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Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

A Publication of



South Africa’s Seductive Secrets on page 8

Issue 04 December 2015

For the latest travel news and tips, visit

Spellbinding Beauty of Kerala on page 10

Seasonal Splendours of Turkey on page 12

WONDROUS MAGIC OF QUÉBEC An enthralling Canadian city where Christmas dreams come true on page 14

WIN r h ove Wort


Discovering Philippines on page 7


A 2-NIGHTS’ STAY* AT THE CANOPI RESORT Accommodation for two with breakfast included.

Boasting comfortable and contemporary accommodations nestled in the lush greenery of Bintan Island, The Canopi is a wonderland for nature lovers to explore. Its private mangrove river, saltwater lagoon and nature trails allow visitors to seek repost amidst lush forests. HOW TO ENTER THE LUCKY DRAW: Simply email to, with the subject “TJ Dec15 - The Canopi Resort Promotion” along with your name, NRIC and contact number. Closing date is on the 15th of December 2015. Prize doesn’t include transfer fees. Results will be published in the March’16 issue of Travel Journal. *For terms & conditions, please refer to:



Is a publication by

2 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015


Gearing Up for 2016 The fourth issue of Travel Journal greets the wintry holidays with Christmas cheer, while ringing in the new year of exciting beginnings and endless possibilities.

WORLDWIDE MEDIA Publisher General Manager Contributing Editor Associate Editor Writers Senior Designer

Cecilia Woo Lilian Quek Pat Chong Cherlyn Ang Angelia TK Henny Rafiedzah

SALES & MARKETING Sales Directors Marketing Executive

Anna Khoo Melisah Roslan

FOR ENQUIRIES General Editorial

WWM PTE LTD People’s Park Centre 101 Upper Cross Street #04-37 Singapore 058357 Tel: 65 6533 0400 The information contained herein is accurate at time of printing. Changes may have occurred since this travel tabloid went to print. WWM PTE LTD will not be held liable for any damages, loss, injury or inconvenience arising in connection with the contents of this travel tabloid. WWM PTE LTD will not accept responsibility for unsolicited contributions. Printer: Times Printers (S) Private Limited (L007/08/2015) MCI(P)063/09/2015 ISSN 2424-8126

DISTRIBUTION POINTS Printed copies are distributed at selected MRT stations, central business districts and satellite towns in Singapore: Amoy Street Ang Mo Kio Chinatown Point Choa Chu Kang City Hall Jurong People’s Park Centre People’s Park Complex Punggol Raffles Place Tampines Tanjong Pagar Toa Payoh Woodlands



Scan Here For A Free Monthly Subscription Of The Travel Journal

It has been a rewarding experience to see how far the Travel Journal has come, and as the Christmas season draws near, we feel thankful for our readers’ continuous support for our publication and the positive encouragements that we have received during our island-wide distribution of the Travel Journal. It is also wonderful to see our subscription rate increasing, which is further proof that our publication is headed towards the right direction. As 2016 draws closer, we are extremely excited for the new opportunities that the new year would bring, as well as novel trends and destinations that would invigorate the hearts and minds of well-seasoned travellers. With that in mind, the Travel Journal team would be taking a short break for two months, and bounce back with more refreshing concepts and stimulating content for the March issue of Travel Journal that will breathe new life into your passion for travel. Slated for distribution around the end of February 2016, the issue will be published in conjunction with the upcoming Travel Revolution Fair, so keep a look out for the exciting promotions that we have in store for you. To keep yourself in the loop with exclusive travel deals and early-bird promotions for the fair, we recommend that you subscribe to the Travel Journal through our website and like us on our Facebook page to receive regular updates. On another happy note, the year-end holidays and Christmas season is fast approaching, and we sincerely wish that this December will be filled with joy for all our readers. Whether jetting off to faraway places for a long, winter vacation, or taking a short break off work to spend some quality time with friends and family, we hope that all of you will enjoy a well-deserved respite to enjoy the Christmas holidays. As for myself, I am looking forward to my trip to Italy, famous for its timeless Roman architecture and authentic Italian pizzas. With that, I end by sharing some pictures of my amazing winter journey to Cappadocia in Turkey, where I discovered some of the most stunning and exhilarating sights and activities. See you all again in 2016.

Cecilia Woo Publisher




3:23 pm

3 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015




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4 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015


3rd to 9th

11th to 12th


Hosted by Singapore for the first time, the 8th ASEAN Para Games will see 3000 athletes and officials from all over the region taking part in 15 different sports for this year. An extraordinary event that celebrates people with different disabilities, it promotes friendship and solidarity among the differently abled as well as encourage social interaction and integration into mainstream society through sports. Watch these amazing athletes overcome their disabilities and physical challenges as they shine in various sporting competitions such as badminton, swimming and wheelchair basketball in this biennial multi-sports event, which will take place over seven days at various venues.

The 15th installment of the long-awaited, iconic music and dance beach rave party in Singapore is back this December with a stellar lineup this year, which include Swedish electronic music duo Axwell and Ingrosso; French producer and rapper DJ Snake; and Grammy-nominated Dutchman Armin van Buuren. This year’s ZoukOut will also feature the highest number of music acts making their debut performances in the event’s 15-year history. Immerse yourself in the two-day revelry of top-notch music performances and a myriad of exciting activities, from costumed buskers and art installations to temporary tattoo stations and the not-to-be-missed signature ZoukOut fireworks display on the second day of the music fest.

With the success of its inaugural staging last year, Malaysia’s home grown retro music festival is back again with phenomenal music acts that are set to wow fans of ‘80s and ‘90s music. Catch performances by reggae-pop singer Diana King; American singer Tommy Page; long-running pop/R&B quartet All-4One; and last but not least, hip-hop artist MC Hammer. Relive classic chart-toppers like “I’ll Be Your Everything” and “I Swear” as well as other great songs that dominated the club playlists and music charts during the 1990s at this one-of-a-kind event in the region. Dig out those baggy, bell-bottomed pants, colourful shirts and oversized sunglasses for a retro night at this concert extravaganza.

ZoukOut 2015 SINGAPORE

Retrofest Asia 2015 MALAYSIA events/2015/12/retrofest-asia-2015


24th to 28th

26th to 31st

A yearly festival celebrated in San Fernando, Philippines, the Giant Lantern Festival showcases a display of gigantic lanterns that form a dizzying light show. From the simple lantern made from paper and bamboo, the symbol of light and hope for the Filipino community has now evolved into spectacular shapes and sizes with a kaleidoscope of colours. Measuring up to five metres, the lanterns are welded into steel frames and lined with cardboard and foil, followed by the wiring of lightbulbs and rotors to manipulate various hues. The striking display of this popular event around the same time each year has led the city of San Fernando to be christened with the title, ‘Christmas Capital of the Philippines’.

