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6 Reasons to Travel This February

From new epic voyages to Antarctica to unbelievable dives off the coast of Australia to an unforgettable stay in Japan, here are the reasons we can't wait to travel this coming month.

Published on Jan 22, 2019

There’s smoother sailing in Antarctica on board these new vessels.

Ocean Adventure, a ship from Quark Expeditions, which will debut a new polar expedition vessel in 2020.

Book now on the cutting-edge ships setting sail in 2019 and beyond. Scenic’s Eclipse debuted last month with two helicopters, a submarine and a team of butlers (; 12 days from US$15,395). This fall, Aurora Expeditions launches the Greg Mortimer, whose conical bow means a calmer ride across the notorious Drake Passage (; 11 days from US$9,100), and Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen arrives in Antarctica with hybrid engines that can cruise past glaciers in near silence (; 15 days from US$10,127). Quark Expeditions christens a new ship in 2020: its Zodiacs rapid launch, so you’ll never miss a breaching whale or colony of penguins ( — JEN SALERNO


This inspirational underwater tour explores the Indigenous ties to the Great Barrier Reef.

Dive deeper on the Great Barrier Reef.

The world’s largest coral reef has a spiritual history of equal reverence, and ocean explorers can now learn its Dreamtime stories—the Indigenous Australian mythology of the origin of the world—on a diving and snorkeling tour. Adventure group Experience Co’s Indigenous rangers tell the creation stories that were passed down to them from First Nation land and sea owners. Then you’ll embark on two outer-reef site visits, a glass-bottom boat tour, a marine biologist presentation and lunch. Optional certified dives and helicopter tours add extra magic to this tour that celebrates this wonder inside and out.; tours from A$189 per person.


Japan’s first “dispersed” hotel encourages guests to stroll Kyoto.

One of the bars in Tomi II.

A night in a ryokan is already a singular experience, but a new, unconventional accommodation concept in Kyoto provides a stay that’s truly immersive. From new hotel brand Ango, Enso Ango is situated across five separate buildings in the Shimogyo Ward, encouraging guests to walk the city streets and become grounded in everyday culture. From your room in the wooden Fuya I house, head down the street to Fuya II to visit the traditional tea room designed by late designer Shigeru Uchida. Walk around the corner to Tomi I, where the guest kitchen also hosts an Obanzai cooking class, to the restaurant at Tomi II, or the intimate bar at Yamato. With Kyoto’s greatest charms often tucked away in the city’s smallest nooks, we promise the extra steps will be worth it.; doubles from ¥7,800, minimum three-night booking.


A new legend at Hanoi’s grande dame adds extra buzz to the capital.

The Sofitel Legend Metropole has long been the go-to dining hub for high-society Hanoi (not to mention our hangover cure: Bamboo Bar’s croque monsieur is doctor’s-orders cheesy), but the sparkly new two-story Angelina adds a fresh rendezvous to the century-old hotel. Start at the floor-to-ceiling main bar, where cocktails like Angel-In-ABox (Talisker, shiitake tincture and oloroso sherry are served in an applewood smoked glass box) offer speakeasy-style showmanship. Move upstairs to the loft dining space for chef Aurélien Houguet’s European comfort-food menu, or head down the hall, to the curtained-off whisky lounge beckoning with velvet wing chairs, a roaring fireplace, and bottles as classic as Bushmills’ 21-year-old Irish whiskey. Though the hotel is famous for its war-era bunker, this latest den is much more appealing.; mains from VND590,000; drinks from VND220,000. — ELOISE BASUKI


These Manhattan restaurants showcase the diversity of modern Korean cooking in the Big Apple.

Korean-American and expat chefs are livening up New York dining with spots that put a deeply personal spin on the culinary trends of the moment.

The bar at Cote, an upscale Korean-style steak house in the Flatiron District.


Sea bream with mustard-leaf kimchi and uni at Atomix, in NoMad.

On the heels of their first restaurant, Atoboy (; prix fixe US$42), J.P. and Ellia Park openedthis more intimate, and much more experimental, space in NoMad last year. In the subterranean dining room, the 10-course tasting menu is a reverent exploration of Korean culture and ingredients, with dishes such as sea bream with mustard-leaf kimchi and uni. Upstairs is a minimalist bar with snacks and Korean-ish cocktails, like the Three Kingdoms, with vermouth, soju and banana liqueur.; tasting menu US$175.

The casual, all-day restaurant craze goes Korean at this Hudson Street spot, whose menu transitions from coffee and light lunch to a cocktail-driven dinner spread. Executive chef Steve Song applies his Japanese training to Korean flavors, turning out plates like purple sweet potato toast; bite-size jumeokbap, or rice balls; and a pork belly ssam.; mains US$15–$22.

This carnivore heaven has been among the sexiest tables in the Flatiron District since it opened in 2017, thanks to lavish tableaux with piles of meat, colorful pickles and lush trays of lettuce and shiso. In a way, it’s a quintessential New York steak house—wine flows freely, and you can get caviar with your rib eye—but one with grill tables and waitstaff who ensure a perfect medium rare on the brazier. Snag a seat at basement bar Undercote for Alice in Wonderland–style drinks in a jungly space.; mains US$14–$85, tasting menus from US$52.


On a corner in the West Village, Jeju is one of the hottest (and most affordable) additions to New York’s 2019 Michelin list. The specialty is ramyun, or Korean ramen, with toppings such as pork belly, plankton oil and truffle duxelles. Order the prix fixe to slurp your noodles with soy-butterroasted corn and tuna seaweed wraps. Wash it all down with makgeolli, an unfiltered rice beer.; mains US$16–$35, prix fixe from US$42.


Soju is the backbone of this bar, which sits at the convergence of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Proprietor Katie Rue explores Korean-American identity through her cocktails, born from home infusions she first tested on willing friends. In addition to mixed drinks like the Matcha Meadow (matcha soju, jasmine, Korean-pear shrub), Rue offers five nuanced booze-free options.


A word that translates, roughly, to “beautiful as a flower” is a fitting sobriquet for this Flatiron fine-dining restaurant. It’s a pleasingly moody space, with light fixtures reminiscent of petals and water droplets. The recipes are traditional, and you can easily build yourself a dinner of bibimbap and fried rice cakes. But the delicate, often surprising treatment is a testament to the possibilities of contemporary Korean cuisine.; tasting menus from US$55. — HANNAH WAIHOUTT


A new heritage hotel in Northern Thailand pays tribute to the former Lanna Kingdom.

Dishes at Raya Heritage.

As ever-popular Chiang Mai expands beyond the old city and the hip Nimman streets, new shops, designers and cafés are making a home in Mae Rim, just a 20-minute drive away on the banks of the lush Ping River. The latest place to stay here is Raya Heritage, a 33-room boutique whose interiors present traditional Lanna craftsmanship with a pared-back, design-led slant—think minimalist rattan furniture with natural, indigo linens; locally made mulberry-paper screens; and handmade ceramics in the dining spaces. The spa also takes a traditional approach, with a bamboo massage and herbal treatments mixed by a 75-year-old master herbalist from a nearby village. With a dining menu influenced from across the region—Lao, Khmer, Shan, Yunnan, Burmese, as well as Northern Thai—this riverside retreat is a modern ode to a rich history.; doubles from Bt12,500.

Lanna style terrace.

Modern suite design.


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