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WHISPERS TRAVEL INSPIRATION FROM THE AWARD - WINNING TOUR SPECIALIST

NEW Destinations & Tours Mystical Egypt and Magical Antarctica – two of our new destinations of discovery

¡Vamos a Latinoamerica! Why we love sensational Latin America

Going Solo More than 50 solo only departures on our most popular tours

China's Top 10

The Road Less Travelled Discover Central Asia – a land of age-old romance and myths

Our team's pick of the best attractions in China

TRAVEL SAFE WITH US IN 2021 AND BEYOND Covid insurance cover included | Flexible booking guarantee and £99 deposit | Travel Safe Protocols Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


CONTENTS Our new brochure range for 2021-22 has arrived!

18-19 Traveller Tales – Myanmar with

Discover the road less travelled – Central Asia

20-21 Our top 10 China attractions

New for 2021, Ancient Egypt & the White Continent

22-23 Traveller Tales – Wonders of China

David Beadling

From the tip of Chile to the Great Wall of China, rediscover the world with our brand new collection.

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Wendy Wu customer, David Beadling, relives the Myanmar Explorer. China is a country full of wonders – ancient, cultural, natural, man-made…how could you possibly choose just ten?

The lands of age old romance, camel caravans, legends and ancient empires.

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with Robert Thornton

Wendy Wu customer, Robert Thornton shares his memories of China.

Mystical Egypt and Magical Antarctica, two of our new destinations of discovery.

24-25 Lonely Planet author Bradley Mayhew

10 Going solo, but never alone

on Central Asia

We’ve expanded our range of Solo tours to 17 with over 50 dedicated departure dates!

Renowned travel writer Bradley Mayhew talks to us about the hidden gem that is Central Asia.

11 New tours for the Indian Subcontinent

26 Travelling Safe – our pioneering

Explore the peaceful backwaters of Kerala, or the diversity of Sri Lanka with our 2 new tours.

protocols to keep you safe

Our commitment to keeping you safe on tour.

12-13 Our new experiences in Japan

27 Traveller Tales – Vietnam with

Our touring range in Japan just got even better, find out how!

Michele Wisener

Vietnam at a Glance with Wendy Wu customer Michele Wisener.

14-15 Philippines, Thailand and the Victoria Mekong

28-29 Hope in the forest

Sky Emery gives the inside track on what’s new for us in Southeast Asia.

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Read why we are proud to work with these vital charities in Borneo.

¡Vamos a Latinoamerica!

Why we love sensational Latin America.

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All holidays featured in this magazine are fully ABTA and ATOL protected and you will be provided with certification of this when you book. You’ll find further information about financial protections on our website. All prices listed are per person and based on two adults sharing standard accommodation and return flights from London Heathrow on selected departure dates. Prices correct as of 26th October 2020 and are subject to change. Booking conditions apply, please see our website for details – www.wendywutours.co.uk/help-andadvice/booking-conditions

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TRAVEL AWARDS 2020

WINNER

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

Cover Image: Mt. Fuji, Japan.

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BOOK & TRAVEL WITH

CONFIDENCE

To help you book with confidence we are happy to offer some of the most flexible booking conditions around coupled with our Travel Safe protocols. • Pay a deposit of just £99pp • No need to pay the balance until 6 weeks before departure • One free travel date change should you need it  • Travel with Confidence, pioneering protocols to keep you safe whilst travelling with us

You book the tour – we'll cover the Travel Insurance Your safety and well-being will always be our Number 1 priority and with that in mind we are delighted to offer Staysure's award winning-travel insurance with every tour booked by 31 December.*

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Whispers magazine

Key features include:

Within our magazine we are delighted to be able to share our love of travel and adventure with you, our customers! 2020 has been a year like no other, but we look to 2021 and beyond with optimism and hope that together we can begin to rediscover the world with you.

• COVID-19 cover including cancellations, medical expenses and repatriation if you or a family member are diagnosed with coronavirus.

With this in mind, we’ve launched our new collection of brochures for 2021-22, pawcked with your favourite tours plus exciting new tours and destinations including the Middle East and Antarctica for the very first time.

• 24 hour medical emergency helpline

Our team have put together pioneering Covid-safe protocols to keep you safe whilst on tour. We are also offering Covid insurance cover included with our tours when you book by 31st December 2021.*

• Pre-existing medical condition cover • Unlimited medical emergency & repatriation • Up to £15,000** cancellation cover

• No upper age limit on policies • Various activities covered on the standard policy • Add gadget cover to your policy that will cover you for up to £1,000 Details of how and when to organise your travel insurance will be shared with you when you book your tour. *Please note that this offer covers policies up to the value of £100 per person. In addition, Wendy Wu Tours customers receive a 15% discount off the price of their Staysure policy. The discount applies to the base premium of the travel insurance policy and does not apply to any medical screening additional premium where relevant.**Available on Comprehensive policies only, subject to medical screening and not available online.

Celebrating 26 years of Wendy Wu Tours FREE RETURN FLIGHTS on our 26 best-selling tours! 2021 & 2022 departures

y Book b v and 30 No U P TO S AV E p £800p

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Travel inspiration to free the mind, body and soul! Get ready to rediscover the world with us in 2021 and beyond

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Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


The less said about 2020 the better in our opinion, as you may well agree! With the world in flux we’ve kept our eyes firmly fixed towards a bright and better future where we can freely feel, see, explore and experience the best of our world, our history, cultures and natural wonders. We have been busy planning, designing, improving and building an even better portfolio of touring experiences for you to enjoy in 2021 and 2022. Unlike many travel companies that have decided to “hunker-down” we have worked tirelessly to tailor our tours for the changing world. Our pioneering Travel Safe protocols (see page 26) will give you the reassurance and confidence to travel with Wendy Wu again. We’ve introduced a new flexible booking guarantee, with a special low deposit, included a free date amendment option as standard, and balance payments can now be made as little as six weeks prior to departure. We are proud to have launched our new brochure range covering our most popular tours as well as new destinations that include Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Ecuador and the Philippines. We are also offering Antarctica expedition cruises, a first for Wendy Wu Tours, with the unique opportunity to experience the rare Total Solar Eclipse in Antarctica in 2021. In response to you, our customers, we have added 50 new dedicated solo departures across 17 of our tours to Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and Sri Lanka. Get ready to rediscover the world with the brand-new Wendy Wu Tours' brochure collection. We're looking forward to welcoming you on tour with us very soon.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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The Road Less Travelled Central Asia is proving one of the hottest destinations for 2021-2022 and it's easy to see why. With fascinating ancient cities full of magnificent architecture and jaw-dropping scenery to soak up in between, there's no better place to delve into the history and traditions of the old Silk Road.

Central Asia is a land of age-old romance, where loaded camel caravans wound their way across steppe and desert, and the vibrant skylines of the past still stand stark against the mountains, all long entwined with the myth and lore of the Silk Road. Here you can explore ancient cities that have not only earned a place in history, but in legend, whilst the names of warriors, emperors and great deeds litter the epic landscapes. An area stretching from the borders of China and Mongolia in the east over to the Caspian Sea in the west, Central Asia remains an enigmatic and undiscovered region, often bypassed for the treasures of the Orient, but bursting at the seams with gems of its own. So, if the stark beauty of endless plains, limitless skies and dramatic mountains sound good, and wandering time-worn streets to admire exquisite mosques and madrassas or exploring ancient hilltop monasteries appeal, let us introduce you to our Central Asia collection.