This long-standing gastronomic event features more than 550 exhibitors from various countries and regions, showcasing a huge selection of international food and beverages. For five whole days at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, get a taste of both traditional and modern cuisine from countries like Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, with plenty of highlights and promotions, such as food sampling, to attract even the pickiest gourmet. Pick up some tips from the talks and cooking demonstrations by celebrities and chefs at the Gastronomic Paradise @ Star Kitchen section, or arouse your taste buds with the abundant flow of culinary delights from the 10 different themed zones at the food carnival.

An iconic, summertime event of Australia, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual ocean yacht race where maxi yachts and weekend racers compete in a gruelling 628-nautical-mile course (approximately 1,170 kilometres). The race kicks off with a spectacular start at Nielson Park in Sydney Harbour, before contestants sail out to the Tasman Sea, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across Bass Strait, round the Tasman into Storm Bay and a last spurt up the Derwent River to reach the finishing line at Battery Point. Join the crowd at Hobart’s historic waterfront as they welcome the weary yacht crews with rousing cheers and warm hospitality, and stay on for the festivities happening right after the race.

Giant Lantern Festival 2015 PHILIPPINES

13th Hong Kong Food Festival 2015 HONGKONG

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race AUSTRALIA


8th ASEAN Para Games Singapore 2015 SINGAPORE

5 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015




Happy moments deserve the spotlight, and here we want to share the joy of travelling to all of our readers! These photographs featured here are just some of the happy memories that we have found, and seeing these infectious smiles makes us want to spread some happiness around. So starting from this issue onwards, we will be featuring photographs of travel tour groups from specific travel agencies, and all you have to do is to try and spot yourself in the photo to win!

Clue: T ravel S


Clue: EU Holidays

Clue: WTS Travel & Tours

THE PRIZE Each winner will win an exclusive Traveloc gift worth $25!

Clue: S Travel

HOW TO WIN 1. If you spot yourself in any of the photos, send an email with your name and trip details (e.g. date of travel, destination, etc to 2. One winner will be selected for each photograph, on a first-come-first-served basis. 3. The list of winners will be published in the next issue of Travel Journal. Closing date for this issue’s contest: 10 Dec 2015

Terms and Conditions • This contest is open to the customers of the respective travel agencies only. Employees, contractors and immediate families of employees of WWM PTE LTD and the respective travel agencies are not eligible to join this contest. • All photos are selected by the editor on a random basis, with support from the respective travel agencies. • All entries will be verified with the respective travel agencies. • Illegible and late entries, or entries with false information will not be accepted and disqualified from the contest. • This contest is also governed by WWM PTE LTD’s Contest Terms and Conditions. The terms and conditions may be found at

6 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

MARKET NEWS Duty-free Shopping Made Easier On iShopChangi Love shopping for wines and spirits, cosmetics and perfumes at the duty-free store in Changi Airport? Then, you are sure to love Changi Airport’s new iShopChangi collection-on-arrival service. The new iShopChangi service works the same way just like how purchases are made before departure, where none of the respective duties or 7% goods and services tax (GST) are attached to these purchases. The 7% GST is absorbed by The Shilla Duty Free for beauty products, while you are allowed to buy up to your maximum duty-free allowances for wines and spirits. Members of Changi Airport’s loyalty programme, Changi Rewards, will also get to earn points for purchases made on iShopChangi. Shopping on iShopChangi is simple and fuss-free. Following purchases and payment made online, passengers can collect their items from the respective

DFS (for wines and spirits) or The Shilla Duty Free stores (for cosmetics and perfumes) at Changi Airport’s arrival halls. Collection can be done any time for wines and spirits, but only between 6am and midnight for cosmetics and perfumes. Purchases can be made as early as two weeks to 18 hours before flights, so as to allow passengers a longer window to finalise their selections. The duty-free product range on iShopChangi boasts more than 6,000 items across seven categories, which includes Beauty, Wines and Spirits, Chocolates and Delicatessen, Fashion, IT and Electronics Timepieces, and Home. Popular brands like Estee Lauder, SK-II, Laneige and GoPro are available online, while new brands such as Mont Blanc, Swarovski, Pandora and Risis have just come on board.

For more information:

The Winners Are Out! Southeast Asia’s leading travel site, TripZilla, has released their list of winners for this year’s TripZilla Excellence Awards. The annual TripZilla Excellence Awards honours the most outstanding travel companies and organisations for their excellence in service, innovative travel experiences and business practices. The awards serve as a form of recognition for the achievements of these organisations and a ringing endorsement as the market leaders of the travel industry. Tripzilla Excellence Awards 2015 comprise of 13 award categories this year – Best for Europe; USA; China; Japan; Korea; Taiwan; Australia; New Zealand; Thailand; Malaysia; Vietnam 2015; as well as Best Coach Operator 2015 and Best Travel Insurance 2015. Among the 13 winners, EU Holidays took home the Best for Europe 2015 and Best for USA 2015 awards this year, due to their specialised tour packages to both destinations that remain widely popular among local travel consumers. S Travel, a favourite travel agent for South Korea destinations,

bagged the Best for Korea 2015 award with their tailored seasonal packages that won many travellers’ hearts. A handy portal that helps travellers compare prices and gather information, Tripzilla collates the latest tour packages from travel agencies all over Singapore, the

Scoot Taking Over Jeddah Services from SIA

Scoot will be taking over operation of services to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from parent company Singapore Airlines (SIA) on May 1, 2016, which marks the first Middle Eastern destination to its network. According to a press release from SIA, the transfer of operations will result in an increase in capacity to and from Jeddah and better optimise the utilisation of the SIA Group’s resources. As SIA currently operates three flights weekly to Jeddah via Dubai, Scoot will similarly start with thrice-weekly non-stop services between Singapore and Jeddah using 335-seat Boeing 787-8s, subject to regulatory approval. There are also plans in place to progressively increase frequency of flight services to Jeddah. CEO of Scoot, Campbell Wilson, said: “We have long wanted to operate to Saudi Arabia. Jeddah, its second

hottest bargains in town, as well as essential travel tips and information all in one spot to make travelling easier.

For more information:

largest city, is both a commercial centre as well as the principal gateway for religious pilgrimages to nearby Mecca. With thrice-weekly non-stop services (to Jeddah), Scoot looks forward to improving connectivity between Singapore and this important world city.” Customers who have made advance bookings to or from Jeddah on Singapore Airlines will be re-accommodated on Scoot’s new services, or may otherwise opt for a refund. The new Scoot flights will depart Singapore every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 16:40 and arrive in Jeddah at 20:30 (timings listed are local). The return services will leave Jeddah at 22:00 on the same days of the week, arriving back in Singapore at 00:40 on the next day.

