World Traveller June 2019

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ISSUE 134 | JUNE <strong>2019</strong> | COMPLIMENTARY COPY<br />


IN CAIRO<br />

PHUKET<br />





On the road<br />

to discovery<br />

Produced in Dubai Production City<br />

Classic Cuba<br />

How to pack incredible encounters and experiences into two weeks

JAresorts.com /Manafaru @JAManafaru_Maldives

Inspired by nature,<br />


In the north of the Maldives lies an award-winning sanctuary, JA Manafaru. Nestled amid<br />

tropical backdrops are three ultra-luxurious Residences, designed for utmost comfort, and<br />

privacy without any compromises. Indulge in bespoke amenities to rejuvenate your mind,<br />

body, and soul.<br />

Awaken to the glaze of the tropical sun in the Grand Water Suite, with your own infinity pool<br />

a few steps outside the bedroom. Relish from expertly cooked dishes served in the coziness<br />

of the Royal Island Suite or leisurely watch as the day passes by from ‘The Royal Residence’,<br />

as the hues of the clear Maldivian sky shift from their beautiful blues to vivid violets.<br />

Your ultimate luxury getaway in the Maldives awaits off the shores of JA Manafaru.<br />

For bookings or more information, visit JAresorts.com<br />

or email reservations.manafaru@jaresorts.com



Enjoy the tailored hospitality of your own Villa host to top<br />

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utler serie<br />

spaious illas up to edroos<br />

riate infinity pool wadin pool<br />

n illa reafast<br />

Lantern release<br />


Banyan Tree<br />

Spa Sanctuary<br />

anyan ree pa antuary offers the tie and spae to oine lifestyle<br />

enrihent intiate ultural insihts and rejuenatin spa eperienes<br />

into a sinle uniue journey Ear on your path to wellein with<br />

anyan ree and leae feelin renewed tea of professional<br />

ellein osts is aailale to offer uidane and<br />

reoendations for a personal approah to your stay<br />

wellein atiities<br />

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antuary leep Eperiene inludin pillow and linen seletion<br />

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© Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi / Photo by Hufton+Crow. Architect: Jean Nouvel.<br />


Louvre Abu Dhabi brings different cultures together<br />

to shine light on the shared stories of human creativity.<br />

Admission: AED 63, children under 13 free<br />

BOOK<br />

A DAY<br />

AWAY<br />


Welcome note<br />

With the Eid Al Fitr holidays here and schools breaking up for<br />

the summer next month, you’ve got a couple more reasons<br />

to take a trip. If you haven’t yet stuck a pin in the map, simply<br />

turn to page 26 for eight jam-packed pages of inspiration.<br />

Managing Director<br />

Victoria Thatcher<br />

Editorial Director<br />

John Thatcher<br />

General Manager<br />

David Wade<br />

Managing Editor<br />

Faye Bartle<br />

faye@hotmediapublishing.com<br />

Content Writers<br />

Habiba Azab<br />

Sophia Dyer<br />

Art Director<br />

Kerri Bennett<br />

Senior Designer<br />

Hiral Kapadia<br />

Senior Advertising Manager<br />

Mia Cachero<br />

mia@hotmediapublishing.com<br />

Production Manager<br />

Muthu Kumar<br />

From living the high life in a luxury treehouse,<br />

to taking over an entire island in the Maldives and<br />

climbing aboard Britain’s first new sleeper train in<br />

35 years, get set to have a remarkable summer.<br />

Before you get swept away with the season’s<br />

travel frenzy, however, we suggest you curl up<br />

with our long reads. This month, we take you to on<br />

a fantasy trip to Cuba (page 36), on a journey to<br />

uncover the authentic charms of Thailand (page<br />

44) and on an adventure off the beaten track in<br />

Namibia (page 50).<br />

If you prefer to pack in a handful of long<br />

weekends, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the<br />

options you can tick off your list. A great place to<br />

start is with Habiba Azab’s guide to Cairo (page<br />

60), which tells you exactly how to get under the<br />

skin of this fast-paced city.<br />

Happy travels,<br />

Faye Bartle<br />

Win!<br />

A stay at Qasr Al<br />

Sarab Desert Resort<br />

by Anantara in Abu<br />

Dhabi on p75<br />




1<br />

You'll find Havana's<br />

coolest creative types<br />

on the rooftop at El del<br />

Frente, p36<br />

2<br />

Disney’s Aladdin was<br />

partly shot in the<br />

Hashemite Kingdom of<br />

southern Jordan, p20<br />

3<br />

Simple things, like<br />

loading your holiday<br />

reads onto your tablet<br />

instead of carrying the<br />

books, can make a big<br />

difference to your ecotravel<br />

credentials, p22<br />

4<br />

Don't leave Cairo<br />

without tasting Koshari;<br />

a unique mixture of rice,<br />

macaroni and lentils,<br />

all covered with a spicy<br />

tomato sauce, p60<br />

5<br />

Khao Phing Kan,<br />

is better known as<br />

Christopher Lee's<br />

private island in the<br />

James Bond film The<br />

Man with the Golden<br />

Gun, p44<br />

The filming of Aladdin © Disney<br />


Photography credits:<br />

Getty Images and Phocal Media<br />

Reproduction in whole or in<br />

part without written permission<br />

from HOT Media Publishing is<br />

strictly prohibited. HOT Media<br />

Publishing does not accept<br />

liability for omissions or errors in<br />

<strong>World</strong> <strong>Traveller</strong>.<br />

Tel: 00971 4 364 2876<br />

Fax: 00971 4 369 7494<br />


Getty Images<br />

Find us at…<br />

ONLINE worldtravellermagazine.com<br />

FACEBOOK @<strong>World</strong><strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

INSTAGRAM @worldtravellerme<br />

TWITTER @W<strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 5

Discover a Revolutionary Beauty Line!<br />

Renew for the journey ahead.<br />

We have something new and exciting for you.<br />

Behold the mind-blowing, anti-aging and hydrating facial treatments by an innovative<br />

Korean product line, which uses Diamonds. Yes, you read that right! Diamonds are<br />

known for their ability to deliver ingredients to the deepest layers of your skin.<br />

Want to know the best part? You get to go home with your own box of exquisite<br />

products after each treatment.<br />

For more information or to make a booking please call +971 4 414 6754.<br />

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE<br />

mhrs.dxbjw.spa@marriott.com | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

Credit: The Wild Hotel, Mykonos © Yiorgos Kordakis<br />

Contents<br />

<strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />

16<br />


regulars<br />

10 15 22 74 76<br />



This month's go-to<br />

places include magical<br />

Madagascar, the Windy<br />

City of Chicago, and<br />

beautiful Langkawi.<br />


From as-seen-onscreen<br />

destinations to<br />

foodie finds in Hong<br />

Kong and hot new<br />

hotels, there's plenty to<br />

sink your teeth into.<br />


Give your ecocredentials<br />

a boost<br />

with these easy and<br />

practical tips for happy<br />

holidays that don't cost<br />

the earth.<br />


Head online for<br />

exclusive content and,<br />

better still, the chance<br />

to win a two-night stay<br />

at Qasr Al Sarab Desert<br />

Resort by Anantara.<br />


Fall in love with the<br />

Eiffel Tower views<br />

from the Jean-Michel<br />

Wilmotte designed<br />

Suite Amour at Hotel<br />

Lutetia in Paris.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 7


features<br />

26 36<br />


SUMMER<br />

Our Cuba expert, Claire<br />

Summer's here and Boobbyer, takes us on<br />

if you're still making a journey through an<br />

plans, we have a whole island rich in culture<br />

host of cool ideas to help. and endless charm.<br />

44<br />


Who said Phuket was<br />

all beaches and revelry?<br />

Nick Redman tries an<br />

authentic Thai on a trip<br />

full of flavour.<br />

50<br />


Chris Haslam veers<br />

off the tourist trail in<br />

Namibia to discover<br />

the land as it once was:<br />

empty and magical.<br />

6 0<br />

CAIRO<br />

weekends<br />

58 60<br />


The first of our new IN CAIRO<br />

series highlights the Our Egypt insider goes<br />

cultural charms of beyond the pyramids to<br />

Tunisia's capital.<br />

reveal the heart of Cairo.<br />

66<br />


Feel in need of a break?<br />

We have a couple more<br />

reasons to book a<br />

weekend escape.<br />

70<br />


It's time we sent you<br />

packing. Choose your<br />

next adventure from<br />

our exclusive offers.<br />

8 worldtravellermagazine.com


Experience the alluring, golden desert landscape, the captivating silence of nature, the free-roaming<br />

wildlife in the reserve, all enjoyed from your private suite and pool. Indulge in a luxurious desert adventure<br />

with camel treks, horseback riding, falconry, archery, dune drives and more.<br />


FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CALL 971 4 832 9900<br />



Emily Williams, dnata Travel’s resident globetrotter,<br />

reveals the best places to hop on a plane to this month<br />

Chicago<br />

There's much to love about Chicago in <strong>June</strong>. Make the most of the moderate weather and enjoy the open-air music,<br />

food and art festivals, have a picnic in Grant Park, and browse the unique boutiques and outlet malls. A top spot for<br />

foodies, you'll never go hungry here, with a variety of outdoor food festivals taking place throughout the summer,<br />

offering dishes from around the world. And of course, you can try the famous deep-dish pizza at any time of year.<br />

Highlights 1 Take a helicopter flight at dusk for breathtaking views of the illuminated city skyline with narration by an experienced guide.<br />

2 Art buffs should head to the Art Institute of Chicago to see Manet’s works in the Modern Beauty exhibition running until 8 September.<br />

3 Lose yourself in the Lurie gardens, an oasis of beautiful shrubberies and flowers in the middle of the city.<br />

10 worldtravellermagazine.com


Amalfi Coast<br />

Fly in to Rome and explore Italy’s ancient past before hopping on a domestic flight to Naples, or driving directly<br />

to the dream-like Amalfi Coast. Take in some of the world’s most incredible coastal landscapes, with rugged cliffs<br />

towering over boutique beaches, olive gardens and lemon groves. Highlights include Sorrento, which sits atop a cliff<br />

with views of Mount Vesuvius, the colourful houses of Positano, and taking a boat trip to the island of Capri.<br />

Highlights 1 Learn how to cook traditional Italian food just like mama, at Mamma Agata’s cooking school. 2 Walk the lemon path from Maiori<br />

to Minori to see the golden fruits aplenty – a scene iconic of the Amalfi coast. 3 Consider travelling 4km to the bay of Conca de’ Marini where<br />

you can discover the Emerald Grotto – a cave with an intense green hue.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 11

Langkawi<br />

In beautiful Langkawi, the oncoming wet season brings comfortable temperatures. Plus, it's less crowded. Best<br />

accessed from Kuala Lumpur via a domestic flight, this coastal gem is geographically closer to Thailand than<br />

mainland Malaysia. There’s much to explore across its 99 islets, with breathtaking beaches interspersed with<br />

tropical rainforests and vibrant towns. Base yourself at a luxury resort for the perfect island escape.<br />

Highlights 1 Climb aboard a boat and explore the mangrove forest where you'll see eagles flying above head. 2 Take an Instagram snap at new<br />

heights: the pedestrianized, 410ft-long Langkawi Sky Bridge offers spectacular views worthy of sharing. 3 Head to the Langkawi night market<br />

to pick up a bargain or two and soak up the bustling ambience.<br />

12 worldtravellermagazine.com


Madagascar<br />

It’s not surprising that the remote Indian Ocean island of Madagascar tends to make the bucket list of nature and<br />

wildlife enthusiasts. Here, a high percentage of all plant and animal life, including the endangered lemur, exist<br />

nowhere else on Earth. Fly in via African gateways to access its vast stretches of white-sand beaches, rainforests,<br />

and even active volcanoes. In <strong>June</strong>, before the peak tourist season, rainfall is minimal and the flora is striking.<br />

Highlights 1 Take a cruise to see humpback whales as they arrive for the summer months. 2 Head South to visit the city of Ambositra,<br />

where you will find rich culture including Madagascar’s traditional wood-carving industry. 3 Go camping at Masoala Park, where you<br />

can enjoy hiking the trails before bedding down for a night under the stars.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 13

JUNE<br />

Globetrotter<br />


Be informed, be inspired, be there<br />

MAMMA MIA!<br />

Escape to the charming Savelletri di<br />

Fasano, along Italy's Adriatic coast, and<br />

be surrounded by ancient olive groves<br />

at the newly renovated Masseria Torre<br />

Maizza. This stylish Rocco Forte resort<br />

in Puglia, set in an original farmhouse<br />

dating to the 16th century, has 40 suites<br />

with stunning views of the Apulian<br />

countryside. We say book the new twobedroom<br />

Torre Suite on the top floor of<br />

the masseria’s original tower, and live la<br />

dolce vita at the pool, 9-hole golf course<br />

and private beach club.<br />

Photo: Interni Restaurant © Margarita Nikitaki<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 15



Hot new places<br />

to sleep, dine<br />

and unwind<br />

1 The Wild Hotel, Mykonos<br />

If you're a fan of the Paola<br />

Navone designed Interni<br />

Restaurant in Mykonos,<br />

then you'll love the island's<br />

new hotel from the very<br />

same owner: The Wild Hotel<br />

in Kalafati Beach. Set in a<br />

natural amphitheatre next<br />

to a tiny beachfront village<br />

that was once inhabited by<br />

brave fishermen known as<br />

‘the wild ones', the hotel has<br />

40 suites and villas inspired<br />

by traditional Grecian<br />

architecture. It would be a<br />

tragedy not to stay.<br />

The Wild Hotel<br />

Photo by Yiorgos Kordakis<br />

Bed down in a Deluxe Double<br />

The Wild Hotel<br />

Located on a<br />

picturesque cliffside,<br />

this design-led<br />

retreat has a dreamy<br />

infinity pool with<br />

views across the<br />

Aegean Sea, a<br />

private beach, and<br />

The Taverna serving<br />

classic dishes from<br />

the Cyclades Islands.<br />

The pool at The Wild Hotel<br />

Photo by Yiorgos Kordakis<br />

2 Hotel Hendricks, New<br />

York City<br />

Just one block from the<br />

Fashion District and<br />

Bryant Park in the heart of<br />

Manhattan, this chic Big<br />

Apple bolthole celebrates<br />

its official opening this<br />

month. With interiors<br />

by LA-based designer<br />

Marcello Pozzi, each of the<br />

176 guestrooms boast ace<br />

views of the Empire State<br />

Building and the cityscape.<br />

With two rooftop bars and<br />

the Latin-infused restaurant<br />

Carbonero, it's our new<br />

favourite Midtown hotspot.<br />

Hotel Hendricks<br />

A little touch of<br />

luxury amid the<br />

hustle and bustle of<br />

Midtown, you'll feel<br />

like an insider here.<br />

Be sure to head to<br />

The Zoo rooftop for<br />

panoramic views of<br />

vibrant Manhattan.<br />

A swimming pool with a view<br />

The Zoo rooftop<br />

3 The One Palácio da<br />

Anunciada, Lisbon<br />

This stunning retreat in<br />

exclusive La Baixa is housed<br />

within a restored 16th<br />

century palace that was<br />

once the home of one of<br />

Portugal’s most esteemed<br />

noble families, Condes de<br />

Ericeira. Stay in the Tower<br />

Suite for great views, dine<br />

on traditional Portuguese<br />

fare at Condes de Ericeira<br />

Restaurant and seek out the<br />

century-old dragon tree in<br />

the magnificent gardens.<br />

The One Palácio<br />

da Anunciada<br />

Staying here places<br />

you at the heart<br />

of the city's luxury<br />

shopping district,<br />

and close to the main<br />

tourist attractions,<br />

such as St George’s<br />

Castle and the Santa<br />

Justa Lift.<br />

Make a grand entrance<br />

16 worldtravellermagazine.com



There are many ways to cool off this summer in the waters of Sharjah. With diving,<br />

kayaking, deep sea fishing and more to enjoy, it’s time to stretch your sea legs…<br />

