Asia

Travel

Koh Chang to Koh Kood: island-hopping around eastern Thailand

Thailand’s eastern islands offer the beauty, unspoilt beaches and personal touch missing from more touristy areas and, with accommodation from £28 a night, they’re affordable, too

The island of Koh Chang and its satellites – which include Koh Mak and Koh Kood – are the eastern-most islands in Thailand and, while they can’t really be referred to as undiscovered, they do lack the brand-name recognition of Phuket. The contrast with their better-known cousin is obvious: outside the built-up beaches on the west coast of Koh Chang, hotels and guest houses are mostly small and family-run. Infrastructure has been slow to follow demand and the islands have no commercial airport (though there are up to three flights daily from Bangkok to Trat on the mainland).

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Travel

Mysuru, India, city guide: what to see, plus the best yoga centres, hotels and restaurants

Famed for ashtanga yoga, wellbeing is a way of life in this magical south Indian city – and fantastic markets, food and architecture all add to the allure

Mysuru (formerly known as Mysore; it was renamed in 2014) has hovered under the tourist radar for years and is often overlooked in favour of southern cousins such as Kochi and Puducherry. But the former royal capital of the erstwhile eponymous princely state is a slow-reveal pleasure, a place of culture, eccentricity, architecture, beauty and manners; a gently pious, highly literate and quietly arresting city, connected to nature and imbued with the sacred.

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Tech

Alibaba will consider listing its affiliate companies in Hong Kong

 Last year I wrote that Hong Kong is increasingly becoming a destination for tech IPOs, and the country just got a major boost after Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said the company is exploring the possibility of listing one or more of its affiliate businesses on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Chinese e-commerce giant famously snubbed Hong Kong in favor of a record $25 billion listing on the New… Read More

Travel

Make it a Muji holiday: lifestyle brand to open two hotels in China

Japanese homeware company Muji plans to extend its minimal design concept into the hospitality sector with the launch of hotels in Beijing and Shenzhen

It’s a lifestyle brand known for its minimal stationery, clothing and homeware, but now Japanese store Muji is taking a step into hospitality – with the opening of two hotels in China.

Related: Shenzhen’s new V&A-approved culture centre to showcase city’s artistic side

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Travel

10 of the best Michelin-rated restaurants in Bangkok

The first Michelin guide to Bangkok’s brilliant food scene reveals a city where both fine dining and street food can be as affordable as they are adventurous

With the publication in December 2017 of the first Michelin guide to the Thai capital, Bangkok’s culinary scene – already known for its street food – has acquired its lettres de noblesse. At the same time, the City of Angels earns the title of the most affordable Red Guide city in the world. A lunch at one-star Savelberg costs 1600 baht (around £36, plus tax and service) and two-star Le Normandie serves a business lunch for £35 – astonishing value for an impeccable meal.

There is no need to spend even that much in a city known for cheap eats, so Bangkok opens up a world of affordable possibilities. Never has a single Michelin destination offered so many choices for those on a budget. Beyond the stars, the guide lists 35 moderately priced Bib Gourmands and introduced the Michelin Plate category to acknowledge excellent value and high quality. And 28 street food businesses have also been singled out for their importance to the city’s dining scene.

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Tech

Tencent and JD.com invest $863M into e-commerce firm Vipshop to battle Alibaba

 Tencent, the internet giant that recently became Asia’s first $500 billion company, is continuing its investment spree after it agreed to buy $604 million in shares of Chinese online retailer Vipshop. The deal is being made with long-time partner JD.com, which will invest $259 million into Vipshop, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That takes the total between the two to… Read More

Travel

Winter sun destinations: 10 top trips

Whether it’s yoga in Morocco, fine food in South Africa or getting off the beaten track in Brazil, here are 10 holidays to escape the winter blues

Lying just off the coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is the kind of place backpackers used to congratulate themselves on finding. But for those of us who don’t have the luxury of taking a gap year, tour operator Tui has just launched the first direct flights from the UK this winter, bringing this remote island within an 11.5 hour flight on the 787 Dreamliner. Expect powdery white palm-fringed sands, clear warm waters and excellent diving. Spend a week at the Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort, perched on the edge of Bai Dai Beach, with idyllic views of the Gulf of Thailand from almost every angle.
£859pp all-inclusive at Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort, including return flights, with Tui

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Travel

Penang guide: what to do, plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

Its street food scene is legendary and the capital George Town, one of the hottest destinations in Asia, now buzzes with nightlife – but the verdant island’s beaches and jungle are also worth exploring

This exotic tropical island off the north-west coast of Malaysia is one of the world capitals of street food, with a dazzling array of cuisines from the island’s Chinese, Malay and Indian communities. But after eating my way through everything from Hokkien black noodles, succulent giant prawns steamed in rice wine and spicy assam laksa, to roti canai dunked in a rich lamb curry, I discovered that Penang is a lot more than just a foodie paradise.

