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Published by AirAsia Berhad (284669-W) travel 3Sixty° Magazine REDQ Office, Jalan Pekeliling 5, Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2), 64000 KLIA, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia +6 03-8660 4333
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Get to know Captain Comendador! What is your earliest memory of ﬂying? I was only nine years old when I began ﬂying on a military plane DC-3 troop carrier with my dad, who was a Philippine Air Force ﬁghter pilot. I was awed by the size and complexity of the cockpit, and the military ﬂight suits of the pilots that exuded strength, making me think of the movie Top Gun! To this day, ﬂying an aircraft is like living a dream – peaceful and free! I’m grateful that I can still ﬂy whenever my schedule permits, and will continue to do so, as long as my body will allow it. If there was a movie made about your life, who would you choose to play you? Tom Hanks! in the movie Sully, he reminded me of my military and commercial pilot experiences. What is the ﬁrst thing people ask you when they discover your connection with AirAsia? Can you give us a discount? I usually ﬂash a big smile and tell them that we already have the lowest fares available, and that they’ll experience the best quality service on board. I also always ask for honest feedback so we can improve further.
Forging Ahead in 2018 01 18
The beginning of every year gives us the opportunity to start something fresh and new. Year 2018 is upon us and I am thrilled to welcome this year with great anticipation for AirAsia’s expansion plans in the Philippines. In 2017, ASEAN celebrated its 50th founding anniversary, with Philippines holding chairmanship of the Association. We brought together leaders of the 10 member countries and some of the world's top economies, and to mark the bloc's Golden Jubilee, AirAsia formally launched ‘AirAsia Loves Asean’ – a series of initiatives focused on education, talent development, and boosting the economy, alongside a threeday ASEAN summit held from November 12 to 14 in Manila. The highlight of the event was the formal presentation of AirAsia’s ‘I Love Asean’ aircraft livery showcasing designs inspired by textiles, architecture, art, and nature from all 10 Asean nations, in a grand ceremony held at the Philippine Air Force headquarters, Villamor Airbase, with the kind support of PAF Commanding General LT/General Galileo Kintanar, Jr. In attendance were distinguished guests from ASEAN, government leaders, and ministers
from various ASEAN member countries led by Deputy Secretary General Dr. AKT Mochtan. The ‘I Love Asean’ aircraft is operated by AirAsia Philippines and carries the official ASEAN seal or logo. At the event, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes announced that all AirAsia aircraft based in the region will soon feature the ASEAN ﬂag, in addition to their respective national ﬂags. The signiﬁcance of that occasion cannot be over-emphasised, especially for us in the Philippines, as we gear up for expansion and innovation, built on a continuing commitment to provide only the best quality service, and affordable and efficient air connectivity. This year’s goals will be as important as last year’s milestones, which included launching new ﬂights connecting Manila and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam; and Davao and Kuala Lumpur (operated by AirAsia Malaysia). This will be followed by connections to Indonesia, as well as several domestic ﬂights spread across our hubs in Cebu, Kalibo, and Clark. But, some things never change – like our commitment to safety and service excellence. Efficiency and superb service are the hallmarks of our brand, and I am truly
1. Aircraft showcasing the 'I Love Asean' livery. 2. This sketch is a representation of empowering and loving people. Captain Comendador believes it is important to make oneself signiﬁcant in the lives of others.
grateful to be working alongside my Philippine Allstars (AirAsia staff). We recently obtained a glowing evaluation from IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) in October 2017, followed by ISO – an international certiﬁcation standard for quality, safety and efficiency – in November. Key to our success has always been our sense of teamwork. And, as we take another major step forward into 2018, I am conﬁdent that travellers will be seeing more and more of our iconic red planes ﬂying across the Philippine skies, across Asean, and beyond. I’d like to wish everyone a delightful journey, good health, and much happiness in the New Year! Captain Dexter M. Comendador CEO of AirAsia Philippines
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THE POST WANDERLUST / Nepal
WANDERLUST / China
Forgotten Trail of Nepal
WANDERLUST / Malaysia
Two a half years after the devastating 2015 earthquake, the Indigenous Peoples of Nepal are still waiting for the trail in their underrated region to be rediscovered by the world. WORDS Marco Ferrarese PHOTOGRAPHY Kit Yeng Chan
In the tropical island of Borneo, lies the Kinabatangan River, a waterway that supports astounding biodiversity. A group of researchers are determined it stays that way. Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski heads to Danau Girang Field Centre and learns the importance of research for conservation. WORDS Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski PHOTOGRAPHY Scubazoo ADDITIONAL INFO Nick Owen Williams
Shanghai by Design
A day’s walkabout through Shanghai’s Puxi area and the Former French Concession reveals Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec’s diverse architectural legacy that still deﬁnes the city’s skyline today. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Nicky Almasy
A woman tends to her goats in the village of Donghme, an ancient indigenous settlement inhabited mainly by Lama people. The Lama are a clan that belongs to the Tamang ethnic group. Since olden times, the Lama people have been known to be very spiritual and have enjoyed a close association with the priesthood.
Through satellite tagging, local researcher Elisa Panjang learns more about the lifestyle of the pangolin, supporting Danau Girang Field Centre’s (DGFC) dedicated efforts to save these mysterious creatures from extinction. Photo by: Aaron Gekoski / Scubazoo
I M Pei, the famous ChineseAmerican architect who built such architectural marvels as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts, and the Dallas City Hall in Texas, credits Laszlo Hudec’s Park Hotel for inspiring him to study architecture, against the wishes of his father.
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Chin Yoke Ling
AirAsia’s inﬂight magazine travel 3Sixty° is truly an informative, authentic read. The features remind me of letters from a friend – personal and sincere. The stories inspire curiosity and wonder, and encourage travellers to explore Earth, our home. In the October issue, I particularly loved the feature Forgotten Trail of Nepal on the Indigenous People Trail that was badly affected by the 2015 earthquake. The magazine also covers off-the-beaten-path destinations across Asean, so travellers learn about know beautiful places in the world apart from the popular touristy spots. I also love how there are scattered tidbits of practical information in the articles. Well done travel 3Sixty°; stay the course as a travel and lifestyle magazine that cares for people and their culture.
I usually just glance through travel magazines when I ﬂy, before continuing with my own books. But during my AirAsia ﬂight in November, I was so impressed with the amazing articles and pictures in travel 3Sixty° that I completely forgot my book! A story that particularly captivated me was the feature Shanghai by Design, about proliﬁc Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec's creations that embellish the city’s skyline till today. Hudec’s life story is fascinating. Arriving in Shanghai in 1918 penniless after escaping his Russian captors during WWI, Hudec built an architectural empire over the next 50 years. A big thank you to travel 3Sixty° and the writer, Nicky Almasy for this literary gem. I will deﬁnitely seek out Hudec's architectural marvels when I next visit Shanghai.
Kudos to AirAsia for the revamped travel 3Sixty° – the fresh content, improved masthead, attractive layout and new informative articles are absolutely refreshing. In the November issue, the Make a Difference column on human trafficking made me realise how little we know about the world's second largest criminal operations. I'm proud of AirAsia for taking the initiative to train its ﬂight crew and ground staff to handle suspected human trafficking cases with due diligence. Being Malaysian, I’m always in awe of my country’s amazing biodiversity, and thoroughly enjoyed the feature Wild Science on Sabah spectacular wildlife. Thank you travel 3Sixty°, for letting me see the world through your wonderful stories and pictures.
A 3D/2N Bumbung Room stay at Tanjong Jara Resort Malaysia, plus breakfast for two worth approx. USD585
A 2D/1N Deluxe Room stay at Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, worth approx. USD195
Thai Odyssey cash voucher redeemable at any outlet in Malaysia, worth approx. USD50
Like what you read in travel 3Sixty°? Share your thoughts with us! To show you how much we appreciate your feedback, we’ll give the best Letter of the Month and two other published letters attractive prizes. Email your feedback in English to [email protected] travel 3Sixty° reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length; only letters regarding articles published in travel 3Sixty° will stand to win a prize.
Snap, Hashtag & Share Snap your best travels and hashtag #travel3sixty and #airasia on
@ﬂying.in.dance The spectacular Jigokudani (Hell Valley) in the town of Noboribetsu, Japan. #japan #travel3sixty #hokkaido #jigokudani #airasia
@alvinseeck Screamin’ lights and colours, a view to enjoy! #kualalumpur #travel3sixty #airasia #Malaysia
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@penaberkala One of the highest bungee jumps in the world at Macao Tower (233m) – check! #MacaoTower #bungeejump #travel3sixty #airasia
Tell Tales Coming of age is celebrated in vario various ways in different cultures. Here, ﬁve Allstars ars share their memorable (and sometimes amusing) anecdotes of the transition into adulthood. am lthood. In my Tamil community, a girl’s coming of age ceremony always includes a symbolic cleansing with turmeric-infused water or milk. After the ceremonial bathing, a girl is dressed in a sari, and adorned with gold jewellery, ready to be showered with blessings and gifts by relatives. On my ‘special day’, close relatives were invited to our home to celebrate my journey into womanhood. Though it was a simple affair, the event coincided with my brother’s band practice, which was taking place in our house! After the bathing ritual, I was led by my aunts to our living room for the blessing ceremony. As I emerged, my brother’s teenaged bandmates decided to suspend practice and turned their eyes on our mini procession instead. Oh, how my cheeks burned! Chitra Santhinathan Deputy Editor, travel 3Sixty°
During my junior high year, a schoolmate of mine always stole the limelight in high jump events. And it didn’t bother him that the teacher was not impressed that his techniques didn't comply with the standard regulations of the sport. He was, after all, a man among boys. According to the customs of his Nias ethnic group, my highjumping schoolmate became a man when he successfully jumped over a 2m-high stack of stones in a tradition called fahombo. Boy, am I glad I'm not him – I can't even jump over my cat's litter box without tripping! By comparison, my coming of age only happened a couple of years later when I turned 17, the voting age in Indonesia. How exciting! Ari Vanuaranu Writer, travel 3Sixty°
The Seijin Shiki coming of age ceremony, celebrated by 20-yearold gals and guys, is akin to a high school reunion party. As most high school students leave their hometown after graduating to attend college or look for a job, the ceremony is good reason for them to return home and see friends and family. For the girls, it offers the ﬁrst and last chance for them to don the furisode – a special kimono worn by young unmarried ladies. So, the girls usually look forward to the occasion, parading in their furisode and enjoying their photo sessions. As for the boys, they often end up feeling awkward dressed in a suit, which many are not used to wearing.
Filipino girls celebrate their 18th birthday with a fancy debut to society, similar to the Latin American quinceañera. This involves a dance (usually a waltz) with her friends called the cotillion de honor, and the presentation of symbolic gifts – 18 roses, 18 candles and 18 treasures.
Tomomi Murata, Marketing & Ancillary Executive, AirAsia Japan
"In Thai Buddhist tradition, being ordained as a monk was once mandatory for 20-year-old males, and was considered a test of perseverance and determination, and a sign of maturity. In modern times, it is viewed more as a symbolic act of expressing gratitude to parents and guardians." Wanant Kerdchuen (Sui),
RED FORT Loving Asean 1. FROM LEFT Special guests at the unveiling of the 'I Love Asean' livery included HE Dato' Razlan Abdul Rashid, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines, and Dr AKP Mochtan, Asean Deputy SecretaryGeneral, alongside Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes, senior AirAsia management and cabin crew. 2. Aziz Laikar, Head of Communications, AirAsia Malaysia (third from left), with his team at the MPRA 2016/2017 gala event.
AirAsia has launched AirAsia Loves Asean, a series of initiatives focused on education, talent development and economy to celebrate 50 years of ASEAN. The four initiatives comprise the AirAsia Asean University Partnership, Asean Entrepreneurs Day, Asean Journalists Camp and Allstars Exchange Programme. AirAsia Loves Asean was launched at the Philippine Air Force Headquarters at Villamor Air Base in Metro Manila, Philippines on November 14. AirAsia also unveiled an ‘I Love Asean’ aircraft livery at the event. The livery showcases designs inspired by the textiles, architecture, art and nature of the 10 Asean nations.
“We owe our success to Asean. As a truly Asean airline, we want to bring the people across the region closer together in line with the amazing work ASEAN has done over the past 50 years.” ~ Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia
Three Big Wins AirAsia bagged several awards at the prestigious Malaysia Public Relations Awards (MPRA) 2016/2017 in November last year. The MPRA is an annual event organised by Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Malaysia (PRCA Malaysia), which recognises the2 best of the best in the country’s PR industry.
The airline won gold in the Product Brand Development category for AirAsia’s inﬂight menu Santan – The Flavours of Asean, and silver in the Corporate Responsibility category for AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017 (AARRDS), as well as in the Technology category for AirAsia's inaugural regional hackathon event, AIRVOLUTION 2017.
Opening Doors the BIG Way
Launched last month in conjunction with AirAsia’s 16th anniversary celebration on December 8, 2017, the #AirAsiaOpenDoors campaign invites travellers to go on an exciting journey. The campaign reﬂects the AirAsia story in opening doors to unexplored destinations in the region and beyond. As part of the campaign, AirAsia has launched a unique contest for the public, which involves locating 16 hidden doors around Malaysia. Once you discover a 'door', snap a photo of yourself with it, and upload the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #AirAsiaOpenDoors, #AirAsia16Years and #(name of destination) to earn points. The contest runs until January 14, 2018, and participants stand a chance to win over two million BIG Points. opendoors.airasia.com
“We hope our guests will continue to create these amazing experiences with us through the #AirAsiaOpenDoors campaign as we uncover new frontiers together across Asean and the rest of Asia. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank all our guests who have supported us and our dreams all these years.” ~ Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia Malaysia FOLLOW US ON
RED FORT Noble Enterprise AirAsia Group’s philanthropic arm, AirAsia Foundation, launched its ﬁrst social enterprise pop-up shop at klia2 in November. Destination: GOOD [email protected], a joint collaboration with Malaysia Airports, retails over 200 gift items sustainably produced by 25 Asean social enterprises and aims to create a unique shopping experience for travellers passing through the terminal.
“Since 2012, we have awarded 19 grants for social enterprises to expand their businesses. With this partnership with Malaysia Airports, we are able to provide the social enterprises with an international platform to market their products, while jointly marking ASEAN’s 50th anniversary in a meaningful way.” ~ Yap Mun Ching, Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation
BIG eStore Opens AirAsia BIG Loyalty unveiled its eStore in December, where BIG Members can shop online to earn BIG Points. The eStore allows more than 13 million BIG Members in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to shop from over 150 lifestyle and travel brands on airasiabig.com, with the AirAsia BIG Loyalty mobile app rolling out soon.
“The eStore is a fantastic way to reward our loyal members with the opportunity to shop for what they like and earn BIG Points in return. This really is an effortless way to help our members ﬂy virtually for free by doing what they enjoy doing, which is shopping online.” ~ Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes 18
1. FROM LEFT Mohammad Nazli Abdul Aziz, Senior General Manager, Commercial Services, Malaysia Airports (second from left); Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, Managing Director of Malaysia Airports (centre); Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman of AirAsia Berhad and Group CEO of AirAsia X (fourth from right); and Yap Mun Ching, Executive Director of AirAsia Foundation (third from right), members of the media and cabin crew, with the Christmas GOOD Boxes in front of AirAsia Foundation’s Destination: GOOD pop-up [email protected] 2. FROM LEFT Khairul Syaﬁq, Marketing Manager of Photobook; Peter Lee, VP of Marketing at 11street Malaysia; Yeoh Chen Chow, Co-Founder of Fave; Victor Kaw, Chief Commercial Officer of AirAsia BIG Loyalty; Yen May So, Manager, Loyalty, Rewards & Privileges of Digi; Jimmy How, Chief Executive Officer of Involve Asia; and Dato’ Eddy Leong, CEO of AirAsia BIG Loyalty, at the AirAsia BIG Loyalty eStore launch in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 3. David Foster, the multi-talented awardwinning music legend.
Spot the Talent Launched in November last year, the ‘Dreams Come True with AirAsia’ campaign nurtures Asean musical talent through a collaboration with music platform Spotify. Via the campaign, 20 promising musical talents in the region will vie for a chance to perform with legendary producer, songwriter, composer and AirAsia ambassador David Foster at one of his concerts this year. The artistes participating in this campaign are IV of Spades, Abirama, Airliftz, Axel Brizzy, Banna Harbera, Battle Bloom, BECKA, Ben Sihombing, Bil Musa, Jean Tan Li Juan, JinHo Bae, Keiko Necesario, Kuizz, Miss Lou, Reality Club, Rob and the Hitmen, Semenjana, Talitha Tan, The Façade and VVYND.
Rebel with a Cause AirAsia continues its long-term initiative to boost cancer awareness and raise funds for underprivileged patients through the #AirAsiaMAKNA campaign with the sale of limited edition AirAsia pilot and cabin crew uniform-inspired t-shirts for adults and children. This year's campaign – #AirAsiaMAKNA: Rebel with a Cause – aims to celebrate the strength and courage of inspiring cancer ﬁghters. In conjunction with the campaign, there is an ongoing Instagram contest where a monthly winner is selected until February 2018. Wear the t-shirt and post a photo of yourself with yourbest ﬁghter move or pose and hashtag #AirAsiaMAKNA on Instagram, for a chance to win a pair of ﬂights monthly to any AirAsia destination of your choice.
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RED FORT Changi Charts the Future AirAsia announced in November its plan to enhance air travel experience through digitalisation, setting Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4 (T4) as the model airport of the future for low-cost carriers (LCC). AirAsia will use data from its operations at Changi T4, which boasts the Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) system, as an ongoing case study to improve LCC airport processes through greater digitalisation, with lessons from its experience at T4 to be rolled out across the AirAsia Group.
1. Logan Velaitham, CEO of AirAsia Singapore (left), and Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes at the media conference announcing AirAsia's digitalisation plans. 2. Alex Garcia of Dominican Republic celebrates after his victory over Russian Muslim Salikhov in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event.
AirAsia took centre stage as official airline sponsor for the Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC® at an exhilarating ﬁght event in Shanghai. The roar of over 15,000 screaming fans reverberated in the Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 25, 2017, ushering in the ﬁrst-ever UFC event in mainland China, which saw the likes of Kevin Gastelum of the US, and China’s Li Jingliang, taking home big wins. AirAsia and UFC are also joining forces to ﬁnd the next generation of Asian ﬁghters with the UFC scholarship programme.
Download the AirAsia BIG Loyalty mobile app (available on App Store and Google Play Store) and sign up now to redeem amazing deals via the monthly Final Call Sale and Final Call Sale X. This mobile exclusive campaign offers AirAsia BIG members the opportunity to redeem ﬂights from as low as 500 BIG Points. Look out for the different offers each month, which include short haul destinations (one week redemption period beginning ﬁrst Monday of every month) and long haul destinations (one week redemption period beginning third Monday of every month). app.airasiabig.com
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IMAGE: SIOW JING EN, SIN CHEW DAILY
On top of the World AirAsia’s bag of goodies for the festive season boasts an array of world’s ﬁrsts in international accolades, as the airline ended another year with recognition from the global aviation and tourism industries.
Following its Skytrax World Airline Awards ninth win in a row as World’s Best Low-Cost Airline last June, AirAsia was voted the World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the ﬁfth consecutive year by international travel professionals and industry players for the 2017 World Travel Awards (WTA) in December 2017. Beating 13 other budget airlines, including many established low-cost carriers, AirAsia bagged the top
award, reﬂecting the people’s acknowledgement of its distinction in service and operations. The WTA, which recognises excellence across key sectors of travel, tourism and hospitality industries, is one of the most prestigious awards programmes in the global tourism industry. AirAsia also walked away with the WTA's inaugural World's Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award, ahead of the same 13
1. In high spirits – Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes (fourth from left), and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, ﬂanked by cabin crew at the WTA event. 2. Rosita Sulaiman, Senior Cabin Crew of AirAsia Malaysia (left); and Siegtraund Teh, Group Chief Commercial Officer for AirAsia, ﬂanked by cabin crew after receiving the honours for AirAsia at the WTA gala event in Vietnam. 3. AirAsia's big ﬁve-time win – the WTA World's Leading Low-Cost Airline accolade.
competitors. The win builds on AirAsia's success earlier this year when the airline secured WTA’s ﬁrst-ever Asia's Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award and in 2015, when it became the ﬁrst ever low-cost carrier to win Asia's Leading Cabin Crew, beating many fullservice carriers. The accolades were accepted by Siegtraund Teh, Group Chief Commercial Officer for AirAsia, and Rosita Sulaiman, Senior Cabin Crew of AirAsia Malaysia at a gala ceremony held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay in Vietnam on December 10. Also present at the momentous affair were AirAsia big bosses Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman of AirAsia Berhad and Group CEO of AirAsia X, and Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia.
“I’ve always said that we are the world’s true low-cost champion, and I’m thrilled to see I’m not the only one, and that the industry agrees with me. And we will only get better as we continue on our digitalisation journey to better understand what our guests want and to make ﬂying a richer, more enjoyable experience, as we continue to strive to provide world-class service at the lowest fares.” ~ Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes
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MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Destination: GOOD The AirAsia Foundation team talks shop about the people they meet and the ideas they come across as they travel the Asean region on their unique mission: to meet social entrepreneurs and explore ways to support their growth. airasiafoundation.com
01 18 Ly Lao Lo, CEO of Sapanapro (left) receives a social enterprise plaque from Yap Mun Ching, Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation.
What a fruitful year 2017 was for us! With nary a break, we’re brimming with ideas to march on into the New Year. Soon, you will see us venture into innovative F&B, healthcare, aquaculture and craft preservation solutions with new social enterprise grant recipients. From earlier projects, we will be continuing our partnership with the silversmiths of Kotagede in Indonesia, and the Dao herbalists of Vietnam, to create products and services to enhance your travel experience. In October, we premiered the Destination: GOOD Short Film @airasiafoundation
series (available on ROKKI Wi-Fi inﬂight entertainment) featuring stories that touch and inspire. Watch what happened when we invited Selaka Kotagede silversmiths from Yogyakarta to Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to share their community-led approach to conservation. You can look forward to more of these live talks with tips and insights from Asean social entrepreneurs. Have you shopped at our Destination: GOOD [email protected] klia2? We’re looking to expand to more airports. You can also look forward to the launch of our sustainable travel portal, which will offer a range of responsible travel choices. Finally, a special milestone for us last year was when AirAsia became Asia’s ﬁrst airline to take a stand against human trafficking. We started with an August roadshow by cabin crew from US-based Airline Ambassadors International, followed by the rollout of awareness training for the airline’s frontline staff with expertise from AirAsia Foundation Chairperson, Atty. Katrina Legarda from Philippines. Soon, you will see information (hotlines and helplines) on board that can help save lives. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead – if you have a great idea to share, reach us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!
What’s ‘Destination: GOOD’? A movement to encourage people to shop and travel sustainably Oyster pickers, Banda Aceh
AirAsia Foundation is an ASEAN accredited civil society organisation
Contact Us! Yap Mun Ching, Executive Director of AirAsia Foundation, is always on the lookout for exciting new social enterprises. Write in to [email protected] airasia.com
Soul in Your Belly For the worker bees who want fresh food but are too busy to prepare it, Manila’s social enterprise Soul Belly offers two options for a wholesome Filipino meal: invite them to set up a daily lunch delivery service at your office; or visit their selected in-office kiosks to purchase pre-packed meals. Run by underprivileged mothers, the social enterprise already serves students of Mano Amiga Academy, a school that provides quality education to children from low-income families, and employs their parents to cook healthy school meals. With our grant, Soul Belly will be expanding its office lunch operations to ﬁve new locations in the CBD. Proceeds from the business fund scholarships for students-in-need.
It has been ﬁve years since AirAsia Foundation began awarding grants to social enterprises. The latest member of our social enterprise family is Natural Aceh – an organisation based in Banda Aceh, Indonesia – which incubates livelihood programmes in coastal areas affected by natural disasters. Those who recall the devastation of the 2004 tsunami would know that Banda Aceh’s ﬁshing communities barely survived. The project site, once home to 6,000 residents, was left with just over a thousand. Many still live with the long-term impact of the disaster. Our grant to Natural Aceh enables women oyster pickers in one of the worst hit villages to develop their own oyster farm, while the mangrove forest that they once relied upon for their livelihood regenerates. This venture brings us full circle to where the seeds of AirAsia Foundation were ﬁrst sown. Aceh was, in fact, the ﬁrst disaster relief mission that AirAsia participated in, in the early days following the disaster. Two years later, on the recommendation of the United Nations, we began exploring direct ﬂights between Kuala Lumpur and Aceh to support the rebuilding process. It is now a decade since AirAsia commenced ﬂights between Kuala Lumpur and Aceh, and our connection has become even stronger with this new link to a resilient city that has shown the world that it is possible to pick up the pieces and rebuild.
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SPOTLIGHT Overﬂowing Abundance
Thai Pongal (Jan 14) is celebrated over four days in Tamil Nadu. On the second day of festivities, which honours the sun god Surya, newly harvested rice is boiled with milk in earthenware pots until it overﬂows, which symbolises hope for an abundant harvest in the coming year.
Magh Bihu (Jan 15) in Assam is centred around merrymaking, hence it’s also known as Bhogali Bihu (Festival of Enjoyment). During this festival, revellers congregate around bonﬁres, and throw rice cakes and betel nuts into the ﬂames to give thanks for a good harvest.
Memoirs of a Mogul
1. A Bihu dance performance, Assam, India 2. Rice is cooked with milk in earthenware pot during Pongal
Transforming a debt-ridden airline with only two planes into an award-winning brand with over 200 aircraft in its ﬂeet is an amazing feat. In his memoir, Flying High, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes traces his journey to the top with vignettes of his childhood in Malaysia and insights into the challenges and triumphs of running the world's best low-cost carrier. The personal tone of this inspiring book offers readers a glimpse of the man behind the airline, and captures Tony's everencouraging mantras – Believe the Unbelievable, Dream the Impossible, and Never Take No for an Answer – that have driven his success. Get your copy on board or pre-book one online for just MYR80 (approx. USD19) at
Images: Getty, 123RF, Nihon Sumo Kyokai
Lohri (Jan 13) is celebrated in Punjab with singing and dancing around bonﬁres. Fire is considered a symbol of transformation and regeneration, hence its importance in this harvest festival.
