For a day trip with a difference, why not fly and dine with the Sydney Seaplanes experience www.seaplanes.com.au. They will fly you from Sydney to various places that are a world away from Sydney. I would recommend Cottage Point Inn and Jonahs. Both fabulous places but Cottage Point Inn feels a bit more unique within the Ku-ring-gai national park.
Last October I went to Istanbul. I had been dying to go for ages but couldn't find any friend interested, and travelling solo was too daunting. So I found these women that organize tours of Istanbul for women only and had the time of my life. The guide was excellent and the support woman knew absolutely every single place. We had a great time all eight of us in the group. We saw amazing sites, and in the evening we visited great restaurants and bars, so stylish and incredibly affordable, and made friends with the locals. I recommend going to the hamam in Cemberlitas, that was an unforgettable experience, especially after a long day touring... I'll definitely be going back!
Don't try to do all Japan in one trip, but these three places provide a perfect introduction: the cutting-edge modernity of Tokyo, the mystical beauty of Kyoto and the serenity of Hakone National Park, where you can stay in a traditional hot spring inn. The itinerary offered by Inside Japan Tours also includes travel on the Bullet Train.
Relaxed, leafy neighborhood of charmingly restored Victorian houses, all intriguingly different from each other. Certified historic distict, if that helps. I live here, and I love it. Magnificent views of the Capitol
Go to the U.S. Capitol and walk due East down East Capitol Street as far as Lincoln Park. Then turn down N. Carolina Ave. towards the Eastern Market on 7th St. (Open air, genteelly boho). Or get the Metro to Eastern Market (Blue/Orange lines)
This is a tailored walking tour company operating in Seville. The owner, David, is an Englishman who has lived in Spain for some years and knows Seville intimately. For a relatively modest outlay, he brings the history of the city to life, in a fun way that is simply brilliant. It is more than a tour, it is an experience.
David took us to local tapas places (not a tourist in sight) which were just fab, not to mention cheap - the money you spend on the tour you can mostly save by eating at these spots. Next time we go we will go to one of the local flamenco evenings. Thoroughly recommended.
Their partner company also found us a great apartment to rent.
0034 955 113 912 (24 hours)
An absolute must for anyone who is visiting Australia's number one city, especially those who have very little time, is a bike ride around the city. Rent a cycle on Flinders Wharf at Federation Square. The bike shop will advise on the route and give you a map. The most scenic route takes about two hours at a leisurely pace with plenty of stops. It takes you through the banks of the Yarra, the Botanical Gardens, Kings Domain, Albert Park, St Kilda beach, South Melbourne beach and South Bank.
The stretch from St Kilda beach up to South Melbourne beach and the station pier (where the Spirit of Tasmania docks) is the most picturesque segment. If weather permits, stop and have a dip in the sea or have a drink at one of the many seaside cafes. It's very difficult to get lost. The route is circular and flat nearly all the way.
Rent a bike on Flinders wharf at Federation Square. Ring 9654 7262 or visit the website. www.rentabike.net.au/
I haven't been to Mallorca for around 10 years and now with two children in tow I was a bit anxious to choose somewhere family-orientated.
I ended up booking a package holiday in Majorca through Thomas Cook.
I have to say we all had a great time - the reps were great and well informed about the area we were staying in, and booking a package holiday took a lot of the stress out of it.
Give the touristy, overcrowded day trip from Oludeniz a miss and head down to Fethiye harbour at around 10am. Take your pick of the boats departing for a day's cruising around Fethiye's islands and inlets: around 4-5 stops for swimming and snorkelling, plenty of opportunity to sunbathe and a leisurely BBQ lunch in between. Easily the best 20TL (around £9) you'll spend all holiday. Don't forget to stock up on snacks and drinks at the supermarket beforehand as it'll save you ££s on board.
Trekking in the High Atlas Mountains
Just got back from a great trip to Marrakech, the High Atlas Mountains and Essaouira in Morocco. The trip was organised by a great locally-based company called Epic Morocco. We just gave them a rough idea of what we wanted to do and they organised a private tour including a three-day trek from Setti Fatma to Imlil with a trekking guide. These people are on the scene and they really know the best places to stay.
