Info

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.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Adventure Travel, Far East: Inspired by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, National Geographic
2017
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: January, 2017
Jan 31, 2017
To experience what life would have been like for a Nguyen Emperor of Vietnam one must only visit their tomb. Like a reflection of their life each tomb leaves one with a sense of how the Emperor viewed his place in the world. The tomb of Tu Duc, approximately 5 kilometers outside of Hue, the former Imperial Capital, is one of the grandest of all with construction that took place over 3 years requiring 10,000 laborers. Tu Duc was the longest reigning Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, holding power for 36 years from 1848-83. His tomb served as palatial retreat for himself, his wives, concubines, and entourage after it's completion in 1867. The tomb complex is filled with buildings, temples, a lake, a tiny island where he could hunt small game, pavilions for relaxing and writing poetry and expansive grounds. Tu Duc's remains were never actually buried at the site of the tomb where he had spent so much time. Instead they were placed in a mysterious location somewhere around Hue. To ensure secrecy, the 200 workers that buried Tu Duc's remains were beheaded afterwards. To this day this site has still not been discovered. It's hard to justify the tomb with the history of suffering and loss associated with it's creation. Furthermore the lives that were sacrificed in order to preserve a mysterious burial site. When I walked around the Tomb of Tu Duc while broadcasting live on Periscope it was truly hard not to appreciate it's beauty while marvelling at the craftsmanship, artistry, and design. Much more fitting than a legacy to one man is a belief that this site reflects the beauty of Vietnamese architecture, heritage, and the hard work and sacrifice of it's people. The day I broadcasted live on Periscope from the Tomb of Tu Duc, the temperatures were in the mid-thirties celsius. Before and after the broadcast I explored the tomb complex while capturing images and shooting video for future podcasts. Working in the heat was exhausting, I can't imagine how hard it must have been for the labourers who turned this landscape into an Emperor's paradise. I hope you enjoy this "Best of" broadcast from the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam. Donate now and help support the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast. A gift of $5, $10, $20, or $30 goes along way to help with production and travel costs. Whenever possible I stay in guesthouses, employ local guides and drivers, and support local business. The money I spend goes directly back into the community and so can yours. Support Far East Adventure Travel with a donation now!Donate paypal.me/JohnASaboe Donate Write a Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2
Jan 30, 2017
Guandu Temple is one of the oldest temples in Northern Taiwan. Established in 1661 the temple is dedicated to Matsu, Goddess of the sea. The temple complex also contains a Buddhist shrine or chapel where Guanyin, the Goddess of compassion is also honored. It's also one of the most popular temples to visit during the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year holidays in Northern Taiwan. This year the temple is featuring two mechanical roosters in honor of the zodiac animal. Donate now and help support the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast. A gift of $5, $10, $20, or $30 goes along way to help with production and travel costs. Whenever possible I stay in guesthouses, employ local guides and drivers, and support local business. The money I spend goes directly back into the community and so can yours. Support Far East Adventure Travel with a donation now!Donate paypal.me/JohnASaboe Donate Write a Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2
Jan 27, 2017
This is one of the biggest traditional morning or wet markets in Taipei, Taiwan. It's close to the fruit/vegetable wholesale market, and the wholesale fish and seafood market so there's an amazing selection of fresh food. It is one of the top spots to buy food to prepare dinner for Chinese(Lunar) New Year's Eve. I visited the market the day for the big night when families gather together for their reunion dinner. Donate now and help support the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast. A gift of $5, $10, $20, or $30 goes along way to help with production and travel costs. Whenever possible I stay in guesthouses, employ local guides and drivers, and support local business. The money I spend goes directly back into the community and so can yours. Support Far East Adventure Travel with a donation now!Donate paypal.me/JohnASaboe Donate Write a Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2
