Go places with ST’s new online Travel Community

Ms Lee Siew Hua stops for a photo in Japan with a statue of 17th-century poet Matsuo Basho. She has covered five continents as ST's travel writer.
Ms Lee Siew Hua stops for a photo in Japan with a statue of 17th-century poet Matsuo Basho. She has covered five continents as ST's travel writer.
Travel writer Lee Siew Hua squeezes through crevices during a spelunking adventure at the Ugong Rock, a 75-foot limestone outcrop in Tagabinet, near Sabang. Sabang is the gateway to the Puerto Princesa Underground River on the island province of Palawan in the Philippines. -- ST PHOTO: LEE SIEW HUA

The Straits Times' travel writer Lee Siew Hua will front a new Travel Community - stcommunities.sg/travel - launched today.

Readers can follow her travel insights and pick up tips in her blog, alongside posts by other ST journalists, on a microsite that has the unique ability to publish its readers as well as its journalists in a mobile-responsive Web design.

Today, on the site, Ms Lee asks if you are secretly an obsessive Singaporean traveller. She shares on how to let go a little by going with the flow, even making up itineraries on the move.

She boasts a wealth of experience to help you make informed travelling decisions, having visited 20 destinations in two years, besides her own holidays to Kamchatka on the Russian far east, Mongolia, Vietnam and the deserts of Israel.

She has covered five continents as ST's travel writer, and has been a US and Thailand correspondent for the paper.


The most common question Ms Lee gets when people find out she is a travel writer for ST?

"They say it's a dream job. Then they ask if they can carry my luggage for me. But some figure it's a lot of planning and logistics," she said.

"On one trip, my travel companions commented with concern that I was always working! I was busy searching for phone signals and tweeting from Japanese mountains, blogging daily with pictures and videos.

"But travel writing is so stimulating and I love conveying the wonders of places far and near to our readers."

ST's new Travel Community has tips on the must-stays, must- dos, must-eats and more in Singapore and other countries, You can share your own writing, adventures and tips if you are quite the travel buff yourself.


Simply click on the blue "Contribute A Post To Be Published" bar at the top of the site and on every page, sign in with your preferred social media log-in, and submit a post with your words, pictures or even a video link.

This interactivity has seen ST Communities win two international awards in the past year.

The first was a Best in Social Media gold award at the 2013 Wan-Ifra (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers) Asian Digital Media Awards.

Then, in August, ST Communities (including its current Entertainment and Education microsites) won the prestigious 2014 Digital Innovation of the Year award from Panpa (Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association), after beating off competition from Fairfax Media and Apple Daily.

Panpa judges said the ST Communities platform recognises the merit of inviting the audience to take part.

Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times, said: "Travel has become a big part of our readers' lives and many are looking for interesting places to visit and things to do when on holiday. People are looking for new experiences as well as authentic reviews, and there's nothing like hearing from people who have been there and done that.

"On top of getting ideas from our ST travel writers, such as Siew Hua, this new ST Travel Community will allow readers to become trip advisers too when they share their reviews, photos or videos of the places they enjoyed."

Do chip in with your views on what Ms Lee wrote about the obsessive Singaporean traveller at stcommunities.sg/travel.


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