Culture, Lifestyle and Attractions

Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010

Raja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa Koh Pha Ngan Bali

Vol 01 - Issue 01
IDR 50.000 SGD 7.50 RM 14.00

New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo + A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine + Heeding the Call of Asia in Taiwan + Singapore Stopover + Spotlight on Jakarta + Flashpacking Essentials + A Tropical Affair



Bali retains its hidden charms 46 4 64 78 .000 SGD 7. Lifestyle and Attractions Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010 Raja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa Koh Pha Ngan Bali Vol 01 .com IDR 50.Issue 01 www.50 RM 14. tranquil. and its rowdy side as well 64 Subterranean Magic Unearth a magical Palawan attraction priming for international limelight 72 Coming of Age Koh Phangan is beautifully morphing in its slow but steady evolution 78 After the Storm Despite the threat of terrorism and overtourism.CONTENTS Culture.00 On the cover – the luxurious Rock Bar at AYANA Resort and Spa Bali THE GUIDE ISLANDS OF SOUTH EAST ASIA 46 Eco Paradise Uncover the eco paradise and scuba-diving Holy Grail of Raja Ampat 58 Beach Life Discover Phuket’s island paradise – quiet.unearthingasia.


and more TRAVEL TALES 91 Arabian Servings A tasty guide to the culinary delights from the region of Middle East 96 Heeding the Call Photographer extraordinaire.CONTENTS 96 84 15-26 BUZZWORTHY! Singapore’s Party flavor.unearthingasia. Jakarta www. Bali’s hip . Craig Ferguson shard his tales of travel all over the region of Asia 104 Splashing Lake Taupo Jump right into adventure and explore deep into the Kiwi’s stunning landscape at Lake Taupo 91 104 6 84 STYLE GUIDE A Tropical Affair A perfect beachfront rendezvous by the seaside coast of Segarra. a quick Singapore rejuvenation. the Nikki Beach Club in Thailand. Hong Kong’s new dig. with local tips and suggestions 34-41 INSIGHTS Top flashpacking gadgets. and more 28 DATEBOOK Festivals and events not to be missed 30 SPOTLIGHT Jakarta 24 hour in the Big Durian of South East Asia.


Nikolas Tjhin Editor-in-Chief 8 . We sincerely hope you’ll enjoy this inaugural offering from us. but budget conscious and looking for good advice. However. is to open up and surrender yourself to possibilities. I can’t help but smile and raise a little toast to our team. that we ended up missing the window of opportunity that has just been presented. Our readers are the Generation Y. The travel publication market is one that is crowded and very competitive. or even twenty years from now. As I look forward to this project finally unfolding. They are suggesting US$1000 a night luxury hotels. Is this better? Is it too expensive? Too risky? But all too often. They are independent travelers daring to brave off-the-beaten paths. you may regret it after all. with a layer of cheese slipped in. and the chicken tender heavenly upon my lips. My simple wish is that five. It is this hole in the travel publication that we aim to service. than by the ones you did do – Mark Twain Much too often. ten. from friends and strangers alike. and heading into new territories blind with excitement. always thinking. young and affluent. I’m sure the suggested hotel boasts plentiful amenities. and be glad at our decision to embark upon this amazing journey together. but more often than not. in line with those wise words from a wise man above. It is with that in mind I’d like to introduce Unearthing Asia to you. you’ll end up disappointed for not taking up the chance while you’ve still got the opportunity to do so. we spend our lives weighing one thing against another. True. I ended skipping these suggestions for other more cost-effective options. or a US$150 meal of deep fried chicken tender. we’ll look back with fondness.EDITOR’S NOTES Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do. But more often than not. all too often I ended up frustrated as I browse the various magazines on offer. The moral of the story here. Considering. Now. and enjoy every single step of the journey as much as the destination in itself. web-savvy. we spend too much time contemplating. They look for tips and hints from various offline and online medium.


X. Arsin. Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. (65) 6336 6116 medialink@pacific. SH All rights in this publication and the name are owned and licensed to PT Tanindo Multi Media. For editorial and media .com The Fairmont Beijing Hotel Fill out our survey to enjoy a Free 1 Year Subscription* and stand a chance to win free hotel stays!* We are offering free one year subscriptions to residents of and we accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the permission of PT Tanindo Multimedia. transparencies.BEHIND THE SCENES Commissioners Husein VP Consultant Kicky Alexander Achmad Sobari The AYANA Resort and Spa Bali Editor in Chief Nikolas Tjhin Singapore Editor Michelle Lee Sales Manager Nadia V Finance Manager Alexander Alvin Contributors Mallika Naguran Scotty Graham Debbie Reyes-Coloma Vannara Putra Char Magalong Natalie Revie Nabeetha Naseer Bona Soetirto Dresscode Magazine Publisher PT Tanindo Multi Media Distributor MarketAsia Pte Ltd Media Representative Media Link Pte Ltd Legal Consultant Dr F. All opinions are of the writers’ and not necessarily endorsed by PT Tanindo Multi Media. or other materials.* On top of that. * Terms & conditions apply For advertising and marketing enquiries. please contact Dawn Khoo Media Link Pte Ltd 1 Sophia Road #07-22 Singapore 228149 (65) 6336 1725. Jakarta and Bali! Turn to page 42 for more details. please contact Nikolas Tjhin PT Tanindo Multi Media VBox 886 Singapore (62) 812 7809 8888 (62) 21 3221 9988 nik@unearthingasia. you’ll also be in the running to win free hotel stays at various destinations – Hong Kong.


and has a never-ending learning curve. and works as a Retoucher for Reelsessions. the everyday – this is what makes for truly beautiful writing. 05 Debbie Reyes-Coloma Singapore-based Debbie Reyes-Coloma is a freelance feature and lifestyle writer for various publications in the region. Underwater photography keeps his interest in diving alive as it is always a challenge. She also advises businesses to go green by operating in harmony with nature and adopting cost-effective eco inventions. His love of Australia saw Barrie hitchhiking around the country and then across the Tasman to New Zealand where he explored the country on a motorbike. California based agency. Dresscode Dresscode is the first fashion magazine in Indonesia with the unique concept of “non-article” magazine. He has been diving for over 25 years. Going beyond conservation. 04 Scoty Graham Scotty Graham is a freelance photographer that has been living and working in Indonesia for the past 15 years. Mallika is now focusing on restoring degraded environments and improving the livelihoods of the . his own center to teach Digital Imaging. Visit his photo blog at http://www. restaurateur and jungle momma.gaiadiscovery. he started Continuum. She lives on Koh Pha Ngan Island in southern Thailand where she indulges in her passion for food. and where to find it! Grab your copy now in various locations in Indonesia. daily.CONTRIBUTORS 04 05 06 01 01 Mallika Naguran Mallika Naguran founded and manages Gaia Discovery. They are fully dedicated to give you inspirations on what to wear. 12 www. But. to promote eco travel and living in Asia. travel. Not only that. especially in major bookstores in Jakarta. 06 Bona Soetirto Bona Soetirto is an experienced Freelance Commercial Photographer and Digital Imager for various media in Jakarta. a not-for-profit online publication (www. how to wear them. 03 03 Barrie Lie-Birchall Barrie is a freelance writer who started his nomadic steps at an early age travelling though Europe.unearthingasia. and writing. culture. Central Asia and the Pacific. such as Gramedia. 02 02 Natalie Revvie Natalie Revie is a freelance writer. he is also a photography lecturer at Pelita Harapan Recently. TGA and Kinokuniya outlets. it was the Indonesian archipelago that mesmerised him and for the last few decades has spent a considerable amount of his time there ever since. She believes in letting spirituality emerge through the common. especially fashion photography. a Los Angeles. and has logged over 4000 dives through out the world.


featuring exciting adventures.Issue 01 www. And not only that. Unearthing Asia is a magazine dedicated to inspiring its readers to explore this beautiful region we call home.Culture. HK AND MORE! Culture. we are generously offering our readers free one year IDR 50.unearthingasia.000 SGD 7. The magazine is an indispensable guide to Asia.00 New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo + A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine + Heeding the Call of Asia in Taiwan + Singapore Stopover + Spotlight on Jakarta + Flashpacking Essentials + A Tropical Affair . Jakarta and Bali! Turn to page 42 for more details. For this inaugural issue.50 RM 14. Raja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa Koh Pha Ngan Bali Vol 01 . Lifestyle and Attractions Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010 Unearthing Asia The latest addition to your list of essential reading. Lifestyle and Attractions THE INAUGURAL ISSUE WIN HOTEL STAYS IN BALI. subscribers also stand a chance to win free hotel stays at various destinations – Hong Kong. stunning sceneries and unique attractions from all over the region.

and rooms all with underwater view. This 7-star hotel will give its guests a new view of the famous city of Istanbul. exhibition halls. the islands of south east asia 15 . from right below its city center. It is being built on the ruins of a historical 1930s tobacco factory and will house restaurants.5 meters). Local experts suggest the underwater visibility of the Bosphorus Strait is at an estimated 10-feet (approximately 3. Turkey is set to unveil a 7-floor underwater hotel in 2010.WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND THE REGION BUZZWORTHY! HOTEL UNDERWATER LUXURY To coincide with its Culture Capital of Europe nomination. so visitors can expect an amazing experience like nothing on earth! NT.

16 www. with international acts like the Black-Eye Peas to Backstreet Boys to Beyonce all wowing the crowds at various venues around the circuit. fans still flocked to the Marina Bay circuit to see Lewis Hamilton take the crown in an exciting race with Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso taking up the remaining podium finishes. the nightsky of Singapore provides the glits and glam in an exciting Singapore GP F1 event that is fast becoming a highlight of the year for race. travel and party enthusiasts.unearthingasia. Many were here to witness first hand what the fervor of F1 was all about.BUZZWORTHY! EVENT F1 EXTRAVAGANZA Once . This year. ML. despite the global economic crisis. and they were definitely not dissappointed by the show on offer. For three days. this was Party town.

function rooms and Wanasmara wedding Chapel. guests are invited to savor the tranquility and breathtaking beauty of Ubud. Ayu Asti. spavilla. gym.One Bed Room Pool Villa Komaneka at Bisma © Komaneka BUZZWORTHY! VILLA HILLSIDE VIEW Another sister hotel of Komaneka (www.komaneka. sloping rice fields and the coconut groves in the surrounding. each with its 12 meter long private pool and terrace. this luxurious resort is designed as a sophisticated and contemporary lifestyle destination. 1. circular wading is open at Jalan Bisma-Ubud.2 mile jogging track under canopy of trees. The resort’s on-site facilities include an Indonesian fine dining restaurant. Nestled upon the hillsides by the Campuhan River valley. bar. With 34 spacious suites and 10 elegant villas. Main pool Komaneka at Bisma © Agus Pande the islands of south east asia 17 . with amazing views of the river. half Olympic sized swimming pool.

