Malaysian hip hop maestro SonaOne is no stranger to the business of travel. As a teenager, he joined his father’s travel agency and became a tour guide for three years.
That experience came in handy when he went on to host travel shows Hip-Hoppin’ Asia and The Ultimate BROcation on the small screen. So, yes, the 28-year-old definitely has his finger on the wanderlust pulse.
“Being in a new and different environment just brings out amazing vibes, and I love experiencing new cultures and food! At the same time, being away from home makes you appreciate what you have a lot more,” the multi-talented star shares via e-mail.
When it comes to travelling, SonaOne admits he’s the spontaneous kind.
“I’m a ‘make no plans but plan to eat’ type of traveller! I’m rather spontaneous so I’ll get right into whatever situation that I’m in! I love history, so getting to know the background and origins of certain places is truly an immersive experience,” he reveals.
How often does he get to go on his own holiday?
“As often as I can! My schedule can get pretty hectic but I’m lucky to get to travel and perform in different places, so I consider those as personal holidays, too, in their own unique way,” he answers.
Born Mikael Adam Lozach to a French father and Malaysian mother, the artiste made headlines when his single, No More, became the first English and hip hop track, to take home the “Song of The Year” award at the 2014 Anugerah Industri Muzik (the Malaysian equivalent of the Grammy Awards).
Understandably, the man is excited by the musical revolution taking place in the Asean region. SonaOne says a lot of notable acts from around the region have been getting international praise and recognition since the beginning of the decade.
“I feel artistes in this part of the world have a different flavour to offer, and the melting pot of our cultures is probably what makes us stand out,” he offers.
That unique identity is also what makes countries in the region great holiday destinations, SonaOne reckons.
“Each country has their own culture, language and natural wonders. Whether you’re into beaches, parties, food, history or culture, you can rest assured that you’ll find what you’re looking for, in Asean countries.
“I love the fact that they are unique, but at the same time so similar to each other. It’s as if Asean is a huge country with different regional identities!” he enthuses.
The Kuala Lumpur-based act adds that he hopes for a close relationship among Asean nations, a sharing of our cultures and perspectives.
“Every country has their own identity but, as Asean, we have the ability to come together as one,” he opines.
SonaOne has a hard time when it comes to picking his favourite Asean destination. “Too many to name!” he says.
“I’ve been to quite a number of places! I fell in love with Phnom Penh because of the food. I had such an eye-opening experience visiting the Tuol Sleng museum, and I never knew how delicious Cambodian cuisine was till then! I fell in love with Fish Amok and Lok Lak. I hope for more Cambodian restaurants to sprout up in KL.
“Other places would include Singapore ’cause it’s so close to home; Indonesia has an amazing choice of travel-worthy destinations; and I would love to visit Bagan in Myanmar and ride a hot-air balloon over temple ruins,” he reveals.
An adventure junkie at heart, SonaOne just loves exploring caves.
“My most memorable experience was right here at home in Malaysia, at Gua Tempurung in Perak. If you’re into thrill-seeking nature adventures, this activity is perfect for you,” he says.
Other Malaysian destinations he would recommend are Sabah and Sarawak, Melaka, Penang, Ipoh and KL.
“From beaches and rainforests, to shopping and food, these places have it all. There’s no way you can go wrong with them,” he says.
SonaOne recommends visitors to Asean to keep an open mind, spirit and heart.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things and to experience a different culture. It also helps to learn a few sentences in each local language.”