hospitality company called Suján that—while also running Sher Bagh luxury tented camp in one of India’s healthiest tiger reserves—has the clout to take its conservation seriously. India today is the last haven for the world’s largest, most majestic cat—but, even here, tigers and their ilk are embattled. Only a century ago, big cats roamed the wild all across the subcontinent, stalking their prey through the teak forests of central India and the foothills of the Himalayas. This was the world into which Rudyard Kipling was born 150 years ago this December, a world where the animal kingdom seemed as powerful as, if not moreso than, the delicate human one built atop it. For many foreigners, myself included, it’s exactly that world—the one Kipling immortalized in The Jungle Book, first published in 1894—that provides the first childish impressions of a vast and mysterious place called India. It was a world of wilderness, where animals and men lived cautiously alongside one another, a world of Western civilization erecting its flimsy edifice on ancient soil.


In his most famous story, Kipling chronicled the life of Mowgli, the man-cub who straddled the parallel kingdoms of man and beast. Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while living in Vermont—about as far from India as can be—some five years after he left the subcontinent for good. At that point he’d spent 13 of his 29 years on the Subcontinent, from his birth in 1865 to age six, and from 17 to 24, and the stories that make up The Jungle Book are charged with all the romance of youthful nostalgia. Spend enough time in the country’s sprawling, enervating, aggravating urban centers and it’s easy to feel that that India has been lost for good, if it ever existed in the first place. But in places like Jawai, a community composed of leopards, langurs and humans, Kipling’s world is very much alive. Colonial Sher Bagh, with its canvas tents and gracious, Old World charms, is just the kind of place where he might have had the imaginative space to dream up Bagheera and Baloo and Shere Khan, the cruel tiger who is Mowgli’s deadliest foe.

FROM TOP: A Rabari herdsman; in full bloom, flame of the forest trees live up to their name in Jawai. OPPOSITE: The majestic raison d’être of Ranthambore National Park.

awai’s 10 luxe tents are set on valley-facing plinths, all but invisible to one another, with expansive views from their private verandas. Spread across 10½ hectares of land, the tents and communal spaces—also tented but entirely open-air—look out on some of the most exceptional scenery I’ve encountered anywhere in India: an idyllic pastoral of villages and hamlets superimposed on a landscape of tilting hills and bulbous rock domes straight out of Dalí. Days are spent driving or walking through villages and fields, spotting birds by the reservoir, following the trails of Rabari herdsmen with their scarlet turbans piled high on their noble heads, watching families of langurs dash between the hills with infants clinging to their stomachs, and spotting leopards—about eight live in the area the game drives typically traverse—as they emerge and disappear from the networks of caves winding through the rocky outcroppings. At night, the camp is lit by hundreds of candles laid out in the grass, a mirror image of the pinprick stars scattered across the huge silent sky. As recently as 2012, no one, neither in tourism nor in conservation, had fully grasped the place’s potential, despite its otherworldly beauty and convenient location along one of India’s most popular tourist routes. “For centuries leopards and humans have cohabited in this area in harmony—as far as humans and wildlife can live in harmony,” a director at Suján, Yusuf Ansari, tells me, “and it’s working out fine.” He saw the extraordinary in this mundane fact and wanted to share it with visitors. Gathering data to better understand how and contributing to local communities in order to help them maintain that balance, are as much a part of the Jawai mission as hospitality. With its wide open spaces and minimal, modern décor—everything bright, in black and white with flashes of red; tents opening onto expansive views— Jawai channels the vibrant renegade spirit of the African bush. At Sher Bagh, an eight-hour drive east, both the aesthetic and conservationist impulse take a different


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shape. The 12 tents, arranged in a semicircle in a wooded clearing, hark back to colonial India: intimate in scale, all teak and canvas and candlelight, clustered together as a haven of refinement and civilization in the middle of the wild. At night, guests gather to chat around a bonfire under a canopy of trees and hanging lanterns, while liveried waiters serve snacks and drinks. The spirit of conviviality at camp is in itself intoxicating. Tigers are Ranthambore Park’s raison d’être, but they are hardly the only thing the place offers. Covering 392 square kilometers of tropical forest, draped over sheer bluffs and rocky hills, Ranthambore is punctuated by glassy lakes, and crisscrossed by seasonal streams. In the dry season, the best time for spotting animals, the barelimbed dhok trees turn the forest dun. Banyans spread their dusty canopies over giant drop roots that cascade over the ruins of step wells and follow the contours of cusped arches in the old hunting lodges once used by the maharajahs of Jaipur. In the early morning, the sun illuminates the austere ramparts of the centuries-old Ranthambore Fort, set high on a sheer escarpment. On my first drive out I didn’t see any of the nearly 60 tigers now living in the park’s 275-square-kilometer core zone, but as the morning settled over the forest, I watched egrets drift elegantly between trees, caught glimpses of woodpeckers in the brush, and spotted the

FROM ABOVE: The gardener at Sher Bagh;

the fruits of his labor for lunch at the camp. OPPOSITE: Conjuring a convivial spirit ’round the campfire at Sher Bagh.

brilliantine baubles of kingfishers ornamenting the skeletons of branches. Half a dozen crocodiles sunned themselves lazily on the lakeshore; giant nilgai, the largest antelope species in Asia, hulked gray among the trees; and spotted stags lifted proud antlers into the low branches. The park’s star may not have turned out, but as I sat drinking warm masala chai by the water, the India I’d dreamt of as a child most certainly did. hat sense of timeless peace is deceptive. Poaching is a problem nearly everywhere large game remains wild (as I said, Jawai is unique), but in India, where humans and animals have always lived in such close proximity, it has often ravaged wildlife populations. When Sher Bagh opened in 2000, the park was in the early years of its second poaching crisis, having only just recovered from a period in the early 1990s that had depleted its population to just 12 tigers. In 2005, naturalists discovered that the tiger population of Sariska National Park, Ranthambore’s neighbor to the north, had been completely wiped out. Tiger Watch, one of the most prominent NGOs working around Ranthambore, and the Wildlife Institute of India then found that Ranthambore’s tiger population, after rebounding to around 40 in the late 1990s, had decreased again by 18, a shocking figure for one of the country’s


