Michael Cullen

Freelance Travel & Food Writer, Travel Photographer


Fuelled by a relentless spirit for new experiences, Michael's career transitioned from hospitality to travel writing and continues his passion for exploration. His narrative unfolds against diverse locales, where each assignment is met with open arms.

Relocating to Thailand in 2015, Michael embraces the region's diverse cultures, histories, and colours. His writing reflects a deep dive into destinations, capturing the essence of hospitality, gastronomy, wellness, sustainable travel, and the heartwarming tales of community-based tourism.

As a proud member of TravMedia and IFWTWA (International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association), Michael invites you to follow his journey on Instagram at www.instagram.com/travellingaussiesinasia/

Open to freelance commissions, Michael welcomes opportunities to weave engaging stories around captivating destinations and fresh ideas. Michael is ready to bring your destination to life.

Travel by Vacation Rental
Discovering Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay Resort

The Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay Resort was recognized as best romantic hotel in Asia by Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards 2023. Positioned centrally on Phuket’s west (sunset) coast, most of the island’s attractions and famous beaches are easily accessible. However, staying in is almost irresistible as most of Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay’s 194 rooms and suites have their own plunge pool and mesmerizing ocean views.

Recent Highlights

The Hotel Journal
Thailand's Six Senses Yao Noi Hotel Review

Six Senses Yao Noi inhabits a corner of a southern Thai island untouched by mass tourism and is surrounded by the evocative towering limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay. Add a DNA of sustainability and wellness, and this boutique rustic-chic luxe island resort embodies the essence of a 'paradise found'.

Upscale Living Magazine
Elevated Spirits – Uncovering Singapore's Boutique Distilleries

Singapore has quietly emerged as a formidable player in the global bar landscape. In a city where innovation meets tradition, a new wave of cocktail bars has taken centre stage, featuring expert mixologists who harness the essence of Asian spirits and exotic regional flavours, earning Singapore a coveted spot alongside its international counterparts. Adding to Singapore's rising prominence are independent boutique distillers. Trailblazers in premium artisanal spirits crafted with innovation...

Escape magazine (Australia)
Meet the Guide -Insider Guide to Singapore

Renowned Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong (YC) is lauded for wall-filling public murals across the Lion City. He presents stories and memories of the city of his childhood, bygone eras or lost places, and sometimes whimsical scenes of present-day Singapore. Here, YC gives us his insider tips for first-time and return visitors to Singapore.

Travel by Vacation Rental
Wyndham Pranburi Resort & Villas: Paradise on Thailand's Royal Coast

A stay at Wyndham Hua Hin Pranburi Resort & Villas puts you at the heart of Thailand's magnificent Royal Coast. This 20-acre 194-room resort situated on Pranburi’s picturesque oceanfront esplanade has an abundance of recreational facilities including tennis, pickleball, skateboarding, archery, beach volleyball, pétanque and cycling. Two restaurants, a Spa, a Kid's Club and the most spectacular resort pool round out the picture. Whether travelling solo, as a couple, family or as an extended...

The Hotel Journal
We review Mondrian Duxton Singapore

Nestled in a historic neighbourhood on the fringes of Chinatown, Mondrian Duxton Singapore promises art-filled delights. With its fun, contemporary feel, and above-the-ordinary gastronomic offerings, the Mondrian Singapore Duxton could be worth adding to your must-stay list. Read on to learn more...

Wander With Wonder
Insider's Guide to Singapore's Chinatown

Singapore, a vibrant city-state at the crossroads of Asia, is a testament to the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. Boasting a skyline adorned with architectural marvels, lush green spaces, and a culinary scene reflecting its diverse population, the Lion City offers travellers a unique and enriching experience. Chinatown is one area that showcases Singapore's rich cultural heritage. This guide provides personal perspectives on Chinatown's history and insider tips from our...

Upscale Living Magazine : Jan-Feb 2024
Gourmet Singapore - Michelin Dining Delights

Singapore boasts a burgeoning fine-dining scene catering to the most discerning palates. Renowned chefs and innovative culinary concepts have transformed the city into a global gastronomic destination. Indeed, Singapore's Michelin Guide 2023 gave ratings to 286 eateries offering 30 different cuisine types, with a staggering 55 outlets receiving Michelin stars. That is for an island of just 6 million residents. For this dive into Singapore's dining scene, we focus on three restaurants and the...

The Hotel Journal
We review Naumi Singapore

When we stayed at this centrally-located property, we discovered contemporary style and design. Step into Naumi Singapore Naumi, an ideally located downtown hotel with its own whimsical sense of style.

Asian Journeys
KITA Food Festival Sizzles in Singapore

My visit to the Lion City coincided with the Singapore leg of the four-city-two-country KITA Food Festival 2023. This Malaysian-born food festival kicked off in 2021 and has now spread its wings, attracting internationally renowned chefs from Asia–Pacific to the program. An annual event celebrating Southeast Asian culinary culture, the KITA Food Festival showcases an array of experiences with some of the finest chefs and food thinkers from around the globe. It also highlights Southeast Asia's...

The Hotel Journal
Reviewed: The Vagabond Club Singapore

Island-state Singapore is a multiculturally rich blend of old and new, with a forever-growing hotel offering. From budget to baronial, boutique to behemoth, there are many gems to be found in the city's bountiful offering of bolt-holes. The Vagabond Club is one such gem sandwiched between the vibrant tapestry of Little India and the historic allure of Kampong Glam. We review this edgy, art and design-rich whimsical playground with one of the world's great whiskey bars as a bonus.

