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Southeast asia

september 2017

Bhutan’s crown jewelry

Must-see Manila

Hanoi All New

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

Korean traditional kimchi.

Sampling Traditional Foods in Seoul

Museum Kimchikan.

The rise in popularity of Korean food has introduced the world to, not only its wonderful flavours, but also its enormous health benefits. Yet, although many are familiar with notable highlights such as kimchi, makgeolli and rice cake, there are few that really know what goes into making them taste the way they do. To satisfy my curiosity I embarked on a little tour of Seoul to find just what goes into preparing these tasty treats. My first stop was Museum Kimchikan, a modern kimchi museum in the heart of Insadong, one of Seoul’s more notable traditional districts. Opened to the public in 1986 as a Kimchi Museum, it was re-branded to Museum Kimchikan. It has become so well known internationally that CNN selected it as one of the world’s Top 11 Food Museums. The interior looks like what the origin of its name suggests — a ‘chankan’, a place historically set aside for making side dishes. Adorning the walls are pictures that depict the diverse aspects and stories of kimchi, all set to have visitors enjoy an immersive, cultural experience. Of course, the true take away from the visit is a chance to make your own kimchi and sample it with your family.

Colourful Korean Rice Cake.

Tteok (Korean Rice Cake) Museum.

Next up is the Tteok Museum at the Institute of Traditional Korean Food. Here on display are various types of rice cakes along with the different methods that go into making these dishes. The museum was originated to preserve traditional kitchen tools and utensils passed down through generations. The floor plan consists of two rooms, one that showcases seasonal rice cakes that are enjoyed during Korea’s holidays and festivities, and the utensils required in making them. I’m guided to the next room, where the rice cakes are shown in a ritualistic setting to help visitors have a peek at the importance of rituals many years ago. There is also a class where visitors can make their own rice cakes using traditional ingredients. To cap off my tour through time, I finish off at a cozy makgeolli bar along the increasingly popular Sejong Village

**for more information:

Food Culture Street. Situated steps away from Gyeongbokgung Station it has become a favourite among students and office workers over the years and has a great selection of makgeolli together with a tasty variety of traditional Korean dishes. It doesn’t take much before I’m feeling comfortable. I am reminded at just how fascinating and insightful food can be in understanding culture. In the case of Korea, although I’ve only sampled three very unique and enormously satisfying traditional delicacies, I am much more aware at the strict attention to detail and presentation of food in Korean culture. It only makes me want to explore Korean cuisine even further for I sense that I have only scratched the surface of what there is yet to sample.

Fresh kimchi and makgeolli at Sejong Village Food Culture Street.





At Tadioto, in Hanoi. Photographed by Morgan Ommer. Stylist: Hoang Anh Tran. Model: Thoai Tien. Makeup and hair: Ly Huynh. Dress: Ha Linh Thu. Bag: An Story.


Capital Improvements Pulsating with music and modern art, awash in craft beer and coffee, Hanoi has become cool. By Connla Stokes. Photographed by Morgan Ommer

c l o c k w i s e F R O M t o p LE F T: A l e x Cr e t e y S y s t e rma n s ; M o r g a n Omm e r ; C h r i s t o p h e r T e s ta n i ; Kat h e r i n e W o l k o ff


A Breath of Sea Air The Belle Epoque villas of Brittany’s Emerald Coast are now stylish getaways. By Rebecca Rose. Photographed by Alex Cretey Systermans 76 64 82 92


Of Gauchos and Glaciers For avid equestrians, the mountains and lush pampas of Chilean Patagonia provide an unrivaled experience. By Maggie Shipstead. Photographed by Katherine Wolkoff


Baltimore is Back Slick megaprojects and farm-to-table dining have come to this famously blue-collar town. By David Amsden. Photographed by Christopher Testani

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In Every Issue 

T+L Digital 8 Contributors 10 Editor’s Note 12 The Conversation 14 Deals 59 Wish You Were Here 106


Hua Hin is one of Thailand’s most versatile destinations. We visit resorts to suit every need.

Bhutanese jewelry designer,

24 Spotlight Sonam Rabgye, a

talks about her inspirations and her (royal) client list.

is expected in this new suite at

28 Design Extravagant entertaining the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.

the road with a pared-down,

30 Packing You can’t go wrong on workwear-inspired look.


After Dark The Chinese capital has become the epicenter of the country’s craft-beer culture.



ZIX is redefining menswear in

34 Fashion The new fashion label

Iyer says don’t stress about your

46 Essay Peripatetic writer Pico

Brunei—yes, we said Brunei.

furniture, wireframe rabbits and

38 Debut A hodgepodge of velvet

ornate gargoyles at a quirky new hotel bewitching Beijing.

are adding another dash of global

40 Dining Three new restaurants

bucket list.

Missoni Amos helps us pack for a

48 Style Designer Margherita weekend in Venice.

50 Day Trip How Fiskars, Finland,

transformed from manufacturing village on the decline to captivating creative hub.

flavor to Sydney.

42 Neighborhood Watch

Shoreditch, the edgy East London neighborhood, evolves into a more sophisticated It spot.

creative spaces have been

43 Insider Intel Unconventional

primer on simplifying travel

55 Upgrade: Traveling Asia A around our region.

100 The Place: Manila No longer

just a transit point, the dense, kinetic Philippine capital has finally become a destination in its own right.

opening in Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po. Curator Chantal Wong outlines some of the boldest.


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F R O M LE F T: J o h a n n e s R o m p pa n e n & R i s t o M u s ta ; c o u r t e s y o f v u e ; c h r i s t o p h e r k u c way; c o u r t e s y o f ma s a l a t h e o r y

19 Checking In The beach town of

t+l digital



Escape to a Private Island Resort It might only be a short hop from Singapore’s urban jungle, but this paradisiacal eco-friendly retreat might as well be another world.

Adrian Zecha Opens Up about His Project in Luang prabang He may be in his eighties, but the man who launched Aman and revolutionized the hotel industry isn’t done yet.

Why You Should Go to Tangalle Now Sri Lanka’s southern coastline has remained sleepy despite its abundant charms. We share extra incentive to head there before the developers do.

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Vietnam’s new green getaway; where to go on your next Kuala Lumpur bar crawl; all aboard Hong Kong’s last true junk boat; the latest travel deals and more.

fr o m l e f t: l a u r y n i s h a k ; m i c h e l l e c h a p l o w/ c o u r t e s y o f a z e ra i ; c o u r t e s y o f a n a n tara p e a c e h av e n ta n g a l l e r e s o r t

this month on tr avel



Morgan Ommer

Connla Stokes

Capital Improvements Page 64 — “Hanoi recently turned 1,000. I don’t feel the city changes much. It modernizes, gets mobile phones, more cars, Wi-Fi, but it doesn’t actually change. The autumn is still wonderful, Hanoians still make the most delicious pho on Earth, and it remains the place to meet the country’s most interesting artists. For instance, Mat Ca (“Fish Eye”) is a collective of young happening photographers, behind @everydayvietnam on Instagram. They are talented, prolific and have a very good sense of humor. In other words they are the perfect representation of the new Hanoi.” Instagram: @morganommer.

Capital Improvements Page 64 — “I moved to Hanoi at the turn of the century and remember the Old Quarter at night. There was no one on the streets and nothing much open. Socializing revolved around hard-drinking, and the arts were very limited by censorship. Now it’s a city of young people—they’re very fortunate compared to previous generations. But: I once read that Vietnam had survived numerous foreign invasions by ‘bending with the wind,’ and I can see that in the capital today. It’s not being Westernized; it is absorbing influences but the city still has a very strong sense of itself.” Instagram: @connla_stokes_saigon.



Stephanie Zubiri

Francisco Guerrero

The Place: Manila Page 100 — “As Manila’s cosmopolitan tastes grow, entrepreneurs are getting more creative and gutsy. Take the guys behind Oto, who with their past successes could have opened in glitzier ’hoods, but chose gritty Poblacion. On the weekend, sunset cocktails on the deck of Mireio are followed nicely by dinner at Blackbird or Txanton. Have drinks at 20/20, or if you’re feeling adventurous, wander about the Williamsburgos area. For art and culture, combined with cocktails, The Alley at Karrivin has good concentration of nice things to see, or cross over to BGC to visit Provenance gallery.” Instagram: @stephaniezubiri.

The Place: Manila Page 100 — “Over the past few years there has been a concerted effort to create more open spaces. The trend is moving away from malls, so small independent restaurants are finding their spots. A Saturday morning with an out-of-towner starts at the Salcedo weekend market, then the Poblacion area; it’s a great place to have a morning coffee or brunch. Or, to leave town, Anilao is a 2½-hour drive south of Manila. This is diver’s paradise. Marine protection has been very active so the reefs are quite a sight. There are some great resorts. It’s the perfect combo of beach, food and diving.” Instagram: @studioguerrero.

W r i t er




september 2017


P h o to gr a p h er



W r i t er

P h o to gr a p h er

fr o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f M o r g a n Omm e r ; c o u r t e s y o f C o n n l a S t o k e s ; L o u i e G . A r c i l l a ; c o u r t e s y o f F ra n c i s c o G u e rr e r o


editor’s note


september 2017

and usually for the better. In cities, the forward-thinking innovations tend to be design centric or at least have some element of style to them. This month’s issue offers up Hanoi as a prime example (“Capital Improvements,” page 64), and it’s a version of the Vietnamese capital you’ve never seen. Its current-day panache comes from the city’s ability to blend modern elements into its rich history, the trick being to not cede too much of the latter. Fans will find much diversity in the new vibe—provided they know where to look. As writer Connla Stokes observes, when visiting Hanoi these days, a good way to keep cool is to stay under the radar. A smaller version of that idea is happening in Sham Shui Po of all places. The out-of-the-way, industrial Hong Kong neighborhood, which we explore in “Artistic Measures” (page 43), is now home to trending pockets where the emphasis lies in hands-on interaction with the arts. Innovative artists are altering the face of the neighborhood, causing elderly residents to poke their heads in to see what all the fuss is about. But it’s not just hipsters setting the pace in the city. For evidence of that, check out a standard-bearing luxury hotel in a betterknown side of Hong Kong for “A Suite with Style” (page 28)—it’s a new accommodation that aims to push every one of your design buttons.



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From My Travels

Soon to open in Singapore is Changi’s Terminal 4. This being the world’s best airport, it’s not just a shiny station to pass through before your flight. Think automated check-in and immigration control. Envision altering artwork that aims to soothe nerves when you do find yourself in a queue. The facility will play a big role in the future of travel. We’ll give you greater details of what to expect at Changi T4 in an upcoming issue.

fr o m l e f t: t h a n a k o r n c h o m n awa n g ; c h r i s t o p h e r k u c way

One of the best things about Asia is that it is continually changing

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E A S T E R N & O R I E N TA L E X P R E S S , S O U T H E A S T A S I A

the conversation


Hailing a taxi in any city around the world is a game of local idiosyncracies. Need a lift during shift change in Singapore? Good luck. Want to go to a particularly busy street in Bangkok? Go ahead; just try convincing the driver. When it gets down to simply the cost on the meter, Carspring surveyed 80 cities around the world, with a number of Asian cities leading the least-expensive way—just don’t mention the traffic.



is the cheapest city in the world to hail a taxi, with flagfall at 23 cents and a three-kilometer journey available for 55 cents.


2 Mumbai 3 Jakarta 7 Bangkok 9 Kuala Lumpur 10 Hanoi

The rankings of Asian cities that make the top 10 list of cheapest taxi rides. In Mumbai, a three-kilometer ride is $1.40.

Tokyo is the third most expensive city for a three-kilometer taxi ride.

The cost for a taxi to wait for an hour in Zurich, which has the highest fares in the world (a three-kilometer ride is $25.25). At least you’re in a Mercedes Benz.

The trip from Narita to central Tokyo is the world’s priciest airport taxi transfer.

$15.95 $189.91 *All prices in U.S. dollars.


An eye-catching backdrop is key to any great snap.

Among the flowers in Taiwan’s Yangmingshan Park. By @nomadicfare.

It’s all in the details. Wat Po, Bangkok. By @iamzhayla

The Iron Mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia. By @chopsticksontheloose.

Hoa Lu, Vietnam, is more than 1,000 years old. By @milesofsmiles._.


Share an Instagram photo by using the #TLAsia hashtag, and it may be featured in an upcoming issue. Follow @travelandleisureasia


editor-in-chief art director Deput y editor senior editor senior DEsigner DEsigner assistant EDITOR

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

Regul ar contributors / photogr aphers Cedric Arnold, Kit Yeng Chan, Philipp Engelhorn, Marco Ferrarese, Duncan Forgan, Diana Hubbell, Lauryn Ishak, Mark Lean, Melanie Lee, Ian Lloyd Neubauer, Morgan Ommer, Aaron Joel Santos, Stephanie Zubiri chairman president publishing director publishER digital media manager TRAFFIC MANAGER / deput y DIGITAL media manager sales director business de velopment managers chief financial officer production manager production circul ation assistant

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TR AVEL+LEISURE (USA) Editor-in-Chief Senior Vice President / Publishing Director Publisher

Nathan Lump Steven DeLuca Joseph Messer

TIME INC. INTERNATIONAL LICENSING & DEVELOPMENT ( Senior Director, Business De velopment Executive Editor / International

Jennifer Savage Jack Livings

TIME INC. Chief Executive Officer Chief Content Officer

Joseph Ripp Norman Pearlstine

tr avel+leisure southeast asia Vol. 11, Issue 9 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: Reproduction in whole or in part without consent of the copyright owner is prohibited. subscriptions Enquiries: ADVERTISING offices General enquiries: Singapore: 65/9029 0749; Japan: Shinano Co., Ltd. 81-3/3584-6420; Korea: YJP & Valued Media Co., Ltd. 82-2/3789-6888;

T r av el + l eisu r e

September 2017

Hotel Bocage makes its highstyle debut in Hua Hin.

P h oto C r e d i t T e e k ay


Hua Hin is becoming one of Thailand’s most versatile destinations, with something for everyone. Minimalist urban boutique? Check. Sprawling familyfriendly resort? Got it. A holistic spa escape? You bet. By Merritt Gurley. photogr aphed by Thanet k aewduangdee

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/ checking-in /

Private plunge pools lead to a tropical lagoon at Ananda Hua Hin; the resort’s underwaterthemed kids’ club.

way fare Bt1,250), with a journey time of 90 minutes on smooth seas. And a high-speed train is in the works that will reduce the rail time from Bangkok from four hours to one, though it may be a few years before it is completed. The boom in travelers also means a boom in hotels; new openings and major makeovers ensure that whatever you’re looking for in a vacation, you’ll find it here.

FOR FAMILIES Ananda Hua Hin Resort and Spa

It is time I return to Hua Hin.

Bangkok’s worst-kept secret, the weekend retreat has undergone a rebirth of late. This stretch of coast a few hours’ drive from the capital has been the chichi escape of the Thai elite since the 1920s, when the royal family built a summer palace called Klai Kangwon (“far from worries”) on these shores. Today’s Hua Hin, not surprisingly, has better roads, more direct flights and fewer empty beaches. There’s been a 65-percent climb in visitors since 2011 to nearly five million in 2015. A ferry from Pattaya launched in January, run by Royal Passenger Liner Co. (; one-


Traveling with two young kids can be a tangle of logistics, and many properties that bill themselves as kid-friendly miss the mark, opting for style over practicality. But this brand-new 196-room tropical retreat by Compass Hospitality ticks both boxes beautifully. The 268-square-meter twobedroom lagoon villas have large verandas and individual plunge pools that lead out to a shared lagoon. Adults can lounge on the private deck while the kids play and make friends with the neighbors. My son’s favorite game is swimming to the far end of the 60-by-20-meter lagoon and hiding behind the waterfall wall. The layout of the villa is logical and simple, a relief for parents wary of sharp edges and visual barriers:

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one king-sized bedroom for parents and a second bedroom with two twinsized beds for the tots are fronted by a living room and kitchenette area with sliding glass doors facing the pool. “We try to surprise and delight,” says general manager Nigel Tovey. “The staff is trying to make things memorable and add little extras. If you have three G&Ts, the fourth one will be on the house.” After a day of being caught in the crossfire of a splash war between a toddler and an infant (I think my six-month-old won, but it was a pyrrhic victory), I avail myself of that fourth G&T, and slip into bed, feeling warm and rosy from more than just the gin.; two-bedroom pool lagoon villas Bt22,746.

Veranda Resort and Spa

“Please, more slide?” is my two-yearold’s constant refrain at this newly refurbished beachfront resort. The renovations add gloss to the 118room estate, and a stylish café (Glass Room Espresso Bar), but, for families, the highlight is the new wing, which includes three childfriendly room types: the ThreeBedroom Pool residence, the Family Jacuzzi suite and Slider Pool suite— named for its own private pool and water slide that will delight kids who can’t bear to pull themselves away from the main pool after it closes.

Slider pool: courtesy of ver anda

The new wing is set back from the beach, so I opt for a two-bedroom pool villa closer to the shore. The layout is loft-style with a second bedroom up a flight of stairs, a tricky arrangement with babies, but perfect for a post-toddler family. My husband and kids are anchored to the pool—it is built around a towering tree that casts an ever-shifting shadow, with a watercurtain, an artificial beach, two water slides, a sand pit and bubble jets—but I’m more taken with the landscape. I climb up to the glass walk bridge above I Sea Restaurant for a panoramic view of the lush two-hectare estate nudged up against the sea. At low tide I walk along the coast with my son, collecting shells. We Slider Pool suite at Veranda.

Peace and romance at Let’s Sea. left: Fresh local clams at the seafront restaurant.

dig a hole in the sand that fills with water as waves roll in and he sits in the natural pool, searching for hermit crabs, forgetting about the slide for a few moments. veranda; two-bedroom villa from Bt16,353.

FOR COUPLES Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort

“Start with a glass of champagne to toast the holiday, every day,” the resort’s CEO Srayut Ekahitanonda suggests. I can’t argue with that logic. There’s a decadent and playful spirit to this 40-room boutique, which started as a restaurant 10 years ago and has grown into one of Hua Hin’s most popular destinations for couples. Take the adults-only playground: though there are swings and monkey bars, no kids under 12 are allowed. In fact, the only place children are welcome at Let’s Sea is at the beachfront restaurant. “Peace and romance,” is what Ekahitanonda promises guests. The staff crosses the property through an underground tunnel so as not to disturb guests. Every room

faces the 120-meter-long pool and, in a neat trick of architecture, no two rooms share a wall. Ground-floor rooms have private piers that lead directly to the pool—go ahead and swim to dinner—while the secondfloor rooms all have rooftop terraces for sunbathing and moon gazing. Don’t blush, but much analysis has gone into the tight-springed laZzzzz bed, which was custommade in partnership with Sealy (you can take one home for Bt34,500), and a litany of other considerations went into the bedding. “Goose-down pillows don’t make sense in a coastal environment because they get stinky if they get wet,” Ekahitanonda says. “We use a special fiber that has the same comfort, but no bad smell.” It seems like Ekahitanonda has truly thought of everything, so much so that when at dinner they play three of our favorite songs, we’re suspicious. Did they find our wedding video on YouTube? The meal is also a medley of greatest hits: Thai classics including grilled sirloin with spicy jaew sauce and mango sticky rice. The sun descends as we take our final bites

tr av el andleisure asia .com / september 2017


/ checking-in /


The pages of time feel thin indeed at this 67-room retreat, where owner Velvadi Sritrairatana brings generations of aristocracy (her grandmother, Supatra Singholaka, founder of Chao Phraya Express Boats in Bangkok, was raised in the court of His Majesty King Rama VI) to understated Thai design. “We try to be elegant, but approachable,” says general manager Bertrand Margerie. “We don’t have our noses in the air.” The buffet breakfast at the newly opened Ob-Oon Deli, Boulangerie et Patisserie is the best I’ve had. The glassed-in restaurant, headed by German chef Karsten Seyfert, who worked at Baur au Lac in Zurich and Capri in Bangkok, is almost as bright and airy as the pastries on offer (the chocolate croissants and macarons are triumphs of fluffiness).

For sundowners, their Oceanside Beach Bar is hard to beat. The wooden deck is lined with daybeds facing the ocean, and the cocktails, like the apple martini, are strong but refreshing. The property has two different wings on opposite sides of the road, and three different pools, which means plenty of privacy regardless of the season. “Even if we are fully booked,” Margerie says, “you never feel a crowd.” putahracsa. com; Silksand room from Bt4,933.