In addition to ranking the region’s top restaurants. Malaysia. NT. from the top five restaurants in each country to an overview of each featured country’s dining scene. The acclaimed 5-star art sanctuary welcomes its new Executive Sous Chef. and broaden the perspective by evaluating two more countries. a perfect spot in the heart of the preserved old town Bangkok. Mongolia and Nepal. 80 more than the previous edition. says Pauline Ooi. as well as the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha. Austria and Thailand. and will ensure additional varieties in Padma Resort’s Food and Beverage Outlets and Programmes. The guide will feature 400 restaurants across Asia. Dubai. 18 . Associate Publisher of the little red book. KA. Raul Deschu. The area is full of delicious authentic Thai food. hailing from Romania. ML. CHEF NEW TALENT There’s a new face in town at the Padma Resort Bali. there are numerous attractions worth visiting just a walking distance away – the Khao San Road are minutes away.BUZZWORTHY! GUIDE MIELE TIME Following its inaugural 2008/2009 issue. Situated in the privileged location of Bangkok’s historic district. BOUTIQUE ROYAL PALACE The Bhuthorn is the result of four years of renovation that sees the heritage-listed building transformed into an elegant three guestroom boutique hotel with intricate attention to details. the 2009/2010 issue will feature a host of additional information. The talented chef has gained much experience while working in Germany. the second edition of The Miele Guide will be bigger and better.


A special collaborative art exhibition opened to great fanfare in the Gaya Gallery, which ran through 6th to 30th October. The exhibit was the production of Ida Bagus Indra, one of Bali’s great artists, with John O’Sullivan, hotelier, wordsmith and artist in his own right. The exhibition has definitely raised the artistic bar with the fresh approach to collaborative mixed-medium works produced by these two fine personalities. KA.

A new facial treatment that addresses the issues of aging and rejuvenation are now available at the Mandarin Spa in Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. The 45 minute session incorporates a consultation with acupuncture therapy specifically targeting wrinkles while providing numerous other benefits. The theory behind facial acupuncture is based on the ancient concept that the body’s energy diminishes with age. During the treatment, tiny, hair-fine acupuncture needles intended to stimulate the flow of qi throughout pathways in the body are inserted at specific points on the face. This boosts circulation, increases collagen and plumps fine facial wrinkles. NT.



This year’s visitors to the annual Singapore JewelFest were treated to a stunning custom-built Jewel Pavilion, which provided the perfect setting for the two opening shows to kick-start the week-long festivities. The two-part showcase, themed “Love of Romance” and “Love in All its Glory”, showcased jeweleries worth over S$120 million created by 25 jewelers especially for the event. NT.

The eagerly awaited Amantaka Resort is ready to grace the lush green fields of Luang Prabang. This luxe resort from Adrian Zecha and his team is set to take it up a notch with refined decor, lofty spaces, verandas, pools and tantalizing spa treatments, on top of the pristine environments and beautiful temples in the vicinity. The resort also has a yoga studio, tennis courts, a library and an art gallery. ML.

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has chosen the idyllic island of Koh Samui in Thailand to launch their latest opening. one of the world’s most recognizable luxury lifestyle and entertainment brands. Discover quintessential luxury at Nikki Beach’s remote Beach Club Bungalow Resort. a spectacular new Nikki Beach Club. Tania Berg. Expertly designed for ultimate relaxation complimented by a sophisticated ambiance. located on the west side of Thailand’s most exotic and exclusive island. Nikki Beach Koh Samui brings the vibrant nightlife of Miami to the shores of Lipa Noi .BUZZWORTHY! RESORT BEACH PARTY Nikki Beach. 22 www.unearthingasia.

Seno Gumira Ajidarma. of course. Bali. A host of literary stars made their appearance in the festival. The theme reflected the Festival’s commitment to turn this literary gathering into an inspiring moment.BUZZWORTHY! Marco Calvani & Kicky Alexander Janet De Neefe Wole Soyinka. Julia Leigh the islands of south east asia 23 . music and song. as well as Lloyd Jones. and many others. Tom Cho. Fatima Bhutto. KA. Mohammed Hanif. Woon Tai Ho. Wena Poon. journalist and novelist from Pakistan. Amir Muhammad Wena Poon The festival was a 4-day event of panel sessions. Asitha Ameresekere. the outspoken poet. with the theme of SukaDuka: Compassion & Solidarity. film. such as – Wole Soyinka. humour and. the first African to receive a Nobel Prize for literature. the 2009 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival took place in Ubud. The festival also featured a program packed full of performances. Dede Oetomo. food. Nobel Prize Winner in Literature EVENT UBUD FESTIVAL From 7 to 11 October. readings and in-conversations with the world’s greatest exponents of their craft. play readings. debates. through which writers and readers from every corner of the world can establish a mutual understanding and come together.

as well as a truly spectacular Bali sunset in the backdrop.unearthingasia. the festival also offered free workshops for aspiring young filmmakers. Aptly called the Balinale.BUZZWORTHY! Jajang C Noer Didi Petet and Jajang C Noer EVENT BALINALE ROCKS A 6-day film festival showcasing 25 films from 13 countries by both international and Indonesian film-makers with the sole purpose of promoting Bali to filmmakers and artists were held recently in . The luxurious Rock Bar at AYANA Resort and Spa Bali played host to the closing awards party. in which visitors were treated to original performances by Ahtron McCanne and Richie Perrot. 24 www. NT.


unearthingasia. NT. The Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees (www. emphasizing sleek design and creative innovation. The electric hotel features 702 charming guestrooms and suites right in the heart of old town Hong Kong. featuring optical illusions and an environment that feels like you’re inside the Leaning Tower of in Hong Kong boasts a unique lobby designed by HK-based Patrick Leung of PAL .BUZZWORTHY! BOUTIQUE SLEEK DESIGN A swanky new hotel just hit the town with a modern and chic feel. giving visitors a unique blend of old and new. 26 www.


February 13 to 16. this mass Hindu pilgrimage towards the holy city of Haridwar is the world’s largest gathering of .unearthingasia. October 2009 . sadhus. Rishikesh. They congregate on the banks of the Ganges to explore anything and everything about transcendental meditation. 2010 Ardh Kumbh Mela Held just once every three years. During the Carnival. April 14. resorts across the island offer special activities and hot spring packages for visitors to enjoy a restorative soak paired with healthy cuisine. Those looking for a spiritual journey should consider following suit.January 2010 www. the yoga capital of the world. February 28 to March 10. pilgrims and devotees. Over 70 million believers will seek enlightenment through a ritual of bath at the Ganges. attracts hundreds of yogi masters from all over the globe. Are you brave enough to join in walking through the fire? January 2010 Taiwan Hot Springs and Fine Cuisine Carnival Taiwan’s hot springs culture dates back over a century. 2010 Kushimoto Fire Festival At the beginning of the year. or you can simply stand aside and enjoy the spectacle or take part in the various riverside processions that are ongoing throughout the 28 www. the residents of Kushimoto perform a ritual burning of the grassy land in front of the Shino Misaki Watchtower. 2010 Goa Carnival The famed hippie paradise begins the year with a food-fight carnival event in the lead-up to Lent.DATEBOOK FESTIVALS AND EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED International Yoga Festival For 10 days at the beginning of Spring. flour and even kitchen utensils thrown about in good fun. You’ll see oranges. Witness the festival’s appointed ruler starting the party with a Mardi Gras-inspired procession through the streets of Goa’s capital.

and the extraordinary skills of artists and craftsmen of the Greytown Arts Festival Held on Wellingon Anniversary weekend. The artefacts highlight changing Egyptian funerary customs. Their use of a variety of materials reveal geographical surroundings of workshops and artistic fashions of the period. the Greytown Arts’ Festival will comprise visual. culture and even religious background rituals which are still followed today. 23 January . this highly anticipated exhibition is set to grace the National Museum of Singapore from December through to April.4 April 2010 the islands of south east asia 29 . 22 December 2009 . political intrigues.25 January 2010 Tokyo Sumo Tournament Japan’s national sport is one that is rich with history. performing and literary arts.Waipara Valley Wine and Food Festival Head down to Christchurch. Enjoy a day of fiesta with an array of gourmet treats. and check out the visual art on display while you are there. 06 March 2010 www. Don’t miss out on their six tournaments throughout the year. January 2010 The World of Ancient Egypt Featuring over 230 Egyptian objects and major works from 4500 BCE to 1st century BCE. with the very first held in Tokyo at the beginning of the year. New Zealand. superb music and excellent wines from all over 16 Don’t miss out on the host of activities in the newly redesigned Town Centre. for the biggest food and wine festival in the Waipara Valley Wine region.

The Big Durian
Jakarta Like its fruit namesake, the Big Durian of Indonesia is often a shock to first-time travelers. It’s a heaving mass of some 10 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl that is one of Asia’s most exciting and liveliest cities. There is plenty to do here, from shopping at the many luxurious shopping centers to one of the hippest nightlife scenes in Southeast Asia. Here’s a full day itinerary in Jakarta, followed by tips from locals who call it home.

The newly renovated Hotel Indonesia

Wake up to a metropolitan view of the city in the newly remodeled Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta. With interiors inspired by contemporary Indonesian art and style and located in Jakarta’s city center, the iconic hotel is the ideal place for business, shopping and extravagance.

TeSaTe’s delicious local servings

Start your sightseeing by visiting the Salihara Community Complex in South Jakarta, an expansive 3000 square meters of land that plays host to a theater, a gallery and an office building plus guest house. The gallery is an empty space with circular walls, without angles nor borders, providing a wider perspective to the various contemporary arts on display.

For lunch, head to the Senayan area to enjoy authentic Indonesian food at TeSaTe, a new concept restaurant that not only promotes the richness of local culinary, but highlights the unique Indonesian culture and celebration. Try out authentic local favorites served in luxurious gourmet settings such as the humble satay, nasi goreng (fried rice) or sop buntut (oxtail soup).

