Archive for the ‘asia travel’ Category

Bicycling Through Bhutan



bhutan temple

Lungchutse Monastery, Bhutan



We’re anxious to get ourselves to Bhutan as this country is one of the most majestic in the world. With intelligently controlled tourism, peaceful landscapes of rice fields and prayer flags, and ecologically minded communities, it’s very likely one of the most treasured places on earth. And, for those with a love of nature and outdoor adventure, Bhutan Bike & Hike Adventure from Grasshopper Adventures explores the Kingdom of Bhutan, perched on the southern Himalayas between Tibet and North India. A 10-day cycling and trekking itinerary showcases Bhutan’s unique culture, history and natural beauty while offering fun and rewarding challenges through a variety of active adventures. Accommodations are 3-star hotels/resorts, all meals are included, and there is no surcharge for single travelers.


bhutan trips

Bhutan’s Longest and Highest Suspension Bridge above the Pho River


Highlights of the Bhutan Bike & Hike Adventure include crossing the country’s longest and highest suspension footbridge stretching over 200 meters above the Pho River, trekking to the Lungchutse Monastery, meeting locals in the valley of Gangtey, exploring a number of ancient dzongs (including Punakha Dzong), touring a recently-opened craft brewery, and trekking to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

“Parts of the biking, which range from 15 km to 63 km rides, will be a challenging with mountain climbs and thrilling descents at altitude,” said Grasshopper Adventures President Adam Platt-Hepworth.  “But the effort is immensely rewarding with beautiful views and an adrenaline-fueled sense of personal achievement.”


bhutan outdoor adventures biking hiking

Bicycling in Bhutan


Aside from the absolute stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of Bhutan for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbors.  In South Asia, Bhutan ranks 1st in economic freedom, ease of doing business, and peace; 2nd in per capita income; and is the least corrupt country as of 2016.

Group sizes are limited to 14, Trek 4300 disc brake mountain bikes are provided, and

Prices start at a very reasonable $3,500/pp.

I’m in!

For more information: 


Top 10 Eco Hotels

Fotografías Aereas; Hotel Explora Rapa Nui

Hotel Explora – Rapa Nui

Imagine yourself cocooned in a natural paradise. A pristine, untouched landscape stretches out before you; fresh, clean air invigorates your senses; beautiful birdsong awakens you every morning; each day is filled with authentic safari experiences or just pure relaxation. All this, and you can still contribute to sustainable environmental practices and do your bit to empower local communities.

Sounds like a dream come true?

By Bradley Yandell

Say hello to the Enchanting Top 10 resorts that exist in harmony with their local environment! Secluded, exclusive, and deliciously plush, these resorts spell perfect vacations for nature enthusiasts and luxury travelers alike. Come and live the experience!


Tierra Chiloé

The uniquely designed Tierra Chiloé occupies pride of place in the mysterious Chiloé archipelago, offering breathtaking views of the islands from its 12 exclusive rooms. The hotel has been built to optimize the use of renewable resources, and benefit the local community through employment opportunities and low-impact tourism, while offering every conceivable luxury on your trip to Chile.

Enjoy leisurely boat rides through tranquil waterways, see a host of wildlife, and learn about local legends and customs from the expert Chilean staff.

Awasi Patagonia

Awasi Patagonia

Awasi Patagonia

To the nature enthusiast, it would seem that Awasi Patagonia was built around nature rather than being surrounded by it!

Glorious views of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile await at your exclusive, private villa at Awasi Patagonia. Each villa is fashioned after traditional Patagonian outposts that are built on raised stilts. Spaciously constructed with local material, this is your ticket to luxurious living in wild Patagonia.

Venture into the vastness with your personal guide, go off the beaten path to observe animals in their natural environ, and enjoy the serenity on your private tour of Chile!

Explora Rapa Nui

Untouched nature and mysteries of a lost civilization await you in the midst of the Pacific. Explora Rapa Nui is a harmonious blend of luxurious comfort, modern architecture and ecological consideration.

Built with the philosophy of paying tribute to the past, appreciating the present and paving the way for a better future, the resort offers guests a chance to interact with raw nature and contribute towards conserving nature and the local community at the same time.

There is something for anyone who wants to experience adventure tours in Chile – from excellent opportunities for hiking, to cycling and snorkeling. Witness the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Moai statues that keep a silent vigil over this remote and carefully conserved island.


Six Senses Koh Yao Noi

Rustic, tranquil and utterly luxurious, all 56 villas at Six Senses Koh Yao Noi in Thailand have been built amid a former rubber plantation. Today, the plantation is gone, but several of the glorious, giant trees remain. The vast gardens and landscape are specifically designed to preserve untouched native flora and fauna, and there is a dedicated sustainability policy for the entire resort focusing on community development and careful use of resources.