FROM BELOW: A nilgai, Asia’s largest antelope; villagers relocated from within Ranthambore have revived block printing at Dastkar. OPPOSITE: Family photos line the halls of Sher Bagh.

most important sanctuaries. “Conservation is always difficult,” Ranthambore’s field director, Y.K. Sahu, says, “and because of population pressures, conservation in India is especially difficult.” Jaisal Singh, Suján’s founder and CEO, was only 22 years old when he opened Sher Bagh, but he’d been coming to the park since his early childhood, tagging along with his parents, who were among the first people to document the animals here. Were he less urbane, less anachronistically genteel in his dress and bearing and manner, Singh might seem a kind of Mowgli himself, happier here in the forest than in the confines of the city. “There was a period in the early 2000s where the forest department and government were both in denial” about the risks of extinction, he tells me in a voice still animated by a child’s passionate urgency, “but now when you say something, the government is listening.” Sher Bagh’s jeeps, when not out with guests, help the forest department track tigers, but it’s the combined efforts of various players that have made the last seven years some of the best the park has ever seen, Singh says. Traditionally hunters of large game, especially tigers, the Moghiya tribe now sends their children to a Tiger Watch-established school, where their ancestral skills are being repurposed to turn them into valued trackers and guides in the park. Four villages—a total of more than 1,200 people—have been relocated at government

expense over the last four years from the core of the park, creating a greater area of inviolate forest for wildlife. Those locals have joined the 90-some villages surrounding the park that are largely populated by communities removed from within its boundaries over the last several decades—and, with the help of NGOs, many gather information on possible human threats to the tiger population from outside; it’s work that makes entering the forest for their livelihoods unnecessary. “If you help the tigers survive, if you participate in conservation by not going to the park and cutting wood, then you won’t need this erratic living of selling illegally harvested products from inside the forest,” says Upparmila Rathore, area director of Dastkar Ranthambhore, a group that tries to help relocated villagers see the financial upside of going green, partly by resuscitating a local handicrafts tradition that had died 40 years before. Visit Dastkar’s local headquarters—a humble concrete building a short drive down the road from Sher Bagh—and you’ll see women in Technicolor saris printing long reams of handloom fabrics for large orders in the cities, or making smaller stocks for sale in the on-site shop. Babulal-ji, one of the most experienced block printers at Dastkar’s workshop, has personally felt the benefit. “We had closed down our work, but today it’s increasing day by day,” he told me. “When there’s regular work, there’s no tension. It feels good.”


THE DETAILS Jawai Leopard Camp Bera, Rajasthan; tents from Rs51,000 per night, double, including three meals, two daily wildlife drives and laundry (beverages not included). Fly into Udaipur or Jodhpur; the three-hour airport transfer from either is Rs6,000 each way. Sher Bagh Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan; tents from Rs35,700 per night, double,

By some measures, Ranthambore’s core area has nearly reached capacity for adult tigers. “Now there is competition for territory in the park,” Sahu says. “We’ve reached that stage.” Conservation may be especially difficult in India, but the success at Ranthambore proves that it’s not impossible. It just requires finding creative ways to foster communities of mutual respect between humans and animals. hen I met the man in Jawai who’d lost one of his calves to leopards, he’d seemed to me weirdly phlegmatic about the whole thing, content with the justice of his loss. That’s not the case other places in India, where people will actively hunt animals that have trespassed on their land. I asked Ansari why things were different here. “These animals have lived alongside humans for so long,” he said, “that they’re not viewed as ferocious predators. It’s part of the mental landscape and has been forever.” Which is exactly what makes Jawai so compelling and so important: parks around India have spent decades trying to nurture and support the kind of ecosystem that has existed here since time immemorial. So it could provide an essential clue to creating more sustainable reserves. In The Jungle Book, Kipling wrote of a world in precarious balance, maintained by the “law of the jungle.” That law, as Kipling describes it, prevented

including laundry and three daily meals (beverages not included); wildlife drives are, according to park regulations, organized through the Parks Department and billed separately. Fly into Jaipur; the three-hour airport transfer is Rs6,000 each way. For both camps, contact sujanluxury.com; reservations@ sujanluxury.com; 91-11/4617-2700.

animals from killing humans, a rule that protected the integrity of two equally complex, equally fragile worlds that at times seem both mutually dependent and mutually exclusive. Through conservation, the law of the jungle is being slowly restored out at Ranthambore. The tiger I finally spotted on my last game drive—lounging lazily in a pool of water, then languidly strolling toward a spot in the grass where he laid out on his huge striped flank—was magnificent in his nonchalance. He looked to me as though he was merely deigning to appear before a human audience as part of a tacit understanding with the park operators: Kipling’s laws for the 21st-century. In Jawai, however, the law was never disrupted and the cats who look down over their human neighbors, often unseen, never seem to doubt the sovereignty—or the strict limits—of their territory. On my last afternoon there, I hiked with Bannister to the top of the highest point in Jawai, a limestone mound in the middle of the vast valley from which I glimpsed, if only for a few moments, the world as the leopards see it: To the east, the Kumbalgarh hills, secreting away one of Rajasthan’s most magnificent forts. Below, a broad plain and the glimmering mirrors of two lakes, formed by a dam to the south, reflecting the blue then orange then magenta sky. The bulges of stone, each one crowned with a whitewashed temple tower and surrounded by human geometry—the abodes of the gods and the leopards. TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM / OCTOBER 2015

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A pasture near the cheese-making center of Roquefort. RIGHT: The year-anda-half-old MusĂŠe Soulages, in Rodez.