Kayaking in Kalba<br />

Scuba diving in Khorfakkan<br />

A sunset yoga session in Khorfakkan<br />

Flanked by the Arabian Gulf to the<br />

west and the Indian Ocean to<br />

the east, Sharjah is surrounded<br />

by beautiful stretches of coastline that<br />

call adventure seekers to test their skills<br />

on the water. But you don’t have to be<br />

a seasoned watersports fan to take a<br />

deeper dive into the emirate’s aquatic<br />

allure. Just a short drive east of the city<br />

centre (45 minutes to be precise, thanks<br />

to the new tunnel along the Sharjah-<br />

Khorfakkan road), is the picturesque<br />

bay of Khorfakkan, which is home to<br />

several seafront hotels. With a backdrop<br />

of the Hajar Mountains, this cosy<br />

enclave, which translates to the ‘creek<br />

of two jaws’, enjoys cooler mountain<br />

temperatures, making it the ideal spot<br />

for a summer escape. Visitors can<br />

take part in a host of water activities,<br />

including scuba diving, and discover a<br />

vibrant underwater world.<br />

Further along the east coast is the<br />

historic fishing village of Kalba, which<br />

lays claim to Arabia’s oldest natural<br />

mangrove forest. Get back to nature<br />

by learning more about the area’s rich<br />

ecosystem, which boasts many species<br />

of rare, indigenous wildlife, such as the<br />

eagle owl, that live amid the protected<br />

Fishing in Khorfakkan<br />

natural beaches. Go kayaking through<br />

the mangroves and you can observe some<br />

of the rarest bird species in the world<br />

that thrive in the forest. Next, take an<br />

educational trip to the nearby Kalba Bird<br />

of Prey Centre to learn more about our<br />

feathered friends.<br />

Avid deep sea fishers will find a<br />

reason to cast a line on either side of the<br />

emirate. On the Arabian Gulf side to the<br />

west, you can catch barracuda, kingfish<br />

and trevally, while on the east coast you<br />

may be in the running for yellowfin tuna,<br />

dorado and sailfish.<br />

If you fancy a day of undisturbed<br />

relaxation or beach-side activities, the<br />

beaches of Sharjah are sure to deliver. Al<br />

Khan Beach, near the Al Khan historic<br />

area, is a popular spot for active types as<br />

well as those who prefer to slow down<br />

the pace. Teaming beautiful scenery<br />

with clean, safe waters and a range of<br />

activities to suit all abilities, step into<br />

the gentle surf and feel a wave of calm<br />

wash over you as you ponder your next<br />

big travel adventure.<br />

To find out more, visit sharjah.com<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 17


Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong<br />


Indulge in these gourmet<br />

escapes in Asia's culinary<br />

powerhouse: Hong Kong<br />


To celebrate the reopening<br />

of the two Michelin-starred<br />

Amber, and the launch of<br />

three new culinary concepts<br />

– SOMM, Sushi Shikon and<br />

Kappo Rin (the latter two are<br />

limited to just eight seats) –<br />

the Great Gourmet Escape<br />

by The Landmark Mandarin<br />

Oriental, Hong Kong is sure to<br />

tempt you. Stay in a luxurious<br />

suite, with a daily bubbly<br />

breakfast, seven-course<br />

dinner for two at Amber,<br />

late check-out and priority<br />

restaurant reservations.<br />


Team a love of art and food<br />

with the zen-inspired private<br />

dining experience inside<br />

Zhi-gang Lu’s art piece,<br />

The Wonder Room, at The<br />

Peninsula Hong Kong. Crafted<br />

using meticulous woodworking<br />

techniques, the complex<br />

egg-shaped structure is a<br />

modern take on the traditional<br />

Chinese teahouse, and marks<br />

the launch of Peninsula's Art<br />

in Resonance programme.<br />

Available until 21 <strong>June</strong>.<br />


The updated volume of<br />

this coffee table favourite<br />

for globetrotters features<br />

the best of the popular<br />

travel series, with 150<br />

bite-sized itineraries<br />

of the world’s most<br />

captivating cities. The<br />

New York Times 36<br />

Hours <strong>World</strong>, published<br />

by Taschen, taschen.com<br />

Starved of sleep? You<br />

need the Sleep Collection<br />

Journey at One&Only<br />

Reethi Rah in Maldives.<br />

The four-night escape<br />

offers pampering sleep<br />

goodies, soothing<br />

underwater activities,<br />

advice from a sleep trainer<br />

and a 90-minute, slumberinducing<br />

spa treatment.<br />

Not for the faint-hearted,<br />

Anantara Dhigu, Anantara<br />

Veli and Naladhu Private<br />

Island in Maldives now offer<br />

IV Therapy. With sessions<br />

for jet-lag, immunity<br />

anti-ageing and more,<br />

vitamins, minerals and<br />

amino acids are introduced<br />

to the bloodstream via an<br />

intravenous drip.<br />

Spotlighting places<br />

around the world that<br />

have inspired the famous<br />

fashion house, the Gucci<br />

Courrier collection<br />

features patches that<br />

reference Gucci's iconic<br />

store in Piccadilly,<br />

London. Selected pieces<br />

are now available at<br />

Maison Assouline Dubai.<br />

18 worldtravellermagazine.com


The Langham Huntington, Pasadena<br />


Follow in the footsteps of silver screen stars<br />

by visiting these popular filming spots<br />

What: Saving Mr. Banks, Murder She<br />

Wrote, and more<br />

Where: The Langham Huntington,<br />

Pasadena<br />

Filmmakers have long been drawn to the<br />

property’s Spanish Mission architecture,<br />

elegant gardens, and panoramic view<br />

that epitomises the cinematic expression<br />

of Southern California. Today, a new<br />

tour by filming locations explorer Jared<br />

Cowan will guide you on a cinematic<br />

excursion of the hotel, with still images,<br />

film clips and exclusive anecdotes from<br />

industry execs bringing the experience<br />

to life. The 90-minute tour ends with<br />

cream tea in Lonny Lounge.<br />

Get on the scene: Organised by<br />

My Valley Pass and The Langham<br />

Huntington, Pasadena. Available<br />

until 14 July.<br />

What: Aladdin<br />

Where: Wadi Rum and Wadi<br />

Disi in Jordan<br />

Disney’s Aladdin, directed by Guy<br />

Ritchie and featuring an all-star cast<br />

including Will Smith as the Genie,<br />

Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi<br />

Scott as Jasmine, was shot between<br />

Longcross Studios and Arborfield<br />

Studios in the UK and the Hashemite<br />

Kingdom of southern Jordan. On<br />

location filming took place in the<br />

stunning Wadi Rum and Wadi Disi<br />

desert, where Lawrence of Arabia was<br />

shot, with 150 locals joining the UK<br />

crew to help bring the mysterious city<br />

of Agrabah to life.<br />

Get on the scene: Discover the desert<br />

by glamping in a Bedouin style tent at<br />

Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp.<br />

The filming of Aladdin © Disney<br />

Lights, camera, action!<br />

For the red-carpet treatment on your doorstep, make sure you're among the first to<br />

stay at Paramount Hotel Dubai, which is set to open in Q3 <strong>2019</strong> (it'll be the first ever<br />

property by Paramount Hotels and Resorts in the Middle East). Located in Business<br />

Bay, the design is inspired by Hollywood movie sets, with a screening room, Californiastyle<br />

pool deck and more – even the General Manager is known as ‘the Director’.<br />

Rooms and suites have cinema-inspired names, with exclusive behind-the-scenes<br />

photography from the Paramount Pictures archive on the walls.<br />

20 worldtravellermagazine.com

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KNOW-HOW<br />

The Knowledge<br />

HOW TO...<br />

How to holiday the sustainable way<br />

Give your eco-credentials a boost with these tips for happy<br />

holidays that don’t cost the earth<br />


Choose your destination wisely.<br />

“Travelling affects the environment so<br />

explore your transportation options<br />

and, wherever possible, try to minimise<br />

your pollution,” says Randy Durband,<br />

CEO of The Global Sustainable Tourism<br />

Council (GSTC). Remember, you don’t<br />

always need to travel far and wide to<br />

have a brilliant break. There are many<br />

destinations in and around the Middle<br />

East, at which a variety of rich travel<br />

experiences await.<br />

Do you research. “Once you have<br />

decided on your destination, check<br />

for hotels and resorts that have an<br />

active sustainability programme or<br />

eco-friendly initiatives,” says Randy. If<br />

the hotel has been certified by a GSTC<br />

accredited body, it means it has passed<br />

impartial sustainability checks. You<br />

can also look into the eco experiences<br />

and activities on offer. JA Manafaru in<br />

Maldives, for instance, offers a House<br />

Reef Cleaning snorkelling experience<br />

that invites guests to help collect<br />

foreign objects from the reefs. Atlantis,<br />

The Palm in Dubai shines a light on<br />

cultivating marine wildlife, most recently<br />

releasing 15 baby sharks into the Gulf.<br />

Pack lightly. “One’s carbon footprint<br />

includes the amount of weight we<br />

carry,” says Randy. Make an effort to<br />

streamline your suitcase as much as<br />

possible by packing mindfully. Simple<br />

steps can make difference, such as<br />

loading your holiday reads onto your<br />

tablet instead of carrying the physical<br />

books. Even the little things will count,<br />

such as taking your new toothbrush<br />

out of its plastic wrapper ahead of<br />

your trip, so you’re saving space and<br />

avoiding throwing away rubbish at your<br />

destination, where you may not have<br />

access to recycling facilities.<br />


Shop consciously. “Don’t haggle for<br />

the lowest price with a vendor who<br />

makes in a week what you spend on<br />

one coffee,” says Randy. Although it<br />

may be tempting to battle it out for a<br />

bargain, be mindful that what may seem<br />

like little money to you could mean a<br />

lot to them. You should also make sure<br />

that your souvenirs don’t contain coral,<br />

shells or wood products harvested from<br />

unsustainable forests.<br />

Swot up on animal rights. “As it comes<br />

down to a matter of opinion, it's not<br />

easy to state which animal attractions<br />

are ethical, but you should always<br />

do your research,” says Randy. “A<br />

good source to learn about the issues<br />

surrounding this topic is animondial.<br />

com.” Although it may be cool to take a<br />

picture riding an elephant, for example,<br />

consider how these animals are being<br />

treated before supporting it with your<br />

money. Look into volunteering at an<br />

animal sanctuary, where you’ll get to<br />

meet animals up close in a safe and<br />

ethical way.<br />

Be a responsible guest. “Be conscious<br />

of your destination’s environmental<br />

challenges,” says Randy. “For example,<br />

limit water usage when visiting desert<br />

destinations.” Opting for showers over<br />

baths, bringing your own reusable<br />

water bottle to refill and making an<br />

effort to reuse your towels are all easy<br />

ways to consume less. If everyone<br />

makes a small effort, it combines to<br />

make a big difference.<br />


Share the good stuff. “Write<br />

favourable online reviews about<br />

hotels and attractions that operate<br />

sustainably,” says Randy. You can<br />

influence others to make mindful<br />

holiday choices through the photos<br />

you share and the stories you<br />

tell. Keep learning and spreading<br />

awareness about how good it feels to<br />

holiday with a conscience.<br />

22 worldtravellermagazine.com


Rise and shine<br />

Get set for a summer full of adventure at this family-friendly resort in Fujairah<br />

*Terms and conditions apply.<br />

Tucked away between the Indian<br />

Ocean and the Al Hajar mountains,<br />

natural beauty is a given at Le<br />

Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, but<br />

there’s more to this Fujairah favourite<br />

than meets the eye. On top of sun, sea<br />

and sand, this popular holiday spot is a<br />

hub for thrill-seekers, with everything<br />

from scuba diving to fly fishing,<br />

abseiling and zip lining on offer.<br />

Drive here from Dubai and you’ll only<br />

need to endure a 90-minute chorus of<br />

“are we nearly there yet?” until you’re<br />

at the centre of all the action. Upon<br />

arrival, check into a spacious Superior<br />

Ocean View Room for a tranquil view of<br />

the swimming pool and beach. Or, for<br />

larger broods, The Penthouse Bedroom<br />

Suite has more than enough space for<br />

six people to bed down in style.<br />

Head to the breakfast buffet where<br />

the aroma of freshly roasted coffee<br />

will get you into active mode, pronto.<br />

Towel in hand, hot step it to Baywatch<br />

village, which hosts the largest freeform<br />

swimming pool on the emirate’s<br />

East Coast. After a morning splashing<br />

about, kids aged four to 16 can join the<br />

Le Meridien Family Club, which has<br />

a non-stop line-up of activities and<br />

entertainment. Meanwhile, mum and<br />

dad can check into Al Aqah Spa for a<br />

relaxing couples’ massage followed by a<br />

dip in the plunge pool.<br />

Next, for some adrenaline-pumping<br />

family fun, get warmed up for the<br />

resort’s own obstacle course, the Al<br />

Aqah Challenge. Featuring the firstof-its-kind<br />

rope course tower on the<br />

East Coast, you can take part in five<br />

activities under the watchful eye of<br />

the expert instructors. From zooming<br />

through the air on the zip lines to<br />

scaling the climbing wall, it’s sure to<br />

bring out your competitive side.<br />

After a jam-packed day, your appetite<br />

will surely be reaching a peak. As luck<br />

would have it, the resort is home to<br />

eight dining venues. Sink your teeth<br />

into delicious grills at the beachfront<br />

Gonu, or head to Views Restaurant for<br />

an east-meets-west fusion buffet and<br />

live music. Alternatively, check out hot<br />

new foodie spot Taste, which serves<br />

flavourful Indian and Thai food.<br />

What’s more, during the summer,<br />

you can enjoy the full Al Aqah<br />

experience for less, with Marriott<br />

Bonvoy members saving up to 25%<br />

and non-members receiving 15% off<br />

everything until 25 September*.<br />

To find out more, visit marriott.com<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 23