Whether you go exploring in the adjoining mango grove, snorkeling in the cobalt ocean or simply lounge in your private pool ensconced in lush greenery, incredible experiences await you!

Four Season Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai

Four Season Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai

Four Seasons Tented Camp, Chiang Rai

When it comes a secluded natural paradise, far away from the sea of humanity, Four Seasons’ Tented Camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand, does not disappoint. From handcrafted furnishings to private encounters with friendly elephants and nature-inspired treatments in an open-air spa, the property offers many unique experiences.

Spacious and luxurious tents offer every modern comfort, while the digital detox of TV and radio ensures complete peace and quiet, punctuated only by the harmonious sounds of the forest. The tents are specifically designed for active adults with a penchant for adventure!


Treehouse Hideaway

Live the real Jungle Book experience perched high above the treetops inside a popular tiger reserve – Bandhavgarh National Park in India. Spread over a large forested estate, Treehouse Hideaway strikes the perfect balance between rustic-chic and luxury, with high exposed beams framing the ceilings and plush furnishings to keep you comfortable. Each hideaway is built locally sourced materials that blend in effortlessly with the natural surroundings, quite literally placing you in the lap of nature!

All eight stilted rooms offer superb views of the landscape with plenty of wildlife to keep you company.Watch animals roam freely in the wild from your vantage point atop the machaan (platform).

Grassroots Wayanad (21)

Grassroots Wayanad

Grassroots Wayanad

From your arrival at the foothills of the Vythiri Range in Kerala until your departure Grassroots in Wayanad will have you enchanted! Situated within a coffee plantation, each luxurious Swiss tent offers magical views of the tranquil landscape. Experience a healthy lifestyle vacation with delicious cuisine made from fresh, local produce while you immerse yourself in nature!

Your days will pass in a flurry of activity as you hike, trek or wander through the verdant forests, or pop into the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary nearby. Prepare to immerse yourself in nature during your visit to Kerala and return truly relaxed and rejuvenated!


Enchanting Travels - Tanzania Tours - Ngorongoro - The Highlands - Dome exterior

The Highlands

The Highlands

Exclusive, remote and utterly luxurious, The Highlands easily redefines the typical Ngorongoro experience in Tanzania. Each of the eight spacious tented camps are fitted with floor to ceiling bay windows that open up to spectacular views of diverse wildlife species roaming freely. The camp uses state-of-the-art technology, including solar power and rainwater harvesting, to minimize its footprint and invest in a conservation economy that sustains nature and people alike.

From exciting game drives, hikes through cattle trails in the forested mountains, excursions to see pink flamingoes at the soda lake and visits to local communities, there are many options when you travel to Ngorongoro Crater. Don’t miss the daily gossip from the resident researcher about the local lions’ latest relationship dramas!

Enchanting Travels-Mozambique Tours-Lake Malawi-Nkwichi Lodge-Star bed

Nkwichi Lodge

Nkwichi Lodge

The pristine sandy beaches on the shores of the vast Lake Malawi in Mozambique, are a luxury unto themselves. Add to that the eco-friendly comfort of Nkwichi Lodge – a hidden paradise tucked far away from the madding crowd, and you have your perfect vacation! Nkwichi partners with the Manda Wilderness Project to help local communities with environmental conservation, and is dedicated to conserving the pristine shores of the lake and its surrounding wilderness.

Enjoy true tranquility by the Mozambican lakeshore as you stay in uniquely designed accommodation. For something extra special, settle into the unique Star Bed set on a secluded beach.

Camp Kalahari, Uncharted Africa

Camp Kalahari

Camp Kalahari

Set by the mysterious and timeless Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Camp Kalahari offers an ideal blend of adventure and comfort. Designed in the safari camp style of yore with a blend of colonial and traditional furnishings, this bush camp prides itself on its sensitive treatment towards its surroundings. The eco-friendly camp has initiated a long-term conservation project to protect the wetlands, its biodiversity, and local livelihoods.

During the wet seasons, its wildlife sightings are aplenty what with huge herds of zebra and wildebeest making their way through the salt pans and predators on the prowl. The surrounding area receives regular visits from curious meerkats who are determined to keep you company!

Unearth the magic of these top 10 eco hotels for yourself!

If you seek an eco adventure abroad, ask your personal travel consultant today what fairs and festivals are happening during your Enchanting Travels adventure. They focus on your interests to create a private and beautifully bespoke and Enchanting trip!


The Silk Road Awaits

The People of Tibet at a Horse Festival (c) Antoine Taveneaux

The People of Tibet at a Horse Festival (c) Antoine Taveneaux

We’re anxious to get ourselves to Tibet so when we saw this tour, we had to share.