Makar Sankranti (Jan 14), celebrated across many states in India, marks the beginning of Uttarayana, when the sun enters the Indian zodiac sign of Makara. Traditions include kite-ﬂying, which encourages people to go outdoors and enjoy the winter sunshine, and eating sesame sweets, as sesame seeds have warming properties.
In India, and across the Indian diaspora worldwide, the harvest is celebrated with age-old rituals and traditions.
WORDS: ARI VANUARANU
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In Indian astrology, the constellation of Capricorn is known as Makara. And just as Capricorn is symbolised by a sea-goat (half goat, half ﬁsh), Makara is depicted as a half terrestrial-half aquatic creature.
Hasslefree Travel Avoid the stress of peak season holiday travel with these simple tips.
Be an Early Bird Gates close 20 minutes before scheduled departure time, so it’s imperative that you arrive early at the airport early and make your way to your gate without delay as customs and security queues can be quite long.
Winning Mall Plaza Merdeka Shopping Centre in Kuching, Malaysia, recently placed 25th amongst 2,010 nominations in the Top 50 Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards held at Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC), Kuala Lumpur, last November.
“We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award in our ﬁrst year of participation”, said Cheah Kheng Mun, General Manager of Plaza Merdeka. With the recent win, the mall management is set to strive for a better year, and is committed towards the continuous growth of the mall. plazamerdeka.com
Follow the Weight Limit Ensure that your carry-on luggage doesn’t exceed 56cm(L) x 36cm(W) x 23cm(H) in size or exceed a maximum weight of 7kg. You wouldn't want to have to discard precious personal items to be allowed on board.
Beat the Queue Make use of self/online check-in services, and print your boarding pass and bag tag at home. A few clicks of the mouse or taps on the mobile phone can help you keep clear of airport crowds.
Vibrant Hub Country Garden Paciﬁcview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), the master developer of the Forest City project located in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor state, recently unveiled Forest City Golf Resort, a resort development comprising of golf
courses, residential units, and a hotel. The 305-room ﬁve-star hotel is expected to be completed by the ﬁrst half of 2018, followed by the ﬁrst golf course later in the year. The landed properties are scheduled to be ready by October 2019. countrygarden.com.my
Pre-book & Save Pre-book your meals, pick a seat, upgrade your baggage allowance and purchase travel insurance ahead of time via ‘Manage My Booking’ at airasia.com to save on time and enjoy greater discounts.
Fun in the Sun Renowned as the theme park capital of Australia, Gold Coast in Queensland offers exciting and exhilarating experiences for all ages.
REEL LIFE Not only does Warner Bros. Movie World boast thrilling movie-themed rides like the dizzying Green Lantern Coaster, and the Superman Escape that accelerates from zero to 100km/ hour in two seconds, it also offers action-packed shows featuring Batman and fab selﬁe ops with famous movie characters like Wonder Woman and Tweety and Sylvester from Looney Tunes.
UNDERWATER ENCHANTMENT With its marine mammal park and oceanarium, Sea World aims to create awareness on the planet’s precious marine environment. Aside from residents like dolphins, seals, penguins, sharks and turtles, the park also houses the world’s largest land carnivore at Polar Bear Shores. There are also rides like Jet
Rescue and Storm Coaster – fun for the whole family! seaworld.com.au
1. A thrilling ride at Sea World. 2. The Tornado, Wet'n'Wild 3. WhiteWater World 4. A koala with its handler, Dreamworld 5. Guests posing with characters from Justice League, Warner Bros. Movie World.
OUTBACK EXPERIENCE At Paradise Country, experience authentic Australian bush culture with a host of activities that include superb horsemanship displays by stockmen and women, koala cuddling, kangaroo feeding, boomerang throwing, sheep shearing, gold and opal mining, as well as a traditional Billy Tea and damper as you kick back around a campﬁre! paradisecountry.com.au
SWEET DREAMS At Dreamworld, Australia’s largest theme park, enjoy an adrenaline high with rides like the Giant Drop and Hot Wheels SideWinder, or chuckle through rides like the Ogre-GoRound or Puss in Boots Sword Swing, specially designed for 4
little ones. Home to more than 500 animals, Dreamworld is one of Queensland’s largest native wildlife parks, and a major player in wildlife conservation. The park also offers a variety of interactive activities aimed at celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. dreamworld.com.au SOAK UP THE FUN Rides at WhiteWater World feature ground-breaking technology for some serious aquatic fun. Budding surfers can ride the swells at the Cave of Waves, while kids splash about with interactive sprays at Wiggle Bay, and adrenaline junkies slide down The Green Room – a massive 20m high funnel. The water temperature is set to approximately 26 degrees Celsius across all slides and pools, ensuring visitors year-round comfort! dreamworld.com.au MAKE A SPLASH Home to some of the most extreme slides in Australia, a full day of fun is guaranteed at Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast. Thrill seekers can have a fabulous time at the Extreme H20 Zone, with rides like the Blackhole that takes you through a pitch black spiral of darkness, or the Slidewinders, where you twist and turn down 200m-long slides. Young visitors will feel right at home with Wet’n’Wild Junior’s kid-friendly slides, while those looking for gentler rides can head to Calypso Beach for a lazy drift through sub-tropical gardens. wetnwild.com.au
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Don‘t miss these sizzling events taking place around the world in the month of January. 1. Amy Shark 2. Belinda Davids
Laneway Festival Singapore January 27 Returning to Singapore for the eighth year running, the popular Laneway Festival stages at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay. Festivalgoers can look forward to the best of new and established musical acts like Mac DeMarco, Amy Shark and Wolf Alice. singapore.lanewayfestival.com
The Greatest Love of All – The Whitney Houston Show January 11 The critically
acclaimed concert honouring the late legendary superstar Whitney Houston takes place at Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne. Expect to be blown away by the breathtaking vocals of South African songstress Belinda Davids, as she performs Houston's greatest hits accompanied by a six-piece band and dancers. ticketek.com.au 1
WORDS: ARI VANUARANU
January 15-21 Enjoy the
vibrant Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo as locals honour Santo Nino (Baby Jesus). The festival also celebrates the friendship between the Maraynon and Ati peoples, with merrymakers rejoicing and dancing in the streets to the rhythmic beat of drums. kaliboaklan.gov.ph
India/ Malaysia/ Singapore
Thaipusam January 31 This festival celebrates
the triumph of good over evil when Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of victory, vanquished the demon Surapadman. In Malaysia, where Thaipusam is celebrated on a grand scale, devotees carry kavadi (burdens) up Batu Caves – a Hindu cave temple north of the Kuala Lumpur city centre – to seek blessings and fulﬁl vows to Lord Murugan.
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Images: 123RF, Shervin Lainez
One of the bestselling female recording artistes of all time, Whitney Houston released her debut album at the age of 22 and earned her ﬁrst Grammy in 1986, at the age of 23.
Zhang Di & Chen Jin Pei Prosperous Chinese New Year Show January 13 Two of Taiwan’s most
popular veteran artistes, Zhang Di and Chen Jin Pei, are set to charm fans with nostalgic melodies at Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands. Get ready for a memorable evening as the evergreen duo warms your heart with their classic act.
Imagine Dragons Live in Thailand
January 11 The 2014 Grammy
Award winners for Best Rock Performance are in Bangkok
to wow fans with their highly anticipated concert at Oasis Outdoor Arena. The event is part of the Imagine Dragons Evolve World Tour, following the band’s third hit album Evolve.
Chan Pou Chu Live in Genting 2018 January 20 Also gracing Arena of
Australia Day January 26 Australia Day commemorates the establishment of the country's ﬁrst European settlement with the arrival of the British First Fleet at Port Jackson in 1788. Wide-scale celebrations around the country include concerts, ﬁreworks, and luncheons, promising great family fun. australiaday.org.au
Stars, Genting Highlands is singeractor Chan Pou Chu, one of Hong Kong’s most beloved 60s teen idols. Join her on a trip down memory lane with special guests Dexter Young and Alice Fung So Bar.
Fleet Foxes in KL January 16 Fleet Foxes brings its unique brand of folk rock to KL Live.
The group’s debut performance in Kuala Lumpur, featuring local favourite the Impatient Sisters as the supporting act, promises hit numbers including tunes from their latest album Crack-Up. ticketpro.com.my
Be our fan on facebook, follow us on twitter and purchase your tickets for the abovementioned events at AirAsiaRedTix.com
PASSPORT TO ASEAN
Calling (Air)Port Traditionally, airports are named after a national ﬁgure, historical event or even their location. Let’s take a look at the interesting origins behind the names of some of Asean's biggest airports.
Pride of Asia Here are some fascinating facts about Asean airports.
Grand Old Don
Singapore A tree called chengai or chengal (Hopea sangal) in Malay is believed to be the source of Changi’s name. Sadly, the tree is now listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Thailand Bangkok’s Don Mueang means ‘the upland where the town is located’, referring to the district where the airport is situated. The city’s other airport, Suvarnabhumi, refers to the legendary ‘Golden Land’ mentioned in numerous Buddhist texts.
WORDS: ARI VANUARANU
Philippines Many airports in the Philippines are named after prominent personalities. Manila International Airport
was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in 1987 in honour of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. – a prominent politician and leading opponent of the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos (1965 to 1986). Indonesia Airports in Indonesia are often named after the country’s leaders and national heroes. For example, SoekarnoHatta International Airport in Jakarta combines the names of the republic’s ﬁrst president and vice president. Vietnam The names of Vietnamese airports frequently indicate their location. The airport that serves Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, is called Tan Son Nhat, as the airport was built near the village of Tan Son Nhat. Malaysia Many Malaysian airports are named after the cities they serve. Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the country’s main and largest airport, is named after the capital city, despite being more than 50km from it and located in a completely different state!!
1. Changi Airport, Singapore 2. klia2, Malaysia 3. What Lies Beneath by Tetriana Ahmed Fauzi
Sky-high Standard Singapore’s Changi Airport emerged World's Best Airport for the ﬁfth consecutive year at the prestigious 2017 World Airport Awards.
Aerodromes Aplenty According to the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) The World Factbook, Indonesia has the highest number of airstrips in Asia, with more than 670 airports and airﬁelds recognisable from the air.
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Established as Thailand’s ﬁrst airﬁeld in 1914, Don Mueang International Airport is the oldest operating airport in Asia. The airport code BKK originally represented Don Mueang, before it was transferred to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Myanmar celebrates 70 years of independence on January 4, commemorating the end of 60 years of colonial rule. If you plan to be in Myanmar during this time, join the national day celebrations as locals and visitors take to the streets to enjoy parades, fairs and other festive events. Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw is the centre of the Independence Day revelry, with highlights that include the presidential address and impressive military demonstrations.
Gummy Situation Is chewing gum illegal in Singapore? There is a ban on selling and importing chewing gum into the country, but you may chew gum as there is no restriction on this favourite pastime of many. In fact, therapeutic chewing gum, such as dental and nicotine gums, are available at local pharmacies. Just be sure to dispose of your gummy treat in the proper manner, or you may be ﬁned for littering!
In the Name of Love
The inaugural KL Biennale carries the theme Alami Belas (Be Loved), which recognises, embraces and echoes ﬁve types of love – love for nature, heritage, humanity, animals and legendary icons.
Locked & Lovely Surrounded by Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Laos is the only Asean country that is landlocked. However, the lack of a seaworthy route has not stopped Laos from having a navy, as the Lao People's Navy manages vessels on the Mekong river. And with no
coastline, the country makes up for a lack of idyllic beaches with myriad beautiful lakes, rivers and waterfalls. One of the most famous waterfalls in the country is Tat Kuang Si, a gorgeous three-tiered 60m-high waterfall located south of Luang Prabang.
Blooming Art Scene
The biennale, which refers to a large-scale art exhibition that happens biennially, gained fame with the ﬁrst Venice Biennale in 1895. It is now fast becoming a part of Asean’s surging art scene as well, as proven by the established continuity of the Singapore, Jakarta and Yogyakarta (Jogja) Biennale shows. The event reached Malaysian shores with the Kuala Lumpur Biennale opening on November 1, 2017. Hosted by the National Art Gallery, KL Biennale features a specially curated, multi-disciplinary exhibition consisting of some 119 modern and contemporary creations by local, as well as international artists, and is currently being held across multiple venues in Kuala Lumpur until March 31, 2018. The next highlight in the Biennale series is the debut showing of Bangkok Biennale, set to take place between November, 2018, and February, 2019. artgallery.gov.my
ALLSTAR TAKE “My favourite part of KL Biennale is Field Trip Project Asia, where artists from various countries express their creativity on Japanese elementary school backpacks, originally distributed as disaster relief supplies for the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. I love the fact that the audience can interact with some of the pieces on display.” ~ Dilla Kamarudin, Graphic Designer, Malaysia
Guilt-Free Pleasure Eating healthy does not always have to be a chore. Find out how you can enjoy some of your favourite treats by simply swapping an ingredient or two.
Just because you over-indulged during the holidays does not mean that you have to implement austere dietary measures in the new year. Unless you’re a wellness guru or ﬁtness freak, most of us mere mortals ﬁnd it challenging to stick to a regimented diet. So, instead of making a resolution to sacriﬁce your favourite foods in order to redeem yourself after your holiday binge (which rarely works anyway), why not try swapping decadent treats for healthier yet tasty alternatives? This way, you’ll be able to satisfy your cravings, minus the guilt.
WORDS: CHITRA SANTHINATHAN
Here are four ingenious swaps that are delish and good for you.
SWAP #3 Butter for mashed avocado I love few things more than warm toast spread with cold butter. Recently, however, my go-to spread has been mashed avocado, which has a buttery texture but only half the calories of butter. High in heart healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, the fruit contains 160 calories per 100g, unlike the same serving of butter, which has 717 calories. Mashed avocado is also a great substitute for mayonnaise, and half an avocado is equivalent to one portion of your ﬁve-a-day!
SWAP #1 Spaghetti for zoodles If you have a spiralizer (a kitchen tool that turns veggies into noodle-like strands), top and tail a zucchini and spiralise it for perfect zucchini noodles or zoodles. Cook the zoodles in salted boiling water for three to ﬁve minutes, and serve them with your
favourite pasta sauce. If you really want to be healthy, simply toss the zoodles with sautéed veggies and olive oil. Another spaghetti alternative is squash. Halve a squash, remove its seeds, and bake until tender (about 45 minutes). Once cooked, fork its deseeded ﬂesh for instant squash spaghetti. SWAP #2 Cheddar cheese for feta High in protein, phosphorus and calcium, cheese is a great addition to any diet, unless, of course, you’re lactose intolerant. Flavourrich cheddar is among the popular cheeses available to consumers today. However, it’s also high in calories (402 calories per 100g). A 2
Nice cream is a dairy-free ice-cream substitute made by blending frozen bananas with your ﬂavourings of choice. TRY Blend two medium sized frozen bananas until creamy (a couple of minutes), and combine with a tablespoon of cocoa powder or a sprinkling of cacao nibs, and a drizzle of honey. Freeze the mixture for about 10 minutes, and it’s ready to serve! Image:
SWAP #4 Chocolate cake for chocolate covered fruit Instead of banishing chocolatey delights, why not incorporate some chocolatey goodness into your diet? Dark chocolate is a nutritional powerhouse, high in essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. However, a 100g bar of dark chocolate made from 70 to 85 per cent cocoa can contain some 600 calories – so indulge with care. For a decadent but healthy dessert, melt a cup of dark chocolate and dip fresh fruit – whole strawberries, sliced apples and bananas – into the mixture, and enjoy!
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Source: campbells.com; healthline.com; ndb.nal.usda.gov; news.com.au; popsugar.com Images: 123RF, Adventure Japan Malaysia
low-cal substitute with similar nutritional beneﬁts is feta (264 calories per 100g). Made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep and goat’s milk, Greek feta is a type of soft brined cheese, and can be added to omelettes in place of shredded cheddar.
A 2012 study found that dieters who ate a carb- and proteinrich breakfast, which also included a sweet (pastry or slice of cake), registered more weight loss, felt full longer and experienced fewer cravings than their less indulgent peers.
Eat, Drink, Yamanashi
1. Omelette with feta and avocado 2. Zoodles 3. Chocolate-covered strawberries 4. Sake 5. Strawberry-picking 6. Chia seed pudding
Situated southwest of Tokyo, Yamanashi Prefecture is renowned for its fruit orchards and vast vineyards that produce exquisite wines made predominantly from the Koshu grape – a variety native to Japan. Visitors to the area’s many wineries can sample wine and food pairings that make the most of locally-sourced and seasonal ingredients. Among popular treats here are Yoshida’s udon, a soy sauce- and miso-based soup that features udon (thick wheat ﬂour noodles) made from spring water and tsuki no shizuku – sugar-coated Koshu grapes. yamanashi-kankou.jp
Did You Know?
Easy, Peasy Breakfasts
You won’t need to skip the most important meal of the day with these breakfast hacks. Smoothie packs Save time by prepping ingredients (fruits and veggies) for your morning smoothies ahead of time, and refrigerate them in freezer bags. On busy mornings, simply empty your smoothie pack into the blender, add yoghurt or milk, whizz, and you’re good to go! Big breakfast If you crave ranch style eggs (combo of tomatoes, beans and runny eggs), make a cheat’s version:
Heat store-bought salsa in a saucepan, make a couple of dents in the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon, and gently slide a couple of cracked eggs into them. Cook until eggs are done to your liking and serve. Chia power For another easy breakfast to fuel your day, combine two cups of yoghurt, one and a half tablespoons of chia seeds and a drizzle of honey in a container. Cover and refrigerate overnight (for at least 12 hours) and enjoy chia pudding with your favourite toppings the next morning.
In 1897, Dr John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company, invented condensed soup. In the US, where January is observed as National Soup Month, the most popular Campbell’s soup ﬂavours are Tomato, Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Noodle.
Scallop Congee with Youtiao Flavourful dried scallops add a touch of luxe to this Cantonese-style congee (rice porridge). The dish is served with minced chicken, mushrooms, braised peanuts, scallions and sweet scallops tempered by the tang of preserved vegetables, with crisp youtiao (Chinese fried dough sticks). adding crunch for the perfect balance of ﬂavours and textures. Pre-book this meal online (for AirAsia Malaysia ﬂights above 75 minutes).
Assorted Sandwiches AirAsia’s inﬂight menu Santan now includes Assorted Sandwiches, a selection of four chicken sandwiches that is sure to please even the fussiest eaters. The range features chicken apple mayo – roast chicken, diced apples and celery on white bread; chicken ﬂoss on charcoal bread; smoked chicken and cheese on toasted multigrain bread; and hickory-smoked BBQ chicken on wholemeal bread. Available onboard AirAsia Malaysia ﬂights and as a pre-book option for AirAsia Malaysia ﬂights under 75 minutes. airasia.com
COVER TO COVER
Fresh Starts Whether you’re embarking on a journey of change by design, or just rolling with the tides – there’s a book to help you on your way.
Remembering the Holocaust Jan 27 is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Here is some recommended reading, lest we forget.
Prince by Li Cunxin, illustrated by Anne Spudvilas. It’s a wonderful book that illustrates Li’s true life story, starting with him as a small boy from a poor Chinese village. Based on his memoir, Mao’s Last Dancer, it traces his journey as he follows his dreams to become a world-renowned dancer – one of the world’s best. If poetry moves you more than prose, check out Sometimes Gladness by Australian poet Bruce Dawe. His poetry seems to revolve around the transitions ordinary people face, all part of the cycle of life, and they’re written with beautiful heart. Plus, Dawe has a knack for taking on different voices and outlooks quite effortlessly, which widens the book’s appeal and atmospheric content. Finally, always popular on YA lit shelves: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. When I ﬁrst read it, I thought it was just another retelling of a popular fairytale (albeit a very well-written
The Diary of Anne Frank – the diary, kept by 13-year-old Anne while hiding from the Nazis for two years, needs no introduction. What it does need is constant re-reading, so that we never forget what hatred can do, and why it needs to be fought. Harvest of Hate by Leon Poliakov is a deﬁnitive introduction for anyone looking to study the Holocaust. And Peter Hoffman’s German Resistance to Hitler tells of Germans who stood against his tyranny. This is an account of both civilian and military resisters, and proves a hopeful read!
ALLSTAR TAKE "Never discount works of ﬁction and fantasy as catalysts for change in the real world. The protagonist’s journey, trials and tribulations often impart valuable life lessons to the reader." ~ Victor William, Head of Inﬂight Entertainment, Malaysia
realise that the series, followed by sequels A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin, has a lot more to it (and is much more empowering) than fairytale romance. One of the most important themes in the series is that of seeking identity and self after a terrible trauma, and beginning anew, or better. Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that 2018’s new beginnings are kind.
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WORDS: LYRA DEANNA
As 2018 dawns – hopefully bright and full of hope – odds are that it has brought some sort of change with it. It doesn’t matter if that’s a new life quest you’re suddenly feeling the spark for, the start of a new school year or job, or the desire to reinvent some or all of your life; or if changes are just coming your way, and there are just things you need to deal with or prepare for. If you’re a book-lover, you know exactly what’s going to help ease you through a transition. So, the most obvious book choice if you want to make a change, is a self-help book. Brian Tracy’s Reinvention: How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life is the motivational speaker and writer’s latest book, and it takes a big picture approach to life, which I think is more valuable than daily action plans. It’s also meant to open your mind to new ideas and possibilities. If you’d like to inspire a child to face challenges, or you’re just a kid at heart, pick up The Peasant
one). Enjoyable, but not earthshattering. Until the book about hunter Feyre – who struggles to survive the price she must pay for killing a faerie, being held captive by a mysterious, magical beast – reaches its end. There’s a pretty shocking twist in the tale, and that’s when you
Established in 1732, the Bertrand Chiado in Portugal is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the oldest operating bookstore in the world.
A Column of Fire Ken Follett In 1558, Protestants and Catholics in England look set to tear the country apart, and young lovers Ned Willard and Margery Fitzgerald ﬁnd themselves on opposing sides of the conﬂict. Ned goes to work for Queen Elizabeth, who sets up the country’s ﬁrst secret service – a line of defence against tyrants and extremists.
West Coast Gold Rush, Reimagined
Forget the Femvertising
A World of Three Zeros Muhammad Yunus This new book from the Nobel laureate offers a vision of an emerging new economic system that could potentially save the world. Muhammad Yunus has done incredible work in alleviating poverty; his reimagined capitalism is based on social enterprises designed to fulﬁll human needs rather than greed.
The School for Good and Evil:Quests for Glory Soman Chainani The fourth book in the best-selling series sees the students begin The Camelot Years in the Endless Woods. Agatha and Tedros try to return Camelot to its former glory, while Dean Sophie attempts to mould Evil in her own image – and Good and Evil will have to work together to survive.
Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir Amy Tan The best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club shares the real-life truths that lie under her ﬁction. She takes readers on an intimate ride, through the mysteries of her traumatic childhood and relationshipss with family. Tan links meaning and memory to her ﬁction, and reveals how her past has shaped her writing.
The Bloodprint Ausma Zehanat Khan The One-Eyed Preacher leads a terrifying movement called Talisman, which suppresses knowledge, oppresses women and craves world domination. Those who oppose him include powerful women like the sword- and magic-wielding Arian and Sinna. They’ve discovered the power of the Bloodprint, which may be able to destroy the Talisman’s evil – they just have to get it.
If you enjoyed Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, you might want to book a ﬂight to New Zealand. Catton set her book in the small town of Hokitika, and is very generous with the sweeping descriptions of incredible beauty you’ll ﬁnd in the area. Set in 1866, The Luminaries follows prospector Walter Moody, who goes to Hokitika in search of gold – but instead, stumbles into a tense meeting among locals, and is drawn into a strange mystery. Catton, a Kiwi herself, was drawn to the 1860s West Coast Gold Rush on a trip she took with her father when she was 14, when they travelled from Christchurch to the West Coast via Arthur’s Pass, and a story started growing in her head. Years later, she actually wrote much of her book in Hokitika.
01 18 With her new book Blind Spots: How to Uncover and Attract the Fastest Emerging Economy, author Bec Brideson is looking to help readers tap into the lucrative female economy, and that means doing away with “tokenistic ‘femvertising’ and homogenous thinking.” “Men built the business environment, while women stayed in the home, so business is set to a default male perspective. Course correction is needed – not to destroy the foundations men laid down, but to better reﬂect today’s society. “What drives me is the female opportunity waiting to be uncovered and leveraged. The ability to increase business success and better connect to customers and brands; answer the unmet needs of busy modern women and engage new generations that don't see life through the traditional lens of old-world order businesses. This is gender intelligence.”
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” ~ Seth Godin, author and marketing guru.
Make it Personal With consumers today being bombarded by advertisements, inﬂuencer marketing is key to a standout brand.
million new social media users in Southeast Asia in 2016 – a 31 per cent growth from the previous year – makes Asean among the fastest-growing regions in the world for social media usage.
As social media platforms multiply, it has become increasingly challenging for brands, particularly small businesses with scant marketing dollars, to rely on search engine optimisation or online ads as goto promotional options. Renowned global marketing research ﬁrm, The Nielsen Company has found that consumers prefer personal recommendations to ads. Since human input is crucial, innovative marketing strategies that include utilising key opinion leaders (KOLs) will win the day. Rihanna’s collaboration with sportswear brand Puma proved that stardom boosts sales. Following the pop star’s appointment as Puma’s global ambassador in 2014, the brand last year reported a third-quarter sales hike of 23 per cent in Europe, Middle East and Africa; 16
per cent in the Americas; and 10 per cent in Asia-Paciﬁc. Now, small businesses can get in on the game as well, without spending a fortune on celebrity endorsements. With myriad social media platforms available, KOLs also include fashion bloggers on Instagram and food reviewers on YouTube. One of the latest online stars is Hong Kong’s Ms Yeah. Trending on Facebook and YouTube, she is famous for whipping up meals using office equipment. PandAuto electric car rental service worked in brand placements in the Office Chef’s videos. When Ms Yeah was recently invited to the office of Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, to cook a hot pot dish, her Facebook video of the session garnered almost one million views, and was shared over 3,100 times! This is what inﬂuencer marketing is about.