It could be the 12-percent beer I’m drinking, but I’m feeling disoriented. I’m at HOBS (House of Beers), one of Bangkok’s original trendy beer cafés, surrounded by a group of 20-something cool kids, so all the evidence says I’m in the capital’s beautiful-people ’hood, Thong Lo. Yet, right in front of me is the ocean. It is confusing. This is Seenspace Hua Hin, a beachfront mall that is bringing hipster edge to a coastal setting. Yes, there’s an infinity pool spilling against a wave-lapped horizon, but it isn’t the Hua Hin of yesteryear. The mixed-use space opened last December and has the same urban vibe of its sister property, with a

Hotel Bocage guests can enjoy the infinity pool at Seenspace Hua Hin.

collection of bars, shops, restaurants, cafés and, as of April, a luxury boutique hotel: Hotel Bocage. The new hotel by one of Thailand’s most lauded architects, Duangrit Bunnag, the man behind Naka Phuket and The Jam Factory in Bangkok, represents a shift for the resort town. It’s not even modern tropical, it is just modern. It shows that Hua Hin doesn’t have to be a frangipani-laden celebration of the sea—it can be sleek, severe even. “We are a design hotel like Hua Hin hasn’t had before,” hotel manager Woralak Thaiyamart says. In contrast to the massive estates I’ve visited, Hotel Bocage has just six suites, ranging in size from 40 to 80 square meters. It is part of the Louis T Collection and a member of Design Hotels, and the thoughtful contemporary touches equal its credentials: my minimalist grayscale room has a comfortable queensized bed by Porro, a glass-walled bathroom with luxury touches like Aesop toiletries, and a Antonio Lupi bathtub that has no faucet but rather fills up from beneath the drain. A solo traveler looking for a fun, stylish escape from Bangkok will find much to love in this mightymouse boutique, and those looking to make new friends will find a receptive crowd at Oasis Bar and Restaurant, where the infinity pool is open to Bocage guests. I’m content to sit alone though, sipping my beer and enjoying the soul-quenching feeling that comes from going

t o p : c o u r t e s y o f P u ta h ra c s a ( 2 ) . b o t t o m r i g h t: c o u r t e s y o f c h i va - S o m ( 2 )

and, as if on cue, horses gallop along the quickly darkening beach. As promised, it defines a peaceful and romantic setting.; doubles from Bt11,111. T+L TIP: If you’d like the experience of Let’s Sea but with the kids in tow, stay at Loligo, their new marinathemed sister property next door.; mini suite pool or garden balcony from Bt2,888.

Prepping for sundowners at Putahracsa. right: The resort’s La Canna Pool villa.

somewhere beautiful and simply looking at it.; doubles from Bt8,000.

Chiva-Som International Health Resort

“Humans are bio-individual,” chef Paisarn Cheewinsiriwat says as we tour his organic garden. “One answer doesn’t fit a group. You have to listen to your own body.” My body usually tells me to eat burritos and drink beer, but Cheewinsiriwat counters that I’m not listening closely enough. At the sprawling beachfront spa resort where Cheewinsiriwat transforms his vegetables into healthy cuisine, suddenly I’m tuned into softer suggestions that don’t usually make it through the muffle of my routine, messages like “sleep more than five hours a night?” and “maybe you like salad?” It doesn’t even feel right to call the rainbow of produce plated before

me a salad; it is something more grand. I look around to see if the other guests are equally wowed, and am delighted to see that I’m not the only one dining alone. Three other women sit in solitude, gazing out at the ocean. There is a no-electronics policy, and as night falls, I can’t decide which is more beautiful, the sunset—peachy cloud puffs adrift above a sepia sea—or the relief of not having to Instagram it. After a day of being massaged, steamed and body polished, I’m bones-deep relaxed. The entire stay has been tailored to my needs. Though there are 13 retreats to choose from, including five new

packages that launched this year, the health consultant customizes a program just for me. “It isn’t a boot camp,” Cheewinsiriwat says. “It is more like, ‘come on over to the healthy side.’” That healthy side, according to Brian Anderson, sustainable development manager, extends to the environment: “Wellness isn’t just about people, it is also for the planet.” Anderson and his team have revitalized the Krailart Niwate mangrove ecosystem, adding 3,000 trees and a one-kilometer-long boardwalk that weaves throughout the forest. The first phase will be finished by year end. Since the setting adds to Chiva-Som’s calm, it seems fitting that they reciprocate. It is dark as I walk back to my room. I’m in the Chiva-Som–issued pajamas that many guests wear around the property between treatments. I am sleepy, carefree and full of excitement about what the next day holds. I feel like a kid again.; off-peak three-night retreats from Bt72,000 per person. Patchouli suite at Chiva-Som. left: Steam, then plunge, in the Water Therapy spa.

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Bijous in Bhutan Sonam Rabgye, a Bhutanese jewelry designer on the cusp of a breakout year, talks about her inspirations and her client list, which includes a queen and a duchess you may have heard of. By Ashley Niedringhaus

The Endless Knot neckl ace,

made of gold and diamonds, is a grouping of eight interlocking auspicious symbols, and the amulet certainly brought luck to its designer, Sonam Ragbye, whose eponymous jewelry brand is putting Bhutan under a halogen limelight. Since childhood, Rabgye aspired to be a fashion designer and was always filling sketchbooks and doodling in the margins of notebooks during class. “My conservative family encouraged a more stable career, so I decided to sketch on the side,” she says, but after spending years on the business and developmental sides of environmental NGOs—work she describes as “bureaucratic”—she returned to Bhutan in 2014 with the


From top left:

Designer Sonam Ragbye; Ragbye takes inspiration from Bhutan’s traditions and culture, such as prayer wheels; a crystal encrusted Sonam Ragbye name necklace in Dzongkha language.

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goal of improving the lives of her compatriots through jewelry. “I am Bhutanese at heart,” says Rabgye, though the 33-year-old spent her childhood relocating every half-decade as her diplomat father moved the family from their native Bhutan to India, the U.S., Thailand, and a few other places on the map. The adventurous spirit of Rabgye’s jewelry brings innovation, functionality and a touch of the avant-garde to customary Bhutanese style. Take the collection of broaches she crafted to accompany the kira, the country’s ankle-length national dress that is worn with a kimonostyle jacket known as a tego. “As parts of Bhutan start to modernize and people consume social media, they want to go places like Bangkok and Hong Kong to shop, but much of the population is still rural and wearing customary jewelry,” she says. “My designs are for the Bhutanese city girl; pieces rooted in tradition with a touch of modern style.” Her newest line is a contemporary take on the dzi (pronounced zee) bead, a rare and sacred amulet that is passed between generations to help ward off evil. “I was inspired by the myth and mysteriousness of this bead, so I designed a silver version with colors representing the four elements of nature: water, wind, air and fire.” Business was steady with bespoke orders until she received a request >>

F R O M TOP : c o u r t e s y o f S o n am R a b g y e ; © J e e w e e / Dr e am s t i m e . c o m ; c o u r t e s y o f S o n am R a b g y e

/ spotlight /


last year—on Instagram of all places—from a member of the entourage of Jetsun Pema, the queen of Bhutan, looking to commission a piece for her majesty. This VIP customer was satisfied and went on to order three other pieces for visiting heads of state before placing an ornate order for an Endless Knot, which represents harmony and compassion. The purchase, Rabgye assumed, was for the queen, but while traveling to Singapore to promote her line, her phone was flooded with messages of wellwishes and photos of Kate Middleton wearing Rabgye’s creation, which the queen had given her as a gift. “I was shaking; jumping up and down in my hotel room,” she says with an obvious elation in her voice even a year later. “I can’t remember a time I was that excited. I went out for a big, boozy dinner with friends in Singapore to celebrate.” Most items donned by the fashion plate Duchess of Cambridge instantly sell out, and Rabgye saw a boom in business, but she remains firm in her belief of handcrafting each piece. Instead of letting the fame go to her head, she partnered with Gyalyum Charitable Trust (GCT), a foundation that supports craftswomen though employment and marketing. Rabgye sells most of her pieces at GCT’s handicrafts shop in Thimphu, where 20 percent of the


From left: The placid landscapes of

Bhutan; the Duchess of Cambridge during her trip to the country; the gold and diamond Endless Knot, also known as the “Kate Middleton Necklace.”

sales goes to the charity. “I am an introvert by nature,” she muses when asked if she’s well-known in Bhutan. “My creative process is about giving back and creating something that is meaningful to each customer.” Rabgye’s pieces are made with gems from Burma, and other metals are sourced from Thailand and India. “My pieces are a lot like me,” she says. “They come from around the world but always have Bhutan— its soul, customs, nature, religion— at heart.” jewellery; from US$100.

Shopping with Sonam

Three of Rabgye’s favorite spots to buy Made-In-Bhutan bling.

The Cr aft Gallery Located in central Thimphu, this creative hub is a marketplace for crafts and locally made items— including Sonam Rabgye jewelry—run by the Gyalyum Charitable Trust, who give a portion of the proceeds to marginalized people of Bhutan. organizations/craft-gallery.

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VAST ( Voluntary Artists’ Studio Thimphu) Art lovers will find the mix of traditional and contemporary works of Bhutanese art at reasonable prices appealing. The shop is a vocational training center for young artists, and they promote social awareness through exhibits and local events.

Cr aft Bazaar More than 80 huts line the street, selling a range of handicrafts, including silk textiles, embroidery, wood sculptures, handmade paper products and traditional souvenirs. The initiative that runs the market has a socio-economic bent that promotes the sustainability of local crafts. Nordzin Lam, Thimphu.

CLOCKWISE F R O M TOP l e f t: S t e fa n A u t h / g e t t y i ma g e s ; Sam i r H u s s e i n / g e t t y i ma g e s ; c o u r t e s y o f S o n am R a b g y e ; C o u r t e s y o f k i n g d o m o f b h u ta n .t rav e l ; C o u r t e s y o f V o l u n tar y A r t i s t s ’ S t u d i o T h i m p h u ; c o u r t e s y o f M r . K e n c h o Wa n g d i

/ spotlight /

/ design /

In The hotel space r ace, the new Joyce Wang–designed Entertainment Suite at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental is in a whole new orbit. Singapore-based, Macau-born fashion designer Yoyo Cao, pictured here, normally stays at the hotel when in Hong Kong, and she dove into these new digs. Along one wall of the 210-square-meter suite is the “Cabinet of Delights,” where boutique wines are on tap right next to the mixology booth, one step away from the crystal vitrine filled with sweet and savory dishes from the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Amber. There’s also a state-of-the-art kitchen and a 10-seat dining table accommodates enough for a proper party—or guests of the best movie night ever. Pump up the volume on the B&O BeoLab sound system; it’ll really amplify the action on the 160-inch television screen. Once all the entertaining is done, there’s an indulgent Italian bath made from a single piece of marble—with a champagne caddy, of course—and an ergonomic bed that offers separate climate controls on each side. At once utilitarian with ingenious bells and whistles, the Entertainment Suite suits Cao’s minimalist aesthetic just fine: the Pre Fall ’17 line of her Exhibit clothing brand matches conservative style and pragmatic details with exaggerated proportions and more than a few shiny objects.; Entertainment Suite from HK$128,000; for more on Yoyo Cao, visit

A Suite with Style Extravagant entertaining is expected at this new space at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong that is fit for a fashion queen, award-winning actor or you and some of your best friends. PHOTOGRAPHed BY fung king

t r a v e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m  /  s e p t e mb e r 2 0 1 7


/ packing /

Minimalist Mojo

Whether you’re darting through crowds in Hong Kong or wandering Arashiyama Forest in Kyoto, you can’t go wrong with this pared-down, workwear-inspired look. photogr aph by Joanna McClure

e d i t o r : m e l i s s a v e n t o s a mar t i n . SET STYLIST: M OLLY F INDL AY

1. Maison Margiela denim gilet $890, maisonmargiela. com. 2. Coach 1941 mailbag $895, 3. Burberry cropped trousers $495, 4. Acne Studios jacket $950, 5. Axel Arigato Clean 90 leather sneakers $225,


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*Prices are listed in U.S. dollars and may vary by country and retailer.

/ after dark /

Brewing in Beijing

c o u r t e s y o f Gr e at L e a p b r e w i n g

The Chinese capital has become the epicenter of the country’s burgeoning craft-beer culture. Lisa Brackmann knocks back a few cold ones.

Honey Ma Gold beer from Great Leap Brewing.

You’ve probably never heard of the world’s best-selling beer. It’s called Snow, and it’s from China, the largest beer market on the planet. Snow is a typical Chinese brew—it’s a massproduced, watery lager whose primary appeal is its affordability. But more sophisticated beer styles have emerged lately in China, thanks to the rapid growth of a movement that’s been marching across the drinking world of late: craft brewing. Chinese consumers traditionally favor weaker beers and sweeter, less-bitter flavors. But palates have been changing. Carl Setzer, the American-born co-owner of Beijing’s >>

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/ after dark / goods as status markers. Craft beer, with its emphasis on freshness and quality ingredients, also appeals to Chinese consumers worried about food safety. And in a country where almost everything—from urban development to manufacturing—happens on a massive scale, these premium brews offer an antidote: they’re small-batch, individual, human. While craft beer can be found all over the country, Beijing, where the movement began, has the most diverse offerings, so it’s an ideal place for a pub crawl. First stop: Great Leap. Setzer, a Cleveland native, opened Great Leap with his wife, Liu Fang, who grew up in Shandong, in 2010, making it the oldest craft brewery in the city. I met them at its flagship location, a big space built of rough wood and distressed metal on a pleasant, tree-lined lane in Dongcheng District. A mix of Chinese and foreigners sat drinking beers made with local ingredients, like Honey Ma Gold Ale, brewed from Qingdao flower hops, Sichuan peppercorns and northern-Chinese honey. Great Leap launched as a pop-up selling beer at art openings in Beijing’s now-gentrified Factory 798 Art District. Convinced that a bigger market existed for craft brewing, the couple secured a brokendown courtyard building in central Beijing for use as a “beer club.” Great Leap quickly became a full-time business, which today has three booming brewpubs across town. Still, creating a consistently excellent product in China is no easy task, Setzer told me. Challenges include sourcing quality ingredients and complying with unclear, sometimes arbitrary rules. Out of necessity, “everyone in this town started illegally,” said one brewer, who asked not to be named. Chinese bottling regulations, for instance, require a considerable amount of filtering

Burgers and beer at Slow Boat, brewed and bottled in California.


september 2017 / tr av el andleisure asia .com

c o u r t e s y o f s l o w b o at ( 3 )

Great Leap Brewing (, one of the first craft-beer pubs in China, told me that many young women in Beijing have become quite fond of strong, hoppy IPAs, like Great Leap’s Little General and Hop God 120 Imperial. “They find them really refreshing,” he said. Germans founded the brewery that makes the Chinese beer you probably have heard of, Tsingtao, in 1903. A little over a century later, foreigners introduced the country to specialty beer. Soon after, a nexus of small-batch brewers—mostly expats—and restaurateurs in Beijing began creating their own product. Less than a decade later, you can find beers brewed in the style of California IPAs, English bitters, and Belgian saisons in almost any large Chinese city. Most of the people drinking these more sophisticated brews are members of China’s fast-growing middle class, who can afford higher prices and value Western-style premium

c o u r t e s y o f Gr e at L e a p b r e w i n g ( 2 )

and pasteurization, which turns complex beers into boring ones. It’s actually easier, from a legal standpoint, to import lightly filtered, unpasteurized beer than to bottle craft beer inside the country. One brewery in Beijing, Slow Boat (, gets around that problem by brewing and bottling some of its beers in California and shipping them to China. “What we’re doing has no additives,” said cofounder Chandler Jurinka, who grew up in Rockville, Maryland. “We don’t really filter the beer, so all the good stuff is still there. It’s a living product.” He agreed with Setzer about young Chinese women’s love for big IPAs: “They come up all the time and say, ‘I want your most bitter beer.’ ” In 2011, when Slow Boat opened its intimate taproom in the Dongsi Shitiao neighborhood, most Chinese consumers didn’t know how craft beer should taste or why they would pay many times more for it than for Yanjing Draft, another mass-produced Chinese brand. “We were literally building the market as we were serving it,” Jurinka said. Today, customers fill Slow Boat’s new brewpub in Doncheng District to order beer flights and fill growlers to go with Monkey’s Fist IPA or Zombie Pirate Pale Ale. Despite Slow Boat’s success, Jurinka believes that China’s nascent craft-beer culture will become sustainable only if more local entrepreneurs get involved. “Right now, the industry is being built by foreigners,” he said. One notable exception is Yin Hai, the owner of NBeer Pub (, a bar off a recreated Qing dynasty shopping street in Xicheng, an area not often frequented by expats. “We started in this location to get Chinese customers,” he told me. He appears to have succeeded. When a friend and I visited, the place was packed, but as far as I could tell, we were the only foreigners. Yin also launched Tipsy Face, one of the first Chinese-owned microbreweries in Beijing. Its products are available at several locations around town, including NBeer and Pass by Bar (108 S. Luogo Alley, Dongcheng District; 86-10/8403-8004), where 37 taps pour Chinese specialty beers. When I visited, these included a gingerinfused pale ale and a stout brewed from Tibetan rye. Yin told me he sees the future of craft beer in Beijing as “local and small,” explaining, “You will find these little operations in the hutongs.” I did find one not far from my hotel, in fact: a tiny taproom called the Beer Keg Brewpub on the trendy Fangjia Hutong, with just two beers on tap: a lager and a hoppy amber. I asked the

From top: Great Leap

Brewing attracts a growing middle class; a flight of Great Leap beers tinged with local spices.

brewer-beertender, a young Beijinger named “Nick” Bian, where he’d learned about making beer. “Books and the Internet,” he told me. Not long after I visited, the Beer Keg closed, a victim of rising rents on the increasingly hip hutong. Near its former location, a sprawling two-story pub, the Peiping Machine Brewing Taphouse (Courtyard 46, Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District; 86-10/6401-1572), has since opened in a renovated machine factory, with 32 craft beers on tap. Bian, for his part, has moved into an even smaller space a couple of kilometers east. He calls it the Minibar (corner of Dongsishitiao and Heng Jie, Dongcheng District). “Only 5 square meters,” he said. “It might be the world’s smallest bar.”

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/ fashion /

Sultan Of Cool

his friends began hounding him for his designs and encouraging him to expand. “Their interest pushed me to think that maybe I could start something fresh,” Haziq says, “a new, local-focused design brand of my own, here in Bandar.” So in June 2016, he launched ZIX, and a year later, one of the capital’s main boutiques, Cube Junction (Level 1, iCenter, Angerrek Desa;, showcases and sells the Cikar by ZIX’s collection. The shirts, which cost between US$40 and $100, are produced in small batches, only about 10 pieces per design, and sell out quickly because of their exclusivity. Yet, the biggest surprise for Haziq has been the interest outside of Brunei. ZIX’s shirts, a mix of bright hues and darker checked patterns, may look traditional, but demand >>

“I make clothes for anybody,” Haziq Shahbudin tells me, “not just Muslims.” Schoolteacher by day, this soft-spoken stylist started moonlighting to create independent menswear label ZIX Brunei (, and he’s now Brunei’s leading independent menwear fashion designer. It may sound like a dubious honorific, given that the tiny sultanate is a far cry from a fashion hub, but rather best known its oil reserves and the extravagant spending habits of Jefri Bolkiah, the current sultan’s infamous high-life-loving brother. Very few would expect to find an rising independent clothing brand here. Even Haziq was surprised by his success—he started making clothes just for fun, without any notion of selling them, until


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clockwise From top left: Designer

Haziq Shahbudin; ZIX mixes bold colors and earthy plaids; the Bandira Cikar shirt.

CLOCKWISE F R O M TOP l e f t: k i t y e n g c h a n ; c o u r t e s y o f z i x b r u n e i ( 2 )

The new fashion label ZIX is redefining menswear in Brunei— yes, we said Brunei. By Marco Ferr arese

/ fashion /

is starting to spread to a niche group of international customers, with clients in Singapore and Malaysia, who find ZIX’s products online and buy them for their comfort and distinctive silhouettes. “Non-Muslims love the idea of a loose-fitting, limitededition shirt they can wear on formal occasions,” Haziq says. “It looks exotic, and comes from a tiny country not many have heard of.” Increasing awareness and understanding of Brunei is part of Haziq’s grand plan. “There are so many misconceptions. People think Muslims don’t need fashion because our traditional clothes are so loose-fitting,” Haziq explains to me. “ZIX is trying to challenge these ideas by producing Islamic-inspired


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clothing that represents Brunei’s traditions, and yet can appeal to everyone.” He hopes to revolutionize Brunei’s traditional menswear by introducing a new style, Cikar MIB—his own patented design and ZIX’s main line of clothing—and making it immediately recognizable as a symbol of Brunei. Cikar means “very smart” and MIB is an acronym for Brunei’s three national pillars: Malay, Islam and Beraja (monarchy). “My clothes are meant to be haute couture MIB shirts, and to me, MIB means ‘Made in Brunei,’” he says. “Like the Middle Eastern juba or the Indian kurta, I want people around the world to unequivocally relate my work with the country of Brunei.” One of the brand’s most iconic designs is called the Bandira Cikar, which blends a traditional Malay handkerchief into the shirt’s collar, in a reimagining of an outfit first worn by Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th sultan of Brunei, during his 1959 trip to London. Haziq pulls his smart phone out of his pocket and passes it over to show me a vintage black-andwhite photo of the sultan as a young man: he’s walking down the street, surrounded by an entourage of bodyguards, wearing a handkerchief around the collar of his shirt. “Sultan Omar was Brunei’s real first fashion icon,” Haziq says. “I’m just trying to give his idea a modern twist.”

CLOCKWISE F R O M TOP l e f t: k i t y e n g c h a n ; c o u r t e s y o f z i x b r u n e i ( 3 )

clockwise From top left: Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, a local landmark; a classic ZIX shirt; gilded buttons reflect the brand’s Made-in-Brunei panache; a look from the Cikar Raya 1438 collection.

