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Read What Marcia Selva, Specialist In Southeast Asia Travel Has To Say About Romantic and Wedding Destinations in Southeast Asia.

Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com and Sketchandtravel.com, recently conducted an interview with Marcia Selva, who is the President of Global Spectrum and specialist in travel to Southeast Asia. Marcia is also is President of Global Community Service Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to reduce poverty in Southeast Asia through the development and implementation of sustainable community-based projects in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Here is what Marcia had to say about romantic getaways and weddings destinations in Southeast Asia.

Norm: Please tell our readers something about yourself and your expertise pertaining to Southeast Asia.

Marcia: I have more than 40 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. Since 1992, I have been working with organizations, individuals and corporations arranging trips to Southeast Asia. I have developed a highly regarded network of guides and specialists throughout Southeast Asia.

Global Spectrum has arranged well over 3,000 trips to Southeast Asia over the past 10 years. These are not your typical “cookie-cutter” tours. They are customized to the individuals or group depending on their interests. Are you a veteran returning to Vietnam for the first time in over 30 years? Are you interested in Southeast Asia’s culinary delights? Or are you interested in the region’s diverse culture and history? We can even arrange for you to add a philanthropic element to your journey – from teaching in Vietnam to helping build clinics in Thailand.

Global Spectrum’s travel specialists have a unique passion for Southeast Asia coupled with an extensive knowledge of the tourism industry.

Norm: Would you consider Southeast Asia a good choice for a romantic getaway or wedding and honeymoon destination? Why?

Marcia: Absolutely! There are so many wonderful reasons to visit Southeast Asia as part of your romantic getaway, honeymoon or wedding. Southeast Asia is one of those few places that steals your soul and won’t give it back. The people are so friendly and so hospitable. They will cater to your every need. The culture is so exotic and the history is so rich. You won’t be able to get enough of it. Visually, it is so romantic, so beautiful. So few Americans have traveled to Southeast Asia, it is filled with intrigue. People travel to Southeast Asia with such low expectations and come back wanting more.

Norm: What do you mean when you say: "Southeast Asia is one of those few places that steals your soul and won't give it back."

Marcia: There is something so special and so unique about Southeast Asia. It is mystical. It is so romantic. Once you visit you are forever changed spiritually. You don’t know exactly what has happened but you have a deeper understanding of human beings, in general, and other cultures.

Norm: Please elaborate on Southeast Asia's culinary delights and how can they be incorporated into a wedding celebration?

Marcia: Food is such an intricate part of Southeast Asian culture. Any festive occasion, especially weddings, features many delicacies from appetizers to main courses to desserts. In Bali and Thailand, elaborate food carving is a big part of any festive meal.

In Vietnam, a wedding meal would include special soups and desserts. Also, a Phu The “man-woman” cake is a big part of the Vietnamese wedding tradition. The groom’s family brings those cakes to the bride’s family and the bride’s family gives pieces of the cake to the guests.

Norm: What is the best time to visit Southeast Asia from the point of view of weather, costs, crowds, and the availability of flights from the USA, Canada and Europe and Australia, etc?

Marcia: Southeast Asia is becoming a more popular tourist destination. There really is no bad time to travel to this area, but it really depends on what you are seeking. It is very easy to experience many different conditions in one trip. For example, Vietnam’s climate ranges from temperatures and conditions found in New York in North Vietnam, to North Carolina in central Vietnam, to Florida in South Vietnam. I think it is important to book a trip well in advance and work closely with a travel specialist to make sure you don’t wind up in central Vietnam during the monsoon season or during Tet when the entire country is closed for business.

Norm: If you had to choose 5 unequalled venues in Southeast Asia for a romantic getaway, honeymoon or wedding destination, what would they be and why?

Marcia: I would have to say the five most romantic places in Southeast Asia are
1) Bali;
2) Furama Resort on China Beach in DaNang Vietnam;
3) Four Seasons or the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand;
4) Luang Prabang, Laos; and
5) the Eastern & Oriental Express Trains & Cruises - Road to Mandalay - a cruise along the Ayeyarwady River in Myanmar.

Romance is something that is unexplained and these romantic places leave you wanting more. Southeast Asian culture is dreamy. It is seductive and sexy All these five places have that. They have the spiritually and the allure.

When I look at a hotel or resort, I think about one thing. Can I walk away and remember at least half of what that room looked liked. So many places, you can’t remember by the time you reach the airport. These places you will never forget – the ambience, the romance. They bring the culture and the country into the rooms. It is by no means a sterile environment, like one of the corporate hotels in the U.S.

These five places allow you to be wrapped in the environment from the minute you wake up until the minute you fall asleep.

Global Spectrum has booked numerous trips for honeymooners and travelers on romantic getaways, especially in Vietnam. I suggest looking at our L’Amour Vietnam tour as a starting place, which can be found on our web site or DIRECT LINK.

Norm: Bali has always been a draw for honeymooners and romantic travelers. What features especially appeal to couples?

Marcia: Bali is one of the most romantic places in the world. The accommodations are fabulous and everything is service with a smile. The topography is beautiful, the food is excellent and the culture is so rich. You just can’t go wrong visiting Bali. It is wonderful, exotic and diverse.

Norm: What should people know about celebrating a wedding in Southeast Asia from the point of view of requirements, experience of the various hotels, etc.

Marcia: Getting married in Southeast Asia is a very time-consuming task. I don’t want to say it can’t be done, but it is by no means easy. I would strongly suggest consulting with the country’s embassy in the United States. A safer bet would be having a civil ceremony in the United States and then celebrating a “traditional” wedding in Southeast Asia. That way, you won’t have to worry about the legality of the actual wedding when you return home.

Norm: How reliable are the hotels and resorts when it comes to arranging a destination wedding in Southeast Asia from the point of view of accommodations, food, service etc?

Marcia: The hotels and resorts are 100 percent reliable in Southeast Asia. That is the beauty of having a special event in that part of the world – the food, the service, the hospitality and the warmth. People really underestimate the services and the overall experience of travel in Southeast Asia.

Norm: How far in advance should a couple prepare themselves for their honeymoon, romantic getaway or wedding in Southeast Asia?

Marcia: At Global Spectrum, we recommend that travelers begin booking six months in advance of their trips. That gives you plenty of time to get the proper visas, secure the accommodations and learn about the places that you are going to visit. In the end, proper planning makes the experience much more rewarding. However, we can book a trip as quickly as it takes to secure a visa – typically a few weeks. Yes, Global Spectrum will help you secure travel visas.

Norm: What resources are available on the Internet pertaining to weddings and honeymoon vacations in Southeast Asia?

Marcia: The Internet is a great tool for honeymooners or other tourists to learn about Southeast Asia destinations. I suggest starting with Global Spectrum’s WEB SITE: We provide some excellent 10, 12 and 17-day excursions that can be customized depending on your preferences. I also recommend that tourists visit the various country web sites for information about weddings in Southeast Asia.

Thanks Marcia for your time.

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