Page 1

STEPPE

TRIBES

SOUTH KOREA

ORANGUTANS

YURT

HIMALAYAS

Alternative Asia 2016/17

ANGKOR WAT

JO R DA N

2017

MT BROMO

MONGOLIA

TAIWAN

NORTH KOREA

BURMA

MEKONG RIVER

SILK ROAD

CENTRAL ASIA

ABKHAZIA

FORBIDDEN CITY

TEMPLES

GOBI DESERT

TIGERS NEST MONASTERY

TSECHU

PLAIN OF JARS

SUN MOON LAKE

IRAN

YUNNAN

SEPIK RIVER

MONUMENTS

BHUTAN PAPUA NEW GUINEA CHINA BAGAN YANGTZE RIVER

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

PYONGYANG IRRAWADDY RIVER

INDONESIA MERGUI ARCHIPELAGO

BIRDWATCHING

HALONG BAY

Colston Tower, Colston Street, Bristol BS1 4XE Telephone: 020 7666 1292 Email: regent@regentholidays.co.uk www.regentholidays.co.uk Regent Holidays is part of ITC Luxury Travel Group Limited

GROUP TOURS

Alternative Asia 2017

HANOI

BEIJING

MIDDLE-EAST | CENTRAL ASIA | CAUCASUS | MONGOLIA | CHINA | TAIWAN | BHUTAN NORTH KOREA | SOUTH KOREA | BURMA | INDOCHINA | BORNEO | INDONESIA | PAPUA NEW GUINEA


Contents Contents

ITC Luxury Travel Group Limited THE COLLECTION

6-15 Central Asia 6

Middle East

11

Jordan Eco Adventure

16-19 Mongolia 10 Iran Beyond Tehran 20-25 China 12 Central Asia

16 Tashkent to Tehran – A Rail Adventure 26-33 North Korea 17 The Silk Road by Private Train 18 19 20 21

Classic Turkmenistan Discover Uzbekistan Uzbekistan & Tajikistan Explored Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Explored

34-37 South Korea 38-40 Taiwan 22 Caucasus

42-47 Bhutan 26 Essential Georgia 27

Essential Armenia

29

Pioneering Abkhazia

82 Borneo 86 87 88 89

Borneo for Beginners Borneo Orangutan Experience Essential Sarawak & Sabah Sarawak Wildlife & Culture

90 Indonesia 94

Papua New Guinea

Important Information 98 99

Country Information Booking Conditions

48-53 Burma 28 From the Caspian to the Black Sea 54-61 Indochina 30 Mongolia 34 China 62-69 Borneo 38

Essential China

41

Discover Yunnan Province

46

North Korea Group Tours

49

Pioneering North Korea

51

Tailor-made North Korea

52

South Korea

56 57

Highlights of South Korea Classic South Korea

40 Sichuan & Tibet – The Roof of the World 70-73 Indonesia

74-79 Papua 42 North Korea New Guinea 80 Information Classic Liberation 48 Country Day Tour

Pioneers of responsible travel, Rainbow Tours specialises in tailor-made holidays to Africa, Madagascar and Latin America, taking you to world famous sights as well as hidden corners right at the heart of local cultures. Their well-travelled team arranges safaris, custom-made trips for couples, family holidays, honeymoons and expert-led groups, as well as relaxing beach breaks.

www.rainbowtours.co.uk

Western & Oriental’s passion is tailor-made travel and personalised service. Their worldwide collection encompasses beach escapes, family holidays, multicentres, experiences and honeymoons. So whether it is the Caribbean & the USA, Far East, India & Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean & Middle East or the Mediterranean, their expert Travel Specialists can tailor the perfect holiday for you.

www.westernoriental.com

50 Booking of North Korea Hikes & Highlights 84 Conditions

58 Taiwan 62 Bhutan 66 67

Land of the Thunder Dragon Bhutan Grand Walking Tour

68 Burma 72 73

Express Burma Explore Burma

74 Indochina 78 79 80 81

Essential Vietnam Discover Vietnam & Cambodia Explore Laos Heritage of Indochina

A pioneer in luxury travel, ITC has spent over 40 years creating bespoke holidays of a lifetime for our valued clients. As one of the UK’s longest-established independent, luxury tour operators we offer a genuine passion for travel, extraordinary local knowledge, a pedantic approach to fine details and an inspired workforce who sincerely love what they do.

www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk Orangutan at Camp Leakey rehabilitation Center, Borneo ©Shutterstock Inc RM / Janelle Lugge

Founded in 1983, Villa Select is known for its unique and discerning selection of carefully hand-picked villas across Europe, the Caribbean and Thailand. From traditional, rustic countryside retreats to contemporary, centrallylocated luxury villas, Villa Select provides a friendly and professional service from the moment you book right through to the service you receive in resort.

www.villaselect.com


www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Specialist on 020 7666 1292


SPECIALISTS IN THE ALTERNATIVE FOR OVER 40 YEARS Regent Holidays has been pioneering travel experiences to a wide range of unique and off-the-beaten-track destinations since 1970. Whether you want to experience the propaganda-filled world of North Korea, travel through the ancient cities of the Silk Road, discover the Tibetan-influenced temples of Shangri-La or watch the sun rise over 2,000 temples in Burma, our Travel Specialists can offer expert advice on planning your alternative holiday.

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Ask the Experts Welcome to our 2017 brochure, an eclectic collection of our favourite unique and inspiring places to visit in Asia. And we should know; from our earliest forays into the Central Asian Republics in 1983 to our groundbreaking North Korea tours in 1985, we’ve been pioneers in off-the-beaten-track holidays for over 40 years. This brochure contains just a small selection of our most popular alternative experiences in Asia including a new range of holidays in the Middle East. We are also proud to launch our newest destination Abkhazia. Visit our website for more inspiration, or call a Regent Travel Specialist on 020 7666 1292 for expert travel advice.

For Holiday Pioneers If you’re thinking about a Regent holiday, you’re probably somebody who likes to do things a little differently. Our destinations can be off-the-beaten-track, and some still remain relatively underdeveloped. That’s just part of what makes them so unique; travelling with this in mind will help you appreciate the little quirks and cultural differences you may encounter on your journey. Our Travel Specialists are on hand to give advice on what to expect.

Specialist Knowledge It’s important to get the most out of your holiday, whether it’s a short break in Taiwan or a three week journey encompassing all the highlights of Indochina. Because our team of Bristol-based experts travel frequently and extensively, they can offer specialist advice to help plan your ideal alternative holiday. Look out for their insider tips throughout this brochure or visit our website to read detailed blogs from their latest travels.

Group Tours or Tailor-Made Travel The collection of suggested tailor-made itineraries and group tours featured in this brochure are just a few of our recommendations for experiencing the best that these fascinating destinations have to offer. Some of our group tours are unique one-off tours designed to tie in with special events, while others have regular departures throughout the year; our Travel Specialists can advise which would be best for you. If you choose to opt for a tailor-made tour, our country experts will use their extensive knowledge to help put together the perfect itinerary especially for you, departing any day, for any duration, with or without a local guide.

Holidays protected by ATOL Your financial protection is important to us, which is why we are fully bonded by ATOL. Our ATOL licence (2786) protects any Regent Holidays package that includes

a flight, and ensures that your money would be refunded or that you would be repatriated in the unlikely event of our insolvency. We are also a member of ABTA (ABTA number V2359) which means we are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you. Also if your holiday does not include flights, ABTA will financially protect your holiday by ensuring you receive a refund or, if your arrangements include return travel to the UK (other than flights) you are returned to the UK in the event that your holiday cannot be provided as a result of our insolvency.

Award-Winning Holidays We are very proud to have been voted Best Small Tour Operator to East and Central Asia at the 2012 British Travel Awards as well as runner-up in 2014 and 2016. Our North Korea Specialist and part-time tour leader Carl Meadows was also Highly Commended in the 2013 Wanderlust World Guide Awards for his exceptional guiding in this unique country.

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Specialist on 020 7666 1292

5


Middle East The Middle East doesn’t get an awful lot of good press these days; with the various conflicts in the region it isn’t considered a holiday destination to most. But those shrewd and informed travellers who make the journey are rewarded with an exceptionally friendly welcome and discover lands full of awe-inspiring sites and stunning ancient culture - not to mention a sumptuous cuisine of spice blends and recipes perfectly refined over many generations.


Middle East TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from UK: Approx. 5 ½ hours Time zone: GMT + 3 Capital: IRAN – Tehran JORDAN – Amman Language: IRAN – Persian JORDAN – Arabic Currency: IRAN – Rial JORDAN – Dinar Best time to travel: April to October Getting around: Private vehicle with driver-guide, trains, domestic flights Accommodation: Caravanserais, 3-5* hotels, boutique hotels, guesthouses, camping, eco-lodges, homestays MIDDLE EAST IN NUMBERS

24,000 1395 20,000 Nose jobs in Iran each year

Current year in Iran

Number of car parking spaces at Ayatollah Khomeini’s Mausoleum

1 1,500

Metres that the Dead Sea recedes each year

Number of candles used to light Petra for Petra by night For our full range of Middle East itineraries, group tours and railway holidays, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


The Inside Story

Story to tell Marianne Grimshaw

Peaceful Jordan has remained a region of calm despite the issues that define its neighbouring countries and its historic sites are both bountiful and world-class. The iconic Nabatean city of Petra and the Roman city of Jerash can be combined with hikes through forested nature reserves, vast craggy gorges and rust-red deserts where towering rocky outcrops rise hundreds of metres from the sands. The variety of experiences available in Jordan seems endless; five-star luxury awaits in hotels overlooking the Dead Sea while humble bedouin tented camps in the Wadi Rum provide authentic cultural experiences and unrivalled stargazing opportunities. Re-emerging as a destination for curious UK travellers, Iran is home to some of the best Islamic architecture in the world. Bright blue domed mosques, madrassahs and glittering shrines adorn every town and city while ancient monuments and city ruins lie dotted throughout the country. Along with these sights visitors are treated to the friendliest of welcomes from the Iranians.

Why I love the Middle East To me there is nothing quite as magical as watching the sun begin to set over a city and listening to the call of prayer ring out from the mosques in unison with one another. It’s the perfect ending to a day of visiting excavated sites of ancient empires and beautifully designed buildings with their intricate decorations.

9300 BC

30AD

636

1219

1917

Jordanian hunter gatherers start cultivating wheat

Jesus is baptised by John the Baptist in River Jordan

Islamic rule begins in Iran after Arab invasion ends Sassanid dynasty

Mongol invasion of Iran begins

TE Lawrence assists the Arab Revolt in Jordan

550 BC

330

1187

1812

1946

Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

Alexander defeats Achaemenid Empire and razes Persepolis

Saladin’s armies defeat Crusaders and take back control of Palestine

Burckhardt is first European to see Petra

Jordan formally recognised as an independent sovereign kingdom

Talk to a Middle East Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Middle East

Regent Recommends Classic Jordan

North Iran Highlights

Friendliness of Iran

Days 1-2 Fly to Amman and tour the central, historic Roman ruins and sample authentic Jordanian cuisine at bustling Rainbow Street. Day 3 Visit brilliantly preserved Roman site, Jerash. Day 4 Drive via a Crusader castle to the ancient Nabatean city of Petra entering through the siq in the footsteps of Indiana Jones. Day 5 Explore the rockhewn tombs and magnificent Monastery and Treasury of Petra. Day 6 Head into the wild desert of Wadi Rum, climb sand dunes, ride a camel and stargaze from camp. Day 7 Lie back and relax in the salty Dead Sea. Day 8 Fly back to the UK.

Day 1 Fly to Tabriz. Day 2 Visit Tabriz’s Blue Mosque and UNESCO-listed bazaar. Day 3 Reach the north mountains. Day 4 Hike through the hills to Babek Castle; then visit Ardebil. Day 5 Visit Masouleh village. Day 6 Explore remote castles. Day 7 Drive along the Caspian coast to Mahmoud Abad. Days 8-9 Search for wildlife in Golestan National Park. Day 10 Head south and spend a night in a small desert village. Day 11 Overnight homestay in desert oasis, Gharmeh. Day 12 Roam the desert by camel. Days 13-14 Uncover Isfahan. Day 15 Fly back to the UK.

Without a doubt anyone who returns from Iran comments on the friendly welcome that the Iranians give all visitors, “just because our governments are not friends it doesn’t mean the people aren’t” is a sentence that rings out time and again. The Iranians will quite happily stop visitors in the street in cities and villages to ask where they are from and welcome them to Iran and possibly invite them to their houses for tea and food. A stark opposite to the media portrayal, the Iranian society is modern and forward thinking, what else could come from a nation so shaped by ancient poets and scholars?

1971

1980-88

1994

2007

2016

Iranian Shah spends over $20million on a party for world leaders fuelling the growing revolutionary sentiment

Iran-Iraq war

Jordan -Israel peace treaty signed

Iran produces largest handmade carpet the size of a football pitch

Jordan wins first ever Olympic medal with gold in Taekwondo

1979

1993

1996

2008

Iranian revolution

Jordan’s largest biosphere reserve Dana is established

King Abdullah II of Jordan makes a guest appearance in Star Trek: Voyager

Animated film of Marjane Satrapi’s autobiography Persepolis is released

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Middle East Specialist on 020 7666 1292

9


Nasir al-Mulk mosque, Shiraz, Iran

Iran Beyond Tehran This tailor-made tour itinerary is perfect for visitors to Iran keen to delve deeper into a beautiful and intriguing Middleeastern nation bursting with ancient history, colourful culture and varied natural landscapes. Visiting traditional villages, exploring off-the-beaten-track regions and meeting local communities offers an unparalleled insight into the country of Iran, venturing beyond the large cities.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Tehran | Depart the UK and arrive in Tehran late evening. Transfer to your hotel. Day 2 Tehran | Uncover Iran’s history on a tour through Tehran; visit the National Archaeological Museum and the lavish buildings of Golestan Palace before perhaps spotting the Crown Jewels, wandering the Contemporary Art Museum or the Reza Abassi Museum. (B) Day 3 Tehran to Kashan | Stop in the holy city of Qom on the way to Kashan. Explore the Fin Gardens, bustling bazaar, and the historic buildings and alleyways in the old town. (B) Days 4-6 Kashan to Isfahan | Visit the lovinglyrestored Tabatabaei House and Borujordi House before driving to Abyaneh, a traditional village in the hills constructed of mud bricks. After lunch drive to Isfahan and spend two days in the city. Opt for an evening walk along the Zayandeh river bridges. Head to Isfahan’s showpiece – Naqsh e Jahan Square. Built by Shah Abbas in the 17th century, the square is overlooked by Ali Kapu Palace, Imam Mosque and Lotfullah Mosque, and is ringed by arcades now home to craftsmen. Discover

Jolfa, the Armenian quarter south of the river. Visit the 17th Century Vank Cathedral and the Armenian History Museum before continuing to the gardens of Chehel Sotun Palace. (B) Days 7-8 Isfahan to Yazd | En route to Yazd stop at the small town of Na’in, home to one of the oldest mosques in Iran. In the heart of the desert, Yazd is famous for its Zoroastrian wind towers which dominate the skyline. Travel out to the Towers of Silence, the sky burial platforms, and the Fire Temple in which a flame has been burning since 470AD. Explore the high mud brick walls of the old city and spot the minarets towering over the Masjid e Jameh. (B)

today takes you to Shiraz. Ask about breaking the journey with a night in a cave village. (B) Day 12 Shiraz | Visit the Shah e Cheragh Shrine, the Nomad’s bazaar, the orange gardens of Naranjestan Pavilion and explore The Pink Mosque, where the sun streams in through the stained glass. (B) Day 13 Persepolis | Set off for the Achaemenid city, Persepolis, built by Darius the Great and destroyed by Alexander. (B) Day 14 Fly to the UK | Relax at leisure until your evening transfer to the airport. (B)

Day 9 Yazd to Kerman | Once an important trading post, Kerman is still set around the historic bazaar. Explore the city, visit the Masjid e Jameh and wander the coppersmith and gold sections of the bazaar. (B) Day 10 Mahen & Rayen | Deep in the desert, visit the ancient adobe citadel at Rayen and also the town of Mahen, home to the mausoleum of a Sufi mystic and poet. (B) Day 11 Kerman to Shiraz | A long day’s drive

Tour duration

14 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private Guided

Seasonality

Sep-Nov, Mar-Jun

Prices from

£3620 per person

Includes flights, accomodation, transfers and sightseeing tours. Price excludes Iran visa.

10 Talk to a Middle East Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Wadi Rum desert landscape, Jordan

Jordan Eco Adventure On the east bank of the Jordan River, this dry and barren country with scarcely any natural resources of its own has flourished into a diverse cultural hub, rich in ancient history and adventure. In the heart of the Middle East, sprawling modern towns share Jordan with vast nature reserves, arresting ochre desert landscapes, and striking travel icons like ancient Petra and the Dead Sea.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Amman | Depart London this afternoon on your flight to Amman. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Day 2 Desert Castles | Leave the city and set off for the desert castles. Dating from Umayyad times, these former hunting lodges, bathing houses and small castles stand alone in the dry wilderness with varying designs. Continue to the Azraq Wetlands, a nature reserve preserving an important area for migrating birdlife. Explore with a guide. (B,D) Day 3 Azraq Wetlands to Ajloun Nature Reserve | There is time for a morning bird watching session before you drive to the pistachio and oak tree-covered hills of Ajloun in northern Jordan stopping along the way at the Aljoun Crusader Castle. (B,D) Day 4 Ajloun Nature Reserve | Walk the Alyoun trail through the reserve which is set in the Jordanian highlands. Enjoy lunch with a local family. (B,L,D) Day 5 Jerash to Dana Nature Reserve | Today visit Jerash, one of the best preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. Wander columnlined streets, climb the steps of the theatres

and spot ancient mosaics adorning church floors. Next head to Dana Nature Reserve, the first of its kind in Jordan. Tonight’s cliffside accommodation boasts outstanding views across the wadi. (B,D) Day 6 Dana Nature Reserve | Follow the Wadi Dana Trail 14km from the guesthouse to Feynan Ecolodge. Beginning at 1,700m, wind your way down through the wadi into the base of the Great Rift Valley passing unique layered rock formations formed over the millennia. Spend the evening in the candlelit eco lodge and stargaze from the roof. (B,L,D) Day 7 Wadi Rum | Head to Shobak Castle, one of the impressive Crusader castles, and after exploring the battlements and secret passageways, drive to Wadi Rum. With a 4WD and a Bedouin Guide, explore a lunar landscape where rocky outcrops rise hundreds of metres out of the red sand. Try climbing dunes and ride a camel before staying a night in a desert camp. (B,D) Day 8 Wadi Rum to Petra | Awake in the peaceful desert silence and drive to the magnificent rose red city of Petra. Enter the

site through the siq and explore the Treasury and the city centre, lined with tombs, palaces and Roman columns. (B) Day 9 Petra | A second day in Petra takes you further from the tourist routes, enabling you to experience the ancient civilisation’s lesservisited treasures. Trade the canyon floor for a walk along the clifftops; appreciate the sheer scale of Petra with sweeping panoramas and spot distant tombs hidden in the rocky mountains. Descend from the High Place of Sacrifice and climb the 800 steps to the Monastery, rivalling the Treasury for aweinspiring carvings. (B) Day 10 Dead Sea | Lying 420m below sea level, the Dead Sea experiences high average temperatures. Cool down with a walk in Mujib Canyon; walk up the river, scramble past rocks and sit under waterfalls, then slide or float your way back down. For a more leisurely afternoon, return to the Dead Sea to lie back and float away the afternoon. (B,D) Day 11 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for your return flight. (B)

Tour duration

11 Days

Holiday type Tailor-made Private, Guided Seasonality

Sep-Nov, Feb-Jun

Prices from

£2790 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk www.regentholidays.co.uk||Talk Talkto toaaCentral Middle East Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1244 1292

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Central Asia

Shimmering desert towns, ornate Islamic palaces and bizarre Soviet structures vie for attention in the Central Asian republics. Follow in the footsteps of the Silk Road traders on a journey from futuristic cities to ancient caravanserais, stopping at markets and madrassahs where little has changed in the intervening centuries. Travel by road or rail and discover a legendary landscape of towering snowcapped mountains, endless yurt-dotted steppe and vast deserts scattered with ancient ruins.

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Central Asia TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 7 hours Time zone: GMT + 5/6 Capital: UZB: Tashkent, TUR: Ashgabat, KAZ: Astana, KYR: Bishkek, TAJ: Dushanbe Language: UZB: Uzbek, TAJ: Tajik, TUR: Turkmen, KAZ: Kazakh, KYR: Kygyz, All: Russian widely spoken Currency: UZB: Uzbekistani Som, TUR: Turkmenistan Manat, KAZ: Kazakhstani Tenge, TAJ: Tajikistani Somoni, KYR: Kyrgyz Som Best time to travel: Spring & Autumn Getting around: Private car with driver-guide, river cruise, scenic railway, hot air balloon, train Accommodation: Tourist class hotels, basic guesthouses, traditional yurts, homestays CENTRAL ASIA IN NUMBERS

131 7,439 7 796

Different ethnicities in Kazakhstan

Highest peak in the Tian Shan mountains (metres)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited on the Silk Road train

Years since Genghis Khan’s Mongol invasion of Samarkand For our full range of Central Asia itineraries, group tours and railway holidays, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.

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The Inside Story

Story to tell Michael Voss

The dazzling diversity of Central Asia has drawn travellers for centuries. The colourful cohabitation of Islamic and Communist and the eclectic mix of ancient and modern create the drama of life in this extraordinary region today. For a true insight into old-meets-new, be sure to visit one of Central Asia’s remarkable bazaars, where traders sell everything from livestock to Lada parts. Regent’s knowledgeable Central Asia Specialists can tailormake a tour to any of the five republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan. For those with more time, combine two or three different countries to create your own unique Silk Road odyssey. Travelling with a driver-guide, you’ll discover ancient monuments, pristine landscapes and local hospitality. Travel in this diverse region is not always easy: altitudes can be high, journeys long and facilities basic, but the end result is always rewarding: from the bizarre monuments inspired by Turkmenistan’s cult of personality to traditional life on the Kyrgyz steppe, experiences in Central Asia are as vast as the landscape.

Why I love Central Asia Turkmenistan may score low on the Democracy Index but it comes high on my list of favourite places to visit. From meeting hospitable locals at the colourful markets, where buying a piece of fruit can turn into an hour’s chat, to camping in the desert by the glowing Darvaza gas crater, this country serves up countless unique experiences.

328 BC

114 BC

c. 700

c. 1300

1526

Alexander the Great invades Central Asia and takes Samarkand in Uzbekistan

Chinese Han Dynasty extends Silk Road through Central Asia

Islam introduced to the region

Kyrgyz people migrate from Siberia to Tien Shan Mountains

Babur takes Kandahar and Delhi and establishes Moghul Empire in India

200 BC

50-330

1227

1497

1715

The Huns emerge on the Kazakh-China border

Kushan Empire envelopes Tajikistan

Mongols, led by Genghis Khan, conquer Central Asia

Fergana ruler, Babur, captures Samarkand at age 14

Peter the Great leads first Russian expedition to Kazakh Steppes

Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Central Asia

Regent Recommends Tashkent Short Break

Tailor-Made Uzbek

Tailor-Made Silk Road

For a more unusual city break, discover Uzbekistan’s capital and be rewarded with a unique glimpse into the lost world of the Orient in one of the oldest cities in the world. Rebuilding has left little of the ancient city, but the small Old Town, with its narrow winding alleys, offers an insight into Tashkent’s Silk Road history. Look past the Soviet-era architecture and discover ancient mausoleums and imposing madrassahs. Climb up to the observation deck of the TV tower and discover a city that is remarkably green and attractive and for those who like to shop, be sure to visit the world-famous Chorsu Bazaar and haggle for souvenirs.

For those who prefer independent travel, our Central Asia Specialists can put together a tailor-made Uzbekistan tour. Let us know your time frame, interests and budget and we can suggest an ideal itinerary; perhaps you’d like to spend some extra time in Tashkent to wander the capital’s many museums, maybe you’d like to plan your visit so that you can experience Margilan’s wonderful Sunday bazaar, or you may wish to ask our advice on how long to spend in the incredible Silk Road cities of Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand in order to explore the magnificent monuments and mausoleums. Contact a Regent Central Asia expert to discuss your plans.

For pioneering independent travellers, embark on a tailor made tour encompassing three of the Central Asian republics. Drive through Uzbekistan’s Kyzyl-Kum desert to the mausoleums and madrassahs of Bukhara, take the overnight train to Kazakhstan to explore Turkestan and Almaty, and discover the alpine meadows and flowing brooks of Kyrgyzstan’s Ala-Archa Valley National Park. We will organise everything, including your private transfers, train tickets, sightseeing excursions and specialist local guides to ensure that you experience the highlights of the region, from the ghost city of Otrar to the museums and colourful bazaars of Bishkek.

