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TRAVEL &<br />


AWARDS<br />

ASIA<br />

<strong>2018</strong><br />


TEAM<br />

CEO<br />

Dennis Mayhew<br />


Katherine Lozell<br />


Marcs Bacera<br />


Stanley Lucas<br />


Brian Anson<br />


Zoe Watkins<br />


Tasmai Dave<br />

Jacqui Irvine<br />

Joseph Wilton<br />


Antoine Jackson<br />

Dave Chen<br />


Adam Cole<br />

Joseph Malabanan<br />

Zach Ford<br />

Peter Clement<br />


Costin Marcel<br />

Sarah Patel<br />


Tracy Morgan<br />

Kim Feldmann de Britto<br />

Joseph Malabanan<br />

Aisha Ahmed<br />

Criteria ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>n Megacities................................................................................................................................................................................ 10<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>n Megacities ............................... 12<br />

Cordis Shanghai Hongqiao ............ 18<br />

Belmont Hotel ...................................22<br />

Ambassador Row Hotel Suites<br />

Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon<br />

Serviced Residences ..........................26<br />

Parkroyal On Pickering ................. 20<br />

Sunny Hills........................................ 21<br />

by Lanson Place ...............................24<br />

The 7 Wonders of <strong>Asia</strong> ...................................................................................................................................................................... 28<br />

Hotelpoispois ................................... 30<br />

Interview With Jean Ching Chu ......32<br />

Kuraya ..............................................36<br />

Kihaa Maldives ............................... 40<br />

Xi Hotel .............................................42<br />

Baraquda Pattaya –<br />

Mgallery by Sofitel........................... 44<br />

Amaya Kuda Rah Maldives ........... 46<br />

S.N.E.G Hotel & Restaurant ...........48<br />

East <strong>Asia</strong> ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 50<br />

Japan .................................................52<br />

Hokkaido | Japan ...........................58<br />

Hokkaido Nature Tours ..................59<br />

Hotorinite ......................................... 60<br />

Daikokuya Sangam ......................... 61<br />

Costel Minoshima .............................62<br />

Why Kansai? ................................... 64<br />

Gion Hanna Stay .............................68<br />

Shiki Properties................................ 69<br />

Fujitaya Bnb .................................... 70<br />

Hyogo Top 5 .....................................72<br />

Remembering Anthony Bourdain<br />

& His Love For Tokyo .....................76<br />

Cyclo Limousine .............................. 80<br />

Obi Hostel ......................................... 81<br />

Taiwan ..............................................82<br />

Getting In & Getting Around ...........84<br />

China Airlines ...................................86<br />

Taiwan Attractions ......................... 94<br />

Kenting Coast Resort ....................... 96<br />

Exploring Taiwan’s<br />

Food Culture .....................................98<br />

The Great Roots Forestry<br />

Spa Resort .......................................100<br />

South East <strong>Asia</strong> ............................................................................................................................................................................... 102<br />

Penang Vs Genting Highlands ......104<br />

Grand Ion Delemen Hotel ............. 108<br />

Matahari Tours & <strong>Travel</strong> .............. 109<br />

Malaysia Adventure........................110<br />

Explore Balik Pulau ........................ 113<br />

The Philippines ................................ 114<br />

Malapascua Garden Resort ........... 118<br />

The Avenue Plaza Hotel ................. 119<br />

Boracay Re-Opening ..................... 120<br />

Boracay Haven Resort .................... 121<br />

Savoy Hotel Boracay ......................122<br />

Thailand: the Home of<br />

Beautiful Beaches ........................... 124<br />

Sibaja Palms Sunset Beach<br />

Resort ................................................127<br />

Wanida Tardivel ............................ 128<br />

Koh Jum Beach Villas .................... 130<br />

Seanery Beach Resort ..................... 131<br />

Adventure in Thailand ...................132<br />

Island Gem Tours ............................135<br />

Tim’s Thailand .............................. 136<br />

Ekman Garden ............................... 138<br />

Chiang Mai .....................................140<br />

Puri Punn ......................................... 141<br />

The Enduring Beauty of Bali ........ 142<br />

Sun Suko Retreat ............................ 146<br />

Astagina Resort .............................. 148<br />

Bondalem Beach Club ................... 150<br />

Nyaungshwe | Myanmar ..............152<br />

Ann Heritage Lodge ........................153<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>na Link .................................... 154<br />

Sol Beach Resort .............................155<br />

South <strong>Asia</strong> ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 156<br />

Bhutan ..............................................158<br />

Bangladesh | The One to Watch .. 162<br />

Holiday Xpress ............................... 164<br />

Hotel Grace 21 ................................. 166<br />

Palace Jhargram .............................173<br />

Niraamaya Retreats ........................174<br />

Soulitude In The Himalayas ..........175<br />

Jammu & Kashmir | India .............176<br />

Varanasi Heritage Walk .................178<br />

Tasmais Varanasi Adventure .........179<br />

Sri Lanka Top 3 .............................. 180<br />

Rainbow Tours Sri Lanka ............. 184<br />

India Top Five Things<br />

to See and Do .................................. 168<br />

Nimmu House ..................................177<br />

Maldives .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 186<br />

The Maldives Overview ................. 188<br />

Pearl Sands At Huraa .................... 190<br />

Robinson Club Maldives ................ 192<br />

Bibee Maldives ................................ 195<br />

Contents<br />

Dive Maldives ................................. 196<br />

Rasdhoo Dive Lodge ..................... 198<br />

Local Tourism |<br />

A New Approach ........................... 200<br />

West Sands ..................................... 204<br />

Island Beach House ...................... 206<br />

3 4


Excellence in Service is an important category, as customer<br />

service can often be responsible for having guests return<br />

year after year. We look for the hotels and tour operators<br />

that go out of their way to please their guests, those that<br />

provide a personal level of service and take the time to<br />

get to know each visitor so that they might anticipate their<br />

every need. This can be something as simple as a 24-hour<br />

concierge desk, a hotel manager who offers a personal<br />

greeting or a tour guide who is happy to create bespoke<br />

private tours – but whatever it is, we are always pleased<br />

when we encounter staff that have been trained in the art<br />

of customer satisfaction.<br />


It is no question that style and design plays a big part in<br />

selecting our awards shortlist. A guest will form an opinion<br />

about a hotel as soon as they arrive so it is important<br />

to us that all our winners make those first impressions<br />

count. We’re certainly not partial to a particular period of<br />

architecture – but whether we’re judging a gothic castle or<br />

an environmentally friendly lodge, the criteria remains the<br />

same. We consider factors such as architectural features,<br />

use of materials, creation of spaces, décor and the overall<br />

feel. We love it when we find a hotel that tells a story<br />

through its design and construction, or offers a design that<br />

is sympathetic to the natural surroundings of its location.<br />


Knowledge of the local area is essential for any<br />

organization, be it a hotel or a tour operator. The quality<br />

of services takes a great hit when the quality of this<br />

element is not up to the mark. Quite a few of our winners<br />

in this category are because they have displayed excellent<br />

knowledge about the surrounding areas. The criteria for a<br />

hotel is slightly lenient <strong>com</strong>pared to a tour operator, as the<br />

latter is expected to have thorough knowledge of the area<br />

in order to provide good services.<br />

Image by: Mahir Uysal<br />


5 6


Award-winning guest rooms <strong>com</strong>e in all shapes and sizes,<br />

but they all have one thing in <strong>com</strong>mon – a home-awayfrom-home<br />

feel. The <strong>com</strong>fort of the facilities on offer are<br />

of vital importance; we look for luxurious linens, stylish<br />

bathrooms and a coordinated colour scheme that work<br />

together to create a cohesive sense of relaxation. Additional<br />

touches, such as <strong>com</strong>plimentary toiletries, free wi-fi or tea<br />

and coffee making facilities are always a bonus in making<br />

us feel wel<strong>com</strong>e. We’re always impressed to find hotel<br />

rooms that embrace technology and offer amenities like<br />

tablets or smart thermostat systems, but this does not<br />

always necessarily trump the traditional – four poster beds,<br />

ornate fireplaces or antique furniture can add a touch of<br />

decadence to a hotel stay.<br />


Location is one of the most important factors, but also<br />

one of the most subjective, as the ‘ideal’ is very much<br />

determined by the type of visitor and the type of hotel<br />

itself. However, there are a few factors we take into<br />

consideration when determining the winners of locationbased<br />

awards. The first is convenience; that is, hotels that<br />

are easy to travel to. Many of our winners in this category<br />

are in convenient locations, such as adjacent to airports,<br />

close to beaches or found in the heart of easy-to-navigate<br />

cities. We are always impressed when hotels go the extra<br />

mile to take the hassle out of traveling and offer such<br />

additional services as airport shuttles or car hire services.<br />

However, we’re always excited to <strong>com</strong>e across a hotel<br />

that is, to use a familiar phrase, off-the-beaten-track. A<br />

hotel that can offer something a little different, in terms of<br />

natural surroundings, can make the difference between a<br />

good holiday and an incredible one.<br />

In today’s modern age, a hotel or tour operator cannot<br />

rely on word of mouth to get their message out into the<br />

world. As social media has be<strong>com</strong>e a vital part of everyday<br />

life, we like to see <strong>com</strong>panies that go the extra mile to<br />

engage with their guests, both past and future. Attractive<br />

and informative websites and engaging and honest<br />

content are what we look for when judging a <strong>com</strong>pany’s<br />

use of marketing; how well they display their services, how<br />

up-to-date their content is, how well they get their brand<br />

message across, and, most importantly, how well their<br />

marketing can tempt us to go and see what they have to<br />

offer for ourselves.<br />

What better way is there to know about an organization<br />

than by getting first hand reviews? Customers are the best<br />

judges of any service out there as they are the ones who<br />

experience them and can assess whether they were up to<br />

the mark or not. Considering reviews from hundreds of<br />

customers gives us a fair idea about the general pros and<br />

cons of any organization and also give us valuable inputs<br />

for the other criteria as well.<br />



Diversity is one important aspect that needs to be taken<br />

into consideration when in the travel and hospitality<br />

industry. It is essential to have staff that has varying diversity<br />

to ensure that the organization can properly connect with<br />

their guests. Diversity is taken into account in terms of<br />

gender, nationality as well as languages spoken among<br />

other factors. Not only do we take the diversity of the staff<br />

into account but even that of the facilities and services<br />

offered; a hotel or tour operator providing a better range<br />

of services is preferred over those that do not.<br />

It is of prime importance that an organization has thorough<br />

industry knowledge. Without knowing the ins and outs of<br />

the industry, it is difficult to flourish and provide services<br />

which are a class apart. Before any organization ventures<br />

into the industry, it is essential that they know how the<br />

industry is moving and how they should make changes to<br />

their methodologies in order to remain relevant and also<br />

be a top-performing organization.<br />




7 8

ASIAN<br />


Image by: RH Lee<br />

9 10


When you mention venturing to <strong>Asia</strong>n cities, it is likely that the idea of a bustling<br />

megalopolis crowded with hundreds upon hundreds of people, all shuffling<br />

through crowded streets under a buzz of vibrant neon lights are what <strong>com</strong>e to your mind.<br />

While this <strong>Asia</strong>n city stereotype certainly does have some truth behind it, it is not allen<strong>com</strong>passing<br />

and some of the most populous and fascinating <strong>Asia</strong>n megacities could<br />

not be more different.<br />

Take Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai for example. All of these cities are<br />

international business hubs. They all possess the towering skyscrapers and the flashing<br />

neon signs that <strong>com</strong>prise many cities but more than that, they all possess their own<br />

distinct personalities and cultures.<br />

Kuala Lumpur<br />

The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is a popular starting point for adventures around<br />

Malaysia or wider Southeast <strong>Asia</strong>. The country is renowned globally for its tantalising,<br />

flavourful food, its diverse multiculturalism and its bustling markets. With a diverse<br />

population, traveling to Kuala Lumpur makes travellers feel transported to various parts<br />

of the globe without even having to venture out of the city. One moment, you could<br />

be sipping a hot cup of chai tea in Kuala Lumpur’s Little India district, and dipping naan<br />

in your chicken curry. The next, you are revelling in the scent of incense and watching<br />

Chinese prayer-goers pay their respects at Guan Di Taoist temple in Chinatown.<br />

Kuala Lumpur is a Muslim country and the skyline of this city is made incredibly unique<br />

<strong>com</strong>pared to other <strong>Asia</strong>n megacities in that it is filled with the ornate minarets of<br />

mosques. At several points throughout the day, the call to prayer will echo through the<br />

city streets. Kuala Lumpur essentially exists at a cultural crossroads of the Middle East<br />

meeting East <strong>Asia</strong>. The layout of the city, the friendliness of the locals, and the neon<br />

buzz is <strong>Asia</strong>n, whereas many aspects of the culture are reminiscent of Turkey or the<br />

Middle East, such as the spicy, flavourful cuisine, or the many hammams (Turkish baths)<br />

that offer an exotic form of rest and relaxation for the weary traveller.<br />

11 12

Singapore<br />

A rich, multicultural city in the heart of Southeast <strong>Asia</strong>, Singapore is one of the most<br />

visited countries in the world, and for good reason. In a similar way to Dubai in the<br />

Middle East, Singapore could be considered as the embodiment of modern living<br />

and the luxury lifestyle in <strong>Asia</strong>. At first glance, Singapore looks on the surface to be<br />

<strong>com</strong>prised of glitzy skyscrapers, luxurious megamalls, and bars and restaurants catering<br />

to the jet-set. When you dig a little deeper, however, you find the true heart of Singapore<br />

lurking beneath the surface. Like both Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, Singapore’s street<br />

food game is strong. The best dishes are said to be found in the many Hawker’s centers<br />

scattered throughout the city. Grab a stool, sit among locals, and slurp up a delicious<br />

bowl of Singapore beef noodles beneath the canvases of the food tents.<br />

In a similar way to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore is an extremely diverse country. Residents<br />

of the country are <strong>com</strong>prised of people who are predominantly ethnic Chinese, Indian<br />

or Malay. The city itself houses various neighborhoods that reflect the different cultures<br />

of those that inhabit them. In this way, Singapore is very similar to Kuala Lumpur. Both<br />

megacities house countless temples and religious buildings of various faiths, and diverse<br />

neighborhoods for people of different backgrounds. For example, both Singapore and<br />

Kuala Lumpur have large Indian populations and their own “Little India” districts –<br />

Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur and the area around Lavender station in Singapore.<br />

13 14

Shanghai<br />

Though huge, Shanghai is actually China’s second<br />

largest city, with the capital being Beijing. Just<br />

like Singapore, Shanghai is a <strong>com</strong>mercial hub for<br />

finance and business. Though Shanghai does not<br />

have the same multiculturalism intertwined within its<br />

roots as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, it does house<br />

professional and educated people from an array<br />

of backgrounds as a consequence of many expats<br />

(often from western countries) relocating here for<br />

work.<br />

Shanghai possesses many of the same appeals<br />

as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from a travel<br />

perspective – the opportunity to try fascinating<br />

local cuisine, world-class hospitality and a glimpse<br />

into an <strong>Asia</strong>n culture. However, it is some paces<br />

behind Singapore on its journey to be<strong>com</strong>ing an<br />

international center of activity. Shanghai does feel<br />

cosmopolitan, international and modern to an<br />

extent; however, this is still China. Mandarin remains<br />

dominant here and English is less widely spoken<br />

than in Singapore (where English is actually the first<br />

language). If you cannot speak the local language,<br />

you will find it a little trickier to get by in Shanghai<br />

than in the other two cities. It is advisable to use a<br />

translator app or keep the addresses of where you<br />

will be staying written down on paper in Mandarin<br />

at all times for when you need to get cabs, or should<br />

you have to ask for directions.<br />

Over 90% of Shanghai’s population is Han Chinese.<br />

This is evident everywhere – in the neighborhoods,<br />

the décor, the religious sites and the restaurants.<br />

Shanghai possesses a fascinating culture in terms of<br />

experiencing cosmopolitan China for the first time,<br />

practicing your Mandarin and sampling traditional<br />

Chinese delicacies, but the level of diversity is<br />

relatively low, so you should have an interest in<br />

Chinese traditions and culture if venturing here.<br />

All three megacities are well-suited for a first-time<br />

visitor to <strong>Asia</strong>. Though the landscapes, the diversity,<br />

and the ease of <strong>com</strong>municating with locals vary<br />

extensively from one city to another, all of these<br />

cities are accustomed to seeing foreign travellers<br />

and the locals will do their best to assist you should<br />

you need help at any point during your trip.<br />

15 16

China<br />

CORDIS<br />



Airport Hotel<br />

333 Shenhong Road, Minhang District, Shanghai, 201106 China ♦<br />

Tel + 86 21 5263 9999 ♦ cordishotels.<strong>com</strong>/shanghai-hongqiao<br />

Situated right at the<br />

heart of the integrated<br />

<strong>com</strong>mercial, residential and<br />

economic district, Hongqiao,<br />

Cordis, Shanghai, Hongqiao<br />

connects you well to the city.<br />

Wel<strong>com</strong>ing guests with modern<br />

interiors, exceptional attention<br />

to detail and thoughtful extras,<br />

our 396 guest rooms and<br />

suites capture the intimacy<br />

and individuality of a private<br />

home. Ranging from a cozy 41<br />

square meters to an expansive<br />

162 square meters for the<br />

Presidential Suite, our rooms<br />

meet the needs of on the go<br />

business executives and leisure<br />

travelers, with <strong>com</strong>fortable<br />

and generously sized work<br />

desks with high-speed internet<br />

connectivity, blackout curtains<br />

and JBL Bluetooth speakers.<br />

We have partnered with a<br />

consultant Pure Living, for the<br />

latest indoor air purification<br />

technology, which reduces the<br />

indoor PM2.5 index to a single<br />

digit.<br />

You could dine at C Market, the in-house restaurant that is spread across a terrace as well<br />

as indoors. If you wish to try out Cantonese cuisine, you could head over to Ming Court<br />

and try out the authentic Cantonese dishes. If you fancy some drinks, you could head over<br />

to Connection 12, which is located right next to the swimming pool on the top floor and<br />

gives you stunning views of the city. For a more peaceful place, you could visit the Lobby<br />

Lounge and enjoy some fine sweets along with your drinks.<br />

The hotel has a fully-equipped gym along with a rooftop swimming pool for your fitness<br />

and leisure requirements. If you wish to host an event, The Shanghai Grand and Hongqiao<br />

ballrooms are great options. Both of these ballrooms can ac<strong>com</strong>modate more than 600<br />

guests. You could even book Break-out Rooms for your meetings, weddings, and other<br />

events.<br />

17 18

Singapore<br />



Hotel and Restaurant<br />

of the Year<br />

Singapore<br />


Unique Experience<br />

3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289 ♦ Tel +65 6809 8888 ♦<br />

parkroyalhotels.<strong>com</strong>/pickering<br />

Rising above the city’s dramatic<br />

skyline with a unique hotel-ina-garden<br />

concept and sustainable<br />

features, PARKROYAL on Pickering<br />

elevates green hospitality and<br />

natural living to a whole new level.<br />

Located at the key gateway to<br />

the Central Business District and<br />

financial hub at Raffles Place, and<br />

close to bustling Chinatown and<br />

waterfront entertainment along<br />

the Singapore River, the 367-<br />

room property offers elegant and<br />

contemporary ac<strong>com</strong>modation.<br />

Experience an uplifting stay in the<br />

nature-inspired guestrooms and<br />

unwind <strong>com</strong>pletely at the fitness<br />

center, infinity pool and iconic<br />

poolside cabanas, or pamper<br />

yourself with a delightful spa<br />

treatment at the award-winning<br />

St. Gregory. The hotel’s signature<br />

restaurant, the hotel boasts a<br />

friendly, wel<strong>com</strong>ing atmosphere,<br />

offering guests a warm and inviting<br />

setting to enjoy a wide range<br />

of local, Southeast <strong>Asia</strong>n and<br />

international culinary delights.<br />

Ngee Ann City (Tower B), Unit #B2-27A Takashimaya S.C., Singapore 238872 ♦<br />

Tel +65 85229605 ♦ sunnyhills.<strong>com</strong>.tw<br />

If you’re looking for a place that specializes in pineapple products in Singapore,<br />

Sunny Hills is a great option. With two main products on offer – Pineapple Cake and<br />

Pineapple Juice, they give you the opportunity to enjoy the goodness of pineapples.<br />

The ingredients are sourced directly from the farmers and suppliers to ensure the highest<br />

quality standards. With the kitchen helmed by a professional baker, the sweet and sour<br />

pineapples are squeezed to form great juices and baked to make the pineapple cakes.<br />

Take one sip of the juice or a bite of the cake and you’ll be transported to the sunny hills<br />

of Bagua Mountain, the place where these fruits originate. With multiple stores across<br />

Singapore and a web portal to allow you to buy these ‘Sunny Delights’, you can be<br />

assured that your favorite pineapple product is just a few clicks away.<br />

19 20

Philippines<br />


Airport Hotel<br />

Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Pasay City, 1309, Philippines ♦<br />

Tel +632 318-8888 / 903-1999 ♦ belmonthotelmanila.<strong>com</strong><br />

If you’re traveling to Manila for some urgent work and need a luxurious hotel to stay right<br />

next to the airport, Belmont Hotel is an amazing option. Situated at just a 5-minute walk<br />

from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s 3rd terminal, this hotel provides you ease of<br />

access to the airport while affording some beautiful views of the Manila city skyline. Each room<br />

here is designed to exude elegance and is equipped with every essential amenity and plush<br />

furnishings to ensure that you can have a <strong>com</strong>fortable stay. The hotel also has a special family<br />

room that can house your <strong>com</strong>plete family for a fun-filled family stay.<br />

To satiate your hunger cravings, you can head to Cafe Belmont, the all-day dining restaurant of<br />

the hotel, and enjoy some delicious international preparations in its minimalist-yet-sophisticated<br />

setting. If you’re craving for some pastries or a cup of coffee, you could head over to the bakery<br />

of the hotel. For alcohol lovers, Rooftop 11 has an amazing selection of wines, margaritas, and<br />

beers on the hotel rooftop.<br />

To ensure that guests have a leisurely stay,<br />

the hotel has installed state-of-the-art<br />

facilities which you can take advantage of.<br />

You could head to the roof deck and swim<br />

in the 360-degree panoramic view pool or<br />

can even have some soothing massages<br />

on the massage deck. Moreover, you could<br />

visit the gym to keep up with your fitness<br />

regime. If you feel like relaxing, a sauna<br />

bath or steam session is a great option, or<br />

perhaps you could sit back in the outdoor<br />

jacuzzi too! Even for the kids, the hotel has<br />

a special children’s pool.<br />

Being an airport hotel, they have daily<br />

airport shuttle buses to and from the airport<br />

for your convenience. If you wish to have a<br />

VIP airport transfer or departure assistance,<br />

they arrange that for you as well.<br />

21 22

Malaysia<br />





Business Hotel<br />

Relax in the sauna or with soothing<br />

massages at the spa after a day of activity.<br />

The outdoor pool also has a sun deck.<br />

Providing a business center, friendly staff at<br />

Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson<br />

Place also provide tour information and<br />

concierge services.<br />

Light refreshments and hot beverages<br />

can be enjoyed at the casual dining<br />

environment of Café at Lanson.<br />

1, Jalan Ampang Hilir 55000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ♦ Tel +60 3 4811 2888 ♦<br />

ambassadorrow.lansonplace.<strong>com</strong><br />

A<br />

home away from home,<br />

Ambassador Row Hotel<br />

Suites by Lanson Place<br />

features spacious suites with<br />

fully furnished kitchens and<br />

free internet. Situated in Kuala<br />

Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, it<br />

offers free parking and a large<br />

24-hour gym.<br />

Ambassador Row Hotel Suites<br />

by Lanson Place is within a<br />

5-minute drive from Petronas<br />

Towers, Bintang Walk and<br />

Royal Selangor Golf & Country<br />

Club. The Polo and Riding<br />

Club is a 5-minute walk away.<br />

Fitted with classic furnishings,<br />

stylish suites have a separate<br />

lounge area with a <strong>com</strong>fortable<br />

sofa and flat-screen TV. Meals<br />

can be prepared with the<br />

modern electric stove and<br />

oven. Bathrooms are en-suite,<br />

and <strong>com</strong>e with free toiletries.<br />

23 24

Malaysia<br />




Aparthotel<br />

10, Jalan Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ♦ Tel +60 3 2725 8888 ♦<br />

bukitceylon.lansonplace.<strong>com</strong><br />

Set in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced<br />

Residences is your new dazzling address with free Wi-Fi in all of its 150 spacious one to<br />

three-bedroom serviced apartments for your exquisite selection.<br />

Feel at home in Lanson Place’s serviced apartments in Kuala Lumpur, enjoy a luxury living style<br />

crowned by the sky lounge and an outdoor barbeque area that makes a perfect venue to<br />

unwind and for sophisticated entertainment.<br />

A 5-minute drive away is the shopping district, which includes malls like Pavilion, Sungei Wang,<br />

