LUXURY TRAVEL NEWS

We love traveling so much that it never feels like work, so it was staggering to realize that this year marks ATJ’S 30th anniversary. Whether it is your first trip to Asia or your 30th, we invite you celebrate with us this year!

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TOP 5 BIKE TRIPS BY LESA CLARKSON

September 1, 2017

When​ ​I​ ​travel​ ​to​ ​Asia,​ ​I​ ​always​ ​incorporate​ ​bike​ ​rides​ ​into​ ​my​ ​touring.​ ​Riding​ ​through​ ​back​ ​alleys or​ ​country​ ​roads​ ​allows​ ​me​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​my​ ​environment​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​just​ ​a​ ​bystander​ ​from​ ​the window​ ​of​ ​a​ ​car.​ ​While​ ​touring​ ​on​ ​a​ ​bike,​ ​I​ ​always​ ​discover​ ​hidden​ ​treasures​ ​and​ ​extra​ ​smiles from​ ​those​ ​I​ ​pass.​ ​All​ ​of​ ​my​ ​senses​ ​are​ ​engaged​ ​and​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​fully​ ​immersed​ ​in​ ​my​ ​surroundings.​ ​I can​ ​take​ ​in​ ​the​ ​details​ ​that​ ​may​ ​otherwise​ ​be​ ​overlooked! 

Kyoto,​ ​Japan 

Kyoto​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​cities​ ​in​ ​Asia​ ​for​ ​touring​ ​on​ ​the​ ​seat​ ​of​ ​a​ ​bike.​ ​I​ ​love​ ​riding​ ​along​ ​its​ ​side streets,​ ​from​ ​noodle​ ​shops​ ​to​ ​teahouses.​ ​Its​ ​old​ ​quarters​ ​reveal​ ​thriving​ ​cottage​ ​industries​ ​producing all​ ​manner​ ​of​ ​traditional​ ​goods.​ ​A​ ​maiko​ ​(apprentice​ ​geisha)​ ​may​ ​even​ ​be​ ​spotted.​ ​The​ ​city​ ​has​ ​many wonderful​ ​bike​ ​routes,​ ​joining​ ​several​ ​of​ ​its​ ​17​ ​UNESCO​ ​World​ ​Heritage​ ​sites. 

Siem​ ​Reap,​ ​Cambodia 

Seeing​ ​the​ ​Siem​ ​Reap​ ​countryside​ ​and​ ​Angkor​ ​monuments​ ​by​ ​bicycle​ ​is​ ​always​ ​a​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​unique exploration.​ ​One​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​rides​ ​is​ ​a​ ​late​ ​afternoon/sunset​ ​ride,​ ​passing​ ​the​ ​King’s​ ​residence​ ​and going​ ​through​ ​the​ ​Royal​ ​Gardens​ ​and​ ​along​ ​Siem​ ​Reap​ ​River,​ ​viewing​ ​the​ ​local​ ​homes​ ​and​ ​small riverside​ ​markets.​ ​After​ ​crossing​ ​the​ ​river,​ ​the​ ​path​ ​winds​ ​along​ ​red​ ​clay​ ​roads​ ​and​ ​small​ ​dirt​ ​trails, through​ ​a​ ​series​ ​of​ ​local​ ​villages,​ ​crossing​ ​small​ ​farms​ ​and​ ​passing​ ​children​ ​playing.​ ​Life​ ​appears​ ​as​ ​if it​ ​has​ ​not​ ​changed​ ​for​ ​generations.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​temples​ ​close​ ​to​ ​visitors,​ ​a​ ​ride​ ​along​ ​roads​ ​and​ ​trails​ ​in​ ​the archeological​ ​park​ ​reveals​ ​the​ ​magical​ ​light​ ​reflecting​ ​off​ ​the​ ​temples​ ​at​ ​twilight,​ ​that​ ​many​ ​visitors don’t​ ​get​ ​to​ ​experience.  

