Postcard from Our Traveler: A Truly Extraordinary Trip

I’m in Maldives. Reluctant to say it with a day to go, but barring any unforeseen injury or incident… this is the best trip I’ve ever taken.  Not just with you guys but overall… and I’ve been a lot of places at this point.  It’s been truly extraordinary on every level.  Thanks again for all of your help.

I’ll check in with you later in the week from NY.

Talk soon,

Mark F.

Kenwood, CA


Mark traveled through Sri Lanka and Dubai on a custom trip arranged by Asia Travel Specialist Eric Kareus. This was his third trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys. We look forward to helping Mark plan his next trip to Asia.


Postcard from Our Traveler: Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Honestly, the entire trip totally exceeded our expectations and was absolutely amazing. Wanted to thank you guys SO much for the best trip/experience I’ve ever had. We absolutely loved it and really appreciate all your hard work and patience :)

Just want to give a shout out to 3 of our guides that were really fantastic and went above and beyond the call of duty. They were absolutely amazing!

Qin from Guilin
John from Hanoi
Siphon from Luang Prabang

These guys were by far the best of the trip and made each destination so much more memorable.

Thank you so much again! It went by way too fast!

Lindsey P.

La Jolla, CA


Lindsey explored China, Laos, Mongolia and Vietnam on a custom Asia trip arranged by Travel Specialist Jarrod Hobson. This was her first trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys, but we look forward to working with her again on her next big journey.

Postcard from our traveler: One of the best trips we’ve had

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

I have to say that our Australia trip was one of the best trips we’ve had. We were able to see so much in so little time. Every place we went to was different. We keep on saying to each other that Tom did a great job planning the itinerary. Everything went smoothly. Everyone was punctual.

We were quite skeptical about Tyroconnell Outback Retreat but were won over by the charm of the place and the hospitality of the family. It is sad to know that they are planning to sell the place but they are doing it to spend more time with their children. My husband really enjoyed the Great Barrier Reef and didn’t want to leave.

The only thing that we were disappointed with was the cancelled tour with the Aboriginal guide. We could have learned so much.

Extras that we did on our free days were – the Bridge Climb in Sydney (amazing), bi-plane over Fraser Island, helicopter ride at the Great Barrier Reef, the Sky rail and Railway tour in Cairns, climbed Ayers Rock, and the Sound of Silence dinner at Ayers Rock (I was sitting between two heaters and didn’t even need a jacket!)

We were quite shocked by how expensive everything was. We spent a lot of money there, but I can’t think of a better way of celebrating my 40th. Thank you so much for the bottle of champagne that was sent to our hotel room. We met a lot of great people that we would keep in touch with. We will definitely return to Australia with our kids in the future. But we would like to travel to Vietnam with them first, probably in 3 years. Thank you so much for putting together an amazing trip.


Theresa P.

San Ramon, CA


Theresa and her husband embarked on an Insider’s Australia Custom Journey which was arranged by Travel Specialist, Tom Lastick. This was their second trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys, and we look forward to planning more adventures for their family in the future.

Postcard from our traveler: A once-in-a-lifetime trip to Bali

Travel to Bali

Travel to Bali

We just returned from our trip to Indonesia which was an absolutely terrific experience for the entire family. We so appreciate all of your guidance and collaboration together with our travel agent Roselyne at WorldView Travel. I especially wanted to point out that the guides Komang Wardiapa in Bali and Subur on Sulawesi were outstanding in every way – professional, knowledgeable, sensitive to Western needs and limitations and a pleasure to get to know. Amertha and Jabeki were a dream and we miss the kind caretakers Made and Ketut at our little Bingin hide-away.

The itinerary and accommodations were perfect with a couple of tweaks.

The Pare Pare hotel was very run down. Although the long stretch from Makasar to Toraja begs to be broken up, given the downturn in tourism and lack of proper accommodations, you really have to grin-and-bear the drive since there is neither much to see nor a decent place to stay on the way north to the heart of Tana Toraja. Luckily everyone was a good sport and we thought of this ‘simple’ hotel as part of the adventure.

Overall, it was a once-in-a-lifetime, fabulous experience enjoyed by all of us.

So again, many thanks and best regards,

Fiona B.
Solana Beach, CA

Fiona traveled to Indonesia with a custom Bali vacation package which was arranged for her by Travel Specialist, Jarrod Hobson. This is Fiona’s first trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys. We hope to see more of her in the future.

Postcard from Our Traveler: A wonderfully planned Vietnam itinerary

Trip to Vietnam

Trip to Vietnam

I just wanted to let you know that our trip to Vietnam was wonderful, awesome and perfect in every way thanks to your help and the great local agency and guides in the country. The accommodations were great – in the case of the Victoria at Hoi An, incredible. The itinerary was a perfect balance of touring and relaxing.

