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

Japan in 14 Days

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Kirsty Saunders

 

Japan in 14 days. This trip will introduce you to all the highlights Japan has to offer starting from Tokyo and finishing in Osaka. Travel by rail using the Japan Rail Pass, and experience Japan’s famous Bullet train. Stay in Japan’s major cities and experience a traditional Ryokan stay along the way.

A country with fascinating history, an intriguing culture, stunning scenery and delicious cuisine, Japan is a country that offers a diverse mix of attractions. There truly is something for everyone here! The following itinerary will certainly give you a taste of what Japan has to offer.

Summary

Japan in 14 Days 

This 14-day trip will introduce you to all the highlights Japan has to offer starting from Tokyo and finishing in Osaka. Travel by rail using the Japan Rail Pass, and experience Japan’s famous Bullet train. Stay in Japan’s major cities and experience a traditional Ryokan stay along the way.

Day 1: Arrive Tokyo

Day 4: Hakone

Day 5: Takayama

Day 6: Kanazawa

Day 8: Kyoto

Day 11: Hyroshima

Day 13: Osaka

Day 14: Depart Osaka

Description

Description

 

Day 1: Tokyo

Arrive in Tokyo. Japan’s bustling capital mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers and anime shops to cherry trees and temples. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding forests and The Imperial Palace sits amid sprawling public gardens. The city is famed for its vibrant food scene, and its Shibuya and Harajuku districts are the heart of its trendy teen fashion scene.

Tokyo 3 nights

 

Days 2&3: Tokyo

For the next two days explore Tokyo at your leisure. At over 12 million people in the official metropolitan area alone, Tokyo is the core of the most populated urban areas in the world, (Greater Tokyo has a population of 35 million people). This huge, wealthy and fascinating metropolis brings high-tech visions of the future along side with glimpses of old Japan. There is something here for everyone.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialists

 

Day 4: Hakone

Check out of your accommodation and make your way to Odawara Station, using your JR Pass. From here, use your Hakone Free Pass to explore the area at your leisure before making your way to your accommodation. Stay for a night in a traditional ryokan with hot spring baths. Here Futon mattresses will be prepared on the tatami mat floor and a Japanese ‘kaiseki’ cuisine will be served.

Hakone is located in the mountainous far west of Kanagawa Prefecture, on the eastern side of Hakone Pass about 1hr 15 mins from Tokyo. Most of the town is within the borders of the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and centred around Lake Ashi.  Hakone is famous for hot springs, outdoor activities, and natural beauty with the view of nearby Mt. Fuji.  Besides being the home of Japan’s oldest and most famous spa, the town has an interesting history, beautiful surroundings and a cool climate all year round. This makes it one of the most popular destinations among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from Tokyo.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialists

Hakone 1 night

 

Day 5: Takayama

This morning make your way to Takayama using your JR Pass (approx. 5 hours in total). On arrival you will be free to explore for the rest of the day.

Hida-Takayama known locally as just Takayama – is a city near the Northern Japan Alps of Gifu prefecture in the Chubu region. Takayama has retained a traditional atmosphere like few other Japanese towns, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. The city is famous for its well-preserved quarter with Edo-style streets, only rivalled by those of Kanazawa. It gained importance as a source of high-quality timber and highly skilled carpenters in feudal times. The Takayama Festival, held in spring and autumn, is considered one of Japan’s best festivals.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Takayama 1 night

 

 

 

Day 6: Kanazawa

Today you will make your way to Kanazawa on the Japanese rail system. Another option would be to take the bus from Takayama to Kanazawa, stopping at Shirawago village on the way*. The area is a UNESCO world heritage site, famous for its distinctive thatched farmhouses.

Kanazawa 2 nights

 

Day 7: Kanazawa

Today you will be free to explore Kanazawa.

