Is Oklahoma near the top of your USA bucket list? We know ya’ll are obsessed with California and New York but if you’re into epic landscapes, immersive experiences and crowd-free cultural sites, then we recommend updating your list. Stat.

But what, besides its majestic red rocks and green Ozark hills, makes Oklahoma so special? More than half of the state is legally recognised as Native Territory; it’s presently home to 39 different tribes; and is the perfect destination for learning about America’s living Native history.

Antelope Hills in Western Oklahoma.

If you’re looking to get inspired by one of the world’s most fascinating Indigenous cultures, Oklahoma is the place to do it. Not sure where to start? Here’s seven OK experiences to kick off your journey:

1. Dine at Natv

Often unheralded, Native American dining deserves a slice of the culinary limelight. And Broken Arrow’s Natv restaurant is doing just that. Founded by Jacques Siegfriend, of Shawnee descent, this menu is all about showcasing native ingredients in a deliciously, delicious modern way. Farm-to-table, you can expect everything from corn cakes and bison tacos to Sunchoke gnocchi. We’ll take two of everything, please and thank you.

2. Hike Tallgrass Prairie Reserve

Bison basking in the prairie. Too cute.

If you’re of the more active travel persuasion, a little time spent amongst the prairie is gonna satisfy all sorts of nature cravings. This epic expanse (almost 40,000 acres) is the largest tallgrass prairie in the world. Steeped in history and filled with IG-worthy vistas (the kind Native Americans have looked after and enjoyed for centuries), you won’t regret spending a day hiking the Prairie Earth Trail playing spot the bison and bluebird.

3. Attend a powerful Powwow

A Powwow is a sacred ceremonial gathering where Native peoples and their guests come together to sing, dance, drum, celebrate and (sometimes) compete. It’s a powerful and moving tradition to witness, and an important ceremony in Native American culture. There are several Powwow’s that are open to the general public where you MIGHT even be invited by the emcee to participate in a dance and feel the rhythm of the Powwow drums. If that’s your thing.

4. Learn the art of Cherokee twining

Betty Frogg, master twiner.

There’s nothing like upskilling your craft game. And the art of twining is a first class place to start. For Cherokee people, twining by hand with natural fibres is a skill that well predates the arrival of European settlers. On Cherokee land you can learn from Betty Frogg, as she teaches you to twine a small bag. Handy! Cultured! Crafty!

5. Explore the First American Museum

Thirty years in the making, this is a one-of-a-kind museum that tells history through the lens of Native Americans. If you’re looking for an incredible museum experience — this is it. Expect a carefully curated collection of Native narratives, perspectives, histories, cultures and arts. You could get literally lost in the 175,000 square foot centre, but don’t worry there’s a Native-inspired restaurant to keep you fed and watered.

6. Go stargazing at Tenkiller National Park

Sunset view over Tenkiller.

The night sky has been an important facet of Native culture for thousands of years—informing things like agricultural practices. It’s knowledge that’s been passed down through generations. And one of the best places in Oklahoma to look up at that very same sky is Tenkiller National Park. Also known as “heaven in the hills” this slice of paradise is beautiful by day, and astounding by night.

7. Tackle the Trail of Tears

Well, a section of it anyway. Trail of Tears is named for the route that was taken when more than 100,000 Native Americans were forcibly removed from their lands and moved westward. It’s sobering and moving and an especially immersive way to understand this history. The beauty is you can walk, bike or even horse ride parts of the trail, depending on your journey vibe.

En route to Wichita Mountains.



I always get excited when I see an email from my editor about a new travel assignment.

My mind races; perhaps I’ll be experiencing ancient tea ceremonies in the Bhutanese mountains or forging an Arctic path in a luxury icebreaker. There have even been hushed talks of Virgin Galactic taking adventurous journalists on missions to space. Texas, however, is not what I consider an exotic destination. And Grapevine, frankly, sounds like a fake place.

So when I’m invited to journey to the small Texan town of Grapevine to cover a wine festival, I have to read the email twice. Grapevine, Texas. Alas, I’m indeed going to a small intersection between Dallas and Fort Worth that is—apparently—going to knock my socks off. Skeptically, I begin to pack.