Preety is a very caring tour guide who help us during our stay in Bangkok. We were in Bangkok last month and after checking various travel message boards, settled on Narrytravel (where we met Preety) to show us around Bangkok. She was absolutely outstanding. She is well educated with a good command of English and this gracious lady went well out of her way to ensure we had a great tour; if she is available, you can't go wrong in our view. Highly recommended.
she works under the above tour travel
This website offers a web-based cycle route planner you can use to search cycle routes anywhere in Europe. The planner combines several existing, described routes to make your cycle route complete. It's a Dutch site originally, but with the English translation you can use it anyway.
An icon for Singapore is the ultra-hygienic eating stalls. Nowhere else in the world do they have such hawker food stalls with freshly cooked foods of all kinds - for example, chilli crabs, shark's fin soup, mee goreng, fish head curry and many more. You can even get a fantastically cooked steak to your liking, or oysters with eggs all cooked in front of you within minutes. All ingredients are fresh and very hygienic - carefully and strictly monitored by the Singapore government.
The best place for lunch or dinner with an exotic feel is Newton Place Hawker Centre, where it's easy to park and even easier to get a cab. It is only a stone's throw from Orchard Road (Singapore's famous shopping street). If you are feeling a bit peckish at 1am Newton is the place to go for some Taiwan porridge which is served from 9pm till 3am at their Coffee Lounge. The Goodwood Park hotel is one of the oldest on the islandand is considered a national monument to the British colonisation of Singapore dating back to 1900. It is splendid for business and families alike. If you would like something to do, go to East Coast beach where you will see a number of seafood restaurants on the beach - about eight of them side by side to choose from.
If you are feeling more adventurous go on a boat ride to the Indonesian Island of Batan for the day from the Pier - right in the financial district. You can obtain the timetable of departure times from the tourist board - it is pretty reasonable. Serangoon (Singapore's little India), where you can find lots of Indian cafes and restaurants, has excellent Indian food where you can also find the famous 'teh tarik' (literal meaning is 'tea pulled'). It is sweet milky tea that is cooled down by pouring tea from one glass to another from about two or three feet apart depending on the skills of each waiter.
Whilst at Serangoon go to MUSTAFA's shopping centre. It is the Indian version of Debenhams but you will find almost everything exotic there and pretty reasonably priced. Whilst there also visit Tekka Market. It is the first wet market in Singapore where you will find more hawkers' stalls, shopping and local restaurants. It really is fascinating.
It is very very safe as crime is low and the people are very sophisticated and highly educated. You can find almost anything in Singapore. It is a multicultural country and more and more westerners are opting to live and work there, and they are well catered for.
If you fancy a bit of waterskiing go to Ponggol (along the coast) and hire out a boat - they will offer an instructor/driver with the hire of the boat with the gear (at a fee of course). You certainly do not have to worry about the weather. Fancy some original Malay satay - then the Esplanade is the place to go to. Depending on the time of the year you may even be lucky enough to get some Malay entertainment along the way. Want to hit the nightclubs but don't know which ones? There are about 20 nightclubs from samba to R&B, disco, blues, jazz, Chinese etc. all side by side at the World Trade Centre (or rather right next to it). They are open seven nights a week and some close at 5am. If you fancy a blues night out then try The Crazy Elephant at Clarke Quay, where you can sample a lychee martini. How exotic is that! I could go on - just do a bit of research or ask around at your hotel concierge and they will tell you. I am sure you will be spoilt...
Please be aware that no chewing of gum is allowed in Singapore and travellers are not allowed to bring in more than a cigarette packet of 20s into Singapore or there is a hefty fine.
