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

The Best of Madagascar….

Posted on:
Posted by:

 

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………………

 

 

Boats-300x199

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

lemur-300x199

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

Bay-300x199

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

Posted on:
Posted by:

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

Posted on:
Posted by:

 

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’

Melbourne to Adelaide

Posted on:
Posted by:

 

An interesting and varied tailor made driving route, providing a great combination of city, coast and wildlife. The scenery is stunning throughout and this suggested bespoke itinerary can be easily dovetailed with other regions of Australia.

Summary

Melbourne to Adelaide

An interesting and varied tailor made driving route, providing a great combination of city, coast and wildlife. The scenery is stunning throughout and this suggested itinerary can be easily dovetailed with other regions of Australia.

Day 1: Melbourne

Day 4: Apollo Bay

Day 5: Port Fairy

Day 6: The Grampians

Day 8: Victor Harbour

Day 10: Kangaroo Island

Day 12: Adelaide

Day 14: Depart Adelaide

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Description

Description

An interesting and varied tailor made driving route, providing a great combination of city, coast and wildlife. The scenery is stunning throughout and this suggested itinerary can be easily dovetailed with other regions of Australia.

Day 1 – Melbourne

Arrive into Melbourne today for a three night stay. A free tram service circles around the edge of the Central Business District, enabling easy access to many attractions. Take in a sporting event at the Telstra Dome – a sliding roof here means there are no stoppages for rain. For an interesting dinner, try The Tram Car Restaurant, which tours the suburb of St Kilda with an excellent meal (remembering to hold onto your wine glass as the tram passes over the points)! Take a tour out to Pin Oak Court, the home of Neighbours’ Ramsey Street, or enjoy an adventurous city tour by Harley Davidson motorbike. Visit the Eureka Tower, which has a viewing platform 88 floors up, as well as The Edge – a cubed glass room which projects out from the building allowing you the view straight down.

Three nights Melbourne

Day 4 – Apollo Bay

Collect a hire car today and drive to Torquay, recognised as the surfing capital of Australia, and also, the start of the Great Ocean Road. From Torquay, travel first to Lorne, and then onto Apollo Bay, through what is considered by many to be the most picturesque section of the Great Ocean Road, with the highway carved into sheer cliffs that drop away into the ocean, offering breathtaking views of the waves crashing onto the rocks below.  For keen walkers, there are some excellent guided and self-guided walks along the coastal path here, taking 3 to 4 days.

One night Apollo Bay

Day 5 – Port Fairy

Continue your journey along the Great Ocean   Road, where you will see the amazing rock formations of the iconic Twelve Apostles – huge stone pillars rising up out of the surf, carved by millions of years of erosion of the limestone cliffs. Sunrise and sunset offer particularly impressive views of the twelve apostles. Take a helicopter flight for a different perspective of this unusual formation. Drive on to the charming fishing village of Port Fairy for an overnight stop, perhaps taking in a round of golf in the afternoon.

One night Port Fairy

Day 6 – Grampians National Park

Journey inland, a scenic drive through the Grampians National Park. The Grampians provides a diverse array of wildlife, scenery and walking tracks. Highlights include Mount Victoria Lookout, McKenzie Falls and Reids Lookout. Stay in the picturesque town of Halls Gap, set in the heart of the Grampians National Park. Spend two nights here, giving you a full day to explore the National Park.

Two nights The Grampians

Day 8 – Victor Harbour

A long drive west today, as you head across into South Australia and to the town of Victor Harbour on the Fleurieu Peninsula. With its historic horse-drawn tram across the causeway to Granite Island, and its population of Little Penguins, this region is also known for its wineries and lovely scenery.

Two nights Victor Harbour

Day 10 – Kangaroo Island

Take the ferry across to Kangaroo Island today. Kangaroo Island remains one of the most unspoilt natural wonders of our world.  One third of the island is protected as conservation or National Park, and half the Island has never been cleared of native vegetation.  Walk amongst huge weather-sculpted granite boulders at Remarkable Rocks, and roll down the snowy white dunes of Little Sahara.  Stretch out on your own little spot on the Islands 480 km’s of coastline. Kangaroo Island is best known for its wildlife, and here you’ll find seals basking on the quiet beaches, koala’s munching on gum trees right beside the road, echidnas wandering in search of insects and kangaroos, goannas, wallabies, penguins and birds at just about every turn.  Spending two nights on the island will give you time not only to see, but also to enjoy this wonderland.

