Travel

If You Have This Personality Trait, Chances Are You’re an Ideal Travel Companion

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 15:57
<p>Curious about what makes someone great to travel with? Turns out, you might already have what it takes.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180719005228/en/" target="_blank">new survey</a> from Curio Collection by Hilton found that curiosity is the most desired trait that travelers look for in their companions.</p><p>Sixty-four percent of survey respondents described the perfect travel companion as someone who is curious. In addition, 65 percent consider a spouse or significant other as the best travel partner for new experiences, while 25 percent would prefer to travel alone.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/tips-for-traveling-with-significant-other" target="_blank">How to Travel With Your Significant Other Without Breaking Up</a></p><p>Respondents to the study also shared how curiosity motivates the way they travel. About 91 percent of respondents described themselves as curious, and 60 percent of people said they believe they are more curious than the average person. At the same time, 53 percent said they want to be more open to new experiences. Curiouser and curiouser.</p><p>The study also measured how many travelers prioritize exploration on their trips, with 55 percent of respondents saying they primarily want to explore, rather than relax, on vacation.</p><p>Fifty-seven percent of travelers wish they could spend more time exploring the things that pique their curiosity, including “visiting ancient ruins, eating dinner at a well-regarded restaurant, or experiencing a safari.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Manhattan Is Getting a New Ritz-Carlton — and It'll Cost Half a Billion Dollars to Build

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 14:19
<p>A new, Ritz-y hotel is coming to New York City’s <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/NoMad,+New+York,+NY/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c259a65f1f0be5:0xf5f32de03bdaba30?sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwi9jYzxs8ncAhVBpFkKHXGdBmQQ8gEwD3oECAoQCw" target="_blank">NoMad neighborhood</a>.</p><p>Marriott International <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marriott-international-signs-deal-with-flag-luxury-group-to-open-a-more-than-500-million-ritz-carlton-hotel-and-residences-tower-in-new-york-city-300685381.html" target="_blank">announced</a> it has signed an agreement with luxury hospitality development firm Flag Luxury Group to bring a new Ritz-Carlton hotel to New York City. Flag Luxury Group is planning to invest $500 million in the new project.</p><p>The new project, including hotel accommodations and residence tower, will be designed by award winning architect Rafael Vinoly and interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg. The hotel will be located at Broadway and 28th Street.</p><p>“Thanks to buzzing restaurants and bars, unique retail and notable architecture, NoMad has become one of Manhattan's most popular neighborhoods,” Tony Capuano, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Development Officer, Marriott International, said in a <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marriott-international-signs-deal-with-flag-luxury-group-to-open-a-more-than-500-million-ritz-carlton-hotel-and-residences-tower-in-new-york-city-300685381.html" target="_blank">statement</a>.</p><p>At 500 feet high, the tower will offer sweeping views of New York City, including the Empire State Building, and easy access to the city’s most historic and vibrant neighborhoods.</p><p>“The hotel and residences tower will have an ideal location and sophisticated design, complemented by the celebrated Ritz-Carlton service,” said Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, President of Flag Luxury Group.</p><p>The hotel will also offer a fine dining restaurant, 250 hotel rooms and 16 branded residences, a spa and fitness center, and a rooftop bar among other amenities.</p><p>Construction is already underway, with an expected opening in 2021.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why More Travelers Are Purchasing Travel Insurance This Year

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 13:57
<p>According to a new report from AAA, 38 percent of Americans are likely to purchase travel insurance for future international trips, and that number is on the rise. AAA said that its sales of domestic and international travel insurance increased more than 20 percent over the past year.</p><p>While each traveler has their own reason for purchasing travel insurance, most are out to protect their monetary investments. About 88 percent of respondents said trip cancellation protection was the most important priority when selecting travel insurance.</p><p>Respondents also considered purchasing travel insurance if their trip was booked very far in advance (61 percent) or if they were concerned about their health or the health of a family member (69 percent). Others were convinced by family and friends that it was a good idea (57 percent).</p><p>Travel insurance can do much more than protect money spent on a trip. Select plans can cover rebooking fees, meals, or accommodation in the event of cancelled or delayed flights. Travel insurance can also fill in gaps in health insurance. Without insurance, <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/expensive-international-hospital-stay-travel-medical-insurance" target="_blank">a night in a hospital abroad</a> can cost up to 12 times more than a night in a five-star hotel.</p><p>“The relatively small upfront cost of travel insurance can pay back dividends in the event of sudden and unforeseen circumstances before or during a vacation,” Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing, <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/more-americans-protecting-their-vacation-investments-with-travel-insurance-300688825.html" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. “As policies and coverage options vary, travelers should consult a knowledgeable travel agent to explore their travel insurance options.”</p><p>No matter your motivation, if you’re considering purchasing insurance for a trip, check out Travel + Leisure’s guide to <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-insurance-basics" target="_blank">everything you need to know about travel insurance</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Delta and United Are Hiring Bilingual Flight Attendants

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 12:02
<p>If you’ve ever dreamed about having a career that lets you fly around the world on a regular basis, you’re in luck: <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/delta" target="_blank">Delta</a> and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/airlines-airports/united-airlines" target="_blank">United</a> are both currently hiring flight attendants.</p><p>Most positions are for bilingual candidates, though United also has <a href="http://careers.united.com/ShowJob/Id/1696882/Flight-Attendant-Position/" target="_blank">general flight attendant openings</a> in <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/chicago" target="_blank">Chicago</a>.</p><p>Those who speak Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, or Portuguese, in addition to English, can apply for United's <a href="http://careers.united.com/ShowJob/Id/1696883/Flight-Attendant-Bilingual/" target="_blank">bilingual positions</a>, which are also based in Chicago. </p><p>Meanwhile, Delta is also hiring flight attendants based in <a href="https://delta.greatjob.net/jobs/JobListingAction.action?jobUUID=A08DA_0_en_US&amp;job=A08DA&amp;reqId=0&amp;PSUID=d4bc6fcb-d6d4-45a2-ae24-edccbe0c4ccf" target="_blank">multiple locations</a> who speak Dutch, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Hebrew, or French in addition to English. </p><p>Candidates applying to either airline will need to be at least 21 years old, be able to work and travel in the U.S., and have at least a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. </p><p>United's positions also require a minimum height of five feet and a maximum height of six feet and three inches, at least two years of experience in the service industry, and the ability to pass both hearing and vision tests. </p><p>Delta's candidates may not have visible tattoos or piercings, must have a "natural" hair color, and are required to limit jewelry to small earrings, one necklace, and no more than three rings. Having at least one year of service industry experience will also give you a competitive edge with the airline. </p><p>United's positions start at $27.22 per hour, with annual increases up to a cap of $67.11 per hour. Benefits include 401K enrollment and travel benefits for employees and their family and friends. </p><p>Benefits with Delta include compensation packages with competitive pay, worldwide travel privileges, and health and wellness coverage packages. </p>
Categories: Travel

Book These Cheap Winter Flights to Hawaii Now and Thank Yourself Later

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 11:39
<p>If taking a trip to Hawaii has been lingering on your <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/bucket-list" target="_blank">travel bucket list</a> for far too long, now may finally be the time to check it off. Flights to the Pacific paradise are now on sale for fall and winter travel.</p><p>According to <a href="https://scottscheapflights.com/" target="_blank">Scott’s Cheap Flights</a>, tickets to Hawaii typically range from $750 round-trip from the West Coast and can run upwards of $900 from other cities around the nation. However, right now, airlines including American, Air Canada, Delta, Hawaiian, and United are offering tickets for much, much less.</p><p>For example, we found several tickets available in October on Delta from <a href="https://www.google.com/flights#flt=/m/030qb3t.HNL.2018-10-09*HNL./m/030qb3t.2018-10-16;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">Los Angeles to Honolulu</a> for just $453 round-trip. Hawaiian is offering tickets for the same travel dates for $457, and American at $505.</p><p>For the same travel dates, fliers can book tickets from <a href="https://www.google.com/flights#flt=DEN.HNL.2018-10-09*HNL.DEN.2018-10-16;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">Denver to Honolulu</a> for $517 on Alaska Airlines, $577 on United, and $566 on Delta.</p><p>Additionally, travelers can book seats from <a href="https://www.google.com/flights#flt=/m/02_286.HNL.2018-10-09*HNL./m/02_286.2018-10-16;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">New York City to Honolulu</a> on those same dates for $548 on Hawaiian, $623 on Alaska, and $733 on United.</p><p>Right now, customers can also find round-trip tickets for fall travel to Kauai from Montreal for $621, Phoenix for $417, San Francisco for $372, and Seattle for $363, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights.</p><p>Those looking to travel to Kona can find round-trip tickets from Portland, Oregon for $333, Salt Lake City for $474, and Seattle from $353.</p><p>And, to see the lush greenery of Maui, travelers from Phoenix can get there for as low as $355 round-trip from Portland, San Diego or San Francisco for $372, and Seattle for $376, Scott’s Cheap Flights reported. But you better act fast, as these deals are not expected to last long.</p><p>If you want to make the trip truly special, read up on when the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/best-time-to-visit-hawaii" target="_blank">best times to visit the Hawaiian islands</a> really are, and try to book a stay at one of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/resorts-in-hawaii" target="_blank">Hawaii’s top 15 resorts</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Get Your Own Private Jet (Pool Float) for 50% Off Right Now

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 11:08
<p>Anyone who is unfortunately not yet rich and famous enough to own a luxurious private jet: this one goes out to you. Sure, it may not actually fly, but this airplane-shaped pool float is a great alternative to the glamorous mode of transportation — especially at 50% off.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/flying-private-getting-cheaper" target="_blank">Why More People Are Flying Private — and How to Become One of Them</a></p><img alt="Funboy Private Jet Float "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533057662/shopbop-funboy-jet-pool-float-JETFLOAT0718.jpg?itok=aEUai7ba"><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/private-jet-float-funboy/vp/v=1/1569608417.htm" target="_blank">shopbop.com</a>, $50 (originally $99)</p><p>Online fashion retailer <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/" target="_blank">Shopbop</a> is having a <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/sale-new/br/v=1/14233.htm" target="_blank">huge summer sale event</a> where you can find fun pool floats to rival those <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/luxe-ride-unicorn-float-sunnylife/vp/v=1/1555357597.htm?fm=search-viewall&amp;os=false" target="_blank">inflatable unicorn</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/luxe-float-flamingo-rose-gold/vp/v=1/1552655582.htm?fm=search-viewall&amp;os=false" target="_blank">flamingo</a> ones you’ve been seeing all over Instagram. A <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/private-jet-float-funboy/vp/v=1/1569608417.htm" target="_blank">seven-foot-long plane-shaped pool float</a> lets you stretch out as you leisurely float on by. Never mind if it doesn’t make logical sense (an airplane on water?), this floatie is fun, cute, and a steal at half its original price.</p><p>But if you happen to prefer your pool float take the shape of something more water-appropriate (but still have a taste for the luxurious), then you should know that there’s a <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/yacht-float-funboy/vp/v=1/1555743659.htm" target="_blank">yacht-shaped floatie</a> on sale, too.</p><img alt="Funboy Yacht Float "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1533057662/shopbop-funboy-yacht-pool-float-JETFLOAT0718.jpg?itok=GzqASqBw"><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/yacht-float-funboy/vp/v=1/1555743659.htm" target="_blank">shopbop.com</a>, $64 (originally $128)</p><p>Shop both pool floats and more at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.shopbop.com/s/products?query=pool+floats&amp;searchSuggestion=false" target="_blank">shopbop.com</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You'll Never See Zoe Saldana Flying in Sweatpants

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 11:01
<p>Zoe Saldana is a busy lady and she is proud of it. In addition to starring in such huge films as "Avatar," "Guardians of the Galaxy," and this summer’s blockbuster to end all blockbusters, "Avengers: Infinity War," the actress also has her own <a href="https://hiplatina.com/zoe-saldana-new-media/" target="_blank">new production company, BeSe,</a> to help bring greater diversity to Hollywood and focus on highlighting the stories of Latin Americans.</p><p>It will target millennial and Gen-Z audiences and will produce content across social and digital platforms. That is why Saldana recently partnered with American Express to help launch their <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/cash-magnet/" target="_blank">American Express Cash Magnet Card</a>, which targets young entrepreneurs and business-minded customers.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/queen-latifah-carnival-horizon-godmother" target="_blank">You'll Never Guess the Fake Name Queen Latifah Uses at Hotels</a></p><p>It’s surprising she found time for this with all her work and as a busy mom of three boys under 4 years old [Saldana has three sons, Bowie Ezio, Zen Anton Hilario, and Cy Aridio with husband Marco Perego] but if anyone can do it, it is Saldana.</p><p>She is also an avid traveler, and she spoke with<em> Travel + Leisure </em>about how she travels and her plans to make her sons travel lovers as well.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/celebrity-travel/betty-who-carry-on-interview" target="_blank">The Perfect 'Mary Poppins' Travel Bag, According to a Pop Star on Tour</a></p><p><strong><em>Travel + Leisure: </em>What do you love about travel?</strong></p><p>Zoe Saldana: "I love experiencing different cultures. I love travel shows. Anthony Bourdain was like my go-to binge. I am going to miss him a great deal, but I'm going to keep him alive by watching his shows."</p><p><strong>Are you a good packer?</strong></p><p>"No, I still have to find a way to beat that. I'm an overpacker and it turns into a strenuous situation. I pack my boys really, really well and my husband is a fantastic packer."</p><p><strong>What is your favorite hotel?</strong></p><p>"There are so many and we love traveling with our family so we tend to rent out homes now. That becomes a really happy thing for us. Whenever it is just my husband and my kids we go to boutique hotels.</p><p>In New York it is always <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.expedia.com/New-York-Hotels-The-Carlyle.h40553.Hotel-Information" target="_blank">The Carlyle</a>. And in L.A., even though we live there, we love to go to the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.expedia.com/Los-Angeles-Hotels-Hotel-Bel-Air.h34504.Hotel-Information" target="_blank">Bel-Air</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="https://www.expedia.com/Los-Angeles-Hotels-The-Beverly-Hills-Hotel.h12057.Hotel-Information" target="_blank">The Beverly Hills Hotel</a>."</p><p><strong> Do you have any great plane hacks?</strong></p><p>"If I'm traveling with the boys I am not calm and I don't like when they stay long periods of time watching TV so we have to fill their little backpacks with activities, but when it is just my husband and I we are such awesome fliers. We love watching our movies and talking and I love having a glass of wine.</p><p>I don't necessarily like plane food so I always try to eat before, but actually the food on Asian airlines is amazing. I haven't experienced that as much with other airlines, but in no way am I slighting any American airlines because the experience on a flight is not just food. It's having friendly flight attendants that are super hospitable and conversational and allowing you the freedom that you need to have and that I have experienced."</p><p><strong> What is the next trip you want to take?</strong></p><p>"Asia. Our twins are 3 years old and we're just waiting for our little one to turn 2. I love Asia, I love traveling to Japan. I have Japanese family so when we do go there we tend to visit with them and it's pretty fun. I want our kids to go there and experience that part of the world so that would be our next go-to and then next is Africa and then the Caribbean."</p><p><strong> Do you have a go-to plane uniform?</strong></p><p>"I'm not a leggings person and I don't like traveling in sweatpants. I don't need to be all decked out in style, but I like looking chic and being comfortable. It's really important. It sets a really beautiful tone. You look presentable to others and you feel amazing and I appreciate when others are presentable to me. My husband and I are all about that."</p><p><strong>Why did you want to partner with American Express on the <a href="https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/card/cash-magnet/">American Express Cash Magnet Card</a>?</strong></p><p>"As an entrepreneur, full-time mom and business woman that's a little bit of a workaholic, I really like adding a voice and strength to financial engagement, events, and brands. I want to encourage our younger generation to be very invested in their finances and those decisions like when is the right time to have a credit card and what credit cards are feasible to you and the rewards that they provide for you.</p><p>American Express has been an amazing brand that symbolizes a great lifestyle of work hard, play hard, and reward yourself. I love that they're a card for the young entrepreneur all about pursue your own dreams and be your own boss."</p>
Categories: Travel