Kanazawa sits on the Sea of Japan’s coast, bordered by the Northern Alps, Hakusan National Park and Noto Peninsula National Park. During the Edo Period, Kanazawa served as the seat of the Maeda Clan, the second most powerful feudal clan after the Tokugawa. Kanazawa then grew to become a town of great cultural achievements, rivalling Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Kanazawa is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Crafts and Folk Art.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8: Kyoto

This morning you will make your way to Kyoto using your JR Pass. You could opt to take the Thunderbird Limited Express directly to Kyoto (approx. 2 hours). Upon arrival, please make your way to your accommodation where you can check in at your earliest convenience. The rest of the day is then free at your leisure.

Kyoto 3 nights

 

Days 9&10: Kyoto

Explore Kyoto for the next 2 days. This city is in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.

Kyoto is considered to be the centre of Japan’s cultural life. Here cherished traditional art forms are maintained, making it a rich experience for the visitor. With more than 1,600 Buddhist temples and 270 Shinto shrines, the city is one of the world’s greatest cultural treasures and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite functioning as a modern city today, in many ways it stands in contrast to the metropolis of Tokyo.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialists

 

Day 11: Hiroshima

This morning the bulk of your luggage will be transported to your accommodation in Osaka. You will make your way to Hiroshima by rail, with an overnight bag. This journey will take approx. 2 hours by bullet train. The rest of the day is then free at your leisure.

Hiroshima 2 nights

 

 Day 12: Hiroshima

Today you are free to explore Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima (or shrine island). Hear you can visit one of the crown jewels of the country: Itsukushima floating shrine. (Please note that the floating shrine is undergoing renovation until June 2021.)

The principal city of the Chugoku Region and home to over a million inhabitants, Hiroshima is an industrial city of wide boulevards and criss-crossing rivers, located along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea. Although many only know it for that horrific split-second on August 6, 1945 when it became the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, it is now a modern, cosmopolitan city with great restaurants and nightlife.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialists

 

Day 13: Osaka

Today travel to Osaka, by rail where you will be free to explore for the rest of the day. With a population of 2.5 million, Osaka is Japan’s third largest and second most important city. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for many centuries. It is the central metropolis of the Kansai region and the largest of the Osaka-Kobe–Kyoto trio. The historic cities of Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji and Nara are nearby and easily accessible by train.

photo courtesy of JTB Japan Specialists

Osaka 1 night

 

Day 14: Osaka 

Depart Osaka for the onward journey.

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

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Cities of the Far East

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Vicki Tester

 

Major cities within the Far East are often used by travellers simply as a gateway to the country, or perhaps as a stop en route to a further afield destination such as Australia or New Zealand. They are often major hubs for international flights, and therefore lend themselves well to this. However, they can also make for interesting and exciting destinations and often warrant a longer stay. Here we mention just a few of the popular ‘stopover cities’ in the Far East.

 

Singapore

Once a British colony and later a part of Malaysia, Singapore became an independent nation in 1965. The city is home to a melting pot of cultures and this in turn makes Singapore a vibrant and exciting place to visit. Explore Chinatown and Little India, meander the shops of Orchard Road, the bars and restaurants of Clarke Quay or take afternoon tea in the historic Raffles Hotel. A ride on the Singapore Flyer provides a unique perspective of the city, and a visit to renowned Singapore Zoo is a popular family activity. Sentosa Island provides an escape from the city itself, with beautiful sandy beaches and relaxed resort-style hotels. Many would consider Singapore to be solely a ‘city stay’ but Sentosa Island certainly offers a more relaxed alternative or addition to a visit there.