/ debut /

Better Vue

A hodgepodge of velvet furniture, wireframe rabbits and ornate gargoyles, this quirky new hotel is bewitching Beijing. By Daven Wu

clockwise From top: Pink wireframe rabbits nuzzle above Vue hotel; the interiors of the rooms are modern, all about urban style and high-tech amenitities; Moon Bar, for cocktails, a soak in the Jacuzzi and a view of bucolic Hou Hai Lake.


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Yes, opening a hotel in a shiny steel skyscraper may cost less than retrofitting an existing building, but as Vue in Beijing proves, in the hands of the right designer, there is considerable charm in sprucing up historical architecture. The 80-room boutique property sits in a hutong neighborhood on the edge of one of Beijing’s most scenic pit stops, Hou Hai Lake. The owners—the Orange Hotels Group, which runs a chain of three-star hotels across China—immediately saw the potential of the cluster of disparate buildings that date to the 1950s, and tapped Ministry of Design for the job. For Colin Seah, the principal of the Singapore-based studio who was also responsible for the hotel’s branding, signage, landscaping and even the staff uniform design, the Vue was “a chance to create a hotel brand from scratch and to redefine Chinese luxury hospitality.” Judging from the result, redefining luxury is fun. Because the buildings originated in different periods and from different owners, Ministry of Design’s challenge was to unify the jumble of architectural

courtesy of vue (7)

Newer isn’t always better.

styles—among them, ornate roof eaves, gargoyles, narrow balconies, plain brick walls and latticed window frames. Seah’s solution was to impose an overarching palette of dark charcoal grays and gold finishes, while lattices inspired by Chinese screens provide a linking motif for the private balconies lined with velvet sofas and armchairs, and elegant gardens. Long, narrow corridors with perforated apertures add layered light and a sense of quiet intimacy—this despite the fact that the Vue hotel adjoins buzzing hutong streets. Unexpected design elements abound, like sculptures of foxes and deers; giant wireframe bunnies perched on the red-tiled roofs of the Pink Rabbit restaurant; and yellow Ming chairs in the irregular shaped guestrooms dressed in Pop Art colors and polygonal headboards. Dining brings its own surprises, as Barcelonan chef Ignasi Prat sends out into the metal-and-wood trussed dining room that was once a warehouse platters of paella and glistening, crackly skinned suckling pig that will send your taste buds into a tizzy. The rooftop Moon Bar, meanwhile, features a long cocktail menu, a Jacuzzi and bucolic treelined views of Hou Hai Lake. For a closer look, duck out of the side entrance that opens directly onto the shores of the lake, where you can join locals as they glide through their qigong and tai-chi

paces, practice melodic er-hu scores, or take a rented bike out for a leisurely spin around the water. After dark, the bars and cafés are ideal staging grounds for libations and people-watching. But even better than an evening of social espionage, says Seah, is stopping by the nearby park at sunup, where “every morning, a retired musician plays his saxophone for two hours.” There’s something to be said for holding on to traditions. vuehotels.; doubles from RMB2,000.

From top: Inside Pink Rabbit restaurant; the entrance to the hotel; Vue’s courtyard; bunnies with briefcases at Fab Café.

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/ dining  /

Sydney Smorgasbord

Three new restaurants are adding another dash of global flavor to the harbor city. By Ian Lloyd Neubauer

the Norse god Thor is sent to Earth to protect us from evil,” Sven Almenning says. “But he’s homesick so he builds a restaurant that pays tribute the ancient feasts of his home Valhalla. And he names it after his magical hammer.” Such was the inspiration behind Mjølner ( au; mains A$28–$35), the seventh Australian venue by Almenning, a Norwegian migrant “In The Avengers,


who made headlines in 2011 when his flagship establishment Eau-de-Vie, Sydney was named World’s Best New Cocktail Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in New Orleans. Squirrelled away in a basement behind a thick wooden door in the roughshod suburb of Redfern, Mjølner is a theater restaurant that could’ve gone tragically wrong in less experienced hands. But Almenning pulls it off

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i a n l l o y d n e u b a u e r . o p p o s i t e , c l o c k w i s e fr o m t o p l e f t: c o u r t e s y o f ma s a l a t h e o r y ( 2 ) ; Ka i G o d e c k ( 2 )

Feast like a viking at Mjølner.

clockwise from left: Indian pop art

with elegant touches like a leather-bound selection of hand-forged hunting knives guests use to carve up whole suckling pig, lamb chump and roasted bone marrow. To quench one’s thirst after battle, there are 22 beers, 24 cocktails and 600 whiskies to choose from. + When Yashpal Erda migrated to Sydney in

2005, he wasn’t blown away by the Indian restaurants. “The food was good but they didn’t quite get there,” he says. “There’s so much more to it than butter chicken.” Erda’s riposte is Masala Theory (; mains A$22–$27), a funky Indian diner in Surry Hills, inlaid with loud wall murals, Indian street signs and an elevated pink neon bicycle. The concept, Erda explains, was to create a place of “Indian storytelling” through recipes handed down through generations: “I’ve taken my parents’ foods and translated their legacy into a restaurant.” Stand out dishes include the masala dosa, pancakes stuffed with spicy potatoes; the Dhansak, a traditional parsi dish of chicken and lentils served with brown rice; and the chai panna cotta. And for those who can’t go without butter chicken, it’s on the menu too, with a smooth smoky flavor that leaves regular renditions of the recipe for dead. + When a Jewish lawyer with zero restaurant

experience opened a sashimi restaurant in the

at Masala Theory; a “neo Indian” take on beetroot salad at Masala Theory; the robatayaki grill at Kenny Rens; order the Wagyu beef with mushrooms at Kenny Rens.

well-heeled Sydney suburb of Woollahra, a lot of people wondered why. However, on walking into Kenny Rens (; dishes A$12– $65) and meeting owner Nick Diamond, the smoke surrounding the venue’s origins—and the robatayaki grill set behind the pink stone bar—begins to clear. “Every time I go to Japan I’m blown away by the quality of the food and dining experiences there,” Diamond says, “and I wanted to bring a touch of that to Sydney.” So he partnered with fellow Japanophile Paul Kelly, the interior designer behind Sokyo and Salaryman restaurants here. The result is an intimate sashimi bar and izakaya-style dining room that combines the detail of Japanese gastronomy with the great Aussie barbecue. Diamond recommends the Wagyu beef, while the butter-bathed balmain bugs, an antipodean crustacean, are as toothsome as the kingfish and tuna sashimi are fresh off the boat. Wash them down with a Cherry Blossom, a cocktail of cherry brandy and orange curaçao, or something stronger from the cold sake or Japanese whisky list. t r a v e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m  /  s e p t e mb e r 2 0 1 7


/ neighborhood watch / The Latest in London’s East End

flamboyant furnishings. house

1 The Curtain From the Gansevoort's Michael Achenbaum comes this industrial-chic hotel—his first outside the U.S. With its rooftop pool, soundproofed disco, and restaurant chef Marcus Samuelsson (of Harlem’s Red Rooster fame), it is already attracting the workhard, play-hard set. the; doubles from £240; mains £16–£28.

Clockwise from above: Deviled eggs at The Curtain’s Red Rooster Shoreditch; the House of Hackney’s glamorous interiors; the Beetroot at Scout, which features chocolate husk and rye.

2 Modern Society This concept store and café offers smart home accessories, like textural ceramics by Hasami Porcelain, and a careful fashion edit that includes exclusives by Être Cécile and eyewear designer ZanZan. 3 Hostem A chic, minimalist boutique that stocks established luxury brands like Valextra alongside pieces by less-known designers, such as kimono-style coats from Japanese menswear label Visvim. 4 House of Hackney From Art Nouveau–inspired wallpaper (check out the reimagined William Morris prints) to covetable cushions, chairs and lamps, this interiors arsenal is a trove of


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6 Clove Club Once the setting for Friday-night raves, the imposing Shoreditch Town Hall now houses the area’s only Michelin-starred restaurant. Chef Isaac McHale lives up to the hype with allBritish dishes such as Cornish mackerel with rhubarb and toasted oats. thecloveclub. com; prix fixe menus from £75. 7 Scout Up-and-coming mixologist Matt Whiley is on a mission to serve zero-waste, sustainable cocktails, meaning most ingredients used in his handsome bar— from beets to cherry bark—are sourced from the British Isles. 8 Nobu Hotel Rooms in this futuristic, Ron Arad– codesigned property come with Natura Bissé amenities and sake in the minibar, while the restaurant serves inventive dishes (try the Benedict Matsuhisa, with crab, spinach, crispy tofu, and shiso béarnaise) as well as the usual Nobu favorites. nobuhotel; doubles from £250; mains £5–£42. — JEMIMA SISSONS


Shoreditch, the edgy East London neighborhood that hugs the city’s financial and tech districts, is in flux. Once known for its kebab shops and clubs, the 2007 arrival of Shoreditch House marked the start of a new era, drawing the creative and media crowds. Now it is evolving again, into a more sophisticated, well-heeled destination. Here, our pick of the soigné spots to visit.

5 TT Liquor London’s latest nightlife trend is the liquor store that doubles as a bar. At the forefront is this Kingsland Road bottle shop, where patrons can browse a superb choice of Japanese whiskies or sample one in the subterranean cocktail bar.

/ insider intel /

c h r i s t o p h e r k u c way

A Japanese diecut from Yusuke Oono at Common Room & Co.

Artistic Measures While big-brand galleries with commercial clout crowd into Central, the low-key, local neighborhood of Sham Shui Po has been quietly welcoming less conventional creative spaces. Diana Hubbell speaks with curator Chantal Wong about some of the best and boldest. >> t r a v e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m  /  s e p t e mb e r 2 0 1 7


from top: Questions of

identity in Chinese characters at Things That Can Happen; Chantal Wong, who set up the space; work by Wong Ping.


“When the Umbrell a

Movement happened, there was just so much going on in terms of creativity. Hong Kongers are known for being somewhat subdued and it was inspiring to see young people finding their voice and picking up loudspeakers,” remembers gallery co-founder Chantal Wong. When the prodemocracy protests that brought parts of the SAR to a screeching halt in 2014 dispersed, she wanted to build a platform to continue the dialogue they started. “It wasn’t so much about creating an art space as making sure that people still had an opportunity to communicate. The Umbrella Movement was so divisive and, naturally, when something like that happens, there’s a rupture

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in society that needs to be addressed.” Thanks in part to the presence of Art Basel, art in Hong Kong has never been more prevalent or more profitable. While Wong welcomes the interest that heavy-hitting international galleries have brought to the city, she envisioned creating a very different sort of project. Only in her twenties at the time, Wong was already well connected in the local art scene, thanks to her work as the Head of Strategic

Development at Asia Art Archive. In September 2015, she and prominent Hong Kong artist Lee Kit opened Things That Can Happen (thingsthatcan​ happen​.hk) in Sham Shui Po, a working-class slice of Kowloon. This month, the space is at the end of its two-year run but has planted an artistic seed in Sham Shui Po that has already been bearing fascinating fruit. “The art scene in Hong Kong has gone from something underground to more of a market,” she

fr o m t o p : C o u r t e s y o f K wa n S h e u n g C h i ; C o u r t e s y o f S t e p h e n Lam ; C o u r t e s y o f K wa n S h e u n g C h i

/ insider intel /

fr o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f f o rm s o c i e t y; c h r i s t o p h e r k u c way

says. She and Kit aimed to bring a non-profit antidote to the increasingly moneydriven field. “It’s great to have so many commercial galleries, but the countereffect is that it turns art into a consumption-based thing. It means that while there’s growth in infrastructure, the imagination behind it might shrink.” Inspired by New York’s artist-run spaces in the 1980s and 90s, the duo used a lightly renovated flat. In stark contrast to the cold, space-age interiors of high-profile operations, it feels more like entering your hip friend’s living room. Other spaces in Sham Shui Po play on the same theme, whether they’re shopfronts or industrial addresses. “We wanted to make it more of a home. It’s organic and comfortable, so that’s just kind of the way we left it. Then we leave it to the artist to evolve it over the course of their time there, so the entire thing becomes an artwork.” “Hong Kong has always been dealing with an identified point in time in the future in which something changes, whether it’s 1984, 1997 or 2017, so we can’t really imagine some sort of huge, unbounded future,” Wong says. With this in mind, Artist Angela Su challenged a group of artists, activists and cultural workers to use fiction set in the Hong Kong of an unknown tomorrow to make relevant political commentary about its

present. “It’s not just about their stories. It’s about how we can use methodology to imagine a different future.” Wong steered clear of the ritzy districts that host many of the city’s galleries in Central. “We wanted to be where people would see art on a day-to-day basis. For us, art shouldn’t be a destination, it should part of your neighborhood—a hangout where you can stop by, say ‘hi’ to your friends and feel inspired,” she says. Here, young, boho urbanites still outnumber bankers. “We’re part of a new generation of art spaces in Sham Shui Po. The rent is still cheap, but it’s urban enough that people feel comfortable setting up here and building communities.” Here are a few of her favorite spots in the ’hood where Hong Kong’s young creatives are making their voices heard. + “Holy Motors (GF, 195 Lai Chi Kok Rd., Sham Shui Po; info) is actually just the window space of a motorcycle mechanic’s place where they invite people to do installations,” Wong says. “For one of their first exhibitions, they invited an artist called Dylan DeRose to make curtain installations with sandpaper and spray paint. There was another installation by an artist duo from Hong Kong with a video where you watched a chain hooked to a motorcycle dangle. It was really urban and responded to the limitations of that space.”

+ Another spot that packs

a disproportionately high impact for its diminutive size is 100 ft Park (1F, 220 Apliu St., Sham Shui Po, Kowloon; “The name comes from the fact that they used to park in different cafés or bookshops and they would just take up the window shop, or roughly 100 square feet,” Wong says. Although they’ve since set up a more formal permanent space in front of an architecture firm, they’ve resisted the temptation to expand in scale—fitting for a project dedicated to giving the little guys a shot at the spotlight. “It helps Hong Kong artists put up their first exhibition.”

+ “Form Society (186 Tai

Nan St., Sham Shui Po; fb. com/formsocietyhk) is home to artists who bring in community members who repair things, whether it’s watches or kitchenware, and teach others how to fix things themselves. So there’s a sense of sustainability and also DIY culture. I think that’s really symbolic of what Sham Shui Po is.”

+ “Common Room & Co

(198 Tai Nan St., Sham Shui Po; commonroomandco) is a café. It’s not so much an art space as a maker space,” Wong clarifies. Here, they have a workshop where artists are free to tinker away on individual projects or interact with one another. “There are more spaces like that where young people try to teach others how to be creative.”

from top: Form Society offers lessons in DIY; Alex Lai and a hand-pressed pour at Common Room & Co.

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/ essay /

Kicking the Bucket List

It’s great to have travel goals, but for the peripatetic writer Pico Iyer—author of books like The Global Soul and Falling off the Map—there are better ways to discover the world.

My spirited friend Alice was overjoyed

when she and her husband, Scott, scored a reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the hyperexclusive, 10-seat Tokyo sushi bar inside a subway station that was featured in the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. A concierge who had a special relationship with Jiro had actually walked Alice and Scott’s request over to the restaurant two months in advance. After my friends got off their flight from San Francisco, they reminded themselves that their 20-course feast would begin at 5:30 on the dot, and, in keeping with house rules, they would not be allowed to wear strong perfume, collarless shirts, or sandals. But lunch with colleagues the next day ran unexpectedly late and proved unexpectedly large. And 5:30 was, of course, after midnight for their Californian stomachs. By the time they arrived, they already felt overstuffed, even as they were reminded that they had to complete


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their 20 courses in roughly 20 minutes—house rules again! As one dish after another arrived, Alice began, quite literally, to fear she’d throw up. Yes, they were awarded a printed souvenir menu and a snapshot with Jiro, a full three weeks before former president Obama ate there. But by the time they returned to their hotel, US$600 poorer, sushi was no longer their favorite food. I was still chuckling over Alice’s hilarious account of her mishap when my wife reminded me about my visit to a gorgeous Moroccan resort I’d been dreaming of ever since its opening 15 years earlier. Not long after I’d been shown to my private, US$1,400-a-night villa— which came with a private pavilion, private swimming pool, and private fountain—the handle to my private gate clattered to the ground. Soon after, the electricity gave out across my mini-fiefdom—because of the private fountain, I was told. The second time

p i c t u r e g ar d e n / g e t t y i ma g e s

this happened, at 4:16 a.m., the staff declined even to answer my call. “You remember what the Dalai Lama says every time someone asks him why she hasn’t realized her dream of changing the world overnight?” asked my wife, who is Japanese and devoutly Buddhist to boot. “Yes,” I sighed. “ ‘Wrong dream!’ ” I get the idea of a bucket list, I really do. I was as inspired as anyone by the movie that popularized the term, in which Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman resolved to do everything they most wanted to do after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. We all need dreams— of ballooning over the temples of Bagan, in Burma, or airboating across an alligatorinfested swamp, as a website specializing in bucket-list itineraries touts one of its adventures— to sustain us. Bucket lists provide a clarifying sense of direction. When my mother, recently widowed, turned 67, I started saving up to take her once every year to all the places she’d been dreaming of since she was a little girl. At Angkor Wat and Easter Island, in Syria and Jordan and St. Petersburg, she came away exhilarated. But bucket lists fly in the face of the first two laws of travel: that on any good trip our expectations will be upended, and that most of us don’t know what to look for until we see it. One reason people love Paris, I suspect, is not the Louvre or Notre Dame, but that “forgotten” backstreet café they can believe they’ve “discovered” while getting lost on the way to the Eiffel Tower. And to me, the monumental stone heads of Easter Island could never be as impressive as the utterly unexpected replica moai that guard my health club in Japan. What really ravished me on the island was the sleepy Polynesian beauty of the main street, down which locals in pareos sashayed with a laidback ease I’d never witnessed in Tahiti. The whole point of travel, for me at least, is to have my sense of possibility expanded, to see every box in which I like to put things exploded— and to be reminded that life generally has plans for us much wiser than the ones we might have concocted ourselves. One of the main things bucket lists teach us is the folly of treating

places and experiences as collectibles. I have friends, not hugely wealthy, who dream of visiting Dublin in hopes of seeing Bono, or of flying to eastern Tibet to meditate with a sage. But Bono has surely offered us far more already in his constant interviews and concerts than he could ever do when surprised by a fan in his favorite pub. And the sage, if he’s the real thing, will surely tell anyone who asks that the whole point of meditation is that it can be practiced no less usefully in East Orange, New Jersey. Yes, there are worthy souls whose bucket lists involve working with the dispossessed in Haiti or building houses for the poor in the Philippines. But the fact remains that the third law of travel is that happiness is very often commotion recollected in tranquillity: Alice would never have come away with such a funny and memorable story of her visit to Jiro had everything gone according to plan. Monks in both East and West have always seen the wisdom of asking yourself what you most want to do if you have very little time left—and maybe such ideas can be inspirations, so long as you never count on realizing them. I’ve been longing to visit Mount Athos, in northern Greece, ever since a school friend described his trip there 40 years ago, but I realize I’ll be no emotionally poorer if I never get there. One of the most indelible and exhilarating places I’ve seen in recent years was Little Rock—in part because I’d never dreamed of wanting to go there. After experiencing the irony on display in its museums, the kindness of the Zen students I met, and the wit of the Graham Greene–loving Harley riders I ran into on the main drag, I found myself urging friends to put Arkansas on their itineraries. Besides, wherever you disembark, you’ll learn that the magnetic people you meet have dreams of their own—dreams of freedom and peace and the chance to see San Francisco. My bucket list now consists mostly of empty space.

/ style /

Designer Margherita Missoni Amos has packing down to a science. So who better to handle an on-the-go style challenge? When she headed to Venice for the opening of this year’s Biennale, she gamely—and effortlessly—mixed a few of our favorite seasonal pieces in with her wardrobe staples. BY LILA BATTIS. PHOTOGRAPHed BY Eleonor a Adani

Fendi dress $2,500,; Adidas Stan Smith sneakers $130,; Céline Trio bag $1,300,; Ghurka Pontoon No. 232 suitcase $1,397,; Merù earrings $1,567,


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*Prices are listed in U.S. dollars and may vary by country and retailer.

h a i r a n d ma k e u p b y va l e r i a i o v i n o . o p p o s i t e : SUNGL A SSES , M ICH A EL CHINI . A LL OTHE R PHOTOG R A PHS COU R TESY O F M A R GHE R ITA M ISSONI A M OS

Venetian Weekend

‘I hate anything that’s too trendy. I like timeless pieces that I can wear year after year, and I love dressing for the occasion’ BRIGHT SIDE A heat wave during the Biennale opening made chic sunnies essential between cloudbursts. With their classic shape and soft, not-toosaccharine shade of pink, these L.G.R Turkana sunglasses ($310, complemented Amos’s dip-dyed green do.

RAIN CHECK A gray afternoon called for a vintage Hermès trench, Vetements jeans, an Indian pashmina, a vintage Veronesi Antonella bracelet and a slouchy Iacobella Sacred & Naked bag ($588, “I love dressing for the occasion,” Amos says. “Having green hair helped me fit in with the art crowd at the Biennale without having to try too hard with the rest of my look.”

COMFORT CLASS “The Gritti Palace hotel is one of my favorite places in the world,” Amos says. She lounged there in F.R.S. For Restless Sleepers pajamas ($2,705, and a Re/Done T-shirt ($78, The sleep set can work for daytime sightseeing and even be dressed up for an elegant yet insouciant evening look.