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Road to Samarkand 22 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £5,090pp This adventure-packed tour takes you right to the heart of Central Asia, exploring Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Whilst you’ll find yourself amongst the desolate beauty of the desert, sailing the vivid waters of Issyk Kul, and wandering the atmospheric streets of Bukhara and Samarkand, we’ll take you so much deeper into these unique destinations. Experiences include meeting the magnificent eagle hunters of the Kyrgyz highlands, calling in on a local family for a delicious dinner and meeting the women of a co-operative keeping traditional handicrafts alive.

Journey through Central Asia 27 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £6,690pp An epic journey straight from the golden age of exploration, this extraordinary tour encompasses the ‘5 Stans’. Crossing the mountains, desert and the vast steppe of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, you’ll discover the unique culture of the area, from the architecture and ideas of the ancient Silk Road, to the influence of the Soviet era. In each new ‘Stan’ you’ll delve into the national psyche, exploring both cities and sights and the incredible culture. Unmissable experiences include meeting local eagle hunters, spending the night in a traditional yurt camp and a visit to a stud farm of the famous Akhal Tekes.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


NEW for 2021

NEW for 2021

Ultimate Uzbekistan

Gems of Georgia

12 days | Classic Group Tour from £3,090pp

11 days | Classic Group Tour from £2,490pp

Central Asia’s cultural hub for more than two millennia, Uzbekistan is the proud home of a mesmerising collection of ancient cities and timeless architecture, all deeply infused with the history of the Silk Road. On this tour you’ll stroll fragrant bazaars, admire the architectural wonders of the illustrious cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand and cross vast and unforgettable landscapes. You’ll also get a taste of authentic Uzbek culture with a cooking class, wine tasting and a visit to a ceramics workshop.

With one foot in Europe, the other in Asia and years spent behind the Iron Curtain, as well as a history rooted in ancient empires, Georgia offers up a rich and unique heritage to those who explore it. In the shadow of the mighty Caucasus Mountains, on this wonderful tour you’ll ascend to ancient fortresses, reflect in age-old spiritual centres, explore fascinating cave towns and wander the charming and cosmopolitan capital, Tbilisi. You’ll also discover Georgia’s wine – as one of the world’s oldest wine producers, it would be rude not to have a delicious glass or two at the end of a day of explorations!

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan 23 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £4,260pp This tour explores three nations with a rich and complex shared history but numerous charms of their very own. With plenty of dramatic landscapes to feast your eyes on as you go, the delights of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan come from their perfect balance of enigmatic, old world allure and vibrant, modern sensibilities, plus their wonderfully friendly locals. Experiencing traditional life in the mountains of Azerbaijan, sampling the delicious food and wine of Georgia and discovering the beauty of Armenia’s spectacularly-located churches and monasteries are just some of the reasons to visit this captivating region.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Dreams of Egypt A mythical destination on the wishlist of travellers since antiquity, we’re delighted to help you discover Egypt the Wendy Wu Tours way from 2021. Here’s our guide to the highlights of this astounding country from top to bottom.

Alexandria

Alex, as it's affectionately known, has been a cosmopolitan gateway to Egypt for centuries and today retains a charming air with its old cafes and bustling corniche. Ancient history can still be found in the Roman theatre and renowned Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, whilst the more recent WWII battlefields of El Alamein are just a short drive away.

Cairo

Perhaps the greatest Islamic city in the world, Cairo is home to the incredible Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx and the renowned Egyptian Museum, a treasure trove of ancient wonders. Cheek by jowl with the modern city lie grand mosques, historic Coptic churches and bustling souqs full of life and colour.

Luxor

Luxor boasts such a huge array of historic monuments it’s often referred to as the world’s greatest open-air museum. On the east bank of the Nile lies the vast temple complex at Karnak and exquisite Luxor Temple, whilst to the west are the mysterious tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the striking Temple of Hatshepsut.

The Nile

Egypt is often said to be the gift of the Nile and a cruise from Luxor upriver to Aswan is a supremely relaxing way, not only to discover some awe-inspiring ancient sites, but also to watch the timeless scenes of river life drift by as you sail.

Aswan

Laidback Aswan occupies an undeniably romantic setting perched between the sparkling waters of the Nile and soaring sand dunes. Home to the famous Philae Temple, relocated stone by stone to avoid the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam, it’s a wonderful place to relax and watch traditional feluccas ply the waters of the great river.

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NEW for 2021

Dreams of Egypt 11 days | Classic Group Tour from £3,090pp Egypt has hosted many ancient wonders through its illustrious history and remains a country steeped in mystery and legend, all waiting to be explored. This tour offers famous monuments and temples, a cruise along the world’s longest river and many bazaars to perfect your bargaining skills. Including: International flights, accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, 5-star Nile cruise, all meals, touring with Egyptologists and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


Antarctica Cruising “You are about to have an experience of a lifetime” David Attenborough

We're absolutely delighted to bring you Antarctic expedition cruising from 2021. This pristine wilderness remains an adventurer’s wonderland, remote and untamed, from the stunning ethereal beauty of a gigantic iceberg to the abundance of wildlife and tales of explorers from a bygone era. Antarctica is an awe-inspiring destination unlike any other. Life on an expedition cruise is a world away from regular cruising. Time on deck is spent admiring icebergs sailing by or whales breaching, whilst exploring is done by Zodiac excursions, on foot, by sea kayaking or even paddle boarding. There’s the chance to camp out overnight on some voyages and time at sea can be spent enjoying lectures and workshops from the onboard team of Antarctica experts.

Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is a 1,300 kilometre stretch of land and ice extending northward from the Antarctic continent towards South America. An ice-bound world of towering, sculpted icebergs and shimmering glaciers, this ethereal landscape is home to countless penguins, graceful seals, a host of whale species including minke, humpback, right, blue, sperm and orcas, and vast flocks of sea birds.

South Georgia

South Georgia is home to astonishingly abundant wildlife including thousands of king penguins, Antarctic fur seals and giant petrels. The stunning landscape of gigantic mountains and dramatic fjords is also home to abandoned whaling stations and is the final resting place of the legendary polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Falkland Islands

The Falklands are renowned for their wildlife and their dramatic recent history. The startling white beaches are home to vast rookeries of penguins and the largest black browed albatross colony in the world, whilst the quirky capital Stanley boasts a quintessentially British character and fascinating reminders of the recent conflict. NEW for 2021

Antarctic Explorer 11 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £9,799pp Embark on an extraordinary voyage, exploring some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. This is a classic voyage through the wild beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula, featuring abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery. Including: Accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, all meals, expedition leaders and daily tours.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Going Solo, but Never Alone New Dedicated Departures for Solo Travellers

