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Destinations

Eating through Asia, Excursionist Perk style

By The Hub team

The best part about travel, according to Marc Marrone?

"Being able to taste and try the different cuisines," Marrone says, "because even if you don't speak the language of whatever country or culture you happen to be in, you can express a lot via food."
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Spoken like a true, world class chef. Marrone, the Corporate Executive Chef for TAO Group Las Vegas, Hollywood and Singapore, recently got to immerse himself in Southeast Asian culture – and cuisine – on a week-long foodie dream come true of a trip, thanks to United's new San Francisco-Singapore route.

Marrone experienced just how spectacularly grand and modern Singapore is – the towering Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the luminescent stalks of Supertree Grove and the curved roof of the Esplanade Concert Hall all amazed him. And few cities interweave modernity and greenery quite like Singapore, a fact he had great appreciation for. Look no further than the Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre nature park featuring intricately designed, flora-infused structures.

But beneath all of those stop-and-stare attractions lied what resonated most with Marrone: the food. From hawker stalls and wet (food) markets to Michelin-starred fine dining establishments, Singapore boasts meal options that cater to every mood.

Sharing in those food experiences with others who hadn't yet been to Singapore was his favorite part.

"You know, to see someone's face when they get to try something for the first time --that you've already had -- is an incredible experience, to be able to share that with somebody," Marrone says. "But then on top of that, experiencing some things on my own for the first time with everybody was really a crazy and amazing experience. We got to eat some amazing food and got to try some amazing things, and see some really cool parts of the city."

Additionally, Singapore is a great launching pad to the rest of Southeast Asia — as Marrone experienced, thanks to United's Excursionist Perk. Who wouldn't want two trips for the price of one?

The Excursionist Perk is meant to give a free one-way segment to travelers on round-trip award itineraries between two different regions, as defined by the United award chart. By invoking the Excursionist Perk, travelers can get a segment for no additional miles within the region they're visiting as long as it's a different region than where they're starting. All they have to pay are the taxed and fees associated with the new segment. For example, Newark-London-Vienna-Newark would cost the same amount of miles as Newark-London-Newark.

Marrone cooking on the streets of Vietnam

Marrone getting around via moped in Vietnam


Marrone used the Excursionist Perk to add a day in Vietnam to his itinerary on his Singapore trip.

"I got to cook on the side of the street and eat some of the best food right off the grill on the sidewalk," Marrone said. "Little did I know how much of an impact the 26 hours we spent there would have on me."

To Marrone, Vietnam stands out more than any other destination he's been to.

"From the minute we got off the plane to then we got back on the plane, it was a full immersive cultural experience between all the different foods, we got to experience how we travel around Vietnam, and really got to spend a true day in the life of what it's like to be in Vietnam."

5 tips & tricks we learned

  • Eat at a hawker center more than once They're everywhere and Singapore is home to the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world (Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle).
  • The airport is a destination in and of itself The world's best airport for many years complete with a butterfly garden and rooftop pool. English is an official language of the country so no language barriers and it's a hub for Asian destinations so you're only a few hours from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and many more.
  • Download Grab Singapore doesn't have Uber or Lyft so the Grab app is a must-have for getting around town.
  • There's more than one infinity pool in town While the iconic Marina Bay Sands has its very popular roof top infinity pool, you can also find one at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South.
  • You can still hit the beach in Singapore Singapore is home to Sentosa, a man-made island that features a beach that is over a mile long. You can also hit one of the two golf courses, 14 hotels and even Resorts World Sentosa, featuring the theme park Universal Studios Singapore and a casino.
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Hemispheres

Three Perfect Days: Denver

By The Hub team

As far as American cities go, at a mere 160 years old, Denver is a lot like a youngest sibling. Founded on a barrel of whiskey—and a death threat—the Mile High City has always played by its own rules. When the transcontinental railroad bypassed the city in the 1860s, Denver started its own rail company and established itself as the preeminent metropolis in the West. More recently, in the midst of unprecedented development, Denver has made itself an alluring alternative to coastal cities, with the promise of easy Rocky Mountain access, 300 sunny days a year, and one of the most dynamic dining scenes in the country. It's as if the rest of America is finally seeing the Queen City of the Plains through the eyes of Jack Kerouac, who wrote in On the Road: “Now I could see Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land, way out there beneath the stars."

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The Daniel Libeskind-designed Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum

Day 1

America's most beautiful train station, Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, and the original pearl-snap shirt

If the railroad made the Mile High City, it's only fitting I start my first day gawking at the pristine beauty of Union Station. Since being restored to its Beaux-Arts glory in 2014, it has become one of the best places in town to eat, drink, and sleep. You won't find any burger chains here. Instead, commuters have their pick of three restaurants from two James Beard Award–winning chefs; a mezzanine cocktail bar, The Cooper Lounge, where drinks are literally served on a silver platter; and The Crawford, a boutique hotel named for local preservationist Dana Crawford where each floor is designed to reflect a different era in the station's history.