Picture courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

Picture courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong

Another Far Eastern hub with a rich and interesting history, this former British colony is so much more than just a city. Whilst its modern city skyline is world renowned, the traditions of old Hong Kong are still very much alive and can be found threaded through the backstreets, countryside and islands of this vibrant destination. Explore some of the many markets from Stanley to the Ladies Market, take a sampan ride in Aberdeen Fishing Village, use the historic Star Ferry to cross the harbour, or head to Repulse Bay to relax by the beach. A visit to Victoria Peak is a must – ideally using the historic tram – to see the skyline, but also consider visiting some of the many outlying islands – Lamma Island has a well-marked walking trail, Cheung Chau is best known for its annual bun festival in May, and Lantau Island is home to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuala Lumpur

Located at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, Kuala Lumpur’s name in English literally means ‘muddy confluence’. It is Malaysia’s capital and an extraordinary city with an intriguing cultural mix. Explore the shopping districts, Chinatown, Independence Square and the Sultans Palace. The Old Station in the city was built in colonial times with a roof carefully designed to withstand at least a metre of snow! Visit the botanical gardens, the central market or try one of the many excellent restaurants or street foods in Jalan Alor. The Batu Caves, located 11km from the city, are well worth a visit, and no visit to KL is complete without a visit to the iconic Petronas Towers.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok

Bangkok was founded in 1782 and with a history spanning more than two centuries, it comprises of an eclectic mixture of old and new. Thailand’s capital, it is perhaps best known for its ornate shrines and colourful tuk tuks. Take a tour of the Grand Palace, visit the floating markets on the river by longtail speedboat, or explore the Chatuchak weekend market for a spot of shopping. Wat Arun is a sight to behold, and Wat Pho is well worth exploring. A day trip from Bangkok can be taken to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai and the JEATH War Museum.

Above are just four of the popular ‘stopover’ cities in the Far East, but these are by no means the only options. For further information on these cities, or ideas for alternatives, please do get in touch.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Thinking about what to do for your next holiday then take a look at Triple Creek Ranch…

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Vicki Tester

 

Triple Creek Ranch is a truly gorgeous mountain hideaway and perfect for a special occasion – a luxury all-inclusive resort nestled in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies, close to border with Idaho. This year round resort, a member or the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, has an exceptional level of service, incorporating luxury private log cabin accommodation, fine dining and world class wines.

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Surrounded by incomparable scenery and wildlife, the ranch offers a wide range of activities from which to choose. In spring, the meadows are alive with wild flowers, in summer the sun-filled days are perfect for horseback riding, fishing, hiking, float trips and rafting. Autumn brings stunning fall colours – bright blue skies and crisp cool evenings. In winter, enjoy cross-country or Alpine skiing – just 30 minutes from the resort is the Lost Trail Powder Mountain Ski Resort – with an average yearly snowfall of 300 inches of powdery snow this is skiing without the long lift lines and crowds. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing or horseback riding through unspoiled snow-covered wilderness are also on offer. Then spend your evenings relaxing in front of a cozy fire.

 

Situated midway beteen Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, a stay at this fabulous ranch fits perfectly into a holiday to this stunning region.

 

Please contact us for more information.

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Picture courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

 

Time to start thinking of your next summer holiday…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

USA and Canada

Everyone’s situation is different as to what they need to think about when booking a holiday. Do you have children at school, are you in a job that restricts you from taking time off when you like?

Early planning is a must to avoid disappointment in these situations. Booking early also means you can take advantage any early booking discounts, which can save significantly sums for your holiday.

We are here to assist you make those plans and to help take the stress out of organising your trip. Once booked you can simply sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday!

We are experts in the USA and Canada priding ourselves on the fact we have stayed in and visited many of the places we send our clients, helping you to make the best choices. The USA and Canada are well worth booking early in high season and they both offer something for everyone, from big city glamour to small town charm but can have limited availability.

 

USA – first thoughts

For the USA ‘big city glamour’ try the city of Chicago in Midwestern USA, a metropolitan hub for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago’s most famous shopping districts, and you’ll find flagship stores — from high street favourites to high fashion stores — along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s. For boutique shopping, head to Chicago’s 77 neighbourhood, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items you simply won’t want to leave without.