Hot Magazine
JAAN by Kirk Westaway, Singapore - Sky-high Michelin Dining

Who knew you could see so far from seventy floors up? Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows frame the panoramic views as twilight falls. Marina Bay and its star attractions stretch out before me, lights twinkling. Tankers, container and cargo ships are haphazardly queued in the Singapore Strait, awaiting a berth in the world's second-busiest port. My bird's-eye vista is from the serene and refined setting of the two Michelin-starred restaurant, JAAN by Kirk Westaway, in Singapore's emblematic...

Hot Magazine - Dec 2023 issue
Mondrian Singapore Duxton: Let's Stay

Perched atop Duxton Hill on the edge of Singapore's Chinatown, the newly opened Mondrian Singapore Duxton is a modern marvel. Designed by local DP Architects with interiors by the award-winning Los Angeles-based Studio Carter, the hotel boldly contrasts with the surrounding heritage-rich streets of restored shophouses. From its positioning in one of the Lion City's most cherished and happening neighbourhoods, Mondrian Singapore guests enjoy easy access to the city's attractions through its...

Asian Journeys
The Robertson House Singapore Tells a Story

Location, location, location, that oft-used real estate phrase is certainly appropriate when setting out the attributes of a newly opened hotel on Singapore's Robertson Quay. The Robertson House by The Crest Collection, with its 336 rooms and suites, began welcoming guests in October 2023. We take a closer look at what the hotel offers and what sets it apart.

Upscale Living Magazine
5 Luxury Hotels with Lavish Interiors - A Glimpse into the Art of Opulence

In luxury hospitality, where opulence and extravagance reign supreme, the artful mastery of interior design sets the stage for an unforgettable experience. Join us as we embark on a journey to unveil five exceptional luxury hotels with lavishing interiors, where design prowess intertwines seamlessly with unforgettable and immersive experiences of pure elegance and grandeur.

The Hotel Journal
Review - Praya Palazzo in Bangkok

We recently checked into Praya Palazzo, an intimate, handsome century-old mansion now operating as a boutique hotel on the Chao Phraya's eastern banks and only accessible by boat, yet in the heart of this buzzing city. Our entire stay at Praya Palazzo in Bangkok was a right royal affair.

Food, Wine & Travel magazine
Winemaking in the Tropics - Thailand's Monsoon Valley Vineyard

Award-winning Thailand-based Monsoon Valley Vineyard, established in 2001, had its first harvest in 2006. The label’s picturesque 110-hectare vineyard can be found in the foothills of the mountain range dividing Thailand from neighbouring Myanmar. and just 17 miles to the east of the popular resort town of Hua Hin. Monsoon Valley and its parent company Siam Wines, are the brainchildren of Chalerm Yoovidhya. Co-owner of the Red Bull brand. Read on to learn more...

Upscale Living Magazine
Bill Bensley's Most Fantastic Luxe Hotels - SE Asia

The name behind many genuinely spectacular and unique resorts is Thailand-based American designer Bill Bensley. Luxurious havens in locations like St Kitts, Puerto Rico, Seychelles, Maldives, India, Nepal, and South East Asia boast brands like One&Only, Capella, Rosewood, Oberoi, JW Marriott, Ritz, InterContinental, and Park Hyatt. Since establishing BENSLEY Design Studio in 1989, Bensley has brought over 200 resorts, hotels, and palaces to life in 30+ countries. His signature is unmistakably...

Escape magazine
Hua Hin, Thailand - 7 Best Things To Do

Hua Hin has it all. International branded resorts, shopping, dining and activities for all ages. Some 200 km south of Bangkok, it's known for its safe beaches and family-friendly, authentic Thai feel. Dubbed The Royal Coast, thanks to being a favourite with Thai royalty and elite, Northern Europeans also know Hun Hin's tropical charms, visiting in their winter to laze on the beach and sup on seafood.

Escape magazine (Australia)
Meet The Guide - Siem Reap

Proud Cambodian national and Butler at Shinta Mani Angkor Wat Resort, Nat (Grace) Chhouern, provides her insider tips for your next Siem Reap and Angkor Wat visit. One of many tips Grace provides is to be sure to allocate a minimum of four to five days for your time here as you'll spend two or more just trying to take in Angkor Archaeological Park's offerings. Then there are the countryside tours plus time exploring Siem Reap's attractions, shopping and dining. A week will give you some...

Upscale Living Magazine
Cambodia's Siem Reap – A Surprisingly Creative Fashion and Design Hub

Like the rest of Cambodia, Siem Reap is emerging from a sad, dark past. Decades of war and unrest resulted in an enormous loss of life and a deep and gaping wound in the country's cultural heritage, artistic capacity, and, more broadly, its educated class. Considering this developing country's troubled past, it may be surprising how quickly fashion designers and creatives have stepped onto the international stage to showcase what the Kingdom offers. Let me introduce you to local and...

Upscale Living Magazine
In Conversation With Alain Ducasse

Alain Ducasse is the world's most decorated chef alive. He is the first to own restaurants in three cities, each carrying three Michelin stars simultaneously. He has an extensive portfolio of restaurants worldwide, including his home bases in France and Monaco, London, New York, Singapore, Bangkok, Japan, China, and Qatar. His Ducasse Paris enterprise has also developed specialized restaurant consulting, events and catering, cooking schools, luxury inns and hotels, and numerous highly...

Hotels, Resorts & Spas

The Hotel Journal
Reviewed - The Siam, Bangkok

Buzzing with movement and filled with colour and history, Thailand's capital is one of our favourite cities to explore. Already listed on our guide to the best boutique hotels in Bangkok, The Siam, a 38-suite-and-villa luxury hotel on Bangkok's Chao Phraya River, is more urban resort than city-centric hotel.

