Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thailand and Cambodia, the perfect combination for your dream honeymoon!

When thinking of a honeymoon, you have to think of a destination you will never take your children to or where you won’t wait until your 25th Wedding Anniversary to take a 2nd honeymoon.  Thailand and Cambodia are the perfect combination to choose for a dream honeymoon.   From gleaming Buddhist temples, to amazing, quiet beaches, and the bustling streets of Bangkok, it's no wonder why Thailand has been a travel paradise for many years. However, due to the luck of history and the power of past kings, Thailand has remained South East Asia's only country to never have been colonized; making it possible to retain its cultural integrity. The mountains of the north, the rice paddies of the east and some of the world's most beautiful beaches in the south make Thailand one of the best travel destinations for your vacation.
Start your journey in Bangkok City, also known as the City of Angles. This is a vibrant city with tremendous cultural. You definitely want to start your stay in one of the many amazing hotels right in the heart of the city.  Everything is right at your disposal. Gleaming skyscrapers, glittering temples, colorful street markets, sophisticated shopping malls, a bustling nightlife scene, and an energy that reflects the city's incredible economic growth over the past few years. Visit the Grand Palace, entering via a secret doorway that reveals often missed treasures in the exhibit of royal regalia. Explore its sprawling grounds dotted with over 100 ornate buildings, gardens and statues of mythological creatures. Continue to the Wat Phra Kaew, home to the famous Emerald Buddha. Then visit Wat Pho, where the 150-foot-long Reclining Buddha lies.

Bangkok's temples, the Chao Praya River and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya are three of Thailand's most iconic symbols and undoubtedly among its biggest attractions. A river cruise in a converted rice barge or modern luxury cruise is the perfect way to see all three up close and personal.

From Bangkok take a short flight up North to Chiang Mai. which is home to Thailand's highest mountains.  There is so much to do in this much more relaxing than Bangkok. One of the hottest attractions is a visit to one of the many elephant sanctuaries. Here you can interact up close with these majestic animals, take an elephant ride, and even paint with them! In addition to visiting the elephant camps, visit Chaing Mai's most famous temple, Wat Doi Suthep, their famous night market where they are more street vendors and food carts than you can imagine.

If after visiting the Northern area of Thailand, why not take a trip down to the Southern area and visit one of their beautiful beaches in Phuket or Koh Samui. Phuket offers world class diving in the Andaman Sea, golf at world-standard championship courses or exciting eco-adventures in tropical forests; Phuket is a place to extend your horizons. Take an exhilarating speedboat trip to the surrounding islands, or enjoy a serene cruise around mystical Phang Nga Bay. Are you looking for something to do in the evening, check out what Patong Beach has to offer, total enjoyment! If you want a smaller beach/village, check out Koh Samui. This beach area has everything to offer, from relaxing on white sand beaches to pristine jungles to a vibrant nightlife.

There are other areas in the north which are just as beautiful to visit, but we suggest you take a flight, via Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia. If you are looking for adventure, you could bike ride through the countryside visiting the temples, little seen villages where children will great you with excitement.  If biking isn't what you are looking for, discover Siem Reap's secrets by taking a local boat trip, visit the floating village of Chong Kneas, and take the back roads back to town. 

One of the highlights of visiting Siem Reap are the temples of Angkor including Angkor Wat, Bayon, with its 54 towers decorated with more than 200 mysterious smiling faces.  You might also want to visit Ta Prohm (the Jungle Temple) made famous in the Tomb Raider Movie. Feel like one of the early explorers as you visit this temple which has been left to be reclaimed by the jungle. If time permits finish the day climbing one of the oldest buildings in the Angkor complex, the brick temple of Pre Rup.

We hope we gave you a taste of what you might experience on your honeymoon to these two magical countries. In addition, t
here is so much more to Southeast Asia besides Thailand and Cambodia, you might want to read more. Check out our blog from February on Vietnam.  Combing all three countries would guarantee an incredible honeymoon. For more information, please contact one of our Asian Specialist at 866-720-5435 or via email at

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Experiencing nature on your honeymoon in Alaska!