CREATIVE SPARK “The Biennale has so much going on, it's impossible to attend everything,” Amos says. But Phyllida Barlow’s installation Folly, at the British pavilion, was high on her must-see list. Visiting the work with W magazine contributing fashion editor Giovanna Engelbert, Amos wore a drapey Ulyana Sergeenko dress ($1,600, ulyana, international shipping from modaoperandi. com) with a Céline crossbody bag to balance out the boho vibe.

/ day trip /

Cut from a New Cloth

Fiskars, Finland—an hour west of Helsinki—was a manufacturing village on the decline. Then a group of artists reinvented the community as a captivating creative hub. By Gisel a Williams Photogr aphed by Johannes Romppanen & Risto Musta

One night in the early 1990s,

from top:

Cottages in the artists village of Fiskars, Finland; ceramics at the Onoma Shop, in the center of town.


Ingmar Lindberg, an executive at the Fiskars metal tool company— famous for making scissors, knives and gardening tools—was lying in bed, drifting off to sleep. But something kept nagging him. For months, he had been trying to puzzle out how to reinvigorate the small Finnish village where the company was founded in the 17th century. The town had thrived as an industrial and commercial center for more than 300 years, but by the 1980s, after it became clear that the ironworks were too small to support a global business, Fiskars shifted the bulk of its operations to larger facilities elsewhere in Finland and further afield in the Midwestern United States. As a result, many of the factories and homes sat empty and were falling apart.

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That night, Lindberg had an epiphany. “I sat up in bed and told my wife I knew what to do,” he recalled to me. “I had to bring new people to Fiskars: designers and artists. So I made an offer to Helsinki’s creative community that they couldn’t refuse. I offered to rent space at a very affordable price. Once we had a group of about twenty people, I started to get calls from other artists, and it became easy.” More than two decades on, the plan is a runaway success. Approximately 600 people live in Fiskars Village, and among them are some of Finland’s most respected creative talents. They encompass world-class furniture makers, contemporary glassblowers, innovative jewelry designers, and groundbreaking artists, one of whom builds sculptures out of fabrics like silk and linen. The town is an hour’s drive west of Helsinki and makes for a lovely day trip from the capital. Travelers can make appointments for tours, check out exhibitions and studios, and buy pieces at the artists’ cooperative boutique. When I visited Fiskars one clear morning, I was immediately captivated by its rural charm. With its cobalt lakes and forests of oak, maple and white birch, the town feels a world away from Helsinki. The main street is

dotted with restored butter-yellow buildings that house small shops and cafés. Tree-lined paths follow a river that winds through the village, leading to early-19thcentury villas and lovely old wooden buildings, including a blacksmith foundry, a granary and a coppersmith workshop, now reinvented as restaurants and exhibition halls. The artists homes, mostly rustic, one-story structures painted white and oxblood, are scattered on backstreets or throughout the woodlands. One of the first people to move to this creative Eden was Karin Widnäs, an award-winning ceramist famous for her modern tableware, which can be found in some of Helsinki’s top restaurants. Widnäs lives about a halfkilometer from the center of Fiskars on Degersjö Lake. Her triangular, two-story home has a living-room wall made almost entirely of glass, and it looks out at a tangle of birch trees, wild growth and sky. “When I moved here in 1995 the village was dying,” Widnäs recalled as we sat around her dining-room table drinking coffee. “The knife factory was the only thing still in operation. But three years later, I arranged an international ceramics exhibition, and we got a lot of publicity. It made other artists and designers very eager to move here. They saw we were working together—and working like hell.” Widnäs also explained that at first, there was confusion around the new identity of the village and its connection to Fiskars, the business; some people

thought the artists were working for the company. “Fiskars owns the buildings, but that’s it. We make the town alive.” Later that day, I saw the village in full swing during Antique Days, its largest annual fair. Dozens of tents and stalls were selling a variety of furniture and objects. I set off down a small side street and arrived at the Laundry Café, a red-brick building that has been transformed into a restaurant. Outside, a few locals were seated convivially at tables on either side of the entrance. It was as if a group of 1970s-era New York City artists were all convening at a general store in Vermont. Since the beginning, one of Fiskars’s essential but unwritten rules has been that not just any artist or designer could settle here. “When we started, it wasn’t very democratic or legal,” Lindberg told me, “but if you wanted to move to the village you had to fill out a form describing the work you did and whether you could make a living on it. And if we felt you weren’t good enough, there wasn’t a

from top:

Ceramist Karin Widnäs with one of her pieces; a fabric sculpture by textile artist Deepa Panchamia.

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/ day trip /

place for you.” These days, there are empty plots of land, but no houses or apartments for sale or rent; still, many artists and entrepreneurs are interested in living here, and those who are committed to living in Fiskars fulltime stand the best chance of getting in when vacancies arise. A three-bedroom cottage rents for €850 a month— affordable compared with Helsinki, but not dirt cheap like in the early days. “We get e-mails almost every week from people who want to move here,” said Kari Selkälä, vice president and head of real estate. Also crucial to the town’s success: the artists have to be able to sell their goods. Enter Onoma, Fiskars’s artist cooperative, which currently counts 113 members from the town and has a beautiful, airy shop on the main street. There you will find ceramic tiles by Widnäs; sleek, modern wooden tables by Antrei Hartikainen; and colorful orb-shaped vases by Camilla Moberg. Last year, Onoma brought on Matleena Kalajoki, a Finnish jewelry designer who had just spent six years in London, to market and grow the business. Kalajoki was thrilled by what she discovered. “I was stunned by the density and diversity of talent in this small area,” she told me when we met at the Onoma Shop. “And the natural beauty. It is a wonderland. I can’t think of a better place to fulfill your creative urges.” The two of us set out on an impromptu bike tour of various artists’ studios, weaving through antiques stalls and onto a small road lined with homes and former machinery workshops and production spaces. We passed Nikari, a design studio whose founder built furniture for Alvar Aalto in the 1960s, before arriving at the atelier of


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sculptor Kim Simonsson, who makes manga-like ceramic sculptures. He echoed Kalajoki’s sentiments: “It’s so beautiful here it’s crazy. We’ve also got a soccer team, a tennis team and even a village sauna.” Kalajoki and I continued through the nearby woods to a sprawling yellow villa, a space British textile artist Deepa Panchamia shares with several others.“I never thought I’d leave London,” said Panchamia in her light-filled studio. “But here I am, in the forests of Finland, the artist I always wanted to be. In London there were too many distractions; in

From top: The taproom at Ägräs Distillery, which produces gin and aquavit; Mossy ceramic sculptures by artist Kim Simonsson.

I saw the village in full swing during Antique Days. Dozens of stalls were selling a furniture and objects Fiskars I have endless time to focus and be creative. All my ideas come to fruition.” We ended our tour at Fiskarin Panimo, a brewery and café founded by Finnish chef Jari Leinonen and his partner, Juha Kuronen. The duo’s rye-juniper beers and spruceshoot ales have become so popular that they decided to expand into gin and aquavit, opening the Ägräs Distillery in a neighboring space. Food production is a more recent development in Fiskars, but the village is actively marketing the remaining commercial spaces to chefs and growers. Though Fiskars Village has generated revenue for the company since the early 2000s, businessminded skeptics still question why Fiskars continues to invest in the town. “They say, ‘Why don’t you just sell the village and the land and focus on the core business?’ ” Selkälä said. “But from our perspective, as one of the oldest companies in Europe, we consider the village to be an excellent asset.” Others are looking to follow Fiskars’s lead. Delegations from China and Europe have come here in hopes of learning to replicate the

effect in their own countries. But Lindberg believes the village can’t be copied. “Many countries have industrial towns that are dying,” he said. “A project like ours seems like the answer, but most governments have the same problem—they don’t own the real estate, so they can’t make key decisions.” In the end, Lindberg emphasized, the village was a success because the goal was about community, not profit: “That was the intention. Not to bring tourists. Not to make money. But eventually, it worked out beyond our wildest dreams.” A cinnamon pastry at Café Antique.

the details getting there Fiskars is about an hour’s drive from Helsinki. Rent a car or hop on the express train to Karjaa and take a 15-kilometer bus ride into Fiskars. Hotel Fiskars Wärdshus A historic inn with four bright rooms

above a lovely restaurant serving comfort food made with local ingredients.; doubles from €133. shops Ägräs Distillery This creative spirit maker uses foraged herbs and berries to distill award-

winning gin and aquavit. Stop by the shop and taste them both for yourself. agras​ Nikari The worldrenowned Finnish studio, which moved to Fiskars in 1993, sells custom furniture made out of sustainable wood from the

surrounding forest. Onoma Shop Fiskars’s artists cooperative runs this shop in the middle of town where you can purchase crafts, home goods and other works made by members.


Thursday 5 October (7.30pm) Friday 6 October (7.30pm) Saturday 7 October (2.30pm and 7.30pm) Sunday 8 October (2.30pm and 7.30pm) Supported by Embassy of the United States of America

Tickets: Bht 5,000 / 4,000 / 3,500 / 2,500 / 2,000

Original Broadway Musical from USA

Venue: Main Hall, Thailand Cultural Centre. Performance starts: 7.30pm (afternoon performance : 2.30pm). Doors open: 30 minutes before. FREE shuttle from MRT station. Thailand Cultural Centre, Exit 1, During 5.30-7.00pm.

Tickets on sale now

Hotline 02 262 3191 (24 hrs)




ying healthy to sorting From low fares and sta best travel apps, out visas and picking the ney—and time mo here’s how to make your next trip. ur yo on r the fur —go Lu ci Gu tié rr ez Illu st r at ion s by

t r av e l s m a rt e r


5 Things to Know Now 1 NEW VISA RULES China has implemented a 144hour rule covering Shanghai and the adjacent Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces that allows travelers to remain in those areas for up to six days without a visa—as useful for cruisers as it is for air passengers. 2


Singapore Airlines increases its service to Paris at the end of October to 10 flights a week, while >>

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/ upgrade /

The Best Low-Cost Airlines

Cathay Pacific now has three daily flights from Hong Kong to San Francisco. Budget airline AirAsia X now has approval to fly to the U.S. through Hawaii and will operate five times daily starting later this year. 3



The U.S. Department of State has issued travel warnings for the Philippines and Bangladesh, where terror attacks took place last year. Buddhists in Burma have been protesting a plan to grant citizenship to minority Rohingya Muslims, creating unrest in certain areas. 5

Although legacy and national airlines still dominate in Asia, low-cost carriers have emerged in recent years, offering eye-popping deals and shaking up the travel market. These are the up-andcoming carriers you should know—and what you’ll pay to fly. BY ERIC ROSEN


A bullet train tunnel connecting to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido has shaved the travel time from Tokyo down to four hours. Construction has begun on India’s first bullet train project, linking Mumbai and Ahmadabad.


Thailand entered a year of mourning after King Bhumibol Adulyadej died last October. While most activities have resumed, travelers should be wary of heightened emotions. Be aware that October 25-29 has been set aside for the royal cremation, so the country will be at a standstill. Be respectful when discussing the royal family in Thailand: a critical comment is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. —Melanie Lieberman




Cebu Pacific






Bangkok; Jakarta

Kuala Lumpur to Bali for

$13 in advance or $15 at the airport; up to 20 kilos.

Burma; Laos; Indonesia

Sign up for the AirAsia newsletter and follow the airline on Twitter to learn about flash sales.

Manila to Bangkok for

$17 each way.

Boracay, Puerto Princesa (Palawan)

Meals cost about US$25 per flight. Join the GetGo Rewards program for exclusive fares.

Mumbai, New Delhi

New Delhi to Mumbai for

Free up to certain weight limits.

Dehra Dun and Srinagar, India

Prebook in-flight meals for a 15 percent discount.

Seoul (Gimpo and Incheon); Cheju

Seoul to Taipei for

Most fares allow a bag of 15 to 20 kilos.

Qingdao; Cheju; Guam

When you get to the airport, book empty seats next to you for US$10 to $50 for a little extra room.

Saigon; Singapore; Tokyo (Narita)

Bangkok to Saigon for

From $10 to $15, up to 20 kilos.

Cambodia; Vietnam

The new Club Jetstar offers member-only fares, early access to sales and other discounts.


Singapore to Jakarta for

Varies by route, but an average of $17.

H angzhou; Penang

Check the airline’s website every Thursday for ultralow Tigerflash one-day sales.

Saigon to Nha Trang, Vietnam, for

Varies by route, from $6 to $7 for 15 to 20 kilos.

Dalat and Nha Trang, Vietnam

Opt out of services you don’t need, such as trip insurance; otherwise you will be charged for them.

$82 Manila





Jeju Air






Vietjet Air


*Prices are listed in U.S. dollars and may vary by country and retailer.


$250 $70 $77



Do I Need a Visa to Travel around Asia?


By Joh n

It’s basically a case of different rules for different destinations and different passports. So, it’s best to check online well in advance, as even the rules are in constant flux. That said, there are a few suggestions that cover everyone. Apply as soon as you book your trip. Also check your passport’s expiration date. If it isn’t valid for more than six months at the time of entry to a foreign country, you may be turned away. Here’s what else you need to know. BY SHIVANI VORA


Mainland China






For ASEAN Citizens




► Four to seven business days

visaforchina. org

Citizens from Singapore, Japan and Brunei may enter China without a visa for up to 15 days. Other nationalities need to visit a Chinese consulate with a detailed itinerary of the trip in order to apply.

► One to three weeks


Apply online for an e-visa and wait up to one week for approval. Citizens from Singapore, Philippines, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia are eligible for visa on arrival.

► Around three business days


Submit the application online and make a credit card payment, then wait for a confirmation via e-mail within a few days. Print the approval letter and bring it along with your passport.

► One to two weeks vn

Print and mail applications or submit them in-person to a Vietnamese embassy, or apply for visa upon arrival and receive an approval letter within three days. Citizens of the UK are visa exempt for 14 days.

► Visa upon arrival

tourismcambo or

Visa upon arrival is available to many nationalities, except for most Middle Eastern nations, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. E-visas can be made online but are not accepted at all ports of entry.

► Visa upon arrival

Visa on arrival is available to most nationalities at main ports of entry. Japanese, Mongolian, South Korean and Russian citizens do not require visas for stays of 15 or less days.

► No visa necessary

Citizens of ASEAN (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and the Philippines) can travel to any of the countries in the grouping without a visa for up to 14 days.

Sc a r p


These tips will help you experience different cultures more and avoid offending locals.

Dress Respectfully

Many Asian cultures prefer modest dress. In Buddhist or Muslim areas, low-cut blouses and short skirts don’t go over well.

Be Aware of Personal Space

Remain conscious of body contact. Out of respect, men do not touch women in public in India. Allow about an arm’s length of space from others.

Don’t Be a Critic

If you are invited to a meal in China, it’s likely that there will be more food than you can possibly eat. It’s polite to try everything and impolite to critique anything you don’t like.

Opt for Formality

It is considered rude to greet new acquaintances in Asia by only their given names. Often, the English courtesy title—Mr., Mrs. or Miss—or the local equivalent is the best bet.

Bring a Gift

If invited into someone’s home, it’s appropriate to present a gift to the host. Items specific to your own country are best.

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10 Great Apps for Travelers IN Asia Download these handy smartphone apps to make your travels easier. BY SHIVANI VORA 1

Hotel Quickly

Find deals on accommodations in more than 250 Asia-Pacific destinations. The thousands of hotel listings range from luxurious to no-frills. You can book a year in advance, but deep discounts are offered on next-day and same-day bookings. hotelquickly. com. 2


Use this visual translation app in China, Japan or South Korea. Point your phone’s camera at foreign text—menus, street signs, store names—and it instantly serves up an English translation and an audio pronunciation.



This restaurant-finder app is a must for travelers in India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia in search of memorable meals. The hundreds of options range from tandoori and noodle joints to fine dining.




Save up to 40 percent on flights and score deals on lodging. Traveloka sells tickets on low-cost airlines, such as Cebu Pacific, and full-service ones, like Singapore Airlines. Hotel offers include global chains such as Marriott and Hilton. 5


See a kung fu show in Beijing, learn about Taiwanese folk art in Taipei or go cycling in Chiang Mai. Use Klook to book activities, tours, excursions, spa treatments and airport transfers in more than four dozen destinations in Asia. 6


The popular drivingdirections app powered by Google can be used abroad to navigate seamlessly through the confusion of most major cities. A team of Asia-based map editors makes sure that the routes are always current.

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Jet Lag Rooster

Jet lag is always a drag, but this app helps travelers get in sync with the local time zone by providing a personalized plan. Tips include when to reset your watch, the times of day to seek light, and when to catch some z’s.


My Hong Kong Guide

Hong Kong’s Tourism Board is behind this helpful app, which guides travelers to the latest boutique hotels, trendy watering holes and offthe-beaten-path neighborhoods to explore.



Grab is the go-to app to get a taxi, motorbike, private car or shared shuttle bus in Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The company vets its drivers and gives them safety training. grab. com.


Tokyo Handy Guide

In addition to providing info on Tokyo’s attractions, this app suggests undiscovered destinations, such as the scenic Ogasawara Islands. It also offers help with public transport and maps that can be used offline.

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DEALS | t+l reader specials


From a full day of meals sky-high in buzzing Kuala Lumpur to rice picking in the cultural hub of Thailand, this month’s deals are celebrating both progress and tradition. Ground level at The Reverie Saigon.

Belmond Governor’s Residence Yangon This colonial mansion tucked away in Rangoon’s quiet embassy quarter is a historical landmark. Although built in the 1920s as a home in the capital for the ruler of Burma’s southern Kayah State, the mansion today sits in modern elegance with swish rooms and amenities that suit the present-day traveler. With this package, enjoy daily breakfast, round-trip airport transfers and a bespoke, half-day tour of the rising city with a private guide and driver. The Deal Governor’s Getaway package: a night in a Deluxe room, from US$355 for two, through December 31.

fr o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f T h e R e v e r i e Sa i g o n ; c o u r t e s y o f S h a n g r i - l a h o t e L J a k ar ta


The Reverie Saigon If not for the constant views of bustling Saigon below, this opulent hotel would have you feeling like a guest of European royalty, with its colossal artworks, gilded couches and white-glove service. The design-driven hotel has partnered with Sophie’s Art Tour to offer this package that includes a bespoke, all-day arts tour in the city, which includes a sumptuous five-course lunch at Salon Saigon, the recently opened fine arts library and salon. Also enjoy airport transfers, daily breakfast and private chauffeur services. The Deal Pearls of Saigon: two nights in a Deluxe room, from US$1,422 for two, through December 31. SIEM REAP


Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta As part of their campaign to celebrate the 50th year of asean, Shangri-La Hotels is offering serious discounts throughout the region. In Jakarata, take advantage of 40 percent off a spacious room in the heart of the city, and don’t forget your swimsuit; their garden pool is gorgeous. The Deal asean is More: a night in a Deluxe room, from US$176 for two, through December 31. Enter code ZASEAN40 when booking.

Anantara Angkor Resort Under the shade of wide palms and dense bamboo trees, this resort—elegantly dressed as a grand Khmer villa—gives you a fantastic reason other than Angkor Wat to visit Siem Reap. The hotel offers seamless transportation to the temples and can set you up with a

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Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai Situated between terraced rice fields and tropic foliage, this resort encapsulates Chiang Mai’s title as the cultural hub of Thailand with its traditional Lanna architecture, pristine natural surroundings, and plethora of activities offered—a wet market tour and cooking class, Thai boxing, language classes and an opportunity to participate in an alms giving ceremony are a few examples. This package includes daily breakfast; a private romantic set dinner; a couple’s spa treatment; and a rice planting activity at the onsite field. The

Deal Glorious Green Season package: two nights in a Green Pavilion, from Bt43,000 for two, through September 30.


JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay This beach-bordering resort on the languid isle of Phu Quoc is quickly becoming an icon with its colorful, grandiose design that makes Instagrammers’ hearts flutter. From its elegant chemistry lab–themed bar, which is only steps from the private beach, to the charming Rue De Lamarck that houses sweet boutiques and cafés, island fever is impossible here. With this deal, rooms are 30 percent off, breakfast for two is included and kids eat all meals free. The Deal Limited Time offer: a night in a Emerald Bay room, from VND6,750,000 for two, through December 20.


Capella Singapore Perched on a large estate on

Sentosa Island, this vast resort, where colonial bungalows from the 1880s intermingle with sleek modern buildings, showcases the best of the old and new. With this special deal, guests are invited to a round of golf at nearby Sentosa Golf Club, one of the top courses in Asia. The hotel will set you up with a fueling breakfast, rental golf clubs and shoes, transportation to and from the club and, after a day on the greens, a pampering spa treatment. The Deal Capella Gold and Spa Stay package: a night in a One Bedroom Garden villa, from SG$1,800 per person, through December 15. BANGKOK

Banyan Tree Bangkok This all-suite hotel in Bangkok’s Sathorn district offers some of the city’s most breathtaking views. With this deal, you’ll be in a Serenity Club room on the 50th to 58th floors, where the Chao Phraya River and the whole twinkling skyline serve as your backdrop. Receive 20 percent off accommodations and enjoy

Lush settings at Four Seasons Chiang Mai.

club perks like access to the lounge, daily breakfast, unlimited snacks and free-flow local Thai beer. The Deal Serenity on High package: two nights in a Serenity Club room, from Bt6,640 for two, through September 30. banyantree. com. KUALA LUMUR

The Westin Kuala Lumpur For some of the best views of the iconic Petronas Towers in KL, look no further than to the well-appointed rooms at this centrally located hotel. With this package that includes a day of eating at a trio of The Westin’s dining joints, start your day with the wholesome Adventure Breakfast at The Living Room, tuck into the sumptuous Weekend Hi-Tea Brunch mid-day, and come evening, after an afternoon on the town, enjoy an Italian set dinner at Prego. The Deal A Delicious Weekend: a night in a Deluxe room, from RM970 for two, through December 31.


