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ASIA


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Introduction In 1979, two students returned from their travels newly cultured, slightly jetlagged and on the biggest high of their lives. Bright-eyed and inspired by their wanderlust, they founded STA Travel to help other young people explore a world beyond textbooks and office desks – the real world. 31 years later, the ethos of STA Travel remain the same. We firmly believe that experiencing the wonders of the world will expand your mind and enrich your understanding. Travel is the best education. There is nothing like it to open the eyes, mind and heart. That’s why we strive to do things differently. More people, not just students, want authentic, real-value travel options. We’ve grown up with our travelers and built our exclusive product range from the ground up in direct response to what you need and want from us. Inside this brochure, you’ll find a whole host of Asia travel options to help inspire your ultimate adventure. Whether it’s accommodation, group tours or travel with purpose. Our commitment to responsible travel is something we are hugely passionate about. We have partnered with the non-profit organization Planeterra, to launch a new selection of volunteer projects designed to help communities around the world - and to help you make the most of your travels. Forget being stuck behind the foggy windows of a tour bus; we want to offer you a real opportunity to give back directly. We are also committed to raising one million dollars over the next five years to support Planeterra in its work. We’re passionate about changing the way people think about travel and in the process, making a positive impact on the lives of millions. Get out there – the world is waiting for you.


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planning your trip

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travel essentials

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hit the sack

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your amazing adventure

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the world

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planeterra

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south east asia Thailand Bangkok Northern Thailand Koh Samui - Chaweng Beach Koh Samui - Beaches Phuket Koh Pha Nghan Koh Tao - Diving Krabi Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta

Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Langkwai Penang Borneo

Singapore Singapore

Bali Kuta Beach Legian Beach Bali & Beyond

Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Hanoi Vietnam Beaches

Cambodia & Laos Phnom Penh Siem Riep

31 36 40 44 46 48 52 53 54 55 57 58 60 61 62 65 66 68 70 73 74 76 80 81 82

84 90 91

Hong Kong Beijing Shanghai

Japan Tokyo Osaka & Kyoto

101 108 111 112 113 116 118

India Delhi Mumbai Beaches

Nepal Kathmandu

Sri Lanka

Colombo Beaches

123 132 133 132 136 137 141 143 144

Indian sub-continent

Indian Sub-continent

Oriental asia

oriental asia China

South east asia

GETTING THERE


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Hit the sack Where to STAy?

Star ratings are often not the best way to categorize hotels. Depending on what country you’re traveling through, perceptions of each standard can vary quite dramatically. To make things much easier for you, we’re giving you our own, very educated opinion on each property that we feature. We have three very straightforward accommodation categories to choose from: STAysimple, STAysmart and STAystylish. Read below for a description of each.

+ bonus

Look out for our STA Travel Bonus offers - we’ve found the very best deals that will ensure you save money and make the most out of your stay. 

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

For those who want that traveling dollar to go further… clean, comfortable, secure and perfectly adequate, these are no frills budget options. All of our hostels and some of our more basic hotels come under this category.

Perfect for those who demand a little comfort when they travel. Quite often hotel prices in Asia are much cheaper than in the U.S., so you won’t find yourself breaking the bank when you stay in one of our STAysmart hotels.

These are a little bit special. Adjectives such as unique, funky and intimate are definitely very apt. Most will boast something absurdly indulgent, such as a private pool, pillow menu or a cigar lounge.

The majority of our STAysimple properties have great locations – in the heart of all the action, and many of them boast popular bars and vibrant social scenes. Facilities are generally limited, but this is compensated for by the friendly and helpful staff. Many of these options will have shared bathrooms.

STAysimple

These are modern, international standard hotels, so expect a plethora of great facilities. All rooms will have private bathrooms, air conditioning and a host of modern amenities. You can also expect loads of great facilities – most will have a pool, gym and a couple of restaurants. STAysmart hotels are ideal for city stopovers.

STAysmart

These hotels are relatively small in size, which means close and personal attention. Superlative service and an unforgettable experience are more or less guaranteed. After a fantastically hectic adventure trip, or an early morning flight, it definitely pays to splash a little cash and book yourself into one of these wonderful hotels.

STAystylish


your amazing adventure STA Travel partners with leading tour companies who provide fantastic adventures across the globe to give you a variety of styles of travel and experiences to choose from when planning your big trip. They are our ‘perfect partners’ as they share the same passion for travel as we do and we guarantee you will get the cheapest price on their trips through us. Our perfect partner for Asia is G.A.P Adventures.

your trip leaders Each and every adventure is led by either a group leader or a G.A.P Adventures representative. They enrich your journey and give you the inside scoop on the culture. They’ll offer handy language tips, make suggestions for things to see and do, recommend great local eateries, and introduce you to their local friends. In a lot of instances the leaders are locals themselves, and if they’re not true locals, chances are they will have traveled through the region countless times and know it like the back of their hand. international groups Our adventures are sold all over the world. You’re likely to be traveling with a range of nationalities - exploring new countries and experiencing wild cultures with a like-minded but diverse group.

expect the unexpected For the most part, you will be traveling in developing countries in areas very different from home – so the best approach is to keep an open mind. You could be invited to swill Gengis Khan Vodka at the Naadam Festival in Mongolia. Or you might get soaked by a mid-afternoon monsoon in India, but then realize that it’s one of the most delightful showers you’ve ever had. This is the beauty of adventure travel!

Experience life like a local by staying in remote or rustic guesthouses. Expect your multi-share room or campsite to be simple and clean, with the occasional cold shower and sporadic electricity. Travel around on anything that moves, be it bus, train, camel, rickshaw, or good old foot power.

unique accommodation Often you’ll spend the night in a hotel, other nights camping at high altitude, or on the water aboard a yacht. Perhaps you’ll be staying in hill tribe village in northern Thailand, or enjoying the serenity of a mountain monastery in Japan. Whatever and wherever it is, the accommodation will reflect the local flavor. Rooms are usually based on same-sex twin-share, and solo travelers don’t have to pay extra!

Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

diverse food One of the great thrills of travel is sampling the local cuisine. Your trip will give you plenty of chances to feast on the delicacies of the region, whether that’s with the meals included in the tour or when you branch out and discover your own culinary gems. However, when in remote regions such as on an expedition or cruise, most include meals. The food is hearty and fresh and you’ll be amazed at what the cooks and chefs can achieve. See trip details for meal inclusions.

Combining the challenge of physical adventure with the thrill of fully immersive exploration, our Challenger trips are designed to push you to the edge of excitement for an adrenaline pumping experience you’ll never forget. From hiking and biking to rafting and kayaking, work up a sweat as you venture off the beaten path and discover a world other travelers can only dream of.

transportation - mix it up You’ll get the best cross-section of culture. one day you might find yourself jumping on the back of a motorbike taxi in the chaotic streets of Hanoi, the next you could be sitting in a private van driving along the coast. Many tours feature in-country flights, and these are all included in the price. Whatever the method, you can be sure it will be more than just a way to get from A to B. no local payments! Unlike many other tour companies - G.A.P Adventures do not charge any local payments. The price you to pay to your STA Travel Expert is the full cost of the tour. You may choose to tip, but that is entirely at your discretion.

Authentic, exciting, affordable and fun, our YOLO trips are designed for the 18 to 30-something traveler. Packed with incredible value, amazing experiences and like-minded travelers looking to live life to its fullest, each and every YOLO adventure is dedicated to expanding your horizons in ways you never dreamed possible. From discovering exotic cultures to taking in the local nightlife, see the world from a whole new perspective. YOLO trips are designed for those on a budget, so expect comfort levels and transportation to be similar to our Explorer trips.

EASYRIDER We feature several fantastic trips for 18 to 35’s only. The group size averages around 25, so you’ll have just the right amount of new friends to share your experience with on a long trip, that’s a big time bonus! And don’t worry, the group size is small enough to have an intimate Asian experience, but big enough to make the dynamic rock! With a bunch of other like-minded 18–35 year olds, your travel posse will make it great, no matter where you are.

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Face to face with the world CANADA NORTH AMERICA FROM THE BIG APPLE TO SIN CITY

AFRICA

SEE IT ALL IN THE NORTH AMERICA BROCHURE!

SOUTH AMERICA THE ALMIGHTY INCA TRAIL

IT’S SAFARI TIME GRAB THE AFRICA BROCHURE FOR INSPIRATION

WE’VE GOT THE TREK FOR YOU CHECK IT OUT IN OUR SOUTH AMERICA BROCHURE

WANT IT ALL? GO ROUND THE WORLD, PICK UP THE BROCHURE AND START PLANNING

VOLUNTEER WITH PLANETERRA

CHECK OUT OUR VOLUNTEERING BROCHURE


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EUROPE EUROPE

ASIA

MIDDLE EAST

MIDDLE EAST

MERICA

ASIA

EUROPE BLOG ABOUT IT IT’S FREE & EASY AT STATRAVEL.CO.UK/BLOGS

AFRICA

IT’S SAFARI TIME GRAB THE AFRICA BROCHURE FOR INSPIRATION

VOLUNTEER WITH PLANETERRA

CHECK OUT OUR VOLUNTEERING BROCHURE

AUSTRALIA ASIA

MIDDLE EAST

NEW ZEALAND

BLOG ABOUT IT BLOG ABOUT IT IT’S FREE & EASY AT STATRAVEL.CO.UK/BLOGS

AUSTRALIA

IT’S FREE & EASY AT STATRAVEL.CO.UK/BLOGS

AUSTRALIA

NEW ZEALAND


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50 PROJECTS, 7 COUNTRIES... 1 WORLD Participate in a range of global projects and make a real difference. Every project has been chosen with the ultimate aim of helping local people and their environment achieve a sustainable way of life. WORK IN

CONSERVATION

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voluntOUr

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CHILDREN

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Volunteering is all about making a greater commitment towards the project you are visiting. By volunteering you are making a positive difference to the lives of others on a much more intimate level, by donating your time, energy and experience. All of our projects have the central goal of helping local people achieve a sustainable way of life in an environmentally sensitive manner as well as assisting conservation and community programs worldwide. No specific skills are normally required, just a desire to lend a hand and learn more about what life is like in other communities around the world.

Voluntours are a way to learn about the people and place you are visiting on a much deeper level than a normal adventure tour. It is a way to give back to the community you are visiting, to lend a helping hand to someone in need, to work towards a cause you believe in, or simply to find a way to make a positive impact through your travels. Our Voluntours provide opportunities for travelers to engage in community projects that are working in health, education, conservation and small business opportunities around the world.

Work in conservation Protect some of the world’s most fragile environments. By preserving these ecosystems, you’ll contribute to the project’s long term sustainability, and help re-educate the community.

Work with animals Contribute to the protection of

endangered species. In their desperate fight for survival, you’ll develop an understanding of their conditions and work to protect them.

Work with Children Inspire the newest generation to break

the cycle of poverty. Your work will provide them with basic skills, and create an environment in which to reach their full potential.

Work with comMunities Spend time with a broad cross-section

of the local community. Your work will improve quality of life and ensure community sustainability in some of the world’s remotest areas.

Extend your stay

FROM AS LITTLE AS $14 Before or after your project experience, why not extend your stay? Perhaps an jump on an escorted tour, kickback and relax on a beach or head into the hustle and bustle on a city break?


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CONSERVATION

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Koh Pra Thong Discovery 15 DAYS, $1,729 EXTRA WEEKS, $590 fr

FR

koh pra thong, thailand Spend two weeks or more on the island of Koh Pra Thong, in search of four species of sea turtle and help out with other conservation projects. ABOUT THIS PROJECT For the last 12 years, a team of dedicated scientists has been cooperating with local villagers to protect the sea turtles, mangrove forests and coral reefs of Prathong (Golden Buddha) Island. The team focuses on protecting Leatherback, Green, Olive-Ridley and Hawksbill Turtles, which normally lay and hatch their eggs from January to March. How you make a difference The number of turtle nests found in the last few years has been steadily increasing and now more than ever, volunteers are needed to help protect these gentle creatures. By staying with a local family you will be supporting community development, providing a much needed source of income for villagers and immersing yourself in local life. A day in the life of a Volunteer As part of an ongoing conservation research program, your day will include monitoring beaches, conducting behavioral observation on turtle feeding grounds and assisting with nest hatching. Environmental education will be conducted in the local village school and meetings will be set up with villagers to discuss conservation. Fast FactS and what’s included Project start days: Daily between 10 Dec - 10 Apr Accommodation: 1 night guesthouse, Home Stay 13 nights Getting there: Transfers from Phuket to the project are included Duration: Minimum stay 15 days, maximum unlimited In-country Support: Volunteer project coordinator and staff Meals Included: All meals except on day 1 Tour code: GATATTCJ

VOLUNTOURS IN THAILAND ‘volunteer with children in phuket’ 13 days fr $1,249 Tour Code: GAATSKJ ‘ELEPHANT CONSERVATION IN CHANG MAI ’ 14 days fr $1,109 Tour Code: GATATECJ FOR MORE DETAI LS PICK UP A COPY OF OUR VOLUNTEER BRO CHURE

voluntEER

elephant conservation 14 DAYS,

fr

$1,109

CHIANG MAI, thailand Enjoy two weeks working with elephants at a rescue center north of Chiang Mai and lend a hand at local conservation projects in the region. ABOUT THIS PROJECT The park acts as a sanctuary for more than thirty neglected and abused elephants from across Thailand. Instead of working for humans, the elephants are now cared for by a team of full-time staff and park volunteers. Set in a valley surrounded by forested mountains, the area offers a peaceful home for its residents. The park is 37 miles from the hustle and bustle of the city. How you make a difference Tasks include assisting keepers in bathing the elephants and general duties around the park and its surroundings. Caring for the elephants and the park is a big task and the project appreciates the help of dedicated volunteers to help maintain the high standard of care the elephants are afforded. Those with suitable skills can also help out at the office with administrative work and you’ll have a chance to pitch-in on the local reforestation program. Volunteers will learn about elephant communication, elephant families and how they make important decisions such as choosing friends. You will also learn about elephant diseases and how they are treated. A day in the life of a Volunteer A day at the park runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll be asked to spend six days per week helping out with the elephants and assisting with various park duties, with a day off to enjoy activities in and around the park. Meals are included but you’ll be asked to help in preparation and clean up. In the evening you’re free to do your own thing and at night you’ll return to your accommodation - comfy on-site volunteer huts. Fast FactS and what’s included Project Start Day: Mondays year round Accommodation: On-site volunteer huts (13 nights) Getting there: Transfers to/from the park office in Chiang Mai to the park are included Duration: Maximum 14 days In-country Support: Volunteer project coordinator and staff Meals Included: All meals included at project Budget: Allow US $30 – 35 per person per week for drinks and snacks not included Trip code: GATATECJ


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EXPLORE Cambodia and Laos

CONSERVATION

COMMUNITIES

WORK IN

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voluntOUr

15 DAYS, $1,549 fr

WORK WITH

COMMUNITIES

BANGKOK

BANGKOK

Explore the incredible historical, architectural, sacred and scenic highlights of Cambodia and Laos, helping the local environment by building water wells in the border area, planting trees and getting involved with child literacy in Laos. BEST BITS • Temples of Angkor • Building water wells and community work at the Steung Treng project • Searching for the Irrawaddy River Dolphins along the Mekong • Organizing a book party for children near Luang Prabang ITINERARY Day 1: Bangkok - Arrive at any time. Days 2-3: Siem Reap - Guided tour of Angkor Wat temple complex. (2B) Days 4-7: Kratie/Steung - Treng Steung Treng volunteer project. (B) Day 8: Don Khong - Mekong island stay. Days 9-11: Luang Prabang - Volunteer book party project work. Flight from Pakse to Luang Prabang on Day 9. (3B) Day 12: Vang Vieng Day 13: Vientiane - A chance to explore the highlights of this town. Cross the border into Thailand, overnight train to Bangkok. (B) Day 14: Bangkok - Optional Wat Po & Grand Palace visit. Day 15: Bangkok - Depart at any time. (B) ABOUT THIS PROJECT In Cambodia, 85% of people live in rural areas and 70% do not have sustainable access to clean water. You can help to provide clean water to the local communities by building wells. While in Laos, you will work with an organization promoting literacy and providing books to children in remote communities. Volunteer and make a difference in this magnificient country. FAST FACTS & WHAT’S INCLUDED Accommodation: Hotels / guest houses (12 nts), basic family home-stay (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Private bus, local bus, plane, boat, sleeper train In-Country Support: Volunteer project coordinators, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout and local guides Meals Included: 8 breakfasts Budget: Allow U.S. $300 - 400 per person for meals not included Tour Code: GAATPC

voluntEER

Work with endangered Orangutans 15 DAYS, $1,903 fr

29 DAYS, $2,797 fr

KUCHING, BORNEO Work alongside an experienced orangutan conservation team in the heart of Borneo. Help the local community and conservation teams enrich the lives of these wondrous animals. ABOUT THIS PROJECT The project’s aim is to increase the orangutan population in the wild through breeding programs, education and conservation efforts. HOW YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE Witness the problems the conservation team face on a daily basis and help to overcome these challenges by providing much-needed help to the group. These enrichment activities help orangutans move a step closer to living independently in the wild. Take time to work alongside local communities to highlight the importance of orangutans in Borneo’s natural heritage. A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A VOLUNTEER You’ll work at Matang Wildlife Center in Kubah National Park, helping with preparing food for the animals, enclosure cleaning and construction. At certain times volunteers may go into the jungle with rehabilitation officers and help them monitor released orangutans. Volunteers have free time on weekends. FAST FACTS AND WHAT’S INCLUDED Accommodation: One room in a 3-bedroom jungle chalet Getting there: Transfers to/from Kuching Airport to the project Duration: Minimum stay 14 nights, maximum stay 28 nights In-country Support: Volunteer project coordinator Meals Included: A Welcome Dinner is included, daily breakfast on hotel/hostel night stays and a meal allowance will be given during the rest of the stay Language Requirements: A good level of English Tour Code: STAKCHORA

VOLUNTOUR option IN borneo ‘experience borneo and orangutans'’ 14 days fr $1,777 Tour Code: STAKCHVOL


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Delhi to Goa plus Youth Skills Training

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21 DAYS, $1,549 fr

DELHI

Panda Conservation Adventure

CONSERVATION

GOA

Spend a week volunteering with youth programs in Delhi, then snake your way through the country discovering lakes, palaces, forts, and incredible cuisine to find yourself in Goa. BEST BITS • Volunteer with youth skills-training projects in Delhi • Explore the Taj Mahal • Sunrise at Savitri Temple in Pushkar • Island Palace on Lake Pichola • Chill on the beaches of Goa ITINERARY Day 1: Delhi - Arrive in Delhi. Days 2-7: Delhi - Volunteer with youth programs in Delhi. Day 8: Agra - Take the morning train to Agra. Options to visit Taj Mahal, Red Fort and the Baby Taj. Days 9-10: Jaipur - Take an orientation walk around Jaipur, and optional visit around Hawa Mahal and the Amber Palace. Days 11-12: Pushkar - Take an orientation walk at sunrise at Savitri Temple. Day 13: Chandelao Village - Optional activities in this rural Rajasthan village. Days 14-16: Udaipur - Take a public bus to Udaipur, where you’ll have an orientation walk and optional activities. Days 17-18: Mumbia - Overnight train to Mumbai. On arrival enjoy an orientation walk to the Gateway of India. Days 19-20 Goa - Fly to Goa where you can have an optional city tour. Day 21 Depart Goa - Free to depart anytime. ABOUT THIS PROJECT You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a range of projects working with young people, including computer and photography workshops, theater and arts programs and food distribution for children living in and around the Delhi train station. FAST FACTS AND WHAT’S INCLUDED Accommodation: Simple hotels/guest houses (19 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, jeep, rickshaw, plane Group Size: Maximum 15; Average 10 In-Country Support: Volunteer project coordinator, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) Meals Included: No meals are included Budget: Allow US $310 - 320 per person for meals Tour Code: GAAHVSJ

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14 DAYS, $1,899 fr

SHANGHAI

BEIJING

This is an unforgettable journey through the heartland of China. Home to the last remaining pandas, you have an amazing opportunity to volunteer at the largest panda reserve in the world, with a chance to observe these shy solitary creatures up close and personal. BEST BITS • Shaolin Kung Fu display and lesson • Volunteer stay at Bifengxia Panda Reserve • Terracotta Warrior tour • Getting up close and personal with China’s rare pandas • Trip to the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City ITINERARY Day 1: Shanghai - Arrive at any time. Day 2: Shanghai - Take an orientation walk through this amazing and exotic city before boarding an overnight train to Luoyang (Shaolin). There is so much to see and do, from admiring the foreign influences of the buildings of the French Concession, to perusing the enormous collection in the Shanghai Museum, to possibly visiting the Yuyuan gardens. Days 3-4: Shaolin & Luoyang - Visit to the world famous Shaolin Temple the home of Kung Fu, and participate in a Kung Fu class. Overnight train to Xi’an. Day 5: Xi’an - Take a train through the rugged landscape arrive in Xi’an, where you can absorb the culture and history of this ancient Tang Dynasty capital city. Visit one of China’s greatest archaeological treasures – the Terracotta Warriors. Day 6: Chengdu - Optional visit to Sichuan Opera. Days 7-11: Bifengxia Panda Centre - Early in the morning, travel north into Sichuan’s mountains to begin your volunteer work. Days 12-13: Beijing - Tour the thriving capital of Beijing, including an indepth look through the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Admire the view of the rolling countryside while climbing the Great Wall of China! Day 14: Beijing - Depart at any time. FAST FACTS AND WHAT’s included Accommodation: Hotels/guest houses (12 nts), Sleeper trains (2 nts) Transport: Sleeper trains, planes, private and public buses, bicycle, walking In-Country Support: Volunteer project coordinator, Chief Experience Officer (CEO), local guides Meals Included: No meals are included Budget: Allow US $190-250 per person for meals not included Tour Code: GAACPJ


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SOUTHEAST ASIA


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TOP 6

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AMAZING EXPERIENCES

1

2

sail in a junk on halong bay

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party on thailand’s beaches

see PAGE 81

swim with the fish in koh tao

see PAGES 46-47

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Trek with Northern hill tribes

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watch sunrise at angkor wat

see PAGeS 40-41

see PAGE 53

see PAGE 91

Hang out with the orangutans see PAGES 62-64

Average High TempERATURE (ºF) City

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

Bangkok

88

90

91

93

91

90

90

90

88

88

88

DEC 86

Bali

86

86

86

86

86

84

82

73

84

86

86

86

Chiang Mai

82

88

93

97

91

90

88

88

88

88

84

81

Ho Chi Minh City

88

90

91

91

91

88

88

88

88

86

86

86

Koh Samui

86

88

91

91

90

90

88

88

88

86

82

82

Kota Kinabalu

84

84

86

88

88

88

86

86

86

86

86

86

Kuala Lumpur

88

90

90

90

90

90

88

88

88

88

88

88

Singapore

84

88

88

88

88

88

86

86

86

86

86

84

Phnom Penh

88

90

91

95

91

90

90

90

88

86

86

86

Hanoi

64

66

72

79

86

90

90

88

88

81

75

70

South east asia

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14

indochina discovery 30 DAYS, $2,499 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: BANGKOK Joyous gasps of wonder, wide-eyed awe-struck stares and uncontrollable bouts of giddy happiness will become commonplace happenings as you and your group discover the heart and soul of Indochina. Absorb a history littered with grandiose ideas, dominant religions and intermittent conquests. From the ancient Khmer kingdom and colonization by the French to the wild cruelties of the Vietnam War and the Pol Pot regime – the history of this wonderful region is nothing short of startling. You’ll marvel at the simplicity of the people and their cultures – their understanding, tolerance and kindness. You’ll wander through throbbing cities that perfectly blend the sophistication of Europe with the vibrancy of Southeast Asia. You’ll discover ancient temples and lost cities, and you’ll bear witness to some of God’s finest ecological creations – pristine beaches, jungle piercing rivers and majestic misty mountains. You’ll also likely blend the old with the new by picking up more modern memoirs in the form of a sharp new suit! Be prepared to return home newly styled, but also far more enlightened and as a much more contented individual. the best bits • Witness the wonders of Angkor Wat • Experience a Phnom Penh walking tour • Enjoy amazing sunsets at Sihanoukville • Get lost in Ho Chi Minh City's markets • Bask on the beaches of Nha Trang • Wander the colorful streets of Hoi An • Check out the garden tombs of Hue • Enjoy a Halong Bay boat cruise • Explore the vibrant streets of Hanoi • Get off the beaten track in Vang Vieng • Absorb the rich history of Luang Prabang • Take a slow boat down the Mekong Day 1: Arrive Bangkok On the first day you’re free to relax, explore the city and adjust to the amazing frenetic pace and humidity of Bangkok. There’ll be a group meeting in the evening where you can meet your tour leader and your soon to be lifelong friends. Days 2-3: Siem Reap / Angkor Wat Leave Bangkok behind and journey through some spectacular scenery into Cambodia. You’ll travel to Siem Reap, home of the amazing Angkor Wat. Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer kingdom, is one of the wonders of the archaeological world. Rediscovered at the end of the last century by French explorers, this vast ruined city is becoming one of the most popular sites in Southeast Asia. Marvel at the tantalizing blend of Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture. (2B, 1D)

Days 4-5: Phnom Penh Explore this pleasant riverside city. Check out the colorful cafés, shady streets and the thriving markets full of vibrant textiles and curios. (2B) Days 6-7: Sihanoukville Relax on the white, sandy beaches of Cambodia’s southern coast. Take a boat trip out to one of the many uninhabited islands and enjoy fresh seafood and a cold drink as the sun slowly sets. Some would call it perfection - on a (satay) stick. Day 8: Chau Doc / Mekong Delta Cross into Vietnam, to the Mekong Delta. Check out rich green river world of orchards, rice fields, floating markets, and cottage industries. (B) Days 9-10: Ho Chi Minh City Lose yourself in the maze of Ho Chi Minh City’s central market - you’ll find everything from bolts of brocade to flanks of beef. Write a quick postcard in the stately colonial post office, one of the many French-era buildings that add grace to this modern metropolis. Dine out like a king at a local restaurant and take a step back through time at the spine-chilling War Museum.

Days 11-12: Nha Trang Explore the local shops and markets, sit on a perfect beach soaking up the sun or visit nearby historical towns. Opt for a nearby island boat trip to get in some snorkeling or scuba diving. Days 13-14: Hoi An Wander through the picturesque streets of this 16th century trading port. The buildings bear traces of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and French architectural styles. Hoi An is also a shopping mecca for tourists. Tailors can produce virtually anything overnight. For sun worshipers, Cua Dai Beach is 2.5 miles from town. (2B) Days 15-16: Hue Explore riverside garden tombs built for Vietnam’s last emperors or take a motorbike trip out into the stunning countryside. (B) Day 17: Halong Bay / Bai Chai Harbor Float through the strangely shaped islands that dot this vast, emerald bay in a traditional wooden junk (boat). Take the chance to enjoy a pre-dinner swim before you head to Cat Ba Island, where you’ll spend a peaceful and relaxing night. (L)


15

South east asia

Days 18-19: Hanoi Explore one of dozens of traditional guild streets that make up Hanoi’s thousand-year-old Old Quarter and join Buddhist monks for prayers in a serene lakeside pagoda. In the evening you’ll have an option to attend a performance at the famous Water Puppet Theater and sample some of Hanoi's amazing eateries. (2B)

Days 22-23: Vang Vieng The quiet town of Vang Vieng is set along the Nam Song river amidst rice fields and limestone karsts. Explore the caves by bike or float down the river in a tire tube stopping off for a cold drink and a zip line ride at one of the numerous bamboo bars. In the evening, soak in the beauty as the sun sets over the river.

Day 20: Lac Sao A long journey through scenic mountains takes you to the sleepy Laos town of Pak Xan. Explore the exotic local market brimming with weird and wonderful fruit and vegetables and watch the locals playing a game of petanque as the sun beautifully sets.

Days 24-25: Luang Prabang The beautiful town of Luang Prabang has a magical feel about it. Nestled in the hills of northern Laos on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers, it is studded with ornate temples and French colonial architecture. Check out the impressive Royal Palace Museum, untouched since the royal family departed in 1975. Opt to hop on a songthaew to the beautiful Kuang Si falls, where turquoise waters cascade over limestone formations. (2B)

Day 21: Vientiane There is a wealth of cultural delights to discover in the capital city of Vientiane - on foot, by bicycle or, for the less energetic, by tuk tuk. Visit Laos' most important national monument, Phat That Luang, or meander down the dusty riverside tracks to find villages full of friendly children, dogs and chickens. Find plenty of local treasures at Vientiane's vibrant, colorful markets. Round off the day with a spectacular sunset over the Mekong at one of the many riverside restaurants and lazy cafés. (B)

Day 26: Mekong River / Pakbeng Begin a two day river cruise - a truly amazing ‘live like a local’ experience. Head up the mighty Mekong River through magnificent jungle covered hills to Pakbeng, an ethnic minority town. Pack up your provisions and get your woollies out if you’re traveling from November to February, it can get just a bit chilly!

Day 27: Chiang Khong Continue by slow boat up the Mekong and cross into Thailand at the Houeisay border. Chiang Khong is a small riverside town with cross border trading from nearby villages. Day 28: Chiang Mai A drive through the hills of Northern Thailand takes us to Chiang Mai where you’ll have the afternoon free before catching an overnight train. Day 29: Bangkok Arrive into Bangkok early in the morning and set out exploring the many and varied sights. Check out the Grand Palace, Wat Po, National Museum, and Jim Thompson's House - just for a few suggestions! A trip along the Chao Phraya River and through the canals (or khlongs) gives you a different perspective of daily life in this busy city. Get yourself into the colorful nightlife and enjoy a good few goodbye drinks. Day 30: Depart Bangkok Your amazing adventure comes to an end on Day 30. Time to start planning the next one then! (B)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN - APR MAY - DEC

do it your way!

MON, TUE, WED, FRI, SAT, SUN MON, WED, FRI, SAT

Accommodation: Simple hotels (25 nts), sleeper train (4 nts) Transport: Local bus, A/C bus, walking, tuk tuk, local boat, junk boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD570-750 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATID

UPGRADE THE COMFORT ‘Indochina Encompassed’ 29 days fr $2,699 Tour Code: GAATIE FINISH IN HO CHI MINH CITY ‘Roam Cambodia’ 10 days fr $799 Tour Code: GAATRC

Hanoi • • Halong Bay Luang Prabang • • Lac Sao • Vang Vieng Chiang Khong • Chiang Mai • • Vientiane • Hue thailand

laos

• Hoi An

vietnam

• Angkor Wat • Siem Reap • Nha Trang

Bangkok • cambodia Phnom Penh • • Ho Chi Minh City Sihanoukville • • Chau Doc

The same tour, but built entirely around you...

flexible departures travel when you like

dedicated touring two travelers, one trip

personal service your own local guides FR

$2,070 based on double occupancy


16

roam cambodia & vietnam 20 DAYS, $1,549 fr

bangkok

no local payment!

hanoi

Despite generations of suffering, both of these great lands have moved into the 21st century as shining beacons of just how wonderful the human spirit can sometimes be. This trip highlights the amazing endurance of Cambodia and Vietnam as you absorb the stark beauty of their unique cultures, history and landscapes. The juxtaposition of their recent past with the natural and scenic wonders that pop up at every turn will leave you nicely bamboozled. This trip perfectly exemplifies how travel truly broadens the mind. You’ll wander chaotic and colorful city streets, laze on beautiful white sandy beaches, explore verdant inland deltas and interact with some remarkable people and cultures. One of the trip’s true highlights will surely be your visit to the ancient Angkor Wat. The massive network of temples at Angkor will leave you reeling with wonder as you explore one of the greatest architectural statements that humanity has ever made. Everything in your life will feel perfectly in perspective as you watch the sun set over this awesome creation. the best bits • Abound in Bangkok’s vibrant colors • Marvel at the magnificent Angkor Wat • Discover Cambodia’s sandy shores • Tour Ho Chi Minh’s markets & museums • Munch on excellent seafood in Nha Trang • Get supremely fashion happy in Hoi An • Sail UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay • Drink cheap and cheerful beer in Hanoi Day 1: arrive bangkok Arrive into Bangkok at any time. Go for a wander and explore this amazingly busy, bustling city. Days 2-3: siem reap / angkor wat Welcome to the Khmer Empire gateway and one of the world’s finest artistic heritages. At the empire’s peak in the 12th century, Khmer civilization culminated in the construction of the massive Angkor Wat, one of Asia’s most incredible sites. Spend hour after hour wandering around the impressive grounds. (B, D) Days 4-5: phnom penh Explore this pleasant riverside city of cafés, shady streets and thriving markets full of vibrant textiles and curios. (2B) Days 6-7: sihanoukville Relax on the white, sandy beaches of Cambodia’s southern coast. Visit one of the nearby islands.

Day 8: mekong delta Cross into the Mekong Delta surrounded by a rich green river world of orchards and rice fields, floating markets and cottage industries. Days 9-10: ho chi minh city Lose yourself in Ho Chi Minh City’s central market. Check out the War Remnants Museum and write a quick postcard at the stately colonial post office, one of many French-era buildings that add grace to this modern metropolis. Days 11-12: Nha trang Take a boat trip into the dazzling blue bay that surrounds this festive beach town. Swim at a pristine beach and take advantage of the fresh fish on offer and the buzzing night-time bars. Days 13-14: hoi an Wander through this pretty 16th century trading port, where buildings bear traces of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and French architectural styles. Budding Kate Spades beware, you might just get a little excited at the hundreds of miracle-performing, superb Hoi An tailors. (B) Days 15-16: hue Reflect upon ancient culture and explore riverside garden tombs built for emperors. Opt to hop on a motorbike into the countryside. (B)

Day 17: halong bay / bai chay Float through the strangely shaped islands that dot this vast, emerald bay in a traditional wooden junk. Sit out under the stars and spend the night in the harbor town of Bai Chay. (L) Days 18-19: hanoi Explore one of dozens of traditional guild streets that make up Hanoi’s thousand-year-old Old Quarter and join Buddhist monks for prayers in a serene lakeside pagoda. Spend your last night intertwined in this city’s buzzing atmosphere and vow to return again and again and again. (B) Day 20: depart hanoi Leave the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s moped mayhem and say a sorry goodbye to your terrific traveling troopers. (B)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

MON, TUE, WED, FRI, SAT, SUN MON, WED, FRI, SAT

Accommodation: Simple hotels (16 nts), sleeper train (3 nts) Transport: Local bus, aircon bus, walking, cyclo, junk boat, local boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD380-500 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATCV

Hanoi • • Halong Bay

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... flexible departures travel when you like dedicated touring two travelers, one trip personal service your own local guides FR

$1,115

based on double occupancy

• Hue

thailand

laos

• Hoi An

vietnam

• Angkor Wat • Siem Reap • Nha Trang

Bangkok • cambodia Phnom Penh • • Ho Chi Minh City Sihanoukville • • Chau Doc


17

South east asia

essential vietnam & cambodia 17 DAYS, $1,799 fr

hanoi

no local payment!

bangkok

Turn your own ‘back in ‘Nam’ story into something a little different - massively contrasting to the war tales of many a popular action movie. Discover what really happened on this 17-day trip and find out what else this magnificent country should be remembered for. Head out on a traditional junk boat into Halong Bay and have a bash with your buddies over the sights, sounds and smells. Enjoy fresh fish from sunny coastal shores, check out imperial citadels, tombs and the Cu Chi tunnels. Take a day trip along the Mekong Delta, and jump into Cambodia where you’ll explore Phnom Penh, wander around the chilling ‘Killing Fields’ and stand back in absolute awe at Angkor Wat. Arriving back into Bangkok you’ll have more than a few stories to share with your mates back home, making their eyes glow green with envy. the best bits • Visit Hanoi’s ancient tombs and temples • Set sail on spectacular Halong Bay • Discover the facts of times gone by • Create your own new wardrobe • Explore the amazing Mekong Delta • Try tasty Vietnamese dishes • Marvel at the incredible Ankgor Wat • Bounce back to buzzing Bangkok

Day 1: arrive hanoi Arrive in Hanoi at any time. Navigate the moped filled streets, check out the local markets, eat delicious street-side food and drink some exceedingly cheap local beer with your new friends, sitting on tiny plastic chairs at the side of the road. Go to a water puppet show, visit the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) or Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Museum and inhale in the intoxicating essence of this splendid Asian city. Days 2-3: halong bay Hop aboard a traditional wooden junk (boat) and sail out into this UNESCO World Heritage-rated bay. You’ll marvel at all the weird and wonderful dramatic limestone karst formations rising from the crystal waters. According to legend, they were formed as a dragon descended into the sea. Take a swim and spend the night up on deck chatting away under the starlit sky. A little piece of paradise found and definitely one of Vietnam’s highlights. (2B, 1L, 1D) Day 4: hue Once the imperial capital, Hue is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in Vietnam, scattered with the tombs of Nguyen emperors and timeless temples. Visit the Tien Mu Pagoda and admire the magnificent Vietnamese architecture.

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

TUE, THU, SAT THU, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (14 nts), sleeper train (1 nt), junk boat (1nt) Transport: Train, local bus, A/C bus, walking, flight, cyclo, boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD285-375 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVEV

UPGRADE THE COMFORT ‘Timeless Indochina’ 15 days, fr $2,719 Tour Code: GAAVTN stay longer in HANOI Check out page 81 stay longer in bangkok Check out page 36

Hanoi • • Halong Bay

Days 5-7: hoi an Celebrate the rich trading heritage of Hoi An with its fabulous markets, galleries, tailor shops, craft stalls and quaint local restaurants. Come home loaded with goodies and garments made to your own individual style. You’ll be the envy of all your friends, and the talk of the town. Hold the front page! (3B) Days 8-9: ho chi minh city Begun as a Khmer trading and fishing port, today the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ is Vietnam’s foremost commercial and industrial center. Discover the hidden eating, shopping, sightseeing, and entertainment secrets of this world-class city that works in many a colonial influence. (2B) Day 10: mekong delta day trip The lush green serpentine waterways of the Mekong Delta are a thriving center of cottage industries, floating markets and orchards. (B) Days 11-12: phnom penh Visit this pleasant riverside city of cafés, shady streets and thriving markets full of vibrant textiles and curios. (2B) Days 13-15: siem reap Home to one of Asia’s most incredible sites. Check out this growing tourist town and the inexplicable interests of Angkor Wat. Arrive early for sunrise and admire the tantalizing blend of Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture. (2B) Day 16: bangkok From countryside to expressway, arrive back into Bangkok and spend your last night out on the town having a final drink and a farewell meal with your new life-long soulmates. (B)

• Hue

thailand

laos

• Hoi An

vietnam

• Angkor Wat • Siem Reap Bangkok • Phnom Penh • • Ho Chi Minh City cambodia • Mekong Delta

Day 17: depart bangkok Time to depart. Leave happy as Larry (whoever he is) and smiling like a somewhat misplaced cheery Cheshire cat. (B)


18


19

22 DAYS, $1,699 fr

ho chi minh city

South east asia

ROAM vietnam & laos no local payment!

bangkok

It’s the intermingling of ideologies that make these two countries the truly fascinating places that they are - both are blessed with a still resonant ancient Asian history, but all of this is gloriously enlivened by a healthy sprinkling of French colonialism. It’s different amazingly different - from what your senses are assimilated to. From the dazzling blue waters and intricate city streets of Vietnam to the exotic traditions and perplexing landscapes of Laos - this adventure promises so much more than your average saunter through South East Asia. Starting in the chaotic city of Ho Chi Minh and finishing up in the even more chaotic city of Bangkok - you’ll be bamboozled at every turn by the sheer tranquillity of Vietnam’s beaches and the intricate architecture of its illustrious cities. Crossing over into Laos, you’ll step into a land that time seems to have forgotten all about - the pace slows down and the spirituality intensifies. A jaunt through Northern Thailand and a visit to the beautiful city of Chiang Mai completes your visit, before you bounce into Bangkok, wide-eyed with wonder and feeling fantastic. the best bits • Tour Ho Chi Minh’s markets and museums • Munch on superb seafood in Nha Trang • Get yourself a tailored suit in Hoi An • Absorb mystifying culture in Hue • Sail UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay • Drink cheap and cheerful beer in Hanoi • Wander the relaxed streets of Vientiane • Get off the beaten track in Vang Vieng • Learn about Luang Prabang’s rich history • Mooch around the markets of Chiang Mai Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at anytime. Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Lose yourself in the maze of Ho Chi Minh City’s Central Market, where you’ll find everything from bolts of brocade to flanks of beef. Check out the many French-era buildings. (B) Days 3-4: Nha Trang Take a boat trip into the dazzling blue bay that surrounds this festive beach town. Stop to swim at a pristine beach. (B) Days 5-6: Hoi An Wander through the picturesque streets of this 16th century trading port, where the buildings bear traces of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and French architectural styles. (B)

Days 7-8: Hue Reflect upon ancient Vietnamese culture while exploring the riverside garden tombs built for Vietnam’s last emperors, or take a motorbike trip out to the stunning countryside. (B)

Days 16-17: Luang Prabang Once home to kings, this is a beautiful town of historic temples, a multi-ethnic population, rich culture, vibrant markets, stylish coffee houses, and textile treasures. (2B)

Day 9: Halong Bay / Bai Chai Harbor Float through the strangely shaped islands that dot this vast, emerald bay in a wooden junk. Spend the night on the mainland. (L)

Day 18: Mekong River / Pakbeng Prepare for a breathtaking journey as you cruise up the Mekong River through magnificent jungle covered hills to the small trading post of Pakbeng, an ethnic minority town.

Days 10-11: Hanoi Explore one of dozens of traditional guild streets that make up Hanoi’s thousand-year-old Old Quarter and join Buddhist monks for prayers in a serene lakeside pagoda. (2B) Day 12: Lac Sao A long journey through scenic mountains takes you to the sleepy Laotian town of Lac Sao. Explore the exotic local market as the sun sets. Day 13: Vientiane Quiet and relaxed, the capital city has a wealth of charms to offer- from its eclectic blend of French and Lao architecture to the uncluttered streets, riverside cafés and quiet temples. Days 14-15: Vang Vieng Admire the fantastic limestone karst scenery, wander through the local markets, or take a walk along the river. The numerous caves and endless rice fields make this destination so delightful.

Day 19: Chiang Kong Continue by slow boat up the Mekong and cross into Thailand at the Houeisay Border. Chiang Kong is a small riverside town with cross border trading from nearby villages. Day 20: Chiang Mai A drive through the hills of Northern Thailand takes you to Chiang Mai where you’ll have the afternoon free to explore the markets before you catch an overnight train to Bangkok. Day 21: Bangkok Bangkok truly is the essence of Thailand with its chaotic streets and busy canals, tranquil temples, colorful markets, and food that defies description. (B) Day 22: Bangkok Things sadly finish up on Day 22 in the wild city of Bangkok. Say farewell to your new friends. (B)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

MON, TUE, WED, THU, SAT, SUN TUE, THU, SAT, SUN

Accommodation: Simple hotels/guesthouses (17 nts), sleeper train (4 nts) Transport: Local bus, aircon bus, train, walking, tuk tuk, local boat, junk boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch Budget: Allow USD$285-375 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVVL

Focus on Vietnam ‘Roam Vietnam’ Check out page 78 Focus on laos ‘Roam Laos’ Check out page 89

Hanoi • • Halong Bay Luang Prabang • Lac Sao Mekong River • • Vang •Vieng Chiang Khong • • Vientiane • Hue Chiang Mai • • Hoi An laos thailand vietnam

Bangkok •

• Nha Trang

• Ho Chi Minh City


20

ROAM BANGKOK TO SINGAPORE 14 DAYS, $1,149 fr

BANGKOK

no local payment!

SINGAPORE

Flying into Bangkok and out of Singapore is exceedingly simple to organize. Trying to successfully travel between these two brilliant destinations in only 14 days ain’t so easy. Attempt to decide where you want to go and what you want to see, pick from a plethora of dodgy public transport options and then try to find somewhere comfy and central to stay in each of your chosen spots. Stress, hassle and bother! Fear not, help and relaxation is at hand! This hugely popular adventure trip will take care of just about everything, giving you time to absorb the very best highlights of Thailand and Malaysia on your own terms. Explore three throbbing Asian cities, wander a multitude of markets and bazaars while munching on all kinds of delicious street food, laze on luscious Thai beaches and enjoy the open air of the Malay countryside. This joyous journey guarantees to give you a fascinating insight into this unique and diverse part of our world. the best bits • Explore the frantic streets of Bangkok • Southern Thailand’s amazing beaches • Snorkel in the warm waters around Krabi • Cycle the charming streets of Penang • Inhale the air of the Cameron Highlands • Wander Kuala Lumpur's night markets • Absorb the colorful cultures of Melaka • Check out the wonders of Singapore Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive at any time and head out exploring this amazingly atmospheric, colorful and beautifully noisy city. Feel that hustle and bustle! Day 2: Bangkok Jump aboard a long-tail boat or maybe a tuk tuk and explore Bangkok’s charismatic mix of markets and temples. Shop until you drop at the wealth of mega markets, enjoy a relaxing Thai massage and feast both your eyes and stomach on the deliciously tantalizing tip-top Thai cuisine. Yum! (B)

Days 3-5: Krabi / Ao Nang The beaches surrounding Krabi are simply idyllic. The guesthouse you’ll stay at in Ao Nang is close to the beach and provides the perfect spot to mellow out and relax. Try something adventurous like rock climbing or sea kayaking. Alternatively, kick back on a long-tail boat and glide between the remote beaches for a great day of superb snorkeling and sultry swimming. Days 6-7: Penang The winding streets of Georgetown are best explored by bicycle rickshaw. Check out the fort’s colonial architecture, pop into the colorful Indian quarter and visit lively Chinatown. If time allows, a visit to the Butterfly Farm is filled with fascination. After all that exploring, indulge in a meal at the waterfront’s bustling night markets - choose between a delicious fusion of Chinese, Malay and Indian food. Days 8-9: Cameron Highlands Head for the Cameron Highlands, one of Malaysia’s most famous hill stations. Established in 1885 by William Cameron, a British surveyor, it is surrounded by pretty tea plantations and strawberry fields. The cooler weather is perfect for a relaxing walk through the cloud-covered forest. A chance to catch up on your book, write a postcard or reflect on life and all its goodness.