Chicago is bursting at the seams with theatrical talent. Broadway in Chicago and many Tony Award winning companies bring in big names and blockbuster shows, while more than 200 storefront, experimental and neighbourhood theatres bring you pioneering contemporary performances. Chicago is also a city that loves to laugh —after all Chicago invented improvisation comedy. See where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell performed at world-famous ‘The Second City’. If stand-up comedy is your thing, grab your tickets for The Laugh Factory or Zanies. It is also a hub for all kinds of music and well worth experiencing.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm, we would recommend Jackson in Wyoming USA, sitting 15 miles from the Idaho border and approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the famous Yellowstone National Park. Offering you an adventure holiday exploring the wildlife and immersing in the local culture. You can explore on skis (in winter), mountain bikes, rafts, horse drawn stagecoaches. Add in exquisite cuisine, world-renowned art, and unique shopping to make a holiday to remember.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Canada some places to consider

For ‘big city glamour’ consider a visit to the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia with its skyline of glass buildings and the surrounding ocean and coastal mountains. Here you can swim from the beach and then go off to explore a mountain all in one day.  This is such a versatile city with so much to do. The city is the largest in British Columba, but manages to hold on to its rustic charm and natural beauty nonetheless. Visitors can enjoy bike riding, shopping, visiting a local museum or just relaxing in Stanley Park. Take the free shuttle service out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offers a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. See the jaw-dropping majestic nature of British Columbia unfold as you ascend via aerial tram to the summit of Grouse Mountain. Rising 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown.

You can dine at a world class restaurant or join a Vancouver foodie tour which allows you to visit a wide variety of highly recommended restaurants trying varied cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. A visit to Granville Island is a must for true foodies looking to sample the best of this coastal city. This gastronomic-focused district offers everything from elegant waterfront restaurants to small ethnic eateries. The Granville Island Public Market is a must see, an indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of food and produce, displaying handcrafted products and unique gifts.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm in Canada, we suggest Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – an attractive town with an underground network of bootlegging tunnels connecting buildings. The tunnels were created in 1908 for a steam system that never happened, but it is rumoured that Al Capone gambled and made deals in them. You can get around this historic town on trolley buses and guided tours, stopping to visit one of the many attractions and museums, or you can simply relax in one of the many spas around the town. Summer in Moose Jaw is always bustling with activities such as Sidewalk Days, Park Art, the Motif Multicultural Festival, Farmers’ Markets, events in Crescent Park and much more.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and help with organising and booking your holiday please contact us.

Sydney to Brisbane

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An interesting coastal drive between two iconic cities on the east coast of Australia.

Summary

Sydney to Brisbane

Australia is a vast continent and virtually impossible to explore in one holiday.  The lengthy distances will often be linked with a flight, but do consider getting behind the wheel and linking some of Australia’s iconic cities by road.  Here is one such itinerary idea:

Day 1: Sydney
Day 4: Hunter Valley
Day 6: Port Stephens
Day 8: Port Macquarie
Day 10: Coffs Harbour
Day 12: Byron Bay
Day 14: Coolangatta
Day 16: Brisbane

Description

Description

Australia is a vast continent and virtually impossible to explore in one holiday.  The lengthy distances will often be linked with a flight, but do consider getting behind the wheel and linking some of Australia’s iconic cities by road.  Here is one such itinerary idea:

Day 1: Sydney
Arrive into Sydney for a 3 night stay. With its compact city centre and efficient public transport, Sydney is an easily accessible city with many of the main attractions close by. Enjoy a morning harbour cruise, a concert at the Opera House and blow away the cobwebs doing the Bridge Climb. Visit Bondi Beach and watch the surfers on the waves, shop in Paddington’s markets, enjoy a stroll around the Rocks and Circular Quay, or head out to glamorous Double Bay for designer shopping.

Three nights in Sydney

Day 4: Hunter Valley
Collect a hire car this morning and drive north from Sydney and into the Hunter Valley for a 2 night stay. This does take you inland slightly, but is well worth the detour. Renowned for producing award winning fine wines and gourmet dining, the Hunter Valley has developed in recent years to offer a wider range of activities such as hot air balloon flights, golf and horse riding.

