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

Region: Rocky Mountain States

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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

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

Enchanting Vietnam

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Vicki Tester

 

Vietnam located on the South China Sea is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities with Hanoi as its capital known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences.

Summary

Vietnam

Vietnam located on the South China Sea is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities with Hanoi as its capital known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences.

Day 1: Hanoi

Day 3: Halong Bay

Day 5: Hue

Day 7: Hoi An

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Day 13: Depart Ho Chi Minh City

Lang Co Fishing Village

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Description

Description

 

With stunning scenery, a fascinating history, enchanting culture and friendly people, Vietnam has all of the ingredients to make for a fantastic holiday destination. Whilst it is often included as part of a wider Indochina holiday combined with Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam has so much to offer that it can easily offer a varied holiday experience on its own. Here is just one itinerary to show you how.

 

Day 1: Hanoi

Arrive into Hanoi, located in the north of the country. Here, visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the One Pillar Pagoda and the Hoa Lo Prison (more commonly known as the Hanoi Hilton). Take a walking tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter or experience a Water Puppet show – a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form.

Two nights Hanoi

Consider slotting in a visit to Sapa from Hanoi – an inland mountainous region accessed by overnight train or by road. A stay here would provide an opportunity to see rural Vietnam.

Day 3: Halong Bay

Travel by road to Halong Bay, providing a chance to enjoy the scenery – predominantly farmland – en route. Look out for farmers on scooters transporting water buffalo! World Heritage listed Halong Bay is a beautiful place, comprised of limestone rock formations dotted throughout the bay. The best way to view this is from a cruise on a traditional junk ship.

Two nights Halong Bay Cruise

Day 5: Hue

Leaving Halong Bay behind, returning to Hanoi before flying down to Hue. Here explore the Imperial Citadel, take a ride through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake with its lotus flowers in summer, visit the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Mausoleum of Tu Duc.

Two nights Hue

Day 7: Hoi An

Travel by road to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The scenic route passes through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds (Hai Van Pass). Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchant’s houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market.

Three nights Hoi An

At certain times of the year, Hoi An provides a good beach stay destination, in which case a longer stay might be preferred.

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Fly down to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). From here, take a tour out to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters (Viet Cong) during the wars. In the city itself, visit the War Remnants Museum, the History Museum and the former Presidential Palace. The Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street, Continental Hotel, the Opera House and City Hall provide an insight into the colonial past.

Three nights Ho Chi Minh City

Day 13: Depart Ho Chi Minh City

Today, depart the city for the onward or homeward journey.

Halong Bay

Imperial Citadel Hue

Pictures courtesy of Angie Watson

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Indochina

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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

 

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Country: Kenya

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Despite recent troubles, Kenya has an unique experience to offer everyone. Yes it is the most popular country for first time “Africa” visitors but it is also a favoured destination for the seasoned safari hand. It lends itself to the “Bush and Beach” holiday and is very popular with honeymooners.

Its Lodges and hotels vary widely in size and there is the added offer of staying on ranches – many of which have reverted to acting as wildlife sanctuaries. A chance to see and get close to wildlife from the back of a horse or on foot makes for an adrenalin making experience second to none.

Kenya is blessed with stunning backdrops – Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, The Rift Valley and the wide plains of the Masai Mara. Add in a huge variety of wildlife from the semi deserts of the northern frontier to the lush highlands and down to the tropical coast. Nowhere else can you see a million flamingos feeding in the Lake (Nakuru), herds of red dusted elephants (Tsavo), clouds of butterflies in the forest Parks (Aberdares) and the tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra (Masai Mara).

Finish your holiday on the Kenyan beaches, which are rightly famous for their silver sand, great snorkelling, diving and a wonderful place to unwind after the excitement of your safari.

The people are welcoming and appreciate their need for tourism and the benefits it can bring. With over 50 tribes, diversity is a given.

This is an ideal destination for the first time in sub Saharan Africa or for those discerning adventurers willing to seek out what the country has to offer beyond the usual.

