Immersing yourself in the culture and traditions of a country can lead to a much more enriching experience, but as Intrepid traveller Hannah Cartmel discovered, it can also lead to some of life’s challenging twists…
“My smiley Indian teacher asked how much yoga experience I had, and when I said “some”, he replied “oh, great, so you can do headstands, handstands, lotus.” Um, not really, no, definitely not!
Ahhh, taking time out to pamper yourself while you’re on holidays is one of the good things in life. But Intrepid’s Jane Crouch wasn’t quite so sure, when she heard that this relaxation therapy would include fish…
“Madam, you like fish massage?” “When I heard these words for the first time in a busy tourist precinct of Bangkok, visions of some Monty Pythonesque wet fish dance came to mind. What happens? Will they pummel and beat me with wet fish? Will they apply chopped up oily fish over my body in some kind of moisturising mud pack-like way? Or might they some how use scaly fish to exfoliate me as they run them over my body?
Much more than a break from work, a holiday has the power to change your life, writes Cayla Dengate in MX Escape…
In the shell of a destroyed Sri Lankan hotel, three surfers join the circle of Buddhist monks as they start a prayer ceremony.
It’s one year after the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed more than 3500 people. The monks are saying a requiem for the dead and a blessing for those who continued to live there. “We all sat in a circle with our hands in prayer position and the monks wound a long length of red string between all of our palms,” Keith Barnes, 29, of Sydney, remembers.
After an exhausting flight and the excitement of exploring your new surrounds, every traveller could do with a little pick-me-up. Intrepid Express reader Mike Uyyek went in search of a culinary adventure in Singapore, and ended up finding a wine that promised to make him feel like the man of steel…
“At the Imperial Herbal Restaurant, near the famed Raffles Hotel, they serve a variety of dishes you won’t find at any other establishment. The restaurant has its own Chinese apothecary and herbalist on the premises, and if you tell him what medical problems you have, he can suggest menu items that will treat them. We didn’t have anything specifically wrong with us, so we simply each ordered something we’d never tried before, and if it helped to balance our yang humours, so much the better.
Since time immemorial people around the world have been coming up with ways to look and feel younger. Some pretty strange potions and practices have been trialled, and Intrepid’s Nicki Gibson discovers some beauty techniques in South East Asia that could make your eyes water…
“Coming from the western world, we admire the beauty of the South East Asian ladies – their lovely brown skin, brown eyes and slim physiques. Yet my experience is that many South East Asian women are also envious of our pale complexions and curves.
The New Year festival of Tet takes place in Vietnam on February 14 this year and this is a joyous time to indulge in eating, drinking and social activities. It’s also when spring is in the air and the wedding season is in full swing, but ex-Intrepid leader John Kirk discovered that getting married might not be as simple as popping the question to your loved one…
“In the past, families enlisted the help of matchmakers to choose marriage partners. Great care was taken to ensure equality, similar background, compatibility in social rank etc. These days, even in the rural areas, couples have more freedom to choose their life partners. However, some Vietnamese are deeply superstitious and fortune-tellers are still consulted by many couples to see if their horoscopes are compatible.
Someone wisely said that “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year, and out the other.” Definitely true when you consider the many failed attempts to cut back on chocolate, cut out cigarettes, or visit the gym more often and the coffee shop less. So this year let’s consider some fun lifestyle choices that can still put a smile on your dial…
1. Make more time for new experiences:
It feels like our days are getting busier by the minute, so why not to shake up your day-to-day life this year? Make some time in your schedule to do something new and find ways to feel like your on holidays when you’re at home. Intrepid’s new Urban Adventures can set you on that path, with fantastic two-hour to one-day trips that explore back streets, hidden gems and fascinating sights of some of the best cities in the world.
Namaste Nepal. This is a country where peace is a way of life and where priorities become clear, as Intrepid Express reader Lindsey Carroll discovered…
“As we rafted down the river that had been cutting through Nepal for centuries, amazed at the vegetation that was somehow suspended over the river, we came to a stop. The day’s end was approaching and it was time to make camp on the bank of the river. Tents were pitched and we sat around the fire pit telling stories and eating yak cheese sandwiches.
I was younger at the time and threw caution to the wind and decided to venture out beyond camp. I walked for a bit, not too long, over the rocks that line the shoal. All of a sudden, as if out of nowhere, appeared a perfect, unspoiled, golden, powdery, beach. It was a small beach, but it embodied the very essence of private. Hollywood stars would have been jealous to get their hands on this little slice of heaven.
There’s more to Japan than meets the eye and Intrepid leader Aaron Davis explains why the Land of the Rising Sun can also be music to your ears…
“Japan is a photographer’s dream. From the austere beauty of traditional shrines to the vibrant embroidered designs of women’s kimono or the explosive beauty of cherry blossoms in spring, there’s no doubt that this land is a feast for the eyes! But I always advise Intrepid travellers to take time to close your eyes or put down the camera and just listen to the sounds of the country. There’s a lot to hear.