Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Travelife Magazine's Vol. 3 2015 issue: The ultimate guide to Morocco. Plus the best hotels in Tokyo, a medieval banquet in Cesky Krumlov, a food trip to Saigon and a steak dinner in Buenos Aires.

At the Four Seasons Marrakech,
living a #Travelife...

I’ve just returned from Morocco on an epic journey with 35 friends through some of the lovely places we’ve covered in this particular issue.

I’ve landed in Casablanca more times than I care to count in the last 24 months, having first visited Morocco again after a very long time last June on a memorable holiday that took us from Fes to Marrakech.


Sunset on the rooftop of our private villa
in the Moroccan desert

And then further down to the outer edges of the Sahara Desert for hours of quad biking through the desert.

That was certainly exhilarating. The last time I'd quad biked was in Northern Cape, where I'd zipped through a massive giant game reserve on my own and zigzagged my way between zebras and antelopes.


At the Villa Mandarine in Rabat,
living a #Travelife

You might say that this early summer Moroccan adventure last year whetted my appetite for this land that is a heady mixture of African, Arabian and French, among many other cultures, and its mind-blowing visuals.

Morocco is not all beautiful, of course, and much of it needs to be viewed through rose-colored glasses; but I hope our passion for this ancient land of vibrant colors and graceful living is evident in our stories on it, which are perhaps the most comprehensive travel coverage you will ever read in a magazine in our part of the world.


The Dream Team in Morocco for this cover shoot, living a #Travelife.
With Nikki Tang, Rinby Lao and Stella Chia-Tan,

in Casablanca

Meanwhile, our cover was shot on my next trip to Morocco, right in front of the Royal Palace in the capital of Rabat, with seasoned traveler and successful businesswoman Nikki Tang as our cover model.

The other photos of Nikki in the Atlas Mountains were photographed by Dr. Stella Chia-Tan, a practicing psychologist who traveled with us to Morocco last November.

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In this issue, too, we feature the two best hotels in Tokyo, a city which has quickly become one of the hottest destinations this side of the planet.

They are very different in style – one is the ultra-modern minimalist Aman Tokyo while the other is French-Japanese contemporary Palace Hotel – but both have received rave reviews from luxury travelers for the unique dimensions they add to a visit to Japan.


The British Ambassador, H.E. Asia Ahmad, also guest stars in this issue with a lengthy discourse on his favourite places in London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

It's always wonderful to get tips from locals about where to go in their hometowns; but when an ambassador is giving you the information himself, then it's way more than simply local knowledge.


To partner with this, we also feature the historic Cafe Royal Hotel in the West End, a new luxury hotel that is part of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) and already considered one of the best hotels in London.

Our contributing editors have been equally busy with their adventures around the world.


GABBY MALVAR, fresh off the plane from a long flight from the Czech Republic, literally went straight to the office from the airport to pen a piece about a grand and historic festival in the hauntingly medieval town of Cesky Krumlov.

With his usual dramatic flair, he captures the atmosphere of a town that truly travels back in time once a year.


On a whim and a bit of inspiration, DONDI JOSEPH flew to Ho Chi Minh for a week of good food in Vietnam with like-minded friends on a bit of spur-of-the-moment.

He arrived with the mindset of finding the best food possible, regardless of where it was located.

Dodging motorcycles and aggressive vendors to get to his destinations, he gamely sat for meal after meal at food stalls in markets around the city, adventurously sampling everything from steaming bowls of noodles to grilled meats.

His accounts of the dangers or challenges of crossing Ho Chi Minh's busy streets alone are quite hilarious.


And speaking of grilled meats, nothing beats experiencing an asado in the pampas of Argentina, according to JEROME VELASCO.

With his mother and his sisters, he took a daytrip out to the vast heartlands outside of Buenos Aires to observe the gauchos at work, and then they sat down to a hearty barbecue lunch where they were served every part of the cow save for its heart.

Before flying out of Buenos Aires, he also booked dinner at La Cabrera, Argentina’s much beloved steakhouse institution, and a place which he describes as full and noisy but so worth the wait.

Just like every issue of Travelife Magazine. So worth the wait. No one travels like us. Or writes like us.

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