Days 10-11: Kuala Lumpur There’s loads to see and do in Kuala Lumpur. Stare up at one of the world’s tallest buildings, explore the famous Batu caves or check out the Oran Asli Museum. Evenings are best spent sampling some of the best cuisine in Southeast Asia and bargain hunting among the stalls of Chinatown's night market. Day 12: Melaka With its historic fusion of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Portugese influences, Melaka remains one of Malaysia’s great destinations. With the fascinating Peranakan architecture and newly restored buildings in Jalan Jonka, you’ll be more than happy strolling the streets all afternoon. Try a riverboat ride, stop in at the local historical parks, or climb the steps to St Paul’s Church. Day 13: singapore Arrive in Singapore at around midday with a free afternoon to visit one of Singapore’s many attactions. Do the famous night safari at the world class zoo or shop ‘til you drop on Orchard Road. Splash out on your last night with a cocktail at the famous Raffles Hotel. Day 14: Depart Singapore Depart with bags brim full of superb souvenirs and a pretty big ol’ smile. (B)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-DEC

MON, SAT

Accommodation: Simple bungalows (2 nts), hotels/guesthouses (10 nts), overnight train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, minibus, walking, ferry, songthaew, taxi Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 2 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$265-350 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATRM

thailand

Bangkok •

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... flexible departures travel when you like dedicated touring two travelers, one trip personal service your own local guides FR

$1,519

based on double occupancy

• Krabi Penang • Cameron Highlands • Kuala Lumpur • malaysia Melaka • • Singapore


21

14 DAYS, $1,399 fr

singapore

South east asia

colors of asia no local payment!

bangkok

Exciting capital cities, traditional culture and tropical natural wonders - this trip is spiced with all the flavor you would expect from these exotic regions. Filled with golden temples and saffronrobed monks, soft white beaches and blue skies, tantalizing seafood and some of the world’s best shopping spots, the Malay Peninsula beckons with its delights and warm hospitality. And once you’ve added all this to the fact you’ll be in some of the best company around (we only recruit the best, most good looking people for all our trips!) you’ll be guaranteed to have the time of your life. Asia is all about color and diversity and with such an amazingly varied itinerary you’ll need to stop and sit down to take it all in. You’ll come home a sucker for the food, the climate and the bright and buzzing atmosphere - that couldn’t be further from the grey skies and dreary routine back home. the best bits • Explore megawatt-charged Singapore • Discover ancient architecture & history • Marvel at the amazing Petronas Towers • Hike through the Cameron Highlands • Hunt out bargains at the markets • Snorkel in Koh Samui’s marine paradise • Dine out on delicious Asian dishes • Jump into a whirlwind of Bangkok color Day 1: arrive singapore Arrive into this Asian haven at any time and set off out for a wander around the city. Day 2: melaka Melaka is a cultural mosaic - its rich history ever apparent in its unique collection of Islamic mosques, Chinese temples, Portuguese architecture, and fascinating museums. Try the local Nyonya cuisine, flavored with a mix of Chinese and Malay influences.(B)

Day 3: kuala lumpur You can’t think of Kuala Lumpur without the iconic and awe-inspiring Petronas Towers coming to mind. Enjoy a half-day tour of the city with your fellow travel team before a free afternoon for you to explore at your leisure. Days 4-5: cameron highlands Head for the Cameron Highlands, one of Malaysia’s most famous hill stations surrounded by tea plantations and strawberry fields. The cooler weather up here makes it the perfect opportunity for chilling out and having a walk through the cloud covered forest. (B) Days 6-7: penang Hire a bicycle rickshaw to meander the streets of Georgetown, soaking up the old Chinese atmosphere. Sample the variety of Chinese, Malay and Indian street foods, explore colorful night markets and catch the funicular railway up Penang Hill for stunning mainland views. (B) Day 8: nakhon si thammarat It’s a long day of travel into the land of smiles, but well worth it. Watch the famous shadow puppets come to life and walk around the biggest ‘wat’ in southern Thailand. And to top things off you’ll find one of south Thailand’s best night markets. Get your bargaining shoes on!

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 09 Jan 23 Feb 06 Feb 20 Mar 06

FINISH Jan 23 Feb 06 Feb 20 Mar 06 Mar 20

START Apr 03 May 01 May 29 Jun 26 Jul 10 Jul 24

FINISH Apr 17 May 15 Jun 11 Jul 09 Jul 23 Aug 06

START Aug 07 Aug 21 Sep 04 Sep 18 Oct 02 Oct 16

FINISH Aug 20 Sep 04 Sep 17 Oct 01 Oct 15 Oct 29

START Oct 30 Nov 13 Nov 27 Dec 11 Dec 25

FINISH Nov 12 Nov 26 Dec 10 Dec 24 Jan 07

Accommodation: Simple bungalows (2 nts), hotels/guesthouses (10 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, minibus, ferry, songthaew, taxi, trishaw Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 5 breakfasts included Budget: Allow USD$285-375 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAGCA

go in reverse ‘Roam Bangkok to Singapore’ Check out page 28 stay longer in singapore Check out pages 66-67

thailand

Bangkok •

• Koh Samui • Nakhon Si Thammarat Penang • Cameron Highlands • Kuala Lumpur • malaysia Melaka • • Singapore

Days 9-11: koh samui Swim and snorkel azure waters to your heart’s content, take a cooking class, learn to dive or just sit back under the palms and let the sea breeze wash over you. Bliss. Day 12: overnight train Some shopping might be on the agenda for this morning before jumping on a ferry and catching the overnight train back to Bangkok. (B) Day 13: bangkok An early arrival into Bangkok leaves plenty of time to get to know this glittering capital, with your hotel offering a perfect base for discovering the Khao San Road. Glide through the maze of ‘khlongs’ on a long tail boat and visit the impressively decorated Wat Pho. Day 14: depart bangkok Journey into the sunset with smiles. (B)


22

bangkok to hanoi adventure 14 DAYS, $1,449 fr

bangkok

no local payment!

hanoi

Flying into Bangkok and heading south via Thai Islands, Malaysia and onto Singapore shouldn’t be knocked, but for an experience that’s altogether different from what everyone else does, look no further than this north easterly adventure across to Vietnam. You’ll head deep into the lush highlands of Thailand and explore the ancient city of Chiang Mai, before you cross the border into Laos. For the following week you’ll slowly fall in love with everything the lovely, little land-locked country of Laos has to offer. Cruise down the mighty Mekong River, before you will away your hours among the hypnotic history and sleepy ambience of Luang Prabang. Next up, Vang Vieng’s idyllic and unusual landscapes will leave you breathless and Vientiane cultured and carefree streets will relax and calm. Things finish up amongst the kalaedoscopic sensual highs of Hanoi, where you’ll have two full days of exploration with the group - a perfect end to a perfect trip. the best bits • Lose yourself in the mania of Bangkok • Wander the markets of Chiang Mai • Take a slow boat down the Mekong River • Learn about Luang Prabang’s rich history • Explore the magnificent Pak Ou Caves • Get off the beaten track in Vang Vieng • Wander the relaxed streets of Vientiane • Discover the cultural diversity of Hanoi Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive in Bangkok at any time. Day 2: Bangkok Explore Bangkok’s wonders by tuk tuk, long tail boat or bicycle. A guided visit through Wat Po is a great introduction to Thai Buddhist culture. (B)

Day 3: Chiang Mai This northern city has long been a traveler’s favorite. With fantastic street food, a bustling night bazaar, hundreds of temples, and beautiful surrounding countryside, you will never rest while exploring this energetic city. Day 4: Chiang Kong After a five-hour bus ride, arrive in Chiang Khong and relax at your guesthouse overlooking the mighty Mekong River. Sit back, relax, sip on a cold beer and enjoy the slow pace of life. Day 5: Mekong River Begin the journey down the world’s 10th longest river by slow boat. The Mekong is always a hub of activity - from fishing to trade and transport between the many villages that line its banks. Days 6-8: Luang Prabang Once home to Laotian Kings, this is a beautiful town of historic temples, a multi-ethnic population, rich culture, vibrant markets, stylish coffee houses, and textile treasures. (2B, D) Days 9-10: Vang Vieng A scenic drive through the mountains will take you to picturesque Vang Vieng. Situated among limestone karsts, vast rice fields and the Nam Song River. Explore the countryside or simply relax by the water with a good book.

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-MAR APR-DEC

MON, THU, SAT MON, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (12 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, A/C bus, river boat, tuk-tuk, songthaew, taxi, cyclo, plane Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 6 breakfasts, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD$265-350 for meals not included. Tour Code: GAATBH

stay longer in bangkok Check out page 36-39 stay longer in hanoi Check out page 81

vietnam

Luang • Hanoi Prabang Pakbeng • • Chiang Khong • • Vang Vieng • Vientaine Chiang Mai • laos

thailand

Bangkok •

staljubljana.com

Day 11: Vientiane Quiet and relaxed, Vientiane has a wealth of charms to offer. From its eclectic blend of French and Laotian architecture to the uncluttered streets, riverside cafés and quiet temples, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. (B) Days 12-13: Hanoi Immerse yourself in a whirlwind of activity and color. Hanoi offers seemingly endless temptations in the shops and markets of the old quarter, relaxing lakeside coffee shops, fascinating museums, and unbeatable food. (B) Day 14: Depart Hanoi Hold back the tears as you swap email addresses and say goodbye to your traveling buddies.(B)


23

South east asia

thailand • Chiang Rai • Chiang Mai

• Sukhothai

• Kanchanaburi • Ayuthaya Bangkok •

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

It has to be the beaches of Koh Samui. Instead of souless swathes of well-trodden dirty sand, I found perfect pockets of paradise. I spent days lazing under beautiful tropical sunshine. In the evening, I’d wander to the nearest beach-bar, where I’d sip exotic cocktails and listen to chilled out music while wondering why oh why I’d booked a return flight home... Alex, Seattle $

• Koh Tao Khao Sok N.P. •

Phuket •

Currency: THAI BHAT

• Koh Phangan • Koh Samui

• Krabi

Koh Phi Phi • Koh Lanta •

Price of a beer: $2.36 Population: 64 MILLION

THE WEATHER

USEFUL INFO

Southwest monsoon season in Thailand is from May to October and the northeast monsoon runs from November to April. In the center and south temperatures don’t vary dramatically and overall sunshine hours average 9-10 hrs a day. Bangkok experiences a cooler season (avg 79°F) from December to February and a hotter season from March to May. The islands get quite a lot of rain - but only short sharp bursts in between gloriously sunny weather.

LOCAL GRUB

Where to begin? Pad Thai - an absolute institution of street-stall food. Delicious pancakes, quintessential red and green Thai curries, satay sticks, all kinds of tropical fruit, fresh coastal seafood, and much much more. Enjoy!

With more than 200,000 monks, Thailand is one of the strongest Buddhist countries in the world – a serene spirituality pervades just about everything and everyone.

USELESS INFO

Some silly Thai laws: it is illegal to leave your house if you’re not wearing underwear, you’re not allowed to swim across a river unless you have a coin in your pocket, you’re not permitted to stand on any of the nation’s currency, and you must wear a shirt while driving a car.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

Lucky Leonardo fans - it’s another great chance to watch ‘The Beach’ - or why not check out the brilliant 1996 novel by Alex Garland. Both will leave you gagging to get to beautiful Thailand.

080 4742


24

ROAM THAILAND 16 DAYS, $1,159 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: BANGKOK Don’t spend all your time in Thailand in a Bangkok bar, or stuck on a sizzling island beach. While both experiences are understandably vital to many who visit this beautiful country, there’s also a whole lot more out there to see. This fantastic adventure ensures you get the absolute most out of Thailand. Hike through thick jungle and iridescent rice paddies in the mountain sides of the north and learn first hand about life in a hill tribe village. Enjoy meditative and serene rainforest walks in the outstanding Khao Sok National Park. Snorkel your way around paradise in the warm welcoming waters of Koh Tao. Don’t worry - you’ll also have ample time to lose yourself in the hedonism of Bangkok and laze on beautiful island beaches underneath the glorious sweltering sunshine. After 16 wonderous days, you’ll walk away from Thailand perfectly fulfilled and extremely content. the best bits • Explore the frantic streets of Bangkok • Check out the wonders of Chiang Mai • Trek through the jungles of the north • Stay with the local hill tribes • Relax among the Khao Sok paradise • Enjoy the nightlife of Koh Samui • Snorkel the reefs around Koh Tao • Take in ancient pagoda & temple history Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive in at any time and get out exploring this urban jungle of wonder. Day 2: Bangkok Delight in the dazzling Grand Palace and the city’s countless pagodas. If you’re a shopper, you could spend weeks sifting through Bangkok’s fantastic malls and open-air markets. Day 3: Chiang Mai Try the fantastic street food, shop at the night bazaar, visit some of the hundreds of temples, or explore the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Days 4-6: Hill tribe TreK From Chiang Mai, you’ll start an amazing three day hill tribe trek. You’ll visit a diverse group of ethnic minorities, each with their own language, clothing and religion. Walk for approximately 4-5 hours each day along sloping hills and valleys, and spend star-splattered nights in the local village huts. A real chance to get to know the locals. A truly awesome experience! (3B, 2L, 2D) Day 7: Chiang Mai Return back to the northern capital and take care of any last minute shopping. Chiang Mai is known for its distinctive handicraft (especially silverwork, woodcarving, pottery making, and weaving). Days 8-9: Bangkok Bound back to Bangkok. Visit the temples you missed, gardens you only passed through and shops you only so much as peeked in.

Day 12: Koh Samui Experience one of Thailand’s most popular island getaways. Koh Samui offers everything you could possibly want in a beach retreat: white sandy beaches, coconut palms, fresh seafood, and warm, clear waters. Take a tour of the island and its main sights before relaxing, cocktail in hand. Days 13-15: Koh Tao A beach paradise so laid back that even the palm trees don’t stand up straight! Snorkel or scuba amongst stunning marine life in some of South East Asia’s best reefs. Day 16: Depart Bangkok Arrive back into Thailand’s capital on Day 16. The trip ends upon arrival at Bangkok Railway Station.

Days 10-11: Khao Sok National Park Settle into paradise for two days of exploration and discovery. Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, perfect for people who want to hike and get out there among nature. Alternatively, choose to just chill out in a hammock by the riverside and watch the monkeys take their afternoon bath. (B)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-DEC

MON, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (2 nts), simple fan-cooled hotels/guesthouses (4 nts) basic hill tribe villages (2 nts, multishare), sleeper trains (4nts), simple bungalows (3 nts) Transport: Local bus, train, elephant, walking, boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$305-400 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATRT

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you...

• Chiang Mai Hilltribe Trek thailand

Bangkok •

flexible departures travel when you like dedicated touring two travelers, one trip personal service your own local guides FR

$1,492

based on double occupancy

Khao Sok N.P. •

• Koh Tao • Koh Samui


25

22 DAYS, $1,599 fr

South east asia

siam discovery no local payment!

START & FINISH: bangkok Over the next three weeks, you’ll get a real handle on the fascinating South East Asian culture. Trek into the countryside and get involved with the local lifestyle on an overnight stay with hill tribes - take in the sights, sounds and tantalizing smells of the Chiang Mai night markets. Move to the Thai rhythm of things with a famously relaxing Thai massage and chill out meditating as you peruse your way around temples. Fascinating, fun and full of frivolity – further south you’ll be treated to a wild night out on Koh Samui – a partygoer and beach junkie’s paradise. Get in some more ‘me’ time on Koh Tao where you’ll also have the chance to further discover underwater worlds, working your scuba magic on various snorkeling and diving options available. Conquer the Golden Triangle and intertwine your way of life with some proper Thai diversity. At the end of your trip you’ll have found a megalopolis of interests, a haven of undiscovered gems, an infinite number of ways to have a great time, and one very, very big smile. the best bits • Wander the bustling streets of Bangkok • Explore the River Kwai and Erawan N.P. • Spook yourself on the Death Railway • Befriend a Buddhist in Ayuthaya • Snap up bargains at Chiang Mai’s market • Stay overnight in a hill tribe hut • Relax with a soothing Thai massage • Meditate your way into ancient temples • Party all night long on Koh Samui • Learn to dive & eat fresh fish on Koh Tao Day 1: ARRIVE BANGKOK Arrive into Bangkok at any time and set out exploring this vast den of all things weirdly wonderful. Meet your tour leader and fellow traveling buddies - soon to be your best buddies.

Days 2-3: KANCHANABURI / RIVER KWAI Spend a memorable day at an intriguing historical site with options that include riding the Death Railway, and exploring Erawan National Park - one of Thailand’s most beautiful. Venture in by boat or on foot, or just stay put and chill out with the locals. Day 4: AYUTHAYA Once a magnificent city, the serenity of Ayuthaya’s Buddhist monuments is overwhelming. Wander around in amazement before settling in for the night on your overnight train. Day 5: CHIANG MAI Bargain hunters, refrain yourselves! The night bazaar won’t cost you much money, but it will cost you space! The more adventurous can opt to cycle the alleyways in the old walled city. Days 6-8: HILL TRIBE TREK Appreciate Thailand’s northern region on a trek through remote hill tribe villages, alongside terraced rice paddies and farms. Staying overnight in simple traditional hill tribe huts, it’s a privilege to meet the locals in their own homes and take part in their daily routine. Wake up to birdsong, swim in the river and glide downstream on simple bamboo rafts. (2B, 2L, 2D)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-DEC

WED

Accommodation: Simple fan-cooled hotels/guesthouses (9 nts), basic hill tribe village (3 nts), sleeper trains (4 nts), simple bungalows (5 nts) Transport: Local bus, fan-cooled train, elephant, walking, boat, river raft, ferry Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides. Meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$380-500 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATSD

do something Shorter ‘Thailand Discovery’ 17 days, fr $1,619 Tour Code: GAATTD

• Chiang Rai • Chiang Mai Hilltribe Trek thailand

River Kwai •

• Ayuthaya

Kanchanaburi • Bangkok •

stay longer in BANGKOK Check out pages 36-39 Khao Sok N.P. •

• Koh Tao • Koh Samui

Days 9-12: GOLDEN TRIANGLE / CHIANG rAI Making your way to where Thailand, Laos and Burma converge, explore the infamous Golden Triangle region - both beautiful and mysterious. You can opt to go river rafting or take a trip to the excellent Opium Museum. Days 13-15: BANGKOK As hectic as the city is, Bangkok has plenty of appeal. Check out the dazzling gold of the Grand Palace and the city’s countless pagodas, sift through Bangkok’s malls and open-air markets and try out amazing new foods. Why not take a lesson or two in learning to cook them yourself? On Day 15 board the overnight train south. Days 16-17: KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, a perfect place for people who want to get out and active with a hike through the surrounding nature. But you can always just relax in a hammock by the riverside watching the monkeys take their afternoon baths. Day 18: KOh SAMUI Welcome to one of Thailand’s most popular vacation getaways. Despite the abundance of good food and the great nightlife, there are still plenty of out of the way spots for those who just want to get away from it all. Days 19-21: KOh TAO Koh Tao translates to mean ‘turtle island’. It’s a beach paradise so laid back that even the palm trees don’t stand up straight! Snorkel or scuba dive around some of the best reefs in South East Asia. You won’t be disappointed. Day 22: DEPART BANGKOK Bounce back into Bangkok where your trip will come to a sad end outside Bangkok Railway Station. That’s all folks - bring on the next trip!


26

thailand hike, bike & kayak 14 DAYS, $1,529 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: bangkok So you want to get involved in a new and interesting culture? You want to get under the skin of the locals and experience their lifestyle? But you also want to ‘do’ stuff?! The best way to appreciate this sort of paradise is to jump straight into it. Hike through the dense tropical jungle past lush rice paddy fields to remote hill tribe villages. Discover charming side streets and narrow back lanes off the tourist track and view city life from the seat of a bicycle in Kanchanaburi. Kayak through the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea on the western coast of Thailand and arrive exhilarated and alive back into Bangkok. Keep your Pad Thai, pancakes and locust quotas topped up while you wander around the hustle and bustle of the amazing street-side markets. You’ll probably never want to leave this all encompassing wonder country. But then who could blame you? It has it all! the best bits • Cycle along the backstreets of Bangkok • Get jungle-tastic on a countryside hike • Stay overnight with a hill tribe • Munch on glorious home cooked food • Hunt out bargains at Chiang Mai’s Market • Pose with a pretty palace or pagoda • Marvel at the beautiful marine life • Kayak around Andaman’s beautiful coast Day 1: arrive bangkok Arrive in Bangkok at any time. Head out exploring into the color and commotion. There’s so much to see and do and you’ll certainly have a few stories to tell about the interesting nightlife! Meet the rest of your new group and spend the night bonding over a couple of Chang Beers, excited and impatient for the fun times to begin!

Day 2: bangkok On your bike friend! Jump on your two-wheeled cycle of freedom and escape to the quieter back streets of this chaotic city. Explore hidden temples, lovely parks and try out amazing street food. You’ll be hankering for more, more, more! Days 3-5: chiang mai & hill tribe trek Head to the mountains for an unforgettable hike through the jungle, over rice paddies and alongside streams and waterfalls. Emerge from the jungle and discover remote hill tribe villages, home to the Karen, Lahu and Akha peoples. Spend time with your hill tribe hosts, learn about their unique cultures and sleep in traditional bamboo houses. (2B, 3L, 2D) Day 6: chiang mai This northern city has long been a traveler’s favorite. Try the fantastic street food, shop at the busy night bazaar, or visit any of the hundreds of temples in the heart of the city. Days 7-8: ayuthaya & kanchanaburi Change gears with a visit to one of Thailand’s many former capitals, a sleepy riverside town graced with ancient pagodas, palaces and shrines. Cycle around Kanchanaburi and then travel up river to stay in a floating raft house and visit the beautiful Sai Yok National Park.

Day 9: krabi Marvel at the limestone karsts dotted around the coastline. Enjoy the glorious coral reefs, caves and marine life that make Krabi a ‘must go to’ traveling destination. Days 10-12: andaman sea Set off on a sea kayaking safari along the Andaman Coast and check out the hidden beauty of the crystal waters and shallow reefs others don’t get the chance to see. Or if you’re feeling super lazy, simply sit back, relax and open another beer on one of the untouched deserted beaches. (2B, 3L, 2D) Day 13: krabi / surathani Return to the mainland before catching the evening train back to Bangkok. Day 14: depart bangkok Arrive back to Thailand’s busy capital. The trip ends upon arrival at Bangkok Train station. Time to say your fond farewells and start planning the next adventure!

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 09 Jan 30 Feb 20 Mar 13

FINISH Jan 22 Feb 12 Mar 05 Mar 26

START Apr 03 Apr 24 May 15 Jun 05 Jun 26

FINISH Apr 16 May 07 May 28 Jun 18 Jul 09

START Jul 17 Aug 07 Aug 28 Sep 18 Oct 09

FINISH Jul 30 Aug 20 Sep 10 Oct 01 Oct 22

START Oct 30 Nov 20 Dec 11

FINISH Nov 12 Dec 03 Dec 24

Accommodation: Guesthouses/hotels (5 nts), hilltribe villages (2 nts), overnight train (3 nts), camping (2 nts), rafthouse (1 nt, multishare) Transport: Train, cycle-rickshaw, walking, minibus, songathaew, local bus, bicycle, raft, plane Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 4 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners Budget: Allow USD$150 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATHB

stay longer in bangkok Check out pages 36-39

Hilltribe Trek •

• Chiang Rai thailand

River Kwai • • Ayuthaya Kanchanaburi • Bangkok •

Krabi •


27

South east asia

southern thailand sojourn

thai island hopping

9 DAYS $699

9 DAYS $969

fr

no local payment!

fr

START & FINISH: BANGKOK • • • • •

no local payment!

START & FINISH: BANGKOK

Explore the frantic and colorful streets of Bangkok Relax in the lush green paradise of Khao Sok National Park Meet monkeys and marine life in and around the islands Enjoy the beachside nightlife and rave it up on Koh Samui Snorkel or dive the Koh Tao reefs and lap up the sunshine

• • • • •

Explore the frantic and fascinating streets of Bangkok Chill out on Koh Samui in the dazzling sunshine Join in a yoga class on Koh Pha Ngan Indulge in the delights of an infamous full moon party Snorkel to your heart’s content around Koh Tao

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive at any time and feel free to explore this amazing urban jungle.

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive at any time. Feel free to explore this amazing urban jungle.

Day 2: Bangkok Delight in the dazzling Grand Palace and the countless pagodas. Check out the malls and open-air markets for countless weird and wonderful items.

DayS 2-3: Koh Samui Covered in coconut trees and beautiful beaches, with plenty of great dining options, Koh Samui is the perfect island retreat.

DayS 3: Khao Sok National Park Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, perfect for hiking and getting into the greenery. Chill out in a riverside hammock and watch the monkeys.

DayS 4-5: Koh Pha Ngan From quiet sandy beaches with yoga classes, to the frenzied infamous full moon parties on Haad Rin, Koh Pha Ngan is a diverse wonderland. Drink buckets of Sang Som, the local firewater, and wake up on the beach with a sandy mouth from last night’s escapades. You’ll be running into the sea for a welcome cooling hangover release before you know it.

Days 4-5: Koh Samui One of Thailand’s most popular resort spots. There’s an abundance of good food and great nightlife, but still chances to get away from it all. DayS 6-8: Koh Tao A beach paradise so laid back that even the palm trees don’t stand up straight! Snorkel or scuba around some of the best reefs in the area.

Day 6-8: Koh Tao The reputation of Koh Tao’s natural beauty, especially its marine life and coral reefs, has spread the world over. Spend your days snorkeling or diving and the nights partying at the many beachside cafés and bars.

Day 9: Depart Bangkok Arrive early morning at the train station and bid farewell to everyone.

Day 9: dEPART BANGKOK Arrive back into Thailand’s capital where the trip ends upon arrival at Bangkok Railway Station.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2011 JAN-DEC

2011 JAN-DEC

MON, SAT

Accommodation: Simple hotels/guesthouses (1 nt), sleeper train (2 nts), simple bungalows (5 nts) Transport: Train, cyclerickshaw, walking, minibus, songathaew, local bus, bicycle, raft, plane Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: None included Budget: Allow USD$170-225 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATSS

thailand

Bangkok •

go DIVING oN KOH TAO Check out page 53 stay longer in bangkok Check out pages 36-39

Khao Sok N.P. •

• Koh Tao • Koh Samui

thailand

SAT

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, boat, tuk-tuk, songthaew, taxi, ferry, plane Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD$135 for meals not included Please note: From November to April this itinerary changes to the west coast of Thailand - please enquire for details. Tour Code: GAATTW

stay longer in bangkok Check out pages 36-39

Bangkok •

• Koh Tao • Koh Phangan • Koh Samui

Koh Muk • Krabi •

November - April May - October


28

bangkok

Airport Transfer fr $23

STAysimple

STAysimple

1 lub d

1 LUB D SIAM SQUARE

This is one of the hottest properties on the Bangkok hostel scene. Each dorm bed has its own reading light and plug socket, and all the rooms are fully air-conditioned. Spacious female-only dorms are available and there’s also free Internet and a cozy movie lounge. STA001

A hip and happening hostel with super trendy rooms, free internet and a buzzing bar. You have a choice of rooms from the four-bed deluxe and ladies-only dorms to the deluxe double with queen sized bed, LCD TV and ensuite bathroom. Heading out to explore the city is easy, as this hostel is located near pulsating Siam Square next to the National Stadium and within a few minutes of the Bangkok Sky Train stop. STA002

l 24-hour reception l movie lounge l free Internet l bar l laundry facilities fr

$21 dorm

fr

l 24-hour reception l TV lounge l free Internet l bar l laundry facilities

$25 twin/double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

fr

$19 dorm

fr

$22 TWIN/double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

7 ambassador hotel

8 Shanghai Mansion

9 ASIA BANGKOK

In the heart of fashionable Sukhumvit Road, this ultra-modern hotel has a whopping 760 rooms, all of which feature satellite TV, a fully stocked mini-bar and WiFi Internet access. There’s a spa, outdoor pool, gym, and a plethora of on-site shops, bars, restuarants, and cafés STA007

Right in the heart of Chinatown, the authenticity of this lovely little gem is unsurpassed. It boasts a trendy restaurant and jazz bar as well as a complimentary tuk tuk shuttle service. The beautifully decorated rooms feature plenty of great features. The breakfast is spot on. STA008

Have a Bangkok blowout that won’t break the bank at this inner-city oasis. While your free welcome drink gets to work, check out your cool room - marble bathroom, mini-bar and a big TV. Take a plunge in one of the two pools and book yourself in for a Thai massage. STA009

fr fr

$83 SINGLE $42 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$103 SINGLE $52 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$83 SINGLE $41 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


29

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6

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ch

py

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APRIL 13-15, 2011 SONGKRAN, THAI NEW YEAR





CHITRALADA PALACE

KOH SAN ROAD

Thanon Lan Luang

11



MAY 2, 2011 ROYAL PLOUGHING CEREMONY

Tha

non

16



Lan

VICTORY MONUMENT

ek

Ratchadaphis

2nd State Exp y

GRAND PALACE



RECLINING BUDDHA Tha

9

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1 8 12

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AUGUST 12, 2011 THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY / MOTHER’S DAY

Lua

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14

 15 MBK SHOPPING CENTRE

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10

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PATPONG MARKETS

13

7

5

august 15, 2011 GHOST FESTIVAL NOVEMBER 5-6, 2011 FAT FESTIVAL (ART, MUSIC & FASHION) october 21, 2011 NATIONAL NURSES DAY DECEMBER 5, 2011 BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY THE KING

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 ViengtHai Hotel

5 IBIS BANGKOK SATHORN HOTEL

6 royal hotel

With a restaurant, bar, spa, outdoor pool, shops and suit-makers all on-site, this fantastic hotel is much more than a place to stay. Adjacent to the Khaosan Road, it’s surrounded by street stalls, cafés, and bars. All the lovely rooms come fully equipped with loads of great facilities. STA004

This sleek and funky joint is the perfect place to stay in Bangkok. Pick from the endless list of cocktails at the 24-hour bar and sip it on the terrace with views over the luscious outdoor pool gardens. The well-equipped, spacious rooms are decked out in all the latest styles. STA005

Escape the heat in the pool, wile away hours in the spa, soak in the sauna, or visit the on-site beauty salon. After long days of exploring and blurry nigts of dancing, sleep like a baby in the modern comfortable rooms. Extras without extravagance. STA006

fr fr

$60 SINGLE $33 twin/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$65 SINGLE $33 twin/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

BANGKOK STARTER PACK 3 NIGHTS fr $161 • • • •

3 nights at the Royal Hotel Arrival airport transfer City & Temples tour Thonburi Klongs tour

Bangkok can sometimes seem a little daunting to visitors, especially if its your first time to Asia. So get organized and make sure that your first few nights in this glorious city are hassle free. Take this smart little welcome pack - a wonderful intro to Thailand’s cart wheeling capital. You’ll be picked up at the airport and safely deposited in a great hotel, where you’ll have three nights to get used to all the hustle and bustle. Hop on a half day “City & Temples” tour and enjoy a half day “Thonburi Klongs” spin along the canals. Soak up the atmosphere and settle into this city with ease. STAP08

fr fr

$48 SINGLE $24 twin/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

South east asia

dates for your diary

 SUVARNABHUMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 25km 


30

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

10 bangkok palace

11 new world city hotel

12 trang hotel bangkok

This tried and tested favorite won’t disappoint. Go for a cool down dip in the pool and a work out in the well-equipped gym, before you head to the fabulous Thai massage parlor. The recently refurbished rooms contain everything to make you feel happy, comfy and relaxed. STA010

Right by the river and really close to the Khao San Road - this hotel ensures you are in the right frame of mind so you can get out and explore the city. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed and there’s a great restaurant serving Thai, European and Asian cuisine. STA011

With a prime location close to the Khao San Road, this slick hotel boasts a stunning indoor pool under an enormous skylight. The rooms ooze style and modernity with plush beds, satellite TV and mini bar. You’ll notice that extra touch of care and attention throughout. STA012

fr fr

$65 SINGLE $35 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$44 SINGLE $25 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$44 SINGLE $24 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

13 shangri-la Hotel

14 seven

With lush gardens, river views and a signature spa, the Shangri-La Hotel offers guests the warmth of the Thai capital amid the serenity of a tropical retreat. Despite its impressive size, the authentic and intricate design features and the attentive personal service singles the Shangri-La out from Bangkok’s other big fiv-star hotels. With the Skytrain adjacent to the hotel, the whole city is right on your doorstep waiting to be explored. STA013

Seven is a place for the privileged few, with just six couture rooms on four levels. It epitomizes the feeling of a stay in a stylish private home rather than a hotel. The multi-purpose ‘seventh space’ and all of the living spaces are inspired by the Thai tradition of relating each day of the week to a specific god of the planets. All the luxurious rooms have complimentary WiFi, DVD player with DVD library, and iPod Docking Station. STA014

riverside pool l tennis courts l squash courts l extensive gym award-winning spa l five restaurants l riverside bar l Pool bar

l

l

l

six individually designed rooms l ‘Serenity’ terrace and sundeck ‘Seventh Heaven’ bar/gallery/library l cutting-edge designs

fr

$225 single

fr

$123 Single

l

fr

$113 double

fr

$62 twin/double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

15 Siam@Siam Design Hotel & Spa

16 furama xclusive asoke sukhumvit

Hotels don’t get much trendier than this award-winning masterpiece in the heart of Bangkok. Each of the 203 rooms feature high ceilings, large clear window bays and loads of modern amenities - art, elegance and practical convenience seamlessly merge. Overlooking the city, ‘Bar Eleven & Lounge’ on the L Floor is the perfect place to sink a few drinks while those in search of true bliss should check out the amazing spa. STA015

This is one of Bangkok’s most luxurious boutique hotels. Throughout your entire stay you’ll be made to feel extremely special. Upon arrival you’ll be offered a complimentary drink and every evening you can enjoy a delicious cocktail on the house. The rooftop is an oasis of beautiful serenity among a jungle of urban adventure - soak up the sun or soak in one of the two hydropools. The spacious rooms ooze decadence. STA016

l

outdoor pool and jacuzzi l ‘The Roof’ Champagne & Wine Bar ‘Party house one’ all day restaurant and pub l Gym l Spa

fr

$145 SINGLE

l

fr

$73 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

two rooftop hydropools with jacuzzi l gym/sauna l pool bar ‘M3’ restaurant l wine bar

fr

$86 SINGLE

l

fr

$43 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


31

South east asia

river kwai and ancient kingdoms 3 Days, $316 departs: daily fr

• • •

Take a tricycle tour of Kanchanaburi and visit the famous bridge Go for a swim around the waterfalls of Erawan Check out the ancient capital of Ayutthaya

riverine discovery

3 Days, $300 departs: Wed & sat fr

• • •

Cruise the Chao Phraya River on a traditional Rice Barge Wander the markets and try tasty food Ride a bike around local villages and temples

Take time out from the tumultuous streets of Bangkok and travel west to the infamous bridge over the River Kwai - part of Death Railway, and the beautiful Erawan National Park. Delve into Kanchanaburi’s WWII history and visit the the Hellfire Pass Memorial - built in honor of Allied POWs and Asian conscripts. Discover the ancient ruins of World Heritage-listed Ayutthaya - one of the ancient capitals of Siam. Enjoy some delicious Thai food, swim under waterfalls and admire the fascinating temples.

Let the Thanatharee Rice Barge take you into the heart of rural Thailand, far off the normal tourist trail. You’ll be transported into a new world; a world of small villages and rice farmers. Meet the local people and learn about their farming techniques and handcrafts, offer food to the monks from the local temple on their morning alms and chat with the children from the village school. There’s plenty of room on the sun-splashed upper deck to enjoy a drink or two as you watch the world drift gently by.

Accommodation: Hotel (2n) - twin share or single with en suite facilities Meals: 2 breakfasts Tour Code: STA017

Accommodation: Multi-share with A/C, on-board shower and toilets Meals: Full Board during the cruise Tour Code: STA018

tuk tuk experience

floating markets

biking bangkok

river kwai

half Day, fr $42 Take off in a tuk tuk around Bangkok. Breathe in the mayhem as you zoom through markets, local communities, the Phra Sumeru Fortress, Wat Po, Wat Saket Temple, and the Golden Mount. STA310

half Day, fr $71 Go bargain hunting at Damnoen Saduak, the most famous of Bangkok’s floating markets, about 60 miles southwest of the city. Also included is a visit to Southeast Asia’s largest pagoda. STA311

half Day, fr $47 Work off those red curries and get on your bike! You’ll keep off the busy roads and cycle through Bangkok’s greener areas. Sights include temples, a sandal factory and a bigwig villa. STA312

full Day, fr $59 Head through rural Kanchanaburi for a long-tail boat trip to the bridge over the River Kwai and board a local train for a thrilling ride across wooden viaducts clinging to the cliffs. STAxxx

chinatown experience

thai boxing experience

bangkok city & temples tour

temple & river of kings

half Day, fr $36 Immerse yourself in the thriving Bangkok Chinese culture. Discover how the community originated, try different foods and bag some bargains at the many little street stalls and markets. STA308

half Day, fr $114 Almost as ancient as the country itself, Thai boxing is deeply ingrained in Thailand’s history. Go behind the scenes, watch the pros at work in a match and take part in some of the training. STA313

half Day, fr $32 Feed your inner culture-vulture and check out three of Bangkok’s most unique temples including the reclining Buddha. There’ll also be plenty of sightseeing, shopping and eating opportunities. STxxx

half Day, fr $47 Hop on a long-tail boat along Bangkok’s canals, escaping the chaotic streets and exploring the city’s long forgotten nooks and crannies. Finish with the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddah. STA309


32

chiang mai

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

IMM ECO

imm thaphae hotel

centara duangtawan

Expect polished wood, sumptuous silks and daring octagonal designs. Set in lush gardens, each of the dorms boast air-conditioning, WiFi and lockers. It’s perfectly located, close to downtown Chiang Mai, a short walk from the Night Bazaar. Dip in the pool or rent a bike. STA315

Located in the center of the old walled city, you’ll escape the humid hustle of Chiang Mai in this beautiful, breezy haven. Fresh beiges and creams with splashes of bright watermelon pink adorn the interiors of this fantastic hotel. The comfy rooms come with all the latest amenities. STA019

Deep in the heart of the ancient city of Chiang Mai, just moments away from the stellar night bazaar. You’ll love the beautiful outdoor pool and sun terrace surrounded by lush hinterland with panoramic views. Other facilities include a gym, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. STA020

fr fr

$19 Dorm $28 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$33 SINGLE $17 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$50 SINGLE $29 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

de naga

manathai village

In the heart of the old city, De Naga is a million miles away from the big chain hotels, with its authentic Thai designs and individually designed rooms adorned with ornaments, statues and various decorative detail. Each bed comes with an elaborate hand-crafted head board, ceilings are high and wooden beams are exposed. Everything about this hotel will impress you, especially the staff who’ll always greet you with a big smile. STA021

Right next to the Night Bazaar, the different levels of the Manathai Village are what makes this chic and small resort intimate and attractive. Most areas are open air, and with poolside menus and all sorts of drinks, you won’t be wandering far. The rooms feature high ceilings, dark wooden floors and white decor splashed with colored cushions. The bathrooms boast huge tubs, large shower heads and moisturising toiletries. STA022

l

outdoor pool l jacuzzi l pool bar l ‘Café Naga’ restaurant ‘Lovers Court’ wine bar l lobby bar l bakery corner

fr

$99 SINGLE

l

fr

$49 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

outdoor pool and gardens l ‘The Living Room’ bar & lounge free WiFi l pool bar & poolside dining l ‘Weaves’ restaurant

fr

$116 SINGLE

l

fr

$58 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

staljubljana.com


33

South east asia

hill tribe hut experience

thai cooking course

3 Days, $232 departs: daily

3 Days, $142 departs: daily

fr

• • •

fr

Sleep in authentic bamboo huts in local villages Go jungle treking through remote Northern Thailand Take the chance to go river rafting or elephant riding

• • •

Learn how to cook Thai meals like a master Head to the markets and pick out ingredients Enjoy two nights in the buzzing city of Chiang Mai

Pull on your walking boots, stretch those muscles and take to the hills in this adventure packed trip. Make new friends as you hike through remote villages, learn the secrets to jungle survival from the locals and race down rivers in your own hand-constructed raft - you’ll also get the chance to experience an amazing elephant ride. You’ll feast on delicious local food and spend two nights shacking up with the locals in traditional bamboo huts. This whirlwind adventure takes you to the heart of the real Thailand.

This great package sandwiches a fantastic full-day cooking course in between two nights in the ancient city of Chiang Mai. You’ll head to the local market to learn more about the ingredients that go into Thai cooking and where the locals purchase them. You’ll then spend time in the classroom cooking up mouth-watering dishes for lunch. During the afternoon you’ll be further schooled on cooking perfection, before you head back to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Hilltribe villages (2n) Meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Tour Code: STA023

Accommodation: Hotels (2n) Meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch Includes: Arrival transfer Tour Code: STA024

mae ping river experience Full DAY

3 Days, $389 departs: daily

chiang mai mind and soul

fr

Ride an elephant through the jungle Explore bustling local markets and experience the local culture Take a long-tail boat to the ancient capital of Chiang Saen

Experience the charm of Thailand’s north on this journey to the intriguing Golden Triangle. Ride elephants in the jungle, meet friendly Akha people, visit an opium museum and perhaps step a sneaky foot into Laos. You’ll stand right at the point where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers converge - marvel at the breathtaking vista over one of South East Asia’s most beautiful landscapes. Absorb the rich history, scenic beauty and melting pot of cultures and cuisines on this short but very sweet adventure. Accommodation: Hotels (2n) Meals: 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches Tour Code: STA025

$42

The Mae Ping River is the one of the main rivers in Northern Thailand and the rich lifeline of Chiang Mai. Take a cruise along its bubbling waters to see villages and rural life played out on its shores. Cruise rivers, browse luscious gardens, haggle for a treasure at the markets and enjoy exquisite local cuisine - all within a day’s work! Delicious lunch included STA026

chiang mai & Golden triangle • • •

fr

half Day, fr $36 This whirlwind tour offers the best of Thai culture and spirituality taking you to nirvana and back! Browse local markets, dine with monks and revel in the peace-filled atmosphere of the city’s many shrines and religious dedications! Soak up the fascinating spirituality that runs deep in the veins of this country’s cultural history. STA027

080 4742


34

NORTHERN THAILAND EXPERIENCE 14 DAYS $1,199 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: BANGKOK Everybody knows that life is just that little bit better up north. For overwhelming evidence of this spurious claim, check out this fantastic adventure trip. Its 14 phenomenal days are dedicated to showcasing just how amazing Northern Thailand really is. Prepare for undulating mountains, cascading waterfalls, crumbling temples, diverse rainforest, and epic elephant rides! You’ll interact with the amazing people that make this magical area so very special as you hike and stay with local tribes. You’ll discover evocative ruins and forgotten kingdoms as you check out the ancient cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. And you’ll touch the top of the country as you explore the borders with Laos and Myanmar. The fun doesn’t stop there… you’ll have plenty of time to fully immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and the sleepy ambience of the riverside city of Ayutthaya. You’ll also sail the wonderful River Kwai and the Kanchanaburi Province aboard a lovely big boat. the best bits • Explore the frantic streets of Bangkok • Check out the wonders of Chiang Mai • Trek through the jungles of the North • Stay with the local hill tribes • Explore the borders of Myanmar and Laos • Check out the sleepy city of Ayutthaya • Visit the beautiful Sai Yok National Park • Stay in a floating house on the River Kwai

Day 5: Chiang Rai Verdant valleys and rolling hills surround this gateway city. The night market is quite different to the one in Chiang Mai - enjoy shopping, eating and listening to the local music. (B) Days 6-8: Hill tribe Trek From Chiang Mai, you’ll start an amazing three-day hill tribe trek. You’ll visit a diversity of ethnic minority groups, each with their own language, clothing and religion. You’ll walk for approximately 4-5 hours each day along sloping hills and valleys. You’ll spend the starry nights in the local village huts. A truly awesome experience. (3B, 2L, 2D) Day 9: Golden Triangle The Golden Triangle is where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet. Populated by diverse hill tribes, this region has long been associated with the opium trade, although poppy fields have now mostly given way to vegetable plots. You’ll visit the border town of Mae Sai where you’ll have the opportunity to see some local Burmese traders and pick up a few souvenirs. You’ll gain a greater understanding of the area’s history when you pay a visit to the excellent Opium Museum. (2B)

Day 10: Ayutthaya Change gears with a visit to one of Thailand’s many former capitals, a sleepy riverside town graced with ancient pagodas, palaces and shimmering shrines. Days 11-12: kanchanaburi / river kwai Board rafts and float down the river in Erawan National Park and check out a multitude of stunning waterfalls. Visit the beautiful Sai Yok National Park, the famous “Bridge on the River Kwai” and other WWII memorials. Stay overnight aboard a floating raft house. (B, D) Day 13: Bangkok Return to the glorious chaos of the capital and enjoy a farewell dinner with your new friends. (B) Day 14: Depart Bangkok This amazing adventure sadly comes to an end. It’s time to say a cheery goodbye to your fellow northern soulmates.(B)

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive at any time – and feel free to explore. Day 2: Bangkok Delight in the dazzling Grand Palace and the city’s countless pagodas. You could spend weeks sifting through the malls and open-air markets. Whatever you’re into, this is the place to eat, drink, explore, shop, and be merry. (B) Days 3-4: Chiang Mai Chiang Mai offers both pretty surroundings and beautiful architecture. Don’t miss the Night Bazaar - covered markets, shops, and stalls that offer the best range of handicrafts in Thailand. You’ll also be taken out of the city to visit the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep. (B)

DEPARTURES START FINISH 2011 Jan 31 Feb 13 Feb 06 Feb 19 Feb 14 Feb 27 Feb 28 Mar 13 Mar 06 Mar 19 Mar 14 Mar 27 Mar 20 Apr 02 Mar 21 Apr 03

START FINISH Mar 28 Apr 10 Apr 10 Apr 23 Apr 11 Apr 24 Apr 24 May 07 Apr 25 May 08 May 01 May 14 May 09 May 22 May 23 Jun 05 Jun 06 Jun 19

START Jun 20 Jul 04 Jul 11 Jul 25 Aug 01 Aug 08 Aug 22 Aug 29 Sep 12

FINISH Jul 03 Jul 17 Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 25

START Sep 26 Oct 10 Oct 24 Nov 07 Nov 21 Dec 05 Dec 19 Dec 26

FINISH Oct 09 Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18 Jan 01 Jan 08

Accommodation: Guesthouses/hotels (8 nts), raft house (1 nt), hilltribe villages (2 nts, multishare), sleeper train (2 nts) Transport: Train, cycle-rickshaw, longtail boat, elephant, raft, walking, minibus, songthaew, local bus Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides. Meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners Budget: Allow USD$285-375 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATNP

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... FR

$1,241

per person

staljubljana.com

Hilltribe Trek •

• Chiang Rai thailand

River Kwai • Kanchanaburi • Bangkok •

• Ayutthaya


35

South east asia

northern hillTRIBES NORTHERN Thailand AND VILLAGES discovery 8 DAYS, $599 fr

9 DAYS, $829

no local payment!

fr

START & FINISH: BANGKOK

START & FINISH: BANGKOK • • • • •

no local payment!

• • • • •

Explore the frantic streets of bustling Bangkok Wander though Chiang Mai's brilliant night bazaar Trek through the jungles of Northern Thailand Stay with hill tribes and interact with the local people Learn to recreate your own Thai dishes in Chiang Mai

Enjoy a cooling long-tail boat tour in bonkers Bangkok Cycle through the lush, green Sukhothai Historical Park Stroll around lovely Lampang and visit the elephants Visit a fascinating Opium Museum for a local history insight Sharpen your haggling skills at the Chiang Mai markets

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive into Bangkok at any time - and feel free to explore.

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore.

Day 2: Bangkok Explore the sights in and around towering skyscrapers, Chinese shophouses, brand new Mercedes, pushcart vendors, and countless pagodas.

