This is a local tour company who provide everything from walks around the Kremlin to weekends away at the 'Golden Ring' towns. The guides are knowledgable, English speaking locals and it's a very friendly and reasonably priced service.
The Second City, a good six hour bus journey from the capital Bamako, has a fabulous riverside food market selling everything you can imagine and more. Walk through the market, around the harbour, and enjoy a fine meal with local ingredients, and very welcome cool beer, in the pub on the harbour front.
Sunday is a hell in Seoul! The 24.5 million inhabitants all seem to be on the streets at once. If you want peace and quiet, visit Hwagye-sa.
It's an active Buddhist Temple and a home to the International Zen Centre, located at the base of Bukan mountain short 30 min. subway/bus trip from the heart of Seoul.
Go on Sunday and get a free vegan 'Monk Lunch' between 11.30-12.30 on the ground floor of the main building
After lunch there is an intro to beginners at 12.30 upstairs at the Zen Center. Worth the 30 minutes cross-legged sitting on a cushion :o)
Then to streach out a little, take an easy hike up to the mountain spring. Entrance just before the Temple's - follow the small path on the left, curving towards the right around the hill, (don't go straight on) It's a lovely walk.
I can't think of a more peaceful way to spend a Sunday in Seoul.
Subway line 4 (light Blue) to Suyu Station, exit 3,
take No.02 small green bus and get off at Hwagye-sa (Temple), cross the road and walk up the hill for 5 minutes or take taxi (under $3) from Suyu Station exit 3.
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.
The perfect base for exploring the beautiful lake district outside Salzburg. A lovely town on the edge of Fuschlsee, it offers a variety of hikes from the leisurely stroll around the lake to long taxing routes toward San Gilgen. Fuschl has several hotels, a well-run camp site, and Edenbergers restaurant.
Getting there: Bus No. 150 runs every hour from Salzburg bus station.
Google map: tinyurl.com/pwh2hz
A visit to London must surely include a boat trip on the Thames. Reasonably priced and interesting for everyone. I would recommend doing this early on during your trip because from the river, you can get your bearings and identify historical sites like the Tower of London that you may wish to add to your list of places to visit on land.
From the big city to some of the last remaining pristine cloud forest on the continent in just a couple of hours. Estimates state that a mere 5-10% of the original coverage of cloud forest on the western cordillera of Ecuador still exists today. That the people of Mindo have opted to protect their corner of what’s left is just one part of the reason to go. The other part is that it’s great fun.
Suddenly skyscrapers and buses are replaced by dirt roads and beat-up truck-taxis. Hummingbirds, butterflies, orchids, waterfalls, huge trees, about 450 species of birds … Mindo’s got the lot for anyone enamoured with nature. For those with a taste for adventure, there’s a gravity-defying cable car, and Mindo’s unique version of “rafting” involving inner tubes. But the vibe is so laidback, it’s hard to maintain that pace. Just relax, no estas en Quito.
Getting there: Reina de los Nubes Bus Terminal, just down the hill from Quito’s main Terminal Terrestre, in the Old Town. About 2 hours to get there.
The problem with travelling in Chile is that it is so damn long and the best bits are strung out along its entire length.
I travelled to Chile once a few years ago and made the mistake of not making all my arrangements before going there. Although this might seem like a more adventurous option, the problem is, that if you haven't got months to spend, that you will end up not seeing everything that you want to.
I was therefore left with a strong desire to return to Chile on a more organised trip. This time I did my research, reading articles and the like and I found Optimundo, a company that specialises in tailor made trips to Chile.
I can't recommend contacting Optimundo enough, if you are planning a trip to this amazing country. They put together exactly the trip that I wanted to take my family on and once there it went like clockwork. Everything: friendly guides, good hotels, interesting tours, and most importantly we got to see all the places on my wish list - the icebergs and glaciers of Patagonia; the volcanoes and lakes in the lake district; the dolphins and penguins; the dramatic desert landscapes.
So my tip is, if you haven't got heaps of time, get a detailed itinerary planned out before you go.
Just outside Uyuni, and on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, is the Train Graveyard - a collection of rusting hulks, former trains from as far afield as the UK, that have now been left to the elements. Dust devils whirl around you and the silence is eery.
Uyuni, easy to take in as part of a tour of Salar de Uyuni.
Still wonderfully remote border river between Nicaragua and Costa Rica connecting vast freshwater Lake Nicaragua to Atlantic Ocean. A long slow river journey through the jungle. Place to overnight is at the Eco Hotel in tranquil El Castillo about a third of the way to the Atlantic; no cars, only river traffic. They organise jungle trips and used to serve great tropical lunches.
Fly to San Carlos from Managua and pick up boat down river from there to El Castillo.
Alternatively a long uncomfortable overland journey by bus on un made up road round northern tip of the lake via Jinotepe - or cross the lake on a ferry from Granada to San Carlos
It's worth considering a trip over to Tasmania, once you've had your fill of Melbourne. It's only an hour away by plane and you can get pretty good deals from companies such as Virgin Blue.
You can get to Tasmania by ferry or plane
This is possibly one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Central La Paz lies in a valley, or chasm (make no mistake, this "valley" is still at an altitude of 3,500m), surrounded by a high plateau.
Get a cab way before dawn and ask to be dropped off at a panoramic point somewhere halfway up the mountain: the views at sunrise are breathtaking, and due to La Paz's unique geographical location this experience will probably stay with you for a long time.
Obviously you should not do this alone or take valuables.
Ask a cab driver, preferably one that has been recommended by your hotel or hostel, to drop you off at a panorama point that he knows and recommends. This should be about halfway up the mountain, between central La Paz and the city of El Alto at the top
It's so important to book tickets in advance! There is very little chance that you'll get a place on a trip otherwise. The audio facility available is brilliant, it really makes the tour mean something.
There are almost no Germans left in Transylvania now - Chancellor Kohl saw to that - but their villages all have fortified churches which are not only lovely and evocative in themselves, but whose stories will leave you brimming with tears. Where once a thriving congregation worshipped, now a sole guardian will battle age and local indifference to keep the sites clean and flower strewn. Perhaps, and this is rare, only tourists can keep the places intact. Go there.
Take a trip out of Sibiu
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