A place of rugged and austere beauty, with long-cherished artisanal traditions and seldom-seen masterpieces of art and architecture, the department of Aveyron is the enigmatic heart of the country. Elaine Sciolino uncovers the mysteries of one of the last secret corners of France.

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LA FRANCE PROFONDE


I HAD NEVER BEEN SEDUCED BY PIERRE SOULAGES. His paintings fetch the highest prices at auction of any living French artist, and the current president of France has called him the greatest living painter in the world. But Soulages paints largely in black, and black art had always left me cold. That was before I found myself one sunny morning in the Musée Soulages in the medieval town of Rodez, where the artist was born 95 years ago. The museum is a succession of five steel blocks meant to rust over time, both blending with and sitting boldly apart from the red-gray stone of the town’s centuries-old structures. Windows that rise to the ceiling offer views of the town and the hills beyond. Perched on a bench in front of a bank of windows, I came face to face with Peinture 162 x 724 cm, novembre 1996, a long, horizontal canvas. At first, it looked like much of the rest of Soulages’ work: dark. “Outrenoir”— or “beyond black”—he calls the style. I daydreamed. I waited. The light seeped from the windows through dark, translucent shades. As it changed with the movement of the sun, so did the colors of the painting. Its raised diagonal stripes of shiny onyx turned silver, then violet, then blue, and finally gold. Suddenly, Soulages’s mysterious world became clear: it’s all about the light. “When we look at paintings, what do we see?” Soulages once asked an interviewer. “We see light that comes from black.” That is the sort of revelation you might encounter in this place. The mesmerizing interplay of proportion and light is a fitting backdrop for 500 works by one of the 20th century’s most intriguing and least understood abstract painters. It is also a perfect entrée into a fascinating part of France, for Soulages’ paintings are a

metaphor for Aveyron itself: starkly beautiful, rich with surprises, underappreciated. Like the artist’s austere strokes of black on canvas, Aveyron demands patience before it reveals its secrets. My first knowledge of the region came in Paris, where I’ve lived for 13 years. The Aveyronnais, as its inhabitants are called, moved to the capital en masse in the 1850s and made their mark in the food industry and as retailers of coal and wine. They still own or run thousands of brasseries and cafés in and around Paris. The Costes brothers, who run the Costes restaurant-hotel empire, come from Aveyron. And I knew, of course, of the region’s long tradition of artisanal expertise: The caves of Roquefortsur-Soulzon produce one of the most famous cheeses in the world; Aubrac cows produce some of France’s best beef. Craftsmen in Laguiole still forge their famous knives by hand; glove makers in Millau hand-sew gloves

with the same care their forefathers did a century ago. Yet Aveyron itself is arguably the least known part of France: sparsely populated, hard to get to, and little touched by globalization, even though it is one of the largest French departments. Scarred by invasions, wars and conquests, it was for centuries a poor farming region that even the Industrial Revolution could not transform. Those who didn’t leave were determined both to preserve what they had and to keep away outsiders. Even today, no high-speed train goes to Aveyron. This has allowed the region to retain the quiet beauty of another era. Part of southern France’s Massif Central, a huge elevation formed by fire and ice, it stretches over a varied landscape of plunging ravines, volcanic moonscapes, rolling hillsides, hot springs, peat bogs, deep caves and farm pastures in a spectrum of green.


A Soulages canvas hangs in his museum. LEFT: Le Suquet restaurant, in Laguiole. RIGHT: The Abbaye Ste.Foy, in Conques, with windows by Pierre Soulages.

Visitors step in and out of historical and geological eras: GalloRoman ruins, castles straight out of fairy tales, 13th-century walled towns and some of the finest Romanesque architecture in Europe. It is a land not of large cities but of small villages—some atop hills, others glued to hillsides. This is not Provence or the Loire Valley, where house after house is inhabited by retired Britons, where village squares have been prettified into banality, where weekend food markets mean traffic jams. In Aveyron you can wind your way along narrow back roads—some barely wider than one lane, forcing motorists into languid slow motion— and trace an indulgently leisurely path through seldom-visited villages and countryside. And by the end, you will feel as if you own this swath of France. My husband and I started the trip in Rodez, the department’s largest town with about 24,000 inhabitants.

After the opening of the Soulages Museum in May 2014, 300,000 people visited it in the first year. And they now have more reasons to linger: The museum’s bistro is by culinary giant Michel Bras, Aveyron’s other famous native son, who has a Michelinstarred restaurant in the region. It’s a bright, airy space where the servers wear black and white in homage to the painter. And there’s Café Le Broussy, with its classic Art Nouveau architecture, on the cathedral square. The pink sandstone cathedral, darkened by the ravages of time, is almost as tall as Notre Dame, in Paris. Begun in the 1200s and finished three centuries later, it has a Gothic bell tower that rises almost 90 meters and is topped by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary. Nearby is the Musée Fenaille, which has 300,000-year-old fossils, along with relics from the GalloRoman era, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. I was struck by the 17 carved-stone menhirs: the largest

collection in Europe of the first sculptural representations of the human form. One of the menhirs, the mysterious mouthless Lady of St. Sernin, has hands, feet, dots for eyes, small circles for breasts, two necklaces, and markings on her cheeks that could be scars or tattoos. WE SEEMED TO BE THE ONLY

foreigners at the Sunday morning market in Marcillac, in Aveyron’s wine country. Locals were passing the time in outdoor cafés and buying food for Sunday lunch. Butchers sold cured ham in huge blocks and 1½-centimeter-thick slabs. Bakers beckoned with free samples of fouace, a round, heavy brioche perfumed with orange; farmers sold homemade cheeses and raw milk in bulk. The smell of deep-fried farçous, a concoction of bread, eggs, onions, milk, chard, garlic and parsley, filled the air. Much of Aveyron is protected land—if not by regional parks, then