As a proud cityslicker from the Yankee part of the US, Texas is quite far off my radar. I’m not into trucks, boots, guns, or livestock, so I normally opt for the saucy Barcelona subculture or the untread beaches in the Marquesas. But all cynicism melts away as I get into my Uber and am met with a warm Texan welcome.

“Oh man, you’re going to GrapeFest? I’m so jealous,” the ridiculously chipper driver, named Shannon, says with genuine excitement. “I’m driving all morning to make some extra cash so I can get down there myself and have-a-time!” According to Shannon, Grapevine—and GrapeFest—is kind of a big deal.

Shannon drops me at the end of Grapevine’s Main Street and that’s when I realise just how big of a deal it is. As far as the eye can see, Bacchanalian revellers are pouring through the barriers and into GrapeFest. I take a deep breath and enter the beautiful chaos.

Surprisingly, Texas is the fifth largest wine producer in the US and GrapeFest is one of the largest wine festivals in the world. What can you find here? Magical bubble lounges where you can sip on sparkling wine while being serenaded; the People’s Choice Award where you can sample over 100 local wines and submit your vote for the best of the bunch; and the famous grape stomping competition (which is harder and just as fun as it sounds).

Click play to watch

With or without this lively wine festival, Grapevine is a charming, somewhat magical town. Home to a classic Main Street with kitsch eateries, store owners who welcome you with “howdy!”, and a Glockenspiel clock that features an animatronic gunslinger shoot-out when it strikes 12; kids run free without worry, and adults sit in the shade talking about how lovely the weather is. People smile here.

I was wrong about Texas—it’s very exotic, and a welcome departure from the more dismissive American states.

Grapevine was founded in 1844 a year after General Sam Houston made a peace pact with 10 of the Indigenous native tribes—making it one of the earliest settlements in the country. Since then it has been the cantaloupe capital of the world (albeit briefly), home to Bonnie and Clyde, and a world-class wine hub.

Whether you’re a vino amateur, a wine enthusiast or a fully-fledged sommelier, there’s something for everyone here. After a few hours of drinking, I need a food break so I jump into a charcuterie board design class where we, yes, learn how to zhush up our house party offerings. I then stop by a wine glass workshop where I get the lowdown on what wines should be served in which glasses. Hint: full-bodied white wines, like aged chardonnay or viognier, are better in a large bowl because it emphasises the creamy texture. Honestly, this blows my mind—the glass shape changes the taste significantly.

Besides all the drinking, eating is also somewhat of a religion in Grapevine. I discover that a stop by the Grapevine Main train station is a must-do if you want epic views and a first-class food haul. You can even jump on stage for some live band karaoke, which is more than we can say for most train stations. Later I join the party at Esparza’s for authentic Tex-Mex that will satisfy even the biggest southern food connoisseur. I think I’m officially a Grapevine convert.

But what makes this place so unique is its perfectly preserved small town vibe. Walking down main street is like stepping back into a bygone western. Fancy trying your hand at a bona fide turn of the century printing press? You can do it at the Grapevine Historical Museum. Really into rodeos? Come see one of the longest running rodeos in the state. Love a honky-tonk? Billy Bobs Texas is the world’s largest. The streets here are a livewire of energy and are packed with characters that bring this western town to life.

It’s rare to find a place with such genuine hospitality. It’s like the entire town is a Disney set­—that’s how welcoming Grapevine is. And while this small pocket of Texas wasn’t on my radar before, it’s definitely on my travel recommendation list now. Especially for all the wine lovers out there.



With live music, acrobatic buskers, an amusement park, beer nosh and over 150 breweries showcasing their craft, Grapevine well and truly converts to Hopville.

We begin our day at the Tastes of Texas, a cordoned off zone with over a hundred different brews from fifty Texan craft geniuses. Brunch begins with a can of Doug, a delicious DDH NEIPA from Dallas’s Outfit Brewing. Doug has some kick at 7.1% and it’s a big day ahead so I decide to stick with the smaller taster glasses. Nine tasters later I tell everyone within earshot I’m moving to Texas.

It’s time to eat and we amble up Grapevine’s main street, now teeming with beer lovers. A guy driving and playing a piano on wheels cruises past and a busker in the distance looks to be standing on his partners head. I question whether the beer is making me see things.

There are food trucks parked down the centre of the street handing out all kinds of festival grub. We opt for the VIP Brews and Bites experience, an eight course beer and food matching extravaganza from the team at Shannon Brewing Company. There’s an educational side to it all but to be honest by the fourth taster my attention span is limited.