Gado-gado, Indonesian Salad


Senayan City, right across from Plaza Senayan


With your stomach and taste-bud fulfilled, head to the Senayan area for some upscale shopping at Plaza Senayan, where luxury brands such as BVLGARI and Louis Vuitton reside alongside local favorites like Sebastian’s and Biyan. Right opposite, the newer Senayan City is also worth exploring, offering 8 floors of shopping, food and entertainment.

After a day of activities, head to the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. Book yourself a much deserved hour of Javanese massage, with techniques of skin rolling, long kneading strokes and acupressure to strengthen the body for the night ahead.

Kemang is also host to an array of cafes, bars and pubs serving all kinds of drinks to suit all tastes. For a relaxing, ambient mood, head to Casa Cafe for drinks and desserts. Located right above the trendy Aksara Bookstore, the cafe is a breath of fresh air offering beers, wines by the glass and delectable cocktails. Coffee lovers would prefer Tornado Coffee or Merdeka Coffee, where the lure of strong caffeine draws you in.

The night starts with a feast at Kemang, Jakarta’s glamorous kampong neighborhood that is popular with locals and expats alike. Try out the delectable Javanese specialties at Payon, where traditional touches like the clay floor tiles and swatches of batik give it a unique appearance compared to Kemang’s usually minimalist urban interior. Or you can opt to dine with a view at Shy, sited atop the 4th level at The Papillion. The restaurant’s Dutch chef presents daily seven and four course menus, in addition to their host of expert European fusion cuisine.

Finally, finish your day partying it up at Blowfish Kitchen & Bar at Wisma Mulia, one of the most happening nightspot in town. Coupled with nearby Puro, an Italian lounge and resto, Blowfish is a luxury high-end dining during the afternoon that turns into an all-out clubbing scene at night.

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A Middle Eastern ambiance at Anatolia, Kemang

Local Tips
Like many other citizens of Jakarta, Scotty and Tika complained bitterly about the bad traffic, especially on the weekends. As such, they rarely ventured too far away from home in South Jakarta, but do enjoy the occasional excursions to one of the local golf courses – Jagorawi, Rainbow Hills and Gunung Geulis are a few of their favorite courses. For food, their go-to places are Peppenero (formerly known as the Tratoria) for some excellent Italian food and the Tamat Thai (in Kemang) for some spicy, value for money Thai food. Also in Kemang, Anatolia is a place they reserve for special occasions – “they serve expensive, but authentic Turkish food – delicious and a great atmosphere!” Over on the other side, towards the North, Yansen also opts to avoid the traffic and heads closer to home for food and relaxation. He recommended Segarra, off the coast of Ancol, for a “relaxing, beach-side ambience,” and Glasshouse in Muara Karang for that favorite past time of boys – catching the big match. He also shared about Dermaga, a boisterous sea-side cafe where you can enjoy a hot and spicy offering – Bakmi Sakaw – “we Indonesians love spicy food!” he noted enthusiastically. For those who enjoys live music, the Fountain Cafe at Hotel Grand Hyatt comes heavily recommended by Sandy, who enthused “I love their live band, its also very conveniently located and very comfortable, a great place to chill-out and de-stress.”

Jagorawi Golf Club

Hotel Grand Hyatt



With a 1.6 GHz or Novatel MiFi Not all countries you travel to will have a strong.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor powering it MacBook Air Every flashpacker needs a good portable laptop to lug around between .INSIGHTS GADGETS Flashpacking Essentials The simple definition of flashpacking can be defined as backpacking with home. usually associated with tech-savvy adventurers who prefer to travel independently.novatelwireless. performance and design. iGo Charger The iGo universal chargers can power thousands of devices with its patented tip technology. www. road trips and plane 34 www. here are the top six essential gadgets you will need to gear up and stay connected.igo. in the car. or even on the plane. stable wireless network to keep you connected. The Novatel MiFi creates your very own network of broadband connectivity wherever you are. the ultimate in portability. you’ll be amazed at how so much power can be packed into such a thin design. Enter the MacBook Air. www. From US$1499. Charge your devices wherever you want . US$49. For the budding www. or style. It’s a trend that aptly paints our digital culture – we are no longer able to travel without all the luxuries of technology.

com the islands of south east asia 35 . but also a compass. a currency converter and so much more! From US$199. yet much lighter than a bulky Digital SLR. which packs a powerful machine able to record up to 720p resolution with a full 4GB internal memory into a Flip MinoHD The FlipMinoHD is an evolution of the original Flip Mino camcorder. the Apple iPhone 3GS combines more functionality.Canon PowerShot SX10 IS The Canon PowerShot SX10 IS gives you a lot of a camera and a very useful 20x optical zoom in a body that’s still reasonably compact. From US$399. Powered up by the billion or so applications available for download. www. it allows complete customization and flexibility. It’s not only a phone. smaller model. fun. www. It is much better than your average point and shoot. From US$ Apple iPhone 3GS The ultimate must-have gadget for traveling flashpackers. a GPS flair and overall usefulness into a single package like nothing else.


The clinic offers a relaxing ambience that is sure to leave you refreshed and raring to go! Laser Face Lift With today’s technology. RF treatment and liquid facelift.064nm and . To book an appointment. “but what’s different with AccuLiftTM is the use of the 1. which makes it perfect as an over-the-weekend treatment. and deep wrinkles along the laugh lines. AccuLiftTM by AccuSculptTM makes use of a revolutionary powerful 1.444nmwavelength laser to correct imperfections on the skin quickly and safely. with the latest in face and body treatments that focuses on total rejuvenation. Compared to the 1. the process of correcting skinrelated facial imperfections can take place as easily as digitally enhancing a picture on the computer screen. with virtually no complications. The good thing about this treatment is that it delivers excellent results. AccuLiftTM is a good alternative to procedures such as Thermage. for instance. eyebags.444nm laser. The procedure is quick – a total of 30 to 45 minutes for a minor problem area – and you can generally expect to return to your normal routine in two days. it also tightens skin and minimises the need for filler injections. “AccuLiftTM works especially effectively to visibly eliminate facial problems.” Dr Chew is one of the few aesthetic doctors who has been awarded the rights to administer this procedure in Asia.” explains Dr Chew.INSIGHTS HEALTH Singapore Stopover For those looking for a quick break in between their long-distance flights. saggy jowls. this new wavelength dissipates less heat. and requires a shorter operation time. call them at (65) 6732 9989 or through email at doctor@nuuclinic.” explains Dr Chew. double chins. “Laser facelifts aren’t entirely new. Paragon Medical Suites. Renowned Dr K K Chew’s NU•U Aesthetics & Wellness at Paragon is the place to go for a quick aesthetic fix. Singapore is the preferred pitstop to replenish and rejuvenate. With its effective and safe results. NU•U Aesthetics & Wellness Clinic is located at 290 Orchard Road #09-18/19. It is a minimally invasive procedure that requires only local anaesthesia. Capable of removing excess fat deposits that have migrated downwards due to gravity.320nm ones that we used in the past.

television. beverages. light snacks or a wholesome buffet spread. business services and attentive staff ups the ante in services and hospitality. Beijing. Kuala Lumpur. At the Plaza Premium Lounge. or an office away from home. Headquartered in Hong Kong.unearthingasia. The Plaza Premium Lounge is the world’s first commercial VIP lounge open to airport users from all walks of life. If only you can get work done. Vancouver and Toronto. you can do all that and much more. they have now opened more than 30 locations in 11 international airports – Hong Kong. Add into that the occassional delays and holdups that stretches your waiting time – time that can be substantial. Plaza Premium Lounges feature cushy seatings. the Plaza Premium Lounge aims to provide the greatest convenience to all kinds of travelers. Shanghai. a welcome haven between . Singapore.Lounging in Transit Business travelers are often stuck in the airport in-between transits a lot more often than others. Muscat. Wi-Fi. or better yet – work out a much needed sweat and get the adrenaline pumping. New Delhi. or truly rest and relax. giving travelers a sanctuary beyond the airport crowds. Hyderabad. Situated in both Arrival and Departure Levels of the international airports. Guangzhou. music. 38 www.

Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and Sultan Ismail International Airport (Senai. you can enjoy the facilities for the whole of 2 hours. business centre and a wide selection of movies and international publications. For RM88 per person. a variety of food and beverages. Johor). the islands of south east asia 39 . free flow of beer. shower amenities. Malaysia The Plaza Premium Lounge runs 3 lounges in Malaysia. VIP meet and greet. to mention a few. free flow of snacks and salad bar. it features shower with amenities. Even as an economy passenger you can enjoy the luxury of a business class passenger. Lounge use is available @ S$30 + 7% GST per adult. They are situated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. non-alcoholic beverages. Open 24 hours daily to all travelers. napping beds and foot reflexology. massages. golf putting. internet & email access & free local telephone calls. fitness lifestyle lounge and offer services such as oxygen therapy. This rate includes shower with amenities.INSIGHTS BUSINESS Singapore Plaza Premium Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport centers around a modern lifestyle and relaxation concept. which includes high-speed internet workstations. with a Zen inspired decor adjacent to an outdoor sunflower garden.

INSIGHTS RECIPE Greek Connection 40 .

The Fairmont Beijing Hotel AYANA Resort and Spa Bali Fill out our survey to enjoy a Free 1 Year Subscription* and stand a chance to win free hotel stays!* We are offering free one year subscriptions to residents of Singapore. Add vanilla and honey. 6. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. 2. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Bake this for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp. Set the toppings aside. Jakarta and Bali! See next page for more details. Make sauce while baklava is baking. but if you do so. INGREDIENTS 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough 1 pound chopped nuts 1 cup butter 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup water 1 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup honey DIRECTIONS 1.This traditional Greek favorite may look complex and sophisticated. Unroll phyllo dough and cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Repeat this until you have 8 sheets of dough all layered up. butter.8 sheets deep. nuts. You may want cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Let cool.* On top of that.3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. and serve in cupcake papers for immediate refreshement! 8. you’ll also be in the running to win free hotel stays at various destinations – Hong Kong. Sprinkle 2 . 5. 7. layering them on top of each other as you go. The topmost layer should be about 6 . 4. remember to leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up. Place two sheets of phyllo dough in the pan and butter them up thoroughly. Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. This recipe freezes well. You also want to cover the phyllo dough with a dampened cloth to keep it from drying out as you work. * Terms & conditions apply . Add into that two sheets of dough. but don’t let that fool you! Follow this easy-todo instructions for a refreshing taste of Greece right on your kitchen floors. 3. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and butter the bottoms and sides of a pan.

