• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

One to add to your bucket list…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Gaya Island, Malohom Bay, is set within the Tunku Abdul Marine Park, a group of 5 islands located off Kota Kinabalu.  Fringed with coral reefs, they pride themselves on the marine wildlife and coral reef restoration.

The endangered Sea Turtle is one of the marine wildlife animals that Gaya Island are keen to help and to date they have helped and released four turtles back into the sea – Bobby, Ninja, Carman and Nick Jr all of which have undergone rehabilitation and research.

Guests recently staying on the island were lucky enough to be joined by a gentle green turtle on their Coral Garden snorkelling excursion with the resorts Marine Biologist – This sounds like an amazing experience.

If this is something that you would like to add to your bucket list, why not get in touch to enquire about how you can put together your own holiday and look forward to making amazing memories on an amazing island getaway. Please contact us for more details .

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels, Gaya Island Resort

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels, Gaya Island Resort

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels, Gaya Island Resort

Amazing Thailand

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With the optimum time to travel to Thailand being November to March, we have been looking at some fabulous itineraries for spending time in this Far Eastern gem. Anyone that has been to Thailand will no doubt have raved about the great value for money on offer here and with room rates starting from £20 a night, Thailand needs to be top of your list for a good value winter sun destination.

Thailand boasts some of the best beaches in the world, which are unspoilt and uncrowded. There are a choice of daily flights from London and Manchester to Bangkok, which connect onto remote beach hideaways. Here are 2 of our favourites:

Khao Lak’s
One of Khao Lak’s major attractions is its endless virgin beaches with collections of exotic seashells. Divers, snorkellers and sightseers can reach the pristine coral reefs of the Similan Islands National Marine Park in just one and a half hours, compared with three hours from Phuket. The whole area is perfect for visitors seeking seclusion and who don’t want the active nightlife of other resorts. Khao Lak is surrounded by tropical forests and the Khaolak-Lumru National Park is nearby.

Hua Hin and Cha’Am
A favourite with the Thai Royal Family, both resorts are ideal places for relaxing, riding, golf, or strolling for hours along the shared and seemingly endless white sand beach. Located a short flight or three hours’ drive from Bangkok, both resorts are deliberately slow-paced, easy-going, stress and hassle-free with superb seafood restaurants, casual beach bars, activities if you want them, a great night market and gentle nightlife. Together with a broad choice of new or renovated luxury hotels, Hua Hin and Cha’Am are the antithesis of fast and frenetic; ideal for families, long stay clients or for couples just chilling!
Thailand is a destination for everyone, from loved-up young couples, whether on honeymoon or just thinking about it, families, backpackers, older couples or singles. There’s something for every taste and every pocket.

Please contact us for more information on 01323 446550 or info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Or visit our website for more ideas on the Far East.

Thailand

Picture courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Thailand

Picture courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Star Clippers – Discover the Hidden Wonders of Thailand

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Vicki Tester

 

Star Clippers who offer a different sailing experience with the character of traditional sailing but still with the comfort and luxury found on most modern cruises, are offering an adventurous cruise around the hidden parts of Thailand and Malaysia.

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

 

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

These sailings explore some of the most iconic and beautiful parts known as the “Pearl of the Orient” with un spoilt beaches and islands that form part of the

National Marine Park here. The people are friendly, the water beautifully clear and the marine life amazing.

 

Nor do you have to bring your own snorkel and flippers, they are provided. If you need other activities as you sale around the islands and along the coast, you can try sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking – all complimentary.

 

 

 

For 7 nights cruising, 2 nights pre cruise in the Sala Hotel in Phuket and flights the cost is from £2179 per person and always subject to availability.

Please call us for more information on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Sunrise Turtle Landing

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Today we received a quick newsletter from one of our suppliers AfriAsia.  This we thought was a wonderful turtle sighting and experience, and something that you yourself could witness if staying at this luxury resort in Malaysia:

 

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels and TanJong Jara Resort

 

 

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels and TanJong Jara Resort

 

 

 

 

This special early morning visit took place on the beach right under one of the resort’s sun umbrellas as the sun began to rise.
Once her eggs had been safely laid, this majestic creature returned to the South China Sea.

