FROM KOH CHANG IN THAILAND TO PHU QUOC IN VIETNAM, A STRING OF ISLANDS HUGS THE COAST – AND MOST OF THEM ARE CAMBODIA’S, SITTING OFFSHORE OF THE KINGDOM’S 440 KILOMETRES OF TWISTING AND TURNING COASTLINE – THE PEARLS OF THE CAMBODIAN SEASHORES The beauty of these islands is that most of them are undeveloped, with wild beaches and just a few simple backpacker huts if you want to stay a while – or no huts at all, just you and nature. Perfect for day trips, or pitching a tent in paradise. Then there are two big islands – Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem – which have a whole range of accommodation along their super-long beaches, with dense jungle interiors. Lastly, for those with fat wallets, there are three private islands blessed with fabulous luxury resorts. Well and truly off the map at the turn of the century, Cambodia’s islands now have something for everybody, from just a hammock in the trees, to a wooden chalet with a balcony, through to an exclusive villa with your own pool. Numbering no less than 60, the islands lack roads, ATMs or mains electricity, but boast a host of bars, restaurants and dive shops, plus endless beaches, azure seas and an escapist, easy-going vibe. Controversially, some islands have been leased to developers for large-scale resort building, so who knows how long this away-from-itall tranquillity will exist? Already the charm of the first of Cambodia’s beach hubs, the seaside town of Sihanoukville, has been smashed and annihilated by manic development. In just the last few years, what was a laid-back beach town has become a grotesque casino city for Chinese gamblers, its former backpacker haunts left to rot. That means right now is the time to enjoy the Cambodian islands, while they are still treasures possessing a serenity not easily found elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Let’s check them out. THE NORTHERN GROUP KOH KONG KOAH If you’re coming from Thailand by land – not a bad idea at all, entering Cambodia from Trat province – then the first big island is Koh Kong Koah, which is in fact Cambodia’s largest island. However, it has a strong military presence, so access is tightly controlled and you must visit on a guided boat tour out of Koh Kong town or Tatai costing USD21 per person, including lunch and snorkelling equipment, or you can take overnight trips with beach camping or homestay for USD55. These trips only operate from October to May and it’s forbidden to explore the forested interior. Seven beaches are strung along the western coast, lined with coconut palms and lush vegetation. At the sixth beach from the north, a narrow channel leads to a hidden lagoon. KOH S’DACH ARCHIPELAGO KOH S’DACH Twelve small islands form the Koh S’Dach Archipelago, located offshore midway between the Thai border and the coastal city of Sihanoukville. Just two kilometres long, Koh S’Dach is the only island with a sizeable population, about 2,300, and it buzzes with fishing boats and an ice factory as the economic heart of the archipelago. The beaches
Following the government’s announcement, Central Embassy is temporarily closed with the exception of Eathai Market (Supermarket) selling a variety of household and consumer goods as well as food delivery and take-away services such as from Eathai, to serve customers 10am-10pm daily. The Vejpongosot pharmacy will also be open from 11am-8pm. Restaurants offering food delivery and take-away services include: ATM Tea Bar, Bangkok Bold Kitchen, Broccoli Revolution, EASY! Buddy, Eathai, Hong Bao, Koi The, Kub Kao' Kub Pla, Peppina, Thong Smith, Thongsweet by Thong Smith, SIWILAI Café, SIWILAI CITY CLUB, Som Tam Nua, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Water Library. Eathai Market (Supermarket) and Vejpongosot pharmacy also offer take-away service as well. Special promotions are available for customers during this time. Orders can be made through various food delivery services, such as online application services or in-house delivery. In addition, customers may contact individual restaurants and collect their orders at the Order & Take Away Point, adjacent to the Eathai entrance on Level LG. For health and safety standards, Central Embassy, as part of their strict precautionary measures, require all staff go through thermal screening points and wear masks prior to entering the premises. Hand sanitisers are consistently provided for customers and delivery staff. Seating in the waiting area is set up so delivery staff are at least one metre apart and not facing each other. In addition, all staff and visitors must show their staff or national ID to confirm their identity before entering the building. For the convenience of customers, the staff are at the entrance of the Eathai area, to assist on Level LG. To visit Central Embassy, and for the Order & Take Away collection, a car park is open, and for those travelling by the BTS SkyTrain, customers can exit at the skywalk at Ploen Chit, and take the elevator down to Level LG. For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/2QAtvK0
