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

Star Clippers – Discover the Hidden Wonders of Thailand

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Posted by:

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

Travel in Style across Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Travelling across Peru in style has become easier with the launch of the Andean Explorer Train. This is seriously comfortable train travel with your own cabin and off train excursions to some of Peru’s most iconic sites. The journey has the following itinerary:

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Day 1

Board the train in the ancient city of Arequipa, settle in to your cabin and acclimatise to the unforgettable style of the train as you start the journey towards Puno. Join your fellow travellers in the bar car before sitting down to a refined Andean dinner in the dinner car. All the while the scenery changes as you settle in to luxury train travel

Day 2

The sun will be rising over Lake Titicaca as you awake and then head for breakfast before a day of exploration. Time to explore the world’s highest navigable lake, firstly in a traditional boat out to Uros, a man made island constructed of interwoven reeds. The people that live on the island also construct their homes, ships and tools from the same reeds.

From here you will head to Taquile Island with its stunning terraced agricultural strips. The inhabitants here live by the same social code that has been in place for the past centuries. Their hand woven fabrics are regarded as the best in Peru. Enjoy lunch on the Collata Beach followed by a performance of local dancers and a chance to watch artisans at work.

Return to the train for a delicious tea and relax as the train heads towards to Cusco.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Day 3

Breakfast this morning is accompanied by stunning views as the train heads sets off from Marangani. You will have an off train excursion to Raqch’I archaeological site of a once important Inca settlement.

 

All too soon you will be arriving At Cusco, the former Inca capital. Time to bid farewell to the train crew and the start of your next Peruvian adventure.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Cape Town to Victoria, South Africa or Vice Versa

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Vicki Tester

 

Visiting these two iconic African locations is now easier. South African Airways are now flying direct between these two prime Southern African cities. The flights are daily, except Saturdays, departing Cape Town early (08:30) and arriving at Vic Falls at 11:15.

The return flight leaves at 11:45 and arrives in Cape Town at 14:40.

You could be soaked by the spray from The Falls and on top of Table Mountain all in one day!

Victoria Falls

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cape Town

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Region: Rocky Mountain States

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Posted by:

Yvonne Dann

 

The area encompassing the beautiful US Rocky Mountain States of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and into Colorado has its own unique cultural history, combining both the heroic and tragic aspects of the opening up of the American West – from the epic movement of pioneers from east to west to the displacement of a native population. From the Black Hills of South Dakota to Hell’s Canyon in Idaho, from Montana’s breathtaking Glacier National Park to the awesome expanses of Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, the area is blessed with an unspoiled and natural scenic beauty.

The Real America

The Wild West

Wild West Story

Yellowstone in Winter

Favourite Road Trips

Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks

Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Travelling through stunning countryside, with opportunities for wildlife watching and plenty of outdoor activity, this itinerary covers the best parts of these two stunning national parks in the USA over a two week itinerary.

Summary

Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks

Travelling through stunning countryside, with opportunities for wildlife watching and plenty of outdoor activity, this itinerary covers the best parts of these two stunning national parks in the USA over a two week itinerary.

 

Day 1: Salt Lake City

Day 2: Jackson

Day 3: Grand Teton National Park

Day 5: Yellowstone National Park

Day 7: Cody

Day 9: Yellowstone via the Beartooth Highway

Day 11: Helena

Day 12: Glacier National Park

Day 15: Depart Kalispell or Missoula

 

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Description

Description

 

Day 1: Salt Lake City

Arrive into Salt Lake City today, overnight here before starting your road trip tomorrow.

Salt Lake City 1 night

 

Day 2: Jackson

Collect your car and head north into the cowboy State of Wyoming; The wonderful village of Jackson is a great stop with excellent shops, restaurants, bars and galleries.

Jackson 1 night

 

Day 3: Grand Teton National Park

Continue your drive today heading into Grand Teton National Park. Stunning scenery includes the summit of Grand Teton and the plains of the valley floor here.

Grand Tetons 2 nights

 

Day 5: Yellowstone National Park

Today you head into stunning Yellowstone National Park through the south entrance for the first of two stays in the area. Abundant wildlife, rugged peaks and wilderness make up much of this incredible area.  The amazing geysers and thermal hot spots throughout Yellowstone are a big draw for visitors.