"Aglow with morning light, Union Station is a transit hub where people want to spend time"

The Terminal Bar at Union Station

As I walk through the Great Hall, aglow with morning light streaming through the massive arched windows, I notice that this is a transit hub where people want to spend time. Denverites gather over coffee on tufted leather couches and tap away at laptops on long wooden workstations straight out of a university library. There are even two millennial-approved shuffleboard tables. But I'm not here to play games; I want to eat—specifically at Mercantile Dining & Provision, a market and café from Alex Seidel, this year's winner of the James Beard Best Chef: Southwest award. While “farm-to-table" has come to feel like a menu cliché, Seidel actually owns the 10-acre farm that supplies Mercantile with its yogurts and cheeses—including the crème fraîche on my smoky citrus-cured salmon toast.

Satiated, I catch a cab 10 minutes south to the Clyfford Still Museum, a dense concrete building dwarfed by the sharp silver prow of the Denver Art Museum hovering just behind it. Inside, the museum traces the life and artistic evolution of Still, a postwar Abstract Expressionist who didn't quite manage the level of fame of his peers,

Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Still did, however, know how to secure his legacy: In his will, he stipulated that his estate must go to a city willing to establish a museum devoted entirely to his work. Having so much space devoted to one artist feels like a luxury, and the way the museum arranges the pieces—gently guiding the viewer from gaunt, Depression-era realist works to the color-splashed abstractions Still filled with what he called “lifelines"—helps you catch recurring motifs.

In one of the final, light-filled galleries, I encounter a middle school field trip and overhear the teacher asking the kids what they saw in Still's work. “Life and death," one girl responds gravely. Another boy eagerly chimes in: “Hope." Whoa. As the class begins to file out of the gallery, I hear another girl whisper, “I was so confused." I'm tempted to tell her that I think that's
the point.

The rotunda of the Colorado State Capitol

After a 10-minute walk along tree-lined Civic State Park, I arrive at the gold-domed Colorado State Capitol. In addition to marking the spot where the Mile High City reaches 5,280 feet above sea level (the exact location has been changed three times, with the current consensus placing it on the 13th step), the building offers some of the best 360-degree views of the city and surrounding mountains. The dome's observation deck is accessible only on one of the free hourly tours, so I join a group. Our guide, a University of Colorado student named Angela, is chock-full of memorable trivia, like how Bill Clinton's portrait in the presidential gallery is a replica because Clinton apparently liked the original so much he took it home with him. As we pass through the surprisingly magnificent House of Lords–inspired Senate chamber, one of my tourmates emits a low whistle and murmurs, “That's a big-a** chandelier." (Angela tells us it weighs 1.5 tons.) Up on the deck, the sun warms my face as I look across the park at the stately City Hall, hung with a massive “Denver ♥ Immigrants," banner, and the craggy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which seem to watch over the city.

"I look across the park at the craggy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which seem to watch the city."

Back on the ground, I undock a bike from a B-Cycle city bikeshare stand and follow 15th Street northwest to Larimer Square, a charming collection of Victorian brick buildings that makes up one of the oldest blocks in the city. Inside one of these historic structures is Rioja, where the city's first James Beard Award winner, Jennifer Jasinski, has been serving up Mediterranean cuisine since 2004. As I swoon over a cube of pork belly in garbanzo bean purée, Jasinski—hair tied up in a bandanna, fork-and-knife earrings dangling—swings by my table and tells me how the city's tastes have evolved over the 18 years she's lived here. “I remember when I first got hired in Denver, everyone said, 'First of all, no one is going to come downtown for dinner, and second, no one here eats fish,'" she recalls. “But I've seen Denverites really push the envelope and try to break that myth of the steak-and-cow town."

Cowboy hats at Rockmount Ranch Wear

After finishing a goat-cheese beignet with fig jam, I wander the three and a half blocks to Rockmount Ranch Wear, the family-owned Western-wear company that invented the pearl-snap shirt in 1946. Rockmount pearl snaps have since become a wardrobe staple of rockers from Jerry Lee Lewis to Jack White. I weave between racks stuffed with shirts in hundreds of prints, colors, and fabrics, from leopard velour to one emblazoned with ray guns, and end up leaving with a blue and teal granado-patterned fleece overshirt.

I swing by my room at the mountain-modern Kimpton Hotel Born to freshen up before venturing out for dinner at Bar Dough, an Italian restaurant in the Lower Highlands where recent Top Chef: Colorado finalist and Jasinski protégée Carrie Baird draws crowds for her “fancy toast," which tonight is a thick piece of ciabatta slathered with the cheesy, caramelized onion crust of a French onion soup. Though a wood-fired pizza oven dominates the kitchen, I opt for squid ink tagliarini, purple potato gnocchi, and a roasted chicken with lemony broccolini and crisp fingerling potatoes, washed down with pairings from the exclusively Italian wine list.

The secret bookcase entryway to the Williams & Graham speakeasy

Knowing that I'm just a few blocks from Williams & Graham, a cocktail lounge that's been listed as one of the World's 50 Best Bars, I have to pop in for a nightcap. The host swings open a heavy-looking bookcase and leads me downstairs into the dark, wood-paneled bar, which despite its cosmopolitan bona fides still has the feeling of a cozy neighborhood joint—Pixies playing on the stereo and all. As I sip a blackberry sage smash that tastes like summer in the mountains, co-owner Sean Kenyon tells me how his family's bartending heritage inspired this spot's look and feel.