Are you looking for a honeymoon destination that does not require a passport and isn't to far from home? Are you looking for a lot of adventure/wilderness and to reconnect with nature?  We can highly suggest checking out Alaska. True, Alaska isn't a year round destination, but during the months of June, July, and August, it's the prime time to have an experience of a lifetime. With warm temperatures and 23 hours of day light, Alaska is definitely a destination to consider.

With National Parks like Denali, various wildlife, glaciers and spectacular journeys on the Alaska Railroad, it is no wonder why Alaska is a nature lover's prime vacation spot.  Each year thousands of visitors land in either Anchorage or Fairbanks in order to experience the magic this state has to offer. We welcome you to read further as to why you should consider Alaska, "the Last Frontier", for your vacation. Whether you're captivated by her raging rivers, by the magic of her local cultures, or by the beauty of thousand-year-old glaciers. Alaska's countless wonders will make a lasting impression for many years to come. It's a perfect trip to start your life as husband and wife.

One of the favorite ways to see Alaska is via rail. I remember taking a train from Fairbanks  to Anchorage and
remembering how incredible it was to be in the heart of endless nature. Unlike the "Bullet Trains" of Europe, this train will travel through small and large  towns, stopping along the way to pick up fisherman to take them to the next stream.  The views are simply beautiful.  Alaska offers some of the world's most spectacular rail journey's. Two railroads operate in the state, the Alaska Railroad and the White Pass & Yukon Route. The White Pass & Yukon Route travels from Skagway to Fraser, B.C. Established more than 100 years ago during the Klondike Gold Rush, it’s now a scenic rail line that takes visitors through rugged terrain and impressive scenery. The Alaska Railroad is a modern railroad with track stretching from Seward to Fairbanks with stops in Anchorage, Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali National Park and Preserve. The Alaska Railroad is famed for its glass-domed rail cars and excellent service. Both the White Pass & Yukon Route and the Alaska Railroad go places no accessible by road. Both trains still offer “whistle stop” service for passengers to disembark along the way for a quiet day of picnicking, fishing or hiking. On the Alaska Railroad, glass-domed cars offer 180 degrees of scenery. A major rail station in Denali National Park provides one of the most favored methods of reaching this iconic national park.

Some of the areas you will explore via rail would be Anchorage, Denali, Seward, and Fairbanks. One of the departing cities is Anchorage, the largest city, nestled between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. Offering an abundance of shopping, cultural attractions, and gourmet Alaskan restaurants, Anchorage provides an excellent start to your Alaskan vacation.  With the  Chugach Mountains to the east, the platinum waters of Cook Inlet west, more than a half-million acres of wilderness, 223 parks and 250 miles of off-street recreation trail, it’s obvious what sets Alaska’s unofficial capital apart. Visit the Alaska Zoo, where you can see musk oxen, wolves, otters, seals, caribou, wolverines, moose and other sub-arctic denizens. You can visit Chugach State Park, which is home to almost a half million acres, most of that wilderness. This park is the third largest state park in the U.S. With lakes and mountains, rivers and woods, bears, moose, wolves, mountain goats, eagles and more, the park offers almost all the wild attractions that draw visitors to Alaska.
You definitely don't want to miss a visit to Denali National Park.. Denali National Park and Preserve is a wild, wonderful place. Located in central Alaska, Denali is a protected area about the same size of the state of Massachusetts. Its more than 4.7 million acres is served by a single, 92-mile road that is mostly made of gravel — a rustic but vital artery that brings travelers deep into the heart of the wilderness via bus and bike. You will see spectacular scenery and have an abundance of adventure. Visitors can climb Mount McKinley, the highest peak on the North American continent, hike the extensive, wide-open back country, or just sit back and take in the glimmering celestial beauty of the northern lights.
 Speaking of the Northern Lights, Fairbanks is the best location to witness this magnificent quality of light,
energy, and warmth. No where on Earth can you have experience like the one you will have in the northern city of Alaska. With the summer sun shining nearly 24 hours a day, Fairbanks is simply bursting with energy. Strike it rich panning for gold, float the Chena River, mingle with reindeer and musk oxen, cool off in an ice museum, take a refreshing hike, or be inspired by brilliant art galleries, museums, and historic sites. Late August to April you have a great chance to see the shimmering light of the Aurora Borealis.  Once a gold rush boomtown, Fairbanks is now Alaska’s second largest metropolis known as the “Golden Heart City,” a testimony to the warmth of the people.