Grand Park Kodhipparu Waking up a mere three meters from the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean in a luxurious private villa in the Maldives sounds like a dream. With this package that grants you 50 percent off best available rates, daily breakfast, half-off spa treatments and round-trip airport transfers, you’ll feel like your dreams are coming true. The offer, valid for stays of three or more nights, celebrates the opening of one of the archipelago’s newest resort, a destination that is suited for everyone from watersport enthusiasts to honeymooners to families alike. The Deal Exclusive Opening offer: a night in an Ocean Water villa, from US$350 for two, through October 31. parkhotelgroup. com. —veronica inveen


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c o u r t e s y o f f o u r s e a s o n s r e s o r t c h i a n g ma i

personal tuk tuk driver and guide at request. However, with this package that includes a room upgrade and dining and spa discounts, we’d understand why you’d want to stay in a bit longer. Late checkout and daily breakfast are also included. The Deal Anantara Angkor Short Breaks Special: two nights in a suite, from US$205 for two, through December 23.


Pinoy Power

Friendly locals and some of the world's best beaches make The Philippines a truly heavyweight holiday contender.

Blue Lagoon Palawan.

COMPRISING MORE THAN 7,000 tropical islands scattered in the azure waters of the Pacific, the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia’s most individualistic and rewarding travel destinations. A great place to start is Palawan. This slender slice of paradise was once one of the last frontiers. But its popularity has burgeoned in recent times. Last month, Travel+Leisure readers ranked it the best island in the world for the second year in a row, and it’s not difficult to see why. Glorious nature abounds near the laid-back capital Puerto Princesa. Check out a firefly-watching tour on the Iwahig River, the limestone scenery and hiking at Ugong Rock, or the white-sand beaches dotting Honda Bay. Up north is spectacular El Nido, the gateway to the fabulous Bacuit Archipelago, a karst-studded marine wonderland with epic potential for climbing, sailing and kayaking. Another star in the Philippines is the tiny island of Boracay: a place where postcard-perfect beaches, show-stopping sunsets and a vibrant bar and restaurant scene add up to one of the nation’s most prized holiday destinations. While hopping between White Beach, Diniwid Beach and Yapak Beach is de rigeur, there’s more to Boracay than its sun-bathing. Adrenaline-packed diversions include ATV action at Mount Luho, zip-lining through the verdant jungle, and cliff jumping at Magic Island. Other thrilling activities include fly-fishing, banana boating, stand up paddling and many more. And after dark? The food scene encompasses world-class fine dining, delicious seafood and local fare. Afterwards head to the beach for a firedance show or make for one of the rambunctious bars or clubs. With stunning landscapes, electrifying destinations and some of the globe’s best beaches, it really is “more fun in the Philippines.”

Fresh catch.





Near-Away! by American Express

AMARA SANCTUARY RESORT SENTOSA 1 Larkhill Road, Sentosa Island, Singapore 099394 Call 65 6825 3888 or email to make your bookings now. Overlooking the South China Sea and above the white sands of Palawan beach, Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa’s 140 beautifully designed guests rooms, suites and villas are a luxury of time and space. The resort is an idyllic retreat which maintains a superb balance between old-world charm and new-world style, and where you will find many reminders of Singapore’s richly layered past, such as the oldest chapel on the island, the preserved air-raid shelters and the British Army sole cleaners.

Amara Sanctuary Resort is nestled on a hillside, surrounded by 3.8 hectares of gardens and tropical rainforest, home to peacocks and parrots as well as other native fauna and flora. The lush gardens with unusual tropical plants create the perfect setting of an exotic island retreat with a sense of peace and tranquility.

To enjoy a one night’s stay in Deluxe Room at an American Express subsidised rate of S$190 nett, please present the voucher located in your Platinum Reserve Credit Card Welcome Pack or annual Renewal Pack.


NEAR-AWAY! BY AMERICAN EXPRESS IS OPEN TO AMERICAN EXPRESS® PLATINUM RESERVE CREDIT CARD MEMBERS. • Card Member must make advance reservation with Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa at +65 6825 3888. Any use of vouchers must be stated at time of reservation. • All reservations are subject to availability and not applicable during blackout dates (i.e. Eves of Holidays and Public Holiday) or days of high occupancy. Please contact Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa, Singapore for more information. A room reservation confirmation letter or email (in softcopy or hardcopy) must be presented, along with the physical voucher and your American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card upon check-in. • Offer may not be combined with other hotel programmes or special offers and is not available on pre-existing reservations. • Complimentary parking during Card Member’s period of stay at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is subject to availability. • No show or cancellation policies apply in accordance to the hotels’ policies. Please check with hotel for details. • Accommodation is for a maximum of two (2) adults and is inclusive of all applicable tax and service charges for such accommodation. Breakfast is not included. Cost of meals and all other incidentals (including applicable tax and service charges), will be charged to the Card Member’s American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card. • Merchant’s Terms and Conditions apply – please check with respective merchants for details. American Express acts solely as a payment provider and is not responsible or liable in the event that such services, activities or benefits are not provided or fulfilled by the merchant. Merchants are solely responsible for the fulfilment of all benefits and offers. • Programme benefits, participating merchants and Terms and Conditions may be amended or withdrawn without prior notice at the sole discretion of American Express International Inc. In the event of any disputes, the decision of American Express will be final and no correspondence may be entertained. American Express International Inc., (UEN S68FC1878J) 20 (West) Pasir Panjang Road #08-00, Mapletree Business City, Singapore 117439. Incorporated with Limited Liability in the State of Delaware, U.S.A.® Registered Trademark of American Express Company. © Copyright 2017 American Express Company.

fra n c i s c o g u e rr e r o

At Signet, an emporium for the urbane gent, in Manila, page 100.

/ september 2017 / Conservative Hanoi finds its contemporary

cool | Brittany, France’s pretension-free beach escape | Patagonia on horseback | Urban turnaround in Baltimore | What to eat, drink, see and do in Manila now 63 63

photogr a pher Morgan Ommer st y list Hoang A nh Tr an | m a k eup & h a ir Ly Hu y nh model Thoai Tien | photogr a pher’s assista nt Bao K h anh m a k eup & h a ir a ssista nt Duong Phuong Linh

Cruising by the Hanoi Opera House, in a dress by Chula.

Capital Improvements

Pulsating with music festivals and modern art, awash in craft beer and coffee, traditional Hanoi has become cool. C o n n l a S t o k e s ignores the concierges and instead pursues plugged-in locals to their favorite new haunts. t r a v e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m  /  s e p t e mb e r 2 0 1 7


a space for drinkers and thinkers. That’s what the sign inside the door reads, and after a day riding headlong through the feral traffic of Hanoi, I am happy to satisfy both categories, and decompress in louche, serene Tadioto, the watering hole of choice for many of the city’s artsy and literaryminded creatives. Moving from table to table, dropping in and out of conversation as he pleases, is the dapper owner, Nguyen Qui Duc, Nguyen Qui Duc, owner of Tadioto and a Vietnamese-American writer, godfather of Hanoi's and, when at Tadioto, a man of creative community. introductions. When I explain that I’m curious to learn more about this historic capital’s more contemporary elements, he wastes no time in seating me beside the singer-songwriter Mai Khoi, who made international headlines last year when she declared her intention to run for election as an independent candidate in a single party state (her application was, to no one’s surprise, rejected by the local apparatchiks). Soon, we’re discussing her adopted hometown’s reputation as a destination of fixed traditions and age-old crafts, a place where, guidebooks continue to insist, ancient customs prevail, and so I ask her if this description still applies to such a rapidly modernizing

Mai Khoi, disrupter and musician once known as the Lady Gaga of Vietnam.

A quintessential Old Quarter villa houses Loading T café, various boutiques—and local residents.

Checking in at the new wing of the Sofitel Legend Metropole, in a kimono coat, crop top and trousers by Ha Linh Thu, with a leather handbag from An Store, and luggage by Louis Vuitton.

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Nguyen Mai Phuong, owner and head designer at An Store.

metropolis, where two-thirds of the population are below the age of 40. “Hanoi is a city of contradictions and cross-sections—we cannot describe it using one label,” she says. More than most, Mai Khoi understands the concept of a multilayered identity, having morphed from a pink-haired pop star once dubbed ‘Vietnam’s Lady Gaga’ into an avant garde folk artist and political activist. Due to her outspoken views on human rights and other social issues, she, along with her band The Dissidents, can only perform at invitation-only shows... or on Facebook Live. But nonetheless she senses an increasing openness toward the arts. “In the last 10 years, the creative scene has undoubtedly grown in confidence, and diversified, even if content is still subjected to censorship. There are more gigs and exhibitions than ever in small spaces around town.”

At Standing Bar you'll also find a rotating roster of 20 Vietnamese craft beers.

Chit-chatting with Godfather Duc at his Moto-san Uber Noodle, in a silk dress by Ha Truong and velvet cuff by Ha Linh Thu.

Once a resident of Hanoi, now an infrequent visitor, I am struck by the growing diversity that is fast emerging in this supposedly ultra-conservative capital. Speaking to individuals such as Duc and Mai Khoi confirms my suspicions that this thousand-year-old city, deservedly lauded for the heritage of its architecture, cuisine and street-life, has another unheralded layer of contemporary cool. It was only 1990 when author and journalist Neil Sheehan described entering a city “caught in a time warp, a place of history and icons, some dead, some still living to remind one that here the past never dies.” The aesthetic Sheehan captured—time-capsule architecture, eternally drowsy lakes, centuries-old trees—is all still there, in spades, but at the end of the day, he’d probably find himself riding pillion behind a 20-year-old UberMoto driver, hurtling past the Hanoi Opera House to experimental music shows, modern-art pop-ups, craft beer and cocktail bars, stand-up comedy nights, or queer disco events. Even if the past never dies—how could it in a city with such a proud history and rich heritage?— nothing stands still. “If a tourist walked out of the Army Museum on Dien Bien Phu Street they’d see hip-hop dancers by the statue of Lenin across the road,” Duc reenters the conversation at Tadioto. “Mind you there are still ballroom dancers there, too.”      Still, in spite of the shifting demographics, and diversifying dance moves, not many people would tell you to come to Hanoi for the nightlife. “Well, for a capital city, it’s true that

Amid the racks at Chula, in a raw-silk dress with hand embroidery by Ha Truong.

The Somerset Maugham Suite in the historic wing of the Sofitel Legend Metropole, in a dress with embroidery and ostrich feathers by Ha Linh Thu.

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A sweep of contemporary art at Manzi, in an indigo hand-dyed cotton top, cotton-and-silk high-waisted trousers, and shoes, all by Kilomet109.

many of the coolest places elude outsiders, which only adds to their mystique 70 

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Hanoi shuts down early,” Duc says, “but all around the Old Quarter, you can find bars that keep serving till all hours.” Not so long ago, these dens pulled down the shutters before midnight—even if drinking continued inside. But, municipal authorities have loosened up, allowing bars to stay open until 2 a.m. officially. No one knows this better than Giles Cooper, who has been around long enough to remember the city’s first public escalator being installed in a shopping plaza at the turn of the century, and more than one Old Quarter lock-in. He is one of the town’s original expat impresarios: he organized the capital’s first outdoor indie music festivals more than a decade ago, and an asean LGBT Pride event in 2014. “Fifteen years ago, I first started persuading, and in some cases begging, indie bands and electronica artists touring Asia to detour to Hanoi for a night, as there were zero acts of that nature coming here. We were off the grid, quite literally,” Cooper tells me from the balcony of his latest venture, Hanoi’s premier taproom, Standing Bar, where a mix of expats and locals sip craft IPAs, ales and pilsners—all made in Vietnam. “These days things are happening more quickly. The beer scene has suddenly burst into life. Not so long ago, all Hanoi had was bia hoi [a cheap, bare-basics watery beer] and mainstream lagers. Now there’s about a hundred high-quality, Vietnamese craft brews, many of which are made with local adjuncts, such as milk flower, cacao, jasmine, mango and Phu Quoc pepper.” While Cooper’s earliest gigs and happenings were all, by necessity, underground affairs, in recent years the city’s alt-music scene has been allowed to let its hair down in plain view—outdoor festivals, Quest and Equation being two of the largest, are much less unusual nowadays, and multiple music venues, such as Hanoi Rock City and the Doors Cafe, have opened with both local and international acts of all descriptions sharing the stage for increasingly bohemian and cosmopolitan crowds.

One of the promoters behind Equation—a three-day house and techno festival held in the outskirts of the capital last year—is Frenchman Ouissam Mokretar, who can be found most evenings ensconced at his svelte yet laid-back nightclub, Savage, which is dedicated to bringing high-caliber acts to Hanoi audiences while championing cutting-edge local DJs. “Everywhere you go, you can see the history of Hanoi, but you can also see how it is changing, almost by the day,” says Mokretar, who, sensing an air of opportunity (and enticed by considerably cheaper overheads) moved from Hong Kong to Hanoi last year. “As a night club, we are very conscious that what we are doing is new for the city, so we are happy to take it slowly. We ßpdon’t want to be seen as outsiders. We want to be a part of the community and play a role in the transition Hanoi is undergoing.” While sipping on a ca phe sua da (local-style iced milk-coffee), overlooking the vast expanse of the ever-hazy West Lake, Mokretar reveals he will soon launch a record label, producing vinyl records of local DJs both expat and Vietnamese. “Each vinyl record will be a calling card that says: ‘This has been made in Hanoi.’ That way, I hope, people will come here knowing there is a scene to discover.” One already established ‘made-in-Hanoi’ brand is Kilomet109, the brainchild of Thao Vu, an intrepid fashion designer who traveled repeatedly to the northeast of Vietnam to learn the art of natural dyeing, silk production and fabric-weaving from hill tribes. It couldn’t sound more traditional. But when I interrupt her at work at her home studio in the West Lake neighborhood, Thao stresses her label is not producing ‘ethno-wear,’ nor is she trying to replicate

Outside a traditional house, in 2017 silk dress by Ha Linh Thu.

Hanoi Creative City is a miscellany of contemporary spaces.

‘authentic’ hill-tribe costumes. “We’re a conscious clothing fashion brand, not an NGO,” Thao says. “Yes, we are inspired by traditional dyes, fabrics and weaving techniques, all of which we maintain by infusing them into contemporary designs that we believe can be worn in Hanoi, Paris or London. They’re already being sold as far away as Berlin and Porto.” The philosophy behind Kilomet109 highlights a shift. “Ethnic fashion” in Vietnam has long been considered the perfect fit for souvenir-seeking tourists. As a result it’s seen as something that can be frozen in time. But according to Thao, young ethnic minorities don’t even wear their traditional garb anymore. “They’re heavy, impractical garments for modern settings,” she says. “As Vietnamese people, we have to modernize our identity and evolve our traditions, not just in fashion, but across multiple industries. A culture has to progress. Otherwise it’s doomed.”

For now, many of the city’s coolest contemporary places continue to elude outsiders, which, I’d argue, only adds to their mystique. “You can’t expect to just pitch up at the airport and be handed the keys to the city,” Cooper tells me. “If you want to get under the veneer, my advice would be to ignore what the hotel receptionist tells you to see or do and seek out what the residents are up to. In doing so, you’ll play a role in opening it up to others.” Yet many Hanoians seem perfectly content, relieved even, that unlocking Hanoi remains a challenge. “As someone who grew up here, I don’t like how Hanoi is developing so fast,” Tram Vu tells me. She is the co-owner of Manzi, a contemporary art gallery (located, of course, in a French-colonial-period building) that gives a platform to the city’s young artists, so she must favor the new to a certain degree.

Thao Vu's conscious clothing brand Kilomet109 represents one way Vietnamese traditions and identity can evolve.

Uu Dam is a nextlevel vegetarian restaurant in a renovated villa.

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Heading back to The Chi after buying the neighborhood out, in a raw silk coat with hood by Kilomet109.

The details


20 km

HOTELS The Chi Boutique Hotel True boutique hotels are still a rarity in Vietnam, but The Chi ticks all the boxes beautifully: small, with individual style and a strong sense of place. Staff are welcoming, and the overall aesthetic is modern Vietnamese; room designs vary but always keep you feeling in the heart of Hanoi. Near Hoan Kiem Lake and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, it is the perfect base for exploring the city center’s best shopping and offers easy access to the Old Quarter’s restaurants and bars. 13-15 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem; 844/3719-2939;; doubles from US$56. Sofitel Legend Metropole This is the city’s most historic and celebrated luxury address, in the most salubrious part of Hanoi, next to the Opera House. But just try leaving this oasis of heritage hospitality, where the 116-year-old original building and the glossy new wing envelop a garden pool, greenhouse dining and the iconic Bamboo Bar (under which they recently found a well-preserved Vietnam War bomb shelter). 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem; 84-4/38266919;; doubles from US$198.

C AFES, RESTAURANTS +BARS 1 Loading T Hidden in a most quintessential shabby-elegant colonial villa, serving hydrating juices and caffeinated pick-meups. Try the coconut coffee. 8 Chan Cam, Hoan Kiem; 84-9/0334-2000; open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2 Moto-san Uber Noodle Nguyen Qui Duc’s eight-seater ramen stall also serves dumplings and a mean stewed pork banh mi. 4 Ly Dao Thanh, Hoan Kiem; 84-4/66809124; open 8 a.m. to midnight. 3 Nê Cocktail & Wine A lush, cozy bar that has upped Hanoi's mixology game since opening this spring. The popular Pho cocktail has gin, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander. 3B Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem; nebarhanoi@; open 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. 4 Pasteur Street Brewing Company Founded in Saigon, Vietnam’s leading American-style craft-brewery opened an outpost in Hanoi this July. The awardwinning Imperial Chocolate Stout is sublime—and 13.5-percent. 1 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem; pasteurstreet. com; open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 5 Standing Bar The rotating menu of 20 made-in-Vietnam craft beers can be complemented with

ma p b y a u t c h ara pa n p h a i

20 km

“But Hanoi is also a conservative place, so it hasn’t changed as drastically as other cities, which is a good thing. Progress should be slow and sustainable.” I find just this vibe among the large crowd of millennials sipping cold-brews and quietly confabulating at Tranquil Books and Coffee. “Sometimes I wonder what tourists actually do in this city. This is my hometown and it took me 28 years to know where I want to hang out,” says owner Nam Lu, a heavily inked and long-haired poet and prose writer. When you step in here out of the heat and noise, there is a refreshing ‘do not disturb’ ambience to Nam’s space. “It might sound cheesy, but we didn’t start this to make loads of money—there are much better ways to do that. This is for the community, but it’s also not

Traditional arts in the new classic Chi Boutique Hotel, in a silk cocktail dress by Ha Truong.

yakitori-style snacks (a Mango IPA and pork belly lollipops go well). The bar also hosts stand-up comedy and live music. 170 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh;; open 4 p.m. to midnight. 6 Tadioto The café-restaurant by day and a drinking den by night is a modern institution. Keep your eyes out for the host with the most, the author, and a magnet for the city’s artistic souls, Nguyen Qui Duc, as he works the room. 24 Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem;; open 8 a.m. to midnight. 7 Tranquil Book and Coffee Great craft coffee in a café where poet-owner Nam Lu says, “I don’t like noise, or noisy people.” He's been known to evict the latter. Don’t mess with this poet. 5 Nguyen Quang Bich, Hoan Kiem; cafetranquil; open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. 8 Uu Dam Chay An old colonial manse with a postmodern interior, this stylish eatery makes nextlevel vegetarian and vegan food. 34 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem; uudamchay. com; open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 9 VUI Studio One of the city’s coolest contemporary cafés has a co-working-space aesthetic and specialty coffee—perfect for digital nomads and arty millennials. They also host film

for everyone. People who love it become our regulars. People who don’t never come back.” Wandering away from Tranquil Books, I pass French-colonial houses, noodle stands, roadside mechanics, and bia hoi stalls, and think of heritage expert William S. Logan’s observation that what attracted people to Hanoi was its distinctive sense of place, the cultural landscape, and the whole mix of human activities. And that’s still the case today. All I have to do is take the inevitable stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, the physical and symbolic heart of Hanoi that is a meeting point for a range of activities from tai chi to courting. I walk toward St. Joseph’s, the 19th-century Neo Gothic cathedral where, parched from the sticky heat, rather than enter the church, I pay my respects to the here and now on a small wooden pew under the shade of a banyan tree, where teenagers sit scrolling through Facebook feeds, and sip on an iced lemon tea. As the twilight thickens, I summon an UberMoto, and soon find myself stepping back into Tadioto, where Duc introduces me to a table of drinkers and thinkers, none of whom, it transpires, has ever visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, or drunk a traditional Hanoi-style egg coffee. Sipping on a neat whisky, Duc muses out loud, “I wonder, does anyone ever Google ‘LGBT parade’ before coming to Hanoi?” I suspect in a generation even that question will have a time-capsule aesthetic.

screenings and open-mics. 3C Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem; vuistudio; open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ART+MUSIC 10 The Doors Café Live music in the Old Quarter, with a mix of locals and expats both taking the stage and making up the crowd. 11 Hang Chinh, Hoan Kiem; doorscafe; open 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. 11 Hanoi Creative City (HCC) A veritable miscellany of modern spaces: boutiques in repurposed containers, kitschy cafés and tea shops, a funky bar, the renowned Nha San Art Collective’s gallery, areas for co-working and workshops, and more. 1 Luong Yen, Hai Ba Trung;; open 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 12 Hanoi Rock City An indoor area stages a range of shows by expats, locals and visiting artists, but the courtyard is also a great space for hanging out. 27 Lane 52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho; hanoirockcity. com; open 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 13 Manzi The leading contemporary gallery champions local and Hanoibased-expat artists. Check out the art store, or linger over a coffee or wine in the chill café. 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh;; open 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

14 Savage The place for cuttingedge electronic and house music has a dedicated dancing room with a Funktion One sound system, a loungey cocktail bar, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the rarest of sights: an undeveloped part of Hanoi. 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho;; open Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday 6 p.m. to midnight, Thursday to Saturday 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. T+L TIP: Use to find openings, exhibits, concerts, and other happenings in town. SHOPPING 15 An Store Meticulously crafted leather accessories and elegant, linen fashion-wear created by homegrown Hanoi designers. 8 Ly Dao Thanh, Hoan Kiem; an1708; open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 16 Chula Fashion House Imagine all the traditional fashions and fabrics of Vietnam reinvented by a pair of Spanish designers with an eye for vibrant colors and striking cuts. 43 Nhat Chieu, Nhat Tan, Tay Ho;; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 17 Flora Playful homewares and accessories fill Flora’s three boutiques dotted around Hanoi’s cutest shopping area (by St.