For more information:


For TripZilla Excellence Awards 2015

7 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

Play Out Your Dreams At the upcoming Movie Animation Parks Studio Fans of animated films like The Smurfs, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and The Croods are about to have their dreams come true. Slated to open within the first half of 2016 is the ‘First Animation Theme Park in Asia’, spanning 210,437 square metres in area and costs RM$450 million to build. Strategically located in the state of Perak, Ipoh, Movie Animation Parks Studios (MAPS) is the latest exciting dream destination in the region that brings animation to life with a variety of attractions that everyone can enjoy. Featuring 40 attractions spread across six thematic zones, visitors can visit the home of BoBoiBoy in Animation Square, a favourite Malaysian animated series; enjoy thrilling rides at the Dreamworks Adventure Zone featuring Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Megamind, The Croods and Casper The Friendly Ghost; watch a ‘Smurftastic’ live animation show at The Smurfs; see Southeast Asia’s first car and bike live stunt performance in a 2,000-seat, custom-built arena at Stunt Legends; and go on an enchanted adventure in the Fantasy Forest

Zone. Space enthusiasts will also be treated to a unique dining and retail experience in the Blast Off Zone. Tickets will go on sale in January 2016. Early birds may wish to book their special ticket packages now, which

was launched in conjunction with MAPS’ official debut at the World Travel Market (WTM) London 2015. For more information:

Discovering Philippines With Preferred Hotels & Resorts Independent hotel and resort brand, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is offering travellers an once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore the different facets of Philippines through three selected hotels from the Discovery Group. From the pristine beaches of Boracay to Manila’s business districts, these hotels offer thoughtfullydesigned accommodations, personalised services and authentic dining options to enhance your Philippines adventure. Holiday-makers and business travellers may choose Discovery Primea, a 141-room hotel with five restaurants and bars, which is located in the Makati Central Business District. Discovery Suites offers travellers the comfort and ambience of an expansive private residence with its 220 well-appointed one- to three-bedroom suites in the heart of Manila’s Ortigas Business District. Beach lovers may wish to settle in Discovery Shores Boracay, situated

World’s Largest Cruise Ship Close to Completion With Royal Caribbean Scheduled to debut in May 2016 for her inaugural summer season, Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas is nearing completion. The world’s largest cruise ship will span 16 guest decks, encompass 227,000 gross registered tons, carry 5,497 guests at double occupancy, and feature 2,747 staterooms. Harmony of the Seas is the first in a new generation of Oasis class ships harnessed with groundbreaking architectural innovation and breakthrough technology. The cruise ship will feature revolutionary elements such as a Bionic Bar with dancing robot bartenders; the tallest slide at sea with a 10-storey plunge at Splashaway Bay; the Royal WOWBands experience amplified with RFID technology; and Voom, the fastest internet at sea that lets you surf, stream and share information online seamlessly. Home to seven distinct neighbourhoods, Harmony of the Seas provides endless thrilling activities that are sure to keep guests of all ages fully entertained. Kids and

toddlers will have loads of fun at the Splashaway Bay, an interactive water park complete with seas creature water cannons, long, winding slides, a multi-platform jungle gym and a gigantic drench bucket. Adventurers may go for zip lining, ice skating or rock climbing activities, or pick up some surfing skills at the Flow Rider surfing simulators. Grab the chance to watch a Broadway show, or head to the Aqua Theatre to see a spectacular diving acrobatics performance. Satiate your cravings with a wide range of dining options onboard, including new specialty restaurants like Izumi Hibachi & Sushi and Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine. In November 2016, Harmony of the Seas will arrive to her homeport of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings. For more information:

in Station 1 of Long White Beach, which comes fully equipped with 87 all-suite accommodations, an on-site spa and restaurants serving international cuisine. Guests who book two consecutive nights at any of these three participating hotels under the Discovery Philippines package will enjoy a complimentary third night at the same hotel or any one of the other two hotels, complete with breakfast, welcome drinks and amenities, and free Wi-Fi access. Rates for Disovery Primea, Discovery Suites and Discovery Shores Boracay start from S$295, S$235 and S$584 respectively. Terms and conditions apply. For more information:

8 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

Walk on the Wild Side with the Big Five WORDS BY ANGELIA TK

A term used by many trophy hunters, The Big Five denotes the five most dangerous animals in Africa that are often hunted for sport. Other than being known for their ferocity, strength and speed, these elusive and endangered creatures define what the South African wilderness is all about.

Cape Buffalo

Moving in large herds, these formidable beasts adhere to the rule of one for all and all for one. Even when under attack, buffaloes are likely to charge as a unit to defend themselves against predators, demonstrating what strength in numbers really mean. This simple yet effective tactic also ensures the decrease in mortality rates amongst the young and feeble of the group. An average buffalo can grow up to three and a half metres and can weigh around 870 kg, so its not hard to imagine how effective a counter-attack would be against a pride of lions.

African Elephant

Hidden amongst the African savannah, the slow and steady approach of the African lion goes unseen and unheard by its prey as the impending ambush unfolds. Weighing up to 249 kilograms, a typical male can reach up to three metres long. Distinguished by their shaggy manes, these majestic felines spend an average of 16 to 20 hours resting beneath the shades of The Acacia tree, and hunt in groups called prides that may consist of 40 cats at any one time. Today it is estimated that fewer that 20,000 inhabit the African plains.

African Leopard

Revered for its intricately patterned rosette coat, leopard prints have been sought-after commodities for years. This is the main reason why these agile creatures have landed on the list of endangered animals. Unlike its feline counterparts, like the lions, leopards are known to be solitary mammals that mostly hunt alone. Size does not always matter, and this holds true for the African Leopard, which can hunt animals that are three times its size. Genetically gifted with superb climbing skills, these cats drag their preys up trees to keep them away from other predators.

African Rhinoceros

Do not underestimate these horned giants just because they have poor eyesight; The African Rhino has a very well-developed sense of hearing that can aid in detecting the slightest movement in its surroundings. Currently, there are five different species of rhinoceros in the world, two of which that thrive in the African plains are the Black Rhinoceros and the White Rhinoceros. The White Rhinoceros is the largest species, and weighs around 3490 kilograms, easily becoming the largest land mammal next to the elephant. Though recent intensive conservation efforts have saved the White Rhino from near extinction, the Black Rhino remains critically endangered.


African Lion

As the largest land mammal on Earth, the African Elephant is the undisputed champion of the animal kingdom. Measuring up to nine metres in length – from trunk to tail, these giants break the scales at around 6,800 kilograms. The vast plains are home to two subspecies of African Elephants, the savannah elephant, the larger of the two, and the smaller forest elephant. These creatures thrive on a complex social structure that is concentrated on a system of herds, comprising of mainly females and their calves. With an impressive lifespan of around 70 years, these incredible beings populate the dense forests of West and South Africa. Regrettably with the loss of habitat and poaching, elephants are facing the threat of extinction.

