An eagle hunter in Mongolia by Scott A. Woodward.
Up your travel photo game with these expert-led photography tours.
While our photography guide on page 71 is packed with all the tools and tips to raise the bar on your travel snaps, sometimes it’s easier to put yourself in the hands of a pro. These three tours give budding photographers a chance to make the most of their equipment while traveling scenic locales, with top advice from the best in the business.
See India from behind the lens with this 10-day photographic rail journey on board the fit-for-a-maharaja, totally Wes Anderson, Palace on Wheels. With guidance from big-league photographers like photojournalist Ed Kashi and intrepid Nat Geo photographer Jonathan Kingston, you’ll take professional shots of the country’s best sites, including, of course, sunset over the Taj Mahal. The tour will also capture the marble palaces of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola on a scenic boat ride, camels trailing the dunes of the Thar Desert, and even a potential tiger sighting in Ranthambhore National Park. nationalgeographic.com; tours in 2019 are scheduled for February 11–21, March 18–28 and September 30–October 10; from US$13,195 per person, double occupancy.
If traveling in a pack isn’t quite your style, why not bring your own professional photographer on your trip? Luxury tour operator Scott Dunn has appointed its first Asia-based “Flying Photographer,” frequent T+L contributor Scott A. Woodward. Guests on any of their tailor-made itineraries can choose to book Woodward for the full duration of the trip or just for a few days. So you can start your travels with an imagetaking crash course. Whether it’s catching the action at the Pasola festival in Sumba, Indonesia, or visiting the remote hill-tribes in Burma, Woodward can assist with lighting, composition, exposure and more, and can customize each trip to guests’ photography skill levels. prices vary based on the itinerary, for details visit scottdunn.com or call +65 3158 6530.
This Singapore-based company takes pride in promoting Asian photographers, hosting exhibitions, lectures and workshops around the region. Eager snappers can also join their intimate 12-person tours that hit offthe-beaten-path locations during regularly off-limits hours—a travel photographer’s dream. Spots are filling fast for their 10-day trip in February to Hokkaido, which will capture the snow and icy seas around Cape Notoro and the frozen Oshinkoshin waterfalls and Kussharo Lake; the tour will be led by accomplished British landscape photographer Paul Gallagher. Next year the group will also host journeys to Bali, Burma, Iceland, and the Yellow Mountains in China. monogramasia.com; Hokkaido tour runs February 1–10, from US$4,400. — Eloise Basuki
Six Senses Bhutan
A wellness pioneer is bringing a jolt of fresh energy to Bhutan’s hospitality scene with a new collection of rustic-chic lodges.
This month, Six Senses will unveil three of the five intimate lodges it has planned across the Himalayan nation: one located among the rice fields of Punakha, one overlooking the capital of Thimphu, and one near the historic ruins of the Paro Valley. Each resort will have only 16 to 20 suites and a handful of private villas, along with amenities that emphasize health and mindfulness, such as meditation huts and prayer rooms. The remaining two lodges, Gangtey and Bumthang, are slated to open in March. sixsenses.com; doubles from US$1,010.
These companies will do the heavy lifting on your next trip to Japan.
This year, the Japan Tourism Board launched Luggage Free Travel (luggage-free-travel.com; large bags from ¥2,000), where users can book online to receive a QR code, drop bags off at the airport when they land, and begin exploring the city right away knowing their luggage is headed straight for their hotel room. With the website already available in eight languages, including the recent addition of Thai, more of the region can travel lighter in Japan.
Another big name delivery service is Yamato Transport Co. (global-yamato.com/en/hands-free-travel; large bags from ¥2,138), run by Japan Tourism Agency and recognizable by their black-cat logo. Celebrating their 100th anniversary next year, Yamato has counters at most Japanese airports and popular train stations, and offers options to send all sorts of luggage, from small bags and boxes to heavy golf equipment and bulky snowboards.
Both companies can also deliver your luggage from hotel to hotel, between prefectures and back to the airport, so you can enjoy your entire trip without having to lift a finger.
Lights up the night
Thailand’s premier music festival is big time upping the ante.
Music goes til dawn at the Solar Stage.
Silkscreening is one of many craft workshops on offer
Wonderfruit, the annual four-day food-and-wellness artsy dance party that descends on rolling fields near Pattaya, calls itself “hedonistic sustainability.” Next month’s iteration brings boosts to both halves of that phrase. Besides feasts from famous chefs, sound therapy and chakra balancing, and global music acts including Nightmares on Wax, Goldie & the Ensemble, Stars and Rabbit, and Craig Richards, here are three new reasons to indulge in a little pre-holidays hippie-shake.
+ Already flashing a fairly fancypants rep, Wonderfruit is this year introducing a special ultra-luxury glamping section called Camp Kerela, where guests will stay in carpeted, furnished, Wi-Fi-enabled, air-conditioned Maharaja tents with special access to their own set of bathrooms, as well as a private spa, lounge, and costume-and-make-up tent…say, if you accidentally leave your headdresses and glitter-tights at home. The whopping Bt427,000 price tag also comes with two tickets to the festival, all meals including 24-hour room service, and all drinks. Helicopter transport from the airport sold separately, but your concierge will be happy to arrange.
+ Certified as carbon-neutral last year, the event is using both innovative and ancient techniques to stay sustainable. By investing in a cryptocurrency called TreeCoins, they’ve planted more than 10,000 mangroves in Burma’s Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park. Working with the land where they hold the festival to improve its ecosystem, and building with bamboo, they pay homage to, respectively, isolated low-lander Mayans and generations of Asians before them. All water comes from on-site lakes, all tableware is compostable, and all single-use plastic is banned. We’d call that guilt-free pleasures.
+ December may be “winter” in Thailand, but that can still make for pretty sweaty middays. This year, Wonderfruit has uprooted all stakes and moved them a few minutes but a lush world away. The new grounds promise to be cooler, with shady coconut groves and sandy lakefront beaches. And if the real natural surrounds don’t help you get into the forest groove, don a VR headset that will simulate your hopping around through the eyes of woodland animals. Totally not trippy at all.