China is a must-see and the perfect trip for all! Popular destinations include Beijing, Suzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Macau, Xi’an, Sanya, Lijang and Tibet. We have compiled some of the basic information you need to know before you head to China, including visa arrangements, top spots to visit and some places to stay.
Population: 1.3 billion
Religion: Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, usually practiced in combination with one another.
• Ping pong is among the most popular sports in China, but it originated from Britain as table tennis.
• On the Lotus Bridge that links mainland China and Macau, cars switch from left to right-hand drive and vice versa.
• In the district of Datang in Zhuji, also known as “sock city”, one third of the world’s socks are produced.
• The Chinese invented paper, the compass, gunpowder and printing. Toilet paper was also invented in China in the late 1300s, for the use of emperors. Fortune cookies are not a Chinese invention; they first appeared in the early 1900s, in San Francisco.
The key dates
Chinese New Year. From the first to the 15th day of the lunar New Year is a time for visiting friends and relatives. It’s the biggest migration of people in the world, so be prepared for overwhelming crowds, noise and fireworks.
Dragon Boat Festival. Try a zongzi rice dumpling while watching the dragon boat racing.
Mid-Autumn Festival. Another family reunion holiday; admire the full moon and sample mooncakes.
The hot spots
Popular destinations include Beijing, Suzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Macau, Xi’an, Sanya, Lijang and Tibet.
There are more than 50 World Heritage Sites, including the Great Wall, the Potala Palace in Lhasa, and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
Some itinerary ideas
• The Big Three: Beijing – Shanghai – Xi’an (terracotta warriors)
• Natural Beauty: Shanghai – Hangzhou – Huangshan – Guilin
• The West: Beijing – Urumqi – Kashgar
• Sichuan & Yunnan: Chengdu – Shangri-La – Dali – Lijiang
• The South: Guangzhou – Shenzhen – Hong Kong – Macau – Sanya
How to stay healthy
• The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas can aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Check pollution index levels at aqicn.info. A reading of 300 and above is considered extremely polluted, and several cities including Beijing regularly exceed this number.
• Rabies occurs throughout China, so you’re best to avoid contact with animals – even the cute ones!
• Buy bottled water, don’t drink it from the tap.
While you’re there, please don’t…
• Leave your chopsticks sticking upright in your rice bowl. Doing so is likened to a shrine with two sticks of incense stuck upright in it, and is the equivalent of wishing death upon the person at the table. Instead, lay them on your dish.
Before you go, read …
Country Driving by Peter Hessler – detailing the author’s several long journeys by car through rapidly changing China.
Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian – Nobel prize-winner’s fictionalised memoir about a journey along the Yangzi River.
Before you go, watch …
Raise the Red Lantern – this bold and colourful drama by director Zhang Yimou (the man behind the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics) is set in the 1920s and tells the story of a concubine to a wealthy warlord.
Skyfall – for a view of Shanghai and Macau through James Bond’s eyes.
They said it
“Let her (China) sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” – Napoleon Bonaparte.
“Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat forever.” – Chinese proverb
Do I need a visa?
All visitors to China need a visa with the exception of citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan. (This is if they are not intending to stay for more than 15 days.) For further information, visit visaforchina. org/SGP_EN/
How long will it take me to get there?
Between 4 and 7 hours from Singapore. There’s no time difference between China and Singapore, but Xinjiang and Tibet in the country’s far west use an unofficial time that is 2 hours behind Singapore.
What’s the money situation?
The official currency in China is the renminbi (RMB); the basic unit of this currency is the yuan. Credit card use is largely limited to high-end hotels, restaurants and shops so your best bet is to carry cash. You’ll find ATMs in most major towns throughout the country.
When’s the best time to visit?
Weather varies enormously depending on the location, but in general the middle of spring and autumn are pleasant times to go. We don’t recommend you travel during the “Golden Week” holiday at the beginning of October, since half the country will be lining up to get trains and buses too! It can be bitterly cold between December and February, especially in the north, where temperatures get down to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Hong Kong’s best weather is generally from March to May and November to December.
What’s the lingo?
The official language of China is Mandarin. Cantonese is the other main language, serving as the predominant language of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong Province.
Here are some phrases to get you started:
Hello – Ni hao
What is your name? Ni jiào shénme míngzi?
My name is __ – Wo jiào
How much? Duoshao?
Thank you – Xiè xie
Yes – Shì de
No, thank you – Búyào xièxie
Is there anything I should know about meeting the locals?
