JANUARY 2017 | ISSUE 8
JOURNEY TO ASIA’S
The river town of Laos
THE INSIDE SCOOP ON
On The Radar
Out & About
FYI: Travel Insurance
Road Less Taken:
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COVER PHOTO BY FADZA ISHAK
GROUP HEAD & BRANDS
RACHEL FONG & YASMIN KAMAL
FADZA ISHAK, AZUL ADNAN
AISHAH AZALI & AYUMI SWEED
SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER
COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP
PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.
NO. 83–1, JALAN MEDANG SERAI, BUKIT BANDARAYA,
59100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.
PERCETAKAN TURBO SDN. BHD.
NO. 8, JALAN SEKINCAN 26/9, SECTION 26,
SHAH ALAM 40000, MALAYSIA.
The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those of Publishcom Asia Sdn Bhd (963236–P). While every reasonable
care is taken in compiling the magazine, the publisher shall not be held liable for any omission, error or inaccuracy. Please notify the
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KDN PP 19019/05/2016 (034482)
6 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
personally like the New Year. I usually get a new haircut and plan all the places I want to go
travel to. I plan to continue searching for unknown places around Asia while hunting for a
good bottle of sunscreen that can prevent sunburn while keeping my makeup on point. I’ll
keep you posted on the latter.
Speaking of less commercialised places, our January issue travels to Luang Prabang
in Laos where nature and culture come together in this quaint river town. They have a
limestone waterfall with waters the colour of turquoise.
I ended 2016 with a new appreciation for food after interviewing a one Mr. Hiah for our
Traditional Chinese Ingredients article in our food section. His shop in Petaling Street is a
gem with shelves of popular ingredients used by the Chinese during Chinese New Year. Like
vinegar or olive oil, I take my soy sauce very seriously after visiting that shop.
I end with wishes of Happy New Year and Happy Chinese New Year to everyone. May
the new year bring an abundance of love while still reminding us to share it with others.
PHOTO OF THE
WHERE IS YOUR
TO EAT NOODLES?
Be Our Food Ranger with #GAPeats & Your
Photo Can Be Featured In Our Magazine!
1. Look out for our food question of the month.
2. Post a picture on Instagram of your favourite
eating place based on our monthly question.
3. Tag @goasiaplus and #GAPeats.
4. Top posts will be featured on our magazine in our
new column #GAPeats.
8 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
On The Radar
ON THE RADAR
Wine Connection’s Grand Opening
South-East Asia’s largest wine retailer Wine Connection
just opened its flagship store in Malaysia for wine lovers
all around. The store offers over 200 hand-picked labels
imported straight from the best vineyards around the world.
The classy store at TREC is sure to attract wine aficionados
with its vast selection and awesome deals. Enjoy wine by the
glass from RM17 and RM65 per bottle served at your table.
AirAsia Adds More
Flights for CNY
If you have not booked your flights for Chinese New Year,
fret not as AirAsia has added more flights to selected
destinations around Malaysia. AirAsia have added a capacity
of 15,000 seats from 25 Jan until 1 Feb to facilitate the high
demand of air travel during that period. This includes flights
from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, Penang and Tawau as well
as Penang to Singapore to name a few.
Rooster Key Charms for the New Year
Celebrate the year of the rooster with Bonia’s latest collection of
charms called the Leather Rooster Key Charms. It comes in a variety
of colours from blue to yellow and are handcrafted from calf leather
and gold tone hardware. Inject some colour and decorate your keys
or accessorise your handbags with these cute charms that symbolise
charisma and confidence, for a blessed Chinese New Year.
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On The Radar
Common Man Coffee
First Malaysia Outlet
The trendy neighbourhood of TTDI has a
new brunch place in the form of Common
Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR). Their
brunch menu takes the cake for variety
and deliciousness, serving dishes like
the Common Man Fluffy Pancakes with
caramalised bananas, Wild Mushroom and
Goat Cheese Salad as well as a twist on
the traditional churros. Coffee snobs can
choose beverages from their extensive
coffee range which include CMCR’s
signature 22 Martin Blend.
The Nikon Camera for the Whole Family
The little ones keen to snap some of their own pictures? Well Nikon
encourages such curiosity with the COOLPIX W100 camera made for every
member of the family. The camera itself with its compact design, rounded
edges and large buttons make it simple to use while retaining quality features
to capture sharp images and HD video.