Wake up to dazzling sea views<br />

A taste for luxury<br />

Combine a love of food and travel at this Thai-inspired resort in Dubai, where<br />

bespoke dining experiences and summer savings make it a trip to remember<br />

In his Meditations on Gastronomy,<br />

philosopher Jean Brillat-Savarin boldly<br />

said, “The discovery of a new dish does<br />

more for the happiness of the human race<br />

than the discovery of a star.” With cutlery<br />

in place of a telescope, Anantara The Palm<br />

Dubai Resort promises to put a smile on<br />

your face with its delicious line-up of<br />

memorable dining experiences.<br />

Famous for its over-water villas, this<br />

luxurious resort occupies a premium spot<br />

on the East Crescent of Palm Jumeirah,<br />

delivering an idyllic beach experience that’s<br />

within easy reach of the bright lights of the<br />

big city. Currently, you can save up to 30%<br />

on a One Bedroom Over Water Villa or a<br />

One Bedroom Beach Pool Villa, complete<br />

with a daily buffet breakfast for two. Once<br />

you’ve found your feet, let the culinary<br />

team whisk you off on a gastronomic<br />

journey like no other. At the top of the<br />

wish list is the bespoke Dining by Design<br />

experience, which takes place on a secluded<br />

slice of sand, offering a curated collection<br />

of menus to pick from. Or, for a true taste of<br />

culinary extravagance, you can collaborate<br />

with a personal chef to tailor a fine feast<br />

that ticks all the boxes. Candles set the<br />

mood for this exclusive romantic meal for<br />

two while the sea laps the shore, providing<br />

the ultimate tranquil soundtrack. A butler<br />

is on hand during the meal to tend to any<br />

request you may have.<br />

After a day swimming in lagoon, or<br />

unwinding at your private pool, perhaps<br />

you’re in the mood for a lighter evening<br />

24 worldtravellermagazine.com


meal? Anantara’s Sunset Dining experience<br />

allows just that. Relish the handpicked<br />

selection of Mediterranean antipasti,<br />

including international cured meats and<br />

fine cheeses, as the amber and golden hues<br />

of the sunset provide a blissful ambience.<br />

It’s priced at Dhs600 per couple for<br />

antipasti, dessert and a bottle of grape.<br />

Those with exotic tastes can immerse<br />

themselves in Anantara’s Thai heritage by<br />

taking a cooking class at Spice Spoons. This<br />

richly interactive, step-by-step cooking<br />

experience will teach you how to make an<br />

array of authentic Thai dishes. Not only can<br />

you enjoy your creations for lunch, but you<br />

can take your new skill back home with you<br />

as a lasting memory of your holiday.<br />

Once your appetite is satisfied, you<br />

can round off your trip by trying some<br />

of the non-foodie experiences on offer.<br />

Watersports abound with waterskiing,<br />

kayaking and wakeboarding fit for<br />

thrillseekers. Those seeking a more<br />

serene experience out at sea can try paddle<br />

boarding or fishing. If you’re in the mood<br />

to be pampered, you can indulge with a<br />

traditional hammam or a tension-busting<br />

massage. However you prefer to spend<br />

your down time, this tropical paradise is a<br />

magnet for all those with good taste.<br />

To find out more, call +971 4 567 8888<br />

or visit anantara.com<br />

Join a Spice Spoons<br />

cooking class<br />

The Dining by Design experience takes<br />

place on a secluded stretch of sand<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 25


IceHotel365<br />

Cool ideas for summer<br />

Still sweating over your plans for<br />

the summer? Fear not, we have the<br />

answers. Lots of them. Whether<br />

you fancy a drop in temperature,<br />

endless sunshine or simply staying<br />

put to take advantage of amazing<br />

hotel deals, we'll take you there<br />

26 worldtravellermagazine.com

SUMMER TRAVEL <strong>2019</strong><br />


Iceland<br />

Things don't get much cooler than Iceland's<br />

soaring glaciers, and summer (when it's<br />

warmer and sunny) is the best time to<br />

explore their mighty magnificence. Do so<br />

while strapped into a snowmobile.<br />

New Zealand<br />

The seasons are flipped below the equator<br />

so while we're sweltering, New Zealanders<br />

are throwing on their thermals and hitting the<br />

slopes. Join them in the North Island and you<br />

can ski on an active volcano at Mt Ruapehu.<br />

Australia<br />

You don't have to go to extremes to enjoy<br />

cooler climes. Sydney is a brilliant city all year<br />

round, and its temperate winter is perfect for<br />

discovering it on foot and via ferry.<br />

St Petersberg<br />

Svalbard<br />

Sweden<br />

The country's original Ice Hotel is rebuilt<br />

every winter, yet its younger sibling, Ice<br />

Hotel365, is a 20-room permanent palace of<br />

ice – and a cooling -5°C inside.<br />

Sydney<br />

Iceland<br />

Enjoy endless<br />

sunshine<br />

(literally)<br />

1As the official hometown<br />

of Santa Claus, you'd<br />

expect the beautiful<br />

wilderness of Finland's<br />

Rovaniemi to be abuzz at<br />

Christmas, but its appeal in<br />

summer is equally magical:<br />

24hr daylight, thanks to its<br />

position on the Arctic Circle.<br />

Plenty of time to pack the<br />

likes of horseback riding and<br />

husky rides into your day –<br />

or even a trip to see Santa,<br />

who's always on duty here.<br />

2An archipelago that's<br />

halfway between<br />

Norway and the North<br />

Pole, Svalbard is actually<br />

home to more polar bears<br />

than humans – and the<br />

world's northernmost sushi<br />

restaurant. Its polar summer<br />

means it's in daylight until<br />

the end of September, a time<br />

when its fjords are flooded<br />

by the arrival of whales, a<br />

sight best observed by kayak.<br />

3You don't have to head<br />

somewhere remote<br />

to bask in the glow of<br />

endless daylight. During the<br />

so-named White Nights of<br />

summer (mid-<strong>June</strong> is the<br />

peak), the sun never truly<br />

sets on St Petersberg – cue<br />

a time for myriad festivals,<br />

concerts and alfreso parties.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 27


Take your childhood dreams to the next level by bedding<br />

down inside these luxury treehouses designed especially<br />

for grown-ups. Set amid lush rainforest, Keemala in<br />

Phuket (pictured), has seven treehouses, as well as the<br />

cleverly designed Bird's Nest Pool Villas, so you can take<br />

a dip amid the branches. For a touch of Maldives magic,<br />

the Skyhouse with Bubble villa at Amilla Fushi calls<br />

with its infinity pool extended over the treetops and the<br />

bubble itself housing a telescope, daybed, and removable<br />

roof for stargazing. If you're game for something a bit<br />

more rustic, La Cabane en L’Air in France is a collection<br />

of some 200 treehouses spread across the country. We<br />

rate the Cabane Spa Vintage treehouse in Aquitaine,<br />

which wows with its pink vintage car on the terrace and<br />

breathtaking views of the Garonne Valley.<br />

28 worldtravellermagazine.com

SUMMER TRAVEL <strong>2019</strong><br />

Beat the crowds to see one of these<br />

in-the-know places<br />

Opposite: A Bird's Nest Pool<br />

Villa, Keemala in Phuket<br />

This page, clockwise from top:<br />

Aso Rock, Abuja; Tashkent; Sochi<br />


With Emirates launching<br />

three additional flights each<br />

week from the beginning<br />

of <strong>June</strong>, it has never been<br />

easier to get from Dubai to<br />

Nigeria’s capital city and seat<br />

of political power. Abuja runs<br />

at a different pace to Lagos,<br />

with lots to do outdoors.<br />

Take time out to visit the<br />

imposing Aso Rock before<br />

exploring the many green<br />

spaces, such as Millennium<br />

Park, which was designed by<br />

world-renowned architect<br />

Manfredi Nicoletti.<br />


The capital and largest city<br />

of Uzbekistan, Tashkent is<br />

a hotspot for culture buffs,<br />

with more than 2,200 years<br />

of history and almost 50<br />

museums to discover. Start<br />

by paying a trip to the<br />

State Museum of History of<br />

Uzbekistan, one of the oldest<br />

museums in Central Asia<br />

with more than 300,000<br />

exhibits. Next, embark on<br />

an architecture tour to take<br />

in the beautiful mosques,<br />

madrassahs and skyscrapers.<br />

There are five flights a week<br />

from Dubai, via Flydubai – a<br />

route that launched in March<br />

this year.<br />


This Black Sea city, which<br />

hosted the 2014 Winter<br />

Olympics and Paralympics,<br />

teams stunning scenery<br />

with culture thanks to its<br />

mountainous coastline and<br />

historical sites. Take a peek<br />

inside Stalin’s Dacha, the<br />

historic summer residence<br />

of Joseph Stalin, and shop<br />

the famous fruit markets,<br />

stopping to taste a local<br />

delicacy: Russian Lavash (a<br />

baked flatbread) with a warm<br />

cup of tea. Flydubai will<br />

whizz you here from Dubai<br />

from 7 <strong>June</strong>.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 29

GET A REAL<br />


A CITY<br />

Its name may not roll of the tongue<br />

(O, da! Eda!, which translates to<br />

English as Oh, yes! That's food!) but<br />

this annual Moscow festival (<strong>June</strong><br />

2-28) promises to serve up the whole<br />

gastronomic panorama of Moscow,<br />

giving guests the opportunity to<br />

sample dishes from start-ups to<br />

established restaurants and chefs of<br />

the calibre of Vladimir Mukhin.<br />

Nordic cuisine still commands<br />

a seat at the top table of on trend<br />

gastronomic fare and Copenhagen<br />

Cooking is one of the biggest food<br />

festivals in Northern Europe. For ten<br />

days from 23 August you can gorge<br />

on a smörgåsbord of Nordic dishes<br />

cooked up by stellar name chefs.<br />

The northeasternmost US state<br />

of Maine is famous for its succulent<br />

lobsters, so much so that there's a<br />

dedicated festival - Maine Lobster<br />

Festival, 31 July to 4 August – at<br />

which 19,000 pounds of the coveted<br />

crustaceans are cooked up. If you're<br />

partial to a lobster roll, this is where<br />

you can chow down on the ultimate<br />

grilled sandwich.<br />

30 worldtravellermagazine.com

SUMMER TRAVEL <strong>2019</strong><br />

Try out a soon-to-be<br />

family favourite<br />


Disney splashed a sum that was out of this galaxy to land the Star<br />

Wars franchise, and continues to invest heavily in it. Before the finale<br />

to the original series of movies drops in December, Star Wars fans<br />

have long anticipated the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a<br />

14-acre Star Wars land added to both Disneyland in California (open<br />

now) and Disney <strong>World</strong> in Florida (opening in the fall), both of which<br />

reportedly cost a cool $1 billion to build. Rides include Millennium<br />

Falcon: Smugglers Run, which puts riders at the control of Han Solo's<br />

legendary ship, and the forthcoming Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance,<br />

an interactive battle against the First Order. May the force be with you.<br />


With the idea to offer a hotel on wheels, the new Caledonian Sleeper<br />

service, which hits the tracks from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow,<br />

is the first time you can spend the night in a double bed on a UK railway.<br />

Departing London a little before midnight, your pyjama-clad clan can<br />

bed down in an en-suite Caledonian Double and wake in Scotland to<br />

Highland porridge with honey for breakfast. Adventure awaits.<br />


Before The Bear Grylls Survival Academy opens on Ras Al Khaimah's<br />

Jebel Jais next year, you'll have to travel to the UK or US to partake of<br />

his exhilarating adventure courses, designed for fathers and sons, and<br />

mothers and daughters alike. The Primal Survival Family Adventure<br />

teaches myriad survival skills as you cross testing terrain for 24hrs. This<br />