This Tiny Town You've Never Heard of Is Suddenly the Best Place to Go Wine Tasting in California

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:00
<p>Calling Los Alamos “sleepy” might be the understatement of the year.</p><p>Bell Street, the main drag of this onetime stagecoach stop on the northern end of California’s Santa Ynez Valley, is a whopping seven blocks long — and we’re talking short blocks. The low-slung buildings lining Bell Street look like relics of the Old West, and the folks who live there are the no-fuss sort who will lay down posters on hot asphalt when there’s road work being done so you and your friend can cross the street without ruining your shoes (true story).</p><p>So why should you make the two and a half hour drive north from Los Angeles, past tony <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/weekend-getaways/weekend-in-santa-barbara" target="_blank">Santa Barbara</a> and the tasting room-lined, so-perfect-it’s-practically-a-movie-set town of Los Olivos?</p><p>Well, with its decidedly chill vibe and population of less than 2,000, Los Alamos is the Solange to Los Olivos’s Beyoncé: It doesn’t need a ton of bells and whistles to be cool. It just <em>is</em>. Plus, a spate of recent openings makes it even more worthy of hopping in the car for a small-town adventure in this Santa Barbara wine country enclave.</p><img alt="Guest Room at Skyview Los Alamos in Los Alamos, California "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532704744/skyview-los-alamos-california-LOSALAMOS0718.jpg?itok=8AunIIfY"><p>One such reason is the <a href="https://www.skyviewlosalamos.com/" target="_blank">Skyview Motel</a>, hidden on a vineyard-dotted hill above town. The 1959 build reopened in April after two years of extensive renovations; Nomada Hotel Group, its new owners, brought a fresh look to the 33 guestrooms, sunny pool deck, and restaurant, while maintaining the iconic yellow-and-black “Motel” sign and keeping the property's mid-century bones intact. The overall feel is Western chic meets desert hideaway: guest rooms have been outfitted with white paneled walls and dark hardwood floors, as well as luxurious touches like cowhide rugs, farmhouse sinks, indoor fireplaces, and one-of-a-kind leather and hand-woven chairs from <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/places-to-visit-in-morocco" target="_blank">Morocco</a>. Even the vintage-style motel room keys (no key cards here, folks) beckon to the property’s past.</p><p>Bask in the sun on the deck of the heated pool, and order herb-infused cocktails and snacks from the 1960s-inspired New American restaurant <a href="https://www.skyviewlosalamos.com/food-drink/" target="_blank">Norman</a> next door — named for <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/abandoned-movie-sets#8" target="_blank">Mr. Bates</a> himself, and decked out with a baby grand piano and curved, patterned banquettes. A pair of original cactus-shaped pillars and forest green doors with a Midcentury golden starburst detail beckon to its entrance, while inside, guests share dishes like local trout with preserved lemon brown butter.</p><p>Other elements add to the hotel’s relaxed charm: In the morning, you can take your coffee (in a classic “We’re Here to Serve You” paper cup, no less) and a pastry on the deck just off the main office, overlooking the hills and ranches below. The property is dotted with fire pits (some rooms have their own private ones as well), perfect for evening hangs with a glass of wine. A steep, palm-tree lined driveway makes for a dramatic entrance — and there’s also a small fleet of tangerine-hued Linus bikes all outfitted with baskets at the ready to ride down the hill into town. </p><img alt="Mussels at Bell's Restaurant in Los Alamos, California "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532704744/bells-restaurant-los-alamos-california-LOSALAMOS0718.jpg?itok=8ZvegI8Y"><p>Take your Linus straight to <a href="https://www.bellsrestaurant.com/" target="_blank">Bell’s</a>, opened in March by husband-and-wife duo (and <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/thomas-keller-chef-seabourn-cruises-partnership" target="_blank">Per Se</a> alums) Gregory and Daisy Ryan (she’s a Santa Ynez Valley native). The couple took over what used to be the Bell Street Farm market, making some design updates — adding a leather-and-wood banquette, for example — but leaving intact many of the design elements of the original Bank of Italy building, like the pressed tin ceiling and tiled floors, complete with tracks from when the space used to be a biker bar.</p><p>As a nod to France's kindred spirit wine towns, like Lyon, the menu is stocked with French bistro fare: wild Burgundy snails with garlic butter, <em>moules frites</em>, gnocchi with sauce <em>fonduta</em>, and the like. At lunchtime, you’ll find a rustic egg salad sandwich slathered with tomato jam, and bright salads made with local greens. Locals know a delicious secret: the popular caper-studded steak tartare isn’t on the lunch menu, but you can ask for it on a sandwich and the kitchen will happily oblige.</p><img alt="Lo-Fi Wines in Los Alamos, California "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532704744/lo-wi-wines-los-alamos-california-LOSALAMOS0718.jpg?itok=DUsWI4dj"><p>Just halfway down the block, you’ll find the <a href="http://lofi-wines.com/tasting-room/" target="_blank">first-ever tasting room</a> for <a href="http://lofi-wines.com/" target="_blank">Lo-Fi Wines</a>, which opened its doors in June. Owners and lifelong friends Craig Winchester and Mike Roth both live in town, and they're keeping it local: some of the wine grapes are grown in Roth’s yard, and others one of the vineyards at the Skyview. The tasting menus are imprinted with the label’s mantra: “Wine is like life and music.” That couldn’t be truer here. Winchester and Roth may invite you to pick a record from their growing vinyl collection to play on the tasting room's resident turntable, a perfect soundtrack for sampling the winery’s easy-drinking rosés, Gamays and Cab Francs (at $15 for a tasting of five or six wines). As you listen to Jerry Jeff Walker or Minutemen, check out the rotating art on display for sale.</p><img alt="Bodega Los Alamos in Los Alamos, California "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532704744/bodega-los-alamos-california-LOSALAMOS0718.jpg?itok=yvJixm3g"><p>For an alfresco tasting experience, head over to <a href="https://www.bodegalosalamos.com/" target="_blank">Bodega</a>. Los Alamos has garnered the moniker “Little <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/city-vacations/los-angeles-transportation" target="_blank">LA</a>” of late, and that may be most apparent at this effortlessly chic new open-air wine and beer garden. Take a peek into the white-washed greenhouse, filled with pottery and succulents for sale, before camping out in the tree-lined courtyard for a glass orange Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris (or Bodega’s own Little LA IPA). There’s also a bocce court and fire pit, as well as a small, smartly-appointed shop stocked with handmade candles and artisanal sea salt. In mid-August, a 1920s-era farmhouse on property will be opening as an Airbnb.</p><p>Of course, no visit to Los Alamos would be complete without a visit to some of the town’s local haunts, like <a href="https://www.bobswellbread.com/" target="_blank">Bob’s Well Bread Bakery</a> — a staple since 2014. Owner and former Sony marketing exec Bob Oswaks is a stickler for details; it shows in the bakery’s carefully prepared loaves of artisan bread, baked in a custom-made stone-deck oven, as well as classic French-style pastries like flaky <em>pain au chocolat</em> and <em>kouign amann</em> covered in a shatteringly hard sugar crust. In the morning, enjoy your coffee with folksy breakfast options like an “egg in a frame” — an over-easy farm egg and goat cheese inside the bakery’s <em>pain de mie, </em>topped with blistered cherry tomatoes and a smattering of salt — or their take on beans on toast, piled high with house-made baked beans, roasted tomatoes, and a snappy Toulouse sausage. A note for Bob’s lovers: The bakery is planning to open a second location in Ballard, California.</p><p>Other must-visit spots include <a href="http://fulloflifefoods.com/" target="_blank">Full of Life Flatbread</a>, pulling flatbread pizzas from its massive, 20-ton hearth — smack-dab in the middle of the dining room — since 2003. Try the restaurant’s dead-simple take on French carrot salad, called the Lil’ Alamos Salad, or one of the thin, bubbling pies topped with ingredients that could easily have been pulled from the planter boxes adjacent to the restaurant (a personal favorite is the Central Coast Sausage pie, made the with restaurant’s own pork, blue agave, and fennel sausage).</p><img alt="Bob's Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos, California "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532704744/bobs-well-bread-bakery-los-alamos-california-LOSALAMOS0718.jpg?itok=fScNSjtO"><p>Just a block away is <a href="https://casadumetzwines.com/" target="_blank">Casa Dumetz</a>, a sunny tasting room with a breezy Mediterranean feel. There, owner and winemaker Sonja Magdevski pours Rhone varietals, funky ciders, and her line of <a href="https://casadumetzwines.com/the-feminist-party/" target="_blank">Feminist Party wines</a>, a single GSM blend she created to pay homage to the women (and men) who have helped her along her winemaking journey.</p><p>If you need a break from eating and drinking, peruse the antiques and home goods at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SISTERSHOME/" target="_blank">Sisters Gift and Home</a>, where a handful of vendors sell vintage glassware, china, birdcages, books, and more. And for a truly trippy shopping experience, wander through the seemingly never-ending <a href="http://losalamosca.com/losalamosdepotmall/room3.html" target="_blank">Depot Antique Mall</a>. The rooms of this former Pacific Coast Railway station are chockablock full of antiques in all categories and from various periods — and there’s even a pub inside if you find yourself in need of a beer.</p><img alt="Vineyard in Los Alamos, California "src="https://cdn-image.travelandleisure.com/sites/default/files/styles/1600x1000/public/1532704744/vineyard-los-alamos-california-LOSALAMOS0718.jpg?itok=8GbkpP2e"><p>And at night, feel like a cowboy at the <a href="http://1880union.com/saloon/" target="_blank">1880 Union Saloon</a>, a favorite stop of stagecoach charlies and other freewheeling folk since the late 19th century. It only makes sense that it’s done up in true Western style, with dark wood, old-timey chandeliers, horseshoes affixed to the walls, and an imposing moose head that watches over the mirror-backed bar. Take your signature whiskey cocktail back to the plush red pool table, or listen to the frequent live music programming; a frequent presence is one-man band Terry Lawless, who’s played with U2, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and many others. </p><p>Los Alamos is still a bit of a cowpoke town, of course, and that's part of the appeal — but with new openings, classic hangouts, and a prime wine country location, now is the time to visit.</p>
Categories: Travel

Kristen Korey Pike's 15-day Trip to Turkey, Maldives, and the United Arab Emirates

