Tell us a little about your new role with EXO Travel Thailand?
The fun part of my role is to seek out and design new and exciting tours and locations for EXO Thailand. Many of Thailand’s main sights can be enriched with a special touch to enhance the cultural significance of the tour, for example, discovering the chanting at Wat Pho in the early morning hours is a beautiful addition to any visit to the temple. The other challenging part of the role is keeping track of, and selecting which hotels and excursions we prefer to recommend to our clients in order to offer them the best experiences, as well as keeping our product offering new and inventive.
What is the most memorable Asian destination you have visited and why?
It’s a tough decision, but the most memorable experience would be between Myanmar, Nepal or Japan. In Myanmar I felt so welcomed by the locals and I was fortunate enough to go there before it really boomed with tourism. Nepal was incredible with all its snowcapped mountains and sleeping in minus 30 degrees at Everest base camp was a truly amazing experience. In Japan I was surprised about how well the country worked and how unique the culture was with geishas, ninjas, and samurais, as well as Onsen, fascinating temples (and toilets!), and going 350 km/h on board the Shinkansen train; you name it, Japan had it!
You’ve lived and worked in Thailand for many years, what’s the allure for you?
Thailand simply has it all… Astonishing beaches, beautiful mountains, great food and happy people. One thing that never fails to amaze me here is the possibility of going to a 5 star resort with world-class service to sip a cocktail, and the next moment find yourself sitting across the street at a local street vendor mingling with the locals. The contrasts in this country are really special. Where else in the world can you find a place to eat 24 hrs a day? In Thailand there is always a restaurant or street food stall where you can enjoy the local flavors without checking your watch.
Asia remains an ever popular destination for travellers the world over. What sets it apart for you?
The people and the differences in culture are a huge draw, as well as the pristine natural settings and sights that can be visited. The local people are extremely friendly and when you begin to interact with them you really discover how warm-hearted they can be. There is also the culture shock that you get when coming to Asia for your first time. Everything is so different from what you might be used to in your home country. The pace, the noise, the smells, it’s all playing with your senses no matter where you go. Asia is also still very affordable, so you can enjoy staying at 5 star resorts without breaking the bank.
Where will your next adventure in Asia take you?
As I live to explore new destinations, my next journey will take me to a place that I haven’t yet been. I daydream about Sulawesi in Indonesia, I have heard that it is absolutely amazing, with world-class diving, sandy beaches and the Tana Toraja people. Another place that I would really like to visit is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China, the landscape is supposed to look like it was taken right out of the movie Avatar.
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