is what happens when you call a child Bear.<br />

Left: Mikkeller & Friends,<br />

Copenhagen<br />

Inset: Star Wars: Galaxy's<br />

Edge © Disney<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 31


Samujana<br />

Feeling overwhelmed with life? Push<br />

the reset button in the lush green jungle<br />

of Lipa in the Philippines, where The<br />

Farm at San Benito is offering a new<br />

mental health programme for those<br />

who are affected by depression, stress,<br />

and anxiety. A 90-minute drive south<br />

of Manila, this holistic medical wellness<br />

resort has a team of professionals<br />

on hand to help rid you of unwanted<br />

thoughts. Expect psychotherapy<br />

sessions, hydrotherapy and daily<br />

movement activities, including mandala<br />

flower arrangement, with nourishing<br />

homegrown vegan food aplenty.<br />

Yoga buffs can practise their sun<br />

salutations at Samujana in Koh Samui,<br />

which promises to refresh body and<br />

mind with its health and wellbeing<br />

holidays. Each of the villas have a<br />

private infinity pool for moments of<br />

reflection, and little touches make it<br />

easy to kick-start a healthier lifestyle,<br />

with yoga mats in the living room,<br />

nutritious snacks in the mini-bar,<br />

meditation apps on the in-room mobile,<br />

and a delicious detox menu to dine<br />

from. You can book a one-, two- or<br />

three-day programme that'll hook you<br />

up with healthy meals, yoga sessions,<br />

pampering spa treatments and more.<br />

If being a master in the kitchen feeds<br />

your soul, you can take time out to learn<br />

some culinary skills at Sauce by The<br />

Sauce by The Langham<br />

Langham, the new informal cookery<br />

school at the five-star hotel in London.<br />

There are classes to suit all confidence<br />

levels and abilities, including Building<br />

Blocks for enthusiastic home cooks,<br />

which will put you through you paces<br />

by honing your knife skills, teaching you<br />

how to make fresh pasta, and helping<br />

you learn the basics of preparing stocks<br />

and sauces. With up to 12 people per<br />

class, it's a great way to meet likeminded<br />

foodies, while focusing on you.<br />

Throw caution to<br />

the wind<br />

The white sands, swaying coconut palms, and glistening<br />

waters of the Indian Ocean can be all yours at Naladhu<br />

Private Island Maldives, which is now available for private<br />

takeovers. Here, you and your entourage (there are 20<br />

houses dotted across the island) can craft a tailor-made<br />

stay, with everything from snorkelling with sharks to<br />

picnics on the sandbanks just a finger click away.<br />

32 worldtravellermagazine.com

SUMMER TRAVEL <strong>2019</strong><br />



1To the desert. Channel<br />

your inner David<br />

Attenborough by getting<br />

an up-close view of indigenous<br />

wildlife, such as Arabian oryx<br />

and gazelles, albeit from the<br />

comfort of your temperaturecontrolled<br />

infinity pool, at Al<br />

Maha, a Luxury Collection<br />

Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai.<br />

An enduring favourite for a<br />

traditional Arabian experience,<br />

the resort is nestled amid the<br />

golden dunes of Dubai Desert<br />

Conservation Reserve.<br />

2To the city. If it's<br />

sweeping views of the<br />

skyline you're after, the<br />

new voco Dubai more than<br />

delivers. Situated in the heart of<br />

all the action on Sheikh Zayed<br />

Road, each of the rooms have<br />

floor-to-ceiling panoramic<br />

windows, so you can gaze at<br />

the city in all its glory.<br />

Clockwise from top:<br />

Al Maha, a Luxury<br />

Collection Desert<br />

Resort & Spa, Dubai;<br />

voco Dubai; JA Hatta<br />

Fort Hotel; Mandarin<br />

Oriental Jumeira,<br />

Dubai<br />

3To the sea. If you've<br />

already stayed your way<br />

around Palm Jumeirah,<br />

it may be time to nudge<br />

yourself along the coast a little<br />

to Mandarin Oriental Jumeira,<br />

Dubai – the emirate's closest<br />

beachfront resort to Downtown<br />

Dubai. Hit the sand for an early<br />

morning sunbathing session,<br />

dine overlooking the sea at The<br />

Bay and be pampered in the<br />

spa – just be sure to request a<br />

room with a sea view.<br />

4To the mountains. A<br />

firm family favourite,<br />

JA Hatta Fort Hotel is<br />

a happy hideaway set against<br />

the stunning backdrop of the<br />

Al Hajar Mountains. There are<br />

plenty of ways to get active<br />

here, from exploring the<br />

rugged bike trails, to hiking in<br />

the mountains, whizzing down<br />

the zip line and kayaking in the<br />

lakes. You'll feel a world away.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 33

worldtravellermagazine.com<br />

Your passport to the Middle East's first fully<br />

bookable travel inspiration website<br />

Extend your journey with <strong>World</strong> <strong>Traveller</strong> magazine<br />

by heading online to read more inspirational and<br />

exclusive travel content and take advantage of upto-the-minute<br />

hotel and holiday features<br />

Dream Read Click Book


Amanpuri, Thailand<br />

Postcards<br />

Stories from journeys<br />

far and wide<br />

CUBA p36<br />

THAILAND p44<br />

NAMIBIA p50<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 35

CUBA<br />

This page: A dapper<br />

gent with outsized cigar<br />

poses in front of Havana's<br />

traditional architecture<br />

Opposite: Vintage pink<br />

American convertible<br />

36 worldtravellermagazine.com

LAOS<br />

How to do<br />

Cuba<br />

Colonial mansions with crumbling facades. Big,<br />

fat cigars, revolutionary billboards, salsa and<br />

sandy beaches — you’ve seen them all in your<br />

travel fantasies. Now let expert Claire Boobbyer<br />

show you how to make the dream a reality...<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 37

ith its cigar-smoking<br />

rebels, sparkling<br />

seas, vintage vehicles,<br />

potent music, and<br />

locals who survive<br />

on their wits and humour, Cuba will<br />

almost certainly steal your heart. But like<br />

so many seducers, this tropical island,<br />

shaded a Socialist red on the map, is<br />

complicated. It's at once gorgeous and<br />

falling apart; ridiculously rich in culture,<br />

but short on basic goods and common<br />

conveniences. (Cuba's not for you if you<br />

need Instagram connection 24/7; or if<br />

you don't handle train cancellations well;<br />

or if you come over shaky when you can't<br />

find a breakfast latte with soya milk.)<br />

The island's fairly large and packs in<br />

a lot of encounters and experiences, so<br />

you'll need two weeks to do it justice.<br />

For us, that means seeing the highlights<br />

and a bit more: the capital Havana; lush<br />

Viñales Valley; Trinidad and Santiago<br />

cities; and the distant east - jungly Oriente<br />

is Cuba's best-kept secret and you won't<br />

regret stretching your time. Anxious<br />

about bypassing urbane Santa Clara<br />

and coastal Cienfuegos towns? You'll<br />

get more colonial grandeur and better<br />

beaches on the route mapped out here.<br />

Delays and safety concerns make<br />

domestic flights a bad idea and car hire is<br />

expensive and convoluted. Instead, do as<br />

most travellers do and take cross-country<br />

coaches or hire a car and driver. Pack<br />

patience, flexibility, your sense of humour<br />

and your glad rags. Cuba's infectious<br />

magic will knock you sideways. From<br />

cutting-edge art and hip-swivelling music<br />

to wild beaches, colonial hotspots and<br />

brilliant B&Bs, here's how to pack it all in...<br />

DAYS 1-3<br />


Havana is utterly beautiful. Not quite<br />

the starlet she once was, perhaps, but<br />

her 500-year-old bone structure is still<br />

there, in primped-up plazas and swanky<br />

mansions. The city is Cuba's political and<br />

cultural capital and, more prosaically,<br />

has the biggest airport for arrivals. Most<br />

flights touch down in time for dinner<br />

and drinks, and you'd be nuts not to take<br />

advantage. From the airport, Havana is 40<br />

minutes by taxi via a flipbook of socialist<br />

billboards. Few places on Earth offer<br />

stays in such splendour for such great<br />

value - think Spanish colonial romance<br />

These pages, clockwise from<br />

above: Mural of revolutionary<br />

Che Guevara in Plaza de la<br />

Revolution, Havana; Cuban<br />

local in traditionally colourful<br />

dress with hand-rolled cigar;<br />

fishing off the Malecon at<br />

sunset; a dish of fried octopus<br />

38 worldtravellermagazine.com

CUBA<br />

meets Art Deco. Havana is a city on the up,<br />

and you'll find its coolest creative types<br />

on the rooftop at El del Frente (O'Reilly<br />

303). Come and dine alfresco, then slip<br />

into speakeasy-feel Cero Habana (Aguiar<br />

209). Prefer somewhere more established?<br />

Anyone with a guidebook will know about<br />

Ernest Hemingway's favourite haunts.<br />

By all means take a stool at his favoured<br />

spot, El Floridita (Obispo 557), and drink<br />

in the long, classy lounge and live music<br />

along with your drink. But avoid La<br />

Bodeguita del Medio (Empedrado 207),<br />

which does the city's worst Mojito.<br />

The plundered loot of Spain's Latin<br />

American empire was funnelled through<br />

Havana for more than 200 years, via the<br />

so-called treasure fleets. And the silver<br />

cascading through the Atlantic-facing<br />

city needed protection — with forts<br />

mostly built by African slaves — to defy<br />

those pirates of the Caribbean. Havana's<br />

wealth was later bolstered by sugar<br />

exports, and profits were invested in<br />

handsome bricks and mortar. Now those<br />

Old Havana streets are made for walking,<br />

between UNESCO-protected Baroque<br />

churches, bougainvillea-draped portals,<br />

lofty mansions, muscular fortresses and<br />

kerbside cafés. The four main plazas —<br />

Catedral, Armas, Vieja and San Francisco<br />

— are highlights. Devote time to the<br />

plush presidential-palaceturned-Museum<br />

of the Revolution, which charts Cuba's<br />

history of rebellion. In the Museum of<br />

Fine Arts, take a guided tour of the Cuban<br />

collection (make for the avant-garde and<br />

contemporary art floors). Artsy types<br />

can go further with a curator-guide<br />

(Sussette Martínez; sussem@gmail.com),<br />

visiting artists' home-studios: maybe see<br />

a Cadillac converted into a submarine,<br />

or a Che Guevara 'Turin' shroud.<br />

Wherever you're going, grab a rickshawstyle<br />

bicycle taxi for speed. Havana's<br />

almendrón taxi system — classic cars<br />

running fixed routes — has disintegrated<br />

somewhat. Now, you'll pay $6-$9 for<br />

taxis for journeys of up to 4km. The<br />

hop-on-hop-off circulating red tourist<br />

bus is for people with plenty of time.<br />

Shimmy along for matinee rumba at<br />

tight, sweaty and untouristy El Jelengue<br />

de Areito in Centro Habana, a dilapidated<br />

residential zone. After dinner, look<br />

out for the green light bulb on Calle 11<br />

marking under-the-radar La Casa de la<br />

Bombilla Verde, to hear live nueva trova<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 39

CUBA<br />

These pages: Viñales<br />

Valley in the Sierra de los<br />

Órganos mountains<br />

40 worldtravellermagazine.com

CUBA<br />

music. Your next address is the city's<br />

Fábrica de Arte Cubano for challenging<br />

photography, singer-songwriters,<br />

avant-garde dance and the chance to<br />

mingle with Cuban entrepreneurs. Do<br />

this lot and you'll have captured Cuba's<br />

political, social and cultural zeitgeist.<br />

You can sleep when you get home.<br />

Take the strain off your feet on your<br />

last day in Havana and make your way<br />

through Centro by bicycle taxi for a<br />

window onto street life — having first<br />

bought a cigar factory ticket, available<br />

from any hotel. The H Upmann<br />

Factory tour reveals one of the world's<br />

most aromatic and elaborate crafts.<br />

Buy cigars from official 'Habanos'<br />

stores only (on the street, you might<br />

get fakes made of dried banana).<br />

If cigars aren't your bag, try a farmto-table<br />

cooking class at organic<br />

paradise Finca Tungasuk (tungasuk.<br />

com) in buried-in-the-bushes Caimito,<br />

40 minutes from Havana. Or make like<br />

Rihanna in Havana and hire a Cadillac<br />

with driver (malecon663.com). Explore<br />

the two castles defending the Bay of<br />

Havana, then motor to the leafy, artsy<br />

El Vedado district, home to weddingcake<br />

mansions, top paladares (private<br />

restaurants), and music venues. After<br />

snapping the monumental Plaza de<br />

la Revolución, step into Christopher<br />

Columbus Cemetery for the largest<br />

communion of marble angels in Latin<br />

America (see a husband's devotion<br />

embodied in bronze, stone and Lalique<br />

glass at Catalina Lasa's tomb). In the<br />

golden hour before sunset, cruise up<br />

and down Havana's seaside boulevard,<br />

the Malecón, with its hymn to fabulous,<br />

colourful architectural eclecticism<br />

Toast your time in Havana with a drink<br />

on the roof of the Kempinski hotel; you'll<br />

have a great view of curlicued motifs on<br />

theatres and museums. Partygoers should<br />

end the night dancing salsa in front of<br />

a live band at alfresco Club 1830. In the<br />

Old Town, music-crawl the lounges of<br />

Calle Obispo: La Lluvia de Oro is a winner<br />

for its old-time looks and live bands.<br />

DAYS 4-5<br />


Rise early for Víazul's 9am coach to<br />

Viñales, 180km west of Havana. You'll<br />

want as much time as transport allows<br />

‘<br />








’<br />

in the town and its lush valley. UNESCOprotected<br />

Viñales Valley is a vision of<br />

velvet-green mountains rising from<br />

palms, tobacco plants and ruddy red soil<br />

tilled by oxen and plough. Besides the<br />

country air, its greatest draws are the<br />

organic food, horse-riding and rockclimbing.<br />

And you'll see much better<br />

valley sights than those tipped in the<br />

guidebooks on a walk with a guide from<br />

the Visitors' Centre (close to Hotel Los<br />

Jazmines; 8.30am-5pm). Otherwise,<br />

stroll around a private mogote with<br />

farmer Omar from Casa Omar y Mayra<br />

(casaomarymayra@gmail.com), or ask<br />

your B&B to help you hire horses for<br />

a guided ride to the unspoilt Valley of<br />

Silence. Swap valley sunsets the next<br />

day for tangerine-coloured starfish at<br />

Cayo Jutías, a sparkling white beach<br />

that's an easy day-trip with one of the<br />

travel agencies on the small main strip.<br />

Or hire a taxi to take you to the tobacco<br />

farm of Hector Luis Prieto (hectorfinca.<br />

com). He does a superb tour and creole<br />

lunch for a bargain price. The insatiable<br />

could squeeze in both by private taxi.<br />

DAYS 6-7<br />



There's no quick fix to reach Trinidad,<br />

but it's a must-visit for its pistachio-and<br />

cinnamon-coloured homes, dreamy<br />

palaces, and coppery horses ridden by<br />

mangón (very good-looking) cowboys<br />

trotting through town. Víazul's daily<br />

bus from Viñales takes nine-and-ahalf<br />

hours (or rent a car). But if you're<br />

prepared for a little organised chaos,<br />

you can keep it to six or seven hours by<br />

taking collective taxis. Vintage vehicles<br />

pick up passengers from Viñales B&Bs<br />

and drive them to a highway restaurant;<br />

you could then be shifted to another<br />

vehicle and redirected to Trinidad. It<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 41

