Category Archives: Asia

Moonpeak Espresso

A no-frills cafe in the middle of bustling McLeod Ganj and practically next door to the Dalai Lama’s home. In itself, Moonpeak Espresso isn’t spectacular. But in a tourist town filled with mediocre restaurants and with a lack of facilities, it’s a breath of fresh air. Free wifi, excellent (frozen) coffee, delicious baked goods and healthy & creative dishes such as poached chicken with lime, mango and coriander sauce. Watch the sun rise with an early-morning macchiato or enjoy a homemade lemon orange cake (or another item from the menu) while updating your travel blog. The cafe is part of the organization Moonpeak, which offers information about the area through its (online) magazine, organizes exhibitions and owns two restaurants.

Moonpeak Espresso

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Grace Hotel

Get ready for a blast from the past at the Grace Hotel in Dharamsala! This family-run hotel perfectly captures Indian heritage with colorful decorations in a peaceful environment. The staff are very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel at home. Why visit the North of India, you might wonder?  – cool mountain air, lush green forests and scenic beauty. The best part about the Grace Hotel is that you are very close to the travellers’ Mecca McLeodganj without being stuck in the loud, touristy center. The hotel manager’s brother is more than happy to drive you up the hill to visit the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Bhagsu waterfall or to hang with the backpackers at Moonpeak Espresso. At the end of the day, return to the Grace Hotel for some peace and quiet while watching the sunset from the balcony. Be sure to request a room with a view – we promise it will take your breath away!

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Dwarika’s hotel

Nepal is famous for its many trekking destinations, and since Kathmandu has the only international airport, this is most likely the city where you’ll start and end your mountain adventure. Trekking in the Himalayas is the perfect excuse to indulge in luxury afterwards, so we present to you one of the best hotels of Kathmandu: Dwarika’s. Although prices are just as steep as the five-star business hotels in the area, Dwarika’s is the only place that truly captures and preserves Nepal’s heritage and hospitality. Rooms are large, beautifully furnished and provide all the comfort you need after trekking. The hotel offers plenty of facilities and services, such as a large swimming pool, relaxing spa and morning yoga classes. The buildings of Dwarika’s are fairly new but are created with the use of ancient elements like carved doors and pillars. Dwarika’s courtyard opens up to the hotel’s three restaurants and is decorated with sculptures, decorative lighting and  lots of greenery, making it a magical little hideaway in the crowded city of Kathmandu.

  

  

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Délices de France

Nepal has long been a favored destination for the French, and that’s exactly what brought us this little gem in the bustling streets of Kathmandu: Délices de France. Owner and Nepal-adventurer Christine Regnier started this French hotspot 4 years ago in the heart of backpacker area Thamel, tucked away on the first floor of an office-like building. They managed to turn this large open space into a cosy bistro with swanky Nepali furniture, wooden walls covered in black-and-white photographs, lots of greenery and French chansons playing softly in the background. Christine was determined to let the Nepali people experience the joie de vivre and taste of the French cuisine. Order yourself a goat cheese hors-d’oeuvre with a basket of warm sliced baguette and a perfectly cooked entrecôte. And although your eye might wander to the crêpes for dessert, try the apple momos instead. This variation of the Nepali specialty is not only yummy, it will take away some of the guilt for running off to a European restaurant when you should be experiencing some local cuisine. For people who just can’t get enough of the quiches and pâtés at Délices de France, it offers the possibility to order certain items online too.

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The Verandah

India is a country of great contradictions, especially when you visit the larger cities where very poor neighborhoods can sometimes be found right outside the gates of the most impressive palaces. Therefore, in order to truly take in the Indian culture, we think it’s important to not only test your bargaining skills at local markets, but also experience a royal night out as a true Maharaja. Make reservations at The Verandah, the very best of the Taj Rambagh Palace’s three restaurants. This royal palace was the first to be turned into a heritage hotel in 1957. The royal experience starts as soon as you set foot on the hotel’s property. The neatly cut grass is bright green, the building’s royal features are perfectly lit and you are welcomed by the sweet smell of rose petals. Friendly waiters glide through the hallways wearing luxurious silk turbans and robes, smiling non-stop. This is the India of your dreams! Get a table on the grass to be able to admire the palace from the outside. The menu is nice, with a wide selection of international-with-a-twist dishes. Prices are sky-high and bargaining is not an option. But that has never stopped royalty, so why should it stop you?

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Magique

The Garden of Five Senses is a park in South Delhi, which claims to stimulate all five senses with its beauty and attractions. A visit to restaurant Magique is where taste is put to the test. The larger (and more interesting) part of this dinner-only restaurant is located outdoors. Lush greenery, candles everywhere and comfy eco-chic seating areas: Magique is the perfect escape from the busy and noisy Delhi. Indulge your pre-dinner cocktail cravings with one of their creative mixtures, such as one of the dozen different flavored Martini’s. The food menu has a good selection of dishes with European, Asian or (modern) local flavors. After dinner, you walk through the garden to The Zoo (one of Delhi’s current hotspots) for some more drinks before heading back into the crowded city. Magique is a well-kept secret in Delhi; hardly any taxi driver knows how to get there, so be sure to get (and give) precise directions. And yes, please bring insect repellent. Mosquitoes seem to love this tropical little garden too.

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Anokhi Café

When traveling in India’s Golden Triangle, Jaipur is a city you should definitely pay a visit to. Although this city is famous for its colored gems, when it comes to restaurants, a true hidden gem is hard to find. After eating only spicy Indian rice dishes you just might long for a different taste in a Western setting. Stepping into Anokhi Café is like a breath of fresh air in this sizzling hot city. With an all organic menu, easy breezy interior and friendly staff, this café is unique in the area. Most items on the menu consist of locally grown ingredients: fresh breads, cakes, snacks, “safe” salads and light seasonal dishes, everything with a tasty, international flavor. What else is so great about this place? It is part of the Anokhi shop next door, a brand known for traditional Indian clothing, linens and accessories with trendy designs. It’s probably the only place in Jaipur without the pushy sales people – perfect for an after-lunch shopping spree.

   

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UNIQLO

The Japanese textile company UNIQLO is quickly becoming New York’s hottest retailer. Be sure to pay a visit to the brand’s flagship store in Soho to stock up on your favorite basics. Every (basic) garment you could possibly need can be found here and they are all made from the most huggable fabrics such as cashmere and merino wool. The best part is that it’s SO cheap that you can’t leave the store without at least one item. You can get a basic V-neck cashmere sweater for as little as $89,50 or a longsleeve natural skin T-shirt for only $12,90. With all those neat piles of colorful and touchable items, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store! The good thing is that you don’t necessarily have to make the trip to one of the 3 New York stores since UNIQLO is also coloring the streets of London, Paris, Moscow as well as many Asian countries.

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Sirocco

OK, we’ve got to be honest with you: the food is not the reason you go to Sirocco. You go there to dine alfresco at the 63rd floor and indulge in the breathtaking views of Bangkok city. This restaurant literally offers dining on top of the world, far away from the hot and smelly streets of Thailand’s capital. Sirocco is located in the State Tower, home to other great restaurants such as Mezzaluna, Cafe Mozu and Breeze. You enter Sirocco through a golden Dome and walk down illuminated steps – a true stairway to heaven. When you’re done admiring the view, get ready to enjoy some great live jazz performances. After dinner drinks are served at the Skybar, which you might recognize from the hit movie Hangover 2. Be prepared to pay extra, especially compared to common Thai price ranges. But it’s worth it!



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