NOVEMBER 2019 | ISSUE 42
DARK TOURISM IN ASIA
4 ON THE RADAR
6 OUT & ABOUT
Rasa Melaka The Musical
Spotted: Asia in Film
Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Day Trip to Kawasaki
Celebrating light, love and luck
Road Less Travelled:
Green Island, Taiwan
Turning Tragedy into Tourism
Free Apps for Travel Distress
A New World in Dining
24 FOOD FOR TALK
“Meat” up for Bah Kut Teh
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WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 1
Time flies in a blink of an eye. Our day to day lives sees
its approaching end of another year, which is mostly a
welcoming term as it is another peak travel season for
many. The end of year festivities, holidays and winter climate
truly set the right kind of travel atmosphere.
One thing to note is our takeaway from the journeys
we have made. Besides getting strapped to gadgets when
capturing photos and videos, it would be a good reminder of
the importance to focus on the experience during our trip.
I am also glad that the haze is over. However, like an
annual affair, it may still come back so it is in the hopes that
all closely related parties and affected countries to take proper
measurements and steps to ensure there’s clean air to breathe.
There are various parts of Asia in this issue from Malacca
Town in Malaysia, Kawasaki in Japan, Thailand to Taiwan as
exciting travel inspirations that we can plan for the coming
months and next year.
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& FRANCIS YIP
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ON THE RADAR
GET UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS ON
TRAVEL, HOTEL OPENINGS, FOOD OFFERS AND
TRENDING FASHION AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA
COMPACT CANON CAMERA FOR TRAVEL
The new Canon EOS M200 is user-friendly with mirrorless
interchangeable lens, stylish design, and improved
functions--all packed in 299g. The Creative Assist feature
allows users to adjust the setting of the camera with voicecommand
and with DIGIC 8 image processor, clear images
can be captured even in dark surroundings.
Available at all Canon authorised dealers nationwide
SPECIAL PICK-UP SPOTS
FOR E-HAILING AT
Malaysia Airports announced
new designated pick-up points
for e-hailing services at airports
to improve traffic flow and better
amenities for waiting passengers.
The pick-up spot at KL
International Airport is at Level
1 of Main Terminal Building by
Door 3 and 4. klia2’s pick-up
point is located at Door 5, Level 1
of Transportation Hub.
FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON BALI UNGASAN
Overlooking Jimbaran Bay, Mount Batukaru and Mount
Agung, the third Four Points hotel in Bali promises
contemporary interiors with scenic outdoors. Four Points
by Sheraton Bali Ungasan offers 270 modern rooms and
suites, some with private terraces, garden and pool access for
comfort. Also, taste local craft beers on tap at The Garden
Pool Bar from the brand’s signature Best BrewsTM program.
Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Banjar Giri Dharma Ungasan,
Kuta Selatan, Indonesia
Find the trendiest wall art for
your space with Parody Parlour
where jokes are non-exclusive
and win laughs from everyone.
Their first collection “LYAO”
(stands for Laugh Your A**
Off) features superheroes
being something other than
super while the “Just Kidding
Collection” transform famous
celebrities and classical
paintings into a spoof.
4 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
QATAR AIRWAYS OPENS NEW ROUTE TO
The national carrier for the State of Qatar launches
a new route from their capital Doha to Langkawi,
Malaysia–adding the idyllic island as the airline’s 8th
new destination in 2019. The 14-hour flight journey to
Langkawi will operate five times weekly by the Boeing
787 Dreamliner aircraft with a short transit in Penang.
TRAIN TO BUSAN HORROR HOUSE
Korea’s blockbuster zombie movie “Train to Busan” becomes
a reality in Resorts World Genting for fans across the region
to experience the apocalyptic world–created using the
latest digital and virtual reality technology, live actors and
immersive soundscapes. The Train To Busan Horror House
experience will be accepting passengers from 31 October 2019
to 1 January 2020.
PULLMAN SUZHOU ZHONGHUI WELCOMES
As the only international premium hotel in the north of Suzhou,
Pullman Suzhou Zhonghui debuts in a strategic location with
convenient access to Shanghai, Wuxi and surrounding cities.
It has 413 rooms and suites comfortably fitted with Pullman’s
luxury duvet and pillowcases. The brand’s signature Junction
Bar brings the hotel lobby to life with changing moods
throughout the day.