1784-1804

1916

1991

2002

2014

Uzbek khanates of Bukhara, Kokand and Khiva established

Basmachi Revolt opposing Russian rule grips Central Asia

Central Asian republics gain independence following collapse of Soviet Union

Eccentric Turkmenistan President Niyazov renames the months of the year after himself, his mother and his book, the Ruhnama

Regent wins Best Small Tour Operator to East and Central Asia at British Travel Awards

1865-1884

1924-27

1996

2006

Russia captures and assumes control over most of Central Asia

Stalin draws the borders of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan agree to create a single economic market

Kyrgyz government resigns, paving way for early parliamentary elections

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292 1244

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Shah-i-Zinda, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Tashkent to Tehran - A Rail Adventure This unforgettable journey, from Tashkent in Uzbekistan to Tehran in Iran introduces travellers to the varied cultures that have developed along the legendary Silk Road. This comfortable rail tour combining on-board accommodation and nights in hotels, effortlessly takes in the ancient landmarks that mark the trading route through three of Central Asia’s most intriguing countries.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Tashkent | Arrive in Uzbekistan’s capital and transfer to your hotel. Day 2 Tashkent | A whistle-stop tour of Tashkent visits the Old City, several stunning medieval blue-tiled Madrassahs, the Museum of Applied Art, Independence Square and the Friendship People’s Square. Attend the famous Tashkent Navoy Opera and board the train to depart for Samarkand overnight. (B,L,D) Day 3 Samarkand | Explore some of the most notable architectural sites in Central Asia while in this historic city, from the Necropolis of Shah-e Zinde, the excavation sites at Afrosiab and the immense madrassah-lined Registan Square. (B,L,D) Day 4 Samarkand | Tour a silk carpet workshop, visit an Uzbek mulberry paper craftsman, stop at the Ulug Beg Observatory and peek into the interior of the Gur Emir Mausoleum. Depart for Bukhara in the evening. Overnight on board. (B,L,D) Day 5 Bukhara | In the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara boasts over a thousand monuments which recall the halcyon days of the Great Silk Road. In the old city see the Kaljan Minaret

and the Labi-Hauz Ensemble before exploring the Mire-e-Arab Madrassah and the Samanid Mausoleum. (B,L,D)

continue to Isfahan for dinner in a former caravanserai where spices, furs and silks were once stored. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Merv | Cross the Turkmenistan border into the UNESCO-protected city of Merv, made up of five separate adjacent cities which each played an important part in the development of the Silk Road for more than 2,000 years. In the afternoon travel to Ashgabat. (B,L,D)

Days 11-12 Isfahan | Spend two days discovering Isfahan. Set off for the UNESCO listed Imam Square, taking in the best views from the Ali-Qapu Palace veranda. Visit the Lotfullah Mosque and cross the famous bridges to visit the Armenian Quarter (B,L,D)

Day 7 Ashgabat | Tour ancient Parthian City, Nisa before exploring Ashgabat where ancient culture meets flashy new-found oil wealth. Visit the National Museum to understand a region shaped by various peoples, ethnicities, and religions. (B,L,D) Day 8 Mashhad | Cross the border and reach Mashhad, one of the seven holy sites of the Shiite Islam – and the only one in Iran. (B,L,D) Day 9 Yazd | Depart Mashhad by train for the desert city of Yazd, night on board. (B,L,D) Day 10 Yazd | Explore a city founded by Alexander the Great, dominated by ancient wind towers and domes. Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Towers of Silence and

Day 13 Shiraz | Explore the city of poetry and roses, Shiraz, home to beautiful gardens and the nation’s favourite poet, Hafez. Visit the Nasir Al Molk Mosque (the Pink Mosque), the old bazaar and the Shah Cheragh Mausoleum. (B,L,D)

Day 14 Persepolis | Uncover the crumbling pillars and bas reliefs of the ancient Persepolis and Pasargadae archaeological sites. (B,L,D) Day 15 Tehran | Discover the opulent excesses of Golestan Palace and explore the Iranian capital city. (B,L,D) Day 16 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

16 Days

Holiday type Railway Tour Guided Departures

16 Sep

Prices from

£4630 per person

Includes accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours. Price excludes iran visa.

16 Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Ak Sarai Palace, Shakhrisabz

The Silk Road by Private Train Discover the ancient towns of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan by comfortable, private train on this incredible Silk Road journey. Cars on the privately chartered train have up to nine compartments, each sleeping either two or four travellers. Choose from Habibi, Ali Baba, Aladin or Kalif class and watch endless deserts and steppe roll gently by.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Ashgabat | Arrive in Turkmenistan’s capital and transfer to a hotel for one night. Day 2 Nisa | Visit the colourful Tolkuchka Bazaar, one of the largest markets in Central Asia. Discover the old Parthian city of Nisa before returning to Ashgabat for a city tour of the eccentric capital. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D)

Day 3 Merv | Arrive in the UNESCOprotected city of Merv, with its impressive ruins including the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar and Virgin Fortress. Enjoy lunch in the picturesque courtyard of an artist. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D) Day 4 Bukhara | Journey into Uzbekistan’s Kyzyl-Kum desert and arrive in the ancient city of Bukhara for a city tour including the Kaljan Minaret and Labi-Hauz Ensemble. Dinner and a traditional performance are enjoyed in the courtyard of a madrassah. Overnight in a hotel. (B,L,D) Day 5 Bukhara | Enjoy a full day tour of Bukhara including the magnificent Mire-eArab Madrasah, the Samanid Mausoleum, the fortress Ark and a unique women-only mosque. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Bukhara | Spend the morning at leisure. Perhaps explore Bukhara further before departing in the afternoon on the train to Khiva. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D) Day 7 Khiva | Arrive in Khiva. On a tour of the museum city discover palaces, mosques and mausoleums and enjoy lunch at the former Summer Palace of the Emir. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D) Day 8 Samarkand | A city tour including remarkable Registan Square reveals some of Central Asia’s most impressive architecture. Overnight in a hotel. (B,L,D) Day 9 Samarkand | Visit a silk carpet factory before continuing the sightseeing of Samarkand with a tour to the ruins of the Bibi Khanum Mosque and the palace-like Gur Emir Mausoleum. Overnight in a hotel.(B,L,D)

Day 11 Tashkent | On a sightseeing tour of Tashkent discover the Madrasah Kukeldash and Amir Timur monument before attending the famous Tashkent Navoy Opera (depending on schedule). Overnight on the train. (B,L,D) Day 12 Turkestan | Arrive in Kazakhstan and the pilgrimage city of Turkestan. Visit the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D) Day 13 Almaty | Reach Kazakhstan’s former capital and visit the Zenkov Russian Cathedral. In the evening enjoy a farewell dinner in a Kazakh yurt before transferring to the airport for the night flight back to the UK. (B,L,D) Day 14 Arrive in the UK

Day 10 Shakhrisabz | Discover Shaman traditions and ceremonies on an excursion into the mountains. Continue along the Great Silk Road to the green city of Shakhrisabz, dotted with ruins from its Timur heyday. Enjoy Uzbek wine tasting back on board the train. Overnight on the train. (B,L,D)

Tour duration

14 Days

Holiday type Railway Tour Guided Departures

30 Mar, 11th Apr & 05, 17 Oct

Prices from

£2905 per person

Includes accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292

17


Turkmenistan Mosque

Classic Turkmenistan Possibly the most reclusive of the Central Asian states, Turkmenistan has been largely overlooked by the world since gaining independence in 1991. This Regent Holidays exclusive group tour provides a fascinating insight into the republic’s history: admire the lavish marble palaces of Ashgabat, journey into the Karakum Desert to witness the flaming Darvaza crater and find out why Merv was one of the most important cities on the Silk Road.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Ashgabat | Take an overnight flight to Ashgabat. Day 2 Ashgabat | Arrive in Ashgabat and transfer to the hotel one night. Enjoy an excursion to Tolkuchka Bazaar, one of Central Asia’s most impressive markets, before a city sightseeing tour including the WWII Memorial and Turkmenbashy Square. (B,L,D) Day 3 Ashgabat to Darvaza | Visit the Turkmen Carpet Museum and the National Museum which gives an insight into the history of the Turkmen nation and its people. After lunch, head north into the Karakum Desert to visit the semi-nomadic village of Erbent before arriving at Darvaza, an impressive flaming gas crater which has been burning since 1971. Camp overnight in the desert. (B,L,D) Day 4 Darvaza to Dashoguz | Continue through the desert to Konye Urgench, once considered one of the most important cities in the Islamic world. Although largely destroyed by the Mongols and Timur, there are some fascinating UNESCO-protected remains. Continue to the provincial capital of Dashoguz to overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Dashoguz to Turkmenbashy | Visit Dashoguz’s main market before a short flight to Turkmenbashy on the Caspian coast. Visit the small Japanese Memorial before an introductory tour of the city, including the chance to search for caviar in the Cheryomushki Market. (B,L,D) Day 6 Turkmenbashy to Balkanabat | Continue to Balkanabat, provincial capital of the region, and enjoy an introductory tour of the city followed by free time to explore. (B,L,D) Day 7 Balkanabat to Ashgabat | Visit the Kow Ata Underground Lake and Mosque of Turkmenbashy en route to Ashgabat. (B,L,D)

settled in the Bronze Age and believed to be the birthplace of Zoroastrianism. (B,L,D) Day 10 Merv to Ashgabat | Discover the scattered UNESCO-protected ruins of Merv, where today little remains of this once great Silk Road city. Fly back to Ashgabat. (B,L,D) Day 11 Ashgabat | Explore Ashgabat and enjoy a day at leisure. (B,D) Day 12 Fly to the UK | Enjoy a free morning at leisure before transferring to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B,L)

Day 8 Ashgabat to Mary | Enjoy additional sightseeing in Ashgabat with visits to the Atamurat Niyazov Memorial, Lenin Monument, Turkmenistan Trade Centre and Ashgabat Park. Visit Nisa Fortress, an impressive Parthian site, before a short flight to the city of Mary located in a large oasis in the middle of the Karakum Desert. (B,L,D) Day 9 Mary to Gonur | Travel across the desert by 4WD Russian UAZ jeep to the remote archaeological site of Gonur, first

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Tour duration

12 days

Holiday type

Group Tour Fully Guided

Departures

7 Oct

Group size

Min 8, Max 12

Prices from

£2985 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Mausoleum Gur Emir, Samarkand

Discover Uzbekistan For those wanting to discover the main highlights of Uzbekistan this tour travels from the bustling capital of Tashkent to Samarkand, where magnificent Registan Square lies at the heart of the ancient city, and onwards to the UNESCO listed sites of Bukhara and Khiva. This itinerary can also be extended to include visits to some lesser known areas such as Nukus, capital of the Karakalpakstan Republic and Moynaq to discover the graveyard of ships in the desert.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Tashkent | Take an overnight flight to Tashkent. Day 2 Arrive Tashkent | Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to the hotel. Spend the morning at leisure to relax after the flight and in the afternoon embark upon a sightseeing tour of the cosmopolitan capital. Highlights include the Old City, Brak-Khan Madrasah, Kaffalal Shashi Mazar, the Museum of Applied Art, Independence Square and the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet. (B,L,D) Day 3 Tashkent to Samarkand | Travel to Samarkand, capital of the Timur Empire in the 14th century. Visit the magnificent Registan Square, the heart of the ancient city, where three towering madrassahs dating from the 15th and 17th centuries frame the public square. (B) Day 4 Samarkand | Spend the day sightseeing in Samarkand. Tour the ruins of BibiKhanum Mosque and the palace-like GuriEmir Mausoleum. Discover Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, a remarkable complex of sparkling blue mausoleums and visit Siab Bazaar, the city’s biggest market full of colourful fruits,

vegetables and spices. (B)

which hugs the Uzbek-Turkmen border. (B)

Day 5 Samarkand to Bukhara | Travel to Bukhara, capital of the Samanid state in the 9th century. This 2,000 year old Silk Road city was once Central Asia’s religious and cultural heart. (B)

Day 9 Khiva | Spend the day exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khiva, a masterpiece of eastern medieval architecture. This exceptionally well-preserved museumcity is full of mosques, tombs, palaces and madrassahs. (B)

Day 6 Bukhara | Spend the day exploring Bukhara with an English-speaking guide. Visit the famous tomb of Ismail Samani, a masterpiece of 10th-century Muslim architecture, explore the historic Lyabi Khauz complex, with its medieval buildings surrounding a decorative pool and discover many 17th-century madrassahs. (B) Day 7 Bukhara | Visit Bolo Khauz Mosque, the immense Ark fortress and the magnificent Sitorai-Mohi-Khosa Palace – the summer residence of the last Bukhara emirs. Explore the Bakhoutdin Nakshbandy Complex and Mausoleum located outside the city. Spend the afternoon exploring Bukhara further or simply relax and enjoy a refreshing drink in a traditional tea house. (B)

Day 10 Urgench to Tashkent | Fly to Tashkent. Meet with the local guide and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this often overlooked capital. Spend the last evening in Uzbekistan at leisure. (B) Day 11 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Day 8 Bukhara to Khiva | Travel to Khiva, stopping en route for a stroll along the picturesque bank of the Amu Darya River

Tour duration

11 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£1875 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292

19


Aq-saray Palace

Uzbekistan & Tajikistan Explored Combine some of the highlights of Uzbekistan with a journey to the mysterious and mountainous Republic of Tajikistan on this suggested tailor-made holiday. Discover mosques and madrassahs in the UNESCO listed site of Bukhara, travel offthe-beaten track to Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane, spend time in the Fan Mountains enjoying traditional Tajik hospitality and stop for a picnic on the shores of Iskander-Kul Lake.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Tashkent | Fly to Tashkent. Day 2 Tashkent | Arrive in Tashkent and transfer to Samarkand. Embark on a walking tour of this former grand capital including a visit to the Registan Complex and the grandiose Bibi-Khanum Mosque. (B,L,D) Day 3 Samarkand to Bukhara | Continue sightseeing in Samarkand with visits to the Guri-Emir Mausoleum, the famous Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shakhi-Zinda necropolis - a large ancient cemetery. Browse the colourful stalls of Siab Bazaar before transferring to Bukhara. (B) Day 4 Bukhara | The historic centre of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassahs, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the highlights of this great city including Saminids Mausoleum, PoiKalan complex and the Ark Citadel. (B) Day 5 Bukhara to Shakhrisabz | Travel to Emir’s Summer Palace, visit Bahauddin Haqshbandi Complex and in the afternoon transfer to Shakhrisabz. (B) Day 6 Shakhrisabz to Termez | Explore the small town of Shakhrisabz. Discover what remains of

Ak Saray Palace, visit Kok Gumbaz Mosque and the Mausoleum of Sheikh Shamsedin Kulyal. In the afternoon continue to Termez. (B) Day 7 Termez | Located on the southern Uzbek border with Afghanistan, Termez is surrounded by a landscape dotted with ancient monuments and sites attesting to a more glorious past. Explore the town and visit Jarkurgan village - famous for its medieval minaret. (B) Day 8 Termez to Baysun | Travel towards Baysuntong Mountains to Baysun, a pleasant town surrounded by green valleys and the grand Ketmen-Chapti massif. Learn about the local way of life, traditions and culture of ancient Tajik and Turkic people. (B) Day 9 Baysun to Dushanbe | Visit the ruins of Hissar Fortress en route to Dushanbe, a pleasant capital with tree-lined streets and pastel coloured neo-classical buildings. Here visit the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. (B,L,D) Day 10 Dushanbe to Magrib Bolo | Travel to Vagnob Valley, home to several hundred native speakers of Sogdian, a language that has barely changed since the time of Alexander the Great.

Spend the night in a traditional Tajik house. (B,L,D) Day 11 Magrib Bolo to Iskander-Kul | Continue to Iskander-Kul, the largest and arguably the most beautiful lake in the Fann Mountains. After a picnic by the lake continue to the remote mountain village of Sarytag. (B,L,D) Day 12 Iskander-Kul to Istravshan | Travel to Istravshan located in the northern foothills of the Turkistan Mountain range. Explore the maze of alleys that make up the old city and discover the colourful central bazaar. (B,L,D) Day 13 Istravshan to Khojand | Transfer to Khojand, capital of the Tajikistan’s Sughd province. Founded on the banks of the Syr-Darya River by Alexander The Great as his easternmost outpost. Visit Sheikh Maslikhiddin Mausoleum and Mosque, as well as the exotic Payshhambe Bazaar. (B,L,D) Day 14 Khojand to Tashkent | Travel back to Tashkent crossing the Tajik-Uzbek border at Oybek. Spend the afternoon sightseeing around Tashkent and take a ride on the Tashkent Metro. (B) Day 15 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

15 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£2495 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

20 Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Seven Bulls

Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Explored From Kazakhstan’s former capital Almaty travel to picturesque Kyrgyzstan where mountain ranges, lush green valleys and stunning blue lakes dominate the landscape. Discover the lonely Burana Tower, explore the pretty market town of Kochkor, spend the night in a traditional yurt and stop at Tash-Rabat Caravanserai, constructed in the 10th century as a stopping off point for merchants on the Great Silk Road.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Almaty | Take an overnight flight to Almaty. Day 2 Almaty | Arrive in Almaty and transfer to the hotel for an early check in. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. (B)

Day 6 Chon Kemin to Issyk-Kul | Hike to the gorge, take part in a horseback riding tour in Kalmak-Ashuu (extra cost) and after lunch drive to Issyk-Kul lake, the second largest alpine lake in the world. (B,L)

Day 3 Almaty | Embark on a sightseeing tour of the former Kazakh capital. Visit Panfilov Park, the Historical Museum and discover the candy-coloured Zenkov Cathedral before enjoying a panoramic view of the city from Kok-Tobe Hill. (B)

Day 7 Cholpon-Ata | Drive to CholponAta, a popular beach resort in the Soviet period. Explore the Regional and Open Air Petroglyphs Museum to spot ancient drawings of ibex, deer and sun symbols. In the afternoon enjoy an optional boat tour on Issyk-Kul lake. (B)

Day 4 Almaty to Bishkek | Cross the KazakhKyrgyz border and travel to Bishkek. After lunch, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Kyrgyzstan’s capital. Explore Osh Bazaar and visit the National Philharmonic and the Museum of National Arts. (B)

Day 8 Cholpon-Ata to Karakol | Transfer to Karakol via Grigoriev National Park. Enjoy a stroll in the narrow, picturesque valley and admire stunning alpine scenery and rushing mountain streams. (B)

Day 5 Bishkek to Chon-Kemin | Travel to Chong-Kemin valley, the perfect place to experience rural Kyrgyz life. Go horseback riding, learn how to make Kyrgyz cuisine or simply enjoy a hike into the gorges. Visit Burana Tower, a minaret from the 10th century and examine archaeological findings in the local museum. (B,D)

Day 9 Karakol | Embark on a full day tour of the pretty town of Karakol. Discover Dungan Mosque and the attractive Russian Orthodox Church. In the afternoon continue to JetyOguz gorge, famous for its red sandstone bluffs known as the Seven Bulls. (B) Day 10 Karakol to Kochkor | Travel along the southern shore of Issyk-Kul Lake to the small market town of Kochkor. En route visit

Fairytale Canyon, a surreal canyon filled with shapes carved from red clay and sandstone. (B) Day 11 Kochkor to Tash-Rabat | Travel to TashRabat caravanserai via Naryn. This stone-built caravanserai was built in the 15th century and offered rest and refuge for travellers on the Great Silk Road. Overnight at a yurt camp. (B) Day 12 Tash-Rabat to Naryn | Spend the morning relaxing at the yurt camp or take a leisurely walk in the local area before departing to Naryn in the afternoon. (B) Day 13 Naryn to Bishkek | Travel back to Bishkek for an overnight stay. (B) Day 14 Bishkek to Ala-Archa | Embark on a city tour of Kyrgyzstan’s capital including Ala-Too Square, the State Historical Museum, Victory Square with its immense yurt-shaped monument and the ZUM department store. Continue to Ala-Archa Valley National Park in the afternoon. (B) Day 15 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

15 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3335 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Central Asia Specialist on 020 7666 1292

21


Caucasus Sharing a mountainous region sandwiched between the Black and Caspian Seas, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan teeter on the edge of Europe and Asia. Underestimated and overlooked by major tourism routes, the individual character of each country remains untouched. Here you’ll find a land of perfectly preserved Silk Road, Soviet and Monastic remnants, recalling the intriguing path each country has taken through history – even leading to the independence declarations of breakaway states, Nagorno Karabakh and Abkhazia.


Caucasus TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 8 hours (+1 stop) Time zone: GMT + 3 – GMT +5 Capital: ARM: Yerevan, GEO: Tbilisi, ABZ: Sokhumi, NAG: Stepanakert Language: ARM: Armenian, GEO: Georgian, ABZ: Abkhaz, NAG: Armenian Currency: ARM: Dram, GEO: Lari, ABZ: Russian Ruble, NAG: Dram Best time to travel: April to June and September to October Getting around: Private vehicle with driver & guide, trains, domestic flights Accommodation: 3-5* hotels CAUCASUS IN NUMBERS

5,700 99.8 40,000 38 4,090

Length of Wings of Tatev cable car to Tatev Monastery (metres)

Percentage adult literacy rate

Age in years of the oldest petroglyphs at Gobustan

Varieties of Georgian wine grape

Height in metres of Mt Aragats – tallest peak in South Caucasus

For our full range of Caucasus itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


Caucasus

The Inside Story

Story to tell Carl Meadows

The three countries of the Caucasus occupy a stunning strip of mountainous land wedged between the Black and Caspian Seas. Each has a border with the other two, yet they could hardly be more different. Three unrelated languages are spoken here, and two different religions hold sway. However, the Muslims of Azerbaijan and the Christians of Armenia and Georgia all share a love of life and a strong culture of hospitality, home and hearth. Armenia is home to a cosmopolitan capital city, windswept mountains and timeless villages occupied by shepherds. Discover Silk Road caravanserais, mountain-top monasteries and exceptional local brandy. Azerbaijan is a country of contrasts from oil-boom cities and Soviet architecture to mountain fortresses hidden in dense forest.

Why I love the Caucasus The food in the Caucasus is just fantastic, from cheesy khachapuri bread in Georgia to Armenian barbecued meat, and if you’re feeling really opulent, Azerbaijan’s exquisite black caviar. For such a compact area, the cuisine – not to mention the culture and architecture – is amazingly diverse.

Georgia welcomes visitors with open arms, all the way from the cobbled streets of Tbilisi to the pastoral settlements high in the mountains. The spectacular Kakheti region is a true highlight for wine lovers and culture seekers alike.

783 BC

30

730

1220

16th C

Armenia’s capital – Yerevan – founded by King Argishti I

Romans conquer the Armenian Empire

Khazar commander Barjik conquers Azerbaijan and Armenia

The Mongols invade the Caucasus

Ottoman and Persian Empires take over most of the Caucasus region

550 BC

301

11th C

1271

1801

Zoroastrianism spreads through Azerbaijan

Armenia first sovereign nation to adopt Christianity as state religion

David IV initiates Georgia’s golden age, greatly expanding cultural and political influence

Marco Polo travels through the Caucasus

Russia annexes eastern Georgia followed by the west 9 years later


Caucasus

Regent Recommends Armenia & Georgia

Nagorno Karabakh

Tblisi Short Break

Discover the treasures of two of the Caucasus republics on this private tour from the fashionable boulevards of Yerevan to the winding alleyways of Tbilisi’s Old Town. Travel past towering mountain ranges and through fertile valleys where the relics of early Christianity watch over the timeless landscape. Taste delicious Georgian wines, visit ancient rockhewn buildings and uncover a fascinating social history spanning over 2,000 years from early pagan worshippers to 20th century Soviet leaders. Explore Etchmiadzin, one of the oldest towns in Armenia and home to the country’s first official church before driving through the twisting gorges of Lori Province.

Travel to the landlocked, mountainous region of NagornoKarabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan which declared itself independent in 1992 - an independence recognised by almost no one. Similar to Abkhazia, it has spent decades languishing as a breakaway Caucasus state of the former Soviet Union. Cross the Armenia-Nagorno Karabakh border to sample local mulberry vodka and discover this beautiful unknown region. This Regent exclusive tour visits attractive mountainside monasteries, introduces you to ancient mountain community culture and uncovers the state’s journey to independence.

Georgia’s picturesque, tree-shaded capital is truly a city of contrasts. Ramble through the Old Town with its profusion of houses rubbing shoulders, their plant-draped balconies almost touching over the narrow cobbled streets, before discovering elegant Rustaveli Avenue lined with shops, cafes and museums. Along the gorge of the Mtkvari River, buildings bathed in summer-long sunshine cling precariously to the high red cliffs. Complete your busy day by joining the locals in a relaxing sulphur bath, indulging in a glass of Georgian wine or taking in a performance at the Paliashvili Opera House. Speak to a Regent Asia Explorer about booking tickets in advance.

1849

1918

1920

1990

2011

World’s first oil well is drilled in Azerbaijan just south of Baku

Georgia declares independence from Russia

Armenia invaded by Bolshevik Russia and Turkey

Dozens die in interethnic violence in Baku

Azerbaijan wins the Eurovision Song Contest

1917

1920

1936

1992

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians massacred or deported to Syria by the Ottomans

Azerbaijan declares independence from Russia

Georgia becomes full republic of Soviet Union

Armenia joins the United Nations

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Caucasus Specialist on 020 7666 1292

25


Bagrati Cathedral, Kutaisi

Essential Georgia With its legendary hospitality, delicious food and abundance of local wines, Georgia is one of the most welcoming countries you will ever visit. Travel on this tailor-made tour in your own private vehicle with a driver and English-speaking guide, discovering diverse landscapes from majestic mountains to golden vineyards, exploring remote Orthodox churches and tucking into mouth-watering local dishes such as khachapuri - indulgent cheese-filled flatbread.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Tbilisi | Fly to Tbilisi and transfer to the hotel for two nights.

day in Kutaisi, ancient capital of Colchis, and overnight in a guesthouse. (B,L,D)

picturesque vineyards of Kakheti. Overnight in a local guesthouse. (B,L,D)

Day 2 Tbilisi | Enjoy a full day tour of the capital, with its narrow alleyways, crooked houses and pretty courtyards. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Kutaisi to Tbilisi | Discover Kutaisi’s most famous sights including Bagrati Temple and the Gelati Monastery complex, once one of the main cultural and intellectual centres in Georgia. Either continue to the Svaneti region or return to Tbilisi. En route back to the capital, visit Montsameta Monastery and Ubisi Church. (B,L)

Day 8 Kakheti to Tbilisi | Enjoy exploring the scenic Kakheti region including Tsinandali, grand estate of the 19th century poet and Kakhetian Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, also known for its production of fine wines. Stop at Alaverdi Cathedral, Gremi complex and the Cathedral of Ninotsminda before returning to Tbilisi for an overnight stay. (B,L)

Svenati Add-on For those with more time, consider extending the tour for three nights to include the Svaneti region, known for its rugged mountains, colossal ancient watchtowers and proud mountain people. Remote Svaneti represents the heart of Georgian orthodox culture and traditions. Travel by 4WD over rugged terrain, enjoy mountain treks with stunning vistas and stay in off-the-beaten-track guesthouses.