Yellowstone National Park 2 nights

 

Day 7: Cody

Depart through the Eastern Entrance of Yellowstone to the little town of Cody – this is a stunning drive through the Shoshone National Forest. Home to Buffalo Bill, no visit to Cody is complete without a tour of the famous Buffalo Bill Centre of the West which features five museums under one roof. In the evening take a drive to the edge of town to watch a rodeo.

Cody 2 nights

 

Day 9: Yellowstone via the Beartooth Highway

For todays drive head along one of the most spectacular alpine highways in North America, the Beartooth Highway. With sweeping views of snow-covered mountains and crystal clear alpine lakes as you wind your way to the summit and back down.  Return into Yellowstone through the Lamar Valley – a great wildlife viewing area.

Yellowstone 2 nights

 

Day 11: Helena

Leaving Yellowstone via the north entrance, drive on into the state of Montana. The drive takes you past rolling hills and mountains and on to Montana’s State Capital, Helena. Take a trolley tour through the Last Chance Gulch, the bustling and vibrant historic downtown area has great restaurants, micro breweries, bars and shops.

Helena 1 night

 

Day 12: Glacier National Park

Continue to Glacier National Park. This gorgeous park, straddling the US/Canada border boasts pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a paradise for walkers and adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude.  Drive the 50 miles along the stunning Going-to-the- Sun Road and spend three nights spent at two different areas of the park.

Glacier National Park 3 nights

 

Day 15: Depart Kalispell or Missoula

Say goodbye to Montana and head to the airport for the onward or homeward journey.

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone & Glacier

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

What our client says

Client Feedback

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Walking in New Zealand

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

New Zealand is a country known for its varied and stunning scenery, from rolling farmland, lush forests, deserted beaches and boiling mud pools to rugged mountains, dramatic glaciers and crystal clear lakes. A favourite pastime for locals and visitors alike, tramping (or hiking/walking as we would call it) is a wonderful way to get out and explore some of the most pristine wilderness the country has to offer.

Whether you’re interested in a short walk, a long distance walking track or something in between, the tracks are well marked, well maintained and the operators very professional.

Walks can be self-guided (making sure to follow sensible safety protocol such as ensuring the authorities know your intended route and timeframe), or you could opt to join a small guided group, with a knowledgeable expert on the region. In some cases, luggage can be transferred to the next accommodation each day, enabling you to simply travel with a day pack whereas on other routes, all luggage required for the walk will be carried by you. The long distance walking tracks should be planned and booked well in advance, and can be easily combined within a wider holiday to New Zealand.

There are nine designated ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand, which are all long distance tracks:

 

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Winding its way past Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, the Tongariro Northern Circuit offers dramatic volcanic landscapes and a rich geological and ancestral past. From Alpine herb fields to forests, and tranquil lakes to desert-like plateau, you’ll journey through a landscape of stark contrasts with amazing views at every turn. To the north is Lake Taupo, to the east the rugged Kaimanawa ranges and on a clear day you may even catch a glimpse of Mount Taranaki on the west coast.

Tongariro Northern Circuit Oturere Hut_99914

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Tongariro Northern Circuit Taranaki Falls_99913

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a four day walk over a total distance of 43.1 kilometres. It can be walked in either direction, and is a looped route from Whakapapa Village. It is also possible to take just a one day section of this trip, which is called the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

 

Lake Waikaremoana

A refuge amongst prehistoric rainforest with access to some of New Zealand’s most iconic birds, this Great Walk around the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana is truly outstanding. Marvel at giant native trees, stumble upon beautiful remote beaches and be enchanted by the area’s fascinating cultural history. A visit to the heart of Te Urewera on the eastern side of the North Island will offer a glimpse of how New Zealand used to be.

Lake Waikaremoana, Suspension Bridge_99909

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

This is a four day walk covering a total distance of 46km. It can be walked in either direction, and goes from Onepoto to Hopuruahine Landing.

 

Whanganui Journey

This is technically a canoe or kayaking trip rather than a walk. Paddle your way from mountains to sea through a landscape of remote hills and valleys on the magical Whanganui Journey. Experience the scenic beauty, history and cultural significance of the winding Whanganui River in the southwest of the North Island.

Whanganui Journey On The River_99906

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Whanganui Journey_99905

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose a five day journey from Taumarunui to Pipiriki (145km), or a shorter three day journey starting at Whakahoro (87km), featuring the most scenic stretches of the river.

