Asia’s Greatest Places for Seniors in 2018
After soliciting nominations across a range of new and newly relevant destinations from dozens of industry experts, magazine editors and correspondents around the world, TIME magazine recently published their inaugural World’s Greatest Places list.
TIME evaluated each nomination based on quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence. Their 2018 World’s Greatest Places features places to visit, stay, eat and drink that are diverse and unusual.
Here are the Asian places that made the list that we think will be of most interest to older travellers:
Design Society, Shekou, Shenzen
Housed within the Sea World Culture and Arts Centre (SWCAC) at the Sea World coastal city complex in Shekou, Shenzhen, Design Society explores new frontiers for design.
The elegant cantilevered white stone building, designed by renowned architectural studio Maki and Associates, and led by Fumihiko Maki, has views of the surrounding mountains, sea and city. The three galleries and two museums are open daily. The V&A Gallery has pieces from the UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum permanent collection.
Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, Hong Kong
Opening in May 2018, the eight-year, HK$3.8 billion restoration project gives new life to the former colonial Central Police Station and takes Hong Kong’s art scene to the next level. Undertaken by Swiss architects, Herzog de Meuron, they not only thoughtfully restored the 16 former police and judicial buildings but added two dramatic boxy buildings over the old Victoria Prison walls.
All spaces are linked by elegant walkways and concrete staircases allowing visitors to enjoy a variety of exhibitions, contemporary arts, watch plays, film screenings, outside activities or relax at one of the many bars, restaurants or eateries. Open daily from 11am to 11pm, the complex provides a different and enjoyable public space in the heart of Central on Hong Kong Island.
Tianjin Binhai Library, Tianjin
Since opening in October 2017, this sci-fi inspired architectural masterpiece, designed by Dutch firm MVRDV, has attracted more than 1.8 million visitors. Affectionately called ‘The Eye’, it’s no ordinary public library. It has cascading terraced shelves that hold more than 1.35 million books.
However, note that the library is located about one hour away from Tianjin’s city centre, and bags and cameras can’t be taken inside. Smartphones are allowed though, so you’ll still be able to take photos. Note also that the library has strict dress rules – no sleeveless tops or sandals are allowed.
Sunder Nursery, New Delhi
Opening in February 2018 as a heritage park, for over a century Sunder Nursery has been an active nursery, and while 20 acres have remained as such, the other 90 acres is a treat for heritage enthusiasts and nature lovers. It rivals Rashtrapati Bhavan for its array of flora and fauna.
Designed by the late landscape architect M. Shaheer, and inspired by Mughal traditions, the 550 metre central ornamental vista begins at the entrance zone of Humayun’s Tomb and moves through fountains, water features and a lake with surrounding seating and pavilions. There’s also an amphitheatre and 15 Mughal heritage monuments inside.
Museum MACAN, Nusantara, Jakarta
Opening in late 2017 and located in West Jakarta, Museum MACAN (Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara), showcases both local and international aspiring contemporary artists. Spread over 4000 square metres, it provides education, cultural exchange and professional development for Indonesia’s growing art community.
Haryanto Adikoesoemo, a prominent local collector and businessman, has also granted access to his collection. Although the Floating Garden area on Level M is designed for children, adults are also encouraged to create their own masterpieces. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm, tickets can be purchased online.
Seoullo 7017 Skygarden, Seoul
In just over two years, Dutch firm MVRDV transformed a 938 metre section of a disused, elevated highway in central Seoul into a public pedestrian walkway and green space. Seoullo is Korean for Skygarden and translates to ‘towards Seoul’ and ‘Seoul Street’, while 7017 was the original overpass constructed in 1970.
Next to Seoul’s main station, this now attractive and friendly family linear park is home to over 24,000 plants in elevated steel and concrete structures changing with the seasons. Multiple bridges, stairs, lifts and escalators connect the viaduct with city hotels, shops and gardens and the Namdaemun Market with the city’s Malli-dong, Jungnim-dong and Cheongpa-dong neighbourhoods.