MIR Corp is offering a unique 18-day Silk Road and Tibet Tour exploring the Tibetan Plateau on a splendid circular route that embraces the sacred cities of Tsetang, Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse.  Guests will drive from Lhasa through the Tibetan highlands to sacred Yamdrok Lake, hike from hillside Pabonka Monastery to the Chupsang Nunnery, ride the high-altitude train from Lhasa to Lanzhou, and enjoy an authentic Uighur meal served in a private Kashgar home.

Here is the full itinerary

Days 1-2: Beijing

Spend a night in Beijing, then board a flight to the Tibetan Plateau.

Days 3-8: Tsetang, Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse, Shigatse

Spend six incredible days exploring remote corners of rural Tibet. Spend a night in Tsetang and visit the country’s first monastery, its first palace and the Yarlung Valley, home of its early kings. Continue to Lhasa and experience Tibetan culture at the massive UNESCO-listed Potala Palace, where yak-butter candles flicker in front of thousands of altars. Wander Barkhor Market, where you can bargain for yak-wool boots or Tibetan fur hats trimmed with brocade. Venture into the valley where Chupsang Nunnery is hidden. Take a breathtaking drive over Khampa Pass at 15,700 feet, to Gyantse’s celebrated Kumbum, stopping to enjoy the views from the shores of turquoise Yamdrok Lake, said to be a goddess incarnate. Drive to Shigatse to discover the traditional home of the Panchen Lamas, Tashilhunpo Monastery, whose gleaming golden roof can be seen flashing from afar.

Days 9-13: High-altitude railway, Lanzhou, Dunhuang

From Lhasa, board the high-altitude train down to Lanzhou, passing by Tangula Station, the world’s highest railroad station. In Lanzhou, visit the Gansu Provincial Museum to admire the iconic bronze Flying Horse, perfectly balanced atop a bird. Fly to Dunhuang, founded in 111 BC, where the Mogao Buddhist Caves were created across ten centuries by Silk Road travelers, pilgrims and artists. Visit Crescent Moon Lake, bubbling up in the midst of the Taklamakan Desert sand dunes at the foot of Mingsha (Echoing Sands) Mountain, and take a short camel ride.

Days 14-18: Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar

Fly to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and drive to Turpan, a welcome oasis on the northern Silk Road. The sweet wine grapes cultivated in Turpan are irrigated with a 2,000-year-old gravity-fed system that brings water from the glaciers of the Tien Shan. Explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, begun in 366 AD when a Buddhist monk from India scooped out the compacted red sand of the riverbank to form the first cave. Investigate the underground tombs of Astana and the ruins of ancient Gaochang. Tour Kashgar, the 2,000-year-old fabled city that greeted Marco Polo as he entered the Middle Kingdom. Browse its Sunday animal market, where you can purchase livestock for meat, milk or transportation, and explore the remnants of Kashgar’s atmospheric Old Town before a meal in a private home.

The tour starts at $5,895 and is happening May 16-June 3, 2014 and September 26-October 13, 2014.

So what are you waiting for? Time to feel the power of Tibetan enlightenment.

Vietnam This Christmas: An Eco-Adventure & A Bike

Vietnam Travel

200+ miles of epic road cycling, priceless bragging rights, and a lifetime of memories…

Eco-travelers looking for a warm sunny holiday this winter months should look no further than Ciclismo Classico’s “Vietnam Splendor”, a cycling tour of Vietnam happening this Christmas from 12/22/13 – 1/1/2014.

A land of striking beauty, Vietnam is peppered with pagodas, French colonial mansions, vast white sand beaches, thatched bamboo huts, and Technicolor sunsets. Guests will experience this beautiful country from the seat of a bicycle, the main form of travel for most Vietnamese, peddling through bustling villages, along seashores, and into mountainous terrain on a southward route from Hanoi to Saigon. A cultural encounter laden with boat rides, decadent cuisine, visits with local historians, cooking classes, and, of course,  lots of cycling, can you really go wrong? I think not.


Enjoy fabulous 4 & 5 star hotels, delicious meals, and bilingual local tour leaders offer first-rate inside access and local connections that make this arguably one of the best Vietnam bike tour available.

  • Highlights of the Vietnam Splendor tour include:
  • Scenic cycling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
  • A boat cruise up the Perfume River
  • Delicious and locally-sourced meals
  • A culinary lesson with famous local chef Duc Tram
  • Jaunts to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Hue, Hoi An and My Son
  • Visit to at traditional water puppet theater
  • A Buddhist shrine
  • Encounters with thousands of cultural and historical artifacts from the Dinh, Ly, Tran and Le dynasties

Starting at $4,995/pp, this tour offers all breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners and snacks en route, full private bus support, and internal flights.