Day 9 Tbilisi to UK | Take a morning transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Day 3 Tbilisi to Gudauri | Travel to Mtskheta, the cultural heart of Georgia, before heading up the Georgian Military Highway to Gudauri. En-route visit Jvari Church, Svetitskhoveli, Samtavro and Kazbegi. Overnight in a hotel in Gudauri. (B,L,D) Day 4 Gudauri to Akhaltsikhe | Drive to Gori, birthplace of Stalin and home to the Joseph Stalin Museum. Visit Uplistsikhe, an ancient rock-hewn town thought to be one of the oldest settlements in Georgia. Literally meaning ‘the Lord’s Fortress’, the eight hectare complex contains dwellings and structures from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages. Continue to Akhaltsikhe to overnight. (B,L,D) Day 5 Akhaltsikhe to Kutaisi | Head south towards the Turkish border to Vardzia, a spectacular cave town built into the Erusheli Mountain by Queen Tamar in 1185. End the

Day 7 Tbilisi to Kakheti | From Tbilisi, visit the Larva Monastery and the David Gareja Monastery, a rock-hewn Orthodox complex comprising churches, chapels and refectories, before continuing to Telavi through the

26

Tour duration

9/12 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

May-Oct

Prices from Svenati Add-on

£2190 per person £550 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

Talk to a Caucasus Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Noravank Monastery

Essential Armenia Armenia is a beautiful country with stunning, contrasting landscapes; in the north stone churches lie hidden in luxuriant verdant gorges, whilst in the south remote monasteries perch atop red, craggy mountains. Enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the ever-changing colours of Lake Sevan, indulge in wine-tasting in Vayots Dzor or try a drop of the local tipple at Yerevan’s Brandy Company.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Yerevan | Fly to Yerevan and transfer to the hotel for three nights. Day 2 Yerevan | Enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Yerevan including the Genocide Memorial and Museum. The afternoon is free to explore at leisure. Perhaps choose to peruse the State History Museum in Republic Square, notable for its statues of Catherine the Great and Lenin. (B) Day 3 Etchmiadzin & Zvarnots | Embark on a day excursion starting in Etchmiadzin, the religious centre of Armenia. Visit the cathedral and adjacent museum before continuing to the 7th century Church of the Holy Virgin Hripsime, with its stunning views of Mount Ararat and Mount Aragats. (B,L)

high-altitude lakes in the world, through the mountainous areas of Vayots Dzor province. Travel via the Selim Pass to explore a 14th century caravanserai and stop at Noraduz, an ancient cemetery of stone crosses. Check in to the hotel in Dilijan for two nights. (B,L,D) Day 6 Dilijan | Enjoy a morning tour of Dilijan before visiting the Haghartsin Monastery which took around 300 years to complete. Visit Goshavank Monastery to discover some of the finest examples of Armenian crossstones. After lunch in a private house visit a local ceramics workshop and woodcarver’s studio. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Yerevan to Sisian | Travel to remote Khor Virap monastery set against a stunning Mount Ararat backdrop. Continue to Noravank, perched precariously in its dramatic gorge setting and the mountain-top monastery of Tatev. Overnight in Sisian. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Dilijan to Yerevan | Discover the Lori Province, an area of forest-covered mountains, gorges and rivers. Here, visit the 6th century Odzun church before continuing to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sanahin and Hagphat. Enjoy a traditional Armenian barbecue at a local restaurant and transfer back to Yerevan for two nights. (B,L)

Day 5 Sisian to Dilijan | Visit Karahunge, considered to be Armenia’s Stonehenge. Continue to Lake Sevan, one of the largest

Day 8 Garni & Geghard | From Yerevan, take an excursion to the 1st century Garni Pagan Temple, a great complex of palaces and

temples which served as a summer residence for the kings of the day. Enjoy a pleasant walk to the Geghard Cave Monastery, cut into the side of a cliff. In the afternoon visit the Matenadaran Museum. (B,L) Day 9 Yerevan to UK | Take a morning transfer to the airport for the return flight to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

9 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Apr-Oct

Prices from

£1870 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Caucasus Specialist on 020 7666 1292

27


Kakheti

From the Caspian to the Black Sea A wonderful introduction to the diverse and beautiful countries of Azerbaijan and Georgia, journey from Baku on the Caspian Sea, through northern Azerbaijan to balmy Batumi on the sub-tropical Black Sea coast. Encounter pristine landscapes, mountain settlements dating back over 2,000 years and incredible medieval monuments on this group tour.

Itinerary Day 1 Arrive in Baku | Arrive in Baku and transfer to the hotel for two nights. Day 2 Baku | Enjoy the day touring Baku. Visit Shirvanshah’s Palace, Maidan Tower, Ateshgah and the Carpet Museum. After lunch enjoy an excursion to the Absheron Peninsula and visit the Yanar Dag Burning Mountain and Mardakan and Ramana Castles. (B,L) Day 3 Baku to Sheki | Depart Baku and visit Gobustan National Park before driving to Shamakhi to tour the Diribaba Mausoleum. After lunch visit the Juma Mosque (Friday Mosque), Shamakhi City and Seven Domes, a complex of Tombs built for Shirvan’s Royal family in the 18th century. Drive onto Sheki and check into your hotel for a one night stay. (B,L)

Day 4 Sheki to Tbilisi | After breakfast visit Sheki Khan’s Palace then drive to the Georgian border at Lagodekhi. Enter Georgia and continue to Tbilisi, breaking the journey at the Gremi Architectural Complex en-route. Arrive in the Georgian capital and check into your hotel for a three night stay. (B,L) Day 5 Tbilisi | Enjoy a half day city tour this

morning, including the Old City, Metekhi Church, Narikala Fortress and Abanotubani (Sulphur bathhouse district), Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica and Rustaveli Avenue. The rest of the day is at leisure in Tbilisi. (B,D) Day 6 Kakheti | Enjoy a day trip from Tbilisi to tour the famous wine region of Georgia, Kakheti. Visits today will include Bodbe Nunnery, Sighnaghi Royal Town and the Tsinandali Family Estate. Wine tasting at a local winery will also be included. (B,L) Day 7 Tbilisi to Gudauri | Drive to Mtskheta, the religious capital of Georgia. Here visit Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. From Mtskheta ascend the Georgian Military Highway and visit the Ananauri Architectural Complex. After lunch enjoy a hike (approximately 3 hours round trip) to the Gergeti Trinity Church. From here head to Gudauri and check into your hotel for an overnight stay. (B,L,D)

From Gori head west to Kutaisi. Arrive in Kutaisi and check into your hotel for an overnight stay. (B,L) Day 9 Kutaisi to Batumi | This morning visit the Gelati Monastery before driving west to Batumi. Check into your hotel for a two night stay. After lunch enjoy an introductory excursion of the pleasant city. (B,L) Day 10 Batumi | Enjoy the day in Batumi to explore the city at leisure. In the morning, enjoy an optional excursion to the Batumi Botanical Garden and in the afternoon perhaps enjoy an optional excursion to the Mountains of Ajara including Makhuntseli Waterfall, Queen Tamara Bridge, Ajarian Wine House and the Gonio Fortress. Speak to a Travel Specialist for more information and to book these excursions. In the evening enjoy a farewell group dinner. (B,D) Day 11 Depart Baku | Transfer to the airport for onward connections. (B)

Day 8 Gudauri to Kutaisi | Descend the Georgian Military Highway and visit the cave town of Uplistsikhe. After lunch visit Gori (birthplace of Stalin) and the Stalin Museum.

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Tour duration

11 days

Holiday type

Group Tour Fully Guided

Departure

Year-round

Group size

Min 2, Max 30

Prices from

£2045 per person

Includes accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

Talk to a Caucasus Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Alpine landscape in the countryside, Abkhazia.

Pioneering Abkhazia Some of our most intriguing destinations are the breakaway-states; regions that have declared independence but aren’t yet formally recognised as a country. Our brand new Pioneering Abkhazia Group Tour introduces curious travellers to Abkhazia, a Caucasus region to the west of Georgia, from its crumbling Soviet-era architecture to its remote mountainous regions and Black Sea coast.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kutaisi | Fly to Kutaisi, Georgia, via Kiev, for a two night stay. Day 2 Kutaisi | After a morning at leisure, meet for a city tour and visit Gelati Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral. (B,L,D) Day 3 Abkhazia | Depart Kutaisi early and, at the border, enter Abkhazia by crossing the Enguri Bridge on foot. Drive to Tkvarcheli town for lunch and visit the 10th century Mokvi Cathedral before continuing to Sokhumi, Abkhazia’s capital. (B,L,D) Day 4 Sokhumi | Spend today exploring Sokhumi and the surrounding areas. Visit the Halo Trust – a British organisation specialising in war debris removal and mine clearing – and sample wines from a vineyard in a former minefield. A walking tour of Sokhumi introduces you to the waterfront and central streets, before you learn about Abkhazia’s chequered history from the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs (subject to change). (B,L) Optional add-on experience: This afternoon it is possible to arrange a flight in a Czechoslovakian Aero L-39 Albatros military aircraft from Sokhumi Babushara Airport. Speak to a Regent

Holidays Abkhazia Specialist for details. Day 5 Pskhu | Travel by privately chartered aircraft (likely a Soviet-era AN-2 biplane) to the small settlement of Pskhu. Today’s exciting journey is as memorable as the destination. Locals in this sleepy Abkhazian village often gather to chat with visitors. Walk through the central street and travel to the home of Nikolai, a local resident, for lunch in the beautiful scenery. Return to Pskhu and fly back to Sokhumi. (B,L) Day 6 Tsebelda Valley | After wandering through the stalls of Sokhumi Bazaar, take a day trip to explore the picturesque Tsebelda Valley, visiting local homes en route and stopping for a barbecue on the banks of the Machara River. Set off on a guided hike, take a dip in the refreshing waters or opt to relax with a glass of local wine. (B,L) Day 7 Ritsa | Head west to reach the beautiful Ritsa Relict National Park. After setting foot in Stalin’s Dacha, enjoy time for boating on the beautiful Lake Ritsa, and drive to a nearby vantage point for a spectacular view of the area. Continue west to Gagra. (B,L,D)

drive to Pitsunda, a Soviet-era beach resort popular with Russian tourists that seems largely unchanged from its Soviet heyday. After lunch on a hotel terrace overlooking the beach, explore or bathe in the Black Sea. (B,L) Day 9 New Athens | Depart Gagra on a train to Novy Afon (New Athens) for brunch before touring the nearby town, cave, monastery and the Seaside Park. Walk to Anacopia Fortress, an ancient citadel high above the town or relax at leisure. Enjoy a wine tasting evening. (D) Day 10 Ochamchire | The last full day in Abkhazia visits Ochamchire in the east. En route, stop to soak in the hot springs and natural mud baths of Kindgi and tuck into a picnic at the medieval Bedia Cathedral. Enjoy an optional excursion to a Hydroelectric Power Station or explore at leisure. (B,L,D) Day 11 Georgia | Drive to the border and cross back into Georgia. Tour central Zugdidi and visit the Dadiani Palace before reaching Kutaisi for a farewell dinner. (B,L,D) Day 12 Kutaisi to UK | Transfer to Kutaisi airport for the flight back to the UK.

Day 8 Gagra | Pass through Old Gagra and

Tour duration

12 days

Holiday type

Fully Guided Small Group Tour

Departures

18 May

Prices from

£2750 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Caucasus Specialist on 020 7666 1292

29


Mongolia No longer just a stopover between Moscow and Beijing, Mongolia has rapidly emerged on the travel scene, captivating its visitors and demanding the title of a fascinating destination in its own right. Boundless, unspoilt wilderness and a huge side serving of adventure are on the menu for Mongolia, a country prized for its natural diversity and varied environments. Leave the developed city lights of Ulaanbaatar behind, pack your walking boots and head for the hills. Striking snow-capped mountain peaks frame steppe landscapes that stretch for miles, in a country home also to vast expanses of the Gobi Desert roamed by traditional nomadic communities.

30


Mongolia TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 12 hours (+1 stop) Time zone: GMT + 8 Capital: Ulaanbaatar Language: Mongolian Currency: Mongolian Tugrik Best time to travel: May to September Getting around: Private vehicle with driver-guide Accommodation: Traditional Ger camps, basic provincial hotels, camping

MONGOLIA IN NUMBERS

3m 40 1778 16,000 Mongolian population

Height of the Genghis Khan Statue (metres)

World’s oldest National Park established – Bogd Khan Park

Distance people drive in the Mongol Rally (kilometres)

1,580 Mongolia’s average altitude above sea level (metres)

For our full range of Mongolia itineraries, group tours and railway holidays, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.

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The Inside Story

Story to tell Carl Meadows

For those seeking a bit of adventure and who crave the outdoor life, Mongolia is a dream. Head out into the unspoilt wilderness with just your fellow travellers and a few nomads for company. Whether you arrive by train or by air, Ulaanbaatar will be your starting point. Amongst the mishmash of Soviet architecture and Buddhist monasteries, glass tower blocks, international restaurants and shopping malls are beginning to develop. Travel by jeep to reach national parks where you can trek or ride a horse through the unspoilt natural beauty. Cross the lunar landscape of the Gobi Desert and check out the cliffs where dinosaur fossils were discovered. The memory of Genghis Khan is alive and well in Mongolia so ensure you visit the monks in the walled compound of Erdene Zuu monastery, close to his ancient capital of Karakorum. Staying in a ger, the traditional Mongolian dwelling, is all part of the experience.

Why I love Mongolia If you have little time to spare, a visit to Nalaikh or Zuumnod will give you a glimpse into the real Mongolia. Not too far from the capital, these towns feel like wild west outposts. A stroll down the tiny main streets or stopping at a local cafĂŠ will tell you much more about the real Mongolia than a walk through Ulaanbaatar.

200 BC

c. 1000

1206

1368

17th C

The Xiongnu – a tribe settled in Mongolia – conquer northern and western China

Kitan Lio Dynasty rule over eastern Mongolia, Manchuria and northern China

Genghis Khan unifies all Mongol and Tatar tribes

Newly founded Ming Dynasty drives Mongols from Beijing

Qing Dynasty divides the country into Inner and Outer Mongolia

350

1190

1206-63

1380

Chinese drive Xiongnu westwards towards Europe

Genghis Khan becomes King of the Mongols

Khan and his descendants build biggest land empire in the world

Golden Horde defeated by the Russians; Ming troops destroy the Mongol capital, Karakorum


Mongolia

Regent Recommends Essential Mongolia

Tailor-made

Trans-Mongolian

Day 1 Fly to Ulaanbaatar. Day 2 Tour Baga Gazruiin Chuluu’s granite rock formations and visit Sangiin Dalai Lake. Day 3 Hike the Yollin Am Valley in the south Gobi Desert. Day 4 Discover the vast and impressive ‘singing’ sand dunes of Khongoriin Els. Day 5 Visit the red sandstone cliffs and canyons of Bayanzag and spend the night in a ger camp. Day 6 Tour Karakorum, the ancient capital city of Mongolia. Day 7 Return to Ulaanbaatar for some sightseeing and a music performance by a Mongolian Folk Ensemble. Day 8 Fly back to the UK.

Whether you’re planning a twoweek holiday or three-day stopover on your Trans-Siberian journey, our Mongolia Travel Specialists can tailor-make an itinerary designed especially for you. Travelling by private jeep with your own driver and local guide, you’ll explore the vast Mongolian steppe; perhaps travel south to the East or Middle Gobi Desert, or north to a stunning region of lakes and extinct volcanoes. For those with little time to spare, Terelj National Park is just a 90-minute drive from Ulaanbaatar but a world away from bustling city life; meet nomadic families, learn how to erect a traditional ger or maybe even ride a Mongolian horse.

If you’re making the epic rail journey from Moscow to Beijing, the Trans-Mongolian line branches off from the mainline at Zaudinsky and travels through verdant countryside, along lakeshores and past tiny villages to Mongolia’s northern town, Sukhbaatar. From here the scenery rapidly changes and stops are made at provincial cities before the landscape becomes sparser and traditional gers dot the wide grassy expanses. Ulaanbaatar comes into view as the train descends into a valley, and from the capital the train continues into the desolate Gobi Desert where the moon-like landscape continues all the way to the Chinese border.

1919

1938

1949-61

Outer Mongolia occupied by the Chinese army

Stalinist purges see many Buddhist monasteries destroyed

Trans-Mongolian Railway built, linking China with Russia

1911

1921-24

1946

1993

Outer Mongolia declares independence following the fall of Qing Dynasty

Leftist revolutionaries drive out Chinese and Tsarist forces; Mongolian People’s Republic is proclaimed

China finally recognises Mongolia’s independence

First direct presidential elections held

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Mongolia Specialist on 020 7666 1292

33


China China has long been a source of intrigue, enchanting western travellers for centuries. This curious, vast land has seen its roots firmly planted in ancient history, now tightly entwined in the fast-growing vines of modern development and rapid urbanisation. Needless to say, this perfectly blended partnership of extremes has forged a spectacular culture in a country of boundless natural beauty and varied landscapes.


China TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 10 ½ hours Time zone: GMT + 8 Capital: Beijing Language: Mandarin Currency: Chinese Yuan Best time to travel: March to May and September to November Getting around: Trains, domestic flights, river cruises, private vehicle with driver-guide Accommodation: 4* tourist class hotels CHINA IN NUMBERS

15 12 9,000

Number of days the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year

Every year is represented by one of 12 animals

Number of rooms in the Forbidden City

37 5,000

Number of years it took to make the Terracotta Army

Years ago, chopsticks were first used for eating

For our full range of China itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


The Inside Story Ancient and modern clash full-on in China from the powerhouse that is Shanghai to age-old Kashgar. Beijing is a must with the exquisite Forbidden City and mighty Tiananmen Square at its heart, while the futuristic Shanghai skyline looks down on gems of gardens and the European architecture on the Bund.

Story to tell Stef Studley

Discover timeless China with the limestone islets of Guilin, ancient streets in Yangshuo and the heavenly gardens of Suzhou. To be truly inspired, walk a section of the mindboggling Great Wall and wonder at the skill of the artisans who crafted Xian’s Terracotta Army. China is incredibly rich in diversity; visit the ancient oasis towns along the Silk Road with their colourful markets, come face-to-face with iconic pandas in Sichuan Province or discover the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the base of the Himalayas. Zhongdian – otherwise known as Shangri-La – is a Regent Holidays favourite; see monks once again worshipping at remote ancient monasteries or explore the Lake District where mountains and forests surround beautiful emerald lakes.

Why I love China Beijing has to be one of my very favourite places. The Forbidden City and Summer Palace are incredible must-see icons on a grand scale, but head to the hutongs for a taste of the real China. In these haphazard neighbourhoods of ancient narrow streets and alleyways, Beijing’s frantic pace seems to have bypassed the local residents.

400s BC

206 BC – 220 AD

589 – 618

960-1279

1368 – 1644

Warring states build fortifications which later form part of the Great Wall

Han Dynasty opens up trade routes along the Silk Road

Sui Dynasty builds legal, governmental, and societal framework

Neo-Confucianism adopted as official state ideology during Song Dynasty

Ming Dynasty elongates Great Wall by 4,000 miles

210 BC

220 – 589

618 – 907

1271 – 1368

Terracotta Army built to guard tomb of first Emperor of China, Qin

Power struggles and anarchy dominate Three Kingdoms era

Chinese art and culture flourish under Tang Dynasty

Kublai Khan (grandson of Genghis) establishes Mongol Yuan Dynasty


China

Regent Recommends Chengdu

Great Wall

Xian

The capital city of Sichuan province is famed for its sumptuous cuisine and dining together here is a large part of daily and family life. Treat your taste buds and tuck into some of the local flavours the province has to offer, but be warned, hot pepper features heavily in many dishes. The bustling city is bisected at its heart by the Funan River and overlooked by the foothills of the Tibetan Plateau. Chengdu’s best-known residents are of the black and white variety; visitors travel from all over to catch a glimpse of the endangered Giant Panda at the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the street stalls are lined with their cuddly toy cousins.

Snaking over endless mountain ridges, through deserts and plains, The Great Wall of China is one of the world’s greatest feats of construction and a highlight of any trip to China. Although parts have crumbled or fallen into disrepair, there are still many kilometres that have been painstakingly restored to their former glory. Visit Mutianyu, home of the Ming Tombs and one of the best-appointed sections of the wall, from which you’ll take in some of the area’s most extraordinary views. For the more active traveller keen for an authentic experience, the Gubeikou section offers a strenuous walk along a mountain range, a stretch frequented by fewer tourists.

Xian, capital of Shaanxi Province, is the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. As the starting point of The Silk Road, one of the earliest trade and movement links between east and west, Xian’s rich history is both interesting and significant. This large city is also home to one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world, The Terracotta Army. Exploring Xian will fully immerse you in many eras of China’s past. Walk or cycle around the vast and immaculately restored city wall and fast-forward to present day times to take in the sights, sounds and aromas of the vibrant Muslim Quarter, whose streets are lined with colourful markets.

1839

1959

1989

2011

First Opium War begins between China and Great Britain

Dalai Lama flees Tibet after failed uprising against Chinese rule

Troops open fire on student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square

China officially overtakes Japan as world’s secondlargest economy

1644 – 1911

1949

1976

1997

2013

Qing Dynasty rules more than third of world’s population

People’s Republic of China founded by Mao Zedong

Chairman Mao dies after 10-year ‘Cultural Revolution’

Hong Kong returned to China after 155 years of British rule

British Airways launch new direct flight to Chengdu

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a China Specialist on 020 7666 1292

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The Great Wall of China

Essential China From the Great Wall to Xian’s Terracotta Army, discover China’s greatest sights on this private tour travelling by road, rail and riverboat. Beijing captivates with its clash of ancient and modern, while the stunning scenery of the Yangtze River provides a tranquil contrast to city life.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Beijing | Take an overnight flight to Beijing. Day 2 Beijing | Arrive in China’s capital and transfer to the hotel for three nights. Spend a free afternoon relaxing or exploring Beijing at leisure. Day 3 Beijing | Discover Beijing’s highlights on a full day tour. Visit Tiananmen Square, the biggest public square in the world, and the Forbidden City - imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the afternoon visit the beautiful Summer Palace, the largest and best-preserved royal park in China. (B,L) Day 4 Great Wall | Take an excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu, constructed during the Ming Dynasty to keep nomadic tribes at bay. Walk along the wall and take in the breathtaking views. Also included is a visit to the Ming Tombs, where thirteen Ming Dynasty Emperors are buried. (B,L) Day 5 Beijing to Xian | Enjoy a rickshaw tour of Beijing’s hutongs - narrow lanes and alleyways lined with traditional courtyard residences where little appears to have changed for hundreds of years. After lunch, visit the masterpiece of architecture that is the

Temple of Heaven, before transferring to the railway station for the overnight train to Xian in 4-berth soft-sleeper compartments. (B) Day 6 Xian | Arrive in Xian early in the morning and enjoy a full day of sightseeing. Visit the ancient City Walls and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and a Buddhist holy place. After lunch visit the Shaanxi Museum, a comprehensive collection of relics from various dynasties. (B,L) Day 7 Xian | Discover the incredible life-size Terracotta Warriors, buried with the first Emperor of China over 2,000 years ago. More than 8,000 soldiers are estimated to be in the funerary pits. After lunch, visit the Banpo Neolithic Village and Huaqing Hot Springs, a favourite retreat of emperors and their concubines during the Tang Dynasty. (B,L) Day 8 Xian to Chongqing | Enjoy a day at leisure in Xian before transferring to the railway station for the overnight train to Chongqing. (B) Day 9 Chongqing | Arrive in Chongqing and embark on a sightseeing tour including a visit to Eling Park, one of the oldest private gardens in the city, and the impressive Great Hall of the People whose auditorium can hold over 4,000

people. Transfer to the Yangtze cruise boat for three nights. (B) Days 10-11 Yangtze Cruise | Enjoy the majestic scenery of the Three Gorges en route to Yichang. Relax and admire the spectacular backdrop as the boat travels through a dramatic landscape of grand canyons, verdant cliffs and crystal clear waterfalls. (B,L,D) Day 12 Yichang to Shanghai | Arrive in Yichang and transfer to the airport for the afternoon flight to Shanghai. (B) Day 13 Shanghai | Embark on a sightseeing tour of China’s largest city including the futuristic Shanghai Museum, Jade Buddha Temple, and Yuyuan Market. In the afternoon, visit the Old Town and stroll along Shanghai’s famous waterside promenade - The Bund. (B,L) Day 14 Shanghai | Enjoy a free day for some last minute shopping or perhaps take a boat trip on the Huangpu River, the dividing line between the colonial architecture of the western shore and glass skyscrapers of the east. (B) Day 15 Shanghai to UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

15 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£4095 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

38 Talk to a China Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Yangtze Cruise Board the Sanctuary M.S. Yangzi Explorer for a luxurious cruise down the legendary Yangtze River. Glide through steep gorges flanked by sheer cliffs, visit remote villages to mingle with local Chinese people and discover the power and majesty of the Three Gorges Dam. The Sanctuary M.S. Yangzi Explorer is a boutique floating hotel able to carry just 124 passengers with a crew to passenger ratio of 1:1 allowing for a truly personal service on board. The 62 large and airy suites all have balconies offering views of the passing countryside and come complete with en-suite bathrooms, satellite television, mini-bar and safe deposit box. The on board Huang Ding Spa is a haven of tranquillity and offers a range of treatments and massages. The cruise is offered on a full board basis and, unique for Yangtze cruises, includes all alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The on board restaurant serves a-la-carte dishes prepared by a team of internationally trained chefs and the Explorer Bar is a great place to enjoy a cocktail while watching the beautiful scenery pass by.

