Whether you are looking to travel with a group of like minded travellers, or do your own thing in an independently crafted private tour, you will benefit from local knowledge and insight.
For independent travel I working closely with destination specialists to provide you with up-to-date options and the best opportunities to be had for your holiday.
With group travelling, you can book with reputable companies that have been operating for years (decades in many cases) and benefit from from their knowledge, buying power, and special access. in addition you will experience the charm and appeal of touring with other travellers, people whom you can share the journey with, new friends out the gate.
Private Independent touring
Custom crafted to your specifications
One size does not fit all! Independent custiomized touring is when we design your travel areound your preferences, your desires, and your needs. It might be filling in the gaps between group tours, cruises or rail journey, or perhaps the entire journey is custom designed start to finish.
The world and how we travel through it is constantly changing: we have more options than ever before, and it can be difficult to find what you are really looking for. Fortunately, helping people custom craft their itineraries, offering suggestions and working through whatever challenges arise are all part of what I can do to help make your travel dreams a reality.
Each of the following itineraries is a real example of a collaboration between myself (Ron), my clients and a destination management specialist in the particular countries my clients were journeying to. These partnerships I form are the backbone of providing you with up to date information and recommendations to ensure the best possible holiday.
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Previous Client Journeys
On arrival into Cairo you will be met prior to immigration and handed your visa by one of our helpful local representatives.
Day 1 CAIRO
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your full day sightseeing tour of the Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis and Sakkara. Begin your tour with a visit to Memphis which served as the capital of Upper and Lower Egypt some 5000 years ago during the First Dynasty. Continue to Sakkara, one of the most exciting historical and archaeological areas in all of Egypt. Dominated by the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser this was the first pyramid to be built in ancient Egypt, preceding those at Giza by many centuries. Continue to the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza where you will see the great pyramid built by Cheops and containing more than 2.3 million cubic metres of stone. (Lunch not included) (B)
Day 2 CAIRO – LUXOR
Today you will be picked up from your Giza hotel and transferred to the airport for a flight to Luxor.
On arrival into Luxor you will be met by a local representative and transferred to your hotel.
Your accommodation in Luxor has been reserved at Hilton Luxor for 1 Night in a Classic room including: Buffet Breakfast
Beautifully located beside the Nile and close to Luxor’s famous Karnak Temple, the Hilton Luxor has recently undergone a complete renovation. The property now boasts chic modern architecture combined with authentic local style, and offers 236 well-appointed rooms, a stunning spa, a choice of seven bars and restaurants and two infinity pools, each at the edge of the Nile.
Depart with your private guide for a memorable tour of Luxor. Your first visit of the day will be to the Temple of Medinat Habu which is the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III. Later, visit Howard Carter’s house. Neglected for a long time, the house has now been restored to its former state by the famous Egyptologist and Archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass and now offers a fascinating insight into the life of Howard Carter in an amazing 1920 atmosphere.
This afternoon, return to the East Bank and visit the Mummification Museum which contains everything you would ever wish to know about mummification. The ancient Egyptians believed that in order for a person to reach the afterlife, it was essential that both their body and their name remained, so their Soul would be transported from one life to the next. In order to achieve this, the mummification rituals were developed to preserve the body. The museum contains several human and animal mummies as well as the tools and the canopic jars needed for the ritual.
Later this afternoon transfer back to your hotel. (B)
Day 3 LUXOR – CRUISE
Today you will be transferred from your hotel to the port for your Nile cruise, the Sonesta St. George Nile Cruise Boat, which will be your floating hotel for the next four nights.
Seeing the Nile for the first time one can understand the words of Herodotus ‘Egypt is the gift of the Nile’. This afternoon in an unforgettable excursion; explore Luxor Temple, built by two kings, Amenophis III and Ramses II. After touring Luxor Temple continue to Karnak Temple, the main centre of worship in ancient Egypt. Overnight in Luxor. (L,D).
Day 4 CRUISE: LUXOR – EDFU
This morning cross the Nile to the West Bank. Today’s highlights include the Necropolis of Thebes and the Valley of the Kings, where you’ll find the tombs of the Theban rulers, such as Ramses II and Tutankhamun. Also tour the Valley of the Queens, the Mortuary Temple of Hatchepsut, the only woman Pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt. See the famed Colossi of Memnon facing the Nile. Enjoy Lunch on board and an afternoon at leisure as we sail onto Edfu for your overnight stop. (B,L,D).
(Entrance fees to Tutankhamun’s Tomb to be paid direct).
Day 5 CRUISE: EDFU – KOM OMBO
This morning visit Edfu where remains from the Old Kingdom can be viewed as well as the Temple of Horus and houses of the Byzantine period. Sail to Kom Ombo and view its famous temple completed during the reign of Ptolemy during 181-146B.C. This temple was shared by the two Gods, Sobek and Haroeris. See the beautiful murals, bas relief and fine views of the river. Overnight in Kom Ombo. (B,L,D).
Day 6 CRUISE: KOM OMBO – ASWAN
This morning we will travel towards Aswan as you enjoy breakfast on board. Highlights today will include the Aswan Dams at the end of Lake Nasser, the re-sited Temple of Philae and the Granite Quarries which provided stone for Karnak & Luxor Temples. In the afternoon sail on the Nile by felucca (Egyptain Sailboat) around Kitchener Island and Agha Khan Mausoleum. Overnight in Aswan. (B,L,D).
