Sometimes forgetting something leads to a good find. When I forgot to secure a Vietnamese visa, my Hong Kong plane connection quickly became a two-day layover. But, that isn’t a bad thing. I got to visit a place I haven’t seen in 30 years. My 48-hour stay whirls by as quickly as the city’s traffic.
Our guide, Teriianutapuatea (aka Teri) plays his ukulele and sings as he steers the boat across Bora Bora’s crystal-clear lagoon. The turquoise waters and white sand beaches that border this verdant island are picture postcard perfect.
A safari vacation can be a bit on the pricey side no matter how you slice it. The term “affordable” is relative when considering a safari option. Of course, there are tips you should consider when trying to book a budget safari for your client. Consider having them travel in the off-season (in South Africa, for instance, the quieter May-July winter months offer cooler temps and better animal viewing), select owner-operated safari lodges and lesser-known game reserves. If your client is adventurous, have them try a self-drive safari. In some instances in Namibia and South Africa, the roads are good and parks fees low. Below are some options for a safari that won’t break the bank...relatively speaking.
Don’t send your clients to Egypt. Send them several times to gaze again and again in wonderment at the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx at Giza, the tombs of Nefetari and Ramesses I, the colossal statues of the Pharaohs, the temples at Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbal.
The key to satisfying clients who are looking for a ski vacation is to find the right place that fits their skills and style. The Northeast -- primarily New Hampshire and Vermont -- offer choices enough to fulfill any winter vacation dream.
Southeast Asia is “the best bang for your buck,” a travel agent told me at a recent PATA event. It is so true. The nations of Southeast Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are each distinctive in their own right, but collectively they offer a tremendous variety of experiences at exceptional value for the dollar carrying traveler. Spas, cuisine, history, adventure, nature, traditional crafts, luxury shopping, river cruising, religion and festivals, traditions and customs, people-to-people interactions, and so much more await curious travelers for far less than in other destinations. In Bali, Indonesia, for example, the cost of a car-and-English-speaking driver for a full day is about 500,000 Rupiah or just $37. That’s about the cost of a one-way, coach-class Heathrow Express train to Central London! No wonder PATA, in its 2014-2018 Visitor Forecast (http://bit.ly/1HgrOXx), projects that the top five fastest growing destinations (in terms of average annual growth rate) in the Asia Pacific region for this period will be: Thailand at 27.5%, Myanmar at 17.7%, Cambodia at 13.2%; Bhutan at 12.9%, and Lao PDR at 11.6%.
DreamWorks movie characters like Mr. Peobody and Sherman, Belt the Sloth and Shrek mingle with the crowd at the Sheraton Cotai Central’s Shrekfast. Breakfast entrees include bean paste cakes that look like Kung Fu Panda’s head. This event has the all showiness of Las Vegas. But this is in Macau (English spelling Macao), a special administrative region of China.
Getting to stadium seats for Ulaanbaatar’s opening Nadaam ceremonies is utter chaos. The long, dirt road is mobbed with people. Whole families come dressed alike. Others wear vibrant tribal costumes and leather boots. Hats can be pointed with a tassel hanging off the back or have fur or flaps.
To most people, Outer Mongolia is only the land of Genghis Khan (called Chinggis Khaan in Asia) and the Gobi Desert’s lunar landscape. But, every mid-July, Ulaanbaatar hosts the multi-day, colorful Naadam Festival. Still unaffected by tourism, the country is much the same as it has been.
“Wherever you dig in Israel, you find history-often layer upon layer of civilizations,” said Michal Neumann, who was guiding our small group of travel trade journalists on a whirlwind seven-day history-focused journey through Israel. Licensed guides in Israel undergo rigorous training and testing and meet ongoing requirements and can greatly enhance a visit. We were standing at the Israel Museum’s giant model of ancient Jerusalem as Michal unfurled five feet of cards listing the names and dates of the major waves of peoples who have left their marks here. The cards would come out throughout our trip, adding perspective to sites like Acre, where an Ottoman walled town sits atop remains of a medieval Crusader capital.
While on camera Mutirl wa Bashara offered his opinion of Indaba, Africa’s largest annual travel and tourism conference. He did it in French. Others said the same, whether in English, Zulu or any other language used in or out of Africa. The confluence of tongues was heard from dignitaries, those representing African countries and companies, and the international journalists reporting on the event, held at the International Convention Center in Durban (ICC), in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.