Wander With Wonder
3 Luxe and Storied Hotels - Siem Reap

Siem Reap, located in the northwestern part of Cambodia, is a bucket list destination for many travellers. What if, as well as finding a conveniently located accommodation, your luxe hotel had fascinating stories intrinsically linking it to Siem Reap’s past? Let me introduce you to three hotels with storied pasts, each an ideal base for your Angkor Wat and Siem Reap explorations.

The Hotel Journal
Reviewed - Bensley Collection Pool Villas, Siem Reap

Conceptualised as a hotel within a hotel, the Bensley Collection Pool Villas provide the ultimate in private luxury stays in Siem Reap. Designed and founded by world-renowned hotel designer Bill Bensley and featuring a strong element of local social responsibility, this intimate 10-villa stunner sits within a walled enclave and adjoins the upscale boutique hotel Shinta Mani Angkor.

6 Fantastic Boutique Hotels - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Boutique hotels have become increasingly popular with travellers. They often have distinct personalities reflecting the local culture, history, or a specific theme, setting them apart from traditional chain hotels. In Cambodia’s northwest region, Siem Reap does “boutique” very well. It offers unique and personalized experiences focusing on sustainability, wellness, and preserving the local culture and environment. Here are six fantastic boutique hotels for travellers seeking the most...

The Hotel Journal
Siem Reap's Best Boutique Hotels

Heading to Cambodia's Siem Reap to explore Angkor Wat and beyond? To ensure you have outstanding digs to put your head down at the end of each day, we've sought out the best boutique hotels in Siem Reap. Experience character-filled, design- and art-centric boltholes in excellent locations, delivering their own version of luxe to make the most of your Temple City stay.

HOT magazine
Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa - Ideal Siem Reap Base

Anantara Angkor Resort provides an ideal, luxurious and tranquil base for your next trip to Cambodia's cultural capital, Siem Reap. This beautiful boutique all-suite resort combines traditional Khmer architecture with modern amenities giving guests an unforgettable experience. Anantara Angkor opens the door to explore a city that combines ancient and modern cultures by day while allowing you to rest like royalty by night. Anantara Angkor Resort is the ideal base for your next trip to...

The Hotel Journal
Best Wellness Resorts in Koh Samui - Our Pick

The best wellness resorts in Koh Samui, Thailand offer holistic healing, rejuvenating experiences, and healthful nourishment. Taking great care of ourselves, an unapologetic desire to travel, and the need to make a greater connection with our destination are all discernible trends in this post-pandemic world. Koh Samui, Thailand's second-most-visited island, is ideal when thinking of combining meaningful holiday travel and the essence of Wellness – caring for ourselves. Here's our curated...

Wander With Wonder
3 Koh Samui Spa Resorts For Your Luxuriating Pleasure

Koh Samui is a tropical isle of natural beauty, blessed with beautiful sandy beaches, palm-fringed shorelines, and azure waters in Thailand. Samui features a variety of beaches and activities, making it impossible to experience everything in a single visit. This island paradise offers nearly every imaginable activity or service for the ultimate beach holiday. That includes outstanding international hotels and Spa Resorts. To help you plan your next tropical Thailand holiday, we have selected...

Wander With Wonder
Raffles Hotel Singapore - the Essence of Luxury

When you walk into Raffles Hotel Singapore, you feel the 135-year heritage of this luxury hotel. Discover how the hotel's ambience, service, charm, and heritage make for an unforgettable and luxurious stay. As writer Somerset Maugham noted, the Raffles Hotel Singapore embodies “all the fables of the exotic East.” Raffles Singapore is where heritage, elegant refinement, and gracious service create the most memorable hotel stays. It is a must for travellers to this island state.

The Hotel Journal
Phuket's Best Wellness Resorts - 2022

Who doesn't love a trip to stunning Thailand? And Phuket, AKA The Pearl of the Andamans and the nation's largest island, has long attracted international visitors, with its year-round tropical climate, immaculate turquoise waters, and lush jungle interior. It's no surprise then that this paradise has built a well-earned reputation as one of South East Asia's go-to destinations for wellness.

The Hotel Journal
Thailand's Best Family-friendly Resorts

We’ve found the best family resorts in Thailand that are perfect for all ages. These family-friendly resorts will pull the fam together for some fab fun and together time. After all, Thailand’s renowned hospitality, drool-worthy destinations, and must-have food are what the Land of Smiles is all about.

The Hotel Journal
Reviewed - Raffles Singapore

From palace hotels in India to the best boutique hotels in Sri Lanka, we love to uncover unique accommodations across the Asian continent. Though there are a number of outstanding heritage hotels in Singapore, only one truly epitomises the romance of travel in the Far East, and at 135 years young, it has stood the test of time. A Lion City landmark and iconic hotel, and one I had been dreaming of visiting for some time, I was thrilled to have the chance to review Raffles Singapore and...

The Hotel Journal
Best Boutique Hotels - Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

Thailand is a holiday destination beloved by travellers the world over. From the vibrant nightlife of Bangkok to the beaches of Phuket and the Royal stomping ground of Hua Hin, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Those travelling in the north of the country will undoubtedly love staying at one of the best boutique hotels in Chiang Mai and discovering the region's colourful history and culture. Read on to see which best appeals for your next trip.

Hot Magazine
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort - Best Possible Thailand Escape

Turning from the main road into Anantara's Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort feels like we are entering some grand estate. The drive curves beside manicured lawn, with splashes of colour from tidy tropical gardens and clumps of ancient bamboo leading up to the grand walled resort entrance. Liveried staff are quick to welcome. Elephant motifs, busts and statues are part of the entrance court’s décor. Army green safari jeeps and two gleaming classic Royal Enfield motorbikes with sidecars...

