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Exclusive International News Popular

David Blaine Defies Death With New High-Flying Balloon Stunt

47 year-old American illusionist David Blaine has once again pushed boundaries on 2 September 2020 by ascending nearly 7,600 metres with just about 52 helium balloons.

In his Youtube live-streamed stunt termed “Ascension”, Blaine took off from the Arizona desert (United States) and had to gradually drop small weights to speed his ascent. The entire feat took about an hour from lift-off to landing, where he free-falled for 30 seconds before activating a parachute to secure his landing.

Blaine is no stranger to triggering a series of high-profile and high-risk feats of endurance performance in the past. He was buried beneath a three-ton water tank for a week in 1999 and subsisted with only a few tablespoons of water daily. He also tried encasing himself in ice for 72 hours in 2000 but that attempt was unsuccessful.

“Ascension” is his most ambitious feat to date, where his original plan was to float across the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. But this was foiled due to unforeseen weather conditions. Nonetheless, Blaine said “this feels like a dream so vivid  (that) it had to be real.”

The event hit a record as the most-watched Youtube Originals live event that garnered over 770,000 viewers.

Catch his feat here:

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Exclusive Local News

Is The Internet Still The Wild Wild West?

Governments have been actively seeking to regulate the internet which has yet to mature into a safe and fair place. Laws have been introduced around the world to tackle the Wild West elements on the internet from cyber bullying to online child exploitation to legal and illegal harms. In Singapore, our own Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) came into effect on 2 October 2019 to fight the scourge of fake news. The law targets the spread of malicious falsehoods and the use of fake accounts and automated bots that spread fake news rapidly through various social media platforms.

The law ignited fierce debate over its necessity, and since its launch, POFMA has been issued a total of 55 times. The use of POFMA during the recent General Election sparked concerns of regulatory overreach and its effect on freedom of expression and speech.

Through the use of POFMA, the government has been able to stop the possible spread of falsehoods that would have impacted on Singapore’s public interest and peace, such as inciting hatred between different groups of persons and undermining the confidence of the Government and its entities. Correction orders have been issued to owners of websites, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for content that has been deemed false by the relevant authorities.

POFMA provides the government and its entities a means to tackle and take down falsehoods, but what about ordinary individuals? What recourse or platforms do they have against, predators, cyberbullies, and criminals? Individuals are increasingly turning to the internet to voice their opinions and causes that they believe in. Although signifying the maturing of the Singaporean population that is not afraid to share openly their beliefs, there is also the ugly side where opinions are forced onto others — digital lynch mobs and vigilantes that flagrantly seek to amplify mistakes and stir discourse on issues they know would cause hurt and rile specific communities.

There is, however, space and a need in the digital sphere for proper dialogue and conversations. Former Paraplympian Theresa Goh aptly summed this up when asked about the areas that she thinks the country can improve on, “I think when wanting to do right by a group of people, we could do better at listening to what that group of people need rather than assuming we know what they need.” She added that, “I think we need to learn to be better at having conversations, and that means being open to different views and not just being open to discussions that we are accepting of because that’s not how we grow.” Being open and humble is important in any conversation.

With increasing digital penetration among the young, the incidence of cyber bulling has also increased with 3 in 4 youths reporting incidents of being bullied online. Defined as electronic communication with the intent to intimidate and hurt a person or a group, intentionally or otherwise, sending hurtful messages, spreading rumours online, and circulating humiliating or degrading photos or videos of someone — these would be considered acts of cyber bullying. The rising online vigilantism approach of revealing the identity and personal information of a victim (doxxing) with the intention to harass is now illegal in Singapore. The act criminalises the publication of personally-identifiable information with the intention of harassing, threatening, or facilitating violence against a person. Predators can face fine up to S$5,000 and a jail term if found guilty.