A FROZEN WINTER WONDERLAND
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort makes the magic of Arendelle
come true this November where Elsa, Anna, and Olaf can
embrace guests during the winter festive season. Fantasy Gardens
in Fantasyland will be transformed into the “Frozen Fantasy
Gardens Village” for Anna and Elsa’s meet-and-greet. Visitors can
also enjoy a Frozen Christmas experience with “A Magical Frozen
Snowfall” royal procession performance to spread the holiday joy.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 5
OUT & ABOUT
LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF
THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND
M. NASIR SATU HIKAYAT
The legendary singer and composer of Malaysia, M.
Nasir, returned to the spotlight for his “One Story
40 Years Journey” in remembrance of his colourful
and award-winning career as a soloist. M. Nasir even
prepared a session where he will perform songs
which he wrote for other singers throughout his
lifetime that the public is not aware of.
Plenary Hall, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (THE MAGIC FLUTE)
First premiered in 1791 at Vienna, Wolfgang Amadeus wrote this opera in
two acts to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder that tells the story
of Prince Tamino who undergoes a series of tests to marry Princess Pamina.
Escorted by his sidekick, Papageno, Tamino has to battle Pamina’s mother,
the evil Queen of the Night.
KLPAC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8 LETTERS TOUR
As one of pop music’s biggest
breakout groups in the 21st
century, the 5-member
American boy band were
previously soloists before
forming the group in 2016. Why
Don’t We has over 1 billion
global audio streams for their
hit songs like “8 Letters” and
“What Am I”.
Plenary Hall, KLCC,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
28 NOV - 8 DEC
Multiple Tony Awards winning Sweeney Todd
musical is staging its thrilling theatrical tale in
Singapore for a debut. Tony Award winner, Lea
Salonga, is starring in this freaky musical of an
infamous barber who returns from exile to seek
vengeance against the judge who framed him,
meanwhile he meets the owner of a meat-pie shop.
Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
U2: THE JOSHUA TREE
30 NOV - 1 DEC
Since its formation in 1976, they
are known to host great live
performances with top-charting
songs like “With or Without
You” and “I Still Haven’t Found
What I’m Looking For”, holding
the all-time record as the
highest-grossing tour by a group
till today. Debuting in Singapore for the first time ever, fans can finally meet
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. rocking it out on stage.
National Stadium, Singapore
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31 Oct 2020
THE LONG-RUNNING THEATRICAL MUSICAL IN
MALACCA CITY BECKONS TRAVELLERS TO THE
HERITAGE TOWN FOR A DELIGHTFUL GLIMPSE
FILLED WITH LAUGHTER INTO MALACCA’S
RICH HISTORY, ARTS AND CULTURE.
Text & photos JESSY WONG
Just 2 hours drive away from Kuala Lumpur, the
historic state of Malaysia needs no introduction
when it comes to its long-list of worthy travel
attractions, cultural sites, and foods. Malacca as a
UNESCO World Heritage site is often regarded to be an
introductory stop to learn about Malaysia.
Rasa Melaka The Musical staged such a show;
focusing on the country’s multicultural society, the
musical ensemble sang, danced and acted through 50
years of change from Tanah Melayu to present-day
Directed by Beijing-based Malaysian Director, Dr.
Deric Gan spared no expense in building the right kind
of stage sets, good soundscapes and fitting costumes
change for every era as he cleverly interlaces new
original music in retelling the story of Malacca with
surprising notes of local children rhymes.
The comedic storytelling and flashback is an
absolute treat given Dr. Deric Gan’s incorporation of
Chinese custom dragon dance, the indigenous martial
arts of Silat, and Joget, Malacca origin Malay traditional
dance as preludes to Malaysia’s arts and cultural scene.
“RASA Melaka The Musical” is the first production
from the RASA-CITY Series for tourists to learn more
about Malaysia’s culture. Hailing from all over the
country, the 12-member talented acting cast portrayed
an unforgettable tale of Malacca’s multiracial
community through times of happiness and difficulty.
Malay girl Melia, Hokkien boy Lak and Chetty
girl Kashvi first appeared as school children in the
historical city in the 60s, witnessing the independence
of Malaysia, and over time, grew up before having
their own families while seeing Malacca transformed
As the story unfolds between the three friends,
audiences are entertained in an effortless mix of
English, Malay and Chinese language dialogues–
fitting the portrayal of a rojak Malaysian language.