Two nights Kangaroo Island

Day 12 – Adelaide

Return to the mainland today, and drive up to Adelaide. Two nights is a must in this city – where great shopping and internationally recognised hotels stand alongside historic buildings, great sporting venues and cultural attractions.

Two nights Adelaide

Day 14 – Depart Adelaide

Head to the airport today for the onward or homeward flight.

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Little Gems

Little Gems

Taking a flight over the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road is a fantastic way to see this rugged coastline from a different perspective, and with the opportunity to take excellent photographs.

Client Feedback

Client Feedback

Kangaroo Island was a fantastic experience – we were thrilled with the amount of wildlife we saw there!

Country: Japan

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Japan is a true mix of the ancient timeless past alongside the very modern. With a history that goes back beyond our own, this island nation has much to offer in the way of temples, castles, amazing scenery and a unique way of life. With direct flights, a visit to a different culture and customs is very much on the agenda.

Once there you have a choice of activities that should suit most people. It has excellent skiing, trekking (popular are pilgrimage routes), amazing wildlife and diving (particularly around Okinawa). Climbing Mount Fuji is a popular pastime for foreigners and Japanese alike. Because of this, aim to make your climb before the start of the school holidays in the early summer or the first week in September.

Being here to witness the fabulous cherry blossom is also a popular time to visit. The Japanese publish a calendar showing where and when the blossom should be out so its easy to check that you will be in the right place at the right time.

It is also a self drive destination with the best places to do this being Okinawa (deep south) and Hokkaido Island (high north). Ensure you have a car with English sat nav as all signs are in Japanese BUT the good news is that they drive on the left. The other popular form of travel is on the bullet trains – an experience not to be missed.

 

 

Azana-Port-Okinawa-CR-©Akimasa-Yuasa©JNTO.jpg

Azana-Port-Okinawa-CR-©Akimasa-Yuasa©JNTO.jpg

Kudaka-Island-Okinawa-CR-©Akimasa-Yuasa©JNTO.jpg

Kudaka-Island-Okinawa-CR-©Akimasa-Yuasa©JNTO.jpg

Fujikyu-Railway-CR-©Yasufumi-Nishi©JNTO.jpg

Fujikyu-Railway-CR-©Yasufumi-Nishi©JNTO.jpg

Lake-Ashi-and-Mt-Fuji-CR-©Yasufumi-Nishi©JNTO.jpg

Lake-Ashi-and-Mt-Fuji-CR-©Yasufumi-Nishi©JNTO.jpg

Shinjuku-CR-©Yasufumi-Nishi©-JNTO.jpg

Shinjuku-CR-©Yasufumi-Nishi©-JNTO.jpg

Sefa-Utaki-Okinawa-CR-©Akimasa-Yuasa©JNTO.jpg

Sefa-Utaki-Okinawa-CR-©Akimasa-Yuasa©JNTO.jpg

 

Tailormade Namibia Itinerary Ideas

Posted on:
Posted by:

 

Here are some of the reasons to visit Namibia with our tailormade Namibia itineraries…

  • Drive through four deserts and learn how different each one is and just how much life exists in what at first appears to be such a harsh environment.
  • Visit one of Africa’s prime National Parks in Etosha which has a string of waterholes around its massive salt pan. These are a life saver for a huge variety of animals.
  • Track desert adapted elephants and rhinos in Damaraland.
  • Visit the colourful Himba tribe who have maintained their way of life.
  • Learn to read the signs of the bush from a genuine San tracker.
  • Quad bike over some of the most colourful dunes in the world.
  • Come face to face with a seal and see the diverse sealife found in Walvis Bay.
  • Kayak with seals and dolphins for close company.
  • Watch hippo below your accommodation on the great rivers in the northern provinces.
  • Trek for three/four days with mules in the Fish River Canyon – the second largest canyon in the world.

Below is just a small sample of the varied itineraries we can offer in Namibia. Whether your interest lies in wildlife, photography, spectacular scenery, geology, history of you a planning a family adventure, let us help you plan the perfect trip.

Tailormade Namibia - Himba Girl Namibia Northern Tour
This sample itinerary tours Northern Namibia taking in some of the most well known parts of this fascinating country. Guided or self-driven…
Highlights
Okonjima (home of the Africat Foudation, world renowned Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Erongo Mountains

ITINERARY
Drive the Four Deserts of Namibia
In this self-drive itinerary idea, explore the magical, unique and enthralling southern parts of Namibia; this could be a stand alone trip or part of a bigger experience…
Highlights: Kalahari, Fish River Canyon, Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Deadvlei

ITINERARY
Tailormade Namibia - childres Tribes and Wild Camping
In this unique itinerary you will be taken to parts of Namibia travellers rarely have the opportunity to experience. You will meet the Himba people and camp in spectacular wild and remote locations.