Days 2-3: Sukhothai Visit Wat Po, home of the giant reclining Buddha, before taking a long-tail boat along Bagkok’s canals. Travel on to the ancient capital of Sukhotthai and cycle through the national park, famous for 13th century pagodas. (2B)

Day 3: Chiang Mai This northern city has long been a travelers' favorite. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafés, markets and temples. Days 4-6: Hill tribe Trek Trek through northern Thailand’s rolling hillsides and meet vastly diverse people with their own culture, language and costume. (3B, 2L, 2D) Day 7: Chiang Mai Return to enchanting Chiang Mai. Sit in on a meditation class at one of the temples or test your culinary skills at a Thai cooking class.

Day 4: Lampang Take a stroll through the temples of this charming old-style Thai town and visit the Elephant Conservation Center. Days 5-6: Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle With days of the opium trade well in the past, the Golden Triangle is now a peaceful area where Laos, Thailand and Burma meet. (2B) Days 7-8: Chiang Mai Chiang Mai offers both pretty surroundings and beautiful architecture. Check out the Night Bazaar for trinkets and the Doi Suthep Temple. (2B)

Day 8: Depart Bangkok Arrive back to Thailand’s busy capital and head off into the sunset from Bangkok’s train station.

Day 9: Depart Bangkok This fabulous trip finishes on the morning of Day 9.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2011 JAN-DEC

2011 JAN-DEC

MON, SAT

Accommodation: Simple fan-cooled hotel/guesthouses (3 nts), basic hilltribe villages (2 nts, multishare), overnight trains (2nts) Transport: Local bus, train, elephant, walking, river raft Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: 3 breakfasts,2 lunches,2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$80-105 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATHV

Chiang Mai • thailand

do it your way!

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... FR

$548

based on double occupancy

FRI

Accommodation: Guesthouses/hotels (7 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, public bus, taxi, walking, elephant, songthaew, bicycle Grou Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: 6 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$170-225 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATND

Bangkok •

The same tour, but built entirely around you... FR

$1,469

080 4742

based on double occupancy

• Chiang Rai Chiang Mai •

• Lampang • Sukhothai thailand

Bangkok •


36

koh samui chaweng beach

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysmart

1 AL’S HUT

2 chaweng resort

3 samui natien resort

These super-cool traditional Thai bungalows are right on the beach, just a short stumble from all the action. Set in beautiful tropical gardens, they all boast A/C, private shower and TV. There’s also a chilled out on-site pub and beachfront restaurant. Fantastic value! STA321

A slice of paradise for a refreshingly affordable price. These tastefully furnished, spacious bungalows boast plenty of amenities including hot showers, A/C, TV, safe, and fridge. You’ll love the two beach-side swimming pools and the tasty seaside restaurant. STA028

Cool, modern and unashamedly avant-garde, this place has shunned the tired ‘traditional’ Thai look. There’s a state of the art gym, steamy sauna, fizzy jacuzzi, and fantastic freshwater pool. The terrace restaurant is one of the best in town and the bar kicks on till the early hours. STA322

fr fr

$53 SINGLE $27 TWIN/DOUBLE

fr fr

$72 SINGLE $36 twin/double

fr fr

$69 SINGLE $35 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

7 al’s resort

8 amari palm reef resort & spa

9 chaba cabana beach resort

Upgrade your Koh Samui experience with a stay at this classy resort. Spend your days lazing by the dazzling pool with a cocktail in hand before you step outside into the glorious nightlife of Chaweng. The seaview restaurant is simply sublime and you’ll love the luxurious spa. STA032

This true island oasis is shaded by palm trees and cooled by a salt breeze. The contemporary rooms are bursting with airy space and sparkle with natural ambiance - all feature a private balcony or terrace. Swimming pools, spa and gym are just some of the fabulous facilities. STA033

Designed to create the feeling of a tropical tribal resort - welcome to a land of sea, sun and fun! Rooms are fantastically equipped and with two seaview swimming pools, bar, restaurant and a team of beachfront massuers - this fab resort will leave you beaming with happiness. STA034

fr fr

$86 SINGLE $43 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$152 SINGLE $81 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$183 SINGLE $96 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


37

2

3 MANGO SQUARE

69 41

4 MARKET

REGGAE BAR

11

1 7 6 9 10







5 8

sweet soul cafÉ An institution on Samui, located in the epicenter of Soi Green Mango. Check out the Jagermiester machine at the back of the bar. Christy’s Cabaret Samui’s premier ladyboy entertainment venue offers lots of fun in the form of an exceedingly camp Vegas-style revue every night.

69 41

bar ice One of the coolest places in town – in more ways than one: the walls, bar, sculptures and seats are made from ice and are permanent fixtures. sound A big swimming pool separates the two dance floors - the scene for many a water fight. A really popular venue for the late night crowd.



VIEW POINT

 KOH SAMUI AIRPORT: 2KM 

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 nora lakeview hotel

5 nora chaweng hotel

6 the island resort

Right in the heart of buzzing Chaweng, this great hotel delivers quality and style on a budget. The plush rooms come equipped with absolutely everything you need for a fabulous stay including power showers, flat screen TV and individually controlled A/C. STA029

This beautiful hotel offers those few special extras - rooms feature complimentary bottled water, electronic safes, power converters, bathrobes, and slippers. There’s also free high-speed Internet throughout the property. Facilities include a stunning pool and spa. STA030

Right next to the beach and dotted with coconut palms - modern thatched bungalows stand among stunning views of the sparkling sea. All are very well-equipped and offer a private balcony with garden or seaviews. Take a dip in the blissful pool and relax at the spa. STA031

fr fr

$44 SINGLE $22 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$90 SINGLE $45 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$58 SINGLE $29 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

10 CENTaRA GRAND BEACH RESORT

11 nora beach resort & spa

Grand by name and grander by nature - a few nights in this magnificant resort will leave you feeling like royalty. Set among a haven of tropical foliage - prepare to experience raw relaxation as you glide serenely through the massive outdoor pool under a canopy of sun drenched sky, before you head over to the superb spa for a full body massage. Each of the opulent rooms is sea facing and all have private balconies. STA035

Set in lush gardens with a spectacular hillside setting, this secluded and private resort feels like a little village - but you’re still close enough to all the action of central Chaweng. With stunning beach views, a lovely big pool and a sensational spa - a permanent ambience of tranquility and relaxtion pervades every sun splashed aspect of this beautiful resort. The wonderful rooms fuse classical Thai style with contemporary luxuries. STA036

l

outdoor pool with swim up bar l outdoor jacuzzi l four restaurants gym l dive center l tennis courts l spa l sauna/steam room

fr

$234 SINGLE

l

fr

$125 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

outdoor pool with swim up bar l outdoor jacuzzi l gym l spa restaurant and bar l complimentary shuttle to Chaweng Beach

fr

$175 SINGLE

l

fr

$87TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

South east asia

chaweng’s best bars & clubs


38

koh samui beaches

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

1 thai beach house, Lamai Beach

2 samui palm beach, bophut Beach

3 PEACE RESORT, bophut Beach

A minute’s walk from stunning Lamai Beach start the day with a dip in the pool, followed by a relaxing Thai massage in the spa, before you take advantage of the two-for-one cocktails as the sun goes down. The big rooms boast private balconies with views of the garden or sea. STA037

Right on the beach in Bophut, overlooking the neighboring island of Ko Phangan, this is the perfect place to relax and recharge. There are three fresh-water swimming pools - one of which is the largest on the island! The wellequipped rooms boast private balconies. STA038

For those who want something unique and a little bit special, look no further than these beautiful bungalows. In a quiet location on Bophut Beach, there’s a pool next to the beach and a bar and restaurant that overlook the sea. All bungalows have private terraces. STA323

fr fr

$116 SINGLE $58 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$86 SINGLE $43 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$120 SINGLE $60 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

7 bandara resort & spa, bophut Beach

8 centara villas, natien Beach

Set within a verdant oasis of tropical greenery and trickling streams of fresh water - nature blends with modern engineering to create a harmonious haven of Asian tranquility. The spacious rooms ooze class, with private balconies, pillow menus, a home entertainment system, and free WiFi. For a decadent helping of well-deserved pampering, you have to check out the outstanding spa - blissful relaxation is guaranteed. STA042

Among a veritable eden of tropical vegetation - this wonderful resort will obliterate every worry, stress or lingering care. Just steps from the enticing pool - unwind on the soft white sands of the hotel’s very own private, natural beach. The exotic Thai-style villas cascade down a gentle hillside to the beach and oceanfront and all boast private balconies with views of the gardens or sea. You’re just 15 minutes to the night life of Lamai. STA043

l

40 meter main pool and beach pool l beach bar and lobby bar beach front terrace restaurant l spa l gym l water sports

fr

$160 SINGLE

l

fr

$80 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

three swimming pools l beach side restaurant l butterfly garden spa l PADI Dive Center l Bar & BBQ l cocktail lounge l bee house

fr

$99 SINGLE

l

fr

$56 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


39

MAENAM BEACH

4169



 

2 3

4

41 71

 SAMUI AIRPORT

TAN RUA WATERFALL 69 41



4169

THONG YANG

5 TA NIM’S WATERFALL MAGIC GARDEN

1

 



LAMAI BEACH

41

69

WAT KIRI WONGKARAM ELEPHANT GATE



 CHAWENG BEACH



7 TALING NGAM BAY

6

BIG BUDDHA WAT PAI LAEM



TOURIST INFORMATION

BAN BANG KA



8

BANG KAO BAY

Zip across the water to experience the world’s most raucous party on Koh Phangan. We’ll take you there for about 7 p.m., returning to Koh Samui at 8 a.m. the next morning - sore head included. fr

$69

full moon party dates 2011 Wednesday, 19 January Friday, 19 February Saturday, 19 March Monday, 18 April Tuesday, 18 May Wednesday, 16 June Friday, 17 July Saturday, 14 August Monday, 12 September Tuesday, 12 October Thursday, 10 November Saturday, 10 December Sunday, 25 December Saturday, 31 December

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 ibis samui Bophut, bophut Beach

5 samaya bura, lamai beach

6 imperial boat house, Choeng mon

Bright, bold and trendy, with an idyllic beachfront location and beautiful views, this great hotel is packed with things to do. Relax by the pool, chill out in the bar, try tasty Thai food in the restaurant, or explore the fishing village nearby. The modern rooms are loaded with amenities. STA039

Smack bang on stunning Lamai Beach - the absolute draw card is the beachfront pool and the bar. Enjoy the uninterrupted ocean views or simply stretch out on your private balcony. Feast on fusion food at the brilliant restaurant, served on a private beach with a starry sky overhead. STA040

On the unspoiled Choeng Mon Beach, only a five-minute drive from Chaweng. This exqusite hotel boasts two swimming pools, one in lush gardens, one by the stunning beach - and each with jacuzzis. All the rooms have large private terraces and are crammed with amenities. STA041

fr fr

$67 SINGLE $34 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$74 SINGLE $37 twin/double

fr fr

$144 SINGLE $72 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

ang thong national park

Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan

full Day, fr $86 Check out the best Koh Pha Ngan has to offer both in the water and on dry land. An early start from your hotel, before you leave from Maenam Pier bound for the iconic island of Koh PhaNhan. Upon arrival you’ll take a tour by local taxi visiting the Chinese Temple and an authentic fishing village. You’ll then head to Koh Mah for snorkeling at Mae Haad Beach. After a delicious lunch you’ll check out the spiritual viewpoint at Kao Thum before you zip on over to the Full Moon Party beach of Haad Rin for some chilled out relaxation. You’ll leave the island at 4 p.m., getting back to your hotel an hour later. STA044

full day, fr $71 Top up your tan and enjoy some of the best snorkeling Thailand has to offer! Get picked up early from your hotel and board a speedboat bound for the fabulous island of Koh Tao - world renowned for all the multi-colored marine life that swim around its waters. You’ll spend the late morning snokeling and soaking up the rays of Mango Bay, before you wolf down a delicious Thai lunch. You’ll then head to Koh Nang Yuan for more snorkeling or sightseeing before you climb up to a viewpoint for stunning panoramic views. Depart the island at about 3 p.m., arrving back to the hotel around 5 p.m. STA045

Includes: round trip transfer by A/C minivan, speedboat trip with English speaking guide, snorkeling gear (diving mask, snorkel, life jacket), lunch, soft drink, accidental insurance

Includes: round trip transfer by A/C minivan, speedboat trip with English speaking guide, snorkeling gear (diving mask, snorkel, life jacket), lunch, soft drink, accidental insurance

South east asia

full moon party

KOH PHANGNAN: 16KM 


40

phuket

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysimple

malai house, karon beach

sugar palm kata resort, kata beach

patong lodge hotel, patong

This sweet little guesthouse, with its beachfront location, is a dream come true for the cost conscious traveler. Located in the center of Karon’s busiest area - all of the rooms are equipped with mini bar, A/C, satellite TV, and shower room. There’s free WiFi throughout. STA046

This cool oasis is a mix of simplicity and sophistication. Right on Kata Beach, the resort coexists in stunning contrast with the turquoise backdrop of the Andaman Sea. You’ll be pampered from the moment you step into your stylish room that over looks the central swimming pool. STA047

Set among tropical gardens on a hill with views out over the water, but still close to all the action of Patong. You’ll love the large outdoor pool, airy restaurant and all important cocktail bar. En suite rooms have A/C, TV, and private balconies with heavenly views. STA329

fr fr

$31 SINGLE $16 twin/double

fr fr

$52 SINGLE $26 twin/double

fr fr

$31 SINGLE $16 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

ibis phuket kata hotel, kata beach

royal paradise, patong

centara karon resort, karon beach

On trend, fresh and fun, this hotel provides top value in a great area of the island, with all the modern conveniences you’d expect, including an outdoor pool, restaurant, 24-hour bar plus in-house massage. The cool, modern rooms offer comfy beds, TVs and safety deposit boxes. STA050

In the heart of popular Patong, this hotel oozes comfort. Facilities include a split-level swimming pool, sauna and a traditional massage center. There’s plenty of cuisine choice to tickle those tastebuds, plus the chance to dance the night away at the disco and bar! STA332

A modern mid-rise resort divided into four resort zones catering to individuals, couples, and those who are after a little luxury. The resort has three swimming pools and a spa, plus a variety of bars, restaurants and cafés - so if you’re really feeling lazy... you won’t have to walk very far! STA051

fr fr

$57 SINGLE $28 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$65 SINGLE $39 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$74 SINGLE $43 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


41

 PHUKET AIPORT



THAILANG DISTRICT



BANG PAE WATERFALL

T Rd

42 33

at

l ermpraki



Ch

a

KARON  BEACH

sattri R d

KATHU DISTRICT

pk a

PATONG BEACH

he





PHUKET TOWN



KATA BEACH

 

VIEW POINT

CHALONG BAY



LONE ISLAND

Karon Quieter than Patong, Karon Beach is one of the best in Phuket for water sports - the seas are calm throughout the dry season and the sand is fine and powdery. Discover the artistic side of Thailand by exploring the side streets. kata Just a few minutes south of Karon Beach, Kata has many great resturants and bars, but things are less wild than Patong. It’s beautiful palm fringed beach is particularly popular with surfers from May until October. patong The most famous beach resort on Phuket - this is the place to party and play. By night the town has a bustling nightlife which includes literally hundreds of restaurants, chic lounge bars, beer bars, and late night discos. All the action is centerd around Soi Bangla (Bangla Road).

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

peach hill hotel, kata beach

ibis phuket patong hotel, patong

sugar palm resort, karon beach

Located among the green hills between Kata and Karon Beach looking out to the Andaman Sea. Lounge by the beautiful pool, head to the beach or hang out at the nearby shops and eateries. All the airy rooms are en suite and have cable TV, A/C and WiFi access. STA330

A tranquil oasis in the heart of buzzing Phuket! Laze by the perfect pool, before you load up on Singhas and Mai Tais at the 24-hour bar - later on munch on tasty food at the 24-hour takeaway service. The modern and spacious rooms are wellequipped and all have WiFi access. STA048

This hip and trendy hotel embodies the spirit of youth. Zen-esque serenity with a healthy dash of glitz makes the swimming pool the focus of the resort. To get you looking and feeling your best there is a luxury spa on-site as well. The uber-cool rooms have all kinds of great gadgets. STA049

fr fr

$69 SINGLE $35 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$64 SINGLE $32 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

krabi explorer

thai muang turtles and waterfalls

• • •

centara kata resort, kata beach Set in a picturesque location with awesome views of the neighboring hills and jungle, the resort is decked out in Thai décor and boasts three pools a jacuzzi and sunbeds galore! For cuisine lovers, the resort has three restaurants, one or two of which you can order at while floating in the pool! STA052 fr fr

$69 SINGLE $41 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$52 SINGLE $26 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

3 Days, fr $539

STAysmart

fr fr

2 nights in A/C bungalows Mountain bike with 27 gears & helmet Transfer to/from hotel in Phuket

Get fighting fit and in sexy shape and explore Krabi at the perfect pace - cycling through its rural corners, gliding past beautiful Buddhas and stopping off at steamy natural spas. Spoil your taste buds with some spicy Thai food, and rest your now magnificent muscles at a spectacular beach retreat. Backed by limestone mountains and surrounded by lush gardens your accommodation offers the best of Ao Nang. Sleep in blissful (A/C) bungalows, feast on seafood and perfect your tan at the pristine pool. Visit the Emerald Lake, trek through the jungle and make friends with monkeys. STA337

full Day, fr $100 Take some time out from soaking up the rays on the beach and get out to see some untouched deserted beaches, national parks and spectacular waterfalls! This full-day bike tour will let you glimpse some hidden Thai beauty, munch on a hearty lunch, visit a sea turtle sanctuary, and take a cooling waterfall dip. STA335

koh yao noi by bike full Day, fr $100 Satisfy your travel bug the eco way by pedalling around the lovely island of Koh Yao Noi. You’ll be guided round some of the island’s best corners after a short boat cruise. Not a trip tailored for the super-fit, so don’t be worried if you’re not in Olympic shape. A little determination and lots of enthusiasm is all you’ll need to succeed! STA336

South east asia

where to go


42

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

banthai beach resort, patong

patong merlin, patong

club coconut, patong

On five acres of land amid lush gardens facing the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, its 290 rooms boast contemporary Thai design and architecture, all with full amenities. The resort boosts three large free-form swimming pools with swim-up bars and a truly luxurious spa. STA053

This lovely resort is in the heart of buzzing Patong Beach. Nestled among acres of swaying coconut palms and flowering gardens, the Merlin weaves its way around three beautiful aquamarine sculptured swimming pools in a labyrinth of curved walkways. The rooms are simply divine. STA054

A small funky resort in the center of Patong. Set back from the main road - you’ll enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by tropical gardens. The swimming pool and jacuzzi gets the sun all day, and the rooms feature A/C, cable TV, mini-bar, and terraces facing the pool or garden. STA055

fr fr

$107 SINGLE $54 Twin/double

fr

$70 twin/double

fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$16 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

manathai resort, surin beach

centara villas, karon beach

Located in the heart of beautiful and tranquil Surin Beach, this boutique 52room resort is nestled at the edge of tropical white sands and incredibly clear water. This super stylish retreat offers beautiful decor, large, open-air public spaces and a restaurant with views of the beach and lapping sea. Awaken to the warmth of the morning sunrise in the vivid and luxurious east facing Lanai Wing or watch the sun go down on the west facing Suite wing STA334

Majestic and panoramic views are the signature of this unique island retreat. Set on an incline surrounded by a luxurious natural tropical backdrop, the spacious exotic villas are all sea-facing giving the resort a dramatic ambiance while reflecting a unique Thai atmosphere. Direct access to the wide sweeping Karon Beach is literally just steps down (five-minute walk) from the pool area by a coastal pathway. STA333

l

swimming pool l private beach area l library and DVD library spa l ocean front restaurant l breakfast café l pool bar

fr

$162 SINGLE

l

fr

$81 TWIN/DOUBLE

l

two swimming pools l activity desk l spa l two restaurants cliff bar with sunset happy hour l shuttle bus to Karon and Patong

fr

$99 SINGLE

l

fr

$56 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

sugar palm grand hillside, kata beach

andaman cannacia, kata beach

Calling all trendsetters, you will love this ultra hip, minimalist hotel. White cube-like design rooms look out onto the hotel’s 11 outdoor swimming pools, styled like a waterfall rolling down each step. There is a flashy spa for some self pampering, free WiFi, so you can send pics of your relaxed, tanned self back home to jealous friends and room service if you don’t feel like getting out of bed ... that’s what holidays are for! STA059

Nestled on a green peaceful hillside, 500 meters from the beach - pamper yourself at this island escape where the stunning natural setting and the traditional Thai hospitality blend perfectly to create an indulgent spa break. You’ll feel like a king or queen staying in one of the very stylish rooms where you get your own robes and fluffy slippers. For maximum bliss, throw in a spa treatment, salon appointment and a dip in the pool. STA060

l

11 swimming pools l DVD library l sauna and steam room fitness room l spa l restaurant l tour desk

fr

$71 SINGLE

l

fr

$36 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

outdoor swimming pool l tour desk l beauty salon fitness room l Santi spa l restaurant l pool side bar

fr

$99 SINGLE

l

fr

$49 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


43

STAysmart

thavorn palm beach, karon beach

horizon patong beach, patong

deevana patong resort, patong

A peaceful beachfront property located at Karon Beach. The resort spans over 25 acres of pristine award winning gardens filled with native orchids, lily ponds and swaying palm trees. It offers the luxury of five separate swimming pools plus restaurants, shops and sports facilities. STA056

Located across from Patong Beach, with the shopping and entertainment district only a short stroll way. Two swimming pools are an alternative to the turquoise sea and white sands. Choose to chill out with an exotic drink at the bar or relax in your comfortable and well equipped room. STA057

Surrounded by secluded lush tropical gardens, the resort and spa offers tranquillity and a relaxing pace of life away from the bustling crowds. The 232 rooms, just a short walk from Patong Beach, are equipped with all the amenities to ensure an unforgettable and truly relaxing stay. STA058

fr fr

$74 SINGLE $37 twin/double

$79 SINGLE $48 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$69 SINGLE $35 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

alpina phuket nalina resort & spa, kata beach

peach blossom, karon beach

Enjoy a laid-back and relaxed ambience, chill-out among the luxury of your surroundings and the many facilities, that include a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool, six mouth-watering restaurants and a delightful spa and fitness center. Anything you need is no problem here, be it sorting out great day trips or even having your laundry done! All rooms enjoy a pool view with some offering direct access to the main pool. STA061

Located half way between not one, but two fabulous Thai beaches - this magnificent resort is set among the peaceful green gardens of the hills overlooking the white sands of Kata & Karon Beach and the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea. With views of the infinity pool or tropical garden, the rooms boast chic dĂŠcor and modern amenities, and all have private balconies. This is the perfect beach getaway resort. STA062

l

free-form swimming pool l private beach area l beauty salon free WiFi l luxury spa & fitness Room l 6 restaurants

fr

$120 Standard Room

l

fr

$64 Luxury Room

l

infinity pool l pool bar l gyml spa l sauna & steam room beach facing restaurant l tour desk

fr

$107 Standard Room

l

fr

$54 Luxury Room

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

the kee resort & spa, patong

duangjitt resort & spa, patong

A spectacular new hotel and plaza complex, offering a quiet oasis of tranquility and luxury in the heart of Patong Beach. Utilizing state-of-theart technology, the hotel’s stunningly modern rooms are unlike any other found on the island. The stunning swimming pools feature spectacular water and light shows. Swim up and take a drink, before you head out later on for the amazing panoramic views of the roof top bar. STA063

Situated just a five minute stroll from Patong Beach on 36 acres of tropical garden. Shady coconut palms, blooming exotic plants as well as doves and mynah birds that have made the gardens their home, combine to ensure every moment of your stay is tranquil. All the beautifully designed rooms have private balconies and loads of amenities. Set in a verdant, landscaped garden, the gorgeous spa offers all kinds of indulgent treatments. STA064

l

roof top bar l multiple swimming pools l swim-up bar Kee Shopping Plaza l gym l spa l 3 restaurants l sports bar

fr

$116 SINGLE

l

fr

$62 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

3 swimming pools l spa, sauna & jacuzzi l beauty salon gym l 2 restaurants l lobby lounge bar l pool side snack bar

fr

$82 SINGLE

l

fr

$41 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

South east asia

STAysmart


44

koh phangan

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

drop in club resort & SPA

phanganburi resort

centara pariya resort

Within strolling distance to the full moon party beach at Haad Rin, this happening hotel always has something going on. It boasts two large pools; with music, parties and a lively pool bar. All the en suite rooms feature A/C, safe, TV, mini-bar, and balcony or terrace area. STA065

Set on a quiet and serene sunset beach on the south side of Haad Rin town; just a five-minute walk from the infamous party beach. All the immaculate rooms have private balconies. Bathe in the luxurious swimming pool, and bask in the herbal steam sauna and jacuzzi. STA325

Situated on the private and peaceful Yuan Beach on the southeastern coast of the island, Haad Rin Beach is only five minutes by boat. Facilities include a beach front swimming pool, two restaurants, spa, dive center, and WiFi. The beach villas are filled with all kinds of amenities. STA066

fr fr

$60 SINGLE $30 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$82 SINGLE $46 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$154 SINGLE $83 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

panviman resort

santhiya resort & spa

Check into one of the cottages scattered over the sweeping hillside, surrounded by tropical plants and shaded by swaying coconut palms. Laze on your private balcony and marvel at the stunning views across the bay. The deluxe cottages boast indoor or outdoor bathtubs, while all the rooms provide beach sandals, towels and umbrellas for you to use. The spa is set directly on the hill - enjoy a massage while staring out into paradise. STA326

Stretched over 18 acres of tropical landscapes, this idyllic resort is an allinclusive eco-chic natural hideaway. Lush tropical forests, crystal clear bay and private beach set the perfect backdrop for gourmet meals, cascading poolside waterfalls, luxurious spa treatments, and an exciting array of outdoor water activities. Listen to the sound of crashing waves and bask in the sun with a delicious coconut cocktail. STA067

l

swimming pool with jacuzzi l 2 restaurants l private beach pub and pool side bar l water sports l spa l speed boat service

fr

$156 Standard Room

l

fr

$78 Luxury Room

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

1200 square metre swimming pool l kayak and canoe rental pool bar l gym l spa l open air dining l library and Internet center

fr

$192 Standard Room

l

fr

$96 Luxury Room

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


45

South east asia

diving - koh tao padi lEARN TO DIVE 4 DAYS • • • • • •

STAysmart

koh tao montra resort

• • • • • •

fr

$650

6 nights in twin or single Thai chalet PADI Open Water Diver Course Training manual & certification fees Use of all scuba equipment 4 additional fun dives and 1 night dive One meal per day

Things are better underwater. The rowdiness of everyday life is replaced by a serene pace, as you glide through the marine life with lots of colorful creatures. Once you have your internationally recognized PADI qualification the underwater world is your oyster. You’ll be free to go off and use it anywhere - buddied up to a depth of 18 meters. The course includes theory sessions, shallow beach sessions and local open water dives. You’ll be looked after by Master Divers in small personalized groups. STA070

4 nights Accommodation PADI Open Water Diver Course 4 Open Water dives Training manual & certification fees Use of all scuba equipment A new skill that you’ll have for life!

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fun diving package

advanced open water

fr fr

7 DAYS

$335

Your 4 days will be taken up with learning to dive, hanging out on cool beaches and staying in bungalow accommodation. The course involves theory as well as practical (dives of course!) and all instructors are experienced and 100% certified! Based at beautiful Sairee Beach, the facilities include a pool in which to hone your skills. The course is a starting point for those who want to continue on to more advanced courses and even more challenging dive sites around the world! STA173

Right on Mae Had Beach, next to all the bars, restaurants and dive shops. Spend lazy days lounging in the shade, sip a tropical cocktail and take a dip in the infinity blue pool. Facilities include a spa, free WiFi, restaurant and pool side bar - a great place to chill. STA068

learn to dive

fr

$192 SINGLE $96 twin/double

7 DAYS • • • • •

fr

$414

6 nights in twin or single Thai chalet Use of all scuba equipment 10 fun dives Night dive One meal per day

For those who just want to dive - no course, no test, no pressure - just lots of amazing moments exploring fish-filled water. This package is available to divers with a minimum of Open Water Diver certification. If you have not dived for six months prior to arriving then a refresher will need to be completed - payable locally TBH1500 - about USD $50 - per person. The maximum group size is four people to one Instructor/Divemaster, ensuring their full attention at all times. Your dives can be taken on morning or afternoon trips, it’s up to you! STA069

7 DAYS • • • • • •

fr

$624

6 nights in twin or single Thai chalet PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course Training manual & certification fees Use of all scuba equipment 6 additional fun dives One meal per day

So you’ve learned to dive, but you want to go deeper into the murky depths of the wonderful sea. No boring classroom stuff, this is all in the water. The course consists of five dives, of which two must be Deep and Navigation dives. The other three are to be selected by yourself. Some of the options include; Naturalist, Multi-Level & Computer, Wreck, Enriched Air Nitrox, Search & Recovery, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Night, Photography & Videography. Six additional fun dives are also included. STA069


46

krabi

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

alis hotel

krabi success beach resort

krabi cha da

Do Thailand in style with a stay at this beautiful little boutique hotel located in lovely Ao Nang, surrounded by restaurants, bars and shops. You’ll be treated to sexy rainforest showers, a steamy sauna and spa and the perfect outdoor pool - and you’re only a five minute walk from the beach! STA071

On the white sands of Nopparatara Bay, just a 15 minute stroll from popular Ao Nang. Explore the beautiful surroundings, relax by the pool or enjoy a massage in the tranquil gardens. The spacious Thai style rooms have A/C, satellite TV, minibar, safe, and a private balcony. STA341

In the heart of Ao Nang, this new hotel reflects Thai and Chinese charm and is beautifully set within lush gardens with spectacular views over the Andaman Sea. The rooms personify style with funky furnishings and intimate private balconies. Laze in one of the two stunning pools. STA072

fr fr

$65 DORM $33 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT

$82 SINGLE $41 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$61 SINGLE $37 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

red ginger

krabi thai village resort

With stunning views of nearby Thana National Park and only 200 yards from the center of Ao Nang Beach, this chic resort has only 63 rooms, giving it a very exclusive feel. The jazzy rooms boast ultra-cool contemporary design, with bright, bold colors - all of them have a private balcony and come equipped with loads of amenties. Work out in the gym, bask in the beautiful swimming pool with a cocktail in hand and laze in the bubbling jacuzzi. STA341

A short walk to Phra Nang Bay, this is one of Krabi’s newest resorts. You’ll be calmed by the traditional design, earthy colors, huge interiors and breezy walkways. The natural beauty of Krabi is captured by the spectacular swimming pool complex with sparkling waterfalls and fountains reflecting shimmering rays of sunlight. Order a fruity and thirst quenching drink at the swim up pool bar and laze on the big sundeck. STA073

l

swimming pool l jacuzzi l pool bar l restaurant & lounge bar spa available at Pakasai Resort l activity desk

fr

$131 SINGLE

l

fr

$66 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

swimming pool l spa lgym l 4 restaurants pool bar and lobby bar l tropical gardens

fr

$166 SINGLE

l

fr

$83 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


47

South east asia

koh phi phi and koh lanta

STAysmart

STAysmart

phi phi island resort, koh phi phi

natural resort, koh phi phi

On the northern side of Phi Phi Don, overlooking the spectacular scenery of the Andaman Sea and surrounded by lush vegetation, this stunning resort oozes tranquility. With a massive private beach, beautiful infinity pool and four sumptuous restaurants - you’ll feel like you’re in heaven. STA074

Right on the doorstep of the stunning unspoilt beach of Laem Thong, on the northern shores of Phi Phi Don island, away from the crowds of Ton Sai Bay. Facilities include a stunning beachside pool, restaurant and bar. The stylish rooms boast all kinds of modern amenities. STA339

fr fr

$200 SINGLE $100 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$62 SINGLE $39 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

phranang lanta, koh lanta

cha da beach resort & spa, koh lanta

Located on the secluded beach of Ba Kan Tieng among coconut trees, the charm of Phra Nang Lanta is that none of the 15 spacious and stylish rooms are the same, each of them are only steps away from the white sandy beach. All the beds are uniquely set in the middle of the room giving a direct sea view from the floor to ceiling glass windows that open to the private balcony. You can dine wherever you like in the resort. STA075

In a jaw droppingly beautiful setting, this truly special resort fringes eight miles of white pristine sands. Laze on the beautiful beach, soak in one of the four stunning pools or get pampered at the luxurious spa. For those with a little more energy, choose to go exploring in a kayak or experience the azure waters by snorkel. With a wealth of fantastic eating options and plenty of places to buy a drink, you’ll feel constantly satisfied. STA076

l

rooftop bar l swimming pool l BBQ - Wednesdays and Saturdays excursion desk l restaurant l massage service

fr

$152 SINGLE

l

fr

$76 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

4 swimming pools l library and Internet lounge l activity desk 3 restaurants and bars l swim up pool bar l spa l gym

fr

$128 SINGLE

l

fr

$64 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


48

thailand sailing adventure 7 DAYS, $1,499 fr

no local payment!

start & finish: phuket You’re lying on the deck of a beautiful catamaran, bathed in tropical sunshine but cooled by a mild breeze. Your senses are intermittently aroused by the distant squawk of a lonely seabird or the joyful laughs from fellow traveling companions at the other side of the boat. There is no stress, nothing to worry about and the only decision you have to make is whether to go for a stroll around the next utopian island you arrive at or continue to soak up the sun and simply lie on the beach. Your body is still tingling from your dip in the warm waters and your snorkel among turtles, manta rays and kaleidoscopic colored little fish… That was a typical moment in time on this magical seven day trip around the islands of Southern Thailand. With a small group of fellow seafarers you’ll roam the world’s most amazing waters with an experienced skipper and a skilled cook, who’ll whip up delicious Thai cuisine each and every day. Thousands of miles away from the drudgery of everyday existence - this is just about as good as life gets. the best bits • Enjoy a week aboard a sailing catamaran • Hop between beautiful paradise islands • Go bananas at Monkey Bay • Marvel at the sunset from Bay Nai Harn • Laze on sun drenched, stunning beaches • Visit one of the last Sea Gypsy Villages • Snorkel and swim in crystal clear water • Hang out with Leo on ‘The Beach’ Day 1: Arrive Phuket Meet your skipper on gorgeous Phuket Island and take to the sea for your first sail, followed by a swim in the crystal waters and an exploration of a tropical island. (D) Day 2: Koh Ping Kan Leave Naka Yai in the morning, and sail on to Koh Pan Yi, visiting one of the last ‘Sea Gypsy Villages’, spending the early afternoon ashore exploring. In the afternoon you’ll depart towards Koh Ping Kan, where you’ll spend the night. (B, L)

Day 3: Koh Yao Noi Island / Ao Muang Raise anchor in the morning and sail towards Chong Koh Yao, the passage between the Yao islands, arriving to the tiny Koh Nok island. Here you’ll find a stunning beach with crystal clear water for a swim and lunch break. A short afternoon sail will then bring you to Ao Muang Bay, situated in the North of Koh Yao Noi, where you’ll spend the night. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Koh Yao Yai Sail to the tiny island of Khai Nai for excellent swimming and snorkeling off a clear sandy beach. In the afternoon, you’ll approach Ao Labu Bay on Koh Yao Yai. Have a delicious meal at the island restaurant, additional options include canoeing or biking on the lush island. (B, L, D) Day 7: Depart Phuket A morning sail to Phuket where the trip ends. (B)

day 4: Koh Phi Phi / Maya Bay The morning sail guides you towards Koh Phi Phi, one of the most stunning island groups in Thailand. Along the way you’ll have a short stop over on Monkey Bay (get your bananas ready) and then you’ll have a longer lunch break at Ton Sai Bay for swimming, shopping and exploring. In the late afternoon you’ll set sail again towards Phi Phi Le where you’ll visit Maya Bay or Leonardo’s Paradise where the movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed. (B, L, D) Day 5: Bay Nai Harn Cruising over the large Phang Nga Bay towards Cape Phromtep will take you to the southern most tip of Phuket peninsula. You’ll anchor in the famous Bay Nai Harn, the best spot in Thailand for watching a stunning sunset. You will have multiple choices of beach activities and fabulous restaurants for dinner. Land excursions to famous places like Patong or Phuket towns are also possible. (B, L)

split it up koh phi phi - phuket 4 DAYS fr $749 Tour Code: GAATSH

PHUKET - KOH PHI PHI 4 DAYS fr $749 Tour Code: GAATSK

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 01 Jan 08 Jan 15 Jan 22

FINISH Jan 07 Jan 14 Jan 21 Jan 28

START Jan 29 Feb 05 Feb 12 Feb 19 Feb 26

FINISH Feb 04 Feb 11 Feb 18 Feb 25 Mar 04

START Mar 05 Mar 12 Mar 19 Mar 26 Apr 02

FINISH Mar 11 Mar 18 Mar 25 Apr 01 Apr 08

START Apr 09 Apr 16 Apr 23

FINISH Apr 15 Apr 22 Apr 29

Accommodation: Sailing Catamaran (6nts) Transport: Sailing Catamaran Group Size: Max 8, Avg 6 Group Leader: Skipper, Assistant/Cook Meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners Budget: Allow USD$40-50 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATSA

Stay longer in phuket Check out pages 48-51

Koh Ping Kan Phuket Bay Nai Harn ••• Koh Yao Noi • •• Koh Yao Yai Phi Phi Is.


49

South east asia

malaysia

• Langkawi • Penang

• Cameron Highlands

• Melaka

• Mt. Kinabalu

• Taman Negara N.P.

• Sandakan / Sepilok

• Kota Kinabalu

Kuala Lumpur •

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

The people of Malaysia are so welcoming. My best memory was Christmas Eve on the streets of Kuala Lumpur and jumping in and out of the bars and cafés of Bangsar. We smoked fat cigars, drank cold beer and colorful cocktails. When midnight struck the place went ballistic! We hugged, kissed, danced and sang with all the locals. What a night! Mark, Chicago $

Currency: RINGGIT Price of a beer: $4.72 Population: 28 MILLION

THE WEATHER

Malaysia has high temperatures and wet months all year round. Rainfall happens all the time, but unlike dreary drizzle this stuff is pretty awesome to watch and splash around in. The heaviest falls in March to May and September to November but you’ll still average a good four to five hours of sunshine during the wettest months to eight or nine during the drier periods. Kuala Lumpur is hot and humid all the time which makes it great for visiting year round.

LOCAL GRUB

Tuck into some Nasi Kandar - steamed rice (plain or mildly flavored) and served with a variety of curries and side dishes. Sold just about everywhere - it’s the Malaysian’s favorite food. Will you be brave enough to try the bird’s nest soup?

USEFUL INFO

A trip up to the Sky Bridge at the Petronas Towers is a must do in Kuala Lumpur. You’ll need to go nice and early in the morning to lineup for tickets, as they only sell a limited number every day.

FUN FACTS

The largest cave chamber in the world is in the Sarawak Chamber in Gunung Mulu National Park. It can easily accommodate a jumbo jet.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

The Orangutans of Borneo are unfortunately fast dying out, as forest habitat is cleared to make way for plantations of oil palm. There are now only about half the number of Orangutans left in the wild compared with 10 years ago.


50

kuala lumpur

Airport Transfer fr $26

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysmart

1 anjung kl

2 chinatown inn

3 citrus hotel

Bargain prices and a heap of things for free at this fun and friendly place right in the Golden Triangle. Breakfast, Internet and unlimited coffee and tea are all on the house and the dorms are spacious with A/C. Check out the cool Japanese balcony - a great place to make new traveling pals. STA077

This highly recommended budget hotel boasts comfortable and clean rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, TV and free WiFi. Step outside and immediately walk into the bright colors, sights and sounds of Chinatown. All the rooms have A/C, except the Economy Rooms. STA078

Cool and hip. Cheerful and trendy. Chic and contemporary. Citrus hotel checks every box. Count the skyscrapers from the views at the gym or by the fabulous swimming pool. Tuck into some tasty grub at the Citrus Café. All the trendy rooms have satellite TV, free WiFi and personal safe. STA331

fr fr

$26 SINGLE $15 twin/double

fr fr

$40 SINGLE $20 twin/double

fr fr

$69 SINGLE $35 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

7 dorsett regency hotel

8 park royal

9 hotel istana

In the heart of the Golden Triangle, this classy hotel has it all. The spa features a sauna, steam bath and jacuzzi, while the modern gym overlooks the beautiful landscaped outdoor pool. The fabulous rooms boast a 32 inch flat screen TV, mini bar and personal safe. STA081

Inject a little luxury into your Malaysian adventure. The stylishly designed rooms and suites come equipped with all kinds of modern gizmos, as well as slippers and bath robes. Spend the day on Level 6, where you’ll find the beautiful outdoor swimming pool, gym and amazing spa. STA082

One of the city’s most impressive properties, you’ll be mesmerized by the grandeur of the Hotel Istana. The rooms will satisfy even the most demanding of guests and the hotel facilities are of the highest standard - outdoor pool, opulent spa and one of the coolest restaurants in town. STA083

fr fr

$98 SINGLE $49 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$152 SINGLE $76 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

staljubljana.com

fr fr

$119 SINGLE $59 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


51

Jalan

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4 PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS

Wang l an

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COFFEE MOUNTAIN Jaian R aja Chu lan ulan ja Ch n Ra

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CHINA TOWN Abdul Rahman



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Bird Park Experience the largest free flight aviary in the world - spanning 20 acres right in the middle of the city. See all kinds of colorful bird life.

9

Ja lan



LITTLE INDIA

CENTRAL MARKET

MASJID NEGARA

chinatown at night Hone your haggling skills on everything from dodgy looking designer gear to herbal remedies.

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g an P in

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KL TOWER



(NATIONAL MOSQUE)

the petronas towers Until recently, the tallest buildings in the world - you can’t go to the top, but the views from the observation bridge are still pretty special.



6

ma n l Rah

Jalan K uchi

5 things to do in kuala lumpur

aharu au B ung

Jal

Abdu

Jalan Dang

Sulta

S an Jal

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Ja



7

Jal

STADIUM CHINWOO

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Ha

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Jeb

al

 KUALA LUMPAR AIRPORT: 35KM 

eat eat eat Indian, Chinese, Malay and Eurasian cultures mix together to create a gastronomic wonderland. batu caves Formed out of limestone 400 million years ago these amazing caves are 30 mins from the city.

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 corus hotel

5 concorde inn klia

6 renaissance - east wing

All rooms feature a mini-bar, personal safe, satellite TV and loads more fabulous amenities. The lovely swimming pool is surrounded by the beautiful garden terrace with views of the Petronas Towers. Other facilities include a gym and four restaurants. STA079

Despite being only 3 minutes from the airport, the Concorde Inn enjoys a resort-like atmosphere. As well as the very well equipped rooms, facilities include gym, swimming pool, spa and three diverse restaurants. The city center is less than 30 minutes away on the nearby monorail. STA080

Lots of lovely luxury. This centrally located hotel has a mere nine restaurants and an Olympicsized pool - an ideal retreat among the tropical landscaped greenery. All rooms have a large TV, mini-bar, sofa, and marble bathroom. You even get your own bathrobe and slippers. STA344

fr fr

$106 SINGLE $53 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$69 SINGLE $35 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

kuala lumpur city tour

STAystylish

10 PICCOLO HOTEL With award winning designs throughout, this swanky pad will leave you purring with pleasure. Spoil yourself in the heavenly spa before a delectable bite to eat and a delicious cocktail in one of the many superb restaurants. The rooms are uber-comfy and especially indulgent. STA084 fr fr

$102 SINGLE $51 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

half Day fr $25 Get an eyeful of Kuala Lumpur’s incredible city sights. Get your fill of bling at the OE jewelery showroom, head back in time to the Cricket Club and flash your camera at the Petronas Twin Towers. Marvel at the country’s finest mosque, grab a history fix at the National Museum and take a cheeky peek at the King’s Palace. STA347

melaka day tour full Day fr $56 Travel from Kuala Lumpur to one of Malaysia’s most historical cities, Melaka. Check out medieval churches, Chinese temples, 17th century tombstones and some beautifully tranquil city streets. Visit the Christ Church, the Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese temple and take a stroll along Jonker street - Melaka’s antique row. A lovely local lunch is also included. STA348

fr fr

$135 SINGLE $67 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

South east asia

3

5


52

langkawi

STAysmart

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STAystylish

Holiday beach resort

meritus pelangi

casa del mar

Right on its own private stretch of fine sandy beach, and a short stroll to plenty of action, this resort in paradise promises rest and relaxation. There’s an exclusive female-only indoor pool, a couple of great restaurants and a gym. All the spacious and airy rooms are well equipped. STA349

Covering an area of 30 acres on a beachfront location amidst a lush tropical environment think tranquility, isolation, white sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets and romance. Take a drink on your private veranda as the sun goes down. Facilities include pool, gym and spa. STA350

Set on stunning Pentai Cenang Beach, this truly beautiful resort offers you breathtaking sea view accommodation, innovative beachside dining and a stunning spa. Each of the 34 rooms are a peaceful oasis - with all kinds of luxuries to make you feel a million miles away from any stress or strain. STA351

fr fr

$112 SINGLE $58 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$236 SINGLE $118 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$264 SINGLE $132 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

berjaya beach resort

westin langkawi

Cocooned within a rainforest sanctuary, Berjaya embraces boundless views of emerald waters and green-cushioned mountains. Spread over 70 acres, choose to stay in lush tropical rainforest or by the beautiful waters of the Andaman Sea. All the chalets embody the essence of early Malay architecture and come equipped with a plethora of modern amenities as well as a private balcony. Choose from loads of great activities or lie back and do nothing. STA085

Infused with breathtaking natural beauty, this luxurious resort combines gorgeous white sandy beaches, the beautiful Andaman Sea and lush tropical foliage. Each of the remarkable rooms boast serene modern décor, exhilarating views and opulent amenities - from cooling rain showers to the delights of the special ‘Heavenly Bed’. Lie back in the sunshine and listen to the gentle waves on the resort’s 1,6400 feet of private beach. STA086

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swimming pool & whirlpool bath l jungle gym l tennis courts water sportsl 5 restaurants l lounge and sunken pool bar l spa

fr

$93 TWIN

l

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

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infinity pool and ocean rock pool l 3 restaurants & bar l gym l spa tennis courts l water sports l lounge at Langkawi Airport

fr

$298 SINGLE

l

fr

$149 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


53

South east asia

penang

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

paradise sandy beach

golden sands resort

hard rock

Right on the beautiful sands of Tanjung Bungah Beach, about two miles from Georgetown - this lovely hotel offers a range of water sports including jet skiing, wind surfing, snorkeling and parasailing. Large studio style rooms have a balcony. Facilities include a pool and gym. STA353

Right by the beach of Batu Ferringhi - munch on some of the best food around in the award winning restaurant, chill out by either of the two lagoon pools, sip cocktails on the beach or take a jungle walk in the near by nature reserve. The bright airy rooms have loads of ammenities. STA352

This super cool resort is only a 2 minute stroll to all the beach side action of Batu Ferringhi. Rock out in your fully equipped room complete with iPod docking station, 32-inch flat screen TV and loads of iconic ‘Hard Rock’ memorabilia. You’ll love the enormous pool with swim up bar. STA354

fr fr

$78 SINGLE $19 twin/double

fr fr

$183 SINGLE $91 twin/double

fr fr

$172 SINGLE $86 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

park royal

the bayview beach resort

holiday inn

Surrounded by lush greenery, right on Batu Ferringhi beach, this idyllic retreat mixes up delightful hospitality and tropical sunshine. All the fabulous rooms boast free Internet, satellite TV and a mini-bar. Facilities include restaurants, bars, outdoor pool, spa, gym and tennis. STA087

With a magical beach front setting at the quieter end of the scenic beach of Batu Ferringhi, this excellent hotel delivers on every level. The spacious, well-equipped rooms boast a private balcony. Facilities include a spa, gym, restaurant and outdoor pool with sunken swim-up bar. STA088

In the heart of Batu Ferringhi, this striking hotel has 358 rooms in the Beach Wing and Ferringhi Tower, all linked by an overhead covered walkway. Rooms have all you would expect from a modern four-star property and facilities include a swimming pool, gym and water sports. STA089

fr fr

$167 SINGLE $83 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$117 SINGLE $58 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$133 SINGLE $71 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


54

BORNEO

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

1 BORNEO BACKPACKERS

2 TUARAN BEACH RESORT

3 nexus

A big favorite with budget travelers, situated in the town center. A 10-minute stroll from the main jetty and the interstate bus terminal. The staff are super sociable and the dorms are clean and comfy, with fans or A/C. Watch the world go by on the sunny rooftop terrace. STA333

Near Tuaran, 45 minutes from Kota Kinabalu airport, the resort is surrounded by palm trees on three miles of gorgeous coastline – this is your very own tropical paradise. The rooms boast just about every facility under the sun and the hotel features a big swimming pool and a spa. STA1013

More than 3,000 acres of natural and landscaped scenery create the perfect background for this epic resort. With an 18-hole golf course, eight restaurants, a superb spa and four miles of white beach, you could quite live the rest of your life here. 30 minutes to Kota Kinabalu airport. STA090

fr

$10 dorm

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$116 single $58 twin/double

fr

$99 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

turtles & Orangutans 2 days fr $354

STAysmart

6 sabah hotel sandakan Nestled amidst one of the world’s last unspoiled tropical rainforests, this beautiful resort blends in with the rich flora and fauna of Sabah. If you’re not out exploring your surroundings, then the swimming pool, jacuzzi and multiple sports facilities will keep you well entertained. STA093 fr fr

$98 Single $49 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

• • • • •

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center Turtle Hatchery Boat ride to Turtle Island Twin share accommodation Breakfast and lunch

A visit to Borneo wouldn’t be anywhere near complete without a face to face experience with its two most iconic creatures. Visit Turtle Island and watch the little guys lay eggs on the secluded beaches. You’ll also visit the Hatchery, where (if you’re lucky) you can watch the young hatchlings release into the sea. On day two you’ll visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center where you’ll have close encounters with the “man of the jungle.” Enjoy a city tour of Sandakan town before you transfer to your hotel or the airport. STA094


55

1



SOUTH CHINA SEA



TURTLE ISLANDS



MT. KINABALU KOTA KINABALU AIRPORT   SEPILOK

3

6



MANUKAN ISLAND SABAH

how closely related are they to us? We share 96.4% of their genetic makeup.