Day 7 ASWAN DISEMBARK – ABU SIMBEL
Disembark this morning after breakfast and transfer to your flight to Abu Simbel (B).
Fly this morning over the ancient Kingdom of Nubia to Abu Simbel on the northern shore of Lake Nasser. You will be met and transferred to your hotel for overnight with dinner and breakfast.
This afternoon, enter the site with one of the locally appointed English speaking guides. Visit the Temples of Ramses II and marvel at the legacy of one of the greatest Pharaohs, as well as at the tremendous engineering feat that saved it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Optional this evening. Attend the Sound and Light show at Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in all of Egypt, not only for its historical significance, but for the great engineering success in moving these temples to their present location.
Of all the temples of Egyptian antiquity, amongst the most spectacular and best preserved are the Temples of Abu Simbel. The master builder was Ramses II, one of Egypt’s greatest Pharaohs. The larger temple celebrates the Pharaoh himself while the smaller one honours his wife Queen Nefertari. When the new Lake Nasser Dam was built in the 1960s, the temples were moved to save them from a watery grave. In an amazing feat of engineering, the temples were hewn into huge blocks of thirty tonnes each and relocated 180m further inland.
A note of caution: The Sun Temple and Colossi of Ramses II are located on a sandy cliff overlooking Lake Nasser. To approach this monument site you walk along a rocky and uneven sandy path.
Day 8 ABU SIMBEL – ASWAN
This morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Aswan.(B)
Welcome to Aswan.
Aswan, Egypt’s sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about 100km south of Luxor, has a distinctively African atmosphere with the local Nubian population. Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. In Aswan, the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk, full of the scent and colour of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets.
The Old Cataract is one of the finest hotels in one of the most stunning locations in Egypt. Built on the banks of the river Nile, guests have enjoyed the service and comfort of this legendary hotel since 1899. Immortalized by Agatha Christie’s ‘Death on the Nile’, the hotel uniquely combines architectural styles from the East and the Victorian Era. Guest rooms offer a contemporary Egyptian style and provide a peaceful sanctuary to observe the Nile from your balcony.
Remainder of the day at leisure top soak up the atmosphere of this stunning hotel. We suggest having a sundowner or high tea on the balcony overlooking the Nile.
Day 9 Jan ASWAN– ALEXANDRIA
Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Cairo.
Upon arrival into Cairo you will be transferred to the station for your train to Alexandria.
Board your train from Cairo to Alexandria
Note: This is a first class Egyptian Rail Train.
On arrival by train into Alexandria at you will be met by a local representative and transferred to your hotel
Day 10 ALEXANDRIA
This morning day at leisure to explore Alexandria. Wander the corniche and maybe partake in some nice freshly caught fish at a local restaurant.
Day 11 ALEXANDRIA – CAIRO
Today you will be picked up from your hotel for your half day tour of Alexandria. Start with a visit of Pompeii’s Pillar: a column of red Aswan granite standing some 90 feet high, with a circumference of 27 feet, the pillar was erected in honour of the Emperor Diocletian. Continue with the Catacombs of Kom El-Shouqafa. These tombs were tunnelled into bedrock at the time of the Antonine emperors in the 2nd century AD for a single wealthy family still practicing the ancient religion. Although the funerary motifs are purely ancient Egyptian, the architects and artists were schooled in the Greco-Roman style. Finally, visit Alexandria National Museum. The museum comprises more than 1800 archaeological pieces that narrate the Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Coptic, Islamic, and modern history of Egypt. One display features pieces picked up from the seabed at Abu Ker Bay and the eastern harbour near the Qaitbay Citadel.
After the tour transfer to the station for your train to Cairo. On arrival into Cairo you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
When the hotel first opened in 1959, the iconic Nile Ritz Carlton hosted the world’s most powerful and famous including Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra or Nelson Rockefeller. In 2015, the hotel was fully renovated to bring back historic luxury in the heart of Cairo’s Downtown. Superbly overlooking the Nile and a stroll away from the new Egyptian Museum & the Cairo Opera House, the hotel features 331 rooms & suites designed by Frank Nicholson and offers City or Nile views, four fine dining restaurants and three bars as well as an outdoor pool & Spa.
Day 12 CAIRO
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your full day sightseeing tour of Cairo Museum, Citadel, Mosque and Bazaars. Visit the Egyptian Museum where you can view the glittering treasures of ancient Egypt. Continue to the Citadel which dominates Cairo’s skyline. Also visit the Mohammed Ali Mosque commissioned by Mohammed Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848. Your tour ends with a visit to the 14th century Khan El Khalili Bazaar where many bargains may be found.(lunch not included) (B)
Day 13 CAIRO
Today you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight.
Day 1 ARRIVE KUCHING
Arrive into Kuching and after your transfer to your hotel, spend the rest of the day settling in and exploring the city.