Travelling solo doesn’t have to mean travelling alone and that’s certainly the case for anyone embarking on one of our sociable, escorted group tours. Not only do our tours allow you to travel totally carefree without the hassle of organising it yourself, but we’ve tailored some of our finest itineraries specifically with the solo traveller in mind. As always, solo travellers are more than welcome on any Wendy Wu group tour but for those who want to travel in a ready-made group of like-minded individuals, we’ve reserved dedicated departures on some of our most popular tours especially for you. So if you’ve ever dreamed of trekking China’s Great Wall or seeing the silhouette of Angkor Wat against the golden sunset, you can experience it all and more in the company of solo travellers with a shared passion for exploring. Brand new for 2021 and 2022, our dedicated solo tours not only let you share your wonderful experiences with other solo travellers, but also include a whole host of exclusive perks to make your trip even more special. No Single Supplement With no single supplement to pay, you can enjoy the privacy of your own room throughout the entire trip without the additional cost. Travel in Style Start and end your adventure in true style with complimentary chauffeur transfers to and from your UK airport. VIP Flyer Enjoy exclusive UK airport lounge access where you can indulge and fully unwind before your flight. Small Group Size Whereas our regular group tours take a maximum of 28 travellers, our new dedicated solo departures escort a maximum of just 18, making it much easier for everyone to get to know each other and enjoy the benefits of a smaller, close-knit group. Warm Welcome On arrival, you’ll also enjoy a welcome drinks reception with complimentary cocktails - the perfect opportunity to become acquainted with fellow group members. As with all Wendy Wu tours, on our dedicated solo tours you’ll be accompanied every step of the way by one of our friendly and knowledgeable National Escorts. They’ll be with you from beginning to end to ensure your trip is everything you expected and so much more. It is their passion to show you the delights of

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their homeland and they will welcome you as they would a lifelong friend. Our superb guides are the ones who add that sprinkling of magic to every tour and no one will bring a group of solo travellers together better than they can. Let’s not forget about the extraordinary experiences. Our solo tours also include a whole host of fun, immersive experiences so you can get hands-on in a workshop, cook up a feast, or even create music together as a group! That could be anything from learning the ancient ritual of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, to trying your hand at block printing in India. And with delicious, authentic dining in local restaurants, you’ll find plenty of time to mingle in a relaxed, informal setting – there’s no better way to reflect on the day’s activities. If you’re a solo traveller eager to explore and want to enjoy your adventure with others just like you, take a look at our dedicated solo departures below.

Dedicated Solo Departures Japan: A Week in Japan from £5,190, Jewels of Japan from £6,790, Discover Japan from £7,390, Japan Uncovered from £8,990 China: In Pursuit of Pandas from £2,690, A China Experienced from £2,790, Glories of China from £3,590, Majestic Yangtze from £3,790, Wonders of China from £4,290, Magnificent China from £3,990 Southeast Asia: Vietnam at a Glance from £2,790, Vietnam Panorama from £3,190, Around Cambodia from £2,790, Angkor to the Bay from £3,590, Classic Mekong from £4,290 India: Golden Triangle from £2,690, Inspiring India from £3,090, Highlights of Sri Lanka from £3,690

Want to join a regular group tour? Pay No Single Supplement with our ‘Happy to Share’ option If you’re a solo traveller joining one of our regular group tours, you can pay no single supplement by selecting our ‘Happy to Share’ option. That means we will buddy you up in a twin room with someone of the same gender. If that’s not possible, you’ll have the room to yourself!

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


NEW Itineraries for the Indian Subcontinent If you’ve not yet seen our latest India brochure, let us introduce you to the wonderful new tours you can enjoy for 2021 and 2022, expertly put together to give you a more in-depth look into some of the Indian Subcontinent’s most fascinating and beautiful regions. Kerala

Northern Sri Lanka

Known for its peaceful backwaters and stunning tea-covered hills, the serene South Indian state of Kerala feels a world away from the bustle of India’s inner cities. This 9-day tour provides the perfect glimpse into the region’s wonderful wilderness, delicately spiced cuisine, and laidback way of life, with a round trip starting and ending in Kochi – the gateway to Kerala.

The diversity of Sri Lanka’s impressive landscapes is irresistible for travellers. From rainforest-rich peaks to untrodden beaches, and over 2,000 years of culture to explore in between, the allure of the scenery, wildlife and historical offerings is simply too much to ignore, and this 11-day itinerary showcases the very best that the north and east of the island has to offer.

After a stop at the cascading Athirapally Waterfalls, spend a day journeying through emerald forests and wildlife reserves bursting with vibrant birds and fascinating animals, before reaching the lush tea plantations of Munnar. Explore the delights of Thekkady, one of Kerala’s most nature-rich areas, including Periyar Lake where you may even be lucky enough to spot the herd of wild elephants that come to bathe in the waters.

Beginning and ending in the capital, Colombo, the trip starts with a fantastic jeep safari through Wilpattu National Park where you can spot sloth bear, mongoose, leopards and even elephants. Before heading further north, explore the historical wonders of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Anuradhapura, the first capital of ancient Ceylon and home to the 2,250-year-old sacred Bo Tree.

A signature Kerala experience and a highlight of the entire trip is the time spent onboard a kettuvalam, a traditional Keralan houseboat. As you meander through the backwaters, soak up the stunning surroundings passing lush paddy fields, towering palms and pleasant lakeside villages – an experience that’s soul-soothing in every way.

Time on Sri Lanka’s northern tip in the cultural hub of Jaffna is spent visiting Buddhist and Hindu temples, hot springs and vibrant markets. Then, after travelling along the northeastern coast, discover one of the world’s finest natural harbours, Trincomalee, where you’ll find even more sacred and religious sites, and can soak up the slow-paced lifestyle of this pretty seaside city. And no trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to the UNESCO-listed Temple of the Tooth Relic – heart of Sri Lanka's cultural capital Kandy and its most sacred Buddhist temple.

NEW for 2021

NEW for 2021

Kerala Experience

Northern Sri Lanka Explorer

9 days | Classic Group Tour from £1,990pp

11 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £2,490pp

Including: International flights, accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Including: International flights, accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, meals as specified, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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BIG IN JAPAN

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Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


2020 was a year full of promise and excitement for Japan, a fascinating and unique country, pulsating and bright, mysterious and mythical. As we know, 2020 didn’t work out how we, or Japan quite imagined, with the Tokyo Olympics a high profile fallout from the global pandemic. Now, the Government in Japan are more determined than ever to get the show back on, with the rescheduled games now taking place next summer. The Government also recently announced its intention to re-open for tourism in early 2021. Like the 1980’s German synth-pop hit, Big in Japan, we at Wendy Wu Tours like to think of ourselves as Big in Japan. We are the No 1 tour escorted tour operator to Japan from the UK and our programme of tours are something we are truly proud of, with 11 hand-crafted touring itineraries including 2 completely new tours, Experience Japan and Japan by Rail, we feel we are Big in Japan!

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Experience Japan An 11-day tour which lives up to its name, packing in authentic Japanese experiences throughout. Whilst in Kyoto, you can experience the ancient ritual of a Japanese tea ceremony with a tea master, later try your hand at the art of origami. After lunch, your immersive experience continues with a fan painting class where you will learn the techniques of this highly refined and sought-after visual art. Further highlights follow, such as a demonstration of the making of miso, the famous Japanese seasoning. An afternoon brewery visits allows you to enjoy a tipple or two of locally made sake. Concluding in Tokyo, your final evening is a dinner cruise across Tokyo bay a perfect way to enjoy the supercharged city lights. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention you’ll take the bullet train to Nagano before heading to Jigokundani Yaen-Koen to see the famous Japanese macaques, commonly know as the snow monkeys.

