Asia is an enormous swath of the world, its influence extending out to every corner of the globe and permeating nearly every conceivable human endeavor. How do you begin to plan a trip to Asia? How do you decide where to go, what to do or where to stay? Backroads Trip Development Experts have spent years researching and traveling through the nooks and crannies of the Asian continent and in doing so have identified some special places we’d like to share with you. Out of all the places to stay in Asia, these are our picks for hotels that accentuate local traditions, exude world charm or simply cannot be matched anywhere else.
In 1921, British explorer and politician Charles Howard-Bury spotted massive footprints while on an expedition to Mount Everest. His Sherpa guide informed him that they must be those of the “metoh-kangmi,” the rough English translation being, “man-bear snowman.” From this, the world first heard of the abominable snowman, or yeti, one of the most persistent and widely known legends of our time. But where did this folklore originate before being introduced to the West? And why does it persist today among the people who call the mighty Himalayas home?
January: the perfect month to curl up at home with a book and a cup of hot chocolate, right? Maybe for some people, but for the rest of us, it's is the perfect time to get off the beaten path. At Backroads we believe that the traveling season is year-round, and January is the perfect example. From snowy adventures in the northern hemisphere to jungle or desert treks down south, every traveler can find something to surprise, stimulate and challenge them in January.
The landscape of Ha Long Bay, located just a few hours east of Hanoi, is among the most unique in the world. According to legend, several thousand years ago the burgeoning nation of Vietnam summoned the Mother Dragon to help them fight off an influx of invaders, which they did using divine fire and giant emeralds. The remnants of this fictitious battle can now be seen in the form of immense limestone pillars and tiny islets surrounded by emerald blue waters. This stunning series of earth and water formations combined with a multitude of classic junk boats, give the place a mystic, timeless feel. This UNESCO World Heritage site should be high on your adventure list--here are a few tips to make the most of your visit!
The view from a mountaintop is always worth it and it always inspires us. But the strange thing is, the view from the top always seems to obscure the actual, physical toil it took to get there. Inevitably, we find ourselves lacing up our hiking boots again or putting our cycling shoes back on to climb yet another peak, seemingly oblivious to the incredible challenges ahead. Of course, climb a mountain – including the world’s most iconic ranges – with Backroads and the joy multiplies: logistics, gear, route-planning, lunch stops and guides will all be taken care of so that you can focus simply on finding your stride or cadence and achieving your best day, whatever that means for you.
The mother of two children clinging to her long, woven skirt encourages her two-year-old son to wave to you by grabbing his wrist and saying “sabaidee,” which means “hello” in Lao. When you pass by on your bike, waving back, the woman's daughter calls out, “Bye-bye!,” a phrase she probably learned at an early age to use to address passing bike tourists. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, try biking in Laos. Laotians in remote villages don't see many Westerners rolling through their homeland.
If you've spent any time traveling internationally you've undoubtedly encountered some form of curry on menus and local tables in just about any region of the world, and especially in South Asia. So what exactly is curry, and why does it seem to be everywhere? With a little bit of knowledge about this delicious culinary tradition, your traveling adventures (and your palate!) will be enriched as you learn to appreciate all that curry has to offer. I'm here to help you out!
India is everything you've heard plus a million more sensations. The contrasts knock you to your knees, humble you and build you back up within a matter of moments. It takes "exotic" to the next level and stamps the reality that we're from vastly different cultures but we're similar in so many ways.
With National Bike to Work Day on May 19th, it's not really about the route, it's about the notion: Who needs a car anyway? Whether you do it every day or once a year, pedaling to work is worth celebrating. If your commute isn't scenic, then allow your mind to drift to one of our Top 10 friendliest bike regions in the world.
There's a place in Turkey where I descended into the bowels of the earth, terrified I'd never resurface, then flew to the highest reaches of the heavens, afraid I'd plummet to my doom. I laughed and made jokes, yet I was also silent, pondering the sacred. I felt corporeal and ethereal, often at the same time. Where was I? Cappadocia, of course...