Some of us travel more than others. A few are blessed with a career in travel and learn the ins and outs so well that sometimes the exotic can become ordinary. Many have far less time to travel, particularly for fun, and must dream and plan for that special adventure for years. Today, we’ll share experiences of the former to enhance those of the latter, sharing tips and tricks to add some memorable pizzazz to your next Asian holiday with our guest and good friend, Daniel Fraser. 

Trevor talks about the difference Hack vs Pizzazz – I feel like a hack is a great tip but pizzazz is making the ordinary, extraordinary. Can be big or small. Something that takes a wee bit of effort or money but makes it long-lasting memorable.

A tip for the Angkor temples at the end of the green season is to forgo an air-con vehicle and go with a bike, Moto, or Remork (a Cambodian tuk tuk). Or hire a remork to take your bike from the east to west gate of temples so you can walk through them and get on your bike again. A hack would be learning how to use Passap, the local tuk tuk app to book your day. Pizzazz would be getting a Jeep or a motorcycle with sidecar. 

An extraordinary travel experience could simply be joining a Thai family for lunch in their home
(photo Daniel Fraser)

Scott introduces their ideas of pizzazz: Balloons over Bagan with my parents and wife back around 2018. Yep, it was over $200/pp; but those memories, the view, time we had together, it’s almost ‘the’ memory of our trip and glad I sprang for it.

Trevor: Before I became a travel writer I had decades as an apprentice to my mom and dad: learning the best table number in a restaurant, for example, so that you can book the best one/that you like. I’ve expanded this to learning the best hotel room numbers: those with the best view, for example. If you’re traveling somewhere new, a great piece of pizzazz I’ve discovered is getting a suite at a small boutique hotel. The best room at a 4 star hotel can be twice as nice as the entry level 5 star one, at a fraction of the price. I’ve stayed in some amazing suites in charming little hotels

Getting your hands dirty, whether farming or dying fabrics, is always memorable.
(Indigo-dyed clothing in Na Ku Ha, Phrae).

Scott: Payed a bit more for a private food tour for just my Dad and I in Georgia. That way we could come/go exactly as we want and maximize every single hour of that day out.

A simple/silly one we used to do with guests way back was we took them to a Thai Tom Jones show and bought everyone a pair of panties to throw at him. Simple thing but it was an element of that evening along Patpong that everyone loved and remembered. We would also always open a bottle of Sangsom at the beer fridge which served as the meeting point, a drink, and had touts drink. Or hiring a regional topic expert for a couple hundred bucks to have a drink/meal and share with you.

Dan, Song, and Scott in Uttaradit, Thailand

About guest Daniel Fraser: When people become expats, most no doubt aspire to become immersed in their new homes. Few do it as well or to the degree that our guest has. Daniel Fraser moved to Thailand in 1999 and has gone ‘native’ so to speak since. He’s run a successful bespoke travel business, hosted hundreds of TV show episodes, is frequently called upon by government bodies to emcee events, and quite simply, knows as much about Thailand, its people, and inner-workings as almost any foreigner living here. For that matter, likely more than most Thais in some respects. Welcome to Talk Travel Asia (again) Dan!

Listen to Episode 199 to hear Dan’s answers to the following questions about adding pizzazz to your Asian trip:

  • What first brought you here and when did you start working here?
  • Tell us a bit about the types of trips that you’ve become famous for?
  • We know you’ve designed and hosted a number of truly incredible trips which come with big price tags, and while we want to hear about some of them, we’d like to mine your brain to build on those, sharing ways an average traveler can add some pizazz to their trip to the region by being creative and maybe using a bit of funds set aside.
  • Tell us a bit about a trip you hosted for a hotelier and a few of the truly ‘wow’ / pizazz moments from that. 
  • Building on that, can you think of a few elements from that trip, that someone could possibly arrange on their own to add pizazz to their trip? 
  • What might this entail to do so and why it would be so memorable?
  • How about an amazing trip you’ve arranged in Northern Vietnam for a very successful entrepreneur.
  • And you hosted a trip for a group of the world’s most successful people in Cambodia recently. Can you share a bit about that and the truly ‘wow’ elements.
  • Extrapolate a couple pizazz elements someone could do.
  • So shifting gears slightly from those incredible, world-class travel experiences, can you share some ideas of adding ‘pizazz’ by country, that a traveler could do with a wee bit of effort and perhaps a couple hundred dollars or less?
    • Thailand?
    • Laos?
    • Cambodia?
    • Vietnam?
    • Nepal?
    • Myanmar?
  • Greatest pizzazz you’ve ever added to a trip (or your own)?
  • What do you have coming up Dan?
Just go local: how could a ride on this bus, wherever it’s going, not add pizzazz to your day?


Trevor’s novel, ArAnna, the millennium mom-and-dad super-couple who change the world, launched April 22, 2024.

Click the image above to join the adventure.

The embodiment of the all-American family, the Joneses of New Hope, Virginia stand at the fulcrum of human history. Caught at the center of an unexplainable global phenomenon, their search to solve a supernatural mystery leads them to every continent, where the lessons of traditional cultures present themselves as guideposts toward the survival of the human species -if the bonds of love are strong enough to keep their family together.

*** Exploring the crossroads of magic, science, and religion, including the power of belief, the limitations of technology, and the wisdom of indigenous cultures, ArAnna is a rom-com mystery that reimagines the American dream ***

ArAnna’s story begins Earth Day, April 22, 2024.
Follow as the story unfolds in real time.

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