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TRAVEL &

HOSPITALITY

AWARDS

ASIA

2018

2


TEAM

CEO

Dennis Mayhew

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Katherine Lozell

ART DIRECTOR

Marcs Bacera

DIRECTOR OF SALES

Stanley Lucas

AWARDS DIRECTOR

Brian Anson

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

Zoe Watkins

SENIOR WRITERS

Tasmai Dave

Jacqui Irvine

Joseph Wilton

SENIOR DESIGNERS

Antoine Jackson

Dave Chen

AWARDS MANAGERS

Adam Cole

Joseph Malabanan

Zach Ford

Peter Clement

RESEARCH MANAGERS

Costin Marcel

Sarah Patel

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Tracy Morgan

Kim Feldmann de Britto

Joseph Malabanan

Aisha Ahmed

Criteria ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6

Asian Megacities................................................................................................................................................................................ 10

Asian Megacities ............................... 12

Cordis Shanghai Hongqiao ............ 18

Belmont Hotel ...................................22

Ambassador Row Hotel Suites

Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon

Serviced Residences ..........................26

Parkroyal On Pickering ................. 20

Sunny Hills........................................ 21

by Lanson Place ...............................24

The 7 Wonders of Asia ...................................................................................................................................................................... 28

Hotelpoispois ................................... 30

Interview With Jean Ching Chu ......32

Kuraya ..............................................36

Kihaa Maldives ............................... 40

Xi Hotel .............................................42

Baraquda Pattaya –

Mgallery by Sofitel........................... 44

Amaya Kuda Rah Maldives ........... 46

S.N.E.G Hotel & Restaurant ...........48

East Asia ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 50

Japan .................................................52

Hokkaido | Japan ...........................58

Hokkaido Nature Tours ..................59

Hotorinite ......................................... 60

Daikokuya Sangam ......................... 61

Costel Minoshima .............................62

Why Kansai? ................................... 64

Gion Hanna Stay .............................68

Shiki Properties................................ 69

Fujitaya Bnb .................................... 70

Hyogo Top 5 .....................................72

Remembering Anthony Bourdain

& His Love For Tokyo .....................76

Cyclo Limousine .............................. 80

Obi Hostel ......................................... 81

Taiwan ..............................................82

Getting In & Getting Around ...........84

China Airlines ...................................86

Taiwan Attractions ......................... 94

Kenting Coast Resort ....................... 96

Exploring Taiwan’s

Food Culture .....................................98

The Great Roots Forestry

Spa Resort .......................................100

South East Asia ............................................................................................................................................................................... 102

Penang Vs Genting Highlands ......104

Grand Ion Delemen Hotel ............. 108

Matahari Tours & Travel .............. 109

Malaysia Adventure........................110

Explore Balik Pulau ........................ 113

The Philippines ................................ 114

Malapascua Garden Resort ........... 118

The Avenue Plaza Hotel ................. 119

Boracay Re-Opening ..................... 120

Boracay Haven Resort .................... 121

Savoy Hotel Boracay ......................122

Thailand: the Home of

Beautiful Beaches ........................... 124

Sibaja Palms Sunset Beach

Resort ................................................127

Wanida Tardivel ............................ 128

Koh Jum Beach Villas .................... 130

Seanery Beach Resort ..................... 131

Adventure in Thailand ...................132

Island Gem Tours ............................135

Tim’s Thailand .............................. 136

Ekman Garden ............................... 138

Chiang Mai .....................................140

Puri Punn ......................................... 141

The Enduring Beauty of Bali ........ 142

Sun Suko Retreat ............................ 146

Astagina Resort .............................. 148

Bondalem Beach Club ................... 150

Nyaungshwe | Myanmar ..............152

Ann Heritage Lodge ........................153

Asiana Link .................................... 154

Sol Beach Resort .............................155

South Asia ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 156

Bhutan ..............................................158

Bangladesh | The One to Watch .. 162

Holiday Xpress ............................... 164

Hotel Grace 21 ................................. 166

Palace Jhargram .............................173

Niraamaya Retreats ........................174

Soulitude In The Himalayas ..........175

Jammu & Kashmir | India .............176

Varanasi Heritage Walk .................178

Tasmais Varanasi Adventure .........179

Sri Lanka Top 3 .............................. 180

Rainbow Tours Sri Lanka ............. 184

India Top Five Things

to See and Do .................................. 168

Nimmu House ..................................177

Maldives .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 186

The Maldives Overview ................. 188

Pearl Sands At Huraa .................... 190

Robinson Club Maldives ................ 192

Bibee Maldives ................................ 195

Contents

Dive Maldives ................................. 196

Rasdhoo Dive Lodge ..................... 198

Local Tourism |

A New Approach ........................... 200

West Sands ..................................... 204

Island Beach House ...................... 206

3 4


CRITERIA

Excellence in Service is an important category, as customer

service can often be responsible for having guests return

year after year. We look for the hotels and tour operators

that go out of their way to please their guests, those that

provide a personal level of service and take the time to

get to know each visitor so that they might anticipate their

every need. This can be something as simple as a 24-hour

concierge desk, a hotel manager who offers a personal

greeting or a tour guide who is happy to create bespoke

private tours – but whatever it is, we are always pleased

when we encounter staff that have been trained in the art

of customer satisfaction.

SERVICES

It is no question that style and design plays a big part in

selecting our awards shortlist. A guest will form an opinion

about a hotel as soon as they arrive so it is important

to us that all our winners make those first impressions

count. We’re certainly not partial to a particular period of

architecture – but whether we’re judging a gothic castle or

an environmentally friendly lodge, the criteria remains the

same. We consider factors such as architectural features,

use of materials, creation of spaces, décor and the overall

feel. We love it when we find a hotel that tells a story

through its design and construction, or offers a design that

is sympathetic to the natural surroundings of its location.

STYLE & DESIGN

Knowledge of the local area is essential for any

organization, be it a hotel or a tour operator. The quality

of services takes a great hit when the quality of this

element is not up to the mark. Quite a few of our winners

in this category are because they have displayed excellent

knowledge about the surrounding areas. The criteria for a

hotel is slightly lenient compared to a tour operator, as the

latter is expected to have thorough knowledge of the area

in order to provide good services.

Image by: Mahir Uysal

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

5 6


FACILITIES

Award-winning guest rooms come in all shapes and sizes,

but they all have one thing in common – a home-awayfrom-home

feel. The comfort of the facilities on offer are

of vital importance; we look for luxurious linens, stylish

bathrooms and a coordinated colour scheme that work

together to create a cohesive sense of relaxation. Additional

touches, such as complimentary toiletries, free wi-fi or tea

and coffee making facilities are always a bonus in making

us feel welcome. We’re always impressed to find hotel

rooms that embrace technology and offer amenities like

tablets or smart thermostat systems, but this does not

always necessarily trump the traditional – four poster beds,

ornate fireplaces or antique furniture can add a touch of

decadence to a hotel stay.

LOCATION

Location is one of the most important factors, but also

one of the most subjective, as the ‘ideal’ is very much

determined by the type of visitor and the type of hotel

itself. However, there are a few factors we take into

consideration when determining the winners of locationbased

awards. The first is convenience; that is, hotels that

are easy to travel to. Many of our winners in this category

are in convenient locations, such as adjacent to airports,

close to beaches or found in the heart of easy-to-navigate

cities. We are always impressed when hotels go the extra

mile to take the hassle out of traveling and offer such

additional services as airport shuttles or car hire services.

However, we’re always excited to come across a hotel

that is, to use a familiar phrase, off-the-beaten-track. A

hotel that can offer something a little different, in terms of

natural surroundings, can make the difference between a

good holiday and an incredible one.

In today’s modern age, a hotel or tour operator cannot

rely on word of mouth to get their message out into the

world. As social media has become a vital part of everyday

life, we like to see companies that go the extra mile to

engage with their guests, both past and future. Attractive

and informative websites and engaging and honest

content are what we look for when judging a company’s

use of marketing; how well they display their services, how

up-to-date their content is, how well they get their brand

message across, and, most importantly, how well their

marketing can tempt us to go and see what they have to

offer for ourselves.

What better way is there to know about an organization

than by getting first hand reviews? Customers are the best

judges of any service out there as they are the ones who

experience them and can assess whether they were up to

the mark or not. Considering reviews from hundreds of

customers gives us a fair idea about the general pros and

cons of any organization and also give us valuable inputs

for the other criteria as well.

MARKETING

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Diversity is one important aspect that needs to be taken

into consideration when in the travel and hospitality

industry. It is essential to have staff that has varying diversity

to ensure that the organization can properly connect with

their guests. Diversity is taken into account in terms of

gender, nationality as well as languages spoken among

other factors. Not only do we take the diversity of the staff

into account but even that of the facilities and services

offered; a hotel or tour operator providing a better range

of services is preferred over those that do not.

It is of prime importance that an organization has thorough

industry knowledge. Without knowing the ins and outs of

the industry, it is difficult to flourish and provide services

which are a class apart. Before any organization ventures

into the industry, it is essential that they know how the

industry is moving and how they should make changes to

their methodologies in order to remain relevant and also

be a top-performing organization.

DIVERSITY

INDUSTRY

KNOWLEDGE

7 8


ASIAN

MEGACITIES

Image by: RH Lee

9 10


ASIAN MEGACITIES

When you mention venturing to Asian cities, it is likely that the idea of a bustling

megalopolis crowded with hundreds upon hundreds of people, all shuffling

through crowded streets under a buzz of vibrant neon lights are what come to your mind.

While this Asian city stereotype certainly does have some truth behind it, it is not allencompassing

and some of the most populous and fascinating Asian megacities could

not be more different.

Take Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai for example. All of these cities are

international business hubs. They all possess the towering skyscrapers and the flashing

neon signs that comprise many cities but more than that, they all possess their own

distinct personalities and cultures.

Kuala Lumpur

The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is a popular starting point for adventures around

Malaysia or wider Southeast Asia. The country is renowned globally for its tantalising,

flavourful food, its diverse multiculturalism and its bustling markets. With a diverse

population, traveling to Kuala Lumpur makes travellers feel transported to various parts

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

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

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

Chinese prayer-goers pay their respects at Guan Di Taoist temple in Chinatown.

Kuala Lumpur is a Muslim country and the skyline of this city is made incredibly unique

compared to other Asian megacities in that it is filled with the ornate minarets of

mosques. At several points throughout the day, the call to prayer will echo through the

city streets. Kuala Lumpur essentially exists at a cultural crossroads of the Middle East

meeting East Asia. The layout of the city, the friendliness of the locals, and the neon

buzz is Asian, whereas many aspects of the culture are reminiscent of Turkey or the

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

that offer an exotic form of rest and relaxation for the weary traveller.

11 12


Singapore

A rich, multicultural city in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is one of the most

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

Middle East, Singapore could be considered as the embodiment of modern living

and the luxury lifestyle in Asia. At first glance, Singapore looks on the surface to be

comprised of glitzy skyscrapers, luxurious megamalls, and bars and restaurants catering

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

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

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

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

bowl of Singapore beef noodles beneath the canvases of the food tents.

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

of the country are comprised of people who are predominantly ethnic Chinese, Indian

or Malay. The city itself houses various neighborhoods that reflect the different cultures

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

megacities house countless temples and religious buildings of various faiths, and diverse

neighborhoods for people of different backgrounds. For example, both Singapore and

Kuala Lumpur have large Indian populations and their own “Little India” districts –

Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur and the area around Lavender station in Singapore.

13 14


Shanghai

Though huge, Shanghai is actually China’s second

largest city, with the capital being Beijing. Just

like Singapore, Shanghai is a commercial hub for

finance and business. Though Shanghai does not

have the same multiculturalism intertwined within its

roots as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, it does house

professional and educated people from an array

of backgrounds as a consequence of many expats

(often from western countries) relocating here for

work.

Shanghai possesses many of the same appeals

as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from a travel

perspective – the opportunity to try fascinating

local cuisine, world-class hospitality and a glimpse

into an Asian culture. However, it is some paces

behind Singapore on its journey to becoming an

international center of activity. Shanghai does feel

cosmopolitan, international and modern to an

extent; however, this is still China. Mandarin remains

dominant here and English is less widely spoken

than in Singapore (where English is actually the first

language). If you cannot speak the local language,

you will find it a little trickier to get by in Shanghai

than in the other two cities. It is advisable to use a

translator app or keep the addresses of where you

will be staying written down on paper in Mandarin

at all times for when you need to get cabs, or should

you have to ask for directions.

Over 90% of Shanghai’s population is Han Chinese.

This is evident everywhere – in the neighborhoods,

the décor, the religious sites and the restaurants.

Shanghai possesses a fascinating culture in terms of

experiencing cosmopolitan China for the first time,

practicing your Mandarin and sampling traditional

Chinese delicacies, but the level of diversity is

relatively low, so you should have an interest in

Chinese traditions and culture if venturing here.

All three megacities are well-suited for a first-time

visitor to Asia. Though the landscapes, the diversity,

and the ease of communicating with locals vary

extensively from one city to another, all of these

cities are accustomed to seeing foreign travellers

and the locals will do their best to assist you should

you need help at any point during your trip.

15 16


China

CORDIS

SHANGHAI

HONGQIAO

Airport Hotel

333 Shenhong Road, Minhang District, Shanghai, 201106 China ♦

Tel + 86 21 5263 9999 ♦ cordishotels.com/shanghai-hongqiao

Situated right at the

heart of the integrated

commercial, residential and

economic district, Hongqiao,

Cordis, Shanghai, Hongqiao

connects you well to the city.

Welcoming guests with modern

interiors, exceptional attention

to detail and thoughtful extras,

our 396 guest rooms and

suites capture the intimacy

and individuality of a private

home. Ranging from a cozy 41

square meters to an expansive

162 square meters for the

Presidential Suite, our rooms

meet the needs of on the go

business executives and leisure

travelers, with comfortable

and generously sized work

desks with high-speed internet

connectivity, blackout curtains

and JBL Bluetooth speakers.

We have partnered with a

consultant Pure Living, for the

latest indoor air purification

technology, which reduces the

indoor PM2.5 index to a single

digit.

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

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

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

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

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

Lounge and enjoy some fine sweets along with your drinks.

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

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

ballrooms are great options. Both of these ballrooms can accommodate more than 600

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

events.

17 18


Singapore

PARKROYAL ON

PICKERING

Hotel and Restaurant

of the Year

Singapore

SUNNY HILLS

Unique Experience

3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289 ♦ Tel +65 6809 8888 ♦

parkroyalhotels.com/pickering

Rising above the city’s dramatic

skyline with a unique hotel-ina-garden

concept and sustainable

features, PARKROYAL on Pickering

elevates green hospitality and

natural living to a whole new level.

Located at the key gateway to

the Central Business District and

financial hub at Raffles Place, and

close to bustling Chinatown and

waterfront entertainment along

the Singapore River, the 367-

room property offers elegant and

contemporary accommodation.

Experience an uplifting stay in the

nature-inspired guestrooms and

unwind completely at the fitness

center, infinity pool and iconic

poolside cabanas, or pamper

yourself with a delightful spa

treatment at the award-winning

St. Gregory. The hotel’s signature

restaurant, the hotel boasts a

friendly, welcoming atmosphere,

offering guests a warm and inviting

setting to enjoy a wide range

of local, Southeast Asian and

international culinary delights.

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

Tel +65 85229605 ♦ sunnyhills.com.tw

If you’re looking for a place that specializes in pineapple products in Singapore,

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

Pineapple Juice, they give you the opportunity to enjoy the goodness of pineapples.

The ingredients are sourced directly from the farmers and suppliers to ensure the highest

quality standards. With the kitchen helmed by a professional baker, the sweet and sour

pineapples are squeezed to form great juices and baked to make the pineapple cakes.

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

of Bagua Mountain, the place where these fruits originate. With multiple stores across

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

assured that your favorite pineapple product is just a few clicks away.

19 20


Philippines

BELMONT HOTEL

Airport Hotel

Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Pasay City, 1309, Philippines ♦

Tel +632 318-8888 / 903-1999 ♦ belmonthotelmanila.com

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

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

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

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

here is designed to exude elegance and is equipped with every essential amenity and plush

furnishings to ensure that you can have a comfortable stay. The hotel also has a special family

room that can house your complete family for a fun-filled family stay.

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

the hotel, and enjoy some delicious international preparations in its minimalist-yet-sophisticated

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

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

beers on the hotel rooftop.

To ensure that guests have a leisurely stay,

the hotel has installed state-of-the-art

facilities which you can take advantage of.

You could head to the roof deck and swim

in the 360-degree panoramic view pool or

can even have some soothing massages

on the massage deck. Moreover, you could

visit the gym to keep up with your fitness

regime. If you feel like relaxing, a sauna

bath or steam session is a great option, or

perhaps you could sit back in the outdoor

jacuzzi too! Even for the kids, the hotel has

a special children’s pool.

Being an airport hotel, they have daily

airport shuttle buses to and from the airport

for your convenience. If you wish to have a

VIP airport transfer or departure assistance,

they arrange that for you as well.

21 22


Malaysia

AMBASSADOR

ROW HOTEL

SUITES BY

LANSON PLACE

Business Hotel

Relax in the sauna or with soothing

massages at the spa after a day of activity.

The outdoor pool also has a sun deck.

Providing a business center, friendly staff at

Ambassador Row Hotel Suites by Lanson

Place also provide tour information and

concierge services.

Light refreshments and hot beverages

can be enjoyed at the casual dining

environment of Café at Lanson.

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

ambassadorrow.lansonplace.com

A

home away from home,

Ambassador Row Hotel

Suites by Lanson Place

features spacious suites with

fully furnished kitchens and

free internet. Situated in Kuala

Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, it

offers free parking and a large

24-hour gym.

Ambassador Row Hotel Suites

by Lanson Place is within a

5-minute drive from Petronas

Towers, Bintang Walk and

Royal Selangor Golf & Country

Club. The Polo and Riding

Club is a 5-minute walk away.

Fitted with classic furnishings,

stylish suites have a separate

lounge area with a comfortable

sofa and flat-screen TV. Meals

can be prepared with the

modern electric stove and

oven. Bathrooms are en-suite,

and come with free toiletries.

23 24


Malaysia

LANSON PLACE BUKIT

CEYLON SERVICED

RESIDENCES

Aparthotel

10, Jalan Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ♦ Tel +60 3 2725 8888 ♦

bukitceylon.lansonplace.com

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

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

three-bedroom serviced apartments for your exquisite selection.

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

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

unwind and for sophisticated entertainment.

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

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

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

drive to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Changkat Bukit Bintang, an avenue on

which a large number of Kuala Lumpur’s

most popular bars and restaurants lay,

can be reached within a 5 minute walking

distance. It’s a busy street that’s lined with

plenty of international restobars, lounges,

whisky bars and lively Irish pubs.

Guests enjoy access to a fitness center and

outdoor swimming pool. Safety deposit

boxes and luggage storage facilities are

available at the 24-hour reception. Airport

shuttle and laundry services are provided

at a surcharge. Friendly staff are fluent in

English, Malay and Chinese.

25 26


THE 7

WONDERS

OF ASIA

27 28


Taiwan

HOTELPOISPOIS

Boutique Hotel

No.168, Section 4, Civic Boulevard, Da’an District, Taipei City ♦

Tel +886 2 2771 1188 ♦ hotelpoispois.com

Located conveniently at the heart of the bustling city of Taipei is hotelpoispois.

Pois literally translates to “dot” in French and it sounds like the pronunciation

of “bubble” in Mandarin.

