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Cities of the Far East

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Vicki Tester

 

Major cities within the Far East are often used by travellers simply as a gateway to the country, or perhaps as a stop en route to a further afield destination such as Australia or New Zealand. They are often major hubs for international flights, and therefore lend themselves well to this. However, they can also make for interesting and exciting destinations and often warrant a longer stay. Here we mention just a few of the popular ‘stopover cities’ in the Far East.

 

Singapore

Once a British colony and later a part of Malaysia, Singapore became an independent nation in 1965. The city is home to a melting pot of cultures and this in turn makes Singapore a vibrant and exciting place to visit. Explore Chinatown and Little India, meander the shops of Orchard Road, the bars and restaurants of Clarke Quay or take afternoon tea in the historic Raffles Hotel. A ride on the Singapore Flyer provides a unique perspective of the city, and a visit to renowned Singapore Zoo is a popular family activity. Sentosa Island provides an escape from the city itself, with beautiful sandy beaches and relaxed resort-style hotels. Many would consider Singapore to be solely a ‘city stay’ but Sentosa Island certainly offers a more relaxed alternative or addition to a visit there.

Picture courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

Picture courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong

Another Far Eastern hub with a rich and interesting history, this former British colony is so much more than just a city. Whilst its modern city skyline is world renowned, the traditions of old Hong Kong are still very much alive and can be found threaded through the backstreets, countryside and islands of this vibrant destination. Explore some of the many markets from Stanley to the Ladies Market, take a sampan ride in Aberdeen Fishing Village, use the historic Star Ferry to cross the harbour, or head to Repulse Bay to relax by the beach. A visit to Victoria Peak is a must – ideally using the historic tram – to see the skyline, but also consider visiting some of the many outlying islands – Lamma Island has a well-marked walking trail, Cheung Chau is best known for its annual bun festival in May, and Lantau Island is home to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuala Lumpur

Located at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers, Kuala Lumpur’s name in English literally means ‘muddy confluence’. It is Malaysia’s capital and an extraordinary city with an intriguing cultural mix. Explore the shopping districts, Chinatown, Independence Square and the Sultans Palace. The Old Station in the city was built in colonial times with a roof carefully designed to withstand at least a metre of snow! Visit the botanical gardens, the central market or try one of the many excellent restaurants or street foods in Jalan Alor. The Batu Caves, located 11km from the city, are well worth a visit, and no visit to KL is complete without a visit to the iconic Petronas Towers.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok

Bangkok was founded in 1782 and with a history spanning more than two centuries, it comprises of an eclectic mixture of old and new. Thailand’s capital, it is perhaps best known for its ornate shrines and colourful tuk tuks. Take a tour of the Grand Palace, visit the floating markets on the river by longtail speedboat, or explore the Chatuchak weekend market for a spot of shopping. Wat Arun is a sight to behold, and Wat Pho is well worth exploring. A day trip from Bangkok can be taken to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai and the JEATH War Museum.

Above are just four of the popular ‘stopover’ cities in the Far East, but these are by no means the only options. For further information on these cities, or ideas for alternatives, please do get in touch.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Amazing Thailand

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With the optimum time to travel to Thailand being November to March, we have been looking at some fabulous itineraries for spending time in this Far Eastern gem. Anyone that has been to Thailand will no doubt have raved about the great value for money on offer here and with room rates starting from £20 a night, Thailand needs to be top of your list for a good value winter sun destination.

Thailand boasts some of the best beaches in the world, which are unspoilt and uncrowded. There are a choice of daily flights from London and Manchester to Bangkok, which connect onto remote beach hideaways. Here are 2 of our favourites:

Khao Lak’s
One of Khao Lak’s major attractions is its endless virgin beaches with collections of exotic seashells. Divers, snorkellers and sightseers can reach the pristine coral reefs of the Similan Islands National Marine Park in just one and a half hours, compared with three hours from Phuket. The whole area is perfect for visitors seeking seclusion and who don’t want the active nightlife of other resorts. Khao Lak is surrounded by tropical forests and the Khaolak-Lumru National Park is nearby.