Has the introduction of POFMA and amendment of the Protection from Harassment Act tamed the internet? Is there a need for more regulations or should extreme opinions be countered and checked by more moderate and fair-minded individuals? To answer the first question – yes, I believe regulations has brought to mind the need to be factual and accurate in the expression of statements and views as false statements and harassment can cause irreparable damage to personal reputation and loss of life during an emergency. As to the need for more regulation, I feel the laws are presently sufficient with legal recourse available for doxxing, online defamation, digital impersonation, and cyberbullying. But more can be done to educate individuals on the incidence of cyberbullying and how to better cope or respond to it. In addition, more can be done to champion the need for proper dialogue and respecting differences between individuals and groups.

We are also increasingly witnessing social or online justice being dispensed in the court of public opinion. Coordinated community movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movement have been able to bring causes and injustice to light and provide spaces for individuals to come together. These movements have helped to build equity for minorities and underrepresented individuals and groups in society. There are however dangers of mob justice where sometimes the lives of the innocent are affected and even ruined. Take the recent case of a women in Singapore who claimed to be “Sovereign” and did not need to follow the law on wearing masks when outdoors. Doxxers had wrongly targeted an innocent individual by identifying her as a chief executive officer of a tech company. There are many more examples where mistaken identity, false accusations, or the act of forwarding a controversial image have caused individuals to lose their jobs and affected their family life.

Here in Singapore, there has been a lot of discussions on cancel culture and about woke mobs demanding accountability for a controversial tweet, video clip or post. Very often, when an individual’s misdeeds or action fail to conform to progressive views and beliefs, they are often attacked and ‘cancelled’ on social media. Cancel culture basically refers to a concerted effort to withdraw support for an individual or business that has said or done something objectionable until they either apologise or disappear from view. Academics have supported the view that activism on social media can be constructive and legitimate but have also warned that if the aim of the movement was to harm others then it is less positive. The ease at which an individual can be attacked, or have a petition circulated to have them fired or ostracised can be easily used to limit discussions and the free exchange of ideas and information.

The cancel culture has often been criticised for being mob like and seeking to punish their target until they are totally destroyed, leaving no room for offenders to learn from their mistakes and change for the better. In the past few months, influencer Xiaxue had challenged the mob approach following calls for her sponsors to drop her after some of her old racist tweets resurfaced. Mediacorp Channel 8 drama My Guardian Angels had been called out for their stereotypical negative characterisation of gays. Mediacorp and the artists Chase Tan, Kym Ng, and Brandon Wong who were involved in the series were slammed online for their involvement. Mediacorp issued a statement that there was “no intention to disrespect or discriminate against any persons or community in the drama”. Chase Tan apologised for his role in causing distress to the LGBTQ community and promised to do better.

Australian fitness guru Chloe Ting, whose YouTube channel has 13.6 million followers recently stood up in a 17-min video titled “time to talk” to address a Singaporean man’s criticism of her as he sought to defame her and make a profit through a series of 62 Instagram stories about Chloe that were entitled, “The Scoop on Chloe Ting”. These stories was a blatant attempt to profit at the expense of Chloe and were quickly taken down following her video.

Influencer Joanna Theng also experienced backlash for her scripted comments on the LGBT community in a Christian group’s video post. Despite apologising for the comments made in the video, a vocal minority continues to inflame the situation. She continues to be attacked online and the attacks have also extended towards her family members. The online vigilantism also attempted to impersonate her online with the aim of perpetuating the incident and using it to create further discourse among the various communities. Why? What purpose does such action serve but a misguided attempt to milk more followers? Whilst Joanna champions and supports open mature discussions, a line needs to be drawn when comments become defamatory, especially to family members.

Joanna Theng will learn from the incident and will emerge more mature and aware that as a public figure, her words matter. She, as well as other public figures, will certainly thoroughly vet scripts given to them and will not participate in any reading unless they truly agree with the content being said. We hope aspiring influencers and online personalities would take away the positives from these incidents and emerge as positive change individuals for the community. Joanna has clarified that she is not homophobic, and many friends, I believe, have and will step forward to attest to this. The numerous sharing and comments on the incident displays an underlying desire for greater dialogue and understanding of various communities here in Singapore. A 2015 forum article in the Straits Times titled “Agreeing to disagree on LGBT issues” called for Singapore to cultivate a culture in which we are able to both articulate our views as well as respect the views of the opposing camp. The writer rightfully stated that contentious issues should not be hidden from students but instead, encouraged to be debated, with emphasis on respect for the opinions of both sides. She added that such a culture of understanding cannot be cultivated overnight and is certainly not simple to bring about. Yet, she felt that being able to succeed in nurturing such a culture would put Singapore in stable hands for the future.