NEW for 2021

Experience Japan 11 days | Classic Group Tour from £5,590pp Including: International flights, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Japan by Rail A 3-week tour of Japan, only with Wendy Wu Tours! This epic tour covers all three islands in one trip and as the name suggests, many of the journeys are by train, both bullet and limited express trains. As you’d expect of a 21-day tour, we’ve packed in the sights, sounds and experiences for you to enjoy throughout. A Momiji manju, (maple leaf bean buns) cooking experience, sushi making and sake tasting, lessons in traditional arts such as fan painting are just some of the memories you will take away. During the tour you visit Osaka and Nara, the temples and forests in and around Kyoto, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shirakawago Village for a taste of rural life. Ascend 2,400 meters to the 5th station for magnificent views of Mount Fuji, a city tour of Tokyo and sightseeing in Sapporo…. New and exclusive to Wendy Wu Tours, Japan by Rail is the ultimate tour of Japan.

NEW for 2021

Japan by Rail 21 days | Classic Group Tour from £8,890pp Including: International flights, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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NEW Tours for Southeast Asia We’re thrilled to announce three new Southeast Asia tours for 2021-22. Discover the natural beauty of our latest destination, the Philippines, combine the very best of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand on Thailand & Mekong Experience, or enjoy a two week cruise and beach break on the Mekong River Cruise & Beach Holiday. Mekong Cruise & Beach Experience the delights of the Mekong Delta with our new Mekong River cruise & Phu Quoc Beach Holiday. This private two-week break combines the best of all worlds; four days of premium small ship river cruising, the cultural corners of the Mekong, and a 5* resort stay beside the sugar-soft sands of the island of Phu Quoc. As the ship makes its way down the Mekong from Phnom Penh, enjoy cocktail making demonstrations, cultural excursions and classical Apsara performances, and while away your evenings in the infinity pool or sky deck as the sun sets over the delta. Fine dining menus have been designed by an executive chef and can be enjoyed in the Claypot Restaurant or outside al fresco, with all meals, local beers and house wines included on board. Disembark in Can Tho and fly to Phu Quoc island, where you’ll enjoy nine nights at leisure in a 5* resort with breakfast included. Choose from the European-style architecture and upbeat atmosphere of Vinpearl Resort & Spa, home to the largest swimming pool in Phu Quoc, or the neoclassical Asian style of the quieter VinPearl Resort & Golf with its extensive gardens. Both are awardwinning resorts sitting on Bai Dai, a private stretch of Ganh Dau beach, one of the best strips of sand on the island. Each resort is home to six restaurants and bars, a 24/7 clinic and a relaxing pool and spa. Deluxe rooms, suites and 2-4 bedroom villas are available. NEW for 2021

Mekong River Cruise & Beach Holiday

14 days | Victoria Mekong Combined Holiday from £1,999pp Including: International flights, a 3-night Mekong River cruise and 9 nights in Phu Quoc. All meals are included on the ship; breakfast is included at your beach resort. Extra nights, upgrades to suites, villas with private pools, or full board catering are bookable via our Reservations team.

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Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


Thailand & Mekong Experience

CHIANG MAI (3N)

THAILAND KANCHANABURI (1N)

BANGKOK (2N)

VIETNAM

SIEM REAP (3N)

CAMBODIA

HUA HIN (2N)

OVERNIGHT FLIGHT

PHNOM PENH (1N) 

TAN CHAU

VICTORIA MEKONG SHIP (4N)

SAIGON (3N) CAN THO

Take in the highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in one three-week adventure. Begin in historic Saigon, exploring the city’s French colonial centre and the intriguing Cu Chi Tunnel network of the Viet Cong. Travel to Can Tho to board the 4* Victoria Mekong ship, and spend four nights cruising upriver in style. Disembark in Cambodia’s charming capital, Phnom Penh, and journey to Siem Reap to explore the jungle-swathed ruins of Angkor. From here, head west for a week exploring the highlights of Thailand. Discover the secrets of New Latitude wines at one of Thailand’s only vineyards, go wild elephant-spotting in Kui Buri National Park, and end with a culinary cooking class in the northern city of Chiang Mai. NEW for 2021

Thailand & Mekong Experience

21 days | Victoria Mekong Go Beyond Tour from £4,490pp Including: International flights, accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, most meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

VIGAN (1N)

 

PAMPANGA(2N)

BANAUE (3N) 

BAGUIO (1N)

Philippines Discovery

LAOAG

MANILA (1N+1N)

CEBU (1N) 

BOHOL (2N)

From crater lakes to ribboning rice terraces, tarsier sanctuaries and picture-perfect hills, this adventure welcomes you into this Pacific archipelago’s wild heart. This two-week itinerary encompasses the islands of Luzon, Bohol and Cebu. From Manila, travel north and enjoy relaxed hikes on the UNESCO-listed Hapao Rice Terraces, ascend Mt Pinatubo to view its phenomenal blue crater lake, and explore the Spanish colonial city of Vigan. Fly south to the island paradise of Bohol to discover its stunning Chocolate Hills, relax on a Loboc jungle cruise, and visit the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, home and refuge of the second smallest primate in the world. The tour ends in Cebu, with options for private extensions to the scenic beaches of Boracay or El Nido. NEW for 2021

Philippines Discovery

14 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £3,390pp Including: International flights, accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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¡ VAMOS A LATINOAMERICA! We love Latin America, it’s a sensational destination with so much to offer even the most seasoned traveller. Packed with all the vibrant culture, fascinating history, epic landscapes and delicious food you could ask for, where else could you flit from cosmopolitan cities to dramatic volcanoes to nature-filled rainforest to desert to beaches to archaeological sites? We’re sure you get the picture! Our selection of tours showcase a whole lot of the continent, but we felt there were a couple of things needed to make it complete – feast your eyes on our brand new tours for 2021/2022.

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Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


Treasures of South America The perfect introduction to this vibrant continent, on Treasures of South America you’ll encounter just that, its very best treasures! Starting in Peru, your explorations will include uncovering the secrets of the Inca in Cusco and the incredible Machu Picchu. Travelling through the picturesque Sacred Valley by train, you’ll spend a day wandering this enigmatic mountain-top city. Take a cruise on Lake Titicaca before jetting off to country number two, the vivacious Argentina! No visit to charming capital Buenos Aires is complete without a tango class and show. You’ll also venture out into the Pampas grasslands to learn more about Argentina’s folkloric hero, the gaucho, and take a day trip into country number three – Uruguay. Head due north for a stop at the colossal Iguazu Falls, which straddles the border with country number four, Brazil. Before flying over to the effervescent Rio de Janeiro, there is an exciting adventure into the rainforest to meet an indigenous community. Ending the trip with a bang, you’ll have two full days exploring Rio, including all the highlights from Christ the Redeemer to Copacabana Beach, plus an evening of dancing at a samba club.

