Travel Blog

Ethical Tourism: The Dos and Don’ts of Bearing Gifts

September 1st, 2015 by
Hand holding heart as symbol of charity
Sam meant well. He’d been to Cambodia during the Vietnam War and found the poverty in many areas heart-wrenching. Now, he was going back as a tourist, and he wanted to take gifts for the villagers he would encounter along the way from Phnom Penh to Angkor Wat. When he told us he planned to take a large duffle bag of clothing and candy to distribute to the poor, we said, “It’s a lovely gesture, but not a good idea.”

Can Americans Travel to Cuba Now?

August 18th, 2015 by
Hotel Nacional
Yes, Americans can travel to Cuba. In fact, Americans have been able to take a Cuba tour for many years but with severe restrictions on their travels. What’s changed is that in 2014, President Obama began re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. Since then, travel requirements have been somewhat relaxed. With the easing of travel requirements, so many Americans are booking trips to this colorful, historically and culturally rich country that hotels are booked four months or more in advance!

The Best Time to Hike the Annapurna Circuit

August 4th, 2015 by
Deciding the best time to hike the Annapurna Circuit is an elimination game. You can rule out December through February–too cold. Take May off the list–too hot. And you certainly don’t want to go in the summer–too wet. June through September is the monsoon season, when as much as 70% of the annual rainfall occurs. This is also when rock fall and landslides are most likely to occur.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Laos?

July 22nd, 2015 by
“When to travel to Laos?” is one of the questions we’re asked frequently by clients who want to visit the “Land of Elephants.” There’s literally something to meet every traveler’s desire in Laos, which is one reason why the European Council on Tourism and Trade awarded it the “World’s Best Tourist Destination,” in 2013. Here’s a list of our top ten places to see in Laos, categorized by special interest.

China to Myanmar: A Tour from Yunnan to Yangon

July 7th, 2015 by
Chinese family taking pigs to market
A tour package through southwest Yunnan to Ruili, the border crossing into Myanmar, takes you through what is considered the most exotic part of China. The lush green rice fields provide a verdant contrast to the surrounding mountains. Then, after crossing the border into Myanmar at Muse, you find yourself heading to Yangon on part of the Old Burma Road, built with handmade tools in the late 1930’s.

Ancient Kingdoms of Southeast Asia

June 24th, 2015 by
My Son Sanctuary
Angkor Wat and the Khmer civilization of Cambodia are known worldwide, but Vietnam also boasts the ruins of an ancient culture – that of the Cham.

Today, the Cham villagers you meet in Hoi An and along the Mekong are just one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups, but a millennium ago, the Cham were the leading denizens of the Kingdom of Champa, “the grand emporium of Southeast Asia.” A marvelous testament to these early Vietnam colonists is the temple complex of My Son.