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Each Trip Limited to Only 10 People for a More Personal Experience
Contact me at Smartalextravels@gmail if you are interested in going
February 19 – February 28, 2020
Balinese Hindu Ceremony
Bali is known as The Island of the Gods and chosen as the top destination by Trip Advisor, 2017. Limited to ten adventurous, curious, flexible travelers to join me. I had the pleasure of living in Bali from 2011-2018 and would love to show you one of my favorite places on the planet. The best time to visit is during one of the Balinese ceremonies. You can experience the most important Balinese Hindu ceremony, Galungan/Kuningan, during this auspicious time when it is believed that the deceased ancestors visit the family. We will learn more about the preparations for this ceremony which are monumental in scope for each family. We’ll see processions of villagers with offerings on their heads walking to their temple to pray and to be blessed. As a small group we will be welcomed into the temple for this unique cultural experience. Other highlights will include an easy rice field walk, a blessing at a water temple, a visit to a typical family compound to learn why all are designed alike. You will enjoy a breakfast overlooking an extinct volcano and watch a traditional Balinese dance performance that tells of ancient Hindu stories set in front of a temple at night. We’ll see some of the antics of the 600 monkeys that live in the Monkey Forest, a small jungle in the heart of town, visit the market where locals shop in the early morning, taste test delicious Balinese coffee and tea grown there.
There is optional time to wander around town, shop, taste local Balinese food, and international cuisine.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Septempber 25 – October 4, 2020
Festival of Lights
Every October the little UNESCO town of Luang Prabang, Laos lights up for the festival of light, Lai Heua Fai, in celebration of Boun Awk Phansa, the end of Buddhist Lent. The city becomes impossibly beautiful, illuminated by wax candles melting to pagodas and crepe paper lanterns hanging from temple roofs and the windows of local homes. A magical bamboo boat parade like you have never seen lights up the Mekong River, the Mother of All Things.
This is a beautiful town with charm, traditions, people and food that you will never forget. We’ll play in waterfalls, wash elephants, learn about the incredible textiles still hand woven on looms and learn to cook a blend of international cuisines. Ruled by the French earlier in history, we’ll taste the best croissants this side of Paris! This is one of my absolute favorite festivals in Southeast Asia.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Oct 29-Nov 4, 2020
Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is an Aztec spiritual holiday that is celebrated every year from October 31 to November 2. It is believed that the deceased awake from their eternal resting place and speak with their loved ones giving everyone the chance to reconnect. Cemeteries are cleaned and decorated with fresh flowers and plants, the favorite food and drink of the deceased are brought to the graves, the family holds vigil with music and song remembering their dear departed. It is celebrated October 31-November 2. San Miguel de Allende invites everyone to this celebration and they throw a weeklong party. It features several parades with everyone dressed in their version of “La Catrina,” the referential image of Death in Mexico, all-night celebrations, art installations, dances, talks on the dead, plays, face painting, public and private altars are everywhere honoring those that have departed. The streets around the Jardin are filled with music and more parades. Get your costume ready and participate or just observe the festivities. Either way, it’s a celebration like you have never seen and will never forget. There will be optional time to wander the cobblestone streets in this gorgeous UNESCO city, take an art or cooking class, shop at the artesian market or high end boutiques, taste international cuisine at rooftop restaurants with amazing views of some of the forty-five churches in and around San Miguel de Allende, or sit at the main square, relax and people watch.