Always Exploring

Our Booking Explorers

Travel is back and it's time to reconnect with the destinations, cultures, people, and experiences that we love.

In this second edition of Booking Explorers, we celebrate the adventurers and trailblazers among us in the Asia Pacific who keep the spirit of travel alive, despite the struggles and disruptions we continue to face.

Be inspired by our explorers as they share their most treasured experiences of home and take us on a journey to rediscover the beauty of the region and what it means to travel sustainably.

Start exploring with Booking.com

Simon Toohey

Simon
Toohey

For fans of MasterChef Australia, Chef Simon Toohey is a familiar face. Previously a contestant on the popular cooking competition, the affable chef now has his own YouTube channel where he’s on a mission to “make vegetables tasty again”. Toohey is a big believer of the benefits of a plant-based diet and is always on the lookout for the freshest, most unique produce in and around his hometown of Melbourne.

As an intrepid traveller, Toohey says he draws inspiration from the new ingredients and flavours he encounters on his trips. However, even after travelling to far-flung destinations across the world, Toohey still has a soft spot for Australia. “The sheer size of the country means we have nearly every type of climate, which allows us to grow so much of the world’s produce,” he enthuses. And, of course, there’s the coffee. “Melbourne has some of the best coffee in the world, and it’s something I miss whenever I’m abroad.”

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quot For me, travelling is the ultimate form of creativity and freedom. quot

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quot Melbourne’s culinary arts are a representation of the hyper-local produce we find here. quot

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Shanaya Kapoor

Shanaya Kapoor

Having grown up in a family of showbiz personalities, it’s no surprise that Shanaya Kapoor continues to live her life in the spotlight. Born to Bollywood power couple Sanjay and Maheep Kapoor, the popular Instagram personality is set to star in an upcoming film Bedhadak, slated for release in 2023.

When she’s not busy with filming, the free-spirited Kapoor can often be spotted at trendy spots in and around her homeground, Mumbai. A particular favourite is Soho House, which she loves because of its energetic vibe and strict no-phones policy, ensuring party-goers enjoy more freedom to simply be themselves.

Kapoor also frequents the creative district of Kala Ghoda, which is lined with contemporary art galleries, designer cafes and streetside art stalls.

Shanaya Kapoor

On days when she wants to decompress, Kapoor says she heads to Marine Drive. This 3km-long stretch of road by the coast is particularly peaceful after hours on weekdays, and she gets to relax to the sounds of the waves lapping on the beach.

quot It’s impossible to take in the beauty of India in a single trip. quot

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quot Mumbai is a place where dreams come true. quot

Quang Dai

Quang Dai

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Model. Entrepreneur. Travel blogger.

Vietnamese lifestyle personality Quang Dai may wear many hats but the one he’s most proud of is being an advocate for a greener way of life. The multi-hyphenate Saigon native has taken part in several environmental movements, including WeDo 2019 and Earth Hour 2020, and is a champion for a more sustainable way of living and travelling.

“The planet and its supply doesn’t just belong to us but to our future generations,” Quang Dai says. “We should give back by recreating, reusing, and recycling. Our present actions ensure a future and a healthy habitat for all species.”

As a natural explorer, Quang Dai is also convinced that Vietnam has so much to offer the curious traveller, beyond surface-level interactions and trite tourist attractions. “From the north to the south, you can experience a rich variety of food, culture and natural beauty. In fact, even within Saigon itself, there are many surprises to be found.”

quot Even within Saigon itself, there are many surprises to be found. quot

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quot The planet and its supply don’t just belong to us but to our future generations. quot

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MY Q

MY Q

Singing. Songwriting. Painting. Cinematography. Stage Design. Name any role in the creative field and multi-hyphenate MY Q has probably checked the box. The charismatic multi-disciplinary artist has been producing jazzy, soulful music since the noughties but is also heavily involved in Seoul’s burgeoning contemporary art scene.

“Even as Korean pop culture continues to spread around the world, I think Koreans are always on the search for creative talent – not just mainstream artists but independent, less-known ones as well,” says MY Q.

This is one of many reasons why he loves his home city of Seoul, which is a hotbed of creativity for music, cinematography, art and design.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the underground music scene or are happy to wander the vast hallways of the city’s many contemporary art museums and galleries, there is something for everyone in the South Korean capital.

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quot When people open their hearts
to creativity, this helps break
barriers and pushes our culture to
the next level. quot

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quot The entire city is bursting with creativity – you just need to know where to look and be open to the experience. quot

Ai Tominaga

Ai
Tominaga

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As one of the first Asian faces to appear on the international editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and having walked the runways of fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, Ai Tominaga is a familiar name in high fashion. The 40-year-old supermodel has been in the fashion industry for over two decades but continues to dominate headlines, with her likeness being set to be launched as an NFT later this year.

Off the runway, however, Tominaga leads a low-key lifestyle and prefers spending time with her young son in the Japanese countryside. While she’s currently based in Tokyo, Tominaga is originally from the laid-back city of Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture. “This is my favourite place in the world because it’s where I can forget the hustle and bustle of city living, and simply enjoy quality time with family and friends amidst beautiful nature,” she says.

quot As someone who is used to always being on the go, being in nature forces me to slow down. quot

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quot The energy in Shibuya and Harajuku is unlike anywhere else in Japan, or even the world. quot

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