Just a quick note to let you know that we had a fabulous time! It could not have been more engaging, fun, enlightening. Even the flooding in Bangkok was interesting. The guide Nyi Nyi Naing was with us the entire time and was absolutely fantastic!
This was the best trip we’ve ever taken. Will try to call you this or next week. Thank you.
George and his family ventured on a custom trip to Myanmar and Thailand. This was their second trip to Asia, planned by Travel Specialist, Eric Kareus. Learn more about custom Asia trips by speaking with an Asia Transpacific Journeys Travel Specialist, 800-642-2742.
Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, recounts her experience with travel to Papua New Guinea on an Asia Transpacific Journeys group trip:
A belated e-note to wax on about our August trip to PNG — to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience is a gross understatement! The list of superlatives is long – from the local people, to those who comprised our group (all of whom had glowing things to say about Jarrod and Asia Transpacific Journeys btw — am cc’ing Jarrod on this so he can bask in the praise, though I imagine he hears it often!) to our leader Suzanne who everyone agreed was possibly the nicest and brightest and funnest guide we’d ever come across – and that was one very well-traveled group of people (and one of the joys of the trip for that reason).
The trip was especially wonderful to me, as I had proofread my last chapter for the 1000 Places revision on the plane from NY to Sydney — and for the first time in 4 years, I was able to truly feel liberated and free to immerse myself entirely in the adventure without any stress and deadline concerns. Now THAT was priceless!
So the revision (a complete rewrite) and gorgeous app for 1000 Places are out Nov 15 – just in time for Christmas!!
Big Book Tour Jan-March.
Many many (many!) thanks again for everything.
New York, NY
Patricia Schultz is the author of, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. This was her second trip with Asia Transpacific Journeys, and we look forward to helping her explore many more of the destinations on her list.
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.
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.
Asia Transpacific Journeys has introduced three new Asia tour packages, offering exotic winter getaways. These new packages offer travelers unprecedented access to sacred sites and centuries-old rituals, face-to-face meetings with formerly endangered wildlife and Asia’s secret island hotspot.
India: A Jungle Book Journey
India is famous for its dazzling cultural treasures. What is less well-known of the subcontinent is that it is home to some of Asia’s greatest wildlife. This extraordinary, 17-day journey departs December 3, 2011 and March 3, 2012. It features naturalist-guided travel by foot, elephant back and 4WD to three of India’s most important preserves; havens for the once nearly extinct, magnificent Bengal tiger as well as species as varied as one-horned Indian rhino, clouded leopard, wild Indian elephant, jackal, fox, bison and myriad bird species. Additional features of India travel itinerary include:
- Gorgeous eco-lodges and upscale hotels
- Excellent chance of a wild tiger sighting
- Elephant-back rhino safari
- Access to remote areas of national parks
- Special meetings and discussions with conservationists
- Rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
- Magnificent fortresses, mosques and UNESCO sites
- Witness cultural performance within temple grounds
Sri Lanka: A Journey with the World Wildlife Fund
In its new adventure to Sri Lanka, Asia Transpacific Journeys teams up with the World Wildlife Fund to offer a wildlife tour to Sri Lanka, a seldom-explored spot that is considered one of South Asia’s best-kept wildlife secrets.
Few destinations as geographically small as this island nation offer so many cultural treasures and such great wildlife biodiversity. Sri Lanka is considered a “super hotspot” for endemism and contains many unique plants, birds, reptiles and mammals. In fact, new species are still being discovered here. With a focus on the central and southern highlands, this March 2012 journey takes you to several national parks, and onto the calm seas off the southern coast.
This 14-day itinerary with departures beginning March 10, 2012 features the following components for a well-crafted wildlife tour of Sri Lanka:
- Explorations of four national parks, including an in-depth visit to Yala National Park to search for the elusive leopard.
- Several opportunities to see wild elephants.
- Whale-watching expeditions to look for blue and sperm whales, which congregate in high concentrations along the Sri Lankan coast at this time of year.
- Visits to important cultural spots, including the Rock Fortress at Sigiriya and the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.
The mountain kingdoms of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, thousands of feet above sea-level, hidden amidst the world’s highest peaks, stand literally and figuratively above the rest. A trip highlighting three UNESCO world heritage sites is ideal for those seeking adventure and spiritual perspective.
Departures for this 20-day excursion begin April 5, 2012 and travelers will enjoy an itinerary that includes:
- Tour leadership by an expert on Asian culture.
- Meet monks in remote monasteries.
- Sacred lake amid spectacular Himalayan vistas.
- Drive along the Friendship Highway, border crossing from Tibet to Nepal.
- Witness Hindu ablution ceremony at sacred river.
- Medieval towns housing preserved temples.
- Visit fertility temple where hopeful couples make offerings.
Learn more about once-in-a-lifetime trip to Asia by speaking with an Asia travel specialist today at 800-642-2742.
The huge, penetrating eyes, staring into mine through the low brush of the jungle remain my most powerful memory. Perfectly set in the striped-moon of a face, the tiger’s eyes froze on me. Simultaneously astonished and paralyzed by fear, my mind raced.
Could the cat clear the short distance between us in a single bound? Would it want to? Could the unarmed rangers protect me from harm? But, by the next instant all thoughts were pushed aside as I was captivated by those giant golden eyes.