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by conservative farmers whose bounty supplies the local tables and markets. You pass their pastures as you go from village to village. Elsewhere, ravines and rivers offer hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, rope swinging and hang gliding. In the early morning, heavy fog clings to the foothills, wrapping the landscape in mystery; at night, the pollution-free skies are so clear that stargazers can see the contours of the Milky Way. Sitting high above the Dourdou River is the walled village of Conques, a medieval jumble of small houses, a few narrow lanes, and fewer than 300 people. Conques’ main draw is the Abbaye Ste.-Foy, a magnificent Romanesque structure with a large semicircular frieze above the entrance—a sort of medieval comic strip carved in stone—depicting the Last Judgment. Over here are the joys of heaven (with prophets and saints) and the horrors of hell (with gargoyles and demons). Over there, the sinners, including a bare-breasted adulteress

and a liar whose tongue is being cut off, fall into eternal hellfire. Since the Middle Ages, the abbey has been a major stop on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route that wends its way through France to Spain. It also holds one of the most important collections of medieval and Renaissance goldwork in Western Europe. A gold reliquary contains a skull fragment of the third-century martyr Sainte Foy, a girl who was convicted, roasted on a grill, and decapitated by the Romans for refusing to renounce Christianity. It was here that, as a boy Pierre Soulages said he experienced his first “artistic emotions” and decided to devote his life to art. In 1994 the abbey installed 104 windows of his design—a series of striped panels, no two the same. They change color with the time of day and with reflections from outside, casting the church’s brooding artworks and relics in evershifting patterns of light. It was a strikingly similar experience to looking at Peinture 162 x 724 cm.

AVEYRON BOOSTERS THOUGHT the

region might take off once before, with the opening of the Millau Viaduct in 2004. Taller than the Eiffel Tower and longer than the ChampsÉlysées, it is a delicate web of steel and concrete, and a triumph of engineering and imagination. Sweeping 2½ kilometers across the Tarn Valley, it dominates the skyline. Its architect, Norman Foster, and its engineer, Michel Virlogeux, used lightweight, high-tech materials to give drivers crossing the bridge the feeling of flying. From afar, the bridge’s thin white suspension cables blend so naturally with a blue sky that when the sun is right, the cables magically disappear, one after the other. But it’s an older kind of craftsmanship for which Millau is known. Until the late 1960s, the town was the French capital for the manufacture of kid gloves, producing 4 million pairs a year. Now, only a few glove makers remain. I went to visit one of the leading houses, Maison

Wheels of Roquefort aging in the caves at Maison Carles. LEFT: The Millau Viaduct, designed by Norman Foster, opened in 2004. RIGHT: A final few diners on a quiet Conques street.


Fabre, a fourth-generation establishment that still uses a 90-year-old press. One of the artisans, Christian Canillac, showed me the atelier where he stretches and pounds kidskin until it is as supple as silk, and where seamstresses individually cut, embroider and sequin each pair by hand. Maison Fabre has made gloves for Dior and Nicole Kidman (when she portrayed Princess Grace, herself once a customer), and the showroom stocks hundreds of models, from the simple (I picked up an olive-green suede pair for about €50) to the sublime (a prune-colored elbowlength model with python fringe and red suede inserts). I asked Jean-Marc Fabre, who runs the factory, how Fabre survives, when so many small French artisans have gone out of business. “There are enormously rich people in the world,” he said. “We have good clients.” ROQUEFORT-SUR-SOULZON, a

half-hour from Millau, announces

itself even before you arrive, with large green-and-white billboards from the cheese manufacturer Roquefort Société advertising its tours and free tastings. But we’d planned on visiting Carles, which my cheesemonger in Paris swears makes the finest Roquefort in the land. Delphine Carles, the third-generation proprietor, and her small staff make the cheese by hand, and age thousands of wheels a year on oak shelves in damp caves ventilated by natural tunnels. Although Carles mostly sells wholesale and does not offer tours, it welcomes visitors. Step through the door and a pungent smell permeates your nose and throat. Delphine was not too busy, so she explained how she makes a dust of penicillin mold from her grandfather’s secret recipe and showed me how she bores into a Roquefort wheel to test its ripeness, and, bien sûr, how to taste. “We put our energy into our cheese, not our publicity,” she said. “You have to find us.”

Another famous Aveyronnais product is the folding Laguiole knife, from the town of the same name in the rock- and lava-filled Aubrac plateau to the north. At the familyowned Coutellerie de Laguiole Honoré Durand, artisans pound, fire and forge sheets of steel into blades, and shape horn and wood into elegant curved handles in view of any casual visitor. Every knife is stamped with the Honoré Durand name and comes with a free-repair guarantee. But because the name Laguiole is not patented, anyone can use it—like “herbes de Provence”—and Coutellerie de Laguiole maintains a small exhibit of counterfeits from places like Pakistan and China. I asked Honoré Durand, who runs the operation, about the difference between a Swiss Army knife and a Laguiole. “Laguiole is for slicing a piece of apple for your beloved,” he said. “It’s elegant, beautiful, noble. It feels good in your hand.” And there are rituals to learn: When the head of the family clicks his knife closed, the sound means that the meal has come to an end. A Laguiole knife is like a toothbrush; it is never lent to others. And it is bad luck to offer a knife as a gift; it must be “bought” with a coin in exchange. Ten minutes from the Coutellerie de Laguiole is Michel Bras’ Le Suquet, Aveyron’s only Michelin threestarred restaurant. Bras learned his craft not from a famous chef but from his mother, Angèle, who opened an inn and restaurant with her husband, Marcel, in 1954. At a time when French chefs were becoming stars, Bras earned a reputation as the silent chef, almost pathologically shy, passionate about foraging and cultivating wild roots, leaves, herbs and flowers. Plants like nettle, dandelion and mugwort became part of his repertoire. Bras’s son, Sébastien, who has been working in the kitchen since he was a teen, took over in 2009 from his father, now 68. And as a tribute to Angèle Bras, her version of aligot—a dense, impossibly stretchy purée made by slowly stirring a local cheese into garlic-heavy mashed potatoes— is still offered at every meal.

