Travel News – April 2023

Hom Opens at the InterContinental Phuket Resort

hom is now open in InterContinental Phuket Resort, with a profound focus to flavour improvement to highlight the best of each product. The restaurant, helmed by Chef Ricardo Nunes, is a celebration of the ancient fermenting techniques that have long brought civilizations together.

Chef Ricardo Nunes is a purveyor of locavorism, seasonality, and curiosity. He previously worked in a number of restaurants with Michelin stars, including Potong, Belcanto, and Gaggan. Mateo Polanco, the resident zymologist, collaborates closely with Chef Ricardo to refine the intricate fermentation procedures used in all of hom’s meals and drinks. Because of their natural curiosity and desire for discovery, Chef Ricardo and Mateo are able to produce menus that are always unique. They firmly believe in the quest of continuous growth.

“The techniques used in the hom kitchen centre around flavour elevation; we will excite curious diners by presenting ingredients in new and inspiring ways, whilst maintaining a respect for the true nature of each ingredient.”

Chef Ricardo Nunes of hom

Peter Lucas, the Restaurant Manager, leads the hom team. Peter has over ten years of experience working in restaurants with Michelin stars; most recently, he served as the restaurant manager at Baan Tepa in Bangkok. He has previously held positions in restaurants like Restaurant Savelberg in Thailand and Ciel Blue in the Netherlands.

Prior to creating the meals, Chef Ricardo explores the island of Phuket for feasible foods that grow or live there. The team then explores the use of traditional fermentation techniques to enhance flavours, elevating the produce while maintaining a respect for the real character of each component.

The meticulous care taken by the hom team has resulted in a well-balanced 10-course tasting menu. Their goal is to surprise adventurous diners and encourage exploration and discovery. The beverage programme will perfectly go with the cuisine selection.

The hom team works closely with local producers as protectors and supporters of the surrounding ecology. The symbiotic connection makes it possible for information to flow both ways, eventually assuring the protection of local resources while avoiding overproduction.

The experiential journey begins as soon as guests enter InterContinental Phuket Resort. Visitors are regaled with tales of the resorts’ illustrious Himmapan heritage as they make their way to the stunning Sawan Pavillion, where hom is housed. A Monta Flower-inspired chandelier hovers above the pavilion’s interior, where white and silver accents contribute to the space’s beautiful vibe. Each guest receives a curated memories bag before leaving.

hom operates from Tuesdays to Saturdays with dinner starting at 6:30 pm.

For reservations, head over to

What’s New in Australia – April 2023

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Stunning views of the iconic Sydney Harbour captured at Vivid Sydney by Tourism Australia

Indulge in the allure of the Australian autumn and gear up for a range of activities – from coastal walks and bike trails to road trips and iconic laneways – Australia invites visitors to experience the latest events, restaurant openings, and exciting new stays.

  • Vivid Sydney (Sydney/ Warrane, New South Wales): Invigorating the city of Sydney this May is the city’s award-winning annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology – Vivid Sydney which runs from 26 May – 17 June 2023. The awe-inspiring festival is back with a renewed focus on nature beauty, natural brilliance and natural wonder. Embodying 2023’s theme of Vivid Sydney, Naturally, the event will feature boundary-pushing artists, thinkers, musicians and culinary experts of our time who celebrate nature and authenticity. 
  • Tasting Australia (Adelaide/ Tarntanya, South Australia): Australia’ longest running eating and drinking festival which runs from 28 April to 7 May 2023 is a celebration of people, produce and places, Tasting Australia is a ten-day celebration of exceptional eating and drinking experiences. This year’s edition features a tantalising program of Masterclasses, intimate tastings with Tasting Tables and Chef’s Table where you can witness world-famous chefs at work while hearing the stories behind their craft. 
  • Gold Coast Film Festival (Brisbane/ Meeanjin, Queensland): Discover Queensland’s screen industry and how locals bring film to life at the annual 12-day Gold Coast Film Festival which runs from 19 April till 30 April 2023. With more than 100 films, panels, parties, pop-up cinemas and special events right across the Gold Coast, learn more about diverse Australian and International films, filmmakers, and film events.
  • Dark Mofo (Hobart/ nipaluna, Tasmania): This year marks a decade of Dark Mofo, a provocative midwinter festival that stretches imaginations with its unique, artistic expression. Explore a variety of offerings from the iconic Winter Feast to the nude solstice swim. This daring festival which runs from 8 – 22 June 2023 will allow for extreme merry making with its mesmerizing exhibitions, astounding visual shows at the Dark Park, and scrumptious spread for all to enjoy. 
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Enjoy a coastal walk with sweeping landscapes of the South Coast. Photo by R Brand/DPE

