We’re not taking anything away from the fact that we are in a global pandemic that has spanned more than half a year now. Home is where we spend most of our time and international borders remain mostly shut, with the exception of a handful of “green lanes” for business travellers. Leisure travel feels like a figment of our imagination and a fair while away.
If you’re missing family who live abroad, the salty scent of the ocean or the city hustle of Asia’s top metropolises, you’re not alone. The Vogue editorial team closed our eyes for a few minutes and channelled our best energies to our favourite holidays, the ones that have made our lives infinitely richer. The question was, “Where’s the first place you would go to if we could all travel freely again?” Take a moment to dream, because we’ll get there.
Norman Tan, editor-in-chief
“The Maldives, because it’s a great place for reconnecting with nature. It’s the perfect escape—you can just sun-bathe, snorkel, and eat healthy food. After spending the last few months hunkered down in Singapore, I miss the restorative touch of water and sunshine, and am looking forward to doing a week-long digital detox and investing in my health. It’s only a four-hour flight, so not too far either.”
Tip: “Stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, and if you can, choose a villa on the beach instead of above water. That way, you’ll see a stunning tier of colours when you wake up and look out the window—blue sky, turquoise waters, white sand, green foliage, and then the light blue of your own dip pool.”
Weiqi Yap, fashion writer
“Helsinki! I spent two weeks there last summer for an academic conference and I just fell in love with the art and design museums and how easy it was to get around.
Tip: “If you’re a self-proclaimed vintage lover like I am, dedicate a day to secondhand shop-hopping. Some of my favourites were Relove, Fida and Uff. Be sure to also take some time to visit Artek and the Alvar Aalto House to really explore Finnish interior design.”
Amelia Chia, deputy editor
“Tokyo—there’s something about the city that energises every part of my being. The quaint neighbourhoods for contemplative, mid-morning strolls, artful shops for retail therapy and the buzzing streets that come alive when I want to put my party shoes on.”
Tip: “Nothing beats the magic of walking around the stylish neighbourhood of Daikanyama in winter, hot coffee in hand. The trees are dotted with fairy lights and the anticipation of Christmas is subtle, but palpable. Pop into Tsutaya—my favourite bookstore in the world—and you’ll easily spend hours there. Page through their vast collection of books, grab a bite at the cafe or get a whisky at the bar.”
Pakkee Tan, digital editor
“Shanghai—there’s a reason they call it Modu, because the sights and sounds of old and new Shanghai are absolutely intoxicating. Not to mention the stellar bars and restaurants there.”
Tip: “Spend a leisurely afternoon at the M50 Art District, where you can freely explore hundreds of art galleries in a former mill. At night, head to speakeasy bar Speak Low for a cocktail or two—and don’t forget to ask to be seated in the third floor bar area.”
Dana Koh, beauty editor
“The Philippines. First to Manila to spend quality time with family, then if I get the chance, to Amanpulo on Pamalican Island, which is a super-scenic, 70-minute plane ride from the city. I escaped to this reef-fringed paradise in 2016, and have dreamt of waking up in a luxurious beach casita (inspired by native dwellings, complete with your own buggy and tropical animal friends) and dining on their floating bamboo bar, in between bouts of snorkeling alongside green turtles ever since.
Tip: “Go around Christmas—the Filipinos celebrate the season with utmost warmth and joy that’s guaranteed to fill your hearts… and your stomachs. The dry season also starts around November, so you can look forward to clear blue skies that fuse into the Sulu Sea’s tranquil, turquoise waters. And one more thing about nights at Amanpulo—look up, the stars are breathtaking.”
Chandreyee Ray, writer
“Kolkata—my parents’ hometown. After months of fantasising about my indefinitely shelved grad trip to Europe, I now realise that no amount of sightseeing and gallery hopping in Geneva would compare to the relief I’d feel hugging my grandparents again, especially after having spent a pandemic oceans apart.”
Tip: “If you love a good biryani, skip the popular restaurant chains. Instead, find a seasoned taxi driver and ask that they ferry you to Shiraz, a hole in the wall that serves the most authentic mutton biryani and chicken chaap—a famous Bengali dish of deep-fried chicken legs in a thickened, savoury curry. Don’t forget your hand sanitiser, and an antacid of choice.
Alli Sim, beauty director
“Melbourne, because I miss my parents who call Australia home. As much as I appreciate technology and the privilege of FaceTime, nothing beats a home-cooked meal from mum or a cuddle from my dad.”
Tip: “As much as I love brunch fare which reigns supreme in Melbourne, don’t miss the opportunity to nosh on some of the best Vietnamese food that the city has to offer. Head to Victoria Street in Richmond or the inner-city suburb of Footscray to indulge in some fresh, totally delicious pho and my childhood favourite: banh mi.”
Henry Thomas Lloyd, art director
“Brighton, UK—my hometown. I’m not really one to be sentimental, but the pandemic means I’m not sure when I’ll be able to visit home, or when I can have my friends and family visit me. I miss London too, but there’s nothing like an ice cold pint in Brighton on a blissful summer’s day.”
Tip: “Visit during the first weekend in August, which coincides with Brighton Pride. The whole city comes together for a party and it is spectacular. It’s often the one time of year all my home friends will get together due to our busy London schedules. The parade is a moving and vital reminder that pride is a protest, whilst the rest of it is a testament to the celebration it deserves to be. Expect terrible outfit choices and even more terrible music, and revel in the absolute joy of it all.”
Vanessa Caitlin, group digital creative producer
“Kookawood Cottage in the Blue Mountains, Australia. After being holed up in our beautiful city-state for six months now, I’d like nothing better than a rural retreat—think long hikes, horseback riding, sipping wine in front of a fireplace, while roasting marshmallows and grilling some meats. Of course, a relaxing bubble bath with the Blue Mountains in view would complete that experience.”
Tip: “I’d probably reconnect with nature for a week before taking a domestic flight to Melbourne just for a flat white from Market Lane Coffee, and all the amazing fusion food the city has to offer.”