Arts + Culture
History and hipsters coexist on the leafy, laid-back streets of Chiang Mai’s Wat Gate quarter.
A former home base of the 19th-century teak exporter East Borneo Company has been revived as 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, a hotel whose 30 suites are decorated with four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs, and bright orchids. Book a room on the second floor for a well-shaded veranda. 2 Na Wat Gate Soi 1. $$$
The open-air Hinlay Curry House serves terrific (and super-affordable) Indian dishes such as aloo gobi, pumpkin curry, and flaky rotis. Save room for the house-made coconut ice cream—a perfect salve for the tropical climate. 8/1 Na Wat Gate; 66-53/324-621. $
Looking for some good reads while you're on the road? Here are some new travelogues written by travelers, for travelers.
The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France, by John Baxter (On sale now, Harper Perennial Press). Following the 2010 decision by UNESCO to declare French formal dining a part of humanity's "intangible cultural heritage," Baxter journeys around the country to recreate the type of meal UNESCO deemed so significant. Full of humor, insight, and mouth-watering details, The Perfect Meal is a delightful tour of "traditional" French culture and cuisine.
The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time, by Bob Harris (On sale March 5th, Walker & Company). Hired as a freelance writer to tour the most luxurious destinations on earth, Bob Harris could not get over the disconnect between the ultra-deluxe hotels and the impoverished laborers who built them. Afterward, Harris loaned his earnings to individuals around the world through Kiva, a charity that uses the Nobel-prize-winning approach of micro-financing to lessen poverty. Heartwarming and fascinating (and also laugh-out-loud funny), The International Bank of Bob chronicles Harris's globe-trotting journeys on which he meets the recipients of his $25 loans.
Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road, by William Least Heat-Moon (On sale now. Little, Brown and Company). An anthology of nearly thirty previously published travel stories, this collection by the best-selling author of Blue Highways explores the notion of discovering the "elsewheres" of the world. Journey with him as he searches for Faulkner in Mississippi, chats with Japanese World War Two veterans in Nagano prefecture, and witnesses Mayan magic in the Yucatan.
Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990-2011, by Sara Wheeler (On sale now, North Point Press). Another anthology, Access All Areas compiles smart and engaging travel essays by Wheeler in celebration of her fiftieth birthday. The prolific British travel author (and member of the Royal Society of Literature) has selected an eclectic mix of pieces that reflect her many varied experiences while traveling. At times tragic, and at other times hilarious, Wheeler's Access All Areas covers almost all areas of the world, from pole to pole, with stops in Poland in between.
Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
From top: photos courtesy of Harper Perennial; Walker & Co., a division of Bloomsbury USA; Little, Brown and Company; and North Point Press
Coming attractions on the arts calendar: reinvigorated classics and celebrated traditions. Here, some of the highlights.
New York City: The two-month-long Season of Cambodia festival is a collaboration between the Phnom Penh–based nonprofit Cambodian Living Arts (a T+L Global Vision Award winner) and dozens of cultural institutions citywide. Dancers, sculptors, puppeteers, and others will showcase Khmer heritage, both traditional (Royal Ballet of Cambodia) and contemporary (rock band Dengue Fever). April 9–May 25.
Amsterdam: It’s an artistic double Dutch: both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum reopen this spring after major makeovers. The former, closed for 10 years, has added an Asian pavilion; Rembrandt’s Night Watch now takes pride of place among Vermeer’s pensive maidens and Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress. At the latter, van Gogh’s sunflowers and self-portraits come home again to Gerrit Rietveld’s Modernist building.
The quirky new Wildsam Field Guide series will help put a decidedly hip spin on your next trip. There’s nary a photo; instead, you might find a personal essay by Rosanne Cash or an interview with a local letterpress printer (both in the Nashville edition). Hand-illustrated maps are organized by theme—adventure, music, history, food—and the “Bests” section is hyper-focused: one museum, one yoga studio. As creator Taylor Bruce puts it, “I don’t want three places to get a burger. I just want to know the favorite.” The Austin, Texas, edition is out this month—just in time for SXSW—to be followed soon by San Francisco, New Orleans, Seattle, and, of course, Brooklyn. $16.95 each.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo by John Lawton
As transporting as any museum and nourishing as any local dish, these independent bookstores unlock the soul of a place.