Day 2 KUCHING – BAKO NATIONAL PARK
Morning transfer to Bako National Park
Bako National Park, situated about 38 km from Kuching on the Maura Tebas peninsular at the mouth of the Sarawak River, can be reached by car and longboat in 1½-hours. The journey takes you past beautiful nipah palms, coconut plantations and mangrove swamps. A unique feature of Bako is the way nature has delightfully combined spectacular landscapes of steep coastline cliffs, weather eroded rock formations and wave beaten sea stacks with abundant flora and fauna, wildlife and a thriving mangrove swamp. It is a rare place that should please even the most demanding photographer or wildlife and nature enthusiast. Bako supports several types of distinct vegetation open shrub lands and hardy flora at the plateau of the hill range, changing to lush and tall rain-forest trees and plants, lowland dipterocarp forest on the slopes and finally to casuarinas and mangrove trees along the coast. It is also home to numerous species of birds, snakes and animals such as the proboscis monkeys, long tailed macaques, wild boars, sambar deer and monitor lizards. Sixteen well demarcated paths within the parks can be followed without any difficulty or fear of getting lost. Either packed lunch or coffee shop style lunch at the park`s canteen will be provided.
Day 3 BAKO – GUNANG GADING NATIONAL PARK
The Gunung Gading National Park is located in the Lundu area, a 1½-hour drive northeast of Kuching. It features a complex of mountains rising into several peaks, the highest being Gunung Gading, (906 metres) from which the park derived its name. Numerous magnificent waterfalls tumble down in series in the upper reaches of the Lundu River creating an idyllic jungle setting.
The area abounds with numerous rare plants, the most notable being the Rafflesia tuanmudae which is reputed to be the world`s largest and proven to be the only cannibalistic plant in the world. The flowers produce a strong odour to attract insects and also produce a slimy substance to digest their victims.
The rafflesia measures almost a metre in width, when in full bloom! It takes a few months for the flower bud to bloom into a full size flower. The flower will last a few days before the next season comes again. There is no specific flowering season in the park. A proper trekking trail is marked and built with wooden planks. Take a dip in the clear running stream or the man made pool in the park!
Note: Sighting of Raflessia is subject to bloom on day of visit and is not guaranteed.
Day 4 GUNANG GADING – SEMENGGOH NATURE RESERVE – KUCHING
Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is situated 30 minutes away from the city by road. Animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts won`t want to miss out on this excursion, which features a 740 acre sanctuary for a number of Sarawak`s indigenous wildlife including the original ” Man Of The Forest” – the unique and gentle Orang Utan. The best time to see the Orang Utan is before feeding time. During this moment, you will see many of them swing out from the forest to the centre’s feeding platform. This will be a lifetime experience for any tourist to get a close encounter with Orang Utan. Feeding is done twice a day by the park rangers. Most of the Orang Utan have been taken from illegal captivity during the illegal logging activities and poaching of animals in the jungle . Therefore , there are not many of them left in the jungle of Borneo . In the centre, they are slowly rehabilitated to go back to their natural habitat.
Day 5 KUCHING – MULU
Pick-up from hotel lobby and transfer to airport after tour to catch flight to Mulu, where on arrival a transfer will take you to Mulu National Park.
Take a scenic 3km plank walk through primary rain-forest to the entrance of Deer Cave. Deer Cave has the world’s largest cave entrance and is the largest single cave passage in the world – about 120-150 m in diameter, or it can fit St. Paul’s Cathedral under its massive archway. The cave has a moon-like landscape and from one vantage point, a perfect profile of US President Lincoln can be observed. Most evenings at sundown, a spectacular exodus of about 2 million of bats can be observed as they leave the cave in search of food. Next to Deer Cave is Lang’s Cave. The stalactites and stalagmites inside this cave are representative of the very best limestone formations in the park. Trek back to the Park H.Q. by torchlight
The rest of the evening is free at own leisure.
Day 6 MULU
In the morning proceed by longboat upriver to Wind Cave with its impressive ‘King’s Chamber’. Here, stalactites and stalagmites with delicate lace-like patterns are found. A short walk along a plank walk suspended to the limestone cliff leads to Clearwater Cave. Like most caves in Mulu, Clearwater Cave is the habitat of unique species of plants. One of them, the one-leafed plant can only be found at Mulu; rare species of orchids and pitcher plants can be seen in many locations and photo-sensitive algae grow on certain rocks and have produced needle-like formations that point towards the source of light. Clearwater Cave has a wonderful swimming area shaded by giant rain-forest trees. Have a simple packed picnic lunch at the Clearwater shelter before returning to Park Headquarters. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Day 7 MULU – KOTA KINABALU
Pick-up from hotel lobby and transfer to airport for flight to Kota Kinabalu. Transfers to accommodation on arrival.
Day 8 KOTA KINABALU-LAHAD DATU-DANUM VALLEY
Packed Breakfast from hotel
Early morning transfer from Jesselton Hotel to Kota Kinabalu Airport.
Meet and assist upon arrival at Lahad Datu airport. Transfer to Borneo Rain-forest Lodge office for registration.
0930 am Scheduled transfer from Lahad Datu to Danum valley on combine sharing basis (approx 2.5 hrs) – Danum Valley Conservation Area is Sabah’s largest protected area of lowland Dipterocarp forest preserved for conservation, research, education and training.
This Borneo Eden has over 200 species of trees per hectare, some of which are the oldest and tallest (and most diverse) in the world. An abundance of animal life such as the Orang utan, silver & red leaf monkey, Asian elephants, tarsiers and slow loris are found in this pristine jungle.
After lunch, trek through the nearby trails for an opportunity to observe some of the 124 species of mammals, 72 reptiles, 56 amphibians and over 325 species of birds living in this fascinating world of tropical rain-forest (nature permitting).
