My partner and I recently celebrated our 10th anniversary and being travel fanatics, we of course are celebrating with a trip. I began planning this adventure last year when we had a difficult decision to make. We knew we wanted to use my frequent flier miles to fly in business class and I have enough miles to pay for business class to anywhere in the world several times over. Given the anniversary and what it means to us, we finally decided to revisit one of our favorite travel destinations – Bangkok. I of course wanted to add a couple of new destinations, so we are also visiting Japan and Laos. We’re not the same people we were even five years ago though; we’ve changed and so has our travel style so we decided the trip would be true to who we are today: people who enjoy travel comforts. I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve partnered with several outstanding companies and together we will share with you a look at Asia that is not always highlighted, luxury travel in Asia.
Our stay in Tokyo is a brief one, it’s considered a stopover really but I’m very excited about our visit. It will be my first time in Japan and I can’t wait to experience firsthand the frenetic energy for which its capital city is so famous. In order to properly enjoy the city, we are staying at one of its best hotels – the Ritz Carlton. I’ve long been a fan of the company and I’m looking forward to putting its reputation for service and elegance to the test.
Located in the heart of Tokyo Midtown, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo sits at the core of Roppongi, the capital’s entertainment, diplomatic and design-related business hub. Occupying the top nine floors of the 53-story building, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo offers 360-degree panoramic vistas of Tokyo including Tokyo Tower and Mount Fuji.
Since our time is so brief in the city, we have decided to do a day tour in order to see one of the most famous sites, Mt. Fuji. Working with Viator Travel, we will take a trip out to one of Japan’s most iconic symbols where we will spend the morning enjoying the views and being surrounded by the natural beauty. The tour also includes a cruise on Lake Ashi and a ride on the aerial cableway at Mount Komagatake overlooking Hakone National Park. The day trip to Mount Fuji concludes with a ride on the famous Shinkansen (Bullet train) super-express for the return journey to Tokyo.
The rest of our time in Japan will be spent exploring Tokyo and soaking in its neon brilliance.
We’ve visited Bangkok before, so this time we will concentrate on the activities and sights we truly love. Helping to facilitate this reunion tour is the InterContinental Bangkok. I worked with InterContinental in Melbourne where we were absolutely blown away by the hotel’s legendary service and the beautiful property itself. My partner still considers it his favorite hotel of all time, a weighty accolade given how much we travel.
InterContinental Bangkok is Centrally located in the Ratchaprasong district, the hotel is near many business and shopping areas. InterContinental Bangkok offers 381 luxury guest rooms along with more than 20 meeting and event venues. Club InterContinental located on the 37th floor affords panoramic views of the city.
Although we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do in Bangkok, we are also purposefully leaving our schedule open. I know I want to return to Wat Arun, take a boat ride on the khlongs and eat at the In Love restaurant. But we’ll also be exploring the foodie side of the city at restaurants like the Soul Food Mahanakorn and Eat Me. We’re also going to spend a day getting out of the city, once again with Viator Travel on their Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak Cruise Day Trip. I’m looking forward to the trip as a good way to get out of Bangkok for the day and to see some of the markets for which Thailand is so famous.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Yoder, Twenty-Something Travel.com
Luang Prabang, Laos
Our third destination, Laos, was the one that took the most time to confirm. I kept vacillating between various destinations but finally decided on Laos thanks in large part to some great advice from travel pros Samantha Brown and the Lost Girls, both of whom I was fortunate enough to interview last year. I also chose Laos with the intention of going somewhere where we could relax and not always be in a rush to see and do things. This is our vacation after all and as busy professionals, we both need a break from the daily grind. Yes, I intend on seeing some sights around the city, but I also intend to sleep late, enjoy leisurely meals and relax at the pool of La Residence Phou Vao.
In order to show the high end aspect of traveling in Laos, I have partnered with Orient-Express to bring to you all stories about what it’s like to stay at their amazing property in Laos, La Residence Phou Vao. I have stayed with them before at the Inn at Perry Cabin where I was incredibly impressed and can’t wait to experience their Laos property firsthand.
Positioned atop a hill, with stunning mountain views, La Résidence Phou Vao is an unforgettable place to stay. Its calm, tranquil ambiance echoes that of the sleepy World Heritage town of Luang Prabang—former royal capital of Laos—spread out below. This Orient-Express hotel is known for its wonderful French-influenced local cuisine and an open-air spa beside a water lily pool. This is the perfect place to relax, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy stepping back into a more gracious era.
I’m still not totally sure what we will do in Laos, but I do know that one day will be spent exploring the nearby Pak Ou Caves. We will travel by riverboat to this popular tourist site famous for the rows of Buddha sculptures lining the cave wall shelves. It will be great to get out into the countryside and see more of Laos.
Returning back from Laos we have an additional night in Bangkok before making the long trek home. On the last, and arguably most important, evening of our trip I am pleased to report that we will be hosted by the incomparable Mandarin Oriental.
For more than 135 years distinguished travelers have followed the legendary Chao Phraya River, through the heart of Bangkok, to the doors of one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. A paragon of contemporary luxury and rich in history, the hotel is filled with stories of the celebrated guests who have considered us home during their world travels.
While our time at the Madarin-Oriental may be brief, the experience will be rich. We will spend the evening relaxing with a Thai massage followed by dinner at their amazing restaurant, Sala Rim Naam. I can’t wait for some last minute pampering at this quintessential Bangkok hotel.
So there you have it, the itinerary for our big luxury trip to Southeast Asia. A few things I didn’t mention: I did indeed use frequent flier miles to pay for two round-trip business class tickets. We’ll be flying with ANA, Thai Airways and Lufthansa. On the way home from Bangkok, we overnight in Frankfurt where we’re staying at the Jumeirah Frankfurt where I hope to have some schnitzel, a hot shower and a comfy bed – not necessarily in that order.
Also, as I said this is a luxury trip to Asia and I will be providing a lot of tips that have to do with that sort of travel. But being who we are, many of the activities in the region will be applicable to any traveler. The truth is, we’re not high-end eaters, street food is usually our meal of choice and I can’t wait to revisit some of my favorite stands in Bangkok. Regardless, I’m excited to embark on this remarkable journey and even more excited to share it with you all. Starting next week look for my Tweets marked #AsiaLoper for live updates, photos and reviews as we travel through Asia.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the trip, things you want me to find out while I’m there or recommendations!