“My father and grandfather taught me everything I know about taking care of people," he says, between sips of beer. “People don't visit drinks. They visit atmosphere. They visit people." Entranced by the shimmer of the bottles in the flickering candlelight, in the bar's cocooning darkness, which Kenyon calls “a suspension of reality," I order a second drink, the gin and raspberry Clover Club. Reality, suspended.

Day 2

Subversive street art, tacos with a mission, and urban winemaking in RiNo

RiNo (River North) is the city's new Wild West, and I wake up ready to explore. The RiNo Art District, as it's formally called, actually encompasses four historic neighborhoods on either side of the South Platte River, including the city's old manufacturing center—which was dominated by foundries, pattern shops, and warehouses until the 1980s and '90s—and Five Points, which became known as the “Harlem of the West" during the mid-20th century. As the city has grown, the area has undergone a development boom that has transformed it from a neighborhood that mostly attracted street-art crews to one that now draws out-of-towners for brewery-tour bachelor parties.

A mural by the artist Elle in the RiNo Art District

My first stop is Denver Central Market, a 14,000-square-foot food hall that made Bon Appetit's long list of Best New Restaurants in 2017. The former cabinet factory, Western curiosity shop, and used-car dealership is now home to 11 food vendors, including a fish market and a produce stand that hawks colorful acaí bowls. I opt for an Izzio Bakery paleo bowl—poached eggs topped with sweet plantains, chorizo, and green chili—and a cappuccino from Crema Bodega and settle in at a table next to a woman in a sweatshirt printed with the word “Kale."

Just as I'm finishing breakfast, up walks Tracy Weil, a visual artist and one of the cofounders of the RiNo Art District. In 2005, he and seven other artists established the neighborhood as an arts district and trademarked its name, “which we learned also stands for Republican in Name Only," he says, chuckling. Within the first year, membership ballooned from eight galleries to 50, and today the district's hundreds of members range from exhibition spaces to architecture firms to breweries.

"RiNo has transformed from a neighborhood that attracted street-art crews to one that draws out-of-towners."

“I always wanted RiNo to be its own small town," Weil says, “and the city wanted to keep the authenticity here." As he takes me for a spin around the neighborhood in his SUV—pointing out murals by local artists, like Jeremy Burns's Larimer Boy and Girl, which appears as a different gender depending on the angle from which the viewer sees it—it's clear that RiNo has long passed the small-town phase. Brighton Boulevard, the neighborhood's main avenue, has been gutted and is in the midst of a $30 million project that will add a new park and pedestrian bridge, Weil shows me the site of a World Trade Center campus, slated to open in 2020, and the 11 tiny homes (and one yurt) that comprise Beloved Community Village, a pilot project for housing the city's homeless. The rapid pace of RiNo's development makes these sorts of contrasts even starker.

Mother and daughter Mexican-American chefs at Comal

My insides are starting to rumble, so I bid Weil goodbye and cab across the South Platte River to Comal Heritage Food Incubator. Comal is not simply a restaurant—although the carne asada tacos and horchata are worth the trip alone—but a job training program for immigrant women with a passion for food and entrepreneurship. The menu changes depending on who's in the kitchen: Monday through Thursday it's Mexican; Friday it's Syrian and Iraqi food; Thursday afternoon there's an Ethiopian coffee service. Murals of Frida Kahlo and Malala Yousafzai look out over women working in the kitchen while Latin pop blasts from the speakers. I'm so happy with my lunch I ask the manager if I can say hi to the mother-daughter duo from Durango, Mexico, who made it, but the ladies demur, saying they're too sweaty and covered in food to talk.

Carne asada tacos at Comal Heritage Food Incubator

Anyone can tell you Denver is a craft beer town, but now it's making serious strides in viticulture as well, so I take a five-minute taxi ride over to The Infinite Monkey Theorem winery, one of the movement's pioneers. Founder Ben Parsons started making wine with grapes from Colorado's Western Slope in a Denver back alley a decade ago. In 2012, he moved his operation to a graffitied stretch of Larimer Street, and young locals flock to the industrial-chic tasting room, which feels more like a brewery taproom than a winery. From the company's name—inspired by the idea that if a monkey sat for an infinite length of time at a typewriter it would eventually type the works of William Shakespeare—to its early adoption of cans and kegs, IMT is known for its punk-rock approach to winemaking.

A winemaker at The Infinite Monkey Theorem

“The industry is very stuffy and pretentious," Parsons says as he pours tastes of IMT's sparkling, riesling, cabernet franc, and syrah. “We really wanted to create an atmosphere where people can come and feel comfortable and not feel talked down to by some guys in Napa who probably know way less than we do." With vintages like dry-hopped sauvignon blanc, which has the nose of an IPA, Parsons explains, IMT is looking to “redefine the line between craft beer and craft wine." He has even made a foray into liquor, partnering with The Block Distilling Co. to produce a series of vermouths. After I taste a rosé vermouth seasoned with coriander, basil, and wormwood, Parsons welcomes me into the “secret vermouth society."