Jan 25, 2017
To appreciate Hue, the former Imperial capital of Vietnam, one needs time. Unlike other historic towns like, Hoi an or even larger cities like Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, where many sites are within walking distance Hue’s important landmarks and buildings are spread out. It’s a large canvas with incredible beauty, tradition and culture. I spent several days on my last visit to Hue exploring all of the significant sites the city has to offer from the Citadel and Forbidden Purple City, where the Nguyen emperors lived and ruled, to boat cruises on the Perfume River, bicycle and motorbike rides to temples, Emperor tombs, and famous vegetarian restaurants. There are a few ways you can visit the tombs that were built for the Nguyen emperors, who ruled Vietnam from 1802-1945. One of the most romantic ways is to hire your own boat and cruise the Perfume River, stopping at each tomb-some require a motorbike ride from the river bank. You can also go on a tourist boat, which is more economical, but either way this form of transportation will take the longest. Hiring a car is the most convenient and will cost around $40USD. I wouldn’t recommend cycling as it would take all day just to possibly visit only one tomb but renting a motorbike, as long as you’re comfortable using one is fun and inexpensive. A motorbike in Hue costs around $5-$6USD a day plus fuel. These tombs are impressive and at least two are in a fantasy setting. In this episode of Far East Adventure Travel the best of my live Periscope broadcasts from Minh Mang’s tomb in Hue, Vietnam. Donate now and help support the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast. A gift of $5, $10, $20, or $30 goes along way to help with production and travel costs. Whenever possible I stay in guesthouses, employ local guides and drivers, and support local business. The money I spend goes directly back into the community and so can yours. Support Far East Adventure Travel with a donation now!Donate paypal.me/JohnASaboe Donate Write a Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2
Jan 18, 2017
Taipei often gets quiet during the first days of the Lunar New Year's celebration, Taiwan's most important holiday. Many who work in the capital will leave for their hometown to visit with family during the holidays. Especially important is returning for the family reunion dinner which takes place on New Year's Eve. Train tickets get booked weeks in advance. There is one place you will find busy in Taipei leading up to The Lunar New Year and that's Dihua Street, home to the city's biggest New Year's market. For two weeks every year prior to the Lunar New Year, this street, which normally sells speciality foods, traditional Chinese medicine, tea, and other goods becomes a pedestrian only market loaded with sellers of tasty foods and snacks that are consumed in great quantities during the holidays. Crowds descend on Dihua Street where aggressive sellers ply you free samples of peanuts, dried squid, candies, and other treats in order to get your business. It's a beautifully preserved relic from Taipei's past. It's one of the city's most atmospheric neighborhoods. It was first established in the 1850's as an important trade center. Many of the Qing Dynasty buildings have been meticulously preserved along with Japanese and Westerner buildings on the narrow one way street. In it's heyday tea, Chinese medicine, fabrics, and incense were all exported here with goods loaded right onto boats close by on the Danshui River. With roads and railway extensions built by the Japanese colonists in the late 1800's Dihua Street became less important as a trade center. Today it's still a commercial district specializing in Chinese medicine, speciality groceries, it's nickname is "Grocery Street", and other household goods as well as upscale cafes and restaurants. The fun begins everyday on Dihua Street in the morning and continues throughout the day wrapping up late at night. If you happen to be in Taipei within two weeks of the Lunar New Year it's worth paying a visit, just for the sheer array of free food you'll get to sample. Join me for a tour of one of the great markets of Taiwan, in this episode of Far East Adventure Travel. Donate now and help support the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast. A gift of $5, $10, $20, or $30 goes along way to help with production and travel costs. Whenever possible I stay in guesthouses, employ local guides and drivers, and support local business. The money I spend goes directly back into the community and so can yours. Support Far East Adventure Travel with a donation now! Donate paypal.me/JohnASaboe Donate Write a Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2
Jan 16, 2017
Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with a total of 54 ethnic groups making up 14% or 13-14 million of the total population of 90 million. Excluding the Kinh or ethnic Vietnamese people there are a total of 8 ethnic hill tribes that are found in the Sapa area of Northern Vietnam. Hmong, Dzao, Tay, Giay, Muong, Thai, Hoa(ethnic Chinese), and Xa Pho. The last 4 tribes compromise less than 500 people. The largest groups are the Hmong(52%), Dzao(25%), and Kinh(15%). Many older women of the two tribes you'll see most often in Sapa, Hmong and Dzao, make blankets and other textiles to sell. Many will also sell produce as well as bamboo that they harvest in the hills. You'll also often see young children selling trinkets in the village to help support their family. Some places discourage this but in my opinion I'd rather see people buying trinkets from kids rather than handing out candy. Their dental hygiene is not good to begin with and signs around town discourage this practise. Better to donate pens, pencils, or books directly to the schools. If you insist on giving something to kids it's better to give items like toys to the parents so begging is not encouraged. Giving anything directly to children really does set a bad pattern. Please don't do this wherever you travel in Asia. It's just as gratifying to give to a local charity or school. It's always fun to walk through the morning markets to see local goods for sale including fresh fruit and snacks like the bamboo tubes full of sticky rice. The people of the ethnic hill tribes English is remarkably good and a sign that language skills are important to survival. They are lots of fun to chat with and if you can get past the aggressive salesmanship you'll have some wonderful memories of engagement and interaction. I truly enjoyed my recent visit to Sapa. A highlight of the trip was a daily visit to the morning markets. Hope you enjoy the podcast and if you'd like to write a review in the iTunes store it will help other people find Far East Adventure Travel. Please follow the link below, make sure you're signed into the iTunes Store, click Ratings and Reviews, rate the podcast with a possible 5 stars then write your review. Write a Review: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2 Write a Review
Jan 14, 2017
Sapa, Vietnam is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Vietnam. At the time of this original live broadcast guesthouses and hotels were being constructed in a frenzy to accommodate the demand, especially from Vietnamese for lodgings. Sapa, with an elevation of 1500 meters has been a cool retreat from the heat and humidity of Hanoi and the surrounding area since the early 1900's. Military and missionaries arrived in the late 1800's then the first French civilian took permanent residence in 1909. Inhabitants of the Sapa region date back hundreds of years with little known of the first civilization other than hundreds of petroglyphs they left behind. Then came the hill tribes, Hmong, ZDao, and others. Today those hill tribes are still seen everywhere around Sapa dressed in their traditional clothing. Because Sapa is a tourist center and the people of the hill tribes are relatively poor they are constantly seen around the village selling textiles, trinkets, bracelets, as well as their own vegetables, bamboo and other goods including knives they forge themselves. Sellers, mostly women, are aged anywhere from 2 to 85. On my most recent trip I spent a few days around Sapa getting to know the area and the people of the region. If anything I've learned in my years as a passionate prolific traveler, it's to be empathetic. I'm not a master but with every journey I believe I get better. The hill tribe women will come off as being very aggressive and will follow you sometimes as you walk around the town pleading with you to buy something. It's quite easy to feel pestered and ultimately frustrated and annoyed. Keep in mind that they are not trying to get money from you to make a car payment, buy a nice bottle of wine, or a new pair of designer shoes. They're trying to put food on the table for their family. To buy the essential needs for survival. It's unrealistic to expect that everyone that comes to Sapa buy something from everyone they meet. But when you put yourself in someone else's shoes for a moment the annoyed and frustrated feeling tends to fade away. I've found that a smile, a compliment, some respect, and maybe even sharing a laugh goes along way to create a much more pleasant environment between myself and local people and also allows me to say no without them losing dignity. And yes, occasionally I will buy something. But I can't say yes to everyone either. Can you imagine though, having to go out walking around your town everyday with a bag of goods, hoping you can sell enough to buy your kids some food or clothing. Or sending your 3 or 4 year old daughter out into the streets to sell bracelets so she can do the same. Join me in this two part series of walks throughout the village from previous live streaming broadcasts of my recent trip to Sapa, Vietnam.