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The restaurant, with its small hotel, looks like a metal-and-glass spaceship hovering precariously on the edge of a cliff over the Aubrac plateau. It’s a cinematic setting— cocktails with a 360-degree view of the countryside. And it’s enormously popular. Both the restaurant and the hotel are booked long in advance, with a clientele that is only 20 percent non-French. The food is exquisitely beautiful. One signature dish, the gargouillou, is a burst of color, texture and taste made with 50 varieties of flowers, herbs, seeds, leaves and barely cooked vegetable drops. After dishes of such delicate and intellectual, rather than sensual, pleasure, I admit I was left with a hunger for authentic local cooking—for beef from golden-hued Aubrac cows, tripoux (vegetable-andherb-infused sheep innards), and truffade (a pancake of sliced potatoes cooked in goose fat and mixed with tome fraîche cheese). A food critic friend had told me about a woman named Colette who runs a small restaurant in Cassuéjouls, not far from where we were staying. We arrived unannounced at Chez Colette in the late morning. The restaurant was on the town square, which consisted of a small church, a war memorial, a row of chestnut trees, and a field for

playing boules. Six locals were sitting outside drinking red wine sweetened with crème de cassis. It wasn’t yet lunchtime, and Colette Pastissier, a slim woman of about 50, was ironing table linens. She was happy to take a break and have us sample that day’s fare: baby goat with sorrel, a walnut tart with Roquefort sauce, and an oyster mushroom flan. “I would never change a comma of these recipes,” she said proudly. “We must preserve our heritage.” The tasting whetted our appetites for the lunch that would follow at Chez Marinette, up a narrow, winding, not-for-the-timid-motorist road past small vineyards in Le Fel (population 156), 45 minutes away. The detour to Colette’s meant we arrived nearly an hour late for our

When the head of the family clicks his Languoile knife closed, that means the meal has come to an end

reservation. Diners seated at tables outside were just finishing their lunch. Marinette Mousset, who is 81, sat at a table inside the entrance, peeling fat garlic cloves. I pleaded with her to receive us. All I wanted, I said, was to try her roast chicken, reputed to be the finest in the region. She relented, insisting we start with homemade foie gras garnished with poached pears and fig compote. The chicken arrived, its skin a translucent, deep gold. Thick sauce formed yellow- and caramel-colored pools on the platter. I ate it with a glass of 2011 Domaine Mousset, a wine made from Mansois, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes by Marinette’s nephew Laurent Mousset. The ground here is laced with volcanic stone, and the wine had an intensely powerful flavor and aroma. I hadn’t experienced a Proustian moment of memory before then. But with one sip, I was transported back to my childhood in Buffalo, New York, to my grandfather’s kitchen table. I was drinking the same tannic, volcanic wine he made every summer in our backyard. He stored it in barrels in the basement, and served it in small, short-stemmed glasses. I still have several of those glasses, and it gives me great pleasure to drink from them.

THE DETAILS HOTEL S Le Mas de Rigoulac A charming B&B with a pool near Laguiole in an 1860s farmhouse. La Terrisse; lemasderigoulac.fr; doubles from €118. Mercure Rodez Cathédrale Comfortable rooms, excellent service and a stunning Art Deco café—steps from the Musée Soulages and Rodez Cathedral. mercure.com; doubles from €85. Moulin de Cambelong Hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the Dourdou River. Conques; moulindecambelong. com; doubles from €180. RESTAUR ANTS & CAFÉS Chez Colette What was once an old barn is now what locals consider their best-kept secret.

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The combo to order: a glass of red wine and the oyster-mushroom flan. Cassuéjouls; 33-5/65-44-3371; prix fixe from €15. Chez Marinette Go for traditional Aveyronnais dishes like aligot and the most spectacular roast chicken you’ve yet to try. Le Fel; 33-5/65-44-5237; prix fixe from €19. Le Suquet Sébastien Bras, son of famed chef Michel Bras, has been running his dad’s hyper-seasonal restaurant since 2009. Laguiole; bras.fr; tasting menus from €130. MUSEUMS Musée Fenaille The exhibits include more than 1,100 local artifacts—stretching back some 300,000 years. Rodez; museefenaille.grand-rodez.com.

Musée Soulages Architecturally stunning repository of 500 works by Pierre Soulages—plus the terrific Café Bras. Rodez; museesoulages.grand-rodez.com. SIGHTS Abbaye Ste.-Foy de Conques The magnificent Romanesque church and abbey founded in the 12th century is an important stop on the medieval pilgrimage route, thanks to its unusual relics. mondaye.com. Millau Viaduct This bridge on the A75 highway (between Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers) is considered to be the Pont du Gard of the 21st century. leviaduc de millau.com. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Rodez One of the most imposing

Gothic cathedrals in the south of France, constructed entirely in pink sandstone. SHOPS La Coutellerie de Laguiole Honoré Durand Part museum, part workshop, the store explores the artistry of world-renowned Laguiole knives. layole.com. Maison Fabre The eponymous family has been making couture gloves and other leather goods in Millau since 1924. maisonfabre. com. Roquefort Carles Delphine Carles still uses the secret family recipe for handmade Roquefort cheese that her grandfather François Carles originated in 1927. roquefort-carles.fr.


