As I am writing this, the Indonesian island of Lombok’s eastern and northern side had just experienced several earthquakes and tremors, chiefly among them were the one on 29 July 2018 that claimed 14 lives and destroyed 90% of the hiking trail up to Mount Rinjani, and another one on 5 August 2018, killing 400 persons. These quakes were not only felt throughout Lombok but also in the eastern and southern parts of neighbouring Bali. Tourists fled Lombok in droves, while the Indonesian authorities have been deploying disaster relief efforts to affected areas. At the same time, Bali Government Tourism Office issued a statement that Bali remains unaffected and that Ngurah Rai International Airport only sustained minor damage and business goes on as usual, which is good news for travellers seeking a short break at the Island of the Gods (page 98).
Why am I touching on this? Because despite the calamity that befell Lombok, we hope travellers would not shun totally the destination and instead return to the island when the dust settles. The island has always been one of our favourite getaway destinations in Indonesia because of its pristine nature, rugged beauty and lack of tourists crowding its beaches, maybe with the exception of Gili Trawangan (see page 116). Travellers who intend to avoid Lombok’s quake-hit areas should head to places south of the island that offer equally breathtaking views such as Kuta Mandalika beach, Tanjung Aan and Bukit Merese. In short, it would truly be a shame if travellers entirely give Lombok a miss just because of the incidents mentioned since the island has so much to offer. Travellers will also be doing a noble cause by helping Lombok return to normalcy when they visit and spend money on the island, boosting the local economy.
Still on the subject of Indonesian island destinations, be sure to also read up on Club Med Bintan partnering with the fashion brand Lacoste to elevate travellers’ golfing experience (page 112) and Shahida Sakeri’s experience exploring the recently introduced Anambas archipelago (page 109), which can be accessed from Johor Bahru, the capital of the Malaysian state of Johor, which in itself has its own charms (page 86).
Travellers who prefer to stick to Malaysia are recommended to learn about Selangor’s traditional performing arts (page 80), which surely delight culture vultures and heritage buffs. They can then proceed to Perak (page 40) to enjoy the state’s diverse tourism offerings, and continue northwards to visit the agrotourism hotspots in Kedah and Perlis (page 101). For more unique Malaysian experiences, travellers should fly to the up-and-coming duty-free island of Labuan (page 54), which lies off-coast Sabah or trek along the Kelabit ancestral trails in the Bario Highlands of Sarawak (page 66). Those who have the means to travel even further should consider visiting enigmatic Southern Thailand (page 94), pulsating Macao (page 104), gastronomically exciting Kansai (page 72) and idyllic Ireland (page 25).
May all of you find this issue enriching and inspirational. See in the next issue & happy travels!
JUHAN KAMARUDDIN @ JEREMY KHALIL
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Cover Illustration by Emila Yusof
Page 14. Editorial Jottings
GAYA SPECIAL FEATURE
Page 16. Starbucks Malaysia Launches Jumbo Cookies in Conjunction with Its World’s First Signing Store 2nd Anniversary
Page 18. AirAsia Champions Asean Further with New Route to Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Page 20. Our Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur Takes Centre Stage in City’s Famous Skyline
Page 25. Idyllic Ireland in 9 Days
GAYA DINE & CAFE
Page 34. Nobu Kuala Lumpur: Where World Class Gastronomy Meets Hollywood Bon Vivant in South East Asia
Page 40. PERAK World of Wonders: Gaya Travel Magazine’s Top Picks!
Page 54. Rediscovering Labuan, The Pearl of Borneo
Page 66. Trekking the Heritage of Bario Highlands
Page 72. Exploring Kansai Through the Stomach – Part II
Page 80. Following the Beats of Selangor via Rentak Selangor International 2018
Page 94. VIP Tour Around South Thailand
Page 98. Two-Day and a Half Jaunt in Magnetic Bali
Page 101. Kedah & Perlis: Northern Malaysia’s Agrotourism Hotspots
Page 104. A Bit of Everything in Macao
Page 109. Finding Anambas: A Newly Discovered Haven
Page 112. Club Med Bintan X Lacoste
Page 116. Lullabied by Laidback Lombok
HOTELS & RESORTS
Page 122. The Nest House Melaka: Thoughtful, Tasteful and Joyful
Page 124. Vivanta Taj Rebak Marina Island, Langkawi
Page 126. First International Hotel in the Heart of Chow Kit: Hilton Garden Inn
Page 128. Sheraton Petaling Jaya: The Game-Changer
Page 132. Zahariz Khuzaimah