Feeling buzzed and buoyant, I step into the dusky street and walk a few blocks to Hop Alley for dinner. From the name, which honors the city's old Chinatown, to the thumping playlist of Lil Wayne and Wu-Tang Clan curated by chef-owner Tommy Lee, this place is a true blend of new- and old-school Denver. I order a Negroni seasoned with sesame and Douglas fir, followed by a succession of umami-packed Chinese dishes, including a silky chilled tofu with smashed cucumbers, peanuts, and bang bang sauce; crispy, fatty Beijing duck rolls; fried chicken with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and red chilies; and creamy bone marrow fried rice. Dessert is a banana-bread pudding dressed with fish-sauce caramel. I leave with a full belly and a bag full of leftover fried chicken, Weezy still ringing in my ears. I decide to turn in; I've got to get up early for a hike tomorrow.

Deer outside the city

Day 3

Red Rocks musical fantasies, John Denver's legacy, and secret custom cocktails

In Denver, we have four directions: north, south, east, and toward the mountains," says Dawn, my Tours by Locals guide, as we cruise west out of the city on I-70 to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the iconic venue and public park that's hosted every big name in music, from the Beatles and the Grateful Dead (who declared it their favorite venue) to Carole King and John Denver, the author of Colorado's state song, “Rocky Mountain High."

As we cover the 15 miles from Denver, Dawn explains how a rock formation with naturally perfect acoustics managed to rise out of the earth. The park's three landmark monoliths—Stage Rock, Ship Rock, and Creation Rock—came to be 65 million years ago, when the shifting of tectonic plates on the West Coast created the Rocky Mountains, pushing the sedimentary rock in today's Red Rocks into its current formations. It's almost as if Mother Nature were a Deadhead.

"Slabs of red rock slice the sky at such angles I can't help but think they were frozen mid shift."

OK, man played a role too. John Brisben Walker, the onetime publisher and owner of Cosmopolitan, used the proceeds from the magazine's sale to William Randolph Hearst to purchase the amphitheater, and hosted the first concert there in 1906. In 1927, he sold it to the city of Denver, which later enlisted WPA and CCC laborers to build out the seating. The stadium has held regular concerts since 1947.

We park at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Out front, a 15-foot-tall statue of John Denver holds a landing eagle; inside, his bedazzled Canadian tuxedo from a 1970s tour is displayed behind glass. A volunteer eagerly shows us blurry laminated photos of a Bonnie Raitt signature in the “secret tunnel" backstage—where it's a tradition for every performer to sign his or her name—and then Dawn and I set off into the park.

We follow the Trading Post Loop Trail, an easygoing 1.4-mile walk through cacti, piñon pines, cottonwoods, and juniper bushes dotted with chalky blue berries. Behemoth slabs of red rock slice the sky at such dramatic angles that I can't help but think they were frozen mid-shift. I can see why Walker called this landscape “the Garden of the Titans."

On this bluebird morning, the only performance going on at the amphitheater is the horde of spandex-clad Denverites jogging and jumping their way up the stadium's 380 stairs. I eagerly bound down to the stage, imagining the reverberation of the first chord from an electric guitar, the roar of the crowd echoing off millions of years of history. I feel the urge to bow but instead huff it all the way back up to meet Dawn at the top, pausing to gasp for air on the 36th step.

An artist takes in the landscape at Red Rocks Park

Back in the car, we descend nearly 1,000 feet to Golden, a mining town founded during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1859 that nearly beat out Denver to become Colorado's capital. Today, it's best known as the home of MillerCoors, the world's largest single-site brewery. Much of the city's original architecture remains—as Dawn and I walk down the main drag, Washington Avenue, which is lined with restaurants and outdoor-gear shops, I'm half expecting a stagecoach to pull up.

For lunch, we duck into Abejas, a New American bistro decorated with bright red climbing ropes and rustic wooden doors from a local ranch. Dawn and I wolf down porchetta sandwiches—the crispy skin of the pork crunches like potato chips with every bite, mingling with a bright fennel-apple slaw—as we listen to a “Take Me Home, Country Roads" cover.

On my return to Denver, I retrieve my luggage at the Kimpton Born and catch a cab to Cherry Creek, a neighborhood better known for its suburban-style shopping malls and country club than trendy bars and chic hotels. But, like the rest of Denver, that's changing. See: Halcyon, my digs for the night, where I find a coffee-bar check-in, a gear garage, and a rooftop pool. After a spin of Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life on the player in my room, I'm ready for dinner.

The rooftop of Halcyon

I take a car to the Uptown neighborhood, a residential district north of the capitol building, for dinner at Beast + Bottle. The rustic American menu—buttery lamb from Loveland's Ewe Bet Ranch served with root vegetables and squash agnolotti; bow-tie pasta in a creamy hazelnut sauce—offers plenty of quirky twists. My Karma Chameleon cocktail arrives at the table a clear glass of rum, cachaça, and butterfly pea flower; when the server pours in a small carafe of lime acid, it turns a Pantone-approved ultraviolet before my eyes.