In Celebration of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 5th Cycle Birthday Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2014, the performance of one of the top Czech musical ensembles with an established and World renowned reputation. In Bangkok, it will bring to stage Vadim Repin, one of the ten best violinists in the world today.

THE PRAGUE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Czech Republic

Conductor: Robertas Servenikas, Violin: Vadim Repin PROGRAMME - Bellini: Overture Norma Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 and Dvorak: Symphony No.9 (From the New World)

Wednesday 14 October (7.30pm)

Baht 3,500 / 2,800 / 2,200 / 1,500 / 1,000 Supported by JOBTOPGUN.com

Winner of the Lawrence Oliver prize, UK for “Best Achievement in Dance.” It is a new vision of dance showcasing athleticism and acrobatics deemed “impossible.”

MIX

Deborah Colker Dance Company, Brazil

Sunday 18 October (7.30pm) Hotline 02 262 3191 www.thaiticketmajor.com (24 hrs)

www.bangkokfestivals.com

Baht 3,000 / 2,500 / 2,000 / 1,500 / 800

VENUE: Thailand Cultural Centre. Free shuttle from MRT station Thailand Cultural Centre, Exit 1, during 5.30-7.00pm


Sea-urchin husks and oyster shells found on North Haven Island, off Maine’s mid-coast. OPPOSITE: Ferry Road Beach, in Scarborough, just outside Portland.


Life

in the

Slow Lane

On the coast of Ma i ne, fa r m -to-table cook i n g, a r t i sa n a n l c ra f tsma nsh ip, a nd sma ll-tow ren’t anything t virtues a o bra g about—they’re just the way th i ng s have a lways been .

BY HE ATHER SMITH M a c ISA AC | PHOTOGR APHED BY ANDRE W ROWAT

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If the U.S. were a pantry cupboard and the states its stock, northern New England would be the bouillon cubes: reliable, sustaining, distilled. This is territory where information is need-to-know, expressions are pointed, and small talk means a minimum of words. Just look at the iconic slogans. Compared with “Vermont, naturally” and New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die,” Maine’s “The Way Life Should Be” is almost effusive. Not that a Mainer would ever make such a declaration. The belief in letting hard work speak for itself—paired with that ruggedly beautiful coast and its balsam-scented air—has drawn me here time and again over the years. And today, stepping from an ever-faster-spinning world into one where the brakes are so consciously applied makes the destination more intoxicating than ever. On my most recent visit, as I drove through southern and midcoast Maine, and I connected the dots between entrepreneurs, artists and chefs, one thing became clear. Native or not, all these enterprising people have an undying dedication to their steadfast communities. Take Tony Elliott. His Snug Harbor Farm nursery in Kennebunk is known by serious gardeners and design devotees, but not because he has ever advertised. Snug Harbor is unique partly because it stays open year-round, but mostly because Elliott grows nearly all of his own plants—notably topiary and, more recently, succulents. Elliott did what one does in Maine: start small and keep moving rocks, actual and virtual, out of the way. Over the course of 25 years, he restored a broken-down 1850s farmhouse and various sheds spread over 1.2 hectares on Western Avenue, the main road that leads from Kennebunk into Kennebunkport. Snug Harbor is now a stylish but unfussy campus, a place where you can easily lose two hours wandering from the inviting shop to one immaculate greenhouse after the other. Of course, it helps that Elliott is a magnetic character: you see a crowd, and his silver hair is bound to be at the center of it. “Maine is harsh,” he told me. “Brutal winters and luscious summers. But there’s a raw beauty, an honesty to it...and to the people.” Elliott knows about Mainers’ honesty—they are quick to remind him that, despite his years in Kennebunk, he’s still a flatlander, someone “from away.” (In his case, the Midwest.) It’s a label he has come to accept. “You will never be part of the family,” he says. “But their loyalty is immense.” Many flatlanders, like Tim Harrington, whose family vacationed in Cape Porpoise, just north of Kennebunkport, first encountered Maine as children. The imprint went

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deep. Harrington is the cofounder of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, a group of boutique hotels and resorts that has raised the bar for accommodations in this traditional coastal town. His most radical move, in a place famous for its sandy beaches, may have been to build a property two kilometers and a half into the woods. Hidden Pond is a luxurious compound of 36 standalone cottages, staggered along dirt roads looping through birch trees. Each dwelling has its own outdoor shower (nice), gas fireplace (nicer) and screened-in porch (super nice, and essential). Despite the name, there isn’t much of a pond. But the guests—mostly couples, and a few families when I was there—do have two heated pools, morning yoga and nightly bonfires (s’mores included) as consolation. This is comfort of Maine’s highest order, summer camp for those who bunked in wooden cabins as kids and have returned to plush mattresses dressed in Frette linens. At the resort’s Earth restaurant, chef Justin Walker shuttles lobsters straight from his father-in-law’s boat to the wood-fired roasting oven, where they emerge as some of the most tender, smoky nuggets of meat I’ve ever tasted. I was not the only fan. A well-heeled crowd, diverse in age, filled the rustic dining hall. Despite the woodsy décor—log slices acting as 3-D wallpaper, a thousand tiny lights caught in branches overhead—this was a polished group, as glittery as it gets in Maine. Outside, what I mistook for a bouncer was a beefy manager of keys. Valet parking? In Kennebunkport? It had arrived, but at least it was operating covertly in the woods. If Hidden Pond is the upstart, the Black Point Inn, 45 minutes farther north, is the dowager. A grand Shingle Style hotel built in the late 19th century, it is the only hotel that remains on Prouts Neck, a tricornered spit of land otherwise populated by private old-money cottages. Tradition endures within its walls, with dinner served in the white-tablecloth Point Restaurant—collared shirt required—from 6 to 8 p.m., a time I associate more with cocktail hour. Such a schedule works when gin and tonics are available all day. I settled for an iced tea on the porch while waiting for Kristen Levesque from the Portland Museum of Art. She had agreed to take me to Winslow Homer’s seaside studio, a five-minute drive around the peninsula from the inn. The only way to visit the cottage is through the museum, which drives you there in a Mercedes van, and then only on Mondays and Fridays during the summer months, when


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Around the bonfire at Hidden Pond; North Haven oysters on the half shell with champagne mignonette at Nebo Lodge; Victorian touches at Nebo Lodge; a local outside Calderwood Hall, on North Haven Island.


