All posts filed under: City Guide


Sinkeh / Penang, Malaysia

Creative people would find Sinkeh in Penang, Malaysia both an abode and inspiration in its space. Located in the heart of George Town, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, Sinkeh is a two-storey unit that is unlike any other. This is primarily because it is both a guesthouse and an artspace. The house offers nine rooms on the top floor, while the space below is turned into an art space open for rent. The building itself has its own character as it used to be a century-old shop house. After it was rebuilt and restored, the rooms featured a minimalist, modern design that evoke feelings of calmness in each visitor. Natural light permeates the rooms, showcasing its ingenuous charm. The studio below regularly hold performances, exhibits, or discussions for like-minded artists. The word Sinkeh means “new guest” in Hokkien dialect, and in a double-purpose space such as this, it’s easy to see why travelers and artists can be either one or both. 105 Malay Street, 10100 George Town; +604 261 3966; Words by Evita Limlengco Photography …

necessary prov

Necessary Provisions / Singapore

Merriam-Webster defines the word provisions as a supply of food and other things that are needed. For caffeine lovers out in the West of Singapore, they would know all too well what is needed. Nestled deep in the heart of a residential estate, Necessary Provisions is a cafe that understands your daily coffee fix. While their location at Bukit Timah is extremely inaccessible as you would either need a car to go there or make a long trek on foot, the cafe prides itself of a strong following. The food menu is simple and earnest, serving baked goodies, snack plates, and beer on tap. The notable thing here is the cafe’s ambience. The cafe hosts a relaxed environment for out-of-office work or some leisure reading. The interiors offer just the right amount of quiet you need-surreal lighting, dark walls, streaming light, and hushed music contribute to this vibe. There is a big, round communal table in the shop’s center, with stacks of magazine for you to peruse. One can take their time lounging here as …


Agalico Tea Room / Bangkok, Thailand

If literary icon Jane Austen were to have tea time today, no doubt she would seek out Agalico. Agalico is a hidden treasure of a tea room off Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. They are so hidden and low-key that the place is only open on Fridays til Sundays and they work hard to maintain that intimate aura. Owned by Thailand’s prominent landscape artist and interior designer, ML Poomchai Chumbala, Agalico’s secret garden sanctuary is every bit lovely. The all-white interior of the English-style living room perfectly sets the mood for engaging conversations. The canvas couches, rattan chairs, birdcage accents, and orchid displays complement each other to paint a scene that could have been taken right out of a Georgian era novel. The food offerings are also tailored for the quaint tea experience, as they have on their menu homemade scones, apple crumble, quiche, and a wide selection of teas from Europe. The garden outside is the real highlight though, with its rich greenery, bright flowers, glass gazebo, and various sculptures. It is like stepping out …

one olive

One Olive / Singapore

A passion for nature and beauty is their license for a successful venture. For One Olive owners Amy Yap and Nikki Yapp, their shop literally offers patrons a piece of quaint freshness as they craft bespoke flowers and provide events floral design. One Olive exudes effortless charm brought about by the flowers’ simple elegance and the jazz music playing in the background adds more to this aura. Old trunks and wooden tables display their delicate produce while decorative vases showcase their handmade creations. This peaceful oasis of greenery and splashes of color will surely inject a sense of joy, romance, or nostalgia into your day. 61 Seng Poh Lane, Singapore 160061; +65 6779 3543; Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Franz Navarrete

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Metropolitan by COMO / Bangkok, Thailand

When Metropolitan by Como in Bangkok conceptualized their hotel, they only had premium travel service in mind. And rightly so, as their space in Thailand has grown to be one of the island’s most admired dwellings. With its flawless combination of white paint and dark wood furnishings, the boutique hotel offers a soothing vibe amidst the city’s business district. The cutting-edge styling of the room is something to envy as both masculine and feminine elements come together to offer undeniable relaxation. This hotel boasts of redefining the dining experience by offering sinfully decadent dishes: Thai restaurant Nahm, Glow restaurant, and Met Bar. Nahm, by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, has been voted number one in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2014, which puts it in every food lover’s must-try list. With all these features, the allure of Metropolitan by Como is easy to see. 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Thailand; +66 2 625 3333; Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Franz Navarrete


Botanic Gardens / Singapore

More than 150-year-old, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This cool, vast greenery features swaths of virgin rainforest, a relaxing swan lake, and pretty gazebos littered around the area. 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569; Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Franz Navarrete


BooksActually / Singapore

BooksActually is an independent bookstore that curates a great selection of literary pieces, including unique books and magazines. The quirky but homey atmosphere of this place is always a welcome surprise to visitors. The shop itself is filled with charming details, such as wooden boxes, potted plants, and roaming cats (to the delight of cat lovers out there!) Apart from books, they also sell antiques, stationery, canvas bags, and various trinkets. Be sure to allot a good 2-3 hours to explore the shelves and tables displaying numerous enticing finds. 9 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168645; +65 6222 9195; Kenny Leck, co-founder of BooksActually, invites you to browse through their rare print finds. Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Mathieu Tan & Gladys Soh


Gillman Barracks / Singapore

Entering Gillman Barracks for the first time may leave you slightly bewildered. Low-rise, pre-war colonial architecture dot the arts belt with its whitewashed facade. Enigmatic and still, the apparent allure of this place is really more about a soulful vibe. The quiet placidity of this bohemian 6.4-hectare development may seem intimidating at first. However, we urge you to move beyond its romantic veneer and explore every threshold. Gillman Barracks is a conserved military barracks that has been turned into a contemporary arts cluster. As a joint initiative among three organizations, huge aspirations are in place for the two-year-old project development. Truth be told, the site is still coming into its own. Yet, this is precisely what gives the place its intimate scale. To get the most out of the galleries, go in with a proactive and curious mind. The lack of signage on the building exterior to guide you through the space actually calls for your creative mind to wander. If you really need a clue though, start trekking from Block 9 or Block 47. The two buildings house some of our favorite galleries like the acclaimed Michael …

alila ubud

Alila Ubud / Bali, Indonesia

Alila Ubud Hotel is a tranquil escape made to overwhelm the senses. Nestled in a stunning landscape, the hotel boasts of quiet serenity and breathtaking views every nature-lover dreams of. The relaxed environment, the gourmet food, and the exceptional staff ensure that your experience is beyond expectation. Masterfully blending traditional Balinese architecture with contemporary design, Alila Ubud provides guests with sheer comfort and luxury. Alila Ubud is the top choice to experience all the best that the island of the Gods has to offer. Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan. Gianyar Bali; +62 361 975 963; Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Franz Navarrete


L’Usine / Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

A must-try when you visit Ho Chi Minh City, L’Usine is a French-inspired cafe and retail store that is a real surprise. Equal parts fashion boutique, creative space, and excellent spot for brunch and downtime, L’Usine stocks uniquely-designed clothing, accessories, housewares, stationery, whimsical vintage items, and fresh cupcakes. Their Vietnamese coffee is highly-recommended as most locals and tourists order this to go with their pastries. Located in an 1890s building that was restored to its original splendour, one cannot help but admire the high ceilings, oversized arched windows, ornate iron columns, and enticing fixtures. L’Usine’s elegant savvy space is well worth it to be included in your city itinerary. 151 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam; +84 (0)8 6674 356; Words by Evita Limlengco Photography by Franz Navarrete