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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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Adventure Travel, Far East: Inspired by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, National Geographic
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Jun 10, 2017
Taipei, Taiwan is a super modern city with a deep-rooted culture that is becoming more and more popular as a gateway to East Asia and Southeast Asia. It’s new express MRT service from Taoyuan International Airport, a 36 minute ride, will make it even more convenient for travellers, especially those on a short layover. This short but important list of essential things you should know will help keep you on track with a smooth stay. Although taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive compared with other big cities in East Asia the MRT is one of the best ways to get to most of the main sites and business centers of Taipei City. The Nangang Exhibition Center where many conventions and shows are held is accessible by the blue and brown MRT lines. Neihou, where many tech industry businesses have their head office is also on the brown line, Xihu is one of the most convenient stops for quick and easy access. Taipei 101 for the last 3.5 years has had it’s own MRT stop on the red line. This is where you’ll also find The International Convention Center next to the Taipei 101 Shopping Mall. It’s also in close proximity to Taipei City Hall and is apart of the Xinyi Shopping District, where you’ll find one of the largest selections of luxury goods stores in East Asia. If you want to get more of a local perspective pick up an Easycard available at most MRT stations and register it online with Ubike, https://taipei.youbike.com.tw/en/index.php so you can have access to the city bikes that have stations across Taipei City and New Taipei City. Simply swipe your card next to the bike you want to rent and you’re ready to go. You can drop the bike off at any Ubike station. They’re almost always located near an MRT station. In the video I mention briefly that the Taiwanese people are very friendly and helpful. It’s true! If you ever appear to be lost or confused while looking at a map you will in most cases immediately attract the attention of a local who will be pleased to help you find your way. That’s wny I said “get lost”, literally you can get lost while exploring this amazing city with it’s maze of alleyways, quiet cafes, food stalls and shops and not worry that you won’t have help getting back to your hotel. Taipei and the rest of Taiwan is an extremely safe place to travel. There is literally no or very rare violent crime against tourists. Personal ownership of guns is banned. There has been reports of pick pocketing and petty theft, particularly in night markets and crowded places, but I think this is even rare now. Enjoy your stay in Taipei and please feel free to leave any comments or questions. You can also message me on the Far East Adventure Travel Facebook page! Become a sponsor of Far East Adventure Travel for as little as $1/month. Check my Patreon page for the latest sponsorship offers! https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4035923 Help others discover the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast! Write a Review:
Jun 7, 2017
I rarely if ever eat at McDonald’s but there is a curiosity that people, particularly from the west, have about what their regular fast food chains are like in Asia compared to their native country’s. It’s also a fall back when on the road dying for the tastes from home. It’s also a safe bet especially for some people who are a little shy to leave their comfort zone too long while on vacation and for parents traveling with children. So I thought I would check out McDonald’s Taipei as their special tropical burger currently on the menu is made from shrimp, something I still do eat. It’s pretty much what I expected, on the bland side, not horrible tasting but not very satisfying. Basically just a quick way to fill your stomach. I’m not a food snob but I do enjoy and appreciate good food, something there’s no lack of in Taiwan. Taiwan just may be the most convenient place to eat out in the world. I’ve heard estimates of over 300,000 food stalls on the island. Plus numerous restaurants that serve several styles of Chinese cooking, the most Japanese restaurants per capita outside of Japan, along with Korean, Vietnamese, and many Western cuisines. McDonald’s faces huge competition and it’s stores are not as successful in East Asia, particularly Taiwan and China then in other regions. It’s really not a surprise considering that Taiwan has a reputation in the east for being a food mecca. In recent years CNN viewers voted Taiwan the number one food destination in the world! Hopefully this episode will encourage those that fall back on the familiar to get out of their comfort zone more while traveling. Walk up to a food stall, order something new and different, and take away an unforgettable food memory and experience. Thanks for watching! Please support Far East Adventure Travel! You can become a sponsor for as little as $1/month. Check out my Patreon page:https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4035923 Help others discover the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast! Write a review in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2
Jun 5, 2017
In part II of my walk through Jalan Alor Food Street in Kuala Lumpur I stop to talk with a Durian seller, check out some of the street musicians performing in the surrounding area and chat more about the culture and food of Malaysia. Jalan Alor is quite easy to get to from most places where visitors stay in KL. You can walk from Chinatown, about 15 minutes or if you're around KL Central Station you can take the monorail to Bukit Bintang station and walk 5 minutes. Don't bother showing up before 6pm as they still might be setting up tables and chairs for the evening. This is not really considered a night market as there are mostly sit down restaurants, but there are a few food stalls around. There are also fruit sellers selling whatever is in season. Lychee, longan, rambutan, mangosteen, or if you're daring or lucky, you'll be there for durian season and can finish off your meal in a most traditional Malaysian way with the king of fruit! For my most recent meal at Jalan Alor I dined at Wong Ah Wah. I ordered grilled stingray,(small portion), squid fried in batter mixed with squid eggs, some gai lan wok-fried with garlic, and rice. Total cost was 79 ringit=$18.40USD. The stingray was perfectly grilled, moist on the inside, and came with a spicy dipping sauce. This was my first time trying squid eggs fried with squid and it was almost overwhelming rich, but wonderful. The gai lan was fresh and delicious and I washed it all down with a large Tuborg beer, Tiger wasn't available. Ordering beer is not a problem anywhere along the Jalan Alor but if you've been traveling for awhile around Southeast Asia you will notice prices are higher compared to most anywhere else. For a 633ml of Tuborg I paid approximately 17 ringit=$3.97 USD. Vietnam is one of the cheapest spots for beer, with 450ml bottles going at some street stall restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City for $.70USD. There are lots of great restaurants in Kuala Lumpur but my favorite place overall for experience, food, and value is Jalan Alor! Help support travel and production costs for Far East Adventure Travel. Visit my Patreon page and become a sponsor of Far East Adventure Travel for as little $1/month. Get exclusive content and more! Check out the offers now! https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4035923 Help others discover Far East Adventure Travel in iTunes! Write a Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2