4 2

what does the word ‘orangutan’ mean? Orangutan means ‘person of the forest’. It comes from the Malay words ‘orang’ meaning people and ‘hutan’ meaning forest.

SARAWAK

5

how long do they live? A male called ‘Guas’ lived happily at the Philadelphia Zoo until he reached the age of 58.

how endangered are orangutans? Fewer than 54,000 Bornean orangutans (endangered) and 6,600 Sumatran (critically endangered) remain in the wild. That’s a decrease of more than 80% in just over 100 years!

KALIMANTAN

how long are their arms? When extended, orangutans arms are longer than their bodies - over 6ft from each fingertip.

STAystylish

STAystylish

4 shangri-la rasa ria resort

5 shangri-la tanjung aru

In a lush 400 acre tropical setting beside exquisite Pantai Dalit Beach, the Shangri-La features its own nature reserve with an Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Everything about this stunning resort seamlessly blends with its beautiful environment, even its championship golf course. All ground floor rooms have a private lawn while all the upper floor rooms boast private balconies with views of the lush landscape and sea. STA091

With a private beach, views of the sparkling coral islands, and first class service, this award winning hotel offers the serenity of a secluded tropical resort, but you’re only 10 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu Airport. The rooms are stunning, all have been recently renovated to reflect a merging of contemporary and traditional styles. The hotel facilities are luxurious, especially the spa, which is positioned on its own little island. STA092

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outdoor pool l spa l gym l jacuzzi l golf course l water sports four restaurants & three bars l nature reserve with orangutans

fr

$89 Double

l

fr

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

Borneo Sabah Adventure 10 DAYS, $1,649 fr

outdoor pool l spa village l gym l jacuzzi l tennis courts complimentary Internet l water sports l four restaurants

l

no local payment!

START & FINISH: kota kinabalu

$208 SINGLE

fr

$104 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

Days 3-4: Mt Kinabalu Tackle the mighty Mt. Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia. Days 5-6: Kinabatangan River Journey along the Kinabatangan River, looking out for elephants & orangutans. (2B,2L,2D) Day 7: Sepilok Orangutan Centre Come face to face with orangutans. (B)

Mt. Kinabalu •

• Sepilok Orangutan Reserve • Sandakan

Kota Kinabalu •

• Kinabatangan

Manukan Is. •

DEPARTURES

Day 8: Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu Explore the former POW camp and check out the historic town and waterfront markets. (B)

START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 16 Feb 12 Feb 26 Mar 19 Mar 26 Apr 02

Day 1: Arrive Kota Kinabalu Arrive anytime and feel free to go exploring.

Day 9: Manukan Island Go snorkeling in paradise. (B)

Accommodation: Guesthouses/hotels (3 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), National Park lodges/mountain hut (4 nts) Transport: Minibus, local bus, taxi, speedboat, plane, walking Group size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 7breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$170-225 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAASA

Day 2: Mt Kinabalu National Park Explore the trails and rest up for your big trek.(B)

Day 10: Depart Kota Kinabalu Your adventure finishes on Day 10. (B)

• • • • •

Trek to the top of mighty Mt Kinabalu Journey along the Kinabatangan River Check out the Sepilok orangutans Visit the historic sights of Sandakan Laze on Manukan Island’s beaches

FINISH Jan 11 Jan 25 Feb 21 Mar 07 Mar 28 Apr 04 Apr 11

START Apr 23 Apr 30 May 07 May 21 May 28 Jun 04 Jun 18 Jun 25

FINISH May 02 May 09 May 16 May 30 Jun 06 Jun 13 Jun 27 Jul 04

START Jul 16 Jul 30 Aug 13 Aug 27 Sep 10 Sep 24 Oct 08 Oct 15

FINISH Jul 25 Aug 08 Aug 22 Sep 05 Sep 19 Oct 03 Oct 17 Oct 24

see more of borneo ‘Best of Borneo’ 17 days, fr $2,349 Tour Code: GAAABB

START Oct 22 Nov 05 Nov 12 Nov 19 Dec 03 Dec 10 Dec 17 Dec 31

FINISH Oct 31 Nov 14 Nov 21 Nov 28 Dec 12 Dec 19 Dec 26 Jan 09

South east asia

5 FACTS ABOUT ORANGUTANS


56

camp borneo 1 - 3 MONTHS, $2,143 fr

AT ONE WITH BORNEO

no local payment!

12 DAYS, $1,627

START & FINISH : Kota Kinabalu

fr

Fully immerse yourself in the culture of Borneo and undertake a wide range of activities from trekking through mountains and jungles, to SCUBA diving in the idyllic blue waters of the South China Sea. Work on a wide range of initiatives designed to improve the living standard of rural communities in Borneo and protect fragile wildlife habitats that will also benefit the local people. Those staying for 3 months will spend a month working on community projects in Cambodia. ABOUT THIS PROJECT Working and living alongside a rural Sabahan community will be one of the highlights of your Borneo experience. Their warmth and generosity, despite obvious hardships, is incredible. Project work will vary hugely depending on the needs and priorities of each community at any given time. Much of our work focuses on trying to improve facilities and preserve cultural heritage within communities. WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE 1 MONTH PROJECTS Key involvement in the community projects. Reforestation project and wildlife viewing along the Kinabatangan River. Visit to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. Overnight in traditional homestay. WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE 2 MONTH PROJECTS Key involvement in the community projects. Community and conservation work on Mantanani Island. Optional Scuba diving. Reforestation project and wildlife viewing along the Kinabatangan River. Jungle trekking. Visit to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. Overnight in traditional homestay. WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE 3 MONTH PROJECTS Same as 2-month program plus, community and environmental projects in Cambodia. Visit to ancient temples including Angkor Wat. Visit Killing fields and S-21. FAST FACTS AND WHAT ’S INCLUDED Basic local language lessons. Most itineraries will involve you staying in several locations as each place has a purpose which is to either support community or environmental projects, or act as home for your wildlife viewing. Accommodation: Mixture of traditional longhouses, tents & hammocks Getting there: Transfers to/from Kota Kinabalu airport are included (within set transfer times) Meals: Included; all food and safe drinking water Budget: Please allow US $120 per week In-country support: Fully staffed camp Longer stay: 2 months from USD$3088, 3 months from USD$4728 Trip Code: CAMPS

no local payment!

START & FINISH : sandakan Help restore Borneo to its original beauty and enrich the lives of the local community as well as protecting pygmy elephants. You’ll work alongside the locals and live in a simple stilt house. Best bits • Observe endangered orangutan and pygmy elephants • Engage with the local community • Work with children at the local schools • The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center Itinerary Day 1: Arrive Sandakan Transfer to your accommodation for a welcome dinner and introduction to program. Days 2–10: Volunteer work The project focuses on community work and wildlife observation to collect important data. The community and education programs involve interaction with the village community and schools. Other activities include tree planting and maintenance to connect fragmented forest and encourage healthy orangutan and pygmy elephant populations. Day 11: Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre View morning feeding session. After lunch, visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre before heading back to Sepilok. Day 12: Sandakan Transfer to Sandakan Airport. about this project As a volunteer you’ll help improve the habitat and living conditions of the wonderful Sukau wildlife. You’ll plant trees, maintain animals’ natural habitat and connect fragmented forestland to encourage healthy orangutan and pygmy elephant populations. Working with the community and local schools you’ll observe wildlife and collect data regarding the animals’ population density – an instant measure of the difference that you and volunteers like you are making. FAST FACTS AND WHAT ’S INCLUDED Accommodation: Standard single without bathroom In-Country Support: English-speaking facilitator Meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners Budget: Allow US $10-15 per day for drinks and snacks not included 2010 and 2011 Departures: Departs 5th of each month Trip code: STASDKONE Note: On this tour you will not get up close and personal with orangutans – although there is a chance that you may get a rare opportunity to see and them in the wild.

staljubljana.com


57

South east asia

singapore

• Woodlands

• Serangoon

• Katong

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

Poking my head around all the markets, admiring the ultra-modern architecture, slinking down Orchard Road stepping in and out of all the glitzy shops, eating mega seafood along the waterfront with boats bobbing in the distance, sipping cocktails in the classy bars. Yep, it was a pretty great few days for me!... Erica, Detroit $

• Singapore

• Sentosa

Currency: SINGAPORE DOLLAR Price of a beer: $6.29 Population: 5 MILLION

USEFUL INFO THE WEATHER

Similar to Malaysia’s climate - this tiny island is hot, wet, and distinctly humid and because it’s so near the equator, things pretty much stay like this throughout the year. Big woolly scarves, fur coats and legwarmers just don’t exist - what a shame!

LOCAL GRUB

There is no better airport to travel into and out of than Singapore Changi. It’s won over 280 awards in 20 years. Spacious and airy, facilities include WiFi, computer/Internet stands, recliners with large flat screen TV’s, movie theaters, showers and a gym - and all are free! There’s even a swimming pool at the adjoining hotel you can use.

USELESS INFO

The record for the biggest ever game of pass-the-parcel was set in Singapore. It involved 3,918 students removing 2,200 wrappers.

For the perfect savory late night snack, you can’t get better than Roti Prata. This delicious south Indian flat bread is perfectly topped off with a dollop of curry or a sprinkle of sugar. Unless you pride yourself on your strong constitution, stay clear of Pig’s Organ Soup. It sounds disgusting and it is disgusting.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

A Singapore Sling cocktail, first served at the ‘Long Bar’ in the Raffles Hotel, in 1915. Mix a few up before you jet off, and turn your dreams into a delicious reality when you’re out there.

080 4742


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singapore

Airport Transfer fr $15

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysmart

1 HANGOUT HOSTEL

2 metropolitan y

3 Rendezvous singapore

This is where all the fun is. The Hangout is very cool and extremely chic. Located near Little India in the heart of the city but away from the hustle and bustle. Dorms have air-con, there’s free internet, a veg-out room for pool or a movie marathon and a great rooftop bar. STA359

This nice little property has its own in house hangout - a spacious restaurant/lounge serving food throughout the day, perfect for meeting others. There’s also a pool, fitness center & free shuttle service to Orchard Road. All rooms have air-con, TV and ensuite bathrooms. STA362

Rendezvous Hotel Singapore is a fresh blend of the old with the new and the past with the future. A hotel that is sleek and sophisticated yet retains all the old-world charm and gracious style of a bygone era for you to admire. Other attractions include a Balinese inspired pool. STA353

fr fr

$36 DORM $52 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$114 SINGLE $57 twin

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

STAysimple

$207 SINGLE $104 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

NIGHT SAFARI $46 Check out the world’s first wildlife park built for visits at night. Set on 100 acres of secondary jungle, you are able to view over 1,000 nocturnal animals in vast naturalistic habitats through the use of subtle lighting techniques. STA327

fr

STAystylish

STAystylish

7 FURAMA RIVER FRONT

8 furama city centre

This hotel offers a handy free shuttle to Orchard Road and Chinatown. Recently refurbished and elegant throughout, lounge by the pool, with its sunbeds and jacuzzi. The rooms boast a huge range of amenties and overlook either the city skyline, lush greenery or the pool. STA364

Treat yourself on your Asia stopover with a stay in this newly upgraded hotel - right in the heart of vibrant Chinatown. The opulent rooms boast loads of great amenities, while the hotel facilities include a swimming pool and gym. Wannabe food critics can try the wealth of hotel eateries. STA1070

$188 SINGLE fr $94 twin/double

$188 SINGLE fr $94 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

SINGAPORE CITY TOUR half Day, fr $25 Visit the waterfront where Sir Stamford Raffles first landed; Thian Hock Kheng - a Taoist temple erected in 1821; Mount Faber - one of the city’s oldest parks in the Botanical Gardens. STA367

singapore flyer $31 At 100ft higher than the London Eye, the Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel (for now). Jump aboard and see the city from one of its 28 observation capsules. STA327

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fr


59  CHIANGI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 12km 

dates for your diary

1 tr al Ex py

january 5-16, 2011 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

Ce n

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ebar Expy ya L g Pa



NATIONAL STADIUM

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March 23-26, 2011 Asia Wine and Spirits Expo

an Kall

Se ra ng oo nR lan d Be sa r

xpy ral E Cent

Ja

d ir R Oph

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March 6-8 May, 2011 Singapore Biennale

april 1-30, 2011 Singapore International Film Festival

kwy

 RAFFLES HOTEL

oast P East C

May 13 -5 June , 2011 Singapore Arts Festival

ORCHARD ROAD SHOPPING DISTRICT

5  CHINA TOWN

July, 2011 Singapore Food Festival

8 9

August, 2011 National Day Parade

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STAysmart

4 Summer View

5 miramar hotel

6 BAYVIEW HOTEL

A modern hotel with a bright and welcoming reception. The restaurant serves delicious breakfasts, Thai and Western cuisine. Get your laundry done, surf the net in your room and take advantage of the free toiletries. If you need anything else ask at the 24-hour reception. STA361

A first-class hotel, that delivers an unequalled prime location, nestled along the Singapore River, close to Chinatown, Orchard Road and the Singapore Flyer. Choose to workout and recharge at the well-equipped gym or rejuvenate with a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool. STA353

You’ll adore the rooftop swimming pool and jacuzzi - perfect for taking in the city vistas. Other facilities include a terrace bar, restaurant and gym. All the plush rooms have A/C, satellite TV, mini-bar & safe. A great stopover choice, right in the heart of town! STA363

fr fr

$144 SINGLE $72 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$212 SINGLE $106 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$183 SINGLE $91 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

9 THE SCARLET HOTEL

10 shangri La

Singapore’s first and finest boutique hotel, both audacious and intimate and dedicated to inducing pleasure - its list of prestigious awards serve as a testimony! Enjoy the open-air jacuzzi, sensational alfresco seafood restaurant, free Internet and all the rooms amazing amenities, including the totally decadent pillow menu. The Scarlet is the personification of a personalized and unique five-star hotel experience. STA365

Set in 15 acres of luxuriant tropical gardens, the Shangri La Hotel, is consistently ranked as one of the top luxury hotels in Asia. It offers the most demanding travelers legendary hospitality in a truly tranquil resort setting. This luxury hotel comprises 750 luxury guestrooms and suites in three distinctive wings. All guests have the use of the peaceful gardens, large free-form pool and world-class dining options. STA353

l

open-air jacuzzi l cocktail bar l two restaurants l pillow menu private fitness haven l personalized check-in

fr

$242 Single

l

fr

$141double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

free-form swimming pool & jacuzzil three-hole golf l 24hr gym spa and massage l six restaurants

fr

$296 SINGLE

l

fr

$160 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

South east asia

10


60

bali

• Lovina

Bali

Tulamben •

Denpasar • Candidasa • Ubud •

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

Lombok

Kuta • Sanur • • Nusa Dua

We discovered so much amazing culture and spirituality. The Uluwata Temples were brilliant - perched atop steep cliffs, the views out to the ocean were wonderful. We watched local dancers as the sun slowly disappeared into the sea. It was all so relaxing until a couple of cheeky monkeys tried to steal my camera!... Kate, Denver $

Currency: RUPIAH Price of a beer: $1.18 Population: 3.5 MILLION

USEFUL INFO

THE WEATHER

Bali’s temperatures average 88°F all year long. High humidity occurs in the Wet Season between October - April, while the Dry Season runs from May - September.

LOCAL GRUB

All the balmy weather isn’t conducive to eating big, hearty meals. This makes Rujak the perfect way to go. It’s a refreshing sweet and sour salad with unripe fruit such as mango or papaya, mixed with sugar, chilli and salt. Tastes great, and will make you feel fab. Mix up the healthy stuff with some meditating to cleanse your soul and inner cheesy chip monster.

Bali is part of the Indonesian Achipelago and is located only a hop, skip and a jump off the eastern point of Java. While Indonesia is a mainly Muslim country, 80% of those that live in Bali are Hindu.

USELESS INFO

Balinese people have only four names. If they have a fifth child they just start the cycle over again. The firstborn is ‘Wokalayan’, the second is ‘Made’, third is ‘Nyoman’ or ‘Komang’, and fourth is ‘Ketut’.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

Hop on a surf board and perfect your wave riding skills. Bali has some of the world’s best surf beaches so you’ll want to be looking cool to attract all those surf dudes and dudettes.

staljubljana.com


61

12 DAYS, $1,299 fr

South east asia

best of bali & Lombok no local payment!

START & FINISH: sanur, bali Although these two wonderous islands are just across the sea from each other, they still remain worlds apart in their own idiosyncrasies and contrasting cultures. Bali and Lombok are both beautiful islands in their own unique way. Get involved with all aspects of these beach crazed, spiritual and fascinating places on a two-week epic adventure. Explore bubbling volcanoes, set out on amazing snorkeling opportunities, peruse the bustling local markets and relax on tiny idyllic islands. This is a 12-day adventure through the finest Southeast Asian paradise. Take a Lovina Boat Cruise, visit the Besakih Temple and the fascinating Klungkung Museum. Get active on a trek up Gunung Batur, take in spectacular views, explore mountain forests and bond with some amazing people on your way up. Munch on deliciously fresh seafood, bathe in crystal clear waters and get out and about exploring these magnificent areas. the best bits • Absorb the arty culture of Ubud • Enjoy a lovely Lovina Boat Cruise • Explore the wonders of Menjangan Island • Stay in the stunning town of Kintamani • Climb to the top of Mount Batur • Visit the beautiful Besakih temple • Laze on stunning Lombok beaches • Soak up life on the Gili Islands Day 1: Arrive Sanur Beach Arrive at any time and feel free to explore. Days 2-3: ubud Ubud is the cultural center of Balinese life. Spend your time checking out the nearby Monkey Forest, temples, rice paddies, and the famous markets in the center of town. (2B)

Days 4-5: lovina Drive towards Bali’s northern coast via the temple of Taman Ayun. In Lovina, you can start your day with a sunrise dolphin cruise. There’ll also be time to head to Menjangan Island for some fantastic snorkeling or diving. (2B) Day 6: kintamani Leave the coast and ascend the scenic slopes of Gunung Batur. Your guesthouse sits an impressive one-mile high in the town of Kintamani, providing spectacular views of the ocean below. Sip tea on top of the world. Head towards Padangbai, a coastal village surrounded by beautiful beaches. Stop at the Besakih Temple and the Klungkung Museum en route. (B) day 7: sanur Head back to the inviting sandy beaches, coral reef and amazing sunsets of Sanur Beach. (B, L) Day 8: sengiggi Today you’ll leave Bali’s clean and pleasant shores and head to the island of Lombok. Its blue-green waters will inspire you to do many things - go kayaking, snorkeling or sit by the sea enjoying a cold drink with your new-found friends. There’ll be oodles of options. (B)

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 09 Jan 23 Feb 06 Feb 20 Mar 06 Mar 20

FINISH Jan 20 Feb 03 Feb 17 Mar 03 Mar 17 Mar 31

START Apr 03 Apr 17 May 01 May 15 May 29 Jun 12 Jun 26

FINISH Apr 14 Apr 28 May 12 May 26 Jun 09 Jun 23 Jul 07

START Jul 10 Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 21 Sep 04 Sep 18 Oct 02

FINISH Jul 21 Aug 04 Aug 18 Sep 01 Sep 15 Sep 29 Oct 13

START Oct 16 Oct 30 Nov 13 Nov 27 Dec 11 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 27 Nov 10 Nov 24 Dec 08 Dec 22 Jan 05

Accommodation: Hotels/simple guesthouses (11 nts) Transport: Minibus, local bus, walking, ferry, private boats Group Size: Max 15 Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 11 breakfasts 1 lunch Budget: Allow USD$210 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAEBL

aDD ON another ISLAND ‘Java Adventure’ 9 days, fr $799 Tour Code: GAAEJA stay longer in bali Check out pages 70-75

indonesia Lovina • • Kintamani • Mt. Rinjani Ubud • Gill Meno • • Senggigi Candi Dasa • • Senaru Sanur • bali

lombok

Days 9-11: gili islands Arriving to the beach by cart, you’ll hop on a boat to the marvelous Gili Islands to spend two days relaxing, sunbathing and swimming. Gili actually means ‘island’ in the local Sasak language, so in English they’re called the ‘Island Islands’. These three tiny, yet beautiful islands are situated off Lombok’s west coast and they’re home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving around. Those who visit the Gili Islands come for the simple pleasures of sun, snorkeling and socializing. There are no cars on the island and life moves at a very slow pace. You’ll have three-nights to explore it all. (3B) Day 12: depart sanur beach Transfer back to Bali for your last night. Your trip sadly comes to an end. (B)


62

kuta beach

Airport Transfer fr $10

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysimple

1 IDA HOTEL

2 dewi sri hotel

3 bakung sari

When you’re not basking on your balcony, paddle around the pool, book yourself in for a massage, or break open a beer at the bar. And if you’re still feeling up for it, you’re only 10 minutes from Kuta’s craziest clubs! The comfortable rooms are en suite with A/C, TV and fridge. STA373

In the heart of Kuta, this luxurious yet budget hotel is a quiet oasis with a lovely pool and a swim-up bar. All rooms look onto a central garden, have private bathrooms, TV and individually controlled A/C. The staff is super friendly and serve up excellent food. STA377

Enjoy what Bali has to offer at this cozy getaway. Rooms look out onto pretty gardens with petal-strewn statues and the breakfasts are huge and fruity - both wonderful to wake up to. Clean and airy rooms come with balcony, en suite bathroom, A/C, TV, and mini-bar. STA376

fr fr

$41 SINGLE $21 twin/double

fr fr

$53 SINGLE $26 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

7 ramayan hotel

8 BOUNTY HOTEL

Tucked away in a tranquil tropical garden, its beautiful garden features various pools with cascading water falls. The well-equipped rooms are cool and contemporary. Relax your body and mind at the superb spa or fill your tummy at one of the five excellent restaurants. STA353

If you’re planning to party dusk 'til dawn then get yourself booked here. If you’re nursing a hangover, where better to recover than on a sun lounger by one of two pools? Fancy a delicious cocktail - swim up to one of the pool’s bars. Rooms have A/C, cable TV and a mini-bar. STA375

fr fr

$130 SINGLE $65 Twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$103 SINGLE $51 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$35 SINGLE $19 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


63

6

4 9

Jl. Kartika Plaza

7

hR ai Ng ura By Pas s Jl.

DOUBLE SIX Pure dance music and always a good crowd. Featuring the only night bungee jumping in the world from 2 a.m.!



KUTA Jl. Pantai Kuta

1

Rai

12

8

2

Jl. By Pass Ngurah

KUTA BEACH

10

Jl. Legian

Jl. Pantai Kuta

5



a Kuta Jl. Ray



LEGIAN

Bali Peanuts Club One of the most popular venues, the scene is young and sprinkled with locals - who all take to the huge dance floor in the cave-like interior.

3 13



Hard Rock hotel Bali’s coolest unplugged bar with live bands every night on center stage. Well recommended.

TUBAN

11

fuel Award winning two story club/ restaurant right in the heart of Kuta. One of the hottest venues with visiting DJ’s.

 INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT NGURAH RAI

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 kuta beach club

5 Bali bungalo

6 wina holiday villa

This hotel prides itself on its personal and friendly service. Enjoy the Balinese sunshine in the perfect pool while enjoying a fresh juice from the poolside bar or pamper yourself at the spa with some extra special treatments. All the excellent rooms have TV and free Internet. STA095

Stay in traditional-style accommodation among lush gardens - just two minutes from the beach! Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Throw in breakfast, a great value restaurant, an outdoor pool (that’s more like an oasis...) - and you’re as near to seventh heaven as it gets! STA096

Peace, quiet and relaxation, but still just 100 yards from Kuta Beach. This traditional Balinesestyle hotel is surrounded by a tropical garden with two large swimming pools. All the bright and cool rooms have A/C, satellite TV, mini-bar, and their very own private balconies. STA374

fr fr

$74 SINGLE $37 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Bali freedom pass FR

$120

Arrive in Bali and step into paradise, and athough it’s small, this island sure isn’t lacking on the good times and great activities. A great way of getting around this little isle of beauty is on this Freedom Pass. It does exactly what it says on the pass - hop-on, hop-off and enjoy complete flexibility of when, where, how and why. Use it over 7, 14, 21, 28 or 34 days to get out and explore the best bits. Kick back in Nusa Dua’s resort town, slip into Kuta’s colorful mayhem, get in some surfing action on Sanur’s beaches and explore Denpasar - Bali’s bustling capital. Get out and about in arty Ubud, relax and take it easy in Candidasa - named after an old temple on the nearby hillside, take the plunge with some top class diving in Tulamben and wind up in lovely Lovina where you might just spot a dolphin or two. STA097

fr fr

$39 SINGLE $21 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

inclusions • Airport transfer on arrival in Bali • 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days of unlimited travel - you can travel northbound or southbound, stopping as many times as you want. • A driver guide who will give you info along the way, point you in the right direction and answer any queries you may have. The bus operates on an ‘out and back’ basis OUT ITINERARY

BACK ITINERARY

08:00 Nusa Dua

N/A

09:00 Kuta

09.00 Lovina (depart)

10:00 Sanur

11:00 Tulamben

10:30 Denpasar

12:30 Candidasa

12:00 Ubud

14:00 Ubud

14:30 Candidasa

15:00 Denpasar

16:00 Tulamben

16:00 Sanur

18:00 Lovina (arrive)

17:00 Kuta / Nusa Dua

$61 SINGLE $30 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

South east asia

kuta’s Best bars & clubs


64

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

9 vira bali hotel

10 bali rani

11 bali dynasty

Set among a leafy tropical garden, this chic and intimate hotel is beautifully designed with superbly comfortable rooms and luxury facilities such as a pool, steak restaurant, bar, exotic spa, and more. Only a few steps away from Kuta’s excitement this a top hotel choice. STA382

A graceful hotel that exudes the mystical culture of the Balinese, but still has loads of modern comforts. Facilities include a lovely swimming pool with bar and two great restaurants. The rooms are decked out with everything including TV, mini-bar and private balcony. STA098

This stunning hotel has recently undergone a multi-million dollar makeover - it now offers six restaurants, four bars, three swimming pools, spa and gym. All the super rooms have loads of great amenities. Enjoy a drink or three at the famous Gracie Kelly’s Irish Pub STA099

fr fr

$104 SINGLE $52 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$100 SINGLE $50 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$172 SINGLE $86 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

12 hard rock hotel bali

13 the rani hotel & spa

Splash in Bali’s largest free-form swimming pool, enjoy treatments at the hotel’s luxury spa, try out the five-yard rock climbing facility or test your vocal skills at the Boom Box Recording Studio. Every room here is fit for a rock star - the walls are adorned with images, memorabilia and icons - all boast a private balcony and loads of ammenities. There’s always something going on at the various restaurants and bars within the property. STA100

This private, modern sanctuary is situated just minutes away from all the pleasures of South Kuta, but is still just a short drive from the airport. 55 beautifully designed rooms are gathered around a lagoon swimming pool. Each is stylishly decorated with clean, modern lines accentuated by Bali’s tropical culture. They all have private balconies and plenty of modern amenities. Convenient and luxurious, you’ll love this hotel. STA101

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swimming pool l spa l gym l rock climbing l swim-up pool bar four restaurants l Hard Rock Megastore l ‘Centerstage’ rock bar

fr

$179 Single

l

fr

$89 double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

elephant SAFARI full Day FR $67 For an awesome adventure, go on an elephant safari and experience a side of Bali that few visitors are lucky to see. Pass through numerous tropical fruit plantations, see Bali’s farmers and their families go about their daily lives, spy local wildlife, copious terraced rice paddies and lush forest. Enjoy a delicious three-course Balinese meal upon your return. STA327

Surfing clinic full Day FR $65 Relax on a Bali beach and study up on the sexiest skill of all - surfing! From balance, to twists and turns, you’ll learn all the boarding basics, teamed up with a gang of surfing virgins. Take your pick of a half day or full day and when you’re not riding the waves, splash around in the sea, chill out on the sand and sunbathe. STA380

l

swimming pool l massage & spa l café & bar l WiFi throughout close to the airportl three restaurants l tropical gardens

fr

$107 SINGLE

l

fr

$53 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

EAT PRAY LOVE vira Spa package 4 nights FR $265

• • • • •

4 nights at the Vira Hotel Daily American-style buffet breakfast Romantic dinner at ‘The Grill Corner’ 2 hour & 15 minute spa treatment Welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival

Enjoy a romantic and fun stay in a posh boutique hotel, just a walk away from 24 hour pumping entertainment, as well as endless stretches of pristine beach. Also part of the package is a superb few hours of indulgence that includes sea salt foot scrubs, steam treatments, Balinese massage, ‘lulur’ body scrub and body conditioning treatments. And to get your taste buds in the mood for love, a romantic fine dining evening meal for two is provided by the resort’s own gourmet restaurant! STA102


65

South east asia

legian beach

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

legian village

galaxy hotel

padma resort

Less than five minutes from Legian Beach and within walking distance from Kuta’s bars, this hotel dishes up delightful Balinese hospitality, massages and loads of poolside cocktails. The big rooms are super clean with en suite bathroom, A/C and private balcony. STA381

Just along from Legian in the cool and cosmopolitan area of Seminyak, the beach is only a five-minute walk away from the hotel. With a gorgeous tropical pool and adjoining dance club - this a very cool place to hang out. All the rooms have A/C, TV and free WiFi. STA103

A serene paradise under the dancing shadows of the renowned Legian sunset, just steps away from all the artistry of Legian Street. Spaciously set within a romantic garden landscape, facilities include a beautiful big swimming pool, luxurious spa, tennis courts, and restaurants. STA104

fr fr

$35 SINGLE $19 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$27 SINGLE $15 twin/double

fr

$116 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

jayakarta resort

niksoma

Situated in lush gardens and located right on the white sands of Legian Beach, you’ll feel utterly at peace within the relaxing grounds of this beautiful property. Each room has a private balcony as well as satellite TV, mini-bar and many other amenities. With a wealth of great facilities that include a stunning swimming pool and a range of multicultural restaurants, you could almost be excused if you never left the hotel! STA105

This stylish boutique hotel has a stunning location right on Legian Beach. The two large swimming pools on two different levels have breathtaking infinity views out to the ocean while the heavenly indulgence of the beautiful spa will leave you breathless. Relax amidst the stunning minimalist design of your well-equipped room, before you head out to the the open air restaurant for tasty delights in an uber romantic setting. STA106

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outdoor swimming pool l tennis court l gym l spa & massage pool bar l three restaurants l bicycle hire l Sunset Dream Bar

fr

$113 SINGLE

l

fr

$57 DUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

two infinity pools l outdoor jacuzzi l spa l restaurant & bar gym l sauna l boutique gallery

fr

$198 SINGLE

l

fr

$99 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


66

bali & beyond

STAysimple

STAysmart

Taman agung beach inn, sanur

diwangkara holiday villa, sanur

paradise plaza hotel, sanur

Built in Balinese-style architecture, this hotel gives vacationers a peaceful, personal atmosphere with all rooms centrally located to the swimming pool and restaurant. Rooms have A/C or fans and some boast private terraces. You’ll be just 200 yards from the beach. STA383

For a kick back kind of holiday, you can’t get much better than this. Surrounded by tropical gardens, right next to Sanur Beach, hang out by the gorgeous pool or indulge yourself in the heavenly spa. The traditional rooms feature a private terrace, satellite TV and A/C. STA107

Set around the tropical poolside garden, the rooms feature all kinds of amenities including A/C, TV and mini bar - all have private patios or balconies. Try out the waterslides at the on-site fun park, work out at the gym or unwind with a Balinese massage at the spa. STA108

fr fr

$35 SINGLE $17 twin/double

fr fr

$61 SINGLE $30 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Bali Adventure Start & finish: KUTA

Days 4-5: Lovina Drive to the north coast via the Taman Ayun temples and some stunning scenery. Start your day in Lovina with a sunrise dolphin cruise before heading over to Menjangan Island for swimming, snorkeling and diving. (2B)

• • • • •

Day 6: Kintamani Leave the coast and ascend the scenic slopes of Gunung Batur. Your guesthouse sits at an impressive one-mile high in the town of Kintamani. (B)

8 DAYS, $699 fr

no local payment!

Absorb the arty culture of Ubud Enjoy a sunrise dolphin cruise in Lovina Explore the waters off Menjangan Island Stay in the stunning town of Kintamani Visit temples and floating pavillions

Day 1: Arrive IN KUTA Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Days 2-3: Ubud Drive to Ubud, the cultural center of Balinese life. Explore the Monkey Forest, mossy temples, galleries, rice paddies, and famous market. (2B)

Day 7: sanur Travel to the sandy white beaches of Sanur - we stop and sample a typical Indonesian lunch. Day 8: DEPART KUTA Complete your adventure today. Do some last minute shopping, eating and exploring.

STAysmart

fr fr

$104 SINGLE $52 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

indonesia Lovina • • Kintamani Ubud • Candi Dasa • Sanur • bali

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 09 Jan 23 Feb 06 Feb 20 Mar 06 Mar 20

FINISH Jan 16 Jan 30 Feb 13 Feb 27 Mar 13 Mar 27

START Apr 03 Apr 17 May 01 May 15 May 29 Jun 12 Jun 26

FINISH Apr 10 Apr 24 May 08 May 22 Jun 05 Jun 19 Jul 03

START Jul 10 Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 21 Sep 04 Sep 18 Oct 02

FINISH Jul 17 Jul 31 Aug 14 Aug 28 Sep 11 Sep 25 Oct 09

START Oct 16 Oct 30 Nov 13 Nov 27 Dec 11 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18 Jan 01

Accommodation: Guesthouses/hotels (7 nts) Transport: Minibus, local bus, walking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 6 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$150-200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAEBA

add on lombok ‘Best of Bali and Lombok’ Check out page 69


67

SANUR Sanur offers a much quieter side to Bali. This is the perfect destination to watch the sunrise, as you walk along the white sandy beach. Sanur still maintains its traditional feel, with many beautiful temples close to the beach. UBUD Located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the center of the island, Ubud is one of Bali’s major arts and culture centers. This is the best place in Bali to break out of the tourist mode and get off the beaten track. NUSA DUA Home to the splendid white sands of Geger Beach, Nusa Dua is a haven of first class hotels, all set amongst beautiful scenery. This is a good choice if you are keen to be well looked after in a very safe, and luxurious environment.

STAysimple

STAystylish

STAysmart

puri garden II, ubud

furama villas & spa, ubud

ramada resort benoa, nusa dua

Housed in a typical Balinese building with red brick walls and a thatched roof, in the heart of Ubud Village. Relax at the outdoor swimming pool surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens and taste the restaurant’s Indonesian cuisine. The rooms are en suite, with A/C and TV. STA384

In a gorgeous tropical setting, you’ll feel like visiting royalty as you breeze through the stylish lobby en route to the exotic outdoor pool area. Indulge in the luxurious spa or at one of the many restaurants. The rooms are everything you expect from five-star accommodation. STA109

This tranquil resort in a small quiet fishing village is just across the road from the beach. There are two swimming pools, one directly on the beachfront, with a unique view of small fishing boats bobbing in the sea. The rooms are Balinese in style with loads of ammenities. STA110

fr fr

$41 SINGLE $21 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Discover lombok & Gili islands 6 DAYS, $629 fr

no local payment!

Start & finish: SANUR • • • • •

Get super tanned on Sengiggi Sail to the spectacular Gili Islands Snorkel and swim to your heart’s content Eat delicious fresh seafood Explore local markets and villages

Day 1: Arrive sanur Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore your own piece of tropical paradise. Be prepared to relax until you can no more.

$231 SINGLE $115 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$117 SINGLE $59 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Day 2: Sengiggi Blue-green sea and pure white sandy beaches await you on this resort island. Lap up the sunshine and get that tan topped up. Fuel up at the many cafés and restaurants. (B)

indonesia • Mt. Rinjani Ubud • Gill Meno • • Senggigi Sanur • bali

• Senaru lombok

DEPARTURES

Days 3-5: Gili islands Arriving by cart to the beach, your waiting boat will take you to the marvellous Gili Islands. You‘ll have two whole days to relax on these beautiful and isolated islands. They are home to the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Lombok. Those who come to the Gili Islands come for the simple pleasures of sun, snorkeling and socializing. There are no cars on the island and life moves at a very slow pace. (3B) Day 6: sanur Head back to Sanur. Trip ends upon arrival. (B)

START 2011 Jan 01 Jan 15 Jan 29 Feb 12 Feb 26 Mar 12

FINISH Jan 06 Jan 20 Feb 03 Feb 17 Mar 03 Mar 17

START Mar 26 Apr 09 Apr 23 May 07 May 21 Jun 04 Jun 18

FINISH Mar 31 Apr 14 Apr 28 May 12 May 26 Jun 09 Jun 23

START Jul 02 Jul 16 Jul 30 Aug 13 Aug 27 Sep 10 Sep 24

FINISH Jul 07 Jul 21 Aug 04 Aug 18 Sep 01 Sep 15 Sep 29

START Oct 08 Oct 22 Nov 05 Nov 19 Dec 03 Dec 17 Dec 31

FINISH Oct 13 Oct 27 Nov 10 Nov 24 Dec 08 Dec 22 Jan 05

Accommodation: Hotels/simple guesthouses (5 nts) Transport: Mini-bus, local bus, walking, ferry, private boats Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 5 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$115-150 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAEDL

South east asia

WHERE TO GO


68

vietnam Hanoi • Halong Bay •

• Hue Da Nang • Hoi An •

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

Nha Trang •

Bobbing around on Halong Bay in our big old junk boat was pretty spectacular. We sailed goggle-eyed through the magnificent limestone karsts. I won’t forget sitting up on deck under a star filled sky, surrounded by the distant lights of other boats, while talking about life, love and everything. I felt so at peace with the world. Sophie, San Diego • Ho Chi Minh City

$

Currency: DONG

• Chau Doc

Price of a beer: $.94 Population: 87 MILLION

USEFUL INFO

THE WEATHER Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, the weather is dictated by the Southwest Monsoon from April to September and the Northeast Monsoon from October to late March. The southwest monsoon warms up the Mekong through Saigon and much of the coastal strip. The northeast monsoon affects the North, making it rather chilly in Hanoi, Ha Long, Sapa, and the coastal section south of Hue.

LOCAL GRUB

Get your mouth around some world class hot and steamy coffee, spring rolls, excellent seafood - lobster grilled on the side of the road and prawns that really are king. There’s a wealth of noodles and curries and a great little thing called Pho - beef noodle soup. And you’ve just got to try the local draught beer at about $.94 a glass.

Watch out for your chopstick positioning - leaving them sitting vertically in a rice bowl makes them look very much like the incense sticks that are burned for the dead. It’s a powerfull sign and not appreciated anywhere in Asia.

USELESS INFO

In Vietnam, women wear masks and long gloves. Nothing to do with religion or pollution here, it’s to make sure they stay white (tan is considered low class).

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

This beautiful country was for so long defined by the terrible war it fought with just about everyone from 1955 to 1975. For a graphic and moving portrayal of American involvement in this struggle you have to watch Oliver Stone’s masterpiece, ‘Platoon’.

staljubljana.com


69

15 DAYS, $1,199 fr

hanoi

South east asia

best of vietnam no local payment!

ho chi minh city

Motorized mayhem, excellent food, amazingly cheap beer, fascinating history, terrific temples, and stunning landscape are just some of the wonderful things you’ll come across in this beautiful and fantastic country. Travel the lesser-known routes over the next two weeks and get involved with the local way of life. Stay with a family along the Mekong River Delta, get into farming country up north and marvel at the beautiful terraced, bright green landscape. Watch the traditional pointy cone-shaped hats bob around markets in Hue and Hoi An and delight in the world-class food that you just won’t find back home, no matter how good the imitation. Get your lips, taste-buds and boggling eyes working overtime as you explore the unique entities that this country has to offer. Many a person’s favorite destination, once they realize just how much it’s worth exploring. the best bits • Visit Hanoi’s ancient tombs and temples • Graze the green fields of Sapa • Sail a wooden junk on Halong Bay • Absorb mystifying culture in Hue • Get creative in colorful Hoi An • Try delicious Vietnamese dishes • Get under Ho Chi Minh City’s skin • Cruise the awesome Mekong Delta Day 1: arrive hanoi Arrive in Hanoi at any time. Navigate the moped filled streets and grab some delicious Vietnamese local dishes. Day 2: hanoi Wander the vibrant Old Quarter, take in the historic museums, make friends with a meditating monk on the side of a beautiful lake and drink some really cheap draught beer. Is there anything more to life? (B)

Days 3-5: sapa Take in the spectacular scenery of the steep rice terraces and lush green hills as you walk through the villages of Vietnam’s colorful hill tribe villages. Perfect for pretty pictures. (B, L, D) Days 6-7: halong bay Sail through limestone Karst Islands, explore huge caves and swim in secluded bays as you travel through Halong Bay on a traditional ‘junk’ boat. A definite Vietnam highlight. (B, L, D) Day 8: hue Stroll past ponds covered with deep pink lotus buds, mossy statues and red lacquered pavilions in the palaces and garden tombs of Vietnam’s last imperial court. Sit back to watch bronzecasters go about their work, fashioning Buddha statues and ceremonial wares. Days 9-11: hoi an Delight in the bright blues, pinks and yellows of this former trading port’s French colonial homes, tucked in between wooden shop-houses, pagodas and Chinese communal houses. Make your own jewel-toned silk lantern that turn the streets into a light show or get creative in one of the numerous tailor shops. (3B)

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 07 Jan 09 Jan 16 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 20

FINISH Jan 16 Jan 21 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 03

START Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26

FINISH Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jul 03 Jul 10

START Jul 03 Jul 10 Jul 17 Jul 24 Jul 31 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 02

FINISH Jul 17 Jul 24 Jul 31 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16

START Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25 Jan 01 Jan 08

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (8 nts), sleeper train (3 nts), junk boat (1nt), basic family homestay (2nts) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, boat, cyclo, plane Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$200 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVBV

• Sapa Hanoi • • Halong Bay

• Hue

thailand

laos

• Hoi An

vietnam

• Ho Chi Minh City • Mekong Delta

stay longer in HANOI Check out page 81

080 4742

Day 12: ho chi minh city Discover the infectious energy of Vietnam’s biggest city, with its open air music concerts, blinking neon lights, and overflowing markets. Check out the interesting War Remnants Museum and send a postcard from the pretty, French colonial-style post office. (B) Day 13: mekong delta Travel to Ben Tre where the mighty Mekong River splits into a labyrinth of channels and islands and the only transportation is by boat. Seek out the local cottage industries of this area and stay overnight with a local family, soaking in more of southern Vietnam’s fascinating culture. (B,D) Day 14: ho chi minh city Return to Ho Chi Minh City for some last minute shopping and sightseeing and best of all eating! Have a great last night out out with your fellow travelers at one of Ho Chi Minh City’s infinite traveler friendly bars. (B) Day 15: depart ho chi minh city Time to say a sad goodbye and depart at any time, dreaming of your next adventure. (B)


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roam vietnam

classic vietnam

12 DAYS, $849

10 DAYS, $999

fr

HO CHI MINH CITY • • • • •

no local payment!

fr

HANOI

hanoi

Lose yourself in the mesmerizing markets of Ho Chi Minh City Bask on the beautiful beaches along the Nha Trang coast Wander the colorful and picturesque tailored streets of Hoi An Enjoy a magical Halong Bay boat cruise Explore the buzzing streets and culture of vibrant Hanoi

• • • • •

no local payment!

ho chi minh city

Absorb the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s moped filled streets Enjoy an amazing Halong Bay boat cruise Explore ancient Vietnamese culture in the surroundings of Hue Get creative in Hoi An, amid quaint colonial homes Peruse the crazy and colorful Ho Chi Minh City markets

Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City Arrive at any time and feel free to explore. Check out the war museum.