For universal enjoyment, timely subtitles in English
and Mandarin ran along with the cast’s dialogues and
Tuesday till Sunday (3pm & 8pm)*
Starts at RM48*
20, Jalan Munshi Abdullah,
*For more information and ticket
purchases, visit the show’s official
website at www.rasamelaka.com
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 7
SPOTTED: ASIA IN FILMS
Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Text NG SHEN LEE • Photo ADOBE STOCK
is Nepal’s tourism
trifecta. Comprised of
Kathmandu, Patan (Lalitpur)
and Bhaktapur, the three cities
put Nepal on the map for its
architecture, the ubiquity
of magnificent temples and
colourful festivities galore.
Since late 2016 however,
another force has been helping
to drive tourism within the
country–and perhaps most
unexpectedly, a superhero film
With Nepal chosen as
its principal filming location
to portray the fictional
Himalayan highland of Kamar-
Taj, Marvel’s “Doctor Strange”
which premiered October
2016 sets itself apart. Viewers
are treated to a refreshing
setting, worlds apart from the
usual concrete jungles of its
other film counterparts under
Though much of Kamar-
Taj’s streets were replicated in
a production studio, two sites
in Kathmandu Valley boast
the title of filming locale–
Pashupatinath Temple and
Patan Durbar Square.
is a Hindu temple complex
situated in Kathmandu. A
UNESCO World Heritage
Site, it serves as the seat of
the Hindu god Shiva and has
temples and monuments
beautifully embellished with
But locals also associate
the temple complex with
death. Or rather, with the
celebration of it. Here is where
the devout is cremated, and
whose ashes will run down the
Bagmati river. Cremations are
a daily occurrence here, as it
is believed that those who die
here will be reborn as a human
and not an animal.
In the film, sweeping
shots from above also reveal
Patan Durbar Square in Patan
(Lalitpur) as a filming location.
The city lies just across from
Kathmandu, merely separated
by the Bagmati river.
Patan Durbar Square is one
of the oldest Buddhist cities in
the world. Red tiles span the
entirety of its grounds, and the
many temples and monuments
crammed within its borders
are an awe-inspiring display of
indigenous Newari architecture.
From hidden courtyards to
ornate stepwells, there seems to
be no end to exploration here.
Pashupatinath Temple and
Patan Durbar Squares might
seem apt for the spiritual
setting of Kamar-Taj in “Doctor
Strange”, but they might not
have been the film’s first choice.
Many locations initially
scouted by the production
team were destroyed by the
devastating earthquake which
ravaged Nepal in April 2015.
In the wake of the calamity
just seven months prior, the
production team was adamant
that Nepal remains the primary
filming location to help boost
the country’s tourism.
Considering the film’s
success grossing at $677 million
worldwide, it’s certainly proven
to be the right choice.
usually forbids non-Hindus
from the main temple, but
an exception was made
for the film crew given its
potential tourism benefits.
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Day Trip to Kawasaki
ESCAPE THE CROWD IN TOKYO FOR A DAY AND SEE THE
SIGHTS THAT THIS PORT CITY HAS TO OFFER WHETHER
ITS A FOLK MUSEUM OR HISTORICAL TEMPLE.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos KANAGAWA JAPAN PREFECTURE & ADOBE STOCK
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The populous industrial city of Kawasaki is
just south of metropolitan Tokyo. As you
enter the Kanagawa prefecture, towering
factories and steel plants will be the welcoming
sight; Kawasaki may be an industrialised coastal city
but venturing deeper inland will uncover its tranquil
suburban town and sightly attractions in the midst.
Kawasaki Station is conveniently connected to
the JR Tokaido, JR Keihin-Tohoku and Keikyu and
JR Nambu Lines from Tokyo. Furthermore, you can
also get to Kawasaki via the Odakyu Odawara line
from Shinjuku Station. Taking only 17 minutes by
train, the short and commodious travel distance
makes Kawasaki a perfect day trip destination to see
more of Japan.
NIHON MINKAEN OPEN-AIR FOLK
Remnants from the Edo Period in Japan are
collected from all over the country and relocated
within the hills here in the suburbs of Kawasaki.
The authentic and rustic folk museum care for a
collection of 25 traditional buildings of different
structures and purposes between the years of 1603
to 1867. Discover historical monuments like the
Gasshozukuri farmhouses (traditional Japanese
farmhouse from Shirakawago), exciting samurai
houses, merchant houses, fishing villages homes, a
religious shrine and a kabuki stage used for classical
Fully live in the historical setting by joining
the traditional Japanese handicraft workshops
like cloth weaving and bamboo craft making at the
folk museum. Depending on the season, the folk
museum would also organise cultural events in line
with the festivities. So before you go down, visit
their website at http://english.nihonminkaen.jp/ to get
the latest updates and event information.