At night, enjoy a night drive in an open air jeep in search of nocturnal animals. (Subject to availability, weather permitting & may be interchanged with the second night’s: “Night walk”)
Day 9 DANUM VALLEY : COFFIN CLIFF & JACUZZIS
Trek up Coffin Cliff to visit the ancient burial site, where wooden coffins are wedged along the cliff side before proceeding to the “View Point” for a bird’s eye view of the area. Descend to the “Jacuzzi Pool” for a refreshing dip.
Free at leisure in the afternoon. After dinner, enjoy a night walk (weather permitting).
Day 10 DANUM VALLEY-LAHAD DATU-KOTA KINABALU
Included in the accommodation package is use of the activities by Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Please enjoy their rain-forest tour selection this morning.
Enjoy included lunch before check out and your 1.30 pm scheduled transfer from Danum Valley to Lahad Datu Airport to catch your flight back to Kota Kinabalu.
On arrival at Kota Kinabalu airport, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 11 KOTA KINABALU-DUSUN VILLAGE-KINABALU PARK-KUNDASANG
Traverse along Sabah’s Crocker Range to Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site nominated by UNESCO. En route stop to visit a Dusun Village and Nabalu Native market before proceeding to Kinabalu Park. Here, Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Malaysia towers majestically at 4095 m (13431 feet). Enjoy the cool air as you trek around the foothills to learn about the different unique plants of Borneo such as the carnivorous Nepenthes, rhododendrons & orchids.
Day 12 KUNDASANG-PORING HOT SPRING-SANDAKAN
Depart Kundasang, the montane oak-chestnut forest proceed to the lowland dipterocarp forest at Poring. Cross a Canopy walkway (built across the rain-forest canopy 100 feet above ground level) to view epiphytes growing on the tree tops.
Day 13 SANDAKAN : SEPILOK ORANGUTAN, LABUK PROBOSCIS MONKEY & BORNEAN SUNBEAR.
Borneo Rainforest houses three very unique animals namely the Orang utan, the Proboscis Monkey and the Bornean Sunbear, Visit Sepilok, the world’s oldest Orang utan Sanctuary to learn more about this ape which shares 96.4% of the human genetic make-up. Then, proceed to Labuk Bay Sanctuary to meet the long nose Proboscis Monkey which is endemic to Borneo. Other wildlife such as hornbills and Silverleaf monkeys can be seen occasionally. After lunch, stop by the Bornean Sunbear Conservation Centre, home to the world’s smallest bear. Capture the charms of Sandakan with a city drive before stopping at the Sandakan Memorial Park. The park is dedicated to the memory of all the prisoners in the World War 2 camp formerly situated here, who died during the Sandakan Death Marches.
Day 14 SANDAKAN-SELINGAN TURTLE ISLAND
Transfer to Sandakan Jetty for your boat transfer (1½-hour) to Selingan Island. Located 40 km north of Sandakan, the island is one of the most important turtle breeding areas in South East Asia. A safe haven for endangered Green and Hawsbill turtles, this marine park is visited almost every night by turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs at night. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon swimming or strolling around the island. In the evening, after dinner, visit the Exhibition Centre while waiting for the Park Ranger to locate Turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Witness the collecting of eggs from the nesting site, planting them in the hatchery and see little Turtles scrambling to the open sea upon release.
Day 15 SELINGAN TURTLE ISLAND-SANDAKAN-SEPILOK-KINABATANGAN
At 7.00 am, depart the island Sandakan to second visit Sepilok Orang utan Sanctuary,Take a short walk through the lowland dipterocarp forest.
Continue overland to Kinabatangan. Late in the afternoon, take an evening cruise in search of endemic Proboscis Monkeys, different species of birds and other wildlife along the river bank. Return to Lodge for dinner.
Day 16 KINABTANGAN-GOMANTONG-SANDAKAN AIRPORT
Wake up by the calls of gibbons and hornbills, after breakfast, 0700 depart back to Sandakan. En route stop to visit Gomantong Birdnest Cave – 15 minutes walk on the plank walk to the cave. Explore the largest bird’s nest cave in Sabah, home to millions of bats and swiflets. The nest of the swiflets are collected for the famous Chinese edible bird nest soup.
Enjoy your lunch before transferring to Sandakan airport for your onward flight.
Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina
Day 1 – LIMA
On arrival at Lima airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel located in Lima’s desirable San Isidro district. Recognised as a Peruvian national monument, the Country Club Lima Hotel is a five-star landmark boutique hotel that epitomises sophistication.
Day 2 – LIMA
Experience Peruvian gastronomy with a hands-on cooking tour. Start with a visit to one of Lima’s traditional markets to select the ingredients for your cooking lesson and discover the array of Andean spices, grains, vegetables and fruits used in Peruvian food. Our renowned chef will show you how to prepare traditional recipes like the zesty ceviche, Causa Limeña and Lomo saltado. After lunch explore Peru’s capital city on a half day tour of colonial and modern Lima.
Day 3 – LIMA – CUZCO – SACRED VALLEY
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco. On arrival, transfer to your hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Explora Valle Sagrado is located in one of the region’s most ancient corn plantations, designed in line with the surroundings and sheltered by mighty mountains that were once the home to the great Inca Empire.
Day 4 – SACRED VALLEY
Day 1 ARRIVE COLOMBO – NEGOMBO
Arrive into Colombo International Airport and transfer to the nearby city of Negombo.