Day 1: arrive hanoi Arrive in Hanoi at any time and set out exploring.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Lose yourself in the maze of Ho Chi Minh City’s central markets. (B)

Days 2-3: halong bay Rest your eyes on the azure waters of this magical bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the sea. (2B, L, D)

Days 3-4: Nha Trang Sit on the beach soaking up the sun and opt to go snorkeling, or diving. Days 5-6: Hoi An Wander the 16th century streets and lose yourself in a tailor’s shop.(B) Days 7-8: Hue Reflect upon ancient culture and explore the riverside garden tombs built for Vietnam’s last emperors or take a motorbike into the countryside. (2B) Day 9: Halong Bay / Bai Chai Harbor Float through the islands that dot this emerald bay on a traditional junk. (L)

Day 4: hue Stroll past ponds covered with deep pink lotus buds, mossy statues and red lacquered pavilions. Explore the palaces and garden tombs of Vietnam’s last imperial court. Sit back watching bronze-casters go about their work, creating Buddha statues and ceremonial wares for Hue’s many shrines. Days 5-7: hoi an Wander through the colorful colonial homes, tucked in between wooden shop-houses, pagodas, and Chinese communal houses. Make your own silk lanterns that turn the streets into a light show after dark. (3B)

Days 10-11: Hanoi Pray with monks at a lakeside pagoda and explore the Old Quarter. (2B)

Days 8-9: ho chi minh city Discover the infectious energy of Vietnam’s biggest city, with its open air music concerts, blinking neon lights and overflowing markets. (2B)

Day 12: depart Hanoi Your adventure ends on Day 12. Leave the hustle and bustle any time (B).

Day 10: depart ho chi minh city Your trip sadly comes to an end. Say your goodbyes and depart. (B)

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

MON, TUE, WED, THU, SAT, SUN TUE, THU, SAT, SUN

Accommodation: Simple hotels/guesthouses (8 nts), sleeper train (3 nts) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, walking, boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 7 breakfasts,1 lunch Budget: Allow USD$180 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVRV

INCLUDE CAMBODIA ‘Roam Cambodia and Vietnam’ 20 days, fr $1,549 Tour Code: GAATCV STAY LONGER IN HANOI Check out page 81

Hanoi • • Halong Bay

TUE, THU, SAT THU, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels (7 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) junk boat (1nt) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, boat, cyclo, plane Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD$150 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVCH

• Hue • Hoi An vietnam

• Nha Trang

STAY LONGER IN HO CHI MINH Check out page 80

Hanoi • • Halong Bay

• Hue

laos

• Hoi An vietnam

• Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi Tunnels • • Ho Chi Minh City


71

South east asia


72

ho chi minh city

Airport Transfer fr $25

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

EMPRESS saigon

CHANCERY saigon

RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE HOTEL

This intimate, little hotel exudes friendliness and is well located in District 1. It boasts some upscale touches like terra cotta tile and marble. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, gym, and Internet. Rooms are clean and well decorated, and boast en suites, A/C, TV and a safe. STA388

Situated in a central location just opposite the Tao Dan Garden, the Chancery lives up to its swanky sounding name. All rooms have a separate bedroom and sitting room area with TV, private bathroom and A/C. Facilities include a gym, sauna, restaurant, bar, and Internet. STA389

This spectacular hotel enjoys incredible views of the Saigon River. Take a dip in the rooftop pool, run around in the gym or enjoy a dinner at Kabin, known as one of the finest Chinese restaurants in the city. The beautiful rooms feature luxurious bedding and plenty of great amenities. STA111

fr fr

$57 SINGLE $29 twin/double

fr fr

$67 SINGLE $33 twin/double

fr

$89 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

welcome pack

MEKONG DISCOVERY

ho chi minh city discovery

full Day, fr $39 Escape to the lush fields and canals of the Mekong Delta. Cruise through waterways, into an island studded with tropical gardens, try local fruit and catch some traditional music. STA390

full Day, fr $35 Experience authentic Ho Chi Minh City. Explore ancient pagodas and beautiful colonial architecture, wander the lively streets of Chinatown, dive into noisy markets to strike bargains with the locals, feast on delicious traditional food, see war relics at the impressive, yet sobering War Remnants Museum, and indulge in the sights dotting downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

3 nights • • • • •

fr

$186

3 nights two-star hotel (incl. breakfast) Walking tour Cu Chi Tunnels tour Home cooking lesson (incl. dinner) Arrival airport transfer

This fantastic package delivers a lovely intro to Ho Chi Minh City. Accommodation is included as well as loads of brilliant experiences. Enjoy an exhilarating walking tour of the city’s big sights, and then go to a local bia hoi for a delicious dinner. On Day 2 you’ll take a brilliant tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels, absorbing their fascinating history. On your final day, tour the markets with a local before heading back to their house for a cooking lesson & dinner with the family. STA395 Please note: Extra nights can be booked at time of reservation.

TEMPLES AND TUNNELS full Day, fr $49 Visit the amazing Cao Dai Temple before heading to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Marvel at the ingenuity of the people who lived inside and give squeezing into them yourselves a go! STA391

cyclos and markets half Day, fr $18 Whiz past Tao Dan Park en route to the War Remnants Museum then pedal past the Reunification Palace. Tour Notre Dame Cathedral before a final stop at Ben Thanh Market. STA392

staljubljana.com

STA394

vietnam rail travel fr

$295

Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang - Da Nang - Hue - Hanoi

Travel between Vietnam’s best destinations by train and watch the world drift by your window. See page 107 for more info!


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South east asia

hanoi

Airport Transfer fr $40

STAystylish

STAysimple

STAysmart

intercontinental westlake

hanoi astoria

HANOI LUXOR HOTEL

Built entirely over the serene waters of West Lake and adjacent to the famous 800-year-old Golden Lotus Pagoda, this is Hanoi’s newest first class hotel. Facilities include a state of the art gym, outdoor pool, spa, and a couple of tasty restaurants. The rooms are simply superb. STA112

In the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, this lovely little hotel is simply furnished but offers just what a weary traveler needs. Each of the 25 rooms have polished hardwood floors, and facilities include A/C satellite TV, mini bar and that all important hair-dryer. STA113

Centrally situated in the Hanoi Old Quarter, with its grandiose turn-of-the century French architecture, this opulent and intimate hotel ticks every single box. Some of the rooms have balconies, while all feature TV, CD/DVD player, A/C, high speed Internet, safe, and mini-bar. STA397

fr

$109 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$38 SINGLE $19 twin/double

hanoi grand view hotel From the beautifully lit lobby to the tennis courts and sparkling outdoor pool, the Grand View has been recently remolded to show its true, vibrant colors. With exotic fresh flowers, the rooms boast just about everything including a funky whirl-pool bath. Located in the Old Quarter. STA114 fr

$29 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$58 SINGLE $32 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

welcome pack

halong bay

4 days

STAysmart

fr fr

• • • • •

fr

$169

3 nights accommodation + breakfast Local English speaking guide Tour of the city’s main sights & sounds Three-hour boat trip along the Boi River Inclusive transfers from Hanoi airport

Check out this awesome intro to exotic and historic Hanoi. Take a ‘back alley’ tour through the winding maze of the Old Quarter, drink local beer in a traditional ‘bia hoi’, try the amazing Vietnamese coffee and get some basic language lessons. Visit the city’s top sites including a partially submerged B52 bomber and tombs that date from 1009 AD. You’ll also take a trip to peaceful Hoa Lu where you’ll visit ancient sanctuaries and tombs and enjoy a three hour boat trip up the Boi River. STA1004

3 days fr $246 • • • • • •

2 nights in authentic bamboo huts Sail on a traditional junk boat Splash around in kayaks Rock climbing 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners Return transfers from Hanoi

Get out of Hanoi and experience the outrageous natural beauty of Cat Ba Island National Park in Halong Bay. Go on a rock climbing adventure (suitable for beginners to experienced climbers) and take a sunset boat trip to the eco paradise of Nam Cat Island, where you’ll stay in simple bamboo huts and have a BBQ dinner on the beach. On your final day board a traditional Junk and go kayaking in secluded lagoons before returning to Hanoi in the late afternoon. STA1003


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vietnam beaches

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

asia paradise hotel, nha trang

novotel, nha trang

pandanuS resort, mui ne beach

Ideally located in the heart of the city and only a short walk from the white sandy beach. This brand new, chic hotel offers you comfort and luxury at an affordable price. All the super modern rooms have private bathrooms, A/C, satellite TV, and a mini bar. STA115

Just a stones throw away from the most pristine beaches in Vietnam - this modern hotel boasts comfortable rooms, each with a terrace and spectacular sea views. Relax by the pool, soak up the sun, sip a cocktail or dine at the restaurant with stunning views of the bay. STA116

Situated a short distance from the small fishing village of Mui Ne, this luxurious resort is set in lush tropical gardens surrounded by untouched white beaches and coconut trees. This retreat offers lovely rooms, restaurant, bar, tennis court, large pool, and spa. STA117

fr fr

$71 SINGLE $36 twin/double

fr

$81 twin/double

fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr

$82 SINGLE $41 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

sunrise beach hotel & spa, nha trang

vedana lagoon resort & spa, huĂŠ

This gorgeous resort is the only colonial-style built hotel in Nha Trang, located in the heart of the city, steps from the beach and within walking distance to all the action. This five-star boutique property boasts seafront balcony rooms with gorgeous views of Nha Trang Bay - which is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. For an extra dollop of indulgence check out the treatments offered at the opulent spa. STA121

Nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon this resort is ideally situated between the two cities well known for the world heritage sites HuĂŞ and Hoi An. Each villa occupies its own section of landscaped garden, with mountain and lagoon views. The rooms offer a trendy interior design and outdoor shower - perfect for those who want to relax and take in this picturesque landscape. STA122

l

outdoor swimming pool l jacuzzi l pool bar l gym l spa three restaurants l Irish pub l panoramic sky lounge l tennis court

fr

$152 Single

l

fr

$76 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l swimming pool l luxurious spa l gym l two restaurants l steam room l bicycle rental l sauna l lounge and bar fr

$329 Single

fr

$164 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


75

NHA TRANG This coastal city is renowned for its pristine white sandy beaches and scuba diving. Mui Ni beach Surrounded by red sand dunes, isolated beaches, and a traditional fishing village. hoi an The old town is declared a World Heritage site and home to numerous art and craft shops, and tailors. da nang This backpacker-friendly coastal city is a must stop for the budget traveler. Hue Discover the heroic history of the Vietnamese in this ancient city.

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

thuy duong 3 hotel, hoi an

victoria beach resort, hoi an

furama, da nang

Situated in the center of Hoi An, a charming 15th century town - this hotel is an ideal place for visiting all the sites. It offers all the modern comforts with impressively designed rooms with A/C, satallite TV, mini bar, en suite bathroom, and an outdoor pool. STA118

This beachfront resort provides everything you need for rest and relaxation. All the rooms combine the elegence of Japanese and Vietnamese local handicraft and sea or riverside views. Indulge yourself with a herbal massage in the lovely spa or just chill out by the pool. STA119

This idyllic retreat rests on the world famous Bac My An Beach. Each room features a spacious private balcony with a view of the ocean or a fresh water swimming lagoon or garden. Whether you want to play beach volleyball or dine in the restaurant, it’s an unforgettable place. STA120

fr

$24 twin/double

fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$96 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$244 SINGLE $135 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

pilgrimage village boutique resort, hue This boutique hotel is set in a quiet countryside, in a rustic village setting, surrounded by lush, tranquil gardens and close to famous historical landmarks. This beautifully decortated five-star resort features unique colonial style rooms with private balconies over looking the Vietnamese countryside. Enjoy a welcome drink upon arrival, two delightful restaurants, outdoor pool and luxurious spa and jacuzzi. STA123 outdoor swimming pool l plunge pool l spa l extensive gym l jacuzzi l two restaurants l two bars l handicraft house

l

fr

$157 SINGLE

fr

$76 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

South east asia

where to go


76

cambodia & laos Laos • Luang Prabang • Vang Vieng

• Vientiane

• Thakhek

• Pakse

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

Laos is the happiest place on Earth, and there is no better way to spend your time than tubing. A massive rubber ring, a huge river, great company, and loads of beer. Floating down stunning waterways in the sweltering sunshine, loading up at the various bars with fellow revelers. There was one wild guy who had been doing this every day for the past year. Alex, Cleveland

• Don Det • Angkor Wat Siem Reap •

cambodia

• Phnom Penh

$

Currency: CAMBODIA REI LAOS KIP Sihanoukville •

Price of a beer: CAMBODIA $1.10 LAOS $.87 Population: CAMBODIA 14 MILLION LAOS 6.3 MILLION

THE WEATHER

Laos and Cambodia have very similar climates. There’s a single rainy season during the south monsoon between May and September, with the rain showers being short and intense in between bright and beautiful weather. In the southern and central parts of Indochina, temperatures remain high throughout the year, but in the north there is a definite cooler season as the north monsoon brings colder air from central China.

LOCAL GRUB

A legacy of the French is the baguette, which the Cambodians often eat with pâté, tinned sardines or eggs. One of these with a cup of strong coffee, sweetened with condensed milk, is a perfect Cambodian breakfast!

USEFUL INFO

Buy your day ticket for Angkor Wat after 6 p.m. - it will be valid for the following day, but you’re also allowed in that evening. This means you can check out the amazing sunset for free and then see it again from a different temple. Two sunsets for the price of one!

USELESS INFO

Due to the turmoil of the revolution, Cambodians don’t know their own birthdays and individual celebrations don’t exist. To keep track of their age they coincide their birthday with the Asian New Year - every April. So everyone turns one year older and celebrates together!

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

‘First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers’ by Loung Ung - a great book for a chilling insight into Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and the terrifying effects it had on the people of Cambodia.


77

South east asia

cambodia & laos mekong adventure 15 DAYS, $1,699 fr

no local payment!

start & finish: bangkok Take a tip from us and embrace the chance to trace your way along much of the Mekong River route on an adventure that’ll leave you dizzy with sheer wonderment and excitement. You’ll get the chance to explore the incredible, sacred and scenic highlights of Laos and Cambodia. Delve into these two fascinating countries in far flung places, well away from our betterknown western domesticities. You’ll stumble upon busy markets, a wealth of locally-spun stunning textiles, tranquil temples, and awesome Khmer ruins. Your trip will be topped off at the beautiful and mystifying Angkor Wat temple complex, where you’ll wander around in the company of a local guide - living, sleeping and breathing the experience. And with activities like spotting rare river dolphins, and/or eating furry eight-legged friends (yes really!) you’ll soon get to know the natural and living surroundings. Expect the unexpected! the best bits • Abound in Bangkok’s vibrant colors • Marvel at the magnificent Angkor Wat • Discover Cambodia’s riverside capital • Look for River Dolphins on the Mekong • Explore Khmer Temples and history • Try lao-lao, the fiery national drink • Admire beautiful lush green scenery • Cycle around pretty green Vang Vieng Day 1: arrive bangkok Arrive into Bangkok at any time and wander around this vibrant, busy city. DAYs 2-3: SIEM REAP Explore Indochina’s most incredible and historic site - the vast temple-palace complex of Angkor, capital of the Khmer Empire. Rediscovered at the end of the last century by French explorers this vast ruined city is becoming one of Asia’s most popular sites. (2B)

Day 4-5: PHNOM PENH Travel to Cambodia’s riverside capital. Explore this pleasant city of cafés, shady streets and thriving markets full of vibrant textiles and curios. Kick back with a beer at one of the riverside bars and watch a beautiful sunset. (B) Day 6: KRATIE / STEUNG TRENG Rise and shine nice and early for a morning trip to Kratie. Pass through Skuon, a small town famous for its delicious edible spiders. Grab one at your tastebuds’ peril! In Kratie, opt to try and spot the rare Irrawaddy River Dolphins that inhabit this part of the Mekong. (B) Day 7: DON KHONG An island stay in the heart of Si Phan Don (4000 Islands), one of the most beautiful stretches of the Mekong. Complete with rice fields, small villages and ancient wats, it’s wonderfully scenic and perfect for cycling. It’s also famous for brewing lao-lao - a very fiery national drink! Day 8: CHAMPASAK & DONG DENG Travel to the quiet riverside town of Champasak, once capital of a Lao Kingdom and visit Wat Phu Champasak along the way - one of the most important and impressive archaeological sites in Laos. Stay with the locals tonight on Dong Deng.

DayS 9-11: LUANG PRABANG Luang Prabang is undoubtedly the “Jewel of Laos”, a peaceful riverside town of temples, textiles, cafés and bakeries. Discover Laos’ Buddhist and architectural heritage, watch the sun set over the horizon or rise at dawn to watch the monks collecting food. Take a songthaew to the Kuang Sii Waterfalls. (2B) DayS 12-13: VANG VIENG A scenic drive through winding mountains will take you to the picturesque town of Vang Vieng. Nestled along the Nam Song River and surrounded by limestone karsts. Watch the sunset over the river, cycle or walk to explore the many caves in the region. Day 14: VIENTIANE Scour the morning market for souvenirs, count the Buddha images in Wat Si Saket or chill out with a Beer Lao in one of the many riverside stilt restaurants. Cross the “Friendship Bridge” back into Thailand to board the train to Bangkok. (B) Day 15: DEPART BANGKOK Arrive back into Thailand’s busy capital. Your trip will end on arrival at Bangkok Railway Station.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20 Feb 27

FINISH Jan 16 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 06 Mar 13

START Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 10 Apr 24 May 08 May 22

FINISH Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 24 May 08 May 22 Jun 05

START Jun 05 Jun 19 Jul 03 Jul 17 Jul 31 Aug 14 Aug 28 Sep 11

FINISH Jun 19 Jul 03 Jul 17 Jul 31 Aug 14 Aug 28 Sep 11 Sep 25

START Sep 25 Oct 09 Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18

FINISH Oct 09 Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18 Jan 01

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (12 nts), basic family homestay (1 nt), sleeper train (1nt) Transport: Private bus, local bus, plane, boat, sleeper train Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 7 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATCM

stay longer in BANGKOK Check out pages 36-39

Luang Prabang • • Vang Vieng Vientiane • thailand

laos

• Champasak • Dhon Khong • Angkor Wat • Siem Reap Bangkok • • Kratie Battambang • • Phnom Penh cambodia


78

stray bus Laos is how Southeast Asia used to be 40 years ago - organic, natural and relatively untouched by western ways. Stray will get you up close and personal with the culture, ethinicities, traditions and amazing scenery of this beautiful country. Check out the maps and pick the route that suits you best.

do things along the way Visit the Plain of Jars in Phonsavan and check out the Hintang Archeological Park in BanTao Hin for an Asian Stonehenge experience. Time is built in to partake in the iconic tubing in Vang Vieng without having to miss a day on your trip.

• • • •

unique stops and activities No one goes where Stray goes. Pioneering the Lao landscape will be a daily occurrence! On Stray you will have done more than anyone would have thought possible; elephant riding, silk weaving, multi-day treks to villages that are so off the beaten track they aren’t even on the map!

Unique stops and activities Hop-on and hop-off at your own pace Local guides with expert knowledge Like-minded adventurous travelers

flexible and independent travel Choose your Stray route and hop on, and off, the bus where you choose. Timetables on the Stray Asia website keep you fully informed on where and when to pick up the next bus. Bookings for the next part of your journey are also online, book the day before you travel, or at earliest possible date during the busy season, November to March. You can travel the rail sectors at your own leisure with or without a guide. All passes are valid for 12 months from your first day of travel. transport Stray has their own orange buses throughout Laos, but be prepared to take on any form of transport. You will be on boats, trains and tuk tuks where needed (see the blue box on the page opposite). For extra tuk tuk rides, optional activities and attraction entries (museums, caves, waterfalls) you will need about USD $5 cash per day.

immersed in the culture Sample everything from sticky rice to Beer Lao. Getting food from the local markets puts money straight back into the community and gets you the freshest food. Visiting more wats (temples) than you can say “what’s that?” at will give you a superb insight into the Buddhist religion and monk lifestyle. accommodation Stray will reserve accommodation for you, local guesthouses in most stops. The prices range from $5(USD) for a shared room to $24(USD) for a twin or double. Tents are available if the unexpected happens!

The best people Stray doesn’t attract an age group – they attract an attitude; one of exploration, openmindedness and trailblazers. This goes for the crew as well as you. The crew (both western and Lao) are prepared for an awesome cultural experience. All the guides are trained together so that the western guides have intimate knowledge about the Lao culture and the Lao guides know about western culture. save by getting off the beaten track Traveling on Stray you will save money on everything. In Laos and Thailand numbers matter and as a group you will get better value than if you were traveling alone for both activities and accommodation. Stray has worked out the best routes and timetables so you can save time by knowing where you are going while not wasting anytime working out how to get there. travel responsibly Stray uses new mini-coaches for lower emissions. They train all their guides to respect the culture and environment and to educate travelers to have this same respect. They use eco-friendly local guides who will take you further off the beaten track. You’ll be directed to local markets and shown where you can buy fair trade goods (the best coffee and weaving in the world) so that the local people are justly rewarded.


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START & FINISH: BANGKOK MINIMUM DAYS: 17 (INCLUDES FREE DAY IN CHIANG MAI) FR $876

the ping pong START & FINISH: BANGKOK MINIMUM DAYS: 9 FR $457

the tom yum START & FINISH: BANGKOK MINIMUM DAYS: 10 FR $557

You won’t be traveling on the big orange Stray bus on the following routes: BANGKOK - CHIANG MAI Guided rail route / local transport i

X

Communist caves

CHIANG MAI - CHIANG KHONG Guided local bus route

Natural hot (spring) showers

PHONESAVAN

Plain of Jars

Muang Khoun

NONG KHIAW - LUANG PRABANG Guided long boat river route PAKSE - BANGKOK Unguided rail route / local transport

the dtui noy HUAY XAI - DON DET MINIMUM DAYS: 12 FR $677

the phone noy VIENTIANE - DON DET MINIMUM DAYS: 7 FR $363

the BOUN noy HUAY XAI - VIENTIANE MINIMUM DAYS: 5 FR $332

LONG THAANG

LUANG PRABANG - LUANG PRABANG MINIMUM DAYS: 5 FR $332

BANGKOK - VIENTIANE Unguided rail route / local transport

South east asia

the full moon


80

discover cambodia

cambodia experience 9 DAYS, $979 fr

ho chi minh city • • • • •

7 DAYS, $949 fr

no local payment!

no local payment!

START & FINISH: bANGKOK

bangkok

Discover the rich and green river world of the Mekong Delta Visit the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge Prison at Tuol Sleng Witness a stunning sunrise over the amazing Angkor Wat Discover ancient Khmer history and explore deserted temples Head out for a wild night in the bars of Bangkok

Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at any time and go explore! Day 2 Mekong Delta Day Trip The lush green serpentine waterways of the Mekong Delta are a thriving center of cottage industries, floating markets and fertile orchards. (B) Days 3-4: Phnom Penh Witness the darker side of Cambodian history before exploring the cafés, tree-lined streets and thriving markets. (2B) Day 5-7 Siem Reap / Angkor Wat After a short flight to Siem Reap, explore Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer Kingdom and one of the wonders of the world. Visit the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat, the enigmatic Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm, also known as the ‘Tomb Raider’ temple. (2B) Day 8 Bangkok Arrive in Bangkok in time to head out for drinks and a farewell meal. (B)

• • • • •

Take a road trip across Thailand and into Cambodia Marvel at the amazing sunrise over Angkor Wat Explore countless temples and discover Khmer history Visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison Witness the site of the infamous Killing Fields at Choeng Ek

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive into Bangkok at any time and head out exploring. Days 2-4: Siem Reap Leave early for the four-hour road trip to the Cambodian border. After the border formalities are complete, you’ll continue through spectacular scenery to the small, relaxed town of Siem Reap - the gateway for exploring the former capital of the Khmer Kingdom, Angkor. The Khmer Empire gave rise to one of the world’s finest artistic heritages. At the Empire’s peak in the 12th century, Khmer civilization culminated in the construction of the massive Angkor Wat, one of Asia’s most incredible sites - a tantalizing blend of Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture. (3B) Days 5-6: Phnom Penh Take an early flight to Phnom Penh where you’ll witness the darker side of Cambodian history with visits to Choeng Ek, the site of the infamous Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng prison, the notorious Khmer Rouge Prison where thousands of Cambodians perished. Other options include visits to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda or the National Museum. Finish the day with a sunset drink at one of the many riverside café’s. (2B)

Day 9 Depart Bangkok Say goodbye to your group before heading on to your next adventure! (B)

Day 7: Depart Bangkok Fly back to Bangkok where your tour will end at around midday upon arrival at the airport. Say goodbye to your group.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 16 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 20 Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 20

WED, FRI, SUN FRI, SUN

Accommodation: Hotels (8 nts) Transport: Local bus, A/C, bus, walking, plane, cyclo Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 7 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$170-225 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVCW

thailand

ADD ON VIETNAM ‘Essential Vietnam & Cambodia’

Check out page 23

vietnam

• Angkor Wat • Siem Reap Bangkok • • Phnom Penh • Ho Chi Minh cambodia • Mekong Delta

FINISH Jan 08 Jan 22 Jan 29 Feb 05 Feb 12 Feb 26 Mar 12 Mar 19 Mar 26

START Apr 03 Apr 17 May 15 May 29 Jun 12 Jun 26 Jul 10 Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 21

FINISH Apr 09 Apr 23 May 21 Jun 04 Jun 18 Jul 02 Jul 16 Jul 30 Aug 13 Aug 27

START Sep 04 Sep 18 Oct 16 Oct 30 Nov 13 Nov 27 Dec 11 Dec 25

FINISH Sep 10 Sep 24 Oct 22 Nov 05 Nov 19 Dec 03 Dec 17 Dec 31

Accommodation: Guesthouses/ Hotels (6 nts) Transport: Private Bus, plane, walking, tuk tuk Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 5 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$135-175 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATDC

STAY LONGER IN BANGKOK Check out pages 36-39

thailand

Bangkok •

Angkor Wat • • Siem Reap cambodia

• Phnom Penh vietnam


81

South east asia

ROAM CAMBODIA

ROAM laos

10 DAYS, $799

12 DAYS, $999

fr

BANGKOK • • • • •

no local payment!

fr

HO CHI MINH CITY

HANOI

Witness the wonders and sheer brilliance of Angkor Wat Visit the war-torn emotional Cambodian Killing Fields Enjoy the amazing sunsets and seafood in Sihanoukville Discover the rich and green river world of the Mekong Delta Lose yourself in the mesmerizing markets of Ho Chi Minh City

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok Arrive at any time and feel free to explore. Take a tuk tuk to the markets. Days 2-3: Siem Reap/Angkor Wat Head onwards to Siem Reap, where you’ll explore the temples and palaces of the vast Angkor complex - one of Asia’s most incredible sites. (2B, 1D) Days 4-5: Phnom Penh Absorb the spectacular scenery as you journey by local bus to this pleasant riverside city. Take a walking tour and check out the colorful cafés, shady streets and thriving markets full of vibrant textiles. (2B) Days 6-7: Sihanoukville Reach Cambodia’s coast and Sihanoukville’s beaches. Join a boat trip for snorkeling and seafood on an uninhabited island, or relax as the sun sets. Day 8: Chau Doc/ Mekong Delta Cross the Vietnamese border into the Mekong Delta. Absorb the green river world of orchards, rice fields, floating markets, and cottage industries. (B) Days 9-10: Ho Chi Minh City What was once a sleepy Khmer trading and fishing port is now a hub of activity. There are endless possibilities for eating, shopping, sightseeing and nightlife! Your trip regretfully finishes on the morning of Day 10. (2B)

• • • • •

Days 1-2: Arrive Hanoi / lac sao Arrive into Hanoi and explore. On Day 2 journey through scenic mountains to Lac Sao. Unearth exotic markets and watch the locals play petanque. Day 3: Vientiane A capital with an eclectic French/Lao blend, riverside cafés & temples. (B) Day 4: Vang Vieng See limestone scenery, cycle to villages or float down river in a rubber tube. Days 5-7: Luang Prabang A town full of history, rich culture, coffee houses and textiles. (2B) Day 8: Mekong River/ Pakbeng Cruise through jungle covered hills to Pakbeng - an ethnic minority town. Day 9: Chiang Kong Continue by slow boat and cross into Chiang Kong, a riverside Thai town. Day 10: Chiang Mai Drive through the hills to Chiang Mai, a city of temples and Lanna culture. Days 11-12: Bangkok You’ll have time to explore before your trip ends on Day 12. (B)

DEPARTURES

2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

Accommodation: Simple hotels (7 nts), simple beach bungalows (2 nts) Transport: Local bus, aircon bus, walking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 Dinner Budget: Allow USD$140 for meals not included Tour Code: GAATRC

TUE, WED, THU, FRI, SAT, SUN TUE, WED, FRI, SUN

Accommodation: Hotels (10 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, walking, cyclo, slow boat Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: Meals: 4 breakfasts included Budget: Allow USD$180 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAVRL

thailand

add on VIETNAM ‘ROAM VIETNAM’ Check out page 78

BANGKOK

Mingle with the locals in Lac Sao and watch a stunning sunset Get off the beaten track and go tubing in Vang Vieng Absorb Luang Prabang’s rich history and vibrant atmopshere Take a slow boat down the Mekong exploring riverside towns Get into Chiang Mai’s temples and fascinating Lanna culture

DEPARTURES MON, TUE, WED, FRI, SAT, SUN MON, WED, FRI, SAT

no local payment!

vietnam

• Angkor Wat • Siem Reap • Phnom Penh cambodia • Ho Chi Minh Sihanoukville • • Chau Doc

Bangkok •

add on THE BEACH ‘southern thailand sojourn’ Check out page 35 STAY LONGER IN BANGKOK Check out pages 36-39

vietnam

• Hanoi Luang Prabang • • Lac Sao • Vang Vieng Chiang Khong • • Vientiane Chiang Mai • thailand

Bangkok •

laos


82

phnom penh

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

JULIANA HOTEL, PHNOM PENH

sunway hotel, Phenom Penh

regent park, Phenom Penh

You won’t believe that the Juliana is located right in the center of Phnom Penh. It is only a 15 minute walk to the Royal Palace. Relax in the beautiful pool, set among magnificent gardens. All the opulent rooms boast full A/C, satellite TV, mini-bar, and Internet access. STA1008

This deluxe four-star hotel is located within the heart of Cambodia’s captial, close to all the famous landmarks. Return from a day of sightseeing and relax in the spa. All rooms feature views of the beautiful landscaped boulevard and the city’s historic skyline. STA124

There’s a cool roof terrace to watch the sunset over the Palace, and you’re within a ten minute walk to the riverside. Make sure you check out the lovely restaurants and bars overlooking the river. All the clean and comfortable rooms are en suite and have TV and A/C. STA1007

fr fr

$65 SINGLE $32 twin/double

fr fr

$93 SINGLE $53 twin/double

fr fr

$47 SINGLE $27 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

sihanoukville chill-out

phnom penh discovery

mekong sunset

full Day, fr $57 Hop on a bike and leap into this chaotic, energetic and fascinating city. Learn about Cambodia’s connection with France and Vietnam, spot monkeys at Wat Phnom and explore the central and Russian markets. Enjoy Khmer delicacies. Walk near to where the Tonle Bassac, Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers meet and taste some fried cricket! Delicious! STA1015

half Day, fr $44 Commence from the riverfront on a sunset boat cruise and float by Khmer-influenced buildings such as the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Visit Mekong Island, explore a temple and watch craft people at work. Finish with some Khmer snacks at the junction of the Tonle Basac, Tonle Sap and the Mekong Rivers. STA1019

4 DAYS • • •

fr

$98

Laze on stunning white beaches 3 nights two-star hotel Return transfers from Phnom Penh

This perfect little package whisks you from the big city of Phomn Penh to the beautiful white sands of Sihanoukville in the south of Cambodia. Enjoy a couple of well-deserved days of blissful chill out time in a much more relaxed beachside atmosphere than that of Thailand’s equivalent. Surrounded on three sides by the Bay of Thailand, these glorious hot sandy beaches are lined with grass hut restaurants & bars. If you’re feeling active - then cycle off to the Ream Maritime National Park. You’ll head back to Phnom Penh three nights later a much more chill individual. STA1010

phnoms past half Day, fr $37 Explore Phnom Penh’s past by seeing some of the classic buildings of the Khmer Rouge era. Learn about Cambodia’s tragic and fascinating recent history, walk through the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and visit the bone pagoda memorial at Choeung Ek. Try some Khmer snacks and observe how politics continue to affect the lives of average Cambodians. STA1014

staljubljana.com


83

South east asia

siem reAp

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

allson angkor hotel

TAra angkor hotel

sokha angkor resort

Located right in the center, this stylish, modern hotel has various restaurants and bars at its doorstep, and is a short walk to many local attractions. Each room is tastefully decorated with locally-made furnishings and Khmer handicrafts, has satellite TV and minibar. STA125

The elegant furnishings ensure you’ll enjoy comfort, luxury and feel like royalty! All rooms are air-conditioned, have great views and boost luxurious bathrooms. There’s also a cool outdoor pool, courtyard and poolside bar for evenings relaxing with cocktail in hand. STA1027

Strategically located in the middle of Siem Reap, this new five-star resort is walking distance to the world famous Angkor Wat temples. All rooms are colonial style, creating a haven of luxury. Facilities include five restaurants, a jasmine spa and a large salt-water pool. STA126

fr fr

$48 SINGLE $27 twin/double

fr fr

$67 SINGLE $33 twin/double

fr fr

$154 SINGLE $77 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

siem reap adventure

tonle sap secrets

active angkor

half Day, fr $34 Take a trip by remork (tuk tuk) and boat around this impressive lake to see floating villages. Get a taste for life ruled by monsoon rains and water-based agriculture. The Tonle Sap is one of the world’s most productive bodies of fresh water - swelling and shrinking to within a fifth of its size each year. The ecosystem was classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. STA1016

full Day, fr $80 Prepare for a full day of peddling, temple traversing, jungle exploration and Khmer football sessions with the local kids. Pass through small villages and onto the Rolus Group of temples. Check out rice harvesting and traditional shadow-puppet making along the way and grab a delicious Khmer lunch. STA1011

4 nights • • •

fr

$201

4 nights in two-star accommodation English language guided bike ride Arrival airport transfer

What better way to see the amazing temples of Angkor than by bike - cycle around and see all the nooks and crannies. The mystery setting of these crumbling ruins with trees and vines growing out of ancient stone will leave you imagining all sorts. Unearth the history, imagine times long gone by and discover ancient ways of life. Practice all your combat moves Lara Croft style - the film ‘Tomb Raider’ was set here if you feel like you might have imagined all this before. On your last day you’ll visit the Arran Rangsey Pagoda and the floating villages. A fabulous flurry of history and culture. STA1009

angkor adventure full Day, fr $75 Explore the highlight temples of Angkor with your English-speaking guide. Check out Angkor Wat, Bayon with its 54 towers decorated with more than 200 enigmatic smiling faces and Ta Prohm the jungle temple made famous in the “Tomb Raider” movie. Regain your energy by enjoying a sumptuous Khmer feast in a local Khmer village surrounded by rice paddies. STA1012

080 4742


84

ORIENTAL ASIA


85

TOP 6

2 3

1 6

5

AMAZING EXPERIENCES

1

2

walk the great wall of china

3

take the trans siberian railway

see PAGE 106

look after x’ian pandas

see PAGE 95

4

5

see PAGE 105

6

wander vibrant Hong kong

see PAGE 114

cruise the yangtze river

see PAGE 110

see PAGE 104

Average High TempERATURE (ºF) City

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

Beijing

34

37

52

66

77

84

86

84

77

64

48

DEC 36

Shanghai

45

46

52

64

73

81

88

86

79

72

61

50

Chengdu

46

50

59

70

77

81

82

82

75

68

59

50

Hong Kong

66

66

70

77

82

86

88

88

86

82

75

70

Tokyo

46

48

54

63

72

75

81

86

79

68

61

52

Osaka

46

46

54

64

73

81

86

90

82

72

63

52

Xian

39

46

57

68

79

90

90

88

77

66

54

43

Hangzhou

45

46

54

68

75

81

90

88

79

72

61

50

Hiroshima

46

46

54

63

70

77

82

86

79

70

61

52

Kyoto

46

48

54

66

73

81

88

90

82

72

61

52

Oriental asia

fall for the japanese charm

4


86

ASIA BACK ROADS 21 DAYS, $2,399 fr

BEIJING

no local payment!

BANGKOK

This great adventure could loosely be compared to stepping into a temperamental time machine. You’ll witness ultra-modern skyscrapers and supercharged commercialism. But you’ll also experience ancient monuments, endless rice fields and agricultural simplicity. The contradictions will leave you speechless. You won’t know what to think or how to react, but the wonder of it all will leave you blissfully enraptured. If you don’t care about other peoples' cultures and beliefs – then don’t bother with this trip. Get yourself on one of those package vacations out to the Med. For those who desire a mind-expanding, life-affirming, hugely enjoyable multi-country wonder tour – then look no further than this. You’ll walk the Great Wall of China, mingle with Terracotta Warriors, play with pandas, wander around maniacal markets, eat fantastically tasty food and explore outrageously interesting streets. Prepare for hundreds of once in a lifetime experiences packed into just three fantastic weeks. the best bits • Visit the Great Wall of China • Explore the amazing streets of Shanghai • Marvel at the great Terracotta Warriors • Fall in love with the pandas of Chengdu • Absorb the rich history of Luang Prabang • Get off the beaten track in Vang Vieng • Check out the eclectic charm of Vientiane • Enjoy a boat tour in Bangkok Day 1: Arrive Beijing Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Days 2-4: Beijing Explore the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China. This vibrant city has some of China’s most famous and spectacular tourist sights. Days 5-6: Shanghai Blending 21st century architecture with oldworld character, Shanghai is the vibrant pulse of new China. Explore the busy Yuyuan Bazaar, the French Concession or shop ‘til you drop in China’s hippest stores! Days 7-8: Xi’an Marvel at the mysterious Terracotta Warriors and discover the wonders of this lively city. The warriors were rediscovered in 1974, having been buried for over 2000 years. All face east in battle formation, complete with horses and chariots to guard the tomb of the emperor Shi HuangDi. A definite China highlight.

Days 9-10: Chengdu Chengdu keeps hold of its traditional flavor, so keep a sharp eye out for legendary tea houses and some of China’s most interesting food - try the spicy Sichuan Hot Pot! Watch an essential Sichuan cultural performance and check out the Giant Panda Conservation Center for a chance to see these beautiful creatures up close.

Days 16-17: Vang Vieng This quiet town is set along the Nam Song River amidst rice fields and limestone karsts. Explore some of the caves by bike, or float down the river in a tyre tube stopping off for a cold drink and zip line ride at one of the numerous bamboo bars. In the evening, soak in the beauty of Vang Vieng as the sun sets. Perfect!

Day 11: Jinghong Fly to Jinghong, capital of the tropical Xishuangbanna region. Lying next to the Mekong River this city is home to the Dai, an ethnic minority who maintain their culture through dance, drama and poetry.

Days 18-19: Vientiane A three-hour drive takes you to Vientiane. This quiet and relaxed capital city has a wealth of charms to offer - from its eclectic blend of French and Lao architecture to the uncluttered streets, riverside cafés and quiet temples. On the evening of Day 19 you’ll drive to the border and board the overnight train in Nong Khai, Thailand.

Days 12-13: lao border & luang nam tha Cross into northern Laos and continue to Luang Nam Tha - a provincal town home to 23 ethnic minorities. With various day treks and boat trips available, this is a popular stop for travelers looking to explore the natural environments. Days 14-15: Luang Prabang Nestled in the hills of Northern Laos on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers, the beautiful town of Luang Prabang boasts a host of historic temples, a multi-ethnic population, rich culture, vibrant markets, stylish coffee houses, and tons of textile treasures.

Day 20: Bangkok Arrive early in the morning into Thailand’s capital. Enjoy a one hour long-tail boat tour of Bangkok’s famous canals and a guided visit through Wat Pom, that will introduce you to the Thai and Buddhist culture. Explore colorful markets, and taste food that defies description. Day 21: Depart Bangkok Your adventure ends - say your goodbyes and leave at any time.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Feb 27 Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 27

FINISH Mar 19 Mar 26 Apr 02 Apr 16

START Apr 10 May 08 Jun 05 Jun 19 Jul 03

FINISH Apr 30 May 28 Jun 25 Jul 09 Jul 23

START Jul 17 Jul 31 Aug 14 Sep 11 Sep 25

FINISH Aug 06 Aug 20 Sep 03 Oct 01 Oct 15

START Oct 09 Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04

Accommodation: Hotels/simple guesthouses (17 nts), sleeper train (3nts) Transport: Local bus, aircon bus, walking, plane, cyclo Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD$300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAACBB

add on THE BEACH ‘southern thailand sojourn’ Check out page 35 stay longer in BANGKOK Check out pages 36-39 stay longer in Beijing Check out page 111

Beijing •

FINISH Oct 29 Nov 12 Nov 26 Dec 10 Dec 24

Xi’an • Chengdu •

china

Jinhong • • Mengala Luang Prabang • laos • Vang Vieng Vientiane • thailand

Bangkok •

Shanghai •


87

ANCIENT EMPIRES 18 DAYS, $3,999 fr

BEIJING

no local payment!

TOKYO

Back when you were little, a historical trip usually meant being dragged around some sort of stately home by your parents or a repetitive school trip to a tedious museum. Now you’re all grown up, things have the potential to be quite a bit different. Over on the other side of the world, there exists a land like nothing you’ll have ever witnessed. Where ancient shrines, temples and monuments stand dignified in the shadow of domineering skyscrapers. Where futuristic technology and capitalistic enterprise contrasts majestically with ancient religion and peaceful frugality. Where lightning fast trains zoom past horse-drawn carts. China and Japan represent two of the world’s cultural giants – they were dominating the planet when we were barbarically trying to come to terms with ourselves. This stunning adventure perfectly blends the wonders of each country. You’ll get an awesome perspective of how humanity has evolved in the Far East, and you’ll learn with amazement how fascinating their respective histories are. Forgive us if we sound like we’ve just introduced a Hollywood blockbuster, but the hyperbole for this amazing trip is fully justified.

Days 1-3: Arrive Beijing Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Walk the legendary Great Wall and discover China’s opulent past as you visit the Forbidden City and Summer Palace.

Day 10: Osaka Known as “Japan’s kitchen”, Osaka is the country’s culinary capital and home to the nation’s friendliest locals. A vibrant city with great attractions and great shopping.

Day 5: Hangzhou A morning flight takes you to the ancient capital of Hangzhou, one of China’s more relaxed cities. Explore the temples and stunning West Lake that dominate the city’s landscape. Be sure to make time for a cup of local Longjing Tea.

Day 11: Koyasan Experience one of Japan’s finest rail journeys up Mt. Koya – for the final ascent, you’ll switch to cable car. On the mountain, you’ll live like a monk at an amazing religious center. (B, D)

Days 6-7: Wuzhen Canal & Shanghai Visit the ancient water town of Wuzhen before heading to Shanghai. Marvel at how Eastern culture meets Western convenience. Take a stroll along the Bund, the old colonial waterfront or shop on the famous Nanjing Road. Days 8-9: Ferry to Osaka Relax and refresh for the next section of your journey as you cross the East China Sea aboard a modern passenger ferry. (2B)

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-APR MAY-DEC

MON, TUE, WED, FRI, SAT, SUN MON, WED, FRI, SAT

japan

Accommodation: Hotels (12 nts), sleeper train (1nt), boat (2nts, multishare), mountain monastery (1nt), guesthouse (1nt) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, sea ferry, boat, walking, bicycle, plane, bullet train Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 4 breakfasts 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$470 for meals not included Tour Code: GAACCJ

add on tibet ‘Tibet Adventure’ 15 days, fr $2,569 Tour Code: GATACTA stay longer in tokyo Check out page 116

Beijing •

china

Xi’an •

Shanghai • Wuzhen • Hangzhou •

Tokyo • • Mt. Fuji Kyoto • Himeji • • Osaka • Koyasan Hiroshima •

Days 12-13: himeji & Hiroshima Check out Himeji, the grandest of Japan’s feudal castles - built in 1333, before traveling onto Hiroshima. Explore this iconic city and it’s fascinating museums. Make sure you check out the extremely moving Peace Park. A visit to the beautiful Island of Miyajima offers one of Japan’s most beautiful views. Days 14-15: Kyoto Continue on to Kyoto, the former imperial capital and home of the country’s most treasured remnants. There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums, and traditional gardens here. Loads to see and do! Day 16: Hakone & Mt. Fuji Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, famous for outdoor activities, natural beauty and the amazing views of nearby Mt Fuji. Cruise across Lake Ashino-ko, or enjoy stunning scenery on a cable car ride over the surrounding mountains. Alternatively, simply relax by soaking in one of the town’s sulphuric hot onsens. (B, D) Day 17: Tokyo Tokyo, is one of the most modern cities in the world. However, if you look under the glossy surface, Tokyo is still very traditional. Day 18: Depart Tokyo Your trip ends on Day 18 - leave at anytime.

Oriental asia

the best bits • Tour the iconic sites of Beijing • Walk along the Great Wall of China • Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors • Explore the amazing streets of Shanghai • Sample the culinary delights of Osaka • Stay in a mountain monastery in Koyasan • Explore cosmopolitan Hiroshima • Check out the imposing Mt. Fuji

Day 4: Xi’an Check out Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter and tour the lovely and unusual Great Mosque. The big highlight is the Terracotta Warriors - one of China’s greatest archaeological treasures.


88

tibet adventure 15 DAYS, $2,569 fr

beijing

no local payment!

kathmandu

While all your friends are heading off on trips that have been done before by just about everyone who owns a passport – why not do something uniquely unconventional and truly inspirational? Take a trip that will put a smile on your face not only when you’re there, but for all those moments in the future when you think back and remember. It’s not often that you can fly back home after a few weeks away having strolled along the greatest wall in the world, taken a vertigo-inducing train trip through spine-tingling scenery, realized spiritual nirvana in some stunningly located Tibetan monasteries and experienced a once in a life-time trek to Everest Base Camp. But the big focus of this adventure is Tibet – and whether you believe it’s in China or out, there’s no doubt that its infinitely beautiful landscapes, peaks, plateaus, and people mark it as one of the world’s most stunning travel destinations. the best bits • Wander along the Great Wall of China • Take a high altitude train journey • Absorb the amazing spirituality of Lhasa • Marvel at Gyantse’s beautiful Monastery • Check out Tashilhunpo’s huge Buddha • Sleep in the world’s highest monastery • Take a trek to Everest Base Camp • Wander Kathmandu’s bustling bazaars Day 1: Arrive Beijing Arrive in Beijing at any time. Days 2-3: Beijing The vast expanses of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall of China beckon. Beijing is a city of incredible sights, shopping, food and entertainment – as an introduction to China it cannot be surpassed.

Days 4-5: Trans Tibetan Rail Journey Traverse the Tibetan Plateau on the famous high-altitude Beijing-Qinghai Tibet Railway and enjoy the amazing scenery along the way. Comfortable sleeper compartments contain six berths, all bedding provided and the dining car serves a variety of meals and drinks. Days 6-8: Lhasa This historic city is situated at over two miles above sea level. Perched on Red Hill, the massive Potala Palace overlooks the town - dominating the landscape with grace and dignity. The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual heart of Tibet and also the most active. Prostrating pilgrims circle the temple endlessly, day and night, some of them traversing the extremes of the Tibetan landscape by foot to celebrate and express their faith. Nearby the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera are still active institutions You’ll have plenty of time to explore. Day 9: Gyantse The drive to Gyantse is a spectacular one, crossing three passes over 5000 meters and skirting the shores of the beautiful turquoise lake, Yamdrok Tso. Built at the center of the trade routes from Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, Gyantse is overlooked by an impressive fort. Its monastery is one of the finest in central Tibet.

