Best in Travel Blogs: Velvet Escape - Be Inspired.

February 21,2011

Keith of VelvetEscape.comKeith Jenkins is the blogger behind Velvet Escape. He left his corporate career to follow his passion for travel and writing, and in 2008 launched the Velvet Escape Blog. He conveys his incredible travel experiences through writing and photography, offering helpful tips and inspiring readers to discover all that the world has to offer. Keith currently resides in Amsterdam and has traveled to over 60 countries and across 6 continents. Despite his busy travel schedule, Keith was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for us. Thanks Keith!

Global Basecamps: Where are you from?

Velvet Escape: That’s an easy question to start with! I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Global Basecamps: When and how did you get hooked on travel?

Velvet Escape: My parents instilled in me a great desire to see and experience the world by giving me a geographic encyclopedia when I was eight. I memorized every bit of information in the encyclopedia and stared at all the photos endlessly. My first trip outside Malaysia/Singapore was with my family, when I was nine, to Hong Kong. I knew all the places and dragged them around the sights! I went on my first solo trip when I was 14. I was in Australia and backpacked from Sydney via Canberra to Melbourne and back. By that time, I knew I was hooked on travel!

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Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Season

February 07,2011

Cherry blossom season is considered by many to be the best time of year to visit Japan. They begin to bloom on the south west tip of Japan and continue east and north, gradually traversing the country. Determining when the cherry blossoms will bloom is an annual pastime in Japan, but it is highly dependent on geographical location. In general, the milder the climate, the earlier the sakura will appear. On Japan’s southern islands of Okinawa, the cherry blossoms can open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they can bloom as late as May. Though it varies from year to year and depends on environmental factors, in most of the major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, the cherry blossoms typically bloom in late March and early April. Cherry blossom season is the ideal time for a Japan eco-vacation, as you will find the cities and parks filled with people enjoying picnics and participating in "hanami" parties, or cherry blossom viewing.

Early Blossom
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Best of Basecamps: Discover Bliss in Japan at the World’s Oldest Inn

February 03,2011

Houshi Ryokan: Komatsu, Japan

Houshi Ryokan

Looking for a truly unique Japan eco lodge? Houshi Ryokan, located in the hot spring village of Awazu in the Hokuriku region of Japan, is the world’s oldest inn. Dating back to the year 718 (some 1300 years ago), the traditional ryokan has been operated by the same family for 46 generations. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The Houshi Ryokan has 100 rooms, as well as a "hanare" (private guest residence), that can accommodate up to 450 guest. At Houshi the names for each room are derived from Saijiki (a book on words and phrases defining the seasons in haiku), and reflect the hotels belief that life is a journey through the seasons. There are 2 indoor and 2 outdoor 24 hour hot spring baths for both men and women (same gender only). They also have 1 family bath that can be privately reserved upon guest’s request.

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Vietnam: It's Complicated

January 20,2011
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 Vietnam experience with us!

The reason why I chose to tour Vietnam wasn’t complicated, despite this post headline. I was fascinated by the country, its people and in particular the food. To me Vietnam just wasn’t going to be your typical tourist destination, and I was looking for that in my travels. Its war-torn history shapes its culture almost as much as the landscape, people, and the cuisine do. It’s impossible to come to this country without thinking about the Vietnam War. There are memorials everywhere. There are also absolutely lush, stunning green fields and tall palm trees – images that have been shown time and again in films about the country and the war. There are gorgeous red soils and tall mountains that straddle the rice fields where people in non las (conical hats) are hard at work. It’s so amazing to look at, yet so hard to take in. It’s akin to looking at a beautiful painting. You see it, you try to ‘get’ it, you even have a guide there to help you understand it, but even she can’t properly explain it. No matter what you do you still feel like something is off or missing - a vital piece of information that would bring more sense to the overall picture. See what I mean by complicated? Then again maybe it’s supposed to be complicated. Believe me after talking to other visiting tourists I was relieved to know I’m not the only who feels this way about Vietnam.

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Sustainable Southeast Asian Luxury at Alila Hotels & Resorts

July 07,2010

Alila Ubud Resort, BaliAt the end of your vacation in Southeast Asia, you gaze longingly at the the deep, cerulean horizon. The real world seems impossibly far away, and you'd give anything for one more day in this paradise...

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