KOL Power A study by US-based Collective Bias, which specialises in inﬂuencergenerated content marketing, showed that marketing dollars spent on social media KOLs (USD570 million on Instagram alone in 2016), are paying off for brands, with inﬂuencer marketing for promotions or coupons seeing redemption rates jump three-fold!
WORDS: STEPHANIE AUGUSTIN
Chatbot vs Customer Service
According to IBM, Artiﬁcial Intelligence (AI) technology will grow to an estimated 85 per cent usage by 2020. Chatbots – computer programmes that simulate human conversation – are able to detect distress and resolve problems quicker, leading to lower customer abandonment rates. However, pairing AI data insights with human personalised services is important to enhance customer experience.
While monetary bodies globally are embracing digitalisation, edging towards the era of a cashless society, many micro businesses are left lagging behind. Digital wallets like Paytm in India, and Alipay in China, now target street vendors. Backed by the strong cohort of Chinese tourists, the ubiquitous Alipay plans to partner one million offline merchants worldwide by 2019. Paytm’s Payments Bank meanwhile brings mobile banking to the masses who lack access to formal banking services.
Pushcart Fame The Malaysian Project, a fourman set-up in New York, pays tribute to a Malaysian fave – Ramly Burger. The operation’s Instagram feed ﬁrst drew students and expats hankering for a taste of home, proving just how effective good marketing is in growing a business. Soon, Ramly Burger US was attracting long queues at its Queens Night Market stand; being featured in The New York Times; and participating in competitions like the Vendy Awards and Brunch Con New York.
With January being the American Thyroid Association’s Thyroid Awareness Month, start 2018 right by ‘getting to know’ this tiny but important gland.
A little awareness on prostate health goes a long way, especially for men aged 40 and above.
million is the approximate number of times that human ﬁngers stretch and bend over a normal life span of 70 to 80 years.
The Avocado Way 01 18
Although more common than diabetes or heart disease, thyroid problems often go undetected. Shaped like a small butterﬂy and usually weighing less than an ounce, the thyroid gland is located at the bottom of your neck, and produces hormones that control virtually every cell, tissue and organ in the body! In effect, the thyroid is crucial to the proper functioning of the body’s vital organs such as the heart, liver, brain, kidneys and skin. The two main thyroid problems are: hypothyroidism, whereby the thyroid fails to produce sufficient hormones; and hyperthyroidism, where the gland becomes overactive, and too much thyroid hormones are produced. While symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, unusual weight gain, hair loss and decreased
libido, hyperthyroidism is often evidenced by, among other signs, heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat, unusual weight loss and trembling hands. There can be various causes for thyroid malfunction like genetics, stress, malnutrition, environmental toxins or even an autoimmune attack. As the thyroid inﬂuences many parts of the body and symptoms of thyroid disease are similar to other illnesses, several checks may be required before a problem can be diagnosed. A simple thyroid selfexamination: tip your head back and while looking in the mirror, drink some water. As you swallow, watch for any unusual bulge or protrusion just above your collarbone, where your thyroid is. A visit to the doctor for a blood test will provide more accurate results.
Love it or hate it – there's no denying that avocados are one of the top superfoods! Containing healthy fats that are natural, heartfriendly mood-boosters, avocados are also rich in phytochemicals, believed to protect against cancer. The tasty fruit is a great source of ﬁbre as well, and helps improve digestive health, while promoting radiant skin and boost hair growth. Now, what’s there not to love about the avocado?
WORDS: JUSTINE MEI-ERN
Music in Colour
Psychology experts have studied the effects of music on human emotions, which in turn can be associated with different colours. The US study found that a cheery portion of a concerto by Bach resulted in listeners choosing colours that ranged from ﬂuorescent yellow to hot pink, while a deeper and more sorrowful part in the same concerto generated darker and grayer colours. The results indicate that our response to external stimuli, including often subtle inﬂuences like colour and music, are emotion-based.
The prostate – the walnutsized gland located between the penis and bladder – helps create semen by releasing the white ﬂuid that mixes with sperm produced by the testicles. Prostate cancer typically progresses very slowly, and some patients live for decades without showing any symptoms; men often notice something amiss only when an enlarged prostate affects urination. Symptoms such as an increased need to urinate, difficulty while urinating and feeling like your bladder has not fully emptied should not be ignored. Prostate cancer can be detected early through a blood test called PSA (prostate-speciﬁc antigen), which can also reveal other existing problems like urinary tract infection and benign growth in the prostate. Alternatively, you can also get a DRE (digital rectal examination). Remember, early detection saves lives! AirAsia takes the #AirAsiaMAKNA campaign – its commitment towards creating cancer awareness and raising funds for underprivileged patients – to the next level. The ‘#AirAsiaMAKNA: Rebel with a Cause’ campaign this year celebrates inspiring cancer ﬁghters; turn to page 92 to read about the amazing journey of ﬁve Allstars who have bravely fought the disease. Brought to you by
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Note: Always consult a doctor before embarking on any alternative therapy or exercise regime. Source: thyroidawareness.com, consumerhealthdigest.com, abcnews.go.com, discovermagazine.com, draxe.com, makna.org.my Images: 123RF
“You need to be proactive and take responsibility for being the healthiest person you can be – no one else is going to do it for you.” ~ Dr Mehmet Oz, surgeon, author and TV personality
The number of yoga practitioners in the US as of spring 2017 totalled 28.9 million people. This ﬁgure is expected to rise to an estimated 55 million by 2020.
Yippee For Yoga Goat Yoga is set to be a ﬁtness trend for 2018, with retreats and camps being marketed worldwide.
The ancient discipline of yoga – a well-known health and relaxation practice – originating in India, also beneﬁts you physically. Yoga ﬁtness poses are great for toning muscles and increasing strength, while improving cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Now, Goat Yoga, which involves doing various forms of yoga outdoors alongside grazing, skipping, hopping goats, has clearly stamped its mark on the ﬁtness scene! The Bleating Beneﬁts Goat Yoga instructors say that the exercise helps create more feel good hormones, thereby lowering anxiety and curbing loneliness through the bond practitioners develop with their loveable four-legged ﬁtness companions. Making its way into the AnimalAssisted Therapy (AAT) segment in the health and ﬁtness industry,
Goat Yoga doesn’t claim to heal diseases or effect weight loss. What it does, however, is distract you from your stress and ailments, and relieve depression through the positive vibes of the practice. For animal lovers, not to worry, as no goats are harmed in the process. Should Goat Yoga tickle your fancy, inquire with organisers of the steps taken to ensure your safety and comfort. From Goats to Floats Also on the rise is Floating Yoga. This tricky routine involves either performing the asana (yoga posture) in water while balancing on a surfboard or other ﬂoating board; or while suspended ded in the air with contraptions ns like hammocks and swings.. Due to its complexity, Floating Yoga oga is best attempted by seasoned yogis.
WORDS: EFI EQBAL
Shun the Scales
Slimming down for the New Year? Take a cue from Kate Winslet. let. In September 2017, The Sun quoted the voluptuous actress as saying, “I don’t know how much I weigh. I haven’t weighed myself in 12 years…” – she was commenting on a scene from her new movie, The Mountain Between Us, where co-star Idris Elba had to drag her from a stream. Following her comment, ent, ﬁtness experts have been urging people to focus on improving g their ﬁtness and tone, instead of losing weight.
It’s a Grand Slam!
Feed the Burn
The Australian Open tennis tournament takes place in Melbourne from January 15 to 28. One of four Grand Slam tournaments (the others being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open), the Australian Open kicks off the Grand Slam season, attracting tennis fans from around the globe.
Athletes will soon need only blow into a tube to maximise their endurance training. A breathalyser technology has been developed by scientists from ETH Zurich and University Hospital of Zurich that provides indicators of when the body is most effective in burning fat – giving athletes near perfect measurements of what their bodies need at any particular training session.
Cryoth Cryotherapy is all the rage this Exercise causes lactic acid year. Ex build-up, build-u which contributes to muscle aches. Cryotherapy works by surrounding the body in surr cold (around -150 degrees super c Celsius) Celsius mist for one to three minutes, which among other minute things, decreases inﬂammation slows ageing and and pain, pa increases increas cellular survival. If you’re considering cryotherapy however, howeve be sure to check on its suitability with your doctor ﬁrst. suitabi
billion USD is the brand value of Nike in 2017, as calculated by Forbes, making it the most valuable sports business brand in the world last year.
Though hashtags started as a way to search for tweets with a common topic and start a conversation, (and for a time were used for amusement on social media), they have evolved to become a global icon.
Strange Beauty Trends pundit Ellyse Ng shares her views on the unusual beauty trends of 2017 and checks out rising stars and topics around the world.
No Cash Needed
A friend recommended that for this issue I write about tongue glitter – one of the very bizarre offerings of 2017. But why stop there? 2017 was the year where I fell in love with unicorn hair (pastel rainbow colours dyed on a silver hair base), declared my undying love for ombre nail polish, and rethought my life choices when ﬂoral eyeliner came into fashion – why didn’t I think of that earlier? However, every wonderful beauty trend in 2017 was also followed closely by the wonderfully weird. Whilst I can reluctantly accept glitter boobs and bottoms, I draw the line at tongue glitter – the trend that was started by accident by makeup artist Jacinta Vukovic and took on a life of its own on Instagram, prompting many to follow it. Whilst glitter may not kill you,
since it is ingested, it can cause stomach aches and problems with digestion. Of course, a list of bad beauty trends can never be complete without the mention of fuzzy nails, a new nail art technique where real hair is attached to cuticles. The equivalent to this would be crown brows, where sections of the eyebrow are pulled together by a sequin, or rather, a ‘crown’. Topping this list would be nose hair extensions, where one sticks fake eyelashes into the nostrils! I foresee 2018 to be a year that brings even more unusual beauty trends (underarm hair braids, anyone?), and whilst these bizarre beauty trends may be fun to discover and even try out, I would urge trend followers to ensure they do not jeopardise their health.
WORDS: ELLYSE NG
During President of the United States Donald Trump’s official tour of Asia recently, it was First Lady Melania Trump who stole the limelight with her alluring fashion sense. Melania Trump was the talk of the town(s) on a plethora of websites, and even outdid the usual frenzied fashion coverage on Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Could Mrs Trump be the next great style icon, following in the footsteps of Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Diana?
Facebook’s new function – the Crisis Response Hub with the Safety Check feature – enables users in areas struck by catastrophe to indicate online that they’re safe. It provides instant peace of mind at no charge, as the tool allows family and friends to sidestep frantic calls trying to get in touch with loved ones in a disaster site, and helps keen phone lines open for urgent communications.
1. Unicorn hair
Instagram’s new Stories ﬁlter Superzoom – dubbed the best creative tool since Boomerang – allows users to zoom into an image, to the accompaniment of dramatic horror ﬁlm-esque background music that heightens the (hilarious) effect. Not only do apps allow you to produce exceptional images, some allow you to create entertaining masterpieces too!
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Images: Getty, 123RF, Instagram, Facebook
Southeast Asia is rapidly becoming a cashless hub. The emergence of e-wallets – a secure place that contains one or more currency purses for online purchases – reduces the need to carry a wallet. In November 2017, ride-hailing company Uber teamed up with Vietnamese ﬁnancial tech ﬁrm MoMo to allow passengers to pay for rides using MoMo’s e-wallet. According to Reuters, this is Uber’s ﬁrst e-wallet partnership in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, China has been using e-wallets for the past few years, thanks to WeChat Pay and Alipay. Will the rest of Asia catch up?
Larger than Life With augmented reality, the sky’s the limit when it comes to user interaction between virtual realms and the real world, giving new meaning to the notion ‘bringing pixels to life’. 1. Lenovo and Disney recently launched Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, an AR gaming experience featuring Lenovo's Mirage AR headset. 2. With new AR apps on iOS 11, users can place virtual objects in real-world scenes.
WORDS: RIL RAHMAN
Augmented reality, or AR, is not a new concept. The AR journey spans over half a century, and in that time, its development has grown from strength to strength. Now, AR technology is an irrevocable part of our digital environment; wires no longer tether AR users, and the interactive experience is beyond compare. At ﬁrst, you might easily confuse AR with virtual reality (VR), but once you’ve experienced the two technologies, you’ll never mistake one for the other again. While VR ‘transports’ you into another realm (a virtual world, created by computers and algorithms ), AR surrounds the real world with computer-generated content, which users can interact with via a heads-up display (HUD) – a transparent display that features information and visual elements within the user’s direct viewpoint – and controllers. At the frontier of AR technology is none other than Apple. The brand’s latest iOS 11 features a built-in development kit called ARKit, which utilises
existing hardware of the iPhone and iPad that support the ARKit, to create new content – right on the screen! Several apps have already taken advantage of Apple’s ARKit. IKEA, for instance, uses AR to help its customers envision the interior décor of a room before purchasing any furniture. All you need to do is run the IKEA app, point it towards a room and populate it with virtual IKEA furniture, so you can be sure you will get exactly the look you want when you make your purchase! The Complete Anatomy 2018 app – produced by 3D4Medical, an award-winning tech company specialising in medical software platforms – is another great example of the ARKit’s beneﬁts. The app allows users, such as doctors and medical students, to virtually see inside the human anatomy by moving their smartphone or tablet in real 3D space, and even perform procedures like ‘dissecting’ tissue to examine the muscle underneath. Not to be outdone, Microsoft recently released its latest AR
Providing the platform for a meeting of the most innovative minds on the planet, EmTech Asia is an astounding showcase of emerging technologies set to change the world. The event promises an exclusive glimpse into the future, as it highlights technologies that will transform and drive new world economies. Venue: Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore Date: January 30-31 emtechasia.com
ALLSTAR TAKE "AR transforms the way we communicate, create and collaborate, and explore the world. By going beyond the screen, AR allows us to engage and interact with our digital content, bringing ideas to life." ~ Neeraj Bharwani, Executive, Web Operations, India
star – the HoloLens headset – an untethered holographic computer that enables users to engage with digital content and interact with holograms. With the use of external controls, users can manipulate the holographic 3D objects projected by the HoloLens in real time. Now available to consumers worldwide, this stand-alone product can also be used in combination with a desktop PC. Although fancy headsets are a popular AR icon, there are numerous other AR-related products in the market. In the automotive industry for example, HUDs are now a common feature for mid-to-high range vehicles, particularly European brands. BMW and Mercedes already offer HUD options, which display vital information on the windscreen to aid the driver. Currently, AR is catching up to VR in terms of adoption. AR is fast becoming the preferred tool for businesses to enhance content for the end-user, valueadd on their existing content, and engage customers. And as AR is also ﬂexible enough to be deployed on high-end and mid-tier devices, the larger-thanlife technology ensures greater adoption among consumers, guaranteeing its longevity.
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Images: Lenovo & Apple
Switzerland’s Digi Capital Corp – a digital entertainment private equity investments ﬁrm – estimates that by 2020, AR and VR market revenue will be USD120 billion and USD30 billion respectively.
PLANET OF THE APPS
Big Boy Toys Seems that the older you get, the better your toys are!
Tip of the Month Back up your Google Mail with these tips.
Xbox One X Microsoft’s latest controller is more powerful than ever, and is packed with new features. Thanks to the 8-core Custom AMD, 12GB GDDR5 of graphic memory and enhanced AI, gaming with the Xbox One X (especially in 4K High Dynamic Range mode) is an unforgettable experience. xbox.com
POP Support Enable POP email in your settings page, then link it to your favourite mail client on your desktop. This may take a while but once done, all your emails will be at your ﬁngertips, ready to be archived at your convenience. Gmail Backup All you need to do with this free application for Windows (code.google. com/p/gmail-backupcom/) is to insert your Gmail credentials and select a folder, and it does the rest for you. Download according to a set date range, or the latest emails only – it’s up to you. Just be sure there’s sufficient space on your hard drive. Google to the Rescue Simply archive your Gmail email (plus your contacts, labels and even trashed mail!) on google.com/settings/ takeout with a couple of slider buttons. In a short period of time (depending on the size of your mail box), Google will email you a link to download the archived material to your PC.
DJI Spark This compact drone – unlike its bulky, weighty counterparts – is full of cool features. The Spark is equipped with a stabilised camera for Full HD video recording, up to 16 minutes ﬂight time, and can be controlled by remote controller or smartphone. Or, just use hand gestures – it understands that too! dji.com
Google Pixel Buds When paired with Google’s Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL smartphone, the Pixel Buds becomes much more than just wireless earphones. You can control Google Assistant, hear notiﬁcations read out loud, and even experience real time translations with Google Translate. Welcome to Star Trek. store.google.com
Apple Watch Series 3 Apple's eye-catching Series 3 smartwatch provides great functionality. The device features myriad new technologies including a heart rate monitor, digital crown and touchscreen. And some models even offer LTE connectivity for both data and voice! apple.com
Use your smartphone to unleash your writing talent, for everything from stories and screenplays to theses and business proposals.
Novelist It’s all you need to write your novel – you can plan your plot, organise your thoughts and write the story, all with this one-stop app. From the ﬁrst word to the ﬁnal full stop, Novelist can help create your masterpiece. OS: Android Price: Free
iA Writer This simple plain text editor, designed to provide a focused writing experience, is ideal for business proposals, essays, white papers, poems, novels and screenplays. A great writing tool for professionals and novices alike, iA Writer helps integrate all your ideas into a single page. OS: iOS, Android Price: Free
JotterPad Not only does Jotterpad enable you to write without distractions, its clean interface also makes note-taking simple and easy. Perfect for writing books, novels, screenplays, poems, essays, drafts and lyrics, the app helps corral your notes and ideas in one place for easy reference. OS: Android Price: Free
Jaipur, India Home to the royals of India’s past, Jaipur still exudes majestic charm with its ancient forts, lavish palaces and rich culture. ALLSTAR
Inside Scoop Rishi Raj Jain, Guest Services Officer, AirAsia India, divulges the best spots for sightseeing, shopping and eating in the city he calls home.
WORDS: KERRY-ANN AUGUSTIN
The picturesque northwestern state of Rajasthan is known as the ‘Jewel in India’s Crown’, and its capital, Jaipur is no less a gem. Home to an estimated 3.6 million people, the city houses some of the country’s most exquisite architecture, two of which – Amber Fort and Jantar Mantar – are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Jaipur is well-known as the Pink City, a moniker earned in 1876 when its buildings were dressed
in ochre-pink paint to welcome and impress a notable visitor – the then Prince of Wales, Edward VII. Named after Jai Singh II, the Rajasthan ruler who founded the city in 1727, Jaipur is a feast for the senses, from its bustling markets to the remarkable palaces that fuse both Rajput and Mughal architectural inﬂuences. While the city with its stunning structures – the ﬁrst in India to be designed by famous architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya – mirrors the Rajput ruler's vision and wealth, its famed Jantar Mantar – a collection of 19 mind-blowing astronomical instruments – reveals the Maharaja’s interest in astronomy. Today, Jaipur is a must-visit destination for those seeking to discover Rajasthan’s royal roots, and savour decadent imperial cuisine served at the city’s many highly-rated restaurants. Jaipur is also a renowned shopping paradise that offers exquisite treats like precious stones, vibrant textiles and intricate crafts.
1. Amber Fort 2. Jantar Mantar 3. Local man playing ravanahatha in Jaleb Chowk, Amber Fort 4. Dal baati churma
“For anyone visiting Jaipur, watching the sunrise from the Amber Fort, with its tranquil ambience especially during winter, is a must. Other great sightseeing spots are the Moti Dungri Temple and Galta Gate. Jaipur is also every foodie’s dream! Look out for raawat ki kachori (spiced potato in deepfried pastry shell) and of course, the classic dal baati churma. To really see Jaipur, hail a rickshaw – it's deﬁnitely a faster way to get around in the crowded city. One of my favourite places is Maniharon ka Raasta, which is popular for its endless array of bangles. The place reminds me of my mother, and her bright, colourful bangles. If you are looking for traditional accessories and outﬁts, this is the place to head to.“
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The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, which takes place every January, is an international platform for writers, luminaries and thinkers to share ideas. Past speakers include Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Atwood.
Budget & Blowout Guide Treat yourself, or save your Indian Rupee? Our guide can help you decide.
Considered a paradise for gems, JOHARI BAZAR is the place to go for all things sparkly. Navigating its narrow lanes is well worth it as you'll uncover precious ﬁnds such as handcrafted jewellery, silverware and colourful textiles.
A stone’s throw from Jaipur’s ﬁnest landmarks like the City Palace and Jal Mahal, TRIMROOMS KING PALACE is a great base for sightseeing. Rooms are available from INR1,890 (approx. USD29) a night. Free Wi-Fi connectivity adds to the hotel’s appeal.
For over 70 years, LASIWALLA restaurant on MI Road has been serving up what is considered Jaipur’s quintessential breakfast – lassi. The yoghurt-based beverage in both sweet and savoury ﬂavours costs only INR50 (approx. USD 0.80), and is served in a tall terracotta cup, ﬁlled to the brim with frothy goodness.
Peek into Jaipur’s rich past with the AMBER FORT LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW, and be mesmerised by the dazzling lights and sounds, which tell the story of the ancient 16th century fortress. Entrance to the show is priced at INR295 (approx. USD4.50). Options to join tours with dinners are also available.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Jaipur from a hot air balloon. SKY WALTZ BALLOON SAFARI offers hot air balloon rides priced from INR13,000 (approx. USD265) per pax, which allow visitors to view the bustling Pink City and ancient forts framed by the Aravalli Range from up above.
CHOUPAL RESTAURANT at Chokhi Dhani Resort offers a spectacular buffet spread of Rajasthani specials including ker sangri (berry and bean pickle) and dal baati churma (lentils, fried dough and crushed wheat cooked with ghee). Adding to its exotic allure is the live cultural music performed at its alfresco dining area.
To pick up an exquisite souvenir that showcases Indian craftsmanship, head to TRUNKS COMPANY at the Kartapura Industrial Area, where two Jaipurborn brothers have recreated the splendour of travel trunks. Made from Italian leather and lined in sleek suede, a mini bar trunk costs INR129,000 (approx. USD2,000).
THE OBEROI RAJVILLAS estate stands testament to Rajasthan’s royal opulence – with walled gardens, lavish tents, private courtyards and pools, as well as plush Italian marble bathtubs, all embellished in rich detail in every room.
NOTE All prices listed here are approximate values at the time of1print. TRAVEL NOTE Travelling 2628CEM_MC_268292_Jaipur Blurb_M3.ai 4/12/2017 3:50 pm to India just became easier! Apply for your electronic visa (e-visa) on airasia.oevisa.com in three fuss-free steps with payment options that include credit card, debit card and Paypal. Processing visa applications takes at least three business days. You can check on your application status online or via your mobile phone.
GETTING THERE AirAsia ﬂies to Jaipur from various destinations. airasia.com
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Seafront Stunners From island hideaways to opulent retreats, life’s a beach at these seaside sanctuaries.
WORDS: CHITRA SANTHINATHAN
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), The Sanchaya – a collection of 21 villas and nine suites – is a sophisticated retreat along Bintan’s Lagoi Bay. Ensconced within 9.6 hectares of tropical gardens, the property in Indonesia's Riau Islands is steps away from a secluded beach. A 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, The Sanchaya is a tranquil paradise framed by towering palms. The Sanchaya was conceptualised by Singaporebased Russian businesswoman Natalya Pavchinskaya as a luxurious estate to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The Sanchaya's cosy, intimate spaces – inspired by the warmth and hospitality of European salons – encourage contemplation and conversation in a lavish but welcoming setting. At the heart of the estate is its main building – dubbed The Great House. Built in the style of a colonial mansion, The Great House comprises nine extravagantly
kitted out suites, while the more private villas are sprinkled around the expansive grounds. Perched on the upper ﬂoor of The Great House, my home away from home was the 73sqm Junior Suite Garden View – a cosy room with an ample terrace overlooking the 50m-long saltwater inﬁnity pool and the sparkling waters of the South China Sea beyond. Impeccably furnished, my suite featured a plush super king sized bed that showcased a rattan-weave headboard, handcrafted furniture, contemporary grey walls and upholstery, and framed sepiatoned prints of old maps. Each suite features a carefully curated collection of art and collectibles. Adding to the luxe appeal, the spacious and elegant bathroom showed off a Lefroy Brooks clawfoot tub designed for carefree soaks enhanced by exclusively customised bath salts. The luxurious amenities continued with an in-room mini wine cellar stocked with premium wines handpicked by the estate’s sommelier, a Malongo espresso coffee machine to keep
coffee addicts fuelled, and a complimentary ‘maxi-bar’ with beers, organic juices, soft drinks and handcrafted chocolate! With these extravagant conveniences, and an Apple TV preloaded with movies, leaving my private sanctuary proved quite the challenge. But with the lovely grounds to explore, lounging in the suite all day just wouldn’t do. I discovered that The Great House was also home to the Dining Room – the property’s main eatery; The Bar – a gentleman’s club-inspired cigarand shisha-lounge; and The Decanter – a glass-walled wine cellar with an ocean view. The Dining Room serves healthy breakfasts (no buffets here!), as well as lunch and dinner selections that span Asian and Western cuisines. Here, guests can indulge their culinary cravings with everything from sate lilit – spiced minced chicken wrapped around lemongrass skewers – to wagyu steak au poivre – black pepper-crusted rib eye ﬂambéed with cognac. At breakfast, I looked forward to sampling jamu – a traditional tonic made from herbs and spices. The daily jamu selection includes immunity-boosting turmeric and tamarind, beautifying galangal and rice starch, and deliciously restorative ginger and palm sugar.
