Monday, July 28, 2014

My #DTour of a Lifetime to Asia!


Disclosure: I am one of the official #DTourist assigned to scour the continent of Asia to inspire travel there. There are six of us from around the world and each of us is assigned a continent. To read more about #DTOUR with DoubleTree by Hilton

In Wanzhou, China - climbed up and down a beautiful mountain!
A couple months has passed since I got back from Asia from my whirlwind #DTour trip but not a day has gone by without me thinking and referencing back to what I've learned and absorbed from my trip. If someone had told me that I will be seeing 7 countries, over 15 cities, 14 flights, and over 28,000 miles (that's like 73 time of flights from NY to LA) within 31 nights in Asia. 31 nights! - I would probably think that it's not possible to do. But I did! That's truly insane. That's not even counting the many hours spent traveling on land and on foot! There were times when I had about 3-4 hours ride to my next destination and oh, how can I forget? There were countless hours spent walking and climbing mountains!


Here are a couple of VERY QUICK videos that will play right after another:

As you can imagine, my schedules were packed. I was guided by a DoubleTree by Hilton employee from breakfast at 7am up to as late as 1am. I spent about 3-4 days in each DoubleTree property scouring everything around it and the I moved on to another property destination. Yes, I was exhausted - but who has time for that when I have the world to see! While I was there to work and document via social media along the way, it didn't even feel like work at all. I was transported to lands I've always just imagined in my head. I've seen them in the news, movies, and read many Asian books romanticizing and it all and I have to say, every single moment was even better than I imagined. In the end, I captured over 4000 photos and of course, took a lot for my Instagram, too. Check them all out below.

My Top 10 Moments with #DTOUR Asia

  1. Visiting two Seven Wonders of The World within my 31 Nights of #DTour to Asia: The Great Wall of China and Taj Mahal.
  2. Walking up the Great Wall of China and realizing the many battles fought on that very spot between the Mongols & the Hans.
  3. Seeing and walking in the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok made me re-watch the Anna and the King movie. Imagined ancient Siam everywhere in Wat Phrakaew.
  4. The mystical sort of emotion that I felt walking thru the Great Falls in Wanzhou and in to the QuanYin Temple and seeing 31 huge buddhas in a row with monks chanting.
  5. Eating in Malaysia! The many culinary choices from the multiple ethnic cultures that makes Malaysia is really exciting. I could live to eat there!
  6. Visiting the Ancient Village of Ciqikou in Chongqing and stepping in a Royal Servant's old courtyard made me feel like I was in some movie set.
  7. Imagining the life inside the Forbidden City while touring it and now planning in re-watching The Last Emperor movie.
  8. Eating (Peking Duck where it all began - Beijing) in a 100 year old restaurant in Beijing.
  9. Seeing and learning more about the old glamour and beauty of Shanghai at a museum inside the Pearl Oriental Tower.
  10. Prayed for my family's health and blessed in a Buddhist Temple, Hindu Temples, and an ancient Catholic Church throughout 4 Asian countries. 

Couple things I learned about myself:

  1. I'd rather not exactly know how we're getting there. If I had known that we will be climbing mountains for a couple of hours, I would've probably said NO - thank you. But glad I didn't get a chance to decide on many things in Asia and just went to do it.
  2. I really love all sorts of food. Unless something is moving on my plate I am bound to try and taste it. I don't have to like it but that's the adventurous part of me thinking I'd miss out if I don't at least give it a chance.
  3. I love hearing locals talk about what they really love about their own city and like a sponge, I notice how much I can absorb and submerge myself in what they see/feel.
  4. I cringe when I hear Americans act like they are the center of the universe when visiting other countries. Those folks do not represent us well in US. 
  5. I don't hate airports! Best place to people watch in different countries.
All the posts I wrote for Chicagonista.com: (Lots of other pics & videos there)

Kuala Lumpur: An Unforgettable Experience in Malaysia 



The Mountain City of Wanzhou, China
Chongqing, China: A Peek in a Royal Servant’s Home During the Qing Dynasty


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