Joseph’s Cathedral). Main shop: 2 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem; boutique62; open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 18 Ha Linh Thu Vietnamese fashions and ceramics have been artfully modernized and stylized with a focus on women's and kids' wear. 6 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem;; open 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 19 Module 7 Find Kilomet109 clothes by Thao Vu, and collections of furniture and home accessories by other Hanoi-based designers. 83 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho; module7design. com; open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 20 Moniq by M “Young, wild, wise…” is the motto for this funky independent clothing brand from designer Thu Madelin. 2 Hang Bun, Ba Dinh; boutique; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 21 Ozu by Tadioto Nguyen Qui Duc’s lifestyle consultancy starts here: handmade crafts, refurbished furniture, salvaged vintage items, contemporary art— and well-made espresso. 3 Ly Dao Thanh, Hoan Kiem;; open 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 22 Thanh Ngd Urban, unisex label that takes inspiration from all across Asia to create its own nouveau-Oriental street-style. 35 Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh; open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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A Breath of Sea Air

The Belle Epoque villas and historic towns of Brittany’s sparkling Emerald Coast have cast off their stuffy reputation, becoming a discreetly stylish getaway for in-the-know travelers. by Rebecca Rose photographed by Alex Cretey Systermans


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Môle Beach, in the town of St.Malo, which is surrounded by historic fortifications.

hat’s where Chateaubriand was buried, standing up and facing out to sea,” said our skipper, Nicolas, as we boated past a small rocky island off the coast of Brittany. It wasn’t hard to see why the French writer demanded a sea view. This stretch of shore in northern France is known as the Côte d’Émeraude, or Emerald Coast, and it more than lives up to the poetic name. These transparent, blue-green depths alone were enough to entice me and my husband over from London for a long weekend. That morning, we had left Castelbrac, our hotel, in a handsome, 12-meter wooden speedboat at 9 a.m.—perfectly timed for an onboard breakfast of coffee, warm viennoiserie, baguettes with local Breton butter and a pot of chocolate-hazelnut spread. After passing Chateaubriand’s burial site, we made our way back to the seaside resort town of Dinard. There, we encountered the Hitchcockian outline of a single villa on the cliff, tall and statuesque, looking down over a pale yellow arc of sand. Dinard is dominated by a trail of these grand, Belle Epoque houses, which stud the cliffs on either side of the town like something from an Edward Hopper painting. Nicolas pointed out a huge walled house on the far side of the bay where Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault are said to spend their summers.

Once an unassuming fishing village, Dinard was “discovered” by a group of aristocratic English sea-bathing enthusiasts in the mid 19th century. These expats built the first clifftop villas in the area and invited their wealthy friends to do the same, quickly turning Dinard into one of France’s first real seaside destinations—this despite Brittany’s famously hit-or-miss weather. Even today, the town retains a British air; English accents can be heard in the daily market, and a statue of Alfred Hitchcock, once a frequent visitor, looms over the bay. As we passed villa after villa, each with its own distinct style, Nicolas rattled off a list of names—mainly business tycoons and members of France’s grandes familles, many of whom have kept houses here for generations. Their villas remain shuttered for much of the year, but are discreetly maintained between visits—hedges trimmed, swimming pools


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cleaned—just in case their owners decide to nip up from Paris for the weekend. (And with a new, two-hour fast train from the capital to the adjacent town of St.-Malo launched this summer, their shutters may well be opening more frequently.) The majority of the discerning, monied types who holiday in Dinard wouldn’t dream of setting foot in St.Tropez. Too flashy, too “m’as-tuvu,” as they say. They are less interested in Louis Vuitton, more in the understated goods for sale at Renouard, a low-key leather store that has been in business since 1891. And rather than sunning themselves on terraces and people-watching, these visitors prefer to picnic on the sand, first stopping by one of the many boulangeries for a fresh baguette, then La Belle Iloise, a local institution, for sardines and beautifully packaged tins of fish pâté. Though this corner of Brittany has some of the finest sandy beaches and clearest seas in France, the likes of Catherine Deneuve and musician/model Lou Doillon can still stroll along the esplanade freely without fear of being snapped on an iPhone. The scene is stealth wealth at its most alluring.

ntil recently, unless you were a lucky houseguest at one of the villas, Dinard had little to offer in the way of high-end accommodation. There are still a few seaside hotels big on slightly dilapidated Breton charm. At one, the Hôtel Printania, the waitresses wear Breton bonnets like women in Gauguin’s Pont-Aven paintings, and there remain a few lits-clos—wooden box beds with shutters, originally designed to allow parents a little intimacy in the times when families all shared one room. And there is the Grand Hôtel Barrière, part of France’s ubiquitous Barrière hospitality group, where Hugh Grant is reported to stay when he flies over to play the famous golf course at St.-Briac-sur-Mer. But the new Castelbrac hotel has been a game changer for Dinard, proving that for all the town’s colorful history, it doesn’t need to be stuck in the past. An extraordinary architectural mix of castle, mansion and Art Deco ocean liner, Castelbrac traces its roots to 1865, when it was built for the Fabers, an aristocratic English family. Later, the villa was owned by a Crimean War hero named Colonel Hamilton, who dubbed it “Villa Bricà-Brac” in honor of its mishmash of architectural styles. In 1934, France’s National Natural History Museum purchased the home and turned it into a marineresearch station and aquarium housing tanks of sea horses and conger eels. Seven years ago, a businessman named Yann Bucaille bought Castelbrac with the intention of turning it into a luxurious small hotel. He insisted on preserving the eclectic look, from the tiled Arts and Crafts fireplaces to the round windows of the former aquarium, originally added to let natural light into the fish tanks and now the defining feature of a cool, nautically themed bar. It is this sensitivity to the building’s history, combined with stylish interiors by Paris-based designer Sandra Benhamou, that makes Castelbrac so unusual—and so full of fun discoveries. One morning I stumbled upon a 14-meter-long pool set high above the ocean, so narrow it could almost be missed. Not far from the bar, I found a small nondenominational chapel, newly installed by Bucaille as part of his vision for the hotel as a “Soul Haven” designed to nourish the senses. Castelbrac’s arrival has also coincided with the opening of several boutiques that wouldn’t be out of place in Paris’s fashionable Marais district. While exploring Dinard on foot one day—the sky was gray, but the sea was still that startling emerald—my husband and I concentrated on the cluster of streets just up from the beach. Here we passed an array of stylish storefronts: boutiques stocking Saint James’s famous striped fisherman’s sweaters; Papa Pique et Maman Coud, an upmarket accessories boutique for mothers and daughters; Lindfield & Co. Fine Teas, which sources the finest brews from Sri Lanka, Japan and China; and L’Atelier M Chocolat, an artisanal chocolate shop run by a husband-and-wife team. Equally charming were the well-coiffed residents, popping out for their morning

from top: A villa above Dinard’s Écluse Beach; the Salon Charcot lounge at Castelbrac. opposite: A view of Môle Beach.

The discerning, monied types who holiday in Dinard are less interested in Louis Vuitton, more in the understated local leather-goods store

The pool view at the Castelbrac hotel in Dinard.

coffee, air-kissing in the road and dashing about before everything closed for lunch. Because in Dinard, if you miss the restaurants’ lunchtime window between noon and 2 p.m., you’ll have to go without. Luckily, the more touristy town of St.-Malo was able to cater to demanding visitors like us. After a 10-minute ferry ride and a quick glance at Le Fooding, the go-to online guide for restaurants in France, we discovered that two of St.-Malo’s most happening restaurants are located on the same street. Rue de l’Orme, a narrow road in the historic center, is home to La Maison du Beurre, a purveyor of artisanal dairy products owned by Jean-Yves Bordier, who still makes butter the old-fashioned way, using a wooden paddle. Next door is Bordier’s butter-focused restaurant, Bistro Autour du Beurre, and opposite that, by a trendy buckwheat shop selling everything from pasta to cookies (buckwheat is a celebrated mainstay of Breton cuisine), is Le Comptoir Breizh Café. Here, the Japanese and Breton staff have given the space an Asian twist with décor reminiscent of a Zen wood-paneled sake bar. We perched on barstools, surveying the slick open-kitchen operation while wolfing down tsukemono (Japanese-style pickled vegetables) and perfectly crisp buckwheat galettes. Despite all this modernité, the narrow streets of the walled city made me long for our calm, airy bedroom across the water. My husband and I decided to call it a day. After taking the ferry back to Dinard, however, we suddenly got hungry and headed out for our third meal of the day at Le Café Rouge, a buzzy, beloved seafood brasserie where we ate pink prawns, housemade mayonnaise, and delectable frites. No visit to Dinard is complete without seeing St.-Malo, we agreed over our bottle of Pouilly-Fumé, but only if you come right back.

The details Getting There Take the TGV Atlantique from Paris Montparnasse to St.-Malo. The ride is about two hours. HOTEL Castelbrac Once an Englishman’s estate and aquarium, this is now a hotel with nautical décor and a 14-meter outdoor pool. Dinard; castelbrac. com; doubles from €292. RESTAUR ANTS & CAFES Bistro Autour du Beurre Chef Steve Delamaire incorporates


Bordier butter in many of his dishes, including the catch of the day and farmer’s market finds. St.-Malo;; mains €17–€24. L’Atelier M Chocolat Christophe Moreau opened this chocolate emporium only two years ago, and it is already making waves with its divine macarons and chocolate shortbread creations. Dinard; Le Café Rouge The vibe at this Dinard bistro is laid-back, and the seafood is dependably delicious: think baskets of juicy prawns with

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a side of salty frites and housemade mayonnaise. lecaferougedinard; mains €15– €60. Le Comptoir Breizh Café The classic buckwheat galette has received an innovative Asian twist at this peaceful, Japanese-style crêperie. St.-Malo;; mains €4–€14. Le Printania Dine at this nearcentury-old waterfront Dinard hotel, where the waitresses wear bonnets and the seafood is top-notch.; mains €14–€26.

SHOPS La Maison du Beurre Jean-Yves Bordier is famous for his awardwinning cheeses and butters. Grab one of the beautifully packaged blocks to go with your baguette. La Maison Générale A high-end furniture store in St.-Malo. From contemporary Italian furniture to Philippe Starck lamps, there is something here for every taste.

One of the world’s most renowned dance companies stage its landmark production of one of the greatest ballet comedies of the 20th century by John Cranko.

Wednesday 18 October, Thursday 19 October (7.30 pm) Supported by Embassy of Germany Tickets: Bht 5,500 / 4,500 / 3,500 / 2,500 / 2,000

TAMING OF THE SHREW Classical ballet

Venue: Main Hall, Thailand Cultural Centre. Performance starts: 7.30pm. Doors open: 30 minutes before. FREE shuttle from MRT station. Thailand Cultural Centre, Exit 1, During 5.30-7.00pm.

Tickets on sale now

Hotline 02 262 3191 (24 hrs)


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For passionate equestrians, the rugged mountains and lush pampas of Chilean Patagonia provide an experience that is unrivaled anywhere in the world. M A G G I E S H I P S T E A D ventures into

Torres del Paine National Park for the ride of her life. photographed by K atherine W olko f f

Wild horses in the steppe below the Paine Massif, in Torres del Paine National Park.

The Balmaceda Glacier, as seen from a catamaran on Last Hope Sound.

m y best fr iend, ba iley, a nd i w er e ly ing in a tent on a w indy patagoni a night, cheerfully cataloguing the parts of our bodies that hurt. A few hours earlier we’d been cantering through golden fields on the third day of a five-day horseback trek through Chile’s Torres del Paine (pronounced pie-nay) National Park. The exhilaration hadn’t faded, but my back wasn’t happy. Nor were the parts of my pelvis that had come into relentless, sometimes percussive contact with the saddle. Also sore? My knees, ankles, quads, inner thighs, trapezius muscles, upper abs, right elbow and, as a kind of garnish, my pinkie toes, whose circulation had been cut off all day by my socks. Bailey dug through a stuff sack for more ibuprofen. “I guess we know why it’s called Torres del Pain,” she said, pronouncing it like what we were feeling. Our group consisted of our guide, Armando, a pair of gauchos who tended the horses, a pub owner from Calgary, Canada and the two of us. We’d spent the morning riding from our campsite on an estancia to Grey Glacier, inside the park. The journey, across terrain that abounded with flat expanses ideal for galloping, should have taken 2½ hours. But Calgary, as I’ll call her, wanted to stay at a walk because, she claimed, her horse kept tripping. “You don’t like the horse?” Armando asked. Calgary grimaced and shook her head. “This one’s a bit of a dog.”

Bailey and I exchanged glances. Never, ever blame the horse. We plodded for more than four hours through cold wind and spitting rain until we reached the shore of the glacial lake, where we had a damp picnic near the Hotel Lago Grey, an airy lodge connected to blocks of rooms by raised walkways. Electricblue icebergs floated on the milky water. Calgary had signed up for a boat excursion to Grey Glacier, but since high winds had made its departure uncertain, we retreated to the hotel bar to have a cerveza while we waited. Clouds scudded over the lagoon. Then, after an hour: a miracle. The boats were going, which meant Calgary would catch a lift later with the support truck, and Bailey and I could return to camp with Armando and the gauchos at our own speed. We practically skipped back to our horses. Set loose, we breezed across the meadows, passing in and out of sunshowers while black-faced ibis took flight around us. A magnificently craggy clump of ice-topped mountains and cloud-snagging granite spires loomed in the near distance. This was the Paine Massif, the centerpiece of Torres del Paine. Its individual rock features are named after things like horns and cathedrals and fortresses and, most saliently, towers, or torres. Paine is a native word for “blue,” as the massif appeared at a distance to the

Tehuelche people. According to Armando, they preferred not to approach too closely, spooked by the frequent thunder of avalanches. Back at camp, Bailey checked our time. Two glorious hours and 15 glorious minutes. We high-fived before dismounting, then staggered, groaning and bowlegged, to the tent. Worth every ibuprofen.

our fr iendship began with horses. Bailey and I had both been competitive show jumpers in our teens before meeting on our college equestrian team—which sounds fancy but was, in truth, a scrappy club sport practiced on freezing New England Saturdays by hungover riders. Bailey first struck me as a woodsy Vermont goofball, cheerful and game but lacking a certain essential seriousness. Once she was in the saddle, though, her talent, burnished by long experience, was unmistakable. Later I learned she’d ridden with a top trainer and, every year, had attended high school by fax for two months while competing in Florida. I also learned she was brilliant and driven, affable, generous and committed to setting others at ease, even those who, like me, might initially misjudge her. The year after graduation, when we were sharing an apartment in Boston, we agreed that one day we would go on a horse trek together in Patagonia. That was 11 years ago.

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“It’s all happening!” Bailey called when I spotted her in the Miami airport, black helmet dangling from her backpack. She lives in Nashville, where she runs a microbrewery and shares a Craftsman house with her chef husband and spotted dog. I live in Los Angeles with a spotted dog of my own. Over the years, we’d wistfully reaffirmed our desire to go to Patagonia together, even as the entanglements of adult life made such an adventure seem less and less possible. As we boarded our flight to Chile, it felt like we were renewing our friendship vows. Twenty hours later, after layovers in Santiago and Puerto Montt, we touched down in Punta Arenas, a small city near the tip of South America’s long tail where the Andes, cracked through with fjords, dribble into the sea. Founded by the Chilean government in 1848 as a penal colony, Punta Arenas became an important sheep-ranching center and resupply port for ships passing through the Strait of Magellan. The city’s colonial architecture and stark landscape give it a frontierish vibe, even though the transient whalers and sealers of old have been supplanted by roving bands of adventure-seeking baby boomers in premium outdoor gear. That evening, we sat on the balcony of La Yegua Loca, a gauchothemed yet somehow chic boutique hotel, sipping lagers from the local brewery Cerveza Austral. The visibility was unusually good, and over the strait we could see two different faces of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. The largest island, about 30 kilometers east, was low and shadowy. But far to the south, the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Darwin, a forbidding mountain range, breached the horizon, glowing white in a luminous gap between steely sea and gray clouds. Famously treacherous landmarks crowd this corner of the map, with names that inspire an almost painful wanderlust: Tierra del Fuego. Cape Horn. The Drake Passage. The next morning, we would head to another enticingly named place: Seno Última Esperanza, or Last Hope Sound, a winding inlet 240 kilometers to the


north that, in 1557, the Spanish explorer Juan Ladrillero mistook for the long-sought western entrance to the Strait of Magellan. We drove for three hours through grasslands dotted with gnarled, wind-stunted trees and dappled by cloud shadows, stopping once to watch flamingos wade in the shallows of an alkaline lake the color of dirty jade. Mountains with scoopshaped summits appeared in the distance. At the sound’s southern end, we came to Puerto Natales. As the gateway to Torres del Paine, the town has all the components of an adventure crossroads: gear shops, hostels, a lively brewpub. Our strange but beguiling hotel, the Singular Patagonia, was a collection of waterfront buildings with corrugated roofs that served as a sheep processing plant from 1915 until the 1970s. It had fallen into dereliction before finding an unlikely dual destiny as a luxury hotel and, thanks to its local significance, a historical monument. We would spend our last night before the trek here, gorging on comfort. The Singular’s preserved industrial spaces are passageways between the public areas, where antique machinery is artfully displayed and museum plaques explain how, say, the ammonia pipes worked or what went on in the tannery (nothing nice). The architecture is austere and dramatic, dominated by weathered brick, rough timber and unpolished concrete. But the hotel’s windows are its most arresting feature. In the spa, the sauna and steam room have glass walls overlooking Last Hope Sound, so you can lie like a sweating slug and watch black-necked swans bob on the choppy water, their long, dark necks curving up from their ruffly white bodies like the legs of upside-down cancan dancers. If you wish, you can swim under the enormous window that separates the indoor and outdoor parts of the heated pool, and, seal-like, poke your head up into the bluster. You can also take in the view from the cavernous restaurant while sipping a pisco sour at the bar or eating local lamb and king crab in the

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dining room. Even in bed, you’re not deprived of the landscape, since all 57 guest rooms, which occupy what was once the plant’s cold-storage facility, have floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the sound. After we were tucked in for the night, I whispered across to Bailey, “I hope I still know how to ride.” “Me too,” she replied through the darkness. “I think we will, right?”

the follow ing a fter noon,

we swung aboard our stocky little criollo workhorses for the first time.

Descended from animals brought over by the conquistadors, criollos are known for their toughness and endurance, the result of centuries of breeding and natural selection on the pampas. The British firm Swoop, which specializes in adventure travel to Patagonia and the polar regions, had set us up with a local outfitter called Horse Riding Patagonia. It is owned by Vicky Mattison, an English transplant who came here 12 years ago, fell in love with a gaucho, and stayed even after the relationship ended. “All I ever wanted in life was a

horse and a dog,” she told me. These were priorities I could understand. Our first ride was a leisurely twohour amble through an estancia near Puerto Natales, a shakeout to get Calgary, Bailey and me used to the Chilean stock saddles, which have a high pommel but no horn, cuplike stirrups and seats of layered fleece and leather. It turned out I did still know how to ride, though I felt awkward in the legs-forward position dictated by the saddle. We meandered over grassy hills among grazing cattle and calafate shrubs.

(An old chestnut holds that if you eat a calafate berry in Patagonia you are destined to return, so we ate a lot, just to be safe.) Armando pointed out two mountains, Cerro Balmaceda to the west and Cerro Paine Grande to the north. Tomorrow, he said, we’d ride the distance between them. They looked alarmingly far apart. Both were clearly being rained on. Tomorrow, Armando said, would be a long day. I nodded, distracted, trying to copy his posture in the saddle. Here’s the thing about gauchos: they look

A rarely trodden horse trail winds past glacial Lake Pehoé, south of the Paine Massif.