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Must Try! Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort
Meanwhile, the poolside Tasanee Grill – the property’s other restaurant – dished up tantalising Thai standards such as spicy tom yam goong (hot and sour soup with shrimp), gai phad kapro (stir-fried minced chicken with Thai basil and bird’s eye chillies), and kao niaw dam sida (black sticky rice with coconut milk) in a casual setting. For a boutique property with just two eateries, The Sanchaya’s culinary offerings are a class above – you will be spoilt for choice! Fortunately, the resort offers myriad activities to burn calories accumulated from the constant wining and dining, and
its seafront location provides the perfect setting in which to work those muscles. Choose from private yoga sessions, stand up paddle boarding, or Blokart land sailing, which involves manoeuvring a wind-powered cart with sails on the beach. To experience local village life, bicycle rides to a kampong (village) can also be arranged. For those who prefer working out without breaking into a sweat, The Sanchaya offers petanque, croquet and archery. After all that activity, there are few things more luxurious than a good massage to soothe sore muscles. At The Sanchaya
Tucked in Sri Lanka’s coastal south, the resort’s expansive 44 acres is fringed by swaying coconut trees and a quiet, secluded beach perfect for yoga and meditation. Its 152 rooms and pool villas offer uncontested, sweeping views of the Indian Ocean. Goyambokka Estate, Tangalle 82200, Sri Lanka
Feel free to raid the ‘maxi bar’, The Sanchaya’s luxe version of the standard minibar, which is stocked with free treats that are replenished daily! Nibbles include an exclusively handcrafted range of European chocolates that make delicious souvenirs.
Spa, guests can enjoy a range of treatments within blissful environs. For my 90-minute traditional aromatherapy massage, I picked a treatment oil from a selection of seven custom-blended essential oils associated with each of the body’s chakras (energy centres). My blend of bergamot, geranium and spearmint was designed to balance the emotions. The calming scent of the oils coupled with the gentle kneading of my therapist was just what I needed to relax. I emerged from the treatment rejuvenated and ready to return to the daily grind – though I was sad to bid goodbye to all that pampering. Whether for a quick getaway or a leisurely vacation, a sojourn at The Sanchaya is recommended to refresh mind, body and spirit. Lagoi Bay, Bintan, Riau Islands, Indonesia
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In-room delights include complimentary nutmeg juice – a sweet, mildly astringent juice that is refreshingly addictive, and tambun biscuits, a traditional cookie that features a sweet and savoury mungbean ﬁlling encased in ﬂaky pastry.
Parkroyal Penang Resort
WORDS: R. RAJENDRA
One of the earliest resorts along Batu Ferringhi on the northwest coast of Penang island, Parkroyal Penang Resort is the kind of place that guests return to time and again to recreate holiday experiences that remain etched in their memories. The resort is homely and familiar. Staying here feels like visiting a dear friend, who just happens to own a seaside resort! The warm welcome begins with the wide open space of the lobby that offers ﬂeeting views of the ocean peeping through coconut fronds, accompanied by the sound of waves crashing against the shore. The green lawn, the blue sky and the warm earthy tones of the resort’s lobby all collude to announce that your vacation has officially started. Parkroyal Penang Resort reminded me more of a stylish home than a resort when I dropped by recently. Having just completed
a refurbishment exercise costing over MYR55 (USD13.5) million, timber and earthy tones are the mainstay and evoke a design aesthetic that is minimal, contemporary and almost Scandinavian in style. From the lobby to the corridors and rooms, the minimalist design ampliﬁes space with light and airiness, echoing the sea and the wide open skies. With 10 room categories ranging from superior to sea view suites, the accommodation options are spacious and come with bespoke toiletries from the resort’s own spa – the renowned St Gregory Spa. A ubiquitous design element that can be spotted throughout the resort are screens made of thin wood strips interspersed with little wooden globes. These screens reference the areca nut palm (pinang in Malay) that lends its name to the island. The resort is popular with families and holidaymakers though I spotted a few suit-types
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
Cradled by unique limestone formations within the Ao Nang terrain, the resort is only accessible by boat. With 192 stunning pool villas and Thaiinspired oceanview rooms, guests can also enjoy the picturesque bay while soaking in one of the resort’s turquoise pools, or basking on the resort’s white, powdery beaches. 396-396/1 Moo 2, Ao Nang, Amphur Muang, Krabi 81180, Thailand
staying there. I guess after a day of wheeling and dealing, you’d want to return to a tranquil resort to refresh and rejuvenate. The resort has two pools but thoughtfully, the children’s pool with a water slide is located away from the main lobby, enabling adults to enjoy peace and quiet, soaking up some sun on the lawn. The adults have their own pool with refreshing cocktails and cool drinks supplied by the Sunset Bar. Dining options abound at Parkroyal Penang Resort. For a romantic dinner, head to Uncle Zack by the Beach for pizzas, steaks and seafood; located in the lobby, Javana Lounge is a spacious spot with day beds and quirky alcove seats – perfect for tea or cocktails; Cool Bananas Poolside Café is all about casual dining; while Cinnamon, the resort’s main F&B outlet, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The spread at Cinnamon features lesser known local dishes that you won’t ﬁnd easily at hawker stalls such as roti jala (lattice pancakes) with chicken curry, kari kambing (goat curry) and tenggiri masak lemak (wolf mackerel in coconut cream). There was even an unusual jackfruit strudel! The refurbishment exercise has refreshed this resort in so many ways but it was I who felt rejuvenated after staying at Parkroyal Penang Resort. You will feel the difference too. Parkroyal Penang Resort, Batu Ferringhi Beach, 111000 Penang, Malaysia
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For a refreshing treat, sample handmade and preservative-free ice pops in unique ﬂavours like caramel and Kampot salt (harvested from salt ﬁelds in Cambodia’s Kampot province) at the poolside bar.
WORDS: ARI VANUARANU
Exuding a laidback vibe, Naia Resort in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, is set against a pristine beach – an ideal location to enjoy peaceful seaside holidays. Located along Otres Beach II, a quiet and pretty stretch about 25 minutes from Sihanoukville International Airport, the resort is an oasis for those looking for a bit of rest and relaxation. At ﬁrst glance, the 32-room property resembles a typical modern minimalist building with unassuming whitewashed walls. But inside, tropical prints and geometric artwork adorn the lobby and public areas, adding a cool design aesthetic to an otherwise understated space. In contrast to the bold and colourful modern mid-century look, rooms take on a white and pastel palette, and are decorated with minimalist furnishing and comfy wicker chairs. My seaview suite was an expansive space with
a double bed and two daybeds, as well as an ensuite replete with bathtub and shower. I chose this room not for its added space – ideal for a family of four – but for its convenient balcony, which afforded me a front row seat to take in the glorious sunsets. Feeling a little peckish after settling into my suite, my companion and I headed to the beach bar and restaurant, one of two dining venues at the resort. With a varied and creative menu of Western, Cambodian and vegetarian options, there’s something to appease even the fussiest of eaters. The extensive menu was a godsend for me – a picky eater who avoids all things ﬁshy. However, my dining companion gushed about the seafood spaghetti loaded with plump, juicy shrimp and scallops, and ﬂavoured with tom yam paste and Khmer herbs. While he savoured the spicy noodles, I dined on a hearty rice
Located on the Raa Atoll, and surrounded by crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, the Dhigali is a paradise of pure luxury. Reached via a 40-minute seaplane ride or quick zip on a speedboat from Malé, the resort‘s water villas, beach bungalows, beach suites, as well as jaw-dropping lagoon villas feature a modern and minimalist vibe. Raa Atoll, Maldives
bowl, which consisted of beefy meatballs caramelised with honey and barbecue sauce, served atop a bed of steaming rice, and topped with scallions and sesame seeds. To quench your thirst or complement a hearty meal, order a cocktail from the beach bar’s list of reasonably-priced beverages. The laidback bar is a great place to chill or unwind after a day of sightseeing (Sihanoukville town is just a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride away). Sihanoukville is also the jumping-off point to several islands in the Gulf of Thailand; if you wish to explore these, the resort can help arrange excursions to the nearby islands Koh Tres, Koh Chanloh, and Koh Russei. We jumped at the chance of a sunset boat trip, which offered a glimpse of the islands’ sandy shores, and local ﬁshermen returning from a day out at sea. They say time ﬂies when you’re having fun. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, our resort vacation drew to a close. As I reﬂected on my stay at Naia Resort, I was glad that the resort’s location meant we were far enough from Sihanoukville’s party scene to enjoy peace and quiet in our own little paradise on Otres Beach. This is deﬁnitely my idea of a beach getaway! Marina Road, Otres II Beach, Krong Preah Sihanouk 18000, Cambodia
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A New Beginning As the world celebrates the arrival of 2018, we take a look at New Year traditions in different parts of the world.
Origins of Time Here's a quick look at how the Gregorian calendar came to be universally accepted.
Before the birth of the Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar, named January 1 as the start of a new year.
The name ‘January’ was taken from the name Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions and endings.
During the Middle Ages, January 1 was seen as a pagan holiday, and different Christian countries adopted differing days as New Year’s Day, causing disunity of dates and time. USA
WORDS: KEETA BRENNAN
New Year’s Day
At midnight on December 31, the year officially ends and a new year is ushered in on January 1, based on the de facto calendar of the world – the Gregorian calendar. Like many other cities, the start of the New Year is also celebrated with merry-making and revelry in New York, but with a unique
custom. Since 1904, one of the most famous New Year traditions in the Big Apple is the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, which happens in Times Square. At precisely 60 seconds before midnight, a ball descends from a pole atop the iconic One Times Square building and comes to a stop at the bottom just as the clock strikes twelve. The celebration also includes
musical performances and ﬁreworks, and attracts over a million people each year, with millions more tuning in via live broadcasts worldwide. Typically, the traditional New Year’s Eve song Auld Lang Syne based on a poem by famed poet Robert Burns (and inspired by a traditional Scottish folk song) is also sung. timessquarenyc.org
The birth of the Gregorian calendar, devised by Pope Gregory XIII, brought an end to differing dates by reinstating January 1 as New Year’s Day.
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Nyepi The Balinese New Year known as Nyepi, which usually falls in the month of March or April, is based on the ancient Pewukon and the Saka calendars. Instead of the usual revelry, Nyepi is a time of silence and meditation. Three days before the New Year, the Melasti ritual takes place, and worshippers ﬁll ancient temples such as Tanah Lot, carrying sacred statues from the temple to be bathed in the ocean, followed by communal prayers. The day before
Nanakshahi New Year In accordance with the Nanakshahi calendar (a solar calendar named after Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism), the ﬁrst month of the year is Chet, and the ﬁrst day of this month falls on March 14 each year. During this time in Punjab, the Hola Mohalla festival is celebrated with militarystyle processions accompanied by standard bearers and the beating of war-drums.
Nyepi, an exorcism ritual known as Tawur Kesanga is held to dispel evil spirits. On the day of Nyepi, Bali becomes a ghost town, with no people or vehicles on the streets – even the airport is closed! This is because the people observe Catur Brata – strict prohibitions that include no working or using ﬁre, be it expending bodily energy, ﬁring up a stove or car engine, or even turning on a light. This quiet day spent in selfreﬂection allows the Earth to rest and rejuvenate, and symbolises a clean start for the New Year. indonesia.travel
Nyepi inspired the creation of World Silent Day, held annually on March 21. It is dedicated to giving Earth a rest from human activities, and reducing the impact of climate change.
1. Times Square, New York 2. Melasti in Bali 3. Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo
Shogatsu Since the late 19th century, Japan has celebrated Shogatsu on January 1, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar although traditionally, the date was based on the lunar calendar. Shogatsu is one of Japan’s major holidays, and most shops and businesses close from January 1 to 3. Among the famous traditions practised on the eve of the Japanese New Year is ‘the watch-night bell’, where temple bells are rung 108 times – eight rings to signify the ending of the old year, and a hundred rings to usher in the new. In the week leading up to Shogatsu, homes are thoroughly cleaned, and Kadomatsu, a traditional form of decoration made from pine leaves, bamboo and straw, are placed in pairs in front of houses and other buildings. On January 1, people gather at shrines across Japan to partake in Hatsumode, the ﬁrst shrine visit of the year. in Tokyo, thousands visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine to make offerings of coins, as they pray for luck, health and prosperity for the year ahead. jnto.go.jp 3
HIT LIST South Korea
Seollal On the ﬁrst day of the lunar calendar, South Korea celebrates Seollal. In the days leading up to the Korean New Year, thousands of city-dwellers return to their hometowns, armed with gifts for family members. On the ﬁrst day of Seollal, Koreans wear their traditional attire called hanbok,
Games People Play
and ancestral rites are performed to honour and show gratitude to those who have passed. Younger members of the family also pay their respects to the elders by bowing and presenting them with gifts of health products and traditional sweets among others, while children receive money, which they keep in silk or cotton drawstring pouches.
Families also feast on traditional fare, in particular, a dish called tteokguk, which is a ﬂavoursome sliced rice cake soup served with meat, eggs and vegetables. An ancient belief is that Koreans age according to the change of the year, and the eating of this soup signiﬁes the official adding of a year to one’s age. english.visitkorea.or.kr
Popular Seollal folk games include yut nori, which is a board game played using sticks; paengi chigi, a top-spinning game; and kite ﬂying. 01 18
China & Worldwide
Chinese New Year is celebrated by ethnic Chinese worldwide, usually between January and February of each year. Based on the lunar calendar, the New Year period typically starts on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month and ends on the 15th day of the ﬁrst lunar month, signiﬁed by the waxing of the full moon. Also known as the Spring Festival in China, the last few days of the old year are spent cleaning, shopping for new clothes, and decorating the home with red lanterns and couplets, signifying auspiciousness and prosperity. On the eve of the ﬁrst day of Chinese New Year, families gather for the traditional reunion dinner, which is considered one of the most important meals of the year. In Beijing, one of the most popular Spring Festival events is the Dongyue Temple Fair. The Dongyue temple is one of the oldest temples in Beijing, and the central theme of the fair revolves around good fortune and happiness, symbolised by the Chinese character ‘Fu’. The fair features an exhibition on ‘Fu’ culture, lion dances, musical performances, and cultural shows among others, with vendors selling traditional snacks and products. cnto.org
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Chinese New Year
The earliest New Year celebration known to man dates back to 2000 BCE in the ancient region of Mesopotamia. Muslim Communities Worldwide
The ﬁrst day of the month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar signiﬁes the start of a new year for Muslims. Within the month, many Muslims undertake supererogatory fasting and prayers, particularly on the tenth day, known as the day of Ashurah.
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Ethiopia celebrates New Year on September 11, although in leap years, it shifts to September 12 in accordance with the Ge’ez calendar. Traditional Enkutatash activities include church prayers, bonﬁres lit to ward off bad luck, and a meal of injera (ﬂatbread) and wat (traditional stew). ethiopia.travel
Losar New Year’s Day in Tibet is called Losar and follows the Tibetan lunar calendar. Usually falling in February, Losar celebrations are held over a three-day period, and are steeped in Buddhist tradition and Tibetan culture. Activities meant to remove negativity ﬁll the days preceding Losar, as temples and monasteries
undertake cleansing rituals, and homes are cleaned in preparation for a fresh start. On the ﬁrst day of Losar, Buddhists gather before dawn at temples to pray for a good year ahead. Sacred dances are also performed, while offerings are made to dharmapalas (defenders of Tibetan Buddhism), in particular, Palden Lhamo, the venerated deity who protects Tibet. On the
second day, there's much feasting and visiting family and friends, and on the third day, crowds gather at stupas for Lhasang, an incense offering ceremony, followed by chanting and the hurling of roasted barley ﬂour known as tsampa, to increase happiness, health and prosperity. On this day, prayer ﬂags are also hung, creating a riot of colours. cnto.org
1. Yut nori 2. Tteokguk 3. Dancers at the Dongyue Temple celebrate the Spring Festival. 4. Sacred dance performed during Losar 5. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi 6. Wat and injera
HIT LIST Bhaktapur, Nepal
Nava Varsha According to the Bikram Sambat calendar, Nava Varsha is the ﬁrst day of the year, and falls in April. In Bhaktapur, a nine-day festival known as Bisket Jatra is celebrated to officiate the start of a brand new year. The festivities begin with tantric rituals and prayers at the Bhairabi Temple in Bhaktapur. Effigies of both Bhairavnath and Bhadrakali – powerful and ﬁerce manifestations of the Hindu god Shiva and goddess Devi – are placed in large wooden chariots known as rathas and pulled by crowds across the city, accompanied by music and loud cheers. The chariot procession halts in the town centre, and a game of tug of war ensues between the eastern and western parts of the city. Later, the procession heads down towards the river, where a 25-metre high pole, called the Yoshin Pole, is erected. The pole features two ﬂowing banners, representing two evil snakes that were vanquished by a prince – a local legend that lends its story to the celebration. Once the pole is successfully toppled in a tug of war, the New Year officially begins. On the days that follow, families and friends gather to pray, exchange blessings, and enjoy festive meals.
During Bisket Jatra, some devotees pierce their tongues with an iron spike while in a spiritual trance, and walk around town carrying ﬂaming torches held in a bamboo rack.
Songkran 01 18
Following the Thai solar calendar, Songkran is celebrated on April 13 each year. The day begins with meritmaking and puriﬁcation rituals to ward off bad luck and clear negative energy. With water as a signiﬁcant theme, people take to the streets and joyfully douse each other with water. tourismthailand.org
Tet Nguyen Dan Vietnamese celebrate Tet Nguyen Dan on the ﬁrst day of the lunar calendar. Also known as ‘Tet’, the Vietnamese New Year is a time to remember ancestors and spend time with the family. In olden times, Tet was also a signiﬁcant holiday for farmers, as the break came after harvesting and before
the sowing of new crops. As Tet arrives, people clean their homes as a way of throwing out the bad luck of the old year, and place offerings such as fruit on ancestral altars. In the Old Quarter of Hanoi, shops are ﬁlled with an abundance of Tet decorations, consisting of lanterns, couplets and religious decorations symbolising luck and fortune, predominantly in the
auspicious colours of red, yellow and gold. These decorations adorn homes during the season, along with kumquat trees, peach blossoms and a variety of ﬂowers. As dawn breaks on the day of Tet, people greet one another in good cheer, as exemplary behaviour on this day is believed to encourage good fortune for the whole year ahead. vietnamtourism.com
1. Bhairav dance performed during Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur during Nava Varsha. 2. Peach blossoms are used to decorate homes during Tet Nguyen Dan.
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World in Frame
Every month, we bring you phenomenal images from around the world. At 27km, the stunning Tasman Glacial river located in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand’s Canterbury region is said to be the country’s longest glacier. To take in the beauty of this natural wonder, the New Zealand Department of Conservation recommends a short track: the 40-minute (return) Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier View track, which showcases stunning views of the lower Tasman Glacier and lake, icebergs and majestic mountains, as well as an opportunity for a summer dip at Blue Lakes, where the chirpy riﬂeman, said to be New Zealand’s smallest bird, may be spotted. Branching off this track is the one-hour Tasman Glacier Lake track, which leads to a viewpoint overlooking the glacier’s terminal lake and another to the source of the Tasman River. These easy tracks require low to moderate ﬁtness levels.
WANDERLUST / Hong Kong
Ding Ding Diaries A colloquial term referring to Hong Kong's century-old trams, 'Ding Ding' is derived from the distinct double ring of these icons that are striving to retain their charm, even as they move forward to keep up with the demands of a busy city. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Nicky Almasy
HK Tramways recently launched the ‘Catch a Ride, Catch a Smile’ campaign, which celebrates the close attachment Hong Kong citizens have with their beloved Ding Ding. The subtle ‘smile’ on the bumper of the trams symbolises Ding Ding’s ‘friendly personality’ and dedicated service.
ver the last 10 years, I must have travelled to Hong Kong at least a hundred times. Although my visits there were usually short, just a few days or a week at the most, I am fond of Hong Kong, and consider it my second home. However, recently, I realised that I had still much to learn about this vibrant island. I thought that I knew everything there was to know about the place, until I took a ride on one of Hong Kong’s iconic trams. There, on the upper deck, with my headphones on, a brand new Hong Kong revealed itself to me, as I took in the sights on board the colourful marvel – the Hong Kong tram. Catching the Tram Hong Kong Tramways, the company that owns and operates the island’s sole tram
network, is fascinating to say the least, with its nostalgic-looking tramcars, steady and reliable, charting their daily route wrapped in colourful advetisements. Established in 1904, the tram network still offers the most economical mode of transport in the metropolis. HK Tramways operates the world's largest functional double-deck tram ﬂeet – 164 tramcars that run on a 90-second frequency, and carry 200,000 passengers on average a day between Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town. The full 8.5km tramline stretch begins at Kennedy Town, in the western end of Sai Wan, and ends at Shau Kei Wan in Eastern District. An end-to-end one-way ride between Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town takes approximately
“Although the original wooden structure was completely replaced by an aluminium frame to improve the durability of the tramcars, their classic look was maintained.”
an hour (in ideal traffic conditions). The track traverses many of Hong Kong’s important road crossings, connecting passengers with the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and Star Ferry passenger ferry service. And in the centre of the route is Happy Valley Loop, a short detour from the main lines allowing for tramcars to turn around, and a convenient parking bay should any of the trams experience mechanical problems. The Centennial Story Begins The late 1800s saw an economic boom in Hong Kong, leading British colonial rulers of the day to plan for the development of a tramway network to cope with the demand for better transport systems. In 1902, the Hongkong Tramway Electric Company Limited (renamed Hong Kong Tramways Company Limited in 1910) was founded with the mission to build and operate Hong Kong’s tram system. Two years later, the island saw its ﬁrst ﬂeet of 26 single-deck tramcars. The various parts of this ﬁrst generation trams were built in England, then shipped and assembled in Hong Kong.
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Over the years, ownership of the company changed hands a number of times until in 2010, when French joint venture company, RATP Dev Transdev Asia, fully acquired HK Tramways Limited and continues to manage the tramlines to the present day. Behind the Scenes It’s easy to assume that a gigantic hi-tech enterprise pulls the operational strings of HK Tramways. But the reality is somewhat different. Although the company is up to modern standards, employing the latest quality digital equipment and monitor systems, the work environment is surprisingly modest and down to earth. As I entered the main operations hub – the famous Whitty Street Depot – I noticed an ambience of classic simplicity, as if I'd stepped into a traditional streetside automobile workshop. Technicians nodded and smiled as I passed by. On one side of the depot, workers could be seen assembling a tramcar, while on the other side of the yard, they were dismantling one, and in a separate space, a car was being wrapped with colourful ad stickers.
1. HK Tramways ﬁrst launched their air-conditioned trams in June 2016. Following initial testing, the temperature and internal ventilation were later ﬁne-tuned according to feedback the company gathered from passengers, to ensure commuters enjoyed a comfortable ride. 2. The ﬁrst trams to sport advertisements appeared in the 1920s. At the time, ads initially contained only text. The ﬁrst full-coloured tram advertisements were produced in 1961, and had to be painted on the side of the trams. Nowadays, the ads arrive at the depot as rolled up stickers, and it takes only a few hours to wrap the trams in their individual designs. 3. Motormen and motorwomen undergo eight weeks of intensive training to acquire the requisite skills to operate the trams. The training is facilitated by HK Tramways and where necessary, the duration is extended by the instructors (usually expert senior operators), so that only operators who meet the highest standards are allowed behind the wheel.
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1. HK Tramways also uses Instagram as a platform to make tram travel more fun. Last June, more than a 100 passengers joined the company to celebrate the launch of the new iDiscover Ding Ding app with an Instagram photo competition for passengers to explore the neighbourhoods that the trams through. Pictured here is a tram bound for Western Market, a popular stop along the tram route. Western Market is a shopping complex where you can ﬁnd arts, crafts, and fabrics.
One of the most astonishing facts about HK Tramways is that they do not just build their trams in-house, but also produce the individual parts and equipment for all their cars. It’s a company that aptly balances the old and nostalgic with the modern and hi-tech, and this can be seen in the mechanical aspects of the operations as well; it’s a feature that makes the company unique. Seven Generations of Success The original 26 ﬁrst generation singledeck tramcars of 1904 were so wellreceived that not only was the ﬂeet itself extended, the capacity of the cars was increased as well. So, in 1912, the single-deck trams were transformed into second generation double-deck cars. It was a simple transformation – garden chairs were installed on the roof of the single-deck trams, with safety rails encircling the edge. Three years later, the third generation trams were ﬁtted with canvas covers (these were later replaced with wooden ones) to provide passengers with shelter from Hong Kong’s unpredictable weather, and in 1920, the fully enclosed upper deck design, as seen today, became a distinctive feature of the fourth generation models. With further upgrades done in the 50s and 80s, the ﬁfth and sixth generation trams emerged. And ﬁnally, in 2011, the the seventh generation trams were created; these are the cars you see on Hong Kong tramlines today. Antoine Sambin, Commercial & Corporate Affairs Manager, was more than happy to share the HK Tramways story with me. “It’s difficult to determine the precise age of each tram, because we keep modifying and renewing the cars with new parts. From the 164 trams that we run now, 100 of them are from the sixth generation, while 60 are from the seventh generation. As a memento of the heritage of Hong Kong’s tramcars, we retain one tram from the ﬁfth generation, which was built in the 50s – the No. 120 car. There are also three second generation open-top trams – two of which are available for charter for
6. The Peak is the highest vantage point in Hong Kong, and is serviced by the Peak Tram funicular railway system – an ideal way to take in the spectacular views of the city and Victoria Harbour.
3. Western Market, originally built in 1906, was renovated in 1991 and later converted into a shopping complex. But it retains its classic charm with its red brick exterior.
ILLUSTRATION: TIM LAI
Many of the island’s landmark buildings and tourist spots are within walking distance (or a quick bus ride) from the tram stops between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan, making for many great photo opportunities along the tram trail.
1. Instagram Pier, located on the Sai Wan waterfront near Whitty Street Depot, earned its name due to its popularity with shutterbugs (and Instagrammers!) as a spot to capture Hong Kong's picturesque scenery. 2. Hong Kong-Macao Ferry Terminal is the place to go to catch a ferry over to Macao; the ride takes approximately 55 minutes.
4. IFC Building is probably Hong Kong's most iconic building, situated just by the Star Ferry terminal. It also has a shopping mall that offers great eateries, a movie theatre and a wide range of retail outlets. 5. Mid-level Escalator to Soho is a 800m-high escalator that provides access to some of Hong Kong’s most popular bars, restaurants, shops and markets, allowing pedestrians to skip the tiring walk up the slope.