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:55
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/kristen-korey-pike" target="_blank">Kristen Korey Pike</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Kristen, you can contact her directly at kristen@kktww.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Turkey</h2><p>Arrive in Istanbul and connect to a domestic flight to Bodrum. Arrive in Bodrum and meet your private driver outside of the luggage claim area to transfer to your hotel. Dinner is reserved at Kocadon Restaurant, serving fresh seafood in town.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Amanruya</p><h2>Day 2: Bodrum</h2><p>After breakfast, meet your private guide for a full day of touring in Bodrum. You will visit Bodrum Castle, which occupies the tip of the wedge-like peninsula at the center of Bodrum. You will see the collections of the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, located inside the Castle, and the famous Glasswreck Hall. Next, you will enjoy a private, adventurous sailing experience on a <em>gulet</em>, a typical wooden sailing boat from the region, with plenty of time for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and relaxing. Gourmet lunch will be served onboard. In the evening, dine at Maca Kizi Restaurant, serving Mediterranean cuisine.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Amanruya</p><h2>Day 3: Cappadocia</h2><p>Fly to Kayseri through Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. Dinner at Lil’a Restaurant, offering wonderful views of the valley.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Museum Hotel</p><h2>Day 4: Cappadocia</h2><p>You will be picked up at 5:00AM for your private, 90-minute ballooning experience. You will float over Cappadocia and see the fantastic landscape of the region from above. After breakfast at the hotel, meet your private guide for a full day of touring in Cappadocia. First, you will descend below the earth’s surface into the Kaymakli Underground City, before visinting the Göreme Open-Air Museum. Then, you will visit the Göreme Valley, which has been occupied since the dawn of history, and is also known as the valley of the churches. After lunch, you will arrive to the town of Avanos, which has long been a center for pottery artisans as it lies on the banks of the Red River where clay supplies are abundant. Enjoy a visit to a pottery workshop to meet the artisans and see their collections displayed in a vast underground cave complex. You will also visit a famous wine cellar and enjoy a Turkish wine tasting. Dinner is reserved at Sira Restaurant, serving traditional Turkish cuisine.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Museum Hotel </p><h2>Day 5: Istanbul</h2><p>Fly into Istanbul. In the evening, meet your guide for a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus, the narrow strait of water separating the Asian and European continents and the life blood of Istanbul. Passing along the shores of the Bosphorus, you will view magnificent palaces, restored Ottoman villas, impressive fortresses and the waterside residences of Istanbul’s elite. Dinner is reserved at Leb-i Derya Restaurant — we recommend trying the fried calamari.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Çırağan Palace Kempinski</p><h2>Day 6: Istanbul</h2><p>Your private tour of Istanbul will start with a visit to the Hippodrome, one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine<br />Empire. Istanbul's Byzantine Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history. You will see the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Constantine Column which are also from the original Hippodrome. Next, you will visit the Blue Mosque, which was completed in 1616 AD — it is a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance. You will then visit the magnificent Topkapı Palace, the residence of the sultans for almost three centuries. Lunch is reserved at Ottoman House, serving traditional Turkish cuisine.</p><p>After lunch, you will descend underground and visit the Basilica Cistern, constructed in 532 AD. It was built by Justinian to hold the water supply for the Great Palace. You will then stop by the Grand Bazaar, the largest and oldest covered Bazaar in Turkey with more than 4,000 shops. A variety of handicrafts, carpets, rare jewels and souvenirs are sold in small shops next to each other. Dinner is reserved at Mikla Restaurant, serving Mediterranean cuisine and offering a beautiful view of the city.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Çırağan Palace Kempinski</p><h2>Day 7: Istanbul</h2><p>Spend the day at leisure before heading to the airport for your overnight flight. </p><h2>Day 8: Maldives</h2><p>Arrive at Malé International Airport, where you will be met by a Gili Lankanfushi representative who will escort you through your 20-minute speedboat ride to the resort, located on Lankanfushi Island in the North Malé Atoll.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Gili Lankanfushi</p><h2>Day 9: Maldives</h2><p>Spend the day at leisure. Dinner is reserved at The Main Restaurant, serving a variety of “East meets West” cuisine.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Gili Lankanfushi</p><h2>Day 10: Maldives</h2><p>Spend the day at leisure before a private sunset dolphin cruise on board the Gili Goes Voyaging luxury yacht. You will have the chance to see some of the most beautiful sea creatures, including dolphins and whale sharks, while enjoying champagne and canapés. Dinner is reserved at By The Sea, serving delicious sushi and Japanese cuisine.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Gili Lankanfushi</p><h2>Day 11: Maldives</h2><p>Meet your private surf instructor for a morning surfing lesson, then head to the Meera spa for a hot stone massage.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Gili Lankanfushi</p><h2>Day 12: Maldives</h2><p>Spend the day at leisure. In the evening, you will be escorted to a private, candle-light dinner on the beach.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Gili Lankanfushi</p><h2>Day 13: Dubai</h2><p>Meet your butler, who will escort you to the dock for your private speedboat transfer back to the Malé International Airport. Upon arrival in Dubai, you will be met by your driver who will transfer you to your accommodation. Dinner is reserved at Al Nafoorah, serving traditional Lebanese cuisine.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Burj Al Arab</p><h2>Day 14: Dubai</h2><p>Transfer to Al Maha resort in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Later, meet your private guide for a private sundowner safari tour. Trained safari guides will drive a private, 4x4 vehicle, over sand dunes and through the Reserve — deep into the heart of the desert. Enjoy a feast under the stars, including a Middle Eastern selection of grilled meats, fresh salads,<br />delectable sweets, and hand-picked beverages at a traditional Bedouin-style camp. Take a sunset photo among the dunes and experience camel rides, falcon viewing, belly-dancing, and more.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Al Maha</p><h2>Day 15: Depart Dubai</h2><p>Check out of Al Maha and meet your private driver in the hotel lobby. You will be transferred to the Dubai International Airport for your flight home.</p>
Categories: Travel

Nicola Butler's 13-day Trip to London and the English Countryside

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:50
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/nicola-butler" target="_blank">Nicola Butler</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Nicola, you can contact her directly at nicola@noteworthy.co.uk.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in London</h2><p>Arrival into London with private escort through London Heathrow to your awaiting private vehicle.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Stafford</p><h2>Day 2: London</h2><p>Take an introductory tour of London including Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery. Have a private meeting with the Director of Music followed by a concert at St. Martins in the Field, an architectural jewel sitting at the corner of one of the world's most famous squares. Have lunch at the Portrait Restaurant, National Portrait Gallery, befor enjoying a privileged bird’s eye view of London from a private capsule on the London Eye.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Stafford</p><h2>Day 3: London</h2><p>Explore the City of London, visiting the Tower of London and world-renowned Crown Jewels. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral for a private behin-the-scenes tour of this mother church, which sits at the highest point of the City of London.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Stafford</p><h2>Day 4: London</h2><p>Experience an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Changing of the Guard, then visit one of the finest working stables in existence, the Royal Mews. Explore the St. James neighborhood and enjoy lunch at one of our local favorites, the Rail House Café, before visiting Westminster Abbey and the surrounding areas.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Stafford</p><h2>Day 5: London</h2><p>Explore Kensington Palace and its current exhibitions before lunch at The Ivy Kensington Brasserie. In the afternoon, visit the Victoria &amp; Albert Museum, the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, followed by a walk around the Chelsea Physic Garden. In the evening, attend a theatre production in the West End.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Stafford</p><h2>Day 6: London</h2><p>Skip the lines for an experience exclusively for NoteWorthy guests: firing the guns and raising the flags on Britain’s last<br />surviving war ship in London, the HMS Belfast. Immerse yourself on an exclusive tour of Charing Cross tube station, where movies such as "Paddington Bear" and the James Bond movie "Skyfall" were made. You will follow in Bond’s footsteps as you go behind locked doors to where no member of the public has access.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Stafford</p><h2>Day 7: Hampshire</h2><p>Visit Hampton Court Flower Show and explore the Royal Palace, which originates from 1515.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Four Seasons Hampshire</p><h2>Day 8: Oxfordshire</h2><p>Take an exclusive private tour of Blenheim Palace, before visiting the atmospheric, golden-stone colleges and clustered<br />medieval streets of Oxford.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Four Seasons Hampshire</p><h2>Day 9: Stonehenge and Bath</h2><p>Walk in the footsteps of Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge, then explore the city of Bath, with visits to Bath Abbey and the<br />Roman Baths.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Four Seasons Hampshire</p><h2>Day 10: Chawton and Winchester</h2><p>Visit Jane Austen’s 17th century House Museum and Chawton House Library, then explore the medieval city of Winchester.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Four Seasons Hampshire</p><h2>Day 11: Windsor and Berkshire</h2><p>Visit one of the official residences of the British Royal family: Windsor Castle. Afterward, explore the Chiltern Valley, including the pretty town of Henley on Thames, home to the Royal Regatta.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Cliveden House</p><h2>Day 12: Bletchley and Buckinghamshire</h2><p>Visit Bletchley Park, home of the WWII codebreakers, and Stowe Gardens.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Cliveden House</p><h2>Day 13: Depart from London</h2><p>Transfer to the airport for your flight home. </p>
Categories: Travel

Thomas Robinson's 12-day Peru Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:45
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/thomas-robinson" target="_blank">Thomas Robinson</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Thomas, contact him at thomas.robinson@dehouche.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Lima</h2><p>Peru’s capital is an energetic metropolis with a genuine laid back Latin atmosphere and a potent mix of colonial architecture, superb museums, Inca gold and antiquities, and excellent restaurants, bars and shops.</p><p>In order to best explore the city, you will be armed with our extensive recommendations for the best restaurants, shopping and sights. Lima's restaurants are regularly rated among the best in the world and a couple of days eating out in this city is a truly memorable gastronomic experience. On your first afternoon, our guide will meet you for a personalized city tour.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Belmond Miraflores Park </p><h2>Day 2: Lima</h2><p>In the morning you will be met by chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, who will take you around one of Lima’s markets — discussing the richness of the native ingredients available in Peru, and the recent international recognition that the country’s cuisine has achieved. Get a real sense of why Peru is considered South America’s gastronomic capital.</p><p>Peruvian art specialist Marco Testino will join you for lunch before taking you on a unique afternoon tour of Lima’s booming contemporary art scene, exploring defining galleries and cutting-edge pop-up spaces, as well as visiting the studios of some of Peru’s top artists and private collectors.</p><p>That evening you will meet back up with Pedro Miguel for a short Peruvian cuisine masterclass in the test kitchen of his restaurant, Malabar, before enjoying a private tasting menu prepared just for you.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Belmond Miraflores Park </p><h2>Day 3: Cusco </h2><p>Fly from Lima to Cusco. En route to your hotel, you will stop for lunch at the historical family run Hacienda Huayoccari. You will enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh local produce before having the option to view the family's extensive private collection of pre-Columbian and colonial artworks and archaeological artifacts.</p><p>The Urubamba Valley, popularly known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is home to some of the country's most picturesque Andean scenery. Once the heart of the Inca empire it is also scattered with important archaeological sites and is for many the setting off point for a visit to the famous hidden citadel of Machu Picchu. </p><p>At an altitude of only 2800m, Urubamba has a pleasant year round climate and is at the perfect height for acclimatizing. As well as a fascinating cultural and historical destination this is also the perfect stop off for lovers of the great outdoors — hiking, horse riding, zip lining, paragliding, rafting and even stand up paddle boarding on high Andean lagoons are all on offer here.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Sol y Luna </p><h2>Day 4: Cusco area</h2><p>You will start the day by visiting the high Andean village of Chinchero — famous for its traditional weaving workshops as well as some beautifully preserved Inca ruins.</p><p>From here you will carry on to the mysterious circular agricultural terraces of Moray, stopping for a picnic in a secluded spot nearby before continuing to the historic village of Maras and its famous salt pans that have been in constant use for over 500 years. If you are feeling energetic there is also an option for a scenic trek between the two sites.</p><p>That afternoon after a private gourmet picnic we have arranged for a visit to a remote village to take part in a private weaving workshop with some of the local women. A great way to both meet the locals and learn about the beautiful traditional textiles that come from this region.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Sol y Luna</p><h2>Day 5: Machu Picchu </h2><p>Take the Vistadome train further up the valley from Ollantaytambo, deep into Inca country as you near the citadel of Machu Picchu. You will leave the train to begin your ascent on foot through lush tropical cloud forest, following an ancient Inca trail. The route passes the mysterious ruins at Chachabamba, climbing high above the roaring Urubamba river to reach Wiñayhuayna where it joins up with the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.</p><p>After a picnic lunch ,you begin the hike along what is generally considered to be the most spectacular part of the Inca Trail, terminating in a short climb to Inti Punku and your first view of the magnificent Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.</p><p>The 15th-Century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the most famous relic of the Incan Empire, and certainly among the most famous ancient ruins in the world. You will stay in the only hotel right by the entrance to the park, with breathtaking views from your bedroom window.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Belmond Sanctuary Lodge</p><h2>Day 6: Machu Picchu</h2><p>You have entrance tickets for a full second day exploring the ruins, which also include a strenuous hike up the steep Huayna Picchu mountain — a great way to break off from the crowds and enjoy an unusual overhead view of the whole site. The tours are completely private and personalized.</p><p>You will board the world-famous Hiram Bingham luxury train for a truly memorable journey back to Cusco. Before departure, afternoon tea is served at Sanctuary Lodge from 4:00 pm and you will have dinner and cocktails onboard the train.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Belmond Palacio Nazarenas </p><h2>Day 7: Cusco</h2><p>In the morning, our guide will meet you in reception for a gentle walking tour of this charming city’s historical sites. Focusing on the different periods that have shaped Cusco and Peru's history, the tour can be completely tailor-made to your own interests but will include visits to the Cathedral, the sun temple of Qoricancha, and the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. </p><p>Your day will end at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, just outside the city, where we will set up a private area for you to take part in a traditional ceremony conducted by a renowned local Quechuan <em>paqo</em>, or shaman — the inheritor of the guardianship of the sacred mountain of Ausangate.</p><p>There will also then be a workshop of Andean music for the family explaining the local instruments. A very memorable way to say your goodbyes to these ancient heartlands of the Inca empire.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Belmond Palacio Nazarenas </p><h2>Day 8: Amazon River</h2><p>Fly to Iquitos to board a cruise down the Amazon. With its source high in the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon winds its way east over the northern half of South America until reaching the Atlantic Ocean, carrying with it a higher volume of water than the earth’s top ten largest rivers combined.</p><p>Your trip takes place in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Also known as the "mirror forest", this is the largest protected flooded forest in the world, and contains one of the best preserved swathes of prime jungle in the Peruvian Amazon.</p><p>The biodiversity of this ecosystem is simply unparalleled — 1/3 of all species recorded in the world are found in the Amazon basin, and it has been estimated that many hundreds of million species may yet be discovered. It is not just the forest, but also the rivers you will be navigating that are teeming with life; there are over 3,000 species of fish in these waters, including the <em>paiche</em> (also known as the <em>pirarucu</em> in Brazil) that can grow up to 15 feet in length. Finally, both gray and rare pink river dolphins are typically found in these tributaries and regularly spotted playing in the wake of the boats.</p><p>You embark on a once in a lifetime luxury cruise navigating the remote waters of one of the largest areas of protected flooded forest in the world. Expeditions in smaller motorized canoes and guided jungle treks give you an unrivaled opportunity to see the unique wildlife of the region. You can swim with pink dolphins, go kayaking down the calm side channels, take a bike ride through the riverside communities or just sit back on the observation deck and watch life go by.</p><p>The panoramic views from your suite allow you to take in every aspect of the rainforest and each night despite your spectacularly remote location you sit down to delicious gourmet Peruvian cuisine incorporating fresh local produce, prepared by the onboard chef.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Aria Amazon</p><h2>Day 9: Amazon River</h2><p>By skiff, you will explore the black waters of the Yanallpa River, disembarking to walk deep into the Amazonian rain forest. After a bit of exploring, you will board the skiffs again to cruise along the El Dorado River for a dusk excursion in search of exotic nocturnal wildlife and with extraordinary stargazing.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Aria Amazon</p><h2>Day 10: Amazon River</h2><p>On your third day of cruising you will have an early start, the rewards of which are plentiful, including a breakfast picnic accompanied by jungle symphony and fishing along the black waters of the Pacaya River.</p><p>In the afternoon, you will take the skiffs again venturing out on the Ucayali River alongside the banana boats transporting their jungle products to the port of Requena, keeping an eye out for pink river dolphins. At night, enjoy clear views of the night sky and focus the hi-tech telescope on the night sky to identify the planets and constellations.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Aria Amazon</p><h2>Day 11: Amazon River</h2><p>On the morning of your fourth day, you will have the option to go jungle walking, canoeing, kayaking, or swimming on the black water Yarapa or Clavero River.</p><p>In the afternoon the boat will visit a remote Amazonian village to learn a little about the indigenous communities that live in these regions, whose livelihood is so closely tied to the conservation of the rainforest.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Aria Amazon</p><h2>Day 12: Depart from Iquitos</h2><p>On your final day of cruising, you will visit the Bellavista Nanay morning market along the Nanay River to sample exotic snacks like <em>suri</em>, Amazon caterpillars that, when fried, are quite delicious. Afterwards, you will return to the Aria for breakfast and to pack up. Before saying goodbye, you will make one last truly memorable stop at the Manatee Rescue Center, a very special kind of animal orphanage for Amazonian manatees. If time allows your driver will also pass by San Juan craft market en route to the airport for your flight out of Iquitos.</p>
Categories: Travel

