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Luxury Camping in an Angkorian Temple Complex Banteay Chhmar is a group of villages in northwestern Cambodia, just 20 km from the Thailand border. Currently among the top-listed sites for nomination to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Banteay Chhmar (The Citadel of the Cats) is one of the great architectural masterpieces of Southeast Asia and the Khmer Kingdom’s epic Angkorian Period. The vision of Global Heritage Fund’s Banteay Chhmar Conservation Training Project is "to save the last great Angkorian Temple in Cambodia that remains unstudied, unconserved and unprotected and in doing so hand back the conservation of their heritage to the Cambodian people." Community involvement in the conservation project is integral to its success and ‘’Visit Banteay Chmar" is a community-based tourism organization that is helping to make this happen. This CBT offers local, English-speaking guides who lead detailed temple tours, boat trips and community tours. Other services enable visitors to explore the local area, including a silk...
Elephant Conservation Camp in Laos (Photo Essay) I just returned from a custom three-week trip through Southeast Asia and one of the highlights was our time at the Elephant Conservation Camp (ECC). The camp is located about 2 1/2 hours from Luang Prabang in the Nam Tien Protected Area just outside the village of Sayaboury on the edge of Nam Tien Lake. The camp is home to 9 rescued elephants from around Laos. Here's a rundown of what you can expect and what we experienced during our 3 days and 2 nights at the camp: Once you arrive, the first step is to get to know the elephants.  You'll learn how the mahouts (professional elephant riders) work with the elephants on a daily basis and they will introduce you to the elephants and give you the basics about their training and the commands they use. This is a great time to learn about the mahout's culture and the history of...

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Following the Leopard's Footsteps in Sri Lanka Check out this video of a banner day on safari in Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is Sri Lanka's largest park and one of its oldest. Sri Lankan parks boast some of the highest densities of leopards in the world so your chances of seeing this majestic cat are pretty good! On the day featured in this video 3 leopards were spotted, including one trying to hunt a boar! Wilpattu, land of lakes, is one of 22 national parks in Sri Lanka and boasts an impressive variety of animals from elephants to sloth bears to leopards and water buffalo. It's best is to spend 2 days exploring this massive and varied park. The animals can be elusive in Wilpattu due to its size but when you do catch a sighting it's all the more rewarding as there are barely any other jeeps around!  Check out our Wild Sri Lanka...

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A Life Transformed by Southeast Asia I stood at the window on the top floor of the skyscraper in the heart of Bangkok looking out at the chaos on the streets below. It was hot and smoggy, and it had taken us about two hours to travel just a few miles to get here. I loved it.  It was 1995 and I was a university dean visiting Bangkok for the first time to meet with corporate partners and recruit potential students for a new international doctoral program I was overseeing. It wasn’t my first trip to Asia, nor was it the last. I had traveled to Japan in the summer of 1971 to attend an academic conference. It was also hot and smoggy and crowded and chaotic. It was, I thought, the worst example of creeping Western materialism taking over the world. I hated it. What was different between my experiences in 1971 and 1995? Me. I...
Manaus: Gateway to the Amazon & Unlikely Cultural Center Manaus is green and tranquilly chaotic with charming and inviting people. It is a city where over 600 billion-dollar industries collide with the impending brute force of the surrounding sea of inhospitable jungle. No man-made roads lead to Manaus; there was a failed attempt at one from Matto Grosso, which the Amazon took hold of and promptly re-ingested into its suffocating embrace. Now, the only ways into the city are, as was always the case, via one of the thousands of waterways winding their way to the Amazon itself, and flight. The heat has character. It has a weight, music and flavor all its own; it works its way into the wood of the small houses along the riverbanks, into the fibers of clothing and finally into deeper epidermal layers where it gleefully takes hold. It smells lush- every plant fighting to dominate the dense air with its own native,...
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Kurt Kutay
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Anne Kutay
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