Luxury Travel Blog

Ideas to inspire your world: luxury, culture, food, travel, style

Destination: Asia

Our list of articles tagged with "Asia."

March 25, 2022

Iconic Image: Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) in Jaipur, India

One of the most iconic landmarks in Jaipur, India, is the ornate Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). Artisans of Leisure arranges for our travelers to admire the renowned exterior of the Hawa Mahal and can include a visit to the interior as a part of our private tours of the City Palace.

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January 25, 2022

Favorite Family Activities in Japan

Japan is an ideal family destination with incredible experiences for all ages and interests. Read about our favorite family activities and experiences in Japan that can be incorporated into any of our private Japan tours.

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November 24, 2021

Private Ikebana Lessons in Japan

Artisans of Leisure can incorporate lessons in the traditional Japanese arts of refinement, including ikebana and tea ceremony, into our private tours of Japan.

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November 4, 2021

Must Visit: Naoshima, Japan’s Art Island

Art and design pilgrims are drawn to Naoshima, Japan, to experience great art and striking architecture in beautiful natural surroundings. Artisans of Leisure arranges private Japan tours including tours that focus on contemporary art and architecture.

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October 5, 2021

Must Experience: Staying at a Luxury Ryokan in Japan

Staying at a luxury ryokan in Japan is an incredible way to experience many of the country’s traditions all in one place. These traditional inns exemplify beautiful Japanese design, exquisite Japanese cuisine and inimitable Japanese hospitality.

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June 30, 2021

Top 10 Things to See and Do in South Korea

South Korea is a wonderful destination for families, foodies, culture lovers, history enthusiasts, K-pop fans and other travelers. Read about our top 10 favorite things to do during a private South Korea tour.

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December 14, 2020

The Best of South Korea: Seoul, Gyeongju, Busan & Jeju Island

Read about our favorite places and experiences in South Korea, including touring ancient Buddhist temples and royal palaces,  shopping for traditional crafts and trendy K-pop items, taking tasting tours of Korean cuisine, touring contemporary art and architecture, and seeing spectacular landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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November 10, 2020

Gyeongju, South Korea’s Ancient Capital

The city of Gyeongju offers an excellent introduction to South Korea’s ancient past through its rich array of fascinating mountain temples, royal burial mounds, stone carvings, ruined palaces and more.

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October 1, 2020

Enjoying Ceramics in Japan

Ceramics are one of our favorite entry points into Japanese culture. Artisans of Leisure arranges private Japan tours that introduce travelers to the best of Japanese craft traditions.

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July 9, 2020

Culture, Food, Nature & Luxury in Laos

Enchanting Luang Prabang on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos is one of our favorite towns in Southeast Asia for deeply traditional culture, well-preserved historic architecture, gilded Buddhist temples and flavorful cuisine.

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June 26, 2020

The Best of Vietnam

Vietnam offers something for everyone—incredible food, ancient traditions, beautiful scenery, beautiful resorts, and endless opportunities to explore historic and cultural sites.

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June 21, 2020

Meals We’re Dreaming of Around the World

One of the things we love about traveling is the food! Here are some of the meals and culinary treats that Artisans of Leisure travel experts are dreaming about for when we’re able to travel again.

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April 22, 2020

Accessible Travel, the Artisans of Leisure Way

Artisans of Leisure arranges private international accessible tours and accessible travel in destinations around the world. We work closely with individuals who have mobility limitations to make sure that each tour is personalized to their individual needs, requirements and interests.

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June 13, 2019

Just Back: Luxuries of China

Enjoy this interview with Ashley Isaacs Ganz, founder & CEO of Artisans of Leisure, about her most recent visit to China with her family. Q.) What inspired this trip to China? The country is changing so quickly, and I wanted to revisit some of my favorite cities to focus on new hotel, culinary and cultural […]

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May 9, 2019

Touring Toyosu and Tsukiji Markets in Tokyo

For anyone interested in sushi and Japanese food in general, touring markets in Japan is a must. We arrange early morning visits to the wholesale Toyosu Market in Tokyo to watch the tuna auction. We also arrange insider food tours of Tsukiji Outer Market. Artisans of Leisure customizes private Japan tours that provide an in-depth […]

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March 15, 2019

K-pop Touring in Seoul

Artisans of Leisure arranges a variety of specialty experiences during in-depth cultural touring in Seoul, including top fashion, beauty and K-pop highlights.

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October 24, 2018

Highlights of Private Touring in Cambodia

Artisans of Leisure’s private Cambodia tours feature the breathtaking Angkor complex and the cultural highlights of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, as well as top luxury resorts in the mountains and along the coast.

