In Laos, It’s all About Weave

The New York Times featured an article on the silk-weaving tradition of Laos, as reported by Sandra Ballentine.

For many years the ancient silk-weaving tradition of Laos was stifled under the Communist regime that took over the country in 1975… Today, however, with the government amenable to entrepreneurship and tourism, affluent and educated Lao expats, as well as conservation-minded foreigners, have revived this once-endangered art.

The first stop on any silk route should be Vientiane, Laos’s capital, which is usually overlooked for the more picturesque town of Luang Prabang. But it is in Vientiane where you find couture-quality textiles rather than the cheaper fabrics aimed at the tourist trade.

Not far from Luang Prabang is the tiny weaving village of Phonesay. You have to cross a rickety, suspended wooden bridge and then dodge chickens on a dirt road to reach it, but here you can see weaving at its most traditional. As they have for hundreds of years, the women mind the children and weave in their bamboo-and-thatch houses all day while the men fish the Mekong River.

To read the complete article, visit NYTimes.com

Visit our site for information on group travel to Indochina or creating a custom private trip to Laos for just you and your family or friends.

Why We Travel

A reverence to nature is expressed best during your Japan vacation. What is your inspiration to travel?

At Asia Transpacific Journeys, we are passionate about travel to Asia. This month we are asking our fellow world explorers why they travel to Asia. Here is what people had to share:

  • “To learn about other cultures so that I can better understand them as I try to be a better steward of our planet.”
  • “To experience the world.”
  • “Want to go everywhere, see and experience the world and its people and learn.”
  • “Our curiosity and empathy for the diverse and interesting cultures of our fellow human beings across the world. The opportunity for our minds to travel to times gone by and our passion for astonishing discoveries and the stunning aesthetics across the face of the earth.”
  • “I have no choice. I was raised this way and only feel like I go “home” when I’m traveling…”
  • “For perspective. For understanding.”
  • “To step out of one’s everyday life; it makes me come alive! new sights new smells new adventures new challenges. Respecting and involving yourself in the different cultures you encounter. Learning, always learning, studying before you go, delving in depth once you are there. Appreciating the differences and at the same time the alikeness of people around the world.There is so much to see, to feel and to think about. The wonder of it all.”
  • “To learn, to grow and to hopefully begin to understand life in the world beyond our own.” Continue reading

Where Camels Once Trod, a Train Crosses Australia

The New York Times featured an article on Australia’s transcontinental train, The Ghan, as reported by Iver Peterson.

The Ghan, part cruise train, part the working train that it started as, 90 years ago, is Australia’s transcontinental north-south line — a private railroad now running for 1,900 miles with just four stops through the vast interior of the country (and 1,900 miles back) twice each week. Northbound, it rolls from Adelaide on the temperate southern coast, through low desert plateau at Alice Springs, and on to the tropical lushness of the Top End, as Aussies call their northern coast, at Darwin on the Timor Sea.

The train was originally called the Afghan, after the camels that provided earlier transportation into the Australian interior; it has since been shortened to the Ghan, and a camel with its rider is the train’s ubiquitous trademark.

The entire trip from Adelaide to Darwin lasts 48 hours.

To read the complete article, visit NYTimes.com

Visit our site for information on group travel to Australia or creating a custom private trip to Australia, to include a ride on The Ghan, for just you and your family or friends.

Kawagoe, Tokyo of Yore

The New York Times featured an article on Kawagoe, a city close to Tokyo, reported by Ken Belson.

TO learn about Tokyo, you sometimes have to leave it. The capital has been rebuilt so many times that those wanting a glimpse of what it looked like years ago head to places like the Museum Meiji-Mura, more than two hours away.

But the city of Kawagoe, right in Tokyo’s backyard, is a more practical alternative. Less than 45 minutes by train, the center of Kawagoe is filled with a well-preserved collection of century-old kura, or warehouses, that still double as stores, workshops and homes.

Many kura are clustered around an even older wooden clock tower and a jumble of buildings from the Taisho and early Showa eras that create the feel of a small town with a charm missing in many Japanese cities. A former castle town, Kawagoe does such a good job evoking the Tokyo of yore that it is affectionately called Little Edo, a reference to the ancient name for Tokyo.

To read the entire article on travel to Japan and see a slide show visit NYTimes.com

Visit our site for information on creating a custom private trip to Japan, to include a visit to the ancient city of Kawagoe, for just you and your family or friends.