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M MAG - JUN 2016

LEISURE»frequent flyer

LEISURE»frequent flyer words BEATRICE BOWERS Angkor Wat sunrise TRAVELLING WITH Yap Kwong Weng T THE COO OF here aren’t many people who PARAMI ENERGY can claim the kind of accolades GROUP AND Yap Kwong Weng does. He’s barely DIRECTOR OF 40, but the man’s impressive TRAVEL TECH achievements, and passion for START-UP, improving living conditions TRIIP.ME IS A REAL TRAVEL throughout global communities had AFICIONADO. earned him the title of the Secretary- HE SHARES General of the United Nations of HIS FAVOURITE Singapore once. HAUNTS IN Yap travels to easily six SOUTHEAST ASIA countries a month on average, as WITH US, AND the entrepreneur has companies SOME OF HIS MOST EXTREME situated across Myanmar and ADVENTURES. Cambodia. Though business is his main reason for travel, Southeast Asian countries are sites where some of his fondest memories were experienced. Vietnam was also the birthplace of his travel website, Triip.me, that caters to travellers who want to immerse themselves in truly local experiences across 86 countries that one might not find in your run-of-the-mill agency’s travel packages. His passion for travel occasionally veers towards the extreme, but it only serves to amp up Yap’s status as an impressive, worldly individual. TRIIP.ME AIMS to be the social Airbnb for travel. It’s an interactive website that allows people to customise the best local experiences Taklamakan Desert that they would like to enjoy in the country. Travelling means you’d need a really good guide in order to experience the country’s richness. On Triip.me, you can find out where to have the best French crepes in Ho Chi Minh, or find out an entire street that sells the best pho, but it only opens after 9 p.m. THE MOST LOCAL EXPERIENCE for me was taking Vietnamese calligraphy class in a shophouse, right within a congested street. I had to climb up to the house, and there were just these three people drinking Vietnamese tea and drawing for a living. I didn’t know calligraphy was so difficult, but that lesson taught me to appreciate it. IN CAMBODIA I LIKE TO cycle around Angkor Wat. I begin at 6 a.m., with my bicycle brought there on a trishaw. There’s a genuinely amazing sunrise, with the background of the river and the outline of the sun framing Angkor Wat. MY MOST EXTREME TRIP was running a 100km marathon across the Taklamakan Desert in China. Sometimes, it would be just the sky and me talking to myself as I ran. It wasn’t the most comfortable race. All my toenails fell off after, but I thought it was worth it. The pain is short, but the experience goes far. Read more about Yap's gruelling life experiences in his autobiography, LEAP, published by Marshall-Cavendish. PHOTO OF TAKLAMAKAN DESERT: PRASHANT RAM 70 JUN 2016

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