Erin Correia's 16-day Peru and Ecuador Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:41
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/erin-correia" target="_blank">Erin Correia</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Erin, you can contact her directly at erin.c@adventure-life.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Lima</h2><p>Arrive to Lima on the flight of your choice today. After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, walk across the street to the comfortable and conveniently located Costa del Sol Hotel.</p><h2>Day 2: Cusco</h2><p>Fly into Cusco, where Andean history comes alive. In the afternoon, you'll tour Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market. After tasting a few unique local foods, you will visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. </p><h2>Day 3: Sacred Valley </h2><p>This morning, journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. You'll test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may also hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac, or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo where you can relax for the night.</p><h2>Day 4: Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu </h2><p>In the morning, visit the ruins and town of Ollantaytambo. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo served as a royal estate and later a refuge after the Spanish conquered Cusco in 1537. The ruins feature expansive terraces and well-preserved architecture, and the town is still laid out as it was during the Incan empire, allowing its visitors to glimpse the history which still exists within its boundaries. Next, board your train to Machu Picchu and follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon. Tour ancient canals that still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After your guided tour of Machu Picchu, you'll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.</p><h2>Day 5: Machu Picchu and Cusco</h2><p>Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu, listening to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. You can choose to book a permit to climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, hike to the Sun Gate which overlooks the ruins, or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the afternoon, you'll return by train to Cusco with your guide. </p><h2>Day 6: Cusco</h2><p>Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets.</p><h2>Day 7: Quito</h2><p>This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flights to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Day at leisure.</p><h2>Day 8: Galapagos</h2><p>An early morning flight from Quito brings you to the Galapagos Archipelago. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to your yacht. In the afternoon afternoon, you will land at Mosquera Islet, located between North Seymour and Baltra Island. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, so you can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. </p><h2>Day 9: Santiago and Rábida Islands</h2><p>In the morning travel, to Santiago Island, stopping of at Egas Port, a black volcanic sand beach visited by Darwin in 1835. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago shore is home to a variety of animals, including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron, and marine wildlife, including lobster, starfish, and marine iguanas grazing on algae beds alongside Sally light-foot crabs. In the afternoon, visit Rábida Island; dark-red sand covers the unique beaches of this island, home to sea lions’ colonies. Rabida is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology.</p><h2>Day 10: Isabela Island</h2><p>In the morning explore the volcanic black sand beach of Urbina Bay, in search of giant tortoises, land iguanas, and the unusual flightless cormorant. After a short walk inland, it's snorkeling time, a chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, and countless tropical fish. In the afternoon, make your way over to Tagus Cove to learn about the volcanoes that formed Isabela Island. Follow a trail that leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater lake for excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.</p><h2>Day 11: Fernandina and Isabela Islands </h2><p>Visit Espinosa Point, on Fernandina Island, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. In the afternoon, head over to Vicente Roca Point on Isabela Island, a great place to spot an abundance of marine life. Enjoy the opportunity to snorkel at one of the richest marine havens on Earth, the Bolivar Channel. Take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds: Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life, a perfect place for deep snorkeling.</p><h2>Day 12: Santa Cruz and Bartolome Islands</h2><p>Visit the famous Pit Craters, a great place to spot vermilion fly catchers as you walk inside an endemic Scalesia forest. Here is a great opportunity to observe giant tortoises. In the afternoon, visit Bartolome Island and discover a fascinating landscape that resembles the moon. Afterwards, enjoy some beach time, do some snorkeling, and see the famous Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks among a great variety of colorful fish. </p><h2>Day 13: South Plaza Islet and North Seymour Island</h2><p>This morning, travel to South Plaza Islet, located east of Santa Cruz Island. Begin a journey along an impressive cactus forest where colorful yellow and red land iguanas live; the population numbers around 300 animals. Next, stop at North Seymour Island. This landmass was formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruption which deposited layers of lava on the ocean floor. Take a walk amidst large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls; on a lucky day, you might even come across the endemic Galapagos snake.</p><h2>Day 14: San Cristobal Island</h2><p>In the morning, we head to Pitt Point and take a high-intensity hike on rocky terrain. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together, as well as two species of frigate birds and a sea lion colony. In the afternoon, stop at Cerro Brujo, an eroding tuff cone, and a beautiful white sandy beach great for snorkeling and sunbathing. There is a lagoon where migratory bird species can be seen: black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, other sandpiper species, and white-cheeked pintails. </p><h2>Day 15: San Cristobal Island </h2><p>This morning, land at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and visit the San Cristobal Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about the National Park’s conservation programs. You also have the opportunity to visit the village’s port, where you can have a drink or shop for arts and crafts and other souvenirs. After the visit, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Quito. </p><h2>Day 16: Fly home from Quito</h2><p>Return to the airport in time for your departing flight. (It is also possible to catch a red-eye flight departing on the evening of Day 15 if this is more convenient for your plans.)</p>
Categories: Travel

Christos Stergiou's 16-day Greece Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:36
<p>Christos Stergiou is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Christos, you can contact him directly at info@truetrips.com.</p><h2>Days 1-3: Athens</h2><p>Fly into <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/athens-cultural-revival" target="_blank">Athens</a>, the capital city of Greece and one of the oldest cities of Europe. Although its history dates back to Neolithic times, it’s Athens’ classical history that has so distinctly influenced modern thought; democracy, philosophy, art, architecture, and literature are just a few things that have marked Western civilization. As you wander the streets of modern Athens, you will encounter visitors from all over the world who have come not only to pay their respects to Athens of the Golden Age, but also to experience the incredible energy of this extraordinary contemporary city. Athens was and continues to be one of the most multi-dimensional cities in the world.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Grand Bretagne</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>A guided visit to Delphi: Surrounded by the beautiful forests of Mount Parnassus, Delphi is one of the most famous and significant remains of the ancient Greece. According to Greek mythology, the god Zeus sent two eagles flying from east and west in search of his ‘Grandmother Earth’ (or <em>Gaia</em> in Greek), and the birds met here. The exact location became a spiritual center that was also known as ‘the navel of the earth.’ Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Delphi was most famous for being a sanctuary of the Delphic Oracle, which was consulted on important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. Your TrueTrips guide will walk you through this extraordinary archaeological site and bring the captivating myths and legends of ancient Greece to life.</p><p>A city highlights tour: Delve into both ancient and modern Greek life as your TrueTrips guide brings the city of Athens to life. Walk up the historic steps of the Acropolis that stands proudly above the city and then drive by the Parliament Building, the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, the Columns of Olympian Zeus, and the Presidential Mansion. Your TrueTrips guide will give you a glimpse into Athens’ history while illustrating how it evolved into the fascinating city it is today. You will also visit the stunning Acropolis Museum. With an exhibition space of over 14,000 sq. meters, the museum is home to some of the world’s most stunning and valuable artifacts of classical history.</p><h2>Days 4-7: Patmos </h2><p>Fly to Kos, and transfer to Patmos via ferry. Located in the Dodecanese group of islands of the Aegean, Patmos is considered by many to be the secret gem of the region. Sheltered from the modern developments of mass tourism, Patmos has maintained its traditional island architecture and atmosphere. Its main town is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the entire island offers truly beautiful village settlements, scenic beaches, elegant restaurants and traditional tavernas. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Petra Hotel &amp; Suites</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>Boating in the Aegean Sea: Famed as the hidden gem of the Aegean, Patmos and its surrounding small islands have been a secret paradise to which the Greek and international elite go to escape. Board a traditional Greek boat for a day-cruise to a series of pristine isles, all with crystal-clear waters and virtually deserted shores. Together with your captain, discover beautiful landscapes and relish in the tranquility of this incredible natural setting. Be sure to bring along your swimming gear and enjoy a refreshing swim in the incredible blue sea! After a perfect day of swimming and exploration, anchor at the small island of Marathi and enjoy a late lunch at the local seafood taverna that is among the very best in Greece.</p><p>A tour of Hora, the Cave of the Apocalypse &amp; the Monastery of St. John: Built in 1088 AD by Saint Christodoulos, Patmos’ historic monastery houses an impressive exhibition of ecclesiastical embroideries, pendants, ceremonial artifacts, rare manuscripts, and beautiful icons. Get a glimpse of the capital town of Patmos, called Hora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best preserved medieval settlements in the Aegean, before you make your way to the Cave of the Apocalypse where Saint John the Theologian is said to have written his Gospel and the Book of Revelation.</p><p>Dining at Pandelis Marathi: Set on the beautiful and tiny island of Marathi, where time has stopped, this is a traditional family run restaurant offering authentic and simple Greek flavors. Fresh fish, cooked specialties, a variety of meze and homemade dessert make for an incomparable lunch right by the sea.</p><h2>Days 8-11: Santorini </h2><p>Fly to Santorini. World-renowned for its incredible views, romantic sunsets and unique, volcanic natural environment, Santorini is arguably the most striking of the Greek islands. One of the premier luxury destinations internationally, Santorini’s traditional Cycladic homes and colorful cliffs enchant each and every visitor of this island. Its dramatic red and black sand beaches, narrow white-washed alleys, exquisite traditional and international cuisine, as well as its agricultural and wine-making tradition, all combine to make Santorini a truly spectacular island.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Canaves Oia Suites</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>A private wine tour: Discover the secrets of local wine-making and learn why Santorini produces some of the world’s most distinctive wines despite its dry and seemingly infertile terrain. Visit three family estate wineries and enjoy a unique wine- tasting where you will sample several local wines. Under the guidance of the sommelier, you will enjoy a wine presentation paired with Cycladic cheese and local delicacies. Learn about the unique viniculture and the indigenous grape varieties and end your experience with a scenic tour around the island of Santorini.</p><p>Cultural immersion and an off-the-beaten-path walking tour: This walking experience won’t take you to all of the island’s famed highlights - it will take you completely off-the-grid to its well-kept secrets and unknown (really raw and local) corners. Walk alongside beautiful mansions, explore quaint rural houses and discover the charm of Santorini’s abandoned neighborhoods. Meet locals still living in the countryside - learn about professions and crafts that no longer exist - visit a traditional winery to taste local volcanic wines, a unique microbrewery for a fresh beer tasting experience, or stop-in for a bite at one of the island’s best family-run tavernas. One thing is for sure, your cultural immersion in to Santorini’s local life will be something you savor for a lifetime. This walking experience was first developed by TrueTrips to be featured in a New York Times article.</p><h2>Days 12-15: Porto Heli</h2><p>Transfer to Porto Heli. Located in southern Greece along the coast of the Aegean Sea, Porto Heli is a small settlement that has gained the likes of many travelers in recent years. Filled with traditional homes, narrow streets, and a port filled with yachts and fishing boats, this seaside town seems much like any other in Greece, but its beautiful sandy beaches and world-class luxury resorts have put Porto Heli in a class of its own.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Amanzoe</p><p><strong>Potential Activities</strong></p><p>A tour of Epidaurus Theater, Mycenae &amp; Nafplio: Drive along the beautiful Saronic Gulf to the atmospheric hilltop ruins of ancient Mycenae. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mycenae was once a major center of Greek civilization and a military stronghold that dominated much of southern Greece. Continue with one of the greatest monuments of Greek Antiquity, the famous Theater of Epidaurus. With a capacity of almost 14,000 spectators, the magnificent theater combines perfect acoustics with elegance and symmetrical proportions. Your journey will then take you towards the eastern Peloponnese to discover Nafplio, one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. The first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834, Nafplio has a combination of medieval and neoclassic characteristics. It is a lively and charming seaside town that will surely enchant you.</p><h2>Day 16: Athens</h2><p>Depart from Athens International Airport.</p>
Categories: Travel

