LIT­TLE BLACK BOOK

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Asia -

IN 2004, Bali-based Aus­tralian Stu­art Mc­don­ald, a former guide­book author, founded Trav­elfish, an online spe­cial­ist guide to South­east Asia with a range of iphone apps. More: trav­elfish.org. Des­per­ate to get back to: Hanoi, for its fab­u­lous food and manic street scene. Must-do: The Rocket Fes­ti­val in north­east Thai­land, the coun­try’s best cel­e­bra­tion, held an­nu­ally in May and June. Per­fect place for in­dul­gence: The old wing of the Ho­tel Sofitel Leg­end Metropole, Hanoi. Most-mem­o­rable splurge: A week­end ex­cur­sion from Bali to Raf­fles Ho­tel Le Royal, Phnom Penh, Cam­bo­dia, DEALS OF THE WEEK Clas­sic Cam­bo­dia: Book be­fore Novem­ber 30 for a five-night Cities and Tem­ples tour with Travel In­dochina in April or May 2012; from $1390 a per­son twin­share from Mel­bourne ($1408 from Syd­ney), with re­turn econ­omy flights on Viet­nam Air­lines, ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fasts and an in­ter­nal flight. More: trav­elin­dochina.com.au. where I pro­posed to Sa­man­tha (she said yes). Stand-out bar ex­pe­ri­ence: Sun­flower Beach Bar, Loh Dalam Bay, Phi Phi Is­land, Thai­land — a hid­den gem that’s a great spot for sun­down­ers. Invit­ing culi­nary desti­na­tion: Mozaic restau­rant in Ubud is a In­dian idyll: Con­sider a Spe­cial­ist Hol­i­days ad­ven­ture such as the seven-day Ra­jasthan Golden Tri­an­gle with Vil­lages tour from Delhi; from $1190 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing trans­fers, ac­com­mo­da­tion and se­lected meals. Nu­mer­ous de­par­tures un­til March. Flights ex­tra. More: 131 969; spe­cial­isthol­i­days.com.au. splurge by Ba­li­nese stan­dards but the con­tem­po­rary food and de­gus­ta­tion menu are amaz­ing. In­spi­ra­tional travel nar­ra­tive: A House in Bali by Colin Mcphee. Mcphee’s love of Bali flies off the pages. Favourite travel web­site: Adioso.com, an up-and-com­ing Aus­tralian site that helps trav­ellers find the cheap­est in­ter­na­tional flights. Best new Asian ex­pe­ri­ence: Snorkelling off Men­jan­gan Is­land in north­west Bali. Best-spent travel dol­lars: My iphone, which is, for bet­ter or worse, my fifth limb. Other­wise, the few bucks a day it costs me, wher­ever I go in Asia, to hire a scooter. Ori­en­tal voy­ages: Visit Ja­pan and China on all-in­clu­sive 11-night Sil­ver Shadow cruises from Tokyo to Shang­hai call­ing at Hiroshima, Jeju and Tian­jin; from $5199 a per­son twin-share (for book­ings be­fore Novem­ber 11), with menus by Re­lais & Chateaux and but­ler ser­vice. De­par­tures April 25 and May 6, 2012. More: 132 757.

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