Azmat Alibhai recounts the tale of her therapeutic Bangkok trip to Sana Zehra

To those of you unfamiliar with Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love, it’s the memoir of a woman in her early thirties left broken after a terrible divorce. She decided to spend a year around the world: four months in Italy, where she would rediscover pleasure (EAT); four months in India, where she would meditate in an ashram (PRAY); and four months in Bali, where she would learn how to fuse the two (LOVE).

And without giving too much away, she rebuilt her soul in a beautiful way and I was hoping to achieve the same. Thankfully, I am not going through a divorce but the last two years have been trying for me health wise nonetheless. So I decided to take a short trip to Bangkok to heal and recharge.

No matter what you seek as your therapy, you will be able to find it in Bangkok. It’s a fantastic city, filled with great beauty and delicious food and perfect weather and incredibly kind, smiling people. Bangkok is a perfect place to heal your soul.

I checked into the COMO —Metropolitan and, although I was skeptical judging from the location, I decided to listen to my inner voice and I was ecstatic. As I jumped into the cab, and on the way to the Met, I passed by the central business district. The cab took a left turn into a beautiful tree lined street. As I approached the hotel, I felt a sense of calm. I hopped out of the cab and entered the hotel lobby – There was an underlining Zen kind of vibe. This translated in the staff’s demeanor, the architecture and interior design of the property right up to the basics in the room. High style is the part of the hotel’s DNA but it’s the small actions that make a big difference. You know its right when you get a feeling of “home.”


It is very rare for me to travel to anyplace without engaging in a learning experience and Bangkok was no exception.

Healing through


If you’re looking to learn a new skill, Bangkok offers the opportunity to learn everything from cooking to massage to yoga. In my 5 days in Bangkok, I attended a cooking class and a restorative yoga workshop.

Healing through food:

With a street cart on every corner, you’re in the right place. I was lucky to meet Chef Prim Polson in his kitchen at Nahm restaurant, which has been rated repeatedly as one of Asia’s top restaurants. Just last year, Nahm was voted number one in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Chef Polsuk exudes confidence, and rightly so. I was told by my local friend that Thai and overseas visitors are known to book a table a month in advance to secure a table. What I found special about him is his passion for creating. He explained that Nahm is influenced by the street food of Bangkok and by centuries old cookbooks belonging to private Thai households. His culinary style combines big, bold flavours with meticulous attention to detail, fresh local produce and traditional cooking methods, maintaining traditional Thai recipes and ingredients. Even the fish sauce is made from scratch. Chef Polsuk prepared a tasting menu of Scallops with Pomelo, Lemongrass and Lime, Aromatic Crab Curry and Stir Fried Morning Glory, just a few dishes from the vast feast he prepared.

mm858 Como Hotels and Resorts – Metropolitan Bangkok

Healing through Yoga: I have had the good fortune to meet and learn from fantastic teachers from all over the world, and Yogi Jutharat was no exception. She took me through a restorative flow. I was amazed with her yoga knowledge. There was much to learn from her and I was excited to take it all in.

Healing through nature: I walked down to Lumpini Park, which was a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Upon entering the park, the hustle and bustle was left behind. There was an open air gym with regular exercise machines. It was a serene walk and I felt one with nature. There was a step class with 80s music to set the mood of the class. Although I didn’t take the class, I could feel the endorphins release creating the feel good mood after a workout. I was told gym teachers volunteer their time teaching at the park. There is something magical about healing through volunteering — working for the good of people or for the less fortunate than you is a surefire way to put things into perspective.

Healing through partying: Should you fancy live music whilst grabbing a bite or if you want to blow off steam with buckets, parties, and nights out with friends, I suggest you make your way to the lively party streets. The unbeatable energy, happy people comfortable in their skin just looking to escape and have a good time. Tons of bars, clubs, roof top bars where DJs spinning and mixing music or just people loitering on the street listening to the music. Maybe have a foot massage or browse through the souvenir shops. That high energy vibration was apparent all over.