Phnom​ ​Penh,​ ​Cambodia 

Exploring​ ​some​ ​of​ ​Cambodia’s​ ​Mekong​ ​Islands​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​Phnom​ ​Penh​ ​is​ ​another​ ​one​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite rides.​ ​Only​ ​5​ ​km​ ​from​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​of​ ​Cambodia’s​ ​capital​ ​city,​ ​is​ ​an​ ​island​ ​oasis​ ​where​ ​one​ ​can​ ​ride​ ​at​ ​a gentle​ ​pace​ ​and​ ​discover​ ​true​ ​rural​ ​Cambodia.​ ​These​ ​islands,​ ​created​ ​by​ ​the​ ​flows​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Mekong River,​ ​are​ ​isolated​ ​by​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​bridges,​ ​but​ ​ferry​ ​connections​ ​provide​ ​access​ ​for​ ​villagers​ ​who​ ​use the​ ​fertile​ ​soil​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​fruit​ ​and​ ​vegetables​ ​and,​ ​in​ ​between​ ​farming​ ​cycles,​ ​they​ ​weave​ ​beautiful​ ​silk and​ ​cotton​ ​textiles.​ ​The​ ​absence​ ​of​ ​most​ ​four​ ​wheeled​ ​traffic​ ​makes​ ​for​ ​a​ ​peaceful​ ​ride​ ​where​ ​the hustle​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city​ ​is​ ​left​ ​behind.​ ​The​ ​riding​ ​is​ ​flat​ ​and​ ​is​ ​perfect​ ​for​ ​active​ ​families. 

Hoi​ ​An,​ ​Vietnam 

Tasting​ ​the​ ​local​ ​food​ ​and​ ​delicacies​ ​of​ ​an​ ​area​ ​is​ ​as​ ​much​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​culture​ ​as​ ​the​ ​city’s​ ​sites.​ ​One of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​food​ ​tours​ ​is​ ​a​ ​unique​ ​exploration​ ​of​ ​Hoi​ ​An​ ​by​ ​bicycle,​ ​where​ ​one​ ​rides​ ​from​ ​family home​ ​to​ ​family​ ​home.​ ​Beginning​ ​at​ ​Tan​ ​An​ ​Central​ ​Market,​ ​with​ ​its​ ​huge​ ​array​ ​of​ ​street​ ​foods,​ ​we​ ​see where​ ​the​ ​locals​ ​purchase​ ​the​ ​essential​ ​ingredients​ ​for​ ​their​ ​daily​ ​meals.​ ​We​ ​then​ ​ride​ ​bicycles​ ​to​ ​the first​ ​family​ ​home​ ​while​ ​they’re​ ​making​ ​the​ ​famous​ ​White​ ​Rose​ ​dumpling.​ ​We’ll​ ​see​ ​how​ ​this​ ​famous dish,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​being​ ​sold​ ​in​ ​every​ ​restaurant​ ​and​ ​food​ ​stall​ ​in​ ​Hoi​ ​An,​ ​is​ ​made.​ ​We’ll​ ​then​ ​continue riding​ ​to​ ​another​ ​family​ ​home​ ​where​ ​they​ ​make​ ​Mi​ ​Quang​ ​noodles​ ​and​ ​learn​ ​the​ ​process​ ​of​ ​making this​ ​well-known​ ​noodle​ ​dish,​ ​originating​ ​from​ ​the​ ​central​ ​region.​ ​Our​ ​last​ ​stop​ ​is​ ​at​ ​a​ ​local​ ​family​ ​home in​ ​the​ ​peaceful​ ​and​ ​beautiful​ ​countryside​ ​where​ ​we​ ​will​ ​enjoy​ ​a​ ​cool​ ​drink​ ​before​ ​helping​ ​to​ ​prepare lunch​ ​and​ ​then​ ​partaking​ ​in​ ​our​ ​creations.  

Yangshuo,​ ​China 

There​ ​is​ ​no​ ​place​ ​more​ ​scenic​ ​than​ ​the​ ​landscape​ ​around​ ​Yangshuo,​ ​with​ ​its​ ​nearly​ ​vertical​ ​karst formations​ ​soaring​ ​from​ ​verdant​ ​rice​ ​paddies​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Yangzi​ ​River​ ​meandering​ ​through​ ​misty​ ​hills. Riding​ ​through​ ​this​ ​landscape​ ​is​ ​surreal​ ​and​ ​serene.​ ​Needless​ ​to​ ​say,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​rides​ ​in China.  

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