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October 16, 2018

A Visit to Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok

The glittering Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok is considered the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand and is a must-see for the stunning architecture, craftsmanship, and layers of historical and spiritual significance. Artisans of Leisure arranges expert-led private tours of the complex, which […]

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March 2, 2018

Magical Kyoto in Spring

Spring is a particularly magical time to visit Japan, one of our favorite destinations. Plum blossoms bring the first blush of spring to Japan in February, followed by the legendary sakura (cherry blossoms), which paint the country pink from the end of March through the beginning of April. Kyoto is wonderful in any season, but there’s […]

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November 16, 2017

Savoring the Slow Pace of Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang’s quiet charm, local Buddhist traditions and relaxed ambiance make the Laotian city a perfect complement to Southeast Asia’s other top destinations. Artisans of Leisure arranges private, customized tours in Laos and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

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June 21, 2017

Must Stay: Uma Punakha in Bhutan

Bhutan is a wonderful destination for outstanding natural beauty and vibrant, well-preserved Himalayan culture. Among the many beautiful hotels in Bhutan, perhaps none highlights the country’s scenery like the Uma Punakha. The property’s nine rooms and two villas face the breathtaking Punakha Valley, offering stunning views of the Mo Chhu River and the verdant Himalayan […]

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May 19, 2017

Just Back: Nepal

Enjoy these photos from our most recent visit to Nepal, which included the highlights of Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara and Chitwan National Park. Artisans of Leisure arranges private, customized luxury Nepal tours.

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May 4, 2017

An Interview with Ashley Isaacs Ganz on Japan

Artisans of Leisure founder and CEO Ashley Isaacs Ganz is recognized as one of the world’s leading Japan travel experts. Read more about some of her favorite places she visited and experiences she had on her most recent visit to Japan. Q: You used to live in Japan and have traveled extensively throughout the country. […]

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March 13, 2017

Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

It’s a bit of a climb to reach Dambulla Cave Temple, a Buddhist complex atop a monumental rock outcropping in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. But the abundance of ornate wall paintings and hand-hewn rock sculptures inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site make the effort worthwhile. According to tradition, King Valagamba (Vattagamini Abhaya) of Anuradhapura built […]

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March 6, 2017

The Cooking Academy at Four Seasons The Nam Hai Resort

Artisans of Leisure is known for our private culinary tours in Vietnam, and we’re always looking for interesting new food-related activities to offer our travelers in the country. That’s why we’re excited about the new Cooking Academy at Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Vietnam. Want to learn to make traditional Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls, […]

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February 17, 2017

A Day with Dabbawallas in Mumbai, India

Anyone walking near Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji (a.k.a Victoria) Terminus, the elaborate, UNESCO World Heritage Site Victorian Gothic train station, at midday might wonder who all of those delivery men in white caps are and why they’re sorting metal containers wrapped in colored bags on the sidewalk. The answer is they are dabbawallas, part of the […]

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February 13, 2017

Interview: An Incredible Around-the-World Tour

Artisans of Leisure travel specialist, Abbey Chase, recently spent a year traveling around the world—in style. Some of the highlights of her incredible tour included visiting more than 80 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Bagan, a helicopter tour of Siem Reap, a private tea ceremony in Kyoto, a river […]

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January 24, 2017

Ceramics in Japan: Robert Yellin’s Yakimono Gallery in Kyoto

If you’re interested in Japanese pottery, we highly recommend having Artisans of Leisure arrange a private meeting with Robert Yellin. Considered a foremost authority on Japanese yakimono (ceramics), Yellin has lived in Japan since 1984 and has written and lectured extensively both in Japan and abroad. Yellin runs Yakimono Gallery from an early 20th-century teahouse steeped […]

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January 19, 2017

Iconic image: Borobudur in Indonesia

For its impressive scale, beautiful carvings and exemplary Buddhist architecture, Borobudur Temple in Central Java is one of our favorite cultural sights in Indonesia. The largest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur is a stone pyramid comprised of nine tiers with 72 stupas clustered around a central stupa on top. Each stupa contains a small […]

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December 19, 2016

Iconic Image: Xian’s Terracotta Army

It’s hard to imagine the vastness of Xian’s Terracotta Army of Warriors and Horses, one of the most significant archeological excavations in the world, until you see them in person. These warriors were created in 246 B.C. as part of the 20 square mile tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di, the first emperor of the […]

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December 1, 2016

The Exquisite Crafts of Nepal

Traditional crafts are an important part of daily life in Nepal. They also offer many great options for travelers wanting to collect beautiful objects that directly relate to Nepalese culture. For those interested in shopping, we arrange visits to exclusive boutiques and studios in Kathmandu and elsewhere to browse for exceptional crafts made by Nepalese […]

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November 22, 2016

Street Food at Singapore’s Hawker Centers

One of our favorite destinations for a culinary adventure is Singapore. The blend of cultures—Chinese, Indian, Malay and Peranakan (mixed Chinese, Malay and/or Indonesian)—that come together in this island nation make it a rich source of gastronomic experiences. One of the best places to sample the range of Singaporean specialties is at a hawker center, […]

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November 1, 2016

Up Close and Personal with Elephants in Thailand

As anyone who has spent time with elephants knows, these massive creatures have great sensitivity, and they develop close relationships with each other and their mahouts (handlers). A particularly rewarding experience when traveling in Thailand is interacting with elephants as their mahouts do. We arrange many different types of elephant experiences, including mahout training, in […]

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July 20, 2016

Must Experience: Dim Sum in Hong Kong

Dim sum—the small bites usually served for breakfast or lunch from steaming bamboo baskets piled on rolling carts—is taken very seriously in Hong Kong. You’ll find different types of dim sum restaurants throughout Hong Kong, from crowded holes-in-the-wall, such as Tim Ho Wan in the Kowloon district, to elegant dining rooms with spectacular views, such […]