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and its rowdy side as well 64 Subterranean Magic Unearth a magical Palawan attraction priming for international limelight 72 Coming of Age Koh Pha Ngan is beautifully morphing in its slow but steady evolution 78 After the Storm Despite the threat of terrorism and overtourism.46 Eco Paradise Uncover the eco paradise and scuba-diving Holy Grail of Raja Ampat 58 Beach Life Discover Phuket’s island paradise – quiet. Bali retains its hidden charms . tranquil.

lies the Holy Grail of scuba diving. . Deep in the hearts of Papua. Mallika Naguran uncovers the blossoming jewel of Raja Ampat and its eco conservation efforts. the raw natural beauty will strike you like no other destinations could.The setting sun at Raja Ampat’s Kri Eco Resort sets the tone for an afternoon of relaxation. With photos by Scotty Graham. Isolated and untouched.

I didn’t have to specially rear these wild things. people are at the heart of any ecology-related business. They just appeared – we have monitor lizards.” the islands of south east asia 47 .” he tells over dinner. “You know when I built this place 15 years ago. the first thing that springs to mind for most is the preservation of nature. A gecko emerges from behind the ketchup bottles. For Max Ammer. Indonesia. approaching us cautiously on the wooden table.THE GUIDE Being eco can mean a number of things to different people. a pioneer dive operator in Raja Ampat and owner of Kri Eco Resort and Sorido Bay Resort at Papua. Max extends his hand out to the gecko to crawl on. ducks and birds just roaming around. I wonder if I should remove my hand that’s resting in its path – I do love animals. but I don’t fancy my body becoming part of their habitat. “Eco to me means working with the local people to build a better future.

. you don’t have to go far to enjoy abundant marine life.THE GUIDE At the Kri Eco Resort. Right below the pier itself are thousands of fishes swimming freely.

and its not always for business. seeking shelter from sea currents or storms. a number of them barely made it through school. we are awakened by hysterical cackles from endemic birds such as eclectis parrots. One such talent couldn’t measure straight. with the job title of “All Rounders”. No need for alarm clocks here. Little of the coral reefs at Cape Kri (house reef) was destroyed with the building of Kri Eco Resort. Everything about Kri Eco Resort is handmade: the Sunset Lounge and its lazy deck chairs. following dinner. Hideous looking as they are. including the jetty that Max’s father helped to build. so a daily sight would be numerous fish species flitting around the pylons. the bamboo chalets. But Max is committed to Raja Ampat’s people in more ways that one. In the morning. the guests gaze at the juvenile bamboo sharks wading in the shallows just below the dining lounge on stilts. brush turkeys.” says Max. the coconut leaf and nut wall finishing and décor. Even the bricks are made by hand by the senior folks. In fact. we were startled to see a pair of coconut crabs huddled around a bamboo pylon at the lounge ceiling. the islands of south east asia 49 . the dive crew are all Papuans. He builds local talent and skills in this remote region of Indonesia spanning from tourism-related ventures to trades for livelihood to careers in scuba diving. tagged along by turtles. they are also harmless and rather immobile. Baby barracudas pursue parrotfish of amazing varieties. I sat a respectable distance away from them. The guest rooms at Kri Eco Resort are also perched above the waters. sulphur crested cockatoos and hornbills. whom revealed that he could have built the resorts (including the higher-end Sorido Resort) and run the operations quicker with more experienced staff from other parts of Indonesia. At breakfast. resulting in the construction of a not so perfect wooden platform that scuba divers walk on to get to the dive equipment center at the end of the jetty and to hop on to the dive boats. aided by local talent and muscle. apparently they lie on coconut trees and love cracking the solid nuts with their rock-hard pincers. “I want local people to make the money.THE GUIDE Green Resort Every night. whom Max employs.

one that will not last forever. . but sadly.An amazing array of marine bio-diversity awaits you. These are the stuff of legends.


A benchmark for an excellent fish count is 200. a renowned marine scientist recorded 283 and 281 fish species.In two single dives. .

he recorded the highest count of fish species: 283 species at at Cape Kri and 281 at South Fam group. In two single dives. it happened. Conservation The pristine reefs of Raja Ampat and the plentiful marine species were under threat with destructive fishing practices such as bomb fishing and deep-sea trawlers. which is a healthcare provision for mothers and children. When I visited Kri Eco Resort in March 2009. an important regulatory mechanism had already kicked in: the Raja Ampat Tourism Entrance Fee of Rp500. Part of the fee goes to community development. Max knew he had to do something to stop the destruction and pollution. and after three years. However. he had improved the water wells in Raja Ampat with chlorination and safety measures and created 13 new wells for the people. This involves a light aircraft surveillance to keep an eye on illegal activities on water and land. conservation and enforcement. Logging and mining on the islands impacted the waters with pollution. And the pilot keeping vigil behind the wheels is no other than Max Ammer himself. The big fish started to dwindle. the islands of south east asia 53 . Dr Allen was impressed with the numerous species of freshwater fishes found here. or risk losing its intrinsic beauty and biodiversity. It was a stroke of luck when Dr Gerald Allen. or better. priority was given to the “Posyandu” system. In 2007 and 2008. in 2001. A benchmark for an excellent fish count is 200. I found out that the zonation and management plans were still under development. Something that’s also close to Max’ heart: in the early days. Raja Ampat needed protection. Plans for a marine park were drawn. by mid-2007. covering marine areas and land-based activities such as logging and mining. and the pristine state of corals. Conservation at Raja Ampat now is taking on new heights with an aerial monitoring programme sponsored by CI and other NGOs. renowned marine scientist and author. Dr Allen canvassed for Papua to be considered in the organisation’s conservation programme.THE GUIDE A consultant with Conservation International (CI).000 that involves the issue of an annual waterproof plastic entrance tag. ventured into this path. conservation. the Raja Ampat Marine Park was formally declared.


but soon learnt the beauty and fragility of marine life. you may just enjoy his other service. If you plan a trip in 2010. released them. Other plans afoot are homestays and kayaking adventures around the exotic mushroom islands. They are also paid fair wages. who is eager to begin the aerial surveillance.” grins Nikson. hoping to get them out of the poverty cycle. concerned with pollution and illegal fishing.THE GUIDE Don’t expect to see a Western dive guide or master at Papua Diving. Max believes in investing in local education and training local Papuans. This augments what he has already established with the locals – bird watching tours in particular the Red Bird of Paradise. Sustainable Clam Trade Max intends to implement various new ideas. 47. People Welfare and Development Nikson Soor born in Batanta.” laughed Max. and will soon learn to leave the giant clams in dive sites alone. “and my eyes opened wide looking at the underwater life.and by himself of course. Nikson is not just a top dive guide sought after in Raja Ampat. a live aboard dive boat. who was just 14 then. “They are good people and I want them to learn a new trade and to earn some income. one which he hopes to start designing soon . Proceeds go entirely to the villagers.” Nikson. was instantly converted. who added. a road he has taken that is often long and bumpy. is just one example of how a Papuan is groomed to become an asset in Raja Ampat tourism industry. One such plan is to introduce a clam farm. It is the start of a long and deep friendship between the two. because there isn’t one. he is also an environment advocate. Raja Ampat. Dive guides at Papua Diving are given proper employment contracts. and Max. “I will teach Nikson how to fly even. provided with food and shelter. Nickson who is 34 years old. A trip to Max Ammer’s resorts is worth every dime. who then see the value of this tourism activity and stop them from catching these birds and selling them overseas as exotic pets. Today. Papuans will learn how to grow clams and sell them in a sustainable fashion. Nikson couldn’t understand this white man’s actions.” he said.000 dives logged. This amiable and energetic Papuan dive master is a manager at Papua Diving with over 11. selling turtles that he had just caught with his fisherman father. Max bought those turtles from him and promptly the islands of south east asia 55 . Nikson tells me that he first met Max when he was a wee boy. “He just put a tank on me and took me down. and given weekly day off plus regular vacation.

The colorful corals is host to an abundance of fishes. A true joy to behold. . It’s no wonder how so many diving enthusiasts gushes at the mere mention of Raja Ampat.

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and unwittingly discovered its rowdy side as well .Vannara Putra uncovers Phuket’s island paradise – quiet and tranquil.

The Beach. the islands of south east asia 59 . but in Phuket. and parasailing. there is a fashion catwalk with various ladies (or not) costumed up with long colorful feathers and glittering fake diamonds adorning their dresses. mountain climbing or white-water rafting. rows upon rows of stalls take up shelter by the road side. pubs and massage parlors lined up both sides of the road. Further down the road the alleyway widens and a carnival of sort entices tourists with welcoming arms. with catcalls and whistles firing out from all around the place. Patong Beach is the most developed. easily accessible by boat. Various diving and snorkeling spots are scattered throughout numerous small islands around the area. even after the devastating 2004 tsunami.THE GUIDE To our right. lazing. and most visited one. To our left. and enjoying challenging water sports such as jet skiing. From Phuket. most vibrant. I came here to experience a slice of the famed island paradise – the Phi Phi Islands. these are all secondary. Bars. there are also various adventure trips heading inland for jungle trekking. vending fake Rolexes and cheap tee-shirts for the shopaholic travelers. windsurfing. It’s a picture perfect postcard view of a 3-kilometer long white sandy beach perfect for swimming. the beach beckons – pristine white sand upon long tresses of crystal clear water. The perfect afternoon sun combined with fresh coconuts and Thailand’s scrumptious delicacies makes it a tantalizing option as we ponder our next plan. Amongst Phuket’s various beaches. snorkeling. For me however. the party never really stops. Much like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in that aptly named 2000 movie. It’s not even past dinner time yet. In the middle of the road.

offers spectacular scenery. stunning tropical sunsets and warm blue sea. of the southern coast of Thailand. Understandably. . it is one of Asia’s most popular beach destinations.Phuket Island.

