Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coronation Time in Bhutan

My wife along with 5 friends contacted Connecting Asia to arrange our trip to Bhutan during the Coronation of the new King. The travel arrangements made by Connecting Asia were superb by all standards.

I would like now to share some of our highlights of this trip to the Land of the Thunder Dragon-DRUK.

Day One-We flew into the Paro airport, the only airport in the country. A hair raising approach as there are hills very close to both ends of the runway. Need excellent Pilot skills for this -for sure. Great Landing. Spectacular views. Upon arrival were greeted by Connecting Asia partners -taken to our bus which was big and comfortable. Each of us was then given a personal gift from Connecting Asia-Lovely Gifts too I might add-I was given the traditional Bhutanese dress .Then off we were to Thimpu the capital-Checked into a very nice cozy hotel -had lunch and off we were too see if we could get a glimpse of the new King. Our guide insisted we wait and be patient and through her good advise the patience paid off and not only did we get to see the King but we all got to shake his hand and in turn he gave us all a commemorative coin--How lucky can you get!!!

Day Two-Sightseeing Thimpu- see the market place Ladies with their prayer wheels and beads-went to the zoo to see the rare Taken -animal that looks like a mixture of a goat and a cow-you have to see one to believe me.

Then off we were to Wangdue and up to Punakha. The roads are winding all the way up but once you get to the mountain pass between Thimpu and Wangdue you will be in for a grand surprise -you almost get the entire view of the Himalayan Range and if you happen to be there during sunset like we were even more spectacular. Before heading off again a nice cup of hot tea did wonders as the weather was getting cold now. Finally arrived at our hotel -all tired -had a good dinner and off to sleep waiting to see what lay in store the next day.

Day Three-Went to the Punaka Dzong before heading on to Paro. All the towns in Bhutan have a dzong, or fort, that was built around the 16th century for defense against Tibet. Now they are used half for government offices and half for monasteries. The Punaka Dzong was grand and in fact the coronation of the King was held here. After lunch we were off to Paro -the same winding road -the drive about 3 hrs and we were back in Paro for a wonderful dinner.

Day Four-An early breakfast for an early start to the Tigers Nest-Along climb about 3 hrs plus -3 of us made it up to the view point about halfway while 3 others went all the way -I made it to the view point -was just too lazy and tired to go all the way-next time perhaps?

After coming down had lunch-got to eat Yak Meat-Tasted quite good I must say. Finally back in town-did some shopping and back to the hotel for a heart dinner.

Day Five -Back to Bangkok.

Finally these are some of the memories I would also like to share:- Every local meal in this country involves a lot of chilies! The national sport is archery. They shoot at that tiny target for the distance of a football field. They dance around between shots when their team members hit the target and when the other team's members miss.

Local women who can't get pregnant come to the Chimi Lhakhang Monastery for a blessing. There are penises all over the place in the monastery and even painted on the outside of houses in this town. For a Buddhist country it is very progressive. They like to drink and party, they can choose who they marry and even divorce.and even women can have 2 husbands. It was clean without all the crazy traffic or people begging that I am so used to here in Asia. The houses were different, more like swiss chalets. The locals have a unique dress, somewhat formal.


Traveled to Bhutan in November 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

From Wales to Bhutan

I would like to thank Connecting Asia for providing me with a unique experience during my holiday in Bhutan. All travel arrangements and accommodation was comfortable. The guide was able to show us aspects of the unique nature and philosophy of life in Bhutan. We were made to feel an integral part of the cultural activities and the daily life of the people. Everyone greeted us with a good heart

To visit Bhutan during the coronation and being able to meet the king was an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I must thank Connecting Asia for arranging the itinerary around this event.