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June 29, 2016

Indochine Style in Vietnam

Colonized by France in the 1880s, Vietnam fell under French influence in many aspects of its culture, including art, architecture, fashion and cuisine. Even after Vietnam attained independence in the 20th century, those influences remained, and they are in evidence still, often in a fusion of Vietnamese and French styles known as Indochine. The French […]

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June 6, 2016

The Temples of Myanmar (Burma)

No matter how many temples you’ve seen in Asia, nothing prepares you for the startling, gilded majesty of the temples of Myanmar. Starting in the intricate, immense complex of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the country’s most sacred place of worship dating back 2,500 years, you’re surrounded by hundreds of statues and stupas. Inside the various […]

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April 21, 2016

Decorative Arts in the City Palace of Udaipur, India

Udaipur, a city in Rajasthan, India, has a long history and tradition of beautiful decorative arts. One of the best places to appreciate the many local styles and techniques in Udaipur is at the City Palace. Over the centuries, local maharanas (princes) brought the most skilled craftsmen to decorate the palace with intricate carvings, detailed […]

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March 30, 2016

Don’t Miss: Kou-an Glass Teahouse in Kyoto

If you’re visiting Japan, we recommend venturing high into the foothills of Kyoto to visit Kou-an, a glass teahouse by renowned Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. The clear glass roof, floor and walls of Kou-an teahouse are held together by a thin metal frame, creating a fragile, transparent structure. The teahouse lacks any of the traditional […]

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March 28, 2016

Luxury Tented Camps in Remote Northern India

For travelers looking to go off the beaten track in India without sacrificing luxury, Artisans of Leisure can arrange in-depth cultural and nature experiences in Ladakh, a beautiful region in northern India with rugged landscapes, living Buddhist culture and rural villages hemmed in by the high peaks of the Himalaya and Karakoram mountains. This Tibetan-inflected […]

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January 22, 2016

Amanemu: Luxury Hot Springs Resort on the Scenic Coast of Rural Japan

Travelers interested in Japanese history, religion and culture—all surrounded by beautiful rural landscapes—should consider a stay at the new  Amanemu. A luxurious hot springs resort, Amanemu is set on hills above the forested islands and oyster farms of Ago Bay in central Honshu, Japan. The resort’s large spa focuses on the traditional Japanese onsen (hot […]

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November 6, 2015

Exclusive New Culinary Tours

Artisans of Leisure has been on the cutting edge of culinary travel for over a decade. Staffed by a group of in-house foodies, food writers, cooks and culinary travel experts, we continue to expand our culinary tours around the world. With an international network of culinary experts, acclaimed chefs, food historians and writers, Artisans of […]

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November 2, 2015

A Private Cooking Class in Chennai, India

Artisans of Leisure’s new Culinary Tour of India features private cooking classes in locations throughout India. These hands-on classes are a fun and delicious introduction to Indian cooking, and a great way to learn about Indian food culture and culinary history. Artisans of Leisure travel specialist Stephanie Dosch recently experienced a cooking lesson in Chennai that is included […]

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October 22, 2015

A Luncheon Honoring Suzhou, China, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We recently attended a wonderful luncheon in honor of the city of Suzhou, China, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. An ancient city not far from Shanghai, Suzhou is crisscrossed with narrow canals lined with the whitewashed walls and tile roofs of Ming dynasty architecture. Suzhou is most renowned for its traditional […]

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October 6, 2015

Just Back: An Autumn Visit to Japan

Autumn is one of our favorite times to visit Japan. The fall foliage is spectacular, and the seasonal cuisine is exquisite. We recently returned from an incredible trip through Kyoto, Tokyo and Kanazawa during the peak of Japan’s fall foliage season.

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October 1, 2015

Iconic Image: Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin” at Benesse Art Site Naoshima

The arrival of autumn has us thinking of Pumpkin, Yayoi Kusama’s iconic sculpture on Naoshima, an island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea that’s one of our favorite destinations in Asia for contemporary art and architecture. The collection of museums and artworks set among the island landscapes and known as Benesse Art Site Naoshima provide many opportunities for […]

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September 29, 2015

It’s Mushroom Season in Yunnan Province, China

Yunnan Province is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich destinations in China. The region, which borders Tibet, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, is also home to diverse culinary traditions, making it a great destination for travelers interested in culinary touring. Visiting Yunnan in late summer and early autumn provides the opportunity to enjoy Yunnan’s […]

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September 25, 2015

Splendors of Sri Lanka

Artisans of Leisure arranges private luxury Sri Lanka tours that feature the best of the country’s incredible culture, nature and luxury.