All Nippon Airways Innovative New Website: Let’s Do Japan!

best travel website

For Nippon Lovers like me, you have to check out All Nippon Airways (ANA) awesome new website. Yes, Japan’s leading airline has just launched an innovative new site called “Let’s Do Japan” (, which lets visitors create their own Japanese manga personality while they learn helpful tips about Japanese culture and trends. A quirky little intro to the culture before you set your sights on sushi and kabuki, the clean design and tongue-in-cheek style is enough to make anyone with a pulse and a smile want to book a ticket ASAP. And, if you are a true Japanophile and anime enthusiast, you also don’t want to miss, Manganizer.

Visitors can immerse themselves in their own story through Manganizer, or discover other helpful tips and interesting facts about Japan and Japanese culture through 360 Japan, another fun, high-tech glimpse into what to expect when you visit Japan for the first time or the tenth. Who wouldn’t want to be the hero of their own manga-style story?





Anantara Opens a New Resort in China: Anantara Xishuangbanna

Anantara Xishuangbanna Garden Walkway

Anantara Xishuangbanna Garden Walkway

Anantara, taken from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘without end’ symbolizes the sharing of water and heartfelt hospitality that is at the core of the Anantara experience. Located throughout Asia and the Middle East, from the seaside town of Hua Hin to Koh Samui, the Golden Triangle, Maldives, Bali, and Abu Dhabi, these properties are some of the finest resorts for complete R&R in the world. And now, they have opened Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa, Anantara’s second Chinese establishment, the first and only five star hotel and pool villa destination experience in the Yunnan Province.

Anantara Xishuangbanna Guest Room

Anantara Xishuangbanna Guest Room

Located an hour’s drive from Jinghong International Airport, the resort is set within lush gardens and water, the resort consists of 80 deluxe rooms, as well as 23 one-, two- and three-bedroom Pool Villas. A luxe blend of contemporary and local culture, authentic influences are drawn from the textures, colors and flavors of the region to deliver a bewitching blend of Chinese, Thai, and Burmese accents. Cultural aspects of the local tribes including the Dai, Jinuo and Hani people will feature not only in the resort’s design, but also in its culinary concepts. The also resort offers plenty of indigenous experiences, such as a tea picking journey with the Jinuo tribe, or tours of the Hani and Dai villages. Xishuangbanna also boasts more than 95% of its territory occupied by mountainous and hilly areas, creating awesome opportunities for mountain hiking, bird and wildlife spotting, and boat trips along the Luosuo River.

Anantara Xishuangbanna Lobby

Anantara Xishuangbanna Lobby

Once you’re done experiencing the natural environs, plunge into an expansive outdoor swimming pool set amidst extensive landscaping, use the 24-hour fitness center, enjoy a treatment in one of eight suites at Anantara Spa, or use complimentary iPads in the guest library. There are plenty of 5 Star modern amenities to choose from, including Anantara Xishuangbanna’s several gastronomic opportunities accompanied by a lobby lounge bar and poolside bar. Think the perfect marriage of local Indo-Chinese cuisine.

Anantara Xishuangbanna Pool View

Anantara Xishuangbanna Pool View

The resort’s Dining by Design and in-villa dining concepts also invite guests to create their perfect menu (since people like me often want to create my own unique twists). The best part is that Dining by Design is able to incorporate the local Dai cooking style, in collaboration with a personal chef.

Anantara, take me awayyyyyyy….

The Best Luxe Eco-Trip for Families: The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

Now THAT's a view. A Luxury Beach Villa at The Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Ever since Clark Griswold packed his wife and kids into a ramshackle station wagon, family trips have conjured images of National Lampoon’s Vacation: restless kids and frustrated parents cooped up in a confined space. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, families live like Malaysian royalty in luxury Beach Villas, complete with a private garden and plunge pool, and just steps from the white sand beaches of the Andaman Sea. And though there’s plenty of time for R ‘n R, this isn’t your typical “fly and flop” destination.

The Reflection Pool - in case you and your honey feel like stretching out the family kinks while your kids are playing at The Kids for All Seasons Club

And just in case you want to discover more about each other, you can also explore a series of adrenaline-fueled eco-activities on land and sea. Take your little monkeys on the Mangrove & Monkey Safari, where you’ll go deep into the Kilim Karst UNESCO Geopark and get up close and personal with eagles, monkeys, bats and even otters. Or, cast sail for the Secrets of the Sea tour, which takes you to the folklore-rich Cave of Legends and then on a swim under secluded waterfalls.

Langkawi Falls

The activity doesn’t stop back “home” at your 2,369-square-foot Villa, either — it’s equipped with toys, board games, a PS3 console and even sandcastle-making kits. Of course, The Kids For All Seasons club is ready to keep the kids busy while mom and dad nap on the outdoor daybed, with kite-making, yoga and nature excursions.

“Sign us up!” you say?

Here’s a link to booking your Family Beach Villa at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi where you can turn “Are we there yet?” into “I don’t wanna leave yet!”

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