This year is also the inaugural Craft Brew Experience, a marquee with over one hundred more breweries from around the USA showing off their best. It’s been a pretty solid start to the day already, but we’re in Texas where everything is bigger so after a pickle shot at legendary Grapevine bar AJ’s I enter the fray like a drunken kid in a candy store.

I’m joined by Neil a qualified Cicerone, or “beer sommelier”. Neil’s beer palate is educated but when he suggests a sour my experienced palate takes over and I lose him quickly. I vote a hazy pale ale named Pseudo Sue from Toppling Goliath Brewing Co in Iowa my beer of the day, but let’s be honest after AJ’s pickle shot nothing really tastes the same.

I’m up early the following morning with a haze in my head no where near as pleasurable as Pseudo Sue. I have a vague recollection of drinking a martini in a speakeasy bar hidden behind a phone booth. My GoPro is nowhere to be seen and my Instagram has a story I have no recollection posting. I look damn happy though, arm in arm with Neil singing along with Little Texas, the headline band, rocking out on the main stage. It is exactly what a beer festival should be.

Footnote – GoPro was returned with even more unusual footage.

A Craft Brew Experience
May 17, 18 and 19th May 2024.


See Grapevine through beer goggles.

The Indo Hit List

An Island by Island Guide to Indonesia's Secret Spots

Don’t get us wrong, we love bali… but Bali is just one of 18,000 (yep, 18,000!) Indonesian islands. So cancel that Yoga Barn class and step away from Potato Head — there’s a whole lotta paradise to be found across Indo’s lesser-known islands.

And because we love you, we’ve curated the bestest, most sickest, totally raddest experiences across the archipelago. In fact, we narrowed it down to one adventure per main island. From sailing with sea nomads and trekking to an acid crater lake to renting your own private island (Branson-style), this is our ultimate guide to Indo’s secret spots.

Click play to watch

Live on a boat and meet Bajau freedivers

The Banggai Island Regency (sounds fancy, right) is an archipelago in Sulawesi.

More accurate definition: HEAVEN ON EARTH. Crystal clear waters, insane diving, remote villages. The Banggai have got it all, and one of the best ways to adventure the area is on a liveaboard. More accurate definition: HEAVEN ON A BOAT.

You’ll get to cruise around the archipelago, even stopping by smaller islands to meet the local, semi-nomadic Bajau people who are known for being able to hold their breath for an incredibly long period of time (thanks to their larger spleens, thanks evolution!) These communities are still very much adhering to a traditional way of life, with houses built on stilts over the water, and living from and with the sea. Truly once in a lifetime.


Kayak the world’s biggest volcanic lake

Sumatra is a veritable wonderland.

Sitting west of Java and south of the Malay Peninsula, it has got orangutans and volcanoes and the world’s biggest volcanic lake! Oh my! That’s right, Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake on earth. Which is quite a feat considering places like Hawai’i and Aotearoa (New Zealand) exist. The site of a supervolcano caldera (the largest known eruption in the last 25 million years) Lake Toba runs 100 kms long, 30 kms wide and is up to 500 metres deep. Wowee.

We recommend jumping in a kayak and pulling up to some of the smaller villages, most of which are traditional ethnic Batak peoples. The main town of Tuk Tuk is definitely on the beaten Sumatra path, but it’s possible to get off it and explore what is a beautiful, enchanting part of Indonesia. If you venture towards the northern end of the lake, don’t miss Sipiso-Piso waterfall—a gargantuan 120-metre flow that free falls from a cave into the water below.


Safari to see the last Javan Rhinos

The Javan rhinoceros has the (unwanted) honour of being considered the rarest large mammal on the planet.

The planet, guys. Thanks to things like habitat degradation and colonial-era trophy hunting, this beautiful species has been reduced to an estimated 70 animals. And they’re all living in Java’s World Heritage Ujung Kulon National Park.

If Attenborough is your idol, this wild, remote and ridiculously biodiverse corner of western Java has your name all over it. While sightings of the rhinoceros are rare (though not to be ruled out) you might also spot other endangered species, like the Javan leopard, silvery gibbon and Javan lutung (a cuddly monkey). Think of it as your Indonesian safari experience.