The Hotel Journal
Reviewed - Oasia Resort, Sentosa

Sentosa Island, Singapore's most popular and closest island getaway, is just 15 minutes from the civic centre. The island offers abundant entertainment and recreational options and an excellent selection of resorts. Ideal for city escapes, staycations or self-care and romantic island retreats. We recently visited a relatively new addition to the island's accommodation offerings, Oasia Resort Sentosa, and found a unique property perfect for the whole family.

The Hotel Journal
Thailand's Best Eco-friendly Hotels

Sustainable travel is front of mind for many travellers right now, as we all try to lessen our impact on the planet. We've curated a list of the best eco-friendly hotels in Thailand so you can plan your next planet-conscious holiday. These Thailand properties, in the most entrancing of locations, offer their own version of luxury-meets-nature – and minimise your eco-holiday footprint. Take a look at our guide to the best eco-friendly hotels in Thailand.

HOT Magazine
Paresa Resort “Heaven of all Heavens” on Phuket’s west coast.

Paresa Resort is truly unique. Perched cliffside, surrounded by lush tropical forest on the "Millionaires Mile" coastal road between Patong and Kamala, with breathtaking uninterrupted Andaman Sea views the norm, wherever you are in the resort. Paresa is a boutique luxury hideaway-style resort worth seeking out for your next Phuket holiday or island escape.

HOT Magazine
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui - Paradise Found

A tropical resort nestled across a crescent-shaped hillside, a natural amphitheatre, overlooking a small cove with private beach on the Gulf of Siam. Towering coconut palms gently sway in the cooling ocean breeze, and spectacular uninterrupted views of surrounding islands enthral. Looking down from Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui alfresco Arrivals Sala, I see the lush tropical jungle and catch glimpses of teak roof tiles of nearly hidden villas and glints of sunlight off villa pools. The only...

Restaurants, Food & Wine

HOT Magazine, Thailand
Siem Reap's Embassy Restaurant - where Khmer Gastronomy Shines

Discover exquisite flavours of Cambodian gastronomy at Embassy Restaurant in the leafy streets of Siem Reap’s French Quarter. Opened in 2015 and relocated to its current location in February 2023, Embassy is a must for Siem Reap visitors wanting to discover Khmer cuisine.

HOT Magazine
OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse, Raffles Singapore

The much-loved Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles Singapore continues to evolve. Returning with a new chapter, OSTERIA BBR by Alain Ducasse reopened its door in August 2021. At OSTERIA BBR, celebrated master chef Ducasse has delved into his decades of culinary exploration and gourmet discoveries from Italy, creating a menu of modern and energetic Italian dishes with authentic flair. Read on to learn more...

Hot Magazine
Pattaya's Best Rooftop Bars For Stunning Sunsets

West facing Pattaya on Thailand's Gulf Coast is ideal for many things, including enjoying outstanding sunsets. The drama, the colours, the sky's atmospherics, and the interplay of light on the waters of Pattaya Bay all come together to make each sunset unique and, in the great majority, totally memorable.

Hot Magazine
Blue Elephant - Outstanding Thai cuisine in Thailand’s City of Angels.

Bangkok, Thailand's City of Angels, is bustling, boisterous, balmy, bewildering, baffling, beguiling, brilliant, and perhaps even bodacious. It also boasts a bountiful choice of must-sees and must-dos for residents and visitors alike. For those who love Thai cuisine, especially Royal Thai Cuisine, the Blue Elephant Restaurant, and Cooking School is at the top of the must-do list and has been since opening in 2002.

HOT Magazine
South America's Vibrant Flavour Come To Dusit Thani Hua Hin

Hua Hin has a brand new beachside dining experience, bringing the vibrant flavours and cooking styles of South America to Thailand’s idyllic Gulf Coast shores. The grand Dusit Thani Hua Hin is where this new venue – Nómada – can be found. Following 20 years in leading restaurants in Chile, Peru-Argentinian Chef Andre Josef Nweh Severino takes the reins of the kitchen brigade marrying the fire of the Asado (Argentinian barbecue), Peruvian and Chilean love for spicy peppers, fresh seafood, and...

Hot Magazine
Michelin Plate Dining - Redbox, Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai's dining scene is exceedingly resilient, even in these pandemic restricted times, if the sixty entries in the 2022 Michelin Guide Thailand are anything to go by. I visited one of these highly regarded establishments recently to see what all the positive 'noise' was about. I'm talking about Redbox, a seven-table restaurant sitting in a quiet residential street just a 5-minute walk from Chiang Mai’s trendy Nimman area. 2022 is Redbox’s second consecutive year in the prestigious...

Hot Magazine
Chiang Mai's Top Bars 2022 - A Curated List

Chiang Mai offers so much as one of Thailand's top domestic and international tourism destinations. Layers of rich cultural, historical and religious links, abundant natural attractions, a vibrant creative scene, markets and shopping, and extensive entertainment, cafés, dining, and bar scene. To help with your next visit to Chiang Mai, we’ve scowered the bar scene to present a curated list of watering holes. We are talking about stylish drinking establishments with a great atmosphere and...

Hot Magazine
PRU, Phuket - Michelin Star Dining

PRU, Phuket's only Michelin starred restaurant, is 'hidden' within one of Phuket's most renowned and exclusive resorts, Trisara. Thankfully, experiencing Chef Jimmy Ophorst's award-winning cuisine is not only restricted to resort guests. PRU stands for Plant, Raise and Understand, and it is all about sustainably producing food in a farm-to-table concept. That dedication to sustainability saw PRU receive another accolade in 2021 – a Michelin Green Star. Thailand's first and only restaurant to...

Hot Magazine
Thailand's Vineyards - A Visitors Guide

Thailand has long been known for its beautiful beaches, Buddhist temples, welcoming people, outstanding natural environment and world-renowned cuisine. Not so well known is the regional image it is cultivating as a wine destination.