but very well worth the trip. 2 of them main – Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. It was there on the serene Maya Bay in Phi Phi Leh that the movie was shot. paving a pathway of transparent sea to a small tranquil beach. is the only island with permanent inhabitants. and we were free to swim and snorkel around the boat. I suppose we shouldn’t have worried – close to 98% of Phuket’s population depends upon tourism to make a living. with full-payment given only when we were picked up from the hotel. From the pristine Maya Bay. we negotiated for a small down-payment for our tour arrangement. The island’s shallow blue-green lagoons and coral gardens. As our boat neared the bay. The Phi Phi Islands comprises six islands surrounded by the Andaman sea. Suddenly. it was still every bit as astonishing. Crystal clear water gives view to the coral beds which are home to a wide range of sea life. not wanting to disturb the fragile ecosystem below the sea. the largest of the six. made for a spectacular scenery. the crew noticeably turned down the machine. and as such they are always eager to make a good impression. We snorkeled a little more before finally making our way towards one of Phi Phi Don’s numerous resorts for a hearty meal. the islands of south east asia 61 . Being the untrusting travelers that we were. with caves and passages dotting the tall cliffs. Our boat anchored a little distance away from the beach.THE GUIDE The Island Paradise The journey to Phi Phi Islands was suspiciously easy to arrange. the green jungle opened up. Tall breathtaking cliffs forms a circular wall around the area. but Phi Phi Leh’s beach is very popular with the tourists as well. we then made our way slowly passing the soaring limestone walls surrounding Phi Phi Leh. The journey there was over an hour long. and while my boat entry towards the beach was much less anti-climatic compared to DiCaprio’s jump over a ten-meter waterfall. Numerous stalls on Phuket’s crowded street offered day-tours to tourists. Phi Phi Don. and my eyes searched around trying to find an entrance.

tuk-tuk drivers offering rides. If you are looking for a romantic place to dine and wine. parading and enticing various tourists who are eager to take photos and chat with them. it made for an extreme contradiction. to find unique handcrafted items and some amazing paintings. 62 www.THE GUIDE This spread. what you would find here is a good mix of tourists and locals who are out to have a good time. The jetty. Hundreds of stalls offer tourists fake branded goods Nightlife at the Beach Later on at night. There were also the noisy advertising of various muay-thai boxing matches calling out to impressionable travelers. that word would invariably be “rowdy”. clockwise from right Island hopping is a popular activity. they came out dressed in long glittering gowns with over-the top cabaret shows make-up. or a relaxing lounge to chill and rest. and a friend’s Rolex didn’t last though the end of the month. Stunning views from the top of Phuket. Beware that tips would be expected of these miscellaneous services. and numerous tailors touting cheap custommade suits. There are indeed shops selling higher-quality fakes and the likes. Haggling is a .unearthingasia. Thailand’s famed lady-boys come out to play. Instead. and you should always start by offering half of the original starting price. Indeed. On Wednesday nights. Those out to shop would be well advised to know that these are simply cheap thrills. If one were to choose a word to describe Patong beach’s street side revelries. Be warned as well that these lady-boys are every bit as beautiful as they were rumored to be. which features various acrobatic acts performed by the ladies and lady-boys. Every bit as beautiful as they were rumored to be. drink and be merry. You are still able however. we made our way through the jungle of shops cramping the coastal side of Patong beach. A coalescence of noisy pandemonium boomed in my ears as I made my way through the street. Compared to the tranquil beach of Phi Phi Islands. then this isn’t the right place for you. but those are far and few between. They are also keen to promote their one-of-a-kind Thai Girl show. be it vendors selling various cheap imitations. a small one will suffice. my Puma boots were a wreck only after a few sessions of soccer.

the islands of south east asia 63 .

THE GUIDE At the center of Palawan. Char Magalong unearthed a magical attraction priming for international limelight and renown .

and few are able to resist its charm. I made a mental note to check out the beach. Throughout the years. indeed in all of Southeast Asia. a sure sign of the various beach activities they must have participated in – swimming at the beach. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park boasts a thriving wildlife and a full sea to forest ecosystem. I flashed a smile at a group of tourists passing by. with most tourists using it as a stop over before heading to the various reefs of corals and coves around Palawan. I could smell the ocean salt in the air. its pristine islands and sandy beaches has tantalized the minds of many. As I made my way into the hotel. offering visitors a wide array of activities and attractions All images used on this editorial feature were kindly provided by the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park the islands of south east asia 65 . can compare with the beauty of Palawan.Few places in the Philippines. snorkeling. Puerto Princesa – its capital – serves as a center for tourism and trade. but first I had a whole new city to explore. or diving to the depths of Palawan’s magnificent seas.

Mesmerizing aerial view of the island paradise.Clockwise from top The subterranean river goes out into the sea. Another point of aerial . A thriving wildlife. another gasp of awe 66 www.unearthingasia.

000 hectares. that it was named after a Spanish Princess in 1864. Princes Eulalia of Spain.000 inhabitants. History tells us however. and has often been dubbed the capital of ecotourism.If we look at the map of the Philippines and the Palawan Island. It is a city that prides on its cleanliness and natural beauty. this was reduced to Puerto Princesa. it is the second largest city in the country with approximately 120. the place was named Puerto de la Princesa and as time progressed. When she died. Others would say that she receives her name from being a haven for everyone. from the seafarers who dock there to the nature lovers and environmentalists who are amazed by the protected area. we’ll find Puerto Princesa right in the middle. the province itself bound by the South China Sea in the west and the Sulu Sea in the east. the islands of south east asia 67 . Legend has it that Puerto Princesa was named after a maiden who used to roam the island on certain evenings of the year. Totaling an area of approximately 260.

squirrels and other friendly animals find their ecosystem near the cave. Butterfly Garden and Mitra’s Ranch.The site contains a full ‘mountain-to-sea’ ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia. partially through paved roads but also on dirt and muddy roads. At the top of my list of must-see attractions however. monitor lizards. the road condition was especially bad and we got stuck twice on our way there. peaceful lagoon that supports a thriving wildlife. we reached the opening of the Underground River. it boasts a 8. As such. Located 50km north of the capital. but a fun experience never the less. The cave was extremely dark. They cultivate rice and other crops.THE GUIDE Island hopping is a popular activity here.2-kilometer long river that goes through a mesmerizing cave before it makes its exit right into the South China Sea. The rock formations inside were truly one of a kind. the area boasts a number of cave systems worth exploring. bird watching and the likes. a breathtaking experience comparable to none. Climbing Ugong Rock allows one to view the spectacular karst formations and surrounding natural beauty. the underground river has been nominated to be a part of the world’s New Seven Wonders of Nature. with the Sta Lourdes wharf serving as a port for tourists who want to rent boats for fixed tours or to simply go wherever they like. was Palawan’s most esteemed wonders – the Underground River. Nothing too serious. Very recently. As it had rained the night before. Right at the mouth of the cave lies a clear. we were led in slowly. The journey up north was a good three hours drive. Daylight Hole and the Kawili Cave. Monkeys. the Crocodile . Other areas to explore include the Lions Cave. The Iwahig is a unique wall-less prison colony where convicts act as they would living in a village. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park also offers other activities such as mountain and rock climbing. landing in the top 77 nominees.5 kilometers into the cave. Finally it was our turn! As our tour guide warned us about safety precautions and what not to do inside.unearthingasia. do fishing or carve handicraft products for souvenirs. Aside from the Underground River. 68 www. gently making its way through the scintillating river. the boat turtled onwards. Finally. A regular tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. We picnicked and ate our lunch as we waited for our turn to get into the Underground River. There are also city tours that brings you to various attractions such as the Iwahig penal colony. and it will take sometime for you to get used to. The Subterranean River National Park at Puerto Princesa is a haven of natural beauty that has been nominated to become one of the new Seven Wonders of the world. You will be awed by the exquisite beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites in rainbow colors – a truly wondrous view. going up to 1. Other than exploring the cave.


very near the sea level. from top The National Park is located .Previous spread. clockwise The clouds form a magical shadow over the National Park. Relaxing in the clear lagoon at the mouth of the river 70 www. At the entrance of the subterranean river. Paddling back out after a fun adventure This page. Venturing into the dark cave.unearthingasia.


THE GUIDE Natalie Revie journeyed into Thailand’s jungle paradise to find it beautifully evolving into a different entity 72 .


The island paradise of Koh Phangan is slowly but surely attracting its worthy share of developers and luxury travelers. the island seemed determined to balance between its development and natural charms. But fortunately. a relief to budget travelers and luxury high-fliers all around .

the islands of south east asia 75 . With its infamous full moon party every month for the last two decades. and flying entirely under the radar of commercial hotels and package-holiday tourism. But change is coming to this jungle paradise isle. elegant lady. failing to show up on all but the most backpack savvy trails. Koh Phangan is a party-goers paradise of legendary proportions. And the little-known hippy paradise of Koh Phangan may be able to provide exactly that.THE GUIDE Lying in the shimmering turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand. it has evolved into 5-star boutique resort destination. Recently however. Koh Phangan remained until recently the quiet. Added to that. At the moment it certainly seems that way. an astonishing transformation that is not unlike a blossoming of a young flower into a beautiful. but with a common commitment to green ethos and protecting the island’s gorgeous flora and fauna. set against unspoiled jungle backdrops and glittering ocean. its relatively slow development will hopefully mean it has learned its lesson from neighboring Koh Samui’s mistakes. as the small number of developers and big hotels moving in are not only developing with an eye to natural aesthetics. Having escaped the brutal development of its sister island Koh Samui. little-known sister of the two. as the big hotels and developers turn their beady eyes from the already ravaged Koh Samui and realize that today’s luxury guests want something a little different for their dollars. hippies and backpackers alike. Koh Phangan has truly established itself as the destination of choice for party-animals. With its broad white sandy beaches. Koh Phangan exudes a special magical privacy to invigorate even the most jaded international jet-setter.

but beautiful residences. and created in harmony with the environment. That these two polar opposites – backpackers and jet-setters – co-exist so seamlessly on one beach is perhaps testament to the special magic of Thong Nai Pan. And credit must be given where it’s due to Rasananda management. who have managed to create an elegant. on the northeast corner of the lush island. and unusually it seems to be entirely harmonious. Who knows how long that arrangement is set to last? But currently. the community is set to increase in both size and diversity. At the . In addition to these high-end tourists. At night the jungle reverberates to the sounds of the traditional Thong Nai Pan parties and bongo drums.The coast of Tong Nai Pan Noi Attracting the most attention in the 5-star resort stakes is the stunning Thong Nai Pan. as inaccessible as it was by bumpy pickup over an unpaved jungle track. it finds not just the drunken revelers of yore. But uncommonly for Thailand. Now Thong Nai Pan has been recognized as the truly 5-star destination on Koh Phangan and this year new luxury resort. luxury 300-threadcount towels lie on sun-loungers next to hippies on their way to the next low-key destination of choice for backpackers. Now when the full moon shines on Koh Phangan. So the wild hippy paradise of yesteryear is changing. Thong Nai Pan’s off-the-beaten track location has proved a huge draw to these intrepid folk: the result is an eclectic mix of interests and nationalities represented on the beach. it is being altered with sensitivity. Thong Nai Pan has been called ‘the jewel of Koh Phangan’ and for years was the best kept secret in the region. but no less beautiful. The result is very different from days-goneby – more refined definitely. but quietly. resorts and restaurants.unearthingasia. so as not to disturb the guests in their $300 dollar-a-night rooms. As it comes of age the jewel in its crown. complementing the exquisite natural surroundings. taste and discretion. the beach has naturally attracted an interesting community of expats. Rasananda. 76 www. beautiful resort that still gives a nod to the rustic Thai charm which entrances visitors to Thailand every year. With more residences being built privately and by small local developers. Thong Nai Pan. opened its doors for business. right next to the traditional $5-a-night backpacker huts of old Koh Phangan. from Alaskan kayakbuilders to Israeli cheese-makers. sets a leading example not just for Koh Phangan but for development in Thailand as a whole.