As we understand the views and feelings of various communities better, we echo Pink Dot’s statement and solidarity with the many individuals who have stepped up to share their struggles and experiences with the intention to educate and correct misinformation on their community. Misunderstandings will definitely surface from time to time and it is the collective responsibility to engage in constructive dialogue and activities that will help navigate the differences and make space for everyone to peacefully and respectfully co-exist.

Through better understanding of issues at hand, being better listeners, and humbleness to deferring views, I believe these will help make the wild wild west a little less wild and more welcoming.

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Exclusive Football International Sports

Premiere League’s Alleged Corruption — Just What Is Going On With Newcastle’s Takeovers?

Over an entire decade, Newcastle United Football Club’s (NUFC) owner Mike Ashley has made his intentions of selling the Tyneside club clear.

Since his acquisition in 2007 for £135 million, the British billionaire has, on multiple occasions, reiterated his desire to let go of the reigns amidst incompetence in the Premiere League, most vocally by mounting pressure from fans.

Ashley, who owns multiple businesses like discount chain Sports Direct, boxing goods manufacturer Everlast, and a slew of other sporting good brands, has been cited as a lackluster investor and ‘void of ambition’ in trying to resurrect NUFC to a semblance of its glory days, prioritising cost-effectiveness over sporting success.

Yet it isn’t for a lack of suitors that the club has failed to acquire a new owner.

Since his ownership, a slew of potential buyers have partaken in long, drawn out sagas of discussions till the fallout of an eventual sale — a circus most recently fronted by Singaporean firm Bellagraph Nova Group (BNG). Just why exactly have these fallen through?

Reuters investigates Bellagraph Nova Group

BNG were the latest to throw their hat into the takeover ring on August 15 2020; in a press release, the newly registered Singapore company announced a turnover of $12 billion in 2019 from its headquarters in Paris, whilst stating that “negotiations are at an advanced stage” following a letter of intent (LOI) and proof of funds (POF) sent to Mike Ashley.

A statement made by the group also claimed that they were closely working with former England captain Alan Shearer and former NUFC player Michael Chopra for the takeover. BNG’S bid was $280 million.

The group, which was registered only in July 2020, then posted marketing collaterals of their co-founding members Terence Loh, Nelson Loh, and Evangeline Shen engaged in a photo-op with Barack Obama on multiple occasions.

However, when pressed on the legitimacy of their intentions and operations by Reuters, BNG’s existence is riddled with discrepancies.

According to government records, no company under the name of Bellagraph Nova Group is officially registered in France; the address of which they are said to have been operating out of — 10 Place Vendome — does not contain the company’s records either.

Alan Shearer’s management subsequently said he was not involved in the takeover efforts.

Then, when questioned on their publicity efforts, BNG’s head of investor relations released a separate statement stating that the company had knowingly edited photos of the ex-United States president as if he had attended one of their company’s meeting. They have since taken down said photos from their social channels.

BNG has also listed affiliations and claimed ownership of multiple companies and entities (Hydra X, NETX, BN Airlines), most of which have outrightly rubbished the purported relationship or do not exist altogether.

While it remains to be seen what transpires, Reuters reports that all three of the co-founders did not respond to their requests for comments. Mike Ashley has not yet responded publicly to the bid, as well as the controversy.

Saudi Arabia’s ‘almost’ takeover, and the League’s deafening silence

Before BNG, it was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), who proposed a $300 million purchase of NUFC in a consortium. The PIF, which invests in international projects, is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Out of all the bids in the past, the Prince’s takeover was the only one that had reached the closing stages of checks by the Premiere League’s owners’ and directors’ test, which assesses the suitability of an entity to parent a football club.

