Book LaunchNews & Announcement

The Romance of the Grand Tour Book Launch

The Book will be launched at Singapore Art Museum on 15 April 2015


Retracing the journey of those grand tourists of the ‘20s, the book takes today’s traveller through 12 fabled port cities in what was then known as the East Indies. Setting sail from Rangoon (Yangon), we visit Penang, Malacca, Singapore, Batavia (Jakarta), Surabaya, Bangkok, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Phnom Penh, Hanoi and Manila before disembarking at Hong Kong harbour.

Each chapter presents a historical and photographic overview of the city’s old town, colonial precincts and living cultural heritage, drawing on archival images, maps and accounts, as well as contemporary photos.

In each city, we also stop at the city’s grand colonial hotel – the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang and the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi, to name a few. Almost all of them have been preserved for posterity and restored to their former splendour, ensuring that the legacy of a bygone era lives on.
Ambitious and unique in its geographical and historical scope, The Romance of the Grand Tour presents a sweeping tale of nostalgia and excitement from a moment not so long ago, when all of South East Asia was joined in one network of steamships, trade and travel.

KENNIE TING is a sociologist and cultural heritage professional, fascinated by the urban histories and architectural heritage of colonial cities in Asia. Born and working in Singapore, he travels obsessively, in between developing strategies for heritage preservation and promotion in his home city. Kennie was recently featured in The Sunday Times – Travel Column (12 April 2015).

Click here to have a sneak preview of the book