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Adventure Travel, Far East: Inspired by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, National Geographic

Far East Adventure Travel. Inspiring, entertaining. Let John Saboe take you on journeys filled with spiritual celebrations and rituals, ancient festivals, wildlife safaris, trekking and climbing quests and vast array of food cultures. Learn about village life, cultural differences, urban exploration, street food, history and architecture. Visit Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. Stories and advice from one of the most exciting destinations on the planet-Asia.
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Now displaying: February, 2016
Feb 20, 2016

It has been an incredible two years of traveling through Asia meeting interesting people, discovering new cultures and experiencing some of the most thrilling adventures in this part of the world. It has been an absolute pleasure sharing all of these stories with you.

I have appreciated all the support you have given me by following Far East Adventure Travel, especially with your subscription in the iTunes Store.

Today in this message I'm hear to tell you about my brand new podcast now available in iTunes, the audio version of Far East Adventure Travel. Your favorite video podcasts in an audio format plus interviews with travel experts and interesting people from across Asia.

By sharing Far East Adventure Travel, both the audio and video podcasts, you help others like you who are passionate about travel discover new and exciting destinations, cultures and experiences in Asia.

If you haven't already please share the podcasts with your friends. Another way you can support the audio and video versions of Far East Adventure Travel is by rating and writing a review in the iTunes Store. Please see the video for easy instructions on how to do this.

You can also visit the incredible BlogTalkRadio website, link below where you can easily share the audio podcast through social media platforms available world-wide!

Once again thank you so much for your support as I continue to share more amazing stories from one of the most exciting destinations on the planet-Asia!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fareastadventuretravel

The post Brand New Podcast Announcement-Taipei, Taiwan appeared first on Far East Adventure Travel.

Feb 14, 2016

Cochin, or Kochi is the second largest Westcoast Indian city after Mumbai with a total population of just over 2 million. Ernakulum District encompassing the townships and total urban area has the highest percentage of Christians in all of India. It’s not surprising to see so many churches and a strong Christian local culture and why it’s so busy in the village of Fort Cochin on a Sunday.

Syrian Orthodoxy originally made up the Christian community before Europeans arrived in the 15th century. Historically Cochin had a large Jewish community arriving here as early as 7th century BC with spice traders. Hindus still make up the largest portion of the population. After Christians, Muslims are the third biggest group in Cochin, many living in Matancherry township.

With the diverse mix of beliefs, spirituality and cultures Cochin is also known as a very tolerant community with harmony like nowhere else in India.

Fort Kochi was a simple fishing village before the Portuguese were handed over control in 1503. It was named after the fort built by the Portuguese later to be destroyed by the Dutch who in 1683 captured the territory. Today the town is literally a history book of architecture. A mix of Dutch, Portuguese and British buildings make this one of the most unique communities in India.

Matancherry right next door to Fort Cochin is a tourist center for the curious interested in visiting historic Jew Town. Antique and rug shops line the streets but you can still find atmospheric lanes with a rich history of spice trade. It was here that the first trade link for pepper and tumeric was established.

To dive deeper into the rich history and culture of Fort Cochin I spoke with Benson, a native Kochiite and the owner of Costa Gama Homestay.

Spend enough time in Cochin and you’ll soon be charmed by the warmth, friendliness and kindness of it’s people. From the fisherman who ply the waters of the port to the hard working laborers of Matancherry.

For Far East Adventure Travel this is John Saboe

Music Contribution by Deep Singh and Ikhlaq Hussain Khan (http://www.ragasitar.com/)

The post Cochin-Kerala, India-Global Masala Mix Of Cultures appeared first on Far East Adventure Travel.

Feb 10, 2016

When asked when's the best time to visit Taiwan I usually say almost anytime but festivals, especially Lunar New Year celebrations are when the island's culture and spirit are at it's peak.

In this episode I take a tour around the capital, Taipei, on the first day of the Lunar New Year to some of the city's most popular temples.

Most Taiwanese will pay a visit to their regular temple of worship or one of the more prominent or historic temples on the first day of the New Year to ensure they start the year off with new wishes, and of course prayers for prosperity and good health for their family.

The Longshan Temple in Wunhua District is one of the most popular temples to visit anytime of year but especially on New Year's Day. This temple has gone through many renovations as a result of fires, earthquakes, and Allied Forces bombings during World War II.