And this is exactly what the hotel is

all about. Everything, right from their

exteriors to their furnishings are designed

by keeping bubbles in mind. This 5-star

hotel gives you a chance to escape the

hustle-bustle of the city and relax in its

laid-back and comfortable environment.

The brightly-lit exteriors of the building

are extremely appealing and once you

pass through the doors of the hotel, you’re

welcomed into a luxurious lounge which is

completely bubble-themed too!

They offer two types of rooms – Petit and

Deluxe. If you wish to stay in a tiny and cozy

bubble, the Petit Pois Pois is for you. This

room comes complete with all luxurious

amenities. If you wish to have a larger

than life experience, the Deluxe Pois Pois

is the one you should choose. Apart from

these, they have a variety of unique rooms.

Each of these rooms is uniquely-themed.

The Green Room has bird lighting and an

installation from the House of Hackney.

The Pink Room, on the other hand, is

completely covered in pink and has a

slight touch of green on the beds. It has an

oversized armchair where you can sink in

and relax after a tiring day. The final room

is the Palette Room, which is the most

colorful room among all and has a base

tone of yellow.

For your gastronomic requirements, ch-eat

and drink is the perfect place. This bistro

has a chic and intimate atmosphere that is

pleasing for all your senses. It’s a great place

to hang out and meet new people. Do try

out their Cheese Platter and Spaghetti with

Seafood and Garlic Tomato Sauce.

For alcohol and party lovers, the Velvet

Rouge is the place to be. This bar is open

late into the night so that you can have

your favorite drinks even post-midnight.

Do give their cocktails a shot; they are

extremely good!

The hotel even features an installation

from the renowned German artist,

Peter Zimmerman, which has been

displayed inside the elevator space. Such

installations only add to the visual appeal

of hotelpoispois.

The hotel gives you direct views of the

city skyline, including the towering Taipei

101, which stands out in the skyline. You

could even sit back and take a spin on the

Heathwicks’ designed “Spun Chair” that

will give you a completely new view of the

Taipei city.

Thanks to the location of the hotel, all

the prominent landmarks and happening

areas of town are just a stone’s throw

away. Be it restaurants or bars, there are

so many places to explore around the

hotel. With such stunning interiors and

exteriors, as well as their luxurious facilities,

hotelpoispois has definitely made a mark in

the Taiwanese hotel market.

29 30


INTERVIEW WITH

JEAN CHING CHU

Manager of Hotelpoispois

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Answer. I am the manager of hotelpoispois.

I studied interior architecture and design

in the UK; I lived and worked there for 6

years. The environment has given me a

rich exposure to the art and culture. After

returning to Taiwan, I have been assigned

to work on this project for 4 years. From

the beginning of shaping the concept to

realizing it, I have coordinated with the

creative team from different backgrounds.

Now I am focusing on the operations of the

hotel and planning for our future ones.

Q. What led you to open the

hotelpoispois? Why Taiwan?

Answer. Our mother company is a real

estate developer based in Taiwan for the

past 30 years. We chose this location

because Taipei is not only the city that we

are most familiar with but also has a highly

competitive hospitality and entertainment

business industry. We took our time after

acquiring the land a few years back and

finally decided to make it into a hotel, for

its very central location and unique features

of the land.

The initial idea was to make a real

authentic, bold statement in the saturated

hotel industry in Taiwan, to be unique and

not to copy. To give alternative dwelling

experience with our solid background in

architecture and interior design. It is also

our take to introduce a contemporary hotel

that breaks the frame of stereotypes. Every

decision we make is the interpretation

and realization driven by the concept of

‘bubbles’.

Q. Where did the name come from?

Answer. The name was triggered in a

conversation between three people, our

creative copywriter, art director and me. We

were flipping through a French dictionary

and we found the word ‘pois’, which means

‘dot’ in French. We found that meaning of

a dot matched the small space we have,

and the pronunciation sounds like ‘bubble’

in Mandarin, which is not only catchy for

the Taiwanese market, it also proposes a

very challenging task to work on, it suits our

great ambition perfectly.

Immediately after we started to use these

two elements in our space and all the visual

communications. ‘Bubble’ for us represents

fantasy. It delivers pure joy, creativity, and

freedom. We reached out to the biggest

ocean institute in the world ‘Scripps’ in

California and consulted with a Ph.D.

Doctor, Dale Stokes, who specializes in the

study of the bubble, to further investigate

and gather ideas. He enlightened us with

the physical facts. Bubbles always go to

the least pressure and usually the top of

the surface. They always have a short life

and within the bubble is a vacuum and

absolute peace. Among all, we found

these three the most comprehensive and

could perfectly be applied to the hotel.

Q. The first thing that caught our judge’s

eyes was the décor, slick and modern

interiors. What is the inspiration behind

this?

Answer. Everything in the hotel is about

the interpretation of the bubble according

to us. Defining how the ‘bubble’ should

be presented in space is subjective. The

biggest challenge for us was trying to focus

more on the physics and the romance side

instead of being too literal. We tried our

best to keep it childlike yet sophisticated

but not childish. In response to this, the

choice of our material and color tone is

carefully curated.

The entire building creates a strong visual

impact inside out. While the exterior could

be bright red with constant changing neon

lights, almost like asking for attention in the

hustle and bustle of the urban context, the

guest rooms are all white and quiet so the

guests could rest. In the common area, we

stress on the reflective or colorful material,

reflecting the nature of the bubble. In the

end, we aim to deliver a fantasy space.

Q. Who would you say is your target

market?

Answer. Initially, instead of setting a target

market we were keener on introducing

this new interpretation of the hotel to the

public. I would say people who are curious

and open to new ideas. After opening, we

were surprised to find that over 50% of

our guests are local Taiwanese guests, and

overall 70% of our guests are women.

For the type of guests, their habit of

choosing where to stay is between

Airbnb and five star hotels, which enjoy

characteristic or even eccentric living

experience. We have guests from a wide

range of ages, but mostly between 25-45.

They are also the group who are heavy

users of digital media, which helped with

our exposure a lot.

31 32


Q. The online reviews really impressed

our judges. What would you say is the

one thing that sets you apart from the

competition?

Answer. Most of all would be the spirit.

There are various aims and reasons

behind running a hotel for a corporate,

and that idea will be practiced in the

management and strategy of decision

making. Sometimes the concentration

of spirit and the magic of a hotel could

be compromised by putting the profit as

first priority. For us, we try our very best to

keep a good balance. Everything about

the hotel from the design, the experience

of space to service is all based on our very

own interpretation of ‘bubble’. For the

service from the staffs, we try to shake off

the stiffness of the usual hotel, all our staff

could maintain their personality, and are

highly interactive with our guests. It takes

hand work to form a lively hotel with its

own culture, but so far it is rewarding.

Q. You offer themed rooms, a unique

concept. How many themed rooms do

you have and what sort of themes can

guests expect? What room would you

recommend?

Answer. There are a total of 4 theme

rooms, the classic ‘petite poispois’ is the

most original statement of the bubble, the

guests could experience an actual bubble

chair in the room, a ceiling with swirls that

seemingly extract all the noise in the room

and leave the space as if it were a vacuum,

and the curved walls throughout the

room that make you feel you have been

covertures within a bubble.

‘La Chambre Vert’ is the little bit eccentric

green room with wallpaper from House

of Hackney and the installation of bird

lighting. ‘La Chambre Rose’ is a relatively

more feminine room covered in pink with

a touch of bright green and an oversized

armchair. ‘La Palette’ is the most colorful of

all, with the base of a yellow tone. These

three rooms are the most spacious ones

in the entire hotel, and almost every time

our guests after seeing all the rooms could

instantly tell us which is their favorite.

If the guest is intrigued to know more

about us, I will recommend room 802, as it

is the prototype of the very first version of

the room, a room that is experimented with

mistakes which now seems beautiful.

Q. What sort of cuisine do you serve at

Ch-eat & Drink?

Answer. We are an all-day dining restaurant,

serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and

dinner. The dishes we have are based on

the Italian cuisine reinvented with the locally

sourced ingredients. We leave a small part

of the menu that changes each month for

our regular customers. On most of the

special occasions, we create a festive menu

or a theme ingredient menu, when it is the

right season. For example, the seafood

feast we had before was directly sourced

from the fisherman of the northeast coast

of Taiwan to our table.

Other times, we work a lot with highend

brands, including fashion, cosmetic,

celebrities meetings and so on. They rent

the entire restaurant as the venue for

their PR event, and our chefs deliver any

required customized food that is based

on their theme. We basically serve any

possible kind or format of food if you could

name it.

Q. What are the best local activities for

guests?

Answer. I once read a sentence it wrote that

“A hotel should function as a springboard

into the city.”

For sure first stop we recommend spending

some time at our rooftop garden, where

there is also our reception. You can have a

view of the landmark, Taipei 101, and also

enjoy a spin on the Heathwicks’ design

the ‘Spun chair’ which will change your

perception of the sky of Taipei city.

For the local activities, we are at the east

end area of Taipei; you could enjoy both

major departmental stores to independent

shops. It has a vibrant nightlife, with one

of the best clubs in the neighborhood and

tons of restaurants and bars to explore.

Like all our other services, we will try our

best to deliver any other requests too.

33 34


Japan

KURAYA

Historic Accommodation

ON Building 2F, 544-2 Higashi-shiokoji cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan ♦

Tel +81 75 535 4440 ♦ machiya-stay.co.jp

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

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

dwelling with a shop.

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

area.

Originally, R-Square, Inc. was founded to conserve Machiya through local business.

After the second world war the Machiya began to disappear only to be replaced with

what was at the time more modern architecture. In recent times this process was sped

up and in the last 10 years over 5600 Machiya have ceased to exist.

R-Square, Inc is aiming to do its best to impact the local community through raising

awareness of traditional hospitality and culture.

The two key missions of Kuraya is to;

1. Pass on historical knowledge and traditional culture to the next generation

2. Showcase Kyoto’s unique hospitality to the world

35 36


KURAYA

KURAYA

37 38


Maldives

KIHAA MALDIVES

Family Friendly Resort

Kihaa Maldives, Kihaadhuffaru, Baa Atoll, Maldives ♦ Tel +960 400 0501 ♦

kihaamaldives.com

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

the remote islands of Maldives.

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

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

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

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

witnessed in feeding frenzies.

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

allow novice and seasoned pros the chance to experience the wonders of the Indian Ocean.

Sandy white beaches and brilliant blue skies

makes you feel so calm. Snorkeling with

the whale sharks & manta rays feels like a

dream. The scenes of playful dolphins, just

magnificent.

Clear nights of moonlight, shooting stars

and starlit skies, private dining on the beach

under the stars at night. A special treat to

certainly impress your special someone.

Awaken each morning to stunning views

across sun kissed, turquoise water that are

sure to enliven your spirits and breathe

new life to your soul. Escape to an exotic

world of breathtaking possibilities where

exciting recreational facilities, adventure

and relaxation are equally abundant.

It’s much more than a holiday. It’s a lifestyle,

an experience. To get away from the

stresses and the rush of life, spend a night

of your life at Kihaa.

An experience of a lifetime.

39 40


Hong Kong

XI HOTEL

Business Hotel

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

xihotel.com.hk

If you fancy some alcohol, you can head

over to Courtney’s Wine Bar to enjoy some

refreshing wines from their wide selection

of wines from all around the world. The

sophisticated atmosphere only adds to the

appeal of this bar and the outdoor seating

with candlelights makes it a fashionable

place for a meeting or a romantic date.

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

luxurious accommodation for business travelers. The rooms are finished to perfection and

have some spectacular facilities which you can take advantage of. The rooms come furnished

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

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

Choose from one of the 64 comfortable rooms in the hotel according to your preference of

luxury and take advantage of their luxurious amenities.

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

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

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

which leaves no stone unturned to make your stay more comfortable. You could also opt for a

day tourand airport limousine services.

As the hotel serves primarily as a business

hotel, it is no surprise that you can find

a room where you can hold meetings,

conferences or even cocktail parties. The

sophisticated furnishings of the place gives

the hotel a touch of comfort. Xi Hotel’s

location too makes it easy for you to reach

the financial district of Hong Kong with

ease. The hotel definitely serves as a great

place to stay when you visit Hong Kong for

business.

41 42


Thailand

BARAQUDA PATTAYA –

MGALLERY BY

SOFITEL

Luxury Hotel

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

Chonburi 20150 Pattaya, Thailand ♦ Tel +66 0 3876 9999 ♦ hotelbaraquda.com

Conveniently located near Pattaya

Beach, Hotel Baraquda Pattaya,

MGallery By Sofitel offers 5-star

luxurious accommodation. You can

stay in one of its 72 lavishly furnished

rooms and suites that come with beds

that have leather headboards to give

you the feel of sleeping in a traditional

quarterdeck of a ship. Each room is

decorated and furnished with care to

give you the vibe of a tranquil beach.

The bathrooms are designed with

translucent glass, porthole mirrors and

‘island’ sinks to give you the feeling of

being on board a ship!

For your gastronomic indulgences, they

have an array of outlets at your disposal.

The Sea restaurant overlooks the pool

and serves the best food from cuisines

around the world. You can sip on some

fine wine and cocktails while indulging

in some delicious tapas at the Sunset

Lounge (one of Pattaya’s finest rooftop

bar) while marvelling the spectacular

view of Pattaya. For your sweet tooth,

they have their own French run bakery

– Nauti Café, which serves a variety of

fresh bakes.

You can take a dip in the fish-shaped

swimming pool to cool off or could sit

back on the lounging beds, chairs and

sofas to soak in the sun or simply enjoy the

ambience. The Spa is a tranquil haven in

the midst of the hotel where you can heal

your mind, body and soul with soothing

treatments administered by experienced

masseuses.

Wish to conduct a meeting in the hotel?

They have special meeting rooms where

you can conduct your meetings with stateof-the-art

equipment to support your

requirements. If you wish to hangout or

party at night, Deep Bar is the place to

head to. They have funky music playing

throughout the evening and night along

with an active bar. Hotel Baraquda truly

gives you the chance to explore Pattaya

like a VIP!

43 44


Maldives

AMAYA KUDA

RAH MALDIVES

Villa Resort

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

amayaresorts.com/amayakudarah

A

luxurious stay awaits you on the paradisiacal island of Kuda Rah at Amaya Kuda Rah.

This is your chance to run away from civilization and unwind in the peaceful and lush

environment of the resort. This island resort will give you plenty of opportunities to spend time

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

of staying in your very own villa on the beach, this is your chance to make your dream come

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

so that you can have a peaceful getaway here.

Each villa comes with amenities and this

paired with the resort’s services makes

your stay absolutely fulfilling. They also

have special villas for families so that you

can spend time with your loved ones in

the same villa. For the epitome of luxury,

you can book the presidential suite, which

comes with private access to the sea too!

You could visit Glow, the resort’s bar and

sip refreshing cocktails with delicious

snacks under the palm trees or could dine

at Half Lime, the Asian restaurant where

you can gorge on Indian, Thai, Sri Lankan

and Middle Eastern cuisines. If none of

these seem to fit your liking, you can dine

anywhere on the island or even in the

comfort of your villa!

The resort comes with a fitness center,

special club for kids, a swimming pool

and a spa where you can unwind and relax

during your stay. You can also go for some

adventure sports and excursions or learn

to cook new dishes in the cooking classes.

The resort also has special venues for

weddings and is the perfect place for your

honeymoon too!

45 46


Country

NAME OF

HOTEL/TOUR

Award

Kazakhstan

S.N.E.G HOTEL &

RESTAURANT

Eco Friendly Hotel

Shymbulak Ski Resort, middle station, Kazakhstan ♦ Tel +7 705 705 47 42 ♦

Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain ♦ Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.com

pgr.kz/sneg

Rising above the rest of Barcelona, Hotel Arts located on the waterfront, provides

a luxurious stay with spellbinding views of the sea and city. With some amazing

facilities like terrace gardens, outdoor swimming pool and spa, they ensure that the

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

gym schedule at the fitness center or get pampered in the hairdressing salon and luxury

fashion boutiques. The sophisticated rooms and suites have elegantly done décor and

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

that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses come with a butler

and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to

The shopping places. name of the hotel and restaurant S.N.e.G. combines all the best that the ski

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

Nebo and Gora (the sun, the sky and the mountain).

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

terrace of our restaurant while being treated to dishes cooked by our chef. You will

find the new original hot and cold appetizers, salads, soups, burgers, hot dishes and

desserts from the Parmigiano Group.

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

of rooms (six rooms only) will make you feel like a special guest.

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

wood, felt and iron.

47 48


EAST ASIA

49 50


JAPAN

When you think of Japan, what comes to your mind? Perhaps, it’s Scarlett

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

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

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

doesn’t disappoint on that front.

Tokyo’s transportation systems are world

class, and those of many of its other main

cities not far behind. Millions of people

pass through Tokyo’s major train stations

each day, and yet the city keeps on

running, peacefully and on time.

Indeed, Japan is an extremely safe

country, and even in the midst of Tokyo’s

bar-hopping buzz in Shinjuku, or its neonlit

club scene in Shibuya, you’ll find that

there is a sense of security everywhere, with

koban police boxes on practically every

corner. Japan is also renowned worldover

for being the land of convenience.

Where London might play hard and then

sleep hard, with shops opening late and

closing shortly after office hours, Tokyo

skips the sleeping part, with restaurants,

bars, convenience stores, game centers

and more, all open 24 hours of the day,

7 days a week. A veritable playground for

explorers both young and old.

That said, one of Japan’s most unique

and timeless charms is its dynamic

blend of old and new. A visit to Japan

means being able to experience some

51 52


of the world’s most vibrant,

futuristic and technologically

advanced cities without

sacrificing time spent losing

yourself amongst the most

captivating temples, palaces

and cultural traditions.

Japan’s history is evident

at every turn, whether it’s a

venerable Shinto shrine, a

museum housing Samurai

Swords, or one of Japan’s

many regional festivals with

their profusion of costumes,

ancient rituals, and throngs

of revelling crowds. Feudalera

castles still rise up from

massive stone foundations,

while Japan’s exquisite

gardens, many of them

former royal retreats, act

as visual commentaries on

nature and the craftsmanship

of generations of elite

gardeners. But for visitors,

nothing conveys Japan’s

heritage better than its

many ryokan traditional

inns, renowned for their

impeccable service, refined

beauty and mastery of

regional cuisine.

This leads us onto our next

point – the food. Lovers of

fine cuisine will be swept

away by Japan’s varied styles

of cooking, from tempura,

sushi and teppanyaki to the

feast of all feasts, kaiseki.

Many visitors to Japan

will have already sampled

the pleasures of raw fish

or batter-fried shrimp. But

few first-time visitors to

53 54


Japan are prepared for the

variety and sumptuousness

of Japanese food, as it is

traditionally prepared. Sink

your teeth into a piece of

‘Genghis Khan’ – mutton

grilled over a hot barbecue

stove – in the near-arctic

conditions of Hokkaido in

the north, or sink your spoon

into a comforting bowl of

ramen noodle broth in the

sub-tropical surroundings of

Kyushu island in the south.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Japan’s eclectic food culture

reflects the diversity of its

seasons and landscapes.

Volcanoes and ravines,

islands and oceans,

waterfalls and hot springs all

rub shoulders in a country

that, despite its megalithic

metropolises, is covered by

more mountains than by its

cities. Whether you’re an

all-gear/no-fear adventurer

or an Instagram-hungry

backpacker, it goes without

saying that there is no

shortage of activities and

outdoor pursuits for people

of all tastes and abilities.

