Far Horizons

The Amber Fort, outside Jaipur, has beckoned travelers from afar for centuries.

part 2 of 4 on India & Nepal

Rajasthan is India’s most popular visitor destination, with its triangular route of Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur being easily accessible by road from Delhi and Agra. My May 2008 road journey through Rajasthan, hosted by SITA World Tours, focused on these three equally intriguing destinations.

For the most part, Rajasthan is a dry and dusty state, stretching to Pakistan on the west. Much of its wealth is due to its strategic trade route...

Bombay’s famous Gateway to India Arch and the historic hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. Photos: Keck

(Part 1 of 4 on India and Nepal)

India is a complex, intricate weaving of layers and textures, the essence of which is difficult to convey solely via the written word. In May 2008 I had an off-season opportunity to experience some of the best of India and Nepal on a trip hosted by SITA World Tours (an ITN advertiser) and Jet Airways.

My itinerary was similar to SITA’S 18-day tour “Best of India and Nepal” but with some modifications, including an extra night...


by Randy Keck, part 3 of 3 on Thailand

An evening flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai signaled the beginning of the northern Thailand portion of my March ’08 Thailand adventure. The lush, mountainous north was to provide a welcome respite from the heat I had experienced in central Thailand.

Chiang Mai temple tour

The following morning, with my new guide, Adul, I began a fascinating tour of local wats (temples) that helped unveil a history of the north of Thailand that...


by Randy Keck, part 2 of 3 on Thailand

The highlight of my March ’08 Thailand adventure, hosted by Value World Tours and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and the primary reason for my taking the journey was the 3-night/4-day cruise sector on the Kwai River.

The cruise-tour featured the combination of a relaxing river cruise with many interesting shore excursions plus pre- and post-cruise touring in central Thailand. Included were several sites central and integral to the...


by Randy Keck, part 1 of 3 on Thailand

Despite my many travels to Asia over the years, the visit I made to Bangkok in March ’08 was my first since the latter stages of the Viet Nam War. This long-awaited Bangkok reunion was part of an 11-day Thailand visit hosted by Value World Tours (an ITN advertiser) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

“Thainess” — even in Bangkok

While the primary focus of my Thailand visit was a river cruise in central and northern Thailand,...

Border country ranches produce the world’s finest-quality merino wool — northern Patagonia.

(Second of two parts)

I had the opportunity in October 2007 to visit Chile’s northern Patagonia, an area still today far from the usual swath of tourists sojourning in South America. Little did I realize the bounty that would unfold in the second half of my 6-day exploration of the region.

After visiting Termas de Puyuhuapi and Laguna San Rafael Glacier, which I reported on in my last column, my amigo Scott and I stopped in the booming regional center of Coyhaique, the...

The waterfront Termas de Puyuhuapi Hotel & Resort is nestled in splendid isolation.

In October 2007, a usage of bountiful AAdvantage miles (40,000) provided me the opportunity to visit, along with two friends, the northern Patagonia sector of Chile’s Region XI. The first three days of my journey, which was hosted by Chilean Special Journeys, involved visiting two of the area’s prime attractions, one constructed by innovate humans, the other a gift of nature.

Our morning flight from Santiago to Balmaceda via Puerto Montt arrived just before noon....


Sometimes when I write about issues facing travelers, especially international travelers, the topic relates to only a portion of ITN readers. This is one of those occasions.

Each individual adapts to the aging process in his/her unique way. Some travel-oriented individuals seem to gradually lose touch with their sense of adventure because more energy and effort are required for certain activities than when they were younger. Often, this can be rationalized by a wide range of age-...