39 www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a China Specialist on 020 7666 1292


Potala Palace

Sichuan & Tibet – The Roof of the World This tailor-made tour begins in Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province and home of the giant panda, before travelling to Lhasa - one of the world’s highest cities - where the magnificent Potala Palace dominates the skyline. Discover the largest stone Buddha in the world, sample delicious Sichuan cuisine and journey along the Friendship Highway to Shigatse where the historic and culturally important Tashilhunpo Monastery attracts travellers from around the world.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Chengdu | Take an overnight flight to Chengdu. Day 2 Chengdu | Arrive in the capital of China’s Sichuan Province and transfer to the hotel for three nights. Day 3 Chengdu | Visit Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding which plays a leading role in giant panda conservation. In the afternoon, visit Dujiangyan Irrigation System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before enjoying a delicious Sichuan dinner and performance of Sichuan Opera. (B,L,D) Day 4 Chengdu | Today learn how to cook spicy local dishes at the Sichuan cuisine Museum before returning to the city to visit Jinli Old Street, one of the oldest shopping streets in China where teahouses, food stalls, handicraft shops and folk performers line the ancient streets. (B,L) Day 5 Chengdu to Lhasa | Fly to Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region and one of the highest cities in the world. Transfer to the hotel for three nights. (B) Day 6 Lhasa | Visit Lhasa’s key landmark, the stunning Potala Palace. Once the winter

palace of the Dalai Lama, it comprises White and Red Palaces and sits majestically atop Marpo Ri (Red Hill). Continue to the 1,300-year-old Jokhang Temple and witness a seemingly endless stream of pilgrims before strolling along flourishing Barkhor Street with its spiritual souvenir stands selling prayer flags and amulets. (B,L,D) Day 7 Lhasa | Visit Norbulingka Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore the pretty grounds and the Summer Palace, former summer residence of the Dalai Lama. Spend time exploring Drepung and Sera Monasteries, both important sites for Buddhists. There may be the chance to witness monks partaking in animated and vocal religious debates. (B,L,D) Day 8 Lhasa to Shigatse | Travel to Shigatse along the Friendship Highway. The journey passes through the Yarlung Valley and a stop will be made at Yamdrok Lake, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes. Visit a Tibetan family to learn a little about their way of life. If time permits, take a stroll around Palcho Monastery, well known for its Kumbum which

has 108 chapels over its four floors. Overnight in Shigatse. (B,L,D) Day 9 Shigatse to Lhasa | Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery which was built in 1447 and is the home of the Panchen Lama, one of the most important religious leaders in Tibet. Explore Maitreya Temple and the Panchen Lama’s Palace before returning to Lhasa for an overnight stay. (B,L,D) Day 10 Lhasa to Chengdu | Fly to Chengdu. Enjoy the afternoon free to relax or explore the city. (B) Day 11 Chengdu | Drive to Leshan and marvel at the sheer scale of the Giant Buddha. Carved out of the cliffs at the confluence of the Dadu, Minjiang and Qingyi Rivers, this must-see site is the largest stone Buddha statue in the world. Standing 71 metres high the statue was hewn from the mountainside to guard the boatmen on the treacherous rivers below. (B,L) Day 12 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

12 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3220 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

40 Talk to a China Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Lijiang Old Town

Discover Yunnan Province From the laid back city of Dali to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the base of the Himalayas, this tailor-made tour offers an insight into a unique and remote region of China. Discover the blue waters of the ear-shaped Erhai Lake which sits in the shadow of the Cangshan Mountains, travel to Tiger Leaping Gorge, keep an eye out for the rare black-necked crane and explore incredible Tibetan temples and palaces of Shangri-La.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kunming | Take an overnight flight to Kunming. Day 2 Dali | Arrive in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Take a short flight to Dali and transfer to the hotel for three nights. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure. Day 3 Dali | Begin the day with a relaxing cruise on Erhai Lake, home to the famous cormorant fishermen, before exploring Bai ethnic minority village. In the afternoon stroll through the historic Ancient Town, once a gateway to the Silk Road, and visit the Three Pagodas of Chongshen Temple. (B,L) Day 4 Dali to Lijiang | Travel to the city of Lijiang, an area of outstanding natural beauty located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the base of the Himalayas. En-route, enjoy a visit to Zhou village to watch the traditional process of tie-dye. On arrival in Lijiang enjoy the afternoon free at leisure. (B,L) Day 5 Lijiang | Enjoy a guided walk around Lijiang’s Old Town with its cobbled streets and canals, followed by a visit to Lion Hill where wonderful views of the ancient town can be

seen. Explore a local market before visiting the iconic Black Dragon Pool Park where mountain reflections can be seen in the lake. (B) Day 6 Lijiang | Visit Lashihai Wetland, a nature reserve home to 57 species of birds including the rare black-necked crane. Afterwards visit Naxi minority people and explore the Old Town of Shuhe, a well-preserved town on the ancient tea route. (B,L) Day 7 Lijiang to Shangri-La | Visit Shigu, a historically important Naxi town on the first bend of the Yangtze River. Continue to the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world located between towering peaks of over 3,000 metres, before travelling on to Shangri-La for three nights. (B,L) Day 8 Shangri-La | Explore one of ShangriLa’s earliest Tibetan temples, Dabao, built on the rugged green hillside. Take a stroll around some Tibetan villages to meet local families and sample homemade yak-butter tea (an acquired taste). Discover Gedan Songzanlin Monastery, the most important monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Yunnan, known as Little

Potala Palace. (B,L) Day 9 Shangri-La | Visit the beautiful Zhongdian Lake District and discover pristine Shudu Lake surrounded by green pastures, admire stunning Bita Lake - known as the Pearl on the Plateau - and visit Napa Lake, a designated wetland area and nature lovers’ paradise. (B,L) Day 10 Shangri-La to Kunming | Take a flight to Kunming. Discover Green Lake Park with its brightly painted pavilions and traditional bridges, before visiting the famous Birds and Flowers Market, where orchids and parrots can be bought alongside jewellery and antiques. (B,L) Day 11 Kunming | Drive to Kunming’s famous Stone Forest, a natural wonder where bizarre rock formations created over 270 million years ago create a unique landscape of stone towers and pillars. (B,L) Day 12 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the indirect flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

12 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3395 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a China Specialist on 020 7666 1292

41


North Korea The world’s most secretive state, this elusive nation provokes intrigue like no other. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea for short, has long kept itself isolated from the prying eyes of the west. But, slowly this fiercely nationalist society is opening its doors to visitors – escorted by government guides, of course. Though the communistechoing, Juche ideology and undying loyalty to the Supreme Leader is imposing, ever-present and often fundamentally bizarre, pioneering tourism through the unique DPRK remains a fascinating and enriching affair.


North Korea TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from Beijing: Approx. 2 hours Time zone: GMT + 8.30 Capital: Pyongyang Language: Korean Currency: North Korean Won (Euros/Dollars/CNY) Best time to travel: April to October Getting around: Private vehicle, chartered flights, trains and helicopters Accommodation: Varies from basic provincial hotels to 4* NORTH KOREA IN NUMBERS

150,000 Seating capacity of the world’s largest stadium – Rungnado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang

2,750 25,550 Height of Mt Paekdu (metres)

Number of blocks that make up the Juche Tower (one for each day of Kim Il Sung’s life

250 16

Length of the Demilitarized Zone (kilometres)

Stations in the Pyongyang Metro For our full range of North Korea itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


Thirty years after Regent’s first group entered North Korea, visitors to this perplexing country still find it as fascinating as ever. As the leading UK experts on North Korea we work closely with the authorities to develop tours which push the boundaries of tourism. Part of the fun of a visit to North Korea is to expect the unexpected, so go with the flow and you will be rewarded with an intriguing tour. Appreciate the pomp and propaganda of Pyongyang before heading out of the city and meandering through the endless corridors of the International Friendship Exhibition.

North Koreans generally love table tennis – proposing an international tournament to be played in your hotel will likely be very popular, and whilst this is good for international friendship, don’t be too upset by what will be your inevitable crushing defeat!

e Wanderlust Th W o

Visit the West Sea or delve deeper with an exploration of the stunning mountains and coastline of the east. Learn about life on a co-operative farm and make sure you buy some propaganda as a memento of your visit to this curiosity.

Why I love North Korea

e Awards uid

O

M

In 2016, Regent’s Carl Meadows was joined on his Pioneering North Korea Group Tour by Hilary Bradt, founder of Bradt Travel Guides.

dG rl

NDED

Story to tell Carl Meadows

ME

The Inside Story

H I G H LY C

57-18 BC

676

1945

1948

1968

Three Kingdoms of Silla, Goguryeo and Baekje founded

Silla repels Chinese invasion and unites much of Three Kingdoms

Japanese occupation of Korea ends; Soviet troops occupy North, US troops South

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is proclaimed with Kim Il Sung as premier

USS Pueblo – a US spy vessel – is captured by North Korean gunboats

372-527

1231

1946

1950-53

Kingdoms adopt Buddhism

The Mongols invade Korea

Soviet-backed Workers’ Party of North Korea is founded

North and South at war: over 2 million lives are lost


North Korea

Regent Recommends Pyongyang

No Man’s Land

What Friends Are For

Most of our tours to North Korea will centre around its capital – the living monument to socialism that is Pyongyang. The city is dominated by the spectres of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, with giant bronze statues and cheerful murals on street corners depicting the departed leaders in various heroic poses. The Taedong River slips through the heart of Pyongyang, dividing the east and west. Most tours start and end in the totalitarian city and guides focus heavily on the many extravagant celebrations of the three generations of Kims who have dominated the country’s rule for the past 70 years.

North and South Korea are technically still at war with each other and a visit to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which stretches 250 kilometres across the Korean peninsula and cuts it neatly in half, provides a brilliant insight into the tensions between the two. Arrive in Panmunjom to listen to an army escort explain the history of, in spite of its name, one of the world’s most militarized borders before being led to the Armistice Talks Hall. Depending on local tensions, a little peek inside a hut that straddles the official border is possible, under the watchful eye of the South Korean soldiers.

Carved into the mountains at scenic Myohyang, the International Friendship Exhibition is a large museum complex probably like no other museum you’ll ever see. Comprising two vast, James Bond villain-esque complexes – one dedicated to Kim Il Sung, the other to Kim Jong Il – the exhibition contains thousands of gifts given to the leaders by international governments, organisations and the even the odd celebrity. Notable offerings include a bullet-proof limousine from Stalin, a crocodile skin suitcase from Castro and a metal horseman from Colonel Gaddafi. Keep your eyes peeled to spot the gift from Regent Holidays.

1985

1994

2007

2013

Regent Holidays sends its first tour group to the DPRK

Kim Il Sung dies and is succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il

North and South Korea’s Prime Ministers meet for the first time in 15 years

DPRK posturing sparks worldwide media interest

1972

1991

1996

2011

New constitution names Kim Il Sung as president

North Korea joins the UN

Severe famine grips the country

Kim Jong Il dies and is succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Un

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292

45


Pyongyang

2017 North Korea Group Tours Regent Holidays has been a North Korea specialist since 1985, and as the leading UK experts we work closely with the DPRK authorities to develop itineraries and push the boundaries of tourism. Regent’s resident North Korea expert Carl Meadows has visited the country twenty times and his exceptional guiding skills have been highly commended by the Wanderlust Guide Awards. Recently, he led Hilary Bradt on a journey through this unique country.

February

April / May

Kim Jong Il Anniversary Tour

May Day Weekend

The dates of most of our 2017 tours have been timed to coincide with various special events or national holidays in North Korea, but whichever tour you choose, the main highlights will include Pyongyang, Kaesong and the DMZ.

Kim Il Sung Anniversary Tour

On national holidays the celebrations vary. The atmosphere may just be slightly more relaxed, or there may be mass dancing in the city squares or large military parades. To maximise your chances of seeing any celebrations we have timed our tours and itineraries accordingly and will try to put you in the right location at the right time. It is quite common for special orchestra, opera or circus performances to take place, and it is normally possible to attend such events, with the tickets payable locally.

5 days from £1250pp Departs 14 Feb 17

May Day National Holiday 4 days from £1100pp Departs 29 Apr 17

April

6 days from £1400pp Departs 13 Apr 17

April

April / May

Extended Kim Il Sung Anniversary Tour

Spring Break in North Korea

10 days from £1980pp Departs 13 Apr 17

May Day National Holiday 8 days from £1650pp Departs 29 Apr 17

Every year, more regions of this elusive country open to tourists. So, brand new for 2017, we’ve put together an exciting trekking itinerary that follows some of the best hiking routes through the most beautiful natural landscapes of DPRK. Our North Korea tours include all guiding, meals, transport, transfers and accommodation within the country. In addition, we include the North Korean visa fee and a full visa service – making the visa process as straightforward and simple as possible.

46 Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk

June

Classic North Korea Korean Juvenile Corps Day 8 days from £1650pp Departs 03 Jun 17


June

September

October

Back in the DPRK

Pioneering North Korea

Extended Workers Party Foundation

Includes a range of special services 18 days from £3400pp Departs 04 Sep 17

11 days from £2150pp Departs 07 Oct 17

August

September

November

Classic Liberation Day

Foundation Day Tour

Includes flight to Mt Paekdu 8 days from £1930pp Departs 14 Aug 17

Includes train to Mt Myohyang 8 days from £1980pp Departs 5 Sep 17

Korean Mother’s Day Tour

One-off tour for repeat customers 13 days from £2900pp Departs 12 Jun 17

5 days from £1360pp Departs 14 Nov 17

September / October

Hikes & Highlights of North Korea BRAND NEW for 2017 13 days from £2750pp Departs 25 Sep 17

August

October

December

Extended Liberation Day Tour

Workers Party Foundation

Christmas in North Korea

Inlcudes flight to Mt Paekdu 13 days from £2650pp Departs 14 Aug 17

6 days from £1420pp Departs 07 Oct 17

6 days price £1520pp Departs 23 Dec 17

47 www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292


Juche Tower

Classic Liberation Day Tour 15th August 2017 is the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese withdrawal from Korea, marking the start of the modern era that created an independent North (and South) Korea. Discover Pyongyang’s major sights and remain in the capital for a chance to witness the festivities and celebrations that occur on this special anniversary before taking a private chartered flight to Samjiyon to visit the beautiful Mt. Paekdu.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Pyongyang | Make your own way to Beijing Airport and fly to Pyongyang with Air Koryo. Meet your guides for a drink or two (extra expense) at the Taedonggang Microbrewery and enjoy a welcome dinner in the city. (D) Day 2 Liberation Day | Enjoy a day’s sightseeing around Pyongyang. Purchase flowers and join the thousands of Koreans who bow to the 20-metre tall bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Mansudae Grand Monument and continue to see two of the city’s most famous monuments: the Juche Tower and the Monument to the Foundation of the Workers Party of Korea. The schedule of events will be flexible to encounter as many of the celebrations as possible, as we anticpate that many ceremonies or jovial events will occur throughout Pyongyang. (B,L,D) Day 3 Pyongyang to Mt Paekdu | Depart Pyongyang early by chartered aircraft to the Mt Paekdu region, an area of great spiritual importance to the North Koreans. Walk from the base to the crater rim and descend to the

crater lake shores, and even reach the highest point on the Korean Peninsula. (B,L,D) Day 4 Mt Paekdu to Kaesong | Return to Pyongyang using the same charter aircraft and drive to Kaesong, stopping to see the Kwanum Temple. (B,L,D) Day 5 DMZ | Pay a brief visit to Sonjuk Bridge before visiting the pleasant Koryo History Museum in the morning. Also visit the nearby Stamp Shop – a great spot for picking up a wide range of postcards and stamps. Travel to the border to meet an army escort who guides the tour of the Armistice Talks Hall and (conditions permitting) step inside a hut that straddles the border. In the afternoon visiting the Tomb of King Kongmin (B) Day 6 Kaesong to Nampo | Drive to the port town of Nampo and enjoy a private motor boat cruise down the Taedong River to the impressive West Sea Barrage. Return to Pyongyang and visit the Mangyondae Native House, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. From the suburb of Mangyondae return to central Pyongyang on a private tram. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Pyongyang | enjoy a final day of sightseeing in Pyongyang, starting with a visit to the awesome Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the former residence of Kim Il Sung, and now the Mausoleum of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. After lunch visit the Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo, an 850 ton US spy boat captured in 1968 by the Koreans off the coast of Wonsan. In the afternoon, make the most of time at leisure to take in any missed sites from earlier in the tour, or to enjoy (as the group wishes and at your own expense) leisure activities such as a visit to the Bowling Lanes or Indoor Shooting Range. In the evening enjoy a farewell dinner in a city restaurant. (B,L,D) Day 8 Fly to Beijing | Transfer to Pyongyang airport for the flight back to Beijing. Speak to a North Korea Specialist about departing instead by rail. (B)

Tour duration

8 days

Holiday type

Fully Guided Small Group Tour

Departures

14 Aug

Prices from

£1930 per person

Includes flight from Beijing to Pyongyang, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing

48 Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Holiday Celebrations in Wonsan

Pioneering North Korea Led by Regent’s award-winning Carl Meadows our Pioneering North Korea tour heads firmly off-the-beaten-track, visiting towns and regions rarely visited by other travellers. After discovering the classic sights, leave behind the giant statues and grand buildings of Pyongyang and travel by chartered aircraft to remote towns like Chongjin, where a surreal drive through the industrial city reveals a different side to this hidden country. This pioneering itinerary pushes the boundaries of travel in the DPRK, taking chartered trains and untravelled backroads.

Itinerary Day 1 Beijing to Pyongyang | Fly from Beijing to Pyongyang. Visit the Mansudae Grand Monument and pay respects to giant bronze statues of the great leaders. (D)

DPRK | Special events are anticipated on this important national holiday. Visit the Juche Tower and the monument to the Foundation of the Workers Party of Korea. (B,L,D)

Day 2 Pyongyang | Walk from the Pyongyang Grand Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square. Visit the Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo, an 850 ton US Spy boat captured in 1968. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Pyongyang | In Pyongyang see the awesome Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Mausoleum for both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and Mangyondae, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung. (B,L,D)

Day 3 DMZ | Travel to the DMZ and border with South Korea. An army escort will accompany you to the Armistice Talks’ Hall and into a hut that straddles the border (conditions permitting). (B,L,D)

Day 8 Nampo | In Nampo enjoy a private cruise to the West Sea Barrage. Board a chartered aircraft to Samjiyon and visit the Samijon Grand Monument. (B,L,D)

Days 14-15 Mt Kumgang | reach Mt Kumgang to explore the beautiful mountains and rockpool-littered scenery of the coastal region, home to much Korean folklore. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Mt. Myohyang | Head north to the Monument To The Three Point Charter For National Reunification and take a private charter train to Mt. Myohyang. (B,L,D)

Day 9 Mt. Paekdu | Mt. Paekdu is of great spiritual symbolism to the Korean people. Walk to Janggun Peak, at 2,750m, and descend to the shore of Lake Chon in the crater. (B,L,D)

Day 16 Masikryong | Drive to Masikryong, a ski resort in winter and pretty hiking region in summer. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Pyongyang | Visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a massive complex housing gifts to the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Return to Pyongyang. (B,L,D)

Day 10 Chongjin | Fly to Orang and drive to the industrial port of Chongjin. Visit the Steelworks Kindergarten and have a drink in the Foreign Sailors Club. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Anniversary of the Foundation of

Day 11 Chongjin | Tour the newly opened

sights in the city including the Russian War Memorial before flying to Hamhung. (B,L,D) Day 12 Hamhung | Swim in the East Sea of Korea from the private hotel beach and explore Hamhung, from the Grand Theatre to the Fertiliser Factory. (B,L,D) Day 13 Wonsan | Head south to the Dongbong Co-Operative Farm and reach Wonsan to visit the state art shop. (B,L,D)

Day 17 Pyongyang | Return to Pyongyang for a final tour of the city and a farewell dinner with your group. (B,L,D) Day 18 Fly to Beijing | Depart for Beijing by air. (B)

Tour duration 18 days Holiday type

Group Tour Fully Guided

Departure

4 Sep

Prices from

£3400 per person

Includes flights from Beijing, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292

49


North Korea Mountains

Hikes & Highlights of North Korea If simply visiting North Korea wasn’t adventurous enough, this new small group tour combines the highlights of one of the world’s most elusive countries with several hiking and trekking routes to uncover an attractive side to DPRK that tourists rarely see. Prepare to lace up walking boots and set off to discover Mt Myohyang and Mt Kumgang as the autumn leaves start to turn.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Pyongyang | Make your own way to Beijing Airport and fly to Pyongyang. Meet your guide and head into the city centre to visit the Mansudae Fountain Park, the Mansudae Grand Monument and the Chollima Monument. Enjoy a welcome dinner in the National Restaurant. (D) Day 2 Pyongyang | Enjoy a full day sightseeing, visiting Kim Il Sung Square, the Juche Tower and the monument to the Foundation of the Workers Party of Korea. Journey on the impressive Pyongyang Metro to surface beside the Arch of Triumph and Moranbong Park. Stop for a beer (extra cost) at the Taedonggang Microbrewery. (B,L,D) Day 3 DMZ | Head to the DMZ and South Korean border. Guided by an army escort, learn the history of the DMZ, see the Armistice Talks Hall and (local conditions permitting) enter one of the huts which straddle the border (B,L,D) Day 4 Pyongyang to Mt Myohyang | Start the day with a visit to the awesome Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the former residence of Kim Il Sung, and now the Mausoleum for both Kim

Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. This afternoon head north to Mt. Myohyang and visit the attractive Pohyon Temple. (B,L,D)

Station. Drive to Mt. Kumgang, stopping enroute at Sijung Beach where, bathing in the Sea of Japan is an option. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Mt Myohyang | Explore the International Friendship Exhibition, a massive mountainside complex housing the thousands of gifts presented to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong ll and Kim Jong Un. After, hike in the Chilsong Valley, aprox 3-4 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 9 Mt Kumgang | Embark on a short hike through the stunning Kumgang Mountains. This steep trail (approx 3 hours), boasts spectacular views. Later visit the attractive Samil Lake and Sea Kumgang. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Mt Myohyang Hike | Spend a full day hiking around Mt. Myohyang, lasting between 6-9 hours, depending on the group. Ascend the Sangwon Valley to reach Puryong Hermitage and Tanguun Rock, then snake into the Munsu Valley and tackle a steep path up to beautiful Kuchang Falls. Enjoy a lamb BBQ dinner before a well deserved evening of rest. (B,D)

Day 7 Mt Myohyang to Wonsan | Spend the day driving to Wonsan on the east coast, stopping for lunch en route. (B,L,D) Day 8 Wonsan to Mt Kumgang | Tour Wonsan, visiting the Songdowon International Schoolchildren’s Camp, Wonsan Central Square, the Art Shop and the Old Railway

Day 10 Mt Kumgang Hike | Today’s full day hike around Mt Kumgang reaches Sejonbong. The route takes approx 7-8 hours and an early start allows for plenty of photograph opportunities. Groups may opt for an additional short hike to the ‘Fairies Pools’ for a stunning view of the rock pools below, and a site of famous Korean legends. (B,D) Day 11 Mt Kumgang to Masikryong | Drive to Masikryong Ski Resort and explore the snowfree hills on foot or by ski lift (extra cost). (B,L,D) Day 12 Masikryong to Pyongyang | Return to Pyongyang, stopping at the Sinphyong Tea House, and visit a secondary school. (B,L,D) Day 13 Fly to Beijing | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to Beijing. (B)

Tour duration

13 days

Holiday type

Fully Guided Small Group Tour

Departure

25 Sep

Prices from

£2750 per person

Includes flight from Beijing to Pyongyang, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing

50 Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


International Friendship Exhibition

Tailor-made North Korea For those who don’t wish to travel as part of an existing group tour, we can tailor-make a DPRK itinerary to suit your interests and time frame for any size of party, be you a sole traveller or a large private group. Whether you want to embark on a brief city break in Pyongyang or opt for an in-depth exploration of the republic’s off-the beaten track towns and dramatic countryside, we can provide a bespoke package from as little as 2 nights up to 3+ weeks in the country. Our tailor made tours to North Korea include all guiding, meals, transport, transfers and accommodation. In addition, we include the North Korean Visa fee and a full visa service, making the process as straightforward as possible. Please note that although it is not necessary to travel as part of a group in North Korea, independent travel is not permitted, and you will be accompanied by an official guide throughout. Perhaps consider including some of the options below on your tailor made tour. National Holidays Time your visit to coincide with one of North Korea’s many national holidays which mark important anniversaries in the DPRK’s calendar. Almost every month Pyongyang’s workers down tools for the day and take to the city’s streets and parks to celebrate a leader’s birthday or the anniversary of an event in the country’s history. While details of any official festivities are never announced until the 11th hour, finding yourself in Pyongyang on a national holiday will most likely provide the opportunity to join in with celebrations.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles Recent special arrangements for private parties and small groups have included helicopter flights and private trains to Mt. Myohyang, chartered aircraft for single

and multi-day trips to the distant provinces, cruises on the Taedong River and bus / trolleybus / tram tours around Pyongyang. With more and more becoming possible we can offer various weird and wonderful combinations of air and ground transport to add a unique experience to your trip.

Go For Longer! The DPRK is a country that most visitors will only ever visit once, and the most common

feedback we get from our clients is that they wish they had stayed for longer! The DPRK is so unique that it merits staying as long as possible. Most visitors typically spend around one week in the country, but a few extra days are extremely worthwhile and open up the possibility of visiting lesser visited cities and national parks.

Mt. Paekdu A couple of times a year Regent charters a private aircraft in order to visit Mt. Paekdu. At 2,750 metres above sea level this beautiful mountain is not only the highest point on the Korean peninsula and in Manchuria, but also considered the spiritual home of all Koreans. Whilst our charter flights typically cater to our existing groups, we have limited seats available for private travellers keen on visiting this beautiful region, one that can only be accessed by air. Please contact us for further details about visiting Mt. Paekdu as part of a private tailored tour.

Tour duration

2 nights to 3+ weeks

Holiday type

Tailor-made Fully Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a North Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292

51


South Korea

Welcome to the Land of the Morning Calm – where even the nickname resonates serenity. Dubbed by an emperor of the Ming dynasty of China, the attractive southern half of the Korean peninsula is a country within which to seek tranquillity among a culture deeply rooted in ancient Buddhism. South Korea is a land of craggy mountains, national parks carpeted in thick forest and unspoiled countryside sprinkled with rustic wooden ‘hanok’ houses.


South Korea TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 11 hours Time zone: GMT + 9 Capital: Seoul Language: Korean Currency: South Korean Won Best time to travel: April to October Getting around: Private vehicle, domestic flights, trains Accommodation: Tourist class hotels 3 and 4 *

SOUTH KOREA IN NUMBERS

237 1,950

Height of Seoul Tower (metres)

Highest mountain in South Korea – Hallasan (metres)

250 366

Different kinds of Kimchi dish

Number of stones that make up Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory

10

Length of the Boryeong Mud Festival (days)

For our full range of South Korea itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


The Inside Story

Story to tell Carl Meadows

South Korea is a paradoxical country, rich in ancient culture and vibrant modernity. Have fun in pulsating Seoul, where neon signs compete with exquisite temples and palaces. Flex the credit card in duty-free shops and get a bird’s-eye view from dominating Seoul Tower where it’s possible to see the Han River winding its way through the city. The hustle and bustle of Seoul couldn’t contrast more with the stunningly beautiful mountainous countryside. Here, thousands of ornate temples are home to the country’s many Buddhist monks, and at some it’s even possible to enjoy a privileged overnight stay. At the 1,000-year-old Samhwasa Temple in serene Mureung Valley, experience traditional Buddhist life with some quiet contemplation. Temple-hop in the former Silla Kingdom capital of Gyeongju, or admire the 80,000 beautifully preserved wooden printing blocks in Gayasan National Park’s Haeinsa Temple. Choose to discover the dramatic coastline with its port towns brimming with seafood markets or opt to explore Jeju Island, the volcanic province situated off the southern coast which was recently voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Why I love South Korea Visit Gyeongju and be amazed by the wealth of historical riches to be found in this ancient coastal city. The Silla Dynasty Seokguram Grotto, with its statue of Buddha surrounded by Bodhisattvas, the Ten Disciples, Eight Divine Guardians, two Devas and two Vajrapanis all carved from white granite, is a masterpiece of East Asian religious art.