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August 25, 2015

Juna Mahal: Incredible Frescoes in a Former Palace outside Udaipur, India

For travelers interested in decorative arts, the spectacular Juna Mahal (“Old Palace”) in Rajasthan, India  is sure to be a highlight of touring in the region. Built in the 13th century for an aristocratic family, the Juna Mahal was expanded over the centuries, finally reaching seven stories. The last residents of the palace moved out […]

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July 14, 2015

Singapore Turns 50

Once considered merely a stopover en route to other destinations in Southeast Asia, Singapore has blossomed into a stand-alone highlight of the region thanks to its diverse culture, outstanding cuisine and cutting-edge architecture. In 2015, Singapore celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence. We recently returned to revisit the many diverse places that make this […]

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June 30, 2015

Exclusive Access: Dinner with Geisha in Japan

Enjoying a private dinner with geisha is one of Japan’s most exclusive and most unforgettable experiences. Icons of traditional Japanese culture, geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) are professional performers who wear extravagant kimono, makeup and hair decorations while entertaining their guests Geisha typically perform in private ochaya (tea houses) that are clustered in historic neighborhoods […]

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April 13, 2015

Pandas and More in Chengdu, China

Seeing pandas is the main reason most of our travelers visit Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, China. However, they are often pleasantly surprised to find that the city offers much more, including an up-and-coming vibe, spicy cuisine, interesting cultural touring and easy access to Lhasa, Tibet. We explored all of these options during our […]

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January 12, 2015

Must Stay: Aman Tokyo

We have just returned from Tokyo, where we visited the new Aman Tokyo. We’re confident the Aman will quickly become one of the best luxury hotels in Japan, and we’re excited to be offering it as an option in our private Japan tours. Conveniently located near Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, the Aman Tokyo […]

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January 2, 2015

Exquisite Japanese Lacquerware

Lacquerware is one of our favorite crafts from Japan, where is it known as urushi (lacquer), shikki (lacquerware) or nurimono (coated things). Ishikawa Prefecture is among the most famous of the many regions in Japan where lacquerware is produced. Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa and historically one of the most powerful castle towns in Japan, […]

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November 14, 2014

Just Back: Bhutan

Bhutan is an ideal destination for travelers wanting to experience very traditional culture and explore beautiful valleys in the foothills of the Himalayas. Read more about highlights of our private Bhutan tours.

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November 10, 2014

Letter from a Mother: Don’t Wait to Travel with Your Children

We were touched and honored to read this letter from the mother of a family that travels regularly with Artisans of Leisure. We hope you enjoy reading about how traveling together has become such an important part of their lives. As my eldest daughter enters her senior year of high school, with her two sisters not […]

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October 22, 2014

Hiking in Bhutan

One of the most popular activities that we arrange in Bhutan is private hiking excursions, including day hikes, shorter hikes and scenic walks, and overnight treks. This is a great way to experience the beautiful Himalayan scenery, visit local villages, meet the people, and learn about Bhutanese traditions and beliefs. Artisans of Leisure arrange hikes […]

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September 24, 2014

Iconic image: Karst peaks along the Li River in China

The spectacular karst formations along the Li River in southern China constitute one of the country’s most iconic landscapes. Mists swirl around the craggy, foliage-covered hills as they rise out of rice paddies and tea plantations, recreating Chinese ink paintings in three dimensions. Artisans of Leisure arranges day cruises on the Li River from the […]

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September 24, 2014

Just Back: A Private Tour of China & Tibet

Highlights of our most recent trip through China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xkan, Guilin, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Artisans of Leisure arranges private luxury tours of China and Tibet.

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July 20, 2014

Must Visit: Longsheng Rice Terraces, China

A private day trip to the spectacular terraced rice fields of Longsheng, near Guilin, is one of our favorite excursions in southern China. Longji Titian or “Dragon’s Backbone” is the local name for the undulating mountain landscapes, where the shimmering, water-filled terraces are said to resemble dragon scales. Built over centuries, the rice terraces have […]

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June 28, 2014

New Authentic Experiences in Southeast Asia: Food, Culture, Art and Style

We’ve recently introduced a number of exciting new activities in Southeast Asia. All of the experiences—including culinary, active and art options—can be incorporated into our private luxury tours. New Artisans of Leisure experiences in Southeast Asia include: Culinary Touring •    Learning to prepare pho (noodle soup) and banh mi (baguette sandwiches) in Vietnam •   Taking […]

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June 9, 2014

Exclusive New Sri Lanka Tours

Our new private Sri Lanka tours are filled with authentic, hands-on experiences that capture the best of the beautiful island country, such as: •    Touring a historic tea factory with the resident tea planter •    Learning to prepare Sri Lankan curry during a private cooking lesson •    Riding elephants at a private sanctuary •    Visiting […]

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April 27, 2014

The Best of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful and welcoming island country in the Indian Ocean. Among its many charms are awe-inspiring ancient monuments, verdant mountains covered in tea plantations, atmospheric colonial-era architecture and abundant native wildlife.

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April 2, 2014

Top 10: Favorite Breakfasts around the World

We always enjoy experiencing how different cultures approach the most important meal of the day. Here are a few of our favorites: 1.) Breakfast at a cave hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey We love sitting on the hotel terrace and taking in views of the fantastical rock formations of this beautiful region while eating a classic […]

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March 14, 2014

Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

Cherry blossom season is a wonderful time to be in Japan. Starting around mid-March in most of the country, the pale pink sakura flowers burst open in a shock of color that signals the end of winter and the start of spring. It can be surprising how widespread cherry trees are in Japan until you […]

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February 13, 2014

Must Try: Private Yoga Lessons When Traveling

If you love yoga, or if you have always wanted to try yoga, consider incorporating it into a private tour. Artisans of Leisure can arrange expert-led private yoga sessions in many of our destinations, including a sunrise session among ancient ruins in India, one-on-one lessons at spa retreats in the Himalayas, a beach side yoga […]

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October 15, 2013

Must Experience: Autumn in Japan

Japan is one of our favorite destinations for viewing spectacular fall foliage. Destinations like Kyoto are truly magical, with the brilliant colors of the momiji (maple) leaves against the backdrop of temples, shrines and Zen gardens. We work with travelers to plan one-of-a-kind private tours in November that coincide with the best of autumn foliage. […]

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October 4, 2013

Just Back: A Private Tour of Vietnam

Highlights from our most recent private tour of Vietnam, including highlights of Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon and the Mekong Delta. Artisans of Leisure arranges private, customized tours of Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia.