Jun 1, 2017
For me Singapore and Malaysia were my first introduction to the amazing food experience of dining outdoors in Southeast Asia. Many years later the Jalan Alor food street of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is still one of my favorite places to dine. I've been lucky enough to have experienced the food and dining options of many cities and towns across Southeast Asia. Each one offers it's own unique food and charming experience whether it's sitting on tiny plastic chairs in the old quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam or enjoying the cheap vegetarian buffet in the night market of Luang Prabang, Laos while gazing at the Royal Palace's Temple at night. Jalan Alor is also one of the food centers I've visited the most having used KL as a gateway to Southeast Asia for several years. So I'm admittedly a little biased as well, but I've also never had a bad or even mediocre dining experience there. Jalan Alor is a tourist attraction but where some would find that perhaps not "authentic" I think it only adds to the experience with the possibility of sharing your dining experience with people from around the world, but mainly visitors from Asia. On my latest return I met a friendly group from Cambodia and some wonderful people from Iran. The restaurants have never let me down on Jalan Alor. The food is always consistently satisfying and being a seafood lover the options are almost limitless. My last meal consisted of grilled stingray, with a wonderful chili dipping sauce and deep-fried squid coated in a batter laced with squid eggs, it was so rich! I hope you enjoy this two part visit to one of my favorite places to eat in Southeast Asia, Jalan Alor-Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Help others discover the Far East Adventure Travel podcast! Write a review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2 Become a sponsor of Far East Adventure Travel and gain access to exclusive content! Visit:https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4035923
May 29, 2017
Bako National Park on the island of Borneo is Sarawak, Malaysia’s oldest park established in 1957. It packs in a huge variety of landscape, vegetation and wildlife for it’s small size of 27 sq/km. Only accessible by boat, if you’re based in Kuching you’ll just need to make arrangements to get to Bako Bazaar and the boat launch dock. There’s a public bus, or you can hire a taxi or Uber. By the way, although I did have to wait 18 minutes I was very lucky to get an Uber ride back to Kuching. Unless you want to pay a premium boats don’t leave the dock unless there are 5 passengers, so as long as you arrive not too late in the morning, it shouldn’t be long before you’re on your way, especially if you’re by yourself. The boat ride out to Bako, which takes about 20 minutes is an adventure itself, passing by fishermen and remote beaches and seeing the Satubong Peninsula. Once you reach Teluk Assam beach that leads to park headquarters you disembark from the boat and wade into shore. You could easily spend a half day just here, looking at the peninsula in the distance and checking out the wildlife that hangs out around the beach, including proboscis monkeys we caught a glimpse of right in the trees as we approached headquarters. You must check in at park headquarters when you arrive and present your park pass you purchased at the boat launch. It’s also a good idea to register which trail you will be on at the desk. Once you’ve completed that then you’re off to enjoy the beauty of Bako National Park. One of the guides that I met at the boat launch suggested I walk the Pandan Besar trail which gives you wonderful views, a chance to see unique vegetation, like the carniverous pitcher plants, and should allow enough time to do some wildlife viewing around the beach before the last boat leaves for the day at 3pm. Once you’re out of the lower trail and the jungle canopy you are in the scrub like padang vegetation and exposed to the sun, so it’s a good idea to bring a hat and use sunscreen. It would have been really easy to miss these pitcher plants that I saw close to the ground while walking the trail. They are abundant in this area. You will dip back into Kerangas forest, kerangas is an Iban word, Iban are the indigenous people of Sarawak. It means “land which cannot grow rice”-you’ll come out of the kerangas in the final stretch of the Pandan Besar trail. This is the prize at the end of the trail. Lovely views looking out at this beach, which is unfortunately inaccessible by foot. Another beach close by Pandan Kecil can be hiked from here. One thing you need to be mindful of when hiking here is the possibility of tropical downpours, Bako is part rainforest and on my way back I headed right into a huge rainstorm, which pretty much finished my hiking and exploring for the day. But it was a truly amazing taste of wild Borneo. Thanks to:http://www.purple-planet.com for their awesome soundtrack music! Write A Podcast Review: Visit the Far East Adventure Travel Patreon page and become a sponsor!:
May 26, 2017
I'm often surprised by certain things about a new place I've visited or discovered. Never more than on my recent trip to Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo where I found the local people were especially friendly and welcoming. Random greetings while crossing the street, "hello, welcome! Where you from?" Sometimes a hello from a group of students walking home from school or just people you cross paths with in the air conditioned modern shopping mall. Island people I've found, for the most part, are generally laid-back, easy-going and friendly. I've met and have had amazing hospitality on my most recent trip to Sabah on Borneo as well. And of course the people of Taiwan are known for being some of the friendliest people on the planet. I hope the Sarawak Tourism Bureau has a big party for their people because these are the kinds of things that most visitors will remember and tell their friends and others about when they're asked what their trip was like. No doubt you're going to have some pretty awesome memories if you visit Semenggoh, the orangu-tan sanctuary or spend a day or two in Bako National Park. Having Sarawak's famous Laksa, noodle soup for breakfast, gorging on some of the cheapest and best seafood in Southeast Asia at the UTC Top Spot Food Court will certainly be big takeaways from a visit to Kuching. I can guarantee you though that provided you didn't spend your whole time in your hotel or guesthouse room, it's the kind-hearted and friendly people of Kuching that will be one of your strongest impressions of a visit to Sarawak. In this episode of the podcast I'm experimenting with a different format including more travel advice and tips that's