A great travel agency that organises small group,
low-impact tours. We took two teenagers who thoroughly enjoyed our five-day trip around Northern Vietnam. We cycled, walked, sailed and stayed with local people. One day was spent cooking with a family in a small village in the Red delta. The trip to Bai Tu Long bay was heavenly. We met no tourists there and only saw local fishing boats. Ask for Khanh who will tailor a tour to your needs. All the guides are really friendly and soon feel like old friends - our guide was so calm and had a great sense of humour. There are tours across Vietnam including Sapa and the Mekong Delta in the South. They even managed to book our hotel in Hanoi for us which we had previously tried to contact unsuccessfully.
Ethnic Travel, 35 Pho Hang Giay, Hanoi in the Old Quarter
Uncle Tans run a 'jungle camp' with basic facilities and huts on the Kinabatangan river in Sabah. The camp represents a fantastic base from which to see an incredible amount of wildlife. As part of a very reasonably priced 3D/2N tour you also get to visit the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok.
Other 'tour' options are becoming available. The people working at Uncle Tans are super friendly, informative and great with children. Uncle Tans can be reached easily from Kota Kinabalu or Sandakan.
Sabah is in easy and inexpensive reach from Kuala Lumpur through Air Asia for example (airasia.com).
This has to be one of the highlights of many trips to southeast Asia, a real fantastic, family-friendly opportunity to see crocodiles, wild pigs, gibbons, lizards, proboscis monkeys and if you are lucky, elephants and orang utans.
My girlfriend and I took a tour with Galway Walking Tours recently even though they were out of season. Aside from the usual historical info we were delighted to get plenty of funny stories about Galway events and characters.
Fountain in Eyre Square
This French tour company run fun and informative wine tours. I stumbled upon them when I stayed in Perpignan last week. They collected us from our hotel and brought us to four vineyards, all very different and interesting. We partook in a "how wine is made tour" and tasted some gorgeous wine. Lunch was in a chateau and matched with some fine wine.
The day was great fun and the scenery was amazing. We were very surprised by the quality of the Roussillon wines.
The company is run by two Irish sisters and they know the area really well, living there for the past 10 years. Highly recommend for a good value day out.
19 Bd Cassanyes, Canet, 66140, France
I am a South African (from Cape Town) who has just toured Johannesburg with my UK friend for five days. We used Jozi Experience. We lived in private houses, went to private parties, personalised Soweto/cultural tours. We felt part of the local community, not tourists.
77, 4th Road, Kew. Johannesburg
Tel: +27 11 4400109
Once your kids can ride a bike there's no better way to see Paris than cycling about it. The high spot of our recent half-term break was a morning spent exploring the Marais, Bastille, Louvre, St. Germain de Pres, Les Halles and many back streets in between.
Our guide, Paul, founded Bike About Tours with a friend and gives a charming and personal view of a city he clearly loves. Some of his enthusiasm rubbed off on the kids who particularly relished spotting locations from Ratatouille, or finding out how many Parisians slip in dog poo each day. Paul takes only safe back streets and cycleways, stopping for lunch at a boulangerie on the way.
Every so often we would park the bikes and explore a secret garden or a hidden alleyway on foot, letting Paris work its magic on children and adults alike. By the end of four hours we felt like we belonged. Try it, you won't be disappointed.
This ancient city clings to the side of a mountain high in the hills inland from Finike, on the Lycian coast of Turkey.
It's known as the 'Turkish Delphi', but one of the great things about Arykanda is that it's right off the beaten track, so you don't get the huge crowds you do in Greece. The ruins and setting are equally beautiful and impressive.
We were lucky enough to go there with an archaeologist, Peter Sommer, who knew the site and truly brought it alive for us. We were on a gulet cruise, visiting ancient cities along the way. I had no idea there were so many ruins in Turkey - and so well preserved! But it was Arykanda that really shone out.
The building housing this wonderful collection of antiquities is purpose-built for the job. Although the number of items on display there is fewer than in Cairo Museum, I think that these exquisite pieces have been selected for their importance and beauty. The lighting of all exhibits is really superb. This gem is not to be missed, but if you're pushed for time you could go in the evening as they stay open quite late.
Konish el-nil, East bank
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