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September 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Abroad: Unique Trips Families Will Love

The Thanksgiving holiday is an ideal time for a quick overseas getaway with family or friends. It’s also a great way to celebrate the tradition in a creative way. Artisans of Leisure’s private, customized Thanksgiving tours combine in-depth cultural touring with the best of the season, such as fall foliage, special cultural performances and holiday […]

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August 22, 2013

Vietnam Cooking Class

Because Vietnam is such a great foodie destination, one of the most frequent requests we receive is to arrange private cooking lessons during a tour. This popular activity provides an introduction to the local food culture as well as a fun (and delicious!) learning experience. A typical cooking class begins in the market, where you’ll […]

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April 29, 2013

An Interview with Emeric Harney of Harney & Sons Fine Teas

We recently caught up with Emeric Harney of Harney & Sons Fine Teas to discuss tea, travel, fashion, food and more. Q: What makes Harney & Sons unique? A: Harney & Sons is a tea company that is committed to making quality tea an everyday luxury. We pride ourselves on providing education on proper tea […]

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April 24, 2013

Iconic Image: The Floating Torii at Miyajima, Japan

One of Japan’s most iconic images is the floating torii, a red Shinto gate that rises out of the water of the Seto Inland Sea just off Miyajima Island (near Hiroshima). The gate marks the entrance to beautiful Itsukushima Shrine, a centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its traditional Japanese religious architecture and scenic […]

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April 3, 2013

A Private Cruise on the Mekong River in Luang Prabang

A visit to Luang Prabang, Laos is incomplete without spending time on the Mekong River. Our favorite way to enjoy this legendary waterway is on a private boat. We especially recommend a private boat excursion to the Pak Ou Caves, about 25 km north of Luang Prabang. Accessible only by boat, these natural caverns house […]

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March 27, 2013

Song Saa: a Private Island Retreat in Cambodia

Song Saa is a great option for travelers wanting a Southeast Asian island retreat that’s off the beaten path. Cambodia’s first (and only) luxury island resort sits on a pair of private islands in the Gulf of Thailand among beautiful, untouched nature. In addition to relaxing on the beach and in the spa, Song Saa […]

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March 7, 2013

Must Try: A Tea Tasting in China

Tea is an essential part of daily life in China, and learning about the many varieties of tea and the role tea plays in Chinese culture is a highlight for many travelers visiting China. In atmospheric settings ranging from historic tea houses in Shanghai and Hong Kong to tea plantations in Hangzhou, Artisans of Leisure […]

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January 23, 2013

Tibet: Experiencing Buddhist Culture on the Roof of the World

Remote Tibet is a captivating destination where a deeply traditional Buddhist culture thrives amid the rugged beauty of the Himalayas. Once a destination primarily for intrepid travelers, Tibet has become more accessible and comfortable in recent years. In fact, our private Tibet tours feature luxury accommodation at the St. Regis Lhasa with the option of […]

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November 9, 2012

Beyond Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a spectacular temple that should be on every cultural traveler’s must-see list. However, many travelers don’t realize that Angkor Wat is just one part of the vast ruins of the ancient Khmer civilization. Covering 77 square miles of the jungle and plains around the town of Siem Reap, the Angkor […]

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August 13, 2012

Cultural touring in Seoul, Korea’s most interesting city

Seoul is a fascinating city that has too often been overlooked by visitors to Asia. Well-known among business travelers, the capital of South Korea is at last gaining popularity among cultural travelers. Our private South Korea tours feature Seoul as the gateway to the country and as an introduction to Korean history, culture and cuisine. […]

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July 14, 2012

Learn by Doing While Traveling the World

Want to learn to make mozzarella by hand on the Amalfi Coast? How about a private karate lesson in Kyoto? A surfing lesson in Bali? Would you like to paint porcelain in Austria or assist on an archaeological dig in Israel? We offer hundreds of such learning experiences that can be incorporated into our private […]

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June 6, 2012

Just Back: Nepal & India

Enjoy photos of Nepal (Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara and Chitwan National Park) and India (Delhi, Varanasi and Panna National Park) in this blog.

