Discover Asia through Adventurocity
Welcome to Adventurocity! We're Brian K. Smith and Rick Green, two intrepid Canadians with a serious travel bug for Asia. This site documents our excellent adventures in the region, experiencing its fascinating cultures, varied landscapes, exotic foods, and hospitable people.
If you have never visited Asia, we urge you to cast off your inhibitions and make it your next trip. It can be as easy or as challenging as you like – from glittering cities with all the modern conveniences to desolate alpine wilderness. Don't worry about language. If you can play charades, you'll be fine.
Our motto is, Why take a trip when you can have an adventure? Play our videos, read our articles, browse our photos to see why. And if you want to do the same, it isn't really that hard. It just takes a willingness to step a little outside of your comfort zone. Because the really memorable trips are not ones that are flawlessly choreographed. They are the unplanned opportunities you grasped that may have been a bit messy, but you made it through and grew from the experience.
As the Chinese say, jiāyóu (come on)!
In our experience, if you are interested in visiting regions of China with large populations of ethnic minorities, it's best to have a guide from that cultural group who speaks their language and understands their customs. This is particularly true when going off the beaten tour bus path where things don't go according to the tourists' schedule, where the local rhythm of life continues. With a non-local guide, it's likely you'll miss out on spontaneous celebrations that don't fit within the itinerary. Sadly, we've even seen minorities mocked and their customs reduced to mere caricatures by those who lack respect, interest, and understanding.
As it is necessary to visit Tibet with a licensed tour company and obtain a special travel permit, we urge you to carefully consider the operator you select to visit this extraordinary part of the world. More than just their experience in handling the various challenges that come from a forbidding environment and often limited infrastructure, will they make the effort to give you the experience you seek, or are they only interested in rushing you through a conveyor of set itineraries, standardized accommodations, and generic meals?
We suggest you consider hiring Tibet Holy Land Travel, a locally-owned travel company that has been in business since 1998. They are Tibetan specialists that can provide you with the following:
- Tibet tour permit service
- Domestic air and train ticket booking
- Accommodation booking from luxury hotels to budget guesthouses
- Tourist vehicle hire
- Local Tibetan tour guide
- Tour itineraries professionally customized to your specific needs and interests
- Complimentary online consultation
For more information, visit Tibet Holy Land Travel's website or contact their Tour Advisor & Executive Manager, Tenzin, at:
Tel: +86 (0891) 683-5529
Cell: +86 139 0898-3903
Our consumer culture offers a wealth of products to ease or solve a multitude of problems. We carry with us a variety of items to be prepared for every potential scenario that might arise from whatever activity we are engaged in. Consequently, North American society has developed the means to accommodate relatively large amounts of personal possessions—limitless luggage choices, storage lockers, SUVs, minivans, trailers, motorhomes, etc.
When traveling, people naturally want to maintain the level of comfort and safety to which they have become accustomed. However, "more is better" doesn't translate well when going abroad to visit Asia. In fact, the opposite is true. Considering cost, comfort and convenience, less is more.
The rising cost of fuel has forced airlines to reduce the free checked baggage allowance for passengers in terms of size, weight, and number. Exceed this and even before you have left, you could find yourself paying a premium for the privilege of bringing items you might not even use! It pays to pack smart.
Once you arrive in Asia, you may be visiting other cities via air or train. There are even more limitations on free checked luggage when traveling within countries or flying regionally via low-cost carriers, like AirAsia. Typically for economy class, you are allowed one piece to a maximum of 20 kg (44 lb) and not exceeding 160cm (63"). On China's new high speed trains, for example, the maximum allowable dimension of your bag is 130 cm (51"). If your luggage cannot fit in the train's overhead rack, there are very few free storage options and no guarantees that it won't be roughly handled.
Avoid surprises when checking in for your flight or train. Know the free checked baggage allowances ahead of time. And if you plan on bringing back souvenirs, be sure to leave enough room for potential purchases.
Millions of visitors flock to Xī'ān each year to see the incredible Terracotta Army, yet there is more to feast one's eyes upon than the city's treasure trove of venerable wonders. China's first great ancient capital also offers a unique cuisine that has developed over millennia at this cultural crossroads. Not to be missed is a dish that has become synonymous with Xī'ān's Muslim Quarter – Mutton Flat Bread Soup, whose origins legend credits to Emperor Tàizǔ (927-976).
In the centre of China, in Shǎnxī province, is the city known today as "western peace" – or in ancient times, Cháng'ān. This is where Emperor Qín Shǐ Huáng, the first emperor to unite China, established his seat of power. It's also the origin of the famous Silk Road, the most important pre-modern Eurasian trade route that connected the Middle Kingdom to the Mediterranean via Central Asia.
In the 8th century during the Tang Dynasty, Xī'ān was the world's largest city with a population of over one million. It was a cosmopolitan period in China's history and the Silk Road's golden age. Persian and Central Asian Muslim traders were welcomed and even appointed as officials. Over the centuries, their descendants intermarried with the Hàn, eventually forming the Huí ethnic group. Today the Huí are largely indistinguishable from the Hàn majority except for their religious practices. Noteworthy is their rejection of pork which is the most consumed meat in China. A common sight in the food markets of China's cities are young Huí men grilling spicy lamb skewers on charcoal braziers.
by Rick Green
Measured elephantine blasts from the gleaming twelve-foot brass and copper horns erupted over the backdrop of the brisk Himalayan breeze. Accompanied by smaller horns and assorted percussion, the musicians struck a lilting cadence that drew out a troupe of costumed monks from the arched entrance of Chyodi Gompa.
The stout maroon edifice is the last remaining training monastery in the Kingdom of Mustang, a semi-autonomous region in Nepal on the Tibetan border. Chyodi rises prominently from amongst a warren of houses enclosed within the medieval walls of Lo Manthang, Mustang's capital.
The musical commotion attracted a handful of scruffy onlookers who gathered themselves along the top of the earthen walls defining the courtyard's perimeter. As the masked performers lurched down the broad steps, they gradually fanned out into the gray, dusty enclosure, whirling in a mysterious choreography that spoke a fantastic language.
This represented the myth of Dorje Jono, a Buddhist deity who saved his people from the vagaries of a drought brought upon them by his demon father. Normally the tale is performed over three days during Mustang's annual Tiji festival that falls sometime between mid-May and mid-June. However, the Chyodi monks treated us to an abridged performance since our trekking party arrived a month too early.
by Rick Green
When heading to Asia, packing is an important pre-trip planning consideration. Everything that I need to take with me must fit in my versatile Eagle Creek Switchback Max ES 25 luggage. If I can take less, it leaves more room for gifts and Canadian craft beer, which I like to bring to share around with locals while travelling.
So when I came across a blog post about travelling on two pairs of ExOfficio underwear on a major trip, I was intrigued. What's not to like about reducing the amount of clothing needed and laundry costs at the same time? Looking for a Vancouver retailer that carried these, I found the first-listed store on their website had closed. I then called the second one, 3 Vets, and found they were out of stock. However, they did have Misty Mountain Willie Wickers briefs which were just as good and on sale for half the regular price of ExOfficio's Give-N-Go briefs. Sold!
My first major test for the Willie Wickers was my three-week trip to China and Hong Kong in May/June 2013. I chose black Willie Wickers because they hide stains. Even though I was going to wash at least one pair of underwear every day, you still get discolouration with lighter colours, meaning you tend to discard those sooner. It turned out to be an excellent choice. I'm very happy with the recommendation I got from 3 Vets.