7. Bank of China Tower features an observation deck overlooking the harbour, providing visitors stunning views of Hong Kong’s waterfront. 8. Happy Valley Racecourse, built in 1845 during British colonial times, is still in operation today, with horse races taking place every Wednesday. 9. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre is an architectural marve that overlooks the harbour, with the Star Ferry terminal located nearby. 10. North Point is located in the midst of the city’s residential areas, and provides the perfect photo opportunity as the tram cuts through the local markets and suburbs.
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1. Early electric trams, ﬁrst developed in Russia in 1880, used a trolley pole or pantograph to feed power from electric wires strung above the tramlines. Today, the power system of the tramlines has advanced substantially, and delivers 550V of electricity. 2. Pictured here is the Dick Kerr drum controller to regulate speed. Although the trams are capable of reaching speeds of up to 42km/h, there are strict speed limits along the tram route. When the tram is travelling downhill, it cannot exceed 20km/h. Also at bends and at depots, the tram must keep within a speed of 15km/h. 3. Some advertisers are really innovative, coming up with ingenious creatives. Pictured here is a close-up on an ad by a well-known camera company, which positions the tram's headlamp as the camera lens.
a fond attachment to their trams. As the tram operators – motormen and motorwomen as they are called – are on the frontline, they are obviously the ones most in contact with the passengers. At present, the company employs about 300 operators, of which approximately 10 per cent are women. I met with motorman Chan Siu Chung to learn about the life of tram operators, and I must say that his enthusiasm took me by surprise. Even after 17 years on the job, he clearly still loved it. As I listened to Chan’s stories, it became evident to me the extent to which the tramway is embedded within the social culture of Hong Kong. “We tend to develop a friendship with many of our regular passengers,” said Chan. “Sometimes, we even get to know their personal stories, and share in the happy and
private functions, and one used to carry sightseers on the TramOramic Tour organised by HK Tramways.” The latest seventh generation models that have been running since 2011 are called the ‘signature tram’. Although the original wooden structure was completely replaced by an aluminium frame to improve the durability of the tramcars, their classic look was maintained. “Due to the weather, the old wooden structure had to be renewed every four years. But the aluminium frames haven’t required any maintenance work yet; even now after being in use for seven years, they are in tip-top condition,” explained Sambin. Production of a new tramcar, or the re-building of an old one, usually takes a period of approximately three months. “We only buy raw materials, and make the various parts of the car ourselves,” said Sambin. “The raw materials are bent, shaped, moulded, smoothened, ﬁtted, assembled and painted, among other processes, in our own depot. We even make the wheels! We are especially proud of the fact that our team makes the control panels for the trams. The panel is made from ﬁberglass, and we ﬁx all the cables ourselves – there are literally tens of kilometres of cables inside each tramcar!” Nostalgia in the Air After a century of being a part of the daily life of the people of Hong Kong, it is inevitable that Hong Kongers have developed
sad moments in their lives.” Chan related one particularly memorable incident. “A couple of years ago, a lady was travelling with her young son on the upper deck of my tram. I happened to notice that the little boy kept playfully reaching out of the window. Alarmed at his dangerous antics, I stopped the tram, went upstairs and politely asked the boy’s mother to keep her son inside the car to prevent him from getting hurt. At ﬁrst, she took offence to this, but the other passengers soon joined in, and explained to her that I was only speaking out of concern for her child, and it really was dangerous for him to stick his arms out of the window. Later on, as she got off at her stop, she paused a moment to apologise, and thank me. We’ve since become friends, and her son, who was in kindergarten then,
1. Trams share the road with other vehicles, which can be challenging especially during peak hour traffic. 2. Pictured here is a key element of the brake switch installed within the control panel. This metal part perfectly illustrates the expertise of HK Tramways in reproducing old-fashioned designs via high-tech methods, and assembling all the parts in-house. 3. HK Tramways is particular about keeping their trams in tip-top condition. Every tram is inspected at a regular interval of eight days to maintain the efficiency of the system.
now rides my tram to school! His mother even gives me mooncakes (traditional Chinese cake) every year during the Mid-Autumn Festival.” The ‘Red Light Meal’ is another tramline story – this one is wellknown among the general public. In olden times, when there were no scheduled lunch breaks for the operators, they had no choice but to have their meal during the short span of time when the tram halted at each red traffic light. Then, when the lights turned green, the motormen put away their lunch and continued operating their tram until the next red light. When I was told this story by Sambin, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that in the days of the ‘Red Light Meal’, lunchtime must have been not much more than a series of red and green traffic lights!
Paving the Way As the world marches on into the vast digital landscape, long-established businesses like HK Tramways face a great number of challenges in their efforts to embrace progression and stay relevant, while upholding the traditional elements that make them unique.
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01 18 When I asked Sambin about the challenges that HK Tramways faced today, he was quick to point out the operations of the tramcars. “In many other cities around the world, tramlines follow a designated lane. Here, however, due to Hong Kong’s compact space and traffic congestion, trams share their right of way with other vehicles on the road. This constantly slows them down. It is one of the major issues for us. We are currently in discussions with the island’s Transport Department to resolve this. In the meantime, we continue to watch our lines from our internal operations room, which tracks the movements and whereabouts of each tram at any given time. We are also in the midst of developing an AI (artiﬁcial intelligence) system that will help our motormen and women in their daily functions.” On a more sentimental note, Sambin says that apart from traffic problems, another major challenge for the company is balancing the classic iconic image of the tramcars with effecting necessary change in order to modernise the service and better serve the people of Hong Kong. Old-world charm
“It brings a happy face to the island, and people keep telling us how contagious it is; they smile as well when they see it.” versus modern comforts like airconditioned cars and LED panels in the trams detailing the stops – it’s a delicate balancing act indeed. Forging Ahead The present may be a challenging time for HK Tramways, but it is an exciting time too, as the company is currently undergoing a makeover, which includes a rebranding exercise complete with a new logo. And in line with its vision for a digitalised future, HK Tramways launched the new iDiscover Ding Ding app (available for free from the App Store and Google Play) in June last year. The Ding Ding app, which displays the hop-on hop-off tram route, is aimed at helping both locals and visitors alike explore the neighbourhoods along the tramline. Another added feature that guarantees a second look is the wide white smile painted on the front of the trams, which ensures
Hong Kong’s tramcars sport a big smile all over the island! “It brings a happy face to the island, and people keep telling us how contagious it is; they smile as well when they see it,” said Sambin. Needless to say, tramcar smiles are also a hit on social media, with rampant #smiles on Instagram. I hope this new ‘smiling face’ is the precursor to another great chapter in the story of the trams, and Hong Kong’s beloved icons will continue ‘smiling’ for years to come. A BIG THANK YOU travel 3Sixty° wishes to thank Joey Lam and Andrew Siu from CK Lo & S Lam Ltd (media relations consultancy for HK Tramways) for their invaluable support in producing this story.
GETTING THERE AirAsia ﬂies to Hong Kong from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. airasia.com
WANDERLUST / Indonesia
Old School Strands The adage ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ couldn’t be truer than for mie lethek, a type of old-style noodles from Yogyakarta, which despite its less than enticing appearance, is a must-try culinary gem. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Agung Parameswara
Mie lethek dough is prepared the traditional way, using cattle to work the old-style mortar and pestle contraption. The stone cylinder ‘pestle’ is attached to the working cattle with wooden handles, and as the cow walks around the mortar, the ﬂour mixture is ground and kneaded into dough.
s I ﬂew into Yogyakarta, also known as Yogya, from Bali, I caught sight of beautiful Mount Merapi (meaning ‘mountain of ﬁre’) – an active volcano on Java island, standing majestically at over 2,900m. It was still early in the morning when I arrived, but it was already getting warm in Yogya. “Sugeng enjing,” I said to the old becak (rickshaw) driver, wishing him “Good morning” as I boarded his threewheeler. The becak is a popular means of transportation in Yogya. “Sugeng rawuh,” he replied, with a friendly smile, welcoming me to his city. My destination: Malioboro Street, probably the most famous area in Yogya. Located in the heart of the city, it is the main street here, and the perfect place to grab a hearty breakfast, Yogya style. Culinary Adventure There was abundant local fare everywhere I looked on Malioboro Street, but I was searching for one particular dish – soto, a traditional Indonesian broth and comfort food with regional variations, but almost always
ﬂavoured with herbs and spices, including turmeric, galangal and lemongrass, and featuring chicken or beef, as well as vegetables like bean sprouts and celery leaves. This was my 10th visit to Yogya and this time, I was here for a culinary adventure. It wasn’t long before I located a stall that served what I was looking for. As I savoured a heartwarming bowl of soto, I chatted with the vendor about other local delicacies that are unique to Yogyakarta. “You must try mie lethek!", he said immediately. "The noodles may not look very appealing, but it is one of the most delicious dishes in Yogyakarta,” said the soto vendor. “It’s one of the few remaining local foods still made in the old traditional way.” This piqued my interest, and I immediately reached for my smartphone to google more information on mie lethek. One name – Yasir Feri – popped up. Yasir is the owner of one of the last-ofits-kind traditional noodle factories in Indonesia: Mie Lethek Garuda in Bantul regency. Literally translated, mie lethek means ‘dull or ugly
noodles’ on account of its unattractive appearance. This is due to the turbid colour of the noodles that comes from the sweet potato ﬂour and gaplek (dried cassava) from which it is made. The texture of mie lethek is similar to vermicelli, only thicker and more chewy. Interestingly, the traditional production of the noodles does not involve the use of additives or preservatives, so its natural goodness more than makes up for its lacklustre appearance. After breakfast, I rented a motorcycle and made my way to Bantul to visit the Mie Lethek Garuda factory. Thanks to technology, Google maps led me straight to the traditional factory, located in the beautiful village of Trimurti in Srandakan district, about an hour from Yogya. Noodles Galore Noodles are very popular in Asia, especially in the East and Southeast regions. According to historical records, noodles were ﬁrst made in mainland China more than 2,000 years ago, during the Han Dynasty. From
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“Mie lethek-making techinques at Yasir’s factory employ minimal use of machinery, as most of the production process is handled manually by the highly-skilled workers; even the mixing of the massive amounts of dough is done the traditional way – bovine power!" China, the stringy delight found its way to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. Kantha Shelke, a renowned authority on food science, nutrition and culinary history based in Chicago, US, mentions in her book Pasta and Noodles: A Global History that following the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644, Chinese immigrants, who spread out across the region, brought with them noodle specialties, contributing to the rich and diverse culinary heritage of their new settlements. Today, various traditional recipes in the region revolve around noodles as a staple ingredient, with soto, rujak juhi Betawi (noodles mixed with vegetables with shredded dried squid in peanut sauce) and mie celor Palembang
(noodles served in coconut milk and shrimp broth) being among the more well-known Indonesian noodle dishes. Whatever the cooking style – fried or steamed, crispy or soupy – the easy adaptability of noodles have ensured that they have become ﬁrmly entrenched in the Indonesian culinary landscape. A Cherished Craft The Mie Lethek Garuda factory featured a simple setup. A three-generation family business currently run by Yasir Feri, with just about 30 workers who hail from around Srandakan, the factory draws on traditional equipment to produce approximately 10 tons of noodles every month. “This factory has a long history,” explained Yasir. “I consider lethek noodles a family heirloom. The business was established in the
1. Already cut into strips, the lethek noodles are dried under the sun for eight hours before they are ready to be packaged and delivered to retail shops and food stalls. 2. Pictured here is the giant stove where the noodles are steamed before being sun-dried. 3. Like the man pictured here, noodle vendors transport the raw mie lethek from factories such as Yasir Feri’s Mie Lethek Garuda factory, often on a bicycle, to market places around Srandakan.
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City of Gudeg If there is one dish that you absolutely must try when you visit Yogyakarta, it’s gudeg. The traditional dish is so synonymous with Yogya that the city is also known as City of Gudeg. The Yogya specialty, which consists of unripe jackfruit stewed for several hours in a concoction of palm sugar and coconut milk, and often served with eggs and other toppings, is held in high esteem among locals. Not only is gudeg a popular street food, it is also found in eateries around the city. While there are many ways to prepare gudeg (and the toppings and ingredients vary), there are two main versions: wet and dry, with the main difference being wet gudeg has more coconut milk in it than the dry version.
Artistic Flair Yogyakarta has become a hub for Indonesian contemporary arts. The Yogyakarta Contemporary Art Map, created by local artist Yudha Sandy, lists 56 artwork venues in the city, from museums to galleries and exhibition centres. One of the annual highlights is ArtJog, an event that brings together local and international visual arts communities. ArtJog is considered the barometer of contemporary art in Indonesia – an exceptional display of various artworks that include multi-dimensional art, sculptures, and even photography. There is also the Papermoon Puppet Theatre, which features visual art installations that take a deeper look at the country’s social and political identity and historical events.
1. Once the lethek noodles are machine-cut into long strips, they are loaded into the giant stove to undergo the steaming process. Due to the high level of heat around the stove area in the factory, the workers often go about their tasks bare-chested.
1940s by my late grandfather, Haji Umar Bysir Nahdi, who hailed from Yemen. He met and married my grandmother, a woman of Chinese descent, here in Java, and she later taught him the traditional lethek noodle-making techniques. At that time, locally-made noodles consisted of a mixture of rice and corn. To make our noodles unique, my grandmother experimented with various ingredients, eventually settling on cassava (tapioca). It worked, and tasted even better that the typical noodles available, giving my family’s noodle production business a strong competitive edge!” However, due to adverse economic conditions, the Garuda factory operations came to a standstill in 1982. Then, in 2002, Yasir decided to revive his family business. “By the turn of the millennium, times had changed, and with more tourists pouring into the country, there was renewed interest in the culinary treasures of the region. So, I re-opened the old factory and started up production, retaining the traditional way. We now have a steady demand for our mie lethek, which not only tastes delicious but is also healthy, as cassava is gluten free and is said to be rich in minerals and ﬁbre.”
Creating the Masterpiece To show me how these special noodles are made, Yasir took me on a tour of the production ﬂoor. Sunlight streamed through the woodenframed windows of the factory, its high ceiling opening up the interior space and allowing better ventilation in the work area. Music from an old radio at the far end of the work space reverberated in the factory throughout the day, as the workers – muscled, their bodies glistening with perspiration – chatted amongst themselves in Javanese while going about their daily tasks. Mie lethek-making techinques at Yasir’s factory employ minimal use of machinery, as most of the production process is handled manually by the highly-skilled workers; even the mixing of the massive amounts of dough is done the traditional way – bovine power! To knead the dough for the lethek noodles, a huge traditional blender is used. The blender – encompassing a giant mortar approximately 2m
"As a veritable community-oriented business, Yasir not only prioritises the interests of his workers, but also runs the factory on a proﬁtsharing basis whereby 90 per cent of the proﬁts are distributed among the workers."
1. No matter the preparation, mie lethek makes for a tasty dish. Pictured here is mie lethek goreng (fried lethek noodles), which is tossed with vegetables and egg, and topped with fried shallots and a sprinkling of black pepper. 2. The lethek noodles are laid out in long strips on trays to be steamed in the factory’s stove. 3. The cattle are well cared for at Yasir’s Garuda factory. Pictured here is a worker feeding the cattle before they start work for the day.
in diameter, with a stone cylinder in the centre that acts as a pestle equipped with handles attached to the working cattle – is ﬁrst ﬁlled with the main ingredients: sweet potato ﬂour and gaplek. The blender is an old but simple mechanism, rarely seen today: the cow walks around the blender, rotating the stone cylinder attached to it, kneading the mixture as it goes. The workers keep an eye on the whole process to ensure all goes according to plan. After about three hours, the mixture is ready to be machinepressed into rectangular blocks, which are then cut into strips with a machine before being steamed on a giant stove. Due to the bulk required to meet market demand, the pressing and cutting processes are done
using simple machinery to speed up operations. At the ﬁnal stage, the steamed lethek noodles are sundried for eight hours, before being packaged for distribution. Giving Back I toured the factory with Yasir, and admired the skill of his employees as they expertly executed their manual tasks without any need for instruction from their boss. Yasir was quick to point out that the true asset of the Garuda factory is its workers, who range between 30 and 70 years old. Tasks like arranging the noodles in rows on a tray and drying them in the blazing sun is laborious work, to say the least. But the workers always seemed to be in high spirits, despite the seemingly arduous labour.
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01 18 “Some of the workers here served during my grandfather's time,” said Yasir with great admiration for his workforce. "I never have to watch them, all of them know what to do, and work around here seems to get done automatically," he laughed. Since 2002, when Yasir reopened his family’s mie lethek factory, he has been running it as a social enterprise, where the operations beneﬁt the community. As a veritable community-oriented business, Yasir not only prioritises the interests of his workers, but also runs the factory on a proﬁt-sharing basis whereby 90 per cent of the proﬁts are distributed among the workers. Nowadays, there is hardly any competition for Yasir’s business in Bantul, as not many people want to take on the mie lethek production process, which is considered cumbersome. To produce the standard 10 tons of mie lethek a month, which is sold for IDR8,000 [USD0.60] per kilogramme, Yasir requires about 10.5 tonnes of sweet potato ﬂour and 20 tonnes of dried cassava, which he acquires mainly from local farmers around Bantul. The Mie Lethek Garuda factory is
certainly one of the last of its kind, so Yasir is one of the sole suppliers of this local favourite. My visit to this rural lethek noodle factory certainly taught me a life lesson or two about loyalty, dedication, and the determination to preserve a timeless cultural heritage. Journey Fulﬁlled When I returned to Yogya, I still had mie lethek on my mind. According to my reliable sources back in Srandakan, there was a famous mie lethek stall near the site of the old Imogiri Market that collapsed during the devastating 2006 earthquake. After a little searching, I found it – Warung Kang Sum, which was started by Kang Sum's grandfather, Karto Wijoto. I was told that the stall is never without customers, and this was certainly true. Here, they have everything from boiled and fried mie lethek to magelangan mie lethek (noodles mixed with fried rice). Adding to the ﬂavour of the mie lethek here is the rich chicken broth (simmered for over an hour) in which the noodles are soaked. The mie lethek is then cooked on a coconut shell charcoal stove, and
sprinkled with sliced leeks, tomatoes, and shreeded cabbage and carrot. For decades, lethek noodles could only be found at traditional markets and food stalls. Recently, however, this delicacy is attracting a great deal of attention, paving the way for mie lethek to be added to restaurant menus as well. As I enjoyed my mie lethek, chewy and a little spicy – due to the blend of candlenut, fried onions, chilli and garlic – my thoughts drifted to the Mie Lethek Garuda factory and how it empowers its workers, ensuring they are invested in the future of this old-style delight. I can only hope that the younger generations see the potential and the historical value in the tradition that Yasir has helped preserve thus far, and will follow in his footsteps to uphold a culinary experience that is beyond compare.
GETTING THERE AirAsia ﬂies to Yogyakarta from various destinations. airasia.com
WANDERLUST / Japan
1. Clad in a mawashi (loincloth), a young boy learns the ﬁner points of sumo from an experienced rikishi (sumo wrestler). Though children can indulge in ‘practice’ sessions during heya (professional sumo training stable) open days and sumo exhibitions, novices are only recruited when they are around 15 years of age and must undergo years of training before they are ready for the ring.
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Artof Sumo In January, as Japan gears up to watch the electrifying Hatsu Basho (Sumo New Year Tournament) – the ﬁrst of six grand tournaments for the year – here's a look at the traditions and rituals still observed in a wrestling art that dates back over 1,500 years. IMAGES Getty
1. A wrestler tosses a handful of salt into the dohyo (ring) before a bout, in a ritual that is believed to purify the ring. This salt puriﬁcation is among several traditions that wrestlers observe during tournaments. Of equal importance is the ritual ring entering or stomping, which is performed by a yokuzuna (the highest rank in professional sumo wrestling) at the start of every tournament day. 2. A sumo wrestler eyes a large bowl of chanko nabe during a heya open day in Osaka, Japan. Heya open days offer fans a glimpse of a wrestler’s day-to-day routine, and sometimes, the opportunity to sample chanko nabe – a sumo wrestler’s staple. This ﬂavourful stew consists of noodles, vegetables and lots of protein to help wrestlers bulk up. 3. Though sumo has evolved into a ticketed event with a huge fan base, the lifestyle of wrestlers or rikishi is highly regimented, and age-old traditions are still upheld. Rikishi must wear traditional Japanese attire, which usually consists of a yukata (cotton robe) and geta (wooden sandals) while out in public. However, the quality of material and style of dress is dependent upon a wrestler’s rank.
4. In Osaka’s Tennoji neighbourhood, the façade of a restaurant is decorated with vintage-style prints of sumo wrestlers. Since the Edo period (1603 to 1868), Osaka, Japan’s third largest city, has been a prominent centre for sumo in Western Japan. Alongside Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka, Osaka is also a venue for Japan’s annual Grand Sumo Tournament.
Honbasho Calendar In the 1950s, the Grand Sumo Tournament was devised as a way to organise competitions into a professional system. The annual honbasho (professional sumo tournament) season kicks off every January with the Hatsu (opening) Basho at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, and is followed by tournaments held in Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Tokyo (which hosts three of the six competitions). Each tournament spans 15 days, with bouts divided into six divisions ranging from the top-rated makuuchi to jonokuchi – the lowest rung. A wrestler’s promotion or relegation is dependent on his performance during these official tournaments. The next Hatsu Basho takes place in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on January 14.
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1. Legendary yokozuna Chiyonofuji Mitsugu performs the ceremonial ring entering ritual at the Kyushu Basho tournament in November 1983. The late sumo wrestler is among Japan’s most illustrious ﬁghters, with 1,045 victories during his 21-year career. Nicknamed ‘The Wolf’, Chiyonofuji was known for his muscular physique and athleticism, as well as ferocity in the ring.
2. Sumo wrestlers pit their skills against one another in a dohyo. Encircled by bales of straw, the sand-covered dohyo occupies the centre of a clay platform. The earthen ring also features an overhead canopy modelled after the roof of a shrine, in a nod to sumo’s beginnings as a Shinto ritual.
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1. One of the most prominent sumo venues in Japan, Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo can accommodate over 11,000 spectators around its dohyo. Three of the six competitions in Japan’s annual Grand Sumo Tournament – the country’s most prominent sumo championships – are held in this stadium every January, May and September. 2. The sumo wrestler’s slick chonmage (topknot) originates from a traditional Japanese hairstyle worn by samurai during the Edo period. When a wrestler joins a heya, he is expected to grow his hair long enough for it to be tied in a topknot. The chonmage is so symbolic, that at a wrestler’s retirement ceremony, the snipping off of his topknot is one of the main events. 3. Pictured here is a gyoji (professional sumo referee) with his trusty gunbai (wooden war fan), which is used to indicate the winner of each bout of wrestling. During tournaments, a gyoji’s duties include selecting the day’s matchups and recording wrestlers’ results. The attire of a gyoji is similar to that of a Shinto priest and harks back to sumo’s origins. 4. A sumo wrestler’s responsibilities are not merely conﬁned to the ring. Every spring, in temples across Japan, sumo wrestlers are called into service to make babies cry (with parental approval, of course)! During the Nakizumo festival, sumo wrestlers try their mightiest to induce a baby’s tears by making noises and pulling faces – for good reason. The act is believed to drive away demons and bring a baby good health.
Winning Moves Japan Sumo Association, the governing body for professional sumo wrestling, recognises over 80 stances as kimarite, or winning moves. These motions encompass gripping, pushing, thrusting, throwing and backwards body drops. While the extensive list covers a range of ﬁnishing movements, most sumo bouts end with a victorious push (oshi), grip (yori) or thrust (tsuki).
GETTING THERE AirAsia ﬂies to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya from various destinations. airasia.com
WANDERLUST / AirAsia Allstars Special
The Good Fight Five AirAsia Allstars share their inspiring stories of resilience and courage in the face of overwhelming odds, revealing the importance of a support network, particularly one that includes the workplace. WORDS Kerry-Ann Augustin PHOTOGRAPHY Alex Chia
ighting cancer takes so much more than just modern medicine. It requires a strong mind, an unbreakable spirit and an army of allies – family, friends, and even employers. For over two years, AirAsia and National Cancer Council Malaysia (MAKNA), a nonproﬁt organisation, have worked hand-inhand within the #AirAsiaMAKNA campaign to spread cancer awareness while raising funds for research and underprivileged patients. The latest #AirAsiaMAKNA: Rebel with a Cause campaign is testimony of the airline’s stand – the battle against cancer is a collective effort, and there is a need to
recognise the courage and tenacity of those who ﬁght it. As the late AirAsia Allstar Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin, the airline’s much-loved Group Chief Operating Officer who valiantly fought cancer until he breathed his last on January 13, 2017, once said, “I never allow myself to mull over the thought, even for a day, that I would lose the battle.” In the eyes of those who cherish his memory, Anaz may have in the end lost the battle, but he won the war against cancer by greatly inspiring cancer survivors to continue their ﬁght – perfectly emulating AirAsia’s unwavering support for all cancer ﬁghters, including its own Allstars.
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Marianne 'Maan' B Hontiveros 69, Chairwoman, AirAsia Phillippines
“These are all reconstructed,” says Marianne B Hontiveros matter-offactly, pointing to her chest. “And I got a free tummy-tuck out of it!” she adds with a laugh. Fondly known as Maan, the Chairwoman of AirAsia Philippines radiates with such conﬁdence and charisma, it is difficult to imagine that she kept her battle with cancer a secret for years. Diagnosed in October 2005 with early stages of Invasive Carcinoma in one breast and Ductal Carcinoma In Situ in the other, Maan wasted no time in launching her crusade against cancer – she went for a second opinion, consulted surgeons and later, scheduled her double mastectomy in New York, US. “I learned that the only way to beat your worst nightmare is to look it right in the eye and say ‘Damn you, I will do everything to get rid of you!’” she shares. Maan says that the operation was the easy part. Her greatest challenge was in keeping her illness a secret from her beloved father, who passed away eight years later without an inkling of what Maan had gone through. “I wanted to spare my father the worry and agony of knowing that I had the same disease that took my mother’s life,” she conﬁdes. After years of constant monitoring and diagnostic tests, Maan was ﬁnally declared cancer-free in 2010. She battled her fear of a relapse by staying positive, spending time with loved ones and looking towards a bright future. Just a year later, Tony Fernandes invited her to share his dream of launching AirAsia in the Philippines. “I had a lot of reasons to live – I knew I could join Tony in pursuing his dream only if I stayed healthy and ﬁt.”