Berjaya Times Square and Lot 10. The Kuala Lumpur Tower and Petronas Twin Towers are a<br />

10-minute drive from Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced Residences. It takes 45 minutes to<br />

drive to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.<br />

Changkat Bukit Bintang, an avenue on<br />

which a large number of Kuala Lumpur’s<br />

most popular bars and restaurants lay,<br />

can be reached within a 5 minute walking<br />

distance. It’s a busy street that’s lined with<br />

plenty of international restobars, lounges,<br />

whisky bars and lively Irish pubs.<br />

Guests enjoy access to a fitness center and<br />

outdoor swimming pool. Safety deposit<br />

boxes and luggage storage facilities are<br />

available at the 24-hour reception. Airport<br />

shuttle and laundry services are provided<br />

at a surcharge. Friendly staff are fluent in<br />

English, Malay and Chinese.<br />

25 26

THE 7<br />


OF ASIA<br />

27 28

Taiwan<br />


Boutique Hotel<br />

No.168, Section 4, Civic Boulevard, Da’an District, Taipei City ♦<br />

Tel +886 2 2771 1188 ♦ hotelpoispois.<strong>com</strong><br />

Located conveniently at the heart of the bustling city of Taipei is hotelpoispois.<br />

Pois literally translates to “dot” in French and it sounds like the pronunciation<br />

of “bubble” in Mandarin.<br />

And this is exactly what the hotel is<br />

all about. Everything, right from their<br />

exteriors to their furnishings are designed<br />

by keeping bubbles in mind. This 5-star<br />

hotel gives you a chance to escape the<br />

hustle-bustle of the city and relax in its<br />

laid-back and <strong>com</strong>fortable environment.<br />

The brightly-lit exteriors of the building<br />

are extremely appealing and once you<br />

pass through the doors of the hotel, you’re<br />

wel<strong>com</strong>ed into a luxurious lounge which is<br />

<strong>com</strong>pletely bubble-themed too!<br />

They offer two types of rooms – Petit and<br />

Deluxe. If you wish to stay in a tiny and cozy<br />

bubble, the Petit Pois Pois is for you. This<br />

room <strong>com</strong>es <strong>com</strong>plete with all luxurious<br />

amenities. If you wish to have a larger<br />

than life experience, the Deluxe Pois Pois<br />

is the one you should choose. Apart from<br />

these, they have a variety of unique rooms.<br />

Each of these rooms is uniquely-themed.<br />

The Green Room has bird lighting and an<br />

installation from the House of Hackney.<br />

The Pink Room, on the other hand, is<br />

<strong>com</strong>pletely covered in pink and has a<br />

slight touch of green on the beds. It has an<br />

oversized armchair where you can sink in<br />

and relax after a tiring day. The final room<br />

is the Palette Room, which is the most<br />

colorful room among all and has a base<br />

tone of yellow.<br />

For your gastronomic requirements, ch-eat<br />

and drink is the perfect place. This bistro<br />

has a chic and intimate atmosphere that is<br />

pleasing for all your senses. It’s a great place<br />

to hang out and meet new people. Do try<br />

out their Cheese Platter and Spaghetti with<br />

Seafood and Garlic Tomato Sauce.<br />

For alcohol and party lovers, the Velvet<br />

Rouge is the place to be. This bar is open<br />

late into the night so that you can have<br />

your favorite drinks even post-midnight.<br />

Do give their cocktails a shot; they are<br />

extremely good!<br />

The hotel even features an installation<br />

from the renowned German artist,<br />

Peter Zimmerman, which has been<br />

displayed inside the elevator space. Such<br />

installations only add to the visual appeal<br />

of hotelpoispois.<br />

The hotel gives you direct views of the<br />

city skyline, including the towering Taipei<br />

101, which stands out in the skyline. You<br />

could even sit back and take a spin on the<br />

Heathwicks’ designed “Spun Chair” that<br />

will give you a <strong>com</strong>pletely new view of the<br />

Taipei city.<br />

Thanks to the location of the hotel, all<br />

the prominent landmarks and happening<br />

areas of town are just a stone’s throw<br />

away. Be it restaurants or bars, there are<br />

so many places to explore around the<br />

hotel. With such stunning interiors and<br />

exteriors, as well as their luxurious facilities,<br />

hotelpoispois has definitely made a mark in<br />

the Taiwanese hotel market.<br />

29 30



Manager of Hotelpoispois<br />

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself.<br />

Answer. I am the manager of hotelpoispois.<br />

I studied interior architecture and design<br />

in the UK; I lived and worked there for 6<br />

years. The environment has given me a<br />

rich exposure to the art and culture. After<br />

returning to Taiwan, I have been assigned<br />

to work on this project for 4 years. From<br />

the beginning of shaping the concept to<br />

realizing it, I have coordinated with the<br />

creative team from different backgrounds.<br />

Now I am focusing on the operations of the<br />

hotel and planning for our future ones.<br />

Q. What led you to open the<br />

hotelpoispois? Why Taiwan?<br />

Answer. Our mother <strong>com</strong>pany is a real<br />

estate developer based in Taiwan for the<br />

past 30 years. We chose this location<br />

because Taipei is not only the city that we<br />

are most familiar with but also has a highly<br />

<strong>com</strong>petitive hospitality and entertainment<br />

business industry. We took our time after<br />

acquiring the land a few years back and<br />

finally decided to make it into a hotel, for<br />

its very central location and unique features<br />

of the land.<br />

The initial idea was to make a real<br />

authentic, bold statement in the saturated<br />

hotel industry in Taiwan, to be unique and<br />

not to copy. To give alternative dwelling<br />

experience with our solid background in<br />

architecture and interior design. It is also<br />

our take to introduce a contemporary hotel<br />

that breaks the frame of stereotypes. Every<br />

decision we make is the interpretation<br />

and realization driven by the concept of<br />

‘bubbles’.<br />

Q. Where did the name <strong>com</strong>e from?<br />

Answer. The name was triggered in a<br />

conversation between three people, our<br />

creative copywriter, art director and me. We<br />

were flipping through a French dictionary<br />

and we found the word ‘pois’, which means<br />

‘dot’ in French. We found that meaning of<br />

a dot matched the small space we have,<br />

and the pronunciation sounds like ‘bubble’<br />

in Mandarin, which is not only catchy for<br />

the Taiwanese market, it also proposes a<br />

very challenging task to work on, it suits our<br />

great ambition perfectly.<br />

Immediately after we started to use these<br />

two elements in our space and all the visual<br />

<strong>com</strong>munications. ‘Bubble’ for us represents<br />

fantasy. It delivers pure joy, creativity, and<br />

freedom. We reached out to the biggest<br />

ocean institute in the world ‘Scripps’ in<br />

California and consulted with a Ph.D.<br />

Doctor, Dale Stokes, who specializes in the<br />

study of the bubble, to further investigate<br />

and gather ideas. He enlightened us with<br />

the physical facts. Bubbles always go to<br />

the least pressure and usually the top of<br />

the surface. They always have a short life<br />

and within the bubble is a vacuum and<br />

absolute peace. Among all, we found<br />

these three the most <strong>com</strong>prehensive and<br />

could perfectly be applied to the hotel.<br />

Q. The first thing that caught our judge’s<br />

eyes was the décor, slick and modern<br />

interiors. What is the inspiration behind<br />

this?<br />

Answer. Everything in the hotel is about<br />

the interpretation of the bubble according<br />

to us. Defining how the ‘bubble’ should<br />

be presented in space is subjective. The<br />

biggest challenge for us was trying to focus<br />

more on the physics and the romance side<br />

instead of being too literal. We tried our<br />

best to keep it childlike yet sophisticated<br />

but not childish. In response to this, the<br />

choice of our material and color tone is<br />

carefully curated.<br />

The entire building creates a strong visual<br />

impact inside out. While the exterior could<br />

be bright red with constant changing neon<br />

lights, almost like asking for attention in the<br />

hustle and bustle of the urban context, the<br />

guest rooms are all white and quiet so the<br />

guests could rest. In the <strong>com</strong>mon area, we<br />

stress on the reflective or colorful material,<br />

reflecting the nature of the bubble. In the<br />

end, we aim to deliver a fantasy space.<br />

Q. Who would you say is your target<br />

market?<br />

Answer. Initially, instead of setting a target<br />

market we were keener on introducing<br />

this new interpretation of the hotel to the<br />

public. I would say people who are curious<br />

and open to new ideas. After opening, we<br />

were surprised to find that over 50% of<br />

our guests are local Taiwanese guests, and<br />

overall 70% of our guests are women.<br />

For the type of guests, their habit of<br />

choosing where to stay is between<br />

Airbnb and five star hotels, which enjoy<br />

characteristic or even eccentric living<br />

experience. We have guests from a wide<br />

range of ages, but mostly between 25-45.<br />

They are also the group who are heavy<br />

users of digital media, which helped with<br />

our exposure a lot.<br />

31 32

Q. The online reviews really impressed<br />

our judges. What would you say is the<br />

one thing that sets you apart from the<br />

<strong>com</strong>petition?<br />

Answer. Most of all would be the spirit.<br />

There are various aims and reasons<br />

behind running a hotel for a corporate,<br />

and that idea will be practiced in the<br />

management and strategy of decision<br />

making. Sometimes the concentration<br />

of spirit and the magic of a hotel could<br />

be <strong>com</strong>promised by putting the profit as<br />

first priority. For us, we try our very best to<br />

keep a good balance. Everything about<br />

the hotel from the design, the experience<br />

of space to service is all based on our very<br />

own interpretation of ‘bubble’. For the<br />

service from the staffs, we try to shake off<br />

the stiffness of the usual hotel, all our staff<br />

could maintain their personality, and are<br />

highly interactive with our guests. It takes<br />

hand work to form a lively hotel with its<br />

own culture, but so far it is rewarding.<br />

Q. You offer themed rooms, a unique<br />

concept. How many themed rooms do<br />

you have and what sort of themes can<br />

guests expect? What room would you<br />

re<strong>com</strong>mend?<br />

Answer. There are a total of 4 theme<br />

rooms, the classic ‘petite poispois’ is the<br />

most original statement of the bubble, the<br />

guests could experience an actual bubble<br />

chair in the room, a ceiling with swirls that<br />

seemingly extract all the noise in the room<br />

and leave the space as if it were a vacuum,<br />

and the curved walls throughout the<br />

room that make you feel you have been<br />

covertures within a bubble.<br />

‘La Chambre Vert’ is the little bit eccentric<br />

green room with wallpaper from House<br />

of Hackney and the installation of bird<br />

lighting. ‘La Chambre Rose’ is a relatively<br />

more feminine room covered in pink with<br />

a touch of bright green and an oversized<br />

armchair. ‘La Palette’ is the most colorful of<br />

all, with the base of a yellow tone. These<br />

three rooms are the most spacious ones<br />

in the entire hotel, and almost every time<br />

our guests after seeing all the rooms could<br />

instantly tell us which is their favorite.<br />

If the guest is intrigued to know more<br />

about us, I will re<strong>com</strong>mend room 802, as it<br />

is the prototype of the very first version of<br />

the room, a room that is experimented with<br />

mistakes which now seems beautiful.<br />

Q. What sort of cuisine do you serve at<br />

Ch-eat & Drink?<br />

Answer. We are an all-day dining restaurant,<br />

serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and<br />

dinner. The dishes we have are based on<br />

the Italian cuisine reinvented with the locally<br />

sourced ingredients. We leave a small part<br />

of the menu that changes each month for<br />

our regular customers. On most of the<br />

special occasions, we create a festive menu<br />

or a theme ingredient menu, when it is the<br />

right season. For example, the seafood<br />

feast we had before was directly sourced<br />

from the fisherman of the northeast coast<br />

of Taiwan to our table.<br />

Other times, we work a lot with highend<br />

brands, including fashion, cosmetic,<br />

celebrities meetings and so on. They rent<br />

the entire restaurant as the venue for<br />

their PR event, and our chefs deliver any<br />

required customized food that is based<br />

on their theme. We basically serve any<br />

possible kind or format of food if you could<br />

name it.<br />

Q. What are the best local activities for<br />

guests?<br />

Answer. I once read a sentence it wrote that<br />

“A hotel should function as a springboard<br />

into the city.”<br />

For sure first stop we re<strong>com</strong>mend spending<br />

some time at our rooftop garden, where<br />

there is also our reception. You can have a<br />

view of the landmark, Taipei 101, and also<br />

enjoy a spin on the Heathwicks’ design<br />

the ‘Spun chair’ which will change your<br />

perception of the sky of Taipei city.<br />

For the local activities, we are at the east<br />

end area of Taipei; you could enjoy both<br />

major departmental stores to independent<br />

shops. It has a vibrant nightlife, with one<br />

of the best clubs in the neighborhood and<br />

tons of restaurants and bars to explore.<br />

Like all our other services, we will try our<br />

best to deliver any other requests too.<br />

33 34

Japan<br />

KURAYA<br />

Historic Ac<strong>com</strong>modation<br />

ON Building 2F, 544-2 Higashi-shiokoji cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan ♦<br />

Tel +81 75 535 4440 ♦ machiya-stay.co.jp<br />

“Kuraya” is a brand name for a series of 100 year-old traditional wooden<br />

Japanese style buildings (known as Machiya / 町 家 ) used primarily as a<br />

dwelling with a shop.<br />

“Kuraya” is owned by R-Square,Inc, who currently operate ten Machiya over the Kyoto<br />

area.<br />

Originally, R-Square, Inc. was founded to conserve Machiya through local business.<br />

After the second world war the Machiya began to disappear only to be replaced with<br />

what was at the time more modern architecture. In recent times this process was sped<br />

up and in the last 10 years over 5600 Machiya have ceased to exist.<br />

R-Square, Inc is aiming to do its best to impact the local <strong>com</strong>munity through raising<br />

awareness of traditional hospitality and culture.<br />

The two key missions of Kuraya is to;<br />

1. Pass on historical knowledge and traditional culture to the next generation<br />

2. Showcase Kyoto’s unique hospitality to the world<br />

35 36

KURAYA<br />

KURAYA<br />

37 38

Maldives<br />


Family Friendly Resort<br />

Kihaa Maldives, Kihaadhuffaru, Baa Atoll, Maldives ♦ Tel +960 400 0501 ♦<br />

kihaamaldives.<strong>com</strong><br />

At least once in your lifetime, it’s a must to visit one of nature’s best kept secrets amongst<br />

the remote islands of Maldives.<br />

Kihaa is not simply a Resort. Here lies an unforgettable experience just waiting to be discovered.<br />

A friendly atmosphere, a breath of fresh air, away from life’s stresses. What’s unique about Kihaa<br />

is not only the beauty of the island, but it’s also the ultimate destination for ocean explorers.<br />

It is located at a world heritage biosphere reserve, Hanifaru Bay is where Giant Mantas are<br />

witnessed in feeding frenzies.<br />

Located at the incredible Kihaa, Ocean Dimensions dive operators offer in-house services to<br />

allow novice and seasoned pros the chance to experience the wonders of the Indian Ocean.<br />

Sandy white beaches and brilliant blue skies<br />

makes you feel so calm. Snorkeling with<br />

the whale sharks & manta rays feels like a<br />

dream. The scenes of playful dolphins, just<br />

magnificent.<br />

Clear nights of moonlight, shooting stars<br />

and starlit skies, private dining on the beach<br />

under the stars at night. A special treat to<br />

certainly impress your special someone.<br />

Awaken each morning to stunning views<br />

across sun kissed, turquoise water that are<br />

sure to enliven your spirits and breathe<br />

new life to your soul. Escape to an exotic<br />

world of breathtaking possibilities where<br />

exciting recreational facilities, adventure<br />

and relaxation are equally abundant.<br />

It’s much more than a holiday. It’s a lifestyle,<br />

an experience. To get away from the<br />

stresses and the rush of life, spend a night<br />

of your life at Kihaa.<br />

An experience of a lifetime.<br />

39 40

Hong Kong<br />

XI HOTEL<br />

Business Hotel<br />

7 Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong ♦ Tel +852 2739 7777 ♦<br />

xihotel.<strong>com</strong>.hk<br />

If you fancy some alcohol, you can head<br />

over to Courtney’s Wine Bar to enjoy some<br />

refreshing wines from their wide selection<br />

of wines from all around the world. The<br />

sophisticated atmosphere only adds to the<br />

appeal of this bar and the outdoor seating<br />

with candlelights makes it a fashionable<br />

place for a meeting or a romantic date.<br />

Located right in the heart of Hong Kong in the vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui, Xi Hotel offers<br />

luxurious ac<strong>com</strong>modation for business travelers. The rooms are finished to perfection and<br />

have some spectacular facilities which you can take advantage of. The rooms <strong>com</strong>e furnished<br />

with plush duvets and beds so that you can sink in for a good night’s sleep. Moreover, you<br />

will also have your very own mini-bar from which you can sip some of your favorite cocktails.<br />

Choose from one of the 64 <strong>com</strong>fortable rooms in the hotel according to your preference of<br />

luxury and take advantage of their luxurious amenities.<br />

They also have special family quad rooms which can host up to 4 guests so that you can reside<br />

there with your entire family. The hotel also has a deluxe suite room. For helping you out with<br />

information and bookings, there is a concierge desk. They have multilingual guest relation staff<br />

which leaves no stone unturned to make your stay more <strong>com</strong>fortable. You could also opt for a<br />

day tourand airport limousine services.<br />

As the hotel serves primarily as a business<br />

hotel, it is no surprise that you can find<br />

a room where you can hold meetings,<br />

conferences or even cocktail parties. The<br />

sophisticated furnishings of the place gives<br />

the hotel a touch of <strong>com</strong>fort. Xi Hotel’s<br />

location too makes it easy for you to reach<br />

the financial district of Hong Kong with<br />

ease. The hotel definitely serves as a great<br />

place to stay when you visit Hong Kong for<br />

business.<br />

41 42

Thailand<br />




Luxury Hotel<br />

485/1 Moo 10 Pattaya 2nd Road, Nongprue, Banglamung,<br />

Chonburi 20150 Pattaya, Thailand ♦ Tel +66 0 3876 9999 ♦ hotelbaraquda.<strong>com</strong><br />

Conveniently located near Pattaya<br />

Beach, Hotel Baraquda Pattaya,<br />

MGallery By Sofitel offers 5-star<br />

luxurious ac<strong>com</strong>modation. You can<br />

stay in one of its 72 lavishly furnished<br />

rooms and suites that <strong>com</strong>e with beds<br />

that have leather headboards to give<br />

you the feel of sleeping in a traditional<br />

quarterdeck of a ship. Each room is<br />

decorated and furnished with care to<br />

give you the vibe of a tranquil beach.<br />

The bathrooms are designed with<br />

translucent glass, porthole mirrors and<br />

‘island’ sinks to give you the feeling of<br />

being on board a ship!<br />

For your gastronomic indulgences, they<br />

have an array of outlets at your disposal.<br />

The Sea restaurant overlooks the pool<br />

and serves the best food from cuisines<br />

around the world. You can sip on some<br />

fine wine and cocktails while indulging<br />

in some delicious tapas at the Sunset<br />

Lounge (one of Pattaya’s finest rooftop<br />

bar) while marvelling the spectacular<br />

view of Pattaya. For your sweet tooth,<br />

they have their own French run bakery<br />

– Nauti Café, which serves a variety of<br />

fresh bakes.<br />

You can take a dip in the fish-shaped<br />

swimming pool to cool off or could sit<br />

back on the lounging beds, chairs and<br />

sofas to soak in the sun or simply enjoy the<br />

ambience. The Spa is a tranquil haven in<br />

the midst of the hotel where you can heal<br />

your mind, body and soul with soothing<br />

treatments administered by experienced<br />

masseuses.<br />

Wish to conduct a meeting in the hotel?<br />

They have special meeting rooms where<br />

you can conduct your meetings with stateof-the-art<br />

equipment to support your<br />

requirements. If you wish to hangout or<br />

party at night, Deep Bar is the place to<br />

head to. They have funky music playing<br />

throughout the evening and night along<br />

with an active bar. Hotel Baraquda truly<br />

gives you the chance to explore Pattaya<br />

like a VIP!<br />

43 44

Maldives<br />



Villa Resort<br />

South Ari (Alifu Dhaalu) Atoll, Republic of Maldives ♦ Tel +96 06 6 80000 ♦<br />

amayaresorts.<strong>com</strong>/amayakudarah<br />

A<br />

luxurious stay awaits you on the paradisiacal island of Kuda Rah at Amaya Kuda Rah.<br />

This is your chance to run away from civilization and unwind in the peaceful and lush<br />

environment of the resort. This island resort will give you plenty of opportunities to spend time<br />

at the beach marveling at the infinite blue or witnessing the sunset over it. If you’ve ever dreamt<br />

of staying in your very own villa on the beach, this is your chance to make your dream <strong>com</strong>e<br />

true. The resort has 51 villas on offer with private plunge pools, jacuzzi and sundeck in each villa,<br />

so that you can have a peaceful getaway here.<br />

Each villa <strong>com</strong>es with amenities and this<br />

paired with the resort’s services makes<br />

your stay absolutely fulfilling. They also<br />

have special villas for families so that you<br />

can spend time with your loved ones in<br />

the same villa. For the epitome of luxury,<br />

you can book the presidential suite, which<br />

<strong>com</strong>es with private access to the sea too!<br />

You could visit Glow, the resort’s bar and<br />

sip refreshing cocktails with delicious<br />

snacks under the palm trees or could dine<br />

at Half Lime, the <strong>Asia</strong>n restaurant where<br />

you can gorge on Indian, Thai, Sri Lankan<br />

and Middle Eastern cuisines. If none of<br />

these seem to fit your liking, you can dine<br />

anywhere on the island or even in the<br />

<strong>com</strong>fort of your villa!<br />

The resort <strong>com</strong>es with a fitness center,<br />

special club for kids, a swimming pool<br />

and a spa where you can unwind and relax<br />

during your stay. You can also go for some<br />

adventure sports and excursions or learn<br />

to cook new dishes in the cooking classes.<br />

The resort also has special venues for<br />

weddings and is the perfect place for your<br />

honeymoon too!<br />

45 46

Country<br />

NAME OF<br />


Award<br />

Kazakhstan<br />

S.N.E.G HOTEL &<br />


Eco Friendly Hotel<br />

Shymbulak Ski Resort, middle station, Kazakhstan ♦ Tel +7 705 705 47 42 ♦<br />

Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain ♦ Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.<strong>com</strong><br />

pgr.kz/sneg<br />

Rising above the rest of Barcelona, Hotel Arts located on the waterfront, provides<br />

a luxurious stay with spellbinding views of the sea and city. With some amazing<br />

facilities like terrace gardens, outdoor swimming pool and spa, they ensure that the<br />

guests here get a unique experience. If that was not enough, you can keep up with your<br />

gym schedule at the fitness center or get pampered in the hairdressing salon and luxury<br />

fashion boutiques. The sophisticated rooms and suites have elegantly done décor and<br />

plush furnishings.To top it all off, the hotel boasts of some amazing duplex penthouses<br />

that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses <strong>com</strong>e with a butler<br />

and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to<br />

The shopping places. name of the hotel and restaurant S.N.e.G. <strong>com</strong>bines all the best that the ski<br />

resort Shymbulak has to offer. In addition to Sneg (snow), it stands for Solnce,<br />

Nebo and Gora (the sun, the sky and the mountain).<br />

Enjoy the tremendous view of Trans-Ili Alatau, the beautiful sky and clean air on the<br />

terrace of our restaurant while being treated to dishes cooked by our chef. You will<br />

find the new original hot and cold appetizers, salads, soups, burgers, hot dishes and<br />

desserts from the Parmigiano Group.<br />

Take a break from the hustle and bustle at our mini-hotel S.N.e.G. The limited number<br />

of rooms (six rooms only) will make you feel like a special guest.<br />

In addition, S.N.e.G. is a very stylish place. The interior is made of natural materials –<br />

wood, felt and iron.<br />

47 48


49 50

JAPAN<br />

When you think of Japan, what <strong>com</strong>es to your mind? Perhaps, it’s Scarlett<br />