 

Abel Tasman Coast Track

Blessed with a mild climate, golden beaches and lush, coastal native bush, the Abel Tasman Track has it all. Located in Abel Tasman National Park on the South Island’s northern shores, this gentle Great Walk showcases the best that the park has to offer. Marvel at naturally sculptured granite cliffs and crystal clear waters. Choose to hike the whole track, or water taxi and kayak between different locations at any time of the year.

Abel Tasman Coast Track Onetahuti Bay_99911

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

The whole track will usually take five days and covers a total distance of 55.2km. It can be walked in either direction.

 

Heaphy Track

If it’s varied and rugged landscape with mountain views you’re looking for, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the Heaphy Track. This is located in Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of the South Island and has a range of options to suit different fitness levels. Tackle the track in four or five days, or take your time and soak in the views over six days.

Heaphy Track Images_100655

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Heaphy Track Images_100658

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Heaphy Track Images

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

The track covers a total distance of 78.4 kilometres, and can be walked in either direction. It goes from Brown Hut to Kohaihai river mouth. There is also a popular two-day overnight return trip on the western side from Kohaihai to Heaphy Hut.

 

Routeburn Track

This is the ultimate alpine adventure, taking you through ice-carved valleys and below the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps. A short trip from bustling Queenstown, this Great Walk links Mt Aspiring and Fjordland National Parks in the Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Weaving through meadows, reflective tarns and alpine gardens, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular vistas over vast mountain ranges and valleys.

Routeburn Track, Earland Falls_99923

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

This is a three day walk, covering a total of 32.1 kilometres. It can be walked in both direction, and runs between Routeburn Shelter and The Divide.

 

Milford Track

Follow this historic route through Fjordland National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Take a pilgrimage along valleys carved by glaciers and through ancient rainforest, before reaching your final destination: the spectacular Milford Sound.

Milford Track, Anita Bay_99917

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Milford Track, Bridge Over Arthur River_99920

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

This is a four day walk that can only be taken in one direction, from Glade Wharf to Sandfly Point. It covers a total distance of 53.5 kilometres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kepler Track

This is an incredible wilderness experience right on Te Anau’s doorstep. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the most accessible of Fjordland’s Great Walks. It traverses Fjordland National Park in the southwest of the South Island and is part of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The remarkable scenery includes everything from remote lakes and peaceful beech forest backdrops to rocky peaks and exposed alpine tussock lands.

Kepler Track View From Ridgeline_112643

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Kepler Track, Ridgeline_99915

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

It is a four day walk that can be walked in either direction, and is a looped route from the Kepler Track car park. The total distance covered is 60.1 kilometres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rakiura Track

Escape on an island adventure, and exchange the hustle and bustle of the mainland for the tranquillity of the Rakiura Track. Located in Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island, the Rakiura Track is a leisurely three day hike suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. Relax and unwind in the peaceful surroundings with the bush, birds and beach at your side. Stewart Island is one of the few places that kiwi birds can be found in the wild.

Rakiura Track, Log Hauler_99919

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

Rakiura Track_99918

Picture courtesy of The Department of Conservation NZ

 

 

 

The track is circular and can be walked in either direction. The total distance covered is 32.1 kilometres.

Kenya Railways – Nairobi to Mombasa or Vice Versa

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, launched the revitalised/ new Standard Gauged Railway between Nairobi and Mombasa last week. This has cut the travelling time to just over 4 hours for the trip and with prices set at US$9-00 for economy class and US$30 for First Class this has become a real alternative to flying or buses.

There are plans to include a Business class carriage as well but these have yet to be delivered from China.

 

Kenya Lion

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

This gives travellers another option for travel between thee two popular cities but you could also use the train for access to Tsavo East and West National Parks and the Taita Hills with the train stopping at Voi and Mtito Andei. Providing the service is maintained this is another way to see this beautiful country without the experience of some of the rough roads.

For expert advice on your tailor made holiday to Kenya call us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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

Country: Sri Lanka

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Located in the Indian Ocean south of India, Sri Lanka offers a plethora of attractions to keep any visitor happy along with fantastic food and friendly people. Sustainability and ecotourism are important in Sri Lanka, and a number of locally owned companies such as hotel groups promote environmentally responsible travel.

Sri Lanka is an island of diverse attractions from ancient cities, fantastic wildlife, beautiful sandy beaches, lush green tea plantations and of course a fascinating culture. A holiday here can combine any number of these elements, and can be as busy or relaxing as you’d like.

