News Releases

Korean Air to Start Direct Flights to Delhi

Come the beginning of December, Korean Air will add Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Airport to its route network, making it the airline’s second Indian destination after Mumbai. The new service will be flown using the Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which seats up to 218 passengers and is equipped with the airline’s newest First and Prestige Class seats. Flights will leave Seoul’s Incheon International Airport at 12:45 p.m. and arrive in Delhi at 6:20 p.m. local time. The return leg will then depart Delhi at 7:40 p.m. and land in the South Korean capital at 5:50 a.m. the next day.

For more information, visit Korean Air.

World’s Highest and Longest Bridge in China

An improbable landscape of soaring, pine-crested sandstone spires, Zhangjiajie in China’s Hunan province is known to global moviegoers for its resemblance to the floating Hallelujah Mountains of Avatar. But it’s not just the dreamlike scenery that will take your breath away—the area now boasts an extreme feat of engineering, worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster.

Stretching 430 meters long and 6 meters wide, hovering over a 300-meter-deep valley between two cliffs in the canyon area, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge opened on August 20, becoming the world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge. However, a flood of 80,000 daily visitors—10 times the expected number—led to its temporary closure in just two weeks.

But the glass walkway has finally reopened to tourists and promises to provide even more heart-pounding experiences like bungee jumping in the near future.

This article originally appeared in the October/November print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Walk this Way”).

Singapore’s Swissôtel Merchant Court Gets a Makeover

A Swiss Select Clarke Quay room

A refurbished Swiss Select Clarke Quay guest room

Since April last year, Swissôtel Merchant Court, Singapore has been upgrading its guest rooms as part of a major refit across the board. The overhaul is nearly complete, with the Swiss Advantage guest rooms due to be unveiled in September.

All rooms at the Swissôtel now employ a functional, elegant design with floral motifs inspired by Singapore’s status as a ‘Garden City’. Those in the Premier category are swathed in shades of turquoise and accented with orange, offering views of the hotel pool, the city and the Singapore River. Families with children can request the Swissôtel Kids Room set-up for connecting or adjoining Premier rooms; the set-up includes a range of child-friendly amenities suitable for kids between the ages of 2-12, with themed bedding, toys, books and video games including the Xbox and Wii.

Swiss Select guest rooms, in a cheery yellow contrasted with touches of gray, come with access to the Swiss Executive Lounge, which has a private reception for arrivals and departures, a daily gourmet breakfast, all-day refreshments and complimentary cocktails and canapés every evening.

Swiss Select Studio rooms include a working space for business travelers along with a lounge for relaxation. Meanwhile, Swiss Select Clarke Quay rooms are characterized by their extra space, with private balconies overlooking Clarke Quay and the Singapore River.

The hotel’s two uppermost floors are dedicated to Swiss Executive rooms, which are equipped with plush in-room amenities including a Nespresso machine, a selection of tea from TWG and a curated “pillow menu”.

As part of the refurbishment, Pürovel Spa & Sport has opened its first branch in Southeast Asia at Swissôtel Merchant Court. The luxurious Swiss spa takes its cues from the natural vitality of the Alpine seasons, with its treatment sessions and eponymous bath amenities designed accordingly. At Pürovel Spa & Sport, guests can enjoy three single treatment rooms and one treatment room for couples, with all four boasting a private shower facility for added privacy.

To celebrate its opening, Pürovel Spa & Sport is offering a complimentary 60-minute Nepalese Tea Exfoliation with any body massage and facial treatment booked, valid till August 31, 2016.

For more information, visit Swissôtel Merchant Court.

A Premier Room

A brand new Premier room

Inside a Swiss Select Studio

Inside a Swiss Select Studio

Swiss Executive Room

Swiss Executive rooms have been remodeled with bright yellow highlights

Swissôtel's Pürovel Spa & Sport, the first in Southeast Asia

Swissôtel’s Pürovel Spa & Sport, the first in Southeast Asia

DestinAsian Wins 2016 SOPA Award

"Secrets of the Sulu Sea", from the August/September 2015 issue

“Secrets of the Sulu Sea”, from the August/September 2015 issue

Jakarta, June 16, 2016—Two years after clinching the honor, DestinAsian has once again been handed the Award for Excellence in Lifestyle Coverage by the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA). The occasion marks the 14th time the regional travel publication has been recognized by SOPA at its annual Awards for Editorial Excellence, adding to a collection of more than 40 international awards won by the magazine since its inception in 2001.

Publisher Ronald Liem was thrilled to receive the news. “It is really an honor to be recognized again by our industry peers for our editorial quality,” he said. “In this digital age, where there is an enormous amount of content out there, we worked even harder to excel in what we produce.”

At this year’s SOPA awards, a record number of entries from across Asia competed in 18 categories. The selection process was made by an international panel of more than 100 judges, including journalists and editors from leading publications as well as notable academics.