CUBA<br />

sounds like a jumbled plan, but go with<br />

it you'll never be stranded in Cuba.<br />

Trinidad was central to Cuba's 19thcentury<br />

sugar boom, and its wealthy<br />

sugar barons enshrined egos in stone:<br />

palaces embellished with all the finest<br />

furniture, frescoes and chandeliers<br />

money could buy. You can sleep amid<br />

the grandeur at some of the small city's<br />

finest homes. The next day, gain full<br />

immersion by just wandering. A cluster<br />

of music venues, all within a stone’s<br />

throw of each other, makes flirting with<br />

each one a cinch. Top dazzler is Casa de<br />

la Trova, a traditional colonial home with<br />

live bands and a patio for dancing. If you<br />

know the moves, wait at the edge for a<br />

partner to approach. If you're a learner,<br />

standby, too. It's the only way to improve<br />

and Cubans are accommodating.<br />

Morning light spills over Trinidad<br />

in a golden sheen. Photographer Julio<br />

Muñoz has been capturing life there for<br />

years. His easy manner and contacts<br />

make his street-photography tour a<br />

nuanced introduction beyond the city's<br />

UNESCO-protected chocolate-box façade.<br />

Later, climb the observation tower at<br />

the Cantero Palace history museum,<br />

where a central fountain once sprinkled<br />

eau de cologne for the ladies and spirits<br />

for society gents. Look out for the faces<br />

of Trinidad's elderly folk exquisitely<br />

carved into abandoned door pieces at<br />

the gallery of Lázaro Niebla Castro.<br />

DAYS 8-10<br />



Santiago is steeped in history, humidity<br />

and a rocking music scene. With<br />

African, Haitian and Jamaican roots, its<br />

vibe is more Caribbean than Havana's.<br />

To get there from Trinidad, don't spend<br />

a day on Víazul's direct route: (12hr<br />

50min); instead take a $50 taxi to Sancti<br />

Spíritus (about one hour north) and<br />

catch the 3.10pm bus or an overnighter<br />

(9.10pm and 1.50am; 10hr 20min).<br />

Don't pack all the sights into your<br />

first day — plan a siesta, breaks on the<br />

Casa Granda hotel terrace or coffee at<br />

museum café Casa Dranguet. Explore<br />

highlights of the 500-year-old historic<br />

core on foot: the first governor's<br />

mansion and the Moncada Museum,<br />

charting Fidel Castro's rise to power.<br />

Start the night at funky alfresco chess<br />

‘<br />






’<br />

café, Café Ajedrez, with its live bands,<br />

followed by evening ensembles at Casa<br />

de la Trova, and a storming end-ofnight<br />

salsa shiver at Bar Claqueta. Next<br />

day, swap city for country and hire a<br />

car and driver through Out of the Box<br />

(outofthebox.zone). Plan to take in<br />

glorious Avenida Manduley mansions in<br />

the Vista Alegre district, Fidel Castro's<br />

tomb at magnificent marble Santa<br />

Ifigenia Cemetery, and impressive<br />

UNESCO-protected El Morro Castle<br />

at the mouth of Santiago Bay. Time<br />

your visit for the sunset cannon-firing<br />

ceremony. Fancy carnival? Come in July,<br />

prepared for stifling temperatures.<br />

DAYS 11-14<br />



Baracoa is spellbinding. Some of the<br />

world's smallest species of bird, frog<br />

and bat live here, as does the rainbowcoloured<br />

hyper-local natural beauty the<br />

polymita snail. These small wonders<br />

inhabit the coconut palms, cocoa trees,<br />

coffee bushes and pine forests of this<br />

Atlantic region. When Christopher<br />

Columbus first glimpsed the wild<br />

beaches and green slopes in 1492, he<br />

wrote there was 'so much beauty that<br />

I can find no words to describe it'.<br />

A Víazul bus from Santiago at 7.40am<br />

can get you to this tropical enclave in<br />

time for lunch. Climb the hill to Hotel<br />

El Castillo for lush views of anvil-flat<br />

mountain El Yunque, and map out the<br />

following days' plans. For wild beach<br />

exploration, head south, going off-piste<br />

on hired bikes (baracoabikerental.com)<br />

or in a cab ($30 return). At Manglito<br />

Beach, sink into an Adirondack chair<br />

with a drink, and order fresh seafood<br />

from Tato's food shack. Hike up through<br />

palms the next day to El Yunque's<br />

summit. The views of the nibbled<br />

Atlantic coastline — a jade-green<br />

forest hemline against a peacock-blue<br />

sea — are awesome. After that you'll<br />

want relaxation. You can find it at<br />

Maguana, the cutest beach corner in<br />

Cuba, a rugged 22km north of Baracoa.<br />

Then grit your teeth, book a cab<br />

to Baracoa's bus station, and catch<br />

the 1pm coach all the way back to<br />

Havana (17hr 30min). If you squeezed<br />

in a dip in the area's glassy River<br />

of Honey, legend says you'll return<br />

to Baracoa. You know you will.<br />

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call<br />

+971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com<br />

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/ News Licensing<br />

42 worldtravellermagazine.com

These pages, from left:<br />

Maguana Beach, Baracoa;<br />

a Cuban bass player heads<br />

to a gig<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 43


This page: The pool<br />

at Amanpuri<br />

44 worldtravellermagazine.com


Blazing curries, festivals sizzling with street life,<br />

buildings as pretty as patisserie — who said Phuket was all beaches<br />

and revelry? Nick Redman tries an authentic Thai<br />

omewhere I stopped in at a café<br />

laced with bougainvillea and<br />

open to a street that smelt of<br />

washing powder and incense.<br />

I was heading to fill my face at Naka<br />

night market, beyond Phuket Town, but<br />

the server wiping the laminated pink<br />

tablecloths pulled me in with her grin.<br />

Her doughnuts, just shaken from the<br />

pan and billowing steam, sealed the<br />

deal: puffs of hot, sweet, delicious air.<br />

With a tankard of sugar-laced iced tea,<br />

I must have consumed 2,000 calories<br />

— and I still hadn't had dinner.<br />

When I eventually located it, Naka<br />

market was a welcome sight. Sweetpotato<br />

balls skittered around deep pans<br />

of oil, trailing bubbles, while skewered<br />

squids the colour of tangerines spat<br />

in lines over orange coals. Roe-topped<br />

sushi glistened like fat pink brooches,<br />

drawing Thai families and backpackers<br />

alike into a mild scrum. And that,<br />

as they say, was just for starters.<br />

I'd come to Phuket, essentially, for<br />

a beach holiday, despite knowing that<br />

Thai purists often roll their eyes at the<br />

mention of the name: overdeveloped,<br />

overpriced, basically just over, as tinier<br />

idylls tempt more intrepid travellers.<br />

Sure, in places, it's all gone a bit Patong,<br />

the brazen resort of R-rated stage shows.<br />

And yet, in a week, I found an island of<br />

rare, delicious flavours: magnificent<br />

wildlife, surreal landscapes and blissful<br />

solitude. All that and great food.<br />

It was Aunt Yai and Uncle Nun who'd<br />

whetted my appetite, a Thai couple who<br />

welcomed me into their kitchen in the<br />

shadow of a massive banyan tree by the<br />

sea. It looked reassuringly traditional<br />

‘<br />

I FOUND AN<br />










’<br />

— even the roof was tin, the kind you<br />

see in so many fishing villages. But<br />

enjoying their authentic southern Thai<br />

cooking hadn't entailed a showerless,<br />

sleepless week in a hammock on some<br />

Alex-Garland-scary remote sands.<br />

Quite the opposite — they were inhouse<br />

at Rosewood Phuket, the recently<br />

opened resort I was staying in.<br />

Wanting to have a foot in the real world,<br />

not a perimeter fence between, the hotel<br />

had talent-scouted around and found<br />

their future chefs stirring up a storm in a<br />

casual joint loved by the neighbourhood.<br />

And now here they were, working their<br />

magic for a global guest list. It was so<br />

much more credible than importing<br />

some highly paid international type<br />

with an eye for culinary appropriation.<br />

I liked the setting, Emerald Bay, and<br />

I also liked the Rosewood: a jumble of<br />

Modernist-cubic pavilion residences<br />

knee-deep in jasmine and hibiscus,<br />

smartly furnished with standing mirrors<br />

in ebony-tone frames, drum lampshades<br />

and stained dark floorboards.<br />

This was, of course, a globally<br />

recognisable canvas, which only served<br />

to counterpoint the appeal of Uncle<br />

Nun and Aunt Yai's homegrown cuisine.<br />

Gesturing enthusiastically, they singled<br />

out ingredients for their dishes —<br />

currently lurking in the slate-green<br />

stillness of their pond. Here a grouper,<br />

there a sea bass and behind, in the corner,<br />

a few scuttling blue crabs. A least one of<br />

these would soon reappear in my gaeng<br />

poo: a blazing regional curry speciality<br />

with gossamer-fine noodles brought<br />

steaming to my table under a hazy moon.<br />

Their tour de force was moo hong, a<br />

southern Thai favourite you might call the<br />

signature dish of Phuket. After hours of<br />

simmering in a treacly mix of coriander<br />

root, star anise, soy sauce, palm sugar<br />

and peppercorn, it was cinnamon-sweet<br />

and sludgy-soft, a tinglingly delicious<br />

experience I don't recall from the menu<br />

at my nearest Thai back home. Some<br />

have linked its flavour, soy in particular,<br />

to Chinese influences — most likely<br />

imparted by settlers, who arrived in<br />

droves in the 19th-century, when the<br />

Phuket tin industry was growing to<br />

meet American canning demands.<br />

I'd tried the curry already, in Phuket<br />

Town, my first port of call after landing,<br />

checking in at 2 Rooms, a charming<br />

'30s-style side-alley lodge with a<br />

gramophone and teak-look bed. Woven<br />

with multicultural threads, the island's<br />

informal capital is surely its most<br />

underrated attraction. Despite exuding a<br />

modern, urban feel in places, at its historic<br />

heart it was good enough to eat, in every<br />

respect. Raya restaurant was the kind of<br />

place you wish would open up on your<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 45