Two nights in the Hunter Valley

Day 6: Port Stephens
Head back to the coast and on to Port Stephens for a 2 night stay. Port Stephens is comprised of a scattering of seaside villages with white sandy beaches and a resident population of over 140 bottlenose dolphins. Between late May and July, and between September and November, whales can be found in the area as they migrate north and return south. Explore Tomaree National Park from here.

Two nights in Port Stephens

Day 8: Port Macquarie

Continue north today through the Great Lakes region and the Manning Valley and on to Port Macquarie for a two-night stay. A vibrant town with plenty of shopping, entertainment and dining possibilities, Port Macquarie is also a great base for visiting nearby Camden Haven.

Two nights in Port Macquarie

Day 10: Coffs Harbour
Drive north to Coffs Coast, where the mountains meet the ocean. Coffs Harbour is a bustling town where you can surf the waves and just an hour later be bushwalking in the Dorrigo rainforest, where you can see a number of spectacular waterfalls.

Two nights in Coffs Harbour

Day 12: Byron Bay
Your destination today is the laidback surfer town of Byron Bay. With galleries, boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, Byron Bay attracts an eclectic mix of surfers, backpackers, families and couples.

Two nights in Byron Bay

Day 14: Coolangatta
Leave New South Wales behind today as you drive north into Queensland and the border town of Coolangatta. The Gold Coast is known for stunning beaches and spectacular surf and is also home to a number of theme parks, water parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary’s Wildnight Adventure evening for something unique.

Two nights in Coolangatta

Day 16: Brisbane
Complete the drive north to Brisbane today, dropping off the hire car on arrival. Dissected by the Brisbane River, this city is an eclectic mix of culture, shopping and the laidback lifestyle that epitomises this part of Queensland. Take a riverfront walk, enjoy a sight-seeing cruise or climb the Story Bridge – one of only three bridge climbs in the world.

En route from Coolangatta to Brisbane, you could opt to add in a stop at Lamington National Park – beautiful rainforest, with opportunities for walking, wildlife watching, zip lining and much more. For a little luxury and relaxation before arriving in Brisbane, stop at Willowvale in the Gold Coast Hinterland for a stay at a luxurious lodge.

Photographs courtesy of Australia and NSW Tourism

ATE 2011 Gold Coast      Ballooning, Hunter      Gold Coast hinterland

 

Lamington NP      Summit of Sydney Harbour Bridge

Little Gems

Little Gems

You might choose to slot in a couple of nights in the Lake Macquarie area en route to Port Stephens. This is one of the largest saltwater lakes in the southern hemisphere and consists of long stretches of unspoilt coastline and beautiful beaches.

What our clients say

Client Feedback

‘What a wonderful holiday – thank you to all at Experience Holidays for fulfilling our dream’

September – the perfect month to explore America’s beautiful South-West…

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Vicki Tester

 

If you are still thinking of a holiday for later this year then consider a drive taking in some of North America’s most spectacular National and State Parks.  Without the summer crowds and with perfect temperatures for walking, October is a great time to explore the mountains, canyons, deserts, lakes and rivers of Arizona and Utah. Begin your adventure in Phoenix or Las Vegas. With stops for 1 or 2 nights at the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and Sedona, this will be a truly memorable journey through some of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes imaginable.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on booking your tailor made, bespoke holiday contact us now.

You can also take a look at our website at www.experienceholidays.co.uk where you will find tailor made, bespoke itineries to suit all tastes.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

The Best of Madagascar….

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Madagascar is the Earth’s fourth largest island, geographically isolated for some 80 million years. It is known to Westerners today as one of the most species-rich places on the planet, it is also one of the world’s most humanly impoverished countries. Madagascar holidays are best spent exploring the island, visiting the attractions, shopping and trying the many activities available here such as snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, bird watching and so much more…..

Some of the must do’s are………………

 

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whale Watching
Every year between July and September, Baie d’Antongil, just south of Maroantsetra, is the site of the migration of hundreds of humpback whales. The whales make their way from the Antarctic northward to the warmer waters around Baie d’Antongil, where they spend the winter months breeding and birthing before the long journey back to Antarctica.