ITINERARY

South Namibia and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
For those that like exploring the different kinds of deserts found in Namibia then this itinerary should satisfy their interests. It is an ideal self drive trip with stunning scenery and wildlife.ITINERARY
Namibia Namibia Caprivi Strip
There is another side to Namibia which is greener, with wide rivers running through it and giant trees fringing the banks.ITINERARY

 

Namibia Deserts

Posted on:
Posted by:

 

A bespoke itinerary providing the opportunity to explore four totally different deserts in one country.

Summary

Namibia Deserts

 

An itinerary providing the opportunity to explore four totally different deserts in one country.

Day 1: Kalahari
Day 3: Nama Karoo
Day 6: Succulent Karoo
Day 8: Namib Desert
Day 11: Windhoek

Description

Description

 

Day 1: Kalahari
From Windhoek, collect a hire car and head south. You will soon start to see the wildlife of Namibia with warthog, baboon and possibly kudu near the road. You will notice how well maintained the roads are and how empty they are in comparison to what we are used to. Some 250 kms from Windhoek will bring you to the Kalahari, your first desert. Here the dunes are in wave formation and some stretch 250 kms. The tops are bare red sand with the sides and troughs having grass and trees growing up them. Between the dunes, grassland supports a wide variety of wildlife and birds. Stay here for two nights at least to give you time to recover from your flight and to explore the surrounding desert. An evening sundowner drive is a must.
Two nights Kalahari

Day 3: Nama Karoo
The next part of the journey is a drive of 4 to 5 hours; you may find that the first half is a little monotonous but the bird life along the roadside is interesting. The scenery becomes more and more dramatic the nearer you get to the Fish River Canyon, with boulder strewn mountains and vast vistas. A stop to see the Quiver tree Forest and the Giants Playground is a rewarding detour and an ideal place for lunch. You may expect to see zebra, springbok and oryx.  The Canyon looks at its best in the morning sunlight. We would suggest two to three nights in this area; available activities include horse riding, sundowner drives, walking trails and scenic flights.

For the intrepid there is the chance to join a trek in the canyons leading to the Fish River Canyon and time down in the main Canyon. Camp out for 2 nights with your guide cooking you meals and mules to carry the heavy stuff. Truly getting away from modern life.
Three nights Fish River Canyon area

Day 6: Succulent Karoo
The next desert on this itinerary is one of the top 20 most important biomes in the world. The flora is rare and worth having an expert along to explain how it all interacts. With a backdrop of massive granite mountains and sweeping desert plains this is a land of far horizons. Added to the usual desert wildlife there are also the Namib Desert Horses to be sought out. Their ancestors made their break for freedom from the armies of the First World War and they have flourished ever since.
Two nights in Succulent Karoo

Day 8: Namib Desert
The fourth and final desert is famous for its red dunes and it is not long before you will see the first of these in your drive north. This is a wonderful scenic drive, which will tempt you to stop and take photos along the way.  There is plenty to do and see here; Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon – this is a photographer’s paradise, with the early morning being the best time to visit. Almost all the Lodges offer game drives and sundowners and you could see decent size herds of springbok and if really lucky, cheetah. Balloon over the dunes, quad bike or just simply relax.
Three nights Namib Desert

Day 11: Begin your return to Windhoek or onward
Head back towards Windhoek and your flight home (we would suggest a night or two as you wend your way back) or explore the Namib Desert even further by making your way to Swakopmund and the sea.

Fish River Canyon      Africa, Namibia. © 2004 Jan Jepsen / NTB

 

Peter - our Namibia expert      star dunes namib desert

Little Gems

Little Gems

Early morning in the Namib desert is a very special time.  The park gates open at dawn and you need to be the first in to get those all important sunrise shots of Dune 45 and of course to enjoy sunrise with your breakfast picnic. Pick up your entrance ticket the night before.

What our clients say

Client Feedback

Content coming soon

The Cuba Experience with Peter Ellis

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Cuba is a destination that is hugely popular at the moment, the increase partly due to changed relations with the US, and this in turn spurring on potential visitors to explore the island before it changes beyond recognition. Peter and his wife Julie visited for a holiday last month, and loved it! Below is their report.