street, with its giant ceiling fans, cool green<br />

walls and epic menu. That said, its gaeng<br />

poo was the main event, milkily innocuous<br />

to behold at first, but flaring suddenly on the<br />

tongue and wonderfully bitter with turmeric.<br />

Another day I inhaled the heritage<br />

of ancient Muslim traders: the sight of<br />

Yameay Mosque with its emerald green<br />

domes; the aroma of a chicken roti at Abdul<br />

Murtabak's place, a simple institution lined<br />

with framed engravings of Mecca. Lock<br />

Tien, Phuket Town's local-food centre, did<br />

delicious Hokkien (as in, fried) noodles —<br />

another Sino-influence. And as my time<br />

in town coincided with Chinese New Year,<br />

I watched fireworks crackle in the night<br />

above teeming, steaming street markets<br />

dispensing dumplings and grilled seafood.<br />

For afters, the grid streets delivered a<br />

visual feast of dwellings, with work spaces<br />

at ground level known as shophouses.<br />

The result of Portuguese and Chinese<br />

colonial currents merging, they displayed<br />

stunning pastel-painted facades. But<br />

the centre was no museum piece. Local<br />

hipsters were on hand, drinking lattes<br />

in blond-wood places with names like<br />

Bookhemian and The Shelter Coffee — a<br />

welcome hit of real-life modern Phuket.<br />

After this, I was set for more immersion<br />

in recipes and rituals. The finale to my<br />

barbecued-prawn dinner at the Anantara<br />

Layan Phuket Resort wasn't any old ice<br />

cream, but a bowl of scoops gently flavoured<br />

with Thai basil. As Phuket moments<br />

go, it was lovely, although ultimately it<br />

lost out to the magnificent tallow glow<br />

on the horizon as the day drained away.<br />

Everything looked enchanted, down to the<br />

mysterious forested island in the bay, amid<br />

the coffee-cream swirls of low-tide sands.<br />

Time for a reality check: next day was<br />

market day in Patong, a 25-minute drive<br />

south for me, in the company of the resort<br />

chef, Hong. Like Rosewood, Anantara<br />

seemed adept at dissolving the barrier<br />

between tourists and Thais, inviting them<br />

to accompany Hong to busy Banzaan Fresh<br />

Market for produce to make into dishes with<br />

a Phuket-flavoured twist, back in her kitchen.<br />

At the entrance, ready-mix trios of fresh<br />

beansprouts, tofu and chives were piled in<br />

bundles, the ingredients of pad Thai. So far,<br />

so Spinny's. But as we moved deeper, things<br />

‘<br />







’<br />

grew more visceral, with the shattering<br />

crack of cleavers on chicken feet, the sight of<br />

muddy shrimp paste in bags and the smell<br />

of fish-gut marinade, months old, prepared<br />

to flavour southern curries. Hong advised<br />

against even touching some of the fish to<br />

which Western digestive systems might well<br />

be unaccustomed. 'We have bacteria. We<br />

grow up on this,' she said, while describing<br />

one lurid specimen. 'If you eat, maybe you<br />

poo poo.' I rubbed pungent betel leaves<br />

between my fingers, and in doing so got the<br />

ubiquitous smell of Thailand: a faintly bitter,<br />

chocolate aroma that had been tickling<br />

my nostrils for days, something almost<br />

sedative. The landscapes had the same effect<br />

that afternoon on a slow drive inland.<br />

Sunshine turned the telegraph wires silver<br />

as if spun by giant spiders, then it pooled<br />

green on expanses of forest floor. Sometimes<br />

we passed pineapples glinting among<br />

stretches of rubber trees, or glimpsed blackand-white<br />

cattle with egrets, by a lake, on<br />

our bucolic glide to Phuket's more feral side.<br />

If it sounded run-of-the-mill tourist, the<br />

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, our destination,<br />

was the opposite: a dignified and thoughtprovoking<br />

encounter with another slice of<br />

real Phuket. The visit began with a video<br />

showing the hideous ways humans have<br />

treated Thailand's pachyderms over the<br />

centuries, forcing them, with nails, cuts<br />

and burns, to submit to a life carrying<br />

heavy loads of timber or holidaymakers.<br />

But the mood soon lifted when we came to<br />

walk with the residents in their managed<br />

wilderness: one of a pioneering few in<br />

Thailand committed to rescuing victims and<br />

releasing them into a contented retirement.<br />

The animals were mesmerising to<br />

watch, sometimes up close, sometimes<br />

from raised lookouts laden with bananas,<br />

to encourage curious trunks. I really fell<br />

46 worldtravellermagazine.com

This page, clockwise<br />

from above: Khao<br />

Phing Kan (James Bond<br />

Island); evening lantern<br />

lighting ceremony<br />

at Anantara Layan<br />

Phuket Resort; a fresh<br />

salad with rice and<br />

cooked shrimp)<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 47

This page: Sala Pool<br />

Villa at Anantara Layan<br />

Phuket Resort<br />

48 worldtravellermagazine.com


Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing<br />

‘<br />









’<br />

for Jan Jao, encountered in the shade of<br />

a mangosteen tree, her slow-flapping<br />

ears speckled with sunlight, pink and<br />

grey like terrazzo flooring. She moved<br />

idly, huge hollowed temples above<br />

eyes as kindly as those of a favourite<br />

grandmother. Madee I was more wary<br />

of. Arriving late to meet us by a banquet<br />

of fruit, she thumped her trunk on the<br />

ground, producing a weird woodwind<br />

sound. She was in a bad mood, a ranger<br />

said — a co-resident of hers, Kannika,<br />

had come first and got stuck in without<br />

her. Madee popped a whole watermelon<br />

into her mouth as if it were a grape. After<br />

all, she had a bit of catching up to do.<br />

Phuket offered up plenty of even wilder<br />

moments, wilder shores, too: beyond<br />

the main island, it splinters into palmy<br />

specks, sprinkled across the surrounding<br />

seas. On a boat east into Phang Nga Bay, I<br />

spent a morning transfixed by sea eagles<br />

soaring overhead, circling the towering<br />

limestone karsts that have made the<br />

marine park famous. One, Khao Phing<br />

Kan, is better known as Christopher Lee's<br />

private island in the James Bond film The<br />

Man with the Golden Gun. Topped with<br />

rainforest vegetation it resembled the last<br />

decayed tooth left in some centenarian<br />

giant's gum, every bit as strange as it<br />

had looked on celluloid back in 1974.<br />

Attracting tourist longtail boats, it<br />

was better from a distance. Besides,<br />

the bay held so much more: chattering<br />

bats speckling the dim cave interiors<br />

of Hong Island, into which we kayaked;<br />

and the floating village of Ko Panyi,<br />

settled centuries ago by Indonesian<br />

Islamic emigrants. Here was a Phuket<br />

the crowds of Patong never see: a seagypsy<br />

stronghold with a golden-domed<br />

mosque visible for miles. Wandering the<br />

pier-like floors was creakily atmospheric<br />

in the hot lull of late afternoon.<br />

Something of Ko Panyi's sedate<br />

spirituality seemed to inhabit my last<br />

hotel, Amanpuri — perhaps because it<br />

resembled a place of worship rather than<br />

a resort, with its flaring pagoda roofs<br />

and decorative basins of moody water. I<br />

bedded down well before midnight, rising<br />

early to breakfast on kai yad sai: omelettes<br />

made lace-thin, filled with shrimp and<br />

vegetables. Staff glided around with the<br />

faint tick-tack of flip-flops, depositing<br />

little rectangular golden vases upon tables,<br />

each holding a single lotus flower. If I'd<br />

needed definitive proof that Phuket was<br />

not shabby, then serene Amanpuri was it.<br />

It was hard to believe this place opened<br />

three decades ago — its Asian minimalism<br />

looked as if it had been created last year.<br />

And yet, despite the airy, understated<br />

architecture, I felt I'd been drawn into<br />

a silent commune of platinum-card<br />

privilege and purity, set on its own private<br />

peninsula, peering out from coconut<br />

palms. Guests wandered about with yoga<br />

mats under their arms like enormous<br />

cheroots, reinforcing the apparent<br />

resort USP: determined relaxation. The<br />

food, from sushi to seasonal fruit, was<br />

supermodel-delicate. I swam out and<br />

climbed on to the pontoon in the bay for<br />

some perspective on the place — in vain.<br />

'My obstetrician said to get a Belly Bandit<br />

online,' I heard a women tell her friend,<br />

describing her recent pregnancy as they<br />

lazed. 'It literally reminds your organs<br />

where to return to after the distension.'<br />

Where was the real Phuket when I<br />

needed it? At 4pm, a Thai lady materialised<br />

atop the central stepped sala pavilion,<br />

pulled out a griddle and set about cooking<br />

pancakes called khanom krok, some<br />

of them filled with sweetcorn, others<br />

shimmery with coconut. It was a daily<br />

ritual, I learnt. OK, Naka night market<br />

it wasn't, yet the appearance of street<br />

food was like the breaking of a spell. A<br />

polite scuffle erupted among the slim<br />

and the wealthy, soon chatting and<br />

scoffing on the steps. Not wanting to<br />

be a calorie singleton I grabbed a plate<br />

and, vowing to buy my own Belly Bandit<br />

back in England, got stuck in to a last<br />

real-but-perfect piece of Phuket.<br />

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call<br />

+971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 49

These pages:<br />

Elephants at sunset in<br />

Etosha National Park<br />

Remote control<br />

So famous is Namibia's tourist-trodden self-drive circuit, it's known simply as<br />

'Route One'. Chris Haslam veers off track to discover the destination as it once was<br />

50 worldtravellermagazine.com


here are many things in<br />

Namibia that can kill you,'<br />

announces the welcome<br />

video cheerfully, as a lion, a<br />

Cape cobra and a scorpion<br />

flash across the screen.<br />

'But the biggest killer,' chirps<br />

the narrator, 'is speed.' Cue a montage of<br />

wrecked rental vehicles - identical, but for<br />

the broken glass and torn steel, to those<br />

in the car rental depot. The backpackers<br />

who've spent the safety briefing scrolling<br />

on their phones go pale. A German<br />

lady hisses at her husband: 'You told<br />

me Namibia was safe.' But despite this<br />

sobering introduction, Namibia really<br />

is Africa's safest, most effortlessly<br />

explorable nation. Self-driving in Namibia<br />

makes it easy to be intrepid. Part road<br />

trip, part safari, it's two bucket-list trips<br />

for the price of one. It's affordable, too,<br />

with flight-inclusive self-drives much<br />

cheaper than in South Africa. And, at<br />

the wheel of a 4WD, the driving is epic.<br />

It's for these reasons that so many<br />

excited visitors fly in to Windhoek, ready<br />

to depart on the famed tourist trail<br />

they call Route One. It heads southwest<br />

to the dunes of the Sossusvlei, then<br />

loops north for the adrenaline sports<br />

and Baltic-style seaside charms of<br />

Swakopmund. From here, it's a six-hour<br />

drive further north to reach the wildlife<br />

of Etosha National Park. But Namibia is<br />

fifth on the list of the world's emptiest<br />

countries (with just three people per<br />

square kilometre), so it doesn't require<br />

many tourists to feel crowded.<br />

Two decades ago, I wandered the<br />

Sossusvlei like a lonely ghost in a Dalí<br />

landscape. These days, such solace<br />

is impossible. There's a car park full<br />

of coaches, overland trucks, and that<br />

backpacking couple. Instagrammers<br />

queue at the Deadvlei for a photograph<br />

with the skeletal camel thorns. There'll<br />

be huge Chinese tour groups enjoying<br />

Kaffee und Kuchen on Swakopmund's<br />

prom and, as you watch lions drinking at<br />

Etosha's Okondeka waterhole, you might<br />

hear that German lady whisper 'Ist es<br />

sicher?!' ('Is it safe?!') To experience the<br />

cinematic desolation and spectacular<br />

wildlife that Namibia is famous for, you<br />

need to leave the herd. But it's not as<br />

daunting as it sounds. All you need is<br />

the ability to read a map, an awareness<br />

of your limitations in what can be a<br />

merciless land, and the desire to find<br />

places so wild, so lonely and so alien,<br />

they'll make you breathless. Scared,<br />

even. Just as Namibia is supposed to.<br />

So, back to the safety video. Which you<br />

definitely need to watch. After which<br />

you’re shown around a brutish Toyota<br />

4WD. There's the sat nav, the sand jack<br />

for digging yourself out of trouble, the<br />

tyre deflator, the spare jerry cans, the<br />

spade, the axe, the fire extinguisher,<br />

the worryingly comprehensive firstaid<br />

kit and a tracking device that<br />

can monitor your speed: 120kph on<br />

tarmac roads and 80kph on gravel,<br />

where most accidents occur. Exceed<br />

that and your insurance is void.<br />

Then there's the optional rooftop<br />

tent. I've never taken one because<br />

deep down I know there'll be a night<br />

when I'll forget I'm sleeping 2.5<br />

metres off the ground, leave the tent<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 51