Colorado lamb with root vegetables and squash at Beast + Bottle

The night is still young, and I have a reservation at B&GC, one of the city's most secretive speakeasies. (When I type the name into Google Maps, nothing appears.) I get a text with the location and, going against everything my mom taught me about personal safety, walk down a dark alley next to Halcyon to a cinderblock building marked “Deliveries." Next to a door labeled “Stair Three," there's a small sign with an Illuminati-like triangular symbol and, beneath that, a small golden doorbell. I buzz, and a woman with a headset appears and leads me down to the basement, opening a door to reveal a glowing Art Deco bar. Seductive lighting frames the faces of patrons seated on low-slung red leather banquettes; it feels like the kind of place Don Draper would bring a mistress.

The Art Deco B&GC bar at Halcyon

I decide on a Barcelona Wildwood (cachaça, Midori, Nardini Mandorla, lime, egg white, rosewater, and cucumber) but soon realize I've made a mistake choosing from the menu. The woman next to me asks for something gin-based with lavender bitters, and the bartender hands her a notebook; she gets to name the drink (after anything except herself), and it will be recorded in the book for the next time she comes. She settles on “Chelsea Clinton" (her name is Chelsea). As the man next to me flips through the book searching for his cocktail, I know I have to come back. Not just to this bar, but to this magnetic “young" city, still finding itself out here beneath the mountains and the stars, already a mile above the rest.

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How to spend 10 days in Southeast Asia

By Matt Chernov

A veritable feast for the senses in every conceivable way, the 11 countries and 20,000 islands that comprise Southeast Asia offer a travel experience like no other. Whether you're an adventurous foodie looking to sample some of the most deliciously pungent flavors on Earth, a thrill-seeking globetrotter hoping to test your mettle in the region's dense tropical rainforests, or a leisure-loving sunbather in need of a pristine beach to enjoy, you'll find exactly what you're searching for – plus so much more – in this remarkable destination. Yet with such an endless variety of things to do, see and eat, planning your travel schedule ahead of time is essential. To maximize your vacation throughout Southeast Asia, here is a 10-day itinerary that will help you see more than you ever thought possible.

Days 1 & 2

Explore Bali's scenic temples and rice paddies

Begin your journey on the Indonesian island of Bali, which is the southernmost destination on your trip. Justifiably famous for its spectacular volcanic mountains, white sand beaches, and iconic rice paddies, Bali is the perfect place to acquaint yourself with the region. After checking in to one of the island's stylish hotels – like the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan – you'll spend your first day exploring the area's many natural wonders. Although the street food in Bali is second to none, there are also dozens of highly rated restaurants to choose from, like the beach-side La Lucciola, which specializes in Asian food with an Italian twist, and MÉTIS, which is part restaurant, part art gallery. On your second day in Bali, it's time to check out a few must-see attractions, including the cliffside Uluwatu Temple, the Ubud Monkey Forest, and a visit to the archeological treasure known at the Elephant Cave.

Days 3 & 4

Get crazy in Singapore

On the third day of your trip you'll head west towards southern Malaysia. Fans of the recent hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians" will definitely want to add the stunning island nation of Singapore to their Southeast Asia travel plans, since many of the most colorful scenes in the film were shot there. Arguably the most thrilling destination in the entire region, the only problem with visiting Singapore is trying to decide what to see, do and eat while you're there. The expert concierge at the historic Raffles Hotel will gladly point you in the right direction, but be sure to include the dazzling Marina Bay entertainment complex, the Clarke Quay riverside shopping and dining area, and the world's largest observation wheel – known as the Singapore Flyer – during your stay on the island.

Day 5

Return to the past on Penang Island

Temple of snakes with real snakes inside on the island of Penang, Malaysia

Next, you'll travel north to Penang Island, just off the Malay Peninsula, where you'll discover an enormous variety of cultural influences on display. This type of dynamic aesthetic mixture is a common feature throughout most of Malaysia, but especially in Penang, where amazing Indian restaurants abound and Chinese elements can be seen and felt across the entire region. Spend your day exploring the capital city of George Town, which is named after England's King George III. It's a multi-cultural destination famous for its historic British colonial architecture. Perhaps more importantly, it's also home to the one-of-a-kind Snake Temple, which proudly features a massive number of slithering pit vipers living in a sacred religious space.

Day 6

Shop the markets in Yangon

On the sixth day you'll head east to Yangon, which was formerly known as Rangoon. This capital city of Myanmar combines ancient cultural history with modern sophistication, making it the best of both worlds for virtually every type of traveler. Major attractions include the elaborate golden temple called Shwedagon Pagoda, the fascinating National Museum, the 2600-year old Sule Pagoda, which is incongruously nestled in the center of the modern downtown district, and the vibrant Bogyoke Aung San Market where visitors can sample deliciously distinctive Burmese foods while shopping for gorgeous handicrafts, clothing and artwork. If you're in the mood for 5-star luxury accommodations, the lavish Strand Hotel in Yangon is the ultimate place to stay while exploring this unique city.