  • Murramarang South Coast Walk (South Coast, New South Wales):  Power up and reenergise with this new 34km Murramarang South Coast Walk on Yuin Country, starting at Pretty Beach to wherever your heart wants to take you to. Walking packages include transfers, a welcome tour, camping or accommodation at a choice of five beachside campgrounds, or beach-side cabins at Pretty, Pebbly, and Depot beaches, as well as local accommodation options in coastal villages along the route.
  • Hazy Days Bike Trail at Blue Derby (Derby, Tasmania): Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails has launched Hazy Days, a beginners mountain bike trail north-east of Tasmania. Just a 90-minute drive northeast of Launceston, the trail is free to access, offering an approachable, rolling terrain perfect for beginners looking for a thrilling ride. Build up on your biking skills and work your way up to riding Blue Derby Mountain Bike’s many other world-class trails.
  • Wawa Biik (Euroa and Nagambie, Victoria): Explore the rich culture and immerse into the Taungurung story with three new cultural experiences recently launched by Taungurung Land and Waters Council (TlaWC). Each experience explores a different part of Tungurung Land, just an hour north of Melbourne. Wawa Nagambie explores the rich layers of living culture embodied in the land and waterways around Nagambie; wawa Euroa welcomes visitors to Euroa Arboretum (‘the Arb’), a nurtured pocket of Taungurung Country; and wawa tablik-tablik uncovers the 1,214 hectares of river flats located at Tahbilk Winery and Wetlands, with an extensive frontage to the Goulburn River and impressive backwaters and creeks. Visitors learn about cultural heritage, ceremony, the impacts of colonisation on Country and the next generation of Taungurung Culture.
  • Litchfield Waterfalls & Finnis River Lodge (Darwin, Northern Territory): Nautilus Aviation has added a new experience to its ranks with the Litchfield Waterfalls & Finnis River Lodge tour via helicopter. Guests can hop on this four-hour tour in Darwin and fly 100km south to Finnis River Lodge in Litchfield National Park, where they land for a bespoke meal. The flying time will include a view of pristine waterfalls and giant canyons, accompanied by a guided tour that encapsulates the most iconic experiences of Australia’s Top End. Stop for an exhilarating dip at a private swimming spot at Sandy Creek before you head back to Darwin.
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Bask in uninterrupted views of Bondi Beach while you indulge in Australian coastal dining at Promenade Bondi Beach.  Photo by Promenade Bondi Beach

·         Promenade Bondi Beach (Sydney/Warrane, New South Wales): Dine at Promenade Bondi Beach, located in the scenic Bondi Pavilion by Australia’s most iconic beach. Situated under the historic arches and Spanish-inspired roof of the Bondi Pavilion, this spacious venue offers a restaurant, intimate private spaces, and a sprawling beachside terrace bar. Soak up the sun and surf while you indulge in delicious seaside dining, with influences from coastal regions around the globe made with contemporary techniques that champion Australian produce.

·         Mount Monument Restaurant (Romsey, Victoria): Nestled on the southern side of Mount Monument in Victoria’s stunning Macedon Ranges, the two-storey Mount Monument Restaurant is carved into the hillside. This stunning dining venue includes an elevated floor offering breath-taking views of the eastern horizon and vineyard, while the cellar door faces west towards the forecourt and curated sculpture park. The menu features modern European fine dining staples to complement Mount Monument’s minimal-intervention, French-style wines. Indulge in a four-course meal paired with the perfect wine to end your day.

·         Vin Populi (Fremantle, Western Australia): Savour the taste of authentic Italian cuisine at Vin Populi. Step inside from Fremantle’s High Street and be transported to a classic Italian trattoria, complete with exposed plaster walls, mosaic-tiled floors, and soft linen valance curtains. With traditional and contemporary Italian dishes, including freshly-made pasta and sensational cured meats, Vin Populi provides the perfect pairing to complete your meal with their extensive selection of both Italian and local wines.

·         Any Given Sunday (Adelaide/Tarntanya, South Australia): Discover Any Given Sunday, the newest addition to Adelaide’s north-west hospitality scene. Open all week, this coffee shop is located in a charmingly converted corner store and is already causing a stir among locals. Serving up delectable coffee and pastries with a selection of sandwiches and toasties, Any Given Sunday is the perfect spot for a morning pick-me-up or a leisurely breakfast.

·         Totti’s Lorne (Lorne, Victoria): Totti’s, Merivale’s beloved Bondi restaurant, has expanded its horizons and ventured to the coastal town of Lorne. Step off the beach and into Totti’s Lorne, where you can find Totti’s signature dishes with a local touch. Sip and snack on delectable dishes showcasing the finest local seafood and produce, from succulent King George Whiting to tender Apollo Bay octopus, accompanied by local wines to show off the best of the region.

