Globetrotting with CNA presenter Dawn Tan

The Channel NewsAsia presenter says the best tea she’s ever tasted was tea made with fresh camel’s milk in India. How fresh? Very fresh

Dawn Tan 48, CNA Producer & Presenter
Dawn Tan 48, CNA Producer & Presenter
27 Jan 2016

Dawn Tan 48, CNA Producer & Presenter

TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY: “I travel first to lose myself, and to move into a realm that is outside my comfort zone. Secondly, I visit distant lands to experience the allegorical grandeur of travel, to reconnect with Mother Earth and to pay homage to the history that brought us here, to this point in time.”

RESEARCH OR WING IT? “I research extensively, get all the pertinent travel apps, sign up for e-mail notifications — from the travel sites, airlines, hotels, and car rental places — read reviews, cross check and corroborate said reviews to make sure they are valid. At the end of all this [research], I realise that the information overload is starting to create anxiety. So once I arrive at my destination, I would more or less throw caution to the wind and go into ‘wing it’ mode.

THE PACKING LIST: “A DSLR camera, a small video camera, a tripod or monopod. Otherwise, I travel light and pack just enough clothing for whatever trip I’m going on and I tend to buy toiletries at my destination. Labels and zip lock bags are my friends. I take a few snapshots of what I am bringing just in case something goes missing. I abhor paying the exorbitant excess fees, so I check my luggage with a handheld luggage scale I picked up online and I often bring it with me if I do any shopping.”

(Pictured above) Lady of the Lake: Dawn chilling out by Lake Como, Italy. (Yes, the same place where George Clooney bought a house.) “I always bring a book when I travel,” says Dawn. “But I’m usually so engrossed in the energy of the unchartered moment that I don’t get around to reading much. In any case, foreign lands are like books with no titles and endless chapters — just flip the page!”

Borobudur, Java
Borobudur, Java
27 Jan 2016

Borobudur, Java

MY 48-HOUR GETAWAY: “Borobudur, Java. This 9th century Buddhist temple is one of history’s marvels. Get to the top of the temple at sunrise, close your eyes. Breathe. And soak up the vibes and the extraordinary views of the surrounding country and volcanoes that tower on the horizon.”

THIS HAPPENED TO ME: “I missed a flight in Mumbai bound for Bhuj in Gujarat to meet the Maharajah of Kutch for an interview. I was told I could catch another flight the next day but what I wasn’t told was that flights were booked solid for the next two weeks. The domestic flight to Bhuj was relatively short — just about over an hour. I figured that to drive there shouldn’t take more than a few hours ’cos I was thinking along the lines of Singapore to KL. So I hired a car to drive us from Mumbai to Bhuj, only to discover that it’s a whopping 856km to Bhuj. When I called to inform my host, he was aghast. “Dawn, are you crazy? It’s a two-day road trip to Bhuj! You’ll never make the interview!” The Maharajah’s schedule was very tight and the appointment had already been fixed and so what followed was the hastiest, bumpiest race across India to make that appointment. Happy to say I made it in time [but I was] exhausted and looking a little worse for wear.

Lake Como
Lake Como
27 Jan 2016

Lake Como

BEEN THERE DONE THAT: “[One of my memorable trips] was a 10-week book-writing road trip across India with my then- boyfriend, now husband, Todd. We traversed six states in search of tribal communities that were being marginalised in a quickly modernising India. One community we met, the Gond tribals, lived in the village of Patangarh in Madya Pradesh. There, almost every family has an artist highly skilled in a traditional style of tribal art threatened by modernisation. There were over 170 artists in one village!

“On the same trip, we met the Rabari tribe in Kutch. They offered us tea made by one of the tribal elders with rich camel’s milk. I accepted the offer and the elder summarily disappeared behind some bushes. A few minutes later he emerged with a steel bowl full of a white frothy liquid. It was indeed the camel’s milk for the tea he’d offered — milk fresh from the teat of a mother camel tied up behind the bush, and it was still body-temperature warm! Oh boy. Best tea ever!

“Another trip was my introduction to Lake Como in Italy. My American husband lived in Milan for many years and he called it his second home. He took me there for my first visit in 2011 and I loved it so much that we got married there in 2012! We return to the lake as often as we can and stay at the Villa D’este Hotel in Cernobbio. Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, the shores of Lake Como are studded with grand palazzos and villas which can be visited year round. And no, I haven’t seen George Clooney there yet!”

NEXT DESTINATION: “Discovering the countryside of Mongolia on horseback and listening to nomads perform khoomei or throat singing.”

Dawn says go here…
Dawn says go here…
27 Jan 2016

Dawn says go here…

Big Sur, California: “I cannot extol the virtues of the raw beauty and energy of Big Sur with more enthusiasm. This amazing region shoehorned between the Santa Lucia Range and the Pacific Ocean is breathtaking and a must-visit on one’s bucket list. A trekker’s dream, the area has a vast array of walks of different lengths, depending on what you’re game for. Every corner you turn is another amazing vista to behold. Go for a day trip if you are visiting San Francisco or stay overnight at one of the many retreats hidden away in the forest. Nature at its most pristine.”

Dawn says go here…
Dawn says go here…
27 Jan 2016

Dawn says go here…

The Great White Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India: “The White Rann is a salt marsh that is flooded during monsoon, and then it reappears as the dry winter sets in. Located in the northwest of Gujarat, the Great Rann spills into Pakistan which you can see from one of the highest points in the area called Kalo Dungar. The outer belt of the Rann of Kutch comprises the Banni grasslands, the largest natural grassland in the Indian subcontinent. It teems with wildlife and birds, including flamingos. Dotted here and there are small pastoral villages which produce some of India’s finest hand embroidery like nothing I’ve seen on this planet.”

Dawn says go here…
Dawn says go here…
27 Jan 2016

Dawn says go here…

Alappuzha (or Allepey), Kerala, India: “This is a city on the Laccadive Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala. There are wonderful houseboat cruises along the rustic Keralan backwaters in a network of tranquil canals and lagoons. Witness the intricate preparations of a Kathakali performance in the evening.”

(Pictured above) Just cruisin’: Dawn with her husband in Alappuzha.

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