From the Ground: New Two-day Lamine Village Trek Near Inle Lake

By Nicole Long and Jay Austin

We wanted to introduce our new Kalaw to Lamine Village Trek, near Inle Lake in Myanmar.  This two day trip to Kalaw allows guests to get outside of the main tourist areas, but doesn’t require a lot of time commitment. The trekking portion of this tour is light in activity (only about 3 hours long) and allows access to nature and the picturesque countryside. Kalaw is at a higher elevation so the temperatures will be cooler and comfortable for trekking. This tour provides opportunities to connect with locals and witness traditional, simple lifestyles. This is a great option for families as it includes a train ride and elephants!

Note: For guests who want more, this itinerary can be extended a day with an additional day of trekking and another night in a village homestay.

Itinerary:

Kalaw: Trek to Lamine Village – Day 1

After breakfast, you will be transferred by van to the starting point of your trek. From here you will walk about three hours to Lamine, a Pa O Village, located about 10 miles from Kalaw. Explore this village where you will meet friendly locals and observe their traditional lifestyles. You will see the farmers hard at work as they plant or harvest wheat, ginger and a variety of other crops. Lunch and dinner will be prepared by your local trekking team and you will overnight in a village homestay.

Kalaw: Lamine Village to Inle Lake – Day 2

After a enjoying simple breakfast prepared by our team, stroll about the village to observe the local morning activities, before you will meet up with the car for your to transfer to Inle Lake. On the way, stop by at the villages for plantation of regional products. The drive takes approximately 3 hours to Inle Lake and once you arrive, check in to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon.

Photos by Andrea Ross

From the Ground: Makara celebrates 2 years on the Local JWOC Advisory Board

By Jay Austin

Last month, JWOC Scholarship graduate and Journeys Within Cambodia Country Director, Makara Put, completed two years as member and Chair of JWOC’s Local Advisory Board (LAB). Using his in-depth understanding of the local travel industry, knowledge of local opportunities and understanding of JWOC’s values and mission to promote equal access to quality education, he was able to be part of a team that helped JWOC’s ground team to pursue opportunities and avenues that would not have otherwise access to.

When speaking of his achievement, he said, “For me, it is really important to be in the LAB, because you will be able to learn from other members and from JWOC staff. Moreover you can speak your thoughts and turn your ideas into practice, sharing information that helps to develop JWOC as well. We never know if our ideas work or not if we don’t put them into action!”

From the Ground: Phuket Sea Kayaking Tour

By Nicole Long & Jay Austin

This private sea kayaking tour is great for a small groups or families traveling together. Our partner, John Gray Sea Canoe, is highly rated and receives positive feedback from our guests for their Hongs by Starlight tour. Guests have the choice of where to go and duration of stay at each stop. There are opportunities to see wildlife such as sea-eagles, monkeys, bats, etc.

What you can expect from this tour:

Today you will explore the stunning Thailand waters and try hard-shell kayaking in spectacular Phang Nga Bay. You will depart Phuket at 9am in a Fast Longtail Boat which will circumnavigate North Phang Nga Bay in one day, kayaking two or three of the most spectacular spots in the region. Your guide will give you basic kayaking instruction so you can paddle your own or, you can opt to paddle a double kayak with a guide. After you finish paddling, you will return to the boat and head to Koh Yao Yai for lunch at a local Thai restaurant. After lunch you will head to the last island for some swimming and snorkeling. Return back to Ao Po by 5pm and return to your hotel.

Note: All photos are from John Gray Sea Canoe.

From the Ground: Exploring Kampot – From the Villages to the River and Beyond

By Jay Austin

What was once a sleepy riverside town has now become Cambodia’s hub for adventure tourism.  Attracting more and more people each year, locals say this destination is set to take off!  This is a small town offering unique and individual touring which is unmatched anywhere else in Cambodia!

Our cycling partner, Butterfly Tours, is a tour business created by a group of entrepreneurial Cambodian university students to support student guides who are attending university. The ‘Backroads by Bicycle’ tour takes guests on shopper bikes through Kampot’s red-dirt roads and visits local families to see their trades, including noodle making & rice wine production and concludes with a visit to a riverside pagoda that offers spectacular views of the adjacent river inlet before returning to town.

Our partner, Cambodia Kiteboarding, offers everything to kitesurfing enthusiasts from 2 hour introduction lessons to 2 day beginner courses with a range of options also available for the more advanced kitesurfer. Led by internationally certified kitesurfing guides with a paramount focus on safety for all involved, this is a sensational skill to learn in Cambodia which offers the opportunity at better rates than neighboring Thailand and Vietnam.

A visit to Kampot would not be complete without spending some time on the stunning Kampot River. Our partner, Supasia, offers a 3 hour Stand Up Paddle-boarding trip provides the opportunity to meander along the river and take everything in at your own pace. The trip is combined with a SUP lesson for those who have never attempted the sport led by confident guides who patiently assist you whilst you master the board.

If you are looking to head to Kampot, chat with us to help arrange the perfect tour for you, including any of the options above!

From the Ground: New Sunset Hoi An Kayaking Tour

By Jay Austin

Our new Sunset Kayaking Tour in Hoi An provides guests with the opportunity to see Hoi An from a different viewpoint and take in the serenity of life along the river and escape a little of the tourist bustle from old town Hoi An. This is the perfect addition to the beach portion of a tour, as it provides a little activity without intruding too much on your relaxation time at the beach.  This tour also pairs well with our ‘Wander the Ancient Town’ tour, which leads guest through the historical houses and community halls of beautiful Hoi An.

What you can expect from this tour:

Enjoy a leisurely paddle through the palm islands as you explore the Thu Bon River from the islands to the ancient town of Hoi An. The tour starts at 3pm allowing plenty of time to capture stunning images from your kayak of the passing scenery before you reach your sunset location. As the sun goes down enjoy the reflections of the ancient houses in the calm waters, while the area takes on a fantasy-like glow. For the more adventurous guests, there is an option to swap your kayak for a Stand-Up Paddleboard, providing a higher viewpoint of the surrounding scenery.  This tour is guided by an adventure guide, highly trained in safety procedures.

Please note: Dry bags are not provided, so those who are planning on bringing camera equipment should be sure to carry either a waterproof camera or a dry bag for the experience.