We explore South East Asia’s heritage cities through the lens of locals. We listen to their stories, we find out where they eat, play and pray. We learn what they love and we celebrate their passion. So that you can travel to their favourite places responsibly and respectfully.
The walled city of Ahmedabad is loud, proud, poor, rich, traditional and progressive all jostled together in a dazzling potpourri of colour and ethnicity. The small streets seem like chaos, but there is a bond that holds it all together and creates a unique cross-cultural concoction of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Jews who live, work, pray and play side by side.
To experience the soul of Bali, venture beyond the beach. To the small villages and the old towns nestled in the lush paddy fields where you find proud tight knit communities with a rich culture and some of the best local food.
Surrounded by lush coffee plantations, Bandung was a social magnet for the colonial elite. In the roaring twenties, artistic freedom and economic prosperity fuelled a building boom of tropical Art Deco hotels, cafés and boutiques along the main boulevard, Jl Braga. The charming hill retreat that was once known as 'the Paris of Java' has long evolved into a dense metropolitan area, but if you look carefully, you’ll see traces of its carefree and prosperous past.
Bangkok is daunting and dynamic, a feast for the senses in every way, spicy, sour, sweet and salty all in one. The city’s zest for life is unmatched and the small side streets take centre stage. The soi is where people eat, shop, pray and play, all bound by a beautiful sense of togetherness and a whole lot of fun.
This gem of a city is green, leafy and packed with old-world charm. Surprisingly walkable and currently getting a make-over, Colombo’s historic heart is a testament to its illustrious past and multicultural heritage.See more Colombo stories
A UNESCO-listed city boasting massive moss dappled ramparts. The rendezvous of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial powers left its mark in the pastel-coloured streets, making Galle the colourful melting pot of cultures and religions it is today.
East-meets-West and old-meets-new in this pulsating metropolis. Yet, hidden between the skyscrapers of the urban jungle, you find some surprisingly authentic neighbourhoods where ancient Chinese culture blends effortlessly with the contemporary city lifestyle.See more Hong Kong stories
Jakarta is the epitome of urban chaos; a tropical megapolis that is like a giant carpet woven of small kampungs. Yet, the city holds many surprises, plenty are hidden in the steamy streets of the old port and humble alleys of Chinatown.
This 'head of Dondra' has plenty of spice hidden among its paved paths. Praised by the ocean and greeted by the bobbing boats docked at the ferry, Matara beckons from the South-most point of Sri Lanka. Today the place still embodies the spirit of its turbulent history. Its quiet streets teeming with traces from the past hidden in crumbling structures, age-old names and forgotten tragedies.
Enveloped by deep seas, mountains and tiny islands, Trincomalee has been a significant and strategic seaport that was an entry point for spiritual healers, royals, traders and foreign invaders for centuries. Here is an untold sea city that thrives on many narratives, diverse languages and kaleidoscopic festivals. Spot a deer on the street, try savoury prawns or tuna by the beach and explore a peaceful sea city that sways to the sound of birdsongs and kovil bells.See more Trincomalee stories
A place that stood still in time, Yangon is about golden pagodas and crumbling colonial buildings in quaint streets. In humble teahouses, you still find men clad in traditional longyi who smoke cheroots while reading the paper and then peddle away on rickety bicycles. Yangon is also bursting with artistic, entrepreneurial and compassionate talent who effortlessly merge the best of old and new.See more Yangon stories