Asia In Style

5 12 2008

 

I don’t feel as though I am truly an adventurous traveller unless my hotel room has a rusted fan bolted to the ceiling, a television with three channels (or better yet…no television at all), a constant din rising from neighbouring streets, a lingering air of insect repellent and periodic power cuts…but I’m not so dedicated that I won’t occasionally stray towards something a little more opulent and luxurious that boasts white gloves, white sheets, white towels and fine white wine. Ultimately, a vacation is a treat or an opportunity to re-charge well-worn batteries, so why not indulge a bit?tic1

 

It was long believed that adventure and comfort don’t mix. Unless there was a dirt floor, a lumpy bed or a lack of air-conditioning it couldn’t possibly be adventure. However, as more and more people are drawn to exotic destinations, so the ability to travel in small groups and experience genuine cultural immersion while also enjoying a bit of comfort at night are no longer mutually-exclusive.

 

Oned of the best places to combine both worlds is in Asia. Boasting some of the best hotels and finest service in the world while still offering ancient ruins, congested markets, vibrant culture and thriving tradition, Asia can provide it all. Intrepid adventurer by day sampling food that would cause the neighbour to pass out, considerable comfort by night. Stimulation for the mind and senses by day, pampering for the weary body at night.

 

If your idea of adventure doesn’t extend to dorm rooms, mosquito nets and communal showers, click here.

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Volunteer Vacations: Give back in ’08

22 01 2008

Often we travel to relax, to escape, to calm our harried souls and rejuvenate our spirits. We go to take in the the sights, to take pictures, to take a break. But what about giving back to the foreign communities which give us the priceless gift of experience?

Volunteer vacations are the newest up-and-coming travel trend, and tour companies are making it easier than ever for travelers to eschew the traditional ‘us-and-them’ tours for a more integrative and socially-conscious travel experience. While this is an encouraging sign that world-rompers are starting to realize the need to make a positive impact on the lands they visit, there are a zillion different companies promising cultural immersion and a guaranteed warm and fuzzy feeling from all that difference-making. How does the smart traveler sort through the options?

The smart traveler listens to the experts, like the National Geographic Adventure Magazine, who recently named GAP Adventures the best adventure company on earth. GAP runs dozens of volunteer trips in twelve countries from Latin America to Asia in addition to their wide selection of adventure tours worldwide. GAP’s volunteer trips are extensions of their community projects through the Planterra Foundation, and you may find yourself caring for endangered sea turtles on the coast of Costa Rica, teaching life skills to street kids in Cuzco, or coaching soccer in Mozambique. Kind of makes that Waikiki beach break look a little lame, right?

Check out these volunteer vacations from GAP Adventures:

Project Ecuador: Volunteer on an organic farm or at a primary school in the coastal community of Rio Muchacho

Project Uganda: Help rebuild and refurbish schools and orphanages in Jinga before a chimpanzee adventure

Project Vietnam: Work in local schools and with community leaders to improve rural living conditions

Come back from your next trip with more than a tan; return with the knowledge that you have changed lives- not least of all your own.

For more information, free brochures, to speak with an expert or book a trip, please visit The Adventure Travel Company online or call us at 1 (800) 467-4595.

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.  Ghandhi

posted by: Shilo Urban