57-18 BC

676

1392

1653

1945

Three Kingdoms of Silla, Goguryeo and Baekje founded

Silla repels Chinese invasion and unites much of Three Kingdoms

General Yi Seonggye crowned king, heralding the Joseon Dynasty

Hendrick Hamel shipwrecked on Jeju Island; first westerner to chronicle the Joseon Dynasty

Japanese occupation of Korea ends; Soviet troops occupy North, US troops South

372-527

1234

1396

1895

Kingdoms adopt Buddhism

Sangjeong Gogeum Yemun, world’s first metal-block printed text, is published

Capital city moves to Hanyang – modern day Seoul

Japan wins Sino-Japanese War, ending Chinese influence over Korea


South Korea

Regent Recommends Seoul

Wonders of the world

Museum City

South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is a metropolis where skyscrapers compete to dominate the skyline while ancient Buddhist temples share the streets with bustling markets and lively pop culture. One of Seoul’s most popular sights is Changdeok Palace – the best preserved of all the capital’s palaces. Originally constructed in the late 14th century, the palace grounds cover over 110 acres, harmoniously dotted with wooden pavilions, ponds and patterned walls. Foodies should rejoice in Seoul, as the city easily rivals any other Asian hub for cuisine. Fresh snacks on street corners and world-class fine dining will keep any stomach satisfied.

Recently awarded the distinction of being named one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” alongside sights such as Table Mountain and the Amazon rainforest, Jeju Island in the Korean Strait boasts outstanding beauty thanks to its rugged shores, beautiful beaches and lush meadows. Cottage-style homes built from black volcanic rock, face out to the blue sea. The island has long been the country’s favourite holiday destination, but is also home to the extraordinary Haenyo women. This community of free divers scouring the ocean floor and the coral reefs for marine products, have helped Jeju’s sumptuous seafood cuisine evolve independently from mainland Korea.

Visitors to Gyeongju city on South Korea’s southeast coast are amazed by the wealth of historical riches to be found in this ancient city, known as “the museum without walls”. Cherished for its abundance of well-preserved historical remains, spend a few days here to discover its many treasures. For over 1,000 years Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Dynasty; a collection of impressive royal Silla tombs can be found here. Tour the UNESCO world heritage site Seokguram Grotto, wander the tombs of walled Tumuli Park in the centre of town, and stop to see Chomsongdae Observatory – one of the world’s earliest known observatories.

1953

1988

2004

2012

Korean War ends with ceasefire after claiming over two million lives

Seoul hosts Olympic Games

Yeongi-Kongju selected as site for new capital, replacing Seoul by 2030

Jeju Island named one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’

1950

1980

1998

2006

South declares independence and war begins

200 student protesters shot and killed by troops in Gyeongju

Kim Dae-jung elected president; pursues policy of economic and humanitarian aid to North

Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon appointed secretary-general of the UN

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a South Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292

55


Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Highlights of South Korea Uncover the highlights of South Korea on this 8-day coach tour. Visit the capital’s Gyeongbokgung Palace and Namdaemun Market, travel to Gyeongju – known as the ‘museum without walls, due to its abundance of historical buildings – to explore the 8th century UNESCO World Heritage Site of Seokguram Grotto, discover one of the world’s earliest-known existing observatories and take in the sights, sounds and smells of Busan’s Jagalchi Fish Market.

Itinerary Day 1 Seoul | Arrive in Seoul and transfer to the hotel for two nights. Day 2 Seoul | Enjoy a sightseeing tour of South Korea’s capital. Visit the National Museum of Korea which boasts a fantastic collection of Korean arts and relics. Continue to the UNESCO-World Heritage sites of Changdoek Palace & Huwon (the Secret Garden), once the principal palace for many kings of the Joseon Dynasty. From here visit the North Seoul Tower located on Mt Namsan for a bird’seye view of the city. End the day at bustling Gwangjang Market. (B) Day 3 Seoul to Daegu | Take an excursion to the Korean Folk Village located just outside the capital. Here, discover traditional 18th and 19th century houses of typical rural families. Proceed to Songnisan National Park and visit Beopjusa Temple, one of the largest and most magnificent temple sites in Korea before transferring to Daegu via the express highway. (B) Day 4 Daegu to Gyeongju | Travel to the coastal city of Gyeongju; this UNESCO listed site and ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom contains a remarkable number of historical

buildings, temples and artefacts. Visit Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine which originally opened in the 17th century, and the Seomun Market which is steeped in history. Enjoy a tour of Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in East Asia. (B) Day 5 Gyeongju | Continue sightseeing in Gyeongju with visits to Bulguksa Temple and the 8th century Seokguram Grotto, one of the world’s finest shrines to Buddha. Visit Gwaeneung Royal Tomb before embarking on a scenic drive along the beautiful coast road to Guryongpo Port. (B)

Perhaps explore the bustling, expat-friendly neighbourhood of Itaewon, this famous shopping area stretches 1.4km and is home to bars, restaurants and hundreds of shops. (B) Day 8 Depart Seoul | Depart Seoul. Take the optional transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK or speak to a Regent Specialist about extending your stay in South Korea. (B)

Day 6 Gyeongju To Busan | Enjoy an excursion to Unmunsa Temple, the largest Buddhist nunnery in Korea before embarking on a sightseeing tour of South Korea’s second largest metropolis, Busan. Discover the main sights including the colourful and vibrant Jagalchi market, Nampoding Street and Yongdusan Park where Busan Tower rises 118 metres above the city. (B) Day 7 Busan to Seoul | Transfer back to Seoul and spend some time at leisure.

Tour duration

8 days

Holiday type

Group Tour Fully Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£1315 per person

Includes accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

56 Talk to a South Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Buddha Statue at Shinheungsa Temple, Seoraksan National Park

Classic South Korea Our classic 11-day coach tour of South Korea is the perfect introduction to the Land of the Morning Calm. Admire the impressive bird’s-eye view from Seoul Tower, enjoy a full day tour of ancient Gyeongju where the Gwaeneung Royal Tomb, Seokguram Grotto and 4-face Buddha await, discover the important national treasures of Gayasan National Park and travel to Mt. Seorak for a wonderful stay at Samhwasa Temple.

Itinerary Day 1 Seoul | Arrive in Seoul and transfer to the hotel for two nights.

Gwaeneung Royal Tomb before taking a scenic coastal drive to Guryongpo Port. (B)

Day 2 Seoul | Enjoy a sightseeing tour, visiting the National Museum of Korea and the UNESCO-World Heritage sites of Changdoek Palace & Huwon (the Secret Garden). Continue to the North Seoul Tower on Mt Namsan for a spectacular city panorama. End the day at bustling Gwangjang Market. (B)

Day 6 Gyeongju To Busan | Visit Unmunsa Temple, the largest Buddhist nunnery in Korea and tour South Korea’s second largest metropolis, Busan. Here the main sights include Jagalchi market, Nampoding Street and Yongdusan Park where Busan Tower rises 118 metres above the city. (B)

Day 3 Seoul to Daegu | Head to the Korean Folk Village to discover traditional rural 18th and 19th century houses. At Songnisan National Park, visit the immense and beautiful Beopjusa Temple, before driving to Daegu. (B)

Day 7 Busan to Chungju | Travel to Gayasan National Park to visit Haeinsa Temple, home to one of Korea’s chief national treasures - the Tripikata Koreana. These Buddhist scriptures were made to protect Korea from Mongolian troops. Continue to Andong and Hahoe, a village known for its mask dance, before reaching Chungju Lake. (B)

Day 4 Daegu to Gyeongju | Travel to the coastal city of Gyeongju, ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, containing many remarkable buildings and temples. Visit Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine, Seomun Market and Cheomseongdae Observatory. (B) Day 5 Gyeongju | Continue sightseeing in Gyeongju with visits to Bulguksa Temple and the 8th century Seokguram Grotto, one of the world’s finest shrines to Buddha. Visit

Day 8 Chungju & Monastery Stay | Enjoy a sightseeing boat trip on Chungju Lake. Continue to Mt Seorak to stay at the Woljeongsa Temple where you will be given clothes to wear during your stay as well as an explanation of temple life and customs. In the evening, attend a bell-ringing ceremony and a course in meditation. (B)

Day 9 Mt Seorak | Opt for an early wake up call for morning mass and the chance to watch the sunrise over the East Coast. After breakfast transfer to Pine City Gangneung to visit the Chamsori Gramophone & Audio Museum before continuing to Mt Seorak National Park. Take a cable car ride to Gwonggeumseong Fortress to visit the Sinheungsa Temple. Enjoy time at leisure to enjoy hiking or simply relax. (B) Day 10 Mt Seorak to Seoul | This morning drive to Yanggu and visit the War Memorial Museum built to commemorate the sacrifice and heroism of those who fought in in the Korean War. Also visit the fourth infiltration tunnel dug by the North Korean Army and discovered in 1990 as well as the Eulji Observatory. Transfer to Gapyeong to visit the Morning Calm Flower and Tree Park to admire unique Korean wild flowers and trees in a garden located in an attractive mountain valley From here transfer to Seoul and spend time at leisure. Perhaps browse through the many stores and stalls on Itaewon Street (B) Day 11 Depart Seoul | Transfer to the airport for onward connections. (B)

Tour duration

11 days

Holiday type

Group Tour Fully Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£1715 per person

Includes accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a South Korea Specialist on 020 7666 1292

57


Taiwan

Where flashy glass-fronted skyscrapers overlook ancient temples, Taiwan’s beating heart, Taipei, pulses with the insatiable energy of one of Asia’s most dynamic capital cities. An array of foreign settlers dotted throughout the island’s history have forged an eclectic blend of cultures, with colonial European Dutch influences mingling with traditional Han Chinese and Japanese customs. But, remaining relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, Taiwan is also a haven for nature lovers. Stray from the beaten track for the stunning cliffs of Penghu, visit the rural mountain communities of Wulai to find natural steaming, aquamarine hot springs and explore the Wen Wu Temple at Sun Moon Lake.

58


Taiwan TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 16 hours Time zone: GMT + 8 Capital: Taipei Language: Mandarin Currency: New Taiwan Dollar Best time to travel: April/May and Sep/Oct Getting around: Private vehicle, Trains Accommodation: 4* tourist class hotels

TAIWAN IN NUMBERS

762 1949 101 15,000 3,952

Altitude of Sun Moon Lake (metres)

The year China claimed sovereignty over Taiwan

Floors in the Taipei 101 Skyscraper

Approx number of temples in Taiwan

Height of Mt Yushan (metres)

For our full range of Taiwan itineraries, group tours and railway holidays, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.

59


Story to tell Stef Studley

The Inside Story One of Asia’s most dynamic countries, Taiwan has a vibrant and varied culture influenced by the indigenous, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Han Chinese peoples who have all played their part in the island’s history.

Why I love Taiwan Taiwan is full of surprises, but those who picture it as a sprawling industrial metropolis are in for the biggest surprise. Taiwan’s National Parks boast some of the most stunningly beautiful lakes, waterfalls and forests in Asia, with sweet-smelling cherry blossoms filling the clear mountain air in the springtime.

Since the end of martial law in the 1980s, Taipei has reinvented itself as a clean, modern, international business capital, where towering skyscrapers rub shoulders with ancient temples. But it’s the incredible natural scenery outside of the capital which makes Taiwan one of Asia’s most underrated hidden gems. The tiny island is dominated by the towering Central Mountain Range created by a collision of tectonic plates 12 million years ago. Stunning national parks abound, with Taroko Gorge being a Regent favourite. Here, the Central Cross Island Highway cuts through a landscape of deep marble canyons, rushing rivers and towering cliffs, dotted with temples and pagodas. The Taiwanese are passionate about festivals, so time your visit with one of the country’s favourites such as Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Tomb Sweeping Festival or Ghost Festival and join in with the celebrations.

1544

1666

1895

1945

Portuguese sailors name land Ilha Formosa Beautiful Island

Confucius Temple founded in ancient capital of Tainan

Taiwan ceded to Japan after First Sino-Japanese War

Japan defeated in WWII & Taiwan surrendered to ROC military forces

1624

1683

1927

1949

Dutch establish trading base for commerce with Japan and China

Qing Dynasty of China conquers and takes control from Dutch

Taiwanese People’s Party founded

Communist Mao takes control of mainland & drives Nationalist forces onto Taiwan


Taiwan

Regent Recommends National Parks

Night markets

Kinmen Island

Taiwan boasts some of the most spectacular national parks in Asia, and our two week tailor-made tour is the ideal way to discover them. Explore mountainous Yangmingshan National Park with its steaming hot springs, gushing waterfalls, picturesque lakes and terraced rice paddies, board the tilting Taroko Express to visit Taroko National Park’s Swallow Grotto and Eternal Spring Shrine, discover the area of outstanding natural beauty that is Kenting National Park including the botanical gardens and coral limestone caves, take the rare Forest Train to Alishan where giant trees dating back thousands of years await and enjoy a cruise on beautiful Sun Moon Lake.

No trip to Taiwan would be complete without visiting one of the country’s famous night markets. Buzzing with noise and energy the vibrant markets are a great place to shop for bargains and present the perfect opportunity to sample a wide variety of authentic Taiwanese food and snacks. From pan fried dumplings and oyster omelettes to fresh squid and bubble tea - a Taiwanese favourite made from brewed tea, milk and balls of tapioca - the food and drink is cheap and delicious. Shilin, Raohe and Shida are the most well known markets but with over 100 dotted across the country, each offering its own styles and specialties, it would be difficult not to stumble across one.

Located just a few miles off the coast of China Kinmen Island attracts visitors year round with its military past. Learn about the fascinating history of the island, which has been a source of tension, war and fierce political debate for over half a century. Discover Wentai Pagoda, originally built in 1387. This five-storey hexagonal building served as a navigational marker for ships negotiating the treacherous waters near Kinmen. Explore Guningtou Battle Museum which tells of China’s ill-fated 1949 attack on the island and spend time at the August 23rd Artillery Battle Museum which is filled with and surrounded by guns, tanks and shells - a must for military enthusiasts.

1950

1987

2004

2009

US President Truman sends fleet to Taiwan Strait thwarting Chinese invasion

End of martial law declared after 38 years

Taipei 101 begins short period as World’s Tallest Building

6,000 athletes attend World Games in Kaohsiung

1971

2000

2007

2010

ROC expelled from United Nations in favour of PRC

Chen Shui-bian wins presidential elections ending 50 years of Nationalist power

Taiwan High Speed Rail opens

Taiwan and China sign landmark free trade pact

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Taiwan Specialist on 020 7666 1292

61


Bhutan

Boasting soaring views of rugged, snow-capped mountain ranges decorated with fluttering prayer flags and dotted with ancient monasteries, Bhutan sits at the eastern end of the Himalayas, sandwiched between India and the Tibetan Plateau. From the iconic fold mountains that dominate the horizon to the forested hills and fast flowing rivers of the valleys the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is home to a variety of ecosystems and remains as beautifully biodiverse, as it is spiritual.

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Bhutan TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 14 hours Time zone: GMT + 6 Capital: Thimphu Language: Dzongkha Currency: Bhutanese Ngultrum Best time to travel: September to May Getting around: Private vehicle with driver & guide Accommodation: 3, 4 and 5* guesthouses

BHUTAN IN NUMBERS

1974 24,840 The year Bhutan was opened to tourists

World’s highest unclimbed peak – Gangkhar Puensum (ft)

10,240 Height of The Tiger’s Nest Monastery (ft)

22.3 60

The median age in Bhutan

Percentage of the country that must remain forested by law

For our full range of Bhutan itineraries, and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.

63


Story to tell Stef Studley

The Inside Story Bhutan is a small land-locked country tucked away in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, sandwiched between China and India. Historically the country has had little interaction with the outside world resulting in a strong historical and cultural identity and a populace keen to make new friends. Bhutan’s pristine environment, with deep valley gorges and rugged mountain ranges, is home to countless dzongs and goembas attracting adventure seekers and cultural enthusiasts keen to explore this remote jewel of a country. Hike to Taktshang Monastery which seemingly hangs from the cliffside and marvel at the beauty of Punakha Dzong: the whitewashed walls seem to glisten in the reflection of the river waters. Uncover the magnificence and remoteness of the east where the landscape seems even more rugged and head out in search of the mystical yeti in the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Whether you want to explore the mountain landscapes or discover the country’s religious and cultural heritage simply ask a Regent Bhutan Specialist to tailor-make an itinerary for you.

Why I love Bhutan How could one not love a country that believes in a concept of gross national happiness? Combine this with friendly and curious locals, rugged mountain landscapes, stunning mountaintop monasteries and a deep spiritual belief system and you have all the ingredients for my favourite country.

2000 BC

1433

1637

1865

1907

Bhutan first inhabited by nomadic herders

the “Iron Bridge Lama”, Thangtong Gyalpo visits from Tibet and builds eight bridges

Punakha Dzong is built which remains the capital of Bhutan until Thimphu takes its place in 1961

war with Britain over the southern Bhutanese hills, or duars, ends with the loss of substantial land

Ugyen Wangchuck is crowned as the first king, or Druk, of Bhutan known as Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King)

9th century AD

1616

1774

1897

Tibetan Buddhism is introduced to the country

the country of Bhutan is consolidated following the defeat of three Tibetan invasions

potatoes are introduced to Bhutan by George Bogle

the great Assam earthquake destroys the dzongs in Pankha and Linghzi


Bhutan

Regent Recommends Welcome to the Party!

Hike the Hills

Wildlife & Nature

For such a small country the cultural diversity in Bhutan is significant and the prolonged colourful and energetic festivals and tsechus are a vibrant expression of the people’s identity. The festivals celebrate Buddhist teachings and events and are a chance for locals to have their sins ‘washed away’. However, they are also important social events with many families reconnecting after months apart. Villagers don their best clothes and share meals of ema datse and momos washed down with fiery local rice wine while watching lively mask dances and performances. Any Bhutan holiday can be arranged around a festival, speak to a Regent Bhutan Specialist today.

Experience some truly wonderful trekking over pristine landscapes, past roaring rivers and through intriguing rural villages. Whether it’s taking on the infamous 24day Snowman trek to the remote Lunana district or a collection of gentle day hikes through the lush and fertile Bumthang Valleys, the variety and beauty of Bhutan’s trekking make it a key reason for many to visit this small Himalayan gem. And don’t think it’s all about getting back to nature and sleeping under canvas, many of the walks can be tackled in a day so you can hike safe in the knowledge there is a comfortable bed and Bhutan’s renowned hospitality waiting for you at the end of your adventure!

Bhutan’s rugged and often remote terrain may not seem conducive to a variety of wildlife but in fact the country is regarded as a real biodiversity hotspot. Boasting a minimum 60% national parkland with terrains ranging from high ice peaks and glaciers to subtropical forests, these environments are home to many rare and endangered animals including red pandas, Bengal tigers, golden langurs and the extremely shy snow leopard. In autumn and winter, migratory black-necked cranes, which are seen as a sign of luck, return from their summer homes and can be seen performing flamboyant mating dances in the Phobjikha and Bomdeling Sanctuaries.

1974

1984

2004

2008

2008

arrival of the first tourist group coincides with UN recognition

first represented at the Olympic games

tobacco is outlawed

launch of Wangchuck Centennial Park

Stef visits Bhutan for the first time

1972 Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth Dragon King, introduces the concept of “gross national happiness” as an alternative to “gross domestic product”

1983

1999

2007

2012

Paro airport is opened and the first international flights begin operating to Kolkata with Druk Air

television and the internet are formally introduced into the country and plastic bags are banned

the first ever election in Bhutan is held

Kunzang Choden becomes the first non-archer to represent Bhutan in the Olympic Games, competing in the 10m air rifle event

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Bhutan Specialist on 020 7666 1292

65


Punakha Dzong

Land of the Thunder Dragon Discover the beauty of Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon - on this tailor-made tour. Stroll the busy streets of Thimphu, where the modern world meets traditional Bhutanese culture and travel to Jakar, the religious heartland of the country, located deep in the Bumthang Valleys. A hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on the side of a cliff will reward travellers with exceptional views of the surrounding Paro Valley.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kathmandu | Take an overnight flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Day 2 Kathmandu | Arrive in Kathmandu and spend the day at leisure. Perhaps stroll the lanes and alleyways of the popular Thamel district or stop for a drink at one of the rooftop bars. Day 3 Kathmandu to Bhutan | Fly over stunning mountain ranges to Paro, Bhutan and enjoy one of the most spectacular airport approaches in the world. Continue to Thimphu, the surprisingly cosmopolitan capital in this quiet Himalayan country. Spend the afternoon exploring the town or visit the nearby botanical gardens. (B,L,D) Day 4 Thimphu | Embark on a guided city tour of Bhutan’s capital visiting Trashi Chhoe Dzong, a Buddhist monastery located on a hillside offering excellent views of the city. Stop at the National Library of Bhutan where the world’s largest book titled ‘Bhutan’ is located as well as some fine examples of Bhutanese architecture. Watch locals circumambulate the impressive memorial chorten with its golden spire and large red prayer wheels. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Thimphu to Bumthang Valleys | Journey through the stunning Bhutanese countryside and travel over high mountain passes to Jakar. Located in the Bumthang Valleys this district capital is regarded as the religious heartland of Bhutan. (B,L,D) Day 6 Bumthang Valleys | Bumthang consists of the four mountain valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Chokhor. Visit Jakar Dzong, set in a picturesque location overlooking the Chokhor Valley, once the seat of the first king of Bhutan. Continue to explore the temples of Kurjey, Tamshing and Jambey, the latter of which is thought of as the oldest temple in Bhutan dating back to 659. Take a tour of the Red Panda microbrewery and sample weiss beer. (B,L,D) Day 7 Bumthang Valleys to Punakha | Drive from Jakar to Punakha. Pass over the magnificent Pele La Pass which borders Phobjikha Valley, the winter home of migratory black-necked cranes. Stop at Chendebji Chorten, a stone Buddhist monument built in the style of the Nepalese temple of Swayambhunath in Kathmandu. Explore

Punakha town and the dzong which is regarded as the most beautiful in the country. (B,L,D) Day 8 Punakha to Paro | Spend the morning at leisure before travelling to Paro. Visit Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese architecture, explore Paro Museum, located in an old round watchtower high above the dzong, and learn about Bhutanese culture and history. (B,L,D) Day 9 Paro | Explore what for many is the highlight of their trip to Bhutan, the cliffside Taktshang Goemba, also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Embark on the steep climb to the monastery and be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding valley. Later visit local houses and villages to learn about traditional Bhutanese life. (B,L,D) Day 10 Paro to Kathmandu | Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy an afternoon city tour. Visit Durbar Square, explore Patan, the oldest city in the valley, and discover Swayambhunath - an ancient religious complex in the Kathmandu Valley also known as the Monkey Temple. (B) Day 11 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

11 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3750 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

66 Talk to a Bhutan Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Mount Jomulhari, Bhutan

Bhutan Grand Walking Tour Over 60% of Bhutan is legally protected land as national parks or sanctuaries and largely inaccessible by vehicles so donning hiking boots and taking to the hills is an obvious way to explore the country. On a variety of day trails discover some of the country’s most fascinating sights. Visit Bhutan’s first monastery, Cheri Goemba and enjoy views of the secluded Haa Valley on a trek across the Cheli-La Ridge where on a clear day Mount Jomulhari can be seen in the distance.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kathmandu | Take an overnight flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Day 2 Kathmandu | Arrive in Kathmandu and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Pho Chhu River, across the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan and through fertile terraced fields and forests. (B,L,D)

Day 3 Kathmandu to Bhutan | Enjoy the scenic flight over the Eastern Himalayas to Paro. Drive to Thimphu and enjoy a brief stroll in Bhutan’s capital. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Punakha to Bumthang Valleys | Depart Punakha and drive through forested landscapes and over the Pele La Pass. Explore the scenic 16th century Trongsa Dzong set atop a sheer mountainside. End the day in Jakar town. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Thimphu | Take a walk to sacred Cheri Goemba, Bhutan’s first monastery located in Wangchuck National Park. Cross the cantilevered bridge over the Wang Chhu River and embark on the steep climb to the monastery to be rewarded with impressive views of the valley below. Return to Thimphu and enjoy a guided tour of the town. (B,L,D)

Day 8 Bumthang Valleys | Enjoy a hike to Jambay and Kurjey monasteries. Pass by the impressive rock painting of Guru Rinpoche - the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Stop at Tamshing Goemba, regarded as the most important monastery in the country and home to several original wall images. Discover Jakar Dzong and visit the Red Panda microbrewery. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Thimphu to Punakha | Drive to Punakha via the scenic Dochula Pass with its 108 chortens. Descend to the Punakha Valley and hike to the temple of Chimi Lhakhang which passes through dramatic scenery and local villages. Explore picturesque Punakha Dzong and the inner courtyard. (B,L,D)

Day 9 Jakar to Phobjikha Valley | Drive to the Phobjikha Valley, an impressive glacial valley and winter home of the migratory black-necked cranes. Explore Gangte Goemba, an extensive complex which includes monks’ homes and meditation centres. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Punakha | Hike a section of the Samtengang Winter trek which travels over the

Day 10 Phobjikha Valley to Paro | Spend the morning exploring the valley. During the winter months it is possible to spot black-necked crane

colonies. Drive to Paro and stop in Thimphu for a spot of shopping. (B,L,D) Day 11 Paro | Trek the Cheli-La Ridge, a real hiking highlight. Pass through flower meadows and yak pastures which offer stunning views of the remote Haa Valley - on clear days Mount Jhomolhari can be seen in the distance. Visit Kila nunnery, one of the few nunneries in the country located on the face of a cliff. (B,L,D) Day 12 Paro | Hike the short, steep trail to Taktshang Goemba. The trail passes through various landscapes and past three waterpowered prayer wheels before offering up spectacular views of the valley below. Visit the National Museum of Bhutan which has an impressive array of thangkhas and early stone carvings. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure in Paro. (B,L,D) Day 13 Paro to Kathmandu | Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy a guided city tour. Visit Durbar Square, known as the place of palaces and Swayambhunath, an ancient religious complex in the Kathmandu Valley. (B) Day 14 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

14 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£4495 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Bhutan Specialist on 020 7666 1292

67


Burma

Burma (or Myanmar) is a hidden gem nestled between India, Thailand and the Bay of Bengal. Years of being cut off from the outside world means that this newly emerging democracy appears to be lost in time; men dressed in longyis stroll colonial boulevards, ancient temples punctuate city skylines and untouched countryside rolls into hilltribe villages. Now is the time to visit this beautiful piece of traditional Asia before modernity redefines the landscape.

68


Burma TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 15 hours Time zone: GMT + 6:30 Capital: Naypyidaw Language: Burmese Currency: Burmese Kyat Best time to travel: October to March (dry season) Getting around: Private car with driver & guide, River cruise, scenic railway, hot air balloon, domestic flights Accommodation: 3-5* hotels, often with spa facilities, river cruises BURMA IN NUMBERS

1991 2,000

Year Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Prize for Peace

Approximate number of temples on the plains of Bagan

43 777 7,000 Cabins on the Road to Mandalay riverboat

Steps to the summit of Mount Popa

Diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires found in Shwedagon Pagoda’s stupa For our full range of Burma itineraries, group tours and cruises, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.