The crystal blue water is perfect for water sports and activities the islands of south east asia 77 .

Bali retains its hidden charms and unexplored attractions. Ubud. Barrie Lie-Birchall enthuses. Bali. . Fog and mist creeping into the forest as the setting sun envelops the horizon.THE GUIDE Amidst the influx of overflowing tourists.

the Balinese. In October 2002. and yet. unlike other islands in the archipelago of Indonesia. Bali’s eventual step into the limelight was predominately due to anthropologist Margaret Mead who researched and documented. As the tourist influx grew and Bali was flooded with carefree tourists from around the world. the main tourist district of Kuta was devastated by three massive bombs killing 202 people. Rudolf Bonnet and Le Mayeur. this became apparent when the island of Bali became a stopover on the renowned ‘hippy trail’ in the 1960’s. As a paradise destination for westerners. the Balinese still retain their cultural and religious ways of life. is drenched in mass tourism. Bali was soon to be crushed again on October 1. unaffected. It didn’t happen. The ancient temple of Taman Ayun the islands of south east asia 79 . The cyclonic invasion of this tiny island began with a trickle in the 1930’s with the likes of artists Walter Spies.Scenic surf and steep cliffs on the coastline Bali. it soon became a target for anti-western extremist Islamic groups. amongst others. but soon became a novelty destination for celebrities such as Noel Coward. The Balinese feared a repeat upon tourism that occurred previously in 2002. The impact upon the Bali tourism industry was immediate. in-depth. 2005 with a series of terrorist suicide bomb attacks in Jimbaran and Kuta. From then on the steady flow of tourists increased over the coming decades.


Bali once again enjoys boom times with record numbers of tourists visiting the island. There are numerous reasons this tiny Hindu island possesses immense appeal to westerners. Primarily, it’s a cheap holiday destination with much the same on offer as most South-east Asian destinations; good shopping, relaxed tropical atmosphere, bars and nightclubs as well as restaurants every 50 metres. Bali is geared towards tourists and first impressions will see you being overwhelmed. More than Meets the Eye But, there is more to Bali than the aforementioned. It is an island that possesses a spiritual mystique woven around a unique culture and a religion that is a fascinating amalgam of animism and Indian Hindu beliefs. In the land of a 1,000 temples, religion is the dominating force and this can be seen in the daily rituals and ceremonies of the Balinese. Travelling around Bali can be an enlightening experience. The delightful thing is that wherever you go, your senses are tantalised by sheer beauty. Green textured rice paddies clinging to hillsides and rugged mountains are mesmerising. Being an island of varied landscapes it affords some of the most spectacular panoramas in the Indonesian archipelago.

Green rice terraces forms a beautiful scenery

It is no wonder then that Bali is so appealing. Travelling anywhere across the 140-kilometer wide island yields breathtaking surprises and everlasting impressions. An island covering an area of 5, 561 sq kilometer and totally surrounded by crystal blue oceans it is only natural that a lot of the coastline is spectacular, and at dusk, unforgettable mind-blowing sunsets. Coconut-palm lined sandy beaches and sparkling clear waters offer some of the best scuba diving and surfing to be found anywhere in the world.

The whole island is one enjoyable surprise after the other. Walking around traditional markets has always been one of my favourites taking in the atmosphere of Balinese traders haggling or imbibing in the delights of the array of traditional foods. Scaling the steps of centuries old temple and gazing at the myriad of statues slowly being eroded by time or witnessing a temple festival with the Balinese in colourful dress has never ceased to amaze me. Bali has something to offer everybody. Talking slow walks along sandy beaches at sunset or being adventurous and bungyjumping off dizzy heights, or just chillingout leisurely wandering the streets talking to the locals.



the islands of south east asia


Pura Ulun Danu temple on Lake Brataan, Bali, Indonesia

Unexplored Paradise Getting around Bali is quite easy and there are many areas in Bali that are rarely visited by tourists or travellers alike. Then there are those areas yet to be fully developed as a tourist destination. The east coast of the island is one such area that has escaped the onslaught. This is one part of the island that has always entranced me. Sleepy fishing villages are dotted up and down the coastline with deserted beaches lined with row after row of colourful fishing boats. Inland you will find pristine areas of dense jungle clinging to towering hillsides and valleys with a carpet of rich-green rice paddies. Not far from the town of Amlapura there is a place seldom seen by regular tourists that has the most stunning and beautiful panoramic view of rice fields on the entire island of Bali. It is a place

called Ngis, a small village barely visible from the main road. In between the town of Amlapura and the village of Abang along the east coast road you will come to a sharp bend in the road and here you will find the heavenly view. The island of Bali is the epitome of paradise. Where else in the tropics could you drive through a massive hole in a sacred Banyan tree, be thrilled at the power of white-water as you raft furiously along the rapids of the Ayung River deep in the jungle, or go fishing with the locals on their traditional boats. Bali has something for everyone. If you are just a tourist with a desire to chillout and relax or possesses a lust for adventure, a passion for archaeological history or perhaps a nature-lover; Bali and its friendly people have all these and much, much more.

Being centrally located in the archipelago, Bali affords the traveller opportunities to visit the other islands in Indonesia with a variety of inexpensive flights on offer utilising numerous airline services. You can virtually travel to all points of the compass and experience other cultures for as many days as you like and still return to Bali and finish your holiday. Bali as a tourist destination in Southeast Asia has so much more to offer. It is an island where you can relax in sheer luxury at high-end resorts, or revel in the crazed tourist scene of Kuta in budget accommodation. Bali is an island where you can live on $10 a day quite comfortably and an island where you can be a global citizen in paradise and, it is a place that time has not forgotten but respected for its unique culture and friendly people.



Photographed by Bona Soetirto. with make up and styling by the Dresscode Team.STYLE GUIDE A Tropical Affair Unrestraint and picturesque settings conjure a perfect beachfront rendezvous by the seaside coast of Segarra. Heart buckled ethnic belt – Tari Maya at Alun Alun Indonesia. Ringlets Bracelet – Origo at Alun Alun Indonesia . Jakarta. Modern batik printed dress – Nila Kandi at Alun Alun Indonesia. Crossed-weaved heels – Dum Dum at Alun Alun Indonesia.

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Gold Ethnic flats – Giffa at Alun Alun Indonesia. Tube summer dress – BIASA. Rattan ethnic bangles (set of 3) – Diori at Alun Alun Indonesia. Hand-painted decorative umbrella – Nila Kandi at Alun Alun Indonesia 87 .This Page Tie-dyed summer dress – Lilou at Alun Alun Indonesia. Colorful Ringlets Statement Necklace – Divvy Hippy Yippy at Alun Alun Indonesia. Batik printed corset (worn as an obi) – Nila Kandi at Alun Alun Indonesia. Batik printed clutch – Ilalang at Alun Alun Indonesia Opposite Page Long wool shawl (worn as a headband) – Mellies Moss at Alun Alun Indonesia. Rope wooden sandals – Heroine at Alun Alun Indonesia.

STYLE GUIDE Sarong style skirt (worn as a tube dress) – BIASA. . Styled by the DRESSCODE Team. Crossed-weaved beach hat – Nila Kandi at Alun Alun Indonesia. Fish scales sandals – VNC Modeled by Audrey. Photographed by Bona Soetirto. Multicolor statement necklace – Divvy Hippy Yippy at Alun Alun Indonesia. Striped vest – BIASA.


com IDR 50. we are generously offering our readers free one year subscriptions. The magazine is an indispensable guide to Asia.00 New Zealand’s Splashing Lake Taupo + A Guide to Middle Eastern Cuisine + Heeding the Call of Asia in Taiwan + Singapore Stopover + Spotlight on Jakarta + Flashpacking Essentials + A Tropical Affair . And not only that.Issue 01 www. Lifestyle and Attractions Vol 01 Dec/Jan/Feb 2010 Unearthing Asia The latest addition to your list of essential reading. stunning sceneries and unique attractions from all over the region. For this inaugural issue. HK AND MORE! Culture.000 SGD 7. featuring exciting adventures.Culture. subscribers also stand a chance to win free hotel stays at various destinations – Hong Kong. Jakarta and Bali! Turn to page 42 for more details. Unearthing Asia is a magazine dedicated to inspiring its readers to explore this beautiful region we call home.unearthingasia.50 RM 14. Lifestyle and Attractions THE INAUGURAL ISSUE WIN HOTEL STAYS IN BALI. Raja Ampat Phuket Puerto Princesa Koh Pha Ngan Bali Vol 01 .