Day 7

Say hello to Koh Samui's Big Buddha

Heading back south again on day seven, you'll arrive at Koh Samui, which is the second largest island in Thailand. This is a solid choice for budget-minded travelers who want to experience all the natural beauty of Southeast Asia without spending a fortune. Instantly recognizable for its lush rainforests, palm-lined beaches, and endless coconut groves, Koh Samui also features a towering golden Buddha statue (nicknamed “The Big Buddha") that has to be seen to be believed. Hungry travelers who want to enjoy a romantic seafood meal directly on the beach at sunset should plan to visit Fisherman's Village in Old Town Samui. If the Thai temperatures get to be too much for you, head to the majestic Namuang Waterfall in Nathon, the island's capital, and take a quick dip in the rejuvenating waters.

Day 8

Relax with a swim on the Cambodian South Coast

On the eighth day of your adventure you'll probably be ready for some swimming, snorkeling and relaxing, and the Cambodian South Coast is an ideal spot for these kinds of low-stress activities. This resort area has seen an influx of tourism lately thanks to foreign investors helping to re-develop it. Visitors can explore the banks of the Sanke River, admire the historic Old French architecture in the capital city of Kampot, or hike up to the ruins in the Bokor National Park. For some fun in the sun, the coastal city of Sihanoukville – often referred to as the Cambodian Riviera – offers several popular beaches to choose from. For lunch, the nearby town of Kep is the perfect place to go for incredible local seafood, especially their spicy blue crab dishes. And while you're there, be sure to take a short side-trip north to visit the astonishing Angkor Wat temple complex, which is one of the largest religious monuments in the world.

Days 9 & 10

Expand your horizons in Ho Chi Minh City

The final two days of your trip will be spent marveling at the unforgettable sights in and around Ho Chi Minh City, which is one of Vietnam's top attractions. This historic city – formerly known as Saigon – is the ultimate Southeast Asian melting pot. Offering everything from luxurious spas and 5-star hotels to delicious casual street food markets and world-class coffee houses, Ho Chi Minh City will present you with an overwhelming sensory experience that will change the way you see the world. In between mouthwatering meals, make plans to visit the Vietnam War Remnants Museum and the Saigon-Notre Dame Cathedral, both of which rank among the most popular destinations in the city.

Getting there

Whether you want to plan your Southeast Asian adventure for 10 days or less, United Airlines can get you there. Visit united.com, or try the United app on your smartphone, to book your trip.

Guide to the must-see neighborhoods of Chicago

By Betsy Mikel

Chicago is often described as a city of neighborhoods. By some counts there are 77 in total, each offering its own unique experience of the Windy City. But you certainly can't visit them all in one trip. So where should you spend your time? Here are seven neighborhoods worth exploring to make your Chicago trip one to remember.

West Loop/Fulton Market

In just a few short years, Chicago's meatpacking district has flourished into dining central. Foodies of all stripes can find their next best meal in the West Loop or Fulton Market, neighborhoods which sit side-by-side. Celebrity chefs — including Stephanie Izard, Rick Bayless and Grant Achatz — all have restaurants here. Although there's a high concentration of Michelin-starred establishments, you don't need to spend a lot to dine well. Affordable fare and tasty eats can be found tucked in between the fine dining glitz and glam. For a worthwhile and memorable splurge, head to The Aviary for cocktails mixed by mad scientist-like bartenders. They blend unusual flavors and combinations, and their presentation will surprise you.

Downtown/The Loop

Shopping, dining, sightseeing, and culture converge in Chicago's bustling downtown center. From art museums and architecture to Chicago-style dogs and deep-dish pizza, you can pack in many of Chicago's must-do activities just by walking the Magnificent Mile (depending on how fast you walk and how many stops you make along the way). In the warmer months, take a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk, the pedestrian-only walkway presents magnificent views of the skyscrapers towering above you. From here you can also catch an architecture boat tour, which offers an interesting perspective of Chicago's tallest buildings and a crash-course of its history.

Old Town

Old Town is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. Be sure to visit during the day so you can see all its glorious Victorian mansions and well-preserved brick cottages. The residential community has several long-standing shops and boutiques, as well as many restaurant options. Feel like laughing? On any given night, you can catch an improv, sketch or stand-up comedy show at Second City in Old Town, where many famous comics got their start.

Wrigleyville

You don't have to be a die-hard baseball fan to enjoy one of America's oldest pastimes in one of America's oldest ballparks. Though Wrigley Field has recently been modernized, the ballpark still maintains its old-school charm and ivy-laden brick walls. In 2018, a new hotel and development with restaurants and shops opened just across the street. Wrigleyville also puts you close to the Lakeshore Trail, where you can rent bikes and take in the city's expansive Lake Michigan shoreline. Want to stick with Wrigleyville baseball theme? Locals love the batting cages at Sluggers, which also has arcade games.