Johansson in a pink wig singing karaoke in Lost in Translation, or maybe it’s the<br />

images of the notorious monster Godzilla, rising out of Tokyo Bay. Either way, you’ll most<br />

likely picture a big city. And as home to the largest capital city in the world, Japan certainly<br />

doesn’t disappoint on that front.<br />

Tokyo’s transportation systems are world<br />

class, and those of many of its other main<br />

cities not far behind. Millions of people<br />

pass through Tokyo’s major train stations<br />

each day, and yet the city keeps on<br />

running, peacefully and on time.<br />

Indeed, Japan is an extremely safe<br />

country, and even in the midst of Tokyo’s<br />

bar-hopping buzz in Shinjuku, or its neonlit<br />

club scene in Shibuya, you’ll find that<br />

there is a sense of security everywhere, with<br />

koban police boxes on practically every<br />

corner. Japan is also renowned worldover<br />

for being the land of convenience.<br />

Where London might play hard and then<br />

sleep hard, with shops opening late and<br />

closing shortly after office hours, Tokyo<br />

skips the sleeping part, with restaurants,<br />

bars, convenience stores, game centers<br />

and more, all open 24 hours of the day,<br />

7 days a week. A veritable playground for<br />

explorers both young and old.<br />

That said, one of Japan’s most unique<br />

and timeless charms is its dynamic<br />

blend of old and new. A visit to Japan<br />

means being able to experience some<br />

51 52

of the world’s most vibrant,<br />

futuristic and technologically<br />

advanced cities without<br />

sacrificing time spent losing<br />

yourself amongst the most<br />

captivating temples, palaces<br />

and cultural traditions.<br />

Japan’s history is evident<br />

at every turn, whether it’s a<br />

venerable Shinto shrine, a<br />

museum housing Samurai<br />

Swords, or one of Japan’s<br />

many regional festivals with<br />

their profusion of costumes,<br />

ancient rituals, and throngs<br />

of revelling crowds. Feudalera<br />

castles still rise up from<br />

massive stone foundations,<br />

while Japan’s exquisite<br />

gardens, many of them<br />

former royal retreats, act<br />

as visual <strong>com</strong>mentaries on<br />

nature and the craftsmanship<br />

of generations of elite<br />

gardeners. But for visitors,<br />

nothing conveys Japan’s<br />

heritage better than its<br />

many ryokan traditional<br />

inns, renowned for their<br />

impeccable service, refined<br />

beauty and mastery of<br />

regional cuisine.<br />

This leads us onto our next<br />

point – the food. Lovers of<br />

fine cuisine will be swept<br />

away by Japan’s varied styles<br />

of cooking, from tempura,<br />

sushi and teppanyaki to the<br />

feast of all feasts, kaiseki.<br />

Many visitors to Japan<br />

will have already sampled<br />

the pleasures of raw fish<br />

or batter-fried shrimp. But<br />

few first-time visitors to<br />

53 54

Japan are prepared for the<br />

variety and sumptuousness<br />

of Japanese food, as it is<br />

traditionally prepared. Sink<br />

your teeth into a piece of<br />

‘Genghis Khan’ – mutton<br />

grilled over a hot barbecue<br />

stove – in the near-arctic<br />

conditions of Hokkaido in<br />

the north, or sink your spoon<br />

into a <strong>com</strong>forting bowl of<br />

ramen noodle broth in the<br />

sub-tropical surroundings of<br />

Kyushu island in the south.<br />

And it doesn’t stop there.<br />

Japan’s eclectic food culture<br />

reflects the diversity of its<br />

seasons and landscapes.<br />

Volcanoes and ravines,<br />

islands and oceans,<br />

waterfalls and hot springs all<br />

rub shoulders in a country<br />

that, despite its megalithic<br />

metropolises, is covered by<br />

more mountains than by its<br />

cities. Whether you’re an<br />

all-gear/no-fear adventurer<br />

or an Instagram-hungry<br />

backpacker, it goes without<br />

saying that there is no<br />

shortage of activities and<br />

outdoor pursuits for people<br />

of all tastes and abilities.<br />

Take skiing, for example.<br />

With Japan’s winters being<br />

governed by the Siberian<br />

air mass (the coldest in<br />

the world), every year sees<br />

the central highlands and<br />

northern regions blanketed<br />

with snow, making the<br />

Japanese ski experience<br />

among the best and most<br />

reliable in the world. For six<br />

months of the year, fresh<br />

powder is very much the<br />

norm and, what’s more, there’s no need for a helicopter to get to it – all you need is a<br />

lift pass.<br />

So what’s stopping you? Difficult? Expensive? Far? We’re happy to say that all that has<br />

changed. With the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics/Paralympics on the horizon in<br />

2019 and 2020 respectively, Japan is converting its celebrated hospitality into tourism<br />

finesse as English signage be<strong>com</strong>es even more widespread and technology continues<br />

to make transport even more accessible.<br />

Whilst Japanese carriers like All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines whisk passengers<br />

directly from London to Tokyo in under 12 hours, European airlines such as Finnair, KLM<br />

and Air France are flying travellers indirectly from an ever-growing number of airports in<br />

the UK to an equally increasing number of regional airports in Japan. Very reasonable<br />

prices in just a few more hours of travel – not too bad for a trip that transports you to<br />

the other side of the globe, is it?<br />

In fact, throw in the Japan Rail Pass for economical coverage of pretty much all national<br />

rail services country-wide, and we would say you’re more or less ready to go, wouldn’t<br />

you?<br />

55 56

Hokkaido | Japan<br />

Population: 5,377,435<br />

How to Get in<br />

• Plane<br />

• Train<br />

• Ferry<br />

Get Around<br />

• On Foot & Hitchhike<br />

• Train<br />

• Plane<br />

• Bus<br />

• Car Rental<br />

Attractions & Sights<br />

• Akan Mashu<br />

National Park<br />

• Shikotsu-Tōya<br />

National Park<br />

• Odori Park<br />

Things to do<br />

• Horseback Riding<br />

• Skiing/Snowboarding<br />

• Rafting<br />

• Whalewatching<br />

Find out more – http://<br />

en.visit-hokkaido.jp/<br />

Japans second largest Island is a<br />

haven for those looking to get away<br />

from the bustling cities. Untamed<br />

majestic wilderness, interesting<br />

history, great food and distinctive<br />

seasons, what more could you want?<br />

Japan<br />



Tour Company<br />

2-6, 7-83 Ishiyama, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan 005-0842 ♦<br />

Tel +81 11 5923959 ♦ hokkaidonaturetours.<strong>com</strong><br />

If you’re visiting Hokkaido in Japan, you can explore its natural beauty with HNT. They<br />

offer private custom-made tours and a variety of day trips to spectacular locations<br />

across Hokkaido in every season with English-speaking guides. Some of the most popular<br />

destinations include Noboribetsu Hell Valley, Lake Toya, historical cities of Otaru and<br />

Hakodate, Furano flower fields, UNESCO World Heritage Site Shiretoko Peninsula,<br />

Japan’s largest National Park Daisetsuzan, and more. Hokkaido lives up to its frontier<br />

spirit, offering unique activities that aim at reconnecting you with nature: from mountain<br />

trekking, to dog sledding, to ice fishing, to whale watching and much more. If you wish<br />

to have a more personalized experience, they offer a variety of customized tour packages<br />

suited to different seasons. They design special itineraries based on your requirements.<br />

Moreover, they give you the flexibility of the tour durationand you can choose to have a<br />

trip as short as a day or as long as 2 weeks! With thorough professionalism, they make<br />

sure that you can get the most out of your trip to Hokkaido<br />

57 58

Japan<br />


Affordable Hotel<br />

Japan<br />


SANGAM<br />

Guest House<br />

401-0501 Yamanashi, Yamanakako, Yamanaka 1464, Japan ♦ Tel +81 555 62 0548 ♦<br />

hotorinite.<strong>com</strong><br />

409-1204 Yamanashi, Koshu, Yamato-cho Hikage 49, Japan ♦<br />

booking.<strong>com</strong>/hotel/jp/daikokuya-sangamu<br />

If you’re looking for an affordable<br />

place to stay near Lake Yamanaka<br />

in Yamanakako village, Hotorinite is<br />

a great option. The hotel gives you<br />

a chance to experience traditional<br />

Japanese housing with traditionally<br />

designed rooms <strong>com</strong>plete with wovenstraw<br />

floors, traditional futon bedding<br />

and a low table with seating cushions.<br />

The tranquil location of the hotel is<br />

perfect for a peaceful getaway from the<br />

city life. It is located right at the lake so<br />

you can relax and wake up to the scenic<br />

view of the lake. It is not too far away<br />

from the city too; it is just 15-minutes<br />

walk away from the Yamanaka Suwa<br />

Jinja Shrine! The hosts make sure that<br />

you are <strong>com</strong>fortable in the hotel by<br />

giving all the support necessary. They<br />

introduce you well to the area and<br />

also give you free bicycles so that you<br />

can explore the area. Hotorinite truly<br />

gives you a chance to escape all the<br />

hullabaloo without shelling out too<br />

much.<br />

If you’re looking to stay near the mountain in Koshu, Daikokuya Sangam is a great<br />

option. This guest house is located at the foot of the mountain and gives you a true<br />

Japanese experience with cozy wooden interiors. The entire building is itself a traditional<br />

Japanese home and was built 300 years ago. You can stay in Japanese-styled dormitory<br />

rooms which are equipped with futon beds. You can also enjoy their fine gastronomic<br />

preparations that will win all vegetarian’s hearts every day. The healthy food is not the only<br />

thing that guests love here; they also provide <strong>com</strong>mon laptops for guests to use. You can<br />

easily reach other areas of the city as the guest house is located at a 7-minute drive from<br />

the closest train station. The beautiful location of Daikokuya Sangam (20-minute walk)<br />

also makes it possible to go hiking in the surrounding areas.<br />

59<br />


Japan<br />

COSTEL<br />


The Outstanding<br />

Location Award<br />

812-0017 Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Hakata-ku Minoshima 2-27-14-1, Japan ♦<br />

Tel +34932211000 ♦ booking.<strong>com</strong>/hotel/jp/costel-minoshima.en-gb.html<br />

Costel Minoshima is situated right at the middle of Minoshima Shopping Arcade in the<br />

heart of Fukuoka and gives you easy access to all the major regions of the city and is at<br />

the center of all the happening areas. With such an amazing location, you can easily explore the<br />

city and reach the lively areas of Nakasu and Tenjin which are just a 10-minute drive away. You<br />

can choose between a Deluxe King Room, which has a large double bed, and a Triple Room,<br />

which has 3 single beds. Each room <strong>com</strong>es with every basic amenity like an en-suite bathroom,<br />

shower, and a balcony. The entire hotel is Wi-Fi enabled too so that you can stay in touch with<br />

the outside world with ease.<br />

For your gastronomic requirements, the<br />

hotel has a cafe on the ground floor where<br />

you can sip on some drinks or feast on<br />

light snacks before heading out for a day<br />

of exploration of Fukuoka. Moreover, the<br />

hotel offers a free luggage storage facility<br />

so that you don’t have to worry about your<br />

luggage during your tour. If you’re visiting<br />

the Hakata hot springs or wanting to relax,<br />

Costel Minoshima is a great option due to<br />

its location and affordability. The hotel is<br />

known for its value for money and hence<br />

even a long stay at this place will not burn<br />

a hole in your pocket. The highlight of the<br />

hotel though remains the central location<br />

that makes it convenient for you to even<br />

use public transport.<br />

61 62


<strong>Travel</strong>ing to Japan is a bucket-list experience for many. Though a lot of travellers<br />

are drawn by the bright lights and big city feel of Tokyo, venturing outside of the<br />

Japanese capital and heading southwards towards the Kansai region of Japan is also<br />

incredibly rewarding.<br />

Also known locally as the “Kinki Region”, Kansai is <strong>com</strong>prised of seven different<br />

prefectures. For several centuries, Kansai was the most important region of Japan. Kansai<br />

was once a hub of political and economic activity and indeed, Kyoto was the ancient<br />

Japanese capital. It goes without saying, that the region is filled with ancient temples,<br />

history, and fascinating traditions. Within the seven prefectures, there is plenty to explore<br />

in Kansai, however the cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo are among the most notable,<br />

and perhaps the most rewarding to visit if you have limited time.<br />

Kyoto: <strong>Travel</strong>ing Back to Ancient Japan<br />

The capital of Japan for many centuries, Kyoto is brimming with history. More than<br />

that though, Kyoto just possesses an undeniable charm that makes even the most<br />

hardened travellers fall in love. Where fragrant cherry blossoms blow in the wind,<br />

where thousands of ornately decorated temples await the traveller and where<br />

mysterious Shinto shrines and zen gardens make every turn a photo opportunity,<br />

Kyoto is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Japan.<br />

There are over 1,600 Buddhist temples scattered throughout this picturesque city, each<br />

with their own unique design and personality. The iconic Fushimi Inari shrine is located<br />

here and is a must-see for any Japan itinerary. Exploring this shrine means passing<br />

through hundreds of vermillion coloured gates as you proceed to the mountain peak<br />

with stunning views over Kyoto city. You could spend weeks exploring Kyoto’s temples<br />

and never see them all.<br />

Kyoto is one of the only places in Japan that still has a working Geisha district. In the<br />

quaint alleyways of Gion, travellers may catch a glimpse of Geiko and Meiko (trainee<br />

geisha) shuffling along from appointment to appointment in exquisite kimonos. There<br />

is also the opportunity to watch the show at Gion corner, to see what life like a Geisha<br />

actually means and enjoy traditional performances that are still loved in Japan today.<br />

63 64

Osaka: Tokyo’s Punkier Little Sister<br />

Spending a few days in Osaka is a must while in the Kansai region of Japan. You can<br />

get a feel for the city and most of what it has to offer in a day or so. Dubbed the kitchen<br />

of Japan, foodie travellers will be in their element browsing the various street markets<br />

here and sampling the local delicacies. Don’t miss okonomiyaki – the Japanese answer<br />

to the pizza, or fugu – Japanese blowfish.<br />

Osaka is home to Shitteno-Ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan so there is certainly<br />

history here. With that said, it is the various neighborhoods of Osaka, each with their<br />

own distinct personalities, that are sure to steal your heart. Shinsekai neighborhood is<br />

an entertainment district that was built before the Second World War and still retains<br />

its old-fashioned charm with its wooden restaurants and traditional gaming arcades.<br />

When the sun goes down, head over to Dotonburi. Essentially the Times Square of<br />

Japan, Dotonbori is instantly recognisable from the flashing neon Glico man sign that<br />

is so <strong>com</strong>monly photographed and discussed in travel media. Dotonburi is a popular<br />

nightlife spot and a great place to order up a sake tasting platter, or try your hand at<br />

Japan’s much loved pastime – Karaoke!<br />

Hyogo: Kobe Beef Dreams<br />

Hyogo is one of the seven prefectures of Japan that make up the Kansai region.<br />

While the region itself is brimming with charm, the capital of Kobe is definitely<br />

worth checking out before leaving the Kansai region of Japan. As the name<br />

suggests, Kobe is famed across the globe for its sumptuous Kobe beef. What better<br />

place to try this dish or get reacquainted with it than at the source in Japan itself?<br />

From the center of the city, visitors can take cable cars that lead them upwards towards<br />

Mount Rokko – a beautiful mountain that looks especially stunning in the autumn when<br />

the golden leaves on trees create an almost ethereal atmosphere. Once at the peak,<br />

one can marvel at the views of Kobe below, or soak away their travel aches and pains<br />

at a natural Onsen (Japanese hot spring).<br />

If you have the opportunity to travel around the Kansai region of Japan, it is rewarding<br />

to do so at a slow pace. One can take the shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) from city to<br />

city, with short distances between each destination. A wider exploration of this region<br />

offers travellers invaluable cultural experiences and an insight into the Japan that exists<br />

outside the neon buzz of Tokyo.<br />

65 66

Country<br />

NAME OF<br />


Award<br />

Japan<br />


Alternative Hotel<br />

Japan<br />

SHIKI<br />


The Award for Excellence<br />

in Service<br />

2-50-3 Ohashi-higashi, Sanjo-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Japan ♦<br />

Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.<strong>com</strong><br />

Tel +075 541 1010 ♦ gionhannastay.<strong>com</strong><br />

173-5 Sanjo Aburanokoji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi Kyoto-fu 604-8251 Japan ♦<br />

Tel +81 80 6156 3850 ♦ shikiproperties.<strong>com</strong><br />

Rising above the rest of Barcelona, Hotel Arts located on the waterfront, provides<br />

a luxurious stay with spellbinding views of the sea and city. With some amazing<br />

facilities like terrace gardens, outdoor swimming pool and spa, they ensure that the<br />

guests here get a unique experience. If that was not enough, you can keep up with your<br />

gym schedule at the fitness center or get pampered in the hairdressing salon and luxury<br />

fashion boutiques. The sophisticated rooms and suites have elegantly done décor and<br />

plush furnishings.To top it all off, the hotel boasts of some amazing duplex penthouses<br />

that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses <strong>com</strong>e with a butler<br />

and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to<br />

shopping places.<br />

If you’re visiting Kyoto and want to experience the true spirit of the city, choose to<br />

reside at Gion Hanna Stay. The hotel is centrally located in the Gion district and that<br />

makes it easy for you to access the main regions of the city. You will feel totally at home<br />

in the <strong>com</strong>fortably furnished rooms that are decorated with elegant Japanese colors.<br />

Interiors of the hotel are adorned with Nishijin tapestries to give you a true Japanese feel.<br />

Moreover, the rooms <strong>com</strong>e with <strong>com</strong>plete kitchens so that you can cook your favorite<br />

food right there! If you wish to have food delivered to your room, they do that too. They<br />

have massage facilities for those wishing to relax after a tiring day of exploring Kyoto. This<br />

is the perfect place to reside if you’re looking at a long term stay in the city.<br />

67<br />

SHIKI<br />

Shiki Properties is an experienced team of local<br />

residents offering professional high quality<br />

ac<strong>com</strong>modation with premium service, and real time<br />

<strong>com</strong>munications. Our mission is to make sure that<br />

your trip to Japan will be a memorable and a hassle<br />

free experience.<br />

Each of our properties is custom designed in<br />

collaboration with local architecture firms to provide<br />

the utmost <strong>com</strong>fort and convenience for our guests<br />

from the moment of booking to the moment of check<br />

out.<br />

A special local guidebook full of tips and information<br />

related to your stay at the property will be<br />

provided before arrival. Take advantage of our top<br />

re<strong>com</strong>mendations and free restaurant reservations<br />

service to avoid any trouble with language barriers.<br />

We offer a wide range of services such as (but not<br />

limited to): bicycle city tours, countryside nature<br />

tours, delivery catering, chef services, and more.<br />

For a unique travel experience with a traditional feel,<br />

Shiki Properties has just what you are looking for.<br />


Japan<br />


Bed & Breakfast<br />

37-1 Kitanishinocho Nishishichijo Shimogyo-ku Kyoto, Japan 600-8878 ♦<br />

Tel +81 75 925 9217 ♦ fujitayabnb.jp<br />

If you’re looking for an<br />

affordable place to live<br />

in Kyoto, Fujitaya BnB is the<br />

perfect place for you. Located<br />

a short distance from from all<br />

the major hubs of the city, this<br />

place gives you the chance<br />

to discover Kyoto like never<br />

before. It is located very close<br />

to popular restaurants so<br />

food is never a concern when<br />

staying here. Whether you’re<br />

looking to have a small room<br />

to yourself or want a bigger<br />

room in which you can stay with<br />

your friends, they have rooms<br />

suiting all your requirements.<br />

They have special family<br />

rooms where a family of four<br />

can reside <strong>com</strong>fortably. Each<br />

room <strong>com</strong>es with all the basic<br />

amenities that are required<br />

for a <strong>com</strong>fortable stay such as<br />

towels, air conditioning, and<br />

heating. However, all their<br />

rooms <strong>com</strong>e sans toilets and<br />

bathrooms; they have shared<br />

bathrooms and toilets.<br />

The staff here ensures that no stone is left<br />

unturned to make sure that you have a<br />

great stay. Through the entirety of the stay,<br />

you will be served simple but delicious<br />

breakfast daily. The entire hotel is Wi-Fi<br />

enabled so that you can remain connected<br />

during your stay. For your entertainment,<br />

there is a shared lounge and a TV area.<br />

You could also go hiking around the area<br />

or head out for a short cycling trip around<br />

town. The hotel also offers a free baggage<br />

storage facility so you can easily head out<br />

for your tour without worrying about your<br />

luggage. After a long day of exploring the<br />

city, if you wish to have some peaceful time<br />

in the midst of nature, the hotel features a<br />

garden where you can sit back and relax<br />

and rejuvenate.<br />

69 70

HYOGO TOP 5<br />

1. Arima Onsen<br />

Arima Onsen is located<br />

near the downtown of<br />

Kobe, surrounded by the<br />

beautiful nature of Mt.<br />

Rokko.<br />

One of the three best<br />

hot springs of Japan, this<br />

hot spring town with a<br />

nostalgic atmosphere has<br />

two public baths.<br />

Visitors don’t have to<br />

stay at the inn to use its<br />

hot spring, so visitors can<br />

enjoy different hot springs<br />

in one day.<br />

2. Nada Japanese Sake<br />

Japanese Sake from Hyogo has<br />

always been considered to be one of<br />

the very best in the country, especially<br />

the varieties made in the Nada Gogo<br />

area.<br />

This area has qualities that allow them<br />

for the production of great tasting<br />

sake; Miyamizu water from Mt. Rokko,<br />

local large and high-quality rice,<br />

master sake brewers from the nearby<br />

Tamba region and a cold front called<br />

Rokko-oroshi that blows down from<br />

the mountains.<br />

All of these factors helped create an<br />

amazing flavor with top-quality, which<br />

is loved by people all over Japan.<br />

3. Himeji Castle<br />

Himeji Castle was the first<br />

Japanese site to be registered as a<br />

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage<br />

site in 1993.<br />

Qualities such as the unique<br />

structure of the castle and the<br />

beauty of its white plastered walls<br />

earned it the nickname White<br />

Heron Castle.<br />

Its well-preserved towers and the<br />

structures surrounding the castle<br />

have mainly kept their original<br />

form and have helped the castle<br />

earn its excellent reputation.<br />

It has been about 400 years since<br />

the castle was first built, and it is<br />

a storehouse of numerous national<br />

treasures and important cultural<br />

properties.<br />

71 72

4. Engyo-ji<br />

Located 371 meters above sea level on top of Mt. Shosha in western Himeji, Engyoji<br />

is home to many Important Cultural Properties. Maniden, a beautiful wooden hall,<br />

Daikodo (main hall), Jikido (lodging and dining hall, now exhibiting temple treasures)<br />

and Jogyodo (gymnasium) are especially popular. It was selected as a filming location<br />

for the Hollywood movie The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise.<br />