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT:

Hidden Pond’s private dining shed; Hidden Pond's house station wagon, which shuttles guests to the beach and around the property; Winslow Homer’s studio, in Prouts Neck; on the ferry from Rockland to North Haven Island.


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Chef Erin French’s Lost Kitchen, in the town of Freedom.


the local doyennes are in residence. Prouts Neck is all about polite control. Homer, a Boston native, may have been “from away,” but Maine proudly lays claim to him. Little of his work remains at the dark, handsome studio, but Levesque pointed out things that reveal the man—his signature scratched into a windowpane, the second-floor balcony that allowed him to sketch in inclement weather, a ladder stretching up to an even higher platform from which to study the sea. Legend has it that his four favorite words were mind your own business. Homer’s withdrawal, I learned, was not the behavior of a curmudgeon but that of a wounded man, still carrying with him the horror he had witnessed as an illustrator reporting from the front lines of the Civil War. His studio is full of a calm, idiosyncratic charm, but the seascapes he painted in Maine are his wildest work, PTSD expressed in roiling swells and crashing surf. For all its severity, Maine can be a balm. It offered Homer a chance to focus on his work for the last 25 years of his life, to be inspired by nature. Alison Evans, a ceramicist with a studio half an hour north in Yarmouth and, as of this year, a large, modern showroom farther up the coast in the tourist beacon of Boothbay Harbor, settled in Maine for the same reason. As they did for Homer, walks along the shore proved fruitful for Evans, who makes what she sees: sea creatures. In her standout “Oyster Series,” the tableware mimics the mille-feuille ridges and bumps of its outer shell and captures the pearlescent sheen of its smooth interior. Eventide Oyster Co., a Portland oyster bar the way an oyster bar should be, showcases Evans’s work. Her largest shell piece to date is the restroom sink. On the counter, teetering stacks of her plates lie next to a thick slab of rough granite filled with ice and cradling at any one time a dozen and a half varieties of bivalves. (The stacks go down fast: Eventide jams through 10,000 oysters a week during the summer season.) Portland is the cornucopia of Maine upended and poured into one place, a city that has more and better eating options than most states, making it worthy of a several-day commitment. It’s also thriving, as developments like the millennial-geared Press Hotel open in the cobblestoned Old Port district. But I was just doing a flyby, which suited Eventide—an unassuming two-room space whose windows overlook Middle Street—perfectly. In 10 minutes I had downshifted from speeding on the interstate highway to sitting a stool at the counter, where the seats turn over as fast as the plates. Even faster, a Dirty Dirty Martini, made unclean by brine, was before me. A dozen oysters, cool and flinty fresh, followed, accompanied by a checklist identifying what was what. I starred three that I liked: Dodge Cove, John’s River and

Glidden Point. Their distinct flavors expressed the aquatic version of terroir. To have one great meal on a trip is a reasonable prospect; to have several is a windfall, as was my lastminute reservation for the Saturday-night set-menu dinner at the Lost Kitchen, a 90-minute drive north of Portland. Through a downpour, I made my way across a well-lit footbridge to the restored 19th-century gristmill and restaurant that has knit chef Erin French to her hometown of Freedom, population 719. Since opening last summer, her BYOB spot (there’s a wine shop downstairs) has become a cult favorite for foodies, who make the road trip to this rural village inland from the city of Belfast. On this late summer evening, as the sky darkened and surrendered to candlelight, the mostly middle-aged group (though it’s hard to tell in Maine, since no woman here colors her hair) settled in at two- and four-tops circling a central communal table. All heads swiveled to attention as French stepped away from the stove to lead us through the evening’s seasonal American menu, speaking with such earnestness you could hear the timbers squeak. With her trim apron and blond bangs, she was as winsome as a storybook mom, but also clearly the real deal—a talented self-taught cook, full of heart and charged with energy. French devotes some 90 hours a week to producing what she calls “love on a plate.” Mornings start with farmers texting her pictures of what’s available right now: buttery duck, plump plums, pullet eggs that have only to travel a dirt path. It’s then that she composes her menu, working with her mostly female staff—many of them the suppliers—to get it to the tables. “There’s a timeless quality to life here,” French said. “The strength of community has never left.” That’s also what lured chef Annemarie Ahearn—whose culinary trail has wound through New York City, Paris and Barcelona—back to Maine. Nowhere else can she find the wild lowbush blueberries that she picked as a child. After relocating to her family’s waterfront farm on Penobscot Bay, she established a cooking school there, and then later, “Full Moon” suppers. These festive dinners blossomed two years ago into Salt Water Farm, a restaurant down the road in Rockport. Ahearn’s place occupies the sort of stalwart brick building that is the proud sentinel of nearly every small town in Maine. It’s a hub all day long, the sunny front counter and back dining room pulling in tourists and Rockport sailors with littleneck chowder and New England brown bread. The crew is equally diverse, chefs trading intense experiences at Fat Duck and Blue Hill for more intimate, soulful labor. Provisioners are honored on a wall-hung chalkboard. The night I was there, the collaboration came to fruition in a simple chicken dish. Common Wealth Unity Farm supplied the free-range hen,