For the ultimate Alaskan honeymoon, combine a cruise with your land tour. Cruise past glacial fjords and experience nature in a way you've never imagined before. Cruise on the Hubbard Glacier, the longest rive of ice in North American. It's also one of the most active glaciers in Alaska. You'll also be visiting Juneau, the capital of Alaska, founded during a gold rush in 1880. Today, the former gold-mining town counts among its riches some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery. Located at the foot of Mt. Juneau in the Alaska Panhandle, it faces the water from the mainland side of Gastineau Channel. Several magnificent fjords are located along the channel coast, and the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. One of the last cities to visit would be Ketchikan.  Here you can explore the history of the totem poles, experience the sheer granite cliffs, 1000 foot waterfalls, crystal lakes, and low hanging mists of the Misty Fjords. 

This is just a taste of what you could experience during your dream honeymoon.   As you say goodbye to Alaska, think of extending your stay by visiting Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  We'll have more on Vancouver and other beautiful Canadian cities next month in our Canada, nice mix of the United States and Europe.

For more information on how you can plan your own Alaska Experience, contact one of our agents at 866-720-5435 or via email at


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Experience Exotic Vietnam on your honeymoon

There are many exotic honeymoon destinations in the world, but none more than Vietnam.  Vietnam has become known as one of the world's most fascinating and romantic destinations in Asia. With pristine landscapes, alluring cultures, and incredible hospitality, it's no wonder you can expect to have the ulitmate honeymoon.

We'll start your honeymoon in northern part of Vietnam in the city known as Hanoi. This 1,000 year old city promises to offer you history and tradition.  Hanoi's present architecture is mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the stately French-built section of town is largely intact. Hanoi is cleaner, leafier, and quieter than other big cities in Vietnam — in a word, it's "cooler." You will most likely be exhausted after your lengthy flights, but there are a great deal of sites to see and do in this wonderful Vietnamese city. Hanoi's street life is fascinating. In the morning, you may see tai chi practitioners, martial arts exponents, badminton players, and joggers along Hoan Kiem Lake. Bicyclists wearing berets ride past with baguettes tucked into their baskets. Strolling through the old French sector, you can find a street occupied by outdoor barbers clipping their customers in front of mirrors hung off building walls. On Trang Tien Street there's a beautician at work: a woman with a flashlight mounted on her head, cleaning a customer's ears. At street corners in the Old Quarter, men with green pith helmets chat over steaming bowls of noodles. Farther along the street, women sell fresh-cut flowers from the backs of bicycles.

Bicycle or stroll around Hoan Kiem, or the Lake of the Restored Sword as thousands of Hanoians do on weekends. At the crack of dawn locals assemble on the thin parkland perimeter for an hour or so of tai chi, jogging, or badminton. There is a legend from the 15th century that a a humble fisherman named Le Loi asked the heavens for help in resisting the Ming dynasty Chinese who occupied the north. A golden turtle from the lake then brought him a magic sword that flashed like lightning. After leading at insurrection against the Chinese, Le Loi returned to the lake, and the turtle reclaimed the sword.

At the northern end of Hoan Kiem is Ngoc Son Temple, reached by the bright red Sunbeam Bridge, an arched Chinese-style wood en structure built in 1855. Before crossing the bridge you pass Penbrush and Inkslab towers built in 1864 to commemorate the learned school at Nguyen Van Sieu. Ngoc Son Temple is a mixture of temples and gift shops, and is the desired place for Vietnamese to have their pictures taken. Built in the early 19th century, it has undergone a few renovations, most recently in 1994. The temple honors several Vietnamese icons, including Van Xuong, the god of literature; Quan Vu, a martial arts exponent; physician La To; and 13th-century hero Tran Hung Dao. At the back of the shrine is the preserved body of a huge turtle found in the lake in 1968. It weighed 552 pounds and was believed to be 400 years old-some say 500 years old, to make it old enough to serve as the turtle of legend. On an islet at the south end of the lake is a dilapidated three-tiered tower, built in honor of the valiant turtle. Turtles are occasionally still sighted in the lake. On the west bank there is a small temple with a statue of Le Loi.