A 15-minute walk from Shukugawara Station (JR
Nambu Line) or take a direct bus service from
Noborito Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) to the
museum. Bus frequency is at every 10 to 15 minutes.
ANATA NO WAREHOUSE
Beating Saitama’s arcade center, Anata No
Warehouse is the amusement arcade to visit–even
if you don’t like playing games. The 5-storey center
is a dystopian themed complex with a dark interior
and orchestral pipe music echoing through space.
The haunting space somehow draws resemblance to
a war-torn period of a battered Chinese town. After
you get past the eerie setting, you will notice that
the arcade houses a wide range of game machines
from darts, shooting games, dance machines, table
hockey and many more.
From JR Kawasaki Station, the arcade center is a
10 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
KAWASAKI DAISHI TEMPLE
Founded in 1128, this large temple in Kawasaki is
alternatively known as Heiken-ji. The century-old
temple is a prominent shrine for locals during the
New Year where the community goes to worship and
pray for good fortune. Kawasaki Daishi is currently
the headquarters of the Chizan sect of Shingon
Buddhism, one of the few surviving Vajrayana
lineages in East Asia.
What you see today are the reconstructions of
the period’s architecture as the temple was destroyed
in the war. Modern building materials like steel and
concrete are used in the main hall (Dai-Hondo)
when restoration took place in 1958. Other new
monumental structures in the temple include the
main Dai-Sanmom Gate and the octagonal fivestory
pagoda. The temple’s vicinity has plenty of
restaurants and souvenir stores for shopping.
Ride the Keikyu Daishi Line to Kawasaki Daishi
Station and the temple is an 8-minute walk away.
FESTIVAL TO NOTE
Kanamara Matsuri or known as the Festival of the Steel
Phallus is held at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki,
Japan each spring. Viralled as the “penis festival”,
Kanamara Matsuri main emphasis is the enshrinement of
the phallus, as mirrored in the candies, carved fruits, and
vegetables, illustrations and decorations with the phallus
palanquin parade. First began in 1969, the festival is
based on a Japanese legend for the shrine but today, the
festival is also used to raise funds for HIV research.
This article is made possible by Kanagawa Japan Prefecture.
1-3 Exhibits and scenic grounds of Nihon Minkaen Open-air Folk
House Museum 4-5 Hong Kong inspired dark interior at Anata No
Warehouse 6-7 Views and historical architecture of Heiken-ji 8 A
festival parade on the streets of Japan
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Celebrating light, love and luck
11 Nov 2019
LOY KRATHONG IS THE SECOND LARGEST FESTIVAL IN THAILAND AFTER SONGKRAN,
THE THAI NEW YEAR. KNOWN AS THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHT, IT MARKS AN OCCASION
TO CELEBRATE HOPE AND LOVE, BANISH BAD LUCK AND WELCOME GOOD FORTUNE.
Text ANGELA GOH • Photos ADOBE STOCK
The festival of light is celebrated annually
on the evening of the 12 th lunar month of
the Thai calendar.
Loy means “to float” while Krathong
means a “raft”. The krathong is a small
lotus-shaped vessel fashioned out of a
banana stem or bark and adorned by
exquisitely woven banana leaves.
The festival pays homage to the
river goddess, Ganga, known as Pra Mae
Khongkha. Celebrants ask for forgiveness
for polluting the rivers and also to thank
her for providing water which sustains life,
agriculture and livestock farming. It is also
a time to banish misfortune, unhappiness
and ill health, and make wishes for the
Also regarded as a Thai festival of love,
it is said that if the krathong which is set
adrift by a pair of lovers remains afloat
together until they drift out of sight, their
love will last forever. If the krathong floated
by each of the lovers drifts apart, this is not
regarded as a good omen.
Thais believe that launching the krathong
on a river symbolically releases all
negativity by letting their troubles drift
away. The four components of a krathong–a
candle, joss sticks, flower and coin–
symbolise aspects of Buddhism.
The candle represents knowledge and
wisdom; the joss sticks (usually three)
symbolise purity and sympathy; the flower
represents respect for Buddhist monks; and
the coin signifies the making of merit to
gain blessings and wealth.
Some worshippers leave strands of
hair or nail clippings in the krathong to
rid themselves of bad luck. If the candle
remains burning while the krathong drifts
out of sight, this portends good fortune in
the year ahead.