EVENTIDE JAMS THROUGH 10,000 OYSTERS A WEEK IN THE SUMMER 000 175


head chef Sam Richman the skill in brining and roasting. For those who weather year-round life on the islands, self-sufficiency and self-containment have always been constants. The 350 permanent residents of North Haven, a pine-dotted, five-kilometer-wide isle in cobalt Penobscot Bay, had gotten along fine for generations without many inns with restaurants or full bars. But then Nebo Lodge arrived in 2006. Now, a small but steady stream of visitors, suitcases in tow, comes off the hour-long ferry from Rockland and walks through North Haven’s postage-stamp-size town. During my stay, I saw locals jockeying with travelers for a seat at the tiny bar, on the porch, or in one of the three cheery dining rooms. We were all tasting change in the form of Snake Eye pisco cocktails and roasted pork belly with fresh ricotta—and loving it. Nebo Lodge began as a family-and-friends affair. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree rescued an abandoned Victorian house, furnishing the nine bright rooms with textiles and rugs by native daughter Angela Adams. Family friend Amanda Hallowell launched the ambitious bar and restaurant, which serves everything from salads garnished with flowers to ginger-tofu banh mi. Hallowell now works alongside Pingree’s daughter, Hannah, in running things.

Snug Harbor Farm owner Tony Elliott with two of his poodles, Bonnie and Albert.

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Two-hundred-year-old Turner Farm supplies Nebo with nearly all that it needs, and has its own following now that it hosts barn suppers and lobster bakes in the summer. Donald Sussman, Chellie’s husband, brought Turner into the 21st century by adding greenhouses that keep the organic-​produce tap flowing all year long. Hannah’s sister, Cecily, and Amanda’s sister, Jessie, took advantage of the wider audience and recently opened Calderwood Hall, a brick-oven pizza restaurant with an adjacent market. Being intensely local has given all three places attention far beyond expectation. By concentrating on their best resources, these Mainers have turned the circle of life into a ring of gold. This is Maine not the way life should be but the way life can be and, for many “lucky” hard workers, is. You will just never get them to say so.

THE DETAILS WHEN TO GO Peak season runs mid-June through August. Outside of the mid-coast and Portland, many hotels and restaurants shut down from November through April. HOTEL S Chebeague Island Inn This Greek Revival hotel built in the 1880s has been fully modernized by the Prentice family. The airy, whitewashed rooms all feature local art. Chebeague Island; chebeagueislandinn.com; doubles from US$180. Hidden Pond Thirty-six wellappointed cottages set on 24 forested hectares offering everything from nature walks to morning yoga. Kennebunkport; hiddenpondmaine.com; bungalows from US$779. Nebo Lodge Amanda Hallowell’s farm-to-table fare has put this charming nine-room inn, set on a sleepy five-kilometer-wide isle, on the map for foodies. North Haven Island; nebolodge.com; doubles from US$150. Press Hotel Portland’s first boutique hotel gives a nod to its former life as a newspaper office, with vintage-style desks in the 110 contemporary rooms and the Inkwell Bar. thepresshotel.com; doubles from US$299. Tides Beach Club This colorful 21-room hotel has a prime location fronting Goose Rocks Beach—and suites designed by Jonathan Adler. Kennebunkport; tidesbeachclubmaine.com; doubles from US$419. RESTAUR ANTS & BARS Calderwood Hall A low-key pizza joint in an old grange hall,

with a market that gets raves for quality and presentation. North Haven Island; calderwoodhall. com; pizzas US$15–US$28. Eventide Oyster Co. This oyster bar does excellent New England clambakes and whoopie pies. Portland; eventideoysterco. com; mains US$5–$22. Lost Kitchen Chef Erin French’s seasonal, farm-to-table menus change daily. Call way ahead for reservations; the restaurant’s Facebook page sometimes posts last-minute openings. 22 Mill St., Freedom; 1-207-382-3333; mains US$24–$39. Salt Water Farm Laid-back, with simple, hearty dishes (chowder, cheeseburgers, perfectly roasted chicken) on a deck over Penobscot Bay. Rockport Harbor; saltwater farm.com; mains US$13–$26. ACTIVITIES Alison Evans Ceramic Gallery The artist sells her mollusk-and oyster-inspired plates, bowls and teapots at her stores in Boothbay Harbor and Yarmouth. aeceramics.com. Snug Harbor Farm A favorite among avid gardeners, Tony Elliott’s sprawling nursery is a manicured maze of topiaries, trees and shrubs. Kennebunk; snugharborfarm.com. Turner Farm Stock up on organic goat cheese and fresh produce at the farm stand and creamery before heading out to hike North Haven Island. turner-farm.com. Winslow Homer Studio The Portland Museum of Art offers tours of the artist’s seaside cottage; space is limited, so it’s best to book ahead. Prouts Neck; portlandmuseum.org.


wish you were here

Chris Gin /  Tutukaka Coast

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  NEW ZEALAND Hugging the upper reaches of the North Island, 2½ hours from Auckland, the coastal village of Matapouri Bay is home to a stunning white-sand beach and a dense collection of mangrove forests. Low tide, though, unveils an even more exquisite prize for anyone adventurous enough to trek a steep path through the palm jungle: what the locals call the Mermaid Pools. Diving into this natural bath—which warms with the sun as the day lengthens—is the reward for your efforts. Submerged in this tide pool that is refreshed via an opening in the rock, you’re both in the ocean and at the same time secreted away from its pull, left in peace to contemplate a fantastic view off New Zealand’s east coast.

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OCTOBER 2015 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA .COM


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October 2015  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia 2015

October 2015  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia 2015