The highly respected list of destinations on the ’52 Places to Go in 2014’ by The New York Times shone the spotlight on no fewer than 6 destinations we provide tailor-made tours to. We thought we’d give our insider angle on the exquisite locations they picked and how you can visit the desirable destinations with our fully customizable tours:
Siem Reap, Cambodia (#47)
New York Times Travel were spot on pointing out the recently accessible ‘lost city’ of Mahendraparvata on their list at number 47 – it’s a place we currently tailor special tours to and have had great feedback on our first excursions there, such as the recommendation we got from travel writer Lara Dunston as she explored the historic site to pen articles for The Guardian and CNN.
There’s more to Siem Reap than spectacular ancient temples though – if you’re looking for alternative attractions, our Phare Circus Experience Cambodia provides an intriguing insider glimpse at the artistic side of the historic city. The tour also visits Battambang, the ‘arts capital’ of Cambodia, as well as the stunning Tonlé Sap Lake.
Quang Binh, Vietnam (#8)
The popularity of the majestic caves in the Phong Nha National Park, assisted by innumerable photographs of picturesque waterfalls and magical underground caves has seen some rapid development in tour options to this area of rural Vietnam. It’s a popularity that’s richly deserved, with the Quang Binh Province offering breathtaking natural wonder and some of the world’s most captivating caves.
Our recently released ‘Phong Nha Adventure Trek’ is one such tour that offers eye-opening beauty with a testing – yet rewarding – six-day trek through the National Park. Along the way, travelers will visit a handful of the most spectacular spots, including the aptly named Paradise Cave, spectacular Tu Lan Cave and enormous Phong Nha Cave after which the park was named.
Nozawa Onsen, Japan (#41)
It was actually no shock to us Nozawa Onsen was featured on the list, but it was nice to have been mentioned by The NY Times by name as a tour provider, with a reference made to our ten-day ‘Ski & The City: Tokyo to Nozawa Onsen’ tour to boot.
Two nights in Japan’s capital offer a brief introduction to the vibrant city, taking in sites such as Meiji Shrine and the chic and hip districts of Omote-sando and Harujuku before hopping on the ‘Bullet Train’ to the Nagano Prefecture where ski-loving travelers can discover spectacular slopes and perfects pistes of Mt. Kenashi. The tour also offers the chance to visit the red-faced macaque Snow Monkeys that frequent the hot springs at specific parks in the region.
Mekong River, Myanmar / Cambodia / Vietnam (#35)
The magical Mekong stretches across Southeast Asia providing a source of life to local communities and gives travelers a fascinating way to see Asia. New York Times listed tours on the romantic river which we also offer in the form of our uniquely epic 17-day ‘Travel the Magical Mekong from Myanmar to Vietnam’ trip which moves through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and, of course, Myanmar.
The trip makes stops at a multitude of magnificent sites for inspirational tours led by local Backyard Travel guides to provide insider angles of iconic destinations. For those with slightly less time but an equal craving for unique experiences, our 12-day ‘Myanmar’s Waterways: Irrawaddy to Inle’ is another exceptional option by which to explore the fabulous river.
Krabi, Thailand (#28)
There was never any doubt that one of the Thai resort destinations would make the list, and Krabi is a deserved presence. While we adore Krabi, we have our own personal favorites such as Koh Phayam, which we mentioned in our own Destinations Hotlist 2014 inspired by our locally based Travel Specialists.
We’re not arguing Krabi isn’t a magical place – the climbing and kayaking activities here are among the best in Asia – but if you’re looking for a true ‘unspoiled’ paradise destination our ‘Lesser-known Thai Islands’ blog names a few of the most idyllic as suggested by our paradise-seeking Thailand expert Khun Pornsurang ‘A’ Siriwandee who has extensive knowledge of unfamiliar islands.
Yogyakarta, Indonesia (#20)
Resting proudly at number 20 on the New York Times list is Yogyakarta, Java’s capital. A place that beats to its own rhythm, ‘Jogja’s’ delights include the 200-yr old Royal Palace showcasing notable examples of Javanese culture and of course, the sensational 9th-century Buddhist temple of Borobudur. Our insider tours offer explorations of these cultural gems combined with ‘behind the scenes’ moments led by local Backyard Travel guides.
Our 12-night ‘Indonesian Odyssey: Java, Bali and the Gili Islands’ tour provides a balance of nature, history and culture as it moves from ancient temples such as Borobudur through to Bali’s picturesque scenery and ends on the Gili Islands, a paradise saved from cars, motorbikes and stress. Anyone seeking a more intensive exploration of Central Java should consider our ‘Home of the Gods: Central Java’ tour which allows the opportunity to connect with village life, visit the volcanic Dieng Plateau as well as experience all the ancient temples and shrines Java is famous for.
If you’re planning your own unique travel experience, our expert local specialists can assist by either adapting one of our inspirational tours or creating an original itinerary that matches all your needs. Simply get in touch or send us an inquiry today and we’ll help you plan your dream vacation in Asia.