Tianhou Temple in Ximending District is the smallest out of all the temples on this visit but one of the oldest, first constructed in 1746 it's also know as the Ximending Matsu Temple, as Matsu, the Goddess of the sea is the main deity.

Guandu Temple is the furthest away from Taipei City, about a 35 minute MRT ride and 15 minute walk from the station named after the temple. It is the largest complex out of all the temples on this visit.

The final stop is the beautiful Baoan Temple in Dalongdong. This is a very historic part of Taipei with a Confucius Temple and some of the oldest buildings in the city. It's a wonderful neighborhood for strolling.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Far East Adventure Travel on a glorious day of hope and renewal at some of the most vibrant temples in all of Taipei, Taiwan.

The post Lunar New Year At Taipei’s Historic Grand Temples appeared first on Far East Adventure Travel.

Feb 3, 2016

Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in Taiwan and throughout most of the Chinese speaking countries and communities of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

Families will get together all over Taiwan with New Year's eve and the reunion dinner being the most important meal of the holidays. Many will spend extra money and serve more expensive ingredients, snacks, and treats for the celebration.

In Taipei many will head to Dihua Street, or "Grocery Street", it's nickname for stocking up on special ingredients and goodies.

Since the 19th century Dihua Street has been an important center of commerce with Chinese traditional medicine shops, fabric stores, incense materials, and the post-processing of Taiwanese tea taking up a majority of the shop space in the district.

Every year for a about two weeks before the Lunar New year sellers of traditional Taiwanese snacks, treats, and candies set up stalls all along Dihua Street handing out samples and marketing their products to eager customers.

In this episode of Far East Adventure Travel I take a walk through the market area just a few days before the New Year when the shopping frenzy is at it's peak.

The post Taipei, Taiwan’s Dihua Street-Stocking Up For Lunar New Year appeared first on Far East Adventure Travel.

Feb 1, 2016

It’s called shitamachi, the old town ambience of Tokyo’s past that has survived and in fact flourishes today in the Yanaka neighborhood, within walking distance of Tokyo’s expansive Ueno Park. You’ll find streets and alleys lined with old style merchant housing. Typically a shop on the ground floor with a living space above.

This neighborhood was virtually unaffected by World War ll bombings and the devastating earthquake of 1923 so unlike many places in Tokyo, some buildings here date back hundreds of years.

Yanaka is included in a trio of neighborhoods called Yanesen, Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi. It was developed as a temple town during the Edo Period from 1603-1867. People from all over Edo, the former name of Tokyo, would visit Yanaka for sightseeing and worship. If you’re interested in visiting inside the temples arrive well before the closing time of 5pm. There’s also a traditional cemetery where the remains of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of Japan lay.

Don’t be surprised if you bump into a few wild cats on your stroll through the neighorhood. Yanaka is famous for it’s population of stray cats and there are signs of this pride all over with cat cafes, souvenirs and feline references everywhere you look.

Visit the Yanaka Ginza shopping area close by the Nippori station of the JR Yamanote line and you’ll see further evidence of the love for cats. There’s even bean filled taiyaki cakes in the shape of cats instead of the traditional fish form.

Rice crackers, old style fish and butcher shops, traditional wooden and straw rope sandal makers are all around Yanaka Ginza.

It will feel like a time capsule when you leave Yanaka for a district like Akihabara. Otherwise known as Akihabara Electric Town famous world-wide as the center for otaku, people obsessed with anime, manga and gaming. But Akihabara’s history as an electronics shopping district goes back to post World War ll when it was known as the place to buy household electronic items.

Today you’ll see lots of maid cafes in the neighborhood. What’s a maid cafe? I’m glad you asked. It’s a place you can buy a meal and yes a coffee while a young woman in a french maid style costume acts as a servant and treats you like her master. Mainly appealing to fans of anime, manga and video games the first maid cafe not suprisingly opened right here in Akihabara in 2001. Today they are everywhere and attract a wide range of people including otaku, tourists, couples, women and politicians.

As the popularity and futuristic appeal of household items faded in the 1980’s Akihabara shifted it’s focus to computers at a time when they appealed only to hobbyists. These otaku were also interested in anime and manga thus the center of the world for this unique culture was born and thrives today.