At night, the Skygarden is illuminated in blue lights, a colour friendly to nature, but they are changed for various festivals and celebrations. The project showcases the city’s ongoing investment in open public space prioritising liveability, walkability and communality over economic gain.
ChangChui: Creative Park, Bangkok
Opening in mid-2017 this 27,000 square metre creative park is Thailand’s first and exemplifies everything weird and wonderfully art related. Consisting of galleries, cafes, restaurants, bars, weekend market stalls, a variety of shops, music and show venues, an auditorium, theatre, and documentary cinema, there’s something for everyone in this creative oddity.
Although it is not close to public transport in Thonburi, it has quickly become a popular day trip destination. The centrepiece in the middle of the park is a retired L-1011 TriStar Lockheed aeroplane that has a slide down to the ground as an exit.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Louvre Abu Dhabi
A new cultural beacon, the Louvre Abu Dhabi combines UAE’s artistic vision with France’s world art and museum expertise. Designed by Jean Nouvel, the centrepiece is a floating silver dome of light and shade, containing 7,850 stars over eight layers, known as the ‘rain of light’. Opening in late 2017, the striking architecture overlooking the sea and Abu Dhabi skyline combines French design with Arabic heritage.
The prehistory to present day gallery display appears chronologically to induce learning, respect, curiosity and self-reflection. The micro-city of 55 detached buildings, 23 devoted to galleries, is like wandering through Arabian medina streets. Open Tuesday to Sunday, tickets can be purchased online.
Golden Bridge, Ba Na Hills
At the foot of Ba Na Hills, Golden Bridge (Cau Vang) is the latest attraction at the Sun World Ba Na Hills amusement park. Opening in April 2018, this gold-coloured pedestrian walkway is held up by large stone hands and spirals above the surrounding treetops in Paradise Garden.
Designed by TA Landscape Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, the massive 150 metre long bridge spans from the French Village to La Jardin D’Amour Gardens, providing visitors with uninterrupted views of the majestic landscape beneath. While at the former French colony, Ba Na Hills, be sure to also enjoy the world’s longest single cable car system to the top.
TO EAT AND DRINK
For true intimate fine dining, Ultraviolet serves just ten people per night in a windowless bunker room on the outskirts of central Shanghai. Founded by French chef Paul Pairet in 2012, the restaurant has now been upgraded to three Michelin stars in 2018.
During the 20-course dinner, the diner is surrounded by light, sound, scent, temperature and theatre paired with each dish, setting the appropriate mood and creating a culinary experience that is beyond compare.
Happy Paradise, Hong Kong
Established by Asia’s Best 2017 Female Chef and founder of Little Bao, May Chow, this funky neon-lit bar and hip Cantonese diner showcase May’s award-winning skills. Located just down the street from Little Bao, this SoHo bar and restaurant features traditional Cantonese dishes made with modern cooking techniques eaten at retro tables and chairs, surrounded by 80’s pop music.
From steamed rice scallop rolls, braised pomelo, pig lung, north and south almond soup to slow-cooked chicken, crunchy puffed black rice and char siu with silky egg on rice, you’ll be sure to find your Happy Paradise.
Indian Accent, New Delhi
Rated India’s No.1 restaurant and after making Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for six years running, chef Manish Mehrotra has taken Indian Accent’s inventive Indian cuisine to New York and London.
Launching Indian Accent in New Delhi in 2009, chef Mehrotra is described as India’s most exciting chef in the world today. His style has reinvented Delhi’s fine dining by combining traditional tastes with novel worldly ingredients and the freshest local produce. There’s even a six-course chef’s tasting menu with specially selected paired wines.
No.2 on Asia’s Best Restaurant’s List and No.45 in the world, Zaiyu Hasegawa’s two Michelin star Den is renowned for ‘Dentucky Fried Chicken’, complete with smiley face carrots. Their culinary success story is simple; they want to make the guest happy.
Relocating in late 2016, Den now seats 40. Their cuisine is a contemporary, creative kaiseki multi-course experience that respects centuries of tradition, but is never too serious. Each dish displays their signature, and you’ll not find it anywhere else in Tokyo.