Take skiing, for example.

With Japan’s winters being

governed by the Siberian

air mass (the coldest in

the world), every year sees

the central highlands and

northern regions blanketed

with snow, making the

Japanese ski experience

among the best and most

reliable in the world. For six

months of the year, fresh

powder is very much the

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

lift pass.

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

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

2019 and 2020 respectively, Japan is converting its celebrated hospitality into tourism

finesse as English signage becomes even more widespread and technology continues

to make transport even more accessible.

Whilst Japanese carriers like All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines whisk passengers

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

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

the UK to an equally increasing number of regional airports in Japan. Very reasonable

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

the other side of the globe, is it?

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

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

you?

55 56


Hokkaido | Japan

Population: 5,377,435

How to Get in

• Plane

• Train

• Ferry

Get Around

• On Foot & Hitchhike

• Train

• Plane

• Bus

• Car Rental

Attractions & Sights

• Akan Mashu

National Park

• Shikotsu-Tōya

National Park

• Odori Park

Things to do

• Horseback Riding

• Skiing/Snowboarding

• Rafting

• Whalewatching

Find out more – http://

en.visit-hokkaido.jp/

Japans second largest Island is a

haven for those looking to get away

from the bustling cities. Untamed

majestic wilderness, interesting

history, great food and distinctive

seasons, what more could you want?

Japan

HOKKAIDO

NATURE TOURS

Tour Company

2-6, 7-83 Ishiyama, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan 005-0842 ♦

Tel +81 11 5923959 ♦ hokkaidonaturetours.com

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

offer private custom-made tours and a variety of day trips to spectacular locations

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

destinations include Noboribetsu Hell Valley, Lake Toya, historical cities of Otaru and

Hakodate, Furano flower fields, UNESCO World Heritage Site Shiretoko Peninsula,

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

spirit, offering unique activities that aim at reconnecting you with nature: from mountain

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

to have a more personalized experience, they offer a variety of customized tour packages

suited to different seasons. They design special itineraries based on your requirements.

Moreover, they give you the flexibility of the tour durationand you can choose to have a

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

sure that you can get the most out of your trip to Hokkaido

57 58


Japan

HOTORINITE

Affordable Hotel

Japan

DAIKOKUYA

SANGAM

Guest House

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

hotorinite.com

409-1204 Yamanashi, Koshu, Yamato-cho Hikage 49, Japan ♦

booking.com/hotel/jp/daikokuya-sangamu

If you’re looking for an affordable

place to stay near Lake Yamanaka

in Yamanakako village, Hotorinite is

a great option. The hotel gives you

a chance to experience traditional

Japanese housing with traditionally

designed rooms complete with wovenstraw

floors, traditional futon bedding

and a low table with seating cushions.

The tranquil location of the hotel is

perfect for a peaceful getaway from the

city life. It is located right at the lake so

you can relax and wake up to the scenic

view of the lake. It is not too far away

from the city too; it is just 15-minutes

walk away from the Yamanaka Suwa

Jinja Shrine! The hosts make sure that

you are comfortable in the hotel by

giving all the support necessary. They

introduce you well to the area and

also give you free bicycles so that you

can explore the area. Hotorinite truly

gives you a chance to escape all the

hullabaloo without shelling out too

much.

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

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

Japanese experience with cozy wooden interiors. The entire building is itself a traditional

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

rooms which are equipped with futon beds. You can also enjoy their fine gastronomic

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

thing that guests love here; they also provide common laptops for guests to use. You can

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

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

also makes it possible to go hiking in the surrounding areas.

59

60


Japan

COSTEL

MINOSHIMA

The Outstanding

Location Award

812-0017 Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Hakata-ku Minoshima 2-27-14-1, Japan ♦

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

Costel Minoshima is situated right at the middle of Minoshima Shopping Arcade in the

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

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

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

can choose between a Deluxe King Room, which has a large double bed, and a Triple Room,

which has 3 single beds. Each room comes with every basic amenity like an en-suite bathroom,

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

the outside world with ease.

For your gastronomic requirements, the

hotel has a cafe on the ground floor where

you can sip on some drinks or feast on

light snacks before heading out for a day

of exploration of Fukuoka. Moreover, the

hotel offers a free luggage storage facility

so that you don’t have to worry about your

luggage during your tour. If you’re visiting

the Hakata hot springs or wanting to relax,

Costel Minoshima is a great option due to

its location and affordability. The hotel is

known for its value for money and hence

even a long stay at this place will not burn

a hole in your pocket. The highlight of the

hotel though remains the central location

that makes it convenient for you to even

use public transport.

61 62


WHY KANSAI?

Traveling to Japan is a bucket-list experience for many. Though a lot of travellers

are drawn by the bright lights and big city feel of Tokyo, venturing outside of the

Japanese capital and heading southwards towards the Kansai region of Japan is also

incredibly rewarding.

Also known locally as the “Kinki Region”, Kansai is comprised of seven different

prefectures. For several centuries, Kansai was the most important region of Japan. Kansai

was once a hub of political and economic activity and indeed, Kyoto was the ancient

Japanese capital. It goes without saying, that the region is filled with ancient temples,

history, and fascinating traditions. Within the seven prefectures, there is plenty to explore

in Kansai, however the cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo are among the most notable,

and perhaps the most rewarding to visit if you have limited time.

Kyoto: Traveling Back to Ancient Japan

The capital of Japan for many centuries, Kyoto is brimming with history. More than

that though, Kyoto just possesses an undeniable charm that makes even the most

hardened travellers fall in love. Where fragrant cherry blossoms blow in the wind,

where thousands of ornately decorated temples await the traveller and where

mysterious Shinto shrines and zen gardens make every turn a photo opportunity,

Kyoto is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Japan.

There are over 1,600 Buddhist temples scattered throughout this picturesque city, each

with their own unique design and personality. The iconic Fushimi Inari shrine is located

here and is a must-see for any Japan itinerary. Exploring this shrine means passing

through hundreds of vermillion coloured gates as you proceed to the mountain peak

with stunning views over Kyoto city. You could spend weeks exploring Kyoto’s temples

and never see them all.

Kyoto is one of the only places in Japan that still has a working Geisha district. In the

quaint alleyways of Gion, travellers may catch a glimpse of Geiko and Meiko (trainee

geisha) shuffling along from appointment to appointment in exquisite kimonos. There

is also the opportunity to watch the show at Gion corner, to see what life like a Geisha

actually means and enjoy traditional performances that are still loved in Japan today.

63 64


Osaka: Tokyo’s Punkier Little Sister

Spending a few days in Osaka is a must while in the Kansai region of Japan. You can

get a feel for the city and most of what it has to offer in a day or so. Dubbed the kitchen

of Japan, foodie travellers will be in their element browsing the various street markets

here and sampling the local delicacies. Don’t miss okonomiyaki – the Japanese answer

to the pizza, or fugu – Japanese blowfish.

Osaka is home to Shitteno-Ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan so there is certainly

history here. With that said, it is the various neighborhoods of Osaka, each with their

own distinct personalities, that are sure to steal your heart. Shinsekai neighborhood is

an entertainment district that was built before the Second World War and still retains

its old-fashioned charm with its wooden restaurants and traditional gaming arcades.

When the sun goes down, head over to Dotonburi. Essentially the Times Square of

Japan, Dotonbori is instantly recognisable from the flashing neon Glico man sign that

is so commonly photographed and discussed in travel media. Dotonburi is a popular

nightlife spot and a great place to order up a sake tasting platter, or try your hand at

Japan’s much loved pastime – Karaoke!

Hyogo: Kobe Beef Dreams

Hyogo is one of the seven prefectures of Japan that make up the Kansai region.

While the region itself is brimming with charm, the capital of Kobe is definitely

worth checking out before leaving the Kansai region of Japan. As the name

suggests, Kobe is famed across the globe for its sumptuous Kobe beef. What better

place to try this dish or get reacquainted with it than at the source in Japan itself?

From the center of the city, visitors can take cable cars that lead them upwards towards

Mount Rokko – a beautiful mountain that looks especially stunning in the autumn when

the golden leaves on trees create an almost ethereal atmosphere. Once at the peak,

one can marvel at the views of Kobe below, or soak away their travel aches and pains

at a natural Onsen (Japanese hot spring).

If you have the opportunity to travel around the Kansai region of Japan, it is rewarding

to do so at a slow pace. One can take the shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) from city to

city, with short distances between each destination. A wider exploration of this region

offers travellers invaluable cultural experiences and an insight into the Japan that exists

outside the neon buzz of Tokyo.

65 66


Country

NAME OF

HOTEL/TOUR

Award

Japan

GION HANNA STAY

Alternative Hotel

Japan

SHIKI

PROPERTIES

The Award for Excellence

in Service

2-50-3 Ohashi-higashi, Sanjo-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Japan ♦

Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.com

Tel +075 541 1010 ♦ gionhannastay.com

173-5 Sanjo Aburanokoji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi Kyoto-fu 604-8251 Japan ♦

Tel +81 80 6156 3850 ♦ shikiproperties.com

Rising above the rest of Barcelona, Hotel Arts located on the waterfront, provides

a luxurious stay with spellbinding views of the sea and city. With some amazing

facilities like terrace gardens, outdoor swimming pool and spa, they ensure that the

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

gym schedule at the fitness center or get pampered in the hairdressing salon and luxury

fashion boutiques. The sophisticated rooms and suites have elegantly done décor and

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

that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses come with a butler

and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to

shopping places.

If you’re visiting Kyoto and want to experience the true spirit of the city, choose to

reside at Gion Hanna Stay. The hotel is centrally located in the Gion district and that

makes it easy for you to access the main regions of the city. You will feel totally at home

in the comfortably furnished rooms that are decorated with elegant Japanese colors.

Interiors of the hotel are adorned with Nishijin tapestries to give you a true Japanese feel.

Moreover, the rooms come with complete kitchens so that you can cook your favorite

food right there! If you wish to have food delivered to your room, they do that too. They

have massage facilities for those wishing to relax after a tiring day of exploring Kyoto. This

is the perfect place to reside if you’re looking at a long term stay in the city.

67

SHIKI

Shiki Properties is an experienced team of local

residents offering professional high quality

accommodation with premium service, and real time

communications. Our mission is to make sure that

your trip to Japan will be a memorable and a hassle

free experience.

Each of our properties is custom designed in

collaboration with local architecture firms to provide

the utmost comfort and convenience for our guests

from the moment of booking to the moment of check

out.

A special local guidebook full of tips and information

related to your stay at the property will be

provided before arrival. Take advantage of our top

recommendations and free restaurant reservations

service to avoid any trouble with language barriers.

We offer a wide range of services such as (but not

limited to): bicycle city tours, countryside nature

tours, delivery catering, chef services, and more.

For a unique travel experience with a traditional feel,

Shiki Properties has just what you are looking for.

68


Japan

FUJITAYA BnB

Bed & Breakfast

37-1 Kitanishinocho Nishishichijo Shimogyo-ku Kyoto, Japan 600-8878 ♦

Tel +81 75 925 9217 ♦ fujitayabnb.jp

If you’re looking for an

affordable place to live

in Kyoto, Fujitaya BnB is the

perfect place for you. Located

a short distance from from all

the major hubs of the city, this

place gives you the chance

to discover Kyoto like never

before. It is located very close

to popular restaurants so

food is never a concern when

staying here. Whether you’re

looking to have a small room

to yourself or want a bigger

room in which you can stay with

your friends, they have rooms

suiting all your requirements.

They have special family

rooms where a family of four

can reside comfortably. Each

room comes with all the basic

amenities that are required

for a comfortable stay such as

towels, air conditioning, and

heating. However, all their

rooms come sans toilets and

bathrooms; they have shared

bathrooms and toilets.

The staff here ensures that no stone is left

unturned to make sure that you have a

great stay. Through the entirety of the stay,

you will be served simple but delicious

breakfast daily. The entire hotel is Wi-Fi

enabled so that you can remain connected

during your stay. For your entertainment,

there is a shared lounge and a TV area.

You could also go hiking around the area

or head out for a short cycling trip around

town. The hotel also offers a free baggage

storage facility so you can easily head out

for your tour without worrying about your

luggage. After a long day of exploring the

city, if you wish to have some peaceful time

in the midst of nature, the hotel features a

garden where you can sit back and relax

and rejuvenate.

69 70


HYOGO TOP 5

1. Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen is located

near the downtown of

Kobe, surrounded by the

beautiful nature of Mt.

Rokko.

One of the three best

hot springs of Japan, this

hot spring town with a

nostalgic atmosphere has

two public baths.

Visitors don’t have to

stay at the inn to use its

hot spring, so visitors can

enjoy different hot springs

in one day.

2. Nada Japanese Sake

Japanese Sake from Hyogo has

always been considered to be one of

the very best in the country, especially

the varieties made in the Nada Gogo

area.

This area has qualities that allow them

for the production of great tasting

sake; Miyamizu water from Mt. Rokko,

local large and high-quality rice,

master sake brewers from the nearby

Tamba region and a cold front called

Rokko-oroshi that blows down from

the mountains.

All of these factors helped create an

amazing flavor with top-quality, which

is loved by people all over Japan.

3. Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle was the first

Japanese site to be registered as a

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage

site in 1993.

Qualities such as the unique

structure of the castle and the

beauty of its white plastered walls

earned it the nickname White

Heron Castle.

Its well-preserved towers and the

structures surrounding the castle

have mainly kept their original

form and have helped the castle

earn its excellent reputation.

It has been about 400 years since

the castle was first built, and it is

a storehouse of numerous national

treasures and important cultural

properties.

71 72


4. Engyo-ji

Located 371 meters above sea level on top of Mt. Shosha in western Himeji, Engyoji

is home to many Important Cultural Properties. Maniden, a beautiful wooden hall,

Daikodo (main hall), Jikido (lodging and dining hall, now exhibiting temple treasures)

and Jogyodo (gymnasium) are especially popular. It was selected as a filming location

for the Hollywood movie The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise.

5. Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki is a historical hot

spring town, famous for the

seven hot springs in the area.

Called Sotoyu-meguri,

visiting these seven hot

springs is a popular activity.

Each of the seven Sotoyu

has a unique story, as well

as different guardian deities;

therefore people believe

that visiting all seven brings

seven different types of luck.

With beaches in the

summer, and delicious

crab in the winter, Kinosaki

receives quite a few tourists

throughout the year.

73 74


REMEMBERING

ANTHONY BOURDAIN

& HIS LOVE

FOR TOKYO

June saw the passing of one of the most

notable figures in the travel industry:

loveable rogue Anthony Bourdain. As the

world mourned, people across the globe felt

as though they had lost a friend. Bourdain is

often cited as the reason that many people

felt inspired to get out and travel outside

of their comfort zone. He had his favourite

cities, which he presented to the world

in all of their glory. One of those was the

eccentric, neon clad city of Tokyo.

With so much of the world to discover,

Bourdain rarely visited the same city over

and over again, however Tokyo was one

exception to that and he made frequent trips

to the vibrant Japanese capital. “I’m endlessly

fascinated” he had stated. “I’ve been many

times and it’s still thrilling”.

One thing is for certain, Tokyo is quite unlike anywhere

else in the world and it’s understandable why Bourdain

fell in love with it. Be prepared to stand out “like a big goofy

foreigner” as Bourdain himself had stated. Since afterall, the

culture here is quite unlike anything we are used to. There

is sadness in the fact that this article is written for Bourdain

posthumously, however his legacy will live on and he will

continue to motivate people to travel after his passing.

76


First time visitors should look to gain an insight into Tokyo’s

history by visiting the Meiji shrine and the temple at Asakusa.

In order to avoid the crowds, go early in the morning while the tourist

hordes are still sleeping. One of Tokyo’s highlights is undoubtedly

its various neighborhoods – each with their own unique, quirky

personalities. Fashion hub Harajuku is the place to go for people

watching and exploring the kooky independent boutiques. For the

ultimate cultural immersion, explore Ryogoku – the “Sumo” district

of Tokyo where if you are lucky, you can catch a sumo fight or an early

morning training session. Here, the ramshackle wooden houses

make you feel that you have been transported to a different city

entirely. When the sun begins to set, head to Shinjuku or Shibuya

for an evening tipple or two at one of the city’s rooftop bars.

Anthony

Indeed, Tokyo offers a unique juxtaposition between modern culture

and ancient oriental traditions. Exploring one neighborhood can see

you surrounded by shrines and zen Buddhist temples that date back

thousands of years. The next, they have been engulfed by towering

modern skyscrapers and contemporary art installations. A traveller could

spend months wandering the streets of Tokyo and still depart feeling that

they haven’t had the opportunity to explore everything.

77 78


Japan

CYCLO

LIMOUSINE

Eco Friendly Tour Company

Japan

OBI HOSTEL

Hostel

〒104-0032 Tokyo Chuoku Hachobori 3-9-10 1F Japan ♦ Tel +81 3 4500 4446 ♦

cyclolimousine.raroma.co.jp/wp

〒103-0003 3-14, Nihonbashi-Yokoyamacho. Chuoku, Tokyo, Japan ♦

Tel +81 03 4405 5092 ♦ obi-hostel.com

Cyclo Limousine is the first

company ever in Japan that

offers services using a Cyclo – originally

of French design, tricycle rickshaw.

The Cyclo is a common vehicle in

many South East Asian countries. In

the early days, the Cyclo was a service

pointed at sightseeing and a way of

every day travel for the upperclass.

As the Cyclo begins in Japan, we aim

to incorporate the many traditions of

our diverse team and the incredible

spirit of Japanese hospitality to ensure

the enjoyment of our clients.

It is from now that the old elegant

Cyclo evolves to succeed and

represent on the Japanese stage, and

to deliver a long served luxury to the

shores of its new clientele.

Enjoy a total customized tour with us

to feel the difference.

Email: info@raroma.co.jp

Facebook: @cyclolimousine

Instagram: @cyclo_limousine

Located in Higashi-Nihonbashi

in Tokyo, Obi Hostel provides

spacious rooms to its guests at

reasonable prices. The hostel is situated

at a short walking distance from the

Bakuro Yokoyama station and its

locations gives you easy access to all the

sightseeing spots and business areas of

Tokyo. You can choose between single,

double and quadruple bunk-beds.

They have both unisex and separate

female dormitories so that you can

choose one as per your convenience.

The rooms are spacious and you can

get a sense of privacy as the bunks

have curtains as well. Facilities include

lockers, refrigerators, WiFi connection,

shower rooms and more. Moreover,

the hostel offers washing machine and

dryer facilities at a minimal cost. You can

also have some delicious preparations

in the in-house cafe and bar or could

even sip on some specially prepared

cocktails. Obi Hostel truly gives you the

opportunity to meet new people and

discover Tokyo.

79 80


TAIWAN

As a small island nation, Taiwan and its capital Taipei are often overlooked by

travellers to Asia in favour of adventures to its more extravagant neighbouring

nations. Attracted by the bright lights and towering skyscrapers of Shanghai and Tokyo,

or the paradisiacal beaches of Thailand, often Taiwan is forgotten. Taiwan is certainly one

of Asia’s most underrated travel destinations and with a rich culture and a fascinating

history, it is definitely deserved of a spot on your travel bucket list.

