Beyond the opulent homes, cars, fashion and soirees, Crazy Rich Asians showcases the best of luxury destinations, like this resort on Gili Island in Indonesia. PICTURE: CRA
Beyond the opulent homes, cars, fashion and soirees, Crazy Rich Asians showcases the best of luxury destinations, like this resort on Gili Island in Indonesia. PICTURE: CRA

Looking for your next luxury destination? 'Crazy Rich Asians' has some of the best

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Apr 19, 2020

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I’ve had a love for the Far East ever since travelling to Hong Kong as a fresh faced 17-year-old. It was two weeks that affirmed my love for what the East represented. I fell in love with just how much they loved to hold onto their culture, while still embracing the modern trappings of life. 

I saw as much luxury in those two weeks than I had ever seen in my life. And I also saw beauty in the simplest of things. 

What will never leave my consciousness though, is walking on Canton Road just after midnight and passing a group of trendy girls all admiring a new Louis Vuitton purse their friend had bought. They were barely 14. They had a chaperone though and he waited to the side so he didn’t have to disturb their high pitched squeals. 

So when I told my friends back home that these young kids were carrying designer bags like it wasn’t a thing, they all thought I was lying. 

When I came across 'Crazy Rich Asians', I sent most of them a link to the review of the book and only then did they believe my story. This was nine years later. 

'Crazy Rich Asians' opened up my eyes to the world of the truly wealthy and how they do things. From giving their pet arowana fish eye lifts, closets that help you to never repeat an item of clothing and jumbo jets that have nightclubs and spas; to shipping freshly made Laduree pastries and macarons and preserves to arrive on time at a hotel in Shanghai. Nothing is normal with how they live. 

But the best part about the books was the far flung destinations that Kevin Kwan wrote about and it’s those I want to draw your attention to. Who knows, these could be your next destination. 


HARBOUR ISLAND, BAHAMAS
In the opening chapter of 'Rich People Problems', the third book in the series, Alfred  Shang, Nick Young’s great-uncle, is entertaining his friends on vacation at Harbour Island, before he receives a distressing call about his sister, Su Yi’s health. 

Kwan describes Harbour Island as: “This three-and-a-half-mile-long paradise with its pristine pink-sand beaches was one of the best-kept secrets in the Caribbean, a haven for the very very rich filled with quaint little wood houses painted in shades of sherbet, charming boutiques, chic oceanfront mansions turned into inns, and five-star restaurants to rival St. Barths.” 

The island is regarded as the crown jewel of the Caribbean.  Harbour Island lies northwest of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Small as it may be, the beaches are beautiful, as are the pastel painted cottages with picket fences,  and the quaint boutique hotels and restaurants. 

And looking at the pictures, it sure does look like a majestic destination. 

PALAWAN ISLAND, PHILIPPINES 

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Palawan Island

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When Astrid Leong, Nick’s super stylish cousin who is in a messy divorce made worse by a cheating scandal, she decides to run away with her son, Cassian and go and live in one of the places her aunt bequeathed to her in her will: an island in Palawan. It’s little surprise that Astrid leaves everything behind to go and build her new life in Palawan. It’s so secret, that the only entrance to Astrid’s island was through the underwater cavern.

While Charlie Wu, her boyfriend, is looking for her, he has to go through various people before he finds her in this paradise so aptly described by Kwan in the book. 

“After about thirty minutes, the gray clouds gave way to open sky and puffy  white clouds, turning the color of the ocean into a deep sapphire. As the speedboat continued to zoom along the Sulu Sea, Charlie stared out to the horizon as fantastical rock formations rose up from the water like apparitions. Soon they were surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of tiny islands floating on the blindingly azure waters. Each island resembled a monolithic rock carved in some otherworldly shape, bursting with lush tropical vegetation and sugary white beaches.”

The island is an Unesco World Heritage Site thanks to it having exotic wildlife, and animal sanctuaries protecting endangered species. 

Palawan is dotted with quaint fishing villages and is regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world. 


GILI ISLANDS, INDONESIA 
Billionaire heiress, Araminta Lee, pulled out all the stops for her bachelorette party, taking her girls to Samsara Island in Indonesia. 

Now while the name may not be real, fans of the book have confirmed that Kwan was describing Gili Island, which fits the description of Samsara.

“Rachel found herself on a sleek white catamaran, the salty ocean breeze whipping through her hair as they sped toward one of the more remote islands. The water was an almost blinding shade of turquoise, interrupted by tiny islands dropped onto the calm surface here and there like dollops of fresh cream.” 

It was one of the islands that the Lee’s had bought and fixed up ahead of opening their new luxury spa resort. 

The island is described as a scuba diving paradise, thanks to the clear water and the coral reefs just offshore. 

The islands are characterized by sandy beaches with palm trees. Those who love turtles will have a chance to see them swimming at Turtle Point.

So maybe these islands will be your next dream destination after life goes back to normal? They are totally on my bucket list now. 
 

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