We love to experiment with the cartoon effects and frame decorations
to add some personality to the photos which can all be done in just a click
of a button. Sharing these images are easy thanks to the SnapBridge app for
instantaneous transfer via Bluetooth. Don’t worry about the kids handling the
camera, because it is waterproof, shockproof and even freezeproof.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 11
On The Radar
TUMI’s First Aluminium Luggage Collection
TUMI is taking luggage durability to a whole new
level with their first ever aluminium luggage line
called 19 Degree. It is strategically structured while
still having a sense of fluidity that adds to its stylish
silhouette. It comes in a plethora of sizes from the
carry-on size to the extended trip packing case for
travellers that like to shop. The luxury does not
stop there as the case comes with leather wrapped
top and carry handles and a lightweight aircraftgrade
aluminium handle system. Get yours in matte
black or silver, available in TUMI stores nationwide.
Travel with a
Dry skin is a problem when you are
travelling but luckily, a cute little face
mist from Shiseido can make sure your
face stays hydrated wherever you are.
The Quick Fix Mist is a refreshing gel
that sprays as a cooling mist, packed with
marjoram extract to target dehydration.
Plus, the anti-Shine Complex helps supress
skin oiliness so your make-up stays
flawless even during the hottest of days.
Hot Chocolate Season
For a unique twist on a classic beverage, Bar 505 at Sofitel
Shanghai Hyland recently launched their menu of hot
chocolates featuring Valhorna Chocolate. We are talking
about a diverse menu of chocolate drinks with added
condiments like chili, hazelnut and a slosh of alcohol. The
Irish hot chocolate is laced with Jameson Whiskey while the
Mexicana is infused with Kahlua and Italian Espresso.
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Out & About
OUT & ABOUT
THE HOTTEST & MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF
THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND
14-17 JAN | The Little Angels
of South Korea
Catch the Little Angels of South Korea from the
prestigious Little Angels School of Arts in Seoul
as they bring you a versatile array of traditional
Korean performing arts. This world-class ballet
troupe will perform a repertoire steeped in
ancient folklore where proceeds will go towards
the Ajar-Ajar Malaysia for underprivileged
children tuition education.
Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur
21 JAN | Bryan
Adams Live In
Bryan Adams is stopping in
Malaysia for his anticipated
The Get Up Tour to promote
his 13th studio album of the
same name. The popular
Canadian singer will sing
along his string of hits
including Summer Of ‘69,
(Everything I Do) I Do It For
You and Heaven.
Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam
Across The Pond
21 JAN |
7-15 JAN | Ahmedabad International
A festival to see the sky light up in colour, the Ahmedabad
International Kite Festival celebrates the beauty of kite
flying while promoting its splendour to new participants.
Check out the unique style of how the Gujarat people fly
their kites and even participate in the array of kite-making
workshops in this festival filled with joy and colours.
Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Kick start 2017 with Australia’s
favourite indie music festival
as Laneway makes its way
to Singapore. Check out
international artists like Aurora
from Norway and Chet Faker
from Australia as they share the
stage with local acts like Astreal
and Sam Rui.
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 13
TO LISTEN TO EB DUET
AND WATCH THEIR
THEM OUT AT
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This musical duo got their big break after
doing a cover of P. Ramlee’s classic ballad
‘Getaran Jiwa’ which went viral and was
subsequently featured as the song for a
Nescafe advertisement in conjunction with
World Coffee Day. The video garnered more
than 5 million views on YouTube, catapulting
this duo into the public eye. We spoke to
singer Eve Hong and guitarist/composer
Billy Ho of EB Duet on their rise to success
and their new album ‘At The Beginning’.
INTERVIEWED BY AISHAH AZALI · PHOTOS BY EB DUET
How did you guys meet and decided
to start a duo?
Eve: We met because we were both
performing in functions. When we do
functions, we don’t usually get to choose
(the songs) that we 100% love to perform.
We have to compromise between our
songs and what the client prefers. After
performing for quite some time, we found
out that we share similar interests and
vision in music.
Why become a jazz duo? Is that the
only genre you like to sing?
Eve: We are both Chinese educated and
our upbringing was exposed to Chinese
music. Jazz was not in our roots but we
are so moved by jazz music. Our album
titled ‘At The Beginning’ represents the
beginning of our music together. Jazz is
our beginning but we do sing other genres
like evergreen, pop and classic oldies.
Do you do a lot of performances
in Malaysia or have you travelled
elsewhere for shows?
Eve: We perform anywhere we get invited.
The furthest we went was to China but
mostly performances in Malaysia.
Would you guys be open to
performing more shows overseas?
Eve: Of course. We love to travel around
while working. We are both explorative
What kind of music influences you?
Billy: I play many types of music. I’ve
played heavy metal like Metallica and
British rock when I was young. But after
some time, my taste started to change.
