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Carcass – The Thar Desert, India

Posted by on 6:00 am in Asia, India, Spotlight | 0 comments

Carcass – The Thar Desert, India

The Desert is a great leveler The Desert provides. The Desert consumes. And you do not get to decide this. The Desert decides. I photographed this Buffalo carcass on my 4th day of my trek across The Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, India with the Youth Hostel Association of India [YHAI] back in December 2014. I had set to cross the entire Thar Desert on foot. The 40km trek was divided between 5 camps. Our Base camp was at the Border Home Guards. Low flying aircrafts and Indian Army personnel were a common scene here. It was an honour to share space...

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The Sleeping Buddha – Nepal

Posted by on 6:00 am in India, ITKT Staff Writers, Nepal, Spotlight | 0 comments

The Sleeping Buddha – Nepal

Amazing things happen when Men and Mountains meet. I had trekked to Sandakphu, West Bengal, India [12000 feet] with Youth Hostel Association of India [YHAI]. More than the climb I was fascinated about the view of Mt. Kanchenjunga under Full-moon light. 25th December, 2015 was supposed to be the Full-moon night. I had selected the Trek batch dates in a way to be on Sandakphu top on the 25th. The range is most commonly known as the “Sleeping Buddha” as it looks like the same in imagination of religious people of India. This range consists of...

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AMA Waterways Expands Exotic Itinerary Options

Posted by on 12:40 pm in Announcements, Cambodia, Vietnam | 0 comments

AMA Waterways Expands Exotic Itinerary Options

Calabasas, CA – (Apr. 14, 2016) – AmaWaterways today announced that it has enhanced its “Vietnam, Cambodia & the Riches of the Mekong” itinerary, providing travelers with even more options to experience Southeast Asia. “We are delighted to introduce flexible new itineraries on the fabled Mekong River this year,” said Kristin Karst, Executive Vice President and Co-owner of AmaWaterways. “Whether it is the direction in which the cruise sails or the numerous included excursions we offer, we truly...

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Ride the Circle Train, Myanmar

Posted by on 6:00 am in Asia, Myanmar, Spotlight | 0 comments

Ride the Circle Train, Myanmar

Myanmar Fascination I have always had a fascination with trains and to me it seems that each country has trains with their own special character. When I arrived in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, I was eager to find a way to sample and enjoy the local train service. I got my opportunity in Yangon when I hopped aboard the Yangon Circle Train. It did not disappoint. Yangon Circle Train Constructed in 1954, the Yangon Circle Train lives up to it’s name, travelling a 45.9 kilometer circular route around central Yangon and its outskirts. A...

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Inspiring Istanbul

Posted by on 6:00 am in Spotlight, Turkey | 0 comments

Inspiring Istanbul

A chill breeze makes me shudder as I sit atop a cruise boat sailing down the Bosporus River towards the Black Sea. The difference in architecture between the buildings on my left side and the buildings on my right side are truly remarkable. This is mainly due to the fact that on my right lies Asia and to my left lies Europe! Yes, Istanbul, the only city in the world to be located in two continents. Istanbul is the definition of a culture fusion. Having visited most countries in Europe and as a resident of Asia I clearly see how this city has...

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Sunrise in Nepal

Posted by on 6:00 am in India, ITKT Blogs, Nepal, Spotlight | 2 comments

Sunrise in Nepal

Mountains know no boundaries. I took this picture at Tumling, Nepal while on a trek to Sandakphu, West Bengal last December with Youth Hostel Associations of India [YHAI]. The beauty of Sandakphu trek was that I constantly moved between India and Nepal. Mountains do not ask for a passport. They just ask for free-will and some guts. Tumling, Nepal was my second camp during the trek. I reached there around 15:00 hours and it was pleasingly cold then. The camp leader informed me about the small hill behind our rooms from where the Sunrise was...

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Guide to Ethically Volunteering in Asia

Posted by on 11:00 am in Asia, ITKT Blogs, Laos, Philippines, Spotlight, Thailand | 0 comments

Guide to Ethically Volunteering in Asia

Volunteering in the Philippines Even at seven o’clock in the morning the sun was riding high and strong over Tacloban City on the island of Leyte. From inside the colorful Jeepney amongst a jumble of spades, sledgehammers and wheelbarrows, a voice called: “Let’s Go Alan!” and our Filippino driver started the engine. From my perch on the roof I held on tightly as we bumped towards the seashore, where piles of debris stood as evidence of Typhoon Haiyan’s recent deadly visit. As a volunteer I was there to help clear rubble so the people of...