Best of all were the guides and drivers that expertly shepherded us through your wonderfully planned itinerary with their great insights and knowledge of the regions. Not only did they know the important things to tell us but they also added in culture, custom and personal stories. Their outgoing and winsome personalities made us feel so content and comfortable. In particular, Dong in Hanoi has an incredible sense of conveying just the right background and history to make sights in Hanoi so interesting by sharing tidbits one would not find in a tour book or with a less engaging guide. When we asked him how the rice was grown and harvested he had the driver pull over, jumped out and plucked a small plant shoot and proceeded to give us a lesson in how rice is sown, grown, harvested and exported! His English is perfect, he led us to just the right restaurants and coffee shops and was so enjoyable to be with.

Although impossible to pick just one place or experience as the top highlight I think it was the bike day in Hoi An with the cooking lesson and lunch with the local family – what a unique experience of a lifetime that was! Ngoc, the family cook told us he taught himself English by watching American movies – which was probably true in that he has all the funny lines memorized. I think his meal was one of the best we had in the country. The guide there, Tho, clearly enjoyed his job and his enthusiasm shined through. He even suggested that we bring our laundry along on the bike ride and drop it off a a local laundry, for the experience as well as for the fact that we were able to have a whole load done for what one item would have cost at the resort. This is the kind of attentiveness these guides offered.

Ending our time in Saigon with Lam was a treat as well. He is so pleasant and being the seasoned guide that he is, could sense that my husband was really interested in the Reunification Palace and seemed to show him every broom closet with a story to tell. I really cannot think of a single thing I would change, except the time and traffic to get to the Mekong Delta (which you warned me about and is no reflection on the guide or driver). While the floating market is an incredible thing to experience we were mixed (two for and two against) as to whether we might have wanted to do something else in the country with the time and effort it took to take that in.

We were also blessed with some things that were not on the itinerary but nevertheless helped make the trip better — really nice weather (unusually so for this time of year according to the guides) and coming home the plane was not full so we ended up with a center seat to spread out a little which was a great treat, being so tired with such a long trip ahead of us. So, much thanks for your time and expertise. We can’t wait to share our photos and stories with friends and we’re sure some will want to be in touch with you themselves.

Best regards,

Carrie W.
Houston, TX


Carrie embarked on a Highlights of Vietnam custom tour arranged by our expert in Vietnam vacation packages, Travel Specialist Tom Lastick. This was Carrie’s first trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys, and we hope to help her and her family plan another trip to Asia in the future.

Postcard from Our Traveler: China – Off the Beaten Path

I wanted to tell you what a fabulous trip to China I had. I loved it!!!!! Everything worked perfectly and I was delighted with all that we did. I have nothing but accolades for the trip so if anyone ever wants to know more about it, they are welcome to contact me. I will give it a rave review!

The Linden Centre, outside of Dali, was a perfect place to stay for three days. It is located right in the heart of a village and since we explored the area pretty thoroughly, I felt like I experienced village life as fully as possible – which was exactly what I had hoped we would do. To make things even better, the staff at Linden Centre was exemplary in their attentiveness, enthusiasm and ability to make us feel that we were a part of their community. It was really a great experience.

Our tour guides in China always tried to accommodate our tastes which was very sweet. Overall the food was great and the variety of restaurants we ate in was terrific from private homes to courtyards (restaurant in Kumming) to local favorites in each area to grand buffets in the hotels where we stayed.

Anna in Shangri-La was phenomenal. She was very knowledgeable, super accommodating, shared a great deal of information about her life and was full of energy and enthusiasm. She was outstanding.

I loved being in remote areas that were off the beaten track. The people in my group were terrific and that enriched the experience. And Steve was a great tour leader who was always cheerful, knowledgeable and had things under perfect control. It was a great trip, perfectly orchestrated, and it definitely enhanced my understanding of China.

Ilene W.
Newtown, PA

Ilene joined our Yunnan, China: A Tribal Mosaic Small Group Trip led by Dr. Stephen Halkovic who has a Ph.D in Inner Asian Studies, specializing in China, Tibet and Mongolia. This trip was arranged by Travel Specialist, Eric Kareus. This is Ilene’s 4th trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys.

Postcard from Our Traveler: “Gold Standard” in Tour Leadership in South India

My daughter, Anna, and I are back from your most wonderful trip to Southern India. It was superb in all respects and I would recommend it highly to anyone.

Our guide, Jairaj, was one of the main reasons that the trip was so memorable, and I wanted to make sure you knew what a truly superior person he is in representing your organization.