Eve: Generally jazz but I still listen to
pop and different kinds of music. As a
performer, I don’t think we should limit
ourselves to just one song or genre.
Can you tell me about your first
overseas travel experience?
Eve: My first time was when I was 16. I
went with my mum to Korea. That time
Korea was not as popular as it is now but
it was still a great experience.
Billy: I went to Hong Kong with my
friends. I remember when we went to the
hotel; the credit card machine was down
so we had to pay them in cash. After that,
all of us were short on money. It was a
small problem we faced but overall it was
a good experience.
Any travel trips that stood out?
Eve: My solo trip to Bali 2 years ago.
Two months later, I got addicted and did
another solo trip to Boracay.
You guys travel a lot for work. Is it
easy travelling together?
Eve: The way we travel is quite similar.
First, we both do not like to go to the
touristy places. We’ll just find a place to
relax which is not a tourist spot and like to
observe the people.
Billy: We like to experience their culture.
What are your goals in music?
Eve: One of our goals is to perform in major
music concerts or renowned theatres and
music halls with an audience of people that
truly love music. We want to share what
we love, which is music to people that
appreciate it as much as we do.
How did the cover of ‘Getaran Jiwa’
Eve: We were doing a cover of a song by
Michael Jackson called Black or White.
We set up everything and did it in 2 takes.
We didn’t want to waste the lighting and
the audio set up, so we just sang another
few songs for fun. Then we randomly
sang Getaran Jiwa which we have never
Billy: I played the first couple of chords and
we liked the style and went with it. We did
that video in one take and just uploaded it
is music to
it as much
as we do.”
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 15
“Do I Have To?”
IT’S ONLY FAIR TO THINK THAT
TRAVEL INSURANCE IS TOTALLY
UNNECESSARY, BECAUSE FIRST,
YOU THINK IT’S A WASTE OF
MONEY, AND SECOND, YOU
PROBABLY WON’T USE IT UNLESS
SOMETHING HAPPENS. EVEN
MORE SO DO YOU REALLY WANT
TO WAIT TILL YOU CRASH INTO A
TREE TO FINALLY REALISE THAT
YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT?
WELL HERE IS THE LOWDOWN
ON WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE
TRAVEL INSURANCE A CRUCIAL
PART OF YOUR TRAVELLING.
WHY IS TRAVEL INSURANCE WORTH IT?
If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t really
afford to travel either. Travel insurance is not like your
typical health insurance. It covers you for any mishap
that might happen while travelling. For example when you
lose your travel documents and passport, when you have
to incur additional expenses to buy a new flight ticket
when your flight has been cancelled or that time when
you accidentally knock someone with the motorcycle you
rented in Bali. Let’s face it; a health insurance isn’t close
to covering all that.
In most cases, your travels will go without a hitch but
if something goes wrong, the last thing you want to worry
about is how you’re going to pay for that hefty hospital
bill in a foreign country or for that transport back home
that can cost you a bomb. Not forgetting the formalities
that are involved. You really have no time or even the
energy to think about those things.
That said, a travel insurance is worth every penny.
WORDS BY YASMIN KAMAL · PHOTOS BY GETTY IMAGES
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WHAT KIND OF TRAVELLER ARE YOU?
There’s a travel insurance for all kind of travellers.
who travels a lot
looking to embark
on an adventure
who is constantly
on the move
who travels 3 times
in a year
who is looking for a
OTHER TYPES OF TRAVEL INSURANCE
Some travel insurance, depends on the duration or the
area of travel (domestic or overseas). Then there’s also
a question of whether you want to cover just yourself
or your family as well. Either way, expect a difference in
price. These kinds of travel insurance are generally known
as single-trip travel insurance where prices can usually go
for as low as RM30 for a travel duration of 5 days.
If you’re a frequent traveller, travelling at least 3 times
in a year, you might want to consider an annual travel
insurance. To paint a clearer picture of what rates are
available in the market, we’ve listed down some insurance
companies that sell travel insurance according to the type
of travel you might be thinking of.
AXA SMART TRAVELLER
Single-Trip: RM 35
Annual Travel Insurance: RM 290 yearly
Single-Trip: RM 30
Annual Travel Insurance: RM245 yearly
TUNE TRIP TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN
Single-Trip: RM 31.50
Annual Travel Insurance: RM 155.25
Domestic Travel: RM 14
MHINSURE TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN
Single-Trip: RM 30
Annual Travel Insurance: RM 281
Domestic Travel: RM 22
Truthfully, these rates are so affordable that there
shouldn’t be an excuse to forego it.