Suzy Mercien-Ferol's 21-day Australia Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:30
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/suzy-mercien-ferol" target="_blank">Suzy Mercien-Ferol</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Suzy, you can contact her directly at suzy.mercien@touringtreasures.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Sydney</h2><p>Join for a welcome cocktail hour at Sydney Harbor, one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world, aboard the stunning 122-foot Ghost II yacht. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Park Hyatt Sydney </p><h2>Day 2: Sydney</h2><p>Take a tour of the city: see the historic Rocks area, the colonial architecture of Macquarie Street, and the glamorous Eastern Suburbs. Visit Bondi Beach and walk part of the famous Bondi Cliffwalk, with spectacular ocean views. Following lunch overlooking the beach, board a private Jetboat at Rose Bay Wharf for a high-speed race to Circular Quay, where you'll transfer to the Bridgclimb base for a twilight climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Park Hyatt Sydney </p><h2>Day 3: Blue Mountains</h2><p>Any trip to Sydney cannot be complete without a visit to the Blue Mountains — and the best way to get there is by helicopter. Leave the city behind to see some of the best parts of Australia as you venture off the beaten track and experience the heart of the World Heritage Blue Mountains. After arrival back in Sydney, have dinner at fine dining favorite Quay, set in the heart of Syndey Harbor. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Park Hyatt Sydney </p><h2>Day 4: Canberra and Hobart</h2><p>Board the stylish Falcon 900 private jet, which boasts 14 seats over three cabins; the rear zone contains two divans which can be converted into two beds. Touch down in Canberra for a tour that explores the political and cultural side of Australia, stopping at the National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial.</p><p>Afterward, fly to Hobart, Tasmania, for a stay at Saffire Freycinet Lodge. In the evening, don a pair of waders and visit a working oyster farm.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Saffire Freycinet Lodge </p><h2>Day 5: Hobart</h2><p>Explore iconic Wineglass Bay on a guided 5km walk, taking you to the crystal white sands and azure waters of South Hazards beach for a picnic. Transfer back to the resort before your Tasmanian Devil Experience, which offers you the rare<br />opportunity to encounter Tasmanian devils in a natural setting.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Saffire Freycinet Lodge </p><h2>Day 6: Port Arthur and Bruny Island</h2><p>Take a helicopter transfer to Port Arthur. Take the opportunity to experience the rich history of early English settlement and convict life on your private Port Arthur Private Tour. Enjoy morning tea surrounded by history in the Magistrate's House. Afterward, transfer to Bruny Island for a wilderness cruise. Enter deep sea caves and feel the power of nature at the point where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean. Transfer back to Hobart.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Saffire Freycinet Lodge </p><h2>Day 7: Hobart and Kangaroo Island</h2><p>Take a helicopter to visit the Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, Australia's largest private museum and one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world. After lunch, board your private ferry for a harbor cruise and tour of Hobart. Transfer by private jet to Southern Ocean Lodge and Kangaroo Island.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Southern Ocean Lodge </p><h2>Day 8: Kangaroo Island</h2><p>Take a sunrise tour of Seal Bay Conservation Park before taking a half-day exploring the wonders of Kangaroo Island and Flinders Chase National Park — a wilderness covering nearly 200,000 acres. In the evening, soak up the history of the early island settlers at Grassdale, a historic island property reached by a short drive from the Lodge where local wildlife (including kangaroos and wallabies) congregate to graze. Observe these creatures in their natural environment, sip on premium South Australian beverages and nibble on a canapé whilst enjoying the sunset.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Southern Ocean Lodge </p><h2>Day 9: Kangaroo Island</h2><p>Tour the North Coast of Kangaroo Island and Lathami Conservation Park, which has been set aside to protect the feeding and breeding habit of the critically endangered glossy black cockatoo; it is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, such as the Tammar wallaby, Kangaroo Island kangaroo, echidnas, and goannas. Later, take the opportunity to swim with wild<br />bottlenose dolphins in shallow and protected waters in an experience that will take your breath away. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Southern Ocean Lodge </p><h2>Day 10: Adelaide and Barossa Valley</h2><p>Transfer to airport for a private jet flight to Adelaide. Tour the wine estates of the Penfolds before taking a scenic drive to Barossa Valley, where you'll stay at The Louise, one of the best inns in South Australia, and dine at the property's destination restaurant, Appellation. Take an exclusive tour of the Seppeltsfield estate.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Louise</p><h2>Day 11: Coober Pedy and Uluru</h2><p>Take a desert cave tour at Coober Pedy to see a working opal field and learn about opal mining methods. Fly to Uluru, where you will stay at the majestic Longitude 131°. Facing majestic Uluru, the property commands spectacular views of the Outback and the World Heritage listed wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Take a sunset walk to Kantju Gorge. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Longitude 131°</p><h2>Day 12: Uluru</h2><p>Depart for a sunrise tour of Walpa Gorge before spending the day at leisure. With dinner at Table 131°, you can try sumptuous outback fare and discover the wonders of the southern night sky. As you arrive to your dinner setting,<br />enjoy canapés and cocktail before an performance of traditional indigenous dance. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Longitude 131°</p><h2>Day 13: Uluru </h2><p>Enjoy a visit to Mulgara Gallery to see authentic Aboriginal art and meet the artist in residence. After lunch, we make our way south of Uluru to the homelands of the land's traditional owners, making various stops along the route to hear and experience how life once was and where it is today. Enjoy afternoon tea as you chat around the fireplace with an Aboriginal guide.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Longitude 131°</p><h2>Day 14: Kimberley</h2><p>On the way to Kimberley, take a river cruise of Chamberlain Gorge, where you can enjoy the diverse fora and fauna; resident Rock Wallabies, Johnston Crocodiles, and the always cheeky Archer Fish are familiar inhabitants of the gorge. Arrive at Kimberley and the El Questro Homestead. Exclusive use of Zebedee Springs is offered to Homestead guests every afternoon; a short walk through dense, tropical vegetation reveals a series of thermal pools and small waterfalls. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>El Questro Homestead </p><h2>Day 15: Purnululu National Park</h2><p>Departing El Questro in our Cessna 208 Gran Caravan you will take in views of the Carboyd Range and Lake Argyle before landing at Purnululu National Park, home to the Bungle Bungle Range. Meet your local tour guide who will take you on this amazing journey in the Purnululu National Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the gorge at the bush camp. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>El Questro Homestead </p><h2>Day 16: Paspaley Pearl Farm</h2><p>Depart Kununurra this morning on the Paspaley Grumman Mallard seaplane for a 1 hour flight over the King George Falls to<br />Vansittart Bay, where your exclusive access to the Paspaley Pearl Farm begins.Start off with some morning tea before entering into the world of Paspaley — a rare opportunity to witness one of Paspaley’s pearl farms. Discover the pearl farming process and the techniques used to produce the world’s rarest and most valuable pearls. Lunch will be on board the famous MV Paspaley 4, their most advanced pearling vessel, working in the remote pearl farms off Australia’s north west.<br />After lunch, visit Jar Island for an Aboriginal Art and history tour before flying back to El Questro by late afternoon.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>El Questro Homestead </p><h2>Day 17: Hamilton Island</h2><p>Head to the stunning Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, where you can visit the famous wildlife park and even cuddle a Koala. You will stay at the luxurious Qualia Island Resort, situated on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island surrounded by all the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Qualia Island Resort</p><h2>Day 18: The Whitsundays</h2><p>Take to the skies over the Great Barrier Reef and the amazing Heart Reef, and experience a seaplane water landing on Whitehaven Beach, where you can enjoy the sand and sun. Then take to the ocean on Qualia's exclusive private charter motor yacht. Explore nearby beaches and waterways, including famous Whitehaven Beach, Chalkies Beach,<br />Langford Island and Hill Inlet.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Qualia Island Resort</p><h2>Day 19: Hamilton Island</h2><p>Spend the day at leisure exploring Qualia. Facilities include two serene pools, a library, private dining room, two bars and restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa, and a fitness center.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Qualia Island Resort</p><h2>Day 20: Sydney</h2><p>Fly to Sydney for a private tour of the Paspaley Pearl Room. Tour the iconic Opera House before a celebration dinner at its iconic onsite restaurant, Bennelong. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Four Seasons Hotel Sydney </p><h2>Day 21: Depart from Sydney</h2><p>Transfer to airport for your flight home. </p>
Categories: Travel

Alexandra Stewart's 20-day New Zealand Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:27
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/alexandra-stewart" target="_blank">Alexandra Stewart</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Alexandra, you can contact her directly at alexandra@antipodeanluxurytravel.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch </h2><p>Arrive at Christchurch airport. You will be transferred to your helicopter by luxury car for a flight to your first accommodation, Otahuna Lodge. Upon arrival, go on a guided walk of the estate's own century-old garden. The tour provides insight into the history of Otahuna, explaining why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants, as well as the many ways in which the current garden team restores and maintains Heaton Rhodes’ greatest legacy. We can arrange a cooking class for you; in the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing swim at the lodge's spa pool or ride a bike on the Otahuna Valley loop. Otahuna Lodge offers a different flight of complementary wine pairings with each dinner, emphasising Canterbury and New Zealand wines. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Otahuna Lodge</p><h2>Day 2: Akaroa </h2><p>Take a nature cruise at Akaroa. Originally settled by French immigrants, Akaroa is a picturesque seaside town that has retained many of its 19th-century public buildings and cottages. You will be joined by pods of dolphins (if they are feeling playful) — there is also an opportunity for you to swim with them. Other possible excursions include forest and hillside walks or a kayak excursion to the sea caves. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Otahuna Lodge</p><h2>Day 3: Christchurch </h2><p>A scenic flight by helicopter is the ultimate way to see the natural beauty of New Zealand. Depart from Otahuna and fly over dramatic Lyttelton Harbour and up the coast of the Pacific Ocean, before landing in the Waipara wine region. Here, a wine tasting will be offered before a delightful lunch of the very best New Zealand fare. In the afternoon, you will fly into the breath-taking scenery of the snow-capped Southern Alps for a mountaintop landing with staggering views west toward the South Island’s Main Divide and east across the Canterbury Plains to the Banks Peninsula.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Otahuna Lodge</p><h2>Day 4: Lake Tekapo</h2><p>Transfer to Lake Tekapo — you may wish to have a stopover at Avon River for a relaxing punting tou past the Botanic Gardens, or to stop in Geraldine, a small, friendly town located at the start of the Starlight Highway to Tekapo, for lunch. Once in Tekapo, make your first stop the Church of the Good Shepherd; it's one of the most popular photo spots in this area. Then, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring and enjoying the scenary of Lake Tekapo at leisure. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing. Take a guided tour through the southern night skies before retiring. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Bluewater Peppers Resort</p><h2>Day 5: Mount Cook</h2><p>Drive to Mount Cook for an adventurous day exploring Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. You will come close to huge icebergs and watch the ice melt before your eyes in the tranquil glacial lake, nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. After lunch, hike the Hooker Valley Track, one of the most popular walks in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park. In the evening, we recommend dinner at The Panorama Room, located in The Hermitage. Opened since 1969, the restaurant serves international cuisine made with fresh local ingredients. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Bluewater Peppers Resort</p><h2>Day 6: Queenstown</h2><p>The flight to Queenstown could just be one of the world's most beautiful. If you are an adventurous traveler, we recommend gliding at the Omarama Basin. It is a spectacular way to experience the challenge of soaring the mountains and alpine environments of New Zealand. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 7: Fiordland National Park</h2><p>In the morning, take a helicopter flight across Lake Wakatipu into the heart of Fiordland National Park, ending at the breath-taking Lake Quill and the 1900-foot Sutherland Falls. Experience an exhilarating flight past spectacular mountains and blue-green ice falls, and land upon Mount Tutoko Glacier, an awe inspiring experience with ice formations and crevasses to astound. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 8: Ben Lomond Station</h2><p>Make your way to the picturesque Moke Lake, marking the beginning of Ben Lomond Station and the private-access-only road. Ben Lomond is a 13,500 hectare merino sheep station beautifully kept with grazing lands, native beech forest, lakes, rivers, mining huts, and beautiful scenic vistas. As a working farm, demonstrations differ throughout the year with shearing, tailing, drenching, dogs working, and lambing all part of the experience. After a gourmet lunch, embark on nature walks, or try some lake fishing, gold mining, target shooting, or farming, or just relax and enjoy the surroundings and a glass of wine or beer.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 9: Queenstown</h2><p>Experience Queenstown, taking a high-speed Shotover Jet boat tour, stopping in the old mining village of Arrowtown, hitting the links at the Hills Golf Course, or visiting the Art and Sculpture collection. Lunch will be at one of the lovely local wineries before an afternoon wine tour. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Matakauri Lodge</p><h2>Day 10: Franz Josef</h2><p>Embark on your long guided drive to Franz Josef, traveling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the South Island; we would recommend taking the full driving day to explore, as there are so many fantastic stopovers on the way. These include the Cardrona Distillery, an artisan distillery making fine spirits from scratch, the peaceful town of Wanaka, and the famous Blue Pools, crystal clear pools fed by the surrounding glaciers. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Te Waonui Forest Retreat</p><h2>Day 11: Franz Josef</h2><p>The Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed. After a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier for a guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world. You'll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Te Waonui Forest Retreat</p><h2>Day 12: Abel Tasman National Park</h2><p>Drive to Nelson, with a lots of great places to stop along the West Coast of the South Island: Hokitika, Greymouth, Punakaiki, St. Arnaud, amd Lake Rotoiti. Finally, arrive at Edenhouse, an enchanting country retreat set in fifty acres of private grounds and eight acres of internationally acclaimed gardens.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Edenhouse</p><h2>​​​Day 13: Abel Tasman National Park</h2><p>Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park, but has been very popular for its golden beaches, turqooise waters, native bush, and pristine marine reserves. This morning, embark on a guided kayak adventure from Marahau to Observation Beach. Enjoy lunch before swapping your paddle for walking shoes, hiking for incredible views over Anchorage and the Astrolabe Islands. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Edenhouse</p><h2>​​​Day 14: Abel Tasman National Park</h2><p>Take a "Lord of the Rings"-themed tour, flying over famous filming sites like Mt. Owen, Mt. Olympus, and Canaan Downs, where the Hobbits are lead by Aragorn into the Chetwood Forest northeast of Bree.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Edenhouse</p><h2>​​Day 15: Blenheim</h2><p>Transfer to Marlborough, one of New Zealand's best wine regions. Along the way, you will pass through Nelson — stop off for some green lip mussels in the small town of Havelock.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Marlborough Lodge</p><h2>​​Day 16: Blenheim</h2><p>Spend the day on a luxury boat cruise of the Queen Charlotte Sound. Learn about the Marlborough Sounds, a bit of history and listen to a few local tales. Get wet with some kayaking in the small bays and coves of the Sounds, or have some time ashore on a secluded beach. Visit salmon and mussel farms to learn about aquaculture and enjoy a tasting of fresh local seafood. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Marlborough Lodge</p><h2>Day 17: Blenheim</h2><p>Private tour of Marlborough, tailored to your interests. Must-see stops include the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, an alfresco among the vines at a winery restaurant, a distillery or brewery tour to taste locally produced fruit brandies, beers, and liqueurs, and walking in Wither Hills Farm Park or along the Taylor River reserve.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Marlborough Lodge</p><h2>Day 18: Christchurch</h2><p>Drive south to Christchurch, stopping along the way in lovely Kaikoura for whale-watching. Once in Christchurch, take the time to find out what makes this ever-evolving city unique; the city boasts new and diverse restaurants, cafes, bars, and night clubs, but its old English charm is ever present.</p><h2>Day 19: Christchurch</h2><p>Join your local guide for a full day guided tour of Christchurch, learning about the English influences on the city and how it is rebuilding from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. </p><h2>Day 20: Depart from Christchurch</h2><p>Transfer to the airport for your flight home.</p>
Categories: Travel