DestinAsian was recognized for three feature-length editorial stories, all of them involving cruises in Southeast Asia. These include “The Life Aquatic”, an account from Cambodia penned by editor in chief Christopher Hill; “First Footprints”, Kendall Hill’s narrative of his voyage through the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar; and “Secrets of the Sulu Sea” by Johnny Langenheim, which documented his journey to remote corners of the western Philippines.

SOPA judges praised the submission as a whole, saying that it “gave the reader a sense of the people of the area by putting them centrally into the narrative rather than having them as bystanders.”

Editor in chief Christopher Hill said, “It’s always a great honor to receive such recognition, but perhaps even more so on the eve of DestinAsian’s 15th anniversary. I can’t think of a timelier reaffirmation of our position as the region’s leading luxury travel magazine.”

"The Life Aquatic", from the February/March 2015 issue

“The Life Aquatic”, from the February/March 2015 issue

"First Footprints", from the April/May 2015 issue

“First Footprints”, from the April/May 2015 issue

About DestinAsian:
Established in 2001, DestinAsian is an award-winning travel and lifestyle magazine in the Asia-Pacific region with a print run of 35,300 copies and a readership of 106,000 per edition. DestinAsian is distributed in Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Through its website,, its evocative travel writing and stunning photos reach tens of thousands more around the globe. DestinAsian not only provides holiday destinations in a fresh, new light—by way of beautifully executed feature articles and insider updates—but it is also the ultimate resource for those who like to travel, and travel in style. The DestinAsian Media Group began operations in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2001 and apart from DestinAsian itself, now publishes several lifestyle publications including DestinAsian Indonesia, Prestige Indonesia, JOY Indonesia, and DA MAN.

Media inquiries:
Robert Lau, tel: +65 6220 8048, e-mail: [email protected]

Five Space Tour Operators

With a handful of people having already completed successful visits to the final frontier, outer space as a viable holiday destination is looking more like a reality than science fiction. But it’s not only holiday-makers who are looking upward, NASA is keeping close tabs on, and in some cases, helping fund these start-ups because it plans to contract private companies for launches as it ended its own launch program in 2012. But for the most part, these companies are targeting the average joe with big dreams. If you find yourself with a couple million or so to spare and some out-of-this-world curiosity, these five companies can help you reach for the stars.
By Christi Hang

Space Adventures
Only seven tourists have made it to outer space and they have all done it via Space Adventures. Only 500 people ever left earth, making Space Adventures’ seven even more impressive but the company hasn’t stopped there. It is now offering the chance for ordinary people to take a spacewalk. But this very exclusive holiday comes with a hefty price tag; a one-and-a-half-hour spacewalk will set you back US$15 million but the trip also includes a 16-day stay at the International Space Station and intensive training at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. While the sky is definitely not the limit for Space Adventures, the company continues to think bigger. It is currently taking reservations for a future lunar mission that is slated to take place in 2015. One of the two seats has already been sold for $150 million— the company won’t name the space cadet, it said the person is very well known—and the other seat is still up for grabs if you are looking for a truly undiscovered spot for your next holiday.

For more information, visit

Virgin Galactic
Entrepreneur and adventurer Richard Branson started his spacy business within his Virgin group in 2004. Since then, it has been busy preparing its craft, the SpaceShipTwo, to make the journey into outerspace. Most recently, the company announced that the SpaceShipTwo broke the sound barrier in April. Seats are going for US$200,000 and according to its website, it has nearly sold all 500 seats for the first set of flights, which might be taking off sooner than later. Although the first flights were scheduled for 2009, numerous issues have delayed take off, but Branson announced on a radio morning show earlier this month that he would be on the first Virgin Galactic voyage, slated for December 2013. Virgin Galactic already has star-backing on earth; celebrities already on the list include Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Ashton Kutcher. Earlier this month, a seat on a future Virgin Galactic flight next to Leonardo DiCaprio was auctioned off for charity and went for $1.5 million.

For more information, visit

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX was founded by visionary Elon Musk, the man behind PayPal and Tesla Motors, and it has been collaborating with and commissioned by aeronautical heavyweights such as NASA, the US Air Force, and satellite company SES. Currently it is mostly focused on space transportation but its original and still ultimate goal is enabling people to live on other planets. It’s a bit out there but its track record so far—more than 50 launches on its manifest and more than $4 billion in contracts—is solid. Other historic firsts for SpaceX include being the first to return a spacecraft from low-orbit Earth (accomplished in 2010) and being the first nongovernment entity to dock with the International Space Station to exchange cargo payloads and return to earth (completed in 2012).

For more information, visit

Space Expedition Corporation
Space Expedition Corporation is planning to take off in 2014 and you can be one of the first 100 people, which includes model Doutzen Kroes and DJ Armin van Buuren, for $100,000. Flights are scheduled for a maximum of four launches a day and each trip will be a personal experience as it will only include the participant and a pilot. As a preview, Space Expedition is offering a slightly cheaper program that will launch a later this year. It won’t go into space but it does hit an impressive height of more than 60 kilometers. The first launch will be a long time coming for the Space Expedition, which began building rockets in California since 1990. Since then, it has built 15 generations of rockets. Adding to its experience, Space Expedition has fired approximately 5,000 rockets on the ground and completed 67 flights on two different types of rocket airplanes.

