New Luxury – Albino Smiles Nov., 2014

New Luxury – Albino Smiles Nov., 2014

New Luxury

A Khmer Temple Dinner

Luxury. Please take a moment and think about what ideas the word evokes in your mind before you continue reading.

It probably didn’t take you long to come up with a few ideas of what the word luxury represents – perhaps a Rolls Royce, a fancy hotel with a cavernous lobby, a private island, or uncommonly attractive people sipping champagne on a yacht.

Traditionally in the travel industry, that’s exactly the sort of thing that asking for luxury likely would have gotten you – a more remote beach, a fancier car, a bigger lobby, maybe a fluffier pillow (a thousand thread counts?) and so on. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Just the kind of experience you’d like to sign up for… or is it?

The hidden problem with the traditional pursuit of luxury that is often overlooked, even by those who partake in it, is that luxury, by its very nature, often leads to isolation. Frequently this is by design: a first class airplane cabin will have more space and a higher partition between the seats, a penthouse suite at a ritzy hotel might have a private elevator, and so on. Sometimes this can be desirable, but what happens when you want both luxury and connectivity? Is there a way to really live and explore the rich pageantry of the life we have been given, or the destinations we choose to travel to, while enjoying the benefits of luxury?

For more than a decade, Smiling Albino has been a pioneer in what we like to refer to as the “New Luxury”. We aren’t talking about BMW selling a downmarket 318i to the masses, or Louis Vuitton flogging a monogram Idylle Fusain Key Holder for a couple hundred bucks – what we are talking about is having luxury define the experience, rather than just the accouterments New Luxury travelers desire both.

To quote from a recent article about a Smiling Albino collaboration with Creative Bangkok Symposium 2014: “The new luxury — from fashion, to travel, to education — consists of custom-made, experiential, relational and narratable experiences. It is the product of on-going self-appraisal, of learning about oneself and the world.”  I encourage you to read the whole article (http://cllbr.com/en/post/learning-in-the-age-of-authenticity/439/#.VEj2RIuUdK8) because it really speaks to the value and passion that Smiling Albino aims to deliver to our guests one trip at a time.

Some of our wealthiest guests have remarked about how refreshing it is to really be able to get into the action and participate in a way that traditionally hasn’t been reflective of a high end experience. The New Luxury is distinct from traditional luxury in the way that it is immersive rather than exclusionary. If this concept appeals to you and you want to experience it, please drop me a line at dan@smilingalbino.com today and let me see how our team can show you New Luxury, the Smiling Albino way!

Daniel Fraser,

Smiling Albino Adventurer-in-Chief

 

Adventure Highlights:

Laos or Bust!

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A “mobile” bamboo floating bridge in Laos.

Our Annual Southeast Asian luxury motorcycle adventure did not disappoint again this year. From November 1-8, 2014, our fearless leader Daniel Fraser and skillful guide Mr. Eak lead a gang of eight intrepid expeditionists on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The first three days of riding through Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand provided spectacular, twisty, high mountain scenery, including one of the highest points in the kingdom surrounded and 1940’s-era Chinese Kuo Ming Tan settlements. Crossing over the new friendship bridge from Chiang Khong to Laos required a switch to off-road bikes, as a large portion of the Laos riding was on dirt (…mud when water is added).

LaoBike group  LB beer sign LaoBike N.ThaiLaoBike football

 The first day in Laos was a run for the northern Chinese border area. This was a less explored area where locals had rarely seen the likes of us and whenever we stopped for a break or to cross a river, we became the local entertainment. Unseasonable rain turned dirt tracks and river crossings into a chocolate mousse challenge and the end of the day was deservedly celebrated with a beer in a quaint village.

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Eventually, the very idea of bridges evaporated.

The second day in Laos, we followed the fabled smuggler’s route along the Mekong to the Golden Triangle. Weather played havoc with the primitive roads and we found ourselves struggling alone on the byways. EventuallyLaoBike 1 we reached our destination where hotel staff cleaned our bikes and an entertaining evening in a surreal Lao casino town was spent. The final high-tailing leg involved river raft crossings and our triumphant return to Chiang Rai, where well-deserved Thai massages were enjoyed.

 

 

Celebrate a journey in courage: a Canadian firefighter’s charity cycle around the globe

Rudy Pospisil on his initial trip segment from Vancouver to South America, pictured in San Francisco.