9 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

Cape Town, the Enchantress of South Africa No self-respecting traveller will be able ro resist the alluring beauty of the Southwest metropolis WORDS BY ANGELIA TK



South Africa is known for more than just a home to The Big Five, the country is also noted for its sceneries, vibrant towns, and diverse multiculturalism. The port city of Cape Town is home to numerous sights and sounds, including the iconic Table Mountain, prolific vineyards, and villages steeped in culture and history. Designed to captivate and steal hearts, this city is anything but ordinary.

Table Mountain

Recently recognised as the one of the natural wonders of the world, Table Mountain acquired its quirky name from its conspicuous and distinguishable flat-topped summit. It is also the only landmark to have a constellation of stars named after it. The site supports a thriving habitat of over a thousand rare and endangered floral species, and provides a convenient escape from city life with its picturesque slopes and clear mountain streams. Towering over the city and serving as a backdrop for every postcard sold in town, the ubiquitous presence of this peculiar mountain can be felt


within the boundaries of Cape Town. Visitors can ascend to its peaks via the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, which is sometimes affected by adverse weather conditions in the area, but it is certainly well worth the effort as many are enraptured by the wide-sweeping view of the entire town. The best way to fully immerse yourself in the experience is to book a guided hike that comes with several trail options lasting from two to five days.

Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural Village

What better way to understand the ways of the people of Africa than to visit the Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural Village? Partake in the performing arts and learn the ways of the Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho, Nguni and Ndebele people. Positioned near the Hartbeespoort Dam in South Africa’s North West province, the tourist destination is ideal for visitors keen on exploring cultures and traditions as old as time. Adventurous travellers can also seek accommodation within the premises if they choose. Rooms range from luxury suites



in the Nguni village to twin rooms in the Ndebele homestead. Find yourself famished after engaging in a day’s worth of activities? Fret not, as you will be served an exotic dinner buffet consisting of impala, ostrich and crocodile meat. The evenings are usually spent around an open fire with tales encompassing African mythology.

Constantia Winelands

When one visits the Constantia Valley, they are greeted by lush vineyards that seem to stretch for miles. As South Africa’s oldest wine producer, Constantia is reputed for its uninterrupted streak of wine-making since 1685. Wine from this region has sated the 18th century royalty, and its refined taste is attributed to the conducive climate that yields exceptional quality produce. Dubbed the Cape Town’s Vineyard, the valley extends up the south-east slopes of the Table Mountain National Park and a 10-minute drive away from the Cape Town’s city centre. Quench your thirst with wine tasting sessions and discover the rich history of the age-old property by joining the cellar tours conducted at the wine farms. Visitors can also purchase their favourite wines directly from the estate.

10 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

Be Swept Away by the Beauty of Kerala Revitalise your senses with Kerala’s pristine beaches and historic sites etched in time WORDS BY ANGELIA TK

Swaying palm-trees lined up along the coast, cosy houseboats floating down calm backwaters, lush tea plantations and picturesque sceneries are just some of the things that welcome travellers visiting Kerala. The long strip of island located in the south-west of India, faces the vast Arabian Sea. The country, steeped in tradition and culture, evokes a sense of exploration and wonder in the eyes of the traveller.


Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, is known for its age-old temples and museums. Travellers can find themselves in a place forgotten by time when visiting these old yet well-maintained historic buildings, such as the Napier Museum and Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

The Napier Museum

Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Built approximately 5000 years ago, the temple is said to be the richest in the world. Adopting Dravidian architecture, which consists of pyramidshaped towers constructed from sandstorm, soapstone or granite, this temple is steeped with legends and curses that are revered by devotees till this day. The main deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, one of the central gods of the Hindu Trinity. Kerala is known for its pristine beaches that serve as perfect spots for sight-seeing and outdoor sports. They generally offer a peaceful and quiet escape from the city. Although some beaches are famous and well-known, others remain hidden and off the beaten track.



Cradling three crescent shaped beaches – Lighthouse Beach, Eve’s or Howrah Beach and the Ashok Beach, Kovalam is a well-known tourist destination that is easily accessible. The beaches of Kovalam pride themselves for the seemingly endless shores, shimmering cobalt sea, and charming views. Built and developed with the facilities of an attractive beach destination, it is not hard to find a room in a place that houses an abundant number of hotels. It would be helpful to note that room rates offer a discount during the monsoon seasons - from May to September.

Kappil Beach, Bekal Secluded, scenic and a sanctuary for the weary traveller, the Kappil beach in Bekal is said to be one of the best kept secrets in Kerala. The silvery sands of Kappil Beach stretch out for miles and cover approximately 25 acres. This hidden gem provides a perfect spot to relax and unwind, especially if you have taken the Bekal Fort tour. The Kodi cliff, situated near the beach, is a must-see as it offers a panoramic view of the vast Arabian Sea.

Spellbinding Landscapes of Munnar Pothanmedu, a hill-top site located near Munnar, offers breath-taking views of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations. This is also an ideal place for trekkers, nature lovers who love taking long mountain walks.


Munnar also exhibits a vast array of exotic flora and fauna found in the forests and grasslands. If you have an affinity for flowers, it is vital to witness the Neelakurinji bloom. The plant blooms purplish blue flowers once every 12 years. The flowers carpet the hills of Munnar, forming a spectacular sight from August till October.


Rejuvenation of the Mind, Body and Soul Kerala is also a country known for its ancient practice in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayur” = life, “Veda” = science/study) is an alternative healthcare system in Kerala, that has been practised stringently throughout the years. Kerala is said to be one of the only places on Earth where this traditional form of practice is still upheld in high standards. The practice replaces prescription drugs and machines with herbal remedies and personalised therapies.

For more information on India, visit


Located approximately two kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram, the Napier Museum captivates its visitors with intricate designs and exudes an ambience that takes travellers back to the 19th century. The museum displays a rare collection of artefacts and sculptures, such as bronze idols, ancient ornaments, ivory carvings, and even a temple chariot.

11 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

To know more, visit or contact INDIATOURISM SINGAPORE Tel: +65 6235 3800, Email:

12 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

Winter Bliss in Turkey


Turkey is known for being a popular tourist destination in the summer, but what does this charming country offer in the winter?




The city of Antalya serves the most delectable Turkish cuisines, one of which is Gozleme, a pastry that similar to a Murtabak. The savoury pastry is hand-rolled and is filled with various ingredients ranging from spiced lamb to fresh spinach with crumbled feta cheese.

The rugged landscape of Cappadocia is known for its “fairy chimneys”, which are rock formations formed due to intense volcanic activity in the past. In fact, the entire landscape has been fashioned by Mother Nature herself, and what better way to get a magnificent aerial view of this picturesque town than to take a hot air balloon? Although most board them in the summer, it is said that winter, if weather conditions permit, offers an equally stunning view of Cappadocia.

