Travel is a true joy aboard a luxury yacht just about anywhere you go, but there are five Asian yachting destinations that stand out to us in particularRead More
We think any destination is enhanced with a helicopter flight, and in this blog we pick five of our favorites…Read More
Remote Lands is the world’s foremost ultra-luxe travel designer focused exclusively on Asia. We love to blog about our travel experiences and share our photos, videos and opinions. We hope you’ll enjoy reading & sharing too.
The fascinating city of Bukhara must be Uzbekistan’s most exotic locale, with its people and culture alike carrying on ancient traditions that date back thousands of years, to when Bukhara was a key stop along the Silk Road. This is a place that feels more like Istanbul or Morocco than Asia, a desert city boasting mosques, minarets and bazaars. I had two days to spend in the area during my recent visit to Uzbekistan, so I made the most of them.
Nestled into the southeast corner of Uzbekistan, near the Tajikistan border, sits the country’s most famous city. Samarkand boasts an incredible 2,700 years of history that includes an important role in the ancient Silk Road and a pivotal position as the headquarters of the ruthless and powerful leader Tamerlane, who conquered West, South and Central Asia, making Samarkand the capital of his empire. Yes, here the history runs deep, with a richness of legends and tales, and a culture all their own. Part Russian, part Persian, part Asian, Samarkand is unlike any other part of Asia. And recently, I went to discover the land for myself.
Plush beds, marble bath tubs, plunge pools, expansive balconies with epic views…ahh luxury travel is truly indulgent. But often, it’s the times when you step out of your comfort zone and onto a rugged path, traipsing through thick throngs of lush jungle vegetation, taking in once-in-a-lifetime views of landscapes only visible to the adventurous, that are the most memorable. Nature-lovers get a kick out of looking out for exotic flora and fauna along Asia’s many stunning hiking paths. We’ve selected our top six Asian treks that truly stand out above the rest in terms of scenery and vegetation, from Nepal, with Mt Everest Base Camp as the most sought-after journey, to Myanmar, where you’ll hike alongside rushing rivers and pristine landscapes, all the way to Tibet – where trekking couldn’t get any better along the rooftop of the world. Read on to get ideas for planning your next exhilarating Asian trekking adventure.
A shirtless man, his torso covered in intricate designs made by the ink-coated tip of a bamboo pole, stood suddenly, crouching slightly, his arms outstretched with his fingers tensed into claw-like formations. His entire body trembling, he looked from side to side, though it was somehow obvious that he wasn’t seeing anything. Not in this world, anyway. He put one leg in front of the other, in a kind of march, which built in speed. Before I knew it, he was in a total frenzy, racing towards the stage, the only man standing amidst a crowd of hundreds of onlookers. Before he reached the stage, he was slowed by the crowd – two men held him in an attempt to calm him. After a moment, something changed. He seemed to ‘wake up,’ and walked casually back to his place on the ground as if nothing had happened.
There are few things in life more enjoyable than coasting along crystal-clear tropical waters, watching white-sand beaches pass you by as you lie back in your comfortable lounge chair on an expansive sundeck. This is life aboard a yacht – luxurious and languid, your worries slipping away into the ocean as you’re pampered and cared for by a full crew, each destination blending seamlessly into the one before it. Travel is a true joy aboard a luxury vessel just about anywhere you go, but there are five Asian yachting destinations that stand out to us in particular: the Alor Archipelago, Indonesia’s stunning group of remote islands in its eastern Lesser Sunda region; the Maldives, the archipelago playground of the rich and famous; Mergui, Myanmar’s little-known islands nestled into a corner of the azure Andaman sea; Nongsa and Nikoi, two of Indonesia’s spectacular island gems off the coast of Singapore; and the Philippines, with its pristine Palawan chain waiting to be explored.
I stepped onto the tarmac at Lhasa Gonggar Airport and breathed deeply. I was now in one of the highest-placed cities on earth, at 11,975 feet above sea level, and I knew that the altitude would be an adjustment. However I wasn’t staying long – I hopped in a car and headed straight for Tsetang. The drive was approximately three hours (115 miles) southwest, and as I looked out the car window, I noticed the terrain take on a dramatic transformation, with the appearance of large sand dunes that looked to me to be straight out of Mongolia, rather than Tibet. Tsetang is positioned at a slightly lower altitude than Lhasa, at 11,811 feet, so it makes a good stop for a first night in Tibet.
There is nothing quite like a bird’s-eye view from 500 to 1,000 feet in the air to put a new perspective on a destination. At Remote Lands, helicopter experiences are one of the signature aspects of our bespoke luxury itineraries. As you glide above your chosen location in private, air-conditioned comfort, you’ll catch unforgettable views of the natural and man-made wonders as they unfold beneath you. We think any destination is enhanced with a helicopter flight, and in this blog we pick five of our favorites. From swooping around the iconic limestone karsts of Halong Bay, to hovering over the magnificent structures of the Angkor Wat kingdom, to climbing the seemingly impossible-to-reach heights of Mt. Everest, as well as journeys over Bali’s rugged, volcanic peaks, and the Philippines’ highly active Mt. Pinatubo, these once-in-a-lifetime helicopter journeys are guaranteed to amaze.
Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road gateway tucked into China’s far west corner, doesn’t boast a huge number of tourist attractions. But for me, it was a city brought to life by its people – a place steeped in Uyghur culture, where artisans, shopkeepers, and barbers intermingle in what, from afar, can appear to be a series of historical tableaus, giving visitors a snapshot of how people did things for hundreds, if not thousands of years, in the times of the ancient Silk Road.
When visiting the ancient Silk Road, it’s often necessary to pass through Urumqi, itself once a major hub along the ancient trade route. The city is known as the gateway to both China’s western Xinjiang province and the Silk Road, with its international airport acting as a transit point to other important Silk Road oases, including Turpan, Kashgar and Dunhuang. I recently spent some time in the city during two separate trips and discovered that though the city itself, home to over 3 million people, is somewhat plain, there are some truly beautiful sights just a short distance away (one to three hours’ drive). Here are my suggested points of interest for those planning to spend a short amount of time exploring the city’s outskirts.