The takeover was stalled by the League for several months during these tests, of which many political and corruption issues saw the light of day.

In one of the many hindrances, human rights organisations condemned Saudi Arabia’s owners and practices concerning welfare. Amnesty International also advised that a regime that’s consistently embroiled in human rights abuses should be distanced from the Premiere League.

In 2018, the CIA concluded that Bin Salman ordered the 2018 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Premiere League CEO Richard Masters had been singled out for this, with Amnesty UK director Kate Allen having requested a ban of the takeover.

“I believe there are serious questions to address in determining whether the owners and directors of the company seeking to acquire NUFC are meeting standards that can protect the reputation and image of the game,” Allen said in a letter to Masters.

Further, prominent NUFC fanbase site, nufc.blog.co.uk, have taken it upon themselves to shed light on the ostensibly nefarious reasons as to why the Saudi takeover was stalled by the League, who has substantial ties with officials in Qatar and broadcasting rights with Qatar owned BeIN Sports.

As the Telegraph reports, “The league is desperate to hang on to keeping their process secret because they have Ashley’s lawyers circling in one corner and BeIN Sports in the other.”

At present, Newcastle United are several weeks into the transfer window without purchasing any players. Mike Ashley is still the owner, and are two weeks away from the start of the new season.

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Exclusive Local News

Positive Creditor Response Sees Pison Extend Offer Deadline

This week Pison Investments Pte Ltd extended their offer for senior creditors to accept their buyout offer of Hyflux Ltd that was launched through their invitation memorandum on 9th July 2020. The offer for unsecured debts, contingent debts, and/or trade, and other debts of Hyflux Ltd, Hydrochem (s) Pte Ltd, Hyflux Membrane Manufacturing (s) Pte Ltd, and/or Hyflux Engineering Pte Ltd was set to expire on 17 August 2020. However, positive submissions and responses from creditors seeking additional time to submit their application saw the deadline extended to 4 September 2020. Pison Investments will have till 25 September 2020 to accept or reject the offers.

The invitation memorandum outlined that each eligible creditor may only submit one bid for an amount of all or some of the eligible debt. The discount set out in the tender application form highlighted that the offer must not be less than 91% on the Offered Debt.

As part of the company’s reorganization process under a Scheme Of Arrangement, Hyflux updated SGX on Pison Investments’ offer extension and will make appropriate announcements as and when there are any further material developments on this matter. Should sufficient creditors step forward and accept Pison Investments offer, Hyflux may just get that lifeline needed to reorganise and start rebuilding the company.

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Exclusive Gadgets International

Skip These Phones: Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra

At this year’s Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung released 2 new phones, The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and vanilla Note 20 priced at S$1398 and S$1898, respectively. Our take? There are many other phones in the market that are cheaper and can provide the same experience (other than the S-pen), so pick those instead.

Specs

Both phones come with the latest and greatest Chipsets from Qualcomm and Samsung, with US variants coming with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Chipset in the US and an Exynos 990 Chipsets in most other markets including Singapore.

The vanilla Note 20 comes with 8GB of LPDDR5 ram and 128GB of UFS 3.0 storage, while the Note 20 Ultra has 12GB of LPDDR5 ram paired with 128GB of an even faster UFS 3.1 storage. However, only the Note 20 Ultra has a dedicated microSD card slot for a maximum storage expansion of up to 1 TB.

Battery

Striaght out of the box, both phones come with a 25W fast charger which Samsung claims can top your phone up from 0 to 50% in just 30 minutes, and fast Wireless Charging 2.0 that delivers up to 15W of power. Speaking of charging, the vanilla Note comes with a hefty 4200mAh battery and the Note 20 Ultra comes with an even larger 4500mAh battery that should last you throughout the day. The phones are also still equipped with Samsung’s exclusive PowerShare Feature that allows you to charge other devices wirelessly by simply placing them on the back of your phone.