NEW for 2021

Treasures of South America 21 days | Classic Group Tour from £7,490pp Including: International flights, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Ecuador Highlights Ecuador, thanks to its compact size, is South America’s most explorable destination...fortunately it’s also one of the most exciting! Straddling the equator it is packed full of fascinating history, indigenous culture and incredible nature – what’s not to love? Starting high in the Andes in capital city Quito, you’ll explore its gorgeous UNESCO-listed historic centre, ascending to the dome of La Compania Church for magical views before hopping between the hemispheres at the Equatorial Monument. Travel over to Otavalo, the heart of Ecuador’s indigenous culture and famous for its textiles, continuing to the edge of the Amazon Rainforest to wallow in the thermal waters of Papallacta. You’ll then take the dramatic Avenue of the Volcanoes to the infamous Cotopaxi and its surrounding nature reserve, to spot highland wildlife. Discover the magnificent Incan ruins of Ingapirca and the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca where you’ll step back in time on the cobbled streets of the old town. Last but certainly not least, you’ll venture to the tropical coast, stopping at a family-run cacao plantation and the vibrant city of Guayaquil for your final explorations. Of course, the trip doesn’t have to end there, why not create the holiday of a lifetime by adding on a trip to the Galapagos?

NEW for 2021

Ecuador Highlights 13 days | Classic Group Tour from £3,090pp Including: International flights, accommodation, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Traveller Tales

Myanmar Explorer Wendy Wu Tours customer David Beadling gives us the lowdown on our Myanmar Explorer tour – a wonderful journey that takes in all of Myanmar’s highlights, showcasing the magical culture, golden temples and magnificent scenery of Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. No one can bring our tours to life better than those who have seen, done and experienced it all first-hand, so we’ve dedicated a few pages to our wonderful customers who want to share their amazing Wendy Wu adventures!

published itinerary he made several unscheduled stops for photo opportunities, including getting pilgrims to take photos at the top of Mount Popa, impromptu shopping and staying later than anticipated to enable us to finish our evening meal.

Dreaming of Myanmar

At one point I asked about his family and he told me he had a three year old daughter, so I apologised for keeping him away from her, his reply was that whilst we were in Bagan we were his priority – customer service par excellence.

At a relatively early age I had a small encyclopaedia which contained a picture of the Shwedagon Pagoda in what was then Burma. I must have been drawn to it subconsciously because once I had visited China and it piqued my interest in the Far East, my thoughts moved to Myanmar. Once I had seen video footage of Mount Popa I was sold. On a selfish note, it gave me the opportunity to visit somewhere my well-travelled sister hadn’t, but it was a mesmerising destination irrespective of who had visited it previously, unspoiled, unique and absolutely unforgettable Myanmar.

Excellent Guides

So, what made it a great tour? Firstly, fantastic local guides. All our guides were supremely knowledgeable, adaptable, customer-centric, and nothing seemed too much trouble. In Yangon this included retrieving a camera left by one of our group at the Shwedagon Pagoda, allowing us time for cocktails in the Strand Hotel, and even changing my remaining Kyats for US$ at the airport. In Mandalay, in addition to helping me with my longyi, on quite a few occasions, our guide added a chance to see Ava, an ancient capital, which was fantastic and my personal favourite memory from that part of the tour. At Lake Inle our guide also allowed us to set our own pace, and introduced us to the magnificent Indein Pagodas. However, my personal favourite was William, our guide in Bagan. Clearly his sole aim was to provide us with the best experience possible. In addition to the

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saw the real Myanmar, and got to mix with the Burmese people rather than other tourists. The guides always allowed us input into what we ate and the level of spice, which meant we enjoyed the experience more; in doing so we were able to sample authentic dishes, like traditional Burmese curry with tamarind and food with wonderful fresh flavours exuding a fusion of Indian, Thai and Vietnamese.

Great Hotels

Accommodation is key to enjoying a tour, and this did not disappoint. In Yangon and Mandalay the hotels were of international standards, not bad for a country that is supposedly third world. At Lake Inle we stayed in a lakeside hotel which we accessed exclusively by boat and were provided with a lodge bigger than many homes. Our favourite was the Thazin Garden Hotel, a small hotel situated in old Bagan with the two-storey accommodation set around beautiful gardens which featured a gorgeous, cool swimming pool and some original stupas. Real Myanmar was on our doorstep! It was a world away from the international chain hotels, a real tonic.

Delicious Dining

Food is also important and with Wendy Wu you can’t go wrong, a cooked breakfast, a several course lunch and the same at dinner. It’s not for the faint-hearted or for those wanting to diet! Breakfast consisted of a mix of local and western dishes, most hotels had an egg station where delicious fresh omelettes could be obtained, but this was combined with noodles, rice and many other typically Asian dishes which were interesting to try and made the experience more authentic. Unlike many tours we didn’t eat exclusively in hotels, we ate in local restaurants to obtain a more authentic feel and meant we

Unforgettable Memories

Having researched the tour, I had what I thought was a reasonable knowledge of many of the sights we were to visit, however nothing prepares you for the beauty of Lake Inle, the scale of the temples on the plains of Bagan and the majesty of the Shwedagon Pagoda. However, sometimes it is the things that surprise you that impress the most. Sailing down the Irrawaddy was like a scene from A Passage to India. The views of and from the top of Mount Popa, together with the climb of 777 steps, and barefoot! Great memories we weren’t expecting, and ones that we will treasure forever.

My Myanmar Top Tips

What you need to remember when touring Myanmar is that it is a developing country, particularly in terms of tourism, but for me that adds to the charm. When boarding boats on the Irrawaddy there were no quaysides to help you step onto them gracefully. No, you walk down a mud (albeit dry) bank and clamber in.

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The provincial airports are like something from the 1940s. Arriving at Bagan Airport we headed for the baggage reclaim area, when we got there, there was no carousel, just an empty room. Then two men arrived dragging a cart with all our cases on and we just had to grab our own! Similarly, when departing we went to check in, no computers were involved we merely gave our names, we were ticked off a list and given a colour-coded sticker depending on flight and destination.

Any regrets?

I would have loved an extra day in Bagan to perhaps take the opportunity to enjoy a dawn balloon ride over the plains and see the walled old city centre. But, as always, we have to balance obtaining a full itinerary with a finite timeframe, which Wendy Wu always manage to do with style! However, no matter how good the itinerary is, a tour can be made by the people you travel with. And we were fortunate enough to travel with a small group who gelled immediately and made the tour complete. David travelled with us on the Myanmar Explorer Tour in 2018.

Myanmar Explorer 11 days | Classic Group Tour from ÂŁ2,890pp Including: International flights, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

"Nothing prepares you for the beauty of Lake Inle, the scale of the temples on the plains of Bagan and the majesty of the Shwedagon Pagoda."

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CHINA'S TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS

Now we know this is going to be controversial – China is a country full of wonders – ancient, cultural, natural, man-made…how could you possibly choose just ten? There’s been some heated discussion here at Wendy Wu Towers about what got left out. How could we not include the beautiful water town of Suzhou, the epic ancient walled city of Pingyao or the ethereal beauty of Wulong National Park? What we do know is every attraction that made the list will knock your socks off. So if you are planning a holiday to China, here’s our list of absolute must sees. For even more sensational attractions, check out our China webpages.

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The Great Wall of China

China’s most iconic sight, of course the Great Wall had to be on the list! Stretching from Shanhaiguan on the Bohai Sea to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert – around 4,000 miles, many sections of the wall are easily accessible from Beijing. Whether you want an easy walk on well-preserved wall, or a slightly wilder, snaking-through-the-barrenhills type experience, the Great Wall can be one of the most exciting, magnificent and unbelievable things you’ll ever see.