Marion Miller's 14-day Trip Around India

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:21
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/marion-miller" target="_blank">Marion Miller</a> is a member of <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank"><em>Travel + Leisure</em>’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries she creates. To work with Marion, contact her at mmiller@micato.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Delhi</h2><p>Arrive in Delhi and meet your Micato representative after deplaning. They will accompany you to your luxury vehicle, where cool refreshments await. You will drive through the city to your hotel, The Imperial Hotel, where the manicured lawns, sweeping staircases, and exquisitely carved stone-work will take you back to the glamorous days of the Raj. </p><h2>Day 2: Delhi</h2><p>Grab a leisurely breakfast before meeting Micato's tour director, Hem Singh. His charm and intense love for his country and its people make him the person to have by your side as you embark on your adventure. Continue to Humayun's Tomb, where Emperor Humayun, the father of Emperor Akbar, lies buried. </p><p>Next, visit a Gurudwara or Sikh Temple, where you will meet community leaders and help make the day’s meal. You'll learn how to roll chipatti dough. After lunch, continue your exploration of the city as you embark on a visit to the Old Delhi. Deep within the labyrinthine alleys, meet Michael Haidar Ali, who will take you on a fascinating food walk to discover the many treats available. </p><p>Later, dine at the home of our Indian hosts. </p><h2>Day 3: Delhi to Agra</h2><p>Proceed to Agra and check into the Oberoi Amarvilas, located right across from the Taj Mahal. In the evening, visit Mehtab Bagh, a site across the river that affords a spectacular view of the Taj Mahal. Back at the hotel, we have arranged for you to enjoy the expert ministrations of a traditional Ayurvedic therapist. For dinner, head to the Pool Pavilion, where a sitarist provides the live background music while you dine. </p><h2>Day 4: Agra</h2><p>Rise early to visit the Taj Mahal. As is customary with Micato, we are the first to enter the gates. Accompanying you is your dedicated photographer to capture these memorable moments. You will also visit the widely acclaimed House of Kohinoor for a private viewing of their priceless collection of hand woven tapestries as well as jewels, some of which date back to the Mughal era.</p><p>In the afternoon, get up close and personal with the sloth bears living at the world’s largest sloth bear rescue facility. If of interest, sponsor one of the adorable resident bear cubs and receive its biography and periodic updates on his welfare.</p><h2>Day 5: Agra to Ranthambore</h2><p>After breakfast, take a private charter to Sawai Madhopur, home to the Ranthambore National Park. Upon arrival in Ranthambore, proceed to your luxury resort bordering the park, the Oberoi Vanyavilas. Later in the evening, meet the Head Warden of the park for cocktails and dinner. Ranthambore is indisputably one of Indian wildlife conservation’s success stories where the tiger population has increased over the years. A meeting with him is a perfect way to understand the tireless conservation efforts which have gone into this.</p><h2>Day 6: Ranthambore</h2><p>Awake just before dawn to hot coffee or a pot of tea, accompanied by a few pieces of shortbread to fortify you for the morning’s a sunrise game drive. The rolling landscape is simply crawling with wildlife, but it is the tigers that everyone comes to see. Ranthambore is one of the best locations to get a close view. They are sighted almost daily somewhere in the park – especially early in the morning. </p><p>Between game drives, embark on an excursion to Dastkar – a craft conservation project aimed at sustaining local artisans and their trade. Visit the workshop where you will see and even try your hand at different crafts like block printing, patchwork, rug-weaving and shoe-making.</p><h2>Day 7: Ranthambore to Jaipur</h2><p>Depart Ranthambore for Jaipur. Arrive at Rambagh Palace, your accommodations for the next few nights. In the afternoon, visit the City Palace complex. Here you'll take the insider’s tour — your guide knows all the legends that make the Palace such a memorable place to visit. At night, you are invited for a special family dinner. </p><h2>Day 8: Holi</h2><p>Watch and join in as people of all ages gather and douse each other with brightly colored powder (gulal) and water. Your guide will provide the traditional garb for the day – a white kurta-pyjama and your arsenal of colors. Early this evening, maybe you’ll want to fly a kite? During your travels through India you will often see children on rooftops engrossed in the age-old sport of kite-flying. The children can also enjoy a rangoli session at the hotel, where they will be taught to recreate a beautiful Indian design using flower petals/dried rice.</p><h2>Day 9: Jaipur</h2><p>Wake up early to enjoy a balloon adventure over Jaipur. Later, we visit the Amber Fort before heading to a private elephant sanctuary. You'll get up close and personal with the Asian elephants by bathing and painting them with traditional Indian designs. As the sun sets, enjoy cocktails at the members-only Jaipur Polo Club where you will be joined by members of the legendary Jaipur Polo team. This elite game, once the sole preserve of kings and princes, is a way of life in Jaipur and a favourite with the city’s smart set.</p><h2>Day 10: Jaipur to Udaipur</h2><p>Once again, awake to a delightful breakfast before departing for Udaipur. Upon arrival, you'll visit the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Afterwards, we continue to your hotel, Taj Lake Palace, in time for lunch. The perfect way to enhance your stay at the Lake Palace Hotel is to take a cruise on the Gangaur boat around the serene Lake Pichola. The <em>Gangaur</em> is an antique royal barge belonging to the House of Mewar, and was used in the James Bond film <em>Octopussy</em>. Cocktails and a delectable dinner will be served. </p><h2>Day 11: Udaipur</h2><p>Join your guide for a tour of the nearby temples of Eklingji. You also visit Nagda, the site of two fourth-century temples, both embellished with intricately carved royal edits, recalling the harsh rulers of centuries past. After lunch, you'll take a camel cart ride through the nearby village, where you’ll meet a village elder. He will take you on a walk through the village, introducing you to his family and perhaps inviting you for a cup of tea at his home. </p><h2>Day 12: Udaipur to Jodhpur</h2><p>This morning, after breakfast, you will depart Udaipur and drive to Ranakpur to visit the magnificent Ranakpur Jain temple complex. You'll stop for lunch at the charming Maharani Bagh Orchards, originally gifted by the Maharaja to his queen and used as a royal retreat. Afterwards, continue your journey and drive on to Jodhpur. Check into the Umaid Bhawan Palace, where you will receive the royal treatment as you settle into your gorgeous room. Once you’ve settled in, you’re off to explore the older part of Jodhpur city on auto-rickshaw, the best way to navigate the narrow lanes. Spend some time soaking in the sights and sounds of the bustling alleyways of the old-world bazaar. Roam the narrow lanes dotted with tiny shops selling exquisite Rajasthani textiles, handicrafts, pottery, curios and exquisite Rajasthani silver jewellery. Afterwards, you will return once more to your beautiful palace.</p><h2>Day 13: Jodhpur</h2><p>Your day begins with a visit to the Meherangarh Fort. Later, you will set off to visit the nearby Bishnoi Villages like Guda Bishnoiyan, Kakani, and Khejarli. Afterwards, explore the surrounding countryside on an open jeep safari, stopping en-route for a picnic lunch. You will return to your hotel in the late afternoon.</p><h2>Day 14: Depart (Jodhpur to Delhi) </h2><p>This morning your journey draws to a close as you fly to Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to a hotel where a room has been reserved for you. Later that night, proceed to the international airport for your flight home.</p>
Categories: Travel

Zachary Rabinor's 6-day Trip Around Mexico City

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:15
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/zachary-rabinor" target="_blank">Zachary Rabinor</a> is a member of Travel + Leisure’s <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Zachary, contact him at zach@journeymexico.com.</p><h2>Day 1</h2><p>Today you will be arriving to Mexico City and the Four Seasons Hotel. We will meet you at the Toluca FBO Airport and drive you to the Four Seasons Hotel.</p><h2>Day 2</h2><p>Enjoy a guided visit with an expert muralist guide to see some of the most impressive murals painted by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Your day will start with an exclusive visit of the Diego Rivera Museum and its famous Mural, Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.</p><p>You will then continue to the Palace of fine arts, Bellas Artes , as well as one of the largest main squares of the world, the Plaza de la Constitucion or Zocalo. Enter the National Palace to receive a guided visit of the most famous murals of Diego Rivera.</p><p>Your afternoon will be at your leisure. In the evening, you will head to the Castle of Chapultepec to witness the world famous Folkloric art ballet designed back in 1952 by Amalia Hernandez. You will have VIP tickets and will be able to enjoy the different traditional dances, costumes, and rhythms of the different states of Mexico.</p><h2>Day 3</h2><p>Today you will be able to explore the magnificent site of Teotihuacan with a local expert guide and archeologist. You will also have the unique opportunity to visit the satellite cities of Atetelco and Tetitla, where you can admire original murals that are closed to public.</p><p>Afterwards, you will return to Mexico City and stop at one of the most visited Roman Catholic Pilgrimage sites of the world, the Shrine of Guadalupe. Your guide will walk you through the shrine before ending at a nearby Restaurant called Monte Cristo. This is a true paradise for Mexican gastronomy lovers, as all the dishes are very fresh and you will be able to meet the owner or chef.</p><p>In the evening, you will enjoy a private off-hour visit of Templo Mayor and the remains of what used to be the most important temple of the Aztec empire city of Tenochtitlan.</p><h2>Day 4</h2><p>This morning, opt for a walking tour to some of the most attractive neighborhoods of Mexico City, Roma and Condesa. You'll walk through the parks, visit art galleries, and end at Contramar, a local favorite, for lunch. After lunch, you will have an afternoon at your leisure.</p><p>Later in the evening, enjoy the classical Lucha Libre. Visit one of the many stands with handmade T-shirts and masks of the local heroes. You will have the opportunity to meet up with one of the most famous fighters, Marco Corleone. Marco can explain the rules and challenges of Lucha Libre. After your visit, it will be time for you to see him in action from VIP seats.</p><h2>Day 5</h2><p>Today, visit one of Mexico's most iconic silver jewelers. In the early 40s, Mexico City was home to the first TANE store, engaged in making and selling leather goods. Eleven years later, the business transitioned to silver. </p><p>In the evening, you will be transferred to the National Museum of Anthropology for a private visit of the most impressive halls that represents the pre-Hispanic history of some of the most important cultures of Mesoamerica. The Aztec hall will enlighten you about the true structure of what used to be the mighty empire city of Tenochtitlan – now Mexico City. The most impressive piece is the Aztec calendar, which weighs at least 20 tons.</p><p>Afterwards, you will take a short drive to the Dulce Patria Restaurant for dinner.</p><h2>Day 6</h2><p>Visit Tlatelolco in the morning. You'll learn about the pre-Hispanic era, the colonial era, and modern times. Afterwards, you'll head to the airport for your departure. </p>
Categories: Travel

Greg Tepper's 8-day Moscow and St. Petersburg Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:12
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/greg-tepper" target="_blank">Greg Tepper</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Greg, you can contact him directly at greg@exeterinterational.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Moscow</h2><p>You will be transferred to the perfectly located hotel, just steps from Red Square and the Kremlin and across the street from the Bolshoi Theater. The rest of the day and evening is at leisure. Time permitting, walk over to brand new Zaryadye park for sweeping views of the Red Square and St. Basil Cathedral. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Ararat Park Hyatt </p><h2>Day 2: Moscow</h2><p>Take a private guided tour of the city. You will have an appointment to visit the famed Armory Museum, including its vast collection of Imperial Russian artwork. Included in your Kremlin visit today is entry into the Diamond Vaults. Admission to these extraordinaryrooms is by special appointment with the Kremlin, and your guide is not allowed to enter with you. Before leaving the Kremlin, take some time to explore its expansive grounds with your guide. We suggest you don’t miss the Assumption Cathedral, where all Russian tsars were crowned. After time to have lunch on your own, explore some of the surrounding neighborhood with your guide — including Red Square, the Imperial Gates, and St. Basil's Cathedral. Later, you may want to experience the fascinating interiors of the Moscow Metro stations, ornately decorated with beautiful paintings, carvings and chandeliers. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Ararat Park Hyatt </p><h2>Day 3: Moscow</h2><p>Tour the grand Christ the Holy Redeemer Cathedral, which towers over historic Moscow. Later, stroll with the guide across the bridge to the other side of the river, where you will walk through the Graveyard of Fallen Monuments — a collection of some of the sculptures removed from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet era. Afterward, your guide will take you to the New Tretyakov Gallery, an annex of the Tretyakov Gallery. This huge museum is dedicated to Russian art from the early 1900s to the present.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Ararat Park Hyatt </p><h2>Day 4: Moscow and St. Petersburg</h2><p>Enjoy the morning at leisure before boarding the luxury, high-speed Sapsan train from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Spend the evening at leisure upon arrival.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 5: St. Petersburg</h2><p>Meet your guide for a private walking tour to Palace Square. The focal point of this ensemble is the Winter Palace — an architectural masterpiece of the Russian Baroque and the royal residence of all the Russian Emperors (except Paul) until the 1917 Revolution. In the afternoon, your guide will take you into the stately St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the famous Yusupov Palace to learn the story of Rasputin. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 6: St. Petersburg</h2><p>Today you will visit Shuvalov Palace’s Faberge Museum. This is the most formidable collection in the world of works by this great Russian master craftsman, best known for his celebrated million-dollar Imperial Easter Eggs. You may wish to have lunch today in the village of Pushkin at one of the local restaurants. Later, while visiting Catherine's Palace, you will be invited into the Amber Room workshops where craftsmen rebuilt the famous amber panels lost in World War II. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 7: St. Petersburg</h2><p>Today visit Peter Paul Fortress: the birthplace of St. Petersburg. After walking through the many gates and across the bridges and moats, you can begin to feel the late 18th century era that required such fortification. Afterward, you will visit Peterhof Palace ("Russia's Versailles") to see first-hand the palace’s countless fountains and gardens. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel Astoria</p><h2>Day 8: Depart from St. Petersburg</h2><p>You will be met in your hotel lobby for a transport to the airport to catch your flight home (or onward). </p>
Categories: Travel