5. Kinosaki Onsen<br />

Kinosaki is a historical hot<br />

spring town, famous for the<br />

seven hot springs in the area.<br />

Called Sotoyu-meguri,<br />

visiting these seven hot<br />

springs is a popular activity.<br />

Each of the seven Sotoyu<br />

has a unique story, as well<br />

as different guardian deities;<br />

therefore people believe<br />

that visiting all seven brings<br />

seven different types of luck.<br />

With beaches in the<br />

summer, and delicious<br />

crab in the winter, Kinosaki<br />

receives quite a few tourists<br />

throughout the year.<br />

73 74



& HIS LOVE<br />


June saw the passing of one of the most<br />

notable figures in the travel industry:<br />

loveable rogue Anthony Bourdain. As the<br />

world mourned, people across the globe felt<br />

as though they had lost a friend. Bourdain is<br />

often cited as the reason that many people<br />

felt inspired to get out and travel outside<br />

of their <strong>com</strong>fort zone. He had his favourite<br />

cities, which he presented to the world<br />

in all of their glory. One of those was the<br />

eccentric, neon clad city of Tokyo.<br />

With so much of the world to discover,<br />

Bourdain rarely visited the same city over<br />

and over again, however Tokyo was one<br />

exception to that and he made frequent trips<br />

to the vibrant Japanese capital. “I’m endlessly<br />

fascinated” he had stated. “I’ve been many<br />

times and it’s still thrilling”.<br />

One thing is for certain, Tokyo is quite unlike anywhere<br />

else in the world and it’s understandable why Bourdain<br />

fell in love with it. Be prepared to stand out “like a big goofy<br />

foreigner” as Bourdain himself had stated. Since afterall, the<br />

culture here is quite unlike anything we are used to. There<br />

is sadness in the fact that this article is written for Bourdain<br />

posthumously, however his legacy will live on and he will<br />

continue to motivate people to travel after his passing.<br />


First time visitors should look to gain an insight into Tokyo’s<br />

history by visiting the Meiji shrine and the temple at Asakusa.<br />

In order to avoid the crowds, go early in the morning while the tourist<br />

hordes are still sleeping. One of Tokyo’s highlights is undoubtedly<br />

its various neighborhoods – each with their own unique, quirky<br />

personalities. Fashion hub Harajuku is the place to go for people<br />

watching and exploring the kooky independent boutiques. For the<br />

ultimate cultural immersion, explore Ryogoku – the “Sumo” district<br />

of Tokyo where if you are lucky, you can catch a sumo fight or an early<br />

morning training session. Here, the ramshackle wooden houses<br />

make you feel that you have been transported to a different city<br />

entirely. When the sun begins to set, head to Shinjuku or Shibuya<br />

for an evening tipple or two at one of the city’s rooftop bars.<br />

Anthony<br />

Indeed, Tokyo offers a unique juxtaposition between modern culture<br />

and ancient oriental traditions. Exploring one neighborhood can see<br />

you surrounded by shrines and zen Buddhist temples that date back<br />

thousands of years. The next, they have been engulfed by towering<br />

modern skyscrapers and contemporary art installations. A traveller could<br />

spend months wandering the streets of Tokyo and still depart feeling that<br />

they haven’t had the opportunity to explore everything.<br />

77 78

Japan<br />

CYCLO<br />


Eco Friendly Tour Company<br />

Japan<br />


Hostel<br />

〒104-0032 Tokyo Chuoku Hachobori 3-9-10 1F Japan ♦ Tel +81 3 4500 4446 ♦<br />

cyclolimousine.raroma.co.jp/wp<br />

〒103-0003 3-14, Nihonbashi-Yokoyamacho. Chuoku, Tokyo, Japan ♦<br />

Tel +81 03 4405 5092 ♦ obi-hostel.<strong>com</strong><br />

Cyclo Limousine is the first<br />

<strong>com</strong>pany ever in Japan that<br />

offers services using a Cyclo – originally<br />

of French design, tricycle rickshaw.<br />

The Cyclo is a <strong>com</strong>mon vehicle in<br />

many South East <strong>Asia</strong>n countries. In<br />

the early days, the Cyclo was a service<br />

pointed at sightseeing and a way of<br />

every day travel for the upperclass.<br />

As the Cyclo begins in Japan, we aim<br />

to incorporate the many traditions of<br />

our diverse team and the incredible<br />

spirit of Japanese hospitality to ensure<br />

the enjoyment of our clients.<br />

It is from now that the old elegant<br />

Cyclo evolves to succeed and<br />

represent on the Japanese stage, and<br />

to deliver a long served luxury to the<br />

shores of its new clientele.<br />

Enjoy a total customized tour with us<br />

to feel the difference.<br />

Email: info@raroma.co.jp<br />

Facebook: @cyclolimousine<br />

Instagram: @cyclo_limousine<br />

Located in Higashi-Nihonbashi<br />

in Tokyo, Obi Hostel provides<br />

spacious rooms to its guests at<br />

reasonable prices. The hostel is situated<br />

at a short walking distance from the<br />

Bakuro Yokoyama station and its<br />

locations gives you easy access to all the<br />

sightseeing spots and business areas of<br />

Tokyo. You can choose between single,<br />

double and quadruple bunk-beds.<br />

They have both unisex and separate<br />

female dormitories so that you can<br />

choose one as per your convenience.<br />

The rooms are spacious and you can<br />

get a sense of privacy as the bunks<br />

have curtains as well. Facilities include<br />

lockers, refrigerators, WiFi connection,<br />

shower rooms and more. Moreover,<br />

the hostel offers washing machine and<br />

dryer facilities at a minimal cost. You can<br />

also have some delicious preparations<br />

in the in-house cafe and bar or could<br />

even sip on some specially prepared<br />

cocktails. Obi Hostel truly gives you the<br />

opportunity to meet new people and<br />

discover Tokyo.<br />

79 80

TAIWAN<br />

As a small island nation, Taiwan and its capital Taipei are often overlooked by<br />

travellers to <strong>Asia</strong> in favour of adventures to its more extravagant neighbouring<br />

nations. Attracted by the bright lights and towering skyscrapers of Shanghai and Tokyo,<br />

or the paradisiacal beaches of Thailand, often Taiwan is forgotten. Taiwan is certainly one<br />

of <strong>Asia</strong>’s most underrated travel destinations and with a rich culture and a fascinating<br />

history, it is definitely deserved of a spot on your travel bucket list.<br />

Taiwan’s History<br />

The history of Taiwan dates back tens of thousands of years with the first records of<br />

human inhabitants on the island dating back as far as 40,000 years ago. With strong<br />

tribal and indigenous roots, the first settlers in Taiwan were aborigines and many<br />

current residents in the country are descendents of these people. Over the past 4000<br />

years, a diverse range of settlers and invaders have anchored their ships on Taiwan’s<br />

shores, drawn to the land by its captivating beauty and nature. Since the 15th century,<br />

Taiwan has been occupied or invaded by settlers from China, Portugal, the Netherlands<br />

and Japan - factors which contribute to a diverse and unique cultural existence in the<br />

modern country today.<br />

Taiwan <strong>Travel</strong> Highlights<br />

When the Portuguese first landed in Taiwan, they awarded it the nickname of “Ilha<br />

Formosa” meaning “the beautiful island” on account of its stunning natural scenery.<br />

The mention of Taiwan is often synonymous with the idea that any East <strong>Asia</strong>n country<br />

is a bustling megalopolis filled with cosmopolitan cities and neon lights. While Taiwan<br />

certainly has that, it is also home to numerous picturesque hiking trails and national<br />

parks. Many notable movies have been shot in Taiwan on account of its beauty -<br />

including the awe-inspiring Life of Pi. Whether you enjoy browsing night markets and<br />

sampling street foods in concrete jungles, or you want to uncover more about the<br />

history of the place that you travel, Taiwan certainly has something for everyone.<br />

81 82


When planning a trip to Taiwan, managing the logistics of how best to reach<br />

the country and how to get around from one city to another is an important<br />

consideration to ensure that your adventure runs smoothly. Fortunately, public<br />

transportation links in and around Taiwan are efficient, frequent, and are good value for<br />

money.<br />

Getting to Taiwan<br />

With flight routes from across the globe servicing Taiwan, it is easy to access this fascinating<br />

island nation and to do so without breaking the bank. <strong>Travel</strong>lers can get to Taiwan via<br />

plane or by sea, depending on their starting location.<br />

• Getting in by Plane<br />

Taiwan is serviced by two international<br />

airports - Taoyuan and Kaohsiung. Most<br />

people <strong>com</strong>mence their Taiwanese<br />

adventures in Taipei and so Taoyuan airport<br />

is arguably the most convenient. It is easy<br />

to take the high speed train from Taoyuan<br />

airport into Taipei center.<br />

• Getting in by Boat<br />

If you are planning to travel to Taiwan<br />

from China or Japan, it is possible to take<br />

overnight ferries into Keelung or Taichung<br />

in mainland Taiwan, in addition to a ferry to<br />

the Taiwanese island of Matsu.<br />

Getting Around<br />

Many international travellers depend on<br />

getting around via public transport when<br />

they travel and fortunately, it is easy to do<br />

that in Taiwan. An important thing to note<br />

is that when traveling between cities it is<br />

prudent to buy your tickets a couple of<br />

days before your intended travel date to<br />

ensure that you secure a seat. During the<br />

Taiwanese holidays, trains and intercity<br />

buses get very busy.<br />

• By Rail<br />

Taiwan’s train network is <strong>com</strong>prehensive<br />

and runs around the entirety of the island.<br />

There are a variety of options available<br />

when it <strong>com</strong>es to traveling around Taiwan<br />

by rail with train services offering different<br />

class options to suit your budget and<br />

personal preferences. Most rail services in<br />

Taiwan are managed by the Taiwan Rail<br />

Administration, however there is also the<br />

Taiwan high speed rail network which is a<br />

somewhat similar concept to the famous<br />

Japanese bullet trains. The high speed<br />

trains are slightly more expensive, but<br />

may be preferable if you have only a short<br />

amount of time in the country and are<br />

willing to spend a little extra.<br />

• By Bus<br />

If you are traveling to Taiwan on a strict<br />

budget, then bus travel in and between<br />

cities may be one of the best options<br />

for you. Buses in Taiwan often run for as<br />

little as 50 cents and are clean, efficient<br />

and frequent. Since it is only Taipei and<br />

Kaohsiung that have metro systems in<br />

Taiwan, it is useful to familiarise yourself<br />

with the Taiwanese bus network before<br />

embarking on your trip.<br />

• The Metro Systems<br />

Taipei and Kaohsiung are both home to<br />

extensive metro networks that service all<br />

areas of the respective cities and are a<br />

convenient way of getting around. Upon<br />

arrival in Taiwan, it is useful to get an “Easy”<br />

metrocard that can be purchased from the<br />

machines at the various stations. This works<br />

out cheaper than constantly buying single<br />

tickets for each journey, particularly if you<br />

plan on being in Taiwan for more than a<br />

week or two.<br />

• Taking a Cab<br />

Taxis can be found in plentiful supply in all<br />

large Taiwanese cities and are inexpensive<br />

to use. Since the traffic in Taipei can be<br />

heavy, it is advisable to consider using the<br />

metro as a first priority. However if you find<br />

yourself on the outskirts or out at night and<br />

you prefer a cab, rest assured it will not be<br />

difficult to find one.<br />

Similar to New York cabs, taxis in Taiwan are<br />

yellow and run on meters. Unfortunately<br />

the majority of Taiwanese cab drivers do<br />

not speak English and so you should have<br />

a local, or someone at your hotel write<br />

down the place that you are headed to<br />

in Mandarin before getting in a cab. Uber<br />

also exists in Taiwan, and can often be a<br />

more convenient option.<br />

83 84


China Airlines makes sure that families that travel together have a relaxing time during<br />

their journey. For this, they have introduced an exclusive feature called the “Family<br />

Couch” for their long haul flights. In this feature, all three seats are adjusted to create a<br />

bed so that you can cuddle with your kids and have a <strong>com</strong>fortable journey. It is the only<br />

airline in <strong>Asia</strong> to have this feature.<br />

If you’re traveling to Taiwan, the first name that <strong>com</strong>es to your mind is that of China<br />

Airlines. The flag carrier and the largest airline of the Republic of China was established<br />

way back in 1959 and since then has grown leaps and bounds to be<strong>com</strong>e one of the largest<br />

airline <strong>com</strong>panies in the world. With over 1400 flights every week to 102 destinations<br />

across the world, this airline has be<strong>com</strong>e a formidable <strong>com</strong>petitor in the airspace.<br />

Not only does the airline provide international travel but also has a subsidiary, Mandarin<br />

Airlines, that handles all their domestic flight operations. The aircrafts sport three<br />

classes – Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class. The Business<br />

Class offers the epitome of <strong>com</strong>fort and opulence in the flight with a perfect amalgam<br />

of traditional and modern elements in the cabins. Plush <strong>com</strong>forts and stellar services<br />

are not the only things you get when you choose to travel by Business Class but you<br />

also get access to a special Sky Lounge where you can enjoy your favourite beverages<br />

with some snacks while reading a book from the library! In the Premium Economy Class,<br />

you can spread out your legs and lie back <strong>com</strong>fortably throughout your journey or work<br />

on the dedicated work surface and even take a break by watching some entertainment<br />

on a 12’’ monitor! The Economy Class, on the other hand, sports oriental aesthetics<br />

and gives you a <strong>com</strong>fortable experience throughout your journey and has all basic<br />

amenities needed to make your flight a <strong>com</strong>fortable one.<br />

Additionally, the airline has its very own rewards program called “Dynasty”. In this<br />

program, the travellers can accumulate miles for their travels on self-operated flights<br />

of China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines. These miles can then be used to buy tickets,<br />

transfers, VIP Lounge access and what not! Along with this, your cards <strong>com</strong>e with<br />

privileges like extra baggage allowance and discounted ticket rates!<br />

On all their Boeing 777s and Airbus 350s, on-board Wi-Fi services are enabled to<br />

ensure better connectivity for you when up in the air. While this service calls for an<br />

additional charge, the Dynasty members benefit from discounts here as well.<br />

For those who are traveling from select destinations in USA to <strong>Asia</strong> from China Airlines,<br />

there is a special gift waiting. You can enjoy a free stopover in Honolulu and explore<br />

the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands en-route to <strong>Asia</strong>! This offer is truly irresistible, isn’t it?<br />

Those who are planning for a getaway to Taipei from California can rejoice too as China<br />

Airlines is offering non-stop direct flights from Ontario International Airport to Taipei!<br />

85 86

For those traveling to the United States, the airline operates private bus services to<br />

transport customers from their residences to airport. This service is available in New<br />

York, New Jersey, North and South Philadelphia and Los Angeles.<br />

Not only does the airline provide stellar services but also cares for our planet. China<br />

Airlines has participated in a biofuel program developed by Airbus and Air TOTAL.<br />

This move was made to reduce the carbon footprint of the airline and as a result<br />

The airline has 9 airport lounges across 7 airports in the world and at other destinations,<br />

the services are offered by Skyteam, which is a major airline alliance, and other partner<br />

airlines. For those holding the Dynasty Flyer Emerald and Paragon cards, the Dynasty<br />

Supreme Lounge at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is accessible, which features<br />

suites, shower rooms, dining services and more! For those traveling by Business Class<br />

or holding Dynasty Flyer Gold cards and above, the Dynasty Lounge is available at the<br />

airports where you can relax with some <strong>com</strong>fortable facilities like meals, <strong>com</strong>puters,<br />

shower rooms and sleeping quarters.<br />

87 88

educe the global greenhouse gas emissions.<br />

Their <strong>com</strong>mitment towards the environment<br />

was proven when their headquarters was<br />

awarded the “Diamond-rated” green building<br />

label by Taiwan’s Ministry of Interior in 2017<br />

for saving 23000 kWh of power across the<br />

year. Moreover, the airline has dedicated four<br />

aircrafts towards Pacific climate observation<br />

and is the first <strong>Asia</strong>n airline to do so. Each of<br />

these aircrafts are fitted with a special probe<br />

that collects data of high-altitude gases during<br />

the flight and this data is then transmitted to<br />

research centers in Europe for studying global<br />

warming and climate change. The addition<br />

of these aircrafts has expanded the area of<br />

coverage to even Australia, New Zealand and<br />

Hawaii.<br />

89 90

Apart from this, the airline has also introduced liveried aircrafts on various routes like<br />

the “Urocissa caerulea” on the Taipei-Vancouver route which sports a Taiwan Blue-<br />

Magpie, which was voted as the national bird of Taiwan. Additionally, they had unveiled<br />

the “A350 Syrmaticus Mikado” and “Buddy Bears” liveried aircrafts to promote<br />

environmental protection. The Buddy Bears aircraft features Taiwan and Japan’s<br />

cartoon bears OhBear, Hero and Kumamon with all on-board supplies too featuring<br />

cute designs based on these bears. This flight flies regularly between Kaohsiung and<br />

Kumamoto and ferries bear lovers. Currently, the airline has seven special livery aircrafts<br />

in service.<br />

In addition to that, China Airlines has also signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration<br />

Against Wildlife Trafficking in 2017 and is the very first airline in Taiwan to do so. The<br />

airline has <strong>com</strong>mitted to not use any endangered species in its menus and has even<br />

banned the transportation of shark fins.<br />

Apart from the passenger aircrafts, the <strong>com</strong>pany also runs cargo services under the name<br />

of China Airlines Cargo and this fleet of 18 freighters flies to 33 destinations across <strong>Asia</strong>,<br />

Europe and North America.<br />

Under the leadership of Nuan-Hsuan Ho and Shih-Chien Hsieh, this airline has flourished<br />

over the years and brought several laurels home. Today, the airline stands as the 29th and<br />

10th largest airline in the world in both the passenger and freight segments respectively<br />

for revenue per kilometer. China Airlines has truly set an example for all other airlines by<br />

not only concentrating on business and growth but also on the impact on environment<br />

and has professed sustainable growth which is nothing short of extraordinary.<br />

91 92


Regardless of your particular travel, Taiwan has something for everyone. Outdoorsy<br />

types will fall in love with the island’s plentiful national parks and scenic hiking<br />

trails, whereas culture vultures will love sampling the unique local delicacies and rubbing<br />

shoulders with the locals at temples and night markets. There are so many things to do in<br />

Taiwan that any travel itinerary here is going to be bursting at the seams.<br />

Ascend to the<br />

Top of Taipei 101<br />

With an appearance that looks as though<br />

it is numerous noodle boxes stacked atop<br />

each other, Taipei 101 is one of Taiwan’s<br />

most recognisable pieces of architecture.<br />

Of course, while traveling here it is essential<br />

to take an obligatory selfie or two in front of<br />

Taipei 101, however from the observatory<br />

at the top of the building, travellers can<br />

enjoy some fairly spectacular views of the<br />

Taiwanese capital.<br />

Admission: NT$600 for a general ticket,<br />

NT$540 for students, free for children<br />

Get Spirited Away in Jiufen<br />

Fans of Studio Ghibli movies and Hayao Miyazaki will certainly want to visit Jiufen -<br />

the location that was Miyazaki’s inspiration for Spirited Away. Even those who are not<br />

familiar with the movie, however, will certainly fall in love with quaint and quirky Jiufen.<br />

Where locals sip tea in colonial tea rooms that overlook the sea, where traditional<br />

lanterns gently dance in the breeze and where you could spend an entire day getting<br />

lost among winding, labyrinth style alleyways, to travel to Jiufen is like stepping back<br />

in time or into a fairytale and this area almost feels like a <strong>com</strong>pletely different country<br />

<strong>com</strong>pared to the busy, hectic Taipei.<br />

Admission: Free. Just enjoy wandering the streets and soaking up the ambience.<br />

Traverse Hiking Trails in Taroko National Parks<br />

There are in fact nine national parks scattered throughout the landscape of Taiwan,<br />

each of which is beautiful in its own right, however Taroko National Park offers diverse<br />

landscapes and dramatic scenery where every turn offers a new photo opportunity.<br />

From the perfect coastal panoramas by Qingshui cliff, to the pleasant walking trails that<br />

lead you alongside waterfalls at the Changchun eternal spring shrine, it’s possible to<br />

spend a few days enjoying the scenery at Taroko.<br />

Admission: Free.<br />

93 94

Taiwan<br />


RESORT<br />

Beach Front Resort<br />

No.150,Dawan Rd.,Hengchun Town,Pingtung County 946,Taiwan ♦<br />

Tel +88688861501~2 ♦ kentingcoast.<strong>com</strong>.tw<br />

Looking for a relaxing<br />

beach retreat in Taiwan?<br />

Head over to Kenting Coast<br />

Resort and breathe in the cool<br />

sea breeze. Tucked away in the<br />

lush environment of Kenting<br />

Coast, this resort features exotic<br />

rooms which boast of the finest<br />

of amenities. Each room <strong>com</strong>es<br />

with its very own balcony where<br />

you can sit back on the chairs and<br />

enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while<br />

marveling at the beautiful views<br />

of the sea.<br />

You could either go for a<br />

<strong>com</strong>fortable double room or<br />

could even opt for the luxurious<br />

VIP rooms which offer unmatched<br />

luxury and opulence. They have<br />

something for the families too.<br />

Special family rooms are available<br />

so that the family can stay<br />

together during the holidays.<br />

To spend your holidays in leisure,<br />

you could relax in the outdoor<br />

recreational area and sip on some<br />

beverages and munch on some<br />

delicacies.<br />

If you fancy exploring the beautiful<br />

Kenting Coast, the resort provides you<br />

with itineraries for a day trip to different<br />

destinations so that you can have a leisurely<br />

travel experience. They even have special<br />

packages for travelers who wish to have a<br />

<strong>com</strong>plete experience of all their facilities<br />

and Kenting Coast.<br />

The entire resort is situated away from<br />

civilization and gives you the finest vacation<br />

experience possible.<br />

Wish to take a dip in the water? The resort<br />

is situated a few seconds walking distance<br />

from the beach where you can take a dip<br />

in the crystal clear waters of the sea. The<br />

night market of Kenting Coast is at a short<br />

walking distance from the resort.<br />

95 96


Many travellers to <strong>Asia</strong> cite the food as one of the notable highlights during their<br />

time in the region and Taiwan is no exception to that rule. With a diverse and<br />

flavourful cuisine, foodies and their taste buds are certain to fall in love with the food<br />

culture of Taiwan.<br />

Taiwan for Sweet Tooths<br />

No dinner time is <strong>com</strong>plete without rounding it off with dessert and the Taiwanese know<br />

that all too well – the precise reason why there are so many sweet treats in their cuisine.<br />

Consider ordering up a serving of an A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll. Originating in Yilan,<br />

the ice cream roll is <strong>com</strong>prised of special sticky peanut candy along with homemade<br />

scoops of taro ice cream, all rolled together neatly in a spring roll. Forget the savoury<br />

spring rolls you are used to. After trying the A-Zhu peanut ice cream roll we are sure<br />

you’ll have a new favourite.<br />

Savoury Classics in Taiwan<br />

For something <strong>com</strong>pletely unusual and unique to Taiwan, consider sampling a taste of<br />

the Taiwanese Iron egg. The colour and appearance can seem a little intimidating but<br />

brave and open-minded foodies will be rewarded for their efforts. These “iron eggs”<br />

are essentially chewy, flavoured eggs and are a popular snack in Taiwan. Originating in<br />

the northern town of Danshui, the eggs are boiled, and air dried several times before<br />

spices and flavourings are added. The eggs are available in a variety of flavours – from<br />

garlic to spicy chilli.<br />

When dinner time swings around, slurp up some Mee Sua – thin salted noodles that are<br />

made from wheat flour and served with a rich broth and pig’s intestines. Ask locals to<br />

advise you of their favourite Mee Sua restaurants. The queues at the popular spots are<br />

long but certainly worth the wait. Mee Sua restaurants often have a selection of sauces<br />

available for you to choose from for extra taste – <strong>com</strong>monly garlic and chilli. To eat like<br />

a local, add a healthy dollop of each, mix it together and enjoy.<br />

97 98

Taiwan<br />




Resort<br />

#79 Chajiao, Sanxia Dist., New Taipei City 237, Taiwan ♦<br />

Tel +886-2-26749228 ♦ dabangan.<strong>com</strong>.tw<br />

Located in Sanxia District, New Taipei City, only 50 minutes from Taoyuan International<br />

Airport and also Taipei City. The resort covers a 17-hectare site that was formerly the<br />

biggest tea-processing plant in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period. There is a vacation<br />

villa formerly used by the Japanese royal family, as well as gardens, fishponds and forest trails.<br />

The resort is tucked among the only low-elevation primitive tropical rain forest in Taiwan, with<br />

rare century-old tabular root (buttress root) trees.<br />

Veined/mountain figs (Ficus<br />

Nervosa), Ficus Variegata<br />

and tree ferns from the<br />

dinosaur age are among the<br />

nearly 500 species of plants<br />

in the rain forest. The forest<br />

is also home to more than<br />

4,000 varieties of insects and<br />

over 30 varieties of birds,<br />

among them is the Blue-<br />

Winged Pitta – a globally<br />

protected species. These<br />

rare natural wonders wait<br />

along with the healthy and<br />

relaxing essences of the<br />

forest at the resort.<br />

In addition to enjoying the<br />

natural scenery, visitors<br />

can take a soothing and<br />

skin-pampering soak in the<br />

carbonic hot springs at the<br />

resort. Relax at the hot spa<br />

area, which overlooks the<br />

beautiful forests of Sanxia.<br />

The stunning natural setting<br />

contributes to an unrivaled<br />

relaxation experience. In a<br />

world where technology has<br />

allowed stress to be<strong>com</strong>e a<br />

constant <strong>com</strong>panion, Great<br />

Roots Forestry Spa Resort<br />

offers a moment’s rest. It is<br />

a place where you see the<br />

world, and even yourself, a<br />

little bit differently. Where<br />

you can find your center,<br />

soothe your body and stir<br />

your imagination, and where<br />

you find the fuel that feeds<br />

your soul.<br />

99 100


ASIA<br />

101 102


There is much more to traveling in Malaysia than simply venturing around the streets<br />

of the crowded capital of Kuala Lumpur. In fact, outside of the bright lights of<br />

Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Genting are two captivating Malaysian travel destinations that<br />

have soared in popularity in recent years with the Malaysian tourism figures demonstrating<br />

that annual visitors are increasing year on year. With that considered, they are both at a<br />

stark contrast to each other and on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the travel<br />

experience they offer.<br />

On one end of the spectrum, Penang is more traditional and historic, possessing a colonial<br />

past and lots of fascinating history to uncover. Genting on the other hand is an altogether<br />

more modern, cosmopolitan <strong>Asia</strong>n city. A little time spent in both locations is the perfect<br />

choice for your Malaysia itinerary but if your time in the country is limited and you have<br />

to choose between the two, we’ve drawn up the travel highlights for each spot to help<br />

you decide where you should roam based on your personality and specific interests when<br />

you travel.<br />

Penang<br />

Often referred to as being the “pearl of the Orient”, Penang is adored by locals and<br />

tourists alike, especially for its miles and miles of undisturbed sandy white beaches<br />

and its rich local food culture. For a little rest and relaxation, be sure to venture over<br />

to Batu Ferringhi or Tanjung Bungah – both seaside beach resorts where life moves a<br />

little slower and one can enjoy a glass of Malaysian Kopitiam as the sunsets over the<br />

horizon. These two locations are referred to time and again as being among the best<br />

beaches in Penang.<br />

Of course, no visit to the self-proclaimed food capital of Malaysia would be <strong>com</strong>plete<br />

without taking the time to dabble in the local street food delicacies. Take your taste<br />

buds on an adventure to one of the many local hawker’s centers, or the much-loved<br />

Cecil Street Market to try “only in Malaysia” style dishes such as Penang Assam Laksa<br />

(spicy fish noodle soup) or Lor Bak (deep fried pork served with braised sauce). For an<br />

insight into the culture, religion and history of multicultural Penang, be sure to take<br />

the time to visit the many Hindu temples, churches and mosques that are scattered<br />

throughout the city.<br />

103 104

Genting Highlands<br />

Genting Highlands is quite a juxtaposition of a city. For one thing, as its name suggests,<br />

it is located in the Highlands. In other words, Genting is situated atop a picturesque<br />

range of hills that would not look out of place in an Avatar movie. One only has to<br />

venture a short distance out of the city limits to be met with stunning nature, peace and<br />

tranquillity. Genting itself, however, is the exact opposite of peace and tranquillity. In<br />

fact, Genting is everything that you would expect from a metropolitan <strong>Asia</strong>n city and<br />

more.<br />

Enshrouded in a buzz of neon lights, Genting is a place of razzle-dazzle and luxury<br />

resorts. Think the Las Vegas of the East if you will. Filled with entertainment <strong>com</strong>plexes,<br />

amusement parks, quirky themed bars, malls and casinos that are open 24 hours a day,<br />

Genting is the place to <strong>com</strong>e to party.<br />

Arguably you are not going to immerse yourself in the typical Malaysian culture here,<br />

but Genting Highlands can be a fun place to unwind during your travels, or to see how<br />

locals and people from other parts of <strong>Asia</strong> like to kick back and enjoy life after a stressful<br />

week at the office.<br />

Penang may be a travel paradise for an introvert or a culture vulture, whereas Genting<br />

is perhaps more suited to the night owl traveller. Whatever you like to do when you are<br />

overseas, arguably it is worth visiting as many places as you can in each foreign country<br />

that you venture to in order to gain a “full picture” of the country and its people.<br />

105 106

Malaysia<br />



Mountain View Hotel<br />

Malaysia<br />



Adventure Tour Company<br />

Jalan Ion Delemen 1, Genting Highlands, 69000, Pahang Darul Makmur | Malaysia ♦<br />

Tel +603 6433.2200 ♦ iondelemenhotels.<strong>com</strong><br />

29 Jalan Dato Koyah, 10000 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia ♦<br />

Tel +6019 4480440 ♦ cyclematahari.<strong>com</strong><br />

Visiting Genting Highlands and wish to have a <strong>com</strong>fortable retreat? Grand Ion<br />

Delemen Hotel is a great option for you. Tucked away in the Titiwangsa Range,<br />

you can relax in luxury in the midst of lush rainforests and marvel at nature’s beauty.<br />

The luxuriously furnished rooms reflect the surroundings of the hotel and boast of huge<br />

windows so that you can see the splendid view outside. For your gastronomical needs,<br />

they have six restaurants and bars which serve both local and international delicacies<br />

along with a choice of cocktails and drinks. The hotel has a fully-equipped gym which is<br />

open throughout the day so that you can keep up with your fitness regime. You could also<br />

take a dip in the heated swimming pool that has a picturesque view of the mountains.<br />

The hotel also hosts both meetings and functions at eight of its meeting rooms and one<br />

ballroom.<br />

Want to see Malaysia from a different perspective? Ride with Matahari Cycle Tours<br />

and see the country at your own pace. You will have the option to stop by for<br />

photos or chatting with the locals whenever you wish; this is your chance to see Malaysia<br />

just the way you wish to. Not only will you get to see the main tourist attractions but also<br />

the off-the-beat locations like tiny village markets and indigenous people’s settlements.<br />

While they have a set collection of tours and itineraries, you can choose to build your very<br />

own itinerary with them and visit those places which you really want to visit. Many of their<br />

tours are easy but a few are even physically challenging in a good way! They also have<br />

special tour options for team building and corporate events. With Matahari Cycle Tours,<br />

you get to discover the essence of Malaysia!<br />

107<br />



Home to sprawling megalopolises that boast towering skyscrapers and crowded<br />

streets, idyllic paradisiacal beaches, scenic trekking trails and lush green rainforests,<br />

Malaysia is home to one of the most diverse landscapes in the world and offers plenty of<br />

activities for the intrepid adventurer - regardless of their specific interests. Many travellers<br />

to Malaysia first venture to the busy capital of Kuala Lumpur, but in order to experience<br />

the best of the country’s beauty and nature, it is best to venture a little further afield to the<br />

picturesque regions of Penang and Gopeng.<br />

Go Trekking in Penang National Park<br />

Those who love immersing themselves in nature and the great outdoors will relish the<br />

countless hiking trails scattered throughout the Penang National Park. Here, travellers<br />

can get up close and personal with Turtles in their Natural habitats and see some of<br />

Malaysia’s most breathtaking nature. The trails here offer far more than a brisk walk<br />

through greenery - they transcend past mangrove plantations, ethereal looking lakes<br />

and stunning beaches. It is possible to spend several days here exploring all that the<br />

area has to offer.<br />

Visit the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur<br />

No visit to Malaysia is <strong>com</strong>plete without a short stay in the capital of Kuala Lumpur<br />

and the opportunity to marvel upon the Petronas Towers - a structure which has<br />

undoubtedly became an icon of the country.<br />

Stroll Along Penang’s Harmony Street<br />

Malaysia has long been home to a diverse blend of international cultures and that<br />

could not be more evident in the Penang. The city’s “Harmony Street” - situated on<br />

Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling is filled with countless places of worship each built to satisfy<br />

different faiths - from Sikhs to Hindus and Buddhists. It is not unusual to wander along<br />

the lengths of this street during weekends and see that it is jam-packed with devotees.<br />

The Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the Kuan Yin Temple and the Masjid Kapitan Keling<br />

are all open to the public and provide an interesting insight into the multiculturalism of<br />

Malaysia. Between the religious buildings, eateries and tea shops serve up a diverse<br />

international blend of delicacies.<br />

109 110

Visit Gaharu Tea Valley<br />

Situated in Gopeng, the Gaharu Tea Valley has seen an increasing number of tourists<br />

in recent years. <strong>Travel</strong>lers can try the famous “Gaharu” (agarwood) tea, rumoured<br />

to possess healing properties. No doubt a box of fresh Gaharu tea makes a unique<br />

souvenir for those at home. The valley provides an interesting insight into local life as<br />

visitors can watch the plantation in action, or sit out at one of the picturesque viewing<br />

platforms and admire the scenery away from the humid Gopeng jungle.<br />

Malaysia<br />


PULAU<br />

Tour Company<br />

145(U-1) MK B, Sg Rusa, 11010, Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia ♦<br />

Tel +60 16 4522100 ♦ explorebalikpulau.<strong>com</strong>.my<br />

If you’re ever in Balik Pulau in Penang, the best way to discover it would be with<br />

Explore Balik Pulau. Explore Balik Pulau takes you on a journey to discover Penang<br />

like never before with their thorough knowledge about the area. They have some amazing<br />

tours where you can explore green paddy fields, fruits orchards, plantations, farms, fishing<br />

villages, and many others rustic Malaysian scenery in the west of Penang. The seasonal<br />

Penang Durian Appreciation tour is a unique tour that gives you a chance to learn more<br />

and appreciate the king of fruits – Durian. They plan the trips early in a manner where the<br />

guests do not get disturbed with heavy traffic or by even unordered schedule. The group<br />

sizes are kept to just 12 guests so that you can get more personal attention. Explore Balik<br />

Pulau gives you the true taste of Penang, one that you will cherish for a long time.<br />

111<br />



Nestled in the heart of the Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is a popular travel<br />

destination for those venturing around Southeast <strong>Asia</strong>, or simply those that wish<br />

to enjoy a little rest and relaxation amid sunnier climes when they travel.<br />

The History of the Philippines<br />

It is believed that the first inhabitants of the Philippines arrived in the region over 67,000<br />

years ago. These first settlers are understood to have been Negrito groups – people<br />

traveling to the region from remote parts of South and Southeast <strong>Asia</strong>. Throughout the<br />

years, the Philippines has passed through several owners. After being “discovered” by<br />

the Spanish, the Philippines became a Spanish colony in the 15th century and remained<br />

under Spanish rule until 1898 when Spain were defeated in a Spanish-American war.<br />

The Philippines remained a US territory for several decades until finally receiving its<br />

independence in 1946.<br />

The People in the Philippines<br />

The official language of the Philippines is Tagalog; however, English is also widely<br />

spoken. The locals are generally excited to see tourists in their country and will do their<br />

best to help you as much as they are able to during your stay. Filipinos are known for<br />

their excellent hospitality and warm nature and it is likely that every traveller that you<br />

encounter that has explored the region will have a tale or two to tell about how they<br />

befriended friendly Filipinos and enjoyed an all-night karaoke party, or how a family<br />

invited them to eat. The disparity between rich and poor is extreme in this part of the<br />

world. In one part of Manila you will see glitzy high-end bars, whereas in the other,<br />

you will encounter manual laborers struggling to make ends meet. Be sensitive when<br />

traveling here.<br />

113 114

Must See Places in the Philippines<br />

The Philippines is by no means a small region. In fact, there are over 7000 small islands<br />

that make up this country! With that said, it is understandable that it can be difficult to<br />

choose where to explore on a first trip to the Philippines.<br />

Puerto Princessa<br />

In the Palawan region, Puerto Princessa is a town that has been put on the map on<br />

account of the underground river that is located here. The river has been labelled as<br />

one of the seven new world wonders of nature. Though the area is touristy, it is certainly<br />

not every day that you have the opportunity to see a river that flows underground. Aim<br />

to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but don’t let them kill your holiday<br />

spirit.<br />

Palawan<br />

If you are looking for undisturbed natural<br />

beauty reminiscent of a paradise lost that<br />

makes you feel as though you have your<br />

very own tropical island paradise, consider<br />

taking a trip to Palawan. Here, among the<br />

numerous blue lagoons and tiny sandy<br />

white islands, there are many beautiful local<br />

villages and stunning beaches. Palawan<br />

itself is still a fairly large region. For first<br />

timer’s El Nido and Coron are arguably the<br />

most picturesque and rewarding to explore.<br />

The quaint little town of Coron is a nice<br />

place to explore in itself, however it is also<br />

home to numerous dive sites that feature<br />

plentiful, colorful marine life and the<br />

remnants of wreckages from World War II.<br />

If you are a qualified diver, you certainly<br />

want to bump this place to the top of your<br />

Philippines travel list.<br />

Boracay<br />

Boracay, like Puerto Princessa,<br />

is a little touristic, however it<br />

is so charming that it is easily<br />

forgiven. With vibrant nightlife<br />

and plenty of fun and quirky<br />

bars, clubs and restaurants,<br />

Boracay is a great place to kick<br />

back, unwind, and socialise<br />

with other travellers at one<br />

of the many beach or boat<br />

parties that are organised here<br />

virtually every day of the week.<br />

115 116

Philippines<br />



Luxury Resort<br />

Philippines<br />



Hotel<br />

Daan Bantayan, Logon Malapascua Island, Cebu Philippines ♦ Tel +63 977 856 1569 ♦<br />

malapascua-garden-resort.<strong>com</strong><br />

Magsaysay Avenue, Pilgrim City of Naga, Bicol, Philippines ♦<br />

Tel +63 54 473 9999 / +63 2 250 8088 ♦ theavenueplazahotel.<strong>com</strong><br />

Malapascua Garden Resort is situated on the Malapascua Island, one of the<br />

7641 islands in the Philippines. For an island known for its Bounty Beach, coral<br />

gardens and some of the best diving spots in the Philippines, this resort provides a perfect<br />

retreat, where everything else blends into the background. Malapascua Garden Resort is<br />

a family run business which serves vacationers, from all around the world, with the best of<br />

Malapascua. You can experience unmatched opulence in their duplex buildings which are<br />

surrounded by natural tropical gardens. The resort is located a short walk away from the<br />

beach, which ensures that while the guests are always near the beach, they still get the<br />

peace and tranquility of nature while resting. You can relax in the MGR-Bistro and enjoy a<br />

selection of drinks and beverages in the cozy atmosphere. The resort also assists you with<br />

various activities like island walking, boat rides and scuba diving among others. They also<br />

provide massage facilities.<br />

East-Central Philippines’ celebrated<br />

boutique hotel on the banks of<br />

the historic Naga River, 4-star Avenue<br />

Plaza Hotel is ideally located for dining,<br />

entertainment, shopping and convention<br />

venues, as it is near tourist key places<br />

such as the Peñafrancia Basilica, Camsur<br />

Watersports Complex, Mount Isarog<br />

National Park, the 225-year old Seminario<br />

Conciliar de Nueva Caceres, and the Jesse<br />

Robredo Museum.<br />

Located on the business, leisure and<br />

pilgrimage hub of the Philippines’ leading<br />

tier-3 city, the Avenue Plaza Hotel is central<br />

to the city’s government and business<br />

districts, the Naga National Airport, and<br />

the region’s prime universities and colleges.<br />

The Avenue Plaza Hotel is home to<br />

restful suites and rooms, a lifestyle center,<br />

dining and fitness outlets, and venues for<br />

meetings and events with seating capacity<br />

of 2,000. With its advocacy in culture, the<br />

arts and heritage conservation, the hotel<br />

provides guests with curated moments<br />

to experience Bicol heritage hospitality<br />

and to explore cosmopolitan cuisine and<br />

artisanal craft.<br />

The Avenue Plaza Hotel is recognized by<br />

TripAdvisor as <strong>Travel</strong>ers’ Choice Winner<br />

for Best Service, and is a Certificate of<br />

Excellence Hall of Fame awardee. Cebu<br />

Pacific Air’s inflight magazine Smile<br />

conferred the hotel with Best Hotel<br />

for Stress-Free Business Trips, and the<br />

Department of Tourism bestowed the hotel<br />

with the Enterprise Service Excellence for<br />

global <strong>com</strong>petitiveness.<br />

117 118


The 26th of October this year approaches with much anticipation from the local<br />

people as well as from wanderlusting travellers across the globe. Boracay has been<br />

closed for clean up and refurbishment for almost 6 months so you can understand the<br />

excitement.<br />

Philippines<br />



Boutique Resort<br />

Station 2, Brgy. Balabag, Malay, Malay, 5600 Aklan ♦ Tel +036 288 5729 ♦<br />

boracayhaven.<strong>com</strong>.ph<br />

With pristine white sandy beaches and translucent blue waters, it is understandable why<br />

Boracay has frequently been referred to as being one of the world’s top beaches. Tourism<br />

figures in Boracay have been steadily increasing year on year as word escaped about the<br />

island’s beauty. In 2017, Boracay’s revenue from tourism reached a whopping 56 billion<br />

pesos.<br />

Certainly the tourism boost has been positive for Boracay’s economy but it also came with<br />

a price. Environmental Chief Roy Cimatu stated that there were previously issues with<br />

pollution and sewage on the island that needed to be addressed. Boracay was previously<br />

not well equipped to deal with the huge influx of tourists and provide them with the<br />

paradise beach vacation they deserved. As such, the Boracay rehabilitation program was<br />

launched in order to present tourists with a cleaner, more organised Boracay. The roads<br />

were widened to make travel safer and more <strong>com</strong>fortable, and the beaches and businesses<br />

across the island were revamped. This is excellent news for travellers to the Philippines as<br />

it shows that Boracay is serious about ensuring visitors have the best experience possible.<br />

119<br />

Boracay Haven Resort wel<strong>com</strong>es you with award-winning guest service and a homely<br />

environment. You can choose to stay in one of its 63 rooms that are elegantly<br />

designed and well-appointed with some amazing facilities.<br />

The facilities <strong>com</strong>bined with their services and prime location make it a convenient and<br />

<strong>com</strong>fortable retreat for you. You can dine in the two restaurants here – Haven Bistro and<br />

Eden Bar and Restaurant. Do try out their beef tapa with pickled papaya and pair it up<br />

with your favorite cocktails, beers, and wines! Just a few minutes walk from the resort,<br />

you’ll be able to relax in their private beachfront lounge chairs with a beach butler on<br />

standby for all your needs. If you prefer to stay back in the resort, you can take a dip in<br />

the swimming pool or laze on the lounge beds to get that perfect suntan. The resort also<br />

arranges for tours and watersports activities on the island.<br />


Philippines<br />



Hotel<br />

Newcoast Drive, Boracay Newcoast, Barangay Yapak, Malay, Aklan, Philippines ♦<br />

Tel +63 36 286 2800 / +63 917 828 4495 ♦ savoyhotelboracay.<strong>com</strong>.ph<br />

Savoy Hotel Boracay is an amazing retreat on the island of Boracay Newcoast. Overlooking<br />

an expansive stretch of a white sandy beach and clear blue waters, this hip and vibrant<br />

hotel offers a unique style with a strong focus on colorful and stylish <strong>com</strong>fort. Moreover, the<br />

hotel provides a <strong>com</strong>plimentary shuttle service to the White Beach nearby where you can spend<br />

a fun-filled and enjoyable day.<br />

Each room of the hotel is carefully designed<br />

and fitted with every possible amenity so<br />

that you can have a leisurely stay there.<br />

Apart from the plush furnishings and<br />

contemporary decor of the rooms, each<br />

room features its very own private balcony<br />

from where you can get stunning views<br />

of the adjacent golf course. To ensure<br />

that the guests have a <strong>com</strong>fortable and<br />

pleasurable stay, the hotel has a host of inhouse<br />

attractions. You can spend the day<br />

sitting on the sunbathing lounger with your<br />

favorite book or could dive into the hotel’s<br />

open-air swimming pools. Surrounding<br />

the hotel is the first and only concert<br />

pool arena in the country with pool deck,<br />

cabanas and lounges that’s open to public<br />

for events, parties and concerts. If you wish<br />

to sit in the cabanas, you can grab a glass<br />

of your favorite cocktail from Chambery<br />

Pool Bar and enjoy your time there. The<br />

hotel also has a fitness center and will soon<br />

be opening its very own spa!<br />

A host of dining experiences await you at<br />

Savoy Hotel as well. Head to the Savoy Cafe<br />

and have some delicious contemporary<br />

and modern cuisine here. If you’re ever<br />

hankering for a scrumptious meal, Vienne<br />

Lobby Lounge is open from 6:00 am to<br />

11:00 pm ready to fulfill your cravings. The<br />

hotel also has something for the kids. Every<br />

day there are different activities organized<br />

by the hotel to make sure your kids have an<br />

exciting time.<br />

121 122


Thailand is a country that has long been renowned for its pristine coastlines, idyllic<br />

islands and miles of undisturbed sandy white beaches. International tourists<br />

have been traveling to Thailand in pursuit of paradise long before Leonardo DiCaprio<br />

introduced its beauty to the masses in “Beach”. Though there is beauty to be uncovered<br />

in all corners of this friendly nation, the island areas of Phuket and Koh Samui are among<br />

the most adored and for good reason.<br />

The Perfect Day in Phuket<br />

If your idea of a perfect vacation is to relax during the day and party during the night then<br />

Yae beach, situated 5km north of Patong, is relatively secluded and quiet. This is a great<br />

place to rent a sunlounger and unwind with a book, before enjoying a sumptuous Pad Thai<br />

at one of the nearby restaurants and venturing back to Patong when the sun sets.<br />

Best Time to Visit Thailand<br />

Possessing a warm, tropical climate, it is possible to visit Thailand all year around. With<br />

that said, the climate does vary depending on the specific season you travel during.<br />

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Thailand is during the months of November<br />

through to April - particularly if you wish to relax and sunbathe on the various beaches.<br />

During this period, the temperatures range between 27 and 32 degrees celcius and the<br />

annual rainfall is at its lowest. The summer months of July to October are also monsoon<br />

season and arguably not the most pleasant time to travel.<br />

The Island Paradise of Phuket<br />

Nestled in the heart of the Andaman Sea, and home to a rugged natural landscape<br />

that boasts both mountain ranges and some of the best beaches in Thailand, it<br />

is understandable as to why Phuket is one of the region’s most popular tourist<br />

destinations. Owing to the ever-growing popularity of Phuket, travellers that enjoy a<br />

peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to get off the beaten track may worry that<br />

Phuket is a little too hectic for their liking. However since Phuket is home to over 30<br />

beaches, it is easy to find a little slice of paradise here.<br />

Secret Beaches of Phuket<br />

Patong beach and Karon beach are among the most popular beaches in Thailand. They<br />

are home to vibrant nightlife scenes and dozens of crowded bars and eateries though<br />

the former of the two has been known to get a little wild. If partying is not your cup of<br />

tea, venture to the lesser known secluded beaches of the island. Nestled away from<br />

the crowds, the beaches of Ao Sane and Ao Yonn are the picture perfect depiction of<br />

a tropical paradise with low hanging palms, groves of tropical almond trees and quaint<br />

beachside villages.<br />

123 124

Koh Samui<br />

On the Eastern coast of Thailand, a short boat ride away from Surat Thani, Koh Samui<br />

is the country’s second largest island. Here, Chaweng beach is the main tourist hotspot<br />

and can be one of the busiest parts of the island. At any given time of the day, this<br />

7km stretch can be seen filled with sunkissed travellers participating in watersports or<br />

enjoying a morning jog along the sea. One should not be put off by the popularity<br />

of this beach though, it is still one of the prettiest on the island, and arguably in all of<br />

Thailand.<br />

Those hoping to experience a little more culture while in Thailand can venture to Bo<br />

Phut beach, home to an old traditional fisherman’s village and a little more peaceful<br />

than the main tourist strip.<br />

Thailand<br />



RESORT<br />

Beach Front Resort<br />

Koh Samui – Surat Thani, Thailand ♦ Tel +66 0 812 706 872 ♦ sibajapalmssamui.<strong>com</strong><br />

Thailand Beach Activities<br />

The more popular beaches in Thailand and its islands are often home to a host of activities<br />

to keep you occupied and active during your time in the self proclaimed “land of smiles”.<br />