We had been looking for game for a couple of hours in a national park in India not known for tiger sightings. With only 10 tigers in a 500 square kilometer conservation area, there is rarely human contact. It was not among our expectations to even catch a glimpse. We had seen forest and savanna landscapes, Indian gazelles, antelope, sambar deer, langur, macaque and an astonishing array of early morning birdlife. We were heading in for the day, satisfied that we had seen what the park had to offer.
Then, from a quick whisk of a tail, our guide spotted the big cat crossing ahead of us. We sped up and caught the large female as she was stopped dead in her tracks to have a look at us. As humans rarely see tigers, tigers rarely see humans and we were both equally riveted.
Wilderness and India are two words rarely found in the same sentence. However, those in the know recognize India as one of the world’s leaders in conservation of wildlife and in successfully integrating human and animal communities.
Panna Tiger Reserve is one such place. Deep in the heart of the monsoon forest of the Deccan Plateau, this huge area has been set aside for the preservation of wildlife populations. To experience one of these parks is to experience an India far from the teeming crowds – an India of bird songs, clear skies, crystal rivers and starry nights. And, to just possibly have the moment of a lifetime staring deep into the eyes of a creature both mesmerizing and profoundly terrifying. An unforgettable moment, indeed.
- Marilyn Downing Staff, Founder and President, Asia Transpacific Journeys
Marilyn stayed at the Taj Safaris Wildlife Lodge, where she was able to experience luxury and extraordinary wildlife at the same time. If you want to see tigers for yourself, join our India – A Jungle Book Journey Small Group Trip, or customize your own India trip by speaking with an Asia Travel Specialist, 800-642-2742.
Miu and her husband Truc are masters of their craft. Graduates of the Hanoi Music Conservatory, they are now keepers of the art of Vietnamese traditional music, played on their personal collection of historic, handmade instruments.
Operating out of a small studio, in their modest home on a narrow back street in Saigon, to make a living they open their home to curious visitors for intimate performances. I was delighted to experience the passion and artistic perfection that they bring to their craft.
Playing a variety of instruments, including a natural stone marimba, bamboo xylophone, the haunting, Vietnamese single stringed zither, the dan bau, and a remarkable instrument made from large bamboo pipes that is played by clapping hands in front of each bamboo tube.
As the performance progressed, I was caught up in an appreciation for Vietnamese music, as never before. Truly masters, and able to convey a love for the music across cultural and linguistic barriers, Mai and Truc are cross cultural ambassadors extraordinaire, creating a new level of appreciation for the complexities of Eastern music to my Western ear.
-Marilyn Downing Staff
Marilyn Downing Staff, Asia Transpacific Journeys Founder and President, spent this Fall touring Southeast Asia. During her travel in Vietnam, she was able to expand her appreciation and knowledge of Vietnamese music and culture.
I LOVE Burma. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. If you’ve never been you HAVE GOT to go. There are many wonderful places in Asia, but Burma is special. It’s amazing! The people are so kind and gentle.
The last time I visited in 2011 I dropped by the factory that makes ceramic filters that produce clean water for locals. It’s funded by our very own Asia Transpacific Foundation and I highly recommend a visit to any of our travelers! It’s located in the village of Twante which has been a pottery center in Burma (Myanmar) for centuries. It is a two hour drive from Yangon, along the red mud banks of the Irrawaddy River. It was a thrill to finally get to visit this village. It has been functioning like a well oiled machine for over four years.
As I arrived the local supervisor, wearing his best shirt and the traditional longyi (men’s sarong), flashed a huge grin in my direction and came to meet my vehicle. He and his crew had been anxiously awaiting my arrival. I clasped my palms together in the traditional greeting and they all did the same. Then they presented me with tea and snacks. After this warm welcome I was invited to see the progress at the plant and meet the workers, who take great pride in their jobs. The kiln was precisely built, and had been used to fire many loads of filters. As a matter of fact, filters were everywhere, in various states of finish. Some were being pressed from raw clay that had been mixed with rice husk to create the required post-firing porosity, some were being dried in preparation for firing, some were being unloaded from the kiln and being tested for flow rates, others were being painted with colloidal silver and being packed for shipping to surrounding villages. There were at least 30 people working diligently at all this.
All this is a huge success story for the people of this area! Clean water is virtually non-existant in many parts of rural Burma. Asia Transpacific Foundation and donations from our travelers have generously funded this effort. I was happy to see the diligence and dedication that the workers bring to their jobs, the clean drinking water that each filter provides and the income that this project provides for the workers and their families.
Later that day as my driver and I headed down the dusty red dirt road, I looked back to see all thirty of the employees smiling and waiving a warm good bye. The warmth of the Burmese people once again touched my heart.
~Rebecca Mazzaro, Asia Travel Specialist
Rebecca became hooked on travel after spending a year of high school in a small Spanish province bordering Morocco. She studied Environmental Biology earning her degree at CU Boulder. A musical streak culminated in a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and a penchant for travel manifested itself in years spent guiding around the U.S.
She fell for Asia during extensive travels in the region, where she expertly captures its people and places in photos. She revels in sharing her deep first-hand knowledge and was named a Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist for 2007. Rebecca was also named one of the World’s Top Travel Agents by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2011.