Lello Bookshop (pictured), Porto, Portugal
The elaborate neo-Gothic façade of this former library barely hints at the opulence inside: carved wood, gilded pillars, ornamented ceilings, and a gorgeous red staircase lit by a stained-glass atrium. Its polyglot collection includes English translations of Portuguese lions Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago.
Heywood Hill, London
Creaky floorboards and stacks of new and old literature, history, gardening, and travel tomes lend the 77-year-old Mayfair landmark the air of a well-loved private library. Smartly dressed booksellers eagerly provide recommendations for patrons, who include Her Majesty the Queen.
For the style-setting director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, packing is high art.
“My clothes reflect my passion for beautiful things,” says Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator of New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem and one of the most powerful women in the art world. Golden racks up frequent-flier miles visiting her London-based husband, designer Duro Olowu, and attending exhibitions in such far-flung destinations as Morocco and Senegal. She always packs camisoles and tights from Uniqlo’s Heattech line (from $13); black Minnie pants from J. Crew (from $90); and a careful curation of shoes. How many? “That’s complicated. Let’s just say as many as possible.”
• On view at the Studio Museum through March 10: Harlem Postcards, images from the storied neighborhood.
• “This coat is from my husband’s collaboration with JC Penney ($75).
• Flats, like these from Roger Vivier ($625), are a must. “We’ve all had three-mile hikes in airports.”
• The Large Metro tote from MZ Wallace ($195) is “even bigger than it looks, and has a fabulous shape.”
Photo by Jake Chessum
For his Academy Award-nominated film No, the Mexican star traveled to Santiago, Chile, to portray the young ad exec who helped oust General Augusto Pinochet in 1988. T+L caught up with the peripatetic actor.
Q: What stood out most about Chile?
A: It’s the only country where a dictator has been toppled democratically. A fantastic place to visit is the General Cemetery; the whole history is buried there and you can see how the classes are divided. And Chile faces the sea, so there’s a strong coastal culture.
Culinary Backstreets–Istanbul Eats: Go off the beaten path to under-the-radar restaurants, bakeries, and candy shops. From $125.
Sea Song: Itineraries from Sea Song, which has custom tours in 17 Turkish destinations, are crafted around themes—food; archaeology; sacred places; artisan traditions—and include unique experiences such as lunch at a historic Ottoman house. From $150.
Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at email@example.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.
Photo by Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS
We asked true travel pros what to do near the Las Vegas Strip. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.
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“For a great view of the Bellagio fountains (and wonderful crêpes), stop by the Sugar Factory (3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S.).” —Michelle Nolan, via Facebook
“Don’t miss the olive-oil ice cream with grapefruit at José Andrés’s Jaleo, in the Cosmopolitan.” —Bhadri Kubendran, via Facebook
“Take a relaxing break from the Strip at the Mandarin Oriental.” —@lassers
“The best people-watching is in the Crystals shopping arcade at City Center.” —Alex Walters, via Facebook
“Bundle up and hit the Minus 5 Ice Lounge (3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) at Monte Carlo—you drink out of ice glasses!” —Irina Adler, via Facebook
“Public House (3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) is a new gastropub with an impressive selection of beers.” —Erin de Santiago-Domue, via Facebook
Southern belles and the Duke boys? So 20th century. Georgia is hoping to lure visitors with a different kind of Deep South character: zombies.
In its new guidebook, the state tourism board is touting the town of Senoia, a miniature, sweet-tea-soaked Hollywood: it has been the filming site for Fried Green Tomatoes, Driving Miss Daisy, Sweet Home Alabama and, as we write, the AMC television series The Walking Dead. The town, about a half hour from Atlanta, has apparently played the part of Woodbury, which in the series is home to survivors of a zombie apocalypse.
While the studios in Senoia are not open to the public, we can’t deny that you might see some plain-clothes zombies tooling around the town of 3,300, which also boasts some charming-looking B&Bs and The Buggy Shop Museum. Given the show’s popularity, could zombie-phile shops and cafés be on the horizon for downtown Senoia? Would Miss Daisy approve?
Photo: © Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Corbis