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June 6, 2012

Traveling vegan, kosher, gluten-free or with food allergies

Many people with restricted diets or food allergies worry about finding appropriate meals when traveling overseas. Several of our in-house travel experts have food restrictions, so we understand firsthand the challenges. We also know how to overcome them. Artisans of Leisure regularly works with travelers who have food restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten-free and […]

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May 15, 2012

An Interview with One of Our Birding and Travel Experts

Artisans of Leisure travel specialist, Stephanie Dosch, tells us how she has been lucky to be able to combine her twin passions–birding and travel–since she was a child. Q: When and how did you become interested in birding? A: My mom has been birding forever, and she would take me along with her when I […]

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April 13, 2012

Inspiration for Amazing Family Trips

Your son likes castles, your daughter likes shopping, your husband likes history, and you like art–how can you make sure that family vacations please everyone? Artisans of Leisure specializes in one-of-a-kind, private, customized family tours that feature a world of engaging experiences sure to satisfy families of all sizes, ages and interests. Here are a […]

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March 5, 2012

Exclusive Japan

Highlights of the incredible cultural and culinary experiences we arrange on our private luxury tours of Japan.

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January 17, 2012

Must Buy: Lacquer in Myanmar (Burma)

Many travelers on Artisans of Leisure tours like to shop for items that are unique to the destinations they are visiting. Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma, is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to find high-quality crafts, decorative items, and traditional objects that are used for everyday use. We are particularly fond of Burmese lacquerware, […]

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September 21, 2011

Last-minute Fall Travel Ideas

October and November are two of the best months to travel in many of our destinations—the crowds are gone and the weather is often ideal. If you are considering booking an overseas getaway during the next several months, here are a few of our travel specialists’ top picks for autumn trips. MOROCCO Autumn is a […]

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January 6, 2011

A tasting tour of Hanoi

Hanoi is one of our favorite food destinations. We love exploring the city’s Old Quarter and enjoying traditional Hanoi pastimes such as stopping for strong Vietnamese iced coffee at fashionable cafes, tasting local specialties such as flavorful grilled fish at Cha Ca La Vong, and wandering the backstreets to see baskets overflowing with spices, specialty […]

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October 7, 2010

Culinary touring in Laos

Part of what makes Laos such a unique destination is its cuisine. Travelers can expect to enjoy typical Lao dishes such as Mekong river fish steamed in banana leaves with ginger and coriander; laap, a spicy dish of minced meat or fish marinated with spices and herbs, such as mint; and Luang Prabang Salad, a […]

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October 14, 2009

Hangzhou: a luxury retreat in China

For centuries, Hangzhou has been regarded as one of China’s most beautiful and relaxing destinations. The region’s charms—scenic West Lake, ancient Buddhist temples, and abundant tea plantations—have changed little since Hangzhou was the imperial capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). The emperors may be long gone, but a luxurious lifestyle remains. The Fuchun Resort—one […]

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September 11, 2009

Must Stay: the Nam Hai in Hoi An, Vietnam

The Nam Hai is the best luxury resort in Vietnam and is a must for anyone in search of luxury, relaxation (beach and spa time), and plenty of activities (including some of Vietnam’s best cultural touring). The resort is located on a beautiful white-sand beach in Central Vietnam. Guests at the Nam Hai stay in […]

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August 20, 2009

Traditional Buddhist culture in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a wonderful place to experience the rhythms of a traditional Buddhist culture. The atmospheric town in northern Laos sits on the banks of the slow-moving Mekong River, and traditional wooden houses, French colonial architecture, abundant palm trees, and a lack of high-rise buildings give it a low-key, unspoiled charm. Dozens of modest […]

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August 12, 2009

An interview with one of our culinary travel experts

Artisans of Leisure is well known for our private culinary tours in destinations around the world. We hope you enjoy this interview with one of our culinary travel experts. Q: How does food influence how you travel? A: Basically, I travel to eat. Quite often I plan my touring around a certain restaurant I want […]

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June 18, 2009

The Way of Tea: Experiencing the Japanese Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony is one of Japan’s most interesting and enduring artistic traditions. More than a ritual for preparing and drinking tea, the tea ceremony is a means to aesthetic appreciation and social interaction that has had a profound influence on Japanese art, architecture, gardens, cuisine and philosophy. What happens during a traditional Japanese tea […]

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June 8, 2009

A unique day with elephants in northern Thailand

It’s not everyday that you have a chance to talk to an elephant, let alone that you get a response. Yet that’s just what we offer our travelers during a private, hands-on day of working with and riding domestic elephants in the forests of northern Thailand. During this special activity, our travelers visit a private […]

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June 2, 2009

Top 5: the most romantic travel destinations

Our travel experts have created a list of our Top 5 favorite romantic destinations–these locations are perfect for honeymooners or anyone seeking a special romantic getaway. 1.) Morocco Our favorite way to experience the most luxurious and romantic side of Morocco is to stay in Marrakesh for several days at luxury resort such as the […]

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May 18, 2009

A Conversation with Renowned Art Curator David Elliott

We recently caught up with David Elliott, the British-born, globetrotting curator. A major tastemaker in the contemporary art world, Elliott has been the director at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan and at the Istanbul Modern in Turkey, helping introduce a fresh approach to contemporary art in both cities. Elliott’s current post is artistic […]

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May 11, 2009

Luxury beach options near China

Many travelers visiting China often ask us how they can add on a few days at a luxury beach resort after their cultural touring in mainland China. There are several recommended options nearby. For an extraordinarily luxurious and spectacular beach experience, we recommend the Amanpulo resort, located on a private island in the Philippines. A stay at Amanpulo can […]

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April 17, 2009

A Visit to a Private Kyoto Machiya

Kyoto’s abundant traditional Japanese architecture is one of the most noticeable and impressive characteristics of the city. The opportunity to get inside these traditional buildings–including private homes and merchant’s houses, known as kyo-machiya–is a rare and fascinating experience in Japanese culture.