International Living
In Photos: 10 Must Try Thai Dishes

With influences from China, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and a royal culinary tradition, Thai cuisine is the best of many worlds. Thai cuisine mixes spicy, sour, salty, and sweet, as well as various textures into one dish. The combination of herbs and spices produce complex flavors that somehow come together like a fine-tuned orchestra.

Hot Magazine
Sky High Spanish in bustling Bangkok - UNO MAS

UNO MAS, Spanish for “one more” is about celebrating Spain and its Mediterranean cuisine, sky-high right in Bangkok’s heart. Executive Chef, Sandro Aguilera is originally from Barcelona. He has worked at Michelin star restaurants in Barcelona and gained extensive experience elsewhere in his home country, France and Chile before moving to Thailand. UNO MAS has been awarded a Michelin Plate for the last three years (2018 through to 2020) under his guidance. Read on to learn more about our UNO...

People Profiles

HOT Magazine
A Conversation with Chef Alain Ducasse

Alain Ducasse is one of the world’s most popular and well-known chefs. It could be said he enjoys legendary status within the world of gastronomy. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with the revered French culinary icon to learn more about his restaurants in South East Asia, his role as Culinary Director of this diverse gastronomic business, and his vision for the future. Read on to learn more...

Hot Magazine
The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation - leading & innovating despite COVID

The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) is a small Thai registered charity set up in 2005 to help elephants that could not help themselves. GTAEF strongly believes that all elephants would be wild in an ideal world. This is unfortunately not the case, so until that point is reached, GTAEF aims to assist captive elephants, improving their lives and welfare while also taking part in conservation and wild elephant programs to ensure the survival of the wild herd. Despite the...

Hot Magazine
A Conversation with James Noble, Organic Farmer & Michelin trained Chef

Thailand based organic farmer and Michelin trained Chef, James Noble has long advocated for food sustainability (healthy for our bodies and the environment), provenance (knowing its origin), and finding viable, sustainable quality local alternatives to imported foods. His latest, Ori9in Farm, is a joint venture with K.P. Ho, Founder and Executive Chair of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, though it's not restricted to the Banyan hotel family. Read on to learn more...

Hot Magazine
A Conversation with John B Sutherland - Lux Travel Concierge

Ever wonder how the wealthy individuals of our world book their luxury vacations, get privileged access to VIP events or arrange a bucket list experience? They certainly don't jump on the internet. These always-connected and on-the-go high-net-worth individuals email or message their Luxury Concierge. From private jets to luxury villa rentals and superyachts, off-market hotel suites, or private island holidays, these specialist ‘fixers’ offer the proverbial backstage pass to those...

Tourism Destinations & Guides

Expat Living Singapore
Family-friendly Bangkok - What to Do & Where to Eat and Stay

Thinking of a trip to Thailand? If you’re heading to the capital and want to know some recommended places to visit and where to go in Bangkok, check out this roundup from Thailand-based contributor Michael Cullen. Everything on the list is family-friendly, with some extra ideas of things to do in Bangkok to entertain the kids. Our recommended places to visit and things to do in Bangkok also provide suggestions of where to stay and eat in BKK.

Asian Journeys
Siem Reap - more than Angkor Wat

Travel writer Michael Cullen says there is a great more to do than visit temples when you go to Cambodia's Siem Reap. Temple Town, as it is sometimes called, is much more than a gateway to the region's Ankorian past. This is a city with a go-ahead vibe exuding artistic creativity imbued with a community-development slant. He gives you many suggestions and tips for getting the most out of your time in Temple Town.

Phuket's Beaches - Our 8 Best

Phuket has over 30 beaches, each with something different to offer, with the best on the Andaman Sea-facing west coast. Many have accommodations, activities, and entertainment in their immediate vicinity, making them one-stop holiday destinations. Starting in the southwest corner, this best beach guide for Phuket includes a few personal favorites.

Siem Reap, Cambodia - My Favourite Experiences

Siem Reap is the gateway to the fascinating UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park and attracts travellers seeking to learn about the ancient Khmer Kingdom. Many people are also now visiting Cambodia to experience the spirit and resilience of this free-from-conflict and developing country. Let me introduce you to my favourite experiences from a recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

HOT magazine
Much More Than Angkor Wat - Cambodia's Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a bucket list destination for many travellers. Angkor Archaeological Park, an iconic UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and ancient capital of the Khmer Empire tops most visitors' must-do. Though Siem Reap is much more than a land of temples and ruins. This beautiful city offers a rich cultural heritage, thriving arts and creative vibe, fantastic dining, peaceful countryside, warm and welcoming people, and world-class hospitality facilities. A breadth of immersive activities for...

Stunning Koh Samui - My Favourite Experiences

Koh Samui embodies a tropical island paradise for the 2 million-plus annual visitors. Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, off the lower east coast of the Thai-Malay peninsula, it is the kingdom's second most popular island destination. And for good reason. It has long sandy beaches, inviting turquoise waters, coconut palm-filled lowlands, densely forested mountains, and that year-round tropical climate. For visitors, there is so much on offer. Here are my Favorite Experiences to see and do in...

Wander With Wonder
2 Days in Singapore - Our Ultimate Guide

Singapore marries a colonial past, rich culture, and unique heritage with a sleek, progressive future that is constantly reinventing itself. This clean, safe cosmopolitan city brims with possibilities. Iconic architecture, interactive museums, charming multi-cultural neighborhoods, famous shopping streets, thriving arts and entertainment scenes, lively dining and drinking spots, and many must-see attractions. Not sure what to do? Here is our Ultimate Guide to 2 days in Singapore.