If you just want a deal on some electronics accessories or cables it’s a good place to shop. You may get lucky and bump into a robot, maybe even one of the cat persuasion. No getting away from those cats in Tokyo.

Japanese pop culture is famous world-wide and much of it’s fashion is born in Harajuku. There are many familiar international brands here but you visit more for the people watching, the dining and cafes and to observe the interesting way of retailing and marketing. If you’re into street fashion and culture it’s one of the best places in Tokyo to visit. It’s also home to Yoyogi national stadium, site of the 1964 Olympic swimming and diving events and the beautiful Meiji Shrine.

One stop away on the JR Yamanote line is Shibuya station, one of the busiest trains stations in the world and right at it’s door the famous Shibuya crossing or scramble.

This could be the busiest intersection in the world where the lights on all corners turn red and pedestrians dash in all directions sometimes more than three thousand in one light. I would describe it as a controlled frenzy.

Feb 1, 2016

Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal. Situated on Phewa Lake it’s close proximity to the Annapurna range of the Himalaya makes it a trekking center for the world-famous Annapurna Circuit.

To get some advice on things to see and do in Pokhara, especially if time is limited, I spoke with Rajendra Dhakal, Pokhareli native, community leader and managing director of the Hotel Glacier Pokhara.

Back to Phewa Lake en route to a hike to the World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara. This is not the only approach to the trail that leads to the Pagoda but it’s one of the quickest ways to a trail head. Picking up a boat for hire gets you to the start in less than 30 minutes. You can choose a one way trip and walk down the other side of the hill to return to the town or you can have your boatman wait for you while you hike up to the Peace Pagoda and back down the same trail. About 2 hours or so in total.

You can also incorporate a stop at Bahari Temple on the little island you pass by. This is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Goddess Durga and is also a place of worship for Buddhists. It’s especially busy there during Nepal’s biggest festival, Dushain.

It’s not long before you can catch a glimpse of the gleaming white stupa at the top of the hill you’ll hike. About 45 minutes from the boat launch to the top.

I’m dropped off on the shore at the trailhead with about 2 to 2.5 hours to hike up, spend some time at the stupa and hike back down.

This is one of the easiest return trips. You can walk and hike from Pokhara up the other side of the hill but this will take you at least 2-3 hours each way. Or you can split the trip by boating one way and hiking back. Either way, the boat trip cost is the same.

My visit to Pokhara was in the fall coinciding with a trek of the Annapurna Circuit so it was still quiet warm. You might find a morning hike more comfortable.

It’s not a strenuous hike but it helps to be fit. Much of the trail is made up of stone stairs with plenty of signs and little altars along the way to keep you in the right direction.

As you gain altitude you’ll start to see the broad view of Phewa, the largest lake in Nepal surrounding the expanse of the town below. There was a haze and a few clouds hanging over one of the best views of the Himalaya in Pokhara that day hiding the Annapurna range and some of the highest mountains in the world.

Pokhara is located in the Northwest corner of the Pokhara Valley where there’s a quick gain in elevation. At a distance of 30 kilometers the mountains rise from 1000 meters to over 7500 giving the region one of the highest rates of precipitation in the country. Don’t be surprised by an afternoon shower and clouds covering the Himalaya, sometimes for days.

It’s not long before you can catch a glimpse of the gleaming white stupa at the top of the hill you’ll hike. About 45 minutes from the boat launch to the top.

Pokhara lies on an important ancient trade route from China to India and was still used up until the occupation of China in Tibet and the Indo-China war of 1962. It was originally apart of the Kaski Kingdom, one of the 24 kingdoms of Nepal. There are still ruins from this time in the hills surrounding Pokhara.

The World Peace Pagoda is one of the top sites visited in Nepal. It is one of two important viewing points in Pokhara for the Himalaya. The other is Sarankot across the lake and higher at 1600 meters. Ananda Hill the site of the World Peace Pagoda is 1100 meters in elevation.

After about 40 minutes of hiking the World Peace Pagoda comes into view from above.

The World Peace Pagoda or Shanti Stupa was established in 1973 by Nichidatsu Fujji, a Buddhist monk and the founder of Nipponzan-Myohoji, the Japanese Buddhist religious organization that helped build this and 79 other peace pagodas around the world. Two of the stupas are located in Nepal. One in Lumbini,

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