Video: Top 10 Greatest Adventures For 2013 By Richard Bangs

Richard Bangs, the host of the television show “Adventures with a Purpose,” has been called the “father of modern adventure travel” by Outside magazine. So when he makes a list of ten great destinations for 2013, it’s a good idea to take notice. In the video below, Bangs shares his suggestions for some of the top destinations to visit this year. The list is comprised of some old classics, some places that are on the rise and others that are just down right surprising. If you’re still searching for ideas on places to visit this year, then perhaps you’ll find just what you’re looking for right here.

Win A Trip To South America With Richard Bangs

South America is a land of diverse cultures, stunning scenery and breathtaking adventure. Travelers can climb to the highest peaks of the Andes, experience unique wildlife, explore the biodiversity of the Amazon and indulge in a variety of wonderful cuisines. The continent truly does have something to offer nearly every kind of traveler and now television personality Richard Bangs wants to take you there on an adventure of your own choosing.

Bangs, who hosts the PBS travel show “Adventures with Purpose,” has teamed up with LAN to bring us the Only In South America sweepstakes. The contest, which runs through January 18, will allow one lucky winner to select one of four destinations as their dream trip to South America. Those destinations include Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, Iguazu Falls along the border of Brazil and Argentina or the remote Easter Island off the coast of Chile. While on their excursion, the winner will be joined for dinner and a private tour with Bangs, who will share in their adventure. The prize includes airfare, ground transportation, guides and accommodations for two.

To enter the contest, simply click here and fill out the online form. You’ll provide basic contact information, answer a few demographic questions and select the destination that you prefer. With any luck, your name will be drawn in January and you’ll be whisked off on an unforgettable adventure to South America.

And if you’re having any trouble deciding which of the four trips you would prefer, the site provides excellent videos, like the one below, to help you choose. They’re all very well done, however, and viewing them may actually end up making the decision even more difficult.

[Photo Credit: Martin St-Amant via WikiMedia]

In Search Of Harmony In Hong Kong

World traveler and television personality Richard Bangs has a knack for finding adventure wherever he goes. His award winning program “Adventures with a Purpose routinely sends him to the far corners of the planet where he immerses himself in the history and culture of the destination while taking part in a host of unique activities.

In a recent episode entitled “Quest for Harmony,” Bangs visited the Pearl River Delta, a region that includes Hong Kong, Macau and portions of China‘s Guangdong Province. That particular show gave viewers a brief glimpse at all the many travel opportunities that exist throughout the area and, intrigued with what was shown, it left me wanting to know more. With that in mind, I recently sat down with Bill Flora, who was instrumental in getting Bangs to visit the Delta. Bill also happens to be the U.S. Director of Hong Kong Tourism, so as you can imagine, he has a lot to say about the region.

Gadling: The theme of “harmony” crops up often in this episode and it seems to play an important part in life in Hong Kong. How is that concept exhibited in the city?
Bill Flora: Finding harmony or balance is a universal theme in Asian culture and that is evident throughout Hong Kong as well. The city has a Yin and Yang to it that blends both high technology and nature surprisingly well. Amidst the towering skyscrapers and bright lights there is a peaceful serenity found in the city’s parks and natural spaces. Life there is a wonderful blend of traditional values and modern sensibilities.

G: Hong Kong and the surrounding Pearl River Delta seem to offer something for just about every kind of traveler. Is that a major part of its appeal?
BF: Absolutely! Variety is definitely the key. Hong Kong is the type of city where you’ll find a five-star restaurant on one corner, then walk around the block to discover an ancient temple on another. It is that mix of modern sophistication and traditional culture that makes it such an interesting place. Great shopping, a thriving nightlife, a sophisticated art scene and so much more – it’s all there for visitors to experience for themselves.G: And what about adventure travelers? Is there anything to draw them to the region as well?
BF: The term “adventure travel” is such a broad one and the word “adventure” means something different to everyone. But for those looking to explore the Pearl River Delta’s more wild side, they may be surprised to find that 40 percent of Hong Kong’s land volume is dedicated to parks, many of which have great hiking trails. Additionally there are 260 outlying islands to explore and the nearby Danxia Mountain Park, located in Guangdong, offers spelunking, trekking and climbing opportunities as well.

