• Mon
  • Sep 1, 2014
  • Updated: 7:55pm

When in Roam

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 May, 2009, 12:00am

'WHEN TRAVELLERS think of Asia, what comes to mind is the variety of cultural experiences they can enjoy in one region, with the obvious benefit being the educational value. But what also makes Asia a truly unique destination is that the people are so open so it allows you to experience their life and culture first hand. From nomads to nobility, monks to maharajahs, Asia has so many diverse cultures.

There are still pockets of people in this region who live as their ancestors did 100 years before them. As a travel designer, we can arrange for our clients to live with these villagers in bare minimal living conditions, if this was what they wanted. But we're firm believers in a life of luxury. In Mongolia, for example, clients could be flown in a private helicopter to a settlement in a remote area of the Gobi Desert. There they are welcomed by a local family, who will be their host at the next door ger (Mongolian tent). While the traditional ger is a simple nomad's tent, our client's ger would have a state-of-the-art ecologically friendly bathroom, complete with shower and toilet facilities. The linen, pillows, towels, duvets, robes and slippers would be flown in specially, and made of nothing less than 400-point Egyptian cotton. It's all about uncovering the far-flung parts of Asia, but without having to compromise on luxury.

Because our business specialises in travels to Asia, we've also forged ties with many influential figures around the continent to give our clients access to places that tourists would be afraid to visit, or simply not allowed access to. One of these places is Myanmar. It's amazing but because of the regime, many tourists stay away. Our connections ensure the utmost safety for our clients and the lack of other tourists guarantees you an authentic experience.

A bespoke service is also the answer for the time-pressed traveller. When you have such a vast area as Asia to cover, you have to be efficient. Sri Lanka is one of those destinations few have dared to explore because of the civil war. In a matter of seven to 10 days, we can charter a helicopter so you can to see the entire country - from the beaches in the south, the hill country and townships like Kandy in the centre, to the ancient architectural ruins in the north. On top of that, we can also arrange an elephant safari.

Our ability to bring clients to the lesser known areas and communities is the result of our close relationship with the locals, namely the NGOs and charitable organisations who take us to parts of their off-the-beaten track. In gratitude, we always encourage our clients to give back to the communities they visit. Many are at first apprehensive, thinking that something like a visit to an orphanage is too depressing to include on a holiday agenda. But with some education, many find it to be the most powerful and stimulating part of their experience.

Asia offers a wide variety of experiences and amazing contrast. But the best way to see it is through the eyes, and with the help, of someone who really knows it. Only then will you see a place no travel guide has spoken of.'

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