Go for gourmet trips, see gorillas, says ST journalist

Straits Times travel writer Lee Siew Hua and guest speaker Chang Theng Hwee, chief executive of luxury travel operator Scott Dunn Asia, at the Central Public Library last Friday.
Straits Times travel writer Lee Siew Hua and guest speaker Chang Theng Hwee, chief executive of luxury travel operator Scott Dunn Asia, at the Central Public Library last Friday.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

She shares these and her other top 10 travel experiences for 2019 at library talk

Gourmet hiking trips in Provence, France, getting up close to mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, and trekking in Slovenia's Julian Alps should be among travellers' plans this year.

These were among the travel experiences highlighted by Straits Times travel writer Lee Siew Hua and her guest speaker, Mr Chang Theng Hwee, the chief executive of luxury travel operator Scott Dunn Asia, at a talk on the best travel experiences for this year at the Central Public Library last Friday.

The talk, attended by about 300 people, was organised by The Straits Times and National Library Board (NLB) as part of the askST@NLB series.

During the 1 1/2-hour session, Ms Lee also described her travels to Antarctica, Seattle in the United States, and gourmet hiking in Provence, all of which are on the speakers' top 10 list of travel experiences for this year.

She said: "There's the sumptuous, sunlit face of Provence and also the face of adventure. There's the pleasure of sipping rose wine and dining in Michelin-starred restaurants, and there is also hiking past the jagged mountains where the Tour De France bicycle race goes through."

Mr Chang talked about alternative ways to experience different destinations.

Alaska, for example, may be known for its cruise holidays but travellers should visit fishing lodges rather than hop on a jam-packed cruise and watch a cabaret show, he said.

He added: "If you go during the correct season and they're fishing for salmon at the lodges, that's where the grizzly bears will be. Some of our guests have brought back pictures with more than 10 grizzly bears."

The best part, said Mr Chang, is that these lodges allow a maximum of only 30 guests, so travellers do not have to jostle to see the grizzly bears. He said: "If you go to a place like Yellowstone National Park, it'll be 30 vehicles of tourists to one bear."

Ms Veron Ng, 25, who recently graduated from university and is looking for a job, said she found the talk insightful.

She said: "I was a tourism student in polytechnic and I wanted to find out about what's trending in the travel industry.

"Luxury travel is very different and I found out more about the exotic places that people travel to."

She added that she liked the informal and candid format of the talk.

The talk was streamed on the Rings.TV application and attracted 766 views.

The live streaming video can be replayed via the app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The next askST@NLB session will be on Feb 15, when Ms Lee and Mr Richard Launder, chief executive of destination management company Destination America, will talk about what is trending for travel in the US and beyond. Registration is at str.sg/askSiewHua3

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 27, 2019, with the headline 'Go for gourmet trips, see gorillas, says ST journalist'. Print Edition | Subscribe