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WHERE TO CELEBRATE
Loy Krathong is commemorated all
over Thailand but the main places
where the festival is celebrated on
an impressive scale are in Sukhothai,
Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
Loy Krathong is a major event in
Bangkok, involving ceremonies at
Wat Arun, Wat Po, Wat Prayoon
and Wat Kalayanamitra, and
cultural events along the riverside.
The Chao Phraya River is the top
venue where fireworks light up
the night sky while tiny candlelit
vessels and brightly lit boats with
technicolour lights sail up and
down the waterway. To enjoy these
sights and sounds, it is best to
stay at one of the riverside hotels,
dine at a riverfront restaurant or
venture on a river cruise.
Celebrations are a little less
touristy along the downtown
canals or klongs such as the Saen
Saeb kong where you can float
your krathong in a less crowded
waterway. Commuter boat traffic is
stopped on Loy Krathong night in
favour of the annual festival.
Others include public parks
with ponds or lakes (Lumpini,
Benjakiti, Benjasiri, King Rama
IX), riverside malls (Asiatique, Tha
Maharaj) and temples (Wat Arun,
Wat Yannawa, Wat Saket).
Traditions and activities that are unique
to the Mon people are celebrated along
the Mae Klong River. There will be an
Eight Ethnics Parade showcasing the
costumes and cultures of the local
ethnic groups. Krathong cups made
from eco-friendly coloured paper can
be spotted along the river. Religious
ceremonies paying respect to the Lord
Buddha will also be held and festive
activities happen along the Mae Klong
River and Ratphracha Pattana Dam.
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The International Cultural Lantern Festival will be staged at
Malin Park in Chiang Mai from 11-12 November 2019 where
sky lanterns are released to coincide with the celebration
of Yi Peng. This festival which coincides with Loy Krathong
is commemorated in northern Thai Lanna culture, where
Chiang Mai served as the capital of the ancient Lanna
Kingdom. The hot air lanterns are a spectacular sight when
they fill the night sky.
Most of the activity takes place at the Ping River and at
bridges, while a beautiful parade captivates onlookers along
As the birthplace of Loy Krathong, the festival is celebrated
for 10 days here. In addition to magical floating lights, there
are folk music and dance performances known as ram wong,
beauty contests, krathong-making competitions, parades, and
light and sound shows at Wat Mahathat.
Nearly all the festivities are held at the Sukhothai Historical
Park (the old city), a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the
banks of the Yom River.
Famous for its Loi Krathong Sai or the floating of a line of
krathongs made from coconut shells, a local tradition that
has been passed through the ages. Catch it by the banks of
the Ping River at the foot of the Rattanakosin Song Roi Pi
Bridge where a thousand lighted coconut shell cups are left
adrift. A parade will also be held from the Shrine of King
Taksin the Great to the main venue at the town centre.
Krathongs are set afloat with the outflowing tide by
the beaches island-wide. Other places to celebrate the
festivities include the Sapan Hin Park, Suan Luang Park,
Nai Harn Lake and Karon Lake. A parade starts at Sanam
Chai Park in Phuket town and continues around the island
ending at Saphan Hin.
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ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
Green Island, Taiwan
BY THE EASTERN COAST OF TAIWAN, THE SMALL
VOLCANIC ISLAND IN THE PHILIPPINE SEA IS A SCENIC
SPOT FOR TRAVELLERS TO SEEK PLEASURE IN HOT
SPRINGS, SNORKELING, DIVING AND OTHER ADVENTURES.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos ADOBE STOCK & WAITING HERE B&B
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly domestically to Taitung County from Taipei
International Airport. From there, catch a direct
flight with Daily Air to Lyudao Airport for only 15
minutes. For a more affordable option, a ferry ride
from Fugang Fish Harbour in Taitung takes about an
hour to reach Lyudao Nanliao Harbour.
WHERE TO EAT
Walk around the main village center like Nan Liao to
find snacks, local Taiwan delicacies and restaurants
to dine in. Green Island is also famous for its
seaweed produce and seaweed flavoured food so
don’t be surprised to see seaweed ice and seaweed
omelette on this volcanic island.
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WHAT TO DO
The Lyudao Lighthouse is worth visiting to see
the bright tall lighthouse against the clear sky;
the surrounding area is absolutely scenic. The
Human Rights Memorial is a jail turned museum
and memorial in Lyudao Culture Park as the
infamous jail used to detain political prisoners.
If you like exploring, the abandoned aboriginal
village of Youzihu sits on the island’s eastern side.