The Turtle Hatchery currently holds 25 nests and a total of 2274 eggs – of these, two batches of hatchlings have already been released. Guests have enjoyed witnessing this amazing experience and the Nest Adoption programme has become a great hit.

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels and TanJong Jara Resort

Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels and TanJong Jara Resort

Hong Kong

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Vicki Tester

 

Hong Kong – More than just a city

Back in November, Angie visited Hong Kong and here’s what she thought –

Whilst for many, a visit to Hong Kong is a short city break en route to Australia or New Zealand, in my opinion it has plenty to offer as a ‘stand alone’ destination for a holiday of a week or even longer. With the recent addition of a direct flight between Gatwick and Hong Kong to complement the regular services from Heathrow and Manchester, Hong Kong has never been more accessible.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Alongside the most famous sights of the city, such as the iconic Star Ferry, the many and varied markets, the tram to Victoria Peak and the stunning skyline, there are plenty of things to see and do away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

 

Take a cruise of Victoria Harbour on a traditional junk ship, or take a longer cruise around Hong Kong Island to the south side and the town of Stanley. Home to a fantastic market with arts and crafts amongst other wares, Stanley is well worth a visit along with neighbouring Repulse Bay with its sandy beach and safe swimming.  A visit to Aberdeen Fishing Village can take in the renowned Jumbo Floating Restaurant as well as a sampan boat ride around the floating houseboats.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Spend a day on Lantau Island, taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to see the giant Buddha statue. From here, take a bus to Tai O – a traditional fishing village built on stilts over the water, where a sense of the Hong Kong of yesteryear can be understood, and take a boat trip out to see the rare Chinese pink dolphins.

There are many other islands to be explored too – Lamma Island offers a gentle hike between its two main towns, with great seafood restaurants the reward at the end. Cheung Chau Island is most famous for its’ Bun Festival in May, but is also home to plenty of seafood restaurants, a sandy beach and a temple.

A popular pastime for locals is horse racing, and to take in an evening of racing at Happy Valley or Sha Tin is an exciting experience to consider. Hong Kong even has two theme parks to offer – Ocean Park has thrill seeking rides along with a zoo, and is reached via a cable car ride. Disneyland offers fun for all the family in typical Disney style, and is located on Lantau Island.

All in all, a week to ten days in Hong Kong provides all of the ingredients for a great holiday destination – great weather (at the right time of year!), interesting history, fascinating culture and varied experiences.

If you would like to find out more about Hong Kong and put together your own bespoke tailor made itinerary, please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

Visa Advice

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Vicki Tester

 

With entry into many a country requiring the application of a visa or visa waiver prior to travel please do contact us for advice on the best way to do this if you are in any way unsure.  We suggest that you go directly to the embassy or government website concerned where you will be directed to complete the relevant information, and only charged the fee required for the actual visa or visa waiver.  There are many companies set up online who will be eager to action this for you, and in the process will charge you a service fee for doing so – this could amount to you paying well over the odds for your visa/visa waiver. 

We are always happy to provide the website links to the official sites so please do get in touch for assistance.  An ESTA for the USA, an eTA for Canada, an electronic visa for India and also for Sri Lanka are just some (but not all) of the locations where this is necessary.

Please contact us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Tigers Tigers Tigers…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Tigers

Being a huge fan of the African bush, when the opportunity came along to get into Central India in the hope of spotting tigers, I was right there. And so I find myself in searing temperatures in the mid 40′s (centigrade that is), sitting in an open safari vehicle in Kahna National Park, long lens attached hoping to spot one of these elusive creatures. Tigers are solitary animals, with males commanding their territory and rarely coming out into the open, so when word got around that there had been a kill, our expert Tajsafari’s guide lost no time in getting to the site. We were rewarded with the sight on a young male tucking into the kill – a young bison that had been brought down earlier that day.