specific to the place featured. Of course I will continue to bring you the best experiences the area has to offer. In upcoming episodes watch out for my visit to the Semenggoh Orangu-tan Reserve, Bako National Park as well as other not to be missed sites around Kuching. I was really impressed with Kuching, the range of guesthouses and hotels, the exceptional food and overall value, Old Chinatown, India Street, and of course the wonderful boardwalk along the Sarawak River. There are amazing adventure activities that can be day trips while you maintain your base in Kuching. I'm thinking if you are coming from a Western country try to devote 5-7 days around the area which could include one or two nights in Bako National Park. If you're an Asian based traveller Kuching could be a great long weekend getaway. Many Asian cities have direct flights to Kuching and Air Asia has several everyday from Kuala Lumpur. I've started a Patreon account so for as little as $1/ month you can be a sponsor of Far East Adventure Travel and have access to exclusive content. Check out the page and help support travel and production costs of Far East Adventure Travel. Help others discover Far East Adventure in the iTunes Store by writing a review. Follow the link here:
May 17, 2017
Yehliu Geo Park is one of Northern Taiwan’s top tourist sites attracting on average over 3 million visitors yearly. It’s a fun place and interesting spot with numerous natural rock formations including their most famous, “Queen’s head”, named so for it’s resemblance to the profile of Queen Elizabeth I, some even comparing it to Nefertiti. It’s a Disneyland for rock lovers and as you can imagine it’s usually crowded almost anytime during the day. Sitting right next to the park is the fishing village of Yehliu, which is usually quiet except for meal times when some of the tourists stray away from the geo park and food stalls and souvenir stands that surround it and head to one of the many seafood restaurants that serve the amazing bounty of the North China sea. Other than the density of seafood restaurants, that perhaps could not sustain themselves without the massive tourist attraction next door it’s a pretty typical Northern Taiwanese fishing village, with lots of men fishing off of the docks, boats in the harbour equipped with watermelon sized lanterns, numerous temples and shrines, and beautiful views towards the park and sea. I know that many will miss the charm of places like this especially if they are ferried in by tourist buses with guides that are in a hurry to meet the promises of a day spent seeing all of the sites of Northern Taiwan. Most are simply looking to rack up tourist spots visited with selfies to share back home, the traveller that judges a good trip based on the volume of places they've seen. There's nothing wrong with that if in the end you're satisfied with your vacation. However if you want to experience the real Taiwan perhaps even engaging a little with locals, like the man who showed me the squid eggs in one of his tanks, then spend more time exploring and worry less about the number of things you see. I've found lots of interesting places literally on the fringes of tourist spots. Always my biggest take aways are those moments of interaction with locals that are far more endearing than a checked off list of sites. But do see Yehliu Geo Park next door, it’s worth the visit! Become a sponsor of Far East Adventure Travel for as little as $1/month. Visit my Patreon page to find out more and see the rewards on offer: Write A Podcast Review For Far East Adventure Travel:
May 12, 2017
The last few days I spent in Nepal during the earthquakes of 2015 were a whirlwind of visiting villages in the Kathmandu Valley and the remote hard hit Sindhupalchowk District. At least two thirds of all of the houses in Sindhupalchowk were destroyed. It was shocking as we rode up the windy road to one of the most remote villages, Thangpalkot I to see twisted buildings and piles of stones that were once homes. I met one young man that lost his guesthouse and had no idea how he would support his wife and daughter in the short term. Many of the younger people in the families around Sindhupalchowk were contemplating leaving the country to find work in order to save the money it would take to rebuild. In the Kathmandu Valley some villages lost historic buildings and temples, like Bungamati's Rato Machhendranath Temple, where the patron God of Patan deity usually presides. When I returned later in the year many of the villages and sites I saw in May had been cleaned up and there were more temporary shelters in place but the work had not yet begun at almost all locations. Nepal was also in the middle of a fuel crisis, spurred on by a constitution that wasn't favorable to villages in the Terai region. It was believed India was also in disfavor of the new constitution and held back deliveries of fuel giving the reason that drivers and trucks did not feel secure crossing the border. Most tourists were still able to move around the country by bus and with internal flights but Nepalis were preparing less vegetables in order to conserve cooking fuel. Less fuel also meant less goods available in stores and higher prices at the markets. The country and it's people could not think about rebuilding in this unfavorable environment. Today the work still remains painfully slow, especially in the remote regions like Sindhupalchowk but the country's state of panic has passed. When I visited Nepal in May of 2015 my intention was to support tourism and get the message out that although it wasn't the best time to visit during the aftermath, the country and it's people were still counting on tourism to help sustain the economy and families. It wasn't a surprise that many people cancelled their plans for a fall visit and a fuel crisis was not exactly a sign that things were stable. Today among other projects including two podcasts and a YouTube Channel I find myself a partner in a trekking and tour company based in Nepal with a personal stake in bringing tourism back to the country. I visited Nepal at my own expense during the earthquakes, no trekking adventures or relaxing days around Phewa Lake in Pokhara. I was there to document the damage, speak to people that were deeply affected by the destruction and share on social media that immediate help was needed and long term support of tourism was necessary. Most of the great trails of Nepal saw little or no damage as a result of the earthquakes and the south, the birthplace of the Buddha and some of the best wildlife viewing in the world were completely unaffected. Only 15% of the world heritage sites were damaged or destroyed. For every trekker or tourist that visits Nepal at least seven Nepalis benefit during that time spent in the country. Visiting Nepal whether you use my company or someone else's will have a huge impact on the recovery from one of South Asia's worst natural disasters. Beyond the knowledge and awareness of how valuable your tourist dollars are to the country I believe you will feel like you've had one of the most memorable and meaningful vacations of your life. For more information on travel and trekking in Nepal visit our website:https://explorehimalayan.com Please support Far East Adventure Travel with your donation:paypal.me/JohnASaboe Write a podcast review and help others discover the Far East Adventure Travel:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2