Hua Hin and Cha’Am
A favourite with the Thai Royal Family, both resorts are ideal places for relaxing, riding, golf, or strolling for hours along the shared and seemingly endless white sand beach. Located a short flight or three hours’ drive from Bangkok, both resorts are deliberately slow-paced, easy-going, stress and hassle-free with superb seafood restaurants, casual beach bars, activities if you want them, a great night market and gentle nightlife. Together with a broad choice of new or renovated luxury hotels, Hua Hin and Cha’Am are the antithesis of fast and frenetic; ideal for families, long stay clients or for couples just chilling!
Thailand is a destination for everyone, from loved-up young couples, whether on honeymoon or just thinking about it, families, backpackers, older couples or singles. There’s something for every taste and every pocket.

Please contact us for more information on 01323 446550 or info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Or visit our website for more ideas on the Far East.

Thailand

Picture courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Thailand

Picture courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Star Clippers – Discover the Hidden Wonders of Thailand

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Vicki Tester

 

Star Clippers who offer a different sailing experience with the character of traditional sailing but still with the comfort and luxury found on most modern cruises, are offering an adventurous cruise around the hidden parts of Thailand and Malaysia.

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

 

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

These sailings explore some of the most iconic and beautiful parts known as the “Pearl of the Orient” with un spoilt beaches and islands that form part of the

National Marine Park here. The people are friendly, the water beautifully clear and the marine life amazing.

 

Nor do you have to bring your own snorkel and flippers, they are provided. If you need other activities as you sale around the islands and along the coast, you can try sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking – all complimentary.

 

 

 

For 7 nights cruising, 2 nights pre cruise in the Sala Hotel in Phuket and flights the cost is from £2179 per person and always subject to availability.

Please call us for more information on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Picture courtesy of Star Clippers

Top tips for Thailand

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

  • Bangkok isn’t just the gateway to Thailand, there are so many things to see and do it is worth spending a few days here. The Grand Palace and Temple of the Dawn are just a couple of examples.
  • Eat food from the street stalls. It is cheap and tasty. In a lot of places you can find delicious options on the street 24 hours a day.
  • Temples – there are so many to see from the magnificent to miniature. Don’t try to cram them all in. Narrow it down, for example Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew.
  • Visiting an open market is a must and often where you will find the best prices and best goods. Some of the best markets are Chatuchak Weekend market, the floating market and the night market in Chiang Mai.
  • Beaches – Thailand has some stunning white sand beaches. Lamai beach in Koh Samui, Freedom beach in Patong and Railey beach are some of the best beaches in Thailand.
  • Avoid the rainy season, although it’s not constant rain there are usually heavy rain downpours most afternoons/nights. The best time to travel is November to February when humidity and temperatures aren’t so high.
  • Learn to cook authentic Thai food. If you are a fan of Thai food why not learn to cook it yourself and impress your friends and family when you get home.
  • If travelling with children, Phuket has loads to keep the whole family entertained. From stunning beaches to water parks and activities like paddle boating, horseback riding and mountain bikes.

If you are interested in finding out more or putting together your own bespoke, tailor made holiday to this fascinating country then please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Picture courtesy of Tourism Thailand

Thailand, Laos & Cambodia

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Picture courtesy of Travel Indochina. Indochina is growing in popularity, of that there is no doubt and whilst each country offers some wonderful experiences in their own right, this itinerary suggests a combination of three countries.

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Day 1: Bangkok
Day 4: Chiang Mai
Day 6: Golden Triangle
Day 7: Chiang Rai
Day 9: Pakbeng
Day 10: Luang Prabang
Day 13: Siem Reap
Day 16: Fly onwards

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Description

 

Thailand is known to have many highlights and hidden gems but the culture and welcoming people is the jewel in its crown. Get a taste of the real Thailand on a journey from bustling Bangkok, through tranquil waterways and lush jungle hideaways, to the ancient beauty of historic Chiang Mai, where traditional culture blends seamlessly with a contemporary style, up to the Golden Triangle and the ancient city of Chiang Rai before boarding a long boat for a trip across the Laos border and on to Luang Prabang.

