The Ultimate Trip
Michael Lai Siu-tin, Composer and concert producer
Qingdao Island, China
Of the many places I have performed on the mainland, I am particularly fond of Qingdao Island in Shandong province. The beautiful seaside town has a heavy European touch - it looks just like northern Germany. In fact, it was once occupied by the Germans and is clustered with Bavarian architecture (the railway station, the twin-spired Catholic church and the former German governor's residence). Once you set foot on the isle, a tapestry of idyllic landscape unfolds - lush green trees on Laoshan mountain and red-roofed houses. Above all, I love the fresh seafood and hanging out at the restful oasis in the city centre, Lu Xun Park - named after the father of modern Chinese literature - with a generous serving of the island's most famous brew, Tsingtao beer.
The diverse cultural scene there has inspired me to compose some great melodies. Parisians always fascinate me with their elegant movements, and I can sit in the roadside cafes and indulge in people-watching for hours. The wonderful architectural treasures scattered throughout the city, such as the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame and Eiffel tower, provide the excellent backdrop of a chic urban landscape - modern and classical blended peacefully.
I also adore the country lifestyle, and tasting locally made wine from the vineyards and freshly made cheese at the barns in Bordeaux is an experience not to be missed.
A great haven for followers of fashion. I can find my favourite designer items in Tokyo at much lower prices than in Hong Kong. Issey Miyake's innovative designs made out of pleated fabrics are necessities in my wardrobe (3-18-11 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Tel:  3423 1407; www.isseymiyake.com). Japanese brands are tailored to oriental physiques which means they are much more convenient than clothes from Europe. I can wear them without any alteration, totally hassle-free.
I still treasure Yohji Yamamoto's timeless pieces (5-3-6 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Tel:  3409 6006; www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp) and the flamboyant designs from Kenzo (Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Tel:  3447 7430; www.kenzo.com).