Blog Archives

Celebrate World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, is UN World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly made this proclamation four years ago as a way to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. I’m not an eco-blogger or traveler, but I do make every effort to respect the world around me, making sure that I don’t engage in any behavior that harms the earth and its creatures. Or, if I’m to be more honest with myself and you, I try to minimize the damage my behavior causes to the earth and its creatures (because, yeah, air travel is not eco-friendly). Although I don’t write much on the topic, either, I’m pretty pleased with this podcast I did with Bret Love about Rwanda’s ecotourism attractions, and how tourism is bouncing back after the terrible atrocities of the Civil War and genocide. […]

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Getaway to Nara, Japan

Nara, located in the Kansai region of Japan, was formerly known as Heijo and in 710 was established as Japan’s first permanent capital. The capital was moved in 784, in large part due to the growing power and ambition of the many Buddhist monasteries located there. The historical treasures of the area remain, however, including some of the oldest and largest temples in Japan. Like most other cities in Japan, there is folklore around the name of Nara. A variety of theories exist, but the most widely accepted one says that the name came from words and phrases that meant “flat land” or “gentle slope” which described the area’s topography. Today Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture and is an active center of both government and commerce. Like Awaji, It makes an easy getaway destination from Kyoto and […]

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Getaway to Awaji Island

Whether Japan’s Kansai region is your primary destination, or an add-on while visiting the rest of the country, planning for a getaway to Awaji Island rates high on my recommendation list. Folklore says that Awaji Island is the birthplace of Japan, created when the gods Izanagi and Izanami mixed up the sea with a spear. When they lifted the spear, a small drop of brine fell off the blade, hardening on top of the waves. That hardened drop became Awaji Island. Things to Do Take a boat trip through the Naruta Whirlpools – The Inland Seto Sea meets the Kii Channel  in the Naruta Straits, creating dramatic whirlpools the likes of which are seen in only a couple of other places in the world (Sicily and Vancouver, British Columbia). The whirlpools can reach a diameter of 65 feet. You can […]

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Visiting China: A New Country

I spent a long weekend in China. That’s an unusually short amount of time to spend in a country, especially one that requires a 12-hour transpacific flight to get to. My overnight flight got me in the evening before I was a speaker at the International Tourism Communication forum in Beijing, sponsored by the Communications University of China. The University offers undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs in a variety to television, journalisms, advertising, and realted programs. The forum was an attempt to create high level discussion on ways to improve communication within the tourism industry, and between the tourism industry and travelers. I did have one day for touring and will have a future post about that. Till then, though, I was able to update my countries visited map. Create your own travel map – TravBuddy

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Postcard from Okunoin Cemetery

A walk through a cemetery is a history lesson, especially in Japan. Feudal lords are interred next to executives, business moguls next to working class citizens.

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Postcard from Manila

  This week I’m in Manila, in the Philippine Islands This is a new country for me to visit, and while I’ve been busy with meetings, site reviews, and only a little bit of touring, I’ve discovered there is plenty to see and do. The food has been amazing, too.

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Looking Good in Bangkok: Buying Custom Made Clothes

Cleaning out the ill fitting clothing in my closet, and replacing them with items that I love and that fit well, has been on my to-do list for far too long. To be very clear – haute couture is not in my budget, and it’s never going to be. I’m a casual kind of gal, and I prefer to spend money on travel and experiences rather than more “stuff.” BUT – buying some custom made clothes has long been on my bucket list.Who knew that a week in Bangkok would be the impetus to get it done. I was in Bangkok for a conference and received an email from my friend Scott Eddy (in photo, right) letting me know that he was heading off to Jackie’s Tailor to get some new items and inviting friends to join him. Scott divides his time between the […]

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Photo Essay: Compelling Kuala Lumpur, A Value Luxury Travel Destination

Malaysia is not a country on the to-visit list of most Americans. It can be hard to get to (it’s a full day-plus-some from the West Coast), but this exotic Southeast Asia country offers some of the best value luxury experiences in the region. Set aside your preconceived notions about this predominantly Muslim country, and be prepared for some great history, cultural, shopping, art, and food experiences in this fascinating corner of the world. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, Click here to enjoy my photo essay on this compelling value luxury travel destination.   Note:  I visited Malaysia in November 2014 as part of a press trip organized by Tourism Malaysia.

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Hotel Review: Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Malaysia

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa Address:  Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia. About a 45 minute drive from the Penang airport, and about a 20 minute drive from Georgetown. Value Luxury Rating:   (out of 3) Features:  The 5-star Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is set on 30-acres of beachfront and boasts gardens featuring over 133,000 varieties of plants, trees, and shrubs. Regional artwork can be found located around the grounds and interior spaces. Accommodations are situated in two wings, the family friendly Garden Wing (189 rooms) and the exclusive Rasa Wing (115 rooms). Decor in both is a traditional Malay style blended with contemporary chic, with every modern convenience worked in. Rooms feature the expected upsale amenities (bath products from L’Occitane), air conditioning, wifi, and more. The resort has three swimming pools (one adult only), a par 3 pitch-and-putt golf course […]

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Hotel Review: The Banjaran, Ipoh, Malaysia

The Banjaran Address:  No 1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3, Sunway City Ipoh Value Luxury Rating:   (2 out of 3 hearts) Features: Situated in a 16 1/2 acre valley, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is surrounded by Mother Nature at her finest – limestone hills, rainforest, geothermal hot springs, caves, and waterfalls. It’s the perfect setting for a getaway, whether that’s a structured program of health and wellness, a relaxing stay with pampering spa treatments. or a romantic escape, providing a sanctuary from the busyness of everyday life. (But don’t panic, complimentary wi-fi is available throughout the property, should you prefer to keep connected with your world.) The resort features 25 air conditioned Garden and Water Villas, conveniently located around the Spa and Wellness Center, and a variety of natural treatment options. Some of those treatment options include: Geothermal Pools – Located alongside the geothermal lake, […]

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