Taiwan’s History

The history of Taiwan dates back tens of thousands of years with the first records of

human inhabitants on the island dating back as far as 40,000 years ago. With strong

tribal and indigenous roots, the first settlers in Taiwan were aborigines and many

current residents in the country are descendents of these people. Over the past 4000

years, a diverse range of settlers and invaders have anchored their ships on Taiwan’s

shores, drawn to the land by its captivating beauty and nature. Since the 15th century,

Taiwan has been occupied or invaded by settlers from China, Portugal, the Netherlands

and Japan - factors which contribute to a diverse and unique cultural existence in the

modern country today.

Taiwan Travel Highlights

When the Portuguese first landed in Taiwan, they awarded it the nickname of “Ilha

Formosa” meaning “the beautiful island” on account of its stunning natural scenery.

The mention of Taiwan is often synonymous with the idea that any East Asian country

is a bustling megalopolis filled with cosmopolitan cities and neon lights. While Taiwan

certainly has that, it is also home to numerous picturesque hiking trails and national

parks. Many notable movies have been shot in Taiwan on account of its beauty -

including the awe-inspiring Life of Pi. Whether you enjoy browsing night markets and

sampling street foods in concrete jungles, or you want to uncover more about the

history of the place that you travel, Taiwan certainly has something for everyone.

81 82


GETTING IN & GETTING AROUND

When planning a trip to Taiwan, managing the logistics of how best to reach

the country and how to get around from one city to another is an important

consideration to ensure that your adventure runs smoothly. Fortunately, public

transportation links in and around Taiwan are efficient, frequent, and are good value for

money.

Getting to Taiwan

With flight routes from across the globe servicing Taiwan, it is easy to access this fascinating

island nation and to do so without breaking the bank. Travellers can get to Taiwan via

plane or by sea, depending on their starting location.

• Getting in by Plane

Taiwan is serviced by two international

airports - Taoyuan and Kaohsiung. Most

people commence their Taiwanese

adventures in Taipei and so Taoyuan airport

is arguably the most convenient. It is easy

to take the high speed train from Taoyuan

airport into Taipei center.

• Getting in by Boat

If you are planning to travel to Taiwan

from China or Japan, it is possible to take

overnight ferries into Keelung or Taichung

in mainland Taiwan, in addition to a ferry to

the Taiwanese island of Matsu.

Getting Around

Many international travellers depend on

getting around via public transport when

they travel and fortunately, it is easy to do

that in Taiwan. An important thing to note

is that when traveling between cities it is

prudent to buy your tickets a couple of

days before your intended travel date to

ensure that you secure a seat. During the

Taiwanese holidays, trains and intercity

buses get very busy.

• By Rail

Taiwan’s train network is comprehensive

and runs around the entirety of the island.

There are a variety of options available

when it comes to traveling around Taiwan

by rail with train services offering different

class options to suit your budget and

personal preferences. Most rail services in

Taiwan are managed by the Taiwan Rail

Administration, however there is also the

Taiwan high speed rail network which is a

somewhat similar concept to the famous

Japanese bullet trains. The high speed

trains are slightly more expensive, but

may be preferable if you have only a short

amount of time in the country and are

willing to spend a little extra.

• By Bus

If you are traveling to Taiwan on a strict

budget, then bus travel in and between

cities may be one of the best options

for you. Buses in Taiwan often run for as

little as 50 cents and are clean, efficient

and frequent. Since it is only Taipei and

Kaohsiung that have metro systems in

Taiwan, it is useful to familiarise yourself

with the Taiwanese bus network before

embarking on your trip.

• The Metro Systems

Taipei and Kaohsiung are both home to

extensive metro networks that service all

areas of the respective cities and are a

convenient way of getting around. Upon

arrival in Taiwan, it is useful to get an “Easy”

metrocard that can be purchased from the

machines at the various stations. This works

out cheaper than constantly buying single

tickets for each journey, particularly if you

plan on being in Taiwan for more than a

week or two.

• Taking a Cab

Taxis can be found in plentiful supply in all

large Taiwanese cities and are inexpensive

to use. Since the traffic in Taipei can be

heavy, it is advisable to consider using the

metro as a first priority. However if you find

yourself on the outskirts or out at night and

you prefer a cab, rest assured it will not be

difficult to find one.

Similar to New York cabs, taxis in Taiwan are

yellow and run on meters. Unfortunately

the majority of Taiwanese cab drivers do

not speak English and so you should have

a local, or someone at your hotel write

down the place that you are headed to

in Mandarin before getting in a cab. Uber

also exists in Taiwan, and can often be a

more convenient option.

83 84


CHINA AIRLINES

China Airlines makes sure that families that travel together have a relaxing time during

their journey. For this, they have introduced an exclusive feature called the “Family

Couch” for their long haul flights. In this feature, all three seats are adjusted to create a

bed so that you can cuddle with your kids and have a comfortable journey. It is the only

airline in Asia to have this feature.

If you’re traveling to Taiwan, the first name that comes to your mind is that of China

Airlines. The flag carrier and the largest airline of the Republic of China was established

way back in 1959 and since then has grown leaps and bounds to become one of the largest

airline companies in the world. With over 1400 flights every week to 102 destinations

across the world, this airline has become a formidable competitor in the airspace.

Not only does the airline provide international travel but also has a subsidiary, Mandarin

Airlines, that handles all their domestic flight operations. The aircrafts sport three

classes – Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class. The Business

Class offers the epitome of comfort and opulence in the flight with a perfect amalgam

of traditional and modern elements in the cabins. Plush comforts and stellar services

are not the only things you get when you choose to travel by Business Class but you

also get access to a special Sky Lounge where you can enjoy your favourite beverages

with some snacks while reading a book from the library! In the Premium Economy Class,

you can spread out your legs and lie back comfortably throughout your journey or work

on the dedicated work surface and even take a break by watching some entertainment

on a 12’’ monitor! The Economy Class, on the other hand, sports oriental aesthetics

and gives you a comfortable experience throughout your journey and has all basic

amenities needed to make your flight a comfortable one.

Additionally, the airline has its very own rewards program called “Dynasty”. In this

program, the travellers can accumulate miles for their travels on self-operated flights

of China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines. These miles can then be used to buy tickets,

transfers, VIP Lounge access and what not! Along with this, your cards come with

privileges like extra baggage allowance and discounted ticket rates!

On all their Boeing 777s and Airbus 350s, on-board Wi-Fi services are enabled to

ensure better connectivity for you when up in the air. While this service calls for an

additional charge, the Dynasty members benefit from discounts here as well.

For those who are traveling from select destinations in USA to Asia from China Airlines,

there is a special gift waiting. You can enjoy a free stopover in Honolulu and explore

the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands en-route to Asia! This offer is truly irresistible, isn’t it?

Those who are planning for a getaway to Taipei from California can rejoice too as China

Airlines is offering non-stop direct flights from Ontario International Airport to Taipei!

85 86


For those traveling to the United States, the airline operates private bus services to

transport customers from their residences to airport. This service is available in New

York, New Jersey, North and South Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Not only does the airline provide stellar services but also cares for our planet. China

Airlines has participated in a biofuel program developed by Airbus and Air TOTAL.

This move was made to reduce the carbon footprint of the airline and as a result

The airline has 9 airport lounges across 7 airports in the world and at other destinations,

the services are offered by Skyteam, which is a major airline alliance, and other partner

airlines. For those holding the Dynasty Flyer Emerald and Paragon cards, the Dynasty

Supreme Lounge at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is accessible, which features

suites, shower rooms, dining services and more! For those traveling by Business Class

or holding Dynasty Flyer Gold cards and above, the Dynasty Lounge is available at the

airports where you can relax with some comfortable facilities like meals, computers,

shower rooms and sleeping quarters.

87 88


educe the global greenhouse gas emissions.

Their commitment towards the environment

was proven when their headquarters was

awarded the “Diamond-rated” green building

label by Taiwan’s Ministry of Interior in 2017

for saving 23000 kWh of power across the

year. Moreover, the airline has dedicated four

aircrafts towards Pacific climate observation

and is the first Asian airline to do so. Each of

these aircrafts are fitted with a special probe

that collects data of high-altitude gases during

the flight and this data is then transmitted to

research centers in Europe for studying global

warming and climate change. The addition

of these aircrafts has expanded the area of

coverage to even Australia, New Zealand and

Hawaii.

89 90


Apart from this, the airline has also introduced liveried aircrafts on various routes like

the “Urocissa caerulea” on the Taipei-Vancouver route which sports a Taiwan Blue-

Magpie, which was voted as the national bird of Taiwan. Additionally, they had unveiled

the “A350 Syrmaticus Mikado” and “Buddy Bears” liveried aircrafts to promote

environmental protection. The Buddy Bears aircraft features Taiwan and Japan’s

cartoon bears OhBear, Hero and Kumamon with all on-board supplies too featuring

cute designs based on these bears. This flight flies regularly between Kaohsiung and

Kumamoto and ferries bear lovers. Currently, the airline has seven special livery aircrafts

in service.

In addition to that, China Airlines has also signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration

Against Wildlife Trafficking in 2017 and is the very first airline in Taiwan to do so. The

airline has committed to not use any endangered species in its menus and has even

banned the transportation of shark fins.

Apart from the passenger aircrafts, the company also runs cargo services under the name

of China Airlines Cargo and this fleet of 18 freighters flies to 33 destinations across Asia,

Europe and North America.

Under the leadership of Nuan-Hsuan Ho and Shih-Chien Hsieh, this airline has flourished

over the years and brought several laurels home. Today, the airline stands as the 29th and

10th largest airline in the world in both the passenger and freight segments respectively

for revenue per kilometer. China Airlines has truly set an example for all other airlines by

not only concentrating on business and growth but also on the impact on environment

and has professed sustainable growth which is nothing short of extraordinary.

91 92


TAIWAN ATTRACTIONS

Regardless of your particular travel, Taiwan has something for everyone. Outdoorsy

types will fall in love with the island’s plentiful national parks and scenic hiking

trails, whereas culture vultures will love sampling the unique local delicacies and rubbing

shoulders with the locals at temples and night markets. There are so many things to do in

Taiwan that any travel itinerary here is going to be bursting at the seams.

Ascend to the

Top of Taipei 101

With an appearance that looks as though

it is numerous noodle boxes stacked atop

each other, Taipei 101 is one of Taiwan’s

most recognisable pieces of architecture.

Of course, while traveling here it is essential

to take an obligatory selfie or two in front of

Taipei 101, however from the observatory

at the top of the building, travellers can

enjoy some fairly spectacular views of the

Taiwanese capital.

Admission: NT$600 for a general ticket,

NT$540 for students, free for children

Get Spirited Away in Jiufen

Fans of Studio Ghibli movies and Hayao Miyazaki will certainly want to visit Jiufen -

the location that was Miyazaki’s inspiration for Spirited Away. Even those who are not

familiar with the movie, however, will certainly fall in love with quaint and quirky Jiufen.

Where locals sip tea in colonial tea rooms that overlook the sea, where traditional

lanterns gently dance in the breeze and where you could spend an entire day getting

lost among winding, labyrinth style alleyways, to travel to Jiufen is like stepping back

in time or into a fairytale and this area almost feels like a completely different country

compared to the busy, hectic Taipei.

Admission: Free. Just enjoy wandering the streets and soaking up the ambience.

Traverse Hiking Trails in Taroko National Parks

There are in fact nine national parks scattered throughout the landscape of Taiwan,

each of which is beautiful in its own right, however Taroko National Park offers diverse

landscapes and dramatic scenery where every turn offers a new photo opportunity.

From the perfect coastal panoramas by Qingshui cliff, to the pleasant walking trails that

lead you alongside waterfalls at the Changchun eternal spring shrine, it’s possible to

spend a few days enjoying the scenery at Taroko.

Admission: Free.

93 94


Taiwan

KENTING COAST

RESORT

Beach Front Resort

No.150,Dawan Rd.,Hengchun Town,Pingtung County 946,Taiwan ♦

Tel +88688861501~2 ♦ kentingcoast.com.tw

Looking for a relaxing

beach retreat in Taiwan?

Head over to Kenting Coast

Resort and breathe in the cool

sea breeze. Tucked away in the

lush environment of Kenting

Coast, this resort features exotic

rooms which boast of the finest

of amenities. Each room comes

with its very own balcony where

you can sit back on the chairs and

enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while

marveling at the beautiful views

of the sea.

You could either go for a

comfortable double room or

could even opt for the luxurious

VIP rooms which offer unmatched

luxury and opulence. They have

something for the families too.

Special family rooms are available

so that the family can stay

together during the holidays.

To spend your holidays in leisure,

you could relax in the outdoor

recreational area and sip on some

beverages and munch on some

delicacies.

If you fancy exploring the beautiful

Kenting Coast, the resort provides you

with itineraries for a day trip to different

destinations so that you can have a leisurely

travel experience. They even have special

packages for travelers who wish to have a

complete experience of all their facilities

and Kenting Coast.

The entire resort is situated away from

civilization and gives you the finest vacation

experience possible.

Wish to take a dip in the water? The resort

is situated a few seconds walking distance

from the beach where you can take a dip

in the crystal clear waters of the sea. The

night market of Kenting Coast is at a short

walking distance from the resort.

95 96


EXPLORING TAIWAN’S FOOD CULTURE

Many travellers to Asia cite the food as one of the notable highlights during their

time in the region and Taiwan is no exception to that rule. With a diverse and

flavourful cuisine, foodies and their taste buds are certain to fall in love with the food

culture of Taiwan.

Taiwan for Sweet Tooths

No dinner time is complete without rounding it off with dessert and the Taiwanese know

that all too well – the precise reason why there are so many sweet treats in their cuisine.

Consider ordering up a serving of an A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll. Originating in Yilan,

the ice cream roll is comprised of special sticky peanut candy along with homemade

scoops of taro ice cream, all rolled together neatly in a spring roll. Forget the savoury

spring rolls you are used to. After trying the A-Zhu peanut ice cream roll we are sure

you’ll have a new favourite.

Savoury Classics in Taiwan

For something completely unusual and unique to Taiwan, consider sampling a taste of

the Taiwanese Iron egg. The colour and appearance can seem a little intimidating but

brave and open-minded foodies will be rewarded for their efforts. These “iron eggs”

are essentially chewy, flavoured eggs and are a popular snack in Taiwan. Originating in

the northern town of Danshui, the eggs are boiled, and air dried several times before

spices and flavourings are added. The eggs are available in a variety of flavours – from

garlic to spicy chilli.

When dinner time swings around, slurp up some Mee Sua – thin salted noodles that are

made from wheat flour and served with a rich broth and pig’s intestines. Ask locals to

advise you of their favourite Mee Sua restaurants. The queues at the popular spots are

long but certainly worth the wait. Mee Sua restaurants often have a selection of sauces

available for you to choose from for extra taste – commonly garlic and chilli. To eat like

a local, add a healthy dollop of each, mix it together and enjoy.

97 98


Taiwan

THE GREAT

ROOTS FORESTRY

SPA RESORT

Resort

#79 Chajiao, Sanxia Dist., New Taipei City 237, Taiwan ♦

Tel +886-2-26749228 ♦ dabangan.com.tw

Located in Sanxia District, New Taipei City, only 50 minutes from Taoyuan International

Airport and also Taipei City. The resort covers a 17-hectare site that was formerly the

biggest tea-processing plant in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period. There is a vacation

villa formerly used by the Japanese royal family, as well as gardens, fishponds and forest trails.

The resort is tucked among the only low-elevation primitive tropical rain forest in Taiwan, with

rare century-old tabular root (buttress root) trees.

Veined/mountain figs (Ficus

Nervosa), Ficus Variegata

and tree ferns from the

dinosaur age are among the

nearly 500 species of plants

in the rain forest. The forest

is also home to more than

4,000 varieties of insects and

over 30 varieties of birds,

among them is the Blue-

Winged Pitta – a globally

protected species. These

rare natural wonders wait

along with the healthy and

relaxing essences of the

forest at the resort.

In addition to enjoying the

natural scenery, visitors

can take a soothing and

skin-pampering soak in the

carbonic hot springs at the

resort. Relax at the hot spa

area, which overlooks the

beautiful forests of Sanxia.

The stunning natural setting

contributes to an unrivaled

relaxation experience. In a

world where technology has

allowed stress to become a

constant companion, Great

Roots Forestry Spa Resort

offers a moment’s rest. It is

a place where you see the

world, and even yourself, a

little bit differently. Where

you can find your center,

soothe your body and stir

your imagination, and where

you find the fuel that feeds

your soul.

99 100


SOUTH EAST

ASIA

101 102


PENANG VS GENTING HIGHLANDS

There is much more to traveling in Malaysia than simply venturing around the streets

of the crowded capital of Kuala Lumpur. In fact, outside of the bright lights of

Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Genting are two captivating Malaysian travel destinations that

have soared in popularity in recent years with the Malaysian tourism figures demonstrating

that annual visitors are increasing year on year. With that considered, they are both at a

stark contrast to each other and on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the travel

experience they offer.

On one end of the spectrum, Penang is more traditional and historic, possessing a colonial

past and lots of fascinating history to uncover. Genting on the other hand is an altogether

more modern, cosmopolitan Asian city. A little time spent in both locations is the perfect

choice for your Malaysia itinerary but if your time in the country is limited and you have

to choose between the two, we’ve drawn up the travel highlights for each spot to help

you decide where you should roam based on your personality and specific interests when

you travel.

Penang

Often referred to as being the “pearl of the Orient”, Penang is adored by locals and

tourists alike, especially for its miles and miles of undisturbed sandy white beaches

and its rich local food culture. For a little rest and relaxation, be sure to venture over

to Batu Ferringhi or Tanjung Bungah – both seaside beach resorts where life moves a

little slower and one can enjoy a glass of Malaysian Kopitiam as the sunsets over the

horizon. These two locations are referred to time and again as being among the best

beaches in Penang.

Of course, no visit to the self-proclaimed food capital of Malaysia would be complete

without taking the time to dabble in the local street food delicacies. Take your taste

buds on an adventure to one of the many local hawker’s centers, or the much-loved

Cecil Street Market to try “only in Malaysia” style dishes such as Penang Assam Laksa

(spicy fish noodle soup) or Lor Bak (deep fried pork served with braised sauce). For an

insight into the culture, religion and history of multicultural Penang, be sure to take

the time to visit the many Hindu temples, churches and mosques that are scattered

throughout the city.

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Genting Highlands

Genting Highlands is quite a juxtaposition of a city. For one thing, as its name suggests,

it is located in the Highlands. In other words, Genting is situated atop a picturesque

range of hills that would not look out of place in an Avatar movie. One only has to

venture a short distance out of the city limits to be met with stunning nature, peace and

tranquillity. Genting itself, however, is the exact opposite of peace and tranquillity. In

fact, Genting is everything that you would expect from a metropolitan Asian city and

more.

Enshrouded in a buzz of neon lights, Genting is a place of razzle-dazzle and luxury

resorts. Think the Las Vegas of the East if you will. Filled with entertainment complexes,

amusement parks, quirky themed bars, malls and casinos that are open 24 hours a day,

Genting is the place to come to party.

Arguably you are not going to immerse yourself in the typical Malaysian culture here,

but Genting Highlands can be a fun place to unwind during your travels, or to see how

locals and people from other parts of Asia like to kick back and enjoy life after a stressful

week at the office.

Penang may be a travel paradise for an introvert or a culture vulture, whereas Genting

is perhaps more suited to the night owl traveller. Whatever you like to do when you are

overseas, arguably it is worth visiting as many places as you can in each foreign country

that you venture to in order to gain a “full picture” of the country and its people.