Day 2 NEGOMBO
We start off our holiday in Sri Lanka with a tour of the Negombo fish market and harbour, Dutch church and port, Angurukaramulla Temple, St. Mary’s Church and the Hindu Temple. Time at leisure in the late afternoon to explore.
Day 3 NEGOMBO – DAMBULLA
After breakfast we are off to Dambulla, with a visit to Dambulla Rock Caves Temple along the way. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best preserved of Sri Lanka’s cave complexes and comprises over 80 caves.
Day 4 DAMBULLA
This morning we are off to Anuradhapura; Sri Lanka’s ancient capital. A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the north central part of the Island, this was the first capital from 5th century BC to 9th century AD, and the centre of the island’s Buddhist civilization. It is also home to the oldest historically documented tree on earth, which is over 2,200 years old, the Sri Maha Bodhi. This tree is said to be from a sapling of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Day 5 DAMBULLA
In the morning we visit the grand 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress and the remains of the palace on the top of the rock. The mid-level has a terrace with the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes of the Heavenly Maidens. Afterwards we are off to learn the art of Sri Lankan cuisine. Together with the chef, we will wander through the vegetable paddies, picking vegetables for the class, then learn to cook using local spices and ancient techniques. We will finish the day with a visit to the village of Hiriwadunna for a guided walk to see the daily life of the farmers and to spot birds, and then a bullock cart ride through the paddy field.
Day 6 DAMBULLA
This morning’s excursion takes us to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, considered to be one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the afternoon enjoy a jeep safari to Minneriya National Park and witness herds of wild elephants, sambar deer, leopards and various other wildlife species.
Day 7 DAMBULLA – KANDY
After breakfast we travel to Kandy, stopping along the way at the Matale Spice Plantations for a guided walk through the spice garden. In Kandy we will explore the town and visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which houses the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha before heading to the Gem museum. In the evening we’ll attend a cultural show.
Day 8 KANDY
We are off this morning to the Peradeniya Botanical Garden to view this 147-acre garden, first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and later expanded by the British. The afternoon is at leisure, giving time to explore this ancient city and its wonders.
Day 9 KANDY – NUWARA ELIYA
Today we will journey by rail to Nuwara Eliya, winding our way through a truly beautiful landscape of mist-covered mountains and roaring waterfalls, considered one of the most scenic highlands of Sri Lanka. Later check into the hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
Day 10 NUWARA ELIYA
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then we are off for a tea garden tour. The tea industry in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is over 150 years old. This industry was started by the British when Ceylon was a colony. Vestiges of the Colonial heritage are still evident, particularly in the tea growing regions. Remainder of day is free to relax and enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
Day 11 NUWARA ELIYA – YALA
An early morning start and we travel from Nuwara Eliya to Yala, stopping at Ella along the way to take in the views of this beautiful part of Sri Lanka. The evening is at leisure to explore.
Day 12 YALA – GALLE – BERUWALA/AHUNGALL
In the morning enjoy a safari at Yala National Park. Sri Lanka’s best known National Park is popular for seeing elephants, leopards, bears, crocodiles and wild boar. Extending over 97,800 hectares, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka’s National Parks and was recently made famous by National Geographic, who focused on the leopard conservation project being undertaken here. Then to Galle for a sightseeing tour of this ancient harbour town. Captured by the Portuguese in 1587 A.D., the Dutch in 1640 A.D., and the British in 1796 A.D. there is a lot of cultural mishmash to enjoy. After we head to your Beruwala hotel.
Day 13 BERUWALA/AHUNGALL
This morning we visit the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery where you can see many species of endangered turtles. The eggs collected by the villagers and fishermen are purchased by the Kosgoda Hatchery and kept in sandy pens until they hatch. The newly hatched ones are kept in tanks and released to the sea at night. This hatchery is known to have released more than 1,750,000 young turtles to the sea. We will then head to the Mask Factory in Ambalangoda to learn how this significant cultural art is made. These masks are famous ornaments used in on-stage dramas, and public events such as dances etc. Mask making is a very difficult process that takes years to master.
Day 14 BERUWALA/AHUNGALL
After breakfast the day is free at your leisure. The local beach or hotel pool are great spots to relax, or instead you can explore the surroundings.
Day 15 BERUWALA/AHUNGALL – COLOMBO
Late morning we will transfer to Colombo for a city sightseeing tour, taking in the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the New Parliament in Sri Jayewardenepura, the Folk Art Centre, Art Galleries, Parks, Independence Square, the Ceramic Corporation famous for its well-known brand “Noritake” and ODEL, the renowned shopping centre. After our sightseeing we have a farewell dinner at The Ocean Restaurant.
Day 16 COLOMBO – DEPARTURE
After breakfast we are off to the airport for our return journey home.
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Group tours get to enjoy things that some travelers simply do not. Whether it is late night access to the Vatican, or a special dinner in a museum after hours special access excursions that are only available through a group tour make for an amazing holiday.
See the must do's and some hidden gems
An organized group tour guarantees that the most important sites are included in the tour while also including some hidden gems that you may not discover on your own, or even be able to access! It also ensures that you maximize the use of your time and allocates the required amount of time for each attraction.
Having a tour director by your side takes the stress out of your holiday. All of your excursions are well thought-out and planned ahead of time. The tour director is also on stand-by to help alleviate any issues that pop up with traveling. Your only responsibility is to sit back and enjoy each stop on your itinerary. All group tours have a group leader who is with the group for the entirety of the itinerary.
