Tuesday, March 31, 2015

World Expeditions - 40 Years On

The past 40 years have seen some incredible changes in adventure travel, so to have survived and thrived is very humbling to us here at World Expeditions.

Sue Badyari
When I first joined the company in 1986, which was then Australian Himalayan Expeditions, Garry Weare was one of the first people I met—an enthusiastic Englishman who lived on a houseboat in Kashmir, leading many of our trekking trips in the region. Mr Meraj Din had been operating our treks in Kashmir, but with the breakout of the civil war in Srinagar in the late 80s he relocated to Nepal where his expertise and enthusiasm for trekking has helped shape our program ever since. On the other side of the world in Peru, the industry’s most experienced Andes specialist, Andreas Holland, has used his vast knowledge of his country to offer our remote treks in Peru for more than three decades. These are just three of the people who for decades have enriched World Expeditions with their vast knowledge and thirst for adventure.

Since those early days, World Expeditions has gone on to achieve many milestones and it’s been the passion and innovation of a lot of different people—including our loyal travellers—that has created those opportunities for us. Collectively, they’ve defined our brand personality and ensured we’ve stayed at the cutting edge, which is particularly relevant today when much of our industry is abandoning innovative adventure travel in place of ‘what sells’.

That’s never been our style, as true adventure is harnessed best when it’s not on the tried and tested path. That’s why we love our Huayhuash Circuit, a rugged yet exquisite walk in Northern Peru; our Dolpo Traverse, where it is hard to find a more well preserved ancient Tibetan culture; or the Remote Northern Circuit for a sublime ascent of Kilimanjaro without the crowds. It’s why we pioneered the Great Himalayan Trail and why we still offer expeditions style trips to destinations we haven’t been before. It’s this willingness to explore that sets World Expeditions apart. When Tim Macartney Snape & Soren Kruse Ledet bring their enthusiasm and creative energy to the table, pouring over maps, plotting and planning some of the best exploratory treks and climbing routes, I know that adventure travel is alive and well.

Our heritage is as much about the people of the past as it is about the here and now. The late Sue Fear proved that mountaineering was not just the domain of men and triggered a pathway for novice female adventurers to come along and have a go. Far from the mountains, in our great red centre, Charlie Holmes had a gift for spying a brilliant new trek, and that’s precisely how our Larapinta Trail operations were borne. We will never forget our friends and those who have shaped the company. We thank our loyal clients, many of whom have travelled with World Expeditions regularly over many years. It is our commitment to our travellers to continue to bring you opportunities to aspire to the world beyond, to experience its environments and cultures and to enjoy the exhilaration of a real adventure into nature.

Sue Badyari - CEO

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cruiseco’s Top 10 Tips For Travelling in India

India is one of those countries where background knowledge around the traditional, everyday customs will ensure your experience is the best it can be.  Familiarising yourself with the local culture will always guarantee the most authentic experience, no matter where you are in the world,”  says Amber Wilson, International Marketing Manager at Cruiseco.

1. Embrace the unpredictability and adopt a ‘go with the flow’ attitude. India is a busy and bustling country, but this is all part of the experience, so expect the unexpected and enjoy the journey.

2. Adopt a vegetarian diet whilst travelling in India. Cows are considered a sacred commodity in the Hindu religion.

3. Have a few Hindi phrases up your sleeve such as "Namaskar" (hello), "shukriya" (thank you) and "yeh kitne ka hai?" (how much is it?).

4. Understand the currency. There are approximately 55 rupees to each Australian dollar, so to avoid any scams, or just to stay on top of your spending, it’s helpful to keep this in mind. Although credit cards are widely accepted across the country, signatures are no longer accepted, so make sure you know all your pin codes before travelling.

5. It’s best to ensure that all your vaccinations are up to date and always pack a first aid kit. It’s a good idea to visit your doctor before you head to India, so they can prescribe antibiotics and any other medicines you should take with you.

6. Embrace the traditional, colourful dress style. The Indian culture is generally very conservative about dress. Women are expected to cover their legs and shoulders, and men should always wear a shirt in public. By dressing like the locals do, you are less likely to draw attention to yourself as a tourist and it also shows respect to the locals.

7. When entering a mosque or temple, always remember to remove your shoes and leave them at the door. Socks and stocking sockettes are perfectly acceptable.

8. In India, food is traditionally eaten with your hands. It is important to remember that you should eat with your right hand only. As a general rule, you should not pass anything to anyone, point to anyone or accept things given to you with your left hand.

9. Avoid tap water, even if it’s filtered. We recommend steering clear of ice, salads, fruit juices (unless you have peeled the fruit yourself) and street food. 10. Locals will expect you to barter when purchasing just about anything and it’s another part of the experience. Rule of thumb: if the vendor says 1,200 rupees, never pay more than 600 rupees. If you pay the initial asking price, expect to receive the most pitying of looks.

View the new Cruiseco Authentic Asia: India Brochure, visit www.cruising.com.au or call (02) 9492 8520 for further information and to find details of your local Cruiseco agent.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why Sri Lanka is the hottest destination for 2015

Sri Lanka, still often referred to as Ceylon, should be definitely on top of your travel list for next year! Long gone are the bitter days of civil war (1983-2009) and the devastating Boxing Day tsunami (2004). Forbes recently names Sri Lanka as one the 10 Coolest Places to see in 2015.

