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The Art of Jetsetting: Rainy Chan

Leave it to Rainy Chan, General Manager of the iconic Peninsula Hong Kong and Regional VP of The Peninsula Hotels, to always arrive at her destination looking flawless (trust us: we’ve traveled with her). The Hong Kong native reveals her well-honed travel regimen, her love for arrivals halls, and her ultimate comfort food.

Let’s play spin the globe—name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.
Finland, to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), and Kenya, for a wildlife safari experience.

What’s your spirit city? (Where do you want to return to over and over?)
Bangkok: the city holds an emotional place in my heart, which makes me happy and relaxed every time I go there. Paris: I am always intrigued by its rich history and culture, and I love how it brings out the curiosity in me.

Do you have a travel ritual?
Whenever possible, I visit the gym as soon as I land, followed by a massage.

Do you maintain any routines from home while traveling or does it all go out the window?
I try my best to maintain my daily workout and my skincare routine.

Sorry, you only get to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it?
Definitely Chinese. I cannot imagine my life without rice.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone traveling abroad for the first time?
Read as much as you can about the destination before you depart so you have a basic understanding of the culture and the do’s and don’ts. When you’re there, stay open minded and try to meet as many locals as you can, as it’s the best way to appreciate the culture.

Describe your travel personality in three words.
Open-minded, observant, and curious.

Are your trips very planned, or very spontaneous?
I prefer to be organized, so I am definitely not spontaneous.

What's the one travel souvenir you'd save in a fire?
An antique Buddha figure that was made in Bhutan. It’s a unique piece of art with a balance of modernity and traditions.

What book/movie most inspired you to travel?
Midnight in Paris further cemented my love to travel to the City of Light. 

Who’s your ideal travel partner?
My computer, which keeps me connected, informed, entertained, and organized! I love how it always works around my schedule.

Which travel experience do you prefer: plugged in or unplugged?
Plugged in. I can’t imagine staying out of touch for over a day.  

What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?
In Mexico, the host always makes sure you’re not simply invited to a lunch or dinner, but that you are invited to a “party.”  The host will include his or her friends, families and even neighbors to join so you can meet everybody. Aside from the sumptuous food, there’s always music, and even a mariachi band! How I wish we could adopt this hospitable culture here in Hong Kong too. Eating can be more purposeful than just satisfying our hunger. We should take the opportunity to create happy memories with our friends and family.

Rainy Chan with hilltribe children on a recent trip to northern Thailand
What’s the first thing you seek out in a new place?
The most historical site in the city, followed by the most famous hotel.  

What’s the one thing you indulge in on a trip that you don’t at home?
Sleeping in.

What’s your first travel memory?
On my first trip, I remember stepping into the arrivals hall of the San Francisco International Airport and seeing the happy faces of people rushing to hug their loved ones as they were so eager and content to be reunited. As a frequent traveler now, I still look forward to that moment to see those joyful expressions on people’s faces in the arrivals hall. 

>>Next: AFAR Insider Daniel Boulud