In Phuket alone, travellers can try everything - from trying their hand at kitesurfing and<br />

wakeboarding classes, to trying sea kayaking around Phang Nga Bay.<br />

125<br />

the tropical island Koh<br />

“Visiting<br />

Samui in the Gulf of Thailand and<br />

looking for a luxurious getaway? Sibaja Palms<br />

Sunset Beach Resort, the winner of Beach<br />

Front Resort of the Year <strong>2018</strong> in Thailand, is<br />

the answer to your needs!” Located at the<br />

Five Island Beach on the romantic, West<br />

Coast of the island, this Resort not only gives<br />

you the chance to have a lavish stay but also<br />

puts you in the midst of the best unspoiled<br />

natural surroundings of Koh Samui.<br />

Sibaja Palms offers 2 beautifully furnished<br />

spacious luxury VILLAS (each 120 m2) and 4<br />

spacious luxury APARTMENTS (each 40 m2).<br />

Situated around a pool with jacuzzi and<br />

access to a private beach area, with lounge<br />

decks, umbrellas and outside shower.<br />

This quiet area with wonderful nature<br />

features and the best sunsets on the island is<br />

the place to be for an unforgettable, relaxing<br />

holiday<br />

The Dutch owners, who run and manage<br />

the Resort with over 10 years experience,<br />

and their staff are looking forward to<br />

wel<strong>com</strong>ing you.<br />


Luxury Society <strong>Asia</strong><br />


What type of luxury tourism would you<br />

say is most popular? For example, family<br />

trips, romantic/wedding holidays, spa &<br />

wellness or is it something else entirely?<br />

Actually all of them<br />

European & US: Wellness<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>: Romantic /wedding and family and<br />

wellness (beauty)<br />

Thailand isn’t your only area of expertise,<br />

you also offer an insight into Singapore,<br />

Hong Kong & Vietnam. Of these three<br />

which is you favourite & why?<br />

Singapore & Hong Kong because they are<br />

similar to Thailand/Bangkok, we do love<br />

similar things, fast pace, modern life with<br />

new technology, moving and happening all<br />

the time.<br />

Finally, do you have any exciting projects<br />

planned for Luxury Society <strong>Asia</strong>?<br />

We will have new luxury business partners to<br />

join exposure, and enlarge our networking<br />

group included joint venture luxury events<br />

<strong>com</strong>ing up in <strong>2018</strong>/2019<br />

Q&A<br />

Tell us a little about yourself<br />

Wanida Tardivel, Managing Director -<br />

Luxury Society <strong>Asia</strong><br />

With extensive experience in marketing,<br />

public relations, business development and<br />

operations for five-star hotels, more than<br />

20 years of experience in marketing luxury<br />

hotels and a depth of operating knowledge<br />

in Thailand and <strong>Asia</strong>. Wanida was also<br />

instrumental in establishing business &<br />

leisure clubs including the Luxury Club,<br />

Thailand Professionals Club.<br />

What is the inspiration behind Luxury<br />

Society <strong>Asia</strong>?<br />

We started an offline networking group<br />

named Thailand Professionals in 2001,<br />

aimed at promoting and strengthening<br />

business relationships among sophisticated<br />

and affluent professionals in Thailand and<br />

<strong>Asia</strong>, through our mutual interest in all<br />

things luxurious.<br />

2012 we changed the name of group to be<br />

Luxury Society <strong>Asia</strong> and launched a web<br />

portal to be our <strong>com</strong>munications tool.<br />

Today, “<strong>Asia</strong>’s One Stop Luxury Business<br />

& Leisure Solutions” attracts professionals<br />

from diverse business backgrounds<br />

including the financial and banking sector,<br />

127<br />

<strong>com</strong>pany owners, executives, senior<br />

management, celebrities, local influencers,<br />

journalists, and bloggers.<br />

You focus a lot on global high-end<br />

brands, but are there any Thai brands<br />

that our readers should keep an eye out<br />

for?<br />

Thai designer brands, i.e. fashion, jewelry<br />

and others<br />

Have you noticed any trends or changes<br />

in the luxury travel market? Especially<br />

considering the rise of digital media<br />

Yes, our clients and partners whether<br />

associated to luxury tourism, hospitality or<br />

consumer goods for example recognize the<br />

need and numerous opportunities to use<br />

digital to enhance their clients relationship,<br />

drive business and build brand awareness<br />

and most importantly loyalty.<br />

Information is today available on a variety<br />

of devices and available to readers from<br />

everywhere. Prices, details, offers of luxury<br />

<strong>com</strong>panies are made available easily and it<br />

takes only a few clicks to find data, get on<br />

chats, share, or <strong>com</strong>pare products before<br />

purchasing online.<br />

Many of our clients are seeking for a<br />

<strong>com</strong>pelling mobile presence, engage and<br />

influence with new consumers through<br />

targeted use of social media which is one<br />

of the most important platforms used by<br />

brands to create value. Recurrent messages<br />

and tailor made campaigns are important<br />

to pass messages through and social media<br />

is a fantastic tool to target audiences.<br />

For Luxury <strong>Travel</strong>lers visiting Thailand,<br />

where would you re<strong>com</strong>mend staying?<br />

There are lots of choices for various<br />

destinations. My favourites are<br />

– Bangkok, Sukhothai Bangkok<br />

– Samui, Conrad<br />

– Phuket, Rosewood<br />

– Koh Kood, Soneva Kiri<br />

– Chiang Mai, Four Seasons<br />

– Chiang Rai, Four Seasons Tented Camp

Thailand<br />

KOH JUM<br />


The Outstanding Location Award<br />

Thailand<br />

SEAnery<br />


Beach Front Boutique Resort<br />

320/29 M. 3, T. Koh Sriboya, Nua Klong, Krabi 81130, Thailand ♦<br />

Tel +66 86 184 0505 ♦ kohjumbeachvillas.<strong>com</strong><br />

100/2 Moo 1 Phongprasan, Bang Saphan District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77140, Thailand ♦<br />

Tel +66 032 691352-5 / +66 09 8828 9968 ♦ seanerybeach.<strong>com</strong><br />

Looking for a quick getaway in Thailand? Head over to Koh Jum Beach Villas and<br />

enjoy luxury in the midst of nature. Situated next to the beach, this resort gives<br />

you serene views of the sea and the Phi Phi National Marine Park. Their nineteen villas<br />

<strong>com</strong>e in all shapes and sizes and you can choose to stay in a cozy one bedroom villa or<br />

even a lavish five bedroom one! The villas boast of luxurious features like private pools<br />

too. Throughout your stay, you will be able to experience the true tranquility of nature by<br />

walking through the lush tropical gardens and jungle in the resort! You could also explore<br />

the organic garden and sample some fine vegetables and fruits with the chefs. You will<br />

also have <strong>com</strong>plete access to seven hundred meters of beach! The resort features a bar<br />

and a restaurant as well.<br />

Situated right on the beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan, SEAnery Beach Resort gives<br />

you a chance to enjoy life away from busy cities. Tucked away in a private natural<br />

environment, you can choose among their beachfront and beach pool villas, and luxury<br />

sea view-hill suites. Each of their ac<strong>com</strong>modations <strong>com</strong>es with an array of modern<br />

amenities to ensure that you have a <strong>com</strong>fortable stay. The villas <strong>com</strong>e with their own<br />

private pools while there is a huge <strong>com</strong>mon pool for all to enjoy as well! You could sit back<br />

on the sunbathing beds on the private beach and enjoy the serene views of the infinite<br />

blue or could even go kayaking in the waters. For your gastronomic indulgences, you<br />

could head over to The SEA Restaurant and devour a vast selection of healthy foods and<br />

beverages. You could even sip your favorite beverages at the pool bar. They can arrange<br />

tours and activities for you during your stay.<br />

129 130


A<br />

country known for its beautiful beaches, friendly locals and opulent Buddhist<br />

temples, Thailand is a popular travel destination for culture vultures or those<br />

looking for a little rest and relaxation during their vacation. There is another demographic,<br />

however, that is perfectly suited to the land of smiles and that is the adrenaline junkie.<br />

Canoeing<br />

If you have the opportunity to visit Phuket, consider taking a day trip to the nearby<br />

Khao Sok National Park. With a man-made lake, gigantic limestone rock formations<br />

that jut out of the sea, and the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, the national<br />

park is a place of immense beauty. You could spend days here treading the various<br />

hiking trails and soaking up the scenery. For the adrenaline junkies, however, this is a<br />

great place to canoe, or try inland rafting at the Cheow Lan lake.<br />

Kayaking<br />

Not far from the crowded beaches of<br />

Phuket, await isolated turquoise lagoons,<br />

an intricate network of caves just waiting<br />

to be explored and secluded beaches<br />

perfect for a night’s camping beneath the<br />

stars. The only caveat to reaching these<br />

beautiful locations? They are accessible<br />

only by kayaks. From picturesque lakes<br />

to hidden lagoons, Thailand is home to a<br />

number of idyllic spots that are perfect for<br />

exploring by kayak.<br />

The location close to Phuket is Phang<br />

Nga Bay, a relatively undiscovered spot<br />

that leads kayakers through the emerald<br />

waters of the Andaman Coast. En route,<br />

as travellers paddle through the waters,<br />

they will pass by rainforests and local<br />

wildlife - including monkeys, birds and<br />

lizards. A number of tour operators in<br />

the area offer excursions into the waters<br />

making the area accessible even for first<br />

time kayakers.<br />

Those who want to avoid the tourist<br />

crowds can kayak independently or hire a<br />

private guide, and opt to venture towards<br />

the off the beaten path island of Koh Yao<br />

Noi - a peaceful and tranquil island in the<br />

middle of the bay.<br />

131 132

Cycling<br />

Aside from the motorbikes and vespas that<br />

narrowly whizz past you while traveling<br />

in South East <strong>Asia</strong>, a popular way to get<br />

around Thailand is via bicycles. A number<br />

of tour operators offer “Thailand by bike”<br />

style tours. However with a little research<br />

and preparation, what’s to stop you from<br />

doing the same trip independently?<br />

Essentially you could travel pretty much<br />

the entire length of Thailand via bicycle<br />

if you so wished. However, there are<br />

some areas that are more scenic and<br />

pleasant than others. Keen cyclists will<br />

enjoy the challenge presented to them by<br />

the Mae Hong Son hills loop. Departing<br />

from Chiang Mai, this route leads cyclists<br />

through the highest mountain peaks in<br />

Thailand and to the peak of Doi Inthanon<br />

- Thailand’s highest mountain.<br />

A more pleasant and simple introductory<br />

trail is perhaps the Khao Yai wine trail,<br />

where Cyclists can enjoy a predominantly<br />

flat terrain, picturesque vineyards and a<br />

tipple or two of fresh local wine along the<br />

way.<br />

Located on the paradisiacal<br />

island of Koh Samui, Island<br />

Gem Tours gives you a chance<br />

to experience the beauty of the<br />

island intimately. You can choose<br />

to have a gourmet picnic on a<br />

secluded beach, explore the<br />

sightseeing spots or even try<br />

out the most unique and finest<br />

alcoholic drinks on the island. They<br />

even have a special wellness tour<br />

for those looking to get healed<br />

by traditional Thai medicines and<br />

also experience spiritual calmness.<br />

If you wish to head out into the<br />

blue with your close ones, you<br />

could even charter a speedboat.<br />

They have something for the<br />

cruise passengers as well; they<br />

have created private itineraries<br />

with hand-picked locations so that<br />

you can make the most of your<br />

stopover at Koh Samui! Each tour<br />

is carefully planned by them so<br />

that you can get the best and most<br />

unique experiences on the island.<br />

Thailand<br />


TOURS<br />

Tour Company<br />

106/7 Moo 4 Maenam Koh Samui Suratthani 84330, Thailand ♦ Tel +66846476185 ♦<br />

islandgemtours.<strong>com</strong><br />

133<br />


Tim<br />


Q&A<br />

Tell us a little about yourself<br />

I’m originally from the state of Wisconsin<br />

in the USA. I first visited Thailand in 1997<br />

and have lived in Khon Kaen since 2007.<br />

I make my living by a mix of travel writing<br />

and organizing tours in Thailand’s seldomvisited<br />

Isan region.<br />

What made you decide to settle in<br />

Thailand, why Isan in particular?<br />

After traveling in Thailand a few times I<br />

decided to have a different kind of travel<br />

experience by staying in one place for<br />

a year. That year turned into two, then<br />

three… Now I have no intention of leaving.<br />

I chose to live in Isan because it’s the region<br />

of Thailand that I enjoyed most the when<br />

traveling.<br />

Isan isn’t necessarily top on most people<br />

lists of places to visit Thailand, why do<br />

you think that is?<br />

The idea that Thailand is overrun with<br />

tourists is a widely believed myth. But the<br />

vast majority of visitors go to the same few<br />

places leaving the rest unspoiled. I think<br />

the prevalence of the standard Bangkok-<br />

Chiang Mai-and-a-beach itinerary mostly<br />

boils down to two things – people on their<br />

first trip to Thailand want to see the things<br />

they’ve seen in pictures and videos, and<br />

they want to go places where they can get<br />

by in English. Isan doesn’t offer either of<br />

these.<br />

Any specific tours you’d re<strong>com</strong>mend<br />

travellers to do when in the area?<br />

People who <strong>com</strong>e to Isan are generally<br />

looking to experience local life –<br />

handicrafts, food, temples, markets, and<br />

the like .Beyond delving into the local<br />

culture, two Isan highlights are Khmer ruins<br />

and traveling along the Mekong River. Isan<br />

Explorer’s Absolute Isan tour (https://<strong>www</strong>.<br />

isanexplorer.<strong>com</strong>/absolute-isan.html) gives<br />

visitors some of all three.<br />

Have you noticed any recent trends or<br />

changes in Tourism to Thailand?<br />

Elephant tourism in Thailand has improved<br />

in the past couple of years. There are still<br />

a lot of terrible, abusive elephant camps<br />

out there, but the trend now is to transition<br />

from elephant trekking to people walking<br />

and swimming with elephants. This doesn’t<br />

solve all the problems with elephant<br />

tourism, but it’s a good first step.<br />

Also, there’s less off-the-beaten-path travel<br />

by foreigners in Thailand than there was<br />

two decades ago. The opening up of travel<br />

in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar means<br />

there is much more to see on a SE <strong>Asia</strong><br />

trip without having to rough it. On the<br />

other hand, the increase in Thais traveling<br />

around their own country means that there<br />

are more and better facilities in the lessvisited<br />

parts of Thailand.<br />

What would you say is the best way to<br />

get around the country?<br />

It’s easy to travel region to region in<br />

Thailand by bus, train, and plane. But to<br />

explore an area in depth – visiting villages,<br />

historic sites, and scenic sites – you usually<br />

need a car.<br />

Outside of Isan, what is your favourite<br />

place & why?<br />

I love Si Satchanalai. The ruins themselves<br />

are a little less captivating than nearby<br />

Sukhothai, but the setting is far more<br />

beautiful and peaceful.<br />

Thailand is famous for its food, what is<br />

your favourite dish?<br />

I live in Isan, but my favorite Thai food is<br />

Khao Soi, from Northern Thailand.<br />

135 136

Thailand<br />


Affordable Resort<br />

39/2 Moo 5 SaoPao Sichon Nakhon Si Thammarat 80340, Thailand ♦<br />

Tel +3081 958 2493 ♦ ekmangardenresort.business.site<br />

137<br />

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in<br />

Sichon, there is no better place to reside<br />

at than Ekman Garden, the affordable family<br />

friendly resort. They’ve got 13 rooms and<br />

suites that are well-furnished to ensure that<br />

you can have a <strong>com</strong>fortable stay. The resort<br />

is itself tucked away in lush garden premises<br />

where you can stroll around or simply sit back<br />

and enjoy the views and tranquility of the<br />

area. For your gastronomic requirements, they<br />

have a restaurant that serves both Thai and<br />

European cuisines made to perfection. If you<br />

wish to relax during the day, you can take a<br />

dip in the swimming pool in the midst of the<br />

gardens. The hotel also has a conference room<br />

where corporates can hold their meetings<br />

or conferences. You can also celebrate your<br />

special wedding day here at the resort with<br />

special decorations and cozy ambience in the<br />

party room.<br />


Chiang Mai<br />

Population: 131,091<br />

How to Get in<br />

• Plane<br />

• Train<br />

• Bus<br />

Get Around<br />

• Taxi<br />

• Motorbike, Vespa or<br />

Car<br />

• Bicycle<br />

• Songthaew (Passenger<br />

Vehicle used as a share<br />

taxi or bus)<br />

• Tuk Tuk<br />

Attractions & Sights<br />

• Elephants<br />

• Wat Phrathat Doi<br />

Suthep<br />

• Bua Tong Waterfalls<br />

• Wat Chedi Luang<br />

Things to do<br />

• Rafting<br />

• Shop at the Night<br />

Market<br />

• Muay Thai<br />

• Motorcycle Touring<br />

Find out more - http://<br />

en.visit-hokkaido.jp/<br />

An ancient capital nestled at the<br />

foothills of the Himalayas, Chiang<br />

Mai is perfect for those interested in<br />

history, culture & wildlife<br />

Thailand<br />


Thailand Design Hotel<br />

Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand ♦ Tel +66 53 244 567 ♦ puripunn.<strong>com</strong><br />

Tucked away in a secluded<br />

region in Chiang Mai in<br />

Thailand, the Puripunn Baby<br />

Grand Boutique Hotel is the<br />

perfect getaway for those looking<br />

to move away from the hullabaloo<br />

of the city life. The elegantly<br />

furnished hotel is with traditional<br />

Lanna designs and contemporary<br />

colonial styles to give a retro-yetstylish<br />

look. You can choose your<br />

room based on your preference of<br />

luxury and can enjoy their warm<br />

hospitality throughout your stay.<br />

Each room <strong>com</strong>es with plush<br />

furnishings and is equipped with<br />

the most modern amenities. You<br />

will get to devour authentic Thai-<br />

Lanna dishes at Punna, the inhouse<br />

restaurant during your stay<br />

along with a traditional breakfast<br />

and high-tea (advance reservation<br />

for high-tea). You could also enjoy<br />

some fine drinks after taking a dip<br />

in the swimming pool at the Pool<br />

Lounge. You can pamper yourself<br />

at SALA Spa with some soothing<br />

massages. The hotel also has<br />

special packages for honeymoons.<br />

139<br />



According to TripAdvisor reviews, Bali is considered as being the number one best<br />

travel destination in the world - an accolade that certainly doesn’t <strong>com</strong>e easy.<br />

Though tourism in Bali has certainly had its ups and downs over the years, it is still a major<br />

bucket list destination for many wanderlusting adventurers.<br />

So why is it that even though Bali is no longer a new or undiscovered destination, its<br />

visitors numbers increase every year and do not falter? How has Bali sustained its number<br />

of tourists when the number of visitors to nearby “popular” spots of India and Thailand<br />

have seen substantial declines? In 2017, it was reported that Bali saw a record number of<br />

5.5 million international visitors and we have a couple of ideas as to why that could be.<br />

Bali Offers Affordable Luxury<br />

Lets face it. All of us would love to rent spacious villas that overlook our private infinity<br />

pools and miles of sprawling rice paddies as far as the eye can see when we travel but<br />

the unfortunate reality is that our budget often does not allow for that. The exception<br />

to that rule however is Bali.<br />

In this tropical Indonesian paradise, travellers can rent out entire luxury villa <strong>com</strong>plexes<br />

and even hire their own chefs and masseuses for their time on the Indonesian island<br />

for prices equal to or lower than what they could rent a hotel room for in most western<br />

nations.<br />

Indeed, it isn’t just the ac<strong>com</strong>modation that is low cost. <strong>Travel</strong>lers heading to Bali<br />

from various cities in <strong>Asia</strong> and Australia can take flights for less than $100, meals can<br />

be enjoyed for less than $2 and public transport costs less than $0.50. Few other<br />

destinations are so budget friendly.<br />

Plentiful Activities<br />

Many people associate the idea of traveling<br />

to Bali with lazing on a beach or sipping<br />

cocktails from a bamboo shack. In fact,<br />

there are a diverse range of activities to<br />

enjoy in Bali. The island boasts hot springs,<br />

hiking trails and quaint cultural villages such<br />

as the fishing village at Pemuteran.<br />

141 142

The Beaches<br />

Though there is certainly more to Bali than simply its beaches, we confess that they<br />

are absolutely one of the islands major draws. With miles upon miles of undisturbed<br />

coastline, each of the island’s beaches has its own quirky personality and a different<br />

draw. From the popular Kuta-Seminyak where travellers can try their hand at various<br />

watersports and other adrenaline pumping activities, to some of the quieter beaches<br />

that are perfect for relaxing and reflecting - such as Gunung Payung beach or the Yeh<br />

Leh mystery boulder beach.<br />

A Diverse International<br />

Community<br />

After word got out about the beauty<br />

of Bali, people from across the world<br />

ventured to the island to see it for<br />

themselves. Many of these people<br />

relocated to the island, often opening up<br />

restaurants and businesses in the region.<br />

With the rise of Digital Nomads and<br />

people opting to work remotely, there<br />

is a consistent flow of people deciding<br />

to base themselves in and around Bali.<br />

This makes for a unique culture where<br />

the warm-hearted Balinese live among<br />

people from all corners of the globe,<br />

and where first time or solo travellers<br />

can <strong>com</strong>fortably travel to Bali and know<br />

they will be greeted with plenty of likeminded<br />

peers and home <strong>com</strong>forts.<br />

The Food<br />

Balinese food is rich and flavourful. Arguably<br />

the best thing about the traditional dishes<br />

served up here is the fact that they utilise<br />

high quality, fresh produce that are sourced<br />

locally - fresh fish from Balinese waters and<br />

freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Sate<br />

lembat (the Balinese answer to Satay) is a<br />

great quick street food eat, yet the main<br />

courses (often curries or meat based dishes)<br />

will capture your heart at the first mouthful.<br />

143 144

Country Indonesia<br />




Boutique<br />

Award<br />

Resort<br />

Jalan Seririt – Gilimanuk, Gang Sahadewa , Pemuteran, North West – Bali 81155 ♦<br />

Tel +62 82 413 39994 ♦ sunsukoretreat.<strong>com</strong><br />

Surrounded Rising above by the the rest beautiful of Barcelona, sacred Hotel hills of Arts Pemuteran located on and the in waterfront, walking distance provides to<br />

the a luxurious enchanting stay beach with spellbinding and the crystal-clear views of ocean, the sea you and will city. find With the some stunning amazing Sun<br />

Suko facilities Boutique like terrace Retreat. gardens, Here, you outdoor can truly swimming explore the pool unspoilt and spa, nature they and ensure the authentic that atmosphere guests get of Northwest a unique experience. Bali. Pemuteran If that village was not offers enough, you a <strong>com</strong>bination you can keep of up the with amazing your<br />

mountain gym schedule energy at and the fitness a relaxing center summer or get breeze pampered by the in sea. the The hairdressing area was in salon fact announced and luxury<br />

fashion one of boutiques. Bali’s best The diving sophisticated and snorkeling rooms spots. and suites have elegantly done décor and<br />

plush furnishings.To top it all off, the hotel boasts of some amazing duplex penthouses<br />

