Travelling straight from the private island of Cempedak to the mass tourism island of Bali is one thing, but going on from Bali to Shanghai the day after, well, that’s another.
The contrasts are marked but there’s a common thread that weaves through them – the story of travel – as Yeoh Siew Hoon discovers on her 14-day, back-to-back trip covering the three destinations.
Of bamboo, sand and dugong tears in Cempedak
The Cempedak experience starts the moment you step off the ferry from Singapore, and are whisked into your private car for the 30-minute boat ride to the island. From that moment on, you are pretty much ensconced in solitude.
This is a private island with 20 all-bamboo villas, maximum adult population say 40 at any time (no under-16s allowed), a handful of monitor lizards and definitely a lot of birds which you hear rather than see although occasionally if your eyesight is keen, you will spot a black-naped tern or two.
You live among bamboo and sand and eat food (most of it grown on its own farm) prepared creatively and deliciously by local chefs. The only decision you have to make is whether to get out of your villa to snorkel, dive, kayak, walk or spa.
Shanghai, 20 years on: Welcome to the Great App Wall of China
It’s no longer all about size and lots of gold fittings when it comes to architecture and design. The Sukhothai Shanghai feels like it’s brought the Thai design and feel of its flagship hotel in Bangkok into the heart of Shanghai.
Minimalist and warm, its walls and spaces are lined with art and its Urban restaurant specialises in South-east Asian cuisine, with an accent on Thai, with herbs and vegetables grown on its own farm in the city. It runs complimentary art and culinary tours for guests.
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