May 4, 2017
Part IV of Earthquake Diaries From Nepal begins in historic Sankhu Village, approximately 45 minutes by car from Thamel-Kathmandu it is located in the northwest corner of the Kathmandu Valley. It is where many religious festivals take place and was a stop on the original salt trade route from Tibet. I visited Sankhu a few times during my stay in May 2015. Outside of the Sindhupalchowk region this was one of the most devastated villages I witnessed in the Kathmandu Valley. Many locals were willing to share their experience and loss and it was not only heartbreaking but extremely overwhelming to hear the stories of losing brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, along with friends and relatives as a result of the earthquakes. There was also a miracle rescue when the sister of a man who had lost two other sisters, his father, and two domestic workers of the family, was pulled from the rubble of their house 5 hours after the initial earthquake. The site of people living in terrible conditions along the Bisnumati River was shocking. There were tented camps in Kathmandu with much better conditions but locals did not want to be far from their homes fearing looting or theft. There were aftershocks almost everyday sending more fear of yet another big earthquake on the way. Please send me any feedback on this documentary series to john@fareastadventuretravel.com. This podcast can’t happen without public support, help me continue to produce this series that I hope helps you either plan your next big adventure or allows you to imagine travelling at a time when it’s maybe not possible. A donation of $10, $20, $30 or more helps meet production costs and travel expenses. Support Far East Adventure Travel with your donation today: paypal.me/JohnASaboe Nepal Travel and Trek Planning: explorehimalayan.com Write a Podcast Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2
Apr 30, 2017
My Earthquake Diaries Nepal documentary series continues with part 2 and a “cry for tourism”. This episode follows my first few days of walking through the streets and alleyways of Kathmandu, visiting many sites that had suffered damage, destruction and terrible loss. I met tour guides and taxi drivers that saw a future of little or no work. And one afternoon I came across a group in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square conducting a desperate rally for unity within the tourism industry. I also traveled around the Kathmandu Valley visiting some of the most popular landmarks and Unesco World Heritage sites including Boudhanath, the Tibetan Village, the great Pashupatinath Hindu Temple complex, and the medieval village of Bhaktapur to see first-hand the damage to these sites that in the past have attracted travellers from around the world. This podcast can’t happen without public support, help me continue to produce this series that I hope helps you either plan your next big adventure or allows you to imagine travelling at a time when it’s maybe not possible. A donation of $10, $20, $30 or more helps meet production costs and travel expenses. Support Far East Adventure Travel with your donation today: paypal.me/JohnASaboe Nepal Travel and Trek Planning: explorehimalayan.com Write a Podcast Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2
Apr 29, 2017
[caption id="attachment_2264" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Cambodia's bamboo train-essential transportation for rural living doubles as a tourist ride Cambodia's bamboo train-essential transportation for rural living doubles as a tourist ride[/caption] Far East Adventure Travel The Podcast is brought to you by Far East Adventure Travel Magazine. Get your free copy now! Go to the iTunes App Store, download the app then download your copies of Far East Adventure Travel Magazine. I was staying in Battambang, Cambodia. While I was there I had to visit one of the area’s most famous attractions, the bamboo train. The bamboo train gets it’s name from the bamboo deck or floorboard used that rests on top of the wheels that can transport anything from chickens and rice to people. In Khmer it’s called a Lorry and has been used since the Khmer Rouge shutdown of most regular train service in the country. The Bamboo Train Station. Now where is the first class lounge? I could use a bloody mary about right now! Waiter? Actually the place is quite charming and surprisingly not touristy feeling at all. At least not at the starting point in O Dambong, about 4 km from Battambang. The bamboo train solves the biggest problem of a single track train line. What do you do when two trains meet from opposite directions? In the case of the bamboo train? Simple-move one off the track. This experience alone makes this one of the world’s all time great train rides. A little heavy on the photo gear I know but I’m a one man show right now. Farewells from the departure crew and we’re off. The bamboo train was not the first flatbed type service in Cambodia. During the civil war of the 80’s and 90’s flatbed trains were used as mine sweepers ahead of the rest of the train. Service was free, risky but popular. [caption id="attachment_2266" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Bamboo train station at O Dambong-approximately 4 km from Battambang, Cambodia Bamboo train station at O Dambong-approximately 4 km from Battambang, Cambodia[/caption] And here we go about 3 minutes into the ride and our first stop. Wow, now that’s taking service station to the next level. The first lorries or bamboo trains were actually hand driven with a pole, kind of like an Italian gondola. Small motorcycle or tractor engines, like this one were added later. The wheels? They’re actually from abandoned tanks! Yes get your ass off the deck so I can do my job, thank you! Once again we are rolling on the tracks. The ride lasts almost a half-hour each way starting in O Dambong with a short stop in O Sra Lav before returning. The tracks are not in the best of shape with little or no maintenance for decades making them warped and misaligned. Occasionally you’ll get a strong bump from a really weak section, but hey it’s all part of the charm. It is just after 7am and I think this is a perfect time to come-with the sun just rising and cool comfortable temperatures. The atmosphere is amazing and feels like you’ve been dropped into an Indochina themed adventure movie. Cambodia’s first rail line was built by the French in the 1930’s. By 1969 the rail system was still in good shape but the civil war of the 1970’s soon saw some of the line destroyed. By 2008 passenger service was completely discontinued. Private interests currently hold the concession to the railway with only freight operation running between Phnom Penh and the coastal town of Sihanoukville. We are slowing down because another train is coming our way. The rule is the car with fewer passengers gives way to the other car. So if you want priority service bring a group or give some locals a free ride. Finally after a ride with stops that lasts just under 30 minutes we arrive at O Sra Lav. Here’s where it gets a little touristy, with the usual t-shirts, scarves, and kids selling bracelets. But that’s OK, they’re just trying to make a living and the people are always friendly here even if you don’t buy. Like this man kindly showing me the way. Ten minutes later we are back on the tracks and heading back to O Dambong. Sometimes so-called tourist attractions are spoiled by being over commercialized eventually losing the charm that originally made them attractive. For me the bamboo train is an absolutely original experience. Pieced together with leftover tank wheels, tractor motors, and eco-friendly bamboo, it’s the ultimate transportation mutt making it one of the world’s most original travel experiences. Subscribe to the audio podcast:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id1079513943?mt=2