Healing through spirituality: Bangkok is a great place to delve into Buddhism, meditation or general spirituality. There are all kinds of meditation retreats in Bangkok, including silent retreats. What I found incredible is that there is a temple to be found on every street. Amidst the incredibly busy streets of Bangkok, the Thai people actually practice the “Pause.”

As I bid farewell to Bangkok with a feeling of melancholy, I remembered a person who once said to me, “Make friends with reality.” With those wise words in mind, I let go. I surrendered. It was time to say good bye.


Lakorn (Goodbye) Bangkok.

Wasay Nabi, a senior at the University of Denver where he is studying hospitality management at the Fritz Knoebel School of Management, chats about his camping trip alongside his college buddies with Fatima Sheikh

Why Utah?

I was on Spring Break for a week and I love the outdoors. Instead of going somewhere on a beach in Mexico, like most of my other friends suggested, nine of us decided to go on a camping trip to Utah. I’ve never been camping before and it was something I wanted to experience fully before I graduated.

What is the best time to visit?

Utah is a desert state but it has really diverse landforms because of the Rocky Mountains. The best time to visit is spring, since it’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. While, I was there the days were hot and the nights were very cold.

Where did you stay?

The entire time we stayed at different campsites, sleeping in tents. The first day, we arrived in Moab. We had lunch in the city and then found a campground just outside of it. The next morning we drove three hours to Canyonlands National Park (the same place from the movie 127 hours). It was the only place we actually made a booking so we had a pretty nice campsite. The next morning we drove six hours to Zion National Park. We stayed there two nights. We arrived pretty late the first night so we found a secluded campsite an hour outside Zion. We got up early next morning to find a better campsite and go hiking in the actual park for our second night there. On our last day, we drove three hours to Bryce Canyon National Park and stayed at a campsite in the park.

Tell us about the flora and fauna that you saw?

A lot of the places we encountered didn’t have plants but in the warmer areas it was mostly shrubs and cacti. I learned the hard way that it’s not smart to walk around barefoot there, as a lot of splinters got stuck in my feet. There weren’t too many animals around but we did see mountain goats and wild horses while driving. We saw tons of squirrels and lizards at our campsites.

Five essentials you cannot live without when traveling?

  1. Camera
  2. Speakers
  3. Ray-Bans
  4. Good music
  5. Hats

What did you get up to during the day?

I would wake up at 6 am every day; light the campfire, make coffee, and watch the sun rise. Since, we were constantly moving, there was a different backdrop to the sunrise every morning. Cruising around was a delight.

Where to stay?

There are comfortable campsites with basic amenities all over Utah, especially in the parks. There are also furnished cabins you can rent in some of the parks. I think that camping is the best way to go if you want the full experience.

How to get around?

Everything is really spread out in Utah. Having a car is essential if you want to visit different parks and landmarks. We would set up camp and just hike around on foot every day.

What to see?

Zion, Canyonlands, and Bryce Canyon are must sees. Angel’s Landing at Zion was the hardest hike I’ve ever done, but the view at the end was just amazing. I saw some of the most beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views. Our goal everyday was to cover as much ground as we could, find a cool place to watch the sunset, and try to make it back to camp before it got late and colder.

What to eat?

We brought a lot of food with us that was easy to cook. We ate eggs and beans every morning, deli sandwiches for lunch, and steaks and burgers for dinner. Basically anything that’s easy to cook at a campsite is ideal.

Did you end up eating at any restaurants?

The only two restaurants we went to during the trip were Moab Brewery, oab’s biggest restaurant – and a Hardee’s in a gas station. We brought a propane stove and grill with us so we would cook at our campsite every night. We actually cooked some really good meals, better than most of the food I have had at college.

Hamza Tarar, founder/interior designer at Lahore’s studio Casa Hamza, just loves Miami, his second home. Read on to learn about where those in the know eat, stay and party in the city that never sleeps


The reason I plan my holidays to Miami is because I’ve lived half of my life there and it’s one of my favourite places in the whole world. It’s like a second home to me. Whenever you go there, rest assured you’ll have a great time. There is something to do for everyone. But it wasn’t just Miami on the itinerary, we were travelling around the States so we covered a lot of places like Las Vegas, Napa Valley, Fort Lauderdale, Key West and San Francisco to name a few.