Adventure Travel Insurance: The name speaks for itself.
Adventure travel insurance is the kind of travel insurance
you should purchase if you’re looking to go for a trek up
to Everest Base Camp or if you decide to go mountain
biking, skiing, snowboarding or even scuba diving. If these
activities are the sole purpose of your trip, adventure
travel insurance is it.
Tech Gear Travel Insurance: Lately there has been a
new breed of digital nomads and location independent
individuals, where they make a living through their
laptops, smartphones, and cameras.
The coolest part about this lifestyle is that you can
operate from anywhere in the world. Your most important
asset is without a doubt your tech gear. This kind of
travel insurance will cover your devices if it’s stolen, or
accidentally damaged by fire or natural disaster.
WHERE TO GET A TRAVEL INSURANCE
We think you should ask these 3 key questions when
you’re looking for a travel insurance:
• Are you able to purchase travel insurance online?
• Are you able to file your claims online?
• Are you able to receive claim payment online?
We nailed down 5 of the best companies that can help
you answer those questions.
Tune Protect Travel Insurance
AIG Travel Guard
Malindo Air Travel Insurance
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 17
complex of Thiksey
in the Indus Valley.
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WHAT KIND OF TRAVELLER DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE?
A BARGAIN HUNTER, A FOODIE, AN ADRENALINE SEEKER? OR
PERHAPS YOU DIG SOMETHING A TOUCH MORE EXTRAORDINARY
LIKE EXPLORING SACRED SITES ROOTED IN CENTURIES OF
HISTORY? IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR CUP OF TEA, HERE ARE
THREE ESSENTIAL TOWNS/CITIES TO CROSS OFF ON YOUR NEXT
WORDS BY RACHEL FONG · PHOTOS BY GETTY & AZUL ADNAN
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19
Everyone's heard of Mumbai or Chennai... but what about
Ladakh? While lesser known, it is just as magnificent,
due to the awe-inspiring landscape of valleys flanked by
mountains that stretch from Kunlun to the Himalayas to
the south. Amidst this natural majesty, lies a wealth of
religious heritage that is closely entwined with the roots of
An outstanding demonstration of this fact is Thiksey
Gompa, a picturesque Buddhist monastery consisting of
layered Tibetan-style buildings that contain shops, a school,
restaurant and even a hotel. There's also a museum which
displays fascinating Tantric artifacts like a wine-vessel
fashioned from a human skull, and a prayer chamber in the
main 'gompa' (Tibetan for meditation room) that is home to
a 14m-high Buddha statue. In the morning, it's common for
tourists to flock the monastery as over 40 monks gather for
morning prayers, which last for 2 hours.
It should come as no surprise that Thiksey is not the
only photogenic monastery around these parts. Hemis
Gompa, the spiritual center of Ladakh's Drukpa Buddhists,
cuts a dramatic figure, what with its setting within a misty
valley and vibrant, detailed timbers. Purportedly, documents
proving Jesus' visit to Kashmir were found here, but they
have since vanished into thin air. What has remained is
a museum exhibiting religious treasures alongside more
peculiar acquisitions like skull vessels and tiger skins.
FROM TOP The colourful
structure of the Hemis
Gompa; The Thiksey
Gompa, the largest
monastery in Ladakh.
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FROM TOP The
peeking out from
the Yangon skyline;
The Sule Pagoda in
the city centre.
The gleaming gold
structure of the
Yangon is a city that has one foot in the past and the
other in the future. It is one of the fastest developing
cities in the country and widely regarded as its intellectual
and commercial hub. At the same time, it contains many
religious monuments, some of which testify to thousands
of years of history. Among its most staggering and famous
is the Shwedagon Pagoda, around which the cityscape
of Yangon revolves. 'Shwe' means gold in Burmese, and
'Dagon' refers to the historical area that it sits on. It is a feat
of architecture that is as decadent as it is sacred when you
consider the fact that it is plated with 21,841 solid gold bars
and contains the relics of four Buddhas.
Often mentioned in the same breath as Shwedagon,
is Sule Pagoda. It is situated right in the middle of a large
roundabout, and at over 2,500 years old, believed to be
even older than its jewel encrusted counterpart. There's
a permanent place for it in history books, thanks to its
reputation as a rallying point for the 1988 uprisings that
got the world to sit up and take notice of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Legend has it that Sule Pagoda enshrines a strand of hair
belonging to Buddha, who was said to have given it to two
Burmese merchant brothers.
“it is plated with
21,841 solid gold
bars and contains
the relics of four
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 21
The inside of
that used to
be a church
into a mosque.