FINISH Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29

START May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jul 03 Jul 10

FINISH Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jul 03 Jul 10 Jul 17 Jul 24

START Jul 17 Jul 24 Jul 31 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 04

FINISH Jul 31 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18

START Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30

FINISH Sep 25 Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (11 nts), Multi-share basic guesthouse (1nt) Sleeper train (2 nts) Transport: Train, A/C bus Group Size: Max 14 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: No meals are included Budget: Allow USD$215-280 for meals not included Tour Code: GAACTA

stay longer in kathmandu Check out page 137

Day 11: Sakya Once the political center of Tibet, the walls of Sakya’s great fortified monastery are painted the dark grey typical to buildings in the area. Explore the monastery and the ruins of North Sakya across the river. Day 12: Rombuk & Everest Base Camp Take an exhilarating drive to Rombuk - four miles below Everest Base Camp. The view from here is utterly spectacular! You’ll spend the night in the world’s highest monastery - lie in bed and watch the moonlight illuminate the mountain. The next morning you’ll take a short hike into Base Camp/ Everest National Park (there is an optional bus ride for those not adjusted to the altitude). Enjoy the stunning views, make a phone call home and maybe see some mountaineers getting ready to summit! Day 13: Zhangmu Get a bird’s eye view of the Himalayas. Cross one of the most spectacular mountain passes, topped with prayer flags and wind-driven prayer wheels. Both Mt Everest and Cho Oyu are visible for much of the way. You will truly feel like you are on top of the world.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15

Day 10: Shigatse Shigatse is Tibet’s second most important city and boasts the huge complex of Tashilhunpo. Tashilhunpo is visited daily by hundreds of devotees, armed with yak butter to feed the lamps, who prostrate themselves around the stupas or walk-up to the chapel of the gold-plated statue of the future Buddha. Tour the monastery on the morning of Day 11.

Beijing •

china

Xi’an • Xining • • Golmud • Lanzhou Lhasa • Shitgatse • • • • Gyantse Kathmandu Rongphu

(Everest Base Camp)

Day 14: kathmandu The historic cities of the Kathmandu Valley reveal a world of color and life. The markets, bazaars and narrow streets are home to holy men, sacred cows, bicycles, and street sellers. Day 15: depart kathmandu The adventure of a lifetime ends of the morning of Day 15. Say a sad farewell to your group.


89

china

Beijing •

• Kashgar

• Xian • Three Gorges Shanghai •

• Chengdu Hangzhou •

• Lhasa

• Guangzhou • Kunming

Hong Kong •

I loved Beijing! Despite recent modernization, there are still a few spots where everything seems like it’s from another century. I spent the day wandering the Hutongs, with their arched roofs, secluded courtyards and ceremonial rooms. That night I watched the acrobats while munching on scorpions and crickets. Lovely! Tom, Bloomington $

Currency: YUAN Price of a beer: $1.57 Population: 1.35 BILLION

THE WEATHER

The climate of China is dominated by the Asiatic Monsoon. Most of the country has warm to hot summers but there is a great difference in winter temperature both from north to south and from the western provinces to the coastal regions. North China has extremely cold winters of almost Siberian severity. South and central China have a tropical or subtropical climate with no real winter cold. Eastern China has abundant summer rain while the northern and western regions contain much desert and semi-desert.

LOCAL GRUB

Where do we start?! Choose the Hot Pot! Made to your own ingredient specifics - you cook it up at your table with two ying-yang halves regular and spicy. Interactive and delicious! You might want to avoid the monkey brains.

USEFUL INFO

In China it’s rude to finish everything on your plate/in your bowl. But with such generous portions, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem - especially if you’ve been served up a pot of dog stew.

USELESS INFO

There are a huge number of people in China - around 20% of the world’s population live there! An amazing 34 babies are born every minute; none of which are called John.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

Get yourself down to a local martial arts class. Their origin is attributed to self-defense needs, hunting activities and military training in ancient China, but their purpose has expanded to health maintenance and more recently as a method of self-cultivation. They are now an integral element of Chinese culture.

Oriental asia

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE


90

dragon bus Travel China on your own terms - and strip away all of the hassle. Dragon Bus is perfect for all travelers - individuals, couples, groups - but especially those who love the freedom to explore independently. • • • •

Unique experiences and stops Flexible travel options & itineraries Highly knowledgable bilingual guides Safe, clean and fun accommodation

flexible and independent travel While you may prefer to travel independently, China is one country that can be intimidating to even the most experienced jetsetters. With that in mind Dragon Bus created a touring option that has all the perks of a package tour, without the restrictions that most independent travelers loathe. Your pass covers transport, accommodation, ticketing arrangements, a tour guide, plus some activities and tours - but you are completely in charge of your itinerary. On each day there is plenty of time given for you to set off and explore on your own and at your own pace, instead of having to stick to a rigid timetable.

accommodation Dragon Bus only uses pre-vetted quality hostels and hotels. You have the choice of a standard dorm bed or you can upgrade to single, twin or double share room with facilities. The hostels are clean, in great locations and have a vibrant atmosphere - allowing you to mix with other travelers. Remember that your accommodation (excluding upgrades) is included in the price of all our passes! transport Dragon Bus includes some of the best sights of China - mountains, villages and off the beaten track sights. Dragon Bus operates its own private vehicles for travel between cities, as well as using China’s extensive train network and direct coach services. While in overnight cities, a combination of Dragon’s own vehicles, public buses, local metro, taxis, bicylces or walking is available to get around. The use of pre-booked trains means you can cover longer sections of travel in a shorter amount of time.

meals Meals are not included, so you can get out there and taste as much of China’s delicious cuisine for yourself. Dragon Bus recommend and often organizes what they believe are the best (and cleanest) restaurants in the city you’re in. Dragon Bus also heads to food streets and small local restaurants that cater to a variety of tastes. Why? Because this way you’ll experience the many different local cuisines and tastes as you travel through China. They’ll also arrange group dinners, along with BBQ’s at the hostels that you stay in. Remember though, if you want to head to the local ‘McDonalds’ - it’s your choice! your trip leader Dragon Bus employs their own bilingual (English/Chinese) Western Trip Leaders, who are, at some points, joined by local Chinese guides. However this is only to support the western guide and not to direct you to a commission stop! Dragon Bus also has a separate driver, so the guide is just on the bus for you.

BEIJING - XI’AN (available in reverse)

SHANGHAI - BEIJING (available in reverse)

XI’AN - SHANGHAI (available in reverse)

HONG KONG - YANGSHUO (available in reverse)

GREAT WALL • BEIJING •

• QUFU LUOYANG • • • ZHENGZHOU SHAOLIN

XIAN •

QINGDAO •

NANJING •

• SUZHOU SHANGHAI •

LONGSHENG • GUILIN •

• YANGSHUO GUANGZHOU • • HONG KONG


91

DAYS 1-2: BEIJING DAY 3: GREAT WALL DAY 4: BEIJING TO QINGDAO DAYS 5-6: QINGDAO DAYS 6-7: QUFU DAY 8: ZHENGZHOU DAY 9: SHAOLIN DAY 10: LUOYANG DAYS 11-13: XIAN DAY 14: DEPART XIAN

DAYS 1-2: SHANGHAI DAY 3: SUZHOU DAYS 4-6. NANJING DAY 7: QUFU DAYS 8-10: QINGDAO DAY 11: QINGDAO TO BEIJING DAY 12: BEIJING DAY 13: GREAT WALL DAY 14: DEPART BEIJING

SHANGHAI TO BEIJING

BEIJING TO XIAN 14 DAYS fr $932 (available in reverse)

Over 14 days you will see the best China has to offer. Starting in Beijing, you will have time to see all the amazing sites of the capital. Spend a full day and night at the Great Wall before heading to the seaside resort city of Qingdao. Then on to the home of Confucius at Qufu, and the birthplace of kung-fu in Shaolin with the option of taking a kung-fu or tai chi course. See the incredible Luoyang Grottos before arriving in Xian and the amazing Terracotta Warriors among other great sites. DEPARTURES

14 DAYS fr $961 (available in reverse)

Starting in the incredible cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, take in all the city has to offer. Visit Suzhou and the beautiful UNESCO-listed gardens and canals. The former capital Nanjing is yours for 3 days to explore its history, then north to Qufu and the birthplace of Confucius. Qingdao is next, famous for its beaches, before reaching the capital Beijing, with Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Olympic sites just some of its highlights. Your trip is completed with a full day and night exploring the Great Wall. DEPARTURES

START

FINISH

START

FINISH

START FINISH

FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10 MAY 8 MAY 22 JUN 5 JUN 19 JUL 3

BEIJING - XIAN MAR 12 JUL 17 MAR 26 JUL 31 APR 9 AUG 14 APR 23 AUG 28 MAY 21 SEP 11 JUN 4 OCT 9 JUN 18 OCT 23 JUL 2 NOV 6 JUL 16 NOV 20

JUL 30 AUG 13 AUG 27 SEP 10 SEP 24 OCT 22 NOV 5 NOV 19 DEC 3

MAR 1 MAR 15 MAR 29 APR 12 MAY 10 MAY 24 JUN 7 JUN 21 JUL 5

START FINISH

XIAN - BEIJING MAR 3 JUL 19 MAR 27 AUG 2 APR 10 AUG 16 APR 24 AUG 30 MAY 21 SEP 13 JUN 5 OCT 11 JUN 19 OCT 25 JUL 3 NOV 8 JUL 17 NOV 22

JUL 31 AUG 14 AUG 28 SEP 11 SEP 25 OCT 23 NOV 6 NOV 20 DEC 4

Tour Code: STA

START

FINISH

START

FINISH

START FINISH

FEB 27 MAR 13 MAR 27 APR 10 MAY 8 MAY 22 JUN 5 JUN 19 JUL 3

BEIJING - SHANGHAI MAR 12 JUL 17 MAR 26 JUL 31 APR 9 AUG 14 APR 23 AUG 28 MAY 21 SEP 11 JUN 4 OCT 9 JUN 18 OCT 23 JUL 2 NOV 6 JUL 16 NOV 20

JUL 30 AUG 13 AUG 27 SEP 10 SEP 24 OCT 22 NOV 5 NOV 19 DEC 3

MAR 4 MAR 18 APR 1 APR 15 MAY 13 MAY 27 JUN 10 JUN 24 JUL 8

XIAN TO SHANGHAI 13 DAYS fr $913 (available in reverse)

9 DAYS fr $816 (available in reverse)

Starting in Hong Kong, after your first night, catch the train with your trip leader to Guangzhou for a day to explore. Settle in for your overnight train to Guilin and the amazing scenery throughout this region that awaits you. Spend time in Yangshuo, gazing at the soaring limestone peaks and the beautiful Li River. Take a trip out to visit local families, picnic along streams, visit underground waterfalls, or take in some of the adventure activities available DEPARTURES

Starting at the home of the Terracotta Warriors, visit this incredible 2000-year-old army, and take in the city walls and Old Quarter . See the incredible Luoyang Grottos, visit Shaolin Temple and its surrounds, with the option of taking a kung-fu or tai chi course. Spend a day in Zhengzhou, then experience the history of China in the former capital Nanjing. Finish off with beautiful Suzhou and the UNESCO-listed gardens and canals before arriving in the amazing neon-lit city of Shanghai and all it has to offer. DEPARTURES

START

HONG KONG - YANGSHUO FEB 28 MAR 8 JUL 18 MAR 14 MAR 22 AUG 1 MAR 28 APR 5 AUG 15 APR 11 APR 19 AUG 29 MAY 9 MAY 17 SEP 12 MAY 23 MAY 21 OCT 10 JUN 6 JUN 14 OCT 24 JUN 20 JUN 28 NOV 7 JUL 4 JUL 12 NOV 21 Tour Code: STA

DAY 1: XIAN. DAY 2: TERRACOTTA WARRIORS DAY 3: XIAN / LOUYANG DAY 4: LOUYANG DAY 5: SHAOLIN DAY 6: ZHENGZHOU DAYS 7-9: NANJING. DAY 10: SUZHOU DAYS 11–12: SHANGHAI DAY 13: DEPART SHANGHAI

FINISH JUL 26 AUG 9 AUG 23 SEP 6 SEP 20 OCT 18 NOV 1 NOV 15 DEC 29

START FINISH MAR 3 MAR 17 MAR 31 APR 14 MAY 12 MAY 26 JUN 9 JUN 23 JUL 7

START FINISH

YANGSHUO - HONG KONG MAR 11 JUL 21 MAR 25 AUG 4 APR 8 AUG 18 APR 22 SEP 1 MAY 20 SEP 15 JUN 3 OCT 13 JUN 17 OCT 27 JUL 1 NOV 10 JUL 15 NOV 24

JUL 29 AUG 12 AUG 26 SEP 9 SEP 23 OCT 21 NOV 4 NOV 18 DEC 2

START

FINISH

MAR 1 MAR 15 MAR 29 APR 12 MAY 10 MAY 24 JUN 7 JUN 21 JUL 5

XIAN - SHANGHAI MAR 13 JUL 19 MAR 27 AUG 2 APR 10 AUG 16 APR 24 AUG 20 MAY 22 SEP 13 JUN 5 OCT 11 JUN 19 OCT 25 JUL 3 NOV 8 JUL 17 NOV 22

Tour Code: STA

START

FINISH

START FINISH

JUL 31 AUG 14 AUG 28 SEP 11 SEP 25 OCT 23 NOV 6 NOV 20 DEC 4

SHANGHAI - XIAN MAR 4 MAR 16 JUL 22 MAR 18 MAR 30 AUG 5 APR 1 APR 13 AUG 19 APR 15 APR 27 SEP 2 MAY 13 MAY 25 SEP 16 MAY 27 JUN 8 OCT 14 JUN 10 JUN 22 OCT 28 JUN 24 JUL 6 NOV 11 JUL 8 JUL 20 NOV 25

START FINISH AUG 3 AUG 17 AUG 31 SEP 14 SEP 28 OCT 21 NOV 9 NOV 23 DEC 7

Oriental asia

HONG KONG TO YANGSHUO

FINISH

AUG 4 AUG 18 SEP 1 SEP 15 SEP 29 OCT 22 NOV 10 NOV 24 DEC 8

Tour Code: STA

DAY 1: HONG KONG DAY 2: GUANGZHOU DAY 3: GUANGZHOU TO GUILIN DAY 4: GUILIN DAY 5: DRAGONS BACKBONE RICE TERRACES DAYS 6-8: YANGSHUO DAY 9: DEPART YANGSHUO

START

START FINISH

SHANGHAI - BEIJING MAR 17 JUL 22 MAR 31 AUG 5 APR 14 AUG 19 APR 28 SEP 2 MAY 26 SEP 16 JUN 9 OCT 14 JUN 23 OCT 28 JUL 7 NOV 11 JUL 21 NOV 25


92

roam china 18 DAYS, $1,699 fr

beijing

no local payment!

hong kong

If everything around you looks a little too ordinary, if you’re struggling to extract a satisfying amount of wonder from the world, if your brain is feeling a little bogged down by the boredom of everyday existence… Well, instead of joining a religious cult or eating 12 bars of chocolate in under two hours, try this much more rewarding remedy. This fantastic adventure is guaranteed to inspire and invigorate. The majesty of China is on show at every turn – and the cultural wonder of it all will leave you breathless. You’ll absorb the grandeur of three powerhouse cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. You’ll learn about an outlandish and fascinating history when you visit the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors. You’ll discover a simple and beautiful way of life when you check out the paddy fields around Yangshuo and the Yangtze. And you’ll come face-to-face with the ferocious ambition of this imperious country when you discover the spectacular Three Gorges. This 18-day adventure gets right under the skin of China, leaving you enlightened, refreshed and dopily contented. the best bits • Walk along the Great Wall of China • Unearth Tiananmen Square’s mysteries • Wander Beijing’s old world back streets • Live the city life in vibrant Shanghai • Meet China’s most famous warriors • Take in the sights of the Three Gorges • Sail down the Yangtze River • Experience Chinese village life • Marvel at the scenery around the Li River • Explore the bright lights of Hong Kong Day 1: arrive beijing Arrive in Beijing at any time and set out exploring this magnificent city of bright lights and big business.

Day 11: Yichang The riverside city of Yichang is the starting point for tours of the Three Gorges Dam site and river journeys through the gorges themselves. Days 12-13: three gorges An inspiration to both painters and poets and a source of international controversy, the Three Gorges remain one of the world’s natural scenic wonders, while the massive dam is an incredible feat of modern technology. Experience it first hand as you travel down the mighty Yangtze River in a Chinese-style riverboat. Days 2-4: beijing China’s capital is a first class city with a remarkably well-preserved past. Walk in the footsteps of history as you explore Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, and the Temple of Heaven. Be sure to venture into the back-street hutongs for a look at how old-world China is still thriving today. Days 5-7: shanghai Blending 21st century architecture with oldworld character, Shanghai is the vibrant pulse of new China. Explore the busy Yuyuan Bazaar, the French Concession, or shop ‘til you drop in China’s hippest stores! Days 8-10: xi’an This ancient city, the capital of China for many years, is home to one of the Middle Kingdom’s greatest archaeological treasures – the amazing Chinese Terracotta Warriors.

Days 14-16: Yangshuo Arrive in Guilin in the early morning and then travel on by bus to the small country town of Yangshuo. The scenery in this area is stunning, with the Li River and limestone karst mountains interspersed with picturesque riverside villages and markets. Spend a day in the countryside and experience real village life – meet locals and see rural Chinese life in action. On Day 16 you’ll head to Guilin for the overnight train to Hong Kong. Day 17: hong kong Hong Kong is one of the world’s most vibrant and fascinating cities. It boasts an unbeatable array of cultural sights, shopping, restaurants and atmosphere galore. Ride the Star Ferry into Victoria Harbor, wander Stanley Market and catch the views of Hong Kong from The Peak. Day 11: depart hong kong Your adventure comes to an end. Say goodbye.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Feb 28 Mar 07 Mar 14 Mar 20 Mar 21 Mar 28 Apr 04 Apr 10 Apr 11 Apr 18

FINISH Mar 17 Mar 24 Mar 31 Apr 06 Apr 07 Apr 14 Apr 21 Apr 27 Apr 28 May 05

START Apr 25 May 09 May 22 May 23 May 30 Jun 05 Jun 13 Jun 19 Jun 20 Jul 03 Jul 11

FINISH May 12 May 26 Jun 08 Jun 09 Jun 16 Jun 22 Jun 30 Jul 06 Jul 07 Jul 20 Jul 28

START Jul 18 Jul 24 Aug 01 Aug 07 Aug 15 Aug 22 Aug 29 Sep 05 Sep 12 Sep 18 Sep 26

FINISH Aug 04 Aug 10 Aug 18 Aug 24 Sep 01 Sep 08 Sep 15 Sep 22 Sep 29 Oct 05 Oct 13

START Oct 01 Oct 09 Oct 17 Oct 24 Oct 31 Nov 07 Nov 12 Nov 14 Nov 21 Nov 28

FINISH Oct 18 Oct 26 Nov 03 Nov 10 Nov 17 Nov 24 Nov 29 Dec 01 Dec 08 Dec 15

Accommodation: Simple hotels/guesthouses (11 nts), sleeper train (5 nts, 6 berth train), Yangtze boat (2 nt) Transport: Train, Local bus, A/C bus, boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals are included Budget: Allow USD$230-300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAACRG

do it in reverse Hong Kong - Beijing 18 days, fr $1,639 Tour Code: GAACRC

Beijing •

do it your way! The same tour, but built entirely around you...

flexible departures Xi’an •

Shanghai •

Three Gorges • • Yichang china

• Guilin Yangshuo • • Hong Kong

travel when you like

dedicated touring two travelers, one trip

personal service your own local guides FR

staljubljana.com

$2,739 per person


93

essential china 21 DAYS, $2,539 fr

beijing

no local payment!

hong kong

Next time you pop into your local Chinese takeaway for half a crispy duck, you’ll have much more than just the weather to talk about. Over all the tasty and tantalizing smells of your dinner, start clawing your way into this culture and planning an adventure of a lifetime. Prepare to indulge in the exotic, mystical and wild side of China. Over 21 fascinating days you’ll see all the sites you could ever possibly want to squueze into a trip over these epic lands. Live the true essence of China in all it­s wonderful diversity, visit cosmopolitan cities, quaint tea houses, the immense Great Wall, and the inspiring Three Gorges on this incredible journey which is exactly what it says - Essential China. And if you’re lucky enough to come around the time of Chinese New Year then stand back, let the bright lights, great food and fantastic colors of all the celebrations pick you up and transform your trip into something truly out of this world. And you thought you were just ordering a takeaway huh?!

Day 1: Arrive Beijing Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Days 2-4: beijing From the vast expanses of Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, Beijing is a city of incredible sights. Don’t miss some of the best shopping, food and entertainment in the world. Days 5-7: shanghai Shanghai is China’s largest and most dynamic city where new skyscrapers meet with the traditional architecture of the Bund. Visit the Museum, shop on Nanjing Road or watch a performance of the famous Shanghai acrobats. Days 8-9: xi’an Visit one of China’s greatest archaeological treasures – the Terracotta Warriors - and dine on some of the best market food in the country. This ancient capital is a fascinating mix of traditional and modern worlds.

Days: 12-14: three gorges Three Gorges Dam is both an inspiration to painters and poets and a source of international controversy. Board a traditional Chinese boat for a journey through the mighty Yangzte Riverarea. Spend two full days traversing through the Three Gorges en route to Yichang. Visit the many attractions and towns along the way. You can also opt to leave the boat for an early morning trip down a tributary of the Yangste River. Days 15-16: yichang & wuhan Cross Wuhan’s famous bridges over the Yangzte River, tour the Three Gorges Dam - a huge and captivating structure that produces hydroelectricity, increases the river’s navigation capacity, and reduces flooding potential downstream by providing flood storage space. Clever, eh? It’s the world’s largest electricitygenerating plant of any kind and an incredible feat of modern technology. Check it out!

Days 17-19: yangshuo Arrive into Guilin on the morning of Day 17 and transfer by bus to the small countryside town of Yangshuo, where the Li River winds its way around thousands of limestone karst mountains. Every turn in the road will bring you to another picture-postcard sight. Take a boat ride along the stunning Li River, stop at markets and picturesque villages along the way or observe one of the local traditions: cormorant fishing. On Day 18, take a full-day’s bike ride through the surrounding countryside with a local guide to gain an insight into rural Chinese life and have a delicious lunch in a local farmer’s home. Day 20: hong kong After an early arrival in Shenzen, cross the border and catch the metro into the heart of Hong Kong. Prepare for the change of pace as you enjoy your last night’s dinner in the most dynamic city in Asia. Explore Stanley Market, shop, eat, go up Victoria Peak, or take a harbor cruise. You’ll probably want to stay longer than a night as there’s so much excitement to be had. Undeniably one of the world’s most fascinating, vibrant and impressively situated cities. Day 21: depart hong kong Today your trip sadly ends. Depart at any time, vowing to return again very very soon.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Feb 27 Mar 13 Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 24 May 08 May 15 May 22

FINISH Mar 19 Apr 02 Apr 16 Apr 23 Apr 30 May 14 May 28 Jun 04 Jun 11

START May 29 Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jul 03 Jul 10 Jul 17 Jul 24 Jul 31

FINISH Jun 18 Jun 25 Jul 02 Jul 09 Jul 16 Jul 23 Jul 30 Aug 06 Aug 13 Aug 20

START Aug 05 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 02 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25

FINISH Aug 25 Aug 27 Sep 03 Sep 10 Sep 17 Sep 22 Sep 24 Oct 01 Oct 08 Oct 15

START Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20

FINISH Oct 22 Oct 29 Nov 05 Nov 12 Nov 19 Nov 26 Dec 03 Dec 10

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (13 nts), sleeper train (1nt), yangtze boat (3nts) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, boat, walking, bicycle, plane Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: No meals are included Budget: Allow USD$315 for meals not included Tour Code: GAACEC

see more nature ‘Wild China’ 21 days, fr $2,499 Tour Code: GAACWC

Beijing • china

Xi’an • Chengdu • Leshan •

Shanghai • • Yichang

• Chongqing • Guilin Yangshuo • • Hong Kong

Oriental asia

the best bits • Bounce around bustling Beijing • Visit the Great Wall of China • Marvel at vast Tiananmen Square • Shimmy around dynamic Shanghai • Meet China’s greatest ancient Warriors • Fall in love with the Chengdu pandas • Cruise along the Yangzte River • Marvel at the Three Gorges Dam • Eat lunch with local Chinese farmers • Live the high life in superb Hong Kong

Days 10-11: chengdu & leshan Delight in the successes of the Panda Breeding Sanctuary, discover Chengdu’s ancient tea houses and marvel at the giant stone Buddha at Leshan. Get a massage and sample some of the local specialities. Go to the Sichuan cultural performance - an experience not to be missed!


94

wild china 21 DAYS, $2,499 fr

beijing

no local payment!

hong kong

Even though China is home to a whopping 1.2 billion people and ultra-modern architecture is springing up faster than chopsticks are dying out - much of the country is still raw, rugged and achingly real. This adventure will prove the previous statement true ten times over as your check out many of the planet’s most awesome natural sights and truly iconic historical wonders. But the real uniqueness of this adventure lies in your interaction with the local cultures and people. You’ll be whisked away from the tourist trail when you check out the real China in places such as Dali, Lijiang and Yangshuo. Allow yourself to be immersed in a completely different way of life, one that is centuries older than our rudimentary western way of living. You’ll be able to contemplate all this profundity as you hike the beautiful Mount Emei and trek through the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get the chance to hang out with a big bunch of happy pandas! Prepare for big dollops of breathless wonder on every single day of this remarkable trip. the best bits • Visit the Great Wall of China • Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors • Fall in love with the pandas of Chengdu • Explore the sacred Mount Emei • Enjoy the lovely lakeside town of Dali • Absorb the fascinating culture of Lijiang • Trek along Tiger Leaping Gorge • Discover Chinese village life in Yangshuo DAY 1: ARRIVE BEIJING Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. DAYS 2-3: BEIJING China’s capital is a city on a grand scale - check out the vast expanses of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall. Prepare for incredible sights, shopping, food and entertainment. DAYS 4-5: XI’AN Explore the active Muslim Quarter and its' Great Mosque as well as the exotic local street food stalls and the majestic Ming Dynasty City Wall. But the big highlight is the Terracotta Warriors. Rediscovered in 1974, having been buried for more than 2000 years. All face east in battle formation, complete with horses and chariots to guard the tomb of the emperor Shi Huang Di. DAY 6: CHENGDU Munch a spicy meal at a local Sichuan restaurant, before taking an optional visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, just outside of Chendu. Getting close to these beautiful bears is a highlight for many travelers.

DAYS 7-8: LESHAN AND EMEISHAN Marvel at the world’s largest stone Buddha. Take a boat trip on the Mingjiang River to get an amazing view of the statue. On Day 8 head to Emeishan. Dotted with monasteries and temples, this is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains of the Middle Kingdom. Witness an amazing sunrise or sunset over the summit. DAYS 9-10: LIJIANG Lijiang is a World Heritage Site and home to the Naxi minority. Old men smoking pipes and women in their traditional costumes are everywhere. The best way to spend a day here is to get lost in the small pedestrian lanes that meander throughout the town. Every twist and turn reveals picturesque old buildings, local arts and crafts, fast flowing canals, and beautiful arched bridges DAYS 11-12: TIGER LEAPING GORGE In the heart of Yunnan province, the fast flowing Yangtze has cut a dramatic gorge so narrow in places that legend has it a tiger once escaped capture by jumping across it. Reputed to be one of the deepest gorges in the world, you’ll enjoy a two-day trek through this magnificent landscape - the scenery is some of the best in China. Be prepared for more than an easy stroll as the trek can be hard work, particularly in the summer.

DAYS 13-14: DALI The ancient, walled town of Dali nestles snugly between the towering Cangshan Mountains and beautiful Erhai Lake. Check out the temples and the old Muslim quarter. Wake up early and catch the colorful markets of the Bai people. DAY 15: KUNMING Wander the quaint backstreets, roam through the markets or sample some of Kunming’s fantastic food. Enjoy the nightlife of one of China’s most relaxed cities. DAYS 16-19: YANGSHUO Yangshuo boasts spectacular scenery and a very relaxed atmosphere. Surrounded by limestone karst hills and green paddy fields, explore the peaks, rivers, caves, and villages of the Guilinarea. Hop onto a bike and ride into the countryside. In the evening, try a tasty meal in one of the cafés that line famous West Street. DAY 20: HONG KONG Hong Kong is one of the world’s most energetic, vibrant and impressively situated cities. It boasts an unbeatable array of cultural sites, shopping, fabulous restaurants, and atmosphere galore! DAY 21: DEPART HONG KONG Your adventure ends - leave at anytime.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Mar 27 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 08

FINISH Apr 16 Apr 30 May 07 May 14 May 28

START May 15 May 22 Jun 05 Jun 19 Jul 03 Jul 17

FINISH Jun 04 Jun 11 Jun 25 Jul 09 Jul 23 Aug 06

START Jul 31 Aug 14 Aug 28 Sep 11 Sep 25 Oct 09

FINISH Aug 20 Sep 03 Sep 17 Oct 01 Oct 15 Oct 29

START Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Jan 24

FINISH Nov 12 Nov 26 Dec 10 Feb 01

Accommodation: Simple hotels (12 nts), guesthouses (5 nts), sleeper train (3 nts) Transport: Train, flight, A/C bus, public bus, Walking Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals are included Budget: Allow USD$315-415 for meals not included Tour Code: GAACWC

stay longer in hong kong Check out pages 108-110

staljubljana.com

• Beijing

Xi’an • Chengdu • Leshan • Tiger Leaping Gorge • • Lijiang Dali • • Kunming

Guilin •• Yangshuo • Hong Kong


95

china express 8 DAYS, $1,049 fr

BEIJING • • • • •

Rail packs

If you don’t want to be standing in the wrong line, asking for the wrong ticket for the wrong train (in the wrong language), then these Rail Packs are for you. Simply choose your rail pack and choose your preferred travel dates. You’ll need to book your own accommodation and sightseeing – or take your chances and see how you go when you get there! En route you simply exchange your rail voucher for a rail ticket at the local office in each city. With Vodkatrain Rail Packs you get the right train at the right time, without the frustrating connections and day-long waits at the station.

no local payment!

SHANGHAI

Tour Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City Walk the legendary Great Wall of China Marvel at the ancient and amazing Terracotta Warriors Check out the relaxed charms of Hangzhou Explore the vibrant city streets of Shanghai

inclusions • Visa support for pre-booked services • Rail tickets as outlined in the itinerary (all tickets must be picked up from the local office, no delivery service is available)

Day 1: Arrive Beijing Arrive at anytime - and feel free to explore. DayS 2-3: Beijing Beijing, the Chinese capital, is one of the world’s most impressive and vibrant cities. Walk the legendary Great Wall and discover China’s opulent past as you visit the Forbidden City and Summer Palace.

ITINERARY: FOR 18 - 35 YEAR OLDS ONLY Beijing - Xian - Shanghai Shanghai - Xian - Beijing Beijing - Xian - Guangzhou (transfer) - Hong Kong Hong Kong - Guangzhou (transfer) - Xian - Beijing

Day 4: Xi’an Discover one of China’s greatest archaeological treasures – the Terracotta Warriors. Check out the Great Mosque, scour souvenir stalls and indulge in superb street food. Join in with tai chi or ballroom dancing in the parks.

Beijing - Xian -Chengdu - Kunming - Nanning - Hanoi (Vietnam) (Vietnam) Hanoi - Nanning - Kunming - Chengdu - Xian - Beijing (Vietnam) Hanoi - Hue - Hoi An* (Da Nang) - Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh Ho Chi Minh - Nha Trang - Da Nang* (Hoi An) - Hue - Hanoi

Days 6-7: Shanghai & Wuzhen Canal town Explore exotic Shanghai. See how East meets West and ancient rituals sit side by side with modern life. Visit a traditional canal town. Day 8: Depart Shanghai Your adventure sadly ends on Day 8. Leave at anytime.

Beijing - Xian - Shanghai - (ferry - 8 berth) Kobe/Osaka (Japan) * You’ll need to make your own way from Da Nang to Hoi An ** It is assumed that there is a break in the journey at Yichang for clients to take a river cruise to Chongqing.

Getting there and away We can also book the following journeys for you: Moscow to Riga, Moscow to Berlin, St Petersburg to Riga, St Petersburg to Tallin (bus), Beijing to Shanghai, Beijing to Hong Kong, Beijing to Hanoi. Tailor-made independent options are available to and from all sorts of Asia destinations - not subject to age restrictions. Please enquire for details.

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-DEC

japan

SAT

Accommodation: Hotel (6 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, aircon bus, walking, boat, plane Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Meals: Not included Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Budget: Allow USD$120 for meals not included -Tour Code: GAACCR

Beijing •

Beijing •

Kobe/Osaka •

china

Xian •

Shanghai •

china

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... FR

$1,319

per person

• Xi’an

• Chengu • Guilin • Guangzhou Kunming • • Nanning • Hong Kong Hanoi • Hue • • Hoi An

Shanghai • Wuzhen • Hangzhou •

vietnam

Nha Trang • • Ho Chi Minh

080 4742

Oriental asia

Beijing - Chengdu - Xian - Yichang//Chongqing - Guilin - Hong Kong**

Day 5: Hangzhou Hangzhou has a relaxed charm built on an imperial past. Explore the temples and the stunning West Lake that dominates the city’s landscape. Be sure to make time for a cup of local Longjing Tea on your travels.

PRICE FR $375 FR $375 FR $910 FR $625 FR $585 FR $825 FR $670 FR $295 FR $295 FR $1,065


96

hong kong

Airport Transfer fr $22

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysimple

1 tai wan hotel

2 the anne black - ymca

3 the garden view - ymca

A hefty-sized guest house perfect for people traveling on a budget. The facilities include a restaurant, bar, 24-hour front desk, on-site ATM, and safety deposit boxes. All rooms have A/C, satellite TV, wireless Internet, and are soundproofed! STA1018

Escape Hong Kong’s sizzling heat into an oasis of cool, A/C rooms and bright, clean bathrooms. Facilities include a restaurant that serves some cracking Cantonese classics, laundry facilities - essential in the Hong Kong humidity - and no curfew for those party-goers! STA127

The Garden View YWCA has a relaxed atmosphere and a great rooftop swimming pool with spectacular views of the city. The rooms are comfortable and bright with en suite bathrooms, satellite TV, A/C, safety deposit box, tea and coffee, and minibar. STA353

fr fr

$33 SINGLE $25 TWIN/DOUBLE

fr fr

$87 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $43 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

$120 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $60 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

7 HARBOR PLAZA NORTH POINT

8 THE SALISBURY YMCA

9 regal oriental

This high-rise hotel oozes class and stunning views over either the harbor or city. There is a 25m outdoor pool, well-equipped gym and several dining options. Rooms have all you would expect from a four-star hotel - a luxurious way to explore breathtaking Hong Kong. STA1020

Great value and an unbeatable location. The awesome facilities include an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, gym and a choice of three restaurants. Rooms are clean, comfortable with an en suite, A/C, and many boast brilliant views over the city. STA1022

This hotel offers cozy and stylish accommodation at an affordable price. Each with a sparkling en suite, mini bar, satellite TV, and Internet access. You have the choice of dining in the restaurant, hitting the gym or heading into city in search of evening entertainment. STA353

fr fr

$122 SINGLE $61 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$125 SINGLE $62 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$98 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $49 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


97

dates for your diary

 HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 25km 



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MARCH 24 – 3 APRIL , 2011 35TH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ing

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STAR FERRY TERMINAL

4

3

 Lantau Island

15

10

13

May 11 - 14, 2011 HONG KONG FOOD AND DRINK EXPO June 6, 2011 DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL - FIFTH MOON AUGUST 23, 2011 YUE LAAN HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL



VICTORIA PEAK

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 SILVERMINE BEACH

5 the city view

6 metropark hotel kowloon

There’s more to Hong Kong than the city, as this beach front resort proves. Set on the relatively uncrowded island of Lantau, facilities include a tennis court, sauna and outdoor pool - where you can sip a cocktail at the beach-view bar. All the cozy rooms have A/C and TV. STA1017

An excellent, great value for the money hotel. Sporty fiends will love the squash & tennis courts, pool & gym. And if you’re feeling lazy, choose from the hotel’s three top restaurants. All the rooms are furnished with everything you could possibly need. STA1021

This is a large, comfy hotel with a good choice of facilities and restaurants. The Sip Sip Bar is a popular venue in the evenings. The roof top pool has great city views and is perfect for escaping the hot crowded streets. The rooms are spacious and feature a TV and mini bar. STA1019

fr

$72 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $36 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

$97 SINGLE $48 TWIN/DOUBLE

fr fr

$105 SINGLE $52 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

welcome package

HONG KONG ISLAND TOUR

LAND BETWEEN TOUR

half Day, fr $38 Jump on this tour and get to grips with this inspirational towering city. Visit Stanley Market, stroll through the fishing lanes - jam-packed with vendors selling Chinese artwork, silk collectibles and curios. Move on to Aberdeen Fishing Village, visit Repulse Bay Beach and Victoria Peak for fantastic city views. STA1026

half Day, fr $73 The contrasts that make Hong Kong so amazing are explored on this fantastic trip. You’ll see how new towns exist alongside century-old woodland and how vast housing estates soar skyward, casting their shadow on traditional villages. Visit a monastery, Hong Kong’s highest peak, a walled village, a bird sanctuary and a fish farm. STA1028

MACAU TOUR

shekou & guangzhou

full Day, fr $123 This former Portuguese colony has styled itself as the Las Vegas of the East - an odd combination of old and new. Discover Macau’s highlights - visit the St Paul’s Church ruins, Museum of Macau and the Temple of A-MA. You can also try your luck on the gambling tables at the world famous casino before returning to HK. Lunch at a local restaurant is included. STA1027

full Day, fr $158 It’s an early but exciting start to the day as you head to Shenzhen by catamaran, visit a Shekou kindergarten or the Legend of Nuwa. Check out the Mineral Museum and Guangzhou. Lunch locally then visit the Chen Clan Academy, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial Hall, Temple of Six Banyan Trees, and the Western Han Tomb of the Nanyue King. Return to HK by express train. STA1025

4 days, $231 fr

• • •

3 nights at The Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong Island tour Arrival Airport Transfer

Even the most experienced travelers can get lost in Hong Kong. Though it’s a truly fantastic place it can sometimes get a little mad so being pre-organized is always advisable. With this marvellous welcome package you’ll be picked up at the airport, safely transported to your top hotel. Visit Stanley Market, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Repulse Bay Beach, and Victoria Peak on a brilliant half-day Hong Kong island tour. STA1029

Oriental asia

STAysmart

fr



march 25-27, 2011 HONG KONG RUGBY SEVENS

HONG KONG OBSERVATORY

rC ou rb

FEBRUARY 17 – MARCH 27, 2011 39TH HONG KONG ARTS FESTIVAL

9

2

14

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ater Bay Clear W

Kai Fuk Rd

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February 2, 2011 CHINESE NEW YEAR

Tunnel arbour

W

Waterloo Rd

Lung Cheung Rd

LAI CHI KOK PARK


98

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

10 the empire hotel kowloon

11 dorsett seaview

12 metropark hotel mongkok

An impressive hotel with an innovative and unique design. Rooms are trendy and hip with exciting bathroom designs. The hotel offers plenty of facilities - gym, bar, and restaurant. Relax and enjoy a dip in the pool basking in the sunshine or under the starry, moonlit sky. STA353

Recently refurbished this hotel offers simple elegence and real comfort in a sleek ambiance. Enjoy breakfast with breathtaking views of the harbor. All rooms are uniquely designed and feature satellite TV, Internet, and mini-bar - a perfect place to experience Hong Kong. STA128

A great location - an ideal base for sightseeing and shopping. With an award winning Chinese restaurant, cozy café, bar and cake shop - it’s also a perfect place to relax and unwind. Rooms are light, spacious and feature satellite TV, A/C and an en suite bathroom. STA129

fr fr

$126 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $63 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$95 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $47 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$98 SINGLE $49 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAystylish

13 cosmopolitan hotel

14 cosmo hotel

This stylish, four-star hotel has a bright, spacious lobby, complete with marble floors and chandeliers, friendly and courteous staff and luxurious bedrooms and facilities. Indulgent extras include a pillow menu to ensure you get a perfect night’s sleep, a gym room kitted out with all the latest equipment, a range of spa treatments, a sophisticated Chinese-fusion restaurant, and a stylish bar. STA1024

Cosmo Hotel is a modern boutique hotel packed with the cool, hip design features. Young at heart, utterly stylish and most importantly, very affordable. All rooms are color-coded and enhanced by a wealth of luxury amenities - plasma TV, broadband, mini bar and safe. You even get access to the facilities at the nearby Cosmopolitan Hotel and a complimentary shuttle bus service to great Hong Kong landmarks. STA1024

l

pillow menu l gym & jogging track l 3T Bar l free shuttle bus foot massage & body treatmentsl La Maison de l’Orient restaurant

fr

$123 SINGLE

l

fr

$62 TWIN/DOUBLE

l

award winning cocktail bar l designer lobby lounge l coffee bar complimentary shuttle bus l WiFi l plasma satelite TV l

fr

$115 SINGLE

l

fr

$57 TWIN/DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

15 the mira hong kong

16 shangri-la

Recently transformed to become one of Hong Kong's newest icons. The Mira pledges to offer an informal yet upmarket experience. Every detail is designed to stimulate the senses and spice up your experience - make sure you tuck into the Yamm Restaurant, Room One bar & lounge; and COCO Café and Patisserie. With stylish décor, dazzling lights, gym, and 24 hour concierge you can see why this gem is the new pulse of the city. STA1039

The award-winning Shangri-La is known for its legendary warm and friendly hospitality. All guest rooms are lovely and spacious - offering the ultimate in luxurious comfort and feature floor-to-ceiling bay windows, with some boosting enclosed balconies overlooking the tropical atrium . Endulge yourself in seven restaurants and bars or pamper yourself after a busy day in the swimming pool and spa. STA130

l

swimming pool l sauna l MiraSpa l fitness center l spa lounge three restaurants l café-patisserie l Room One Bar & Lounge

fr

$201 Single

l

fr

$101Double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

l

outdoor swimming pool l luxurious spa and sauna l health club four restaurants l steam room l tennis courts l golf course

fr

$370 Single

l

fr

$203 twin/ouble

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


99

beijing

Airport Transfer fr $33

STAysimple

STAysmart

New dragon youth hostel

jade international youth hostel

chongwenmen hotel

Base yourself in the middle of one of Beijing’s Hutong hoods - surrounded by real local life and within minutes of the city’s most famous sights. Opt for a squeaky-clean dorm or pay a little extra for an en suite bathroom. Then surf the net or grab a stool in the bar. STA1030

A unique “East meets West” design style, this hostel has the globetrotting, international traveler firmly in mind. Facilities include a cozy bar, a laundry room, a guest kitchen, an Internet café, A/C rooms, and free bicycle rental so you can get around Beijing like a local. STA353

Spoil yourself to some inner-city style in the heart of Beijing’s buzz. Super-slick rooms are an A/C oasis - a perfect chill-out base for beating the summer heat. When you’re done with pavement pounding, surf the satellite TV and hit the mini-bar, or check out a Peking pub. STA353

fr fr

$16 dorm $22 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$13 DOrM , INC. bREAKFAST $22 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$62 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $31 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

BEIJING CITY TOUR

STAysmart

STAystylish

DONG JIAO MIN XIANG HOTEL

HOTEL KAPOK

In the heart of the city, a wee walk to Tiannanmen Square and Wangfujing, this modern hotel has loads of facilities including Internet access, satellite TV, 3 restaurants, sauna, and bar. All the rooms have satellite TV, Internet and a mini-bar. What more can you need! STA1032

A striking example of modern Chinese architecture, this unique property is located next to the Forbidden City. The exterior is a semi-transparent fiberglass grid, the interior suggests simplicity and purity - clearly designed to impress. A stunning hotel. STA1033

fr fr

$93 SINGLE $47 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$163 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $82 DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

full Day, fr $48 See all the best Beijing sights, with like-minded, independent people. You’ll visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven all in one day. You’ll also head 17 miles out of the city to see the beautiful Summer Palace - not to be missed! All entrance fees and a delicious local lunch is included. STA1034

GREAT WALL OF CHINA TREK full Day, fr $44 This trip definitely has the WOW factor! You’ll get your adrenalin pumping as you trek 6 miles along the Great Wall. Enjoy breathtaking views and steep climbs. The tour is escorted and travelers can walk at their own pace, you have four hours to cover six miles. You’ll be picked up and dropped off from your hotel in Beijing. STA1035

Oriental asia

STAysimple


100

shanghai

Airport Transfer fr $41

STAysimple

STAysmart

RUITAI JINGAN

nanjing hotel

A great value for money option with a buzzing location just off the Nanjing Road. The nearest metro station is minutes away so you can reach the bustling Bund and other city attractions. This modern hotel has comfortable rooms with air con, TV and en suite bathrooms. STA1036

A great base set in the midst of the bright lights of Nanjing Road perfect for exploring this vibrant city. The famous Bund, the promenade along the river, is a short walk away. Rooms are well equipped and all have A/C and TV. Sizes vary but all are comfortable and super clean. STA1038

fr fr

$28 dorm $32 TWIN/DOUBLE

prices are per person per night

fr fr

$62 SINGLE $31 TWIN/DOUBLE

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

SHANGHAI ExPrESS PASS 4 Days, fr $310 STAysmart

STAystylish

new asia hotel

urbn hotel shanghai

Stay here and you’re in a top location - walking distance from all the action. This ambient hotel is complete with stunning panoramic views of the city. All rooms offer high speed Internet, unsurpassed views - and fluffy robes and slippers await your arrival. STA353

This ultra hip, boutique hotel is an eco-friendly retreat in the heart of the city. With solar shades and water-based A/C; you can even buy carbon credits! Two blocks from Nanjing Rd, each Zenlike room is sustainably designed with a different traveler in mind to ensure a relaxing stay. STA1039

fr fr

$73 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $36 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$299 SINGLE , INC. bREAKFAST $162 TWIN/DOUBLE, INC. bREAKFAST

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

• Stroll down the famous Bund • Experience buzzing Xin Tian Di • Visit traditional Suzhou A fantastic introduction to the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai. This four-day pass includes three nights accommodation, tours to the major sights of Shanghai including the Bund, the French Concession and Xin Tian Di, plus a full-day and night in beautiful Suzhou, renowned for its traditional architecture and the UNESCO-listed gardens and canals. STA899 Accommodation: 3 nights hostel dorm or private room Transport: 3 nights hostel dorm or private room Group Leader: Western tour leader Dates: Selected dates Mar to Nov


101

japan

Tokyo • • Mt. Fuji

Japan’s quirky traditions and customs were fascinating, especially the onsen (hot-springs) rituals. Ask the locals about the do’s and dont’s and leave your modesty at the door. I stripped to my birthday suit and climbed into the soothing waters. Through the steam emerged a couple of swinging naked body parts, but nothing I hadn’t seen before! David, Dallas $

Currency: YEN

• Kyoto • Osaka • Hiroshima

• Fukuoka

Price of a beer: $5.03 Population: 130 MILLION

THE WEATHER

Japan comprises a group of islands that are all hilly or mountainous - particularly Honshu. The highest are snow-covered throughout the year so there’s loads of opportunities for winter sports. In the summer (May to September) and early autumn (September/October) there’s often awesome heavy rain brought by typhoons, or tropical cyclones - but nothing that should put you off going! Summers are short but warm and spring is the sunniest time of year.