What is the best time to visit?

I think the best time to go is during the winter because it’s still sunny there and the weather is amazing! Ideally any time from November to March works great as there are a lot of events, festivals and parties happening so you have a wide range of activities to enjoy.

Where did you stay?

I rented a high-end apartment on Miami Beach. As we were travelling across the country, we were able to explore so many different places. In Vegas, we stayed at the ARIA Resort and Casino. During our time in Key West, we were at the historic La Concha Hotel and Spa, which is the ideal location to enjoy the vibrant nightlife and inspired surroundings on Duval Street. Duval Street is truly the heart and soul of Old Town Key West so the lively atmosphere keeps you going from night till dawn!

Favourite restaurant?

In Miami, an absolute must-try is Barton G. This restaurant makes each meal an experience that you won’t forget! Their innovative presentations will steal your heart. Garbo’s Grills is another one of my favourite places to visit while in Key West. They make the best Asian tacos in the world. Best I’ve ever had! It’s essentially a food truck and there is a minimum one-hour waiting time because the place is so busy.

How to get around?

Well, things have gotten rather convenient now with services like Uber and Lyft so transportation while travelling is not a hassle anymore. It’s your best bet in places like Vegas and San Fran. Although, I would suggest if you have an international driver’s license, you must rent a car while you are in Florida. It’s much more economical and driving up to far-off destinations is totally worthwhile given the gorgeous views.

It’s Miami baby, of course we partied all day. We slept at 6 a.m. and up again at 8 a.m.! We were always out and about, up to something new every single day, offering libations up to the city morning, noon and night

What did you get up to during the day?
It’s Miami baby, of course we partied all day. We slept at 6 a.m. and up again at 8 a.m.! We were always out and about, up to something new every single day. We offering libations up to the city morning, noon and night.

Five essentials you cannot live without when travelling?
1. Liquid sustenance
2. Phone charger
3. Money and LOTS of it
4. Sunglasses
5. My shoulder bag!

Where to stay?

If you’re headed to Miami Beach, you must stay in one of the Art Deco historic properties on Collins Avenue. The candy-coloured Miami Art Deco district is the ideal home-ground to soak in the rich culture that this place has to offer. The whimsical Delano Hotel in South Beach is another favourite as it balances eclectic details that are playful, quietly theatrical and filled with all-night energy! Then there’s the W Hotel, another great option as it’s an ultrachic beachfront hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

What to eat?

When in Vegas, I would definitely recommend checking out Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand, which is an unforgettable Three Michelin Star restaurant catering to a sophisticated palate and is designed to resemble a luxurious Art Deco townhouse.
If you’re into cool concepts and high end comfort food, State Bird in San Francisco will be the most fun you will have dining out!

What to see?

There’s so much to do around Ocean Drive in Miami like the Art Deco Walking Tour, club crawls or bar hopping to get a taste of the nightlife and numerous beach activities in the daytime. Collins Avenue is your go-to place for all things cultured, artsy and fun.

The former warehouse district of Wynwood has become the arts hub of South Florida and has been converted to an outdoor gallery, so that’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on. Touted as the design district, you can see vibrant spaces complemented with mural, street-art and graffiti.

Then there’s the Villa Vizcaya, which is a definite tourist spot if it’s your first time in Miami. It’s a beautiful old palace surrounded by acres of serene European-style gardens chock-a-block with fountains and statuary.

And you must visit the legendary Villa Casa Casuarina, more popularly known as Versace’s Mansion. The place is a popular attraction due to the fact that Versace was actually shot dead on the steps of his Miami Mansion in 1997 as he returned from a morning walk on the Ocean Drive.

Lastly, for a bit of shopping, head to Bal Harbour Shops; an upscale mall with premium designer shops. You are sure to spot a lot of celebrities here!