Wander With Wonder
Honeymooning in Phuket - A Guide to the Best

Dubbed the "Pearl of the Andamans," Phuket on Thailand's west coast is unquestionably a romantic destination. Its world-renowned sandy beaches and azure waters combine to give a picture postcard-like appeal, with all the romantic ingredients that a tropical island destination offers. A honeymoon in Phuket is the ideal choice for a couple's escape after tying the knot. Our guide to the best honeymoons in Phuket will help you plan your perfect memory-filled tropical island honeymoon.

Travel Awaits
Northern Thailand - 3 Meaningful Travel Experiences I Loved

How to describe northern Thailand? Let’s start with the rich cultural heritage dating back to the 13th century. Add towering mountains, languid waterfalls, swift-moving rivers, ancient temples, lush green fields, high-country tea and coffee plantations, and a distinct cuisine, and you begin to get the picture. Recently I crisscrossed northern Thailand, gaining deeper insights, into this region. This article concentrates on three meaningful experiences and activities that left a stamp on my...

Wander With Wonder
Old City Bangkok: My Personal Guide

Old City Bangkok, or Rattanakosin as it is more correctly known, is Bangkok's birthplace. Old City Bangkok remains the cultural and historic heart of Thailand and is home to many of Bangkok's must-see attractions. Missing Rattanakosin would be like visiting Paris and skipping the Champs-Elysées. Let me guide you to what I consider highlights for any first-time visitor to Rattanakosin's treasures and delights.

Xyzasia - For Independent Travellers in Asia
Talad Noi - Exploring One of Bangkok's Oldest Neighbourhoods

Talad Noi is a historic Bangkok riverside neighbourhood sandwiched between Chinatown and Bangrak and predates the founding of Bangkok. A seemingly ancient area of unique gritty streets, and multicultural heritage, it is distinctly different from other parts of Thailand’s capital. This unique district of Bangkok is best explored on foot or by bicycle. Street photographers will be in their element. If you enjoy getting off the beaten path, this may be right up your alley. This self-exploring...

Amazing Thailand blog
Romantic Chiang Mai - a Guide to the "Rose of the North"

Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom, yet modern and cosmopolitan, is one of the most romantic destinations in Thailand. Nicknamed the “Rose of the North”, she is the ideal destination for fun-filled, active, and opportunity-rich holidays, especially for couples. Her lush green fields, towering mountains, languid waterfalls, ancient temples, great food, swanky bars, serene spas, bountiful boutiques, and inspiring galleries add to the romantic atmosphere. For couples, Chiang...

Amazing Thailand
Road Tripping in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, the lesser-known sister to cosmopolitan Chiang Mai, is well worth exploring, writes guest writer Michael Cullen in this detailed guide to road-tripping this northern Thailand region. With its more laid-back style, visitors experience eye-popping temples, abundant nature, organic foodie trails, cultural insights into the Hill Tribe communities, and easy access to the Golden Triangle region, to name just a few offerings.

Amazing Thailand
Sustainable and Mindful travel in Northern Thailand

After two years of no international travel, borders are finally opening, and new travel trends are emerging. People are not looking for more of the (pre-pandemic) same. Many are travelling more mindfully, seeking sustainable travel, boutique and authentic experiences. People want to experience nature and the outdoors, hands-on and immersive encounters, and activities impacting positively on the local community and environment. People are looking to travel with purpose or, put another way –...

Xyzasia - For Independent Travellers in Asia
Asian Destinations Worth Revisiting - Our Writers Reflect

Writers share their Asian destinations worth revisiting. Sometimes when we travel, we visit places that exceed our expectations. When we leave, we lament not spending more time there. We make a promise to return, but that’s not always practical. However, there are those special places that really do draw you back, and you make the effort to return. xyzAsia editor asked his co-writers of any such places in Asia. Here are the destinations they see as worth revisiting and why.

Khlong Ong Ang - Award-Winning Urban Renewal in Bangkok

One of Bangkok's oldest urban canals has undergone a massive rehabilitation to transform it into a trendy walking street and night market. Khlong Ong Ang is near many of the Thai capital's major sights. It is rich with entertainment, street art, history, tasty street food, and stalls selling local handicrafts. Here's all you need to know...

Food Wine Travel (FWT) magazine, The Road Trips Issue
Road Tripping – Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Thailand is ideal for road tripping and one of my favourite road trips is Kanchanaburi City and Province just two hours west of Bangkok. Come exploring with me.

Khao Sok: A Southern Thailand Nature Adventure

Southern Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park sits within a 5,000 sq. Km forest complex with remnants older and more diverse than the Amazon. Khao Sok is easiest of this green zone to access and has two ‘star attractions’. The first is the central traveller hub in Khao Sok village with its trekking and nature trails, and Cheow Lan (or Khao Sok) Lake. The lake’s hundred or so limestone ‘karsts’ create evocative scenes that have been compared to the much-visited Halong Bay in Vietnam. This Park...

Discovering Isan: Ancient Temples, Lively Festivals & Food Sensations in Thailand's Lesser Known...

Thailand’s largest region, equating to nearly one-third of its landmass, is still ‘off the beaten track’ as far as international tourism is concerned. The good news is that this northeastern region – Isan – has much to discover. Expect beautifully restored Khmer ruins dating back to the Angkor era, intriguing temples, lively festivals, and diverse national parks. Encounter glimpses of Thailand of old: rice fields stretching to the horizon complete with languid water buffalos; rustic villages;...

Mae Khlong: A Rewarding Escape from Bangkok

Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world. There are times that the presence of tourists may feel overwhelming, and you may want to escape for a day or two and enjoy the feel of 'small town' Thailand.

Hot Magazine
Let's Go, Melaka, Malaysia

Picture this! Hundreds of boats at anchor. Two-masted Dhows from Arabia and India with their distinctive triangular sails, smaller local trading vessel from neighbouring Sumatra, and a vast Ming Dynasty fleet of varying sized junks. Boat riggings jangle and slap in the prevailing breeze. Bells toll.