Display

These batteries have to power the monolith 6.9-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X curved display on the Note 20 Ultra and a normal 6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED flat display on the vanilla Note 20 with an Infinity – O hole punch for the selfie camera in the center. The most disappointing difference between the 2 models is the exclusivity of a high refresh rate 120Hz display on the Note 20 Ultra. At this price point, all phones should come with this feature — even Samsung’s own S20 released at the start of the year has a high refresh rate 120Hz display with a lower starting point. To make matters worse, many new budget phones like the One Plus Nord has a 90Hz FHD+ display and its price is just under half the price of the vanilla Note 20. Despite this, both displays have excellent color reproduction and are bright enough to use outdoors without any glare.

Build

These displays are both protected by different variants of Corning Gorilla Glass — Gorilla Glass 5 on the vanilla Note 20 and the new Gorilla Glass Victus on the Note 20 Ultra. Tests by Corning have shown Gorilla Glass Victus surviving drops onto hard, rough surfaces from up to 2 meters. These phones also have glass backs and have a build of anodised aluminum like many other flagship phones out there. The Vanilla Note 20 is available in eye popping Mystic Green, Mystic Bronze, and Mystic Gray, while the Note 20 Ultra comes in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White.

S-Pen

New improvements have also been made to the Notes Signature feature, the S-pen. This year, Samsung has managed to drastically reduce the latency of the S-pen from 42ms down to just 26ms for the vanilla Note 20 and  9ms for the Note 20 Ultra to match Apple pencil levels of responsiveness akin to writing on physical paper.

Camera

Both phones have the same 10MP, f/2.2 80-degree FOV front facing camera that supports 4K 60 fps recording. On the back, both phones have triple cameras. They also share the same Ultrawide 12-megapixel F2.2 120-degree FOV camera perfect for group shots and landscapes. The two phones have different main and zoom cameras. The main camera on the Vanilla Note 20 is a 12-megapixel F1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS 79-degree FOV sensor capable of 4K 60 fps recording. Things get interesting with the Note 20 Ultras 108-megapixel F1.8, OIS 79-degree FOV sensor. This camera, also found on the S20 ultra, was plagued with video auto-focus issues that made it almost impossible to use when shooting video despite its 8K capabilities. To combat this, the Note 20 Ultra comes with a hardware solution, a new red laser auto-focus module that has appeared to solve the auto-focus issues. On a separate note, both phones can shoot in 8k 30 fps video. The Note 20 Ultra can do so on its main camera, but the Vanilla Note 20 uses the zoom camera instead, so to shoot 8k videos you have to zoom in 3 times. The zoom lens on the Note 20 ultra is a 12MP, f/3.0, telephoto camera, 5x Optical zoom sensor, and the vanilla Note 20 has a 64MP, f/2.0, telephoto, 3x Hybrid Optic zoom sensor.

Bottom Line

Both the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are phones with excellent performance and design but with extremely steep starting prices that are just too expensive for what you’re getting. The screen on the Note 20 is a deal breaker for me, so unless you really need an S-pen, don’t buy the new Notes. Phones like the S20 offer comparable performance with its 120Hz Display and since they have been around for a while now, they probably would be a lot cheaper than the Notes.

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Exclusive Local News Singapore

Hyflux Saga: What Happened, and What’s Next

On 13 August, Hyflux announced that an unsecured working group of bank lenders (UWG) has filed its application for a judicial management order, following an extension of the deadline from 7 August to 12 August granted by the Singapore High Court. 

Justice Aedit Abdullah gave the green light for the filing of the judicial management order last month, taking into consideration UWG’s case that they could no longer trust Hyflux’s management for any restructuring efforts. Justice Aedit Abdullah had previously rejected the judicial management order, but reiterated that the application could be revived if needed. He stated during a hearing last May, “A moratorium is meant to be a temporary solution to allow a company to put something together… but it doesn’t mean I can give a blank cheque for the moratorium going forward.” 

If given the go ahead, this order would allow the group of bank lenders — Mizuho, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC Bank, KfW, Korea Development Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank — to carve out their respective shares from Hyflux’s debt moratorium. 