105 106


Malaysia

GRAND ION

DELEMEN HOTEL

Mountain View Hotel

Malaysia

MATAHARI

TOURS & TRAVEL

Adventure Tour Company

Jalan Ion Delemen 1, Genting Highlands, 69000, Pahang Darul Makmur | Malaysia ♦

Tel +603 6433.2200 ♦ iondelemenhotels.com

29 Jalan Dato Koyah, 10000 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia ♦

Tel +6019 4480440 ♦ cyclematahari.com

Visiting Genting Highlands and wish to have a comfortable retreat? Grand Ion

Delemen Hotel is a great option for you. Tucked away in the Titiwangsa Range,

you can relax in luxury in the midst of lush rainforests and marvel at nature’s beauty.

The luxuriously furnished rooms reflect the surroundings of the hotel and boast of huge

windows so that you can see the splendid view outside. For your gastronomical needs,

they have six restaurants and bars which serve both local and international delicacies

along with a choice of cocktails and drinks. The hotel has a fully-equipped gym which is

open throughout the day so that you can keep up with your fitness regime. You could also

take a dip in the heated swimming pool that has a picturesque view of the mountains.

The hotel also hosts both meetings and functions at eight of its meeting rooms and one

ballroom.

Want to see Malaysia from a different perspective? Ride with Matahari Cycle Tours

and see the country at your own pace. You will have the option to stop by for

photos or chatting with the locals whenever you wish; this is your chance to see Malaysia

just the way you wish to. Not only will you get to see the main tourist attractions but also

the off-the-beat locations like tiny village markets and indigenous people’s settlements.

While they have a set collection of tours and itineraries, you can choose to build your very

own itinerary with them and visit those places which you really want to visit. Many of their

tours are easy but a few are even physically challenging in a good way! They also have

special tour options for team building and corporate events. With Matahari Cycle Tours,

you get to discover the essence of Malaysia!

107

108


MALAYSIA ADVENTURE

Home to sprawling megalopolises that boast towering skyscrapers and crowded

streets, idyllic paradisiacal beaches, scenic trekking trails and lush green rainforests,

Malaysia is home to one of the most diverse landscapes in the world and offers plenty of

activities for the intrepid adventurer - regardless of their specific interests. Many travellers

to Malaysia first venture to the busy capital of Kuala Lumpur, but in order to experience

the best of the country’s beauty and nature, it is best to venture a little further afield to the

picturesque regions of Penang and Gopeng.

Go Trekking in Penang National Park

Those who love immersing themselves in nature and the great outdoors will relish the

countless hiking trails scattered throughout the Penang National Park. Here, travellers

can get up close and personal with Turtles in their Natural habitats and see some of

Malaysia’s most breathtaking nature. The trails here offer far more than a brisk walk

through greenery - they transcend past mangrove plantations, ethereal looking lakes

and stunning beaches. It is possible to spend several days here exploring all that the

area has to offer.

Visit the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

No visit to Malaysia is complete without a short stay in the capital of Kuala Lumpur

and the opportunity to marvel upon the Petronas Towers - a structure which has

undoubtedly became an icon of the country.

Stroll Along Penang’s Harmony Street

Malaysia has long been home to a diverse blend of international cultures and that

could not be more evident in the Penang. The city’s “Harmony Street” - situated on

Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling is filled with countless places of worship each built to satisfy

different faiths - from Sikhs to Hindus and Buddhists. It is not unusual to wander along

the lengths of this street during weekends and see that it is jam-packed with devotees.

The Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the Kuan Yin Temple and the Masjid Kapitan Keling

are all open to the public and provide an interesting insight into the multiculturalism of

Malaysia. Between the religious buildings, eateries and tea shops serve up a diverse

international blend of delicacies.

109 110


Visit Gaharu Tea Valley

Situated in Gopeng, the Gaharu Tea Valley has seen an increasing number of tourists

in recent years. Travellers can try the famous “Gaharu” (agarwood) tea, rumoured

to possess healing properties. No doubt a box of fresh Gaharu tea makes a unique

souvenir for those at home. The valley provides an interesting insight into local life as

visitors can watch the plantation in action, or sit out at one of the picturesque viewing

platforms and admire the scenery away from the humid Gopeng jungle.

Malaysia

EXPLORE BALIK

PULAU

Tour Company

145(U-1) MK B, Sg Rusa, 11010, Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia ♦

Tel +60 16 4522100 ♦ explorebalikpulau.com.my

If you’re ever in Balik Pulau in Penang, the best way to discover it would be with

Explore Balik Pulau. Explore Balik Pulau takes you on a journey to discover Penang

like never before with their thorough knowledge about the area. They have some amazing

tours where you can explore green paddy fields, fruits orchards, plantations, farms, fishing

villages, and many others rustic Malaysian scenery in the west of Penang. The seasonal

Penang Durian Appreciation tour is a unique tour that gives you a chance to learn more

and appreciate the king of fruits – Durian. They plan the trips early in a manner where the

guests do not get disturbed with heavy traffic or by even unordered schedule. The group

sizes are kept to just 12 guests so that you can get more personal attention. Explore Balik

Pulau gives you the true taste of Penang, one that you will cherish for a long time.

111

112


THE PHILIPPINES

Nestled in the heart of the Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is a popular travel

destination for those venturing around Southeast Asia, or simply those that wish

to enjoy a little rest and relaxation amid sunnier climes when they travel.

The History of the Philippines

It is believed that the first inhabitants of the Philippines arrived in the region over 67,000

years ago. These first settlers are understood to have been Negrito groups – people

traveling to the region from remote parts of South and Southeast Asia. Throughout the

years, the Philippines has passed through several owners. After being “discovered” by

the Spanish, the Philippines became a Spanish colony in the 15th century and remained

under Spanish rule until 1898 when Spain were defeated in a Spanish-American war.

The Philippines remained a US territory for several decades until finally receiving its

independence in 1946.

The People in the Philippines

The official language of the Philippines is Tagalog; however, English is also widely

spoken. The locals are generally excited to see tourists in their country and will do their

best to help you as much as they are able to during your stay. Filipinos are known for

their excellent hospitality and warm nature and it is likely that every traveller that you

encounter that has explored the region will have a tale or two to tell about how they

befriended friendly Filipinos and enjoyed an all-night karaoke party, or how a family

invited them to eat. The disparity between rich and poor is extreme in this part of the

world. In one part of Manila you will see glitzy high-end bars, whereas in the other,

you will encounter manual laborers struggling to make ends meet. Be sensitive when

traveling here.

113 114


Must See Places in the Philippines

The Philippines is by no means a small region. In fact, there are over 7000 small islands

that make up this country! With that said, it is understandable that it can be difficult to

choose where to explore on a first trip to the Philippines.

Puerto Princessa

In the Palawan region, Puerto Princessa is a town that has been put on the map on

account of the underground river that is located here. The river has been labelled as

one of the seven new world wonders of nature. Though the area is touristy, it is certainly

not every day that you have the opportunity to see a river that flows underground. Aim

to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but don’t let them kill your holiday

spirit.

Palawan

If you are looking for undisturbed natural

beauty reminiscent of a paradise lost that

makes you feel as though you have your

very own tropical island paradise, consider

taking a trip to Palawan. Here, among the

numerous blue lagoons and tiny sandy

white islands, there are many beautiful local

villages and stunning beaches. Palawan

itself is still a fairly large region. For first

timer’s El Nido and Coron are arguably the

most picturesque and rewarding to explore.

The quaint little town of Coron is a nice

place to explore in itself, however it is also

home to numerous dive sites that feature

plentiful, colorful marine life and the

remnants of wreckages from World War II.

If you are a qualified diver, you certainly

want to bump this place to the top of your

Philippines travel list.

Boracay

Boracay, like Puerto Princessa,

is a little touristic, however it

is so charming that it is easily

forgiven. With vibrant nightlife

and plenty of fun and quirky

bars, clubs and restaurants,

Boracay is a great place to kick

back, unwind, and socialise

with other travellers at one

of the many beach or boat

parties that are organised here

virtually every day of the week.

115 116


Philippines

MALAPASCUA

GARDEN RESORT

Luxury Resort

Philippines

THE AVENUE

PLAZA HOTEL

Hotel

Daan Bantayan, Logon Malapascua Island, Cebu Philippines ♦ Tel +63 977 856 1569 ♦

malapascua-garden-resort.com

Magsaysay Avenue, Pilgrim City of Naga, Bicol, Philippines ♦

Tel +63 54 473 9999 / +63 2 250 8088 ♦ theavenueplazahotel.com

Malapascua Garden Resort is situated on the Malapascua Island, one of the

7641 islands in the Philippines. For an island known for its Bounty Beach, coral

gardens and some of the best diving spots in the Philippines, this resort provides a perfect

retreat, where everything else blends into the background. Malapascua Garden Resort is

a family run business which serves vacationers, from all around the world, with the best of

Malapascua. You can experience unmatched opulence in their duplex buildings which are

surrounded by natural tropical gardens. The resort is located a short walk away from the

beach, which ensures that while the guests are always near the beach, they still get the

peace and tranquility of nature while resting. You can relax in the MGR-Bistro and enjoy a

selection of drinks and beverages in the cozy atmosphere. The resort also assists you with

various activities like island walking, boat rides and scuba diving among others. They also

provide massage facilities.

East-Central Philippines’ celebrated

boutique hotel on the banks of

the historic Naga River, 4-star Avenue

Plaza Hotel is ideally located for dining,

entertainment, shopping and convention

venues, as it is near tourist key places

such as the Peñafrancia Basilica, Camsur

Watersports Complex, Mount Isarog

National Park, the 225-year old Seminario

Conciliar de Nueva Caceres, and the Jesse

Robredo Museum.

Located on the business, leisure and

pilgrimage hub of the Philippines’ leading

tier-3 city, the Avenue Plaza Hotel is central

to the city’s government and business

districts, the Naga National Airport, and

the region’s prime universities and colleges.

The Avenue Plaza Hotel is home to

restful suites and rooms, a lifestyle center,

dining and fitness outlets, and venues for

meetings and events with seating capacity

of 2,000. With its advocacy in culture, the

arts and heritage conservation, the hotel

provides guests with curated moments

to experience Bicol heritage hospitality

and to explore cosmopolitan cuisine and

artisanal craft.

The Avenue Plaza Hotel is recognized by

TripAdvisor as Travelers’ Choice Winner

for Best Service, and is a Certificate of

Excellence Hall of Fame awardee. Cebu

Pacific Air’s inflight magazine Smile

conferred the hotel with Best Hotel

for Stress-Free Business Trips, and the

Department of Tourism bestowed the hotel

with the Enterprise Service Excellence for

global competitiveness.

117 118


BORACAY RE-OPENING

The 26th of October this year approaches with much anticipation from the local

people as well as from wanderlusting travellers across the globe. Boracay has been

closed for clean up and refurbishment for almost 6 months so you can understand the

excitement.

Philippines

BORACAY

HAVEN RESORT

Boutique Resort

Station 2, Brgy. Balabag, Malay, Malay, 5600 Aklan ♦ Tel +036 288 5729 ♦

boracayhaven.com.ph

With pristine white sandy beaches and translucent blue waters, it is understandable why

Boracay has frequently been referred to as being one of the world’s top beaches. Tourism

figures in Boracay have been steadily increasing year on year as word escaped about the

island’s beauty. In 2017, Boracay’s revenue from tourism reached a whopping 56 billion

pesos.

Certainly the tourism boost has been positive for Boracay’s economy but it also came with

a price. Environmental Chief Roy Cimatu stated that there were previously issues with

pollution and sewage on the island that needed to be addressed. Boracay was previously

not well equipped to deal with the huge influx of tourists and provide them with the

paradise beach vacation they deserved. As such, the Boracay rehabilitation program was

launched in order to present tourists with a cleaner, more organised Boracay. The roads

were widened to make travel safer and more comfortable, and the beaches and businesses

across the island were revamped. This is excellent news for travellers to the Philippines as

it shows that Boracay is serious about ensuring visitors have the best experience possible.

119

Boracay Haven Resort welcomes you with award-winning guest service and a homely

environment. You can choose to stay in one of its 63 rooms that are elegantly

designed and well-appointed with some amazing facilities.

The facilities combined with their services and prime location make it a convenient and

comfortable retreat for you. You can dine in the two restaurants here – Haven Bistro and

Eden Bar and Restaurant. Do try out their beef tapa with pickled papaya and pair it up

with your favorite cocktails, beers, and wines! Just a few minutes walk from the resort,

you’ll be able to relax in their private beachfront lounge chairs with a beach butler on

standby for all your needs. If you prefer to stay back in the resort, you can take a dip in

the swimming pool or laze on the lounge beds to get that perfect suntan. The resort also

arranges for tours and watersports activities on the island.

120


Philippines

SAVOY HOTEL

BORACAY

Hotel

Newcoast Drive, Boracay Newcoast, Barangay Yapak, Malay, Aklan, Philippines ♦

Tel +63 36 286 2800 / +63 917 828 4495 ♦ savoyhotelboracay.com.ph

Savoy Hotel Boracay is an amazing retreat on the island of Boracay Newcoast. Overlooking

an expansive stretch of a white sandy beach and clear blue waters, this hip and vibrant

hotel offers a unique style with a strong focus on colorful and stylish comfort. Moreover, the

hotel provides a complimentary shuttle service to the White Beach nearby where you can spend

a fun-filled and enjoyable day.

Each room of the hotel is carefully designed

and fitted with every possible amenity so

that you can have a leisurely stay there.

Apart from the plush furnishings and

contemporary decor of the rooms, each

room features its very own private balcony

from where you can get stunning views

of the adjacent golf course. To ensure

that the guests have a comfortable and

pleasurable stay, the hotel has a host of inhouse

attractions. You can spend the day

sitting on the sunbathing lounger with your

favorite book or could dive into the hotel’s

open-air swimming pools. Surrounding

the hotel is the first and only concert

pool arena in the country with pool deck,

cabanas and lounges that’s open to public

for events, parties and concerts. If you wish

to sit in the cabanas, you can grab a glass

of your favorite cocktail from Chambery

Pool Bar and enjoy your time there. The

hotel also has a fitness center and will soon

be opening its very own spa!

A host of dining experiences await you at

Savoy Hotel as well. Head to the Savoy Cafe

and have some delicious contemporary

and modern cuisine here. If you’re ever

hankering for a scrumptious meal, Vienne

Lobby Lounge is open from 6:00 am to

11:00 pm ready to fulfill your cravings. The

hotel also has something for the kids. Every

day there are different activities organized

by the hotel to make sure your kids have an

exciting time.

121 122


THAILAND: THE HOME OF BEAUTIFUL BEACHES

Thailand is a country that has long been renowned for its pristine coastlines, idyllic

islands and miles of undisturbed sandy white beaches. International tourists

have been traveling to Thailand in pursuit of paradise long before Leonardo DiCaprio

introduced its beauty to the masses in “Beach”. Though there is beauty to be uncovered

in all corners of this friendly nation, the island areas of Phuket and Koh Samui are among

the most adored and for good reason.

The Perfect Day in Phuket

If your idea of a perfect vacation is to relax during the day and party during the night then

Yae beach, situated 5km north of Patong, is relatively secluded and quiet. This is a great

place to rent a sunlounger and unwind with a book, before enjoying a sumptuous Pad Thai

at one of the nearby restaurants and venturing back to Patong when the sun sets.

Best Time to Visit Thailand

Possessing a warm, tropical climate, it is possible to visit Thailand all year around. With

that said, the climate does vary depending on the specific season you travel during.

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Thailand is during the months of November

through to April - particularly if you wish to relax and sunbathe on the various beaches.

During this period, the temperatures range between 27 and 32 degrees celcius and the

annual rainfall is at its lowest. The summer months of July to October are also monsoon

season and arguably not the most pleasant time to travel.

The Island Paradise of Phuket

Nestled in the heart of the Andaman Sea, and home to a rugged natural landscape

that boasts both mountain ranges and some of the best beaches in Thailand, it

is understandable as to why Phuket is one of the region’s most popular tourist

destinations. Owing to the ever-growing popularity of Phuket, travellers that enjoy a

peaceful atmosphere and the opportunity to get off the beaten track may worry that

Phuket is a little too hectic for their liking. However since Phuket is home to over 30

beaches, it is easy to find a little slice of paradise here.

Secret Beaches of Phuket

Patong beach and Karon beach are among the most popular beaches in Thailand. They

are home to vibrant nightlife scenes and dozens of crowded bars and eateries though

the former of the two has been known to get a little wild. If partying is not your cup of

tea, venture to the lesser known secluded beaches of the island. Nestled away from

the crowds, the beaches of Ao Sane and Ao Yonn are the picture perfect depiction of

a tropical paradise with low hanging palms, groves of tropical almond trees and quaint

beachside villages.

123 124


Koh Samui

On the Eastern coast of Thailand, a short boat ride away from Surat Thani, Koh Samui

is the country’s second largest island. Here, Chaweng beach is the main tourist hotspot

and can be one of the busiest parts of the island. At any given time of the day, this

7km stretch can be seen filled with sunkissed travellers participating in watersports or

enjoying a morning jog along the sea. One should not be put off by the popularity

of this beach though, it is still one of the prettiest on the island, and arguably in all of

Thailand.

Those hoping to experience a little more culture while in Thailand can venture to Bo

Phut beach, home to an old traditional fisherman’s village and a little more peaceful

than the main tourist strip.

Thailand

SIBAJA PALMS

SUNSET BEACH

RESORT

Beach Front Resort

Koh Samui – Surat Thani, Thailand ♦ Tel +66 0 812 706 872 ♦ sibajapalmssamui.com

Thailand Beach Activities

The more popular beaches in Thailand and its islands are often home to a host of activities

to keep you occupied and active during your time in the self proclaimed “land of smiles”.

In Phuket alone, travellers can try everything - from trying their hand at kitesurfing and

wakeboarding classes, to trying sea kayaking around Phang Nga Bay.

125

the tropical island Koh

“Visiting

Samui in the Gulf of Thailand and

looking for a luxurious getaway? Sibaja Palms

Sunset Beach Resort, the winner of Beach

Front Resort of the Year 2018 in Thailand, is

the answer to your needs!” Located at the

Five Island Beach on the romantic, West

Coast of the island, this Resort not only gives

you the chance to have a lavish stay but also

puts you in the midst of the best unspoiled

natural surroundings of Koh Samui.

Sibaja Palms offers 2 beautifully furnished

spacious luxury VILLAS (each 120 m2) and 4

spacious luxury APARTMENTS (each 40 m2).

Situated around a pool with jacuzzi and

access to a private beach area, with lounge

decks, umbrellas and outside shower.

This quiet area with wonderful nature

features and the best sunsets on the island is

the place to be for an unforgettable, relaxing

holiday

The Dutch owners, who run and manage

the Resort with over 10 years experience,

and their staff are looking forward to

welcoming you.

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Luxury Society Asia

WANIDA TARDIVEL

What type of luxury tourism would you

say is most popular? For example, family

trips, romantic/wedding holidays, spa &

wellness or is it something else entirely?

Actually all of them

European & US: Wellness

Asia: Romantic /wedding and family and

wellness (beauty)

Thailand isn’t your only area of expertise,

you also offer an insight into Singapore,

Hong Kong & Vietnam. Of these three

which is you favourite & why?

Singapore & Hong Kong because they are

similar to Thailand/Bangkok, we do love

similar things, fast pace, modern life with

new technology, moving and happening all

the time.

Finally, do you have any exciting projects

planned for Luxury Society Asia?

