The Republic of Maldives, is a collection of 1,200 small coral islands in the north-central Indian Ocean, with only 200 of them being inhabited. Famous for luxury bungalows on stilts over stunning clear water, no natural point is higher than 1.8 meters, and there’s a population of less than 600,000. The country stretches 820 km from north to south, and more than and 130 km from east to west, covering a large swath of ocean. Put on a tropical shirt and let’s discover the Maldives with travel writer Tom Masters.

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While Talk Travel Asia has been sharing and dreaming of travel since 2013, there are still lots of countries in the region that we’ve yet to dedicate an entire episode to. As we begin 2022, we note a handful we’re curious about and hope to feature in the year ahead. Get ready to expand your travel ‘bucket list’ as we share some fun, interesting, and quirky facts about 13 countries we’d like to cover as show topics in 2022.

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The Mekong is one of the world’s great rivers. Covering a distance of nearly 5,000km from its source on the Tibetan Plateau in China to the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, the river flows through six countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam. 

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Here we are, nearing the end of 2021, the future looks brighter around the world, and we hope to all get traveling again. Travel is one of life’s great joys. We learn about the world. We learn about ourselves. Sometimes in the best possible ways, occasionally in horrifically bad ways, but with some perspective, hopefully in a memorable way. Today, Scott and Trevor share some of their Best, Worst, Scariest & Strangest Travel Experiences. 

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Central Asia is one of those regions that few international travelers are familiar with, nowadays. That wasn’t always the case, however, as the Silk Road was once a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe and Asia, and Central Asia was at the heart of this prosperous trade route. Geographically, Central Asia stretches east-west from the Caspian Sea to China and Mongolia, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. In between are “the ‘Stans”, including the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Today we have the benefit of an expert in the region, writer Bradley Mayhew, joining us to share a bit about everything we didn’t know that we didn’t even know, about one of the largest — and least visited — regions of Asia.

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Here we are, nearing the end of 2021, the future looks brighter around the world, and we hope to all get traveling again. It’s been a while since Trevor and Scott last met in person and with vaccines appearing to be having positive effects and countries talking about opening up again soon, we thought it was time to do a check-in with one another. On this episode, we’ll gauge what’s on our travel radar, places we’d love to travel together and give updates on what regional travel for us looks like in the coming months. This is Checking in with Scott & Trevor.

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“Singapore may look small, and geographically speaking it is, but this tiny island city-state is jam-packed with a myriad of things to do, see, buy, and devour. The sleek and efficient public transport system makes zipping around a breeze, allowing you more time to dip your toes into this melting pot of cultures, religions, food, and architecture.” That’s an excerpt from an article by today’s guest, Ria de Jong, about the Lion City, otherwise known as Singapore, the smallest and southernmost country on mainland Asia, which we’ll talk about on this episode of Talk Travel Asia.

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The subject of many novels and movies, Central Asia sits at the crossroads of legendary rivalries and is crossed by the fabled Silk Road. The region is massive, covering more than 4-million-square-km and includes five countries that were formerly a part of the Soviet Union, including Kyrgyzstan, the focus of this episode. Both Kyrgyzstan and its neighboring countries have diverse cultures and rich histories but are largely unknown to western travelers. On this episode, we’ll chat with travel writer and photographer Stephen Lioy about his life in the region, particularly Kyrgyzstan, where he lives, to get some inside tips for visiting one of the world’s most remote travel locales. 

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We don’t have a crystal ball, nor do you, so predicting travel trends in Asia for 2022 may entail a mixture of everything from wishful thinking to worst-case scenarios. With mass vaccination taking root, we’re hoping the future soon looks brighter and borders will open again to travel in the not too distant future. In this episode, we’ll share some things we hope to happen when travel to Asia kicks off again, cross our fingers that certain trends are left in the past, and imagine travel anew. With that said, all items discussed might not materialize, then again some of them may. So join us as we look to that light beginning to emerge at the end of the tunnel and begin imagining the travel to Asia that is hopefully to come.

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On this week’s episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast we discuss traveling Asia by train, particularly how new rail lines across the continent will make travel by train in Asia more exciting than ever. Few modes of travel hold as much allure, intrigue, and romance as going from here to there by train. Riding the rails has been a mainstay for roughly two centuries, and as lines were built, formerly inaccessible areas of the world were open to anyone who could afford a ticket. Nowadays, high-speed rail projects are making traveling by train in Asia faster than by airplane as more and more countries update their train and rail systems. On this episode, we’ll chat with James Clark, about recent and upcoming rail projects in Asia and those in the works to help you plan your next trip.

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Making the most of holiday time should be a prime objective of any trip. After all, we can make more money, but not time. Ensuring that every minute of a trip is as of high value as possible, tuned-in, and ready to go, can positively impact the experience. But the importance of good arrangements and planning increases exponentially when building an activity-based trip. Equipment needs to be ready and working well, support needs to be considered, accommodations often need to be dialed in ahead of time, and lots of other factors need to be considered. On this episode, as long-time travel professionals and travelers, Trevor and Scott will share some planning and execution tips they’ve employed while arranging successful surfing and cycling trips, to help you get the most out of your next active holiday.

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Among the many things Thailand is famous for, one is its beaches and islands. World-famous amongst travelers are the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui, while Koh Phangan is famous with backpackers and Koh Tao with scuba divers. But, with two major coasts featuring over 3,000 km of coastline and dozens of smaller islands, many of which have accommodation of some sort, Thailand has island and beach destinations for nearly every type of traveler. On this episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast, we’ll chat with David Luekens, a travel writer specializing in Thai islands, who will share some tips to help you plan your next fun-in-the-sun holiday in coastal Thailand. 

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