Turkey has landed on one traveller's must-see list after
another in recent years, as more people start to take
note of the diverse wonders that this country offers.
Its largest city, Istanbul holds many of the attractions
that Turkey has become famous for, with one of them
being the many historical and sacred sites that colour
Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya in Turkish, is a church
built during the Byzantine empire and has undergone
many trials over the years. It's currently up to its
third form, as the first and second incarnations were
completely destroyed. Additionally, it has been revived
in various ways, having been consecrated as a church
in 537, then converted to a mosque in 1453, and finally
finding peace as a museum in 1935. Many consider
it a must-visit, thanks to its vast expanse, elaborate
architecture - be sure to look out for the intricate
mosaics - and religious significance.
If you like the idea of setting foot inside a lavish
palace to delve inside the lives of the Ottoman imperial
family, don't miss out on Topkapi Palace. Between the
15th and 19th centuries, it was occupied by the likes
of sultans, eunuchs, and concubines. They divided their
lives between the hundreds of rooms and chambers
that make up this fortress, and at the peak of Topkapi
Palace's grandeur, there were 4,000 people taking up
residence here, with smaller establishments such as
bakeries and mosques within its walls. However, luxury
is not all there is to it. It also houses many specimens of
Ottoman architecture, as well as relics integral to Islam,
such as the Prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword.
purposes of the
22 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Road Less Taken is a collaboration with AirAsiaGo.
Check out airasiago.com.my for flight & hotel deals!
Road Less Taken
ROAD LESS TAKEN:
WE’RE GIVING THE FORMER ROYAL
CAPITAL OF LAOS SOME SPOTLIGHT
TO DISCOVER THIS QUAINT TOWN
BY THE RIVER THAT RETAINS ITS OLD
WORLD CHARM DESPITE ONCE BEING
UNDER FRENCH RULE.
WORDS BY AISHAH AZALI · PHOTOS BY
AIRASIAGO & GETTY
HOW TO GET THERE
Flying is your best bet as carriers like AirAsia fly
straight to Luang Prabang International Airport.
A bumpier alternative is by water through the
northeast of Thailand, taking the river that
leads to Luang Prabang in 6 hours if you take
Nature lovers will be amazed by the
waterfalls, Kuang Si and Tad Sae. Kuang Si
is a tiered waterfall with turquoise waters
tumbling over limestone ledges to form
stunning lagoons. Hikers have spoken of a
hidden waterfall through a lesser known trail.
Locals prefer the Tad Sae waterfalls with larger
lagoons where you can jump off the ledges.
WHERE TO STAY
Travellers that want a rustic chic accommodation
can rest at My Dream Boutique Resort with the
choice of bungalow or villa accommodation.
The wooden villas come with wooden high
ceiling and terraces that overlook the lush wellmanicured
For a more central hotel that is close to
the markets and restaurants, there is Sanctuary
Luang Prabang Hotel. Historic buildings make
up the main areas with the main one actually
protected by UNESCO. All the rooms have a
stunning view of the lotus pond and they offer
guest to experience the traditional Laos BBQ
WHAT TO EAT
Sticky rice or khao niaw is a big deal in Laos
cuisine, served in small woven baskets, you can
practically eat it with anything. Try them with
dried buffalo and pork rillettes when you are at
the Aspara Bar and Restaurant. Laotian coffee
grown on the Bolaven Plateau is a delicacy you
can’t miss in Luang Prabang. So have a cup at
Café Le Ban Vat Sene accompanied with some
of their homemade pastries.
WHAT TO DO
Luang Prabang is a river town thanks to the
Mekong river so make the most of that by
taking their array of river cruises to see the
hillside views and spectacular sunsets. Boat
companies like Nava Mekong offer lunch and
dinner cruises with traditional Laos cuisine.
Many boat operators can be found along the
Mekong city centre between the National
Museum and Wat Xing Thing Temple.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23
The World Boutique
Hotel Awards was
held in London during
the closing of 2016,
announcing the crème
de la crème of boutique
The Asian region saw
two boutique hotels
nabbing top honours.
Let’s discover these two
that might make it into
your hotel wish list.
WORDS BY AISHAH AZALI · PHOTOS BY
THE CHEDI CLUB TANAH GAJAH &
THE CHEDI CLUB TANAH GAJAH
WORLD’S BEST RELAXATION RETREAT
Many associate Bali with its turquoise waters and
colourful culture. But there is an artful element to
this Indonesia hot spot that is subtle yet deeply
relaxing. The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah understands
the importance of artistic design, creating a
relaxation retreat to calm the senses.