All photographs by kind permission of Kenya Tourist Board

Beachbikedow      Hot Air Balloon      Wildebeast Crossing River

 

New South Wales (NSW)

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This itinerary combines Sydney with beautiful countryside and a popular wine region.

Summary

New South Wales

The chequered past of this state has evolved into the cosmopolitan city of Sydney and state of New South Wales that we know today.  Thankfully most accommodation these days has an en-suite bathroom and the bars on the windows have been removed!

Day 1: Sydney

Day 4: Port Stephens

Day 6: Hunter Valley

Day 8: Blue Mountains

Day 10: Sydney

 

 

Description

Description

The states of Australia are often combined into one itinerary, but here we explore a few ideas for New South Wales alone.  You might be surprised at just how much there is outside Sydney.

Day 1: Sydney
Welcome to Sydney where we suggest at least 3 nights in a central hotel. Start off with a harbour cruise; this will give you your bearings whilst enjoying your morning coffee or cocktail. Agility permitting, the Bridge Climb is highly recommended.

Sydney 3 nights

Day 4: Port Stephens
Collect a hire car and head for 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.

Port Stephens 2 nights

Day 6: Hunter Valley
Just under an hour away and nestled amongst the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges in the heart of the Hunter vineyards is Hunter Valley Gardens, one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations. Whether you’re a lover of wine and great food, an enthusiast of natural beauty and wildlife, or a keen golfer, the Hunter Valley has it all.

Hunter Valley 2 nights

Day 8: Blue Mountains
Today your destination is the Blue Mountains; the characteristic blue haze that envelopes the sandstone cliffs and valleys of this beautiful area is said to come from the oil suspended in the atmosphere from the ubiquitous eucalyptus trees. The Blue Mountains are indeed blue, at least when seen from a distance. The overall effect with the warm sandstone cliffs and the dull green eucalyptus is uniquely Australian, and the subject of many an artist’s work. The extraordinary vertical cliffs, innumerable waterfalls, suspended lookouts and quaint walking tracks make it an ideal destination for bushwalkers and hikers, as well as the more adrenalin-addicted who like to go canyoning or rock climbing.

Blue Mountains 2 nights

Day 10: Sydney
Return to Sydney to continue your Australia trip. Here are 3 suggestions…

  • Fly from Sydney airport to another region
  • Drive one of the Sydney – Melbourne Touring Routes down to Melbourne, via the Coastal Drive or inland (including Canberra) on the Heritage Route
  • Spend a few days in luxury on Lord Howe Island, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and unspoilt Pacific Islands

Photographs Copyright Australia Tourism

Blue Mountains Jamieson Valley      5.0.2

 

NSW      Sydney; Aerial

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Use the ferries to explore Sydney Harbour – they are cheap, accessible and regular.  Not only will you meet Aussies going about their daily business, but you’ll also get the best views of the city skyline, the Opera House and the Bridge, to name but a few.

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‘Everyone should visit Sydney once in their life and New Years Eve in Sydney is like no other that I have every experienced’

Country: New Zealand

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Self Drive Holidays in New Zealand

A country of wild mountains, rugged glaciers, deserted beaches, stunning lakes, boiling mud pools and rolling farmland, New Zealand is a photographer’s dream with fantastic scenery around almost every corner. Couple this with friendly people, a laid back way of life, and a fascinating culture and you have the key ingredients to a fantastic tailor made or bespoke holiday.

Comprised of two main islands – aptly named North Island and South Island, as well as a number of smaller islands, the most famous of these being Stewart Island, New Zealand is roughly the size of Britain, but with a population of only 4.5 million – meaning plenty of space away from crowds, and plenty of unspoilt beautiful highlights.

Whether you have a keen interest in tramping, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife, wine tasting or simply enjoy driving the open road, New Zealand has so much to offer. ‘Aotearoa’, is the traditional Maori name for New Zealand, and a vital element of any visit to the country is to learn of the Maori culture – perhaps best known for the ‘Haka’ but with so much more to learn than this alone.