R A E f no
"Cancer affects everyone, directly or indirectly – be it a parent, sibling, colleague or friend. #AirAsiaMAKNA is testament to our mission of ﬁghting cancer, and our partnership with MAKNA underscores AirAsia’s long-term commitment towards supporting an organisation that helps underprivileged cancer patients and conducts lifesaving research. Fighting cancer is not just one person’s initiative; it is a collective effort, and we hope to continue to give back to society by playing our part to create cancer awareness, encourage all ﬁghters, and lend our support to those in need.” ~ Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia Malaysia
Harikrishnan Maniam 01 18
27, Executive, Document Control Centre, Malaysia Over 400 job applications, 25 interviews and a few half-hearted offers – that is what exasperated 24-year-old Harikrishnan had endeavored through until the day the MAKNA volunteer trainer gathered up his courage to ask Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia Malaysia, a simple question: “What is AirAsia’s policy on hiring people with chronic illnesses?”. The crowd at the launch of AirAsia’s collaboration with MAKNA fell silent. “If you have the conﬁdence and can prove your competence, AirAsia’s door is open to you,” was Aireen’s reply. For Harikrishnan, a spunky young man with an indomitable can-do attitude, battling discrimination was even more arduous than ﬁghting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, the cancer he was diagnosed with at age 24. “The biggest misconception most employees have is that cancer patients are a liability to the company. Many doubt our competency to perform at work,” he says, admitting that his honesty in revealing his condition cost him many job prospects.
t i p kee AL RE
After the press conference, Harikrishnan was met by Aireen, Aziz Laikar (Head of Communications, AirAsia Malaysia) and Anaz Tajuddin. They offered him an opportunity at an interview to prove himself, just like any other job applicant. 2018 marks Harikrishnan’s third year as a full-time employee at the airline’s Document Control Centre. Despite lingering after-effects of the disease, which he refers to as “the epitome of physical pain”, Harikrishnan is always seen with a ready smile, brimming with optimism some of us can only hope to achieve someday. “The support of my superiors and team is a critical part in ﬁghting cancer. My family at AirAsia doesn’t deﬁne who I am by my illness, but by my capabilities – sometimes even I forget I’m ill!”
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e v o ip l , h y s l d i n m fa frie &
25, Cabin Crew, India Divya Meda couldn’t believe what she had just heard. How was it possible that a healthy, stunning, 24-year-old with a jet-setting job and a bright future be diagnosed with cervical cancer? “My whole life turned upside down,” says Divya, recounting the fateful day in 2014 when she discovered that she was ill. For months, she was riddled with anxiety and profound sadness. When she started chemotherapy in early 2016, her lush lashes and thick, wavy tresses started to fall, much like her self-esteem that was slowly chipping away. Being a cabin crew, she felt it was only a matter of time before she would be asked to leave. But what happened next took Divya by total surprise. “My manager Jasmine Dhillon, Head of Cabin Crew, never once doubted my capabilities when I returned to work after my chemo and surgeries. Instead, she saw me as a stronger person and told me
I was an inspiration nspiration to everyone.” That unshakable hakable reassurance from her employer, oyer, and the enduring love of family mily and closest friends, reignited Divya’s desire to live. Now, after ter four years since she was ﬁrst diagnosed, iagnosed, Divya is still ﬂying with h AirAsia India, but her perspective ve on life has completely changed. “I want to set an example for people who are ﬁghting the Big C. Of course, there is fear but don’t become ome victimised by it – beat it with h willpower, faith, hope, love, determination rmination and most importantly, attitude.” ly, a positive attitude.
Aziza Ariffin 46, Kuching Hub Manager, Malaysia
The day Aziza Ariffin was diagnosed with cervical precancer in 2014, a steady stream of tears trickled down her cheeks. At ﬁrst, Aziza, a mother of two and the airline’s Hub Manager in Kuching, Malaysia, thought the best thing she could do was to resign from the company to which she had dedicated 11 years of her life. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to perform at work,” she conﬁdes. When news reached her former boss Francis Loh, Head of Group Operations based in Kuala Lumpur, he ﬂew down to Kuching immediately. “Francis mentioned that Tony (Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia) wanted me to receive treatment in Singapore as Anaz did.” The late Anaz Tajuddin became one of Aziza’s closest conﬁdants and strongest supporters throughout her battle with cancer, calling her frequently and reminding her to keep ﬁghting. “He motivated me to continue working,” says Azizah, reaffirming how important a good support system at work is. “I would never be as strong as I am now without the motivating support from Tony, Aireen, Francis, Anaz and so many others. They helped me to continue believing in myself.”
n i h t i a have f lf!!! yourse
Raise & Rise Together R AirA and MAKNA have raised MYR700,000 (approx. USD170,000) during AirAsia the short duration since the #AirAsiaMAKNA campaign was launched in 2015. As part of the ongoing commitment to increase cancer awareness and raise fun funds for underprivileged patients, the organisations have collaborated with Ma Malaysia’s leading fashion e-commerce retailer, FashionValet, to sell exclusive AirA AirAsiaMAKNA t-shirts. The pilot and cabin crew inspired t-shirts for both kid kids and adults are available for purchase at MYR30 (approx. USD7) each in sselected stores in Pavilion and Bangsar Village II shopping malls in Kuala Lum Lumpur, as well as online at airasia.com/airasiamakna and fashionvalet.com.
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Nereewipakarn Teethong (Jack) 39, RAMP Bus Driver, Thailand
If there’s one person who seems like she can take cancer down singlehandedly, it’s Nereewipakarn Teethong. Not only is the 39-yearold grandmother a bus driver with AirAsia Thailand’s RAMP team, she is also the only female Allstar in the department! “I can do a man’s job,” she says, offering a gentle smile, which immediately softens her angular features. Born Sunikorn Teethong, she changed her name to Nereewipakarn, which means ‘strong woman’ in Thai, after overcoming the trauma of a car accident and later, stage two uterine cancer. Her journey in ﬁghting the illness was both emotionally and physically painful but Nereewipakarn refused to succumb to the same disease that took her father’s life – she fought tooth and nail, enduring excruciating treatments that rendered her weak. “I was terriﬁed that I might lose my job because of this,” says Nereewipakarn, an Allstar since 2010. At home she had the strong backing of her mother and family, who inspired her to continue ﬁghting the disease. At work, her department came together to build her a web of support – on days she felt unﬁt to drive, her team voluntarily took on the task for her and let her handle administrative work instead. They checked on her constantly, yet never made her feel different from anyone else. “It’s true that I had some physical limitations, but love and support from people around us can do wonders,” says Nereewipakarn with conviction.
Doses of Discrimination People diagnosed with cancer, and even those who have successfully recovered, often face discrimination in the workplace. Some of the various forms of discrimination include: being sacked or demoted for taking time off work for medical treatment; being overlooked for new
y l i m a f
or important positions due to the perception that the employee might be too weak to perform their duties; and being made redundant in fear that the company will incur cost for medical treatments. Statistics from a study carried out in 2016 by British charitable organisation Macmillian Cancer Support clearly show that there is a need to strengthen antidiscrimination policies at the
workplace to assist employees diagnosed with cancer. These are some of the ﬁndings.
• 85 per cent of cancer patients felt that continuing to work was important in their ﬁght against the disease.
• 18 per cent of people who returned to the workforce after being diagnosed with cancer faced discrimination from their employer or colleagues.
It is clear that support in the workplace is crucial in helping cancer ﬁghters keep up the good ﬁght and continue leading a meaningful life.
• 14 per cent resigned, or worse, were made redundant, as a result of their diagnosis.
WANDERLUST / Vietnam
96 hours in Nha Trang Pack a sense of adventure and get the most out of Nha Trang, a beautiful beach destination along Vietnam's South Central Coast. WORDS Ari Vanuaranu PHOTOGRAPHY Alex Chia
Nha Trang Beach is not merely a touristy spot, as it's also popular with the locals who congregate here mainly in the early morning and late afternoon when the weather is cooler.
have to admit that I didn’t know much about Nha Trang before my trip, so I was pleasantly surprised to ﬁnd it one of the most developed Southeast Asian beach destinations I had ever visited. The city’s claim to fame is its beautiful crescentshaped beach that seems to stretch forever, and from its spacious promenade, you can marvel at the azure waters of the South China Sea. The fun is not limited by the shoreline however, as when the sun goes down, the city exudes vibrancy and excitement. This may lead you to believe that Nha Trang is just another resort city rampant with commercialism, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, as even in the shadows of its skyscrapers, authentic Vietnam simmers, waiting to be explored.
Day 1: Spiritual Sojourn Historically rooted in the ancient Kingdom of Champa, Nha Trang has a unique and fascinating history. I started my day by visiting Po Nagar Cham Towers, the most well-preserved Cham ruins in the country. Erected between the 7th and 12th centuries, this Hindu temple was built to honour Goddess Po Nagar, the progenitor of the Cham people. As the temple is situated on top of a small hill, I was able to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city with the colourful ﬁshing trawlers crowding Cai River estuary. Local legend has it that the river’s Xom Bong Bridge survived WWII bombings due to the temple’s spiritual protection.
My next stop was one of the city’s most iconic monuments, the Long Son Pagoda – a window to a turbulent time during the French colonial occupation of Vietnam. It was built in 1886 by freedom ﬁghter Thich Ngo Chi. The temple itself is constructed in multiple levels along the slope of a small hill, and a beautiful 24m-tall statue of a white Buddha seated on a lotus throne awaits visitors who manage the climb up the 150-odd stone steps to the temple. As Vietnam became a part of French Indochina in 1887, missionaries started to pour into the country to spread Catholicism. It was during this time that the French bisected Hon Mot Mountain and made the western half the site of Christ the King Cathedral, my last stop for the day. Construction of the church, the largest in Nha Trang, began in 1928, and although it was consecrated in 1930, the cathedral was only completed in 1941. The elegant structure is a ﬁne example of French architecture, especially the Gothic Revival style, with its simple cement blocks, beautiful stained glass windows and rose doors. Although all three houses of worship stand close to each other, they represent very different stages in the country’s history. Three different religious sanctuaries and three historical eras in just one day? There is no other Vietnamese city that offers this exceptional experience.
Eating your Way through Nha Trang Considering the locals’ svelte ﬁgure, it is almost unbelievable that Nha Trang’s street food scene is an endless trail of irresistible treats. These are some must-tries that I discovered on Lanterns Restaurant’s Street Food Tour. lanternsvietnam.cf BANH TRANG TRON A hodgepodge of rice paper sheets, julienned mango, roasted peanuts, shredded beef jerky and chopped Vietnamese coriander, this salad can qualify as a main course! BANH CANH At its simplest, this dish consists of thick rice noodles in rich ﬁsh broth. But there are variants, with ﬁsh cake, crab, ﬁsh organs or quail eggs, among others. BANH XEO This rice ﬂour and coconut milk pancake is served sizzling from the pan, and it’s up to you to ﬁll it with bean sprouts, shrimp and thin slices of pork. BANH TRANG NUONG Vendors place a quail egg on a round rice paper and top it with anything from pork ﬂoss to pâté, before grilling this ‘Vietnamese pizza’ to perfection.
Day 2: Sun, Sea & Sand I woke up at 4.00am and ventured 3.5km northward from my hotel, Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa, in the city centre to the tranquil Hon Chong Beach. Guided by nothing but the torch on my mobile phone, and accompanied by a new friend I had met the night before during my sightseeing jaunt, I hopped from one rock to another until we reached Hon Chong Promontory. This impressive collection of smooth-surfaced boulders, stacked one on top of the other, created the perfect location for a glorious Vietnamese sunrise. But before I managed that perfect Instagram-worthy shot, we were interrupted by security guards who politely asked us to vacate the area. That was when I learnt that the only legit entrance to the place is via a café that only opens at 7.00am, long after sunrise. On my next visit to Nha Trang, I will be sure to enjoy my sunrise viewing escapades at Po Nagar Cham Towers instead! However, being up and about at sunrise in the quieter part of Nha Trang provided the perfect opportunity to observe locals at the seaside. From Tran Phu Beach (just to the south of Hon Chong) all the way to Nha Trang Beach, families splashed about in the sea as couples walked hand-in-hand on the shore, while older folks practised tai chi at the promenade. As the sun rose higher in the sky and the locals dispersed to get on with
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01 18 1. Glitzy nightclubs and ﬁve-star hotel lounges give visitors plenty of reason to explore Nha Trang’s nightlife. 2. The giant white Buddha statue – Kim Than Phat To – seated on a lotus blossom on top of Trai Thuy Hill is visible from most parts of Nha Trang city. 3. The abundant catch available in the city's bay contributes to bun ca (ﬁsh vermicelli soup), a local favourite in Nha Trang.
“Nha Trang’s most famous mudbath venue is Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre, where you can enjoy the therapeutic treat in a private tub or a communal pool.”
the day, tourists arrived to take their place, settling into comfortable spots on the beach. I quietly watched the ‘shift’ from my low stool on the sidewalk, next to elderly gentlemen sipping their morning ca phe sua nong (Vietnamese hot milk coffee) ever so slowly. If you’re looking for an off-shore activity, islandhopping around Hon Mun Marine Park, which includes Hon Mun, Hon Tam, Hon Mot, Hon Mieu and Hon Tre islands, provides ample opportunity to swim with reef ﬁsh among the pretty corals. Unfortunately, travelling in October meant that I was not presented with the best visibility as it was monsoon season; March to April is the ideal period for snorkelling. But, stubborn as I am, I tried my luck anyway with snorkelling at Ninh Van Bay, which is dotted with luxury resorts like L'Alyana Ninh Van Bay, and was greeted by unfriendly choppy waters. Not all was lost though, as the bay’s lush jungle and granite hills in the backdrop were a visual treat. When I returned to Nha Trang city, it was late afternoon. I walked barefooted in the vicinity of
another one of Nha Trang’s iconic landmarks, Tram Huong Tower (literally meaning ‘agarwood’), known locally as ‘Lotus Tower’. Just steps away, on Nha Trang beach, enterprising ladies busily attended to their braziers, grilling everything from clams to lobsters, to be served to locals dressed in office attire and tourists in their bikinis and speedos, awaiting sunset. I realised that I had gone full circle, from sunrise to sunset, and this was the perfect ending to an adventurous day. Day 3: Thrills & Spills Nha Trang has some of the quirkiest parks, guaranteed to provide endless excitementfor the young and young-at-heart. Dubbed ‘Vietnamese Disneyland’, Vinpearl Land is most likely the most famous among Vietnam’s theme parks. Located on Hòn Tre island, directly adjacent to Nha Trang city, Vinpearl Land is only acessible via a 3,310m-long oversea cable car ride – one of the longest in the world! Vinpearl Land is everything a theme park should be, with exciting rides, a 3D cinema, entertainment troupes, refreshment stands and souvenir shops.
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1. Po Nagar Cham Towers temple is set on a hill with a fantastic panorama of the city. Pictured here is Xom Bong Bridge over Cai River, and colourful ﬁshing boats, as viewed from the temple. 2. Vietnamese American Kane Ho and Filipino American Marian Galam are the enterprising husband-and-wife owners of LIVIN Collective concept store, which offers creative memorabilia designed by local artistans. 3. Banh xeo are mini savoury pancakes that come with a variety of toppings. Beware; they are extremely addictive!
1. Locals kicking back over a glass of Vietnamese coffee on the sidewalk is not only a common sight in Nha Trang, but across Vietnam as well. 2. Visitors are required to dress modestly when visiting Po Nagar Cham Towers. Robes are also provided free of charge should the need arise. 3. Get cosy in your private egg-shaped pods, where you can indulge in a revitalising hot mud bath.
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Did you know that Nha Trang is said to be the best mudbath destination in the country? Mudbaths are believed to have anti-inﬂammatory properties, and alleviate aches and muscle pains, and are great for that youthful glowing complexion. Having learned this, I was sold! Nha Trang’s most famous mudbath venue is Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre, where you can enjoy the therapeutic treat in a private tub or a communal pool. And for a more zany experience, head out to Tram Trung or 100 Egg Theme Park, where everything is themed around, you guessed it, eggs! Choose from egg-shaped pools or egg-shaped hot tubs – it’s up to you. If you’re looking for a bite, there’s the Egg Restaurant. No prizes for guessing what they serve there. I admit that I was a little weirded out the ﬁrst time I heard about this place, but having a hot mudbath inside an egg-shaped private pod turned out to be one of the coolest experiences in Nha Trang, although I needed to lay off eggs for a few days after that. Day 4: Shop. Dine. Repeat. After watching the sunrise from Nha Trang Beach, conveniently located right across from my hotel, InterContinental Nha Trang, I ‘stalked’ a group of locals as they headed home. I shadowed them as they walked through alleyways where daily life unfolded behind fancy hotels and bars, and when they stopped to have breakfast at a low-
seated roadside stall, I followed their lead. I wanted to experience a truly local breakfast just like Nha Trang's residents. I noticed that a popular dish here, served at every stall, was bun ca, the vermicelli ﬁsh soup that is practically synonymous with the city itself. Wanting to save room for the scrumptious breakfast buffet back at my hotel, I opted instead for banh can (also known as banh khot in other parts of the country) – mini pancakes that are simply too delicious to resist. Each stall had its own specialty; I opted for banh can topped with a quail egg and served with a delicious dip made of soy sauce, mayonnaise and barbeque sauce. I ended up scarﬁng down ﬁve! So much for saving room for my buffet breakfast. For me, the most daunting part about returning home from a trip is being harassed for souvenirs! So, after breakfast, I headed out to Cho Dam Market, where I found everything, from simple key chains to fancy lacquer paintings. Not far away, LIVIN Collective (livincollective.tumblr.com) offers artisanal products, and designer fashions and accessories – a great choice for visitors looking for cool local souvenirs. It also has a restaurant that serves gourmet burgers, American BBQ and craft beers. Needless to say, the majority of customers here are young travellers and expats. Later at Qui Cuisine – Mixology, a trendy upmarket dining venue famous for its creative Asian fusion dishes and innovative cocktails like Moscow Punch (their take
The Pillion Perspective Riding a motorcycle (or scooter) allows you an up close and personal look at Nha Trang’s most authentic scenery, culture and cuisine. Instead of renting and riding a motorbike, sightsee hassle-free by touring pillion with trusted motorbike operators like Nha Trang Vespa Tour. Here are some of the draws I enjoyed on their tour. CUPPA JOE Sample local ﬂavours of Vietnamese coffee, like creamy coconut milk coffee, in a nostalgic coffee shop with Old Hanoi décor. LOCAL WISDOM Experience the rural way of life by visiting traditional mat weavers and bread makers. COUNTRYSIDE INDULGENCE Enjoy an authentic Vietnamese lunch at a picturesque lotus lake restaurant. TEA WITH THE ANCIENTS Visit Phu Vinh Ancient House and learn about Vietnam’s vanishing vernacular architecture, and be treated to afternoon tea with the family.
on the Moscow Mule, with ginger honey, lychee and kaffir lime), I relaxed to beats spun by a resident DJ. As the night was still young, I decided to take my Nha Trang rendezvous to the next level, literally – to check out Skylight, a one-stop dining and entertainment venue situated atop one of the city’s tallest buildings. Chef’s Club Restaurant, the highest restaurant in the city, offers a delicious, yet arguably affordable culinary journey with a menu curated by Iron Chef Vietnam’s Michael Bao. There’s also a swimming pool and Vietnam’s ﬁrst rooftop beach club, but I was there mostly to take selﬁes at Skywalk, a glass balcony suspended 43 ﬂoors above the ground. Trendy locals, awe-struck tourists and busy expats mingled in this city of stars, where even a wallﬂower like myself was swept away by the alluring vibe of this dynamic city. Whether you’re looking to party or relax, there's something for everyone – beautiful beaches, historic buildings and lively entertainment; it’s all here in Nha Trang.
GETTING THERE AirAsia ﬂies to Nha Trang from Kuala Lumpur. airasia.com
Up, Up & Away How high should a plane ﬂy? Captain Lim Khoy Hing explains optimum cruising altitudes. high a plane is ﬂying at any given time. A basic altimeter is shaped like a clock face with a dial on one end, and contains a capsule known as an aneroid that expands and contracts according to the varying air pressure. As a plane climbs, the air becomes less dense causing the capsule to expand, and the opposite happens during descent. The movement of the aneroid is transferred to the ‘clock hands’, indicating the plane’s altitude.
ll planes generally have a preferred cruising altitude, and frequent ﬂyers will notice this when their captain makes an inﬂight announcement, or when this information is displayed on the video screens. The cruising level is normally chosen for economical reasons, as a higher altitude is favoured because the thinner air allows a plane to cruise more easily and thereby, burn less fuel. This is dependent on the weight of the aircraft – the lighter the plane, the higher it can go. Therefore, an aircraft may start cruising at 33,000ft and eventually end up at 41,000ft closer to its destination when more fuel has been consumed. Optimum Level The most economical altitude is known as the optimum ﬂight level. For instance, if the optimum ﬂight level to Hong Kong from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is 35,000ft,
all the planes departing would request for this level. Although the air traffic controller endeavours to meet this request from the pilot, it is not always possible, and the pilot may be provided with a different ﬂight level instead. If the pilot is given 2,000ft above the optimum ﬂight level, the plane would burn 2.5 per cent more fuel, whereas 4,000ft below optimum ﬂight level would cause the plane to consume ﬁve per cent more fuel. Even worse, 8,000ft below the economical altitude translates to 10 per cent more fuel burn! If the pilot rejects the level he is given, the plane will lose its place in the queue waiting for take-off, causing a delay. Now you can understand what your captain means when he or she says, “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay in our departure due to air traffic control constraints.”
Control Factor On an Airbus aircraft, the pilot controls the altitude by using the side stick. If the pilot wants to decrease the altitude, he pushes the side stick forward to dip the
Rules of the Game There are rules and regulations in place to prevent planes that are travelling towards each other from colliding. These rules are enforced by air traffic controllers.If you take our earlier example of a ﬂight between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, which is given a cruising level of 35,000ft, a plane travelling in the opposite direction will be allocated 36,000ft with a 1,000ft separation to ensure a safe distance between aircraft.
Steady Under Pressure The altimeter is a gauge that measures air pressure to determine how
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1. Pilots in unpressurised planes must wear oxygen masks to prevent hypoxia (deprivation of adequate oxygen). 2. A modern altimeter on the Primary Flight Display of an aircraft. 3. A basic aircraft altimeter indicating a ﬂight level of 40,000ft.
Captain Lim Khoy Hing’s second book Sky Tales (a follow-up to Life in the Skies, which won third place in the Reader’s Choice Award at the Malaysia BookFest 2015) and the Mandarin version of Life in the Skies뺾͉Ǆūʦ뺿are now available for purchase on board all AirAsia and AirAsia X ﬂights. Pre-book your copy at ROKKIshop.com to enjoy these great collections written by a veteran aviator.
nose of the plane. The opposite happens in a climb – the pilot pulls the side stick back to lift the nose. When the pilot wants to hold a steady altitude, the side stick is held in a neutral position. This manipulation is tiring on a long ﬂight, and that’s where the autopilot comes in to help the pilot maintain a constant altitude. Cruising Along A jetliner typically cruises between 30,000 and 40,000ft, allowing it to avoid much
oxygen) from affecting their performance.
of the bad weather conditions, whereas a propeller-driven plane ﬂies around 15,000 to 20,000ft. These aircraft usually encounter turbulent and cloudy weather while descending to lower altitudes as they near their destination. Light aircraft, on the other hand, are not pressurised and therefore ﬂy below 10,000ft. If they ﬂy any higher than that, pilots in unpressurised planes are required to wear oxygen masks to prevent hypoxia (deprivation of adequate Captain Lim Khoy Hing is a former AirAsia Airbus A320 and AirAsia X A330/A340 pilot who also used to ﬂy the Boeing 777. He has logged a total of more than 25,500 ﬂying hours and is now a Flight Simulator Instructor with AirAsia X. In his spare time, he shares his opinion on aviation issues with others. For more air travel and aviation stories, check out his website, ‘Just About Flying’ at askcaptainlim.com
Highs & Lows Every plane has a maximum height, or service ceiling as it is called in aviation, which is a designated altitude above which the pilot must not ﬂy for performance reasons. The service calling is 41,450ft for the Airbus A330, and 43,100ft for the Boeing 777. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it is illegal to ﬂy below 1,000ft when the aircraft is over builtup areas, or lower than 500ft when over any person, vehicle or structure, except during takeoff and landing. This is to avoid negative environmental effects caused by loud noise, as well as in consideration of safety issues. Keeping in Tune I hope that with this month’s article, you are more in tune with ﬂight delays, and your environment as your plane soars into the skies. As you can see, there is much that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that your ﬂight is a smooth and safe one. With that, I wish you an enjoyable and safe ﬂight.
Between Heaven & Earth Domenic Lee takes on the Himalayas with his family and friends, as they trek to the Everest Base Camp, 5,364m above sea level – a journey they will cherish forever.
Trekking to the Everest Base Camp (EBC) is, without a doubt, the adventure of a lifetime. I was fortunate enough to experience this journey with my wife, our 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, and two long-time family friends – the perfect group of six on the EBC trail. For my family and me, it wasn’t the ﬁrst time we went trekking in Nepal.
