Asia 2011 was our longest, hardest and most rewarding adventure. The pain and pleasure of being a family of four cramped together in small cars, Asian hotel rooms and jammed public transportation was only exceeded by the challenges and rewards of experiencing some of the planets oldest and most developed civilizations in remote places and intense steamy heat.
Again, we were blessed with good traveling luck. Our misfortunes were limited to minor sickness, lost luggage and the occasional rip-off. Asia was generally inexpensive – though it helped to shop for deals.
China is a ‘trophy’ destination for global tourists. But despite being the 3rd most popular destination (after USA and France) it’s not an easy place to get around for the independent traveling family. It’s worth the challenge though, particularly the more remote regions. We loved the Yangshuo and Dunhuang areas especially. And the Great Wall is probably our favorite walk.
Cambodia is a gem of a country to visit. It’s got rich history; some very sad, some magnificent. And there is a burgeoning mid-market for hotels and restaurants that make for a very comfortable but inexpensive tour.
Thailand was the original exotic destination in South East Asia, and it’s showing it’s wear as a travel destination. But it’s also reinventing itself as a real sustainable nature destination, and we had one of the greatest experiences with mother nature in our lives at the Patera Elephant farm.
Get your family to Asia! Our kids are still talking about it.
- Day 1-3 Arriving in the future: Getting to Asia is the hardest part. Tips on helping kids with jetlag and Lily like Japan’s high-tech toilets.
- Day 4 Krazy Karsts and Kwiksand We get trapped in quicksand during our adventure hike and raft on the Li river
- Day 5 An International Water Fight on the Dragon River: Yangshuo area has amazing karsts and rivers to explore. Ours turns into a waterfight.
- Day 6 Don’t come to China to be alone: Spelunking in a water cave and we get lost deep in the hills of the Longsheng rice terraces.
- Day 7 The Most Beautiful Place on Earth: High up in the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces we see the most amazing views.
- Day 8 Heavenly Layers of Harmonious Paradise like Oreo Cookie McFlurry: The industrial Chinese city of Xian has one of the best preserved old city markets and a mosque.
- Day 9 Warriors, Worries and Water Fountains: A top-five archeological find: the terracotta warriors of Xian. Emma gets sick.
- Day 10 A Sick Kid and a Vegas Show in Xian: We worry about Emma’s high fever and stay indoors while she recovers. A touristy ‘Tang Dynasty’ show dissapoints.
- Day 11 Onward to the Gobi Desert on the Old Silk Road: Our farthest destination in China is the Gansu province, ancient silk road city of Dunhuang.
- Day 12 A Giant Tourist Sandbox and the Buddhist Louvre: We visit the world’s greatest repository of Buddhist art in Dunhuang, China.
- Day 13 Trekking the Gobi Desert on Buses, Horses, Hang Gliders, Camels and Vans: A transportation cornucopia pulls the family from site-to-site in the historic silk road of the Gobi Desert
- Day 14 Beijing from a WWI Motorcycle Sidecar: Modern Beijing is viewed from a the side-car of a world war one motorcycle. Amazing!
- Day 15-18 A working week in Beijing: We pause for a few days to work but find a crazy Daoist temple and the Olympic stadium.
- Day 19 A great Day on the Great Wall: One of the best hiking adventures we’ve ever had. Don’t go to the touristy parts of the wall!
- Day 20-21 A Little Kick in the Ass on the Way Out: Beijing in summer is tough, and China is a challenge for the independent traveling family.
- Day 22-25 Pakistan and Phuket: We split up for a week as I go to Pakistan for work, and the kids suffer on the beaches of Phuket.
- Day 26 It’s a Holiday in Cambodia: Phnom Penh has great boutique hotels, museums and restaurants. What a great city for family adventure travel.
- Day 27 Explaining Genocide to Our Kids -S-21 and the killing fields: Our enthusiasm is tempered by visits to the monuments to te sad genocidal history of Cambodia
- Day 28 The Holy Grail of Adventure Travel is Cheap Laundry Service Seam Reap is another of the trophy destination for world travelers. We begin our tours by flying the ruins of Angkor Wat from a motorized hang glider.
- Day 29 Exploring the Ruins of the Greatest Ancient City: The day starts early watching a sunrise and then searching through the Indiana Jones ruins.
- Day 30 Phallic Symbols Intimidate Me on Our Last Day of Siem Reap: Our final days in Seam Reap include the main temple of Banyan, Angkor Wat and a great waterfall.
- Day 31-32 Snuff Films in Chiang Mai and How to Pick a Husband: Chiang Mai is an old-school exotic travel destination. We find a a lot of fun zip-lining and playing with baby tigers.
- Day 33 I Kissed Mother Nature and She is Hairy: The new-school of exotic travel in Chiang Mai is the truly sustainable tourism. We spend the day taking care of rehabilitated elephants.
- Day 32-35 The Final Days end with a Cheesy Tour of Bangkok: Bangkok is a many layered city. We find the cheesy layer in an old river tour. Then the month is over and we head home.