We will have new luxury business partners to

join exposure, and enlarge our networking

group included joint venture luxury events

coming up in 2018/2019

Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself

Wanida Tardivel, Managing Director -

Luxury Society Asia

With extensive experience in marketing,

public relations, business development and

operations for five-star hotels, more than

20 years of experience in marketing luxury

hotels and a depth of operating knowledge

in Thailand and Asia. Wanida was also

instrumental in establishing business &

leisure clubs including the Luxury Club,

Thailand Professionals Club.

What is the inspiration behind Luxury

Society Asia?

We started an offline networking group

named Thailand Professionals in 2001,

aimed at promoting and strengthening

business relationships among sophisticated

and affluent professionals in Thailand and

Asia, through our mutual interest in all

things luxurious.

2012 we changed the name of group to be

Luxury Society Asia and launched a web

portal to be our communications tool.

Today, “Asia’s One Stop Luxury Business

& Leisure Solutions” attracts professionals

from diverse business backgrounds

including the financial and banking sector,

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company owners, executives, senior

management, celebrities, local influencers,

journalists, and bloggers.

You focus a lot on global high-end

brands, but are there any Thai brands

that our readers should keep an eye out

for?

Thai designer brands, i.e. fashion, jewelry

and others

Have you noticed any trends or changes

in the luxury travel market? Especially

considering the rise of digital media

Yes, our clients and partners whether

associated to luxury tourism, hospitality or

consumer goods for example recognize the

need and numerous opportunities to use

digital to enhance their clients relationship,

drive business and build brand awareness

and most importantly loyalty.

Information is today available on a variety

of devices and available to readers from

everywhere. Prices, details, offers of luxury

companies are made available easily and it

takes only a few clicks to find data, get on

chats, share, or compare products before

purchasing online.

Many of our clients are seeking for a

compelling mobile presence, engage and

influence with new consumers through

targeted use of social media which is one

of the most important platforms used by

brands to create value. Recurrent messages

and tailor made campaigns are important

to pass messages through and social media

is a fantastic tool to target audiences.

For Luxury Travellers visiting Thailand,

where would you recommend staying?

There are lots of choices for various

destinations. My favourites are

– Bangkok, Sukhothai Bangkok

– Samui, Conrad

– Phuket, Rosewood

– Koh Kood, Soneva Kiri

– Chiang Mai, Four Seasons

– Chiang Rai, Four Seasons Tented Camp


Thailand

KOH JUM

BEACH VILLAS

The Outstanding Location Award

Thailand

SEAnery

BEACH RESORT

Beach Front Boutique Resort

320/29 M. 3, T. Koh Sriboya, Nua Klong, Krabi 81130, Thailand ♦

Tel +66 86 184 0505 ♦ kohjumbeachvillas.com

100/2 Moo 1 Phongprasan, Bang Saphan District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77140, Thailand ♦

Tel +66 032 691352-5 / +66 09 8828 9968 ♦ seanerybeach.com

Looking for a quick getaway in Thailand? Head over to Koh Jum Beach Villas and

enjoy luxury in the midst of nature. Situated next to the beach, this resort gives

you serene views of the sea and the Phi Phi National Marine Park. Their nineteen villas

come in all shapes and sizes and you can choose to stay in a cozy one bedroom villa or

even a lavish five bedroom one! The villas boast of luxurious features like private pools

too. Throughout your stay, you will be able to experience the true tranquility of nature by

walking through the lush tropical gardens and jungle in the resort! You could also explore

the organic garden and sample some fine vegetables and fruits with the chefs. You will

also have complete access to seven hundred meters of beach! The resort features a bar

and a restaurant as well.

Situated right on the beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan, SEAnery Beach Resort gives

you a chance to enjoy life away from busy cities. Tucked away in a private natural

environment, you can choose among their beachfront and beach pool villas, and luxury

sea view-hill suites. Each of their accommodations comes with an array of modern

amenities to ensure that you have a comfortable stay. The villas come with their own

private pools while there is a huge common pool for all to enjoy as well! You could sit back

on the sunbathing beds on the private beach and enjoy the serene views of the infinite

blue or could even go kayaking in the waters. For your gastronomic indulgences, you

could head over to The SEA Restaurant and devour a vast selection of healthy foods and

beverages. You could even sip your favorite beverages at the pool bar. They can arrange

tours and activities for you during your stay.

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ADVENTURE IN THAILAND

A

country known for its beautiful beaches, friendly locals and opulent Buddhist

temples, Thailand is a popular travel destination for culture vultures or those

looking for a little rest and relaxation during their vacation. There is another demographic,

however, that is perfectly suited to the land of smiles and that is the adrenaline junkie.

Canoeing

If you have the opportunity to visit Phuket, consider taking a day trip to the nearby

Khao Sok National Park. With a man-made lake, gigantic limestone rock formations

that jut out of the sea, and the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, the national

park is a place of immense beauty. You could spend days here treading the various

hiking trails and soaking up the scenery. For the adrenaline junkies, however, this is a

great place to canoe, or try inland rafting at the Cheow Lan lake.

Kayaking

Not far from the crowded beaches of

Phuket, await isolated turquoise lagoons,

an intricate network of caves just waiting

to be explored and secluded beaches

perfect for a night’s camping beneath the

stars. The only caveat to reaching these

beautiful locations? They are accessible

only by kayaks. From picturesque lakes

to hidden lagoons, Thailand is home to a

number of idyllic spots that are perfect for

exploring by kayak.

The location close to Phuket is Phang

Nga Bay, a relatively undiscovered spot

that leads kayakers through the emerald

waters of the Andaman Coast. En route,

as travellers paddle through the waters,

they will pass by rainforests and local

wildlife - including monkeys, birds and

lizards. A number of tour operators in

the area offer excursions into the waters

making the area accessible even for first

time kayakers.

Those who want to avoid the tourist

crowds can kayak independently or hire a

private guide, and opt to venture towards

the off the beaten path island of Koh Yao

Noi - a peaceful and tranquil island in the

middle of the bay.

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Cycling

Aside from the motorbikes and vespas that

narrowly whizz past you while traveling

in South East Asia, a popular way to get

around Thailand is via bicycles. A number

of tour operators offer “Thailand by bike”

style tours. However with a little research

and preparation, what’s to stop you from

doing the same trip independently?

Essentially you could travel pretty much

the entire length of Thailand via bicycle

if you so wished. However, there are

some areas that are more scenic and

pleasant than others. Keen cyclists will

enjoy the challenge presented to them by

the Mae Hong Son hills loop. Departing

from Chiang Mai, this route leads cyclists

through the highest mountain peaks in

Thailand and to the peak of Doi Inthanon

- Thailand’s highest mountain.

A more pleasant and simple introductory

trail is perhaps the Khao Yai wine trail,

where Cyclists can enjoy a predominantly

flat terrain, picturesque vineyards and a

tipple or two of fresh local wine along the

way.

Located on the paradisiacal

island of Koh Samui, Island

Gem Tours gives you a chance

to experience the beauty of the

island intimately. You can choose

to have a gourmet picnic on a

secluded beach, explore the

sightseeing spots or even try

out the most unique and finest

alcoholic drinks on the island. They

even have a special wellness tour

for those looking to get healed

by traditional Thai medicines and

also experience spiritual calmness.

If you wish to head out into the

blue with your close ones, you

could even charter a speedboat.

They have something for the

cruise passengers as well; they

have created private itineraries

with hand-picked locations so that

you can make the most of your

stopover at Koh Samui! Each tour

is carefully planned by them so

that you can get the best and most

unique experiences on the island.

Thailand

ISLAND GEM

TOURS

Tour Company

106/7 Moo 4 Maenam Koh Samui Suratthani 84330, Thailand ♦ Tel +66846476185 ♦

islandgemtours.com

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134


Tim

TIM’S THAILAND

Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from the state of Wisconsin

in the USA. I first visited Thailand in 1997

and have lived in Khon Kaen since 2007.

I make my living by a mix of travel writing

and organizing tours in Thailand’s seldomvisited

Isan region.

What made you decide to settle in

Thailand, why Isan in particular?

After traveling in Thailand a few times I

decided to have a different kind of travel

experience by staying in one place for

a year. That year turned into two, then

three… Now I have no intention of leaving.

I chose to live in Isan because it’s the region

of Thailand that I enjoyed most the when

traveling.

Isan isn’t necessarily top on most people

lists of places to visit Thailand, why do

you think that is?

The idea that Thailand is overrun with

tourists is a widely believed myth. But the

vast majority of visitors go to the same few

places leaving the rest unspoiled. I think

the prevalence of the standard Bangkok-

Chiang Mai-and-a-beach itinerary mostly

boils down to two things – people on their

first trip to Thailand want to see the things

they’ve seen in pictures and videos, and

they want to go places where they can get

by in English. Isan doesn’t offer either of

these.

Any specific tours you’d recommend

travellers to do when in the area?

People who come to Isan are generally

looking to experience local life –

handicrafts, food, temples, markets, and

the like .Beyond delving into the local

culture, two Isan highlights are Khmer ruins

and traveling along the Mekong River. Isan

Explorer’s Absolute Isan tour (https://www.

isanexplorer.com/absolute-isan.html) gives

visitors some of all three.

Have you noticed any recent trends or

changes in Tourism to Thailand?

Elephant tourism in Thailand has improved

in the past couple of years. There are still

a lot of terrible, abusive elephant camps

out there, but the trend now is to transition

from elephant trekking to people walking

and swimming with elephants. This doesn’t

solve all the problems with elephant

tourism, but it’s a good first step.

Also, there’s less off-the-beaten-path travel

by foreigners in Thailand than there was

two decades ago. The opening up of travel

in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar means

there is much more to see on a SE Asia

trip without having to rough it. On the

other hand, the increase in Thais traveling

around their own country means that there

are more and better facilities in the lessvisited

parts of Thailand.

What would you say is the best way to

get around the country?

It’s easy to travel region to region in

Thailand by bus, train, and plane. But to

explore an area in depth – visiting villages,

historic sites, and scenic sites – you usually

need a car.

Outside of Isan, what is your favourite

place & why?

I love Si Satchanalai. The ruins themselves

are a little less captivating than nearby

Sukhothai, but the setting is far more

beautiful and peaceful.

Thailand is famous for its food, what is

your favourite dish?

I live in Isan, but my favorite Thai food is

Khao Soi, from Northern Thailand.

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Thailand

EKMAN GARDEN

Affordable Resort

39/2 Moo 5 SaoPao Sichon Nakhon Si Thammarat 80340, Thailand ♦

Tel +3081 958 2493 ♦ ekmangardenresort.business.site

137

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in

Sichon, there is no better place to reside

at than Ekman Garden, the affordable family

friendly resort. They’ve got 13 rooms and

suites that are well-furnished to ensure that

you can have a comfortable stay. The resort

is itself tucked away in lush garden premises

where you can stroll around or simply sit back

and enjoy the views and tranquility of the

area. For your gastronomic requirements, they

have a restaurant that serves both Thai and

European cuisines made to perfection. If you

wish to relax during the day, you can take a

dip in the swimming pool in the midst of the

gardens. The hotel also has a conference room

where corporates can hold their meetings

or conferences. You can also celebrate your

special wedding day here at the resort with

special decorations and cozy ambience in the

party room.

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Chiang Mai

Population: 131,091

How to Get in

• Plane

• Train

• Bus

Get Around

• Taxi

• Motorbike, Vespa or

Car

• Bicycle

• Songthaew (Passenger

Vehicle used as a share

taxi or bus)

• Tuk Tuk

Attractions & Sights

• Elephants

• Wat Phrathat Doi

Suthep

• Bua Tong Waterfalls

• Wat Chedi Luang

Things to do

• Rafting

• Shop at the Night

Market

• Muay Thai

• Motorcycle Touring

Find out more - http://

en.visit-hokkaido.jp/

An ancient capital nestled at the

foothills of the Himalayas, Chiang

Mai is perfect for those interested in

history, culture & wildlife

Thailand

PURI PUNN

Thailand Design Hotel

Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand ♦ Tel +66 53 244 567 ♦ puripunn.com

Tucked away in a secluded

region in Chiang Mai in

Thailand, the Puripunn Baby

Grand Boutique Hotel is the

perfect getaway for those looking

to move away from the hullabaloo

of the city life. The elegantly

furnished hotel is with traditional

Lanna designs and contemporary

colonial styles to give a retro-yetstylish

look. You can choose your

room based on your preference of

luxury and can enjoy their warm

hospitality throughout your stay.

Each room comes with plush

furnishings and is equipped with

the most modern amenities. You

will get to devour authentic Thai-

Lanna dishes at Punna, the inhouse

restaurant during your stay

along with a traditional breakfast

and high-tea (advance reservation

for high-tea). You could also enjoy

some fine drinks after taking a dip

in the swimming pool at the Pool

Lounge. You can pamper yourself

at SALA Spa with some soothing

massages. The hotel also has

special packages for honeymoons.

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140


THE ENDURING BEAUTY OF BALI

According to TripAdvisor reviews, Bali is considered as being the number one best

travel destination in the world - an accolade that certainly doesn’t come easy.

Though tourism in Bali has certainly had its ups and downs over the years, it is still a major

bucket list destination for many wanderlusting adventurers.

So why is it that even though Bali is no longer a new or undiscovered destination, its

visitors numbers increase every year and do not falter? How has Bali sustained its number

of tourists when the number of visitors to nearby “popular” spots of India and Thailand

have seen substantial declines? In 2017, it was reported that Bali saw a record number of

5.5 million international visitors and we have a couple of ideas as to why that could be.

Bali Offers Affordable Luxury

Lets face it. All of us would love to rent spacious villas that overlook our private infinity

pools and miles of sprawling rice paddies as far as the eye can see when we travel but

the unfortunate reality is that our budget often does not allow for that. The exception

to that rule however is Bali.

In this tropical Indonesian paradise, travellers can rent out entire luxury villa complexes

and even hire their own chefs and masseuses for their time on the Indonesian island

for prices equal to or lower than what they could rent a hotel room for in most western

nations.

Indeed, it isn’t just the accommodation that is low cost. Travellers heading to Bali

from various cities in Asia and Australia can take flights for less than $100, meals can

be enjoyed for less than $2 and public transport costs less than $0.50. Few other

destinations are so budget friendly.

Plentiful Activities

Many people associate the idea of traveling

to Bali with lazing on a beach or sipping

cocktails from a bamboo shack. In fact,

there are a diverse range of activities to

enjoy in Bali. The island boasts hot springs,

hiking trails and quaint cultural villages such

as the fishing village at Pemuteran.

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The Beaches

Though there is certainly more to Bali than simply its beaches, we confess that they

are absolutely one of the islands major draws. With miles upon miles of undisturbed

coastline, each of the island’s beaches has its own quirky personality and a different

draw. From the popular Kuta-Seminyak where travellers can try their hand at various

watersports and other adrenaline pumping activities, to some of the quieter beaches

that are perfect for relaxing and reflecting - such as Gunung Payung beach or the Yeh

Leh mystery boulder beach.

A Diverse International

Community

After word got out about the beauty

of Bali, people from across the world

ventured to the island to see it for

themselves. Many of these people

relocated to the island, often opening up

restaurants and businesses in the region.

With the rise of Digital Nomads and

people opting to work remotely, there

is a consistent flow of people deciding

to base themselves in and around Bali.

This makes for a unique culture where

the warm-hearted Balinese live among

people from all corners of the globe,

and where first time or solo travellers

can comfortably travel to Bali and know

they will be greeted with plenty of likeminded

peers and home comforts.

The Food

Balinese food is rich and flavourful. Arguably

the best thing about the traditional dishes

served up here is the fact that they utilise

high quality, fresh produce that are sourced

locally - fresh fish from Balinese waters and

freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Sate

lembat (the Balinese answer to Satay) is a

great quick street food eat, yet the main

courses (often curries or meat based dishes)

will capture your heart at the first mouthful.

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Country Indonesia

NAME SUN SUKO OF

HOTEL/TOUR

RETREAT

Boutique

Award

Resort

Jalan Seririt – Gilimanuk, Gang Sahadewa , Pemuteran, North West – Bali 81155 ♦

Tel +62 82 413 39994 ♦ sunsukoretreat.com

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

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

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 combination you can keep of up the with amazing your

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

fashion one of boutiques. Bali’s best The diving sophisticated and snorkeling rooms spots. and suites have elegantly done décor and

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

Each of the 10 tastefully furnished rooms and suites at Sun Suko Boutique Retreat tells a

that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses come with a butler

different story and the individual design of each of these reflects the love and attention to

and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to

detail

shopping

that’s

places.

gone in by the designer. The warm and welcoming atmosphere at the retreat

will put you directly into a relaxed holiday mood. Sun Suko´s in-house restaurant is ensuring

high quality, freshness and a great variety of healthy food. Give yourself a treat at the Spa

or refresh yourself by hopping into the pool. A perfect place to escape from the hectic

everyday life and to experience a great personalized service.

Image by: Ardhy Sapanca

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146


Indonesia

ASTAGINA

RESORT

Villa Resort

Combining the amenities of the best 4-star

resorts with the convenience and exclusivity of

a private villa, they are one of the finest Legian

Beach hotels for couple getaways, family

holidays, leisure travelers and business guests

who demand the best.

Jalan Werkudara No. 8, Legian, Bali - Indonesia ♦ Tel +62 361 4741000 ♦

astaginaresort.com

A

hidden escape in the midst

of Legian, Bali Island. A

garden resort w alking distance

from the beach in the heart of

Legian Bali Astagina Resort

Villa & Spa merges a modern,

minimalist design with an

atmosphere of tropical relaxation

and revitalization in a trendy

and eco-friendly silhouette. The

central location of the resort also

makes the access to airport easy.

It is conveniently situated at a

short distance from Seminyak,

Denpasar and Nusa Dua.

The resort boasts 61 guest rooms

where you can choose from

deluxe rooms, suites and even

family rooms that are specially

designed for families. The resort

features 12 swanky villas where

you can experience utmost

leisure and opulence. The villas

are nestled in a botanical garden,

which provides both tranquility

and a cozy environment with

an abundance of natural

surroundings.

Expect unforgettable experiences at the resort hotel on the beach, which

features a unique vertical garden, exquisite dining, a fabulous outdoor pool

and pool bar. You could also go to the Anjali Spa and get treated with

therapeutic massages at the hands of experienced masseuses to heal your

mind, body, and soul. To help you make the most of your visit to the garden

resort and villa in Legian, Bali, they even feature an exceptional collection

of affordable deals and accommodation specials.

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Indonesia

BONDALEM

BEACH CLUB

The Outstanding Location Award

Bondalem, Tejakula, Buleleng Regency, Bali 81173, Indonesia ♦

Tel +62 812-3788-8444 ♦ bondalembeachclub.com

North Bali beachfront resort Bondalem Beach Club nestled in a traditional Bali village

right on the black-sand beach with a coral reef a few steps from your bungalow.

Bondalem Beach Club – offers a unique and

relaxing atmosphere. Observe and enjoy

the experience of authentic life in north

Bali, make trips to local attractions, take

part in ceremonies and rituals conducted

here daily. If you are looking for a place to

relax, to spend a memorable vacation with

your family or searching for a yoga & fitness

area to conduct training – Bondalem Beach

Club would be able to provide you with the

highest service, maximum comfort, friendly

staff and reasonable prices.