The bison are the kings of this particular jungle and it is rare to see a tiger kill one. Our guide correctly deduced that this male tiger was one of a family still together and it is likely that it took two or three of the family to bring the bison down. This particular family is also quite rare – it is a mother and four cubs, two male and two female, all of whom have survived to nearly a year old. A young litter of this size is difficult for the mother to protect, but she is an experienced mother and has clearly done a superb job!

Tigers

 

As the young male fed, he was joined by one of his sisters and as they filled their bellies and wandered off to a nearby waterhole to drink, the second sister joined in the feast. We did not see mother – she had probably had her fill earlier and was resting up close by while her family ate, keeping a close eye on them and ready to protect them if necessary. At one point, another bison came onto the scene, clearly disturbed at the sight he saw and ready to take on the young male. He was angry, as well he might have been, and we watched quietly as the two had quite a stand off before the bison rightly decided that he was not going to take them on!

Tigers

 

We returned the next morning to the same site, but this time, only the bare bones of the carcass remained – the tiger family had stripped it clean. At the neighbouring waterhole, three of the five tigers lazily wallowed in the water, full bellies and resting up as the heat of the day increased.

We felt truly honoured to have witnessed Mother Nature at her magnificent best. To learn more about tigers in India, call and speak to Jackie on 01323 446550 or emailJackie@experienceholidays.co.uk

Hong Kong…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Cathay Pacific

With effect from 8th December 2014, Cathay Pacific are launching their new route from Manchester to Hong Kong. This opens up all sorts of Far Eastern and Australasian options for those for whom Manchester is their closest airport. With some excellent fares in economy, premium economy and business class, not only to Hong Kong, but using their connections to Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland this news is a welcome addition to their already excellent services from London Heathrow.

Hong Kong

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

The Far East and Australia/New Zealand are high on many peoples wish list and with exchange rates currently in our favour, this could be the time for you to start planning your next adventure.

Call us on 01323 446550, or email us on info@experienceholidays.co.uk to find out more.

Good News For Locals!

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Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Picture courtesy of Cathy Pacific Airways Ltd

Good News – Cathay Pacific has announced that they will be launching a new service offering direct flights from Gatwick to Hong Kong four times a week. This is in addition to their longstanding routes between Heathrow and Hong Kong, and between Manchester and Hong Kong.

This new route is great news for those living in the South East wishing to visit Australia and New Zealand, as there will be connections through to key hubs in both countries from Hong Kong.

The new service is due to commence in September 2016 with Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A350-900 with refreshed Business Class cabin and new Premium Economy Class seats.

Hong Kong makes a great stopover location, as well as a holiday destination in its own right. For more information on this, and how these flights could work well for your future holiday plans, give us a call on 01323 446550, or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Honeymoon in Sri Lanka

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

As some of you know, I recently went to Sri   Lanka for just over 2 weeks on my honeymoon. This is my third visit here; the first being back in 1969 as a wandering teenager exploring the world. It was Julie’s first time here – a change from me dragging her to different parts of Africa.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

IMG_2289

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

We truly loved it from that first breathe of extremely warm air when we got off the plane in Colombo to our final night in colonial splendour in the Galle Face Hotel. With a recorded history longer than ours, ancient ruined cities only rediscovered 150 years ago, fantastic food, beautiful beaches, more wildlife and sea life than you expect and very friendly people, what is there not to like.

 

 

 

There is a huge variety of experiences, climates, scenery and culture to explore and the option of staying in varying levels of accommodation, many of which allow you to explore the locality right outside your room.

  

 

  

Would I recommend Sri Lanka as a holiday destination – Yes I would and it will not be too long before Julie and I return (still so much more to explore)

Look out for more detailed bespoke ideas about touring Sri Lanka on our website or just give me a call to talk about this fabulous destination on 01323 446550 or email peter@experienceholidays.co.uk

Peter

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

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