Sri Lanka also offers excellent value – and a private tour tailored to your preferences provides you with the opportunity to focus on your interests and make the most of your time in this beautiful country.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Jetwing Travels

Photo courtesy of Jetwing Travels

Photo courtesy of Jetwing Travels

Photo courtesy of Jetwing Travels

Sri Lanka – Including The North

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time.  It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where the lands beauty remains abundant and unspoilt. Very few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location.

Summary

Sri Lanka – Including The North

This itinerary would suit for your second visit to Sri Lanka or if you have more time and an interest in this fascinating area on the island. The North is dryer than the rest of Sri Lanka and has a distinct Tamil influence which gives you yet another dimension to this intriguing destination.

Day 1:   Mud House

Day 3:   Jaffna

Day 6:   Coast stay

Day 9:   Sigiriya

Day 12:   Kandy

Day 14:   Home or extend your tour to include much more of the island.

Sri Lanka

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Description

Description

 

 

This itinerary would suit for your second visit to Sri Lanka or if you have more time and an interest in this fascinating area on the island. The North is dryer than the rest of Sri Lanka and has a distinct Tamil influence which gives you yet another dimension to this intriguing destination.

 

Day 1

Your guide/driver will meet you once you have cleared immigration and head north from Colombo. For the bold there is an option to stay in a rustic lodge which has a great reputation for its food, most of which is grown in their grounds. However there are more traditional lodges who will welcome you just as well. A full day exploring Wilpattu National Park, which is much quieter than most of the other Parks and has good numbers of elephant, deer, leopard, crocs and a host of birds.

1 night in Wilpattu area

Day 3

On your way to the far north you will visit Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka. The Dagobas (Stupa) here are huge, intricate and a feat of engineering especially when you consider when they were built. The lake here is man made and again built 2,500 years ago. Finally visit the Bo Tree – a truly holy place for Buddhists as it is claimed to have grown from a branch of the Bo tree under which Buddha received enlightenment.

As you cross on to the Jaffna Peninsula you pass through Elephant Pass where there is a museum about the recent civil war. Jaffna itself has a European fort that goes back to 1632 and over the next few days explore the beaches and Hindu Temples of the region, particularly at Point Pedro.

3 nights Jaffna

Day 6

Come down the east coast of Sri Lanka and you come to Trincomalee, one of the world’s biggest and safest natural harbours. Time to relax on silver sanded beaches. For the more energetic a trip out to Pigeon Island gives you wonderful diving and snorkelling opportunities.

3 nights North East coast/ Trincomalee

Day 9

Sigiriya is your next destination with its Lion Rock or “The Fortress in the Sky”. Here an ancient king built his palace on the top of an ancient volcanic plug and the ruins are spectacular with views around that encompass the surrounding country. The frescoes half way up the Rock are beautiful and amazingly fresh.

While here you can visit Polonnaruwa, another ancient capital if Sri Lanka with an excellent museum, a host of temples and array of Buddhas in different poses carved in to the rock. On the way back visit Minneriya National Park famous for being the home of elephant, buffalo, crocs and, if you are lucky, leopard.

3 nights Sigiriya

Day 12

Your final destination takes you in to the hills of Sri Lanka and another old capital Kandy. On the way up you will stop at Dambulla to visit the caves here that have several hundred statues of the Buddha of varying ages.

While in Kandy you will visit the Temple of the Tooth, the most holy place for Buddhist on the Island, which is close to a man made like to give a tranquil feel to the scene. If time allows visit the Botanic Gardens for a treat of orchids and tropical trees and plants.

2 nights Kandy

Day 14

Return to Colombo International Airport for your flight home.

Sigiriya Rock

Picture courtesy of Jetwing Travels

 

Sri Lanka

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Sri Lanka

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Sri Lanka

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Sri Lanka

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Sigiriya Rock

Picture courtesy of Jetwing Travels

 

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

Walking along the perfectly preserved Dutch/Portuguese/British battlements of the Star Fort at Galle and gazing down on a turtle feeding on the seaweed just below. Then retiring to the shade of a restaurant in the town (unchnged exteriors) for a reviving glass of beer while watching the world go by.
 

Client Feedback

Client Feedback

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with a very interesting and documented history.  We had a very good driver who was also a very knowledgeable and excellent guide.  Nothing was too much trouble, and he even accompanied us on all of our outings including climbing the Sigiriya Rock and the Rock Mass at the Dambulla Caves.

(Mr & Mrs Rees – Feb 2017)

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