A stroll through Hanoi's happily chaotic Old Quarter will quickly put to rest the conception that the city is gray, dull, and reserved. In the middle of the Old Quarter you will fine a commerce in trade and handicrafts. The place is full of character and characters. You might come across a woman strolling down a street with a shoulder pole of dual baskets of porcelain, an old woman who reveals blackened teeth when she smiles, or a group of men crouched over bamboo bongs at tiny sidewalk stools. The quarter is a medieval maze of alleys lined with shops, homes, and cafes. It's best to tackle the area on foot,make sure to bring comfortable shoes, allowing time to stop and poke around. Unfortunately, the sidewalks are often blocked by parked motorcycles, the narrow roads filled with bicycles and motorbikes. Just a note of caution when walking around the Old Quarter, sidewalks can be uneven with gravel and other hazards.

One of the most popular attractions in Hanoi is water puppetry. This magical art form is intended for children but will amaze adults as well. Unique to Vietnam, it's seen regularly only in the north. The exact origins of water puppetry are uncertain, but it's known the Red River Delta area nurtured and preserved this traditional theater over many centuries. What goes on under the water is closely guarded secret some puppeteers have t swim under other puppeteers. Water plays a key part in the show-the surface of the water is flaring with a naval battle, or romantically calm when a group of fairies float across. Underwater fireworks bring flashing dragons to life and furnish a haze of smoke for mythical settings. Puppeteers and percussionists provide explosive sound effects-rhythmic mush and zany sound effects maintain the tempo.

Obiviously there is much more to Hanoi, such ashaving brunch while cruising along Halong Bay, visiting Ho  Chi Minh Mausoleum, and make sure you don't miss visiting Bai Tu Long Bay, Coc Island, Cap De Island, Bo Cau Island, Vong Vieng fishing village,Trong Cave,Ho Dong Tien Cave,

Let's explore the southern area of Vietnam known as Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as Saigon. You can either enjoy this historic city tour takes in the most popular attractions for a wholesome Vietnam holiday plan, including the Reunification Palace, Jade Emperor Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral and Thien Hau Pagoda. Take a short shopping trip to Ben Thanh Market. This market is one of earliest surviving structures in the city. You'll be able to find local handmade crafts, textiles, and local cuisine.  The perfect way to end your day in this amazing city is to take a break at a nearby cafe watching local folks coming and going. Softly with the music, your heart gets under old Saigon's magical spell.

One of the most historic sites located just outside the city is the remainder of a reminder of wartime  history buffs' passions, that is the Cu Chi Tunnel System. This system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels. These tunnels are nationwide and was the base where the Vietnamese mounted their operations of the Tet Offensive in 1968.

We believe we have shown you parts of this incredible destination which will allow you to consider honeymooning in this part of the globe. What's wonderful with this part of the world, is you can combine an array of countries to  your Vietnam plans.  There is Thailand (see our previous blog on Thailand), Camdodia, and other breathtaking and unique countries to give you a trip of a lifetime!

For more information, please contact one of our Southeast Asia Specialists who would be happy to assist you with all of your planning.  Make sure to check in next month for our continued tour to Cambodia.

Friday, January 4, 2013

BALI is a Honeymoon Haven!

Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali continues to be a major draw amongst honeymooners. With its unique natural and cultural assets, Bali welcomes couples from around the world who want to experience natural beauty, art, harmony, and peace. The island's beaches and spas are it's main attraction, but there are plenty  of sights to explore.

The Balinese are gracious and laid-back people who are proud of their customs and traditions that stem from a localised version of Hinduism.  Experience how various rituals are used in the daily lives of the Balinese (such as the daily offerings to the Gods in little bamboo baskets at every doorstep, wondrous  ceremonies, and spectacular dance performances such as the kecak and legong). Their craftsmanship is legendary. Evidence of this mastery can be found throughout the island in the form of ornamental gateways into homes, richly decorated temples and palaces, and art galleries that sell a myriad of batik paintings, wood carvings, stone sculptures, and intricate glass and ceramic ware, and jewelry.

