After two and a half years of working on this, my new book, The Romance of Grand Tour – 100 Years of Travel in Southeast Asia is finally to be launched on 15th April, 2015 in my home city of Singapore.
It is a new coffee table book celebrating the Grand Tour of Southeast Asia in the 1920s. Retracing the journey of those grand tourists of the ‘20s, the book takes today’s traveller through 12 fabled port cities in what was then known as the East Indies.
Setting sail from Rangoon (Yangon), we visit Penang, Malacca, Singapore, Batavia (Jakarta), Surabaya, Bangkok, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Phnom Penh, Hanoi and Manila before disembarking at Hong Kong harbour.
Each chapter presents a historical and photographic overview of the city’s old town, colonial precincts and living cultural heritage, drawing on archival images, maps and accounts, as well as contemporary photos.
In each city, we also stop at the city’s grand colonial hotel – the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang and the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, to name a few.
As part of the on-going marketing and publicity campaign for the book, I am starting this new blog, where in the course of the year, I shall be posting images, photographs, maps and quotes from my book; interesting stories related to the “making of” the book; book events in the region, AND – as a plus – images, quotes, bits of history that are related to the history of travel, or to the 12 port cities in my book, but which did not make it into the “final cut.”
Welcome on board ship… and to a year of history, nostalgic and excitement!