LOCAL GRUB

Fast food at its best! Try a gyudon, or beef bowl - rice topped with sauteed sliced beef and onions boiled in a sweet and tangy mixture of soy sauce and sugar. Delicious! Beware of the Fugu/pufferfish - it’s lethally poisonous if prepared incorrectly - and we really wouldn’t want you to die.

USEFUL INFO

Good news for all you cash-conscious people - in Japan there’s no tipping culture, some even see it as offensive. The listed price is the actual price.

USELESS INFO

Tokyo has had 24 recorded instances of people either killed or receiving serious skull fractures while bowing to each other with the traditional Japanese greeting.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

Even in today’s cosmopolitan world, there are still fantastic marked differences between the West and the East. Check out Bill Murray’s brilliant potrayal of a bewildered American actor in ‘Lost in Translation’ to see what we mean.

Oriental asia

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE


102

discover japan 14 DAYS, $3,649 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: TOKYO There is absolutely nothing that’s uninteresting or even remotely dull about Japan. Something, somewhere or someone is always ready and waiting to surprise, inspire or startle you. It might be the insanely strange juxtaposition of ultra-modern and ultra-old. It may well be the mind-blowing speed of the bullet trains that’ll whisk you between one stunning destination to the other. It could be the pervasive spirituality of all those beautiful temples and shrines. It may be the geishas and their truly unspeakable beauty. Or it just might be the kick of the sake and the spice of all that delicious sushi. From dizzy alpine peaks to meticulously manicured gardens to picturesque city streets and all the way to the top of Mt Fuji – you’ll quickly fall in love with everything the country has to offer on this wonderful two week adventure. the best bits • Ride the bullet train around Japan • Inhale the alpine air of Takayama • Behold the beauty of Keroku-en Garden • Check out cosmoplitan Hiroshima • Enjoy an excursion to Miyajima Island • Absorb Kyoto’s traditions and history • Climb imposing Mt. Fuji (seasonal) • Go shopping for hi-tech gizmos in Tokyo Day 1 Arrive Tokyo Arrive in Tokyo at any time and go exploring. Day 2-3 Takayama Your first ride on Japan’s famous Shinkansen Bullet Train takes you high into the Japanese Alps to Takayama. Takayama is home to many old wooden houses, uniquely designed to withstand the harshness of the climate and terrain. Take a full day to explore this beautiful landscape. An optional bike ride takes you beyond the town center and into the countryside.

Day 4-5: Kanazawa A short train ride takes you to the beautifully presevered castle town of Kanazawa. Stroll through the Nagamachi Samurai and Higashi Geisha districts and head to the Teramachi Temple district to visit the famous Ninja Temple. But the highlight of any visit to Kanazawa is Keroku-en Garden. Ranked one of the top three gardens in Japan, its breathtaking beauty shines through in any season. Day 6-7: Hiroshima Perhaps more than any city in the world, Hiroshima is famous for one moment in history. On August 6,1945, it became the first target of an atomic bomb. Hiroshima has risen phoenixlike from the ashes, and rebuilt itself as one of Japan’s most laid back, vibrant cities full of wide boulevards and art Museums.

Day 8-10 Kyoto There are said to be 2,000 temples, shrines, palaces, museums and traditional gardens in Kyoto. Wander past huge wooden structures and multi-storied pagodas, all linked with famous walkways. Marvel at the huge temples of the Hongan-ji sect or the beautiful Golden Pavilion. Take time out to enjoy the zen gardens of Ryoan-ji and the Silver Pavilion, take a stroll down the Philosopher’s path to Nanzen-ji, or just walk around Gion and perhaps catch a glimpse of a Geisha going from teahouse to teahouse. Day 11-12 Mt. Fuji region - Kawaguchiko Fuji-San is by far the highest mountain in Japan, but what makes it unique and so beautiful is its perfect volcanic cone shape. From July 1 to August 27 you can trek to the top of the summit. During the off season you can do an alternate day trek in the Five Lakes region where the views of Mt. Fuji leave you breathless. (2B, D) Day 13 Tokyo Take in some more sights, visit more museums and gardens, do some shopping, and otherwise have some free time exploring Tokyo until you meet in the evening for the last night dinner. Day 14 Depart Tokyo Your Japanese odyssey ends. Say goodbye.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 03 Jan 31 Feb 28 Mar 14 Mar 21 Mar 28 Apr 04 Apr 18 Apr 25 May 02 May 09 May 16 May 23

FINISH Jan 16 Feb 13 Mar 13 Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 May 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29 Jun 05

START May 30 Jun 06 Jun 13 Jun 20 Jun 27 Jul 04 Jul 11 Jul 18 Jul 25 Aug 08 Aug 15 Aug 22 Aug 29 Sep 05

FINISH Jun 12 Jun 19 Jun 26 Jul 03 Jul 10 Jul 17 Jul 24 Jul 31 Aug 07 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18

START Sep 12 Sep 19 Sep 26 Oct 03 Oct 10 Oct 17 Oct 24 Oct 31 Nov 07 Nov 21 Dec 05

FINISH Sep 25 Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18

Accommodation: Hotels (9 nts), traditional inns and onsen spas (4 nts) Transport: Bullet train, tram, taxis, ferry, public bus, walking Group Size: Max 14, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD$420-550 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAJDJ

staljubljana.com

japan

Tokyo • Takayama • • Mt. Fuji • Kanazawa Kyoto • Hiroshima •


103

XXXXXXX AFRICA

japan express

roam japan

9 DAYS, $2,499

7 DAYS, $1,599

fr

TOKYO • • • • •

no local payment!

fr

OSAKA

TOKYO

Check out the imposing Mt. Fuji & traditions of Kyoto Explore captivating and cosmopolitan Hiroshima Enjoy an excursion to Miyajima Island Stay in a mountain monastery in Koyasan Sample the culinary delights of Osaka

• • • • •

no local payment!

OSAKA

Check out the wonderful cultural contraditions of Tokyo Whiz past the world on the Bullet Train Absorb the ancient spirituality of Kyoto Sample Osaka’s culinary treats and enjoy a night on the town Choose to visit the former capitals of Kamakura and Nara

Day 1: Arrive Tokyo Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore.

Day 1: Tokyo Arrive at any time - and go explore this stunning city.

Day 2: Hakone & Mt. Fuji Enjoy outdoor activities, amazing natural beauty and stunning views of the imposing Mt Fuji. Don’t miss the chance to soak in an outdoor ‘onsen’, while food lovers should try a sulphur-boiled egg. (B, D)

Days 2-3: Tokyo Explore this amazing city. Catch a glimpse of a traditional Shinto wedding at the stunning Meiji Shrine or see the latest electronics in Akihabara. Optional Day Trips to Kamakura, one of the country’s formal capitals turned to a sleepy seaside town full of temples and shrines, or head to the hills to Nikko, home to the World Heritage-listed Toshu-gu Shrine complex.

Days 3-4: Kyoto Explore the heart of Japan - temples and teahouses, shrines and shops, and geisha! As the former imperial captial, there’s lots to see and do.

Day 7: Koyasan Visit a religious center atop Mt. Koya. Stay in shukubo (temple lodgings run by monks), eat shojin-ryori and experince life just like a monk. (B, D) DayS 8-9: depart Osaka Home to the nation’s friendliest locals. You’ll have time to explore this vibrant city, famed for its culinary delights and fab shopping.Your adventure comes to an end on Day 9.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Mar 12 Mar 26 Apr 09 Apr 23 May 07 May 28 Jun 18

FINISH Mar 20 Apr 03 Apr 17 May 01 May 15 Jun 05 Jun 26

Day 6: Osaka A short train ride takes you to Osaka, Japan’s culinary capital. There’ll be free time to shop till you drop before you sample some of the city’s famous cuisine and nightlife. Day 7: Osaka Say your tearful goodbyes and depart at any time.

DEPARTURES START Jun 25 Jul 16 Jul 23 Aug 06 Aug 20 Sep 03 Sep 17 Oct 01

FINISH Jul 03 Jul 24 Jul 31 Aug 14 Aug 28 Sep 11 Sep 25 Oct 09

START Oct 15 Oct 29 Nov 12 Nov 26 Dec 10

FINISH Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18

Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), mountain monastery (1 nt), Japanese style ryokan (1nt) Transport: Bullet train, subway, bus Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals:2 breakfasts, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$330 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAJJT

japan

Tokyo • • Mt. Fuji Kyoto • • Osaka Himeji • Hiroshima •

• Koyasan

START 2011 Jan 22 Feb 19 Mar 05 Mar 12 Mar 19 Apr 02 Apr 09 Apr 16 May 14 May 21

FINISH Jan 28 Feb 25 Mar 11 Mar 18 Mar 25 Apr 08 Apr 15 Apr 22 May 20 May 27

START May 28 Jun 04 Jun 11 Jun 18 Jun 25 Jul 02 Jul 09 Jul 16 Jul 23 Jul 30 Aug 27

FINISH Jun 03 Jun 10 Jun 17 Jun 24 Jul 01 Jul 08 Jul 15 Jul 22 Jul 29 Aug 05 Sep 02

START Sep 03 Sep 10 Oct 01 Nov 12 Nov 19 Nov 26 Dec 03

FINISH Sep 09 Sep 16 Oct 07 Nov 18 Nov 25 Dec 02 Dec 09

Accommodation: Hotels (6nts) Transport: Bullet train, subway, bus Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD300 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAJRJ

GO IN REVERSE Osaka - Tokyo 9 days, fr $2,499 Tour Code: GAAJJR

STAY LONGER IN tokyo Check out pages 116-117

STAY LONGER IN tokyo Check out pages 116-117

STAY LONGER IN osaka Check out page 118

080 4742

japan

Hakuba •

• Tokyo

Kyoto • Kurashiki • • Iya Valley Mt. Aso •

Oriental asia

Days 5-6: Himeji & Hiroshima Visit the fabled Samurai Castle of Himeji before heading on to Hiroshima. Nearby beautiful Miyajima Island offers one of Japan’s most iconic scenes.

Days 4-5: Kyoto We take a ride on Japan’s world famous Shinkansen to Kyoto Bullet Train. Choose from over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens to explore. Optional half-day visit to Nara, one of Japan’s former capitals and home to Todaiji Temple, housing the Big Buddha and Nara Park, and the many deers roaming within.


104

tokyo

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysmart

1 TOKYO HOSTEL

2 juyoh hostel

3 GRAND HOUSE CHANG TEE

Perfect for those on a tight budget and brilliantly located. It has A/C and boasts a TV lounge, game room, laundry, Internet access, sauna, and communal kitchen. Regular events include ‘The local Japanese Tea Ceremony’, ‘Poker World Night’ and ‘Super Karaoke’. STA1041

Enjoy an authentic and traditional experience at this great hostel - you’ll sleep in a Japanesestyle room on tatami mats with futon bedding and you even get a yukata to wear (Japanese night clothes). You can drink as much green tea as you like and there’s complimentary WiFi. STA131

As clean and simple as sushi, this great-value place makes the perfect base for pretty much anywhere in Tokyo. Choose between Western or Japanese-style rooms, all have A/C, super-clean bathrooms, TV and hair dryer. There’s also free WiFi throughout the property. STA1042

fr fr

$44 DORM $49 twin/double

fr fr

$47 SINGLE $46 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAysmart

7 shiba park

8 shinjuku washington hotel

The Shiba Park always gets rave reviews about its super friendly and efficient staff. The hotel itself has everything you need including Japanese and Western restaurnts. All the cozy rooms come with TV, fridge and a Japanese tea set. Your bathroom has its very own bath robe! STA134

This large hotel guarantees comfort, convenience and culture - perfect for any first time travelers to the city. The rooms feature TV, Internet access, mini-fridge, desk and a bathroom decked out with loads of useful toiletries and a bath robe. You’ll love the great restaurants. STA135

fr fr

$181 SINGLE $99 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$135 SINGLE $94 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

staljubljana.com

fr fr

$87 SINGLE $60 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


105

dates for your diary jANUARY 6, 2011 DEZOME-SHIKI PARADE

3 

TOSHIMA WARD

4



2

YASUKUNI SHRINE

FEBRUARY 7 – 13, 2011 SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL



IMPERIAL PALACE

8



SUMIDA RIVER

1



ALASKA PALACE



6

APRIL 3, 2011 YABUSAME FESTIVAL

HIBIYA PARK

may 21 – 22, 2011 SANJA MATSURI FESTIVAL



TOKYO TOWER

7







TSUKIJI FISH MARKET

SHIBA PARK

KOTO WARD



5

march 3, 2011 DOLL’S FESTIVAL

TAKESHIBA PIER

OCTOBER 1-31, 2011 MAPLE LEAF FESTIVAL



HARUMI PIER

 TOKYO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 10km 

AUGUST 22-26, 2011 SAMBA CARNIVAL

STAysmart

STAysmart

4 Hotel Metropolitan tokyo

5 shingawa prince hotel

6 grand prince hotel

This big and beautiful hotel is in the Ikebukuro district of central Tokyo, close to the STA Travel store. Amenities include a pool (summer only), several bars, free Internet and even a wedding chapel! The lovely rooms boast loads of great facilities including TV, fridge and slippers! STA1043

The great hotel has just about everything explore the on-site shopping mall, catch a couple of movies at the cinema, splash around the two swimming pools and gorge on Western or local food at one of the many restaurants. The comfy rooms are stuffed full of great facilities. STA132

A luxurious urban gem surrounded by a stunning five acre Japanese garden. Inside you’ll be greeted by the hotel’s superb staff, restaurants, bar and a choice of two swimming pools during the summer months! Classically Japanese, rooms feature TV, Internet, and bathrobe. STA133

fr fr

$228 SINGLE $127 twin/double

fr fr

$149 SINGLE $108 twin/double

fr fr

$210 SINGLE $109 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Mt. Fuji & Hakone

hakone - kyoto tour

PANORAMIC TOKYO TOUR

• • • • •

full Day, fr $121 Be guided through the high-rise jungle to see loads of spectacular sights like the Meiji Shinto Shrine and the Imperial Palace East Garden. Visit the Asakusa Kannon Temple, saunter through the shops at Ginza and tuck into lunch overlooking the “Hamarikyu” Japanese garden. Hop-on a Tokyo Bay cruise, drive over Rainbow Bridge & visit the Waterfront City. STA1045

2 days FR $465 • • • • •

1 night standard/superior hotel Boat Cruise on Lake Ashi Hakone Skyline Gondola Travel on the Bullet Train Owakudani Boiling Valley

2 days FR $652

1 night standard/superior hotel Majestic Mount Fuji Kyoto, Japan’s first capital city Hakone Sky Gondola The bubbling Owakudani Valley

Start in Tokyo, taking in the best sights on the way to Mount Fuji. You’ll enjoy scenery of rural Japan whilst driving along to Mt. Fuji and a panoramic view from the 5th station. You’ll take in the Owakudani Boiling Valley and the Ancient Crater before a peaceful cruise on Lake Ashi. Theres plenty of free time once you’ve checked in at the hotel. The trip finishes on a high - with your high speed journey back to Tokyo!

This two-day tour offers the best of rural and metropolitan Japan with real exposure to this thousands of years culture! Traveling by bus and the famous bullet train, sample Mt Fuji’s stunning silhouette before heading to immerse yourself in fabulous Kyoto with a few delightful stop offs along the way! For those wanting a perfect mix of culture and nature, this tour gives just the right taste of beautiful Japan!

Accommodation: 1 night private room single/twin Transport: Express Train /Bullet Train Group Size: private tour Meals: 1 lunchTour Code: STA1048

Accommodation: 1 night private room single/twin Transport: Coach, bus and Bullet Train Group Size: private tour Meals: 1 lunch Tour Code: STA136

080 4742

MOUNT FUJI & HAKONE N.P. full Day, fr $158 Take a trip up the perfectly formed Mt. Fuji and marvel at the mind-blowing scenery from the 5th station. Enjoy a cruise on beautiful Lake Ashi, and a cable car trip up Mt. Komagatake for a sweeping view of Hakone National Park. And the fun doesn’t end there! A thrilling ride on the bullet train will take you back to Tokyo. STA1045

Oriental asia

STAysmart


106

osaka & kyoto

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

hearton hotel, kyoto

new miyako hotel, kyoto

aranvert hotel, kyoto

The Hearton has a fantastic location - only a 10-minute walk to the Nijo Castle. All the rooms are clean and comfortable with an en suite, satellite TV and free Internet. Take advantage of the restaurant and coffee shop or head out into the city like a local with the free bike rental. STA138

Sitting close Kyoto Station, it’s a prime position for travelers to base themselves and explore the city. The hotel features five restaurants, cafés and bars. All rooms are spacious with modern facilities such as a satellite TV, fully stocked mini bar and A/C. A classic hotel! STA139

Located in the middle of Gojo - nestled on the quiet side of Kyoto’s most upbeat and bustling streets. Check out the amazing rooftop offering breathtaking panoramic views over this ancient city. Dine in the chic Piatto restaurant where you’ll be waited on hand and foot. STA140

fr fr

$131 SINGLE $98 twin/double

fr fr

$202 SINGLE $113 twin/double

fr fr

$115 SINGLE $86 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAysmart

STAystylish

STAysmart

dotonbori hotel, osaka

sherAton miyako hotel, osaka

osaka nanba washington, osaka

This hotel is situated in the south of Osaka, - an area best known for getting a bite to eat in one of it’s many restaurants. Each room is comfortable and has free Internet, TV, and A/C. Everyone will be happy with complimentary bottled water and green tea. STA141

Right in the heart of Osaka - perfect location to get the best of both worlds. Relax by the pool, dine in the nine restaurants, cafés and bars or venture out and experience the sights and sounds of the city. Rooms are uniquely designed - features include A/C, TV, and mini bar. STA142

Positioned in the southern end of Osaka, this hotel is stumbling distance from the Castle and the National Bunraku Theatre - perfect for those that want to explore the city. The rooms are clean and tidy, offering all the amenities you need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay. STA143

fr fr

$121 SINGLE $98 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$162 SINGLE $98 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

staljubljana.com

fr fr

$94 SINGLE $86 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast


107

hakuba powder package See a different side to Japan’s bright lights, neon colors and top of the range gadgets. Stray from the stupefying historical sights, captivating architecture and mysterious local people. Wind your way instead into the mountains for a taste of this country’s incredible and largely unadulterated beauty. Take in the sweeping vistas, gaze awestruck at mountains and play in some gawdamn fantastic snow. Japan is well-known for it’s on and off piste activities so what better reason to take a detour into the hills? Staying in Hakuba, the beating heart of Japan’s snow scene, take your pick of seven different resorts to perfect your snow skills. And when you’re not skiing the slopes, sample the local sushi, soak away your hangover in steaming hot springs or just kick back with a keg of Kirin and enjoy the other outdoor activities. The season runs from early December to March.

Oriental asia

inclusions • 7 nights stay in Hakuba, 5mins walk to ski lifts & night life • 5 or 6 day Hakuba ‘7 lift’ pass • Return coach from Tokyo to Hakuba accommodation • Initial meet and greet • Daily breakfasts in Hakuba • 1 dinner in Hakuba • Transfers to any special parties or events in the region • Group dinner and party night

7 DAYS, $1,068 fr

14 DAYS, $1,862 fr

departs: wednesdays & saturdays Optional Extras (not included): Deposit for lift pass chip, night skiing or boarding, traditional japanese “Onsen” bathhouse, snow monkeys and zenkoji temple day tour Departure point: Tokyo Narita airport terminal 2, international arrivals lounge Tour Code: STA1046

080 4742


108

INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT


109

6

TOP 6

5

3 1

4 2

AMAZING EXPERIENCES

1

2

laze on sun soaked beaches

float down the mystical ganges see PAGE 122

4

3

5

Bustle around the best cities

hike to everest’s base camp

see PAGEs 134-135

see PAGE 139

6

watch sunrise at the taj mahal

see PAGEs 132-133

cook up an indian storm

see PAGE 128

see PAGE 132

Average High TempERATURE (ºF) City

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

Bangalore

79

82

88

90

88

81

79

79

81

88

77

DEC 77

Darjeeling

41

43

50

55

59

61

63

63

61

86

50

45

68

72

82

95

100

100

100

90

91

88

81

70

77

79

81

84

84

81

79

79

79

86

81

79

Kathmandu

59

63

70

77

79

79

79

79

77

86

68

61

Lahore

64

68

77

90

99

100

91

91

91

86

77

66

Mumbai

84

86

88

90

90

88

84

82

86

88

90

86

Jaipur

70

75

86

97

102

100

90

88

91

86

81

72

Kolkota

77

82

90

95

93

90

88

88

88

86

82

77

Udaipur

75

81

90

97

100

97

88

86

86

81

82

77

Indian sub-continent

Delhi Goa


110

delhi to kathmandu adventure 15 DAYS, $1,249 fr

DELHI

no local payment!

KATHMANDU

You might consider yourself a fairly experienced traveler. You may have lazed on a few sunscorched beaches, pranced around various exotic cities and had your bag go missing on many a complicated international flight. Fair enough, but have you ever visited the birthplace of Buddhism, ridden an elephant through a stunning National Park, gone in search of tigers and rhinos, bathed in holy water, visited a temple that’s jumping with monkeys or traveled across the ‘roof of the world’ – all in just 15 days? Chances are you haven’t – not many people have, and that’s why we love this amazing adventure trip. It gloriously opens up a magical part of our beautiful planet to anyone who demands diversity and wonder. As well as the aforementioned experiences you’ll also witness one of the world’s truly sensational structures – when you check out the amazing Taj Mahal – we challenge you not to come over all mushy and sentimental as you explore this monument to love. the best bits • Explore Delhi’s cavernous culture • Check out the pink city of Jaipur • Absorb the romance of the Taj Mahal • Enjoy the peaceful charm of Orchha • Watch the bathing rituals in Varanasi • Take a sunset boat trip on the Ganges • Visit the birthplace of Buddhism, Lumbini • Go hunting for tigers in Chitwan • Marvel at the natural beauty of Pokhara • Check out magical Kathmandu Day 1: Arrive Delhi Arrive at anytime - and feel free to explore the wealth of culturally interesting options that this city has on tap. Old Delhi has mosques, forts, markets and other monuments depicting India’s Muslim history. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city with tree covered wide streets. Days 2-3: Jaipur Travel to the pink city of Jaipur. Visit the Palace of the Winds. Follow in the footsteps of the royal harem, ride an elephant to the Amber Fort Palace or groove along to the singing and dancing of a Bollywood film at the art deco Raj Mandir Cinema. Day 4: Agra Travel by early morning train to the Muslim city of Agra, the home of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Visit either in the early morning or late afternoon for the best viewing experience. Ride on a ubiquitous cycle rickshaw to visit the Red Fort and Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb.

Days 5-6: Orchha Travel by train from Agra to Jhansi before jumping in a tempo, a large type of auto rickshaw to the picturesque town of Orchha. You’ll spend two days enjoying the peaceful rural charm of this riverside town, experiencing the ‘real’ India. Sitting on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India’s cities. Days 7-8: Varanasi Varanasi is the quintessential Indian holy city. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, check out some of the thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the rituals of bathing along the ghats. Sit back and contemplate what it means to be in Varanasi, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world dating back thousands of years. You’ll take a boat and head out onto the sacred Ganges River, both for sunrise and sunset. On your evening journey you’ll enjoy a candle flower ceremony and some sitar and tabla playing. Day 9: Bhairawa / Lumbini, (India / Nepal) Travel by private vehicle to the Nepalese border. Crossing at the border town of Bhairawa you’ll continue on to the great Buddhist pilgrimage center and birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Days 10-11: Chitwan National park Travel along the base of the Himalayas through marshy grasslands, savannahs and forests to the UNESCO World Heritage Chitwan National Park. Seize the chance to ride an elephant on safari before you join a guided hike through the park in search of the Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhino. Take a canoe ride or go bird watching. Days 12-13: Pokhara Travel from the plains to the mountains by bus. Nestled in a tranquil valley at an altitude of 2,713ft, Pokhara is a place of natural beauty. One of the best sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range. Travel out to Sarangkot for sunrise over the surrounding mountains, then walk back down through farms and forest to Pokhara. Awesome and inspiring. Day 14: Kathmandu Travel through the wild, rugged Himalayan landscape to Nepal’s magical capital city. In a bowl-like valley surrounded on all sides by some of the highest mountains on earth, Kathmandu has been a crossroads of cultures for years. Day 15: Depart Kathmandu Arise early in the morning for a visit to Swayambhunath, the monkey temple, sitting high above Kathmandu. Your trip finishes at midday.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 01 Jan 08 Jan 15 Jan 17 Jan 29 Jan 31 Feb 05 Feb 07 Feb 12 Feb 14 Feb 19 Feb 26

FINISH Jan 15 Jan 22 Jan 29 Jan 31 Feb 12 Feb 14 Feb 19 Feb 21 Feb 26 Feb 28 Mar 05 Mar 12

START Mar 05 Mar 07 Mar 12 Mar 19 Mar 21 Mar 26 Apr 09 Apr 16 Apr 23 Apr 30 May 07 May 09 May 14

FINISH Mar 19 Mar 21 Mar 26 Apr 02 Apr 04 Apr 09 Apr 23 Apr 30 May 07 May 14 May 21 May 23 May 28

START Aug 20 Aug 27 Sep 03 Sep 10 Sep 17 Sep 24 Oct 01 Oct 03 Oct 08 Oct 15 Oct 17 Oct 22 Oct 24

FINISH Sep 03 Sep 10 Sep 17 Sep 24 Oct 01 Oct 08 Oct 15 Oct 17 Oct 22 Oct 29 Oct 31 Nov 05 Nov 07

START Oct 29 Nov 05 Nov 12 Nov 14 Nov 19 Nov 26 Nov 28 Dec 03 Dec 10 Dec 12 Dec 17 Dec 24

FINISH Nov 12 Nov 19 Nov 26 Nov 28 Dec 03 Dec 10 Dec 12 Dec 17 Dec 24 Dec 26 Dec 31 Jan 07

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (12 nts), sleeper train (1nt), deluxe A/C tents (1nt) Transport: Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, auto-rickshaw, cycle-rickshaw, tempo, river boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD$225 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHDK

GO IN REVERSE ‘Kathmandu to Delhi Adventure’ 15 days, fr $1,249 Tour Code: GAANKD

staljubljana.com

NEPAL

Delhi • Jaipur • Agra • Orchha • INDIA

Pokhara • • Kathmandu Bhairawa • • Lumbini Chitwan N.P. • • Varanasi


111

india

• Punjab Delhi • • Jaipur • Varanassi

Kolkata (Calcutta) •

• Mumbai (Bombay)

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

Mumbai was a definite highlight - stark contrasts of opulence and opposites. Take the Chor Bazzar - mulchy, mushy, squelching underfoot, uncovering backrooms of wall-to-wall ancient relics, railway clocks, wooden and ivory carved elephants and trinkets of a bygone era. A maze of chaos and a plethora of exploration - gluttony for the eyes. Robert, Baton Rouge $

• Goa

Chennai (Madras) •

• Kerala

Currency: INDIAN RUPEE Price of a beer: $1.10 Population: 1.2 BILLION

In India you’ll find permanent snowfields, tropical coastlands, desert in the northwest plains and fertile, intensively cultivated rice fields. The country is influenced by the wet sticky southwest monsoon from June to October. December to February is the coolest, driest time when light northerly winds bring clear skies and little rain. From March to May the climate becomes hotter and hotter. Goa’s beaches are popular all year, Mumbai enjoys balmy blue skies and Delhi has very hot summers and very cold winters.

LOCAL GRUB

Delicious butter chicken anywhere, fish tikka in Bengal, shark curry on the beach in Goa. Quintessential afternoon tea at the Taj Mahal Palace - a great rest from manic Mumbai. You’ll never be far off from an explosion of spice and color (yes, we mean the curries!).

The cardinal rule of dining is to always use the right hand when eating or receiving food and never the left. The left hand is considered unclean. In rare instances, the use of the left hand is acceptable only when eating onions and certain other accompaniments.

USELESS INFO

The game of Snakes & Ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat’. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

If you don’t fancy sitting though the melodrama and sheer silliness of a Bollywood movie, then it’s got to be ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, this multi Oscar-winning movie showcases India in all it’s shapes and forms.

080 4742

Indian sub-continent

USEFUL INFO

THE WEATHER


112

roam india 20 DAYS, $1,199 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: DELHI India is home to some smashingly tasty food, a multifarious mix of amazing cultures and an outrageous abundance of fantastical sights. The only issue is that it always seems just a little out of reach. India is often seen as intimidating as it is appealing. Where do you go, and where do you start? Well the simple answer is; right here! This is your all-encompassing Indian wonder trip. You’ll tick off a whole host of amazing experiences over 20 action-packed days – and all for an absurdly low price. Prepare to experience the wonders of Rajasthan and North India – you’ll witness life-affirming sunsets, mystical temples, opulent palaces, utopian lakes and barrenly beautiful landscapes. You’ll come face-to-face with a spirituality far removed from the shallow complexity of the western world, as you interact with some particularly special people in some truly unique places... And of course, you’ll also have time for a few curries and a couple of onion bhajis. Delish! the best bits • Explore the manic streets of Delhi • Check out the pink city of Jaipur • Absorb the romance of the Taj Mahal • Enjoy an amazing camel safari • Watch the bathing rituals in Varanasi • Absorb the exotic spirituality of Pushkar • Marvel at the sights of Udaipur • Explore historic Jodhpur • Munch on delicious real Indian food • Watch a fantastic sunset on the Ganges Day 1: Arrive Delhi Arrive at anytime - and feel free to explore. Day 2: Delhi Dive into the heart of India’s capital and explore Old Delhi. Visit Jarna Masjid and climb the minaret for a bird’s eye view of the old city or walk through Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest markets. Days 3-5: Jaisalmer & Camel safari Jaisalmer, known as The Golden City, stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, in the heart of the Thar Desert. Check out the mud fortress and walled townships. On Day 4 embark on a camel safari into the desert. Stay overnight at a comfortable camp and sleep under the stars after spending the night around a campfire surrounded by the cool blackness of the Thar. Chat long into the early hours with your fellow travel team and realize just how much you love a good, proper curry. (B, D)

Days 6-7: Jodhpur At Jodhpur, stark desert landscapes meet a riot of palaces, forts and temples, all enclosed within imposing city walls. Six enormous gates provide entry to the city center. Overlooking it all stands the imposing shadow of Meherangarh Fort. This is one of the largest forts in India – climb up to it and admire the breathtaking view of the city from the ramparts. Days 8-9: Udaipur Continue southeast to Udaipur, famous for its breathtaking lakes and Raj-era palaces. Most famous is the Lake Palace, an island-palace where the white marble buildings entirely cover a small island in Pichola Lake. Other fascinating sites include the Jagdish Temple, the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandir folk museum, Saheliyon-ki-Bari (the Garden of Maidens) and the City Palace. Days 10-11: Pushkar Drive over Snake Mountain en route to Pushkar, the site of the world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation Brahma. No Hindu pilgrimage is complete until you’ve bathed in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake. Pushkar is so sacred that no meat, alcohol or eggs are allowed within the city. Try a camel ride in the desert or wander the markets of this holy center.

Days 12-13: Jaipur Travel to the capital of Rajasthan. Clothed in pink stucco, Jaipur is home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Follow in the footsteps of the royal harem or watch the spectacle of a Bollywood film. Days 14-15: Agra Continue to the Muslim city of Agra, best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Visit this icon of Mughal architecture either in the early morning or late afternoon for the best light. Days 16-18: Varanasi Journey to the legendary Varanasi, where millions of Hindus travel to worship, to mourn or to die. Walk the narrow alleys, visit some temples and shrines and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burial as you float past the famous ghats of the Ganges. For the evening ceremony you will enjoy a candle flower ceremony. (B) DAY 19: DELHI Overnight train back to Delhi. The day is yours to explore this amazing, fast-paced city. Day 20: Depart Delhi Your adventure sadly finishes- leave at anytime.

DEPARTURES 2011 JAN-DEC

MON

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (15 nts), sleeper train (3 nts), camping (1nt) Transport: Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, auto-rickshaw, cycle rickshaw, small river boat, camel Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 2 breakfast, 1 dinner Budget: Allow USD$280 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHRH

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you...

Delhi • Jaisalmer • Pushkar • Jodhpur •

Agra • • Jaipur

Udaipur •

flexible departures travel when you like dedicated touring two travelers, one trip personal service your own local guides FR

$1,459

per person

• Varanasi INDIA


113

15 DAYS, $1,099 fr

DELHI

XXXXXXX AFRICA

uncover india no local payment!

GOA

Strip India naked, reveal its beautifully exotic pleasures and go discover a phantasmagoria of sensual wonder. Everything in the sub-continent is just a little bit more daring – the colors, the tastes and the architecture. You won’t encounter even a suggestion of the ordinary during your time here. This 15 day adventure ensures that you’ll be delightfully exposed to all of this wonder. Nothing is left to your imagination. From Delhi, snake your way through this amazing country. En route you’ll discover mysterious temples, magical palaces, shimmering lakes and some incredible cuisine. You’ll check out the big brazen cities of Delhi and Mumbai, soak up the amazing history of Rajasthan and delve into the more serene side of Indian life when you visit the spiritual town of Pushkar and the stunning Mount Abu. Things finish up in the party capital of Goa – so pull out your flip-flops and swap all that cultural fascination for dollops of glorious sunshine and a very laid-back beachside vibe. the best bits • Become enthralled by Delhi’s colors • Fall in love with the Taj Mahal • Check out the pink city of Jaipur • Visit spectacular historical monuments • Absorb the exotic spirituality of Pushkar • Marvel at the sights of Udaipur • Enjoy the natural beauty of Mount Abu • Soak up the glitz and glamour of Mumbai • Laze on Southern India’s lovely beaches • Party all night in Goa’s bars and clubs Day 1: Arrive Delhi Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Slightly intimidating but exceptionally invigorating this city will let your imagination run wild in a fury of color and commotion. Witness stark contrasts in almost everything and try some super tasty local food.

Day 2: Agra Travel by early morning train to the Muslim city of Agra. No visit is complete without at least one trip here! Agra is best known as the site of the Taj Mahal. Visit this icon of Mughal architecture either in the morning or late afternoon for the best light. Ride one of the cycle rickshaws to visit the Lal Qila or Red Fort, the Taj’s less famous, but no less impressive sister monument. Days 3-4: Jaipur Take a bus ride to the capital of Rajasthan. Clothed in pink stucco, wide-avenued Jaipur is one of the most important heritage cities in the country and home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Follow in the footsteps of the royal harem or ride an elephant to the cliff-top fort palace at Amber - one of the most spectacular in India. Days 5-6: Pushkar Drive over Snake Mountain en route to Pushkar. Pushkar is the site of the world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation Brahma. No Hindu pilgrimage is considered complete until the pilgrim bathes in the sacred waters of Pushkar Lake; indeed, the city is so sacred that no meat, alcohol or eggs are allowed within the city. Try out a camel ride in the desert or wander the markets of this holy center.

2011 JAN FEB-DEC

Delhi •

MON, WED, SAT MON, SAT

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (13 nts), sleeper train (1nt) Transport: Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, jeep, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, plane Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals are included Budget: Allow USD$225 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHUH

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... flexible departures travel when you like dedicated touring two travelers, one trip personal service your own local guides FR

$1,299

per person

Pushkar •

Agra • • Jaipur

Udaipur •

• Ranakpur INDIA

• Mumbai (Bombay)

• Panjim (Goa)

Day 10: Ranakpur The lovely village of Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, and for a much older Sun Temple. Go exploring! Day 11: Mount Abu At an average height of 4,318 feet above sea level, Mt. Abu is an oasis in the deserted land of Rajasthan. Renowned as the only hill-station in northwest India, Mt. Abu is known for its Delwara Jain temples and natural beauty. Day 12: Mumbai Rise at dawn to watch the morning ritual at the Sassoon Docks, South Mumbai’s main fish loading and trading center. Face westwards out to sea and check out the Gateway to India. From here boats leave for Elephanta Island, famous for its rock carved temples. In the evening, visit one of Mumbai’s many top-notch restaurants, and sample the amazing nightlife. Days 13-14: Goa On Day 13 you’ll fly from Mumbai to Goa. Relax on a beach, visit the many Portuguese-built monuments, wander around the Old Churches of Old Goa - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and discover Panjim, the capital. The local cuisine is recognized throughout India and the world for its fiery punch and strong coastal and Portuguese influences – you’ll want to eat all day long! Day 15: Depart Goa Your tour sadly ends today at about midday.

Indian sub-continent

DEPARTURES

Days 7-9: Udaipur Continue southeast to Udaipur, India’s most romantic city and famous worldwide for its plethora of breathtaking lakes and Raj-era palaces. Most famous of these is the Lake Palace, an island-palace where the white marble buildings entirely cover a small island in Pichola Lake. If you can pull yourself away from all the shopping, there are many other points of interest, such as the Jagdish Temple, Saheliyonki-Bari (the Garden of Maidens) and City Palace with its museums, crystal gallery royal treasures.


114

essential india 15 DAYS, $1,249 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: delhi Many choose to spend months, even years traveling between India’s startling sights. So if you’re only visiting for just a few weeks, it’s pretty important to know exactly where you’re going – and it’s vital that things are properly organized. You simply don’t want to rock up in Delhi with nowhere to stay and a plan to negotiate India’s complex bus and train network. Your two week dream holiday will quickly turn into a truly farcical fortnight This trip doesn’t detract in any way from your Indian experience, but it takes away some of the hassles, giving you more time to immerse yourself in the local cultures. You’ll have the time and the space to serenely stroll through cacophonous city streets, discover blissfully beautiful temples, munch your way through a plethora of explosive curries and come face to face with an ocean of wondrous spirituality. From the extravagant Taj Mahal to The Ghats of Varanasi and the unforgettable temples of Khajuraho and Orchha - this is the real, wondrous and magical India. the best bits • Let Delhi delighfully assault your senses • Wander around the Pink City • Explore Jaipur’s Palace of the Winds • Have your heart broken by the Taj Mahal • Slow down the pace in rural Orchha • Learn some new positions in Khajuraho • Take a sunset sail down the Ganges • Absorb the raw spirituality of Varanasi Day 1: Arrive Delhi Arrive in Delhi at any time - go exploring! Day 2: Delhi Visit Delhi’s Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India and wander through the Chandni Chowk in old Delhi. View the imposing India Gate and marvel at the splendor of Connaught Place.

Days 3-4: Jaipur Clothed in pink stucco, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Follow in the footsteps of the royal harem or watch the spectacle of a Bollywood film. On Day 4 you’ll check out the ruined city of Amber. Day 5: Abhaneri Abhaneri is an ancient village set in the desert of Rajasthan, known for its beautiful baoris (step wells) and the famous Harshat Mata temple. Days 6-7: Agra En route to Agra you’ll visit Fatehpur Sikri, the now deserted former capital of the Mughals. Upon arrival you’ll check out I’timad-ud-Daulah, also known as the ‘Baby Taj’. On Day 7 you’ll visit the Taj Mahal either in the early morning or late afternoon for the best light. Be prepared for something truly beautiful. You’ll also ride one of the cycle-rickshaws to visit the Agra Fort. Days 8: Orchha Traveling via the fortress town of Gwalior, you’ll retreat to the peaceful riverside town of Orchha. Explore the many temples and palaces spread along the river and surrounding countryside, making sure to see the town’s imposing 17th century fort, Chaturbhuj Temple.

Days 9-11: Alipura / Khajuraho Stay in the rural village of Alipura - a princely state since 1757 in what is today the Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh. You’ll take a day trip to one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, Khajuraho, home to India’s largest group of medieval Hindu temples, famous for their erotic sculptures depicting scenes from the Kama Sutra. Days 12-13: Varanasi Journey to legendary Varanasi, where millions of Hindus travel to for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn or to die. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burial of the Ganges. You’ll take boats onto the river, both for sunrise and sunset. For the evening boat trip you’ll enjoy a candle flower ceremony accompanied by sitar and tabla playing. Day 14: Varanasi / Delhi A free morning in Varanasi to wander the ghats and do some last minute shopping before returning to the color, noise and excitement of Delhi on an afternoon flight. Day 15: Depart Delhi Your adventure ends - leave at anytime.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 09 Jan 16 Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 27 Jan 30 Feb 05 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 19 Feb 20

FINISH Jan 16 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 05 Feb 06 Feb 10 Feb 13 Feb 19 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 05 Mar 06

START Feb 27 Mar 05 Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 19 Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 02 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01

FINISH Mar 13 Mar 19 Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 02 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 16 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15

START May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Jul 17 Aug 14 Aug 28 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 02

FINISH May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Jul 31 Aug 28 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16

START Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25 Jan 01 Jan 08

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (13 nts), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, charter bus, auto-ricksaw, small river boat, plane Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals are included Budget: Allow USD$210-275 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHEH

STAY Longer in DELHI Check out page 132

staljubljana.com

Delhi • • Agra Jaipur • • Abhaneri Gwalior • • Orchha Khajuraho •

• Varanasi


115

14 DAYS, $1,229 fr

XXXXXXX AFRICA

best of southern india no local payment!

START & FINISH: Kochi There is something alluringly eternal about Southern India. The permeating spirituality that entrances anyone with just a smidgen of a soul is unlike anything anywhere else in the world. The people seem to know something that we don’t, the monuments and temples appear to have existed in a time long before anything was written about, the traditions and customs seem searingly profound and the landscapes emit a celestial energy that you simply can’t define. This two week adventure will convert even the most cynically minded to a different way of looking at things – you’ll become enraptured by the enigmatic beauty of it all. From the 7th century Shore Temples at Mamallapuram, to the tigers of Periyar National Park, and from the backwaters of Kerala to the cool Nilgiri Hills, you’ll strip back the best of Southern India. the best bits • Tour the historical sights of Kochi • Hike through the Nilgiri tea plantations • Enjoy a mini wildlife safari at Mudumalai • Attain spiritual enlightenment in Mysore • Visit the extraordinary Shore Temple • Climb the awesome Rock Fortress • Go in search of wild tigers at Periyar • Stay with the locals in Kerala Day 1: Arrive Kochi Arrive in Kochi at any time. Day 2: Kochi Small islands full of Portuguese and Dutch history, all connected by wooden ferries, welcome you to Fort Kochi. The oldest church in India sits near mosques, synagogues and English manor homes. Feast on Keralan food and enjoy a performance of Kathakali dancing.

Day 3: Nilgiri Hills Climb into the misty Nilgiri, or Blue Mountains, covered in tea plantations, grape gardens and eucalyptus trees. Hike through the plantations, learn how tea is grown and travel on the famous Blue Mountain Railway. Day 4: Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary Spend the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary provides one of the most important refuges for the elephant and bison in India. Days 5-6: Mysore Join the throngs of pilgrims at Chamundi Hills, with its Chamundeswari Temple on top and Nandi the Bull a short walk below. Visit the colorful Devaraja fruit and vegetable market or maybe join in a yoga class at one of the many institutes. You’ll also visit Somnathpur, one of the most famous Hoysala Temples in India. Days 7-8: Mamallapuram Continue south to the small village of Mamallapuram, site of the 7th century Shore Temple, another of India’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the late afternoon, perhaps after you have enjoyed a swim or jog along the beach, explore the monuments on a guided mike or walking tour.

START FINISH 2011 Jan 02 Jan 15 Jan 09 Jan 22 Jan 16 Jan 29 Jan 23 Feb 05 Jan 30 Feb 12 Feb 01 Feb 14 Feb 06 Feb 19 Feb 13 Feb 26 Feb 15 Feb 28 Feb 20 Mar 05 Feb 27 Mar 12 Mar 06 Mar 19 Mar 13 Mar 26

START Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19

FINISH Apr 02 Apr 09 Apr 16 Apr 23 Apr 30 May 07 May 14 May 21 May 28 Jun 04 Jun 11 Jun 18 Jun 25 Jul 02

START Jun 26 Jul 03 Jul 10 Jul 17 Jul 24 Jul 31 Aug 07 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25

FINISH Jul 09 Jul 16 Jul 23 Jul 30 Aug 06 Aug 13 Aug 20 Aug 27 Sep 03 Sep 10 Sep 17 Sep 24 Oct 01 Oct 08

START Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 15 Oct 22 Oct 29 Nov 05 Nov 12 Nov 19 Nov 26 Dec 03 Dec 10 Dec 17 Dec 24 Dec 31 Jan 07

Accommodation: Guesthouses/hotels (11 nts), home-stay/multi-share (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt) Transport: Train, local bus, charter bus, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, ferry, private boat, bicycle, country boat Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, local guides Meals: 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners Budget: Allow USD$240-315 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHBS

Mysore • Mudumalai NP •

Chennai • • Mamallapuram • Nilgiri Hills • Pondicherry • Tiruchirapalli

Kochi •

Periyar NP • Alleppey • • Madurai

STAY loNger in kochi Check out page 134

080 4742

Day 10: Madurai Travel to busy and colorful Madurai. Join a guided tour of the temple complex or shop and try one of Madurai’s popular sweet drinks. Days 11-12: Periyar Tiger Reserve Travel a road through plantations of spice, tea, rubber and coffee before entering the realm of one of India’s most enduring symbols, the tiger. Periyar is one of the few habitats remaining for wild tigers in the world. (D) Day 13: Kerala Backwaters Homestay Slip silently through sleepy canals on a boat, as the timeless landscape of Kerala’s backwaters slides by. Savor this idyllic region where boats are the main transport on our Backwater Homestay - a great chance to meet, talk and eat with the people who live here. (L, D) Day 14: Kochi Travel back to Fort Kochi where the trip ends. (B)

Indian sub-continent

DEPARTURES

Day 9: Thanjavur / Tiruchirapalli In Thanjavur, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Brihadeeswara Temple, and discover the architecture of the Chola Empire. In Tiruchirepalli, climb the Rock Fortress or visit the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple and gaze over the largest temple complex in the world.


116

Rajasthan adventure 15 DAYS, $1,249 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: DELHI Color, color and more color! Like paint splattered every which way from an artist’s palette, traveling through Rajasthan is like walking through a dazzling kaleidoscope. Culturally rich Rajasthan has so many interesting traditions that uniquely reflect the ancient Indian way of life. Over the next two weeks you won’t fail to encounter the incredible music and dance that takes place here – particularly if you visit during one of the various religious dates. You’ll be mesmerized by the rich wealth of embroidery found in this northeasterly state. Spy the bright dyes of saris drying on riverbeds, handcrafted mirror-work and beads, and other beautifully crafted handiwork - a shopper’s paradise! Add in a few spectacular golden sunsets, and tantalizingly tasty spices, and you won’t fail to fall in love with the color and commotion of this place. Also on the agenda is a plethora of stunning forts, temples and colorful towns. To top things off, you’ll visit the incomparably beautiful Taj Mahal. You couldn’t ask for more. the best bits • Wander Delhi’s chaotic, colorful streets • Check out the markets in Jodphur • Marvel at the mystical Lake Pichola • Gaze at the historic Udaipur sights • Dip into Lake Pushkar’s sacred waters • Peruse the sleepy vales of Bundi • Explore the Pink City of Jaipur • Get hot and spicy in Agra • Visit the epic and amazing Taj Mahal • Devour delicious Delhi dishes Days 1-2: Arrive Delhi Arrive at any time. Dive into the capital and explore the sites of Old Delhi. Visit the famous Jama Masjid and climb the minaret. Watch (and smell) the activity at the spice market, walk through the amazing Chandni Chowk and learn the history of the Sikh religion at the important Gurudwara. Take tons of photos before taking the night train to Jodhpur. Day 3: jodhpur Arrive into the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur. Check out the towering Meherangarh Fort, palaces and bazaars that sum up the best of Rajasthan.