The 5-hectare property was the former
residence of Indonesia’s most respected art
collector, Hendra Hadiprana. 20 villas ranging from
the spa pool villa to family villa and the exclusive
Hadiprana with its outdoor Jacuzzi are designed in
the traditional Balinese design and decorated with
Hendra’s extensive art collection.
If you think the villas are enough to invoke a
sense of serenity, the spa treatments and health
club will elevate that to another level. They curate
complimentary yoga classes for guests and have an
array of spa packages conducted at their paddyfacing
Pangulasian Island, Philippines
WORLD’S BEST BEACH OR COASTAL HOTEL
When one wins an award on beach beauty, expect
it to be on a secluded island with powdery white
sands and waters in every shade of blue. That
paradise lies in the Palawan Province in a town
called El Nido that is also home to one of the most
beautiful beaches in the world ranked by Condé
Nast Traveler’s List.
The Pangulasian Island features 42 deluxe
accommodations built in a contemporary Filipino
architecture. Their canopy villa perched 15-18
meters from the ground host expansive views of
the sea and the surrounding islands while their
pool villa is equipped with a private pool right
outside your balcony.
Besides lounging around and doing nothing,
guests can indulge in their luxurious spa treatments
and dine in a romantic dinner by the beach. Plus,
we heard that the sunsets are spectacular in these
parts of Palawan.
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Home-grown Skincare Brands
It’s a fact that Asians take pride in
the healthiness of their skin thanks
to a variety of natural ingredients
from Mother Earth that are packed
with benefits. Nowadays, skincare is
turning more artisanal and organic
with a slew of home-grown brands
making waves in weekend markets
and social media. Here we take a
look at some unique handmade skin
and body brands from Asia that
might convince you to go natural.
WRITTEN BY AISHAH AZALI • PHOTOS BY THE
SAPONIFIST, WUNDERBATH, NATIVE ESSENTIALS
The soaps are also
made from 50%
olive oil, a signature
trait that will leave
your skin beautiful
thanks antioxidants to its natural
Cold process soaps in swirling marble designs
and heavenly botanical scents are the back
bone of Saponifist created by chemistry-loving
Nadya Lee from Malaysia. After a trip to a quaint
little soap shop, Nadya levelled up her joy of
making homemade beauty treats and started the
Her skilfully handmade soaps are good for
the skin as it is pretty to look at. Therapeutic
botanicals like chrysanthemum blossom and
jojoba oil give a lovely fragrance on top of its
skin benefits. The soaps are also made from 50%
olive oil, a signature trait that will leave your skin
beautiful thanks to its natural antioxidants.
Pamper your skin with their best-selling bars
like the Emulsion formulated with goat’s milk and
a touch of caramel for skin as supple as a baby’s.
The Panacea doubles as a mild exfoliator with
licorice aiming to even out the skin tone and some
geranium essential oil for a sleep-inducing aroma.
Where To Get It:
www.saponifist or www.facebook.com/saponifist or
catch Nadya at local bazaars with updates on Facebook.
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The Wunderbath brand has a cult following in
Malaysia thanks to their balm stain called the
Wunderlippie which exploded on social media.
Creator Evelyn Marieta started off as a nutritionist
who could not find the right lip balm and went on
to experiment on food ingredients. From there, she
ended up creating cosmetic and bath products that
are free from toxic chemicals
It all began with her WunderLippie lip balm
stain that is vegan and lead-free. Nourishing
ingredients like rose hip oil, pure shea butter and
vitamin E are the base while natural minerals give
that punch of colour in six vivid shades from rosy
pink to blood red.
Another best seller are their body butters
that has garnered good reviews on helping
to ease eczema symptoms thanks to a tub of
Fairy Godmother healing body soufflé. Their
latest product that has been creating buzz is
Wundersoap, handcrafted using plant oils that
come in whimsical shapes like mooncakes and the
ginger bread man.
Where To Get It:
www.wunderbath.co and retailers like M+ Pharmacy at
Bangsar Village and 176 Avenue.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 27
Trouble sleeping? Need something to induce
that sense of relaxation? Well that was the
concern of Native Essentials founder and
aromatologist, Daniela Pelonara. She was
fascinated by Asian botanicals after many
years of living in the Asia Pacific region. This
pushed her to amass the knowledge of organic
cosmeceuticals and aromatherapy, thus
creating Native Essentials.
Be spoilt for choices as her brand cater
everything from face and hair products,
essential oils and even a range for pregnant
women and kids. Her bestselling face product
is the Hyaluronic Skin Booster which is a
fast absorbing face and eye serum to retain
moisture all day long.