Each of the 10 tastefully furnished rooms and suites at Sun Suko Boutique Retreat tells a<br />

that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses <strong>com</strong>e with a butler<br />

different story and the individual design of each of these reflects the love and attention to<br />

and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to<br />

detail<br />

shopping<br />

that’s<br />

places.<br />

gone in by the designer. The warm and wel<strong>com</strong>ing atmosphere at the retreat<br />

will put you directly into a relaxed holiday mood. Sun Suko´s in-house restaurant is ensuring<br />

high quality, freshness and a great variety of healthy food. Give yourself a treat at the Spa<br />

or refresh yourself by hopping into the pool. A perfect place to escape from the hectic<br />

everyday life and to experience a great personalized service.<br />

Image by: Ardhy Sapanca<br />

145<br />


Indonesia<br />


RESORT<br />

Villa Resort<br />

Combining the amenities of the best 4-star<br />

resorts with the convenience and exclusivity of<br />

a private villa, they are one of the finest Legian<br />

Beach hotels for couple getaways, family<br />

holidays, leisure travelers and business guests<br />

who demand the best.<br />

Jalan Werkudara No. 8, Legian, Bali - Indonesia ♦ Tel +62 361 4741000 ♦<br />

astaginaresort.<strong>com</strong><br />

A<br />

hidden escape in the midst<br />

of Legian, Bali Island. A<br />

garden resort w alking distance<br />

from the beach in the heart of<br />

Legian Bali Astagina Resort<br />

Villa & Spa merges a modern,<br />

minimalist design with an<br />

atmosphere of tropical relaxation<br />

and revitalization in a trendy<br />

and eco-friendly silhouette. The<br />

central location of the resort also<br />

makes the access to airport easy.<br />

It is conveniently situated at a<br />

short distance from Seminyak,<br />

Denpasar and Nusa Dua.<br />

The resort boasts 61 guest rooms<br />

where you can choose from<br />

deluxe rooms, suites and even<br />

family rooms that are specially<br />

designed for families. The resort<br />

features 12 swanky villas where<br />

you can experience utmost<br />

leisure and opulence. The villas<br />

are nestled in a botanical garden,<br />

which provides both tranquility<br />

and a cozy environment with<br />

an abundance of natural<br />

surroundings.<br />

Expect unforgettable experiences at the resort hotel on the beach, which<br />

features a unique vertical garden, exquisite dining, a fabulous outdoor pool<br />

and pool bar. You could also go to the Anjali Spa and get treated with<br />

therapeutic massages at the hands of experienced masseuses to heal your<br />

mind, body, and soul. To help you make the most of your visit to the garden<br />

resort and villa in Legian, Bali, they even feature an exceptional collection<br />

of affordable deals and ac<strong>com</strong>modation specials.<br />

147 148

Indonesia<br />



The Outstanding Location Award<br />

Bondalem, Tejakula, Buleleng Regency, Bali 81173, Indonesia ♦<br />

Tel +62 812-3788-8444 ♦ bondalembeachclub.<strong>com</strong><br />

North Bali beachfront resort Bondalem Beach Club nestled in a traditional Bali village<br />

right on the black-sand beach with a coral reef a few steps from your bungalow.<br />

Bondalem Beach Club – offers a unique and<br />

relaxing atmosphere. Observe and enjoy<br />

the experience of authentic life in north<br />

Bali, make trips to local attractions, take<br />

part in ceremonies and rituals conducted<br />

here daily. If you are looking for a place to<br />

relax, to spend a memorable vacation with<br />

your family or searching for a yoga & fitness<br />

area to conduct training – Bondalem Beach<br />

Club would be able to provide you with the<br />

highest service, maximum <strong>com</strong>fort, friendly<br />

staff and reasonable prices.<br />

Ac<strong>com</strong>modation types:<br />

Family Bungalows, Double Rooms<br />

Facilities:<br />

2 swimming pools, fruit garden,<br />

fitness and yoga area for group<br />

tours, restaurant serving indonesian,<br />

european and vegetarian dishes, bar,<br />

SPA, diving & snorkeling facilities<br />

Excursions:<br />

dolphin tours, waterfalls, temples,<br />

hot springs, art galleries<br />

149 150

Nyaungshwe | Myanmar<br />

How to Get in<br />

• Plane<br />

• Train<br />

• Bus<br />

Get Around<br />

• On Foot<br />

• Motorbike rental<br />

• Taxi<br />

Attractions & Sights<br />

• Inle Lake<br />

• Phaungdawoo Pagoda<br />

• Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery<br />

• Coffee & Tea Tours<br />

Things to do<br />

• Hot Air Balloon<br />

• Food Tours<br />

• Horseback Riding<br />

• Spa’s<br />

Find out more - https://<br />

<strong>www</strong>.go-myanmar.<strong>com</strong>/<br />

nyaung_shwe-yawnghwe<br />

A hidden gem and perfect base to<br />

explore Myanmar’s finest tourist<br />

attraction, Inle Lake<br />

Myanmar<br />


LODGE<br />

Lodge<br />

Myaenigone Village,Inly Lake , Nyaung Shwe Township, Southern Shan State, Myanmar ♦<br />

Tel +09 400053573 ♦ annheritagelodge.<strong>com</strong><br />

Ann Heritage Lodge serves as a one stop destination for business and leisure<br />

travelers visiting Taunggyi. Located at the edge of the Inle Lake, this place<br />

provides a perfect getaway in a tranquil environment. Its convenient location renders the<br />

guests with easy access to the cities must-see destinations. The spacious rooms provide<br />

basic amenities such as hot and cold water, a mini bar and a safe box. They also provide<br />

car and boat rental services so that you can explore the region at your pace. Moreover,<br />

the lodge has a pool bar, restaurant and a cave spa that exude a Burmese vibe fused with<br />

a western one. You can simply sit back and enjoy the serene lake views throughout your<br />

stay here. If swimming or fitness are of your interest, they have facilities for them as well.<br />

Ann Heritage Lodge gives you a chance to experience Burma like never before.<br />

151<br />


Vietnam<br />


Tour Company<br />

Cambodia<br />


RESORT<br />

The Outstanding<br />

Location Award<br />

29A Dong Khoi St., Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam ♦ Tel +84 28 39141080 ♦<br />

asianalink.<strong>com</strong><br />

Saracen Bay, Koh Rong Sanloem, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia ♦<br />

Tel +855 (0)31 66 77 88 6 / +855 34 935 108 ♦ solbeach.<strong>com</strong><br />

<strong>Asia</strong>na Link gives you a<br />

chance to experience<br />

Vietnam like never before.<br />

From the historic cities of Ho<br />

Chi Minh City and Hanoi to<br />

quieter places like Buon Me<br />

Thuot and Da Lat, they cover<br />

it all. You have the option to<br />

choose the type of tour based<br />

on your requirements; you may<br />

choose to go for adventure,<br />

classic or even family tours.<br />

This ensures that you can get<br />

the exact experience that you<br />

are looking for. The tours are<br />

of varying lengths so you can<br />

choose a short day tour or<br />

could even go for a long 2 week<br />

expedition! Their well-trained<br />

and professional staff leaves<br />

no stone unturned during your<br />

tour to make sure that you have<br />

a great experience. If you have<br />

some special requirements<br />

like honeymoons, they create<br />

unique packages for you too!<br />

They also have tours to Laos,<br />

Cambodia and Myanmar.<br />

Tucked away on the beautiful island of Koh Rong Samloem, Sol Beach Resort gives<br />

you a chance to escape the city life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of<br />

nature. Their villas are tastefully designed and furnished in the traditional Khmer-style to<br />

give you the true Cambodian experience. With every possible modern amenity at your<br />

disposal, you are guaranteed a luxurious stay in this paradise. Its location by the beach<br />

gives you the opportunity to take in the serene views of the infinite blue. To tantalize your<br />

taste buds, you can head over to their restaurant, which is located right on the beach,<br />

and enjoy local and western cuisines along with fresh juices or your favorite liquors! What<br />

better place can there be to relax and unwind with some rejuvenating treatments than a<br />

spa right on the beach? You can choose between a private spa and a massage on the<br />

beach. Sol Beach Resort provides a stay that is truly soothing for your soul.<br />

153<br />



Image by: Martin Jernberg<br />

155 156

Bhutan<br />

Bhutan – The Land of the Thunder Dragon is a serene<br />

country which is also known as the last Shangri-La<br />

on Earth. Also known as The Land Of Happiness,<br />

Bhutan measures its progress through Gross National<br />

Happiness (GNH), which truly makes it a lovely country<br />

to visit and stay. Locked between India and Tibet, this<br />

country has an abundance of natural attractions for the<br />

discerning traveler. Surreal views of hills shrouded in<br />

clouds await you on your visit to Bhutan. Prepare to be<br />

astounded by the natural wonders of this country which<br />

has 10 national parks, each of which is connected via<br />

Biological Corridors.<br />

The capital, Thimphu, is the main city in the country and houses over 100,000 residents.<br />

If you’re looking to see the modern side of Bhutan, Thimphu is the place you should<br />

head to. It is dotted with cafes, shopping centers, and restaurants but it is still a peaceful<br />

destination without any sort of hustle-bustle. Do visit it during the months of September<br />

or October when the four-day long Tsechu Festival is held, where you’ll get to see<br />

various mask dances in the sprawling of the Tashichho Dzong. Some of the attractions<br />

of Thimphu are Semtokha Dzong, National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma<br />

Statue, Druk Wangyal Chortens and Dochhula Pass, which gives you spectacular views<br />

of the Himalayas.<br />

157 158

Punakha is yet another amazing city<br />

to visit. It used to be the capital of the<br />

country until 1907. Here, you can marvel<br />

at the beauty of the Punakha Dzong,<br />

which is the second oldest and second<br />

largest Dzong in the country. This<br />

beautiful valley is extremely wel<strong>com</strong>ing<br />

with its pleasant climate and warm and<br />

friendly people.<br />

Paro Valley is yet another beautiful<br />

place that you must visit in Bhutan. The<br />

entire valley is covered in lush green<br />

vegetation and has over 155 temples<br />

and monasteries which date back to the<br />

The sheer number of places worth<br />

visiting in Bhutan are difficult to list down<br />

and even tougher to describe; they can<br />

only be experienced. Apart from these<br />

destinations, there are many activities<br />

you can indulge in during your time<br />

in the country. If you’re an adventure<br />

junkie, Bhutan has some fast-flowing<br />

rivers where you can go for rafting or<br />

kayaking. If you wish to explore the<br />

beauty of the country at your own pace,<br />

you could go mountain biking and see<br />

it from a totally different perspective.<br />

With plenty of hilly regions, trekking<br />

is an activity you should definitely do<br />

when visiting Bhutan. Bird and animal<br />

lovers have lots to look forward to in the<br />

national parks of the country which have<br />

an abundance of wildlife. Whatever your<br />

tastes may be, whatever you may wish<br />

to see, Bhutan has something to offer to<br />

everyone. Most importantly, this place<br />

takes you one step closer to peace and<br />

happiness and makes you want to revisit<br />

all those places once again.<br />

14th century. It is also the first place that you might see on your visit to Bhutan as it is<br />

the only city with an international airport in the country. When in Paro, do not miss out<br />

on visiting one of the most stunning places in the country, The Tiger’s Nest Temple,<br />

locally called Taktsang Lhakhang, which is built on a cliff face 900 meters above the<br />

Paro Valley. It is indeed a spectacle to watch and it can be reached by a short trek. This<br />

is one place you simply cannot miss when visiting Bhutan.<br />

159 160


Bangladesh is emerging on the world travel scene as an up and <strong>com</strong>ing travel<br />

destination for those who like to venture off the beaten track and experience new<br />

and fascinating cultures. Neighbouring India has been a popular travel destination for<br />

decades but for those who want to traverse a land where they are likely to have beautiful<br />

sites and temples entirely to themselves and bump into very few other adventurers,<br />

Bangladesh is the perfect alternative option.<br />

With miles and miles of lush green countryside, rainforests, and a diverse network of<br />

rivers, Bangladesh is home to some of <strong>Asia</strong>’s most beautiful natural attractions, in addition<br />

to its most fascinating cities.<br />

Bangladesh Highlights<br />

See Tigers in Their Natural Habitat<br />

The mangrove forests of the Sundarbans National Park that lies at the India-Bangladesh<br />

border is a wonderful place to spot wild Bengal tigers in their natural habitat in addition<br />

to witnessing the majestic beauty of other endangered species in the region. A lot of the<br />

wildlife present in Bangladesh is unique to this part of the world.<br />

Take a River Tour<br />

Bangladesh is <strong>com</strong>prised of an intricate network of rivers and to this day, river travel is one<br />

of the preferred ways to get around the country. It is estimated that Bangladesh is home to<br />

more varieties of boats than any other country in the world. The famous Bangladesh paddle<br />

boat steamer “The Rocket” may not be the fastest way to get around, but is a pleasant way<br />

to travel between cities while observing the country’s scenery and sipping a cup of locally<br />

adored seven colour tea.<br />

Witness the Chaos of Dhaka<br />

Of course, no trip to Bangladesh would be <strong>com</strong>plete without exploring the chaotic, crowded<br />

capital city of Dhaka. Though they are not so accustomed to seeing international tourists,<br />

Bangladeshi people are among the friendliest in the world and will do their best to assist<br />

you during your time in their country. Dhaka is also a food lovers paradise, with low cost<br />

local restaurants serving up diverse and flavourful dishes similar to those offered by their<br />

Indian neighbours - from roti to spicy curries and refreshing chai tea.<br />

161 162

Bangladesh<br />


Affordable Hotel<br />

Askuna Road, Uttara, Dhaka-1230 Bangladesh ♦ Tel +88 02 8957232 ♦ holidayxpress.asia<br />

Located right at the center of Dhaka, Holiday Xpress Hotel gives you easy access<br />

to major parts of the city, including the international airport. If you’re traveling for<br />

business, the location makes it very convenient for you to reach the business centers.<br />

Each guest room is equipped with modern amenities and the hotel also has facilities<br />

like conference rooms and a business center for your business related activities. For your<br />

gastronomic requirements, the hotel has a dedicated restaurant and a cafe bar where you<br />

can feast on some delicious preparations. If you wish to keep up with your fitness, the<br />

hotel has a fitness center too. You could take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool and view<br />

the Dhaka cityscape spread out in front of you. The hotel also has money exchange, rent<br />

a car and other services to make your trip <strong>com</strong>fortable and hassle-free.<br />

Image by: Al Amin Khan<br />

163<br />


Bangladesh<br />

HOTEL GRACE 21<br />

Boutique Hotel<br />

House #1 & 3, Road #21, Nikunja 2, Dhaka-1229, Bangladesh ♦<br />

Tel +880 17 0070 7724 ♦ hotelgrace21.<strong>com</strong><br />

For your gastronomic requirements, the La Gracia<br />

Restaurant is a great place to have breakfast,<br />

lunch and dinner. You can choose between a<br />

la carte and buffet options here and can enjoy<br />

some amazing continental dishes along with<br />

Thai and Indian cuisines throughout the day.<br />

The restaurant itself is decorated royally and<br />

furnished to match the decor; this only amplifies<br />

the whole dining experience. If you wish to grab<br />

a cup of coffee or enjoy some light snacks or wish<br />

to have a meeting, Grace Cafe, the coffee shop<br />

of the hotel in the lobby area is open 24x7 to<br />

serve you. This is the one place in the hotel that<br />

is always bustling with activity.<br />

Situated in the capital<br />

of Bangladesh, Dhaka,<br />

Hotel Grace 21 offers luxurious<br />

ac<strong>com</strong>modation in the vicinity<br />

of the international airport.<br />

Conveniently located in<br />

Nikunja 2, the hotel gives<br />

you easy access to business,<br />

residential and recreational<br />

areas. Whether you’re looking<br />

for a simple room for yourself<br />

or a double deluxe room,<br />

you can choose your form of<br />

luxury according to your taste<br />

and preferences. All rooms<br />

<strong>com</strong>e with stocked mini-bars,<br />

in-room safes and 24-hour inroom<br />

dining options. Other<br />

five-star facilities include<br />

airport pick-up and drop off<br />

services in luxurious vehicles.<br />

This business boutique hotel not only<br />

offers its 5-star services to its customers<br />

but has also opened its doors for corporate<br />

meetings. Companies can host up to 25<br />

people for dinners and other events at<br />

their special meeting area called Corporate<br />

Point. This smart hotel is truly a heaven for<br />

every business traveler visiting Dhaka.<br />

165 166


Loud, vibrant, chaotic and an attack on all of the senses. These are just a few of<br />

the terms <strong>com</strong>monly used to describe incredible India. A bucket list destination<br />

for many, India possesses a unique culture that is incredibly rewarding for the openminded<br />

adventurer to uncover. It can be difficult to describe India, or to suggest<br />

the definitive list of the “best” things to see and do in the country since the nation<br />

is so diverse. From the beaches of Goa, to the quaint backwaters of Kerala and<br />

the bustling megacities of Delhi and Mumbai, no two regions of India are the same.<br />

For the first time visitor to the region, the below list highlights some of the most rewarding<br />

experiences to cross off your India exploration list while you’re on your trip<br />

The Taj Mahal, Agra<br />

Of course, no India travel bucket list would be <strong>com</strong>plete without the mighty Taj Mahal.<br />

Often referred to as being the most beautiful building in the world, the Taj stands out<br />

among Agra’s haze like a beautiful mirage. The ornately carved archways, the stunning<br />

white marble pillars, and the lush green gardens on the banks of the Yamuna river are<br />

guaranteed to take the breath away from even the most hard-to-please travelers.<br />

The Taj is India’s most famous monument and was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his<br />

beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal who passed away during childbirth. It is not a temple<br />

or a palace, but a mausoleum. The Taj took years, and the assistance of 20,000 workers to<br />

build. Sadly, following its <strong>com</strong>pletion, the Shah was overthrown by his son, who sentenced<br />

him to living out the rest of his life in jail while gazing at his beloved creation out of his<br />

cell window in Agra. After passing away, the Shah was buried alongside Mumtaz in the<br />

Taj. Today, millions of people visit the Taj every year. The Taj Mahal gets crowded and is<br />

a little touristy, sure. However, if you travel all the way to India and don’t visit the Taj, did<br />

you really visit India?<br />

167 168

Join the Pilgrims at Holy<br />

Varanasi<br />

India’s Uttar Pradesh region is often<br />

referred to as being the “heartland<br />

of India” – owing to its rich cultural<br />

heritage, history, and the sheer number<br />

of important sites located here. Agra<br />

and the Taj Mahal are contained within<br />

Uttar Pradesh, and so is Varanasi – India’s<br />

holiest city. Varanasi is a beautiful place<br />

to sail out into the Ganges on a boat and<br />

to watch the sun rise and illuminate the<br />

skies in hues of red and deep orange. It<br />

is also an extremely important religious<br />

spot for Hindus, who venture to the<br />

banks of the river here to perform funeral<br />

rites. Pilgrims from around the world<br />

venture here for religious purposes.<br />

Palace Jhargram<br />

Palace Jhargram is another famous<br />

tourist attraction in India. Situated in<br />

West Bengal, the palace offers travellers<br />

a unique opportunity to both explore its<br />

grounds, annexes and learn about the<br />

history of the site, in addition to feeling<br />

like royalty themselves by opting to<br />

enjoy a stay at the palace.<br />

A <strong>com</strong>plex <strong>com</strong>prised of stunning Italian<br />

gardens, Hindu temples, fragrant flower<br />

gardens and canopies of sal, peasal and<br />

teak trees, Palace Jhagram is today still<br />

the current residence of the Malla Dev<br />

Royal family. Designed with influences<br />

from Islamic and Italian architecture,<br />

the ground floor of the palace has been<br />

renovated and transformed into a luxury<br />

hotel. For the ultimate in luxury and<br />

unique travel experiences during your<br />

trip to India, travellers should consider<br />

making a reservation here.<br />

169 170

Go Hiking in Dehradun<br />

Most people associate the mention of India with somewhere overcrowded and chaotic.<br />

Breath-taking natural beauty is not something that necessarily springs to mind when<br />

you think about India, however Uttarkhand, at the foothills of the Himalayas is a place of<br />

beauty, peace and serenity. There are many options for enjoying scenic hiking trails in<br />

Uttarkhand, however one of the most notable is Dehradun – a trail that leads adventurers<br />

past caves, waterfalls and miles upon miles of rolling green hills. The viewpoints from<br />

the higher parts of the trail overlook the Ganges and the various Indian cities below and<br />

is a wonderful way to get a bird’s eye view of magical India.<br />

Meditate at Rishikesh<br />

Considered as being the “yoga capital of the world”, Rishikesh is based at the point<br />

where the spiritual River Ganges meets the Chandrabhaga and is a place of tranquillity<br />

and peacefulness. If you are on a journey of self-discovery, or you wish to practice<br />

yoga and meditation then you can find many centers to participate in such activities in<br />

Rishikesh. Rishikesh is also a hubbub for adventure activities that are perfectly suited for<br />

thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies such as white water rafting, kayaking and hiking.<br />

India<br />

PALACE<br />


Country Hotel<br />

District Jhargram, West Bengal, India ♦ Tel +91 3221 255016 ♦ jhargrampalace.<strong>com</strong><br />

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was the colonial capital of India and the second largest city<br />

in India after Mumbai and is where all the heritage buildings of the colonial era are<br />

located and serves as the cultural heart of India. Kolkata continues to spawn generations<br />

of poets, writers, film producers and Nobel Prize winners along with crumbling British era<br />

gems, sprawling gardens and historical colleges.<br />

Jhargram Palace located at a distance of around 170 kms from Kolkata, which is one of the<br />

most fabulous destinations around the city. Situated between the Subarnarekha river and<br />

Belpahari valley, this place abounds in natural beauty as well. The tropical forests couple<br />

with the fragrant red soil to give a distinct flavor of aboriginal culture in the eastern part<br />

of India. Jhargram has the heritage of a royal past and The Hindu temples and palaces<br />

here testify to it.<br />

A stay at the Jhargram Palace will bring the legends of the famous Malla Dev rulers to<br />

the fore. Here you can experience the royal lifestyle that was once the tradition of the<br />

Jhargram Kings. The rich heritage and the history of The Royal Family is sure to excite<br />

guests who are interested to know and explore the rulers of ancient India.<br />

171<br />


Country<br />

NAME OF<br />


Award<br />

India<br />



Wellness Retreat<br />

India<br />



Unique Hotel<br />

Poovar – Vizhinjam Rd, Vizhinjam, Kovalam, Kerala 695521, India ♦<br />

Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain ♦ Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.<strong>com</strong><br />

Tel +91 80 4510 4510 / +91 80 4510 4520 ♦ <strong>www</strong>.niraamaya.in<br />

Niraamaya is a family of exclusive private<br />

retreats that are an embodiment of<br />

wellness and luxury, operating in India’s<br />

most sought after destinations, designed<br />

with craftsmanship that offer the stillness<br />

and charm of a peaceful retreat and pride<br />

of experiencing contemporary hospitality,<br />

integrating a seamless blend of regional<br />

heritage and culture. Niraamaya Retreats<br />

Surya Samudra Kovalam is submerged in<br />

the luxury of secluded beaches, wellness<br />

immersions and epicurean delights.<br />

Nestled in a verdant cliff-top coconut<br />

grove, the retreat is dotted with traditional<br />

cottages that celebrate Kerala’s heritage<br />

and culture. Live by the coast with<br />

breathtaking views of the Arabian sea, the<br />

infinity pool for your indulgence, private<br />

sit-outs to watch glorious sunsets, the<br />

charm of swaying palms and the sound<br />

of crashing waves will take you on an<br />

unforgettable sojourn. The award-winning<br />

Niraamaya Spa is a haven for wellness<br />

and rejuvenation seekers with the best<br />

of traditional Ayurvedic and International<br />

therapies, morning yoga sessions on a<br />

cliff-edged platform, meditative wellness &<br />

mindfulness capsules, hydrotherapy, steam<br />

and sauna treatments. Gastronomic choices<br />

are offered at two dining restaurants and a<br />

scintillating bar.<br />

Snow View Point, Gagar, Nainital, Uttarakhand-263132 ♦ Tel +91 9555 99 7650 ♦ soulitude.in<br />

Soulitude in the Himalayas provides a unique mountain experience at an altitude<br />

of 7,200 feet. Once you get there, one is face-to-face with the mighty Himalayas<br />

and the peaks of Panchachuli, Pindari Glacier, Nanda Devi, Trishul and Kamet are all<br />

visible from the property. Each of the 10 beautifully appointed rooms are unique and<br />

designed to frame panoramic views ... they provide for a luxurious stay with great food<br />

and warm hospitality. Soulitude has just the right ambience for rest, relaxation and<br />

fun. With several beautiful walks and treks that start from Soulitude’s door, it’s an ideal<br />

location to explore the Kumaon region with several lakes, including Nainital, Bhimtal,<br />

Naukuchiatal and Sattal … all within an hour’s drive. Soulitude is the kind of place that<br />

demands repeated visits.<br />

173 174

Jammu & Kashmir | India<br />

Population: 12,541,302<br />

How to Get in<br />

• Plane<br />

• Train<br />

• Bus<br />

Get Around<br />

• Private Hire Taxi<br />

• Buses<br />

• Motorbike<br />

The former princely state is a<br />

perfect spot to enjoy India’s rugged<br />

mountainous landscape, beautiful<br />

shrines, rich cultural history and<br />

delicious food.<br />

India<br />


Country Hotel<br />

Nangso House Nimmu, 194101 Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, India ♦<br />

