Archive for the “Asia” Category

16 Delicious Restaurants in Hong Kong

Wandering the crowded streets of Hong Kong, one always finds street vendors serving delicious noodles, roasted ducks hanging in the windows of restaurants, fish tanks full of tonight’s dinner, and trendy restaurants next to decades old dim sum establishments. Smells of rice, fried chicken, and noodles fill the air as you move from restaurant to restaurant. Food is the grease that keeps the wheels of this city moving at a lightning fast pace. And, as my flight began its final […]

How to Spend Four Days in Hong Kong

Hong Kong. Its name inspires visions of a chaotic, jam-packed city with soaring skyscrapers, thick smog, endless noodle stands, big finance, and wild nights out. It’s one of my top five favorite cities in the world and I relish any chance to visit. The fast pace creates a sense of permanent change and the crowds, the multi-culturalism, and the food keeps me continuously coming back. Oh, the food! I could sit bent over a noodle bowl all day long! Hong […]

6 Lessons Learned from 3 Months in China

China is a fascinating and rapidly changing country. Old customs and habits hang on as modern skyscrapers go up every second, the country becomes more of a global powerhouse, and people from around the world move there. Last year, my friend, Scott Young, best known as a learning hacker who learned MIT’s entire computer science program in one year, said to me “I’m going to travel the world for a year and learn languages.” I was thrilled with the idea! […]

Ko Lanta: The Thai Island That Remains Paradise

It all started with two French girls. It was 2006, and I was five months into my first round-the-world trip. I’d arrived in Thailand two weeks before, run into a friend, and jetted off to Ko Phi Phi, a place I didn’t enjoy. Another friend emailed me about a beautiful, out of the way, hidden island near the Malaysian border called Ko Lipe and suggested I come. It sounded perfect. “I’ll be right there,” I replied. But then I ran […]

How to Play, Feed, Bathe, and Protect the Elephants in Thailand

Elephants have long been important in Thailand, where they are a symbol of religion, history, royalty, and power. According to Buddhist legend, Queen Maya of Sakya, Lord Buddha’s mother, dreamed that a divine Bodhisattva on a white elephant touched her side. She later became pregnant, and since then, elephants have had a strong connection to divinity and royalty in Buddhism. As Thailand is a Buddhist society, elephants are held in high esteem (the old kings of Thailand rode around on […]

How to Spend a Week in the Maldives for Less Than One Night in a Resort

I’ve always wanted to visit the Maldives. I’ve often dreamed of those over-water bungalows and white sand beaches. But those dreams turned into nightmares when I realized how much those bungalows actually cost. Luckily, changes in the way tourism is done in the country have allowed for a small but growing budget travel industry to emerge, and today, Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse shares how to travel the Maldives on a budget. She just got back and I’m […]

How to Turn High Cost Japan into a Cheap Place to Visit

For years, I’ve been putting off going to Japan because I was afraid of how expensive it would be. The rumors I’d heard about the country’s high prices made me hesitant to go. I’ve always loved Japanese culture, and I knew any visit would involve gorging on sushi and ramen, visits to lots of temples, and heavy train travel through the countryside. And the thought of how much that would cost always made me think, “I’ll wait until I have […]

Figuring Out Why Someone Would Take a Tour in a First World Country

There always seems to be a negative attitude among independent travelers about going on group tours. Many view tours as inauthentic travel, while others see nothing wrong with them. Personally, I like tours and am in the “group tours are fine” camp. My first trip overseas was on a tour to Costa Rica. There are some places in the world where you do have to go on a tour, because it’s simply too hard or too complicated to go on […]

13 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Japan

Last month, I toured Japan for three weeks with G Adventures. As you know, I was very excited. I had high expectations for a country that I had for years dreamed about seeing. And when you have high expectations, you can be easily disappointed. But Japan didn’t disappoint—it exceeded my expectations. I loved Japan. Loved it beyond anything I expected. The food, the people, the architecture, the culture—it was bliss. Just how much did I love it? Let me count […]

The Beautiful Temples and Gardens of Kyoto

I’ve dreamed of Kyoto and its thousands of temples for as long as I’ve dreamed of Japan. I love Japanese architecture and zen gardens. One day, when I own a home, my backyard will be designed as a Japanese zen garden, complete with pond, koi fish, rock garden, and little waterfall. On my recent visit to Japan, Kyoto was the only place I wanted to see as much as Tokyo. Though it rained (sometimes heavily) during my visit, Kyoto, with […]