Maham Nayer, an AUD (American University in Dubai) graduate, crossed the Indian Ocean over to the Maldives. After chilling on the beach, enjoying the water sports and gorging on an array of cuisine, she narrates her idyllic tropical island break to her friend Fatima Sheikh 

Why Maldives?

It was the most impromptu plan ever. Four days before flying, my brother in law told me that we are going to Maldives for a short trip. As shocking as it was, it was also the most pleasant surprise ever. It’s thanks to him for taking us all on the wonderful trip.

What is the best time to visit?

You can visit at anytime throughout the year as it’s a tropical place and the weather is pretty much the same year round. Make sure that you check the weather forecast for rain, because when it rains the water becomes very unclear and you can’t enjoy the water sports then. (It’s low season during the hot summer months so you can avail a great discount. Come winter and the rates are sky high.)

Where did you stay?

We stayed at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi. It is a 35 minute boat ride from Male airport, which was really convenient. It’s a beautiful resort and the staff was very welcoming and attentive.

Favourite restaurant?

That’s a tough one! The food was amazing at all the restaurants; however, if I have to pick a favourite it would be Salt. It’s a fine dining Japanese restaurant at the resort. We had a delicious 6 course meal there. The food was to die for and so was the ambience.

How to get around?

We took the hotel cart or buggy to get from one place to another. Most of the times, however, we would just walk. It’s a small island so everything was close by.

What did you get up to during the day?

I was staying at a beach villa so I woke up to the comforting rythm of ocean waves and birds chirping. I watched the sunrise once and it was the most scenic and pleasant view ever. After that, I would go for breakfast at an outdoor restaurant next to the beach and enjoy the ocean view from there.

Where to stay?

I really enjoyed my stay at Per Aquum Huavafen Fushi, but it really depends on what you are looking for. There are many beautiful resorts there and you have to be very careful while choosing which resort to stay at as each resort is an build over a different island and when you choose a resort, you are technically choosing that island for your trip.

What to eat?

Again, it depends on which resort you are staying at, as you either be dining ala carte or at the hotel buffet. With that being said you will surely have lots of options and could try a different cuisine for every meal everyday, including different types of salads/starters, seafood, Japanese, Indian Mediterranean cuisine, etc. and an array of desserts.

What to see?

You can experience the serenity as well as the enchantment of nature. The vast Indian Ocean, the marine life, and the beaches are all so alluring. The water sports are a must-do for anyone travelling to the Maldives. Jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, swimming in the deep blue water makes you come alive.

Five essentials you cannot live without when traveling?
1. Camera
2. Flip flops
3. Shades
4. Sun screen
5. Apres Sun Moisturiser

Jahanzaib Shafique, an event manager and entrepreneur, loves to travel, explore and document his experiences. This inveterate globe trotter aims to hit a score of 50 countries by 2018

What started as a casual, first solo holiday to the USA in 2011 turned into a lifelong passion to travel. From then on, my itinerary has always included a few less-frequented cities, which according to my experience, are always more interesting to explore. So in my last trip I chose Colombia, Mexico and Panama as the “wild cards.” This time, my 12 day trip included Vietnam and Cambodia, in addition to Dubai and Thailand.

What is the best time to visit?
Vietnam has diverse weather with the North enjoying all four seasons and the South having quintessentially tropical weather throughout. Cambodia follows a similar pattern. This makes December to February ideal to enjoy these countries rain-free so you can explore at will.

Where did you stay?
Hanoi, Vietnam: Conifer Boutique Hotel has excellent customer service, location and balconies for smokers.
Halong Bay, Vietnam Pelican Cruise has the best in room service and room quality. I had a sea view private deck and it was amazing, relatively expensive but worth the money.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam: Novotel Puu Quoc Resort has the most amazing facilities with a Halal buffet menu, infinity pools and everything else you can ask for.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Liberty Saigon Riverside Hotel boasts an excellent location, and contemporary room decor.
Siem Reap, Cambodia: Les Bambous Luxury Hotel has the best customer service ever along with super sized boutique suites. They give you a phone and an iPad with direct line to the front desk 24/7.
Phuket, Thailand: The Kee Resort & Spa has an excellent location right on Bangla Street with excellent suites, one of the best spa services and a lavish breakfast spread.