For more information, visit

Blue Origin
Established by founder Jeff Bezos in 2000, Blue Origin’s main goal is to dramatically lower the cost of space flights while increasing the safeness of the endeavors. And the super-secretive rocket organization is working hard on its mission with the help of heavy-hitter NASA , which routinely collaborates with Blue Origin. NASA awarded Blue Origin US$3.7 million in 2009 to aid in the development of technology and products for future human spaceflight operations. NASA followed up its support with a whopping $22 million in 2011 and since then has helped consult on projects. Blue Origin puts a big emphasis on safety is taking its time to ensure future flights go smoothly. It hasn’t set a price for trips yet but its last huge accomplishment looks quite promising for the future tours; Blue Origin successful test of its crew capsule escape system in 2011.

For more information, visit

Avis Opens at Heathrow’s Terminal 5

Avis has just opened an outlet at London’s Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, making it the first car-rental company to operate there. This is good news for inbound travelers who plan to hire a vehicle, as it will save them the 20-minute bus transfer from the terminal to other rental locations at the main airport. Thanks to a partnership with British Airways and Iberia—the only airlines operating out of Terminal 5—Avis customers will also earn Avios points on all Avis rentals.

(Image courtesy of

Refreshed Rijksmuseum

The trouble- plagued renovations to Amsterdam’s historic Rijksmuseum (1 Jan Luijken- straa; 31-20/674-7000; may have taken a decade to complete, but by all accounts, the results—opened on April 13—are stunning. By the time it closed in 2003, the massive red-bricked museum, built in 1876 by the Dutch architect P. J. H. Cuypers, was in sore need of a makeover and a reorganization of its somewhat haphazard displays. Seville-based architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz have stripped away a century’s worth of awkward structural additions to restore the purity of Cuypers’ original layout while creating a stone-and-glass-clad Asian Pavilion to house the Rijksmuseum’s beautiful collection of objects from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Given the extent of the changes, the US$488 million project is being billed less as a renovation than as a complete rebuilding of a national landmark and a new home for the museum’s 8,000 works spanning 800 years of Dutch culture. These include Rembrandt’s Night
Watch, now showcased in a gallery designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the museum specialist responsible for the interiors of the Louvre in Paris. –Daven Wu

Bodie Island Lighthouse Shines Again

Bodie Island is a long, narrow barrier peninsula that forms the northernmost portion of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. The area is renowned for its two lighthouses, Bodie Island Lighthouse and Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Both have played an important role in local maritime history since the 19th century. Recently, Bodie Island Lighthouse has undergone a tip-to-toe renovation and been opened to the public. For a decade, the 141-year-old structure was filled with wasps, the stairs to the top wobbled, the glass in the lantern room was broken, and rain had rusted the ironwork. But its US$5 million makeover has set back the clock, turning the facility into a bona fide tourist site with a new set of stairs and a painstakingly restored Fresnel lens of 344 hand-cut glass prisms that can once again cast light 30 kilometers out to sea. From the top of the 52-meter-high tower, guests can also expect unimpeded views of the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound.

SriLankan Airlines to Join Oneworld Alliance

SriLankan Airlines strengthens Oneworld’s presence in the Maldives and southern India.

SriLankan Airlines was formally announced as a member designate of the Oneworld Alliance at a fringe meeting of the IATA 2012 World Air Transport Summit in Beijing last week. SriLankan will not, however, become a fully active member until next year. Cathay Pacific is sponsoring the airline’s admission and supporting it through the alliance’s admission program. SriLankan has experienced significant growth recently and now operates a fleet of 21 aircraft. It carried 3.5 million passengers last year between its base in the capital Colombo and 34 destinations across Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

SriLankan will bring three new destinations on to the Oneworld network– Kochi, Tiruchirapalli and Thiruvananthapuram, all in southern India. SriLankan is also the largest carrier serving the Maldives.

Its admission means its frequent fliers will be able to earn and redeem rewards on any of Oneworld’s other carriers, with top tier members able to use any of the group’s 550-plus airport lounges. Crucially for SriLankan’s members, they will also have access to the alliance’s fare structure.



Singapore: Changi Airport to Build New Low-Cost Carrier Terminal

Changi Airport’s Budget Terminal will close on September 25 to make way for Terminal 4, a more upscale hub for budget airlines. Construction of the new terminal is scheduled to begin next year and it is expected to open by 2017. The affected airlines–Tiger Airways, Berjaya Air, Firefly, Cebu Pacific, and South East Asian Airlines–will be moved to Terminal 2 while the facility is built. The new terminal, which will have the capacity to service 16 million passengers per year, will feature a range of medium- to high-end retail and food outlets.

The Budget Terminal was built in 2006, and its capacity had to be doubled a mere two years later.