2   Forbidden City

  At the very heart of Beijing, the vast complex of the Forbidden City is one of the capital’s most extraordinary sights. Home to China’s emperors and out of bounds to the public for 500 years, this labyrinth of exquisite traditional architecture, perfectly symmetrical, covers 180 acres and is the world’s largest palace complex. Declared

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a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 there is no better place to imagine the life of an imperial emperor.

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home so this is the best place to see them. Chengdu Panda Research Base, located just 10 kilometres from the centre of the city, is easily reachable. Here you can see pandas of all ages enjoying life in surroundings that are very similar to their natural habitat in the nearby mountains. For a more rural, less busy encounter, try Dujiangyan Panda Reserve, just over an hour from Chengdu.

  Li River

  The magical scenery of the Li River has long been the muse of many an artist and poet; in fact, it is so beloved that it even appears on the 20-yuan bank note! The lush countryside, dotted with towering limestone peaks, is best admired on a river cruise between the city of Guilin and the charming town of Yangshuo. From the water you’ll glimpse a different side to China, where the pace of life is slow, conical hatted farmers tend to their paddy fields and water buffalo sit contentedly in the shallows. Explore the area further from Yangshuo on foot, by bike or by raft.

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  Giant Pandas

  The world’s most celebrated bear and at the heart of a huge conservation effort, the giant panda is China’s loveable mascot. Around 80% of the world’s population of pandas call Sichuan province

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  Yangtze River

  A Yangtze River cruise is high on the list of many China explorers thanks to the magnificent landscapes of the Three Gorges, but there is so much more to it. One of the world’s longest rivers, the Yangtze has played a hugely important role in China’s historical, cultural and economic development for millennia; it was on its banks that some of the first Chinese cultures were born. Today, its shoreline is an endless tapestry of rural, agricultural and urban – a fascinating glimpse at a little seen side of the nation.

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  Terracotta Warriors

  The discovery of the Terracotta Warriors is a charming tale of pure luck, a group of farmers digging a well and stumbling across the greatest archaeological find of the century. Today, three pits of about 8,000 soldiers, horses and chariots stand in ranks in huge hangers 25 miles outside of Xian, wowing visitors with their

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realistic features and intricate detail. The army surrounds the burial mound of Qin Shi Huang, the emperor who first united China in 221BC and the man the terracotta soldiers were made to protect in the afterlife; although the tomb has never been excavated, it’s thought to be full of untold treasures!

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  Grand Buddha of Leshan

  Around two hours from Chengdu, the magnificent Grand Buddha of Leshan sits peacefully at the confluence of three rivers. At 71 metres tall, he was carved from the rock face 1,200 years ago on the orders of a Buddhist monk, who felt that the presence of the Buddha would calm the river currents and protect the boats plying the waters. It worked, but whether that was down to the will of Buddha or because of the large amount of stone that went into the river is up to you!

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  Shanghai

  China’s largest city and financial heart, Shanghai is where the East and West collide in a metropolis of gleaming skyscrapers. Sat on the mouth of the Yangtze, it was long a thriving port before becoming one of the world’s largest financial hubs in the 1990s. The city is a place of doing rather than seeing, with luxury hotels, shopping centres and entertainments galore, but there are still plenty of treasures to be found for those who want to find them. Stroll down the Bund for beautiful Art Deco architecture, wander the alleys of the old town to find lovely old temples or cruise the waters of the Huangpu River for the perfect overview.

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  Longji Rice Terraces   Swirling their way across an

already undulating landscape, the Longji Rice Terraces, also known as Dragon’s Backbone, are a spectacular example of man and nature working in harmony. The aspect of the terraces changes with the seasons; in the spring waters reflect the moods of the sky, in summer they are full of fresh green shoots, in the autumn bursting with lush rice plants, and in the winter grey and steely. Close to Guilin, it is a spectacular area to hike, giving you an ever-changing view of its beauty.

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 Lijiang

  Huddled amongst the forests and fields at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang is a charming town in a spectacular setting. Once the capital of the Naxi, the indigenous people of the Himalayas and the northern reaches of Yunnan province, Lijiang’s rich 800-year history is plain to see on the labyrinthine streets of the UNESCO-listed old town. Flanked by bubbling streams, trailing willows and picturesque stone bridges, wandering along them is a delightful step back in time. Make sure you stroll down to Black Dragon Pool for views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in all its glory.

NEW for 2021

China in Style 15 days | Classic Group Tour from £5,290pp Enjoy a relaxed-paced tour and many special experiences as you journey through China indulging in a deluxe Yangtze River cruise. Including: International flights, 5 star accommodation, 5 star cruise on the Yangtze River, UK airport chauffeur transfers, visa fees, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Traveller Tales

Wonders of China Wendy Wu Tours customer Robert Thornton gives us the inside story on one of our most popular tours to China, Wonders of China.

No one can bring our tours to life better than those who have seen, done and experienced it all first-hand, so we’ve dedicated a few pages to our wonderful customers who want to share their amazing Wendy Wu adventures!

So, we walked the Great Wall. Came face to face with the Terracotta warriors. Explored the Forbidden City. Got close-up and personal with pandas. Lazed around on rivers snaking through dramatic landscapes and picturesque countryside. But it was the experiences away from the tourist hotspots that enchanted us the most.

Sharing the Experience

Seeing It All China is an extraordinary and fascinating country, where tranquillity and clamour, ancient and modern, natural and manmade co-exist in perfect harmony. A quick look at a map of the world tells you China is vast, with treasures in every corner. For the visitor, the challenge is finding a way to ‘see it all’ when you have only 14 days to do it! We solved this problem by booking Wendy Wu’s ‘Wonders of China‘ tour. The guided tour criss-crossed the country taking in Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Yangshou, and Shanghai. The ‘we’ in this case was me, my wife Susan, and our best friends Judy and Ray.

Inspiring Icons The itinerary meant we would visit the iconic sites you dream about seeing, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, beautiful giant pandas, and the Bund in Shanghai. But it gave us more. It included a four-day cruise on the Yangtze River, a day trip on the stunning Li River, and a whole lot more besides! To cover this much ground, we had to take four internal flights, the quality and comfort of which rivalled anything to be found in Europe.

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Don’t get me wrong, the iconic places were amazing. They absolutely have the wow factor. The sheer scale of the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army are breathtaking. But China, like everywhere in the world, is as much about the people as it is about the places. As this was a group tour, we joined eleven other people on arrival in Beijing. And a nicer bunch of folk you couldn’t wish to find. They made the holiday what it was. Outstanding! To this day, we are in touch and even held a reunion dinner in London’s Chinatown to re-live the experience!

Lasting Impressions We ate as a group for most meals and the conviviality the group brought to the table resulted in some delightful evenings. Yet it was the local people we encountered who contributed so much to the success of our holiday. One example of this was a lady living in the hutongs whom we visited for lunch one day. The hutongs are a collection of houses in Beijing, where narrow alleys pass for streets and residents share communal toilet blocks. The housing style, with four houses sharing a common courtyard, was created in the 13th century, so it was a privilege to go inside someone’s home. Our host served us authentic Chinese home-cooked food, tasty and plentiful. An enchanting glimpse of what traditional life in China was, and is, like.

