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Asia Transpacific Journeys’ Clients Publish Tribute to World Travel, Wildlife & Photography

December 17, 2014

Asia Transpacific Journeys’ travelers Richard and Amy Lynn have circumnavigated the globe collecting candid photos of some of the world’s most beautiful, strange and interesting animals. Having cuddled baby wombats and sought out fearsome Komodo Dragons in the bush, the Lynns truly exemplify the Asia Transpacific Journeys motto: Journey Beyond the Ordinary™.

The Lynns’ Asia Transpacific Journeys expert Travel Specialist, Chris Dunham, offered the following perspective:

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Richard and Amy on four trips to our region of the world so far. I knew they were avid photographers and was pleased to learn that they had taken their talents and developed them into a book to share with the world. Their book is a testament to their passion and love for wildlife and for traveling the world. I’m flattered and honored to have helped facilitate the travel that lead to the creation of their book.”

sarcasticlensRichard and Amy Lynn’s large-format photography book, The Sarcastic Lens, is available on Amazon. Get ready to be inspired and start planning your next Journey Beyond the Ordinary™!

Farm to table culinary experiences, not a nouveau concept in Thailand and Vietnam

December 12, 2014
Vietman 2

Fresh food straight from the farm, no preservatives, no GMOs—it’s the new way of eating in America.  But the concept isn’t new in Asia, where centuries-old recipes and fresh, farm to table culinary traditions are a way of life. Asia Transpacific Journeys offers a number of mouth-watering, culinary expeditions throughout Asia. Travelers accompany local chefs to vibrant markets then prepare their fresh produce into delectable local-style dishes. In this blog, we are focusing on culinary opportunities in Thailand and Vietnam.

Thailand:

In Thailand, try your hand at creating iconic, fiery, Thai cuisine with hands-on cooking classes, visits to local markets and unique dining experiences. In Chiang Mai, meet your local host, Nid, and visit a nearby market to select the freshest ingredients for your afternoon cooking lesson. Nid will encourage you to taste some of the more exotic items and discuss substitutes that can be used back home. A 40-minute drive through the lush countryside outside of Chiang Mai will bring you to the village of Lamphun and to Nid’s family home, where your hands-on, private cooking class with Nid and her mother will take place. Dishes may include traditional Northern Thai favorites, such as Catfish Mince or Green Papaya Salad. You’ll also get tutorials on how to combine traditional Thai flavors and how to stir-fry in a wok. Enjoy the fruits of your labors with a cold Thai beer for lunch. Before departing, stop in at a beautiful, nearby temple that overlooks the Lamphun valley.    Thailand

End the day at Chiang Mai’s most discerning boutique hotel, 137 Pillars House. Located in a colonial teak mansion amid lush, private gardens, the spacious suites, delicious on-site dining and winning location in the charming Wat Gate neighborhood are truly without compare. The in-house restaurant serves organic, seasonal, contemporary Thai food and the Parlor Lounge is a delightful spot for a traditional high tea.

From Chiang Mai, head to the capital city of Bangkok, and check into one of the city’s many luxurious hotels. The Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, much-lauded properties situated right on the river, are both favorites of ours. Both properties feature highly-rated restaurants where you can continue your culinary adventures.

The following day, ride Bangkok’s clean and contemporary Skytain monorail to the suburban stop of your local cooking instructor, Angsana. Angsana is a Bangkok native who grew up visiting the market and cooking with her mother and is passionate about sharing her comprehensive knowledge of Thai cuisine with curious visitors. Accompany her to a favorite neighborhood market to pick up the freshest ingredients for the Thai dishes of your choosing. Then settle into her modern home kitchen for a crash course in authentic Thai cuisine. Armed with recipes and a plethora of new knowledge, you’ll leave confident enough to make your own curry paste from scratch back home.

End your Thai voyage with a memorable night aboard a restored Teak rice barge on Bangkok’s Chao Phrya River. If your timing is right, catch one of Thailand’s most colorful festivals, Loy Krathong, which falls on the first full moon of November. For the festival, the river will be alive with decorative canoes and barges and iconic krathong offerings set adrift by the thousands. Each krathong contains a flower, a candle and three incense sticks, which are lit before being placed on the water. It is believed that if the candle remains lit until the krathong is out of sight, then the sender’s wish will come true. Savor the scene as you enjoy a 10-course traditional Thai seafood menu, paired with wine and cocktails.

Vietnam:

Vietnam is another perennial favorite for those interested in cuisine. Saigon’s Benthanh market, one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a food lover’s paradise, is a bucket list sojourn. Accompanied by a local chef, you will gain in-depth insight into the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine while shopping for a mind-boggling variety of fresh and exotic local ingredients.

VietnamAlso not to be missed is an informal cooking class at the wildly successful The Mermaid restaurant in Hoi An. The owner, celebrated cooking expert Ms. Vy, has appeared on national television many times. Her classes introduce travelers to Vietnamese cooking and exotic local dishes, such as steamed fish in banana leaf with vegetables and spices, in a fun, light-hearted and hands-on setting. And, of course, the best thing is sampling your delicious, self-cooked meals at the end of class!