A handshake is the formal way of greeting people in China, but it tends to be a less firm shake than you may experience in many Western countries.
What’s a must-try dish?
Peking duck – roasted duck meat and strips of crispy duck skin topped with scallions and a sweet sauce and wrapped in thin pancakes.
What should I buy as a souvenir?
Porcelain from Jingdezhen, green tea, calligraphy scrolls, ornate chopsticks.
Where to stay
The Brickyard is a lodge and spa about 10 minutes from Mutianyu. Rooms have a modern rustic feel and feature a glass wall and outdoor terrace with spectacular views of the Wall. brickyardatmutianyu.com
William Lindesay is a British Great Wall researcher whose company, Wild Wall, organises excursions to remote sections of the wall, including accommodation in a farmhouse, to longer “extreme” hiking and camping adventures. wildwall.com
The School House is a sustainable tourism enterprise that provides employment for locals. It comprises eight restored village houses used as comfortable visitor accommodation, including Grandma’s House, with two bedrooms and enclosed garden – perfect for a family. theschoolhouseatmutianyu.com
There’s a belief, both in Asia and around the world, that a good night’s sleep starts with a firm mattress. A harder bed means less sagging and greater lower back support, but a softer mattress lets you sink right in and get real comfy. So which is it? Fact or fiction? Hard or soft? Support or snuggles? We turn to leading luxury bed and mattress brand DUXIANA (available at Danish Design Co.) to find out.
DUXIANA have been making high-tech, luxury beds since 1926 (DUX 1001).
The myth of the firm mattress
A firm mattress is said to facilitate a neutral spine position, reducing pressure on the body’s circulation system. This in turn facilitates better blood flow, allowing you to inhale more oxygen while sleeping with greater lower back support.
Most people equate firmness with support and softness with comfort, but for the team at DUXIANA, understanding how the mattress supports the spine is crucial. Proper alignment of the spine is what ensures maximum comfort while sleeping; if a mattress is too firm, the body is forced to conform to the bed. When a mattress is too soft, the body sinks into a hammock position and causes an unnatural curve to the spine.
The takeaway? If a mattress doesn’t provide any proper support to the spine, then its hardness or softness is neither here nor there.
If a mattress doesn’t support your back, it’s no good either way.
The perfect balance
The trick lies in finding just the right combination of comfort and support for you as an individual. DUXIANA has come up with several clever ways to do this.
The coil system
All DUXIANA beds feature a specially designed, continuous coil system that moves with you as you sleep. Soft enough to allow your shoulders and hips to sink in, and firm enough to support your lower back, it works to contour your entire body.
From the basic DUX 1001 to the most premium Xclusive, all DUX models contain the continuous coil system.
The Pascal system
This new, patented technology is used in all but one of DUXIANA’s models (the DUX 1001). It uses a cassette system to customise each side of the bed, putting an end to many a couple’s nighttime woes. There are three cassettes on each side of the bed that come in soft, medium or firm tension. They are interchangeable and designed to provide support for the shoulders, hips and legs.
The cassette for the leg area elevates the legs ever so slightly for good spine alignment and to maintain circulation in the feet. The cassette to be placed at the hip area sinks just enough for comfort while still giving sufficient counter-support to keep the spine loose and relaxed. The shoulder cassette also sinks slightly to reduce pressure in the shoulders and promote circulation. Being able to switch the different cassettes around means you (and you partner) can find that sweet spot between soft and firm.
The Pascal System’s easy-to-change cartridges make customising your bed a dream.
Adjustable lumbar support
For those who suffer from lower back pain, DUXIANA has another trick up its sleeve: the adjustable lumbar support system (available in the DUX 8008 model). This provides a touch more tension to further support the back, while also helping the mattress to contour round the body.
This small lever allows you to adjust the lumbar support to suit your needs.
Family-owned Swedish brand DUXIANA has been making beds since 1926. Three generations of the Ljung family have made it their life’s work to produce the most comfortable and technologically advanced beds. DUXIANA beds are available in Singapore from Danish Design Co.
These days, going to the gym isn’t just about working up a sweat and getting stacked. It’s a lifestyle choice. More and more, people want to eat well, live well and feel well, and getting active is a great first step. Being healthy shouldn’t be a drag, which is why this Singapore health and fitness club has more than a few surprises up its sleeve.