Accommodation types:

Family Bungalows, Double Rooms

Facilities:

2 swimming pools, fruit garden,

fitness and yoga area for group

tours, restaurant serving indonesian,

european and vegetarian dishes, bar,

SPA, diving & snorkeling facilities

Excursions:

dolphin tours, waterfalls, temples,

hot springs, art galleries

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Nyaungshwe | Myanmar

How to Get in

• Plane

• Train

• Bus

Get Around

• On Foot

• Motorbike rental

• Taxi

Attractions & Sights

• Inle Lake

• Phaungdawoo Pagoda

• Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery

• Coffee & Tea Tours

Things to do

• Hot Air Balloon

• Food Tours

• Horseback Riding

• Spa’s

Find out more - https://

www.go-myanmar.com/

nyaung_shwe-yawnghwe

A hidden gem and perfect base to

explore Myanmar’s finest tourist

attraction, Inle Lake

Myanmar

ANN HERITAGE

LODGE

Lodge

Myaenigone Village,Inly Lake , Nyaung Shwe Township, Southern Shan State, Myanmar ♦

Tel +09 400053573 ♦ annheritagelodge.com

Ann Heritage Lodge serves as a one stop destination for business and leisure

travelers visiting Taunggyi. Located at the edge of the Inle Lake, this place

provides a perfect getaway in a tranquil environment. Its convenient location renders the

guests with easy access to the cities must-see destinations. The spacious rooms provide

basic amenities such as hot and cold water, a mini bar and a safe box. They also provide

car and boat rental services so that you can explore the region at your pace. Moreover,

the lodge has a pool bar, restaurant and a cave spa that exude a Burmese vibe fused with

a western one. You can simply sit back and enjoy the serene lake views throughout your

stay here. If swimming or fitness are of your interest, they have facilities for them as well.

Ann Heritage Lodge gives you a chance to experience Burma like never before.

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152


Vietnam

ASIANA LINK

Tour Company

Cambodia

SOL BEACH

RESORT

The Outstanding

Location Award

29A Dong Khoi St., Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam ♦ Tel +84 28 39141080 ♦

asianalink.com

Saracen Bay, Koh Rong Sanloem, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia ♦

Tel +855 (0)31 66 77 88 6 / +855 34 935 108 ♦ solbeach.com

Asiana Link gives you a

chance to experience

Vietnam like never before.

From the historic cities of Ho

Chi Minh City and Hanoi to

quieter places like Buon Me

Thuot and Da Lat, they cover

it all. You have the option to

choose the type of tour based

on your requirements; you may

choose to go for adventure,

classic or even family tours.

This ensures that you can get

the exact experience that you

are looking for. The tours are

of varying lengths so you can

choose a short day tour or

could even go for a long 2 week

expedition! Their well-trained

and professional staff leaves

no stone unturned during your

tour to make sure that you have

a great experience. If you have

some special requirements

like honeymoons, they create

unique packages for you too!

They also have tours to Laos,

Cambodia and Myanmar.

Tucked away on the beautiful island of Koh Rong Samloem, Sol Beach Resort gives

you a chance to escape the city life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of

nature. Their villas are tastefully designed and furnished in the traditional Khmer-style to

give you the true Cambodian experience. With every possible modern amenity at your

disposal, you are guaranteed a luxurious stay in this paradise. Its location by the beach

gives you the opportunity to take in the serene views of the infinite blue. To tantalize your

taste buds, you can head over to their restaurant, which is located right on the beach,

and enjoy local and western cuisines along with fresh juices or your favorite liquors! What

better place can there be to relax and unwind with some rejuvenating treatments than a

spa right on the beach? You can choose between a private spa and a massage on the

beach. Sol Beach Resort provides a stay that is truly soothing for your soul.

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SOUTH ASIA

Image by: Martin Jernberg

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Bhutan

Bhutan – The Land of the Thunder Dragon is a serene

country which is also known as the last Shangri-La

on Earth. Also known as The Land Of Happiness,

Bhutan measures its progress through Gross National

Happiness (GNH), which truly makes it a lovely country

to visit and stay. Locked between India and Tibet, this

country has an abundance of natural attractions for the

discerning traveler. Surreal views of hills shrouded in

clouds await you on your visit to Bhutan. Prepare to be

astounded by the natural wonders of this country which

has 10 national parks, each of which is connected via

Biological Corridors.

The capital, Thimphu, is the main city in the country and houses over 100,000 residents.

If you’re looking to see the modern side of Bhutan, Thimphu is the place you should

head to. It is dotted with cafes, shopping centers, and restaurants but it is still a peaceful

destination without any sort of hustle-bustle. Do visit it during the months of September

or October when the four-day long Tsechu Festival is held, where you’ll get to see

various mask dances in the sprawling of the Tashichho Dzong. Some of the attractions

of Thimphu are Semtokha Dzong, National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma

Statue, Druk Wangyal Chortens and Dochhula Pass, which gives you spectacular views

of the Himalayas.

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Punakha is yet another amazing city

to visit. It used to be the capital of the

country until 1907. Here, you can marvel

at the beauty of the Punakha Dzong,

which is the second oldest and second

largest Dzong in the country. This

beautiful valley is extremely welcoming

with its pleasant climate and warm and

friendly people.

Paro Valley is yet another beautiful

place that you must visit in Bhutan. The

entire valley is covered in lush green

vegetation and has over 155 temples

and monasteries which date back to the

The sheer number of places worth

visiting in Bhutan are difficult to list down

and even tougher to describe; they can

only be experienced. Apart from these

destinations, there are many activities

you can indulge in during your time

in the country. If you’re an adventure

junkie, Bhutan has some fast-flowing

rivers where you can go for rafting or

kayaking. If you wish to explore the

beauty of the country at your own pace,

you could go mountain biking and see

it from a totally different perspective.

With plenty of hilly regions, trekking

is an activity you should definitely do

when visiting Bhutan. Bird and animal

lovers have lots to look forward to in the

national parks of the country which have

an abundance of wildlife. Whatever your

tastes may be, whatever you may wish

to see, Bhutan has something to offer to

everyone. Most importantly, this place

takes you one step closer to peace and

happiness and makes you want to revisit

all those places once again.

14th century. It is also the first place that you might see on your visit to Bhutan as it is

the only city with an international airport in the country. When in Paro, do not miss out

on visiting one of the most stunning places in the country, The Tiger’s Nest Temple,

locally called Taktsang Lhakhang, which is built on a cliff face 900 meters above the

Paro Valley. It is indeed a spectacle to watch and it can be reached by a short trek. This

is one place you simply cannot miss when visiting Bhutan.

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BANGLADESH | THE ONE TO WATCH

Bangladesh is emerging on the world travel scene as an up and coming travel

destination for those who like to venture off the beaten track and experience new

and fascinating cultures. Neighbouring India has been a popular travel destination for

decades but for those who want to traverse a land where they are likely to have beautiful

sites and temples entirely to themselves and bump into very few other adventurers,

Bangladesh is the perfect alternative option.

With miles and miles of lush green countryside, rainforests, and a diverse network of

rivers, Bangladesh is home to some of Asia’s most beautiful natural attractions, in addition

to its most fascinating cities.

Bangladesh Highlights

See Tigers in Their Natural Habitat

The mangrove forests of the Sundarbans National Park that lies at the India-Bangladesh

border is a wonderful place to spot wild Bengal tigers in their natural habitat in addition

to witnessing the majestic beauty of other endangered species in the region. A lot of the

wildlife present in Bangladesh is unique to this part of the world.

Take a River Tour

Bangladesh is comprised of an intricate network of rivers and to this day, river travel is one

of the preferred ways to get around the country. It is estimated that Bangladesh is home to

more varieties of boats than any other country in the world. The famous Bangladesh paddle

boat steamer “The Rocket” may not be the fastest way to get around, but is a pleasant way

to travel between cities while observing the country’s scenery and sipping a cup of locally

adored seven colour tea.

Witness the Chaos of Dhaka

Of course, no trip to Bangladesh would be complete without exploring the chaotic, crowded

capital city of Dhaka. Though they are not so accustomed to seeing international tourists,

Bangladeshi people are among the friendliest in the world and will do their best to assist

you during your time in their country. Dhaka is also a food lovers paradise, with low cost

local restaurants serving up diverse and flavourful dishes similar to those offered by their

Indian neighbours - from roti to spicy curries and refreshing chai tea.

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Bangladesh

HOLIDAY XPRESS

Affordable Hotel

Askuna Road, Uttara, Dhaka-1230 Bangladesh ♦ Tel +88 02 8957232 ♦ holidayxpress.asia

Located right at the center of Dhaka, Holiday Xpress Hotel gives you easy access

to major parts of the city, including the international airport. If you’re traveling for

business, the location makes it very convenient for you to reach the business centers.

Each guest room is equipped with modern amenities and the hotel also has facilities

like conference rooms and a business center for your business related activities. For your

gastronomic requirements, the hotel has a dedicated restaurant and a cafe bar where you

can feast on some delicious preparations. If you wish to keep up with your fitness, the

hotel has a fitness center too. You could take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool and view

the Dhaka cityscape spread out in front of you. The hotel also has money exchange, rent

a car and other services to make your trip comfortable and hassle-free.

Image by: Al Amin Khan

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Bangladesh

HOTEL GRACE 21

Boutique Hotel

House #1 & 3, Road #21, Nikunja 2, Dhaka-1229, Bangladesh ♦

Tel +880 17 0070 7724 ♦ hotelgrace21.com

For your gastronomic requirements, the La Gracia

Restaurant is a great place to have breakfast,

lunch and dinner. You can choose between a

la carte and buffet options here and can enjoy

some amazing continental dishes along with

Thai and Indian cuisines throughout the day.

The restaurant itself is decorated royally and

furnished to match the decor; this only amplifies

the whole dining experience. If you wish to grab

a cup of coffee or enjoy some light snacks or wish

to have a meeting, Grace Cafe, the coffee shop

of the hotel in the lobby area is open 24x7 to

serve you. This is the one place in the hotel that

is always bustling with activity.

Situated in the capital

of Bangladesh, Dhaka,

Hotel Grace 21 offers luxurious

accommodation in the vicinity

of the international airport.

Conveniently located in

Nikunja 2, the hotel gives

you easy access to business,

residential and recreational

areas. Whether you’re looking

for a simple room for yourself

or a double deluxe room,

you can choose your form of

luxury according to your taste

and preferences. All rooms

come with stocked mini-bars,

in-room safes and 24-hour inroom

dining options. Other

five-star facilities include

airport pick-up and drop off

services in luxurious vehicles.

This business boutique hotel not only

offers its 5-star services to its customers

but has also opened its doors for corporate

meetings. Companies can host up to 25

people for dinners and other events at

their special meeting area called Corporate

Point. This smart hotel is truly a heaven for

every business traveler visiting Dhaka.

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INDIA TOP FIVE THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Loud, vibrant, chaotic and an attack on all of the senses. These are just a few of

the terms commonly used to describe incredible India. A bucket list destination

for many, India possesses a unique culture that is incredibly rewarding for the openminded

adventurer to uncover. It can be difficult to describe India, or to suggest

the definitive list of the “best” things to see and do in the country since the nation

is so diverse. From the beaches of Goa, to the quaint backwaters of Kerala and

the bustling megacities of Delhi and Mumbai, no two regions of India are the same.

For the first time visitor to the region, the below list highlights some of the most rewarding

experiences to cross off your India exploration list while you’re on your trip

The Taj Mahal, Agra

Of course, no India travel bucket list would be complete without the mighty Taj Mahal.

Often referred to as being the most beautiful building in the world, the Taj stands out

among Agra’s haze like a beautiful mirage. The ornately carved archways, the stunning

white marble pillars, and the lush green gardens on the banks of the Yamuna river are

guaranteed to take the breath away from even the most hard-to-please travelers.

The Taj is India’s most famous monument and was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his

beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal who passed away during childbirth. It is not a temple

or a palace, but a mausoleum. The Taj took years, and the assistance of 20,000 workers to

build. Sadly, following its completion, the Shah was overthrown by his son, who sentenced

him to living out the rest of his life in jail while gazing at his beloved creation out of his

cell window in Agra. After passing away, the Shah was buried alongside Mumtaz in the

Taj. Today, millions of people visit the Taj every year. The Taj Mahal gets crowded and is

a little touristy, sure. However, if you travel all the way to India and don’t visit the Taj, did

you really visit India?

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Join the Pilgrims at Holy

Varanasi

India’s Uttar Pradesh region is often

referred to as being the “heartland

of India” – owing to its rich cultural

heritage, history, and the sheer number

of important sites located here. Agra

and the Taj Mahal are contained within

Uttar Pradesh, and so is Varanasi – India’s

holiest city. Varanasi is a beautiful place

to sail out into the Ganges on a boat and

to watch the sun rise and illuminate the

skies in hues of red and deep orange. It

is also an extremely important religious

spot for Hindus, who venture to the

banks of the river here to perform funeral

rites. Pilgrims from around the world

venture here for religious purposes.

Palace Jhargram

Palace Jhargram is another famous

tourist attraction in India. Situated in

West Bengal, the palace offers travellers

a unique opportunity to both explore its

grounds, annexes and learn about the

history of the site, in addition to feeling

like royalty themselves by opting to

enjoy a stay at the palace.

A complex comprised of stunning Italian

gardens, Hindu temples, fragrant flower

gardens and canopies of sal, peasal and

teak trees, Palace Jhagram is today still

the current residence of the Malla Dev

Royal family. Designed with influences

from Islamic and Italian architecture,

the ground floor of the palace has been

renovated and transformed into a luxury

hotel. For the ultimate in luxury and

unique travel experiences during your

trip to India, travellers should consider

making a reservation here.

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Go Hiking in Dehradun

Most people associate the mention of India with somewhere overcrowded and chaotic.

Breath-taking natural beauty is not something that necessarily springs to mind when

you think about India, however Uttarkhand, at the foothills of the Himalayas is a place of

beauty, peace and serenity. There are many options for enjoying scenic hiking trails in

Uttarkhand, however one of the most notable is Dehradun – a trail that leads adventurers

past caves, waterfalls and miles upon miles of rolling green hills. The viewpoints from

the higher parts of the trail overlook the Ganges and the various Indian cities below and

is a wonderful way to get a bird’s eye view of magical India.

Meditate at Rishikesh

Considered as being the “yoga capital of the world”, Rishikesh is based at the point

where the spiritual River Ganges meets the Chandrabhaga and is a place of tranquillity

and peacefulness. If you are on a journey of self-discovery, or you wish to practice

yoga and meditation then you can find many centers to participate in such activities in

Rishikesh. Rishikesh is also a hubbub for adventure activities that are perfectly suited for

thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies such as white water rafting, kayaking and hiking.

India

PALACE

JHARGRAM

Country Hotel

District Jhargram, West Bengal, India ♦ Tel +91 3221 255016 ♦ jhargrampalace.com

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was the colonial capital of India and the second largest city

in India after Mumbai and is where all the heritage buildings of the colonial era are

located and serves as the cultural heart of India. Kolkata continues to spawn generations

of poets, writers, film producers and Nobel Prize winners along with crumbling British era

gems, sprawling gardens and historical colleges.

Jhargram Palace located at a distance of around 170 kms from Kolkata, which is one of the

most fabulous destinations around the city. Situated between the Subarnarekha river and

Belpahari valley, this place abounds in natural beauty as well. The tropical forests couple

with the fragrant red soil to give a distinct flavor of aboriginal culture in the eastern part

of India. Jhargram has the heritage of a royal past and The Hindu temples and palaces

here testify to it.

A stay at the Jhargram Palace will bring the legends of the famous Malla Dev rulers to

the fore. Here you can experience the royal lifestyle that was once the tradition of the

Jhargram Kings. The rich heritage and the history of The Royal Family is sure to excite

guests who are interested to know and explore the rulers of ancient India.

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Country

NAME OF

HOTEL/TOUR

Award

India

NIRAAMAYA

RETREATS

Wellness Retreat

India

SOULITUDE IN

THE HIMALAYAS

Unique Hotel

Poovar – Vizhinjam Rd, Vizhinjam, Kovalam, Kerala 695521, India ♦

Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain ♦ Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.com

Tel +91 80 4510 4510 / +91 80 4510 4520 ♦ www.niraamaya.in

Niraamaya is a family of exclusive private

retreats that are an embodiment of

wellness and luxury, operating in India’s

most sought after destinations, designed

with craftsmanship that offer the stillness

and charm of a peaceful retreat and pride

of experiencing contemporary hospitality,

integrating a seamless blend of regional

heritage and culture. Niraamaya Retreats

Surya Samudra Kovalam is submerged in

the luxury of secluded beaches, wellness

immersions and epicurean delights.

Nestled in a verdant cliff-top coconut

grove, the retreat is dotted with traditional

cottages that celebrate Kerala’s heritage

and culture. Live by the coast with

breathtaking views of the Arabian sea, the

infinity pool for your indulgence, private

sit-outs to watch glorious sunsets, the

charm of swaying palms and the sound

of crashing waves will take you on an

unforgettable sojourn. The award-winning

Niraamaya Spa is a haven for wellness

and rejuvenation seekers with the best

of traditional Ayurvedic and International

therapies, morning yoga sessions on a

cliff-edged platform, meditative wellness &

mindfulness capsules, hydrotherapy, steam

and sauna treatments. Gastronomic choices

are offered at two dining restaurants and a

scintillating bar.

Snow View Point, Gagar, Nainital, Uttarakhand-263132 ♦ Tel +91 9555 99 7650 ♦ soulitude.in

Soulitude in the Himalayas provides a unique mountain experience at an altitude

of 7,200 feet. Once you get there, one is face-to-face with the mighty Himalayas

and the peaks of Panchachuli, Pindari Glacier, Nanda Devi, Trishul and Kamet are all

visible from the property. Each of the 10 beautifully appointed rooms are unique and

designed to frame panoramic views ... they provide for a luxurious stay with great food

and warm hospitality. Soulitude has just the right ambience for rest, relaxation and

fun. With several beautiful walks and treks that start from Soulitude’s door, it’s an ideal

location to explore the Kumaon region with several lakes, including Nainital, Bhimtal,

Naukuchiatal and Sattal … all within an hour’s drive. Soulitude is the kind of place that

demands repeated visits.

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Jammu & Kashmir | India

Population: 12,541,302

How to Get in

• Plane

• Train

• Bus

Get Around

• Private Hire Taxi

• Buses

• Motorbike

The former princely state is a

perfect spot to enjoy India’s rugged

mountainous landscape, beautiful

shrines, rich cultural history and

delicious food.

India

NIMMU HOUSE

Country Hotel

Nangso House Nimmu, 194101 Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, India ♦

Tel +91-8447 757517 ♦ ladakh.nimmu-house.com

Attractions & Sights

• Gulmarg

• Kashmir Valley

• Mubarak Mandi Palace

• Peer Baba

Things to do

• Trekking

• Horseback Riding

• Camping

• Jeep Safari

Find out more - http://

www.jktourism.com/

Nimmu House is a century old noble house converted into a charming boutique

hotel nestled at 3100m of altitude in the heart of Himalayan panoramas, only

45 minutes from Leh. Nimmu House is the ideal place to immerse into Ladakhi culture,

discover monasteries, go trekking in the mountains, take time to recharge batteries or

enjoying fresh breeze far from the noise of busy cities. The hotel provides an exclusive

and convivial atmosphere, with 4 heritage rooms and 7 deluxe tents. Our meals are

cooked every day with healthy, fresh and local ingredients which can be served half-board

or full-board.