Bali’s has 5 main beach areas: Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, Sanur and Nusa Dua. The Kuta-Seminyak-Legian stretch is by far the most popular, especially among surfers. This stretch has a broad range of accommodations for all budgets, and is chock-full with restaurants, beach clubs, bars, discos, shops, supermarkets, travel agents, car and moped rentals, banks, spas and every other imaginable facility.

Nusa Dua is a more serene area with breathtaking five-star hotels, beautifully-manicured gardens and a pristine, sheltered coast. The spectacularly situated Uluwati Temple is close to Nusa Dua. Built on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, the views are quite phenomenal, but beware of the monkeys!.

Between Nusa Dua and the airport is a stretch of sand called Jimbaran where you can enjoy a seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants lining the beach. Do not miss this experience. Get in before the sun sets, order a cold drink, wriggle your feet into the cool sand and take in a beautiful sunset!

Lovina Beach, located on the island’s northern coast, is another popular beach area. Just off the beach are several coral reefs that are ideal for snorkelling.

Obviously while in Bali you want to experience more than just their amazing beaches. We can hire you a car and a driver for a very reasonable rate or you may decide to rent a small jeep and drive yourself around. One of the areas definitely worth spending a few days in is the city of Ubud, Bali’s centre of arts and crafts. There is quite a lot to see and do and is probably the best place in Bali to really experience the centuries-old culture of this island. Surrounded by forests and verdant rice fields, Ubud offers a unique atmosphere that is both soothing and intriguing. Though relatively small, Ubud boasts a wide range of art galleries and museums. Some of the favorites are the Agung Rai Museum of Art and the Antonio Blanco Museum. If you love to go to spas, you're in the right place as Ubud offers the Bodyworks centre for a wonderfully therapeutic massage. There are restaurants galore (if you love roast pork, try the roasted suckling pig at Bu Oka).

One of the other sites we can recommend is a visit to the Monkey Forest. Here you can stroll through the lush green forest and experience the antics of  the mischievous monkeys that live there. You can also find a vast variety of handcrafts, jewelry shops, and stalls throughout the town (don’t forget to bargain! It’s part of the fun). Being the cultural capital of Bali, there are various dance performances and ceremonies at the many temples or artistic centres. You might want to check  out the kecak (fire), legong and the Ramayana ballet performances.

When you travel from Ubud to Kuta, you may pass the small town of Batubulan (literally means ‘moonstone’). This small town hosts the largest collection of stone carvings and makes for a fascinating stop, if only to admire the many forms of carvings from Balinese Gods to fountains and animals…it really is quite astounding.

Another town that is worth a visit is Klungkung (Semarapura), the former royal capital. The town is home to the beautifully Kerta Gosa, which means the Palace of Justice. View the frescos that are especially striking. Next door, you’ll find the Bale Kambang (floating pavilion), which features ponds filled with water lilies and lotus blossoms, and an exquisite staircase. Close to Klungkung, in the town of Gianyar, you’ll find the Bali Bird Park. the ‘Mother Temple of Bali’. This temple complex is spectacularly situated at the foot of Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest peak.

The volcano Gunung (Mount) Batur and its crater lake is another highlight of a trip to Bali. It’s not the highest mountain in Bali. The highest mountain is Gunung Agung, which is another active volcano. You approach Gunung Batur via a village called Penelokan. On clear days, the views from here of the volcanos (Gunung Batur and Gunung Abang) and the crater lake are truly breathtaking. For the adventurous visitors, it is possible to climb Gunung Batur – most climbing trips are arranged in the early hours of the morning to view the sunrise and for a stunning vista of Bali and the surrounding islands.

One of the most popular tourist attraction in Bali is Tanah Lot. At first sight, it’s little more than a temple on a rock at the edge of the sea. The local people believe this place has a certain magical quality to it. Maybe it’s the shape of the rock or the way the graceful temple stands proudly on an edge, with a cluster of trees partially concealing its full structure. The magic of Tanah Lot comes to life at sunset. Hundreds of tourists make this pilgrimage every day, but don’t be discouraged by the throngs of people, the sunsets here are some of the most spectacular you’ll ever see.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about the hidden treasures Bali has to offer. Feel free to contact one of our Travel Specialist who are more than happy to assist you with all of your travel needs. You can reach us at 866-720-5435 or