While winter can be romantic, (who doesn’t love snow-topped mountains and sledding?) inevitably, the novelty of arctic temperatures and icy roads wears off, leaving one to yearn for warmer and brighter days. Enter Asia Transpacific Journeys, who specializes in travel to Asia and the Pacific by crafting one-of-a-kind trips to locations rife with culture, adventure and warm, sunny days.
Escape winter on a technicality by looking to the Pacific—winter in New Zealand and Australia isn’t really winter at all. Because they’re in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed, it’s summer—January in New Zealand is akin to a mild August in the United States.
Australia is one of Asia Transpacific’s most sought after destinations, with a variety of activities to engage any type of traveler. Tour the famous Sydney Opera House and relax with the performers at an exclusive green room post-show event. Or, if you’re keen on adventure, climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. A team of professionals will assist you in the climb as the city buzzes around you. The views from the highest point of the city and Blue Mountains are unforgettable—and the bragging rights you earn are equally impressive! If winding down with a glass of red is more your style, set out from Adelaide in a vintage Daimler for a private tour of renowned Barossa Valley vineyards with an expert sommelier. Meet the winemakers responsible for the most remarkable wines the region has to offer, and taste a variety of vintages. Cap it all off with a picnic lunch of local fare – artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and local produce (and more wine, of course). End your night at one of the region’s charming and sophisticated B&Bs.
Out-of-the-way New Zealand is too often overlooked. Travelers willing to make the long journey down, down under will find a nation full of friendly faces, stunning landscapes and a remarkable foodie scene. Don’t miss Auckland, a vibrant, cosmopolitan city infused with laid-back, urban charm and full of delightful hotels and gourmet dining. Sail on a prize-winning yacht, walk through a tunnel aquarium and explore the War Memorial Museum to gain a better understanding of Kiwi history. In the mood for something less urbane? Asia Transpacific Journeys can arrange authentic homestays and farmstays throughout the region to garner a better understanding of the rich culture and landscape. Whether tucked away in the lush foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps or on a luxury farm in Hawkes Bay, a homestay is an ideal option for travelers for whom a tête-à-tête with a local is the ultimate travel treat.
If you’d prefer to swap snow for the tropics, winter is also an ideal time to venture to Southeast Asia. Because of the warm, dry weather, it’s a popular time for tourists, so the importance of having a tour operator who can get you off the traditional “beaten path” is incredibly valuable. Asia Transpacific Journeys has been taking travelers to Asia for over 30 years, and it’s safe to say that their depth of knowledge about the region is unsurpassed, as it comes straight from the source.
“Luxury” and “camping” don’t often correspond, but that’s just the sort of unique experience Asia Transpacific Journeys excels at creating. Experience your own, personal, Angkorian ruin in the Cambodian jungle. Accommodations in a private, luxe, safari-inspired tent will give new meaning to the term “camping” in your lexicon. After visiting the impressive temples of Angkor, Cambodia’s primary tourist site, escaping the crowds to the quiet mystique of your own private Angkorian temple is even more welcome. Feast on local specialties prepared by village cooks and relax with a cocktail as traditional musicians serenade you with tunes that perfectly fit the ancient landscape, before you retreat to your one-of-a-kind accommodations.
In Thailand, another very popular tourist destination, getting off the beaten path is equally rewarding. Forgo the southern beaches in favor of an authentic Thai culinary experience near Chiang Mai. Start by visiting the local market with your hosts to pick out fresh ingredients for your afternoon cooking lesson. You’ll be invited to taste some of the more exotic items and advised of substitutes that can be used back home. Then drive 40 minutes outside of Chiang Mai through the lush countryside to the very traditional village of Lamphun. Here you will be welcomed into your hosts’ family home for a hands-on, private cooking class, using traditional village cooking utensils. Dishes may include traditional Northern Thai favorites, such as Catfish Mince or Green Papaya Salad. You’ll also get a tutorial on how to combine traditional Thai flavors and how to stir-fry in a traditional wok—perfect for impressing your friends back home. Enjoy the fruits of your labors alongside a cold beer for lunch. Before departing, stop in at a beautiful, nearby temple that overlooks the Lamphun valley.