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India

VARANASI

HERITAGE WALK

Walking Tour Company

India

TASMAIS

VARANASI

ADVENTURE

Discover the Abode Of Lord

Shiva

Varanasi 221005, India ♦ Tel +91 078391 67321

India

Situated on the holy

Ganges River, Varanasi is

one of the oldest continuously

inhabited cities in the world. A

visit to Varanasi is a feast for all

the senses. Your eyes are filled

with colorful gurus and pilgrims

along the bustling ghats, as

well as beautiful, centuries-old

architecture, while your ears

take in the sounds of faithful

mantras, melodious hymns and

lively outdoor markets. Varanasi

Heritage Walk guides have well

over 50 years combined guiding

experience. They are passionate

about and devoted to Varanasi,

the holiest of holy Indian cities.

Along with their signature

personalized guided walking

tour of the narrow alleys in the

old city, Vivek and his staff offer

sunrise and sunset boat tours

and tours of some of the over

1000 sacred Hindu temples in

Varanasi. They provide any travelrelated

services guests may need

before arriving or while staying in

Varanasi.

A

s a Senior Writer at Travel and

Hospitality Awards, I had the

chance to visit the holy city of Varanasi

situated on the banks of the Ganges. I

recently had a chance to visit Varanasi,

locally known as Kashi, which is home to

over 23,000 temples! The best way to

explore this ancient city, with its ages old

buildings and temples lined up along its

winding lanes, is by walking. Mr. Vivek

from Varanasi Heritage Walk took me on

the path to discover this beautiful city.

The labyrinthine lanes can be tough to

navigate but this is the beauty of the city;

do explore them on your own too! From

the marvelous Kashi Vishwanath Temple

to the grand Aarti of the Ganges, this

city took me into a completely different

era. I also had the chance to go for the

early morning boat ride on the Ganges,

which gave me some spectacular views

of the numerous ghats of the city. Apart

from its rich heritage, Varanasi has loads

of gastronomic options for you. Chole

Kachori, Banarasi Paan, Tamatar Chaat,

Aloo Chaat, Thandai, and Lassi are

some of the things you must try on your

visit here. If you do have additional time

remaining, do visit the nearby ruins at

Sarnath.

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SRI LANKA TOP 3

Often overlooked in favour of its louder, brasher neighbour India, Sri Lanka is a

picturesque island nation in the heart of the Indian Ocean. Formerly known as

Ceylon, Sri Lanka has long been known around the globe for its tea plantations and its

unique and exquisite blends.

Arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Sri Lanka houses a diverse

landscape. It is here where leopards and elephants prowl around the jungles, where

fragrant tea plantations cover the highlands and where the sound of monks chanting

echo through the valleys from the intricately designed Buddhist temples. Sri Lanka is still

a relatively undiscovered travel destination, so the time for venturing there is now before

the masses discover its appeal and beauty.

Visit the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Sri Lanka has a fascinating history. Centuries ago, the residents were worried about

falling victim to invasions from Europe and India. As a result, they frequently moved

their capital around in order to throw potential enemies off course. Polonnaruwa is

classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. Even those who do not consider themselves

as history buffs will be blown away by the beauty of this place and captivated by the

huge Buddhas and Regal statues that have been carved into the rock faces.

Most nationalities traveling to Sri Lanka must obtain a tourist visa in advance which is

then valid for 30 days. Of course, there are countless sights to see and things to do

in Sri Lanka that could keep you occupied well beyond this period, however these

are our top 3 Sri Lankan attractions.

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Explore Yala National Park

Though there are numerous national parks scattered throughout the Sri Lankan

countryside, Yala National Park is one of the largest and most diverse. The park doubles

as both a national park and an animal sanctuary and is divided into several different

sections. It is possible to take a safari here and witness some of the most rare and

endangered animals on earth - including leopards, elephants, crocodiles and numerous

other mammal and bird varieties.

A rather unique feature of Yala National Park is the opportunity to spend the night in

the midst of nature at one of the onsite wildlife bungalows where you can fall asleep

listening to the sounds of the jungle, and awaken early, ready to explore before the

masses arrive on a day trip.

Dambulla Cave Temple

There are plenty of spectacular

Buddhist temples to explore

while in Sri Lanka, however the

Dambulla cave temple is one

of the oldest. Dating back over

2000 years, the temple houses

dozens of intricately carved

Buddha statues: 40 which sit in

a meditative pose and 16 that

stand to attention.

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Sri Lanka

RAINBOW TOURS

SRI LANKA

The Award for Excellence

in Service

Sri Lanka ♦ rainbowtourssrilanka.com

With over 40 years of

promoting Sri Lankan culture

and tourism, we are amongst the most

experienced of local tour operators and

our team is well qualified and dedicated

to sharing the huge variety of options

available on our exquisite, exotic and

amazingly diverse “Resplendent Isle”.

We are an independent specialist with an

impeccable record of financial integrity

offering private tailor made cultural

round island touring itineraries, which

can include adventure experiences and

wild life safaris as well as a program

of Day Tours in and around Kandy.

Whatever your holiday interests, we can

deliver unforgettable and competitively

priced arrangements that will attract

you back to “Paradise” time and

time again! Highly recommended on

TripAdvisor – among other forums – with

top reviews and 4 consecutive years of

“Excellent 5 star” awards, we respond

to enquiries quickly, professionally and

in fluent English. Let us show you our

island’s fabulous treasures and rich local

traditions in security and comfort.

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MALDIVES

Image by: Mohamed Thasneem

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THE MALDIVES OVERVIEW

Globally renowned as being an epicenter for luxury travel, any

mention of the Maldives causes one to conjure up images of

impressive five star resorts, glamorous jet-setters and undisturbed

beautiful beaches extending as far as the eye can see. The main reason

that people are motivated to travel here is to relax, unwind and enjoy

the natural scenery, however the Maldives also possesses a fascinating

and multicultural history.

A Brief History of the Maldives

The beautiful island nation of the Maldives has existed as a Muslim

nation since 1153. Throughout the decades, it has maintained its

independence and remained a peaceful country, despite its neighbours

being powerful colonising countries. In the 15th century, the Maldives

was invaded by the Portuguese who evidently led a very cruel and

dictatorial rule over the island trying to force the Maldivians to convert

to Christianity or be murdered. Fortunately, the Maldivians fought off

the unwelcome invaders and maintained control over their nation.

Few records of history exist prior to the conversion to Islam in 1153,

however the first settlers to the island arrived in the 5th century BC, in

the form of Buddhist sailors from nearby Sri Lanka and India.

What Travellers Can Expect in the Maldives

No amount of research or browsing information and travel media can

prepare visitors for the sheer breathtaking beauty of the Maldives. A visit

here is like being transported to paradise and is certainly a once-in-alifetime

dream realised. With translucent blue waters, crystal clear skies

and sights that make you proclaim “wow!” at every turn, the Maldives is

without a doubt one of the most beautiful travel destinations on earth.

Aside from the scenic beauty and the opportunity to relax and unwind

at the beaches and resorts, there is plenty to do in the Maldives to keep

busy. Owing to the extensive and diverse marine life that lives beneath

the surface of the waters, the Maldives is one of the most popular

diving destinations in the world. Even those who are not PADI certified

have the chance to admire the creatures of the deep though - either by

snorkelling, or taking an excursion out to sea on a glass bottom boat.

The attitude to life in the Maldives is a lot more laid back and slow

paced - perfect for escaping from the pressures of everyday life.

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Maldives

PEARL SANDS

AT HURAA

Boutique Resort

K.Huraa, Republic of Maldives ♦ Tel +960 797 8883 ♦ pearlsandsofmaldives.com

Situated on the lush

island of Huraa in the

Maldives, Pearl Sands of

Maldives provides you the

perfect retreat away from

the moribund city life in an

exotic location in the midst

of nature. The Huraa Island

is located just 30 minutes

away from Male Airport

and thus provides ease of

access to guests as well.

The resort is located right

on the beach and each of

its 32 lavishly furnished

rooms is sea-facing and

comes with some amazing

amenities like private

balcony or patio, indoor

shower cubicle, and semioutdoor

shower cubicle.

Each of the rooms opens up

to the beach where you can

sit back on the sunbeds and

enjoy the cool breeze and

serene view with complete

privacy of the beach.

The Chavana by Mandara Spa in the resort

is a tranquil haven for healing where you can

soothe all your senses and pamper yourself

with some head-to-toe massages with a

wide range of traditional treatments. For

those who wish to go on a little adventure,

the Pearl Sands Dive Center, a 5 Star PADI

Dive Center, takes you on fun dives into

the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. You

could also rent equipment from there or

go for training courses as well. The resort

also offers tours to explore Male’s famous

attractions, including a submarine tour that

takes you 30 meters into the deep blue!

If you wish to explore the natural attractions

of the Maldives, the resort takes you on

such tours as well. You can go snorkeling

at coral reefs, discover villages, see the

underwater life in glass bottom boats, go

fishing or even rent your own boat and

explore the ocean. For those who wish to

have their most memorable day of their life

in the Maldives, the resort arranges dreamy

destination weddings for you too!

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Maldives

ROBINSON CLUB

MALDIVES

Award

Funamadua, Villingili 20077

Imagine you are lying on a white sand beach with a glass of your favorite drink and are

surrounded by the blue ocean. The sun is beaming and the sea winds mess up your hair.

There is no iota of worry on your mind and you are having the much-deserved time of your life.

Now turn this exact imagery into reality and visit the picturesque resort Club Robinson in the

island country of Maldives. This place is situated almost in the middle of nowhere, on one of the

islands of the Maldives archipelago. It is pristine and the promenade, built on the ocean, would

give you a sense that it is the pathway to one of the most scenic places on earth.

The Robinson Club Maldives provides a

variety of bungalow choices with an option

for a private pool. It also provides the

option for a Presidential Suite for an even

more luxurious stay at the club. The club is

an ideal vacation spot for couples, whether

they are honeymooning or looking for

a relaxing getaway from their day to day

life. During your stay, you can indulge in

a variety of activities - go for deep sea

excursions in the almost untouched coral

reefs of the island or surf your way on top

of the friendly waves of the ocean. You can

also take part in fitness activities like Yoga

or body & mind courses. You could even try

one of the many varieties of spa treatments

offered by the club.

The club ensures complete entertainment

by organizing live music or DJ everyday, so

that your nights are as colorful as your day.

If you want to just head out and spend a

romantic evening with your partner, then

worry not. The Robinson Club Maldives

offers a private bonfire by the beach with

room service, for you to add a little more to

your getaway and make it truly memorable.

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Maldives

BIBEE MALDIVES

Affordable Guest House

Bibee Maldives, K.Dhiffushi ♦ Tel +960 9621604 / +960 9621621 ♦ bibeemaldives.com

Bibee Maldives is a cozy

guest house tucked away

on the island of Dhiffushi in

the Maldives. If you wish to

experience the sunny life of

the Maldives, this is the place

you should head to. This

resort features 9 rooms where

you can relax and enjoy the

tranquility of the destination.

Each room is equipped with all

modern amenities required for

a comfortable stay such as rain

showers and minibar. You can

feast on the delicious local and

continental delicacies prepared

in the in-house restaurant and

you’re definitely in for a treat

if you love seafood; they really

know how to make it well!

During your stay, you could

go on sandbank trips, reef

fishing, snorkeling, canoeing,

surfing and more; the list is truly

endless. All of this is possible at

affordable rates thanks to Bibee

Maldives so that your vacation

isn’t heavy on your pocket too!

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DIVE MALDIVES

Diving in the Maldives is one of the island’s most popular

experiences. As a matter of fact, for many travellers diving is

the primary reason for their visit to the Maldives. With translucent blue

waters, vibrantly coloured coral reefs and an abundance of marine life,

the Maldives is one of the best diving destinations in the globe.

When to Go Diving in the Maldives

The Maldives is a pleasant destination for diving all year around owing

to its warm, steady climate. With that said, there are a few factors that

divers may want to take into consideration.

During the months of December through to May, there is little wind

and the seas are calm. The visibility in the water is generally better

during this time.

The months of June through to November see a lot more rainfall,

clouds and slightly rougher seas, though there are still periods of

sunny skies. From a marine life perspective, the creatures that occupy

these waters can be seen all year around.

Where to Dive in the Maldives

Diving in the Maldives is suited to all levels of Divers - from beginners

to advanced. Diving sites are scattered throughout the region close

to the resorts, however divers can also try their hand at live board

diving which is often considered the best choice.

The nice thing about diving here is the sheer volume and range of

marine life that can be witnessed among the stunning coral reefs. The

entire region is good for spotting various creatures, however the main

dive spots can be surmised as the North Male Atoll, the Ari Atoll, and

the Vaavu Atoll.

What You Can Expect to See

It is important to note that the area is expansive and diverse. It is

worth organising dives in both the North and South areas in order to

see the widest array of marine life possible. In the northern sectors,

divers can expect better macro life and shoals of fish, whereas in the

south sectors, there are more sharks. Reef sharks, hammerheads,

whale sharks, thresher sharks and tiger sharks are just a few of the

species that can be witnessed here as they feed on plankton.

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Maldives

RASDHOO

DIVE LODGE

Eco Friendly Resort

Rasdhoo Dive Center, BoduMagu, AA Rasdhoo – 09020, Republic of Maldives ♦

Tel +960 9577111 / +960 9577222 ♦ rasdhoodivelodge.com

Located on the island

of Rasdu, the Rasdhoo

Dive Lodge provides an

amazing getaway from

city life. It is conveniently

located at a 5-minute walking

distance from the beach and

provides easy access. You can

choose between a Deluxe

Queen Room, which comes

with a large double bed, and

a Deluxe Triple Room that

features a large double bed

and a single bed. Each room

is equipped with all amenities

possible to make your stay

comfortable. You will have

a safe and a minibar in the

room too. Drinking water,

tea & coffee is provided free

daily. You can sit back in the

comfort of your room and

see the lush garden spread

out in front of your room.

Moreover, the entire hotel is

Wi-Fi enabled to make it easy

for you to stay in touch with

the outside world.

Being a dive lodge, they have an awardwinning

dive center from where you

can go for eco-friendly dives into the

deep blue and explore the life beneath

the surface of the Indian Ocean. The

hotel also has a dedicated tour desk

from where you can book all tours to

explore the island or even other regions

of the Maldives without any hassle. You

could go snorkeling or fishing there and

enjoy your peaceful retreat. If you wish

to explore the area without having to

carry your luggage, they have a luggage

storage facility to save you from all that

trouble as well. The hotel makes sure

that your stay is comfortable by even

offering airport shuttle services.

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LOCAL TOURISM | A NEW APPROACH

Any mention of the Maldives is synonymous with the idea of luxury. The sheer

reference to the country draws up imagery of idyllic, undisturbed beaches,

translucent turquoise waters and paradisiacal luxury resorts where a lucky globetrotter has

the opportunity to be pampered to within an inch of their lives.

All things considered though, the Maldives has historically been considered as a destination

that is out of bounds to the majority of people. Famous for its expensive resorts and

exclusive beaches, the Maldives has long been considered a travel destination that many

of us dream of, but few can afford. With few options catering to the middle and working

classes, local people and businesses in the Maldives are starting to realise that there is a

demand to cater to these demographics and are opening up guesthouses or homestay

opportunities accordingly.

The Maldives as a More Accessible Travel Destination

Until recently, the Maldives had stringent laws in place in terms of accommodation,

which meant that tourism was only possible in the form of resorts built on uninhabited

islands. Fortunately for budget travellers, that law has recently been relaxed and as

such, dozens of guest houses have been popping up around the area. In fact, there are

presently over 400 guest houses in the Maldives making the region more accessible.

In terms of the specific offering, the guesthouses vary significantly between each other.

Some offer comparable luxury to five star hotels - boasting infinity pools and rooftop

bars that rival those of the pricey resorts in the area. On the other hand, some are

quaint, homestay style establishments that offer simplistic rooms and basic amenities.

In any case, since there are so many available (and likely to be many more opening up

going forward), there is certainly something to suit every budget and taste.

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Costs of Enjoying Local Tourism in the Maldives

The price differentiation between luxury Maldives resorts and guesthouses is

phenomenal. As a matter of fact, it is possible to stay at a guest house here for

approximately $40 per night or less. If you are traveling as a couple or as a group and

sharing the costs, that is incredibly good value.

It should also be noted that the budget accommodation options are also accompanied

by prices at local businesses and eateries that do not break the bank - eating out at

restaurants in the Maldives will set you back no more than $7 or $8 a meal, and drinking

tea at local tea rooms cost less than $0.40 cents a cup. Traveling the Maldives on a

budget is entirely possible, and the increase of guest houses opening up has helped

make this a more accessible travel destination for many.

A More Culturally Immersive Experience

There is no doubt that the Maldives tourism in general is beneficial to the local economy,

however the rise in the number of guest houses opening means that more money is

going directly to the local people, rather to large international chains as previously

when the only option was to stay at (and therefore give money to) the resorts.

When you opt to do a homestay or visit a local guesthouse, you have the added benefit

of enjoying a more culturally immersive experience. These accommodation types are

normally much more cosy, and the locals that host you can give you insider tips on their

favourite places to eat and hang out, as well as insight as to what island life is really like.

Though the Maldives is primarily a vacation spot for rest and relaxation, staying at guest

houses also offers a semblance of a cultural experience to travellers.

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Maldives

WEST SANDS

Luxury Guest House

The hotel features a restaurant on the ground floor where you can gorge on a wide

breakfast spread or even enjoy delicious meals all day long. The restaurant serves both

local traditional preparations and international cuisines. For your convenience, the

hotel features a 24-hour concierge desk to assist you and also has a special desk for

excursions. Moreover, you can go to the hotel’s very own private bikini beach and relax

or even have a few splashes in the ocean.

West Sands at Ukulhas, Vashamagu, Ukulhas 09030, North Ari Atoll, Maldives ♦

Tel +960 951-5150 ♦ westsandsukulhas.com

If you’re looking for a

great place to stay on

the paradisiacal island of

Ukulhas in the Maldives,

look no further. West

Sands provides fantastic

accommodation in the

midst of nature with every

possible amenity so

that you can have a laid

back vacation and get

pampered throughout

your stay. You can

choose your preferred

accommodation based

on your requirements

and taste in luxury. They

also have a special Sea

View Suite that has an

uninterrupted view of

the ocean and a balcony

where you can enjoy the

cool ocean breeze all day

long. If you’re traveling

as a family, they have

a special family suite

to accommodate your

entire family.

The hotel also arranges various activities on the island on request such as snorkeling.

You can choose to go for a manta safari and see giant manta rays or even head out for

a session of night fishing or dolphin watching. They have expeditions to spot whale

sharks and even take you to uninhabited islands for a relaxing and fun time with all

luxuries included! The hotel also provides airport transfers, free bikes to explore the

island and beach gear!

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Maldives

ISLAND BEACH

HOUSE

Modern Guest House

Hirundhu Magu, Malé, Maldives ♦ Tel +960 335-6999 ♦ ibh.mv

Here at Island Beach

House, we offer you

exclusive services and facilities

that would complement your

tropical beach vacation. We

take pride in pampering you

with the perfect breakfast

spread, either at Cooks – our

in-house Dining, or in bed.

Upon your request, the friendly

and enthusiastic team at Cooks

would be more than happy to

serve you the breakfast of your

choice.

We have exclusive services

and facilities here to make sure

that you get the best of “EAT,

SLEEP, BEACH & PLAY”.

Here at Island Beach House,

we are a family. We love, care,

laugh and do our best to make

you feel at home.

It’s our greatest pleasure to

ensure that all your needs are

met and your experience with

us is as magical as possible.

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