Underwater Beauty
Diving in Madagascar is a real treat; the warm Indian Ocean is attractive to both people and marine life. In these turquoise waters diver can see up to 30m ahead. And what a sight awaits you! A dazzling variety of pristine coral reef, as well its many colourful inhabitants like tropical fish and the rare turtles are a definate highlight. The best times are between December and April. For snorkelling, Nosy Tanikely is great and for diving Tulear, Nosy Be and Sainte Marie are ideal! Either way snorkelling or diving in Madagascar is something that shold not be missed.

Exploring on Foot
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore any area, and in Madagascar it’s probably one of the best ways to experience the magic of this often overlooked holiday destination. The Andringitra Mountains, located in the South East of Madagascar, are a breathtaking feast for the eyes. When hiking you can expect to see many natural wonders. The Andringitra National Park boasts an impressive assortment of wildlife. Over 100 species of birds, 54 species of mammals including lemurs and bats, as well as many reptile species call this area home. The higher lying areas of the park are blanketed by tropical rainforest. The lower lying areas are home to some local settlements. Hiking is the only way to reach the more remote areas of the Andringitra national park. Few hikers attempt to summit the impressive 2600m peak, but the surrounding area is so beautiful its well worth a try!

 

Wildlife-300x196

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpsing the flying beauty

Madagascar’s uniqueness is legendary and this is well reflected in its birds. Of the 280 species known from the island, an incredible 100 plus are entirely endemic to Madagascar and a further 20 or so are shared only with neighbouring South West Indian Ocean islands. Some of the best spots to observe the water birds are along the remote areas of the western and south western coast such as Lake Tsimanampetsotsa. For anyone who loves bird watching then this is an amazing getaway and a truly fantastic destination.

So if Madagascar sounds like that place for you or you would like to build your own bespoke, tailor made holiday with any of the above included, please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Holidays Closer to Home

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Vicki Tester

 

Did you know we also offer holidays closer to home?

Whether it is a short break to a classic European city or a week in the Mediterranean sunshine we can help you create your perfect holiday.

We work with a variety of well established companies giving us the ability to offer our clients a wide choice of destinations including the Channel Islands, Croatia, Greece, Iceland and Spain, to name but a few. If a journey on the Orient Express or a cruise along the Norwegian Fjords on an expedition ship is more your cup of tea we can help you plan all of these amazing trips.

Our expert staff can create the perfect holiday tailored to your own personal requirements, arranging travel by any combination of air, rail, car or ferry. So, if you are considering a holiday nearer to home this year please do get in touch so we can start planning your next trip.

Contact us here

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

 

Road Trip West

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Travel Road Trip West – from Amarillo to Las Vegas in this itinerary.

Summary

Raod Trip West

From the Big Texan Inn in Amarillo (home of the free 72oz steak) to Cadillac Ranch, this US road trips is full of surprises.

Day 1: Arrive Amarillo
Day 3: Santa Fe
Day 7: Canyon de Chelly
Day 8: Monument Valley
Day 9: Holbrook
Day 10 Sedona
Day 12: Grand Canyon South
Day 14: Las Vegas
Day 15: Depart Las Vegas

Description

Description

Perhaps not on the top of the list for US Road trips, especially for first timers, but for those hooked on the US, its sometimes grizzly past and the legacy that has been left for us to enjoy, this road trip touches on many stories from the more recent past of this relatively young nation.

