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5 Reasons to Travel This December

From a free-flow champagne cruise to a private jet experience to a host of new dining options in Seoul, here’s why we’re booking tickets this month.

Published on Dec 11, 2018

The reopened Coastal Pacific line on New Zealand’s South Island.

After a two-year hiatus, a beloved New Zealand railway is back in action.

KiwiRail’s Coastal Pacific route has been closed since 2016, when the Kaikoura earthquake caused severe damage to the line. The journey finally restarts this month, departing daily through the end of April. This epic 350-kilometer ride links Christchurch and the beach town of Picton—a six-hour scenic journey that meanders along the coastline between the mountains and the sea. From Picton, hop on the ferry and connect to the Northern Explorer train, which goes all the way to Auckland. It’s one of the best—and most beautiful—ways to see the diversity of the countryside.

Prawn and uni jang noodles at Mingles.

These are the latest restaurants in Seoul to see stars.

Michelin stopped by the South Korean capital for its annual awards in October. While favorites like Gaon and La Yeon kept their three-star-status, seven restaurants were given new stars. Here is our pick of the glitter.

Mingles ★★
Celebrated chef Mingoo Kang is known for “mingling” European, Japanese and Korean cooking methods, like the “Jang Trio” dessert: doen-jang (brined soy bean) crème brûlée, soy pecan, gochujang (chili paste) rice puff, and whisky foam.; set dinner menu W150,000.

Alla Prima ★★
Trading up from one star to two this year, this Italian-Asian fusion restaurant is famous for creative plates served to a backdrop of Chef Kim Jin-hyuk’s open kitchen. A private dining room also adds to the fine-dining ambience. +62 2 511 2555; 42-6 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam; set dinner menu W138,000.

Lee Jong Kuk 104 ★
With a dining space “reminiscent of a Modern Art gallery,” chef Lee Jong Kuk claimed a star for his madefrom-scratch ingredients and attention to detail. Case in point: soy sauce brushes are made from freshly-picked aromatic pine needles. +62 2 747 0104; 95-1 Seongbuk-Ro, Seongbuk-Gu; set dinner menu from W200,000.

Hansikgonggan ★
Known as the godmother of Korean cuisine, chef Cho Hee-suk has crafted a menu striking the balance between traditional flavors and modern plating, while restaurant views overlook Changdeokgung Palace.; set dinner menu W120,000.

Mosu ★
After moving his San Francisco restaurant closer to family in Seoul last year, chef Sung Anh’s new venue impressed Michelin reviewers, who shouted out his dehydrated burdock cracker with cultured butter.; set dinner menu W240,000.

Industrialstyle interiors at Mosu Seoul.

Peninsula Cruise.

Offering free-flow champagne and on-board massages, this is our new favorite way to cruise Victoria Harbour.

Docking the final addition to its trinity of luxury transport, The Peninsula Hong Kong has launched its own 19-meter, 15-passenger yacht, which joins the hotel’s fleet of Rolls-Royce, and its customized helicopter. Guests can board The Sunseeker Manhattan 60 for a daily sunset cruise with canapés and free-flow drinks—or if you want to take your own party to sea, charter the whole thing. Personalize your tour for private functions, cocktail receptions, photoshoots or even onboard massage therapy.; two-hour Harbour Sunset cruise HK$1,400 for adults and HK$600 for children; private charter from HK$15,000 per hour with a minimum four-hour booking.


Anantara Private Jet.

Join the jet set on this new luxury sky tour across the Indian Ocean.

Get a taste of A-list life with Anantara’s new private jet experience—the celeb style trip goes from big-city Bangkok to atoll-hopping across the Maldives and winds up at a coastal retreat in Sri Lanka. The trip can be tailored to your group: couples and families will fly aboard the speedy Citation X, while larger parties can take over the Gulfstream V, with a three-zone cabin, shower facilities and fully reclining beds. On ground, Anantara Kihavah Maldives and Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort provide luxury stays. The Citation X has more trips scheduled, with a journey from Bangkok to Anantara’s new beachfront villas in Vietnam’s Quy Nonh the latest holiday high.; contact Rose Ongvisit at 66-81/170-5463 or e-mail for prices.


An installation by Miguel Aquilizan and Jessica Dorizac at The Drawing Room.

Singapore Art Week will host some of Southeast Asia’s best galleries in a former military precinct.

In a collaboration between Gillman Barracks and STPI Creative Workshop, next month’s Singapore Art Week will host some of the region’s top galleries at a pop-up space in the city-state’s former British Army base. Bangkok’s Gallery Ver, Manila-based The Drawing Room, and Lawangwangi Art Gallery from Bandung will be among the 25 galleries represented at the festival, which will also offer more public art programming that shows Southeast Asia’s got talent.; January 19–27; S.E.A Focus exhibits January 23–27.



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