Developing an edition that revolves around Asia is no easy task. The challenge is not in searching for stories and experiences that excite and are beyond the realm of routine.
Aug Sept 2018 Edition
Developing an edition that revolves around Asia is no easy task. The challenge is not in searching for stories and experiences that excite and are beyond the realm of routine. Far from it. Apparently, all that is new, hip and fills the four edges of luxury travel are to be found in Asia. The challenge is – Asia being vast and diverse – where, and how, does one draw a line?
Our pursuit takes us from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, from the Arctic to the edges of Indian Ocean. That’s a list of cities where new wealth over the last fifty years has ushered in an age of luxury that perhaps finds some parallel to the days of Maharajas and Emperors.
Getting access to the bling is easy; money and all things material are no longer that scarce. Comparatively, it is in fact the gift of time – and the pleasure of spending it with ease and indulgence – that is the luxury that needs to be explored. And it is here, in the concept of time, where we find our demarcation.
Sailing along a river that seems to have carved its path through rock and jungle vines and witnessed a region’s epically slow transformation from ancient tribal kingdoms to colonial outpost to the nascent days of capitalism – that’s luxury. We sail through time on the beautiful Irrawaddy River running through Burma, sampling fresh fish, genuine smiles and not a care in the world.
A short way along the pond finds us in a bazaar in Sri Lanka’s Galle. Another colonial outpost, another transformation in process. The region has vintage fever set on high. This is an encounter with relaxation and resonance. Here is an interpretation of luxury that believes in holding back, rather than showing off.
Heard of the Turkish Riviera? Fewer crowds as compared to the Spanish, French and Italian ones. I suspect, it was this coastline and not the beautiful Helen, that attracted the Greeks to Troy. Think about it. Nestled amidst natural beauty, surrounded by olive trees, cypresses and undulating hills – this is the place to relax and be reborn.
When it comes to cities to love, it is everyone’s favourite – Bangkok that wins hearts. Just get past the weather’s three modes – hot, hotter and hottest – and we are good to go. The absolute first thing to do here is take a private boat tour along the waterways of this Venice of the East. The area around Chao Phraya River is a hotbed of cultural renaissance. Just as the Sun burns off another day, find yourself in one of the few roof-top bars set well above the 50th-floor marker. Congratulations – you have just embraced Asia’s luxury.
© This article was first published in Aug-Sept 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.
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