I would highly recommend and travel with Connecting Asia in the future especially to Bhutan.
Stephen Pratt

Traveled to Bhutan in November 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

India at the far end of both spectrums

My fetish for Indian arts & culture started to develop when I graduated from university. I began to believe that I was an Indian in my previous life. Somehow, I'm attracted to the colorful vibrancy of saris, the hint of flirtatiousness in miniature paintings, the love-it-or-hate-it Indian food, the I-don't-know-why-I-can't-stop-watching-it Bollywood films.So when the opportunity to visit India presented itself, I was ecstatic. I was more than ready. I was determined to go in with an open mind, open heart, and frankly open nose.In my opinion, India is a world of extremes. It's where both ends of every spectrum co-exists in one country. I've seen hell and heaven, good and bad, clean and dirty, beautiful and ugly, the best and the worst.Several cases in point. When I visited the Humayun's tomb, the first thing that came into my head was...'wow this beautiful and huge place is all just for the dead?' I know it's for the king and all...BUT... the condition of the living that I'd just seen while walking around old Delhi was so poor!

Here I was in a beautiful serene place with the dead laying peacefully, a few miles away, the living were buzzing through small, foul-smelling streets making way for their sacred cows, taking a bath in front of their houses, sipping tea while watching flies flocking over the dead lamb's head from the vendor across the street..... just living their regular Sunday morning lives.

Traveling between the states in India was quite an experience. You never knew what was going to happen or what you were going to see. In other countries, you would usually see big empty fields. In India, you would see people everywhere, jam-packed vehicles, the vivid color from saris and small houses or even the beautiful gold color of the sun touching the hays that fell from the truck ahead of us. All of these with a soundtrack of constant horn blowing.

India even brought me to tears once in Agra. I'd never expected the Taj to be so beautiful. I've seen several pictures of the place. But to see the presence of the real thing in front of us made me speechless. I don't know if it's the story behind it or the magnificence of the architecture, but I felt overwhelmed with its beauty and its being. No pictures of the Taj Mahal I saw ever did justice to the place.

It's in India where you see the biggest places for the dead sitting along side the smallest houses for the living, where you taste consistently delicious food as well as the consistently blandest coffee, where you see men living along side animals, where you encounter the good and the bad, where you make friends with the rich as well as the poor.I found these contrasts both astonishing and sad. But it does show a lot of strengths and the resilience of the people who have to live with it. And that was very admirable and positive.

I think I know India a little better now. I began to understand the drive of those hard sell vendors and why they didn't stop following us, I began to realize why Ghandi formed his non-violent belief, I began to accept that sometimes life isn't exactly fair and to survive, especially in a place like this, takes a lot of tolerances.

I left India very happy, very surprised, in fact I was even shocked to the core. Traveling usually expands your perspective of the world. But India might very well be the place where your view is broadened the furthest.

P.S. Thanks to Sonia from Connecting Asia for another wonderful trip, to Vijay our kind driver who always looked out for us and our thoughts and prayers go out to the bombing victims and the beautiful people of Jaipur.

Nusara (O) & Derrek Clarke
Traveled to Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, India in April 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008


I had heard that the coastline and islands in the Krabi area were beautiful and going purely on the guidebooks thought I'd like to spend a few nights at Rialay Beach. Your advice to make Au Nang Beach near Krabi our base in preference to Rialay was well given because there was so much more activity –gentle, not brash- in Au Nang and it afforded a very convenient gateway to the truly beautiful Rialay Beach and other lovely places such as Pi-Pi Island, Bamboo Island etc . The Ao Nang beach is nice; lovely at the eastern end furthest away from the town, with a good selection of little beachside cafes

Your choice of the comfortable yet modest Great Western Hotel was also ideal. It was central in Ao Nang., The swimming pool was good and its proximity to the shops and beach restaurants could not be bettered.

My son and I enjoyed a wonderful week there. All the arrangements worked perfectly. Both pick up and return to the airport some 33 kms away were painlessly achieved and your local representatives were very helpful in arranging excursions. I would unhesitatingly go there again and would recommend your choice to any of your clients who want to visit that area.

Ken Pearce
Traveled to Krabi, Thailand in March 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Angkor Wat..the most desirable destination

Angkor Wat has been one of the most desirable desitination in my mind ever since I studied architecture. So much history and serene beauty that I wanted to see. Cambodia is still under major rebuilding phase ever since the country had gone thru civil war. Angkor Wat has been well protected under World Heritage site. It is breathtaking to see those structure harmonized with smile face of statues.