This itinerary is just one example of how a trip to these three fascinating countries can be combined to make a memorable holiday.

Day 1: Bangkok
Arrive into Bangkok for a three-night stay. Bangkok is a bustling metropolis, not to be missed despite the infamous pollution, with world class shopping and dining opportunities, stunning temples and much evidence of its amazing cultural heritage. Explore the Grand Palace, or enjoy a long-tailed speedboat ride through the floating markets of the Chao Phraya River. Take a day trip out to the former Siamese capital of Ayuthaya, or visit the JEATH War Museum and infamous Bridge over the River Kwai.

Three nights in Bangkok

Day 4: Chiang Mai
Fly to Chiang Mai today for a two-night stay. The ancient city of Chiang Mai has an interesting history with many temples to explore, including Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang. Consider an elephant experience in the jungle, explore the vibrant night market and experience a traditional Khantoke dinner and cultural evening.

Two nights in Chiang Mai

Day 6: Golden Triangle
Today, travel by road to the Golden Triangle. En route, visit a hot springs, stop at Chiang Saen and climb the steps to Wat Phra Dhat Jom Kitti for fantastic views over the Mekong River. Continue by long-tailed speedboat to the Golden Triangle – the point at which the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet.

One night in the Golden Triangle

Day 7: Chiang Rai
Travel to Chiang Rai, stopping en route at Mae Sae to visit a Jade factory, Fish and Monkey Cave and the colourful market. Continue to Doi Mae Salong, passing through beautiful mountain scenery. Visit local Akha, Yao and Lisu hilltribes before continuing to Chiang Rai for a two-night stay. Chiang Rai is a traveller’s paradise with magnificent mountain scenery, ruins of ancient settlements, historic sites, Buddhist shrines and ethnic villages – the province is also home to several hill tribes who maintain their fascinating lifestyles

Two nights in Chiang Rai

Day 9: Pakbeng
Today, cross the border into Laos and join a river cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Cruise to the trading post of Pakbeng. This is a stunning section of this river, with beautiful rural scenery and rustic villages to see en route. Stay overnight in a riverside lodge in Pakbeng.

One night at Pakbeng

Day 10: Luang Prabang
Continue on the cruise this morning, stopping at the Pak Ou caves, which house literally hundreds of Buddha statues, hidden from the looting Chinese Haw in times gone by. Complete the journey to Luang Prabang for a three-night stay here, with its wonderful UNESCO World Heritage old town. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. In the centre of the city is Mount Phousi, rewarding climbers of its 328 steps with stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills. Rise early and witness the thousands of saffron-robed monks walk the street of the town barefoot to receive alms.

Three nights at Luang Prabang

Day 13: Siem Reap
Fly to Siem Reap for a three-night stay. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Over 100 temples are spread over a vast area and the site easily lives up to its status as one of the seven wonders of the forgotten world. Witness sunrise at Angkor Wat and explore some of the many other temples, including the ruins of the tree-covered Ta Prohm. Take a river cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in the world and home to the famous floating village, where you’ll see floating houses, a school and even a floating hospital.

Three nights at Siem Reap

Day 16: Fly onwards
Today, return to Siem Reap airport for the onward or homeward journey.

More time? Consider adding a trip to Phnom Penh by river cruise, or a stay in Vientiane – the capital of Laos. Complete the experience with a beach stay in Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia.

Angkor Travel Indochina  TIC Laos Vientiane

 

Far east page

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Little Gems

Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must on this itinerary, but close behind is the sight of the saffron clad monks of Luang Prabang

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Client Feedback

‘We loved every moment, but the highlight has to be the boat trip through Laos’

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The Far East

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For a value for money winter break, Thailand and Malaysia come top of the list every time. With both direct and in-direct flight options, for Gatwick, Heathrow and other regional airports, the sensory delights of the Far East beckon. From the frenetic hubbub of city life, to the warm waters of the ocean and idyllic sandy beaches – the Far East has something for everyone. Forget the winter days back home, and whether you are a culture vulture, or prefer a lazy beach/spa experience to relax and unwind, perhaps a touring holiday with time to relax at the end – you should be speaking to Experience Holidays.