This is the second time that the UWG has applied for a Judicial Management Order. The first was done in May 2019, but was met with resistance from Hyflux, which refuted that judicial management applications often lead to liquidation of a company. 

Hyflux had its break in 2001, when it became the first water treatment company to be listed in Singapore, and secured the water treatment project to supply and install the process equipment for the Newater plant in Bedok. The company then went on to clinch other major projects, such as the third Newater plant in Seletar, the SingSpring Desalination Plant. 

Another success came a decade later, when Ms Olivia Lum, CEO of Hyflux, became the first Singaporean and the first woman to win the Ernst & Young (EY) World Entrepreneur of the Year award. That year, Hyflux also won Singapore’s second and largest seawater desalination project, which led them to propose building an on-site 411 megawatt combined cycle power plant to produce electricity for the desalination plant and power grid — the Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Project, which formally began its operation in 2016. 

However, Hyflux’s foray into the energy business did not go as well as predicted. 

With the dip in electricity prices in Singapore, the Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Project registered a net loss of S$81.9 million at the end of 2017. 

The loss of profit can be attributed to various factors. According to Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director of the NUS Business School’s Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations, Hyflux’s risk management committee met only once in the 2017 financial year — a red flag considering the high-risk nature of their business. 

There have also been questions raised about the management practices within the company. In an interview with TODAY, NUS corporate governance expert Mak Yuen Teen, pointed out that Hyflux’s board of directors may not have adequately questioned Ms Lum’s decisions, as the latter is known to have a strong personality. 

Another problem could be due to the fact that the eight-member board includes two former employees — which present a level of conflict of interest. Non-executive independent director Christopher Murugasu was Hyflux’s senior vice-president for corporate services and Mr Gary Kee, a non-executive non-independent director, was its executive director overseeing areas such as corporate finance and information technology. Having ex-employees on the board could be problematic, as boards are meant to represent shareholders’ views and monitor the management. 

As such, after reporting a year of consecutive profit loss in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, Hyflux decided to appeal to the High Court for a supervision of business and debt reorganisation. A 6-month debt moratorium — filed under Section 211B of the local Companies Act — was also granted, hence protecting Hyflux from court proceedings from creditors and investors while restructuring was underway. This would allow Hyflux to focus on discussion with investors, optimise operations and complete ongoing projects to generate some cash flow.

The moratorium has since been extended multiple times to accommodate Hyflux’s efforts to restructure — much to the frustration of more than 34,000 investors, who have been seeking reprieve since 2018. 

To add on to their problems, Hyflux’s restructuring process has also been shaky, as a significant portion of local bonds have been bought by individual investors, leading to difficulties in uniting investors when it comes to decision making. 

Amidst these troubles, another stumbling block appeared in late January 2020, when Hyflux’s legal advisor expressed intent to resign, owing to a “lack of confidence”. The company has retorted by saying that they too have lost confidence in their existing legal advisors, and have since appointed new ones.

So, what’s next for Hyflux?

Hyflux has undergone negotiations with various investors in a bid to save their business. Some of these entities include Middle Eastern utility firm, Utico, Pison Investments led by Johnny Widjaja, Unilegend Investments, and Aqua Munda. 

Out of all these potential suitors, Utico and Johnny Widjaja through Pison Investments have been touted the ‘white knights’, as both have outlined their desire to save Hyflux from its financial troubles. In an agreement which took months of negotiation to materialise, Utico offered to take a 95% stake in Hyflux, in exchange for a $400 million ‘rescue’ deal whilst Pison Investments have set aside $200 million for debt repayment and working capital. Mr Widjaja believes in the potential of Hyflux and aims to integrate Hyflux’s water treatment services with the coastal industrial estate he plans to build in Java . 

As the possibility of judicial management looms, Hyflux has to choose on a rescue package soon or face the prospect of liquidation which often happens to companies under judicial management. The fate of many retail investors numbering close to 34,000 and their prospects of recovering any part of their investments will be known in the coming weeks.