Having already hiked to Poon Hill (3,210m) and Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m) not too long ago, we felt ready to take on the EBC route. As expected, trekking to EBC was far more challenging than our earlier escapades, and we were glad that we had taken the time beforehand to equip ourselves with basic orienteering skills and ﬁrst aid knowledge. Our Everest adventure began with a 40-minute ﬂight from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Lukla town, situated 2,860m above sea level. Lukla’s TenzingHillary Airport is considered one of the world's most challenging to access; the runway is a little more than 500m long, and heads off a cliff with a steep drop and rugged terrain on all sides! Only when the pilot said, “Welcome to Tenzing-Hillary,” did I realise that I had been holding my breath the entire time. Once we had our gear in place, we set off on our quest. The trail
1. Enjoying a quiet day of acclimatisation at Dingboche, with a short hike up a nearby mountain. 2. Lee's daughter Min Qi poses with a yak in the background. Yaks are a common sight in the Himalayas, and are mainly used to transport supplies for trekkers and villagers.
between Lukla and EBC is about 60km one way, and a round trip takes approximately 11 to 12 days. Each day, we walked ﬁve to seven hours, stopping for lunch and short breaks. At night, we settled into cosy homestays – family homes that doubled as lodges in the area. The early part of the trail had plenty of descents along the Dudh Kosi River. We crossed numerous suspension bridges, before steep ascents took us back into the mountain ranges. We passed by many prayer wheels and ﬂags, and stones carved with Buddhist verses. The EBC trail offered incredible views of Himalaya’s majestic peaks such as Mt Lhotse (8,516m), Mt Nuptse (7,861m), and of course, the spectacular Mt Everest, unparalleled at 8,848m above sea level. After ﬁve days of trekking, we ﬁnally had the chance to enjoy two days of rest, as we had
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3. One of the many suspension bridges that travellers encounter while trekking in the region. 4. The runway of the famous Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. The runway has a steep 10-degree incline, which aids braking during landing, and acceleration during take-off. 5. The Lee family and their friends at EBC, with against a backdrop of Mt Everest.
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Gunung Ledang, Malaysia Standing at 1,276m, Gunung Ledang, also known as Mount Ophir, is home to an abundance of ﬂora and fauna. The trek to the summit is relatively easy and is perfect for ﬁrst-time mountain climbers.
With the picturesque Truong Son Mountain Range as a backdrop, the resort is an idyllic beach getaway. Mountain trekking, jet skiing, a visit to three UNESCO World Heritage sites nearby – these are just some of the myriad activities Angsana Lang Co guests can enjoy. Cu Du Village, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam +84 234 3695 800
to acclimatise ourselves before climbing higher. It is crucial that you allow your body sufficient time to adjust to environmental changes at higher altitudes. Namche Bazaar, located at an elevation of 3,440m, was our ﬁrst one-day stop to help us acclimatise to the area. After stocking up on food and supplies, we made our way to 4,260m-high Dingboche for our requisite second day of acclimatisation. At an altitude of above 4,000m, breathing becomes more difficult as the air gets thinner, and oxygen levels drop. Our journey certainly became more challenging after Dingboche. We found ourselves stopping more frequently to rest, and we also experienced mild symptoms of altitude sickness like headaches and lack of appetite. On the eighth day of our trip,
we reached Gorak Shep – the last settlement on the EBC trek, located at 5,160m. After a light lunch at a teahouse there, we began the ﬁnal leg of our ascent. We were now a mere 3km from our destination; the ﬁnal two and a half hours to EBC was extremely challenging, but also tremendously exciting. This last part of the trek entailed a substantial amount of climbing and scrambling over rocks, but we knew that it would all be worth our while. The stunning Khumbu Glacier greeted us on the way, making our task a little less arduous. And then, we were there – at the Everest Base Camp. Surrounded by breathtaking snow-peaked mountains, I stood in complete silence, in awe of the majestic presence of Mt Everest.
Chiang Mai, Thailand A mountainous trail with a difference, the Chiang Mai Hill Tribes Trek winds through lush jungle and Thai ethnic villages. Experience a simpler way of life at local homestays along the trail.
Mount Fansipan, Vietnam Dubbed ‘Roof of Indochina’, Vietnam’s highest peak rises 3,143m. Its rugged terrain demands skill and endurance, and trekking up Mt Fansipan is best attempted by seasoned climbers.
I could not believe that ﬁnally, there I was, face-to-face with the magniﬁcent mountain! When time came to head back to Lukla, it was obvious that all of us were sad to leave. With a heavy heart and abundant memories, we set off on our three-day return journey. And as our plane took off from Lukla Airport for Kathmandu, we knew there would be endless stories to share with family and friends back home, about an adventure of a lifetime.
GETTING THERE AirAsia ﬂies to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur. airasia.com
Got an interesting tale about your travels with AirAsia? Email your story (around 800 words) and images (high res min 1MB in size and clearly captioned) to us at [email protected] airasia.com with TRAVEL LOG in the subject line. Published submissions will receive a complimentary stay at a fabulous hotel or resort. travel 3Sixty˚ reserves the right to edit the article for clarity and length or change the value of the prize to another gift of similar value. Prize vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash and the Editorial’s decision is ﬁnal. Entries must include name, address, e-mail address and telephone number.
Revamp, Renew Refresh, revitalise and revive as you kick-start 2018 with style and conﬁdence.
Graphic Vision 70s aesthetic meets contemporary style with the Run Away women’s sunglasses collection from Fendi. Inspired by the graphic heritage of the brand, Fendi's iconic ‘F’ logo is featured within the oversized yet elegant circular frame. Take your pick from ﬁve colours: black, blue, brown, pink and red. fendi.com
Eyes Aﬂutter Tinted Lips Start the New Year on a cheerful note with Gogo Tint, the easywear bright cherry tinted lip and cheek stain by Beneﬁt. The see-through smudgeproof (and kiss-proof!) formula guarantees long wear, and the tint’s natural glow allows for buildable coverage. So, Gogo for that trending dewy look. beneﬁtcosmetics.com
Founded by two Malaysian entrepreneurs, Dida boosts conﬁdence by accentuating every woman’s best features. The affordable, quality cosmetics brand recently launched Wonder Shadow – stunning pigmented eye-shadow that blends smoothly, and is available in six attractive shades. didaforwomen.com
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“Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” ~ Ralph Lauren, fashion designer and philanthropist
Chic Twosome The trendy Lambretta Braided Leather Bracelet Duo are a must-have rugged addition to your wardrobe. Made from genuine leather, the premium quality stainless steel and exclusive gold plating clasps add a touch of classic elegance to the black and cognac brown bracelets that come with a two-year international warranty.
Step out in simple elegance with accessories from Olivia & Diego, and feel great that you’re supporting a worthy cause. The sustainable fashion brand from Philippines works with stay-at-home mothers and human trafficking survivors to upcycle eco-friendly materials into handmade artisanal jewellery. Add a pop of colour to your ensemble with these candy-coloured woven ropes made from discarded fabrics. airasiafoundation.com
Face Facts Whip up your own DIY face mask with ingredients from the kitchen! Exclusively available at AirAsia Foundation’s Destination: GOOD social enterprise pop-up store at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2)
Marine Pampering Recover from your New Year bash with Crabtree & Evelyn’s La Source bath collection, formulated with soothing mineral salts and nutrient-rich seaweed. Let ocean vibes invigorate your senses as you cleanse and refresh with the gentle body wash, exfoliate and soften skin with the creamy scrub, and hydrate with the lightweight body lotion. crabtree-evelyn.com
Pucker Up in HD Indulge yourself with the intense gel colours of Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolour. With an advanced formula that contains hyaluronic acid, this hydrating lippy promises long-wear colour that takes you from day to night. Purchase the travel collection with ﬁve sexy shades, and get a free Revlon ColorStay Eye Liner!
Have your purchases delivered to your seat (on selected ﬂights) when you pre-book duty free products online at ROKKIshop.com
Goodness to the Pore To keep acne-causing bacteria at bay and tighten pores, whisk an egg white (or yogurt) with orange juice and turmeric powder. The vitamin C and brightening properties in the concoction help tone the skin.
Peel & Reveal Did you know
Textile Art Inspired by traditional hand-woven fabricmaking techniques, Thai fashion label Parissara displays style and feminine ﬂuidity in its easy-wear designs. With Parissara’s ethically sourced products like kaftans made from 100 per cent cotton and natural ma klua dyed kimonos and handcrafted bags, there’s certainly something for everyone. parissara.com
that oatmeal is a wonderful exfoliator that's gentle and soothing on the skin? So, the next time you’re having oatmeal for breakfast, mix some with mashed banana and honey to form a refreshing face paste.
Smooth Finish Before you turn in for the night, apply a mixture of mashed avocado, honey and yogurt to smoothen and soften your skin. For extra hydration, a teaspoon of virgin olive oil does the trick.
Chris Zeiher Lonely Planet's widely travelled Director of Sales & Marketing and Brand Spokesperson (Asia Paciﬁc) talks to travel 3Sixty° about his favourite destinations and having one of the best jobs in the world.
Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2018 is available at MPH Bookstores and mphonline. com for MYR74.90 (approx. USD18).
COMPILED BY: ABBY YAO
How does one become the Brand Spokesperson for Lonely Planet? By accident! There was no ‘big plan’, but my parents instilled in me the importance of travelling and experiencing new places and cultures, so a sense of exploration has always been in my blood. I also write for our publications and lonelyplanet.com.
This seems like a dream job. But what are the hidden challenges? Every purchased cup of coffee or check-in process becomes work. You assess every experience, even when not travelling for work, through the lens of a traveller. You consider things like: “Is this value for money, could a traveller ﬁnd this place easily, does this venue deliver an authentic experience?” It’s hard to switch off from this way of thinking, but it’s why we’re good at what we do – putting Lonely Planet at the forefront of travel thought leadership and acting as the goto travel authority globally.
How does Lonely Planet shortlist the destinations that make into the annual 'Best in Travel' guide? We start with a call-out to our on-the-road authors, staff and inﬂuential travel community to nominate destinations (with reasoning) that will be on the traveller radar in the following year. We look for new, emerging or transformed destinations that offer something unique or
exciting to the traveller. From there, a shortlist is created and a panel of experts score each destination on various criteria that include topicality, unique experiences, and that hardto-deﬁne ‘X’ factor. I’ve been fortunate to have been on the judging panel for the last three years; it’s never a guarantee as the judges change each year to ensure a variety of expert opinions. I’ve also authored Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel for the last ﬁve years. What are the hotspots in Asia Paciﬁc this year? You can’t go past Japan, the ‘It’ destination of Asia right now. For us, the demand for advice and content on Japan is at a historical high. That brilliant collision of traditional and modern means that Japan delivers one of the world’s most unique travel experiences. We’ve also highlighted the Kii Peninsula with its lush landscape, beautiful
never bored by the options that this tiny nation offers. What are your tips for travellers looking for an authentic experience? For me, authenticity comes via connection to a place, which is often best achieved via chats with the locals. Some of my best experiences on the road have come from conversing with locals in a bar, café or bookshop. I’ve discovered amazing places on the back of these recommendations.
What is the greatest cultural faux pas you’ve ever made and how did you effect damage control? Oh dear! I’ve tripped up in the past with language issues and it always seems to involve me trying to ﬁnd a bathroom. Often it’s a misinterpretation from either or both parties having the conversation. It’s really important to learn some key phrases in the local language to assist with overcoming any communication barriers such as “Hello”, “Thank you”, “Goodbye” and the big one, “Where is the toilet?”!
temples, easy access to Osaka, and one of Japan’s oldest hot springs – Yuomine Onsen. Which destination in the 'Best in Travel 2018' list is your personal favourite, and why? I adore New Zealand, particularly its North Island. It’s one of my favourite places to travel to due to the incredible variety of experiences you can have there. From hiking (tramping, if you’re a Kiwi) the breathtaking Coromandel, to eating up a storm at one of Auckland’s impressive waterfront cafés or cellar door hopping on Waiheke Island; there’s always something amazing to do there. Which is your go-to destination in Southeast Asia? Singapore continues to impress me; its dining scene stands out as one of the best in Southeast Asia. Whether it’s eating in a hawker centre, having brunch in the Botanic Gardens, or tasting an exquisite degustation menu on Keong Saik Road, I’m
What would you recommend budget travellers to not skimp on? Time. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you should rush things. Most of the pleasure I derive from a trip is in the journey itself – discovering that incredible street vendor tucked away on a side-street offering a local delicacy or chatting to a local who gives you insider secrets about new places to explore. But to have those experiences you need time to wander, chat to people and immerse yourself in a place. Travel should allow you to set your own pace.
Top Shots Just snapped a cool picture? Send it to [email protected] with ‘Picture Perfect’ in the subject line.
Best Picture Wins A 3D/2N stay in The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort, Langkawi’s Deluxe Rainforest Room, inclusive of breakfast for two, worth approx. USD1,050!
WINNER A food vendor peddles her treats from a boat along the Mekong River.
Lee Gim Hong, Selangor, Malaysia
Located on Malaysia’s idyllic tropical island of Langkawi, The Andaman is tucked between a 10 million-year-old rainforest and the tranquil Datai Bay fringed by 8,000-year-old coral reefs. The ﬁvestar resort’s 178 exquisite rooms and suites offer sweeping views of the stunning Andaman Sea. Its four alluring restaurants serve a variety of local specialties and international favourites, and for some pampered bliss, the V Botanical Spa is the place to head to. Guests can also learn about coral conservation at the resort's coral nursery and participate in activities to conserve the area's reefs. THE ANDAMAN, A LUXURY COLLECTION RESORT, LANGKAWI Jalan Teluk Datai, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia theandaman.com
Second Prize Wins A 3D/2N stay in Le Méridien Putrajaya’s Signature Room, inclusive of breakfast for two, worth approx. USD400!
RUNNER-UP Street vendor, Hanoi, Vietnam David Prentice, Auckland, New Zealand
Situated in Putrajaya, the country's administrative hub, just 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2), Le Méridien Putrajaya is ideal for business and leisure travellers. Designed to reﬂect Le Méridien's chic aesthetic, the hotel’s 353 rooms and suites are tastefully furnished, and offer breathtaking views of the lush golf course nearby. Le Méridien Putrajaya’s eateries include the all-day dining restaurant Latest Recipe, which specialises in local, Japanese and Western cuisines; and Le Mei, which serves authentic Chinese cuisine. LE MÉRIDIEN PUTRAJAYA Lebuh IRC, IOI Resort City, 62502 Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia lemeridienputrajaya.com
Terms & conditions • Readers may submit images that are 300dpi and 1MB in size (minimum half A4 paper size) • Each entry must include name, address, phone number and complete caption • Readers must own the rights to the picture submitted and must have obtained permission to photograph human subjects depicted • Judges’ decision is ﬁnal • Entries are automatically disqualiﬁed if they do not meet our criteria and stated T&C • Winners will be notiﬁed via e-mail when the prize is ready to be sent out • Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash.
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Cabin Rules Why is there a weight limit for cabin luggage? What’s wrong with packing e-cigarettes in checkedin baggage? Are airlines just being fussy or are there genuine reasons why certain restrictions are enforced? With almost 20 years in the aviation industry (on the ground and in the air!), Group Cabin Safety Manager Rooha Jami Subramaniam is well equipped to answer your questions.
As funny as it sounds, using excessive amounts of aerosol-type hairspray, deodorant or perfume in the lavatory can trigger the smoke alarm! To avoid an embarrassing situation, spray moderately.
01 18 Don’t You Always Have To Be Nice To Me? Our cabin crew are trained to provide guests with the best in-ﬂight experience. In fact, we received the award for World’s Leading Inﬂight Service at the World Travel Awards™ in December 2016! An integral part of stellar inﬂight service is ensuring the safety, security and comfort of ALL our guests and crew. Therefore, we practise zero tolerance of abuse and intoxication on board. Unruly guests will not be tolerated and may be handed over to local authorities. Our cabin crew reserve the right to decline serving and selling alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated. Consumption of personal alcoholic beverages is prohibited on board. Can I carry self-heating meals? No, AirAsia practices a strict nooutside food policy. Self-heating meals (pre-prepared meals heated using a chemical reaction within a ﬂameless ration heater (FRH) bag) are strictly prohibited, as the byproducs of the chemical reaction pose a ﬁre hazard. Why Can’t I Carry Cabin Baggage Exceeding 7Kg? Although our cabin
crew are always there to lend a hand with stowing luggage for guests travelling with infants, young guests travelling solo, the elderly, and guests with reduced mobility, we need to ensure that our cabin crew do not throw their backs out by trying to lift a 20kg monster bag! This weight restriction is in place to minimise occupational hazards, as well as to ensure you, our guests, don’t hurt yourselves either while trying to stow or retrieve your own luggage. All cabin baggage must be able to
Rooha Jami Subramaniam Group Cabin Safety Manager
We practise a strict no-smoking policy on board across the entire AirAsia Group
ﬁt in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat in front of you. Each guest is permitted to carry on two items of hand luggage, with a combined weight not exceeding 7kg. When Can I Use My Portable Electronic Devices? All PEDs must be switched off once aircraft doors are closed. Mobile phones in ﬂight mode may only be used during cruise and when instructed by the crew. Devices that transmit strong signals (eg. radios, remote control toys and walkie-talkies) must remain switched off throughout the ﬂight, as they can interfere with the navigational equipment on board. In fact, the Captain may prohibit the use of any device that has the potential to interfere with the aircraft system. All devices must be switched off and stowed when directed by cabin crew and during emergency preparations. In the event that your phone, tablet or other small device gets lodged anywhere between the seats, and you are unable to retrieve it, do not try to adjust the seat. Please inform the cabin crew immediately. Can I Vape Or Smoke On Board? We practise a strict no-smoking policy on board across the entire AirAsia Group, and this policy covers battery-powered portable electronic devices such as e-cigarettes, personal vaporisers, electronic nicotine delivery system and other similar devices. Smoking in the lavatories and tampering with smoke detectors are serious violations that will lead to a ﬁne or imprisonment. If you’re planning on taking your electronic cigarette with you when you travel, please do ensure that you carry your device on you or in your carry-on baggage, and NEVER in your check-in luggage to avoid potential ﬁre hazards. Recharging of the device in-ﬂight is not permitted.
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Did you Know?
SHARE & WIN! Upload your favourite Ho Chi Minh City attractions on your Instagram with the hashtag #t360HCM for a chance to be featured on our website, and win exclusive travel 3Sixty° merchandise.
FROM OUR WEB
Travel Planner A travel companion like no other – check out our monthly guide from travel3sixty.com to discover the best of Asia Paciﬁc and beyond.
Aaron Sarma, Founder & CEO of Touristly, and his team are always cooking up some travel magic for AirAsia guests.
YOUR GUIDE TO ALL THINGS FUN!
Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant mix of old and new. Formerly known as Saigon, the city is a street food paradise. There is also plenty to see and do within the city itself and further aﬁeld. Find the best deals in Ho Chi Minh City at deals.airasia.com and use the promo code – HEAVENLYHOCHIMINH – for a 15 per cent discount on your activities!
For more ideas on places to visit and things to do in and around Ho Chi Minh City (and beyond!), visit travel3sixty.com and type your destination of choice in the search bar.
Mekong Delta Discovery Day Trip (From approx. USD30) Take a peek into Vietnam’s charming rural life as you explore the local village of Ben Luc on bicycle. In the afternoon, gently cruise down the Tien River to visit a coconut candy factory, which represents the area’s popular cottage industry. Stop by at a bee farm next and collect some sweet souvenirs before returning to the city.
Sunset Glory The massive six-lane Thu Thiem Bridge over the Saigon river is one of the best sites to view a stunning sunset. The place offers a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, where visitors can enjoy fresh air while snacking on fried ﬁshballs on a stick, banh trang tron (mixed rice pancake) and other street fare.
Knick-knack Heaven Ben Thanh market is where you can pick up some great souvenirs for friends and family. Everything here, from traditional handicrafts to Vietnamese art and other keepsakes, is available at mark-down prices (to the delight of bargain hunters!). The market is also the go-to place for local hawker food.
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Images: 123RF, Pixabay
Cu Chi Tunnels Half-Day Trip Explore part of the legendary 250km underground tunnel network located about 60km from Ho Chi Minh City. Squeeze into the maze of tunnels once used by Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War, and see ﬁrst-hand how a community lived completely underground. The quintessential selﬁe is a must as you peek out of one of the camouﬂaged trap doors! (From approx. USD19)
“It is said that January is the best time to ‘turn over a new leaf.’ And what better way to do that than by exploring new places to celebrate the New Year? Ho Chi Minh City is a great place to start. The vibrant metropolis is ﬁlled with delicious food, intriguing culture and fascinating history just waiting to be discovered. Marvel at the city’s stunning French colonial icons, savour famous Vietnamese coffee and local favourites like pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and banh mi (Vietnamese baguette), and brace yourself as you cross the streets in a city of over one million motorbikes! Check out travel3Sixty.com for the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.”
Never miss a beat, even at 10,000ft! ROKKI keeps you online and entertained throughout your AirAsia ﬂight.
Inﬂight Entertaiment Connect to ROKKI Wi-Fi and tune in to exciting videos throughout your ﬂight! Experience thrilling entertainment and discover new worlds as you enjoy a variety of international and local content using your personal mobile device. To ﬁnd out what’s screening on ROKKI this month, simply visit rokki.com and catch the shows for free!
Webtvasia The YouTube certiﬁed MultiChannel Network (MCN) is one of Asia’s biggest multi-platform video networks, offering over 1,600 channels to 1.7 billion audiences worldwide.
Manisnya Cinta di Cappadocia
Stepping into her sister Aida’s shoes after her death, Liyana becomes ‘Mum’ to Aida’s children. But, when Liyana's relationship with boyfriend Fredo comes to an end, she ﬁnds herself trying to mend her broken heart even as she tries to heal the little ones in her care. That is, until she meets Nazmi. Will Liyana ﬁnally ﬁnd true love and happiness?
Sell Out! While Rafflesia, host of an ailing TV show, desperately looks for a way to up the ratings and save her career, co-worker Eric, a talented, hard-working product designer constantly ends up being target practice for his insulting boss. Enjoy the hilarity as the two disgruntled employees decide between upholding their creative integrity, and selling out.
Sejoli: Misi Cantas Cinta
Gina and Joe are strangers vacationing in Phuket, Thailand, trying to mend their broken hearts following failed relationships. A chance meeting reveals that their former lovers are getting married, to each other! The pair join forces to break up their exes, but fate has yet another twist in store.
Maria and Mariana are sisters, but completely opposite in nature. As luck would have it, they both fall for Jefri. Initially drawn to the independent and rebellious Mariana, Jefri later shifts his attentions to the well-mannered, disciplined Maria instead, making matters worse in an already tumultuous relationship between the sisters.
Games on Rokki Challenge yourself with puzzles like Giant Hamster Run and Millionaire Quiz!
Ms Yeah, Office Chef Deﬁnitely not your typical chef – Ms Yeah uses office equipment to cook up elaborate meals, at work! Needless to say, she’s a YouTube sensation. Catch her videos like Watermelon Feast for free on ROKKI inﬂight entertainment.
Kokiku TV The largest culinary themed online portal in Indonesia, Kokiku TV offers extensive quality web series that focus on food and travel. Don’t miss regional gems like Lost in Jakarta and others that will make your travels extra special.
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Joy of Flying Whether on a short- or long-haul journey, ﬂying can be a pleasant experience if you are well-prepared. Here are some simple steps to ensure you have a safe, smooth and comfortable journey.
Inﬂight Exercises Troy Bantleman, personal trainer to celebrity athletes and AirAsia big boss Tony Fernandes shows you how to perform easy exercises for a comfortable ﬂight.
Aircraft cabins are generally very dry and dehydration can occur easily. To overcome this:
Drink lots of water but ensure the intake is slow and regular. Drinking too much water at one go will cause the body to expel the water quickly too, forcing you to visit the toilet frequently.
Sit upright with arms held on either side of the body, and push both elbows back while stretching the spine. You should feel the stretch in your back.
Place your right hand horizontally in the crook of your left elbow and press gently against your chest. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat on the other side.
Prevent DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis can occur when a blood clot forms in the large veins of the legs or arms, blocking blood circulation. Inactivity during long ﬂights may lead to the occurrence of DVT. If you are ﬂying long distance, ensure you perform inﬂight exercises such as those listed above as a precaution against developing DVT. When possible and permissible, stretch your legs and walk along the aisle. Be aware of symptoms such as pain or swelling in the legs, which can happen even after you disembark. Seek medical attention if these occur.
Lower Limbs/ Buttocks Stretch Sit straight and cross your right leg over your left leg. Hold your right knee with both hands and lean forward. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
Beat the Lag
Lubricate your eyes with eye drops, as eyes are aggravated by dry atmosphere. Also, ditch the contact lenses and opt for spectacles during the ﬂight. Hydrate your skin by applying moisturiser or spraying a body spritzer on exposed body parts. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol, or keep intake to a minimum.
To counter the effects of jetlag, get as much sleep as possible when ﬂying west to east. When ﬂying in the reverse direction, try to stay awake as much as you can. AirAsia’s chic Snug-as-abug hoodie keeps you cosy with its neck pillow attached to a soft hooded collar, and is easily deﬂated for storage upon landing. Enjoy savings when you pre-book this item at rokkishop.com
Changes in air pressure or altitude cause our ears to ‘pop’ and sometimes ache during take-off and landing. For a comfortable ﬂying experience, suck on sweets or, mimic the act of chewing and swallowing if you do not have any sweets with you. This will relieve the discomfort and help stabilise the pressure in the ear canals. Paciﬁers will work just as well for toddlers. If you have a cold, use a nasal decongestant to clear your nasal passage and alleviate the ache.
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NEW DELHI Kathmandu
Bhubaneswar Mumbai Visakhapatnam
Tiruchirappalli Kochi Colombo Malé
AirAsia International Destinations
Fly to over 130 destinations across Asia and Asia-Paciﬁc with Skytrax World’s Best Low-Cost Airline, 2009-2017. AirAsia Hubs
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Maps not to scale and are just a graphic representation. Maps do not reﬂect the opinion of the publisher with regards to the legal or geographical status of any country/territory depicted. Maps as at January 1, 2018.
Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) Osaka
Jeju Chengdu Chongqing
Wuhan Nanchang Changsha Guilin
Kunming Nanning Mandalay Luang Prabang
ar CHIANG MAI
Guangzhou Shantou Kaohsiung Shenzhen Macao Hong Kong
Da Nang Clark
BANGKOK PATTAYA Surat Thani KRABI PHUKET LANGKAWI
Siem Reap Nha Trang
Phnom Penh Ho Chi Minh City Sihanoukville
HAT YAI Kota Bharu Kuala Terengganu Banda Aceh PENANG MEDAN KUALA LUMPUR JOHOR BAHRU Singapore Pekanbaru
KOTA KINABALU Bandar Seri Begawan Miri Bintulu
PACIFIC OCEAN 01 18
Padang Palembang JAKARTA Semarang Bandung SURABAYA Yogyakarta Solo Lombok BALI
Gold Coast Perth
Sydney Auckland Melbourne
Chandigarh NEW DELHI Jaipur
Chiang Rai Nan Udon Thani Loei Nakhon Phanom Phitsanulok Sakhon Nakhon Khon Kaen Roi Et Ubon Ratchathani Buriram BANGKOK PATTAYA
Surat Thani KRABI Nakhon Si Thammarat PHUKET HAT YAI Trang Alor Setar Kota Bharu LANGKAWI PENANG Narathiwat Kuala Terengganu MEDAN KUALA LUMPUR JOHOR BAHRU
Caticlan KALIBO Tacloban Iloilo CEBU Puerto Princesa Tagbilaran Davao
Sandakan Labuan Miri Tawau Bintulu Sibu
AirAsia Domestic Destinations
Palembang JAKARTA Solo Bandung Yogyakarta
Fly to over 130 destinations across Asia and Asia-Paciﬁc with Skytrax World’s Best Low-Cost Airline, 2009-2017. AirAsia Hubs
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Airport Darwin International Airport Currency AUD (Australian Dollar) Dialing Code +61 8 Languages English Distance to City 13km Points of Interest Mindil Beach, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Crocosaurus Cove Transport
Airport Gold Coast Airport Currency AUD (Australian Dollar) Dialing Code +61 7 Languages English Distance to City 20km Points of Interest Warner Bros. Movie World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, SkyPoint Observation Deck Transport
Airport Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport Currency AUD (Australian Dollar) Dialing Code +61 3 Languages English Distance to City 22km Points of Interest National Gallery of Victoria, Queen Victoria Market, Yarra River Cruise Transport
Airport Perth Airport Currency AUD (Australian Dollar) Dialing Code +61 8 Languages English Distance to City 12.2km Points of Interest Fremantle Prison, Aquarium of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia Transport
Airport Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport Currency AUD (Australian Dollar) Dialing Code +61 2 Languages English Distance to City 14km Points of Interest Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, Taronga Zoo Transport
01 18 BANGLADESH
Bandar Seri Begawan
Airport Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Currency BDT (Bangladeshi Taka) Dialing Code +880 2 Languages Bengali Distance to City 16km Points of Interest Lalbagh Fort, Jatiyo Sriti Shoudho, Sixty Dome Mosque Transport
Airport Brunei International Airport Currency BND (Brunei Dollar) Dialing Code +673 Languages Malay & English Distance to City 10km Points of Interest Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Jerudong Park, Kampong Ayer Transport
Airport Phnom Penh International Airport Currency KHR (Cambodia Riel) Dialing Code +855 23 Languages Khmer Distance to City 10km Points of Interest Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda Transport
Airport Siem ReapAngkor International Airport Currency KHR (Cambodian Riel) Dialing Code +855 63 Languages Khmer Distance to City 7.3km Points of Interest Angkor Wat, Cambodia Landmine Museum, Angkor Silk Farm Transport
Airport Sihanouk International Airport Currency KHR (Cambodian Riel) Dialing Code +855 34 Languages Khmer Distance to City 20km Points of Interest Leu Pagoda, Golden Lions Roundabout, Kbal Chhay Waterfalls Transport
Taxi Private Bus
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All information correct at press time. Some information contained here are approximates only. DIY research is highly recommended.
Airport Beijing Capital International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 10 Languages Mandarin Distance to City 30km Points of Interest Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Great Wall of China Transport
Airport Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 28 Languages Mandarin, Sichuanese Distance to City 14km Points of Interest Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Mount Qingcheng, Jinjiang Theatre Transport
Airport Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 23 Languages Mandarin, Sichuanese Distance to City 30km Points of Interest Chongqing Grand Theatre, Ciqikou (Porcelain Village), Fengdu Ghost City Transport
Airport Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 20 Languages Cantonese, Mandarin Distance to City 38.2km Points of Interest Baiyun Mountain, Chimelong Paradise, Canton Tower Transport
Airport Guilin Liangjiang International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 773 Languages Mandarin, Zhuang languages Distance to City 20km Points of Interest Reed Flute Cave, Daxu Ancient Town, Longsheng Rice Terrace Transport
Bus Train Ride-hailing
01 18 CHINA
Airport Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 571 Languages Mandarin, Wu Chinese Distance to City 33.8km Points of Interest Hefang Street, National Tea Museum, Lingyin Temple Transport
Airport Kunming Changshui International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 871 Languages Mandarin (Kunming dialect) Distance to City 30km Points of Interest Yunnan Art Theatre, Yuantong Temple, Guandu Ancient Town Transport
Airport Shanghai Pudong International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 21 Languages Wu Chinese, Shanghainese, Mandarin Distance to City 36.7km Points of Interest Shanghai Museum, Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, Oriental Pearl Tower Transport
Airport Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 755 Languages Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew Distance to City 35.7km Points of Interest Window of the World, China Folk Culture Village, KK 100 Transport
Airport Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 27 Languages Mandarin (Wuhan dialect) Distance to City 29.1km Points of Interest Yellow Crane Tower, Han Show Theatre, Guiyuan Temple Transport
Taxi Bus Train
Taxi Bus Train
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All information correct at press time. Some information contained here are approximates only. DIY research is highly recommended.
Hong Kong SAR
Airport Xi’an Xianyang International Airport Currency RMB (Chinese Yuan Renminbi) Dialing Code +86 29 Languages Mandarin Distance to City 30.7km Points of Interest Terracotta Warriors Museum, Shaanxi History Museum, Muslim Street Transport
Airport Hong Kong International Airport Currency HKD (Hong Kong Dollar) Dialing Code +852 Languages Cantonese, English, Mandarin Distance to City 41.2km Points of Interest Hong Kong Disneyland, Victoria Peak, Po Lin Monastery Transport
Airport Macao International Airport Currency MOP (Macao Pataca) Dialing Code +853 Languages Cantonese, Macanese Portuguese, Mandarin, English Airport distance 8.8km Points of Interest Ruins of St. Paul, Senado Square, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf Transport
Airport Kempegowda International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 80 Languages Kannada, English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi Distance to City 34.9km Points of Interest Lal Bagh, Bangalore Palace, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath Transport
Airport Biju Patnaik International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 674 Languages Odia, Hindi, English Distance to City 7.6km Points of Interest Lingaraja Temple, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Nandankanan Zoological Park Transport
Bus Train Ride-hailing
01 18 INDIA
Airport Goa International Airport (Dabolim Airport) Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 832 Languages Konkani, Marathi, Kannada, English Distance to City 43.4km Points of Interest Dudhsagar Falls, Fort Aguada, Basilica of Bom Jesus Transport
Airport Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 40 Languages Telugu, Hindi, Urdu Distance to City 28.1km Points of Interest Golconda Fort, Qutub Shahi Tombs, Ramoji Film City Transport
Airport Jaipur International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 141 Languages Hindi, Rajasthani, Dhundari, Marwari, English Distance to City 12.7km Points of Interest Jaigarh Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahal Transport
Airport Cochin International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 484 Languages Malayalam, Tamil, English Distance to City 37.4km Points of Interest Jew Town, Cochin Cultural Centre, Mattancherry Palace Transport
Airport Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 33 Languages Bengali, Hindi English Distance to City 15km Points of Interest Victoria Memorial, Dakshineswar Kali Temple, The Marble Palace Transport
Taxi Bus Train/Metro Ride-hailing
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All information correct at press time. Some information contained here are approximates only. DIY research is highly recommended.
Airport Chennai International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 44 Languages Tamil, English Distance to City 20.9km Points of Interest Cholamandal Artists’ Village, Kalakshetra Arts Academy, Kapaleeshwarar Temple Transport
Airport Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 22 Languages Hindi, Marathi, English Distance to City 8km Points of Interest Gateway of India, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai, Elephanta Caves, Transport
Airport Indira Gandhi International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 11 Languages Hindi, English Distance to City 14.1km Points of Interest Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Transport
Airport Srinagar International Airport (Sheikh-ul-Alam Airport) Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 194 Languages Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi, English Distance to City 13.5km Points of Interest Dal Lake, Mughal Garden, Gulmarg Transport
Airport Tiruchirappalli International Airport Currency INR (Indian Rupee) Dialing Code +91 431 Languages Tamil, English Distance to City 5.3km Points of Interest Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Rock Fort, Sri Jambukeshwara Temple Transport
Taxi Bus Train Ride-hailing
Bus Train Ride-hailing
Taxi Bus Metro Ride-hailing
Taxi Bus Ride-hailing
01 18 INDONESIA
Airport Ngurah Rai International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 361 Languages Indonesian, Balinese Distance to City 5km Points of Interest Tanah Lot Temple, Mt. Agung, Ubud, Tegallalang, Rice Terraces Transport
Airport Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 651 Languages Indonesian, Acehnese Distance to City 18.2km Points of Interest Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Gunongan, Museum Tsunami Aceh Transport
Airport Husein Sastranegara International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 22 Languages Indonesian, Sundanese Distance to City 6.8km Points of Interest Tangkuban Perahu, Trans Studio Bandung, Kawah Putih Transport
Airport Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 21 Languages Indonesian Distance to City 33km Points of Interest Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Monas, Ancol Dreamland Transport
Airport Lombok International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 370 Languages Indonesian, Sasak Distance to City 27.3km Points of Interest Mount Rinjani, Gili Trawangan, Pink Beach Transport
Taxi Bus Ride-hailing
Airport Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 411 Languages Indonesian, Makassarese, Bugis Distance to City 19.9km Points of Interest Rotterdam Fort, Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, Losari Beach Transport
Airport Kualanamu International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 61 Languages Indonesian, Medan Hokkien, Batak Distance to City 35.2km Points of Interest Maimoon Palace, Tjong A Fie Mansion, Mount Sibayak Transport
Airport Minangkabau International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 751 Languages Indonesian, Minangkabau Distance to City 28km Points of Interest Mentawai Island, Pagaruyung Palace, Lake Maninjau Transport
Airport Juanda International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 31 Languages Suroboyoan, Indonesian, Javanese Distance to City 18km Points of Interest Mount Bromo, Surabaya Carnival Night Market Transport
Airport Adisutjipto International Airport Currency IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) Dialing Code +62 274 Languages Indonesian, Javanese Distance to City 9.4km Points of Interest Kalibiru Nature Park, Borobudur Temple, Jomblang Cave Transport
01 18 IRAN
Airport Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport International AirportCurrency IRR (Iranian Rial) Dialing Code +98 21 Languages Persian Distance to City 50km Points of Interest Golestan Palace, The Grand Bazaar, Azadi Tower Transport
Airport Kansai International Airport Currency JPY (Japanese Yen) Dialing Code +81 66 Languages Japanese Distance to City 48km Points of Interest Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan Transport
Airport New Chitose Airport Currency JPY (Japanese Yen) Dialing Code +81 11 Languages Japanese Distance to City 50.5km Points of Interest Odori Park, Shiroi Koibito Park, Sapporo Beer Museum Transport
Airport Tokyo Haneda International Airport Currency JPY (Japanese Yen) Dialing Code +81 3 Languages Japanese Distance to City 27km Points of Interest Tokyo Disneyland, Ueno Park, National Museum of Nature and Science Transport
Airport Luang Prabang International Airport Currency LAK (Lao Kip) Dialing Code +856 71 Languages Lao Distance to City 6km Points of Interest Golden City Temple, Mount Phousi, Royal Palace Museum Transport
Taxi Bus Ride-hailing
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Airport Wattay International Airport Currency LAK (Lao Kip) Dialing Code +856 21 Languages Lao Distance to City 4km Points of Interest Pha That Luang, Patuxai, Buddha Park Transport
Airport Senai International Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 7 Languages Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Tamil, English Airport distance 27km Points of Interest Sanrio Hello Kitty Town, Legoland, Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, Karat Market, Johor Premium Outlet Transport
Airport Sultan Ismail Petra Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 9 Languages Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, English Airport distance 10km Points of Interest Siti Khadijah Market, Kampung Kraftangan (Craft Village), Al Muhammadi Mosque Transport
Airport Kota Kinabalu International Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 88 Languages Malay, Hakka, Mandarin, Cantonese, English Airport distance 7.8km Points of Interest Mount Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park Transport
Airport Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA/KLIA2) Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 3 Languages Malay, English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil Airport distance 58km Points of Interest Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves, Central Market Transport
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01 18 MALAYSIA
Airport Sultan Mahmud Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 9 Languages Malay, Hokkien, Tamil, English Airport distance 13.2km Points of Interest Crystal Mosque, Redang Island, Maziah Palace, Kenyir Lake Transport
Airport Kuching International Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 82 Languages Malay, English, Hokkien, Hakka, Mandarin Airport distance 15km Points of Interest Bako National Park, Waterfront Promenade, Sarawak Cultural Village, Mount Santubong Transport
Airport Langkawi International Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 4 Languages Malay, Mandarin, English, Airport distance 8km Points of Interest Langkawi Cable Car, Eagle Square, Kilim Geoforest Park Transport
Airport Penang International Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 4 Languages Malay, English, Hokkien, Mandarin, Tamil Airport distance 21.8km Points of Interest Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang Hill, Fort Cornwallis, Komtar Transport
Airport Sandakan Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 89 Languages Malay, Hakka, Cantonese, English Airport distance 13.5km Points of Interest Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sandakan War Memorial, Gomantong Caves, Seafood Transport
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Airport Sibu Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 84 Languages Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Fuzhou, English, Melanau, Bidayuh, Iban Airport distance 22.5km Points of Interest Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sibu Heritage Centre, Rejang Esplanade Transport
Airport Tawau Airport Currency MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) Dialing Code +60 89 Languages Malay, Hakka, English Airport distance 30.8km Points of Interest Tawau Hot Springs, Tawau Hills Park, Teck Guan Cocoa Village, Maliau Basin Conservation Area Transport
Airport Velana International Airport Currency MVR (Maldivian Ruﬁyaa) Dialing Code +960 Languages Maldivian, English Airport distance 3.5km Points of Interest Maldives Grand Friday Mosque, Mulee’aage Palace, Maldives National Museum Transport
Airport Mandalay International Airport Currency MMK (Kyat) Dialing Code +95 2 Languages Myanmar Airport distance 37.4km Points of Interest Hsinbyume Pagoda, Golden Palace Monastery, Mandalay Hill Transport
Airport Yangon International Airport Currency MMK (Kyat) Dialing Code +95 2 Languages Myanmar Airport distance 12km Points of Interest Shwedagon Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Market, Kandawgyi Lake Transport
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01 18 NEPAL
Airport Tribhuvan International Airport Currency NPR (Nepalese Rupee) Dialing Code +977 1 Languages Nepali, Newar, English Airport distance 5.5km Points of Interest Boudhanath Stupa, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Langtang National Park, Swayambhu Temple, Pasupatinath Temple Transport
Airport Auckland Airport Currency NZD (New Zealand Dollar) Dialing Code +64 9 Languages English Airport distance 26km Points of Interest Auckland Sky Tower, Cornwall Park, Auckland War Memorial Museum Transport
Airport Kalibo International Airport Currency PHP (Philippine Peso) Dialing Code +63 36 Languages Tagalog, English, Aklanon Airport distance 74km Points of Interest Bakhawan Eco Park, Tigayon Hill, Aklan Museum Transport
Airport Mactan-Cebu International Airport Currency PHP (Philippine Peso) Dialing Code +63 32 Languages Cebuano, Tagalog, English Airport distance 14.1km Points of Interest Mactan Island, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino Transport
Airport Francisco Bangoy International Airport Currency PHP (Philippine Peso) Dialing Code +63 82 Languages Davaoeño Cebuano, English, Tagalog Airport distance 15km Points of Interest Philippine Eagle Centre, Mount Apo, Eden Nature Park Transport
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Airport Ninoy Aquino International Airport Currency PHP (Philippine Peso) Dialing Code +63 2 Languages Tagalog, English Airport distance 15km Points of Interest Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Quezon Memorial Circle Transport
Airport Puerto Princesa International Airport Currency PHP (Philippine Peso) Dialing Code +63 48 Languages Tagalog, Visayan languages, English Airport distance 6.5km Points of Interest Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Honda Bay, Ugong Rock Transport
Airport King Abdulaziz International Airport Currency SAR (Saudi Riyal) Dialing Code +966 12 Languages Arabic Airport distance 16.5km Points of Interest Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum, Al-Shallal Theme Park, Nasseef House Transport
Airport Singapore Changi Airport Currency SGD (Singapore Dollar) Dialing Code +65 Languages English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil Airport distance 20km Points of Interest Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios Singapre, Jurong Bird Park Transport
Airport Gimhae International Airport Currency KRW (South Korean Won) Dialing Code +82 51 Languages Korean Airport distance 13.8km Points of Interest Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Hurshimchung Spa Transport
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01 18 SOUTH KOREA
Airport Incheon International Airport Currency KRW (South Korean Won) Dialing Code +82 1 Languages Korean Airport distance 50km Points of Interest Gyeongbokgung Palace, N Seoul Tower, Seoul City Wall Transport
Airport Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo International Airport) Currency LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee) Dialing Code +94 11 Languages Sinhalese, Tamil, English Airport distance 32.5km Points of Interest Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Jami-ulAlfar Mosque, The Independence Square, National Museum Transport
Airport Kaohsiung International Airport Currency TWD (New Taiwan Dollar) Dialing Code +886 7 Languages Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka Airport distance 9.6km Points of Interest Liuhe Night Market, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Former British Consulate Transport
Airport Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Currency TWD (New Taiwan Dollar) Dialing Code +886 2 Languages Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka Airport distance 50.1km Points of Interest Taipei 101 Tower, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Tamsui Old Street Transport
Airport Don Mueang International Airport Currency THB (Thai Baht) Dialing Code +66 2 Languages Thai Airport distance 28.2km Points of Interest Chatuchak Market, Wat Arun, Khaosan Road Transport
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Nakhon Si Thammarat
Airport Chiang Mai International Airport Currency THB (Thai Baht) Dialing Code +66 53/52 Languages Thai Airport distance 7km Points of Interest Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon National Park, Padung Village, Sunday Walking Market Transport
Airport Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport Currency THB (Thai Baht) Dialing Code +66 75 Languages Thai Airport distance 18.2km Points of Interest Suchart Subsin’s House of Shadow Puppets, Wat Phra Mahathat, National Museum Nakhon Si Thammarat Transport
Airport Narathiwat Airport Currency THB (Thai Baht) Dialing Code +66 73 Languages Thai, Patani Malay Airport distance 14.6km Points of Interest AlHussein Mosque, Khao Kong Buddhist Park, Wat Chonthara Sing He Transport
Airport U-Tapao International Airport Currency THB (Thai Baht) Dialing Code +66 38 Languages Thai Airport distance 50.7km Points of Interest Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, Pattaya Floating Market, Walking Street, Sanctuary of Truth Transport
Airport Phuket International Airport Currency THB (Thai Baht) Dialing Code +66 76 Languages Thai Airport distance 32.5km Points of Interest Big Buddha Phuket, Siam Niramit Phuket, Phuket Aquarium, Phuket Old Town, Phi Phi Island Transport
01 18 UNITED STATES
Ho Chi Minh City
Airport Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Currency USD (US Dollar) Dialing Code +1 808 Languages English, Hawaiian Airport distance 10.7km Points of Interest ‘Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, Pali Lookout, Hanauma Bay Transport
Airport Da Nang International Airport Currency VND (Vietnamese Dong) Dialing Code +84 236 Languages Vietnamese Airport distance 2.5km Points of Interest Marble Mountains, Linh Ung Pagoda, Cham Museum, Hoi An City Transport
Airport Noi Bai International Airport Currency VND (Vietnamese Dong) Dialing Code +84 24 Languages Vietnamese Airport distance 28.2km Points of Interest Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hao Lo Prison Museum, Water Puppet Theatre Transport
Airport Tan Son Nhat International Airport Currency VND (Vietnamese Dong) Dialing Code +84 28 Languages Vietnamese Airport distance 6.6km Points of Interest Cu Chi Tunnels, Binh Tay Market, Ben Thanh Market Transport
Airport Cam Ranh International Airport Currency VND (Vietnamese Dong) Dialing Code +84 258 Languages Vietnamese Airport distance 35.4km Points of Interest Vinpearl Amusement Park, Po Nagar Cham Towers, Long Son Pagoda Transport
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Sales Offices & Stations Bangladesh
Room A-1-2, No.728, Jianghan Dist., Hubei Province
Japan TOKYO Shinjuku Westcourt 5F, 7-2-11 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023
Malaysia KUALA LUMPUR Level 3, Departure Hall, Main Terminal Building, Kuala Lumpur Int. Airport 2 (KLIA2), 64000 Sepang, Selangor
Nanjingbei ST, Heping, Liaoning
SHENZHEN XY-10 Junting Hotel, 3085 Eastern Road Luo Hu, 518001
SABAH Level 2 (Domestic Departure Hall Entrance), Terminal 1 , Kota Kinabalu Int. Airport, Jln. Petagas Kota Kinabalu, 88100 Kota Kinabalu Lot G24, G Flr., Wisma Sabah, Jln. Tun Razak, 88000 Kota Kinabalu FL 4, 1st Flr., Tawau Airport Building, Jln. Apas-Balun, 91100 Tawau TB228, Lot 5 G Flr., Istana Monaco Hotel, Jln. Bunga, Fajar Complex, 91000 Tawau Lot G-2, Ground Flr., Plaza USIA Building, Jln. Teratai, MDLD 7084, 91100 Lahad Datu Level, Lot 2, Sandakan Airport, 90000 Sandakan
PENANG Lot 8, Departure Concourse, Penang Int. Airport, 11900 Bayan Lepas No.12H-G, Jln. Tun Dr Awang, 11900 Bayan Lepas 332, G Flr. Kim Mansion, Lebuh Chulia, 10200
G027B, G Flr., Podium Block Plaza Berjaya, No.12, Jln. Imbi, 55100
No. 2, G Flr., The Host, Jln. Veerasamy, 30000 Ipoh
Lot 4, Level 2, Stesen Sentral, 50470
Lot No. K16 (New Wing) Utility Level, Stesen Monorail, PT 88, Seksyen 67, Jln. Sultan Ismail, 55100
Garuda Plaza Hotel Lobby Level, Jl. Sisingamanga Raja No.18, Medan, Sumatera Utara 20213
Lot 1F TR 01, 1st Floor, Central, Square Shopping Centre, No.23 Jalan Kg.Baru, 08000 Sg.Petani
Jl. Asia No 548P Medan
GF, Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Pengkalan Chepa, 16100 Kota Bharu
Jl. Veteran, No. 75B Purus (Purus Baru), Padang Barat - Kota Padang
CEBU West Wing Domestic Area, Mactan Cebu Int. Airport, Pusok, Lapu Lapu City 3rd Flr. Service Lane, Elizabeth Mall N. Bacalso Ave.
HAT YAI Hat Yai Int. Airport, Room No. 125, Moo 3, Klongla Sub Dist., Klong Hoi Khong Dist., Songkla 90115 69 Thumnoonvithi Road, Hat Yai, Songkhal 90110
Naia Terminal 4, Domestic Road, Pasay City,
G/F Colonnande Residences 132, C. Palanca Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City Unit 126 South Parking Building, SM Mall of Asia Complex, JW Diokno Boulevard, Pasay City Unit 108 SM City North Edsa – The Block, SM City Complex, North Edsa, Pag-Asa 1, Quezon City
The Client List Check out the latest promotions, products and services offered by our advertisers and partners this month.
Sunshine Kingdom Homegrown food souvenir products distributor Sunshine Kingdom offers an array of sweet treats for anyone who digs durians. The company, which specialises in bringing local ﬂavours to international taste buds, has made the king of fruits the star ingredient in their delectable offerings, from the rich Musang King White Coffee to Durian Tiramisu Dark Chocolate!
Mulu Marriot Resort & Spa 01 18
Cradled by Sarawak’s lush rainforest and framed by the picturesque Melinau River, Mulu Marriot Resort & Spa is the only ﬁve-star property within minutes from Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia’s ﬁrst UNESCO World Heritage site. With architecture inspired by the state’s ethnic longhouses, the resort’s spacious and plush wooden setting includes a private balcony for unsurpassed views of Borneo’s spellbinding rainforest. Visitors can opt for curated excursions to indigenous settlements, waterfalls and caves, or relax and rejuvenate at Mulu Marriot’s Bali-themed Mandara Spa. mulumarriot.com
Yotel Singapore The multi award-winning hotel has just opened its doors in Singapore, making it the ﬁrst Yotel in Asia. Its 610 smart cabins sit along bustling Orchard Road, and cater for techie travellers looking for comfort, convenience and affordable luxury. Known for its tech-forward touch, Yotel boasts super-fast Wi-Fi, quick and fussfree self check-in kiosks, rejuvenating rain showers, adjustable smart beds, and a sleek pool and terrace on the 10th ﬂoor. You’ll also meet Yobots – two friendly robots to help manage your luggage. yotel.com
Rakuten Trade Now you can score reward points while you trade with online equities broker Rakuten, which recently redeﬁned the industry by teaming up with Malaysian loyalty provider giants – AirAsia BIG, B Inﬁnite by Berjaya Group and BonusLink. Rakuten’s rewards incentives include automatic Rakuten Trade Points that investors can earn simply by signing up as a new client, trading, transferring shares, and through a referral system. rakutentrade.my
PKNS The Selangor State Development Corporation’s (PKNS) latest properties – Puteri Elaisha and Puteri Daffina in Kota Puteri – are perfect for family living. With area space of over 2,000 square feet, the properties are sprawling housing estates with easy access to Kuala Lumpur city via the LATAR, Guthrie and Shah Alam-Batu Arang expressways. pkns.gov.my