There is no better way to enjoy a hearty meal than to indulge in the breath-taking view that comes along with it. Cafés and restaurants in Antalya are located on the cliffs overlooking the vast Mediterranean coast, so if you are ever in Antalya, do consider dining or simply pop in for a hot beverage in one of the many cliff-top establishments.

Kaymakli Underground City

Mount Erciyes (Winter sports) ANTALYA BAY


Antalya, a region revered for its year-round sunshine, is a beacon of hope for those looking to escape the winter blues. From visiting a well-known museum to sinking your choppers into Turkish delights, the city offers a more personalised perspective of this Mediterranean destination.

Antalya Archaeological Museum

Noted for being one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in Turkey, the Antalya Archaeological Museum mainly displays artefacts from the Antalya region. The museum not only exhibits fossils from the geological ages, but also the tools and resources that were used during prehistoric times. The museum has an open-air exhibition that houses various stone carvings from the Roman period.

Find Comfort in Turkish Delights


Turkey is known to make delicious flatbreads that are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Most breads are baked in a clay oven before being served with meat and various vegetables.

Mount Erciyes is a dormant volcano that attracts ski and snowboarding enthusiasts from all around the world. The massive stratovolcano houses the Erciyes Ski Centre, one of the best winter sports centres in Turkey that comes with eight mechanical lifts and tracks that stretch for more than three kilometres. The captivating view of the snow-clad mountain carpeted by white powdery snow, is the main reason for its popularity amongst the locals and visitors abroad. The best period to partake in winter sports would be from November to March. Under normal conditions the snow is about two metres thick, allowing adrenaline junkies to make high-speed descents down the glistening slopes of Mount Erciyes.

AMAZING TURKEY 10/12D Amazing Turkey + Dubai ∞ Safranbolu ∞ UNESCO World Heritage Site ∞ Overnight at Costa Del Sol ∞ Free Wifi on board Departure dates: Dec 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 22,24 (2016) Feb 6

For more information on tours and packages, please refer to page 30-31.


Kaymakli is just one of the underground cities in Cappadocia that was entirely carved out of soft volcanic rock by early inhabitants. Tour guides are usually hired at the entrance of Kaymakli, and it is strongly advised that you remain close to your tour group lest you lose yourself in the vast network of subterranean caves. Built like a labyrinth, the narrow tunnels and low-roofed cave rooms served as a pre-emptive measure against invasions in the past. It was also believed that early settlers built their homes underground to escape the scorching summer heat and freezing temperatures of winter.

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TURKISHAIRLINES.COM Voted Europe’s Best Airline 2015 at the Skytrax Passenger Choice Awards.

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Embracing Yuletide Joy in Québec City Watch the age-old historic city of Québec transform into a magical Christmas village during the holiday season


As you contemplate a year-end trip to winter wonderland during the Christmas season, you might want to hold up before you start looking at European destinations like France and Germany. Instead of falling into the tourist trap, you might want to see what the world outside of Europe has to offer. In fact, the old city of Québec in Canada, North America, might just be right up your alley. Picture heaps of snow piled along cobblestone streets twinkling with festive lights, framed by centuries-old buildings draped with Christmas garlands and decorations, and of course, not missing the iconic Christmas tree at every turn. Indeed, the enchanting setting of Québec City seems like a perfect scene right out from the Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol.


The most famous icon of Québec City is, undoubtedly, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Perched atop the highest point of the upper part of the historic town, the majestic hotel was held court over the entire city and the St. Lawrence River for more than 100 years. This landmark establishment is known as the world’s most photographed hotel, which comes as no wonder as the imposing brick and stone fortress topped with medieval turrets is often likened to a fairy-tale castle from much-loved fables. During the festive season, the hotel is transformed into a magical place fully decked out in holiday decorations, where all is welcome to come in from the cold and bask in the Christmas cheer.


Located right beside Château Frontenac is Dufferin Terrace, a vast 671-metre-long boardwalk that offers breathtaking views overlooking St. Lawrence River, the city of Lévis and Québec’s Lower Town no matter where you stand. Open all year round, you can also admire the centuries-old cannons that were once used to defend the city, as well as the Samuel de Champlain monument dedicated to generals Wolfe and Montcalm, who both sacrificed their lives during the famous battle of the Plains of Abraham. Winter season brings a flurry of excitement to Dufferin Terrace, as adventurers seek out the traditional toboggan run where they streak downhill at breakneck speed (up to 70km an hour).


Located on the northern shores of St. Lawrence River, this French-speaking capital city is the only walled city of Mexico. As the cradle of French civilization of North America, Québec City evokes timeless European charm with its narrow cobblestone streets, 17th to 18th century buildings and structures, spectacular cathedrals and horse-drawn carriages. The historic heart of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage treasure, bringing you through an unforgettable journey through time and history. The old town of Québec City is divided into two main sections – the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) is the religious and administrative centre where you will find its churches, convents and monuments protected within fortified walls, whereas Lower Town (Basse-Ville) is mainly spread out further down from Place Royale to the harbour.

15 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015 Despite its compact size, which also means that it is best explored on foot, the vibrancy and exuberance of Québec City certainly do not lose out to any of the larger cities. Street entertainers, singers, and artists perform all year round, and seasonal festivals are celebrated with much fanfare, with the locals pulling out all the stops to ensure that each one is memorable. Québec City does exceptionally well in capturing the essence of Christmas; not only with its elaborate display of Christmas lights and decorations, but also keeping closely to the season’s traditions with its own version of a German Christmas Market, held in the picturesque Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville that is right outside the City Hall building. A host of small wooden kiosks at the open-air traditional market serves up a succulent menu of mulled wine, cookies, gingerbread, bratwurst and roasted chestnuts among other Christmas treats and local food products, as well as a selection of exquisite handmade crafts and authentic Christmas gifts imported directly from Germany. Enjoy the amazing performances and choral singing as you soak up the wonderful atmosphere that will leave you feeling warm at heart and full of joy.