Snorkelers can go to Chai Kou, Shi Lang
and Da Bai Sha to see some of Taiwan’s wellpreserved
coral reefs. A deeper marine exploration
will reveal an underwater paradise for divers.
More scenic adventures await at Hai Sheng Ping
bay where travellers can view the famous rock
formations reminiscent of a Pekinese dog and
Sleeping Beauty. Down south, catch the sunrise in
the hot spring pool at Zhaori Hot Springs–one of
the three saltwater hot springs in the world.
WHERE TO STAY
Waiting Here B&B is a quaint beautifully
decorated bed and breakfast on the island. The
friendly staff can help arrange activities like
snorkeling, diving and fishing other than a free
airport shuttle for guests.
is also known
a US luxury ocean
liner gone ashore
from a typhoon in
scooters to go
around the island
as the attractions
are not exactly
Turning Tragedy into Tourism
THE COMPELLING DRAW OF TRAGEDY, DESTRUCTION,
AND DEATH BLURS THE LINE FOR TOURISM. MOST
QUESTS TO UNDERSTAND HISTORY HAS TURNED INTO
TERROR TRAVEL–WHICH INTRODUCES DARK TOURISM.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos ADOBE STOCK & JESSY WONG
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How do I enjoy the rest of the
holidays after my first visit to a
genocide detention camp? The
chilling school-turned-prison camp for the
Khmer Rouge is a popular place to visit
in Phnom Penh. With a small admission
fee, visitors to the Tuol Sleng Genocide
Museum can walk around independently
with individual audio guides.
The prison has turned into a memorial
site to preserve the tragic times of the
Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The
musty smell of its torture rooms, cramped
dehumanised prisons, and a roomful
of victims’ headshots may already be
overwhelming, but having the audio guide
recounting the terror directly to the ears
put multiple stops to my tracks. My energy
was completely drained, and I was deeply
conflicted. Little did I know, it was the start
of dark tourism for me.
THE GRIM FASCINATION
It is not a 21 st century trend that death
and tragedy appeal to travellers. Across
the globe, public beheading is a crowd
attraction in the past. Town folks of the
early 18 th century in England would wait
out criminals to die in the gibbets hung in
public crossroads. Visiting the morgue is a
favourite pastime for Parisians to pore over
dead bodies for free.
Today, travelling to places related to
violent mass killings and natural disaster
sites is coined as dark tourism. As seen
in the media, Netflix’s TV series “Dark
Tourist” invites curious watchers to follow
their travels to places with a dark history.
Admittedly, I had limited knowledge of
Cambodia’s history before my visit. Walking
on the grounds of Choeung Ek–a mass
grave and killing fields over one million
people in the Khmer Rouge–gave me more
than just insight to the history and the
political regime of Cambodia, the harsh
reality helped me to understand the bleak
period of humanity in the country. It was
sympathetically terrible to see thousands of
victims’ skulls displayed in the glass stupa,
arranged to precision.
Despite that, my inquisitiveness brought
me to the War Remnants Museum in Ho
Chi Minh City where there are photographic
entries of the horrific war crimes during
the Vietnam War. The blatant gore of some
captured moments brings tears to the eyes.
And I can’t help but admire the courage of
generational victims of Agent Orange.
Man-made crimes are not the only kind
of dark tourism. The remnant of a violent
volcano eruption in 2010 is turned into
a tourist attraction for visitors to see the
dilapidated houses near Mount Merapi in
Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Nearby, Bunker
Kaliadem is a more popular stop for
tourists to take scenic pictures with the
volcanic mountain in the background. The
bunker failed to prevent hot magma steam
from seeping through and has ended the
lives of people trapped inside; visitors can
enter to take a look.
Malaysia has its share of dark tourism
too. Tsunami Gallery in Kota Kuala Muda
in Kedah showcases houses destroyed
by the 2004 Indian tsunami and pictures
of the natural disaster. Outside, there’s
a monument of stacked fishing boats in
remembrance of the lives lost.
APPROPRIATION OF TRAVEL
Visiting dark sites has its constructive
endings to the nightmare it contains.
It brings a better understanding and
awareness of the dark past that teaches
us a lesson. Visitors to these galleries and
sites also contribute financially to the
Sometimes visitors can forget that the
presence of an outsider may unintentionally
cause affected people to relieve their grief.
A place where so many people have met
their deaths should deserve the right kind
of visitor’s attitude. The ignorance of one
American Youtuber in Japan is a warning for
technology-driven society to adhere–filming
a hanging man in the Aokigahara forest for
gag and profits is among the examples of
exploitation of tragedy.