Virgin Active started life in the UK back in 1999 and has since spread to eight countries. There are close to 240 clubs and members have access to all of them. With five Virgin Active clubs strategically located in Singapore, you’re never too far away for distance to be a real excuse. They also provide workout gear, so there’s no bailing out on that front either. Throw in cool design, state-of-the-art gym equipment and luxurious shower facilities and you’ve got a top-class fitness centre. Add in these five things and you’ve got something really out of the ordinary.
#1 Altitude Studio
Get high on fitness at the Altitude Studio (Virgin Active Tanjong Pagar).
Step things up a level at the Tanjong Pagar venue’s Altitude Studio. Simulating training conditions of up to 3,000 metres above sea level, this is hard-core stuff. It works by training the body to use oxygen better, which makes the respiratory and cardiovascular system more efficient, plus it burns fat faster. While high-altitude training is usually the preserve of elite athletes, the Altitude Studio is open to all members keen to up their game and max out their training.
#2 Himalayan Salt Wall
Breathe deep and let the glowing pink Himalayan Salt Wall work its magic on your body and mind (Virgin Active Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place).
Who says too much salt is bad for your health? Available in both Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place, the Himalayan Salt Inhalation Rooms are great for your respiratory system. Sink into a daybed and breathe deep to detox your system, relieve sinus ailments and calm your mind.
#3 Climbing Wall
Aim for the top and get a great workout at the 10-metre tall climbing wall (Virgin Active Marina One).
The tallest in Singapore’s city centre, Virgin Active Marina One’s 10-metre wall is a great alternative to climbing the corporate ladder. Combining both strength and cardio, rock climbing is a full body workout. The auto belay system can accommodate four climbers at a time and the wall has a variety of difficulty levels that will challenge even seasoned climbers.
#4 Swimming Pools & Hydrotherapy
While swimming pools may not seem that unusual for a health club, a 20-metre lap pool in the CBD most certainly is. The Marina One location is the only downtown gym to offer a 20-metre indoor swimming pool, so even Singapore’s unpredictable weather won’t stop you getting in your lengths. Hop into the hydrotherapy spa pool to soothe your aching muscles and you’ll soon be ready to face the world. There’s also an outdoor pool option at Tanjong Pagar where Virgin Active members can enjoy the 30-metre pool-with-a-view at the neighbouring Sofitel.
#5 Sleep pods
Exercise is no good if you don’t rest up, so catch a catnap in the super comfy sleep pods (Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place).
Health and fitness is a holistic affair at Virgin Active and they take your wellbeing very seriously indeed. They know that good rest means better memory, mood and emotional state, which is why they came up with these hi-tech sleep pods. Available at Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place, the zero gravity pods are designed for the perfect power nap. Close your eyes, sink back and relax in a cocoon of comfort before ever-so gentle vibrations bring you back to the present, ready and recharged for the day.
How many times have you based a decision regarding your child assuming another parent knows what they are doing? Advisor, writer and mother-of-three, Orla Breeze, looks at our parenting assumptions in our regular Rated PG column.
The other day I had a realisation that my child’s friend’s mother’s friend’s sister’s neighbour had made a parenting decision for one of my kids. Yeah, I know! Imagine being the kind of parent that goes around making parenting decisions for kids they have never met, and quite likely never will. Outrageous, right?
Except it’s not. Because the thing is, I allowed her to. Well, I didn’t exactly mean to but ultimately it was kinda my fault. OK, it was all my fault. And before you go all judgey on me, I have a very strong feeling that you may have done the exact same thing too. Allow me to explain …
So, my kid comes home from school and says she wants to play a game online that I’ve never heard of. I say no. But she says that Jenny plays it all the time and it’s completely safe. Still I say no, but does my kid give up? Of course, she doesn’t. Instead she ups her game and moves onto the next level. Apparently, Jenny’s mother has no problem with it, so why do I? It’s a fair question.
Now, she knows that I know Jenny’s Mum, and she also knows that I know there’s no way Jenny’s Mum would allow her daughter to be online playing an unsafe game. (Still with me? Good.) She’s a fine, upstanding, sensible, grounded, responsible individual (who also likes a few glasses of wine from time to time, and is a great laugh on a night out. Don’t want you to think she’s a total bore.) I think to myself, maybe the game is fine.
In normal circumstances, I’d spend a bit of time researching the game myself but it’s mid-week and I’m busy. (Who isn’t? We’re parents.) So, I decide to trust Jenny’s Mum’s judgement. I’m sure she must have done the research. Wouldn’t make sense if she hadn’t. I turn to my daughter and say yes, sure, why not?