Favourite Restaurant?
Geckos Café in Hanoi had the most amazing food ever!
Novotel’s dinner buffet was also sumptuous.

How to Get Around?
In Vietnam, scooter is the preferred mode of commute. So I went for a scooter tour to explore most of the cities. Alternatively, tuk-tuks are common in all three of the Southeast Asian countries with variations in the size and shape of the vehicle. Transport in Cambodia is REALLY cheap. People can understand English in all three countries so hailing a tuk-tuk works most of the time.

What did you get up to during the day?
I took 3-4 day tours in different cities. For the rest of the days, my time was spent discovering the local markets, land marks and filming for my travelogue.

Where to stay?
I plan a maximum of three days in a city so my preference is living downtown so most of the attractions and food options are at walking distance. is a great website to find good deals for almost any city. I look for 8.5 or above rating with a 1 km radius set from city centre.

What to eat?
I’m not a big foodie, but there’re a lot of seafood options available in these countries. Don’t miss the morning breakfasts at your hotel. I’m still missing the assortment of exotic fruit ?

What to See?
Vietnam: Sapa Trekking up in the North, Hoi An Chams Ruins, Phu Quoc Island for some beach time and Ho Chi Minh City to experience the people of Vietnam.
Cambodia: Angkor Wat Ruins, Ta Prohm Temple, Bayon Temple, the Floating Villages on Tonle Sap Lake and quad biking in the countryside.
Thailand: I skipped the typical cities, Bangkok and Pattaya, and went only for Phuket. Don’t miss the Patong Beach and Bangla Street life along with some great sunset points at Promthep Cape.

Essentials that I cannot live without when travelling
My Backpack with:
Passport & Wallet
Samsung S7 Phone
Go Pro Hero 5
Gimble and Gear
My Macbook Air
Spare Power Banks

You can follow Jahanzaib’s adventures on Insta : @JbsLog and Snapchat : JBxLog.

Fatima Kasuri narrates the story of her beautiful and tropical trip to Bali 

Why ?
There is no other place like Bali. It has great beaches, wonderful natural sites and awesome spas. It’s an extremely soothing and relaxing atmosphere.

What is the best time to visit ?
Since Bali has a tropical climate, the weather is almost the same all year round so it’s perfect to visit anytime of the year.

Where did you stay?
Samabe Suites & Villas, a posh and relaxing resort with its own private beach.

Favourite restaurant?
I just loved the sea food at Blanco, an Indonesian restaurant.

How to get around?
We went around Bali with a personal tour guide.

What did you get up to during the day?
During the day, we visited either the beaches or we explored the city. It was pretty mesmerising.

Where to stay?
This island has a lot of beautiful resorts to choose from. You can pick the one that best caters to all your needs. I liked all of them.

What to eat?
Fresh seafood and fried crispy duck are a must try while visiting Bali.

What to see?
Bali is full of temples. A few of the must see places are Uluwatu Temple, which has a fantastic view of Bali. Be watchful of the monkeys who snatch everything from sunglasses to handbags though. Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud and Bukit peninsulas too are worth seeing. These and the numerous pristine beaches abound in Bali.

Five essentials you cannot live without when traveling?
1. Phone
2. Sun hat
3. BB cream/sunblock
4. Solid Lip Oils by Body Shop
5. My all time favourite Chanel flip-flops

Imtisal Zafar, the creative director of VERVE,
narrates the story of his South American jaunt to Fatima Sheikh


South America is largely a destination that is too remote and unchartered for most of us Pakistanis, therefore, after visiting Europe, the Far East and America many times we wanted to experience something completely different. Brazil and Argentina were the two countries we decided to visit.

What is the best time to visit?

