Bali, Penang among Yuna's top travel destinations
Internationally renowned Malaysian singer-songwriter lists Bali as most memorable holiday trip
Being one of Malaysia's biggest musical exports, Yuna has an understandably packed schedule, working all year long. But whenever she gets the chance, she goes on a long overdue getaway.
"I try to go once a year... but I have been on a holiday only once these past two years," she said via e-mail from Los Angeles, where she is based.
A holiday also allows the singer-songwriter of popular hits such as Crush, Lullabies, Shine Your Way and Terukir Di Bintang to pursue her other passion - photography.
"I take my camera everywhere I go. I try not to spend a lot of money when I am travelling. Instead, I just walk around and take pretty photos of the places I go to," she said.
For the 30-year-old, a perfect vacation is going to a place where she can temporarily escape the glitz and glamour that comes with being an internationally renowned recording artist.
"A great holiday is where I get to be by myself or with my family. It is some place not too crowded, a place I can learn its history," she said.
"I have travelled to a lot of places, but the most memorable ones are Istanbul, Bali, Milan, Egypt and Zurich."
Yuna also counts Asean countries as some of her favourite destinations to unwind in, and her favourite locations in the region include Bali, Kuching, Penang and destination resort Datai Langkawi.
She added that the beach, food and people are what makes those places special to her. She also recounted her most memorable holiday - the one she took with her best friends to Bali to celebrate New Year's Day.
"We went to Uluwatu and then got a really nice villa, where we just rested and relaxed the whole trip," she said.
What was the one Asean vacation she felt happiest at?
"It was at the Datai Langkawi with my parents. I took them there, and we rented a beautiful villa by a private beach. We were surrounded by nature. I loved it," she said.
Avoid touristy areas, try to go where the locals love to hang out.Yuna’s advice to those travelling to the asean region
Born Yunalis Zarai in Alor Setar, Kedah, the law graduate has spent some time living in Perlis.
During her time in Malaysia's smallest state, her love affair with Thai food started. It is no surprise, then, that she said she would go to Thailand in a heartbeat - just to enjoy the food.
Over the course of her impressive music career so far, Yuna has worked with stars such as Pharrell and Usher.
Last December, her third international album, Chapters, made its way to the top-10 of Billboard's Best R&B Albums of 2016.
Although she spends much time in the United States for work, Malaysia is still home.
If she were to play tourist guide for a week, where would she take her visitors to?
"Jalan Alor (in Kuala Lumpur) for seafood, then drive them up to Pahang to the elephant sanctuary and then to one of our beautiful islands. I have actually done this before with some friends who came to visit from Italy," she said.
On a more serious note, Yuna hopes that Asean countries can work together to reduce waste.
"I have been to beaches where there were lots of trash. Our corals die from the waste we throw into the ocean," she said.
"Also, I hope we will find a way to reduce the usage of plastic bottles.
"I feel that we are slowly getting there... for example, with recycling and banning styrofoam containers."
She also has some advice for travellers to the Asean region.
"Have an open mind and be patient - there might be a language barrier and also the weather can really test you.
"Avoid touristy areas, try to go where the locals love to hang out. Other than that, just enjoy the journey," she said. - THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK