travel
Asia has long lured foreign travellers to explore its wing- tipped temples, devour its spicy dishes and leave with its luscious silks. Seen and done it all, or simply crave an extra kick in the inerary? This vast region offers an equally diverse array of adrenaline pumping adventures without sacrificing the luxuerious comforts for which Asia deserves its indulgent reputation. Take a Himalayan trek across China’s wilder side. Drive off road by jeep through Vietnam’s sand dunes. Trek into the Cambodian jungle with eyes peeled for rare birds to spend a starry night alongside a deserted Andkor temple. Dive with whale sharks at newly- discovered sites along a marine superhighway known as the Wallace Line. Follow the pilgrim’s path of the 9th- century monk who introduced esoteric Buddhism to Japan. Or hover above it all with a helicopter jaunt over Hong Kong’s surprisingly dramatic ancient rock formations. Whichever adventure suits best, rest assured there will be plenty of pillow- top beds, attentive service, gourmet edibles, five star massages and alluring souvenirs along the way.

Asia China: Peak of Perfection

Leave the country’s exploding cities far behind by following the ancien cara van trail through a land of snow- capped moutains and cobalt lakes in Tibet and Yannan

Description: the shiny skyscrapers

the shiny skyscrapers

First- timers and business travellers tend to climb the shiny skyscrapers of China’s exploding cities. Far wilder adventures await those who make their way to the country’s rougher edges. The appropriately- named WildChina (cildchina.com) travel company leads trekkers along Tep Horse Road, the ancient caravan route into Tibet and up Abujee Moutain in northwest Ynnan, a rarely- visited alpine landscape of wnow- capped moutains and placid, cobalt lakes.

The eight- day trek with porters and a gourmet chef offers view of Kawa Karpo, the highest and most sacred peak in Ynnan, and winds its way past Buddhist temples and settlements of Naxi and Yi nomads who named the mountain, Abujee, after their exclamtion of delight. They believe its rocks, plants and animal life possess supernatural powers.

Descend  to Zhongdian, recast by the chinese government as Shangri- La to promote tourism, for a warm shower and comfortable accommodations among the antiquities at Songtsam Retreat (songtsam.com). the retreat recently launched a circuit of five boutique properties in the surrounding area known as Three Parallel Rivers. Cover this Himalayan route in Land Cruisers driven by the team at Aspera Explorations (asperaexplorations.com), and step out onto this sacred terrain on Aspera’s day trek to pastoral villages along the remote borders between Tibet, Sichuan and Ynnan provinces. Return to Songtsam in the evening where staff and chefs from the loacl community spoil guest with specialist home- cured Jinhua hams and freshly picked mushrooms.

Turn up the luxury even higher on China’s periphery by travelling onboard a Gulfstream 450. Touch down on the edge of China’s Taklimakan Desert to explore the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang, filled with Buddhist paintings and carvings dating between the 4th and 14th centuries.

Description: Kashgar, China - Live market play

Kashgar, China - Live market play

Continue on through the clouds to Kashgar’s mosques and Yekshenba Bazaar the largest open- air market in the world with over 100,000 vendors from as far away as Pakistan and Uzbekistan. You can also head off on one of Remote Lands’ airborne caranvans west through Tibet and on to Chengdu for a private audience  with the pandas (remotelands.com)

Asia Hong Kong: The Height of Luxury

See the city’s famous skyline and surrounding landscapes from the luxury of a helicopter, or get a closer look on terra firma with a specialised out door excursion

Description: The Peninsula, Hong Kong

The Peninsula, Hong Kong

Adedicated elevator leads to Hong Kong’s latest adrenaline- fuelled adventure, taking the guests of The Penisula Hong Kong (penisula.com) to the China Clipper lounge on the top floor, lined with aviator collectibles and jaw- dropping views over Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. Exit to the rooftop’s double helipad and climb aboard a twin- engine Squirrel helicomter for a 45- minute panoramic trio from Kowloon to the fascinating Hong Kong Global Geopark of China.

Designated by Unesco as part of its Global Geoparks Network in September last year, this collection of eight distinct geographic areas across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and the New territories shocases Hong Kong’s aldest and youngest rocks, ranging from 400 million to 65 million years old.

Description:  Hong Kong Global Geopark of China

 Hong Kong Global Geopark of China

Passengers fly over Devil’s Fist on Bluff Island as well as the steep shale rock cliff and finely layered mudstones of Ping Chau Island, once a hideout for opium and gun smugglers. This is island was the first sight of freedom for fleeing mainland Chinese who swam here through shark- infested waters during the Cultural Revolution.

Return for luch in the Peninsula’s lobby or land on the helipad at Tai Long Wan, a beach- lined bay, before boarding a yacht for a champagne lunch on the return cruise to the Star Ferry Pier, where The Pen’s chauffeured Roold- Royce awaits.

For a more active immersion in Hong Kong’s  outdoors, hop on a stand- up paddle board (bluesky-sc.com), or  into a kayak (kayak-and-hike.com) from Sai Kung’s Sai Sha Beach or join a walking tour of the park, taking in the Wing Dynasty Tin Hau Temple to the Sea Goddess, where modern- day fighermen still make offerings here before heading out on the South China Sea (walkhongkong.com)

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