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Funny Travel Lessons

Posted by on 6:00 am in Africa, ITKT Blogs, Spotlight, Tanzania, Vietnam | 0 comments

Funny Travel Lessons

My Initiation Traveling has been like my own personal eccentric Kung Fu master. When I began I expected to be gently washed of my narrow world view, but that is not what the teacher had in mind. Rote repetition, bruises, and often just straight up weirdness was to be my guide. Here are six life changing lessons I learned on the not-so-glorious side of the road: The Original Position A friend of mine who lived in Korea for a year gushes (pun intended) about how much better squatting toilets are for the body, and I’ve started to come...

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The Experience of Walking Beside Laotian Monks

Posted by on 8:00 am in ITKT Blogs, Laos, Spotlight | 0 comments

The Experience of Walking Beside Laotian Monks

One Buddhist morning. The colour of the air is infused with orange and pomegranate. And still, it is before dawn. Nothing can be heard except for the quiet barefoot steps of two dozen monks dressed in deep orange robes. And the morning song ( a strong word for this sound ) of the early birds – the roosters. The field with buffalos, the trees and the Buddhist monks in front of me – they are all silhouettes against the colourful sky. The hour is 6am and the place is somewhere in the Laos countryside. No coffee, croissant and fresh...

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Breakfast with the Elephants of Sri Lanka

Posted by on 1:04 pm in Spotlight, Sri Lanka | 4 comments

Breakfast with the Elephants of Sri Lanka

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Some surprise guests arrived while I was finishing my breakfast. And it was well worth the interruption. I sat outside on my balcony enjoying the view of the Maha Oya River – swirling water studded by emerald palm trees. It was quiet, except for the singing of birds. I sipped a cup of local Ceylon tea. I was called out of my daydreams as the hotel staff alerted me that there was a group of elephants arriving. A herd of six was marching out into the water. With apparent enthusiasm, the regal creatures took on a...

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Flipping Off the Intensity Switch

Posted by on 8:00 am in Jordan, Spotlight, United States, World | 0 comments

Flipping Off the Intensity Switch

On my first visit into New York City I instantly fell in love. I’d always blown through JFK with the quick connection, hurriedly moving on to other destinations. This time my itinerary gave me a full day and night layover so I caught the train into the crowded canyons of Manhattan — it’s actually very simple — to experience first-hand the things that make the material life full. The entertainment, nightlife, sights, sounds, and flavors – I found it all here. However, the colors seem garishly bright and lights sometimes...

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Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 4

Posted by on 8:03 am in Spotlight, Turkey | 0 comments

Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 4

Day 8: Capadocia/Ankara While we were all sad to leave Capadocia, it was time to travel on to the capitol city of Ankara. Ataturk made this city the capitol in the 1920’s, in an attempt to draw more focus to the poorer, rural Eastern part of the country. Ankara is a modern city, recognizable as a capitol and very Western in general. Our first stop was to the mausoleum of the famous Mustaf Kemal Ataturk, beloved hero of the Turkish people and creator of the modern republic. A hero of the Gallipoli campaign in WWI, Ataturk quickly rose to...

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Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 3

Posted by on 8:40 am in Spotlight, Tours, Turkey | 0 comments

Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 3

Day 5: Pamukkale/Antalya Waking early, we piled in to the bus, now our second home. A gorgeous sunrise welcomed us to a quick stop atop the Pammakule Necropolis, where we were able to see the sun rise behind the towering marble columns and stone archways. Perched atop a mountain overlooking the unearthly Pamakkule, which means “Cotton castle”, the snow white limestone cascade travertines flow over the mountainside, depositing minerals from natural hot springs above. The Romans built a spa here, a place to heal in the calcium-rich...

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Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 2

Posted by on 8:08 am in Spotlight, Tours, Turkey | 0 comments

Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 2

Day 2: Istanbul/Canakkale Our first major drive brought the group to Canakkale (cha-NOCK-a lay) via ferry boat across the Marmara Sea, where we visited the ancient ruins of Troy. Yes Troy, as in Helen of, the Horse, etc. It was amazing to see the location: there is an active dig going on, and considering there were nine versions of the city layered on top of one-another, it is quite a project. We marveled at the ongoing work, and the fact that this city used to be on the waterfront: silting and sedimentation have moved the coastline miles...

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Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 1

Posted by on 11:23 am in Spotlight, Tours, Turkey | 2 comments

Turkish Delights with Flotours, Part 1

This is part 1 of a four-part review of a tour to Turkey with Flotours. Moreover, this is an older article that has been updated. While Turkey has been having some challenges of late it is still one of the most rewarding travel experiences I have ever had. — the editor — Turkish hospitality is world famous, and for good reason. The people of Turkey welcome visitors with open arms, a ready smile, and usually some sort of treat to nibble on. I was recently offered my first taste of Turkey at the LA Times Travel Expo in Long Beach,...

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