Culture, Festivals, Lifestyle & Events

Hot Magazine
Asian Yachting Championship Kicks off in Phuket

Over 450 sailors, families and friends from more than 20 countries made Cape Panwa Hotel their home as they participated in the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, 17 - 21 July. Raceweek welcomed top sailors from around Asia and beyond, and charterers from as far-a-field as Australia, China and the UK.

Hot Magazine
Music Flows @ Hua Hin International Jazz Festival 2019

Could the Hua Hin International Jazz Festival become THE Jazz festival in SE Asia? That's undoubtedly what leading Thai jazz musician Koh Mr. Saxman told audiences on the first night of the 2019 Hua Hin International Jazz Festival.

Hot Magazine
Teppan Flavour & Flair @ Benihana, Avani Pattaya

Ascend the stairs from Central Pattaya's Beach Road and treat yourself to outstanding Japanese food in the spacious, light-filled, Benihana. Bright swathes of candy-apple red contrast with muted blacks of the ceiling and chair coverings, yellow birch on the dining chairs and soft grey of the tiled floors round out the colour palate.

Running While Holidaying in the Tropics: Some Practical Advice

Many older travellers to the tropical countries of Asia like to keep fit whilst they are on holiday. One way to do this is through running or jogging. However, if you normally run only in temperate climates, there are some precautions that you need to take in the tropics.

Archive Collection - Previous Works & Time Honoured Articles

The Hotel Journal
Best Boutique Hotels - Pattaya, Thailand

Already visited Phuket, Hua Hin, and Chiang Mai? Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand's east coast, just two hours drive from Bangkok, has long been a hot spot for sun, sea and sand. Fans of excellent design (and equally excellent swimming pools) will want to know about the best boutique hotels in Pattaya for dream vacations.

Asian Journeys Magazine
New Gallery Adds to Siem Reap Arts Scene

Like the rest of Cambodia, Siem Reap is emerging from a sad, dark past. Decades of war and unrest resulted in an enormous loss of life and a deep and gaping wound in the country's cultural heritage, artistic capacity, and, more broadly, its educated class. Considering this developing country's troubled past, it may be surprising how quickly fashion designers and creatives have stepped onto the international stage to showcase what the Kingdom offers. Let me introduce you to local and...

The Hotel Journal
6 Best Design Hotels on Thailand's Royal Coast

While many flock to holiday at hotels in Phuket, just over a two-hour drive from Bangkok, Hua Hin remains a darling of Thai aristocracy and in-the-know travellers from Asia and Europe. Long stretches of wide sandy beaches, championship golf courses, three national parks nearby, an award-winning winery, and tantalising food tours await.

Amazing Thailand
Now is the time to visit Phuket

Phuket is open and welcoming travellers once again. Expat Aussie travel writer Michael Cullen provides an update on the Pearl of the Andaman Sea. US NEWS recently ranked Phuket number 8 in their top 30 "World's Best Places to Visit." They raved about its outstanding sights, scenic beauty, food scene, and culture.

Hot Magazine
Onsen @ Moncham - a luxe Ryokan & Onsen in Chiang Mai

A traditional Japanese guesthouse, a ryokan is a quintessential experience that most visitors to Japan have on their 'must-do' list. But wait! There is now a luxe mountain ryokan in northern Thailand where you can enjoy the whole ryokan cultural experience. Read on to learn more...

Hot Magazine
Let's Stay, Mövenpick Resort Khao Yai

Have you ever dreamed of staying in a European style castle? The good news is that you don't need to travel to Europe to fulfil that dream. Your castle awaits in the verdant valleys of Khao Yai, less than a three-hour drive northeast of Bangkok.

The Hotel Journal
Reviewed - Sala Rattanakosin, Bangkok

If you're looking for a trendy boutique hotel in the heart of Bangkok, then take a look inside our stay at Sala Rattanakosin.

Hot Magazine
Beachside Escape @ Veranda Resort Na Jomtien - MGallery

Pattaya City has long attracted visitors with its main beach and busy tourist strip. Venture across Pratamnuk Hill looking south, and the broad beach regions of Jomtien and Na Jomtien offer expansive, family and couple-friendly alternatives without the crowd. On the crossover of these two Jomtien regions is Veranda Resort Na Jomtien – MGallery. Set on a quiet section of Na Jomtien beach, famed for its natural beauty and fishing heritage, this stylish, contemporary-designed resort is about...

HOT magazine
Modern Med Delights @ Beach Society, SO Sofitel Hua Hin

Located beachside, Beach Society is about alfresco dining with the ocean as your outlook and cooling sea breezes as accompaniment. Its lunch and dinner menus offer a modern western culinary style with French influences. Lunch is about lite bites while dinner has a more sophisticated feel though still with a relaxed resort feel. Read on to learn more...

HOT Magazine
Let's Stay - Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas, Krabi

Arriving at Centara Grand Beach Resort Krabi by boat, it feels like we are coming to an island. The resort's shuttle speed boat whisked us from Ao Nang's Nopparat Thara Pier to Pai Plong Bay, exclusively occupied by Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi. Pai Plong Bay's long golden sand beach sparkles in the sunlight. Towering palms line the beachfront. Teal-colored rooftops of the resort's low-rise buildings blend with the verdant tropical jungle surround. A 400 plus meter high...

Hot Magazine
Authentic Italian - Zafferano '94, Hua Hin

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." Or so said Mahatma Gandhi, and this quote is very relevant to the owners of Zafferano'94 Italian Restaurant on Hua Hin's eat street, Soi 94.