The travel-friendly essential oils work
wonders if you have problems sleeping
especially during travelling times. The Fall
Asleep essential oil promotes relaxation thanks
to ylang ylang and lavender where a couple of
drops on your pillow or in the bath tub will set
your body up for a good sleep.
essential oils work wonders
if you have problems
sleeping especially during
travelling times. ”
Where To Get It:
www.nativeessentials.com or indulge in some
spa treatments using Native Essential product at
Sparadise (www.sparadise.com.hk) and Melomist
(www.melomist.com) in Hong Kong.
28 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
There is a reason why Katfood is crowned
Singapore’s most awarded independent beauty
brand and why beauty junkies are loyal to it.
Firstly, their all-natural coconut oil based
skin and hair care products or kat-treats are
100% organic with no chemical preservatives.
Kendra Liew, the founder believes that what
you put on your skin should be as safe as what
you put in your mouth. Plus, Kendra saw that
the market was lacking high quality food grade
and chemical free skin and hair care at pocketfriendly
The cute packaging with funny pun-like
names like John Lemon Lip Balm and Matcha
Made in Heaven Brightening Mask are adorable
on top of its organic quality. Popular kat-treats
include their Cuckoo For Cocoa Dry Shampoo
made from cocoa and cinnamon when one can
just sprinkle it on the roots of the hair for a
refreshed less-oily scalp on the go.
If you are looking for an organic cellulite
buster, the Espresso Yourself Body Scrub will
leave your skin smooth and firm. While the
Fix-it Felix serum with blended oils of coconut,
primrose and almond is the perfect concoction
for your night skincare routine.
Note that if you purchase a kat-treat, it is
handmade fresh upon each order Therefore do
read the ‘best before’ and keep them in cool dry
places for longer shelf life.
Where To Get It:
www.ilovekatfood.com as well as Isetan Scotts
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 29
LG 07, Amcorp Mall, No 18, Jalan Persiaran
Barat, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Calling Joe’s MAC a record store is an understatement,
it is practically an emporium filled
with LPs, Eps and 78s. Their selection includes
local and foreign records as well as new and
vintage vinyl. Just how much do they have?
Around 24,000 records. Don’t worry, they are
arranged alphabetically but popular artists get
their own section like Elvis Presley and Jimi
Hendrix. On top of the records, the place also
doubles are a repair shop for turntables and
amps. A music lover’s dream, right?
THERE IS A CERTAIN RAWNESS WHEN ONE LISTENS
TO MUSIC THROUGH VINYL, A CERTAIN NOSTALGIC
FEELING WHEN YOU SWITCH ON THE TURNTABLE
THAT MAKES YOU APPRECIATE THE MUSIC OF THE
PAST. HERE ARE SOME OF THE RADDEST RECORD
STORES AROUND TOWN.
ONWORDS BY AISHAH AZALI
#01-39 Burlington Square 175 Bencoolen
Dubbed by Vinyl Factory UK as one of the best
records stores in the world, Hear Records is a
haven for music lovers and collectors of vinyl. They
currently stock over 4000 new and reissued vinyl
and about 7000 used ones so you’ll be spoiled for
choices. They also support the community where
vinyl profits by local Singaporean artists are given
to charity for needy kids. They recently opened a
second store, Hear2 at Chinatown.
THE LP FREAK STORE
G16, Block 3, Level G, Emerald Perdana East, Jalan PJU 8/3, 47810 Petaling Jaya
Local music lovers can check out this cool joint for their vinyl fix. Though they do sell records from older
artist like Pearl Jam, Miles Davis and The Smiths, it is good to note that they do stock up on current music
influencers like Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay. Their indie music collection is an impressive
one as well thanks to their sourcing from the UK and US.
30 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
WITH CHINESE NEW YEAR APPROACHING AT THE
END OF THE MONTH, A STOCK UP OF THE VARIOUS
INGREDIENTS THAT ARE TRADITIONALLY COOKED
DURING THAT FESTIVE SEASON IS A MUST. SO LET US BE
A CHINESE AUNTIE FOR A DAY AND STROLL THROUGH A
TRADITIONAL CHINESE SHOP TO FIND OUT ABOUT THESE
DELICIOUS YET AUSPICIOUS CONDIMENTS.
WRITTEN BY AISHAH AZALI · PHOTOS BY FADZA ISHAK
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 31
“Mr. Hiah’s shop
sourced from around
Mr Hiah manning
the cashier with his
pipe and shelves of
very family has their Chinese dish staples
during Chinese New Year featuring an array
of interesting ingredients. These condiments
are not only delicious to eat but have significant
meaning to the Chinese like bringing good fortune
and happiness as they bring in the New Year.