But that night, I wake up with a sinking feeling that maybe Jenny’s Mum didn’t do the research. And that maybe she said yes to Jenny for the same reasons I just said yes to my daughter. Not because she knew that everything was safe, but because someone else told her so. Like, maybe one of her friends. Who may have heard the same from one of her sisters. Who may have been told the same by her neighbour.
And that’s when I realise that I have allowed a long chain of assumptions to lead to my child’s friend’s mother’s friend’s sister’s neighbour making a parenting decision for my kid. See? It’s easily done.
And then I start to wonder how often I’ve done that in the past. Once or twice? More than that? Possibly (gulp) very often?? I mean, do I let my son go meet his friends in the city because I think it’s fine or because his friends’ parents do? Did my middle child’s best friend’s Mum thoroughly check out that tattoo parlour we let our 12-year-olds go to or did she just see a tatty ad in a tatty newspaper? I mean, where does it all end? (Ha! Just kidding about that tattoo parlour. I’m not that bad!) But you get my point, right?
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Colombo isn’t the most highly rated city in Asia; some travellers bypass it completely. But the steamy weather and the ocean outlook give the capital of Sri Lanka a kind of soporific charm. Don’t get too relaxed, though – there’s plenty to see and do. Here, David Hubbins checks out some of the highlights of things to do in Colombo.
Visiting temples can be a repetitious experience: remove shoes, wander cautiously inside, stare with faux reverence at the main statue for five minutes (forgetting, briefly, the religion being worshipped), shyly take a few photographs, leave. At the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, I listened to the chanting of hundreds of Sunday School children dressed in white, was given a free, impromptu tour of the relic chamber, and was quizzed about Singapore by a friendly gardener.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
Fort & Pettah
I’ll admit it. I only wandered through the Fort area to find the café where Duran Duran filmed parts of their hit single “Hungry Like The Wolf” in 1982. It was closed. But the architecture here makes it well worth a stroll in any case. Nearby Pettah is a bustling retail area, where colourful mosques and striking churches jostle with the noisy sales pitch of a million vendors.
A few dusty corners and some empty galleries suggest that this museum has lost a bit of its gloss; still, the collection of bronzes and other statues is eye-catching; I liked the old flags, too. If history bores you to sobs, the stately white building (1877) and the massive banyan tree in the grounds are impressive enough on their own.
Galle face green
To say that beachside parks don’t come nicer than the Galle Face Green would be a bare-faced lie. But this Padang-style strip of grass has oodles of atmosphere in the late afternoon, with locals flying kites and playing cricket; plus, the Chequerboard bar at the Galle Face Hotel is a justly famous place for a tipple.
Spend an afternoon on the private beach of the Mount Lavinia Hotel (S$9 for non hotel-guests). Getting there is fun, with a twenty-minute, ten-cent train ride from the old station at Fort. The railway line literally hugs the dunes the whole way there, and you can hang out the open doors and feel the sea breeze.
Worried about the beginnings of wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin when you look in the mirror? Botox is a popular and accessible facial treatment which is used by people to combat the signs of aging. Injected into the area just beneath skin with a microneedle, Botox is used for smoothing out wrinkles, minimising pores, sculpting jawlines and even slimming calves. We ask top doctors from three aesthetic clinics our burning questions on the anti-ageing treatment.
Is Botox for you?
The Belle Clinic
Dr Maybelle Tan, Founder and Medical Director
What is Botox and what does it do?
Otherwise known as botulinum toxin, Botox is a neuromodulator (used to manage activity of the nerves), and a natural and purified protein that was first discovered in the 1950s. When Botox is injected into a muscle, it blocks the motor nerves from releasing a certain chemical that allows the muscle to function, therefore relaxing the muscle and preventing the muscular contractions that lead to frown lines and wrinkles. You can look forward to smoother skin with fewer lines.
In addition to treating wrinkles and fine lines, Botox can also be used to treat excessive or unwanted sweating and to correct imperfections in facial symmetry. By strategically targeting muscles, we can improve facial aesthetics by raising certain areas (like the eyebrows) or lowering others (like the upper lip, thus creating a less gummy smile), as well as contour the facial profile.
How much does Botox cost at The Belle Clinic?
We have a transparent pricing policy, where charges are based on the dosage used. Prices start from $116.
Correct dynamic wrinkles on the face
Mendis Aesthetics & Surgery
Dr Rohan Mendis, Founder
What’s involved during the process?