The best way to boost your immune system is on a wholefood, low sugar diet. The more nutrient dense foods you can get in on the daily, the better. There are five significantly potent immune boosting nutrients that will give your body an extra wall of defense. Zinc Zinc is a well-loved mineral in the immunity world. It nourishes and supports the innate (first defense) and adaptive immunity (long-term, has memory). Zinc is a co-factor for over 200 enzymatic reactions within the body, with many of these being immune dependent mechanisms. It supports the thymus gland in adaptive T-cell production/regulation and acts as a free-radical scavenger. We love zinc as it supports against viruses and bacterial pathogens and promotes healthy function and integrity for our white blood cells: macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, T-cells and lymphocytes. Food Sources: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, seafood, oysters, beef Vitamin C This is probably your go-to nutrient when it comes to immune boosting superstars, and all for the right reasons! Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the bodies most essential antioxidants, and unfortunately we need to get it from external sources. Vitamin C has shown to significantly strengthen the body’s immunity, particularly during times of stress and infections. White blood cells have high concentrations of vitamin C that are essential to all levels of defense against free radicals, pathogens and inflammation. It helps to upsurge white blood cells (first defense and adaptive) communication, durability and pathogen killing abilities! Even better, if you have those nasty lymphatic inflammatory conditions, vitamin C contains substantial detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties. This is a great nutrient to have on hand for viruses, bacterial infections – especially for systemic or respiratory conditions. Food Sources: green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, kiwis, papaya, strawberries, mango, red peppers, and cabbage. Kiwis and strawberries are some fruits that are high in Vitamin C. Vitamin A Vitamin A comes in many different molecular structures, retinyl palmitate is one of the most abundant forms and retinyl esters are found mainly in animal products such as: eggs, liver, fish oils, milk and butter. Plants provide us with the precursors to Vitamin A in a carotenoid form, this proceeds to further biochemical reactions to make Vitamin A. Plant sources are mainly found in orange coloured fruits/vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables: papaya, squash, carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, and pumpkin. Carotenoids have potent antioxidant effects in the body and can improve our immunity by nourishing our white blood cells and lymphatic detoxification. Vitamin A is excellent for skin and gut integrity, which is our first line of defense from the exterior pathogenic world. Vitamin D Vitamin D is best sourced from UV sunlight, it is obtained through 2 pathways: activation within the skin and through the diet. If you receive adequate levels of sunlight, usually you would not need to supplement vitamin D. Unfortunately, many of us live in rather gloomy climates where supplementation is vital. Vitamin D has been shown to significantly regulate immunity and to support auto-immune conditions. This wonderful fat-soluble vitamin also
Overlooking an enchanting patchwork of shimmering waters, rolling hills and rice fields, Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min is redefining the wellness retreat concept on the spectacular shores of one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic destinations. DISCOVER THE LEGENDS OF INLE LAKE AND FIND YOUR INNER SELF To celebrate its first anniversary, Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min is introducing the first luxury wellness programme in Myanmar to focus exclusively on holistic therapies, traditional treatments, nutrition, fitness coaching and educational wellness initiatives. Guests are invited to indulge in these all- encompassing packages, designed for an unforgettable stay at one of the wellness resort’s 101 guest rooms and suites. Offerings include the Wellness Discovery package, with benefits including a pre-arrival consultation, yoga sessions, customised meditation class, spa treatments, an in-room wellness minibar, and holistic rituals in the morning and evening. Each guest will receive a wellness basket in their suite, which includes all the essentials such as a yoga mat, skipping rope, wellness ball and dumbbells. The Wellness Discovery package is available from USD180 per person, per night. NUTRITIONAL TREATMENTS MEET FARM-TO-TABLE DISHES “You are what you eat” is the motto of Chef Aung Kyaw Swar, the man behind Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min’s unique culinary experiences and the curator of the Wellness Cuisine programme. Locally-sourced organic products take centre stage on his healthy and nutritious menus, namely at the resort’s Roots Signature Restaurant, which introduces guests to regenerative ingredients that prioritise the body’s requirements and tantalise the taste buds. The restaurant, which overlooks Inle Lake’s gentle waters, aims to instil a sense of spirituality and promote the resort’s wider commitment to sustainability. Chef Aung Kyaw Swar and his team support the local communities by working closely — and responsibly — with producers and short food supply chains in order to discover local flavours, creating authentic, delicious dishes ranging from salads and soups to regional specialities. Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min maintains its own organic and hydroponic garden, which embraces local Shan methods with a contemporary approach to produce fruits, vegetables and herbs. Harvests are not only used in the kitchen and spa, but also shared with the local community and hotel staff. UNWIND AND REJUVENATE AMIDST TRANQUIL VISTAS The tailor-made energising and healing programmes have been developed to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit of Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min’s guests. The mind-body connection of the wellness programmes are designed by onsite Yoga Master, Sudhir Thampi. Born and raised in India, Sudhir’s expertise in yoga, meditation and fitness are vital to the overall success of the wellness journey. Yoga for him is as natural as breathing and guests can enjoy private and group yoga sessions as well as fitness classes as part of their package. Yoga classes are held in a series of waterfront villas, designed in warm hues with natural woven materials offset by red and orange plaid that is inspired by the headscarves of the local Pa-o women. Perched at the edge of the lake and surrounded by verdant gardens and reflective ponds, guests can draw inspiration from these serene,
For the first time ever, IGNIV by Andreas Caminada, is flying the coop and leaving its native land of Switzerland to create a new home at The St. Regis Bangkok. The brain child of Swiss born Chef Andreas Caminada, a superstar of the Swiss food industry and head chef to internationally acclaimed 3-Michelin Star restaurant Schloss Schauenstein, IGNIV bears his DNA. His Bangkok team will take his artful cooking to create a playful, flavour packed sharing-style dining experience ideally suited to Thailand’s vibrant capital. Opening in April 2020, IGNIV Bangkok will be a place to experience culinary magic and mastery of one of the world’s most recognized and respected chefs. Following the success of his first IGNIV restaurants in the Swiss Alps at St. Moritz and Bad Ragaz, which both have recently been awarded with two Michelin stars, the new gourmet nest will be the first addition to the IGNIV family outside Chef Andreas’s home country Switzerland. Additionally, Andreas is always keen to nurture the talent of promising young chefs in his brigade and has been awarded with Michelin’s new Mentor Award in 2020 for his constant engagement to inspire young chefs. The results proved spectacular and international acclaim for the restaurant brand and chefs abounds. Andreas sums up his enthusiasm for Bangkok and its connection to IGNIV highlighting the dynamic and creative dining scene, the exemplary local produce and rich culinary heritage as well as the energy packed pulse of the city’s streets. “Bangkok is an amazing city! I love the deep connection it has with food, its rich culture and lively, bustling atmosphere – and Bangkok has become an internationally much regarded culinary hotspot in recent years. IGNIV Bangkok’s fine dining sharing experience will charm its guests at the prestigious St. Regis Bangkok. We share the same high quality values and have already successfully collaborated for our IGNIV pop-up tour in 2018. Now, we are extremely happy to open IGNIV Bangkok’s new home here,” explains Andreas Caminada, head chef of three Michelin Star restaurants in Switzerland. IGNIV, meaning ‘nest’ in Andreas mother tongue Romansh, will be a place to simultaneously escape from, and revel in the Thai capital’s essence. The unique sharing concept aims to offers guests a culinary experience where one can connect not just with the food but with each other. Menus are seasonal, whimsical, light and fresh with traditional cooking techniques honed to modern perfection. Ingredients impeccably sourced both locally and internationally through artisanal crafts’ people and purveyors. The kitchen team of IGNIV Bangkok will be helmed by Chef David Hartwig, a longtime collaborator of Chef Andreas. Head Chef David Hartwig is one of Chef Andreas’s most promising talents. “David is very open-minded, highly talented and a great team player. Moreover, he is well-travelled and gained precious experiences not only during his time at my 3 Michelin-star restaurant Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland but also during several years in New York. He is the best chef to bring IGNIV’s “joie de vivre” to our guests in Bangkok.” says Andreas Caminada.