With direct scheduled flights from Gatwick to Havana, and charters from both Gatwick and Manchester to Holguin, Cuba is easily accessible and well worth considering for your next Experience Holiday.

Havana
We stayed in B&B accommodation for almost the entire trip and they are recommended – better presented and family run. However there are good 5 star hotels with more on the way should this be your preference. The B&B’s are good value and often well located – ours was very central making everything very walkable for the Old Town.

You should consider a 4 night stay here particularly if the plane gets in late. There is so much to see and do and it is very worthwhile having a guided (themed) tour as many of the best sites are not obvious or easy to find. Added to which you will be shown the less touristy side of the city. Every kind of method of getting around from donkey carts to old Russian trucks squeeze through these streets so keep your eyes peeled. Certainly try getting around on a biki taxi, a coconut taxi and for sure book at least a 3 hour tour of the city and Hemingway Finca in a Classic convertible also taking in the fortress (the biggest in the New World).

We have a list of “Paladars” which are privately owned/run restaurants which are excellent but often fill quickly – so book some of them for the trip. Rum cocktails abound, especially mojitos which it is claimed were invented here.

Havana is a very safe, walkable place with huge contrasts in architecture and levels of renovation – from ruins next to renovated.

 

Guama, Bay of Pigs to Cienfuego
We took the long way down to Cienfuegos to take in the wilder Zapatas Peninsula which is a RAMSAR site and a big National Park. We stopped at a crocodile breeding centre (for the endangered Cuban croc) which was interesting and also the place to catch your boat to Villas Horizintes Guama. This is a good eco lodge deep in the Park and worth a night or two.

Bay of Pigs is the site of an abortive invasion of Cuba in 1960 but there is little to see here. It is also where you find “sink holes” connected to sea which are full of colourful sea fish. Take your swim suit so you can take a dip in one or to snorkel off shore. A good diving spot as well.

Cienfuegos is worth a one night stop as it has plenty of history, is very clean and some interesting architecture – Palacio de Valle is perfectly placed for outstanding views of the Bay and city. Cruise ships come in regularly, so get your sightseeing in early. The casa particular that we stayed in was eclectic and fun and had good food.

 

Trinidad and the drive there
Not too far to go from Cienfuegos but we detoured in to the mountains, Sierra del Escambray so that we could undertake a 3 hour hike through the mountains. There are caves, waterfalls, plenty of bird life and a chance to cool down in any of the cool clean pools you find along the trail. Well worth doing on the way to Trinidad.

Trinidad is a must see destination – a really well preserved Spanish/Cuban city which is very easy to wander around. Plenty to see and do, including dancing lessons and every evening dancing on the steps of the Casa de Musica. Live music is everywhere in Cuba and most of it is good. While here take the train to the sugar growing Valle Los Ingenios – slow but fun with a bar on board if you are missing your mojitos. Here visit the eighteen century mansions of the sugar barons and their slave quarters and learn about the sugar trade and those that worked for it.

On the Beach – Varadero
Finish a trip to Cuba on the beach. We went to Varadero which is well developed with large hotels and nothing like the rest of Cuba. The beach here is beautiful white sand, kept very clean and the water crystal clear. A great place to unwind and relax. Most hotels are all inclusive. All have entertainment and there are places away from the hotel to eat out at (one is Al Capone’s old home).

There are a number of other beach destinations which have their own appeal depending on your interests and preferences.

For more information on Cuba, give us a call or send us an email – we’d be more than happy to chat through ideas and possibilities with you.

Suggested itinerary link – Cuba Itinerary

   

All pictures courtesy of Peter Ellis.

Region: Rocky Mountain States

Posted on:
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

Indochina

Posted on:
Posted by:

 

With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, Indochina offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people

Summary

Indochina

Indochina is comprised of three countries in the Far East – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Their geographical location, shared histories and fascinating culture make these three countries the perfect combination for a holiday in the Far East. With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, this region offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people.

Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Day 3: Siem Reap
Day 6: Luang Prabang
Day 8: Elephant Explorer
Day 9: Hoi An
Day 11: Hue
Day 13: Hanoi
Day 15: Halong Bay
Day 16: Hanoi

Description

Description

 

Indochina is comprised of three countries in the Far East – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Their geographical location, shared histories and fascinating culture make these three countries the perfect combination for a holiday in the Far East. With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, this region offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people.

Vietnam Airlines now offers a direct flight to Ho Chi Minh City from London Gatwick, making the region more easily accessible. Alternatively, there are plenty of flight options via other Far Eastern gateways – Bangkok being one of the most popular.