The Botox procedure takes place in the physician’s office after a consultation between the physician and the patient. Botox, a patented, highly purified protein manufactured under stringent conditions, is administered by a few tiny injections, thus relaxing the muscles that cause dynamic wrinkles (during facial expressions). As a result, you can achieve a more youthful look within five to seven days. Results last from four to six months. Patients are advised not to lie down for the first four hours after treatment. Otherwise, they can resume all other daily activities.
Are there any side effects?
The physician will advise on potential risks prior to the procedure and there are hardly any side effects if Botox is administered correctly. Botox is well established, with over 20 years of clinical use; it has been used to treat millions of patients worldwide to date.
While conventional thinking is that you start getting Botox when wrinkles and lines appear, there is a growing trend for those in their late 20s and early 30s to do it as a preventive measure before these ageing signs show up. Botox is also used for slimming the jaw, reducing pore size and tightening loose skin on the neck.
Which are the popular areas of treatment?
Popular areas for preventive Botox are the forehead, frown lines and crow’s feet. However, they should always be treated as anatomical units, or else the surrounding muscles may be compensated. For example, if only the frown lines are treated, this can result in an undesirable appearance, like the “spock” look. Facial slimming – getting Botox on the jaw muscles and neck lift – is very popular, too. Botox can also be used to decrease pore size and tighten the neck.
How much does Botox cost at your clinic?
$800 for the forehead, frown lines and crow’s feet; $800 for shaping the jaw muscles or lifting neck.
The Dermatology Practice
#07-60/61/62 Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road 6694 3290 | thedermatologypractice.com Cost: Initial consultation starts at $100, and treatment price will be advised.
A newcomer to Singapore’s rooftop bar scene, Mr Stork is located on top of the Andaz Singapore. We went to put its cocktail menu and bar snacks to the test, as well as the teepee huts where you can kick back and revel in the stunning view over Singapore.
If you’re a fan of lush greenery and panoramic views of skyscrapers and seas, you need to check out Mr Stork. Located on the rooftop of Andaz Singapore, this bar has a lovely hushed ambience despite its bustling location in Bugis. For those Instagram addicts, you’ll want to check out the adorable teepee huts for some wicked insta-worthy shots!
The Chosen One
There’s quite a good selection of drinks on the menu, but be sure to try the iconic Ruby cocktail ($20) – a mixture of lemon, ginger, mint, vermouth and Ceylon Arrack – served in an adorable elephant mug; note that the Ceylon Arrack is something of an acquired taste! My personal favourite, however, was the Grapefruit ($20), a concoction of fresh grapefruit juice, lime and tequila. It’s refreshing with a tangy twist, and I could have easily had about 10!
All their cocktails are $20, so if you’re looking for something cheaper and less fruity, you can get a locally-brewed signature Andaz Pale Ale, or bottles of other beer for $14. There’s also a selection of spirits for $12.
Bite on this
The menu boasts quite a good selection of food. Nothing too extravagant, but popular choices like truffle fries and chicken wings in sriracha hot sauce (both $14) are available. You can also get Häagen-Dazs ice cream in chocolate or vanilla for $9. Although we were too busy with our drinks to contemplate food, I wish we had ordered the toasted ham jaffle ($14) made with turkey ham, Gruyère cheese and aioli.
Last but not least
The bar is completely outdoors with limited sheltered seats available, so it’s best to check the weather ahead if you’re looking to enjoy a dry and relaxing evening on the roof! – Liana Talib
From invasive aesthetic procedures like liposuction to advanced technology including radiofrequency, we’ve featured a wide range of body-slimming treatments available in Singapore. But what about one that’s specifically for the face? Golki therapy, a non-invasive, Korean massage technique that stimulates the facial bones, promises to help you achieve a smaller, sharper and more symmetrical face shape – and without the need to go under the knife. Read on for the details.
Yakson House, a non-invasive Korean aesthetic clinic that launched in 1979, is popular worldwide for its breakthrough Golki therapy, otherwise known as bone therapy. The technique was invented by company founder Lee Byung-chul, and involves stimulating the bones through massaging the skin and muscles, which in turn helps to promote blood circulation and the discharge of waste. This unique therapy claims to help customers achieve a permanently smaller and slimmer V-shaped face, as well as a slender body without any surgical procedures, needles, diet or medicine.
The signature face programs offered at the clinic – namely small face care, sculpture face care and balance face care – all involve Golki therapy and require a series of 10 or 20 sessions for full results to be seen. The small face care program is targeted to those who want a smaller, oval-shaped face, while sculpture face care is aimed at anyone seeking a well-defined face, and balance face care at those who want to correct their asymmetrical features.