On a deeper level, we may also not be
aware if corporations are selfishly profiting
from tragedies-made tourism. Is the money
collected channeled back to the victims or
used to restore the sites? Some answers
may be obscure. So before visiting these
grave places, prepare yourself to travel with
If anyone asks, did I regret any of my
trips there? Absolutely not.
MORE DARK TOURISM
SITES AROUND ASIA
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum,
Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
War Museum, Penang, Malaysia
Yingxiu Township, Sichuan, China
Museum Tsunami Aceh,
Kota Banda Aceh, Indonesia
1 Stacked skulls of victims during the Khmer Rouge in 1975-1979 2 Stupa at Choeung Ek Killing Fields in
Cambodia 3 An old guillotine is exhibited at War Remnants Musuem, Vietnam 4 Museum Mini SisaHartaku
from 2010 volcano eruption in Yogyakarta, Indonesia 5 Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh 6 Tsunami
monument at Kota Kuala Muda in Kedah 7 Actual volcano bunker opened for visitors in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19
Free Apps for
FOR LAST-MINUTE PLANS, BUDGET TRAVEL AND PRE-
TRIP ORGANISING, THESE APPS DESERVE A SHOUT-
OUT FOR MAKING LIFE EASIER FOR ALL NEWBIES,
FREQUENT AND BUSY TRAVELLERS. ALL APPS ARE
AVAILABLE ON THE APP STORE AND GOOGLE PLAY.
Text JESSY WONG
Photos ADOBE STOCK & ALL FEATURED APPS
OPTIMAL TRAVEL PACKING
TripIt keeps you on schedule whether
it’s a business trip or leisure travel.
Available on smartphones and computers, the app instantly creates
a roster for your day and when you’re on the trip, the app supports
you from navigation (ride options), airport maps (layout of airport
and terminals), nearby places and neighbourhood safety (shows
safety scores for security). Besides calendar sync, you can also easily
share your plans with others through text or email. Additional
features include real-time flight alerts and a currency converter.
Now, you don’t have to list
everything you need for
your trip because this app
automatically builds a custom
packing list based on your
destination, date, length of
stay and types of activities.
The app checks the weather forecast for the day of your visit and
recommends items like jacket, umbrella, shorts or sandals to your
packing list. You can “hide” checked items as you pack and add
quantities to items in the packing list for efficiency.
It is much like a diary, except
that it helps to keep abreast
of your travelling expenses so
you won’t bust your budget.
The customisable categories
for expenses create an orderly
daily report to track spending
and receipts at a glance. Trabee Pocket also has multiple currencies
support for instant conversion to the currency you’re familiar with.
For a detailed record, add a note and image to the spending.
Plan your trip up to one year
in advance with Hopper as this
app predicts flights and hotel
prices with high accuracy. The
“watch” feature will send you
notifications when the prices
you’re following for your trip
have dropped and it shows you the cheapest travel dates with price
comparison over hundreds of global airlines. The price tracker can
score you the best deals and save for more travels.
20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
A New World in Dining
WHEN ENVIRONMENTAL PASSION MEETS DINING, IT IS A REVOLUTIONARY
CONFLUENCE OF NATURE'S BEST GIFTS–WARMLY SERVED ON PLATES.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos NECTAR & OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 21
The high-end dining concept by
award-winning chef and owner
Peggy Chan tops our list with its
plant-based gourmet cuisines.
Setting the standard for overall
wellness in dining, Nectar
promises a tasting experience
that focuses on holistic,
nutrient-dense, and seasonal
tasting menus in Hong Kong.
Peggy is internationally
recognised for her dedication
to the environment and was
awarded the title “Sustainability
Champion” in 2018 at the
T.Dining Awards. Also, Peggy
actively involves in food
biodiversity and sustainability
movement that addresses
undernutrition, food waste and
soil degradation in the industry.
Applauded to be raising
awareness of plant-based
cuisine, Nectar’s bold
approach shows a promising
future for sustainable dining
and opened doors for Hong
Kong’s food revolution.
