HK Magazine Archive

Singapore Turns 50, Suiran Opens, Ninja Camp Bali, and Google Maps Dives Underwater

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:44pm

Golden Ticket

It’s a big year for Singapore: the little island nation is turning 50 and will be celebrating all year long. The summer schedule is packed with events put on by the city’s top cultural centers, like the National Library, ArtScience Museum and Museum of Independent Music. Not to mention the entire Jubilee Weekend from August 7-10 that’s devoted to the golden birthday: if you’re around the Marina Bay area, check out the floral “Singapore Story” at Gardens by the Bay, the Marina Barrage outdoor picnic, a parade, and free performances at the Theatres on the Bay. Come October, Singapore’s National Museum will unveil a long-awaited revamp with more immersive and modern exhibits that chronicle the city state’s road to independence. Who says there’s nothing to see in Singapore?

Learn more at

Photo: Darren Soh, courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay


Suiran to Please

Kyoto is best worth a visit for its beautiful bridges, geishas and cherry blossoms. But the lack of international hotels means most travelers opt for a rustic ryokan, or Japanese inn, which can often be a little too barebones with not much more than a rollaway tatami straw bed. Now there’s a splurge-worthy option: enter 39-room Suiran, a recently opened Starwood Luxury Collection hotel that mixes the authentic experience with luxury surrounds. Located on the grounds of a world heritage site, the Tenryuji Temple, Suiran has great views of the Arashiyama hills (best known for its famous Bamboo Grove) as well as a pretty, leafy riverside location. The place keeps up with Kyoto culture, albeit taking it for a fancy spin with ryokan-inspired rooms, calming neutral tones and open-air bathtubs.

From JPY60,000 ($3,849). 12 Susukinobaba-cho, Kyoto, Japan, (+81) 75-872-0101,


Get Your Kicks

For all you aspiring ninjas out there, mark your calendar for the upcoming Ninja Camp, running June 27–July 3. It’s not exactly martial arts training, though—it’s more like a weeklong fitness retreat, with an itinerary packed full of surfing, canyoning, free-diving, CrossFit, yoga, swimming, nutrition consultations, gourmet meals, massages and a little poolside lounging for good measure. It all goes down at Ninja Villa in Bali, a gorgeous property with rice paddy views, a big pool and sun deck. In the upcoming June program, most of the fitness activities are led by RokFit athlete Taylor Rank, while the food and nutrition input comes from New York-based organic restaurant Culinary Farmacy. If you can’t make the June session but Ninja Camp sounds up your alley, there are a few more retreats through October in far-flung locations such as Guatemala, New Zealand and Iceland.

From $4,700, all-inclusive, 12 ninjas per camp.


Psst... To coincide with World Ocean Day on June 8, Google Street View ( veered off course and into the ocean to bring netizens some pretty awesome underwater experiences. From American Samoa to the Chagos Islands, you can take yourself on a virtual voyage through shipwrecks, schools of fish and pods of whales. There are 41 Street View dives from 21 countries, including The Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and more.


Have a query you need answered or a travel tip you’re keen to share? Email me at [email protected] or tweet @KateSpringer, #hktravels.