If you’re looking to slim down specific areas of your body, there are body care treatments that use Golki therapy to help you with that, too. You can even combine both face and body care treatments for a more holistic program.
How the balance face care program works
New and notable
Not everyone will be keen on trying Golki therapy, especially since it can be painful (it involves downward pressure on your facial bones). That’s why we like the sound of the clinic’s newly added menu of facial services for acne care, scar care and pigmentation, exclusively available at the HarbourFront outlet. To complement the skin services, the clinic has also launched EOS Beauté, a range of specially formulated, natural skincare goodies.
Once stepping in, you’ll be greeted by Yakson House’s relaxing, spa-like setting. The clinic favours wooden walls and furnishings, which gives the space a cosy and soothing atmosphere. You can place your belongings in a locker in the changing room before your treatment begins; and, if you’re heading out afterwards, there are shower facilities, as well as a dressing table stocked with complimentary skincare for freshening up.
First-timers can enjoy a one-for-one promotion on the a-la-carte treatments!
Whether you’re looking for a romantic couple of nights away or a family holiday, a private villa is a great option for exploring Thailand. Michaela Bisset recently enjoyed a stay in a private villa in Phuket and the many activities on offer – and she wants to go back!
Around 20 minutes south of Phuket’s airport (mainly on new roads) is The Pavilions Phuket. Set on a hilltop in a massive plantation, the resort’s individual villas all have great views either of surrounding hills and valleys, or of the sea.
What makes them so special is that they’re all completely private – none are overlooked by another villa – and each one is a bit different. There are nine different types of villas, from one to four bedrooms, and most come with private pools.
Cooking & Cocktails
The Pavilions is not all about lolling around, though – there are plenty of activities to get involved in. We took a Thai cooking class that started with a trip to the market with the chef, who talked us through all the different ingredients used in the cuisine, and showed us how fresh coconut milk is made and how to make different curry pastes. As I’m a vegetarian, I was quite interested to see what I was going to cook. It ended up being a curry using plantains (small bananas) – nice enough, though I’m not sure I would make it for myself!
Speaking of the market, one thing that was especially interesting is that at 8am in the morning the national anthem plays and no one in the market moves; it’s an incredible experience. Although I’ve been to Thailand often, I hadn’t realised this was a daily ritual.
Set on the top of the highest peak of The Pavilions is 360° Bar, one of the top spots for a drink in all of Phuket (with a 4.5 TripAdvisor rating) – incredible sunsets too. We had a cocktail-making lesson courtesy of Ja in that beautiful setting (you can also take the lesson in your villa) and made an awesome tom yum cocktail as well as a “Gin and Ja”! (I’ve included a recipe for you, below.)
Recipe: Gin and Ja cocktail
Created by K. Ja, bartender at 360° Bar
45ml gin (Ja used Gordon’s)
15ml triple sec
10ml homemade infused gin (add butterfly pea flower to gin for a few hours)
15ml sugar syrup
Juice of half a lime
Dash of lemon bitters
Half of one egg white
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all liquids except the homemade gin.
Shake well and double strain into a martini glass.
Top up with the homemade infused gin and a few drops of bitters.
Variety of Villas
The best option for families is the Spa & Pool Villa, which is accessed by a cable-driven funicular railway and has its own massage area and steam room. You can have an extra bed included for the children for a reasonable rate. (Look out for new deals and rates on The Pavilions website.)
The Ocean View Villas are adult only, and the communal areas including dining rooms are separate, so if you’re leaving the children behind or don’t have any yet and want a nice peaceful time, these are the ones for you!
Yoga lessons, magnetic healing therapies and reiki sessions can all be arranged in your private villa. Thai traditional massage as well as more gentle treatments for jetlag are available in-room too. I chose the traditional option, and it was probably the best massage I’ve ever had.
Salsa nights are also a regular event at the resort. Dance teachers lead the way and it’s great fun. I probably enjoyed the food more than the dancing though – it was delicious!
Accommodation packages include daily bubbly breakfasts (definitely a good start to the day!) along with afternoon teas. The whole experience was great, and The Pavilions is somewhere I would love to return to, especially for a romantic break.
Fabulous in room dining, cooking classes and cocktail making sessions are also available.
10 things to do outside the resort
Head to the beach and enjoy the water sports and views. The Pavilions has its own shuttle service (posh tuk tuks!) to and from nearby Layan Beach.