South East Asia

Experience the Beauty of its Soothing Calmness

When you travel to South East Asia, one of the many things you will notice is that there is a unique calmness and peace to the place. The people in this region are gentle, unstressed and unhurried.

The stressors that you deal with every day on the western roller-coaster will vanish as you step into this soothing land of immense natural beauty. An added advantage of visiting SE Asia is the value of the US dollar against the Thai Baht – the local currency. $US1 is worth 32 Thai Baht which will make this a very affordable travel destination.

South East Asia is one of the most diverse regions I have ever traveled to. If you’re planning to experience another fascinating culture, and perhaps embark on a spiritual journey, it’s steeped in cultural and spiritual depth; or if you’d like to relax on beautiful white, sandy beaches and take in the beauty; you can. Alternatively, if a vibrant night life atmosphere is what draws you, there’s plenty of activity, great Thai restaurants, and inexpensive shopping.


The south of Thailand is paved with soft white sand beaches, palm trees and warm turquoise waters. If you’re in the mood for physical exercise, you have the option of plenty of action-packed water sports, including sports diving and rock climbing.

Phuket (pronounced pu-ket) is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. It is Thailand’s largest island that offers the ultimate play ground. Looking out toward the coastline you have beautiful white sandy beaches with scattered palm trees meandering along warm turquoise waters. One of Phuket’s most famous beaches is Patong Beach. For $US2, I was served a delicious Thai meal while I lay out on the beach with my feet in the white sand. In contrast, when you turn around, the streets are lined with restaurants, shops and nightclubs. If you’ve come to party, this is definitely the spot.

A one-hour boat ride from Phuket will take you to the smaller Ko Phi Phi Islands – either for a day or for the night. The movie, “The Beach” was filmed at Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Island. I did this trip and would definitely recommend it.

Central Thailand boasts the largest city – Bangkok. Bangkok is alive 24-7 and is a collage of urban elements with plenty of shopping opportunities and great restaurants. It’s exotic because of the fusion of the urban elements with traditional, ancient Thai culture. You can spend the mornings visiting Damnoen Saduak, the floating market, and see the traditional ways of selling and buying fruits and veggies from small boats.

In the north of Thailand, Chaing Mai and Chaing Rai lie in the cooler mountainous areas and this is the most spiritual part of the country. Outside of the traditional temples, you can do elephant treks through the jungles and hike to see the hill-tribe villages (the ‘Karen Long Neck’ people). Some of these people are there because they had to flee from Burma (which is now Myanmar) to neighboring Thailand.

If you are embarking on a spiritual journey, you can visit the temples (‘wat’ means ‘temple’ in Thai) which are not only a tourist attraction, but they are also important parts of Buddhist traditions where monks live in the temple complexes and attend prayers – after which they perform their duties. Many people journey to Chaing Mai to spend time with the monks and learn about their way of life, which is very peaceful and spiritual. Wat Doi Suthep is one of the beautiful temples that overlooks the city of Chaing Mai.

South, Central and North Thailand are so diverse that it’s like visiting three different countries. The south is beautiful beach territory where you can relax or party till you drop. The north is a cooler temperature region with gorgeous mountains. What all three regions of Thailand share in common are warm, gentle, friendly people who will welcome you with open arms.


A short flight from any major city in Thailand to Angkor, Cambodia, will bring you to one of humanity’s most incredible architectural achievements. Angkor Wat is a large temple complex

comprised of over 100 temples. It was built in the Khmer civilization between 802- 1,220 AD. Imagine going somewhere with the history of Rome; then go back a hundred years before the crowds, and place it in a jungle with orange-robed monks, ride-able elephants and exotic monkeys. That’s what you will find here. You can ride an elephant through much of the complex, or just sit and talk about life with some of the monks who are there to meditate. It’s the closest experience to being in an Indiana Jones movie. In fact, Indian Jones and the Tomb Raider was filmed here.

The dark side of Cambodian history is also spread throughout the country. The killing fields are evident at a number of sites where the Cambodians were killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1975 through 1979.

The Weather

The weather in South East Asia, much less Thailand, varies from region to region. It is best to avoid the rainy season, which is July to October. The best time is their cooler/ dryer season from November to February.

Red Lantern Journey’s Personalized Service and Customized Itineraries

I highly recommend that you book your SE Asian vacation through Red Lantern Journeys, where you’ll work with a personal consultant throughout the experience – from the first call to the follow-up when you return. Their knowledgeable consultants have traveled extensively throughout the regions and personally know the partners and vendors in each location. Furthermore, they’ll customize your journey – tailoring it to your budget while incorporating your specific needs and objectives. There are no set departure dates or lengths of trips. You tell them exactly when and how you’d like to do your trip, and they’ll make it happen. You can also dictate the type of accommodation you’d like and whether or not to include meals in the package.

Their Private Journeys offer unique experiences and opportunities to immerse oneself in the local culture, while respecting the history, culture, beliefs and customs of the area. The itineraries include hotel accommodations, transfers, and tours with a local English-speaking guide so that you will not miss anything along the way. The prices are all inclusive of these services.

Most importantly, Red Lantern Journeys believes in responsible tourism from all sides, including the tourists and the companies, hotels, and local communities who service them.

For More Information Contact, Toll free: (877) 362 2793 or (206) 568 0710 You can also check out the CEO’s Asia Travel News, Reviews and Commentary Blog at

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Woman of Damnoen Saduak selling fruits and vegetables from her boat

Thailand, Mya Bay off Ko Phi Phi

Karen Long Necks outside Chaing Mai