SOUTHEAST ASIA brims with urban and cultural hubs – cities and areas that thrive on diversity, a rich colonial past, and a spirit of generous hospitality.
Here are three cities that draw in a slew of tourists all year round.
Penang is known as Pearl of The Orient, an island rich of heritage and diverse cultures including Peranakan influences and colonial architecture that dot the cityscape. To top it off, it is touted as the food capital of Malaysia and voted by CNN as one the top 10 cities to visit in 2017.
From the water’s edge at the Clan Jetties to the brilliant blue sheen of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, century-spanning temples and well-preserved heritage buildings, Penang’s capital of George Town was accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
To thoroughly enjoy yourself, immerse in local culture, make room for multiple helpings of street food, and explore the bustling city of George Town by foot.
You will be rewarded with an enriching experience that includes street art from London-trained Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic who breathes new life into atmospheric Chinese shophouses in the inner city.
The local council’s efforts to spawn awareness of the rich history of the streets and trades of bygone years through Zacharevic’s works are projected on frayed walls. Some streets to witness these works of art are Jalan Penang, Muntri Street, Weld Quay, Lebuh Leith, Armenian Street, and Ah Quee Street.
Where to stay
Cititel Penang in the heart of the state’s commercial and entertainment district has become something of an architectural landmark in the capital. Meanwhile, Cititel Express Penang is ideal for travellers looking for comfortable quarters that don’t break the bank. For a more luxurious stay, upgrade to The Wembley-A St Giles Hotel, which is annex to the Cititel Express.
When visiting a destination, some sites simply can’t be missed. What’s a trip to Paris without a visit to the Eiffel Tower or a trip to Rome without a pitstop at the Coliseum?
In the multi-cultural capital of Kuala Lumpur, the iconic PETRONAS Twin Towers is akin to the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum – unmissable. The majestic towers loom over the city and provide for excellent photo opportunities.
There are other attractions as well including the sacred limestone hill temples of Batu Caves and the colorful Chinatown, a bargain hunter’s paradise that doesn’t seem to sleep.
The city is also a shopper’s haven with no less than 10 large shopping malls in the city alone. With the attractive exchange rate to the Malaysian Ringgit, now is the time to make your
Kuala Lumpur is also not short of dining options whether you opt for local-style cafés to fine dining restaurants. Just follow your nose, and your adventurous palate will be eternally grateful.
Where to stay
MiCasa All Suite Hotel Kuala Lumpur reflects serenity even if located nearby the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, beacons for commerce and activity in the city. A particularly popular abode is Cititel Mid Valley, located in Mid Valley City, a one-stop leisure and entertainment centre in Kuala Lumpur. Beside this , is another favourite among business travelers; The Boulevard – A St Giles Hotel, a modern, convenient property with easy access to Kuala Lumpur’s business districts. For an upgraded stay, check out The Gardens-A St Giles Hotel & Residences nestled amongst luxury retail shops and hip cafes.
A bustling and dynamic metropolis, Manila is the Philippines’ cosmopolitan capital where the modern and chic cityscape is wonderfully juxtaposed against the city’s rich historical landscape.
From sprawling shopping centres and towering buildings to awe-inspiring views of the sunset at Roxas Boulevard, the sites of the city are great for both adventure seekers and well-heeled travellers.
Take a trip down memory lane with a visit to the Walled City of Intramuros and be mesmerized by its heritage landmarks as you get a glimpse of what old Manila looks like. Hitch a ride on a jeepney or hop on horse-drawn carriages while reveling in the sights and sounds of the city.
Manila is also a haven for bargain hunters. Head to Greenhills Shopping Center and you’ll be overwhelmed with its wide range of choices for a good deal.
For shoppers with discerning tastes, Greenbelt and Glorietta in Makati’s Ayala Center are worth the visit as they carry well-loved brands.
As the Philippines was recently named one of the New Gastronomic eight emerging markets of influence in world cuisine, embarking on a food tour in Manila is a no-brainer. Filipino flavors can be sampled in a wide array of foods at bazaars and local restaurants.
Where to stay
St Giles Makati – A St Giles Hotel in the heart of the Philippines’ financial capital pulls in its fair share of corporate travelers. Large shopping malls, top business process outsourcing (BPO) centers, and towering skyscrapers are located nearby the hotel, making for easy access.