to mark my territory and break my<br />

neck. And then get eaten by hyenas.<br />

I start my journey with a 520km<br />

drive up the B1 from Windhoek to<br />

the Damaraland and Huab Lodge, a<br />

halfway house on the road to nowhere.<br />

For the first three hours, the road is<br />

smooth, shimmering tarmac. Then I<br />

reach Outjo and take the C35, the first<br />

of the bone-shaking gravel roads. Two<br />

hours later, at a lonely spot marked by<br />

a large, dead python, I turn onto the<br />

D2670. It's mostly dust, so I use the tyre<br />

deflator to get more grip. A lappet-faced<br />

vulture watches from a rock. I know<br />

what he's thinking. It's just 30km from<br />

here to the lodge, but it takes an hour.<br />

I thought that two nights at this<br />

eccentric little camp — eight thatched<br />

huts overlooking the dry bed of the<br />

Huab River — would be enough, but I<br />

was wrong. The birdlife is astonishing:<br />

I count 26 species from my terrace<br />

and, as we're drinking sundowners,<br />

nightjars are hunting around the bar.<br />

At dawn, the riverbed is a alive with<br />

wildlife: oryx, giraffes, zebra and kudus<br />

commuting along its sandy path. That<br />

afternoon I spend a thrilling four hours<br />

following the spoor of a huge leopard<br />

that ultimately does what leopards do<br />

best and vanishes like a Cheshire cat.<br />

A giant eagle owl watches wisely from<br />

a tree. I know what she's thinking, too.<br />

It's only as I'm leaving that I notice the<br />

swimming pool and nearby hot spring.<br />

I told you two nights wasn't enough.<br />

Four hours east, past the gold<br />

mines and cattle farms of central<br />

Namibia, a track off the B1 brings<br />

me to the Mundulea Nature Reserve:<br />

120sq km of former cattle country<br />

that's being returned to nature. Black<br />

rhinos, cheetahs and giraffes are<br />

among the species that have wandered<br />

back in, accompanied by zebra, roan<br />

antelopes and black-faced impala.<br />

It's dark by the time I arrive. Entering<br />

the camp is an experience somewhere<br />

between Edgar Rice Burroughs and<br />

Apocalypse Now. Bleached skulls,<br />

flickering hurricane lamps and twisting<br />

paths leading to big, simply furnished<br />

safari tents. By the campfire, owner,<br />

guide and conservationist Bruno Nebe<br />

is expounding on pangolins. On another<br />

fire, sorcerer's apprentice Patrick is<br />

cooking a three-course dinner — baking<br />

‘<br />




’<br />

bread in an oven made from an old fire<br />

extinguisher. Apart from some iffy solar,<br />

there's no electricity. No phone signal.<br />

No wi-fi. Owls, jackals and a distant<br />

leopard provide the background music to<br />

a safari camp so remote that Bruno only<br />

opens it when he has enough bookings<br />

to justify the expense. Lucky for me,<br />

then, that Tim and Pauline are here.<br />

Early retirees from the UK, they did<br />

Route One last year, but knew instantly<br />

there had to be more to the world's most<br />

beautiful nation. So this year, they rented<br />

a 4WD and went off the beaten track.<br />

Together, we spend three days walking<br />

with Bruno. It's like being shown Africa by<br />

Gandalf. He dodges jade-green boomslang<br />

snakes lurking on low branches, tracks<br />

his beloved pangolins with a radio<br />

antenna and, at one point, drops a rock<br />

into a dark shaft in the karst and blithely<br />

mentions that he doesn't know how deep<br />

it is because when he climbed down he<br />

ran out of rope before he hit the bottom.<br />

I part company with Tim and Pauline in<br />

the dusty, low-rise town of Otjiwarongo.<br />

They're off to explore the rock paintings<br />

of the Erongo Mountains. I'm heading<br />

northwest into the Kunene, an otherworld<br />

of unclimbed peaks, sparkling gravel<br />

plains and river canyons running into a<br />

fogbound dune belt, where they disappear<br />

before reaching the cold Skeleton Coast.<br />

With skill and the right kit, you can<br />

self-drive the Kunene. But if you get<br />

lost, break down, or upset the elephants,<br />

it can be a one-way trip, so it's best to<br />

park the car and call Caesar Zandberg,<br />

one of the three best desert guides in<br />

Namibia. If you thought your rental 4WD<br />

was well-equipped, wait until you see<br />

Caesar's chariot: a 4.5-litre turbo-diesel<br />

V8 Toyota J7 Land Cruiser with a snorkel,<br />

twin fuel tanks, solar panels on the roof<br />

and enough kit to turn any shady corner<br />

of the Kunene into a luxury tented resort.<br />

I join Caesar a week after unusually<br />

heavy rains have hit the Kunene. On<br />

past visits, the place has been as dry<br />

and bleached as a lost tourist's bones,<br />

but it only takes a centimetre of rainfall<br />

to unleash life. The hills and plains<br />

are covered in bushman-grass baize,<br />

and streaks of bright yellow devil's<br />

thorn flowers stretch for miles like an<br />

industrial custard spill. Most excitingly,<br />

the Hoarusib River is flowing, bringing<br />

waters of life from the Giraffe Mountains.<br />

Caesar drops T-bone steaks the size of<br />

telephone directories onto the woodfire<br />

grill, tosses a salad — a Caesar<br />

one, obviously — and refills my drink.<br />

52 worldtravellermagazine.com

These pages, clockwise<br />

from left: Little Himba<br />

boy wearing traditional<br />

jewellery; moon rising<br />

over a dry river valley;<br />

Vingerklip finger rock in<br />

the evening light, near<br />

the Vingerklip Lodge; a<br />

black-backed jackal<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 53

These pages,<br />

clockwise from below:<br />

Animals reflect in<br />

the sunset in Etosha<br />

National Park; an offroad<br />

vehicle with roof<br />

tent parked beneath a<br />

starry sky<br />

He gazes across the ephemeral river<br />

to where a couple of Himba kids are<br />

minding their goats. 'There's good grazing<br />

everywhere now,' he says. 'That means<br />

the oryx, zebra and giraffes will disperse<br />

into the far valleys, so we'll have to drive<br />

further and look harder to find them.'<br />

I'm delighted to hear that, because the<br />

further we go, the less company we'll<br />

encounter. A reliable way to estimate how<br />

far you've come from civilisation is to<br />

calculate your distance from the nearest<br />

Starbucks. Standing on a nameless hilltop<br />

in Kunene, I'm guessing the nearest<br />

skinny almond caramel macchiato is<br />

1,800km away in Jo'burg. I mention this<br />

to Caesar, but he doesn't know what<br />

Starbucks is, much less a macchiato.<br />

The view from here is of apparent<br />

lifelessness, but look closer: this hill<br />

and its neighbours are cut with the<br />

spiral scratches left by generations<br />

of oryx, antelopes and zebra who've<br />

come in search of the bonsai-sized<br />

commiphora shrubs that sprout on<br />

the summits, sucking moisture from<br />

the fog. It's an astonishing sight. We<br />

spot an oryx, and, far, far away, the<br />

dust plume of another vehicle.<br />

'Bloody tourists,' sniffs Caesar,<br />

watching the distant speck through binos.<br />

'They're overrunning the place.' That<br />

night, we camp in a side-valley of the<br />

Hoanib River. A campfire and a gemsbok<br />

‘<br />

A LAPPET-<br />



A ROCK. I KNOW<br />

WHAT HE'S<br />


’<br />

ragu turn this starkly beautiful spot into<br />

the suite of my dreams, with 50-metre<br />

sandstone walls and a ceiling made of<br />

stars. We're discussing how the scarcity<br />

of game makes the few sightings we've<br />

had — that oryx, three zebra and a pair<br />

of giraffes — even more memorable. At<br />

that very moment, a pair of black-backed<br />

jackals, led by their noses, turn up and<br />

stand just close enough to the fire that<br />

we can see itwws reflection in their eyes.<br />

Next morning, Caesar stops the<br />

Toyota in the exact middle of nowhere.<br />

'The elephants are coming,' he says.<br />

We scan the heat haze for 20 minutes,<br />

and then, one by one, emerge nine<br />

dusty pachyderms — mothers, aunts<br />

and kids — following an ancient path<br />

across the plain to the dune belt and<br />

then, well, no-one really knows.<br />

I only spend four days in the Kunene,<br />

but it feels much longer. Time slows<br />

down in the desert. Your senses grow<br />

sharper. Water tastes sweeter and your<br />

appetite becomes lion-like. Mysteries<br />

abound: the Hoarusib, flowing wide,<br />

deep and fast enough yesterday to<br />

wash away a two-tonne Toyota is<br />

dry as a bone today, and above Clay<br />

Castles — a surreal canyon of Petralike<br />

natural caves — a long-dead<br />

explorer has spelt '26 Jan 1919' in rocks<br />

scoured clean by the west wind. There<br />

are moments of wonder — the frog<br />

living in a shrinking puddle at least<br />

80km from the next water source; the<br />

slash-like trail of a Peringuey's adder<br />

left on a dune — and moments when<br />

you realise you're probably walking<br />

where no human has ever been before.<br />

This adventure has its downsides.<br />

Souvenir shopping is limited to<br />

rocks sold by Herero herders, or the<br />

Himba pillow — a wooden affair like<br />

the devices to prop corpses' heads in<br />

mortuaries. The joys of queueing and<br />

of socialising with other tourists are<br />

absent, and when you do emerge from<br />

the parched back of beyond, you may<br />

find humanity a bit irritating. But<br />

then, if you got off Route One in the<br />

first place, you probably always did.<br />

Inspired to travel? To book a trip, call<br />

+971 4 316 6666 or visit dnatatravel.com<br />

Credit: The Sunday Times Travel Magazine/News Licensing<br />

54 worldtravellermagazine.com


This page: Soft,<br />

colourful corals around<br />

Lizard Island<br />

Credit: Andrew Eames/The Sunday Times Travel Magazine / News Licensing<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 55

HELLO<br />





Book at dnatatravel.com<br />

call 800 DNATA (36282) or<br />

speak to us in-store<br />

Download our app<br />

| Follow us on


Weekends<br />

Staycations and short-haul escapes<br />


What may appear like a futuristic home<br />

on Mars is actually a luxury retreat in the<br />

heart of the Mleiha desert in Sharjah. The<br />

recently-opened Al Faya Lodge places<br />

you in the lap of nature, with wildlife<br />

and stargazing experiences among the<br />

highlights of this eco-friendly hotspot.<br />

Originally built in the 1960s, the lodge's<br />

three stone buildings have been lovingly<br />

converted to house rooms, a restaurant,<br />

library, a luxury spa and more.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 57