Rudy Pospisil on his initial trip segment including Canada, USA and Mexico, pictured in San Francisco.

Burnaby, B.C. Fire Captain and fundraiser Rudy Pospisil is cycling around the world to raise awareness to fight cancer.

Born in Vancouver, Rudy started cycling at age six and never had any intention of cycling around the world. However, he not only hopes to fundraise for cancer charity but to inspire others to start similar fundraiser activities by inspiration.

In November and December of this year Rudy will cycle 2,500 km from Chiang Mai to Singapore as part of his global trek. On December 2nd he will give a special talk at the Four Seasons Bangkok about his journey and his fight against cancer.

The idea to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle was born when he was diagnosed with cancer fourteen years ago. Over time, his entire family was diagnosed with cancer — even his dog.

Rudy says, “My aim is to make a difference, to share my story, inspire many and raise money for cancer research.This journey is not so much for fundraising as it is to draw people around the world together to finally end a disease that effects one in three of us. I hope to do this by inspiring others to do the similar events, promote awareness of these diseases and start ongoing events in places I visit.

“What I am asking is not only a donation or sponsorship, but to join my journey.  My goal is not only to cycle around the world but to reach out to as many people as possible because it will take more than me to accomplish my goal.”

His journey through Thailand will start in Chiang Mai on 18th November and end in Bangkok on 30th November. A cycling group organized by Smiling Albino will join Rudy on the 100km last leg of his journey from Ayutthaya to Bangkok on Sunday, 30th November. A 1,000 Baht Participation Fee includes donation, transport for you and your bike to Ayutthaya, T-shirt, lunch and lots of water. The ride is 100 km down the scenic west side of the Chaophraya: http://www.plotaroute.com/route/20892. If you‘d like to join this great ride, you can find the Entry Form here.

If you want to meet Rudy and hear his story you are invited to his presentation at the Four Seasons Bangkok on December 2nd at 6:30pm. The entrance fee is 500 Baht, finger foods and refreshments are provided. His Excellency, Philip Calvert, Canadian Ambassador to Thailand will be the event’s host.

All proceeds will go to the Bangkok Red Cross Hematological Cancer Research Center at Chulalongkorn Hospital and Centre of Excellence in Cancer Genetics.

Rudy’s Thailand journey is proudly supported by ManulifeFour SeasonsSmiling Albino, the Embassy of Canada to Thailand and the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Further information can be found on Rudy’s website: whttp://www.firefightercycle.com/

 

PURE Life Experiences

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRenderSmiling Albino was honoured to be invited again to PURE, in Merrakesh, Morocco during November 10-13. PURE Life Experiences is more than just a travel trade show. PURE honours the passion of the world’s most inspiring creators of life enriching experiences. PURE Life Experiences is the global marketplace for the high-end experiential travel industry. See some of the stories and ideas that came out of this year’s gathering: http://www.purelifeexperiences.com/

 

Myanmar’s new online eVisa application system

Evisa Final BMP

Evisa Final BMP
eVisaForBlog

It just got easier to get a Visa to Myanmar

Myanmar’s new online pre-authorization system is up and working well for those entering the country via a flight to Yangon, and just recently announced, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay International Airports as well.

Citizens of the 41 countries published on http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/noticetotourists.aspx are granted eVisa initially. For ordinary passport holders of Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines and Vietnam, a visa exemption of 14 days is given.

For more information, please contact us or check out on http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/index.aspx .

 

Smiling Albino Shows Vanity Fair Unseen Bangkok

Vanity Fair Spread

Daniel Fraser hosted Vanity Fair’s Julian Evans on one of Smiling Albino’s fabled Bangkok walking tours last month, discovering the history, people and food of Chinatown. Read the full Vanity Fair article on Bangkok here.  

 

 

Destination Highlight:

Soneva Kiri

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Soneva Kiri

Located 1 hour from Bangkok by private flight, Soneva Kiri  is the perfect luxury Island for a beach retreat in Busy season. From top shelf liquor, to an ice cream parlour and outdoor movie cinema, it’s a great escape for adults and families alike. Here are some photos of Smiling Albino’s recent survey at the luxurious Koh Kood resort in Thailand.

 

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