Scott Gilman's 14-day Japan Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:06
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/scott-gilman" target="_blank">Scott Gilman</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Scott, contact him at scott@asiaquestjourneys.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo</h2><p>From little known neighborhood restaurants serving exquisite Japanese cuisine, to world-renowned French and Italian restaurants, Japan offers the finest selection of indigenous and international dining experiences in the world. Access to the smaller, quintessential local restaurants — which often serve the finest Japanese food and sake — is often difficult (if not impossible) unless one speaks Japanese. Our wealth of experience in Japan however has provided us with a network of restaurants, where chefs will treat our customers as if they are regular clientele — thereby allowing you to experience Japanese cuisine at its finest.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong><strong>: </strong>Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 2: Tokyo</h2><p>Waking up early, you will be driven to a Sumo stable, or <em>beya</em>, to watch up close the wrestlers practice. Afterward, visit Tsukiji, the largest fish market in the world.</p><p>Head to the marketplace in the Asakusa district and and Senso-ji Temple, in the very heart of Shitamachi, Tokyo’s old merchant district. Asakusa remains Tokyo’s most colorful and traditional neighborhood, with a fun atmosphere and many food stalls preparing <em>senbei</em>, traditional and delicious rice crackers, and many varieties of Japanese sweets.</p><p>Explore Kappabashi-Dori, a shopping street between Ueno and Asakusa, where you can find the wares that supply over 80,000 restaurants in Tokyo.Then, head to Ginza, Tokyo’s equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue (and, at one time, the most expensive parcel of real estate in the world). A favorite stop is the food floor, or <em>depachika,</em> in Mitsukoshi Department Store. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong><strong>:</strong> Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 3: Tokyo</h2><p>This morning, stroll through the beautiful wooded grounds of Meiji Shrine, Tokyo’s premier Shinto shrine. </p><p>Venture to Harajuku, a mecca of youth culture and avant-garde shopping, and then take the short walk to the Aoyama district and Omotesando, a broad, tree-lined avenue sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. Omotesando is a prime location for haute couture brands and architecturally ambitious buildings.</p><p>Near Omotesando lies one of the city’s unique treasures, Nezu Art Museum, with its vast rotating collection of Japanese and East Asian art. Explore its exquisite Japanese garden, replete with stepping stones, tea houses, and an extensive collection of stone lanterns.</p><p>Last, enjoy an exclusive private experience with our sake expert, who will take you to visit a liquor store in downtown Tokyo. There, you can take part in the tradition of <em>k</em><em>aku-uchi</em><em> </em>— sampling different types of sake while casually chatting and enjoying the lively local atmosphere. Our expert will provide you with essential knowledge and help you find your next favorite type of sake. </p><p><strong>Stay:</strong> Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 4: Kanazawa and Yamanaka Onsen</h2><p>Take the Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train, for a 2.5-hour ride to Kanazawa (literally, "marsh of gold") in Western Japan. Once governed by the Maeda clan, great patrons of the arts, Kanazawa developed a rich heritage that is reflected in its well-preserved geisha and samurai quarters, beautifu gardens, and its distinctive arts, including pottery and lacquerware.</p><p>Meander through one of Japan’s few remaining samurai neighborhoods, Nagamachi, and visit the Nagamachi Samurai Residence. Visit Kanazawa’s renowned Omicho Market and shops that specialize in fabulous Wajima lacquerware. Wander through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the most beautiful stroll gardens in Japan, before visiting the majestic Seisonkaku Villa.</p><p>End your day in Higashi Chaya, the largest of Kanazawa’s remaining geisha districts, to visit a historic <em>ochaya</em> (tea house). Afterward, you will be driven forty minutes to your ryokan in Yamanaka Onsen. </p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> Kayotei </p><h2>Day 5: Yamanaka Onsen and Shirakawa-go</h2><p>Enjoy some time at your ryokan's hot spring baths, then visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, a cluster of hamlets over 800 years old. Stop in Ogimachi with its nearly sixty <em>gassho tsukuri, </em>or thatched roof farmhouses, standing amid vegetable gardens and paddy fields. After, enjoy an exclusive private visit to one of the world’s most famous <em>taiko</em> drum makers where you can see how these magnificent instruments are crafted. You may also see a professional taiko drummer rehearsing, and will have an opportunity to try beating the mighty drums yourselves. </p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> Kayotei </p><h2>Day 6: Kyoto</h2><p>Take a two-hour train to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital. Upon arrival, explore the fun and colorful area around Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka, a pair of pedestrian-only lanes that make for some of the most atmospheric strolling in the whole city. Then, take a short walk to a private temple where you will enjoy a private tea ceremony. </p><p>Stroll through the Shijo-Kawaramachi District and its traditional shops selling local foods and crafts. Your walk will end at Yasaka Shrine, located at epicenter of Gion, the city’s Geisha district. Continue onward to Kennin-ji Temple; the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, Kennin-ji is an oasis of calm on the edge of Gion with a superb Zen garden.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto</p><h2>Day 7: Kyoto </h2><p>Visit Nijo Castle, a magnificent early Edo castle constructed in 1603. Outside of the castle extends the Ninomaru Garden, a traditional Japanese landscape garden with a large pond, ornamental stones and manicured pine trees. Participate in a private Zen session with a Buddhist monk while contemplating a beautiful and tranquil Zen garden, followed by a private walk-through of the temple. </p><p>Head to Kinkakuji, the famous Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Experience Ryoanji — a beautiful and tranquil fifteenth century rock garden, before exploring Nishiki-koji Market. Hundreds of vendors have their stalls in this market street to sell anything and everything. Taste special Japanese delicacies, vegetables, fresh fish, dry goods, pickles, and sweets.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto </p><h2>Day 8: Kyoto </h2><p>Head to northwest Kyoto to visit Arashiyama, including the Sagano Bamboo Forest. Visit Tenryu-ji (Heavenly Dragon Temple) and its splendid garden designed by Muso Kokushi in 1340. A park with dozens of cherry trees is located next to the bridge.</p><p>Experience Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple, with its wonderful display of 1,200 carved stone figures of Rakan, the disciples of Buddha. Visit a Kyoto-based micro-brewery to learn how sake is made—you will also have the opportunity to sample some of their delicious products in a private tasting.</p><p>This evening, enjoy a unique evening at a Japanese <em>ochaya</em> for a private dinner with geisha entertainment. An ochaya only accepts guests through an introduction from its trusted clients. This experience will take you back in time, and is so special that most Japanese will not even have the opportunity to try it.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay:</strong> The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto </p><h2>Day 9: Nara </h2><p>Journey approximately one hour to Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital established in 710. Your sojourn begins at Nara Park, where deer, considered to be messengers of the Shinto gods, roam free as they have done since ancient times. </p><p>Nara can be easily traversed on foot, and most of your day here will be spent walking. After visiting Todaiji Temple, which contains a nearly 50-foot tall great Buddha completed in 752, visit Kasuga Taisha, an 8th century Shinto shrine, and Kofuku-ji. In rural Nara, experience Murou-ji Temple, where you can climb 700 steps to reach its impressive five storied pagoda.</p><p>This evening, stay at Sasayuri-Ann, a unique thatched roof luxurious rice terraced villa in a gorgeous and rural area of Nara. Dinner will be prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.</p><p>​​​​<strong>Stay</strong>: Rice Terrace Villa Sasayuri-Ann</p><h2>Day 10: Nara </h2><p>Before breakfast, enjoy hiking in Akame (where <em>ninja</em> began), a beautiful and forested area with 48 waterfalls. Visit the house of a 25th generation craftsman whose family has made tea whisks for the Japanese tea ceremony for over 500 years. He will do a private bamboo carving demonstration.</p><p>Sasayuri-Ann offers some really fun and special experiences in an intimate setting, including private yoga lessons, farming and local fruit picking excursions, music workshops, guided hikes, and a nighttime fire ceremony.</p><p><strong>Stay:</strong> Rice Terrace Villa Sasayuri-Ann</p><h2>Day 11: Naoshima </h2><p>Transfer to Shin-Osaka Station and take a one-hour train to Okayama Station. Transfer to the Port of Uno to board a private water taxi for a 15-minute ride to the island of Naoshima, a center of contemporary art in Japan.</p><p>This afternoon, take a walk-through of the must see Chichu Art Museum — built specifically to house the works of Claude Monet, Walter De Maria, and James Turrell. Visit the newest museum on Naoshima, Lee Ufan Museum, designed by Tadao Ando. It features works by the contemporary artist Lee Ufan, who was born in Korea but has been working and teaching in Japan. </p><p>Transfer to your accommodation at Benesse House, a museum hotel also designed by Tadao Ando, and explore its beautiful grounds.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong>: Benesse House</p><h2>Day 12: Naoshima and Teshima </h2><p>Take a private water taxi to the Island of Teshima. Visit Teshima Yokoo House, Teshima Art Museum, and Les Archives du Coeur. Upon your return to Naoshima, explore the Art House Project, a set of seven locations in which artists take over empty houses in residential areas and turn the spaces themselves into works of art. A truly organic project that changes day-to-day, it has evolved to present a new model of community, characterized by positive interaction between urban and rural, young and old, resident and visitor.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong>: Benesse House</p><h2>Day 13: Mure, Takamatsu, and Tokyo </h2><p>Depart Naoshima via private water taxi across the Inland Sea to Shirobana Koen on the island of Shikoku. Visit the village of Mure and the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, which houses 150 sculptures — many of which are still unfinished, preserving the working atmosphere of Noguchi's studio.</p><p>Stop at Ritsurin Garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens. Created in the seventeenth century, this beautiful stroll garden was once a park attached to the villa of the Matsudaira lords. It took more than a century to complete.</p><p>Continue onward to Kinashi Bonsai, the largest Bonsai village in Japan, with a history of growing Bonsai for over 250 years. Fly to Tokyo, and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel and enjoy your final evening in Japan.</p><p><strong>Stay:</strong> Aman Tokyo</p><h2>Day 14: Depart Tokyo</h2><p>Depending on your flight time, you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport or Narita International Airport for your flight home. Our representative will assist you with checking in at the airport.</p>
Categories: Travel

Jack Tydeman's 21-day Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong Itinerary