TALES GOURMET Nabeetha Naseer samples the vivacious array of culinary delights from the region of Middle East. . and comes up with a tasty guide for the foodie at heart.

but more commonly used as dip for pita bread. or mixed with one another 92 . They can be eaten on its own.TALES GOURMET Arabian cuisine usually consists of a dozen or more small dishes.

northern Turkey. the most commonly used meat are chicken. lamb stew in a sweet-sour sauce. shape and color. an eggplant dip. While a meal may exclude meat. You’ll be served dozens of small dishes with exotic tidbits all placed on the table at once Some of the more common mezzes are the baba ghanouj. khoresh. is the usage of aromatic spices. make sure to try out a course of mezze and you’ll realize right away why the tables are all super large. Honey. kebabs are generally grilled or broiled meats over skewer or sticks. A common bond between them however. . it is almost never without the region’s staple food. Each country adds their own distinct touches to the mix. deep-fried chickpea balls. felafels. in which thinly cut grilled lamb is basted with tomato sauce over pide bread and generously slathered with melted butter and yogurt. It may even contain a number of rice dishes that is mixed with meats. sumac. stuffed grape leaves. Grilled chicken with vegetables Middle Eastern cuisines come in a wide variety of taste. borek. sesame seeds. but be warned – it can be quite spicy! Main Courses Depending on which country you are in. mint and chickpeas – these are a few of the common ingredients you’ll find throughout the region.Right. beef and lamb. the main course could vary between kebabs of grilled chicken or lamb. It has become a part of everyday multicultural cuisines around the globe. completing a vibrant map of culinary delights throughout the region. Mezze (or appetizers) When you are in Lebanon. from top Pita bread a serving of dips. The baba ghanouj is especially tasty. parsley. For the uninitiated. fruits and nuts. feta-stuffed phyllo pastries and dolmas. Since Muslims do not consume pork. vegetables. Iskender kebab is a famed specialty from Bursa. bread.

Protein and fiber are in abundance due to the inclusion of nuts. salads and breads This is the usual companion of meals.unearthingasia. It can give your throat an itchy. spinach. as it is forbidden in the Islamic tradition to do so. flat breads and the traditional Jewish Challah. Meals in the Middle East are often eaten using your hands. Among the common ones are Tabboulleh (tart parsley). uneasy feeling. avoid doing so with your left hand. most bakeries tend to sell sweet pastries and the likes to curb your sweet tooth cravings. If you’re uncomfortable with this. but with lower calories and fat. sautéed tomato and eggplant with yogurt. Desserts are served occasionally. thick. 94 www. unless if you are in Iran where tea are commonly served. following the Islamic tradition that is prevalent in the region. But for those who fancy desserts on their own. pita.Vegetables. Desserts and Snacks You are normally served a small cup of sweet. But if you are to try eating with your hands. Other desserts include baklava and perhaps almond crusted cookies as well. Brides Fingers (Asabia el Aroos) are slender crisps of filo filled with sweetened nuts that are popular with the locals. They are comparable to the likes of baklava. coffee. One thing I learned is to leave the sludge at the . do not hesitate to ask for a fork and spoon.


Phetburi (Phetchaburi). . photographer Craig Ferguson finally settled down in Taiwan. Thailand. Call Light shining into Khao Luang Caves.TALES ART Heeding the After years of traveling around the region of Asia. He shared tales of his amazing journey with Nikolas Tjhin.

Selina Ferguson. “I remember always wanting to take pictures with my dad’s ‘slide camera’. I basically made it up as I went along!” shared the enthusiastic traveler. Craig Ferguson is one such victim. he traveled through Asia for a year. landing in Bangkok and simply “winging it” as he goes along. it’s no wonder how so many people have fallen head over heels with this beautiful region. Always with a camera. and worked it out as I went along. having fallen in love with Asia over his various treks throughout the region. After that. Photo credit .The yearly pilgrimage for Mazu. in Taiwan Taiwan home. the awardwinning photographer calls the islands of south east asia 97 . “I had nothing booked. Bright red lanterns. having grown up mostly in a beach-side suburb of Sydney. and then into a cheap guesthouse. and is starting to shift his focus away from travel photography into music. He initially studied science and graduated with a degree in Environmental Science. First Love Craig hailed from Australia. wedding and personal portrait type photography. Even from a very young age. Right off graduation.” He then learned the ropes on his own on a Manual SLR while at school in the 1980s and progressed from there. With its numerous cultural traditions and some of the most fascinating sights on earth. Now. The Goddess of the Sea. he has always shown an interest in photography. The call of Asia is a strong one. I found my way onto a local bus to Banglamphu. Somehow.

Taiwan.Japanese gate. Hualien. .

and on to Lhasa. but not before a final couple weeks of relaxation on Koh Tao. and onwards to Nepal for a slower pace of life. the call of Asia grew too strong. he headed back up towards Surat Thani. trekking in the Annapurnas and exploring the old parts of Kathmandu. he didn’t find anything that fits him and gave him satisfaction. So in 2001. meeting up with other travelers along the way. “All this happened a couple of days after the 9/11 attack in the US.” he shared. Following a short stint in corporate IT. local governance. back to Bali. the islands of south east asia 99 .” and then to Bali. “After some halfhearted attempts to fit into the standard career-track in Australia. then onwards to Jakarta through Mount Bromo and Yogyakarta. lakes and surfing made up most of it. his so called second round of travel sees him journey to Langkawi. People often ask what the best memory etc is and it’s really hard to say – there were so many highlights!” Heeding the Call After returning to Australia. he booked a ticket back to Bangkok and went on the road again. Koh Pha Ngan and then Bangkok. Craig searched around for a fulfilling opportunity. which intrigued Craig so much that he made plans to return the following year as well. I’d saved enough money that I was able to travel backpacker style for the year without needing to work. “I mostly did it alone. then to Lombok. transiting in Singapore. hospitality and NGOs. but never found it. He spent a good five months in the Himalayans region. then down into Malaysia before crossing over into Sumatra – “orangutans. Starting out in southern Thailand. One of the everlasting experiences of this particular travel was the winter pilgrimage season in Bodhgaya. Cambodia. From there he went to Kathmandu.Angkor Wat. He headed south towards the Thai islands for a while. before heading back home to Australia. Having exhausted the south eastern part of Asia. on a path that sees him on a very unusual backpackers trail across Asia.” he shared. Burma and then onto Nepal. so it was an interesting experience to be completely cut off from the news for five days at that particular time. a World Heritage site and a major tourist destination TALES ART That impromptu travel lasted a whole 12 months and more. Tibet.

“As well as all the usual frustrations of travelers everywhere.” On top of that.” Craig shares. He now shoot a lot of portraiture. but he ended up falling in love with the lifestyle here and stayed longer. where he spent a few trips photographing the various Angkor-era ruins in both Cambodia and Thailand which have proved to be photographic highlights. Craig headed back east to replenish his funds. his sound advice is to “try to shoot the images and subjects that give you the most satisfaction. I spent a substantial part of the time living in one of the smaller cities. To Craig. and you’ll find success starts to come your way. Once again. before ending up in Taiwan where a friend was already based. and we have no plans to leave. although it’s been quite a few years since I was last there.unearthingasia. Amongst his list of highlights.” he enthused. his intention was to stay for one to two years. He stopped in Thailand and Vietnam. and then continue traveling.” he opined. Craig was privileged enough to be able to witness the ceremony between the two different Buddhist traditions.TALES ART Taiwanese opera performer from the Xin Ing Feng Opera Group.” he noted. “I wouldn’t swap it for the world though!”. He is starting to teach photography. but there’s the added pressure of marketing. which included interviewing Noel Gallagher for 30 minutes before the show. Settling Down Following that. weddings and music as well. Naturally. persistence is key to his success. and had the pleasure to shoot for Oasis when they toured earlier this . and they invited me inside their temple. looking for new leads and meeting deadlines. with group workshops and a couple of one-on-one students. he finds himself spending time with some Thai monks who were staying there. I met and married my wife. some stood out more than others. On that second trip to Bodhgaya. Now. He has now spent seven years in Taiwan – “it was a pretty easy transition to make to life here.” he narrated. his meeting with the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya is one of them. “the whole India and Nepal area is one I love. Initially. and also shake hands with and speak to the Dalai Lama. chasing clients. 100 www.” “It’s hard to choose a favorite place because I’ve been to so many great places. To budding travel photographers. Craig also had a soft spot for Thailand. Let your own nautral style and creativity show through. Along the way. “It was through them that I got to meet the Dalai Lama – he came to visit them. with his focus drifting a little further away from travel photography since being here. “I got into travel photography as a result of my love of photography and my love of travel. The rest just followed. which was an amazing experience. And then shoot it again. a tip he constantly shares with his students and friends alike. Craig is busy building a multifaceted photography business. being a travel photographer is rewarding work but hard. Shoot what you enjoy.

Oasis. a Taiwanese theater performance . performing in Taiwan “A Moving Sound”.


com Travel well indietravelpodcast. Search for Indie Travel in iTunes Check out the new magazine at .Love travelling? The Indie Travel Podcast is an independent travel site with regular audio and video podcasts along with articles by travellers from all over the world.

TALES ADVENTURE Splashing Lake Taupo Debbie Reyes-Coloma ventured into the Kiwi’s stunning landscape to find the Maori spirit of adventure well fanned and alive One of the most famous hiking routes in the Tongariro National Park leads to this amazing sight of the Blue Lake © Destination Lake Taupo .

The lake’s attractive pumice sand beaches give it the appearance of an inland ocean. swimming. To the local Kiwis. the Waikato River has always been a great provider—from fish and freshwater lobster to drinking water. Situated in the volcanic heart of the North Island. fascinating geothermal areas and the famous Huka Falls. Water activities take place in the lakes all year round—which include waterskiing. such as bungy jumping and zorbing. It was created by a gigantic volcanic eruption in 181AD. With 47 rivers and streams flowing into the lake. irrigation and hydroelectric power. Spanning 619 sq km. kayaking. There are also many tour operators in the region who offer day trips or overnight camping excursions. jet skiing. and sailing. There is no shortage of activities for vacationers regardless of age or fitness. Lake Taupo is Australasia’s largest lake. cruising. canoeing. it is as big as Singapore. parasailing. The Waikato River is the only river flowing out of the lake. At 425 km in length. awe-inspiring geothermal and volcanic wonders. most extreme adventures. and temperate climate—the Kiwi’s spirit of adventure is what has attracted visitors from across the globe to join in the fun. the Lake Taupo region is home to New Zealand’s largest fresh water lake. The youngest country on earth has some of the most incredible water adventures that guests can experience. it is New Zealand’s largest natural waterway.A cliff stone carving © Darryl Torckler The Waikato River is the longest waterway in New Zealand © Rob Suisted The Kiwis are known for inventing some of the world’s craziest. the islands of south east asia 105 . this area is renowned for trout fishing and kayaking. fishing. Perhaps inspired by New Zealand’s pure natural surroundings—from vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes to gorgeous beaches. Plus there are plenty of chances to take a break and continue the fun on dry land.

com . Be ready to get wet! To scuba dive in Lake Taupo.hukafallsjet. To the amateur diver this requires skill in reading your depth gauge. Should you wish to scuba dive in a volcanic area.unearthingasia. White Island off the coast of Whakatane is a unique experience as New Zealand’s only active marine volcano. You should seek advice and assistance from a qualified professional scuba diving school or tour operator in the area. The awesome performance of the Huka Jet boats will put your heart in your mouth when your driver spins your Huka Jet through 360° in its own length at high speed. aquatic life is abundant.TALES ADVENTURE Below Tandem skydiving will show you the most stupendous view of the central North Island Far Below If you prefer your scenery with a large dash of action. 106 www. and enjoy the sensation as you slide past cliffs and trees at 80km per boat ride! Marvel at the incredible water level views of the spectacular Huka Falls. catch a jet boat ride to the base of Huka Falls Lake Taupo and its connecting rivers represent one of the most prolific wild trout fisheries in the world @ Gareth Eyres © Destination Lake Taupo © Destination Lake Taupo Feel the exhilaration and the power of a Hukafalls Jet (www. Because of the warm waters. one needs experience and professional help because of the lake’s location above sea level.