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Tech

Google opening a China-based research lab focused on artificial intelligence

 Google has officially announced that it is opening an AI center in Beijing, China. The confirmation comes after months of speculation fueled by a major push to hire AI talent inside the country. Google’s search engine is blocked in China, but the company still has hundreds of staff in China which work on its international services. In reference to that workforce, Alphabet chairman… Read More

Travel

Get a kick out of karate at Okinawa’s new fight club

With karate now included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, we check out a new complex dedicated to the martial art on Japan’s most southerly islands

Spinning, hissing, arms and legs pistoning: the 12 men are like steam locomotives. Karate master Morio Higaonna is supervising their training session. His attention turns to me. “It’s no good just watching,” he says. “You have to take part.” Higaonna takes one of my hands and interlaces his fingers with mine in what would be, in other contexts, an intimate clasp. There is a pause before, with shocking rapidity, he pulls my fingers up and back. I swear loudly and flap my hand to relieve the pain.

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Travel

Shenzhen’s new V&A-approved culture centre to showcase city’s artistic side

The Chinese megacity has grown rapidly over the last 35 years and with its new Sea World Culture and Arts Centre opening in December it’s looking to make as big an impact in culture as it has in industry

Shenzhen is a border town, tech hub, factory floor and somewhere Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has labelled a “generic city”: malleable enough to change its form with the times.

This Pearl River Delta megalopolis is China’s richest city, having grown from 30,000 inhabitants in 1980 – when it was designated the first special economic zone – to almost 12 million today. With Shenzhen’s mushrooming size (the fourth-highest megatall in the world, the Ping An Finance Centre, glares across the river towards Hong Kong) comes ballooning ambition, because Koolhaas’s generic city is now eyeing developments in art and design.

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Tech

AppLovin scraps acquisition and takes debt financing instead

 The story of AppLovin‘s acquisition has taken another turn. We first reported that the mobile ad startup was in acquisition talks in August of last year, and the announcement came a month later: AppLovin would sell a majority stake Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai Capital. Today, however, CEO Adam Foroughi revealed that the deal is (sort of) off. Instead of an outright… Read More

Travel

Chhattisgarh: the heart of rural India

Kate Eshelby and family enjoy the pristine lands and age-old ways of the people of Chhattisgarh state

Three men in huge straw hats covered in peacock feathers and tinsel are playing wooden flutes as they herd cows and water buffalo on the edge of the jungle. Even the animals sport necklaces of bright flowers.

This is Chhattisgarh state, in east-central India: little visited, yet rewarding, it’s a land of elusive leopards, tigers and animist beliefs that gained independence from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh in 2000. I’m here with my husband Mark and our two boys, aged four and two. This may sound an unusual choice for a family holiday but Chhattisgarh works, because it’s quiet and rural and free of India’s city chaos.

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Architecture

Some poor guy had to sit between Trump and South Korea’s president for a ‘casual’ meal

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Oh man, imagine having to be this guy.

On Tuesday, U.S. president Donald Trump stopped by military base Camp Humphreys for lunch, during his official visit to South Korea.

For some reason, they sat one single soldier between Trump and South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. So that guy sat awkwardly while Trump and Moon talked across him.

"Why me?"

“Why me?”

Image: weibo

A video clip of the incident has been picked up on South Korean TV, highlighting the poor guy’s stunned expression as he sat between the two world leaders, apparently too terrified to eat. Read more…

More about Asia, Military, South Korea, Donald Trump, and Soldier

Tech

Tencent’s online publishing arm set to raise $1B in Hong Kong IPO

 Tencent’s China Literature, an Amazon-like e-book business, is continuing the trend of Asian tech IPOs after it announced its public listing in Hong Kong will raise $1.06 billion on Wednesday. The company set the price for its 151,371,800 share offering at HK$55, the top end of its range, and it could sell an additional 22.7 million through a greenshoe option with underwriters. The… Read More

Business

So, 2017 was supposed to be the year of InsurTech in Singapore…

Back in late 2016, I vividly recall the bright growth predictions for insurance technology – with Singapore poised to be at the centre of this brave new insurance world. Now that 2017 is nearing an end, we can look back and find a bizarre turn of events. On the start-up side, the market appears still consolidated: The usual names keep appearing, and it is good to see that many of them have grown into much more significant companies over the course of a year. Then, we saw the launch of widely-anticipated Singapore Life, the first life insurance firm to launch from scratch in Singapore for decades. Still, it would be a stretch to say InsurTech grew from strength to strength; we seem to have remained at the cusp of the revolution many predicted to unfold over the course of 2017. On the corporate side, developments are encouraging however, considering the industry’s foregone pace of change. Vast improvements to digital service channels and the increasing availability of digital, direct and self-customisable products is a very positive contribution to industry modernisation. But is that the full, accurate picture? A closer look reveals a slightly different reality. When looking at corporate digitisation and

The post So, 2017 was supposed to be the year of InsurTech in Singapore… appeared first on The New Savvy.

Architecture

This connected tabletop gadget can measure the calories on your plate in 10 seconds flat

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Counting calories from an app can be pretty inaccurate, so this kitchen gadget is set to be a godsend for dieters.

Japanese electronics conglomerate Panasonic just showed off a prototype of its tabletop calorie counter dubbed CaloRieco.

All you have to do is pop a plate of food into the microwave-sized device, press a button on the lid, and 10 seconds later you’ll get an overall calorie count of your meal. Impressively, it’s also able to deliver a breakdown of your meal into carbs, fat and protein — great for people watching their macros. Read more…

More about Food, Japan, Asia, Diet, and Panasonic