69


The Inside Story With Burma now welcoming respectful tourists, myriad wonders await. In a country where monks are modern-day celebrities, Burma’s religious treasures reign supreme: watch the sun set over thousands of silhouetted stupas in Bagan, follow pilgrims to glittering Shwedagon Pagoda or climb the steps to Taungkalat Monastery, precariously perched on top of a volcano plug.

Story to tell Stef Studley

Traditional, spiritual and hospitable, Burma’s jovial population is determined to show visitors what life is like beyond the headlines. Our carefully designed itineraries offer plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with some of Burma’s one hundred different ethnic minorities, from the Inthar people of Inpawkhone village to the Sakone sea gypsies of the Mergui Archipelago. Our specialist team of Burma experts will put together your tailormade itinerary of must-see highlights and hidden gems, travelling with a private driver-guide. There is also the opportunity to spend part of the journey travelling by scenic railway or cruising the temple-lined waters of the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bagan. Ask a Specialist for details.

Why I love Burma A gentle cycle-ride along the dirt tracks of Bagan is a wonderful way to spend a morning. The beauty of exploring by bike is that you can stop when you want – take shade under a tree, chat to passing locals or simply relax and enjoy the serene peacefulness of the temple-dotted countryside. The cool breeze as you pedal past 9th century temples is a refreshing reward for your efforts!

100 BC

11th-13th C

1886

1945

Pyu people settle in northern Myanmar

Over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries constructed in Bagan

Burma becomes British colony and province of British India

The British and Aung San’s anti-fascist People’s Freedom League liberate Burma

1057

1421

1942-45

King Anawrahta founds first unified Burmese state at Pagan and adopts Theravada Buddhism

Italian merchant, Nicola de Conti, becomes first European to reach Myanmar

Fascist Japan occupies Burma during WWII


Burma

Regent Recommends Balloons over Bagan

Mergui Archipelago

River Cruise

Between November and March, the skies of Bagan fill with bright, colourful hot air balloons, quietly drifting over the thousands of ancient temples below. This is an impressive sight from the ground, but the best views of the event are reserved for those daring to take to the skies themselves. Taking off at dawn, the 45-minute scenic flight gives an unrivalled aerial panorama of the 26-square-kilometre architectural site, its 2,000 temples and pagodas and the rural farmland beyond. Bagan balloon safaris must be booked in advance – speak to a Regent Asia Explorer about including this in your tailor-made itinerary for a truly unforgettable experience.

The Burmese Mergui Archipelago remains one of the planet’s few unspoilt and stunning coastal destinations. Set sail amongst its beautiful isolated islands on a five-day cruise aboard the luxurious SY Meta IV, built from Thai teak and impeccably designed. Only a few of the 800 islands are populated and even then communities are sparse, and only a couple of dozen travellers visit the archipelago each month. Sail through coral-rich turquoise waters, feast on fresh seafood, watch fishermen at work in dugout canoes and discover the traditional lives of the archipelago inhabitants, the Moken Sea-Gypsies, who live off and on the sea.

A week-long cruise along Burma’s Irrawaddy River offers the perfect opportunity to discover some of Burma’s more historic sites that lie further from the tourist trails, at a peaceful and leisurely pace. Belmond’s deluxe 25-cabin Orcaella stops daily at historic sites such as the ancient city of Sri Kittara, known for its unique cylindrical stone stupas, and the cliff carvings at Akauk Taung. Daytime activities on board include interactive lectures from guest speakers and relaxing yoga sessions on the observation deck. In the evenings, the elegant and luxurious four-deck river cruiser plays host to a range of local entertainment and cocktail parties.

1962

1989

2007

2012

Government overthrown in a military coup by the socialist junta

Aung San Suu Kyi placed under house arrest

Government cracks down on mass demonstrations led by Buddhist monks

NLD win many parliamentary seats in landmark byelections; The EU suspends all non-military sanctions

1948

1988

1990

2010

Brief period of democracy after gaining independence from British

Thousands lose their lives in antigovernment riots; Aung San Suu Kyi becomes leader of NLD

NLD wins in national election but junta refuse to cede power

Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Burma Specialist on 020 7666 1292

71


Sunset by U Bein bridge, Myanmar.

Express Burma Journey to Burma and discover the exciting sights, sounds and smells of this quiet corner of South East Asia. Stroll bustling markets bursting with colour and explore temples steeped in history, resplendent in their gold leaf finery. Cruise the waterways of Inle Lake where leg-rowing fishermen mend their nets, walk the streets of Yangon and watch the sun set over the golden spires of Shwedagon Pagoda.

Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Mandalay | Take an overnight flight to Mandalay. Day 2 Mandalay | Arrive in Mandalay, transfer to the hotel and enjoy a day at leisure. Day 3 Mandalay | After a free morning, tour Mandalay. Visit the country’s most revered Buddha image at Mahamuni Pagoda and watch traditional craftsmen produce wood carvings, kalaga tapestries, and gold-leaf using ancient techniques. Spend sunset at Mandalay Hill for magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River. (B) Day 4 Mandalay | Opt for a hot air balloon flight over Mandalay (extra cost), drifting above the vibrant city markets where monks wander barefoot, the Irrawaddy River and an array of famous pagodas. After breakfast, explore the 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries of Sagaing, and also Amarapura – two former capitals of Burma. Back to Mandalay, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, also known as the ‘World’s Biggest Book’, and the 19th century Shwenandaw Monastery. (B) Day 5 Mandalay to Bagan Cruise | Cast off from Mandalay’s small ferry port and enjoy

breakfast onboard while cruising down the majestic Irrawaddy. Stop at a riverbank community to learn about Burmese village life and arrive in Bagan in the late afternoon. (B,L) Day 6 Bagan | Begin the morning with a hot air balloon flight over Bagan’s plains, studded with thousands of gilded stupas and earthen temples (extra cost). Join villagers at the colourful Nyaung Oo Market and reach an elevated temple for a panoramic view of Bagan. The golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda, Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi cave temple and Ananda Temple – one of Bagan’s most beautiful – provide an introduction to Bagan’s history. A horse and cart will take you up to watch the sunset over the plains from a temple’s upper terrace. (B) Day 7 Bagan | Enjoy a day at leisure in Bagan. Perhaps hire a bicycle from the hotel and explore on two wheels. (B) Day 8 Bagan to Inle Lake | Fly to HeHo and drive to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake, stopping to admire the beautiful carvings of the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. Board a private motorboat to

72

head out to Inle Lake; pass Intha villages built on stilts over the lake, observe leg-rowing fishermen and see the floating gardens. (B) Day 9 Inle Lake | Tour Inle Lake, from the morning market to Khaung Daing village (famous for its traditional Shan tofu) and the village monastery. In the lake’s main area, wander ‘streets’ of stilted houses to meet the residents who craft wooden boats. (B) Day 10 Inle Lake to Yangon | Fly to Yangon. Peruse the handicraft stalls of Bogyoke Market, visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda (home to a 70-metre long reclining Buddha) and continue to the green Kandawgyi Park. In the evening explore the Shwedagon Pagoda; originally constructed approximately 2,500 years ago, this is the most revered Buddhist temple in Burma. (B) Day 11 Yangon | Enjoy a day at leisure. Perhaps explore the city’s Chinatown area or take the Yangon circle train into the suburbs to discover local life. (B) Day 12 Fly to the UK | Transfer to Yangon airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

12 days

Holiday type

Small Group Tour

Departures

20 Jan, 17 Feb, 18 Mar, 21 Apr, 19 May, 16 Jun, 14 Jul, 18 Aug, 22 Sep

Prices from

£2045 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

Talk to a Burma Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Novice monk, Burma

Explore Burma From the tree-lined boulevards of Yangon to the former royal capital of Mandalay, uncover reminders of a bygone age in a country which for many years has been hidden from the rest of the world. Discover grand old buildings and colonial mansions, stroll across the 200-year-old U Bein bridge and navigate the channels between Inle Lake’s floating gardens. End on pretty Ngapali Beach with its white sand beach and traditional fishing communities.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Yangon | Take an overnight flight to Yangon. On arrival transfer to the hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at a local Burmese restaurant. (D) Day 2 Yangon | Explore the city with its faded colonial charm. Amble through downtown Yangon to visit Sule Paya and pass by the Independence Monument. Visit Little India and Chinatown with their colourful cacophony of temples and markets and browse the stalls at Bogyoke market. Discover Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda with its giant reclining Buddha and end the day at the country’s most revered Buddhist temple, Shwedagon Pagoda. (B,L) Day 3 Yangon to Mandalay | Fly to Mandalay and visit Mahamuni Pagoda, home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images. Explore the ‘World’s Biggest Book’ at Kuthodaw Pagoda and continue to the grand teak building of Shwenandaw Monastery known for its detailed woodcarving. Watch the sunset from the top of Mandalay Hill. (B) Day 4 Mandalay | Head to Sagaing Hill which boasts 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries and is home to over 3,000

monks. Explore the city of Ava and visit the wooden Bagaya Monastery. End the day with a stroll across the 200-year-old U Bein Bridge. (B,L) Day 5 Mandalay to Bagan | Fly to Bagan and head to a temple offering a panoramic view over the plains of Bagan. Explore Shwezigon Pagoda with its golden stupa and visit Sulamani Temple and Ananda Temple often regarded as the most beautiful in the area. Visit a traditional Burmese lacquerware workshop and end the day watching the sunset over the temple-dotted plains. (B) Day 6 Mount Popa | Drive to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano and home to a shrine dedicated to the worship of ancient animist spirits. Climb more than 700 steps to the summit and admire the magnificent view before returning to Bagan for lunch. (B,L) Day 7 Bagan | Take a bicycle out for an easy ride around the temples, a chance to stretch the legs and explore remote sites. (B) Day 8 Bagan to Inle Lake | Fly to HeHo. Drive to Nyaung Shwe and visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery with its collection of Buddha relics. Take a tour of Red Mountain winery and enjoy

a tipple or two. Board a boat and cross the lake to the hotel. (B) Day 9 Inle Lake | Pass iconic leg-rowing fishermen and glide through narrow waterways separating floating gardens on a boat trip on Inle Lake. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, take a cookery class to learn about cuisine from the Shan State and explore local workshops around the lake. Visit a cheroot factory and a weaving village. (B,L) Day 10 Inle Lake | Visit the morning market, the perfect place to interact with local Inthar and Shan people. Head to Indein to explore Pa-Oh village and wander around the beautiful Alaung Sitthu area. (B) Days 11-13 Inle Lake to Ngapali Beach | Fly to Thandwe and drive to Ngapali Beach. Enjoy days at leisure to swim, snorkel or relax. (B) Day 14 Ngapali Beach to Yangon | Fly to Yangon. Board the circle train for a short journey to the outskirts of the city to observe traditional Burmese life. Explore a market selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Return to Yangon for an afternoon at leisure. (B) Day 15 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B) Tour duration

15 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3970 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Burma Specialist on 020 7666 1292

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Indochina From the lush green jungles and laid back land of Laos, to the vibrant bustling cities of Vietnam and the ultimate temple experience exploring the ancient kingdom of Cambodia, Indochina is filled with outstanding natural beauty, rich and intriguing cultures and welcoming local communities. Expectations of South East Asia are bound to be exceeded. Uncover the secrets of a stunning region with boundless charm, exotic wildlife and a fascinating history, and then there’s the delicious cuisine...


Indochina TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 11 ½ hours Time zone: GMT + 8 Capital: CAM: Phnom Penh, VIET: Hanoi, LAOS: Vientiane, Language: CAM: Khmer, VIET: Vietnamese, LAOS: Thai Currency: CAM: Riel, VIET: Dong, LAOS: Kip Best time to travel: November to April Getting around: Private vehicles, trains, domestic flights, boats, bicycles Accommodation: 3 and 4* hotels, guesthouses, eco-lodges, temple camping INDOCHINA IN NUMBERS

400 270m 6

Square kilometres the Angkor Wat complex covers

Unexploded landmines in Cambodia

Weight of the largest jar in The Plain of Jars archaeological site in Laos (tonnes)

1,005 2,000 Age of Hanoi (years)

Number of islands in Halong Bay

For our full range of Indochina itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


Indochina

The Inside Story

Story to tell Michael Voss

Indochina is the name collectively used to describe Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – three countries all with their own unique cultural, scenic and historical treasures. It’s easy to forget the struggles that these nations have been through as you are welcomed with open arms by locals wanting to set the record straight and to show the true nature of their respective countries beyond politics. The region offers gems of colonial architecture, magnificent temples, sleepy villages, unspoilt tropical coastline and stunning nature. From the grandeur of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the instantly recognisable karst formations of Vietnam’s Halong Bay, to the peaceful serenity of languid Laos and the vibrancy of local life along the Mekong, this collection of Buddhist countries will leave visitors thoroughly enlightened. Choose from in-depth group tours of individual countries, multi-country tours which uncover the highlights of the region or ask a Regent Indochina Specialist to tailor-make an itinerary to suit you.

Why I love Indochina Take a tour of Hue to really get to grips with its fascinating past. Head out to discover the mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and take a cruise back to town along the Perfume River spotting the bunkers and fortifications left behind from the war. The town’s Imperial Citadel – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a must-see too. Of the original 160 buildings, only 10 remain.

206 BC

802-1431

19th C

1953

Kingdom of the Nam Viet Dynasty extends from Vietnam to Canton

Khmer Civilisation rules over much of Southeast Asia

Much of Indochina is colonised by France

Cambodia wins independence; Kingdom of Cambodia created, led by King Sihanouk

55 AD

12th C

1945

1954

Chenla Kingdom (north Cambodia) annexes the Funan (south Cambodia)

King Suryavarman builds Angkor Wat

Ho Chi Minh announces Vietnam’s independence

France grants Laos independence but civil war breaks out between royalists and communists


Indochina

Regent Recommends Historical Sites

Northern Tribes

Halong Bay

Vietnam is littered with remnants of its fascinating and at times, turbulent, history. From Ho Chi Minh City, drive to the fascinating Cu Chi, to learn about how the Viet Cong lived in an underground network of hand-dug tunnels for extended periods. Discover the Hue Citadel and Royal Antique Museum and visit the Demilitarised Zone that traces the Vietnam-Laos border, before exploring Hanoi’s impressive Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City. Laos’ most intriguing landmark wouldn’t look out of place next to the stone heads of Easter Island; the mysterious large stone pots of the Plane of Jars are scattered over several kilometres.

Diverse and colourful ethnic minority tribes still inhabit northern Laos, continuing to practise their ancient ways largely undisturbed or altered by modern methods or technologies. Experience life virtually untouched by tourism, in a rural wooden hut community where you have the chance to be one of the few foreigners to ever visit an isolated Ikhos village. Occupying some of the most remote landscapes in South East Asia, the curious and friendly people here historically originate from Yunnan and Tibet. Your experienced guide will translate and explain all about their cultures and individual tribe traditions, each passed down through generations.

On Vietnam’s northern coast, over 2,000 islands project from the surface of the sea. Legend has it that Halong Bay, or the ‘bay of the descending dragon’ was carved by the tail and feet of a fleeing dragon, creating large valleys and crevasses which filled with water. Step aboard a traditional wooden boat called a junk to explore Halong Bay in style. Let the scarlet sails unfurl as you cruise through the emerald green waters, passing trees clinging to towering limestone cliffs. Staying overnight on a junk allows you to explore the bay by kayak and discover hidden caves packed with stalactites and stalagmites before being lulled to sleep to the gentle sway of the boat.

1954-57

1975

1975-76

1994

Vietnam split into North and South; Communist North begins insurgency into South

Vietnamese war ends after the North takes Saigon, later renamed Ho Chi Minh City

Khmer Rouge takes power in Cambodia; Pol Pot becomes Prime Minister

“Friendship Bridge” linking Laos and Thailand is opened across the Mekong

1964

1975

1979

2007-2010

US join the Vietnamese war; by 1967 American troops number 500,000

Communist Lao People’s Front seizes power in Laos

Vietnamese forces flush Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh; an estimated 2 million Laotians lost their lives under Khmer rule

Various Khmer Rouge members go on trial for their roles in the genocide

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to an Indochina Specialist on 020 7666 1292

77


Halong Bay

Essential Vietnam This tour stretches from the bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City in the south, to the charming port town of Hoi An and on to the elegant capital, Hanoi. Enjoy rail journeys between major cities, more time is offered to experience this incredible country and learn more about its complex history. Gain an insight into traditional Vietnamese life, sample the local cuisine and enjoy a magical overnight experience amongst Halong Bay’s limestone peaks.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Ho Chi Minh City | Take an overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City | Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Once referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, and officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City after reunification in 1975, most people here still prefer to use the old name, Saigon. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City | Take a speedboat along the Saigon River to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. These underground tunnels were constructed to conduct covert operations and then to hide from the enemy. Full of local charm, but with the hustle and bustle of a thriving metropolis, this energetic city is the economic centre of the south. (B,L) Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An | Enjoy the day at leisure - perhaps dine at the Temple Club. Housed in a colonial style building, this stylish restaurant with its elegant décor serves traditional Vietnamese as well as Khmer, Indian and French cuisine. This evening board an overnight sleeper train to Da Nang (B) Day 5 Hoi An | Arrive at Da Nang railway

station and transfer to Hoi An. The historic town of Hoi An was one of the most important ports in central Vietnam for three centuries, visited by sailing ships from all over the world seeking trade in silk, ceramics and spices. In the late 19th century, trade moved to Da Nang and Hoi An became a sleepy fishing village. Now, with its Old Town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An has become a popular tourist destination, where travellers buy tailor-made suits and marvel at the quaint narrow streets packed with ancient Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese architecture. The small town is easy to navigate. Enjoy time at leisure to explore. (B) Day 6 Hoi An | Spend the day at leisure, perhaps explore the surrounding countryside by bycicle. Alternatively, take a boat trip on the Tu Bon River, relax on the beach, or sample the town’s wonderful cusine. (B) Day 7 Hoi An to Hanoi | After a morning at leisure, board a sleeper train to Hanoi. (B) Day 8 Hanoi | Situated at the heart of the Red River Delta, the people of Hanoi take great pride in their grand old colonial buildings

together with the wide spacious boulevards and tree-lined lakes. On a city tour, discover the One Pillar Pagoda and visit the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first institute of learning - before exploring the labyrinth of narrow streets in the Old Quarter on a fun cyclo tour. Watch a traditional water puppet performance in the evening. (B) Day 9 Halong Bay | Experience the beauty of one of Indochina’s most iconic vistas - Halong Bay. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this impressive natural wonder consists of around 1,600 limestone islands rising from the sea. Board a traditional junk and sail out into the bay. Explore caves, take a dip in the emerald waters or go kayaking before enjoying traditional Vietnamese cuisine, prepared on board. Watch sunset and spend the night on board. (B,L,D) Day 10 Halong Bay to Hanoi | Cruise to Halong Port and travel back to Hanoi. Spend the afternoon shopping, sightseeing or relaxing at a lakeside café. (B) Day 11 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

11 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made, Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£2180 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

78 Talk to an Indochina Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Life on the Mekong Delta

Discover Vietnam & Cambodia In Vietnam tour the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, wander the cobbled streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and enjoy the pretty merchant town of Hoi An before cruising the Mekong Delta towards Cambodia where the magnificent temples of Angkor await. Spend the night on a deluxe wooden rice barge, encounter remote communities and sample local cuisine on this adventure in Indochina.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Hanoi | Take an overnight flight to Hanoi. Day 2 Hanoi | Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. Spend the afternoon at leisure in the narrow lanes of the Old Quarter. (D) Day 3 Hanoi | Enjoy a tour of Hanoi. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s complex and the 11th Century Temple of Literature. Stroll across historic Long Bien Bridge which spans the Red River and end the day sampling a Vietnamese coffee beside Hoan Kiem Lake while watching the world go by. (B,L) Day 4 Hanoi to Halong Bay | Drive to Halong Port and board a traditional junk. Cruise through the soaring limestone formations of the bay. Enjoy time to swim, snorkel or kayak. Watch sunset and enjoy a sumptuous dinner before spending the night onboard. (B,L,D) Day 5 Halong Bay to Hanoi | Visit a secret cave to see the impressive limestone formations before cruising back to port. Return to Hanoi for an evening at leisure. (B,L)

© M.S Lewis

Day 6 Hanoi to Hoi An | Fly to Da Nang and drive to the ancient merchant town of Hoi An. The afternoon is free to discover the Old Town’s historic buildings and night markets. (B)

Days 7-8 Hoi An | Days free to relax or explore. Maybe partake in a cooking class in a riverside cookery school. (B) Day 9 Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City | Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, the bustling metropolis. Discover the city on a guided tour including visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace and the moving War Remnants Museum. (B) Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City | Travel to the Cu Chi complex and explore the network of underground tunnels, once the wartime refuge of the Viet Cong. Return to the city for the afternoon at leisure. (B) Day 11 Mekong Delta | Drive into the picturesque Mekong Delta and board the Bassac Cruise, a deluxe wooden rice barge. Watch the lush Mekong landscape pass by and visit traditional villages to enjoy local hospitality. Enjoy a delicious dinner while the Bassac cruises the Mekong before spending the night onboard. (B,L,D) Day 12 Mekong Delta | Discover the early morning Tra On and Cai Rang floating markets and watch unique river life. Continue to Chau

Doc and enjoy the views of rice paddies and the Cambodian border from Sam Mountain. (B,L) Day 13 Mekong Delta to Phnom Penh | Board a speedboat and travel to Phonm Penh, the riverside capital of Cambodia. The afternoon is at leisure - maybe take a stroll along the waterfront promenade. (B) Day 14 Phnom Penh | Today visit the National Museum, the stunning Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, home to many jewelled Buddha statues. Continue to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to discover the history of the Khmer Rouge. (B,L) Day 15 Phnom Penh to Siem Reap | Fly to Siem Reap. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. (B) Days 16-17 Angkor Complex | Explore the magnificent Angkor complex. Visit Angkor Thom and marvel at the smiling stone faces of the Bayon. Negotiate the jungle temple of Ta Prohm and stroll the Terrace of Elephants. Discover the most famous site in the complex, iconic Angkor Wat, and drive to Banteay Srei with its fine carvings. (B,L) Day 18 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

18 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3795 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to an Indochina Specialist on 020 7666 1292

79


Wat Si Saket, Vientiane

Explore Laos Journey to the peaceful land of Laos and discover a country with a rich heritage and a relaxed pace of life. Explore scenic Luang Prabang encircled by mountain ranges and home to many temples and pagodas before travelling off-the-beatentrack to puzzle over the source of the mysterious Plain of Jars. Travel south to Pakse and board a luxury boat to cruise the southern waterways, explore the magnificent 4,000 islands and discover remote Laotian life.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Luang Prabang | Take an overnight flight to Luang Prabang.

to clear landmines from the surrounding countryside. (B,L)

Day 2 Luang Prabang | Arrive in Luang Prabang and enjoy the afternoon at leisure or visit one of the evening hilltribe markets.

Day 6 Xieng Khuang | Explore the Plain of Jars, a huge site littered with 2,000-year-old stone jars of various sizes whose origins remain an intriguing mystery. Continue to the giant seated Buddha in the small village of Muang Khoun. (B,L)

Day 3 Luang Prabang | Spend the day in Luang Prabang. Rise early to watch monks in search of their morning alms before exploring the city. Visit the Royal Palace National Museum with its blend of Lao and French styles and Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in the city. Continue to the holy temple of Wat Visoun and end the day atop Mount Phousi to watch sunset over the city and hills. (B,L)

Day 7 Xieng Khuang to Vientiane | Fly to Vientiane. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to explore the ‘city of sandalwood’. (B)

Day 4 Luang Prabang | Journey by boat to the Pak Ou Caves. Filled with thousands of Buddha statues of all shapes and sizes they are a popular destination for local pilgrims. Drive through the countryside to the Kuang Si Waterfalls and enjoy a cooling dip in the pools. (B,L)

Day 8 Vientiane | Spend a day exploring Vientiane. Visit Wat Si Saket, regarded as one of the most beautiful temples in the city, and Wat Phra Keo the religious museum. Ascend the Patuxay Monument and enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the city before driving out to the quirky riverside Buddha Park to stroll past the Buddha and Hindu statues. Return to the city via Mai Savanh textile workshop which produces high quality Lao silk. (B,L)

Day 5 Luang Prabang to Xieng Khuang | Drive to Xieng Khuang, gateway to the Plain of Jars. In the afternoon pay a visit to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) which is working

Day 9 Vientiane to Pakse | Fly to Pakse, the capital city of Champasak province in Southern Laos. Enjoy a brief tour of the city before driving to the mountainous Bolaven Plateau

to discover beautiful waterfalls. Drive back to Pakse stopping at a coffee plantation to learn how the beans are processed and sample a steaming cup of the product. (B,L) Day 10 Vat Phou Cruise | Board the Vat Phou Cruise and enjoy a sumptuous lunch onboard. Continue to the boat’s namesake Wat Phou, a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amidst rice fields. Enjoy a leisurely visit to the site before returning to the comfort of the boat for a relaxing cruise downriver. Dinner is served onboard before mooring near a remote Laotian village for the night. (B,L,D) Day 11 Vat Phou Cruise | Breakfast is served while cruising downriver. Today visit the hidden forest temple of Oum Muang and explore the stunning 4,000 islands, a magnificent area on the Laos/Cambodian border. Spend a final night onboard. (B,L,D) Day 12 Pakse | Discover remote Laos villages before returning to the mainland to explore colourful French colonial houses. Return to Pakse and enjoy the evening at leisure. (B,L) Day 13 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

13 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3990 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

80 Talk to an Indochina Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom

Heritage of Indochina From the picturesque and laid back land of Laos, to the bustling cities of Vietnam and the ancient kingdom of Cambodia, experience beautiful and verdant landscapes, meet warm and friendly locals, and become inspired by the rich history, culture and cuisine on this incredible journey through Indochina.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Luang Prabang | Take an overnight flight to Luang Prabang. Day 2 Luang Prabang | Arrive in Luang Prabang, the spiritual capital of Laos. Enjoy a stroll around the bustling night market with its extensive array of ethnic handicrafts for sale. Day 3 Luang Prabang | Travel to Wat Xieng Thong – one of Laos’s most picturesque temples. Explore the National Museum which houses relics from Laos’ royalist past. Climb more than 300 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and surrounding countryside. (B,L) Day 4 Luang Prabang to Vientiane | Fly to Vientiane. Visit the serene Wat Si Saket Temple, climb the stairs to the roof of the Patuxay Monument for great views over the city, and travel to That Luang – the holiest site in Laos. (B,L) Day 5 Vientiane to Hanoi | Fly to Hanoi and spend the rest of the day at leisure in Vietnam’s capital city. (B) Day 6 Hanoi | Discover the Temple of Literature, where Vietnam’s royalty were educated, and visit the iconic One Pillar Pagoda and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Continue to

the Museum of Ethnology regarded as the best in the country and enjoy a breezy cyclo ride through Hanoi’s fascinating Old Quarter. (B,L) Day 7 Hanoi to Hoi An | Fly to Da Nang City and drive to Hoi An. In keeping with Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town has a range of craft shops to explore including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors. (B) Day 8 Hoi An | Taste the regional specialties of Hoi An on a fun involved cookery class with a local chef before enjoying the fruits of your labours. (B,L) Day 9 Hoi An | Spend today at leisure in historic Hoi An. (B) Day 10 Hoi An to Hue | Travel north passing over the scenic Hai Van Pass to the old Vietnamese capital of Hue. The afternoon is free to explore at leisure (B) Day 11 Hue | Tour the city of Hue. Visit the Imperial Citadel which was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing before travelling out of the city to the Royal Tombs. Enjoy a cruise on the Perfume River. (B) Day 12 Hue to Ho Chi Minh City | Transfer to Hue airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time to explore the city. (B)

Day 13 Mekong Delta | Drive to the delta and meander through the canals and waterways to discover Mekong life. Board Le Jarai, a traditional teak boat, and cruise the river enjoying scenes of rural life passing by. (B,L) Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap | Fly to Siem Reap. In the evening enjoy a traditional Apsara dance show. (B,D) Day 15 Siem Reap | Spend today immersed in Angkorian culture. Visit the National Museum and discover the smiling faces of the 54 decorated towers of the Bayon at Angkor Thom. Continue to the Terrace of Elephants and end the day at jungle-clad Ta Prohm. (B,L) Day 16 Angkor Wat | Rise early to witness sunrise over Sra Srang Royal Pond. Head to the best preserved temple in Cambodia – Banteay Srei. Continue to Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious monument. Explore the intricate carvings and passageways of this 12th century temple and discover walls covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs. (B,L) Day 17 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

17 days

Holiday type

Tailor-made Private, Guided

Seasonality

Year Round

Prices from

£4495 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to an Indochina Specialist on 020 7666 1292

81


Borneo Malaysian Borneo stretches out to cover the northern half of the world’s third largest island, laying claim to a dramatic coastline and a vast expanse of thick rainforest. A vibrant cultural melting pot, Borneo is home to charismatic people with a unique blend of traditional native forest communities, romantic Asian roots and European Colonial ties. Here, the irresistible lure of majestic paradise beaches and an exotic jungle heaving with indigenous inhabitants – including endangered orangutans entices visitors from all corners of the globe.