  • Bangkok – Sprawling and busy, spend a couple of nights exploring the sights and sounds of Thailand’s capital city before heading north, or to the beach
  • Bridge over the River Kwai – take a journey back in time to learn more of the Death Railway – lest we should forget
  • Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle – head north and explore the hilltribes of the Golden Triangle
  • Spend the night on a converted rice barge
  • Visit the paradise resorts of Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi
  • Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – if ever there was a city with no plan, Kuala Lumpur is it. Look at a street map, and you could be looking at a plate of spaghetti!! But arrive at the efficient and friendly KLIA Airport, and you’ll soon be part of this bustling city. This is a melting pot or culture, with sights and sounds from all corners of the Orient
  • Visit the old town of Malacca to the south of Kuala Lumpur with its colonial past and interesting architecture
  • Head into the Cameron Highlands famous for its tea plantations
  • The islands and beaches of the west coast offer all standards of accommodation, with a good rail and ferry service to link them up for an independent option
  • Visit the lesser known resorts of the east coast for some excellent diving and the odd rather lovely spa hotel for a little added luxury

Photographs by David Bowden
davidbowden.travelwrite@gmail.com

Bangkok floating market          Langkawi

 

Treasures of Thailand

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Thailand generally conjures up images of beautiful white sandy beaches, lush green forests and buzzing, bustling cities. With a combination of these, a fascinating history, interesting culture and friendly people there is a recipe for a fantastic holiday destination. There are plenty of possibilities to consider and this example provides a diverse range of highlights and attractions.

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Treasures of Thailand

This sample itinerary provides a combination of city, countryside and beach to give a great overview of this beautiful country.

Day 1: Bangkok

Day 4: Chiang Mai

Day 6: Hilltribe Country

Day 7: Chiang Rai

Day 9: Beach Stay

Day 15: Depart Beach Stay

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Description

Day 1: Bangkok

Bangkok is a traditional Far Eastern city – a mix of old and new. Take a tour of the Grand Palace, visit the floating markets on the river by longtail speedboat, or explore the markets for a spot of shopping. A day trip from Bangkok can be taken to visit the Bridge over the River Kwai and the JEATH War Museum.

Three nights Bangkok

Day 4: Chiang Mai

Travel by air from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, or if time allows, take an overnight train journey instead. Located in the cultural north of Thailand, Chiang Mai is an old walled city with a plethora of attractions to offer. Tour the local temples, consider an elephant experience in the jungle, enjoy an evening cultural show, or shop at some of the many markets.

Two nights Chiang Mai

Day 6: Hilltribe Country

Today travel by road into Hilltribe Country. Stop at an Orchid Farm en route, or perhaps visit a working elephant camp. Stay close to a traditional hilltribe village, and enjoy a dance performance after dinner.

One night Hilltribe Country

Day 7: Chiang Rai

Continue by road to Chiang Rai for a two night stay. Here, take a longtailed boat cruise through thick jungle, or take a day trip to the Golden Triangle where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.

Two nights Chiang Rai

Day 9: Beach Stay

After soaking up the culture in the north of the country, head to one of many Thai beautiful islands for a stay close to the beach. Snorkel, dive, sail or swim. There are areas with lots happening in terms of activities and nightlife, and areas that are quiet and romantic. The choice is yours.

Six nights Beach Stay

Day 15: Depart Thailand

Depart Thailand today for the onward or homeward journey.

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

Photo courtesy of www.tourismthailand.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[wptabtitle] Little Gems[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Little Gems

A stay in Hilltribe Country is an unique experience, providing a chance to learn more of the culture and traditions of these fascinating people.

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[wptabtitle] What our clients say[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Client Feedback

Coming soon!

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