Between October to April when it’s Spring and Summer time in the area

Where did you Stay?

Sao Paulo: Blue Tree Premium Hotel on Paulista Avenue

RIO: Golden Tulip, Ipanema Plaza Hotel on Ipanema Beach

Buenos Aires: Paulo Santos Hotel on Palermo Avenue

Favourite Restaurant?

Venetto Harrago Churrascaria and Spot Cafe in Sao Paulo

Don Julio Argentinian Steak house and Osaka in Buenos Aires

How did you get around?

Uber & local taxis are the best option.

What did you get up to during the day?

Daytime was spent mostly sightseeing and taking city tours. In in Rio we relaxed on the beautiful beach.

Five Essentials you can not live without when traveling?
1. Cell phone
2. Vanity bag
3. Earphones
4. Wallet
5. Cologne

Where to Stay?

You have to be careful while planning your trip to South America about where to stay. It is best to stay in safe areas to avoid any inconvenience because of street crime in shady areas. Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Ipanema or Copacabana in Rio and Palermo Avenue in Buenos Aires are the places to stay.

What to eat?

The famous Brazilian BBQ is incredible and you need to eat as much as possible of it while in Brazil. The Argentinian steaks are also excellent with all the condiments.

What to See?

Sao Paulo: Walk down the Palermo Avenue, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP), Sao Paulo Cathedral, Ibirapuera Park

RIO: Ipanema & Copacabana Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain & Cable Car tour, Christ Redeemer, Escadaria Selaron.


during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 4, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Saim Ali, fashion designer and television personality, recounts the story of his exciting trip to Abu Dhabi for the Formula One race to Fatima Sheikh

Why Abu Dhabi?

The main purpose of my trip was Formula One, which I’ve always wanted to see live. The thrill in the air, the Ferraris and the energy there are absolutely amazing! Being there was definitely the best experience of my life. This trip was also a birthday gift to me from my brother who is as crazy about Ferraris as I am.


What is the best time to visit?

I would say winter because summer there can get pretty hot. Winter is perfect in Abu Dhabi with so much happening, such as shopping festivals and of course Formula One. This is one time one can actually go around exploring the place without being irritated by the heat and dust.

Where did you stay?

I stayed at the St. Regis Hotel, one of the many five star hotels in Abu Dhabi. It’s located on the beach and is next to the absolutely amazing Emirates Palace Hotel. I woke up to a breathtaking view of the beach every day.


Favourite restaurant?

My favourites are Nobu, P.F. Chang and Al-Nakhal for mouthwatering Lebanese food at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

How to get around?

I used to get a private taxi from the hotel most of the time. Abu Dhabi isn’t as busy as Dubai; it’s pretty laid back, a lot like Islamabad I would say.  You’ll find taxis and buses at every corner and they’re excellent to commute around.

What did you get up to during the day?

My days were quite eventful. I had something to do every day and of course there was the Formula One race going on, which was a major part of my trip.

My typical day consisted of waking up to an amazing view from the 41st floor of St. Regis Hotel and hitting the pool. Then I’d go to the beach for breakfast, so relaxing.  The view and the ambience were really soothing. I would then visit Ferrari World. The rest of my day I’d spend exploring different malls and feasting at some fantastic restaurants in other hotels.

Where to stay?

There are so many beautiful hotels in Abu Dhabi that it’s really hard to pick one. You’ll find seven star as well as five star international hotels. But, I definitely recommend the St. Regis Hotel to everyone. My stay there was perfect.

What to eat?

Abu Dhabi has a variety of different cuisine from all over the world. I had the best of Thai and Lebanese. My absolute favourite is Hummus. I also like Dynamite Prawns and Wasabi Salt Beef Wholegrain sandwich.

What to see?

Oh, Abu Dhabi has so much! I’d say everyone should definitely visit Marina Mall, the Cornish and Yass Island. If you love cars and racing then Ferrari World should be on the top of your list like mine. Also, if you love roller coasters, the world’s fastest and biggest rollercoaster is found in the Ferrari World theme park.

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