Day 1: Arrive Amarillo
Your journey begins in Amarillo, in the centre of the Texas Panhandle where we would suggest a 2 night stay, giving you time to relax after your flights. Amarillo offers an interesting blend of Old and New West and is the perfect place to gently immerse and acclimatize yourself to the American way of life and culture. Stroll along Historic Route 66 (6th avenue) with its unique lovingly preserved restaurants shops and historic buildings. Drive to the wonderful Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the States. Explore trails once used by Apaches, Comanches, buffalo hunters, the US cavalry and even early Spanish explorers. Dine at the world famous Big Texan steak ranch – eat your 72oz steak and all the trimmings in an hour and the meal is free!
Amarillo 2 nights

Day 3: Santa Fe
Today begin your drive west along the I40, following the direction of the Historic Route 66. Some of the original stretches of road are still driveable and, with the aid of a good guide book or map, it is worth taking detours to visit some of the small towns along the route to see some of the iconic historic buildings. There is a palpable feeling of what it must have been like for the migrants in the 30s who headed west to escape the ravages of the Dust Bowl. The flat Texan Plains gradually give way to rolling Rocky Mountain foothills as you cross into the “Land of Enchantment”, New Mexico. Follow the Santa Fe Trail through striking mountain scenery to the lovely city of Santa Fe. Make sure you stop off at the Pecos National Monument for your first taste of the Spanish Colonial history which defined much of this wonderful State. We would suggest at least 2 full days in Santa Fe to explore this gorgeous city and its environs; drive up to Taos, a designated World Heritage Site, and explore the Enchanted Circle – this winding circular route takes you through some of the most beautiful areas of North New Mexico. Visit the extraordinary Bandelier National Monument and the scenic Jemez Mountains
Santa Fe 3 nights

Day 6: Albuquerque
Take the scenic Turquoise Trail through several historic little mining towns; towns such as quirky Madrid with its quaint historic little shops, cafes, galleries and bars. Drive up to the top of Sandia Peak for stunning and far reaching views of sprawling Albuquerque and its surroundings. Wander around Albuquerque’s historic old town – consider timing your trip to coincide with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta –for 9 days each October the crisp desert skies are painted with a kaleidoscope of colour as hundreds of balloons take to the skies for the biggest gathering of its kind in the world.
Albuquerque 1 night

Day 7: Canyon de Chelly
Continue west, dipping in and out of I40 and Route 66. Visit Acoma Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the US. Don’t miss El Morro National Monument; here you will find Inscription Rock where Conquistadors, native Americans, pioneers and others carved their names and messages in the massive rock face. A self guided trail weaves around the base of the rock and tells the stories of the carvers. More trails lead you to the remains of ancestral pueblo dwellings and stunning views for miles around. Continue to the gorgeous Canyon de Chelly, making sure you arrive before the suns sets when the lighting is stunning.
Canyon De Chelly 1 night

Day 8: Monument Valley
Consider a guided tour into Canyon de Chelly, before taking the scenic drive to Monument Valley. A guided tour here is essential, or consider an overnight stay deep into the heart of the park, staying in a traditional Navajo Hogan.
Monument Valley 1 night

Day 9: Holbrook
Back south onto Route 66, exploring the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks before arriving into the Navajo town of Holbrook for an overnight stay. For a unique experience stay in the famous Wigwam Motel, replete with vintage cars in the parking lot.
Holbrook 1 night

Day 10 Sedona
Continue west through Winslow (where you really can stand on the corner…) and on to the gorgeous town of Sedona for a 2 night stay. Surrounded by stunning scenery, a jeep tour up into the red rocks is a must and will take you to places where a hire car could not venture.
Sedona 2 nights

Day 12: Grand Canyon South
Drive to the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World, the Grand Canyon for a 2 night stay. Make sure you catch the rim at dusk and again as the sun rises – or take an unforgettable early morning helicopter or fixed wing flight over the rim
Grand Canyon South Rim 2 nights

Day 14: Las Vegas
Drive to Las Vegas where you will round off your fabulous road trip.
Las Vegas 1 night

Day 15: Depart Las Vegas
Enjoy most of the day in Las Vegas before checking in for your evening overnight flight back to the UK.

Photograph Courtesy: New Mexico Toursim & Sedona Chamber of Commerce

Raod trip west - Bell Rock & Courthouse Web      Raod trip west - Big Texan web      Road trip west - BosquedelApache2[1] web

 

Road Trip west - CanyonDeChelly comp      Road trip west      Road trip west - UniqueNM8 web

 

Road trip west - Valles Sunrise Web      Road trip west - Winslow

Little Gems

Little Gems

Mention Winslow Arizona and most people will start to hum the tune made famous by The Eagles.  You just have to get your picture ‘standing on the corner’ and of course, buy the T-shirt.