See a supernatural Tatung parade

Okay, so here’s some history for you: the term ‘tatung’ refers to a person who is believed to be possessed by supernatural spirits called ‘lauya’.

The consequences? Supernatural gifts and powers. Cool, right? You can’t just become a Tatung though, it’s an ability that is passed down through a bloodline.

Tatungs are still celebrated in Kalimantan to this day, and every year on Cap Go Meh day (end of Chinese New Year festivities) you can see all Tatungs in Singkawang take to the streets in a lavish, loud, slightly terrifying way. Why terrifying? One of the rituals involves subjecting your body to pain and torture. So if you’re not good with gore, maybe give this one a miss.


Padar Island Day trekking with a Pink Beach dip

You’ve probably heard of the Komodo Islands before — home to Komodo National Park, territory of the dinosaur-esque Komodo dragon — this Flores region is world-renowned for at least 10 different (very good) reasons.

Not only can you see a 70kg monitor lizard in the wild (pretty extraordinary) but you can follow that up with a boat trip over to Padar Island for IG-worthy trekking.

Padar Island is not the easiest place to explore, considering it requires transport from Labuan Bajo and the payment of an entry fee. But don’t let that deter you, fellow adventurer! The moderate day hiking with panoramic archipelago views are worth every drop of sweat. And you can wash it all off at the (very) Pink Beach anyway. If you’re a photographer, get here stat—golden hours on Padar are otherworldly. And, in good news for your camera gear, the climate here is typically drier and sunnier than the rest of Indo.

Click and KOMO-DO IT

Dive an isolated, global marine hub

If your travel vibe is far-flung isolation with a dose of paradise thrown in, then get yourself to Raja Ampat. Stat.

Home to over 1,500 islands, this archipelago is considered the global centre of marine diversity. THE GLOBAL CENTRE. That means the diving and/or snorkelling, heck, just looking over the side of a boat here, is fantabulous. From dugongs and orcas to some of the world’s most colourful, thriving coral reefs—Raja Ampat is a marine lovers dream. It’s like Finding Nemo on an acid trip.

Click play to watch

There are over 200 dive sites to choose from, but a lot of the diving is best suited to more confident/advanced divers. Many are drift dives, with strong-ish currents whipping you around the reef. Hella exciting for strong divers, not ideal for newbies. That said, the snorkelling here is luminous and stacked with wildlife and the waters are crystal bloody clear.

Click for DEEP DIVE

See blue fire at the world’s largest acid crater

Okay, there are a few volcano hikes to choose from in Indonesia. All of them are epic. But we reckon the lesser-known Ijen volcano complex is up for there for unreal times.

Click play to watch

Located on the border between the Banyuwangi Regency and Bondowoso Regency in East Java, this volcano hike is not for the faint of heart.

You’ll start early and then reach the peak just before sunrise, where you’ll welcome the new day with a panoramic vista and view to a blue acid lake. Incredible. Not so incredible? The fumes. You’ll have to wear a gas mask when you’re at the top because of the sulphur fumes. But that just makes it all the more gnarly, right?


Rent your own private island

Feeling bougie? Want to throw a ripper birthday party? Want to make your ex think you’re living your best life?

You can hire out an ENTIRE PRIVATE ISLAND for such festivities. Channel Sir Richard Branson, you good thing.

The exclusive private island utopia at Palau Pangkil actually describes itself as ‘Survivor with maids and butlers’, so if you’re into deserted island-chic, driftwood palaces and hammocks galore—this is the island for you. And 25 of your best mates.

Click to GET ROWDY

Surf some seriously secluded swell

Did you know Simeulue Island, part of the Aceh province, is considered one of Indonesia’s last surfing frontiers? Now you do.

Isolated and perched off the west coast of far north Sumatra, Simeulue boasts incredible waves, seriously unspoiled natural beauty and year-round good times.

Click play to watch

Back in 2005 an earthquake lifted the island’s west coast by almost two metres, creating brand new waves (virtually overnight). Pair that with a spot in the Doldrums (almost windless waters) and you’ve got some gooooood surfing. When you’re not surfing, kick back at one of the surf camps (like this one or this one!) or get yourself a pushie and explore the island on two-wheels. Yeewwww!