Apr 26, 2017
As I assemble this series from my days in Nepal during the earthquakes of 2015 the memories of fear, shock, and helplessness are painfully resurrected. People from all walks of life, sleeping outdoors for fear of another earthquake that could collapse their house, if they still had one. The site of shocking destruction, streets where buildings were folded like an accordian. Apartment blocks levelled to the ground with the remains of personal and household items scattered amongst the debris. And the helplessness of watching people struggle to find food and shelter and listening to the stories of relatives that fell to death. There was much talk of more earthquakes and rumors that another one was inevitable, perhaps larger than any of the previous tremors that shook the country. Even if you wore a mask the dust that floated around the Kathmandu Valley from the thousands of buildings that collapsed seemed to find a way deep into your lungs. There was also a light and warmth that you felt from the hundreds of volunteers from around the world that were there to serve their fellow humankind. A nurse from The Netherlands working in one of the local hospitals, a young Taiwanese backpacker that decided to postpone the rest of her trip to help out. A Japanese medical team whom when I asked how long they would stay, they simply responded, "as long as necessary". And Nepalis themselves organizing shelters, and meals for the homeless. The country's tourism industry is beginning to rebound which is one of the best ways to lend support to the rebuilding of Nepal. For every tourist that visits the country at least seven people are affected in a positive way directly. Planning a trekking or cultural trip, and even a safari is not only an enriching personal experience, it's a step towards helping one of the most deserving people anywhere on the planet. You're welcome to check out trip ideas with our travel company in Nepal, just follow the link below. Nepal Trekking and Tours:https://explorehimalayan.com If you enjoy watching the Far East Adventure Travel Podcast please help others discover travel inspiration for East, Southeast, and South Asia. Follow the link below, click Ratings and Reviews, rate the podcast out of 5 stars, then write a review. Write A Podcast Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2 Subscribe to the Far East Adventure Travel Audio Podcast:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id1079513943?mt=2
Apr 24, 2017
It’s been 2 years since the first of several earthquakes and tremors terrorized the Himalayan nation of Nepal. It was April 25th, 2015 at 11:56am local time when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the country. It was followed by several hundred aftershocks and another 7.3 tremor on May 12 that in total killed nearly 9,000 people and injured over 22,000 leaving many homeless. To this day thousands are still not living in a permanent home. Having visited the country on several occasions over the years when I first heard the news of the devastation I thought I should plan a trip to see first-hand how severely damaged the country was and it’s tourism infrastructure. I knew that the media reports of a ruined tourism industry would have a huge impact on the nation and it’s people that desperately rely on tourists to earn a living. I also wanted to encourage other people to visit the country either through volunteering to help with the recovery or once the situation had stabilized, make their own travel plans to Nepal, as this is one of the most effective ways to help the country rebuild. My flight was due to arrive at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport May the 12th at 2pm. Approximately 1 hour before we were due to land the pilot announced another earthquake had struck Nepal and our descent would be delayed until crews finished a runway safety check. The plane went completely silent, passengers mostly all Nepalis returning home for the first time since the devastation, fearing more loss. This documentary series, comprised of recorded live streams, apologies for the inferior quality, along with regular footage I captured is my diary of the 20 days I spent in Nepal during some of the most desperate moments in the country’s history. After 90 minutes of circling the Kathmandu Valley on May 12, 2015 we were finally cleared for landing. This is where my story begins. I would love to get your feedback on the podcast either by email to john@fareastadventuretravel.com or just message me on the Far East Adventure Travel Facebook page. In China you can contact me on Weibo as fareastadventure. If you want to find out more about visiting Nepal you can check out our travel page Explore Himalayan. The link is in the show notes of this podcast. I’ll also leave a link in the show notes to my photo essay “Voices Of Nepal” published last year in the Impossible Project Magazine. Write A Podcast Review:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2 Travel Information For Nepal:https://explorehimalayan.com John Saboe "Voices Of Nepal"-https://magazine.the-impossible-project.com/voices-of-nepal/?utm_source=Impossible+Magazine&utm_campaign=4ecd6c44b0-Magazine_Monthly_Newsletter_July_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3aa46766f1-4ecd6c44b0-91484753&mc_cid=4ecd6c44b0&mc_eid=af7b26c1ba
Apr 18, 2017
This is part II of my live broadcast from Can Tho, Vietnam. I spent my first night exploring the city near riverside and the night market. When I arrive in an unfamiliar place I'm always excited to get out and walk the streets, check out what restaurants and food stalls or night markets are serving and get to know where people gather. Can Tho, like many cities in Vietnam and Southeast Asia has a few areas where you'll find activity at night-it usually revolves around eating. Near the waterfront and night market featured in this episode and around De Tham Street, nicknamed "food street" by locals where a series of restaurants serve everything from hot pot to seafood, and vegetarian. Your hotel can give you directions, just ask them where's food street? I stumbled onto Com Chay An Lac, a hole in the wall vegetarian restaurant that serves ultra fresh and cheap Vietnamese vegetarian food. Big bowls of noodles with imitation bbq pork,(bean curd), springs rolls and other tasty guilt free food for less than a buck. Join me in Can Tho as I explore and chat with some of the live viewers on varying topics from street food safety to trekking in Nepal and an impromptu interview with a friendly French tourist. Also in this podcast a thank you goes out to everyone who subscribes to Far East Adventure Travel, especially those that have followed my travels since 2014. As well as gratitude for the lovely reviews written in the iTunes Store. Below you'll find a link to the podcast page where you to can rate the podcast and submit and write a review. Leaving a review helps others discover Far East Adventure Travel. Also for a wide variety of videos on East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia please subscribe to my YouTube Channel:http://www.youtube.com/c/JohnSaboefareastadventuretravel I'm also very interested in your feedback on the podcast. Where are you from and what would you like to see in the future. You can message me on Facebook(Far East Adventure Travel) or send me an email-john@fareastadventuretravel.com. For those of you in China I'm also on Weibo as fareastadventure. Please feel free to follow me and send a message(English). Write A Review:https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/adventure-travel-far-east-inspired-by-rick-steves-lonely/id890305531?mt=2