Then there were the people you never met who, by their effort, left indelible memories for us to take home. And nowhere was this truer than in Yangshou. Despite pouring rain we watched a spellbinding show that boasted a cast of over six hundred performers! Set on the water, it was, without doubt, the most spectacular live theatre I have ever seen. People we never actually met, but people we will always remember putting on an unforgettable show! The fact that we were dressed like extras from Woody Allen’s film, ‘Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But

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"China is vast, with treasures in every corner." Were Afraid To Ask!’, because of the rain, gave us all a good laugh. Well, we had to keep dry somehow! Someone I won’t forget in a very long time was the acupuncture doctor up the Yangtze – no, that’s not a euphemism, we really did meet him on the river! He was the resident star turn on board our river cruise and, as it transpired, I was to be his accomplice! He gave an acupuncture demonstration and used my leg to stick the needles into! It turned out to be a priceless experience. Not because of the needles, but because of the look on the faces of our group. Seeing them squirm in their seats at the sight of the needles disappearing into my calf made my day!

Technological Treasures Another lasting memory of the trip was most unexpected. It occurred toward the end of our journey when we reached Shanghai. It was the Maglev train, the world’s fastest. At 430 kilometres per hour, the train operates between the centre of Shanghai and the airport. And we got to go on it!

Seeing the speed hit 430 kmph on the carriage monitor, and to experience the sensation when two trains pass at that speed, is to behold a technological marvel. While people still practice the ancient art of tai chi in local parks and parents search for suitable partners for their children, these ultra-fast trains rocket past. It was almost surreal, but a lasting impression of a land rich in ancient history and tradition that is not afraid to embrace the future. The Ming Emperors would approve. So, as we said goodbye to China we took with us a kaleidoscope of memories. Not just the iconic sites, the hutongs, the rivers, and the people, but all the other things we had seen and done. Pagodas, temples, palaces, caves, museums, gardens, even a ghost city! We loved every minute of it! Robert travelled with us on the Wonders of China Tour in 2016.

Wonders of China 16 days | Classic Group Tour from £3,460pp This hugely popular tour journeys through some of China’s most iconic sights from Beijing’s Great Wall, Xian’s warriors, and picturesque Guilin to the mighty Yangtze River. Expect a busy but fun-filled tour. Including: International flights, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

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Central Asia Q&A with Bradley Mayhew

We talked to Bradley Mayhew, co-author of the Odyssey Guide to Uzbekistan, as well as the Lonely Planet guide to Central Asia and the Insight Guide to the Silk Road, on why this spectacular region is so close to his heart.

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What is it about Central Asia that you love so much? For me, it’s the epic sweep of history that appeals so much. Central Asia is an amphitheatre of empires, conquered by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane; traversed by Silk Road traders; and ruled by everyone from robed emirs to Soviet party secretaries. Moreover, it’s an incredible melting pot, of both settled and nomadic cultures, and also the Turkic and Persian worlds, set astride some of the most enigmatic cities of the Silk Road. You can still see the result of all this interaction in the region’s vibrant bazaars, the diverse range of faces and in the jaw-dropping architecture. It’s a very addictive part of the world.

What are your favourite places in Central Asia? The Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan are truly remarkable. Samarkand has some of the world’s most sublime Islamic architecture, thanks to the epic legacy of Tamerlane and his Timurid descendants. Bukhara also has incredible architecture, notably the old fortress of the Emir and the Kalon Minaret that so impressed Genghis Khan 800 years ago, but it also has winding, lived-in backstreets full of atmospheric Sufi shrines, disused madrassahs and caravanserais that allow you to catch a flavour of the infamous emirate. Khiva is an immaculately preserved, walled medieval town in the desert, and walking its blue-tiled palaces, ornate shrines and madrassah courtyards is really special.

What makes Kyrgyzstan so great? The short journey from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan takes you from settled and civilised oasis cities into a wilder landscape of steppe and mountains. The scenery here is epic, with high green pastures and deep, forested valleys studded with turquoise lakes and seasonal yurt camps. Magnificent Issyk-Kul Lake is essentially an inland sea, fringed by the snow-capped peaks and alpine valleys of the Tian Shan mountains. It is simply stunning. Kyrgyzstan still has a vibrant nomadic culture, and you can easily ride a horse, stay overnight in a yurt and drink fermented mare’s milk for a completely different taste of Central Asia.

Why is Uzbekistan the destination of the moment? For much of the last 20 years since independence, Uzbekistan has been a pariah state, notable for its political repression and human rights abuses. Since the death of President Karimov in 2016, however, the new government has really turned a corner, opening up the country, simplifying visa and money exchange processes and creating a dramatically more open and welcoming atmosphere. Excellent accommodation and comfortable high-speed trains have also made travel much more comfortable than in the past. Bloggers have been pouring into the country in recent years, and even Joanna Lumley filmed here during her Silk Road Adventures TV series. With tourism due to restart before too long, 2021 will be a great time to visit Uzbekistan.

Where do you want to explore next? I’ve not yet visited the Caucasus, so Georgia is one place I want to explore when the world gets back to a semblance of normality. The combination of dramatic mountain backdrops, traditional stone villages and Orthodox monasteries, topped off with wonderful food and wine are really drawing me. I’d particularly love to explore the former capital and Unesco World Heritage Site of Mtsketha.

Road to Samarkand 22 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £5,090pp Including: International flights, accommodation, visa fees, all transportation, meals as specified, touring with guides and entrance fees.

– Phone -22Specialists Call Travel on 0800 048 8821 Order lines open until 8pm Our our new 2021 brochure collection is now available. your personal copyMonday-Saturday at wendywutours.co.uk/brochures

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Our Travel Safe Protocols Keeping you safe on tour We know how important it is, now more than ever, for you to feel completely safe whilst on tour. As always, our customer’s wellbeing is our utmost priority, which is why every Wendy Wu tour now features our pioneering Travel Safe protocols featuring stringent COVID health and safety measures to ensure you can travel with ease and enjoy your adventure to the full.

As we continue to monitor the situation in each destination, we develop our protocols to ensure our customers and staff are protected at all times whilst following local guidelines. Here is a summary of the steps we have implemented to ensure you will be safe, secure and satisfied when travelling with us.

Your guides will assess the situation on the ground to avoid large crowds – where possible, alter timings and potentially split the group into smaller sizes.

Guides and National Escorts

Wendy Wu Tours will only offer hotels and accommodation that have undergone a detailed hygiene assessment, have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with government standards.

Accommodation

Our National Escorts and local guides will conduct a Health and Safety briefing before the tour begins and will help everyone ensure that adhere to social distancing, hygiene practises and local regulations.

We will ensure these protocols include staff adhering to social distancing and wearing appropriate PPI, regular cleaning, and disinfection of high frequency touch points in all areas and food safety.

They will carry a supply of face masks and hand sanitiser for you to use free of charge and will, of course, observe the highest level of personal hygiene at all times.

Dining

Should anyone on your tour fall ill, your National Escort will ensure the individual receives swift medical attention and can only return to the group once cleared to do so.

All the restaurants we visit will be researched and inspected regularly to ensure that they follow the strictest health, cleanliness and safety guidelines.

Transport and Sightseeing

All waiting staff will wear face masks and gloves, and self-service buffets will be avoided in favour of a la carte dining, waiter-served meals or waiter-assisted buffets.

Vehicles will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each excursion, overnight and between different groups.

Hand sanitiser will be provided to the group before and after every food and beverage service.