To celebrate the once-every-four-year birthday for those who were born on 29 February, Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse offers a very rare yet exclusive for the leap year babies this 29 February 2020. FREE 1 bottle of Sparkling Wine at Yào Rooftop bar for the first 29 persons, who was born on 29 February, to book the table for 29 February 2020 directly with Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse FREE lunch or dinner buffet at Praya Kitchen for anyone who was born on 29 February and, even more special with 29% discount offered for every single one in your table who join the birthday celebration. The promotion is offered for a minimum 2 booking guests, including the leap birthday person. The Leap Year promotion at Praya Kitchen and Yào Rooftop Bar at Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse is reserved for direct booking with the hotel only at 02 088 5666 or booking through Facebook Messenger; facebook.com/marriottsurawongse. Available on 29 February 2020. ID card is required in order to redeem. For more information and reservation, contact 02 088 5666 or visit www.bangkokmarriottsurawongse.com.
This February, luxury boutique hotel group 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts will add a new flavour to the city’s culinary calendar with the launch of the 137 Pillars Organic Gourmet Festival (POGF), a gourmet food and drink extravaganza. The event boasts a stellar lineup of Michelin-starred chefs, who will put the spotlight on Asian cuisine through a series of exclusive gala dinners, after parties with renowned international and local mixologists and an Organic Farmers’ Market, showcasing the finest in local sustainable produce. Sponsored by Thai Airways, the POGF event will run over the last weekend of February (27-1 March) and the first weekend of March (5-8 March), and a part of the proceeds will go to support the Autistic Thai Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organisation that runs 20 centres to strengthen autistic children’s skills to learn, improve and be able to take care of themselves. “I have always been a firm believer of nature and the wealth that it has to offer. Given the changes in our society, it is now more important than ever to share, celebrate and acknowledge the persistent initiations being made to highlight the importance of being in tune with nature and being innovative in its offerings. Our previous organic festivals have proved extremely popular in Chiang Mai and in Bangkok, and we hope this edition will encourage our guests and diners to closely examine the way the food they eat is produced and hopefully support the efforts made by farmers and companies to bring ingredients that are organic and sustainable to the table,” said Christopher E. Stafford, Chief Operating Officer at 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts. Kicking of this gastronomic journey on 27 February is the Organic Farmers’ Market from 4-10 p.m. on the hotel lawns. Participating vendors include Royal Project Foundation, Butcher shop by Arno’s, Le Cordon Bleu, Kad Kokoa and Captain Hook's Smokehouse. The market will also run on 28 and 29 February, and on 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 March. The first gala dinner on 28 February features renowned Australian chef and Ambassador of Thai cuisine David Thompson, founder of the Aylmer Aaharn restaurant group, whose first restaurant in Hong Kong, Aaharn, was recently awarded its first Michelin star. The meal is followed by an after party with top mixologist Mel Chavez from Tippling Club, Singapore. Chef Thaninthorn Chatrawan of the one Michelin-starred Chim by Siam Wisdom presides over the kitchen on the 29 February with a fantastic menu of classic dishes that include centuries-old recipes prepared using modern techniques gained from his overseas experiences. Later Niks Anuman of Teens of Thailand/Asia Today fame wows diners with his mixology skills. On 6 March, Chef Malcom Lee brings a piece of Candlenut, the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, to Thailand. He promises to take diners on an epicurean journey of refined Peranakan cuisine that preserves the essence and complexities of traditional food, with astute twists that lift it to a different level. Teaming up with him for the after party is Kris Du of Shanghai’s best-known
Amsterdam is a lively city with a central downtown district that does not find time to rest. Here, remnants of the city’s maritime past are interwoven with elements of contemporary life that include bars, shops, cafés and vices with a broad spectrum of appeal. The liberal Dutch society tolerates cannabis usage and prostitution, much to the delight of those from neighbouring countries who travel here to celebrate buck’s parties or inquisitive tourists hailing from countries that are more conservative. While the legality of cannabis is hazy, this raunchy side of Amsterdam appeals to some while most are simply inquisitive and curious onlookers. When most travellers think of Holland and its largest city Amsterdam (The Hague is the capital), images of windmills, wooden shoes called clogs, wheels of Gouda cheese and fields of