Chinatown

Close to Pilsen and just a few streets to the southwest, a bright red gate welcomes you to Chinatown. It's the second-largest Chinatown in the United States, but is relatively compact and easy to explore by foot. Pop into its colorful shops, get dim sum at any number of restaurants, and enjoy the sculptures, public art and murals in Chinatown Square, which also houses the Pan Asian Cultural Center.

Logan Square

Tap into your inner hipster in the Williamsburg of Chicago. All things trendy come to a head in Logan Square, where another must-try restaurant seems to open every week. Wander along Milwaukee Avenue, where you'll find tastefully decorated boutiques and well-designed restaurants. Start with a pour over coffee and finish with pirate-themed tiki cocktail. Play vintage arcade games and shop for vinyl records along the way. Pop into bakeries and breweries in between. This is the perfect neighborhood to spend a leisurely afternoon without an agenda.

Pilsen

Chicago has many ethnic communities and neighborhoods. In the Mexican-American community of Pilsen, you'll find taquerias galore and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Pilsen also has a lively arts scene, with several art galleries, lofts and event spaces condensed to a few blocks. Many open their doors to the public for an art walk on the second Friday of every month.

Getting there

Spend your time in a few of these neighborhoods or venture out to the many others situated in Chicago – all with unique qualities and worth the visit, Book your next flight to the Windy City at united.com or by using the convenient United app, and share your story on social media with the #MyUnitedJourney hashtag.

Your next weekend escape: Princeton, New Jersey

By The Hub team

It's known for being home to one of America's most prestigious Ivy League schools, but the idyllic community of Princeton is more than just a college town. Barely 90 minutes from Manhattan (and just as accessible without a car), this Jersey charmer has all the makings of a dreamy autumn weekend, with fall foliage, good eats, interesting architecture and more—no tuition required.

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RELATED: Your Next Weekend Escape: Troy, New York

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What to do

An architecture tour of Princeton University's Gothic, Georgian and contemporary-style campus is a must. You can sign up for an organized one or pretty much do it self-guided by wandering the streets south of Nassau between Bank and Harrison. Along the way, you'll see lots of other architectural gems, like picture-perfect side streets full of Victorian-era homes and even a Tudor-style building that houses Hamilton Jewelers at the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon streets.

In the center of town is Palmer Square, the beating heart of this special place that's home to roughly 30,000 residents. Here and around the adjacent blocks you'll find tons of shopping and dining options. There are plenty of upscale chains—Origins, Club Monaco, Lululemon, Lindt Chocolate and more—but the real gems are Princeton's independent businesses, like Homestead, a well–curated home decor and gift store, and Dandelion, a boutique jewelry store filled with chic handmade baubles.

Seeing a show is recommended if you're in town on a night that McCarter Theatre has one of its many musical, improv, concert or dance performances. If not, you can still take in a flick at the adorable and old-timey Princeton Garden Theatre.

One of our favorite things to do in “Tiger territory" during the fall is get nostalgic (to our college years, at least) and see Princeton's orange-and-black jerseys in action at a home football game or take advantage of the town's proximity to autumnal activities. There's pumpkin picking and apple cider at Terhune Orchards and lots of fresh vegetable foraging to be done at Honey Brook Organic Farm, along with all of the town's gorgeous surrounding countryside landscapes (we recommend a drive to nearby Hopewell Township).

Courtesy of Agricola Eatery

Where to eat

For a small town, Princeton is concentrated with quality eats (at every price point). Follow the flocks of students to PJ's Pancake House and Hoagie Haven—two local institutions in their own right—as well as Triumph Brewing Company, which draws locals and visitors alike with live music and yummy bar bites.

Check out Agricola Eatery for farm-to-table fare and a lively scene, Nomad for creative wood-fired pizzas, or, if you're looking to do it up, The Peacock Inn, Mediterra or Blue Point Grill for fine dining. Just a ten-minute drive from Princeton is another adorable—albeit much smaller—town called Kingston, where Eno Terra serves Mediterranean-influenced cuisine (get the ricotta gnocchi).

No trip to Princeton is complete—no matter the time of year—without a stop at one of its local ice–cream haunts. The Bent Spoon whips up some of the most curious and delicious flavors you'll ever eat (think Thai peanut butter or lavender mascarpone), while the more traditional Halo Pub serves a rich hot chocolate that makes a great accompaniment to its decadent scoops.

Courtesy of the Nassau Inn

Where to stay

While Princeton is totally doable for a day trip, we wouldn't blame you for wanting to extend the quaint collegiate vibes. The Nassau Inn serves as the centerpiece of Palmer Square. It's big on quaint charm, and even if you're not technically in residence you can enjoy the ambiance with a cocktail by the large hearth-style fireplace on the second floor or at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, which, like Winberie's down the street, is always hopping. The Peacock Inn is popular among locals for its food and handsome bar, but the property—with history dating back all the way to the 1700s—doubles as a small B&B with comfortable guest rooms upstairs.

Visitors can also opt for this garden pied-à-terre, available on Airbnb, right in the center of town, or stay at Forrestal Village, a walkable shopping village located outside of town on Princeton's busy Route 1 commercial corridor, at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal.