Take a breather and wander along the delightful streets of Rue Saint-Louis and Rue Sainte-Anne, where you can pop into one of the many delightful restaurants or boutiques lined up here for a warm meal or a cosy chat. Those with tired feet may opt to take the funicular, a cable rail-way tram that takes you from Château Frontenac to the beautiful Petit-Champlain district, situated right in the heart of the Lower Town of old Québec. Step back into time as you explore the historical square of Place Royale and its captivating period houses with gabled roofs and dormer windows that are reminiscent of France. Take a stroll through the oldest neighbourhood in North America, and admire the enchanting frescoes found throughout the city, including the gigantic Fresque des Québécois mural that recounts the history of Québec City. A festive visit to Québec City is never complete without a lovely winter’s stroll through Rue du Petit-Champlain, a dazzling street straight out of a Christmas fairy tale. One of the most magical alleys in all of Canada, it transforms into a place of old-world beauty at night with its festive illuminations and decorations, made all the more perfect with a light blanket of snow. The restaurants


and stores lined up along the street add wonderful scents to the air, and the historical buildings give off a certain ambience that reminds one of a romantic, old village in France. Another historic building of note is the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, the oldest Catholic parish in North America that is still standing on the original site it was built upon since 1647. This magnificent cathedral is also home to the only Holy Door outside of Europe, which will be accessible from December 12, 2015 to November 20, 2016 due to Pope Francis’s declaration of a Holy Year. Nestled among some of Québec City’s bestknown historical treasures, such as Palais Montcalm, Capitole de Québec and Saint-Jean’s Gate, Place D’Youville is a public square thriving with people and activity. Come winter season, the place becomes popular for its outdoor skating rink, where locals and tourists alike can rent some skates and strut their stuff on ice. Be enthralled by the magical ice-skating experience in Québec City enhanced with accompanying festive melodies, dizzying lights and Christmas illuminations on surrounding structures.

Getting There To get to Québec City, you need to catch a flight to Toronto, Canada, before transferring to a flight to Québec City. Several international airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air Canada, fly from Singapore to Toronto with at least one layover. Then transfer to a direct flight to Québec City from Toronto; both United Airlines or Air Canada fly to Québec City.



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← 1 (Hiking/Trekking) Bako National Park Bako National Park remains as the oldest national park in Sarawak. Although smaller than its counterparts, this thriving sanctuary is home to a multitude of animal and plant species. Visitors will have a chance to observe animals such as proboscis monkeys, wild boars, and countless more in their natural habitats. The park is also home to secluded beaches, bizarre rock formations, and a scenic rocky shoreline, as well as interconnected trails, that take between 30 minutes to 7 hours to complete. Tel: (+60) 82-410 944

(Cycling) Paradesa Borneo 2 →




Kuching, Malaysia

Explore the main sights of the city on two wheels, and you will be treated to a refreshing outlook that does not compromise the authentic experience of the bustling city. Bike tour company, Paradesa Borneo presents visitors with eight different tour packages ranging from a Kampong Tour to the Best of Kuching Tour. Besides providing flexible tour arrangements, the business has also received rave reviews for its informative guides and friendly customer service. Tours may last up to 9 hours depending on the choice of package. 1, Leboh Wayang, 93000 Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 82 238801

← 3 (Snorkelling) Satang Island Turtle Conservation

Colonial buildings and modern towers embellish the Kuching skyline, reflecting the charisma of an old city that retains its contemporary image, welcoming visitors to explore the seamless transition where old meets new.



Talang-Satang, Sarawak’s first marine national park, was set aside as a conservation effort to restore the diminishing marine turtle population in the area. Professional guides will provide information on the conservation programme, after which visitors keen on exploring the rich marine biodiversity will be provided with snorkelling gear. A 30-minute boat ride from Damai Beach, Sarawak Boat Club Jetty or Telaga Air Jetty, will get you to your destination. All fees must be paid at the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching. Tel: (+60) 82 248088


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← 4 Siniawan Night Market

← 7 Chong Choon Cafe

The streets are filled with plenty of food stalls serving a vast array of Chinese foods. Although a tourist attraction, most of the nocturnal crowd are locals drawn to the lively night market are locals. Glutinous rice dumplings, Ang Ku Kueh, and Ondeh-Ondeh are just some of the sweet and savoury snacks that people can get from the stalls along the narrow streets of Siniawan. It is recommended to visit the night market on Fridays and Saturdays when most eateries are open. Siniawan, Kuching, Malaysia

This breakfast place imitates an environment similar to a hawker centre in Singapore. It is also wellknown for serving up the acclaimed Sarawak Laksa, which is loved by both locals and out-of-town visitors. Although most flock here for the timeless delight. The café’s other specialities also come highly recommended, such as their toast drizzled with chocolate sauce to Mee Jawa, a noodle dish that consists of a tomato-based gravy. Jalan Abell, 93100, Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 12-8571811 (SMS)

CityONE Megamall 5 →

Jambu Restaurant and Lounge 8 →

CityONE Megamall is the largest commercial building in Sarawak that comes with a development value of 300 million ringgit. Besides hosting a number of events, the mall provides amenities that will entertain and occupy your time with a diverse directory of shops ranging from fashion to recreational entertainment. Events and happenings are updated regularly on their website to keep visitors informed and deliver an enjoyable experience to all its shoppers. Jalan Song, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

The boutique restaurant mainly focuses on “Modern Borneo Cuisine” that incorporates the exotic flavours of Sarawak with a European twist. Sheltered behind the walls of a colonial styled bungalow, the establishment has an enticing selection of Tapas that infuses both local and Spanish flavours to deliver a tantalising treat for those entering the premises. Food here is reasonably priced, and its interior decorations and chill atmosphere are also much raved about. No. 32 Crookshank Road, 93100, Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 82 235292

← 6 Borneo Artifact Asian Arts Antiques &Cultural Heritage With over 25 years of experience and a reputation for selling genuine goods sourced from every part of Asia, this Asian antique store displays traditional musical instruments, tribal masterpieces and many more within its property. The store exudes the feel of an unofficial museum with its massive collections from Southeast Asia. The store has gained good reputation for its immense knowledge of Borneo artefacts and antiques. 464, Lorong 14, Taman Hui Sing, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 12-888 2040

← 9 The Junk Located within the confines of the heritage buildings in Wayang Street, The Junk specialises in Italian, Western and Asian cuisines. Boasting an impressive list of handmade pizzas with unconventional toppings, the restaurant offers several dining areas for various occasions. One of the areas, known as Backstage, is a popular night spot frequented by locals and visitors. It draws in the crowds with the hypnotising spins and beats of resident DJs performing during the weekends. No 80, 82 & 84 Wayang Street, 93100, Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 82 259 450


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Fact Box ← 10 Hilton Kuching Overlooking the serene Sarawak River, the Hilton Kuching offers posh rooms with spectacular views of the city. Situated conveniently in the heart of the charming city, this prestigious hotel is only a 25-minute drive from the Kuching International Airport. It is positioned closely to the sights, sounds and smells of Kuching, allowing its guests to enjoy the best attractions that the city has to offer. The hotel’s Senso bar is also the perfect place to unwind and relax after spending a long day exploring the city. Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 82-223 888

The Ranee Boutique Suites 11 → The exclusive 24-room boutique hotel was rebuilt from two traditional 19th century shop houses and was revamped to meet modern standards. Each room/suite is designed and decorated in a unique fashion to bring out its own individuality, charm and character to appeal to guests from all walks of life. There is also an all-day restaurant/bar serving local and international cuisines. The Ranee Boutique Suites, 6 and 7 Main Bazaar 93000 Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 82 258833

← 12 The Permai Rainforest Resort A rainforest resort situated on the shores of the South China Sea, The Permai Resort will satisfy any nature lover looking to escape the busy city of Kuching. It provides guests with a unique rainforest experience that comes with a host of recreational activities, such as kayaking, dolphin-watching and even evening mangrove cruises. Tours around the region are also available upon request. Pantai Damai Santubong, Jalan Sultan Tengah, 93050 Kuching, Malaysia Tel: (+60) 82 846487

Climate Kuching experiences high humidity and heavy rainfall. Expect average daily highs of 32°C and lows of about 24°C. On average, May is the warmest and driest time, while January is the coldest and wettest month of the year.