Armando, the author's guide, shows off his gaucho flair. right: Breakfast at a campsite in Estancia Perales, near the Río Serrano.

really cool. Armando has a dark beard and long ponytail, and his daily uniform was a quilted denim jacket, bloused brown trousers, calfhigh work boots and a perfectly angled beret. A beret! As if a beret is something you can just wear! In fact, all the gauchos seemed to wear berets. Some also wore colorful woven sashes into which they tucked a long knife in a rawhide sheath, useful for cutting a snagged rein or rope. Often they rode with one hand tucked insouciantly into a hip pocket. Not so long ago, gauchos spent most of their lives in the middle of nowhere, tending their herds,

manfully enduring the elements. “The real gauchos are gone, and that’s the truth,” said Armando, who grew up on a sheep farm in the Tierra del Fuego. When not guiding or backcountry skiing, he works cattle near Puerto Natales. “A gaucho used to be totally self-sufficient,” he explained. “From the city he needed only clothing, cigarettes, liquor, maté and bullets.” (I suspected Armando, ever courteous, might have delicately omitted female companionship.) Now, he told me, gauchos have smartphones. Some watch television at night. Armando spoke without judgment, but with a trace of loss.

That first evening, we camped at an estancia farther up Last Hope Sound. When we arrived, our cook, Levio, had already set up our tents and prepared a shaker of pisco sours that was waiting beside a spread of cocktail munchies. While he cooked a dinner of salmon with onions and peppers over an open fire, we snacked on cheese and olives and got a little tipsy. It was all very civilized. After dinner, as the fire burned down, Armando reminded us that our ride tomorrow would be quite difficult—eight hours over challenging terrain—and gently encouraged us to adjourn to our

My horse was shaggy-maned and black, a nd a n a b s ol u t e c h a mp. I left the reins loose, trusting him to c h o o s e t he be s t pat h

tents. I slept poorly, kept awake by the rattling wind, nerves about the coming ride, and one aluminum tumbler too many of pisco sours.

in the mor ning, w e took a

catamaran up Last Hope Sound to the Serrano Glacier, where poor Juan Ladrillero’s dreams of finding the western entrance to the Strait of Magellan met an icy dead end. The blasting wind pulled sheets of mist up from the water. Andean condors circled above the cliffs. Once we reached the glacier, a smaller boat buzzed us across an inlet to a nearby estancia, where our horses were

waiting. Mine was shaggy-maned and black and an absolute champ. He plunged without hesitation into deep mud that made me think of the horse-swallowing swamp in The Neverending Story, forded gamely across a cold green river, picked through complex lattices of roots and logs in the dense beech forest, clambered like a goat over ledges, and slid down rocks so sheer I caught the acrid smell of his shoes as they scraped against the granite. I left the reins loose, trusting him to choose the best path. After four hours, we emerged from the forest onto the black-sand beach of brackish Lago Brush. The Paine Massif heaved into view, crowned with fat white cumulus clouds. As a landform, the massif is so spectacular it becomes exhausting. You find yourself dreading the moment when it is no longer in sight. You’re compelled, as if by a curse, to take photo after photo, though none will capture its grandeur. For the rest of the day, four more hours, the jagged peaks bobbed in and out of sight as we crested and descended until, finally, in the golden hour before twilight, we found ourselves overlooking a perfect valley of thick trees and luminous yellow grass, with a turquoise river snaking through. The Paine Massif stood on the far side like the end point of a mythical quest, as forbidding as it was alluring. It was 8:30 p.m. by the time we trotted into camp, but daylight still lingered. Levio had pitched our cheerful orange tents among the trees and was waiting with happyhour treats. I was impressed again by the seamlessness with which he and the Horse Riding Patagonia crew handled the daunting logistics of the

trip. Every day we got hot dinners, the sandwich lunches we carried in cute little tins in our saddlebags, and surprise extras that Armando produced like a magician: a thermos of hot soup or coffee, a flask of Baileys Irish Cream, a chocolate bar. A rotating cast of gauchos and horses appeared and disappeared, passing us off like human relay batons, shepherding us through a wilderness we had to ourselves. And that, besides the fun of hanging out with animals, was the best thing about seeing Torres del Paine on horseback: we never met any other riders along the trail. Not one. The morning after our out-andback to Grey Glacier, Bailey and I woke up with joints so stiff we were creaking around camp like knights in armor. As we mounted fresh horses, we felt aghast at the prospect of riding another 50 kilometers, but we loosened up after a gallop in the morning sun. Guanacos, a species related to the llama, grazed above us on rocky hillsides. Throughout the day, we drew ever nearer to the Paine Massif until, late in the afternoon, we rode past the park’s three namesake torres and finally turned our backs to the mountain range. After a few more kilometers, we said goodbye to the horses and climbed into a van. From the rear window, with mingled sadness and relief, I watched the massif recede and disappear. Our last ride was an easy loop on another estancia, Pingo Salvaje, where we slept in a cabin (with beds!) instead of tents. When we woke, the skies looked ominous. Bailey and I grumbled about going for a rainy ride without a destination. We didn’t think it would give us the same sense of toughness and accomplishment we took from our long, taxing journeys.

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At the same time, we didn’t want to leave the trek unfinished. After breakfast, we rode out with Armando and Javiera, a vivacious young female gaucho who rode in sneakers and no beret and said she planned to become a large-animal vet. The gloom lifted. Under blue skies, we skirted a reedy lake shore, cantered along sandstone cliffs, and stopped to investigate a cave that had once held the skeleton of a sabertoothed tiger. The whole trek had been perfect, we agreed, because it couldn’t be perfect. Bailey and I were unspeakably sore and craved ibuprofen, pisco sours and the pool at the Singular, where we would spend our last afternoon in Patagonia. Yet we also wished we could just keep riding, crossing more mountains and valleys, on into forever. Turning toward home, Javiera led us through a field of dandelions as riotously yellow as a van Gogh painting. Heaven on horseback.

getting there Fly to Punta Arenas via Santiago. From there, rent a car or ride the bus about three hours north to Puerto Natales. tour oper ators Horse Riding Patagonia Choose between five- and 10-day trips in and around Torres del Paine, with options to sleep at campsites, estancias and hotels. horse​ riding​; five-day trips from US$2,499. Swoop Travel Specialists can craft your dream trip from prepackaged or custom tours in Patagonia. Activities include kayaking, skiing and more. swoop-patagonia. com; five-day trips from US$1,096.


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hotel s Hotel Lago Grey Located in Torres del Paine National Park, this property’s restaurant and rooms offer majestic vistas of the lake and glacier. lago​; doubles from US$188. La Yegua Loca The décor at this hotel balances the modern and rustic. The rooms crisp, white furnishings are offset by cozy sheepskins.; doubles from US$125. Singular Patagonia Stunning scenery and a sense of history lend character to this property, marked by its architecture and excellent service.; doubles from US$425.


The details


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clockwise from top left: An employee at Union Craft Brewing, in the

Woodberry neighborhood; Tacos at Clavel, in Remington; trolley tracks on Thames Street, in Fell’s Point; the Cannon Room whiskey bar at the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, in Fell’s Point.

Balti more Slick waterfront megaprojects and farm-to-table dining have come to this famously blue-collar town, even as its racial tensions make headlines. David Amsden meets the doers and dreamers driving Charm City’s next act. Photographed by Christopher Testani



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As you approach Baltimore on the I-95 highway, you pass through a ring of weathered smokestacks and mechanical stalagmites that tell the story of a town shaped by the rise and fall of industry. Then the skyline appears, the logos atop the buildings a testament to newer economies: finance and health-care giants, digital insurgents and the sportswear behemoth Under Armour. The impression is vaguely forboding, until you exit the freeway and the city’s quaintness catches you off guard, like a lily sprouting from the pavement. Hiding in plain sight is a world of genteel row houses giving way to working-class food markets, of enclaves of Greek Revival magnificence abutting scrappy quarters where plastic flamingos graze on lawns the size of beach towels. Suddenly nothing sounds so delicious as a shot and a beer, and you begin to grasp how a city that produced a critic as erudite as H. L. Mencken could also have nurtured a wit as subversive as John Waters. I grew up 65 kilometers south, in the Maryland suburbs of D.C., and always felt that the principal charm of Charm City was its singularity. Is Baltimore the northernmost Southern city? The southernmost Northern city? The easternmost Rust Belt city? I can make all those arguments convincingly, unless I have to make them in my former home of New York (“Maryland’s not the North!”) or my current one in New Orleans (“You ain’t Southern!”) or to my friends in Pittsburgh (“We’re the Rust Belt!”). Make them to Baltimoreans, and they’ll justly bristle at being likened to anyplace else. During my youth in the 1980s and 90s I visited often—to eat crabs, see Orioles baseball games and sip cans of Natty Boh in empty warehouses—and in Baltimore’s salty fortitude I discovered my love of cities. By then, the town was gaining the grim reputation for blight and violence that The Wire would later brand on the popular consciousness. In moving away, I adopted this view as my own. A few days spent roaming around Baltimore in April— my first visit in 20 years—quickly dispelled my preconceptions. It also lent credence to a theory of mine: that America’s smaller cities are usurping their larger, more expensive counterparts in providing compelling urban experiences. Finding the Baltimore I loved when I was younger wasn’t hard, but now it coexists with a city I never could have imagined, with new restaurants, new


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cultural arbiters and a new vitality triggered by millennial transplants. Take the neighborhood of Fell’s Point, a waterfront pocket of cobblestoned streets and Colonial-style houses. As a teenager I came here for the head shops, feeling envious of those old enough to cross the threshold of the Horse You Came In On Saloon, where legend has it that Edgar Allan Poe took his last drink. The head shops and dives are still going strong, but now you can also order a craft cocktail at Rye or first-rate seafood at Thames Street Oyster House. Walking down the cockeyed streets, you might spot members of the indie band Beach House, who rehearse in a warehouse nearby. The hotel I stayed at in Fell’s Point, the Sagamore Pendry, is stylish and sophisticated while radiating a distinctly Baltimore sensibility. It occupies a colossal storage pier built in 1914, when the city was a prosperous hub of textile and steel mills centered around a busy port. By the 1950s, when Baltimore had nearly a million residents, the structure had played a variety of roles in the city’s growth: ferry terminal, point of entry for immigrants, meeting place for city officials. Later, as Baltimore hemorrhaged industry and citizenry, the pier was again reinvented, this time as a community center. In the late 90s, after a stint as a set for Homicide: Life on the Street, David Simon’s predecessor to The Wire, it was abandoned. Now, on the same site where cargo was stockpiled during World War I, an infinity pool disappears into the harbor. In a curious conflation of luxury and authenticity typical of today’s voguish aesthetic, guests sip Old-Fashioneds at a poolside bar made from a shipping container while watching working shipping containers get unloaded across the water. The hotel is only the latest by-product of Baltimore’s waterfront boom. Fell’s Point, once separated from the iconic Inner Harbor by an industrial wasteland, is today linked by Harbor East, a growing expanse of glass-andsteel towers built to accommodate the people who once fled for A-list cities or the suburbs: knowledge-industry workers, starter families, and, increasingly, D.C. commuters drawn to Baltimore’s low cost of living and proximity to the capital. When I arrived, the Sagamore Pendry was in its opening week, and Baltimoreans of all stations streamed in—some to gawk, others to eat at the Rec Pier Chop House, the excellent Italian restaurant overseen by New York chef Andrew Carmellini. “What’s it like inside?” asked every Uber driver I met, a question I soon came to realize was loaded. They didn’t really want to hear about the maritime flourishes in unlacquered brass and mahogany or the clever repurposing of the city’s blue-collar heritage into a white-collar oasis. Does such an upscale citadel, they seemed to be asking, represent Baltimore’s future?

At least to a point, the answer is yes. The owner of

the Sagamore Pendry is Kevin Plank, the billionaire CEO of Under Armour, who has made Baltimore both his company’s global headquarters and a laboratory for grand

Woodberry Kitchen is located inside an old brick building once used as an iron foundry.

clockwise from top left: A bar cart of complimentary refreshments at the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore; 19th-century row houses in Hampden; the Domino Sugar Plant, in Inner Harbor, has been in operation for 97 years; quail with asparagus at Woodberry Kitchen, in Woodberry.

experiments in urban renewal. Across the harbor from the hotel, near the War of 1812 battle site that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Plank has undertaken a US$5.5 billion, 20-year development project called Port Covington. When complete, it will be a shimmering world of modular glass towers and manicured green spaces with luxury housing, luxury shops, and a luxurious new Under Armour campus. Plank just completed the first phase, a 2,050-square-meter distillery for Sagamore Spirit, his line of small-batch rye whiskey. It can be accessed via a scenic cruise on one of the city’s water taxis, which Plank purchased last year. He has been replacing the aging fleet I remember from childhood with slick black ships inspired by 1920s crabbing vessels. Such ritziness can be disorienting in a city where nearly a quarter of the more than 600,000 residents live in poverty. Even in tourist-friendly Fell’s Point, I only had to walk a few minutes before coming across a block of stately homes standing vacant and crumbling. Such dereliction is a reminder that Baltimore’s appeal—its affordability, its character, its “potential”—is inseparable from the struggles of much of its population, 63 percent of which is black. Exactly two years before my visit, Freddie Gray died in police custody, setting off demonstrations that were about more than just prejudicial law enforcement; they also expressed black Baltimoreans concern that, despite all their contributions to the city, they risk being excluded from its current revitalization efforts. The list of distinguished black Americans who have emerged from this city is long and varied. Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway grew up here, when a thriving jazz scene lit up Pennsylvania Avenue. Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice, was raised in Druid Heights. Zora Neale Hurston studied at Morgan Academy, the high school division of Morgan State University, the city’s historically black college. W. Paul Coates founded Black Classic Press, one of the nation’s oldest independent black publishers, in Baltimore; his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is one of the most trenchant observers of race in America today. The same city that produced such indispensable figures also has the unfortunate distinction of having pioneered some of America’s most discriminatory housing policies. The legacy of government-sanctioned segregation remains, with whites and blacks living largely in separate realities. Against this backdrop, Port Covington has become a lightning rod. To finance it, Plank received the largest package of tax incentives in Baltimore history. Yet only 10 percent of the apartments are earmarked for affordable housing, raising the question of whether the city is prioritizing well-off newcomers at the expense of its long-term residents.

One night I met up with Whitney Simpkins, a friend of a friend who, with the easygoing hospitality so often on display in this city, offered to show me around the Baltimore she knows. A sardonic 31-year-old African American originally from Florida, she moved here 13

years ago to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). After graduating, she considered leaving, until it hit her: Why? Sure, the city has issues (“The optics still aren’t so good,”as she delicately put it), but it’s also a place where she can live comfortably in a three-story house while focusing on her art and indulging in activities that have become vaguely illicit in D.C. and New York: kicking back and seeing what life brings. “And when I need to, I can get to D.C. in thirty minutes, Philly in an hour, New York in three,” Simpkins told me. “It’s a life that’s impossible anywhere else.” We were headed north toward Station North, Remington, Hampden and Woodberry, a jumble of low-slung neighborhoods on the eastern banks of Jones Falls, the stream that once fed the city’s mills, tanneries and coal yards. Change has come here, too, fueled by proximity to Johns Hopkins University, the city’s largest employer, and the arrival of millennials like Simpkins. “That used to be a kind of DIY party space,” she noted as we passed Mill No. 1, an old cotton mill at the approximate intersection of the four neighborhoods. It was recently converted to lofts. Last year, Cosima, a casually upscale Mediterranean restaurant, opened in its courtyard. “Now,” Simpkins continued, “it’s a lot of dogs and strollers.” She hardly sounded resentful. If gentrification is a bulldozer in other East Coast cities, it’s more of a pushreel mower in Baltimore, smoothing out rough patches without scrubbing the city of the grit that makes it appealing. For every Mill No. 1, there’s still a Copycat Building, a former manufacturing warehouse nearby that has long served as a bohemian incubator, providing studio space for artists like the electronic-music composer Dan Deacon. Hampden, the hilly district where Simpkins lives, still looks much as it did in the early 1800s, when it was developed to house mill workers. But the main commercial stretch of 36th Street, known locally as “The Avenue,” has become one of the most compelling junctions in the city, a place where Baltimore’s many faces commingle. Recent additions like the French bistro Le Garage, the 13.5% Wine Bar and the home-goods boutique Trohv now sit beside junk shops, record stores and working-class institutions like the Café Hon. A parallel phenomenon is playing out in nearby Woodberry, where a decade ago the Woodberry Kitchen brought the farm-to-table movement to Baltimore. Now it has been joined by neighborhood staples like Birroteca, a craft-beer joint that serves artisanal pizza and small plates to scruffy postgrads and young families. On what looked to be a deserted corner in Remington, an area that in my day was on the list to avoid, Simpkins took me to W.C. Harlan, an eclectic, dimly lit speakeasy-style bar where the young and hip drank Instagram-ready cocktails next to neighborhood stalwarts knocking back US$2 beers. Across the street at Clavel, a mezcalería and taco joint, a meal can run you US$20 or US$100, depending on your mood and taste for rare mezcal. The owner of both Clavel and W.C. Harlan is Lane Harlan, a 30-year-old former military brat who stayed in Baltimore after attending the University of Maryland. t r a v e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m  /  s e p t e mb e r 2 0 1 7


Just about everyone I met in town seemed to know her and consider her the embodiment of the sort of opportunity Baltimore offers to young entrepreneurs. “If you’re a creative person, you can really make a big mark in the city by doing what you’re passionate about,” Harlan told me, explaining her success less as a series of calculations than as a happy accident. “You don’t need to have investors or be an investment banker. You’re not beholden to anyone.” Sweat equity successes like Harlan’s have inspired those with deeper pockets to wade into Remington. Not far from her establishments is R. House, a 4,645-squaremeter food hall that opened last December in a former auto garage to a blend of excitement and wariness. With its artisanal fried chicken, poke bar and cold-pressed juice, it is a decidedly modern interpretation of Baltimore’s traditional markets. Do such ventures spell the end of the old neighborhood, or a new beginning? As I sipped a frothy pink cocktail of thyme-infused rum and beet vinegar at R. House one afternoon, I contemplated that question while staring through the plate-glass windows at a telling vista: a block of regal row houses, many still boarded up, at least for now. What I found most remarkable was what remained in these neighborhoods: history and diversity, stoops and porches long occupied by the same families. In 1926, during another period of rapid growth, Mencken wrote, “The old charm, in truth, still survives in the town, despite the frantic efforts of boosters and boomers.” The line would apply just as well to a scene Simpkins and I observed on the Avenue in Hampden: a kid was smoking a cigarette while he sat on the hood of a car, seemingly indifferent to the fact that the car was moving at 40 kilometers per hour. “That sort of thing,” Simpkins said with a laugh, “is still alive and well in Baltimore.” We ended the night by making our way through a labyrinth of darkened streets to North Avenue and Charles Street. Thanks to its proximity to MICA, this has long been a nexus of Baltimore’s avant-garde, though in the past the entire scene could often be found crammed into a single bar: Club Charles, a campy dive where John Waters shows up occasionally. Now there is also the indierock club Ottobar and the Windup Space, which reinvents itself daily: as a music venue, an art gallery, a showcase for off-kilter stand-up. Nearby Bottega, an intimate Italian restaurant, draws foodies from across the city. Our destination was the Crown, where the city’s DIY party spirit still flourishes. A ragtag venue of graffitisplashed, catacomb-like rooms, it opened in 2013 in a former Korean mini-mall. After grabbing a cheap beer at the plywood bar, I wandered in a blissful haze. In one room I saw a man in a shredded white suit flailing about on the floor, a piece of performance art. In another, an indie band blared. Karaoke, I was informed, was happening in yet another, and, despite the hour, I could still order bibimbap on the ground floor. The mood was loose and feverish, the crowd varied: black and white, straight and gay, young and old. I found myself reaching for analogies. Was this like Brooklyn in the 90s? Berlin a


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decade ago? Neither, I decided. It was just Baltimore, radically homespun and bizarre, a place that demands to be appreciated on its own terms.