I was a bit nervous when I planed to visit only because I had such a short time. With help from a friend in US, I found Sonia from Connecting-Asia travel agency and made my trip absolutely great. Given the time which was only 3 days, I was able to maxmize travel experience with a private tour guide.

I recommend highly for kind and caring service from Connecting-Asia.

Dohee Lee
Traveled to Cambodia in October 2007

Monday, April 14, 2008


Difficult to come back to realities!

Our trip went very well and all the services you provided us with were excellent : no incident with hotel booking/vouchers, vans were punctual and quite comfortable. Everything was more than positive and we wish to renew our best thanks for your quality service.

Let me take the liberty to give comments on a hotel you booked upon our request in KOH CHANG but not suitable at all for the range of price (room rate 3800 baths) : the REMARK COTTAGE. Front beach bungalows were very small with no place at all for luggage which stayed on the floor, no cupboard for clothes nor hangers ; Bathrooms hardly clean (dirty walls) ; no possibility to have our toilet things close to water points. Regarding meals : plates were half-full compared with other restaurants, coffee only powdered for breakfast and We were stopped for getting a dessert during a dinner at 8.15 : it was too late ! On top of all that : no sand on the beach but many stones which made beach bathes impossible. A very small swimming pool with a lot of children during the week end. The sole garden was top. Maybe local people do not look for same as tourists but we were very disappointed by this resort.

On the contrary the CHANCHAOLAO RESORT that you had recommended was really wonderful : Fabulous rooms with great comfort and delicate care, marvelous beach close to the bungalows, Very nice welcome and very good restaurant : one of the best place we have ever seen ! Extraordinary for people looking for beach and rest but nothing around.

Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to go back to our dear Asia very soon. We will not fail to think of you then.

With our renewed thanks

Odile GAEBEL & friends
Traveled to Thailand in March 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Connecting Asia arranged a trip for 24 pharmacists and 20 doctors (2 different trips) so that they could combine a business trip with some sight seeing in Delhi.

They arranged a trip to Taj Mahal and a city tour in Delhi.I must say the arrangements made were absolutely "perfect" in every way, even to the restaurants/food/guides and even the manner we were greeted at the airport by their partners in India.

The doctors/pharmacists were extremely impressed with the trip and were comfortable in every way.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Connecting Asia to anyone looking for a professional company (who can handle communication so effectively in both languages - English and Thai) to take care of business as well as private trips. They have never disappointed me in any way.

Marisa Narula
Traveled to India in March 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008


When I first came to Thailand on business, language was a problem for me to deal with the hotel, transport and many other things. However, through an ex colleague in Thailand, I contacted Connecting-Asia, and I would really like to thank him for introducing me such a good company with professional service. The driver recommended was really nice and talked to us many interesting custom in Thailand when we were on the way to my customer's office.

Since then, I always contact Connecting-Asia each time I have a business trip in Thailand.

Traveled to Bangkok, Thailand in March 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008


Hi! This is Assavani. I am glad to know Ms.Sonia from Connecting-Asia. She was the one who arranged our trip to Bangkok last year.

Together we traveled with 4 vehicles (4x4 wheel, 12 adults & 10 children)
We drove from Penang (Malaysia) to Surathani, and we stayed 1 night. second and third nights were stayed in Diamond Plaza, Hua Hin. A very relax and beautiful city. We left Hua Hin to Bangkok on 23rd Dec 2007.

We celebrated our Christmas eve on Chao Praya cruise. Also, I would liked to thanks Ms.Toom for her arrangement and we really enjoyed ourselves on the Cruise. Good view, good food, good music and good entertainment.

We stayed in Bangkok for 4 nights. While we were in Bangkok, Ms Sonia & her staffs arranged our local tours. They provided us with excellent service and professional Tour Leader.

Again, from Bangkok, we drove to Chomphon and we stayed a night. Chumphon is a very peaceful village and famous for scuba diving. From Chumphon, we drove to Hatyai and this was our last night in Thailand.

All of us really enjoyed the trip and thanks to Sonia and her staffs.

Assavani West
Traveled to Thailand in December 2007