Click for HOW SWELL

Get boozy at a deserted island bar

Welcome to Neptune Bar, a desolate beach shack that sits empty for 362 days a year.

Sound boring? Not if you time your trip with the Neptune Reggata, a week-long sailing race that makes a pit stop at Palau Sikeling so hundreds of sailors can get rowdy at the deserted island bar. Boring, begone. There’s drinking to do.

Click play to watch

What can you expect from a visit to Neptune Bar at peak period? The very strong, much renowned Neptune Punch, for starters. Enough to knock out a few sailors, that’s for sure. But hey, we’re sure there will be a free yacht bed somewhere for you to bunk down on.


Take the Spice Route

Fascinated by early voyaging history? A trip to the Banda Islands will really float your boat.

This little archipelago of 10 islands was a must-stop on the old Spice Route thanks to Banda Besar and it’s huge, fragrant nutmeg plantation. Take a trip back in time at Benteng Hollandia, an incredible 1642 Dutch fortress (once the biggest in the East Indies) before it was ruined by an earthquake in 1743. Lucky for us, the views are still epic from atop the ruin.

More into outdoor pursuits? You can hike a still-active volcano, for starters. Or snorkel over coral-encrusted lava flow, if you get bored. How’s that for variety. STILL WANT MORE? Go check out the 300-year-old Chinese temple on Banda Neira. But you’ll have to go next door to the Chinese grocery store and ask for the keys. The temple is only, technically, open at Chinese New Year.

Click for EN ROUTE

Learn to throw a spear at Baliem Festival

It doesn’t get more culturally immersive than a trek to remote Baliem Valley in West Papua’s central highlands where you can stay with local Dani villagers and witness the incredible annual tribal festival.

What happens at the festival? Oh you know, just a casual mock war. It’s a congregation of diverse tribes, a celebration of living history and continuing culture, and a heck of a travel experience. You can expect the battles to be accompanied by traditional Papuan music—played on an instrument made out of wood bark. And a lot of spear throwing, pig racing and dancing. Are you game?

Click I’M GAME


And you know what else makes us grin? Unearthing super genuine cultural experiences and avoiding hordes of tourists. Luckily, you can do both here in Thailand.

This is the ultimate bucket list for any traveller who wants max culture and zero crowds on their next trip to the Land of Smiles with Singapore Airlines:


Buzzing and larger-than-life, Thailand’s capital city is a beautiful, extraordinary blend of the ancient and contemporary, modern skyscrapers and golden temples.

Whether you want to soak in the traditional culture at the Grand Palace or explore the exciting street food scene, Bangkok will always surprise and never disappoint.


Did you know Bangkok is home to one of the world’s largest 24-hour flower markets? Now you do.

For travellers, this market is the ultimate in people-watching and flower-buying. At its busiest early in the morning, Pak Khlong Talat is packed with locals buying and selling the prettiest bunches. It’s a colourful, slightly chaotic dance of cut roses and dried carnations, garlands of marigold and the scent of jasmine. Why not buy a bunch to adorn your altar / bedroom at home?




Looking for an eco-friendly escape, or super spot for remote working, in the middle of Bangkok? That’s right, Bangkok Tree House is a breath of fresh air located in the tropical treetops of Bang Krachao Island.

If you’re a vista-lover, the View with a Room is pure paradise: an open-air bamboo villa set seven metres above the ground. During the day borrow a bike (they’re free) and explore the nearby jungle, waterways and temples. On your return, take a dip in the natural swimming pond then head to the 24-hour ice-cream bar for a cool treat.



Jump on a MovMi electric tuk tuk for a seamless city experience.

Tuk tuk go!


Wat Pho is considered a Bangkok must-see for good reason.

Located in the Phra Nakhon District, Wat Pho is on Rattanakosin Island, directly south of the Grand Palace. It’s one the oldest and largest temples in the city and the star attraction is the Reclining Buddha. This majestic golden monument is the largest in Thailand, measuring more than 45-metres in length. Impressive!

Click for WATS UP!



Beat the foodie crowd by signing up to a bona fide private cooking class to learn pad thai secrets from a local.

Thai food is internationally renowned for good reason: it’s flavourful and fresh; available at street stalls or the bougiest fine dining restaurants. A family-run cooking class from the legends at Courageous Kitchen also supports local causes. Win-win!

Click for KNIVES OUT