One regular at the Crown is Kwame Rose, a

23-year-old African American who emerged after Freddie Gray’s death as one of Baltimore’s most prominent social activists. “In a lot of ways, the Crown is the best of the city,” he told me. “You have all these different energies feeding off one another, learning from one another, and in the process you’re having the best night ever. That’s what this city needs to be about.” But will it? Baltimore, as Rose sees it, is at a precarious crossroads. As a cautionary tale, he cited Washington, D.C., a city both so close and so far away, where money poured in over the past two decades, turning the black majority into a minority. “If that’s our future, I think Baltimore becomes a failure,” he said. “It’s a changing city right now, it’s dynamic, and it’s one of the only majorityblack big cities left in the country. The challenge is: Yes, we want to make Baltimore the greatest city in America, but we don’t want to erase the culture and ethnicity.” To glimpse how this challenge is playing out, Rose suggested I visit Hollins Market, the neighborhood where he lives. One of the city’s oldest districts—Mencken’s home, now a National Historic Landmark, is here—it is composed of beautiful brick houses surrounding an 1838 Italianate market. A short drive from the Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the neighborhood is full of promise, though crime and poverty persist. For Rose, Hollins Market encapsulates Baltimore’s demographics. “You’ve got black families that have been here for generations,” he said. “You’ve got new young professionals, black and white. Some people come in and see only potential. What I want them to see is a community working hard to flourish.” There was subtext to Rose’s remark. Last year, a real estate company owned by Scott Plank, the older brother of Under Armour’s Kevin, purchased more than 30 buildings in the blocks surrounding the market. While Plank hasn’t revealed his plans, some worry that the neighborhood will be shaped by the sort of instincts fueling upscale developments like Port Covington rather than undergoing the more organic revitalization of Hampden and Remington. Walking along Hollins Avenue, I entered Lemlos, a barber­shop and informal community gathering spot that is one of a number of black-owned businesses operating near the market. Its owner is an affable man named Wayne Green who goes by Lemon, and he spoke about the future with unbridled optimism. “I don’t know what’s about to happen here,” he said as he gave a young man a trim, “but I’m all for it. Put up new buildings, fix up what’s here, give the market a more modern feel. This neighborhood is filled with people who’ve been wanting and needing change for years.” Lemon paused, perhaps imagining the possibilities. “I just hope in the end,” he said, “we’re still part of it.”

clockwise From left: Inside the Sagamore

Spirit distillery, in Port Covington; at the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, the pool overlooks industry across the Patapsco River; the beloved dive bar Club Charles, in Station North.

The details HOTEL Sagamore Pendry Baltimore When staying at this waterfront property, be sure to dine at its Rec Pier Chop House, dedicated to classic Italian cooking, and take in harbor views melding the city’s past and present from the outdoor pool bar. Fell’s Point;; doubles from US$343. RESTAURANTS+BARS Birroteca This craft-beer joint offers rustic Italian cuisine in an old mill building. Hampden; bmore; mains US$18–$22. Bottega Bring a bottle of your favorite wine to this 15-seat BYOB Tuscan-style trattoria, where you’ll find some of the city’s most refined cuisine. Station North;; mains US$15–$29. Clavel Maryland’s first mezcalería serves tacos and rare mezcals in a busy, minimalist space in Remington. barclavel. com; mains US$4–$12. Club Charles A campy dive that’s long been an anchor of bohemian Baltimore, Club Chuck, as the regulars call it, is as singular today as it was more than three decades ago. Station North; The Crown Baltimore’s creative crowd gathers at this ragtag venue for shows, performance art

and karaoke. Station North; Ottobar The performances at this club represent the best of the city’s magnetic rock scene. Charles Village; R. House This former auto-repair garage is now a modern rendition of the food halls that anchor Baltimore’s oldest neighborhoods. Remington; Rye The place that brought sophisticated cocktails to Fell’s Point recently reopened in a larger, industrial-chic space. Thames Street Oyster House A polished but unpretentious hangout where you can order local oysters and a lobster roll. Fell’s Point; thamesstreetoyster; mains US$18–$42. W.C. Harlan The atmosphere is relaxing and inclusive at this speakeasy-style bar. Remington; Windup Space Depending on the night, this venue might be an art gallery, a concert hall, a showcase for stand-up or a spot to play board games. Station North; Woodberry Kitchen This pioneer in a converted 19th-century iron foundry remains a must for culinary adventurers. Woodberry;; mains US$20–$48.

place ma n ila

No longer just a gateway to the islands, the dense, kinetic Philippine capital has become a destination in its own right. By Stephanie Zubiri Photogr aphed by Fr ancisco Guerrero


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o p p o s i t e fr o m l e f t: c o u r t e s y o f S h a n g r i - l a at t h e f o r t; c o u r t e s y o f R aff l e s ma k at i ; c o u r t e s y o f S o f i t e l p h i l i p p i n e p l a z a ; c o u r t e s y o f t h e P e n i n s u l a ma n i l a ( 2 ) . ma p b y a u t c h ara pa n p h a i

The gallery/ shop Aphro Living Art and Design.

If you haven’t been to Manil a in a while, you’re due. This is a town on the rise; it’s near impossible to recognize the cityscape from even five years ago. Case in point: one neighborhood, Bonifacio Global City, commonly known as BGC or The Fort, sprung from basically nothing and has evolved into a major hub, with skyscrapers and tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly streets filled with some of the hottest tables in town. Even the old Makati CBD has gotten a facelift. The rise of Uber and GrabTaxi has also altered the landscape, rendering some previously difficult-to-reach districts now fully accessible. Poblacion, for example, which used to be downright dodgy, is now an exciting enclave where young restaurateurs and entrepreneurs have set up shop, attracted by the low rents. This is but one way urban life is rapidly changing, for today’s Manileño has become far more discerning and cosmopolitan, preferring unique concepts to big brands, franchises and malls. Locals are not only embracing new cultures via their cuisine and art, they also proudly support homegrown brands, many of which are designed to go global. More and more expat Filipinos are returning and, along with the influx of young foreigners deciding to make Manila their home, there’s an incredibly vibrant exchange of ideas and creative energy. On the following pages we try our best to illuminate the new corners of élan. Strap in; this is a guide as dense as the city’s, yes, still quite terrible traffic.

Presidential suite, at Raffles.

Sweet stays

Beautiful bay views, at Sofitel.

Stylish and convenient stops on the map to lay down your weary head... + Astorla Greenbelt

Shangri-La at the Fort.

Well-appointed, well priced and extremely well located. doubles from P3,000. + The Henry Hotel This converted 1950s home with vintage appeal and Mid-century décor is a true boutique, as decorated by Eric Paras, whose showroom is on site.; doubles from P4,000. + La Casita Mercedes Charming B&B in a renovated pre-war colonial house in central Makati, a stone’s throw away from the hip district of Williamsburgos.; singles from P1,700. + The Peninsula The stunning lobby is the most prestigious meeting place in town, and the food and service are always impeccable.; doubles from P7,000. + Picasso Surrounded by small restos and bars in Salcedo Village, the minimalist rooms of varying sizes—from studios to lofts—and friendly staff are perfect for long stays.; doubles from P4,000. + Raffles Gorgeous, generous suites with that

classic, old-world Raffles touch. Smack in the middle of in the Makati CBD.; doubles from P12,000. + Shangri-La at the Fort The luxurious new “town hall” of the BGC is bursting with fab food and drink options, a huge gym and a kids rec center, walkable to many of the hippest places in town.; doubles from P12,300. + Sofitel Beautiful bay views, Technicolor sunsets and an excellent buffet (see: cheese room and foie gras station).; doubles from P7,000.

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At The Peninsula, elevated cuisine, and a most impressive lobby.



/ place /

At 210 Degrees Kitchen+Drinkery, steak tartare, by chef William Mahi.


Fine dining For that special night out in Manila, book with these guys well in advance. The most beautiful Blackbird restaurant in town is in the Nielsen Tower, one of the few

pre-war buildings left in the center. The menu mirrors its structure’s origin as an airport, taking you from Italy to Vietnam. It’s a perfect spot for diners with opposing cravings, plus top-notch service and great cocktails.; P3,500.

Manila favorite. Whether it’s the homemade taglioni with bottarga, the fluffiest cheese soufflé around, or lamb rib with cauliflower purée, the execution is always stellar. They have one of the best-curated wine lists in the country.; P5,000.

Starched linens, five-star service and creative Continental Sala cuisine make this jewel box of a restaurant the ultimate finedining establishment in the capital. With just 40 seats, this is the best place for an intimate dinner or a dressy lunch. salarestaurant. com; tasting menus from P2,900 per person.

If you manage to land Mecha Uma spots on the 10-seat counter, you must relinquish all control to the young and talented chef Bruce Ricketts, who will dazzle you with a Japanese-style omakaze made with the freshest possible ingredients and his own equally fresh twist.; tasting menus P3,600 per person.

A tattoo-like mural at 20/20.

Drink It In

If college kids and EDM mash-ups don’t appeal, head to these exemplars of the city’s new nightlife, catering to a more mature set. Neither nightclubs nor moody bars, these joints embody the idea of a shimmy and shake.

+ Chotto Matte Whiskey highballs and tracks from the 90s and early aughts, from the Raintree team, behind the successful concepts of M Café and Rocket Room, Chotto Matte is not about pretension or posing; it’s just simply a great place to hang out. Most people converge around a table but no one will bat an eyelash if you start dancing by the DJ booth. raintreechottomatte.

* Restaurant prices are approximate cost of a meal with drinks for two, unless otherwise noted.

Global Table

As the city becomes more cosmopolitan, the cuisine deliciously follows. f r e n c h . 210 Degrees Kitchen+Drinkery Chef William Mahi named his new bistro after both the perfect roasting temperature and his more than 180shift from “fine dining to fun dining.” Serving dishes that he would like to eat on his day off, he offers bold exotic flavors like the roast octopus with Ras-el-Hanout and piquillo mayo, and fried

chicken with his own secret spice mix, but he doesn’t ignore his Gallic roots, making French classics such as frog legs and toprated sole meunière. Take advantage of the stellar sommelier and start (or end) the evening with a cocktail at the bar. 210degrees. ph; P3,000. g r e e k . Souv! There is no shortage of delicious spit-fired

+ 20/20 A gritty space in a reconverted warehouse with cement walls covered in tattoo-like murals, this is the smoking-hot, of-the-moment place to be. From world music to deep house, reggaeton and even a little Mariah Carey, the party vibe is infectious. Order their Gin Basil Smash—it's the perfect way to hydrate and intoxicate at the same time.

+ Yes Please In this self-styled dive bar with a foosball table and neon signs, blaring funk, blues and a touch of disco, it’s all about the mingle, thanks to ample couches and throwback concoctions like the guava absinthe–laced Devon Sawa. Elbow-rub with models and It girls, entrepreneurs and creatives. Strict about its maximum-capacity, so come early and grab a bite to secure a spot.

M dining: courtesy of m dining. bot tom: courtesy of 20/20

The best ingredients Mapproach DininGmake combined with a classic up the menu of this

meats here. Chicken, pork, lamb and beef souvlaki are the highlights of this modern Greek eatery but they share the spotlight with the mezzes and other offerings. Do not miss the cheese saganaki with peppered fig jam or the grilled sous vide octopus. For vegetarians, healthconscious chef Robby Goco cooks up hearty options like saffron cauliflower rice with tahini, or zucchini kroketes. souvbycyma; P1,500. s pa n i s h . Txanton This wine and jamon shop is an epicurean haven. Specializing in the best Iberian ham in


the world, Txanton offers jamon Iberico tastings and delicious pork dishes. Pick out a bottle or two of wine and take over a communal table for a great wind-down at the end of the day with friends. Order nibbles like the jamon pâté and progress into the evening with a grilled secreto Iberico or txuleton. ph; P3,500. p e r u v i a n . Samba Fresh, zingy and muy caliente! are the best ways to describe both cuisine and ambience at Samba. Peruvian chef Carlo Huerta Echegaray takes full advantage of the Philippines’ bountiful oceans in his menu of his native classics like leche de tigre, ceviche and tiraditos. Boldly flavored dishes like the Peruvian pork adobo or the slowcooked lamb shank with sarza criolla are beautiful.

Wash it all down with a few pisco sours and the party in your mouth will definitely move down to your feet. Shangri-La at the Fort; P2,500. southeast asian. Any Any Brainchild of Chef Nicco Santos, the man behind the Southeast Asian eatery Hey Handsome!, Any Any is a street-food-classics stall with the best nasi lemak and roti prata in town. Devour a satisfying lunch of his renditions of murtabak stuffed roti prata with hearty fillings like caramelized onions and cheese or beef rendang. Hole In The Wall, 4F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati; P500.

Manam From streetballs and chicharon to pork shoulder sinigang and pancit palabok, this modern eatery does street food and home-cooked faves using the best ingredients. A dichotomous menu offers parallel creative versions of the classics: Think beef short ribs and watermelon sinigang or deep fried chorizo and white cheese lumpia. GF Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, BGC; P700.

Toyo Eatery Chef Jordy Navarra's philosophy is not to re-invent traditional dishes but to create new ones based on his childhood memories and new inspirations. Have all the veggies found in the local nursery rhyme Bahay Kubo in one bite, or try an indulgent version of street food favorite, pork barbecue. The Alley at Karrivin, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati; P3,500.

‘Williamburgos’ Poblacion Pub Crawl

Sunset Session l e f t: c o u r t e s y o f raff l e s ma k at i

Roti prata at Any Any.

Filipino Fare Pig out on the local flavor.

Enjoy the Manila skyline awash in fuchsia-orange hues with French canapés (think veal and prawn tartare on crispy rice), a cheese board or homemade terrines on the terrace of Mireio. A bottle of cold Côtes de Provence rosé will match your mood to the sky. Mireio at the Raffles Hotel;; a bottle of rosé and a cheese board P3,300. A perfect match at the Mireio Terrace.

An enclave of independent eateries and bars sprouted organically in central Makati, and its über cool underground-meets-boho vibe has earned the nickname “Williamsburgos”—a mash-up of the hipster haven in Brooklyn with the local red-light district of Burgos where it is. Within walking distance of one another, among Korean minimarts, motorcycle bars and girlie clubs are fun craft cocktails, super sandwiches, Malaysian spicy chicken wings, tasty tacos, gourmet yakitori, and more tequila than anyone sane could handle. While the scene is cool, the climate is not: most places are not air-conditioned. It isn’t for the precious, so trade in your loafers for a pair of sneakers and put on a ratty t-shirt, and you’ll fit right in. Walk down from Felipe Street, across Kalayaan Avenue to Don Pedro Street where much of the action is. The neighboring lanes hold great gems. Favorite newcomers are Wild Poppy (5666 Don Pedro), with a bright terrace, modern Asian bites and refreshing Burger at Wild Poppy. cocktails, and Oto (GF 5880 Enriquez St.), a contemporary music room with a record library and a state-of-the-art sound system. t r a v e l a n d l e i s u r e a s i a . c o m  /  s e p t e mb e r 2 0 1 7


/ place /


Provenance Art Gallery. Lanai Manila.

it's in the bag These shops sell covetworthy souvenirs to show off your own style as much as that of the Philippines. FAH Macky Fah designs and curates a lust-worthy selection of bling. Bijoux Fah offers wearable fine jewelry like goldwire wrap rings studded with oddly shaped diamonds, as well as the affordable-luxe silverdipped-in-gold pieces with fun accents. Inquire about the bespoke services. And pick up her delicious-smelling beeswax candles and coconut-oil-based soaps.

lanai Manila Hear the retail angels sing as you enter this enclave of all things chic, from here and around the world. Hand-blown crystal, vintage silver, hand-painted Moroccan plates, brass earrings in the style of indigenous tribes, and hand-embroidered tunics by local designers. The list goes on. The perfect place to pick up a gift or two… for yourself!

Philux Home Their BGC outlet carries an elegant selection of home accessories by Filipino artisans, including copper barstools, marble cheeseboards and throw pillows embroidered with tropical birds. Warning: You’ll be tempted to drop a fortune on their stunning contemporary pieces that embrace Filipino craftsmanship and design.

Art Galleries

Bridging the aesthetic gaps between past and present, local and international, traditional, classic and avant-garde.

Aphro Living Art and Design. From sculptural artisanal pottery to quirky oneof-a-kind furniture, this space is equal parts gallery and retailtherapy haven. aphroliving. Archivo 1984. This cache of collectibles, art, old movie posters and records is driven by an obsession with vintage Philippine memorabilia and culture. The place for non-kitschy souvenirs. Bellas Artes. Outpost. The satellite space of Bataan-based Bellas Artes Projects features non-profit, not-for-sale exhibits in art, architecture and design, reflecting the work done in their school and community. Founder Jam Acuzar offers space for contemporary

creatives to be has one of the immersed in traditional largest collections of craftsmanship and an Philippine outlet to exchange and contemporary art. exhibit with artists from all over the pintoartmuseum. world. bellasartes Silverlens. Champions of Provenance Art photography and Gallery. Husband and mixed-media by both wife team Joanna local and regional Preysler and Raul artists. silverlens Francisco curate shows from news and established artists. Think large showstopping pieces that would look stunning in any living room. provenanceartgallery. Pinto Art Museum. With antique doors and carved windows in bright colors, and a weathered patina in the hills of Antipolo, this is one of the most Instagrammed places in Metro Manila. Disco rocket and Founded by art patron showroom at Aphro Living and collector Dr. Joven Art and Design. Cuanang, the museum

To market, to market

Salcedo Market. Pillows at Philux Home.

Tired of the malls? Check out one of the two outdoor weekend markets in the heart of Manila’s CBD. Visit Salcedo Market on Saturdays or Legazpi Market on Sundays for a well-curated selection of produce, plants, local products like virgin coconut oil or fermented tonics, and some great artisanal handicrafts like colorful woven baskets and mats. These markets are also known as hatching grounds for the next big culinary trends, so try one of the numerous food stalls. They are great places for weekend brunch—just bring a hat! For a more authentic experience, make the trek to Cubao Farmers’ Market for rows of flowers, vegetables and fish so fresh they’re still swimming. Dine at one of the many eateries where they will gladly cook up your purchases for you.

c o u r t e s y o f Pr o v e n a n c e A r t Ga l l e r y


Gentlemen’s Corner

i n s i d e r s , fr o m t o p : c o u r t e s y o f N i c o b o l z i c o & s o l e n n H e u s s aff ; c o u r t e s y o f m i k a e l a mar t i n e z ; c o u r t e s y o f c h e f J P a n g l o

INSIDERS' tips The entrepreneur husband and celebrity wife show us a hot night out in BGC: “We usually start with dinner at Las Flores []. We like the ambience because it’s cozy and away from everything. Then we would end with drinks at Tomatito []. It’s not as dark as a regular bar and you can actually still see faces and have a conversation without having to scream. You still get that night out vibe with the Latin music. It puts us in a good mood.”

c h i l d ' s p l ay mikaela martinez

Bespoke suits, tailored shirts and specialized grooming will satisfy the dandy in you.

d at e n i g h t

nico bolzico & solenn Heussaff

The lifestyle blogger, model and embodiment of #momgoals shares her favorite family-friendly fun: “With five galleries—Atom, Earth, Universe, Technology and Life—no matter how old you are, the Mind Museum [] is something the entire family can enjoy. Being in BGC, it’s very accessible. If venturing out more, try indoor theme park Dreamplay by Dreamworks [] or the Sta. Elena Fun Farm [].”

The TV host and chef at Sarsa Kitchen+Bar eats his way through his day-off: “Go to Bacolod Chicken House Express [114 Savana Market, Metropolitan Avenue, Makati]—the inasal is so good and very authentic to the ilonggo style. Get the garlic rice, the paa (leg) and the gizzard. Aysee’s [Cityland Townhouses, 17 Martin’s St., Pasig City] sisig is also a must. It’s very buttery, very indulgent and an authentic carinderia experience. If you're less, adventurous try El Cirkulo’s [] crisp, addicting version in a luxurious setting. And for dessert, the ginumis of Via Mare [].”

+ Felipe and Sons Barberdashery “Clean Cuts, Close Shaves, Custom Clothing, Cold Beer”—their website says it all. + Spectre The lifestyle concept store includes bespoke suits by local tailors using imported fabric; a barbershop; imported leather goods and accessories; solid scents; and, of course, a selection of single malts to complete the experience. + Signet Vintage specs, handmade Spanish footwear, silk pocket squares and tailoring pop-ups with Neapolitan tailors—definitely worth a stop even if it’s just to pick up some specialty shoe polish.

p i n o y s t r e e t e at s

chef JP Anglo

Nature Escape Trade in Metro Manila’s urban jungle for some real nature. Go on an easy hike up one of the numerous nearby mountains, or experience the crystalline waters of Mt. Pinatubo’s crater. Trail Adventours can organize hikes for beginners, including one that’s adapted for children, as well as more intense full-day trips, such as camping expeditions with stunning views and inviting waterfalls. You can join a group or schedule a private climb.; packages from P1,600 per person.

At Aiyanar Diver Resort, in Anilao.

Go under the sea at Anilao. A 2½-hour drive south of Manila’s center is the dive town Anilao, which is teeming with protected reefs and is perfect for a daytrip or a longer escape. Aiyanar Diver Resort brings the R&R—reef and relaxation, that is—with a stunning infinity pool and well-appointed seaview rooms.; beginner’s PADI courses from P4,200 per person, and rooms at twin sharing starting P9,000 per night inclusive of breakfast; for dive and stay packages, contact the resort directly.

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wish you were here

Chris Gin /  Castle Rock /  new zealand Castle Rock is part of a scenic reserve in Castlepoint, within the Wairarapa region, which is tucked into the southeast corner of New Zealand’s North Island. The Deliverance Cove Track guides hikers to this craggy perch in about 30 minutes along a well-formed trail and offers spectacular views of the coastline from 162 meters above the water. Within a small area, this section of the coast features pine forests, a lagoon and a reef, not to mention frequent strong winds. Out to sea, dolphins, fur seals and even small whales are common in the surrounding waters. Castlepoint was named in 1770 by Captain Cook, who was struck by the similarities of Castle Rock to man-made battlements, though the name Wairarapa, which translates as “glistening waters,” comes from the observation of a Maori explorer—a bipartisanship of nomenclature that exemplefies the cooperative spirit of Kiwi culture.


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September 2017  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia 2017

September 2017  

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia 2017