Apr 14, 2017
Can Tho, Vietnam is the largest city in the Mekong River Delta region, famous as a destination for Mekong River Floating Market tours. It was one of the highlights of my most recent visit to Vietnam. Upon arrival in Can Tho, approximately 3.5 hours by bus from Ho Chi Minh City, I decided to immediately head for riverside, naturally where most travellers gravitate and explore the streets, night market, temples, and shops in the area. I also wanted to investigate hiring a boat for a tour the next morning. Some of my best and fondest memories of traveling are seeing a place for the first time. It's always exciting getting familiar with unknown territory. Night markets, cafes, fruit stands and Ho Chi Minh statues are not much different from one end of the country to the other but the settings are as well as the people and local culture. Throughout Vietnam you will find a mostly friendly attitude towards foreigners, from outgoing to reserved but friendly. In Can Tho and I believe much of the Mekong River Delta region locals are very hospitable. I was setting up my camera crouched on the side of a street one afternoon when behind me a friendly older man had brought out a plastic chair for me to sit on. Vietnam has a plethora of famous cities and destinations that are highly recommended by guide books and travel experts from the centers of commerce, arts, and politics like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, to the picturesque and historic cities of Hoi An and Hue. Can Tho is certainly a favorite of mine now. It doesn't have the same charming and historic atmosphere of Hoi An but it also doesn't draw excessive crowds and with the exception of the "boat ladies" who aggressively sell boat tours, is not hyper-focused on tourist wallets. Two or three days of hanging out in Can Tho, taking in some river excursions and visiting local temples and sites would be a wonderful diversion from the big cities and tourist towns. Tasty cheap local food, like 60 cents for a big bowl of noodles, a fantastic selection of tropical fruit, and simple street side cafes in a wonderfully laid back environment will have you contemplating retirement if not here, somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Apr 4, 2017
Can Tho is the fourth largest city in Vietnam and the largest in the Mekong River Delta region. People that visit are here primarily for the boat cruises that take you to the world-famous floating markets. A confluence of boats that merge in various locations of the river for trade of mostly fresh fruit and produce. For this trip I hired a boat for about $14 dollars that will take me on an approximate 3.5 hour tour on the Hua River, a tributary of the Mekong where I’ll see a wholesale floating market in action and visit a rice paper making village. After 45 minutes of passing by colorful vessels and regular river activity, including tourist boats heading in the opposite direction on their way to other floating markets we arrived at the Cai Rang wholesale market. Cruising at a slower speed by boats almost spilling over with pineapples and other fresh fruit and produce. Local buyers arrive to purchase goods from the farmers that bring their fruit and produce to Cai Rang and take it to the cities to sell to shops and other wholesalers. It’s important to hire a boat and leave the dock at Can Tho before 7am otherwise you’ll mostly just run in to other tour boats by the time you arrive. You can either book your boat in advance at your hotel or make a deal with one of the boat ladies hanging out at the dock on Hai Ba Trung. Typically a boat here will have a sample of whatever they’re selling attached to a long pole, so it’s easy to spot what you’re looking for from a distance on the water. This also saves the farmers or sellers from having to yell out what they’re selling like in a typical market. You’ll also have a chance to interact with boats pulling up and offering drinks and snacks. Can Tho was once part of the Khmer kingdom. There’s still a significant Khmer community noticable by the numerous Cambodian style Buddhist temples in the city. If you’ve just arrived from Ho Chi Minh City you’ll appreciate a slighter slower pace with a mix of wide streets and narrow lanes. The city has enough interesting sites and places to stroll to keep you engaged for at least a few days. I found it effortless to settle in and enjoy the even friendlier environment and the inexpensive delicious food and fruit of the region. The Khmer style temples of the region are Theraveda Buddhist unlike the Vietnamese type that are filled with Taoist Gods and Buddhist deities. A visit to Munirensay Pagoda will either immediately take you back to your days in Cambodia or inspire you to cross the border. There are plenty of lovely restaurants along the waterfront on Hai Ba Trung as well as a nightly market with plenty of cheap food stalls but don’t miss out on the great spots on De Tham, the street of food located on Hue Vien close by the Munirensay pagoda. Here you can find a huge selection of dishes whether you favor meat, fish, or vegetarian. Plus there’s bake shops that sell slabs of cake for less than 50 cents, and fruit stalls with jackfruit that’s as sweet as candy. There are lots of friendly streets to stroll and if you decide you want to take a rest and have a caphe da, or vietnamese iced coffee, just grab a plastic chair and have a seat. I like the fresh fruit juices cafes serve here as well. Head back to Hai Ba Trung walk along the river’s edge, check off another Ho Chi Minh statue you’ve seen on your trip and make your way to the prettiest temple in Can Tho, Ong Temple inside the Guangzhou Assembly Hall. Under all of the huge incense coils that lends to the temples magical atmosphere you’ll find Kuang Kung or Guan Yu, right in the center. The God of war Kuang Kung symbolizes truth, justice, and courage among other qualities. Kuang Kung is the main deity worshipped at the temple. Development and modernization is spreading across Vietnam including Can Tho but there’s still remnants from the past including the Ninh Kieu Pier Tourist Market and it’s Market Hall dating back to 1913. Inside you’ll find trinkets and clothes, souvenirs, and a restaurant/cafe with lovely river views. Meanwhile back on the floating market tour we traveled up one of the quieter pretty canals to visit a rice paper making village. As touristy as some of this activity may seem you’d kick yourself if you didn’t hire a boat and visit a floating market while staying in Can Tho or the Mekong Delta region. The feeling of cruising up and down the river amidst this unique way of trade is an extremely rewarding adventure. There are longer river trips and more temples and sites to see around Can Tho. However it’s the slower pace, obvious relaxed feel of the city and it’s people as well as the transcendental experience of the Mekong River system that is the bigger take away. It’s a reminder that as much as the country is changing it’s the old ways and pace of life that reflects the true beauty of 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