Hot Magazine
Contemporary Thai @ Jaras, InterContinental Hua Hin Resort

Hua Hin has a new chic and sophisticated beachside restaurant in a stylish setting, pairing contemporary Thai cuisine with traditional service and promising a unique fine dining experience. We are talking about Jaras Hua Hin at the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort.

Hot Magazine
Modern Mediterranean @ Kampu Restaurant, Mövenpick Asara Resort, Hua Hin

The giant rain tree's enormous umbrella-shaped crown towers above and easily shades the open-air deck of Kampu, Mövenpick Asara Hua Hin's signature restaurant. And by no coincidence, Kampu is also the Thai name for rain trees.Our party is undercover in Kampu's two-tiered alfresco dining area.

Hot Magazine
Five Star Roof-top Dining in Thailand's Golden Triangle

Chiang Rai is Thailand's northernmost region and is the primary gateway to the Golden Triangle. Chiang Rai is also a growing tourism hub thanks to its towering mountains and lush forests, rich Hill Tribe heritage and burgeoning community-based tourism. One of Chiang Rai’s leading five-star hotels must be The Reverie by Katathani. Initially operated by the Dusit Group, the recently renovated and upgraded 271 room property is located on an island in the middle of the Kok River, just minutes...

Thailand Travel Guide

Thailand is one of the 10 most visited countries in the world, and the third in Asia after China and Turkey.

Hot Magazine
Organic Dining @ The Restaurant, Dusit Thani Hua Hin

Dusit Thani and the Royal Resort Beach Town of Hua Hin have a long connection, with their Hua Hin Resort recently celebrating its 30th year of operations. Not content with that milestone, this is a hotel that's definitely moving forward with purpose and innovation, particularly on the food side.

10 Best Things to Do in Hua Hin, Thailand - 2020 List

Thailand is renowned for its beaches and tropical islands with locations like Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi, and Ko Samui on many visitors' lists. For the more inquisitive traveller, there are lesser-known, yet absolutely worth visiting coastal locations and islands that make repeat trips to the 'Land of Smiles' highly attractive. One such destination is on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, just 120 miles south of Bangkok. A darling resort town for Bangkok Thais and more especially, the Thai...

Hot Magazine
Dim Sum with a View @ White Lotus Restaurant, Hilton Hua Hin

Dim sum that highly social Chinese breakfast brunch or lunch offering can be found in specialist restaurants in major city Chinatowns across the world. Hong Kong is often heralded as the epicentre of Dim Sum restaurants. For Hua Hin residents and visitors, the great news is you don't have to travel that far to indulge.

Spirit Houses in Southeast Asia: What Are They All About?

Spirit houses can be seen in different forms all over Southeast Asia and in many other parts of the continent too. They are often draped in colourful garlands of flowers and have offerings of food and drinks for the spirits. But what are they all about? Here's what I've discovered...

Hot Magazine
Vineyard dining @ GranMonte Winery in Thailand's Khao Yai

GranMonte Winery in Khao Yai's Asoke Valley has been cultivating grapes since 1999. It started as a hobby for soon to retire Bangkokian Visooth Lohitnavy. Some 22 years on, it has grown from the experimental 10 acres under vine to a vineyard of 40 acres plus a further 35 acres in the neighbouring Wang Nam Khiao region. Our “Let’s Eat” team believes that no vineyard is complete without an onsite restaurant where the local wines can be enjoyed alongside suitable food accompaniments. And...

Slow Travel the Way to Connect in Asia

Slow travel is a term used to describe travelling at a pace that enables you to connect to local communities and culture. It's about spending more time in places and discovering the soul of those places through their history, food, language and people, rather than chasing bucket list ticks.

Food, Wine & Travel magazine
Travel writers share favorite local wines and wineries

Members of the International Food, Wine, Travel Writers Association to share a favorite wine and/or winery that is close to home, wherever that may be. My contribution is about the wines of Thailand's Monsoon Valley Vineyards. Scroll to the end to read all about my favourite Monsoon Valley red.

Beyond the Smiles: Community-based Tourism in Thailand

With tourists increasingly searching for a deeper connection with the destinations they visit and the local people they meet, this trend presents a growing opportunity for community-based tourism. So, if you are looking to discover unique experiences while getting off-the-beaten-path, connecting with real communities, and perhaps feeling that you’re genuinely contributing in a socially responsible way, then check out what’s on offer from one Thailand social enterprise company, Local Alike.

Hot Magazine
Up Close and Personal, Elephant Haven, Kanchanaburi

Thai guide 'Patrick' announced "You'll have seven elephants for company today. They're aged from 65 to 28 and are all female and you are our only guest." And so began our day at Elephant Haven in the Kanchanaburi region of Thailand. An elephant park that offered trekking and elephant shows for 18 years before transitioning to a 'saddles off' and 'chains of' model where these gentle giants live as retirees with we humans permitted to share a day with them as they just be, well, elephants.

Hot Magazine
Japanese delight @ Hagi, Centara Grand Hua Hin Resort

Have you ever walked past a restaurant or café and said to yourself "That looks really nice. I must try that one day!" I have, and thankfully I can now cross one of those restaurants off my list. And given our party so enjoyed the experience, I have to tell you about it!

Vassavasa - Thailand's Annual 'Rains Retreat' and Candle Festivals

Thailand has many Buddhist festivals throughout the year, but some of the most interesting for visitors to the country to experience are the colourful candle festivals held at the start of the annual rains retreat. The parades are held on both city streets and waterways and feature the transportatio

Planning Ahead: Thailand's Upcoming Events & Festivals

Thailand is likely to be one of the first countries in Asia to re-open its borders to international tourists in the second half of the year. It's a country with so much to offer and here are some of the 'must experience' festivals and events happening between October 2020 and February 2021.