Culinary enthusiasts should not miss visiting the village market in Tra Que. This authentic country market offers the freshest local ingredients—star anise, cardamom, sesame rice paper, water spinach, banana flowers—and an unbeatable chance to interact with the locals and sample some unusual delicacies. After exploring the market, visit a local village home and work with the family chef to prepare a typical Vietnamese meal, using the freshest ingredients and traditional utensils. Afterwards, sample your dishes in the company of the rest of the family.

With your newfound knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine, you’ll be well-prepared to savor a seven-course tasting menu of traditional imperial cuisine in dynastic-era Hué. As much thought is given to the presentation of these Vietnamese delicacies as to their preparation—making for a stunning meal all around. As you savor a final few days in the country, don’t miss sampling a steaming bowl of pho (beef noodle soup) or a banh mi (a typical Vietnamese sandwich). Just look for cafés crammed with locals to know which versions are the local favorites.

Asia Transpacific Journeys offers culinary excursions throughout Asia—the locations featured above are just two of the countless possibilities. Contact Asia Transpacific Journeys to begin planning your own epicurean exploration of Asia. And be sure to check out our future blogs, which will highlight additional culinary destinations.

New Year, New You: Travel to Asia Inspires Spiritual Detox

December 4, 2014
India Namastae

The New Year is a natural time for reflection, awakening and crafting new goals. It’s a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, happier or more motivated. Imbued with a natural aura of sacred tranquility, Asia is the perfect stage for beginning the New Year refreshed and renewed. Whether you want to get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions, rejuvenate after the holidays or experience a refresher on the wonder of travel, Asia delivers like no other region of the world. Asia’s ancient cultural traditions foster a sense of peace and offer ample opportunity for meditation and personal reflection while ancient lifestyle practices invite physical rejuvenation and healing.

Start your New Year in India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, with a journey of compassion and devotion. For travIndiaelers seeking spiritual awakening and physical rejuvenation, Asia Transpacific Journeys offers a unique experience in mystical northern India, an idyllic Asian location rich in history and sacred traditions. You and your traveling companions will be privately transferred through the scenic Himalayan foothills to Ananda in the Himalayas, a holistic retreat that specializes in a contemporary approach to the Indian healing system of Ayurveda. This ancient medical system depends on the identification of one’s dominant dosha, or physical constitution, from among the three types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. An individualized diet, exercise routine, spa treatment and meditation practice is then proscribed to restore and maintain good health. Detoxification of mind and body is encouraged with daily yoga lessons for all levels of practitioners. Guided, meditative nature walks offer the chance to take in the stunning surroundings. A wide selection of innovative, personalized spa treatments compliment your Ayurvedic experience. And experienced chefs prepare meals specially suited for your body from the freshest, local ingredients.

To delve dbhutaneeply into the contemplative side of the New Year, journey to Bhutan, a quixotic Himalayan kingdom where mediation is a way of life. Visit centuries-old monasteries that have only recently opened their doors to the world. Find inner peace, has you join monks in slowing down your breath and mind at iconic monasteries. Then join a local, farming family for tea and snacks in their humble home to understand that Bhutan’s spiritual abundance expands far beyond its temples and monasteries.

For a different perspective on relaxation and rejuvenation, AsiaJapan Transpacific Journeys offers a quintessential Japanese spa experience. Yamanaka, a quaint village that preserves the ancient Japanese hot spring tradition, is perfect for escaping the bustle of everyday life. Check into a luxurious ryokan (traditional inn) and don fine cotton robes, customary attire at a Japanese spa. Then tuck into an elaborate welcome kaiseki supper of carefully prepared and presented dishes. After dinner, soak in the ryokan’s atmospheric natural hot spring pools. In the following days, immerse yourself in Japanese tradition while strolling through the picturesque village, trying your hand at making Japanese paper, sipping on Sake or rolling out soba noodles.

Whether you desire a holistic retreat in the Himalayas, a tranquil Japanese spa experience or another rejuvenating vacation of your own creation, Asia Transpacific Journeys delights in using their in-depth regional knowledge to assist you in experiencing a perfectly fulfilling and rejuvenating beginning to the New Year. Asia Transpacific Journeys welcomes you to begin your spiritual detox with us, during your future travels to Asia.Lotus Flower

Explore Southeast Asia’s Most Remarkable Wildlife Preserves, Animal Sanctuaries and National Parks

November 20, 2014
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If wildlife and animal encounters are a must to realize your travel dreams, look no further than Southeast Asia. Imagine learning to ride an elephant in northern Thailand or exploring the brush of Indonesia’s remote Rinca Island in search of the mysterious Komodo Dragon—these unique wildlife experiences are different from anything you’d find at home. Make the most of your journey to Southeast Asia by including these memorable human/animal interactions on your immersive custom itinerary, hand-crafted around your personal travel style.

