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5 Reasons to Travel This September

A plush stay in Vietnam, a new foodie haven in New Zealand, plenty of pulse-pounding action in Singapore—here’s why you should hit the road this month.

Published on Sep 10, 2018

It’s never too late to start your engines in Singapore.

Get the best Grand Prix view from the new Twenty3 compound.

So you’re a fan of speed but were slow off the mark to get tickets to this month’s Formula 1 in Singapore? Not to worry, as there are now more ways than ever to enter the Marina Bay Night Circuit come September 14–16. One of the newest options is a single-day ticket for the Bay Grandstand—S$208 each on the Sunday—while anyone looking for a more cutting-edge feel can opt for Twenty3, a 3,000-square-meter facility on the final corner of the street circuit. The venue includes both al-fresco and air-conditioned dining spaces with free-flow drinks, along with indoor and outdoor viewing galleries for the race itself. The hitch is that a Sunday-only pass with this view will set you back S$3,855. If you’re still ticketless in the days before the race, any remaining passes are available at gates 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8, as well as at various locations around town, including Swissotel The Stamford and Raffles City Convention Centre.

A peace retreat in a far-flung Vietnam resort aims to help guests keep calm and carry on.

The Amanoi is surrounded by national park, with dramatic views of the coast.

Tucked away on remote Vinh Hy Bay, immersed in untouched national parkland and starring a 1,800-square-meter lakeside spa, the Amanoi resort is in prime position for a soul revival.

But to truly master the art of serenity now, the upcoming Journey to Peace retreat teaches guests to calm the mind, let go of attachments, change perceptions and learn acceptance through breath work, meditation, chanting and mantra practices. Guests will be guided by experienced monk Geshe Yongdong, who joined Nangzhig Bönpo Monastery—the largest Bön monastery in Tibet—at the age of seven, and has gone to extreme lengths to hone his discipline, including tantric rituals and a “dark retreat” that required sitting in darkness for 49 days.

It’ll be a cushier road to Zen for Amanoi guests, though, with plush accommodations in a choice of pavilions, villas or residences, and access to the cliff-side infinity pool, private beach club and hammam and banya spas.; Journey to Peace retreat runs November 1–7, 2018, and includes full board accommodation and airport transfers; prices available on request.


You don’t have to journey far from Abu Dhabi’s dynamic city center for a serene desert escape.

The inner courtyard of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Abu Dhabi is becoming a destination in its own right, thanks to its energetic art scene, classic cuisine and proximity to nature. The new Jumeirah Al Wathba (doubles from US$299), located a 30-minute drive south, keeps the best of the city within easy reach while offering peace and seclusion with its desert setting. Opening this month, the complex has 103 luxurious rooms and villas, plus courtyards, pools, bars and restaurants, all built in traditional Arabian style.traditional Arabian style. 

Venturing into town, start with an art tour at the Jean Nouvel–designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, the latest high-profile addition to this burgeoning cultural capital. Don’t miss a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a white-marble behemoth that houses the largest handknotted carpet in the world. Indie gallery Warehouse 421 has rotating exhibitions and craft workshops, and swing by the Etihad Modern Art Gallery, a space for U.A.E.-based artists.

Kayaking tours of the city’s inner channel islands at Mangrove National Park show off the biodiversity of the ecosystem; you’ll spot herons, flamingos and even the occasional dolphin. Or stroll along the date-palm-lined paths of the city’s new central green space, Umm Al Emarat Park ( After a day of exploring, you’ll find that traditional Emirati foods—like lgeimat, the syrupy cardamom doughnuts—at Al Mrzab (mains from US$12) hit the spot. So do the options at Jordanian-Lebanese cafeteria Bait el Khetyar (mains from US$3). Follow the regulars’ lead and order the moutabbel, a smoky eggplant dip, with freshly made pita bread. — HANNAH WALHOUT


This new laneway dining precinct serves up a taste of Auckland’s best.

Lowbrow at Queen’s Rise.

Asia has led the trend in fancy food courts—thank you, Singapore, for Essen @ The Pinnacle, District 20, and the region wide Food Republic—but now an elevated multi-dining space in New Zealand’s largest city is becoming the next spot for high-end casual fare. Based on an intimate laneway concept, Queen’s Rise has set up shop on Auckland’s iconic façade of 125 Queen Street with a collection of 11 of the city’s best restaurateurs. From the owners of popular new wave yum cha spot Culprit, try contemporary “fast food” and natural wine at Lowbrow (mains from NZ$25); Auckland hospitality maverick Alex Izik’s new venue Ottoman Mezze Lounge (small plates from NZ$11) serves traditional Turkish dishes to share; while upscale eatery Grace (mains NZ$16–$25) plates New Zealand produce with craft beer and cocktails. With poke bowls, deli style sandwiches, dim sum and good coffee also on offer, Queen’s Rise is blowing the cobwebs out of Auckland’s fine dining scene.

Lowbrow pairs fast food with good wine, a Turkish spread at Ottoman Mezze Lounge.

Grace’s tuna poke.

The Singapore Zoo is lighting up the night.

To celebrate its 45th anniversary, the Singapore Zoo will open its gates a little longer this season, as the wildlife sanctuary transforms into Rainforest Lumina, a multisensory lucent wonderland, after dark. Visitors can wander along an illuminated kilometer-long trail that includes stops at the white tiger enclosure for a sing-a-long show, an audio-visual installation at the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia replica, an interactive light experience for kids, and more.; open 7:30 p.m.–12 a.m. until December 2018; tickets S$22 for adults, S$16 for children.


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