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 09:00
<p><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-agent/jack-tydeman" target="_blank">Jack Tydeman</a> is a member of <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/a-list" target="_blank">Travel + Leisure’s A-List</a>, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Jack, you can contact him directly at jack.tydeman@audleytravel.com.</p><h2>Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi</h2><p>Transfer to hotel by private vehicle with driver and guide. For breakfast, you can join the locals at one of the small food stalls for a bowl of Pho, traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. </p><p>In the afternoon, set off on a private street food tour of Hanoi's best culinary spots with a local food blogger. Having a special passion for Vietnamese food and culture, this blogger has documented his food and cultural adventures since 2005. He will give you an insight into Hanoi's hidden food scene, and provide an elaborate explanation of Vietnamese practices. The tour will take you to some of Hanoi's most impressive markets, food stalls, and hidden eateries, where you will have the opportunity to try the regions best loved cuisine.</p><p>Afterwards, you can wander the Old Quarter — discovering traditional medicine shops and age old temples hidden in the busy market streets. In the evening, relax in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of a jazz bar beside the central Hoan Kiem Lake. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Sofitel Legend Metropole</p><h2>Day 2: Hanoi</h2><p>Start with a fascinating half day guided tour around Vietnam's capital. Your first stop on the tour will be at the final resting place of former leader and celebrated father, the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Then, see Ho Chi Minh's wooden stilted house and the One Pillar Pagoda before arriving at the country's first university, The Temple of Literature. Afterwards, you will drive past Hoan Kiem Lake and the charming Ngoc Son Temple before ending the tour in the city's old quarter.</p><p>In the afternoon, spend a couple of hours with Mr. Chuck Searcy, a veteran of the Vietnam War who has detailed knowledge of the history of the wars in Vietnam. After returning to Vietnam in 1992, he is now Chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, working on a project to eradicate hunger, alleviate poverty and clean up unexploded ordnance left over from the war along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).</p><p>Back at your hotel, visit to the resident bomb shelter at the Sofitel Legend Metropole. Re-discovered in 2011, the bomb shelter was used during the Vietnam War to protect guests from nightly air raids in Hanoi. Famous residents include Jane Fonda and Joan Baez.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Sofitel Legend Metropole</p><h2>Day 3: Haiphong</h2><p>Transfer from Hanoi to Haiphong with a private driver, a journey of approximately 2.5 hours. The port of Haiphong was established in 1888 on the Cua Cam River, a major tributary of the Red River. It is the north’s second largest city and has a prosperous feel; major industrial investment and a rejuvenated portside are testament to the vitality of the people. Western travellers rarely visit the city, which is an over-sight, as the centre is pleasantly green, with tree-lined boulevards and some attractive colonial style architecture. </p><p>Upon arrival at Dinh Vu Port in Haiphong, you will board an Orchid ship to tour Halong Bay. The cruise will proceed to Da Ching Islet, with a 100-year-old French lighthouse, before cruising towards Cat Ba island, a route free of many other<br />tourist boats. Spend the afternoon enjoying some stunning limestone karst scenery, exploring fishing villages, and enjoying a magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Dinner is served on board before you retire for evening.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Orchid Cruise</p><h2>Day 4: Halong Bay</h2><p>Rise early for Tai Chi on deck and breakfast before transferring to the day exploration boat. Journey towards Bai Tu Long Bay, where you will explore Viet Hai Village by bike before enjoying a kayaking trip later in the afternoon. Return to the Orchid cruise for a cooking class followed by dinner and happy hour drinks on board.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Orchid Cruise</p><h2>Day 5: Hue</h2><p>Transfer to Hanoi airport and fly to Hue. Backed by the mountains of the Annamite Cordillera, and set on the beautiful Perfume River, this is the best place to experience the country’s imperial past. The last imperial family, the Nguyens, ruled under French protection from 1802 to 1945, and their mausoleums compete in scale and grandeur as they line the valley as it leads up to the hills. Lavishly squandering their country’s wealth and manpower, these mausoleums are amongst the country’s most poignant sights.</p><p>They are not the only attractions here, though. You can board a boat and travel to the Thien Mu Pagoda, dating back to 1602, and surrounded by graceful gardens, or explore Hue’s more recent past: the former Demilitarized Zone, the atmospheric tunnels at Vinh Moc and the battle sites of Khe Sanh and the Citadel.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>La Residence Hotel &amp; Spa</p><h2>Day 6: Hue</h2><p>Take a half day private excursion with a guide and driver. Crossing to the north bank of the Perfume River, you will enter the imposing moated Citadel, which the Forbidden Purple City; much of the original structure was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, although with the help of UNESCO funding it is gradually being restored to its former glory.</p><p>You will then continue to visit the Museum of Royal Antiquities and the Mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc, located in an area of rolling hills and pine trees seven kilometres outside Hue. The tranquil grounds are filled with trees, ponds and pavilions where Tu Duc would write poetry.</p><p>In the afternoon, visit Minh Mang's Mausoleum and Thien Mu Pagoda by private boat. At the riverside in Hue you board a boat for a journey up the Perfume River to the mausoleums of Nguyen Dynasty's emperors. During a two hour journey upriver you will first explore Thien Mu Pagoda, a serene and picturesque landmark which is also an important Buddhist site. Continuing upstream, you will disembark at Minh Mang’s Mausoleum, set in gardens of pine and frangipani.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>La Residence Hotel &amp; Spa</p><h2>Day 7: Hue</h2><p>Take a private guided day trip to the former DMZ and the Vinh Moc tunnels. Places of military significance in the area include Dong Ha city, Camp Carroll, the Rock pile, Dakrong Bridge and parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. You will also have the option to visit one of the former American bases Khe Sanh or Con Thien Firebase; although both are now abandoned and overgrown, a steady stream of veterans are beginning to return.</p><p>In the afternoon continue on to Vinh Moc, stopping en route at the war cemetery, Hien Luong Bridge and Ben Hai River at the 17th Parallel. The Vinh Moc tunnels were built by the villagers during the Vietnam War as a shelter from American bombing and naval bombardments.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>La Residence Hotel &amp; Spa</p><h2>Day 8: Hoi An</h2><p>Meet your guide early for hiking in Bach Ma National Park. The trails of Bach Ma are lined with medicinal plants. At the end of your trail stop and have a picnic near the falls; it's a gradual pitch at the top, and you can test your bravery by looking over the waterfall's edge. After a bit of time to relax, you will trek back up to your car and transfer to Hoi An, either through the mountains (the more scenic route) or through the tunnels, arriving in the early afternoon in time for a late lunch or early dinner.<br /><br />Prior to the arrival of the French, Hoi An was Vietnam's "window on the world."Tucked away amongst the back streets are the houses of merchants from Asia and Europe, lured from afar by the prospect of high-grade silk and porcelain. It is an ideal<br />spot to stop for a few days, strolling along the wharf, shopping in the market, or having a silk dress or suit fitted, and is best explored on foot and at your leisure. There are many restaurants, old houses, craft shops and art galleries, where local<br />artists exhibit their works. Take some time to enjoy a bowl of Cao Lau, a special noodle soup which is a specialty in the area. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Anantara Hoi An Resort </p><h2>Day 9: Hoi An</h2><p>The day begins with a short boat trip from Bach Dang boat landing in Hoi An town, along the Thu Bon River to the village of Kim Bong, where you will first visit a traditional boat building yard. Here, you pick up bikes and begin a leisurely ride through the beautiful countryside with your guide, stopping for photographs and refreshments as you please. This is a lovely way to see some of the more traditional areas around Hoi An and explore the local handicraft cottage industries, such as wood carving, mat weaving, and coracle boat making. Afternoon at leisure in Hoi An.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Anantara Hoi An Resort </p><h2>Day 10: Saigon</h2><p>Fly to Saigon for Da Nang. On arrival at Saigon Airport, meet with your private guide and driver and transfer to<br />the Cu Chi tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It also served as communication routes and food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam War. Visit the underground villages with a VC veteran who used to live there. His experiences enable you to better understand the tunnels’ history and gain perspective of life in the tunnels and the resilience of the Vietnamese during combat.<br /><br />The vivacious city of Saigon was the original "Pearl of the Orient." The city continues to undergo rapid change, with new skyscrapers, lively bars, and a booming economy. There is still plenty of local charm: soup sellers ring their chimes to signify a freshly made lunch, fortune tellers read palms and incense drifts from busy temples. The choice of restaurants is outstanding, and this is a great shopping city: classy boutiques sell lacquerware, silk, and modern art. </p><p>Take a private guided evening food tour by vespa. Stop first at a small, popular Vietnamese bread stall before heading on to a vintage coffee shop to hear about the evening's activities. From there visit a local apartment complex that has many food stalls set up each night, a dessert shop that has been in operation for over 50 years, and a boutique seafood restaurant known only to locals. Finish your night in a cozy pub where you can try local beer and perhaps even enjoy some live music.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel des Arts</p><h2>Day 11: Saigon</h2><p>Commence this morning's tour with a visit to the shrine outside the US Consulate, before continuing to the former CIA building (outside visit only), where helicopters evacuated the remaining US citizens in 1975. Head to the rooftop café of the Rex Hotel, a familiar landmark for Americans during the Vietnam War. Sit down for a drink and enjoy the view and this piece of history, which your guide will help to explain. Then visit the Reunification Palace for a guided tour of the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese government and presidential residence.</p><p>Drive to the former home of the US Ambassador of South Vietnam in the early 1960s, Mr Henry Cabbot Lodge, who conducted a mission to overthrow the South Vietnamese government. Here you can watch an exclusive ten-minute documentary about Saigon during that time while enjoying a cold drink. Continue to the War Remnants Museum<br />for a vivid insight into the Vietnam War through the locals' eyes.</p><p>You will then be driven to a historic venue for a simple lunch of pho (noodle soup). House number 7 on Ly Chinh Thang Street, now known as Pho Binh restaurant, used to be the headquarters of Viet Cong Commanders and is where they gathered to plan for the 1968 Tet Offensive. Take a walk upstairs to learn more about its history through the family’s photo collection.</p><p>After lunch you will be driven to Cho Lon to visit a herbal medicine market and to Binh Tay market to experience the hustle and bustle of local everyday life. End the day at Thien Hau Temple, built by the Cantonese congregation in the early 19th century to honour the goddess of the sea. The temple’s ornate interior courtyard is always full of life as worshippers from the local Chinese community come to offer prayers. Take time to make a wish, write it on a small card and attach it to one of the incense coils — as per local custom. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Hotel des Arts</p><h2>Day 12: Mekong River</h2><p>Morning transfer to the port of My Tho to embark on the RV Mekong Pandaw in time for welcome drinks, a briefing and lunch. Sail across the vast Mekong Delta on your way from Saigon to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Your guide will collect your passports at the meeting point in preparation for the immigration formalities.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>RV Mekong Pandaw</p><h2>Day 13: Mekong River</h2><p>Take a <em>sampan</em> boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long, sailing along canals and backwaters and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr. Huyn Thuy Le — the "lover" of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist whose book was immortalized in the film "L’Indochine."</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>RV Mekong Pandaw</p><h2>Day 14: Mekong River</h2><p>Visit a tribal village of the Mulsim Cham people and a cat fish farm in Chau Doc with our guide — or do your own thing and take off on one of our mountain bikes. The local market is great and the Catholic Church well worth a visit. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border for the usual formalities.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>RV Mekong Pandaw</p><h2>Day 15: Phnom Penh</h2><p>Disembark in Cambodia’s capital after breakfast. Your guide and driver will be waiting for you at the water’s edge, when you arrive in Phnom Penh. They will transfer you directly to your hotel.</p><p>With its wide, tree lined boulevards and scenic setting at the confluence of three rivers, Phnom Penh was once the loveliest of the former French cities in Indochina. Many of its French colonial buildings remain, dotted around this rapidly growing capital in various state of ruin or renovation and beautiful frangipani trees still sprout from the pavements of the boulevards. It is a city which is finally emerging from the horrors of its recent past, rediscovering and reinventing itself as a tourist destination.</p><p>The focal point of Phnom Penh is the bustling riverside where you can enjoy a stroll along the banks of the Tonle Sap River or sit at a café and watch the world go by. Just back from the riverfront are the main attractions of the city — the National Museum, the Royal Palace, and Wat Phnom, from where, fable has it, the city was born. The markets are a hive of local activity and perfect for people watching, and no day in Phnom Penh is complete without a sundowner at the famous Foreign Correspondent's Club on the riverfront.</p><p>In the evening, go to Plae Pakka (Khmer for "fruitful") — a performance put on by Cambodian Living Arts exclusively at the National Museum of Phnom Penh. The artists showcase the historical and cultural richness of the country featuring dance, theatre, and live music,along with elaborate traditional costumes and staging.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Hotel Le Royal</p><h2>Day 16: Phnom Penh </h2><p>Take a full-day private city tour with your driver and guide. With your guide you begin the day exploring the stunning Royal Palace complex, home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation. Continue on to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5,000 silver tiles covering the floor; inside are some of the country's most cherished treasures, including a life-sized gold Buddha studded with 9,584 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. You leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum, home to the world's finest collection of sculpture from the Angkor period.</p><p>After lunch you come face to face with the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21, was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a centre for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture<br />and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. You then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. Despite the horrors of the past, it is a peaceful place to go and a tranquil spot to reflect on the tragic events that engulfed Cambodia and its people.</p><p>Laterin the day you will head for Wat Phnom, a symbol of the city. Located on one of the few hills in this flat part of the<br />country, the first pagoda was originally built in 1373 to house Buddha statues discovered in the Mekong by a woman named Penh. This gives the modern name of the city, Phnom Penh, or Hill of Penh. Cambodians come to the shrine to pray for luck<br />in love, life, employment and exams, so it is always a bustling place.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Hotel Le Royal</p><h2>Day 17: Siem Reap</h2><p>Fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Just north of Tonle Sap Lake, this town has grown rapidly in the last few years due to the draw of the temples of Angkor. The sheer scale and grandeur of the Angkor complex is rivalled by only a handful of sights elsewhere in the world. </p><p>Visit Angkor Wat in the late afternoon with your guide. Believed to have been undertaken as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the best-preserved<br />of the Angkorian temples. One of the treasures of Angkor Wat are the bas-reliefs that adorn the outer wall of the temple, stunning examples of traditional Khmer art — they mainly depict scenes from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, but some of them also show day to day life within the Khmer empire</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor</p><h2>Day 18: Siem Reap</h2><p>Rising early this morning you will depart for a spectacular sunrise visit to Pre Pup temple. Pre Rup, meaning "Turning the Body," consists of a pyramid-shaped temple-mountain with the uppermost of the three tiers carrying five lotus towers and provides incredible sunrise views over the Angkor Park. After your dawn excursion, continue to the famous Ta Prohm temple. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground.</p><p>Take a private tour of Angkor Thom and the Bayom temple before lunch at Sala Kdei, a traditional wooden building located in a small village overlooking the ancient royal bathing pool of Sra Srang. Lunch includes a selection of popular national dishes.</p><p>In the afternoon, take a private cycling tour of rural Cambodia. Surrounded by rice paddies, Siem Reap makes an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and glimpse rural Cambodian life. This half day cycling tour takes you out amongst the local villages, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap town. Cycle past rice paddies, palm trees, ox-drawn carts and wave at the smiling children who will be delighted to see you.</p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor</p><h2>Day 19: Siem Reap</h2><p>Travel to the countryside to see the gem of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei, which remains the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. An early-morning visit offers the advantage of avoiding the crowds that visit mid morning and having excellent light to view the carvings. Continue to the Golden Silk Pheach Farm, a local NGO that is helping to revive ancient Khmer craftsmanship in silk production, and provides job opportunities to more than 100 local staff. The farm area, mulberry trees, and weaving ateliers can be seen as part of the guided tour. </p><p>Spend the afternoon at leisure in Siem Reap before visiting the Phare Circus, an hour long show which currently rotates between four different stories centred around Cambodian society and history. Phare Circus is run by Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit Cambodian association working with vulnerable children and young adults to improve their lives through<br />development and training in the performing arts, as well as social support and educational training. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor</p><h2>​​​​​Day 20: Hong Kong</h2><p>Fly from Siem Reap to Hong Kong. Located at the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong adjoins the province of Guangdong, and has a population of over seven million people, 95% of whom are Chinese. Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were originally ceded to the British, following the Opium Wars of the 1800s, and from a minor fishing village, steadily<br />developed in to one of Asia's greatest trading hubs. </p><p>Built up around Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island is famed for its spectacular views of glittering skyscrapers, crowded markets, shopping, fast living, and the wonderful juxtaposition of ancient and modern. Across the harbour is the Kowloon side, which offers fabulous views across to the skyline, as well as some great shopping and local markets. The outlying islands offer tranquility, away from the bustle of the city, and have beautiful countryside dotted with temples to explore at your leisure. </p><p><strong>Stay</strong></p><p>The Langham </p><h2>Day 21: Depart from Hong Kong</h2><p>Spend the morning at leisure in Hong Kong before your transfer to the airport for your flight.</p>
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