Peggy’s plant-based cooking is
very much technique-driven
that uncover textures and
depth of flavour in vegetables
Nectar’s seasonal tasting
menu is locally and regionally
sourced with a wish to educate
and empower diners on
conscious eating and ethical
sourcing. Guests are given the
option to choose from a five,
eight or twelve multi-course
Shop D, G/F, CentreStage, 108 Hollywood Road,
Central, Hong Kong
22 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
1-4 Edible garden at Open Farm Community 5-6 Nectar's plant-based food
presentation 7-8 A calming minimalist interior at Nectar 9 Open Farm Community
outdoor deck dining area 10 Lip-smacking roasted Anxin chicken 11 Indonesian
baby potatoes reinterpreted
OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
As a restaurant, they are
known to be more than
just an eating place–they
familiarise themselves as being
a community food project
in Singapore. Established in
2015, the culinary team at
Open Farm Community (OFC)
takes the lead by encouraging
diners to reconnect with their
surroundings and nature
The creative menu approach
is curated by both Head Chef
Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and
Sous Chef Phoebe Oviedo. The
passionate duo has taken their
turns in various cities across the
globe, skillfully trying different
approaches when cooking to
bring in new flavours over
familiar local palates.
Naturally, the highly
urbanised Singapore is a
perfect choice for celebrating
Asian delicacies. OFC aims
to inspire people to learn
about what they eat and
how they eat with primarily
locally-sourced ingredients in
The support for local urban
farming movement sees OFC
harvesting fresh produce from
the establishment’s own green
garden–setting a farm to plate
example in the city.
Among the prolific cuisines,
the “Crab & Prawn Laksa
itself as a Southern Malay Laksa
assimilated with homemade
pasta, crispy soft-shell crab
tempura, and herbs from the
OFC’s garden. The environment
in OFC definitely makes the
grade for diners to easily
reconnect with nature from its
scenic surroundings, open-deck
dining and greenhouse-themed
130E Minden Road, Singapore
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23
TALES ON TRACK
FOOD FOR TALK
“Meat ” up for
Bah Kut Teh
Text FRANCIS YIP
Photo ADOBE STOCK
Bah Kut Teh
dish that sparked the
most conversation and
controversy. Years ago, a
pair of sex bloggers created
a nationwide storm for their
Bah Kut Teh photo posting as
Ramadan greetings. Then, we also
have netizens from Malaysia and
Singapore fighting over the origin of Bah
Kut Teh–each claiming the dish belongs to
MEAT BONE TEA
Bah Kut Teh means “Meat Bone Tea”.
However, it is not really tea as it references
more to the drinking ritual which has
become an integral part of eating Bah Kut
Teh–to demulsify the fat of the pork.
Bah Kut Teh is a pork rib dish cooked
gently with a mix of herbs and spices in
the soup for hours. There are Hokkien,
Teowchew and Cantonese-styled Bah Kut
Teh but in Malaysia, the most common
is the Hokkien style which is darker and
more fragrant soup. On the other hand, Bah
Kut Teh in Singapore is lighter and more
pepper-ish in taste.
ORIGIN OF BAH KUT TEH
There is a lot of argument about the
origin of Bah Kut Teh. Klang is often
well-known as the birthplace of Bah Kut
Teh. It was introduced by the Chinese
immigrants who were mostly Hokkien
during the 19 th century.
According to Ng Soon Tiong, owner of
Samy and Min Bah Kut Teh, “Bah Kut Teh
was created as a dish to help replenish the
energy of the Chinese coolies who mostly
carried heavy loads while barefooted.
In those days, they boiled pig heads and
knuckles with medicinal herbs and spices
as a way to nourish and strengthen their
It is also
“teh” of “Bah
Kut Teh” is
derived from the
name, Lee Boon
Teh who brought
the dish from Fujian
and popularised the dish
in the 1940s. But across the
causeway, netizens claimed that
Bah Kut Teh was created in Clarke
Quay and River Valley. They said the dish
was spotted even in the 1920s.
Whether it is Klang or Clarke Quay, it
doesn’t matter. But one thing is certain.
Some Bah Kut Teh shops attempted to
be innovative by offering Seafood Bah
Kut Teh, Cheese Bah Kut Teh, and even
Durian Bah Kut Teh.
Will you try it? For myself, I am
still a die-hard fan of authentic Bah Kut
Teh. In fact, I have mastered the art of
boiling Bah Kut Teh from my mother and
my herbs are mostly bought from the
Chinese medical hall.
Special thanks to Ng Soon Tiong, owner of Samy and Min Bah Kut Teh Malaysia and the World Top
Gourmet Awards Team.
24 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
FRANCIS YIP loves to eat and will always go find the best food in every nook and cranny. He is passionate to share his food journey and
may spark a storm in the teacup too. After all, no food, no life.
www.franciswriter.com franciswriterAd franciswriter