Travel to South India with Asia Transpacific Journeys

My wife started out as a travel agent and she and I, and later our whole family, have traveled throughout the world for over 30 years. We have been in groups large and small and have been led by innumerable guides. In all this experience we have never had a finer experience than the one we had with Jairaj.

Some guides are good with logistics, others excel in their lectures. Rarely, if ever, are they so strong in both as was Jairaj. He was meticulous in handling all the details of travel. There wasn’t a single hitch that we knew of. He set the right tone immediately upon arrival by telling us to contact him any time, about any thing. And when anyone did so, he readily and with good grace handled the situation. We heard no grumbling from anyone, and as you know this is not always the case.

As we bounced along on our journey, Jairaj lectured with great knowledge about the sights we saw. In the individual cities where we had local guides it was quite apparent that he often knew more than these specialists. Moreover, he was happy to discuss any subject whatsoever – whether culture, art, politics, society, etc. – that came to the mind of us travelers. In doing so he was always frank, incisive and extremely knowledgeable.

Through it all we were struck by Jairaj’s total commitment to the group and its well-being. He was amazingly upbeat, and we never detected any annoyance with anyone or anything. He rolled with all the ups and downs of travel, and was constantly focused on assuring that the tour members were well taken care of. Wherever we went he sought to enhance the experience, and even arranged for us to meet his charming family.

In short, you have a wonderful asset in Jairaj. He epitomizes the “gold standard” in tour leadership. You are fortunate to have him associated with Asia Transpacific, and we were blessed to have him as our guide through India.


Griffith Garwood
Jefferson, MD

Griffith and his daughter traveled on our ‘South India: Of Temples, Tea and Spice’ Small Group Trip which departs yearly in February. You can also create a custom, private trip to South India and requests Jairaj. This trip was arranged by Travel Specialist, Rebecca Mazzaro.

Postcard from Our Traveler: Every Aspect of our Trip to China was A+


I wanted to check in now that we’re back from our trip to China and Hong Kong. Thank you very much for all your assistance and incredible work with this, the trip surpassed all expectations and was an experience that we will treasure for a lifetime. Every aspect was A+. The tour guides were knowledgeable and efficient, however we were most impressed with their keen ability to read us and quickly adapt to our preferences. They expedite some aspects when we weren’t as interested and focused more time on the aspects in which we gravitated towards which, given the cultural differences, astounded us. We couldn’t have asked for better guides.

Hotels in China

The Penninsula–Shanghai, China

The hotels were fantastic. The Peninsula Shanghai and Intercontinental Hong Kong were top notch. The Peninsula Shanghai was one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed at and I will never know how you were able to get us a room with such a breathtaking view. We thought the Peninsula Beijing was nice, however a little tired.

Overall it was an A+. We are used to doing most planning on our own and thinking through every detail. It was refreshing to not have to worry about anything as every detail was already taken care of for us!

Thank you again, you have gained a customer for life and will be sure to let everyone know you and your team are top notch.

Jeff B.
Omaha, NE

Postcard from Our Traveler: Beyond Our Expectations

I wanted to tell you what a terrific experience this trip to Vietnam and Cambodia was. The details were flawlessly executed, guides were great and the hotels beyond our expectations.

In particular you were wonderful; accommodating the first change we made and then having to scramble after the earthquake to make the new arrangements. You are the consummate professional and we really appreciate it. We will certainly recommend you to our friends.

All the best,

Rachelle D.
New York, NY

This trip was arranged by Travel Specialist, Rebecca Mazzaro.

Postcard from Our Traveler: A FANTASTIC Guide on Trip to India

Hi Pat!

Just wanted to let you know we’re back from the South India trip. We enjoyed it very much (although the poverty in Mumbai was very troubling). It was an excellent itinerary. We particularly enjoyed the elephant festival (Uthrallikkavu Pooram Festival in Wadakkancherry). We were the only foreigners amongst thousands of Indians. It was quite an experience!

Our tour guide, Jairaj was FANTASTIC. He is truly an asset to your company. There wasn’t a question that he couldn’t answer. And he is incredibly thoughtful – went well above and beyond to make everyone as happy as possible. Richard and I would be most interested in being informed if he ever guides a trip in another part of India. We’d love to tour with him again!

Thanks for all of your assistance!

Cheryl Hillery
Sagamore Beach, MA

Note from Asia Transpacific Journeys: The elephant festival Cheryl visited was the Uthrallikkavu Pooram festivities in Wadakkancherry. Almost totally untouristed, this exuberant celebration features processions of lavishly decorated, caparisoned elephants in headwear of plated gold. Riders carrying white silken parasols ride in rhythm with traditional music, and local crowds gather to watch ritual folk art performances. Surrounding villages vie to outperform the others and dazzle the crowd. Celebrating this little-known local festival affords travelers an authentic, delightful and memorable experience.