Group tours are a great way of building up your network of friends. You automatically create a bond with the members of the group as you share lifelong memories and experiences together. You may even plan another tour with some of these friends. Sharing new travel experiences can bond people for life and lead to more shared adventures in the future.
Learn From The Rest
Each member of the group can bring a different perspective to the tour and this allows you to learn more about a particular location or indeed enhance your opinion about a particular site. You can learn a lot on a group tour. The driver alone is a font of knowledge who can tell you more about a location as you drive past it than reading any guide book would.
safety and Security
Because you will have a tour manager with experience in the area they will have lots of local knowledge and be able to provide insights to keep you secure and safe. Should a problem occur they will also know the best way to solve it.
Group tours tend to be less expensive than similar itienraries done indepenently because the costs of vehicles and guides are averaged out over the whole group. The larger the group, generally the lower the cost.
Traveling in a group means you are with a wide variety of people with similar interests. A group tours could consist of people who have been fast friends for years or a group of strangers who just share similar interests – some with a mixture of both. You are automatically widening your circle of companions and there will be lots of people to share the exact holiday you want.
Further off the beaten track
The logistics of transport are always a barrier when it comes to getting off the normal road and railways. Not an obstacle for a group tour though, as highly trained coach drivers can get most anywhere it is desirable to go, allowing you to access areas that would be to challenging to access otehrwise.
Group tours in the Luxury category tend to have centrally located 5 star hotels and boutique. While prices are higher upfront, your on tour costs tend to me very minimal, and your experiences, accommodation, transport and more are of the highest quality.
Traveling well includes getting the best value for your money. Our guests feel that it’s not about spending as little as you can, but about what you get for what you spend… and that a Tauck trip is worth every penny. They say the exclusive experiences we provide, the great hotels they stay in, and the exemplary service they receive often far exceeds their expectations… and that with Tauck, they get their money’s worth and more.
About Insight Vacations
As a global leader in luxury guided vacations, Insight Vacations has been crafting magical journeys that embody the “Art of Travelling in Style” for 40 years. Through meticulous planning, detailed preparation and boundless passion, Insight’s collection of award-winning itineraries showcase the most outstanding destinations and curated experiences in Europe and North America. Guided by a highly-skilled Travel Director, guests can look forward to travelling in smaller groups, savouring authentic dining and enjoying a range of immersive Insight Experiences.
For Insight, travel is not just about going to incredible places: it’s also about connecting with those places in an authentic way. They’ll show you a range of fascinating and unique experiences, allowing you to get to know your destination intimately through incredible activities, meaningful interactions and expert local insights. You’ll also enjoy a variety of mouth-watering dining experiences designed to give you an authentic flavour of the places you’ll visit.
Insight want you to feel entirely at ease and relaxed throughout your vacation, which is why you’ll travel and stay in style. With groups that average 33 travellers (maximum 40), Insight guests have more time to enjoy each destination and to really get to know each other. Reduced wait times and smaller, sociable groups allow for easier travel and more quality time in your destination. As far as accommodation is concerned, you’ll stay in hotels that are truly exceptional in terms of style, location and service. Your experienced and knowledgeable Travel Director will also take care of everything, from hotel check-ins and tips for your luggage.
Insight will take you on an unforgettable journey, immerse you in unique experiences, and introduce you to amazing people. The magic begins here!
Luxury Gold sets an unmatched standard with its collection of award-winning luxury escorted journeys. Guided by a Travelling Concierge, Luxury Gold is a journey beyond the ordinary, where guests enjoy exclusive VIP Experiences, savour exceptional dining and relax in sophisticated, luxury hotels on every curated itinerary. As global leaders in luxury travel with expertise accumulated over nearly 100 years, Luxury Gold epitomises extraordinary exploration to some of the world’s most spectacular destinations.
Wherever you go, Luxury Gold will delight and surprise you with remarkable experiences, tastes, sights and sounds, and introduce you to incredible people renowned within their specialist fields. You’ll have exclusive access to famous landmarks not open to the general public and have access to “sold out” tickets to cultural events, many of which are near-impossible to experience as an independent traveller. Throughout each journey, there are also stand-out dining experiences, perhaps at a Michelin star restaurant in an impressive location, or with a stunning view, or a very special ambiance.
Luxury Gold invites you to savour every moment of your escorted journey, because your dedicated Travelling Concierge is with you all the way. From spa appointments to recommendations on local exploration, they take care of every detail and tailor the trip to your wishes and whims. Not only will they provide suggestions for dining on your free evenings, but they will also make reservations and arrangements to ensure an exceptional experience. Whatever you need to make your journey that much more special, your Travelling Concierge is there to help.
Group tours in the Premium category tend to have centrally located 4 star hotels, comfortable private transport, a guide and driver. The “must do’s” of each location are included, with a balance of free time (with optional excursions to be had if desired).
Globus - large group size
It’s time to getaway, rediscover yourself and breathe life into the holiday you’ve always imagined! The Globus family of brands is excited to deliver this and so much more. With over 90 years of travel experience, you can rest assured that your holiday will be taken care of at every step of the way.
With Globus you can expect exceptional value for money and a first-class holiday. We allow you to experience the very best of your chosen destination with more inclusions, conveniently located superior hotels, and our exclusive Local FavouritesSM that take you behind-the-scenes to really spotlight what makes the destination unique. Or travel in the European wintertime with Escapes by Globus – minus the crowds and the high-season prices.