There’s nothing else like it in the world © Destination Lake Taupo . up mountain summits. along scoria slopes and through craters. leading you over ancient lava flows.You’ll never regret walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This 17-kilometre volcanic trail rises to 1600 metres above sea level.

past limestone and volcanic cliffs and then race down 50m ‘roller coaster’ rapids at exhilarating speeds. chugging on the old steamboat or speeding across the lake on a launch is also a thrilling way to spend a day or late afternoon. It’s the white water seekers challenge of fun. Take the Clearwater Cruises (www.newzealand. where you can also enjoy a soak in a natural hot spring. A chartered cruise is one of the best ways to experience golden for more adventures off and on the ground. There is a full range of fishing equipment on board so guests can try fishing for trophy-sized rainbow trout. and Clearwater staff can organise a range of on-water and land-based activities. 108 www. hot springs. Float past ancient beech forests. water skiers. it’s just so wonderful to see this beautiful lake full of swimmers. It’s the exciting. tranquil waters and pumice beaches. It’s such a beautiful holiday scene with people enjoying and relaxing on the lakeshores despite the season. Now’s your chance to race the rapids! At Orakei Korako. From parasailing to wakeboarding. one of nature’s true gifts. and then explore a world of gushing go back in time in this unique geothermal wonderland. The Tongariro River is known as the perfect river for your first white water rafting experience. wet. the Hidden Valley ( The white water rafting experience can be a peaceful drifting trip on the Tongariro’s or the Mohaka for the adventure seeker who needs the thrill of blasting down endless rapids at a romping pace. Make sure you have your camera with you. The lake’s reflective waters mirror mountains. Arriving in Taupo by road as a visitor. boiling mud pools and some of the largest silica terraces in the world. Cross the Waikato River by boat. Sailing on a yacht. Winter (9°C from June to August) and Spring (12°C from Sept to November). New Zealand has four seasons: Summer (14°C from Dec to February) The majestic backdrop of a dormant volcano. Lake Taupo is the ideal place to try your nerve and your water before your trip. bush and sky. Autumn (10°C from March to May). wild adventure that any brave adventurer needs to do. The weather in New Zealand can change unexpectedly as cold fronts or tropical cyclones quickly blow in. Cook your catch in thermal sand at Hot Water beach.The chilly waters at the mouth of the Waitahanui Stream are easier to stand when there’s the distraction of an amazing sunset © Gareth Eyres Lake Taupo’s panoramic 360° views are through stunning Lake Tarawera on the 38-foot luxury launch Clearwater Pride. naturally heated thermal waters and unspoiled flora and fauna provide a beautiful playground. through gorges. Visit www. sail boats. speedboats or jet skis. Check .

Here you can see the Emerald Lakes.The volcanic landscapes of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing never fail to surprise. explosion craters that have filled with mineral-rich water running down from the Red Crater thermal area © Destination Lake Taupo . wild colours provide visual excitement. Within this world of earth tones that were spewed from subterranean magma vaults.

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and then get back into it right away after your well-deserved break. Shed away your habitual influences and your customary comforts. and together you’ll form quite a merry crew. you’ll do well to reflect back and determine a new direction for your personal life. is to let loose and tap into this creative energy. and enjoy a week of acting and play-making in the isolated heights of Tibet.Apr 19) According to my analysis of the astrological omens. I would book a ticket to the Christmas Islands if I were you. I’m thinking a place of leisure and relaxation. or so they say.Feb 18) Party harder and smarter than usual Aquarius. Your homework. a hauntingly beautiful city doomed to lose itself to the drowning sea. to boldly welcome the coming new year as soon as possible. After playing out your fantasy. You’ll find all of your most creative inner whims fulfilled with a simple snap of your finger. But being in this place feels liberating. like the southern islands of the coast of Thailand. Invent a new character. a place in between worlds. In fact. Jakarta? It’s a place where you can do anything you want to.TRAVEL HOROSCOPE Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) Flee as far as possible from your usual haunts.unearthingasia. but they are important in shaping you up for the brighter future ahead. The time is nigh to drown yourself in alcoholic beverages of all kind. Make sure all the proper forms have been filled out over the weekend – this next part of your trip requires meticulous attention to make sure it all goes smoothly. Celebrate the coming festivities with a bang. Renew your energy and figure out what comes next. the nonchalant Aries is largely unaware of the creative energy that has been welling up inside you. Go for it! You’ll meet up with other people who are in similar states of transformation and journey. Suddenly. you feel able to do and say all kinds of things that didn’t seem permissible before. For you Sagittarius. Don’t worry too much about whether things are going your way.Mar 20) You’re not fully informed – quite . Aquarius (Jan 20 . The isolated heights of Tibet awaits you Sagittarius Pisces (Feb 19 . a doomed beauty that will sooner or later die away – much like everything else on earth actually. a personality with an interesting back story. Relax and go with the flow. Capricorn (Dec 22 .May 20) A little of bad news is coming your way Taurus. the time is right for a simple break of isolation and new experiences. and give toast to the coming year. Aries. I suspect this will be a place flooded with sea water. Venice is one such destination. The passing year may seem full of negative experiences. May I suggest a trip to the Big Durian of South East Asia. 118 www. Aries (Mar 21 . but don’t give up – the story is far from over! Take some time out in the middle of this stressful period to collect yourself and ponder a thought. dear Capricorn. Taurus (Apr 20 .Jan 19) The time is right to head back into your natural habitat.

June 20) You’re totally ready to take things to the next level. fret not. it would take a good few years to try them all out. I bid you make your peace with God. . your friends and family will still be there for you come 2010. away from your usual crowd of friends and family. Take it! After all. I envision an eventful getaway in the near future. you’ve got it all here. Libra (Sep 23 . dubbing itself the Adventure Capital of the World. There will be an offer to travel and celebrate the festivities together. Leo (July 23 . but that maybe too early for you. romantically or in some other way.Aug 22) Life is just way too short to worry about people needlessly! So if you’re wondering about what people may think of you as you embark on this personal adventure. Bali is a popular place for honeymooners. with the sun-filled days off the coast of Palawan? Cancer (June 21 . The city of Queenstown in New Zealand offers much in the way of adventure.Gemini (May 21 . When you think about everything you’ve done and seen. the cosmos grant you the license to thrive on the unexpected blessings that come from giving yourself to the random intelligence of a stranger. as I always say. you’re grateful for all of your experiences. Better start now. and you would do well to follow your heart’s content – lest you live to regret this missed opportunity for a unique experience. They can wait.Sep 22) The most challenging parts of your travels have also brought you the greatest lessons. Scorpio (Oct 23 . Get set and let the adrenaline roar! Virgo (Aug 23 .Oct 22) Spare no expense. Make an effort to range far and wide during your explorations. Maybe start of slow. It was said there are so many ramen stalls in Tokyo that even if you were to eat ramen thrice a day. with the sweet smell of romance in the air.July 22) For the foreseeable future. from the Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism to the passionate compassion of the Buddha. A spiritual journey is on the cards – may I suggest the region of India? It’s an area reeking with religious mysticism. Don’t put restraints on your enjoyment or give yourself a subconscious guilt trip for what you’re seeing and doing.Nov 21) Before you commence your life-long dream Scorpio. All this mental liberation leads you to want to try a few daring physical acts too. whatever that may be. Life is only worth living your own way.

I love to meet new people and find new perspectives to life and unique ways of life that can only be found from the lives of local people. the sooner the better! 120 . That happens often here. Stella Rissa is fast becoming a rising star in the Asian fashion industry. and what attracts me the most is the culture. she snuck some time out from her hectic preparation for the upcoming Jakarta Fashion Week to share with us her love and passion for traveling. it’s crazy! It’s like one world in the same place together. and the new Rock Bar which simply boasts a spectacular looking venue. and in fact its really like my second home. Finally. It’s a great place to go for a creative inspiration. like at Warung Made. because its one of the most stylish trend-setting fashion cities in the world. The food was amazing. I love to go to new places. but I totally fell in love with the place. from the street-side stalls serving ramen noodles (a personal favorite) to the luxe sushi restaurants serving one-of-a-kind delicacies. interesting destination that is more than just a shopping destination. I’m planning for another visit there actually. Bali is another favorite. amazing culture. at least once every two years. as I prefer authentic local food. I often go to New York to visit my sister. fast-paced city that never fails to amaze. I don’t really enjoy much of the luxurious fine-dining scene in Bali. Beautiful people.BON VOYAGE The winner of 2008’s Cleo Award for the Best Young Designer. a paradise haven close to my hometown. I always have a good impression for new places. which is a very hectic. I’ve only been there once. I love to travel. but you do have to be careful of overloading your senses. the food and the people. artistic inspirations and jaw-dropping nature. another destination that I absolutely loved was Japan. and my favorite places in Bali are KuDeTa for its amazing ambiance. Fresh off the plane from her London trip. and it’s all in Rupiah – much cheaper than spending in Dollars and Yens! I go there at least once every two months. they were all superb! It is also one of the rare places where a very strong cultural roots and a modern outlook in life are mixed seamlessly in harmony.

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