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April 10, 2009

A walk through Bangkok’s Amulet Market

I grew up in Bangkok as a little girl and I’m always amazed at how much the city changes every time I return. Even with the constant modern expansion, it’s always possible to find the city’s deeply traditional culture, customs, and hidden cultural gems if you know where to look. Whenever I return, I enjoy […]

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April 10, 2009

A conversation with Asian food expert Corinne Trang

The founder of Artisans of Leisure, Ashley Isaacs Ganz, recently met up with cookbook writer and Asian food expert Corinne Trang. Ashley assisted Corinne with her extensive travels and culinary arrangements in Asia when Corinne was doing research for her acclaimed cookbook Essentials of Asian Cuisine. Q: You started your food career at Saveur Magazine […]

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April 3, 2009

Archery in Bhutan: A Private Lesson in the National Pastime

One of the highlights we arrange for our travelers visiting the Kingdom of Bhutan is seeing an archery competition. The Bhutanese are very passionate about their national sport, and almost every village has their own archery range with multi-day competitions taking place throughout the year. In Bhutan, archery competitions are lively and colorful events, filled […]

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March 31, 2009

A conversation with the Amanbagh’s Robyn Bickford

We recently met up with Robyn Bickford at the Amanbagh, one of our preferred luxury resorts in Rajasthan, India. She and her husband, Manav, are the renowned general managers of this exquisite property. Q: We love the Amanbagh and always try to include it in the tours we design for our clients visiting India. What […]

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March 25, 2009

Consider Visiting Nepal When in Nearby India or Bhutan

We highly recommend spending several days touring Nepal, in the Himalayas, when visiting nearby countries such as India or Bhutan. Many of the flights from India to Bhutan make stops in Nepal, making it an ideal time to spend a few days en route. We love the relaxed feel of Kathmandu and the beautiful valleys […]

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March 24, 2009

Must Stay: Hyatt Regency in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is one of our favorite destinations in Japan, and the relatively new Hyatt Regency Kyoto is the hotel that best captures the city’s refined aesthetic, perfected hospitality and service, and incredible cuisine. The hotel is truly a work of art. Designed by Takashi Sugimoto of Asia’s renowned Super Potato design firm, the hotel features several Japanese […]

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March 24, 2009

Private Jewish Heritage Tours

Many travelers ask us to incorporate people, places and activities of Jewish significance when they are traveling internationally with us. We can incorporate Jewish touring into any of our tours around the world, from Sydney to Shanghai and most places in between. Many travelers simply want us to incorporate some Jewish-related sightseeing in Europe, Asia, […]

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March 23, 2009

The Indonesian Island of Lombok: Culture, Beauty, Luxury

Lombok has been one of our favorite cultural travel destinations for quite some time. Easily accessed by hydrofoil or plane from the neighboring island of Bali, Lombok offers deeply traditional culture and pristine beauty: a volcano, beautiful beaches, excellent diving and snorkeling, waterfalls, and lush terraced rice fields. Our private tours of Lombok include a […]

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March 19, 2009

Must Buy: Edo Chiyogami (traditional paper) in Tokyo

A highlight of Tokyo is experiencing the non-stop action, the neon, the pop-culture, cutting-edge design, and the crowds. But we also love taking our travelers to quiet sections of Tokyo that are filled with traditional Japanese shops, Edo-era wooden buildings, Buddhist temples, and other historic sites that escaped the WWII bombing One of our favorite places is […]

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March 18, 2009

Philanthropic travel in India

India is one of the best destinations for philanthropic travel, and many travelers ask us how they can contribute to local communities while touring India. It is very easy for us to incorporate philanthropic experiences into any of our private India tours–these experiences make travel in India that much more meaningful, and we consistently hear […]

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February 27, 2009

Private Architecture Tours of Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the best places in the world to see modern and contemporary architecture. Aoyama, Harajuku, Roppongi, Ginza and other neighborhoods are filled with important buildings by some of the world’s leading architects, including SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, Tadao Ando, Le Corbusier, Kenzo Tange, Rafael Vinoly, Renzo Piano, Toyo Ito, Fumihiko Maki, […]

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February 27, 2009

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong

We arrange a lot of very interesting tours in and around Hong Kong. One of our favorite excursions is to Sha Tin, one of the New Territories, to visit the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. The monastery is situated on a high hill and is accessible only by foot, so travelers need to be in relatively […]

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February 26, 2009

A surprising highlight of Xian: the food!

