The far east is filled with adventure, intrigue and life-changing experiences. My journeys have taken me into the jungles of Southeast Asia, staying with hill tribes and tracking rare wildlife. I’ve trekked through epic trails in the Himalaya range of the subcontinent with some of the best landscape and spiritual discovery on earth. The temples, palaces, and festivals of East Asia are vibrant and sublime. Get started on your discovery of the most captivating and diverse continent on the planet.
Bali can be anything you want it to be. This tiny island in the giant archipelago of Indonesia has managed to maintain it’s unique Hindu culture for centuries. Tropical paradise, action adventure, romantic, spiritual, I love Bali and I’m just getting started.
The obvious sites are here, Angkor Wat, The Bamboo Train, The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Visiting a school room in Kampong Phluk that’s flooded part of the year from the monsoon. A trek deep into the heart of Ratanakiri province for a rare close-up look at a gibbon family. I’d rank both experiences as a high as any Unesco landmark.
China is the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, Shanghai, Pandas, the Yangzte but so much more. Join me for a look at these iconic symbols and cities of one of the oldest cultures on the planet. As well, discover the many ethnic groups that make up the diverse population of China, from hill tribes to the people of the once forbidden land of Tibet.
A guesthouse owner in Jodhpur, Rajasthan once said to me I could travel through India for 5 years straight and still only scratch the surface of this multi-layered, culturally diverse and historically rich land. I’ve been asked by many to describe what it’s like to travel in India. I usually say, it will make you angry, sad, frustrated, exhausted and as joyful as you could ever possibly feel.
I am in love with this country. I’m inspired by it’s order, efficiency, and polite culture. It’s strong foundation of Buddhism and Shintoism permeates throughout everyday life from weddings to funerals. It’s celebration of Sakura, cherry blossom season is one of the most thoughtful respects of nature anywhere. The outdoor adventure possibilities are endless and if I were sentenced to a Japanese diet for the rest of my life it wouldn’t be problem.
Almost all of the men in this country at one point in their life were a novice practising Buddhism. Maybe that’s one reason why Laos seems so peaceful to me. Even the capital, Vientiane, is utterly laid-back compared to any other major city in Southeast Asia. I found this country full of spirituality, adventure sports like river kayaking, caving and amazing trekking possibilities with authentic hill tribe home stays.
I’m just getting started here but I’ve already had the opportunity to climb it’s highest peak, Mt. Kinabalu, visited an important wetlands sanctuary to see rare proboscis monkeys,(Borneo), and sample it’s remarkable cuisine that’s unmatched in flavour complexity and choice. It’s capital Kuala Lumpur is super modern while retaining it’s diverse culture and ethnicity.
This country has almost become a second home for me. I’ve racked up more visits here than anywhere else in Asia. The trekking options are endless from remote regions that are Tibetan/Buddhist jewels like the Upper Mustang to the grand views of the Khumbu Valley and the roof of the world, Mt. Everest. The diversity of castes and ethnic groups is like a rainbow of culture. It’s robust spirituality of Hinduism and Buddhism is intoxicating. It’s recent earthquakes were devastating but the spirit of this country and it’s people is unbreakable.
Due partly to it's geographical location The Philippines are still off the map for many travellers. For those who venture to the 7000 plus islands there's a huge variety of activities including some of the best diving and beaches in the world. Stunning landscapes from mountains to rice terraces and culturally unique with the biggest population of Christians in Asia.
Super modern yet proud of it’s traditional culture. Seoul is an urban megalopolis but is still close enough to the mountains for great day hikes. In fact it’s subway/train system will take you all the way to Bukhansan National Park where you can hike Mt. Dobongsan and jump back on the train to head for a fabulous meal in the city.
A civil war that lasted over 25 years and the devastating tsunami of 2004 took it’s toll on this beautiful island but it’s on the rebound. There’s a new train line to Jaffna which now opens up the northern predominately Hindu region of the island. Ancient ruins, wildlife spotting, some of the most beautiful beaches in South Asia. I had never seen the colour green so deep and in so many different shades. The pilgrimage to the top of Adam’s Peak encompasses adventure, activity and spirituality in one long early morning hike. A necessary journey to get the spirit of the island and Sri Lankans.
I spend so much time on Illa Formosa because there’s so much to do! From mountain climbing, to cycling on world-class bike paths, hot springs, diving and wonderfully friendly people. The incredible food culture alone could be a trip along with visiting some of the most authentic celebrations and festivals on the planet. It’s Beehive Fireworks Festival in the south is considered one of the most dangerous festivals in the world!
Thailand is full of history, exciting street life and fantastic food. Bangkok is actually the most visited city in the world followed by London as the top spot and Paris comes in third place. If you're looking for a slower pace, check out Chang Rai in northern Thailand. There are plenty of little cafes and a backpacker vibe. It is one of those places where you end up staying longer than you planned. It is the largest city in the most northern part of the country and has a wonderful chill vibe about it. It has a slower pace, numerous places to eat and wonderful Buddist temples, including the Emerald Buddha.
If you are considering even just contemplating a trip to the roof of the world don’t hesitate, go! The rules are constantly changing for entry, sometimes permits are not issued for weeks. Lhasa, it’s capital and once a forbidden city, no foreigners allowed, is one of the most important places for Tibetan/Buddhist worship and pilgrimage. Walk with the local Tibetan community and do a kora(clockwise) around the traditional Barkhor village. I trekked to Everest Base Camp, walked a kora around Mt. Kailash during Saga Dawa Festival and visited many towns and villages.
Warning: You’ll never look at the world the same way after a trip to Tibet.
This country has one of the best infrastructures, it’s roads are just smoother than most in Indochina so the traveling is easy. Each geographical part of the country has a different feel from north to south. One place you don’t want to miss is right in the center of the country on the South China Sea, Hoi An. Filled with a beautiful mix of architecture temples and some of the best food in Southeast Asia.