Visit the Camps of Born to Be Wild

May 24,2012

Orphan Elephants at PlayDocumentaries come and go, and sometimes they are as easily forgettable as they are initially impactful, but we think Born to Be Wild, a film directed by David Lickley, deserves a little more attention. Nature documentaries have always been commercially and critically successful, and over the last few years the popularization of marching penguins, along with BBC-produced hi-def documentary series have certainly raised the bar for commercial success. High definition, 3-D and IMAX formats, along with the narrations of a man named Morgan Freeman are the new formula it seems.

Documentaries are one thing, but when a popular film aims to educate young people about ecological conservation ethics in a new, fun way, we feel like we have to stand up and highlight it. Born to Be Wild is a movie aimed more directly at children than adults, though the big kids here in the office certainly enjoyed it. The short (45 minutes) film follows the stories of two sets of orphans, of the orangutan and elephant variety, as they are rescued on two different ends of the Indian Ocean by two dedicated women hoping to someday release them back into the wild. In what Morgan Freeman calls a “fairy tale” come to life, these orphans call to us in a familiar, Charles Dickens kind of way.

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5 Off the Beaten Path Islands in Southeast Asia

February 14,2012

Koh Rong, Cambodia

After decades of isolation the 60 plus islands surrounding the southern coast of Cambodia remain largely untouched. Koh Rong is the biggest Cambodia island off the coast of Sihanoukville. The majority of the island is undeveloped, though there are plans to develop it into a luxury resort destination. Right now, travelers can visit for a day trip, or stay in one of the few small beach resorts. There is around 27 miles of beaches, one of the most beautiful being Long Set beach. There are seven bays on the island, all offering great snorkeling and diving. There are also several nearby islands, easily accessible by boat. Other activities include swimming, hiking and fishing. From the mainland, it takes a little over 2 hours to reach Koh Rong, but it is well worth the journey to experience this tropical paradise. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this incredible island before it becomes a tourist hot spot!

Koh Rong

Bantayan Island, Philippines

Visit Bantayan Island, located northwest of Cebu, where life is slower and you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the beautiful beaches. Until recently, foreigners did not frequent Bantanyan. Though the tourism industry is growing on the island it still retains a secluded feel. There are no large shopping malls, major hotel chains, movie theaters, etc. There are a handful of restaurants and bars in Santa Fe, though Bantanyan is definitely not the place to go if you’re looking for nightlife. Bantayan is a place for travelers looking for a tranquil getaway and hoping to spend most of their days lounging on the beach. The warmth and friendliness of the locals allows travelers to learn about day-to-day life on Bantayan, where locals farm and live simply in bamboo houses. The island is just 7 by 10 miles, and has crystal clear waters. Renting a scooter is a great way to explore the Bantayan.

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"Eat, Pay, Leave" an Inside Taste of Ubud, Bali

May 16,2011

Our new Travel Specialist, Michelle Barth, spent 2 months traveling throughout Southeast Asia. In her last blog, she described her Chiang Rai sustainable biking tour. Continue on the journey with her as she recalls some of her favorite meals from Ubud, Bali.

Before my travels to Bali a few key travel words come to mind: surf, temples, monkeys, ex-patriots, rice fields, and massage.

Bali Buddha

Living in San Diego, there is no shortage of international food options. With an abundance of Thai and Vietnamese, I figured the cuisine of Bali would be similar featuring a variety of noodle and rice dishes. Yes, there are plenty of rice and noodle dishes to indulge in but I was taken back by the intricate layers of flavor I was exposed to. Ubud has no shortage of traditional restaurants and an array of creative fusion restaurants that are worth a taste.

Traveling Southeast Asia for two months, I figured having a salad was out of the picture. I was going to have to stick to eating cooked and steamed vegetables; I was wrong. There is a range of creative fusion restaurants featuring local organic food, produce, meats, and baked goods with a touch of traditional flare, scattered throughout Ubud. Two weeks into my travels, salad less, I stumbled upon Bali Buddha. This locally owned restaurant and food store has been serving up healthy dishes since 1994. Located just off the main road, it is a great way to start your day. Sit back in this open air restaurant, relax to the soft kirtan music, sip on a green super food smoothie and watch the local kids play in the street below. It is a great way to start your morning or enjoy the afternoon. If staying on the main roads is more your style or you want to enjoy some great health food after going to Monkey Forrest, Kafe or Clear Cafe are also great lunch options.

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Julia Roberts and I at the Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge

March 07,2011
We are excited to have a guest blog post from one of our travelers, Steve Wilson. Steve is taking an amazing trip and is chronicling his adventures on his blog, A Hungry Man Travels. Follow his travels by reading his blog and checking out his photos. Thanks, Steve, for sharing your Indonesia experience with us!
Tadjung Putting National Park

Julia Roberts and I haven’t had the priviledge to meet, but we've been close to each other – inadvertently AND innocently I might add. If I had the chance to meet Ms. Roberts, the first thing I would say is “Hi Julia, did you know that you and I shared a room at the Rimba Orangutan Eco lodge in Borneo?" If that fails to get a reaction (and lets’ face it, it wouldn’t), I would then quickly ask her: "what were you thinking getting so close to that Orangutan in your documentary?" Ok, I wouldn't quite say it like that but I sure would have to wonder what would possess one of the biggest stars on the planet to do something even us nobodies were told over and over by the guides, signs, and locals not to do if you ever meet an orangutan, especially the King of Orangutans, face to face. Ah Julia, the crazy world you live in. I know in your documentary you weren’t giving us your world famous laugh when Kusasi, then the King of Orangutans, grabbed you and held on while the guides had to pry him off you and I don’t blame you – it probably wasn’t a good time for you I’m sure.

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