Time Zone (GMT +8)

Currency S$1 = RM 3.09 (Correct at time of printing)

Calling Code To call into Kuching, dial +60 8, before the number.

Language Bahasa Malaysia is the official National Language, however English, Mandarin and Chinese dialects are also widely spoken.

Getting There Airlines that cater to flights to Kuching include Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, and Malindo Air.

Getting Around Although it is advisable to rent a car for convenient sight-seeing trips around the city, shuttle vans painted with words “Bas Persiaran”, can also be considered as an alternative method of transport.

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Guess the Place to Win a Hotel Stay at this location! To participate, simply email your answer to, with the subject header as ’GUESS THE PLACE’ with your name, NRIC and contact number by 15th December 2015. The results will be published in the March 2016 issue of Travel Journal. Winner will be notified by email within 2 weeks. This contest is subject to the Contests & Lucky Draws Terms and Conditions available at

Winner of the November Issue’s “Guess the Place” Contest Congratulations to Ms. Spring Sun! Notification will be done through email.

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Pack Like a Pro for Your Trip Packing light for your vacation is not as difficult as it seems, just take note of these few pointers before you stuff everything you own into your luggage Have you wondered how experienced travellers can jet overseas with just a small carry-on bag, even for trips lasting more than a week? Sounds like an impossible mission? Despite how challenging it seems, packing light does not require much experience nor technique. In fact, most of us do not realize how we tend to overpack our luggage due to the fear that we might forget something, and we often throw in loads of unnecessary items, especially when we pack last-minute. So the next time you go globetrotting, abandon that ‘just-incase’ mentality and take out these unnecessary items; this will help you avoid fees for checked bags and overweight baggage.

Leave These Items at Home Valuables

Your Whole Beauty Routine

Always bear in mind one golden rule – you should never bring any thing that is irreplaceable. That includes good jewellery, expensive items or even your wedding ring that is too dear to lose. We understand that you want to look good on a vacation, especially if you are headed for a special event or occasion, but often times, these things get lost, broken or even stolen easily. Most airline protocols also state that valuables are not allowed in checked bags, thus you would not be able to get any reimbursement in the unfortunate situation that your bag goes missing. Instead, bring a few inexpensive pieces like a statement necklace and a simple pair of earrings that would go well with most outfits, so that you can look good without any worries.

Wanting to look good does not mean you should bring along your whole skincare and makeup routine on your weeklong trip, especially if you are bringing only a carry-on bag, as it may result in you discarding the bulk of them even before you fly. According to aviation regulations, all liquids have to be stored in small travel sized bottles of not more than 100ml each for hand-carried luggage, and sealed in a transparent re-sealable plastic bag (only one allowed for each passenger). Since most skincare products rarely come in travel-sized versions, you may want to avoid the hassle by sticking to the basics. A toner, serum and moisturiser would be more than sufficient, and multi-functional beauty products that can serve double duty for your trip are must-haves, such as a tinted moisturiser or a cheek and lip tint.

Though most of us love books and read on a regular basis, it is undeniable that these take up space and weigh quite a bit, especially if you bring more than one. However, most often than not, you will end up having little to no time to catch up on your reading when you are travelling. Thus, we advise that you pick no more than one book (the same goes for guidebooks as well), or better still, download electronic versions into your tablet or smartphone. Use the time to enjoy and explore your new surroundings instead.


Most hotels rooms actually have them these days, or you can always request for one at the reception, even in the cheapest motel. Hairdryers are bulky and weirdly shaped, which takes up unnecessary space in your luggage, so leave them at home! Use the dryers on hand if they are provided, otherwise there is no harm in simply letting your hair air-dry on its own for a week or two.

Extra Clothes and Shoes One of the best packing tips that we have heard so far is the 1-2-3-4-5-6 rule – which means that you should only pack one hat; two pairs of shoes (including the one you are wearing); three pairs of bottoms; four tops; five pairs of socks; and six sets of underwear for a weeklong trip. This general guide works as a good gauge if you are not sure how much clothes you need to pack, and can be modified according to the duration and destination of your trip. Also, avoid bringing ‘maybe’ outfits that you will most likely end up not wearing at all; make sure to try out all your outfits at home before your trip so that you do not waste any article of clothing that you bring. As for shoes, the rule of thumb is to bring two pairs of shoes that are of different types, such as a pair of sneakers or flats and sandals or flip-flops. Wear the heavier ones to the airport.



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An Artistic Wonder of Proportions - National Gallery Singapore Walk through a journey of time at the National Gallery Singapore, where thought-provoking art meets architectural splendour in a backdrop that brings the Singapore narrative to life


A new visual arts institution dedicated to modern art from Singapore and Southeast Asia, the National Gallery Singapore is home to one of the world’s largest collection of modern artworks from the region, drawing more than 8,000 pieces from Singapore’s National Collection. Located within two of Singapore’s most iconic national monuments, the former Supreme Court Building and City Hall, the site has borne witness to some of Singapore’s most pivotal events in history and stands as a symbol of the trials and tribulations of justice.


After nearly a decade, the National Gallery Singapore was officially opened to the public on November 24, with a grand celebration of events and festivities for two weeks until December 6, 2015. There will be activities galore for visitors of all ages to enjoy throughout the two weeks, starting with the weekend Art Carnival at the Padang, where art lovers can enjoy various interactive art installations, community art workshops and artisanal treats. With five thematic spaces to explore, families are sure to enjoy some precious bonding time with their young children at the Draw, Weave, Knot programme held in the Family & Community Tent; or pick up some important survival tips as you go through a simulated war scenario at the Adversity & Conflict Tent. Don’t miss the Share The Hope Façade Show on the nights of November 27 to 29, where you will be treated to stunning scenes of lights, sounds and visuals played against the backdrop of the National Gallery building. True to the museum’s mission to provide a different art experience for all to enjoy, the opening


