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Expect the Unexpected in Myanmar

December 12, 2013

Simone_Burma 

Simone Farbus, Asia Transpacific Journeys’ Air Travel Manager, recently traveled to Myanmar (Burma) courtesy of Orient Express. She was kind enough to share the following account of her recent journey:

“Last spring when I was reading The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, I had no idea that I would soon have the opportunity to travel to Myanmar where the novel is set. Based on my enthusiasm for the book and my enduring love of Asia, I jumped at the invitation from Orient Express to join the maiden voyage of their new Ayeyarwady Experience Cruise on the Orcaella.

It’s easy to leaf through a catalog or read an itinerary online and think you know what to expect. However, as with all things Asian, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. It was these surprises that truly made this a memorable trip.

Being managed by the Orient Express, I anticipated that the food would be varied and superb.  The unexpected was having the chef come to greet us all personally and to let us know that if we wanted to mix and match anything on the menu she would happily do so. Every day, vegetables and fruits were bought fresh from the local village markets and prepared into absolutely delicious dishes, thanks to the deft hand of Chef Ban.

Having traveled to Asia many times before, dirty shoes after long days of exploration are a given.  But another unexpected perk of traveling on the Orcaella was that after each excursion upon returning to the boat, the crew immediately took our footwear for cleaning, returning them within the hour.

With the turbulent history of Myanmar, I had expected our guides to be limited in what they could discuss politically. But recent changes within this country and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi enabled our guides to refreshingly express an opinion of any subject we asked about.

An unexpected delight, and my favorite memory of this journey, happened one evening as our group wended its way back to our bus after visiting the crowded Shwesadaw Pagoda during a full moon festival. All of a sudden, a little hand took mine. Her mother held her other hand and I received her nod of approval. We three walked along in this manner for several blocks without a word being spoken, until, with regret, I had reached my destination.

After 20 years of being a member of the Asia Transpacific Journeys team, I have had the opportunity to appreciate the welcoming smiles and genuine enthusiasm of many Asian countries—and Myanmar was no exception. The crew of the Orcaella and the wonderful people of Myanmar exceeded all of my expectations.”

Start planning your trip to Myanmar (Burma) today!

Our Travel Inspiration, Dec. 9

December 9, 2013

We’re glad you’re back to join us for another week of 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, Dec. 2

December 2, 2013

We’re glad you’re back to join us for another week of 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, Nov. 25

November 25, 2013

We’re glad you’re back to join us for another week of 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!

Four First-Hand Tips for your Trip to India

November 22, 2013

 Jen City Palace Jaipur

Asia Transpacific Journey’s expert Travel Specialist, Jen Boyd, just returned from India where she professes to have fallen in love with the chaotic, colorful country. Fresh off the plane, she was kind enough to share the following pieces of first-hand advice for all our travelers headed to India.

1.    Don’t forget your jacket

India is often viewed as a “tropical paradise” sort of destination. While it’s undeniably warm in the summer (especially in the south), India covers nearly 2,000 miles from north to south and all manner of climate zones, from balmy beaches to snow-capped peaks.

That said, November through February is generally the best time to travel to India—it’s dry and cool in most places. Befitting the temperate climate, layers are a necessity and a light jacket is indispensable in the chilly morning and evening hours.

2.    Ditch your standard “travel wardrobe”

The all black, navy or grey, goes-with-anything travel wardrobe that made you feel chic in France is not going to cut it for India. No one wants to be stuck with a lackluster wardrobe amidst India’s riot of color.

3.    Leave half your luggage empty

India is a shopper’s paradise! Leave half of your suitcase empty so there’s plenty of room to bring home special purchases without worry. Or pack a second lightweight, collapsible bag you can fill with the treasures you collect throughout your trip. Even if you always fly with only carry-ons, don’t sweat checking a second bag of souvenirs on your return flights—it is a lot easier to deal with a lost or delayed bag from the comfort of your own home.

4.    Follow the cows

Traffic in India is enough to make even the hardened city-dweller balk—cars, tuk-tuks, bicycle rickshaws, horse-carts, cows, dogs, donkeys and hoards of people all jockey for position on crowded streets. To ensure your safety, following the lead of the locals or, better yet, the untouchable sacred cows that part traffic with impunity.

Start planning your trip to India today!

Our Travel Inspiration, Nov. 18

November 18, 2013

We’re glad you’re back to join us for another week of 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, Nov. 11

November 11, 2013

We’re glad you’re back to join us for another week of 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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