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Asia Travel - Epicurean Destinations

Asia Travel

 

Gateway to China’s Three Gorges, Tong Jing Hot Springs Resort restores.

Gateway to China’s Three Gorges, Tong Jing Hot Springs Resort restores.Taking the waters, Tong JingStory and Photos by Lee Daley. Chongqing in China is well known worldwide as the gateway to the Three Gorges, the jumping off point for a three-day cruise on the Yangtze River. Chongqing is also renowned as the nation’s hot spring capital where those in the know can recover from a lengthy flight with a day or two of immersion in the region’s healing waters. Arriving in the city, my husband and I headed to Tong Jing Hot Springs Resort for a soothing soak in the mineral-rich waters that are only part of the perks in this idyllic landscape. Set in a tranquil bamboo forest, surrounded by natural beauty and clean air, an hour away from the busy city, we soon felt one with nature. Bliss awaited.

 

Immersed in the Diverse Culture of Vietnam

diverse culture of Vietnam, Ha Long Bay, UNESCO World Heritage site, wooden junk with dragon prowStory and Photos by Lee Daley. Traveling from Hanoi to Saigon during the month of December, a time of warm and balmy weather, I felt completely immersed in the diverse culture of Vietnam. My travel companion and I used Hanoi and Saigon as bases, fanning out into the countryside for side trips. This juxtaposition of city and country vastly enriched our cultural immersion. No sooner had our spirits overdosed on a city’s vibrant and vivacious street life, than the laconic landscape of the countryside provided a calming counterpoint.

 

Varanasi: On The Banks Of The Ganges

Varanasi, IndiaStory and Photos by Lee Daley.     The spiritual capital of India, Varanasi rests on the most sacred stretch of the Ganges. Sanctified by Shiva’s eternal presence, the “City of Light” is foremost among the 12 sites where the god burrowed and then burst into the atmosphere in a brilliant column of light. Leading up from the river, about 90 broad steps known as ghats are backed by a cliff-like array of temples, shrines and towers.

In Dharamsala. Finding my Cup of Tea

Story and Photos by Lee Daley.    Dharamsala came to light on the world map in 1959 when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet and subsequently established his “government in exile” there. Upwards of 100,000 Tibetan exiles have since settled in Dharamsala with most of them living in the village of McLeod Ganj near the higher elevation of the city. Also known as a hill station, Dharamsala’s name means “spiritual dwelling,” because it originated as a resting place for trekkers on pilgrimage.

In Burma: On the Road to Mandalay

Bagan templesStory and Photos by Lee Daley.     In 2003, I traveled to Myanmar, formerly called Burma. We flew to the capital, Yangon, once called Rangoon, before journeying on to Mandalay where my traveling companion and I boarded the river boat, The Road to Mandalay.Thus began some of our most memorable days in the country.  We talked with locals who often told us of their love for dissident Aung San Sui Kyi, whom they called “The Lady,” and of their desire to see Myanmar’s name restored back to Burma.

Rangoon Renaissance: Staying at The Strand

Shwedagon PagodaStory and Photos by Lee Daley.     Burma is now on many world travelers’ “A” list. With the release of Nobel Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and her subsequent triumphant election campaign, tourism to the country is at an all-time high. Decades of international isolation have left the former British colony’s major city, Rangoon, with an enduring colonial charm that has pretty much disappeared elsewhere in Asia.

Burma’s Best: The Strand Hotel

Story and Photos by Lee Daley.     Rangoon, Burma’s bustling metropolis is like a living museum where traditional tea houses, pagodas and temples sit side by side with grand edifices like the Strand Hotel built during the days of British colonialism. Among these treasures is the 2,500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda considered the most magnificent Buddhist shrine in all of Asia. During the Colonial Era, when Rudyard Kipling sailed up the Yangon River, he wrote of his sighting of the pagoda’s golden dome upon the horizon as his vessel neared the city. That glistening stupa still dominates today, both architecturally and symbolically.