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Winter Photography in Bryce Canyon Country

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Vicki Tester

 

Capture stunning winter photographs of iconic spots  throughout Bryce Canyon Country 

Snow-Covered Hoodoos 

Capture the largest collection of hoodoos in the world at Bryce Canyon. These rock formations invaded Bryce Canyon 40 million years ago and are always changing because of frost-wedging in the winter, so your snowy photograph will become a part of history.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Panguitch Lake

Whether you are looking up or down, frozen Panguitch Lake in Bryce Canyon Country offers beautiful scenery and great photograph opportunities. The snow and ice create an additional texture and color.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Winterized Arches

Arches like this one have been forming for millions of years in Bryce Canyon. Arches are always changing and eroding from wind, snow and ice. But your winter photograph will capture their beauty and always stay the same.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

If you are a keen photographer or just like visiting amazing places then please contact us for more ideas to help put your bespoke holiday together – Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

You can also visit www.brycecanyoncountry.com

Destinations Show, Olympia

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Vicki Tester

 


Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures

Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.

For your free tickets to Destinations Show, please go to: http://www.destinationsshow.com/london/form/registration  and then type in MSC97 in the appropriate place.

We look forward to seeing you at either event.

Why not visit Eastern Québec by Snowmobile?

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Vicki Tester

 

In the maritime regions of Québec it will soon be winter with snowy snowmobile trails! Have you ever considered taking a snowmobile vacation in Gaspésie, Côte-Nord or Bas-Saint-Laurent? Then take a look at the list which is sure to make you want to plan your next snowmobile adventure in Québec. 

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

  1. Heavy Snowfall and Excellent Trials – The maritime regions of Québec are renowned for their heavy snowfall, which makes for excellent trail conditions. Snowmobile trails are also well maintained thanks to the tireless efforts of local snowmobile clubs, which take care of signage and grooming.
  2. The St. Lawrence Seaway – One of the attractions of the regions is the proximity of the St. Lawrence. Whether you ride the trails of Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent or Gaspésie, you will have many opportunities to admire exceptional views of this frozen seaway and be amazed by its size!
  3. Percé Rock – An iconic landmark in Gaspésie, Percé Rock is an impressive sight in the winter. To access the lookout where you can admire this natural arch, take the local trail in Percé from Trans-Québec trail #3. You are sure to appreciate the view!
  4. The world’s highest snowmobile bridge – If you visit Côte-Nord, you’ll want to cross the highest snowmobile bridge in the world, which spans the Manicouagan River. The bridge is 213 metres (700 feet) long and 28 metres (90 feet) high.
  5. Chic-Choc Mountains – Snowmobilers riding the trail that runs along the Chic-Chocs in Gaspésie can admire superb views of this mountain chain. This trail is part of the Chic-Chocs–Forillon Loop, which begins in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.
  6. Loop ride options –  Bas-Saint-Laurent offers endless ride opportunities for snowmobilers. You can easily pick a home base and then enjoy day trips every day, returning to your hotel in the evenings for delicious dinners. This is a great way to explore a different sector every day!
  7. Matane–Baie-Comeau/Godbout ferry – Crossing the St. Lawrence with your snowmobile is a unique experience. Take the St. Lawrence Tour and hop on the MV F.-A.-Gauthier ferry (Matane to Baie-Comeau or Godbout). During the crossing, enjoy the magnificent view while taking advantage of onboard amenities such as the restaurant, bar and lounge areas.
  8. Lower North Shore – Have you heard of the White Trail? This unique snow road offers an exciting way to discover the villages and people of the Lower North Shore, which is not accessible by any other road. Note that this is an expert trail; if you have never done this type of expedition before, you must travel with a guide.
  9. A wide range of services – The maritime regions of Québec have long been a dream destination for snowmobilers. Consequently, they offer a wide range of lodging options, good restaurants and other services that are easily accessible from the snowmobile trails.
  10. A warm welcome – A snowmobile trip in the maritime regions of Québec is also an opportunity to interact with the people who live in these regions. Known for enjoying the good things in life, the residents you will meet, as well as service staff, will be happy to give you tips and share their favourite spots with.

 If this sounds like an experience you would like to make part of your bespoke holiday to Canada and the maritime regions of Québec then please contact us and let us help you make the most of your time there.

Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

 

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

 

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

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