You will always have at least one seat between you and your fellow travellers. Hand sanitiser will be given to the group on each embarkation and vehicles will be thoroughly ventilated prior to passengers boarding. Drivers will always embark vehicles after clients, disembark the vehicle prior to customers disembarking, and maintain social distancing and a high level of personal hygiene at all times. Only front facing microphones will be used on vehicles and headsets or speaker systems will be used whilst sightseeing.

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COVID Cover Travel Insurance on us We are delighted to offer Staysure’s award-winning travel insurance, including COVID-19 cover, with every tour booked by 31 December. Read more on Page 2.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm


Traveller Tales

Vietnam at a Glance Wendy Wu Tours customer Michele Wiesner travelled to Vietnam on our Vietnam at a Glance tour. Here, Michele tells us about her highlights and just getting to see Halong Bay before global travel halted. No one can bring our tours to life better than those who have seen, done and experienced it all first-hand, so we’ve dedicated a few pages to our wonderful customers who want to share their amazing Wendy Wu adventures!

Towards the end of the tour though, COVID-19 was really taking off. A lot of restaurants and tourist attractions were closing down. We were the last tour group to go through Halong Bay before they shut it down. I count my lucky stars! I absolutely loved Vietnam! The history, the food, the sights and the beautiful Vietnamese people who made me feel welcome in their country. Simply amazing!

Vietnam had been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember, so when I booked it in October last year, I was so excited and was already counting down the days! As a solo traveller, Wendy Wu Tours  was the perfect choice. As the time was getting closer, I was starting to feel some nerves. COVID-19 was emerging and my family and friends were a bit apprehensive about me going. I was keeping a very close eye on the travel warnings and praying it would still be safe to travel to Vietnam by the time I was ready to go. Come March and off I went! I left a very cool morning at home and landed in a very hot Ho Chi Minh City eight hours later. The heat literally felt like a slap in the face, and I loved it! First day, after meeting my fellow travellers and our tour guide Tuan, I embarked on what would be an amazing 12-day journey through Vietnam.So many amazing highlights, however the things that stood out for me was the amazing food! I tried my first Pho in Saigon and it was delicious! Vietnamese food is yummy, fresh and vibrant.

Our tour guide Tuan was awesome! Very knowledgeable and always on hand to give advice and ideas of where to go and what to do in our spare time. I left a little piece of my heart in Vietnam and I can’t wait to go back! Other highlights included: •L  earning to cross the road while doing my best to dodge the traffic •R  iding a bicycle through the rice fields outside Hoi An •W  alking through the ancient town in Hoi An and being completed mesmerised by this gorgeous place. Tasting my first egg coffee in Hanoi and loving it   • Sailing up the Mekong River •C  ruising overnight in Halong Bay and just enjoying the peace and tranquillity This is just to name a few!

Vietnam at a Glance 12 days | Classic Group Tour from £2,490pp Including: International flights, accommodation, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

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Hope in the Forest “Looking into the calm, unblinking eyes of an orangutan we see, as through a series of mirrors, not only the image of our own creation, but also a reflection of our own souls and an Eden that once was ours.”  – Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, Reflection of Eden. 28

A moment of connection with the rich, deep black eyes of a wild orangutan, red fur glistening in the rainforest’s dappled morning light, is a rare and special privilege. It leaves an everlasting, deep-rooted memory in the hearts of the lucky few who travel far to experience it. Moments like this are getting rarer. Once found throughout Asia, wild orangutans can now only be found in Borneo and Indonesia. Vulnerable to deforestation, unsustainable palm oil corporations, poaching and the illegal pet trade, the Bornean orangutan population has declined by 60% in the past 70 years, leading the IUCN to classify them as ‘critically endangered’. It is thought that they may disappear from the wild in as little as 50 years. Nonetheless, there is hope. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of international wildlife charities, fundraisers, and awareness campaigners, many orangutans whose rainforest homes have been destroyed, or who have been stolen from their families to be illegally kept as pets, have now been offered a second chance at life in the wild. Here we shine a spotlight on the crucial work of one of our friends in Borneo – the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.

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Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

How We’re Helping

Wendy Wu Tours is proud to introduce travellers to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in eastern Borneo, one of two orangutan rescues featured on our Best of Borneo itinerary. Many of the red apes in this reserve were rescued as orphaned babies or victims of the illegal pet trade. Over the years, many of them have been brought here to experience a ‘re-wilding’ process in which they are nurtured and protected as they learn to thrive independently.

In order to ensure Wendy Wu Tours can better support the rural Sepilok area and community, which has been badly hit by the absence of tourist income in 2020, we’re adjusting our accommodation for our Sepilok visits. Rather than overnighting in the coastal city of Sandakan 26 kilometres east, we will be staying in wooden chalets on the jungle’s edge itself, at Sepilok Nature Resort. This small eco-resort’s lush gardens border the rainforest’s edge, and it is not unusual for inquisitive orangutans to swing through the resort’s trees out of curiosity (don’t be too surprised to find one perched on your chalet terrace!) The lodge also offers quiet guided walks through the reserve in the early morning and the evening, when orangutans, rare birds, flying squirrels and slow loris can sometimes be spotted.

The aim of this facility is to truly rehabilitate and release these rescued apes, who go on to live in freedom in 43 square kilometres of reserve, mostly foraging for themselves. It is for this reason that sightings, although common, cannot be guaranteed. This makes each experience special and unique. You may spot a mature male orangutan who hasn’t visited the sanctuary in a decade; a recentlyreleased adolescent who needs to top up his diet, or a particularly friendly older resident who just enjoys stopping by. Even on a quiet day, there is plenty to learn at Sepilok. Travellers are often drawn here by the famous outdoor nursery, where visitors can observe young orangutans who are still ‘learning the ropes’. Wild orangutans often stay with their mothers until the age of six or even eight years; sadly, the young rescues are typically orphans, and it is therefore up to the staff to fulfil the role of both mother and teacher until the youngsters are ready to go it alone. Where possible, the younger rescues are paired up with more confident orangutans in a ‘buddy system’, to help them learn the climbing skills and foraging techniques they need to thrive in the wild.

The Future of Rehabilitation Along with Sepilok, wildlife rescues all over Asia are suffering without visitors, but two others in Borneo are particularly close to our heart; the Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Semenggoh Nature Reserve, both also featured on our Best of Borneo itinerary. Visitors to these centres remain not just a vital source of funding for these organisations, but also an opportunity for the rescuers to educate the public on conservation and how our personal choices can have an impact from anywhere in the world. Wendy Wu Tours are truly proud to work with these vital charities in Borneo and hope that we can one day introduce you to their crucial work in person.

Best of Borneo 16 days | Go Beyond Group Tour from £4,190pp Including: International flights, 4 star accommodation and eco lodge, all transportation, all meals, touring with guides and entrance fees.

Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 – Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Call our Travel Specialists on 0800 048 8821 Phone lines open Monday-Saturday until 8pm

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Whispers Magazine – Wendy Wu Tours & Miles Morgan Travel  

Travel inspiration from The Award-Winning Tour Specialist Wendy Wu Tours and Miles Morgan Travel

Whispers Magazine – Wendy Wu Tours & Miles Morgan Travel  

Travel inspiration from The Award-Winning Tour Specialist Wendy Wu Tours and Miles Morgan Travel