March 20 is proclaimed as the UN International Day of Happiness. The day recognises the importance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of people everywhere.
It was inspired by the country of Bhutan and their political philosophy of prioritising and measuring happiness amongst their people, over income.
Holi or होली is the festival of color celebrated each spring in India. Go ahead and google images for Holi right now. I’ll wait…
Ah-may-zing, right? It’s an ancient Hindu religious festival that is now recognized in photos where people are playing with color – dry powdered color, colored water in water guns or balloons. Everyone is fair game, even the cows.
Intrepid travellers to Bangkok, in April and May 2013, were amongst those who took part in research for ‘The Child Safe Traveller’ (World Vision, 2013). This study looked deeper into tourist perceptions of child exploitation in connection with tourism in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.
The research also assessed tourist reactions to child safe tourism communications. A total of 268 tourists from across the globe, representing different traveller types, ages, genders and socio-cultural backgrounds, completed surveys and interviews. Participating tourists had been in Thailand for varying lengths of time and many had travelled (or were travelling) elsewhere in South East Asia and beyond.
As Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February, we hear from Intrepid Group Leader Boris ‘Bob’ Golodets about why he loves this time of year in his homeland…
“Winter is probably one of the best seasons to visit Russia. Let’s face it, we have winter at least half of the year and the country mainly was designed to survive in cold temperatures. As premier Putin once said to foreign guests, “You can feel comfortable in Russia in all kinds of the weather – just dress appropriately!”
We always know that our travels are going to leave us with lasting memories, but as journalist Brenda McCormick discovered, our adventures can also leave us with lifelong new friends…
“I was heading to Australia and wanted to travel a little on the way there. My brother had been to Kathmandu and always spoke highly of the experience, so my friend Leanne and I decided to join Intrepid’s Kathmandu to Delhi tour as it also offered us the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal, which remains one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
“How did people build a temple as big as Angkor Wat 1,000 years ago before machines?”
“Why does $1USD buy so much of the local money?”
“Why were Americans fighting in Vietnam?”
These were some of the many questions my children asked during our two weeks travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia with Intrepid. They also asked more unanswerable ones, like “Why would Pol Pot kill people just for being educated?” Or less perplexing, but equally tough to answer, “Why is everyone always beeping their horns?”
Why celebrate the start of a new year only once? If you time your trip right, like Intrepid’s Maya Markowitz you could enjoy another chance to start afresh and feel cleansed, plus have a whole lot of fun in the process…
“My friend Catie and I went on an epic 9-week adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The trip was one of the best I have taken and included everything from snorkeling off Phu Quoc Island in South Vietnam, to staying with a local family in the country side of Cambodia and timing our trip to coincide with a fantastic local festival in Laos.
What goes swing, swing, shimmy, scramble, thump? That’d be one of our closest genetic relatives leaving one piece of remnant rainforest in search of another. The Bornean orang-utans have lost much of their natural habitat and need our support, and The Intrepid Foundation is delighted to come on board to help.
We have partnered with HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Program to support their work to develop and implement innovative solutions to conserve the orang-utan in Sabah. Intrepid travellers on tours to Borneo, currently have a great opportunity to see wild orang-utans in the Kinabatangan River region. But the ease with which they may see orang-utans is sadly not all good.
Nested near the Burmese border in northern Thailand, Chiang Rai City boasts an extraordinary display of flowers around the end of December and early January.
From north to south Thailand is famous for its orchids and Chiang Rai makes a beautiful backdrop for a flower festival. On display are exotic and ornate butterfly orchids, insectivorous pitcher plants and bizarre examples of the flowering ginger family.
By the time Christmas rolls around again, it can be tough trying to recall what we were doing this time last year. But that’s an easy question for Intrepid’s Judith Radicke, who travelled to Nepal in 2012 to enjoy her most memorable ever Christmas and New Year…
“I met my group in a grand Kathmandu hotel, that would be our base for exploring this exotic city. Kathmandu is a one-of-a-kind type of place, not comparable to any other city I’ve known before. In its centre is Durbar Square, with even more pigeons then the piazzas of Milano or Venice! It is an impressive square though, with pagodas and many small details that make it all very beautiful.