Visitors will also get to explore two permanent exhibitions presented by DBS Singapore Gallery and UOB Southeast Asia Gallery respectively. The inaugural exhibition of Siapa Nama Kamu? explores the identity of Singapore from past to present in terms of culture and art history, through artworks that reflect the conflict of distinct ideas and values since the 19th century. Between Declaration and Dreams highlights the struggle of Southeast Asian art to incorporate local expressions and aesthetic traditions within the modern concept of art through four chronological themes – Authority and Anxiety, Imagining Country and Self, Manifesting the Nation, and Re:Defining Art.



celebrations will also feature dynamic music and dance performances that are inspired by the works of art in the Gallery, such as contemporary dance item In the Name of Red and Resonates With, a cross-genre musical collaboration between ensembles and musicians. Film buffs may also catch three short films that are specially commissioned for the Gallery’s opening as well as a selection of 19 films presented in conjunction with the Singapore International Film Festival. The line-up of events continues with various interactive performances and activities like sketching workshops and story booths, along with engaging art forums and panel discussions about art, architecture and the changing role of museums. Though admission to the galleries is free during the opening fortnight, tickets are required for entry into the Gallery’s buildings. Visitors who are interested to check out the National Gallery Singapore during these two weeks may register for entry tickets at their website; pre-booked ticket holders will be given priority for entry if there are crowds and long queues.


The National Gallery Singapore houses a comprehensive collection of artworks by leading Singaporean artists, such as Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Chong Swee, Anthony Poon and Thomas Yeo. Delve into a compilation of 12 inspiring paintings and their respective interpretations and meanings for 12 renowned personalities of Singapore in My Masterpiece, among which includes home-grown singer-songwriter JJ Lin and award-winning film-maker Anthony Chen. Find passion, war and loss in the dramatic story of local pioneer artist Georgette Chen, whose artworks of still life, portraits and landscapes were mainly inspired from three tumultuous phases of her life.

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A Compelling Adventure at The Canopi Combine the best of nature and exhilarating adventure as you step into the new world of Glamping – glamorous camping WORDS BY ANNA KHOO


On the day of the trip, we made our way down to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for our ferry ride to Bintan Resorts. The trip took about 55 minutes, and upon clearing customs, we were greeted by the friendly resort staff who brought us to the resort, which is no more than five minutes from the ferry terminal. When we arrived, we were immediately welcomed with refreshing drinks and friendly smiles, putting me right into my holiday mood. As we waited to check into our room (or tent, to be exact), we took the chance to wander around the beautiful premises. The moment I caught sight of the splendid Crystal Lagoon, I felt a sense of peace and tranquillity come over me. The clear turquoise waters were sparkling under the sun, and when paired with a landscape of crystal blue skies dotted with rustic huts, the view was simply captivating. Not forgetting to capture some memories, I started snapping away with my trusty camera phone. The check-in procedure was a breeze. Once we got to our tent, we were once again satisfied with our accommodation. A short walk from the lobby, our lodging was surrounded by lush greenery and directly faces the lagoon; making it so convenient if we ever feel a sudden urge to jump in for a quick dip. The tent is glamourously designed, bringing

to mind an Indiana Jones concept. The safari-style décor complements the simple white and brown furnishings, which include a four-poster bed with white drapes; chest drawers and wardrobes in the shape of stacked old-school suitcases; a wide lounge sofa; a vintage writing table with a table lamp shaped like a bell; and a unique bird-cage chandelier. The warm amber light in the room further adds to the cosy ambience of the tentsuite. A door leads to the open-concept shower, complete with potted plants, copper shower heads and pipes, mosaic tiles, and filament light bulbs, all perfect elements that enhances the mood of nature. However, as the resort is still undergoing some final refinements, the main issues I encountered was the weak Wi-Fi connection (alas, first-world problems) and the non-working




Just as I was running out of ideas for a surprise getaway for husband’s birthday, a business associate recommended: “You should check out The Canopi at Bintan. It is a brand new resort – only two to three months old! It’s paradise there!” With nothing to lose (and no ideas to boot), I searched for this place online and found stunning pictures accompanied by an interesting concept. ‘Glamping’ or glamorous camping, they say; I was instantly hooked. Without further ado, I made a reservation for a three days, two nights stay on behalf of my family.

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straight for a jungle adventure trail, which took about 30 minutes. Geared with protective helmets and safety instructions, we went on uncharted territory as we crashed through dense shrubbery and conquered bumpy terrains along with our guide. It was an exciting and adrenaline-filled experience, especially for daredevils, but do remember to bring your insect repellent or mosquito patches to avoid those blood-sucking bugs.


telephone and mini-bar (they were not installed yet), thus my husband had to make multiple trips to the reception and restaurant. Once we had settled in, we took a stroll around the whole resort to get a better understanding of what amenities they have to offer as well as to soak up the atmosphere. The man-made Crystal Lagoon is a massive 6.3-hectare saltwater pool, the biggest in Southeast Asia. There are many water activities that one can enjoy here, such as cable skiing, canoeing and riding a boat or water bicycle. For more action on land, the resort also offers various vehicles for rent, among which include segways, mini-ATVs, UTVs, electric Vespas, and many more. Upon request, a guide can be arranged to tag along with you on these activities. As the sun began to set, we headed to Bora Bora Beach Bar to have dinner that night. You may have found that name familiar: it is the same exact same beach bar found on Palawan Beach on Sentosa Island. Though the menu had pretty limited choices (to my taste), it still offers sufficient international and local options for adults and the young ones alike.



The next morning commenced with buffet-style breakfast at Bora Bora, which offers a reasonable selection of local and international fare. After filling our stomachs, we booked a UTV and headed


After all the action, we opted for a dip in the famed Crystal Lagoon for a swim and some sunbathing. The clear, cooling waters made for a wonderful experience, which only made me wish I could simply laze and drift around for the whole afternoon. After lunch, we made up for lost time by renting an electric Vespa to ride around in style, Indonesian-style! The maximum speed is 30km/h, and you can even get a guide to tag along as well, making it a safe and fun activity even for families with young children. We rode out to Lagoi Bay Mall on our Vespa, which is about 20 minutes further inland. As the place was still under development, there were only a handful of retail shops and eateries opened for business. On our way back to the resort, we made a quick detour to a local hawker centre and were delighted to find stalls selling Indonesian cuisine and local favourites. You can also stock up on necessities at the provision shops there before heading back to the resort, just five minutes away. As we came to the end of our stay, we managed to squeeze in a leisure breakfast and some water fun at the lagoon before catching our ferry home after lunch. All in all, this was an amazing destination to have a short getaway trip, even though the resort was still not fully constructed. In fact, I was already planning my next visit back to The Canopi on my ferry ride home, which I am sure would be an even more fantastic trip.

30 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

31 | Travel Journal | Issue 04 | December 2015

Travel Journal December 2015  

An independent, free tabloid that provides a fresh perspective on travelling around the world.

Travel Journal December 2015  

An independent, free tabloid that provides a fresh perspective on travelling around the world.