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Asia Bali Destinations Exclusive Lifestyle Manila Philippines Travel Insights

Unique Airbnb Experiences in Southeast Asia

Many of us are familiar with Airbnb by now and know it as the go-to online marketplace that connects homeowners with travellers, by offering their properties as accommodation for tourists. Today, there are over 7 million Airbnb accommodation listings around the globe. 

In 2016, Airbnb launched ‘Experiences’ as a way to elevate their travel services. This feature gives access to travellers who are looking for experiences that go beyond famous landmarks and well-known tourist destinations. What’s more is that these activities are curated and organised by local hosts themselves, which gives it a more authentic feel for tourists. 

Ever since they integrated ‘Experiences’ into the mix, this has definitely changed the game significantly for the travel industry.

Here’s a list of unique Airbnb experiences that you can encounter right here in Southeast Asia!

Cambodia: Discover the Hidden Gems of Angkor Wat on Bike

What’s better than discovering one of the largest temple complexes in the world than by bike? Visitors will come face to face with astounding structures that are full of history like the Elephant Terrace, Preah Khan, and Srah Srang, which is commonly known as ‘The Royal Baths’. 

Many tourists that have joined this historical bike tour have mentioned that it was refreshing to be able to explore the temples on bike, since it is typically visited by taxi or tuk-tuk.

Angkor Bike Tour Discovery: From S$78/person 

Indonesia: Immerse Yourself in The Balinese Culture and Witness the Uluwatu Kecak Fire Dance 

Bali has been ranked as the most-visited destination for foreign tourists in all of Indonesia is loved by many for their world-class surf spots and stunning beaches. But beyond all of that, Bali’s cultural roots run deep and can be felt everywhere around the Island, and is something visitors should not miss. 

The Uluwatu Temple is dubbed by many as the best sunset spot in Bali with a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean from atop a cliff. What makes this spot special is their famous Kecak Fire Dance, which is a portrayal of the historical Ramayana. Visitors will surely be mesmerised by the dancers’ movements and the burning bright flames. 

Uluwatu Kecak Fire Dance & Sunset: From S$49/person 

Laos: Try Your Hand at Traditional Weaving with Katu Sisters

Traditional weaving has been a long-standing tradition in Laos for many years. Weaving emerged in Laos due to the cultural contact of different ethnic groups in the country and has birthed a beautiful and intricate art form that many locals take pride in. 

In this experience, tourists will be able to make their own crafts from headbands, bracelets, camera straps, coasters, and even bookmarks, as well learn the history of weaving from the locals themselves. 

Traditional Weaving with Katu Sisters: From S$64/person 

The Philippines: Taste and See the Real Manila 

Unsplash

The Philippines is home to some 7,100 islands and has some of the world’s best beaches like Boracay, El Nido in Palawan, and world-famous surf spot, Siargao Island. But what many don’t know is that the streets of Manila hold such a rich history. 

Discover the hidden gems of this Philippine capital on this AirBnb experience with activities ranging from eating local street food, visiting the historic Stanta Cruz Church, the oldest apartments in the city, and your typical Filipino markets. You’ll also have the chance to ride on a jeepney, which is one of the most common modes of transportation for many Filipinos that many tourists find unique. This Airbnb experience is perfect for travellers who are strapped for time and have a day or two to spare on their short layover in the Philippines. 

Hidden Gems of Manila: From S$51/person 

Vietnam: Cruise Through the Mekong River Just Like The Locals 

If you even just one day to spare outside of the city when in Vietnam, you should definitely spend it at the Mekong River when in the South. The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world and winds itself around five other countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. 

In this tour, tourists will get first-hand local experience through a range of activities from enjoying a boat ride to Thoi Son Island, visiting a bee farm, indulging in a Southern local lunch on a riverside restaurant, as well as watching traditional folk music performances. 

Explore Mekong River Delta Day Trip: From S$46/person 

We have yet to uncover all of the hidden treasures of Southeast Asia and we’re just getting started. In the meantime, try adding these unique experiences to your list on your next adventure!