Modern day Bangkok traditions

 

Bangkok, city of contrasts. Super sleek shiny highrises tower around age old shrines where locals dressed in business suits and traditional dress kneel side by side and pray for good fortune.

Malls full of top fashion brands and the latests electronic gadgets are surrounded by hawkers selling their traditionally cut fruit and woodfired grilled meat skewers.

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The Thai-Chinese wedding surprised me. Just like Bangkok still does when you find another little tucked away temple surrounded by shiny glass windows.

The day on one hand is full of age old traditions as the chinese tea ceremony, which feels like an intimate, generations old custom.  And ka-nom-ee, where bride and groom have to eat a whole egg from a spoon but have to leave 4 perfect pieces for good health, fortune and happiness.

On the other hand there was the modern glamour of dresses, red velvet wedding cake, wine, cocktails, amazing seafood and macaroons. And photographers for formal shots and loads of selfies.

I shouldnt have been surprised. It was just like Bangkok, a perfect modern day tradition.

Argentina, local experience seekers paradise

Eventhough Argentina isn’t as high up on most people’s place to visit list, the way the country presents itself is very much a mature very service minded tourism industry. They have got the relatively new trend of offering ‘authentic local experiences’ pretty much nailed.

Some of the places we stayed should be the role model for anybody who tries to achieve this.

The Palo Santo hotel in Buenos Aires

Just read their stories and you will be convinced: “We are eclectic, we are passionate about diversity and detail. We are contemporary, we are nomads, we are a new generation.”

Next time, i will stay even longer!

Yacutinga lodge in the Iguazu Rainforest

Although it was noticeable that the lodge had seen better days, the principles behind it are still incredibly convincing.” We are a company made up of local people who want to keep one of the few remaining Misionesra in forest that exist in an excellent state of conservation.For this purpose we decided to create the Yacutinga Project characterized by a cutting-edge hotel concept, adhered to strict criteria of sustainability in tourism.”

Yes , my kind of stay!

La Aldea de la Selva lodge in Puerto Iguazu

A beautiful hotel, consisting of individual units again placed in the rainforest.

“We aim to be recognized as a company that promotes sustainability actions in the community by contributing our effort and commitment towards making Puerto Iguazú a Green Iguazú”.

Legado Mitico in Salta

When you walk in, you get welcomed as if they know you. You’re arriving at a friends place. A friend with a very nice house!! It’s a historic house with a real B&B feel, conserving all old features. The service fits the place, and is as if they’ve known you forever.

“We would like to invite you to our emblematic hotel in the City of Salta, where an exclusive experience awaits you. You will be welcomed with old-time cordiality filled with the love for our nation, and in every room you will discover both mythical figures and the native people of this region, ever so rich in natural beauty.”

And that’s just a taste of the places we stayed.

At a restaurant in Salta where we came for the second time, they remembered our wineorder, and that we really liked the complimentary vegetarian ‘snacks’, so they gave us extra. At a little museum we went to the host noticed our interest in stones and minerals, so he gave us a non-polished one as a gift ” regalo de papa Santa” .

You get the gist. They’ve got the service industry nailed!

The best gym in the world, and other competition for Queenstown NZ

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Would you not want to be spending time in this gym? Fresh air,  a view to die for, lake and mountains around you, and all free! Some great local government initiatives here.

We’re in El Calafate, named after the little Calafate berry that grows here everywhere. It’s a bit like the blue berry and has all sorts of health benefits, like protection from ageing!

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El Calafate is situated at a cracking spot, on Lake Argentino, the biggest freshwater lake in Argentina. It’s got amazing birdlife, including flamingo’s (!), great cafe’s and restaurants and a load of activities on offer for different levels of adventure seekers. From a NZ point of view it definitely has a Queenstown feel and I would dare to say it could compete.

The real reason for this town though is the proximity to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the only glacier in the world that still grows/stays stable as opposed to retreat. Pretty amazing for sustainability researchers!
There are different ways of experiencing the glacier. Walking on the ice, taking a boat right up to it, or viewing the enourmous 5k wide, 70m high ice-wall from the very well maintained tracks of the national park. As the glacier moves 2m a day, you will be hearing the thunder and seeing the splashes on the water when the pressure forces ruptures. It is an incredible impressive site!

And when in the national park, even without the ice, its totally worth walking a bit more. The vistas of the mountains around the lake… yes Queenstown watch out!

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