And the Winner Is…

Our congratulations go out to Willy Vanaudenaerde, who has won our recent India Travel Photo Contest. His stunning photo of two women taken at the Amber Fort in Jaipur captured the most votes, and earned him first prize: a 16 MB WiFi enabled iPad!

Willy Vanaudenaerde

We had 101 gorgeous submissions and 37 outstanding semi-finalists. Our thanks go out to the many travelers and photographers who participated in our contest—your images are a joy to behold, each one a delight.

India Photo Contest Semi Finalists Announced

We asked to see your best India travel photos—and the response was impressive! We received over a hundred stunning entries, accompanied by stories about the moments that touched you during your travel.

We’ve chosen our semi-finalists. Check out the online album and tell us who are your favorites.

It’s going to be hard to pick only one, but we will announce the winner of the contest on August 31 who will receive an iPad to take on their next journey!

Less Stuff, More Vacations Brings Happiness

We had a hunch all along: a recent article in the New York Times makes the case that leisure time, not consumer goods, is the key to lasting happiness.

New research finds that experiences—such as travel, being with friends, a day at the ballpark—purchase the most happiness bang for the buck. Acquiring possessions, by contrast, is an endless, unfulfilling cycle, the studies show.

If unbridled acquisition results in clutter and deflated hopes, while travel with friends and family creates joy and enduring satisfaction—happiness, in other words—what are you waiting for?

Only one component of consumption is positively related to happiness—leisure consumption.” DeLeire, University of Wisconsin; Kalil, University of Chicago

It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch.” Dunn, Van Boven and Gilovich, Harvard University.

Investment Strategy: Join a Small Group Trip or let us create a personally tailored Custom Journey for you today. It’s the best investment in happiness you can make.

Call a Travel Specialist at 800-642-2742 or email us directly about your Asia travel plans.

New Things: Eastern Bhutan Opens to Trekkers

At long last, Bhutan’s far east is taking visitors. For years the kingdom’s remote Merak and Sakten valleys have been largely off limits to outsiders, but the government is easing restrictions – somewhat. Starting next month, a handful of new operators will be permitted to lead small groups into Bhutan’s easternmost reaches.

If you ask us, Asia Transpacific Journeys is the way to go. The Colorado-based outfitter’s custom treks will take you deep into the stupa-specked land of the Brokpa people — one of the last remaining traditional Himalayan cultures — with a guide, cook, and horseman. For seven days, you’ll hike through pristine alpine valleys and forests, visiting with yak herders and farmers along the way.

“Virtually everything in their lives is handmade of their own indigenous materials,” says ATJ Founder Marilyn Downing Staff, who scouted the area in May and is pictured above with the Brokpa. “It’s very rare to find a culture like that in this day and age.” (From $395/day.)

By: Catharine Livingston, August 2010

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Click here to read the full article. To find out more about creating a custom trip to Bhutan, call Asia Transpacific Journeys to speak to a travel specialist at 800-642-2742.

Mekong River Trip

One of the most majestic waterways in the world is the Mekong River. It begins on the Tibetan Plateau in China and flows to the coast of Vietnam, where its estuaries, the “nine dragons,” fan out to form a fertile delta that meets the South China Sea. The Mekong River is over 2,600 miles long, and supports an expansive river basin comparable to the Amazon River in its biological diversity. The beauty of the basin’s mysterious jungles, soaring mountain peaks, and countless species of wildlife will captivate you as you visit the Mekong River delta for your next travel destination.

As you explore the Mekong River, evidence of the alluring Southeast Asian culture abounds in the form of floating villages and markets, thriving shoreline cities, and stunning coastal architecture, such as the royal Four Rivers Palace in Phnom Penh. Journey by longboat as the river winds through the Laotian jungle, take a river cruise on the Mekong Delta, or opt for a longer, leisurely cruise between coastal cities of your choice, including the bustling capital cities of Vientiane, Laos, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Your group and custom travel options are limitless, and our expertise is unmatched.

Travel along the Mekong River is most enjoyable between November and February, when the river is full and navigable, the weather is mostly dry, and the temperatures are moderate. The Mekong River is a worthy destination for part of your journey or for an entire getaway.