Learn to be an Elephant Mahout

The gentle giants of Southeast Asia, Asian elephants once roamed wild in the region’s forests. But as settlements have encroached on their territories, elephants and humans have had to find a symbiosis. Private ownership iElephant Rides in Asias rarely feasible either economically (an adult elephant eats over 200 pounds per day!) or practically (elephants are highly intelligent, social creatures that don’t take well to isolation or boredom). Luckily a collection of compassionate elephant camps has filled this void. At these camps, each elephant in the herd has an individual mahout, their constant caretaker and companion. With similar lifespans, an elephant and her mahout will likely spend decades together, forming a deep bond.

When you visit elephant camp with Asia Transpacific Journeys, you will do far more than just ride an elephant—you will get a crash-course in how to be a mahout, from a working professional. Your elephant’s mahout will teach you how to feed, bathe and check her health. Once you’ve gotten to know your new friend, climb aboard for a thrilling ride through the jungle. Your mahout will teach you the basic commands and remain close at hand at all times. Returning travelers frequently rate their visit to an elephant camp among the most memorable travel experiences of their lives!

Observe Orangutans in Nature

Deep in the forests of the lush island of Borneo, orangutans, the only apes indigenous to Asia, makOrangutan in Borneoe their homes. The word orangutan means “man of the forest” in the local dialect and, in watching these creatures, it is remarkable how human many of their traits appear. Spend a day at a renowned orangutan rehabilitation preserve learning about these remarkable primates—one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. In their natural environment, you are free to watch the orangutan’s natural behaviors—calling to each other, using their hands and feet to gather food, eat and groom. Some of the preserve’s orangutans were found orphaned and have been raised at the center. Unafraid of humans, these curious youngsters want to interact with you as much as you do with them.

Explore Exotic Komodo National Park

If you thought dragons were only found in fairy tales, it’s time to meet the legendary, and very real, Komodo Dragon. This species of liKomodo Dragon in Indonesiazard, indigenous to the islands of Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, can grow up 10 feet long and weigh upwards of 150 pounds! Exploring this park in the company of an expert guide ensures your safety as you search for glimpse of these shy, carnivorous creatures in their natural environment. The waters surrounding Komodo National Park’s many islands offer their own wondrous wildlife – technicolor coral and wildly diverse marine life make for some of the world’s best snorkeling.

Asia Transpacific Journeys is committed to the cultural and environmental health of the communities with which they do business. Every wildlife experience included in their itineraries meets their stringent standards regarding animal welfare, ethical management practices and, of course, the safety of their travelers. Begin crafting your unique Custom Journey to see Asia’s remarkable wildlife, or other wonders, today.

India Travel Inspiration, Feb. 25

February 25, 2014
Munnar Ladies having Lunch

Local women having lunch on a tea plantation in Munnar, India. Photo: Jennifer L. Raines

“Then at a certain elevation the landscape changed again—this time to a carpet of even green shrubs that composed a perfectly-manicured patchwork quilt across the rolling hills—it was tea! Colorfully dressed tea pickers hovered between the clumps of green in a few places, the green expanse dissolving into the mist behind them. We transferred into open-sided jeeps to reach our hotel near Munnar, nestled deep in the tea and spice covered hills. As we unpacked, it dawned on me—it was quiet—a very rare commodity in India.” – Jennifer L. Raines

Welcome back to Our Travel Inspiration. This week we will take a look into two of our employees, Jennifer and Heather’s experiences in South India over the last two weeks. They have been traveling on a group journey with Asia Transpacific Journeys and have traveled to cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Madurai, Munnar and Cochin, India.

You can take a look at their detailed itinerary here:
http://www.asiatranspacific.com/media/97667/atj_in_south_templestea_2014-2015.pdf 

Jennifer, our writer, has been captivating her journey through a personal blog of her own, which you can follow here: http://southindiaadventure.wordpress.com Using detailed imagery and fascinating depictions of her busy schedule, Jennifer reflects on the many memorable experiences she has shared thus far with the country of India. ♥

Please enjoy and stay tuned for our travel inspiration next week!

Our Travel Inspiration, Feb. 10

February 10, 2014

Welcome back to Our Travel Inspiration. Please follow along with us each Monday for our carefully-curated selection of current Asia and travel-related news stories.

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Share-worthy pieces on Asia this week:

Travel tidbits that caught our fancy:

We’d love to hear your feedback—please comment below. And please come back next Monday for more of Our Travel Inspiration!

Our Travel Inspiration, Feb. 3

February 3, 2014

Welcome back to Our Travel Inspiration. Please follow along with us each Monday for our carefully-curated selection of current Asia and travel-related news stories.

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Share-worthy pieces on Asia this week:

Travel tidbits that caught our fancy:

We’d love to hear your feedback—please comment below. And please come back next Monday for more of Our Travel Inspiration!

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