Places like the museum and Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, make Taiwan unique. But many similarities exist between the island and the Mainland. Think of it like the difference between the U.S. and Great Britain.
Taiwan is small - the combined area of Maryland and Delaware. Here, verdant mountains often shroud themselves in mist and envelop Buddhist monasteries and chasms that dig deep into the earth. In-between are rice paddies, tea farms, Starbucks and 7-Elevens.
Sleeping in a ger (foldable yurt or circular tent) in the Gobi Desert is an adventure. It is located way on the other side of nowhere. Unless you are a short person like me, it is necessary to stoop when entering. Forget luxuries like running water, private bathrooms or 24-hour electricity. But the interior is bright, clean and cheerful with beds (hard pillows), stools, a desk, sometimes a wood stove fire and usually a light bulb hanging from the top. Bathrooms are down
Exercise is important. New Zealand’s Milford Track, known as the most beautiful walk in the world, the 33.5-mile, five day, four night trek - surpasses fitness. Alongside tranquil riverbeds, up and down an alpine mountain pass and through a giant fern forest, it’s an adventure into the wilderness
In the 1870’s, Quintin Mackinnon discovered this route between Te Anau and Milford Sound. Tracing Mackinnon’s steps is an opportunity of a lifetime.
A first trip to Thailand usually includes a visit to Bangkok’s Royal Palace and the klongs, climbing the 300 steps to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai and some beach time in Phuket. Good introduction, but there is so much more. This time check out some of these sights.
The noisy old jeep bounces along the road, sending huge flocks of birds and dust flying. Along the road are only rocks and straggly weeds. When the brush becomes thicker, it’s time to seek out the sandstone formations and open fields.
Mount Borradaile in Arnhem Land, the top end of Northern Territory, Australia, is a barren place. During dry season, it is dust, but wet season finds it covered with water. Whatever the time of year, there are the birds - over 200 different species of them. This landscape of billabongs (dried riverbed waterholes), flood plains, rainforests and paper back swamps is unique. Those who have been there find it a barren beauty. To the aboriginals, it is a giant supermarket and hardware store.
Each South Pacific island has a uniqueness you won’t find anywhere else. Here is just a sampling of some of its fabulous destinations.
Guest Services Manager,
Magical Journeys Beyond
Only 70 miles west of Shanghai, China’s high-tech metropolis, Suzhou is a world apart, a wonderland of lush classical gardens, age-old canals and winding rivers, and revered cultural institutions. The graceful city that once attracted ancient emperors and court officials, artists and poets, still draws Chinese vacationers as well as savvy Westerners.
Suzhou - pronounced “sue-joe” - is easily reached. Airlines fly regularly from major U.S. and Canadian gateways to Shanghai. Take the high-speed Maglev train into the city and visit mega-tall skyscrapers and elegant 19th-century European buildings along the riverside Bund. Or proceed directly to Suzhou. From Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport or Hongqiao International Airport, bullet trains make the 30-minute trip.
For those who want to visit Asia, but are not sure where to start, Taiwan is the perfect place to visit and experience Asian culture. Taiwan will ease you into the East in a very gentle and wonderful way. An island that is located in the heart of Asia, Taiwan is rich with not only modern cities, but ancient Chinese temples, and a bounty of nature, boasting hot springs and stunning mountains.
If you are faint-of-heart, forget about crossing the street in in Ho Chi Min City (Saigon), Vietnam. About two million scooters, mopeds and motorcycles swarm like bees along the thoroughfares. The skill needed to cross them is bravado.
Many people who have been to Vietnam think they have experienced all of Southeast Asia. Not true. Each mainland country - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam - is unique. Here is a tiny sampling of each.