Many of our China tours include an overnight stay in Xian, one of the four great ancient capitals of China and the terminus of the ancient Spice Route. While the main draw for travelers to Xian is the incredible Terracotta Warriors, there are other compelling reasons to visit—most notably the food! Xian is known for […]

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February 24, 2009

Must Buy: marble inlay in Agra, India

Until you see Agra’s Taj Mahal in person, it’s hard to imagine how impossibly beautiful a building can be. The classic images we know of this iconic structure seem to convey a stark white marble exterior, but upon closer examination you can see that the Taj Mahal is actually adorned with colorful inlaid semi-precious stones in intricate […]

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February 24, 2009

An Interview with One of Our Art and Architecture Travel Experts

John is one of the travel experts based in our New York City office. He’s passionate about art and architecture, and helps design our tours around the world. Q: What are your favorite travel destinations? A: Each destination is fascinating in its own way, and I love exploring new places and discovering what’s distinctive about them—local […]

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February 20, 2009

Our Top 5 Best Adventure Tours

Many of our travelers like to complement cultural touring with soft adventure activities. The following tours in Asia, South America, the Himalayas, the South Pacific and Africa have just the right balance of soft-adventure and culture—and they all include private touring and the best luxury hotels in the world. 1). Journey Through Morocco A highlight […]

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February 19, 2009

Zhongdian in China is a cultural Shangri-La

For repeat travelers to China, or for those who enjoy more off-the-beaten-track cultural travel, I often recommend Zhongdian (“Shangri-La” or “Gyalthang”) in Yunnan Province. Zhongdian is located near the Tibetan border and is populated by ethnic Tibetans, so the food, architecture and culture are Tibetan, and quite different from what travelers experience in the rest […]

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February 13, 2009

Orchids, food and friends in Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)

We love to introduce our travelers to the special people we know around the world.  It makes the travel experience so much richer, and is a great way to get an insider’s view of the local culture and people. One such person is our good friend, Ann (pictured above), who lives in Inle Lake, a beautiful […]

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February 12, 2009

An Interview with One of Our Honeymoon Specialists

Artisans of Leisure has developed a real following with honeymooners who want our expertise when planning their unique, totally customized, once-in-a-lifetime honeymoons. We asked our travel specialists for their tips: Q: What advice do you give honeymooners? A: Don’t try to do too much (or too little)! We find the best honeymoons have a perfect balance of […]

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February 11, 2009

Seafood on the Ise Peninsula

A seafood kaiseki meal is a must when visiting the Ise Peninsula in Japan—it is among the freshest available. Japan is known for seafood and its many preparations, ranging from such dishes as octopus tempura to the infamous blowfish sashimi. A multi-course kaiseki meal is one of the best ways to experience a variety of […]

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February 11, 2009

Afternoon tea around the world

Something I like to do when I travel is try the local version of a traditional British afternoon tea. Usually this is found in countries that have a history of British occupation, but not always. One of my favorite versions is at The Peninsula in Hong Kong. Held in the hotel’s elegant lobby, the menu […]

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February 11, 2009

Philanthropic travel in Southeast Asia

Artisans of Leisure travelers visiting Southeast Asia—especially Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia—take luxurious, flexible tours that are focused on the cultural highlights of the region (including the ruins of Angkor, markets, temples, elephant camps, historic sites, art and cuisine). More and more travelers are asking us to incorporate philanthropic experiences into their private Asia tours. The most popular […]

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February 10, 2009

Family fun by the Great Wall of China

Most of our China tours include a private day tour from Beijing to the Great Wall of China. During that excursion, we typically include a stop for lunch at Commune by the Great Wall, a hotel complex that includes villas designed by some of Asia’s leading contemporary architects. For travelers who have the time, we […]

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February 10, 2009

The Lodhi Gardens: an urban retreat in Delhi

When in Delhi, we always recommend making the time to visit the Lodhi Gardens. A favorite of affluent residents in New Delhi, the gardens are a peaceful oasis and a favorite spot to do yoga, have a picnic lunch, or read a book. There are incredible 15th century ruins scattered throughout the gardens. Our private […]

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February 10, 2009

A love of lentils in India

The Amanbagh resort in Rajasthan has its own lentil artist, and he is seen here making a tiger out of different colored lentils for the New Year’s celebration in the resort’s courtyard. Such tedious work considering that someone inevitably walks through it! Every day at Amanbagh I saw something like this that I hadn’t noticed […]

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February 10, 2009

Takamatsu: Isamu Noguchi’s Studio & Ritsurin Garden

Many of our tours include Benesse Art Site on Naoshima Island, and one of the activities we arrange from there is a private excursion to nearby Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. The excursion can be done in just half a day and is recommended for anyone interested in Japanese art and culture. We arrange […]

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February 6, 2009

The art of Thai massage

The first thing I want to do whenever I arrive in Thailand is to have a traditional Thai massage. There is no better way to work out the kinks and re-energize the body after a long international flight. Nad pan borarn, as it is called in Thailand, has been practiced by monks for over 2,500 […]

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February 5, 2009

A Hot Stone Bath in Bhutan

Whenever we travel, we like to experience a spa treatment that is unique to that country. In the case of the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, that’s the hot stone bath. Baths have been an important part of Bhutanese family life and traditional medicine for centuries. The bath itself is typically made of wood and constructed […]

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September 2, 2008

The Best of Bhutan

Read about our most recent private tour of Bhutan, the deeply traditional Himalayan kingdom known for spectacular landscapes, rich Buddhist culture and the philosophy of Gross National Happiness.

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June 2, 2007

Just Back: India in Photos

Highlights from our most recent tour of India, including the best of Agra and the Taj Mahal, Varanasi, Delhi, Kerala, Mumbai and Udaipur.

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