Trafalgar - large group size
Trafalgar crafts unique journeys that connect travellers to the real depth of the places they go, without them needing to worry about a thing. With over 70 years of destination expertise, Trafalgar continue to deliver exceptional holidays to their guests. From carefully-curated trips and exclusive Be My Guest experiences, to their tribe of passionate Travel Directors and Local Specialists, Trafalgar enables you to discover the rich diversity of the world. No matter what trip you choose, you can be assured that your itinerary will be packed with real experiences that will connect you to the soul of the places you go. You’ll see the icons, but also break bread with the locals who are proud to bring you into their homes, share their cultures and tell their tales.
With expert Travel Directors, comfortable transport, quality accommodation, plenty of meals and unique highlights included, Trafalgar gives you the freedom to just be; be in the moment, be happy, be inspired. With a 97% guest satisfaction rate on independent reviews provider, Feefo, Trafalgar are the ultimate champions of happy. After all, it’s the feedback from over five million happy guests that fuel their innovation to craft “Simply the Best” trips.
Get those ‘pinch me’ moments through a series of Trafalgar Highlights other travellers may never know about, or have access to. On each trip, you can expect a variety of Hidden Gems shared by your expert Travel Director, and access to the iconic sites that you’ve always dreamt of visiting.
But that’s just the beginning.
We’ve delved deeper into the destinations you love, to deliver you a collection of local experiences you won’t find with anyone else. Leave the guidebooks at home and let us show you the real thing, without worrying about a thing.
Albatross - small to medium group size
Specially for you
Each and every one of our tours have been designed specially for you – Australians and New Zealanders. Like-minded travellers, like you, seeking a more fulfilling European holiday experience. We understand you want more from an escorted tour than a few hurried, all too brief visits to the destinations you have travelled so far to see.
Relaxing 3, 4 and even 5 night stays
Our tours are designed with a leisurely pace featuring 3, 4 and even 5 night stays in each captivating city or region. We consider 2 nights stays to be the absolute minimum!
Let’s face it nobody likes continuously checking in and out of hotels, unpacking their bags each evening, and then having to re-pack them again early the next morning. So, relax with Albatross Tours and enjoy your holiday.
See more and experience more with Albatross
When we design our tours we first look at each region and we ask what must be done, what can be done, and what should be done. Our objective is to give you a more rewarding experience and allow you time to ‘stay a while’ and savour the destination. We then break these down into carefully balanced touring days. Some days might have quite conventional visits to towns and cities. On other days we will add activities that are distinctly provincial, maybe quirky or possibly even something for the simple pleasure of it.
‘My time’ guaranteed!
‘My Time’enables for more time for you to relax, to explore, at your own pace. Time to immerse yourself in each destination, perhaps to window shop, wander the streets of delightful towns and villages, or mingle with the locals at a café. Because we feature longer stays on all our itineraries, you are guaranteed to enjoy ‘My Time’on every Albatross tour. We have designed our holidays to ensure adequate, well planned ‘free time’.
Albatross Tours offer genuinely inclusive tours!
Albatross tours are genuinely inclusive and include all of those special excursions and visits, sightseeing tours and feature dinners. We even include the end of tour tips to your tour manager and driver! You will never be confronted with a long ‘optional activities list’. We believe these expensive, later charged, hidden extras (usually costing over $100 per person per day) are entirely predictable – so we have already included these experiences for you in our tours. This means you will find it far easier to budget for your daily holiday expenses and you will have complete transparency on where you money is going.
We encourage you to compare our tour prices on a cost per day basis, and take into consideration that Albatross Tours have NO additional ‘on tour’ costs. Rest assured, by the time you get back home and walk back through your front door you will not have paid any more.
Small Group Touring
The average group size with Albatross is just 22 passengers – on a full-size coach! We cap our tours at 28 travellers and give you the peace of mind to know we guarantee our tours will depart with as few as just 10!
Albatross Tours is one of the earliest innovators of small group touring. We saw the enormous benefits our travellers would enjoy when combining small, more personal groups with longer stays at each delightful destination. There is a massive difference!
Everything is personal
You’ve travelled far to experience Europe. With Albatross Tours, you’ll never feel like just one of the crowd, you’ll feel special. Our small group size means our client to Tour Manager ratio is halved and you are guaranteed a high level of personal service and attention
Where you stay is important
Unique Hotels, Superb Locations
Picture yourself relaxing on the geranium-trimmed balcony of a family run Gasthof, or waking up in a stunning palace hotel In addition to centrally located first class city hotels, we believe your European experience should be enhanced with memorable stays in unique hotels, steeped in local character. So, in Italy you’ll sleep in a grand villa or a beautifully renovated ‘Sassi’ cave, in France in a 16th century château and our ‘Best of British’ tour culminates in the exclusive use of magnificent Leeds Castle.
Back-Roads - Small group size
Our passion is delivering small group holidays that delve a little deeper. Travelling along scenic roads beyond the reach of larger vehicles, our tours invite you to see each destination through the eyes of the people who know it best: the locals who call it home.
Picture a touring holiday that delves a bit deeper.
One that doesn’t simply drop by top sights and major cities, but invites you to see a destination through the eyes of the people who know it best: the locals who call it home. Where journeys are made for absorbing never-to-be-forgotten views, not darting from A to B. And each day ends in a hand-picked retreat brimming with local charm.
