GOASIAPLUS January 2017

goasiaplus

JANUARY 2017 | ISSUE 8

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

JOURNEY TO ASIA’S

SACRED

SITES

LUANG PRABANG:

The river town of Laos

THE INSIDE SCOOP ON

TRADITIONAL

CHINESE INGREDIENTS


Contents

10

On The Radar

13

Out & About

14

Now Boarding

16

FYI: Travel Insurance

18

Sacred Sites

31

26

14

18

23

Road Less Taken:

Luang Prabang

24

Bucket List

26

Organic Skincare

23

30

Shopping Gems

31

Traditional Chinese

Ingredients

4 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


COVER PHOTO BY FADZA ISHAK

EDITORIAL TEAM

GROUP HEAD & BRANDS

JOHN SO

EDITOR

AISHAH AZALI

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

TEERATH KHOSA

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

JAMIE SOO-HOO

CONTRIBUTORS

RACHEL FONG & YASMIN KAMAL

PHOTOGRAPHER

FADZA ISHAK, AZUL ADNAN

DIGITAL TEAM

CONTENT

AISHAH AZALI & AYUMI SWEED

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES

AISHAH@PCOMASIA.COM

SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER

ZOE GOH

ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES

JAZLYN YAP

+6017–9706080

JAZLYN@PCOMASIA.COM

COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP

JOHN SO

JOHNSO@PCOMASIA.COM

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The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those of Publishcom Asia Sdn Bhd (963236–P). While every reasonable

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6 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


EDITOR’s note

I

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

MONTH WINNER

AZUL

ADNAN

Aishah Azali

Editor

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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.

www.wineconnection.com.my

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.

www.airasia.com

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.

www.bonia.com

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On The Radar

Common Man Coffee

Roasters Launches

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.

www.facebook.com/commonmanKL

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.nikon.com.my

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.

www.tumi.com

Travel with a

Fresh Face

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.

www.shiseido.com.my

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.

www.sofitel.com

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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

www.littleangelsmal.com/ticketing

21 JAN | Bryan

Adams Live In

Malaysia

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

www.ticketpro.com.my

Across The Pond

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21 JAN |

St. Jerome’s

Laneway Festival

7-15 JAN | Ahmedabad International

Kite Festival

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

www.gujarattourism.com

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.

The Meadow,

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

www.sistic.com.sg

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 13


Now Boarding

NOW BOARDING

with

EB duet

TO LISTEN TO EB DUET

AND WATCH THEIR

VIDEOS, CHECK

THEM OUT AT

www.ebduet.com

14 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


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

Now Boarding

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

people.

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’

came about?

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

practised before.

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

for fun.

“We want

to share

what we

love, which

is music to

people that

appreciate

it as much

as we do.”

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 15


FYI

TRAVEL INSURANCE:

“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

16 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


FYI

WHAT KIND OF TRAVELLER ARE YOU?

There’s a travel insurance for all kind of travellers.

THE BUSINESS

TRAVELLER

who travels a lot

for work

THE

BACKPACKER

looking to embark

on an adventure

THE DIGITAL

NOMAD

who is constantly

on the move

THE FAMILY

OF FIVE

who travels 3 times

in a year

THE

WEEKENDER

who is looking for a

quick getaway

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

www.axa.com.my/travel-insurance-malaysia

ZURICH TRAVELPAC

Single-Trip: RM 30

Annual Travel Insurance: RM245 yearly

www.zurich.com.my/en/show-me-zurich-insurance-products

TUNE TRIP TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN

Single-Trip: RM 31.50

Annual Travel Insurance: RM 155.25

Domestic Travel: RM 14

www.tuneprotect.com/products/tune-trip-travel-insurance

MHINSURE TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN

Single-Trip: RM 30

Annual Travel Insurance: RM 281

Domestic Travel: RM 22

www.malaysiaairlines.com/my/en/plan/mhinsure.html

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.

MH Insure

www.mas-ma-wl.poweredbycovermore.com

Tune Protect Travel Insurance

www.tuneprotect.com/airasia/en/home

AIG Travel Guard

www.aig.my/personal/travel/travel-insurance

Malindo Air Travel Insurance

www.malindoair.chubbtravelinsurance.com/MY

World Nomads

www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 17


Sacred Sites

The 12-storey

complex of Thiksey

Monastery located

in the Indus Valley.

18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


Sacred Sites

Sacred sites

throughout

asia

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

GREAT ADVENTURE.

WORDS BY RACHEL FONG · PHOTOS BY GETTY & AZUL ADNAN

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19


Sacred Sites

Ladakh, India

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

Buddhism.

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.

20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


Sacred Sites

FROM TOP The

Shwedagon Pagoda,

peeking out from

the Yangon skyline;

The Sule Pagoda in

the city centre.

The gleaming gold

structure of the

Shwedagon Pagoda.

Yangon, Myanmar

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

Buddhas.”

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 21


Sacred Sites

The inside of

Hagia Sofia

that used to

be a church

then coverted

into a mosque.

Istanbul, Turkey

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

its landscape.

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.

The grounds

of Topkapi

Palace featuring

many buildings

for different

purposes of the

imperial family.

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:

LUANG PRABANG

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

the speedboat.

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

gardens.

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

or Sindat.

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


Bucket List

WORLD’S BEST

Boutique Hotels

The World Boutique

Hotel Awards was

held in London during

the closing of 2016,

announcing the crème

de la crème of boutique

hotels worldwide.

The Asian region saw

two boutique hotels

nabbing top honours.

Let’s discover these two

outstanding properties

that might make it into

your hotel wish list.

WORDS BY AISHAH AZALI · PHOTOS BY

THE CHEDI CLUB TANAH GAJAH &

EL NIDO

THE CHEDI CLUB TANAH GAJAH

Bali, Indonesia

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

spa suites.

www.ghmhotels.com/en/tanah-gajah

EL NIDO

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.

www.elnidoresorts.com/pangulasian-island

24 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


Organic Skincare

GOING ORGANIC:

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

& KATFOOD.


The soaps are also

made from 50%

olive oil, a signature

trait that will leave

your skin beautiful

thanks antioxidants to its natural


THE SAPONIFIST

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

Saponifist.

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.

26 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


Organic Skincare

WUNDERBATH

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


Organic Skincare

NATIVE ESSENTIALS

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.


The travel-friendly

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


Organic Skincare

KATFOOD

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

prices.

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

in Singapore.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 29


Shopping Gems

JOE’S MAC

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?

WWW.JOESMAC.COM.MY

PUT YOUR

RECORDS

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

HEAR RECORDS

#01-39 Burlington Square 175 Bencoolen

Street, Singapore

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.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/HEARRECORDS

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.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/THELPFREAKSTORE

30 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


Chinese Ingredients

Auspicious

Chinese

Ingredients

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

supplies ingredients

sourced from around

the world.”

Mr Hiah manning

the cashier with his

pipe and shelves of

achievements.

E

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


Chinese Ingredients

FROM TOP The best

dried sea cucumber in all

shapes and sizes; A variety

of canned abalone from

around the world.

• Hǎishēn •

Sea Cucumber


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 •

鳆 Abalone

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 •

Chinese Ingredients

Dried fish maw and

shrimp BOTTOM The

shop’s selection of nuts.

Fish Maw

• Huā Jiāo •

花 膠

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 •

Wine-dried

waxed sausages

or Lap Cheong

GOOD TO KNOW

• Yāoguŏ •

腰 果

• GOLD OR MONEY •

Cashew Nuts

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.

Nuts

• Hétàorén •

核 桃


Walnut

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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