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Asia

10 days, Asia, Cambodia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, On the road, Uncategorized

Cambodia beyond Angkor Wat

Few travelers venture into Cambodia’s remote northern regions. The country has a poor road network and is not fully cleared of landmines (laid in their millions over three decades of war). Instead, the majority of tourists base themselves in the lively town of Siem Reap, gateway to the 155 sq mile Angkor Archaeological Park and its hundreds of majestic restored temples. Unsurprisingly, Angkor Wat – one of the world’s largest religious monuments – remains the foremost attraction in the country and first-time visitors will not want to miss the pinnacle of the Khmer empire. But there is much more to be seen beyond Angkor’s boundaries.

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3-5 days, Asia, Beach, Destinations, Diving, Experiences, Indonesia, Itineraries

Bawah Reserve, Indonesia’s finest private island

It’s late October when I am picked up at home in Singapore on an early Friday morning. Unlike most of my travels, this time, I’m loving the idea of a resort holding my hands from the moment I step out of my door until I reach its final destination. Yet I am quite intrigued by the place I’m headed. I can barely find it on a map. My husband points at the waters between peninsular Malaysia and Borneo on Google Maps. I have to zoom it in hard to realize those little dots are actual islands. 

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3-5 days, Asia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Japan

Off piste in Japan

The snow has been falling since we arrived in Nozawa Onsen, a traditional Japanese town that sits at the center of a skiing area in mountainous Nagano province. It’s a chilly late afternoon in February. With the ski lifts already closed, I stroll across charming, wood-paneled streets lined with buildings that have stood since the Edo period (1603-1868). Each of the narrow streets is fringed with steaming water as if the entire town was built around a network of mountain streams. The water running from the volcanic springs is channeled away to heat private houses and the almost 30 public Onsens, from which the town gets its name. Nosawa gained a good deal of popularity thanks to these hot spring baths many years before snowsports became a thing in the country.

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6-8 days, Asia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, Indonesia, Itineraries, Motorcycle, On the road, Trekking

Fresh eyes on Bali

It’s almost harvest season in Munduk Mountain Valley. The sun is about to set, and birds approach the rice fields, despite chased away by farmers, who remain on constant alert. Here, in this pocket of North Bali, there is a sublime emptiness. The climate is surprisingly refreshing and the vibe, bucolic. I’m in Sanak, a small family-run retreat, where I find myself amidst tropical landscapes with scenic mountains. It has the essence of an older Indonesia and feels like the Bali of another time.

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4 days, Asia, Beach, Destinations, Experiences, Itineraries, Kite surfing, Philippines

Surfing and serenity in Siargao

I have consistently found in my travels that surfers get to the best beaches first, before mass- tourism develops. And often, one needs to travel far and say no to the convenience of a direct flight to reach the most interesting places. Siargao, a teardrop-shaped island, in the region of Mindanao, 800 kilometers southeast of Manila, Philippines, validates my theory.

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3 days, Asia, Culture, Destinations, Experiences, India, Itineraries

Unravellin​g Mumbai’s art scene

The great thing about a trip to India is that there are no rules on where to go first. From north to south lies a country so vibrant, vast and diverse – each corner of the subcontinent caters to different demands. Its cities are some of the most electrifying on earth and one, in particular, with its dynamic cultural scene, has helped to bring modern Indian art to the next level.

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4 days, 5 days, Beach, Diving, Maldives, Wildlife

Where the Mantas run wild 

When the seaplane lands on the waters of a remote atoll, in an Equator-straddling island somewhere in the Indian Ocean, I am not able to anticipate the dramatic wilderness of the place. The navy-blue waters sometimes interrupted by shades of infinite turquoise are, perhaps, the most obvious appeal of the idyllic paradise where I am headed. But there is so much beyond that. Beneath the surface of this ridiculously alluring ocean, lies one of nature’s most extraordinary events – and this is what drives me to this part of the world in the first place.

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