Here on the Buffalo Blog we use our expert knowledge to help you seek out the real Asia. Whether that’s through telling the story of our tours or giving you insight into the travel tips we’ve learnt along the way.
But what does it really feel like to travel with Buffalo Tours?
We sat down with one of our long-time clients to find out.
When and where did you first travel in Asia?
Travelling to South East Asia was always a dream of mine, since my Grandmother travelled there when I was 15 years old. She brought back these exotic tea cups (I still have one) and I was hooked. I have always loved travelling , but it wasn’t until our son moved to Singapore that my Husband and I started planning to travel to South East Asia. Our first trip there was in January, 2015.
What was your first experience like?
That first trip to South East Asia was eye opening in so many ways! First of all, arriving in Singapore was awe inspiring! The airport was so modern and most surprising of all was that most people we met spoke English. The transportation system was inexpensive and so easy to get around, that it made it easy to explore the real Singapore. We always like to get to know the people and culture wherever we travel, not just seeing the tourist areas. We loved the beautiful architecture in the city and the obvious love of flowers.
That first trip, we also visited Vietnam and Cambodia. We have never been treated as well as we were in these 2 countries. When we stayed at the Victoria Hotels, we felt like celebrities.
Vietnam has a special place in my heart. The people there are so welcoming, always smiling and ready to make you feel special. Of course the food is delicious. Halong Bay was breathtaking! Flying on the sea plane with Buffalo Tours was very special.
Cambodia also touched my heart, especially seeing the performance from Phare Circus about their recent history with the Khmer Rouge, displaying heartbreak, but hope for the future.
How have your perspectives on Asia changed since travelling there?
Travelling to Asia has certainly changed my view of what I thought Asia was like. Each country is so unique in terms of culture and people. One thing that stands out for me though, is that no matter where we travelled in South East Asia, the people were welcoming and usually greeted us with a great big smile.
Have you picked up any habits from travelling in Asia?
Yes, definitely! When we travelled to Bali this year, we went on the Buffalo Tour with the Herbalist in Ubud. He taught us how to make a delicious Jamu Juice and now we drink this every day for health.
What experiences would you encourage people to seek out to learn more while travelling in Asia?
Go off the beaten track! The best part of our travels were the unexpected surprises, not always the planned activities, or the tourist draws. And Buffalo Tours provide so many of these adventure tours for any traveller. I always felt like we were doing adventurous activities, but that we would always be safe.
Is there anything you’d like to learn or understand when you next travel to Asia?
I always want to learn about more cultures, so want to travel to more countries.
Do you think there is something about Asia specifically that has the power to bring about change through travel?
Yes. There were so many people that we met on our travels who seemed so happy and were always willing to help, no matter how much they had, or what horrible experiences they may have encountered in their lifetime. Experiencing that really changes your mindset.
How do you see guided tours as aiding in those changes?
Guided tours can help open your mind to new ways of experiencing and enjoying this beautiful life. Tours can help you connect with the real people, not just what the tourist industry wants you to see. I think that is what I am most impressed with when it comes to Buffalo Tours. You get to see and experience things in an intimate small group, that you might not find on your own.
When we say ‘change travel change lives’ what comes to mind?
Travelling to South East Asia made me realise that we are a very small world. We are all different in some ways, but we are also the same in many ways.