Wake up in the heart of the city, where you can step right into Melbourne’s iconic laneways. Photo by Laneways by Ovolo

  • Laneways by Ovolo (Melbourne/Narrm, Victoria): Laneways by Ovolo is inspired by the colourful 80s Memphis Group design, the reimagined public spaces and rooms, as well as an all-new drinking and dining venue, Amphlett House, promise to elevate Melbourne’s hotel experience with a colourful nod (and cheeky wink) to the city’s vibrant laneways and eclectic offerings.
  • Kyneton Springs Motel (Kyneton, Victoria): Have a feel of a classic Australian road trip and the cool glamour of California’s Palm Springs in the newly refurbished Kyneton Springs Motel. Created by former restaurateur Catherine Foote and the creative team at Good / Hands, the aesthetic new look is filled with nostalgic vibes. Just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Kynetons newest motel is the perfect stop for countryside road trips with no two spaces the same; all 20 kitschy-cool rooms have been individually designed and come with Wi-Fi, access to streaming services, high-quality bedding, and deluxe bathroom products
  • Horizontal Falls (Talbot Bay, Western Australia): Discover one of the world’s greatest wonders with the Ultimate Horizontal Falls Luxury Stay. Departing from Talbot Bay in the Kimberley, the 24-hour voyage on the Jetwave Pearl, a floating hotel, offers 20 guests three types of rooms, including premium cabins with queen beds, en-suites and balconies. Splurge on the luxury package for a phenomenal experience, with a scenic seaplane flight over the enchanting Horizontal Falls, power boat cruises through the creek system, locally sourced dinners, and more.
  • Vibe Hotel Adelaide (Adelaide/Tarntanya, South Australia): Celebrate local talent of Adelaide when you book a room at Vibe Hotel Adelaide. Every room in this accommodation features photography from local artist, Alex Frayne, and displays contemporary inspired furnishings that further encapsulate the South Australian spirit. Located moments from the city’s dining and cultural hub, the hotel is in walking distance to the iconic Rundle Mall, Central Market, Botanic Gardens, Hutt Street and Vardon Avenue.
  • Ritz-Carlton Melbourne (Melbourne, Narrm): Soaring 80 stories above the city, The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne hosts 257 elegantly appointed rooms or suites for guests to bathe in the hotel’s breath-taking views of the city. Enjoy an elevated experience with the hotel’s signature level 80 dining experience at Atria, multiple holistic wellness spaces, and an instantly iconic infinity pool.

Vietjet to Operate the First and Only Direct Service from Hanoi to Phuket in May 2023

Vietjet will be the first airline to fly nonstop between Hanoi and Phuket this summer, as well as between Can Tho and Van Don on a domestic route within Vietnam. Travelers may now take daily direct flights between these locations for the first time ever, which lowers the cost and shortens the journey time.

From May 19, 2023, there will be one daily round-trip direct flight between Hanoi and Phuket, with each flight taking around three hours each leg. Around 11:35, the aircraft leave Hanoi and touch down in Phuket at 14:40. The return flight to Hanoi will leave Phuket at 15:45 and land in Hanoi at 18:35.

Vietjet will also connect Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh Province, the entryway to the Northeast economic zone and Ha Long Bay, with Can Tho, the Mekong Delta hub in Southwest Vietnam, starting on April 25, 2023. There are three flights every week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, each taking two hours and twenty minutes. Around 6:00, the aircraft leave Can Tho, and they touch down in Van Don at 8:20. At 8:55, these return flights depart from Van Don and arrive in Can Tho at 11:10.

Tickets can be reserved now at or Vietjet Air mobile app. The airline also offers a 50% discount (*) to customers purchasing SkyBoss/SkyBoss Business tickets by applying the code ALL50SBB for SkyBoss Business and ALL50SB for SkyBoss. This program is valid until 5 May 2023 with travel dates available from now until 12 December 2023.

Vietjet also offers daily two-hour flights on the sole direct route between Ho Chi Minh City and Phuket. In addition to its route between Ho Chi Minh City and Chiang Mai, the airline also operates a busy weekly daily schedule from key Vietnamese cities to Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport), to accommodate the demand for quick and convenient travel to Thailand, a popular regional tourist destination.

Passengers can enhance their experience even further by registering for SkyJoy, Vietjet’s loyalty program to enjoy offers from over 250 favourite F&B, shopping and travel brands in Vietnam via the point redemption scheme. Customers can learn more about SkyJoy and register for the program through the SkyJoy mobile app or at 


Photos courtesy of respective brands

About Tim Chew

Managing Editor and Founder of MHB Digital - More than 15 years of media, marketing, and management experience with various media owners and publishers.

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