At Back-Roads Touring, we’ve spent over 30 years creating these kinds of small group tours. We know that the best kind of adventure is one that introduces you to local experiences and sights while providing you with the time and space to explore independently.
The key ingredient? Experienced Tour Leaders who can turn an exciting getaway into something truly extraordinary. They’ll tell you the stories and secrets behind stately homes as you wander the corridors; show you the perfect position to see the sunset over a city skyline; and point you towards the exact patch of coastline where you can try oysters straight off the boat.
All the while, you can be confident that your Back-Roads tour is being run responsibly and with sustainable tourism in mind. In fact, our commitment to green practices has earned us a Silver Green Tourism rating
At Back-Roads, we’re dedicated to providing our guests with the best travel experience possible, and this passion has helped us to achieve several prestigious industry awards. For the past four years in a row, we’ve won the ‘Best Small Coach Holiday Company’ award at the British Travel Awards – and our commitment to responsible travel has earned us a Silver Green Tourism rating.
Peregrine - Small group size
At Peregrine, we deliver premium adventures to over 80 destinations.
We’ll start with the highlights, but when the big tour groups hop back on their coach, our local guides will help you find a more unique, personal experience.
In 40 years of travel we’ve learned 12 people is the perfect number for comfort and good company, which is why we only have 12 people on each of our small group adventures.
Our experienced leaders unlock unique local experiences for thousands of travellers every day, that’s why they’re some of the most awarded in the industry.
Giving back to the destinations we visit is at the heart of what we do. That’s why we choose to support local economies by employing leaders from the regions we visit, carbon offset every trip at no extra cost to our and advocate for child protection and animal rights in the tourism industry.
Adventure/Experiential and Budget Touring
Group tours in the Adventure category can range in accommodation and transport quality by company and destination, but tend to focus on authentic interactions with the local people and environment. Commonly there is some level of physical ability required as a tour may include hiking, biking, canoeing or the like.
Group touring in the Budget touring category often tend to have just accommodation, transport and guide. Less upfront inclusions, accommodation further from premium center city locations, but with access to optional addon’s and lots of free time to explore on your own. The budget touring category is realyl good for travellers who are used to non-group travel, but now want to logistic’s sorted so they can focus on their free time exploration…while also giving them the opportunity to meet and make friends with like minded people whom they may wish to experience a destination with.
Intrepid - small group - adventure/experiential
Intrepid Travel has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1989.
Back then, who would have known a company that began with two bearded backpackers, a typewriter and a kitchen table would eventually grow into the world’s largest small-group adventure tour company, carrying over 100,000 travellers across the globe each year. And although we’re a bit larger these days – with 1,800 local staff based around the world and over 1,000 different trips across every continent (not to mention multiple kitchen tables) – our mission remains the same. We still get a kick out of responsible travel, small groups and very (very) big adventures.
G Adventures - small group - adventure/experiential
About G Adventures
Because you want to live it, taste it, try it, learn from it, and bring what you offer to it. Small group adventure travel brings you closer to our world, its people, their culture, and their way of life. We don’t just offer the world. We offer you to the world.
We’re the small-group adventure travel experts, and have been for over 20 years. We got that way by listening to travellers and giving them what they want: Top-notch tours in top-notch places with top-notch staff at great prices.
We we have a range of trip styles for you:
- Classic Tours
- National Geographic Journeys
- Family National Geographic Journeys
- 18 to 30 something tours
- Wellness Tours
- Active Tours
- Rail Tours
- Marine Tours
- Local Living Torus
- Family Tours
Cosmos - large group - budget touring
From as little as $144 per person per day, you can take advantage of the fantastic value of a Cosmos tour. Cosmos covers the essentials, offering a great mix of included excursions and free time.
At Cosmos, we’re not just hooked on travel as a destination, but on the way travel makes you feel. Our promise is to make holidays you’ll never forget, and success is all about delivering a hassle-free holiday for you.
Our story began in Switzerland 90 years ago, where local legend Antonio Mantegazza bought a row boat to transport tourists over Lake Lugano. Sharing with them the stories and secrets of the locals, Antonio’s passion for travel gave birth to the Globus Travel Group, from which Cosmos was born.
Now, with over 50 years of experience and ‘wow’ under our belts, Cosmos have world value travel figured out and there is no sign of us slowing down.
Our passion is to take you to the must-see places that set your imagination on fire. With the help of our knowledgeable friends, your Local Guides and Tour Directors, we constantly unearth new local secrets to make your adventure as awestonishing as possible.
Connect with a new world of people, places and experiences; ignite your travel imagination and feel alive. It’s simple, made special.
Costsaver - large group - budget touring
Lasting travel memories don’t have to cost the earth. Our value tours cover all the essentials, while providing you the building blocks to tailor your dream holiday.
With quality transport, accommodation, city tours and plenty of meals included, you’re then able to tailor your trip with our selection of hand-crafted Optional Experiences – or simply uncover each destination your way.
That’s the CostSaver way.
ESSENTIALS BY US
- Sightseeing tours in all major cities
- Expert Travel Director and Local Specialists to guide the way
- All breakfasts included (in Europe and Britain)
- Up to half your three-course dinners included* (*Euro trips only)
- Luxury air-conditioned coaches
- Quality 3 and 4-star hotels
- Tips, tolls, taxes & porterage included
- Transfers to and from airport on first and last day* (*except itineraries starting/ending in London)