Mar 25, 2017
The Sanzhi UFO houses was a famous beach house development in New Taipei City, Taiwan featuring futuristic "space pod" living spaces that were abandoned and never completed. Eventually they were demolished in 2008. Who knows if Sanzhi, or this other "beach house" development I discovered in Northern Taiwan through research and first-hand accounts were "beach developments" or simply a cover up and ultimately destruction of evidence that extraterrestrial life at one time was present in Taiwan. One story behind this development involves a soda pop tycoon's investment in a beach house community in the 70's made up of futuro and venturo homes that failed and subsequently were also abandoned. Like the main character in the novel and movie adaptation filmed on location in Taiwan, "Life Of Pi", I ask you which story would you prefer? The failed attempts at real estate development by Taiwanese millionaires, or aliens seeking to establish beach front communities while enjoying the rich culture, amazing food, night markets, hot springs, great health care, and a "new hope" on Ila Formosa, "the beautiful island". You decide! 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
Mar 17, 2017
It was New Year's Day 2017, unusually warm at 26 celsius, making it perfectly pleasant to walk around interesting neighborhoods in Taipei, Taiwan including Dongmen and it's Yongkang Food Street. Anchoring this street that has been published in almost every travel and food magazine and guidebook, is the world-famous Din Tai Fung, purveyors of xiaolongbao, delicious soup dumplings. Crowds, as seen on this day, will line-up for over an hour in the midday just to get a table. Even though this restaurant is a big draw there are plenty of other restaurant in Dongmen serving the delicious specialities of Taiwan. The history of this neighborhood goes way back to the Japanese occupation when high government officials and the affluent started taking up residence here. Qingtian Street is a lovely place to stroll while enjoying a classic Taiwanese snack purchased from Yongkang Street like green onion pancake. There are still Japanese style homes left over from the time of occupation that have been converted to art galleries and teahouses. You can also visit the Taipei Grand Mosque that's close by. It's no wonder this is a top destination for tourists visiting Taipei. Great restaurants, interesting sites, and friendly locals make for a memorable time in Dongmen. Don't hesitate to just wander. Getting lost in the little alleys that are dotted with interesting cafes and shops is part of the fun of visiting Taipei. Join me in the Dongmen neighborhood sharing some of my favorite places to eat while giving you a taste of what it's like to walk in one of the tastiest and friendliest places in Asia! 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
Mar 6, 2017
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is on the move! It's one of the fastest changing and growing cities of Southeast Asia with modern shopping complexes springing up everywhere, a skyline filled with construction cranes, and a joint venture between Japan and Vietnam to build the city's first subway/rapid transit system. It's great to see the people of Vietnam enjoying new amenities and infrastructure but people like me still want to see the old Saigon. Traditional culture, morning markets, non-touristy neighborhoods. The good news is there's still lots to see. Around Co Bac And Co Liang streets in District 1 they still have a traditional market and if you stay in one of the guesthouses in the neighborhood you'll feel very much like a local. The other area that's still ripe with traditional shopping and culture is Cholon or District 5 and Binh Tay Market, a wholesale market that bustles everyday of the week. Cholon is where the ethnic Chinese community is based. Some say it's the biggest Chinatown in the world. I've visited the neighborhood a few times in the last year and find it fascinating, friendly, and full of life. It's also a photographer's paradise with constant activity, huge displays of food and hard goods, and people so occupied with their tasks that candid shots are a breeze. Join me for a walk around Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 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
Mar 4, 2017
I truly enjoy cities that are pedestrian friendly. That is, sites, parks, entertainment districts, hotels, restaurants, that are within easy walking distance of each other. Although you might think with it's frenetic pace and appearance of crazy traffic Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam might not fit this category, but that's not the case. Once you get used to the traffic flow and crossing etiquette of Vietnam's largest city you'll appreciate, specifically the District 1 area, with it's convenience and plethora of landmarks, historical sites, museums, hotels and other amenities within reasonable walking distances. One place I always return to in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1, or what still many locals refer to as Saigon, is the Central Post Office and Notre-Dame Cathedral area. The Saigon Central Post Office in my opinion is one of the most beautiful buildings of the French colonization era of Indochina and Vietnam. Built between 1886-1891 there seems to be conflicting stories on who actually designed it. Gustav Eiffel has been named, as has Alfred Foulhoux and Auguste Henri Vildieu. Of course because the Eiffel name is so well known this is the most marketable story, he actually had an office in Saigon during this era designing many bridges, some of which are still in use today in Vietnam. Regardless of who designed it the Saigon Central Office is one site not to be missed on a visit to Ho Chi Minh City. Join me on a tour this is iconic treasure from the past, that today is still a working post office in this episode of Far Eat Adventure Travel. Recorded from a previous live broadcast on Periscope. 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
Feb 25, 2017
