We’ve explored only a small fraction of this vast continent; in fact it’s the largest. It’s also very diversified in many aspects, it include many countries, each with it’s own culture, customs, landscapes, fauna and wildlife.
My first trip to Asia was to Beijing in China and it was a long time ago. My husband had been to Tokyo before but visiting China was a very different experience. For both of us, it was a total culture shock but we embraced the differences and it’s been one of our most memorable travel experiences. At the time, very few people outsides of main hotels spoke English and since neither of us spoke Chinese, hand signals became our way to communicate enough to get around. The concierge at our hotel had given us a card with the names of tourist attractions as well as the name and address of our hotel in English and Chinese so we could show the taxi drivers where we wanted to go. This proved to be very useful. We visited many beautiful palaces and temples and all were lavishly decorated. Our visit to the Great Wall of China was an experience of its own and somewhat surprising.
A more recent experience in Asia was a private organized tour of Thailand that took us from Bangkok to the northern part in Chiang Rai, near the Golden Triangle. We also visited Chiang Mai where we encountered the Kayan people or ‘giraffe women’ that have rings around their neck from childhood that extend their necks. Petting tigers, watching elephants paint and riding them was also part of our itinerary, but now, knowing what I know I wouldn’t indulge in those activities. These majestic animals need to be protected from abuse instead of being used as amusement for tourists. After our tour, we spent a few days in Phuket relaxing and scuba diving in the Andaman Sea before our long journey back home.
Our next trip to Asia was to India and this was probably one of our most shocking experiences so far. The level of poverty is astonishing and only intensified by the richness of its monuments. It makes you think and it’s impossible for us not to be grateful for what we have. We started our journey in Chennai located in the south, then we spent 6 days in the Golden Triangle visiting: Jaipur, Agra and Delhi.
There are many places in Asia that we would still like to visit, and hopefully we will be adding more first hand experiences to our site soon.