Borneo TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 16 hours (+1 stop) Time zone: GMT + 8 Capital: Kota Kinabalu Language: Malay Currency: Malaysian Ringgit Best time to travel: April to October Getting around: Domestic flights, private vehicle, walking, boats, river cruises Accommodation: 3-5* tourist class hotels, jungle lodges, river lodges, mountain lodges, longhouses

BORNEO IN NUMBERS

130m 22 15,000 200 8 Estimated age of Danum Valley Conservation Area

Weight that Rafflesia flower can reach (lb)

Different species of flora

Different ethnicities in Borneo

Arm span of a fully grown Orangutan (ft)

For our full range of Borneo itineraries, group tours and railway holidays, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


Borneo

Story to tell Stef Studley

The Inside Story Borneo is an island split between Malaysian, Indonesian and Brunei ownership containing some of the oldest rainforest in the world. From trekking the muddy jungle trails of the remote Danum Valley Conservation Area to snorkelling the turquoise seas along the pristine white sand beach of Lankayan Island, Borneo is a country of contrasts and a real wildlife hotspot. Explore the longhouse homes of the Iban people in Sarawak, maybe try a spot of Iban-style fishing and cruise down the Kinabatangan River, home to proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and some of the few remaining wild orangutan populations. Choose to embark on a true wilderness adventure with a trek to the summit of Mount Kinabalu and be rewarded for your efforts with panoramic sunrise views and a dip in the soothing mineral pools of the nearby hot springs.

Why I love Borneo Climbing Mount Kinabalu is an experience that will stay with me forever. Whilst it may not be technically challenging, the climb is certainly a physical challenge and to stand at over 4,000 metres as the sun rises over the ocean and look down at Borneo’s rainforests is something that I’ll never forget.

All our Borneo holidays are tailored to suit you so ask a Regent Holidays Borneo Travel Specialist to create a trip of a lifetime.

130 million years BC

14th century

1600s

1824

1882 to 1941

the rainforest in Borneo is established, the oldest rainforest in the world

Borneo is under the control of the Majapahit Kingdom based in Indonesia

arrival of the Dutch

Anglo-Dutch treaty establishing British control in North Borneo and Dutch in the South

Borneo controlled by the British North Borneo Company

6th to 14th centuries AD

1521

1655

1851

Borneo used as a trading centre between India and China

the Portuguese first arrive in Borneo

the British first arrive in Borneo

Mount Kinabalu’s summit plateau first reached by Hugh Low declaring the summit itself “inaccessible to any but winged animals”


Borneo

Regent Recommends Wildlife

Honeymoons

Orangutan Appeal UK

Borneo is quite simply a wildlife lover’s paradise where many indigenous species can be found. Cruise the Kinabatangan River to discover families of proboscis monkeys, herds of pygmy elephants and many species of primate including macaques, gibbons, leaf monkeys, langurs and of course the endangered orangutan. Explore the incredible underwater world which is home to stingrays, turtles, reef sharks and the ever popular clown fish, and keep a look out above for birdlife such as kingfishers, woodpeckers and the magnificent rhinoceros hornbill. Contact a Regent Borneo expert to discuss your travel plans or visit our website for detailed itineraries.

Borneo offers an exotic blend of adventure and luxury as well as once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters to make your honeymoon a trip to remember forever. Trek through the Tabin Reserve, where orangutans are released into the wild, or go in search of wildlife on a boat safari along the Kinabatangan River, an area home to proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and hornbills to name a few. In Sarawak spend time with the Iban tribe in the Batang Ai Reserve learning how to fish “iban style” or simply head to one of the beautiful luxury resorts to relax and enjoy the pristine coral reefs where snorkelling with turtles and tropical fish is a must.

We are proud to work with Orangutan Appeal UK, a charity associated with Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo which rehabilitates and provides medical care to orphaned orangutans. Orangutan Appeal UK endeavours to protect the remaining wild population of orangutans in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo by providing support and funding for localised projects. Sepilok is considered a useful educational tool where locals and visitors can be educated about the importance of protecting this keystone species. Travel to Borneo with Regent Holidays and we will sponsor our chosen Sepilok orangutan, Gelison, in your name for a year.

1941-45

1975

1995

2010

Japanese occupation of Borneo during WWII

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre established in Sarawak

Danum Valley Conservation Area is formally protected

WWF announce that 123 new species have been discovered in Borneo since 2007

1888

1963

1984

2000

wingless John Whitehead reaches the summit of Mount Kinabalu

Sabah and Sarawak merge with Malaya to form the new nation of Malaysia

the Sultanate of Brunei becomes fully independent

Gunung Mulu caves in Sarawak listed as a World Heritage site

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Borneo Specialist on 020 7666 1292

85


Kota Kinabalu

Borneo for Beginners For wildlife enthusiasts looking for the perfect balance of animal encounters, jungle exploration and relaxing beach time our popular Borneo for Beginners holiday ticks all the boxes. Roam local markets in Kota Kinabalu city, explore walking trails in Kinabalu Park, cruise the wildlife rich Kinabatangan River in search of pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and wild orangutan and unwind on white sand beaches.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kota Kinabalu | Take an overnight flight to Kota Kinabalu. Day 2 Kota Kinabalu | Arrive in Kota Kinabalu and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Perhaps head to the handicraft market to buy some local black pearls. Day 3 Kota Kinabalu | Enjoy the day free to explore Sabah’s quiet coastal capital. Why not visit Mari Mari Cultural Village. (B) Day 4 North Borneo Railway | Take a trip on the historic North Borneo Railway. This Vulcan steam locomotive offers an insight into a bygone era of British North Borneo. (B,L) Day 5 Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park | Travel to Poring Hot Springs and enjoy a dip in the steaming mineral pools. Explore jungle trails and cross the treetop canopy walkway to discover life in the trees. Continue to Kinabalu Park to admire the flora and fauna of the park. (B,L,D) Day 6 Kinabalu Park to Sepilok | Drive to Sepilok. With free time, perhaps visit the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre.(B,L,D) Day 7 Sepilok & Kinabatangan River | Today set off to visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation

Centre. Watch juvenile orangutans eat, play and learn valuable life skills from their primate companions before visiting the Borneo Sun Bear Centre, which rescues and rehabilitates captured sun bears.

Enjoy days at leisure to relax. Why not explore the adjacent 64-acre nature reserve which is home to an orangutan sanctuary. (B) Day 13 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Depart Sepilok and take a boat through wildlife country - the mangrove forest and lower Kinabatangan River Delta. Spot families of proboscis monkeys, macaques, various birdlife including the rare hornbill and often herds of pygmy elephants and wild orangutan. (B,L,D)

Day 8 Kinabatangan River | Enjoy a river cruise in the cool dawn light to Pitas Lake to observe wildlife. Enjoy lunch with local villagers, and take part in a tree planting programme before enjoying a further river cruise later in the afternoon. (B,L,D) Day 9 Kinabatangan River to Kota Kinabalu | Return downriver to Sandakan watching out for wildlife as you go. Fly to Kota Kinabalu and transfer to the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort and enjoy time to relax on the white sand beach (B,L)

Days 10-12 Kota Kinabalu |

Tour duration

13 days

Holiday type Tailor-made Guided Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

ÂŁ2695 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

86 Talk to a Borneo Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Orangutans at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre

Borneo Orangutan Experience It’s hard to think of Borneo without picturing the Old Man of the Forest. This trip allows you to see the excellent work being done to help conserve endangered orangutans at the world-famous Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and also offers the opportunity to witness this incredible animal in its natural environment, swinging through the trees of Danum Valley Conservation Area or along the banks of Kinabatangan River.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kota Kinabalu | Take an overnight flight to Kota Kinabalu. Day 2 Kota Kinabalu | Arrive in Kota Kinabalu and transfer to Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool or take a stroll along the white sand beach. Day 3 Kota Kinabalu | Spend a free day at leisure. There are a host of activities to enjoy including horse riding. (B) Day 4 Kota Kinabalu to Danum Valley Conservation Area | Fly to the small town of Lahad Datu and travel by 4WD vehicle to Borneo Rainforest Lodge located deep in the rainforest. The area comprises over 43,000 hectares of protected lowland rainforest and is home to an astonishing variety of wildlife, flora and fauna. In the afternoon experience the impressive treetop canopy walkway which offers an excellent vantage point for viewing the surrounding jungle and wildlife. In the evening enjoy a night drive in an open top jeep to search for nocturnal animals including the reclusive mouse-deer. (B,L,D) Day 5 Danum Valley Conservation Area | Trek jungle trails with an experienced guide to a

lookout offering magnificent views of the lodge and rainforest below. Return via the Jacuzzi Pool and enjoy a cooling dip before further exploration of lowland jungle trails. Enjoy a night walk to search for nocturnal creatures. (B,L,D) Day 6 Danum Valley Conservation Area to Kinabatangan River | Drive to Kinabatangan River. This region is home to a wealth of indigenous wildlife including proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, rhinoceros hornbills and wild orangutan. Enjoy a late afternoon river cruise with an experienced river guide. (B,L,D) Day 7 Kinabatangan River | Cruise downriver in the cool of the morning. Enjoy a tree planting programme with local villagers and in the afternoon embark on a wildlife river cruise to a lesser visited part of this important wildlife corridor. (B,L,D) Day 8 Kinabatangan River to Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre | Cruise past mangrove forests where proboscis monkeys can be found. End the journey in Sandakan and drive to the Borneo Sun Bear Centre where

over 30 sun bears live in the bear house and outdoor enclosures. After lunch visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre where the feeding of orangutans is a highlight of many people’s trip. Witness these magnificent apes often at close quarters enjoying a meal and the freedom to play. (B,L,D) Day 9 Sepilok to Gaya Island | Return to Sandakan and fly to Kota Kinabalu. Cross to Gaya Island which sits in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B) Days 10-13 Gaya Island | Spend a few days relaxing at the resort and making the most of the surrounding natural environment. Why not opt to spend a day following trekking trails through primary rainforest in search of wildlife, snorkel around private Tajavun Bay or pamper yourself in the luxury Spa Village. (B) Day 14 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

14 days

Holiday type Tailor-made Guided Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3195 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Borneo Specialist on 020 7666 1292

87


Fishermen setting up nets across the river in Bako, Sarawak

Essential Sarawak & Sabah Visiting the jungles of Sarawak and Sabah, spending time with the Iban people and getting up close and personal with Borneo’s wildlife is an incredible experience. Explore Kuching ‘Cat City’ as it’s known to the locals and spend the night in Bako National Park. Learn about traditional Iban culture and enjoy the magnificent bird and animal-life of Tabin Wildlife Reserve before relaxing on the white sand beaches of Gaya Island.

Suggested Itinerary Days 1-3 Kuching | Fly to Kuching, the riverine capital of Sarawak. Spend an afternoon discovering the environment of Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and a city tour in Kuching which takes in Chinese temples, the riverside promenade and Sarawak Museum. (DAY 3 – B) Day 4 Bako National Park | Drive to Bako National Park, the oldest in Sarawak and home to a healthy population of proboscis monkeys. Travel by boat into the park and explore small bays and jungle trails. Enjoy a guided night walk to search for nocturnal creatures before spending the night in park accommodation. (B,L,D) Day 5 Bako National Park to Kuching | Embark on a jungle hike to search for animals and birdlife including the majestic hornbill, the national bird of Sarawak. (B,L) Day 6 Kuching to Batang Ai National Park | Journey through rural Sarawak to Batang Ai reservoir where a longboat will transport you upriver to jungle accommodation. Spend the evening with a local Iban tribe to learn about their culture and sample fiery rice wine! (B,L,D) Day 7 Batang Ai National Park | Hike jungle trails in search of wildlife, this area is an important orangutan nesting site. Cruise

to Ensulai waterfall to enjoy time to swim or explore the rainforest. This evening enjoy time getting to know the Iban people. (B,L,D)

Take a further late afternoon river cruise along

Day 8 Batang Ai to Kuching | Enjoy free time to relax at the lodge before retracing your steps back to Kuching. This evening is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 13 Kinabatangan River to Tabin Wildlife

Day 9 Kuching to Sepilok | Fly to Sandakan, via Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to relax or explore the region further. (B,D) Day 10 Sepilok to Kinabatangan River | Spend the morning witnessing the feeding of orangutans at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This should include a visit to the nursery. Continue to the Borneo Sun Bear Centre to see rescued sun bears. Travel by boat through the Lower Kinabatangan Delta to search for wildlife. (B,L,D) Day 11 Kinabatangan River | Board a boat and travel through the waterways and tributaries keeping a look out for macaques, hornbills, proboscis monkeys and other wildlife. (B,L,D) Day 12 Kinabatangan River | Enjoy a dawn cruise to Pitas Lake, the perfect time to search for birdlife. Have lunch with a local family before continuing by boat to the next riverside lodge.

the Menanggul River, a popular place to see pygmy elephants. (B,L,D) Reserve | Drive to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Trek through untouched jungle to visit Lipad mud volcano, an important mineral salt lick for local wildlife. Ascend the observation tower to spot passing birdlife. Enjoy a guided walk after dark to search for nocturnal animals. (B,L,D) Day 14 Tabin Wildlife Reserve | Enjoy an early morning bird walk before taking a further jungle trek to Lipad Waterfall. Enjoy a cooling dip in the natural pool. (B,L,D) Day 15 Tabin Wildlife Reserve to Gaya Island | Fly to Kota Kinabalu and board a speedboat to Gaya Island Resort where the remainder of the day is free at leisure. (B) Days 16-17 Gaya Island | Relax on the white sand beach or maybe visit the Turtle Rescue Unit at the resort’s Marine Centre. (B) Day 18 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

18 days

Holiday type Tailor-made Guided Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£3595 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

88 Talk to a Borneo Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Longhouse, Batang Ai National Park

Sarawak Wildlife & Culture Sarawak is home to a diverse and captivating culture and a variety of natural landscapes sure to delight and captivate you at every turn. Explore Bako National Park with its jungle streams and secluded beaches and search for the rare rafflesia flower in Guning Gading National Park. Discover the stunning Mulu Show Caves, believed to be the largest interconnected cave system in the world and a true natural wonder.

Suggested Itinerary Day 1 Fly to Kuching | Take an overnight flight to Kuching.

stream or small beach before returning to Kuching. (B,L)

Days 2-3 Kuching | Arrive in Kuching the laidback capital of Sarawak. Explore the city with its Chinese temples and pretty waterfront promenade. Drive to the nearby Semenggoh Wildlife Centre to witness orangutans feeding and learn about the rehabilitation process. (DAY 3 - B/L)

Day 6 Batang Ai National Park | Depart Kuching and head to Batang Ai National Park, the only accessible part of a much larger conservation area split between Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo. Board a longboat and journey to a jungle lodge where dinner will be served. Spend the evening chatting to the Iban tribe and learning a little about their way of life. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Bako National Park | Drive to Bako Village and take a boat to explore Bako National Park, one of the smallest in Sarawak but with a huge variety of life. The park is dotted with quiet bays, waterfalls and hiking trails and there is a good chance of seeing wildlife including proboscis monkeys, longtailed macaques, mouse-deer and water monitors. (B,L) Day 5 Gunung Gading National Park | Journey to Gunung Gading National Park, recognised as the best place to see the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower. Take a stroll along the plank walk in search of blooms which have no set flowering season and remain a mystery to many botanists. Enjoy a picnic lunch at a jungle

Day 7 Batang Ai National Park |Hike jungle trails around the lodge where orangutans can often be found to nest. Spend time at Ensulai waterfalls and take a cooling dip before heading on foot to the next jungle lodge, another opportunity to search for wildlife such as the red langurs, slow loris and Bornean gibbons. Once at the lodge relax in the quiet of the jungle. After dark enjoy a guided night walk to search for nocturnal animals. (B,L,D)

Check in to accommodation in the National Park before taking a scenic plank walk through primary rainforest to Deer Cave. Inside this awe-inspiring space, marvel at the millions of Wrinkle Lipped bats leaving the cave at sunset in search of food. Visit Lang’s Cave which displays an impressive array of stalactites and stalagmites before trekking back to the accommodation by torchlight. (B) Day 10 Gunung Mulu National Park | Board a longboat and travel upriver to Wind Cave. Take a stroll along a second plank walk to Clearwater Cave, an area home to a range of rare orchids and pitcher plants. Enjoy a swim and spend time exploring the caves. (B,D) Day 11 Gunung Mulu National Park to Kota Kinabalu | Fly to Kota Kinabalu and drive to Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to relax. (B)

Day 8 Batang Ai National Park to Kuching | Return to Kuching this morning, lunch will be taken en-route. (B,L)

Days 12-13 Kota Kinabalu | Spend days at leisure exploring the nature reserve. Why not enjoy a spot of horse riding or head into Kota Kinabalu city to shop for souvenirs at the waterfront markets. (B)

Day 9 Gunung Mulu National Park | Fly to Mulu, home to four spectacular show caves.

Day 14 Fly to the UK | Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Tour duration

14 days

Holiday type Tailor-made Guided Seasonality

Year-round

Prices from

£2860 per person

Includes flights, accommodation, transfers and sightseeing tours

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Borneo Specialist on 020 7666 1292

89


Indonesia Indonesia embodies the word ‘enchanting’ as well as any other country on Earth. Thousands of islands scattered across the Indian and Pacific Oceans make up a dazzling portfolio of unbelievably beautiful landscapes. Watch the sun rise over Mt Bromo and visit the smoking volcanoes of Java’s immense plateaus, take in the weird and wonderful wildlife in Sumatra’s orangutan-housing lush jungles, visit the immense ancient temples of Borobudur or venture to paradise beaches and dive spectacular coral reefs. Explore the handicrafts and local cultures of little-known northern Bali, walk through terraced rice paddy fields and taste freshly roasted coffee directly from the plantations.


Indonesia TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 19 hours (+1 stop) Time zone: GMT + 7 Capital: Jakarta Language: Indonesian Currency: Indonesian Rupiah Best time to travel: May to September Getting around: Private vehicle with driver and guide, trains, domestic flights, boats and becaks Accommodation: 3-5* hotels, island resorts, eco-lodges, tree houses, boats and volcano camping INDONESIA IN NUMBERS

400 17,508 504 3 4 Active volcanoes in Indonesia

islands make up Indonesia

Buddha statues decorate the Borobudur Temple

the length a fully grown Komodo dragon can reach (metres)

Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world

For our full range of Indonesia itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


Indonesia

Story to tell Stef Studley

The Inside Story Indonesia is so large and offers such a varied range of activities and experiences that it almost seems to offer a microcosm of South East Asia itself. Whether it be island hopping through the many pristine white sand beaches, exploring the jungle environment of Kalimantan or delving into the culture and history of Java, Indonesia is a destination which can satisfy any appetite.

Why I love Indonesia Discovering the more remote districts of Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’, was truly fascinating. Exploring handicrafts in the cultural heart of Ubud and passing through rice paddies and local villages in the interior before heading off to come (almost) face to face with a Komodo dragon were real highlights of my own Indonesian adventure.

Explore Yogyakarta, the historic heart of Java which boasts the stunning temples of Borobudur and Prambanan as close neighbours. Enjoy a Sumatran adventure with its wildliferich national parks and the laidback lake community around Danau Toba and Samosir Island. Savour traditional Indonesian dishes which reflect a variety of cultural influences from Chinese to Portuguese and journey through Bali to discover the pretty northern beaches of Pemuteran, the cultural hub of the island at Ubud or head east to the islands of Nusa Tenggara which include remote and rugged Flores and the islands of Komodo and Rinca, home to the fascinating Komodo dragons.

1.5 to 1.6 million years BC

7th to 13th centuries BC

1603

1815

evidence shows the presence of early man

Hindu and Buddhist influences dominate before Islam becomes the dominant religion

the Dutch East India Company establish their first permanent trading post at Banten in West Java

Mount Tambora in Sumbawa erupts, which was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history

2000 BC

1511

1800

arrival of the Austronesian people who make up the majority of the modern population

Portuguese traders first arrive in search of spices

becomes a Dutch colony following the collapse of the Dutch East India Company


Indonesia

Regent Recommends Kalimantan & Java

Wildlife

Tailor-Made

On this 13-day tailor-made tour, cruise through the wilds of Kalimantan to explore a pristine jungle environment which is home to a large community of wild orangutans, a variety of birdlife including many kingfishers and woodpeckers and even clouded leopards and civet cats. Continue to Java to explore the cultural highlights of the political and economic centre of Indonesia. Watch the sun rise over picture-perfect Mount Bromo before continuing to spectacular Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, rising from the startling green paddy fields, and Yogyakarta’s vibrant Kraton complex – a fine example of traditional Javanese sultanate architecture.

Indonesia is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife. Discover Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard, in Komodo National Park and take to the turquoise seas between Komodo and Flores where reef sharks, manta rays, dolphins and whales can be found. Explore the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra which comprises three Indonesian National Parks including Gunung Leuser National Park where many bird species as well as primates, elephants and rhinoceros reside. Take the plunge and be amazed at the vibrant colours of the pristine coral gardens around Pulau Bunaken in North Sulawesi, perfect for spotting thousands of tropical fish.

Whether your exploration of Indonesia aims to focus on one island in detail or cover a full range of locations, our Indonesia Travel Specialists can tailor-make an itinerary to suit you. Travelling with your own Indonesian driver and guide, choose to explore the island of Java, home to stunning Borobudur, Prambanan and the still active volcano of Mount Merapi or cruise into the heart of the Kalimantan jungle to search for the resident orangutan population at Camp Leakey. Discover the sleepy island of Flores, home to traditional cultural villages and colourful volcanic lakes or simply relax on the white sand beaches of the pristine Gili Islands.

1904

1949

1991

the first school for women in Indonesia is founded in Bandung by Dewi Sartika

Dutch acknowledge independence following four years of guerrilla war

Ujung Kulon National Park becomes a UNESCO World Heritage site

1868

1945

1971

2011

the Batavian Museum, now the National Museum of Indonesia, officially opens

independence claimed from the Dutch following liberation from Japanese occupation during WWII

Camp Leakey in the Tanjing Puting Reserve is founded

Komodo Island named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to an Indonesia Specialist on 020 7666 1292

93


Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is riddled with adventure. Offering a heady mix of colourful encounters with traditional tribes, intrepid exploration in wildlife-rich jungles and world-class diving metres from pristine sandy beaches, this astounding collection of islands is as diverse as they come. Head to the Highlands to discover the country’s diverse birdlife, and experience first hand the culture and traditional lives of the indigenous Huli Wigmen, with vibrantly painted faces and extravagant headdresses. Visit the explosive Mt Tavurvur – an impressive stratovolcano on the coast of New Britain, and hardcore adventurers can trek the gruelling Kokoda Trail through rugged landscapes to retrace the steps of wartime POWs.

© David Kirkland


Papua New Guinea TRAVEL KNOWHOW Flight time from the UK: Approx. 20 Hours (+1 stop) Time zone: GMT + 8 Capital: Port Moresby Language: English Currency: Papua New Guinean Kina Best time to travel: June to September Getting around: Driver-guide, domestic flights and boats Accommodation: 3-5* hotels, island resorts

PAPUA NEW GUINEA IN NUMBERS

820 20 1975 750 1,126 Languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea

Provinces

Year Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia

Species of birds can be found

Length of the Sepik River (km)

For our full range of Papua New Guinea itineraries and group tours, visit our website or speak to a specialist on 020 7666 1292.


© David Kirkland

The Inside Story Papua New Guinea is an island canvas splashed with colour. The native wildlife presents a kaleidoscope of vibrant feathered birds, lush vegetation of every shade of green and a turquoise coastline harbouring marine creatures of what seem to be every colour human eyes can comprehend. And that’s without even mentioning the striking traditional face paints and headdresses of the effervescent indigenous hilltribes.