Day 4: ranakpur Travel to the Jain Temples at Ranakpur. Made of the same white marble as the Taj Mahal, these temples are architectural marvels. Call in at the village of Salwas - a dhurry weaving center. (D) Days 5-6: udaipur Drive to Udaipur, one of the most whimsical and serene places in Rajasthan. The town is famous for its lakes and Raj-era palaces. The most famous, and most photographed, is Lake Palace, set on an island rising out of Lake Pichola. (B) Day 7: jojawar This garrison fort was once a major principality of the Marwar Royal house. Stay overnight with the locals and explore the village on foot. (D) Days 8-9: pushkar The world’s only temple to Brahma and known as “Tirth Raj” - the Raj of all pilgrimage centers. Climb to the hilltop Savitri temple for sunrise and watch sunset from atop a camel. (B) Days 10-11: Jaipur Travel to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Visit India’s second most viewed site, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Follow in the footsteps of the royal harem and opt to ride an elephant to the Amber Fort Palace.

Day 12: Bharatpur Today journey back in time in rural Rajasthan and visit the ancient Step well of Abhaneri and experience village life in India. Day 13: agra En route to Agra, visit Fatehpur Sikri, the now deserted former capital of the Mughals and Itimad-ud-Daulah, the Baby Taj. Home to the Mughal kings for centuries, Agra also has some wonderful food specialities worth trying. Petha are pieces of white pumpkin dipped in sugar syrup and Gajak is a crumbly sweet made with sesame and jaggery. Day 14: delhi Before returning to Delhi, you’ll visit the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Rising before sunrise to get the best light you’ll enter this white marble masterpiece. Hop onto one of the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws in Agra to visit the Red Fort. Day 15: depart delhi On Day 15 you’ll be free to leave. Skip into the sunset with a hefty smile on your face.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 09 Jan 16 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20

FINISH Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 06

START Feb 27 Mar 06 Mar 20 Apr 03 Apr 17 May 01 May 15 May 29

FINISH Mar 13 Mar 20 Apr 03 Apr 17 May 01 May 15 May 29 Jun 12

START Jun 12 Jun 26 Jul 10 Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 21 Sep 04 Sep 18

FINISH Jun 26 Jul 10 Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 21 Sep 04 Sep 18 Oct 02

START Oct 02 Oct 16 Oct 30 Nov 13 Nov 27 Dec 11 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 16 Oct 30 Nov 13 Nov 27 Dec 11 Dec 25 Jan 08

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (13 nts), sleeper train (1nt) Transport: Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, camel, elephant Group Size: Max 15 , Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader, local guides Meals: Meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners Budget: Allow USD$250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHRA

add on varanasi ‘Roam India’ Check out page 126 20 days, fr $1,199 Tour Code: GAAHRH

staljubljana.com

Delhi •

Jodhpur • Pushkar •

• Jaipur

Agra • • Fatehpur Sikri

• Bundi

Udaipur • • Jojawar INDIA


117

golden triangle 8 DAYS, $599 fr

BEACHES & BACKWATERS

no local payment!

7 DAYS, $559

start & finish: delhi • • • • •

fr

Wander the labyrinth streets of fascinating Delhi See a Bollywood movie in Jaipur Ride an elephant through the streets to the Amber Fort Palace Stand awe-struck in front of the legendary Taj Mahal Delve into the local culture and history

Day 1: Arrive delhi Arrive into Delhi at any time and set out to explore. Day 2: delhi Visit Delhi’s Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India and wander through the Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. View the imposing India Gate and marvel at the splendor of Connaught Place. Days 3-4: jaipur Clothed in pink stucco, Jaipur is home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. Follow in the footsteps of the royal harem, watch the spectacle of a Bollywood film or ride an elephant to the entrance of the Amber Fort Palace. Day 5: abhaneri / bharatpur Abhaneri is an ancient village set in the desert of Rajasthan, known for its beautiful baoris (step wells) and the famous Harshat Mata temple. Days 6-7: agra-delhi Travel to Agra, home to India’s most famous landmark - the Taj Mahal. Visit Fatehpur Sikri en route, the now deserted former capital of the Mughals.

no local payment!

START & FINISH: KOCHI • • • • •

Explore the bustling markets of Allepey Take a guided walk in Periyar Tiger Reserve Relax with various yoga and massage sessions in Varkala Stay overnight with a local family and learn about their lifestyle Take a tasty tour of a spice plantation

Day 1: arrive Kochi Arrive at any time - and feel free to explore. Day 2: Allepey This coconut-tree fringed, pleasant market town is famous for the annual ‘snake boat’ races held in August. Hop on a riverboat to your local family homestay. Learn about island life and dine on tasty local cuisine. (B, L, D) Days 3-4: Periyar Tiger Reserve Further into the western ghats is one of the world’s few remaining wild tiger habitats - the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It also attracts wild elephants, sambar and spotted deer. Take a boat onto the lake, enjoy a nature walk and visit a cardamon and pepper spice plantation. Days 5-6: Varkala Known for its yoga and massage centers and usually one thing - the beach! It’s the only place in southern Kerala where you’ll find cliffs next to the sea. The quiet, isolated beach is perfect for relaxing away from the crowds. Day 7: Depart Kochi Your adventure sadly comes to an end. Catch a last few rays of sultry sunshine and say your sad goodbyes.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

2011 JAN-DEC

2011 JAN-DEC

SAT, SUN

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (7 nts) Transport: Charter bus, taxis, auto rickshaw, cycle, rickshaw, camel cart Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader and local guides Budget: Allow USD$125 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHGT

MON

INDIA

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (5 nts), homestay (1nt) Transport: Bus, boat, taxi, auto rickshaw, cycle rickshaw Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: 1 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 1 dinners Budget: Allow USD$120 for meals not included Tour Code: GAAHBB

Delhi •

• Kochi

add on southern india ‘Incredible India’ 21 days, fr $1,999 Tour Code: GAAHHH

Agra • Jaipur •

• Abhaneri

stay longer on the BEACH ‘Kerala Beach Break’ 4 days, fr $202

INDIA

080 4742

Allepey •

• Periyar N.P. • Varkala

Indian sub-continent

Day 8: depart delhi Your amazing experience will sadly end on Day 8 when you’ll be free to go.


118

Delhi

Airport Transfer fr $39

STAysimple

STAysimple

STAysmart

HOTEL AJANTA

HOTEL royal holidays

REGENT CONTINENTAL

A favorite among travelers, located in the heart of the backpackers’ district of Pahaganj, close to the railway station. The comfortable and spotless rooms are all en suite and feature a personal safe, TV and A/C. A restaurant and Internet café can also be found on-site. STA 1050

This hotel which prides itself on customer service is located in the center of Delhi, in the midst of Asia’s biggest shopping center, Karol Bagh. Rooms offer a serene and peaceful environment with A/C, en suite bathrooms and satellite TV. Internet is available. STA353

With a brilliant location in the heart of Karol Bagh and classy rooms that feature A/C, satellite TV, mini-bar and Internet connectivity - this fantastic hotel represents astonishing value for money. Its multi-cuisine restaurant and 24 hour room service won’t disappoint either. STA144

fr fr

$48 SINGLE $27 twin/double

fr fr

$43 SINGLE $21 twin/double

fr fr

$113 SINGLE $57 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

golden triangle

TAJ MAHAL

welcome package

full Day, fr $74 Absorb the Taj Mahal’s awe-inspiring and timeless beauty over sunset - surpassing all expectations. You’ll also visit the Red Fort and the elegant Itmad-ud-Daula’s Tomb. STA1054

• • •

5 days fr $301 • • • • •

4 nights in hotels with breakfast Transport: Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Delhi Entrance fee to the Monuments English-speaking guide Elephant ride at the Amber Fort

This action packed little taster packs more punches than a Vindaloo. You’ll explore the most visited cities in the country’s northwest: Old and New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, where astonishing cultural and historical splendor is everywhere. Savor the mystical romance of the Taj Mahal, gorge on the Amber Fort’s evocative history and then climb atop an elephant for the ride of your life - 3 and 4 day options are also available if you’re short on time. Or upgrade the comfort on our Smart or Stylish options. STA145

home cooked delhi half Day, fr $37 Food in India is far more than just fuel - it’s culture, tradition and celebration. Join an Indian family to learn about spices, cooking techniques and how to handle food like a local. STA1055

ghandi’s DELHI half Day, fr $31 Hear stories of Gandhi’s courageous life and discover his non-violent philosophies. Peruse the National Gandhi Museum and explore Delhi through this father of Indian independence. STA1055

staljubljana.com

3 days fr $260

2 nights in central two-star hotel Full day tour of Old & New Delhi Return airport transfers

Don’t land in Delhi, jump into a taxi and risk being ripped off. There’s nothing cool about being taken to a so-called ‘hotel’ (your cabbie’s cousin’s two-bit flea hole). This welcome pack ensures there’ll be no funny business. Be met at the airport and get taken to a central, clean and comfy hotel. Spend your second day being expertly guided around both Old and New Delhi with an English speaking guide. On Day 3 you have a safe transfer back to the airport for your onward flight. If you want to upgrade the comfort, ask about our Smart and Stylish options. Also available in other cities. STA1057


119

mumbai

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

HOTEL SUPREME

GODWIN HOTEL

airport international

From the impressive lobby, with its marble flooring and exquisite furniture, to its great location close to Mumbai’s railway station, this hotel is a little gem. It’s elegant rooms boast A/C, a fridge and cable TV. Safety deposit boxes and Internet are available. STA1059

This personal and friendly hotel is the perfect base for exploring Mumbai. Situated next to the fashionable shopping area of Colaba Causeway, the rooms are spacious and come with with A/C, TV and security safe. Admire the views of Mumbai from the rooftop terrace. STA1059

Welcoming, fresh and squeaky clean, this hotel is located bang in the middle of the Domestic Airport area. With a 24 hour coffee shop for late arrivals and early departures, WiFi Internet and comfy beds, it’s a convenient and top value starting point for your trip to India. STA146

fr fr

$139 SINGLE $76 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$152 SINGLE $89 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$159 SINGLE $89 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

bollywood tour

• • •

half Day, fr $182 Welcome to Bollywood! The glamor, the drama, the buffed, tanned, and glittering stars! You get to see all the magic happen backstage on this fantastic tour - a true Mumbai highlight. STA1063

3 days fr $230

2 nights in central 2 star hotel Half day tour of Mumbai Return airport transfers

Mumbai oozes exhilaration and excitement. This glitzy, gargantuan city is a cool place to touch down into for a night or two – but just make sure that you’re organized. This wonderful welcome package ensures you’ll be greeted at the airport by a friendly face and taken to a lovely, centrally based hotel. Day 2 is a half day of sightseeing with an English speaking guide. You’ll see the Gateway of India, St John’s Church, the Prince of Wales Museum, Marine Drive and much more. On Day 3 you have a safe transfer back to the airport. You can also upgrade the comfort with our Smart or Stylish options - please ask. STA1059

mumbai city tour half Day, fr $35 Mumbai is a pretty massive city full of color and activity. Don’t get lost in the crowds and miss the best bits - enlist the services of a local to show you who, what, when and where. STA1065

slum tour half Day, fr $49 If you were touched or inspired by Slumdog Millionaire, this is the tour for you. Get off the beaten track and dive into the heart of the city. A trusty guide will show you the way. STA1064

Indian sub-continent

welcome package


120

beaches

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAysmart

laguna anjuna, goa

casa de goa, goa

lazy lagoon sarovar portico, goa

Close to the Anjuna beach and famous flea market. With unique architecture and design throughout all of the cottages, satellite TV and en suite bathroom - offering great value for money. Facilities include a large swimming pool, spa, restaurant and bar. STAxxx

Situated right on the beach this hotel was built in unique Portuguese & Mediterranean architecture - perfect to relax and rejuvenate. Exquisitely designed rooms have all the amenities of a modern room and surrounded by well landscaped lawns and an inviting pool. STAxxx

Located in the heart of North Goa, this boutique resort overlooks a lovely quaint lagoon. All the rooms are vibrant and colorful, offering a refreshing haven. Pamper yourself in the spa with a luxury treatment or dine by the pool at the Barbecue restaurant - a must! STA149

fr

$37 twin/double

fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

coconut holidays 8 days $819 fr

no local payment!

Start & finish: kochi • • • • •

Experience a private tour of Kerala Enjoy a Kathakali dance show Spot wildlife from a boat at Periyar Stay on a luxurious houseboat Relax on the beach at Marari

Day 1: Kochi You’ll be greated at the airport and transfered to your hotel. The rest of the day you are free to explore the fascinating city, known as the Queen of the Arabian sea.

fr

$74 SINGLE $37 twin/double

fr fr

$135 SINGLE $68 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Day 2: Kochi Enjoy a half-day city tour of Kochi - its British, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Jewish influences are clear to see. The evening entertainment is a beautiful Kathakali dance show - combining the arts of opera, ballet and pantomime.

Day 7: Marari End your trip with a spot of relaxation at the Marari beach Resort, where you can experience the peaceful, rural life of Kerala, waking to soothing sea air and coconut groves.

Days 3-4: Periyar Explore Periyar and try some local cuisine. On Day 4 take a boat cruise to view the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, a tiger reserve with herds of wild elephant, before visiting a spice plantation. Days 5-6: Kumarakom Arrive in Kumarakom, listed as a National Geographic Traveler ‘Top Ten Must See Destination’. On Day 6 you’ll explore the exotic backwaters on board a luxurious houseboat. This area is a hub for migratory birds and tonight you’ll stay on board the houseboat.

Day 8: Head back to Kochi to transfer to the airport or spend a few extra days. STA 1147 Choose from these 3 great hotel options: STAysimple - fr $819 STAysmart - fr $882 STAystylish - fr $932 Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), houseboat (1n) Transport: A/C car Group Size: 2 person. Prices are available for a single person or larger groups - please enquire Group Leader: English speaking guide and chauffeur Meals: 7 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner Tour Code: STAxxx


121

Dates for your diary January 6, 2011 FEAST OF THREE KINGS february 17, 2011 URS OF SHAH ABDULLAH APRIL, 2011 BEACH BONANZA MAY 30, 2011 GOA STATEHOOD DAY JUNE 13, 2011 FESTIVAL OF ST ANTHONY OCTOBER 2, 2011 GANDHI JAYANTI NOVEMBER, 2011 FOOD AND CULTURE FESTIVAL

STAystylish

STAysimple

STAystylish

fort aguada beach resort, goa

Travancore Heritage, kerala

Leela Kempinski, Kerala

Built on a 16th century Portuguese fortress, this resort overlooks the Arabian Sea. Offering elegance throughout and a range of spacious villas and cottages. With its exotic tropical beauty, pristine beaches, nine restaurants, and spa - discover the true beauty of India. STAxxx

Located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, at Chowara. Set in 14 acres of lush green land, the 150 year-old palace and a group of age-old cottages showcase the brilliance of Kerala’s traditional architecture, whilst offering all the luxury and comforts you could need. STA151

Kerala’s largest beachside resort is cradled between two sweeping beaches. Perched on a rock-face, this 5 star deluxe resort offers the most panoramic views of the famed Kovalam shoreline. Unwind in the splendid infinity pools and spoil yourself with impeccable dining .STA152

fr fr

$309 SINGLE $155 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$76 SINGLE $55 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$218 SINGLE $109 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

kerala beach break

goa beach break

• • •

• • •

4 days fr $202

The beautiful state of Kerala, in Southwest India boasts a long, sun splashed coastline along the Arabian Sea. Those in the know argue this is India’s most enticing beach destination, with crescent shaped beaches and shallow waters that stretch for hundreds of feet - perfect for swimming and laid-back tropical basking. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants to keep you amused in the evenings, if you’re not busy meditating somewhere. The package includes return airport transfers and a comfy hotel. But if you want to upgrade the comfort opt for our Smart option - ask a Travel Expert for details. STA 1148

Comfortable hotel (3 nights or more) Breakfast included Return airport transfers

Take time out from the hustle and bustle of mesmerizing India with a Goa beach break. It’s the perfect opportunity to step back, breathe deeply and reflect - beach locations don’t come any better than this. Just a short flight from Mumbai, but also easily accessed from the entire country, Goa delivers bucketfuls of beautiful sunshine, white sandy beaches and a famed, exceptionally fun nightlife. This fabulous package ensures a hassle free airport transfer and a great hotel located close to all the action. Want a bit more comfort? Upgrade to our Smart or Stylish options - ask a Travel Expert for details. STA 1147

Indian sub-continent

Comfortable hotels (3 nights or more) Breakfast included Return airport transfers

4 days fr $177


122

nepal

• Dhangadhi

Kathmandu •

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

• Pokhara

Chitwan National Park is an absolute must. We climbed up onto elephants in search of tigers. Riding through the beautiful jungle, I’ll never forget the moment we saw her, stretched out in the grass eyeing us with an amazing air of nonchalance - she didn’t even bat an eyelid when from out of nowhere two rhinos ran past! And I thought all the animals were in Africa! Jessie, Norfolk $

• Everest Base Camp • Lukla

• Itahari

Currency: Rupee Price of a beer: $2.04 Population: 30 MILLION

THE WEATHER

Nepal’s weather is generally predictable and pleasant. The monsoon is approximately from the end of June to mid September. About 80% of the rain falls during that period, so the remainder of the year is dry. Spring (Mar - May) and Autumn (Sep- Nov) are the most pleasant seasons; Winter (Dec-Feb) temperatures drop to freezing with a high level of snowfall. Summer (Jun-Aug) temperatures range from 83ºF in the hill regions to more than 104ºF in the Tera.

LOCAL GRUB

Momos are probably the most well loved dish in Kathmandu, they’re steamed dumplings (meat or veg) with a litte bit of spice and you can buy them anywhere. We like them so much, we’ve composed a small poem about them: Momos for breakfast, momos with tea, I love them so much, my momo and me.

USEFUL INFO

With all that exotic spice, it’s quite possible your tummy might rise up and rebel. To avoid regular runs to the toilet, drink the traditional Raksi during your meal. It’s alcholic and packs quite a punch but it's rude to refuse it if it's poured into your cup.

USELESS INFO

Nepal’s flag is the only one that is not square or rectangle. The flag is a simplified combination of two single pennons, the vexillological word for a pennant. In plain English: two red triangles on top of each other.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

Absolutely nothing should be taken for granted about climbing Mt Everest - it tragically steals many lives each year. For a blistering account of the perilous danger of Qomolangma by real mountaineers read ‘The Climb’ by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston Dewalt.


123

kathmandu

STAysimple

STAysmart

STAystylish

KATHMANDU GUEST HOUSE

PARK VILLAGE hotel & RESORT

hotel yaK & yeti

With a guest list that includes The Beatles and Ricky Martin, this converted Rana mansion has comfy, clean rooms and is popular with travelers from all over the world. It’s located in Thamel, the heart and soul of Kathmandu, bursting with hotels, shops and restaurants. STA1066

This eco-friendly hotel is set in four acres of woodland among birds and butterflies at the foothills of Shivapuri National Park, yet only a 20 minute drive from downtown Kathmandu. The gorgeous rooms are en suite with TV, mini-bar and stunning views over the grounds. STA1067

This 100-year-old palace is the embodiment of history, legend and tradition, a perfect blend of contemporary international standards and Nepalese architecture. Located in Durbar Marg, it boasts striking Himalayan views, two swimming pools and tennis courts. STA153

fr fr

$37 SINGLE $22 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

fr fr

$67 SINGLE $37 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

kathmandu temples & palaces 3 DAYS,

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

spiritual nepal full Day, fr $54 Mix with the holy Hindu men (sadhus) in the Pashupatinath Temple and the monks of Bodhnath. Get an insight into this life of renunciation and salvation. Wrap up your spiritual journey with a visit to a renowned astrologer who’ll chart out what the future holds to your complete awe and amazement! STA1069

$368

2 nights in three-star hotel English-speaking sightseeing guide Return airport transfers

The perfect way to discover the city. You’ll see two of the most ancient and significant Buddhist temples and complexes - Boudhanath and Swayambhunath - as well as the intricate features of the Temple of the Living Goddess (Kumari). Marvel at the amazing Nepalese architecture of the city’s durbar squares and palaces. Your local guide will get you up to speed with all that Kathmandu has to offer and there will be plenty of time for markets. If you want a bit more comfort upgrade to our Smart option ask a Travel Expert for details. STA154

$152 SINGLE $86 twin/double

kathmandu by bike half Day, fr $74 Escape from the sometimes touristy hustle and bustle of Kathmandu with an epic off-road mountain-biking experience! See the impressive Chobar Gorge and learn about the legend of the emergence of Kathmandu valley from a mythical lake. Ride through the narrow alleyways of the ancient town of Kirtipur and try out the Newar people’s local delicacies. STA1068

path to hidden monastery half Day, fr $44 On a path that takes you past a sleeping Vishnu and on a hike through Kathmandu’s nearest forest reserve, you’ll come to a hidden Buddhist monastery. It’s set on a pedestal atop the hill offering a wide angle view of the Kathmandu valley. The wildlife, waterfalls and vistas are simply spectacular. STA155

Indian sub-continent

• • •

fr

fr fr


124

high road to tibet 14 DAYS, $2,119 fr

no local payment!

start & finish: kathmandu Some people like to sit on beaches all day long, or on a raft in the pool with a trashy novel. Some people like to go ‘all inclusive’, and come home looking like a lobster. Then you have other people. Other people like to explore, get out into undiscovered places that lack the high-rise resorts and discover the essence of another culture. These other people will love this trip, a dream experience that will have you oozing every last drop of enthusiasm, ounce of energy and full-on feel good factor that you posess. Known as the ‘roof of the world’, discover the serene beauty in epic proportions of the ‘real’ Tibet. Squeeze along narrow alleyways and into buzzing bazaars, absorb spectacular views of the world’s highest mountains and breathe in mystifying scenery and exotic religious culture. Meet some wonderful people and return with many an indelible memory! the best bits • Wander Kathmandu’s bustling streets • Explore fascinating ancient temples • Take in magnificent mountain views • Discover the highest region on earth • Check out the Shigatse Bazaar • Hike to Mt. Everest’s base camp • Experience subtropical climates • Meet marvelous and mysterious monks

Day 1: arrive kathmandu Arrive in Kathmandu at any time. Check into your hotel and feel free to go for a wander. Day 2: kathmandu Wander through the crowded markets and bazaars that are the center of Nepali life. The narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows, just to name a few. Walk through the heart of the old city to Durbar Square, home of the palace of the ‘living Goddess’, Kumari Devi.

FINISH Apr 23 May 07 May 28

START May 29 Jun 12 Jun 26 Jul 10

FINISH Jun 11 Jun 25 Jul 09 Jul 23

START Jul 24 Aug 07 Aug 21 Sep 04

FINISH Aug 06 Aug 20 Sep 03 Sep 17

START Sep 18 Oct 02 Oct 16 Oct 30

Day 10: Rombuk and everest base camp Rombuk is certainly the highest monastery in the world and the views that surround it are stunning. At 16,404ft, the energetic can make the four mile hike to the Everest Base Camp for a closer view of this magnificent mountain; or take a horse and cart for a slightly easier ride!

Day 7: gyantse The drive to Gyantse is a spectacular one, crossing three passes over 16,404ft and skirting the shores of the beautiful turquoise lake, Yamdrok Tso. Built at the center of the trade routes from Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, Gyantse is overlooked by an impressive fort. The main monastery is central Tibet’s finest.

Day 11: Lao tingri This town may be a small outpost, but the views are truly spectacular. Glimpse Qomolangma (Mt Everest) and Cho Oyo for some out of this world vistas. Just don’t forget your camera!

FINISH Oct 01 Oct 15 Oct 29 Nov 12

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (12 nts), very basic guesthouse with limited facilities (1 nt) Transport: Plane, local bus, aircon bus Group Size: Max 14 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD$250 for meals not included Tour Code: GAANRT

add on china ‘Tibet Encompassed’ 28 days, fr $4,699 Tour Code: GAACKA.

Day 9: shegar Depart Shigatse after lunch and hit the road to Shegar. Catch a glimpse of small town Tibet, centered around an old fort.

Days 3-6: lhasa Dominated by the awe-inspiring Potala Palace, the colorful and holy city of Lhasa lies almost 12,139ft above sea level. Explore the fascinating blend of ancient temples. It’s a humbling sight to watch pilgrims circling the temple endlessly day and night on their knees.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Apr 10 Apr 24 May 15

Day 8: shigatse Shigatse is the seat of the Panchen Lama who rank second in importance to the Dalai Lama. Its bazaar buzzes with life. Indulge your senses as you wind through the stalls selling everything from slabs of yak butter and yak wool to prayer wheels and rosaries.

Shigatse• • Lhasa Sakya• Kathmandu • • Rongphu • Gyantse (Everest Base Camp) NEPAL

Day 12: zhangmu Leave the Tibetan Plateau behind and plunge into a lush green world. Descend almost 6,562ft to the border town of Zhangmu - known as Dram in many guide books. This border town clings precariously to the cliff face, six miles above the bridge across the river which marks the physical China-Nepal border. It’s a major trading post between the two countries. The subtropical oceanic climate endows the small town with warm, humid weather and beautiful scenery throughout the year. In the giant wooded hills you can spot frozen ‘icicles’ during the winter and beautiful waterfalls in summer. Days 13-14: kathmandu Return to the hustle and bustle. Relax with a drink at a rooftop garden restaurant. Depart on Day 14 - out into the sunset and on into life.

staljubljana.com


125

EVEREST ADVENTURE 15 DAYS, $1,169 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: KATHMANDU In the UK we have the indomitable Mt McKinley, an awe-inspiring, gargantuan natural wonder that will leave you gasping with amazement. As beautiful as it is, you may detect a hint of sarcasm in the previous sentence. When the world was put together, the majority of its ridiculously massive mountains were perfectly placed in one particular area - the Himalayas. The highest of these, Mount Everest, is nearly twice as tall as our very own Sierra Nevadas. This fantastic trip will take you all the way to Base Camp - a mere 17,000ft above sea level. En route you’ll have every single negative emotion in your soul vanquished amongst the planet’s most awesome scenery. From gargantuan glaciers to mystical monasteries to lonely Sherpa villages to fields of flowers - this 15 day adventure promises everything and delivers so much more. the best bits • Trek to Everest Base Camp • Negotiate glaciers and ice walls • See your first Himalayan sunset • Stay in teahouses high in the mountains • Hike through Sherpa villages • Witness stunning views of Mt. Everest Day: 1 Arrive Kathmandu Arrive at any time, and go exploring!

Days 2-4: Pakding/ Namche Bazaar vvThe mountain flight into Lukla is spectacular and the landing is an exciting beginning – one end of the runway is 197 feet higher than the other. Heading through pine and cedar woods along the Dudh Kosi to Pakding you’ll encounter your first yak caravans carrying equipment and supplies – including yours towards base camp. Spend a day acclimatizing in Thame. Intricately carved mani stones mark the path to this large valley. Day 5: Tengboche Leaving Namche, the route is unbelievably beautiful. Hike through Sherpa villages and forests of Fir and Rhododendron to reach Tengboche Monastary, home to Tengboche Rinpoche, a Lama incarnate. Days 6-7: Dingboche Stone steps lead down through Rhododendrons, Birches and Conifers. At the bottom lies the village of Deboche and its convent. Rising above the tree line the trail enters alpine meadows of scrub juniper and, in summer, a profusion of wild flowers. From Dingboche the mountain views are outstanding. An acclimatization day here can be used to hike up the Imja Khola to Chhukung, a small summer settlement from where the views of Island Peak, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and the fluted ice walls flanking the Amphu Lapcha Pass are one of the highlights of the entire trek.

START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 09 Jan 23 Jan 30 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 19 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 06

FINISH Jan 16 Jan 23 Feb 06 Feb 13 Feb 20 Feb 27 Mar 05 Mar 06 Mar 13 Mar 20

START Mar 12 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15

FINISH Mar 26 Mar 27 Apr 03 Apr 10 Apr 17 Apr 24 May 01 May 08 May 15 May 22 May 29

START May 22 May 29 Jun 05 Sep 04 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23

FINISH Jun 05 Jun 12 Jun 19 Sep 18 Sep 25 Oct 02 Oct 09 Oct 16 Oct 23 Oct 30 Nov 06

START Oct 30 Nov 06 Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25

FINISH Nov 13 Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 04 Dec 11 Dec 18 Dec 25 Jan 01 Jan 08

Accommodation: Hotels/guesthouses (2 nts), teahouse lodges (12 nts) Transport: Flight, bus, walking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout, trekking support staff Meals: No meals included Budget: Allow USD$380-500 for meals not included Tour Code: GAANEA

do it your way!

The same tour, but built entirely around you... FR

$1,279

per person

NEPAL

Kathmandu •

• Everest Base Camp • Lukla

Days 11-13: Tengpoche / Mongo / Lukla Descend the Imja Khola past Pangboche, the highest permanent settlement in the valley. Its gompa, the oldest in Khumbu, is built over the hermitage of Khumbu’s saint Lama Sanga Dorje. The juniper trees on either side are said to have sprung from hair cut from his head and a rocklike projection is a piece of mountainside he pulled out for protection one day. Continue down through Namche Bazaar and Phakding to Lukla. Day 14: Kathmandu You made it! Take a well-deserved rest and enjoy one last day with your fellow trekkers. Day 15: Depart Kathmandu Your adventure comes to an end - say farewell.

Indian sub-continent

DEPARTURES

Days 8-10: Lobuche / Everest Base Camp Walk through Alpine meadows and summer yak pasture toward the end of the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier where there is a steep, tough climb. From Lobuche the view is straight towards Nuptse and the sunset is magnificent. On Day 9, deal with dizzying altitude as you climb onto the Changri Glacier, before you head off in the afternoon for Everest Base Camp. Colorful expedition tents give a bizarre appearance to this desolate place surrounded by walls of rock, snow and ice. Early on Day 10 you’ll make a side trip up Kala Pattar for sunrise before the scenic descent back to Pheriche.


126

annapurna sanctuary 15 DAYS, $929 fr

nepal adventure 10 DAYS, $999 fr

no local payment!

START & FINISH: KATHMANDU

START & FINISH: KATHMANDU • • • • •

no local payment!

Gaze across the lake at Pokhara and contemplate your trek Watch the world go by in the fascinating town of Pokhara Trek through lowland pastures and stunning mountain passes Cross icy rivers and soak in natural hot springs Stay in small rustic teahouses with the locals

Days 1-2: Arrive Kathmandu Arrive at any time. Explore Bodhnath Stupa, meet monkeys while climbing to Swayambhunath and delve into the magical history of Durbar Square. Day 3: Pokhara Rent any gear you need and contemplate your upcoming challenge. Days 4-13: Annapurna Ranges At 26,545 feet, Annapurna 1 is certainly imposing, as are its sister mountains. Together they create magnificent panoramas. Averaging six to seven hours walking a day you’ll traverse a variety of terrain, from lowland pastures and peaceful villages to dramatic glaciers and stunning mountain pathways. Your expedition to the ‘Roof of the World’ will pass thundering waterfalls, cross icy rivers and let you soak in natural hot springs. Stay in small rustic teahouses, where you’ll meet local Nepali hill people.

• • • • •

Check out the many historical sights of Bhaktapur Watch the world go by in the fascinating town of Pokhara Trek through the scenically stunning Annapurna Foothills Experience an unforgettable elephant back safari Search out tigers and rhinos in Chitwan National Park

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu Arrive in Kathmandu at any time. Day 2: Kathmandu and Bhaktapur Bhaktapur is filled with Hindu temples, pagodas, palaces and ancient monuments, some dating back to the 16th century. Day 3: Pokhara A beautiful, relaxing lakeside resort town, Pokhara lies on a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. Days 4-6: Annapurna Foothills Trek Encounter locals herding yaks on the grassy pastures. Marvel at waterfalls of melted snow, cross icy rivers, broad plains and high mountain passes. Day 7: Pokhara & Chitwan Your trek ends at Pokhara - continue on to Royal Chitwan National Park.

Day 14: Pokhara Finish with a short downhill stretch from Pothana to Phedivia via Dhampus village, before driving back to Pokhara for a well-earned shower and beer!

Day 8: Chitwan National Park Ride an elephant through the national park on safari before you join a guided hike in search of the Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhino.

Day 15: Depart Kathmandu Catch an early morning flight back to Kathmandu, where things’ll finish up.

Days 9 -10: Kathmandu Return to the hustle and bustle of the city, the adventure ends on Day 10.

DEPARTURES

DEPARTURES

START 2011 Jan 02 Jan 30 Feb 27 Mar 13 Mar 27 Apr 10

FINISH Jan 16 Feb 13 Mar 13 Mar 27 Apr 10 Apr 24

START Apr 24 May 08 May 22 Jun 05 Sep 11 Sep 25 Oct 09

FINISH May 08 May 22 Jun 05 Jun 19 Sep 25 Oct 09 Oct 23

START Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18

FINISH Nov 06 Nov 20 Dec 04 Dec 18 Jan 01

Accommodation: Simple hotels/guesthouses (4 nts), teahouses (10 nts) Transport: Bus, minibus, walking, flight Group Size: Max 15 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Budget: Allow USD$350 for meals not included Tour Code: GAANAS

do something longer ‘Trekking Annapurna’ 21 days, fr $1,099 Tour Code: GAANTA

NEPAL

Annapurna • Pokhara •

• Kathmandu

START 2011 Jan 08 Jan 22 Jan 30 Feb 05 Feb 13 Feb 19 Feb 27 Mar 05 Mar 13 Mar 19 Mar 27

FINISH Jan 17 Jan 31 Feb 08 Feb 14 Feb 22 Feb 28 Mar 08 Mar 14 Mar 22 Mar 28 Apr 05

START Apr 02 Apr 10 Apr 16 Apr 24 Apr 30 May 08 May 22 Aug 20 Sep 03 Sep 11 Sep 17 Sep 25

FINISH Apr 11 Apr 19 Apr 25 May 03 May 09 May 17 May 31 Aug 29 Sep 12 Sep 20 Sep 26 Oct 04

START Oct 01 Oct 09 Oct 15 Oct 23 Nov 06 Nov 20 Nov 26 Dec 04 Dec 18 Dec 24 Dec 25

FINISH Oct 10 Oct 18 Oct 24 Nov 01 Nov 15 Nov 29 Dec 05 Dec 13 Dec 27 Jan 02 Jan 03

Accommodation: Hotels (6 nts), teahouse lodges (3 nts) Transport: Bus, walking Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Budget: Allow USD$335-440 for meals not included Tour Code: GAANNA

stay longer in kathmandu Check out page 137

• Annapurna NEPAL

Pokhara • Chitwan N.P •

• Kathmandu


127

sri lanka

• Anuradhapura

Sigiriya • Polonnaruwa •

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCE

Until my visit to Sri Lanka I had only ever encountered sad looking elephants at the local zoo, but a few hours at Pinnawela left me speechless - nearly a hundred live here! We helped feed them and watched their weekly bath in the river. I grew very attached to a super cute baby called Jess. I would have taken her home with me if she fit in my backpack! Sarah, St. Paul $

Currency: SRI LANKAN RUPEE Price of a beer: $1.57 Population: 21 MILLION

The climate of Sri Lanka is tropical, meaning it’s constantly hot with very high humidity throughout the year. There isn’t a bad time to visit Sri Lanka, but you should be aware of the monsoons. The Southwest Monsoon in May brings heavy rains to south and central areas and temperatures in excess of 95ºF in the coastal regions of the south. The Northeast Monsoon arrives in October and lasts until January the northern countryside turns lush green with tropical vegetation.

LOCAL GRUB

Lots of rice and lots of curry. Sri Lanka has long been renowned for its spices, which means all kinds of meat and vegetables come with a wonderful kick - some of the world’s most spicy curries can be found on the island. The locals are particularly skilled when it comes to cooking seafood and the range of fish dishes will delight you.

• Negombo • Kitulgala • Columbo • Bentota • Induruwa

• Nuwara Eliya

• Uda Walawe N.P

• Hikkaduwa • Galle

USEFUL INFO

Sri Lanka is the oldest continually Buddhist country, it’s been the major religion on the island since the 2nd century BC. Buddhist monuments, rituals and philosophies are omnipresent. The Buddha’s tooth is still preserved in Kandy at the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

USELESS INFO

Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to have a democratically elected female head of state. She was elected after the previous Prime Minister, her husband, was assassinated by a Buddhist monk.

TRY BEFORE YOU FLY

Sri Lankans are obsessed with cricket and you’ll find it played on city streets, sandy beaches and sports grounds throughout the country. Read up on the heroics of the national hero Muttiah Muralitharan, as the locals will happily chat about him for hours on end.

Indian sub-continent

THE WEATHER

• Kandy


128

sri lanka highlightS

sri lanka ADVENTURE & SAFARI

6 DAYS, $569

6 DAYS, $599

fr

no local payment!

fr

START & FINISH: colombo • • • • •

no local payment!

START & FINISH: colombo

Enjoy personalized service on a two person private tour Marvel at Sigiriya’s fantastic ‘Fortress in the Sky’ Admire the spectacular statues at Polonnaruwa Explore the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic at Kandy Wander the Royal Botanical Gardens

• • • • •

Enjoy personalized service on a two person private tour Spot rare birds in the jungle of Kitulgala Enjoy the exotic colors of Sinharaja tropical rainforest Take a 4WD safari through Udawalawe National Park Visit the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple in Colombo

Day 1: Arrive colombo / Sigiriya Get picked up at the airport and head to Sigiriya, where you’ll enjoy an excursion to the 5th century ‘Fortress in the Sky’, a UN World Heritage Site, also known as Lion Rock.

Day 1: Arrive colombo / Kitulgala From the airport you’ll be driven through jungle-clad hills and plantations to Kitulgala. Spot rare species of birds, go jungle trekking, mountain biking or white water rafting.

Day 2: sigiriya Experience Polonnaruwa, a UN World Heritage Site, and the capital of Sri Lanka from 11th - 13th centuries. It contains some spectacular statues.

Day 2: Ratnapura Pick up a bargain in the home of the Sri Lankan gem industry. Then trek through the Sinharaja tropical rainforest, a bewildering land of exotic colors and wonderful sounds.

Day 3: Kandy Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple dating from first century B.C. and an exotic Spice Garden in Matale. It’s then on to Kandy, where you can explore the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and enjoy local dancing and drumming. Day 4: Nuwara Eliya Drive to Nuwar Eliya - in the cool of the morning wander around the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens and see its treasures of tropical flora. Keep an eye out for the amazing fig tree! Days 5-6: colombo Visit Colombo’s Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple & Simamalaka Shrine. Get blessed by a local monk before heading home on Day 6.

DEPARTURES START 2011 Jan 23 Feb 20 Mar 20

FINISH Jan 30 Feb 27 Mar 27

START Apr 17 May 22 Sep 25 Oct 23

FINISH Apr 24 May 29 Oct 02 Oct 30

stay longer in colombo Check out page 143

Day 4: Nuwara Eliya Drive to Nuwara Eliya, visiting a tea factory en route. Days 5-6: colombo After arriving in Colombo you’ll take a tour of the city, visiting the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple & Simamalaka Shrine. Get blessed by a local monk before heading home on Day 6.

Accommodation: Hotels (5 nts) Transport: A/C vehicle Group Size: 2 person. Prices are available for larger groups - please enquire Group Leader: English speaking guide and chauffeur Meals: 5 breakfasts Tour Code: STAxxx

START FINISH Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 18 Dec 25

Accommodation: Hotels (5 nts) Transport: A/C vehicle Group Size: 2 person. Prices are available for larger groups - please enquire Group Leader: English speaking guide and chauffeur Meals: 5 breakfasts Tour Code: STAxxx

Day 3: Embilipitiya Head off on a 4WD jeep safari to Udawalawe National Park, famous for its numerous elephants. Spot water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and the occasional leopard, as well as birds galore.

Sigiriya • • Kandy Colombo •

• Nuwara Eliya

stay longer in colombo Check out page 143

Kitulgala • • Nuwara Eliya Colombo • • Ratnapura Embilipitiya •


129

COLoMBO

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAystylish

GRAND ORIENTAL HOTEL

global tower hotel

THE PARK STREET

This colonial hotel is located within the busy metropolis - Colombo. Elegantly decorated throughout with colonial style furniture it offers breathtaking views of the harbor. Amenities include an en suite bathroom, mini bar, A/C, extensive gym, restaurant and bar. STA159

Right on the beachfront overlooking the ocean this stunning hotel boasts a swimming pool, bar, gym and jacuzzi. Situated a short distance away from the capital, discover spectacular views from your own private balcony, relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity. Pure bliss! STA160

Recently renovated, this classy boutique hotel offers an oasis of luxury in the heart of hectic Colombo. The pool is ideal for cooling off after a day sightseeing in the city. All the rooms are spacious, with incredibly high ceilings, great wet rooms, half with jacuzzi baths. STA161

fr fr

$91 SINGLE $45 twin/double

fr fr

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

sri lanka experience fr

• • • • •

no local payment!

Check out the wall paintings at Dambulla Explore the ruins of Anuradhapura Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya Marvel at the elephants at Pinnewela Look out for leopards in Uda Walawe

Day 1: Arrive Colombo Arrive in Colombo at any time - head out and explore the city. Day 2: Sigiriya Visit the Pinnawala elephant orphanage and the paintings at Dambulla. (B)

fr

$136 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Day 3: Anuradhapura Explore Sri Lanka’s first capital - a potent symbol of Sinhalese power. (B)

Day 8: Depart Colombo Travel back to Colombo where your trip ends upon arrival. Say farewell. (B)

Day 4: Polonnaruwa Climb Sigiriya Rock and check out the granite Buddhas of Gal Vihara. (B)

DEPARTURES

Day 5: Kandy Relax at this lakeside town surrounded by hills and tea plantations. (B) Day 6: Uda Walawe National Park Enjoy a game drive in Uda Walawe National Park - look out for leopards, elephants, crocodiles, sloth and mongoose in their natural habitat. (B) Day 7: Galle Stop at the colonial port town of Galle, dominated by the Dutch Fort. (B)

START 2011 Jan 23 Feb 20 Mar 20

FINISH

START Apr 17 May 22 Sep 25 Oct 23

Jan 30 Feb 27 Mar 27

FINISH Apr 24 May 29 Oct 02 Oct 30

START FINISH Nov 20 Nov 27 Dec 18 Dec 25

Accommodation: Hotels (7 nts) Transport: A/C bus, walking, bicycle Group Size: Max 15, Avg 10 Group Leader: Tour leader throughout Meal: 7 breakfasts Budget: Allow USD$115-150 for meals not included Tour Code: GAASSP

Anuradhapura • Sigiriya • • Polonnaruwa • Kandy Colombo • Galle •

• Uda Walawe NP

Indian sub-continent

8 DAYS, $1,349

$62 SINGLE $31 twin/double


130

beaches

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

club hotel dolphin, NEGOMBO

camelot beach hotel, NEGOMBO

PARADISE BEACH HOTEL, NEGOMBO

A few days of sunbathing by the fresh water pool, you will never want to leave this beachfront resort. Wander along the stunning stretch of sandy beach or take a short taxi ride to see Negombo’s sites. All the rooms are clean and cozy - featuring their own balconies. STA162

Nestled on the west coast, the Camelot Beach Hotel is situated along a white sandy beach. Close to the canal, churches and fishing village there is plenty to do. Relax and have a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or indulge in a game of table tennis with some mates. STA163

Located directly on the beach this charming resort is the ultimate tropical escape. Dine under the stars by the pool, beach pavilion or at the restaurant with commanding views of the Ocean. Each room has amazing views, satellite TV, mini bar, en suite bathroom and A/C. STA164

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$84 SINGLE $49 twin/double

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PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$75 SINGLE $45 twin/double

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PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

$70 SINGLE $42 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

STAystylish

STAystylish

SAMAN VILLAS, INDURUWA

ADITYA HOTEL, HIKKADUWA

Well-positioned to give stunning views of the Indian Ocean - this magnificent boutique resort boasts lush gardens and an infinity pool that overlooks the sea. Sparkling interior waterfalls, quiet reading rooms, the hotel cleverly mixes Western and Sri Lankan charm. All the rooms feature fine coastal views and are decorated in a traditional Sri Lankan style with teak floors and bamboo furnishings. Pure luxury! STA168

Aditya is neatly tucked away on a secluded beach offering absolute tranquility. The simplicity of the architecture, with lofty, light filled interiors, and beautiful gardens creates a light and spacious environment. The seductive aquamarine swimming pool is drenched in sunshine all day long and enhanced by the crimson hued sky at sunset - this is the place to be at sunset with the hotel’s signature Athura cocktail in hand. STA169

infinity-edge pool l billiards room l badminton court gym l spa l restaurant l 3 bars l reading rooms

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$329 Single

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$180 DOUBLE

Prices are per person per night including breakfast

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extensive

swimming pool l yoga room l library l fully-equipped gym l restaurant l hotel bar l plunge pool l luxury spa

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$345 Single

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$172 double

Prices are per person per night including breakfast


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Where to go NEGOMBO This place comes to life at dusk with many handicrafts, gem shops and restaurants. BENTOTA Facing the Indian Ocean, a lagoon and river Bentota offers amazing watersports. HIKKADUWA This small fishing village is renowned for its beach party atmosphere, coral reefs and excellent surf. WELIGAMA Still untouched by tourists, be fascinated by the famous stilt fishing men. INDURUWA Known for its natural beauty, a visit to the sweet water lagoons is a must!

STAysmart

STAysmart

STAysmart

HOTEL SERENDIB, BENTOTA

amaya reef, HIKKADUWA

BAY BEACH HOTEL, WELIGAMA

Set within a tropical mangrove-fringed garden against the backdrop of a long, sandy beach, this elegant resort has been designed by the islands most distinguised architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Be luxuriously pampered at the spa or sit back and relax by the swimming pool. STA165

Overlook the Indian Ocean from your balcony or terrace. Every one of Amaya Reef’s 54 rooms features an ocean view, and each offers individual design. Take a dip in the pool, soak in the sun on a lounger or delve into a book (or your laptop) beneath the shade of a palm. STA166

Overlooking Weligama Bay and beach this threestar resort is prefect for those that want to relax - take a stroll on the beach or sip a cocktail by the pool. Learn to dive with a well-equipped Padi Diving School. All rooms feature satellite TV, mini bar, wireless Internet and private balcony. STA167

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$42 SINGLE $25 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

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$127 SINGLE $69 double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

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$61 SINGLE $34 twin/double

PRICES ARE PER PERSON PER NIGHT including breakfast

Indian sub-continent


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