multicoloured tulips spring to mind. However, the reality is that the closest encounter most visitors will have with these Dutch icons is the endless rows of souvenirs displayed in tourist precincts like Bloemenmarkt, a floating flower market. However, visitors will definitely encounter bikes, dykes and lights while exploring the sights of this lively, multicultural and cosmopolitan city of just 800,000 residents. CENTRAL AMSTERDAM Holland has always intrigued me and even more so, when I realised that a quarter of the country is below sea level with its gateway Schiphol Airport situated on a former lake, several metres below sea level. As my KLM plane approached Schiphol, I checked beneath the seat for the lifejacket, just in case. Of course, planes do not land on water thanks to Holland’s ingenious network of ancient dykes and polders that keep the seawater at bay. I checked a map of Amsterdam to appreciate that the city and surrounding areas are indeed a network of canals, lakes, rivers and dykes holding back the waters of the North Sea. Amsterdam’s famous dykes are not so obvious but without retaining walls and floodgates to keep out the seawater, there would not be much to see of Amsterdam as basically it, and much of Holland, has been reclaimed from the sea. This reclamation has been ongoing for centuries and explains why the Dutch are such great hydrological engineers. I also discovered that one of the functions of windmills in days gone by was to pump water from the land out to sea to keep the seawater in check. Canals are one of the main attractions and a canal cruise is the best way to admire just how important these were for Amsterdam’s original settlers. While the River IJ divides Amsterdam, most visitors do not appreciate it as the main tourist attractions are in central Amsterdam just to the south of the river. From an elevated vantage point at the rear of the main railway station, I appreciated that the River IJ waterfront divides central Amsterdam and Amsterdam Noord. Both parts of the city are visible from the Centraal Station located in a lively port precinct where large ocean-going cruise ships moor at the nearby docks. Visitors emerge from the city side of Centraal Station on
FOR SOME PEOPLE, MYANMAR IS A SECRET COUNTRY THAT CUTS THEM OFF FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD. IN FACT, THERE ARE LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL TREASURES FOR ALL TRAVELLERS TO EXPLORE. AFTER YOUR FIRST TIME TRAVELLING IN THIS GOLDEN LAND, YOU WOULD PLAN FOR MORE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS NOW EASIER TO ACCESS AND MORE CONVENIENT FOR ANY STYLES OF JOURNEY. I took the morning boutique flight of Bangkok Airways from Bangkok to Yangon. After one hour and 20 minutes, I landed at Yangon International Airport where I could see the construction of the new terminal to welcome more visitors in the future. Later on, I was greeted by the limo chauffeur who passed me the Wi-Fi password on board and showed me around with his fluent English. From the airport to downtown, I think Yangon has changed a lot in terms of development, such as public bus service instead of the local mini-trucks, the young generations wearing more pants not just Sarong and Longyi. By the way, the buildings from the British colonial period and the faces of people are still beautiful to me as always. Only 45 minutes from the airport, I saw Sule Pagoda majestically standing in a distance. It meant that we were now arriving at the heart of Yangon. A few minutes later, our limo arrived at Pullman Yangon Centrepoint, the brand new hotel located nearby Sule Pagoda and more attractions in Yangon. In my opinion, this hotel is situated in a perfect location for all travellers who love to walk around the neighbourhood area like me. I could see the Maha Bandula Public Park and the City Hall on the opposite site, surrounded by the wonderful colonial style buildings, while my heart was beating faster when I entered my room and saw the perfect scenery of Yangon river through the window. But it is not enough, the hotel staff told me that the Bogyoke Market and the railway station is located a few blocks from here. That would be my itinerary for tomorrow because this afternoon we had to start our journey off with a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. This Buddhist sanctuary is where the local people and overseas visitors come here to pray and make an offering. From Pullman Yangon Centrepoint, we can see apparently it was built with tons of gold and it is true! Religion is important to the people in Myanmar. Although, the technology tries to conquer the world but people still come here to pay homage to the Buddha, mediate and donate; that’s why Shwedagon Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in this country. After spending a couple hours for worship, we returned to the hotel for dinner at E’cucina Italian Restaurant. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy the original Italian taste in Yangon. As I mentioned before, I wanted to visit the neighbourhood area so I went to bed early and fall asleep so quickly in the softened bed of Pullman standard. The next day, I woke