Tel +91-8447 757517 ♦ ladakh.nimmu-house.<strong>com</strong><br />

Attractions & Sights<br />

• Gulmarg<br />

• Kashmir Valley<br />

• Mubarak Mandi Palace<br />

• Peer Baba<br />

Things to do<br />

• Trekking<br />

• Horseback Riding<br />

• Camping<br />

• Jeep Safari<br />

Find out more - http://<br />

<strong>www</strong>.jktourism.<strong>com</strong>/<br />

Nimmu House is a century old noble house converted into a charming boutique<br />

hotel nestled at 3100m of altitude in the heart of Himalayan panoramas, only<br />

45 minutes from Leh. Nimmu House is the ideal place to immerse into Ladakhi culture,<br />

discover monasteries, go trekking in the mountains, take time to recharge batteries or<br />

enjoying fresh breeze far from the noise of busy cities. The hotel provides an exclusive<br />

and convivial atmosphere, with 4 heritage rooms and 7 deluxe tents. Our meals are<br />

cooked every day with healthy, fresh and local ingredients which can be served half-board<br />

or full-board.<br />

175<br />


India<br />



Walking Tour Company<br />

India<br />




Discover the Abode Of Lord<br />

Shiva<br />

Varanasi 221005, India ♦ Tel +91 078391 67321<br />

India<br />

Situated on the holy<br />

Ganges River, Varanasi is<br />

one of the oldest continuously<br />

inhabited cities in the world. A<br />

visit to Varanasi is a feast for all<br />

the senses. Your eyes are filled<br />

with colorful gurus and pilgrims<br />

along the bustling ghats, as<br />

well as beautiful, centuries-old<br />

architecture, while your ears<br />

take in the sounds of faithful<br />

mantras, melodious hymns and<br />

lively outdoor markets. Varanasi<br />

Heritage Walk guides have well<br />

over 50 years <strong>com</strong>bined guiding<br />

experience. They are passionate<br />

about and devoted to Varanasi,<br />

the holiest of holy Indian cities.<br />

Along with their signature<br />

personalized guided walking<br />

tour of the narrow alleys in the<br />

old city, Vivek and his staff offer<br />

sunrise and sunset boat tours<br />

and tours of some of the over<br />

1000 sacred Hindu temples in<br />

Varanasi. They provide any travelrelated<br />

services guests may need<br />

before arriving or while staying in<br />

Varanasi.<br />

A<br />

s a Senior Writer at <strong>Travel</strong> and<br />

<strong>Hospitality</strong> <strong>Awards</strong>, I had the<br />

chance to visit the holy city of Varanasi<br />

situated on the banks of the Ganges. I<br />

recently had a chance to visit Varanasi,<br />

locally known as Kashi, which is home to<br />

over 23,000 temples! The best way to<br />

explore this ancient city, with its ages old<br />

buildings and temples lined up along its<br />

winding lanes, is by walking. Mr. Vivek<br />

from Varanasi Heritage Walk took me on<br />

the path to discover this beautiful city.<br />

The labyrinthine lanes can be tough to<br />

navigate but this is the beauty of the city;<br />

do explore them on your own too! From<br />

the marvelous Kashi Vishwanath Temple<br />

to the grand Aarti of the Ganges, this<br />

city took me into a <strong>com</strong>pletely different<br />

era. I also had the chance to go for the<br />

early morning boat ride on the Ganges,<br />

which gave me some spectacular views<br />

of the numerous ghats of the city. Apart<br />

from its rich heritage, Varanasi has loads<br />

of gastronomic options for you. Chole<br />

Kachori, Banarasi Paan, Tamatar Chaat,<br />

Aloo Chaat, Thandai, and Lassi are<br />

some of the things you must try on your<br />

visit here. If you do have additional time<br />

remaining, do visit the nearby ruins at<br />

Sarnath.<br />

177<br />



Often overlooked in favour of its louder, brasher neighbour India, Sri Lanka is a<br />

picturesque island nation in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Formerly known as<br />

Ceylon, Sri Lanka has long been known around the globe for its tea plantations and its<br />

unique and exquisite blends.<br />

Arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Sri Lanka houses a diverse<br />

landscape. It is here where leopards and elephants prowl around the jungles, where<br />

fragrant tea plantations cover the highlands and where the sound of monks chanting<br />

echo through the valleys from the intricately designed Buddhist temples. Sri Lanka is still<br />

a relatively undiscovered travel destination, so the time for venturing there is now before<br />

the masses discover its appeal and beauty.<br />

Visit the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa<br />

Sri Lanka has a fascinating history. Centuries ago, the residents were worried about<br />

falling victim to invasions from Europe and India. As a result, they frequently moved<br />

their capital around in order to throw potential enemies off course. Polonnaruwa is<br />

classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. Even those who do not consider themselves<br />

as history buffs will be blown away by the beauty of this place and captivated by the<br />

huge Buddhas and Regal statues that have been carved into the rock faces.<br />

Most nationalities traveling to Sri Lanka must obtain a tourist visa in advance which is<br />

then valid for 30 days. Of course, there are countless sights to see and things to do<br />

in Sri Lanka that could keep you occupied well beyond this period, however these<br />

are our top 3 Sri Lankan attractions.<br />

179 180

Explore Yala National Park<br />

Though there are numerous national parks scattered throughout the Sri Lankan<br />

countryside, Yala National Park is one of the largest and most diverse. The park doubles<br />

as both a national park and an animal sanctuary and is divided into several different<br />

sections. It is possible to take a safari here and witness some of the most rare and<br />

endangered animals on earth - including leopards, elephants, crocodiles and numerous<br />

other mammal and bird varieties.<br />

A rather unique feature of Yala National Park is the opportunity to spend the night in<br />

the midst of nature at one of the onsite wildlife bungalows where you can fall asleep<br />

listening to the sounds of the jungle, and awaken early, ready to explore before the<br />

masses arrive on a day trip.<br />

Dambulla Cave Temple<br />

There are plenty of spectacular<br />

Buddhist temples to explore<br />

while in Sri Lanka, however the<br />

Dambulla cave temple is one<br />

of the oldest. Dating back over<br />

2000 years, the temple houses<br />

dozens of intricately carved<br />

Buddha statues: 40 which sit in<br />

a meditative pose and 16 that<br />

stand to attention.<br />

181 182

Sri Lanka<br />



The Award for Excellence<br />

in Service<br />

Sri Lanka ♦ rainbowtourssrilanka.<strong>com</strong><br />

With over 40 years of<br />

promoting Sri Lankan culture<br />

and tourism, we are amongst the most<br />

experienced of local tour operators and<br />

our team is well qualified and dedicated<br />

to sharing the huge variety of options<br />

available on our exquisite, exotic and<br />

amazingly diverse “Resplendent Isle”.<br />

We are an independent specialist with an<br />

impeccable record of financial integrity<br />

offering private tailor made cultural<br />

round island touring itineraries, which<br />

can include adventure experiences and<br />

wild life safaris as well as a program<br />

of Day Tours in and around Kandy.<br />

Whatever your holiday interests, we can<br />

deliver unforgettable and <strong>com</strong>petitively<br />

priced arrangements that will attract<br />

you back to “Paradise” time and<br />

time again! Highly re<strong>com</strong>mended on<br />

TripAdvisor – among other forums – with<br />

top reviews and 4 consecutive years of<br />

“Excellent 5 star” awards, we respond<br />

to enquiries quickly, professionally and<br />

in fluent English. Let us show you our<br />

island’s fabulous treasures and rich local<br />

traditions in security and <strong>com</strong>fort.<br />

183 184


Image by: Mohamed Thasneem<br />

185 186


Globally renowned as being an epicenter for luxury travel, any<br />

mention of the Maldives causes one to conjure up images of<br />

impressive five star resorts, glamorous jet-setters and undisturbed<br />

beautiful beaches extending as far as the eye can see. The main reason<br />

that people are motivated to travel here is to relax, unwind and enjoy<br />

the natural scenery, however the Maldives also possesses a fascinating<br />

and multicultural history.<br />

A Brief History of the Maldives<br />

The beautiful island nation of the Maldives has existed as a Muslim<br />

nation since 1153. Throughout the decades, it has maintained its<br />

independence and remained a peaceful country, despite its neighbours<br />

being powerful colonising countries. In the 15th century, the Maldives<br />

was invaded by the Portuguese who evidently led a very cruel and<br />

dictatorial rule over the island trying to force the Maldivians to convert<br />

to Christianity or be murdered. Fortunately, the Maldivians fought off<br />

the unwel<strong>com</strong>e invaders and maintained control over their nation.<br />

Few records of history exist prior to the conversion to Islam in 1153,<br />

however the first settlers to the island arrived in the 5th century BC, in<br />

the form of Buddhist sailors from nearby Sri Lanka and India.<br />

What <strong>Travel</strong>lers Can Expect in the Maldives<br />

No amount of research or browsing information and travel media can<br />

prepare visitors for the sheer breathtaking beauty of the Maldives. A visit<br />

here is like being transported to paradise and is certainly a once-in-alifetime<br />

dream realised. With translucent blue waters, crystal clear skies<br />

and sights that make you proclaim “wow!” at every turn, the Maldives is<br />

without a doubt one of the most beautiful travel destinations on earth.<br />

Aside from the scenic beauty and the opportunity to relax and unwind<br />

at the beaches and resorts, there is plenty to do in the Maldives to keep<br />

busy. Owing to the extensive and diverse marine life that lives beneath<br />

the surface of the waters, the Maldives is one of the most popular<br />

diving destinations in the world. Even those who are not PADI certified<br />

have the chance to admire the creatures of the deep though - either by<br />

snorkelling, or taking an excursion out to sea on a glass bottom boat.<br />

The attitude to life in the Maldives is a lot more laid back and slow<br />

paced - perfect for escaping from the pressures of everyday life.<br />

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Maldives<br />


AT HURAA<br />

Boutique Resort<br />

K.Huraa, Republic of Maldives ♦ Tel +960 797 8883 ♦ pearlsandsofmaldives.<strong>com</strong><br />

Situated on the lush<br />

island of Huraa in the<br />

Maldives, Pearl Sands of<br />

Maldives provides you the<br />

perfect retreat away from<br />

the moribund city life in an<br />

exotic location in the midst<br />

of nature. The Huraa Island<br />

is located just 30 minutes<br />

away from Male Airport<br />

and thus provides ease of<br />

access to guests as well.<br />

The resort is located right<br />

on the beach and each of<br />

its 32 lavishly furnished<br />

rooms is sea-facing and<br />

<strong>com</strong>es with some amazing<br />

amenities like private<br />

balcony or patio, indoor<br />

shower cubicle, and semioutdoor<br />

shower cubicle.<br />

Each of the rooms opens up<br />

to the beach where you can<br />

sit back on the sunbeds and<br />

enjoy the cool breeze and<br />

serene view with <strong>com</strong>plete<br />

privacy of the beach.<br />

The Chavana by Mandara Spa in the resort<br />

is a tranquil haven for healing where you can<br />

soothe all your senses and pamper yourself<br />

with some head-to-toe massages with a<br />

wide range of traditional treatments. For<br />

those who wish to go on a little adventure,<br />

the Pearl Sands Dive Center, a 5 Star PADI<br />

Dive Center, takes you on fun dives into<br />

the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. You<br />

could also rent equipment from there or<br />

go for training courses as well. The resort<br />

also offers tours to explore Male’s famous<br />

attractions, including a submarine tour that<br />

takes you 30 meters into the deep blue!<br />

If you wish to explore the natural attractions<br />

of the Maldives, the resort takes you on<br />

such tours as well. You can go snorkeling<br />

at coral reefs, discover villages, see the<br />

underwater life in glass bottom boats, go<br />

fishing or even rent your own boat and<br />

explore the ocean. For those who wish to<br />

have their most memorable day of their life<br />

in the Maldives, the resort arranges dreamy<br />

destination weddings for you too!<br />

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Maldives<br />



Award<br />

Funamadua, Villingili 20077<br />

Imagine you are lying on a white sand beach with a glass of your favorite drink and are<br />

surrounded by the blue ocean. The sun is beaming and the sea winds mess up your hair.<br />

There is no iota of worry on your mind and you are having the much-deserved time of your life.<br />

Now turn this exact imagery into reality and visit the picturesque resort Club Robinson in the<br />

island country of Maldives. This place is situated almost in the middle of nowhere, on one of the<br />

islands of the Maldives archipelago. It is pristine and the promenade, built on the ocean, would<br />

give you a sense that it is the pathway to one of the most scenic places on earth.<br />

The Robinson Club Maldives provides a<br />

variety of bungalow choices with an option<br />

for a private pool. It also provides the<br />

option for a Presidential Suite for an even<br />

more luxurious stay at the club. The club is<br />

an ideal vacation spot for couples, whether<br />

they are honeymooning or looking for<br />

a relaxing getaway from their day to day<br />

life. During your stay, you can indulge in<br />

a variety of activities - go for deep sea<br />

excursions in the almost untouched coral<br />

reefs of the island or surf your way on top<br />

of the friendly waves of the ocean. You can<br />

also take part in fitness activities like Yoga<br />

or body & mind courses. You could even try<br />

one of the many varieties of spa treatments<br />

offered by the club.<br />

The club ensures <strong>com</strong>plete entertainment<br />

by organizing live music or DJ everyday, so<br />

that your nights are as colorful as your day.<br />

If you want to just head out and spend a<br />

romantic evening with your partner, then<br />

worry not. The Robinson Club Maldives<br />

offers a private bonfire by the beach with<br />

room service, for you to add a little more to<br />

your getaway and make it truly memorable.<br />

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Maldives<br />


Affordable Guest House<br />

Bibee Maldives, K.Dhiffushi ♦ Tel +960 9621604 / +960 9621621 ♦ bibeemaldives.<strong>com</strong><br />

Bibee Maldives is a cozy<br />

guest house tucked away<br />

on the island of Dhiffushi in<br />

the Maldives. If you wish to<br />

experience the sunny life of<br />

the Maldives, this is the place<br />

you should head to. This<br />

resort features 9 rooms where<br />

you can relax and enjoy the<br />

tranquility of the destination.<br />

Each room is equipped with all<br />

modern amenities required for<br />

a <strong>com</strong>fortable stay such as rain<br />

showers and minibar. You can<br />

feast on the delicious local and<br />

continental delicacies prepared<br />

in the in-house restaurant and<br />

you’re definitely in for a treat<br />

if you love seafood; they really<br />

know how to make it well!<br />

During your stay, you could<br />

go on sandbank trips, reef<br />

fishing, snorkeling, canoeing,<br />

surfing and more; the list is truly<br />

endless. All of this is possible at<br />

affordable rates thanks to Bibee<br />

Maldives so that your vacation<br />

isn’t heavy on your pocket too!<br />

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Diving in the Maldives is one of the island’s most popular<br />

experiences. As a matter of fact, for many travellers diving is<br />

the primary reason for their visit to the Maldives. With translucent blue<br />

waters, vibrantly coloured coral reefs and an abundance of marine life,<br />

the Maldives is one of the best diving destinations in the globe.<br />

When to Go Diving in the Maldives<br />

The Maldives is a pleasant destination for diving all year around owing<br />

to its warm, steady climate. With that said, there are a few factors that<br />

divers may want to take into consideration.<br />

During the months of December through to May, there is little wind<br />

and the seas are calm. The visibility in the water is generally better<br />

during this time.<br />

The months of June through to November see a lot more rainfall,<br />

clouds and slightly rougher seas, though there are still periods of<br />

sunny skies. From a marine life perspective, the creatures that occupy<br />

these waters can be seen all year around.<br />

Where to Dive in the Maldives<br />

Diving in the Maldives is suited to all levels of Divers - from beginners<br />

to advanced. Diving sites are scattered throughout the region close<br />

to the resorts, however divers can also try their hand at live board<br />

diving which is often considered the best choice.<br />

The nice thing about diving here is the sheer volume and range of<br />

marine life that can be witnessed among the stunning coral reefs. The<br />

entire region is good for spotting various creatures, however the main<br />

dive spots can be surmised as the North Male Atoll, the Ari Atoll, and<br />

the Vaavu Atoll.<br />

What You Can Expect to See<br />

It is important to note that the area is expansive and diverse. It is<br />

worth organising dives in both the North and South areas in order to<br />

see the widest array of marine life possible. In the northern sectors,<br />

divers can expect better macro life and shoals of fish, whereas in the<br />

south sectors, there are more sharks. Reef sharks, hammerheads,<br />

whale sharks, thresher sharks and tiger sharks are just a few of the<br />

species that can be witnessed here as they feed on plankton.<br />

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Maldives<br />



Eco Friendly Resort<br />

Rasdhoo Dive Center, BoduMagu, AA Rasdhoo – 09020, Republic of Maldives ♦<br />

Tel +960 9577111 / +960 9577222 ♦ rasdhoodivelodge.<strong>com</strong><br />

Located on the island<br />

of Rasdu, the Rasdhoo<br />

Dive Lodge provides an<br />

amazing getaway from<br />

city life. It is conveniently<br />

located at a 5-minute walking<br />

distance from the beach and<br />

provides easy access. You can<br />

choose between a Deluxe<br />

Queen Room, which <strong>com</strong>es<br />

with a large double bed, and<br />

a Deluxe Triple Room that<br />

features a large double bed<br />

and a single bed. Each room<br />

is equipped with all amenities<br />

possible to make your stay<br />

<strong>com</strong>fortable. You will have<br />

a safe and a minibar in the<br />

room too. Drinking water,<br />

tea & coffee is provided free<br />

daily. You can sit back in the<br />

<strong>com</strong>fort of your room and<br />

see the lush garden spread<br />

out in front of your room.<br />

Moreover, the entire hotel is<br />

Wi-Fi enabled to make it easy<br />

for you to stay in touch with<br />

the outside world.<br />

Being a dive lodge, they have an awardwinning<br />

dive center from where you<br />

can go for eco-friendly dives into the<br />

deep blue and explore the life beneath<br />

the surface of the Indian Ocean. The<br />

hotel also has a dedicated tour desk<br />

from where you can book all tours to<br />

explore the island or even other regions<br />

of the Maldives without any hassle. You<br />

could go snorkeling or fishing there and<br />

enjoy your peaceful retreat. If you wish<br />

to explore the area without having to<br />

carry your luggage, they have a luggage<br />

storage facility to save you from all that<br />

trouble as well. The hotel makes sure<br />

that your stay is <strong>com</strong>fortable by even<br />

offering airport shuttle services.<br />

197 198


Any mention of the Maldives is synonymous with the idea of luxury. The sheer<br />

reference to the country draws up imagery of idyllic, undisturbed beaches,<br />

translucent turquoise waters and paradisiacal luxury resorts where a lucky globetrotter has<br />

the opportunity to be pampered to within an inch of their lives.<br />

All things considered though, the Maldives has historically been considered as a destination<br />

that is out of bounds to the majority of people. Famous for its expensive resorts and<br />

exclusive beaches, the Maldives has long been considered a travel destination that many<br />

of us dream of, but few can afford. With few options catering to the middle and working<br />

classes, local people and businesses in the Maldives are starting to realise that there is a<br />

demand to cater to these demographics and are opening up guesthouses or homestay<br />

opportunities accordingly.<br />

The Maldives as a More Accessible <strong>Travel</strong> Destination<br />

Until recently, the Maldives had stringent laws in place in terms of ac<strong>com</strong>modation,<br />

which meant that tourism was only possible in the form of resorts built on uninhabited<br />

islands. Fortunately for budget travellers, that law has recently been relaxed and as<br />

such, dozens of guest houses have been popping up around the area. In fact, there are<br />

presently over 400 guest houses in the Maldives making the region more accessible.<br />

In terms of the specific offering, the guesthouses vary significantly between each other.<br />

Some offer <strong>com</strong>parable luxury to five star hotels - boasting infinity pools and rooftop<br />

bars that rival those of the pricey resorts in the area. On the other hand, some are<br />

quaint, homestay style establishments that offer simplistic rooms and basic amenities.<br />

In any case, since there are so many available (and likely to be many more opening up<br />

going forward), there is certainly something to suit every budget and taste.<br />

199 200

Costs of Enjoying Local Tourism in the Maldives<br />

The price differentiation between luxury Maldives resorts and guesthouses is<br />

phenomenal. As a matter of fact, it is possible to stay at a guest house here for<br />

approximately $40 per night or less. If you are traveling as a couple or as a group and<br />

sharing the costs, that is incredibly good value.<br />

It should also be noted that the budget ac<strong>com</strong>modation options are also ac<strong>com</strong>panied<br />

by prices at local businesses and eateries that do not break the bank - eating out at<br />

restaurants in the Maldives will set you back no more than $7 or $8 a meal, and drinking<br />

tea at local tea rooms cost less than $0.40 cents a cup. <strong>Travel</strong>ing the Maldives on a<br />

budget is entirely possible, and the increase of guest houses opening up has helped<br />

make this a more accessible travel destination for many.<br />

A More Culturally Immersive Experience<br />

There is no doubt that the Maldives tourism in general is beneficial to the local economy,<br />

however the rise in the number of guest houses opening means that more money is<br />

going directly to the local people, rather to large international chains as previously<br />

when the only option was to stay at (and therefore give money to) the resorts.<br />

When you opt to do a homestay or visit a local guesthouse, you have the added benefit<br />

of enjoying a more culturally immersive experience. These ac<strong>com</strong>modation types are<br />

normally much more cosy, and the locals that host you can give you insider tips on their<br />

favourite places to eat and hang out, as well as insight as to what island life is really like.<br />

Though the Maldives is primarily a vacation spot for rest and relaxation, staying at guest<br />

houses also offers a semblance of a cultural experience to travellers.<br />

201 202

Maldives<br />


Luxury Guest House<br />

The hotel features a restaurant on the ground floor where you can gorge on a wide<br />

breakfast spread or even enjoy delicious meals all day long. The restaurant serves both<br />

local traditional preparations and international cuisines. For your convenience, the<br />

hotel features a 24-hour concierge desk to assist you and also has a special desk for<br />

excursions. Moreover, you can go to the hotel’s very own private bikini beach and relax<br />

or even have a few splashes in the ocean.<br />

West Sands at Ukulhas, Vashamagu, Ukulhas 09030, North Ari Atoll, Maldives ♦<br />

Tel +960 951-5150 ♦ westsandsukulhas.<strong>com</strong><br />

If you’re looking for a<br />

great place to stay on<br />

the paradisiacal island of<br />

Ukulhas in the Maldives,<br />

look no further. West<br />

Sands provides fantastic<br />

ac<strong>com</strong>modation in the<br />

midst of nature with every<br />

possible amenity so<br />

that you can have a laid<br />

back vacation and get<br />

pampered throughout<br />

your stay. You can<br />

choose your preferred<br />

ac<strong>com</strong>modation based<br />

on your requirements<br />

and taste in luxury. They<br />

also have a special Sea<br />

View Suite that has an<br />

uninterrupted view of<br />

the ocean and a balcony<br />

where you can enjoy the<br />

cool ocean breeze all day<br />

long. If you’re traveling<br />

as a family, they have<br />

a special family suite<br />

to ac<strong>com</strong>modate your<br />

entire family.<br />

The hotel also arranges various activities on the island on request such as snorkeling.<br />

You can choose to go for a manta safari and see giant manta rays or even head out for<br />

a session of night fishing or dolphin watching. They have expeditions to spot whale<br />

sharks and even take you to uninhabited islands for a relaxing and fun time with all<br />

luxuries included! The hotel also provides airport transfers, free bikes to explore the<br />

island and beach gear!<br />

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Maldives<br />


HOUSE<br />

Modern Guest House<br />

Hirundhu Magu, Malé, Maldives ♦ Tel +960 335-6999 ♦ ibh.mv<br />

Here at Island Beach<br />

House, we offer you<br />

exclusive services and facilities<br />

that would <strong>com</strong>plement your<br />

tropical beach vacation. We<br />

take pride in pampering you<br />

with the perfect breakfast<br />

spread, either at Cooks – our<br />

in-house Dining, or in bed.<br />

Upon your request, the friendly<br />

and enthusiastic team at Cooks<br />

would be more than happy to<br />

serve you the breakfast of your<br />

choice.<br />

We have exclusive services<br />

and facilities here to make sure<br />

that you get the best of “EAT,<br />


Here at Island Beach House,<br />

we are a family. We love, care,<br />

laugh and do our best to make<br />

you feel at home.<br />

It’s our greatest pleasure to<br />

ensure that all your needs are<br />

met and your experience with<br />

us is as magical as possible.<br />

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