Considered one of the most beautiful metro stations in the whole world Formosa Boulevard Station in Taiwan's second largest city, Kaohsiung is a stunning art exhibit that doubles as a metro station that connects two MRT lines. Named after the "Formosa Incident," pro-democracy demonstrations that lead to an observance of Human Rights Day December 10th, 1979. It's regarded as one of the key events that eventually lead to democracy in Taiwan. The Formosa Boulevard Station's Dome of Light as it's known was created by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata who also oversaw the installation of it's 4500 glass panels. It's the largest glass art exhibit in the world. The Dome of Light's four themes tell the story of human light Water: The Womb of Life; Earth: Prosperity and Growth; Light: The Creative Spirit; and Fire: Destruction and Rebirth. The exhibit is also a metaphor for the development and movement towards democracy in Taiwan. Even the outside entrances and exits of Formosa Station Boulevard are striking. Designed by Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu. The four main glass entrances evoke a sense of redemption or prayer as they orientation suggests folded hands. This is a wonderful little diversion from a stay in Southern Taiwan that can be incorporated while you're on the move to many sites of the city that can be visited via the Kaohsiung MRT. It's a wonderful peaceful spot, even with the beeping of metro gates. You may even catch a piano recital with the baby grand piano that's always on site. Thumbnail photo by Gerard Laubscher 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
Feb 18, 2017
On my recent swing through Southern Taiwan to take in the annual Beehive Fireworks Festival in Yanshui/Tainan I managed to visit Taiwan's second biggest city, Kaohsiung. For the first time I was able to see the city's wonderful lantern festival next to the atmospheric Love River. I'm always asked when is the best time of year to visit Taiwan. Almost anytime of the year can be interesting but one of my favorite times to recommend is during the Chinese New Year,(Lunar New Year) festivities. The first day itself is always inspiring and full of good spirit as many Taiwanese visit temples to start the year off with prayers of good fortune, luck, and health. Then of course there are the many festivals that are centered around the New Year including the Beehive Fireworks Festival, if you're daring and looking for extreme adventure. See the podcast featured on this channel. For a more serene experience the Lantern Festivals of Taiwan are wonderfully beautiful and completely safe, but you will have to endure huge crowds. Most major cities on the island host a lantern festival. Internationally the most famous one is the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival of Northern Taiwan. This festival features mass releases of sky lanterns that dance in the skies of Northern Taiwan sending out wishes of good fortune, health, luck, and even marriage! Having had the opportunity to see a few I can say that although some themes will be the same, mainly lanterns featuring the year's zodiac character, this year the rooster, there will be variations based on the location of the city. As Kaohsiung is the largest port city of Taiwan there are many marine themes. Artistically I noticed there were many interesting variations of the rooster theme compared with the Taipei Lantern Festival and the Love River setting is absolutely magical. Join me for part one of this two part series on the 2017 Kaohsiung Lantern Festival on 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
Feb 15, 2017
The Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival is held every year in Yanshui District in Southern Taiwan. Locally known as the Feng Pao it is considered one of the most dangerous festivals in the world as well as being the third largest folk celebration. Why do they blow off millions of bottle rockets and firecrackers you ask? It all started with a cholera epidemic in the late 19th century. Due to the underdeveloped state of medicine victims multiplied daily and the people of the district lived in fear. On the day of the Lantern Festival, 15 days after the 1st day of the Lunar New Year, town folk paraded Gaun Di, the God of War on a palanquin around the streets. Firecrackers were lit until dawn. In one night the people of Yanshui rid their district of the plague and the festival has been carried on ever since. This year along with taking in one of the most notorious events of the festival, the actual beehives that are metal racks lined with bottle rockets that are exploded in the streets of Yanshui I also attended the daytime events on the last day. There were processions of Gods paraded on palanquins, pole dancers on jeeps dancing for the crowds, sometimes also seen at Taiwanese funerals, and plenty of deafening firecrackers and fireworks exploding on the streets. Join me for highlights of one of the most vibrant, exhilarating, and dangerous festivals in the world, the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 2017 on 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
Feb 9, 2017
In Chinese and Asian culture The Lantern Festival marks the end of Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year celebrations. Always falling 15 days after the first day of the year the date varies according to each new Lunar Year. The tradition started more than 2000 years ago with the emperor and noblemen having the most elaborate lanterns. Today, especially in Taiwan, Lantern festivals are huge commercial productions, with many corporations and educational institutions sponsoring lanterns. The festival usually begins at least one week before the Lantern Festival day with some cities and counties carrying their event a few days past the 15 day mark. This year's Lantern Festival's theme was "Westside Story, Taipei Glory" honoring the historic Ximending and Beimen neighborhoods on the westside of the city. Join me for a tour of some of Taipei's 2017 Lantern Festival highlights in this edition of Far East Adventure Travel.
Feb 3, 2017
I woke up to blasts and blasts of firecrackers echoing through the streets and alleyways in the Zhongshan District of Taipei, Taiwan. The crackling and explosions marked the first day of business in the Lunar New Year, 2017. In Taiwan and Chinese culture, ceremonies and rituals take place on the first day of business to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year. Offerings for the Gods are laid out on folding tables in front of businesses throughout Taipei and the rest of the island of Taiwan as shops, banks, offices, and most other commercial operations mark the start of their business year. Firecrackers are lit to chase away any bad spirits and kick off a prosperous year. Some larger businesses or associations will hire a Lion Dance troupe to help start the year off with good luck and fortune. This year after I heard the sounds of firecrackers I immediately got ready and headed for Dihua Street, the site of an annual New Year's food and snacks market and a commercial district the rest of the year. Dihua was once a bustling site of trading and export houses from around the world. Tea, fabrics, rice and other goods were loaded on ships docked at the nearby Danshui River. Today Dihua, a neighborhood of historic Qing Dynasty era buildings is home to traditional Chinese medicine shops, bulk foods and speciality items, cafes, and the Yongle Fabric Market. It was here where I eventually found myself ready to capture one of the most traditional and exciting ways to start the business year in Taiwan, a Lion Dance performance, prayer ceremony and a powerful firecracker blast. Xīnnián kuàilè, Happy New Year from Taipei, Taiwan!
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