The region can be explored independently by the more adventurous traveller, or one can join a small-group tour if preferred. The below independent itinerary provides an example of a comprehensive holiday to the region, but is by no means the only option – there are almost endless possibilities to consider.

Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Arrive into Phnom Penh for a two-night stay. Take time to explore the Royal Palace, the majestic Silver Pagoda, and gain an insight into Khmer history at the National Museum. Visit Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, and learn about the Khmer Rouge regime and the legacy this has left.

Day 3: Siem Reap
This morning, depart for Siem Reap by road. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Over 100 temples are spread over a vast area and the site easily lives up to its status as one of the seven wonders of the forgotten world. Witness sunrise at Angkor Wat and explore some of the many other temples, including the ruins of the tree-covered Ta Prohm. Take a river cruise on Tonle Sap Lake – the second largest freshwater lake in the world and home to the famous floating village, where you’ll see floating houses, a school and even a floating hospital.

Day 6: Luang Prabang
Fly to Luang Prabang for a two-night stay. Luang Prabang is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of Indochina’, and is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan rivers. Watch the ancient ritual of local monks collecting alms, take a boat trip to Pak Ou Caves, or visit stunning Kuang Si Falls. In the evening, visit the vibrant night market.

Day 8: Elephant Explorer
Today, begin a two-day adventure by elephant, providing the opportunity to explore the region and learn about these magnificent creatures.

Take an elephant ride through forests and over hills to the hidden valley of Huay Sae Valley. See the secluded waterfalls and swim in the natural pools. Continue by foot across bamboo bridges, passing waterfalls and dense jungle. Raft down the Nam Khan River, floating slowly downstream passing local farmers and fishermen going about traditional village life, and stopping en route at the Tad Sae waterfall. Stay overnight in a luxury tent

Day 9: Hoi An
Get up early with the magical sunrise atmosphere and trek to the jungle to collect the elephants from their forest home. Together with the Mahouts, the traditional elephant drivers, walk back down to the river for their daily morning bath. Ride bareback on the elephant’s neck, wash it, scrub it and guide it through the river to the camp – an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Return to Luang Prabang, fly to Danang and transfer to the charming town of Hoi An. Explore traditional houses and temples and see the Japanese Bridge. Relax on the beach, or take a boat trip through ‘Water Coconut Palm Canal’ – a tranquil area little visited by tourists, and learn about the likes of the local fishermen.

Day 11: Hue
Today, your destination is Hue but en route visit the Marble Mountains; an important religious site with a number of imressive caves, temples and viewpoints. Drive the short distance to China Beach with a chance to enjoy a refreshing swim in the South China Sea. Continue on to Danang City to visit the Cham Museum. The Cham people occupied this area of Vietnam from the 2nd to the 17th century and the museum houses the best examples of Cham sculpture anywhere in the world. Complete the drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass to Hue. Here, relax on the beach or take time to explore the old Citadel.

Day 13: Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital for a two-night stay. Explore the vibrant Old Quarter and visit the ancient Temple of Literature. Watch a water puppet show or visit the Hanoi Hilton prison.

Day 15: Halong Bay
This morning transfer to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 limestone islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. Take an overnight cruise on a wooden junk ship on the bay, exploring fishing villages, islets, and caves and with a chance to swim.

Day 16: Hanoi
Return to Hanoi today for the onward or homeward flight.

More time? Consider adding a cruise along the Mekong River – a great way to see small riverside villages and learn about the local’s traditional way of life. Explore Ho Chi Minh City, see the Cu Chi Tunnels, discover Vientiane – the capital of Laos, or add a beach stay in Thailand.

Photographs courtesy of Travel Indochina and Elephant Village Camp, Laos

Angkor Travel Indochina      elephant explorer camp experience ws      Halong Bay fishing boats ws

Halong Bay junk ws      Phnom Penh Royal Palace ws

 

Far East page

Little Gems

Little Gems

Content coming soon

What our clients say

Client Feedback

Content coming soon

img.centered { display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; }

Newsletter

To receive all the latest tips an advice enter your email address below

 

CLICK HERE >>> to see Newsletter Archives.

Follow Us

 

Experience Holidays is fully bonded under the Civil Aviation Authority ATOL scheme and is a member of the Worldchoice Consortium.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays sold by us on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
Book your holiday with confidence, safe in the knowledge that your money is protected and your holiday is in safe hands.