What our clients say

Client Feedback

‘Tucking into our moderate 18ozers we watched as one brave soul took up the challenge [of the 72 oz steak]… we left with 10 minutes to go and he was failing miserably – barely half his steak touched he was suffering the additional humiliation of an attentive audience taking photos of every mouthful of his ordeal. The current record is 8 minutes and 52 seconds’

Hawaii – Island Hopping

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

This independent itinerary covers three of Hawaii’s Islands, full of beautiful beaches, Lush forests, active volcanoes and wonderful scenery.   With typically small variations in temperature between the seasons of summer and winter, this is a year round destination and is sure to have something to offer everyone.

Summary

Hawaii Island Hopping

 

Day 1: Oahu

Day 4: Big Island

Day 8: Maui

Description

Description

 

Hop between three islands by plane on this independent trip.  Relax on stunning beaches, explore the history of Pearl Harbor, drive the stunning sights along the Hana Highway and learn about the active volcano, Kilauea at Volcanoe’s National Park.

 

Day 1: Oahu                                                               

Your holiday starts with the chance of some rest and relaxation on the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu.  Home to the famous Waikiki Beach and historic Honolulu, the island has verdant forests, breathtaking valleys and beautiful beaches.  The events at Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 brought the USA into World War II and the Pacific conflict and now memorials remain.  The North Shore offers crashing waves and beaches perfect for surfing, Waimea Valley and Kualoa, Hawaii’s Private Nature Reserve.

Three nights Oahu

 

Day 4: Big Island

Today fly on to Hawaii Island, and pick up your hire car.  The island of Hawaii is often called the Big Island so as not to confuse the name with the whole state, and at almost twice the size of all of the other islands combined the name does seem appropriate.  The island has much to see, from sandy beaches to snow capped mountains, and waterfalls to the active volcano, Kilauea.

 

On the western sunny side of the island are the areas of Kona and Kohala with their excellent beaches. On the east coast lies the island capital Hilo, with quaint downtown wooden storefronts, thriving art scene and local history.  ‘Akaka Falls state park is home to two of the most gorgeous waterfalls on all of the islands, ʻAkaka is the state’s tallest “sheer drop” waterfall, more than 2.5 times taller than Niagara Falls and sits just north of Hilo.  To the south east you will find Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – the islands premier attraction, Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Four nights Hawaii Island – We suggest two nights to the west and two nights to the east

 

Day 8: Maui

Take a flight between islands today, once again a hire car will give you the freedom to explore independently.  The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui, offers well planned tourist facilities with raw natural beauty.  Once a thriving whaling port in the mid 1800’s, the town of Lahaina is today a colourful town and hub for dining entertainment and water sports.  December to April is ideal for whale watching – the waters around Hawaii are the winter breeding and calving grounds of humpback whales. Drive the hairpin turns of the Hana highway. Starting in Kahului and snaking along 54 miles of coastline past lush vegetation and waterfalls – with 600 curves and 54 bridges, this is one of the world’s most scenic drives.  Surrounding the volcanic crater of Haleakala, Haleakala National Park dominates the south eastern side of Maui.

Four nights Maui – We suggest two nights to the west and two nights to the south east of the island.

                                                                                   

Day 12: Depart Maui

Leave Maui today for the onward or homeward journey.

Consider adding to your trip, perhaps another island, plus stays in Los Angeles or San Francisco depending on your international flights.

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority Tor Johnson

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) Tor Johnson

Little Gems

Little Gems

Travel the Hana Highway.  The Road to Hana is more than just a great drive through a beautiful area of Maui. You travel through tropical rainforests, see beautiful water falls and get to experience breathtaking scenery on your 52 mile journey.  Its quite an experience.

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