WHERE TO STAY: In Singapore, Six Senses Duxton in Tanjong Pagar is the ideal place to rest and refresh after your long flight. From the welcoming Tibetan singing bowl ceremony to the dark, sensual, luxurious cocoon-like rooms, everything is thoughtfully looked after. Meticulously designed by former Bond girl Anouska Hempel, the hotel envelopes you in style and comfort, right down to the incredible Hempel-designed wallpaper.
WHAT TO SEE: Spend the morning at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the nearby Sri Mariamman Temple, then wind your way through the business district at lunch hour (check out the lineups at Marina Food House) to truly feel the financial soul of this bustling city. Cool down with a pitcher of Pimm’s (Pimm’s No. 1, lemon, honey, cucumber, strawberry, soda water and mint) before heading off to your Merlion experience and to get those earthbound Marina Bay Sands photos. If you head up to the famous MBS Bar before 4:30 p.m. you just may avoid the lineups. Find your seat at the edge of the bar in time for sunset, then stay for the fireworks.
WHERE TO EAT: The Blue Ginger Restaurant (97 Tanjong Pagar Rd.) offers generous portions of traditional Peranakan dishes—duck and pork knuckles with salted cabbage, fish head curry, durian with red beans in sweetened coconut milk—in a casual atmosphere. A blend of spicy and sour flavours, this fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisine is a match made in heaven.
STREET CULTURE: The insanity of Hanoi’s Scooter Culture is awe-inspiring. Whether you’re crossing the street (simple, right?) or taking a tuk-tuk ride, the split-second weaving and dodging of countless scooters, package-laden bicycles, hotel taxis and delivery trucks make Hanoi’s streets one of the city’s best attractions. Hire a guide for a half-day tour that takes in the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Hanoi Opera House. On weekends, the main streets around Hoan Kiem Lake are pedestrian-only, which provides a great opportunity to walk around and enjoy the pop-up dance competitions, building-block sculptures, soaring kites and more.
SHOPPING: Head to Hang Gai Street in the Old Quarter, and set aside enough time to browse through Tan My, with its one-of-a-kind Vietnamese designs, from jewellery to housewares, and admire the out-of-this-world scarves at Hanoi Hannah across the street. Then pop into Cerender Ceramics (11a Trang Thi St.) for hand-painted ceramics in all shapes and sizes.
COCKTAIL HOUR: Drinks at the Bamboo Bar in the world-famous Metropole Hotel are a must before dinner at Cau-Go Vietnamese (5/7 Dinh Tien Hoang St.), which offers local cuisine and a spectacular rooftop view of Hoan Kiem Lake at night.
Restaurant Ibid (18 N. Canal Rd.) spotlights the culinary adventurousness of chef Woo Wai Leong, winner of the inaugural MasterChef Asia, whose tasting menu—which recently featured black grouper, beef short rib, spring onion shaobing and Jinhua ham custard—is not to be missed.
Lei Garden Restaurant Chijmes (30 Victoria St.) features traditional white-tablecloth dim sum—steamed shrimp and pork dumplings, pan-fried turnip cakes, siu mai, spring rolls and beef fillet with onion scallion.
Yellow Pot (in the Six Senses Duxton, 88 Duxton Rd.) is a delight, from the quirky charger plates from Legle France to the attentive servers who will bring you course after course of local seafood, grass-fed beef and greens. Try the hotel’s signature cocktail, a mix of gin and chrysanthemum infusion.