Jan 8, 2017
One of the most interesting sites I’ve ever come across in Southeast Asia let alone Vietnam is Ho Quyen, or the Tiger/Elephant fight arena in the former Imperial capital of Hue. It’s not on the same grand scale as Rome’s Coliseum but it’s an unusual and rare peak into a time in Southeast Asia when fights staged between tigers and elephants took place. Only 3 kilometers outside of Hue it was built in 1830 by the emperor at the time, Minh Manh, Research of this site revealed it was crumbling and falling apart but I was surprised that it was in better shape than I thought considering there has been little to no upkeep of the arena since the last fight took place here in 1904. There’s still enough structure including stairs to reach the top of the arena that you can imagine what it must have been like for the royal emperor and his entourage to be present during these brutal fights. Tigers were the symbol of rebellion, beasts that killed helpless villagers. Elephants were noble and represented monarchy, so it’s no wonder through the drugging, declawing and defanging of the tigers before the start of a fight who won everytime. It’s somewhat of a haunting feeling being inside the arena, on the very ground where tigers most of the time were trampled to death by elephants. If it looked like an elephant was losing a fight another would be sent in to help finish the job. All in the preservation of the pride of the monarchy. I crawled into some of the old holding areas for the tigers, some of which had claw marks scratched right into the plastered walls. A few kilometers in the other direction outside of the main town of Hue is a traditional Vietnamese countryside location complete with rice paddies, quiet roads, and a beautiful Japanese style covered bridge with a wonderful history. Thanh Toan Bridge is a cultural relic with unique architectural features but the story behind the bridge is far more interesting than the structure itself. Tran Thi Dao the childless wife of a high ranking mandarin or official in Le Hien Tong’s court in the 1700’s had the bridge constructed to help the local people communicate and travel outside of the village. When the Emperor heard of her kind deed he freed the village of taxes as a reminder of her generosity. In 1925 Emperor Kai Dinh ordered the village to build an altar in Tran Thi Dao’s memory inside the bridge. The Emperor knowing that Tran Thi Dao never had children ensured that she would always be remembered in a culture that puts a high importance on ancestor worship. This is one of two ancient bridges of Vietnam that appear in guide books world-wide. The other famous bridge of Vietnam is Hoi an’s Japanese covered bridge. That bridge was in fact built by Japanese immigrants in Hoi an but the Thanh Toan bridge is a Vietnamese bridge with similar features to the Japanese covered bridges of the time with a decorative tile roof and platforms inside to lean against. This is a lovely setting and the bridge is a great reason to leave the busier surroundings of Hue, making it a great afternoon getaway from the town. Back in Hue another bridge to admire is the Truong Tien Bridge created by the famous French architect and designer Gustav Eiffel. Completed in 1899 it’s setting over the Perfume River is atmospheric, even rising to romantic in stature. It’s had many ups and downs weathering historic storms and two wars. It’s latest renovation took 5 years from 1991-95 and in 2002 a lighting system was added. Today the bridge is mostly used for motorbikes and pedestrians and admired by all, especially in the evening with it’s colorful light display. It’s wonderful to cross the bridge North of the river where the Citadel and ancient Imperial complex is located and also to visit Hue’s largest outdoor market, Dong Ba. This is a great market to visit and buy some of the local snacks and fresh fruit and admire all of the wonderful ingredients that go into the amazing cuisine of Vietnam. These are all interesting and highly recommended places and sites to experience but the real reason most people visit Hue is to see the Imperial City where the Nguyen emperors ruled from 1802-1945. The complex is protected by the Citadel. Fortified ramparts that stretch 2 kilometers by 2 kilometers with an outer moat filled with water routed from the Perfume River. Within the Citadel is the Imperial City, inside an even more exclusive area, the Forbidden Purple City, access of which was only permitted to the Nguyen Imperial family. Much of the Forbidden Purple City had been destroyed during the Vietnam War when in 1968 one of the bloodiest battles of the conflict took place here during the Tet offensive. At first because of the cultural significance of the site, U.S. troops were ordered not to bomb the Imperial City but as fighting grew more intense those restrictions were lifted. Out of 160 original buildings only 10 remain as a result of the battle. The Mieu Temple has managed to survive the conflicts but did suffer fire damage in 1947 and was subsequently restored. The Mieu means temple of generations and it’s here where the altars of Nguyen emperors are worshipped. Directly across from the temple in front of the Hien Lam Pavilion sits the 9 Dynastic urns, dedicated to the Nguyen emperors. The urns are works of art with depictions of stars, oceans, rivers, mountains and other images. Important to the cultural history of Vietnam but even more valued by the Vietnamese claiming the artwork proves their right to the hotly contested Spratly Islands of the South China Sea. This is one of the most beautiful spaces in the whole Imperial Palace complex. Sadly it reminds us of the terrible destruction war can have not only on people but the significant sites that are the foundation of a country’s history and culture. As Hue’s important cultural sites are spread out over a large area leave a few days on your itinerary to visit the former Imperial Capital. Unlike Hoi an, it’s neighbor 3 hours by car south, Hue is not as compact so it’s charm must be appreciated on a much larger canvas. It’s truly worth the time as you’ll experience tradition, food, culture and history like no other destination in Vietnam. Help others discover Far East Adventure Travel by writing a review in the iTunes Store. Visit the page, click “Ratings and Reviews”, rate the podcast with a possible 5 stars and write your review now! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east/id890305531?mt=2
1