To find out more, we visited Chinatown in Kuala
Lumpur to one of the oldest Chinese ingredient
shops in KL founded in 1958 called Kwang Yeow
Heng. We met the owner, 92-year-old Mr. Hiah
who handles the cashier like the boss he is, all with
a smoking pipe in hand.
He fled to Malaysia from China after the
Sino-Japanese War and learned the ways of shop
keeping from his brother-in-law who owned one.
In 1958, Mr. Hiah branched out and opened his
own shop in Petaling Street next to Central Market
where he would personally transport his stock via
trishaw, a story of struggle he told with teary eyes.
Now 58 years later, Mr. Hiah’s shop is supplying
to restaurants and hotels while serving his regulars
with top notch ingredients sourced from around
the world. We’re talking about sea cucumber from
South Africa, abalone from Mexico and cashew
nuts from India.
32 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
FROM TOP The best
dried sea cucumber in all
shapes and sizes; A variety
of canned abalone from
around the world.
• Hǎishēn •
A popular ingredient cooked during
Chinese New Year even though the
cooking process is long, the sea
cucumber has been part of Chinese culture since the fourth
century AD. Mr. Hiah’s shop sells a couple of types, varying
is size and place of origin. The best comes from the waters
of South Africa where its round shape is still retained even
after the drying process. Need a health benefit? The folks
at the shop believe it is packed full of collagen for that
youthful glow of the skin.
Cooking it requires one to soak for 3 – 4 days before
cutting it to open to remove the insides before braising
them. The sea cucumber itself does not yield much flavour
therefore needs to be cooked in a flavourful sauce or broth.
Despite that, the sea cucumber is considered a Chinese
delicacy that is worth trying if you get invited to a Chinese
New Year open house.
• Fù •
• HAPPINESS •
You will be spoilt for choices when
it comes to the abalone selection at
Kwang Yeow Heng with the long fullystacked
shelf dedicated to this special ingredient. We are
talking cans of this stuff from all over the world with the
best coming from the seas of Mexico. What you want is
that instant sea smell the moment you take the lid off the
can, an indication of its high quality.
This particular ingredient is expensive not only because
of its meaning but because of its rarity. The fishing of
abalone is heavily controlled. Plus the length of maturity
for these molluscs are long, taking up to four years to fully
mature for collection and consumption. That is why one
can of abalone usually contains only one to three pieces. Its
cooking method is simpler than the sea cucumber, with the
heating of the whole abalone can in a wok filled with water
for about 50 minutes.
• DEFINITE GOOD FORTUNE •
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 33
• HAPPINESS OF THE ENTIRE FAMILY •
Dried fish maw and
shrimp BOTTOM The
shop’s selection of nuts.
• Huā Jiāo •
Though some people
describe fish maw as the
belly of a fish, it is actually
the bladder of a big fish that has been
dried. Mr. Hiah’s shop has them behind
glass cases and some are even hung on
the walls. The dried ones are the most
prized but there is also the fried fish maw
which can be mistaken for fish crackers or
keropok in Malay. These thin transparent
fish parts are believed to be high in
collagen and those who consume it will
benefit with a fairer complexion.
The grade of it varies from type of fish
and even gender. Male fish bladders are
thicker thus making them more expensive
compared to female ones. When the fish
maw is cooked, the bladder turns into a
gel-like substance which can easily dissolve
if the temperature and time of cooking are
not monitored well. It has to be soaked first
though before cooking for about six to 12
hours depending on the type of fish maw.
• ABUNDANCE •
or Lap Cheong
GOOD TO KNOW
• Yāoguŏ •
• GOLD OR MONEY •
Nuts are a big part
of Chinese culture as they have various
meanings while boasting many health
benefits. Mr. Hiah stocks his cashews
from India and can be cooked with stir fry
dishes or simply eaten as a snack.
• Hétàorén •
Walnuts saw a
massive growth during the Tang dynasty
where it was commercially grown in the
north of China. It is eaten raw or roasted
but can be embellished with sugar for a
sweet take on this favourite snack.
• If you prefer to eat poultry, try Lap
Cheong or waxed Chinese sausage
which is a wine-dried sausage.
• When serving chicken during
Chinese New Year, it is preferred
to serve it whole with the chicken’s
head and all as it symbolises
completeness in Chinese culture.
• Tofu is not usually served during
Chinese New Year because its
white colour signifies death.
However, it can be served if it’s
fried till golden brown.
KWANG YEOW HENG | NO. 36, JALAN HANG KASTURI 50050 KL | 03-2078 0969
34 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
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