G: In your opinion, what is the best kept secret about the Pearl River Delta?
BF: I think visitors will be surprised at how great of an outdoor destination it is. Sure there are plenty of things to do in Hong Kong and Macau, but once you leave the city behind, the Pearl River Delta is a rugged and remote region. Upon my first visit I was surprised at just how lush and green it is there and opportunities for adventure abound.

G: And when they return to the city?
BF: They’ll have the opportunity to refuel with some of the excellent local cuisine. Hong Kong has everything from great street stalls with fresh seafood to Michelin-starred restaurants that are ranked among the best in the world. The city is also one of the most sophisticated wine destinations on the planet, which often comes as a surprise for visitors too. One thing is for sure – no one will go hungry!

G: For visitors traveling to Hong Kong for the first time, what is your recommendation for the one “don’t miss” activity?
BF: Without a doubt they should take the tram to the top of The Peak [Victoria Peak located in HK Harbor]. The view is spectacular, particularly at night, and I never grow tired of it. It is the signature spot in Hong Kong.

G: What else should first-time visitors to Hong Kong know?
BF: Hong Kong is the Gateway to Asia and it makes a great launching pad for visiting other parts of the continent. But everything a traveler could hope for can be found right there in the Pearl River Delta. I think anyone who visits the region will agree; it really is an amazingly diverse destination. With that in mind, we’ve partnered with Peregrine Travel and Cathay Pacific to offer several Pearl River Delta travel packages of varying lengths and itineraries. We really do hope they come visit us.

Many thanks to Bill for sharing his thoughts and insights into Hong Kong with me. Now I want to go to experience it for myself.

[Photo credit: chensiyuan and Doctoroftcm via WikiMedia]

Bang Bangs You’re Dead

I have to say, this is really quite a bummer. It looks like after just a single year from launch, that Yahoo is canceling Richard Bangs Adventures, a great online video travelogue that we blogged about a few times here.

They said that the program, which featured Bangs, a hardened veteran explorer, travel writer and business person, had failed to build “a large and loyal audience”. The reason cited was that there were roughly month-long gaps between new installments and this turned people away.

Um, hello. Can I also raise my hand here?! No one in my building could see video on Yahoo for some stupid reason on their end (we can see YouTube, Google video and most other types). The video would just stop there and turn and nothing would ever come up, so to enjoy the program I’d always have to watch it at home. But you can be sure if I was having this problem, so were thousands of others. Maybe Yahoo should have done a bit more beta testing.

Anyway, it’s a big loss for several reason, but tops is that it makes it less likely that big companies will experiment with original content…I mean nicely produced funded stuff. And that is a huge shame. Anyway, I wave a fond farewell to Bangs and Company and only wish they’d figured out the technical probs before they went and pulled the plug.

Richard Bangs in Panama

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Richard Bangs online program Adventures yet, it’s time you do so. I blogged about the program a while back
when it was brand-spanking new, but they’ve since done three full episodes, all of which make for wonderful lunchtime
watching. There was a piece in the news today about whether Yahoo is committed to doing original content, (accompanied,
of course, by all sorts of rumors about what’s going to happen to Lloyd Braun, their content chief), but given the
pioneering efforts behind this program, I really hope they stick to it.

Anyway, one reason I haven’t
mentioned these programs until now is that I can’t seem to get the video on my system at work…my computer just sits
there when I try to load the show…but I get all other video just fine…so listen up Yahoo! But I spent
some time watching the series last night and was impressed.

There are still aspects to the video production
that to me seem amateurish and disconnected, but maybe that’s the look they’re after…or they just need a better
editor. Also, the navigation is confusing, with clips grouped together in a haphazard way and navigation back to the
main menu and previous shows frustratingly hard to find.

But overall, the program is a really fine example
of how to do video in the Web. The most recent edition of Richard Bangs Adventure, called Searching for Panama’s Pirate Past, is loaded with really interesting
video pieces and accompanying material. It’s really an immensely rich online experience. I recommend you take a moment
and experience these pieces for yourself. I think any traveler worth his salt will see in them a glimpse of the future.

Also check out the two previous Adventures:
Sea Gypsies of Thailand

Climbing the

as they search for the legendary viper’s pit in Panama.