Exploring Sidi Bou Said<br />


Let us reacquaint you with this culture<br />

spot that's ideally placed for a mindnourishing<br />

mini break<br />

1<br />

TUNIS<br />

A<br />

magnetic combination of souks and<br />

aromatic spices, desert dunes and<br />

historic sites, Tunisia tells a gripping<br />

tale. This year marks a shift in<br />

perspective, with tourist numbers on the rise,<br />

and capital city Tunis being crowned the Arab<br />

Region’s Capital of Islamic Culture by the Islamic<br />

Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.<br />

To gain a better understanding of the<br />

destination’s old-world charm, we must first<br />

rewind to the 12th-16th century when Tunis was<br />

one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in the<br />

Islamic world. Its special status gave rise to a<br />

wave of monuments that are a testament to the<br />

past. Within the Medina of Tunis, a UNESCO<br />

<strong>World</strong> Heritage site, there are around 700<br />

scattered across the old city, including palaces,<br />

mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains.<br />

The modern district has a different appeal,<br />

with many of the old buildings transformed into<br />

museums and cultural centres, tea rooms and<br />

restaurants. In the fashionable Les Berges du<br />

Lac quarter, head to Patisserie Masmoudi (@<br />

patisseriemasmoudi) to taste a traditional pastry,<br />


... discovering Sidi Bou Said.<br />

Just 20km from Tunis, this<br />

clifftop town overlooks the<br />

sparkling Mediterranean and<br />

is thought to have inspired<br />

famous artists and writers.<br />

... making the 60-minute<br />

car journey to the Dahmani<br />

commune to view the 'cultural<br />

Exploring Sidi Bou Said<br />

cave' brimming with locally<br />

produced modern art.<br />

... embarking on a guided,<br />

film lovers tour of the<br />

such as the sticky-sweet makroudh, with a<br />

Tunisian desert, the birthplace cup of green mint tea. To view east meets<br />

of the original Star Wars saga.<br />

west contemporary art, pop into Musk<br />

and Amber Gallery (@musk_and_amber), which<br />

is a showcase for Tunisian-heritage-inspired<br />

pieces by local artisans.<br />

Adventure seekers will find plenty to keep<br />

them on their toes, with year-round activities<br />

including golf, quad biking in the desert and<br />

watersports (the beaches of Borj Cedria and<br />

Ezzahra are just 20km from the city centre).<br />

When planning a trip, bear in mind that April to<br />

October is best for sea and sun, while autumn<br />

and spring provide the ideal weather conditions<br />

for boat trips and more active excursions.<br />

In terms of where to stay, the beachside The<br />

Residence Tunis is home to chic yet comfortable<br />

rooms and suites, an 18-hole golf course, and<br />

a luxurious spa famous for its thalasso spa<br />

treatments. Villa Didon in Carthage places<br />

you smack bang in the historical district, while<br />

Concorde Les Berges Du Lac Hotel has a scenic<br />

Dining on the beach<br />

setting on the shore of Lake Tunis.<br />

Photos courtesy of The Residence Tunis<br />

58 worldtravellermagazine.com

long<br />

the<br />

weekend<br />

Cairo<br />

Rich in history, heritage and culture,<br />

the Egyptian capital is affectionately<br />

known as the “Mother of the <strong>World</strong>”.<br />

Habiba Azab tells us why<br />

This page: The Great<br />

Sphinx of Giza<br />

Opposite: A Nile cruise,<br />

photo by<br />

Hassan Mohamed<br />

60 worldtravellermagazine.com


With its bottleneck traffic, beguiling crowds and ancient tales,<br />

Cairo is chaos at its most magnificent, fascinating and captivating<br />

form. The fast-paced city’s constant buzz is the result of its 20<br />

million strong inhabitants charming their way with their warm<br />

smiles and exceptional humour. As the locals say, if you love Cairo,<br />

it'll definitely love you back.<br />

The sprawling capital blends the best of old-world and newworld<br />

Egypt. Soaring minarets, historic mosques and some of the<br />

greatest architecture of medieval Islam can only be found in old<br />

Islamic Cairo. Meanwhile, a short cab ride away is the capital’s<br />

other centre of antiquity, Coptic Cairo. Home to some of the oldest<br />

churches and monasteries in the history of Christianity including<br />

the Hanging Church, which served as the seat of the Coptic<br />

Pope from the 7 th to the 13 th century. For a more modern outlook,<br />

Zamalek is a cosy neighbourhood with local art galleries and<br />

boutique gems hidden around every corner. Alternatively, Garden<br />

City is the place to go for felucca rides, whereas Downtown Cairo<br />

is the cultural hub of contemporary dance, music and art.<br />

Cairo welcomes you with its mighty past and vivacious present.<br />

And although it can be an assault on the senses, if done right you<br />

can’t help but keep coming back for more.<br />


From luxury abodes to boutiques boltholes, bed down in style<br />

Once the hunting palace<br />

of Egyptian Khedive<br />

Isma'il Pasha, Marriott<br />

Mena House combines<br />

the charm of a bygone<br />

era with service fit for<br />

royalty. Rooms are<br />

lavishly furnished with<br />

exquisite rare antiques<br />

and handcrafted furniture,<br />

while The Sultan Lounge<br />

is a memorable place<br />

to start your evening –<br />

cocktails as the sun sets<br />

over the Great Pyramids<br />

is an Instagram-worthy<br />

moment to capture.<br />

Boasting panoramic<br />

views of the Nile river, The<br />

Nile Ritz-Carlton lies at<br />

the heart of the city. Take<br />

a stroll back in time and<br />

Le Riad Hotel<br />

De Charme<br />

stay in one of the 331 rooms<br />

overlooking the historical<br />

Egyptian museum, and then<br />

taste signature Arabian<br />

delicacies as the belly<br />

dancers sway.<br />

Just around the corner,<br />

Four Seasons Cairo at<br />

The First Residence draws<br />

discerning travellers with its<br />

stylish design, colonial décor<br />

and opulent interiors.<br />

Set amid lush ancient<br />

zoological gardens, soak<br />

up the scenery on the<br />

open-deck pool followed<br />

by a soothing body<br />

treatment at the luxury<br />

spa, which offers direct<br />

views of the Nile.<br />

Inspired by the grandeur<br />

of the Ottoman Empire,<br />

Le Riad Hotel De Charme<br />

is a quaint lodging tucked<br />

away in old town Cairo<br />

with only 17 suites to<br />

count. With its rich warm<br />

colours, Fatimid traditional<br />

prints and lovingly<br />

preserved paintings, each<br />

room evokes the romance<br />

of old times.<br />

Villa Belle Époque<br />

is another boutique<br />

gem hidden on the<br />

quiet streets of Maadi.<br />

Conjuring up French<br />

summer vibes, this<br />

charming white-washed<br />

villa boasts 31 rooms,<br />

13 of which are named<br />

after an Egyptian city<br />

combining contemporary<br />

and traditional designs to<br />

represent it.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 61

sizzling<br />

street food<br />

For a truly authentic<br />

taste of the city, grab a<br />

bite at these top stop-offs<br />

It’s no surprise that<br />

bustling Cairo is home to<br />

an extraordinary variety<br />

of rustic street fare; from<br />

buzzing street food stalls<br />

to eclectic local vendors,<br />

there’s something for<br />

every taste. You’ll know<br />

you’ve reached KEBDET<br />

EL PRINCE when you find<br />

dozens of locals huddling<br />

up and impatiently<br />

waiting for their tables.<br />

Start off by ordering the<br />

heavenly molokhia with<br />

rice and tender waraet<br />

lahma, both local goodies<br />

that’ll leave you wanting<br />

more. Another authentic<br />

dish that every visitor<br />

should try at least once is<br />

Koshari; a unique mixture<br />

of rice, macaroni and<br />

lentils, all covered with<br />

a spicy tomato sauce,<br />


has been ruling the roost<br />

for years. While strolling<br />

along the Corniche at<br />

night you’ll find stands in<br />

every nook and corner<br />

serving HUMMUS SHAM.<br />

The warm and spicy drink<br />

is a very popular must-try<br />

made out of chickpeas,<br />

lemon, chili, along with<br />

spices of your choice.<br />


Looking to take home a<br />

keepsake? Here are some<br />

must-haves<br />

Incense: Intrinsic to the<br />

worship of the gods and<br />

goddesses of Ancient<br />

Egypt, incense was<br />

used to ward off evil<br />

spirits. Choose between<br />

many shapes, types<br />

and fragrances to use<br />

in beautifully crafted<br />

burners.<br />

Where to find it?<br />

Khan El Khalili Market<br />

Papyrus scroll: Another<br />

item of ancient origin,<br />

Papyrus scrolls were<br />

man-made paper upon<br />

which Egyptians kept<br />

most of their important<br />

records. Of course,<br />

what you’ll find today<br />

are just replicas of the<br />

originals. However, with<br />

hieroglyphic alphabets<br />

and battle print scenes,<br />

they look just as real.<br />

Where to find it? Egypt<br />

Papyrus Museum, Giza<br />

Scarab beetle: Mostly<br />

made out of alabaster<br />

or granite, legend has<br />

it that Scarab beetles<br />

symbolize the Great Ra,<br />

the deity and leader<br />

of all Egyptian gods<br />

who created himself<br />

out of nothing. Ancient<br />

Egyptians believed that<br />

Ra was swallowed by<br />

the sky goddess Nut<br />

every evening as the sun<br />

dipped down only to be<br />

reborn every morning<br />

representing renewal<br />

and resurrection.<br />

Where to find it?<br />

Khan El Khalili Market<br />

Fez “Tarboush”: Worn<br />

by citizens and Pashas<br />

from 1805 until 1952,<br />

this cultural headgear<br />

became a symbol of<br />

modernity during the<br />

Ottoman Empire. For a<br />

true Bedouin look, wrap<br />

a white turban around<br />

your Fez.<br />

Where to find it?<br />

Moez street<br />

Old is gold<br />

With a history that dates back to 1382, Khan El Khalili<br />

is one of the oldest flea markets in Egypt and by<br />

far the most popular. Bask in the city’s rich history<br />

and lose yourself in the winding alleyways of Islamic<br />

historical buildings while haggling for gorgeous<br />

antiques, handmade accessories, ornate perfume<br />

bottles and traditional clothing. Book addicts,<br />

meanwhile, should make a beeline to El Azbakeya<br />

Wall, a book market that was first introduced in<br />

the 19th century and displays more than 130 stalls<br />

overflowing with old, unique and used books. If<br />

you’re up for a splash of colour, Fokhareen Market is<br />

brimming with pottery gems you simply wouldn’t find<br />

anywhere else.<br />

62 worldtravellermagazine.com

Opposite page, from top:<br />

The traditional Egyptian<br />

dish Koshari; Papyrus scroll;<br />

Khan El Khalili Market, photo<br />

by Zeyad Abouzeid<br />

This page from top:<br />

Muhammad Ali Mosque,<br />

photo by Hassan Mohamed;<br />

The Great Pyramids, photo<br />

by Zeyad Abouzeid<br />



Admire the splendour of Islamic<br />

architecture in the City of a<br />

Thousand Minarets<br />

insider tips<br />

Salma Ammar<br />

shares insider<br />

tips and tricks on<br />

exploring the city<br />

“Tipping, known as<br />

baksheesh, is a huge<br />

part of the Egyptian<br />

culture. From waiters<br />

to bathroom attendants, you pretty much<br />

tip for anything and everything so make<br />

sure you save those smaller bills. Of course,<br />

a trip to Cairo is not complete until you’ve<br />

seen a show featuring the famous Sufi<br />

dancers. The plethora of twirling colours<br />

flowing all around is magical and better<br />

yet, free. Just head to the Al-Ghuri Mosque<br />

on Wednesday and Saturday nights at<br />

around 8pm for the dazzling show followed<br />

by a quick detour to one of the most<br />

authentic Egyptian culinary destinations,<br />

Fashet Sumaya. Hidden down a quiet<br />

lane in downtown Bab El Louk, here you<br />

can enjoy traditional home cooked meals<br />

served by Sumaya herself, the friendly<br />

owner of the establishment. Her perfectly<br />

seasoned lamb dish is a must-try.”<br />


BUFFS<br />

Home to one of the<br />

oldest civilizations in<br />

the world, Cairo is the<br />

land of myth, legend<br />

and deep-seated history,<br />

and no trip is complete<br />

without a stop at the<br />

Great Pyramids of Giza.<br />

The last of the ancient<br />

seven wonders of the<br />

world, the monumental<br />

tombs are relics of<br />

Egypt’s Old Kingdom<br />

built 4,500 years ago<br />

to withstand the test of<br />

time, deeming them one<br />

of the pure mysteries<br />

of the world. Beat the<br />

crowds by planning<br />

your trip in the early<br />

morning and don’t miss<br />

snapping the all-time<br />

classic photo of kissing<br />

the Sphinx. Make the<br />

Egyptian Museum your<br />

next stop and marvel<br />

MOSQUE OF MUHAMMAD ALI. Beautiful in<br />

its simplicity yet intricately designed, this<br />

masterpiece wows with its creative use of slim<br />

minarets, cascading domes, large chandeliers,<br />

Thuluth inscriptions and beautiful globe lamps.<br />

AL AZHAR MOSQUE. Considered a beacon of<br />

theological authority to the entire Islamic world,<br />

immerse yourself in a tale worth more than 1,000<br />

years. With three minarets from the 14th, 15th<br />

and 16th centuries, the mosque blends different<br />

architectural styles while playing host to the<br />

world’s second-oldest university for the Sunni<br />

theology, Al Azhar University.<br />

MOSQUE OF AHMAD IBN TULUN. Still in its<br />

original mud brick form, this historical landmark is<br />

the oldest mosque in city. Lying in the heart of old<br />

Islamic Cairo, climb up the staircase of its minaret<br />

(which was uniquely built on the outside) and soak<br />

up a bird’s eye view of the old town.<br />

at the beauty of more<br />

than 12,000 ancient<br />

antiques and artefacts<br />

on display, including<br />

royal mummies and the<br />

infamous gold mask of<br />

Tutankhamun. The City<br />

of the Dead is another<br />

must-see and a hidden<br />

gem that’s hauntingly<br />

beautiful. Known as<br />

Cairo’s Necropolis,<br />

the four-miles Islamic<br />

cemetery holds tombs<br />

of the world’s most<br />

notable Islamic figures<br />

and is largely inhabited<br />

by citizens living<br />

among the remains<br />

of their ancestors.<br />

With intricate shrines<br />

inscribed with phrases<br />

from the Qur’an,<br />

the city exudes a<br />

fascinating atmosphere<br />

of life and death,<br />

making it a truly unique<br />

experience.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 63



Spa serenity<br />

Slip into a fluffy bathrobe and unwind on a pampering spa<br />

break in the UAE capital. After all, you deserve it…<br />

Photo: Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara<br />

1<br />

Desert Islands Resort &<br />

Spa by Anantara. Bringing<br />

healing rituals al fresco,<br />

you can enjoy treatments<br />

along the seafront or inside a<br />

private beach cabana at this<br />

back-to-nature spa. Couples<br />

can try the 120-minute Desert<br />

Island Retreat package, which<br />

includes a floral foot ritual, sand<br />

scrub and full body massage.<br />

Or, for a self-care moment, the<br />

45-minute Makkakech Rhassoul<br />

Wrap, will envelop you in<br />

natural clay to detoxify the skin.<br />

2Remède Spa at The St.<br />

Regis Abu Dhabi. One<br />

of the emirate's largest<br />

spas, there’s ample space<br />

to chill between treatments<br />

here, including in the bubbling<br />

Jacuzzi. Request a sea view<br />

treatment room or plump for<br />

the VIP Suite, where you can<br />

unwind on the outdoor terrace<br />

with a nourishing juice. The<br />

exclusive St. Regis Splendour<br />

package will lavish you with a<br />

half-day of results-driven, topto-toe<br />

treatments.<br />

3The Spa at Emirates<br />

Palace Abu Dhabi.<br />

Indulge the senses at this<br />

Moroccan-inspired spa, which<br />

has a traditional hammam at<br />

its heart, complete with two<br />

Jacuzzis, two steam rooms,<br />

heated marble and an ice<br />

cave. Once you’re suitably<br />

scrubbed and buffed, the<br />

relaxation room calls. Soak up<br />

the tranquil ambiance before<br />

carrying on your spa journey,<br />

as the expert therapists tailor<br />

treatments to suit you.<br />

64 worldtravellermagazine.com



JW Marriott Marquis Dubai<br />

Take your staycation experience to the next level at the world’s tallest five-star hotel<br />


If you’re in need of a restful night’s<br />

sleep, you’re sure to experience it here.<br />

Bed down in one of 1,608 soundproofed<br />

rooms or suites that tower above<br />

the city, complete with views of the<br />

twinkling skyline or the sea. During the<br />

summer, you can save 15% off the usual<br />

rate. Marriott Bonvoy members are<br />

treated to more benefits still, enjoying<br />

25% off and complimentary breakfast.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

There are 15 award-winning restaurants<br />

and bars to discover, including Japanese<br />

restaurant Izakaya and glamorous<br />

nightspot Vault, which has stunning<br />

views of Downtown Dubai. The latest<br />

addition to the culinary scene is<br />

Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, which<br />

has mastered the art of molecular<br />

gastronomy. We heartily recommend you<br />

indulge in the great value tasting menu.<br />


Occupying a premium spot along<br />

Dubai’s main thoroughfare, Sheikh<br />

Zayed Road, the hotel is within<br />

easy reach of a roster of top tourist<br />

attractions. Post sightseeing, there are<br />

plenty of ways to unwind back at the<br />

hotel. Take a dip in the outdoor pool or,<br />

for a spot of pampering, head to Saray<br />

Spa, where you can still the mind in the<br />

UAE’s only Dead Sea floatation pool.<br />

To find out more, call +971 4 414 3000 or visit jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com<br />

66 worldtravellermagazine.com

Inspiration. Expertly crafted.<br />

Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is centrally located beside the<br />

Dubai Water Canal and offers a spectrum of facilities and services for a seamless experience.<br />

The hotel features: 1,608 Luxurious Guest Rooms and Suites, Over 15 Award-Winning Restaurants<br />

and Lounges, Saray Spa featuring Traditional Hammams, A Dead Sea Floatation Pool and<br />

17 Treatment Rooms, State-of-the-Art Health Club and Fitness facilities, 8,000 sqm of spectacular<br />

Meeting Spaces.<br />

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai<br />

jwmarriott.com/DXBJW<br />

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com



The St. Regis Abu Dhabi<br />

Live the high life at this luxury hotel where views, fine fare and pampering define your stay<br />


The height of sophistication, all 283<br />

rooms and suites at this hotel on the<br />

Corniche boast stellar views. We rate the<br />

one-bedroom Al Hosen Suite (pictured),<br />

which offers a generous snapshot of the<br />

sea through floor-to-ceiling windows.<br />

There are some fantastic staycation offers<br />

for Eid al-Fitr, including complimentary<br />

upgrades, dining credits and savings for<br />

families booking two rooms.<br />

THE FOOD<br />

There are six restaurants and bars to<br />

discover, including Villa Toscana, which<br />

will take you on a culinary journey to<br />

Tuscany. For a taste of the season, sit<br />

down to the delicious new Summer<br />

Fruits Afternoon Tea at Crystal Lounge.<br />

When the weekend rolls around, head<br />

to the suits-all Family Friday Brunch at<br />

The Terrace on the Corniche to indulge in<br />

seafood, sushi and foie gras.<br />


Kick-start you summer pampering<br />

regime with a bespoke treatment at<br />

Remède Spa, which is offering selected<br />

treatments for less until the end of<br />

August. Next, head outdoors to unwind<br />

in a secluded cabana at Nation Rivera<br />

Beach Club before stretching your<br />

legs along the private beach. Kids can<br />

scamper to Treasure Island Children’s<br />

Club for some supervised fun.<br />

To find out more, call +971 2 694 4444 or visit marriott.com<br />

68 worldtravellermagazine.com

An Exquisite Eid Al-Fitr Staycation<br />

Celebrate Eid al-Fitr with a family staycation to create lasting memories. Live exquisite in one of our<br />

Superior Rooms or for the ultimate level of luxury upgrade to a Signature Suite. Located at the vibrant<br />

heart of Abu Dhabi with a 200 metre stretch of pristine beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of the<br />

Nation Riviera Beach Club at the finest address in the city.<br />

Superior Room from AED 650* includes:<br />

Complimentary upgrade to Sea View Room (subject to availability), AED 200 restaurant dining credit,<br />

breakfast and 4:00 pm late checkout.<br />

Signature Suites from AED 1200* includes:<br />

AED 400 restaurant dining credit, breakfast and 4:00 pm late checkout.<br />

Book one room and save 50% on the second room.<br />

Perfect for families, connecting rooms available (subject to availability)<br />

*All prices are in UAE Dirham and are exclusive of all applicable service charges, local fees and taxes. Offer valid from 1st – 15th <strong>June</strong> <strong>2019</strong>.<br />

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi<br />

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates t. +971 2 694 4444 stregisabudhabi.com<br />

©<strong>2019</strong> Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.<br />

Stay exquisite at more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts worldwide.<br />


1<br />


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worldtravellermagazine.com 71


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72 worldtravellermagazine.com





DINING<br />




GROUP<br />




TRAVEL<br />



Dublin, Ireland: Explore Trinity<br />

College with a university insider,<br />

before getting priority access to the<br />

famous library and Book of Kells.<br />

Book at dnatatravel.com<br />

call 800 DNATA (36282) or<br />

speak to us in-store<br />

Download our app<br />

Follow us on<br />

• Holidays starting from US$1275.00<br />

• Year round savings available, check<br />

with us


THE LENS<br />

The SOHO building in<br />

Tokyo, Japan<br />

"Although I've been to Tokyo<br />

several times, I only discovered<br />

this place on Instagram fairly<br />

recently. So when I visited<br />

last November, I knew I had to<br />

find it. After a lot of extensive<br />

research, I finally managed<br />

to locate it – no easy feat<br />

considering it's not a main<br />

attraction in the city. Being a<br />

hotel and private office space, it<br />

was impossible to just go in, but<br />

I was a man on a mission and<br />

snuck in anyway to take the shot.<br />

The guy in the photo is someone<br />

that I met randomly along the<br />

way and asked if he could kindly<br />

pose for the photo. Thankfully,<br />

he understood me and didn't<br />

think I was a crazy tourist."<br />

Th<br />

Travel photographer,<br />

Loïc Lagarde, loves to travel<br />

because "I can’t stay still. I<br />

always need to be on the<br />

move discovering something<br />

new and exciting every day."<br />

@loic.lagarde, loiclagarde.com<br />



in high-res jpeg format, along<br />

with the stories behind them to<br />

habiba@hotmediapublishing.<br />

com and you may end up<br />

being featured<br />

on this page<br />

74 worldtravellermagazine.com

Now win!<br />




Stay up-to-date with all that’s<br />

happening on our social channels<br />

and join in the conversation by<br />

sharing your experiences. Here’s<br />

where you can find us…<br />

@worldtravellerme<br />

Double tap our dreamy<br />

destination shots and tag<br />

us in your images for a chance to<br />

feature on our wall.<br />

@<strong>World</strong><strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

Stay up to date with travel<br />

stories as we post them.<br />

@W<strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

Make the most of your<br />

280-character allowance<br />

by sharing your best travel<br />

moments with us.<br />

#<strong>World</strong><strong>Traveller</strong>ME<br />

A two-night stay at Qasr Al Sarab<br />

Desert Resort by Anantara<br />

Escape the city and sink into luxury at this traditionallystyled<br />

desert resort on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. You'll stay<br />

in a One Bedroom Anantara Pool Villa, with breakfast for two.<br />

Chill out with a dip in your private plunge pool and take part in<br />

thrilling sunrise and sunset desert activities. Or, you can simply<br />

unwind at Anantara Spa. To find out more and to enter, visit<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com/win (terms & conditions apply).<br />


Let our travel news and round-ups, available to read on our website,<br />

inspire your next trip…<br />

1The Knowledge.<br />

Read our handy<br />

how-tos, from<br />

getting to grips with<br />

travel insurance to<br />

helping kids beat jet<br />

lag, and more.<br />

2Staycations.<br />

Take a peek<br />

inside these top<br />

hotels and resorts on<br />

your doorstep and<br />

then book your next<br />

mini break.<br />

3Insider Guides.<br />

Check out our<br />

in-the-know<br />

travel edits of some<br />

of the most popular<br />

holiday destinations<br />

on our radar.<br />

worldtravellermagazine.com 75


Suite dreams<br />

Our monthly finish with a flourish, delving into a<br />

suite that has a character and style all of its own<br />

Suite Amour<br />

Hotel Lutetia<br />

It's easy to fall in love with this suite, which makes the<br />

most of its vantage point at the pinnacle of the hotel with<br />

a private terrace offering picture-perfect views across the<br />

rooftops of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. It's one of seven<br />

signature suites designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte at<br />

this palace hotel in the St. Germain-des-Pres area of the<br />

Left Bank. Back inside, ascend the staircase to the suite's<br />

other main attraction, the stylish sitting room complete<br />

with artworks and luxurious bespoke furniture.<br />

76 worldtravellermagazine.com




this island sanctuary<br />

welcomes you with breeze<br />

and birdsong, candlelit dinners<br />

and infinite views.<br />

Just daydreams away<br />

from the buzz of the capital,<br />

you can lose yourself<br />

in the peaceful luxury<br />

of your own perfect universe.<br />


Zaya Nurai Island Resort<br />

#InAbuDhabi<br />


Inspiration. Expertly crafted.<br />

Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is centrally located beside the<br />

Dubai Water Canal and offers a spectrum of facilities and services for a seamless experience.<br />

The hotel features: 1,608 Luxurious Guest Rooms and Suites, Over 15 Award-Winning Restaurants<br />

and Lounges, Saray Spa featuring Traditional Hammams, A Dead Sea Floatation Pool and<br />

17 Treatment Rooms, State-of-the-Art Health Club and Fitness facilities, 8,000 sqm of spectacular<br />

Meeting Spaces.<br />

JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai<br />

jwmarriott.com/DXBJW<br />

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

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