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Why Savannah should be your next southern getaway

By The Hub team

With its Spanish moss-draped squares and stately antebellum architecture, Savannah oozes Southern charm. But thanks to the recent arrival of chic boutique hotels, edgy art galleries, and celeb chef restaurants, the river town is enjoying a newfound reputation as the South's capital of cool.

Rooted in 300 years of history, Georgia's oldest city has been slow to embrace change (hence its nickname, Slowvannah). There's a fierce pride among residents who don't want massive, multi-million-dollar projects to compete with the city's small-town appeal. And archeologists have raised concerns about the effects of large-scale development on the city's unearthed artifacts and historic sites, which landed on the National Park Service's “Threatened (Priority 1 List)" in March.

In spite of the city's longstanding battle between preservation and progress, the Southern town is soaring in popularity— just take our World's Best list, where readers have rated it one of America's top 10 cities for more than six years straight. In response to the tourism boom, luxury hotel brands, such as Aloft and JW Marriott, are moving in, along with a slew of new restaurants (Husk, anyone?!), galleries, and stores.

Here is what's to come in Savannah's next act.

Husk

Shrimp and grits, collard greens, seafood stew… Lowcountry cuisine is part of Savannah's soul (and stomach). And now, the city's vibrant food scene is finally getting its moment in the spotlight, owing to a wave of new restaurant openings—the most buzz-worthy being an outpost of Sean Brock's lauded Husk. The largest of the four locations, the glam eatery has a distinctly Georgian twist, with a raw bar and regionally inspired fare such as ham cracklin' cornbread with Georgia cane butter.

Perry Lane Hotel

Savannah is in the midst of a massive hotel boom; the city will see the opening of not one, but eight design-forward boutique hotels in the next few months. All eyes are on the much-anticipated Perry Lane Hotel, which debuted earlier this month. The dapper bolthole is a vision in understated elegance, with black-and-white marble floors, rich wood furnishings, roaring fireplaces, and vintage accessories. There are also plenty of slick amenities, including a rooftop pool with a bar and lawn games, a film screening room, a karaoke and arcade area, plus a wine market that offers tastings and cooking classes.

The Grove

Blink and you might think you're in Brooklyn. The Grove, a new three-story dining concept in the heart of the bustling City Market, is lending an air of sophistication to the touristy square. The buzzy bar is done up bright white walls and plush teal seating, but with a terrace overlooking the Savannah skyline, we won't blame you for sitting outside. Your order: spiked sweet tea and the blackened shrimp, served on a bed of spiced turnip greens and gouda grits.

Laney Contemporary Fine Art

Home to the Savannah College of Design and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah is an arts and culture powerhouse. Reinforcing its creative image is the city's newest art gallery, Laney Contemporary, from gallerist and private art dealer Susan Laney. Located on the outskirts of town, the gallery is well worth the drive to see contemporary photography, paintings, and immersive video installations from the likes of Jack Leigh and Katherine Sandoz.

Plant Riverside District

Hotelier Richard Kessler's $275 million Plant Riverside District is at the forefront of the city's renaissance. The sprawling 4.5-acre entertainment complex, which is housed in and around a restored 1912 industrial power plant, is the biggest private development in Savannah's history. When it opens next spring, it will transform the iconic waterfront, creating 1.5 acres of parks, plazas, and public areas, as well as extending the riverwalk by a quarter-mile. At the heart of the project is a brand new JW Marriott, which will feature three rooftop bars, an art gallery, indie shops, live music venues, natural science exhibits, and more than a dozen restaurants, all spread across three towers.

Artillery

Savannah has always been a popular drinking destination, due to its loose open container laws. Spend a Saturday night along Bay Street, the lively main drag, and you'll spot more than a few pub pedals and boozy bachelorette parties. Looking for a more slightly more sophisticated scene? Try Artillery, an intimate speakeasy housed in an 1896 Venetian Gothic building. Here, the standards are high, from the strict dress code (no flip-flops!) and noise limit (silence your cell phone) to the upscale interiors— all quartz countertops, bronze accents, and chartreuse banquettes. Cheeky tipples like Man The Guns—a mix of high west campfire whiskey, amaro lucano, absinthe, and 18.21 prohibition aromatic bitters—nod to the building's past life as a storehouse for the Georgia Hussars.

Cultural Arts Center

Although Savannah has a thriving arts community, it has noticeably lacked its own dedicated performance space. The $24 million Cultural Arts Center, opening this fall, is set to change that. Spanning 39,000 square feet, the multi-purpose hall will have a 464-seat theater, five crafts studios and classrooms, a small-scale stage, and a gallery. Future events will include rotating art programs and a wide variety of shows, from broadway to ballet.

Eastern Wharf

Just east of downtown, this 57-acre riverfront compound is one of the city's most talked-about developments. The $600 million mixed-use project will feature four residential apartment buildings, seven acres of public parks and squares, a 200-room hotel, plus ample retail and office space. It's estimated to take eight years to finish, but the first phase (with the hotel, apartments, and offices) will be rolled out by 2020.


This article was written by Chelsea Bengier from Travel & Leisure and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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