The first ramen restaurant to get a Michelin star, Tsuta serves just 150 coveted bowls of soba noodles in ramen style, but to get one people begin queuing at 6am, even though the hole-in-the-wall-shop doesn’t open until 11am.
The noodles are made from four whole-wheat flours, but it’s the three types of shoyu soy broth that make the difference. While the Tsuta brand now has seven branches across Asia, chef Yuki Onishi, remains at the heart of the operation, with the third shoyu brewed specially to his specifications.
Atlas Bar, Singapore
Created by the Hwang Family and inspired by European art deco skyscrapers, the newly refurbished Atlas Bar covering the ground floor is the centrepiece of Singapore’s iconic Parkview Square. Unique in Asia, the 687 square metre Atlas celebrates the 1920’s rich traditions, jazz elegance and is a warm, welcoming destination.
Their excellent collection of spirits, whiskies, wines, champagnes, European cocktails and a most extensive range of gins (over 1,000) from around the world has also earned them 15th spot on this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars List.
Embracing nature’s earthy palette, these 24 Ming Courtyard suites and 13 Antique Qing Dynasty villas were saved from demolition and reassembled brick by brick to create peaceful, refined, light-filled areas with ancient camphor forest views. Also rescued by Chinese businessman Ma Dadong, the ancient trees were relocated from China’s Jiangxi province, 800 km away. Recycled timber, stone, bamboo and brick from century-old homes complete the interiors.
Facilities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, club lounge and several sumptuous dining spaces. This retreat belies its preserved history and transported forest.
Morpheus Hotel, Macau
Like nothing else in Macau or the world, Morpheus was designed by the late Zaha Hadid. It’s the world’s first free-form exoskeleton-bound high-rise with a grid of steel enveloping 40 stories of glass with a fluidity inspired by Chinese jade carving. Facilities include 770 refined rooms, rooftop pool, modern-art gallery, two Alain Ducasse restaurants and a casino floor.
The Murray, Hong Kong
This 1969 building has won multiple awards since being re-designed by architects Foster + Partners for celebrating its ancient past and now future. Opening in January 2018 it offers first-class comfort, style and unique signature experiences from their 336 rooms and rooftop restaurant. Enjoy panoramic views of Hong Kong’s skyline, Hong Kong Park, the Botanical Gardens and Zoo.
Alila Fort Bishangarh, Rajasthan
Perched on a granite outcrop with 360-degree views of the surrounding Rajasthan landscape, it has taken Alila Hotels and Resorts seven years to restore this centuries-old hilltop fortress and create a luxury hotel. Original features such as secret passages, dungeons and gun turrets remain, taking guests back to the Mughal era.
Located at Bishangarh Village in the Jaipur District, the magnificent hotel has five different suite styles, lavish public areas, a spa, gym, pool, four gourmet themed restaurants, bar and cigar lounge, champagne bar, coffee, chai and cake lounge, concierge services and guided tours.
Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa, Chandigarh
Located thirty minutes from Chandigarh city centre on 8,000 acres of protected natural forest at the foothills of the outer Himalayas, this 1,114 square metre wellness centre delivers unsurpassed relaxation packages. Opening in late 2017, guests enjoy lush green views from every aspect.
The spa offers a range of relaxing signature treatments, hydrotherapy, saunas, detoxing, personalised fitness programs and guided walks through the tranquil Siswan forest by an in-house naturalist.
Santani Resort & Spa, Kandy
Situated on a former tea plantation in the mountains of Sri Lanka, Santani means ‘in harmony with’ and brings balance with nature. With no televisions and no wi-fi (although you can pay extra if you must have it), you can relax and make the most of the views over paddy fields from the spas, sauna, and soak pool. Enjoy a range of wellness, cleansing, detox, yoga and meditation treatments.
To view the full TIME 2018 World’s Greatest Places list visit:
Header image (Louvre Abu Dhabi): Elizabeth Coughlan | Dreamstime