Story to tell Carl Meadows

Strap on your scuba gear to explore the pristine underwater world and coral reefs teeming with life around the eastern coast and listen out for the rumblings of the active volcanic islands around New Britain. Encounter crumbling remnants of the nation’s recent military history en route to meet the remote tribal communities who continue to practise their vibrant, ancient customs.

Why I love Papua New Guinea It’s hard to decide what I loved the most on my PNG adventure; coming face to face with the colourful Huli Wigmen, witnessing the exciting fire dance of the Bainan people in Rabaul or swimming with Nemo in the turquoise waters around Tufi.

After a history of British, German and Australian governing, PNG obtained its independence in 1975. Having long been a keen destination for Australian hikers and divers, at Regent we are proud to launch PNG as our newest, specialist Alternative Asia destination.

16 AD

1546

1906

1942

1954

Ships from China and the Malay Empire trade with the islanders

Spanish explorer Inigo Ortiz de Retes discovers New Guinea

Control of British New Guinea transferred to the newly independent Commonwealth of Australia and renamed Territory of Papua

Japanese forces occupy parts of both territories

Aerial survey reveals undiscovered highland valleys inhabited by up to 100,000 people

1526

1873

1914

1949

Portuguese sailor Jorge de Meneses is the first European visitor and names one of the islands ‘ilhas dos Papuas’

Port Moresby is named after one of several English explorers to lay claim to the island for Great Britain

Australian forces occupy German New Guinea during World War I

Australia establishes a joint administration over both territories called the Territory of Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea

Regent Recommends Perfect For

Diving

Festivals

For travellers looking for an experience that combines colourful ancient cultures with magnificent wildlife, Papua New Guinea harbours the adventure of a lifetime. Birding enthusiasts will delight in the chance to spot rare birds of paradise in their native environment and an extraordinary encounter with the Huli Wigmen never fails to enchant visitors with their fascinating customs. Whether you’re interested in clambering across volcanic islands, diving into the sparkling waters to explore coral reefs or hiking through lush jungle to reach the tribal communities, our Travel Specialists are ready to tailor-make an itinerary that suits you.

Papua New Guinea perfectly combines two vital components to fulfil every diver’s dream; irresistibly spectacular marine biodiversity and a coveted absence of crowds. Head to Tufi; around the east coast, the pristine coral reefs teem with colourful sea life and boast almost double the number of fish species than the Red Sea. You don’t even have to don an air tank to explore the underwater world – simply investing in a snorkel and plunging your face beneath the waves is enough to introduce you to the diverse marine world. Shallow reef sections are well within reach from beaches and no less spectacular than the deep waters.

While it may not be a fixture on the Glastonbury fan’s annual calendar, Papua New Guinea has an incredible array of wonderful festivals that deserve to be on every discerning traveller’s itinerary. The Warwagira & Mask Festival in Kokopo, is a colourful celebration of indigenous cultures that begins at dawn; masked spirits arrive from the sea in wooden canoes to fill the morning with rousing dancing, music and ritual performances. The Baining People enter adolescence with a fire dance, where young men leap through flames and the Crocodile Festival honours the crocodile’s significance in the tribal heartlands of the Sepik River.

© David Kirkland

1975

1994

1998

2013

2015

The Kina replaces the Australian Dollar

Bougainville fight for full independence

Three tsunamis hit the north-west coast obliterating villages

Peter O’Neill is appointed Prime Minister

Regent launches Papua New Guinea

1971

1975

1997

2007

2015

Renamed Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Gains full independence from Australia

Burnham Truce marks the end of the Bougainville struggle

Cyclone Guba causes flooding in Oro and Milne provinces

Stef visits PNG for the first time

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Papua New Guinea Specialist on 020 7666 1292

97


Country Information & Visas Country

City

January

Temperature Average High/Low °C April

July

Time GMT

Currency

October

Visa Information for UK Passport Holders

Thimphu 12/-2 20/7 18/13 21/10 +6 Ngultrum Bhutan

REQUIRED Included on all Bhutan itineraries

Borneo

Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) Kuching (Sarawak)

30/23

Malaysian Ringitt

N/A

Burma

Naypyidaw

32/18 36/24 30/24 30/24

Kyat

REQUIRED Through CIBT

Cambodia

Phnom Penh

31/21

35/24

32/25

30/24

+7

Riel

REQUIRED On arrival

China

Beijing

1/-10

21/7

31/21

20/6

+8

Yuan

REQUIRED Through CIBT

Indonesia

Jakarta

31/24 32/24 32/23 33/24

+7

Rupiah

REQUIRED On arrival

Iran

Amman

+3

Rial

REQUIRED In advance

Tenge

N/A

+3

Dinar

REQUIRED On arrival

Kazakhstan Astana Jordan

Amman

8/0

31/24

16/6

35/25

34/20

31/23

25/13

-12/-20 08/-2 28/13 08/-1 12/4

22/10

31/19

26/14

+8 +6.5

+5/6

Kyrgyzstan Bishkek

03/-9 10/0 31/18 17/5

+5

Som

N/A

Laos

Vientiane

28/14 34/23 31/24 31/21

+7

Kip

REQUIRED On arrival

Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar

-19/-32 07/-12 22/10 6/-8

+8

Tugrik

N/A

North Korea Pyongyang -3/-13 16/3 29/20 18/6 +9 Won/Euros/Dollars/CNY REQUIRED Included on all North Korea itineraries Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby

South Korea Seoul Taiwan

Taipei

31/23

+8

Papua New Guinean Kina

REQUIRED On arrival

0/-9 17/5 29/21 19/7

31/22

29/21

31/22

+9

Won

N/A

19/12 25/17 32/23 27/19

+8

New Taiwan Dollar N/A

Tajikistan

Dushanbe

8/-2

22/10

36/18

23/7

+8

Somoni

REQUIRED Through CIBT

Turkmenistan

Ashgabat

7/-2

24/11

38/23

23/9

+5

Turkmen Manat

REQUIRED Through CIBT

Uzbekistan

Tashkent

3/-6

18/8

33/18

18/5

+5

Som

REQUIRED Through CIBT

Vietnam

Hanoi

20/13

28/20

33/26

29/22

+7

Dong

REQUIRED Through CIBT or on arrival

Applying for a visa via CIBT Visa Agency For more information or to apply for a visa, contact CIBT by email at info@cibtvisas.co.uk or call 0207 963 3862, identifying yourself as a Regent Holidays client to ensure that you are provided with the correct visa information and instructions.

98 Talk to a Specialist on 020 7666 1292 | www.regentholidays.co.uk


Booking Conditions Please read these Terms and Conditions carefully. They contain important information about your holiday contract. Regent Holidays specialise in travel to unusual destinations, many of which still remain relatively underdeveloped and without the facilities and service levels found in western European countries. When you book an alternative holiday with us we will of course do everything we can to provide you with a holiday exactly to your specification, however it is important to understand that this type of travel carries the risk that accommodation, transportation schedules and other parts of the holiday may be subject to local alterations beyond our control and occurring at short notice. You may also find that standards are lower than you have come to expect and we ask that you take this into consideration before booking. 1. CONTRACT Your contract is with Regent Holidays, a brand of ITC Luxury Travel Group Limited, Concorde House, Canal Street, Chester, UK, CH1 4EJ, company registration number 8687765. Referred to as “the company”, “we”, “us” and “our” in this contract. They only apply to holiday arrangements which you book with us in the UK and which we agree to make, provide or perform (as applicable) as part of our contract with you. All references in these booking conditions to “holiday”, “booking”, “contract”, “package”, “tour” or “arrangements” mean such holiday arrangements unless otherwise stated. A binding contract is only entered into when we issue a confirmation invoice. By contacting us or your travel agent to make a booking you accept that you have the authority to bind all members of your party to these terms and conditions. It is essential that you check the travel details on the confirmation invoice and inform us immediately of any errors. Your booking is also subject to the conditions of carriage of your chosen airline. 2. YOUR FINANCIAL PROTECTION We hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 2786). When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable). If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be reassigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme. We are also a member of ABTA (ABTA number V2359). If your holiday does not include flights, ABTA will financially protect your holiday by ensuring you receive a refund or, if your arrangements include return travel to the UK (other than flights) you are returned to the UK in the event that your holiday cannot be provided as a result of our insolvency. Please go to www.abta.com for a copy of the guide to ABTA’s scheme of Financial Protection. 3. PRICE POLICY All prices advertised or quoted are per person based on sharing a twin/double room and are in pounds sterling unless otherwise shown and are subject to change, up or down, until the booking is confirmed. After that, we will only increase the price in limited circumstances to reflect increases in transportation costs (including fuel and airfares), dues, government approved taxes (including VAT), both in the UK and overseas, fees chargeable for services (including landing taxes and embarkation and disembarkation and security fees at airports), Government action or exchange rate variation. If the surcharge would increase the cost of your holiday by 10% or more, you may cancel your holiday and receive a full refund. We will absorb the cost, and you will not be charged, for any increase equivalent to or up to 2% of the original price of your holiday (excluding amendment fees). No surcharges will be made within 30 days of departure. Prices in this brochure were calculated at the exchange rate of £1 = €1.35 and £1 = USD1.56. 4. TRAVEL INSURANCE Your holiday package with us does NOT include travel insurance and we believe that it is essential to take out comprehensive travel insurance when you go on holiday and we strongly recommend that to do so is in your interests and those of your family. We also ask that you provide us with the details of your insurer, the policy number and the emergency contact details to assist you in the event of an accident or emergency abroad. It will be necessary for you to comply with the requirements of the policy in the event of a potential claim; e.g. reporting a theft to the local police. Please read your policy details carefully and take them with you on holiday. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs. 5. PAYMENT FOR YOUR HOLIDAY Your deposit is considered part payment towards your holiday. The exact deposit required shall be made clear at time of quotation/ booking. On occasion full payment may be required to secure certain elements of your trip; if this does arise we shall inform you of this at time of booking. Deposits are non-refundable and as such are a security towards confirming your holiday. Normally the balance and final payment should be made no less than eight weeks prior to departure. However, on occasion some components and/or destinations may require final payment no less than 90 days prior to departure, in which case you shall be informed of this at time of booking. If any balance remains unpaid, travel documentation will not be issued and we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled and apply the cancellation charges set out below. Final travel documents will normally be sent out approximately two weeks before departure. All money paid to a travel agent will be held by the agent on our behalf. Payment must be in the currency of the invoice and you are responsible for bank charges. Full payment, deposits and balances made with a credit or charge card (Switch and debit cards excluded) will automatically incur an additional 2% charge and 2.5% for Amex of the payment. 6. BROCHURE AND WEBSITE ACCURACY Whilst we make every effort to ensure that the information in our brochure is as accurate as possible, it is published many months before your holiday takes place. We reserve the right to make changes to the brochure and any information it contains. You will be informed of any material changes before booking. Regent Holidays are only responsible for information contained within our own publications and websites. We are specifically not responsible for third party information (from tourist boards and hotels for example) contained in any other brochures or websites. 7. AMENDMENT AND CANCELLATION BY YOU (A) AMENDMENT We will do our best to assist you in altering your arrangements after booking but cannot guarantee that this will be possible. If alterations can be made you will be responsible for all extra charges and costs and we reserve the right to charge an administration fee of £50 per booking plus any applicable charges levied by our suppliers. In some cases, flights cannot be changed after booking and the full cost of a new air ticket will be payable. We also reserve the right to treat any amendment less than eight weeks prior to departure as a cancellation and apply the cancellation charges set out below. (B) CANCELLATION All cancellations must be made in writing by the person who made the booking and are effective on the day we receive it. As we incur substantial costs and losses on a cancellation, we will apply the following cancellation charges based on payment/balance date of eight weeks prior to departure. For those bookings where additional amounts were paid in excess of the standard deposit at the time of booking or before the standard balance due date, these shall be considered non refundable. Number of days prior to departure Cancellation charge as percentage of total holiday price when cancellation notice received Up to 56 days 55-43 Days 42-31 Days 30 Days or less

Forfeit deposit 50% 75% 100%

Agents or third party organisations acting on our behalf are unable to amend or change the contract or terms and conditions within it. 8. AMENDMENT AND CANCELLATION BY US (A) AMENDMENTS It is occasionally necessary for us to make changes to advertised products and services and we reserve the right to make such changes. In exceptional circumstances we may have to modify your holiday after booking. If the change is minor we will do our best to notify you in advance but are not obliged to do so and no compensation is payable. If the change is material (for example, a change of flight time by more than twelve hours, change of destination or to a lower standard of accommodation), we will notify you as soon as practically possible and offer you the choice of (i) accepting the alternative arrangements or (ii) arranging an alternative holiday with us or (iii) cancelling your holiday. Whichever option you choose we will pay you compensation unless the change has been caused by force majeure or low bookings as defined below. Days before departure 57 56-29 28-15 14-0

Compensation per person Nil £40 £50 £70

(B) CHANGES DURING THE HOLIDAY If we are unable to provide a significant proportion of your holiday whilst you are away, suitable alternative arrangements will be made for you at no extra cost or, if we are unable to do so, you will be returned to your point of departure and given a pro-rata refund for any part of the holiday not received. This does not apply to minor changes in your accommodation, itinerary or transportation. (C) CANCELLATION BY US Whilst we hope we will never have to cancel your holiday, this does very occasionally happen and we reserve the right to do so. Should it be necessary to cancel your holiday we will endeavour to offer alternative travel arrangements of equivalent or similar standard, together with a price refund if appropriate. Alternatively we will provide a full and prompt refund. (D) FORCE MAJEURE Compensation will not be payable in any cases where an amendment, change or cancellation is due to “force majeure”, defined as unusual or unforeseeable events or circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which neither we nor our suppliers could avoid. These include, but are not limited to, war, threat of war, riot, civil disturbance or strife, terrorist activity (actual or threatened), industrial disputes, technical or maintenance problems with transport, machinery or equipment, power failure, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, flood, drought, adverse weather conditions, levels of water in rivers, acts of God, closure of airports, changes of schedules or operational decisions of transport providers. (E) LOW BOOKINGS Compensation is not payable if a holiday or tour does not take place because a required minimum number of passengers to enable the holiday or tour to take place has not been reached and you were informed of that requirement at the time of booking. We will notify you at least eight weeks before departure if your holiday has not reached the minimum number and is therefore cancelled and where possible we will offer a similar holiday on a different date or an alternative holiday departing at or around the original date. 9. OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO YOU We take care to ensure that all involved in the preparation and supply of your holiday maintain the highest standards. Please remember that the appropriate standards will be those prevalent in your destination which may not be the same as developed international standards. We will pay reasonable compensation (subject to below) if the product supplied to you is not of the standard described or contracted for by you. This compensation will be limited (except in the case of death or injury) to no more than twice the holiday price of the person affected. Should you suffer injury, illness or death as a result of the proven fault of ourselves, our suppliers or their employees acting in the course of their employment we will offer you compensation as would be paid in an English Court. If the incident relates to you or any member of your party being killed, injured or becoming ill during or as a result of, carriage by aircraft, ship, train or coach as part of the holiday arrangements organised by us our liability to pay compensation is limited in accordance with the liability of the carrier/service provider under any international convention which governs such services. Copies of these Conventions are available upon request. Our liability to you does not apply if you or any member of your group is at fault; if the failure is the fault of someone else not connected with providing the services which form part of our holiday contract with you; the failure is due to any unusual or unexpected circumstances beyond our control, which we could not have avoided even if we had used all care possible or the failure is due to any event which we or the supplier of any service could not help, expect or prevent. Any acceptance of liability is subject to you agreeing to assign to us your rights against any third party responsible for the events leading to your claim and to you affording us all necessary assistance in pursuing that claim. 10. COMPLAINTS AND ABTA ARBITRATION Whilst we aim to ensure that your holiday runs smoothly, there may be times when it does not. Please follow the complaints procedure below to minimise inconvenience to all parties: 1. Any complaint should be reported immediately and directly to the supplier and, as soon as possible, to our local representative (where applicable). If you fail to follow this simple procedure, your right to claim compensation may be affected, as we will have been deprived of the opportunity to investigate and rectify the problem. 2. In the unlikely event that neither our representative nor our supplier is able to resolve the matter to your complete satisfaction, please put in writing the details of your complaint to us either at our address or by email regent@regent-holidays.co.uk 3. Once in receipt of a complaint, we will react swiftly to resolve the matter. Our aim is to rectify any shortcomings immediately, so that you can fully enjoy the remainder of your holiday. If you still have cause for complaint on your return to the UK, you are required to seek satisfaction by writing to the Company within 28 days of the end of your holiday and providing full details of the holiday and the reason for dissatisfaction. We regret that we cannot accept liability in relation to any complaint or claim which is not notified entirely in accordance with this clause. Disputes arising out of, or in connection with your booking which cannot be amicably settled may be referred to arbitration if you so wish under a special scheme arranged by ABTA Ltd and administered independently. The scheme provides for a simple and inexpensive method of arbitration on documents alone with restricted liability on the customer in respect of costs. Full details will be provided on request or can be obtained from the ABTA website (www.abta.com). The scheme does not apply to claims for an amount greater than £5,000 per person. There is also a limit of £25,000 per booking. Neither does it apply to claims which are solely in respect of physical injury or illness or their consequences. The scheme can however deal with compensation claims which include an element of minor injury or illness subject to a limit of £1,500 on the amount the arbitrator can award per person in respect of this element. Your application for arbitration and other required documents must be received by ABTA within 18 months of your return from the holiday. Outside this time limit arbitration under the scheme may still be available if we agree, although the ABTA Code does not require such agreement. For injury and illness claims, you can request the ABTA mediation procedure and we have the option to agree to this. Where we act as agent, please bear in mind that your contract is with the supplier of the arrangements concerned. Unless the supplier is also a member of ABTA, only disputes relating to our actions as agent can be dealt with by the arbitration scheme or mediation procedure and not complaints about the arrangements themselves or the acts/ omissions of the supplier. 11. PASSPORTS, VISAS AND OTHER ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTATION It is your responsibility to ensure that all necessary passports are machine readable. You should also ensure that all necessary visas, international driving licences, vaccinations and other health documents are in order. All passports must have a validity of at least six months from your scheduled return date to the UK. You will generally need clear/clean pages for visas, as required, to be inserted. You must read all documentation that is supplied to you and ensure that all information contained within is correct. Failure to do so may incur amendment charges which are your responsibility. Some countries and airlines now require additional passenger information (API). We will inform you which countries require this information. This information is compulsory and is required by authorities. It is essential that all clients provide the API prior to travelling. Failure to provide this information may result in you being denied boarding for your flight. No refund will be permitted and any additional costs will be borne by the named clients. 12. SPECIAL REQUESTS Whilst we will endeavour to comply with any special requests such as airline seating, diets and room requirements, we can only do so on a “goodwill” basis. As these are usually only provided at the discretion of the relevant supplier, we cannot guarantee availability and cannot be held responsible if they are not provided. 13. MEALS All pre-booked meals on our group tours will be on table d’hôte basis, Supplements can apply for à la carte basis. 14. EXCURSIONS AND ACTIVITIES We are only responsible for excursions and activities sold by us prior to departure and which form part of your holiday contract. Should you purchase excursions in the destination, your contract and any liability arising from it will be with the supplier directly. 15. JURISDICTION We both agree that English law (and no other) will apply to your contract and to any dispute, claim or other matter of any description which arises between us (“claim”) except as set out below. We both also agree that any claim must be dealt with by the ABTA arbitration scheme referred to above or Courts of England and Wales only unless, in the case of Court proceedings, you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In this case, proceedings must either be brought in the Courts of your home country or those of England and Wales. If proceedings are brought in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you may choose to have your contract and any claim governed by the law of Scotland/Northern Ireland as applicable (but if you do not so choose, English law will apply). 16. DATA PROTECTION POLICY In order for us to process your booking we need to store and record your information, including data as supplied. This may include transfer of such information outside of the European Economic Area to parties involved in the arrangements of your holiday. Equally we use such information for updating our mailing lists, for fraud prevention, market research and analysis and from time to time you may receive travel related information from us or from another company from within ITC Luxury Travel Group Ltd. Should you not wish to receive such literature please advise us in writing. 17. UK FOREIGN OFFICE ADVICE ON OVERSEAS TRAVEL The Foreign & Commonwealth Office produces up-to-date travel information to help British travellers make informed decisions about travelling abroad. For further information please visit www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo or telephone 0870 606 0290. For full terms and conditions please visit our website Registered in England, number 8687765 4 Red Lion Court, Alexandra Road, Hounslow, TW3 1JS © Western and Oriental Travel Limited All rights reserved. Date of issue December 2016

www.regentholidays.co.uk | Talk to a Specialist on 020 7666 1292

99


OUR BROCHURE COLLECTION

Specialists in the Alternative for over 40 years Russia & Europe The Alternative Collection

From the ornate copulas of St Petersburg to the Ottoman treasures of Mostar, discover the hidden gems of Russia and Europe. Whether you want to journey through the heart of Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, discover the history and culture of the Balkans and Baltics or just try a different city break, you’ll find a collection of our favourite group tours, tailor-made holidays, fly-drives and short breaks inside.

Small Group Tours

Our small group tours brochure features pioneering tours designed by our destination experts that will send you well off-the-beaten-track. In this 2017 collection you will find tours to our newest destination and breakaway state, Abkhazia, cultural journeys through Iran, a special one-off tour celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution as well as a selection of our popular classics.

Iceland & the Arctic Winter

Iceland & the Islands Summer

This collection of Regent’s favourite hotels, tours and experiences is designed with Aurora hunting in mind. Whether you want to chase the mystical northern lights in a jeep designed for adventure, race across the icy wilderness on a sledge pulled by huskies, drift off to sleep in a cosy glass igloo or relax in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon, our Iceland & the Arctic Specialists can book your ideal winter holiday.

Take to the open road and explore Iceland’s black sand beaches, dramatic waterfalls and imposing glaciers as well as discovering breathtaking crater lakes in the Azores and the beautiful fjords in Norway. Witness the magnificent midnight sun, drift off to sleep in a lighthouse in Finland, or embark on an unforgettable Arctic cruise around Spitsbergen in search of polar bears and narwhals.


Contents Contents

ITC Luxury Travel Group Limited THE COLLECTION

6-15 Central Asia 6

Middle East

11

Jordan Eco Adventure

16-19 Mongolia 10 Iran Beyond Tehran 20-25 China 12 Central Asia

16 Tashkent to Tehran – A Rail Adventure 26-33 North Korea 17 The Silk Road by Private Train 18 19 20 21

Classic Turkmenistan Discover Uzbekistan Uzbekistan & Tajikistan Explored Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan Explored

34-37 South Korea 38-40 Taiwan 22 Caucasus

42-47 Bhutan 26 Essential Georgia 27

Essential Armenia

29

Pioneering Abkhazia

82 Borneo 86 87 88 89

Borneo for Beginners Borneo Orangutan Experience Essential Sarawak & Sabah Sarawak Wildlife & Culture

90 Indonesia 94

Papua New Guinea

Important Information 98 99

Country Information Booking Conditions

48-53 Burma 28 From the Caspian to the Black Sea 54-61 Indochina 30 Mongolia 34 China 62-69 Borneo 38

Essential China

41

Discover Yunnan Province

46

North Korea Group Tours

49

Pioneering North Korea

51

Tailor-made North Korea

52

South Korea

56 57

Highlights of South Korea Classic South Korea

40 Sichuan & Tibet – The Roof of the World 70-73 Indonesia

74-79 Papua 42 North Korea New Guinea 80 Information Classic Liberation 48 Country Day Tour

Pioneers of responsible travel, Rainbow Tours specialises in tailor-made holidays to Africa, Madagascar and Latin America, taking you to world famous sights as well as hidden corners right at the heart of local cultures. Their well-travelled team arranges safaris, custom-made trips for couples, family holidays, honeymoons and expert-led groups, as well as relaxing beach breaks.

www.rainbowtours.co.uk

Western & Oriental’s passion is tailor-made travel and personalised service. Their worldwide collection encompasses beach escapes, family holidays, multicentres, experiences and honeymoons. So whether it is the Caribbean & the USA, Far East, India & Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean & Middle East or the Mediterranean, their expert Travel Specialists can tailor the perfect holiday for you.

www.westernoriental.com

50 Booking of North Korea Hikes & Highlights 84 Conditions

58 Taiwan 62 Bhutan 66 67

Land of the Thunder Dragon Bhutan Grand Walking Tour

68 Burma 72 73

Express Burma Explore Burma

74 Indochina 78 79 80 81

Essential Vietnam Discover Vietnam & Cambodia Explore Laos Heritage of Indochina

A pioneer in luxury travel, ITC has spent over 40 years creating bespoke holidays of a lifetime for our valued clients. As one of the UK’s longest-established independent, luxury tour operators we offer a genuine passion for travel, extraordinary local knowledge, a pedantic approach to fine details and an inspired workforce who sincerely love what they do.

www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk Orangutan at Camp Leakey rehabilitation Center, Borneo ©Shutterstock Inc RM / Janelle Lugge

Founded in 1983, Villa Select is known for its unique and discerning selection of carefully hand-picked villas across Europe, the Caribbean and Thailand. From traditional, rustic countryside retreats to contemporary, centrallylocated luxury villas, Villa Select provides a friendly and professional service from the moment you book right through to the service you receive in resort.

www.villaselect.com


STEPPE

TRIBES

SOUTH KOREA

ORANGUTANS

YURT

HIMALAYAS

Alternative Asia 2016/17

ANGKOR WAT

JO R DA N

2017

MT BROMO

MONGOLIA

TAIWAN

NORTH KOREA

BURMA

MEKONG RIVER

SILK ROAD

CENTRAL ASIA

ABKHAZIA

FORBIDDEN CITY

TEMPLES

GOBI DESERT

TIGERS NEST MONASTERY

TSECHU

PLAIN OF JARS

SUN MOON LAKE

IRAN

YUNNAN

SEPIK RIVER

MONUMENTS

BHUTAN PAPUA NEW GUINEA CHINA BAGAN YANGTZE RIVER

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

PYONGYANG IRRAWADDY RIVER

INDONESIA MERGUI ARCHIPELAGO

BIRDWATCHING

HALONG BAY

Colston Tower, Colston Street, Bristol BS1 4XE Telephone: 020 7666 1292 Email: regent@regentholidays.co.uk www.regentholidays.co.uk Regent Holidays is part of ITC Luxury Travel Group Limited

GROUP TOURS

Alternative Asia 2017

HANOI

BEIJING

MIDDLE-EAST | CENTRAL ASIA | CAUCASUS | MONGOLIA | CHINA | TAIWAN | BHUTAN NORTH KOREA | SOUTH KOREA | BURMA | INDOCHINA | BORNEO | INDONESIA | PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Alternative Asia 2017  
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