Based on several criteria such as ‘newly uncovered’ or ‘must see now before it changes forever’, author Ann Abel and luxury travel expert Owen Gaddis praised Sri Lanka for its stunning wildlife and overall value but also mentioned that it’s still often overlooked.

Here is why you should visit Sri Lanka in 2015:

There’s no mass tourism (yet)

Whether it’s Phuket, Koh Phi Phi or Bali: these places lost a lot of their traditional and cultural heritage due to the ever growing and almost uncontrolled developments of mega resorts, theme parks and wrong foreign investments.

Sri Lanka just opens up, but investments already slowly fuelling the tourism industry. Prices are still everywhere affordable and the country is definitely one of the best-value destinations you can find in Asia.

It has ethnic diversity

Sri Lanka is a melting pot of cultures. While the main ethnic groups consist of Tamils and Sinhalese, originally from India, you can also find people with European roots, namely Dutch and Portuguese, but also with Arab and Chinese influences. It’s not rare to see a church, temple and mosque located on the same road, hence, the country also officially celebrates all major religious festivals.

The food

Indonesian and Thai cuisine may be world-renowned, but Sri Lanka is about to overtake. The cuisine features a unique blend of ingredients, from oriental spices over European herbs to Indian curries – in short, Sri Lanka’s food is a beautiful reflection of its multicultural people.


Natural and Cultural Heritage

Sri Lanka’s southern and eastern coasts are blessed with pristine beaches where you may find yourself even alone. Fast-Forward 5 years, these beaches are gone and put into the category “Where to go next?” by travel magazines -and blogs.

But aside from beaches, the country features lush forests, scenic mountain ranges and eight spectacular UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Sri Lanka is well connected

According to Skyscanner the number of flight searches for Sri Lanka increased 2014 by 19%. Low-cost flights from the travel hub of Bangkok and an ever-growing network of new destinations of its star airline SriLankan Airlines making it more and more convenient for international travellers.

Villa Templeberg in Galle

Where to Stay

Many visitors highly appreciate the colonial influences you can see all over the country, especially ‘Little England’ in Nuwara Eliya or the Galle Fort. That’s why many people love to stay at the historical boutique hotel Villa Templeberg in Galle: Established as coconut plantation in 1868, it incorporates perfectly colonial Dutch architecture and heartfelt Sri Lankan hospitality.

www.templeberg.com; Tel.: +94 777 108 477 (Sri Lanka) / +61 481 160031

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter travel and tours in Malaysia


Thinking about what to do to escape the winter blues? Well this may be the year to head to Malaysia, one of South East Asia’s favourite holiday destinations – and a country where 'something for everyone' is more of a daily itinerary than a promise.

Malaysians love a celebration and with 2015 officially designated as Malaysia’s Official Year of Festivals, it is definitely shaping up as perfect time to visit.

The yearlong program known as MyFEST delivers a diverse mix of 50 festivals and events taking place right across the country throughout the year, which are sure to tempt every taste and interest. Here are a couple of the best taking place over the winter months.

Magic of the Night Festival, Putrajaya

One of the most spectacular events taking place during MyFEST celebrations, is Putrajaya’s Magic of the Night Festival held at Marina Putrajaya from 28 – 31 May 2015, with its nighttime Lighted Boat Parade showcasing brightly and beautifully decorated boats. Amongst the huge flotilla are boats representing each Malaysian State, celebrating the images, attractions and iconic landmarks unique to their region including hibiscus, hornbills, orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Unforgettable!

Pesta Bunga dan Taman (FLORIA) Putrajaya Flower and Garden Festival June 2015 Putrajaya

Also in Putrajaya, the Royal FLORIA Putrajaya Flower and Garden Festival runs for for nine days from 30 May 2015.

After the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya just 30 kilometres away, is something of a revelation. Best known as Malaysia’s federal administrative capital and the home to the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix, ask anyone who's ever spent time there, and they will quickly tell you that it is also one of the most country’s most picturesque cities. Wide, open roads, lush botanic gardens and verdant parklands are among the many factors that make it well worth a visit at any time of year.

And the annual flower show is now an iconic event for city, attracting more than million visitors each year. Featuring over 80 landscaped garden plots, with amazing garden displays and attractions from right around the world, including more than 100,000 bougainvillea plants , this is definitely a not to be missed event for green thumbs.

Rainforest World Music Festival 7 – 9 August (Kuching)

In August 2015, thousands of music lovers will travel across the globe on a pilgrimage to Sarawak on the island of Borneo for the annual Rainforest World Music Festival. Consistently voted amongst the world’s top 25 international festivals, this 3-day event is a celebration of music workshops and action-packed stage shows, attracting some of best international world music performers.

But the event is as much a cultural display as a musical one. Featuring traditional instruments from around the globe, Sarawak’s traditional lute, the Sape takes centre stage. Synonymous with Festival, Sapes are typically carved from a single bole of wood, with many of these extraordinary instruments reaching over a metre in length – and this event is one of most mesmerizing places to listen to them against the dramatic backdrop of Borneo Rainforest. So if these aren’t reasons enough to get you hyped and ready to visit Putrajaya, we don’t know what is. So mark your calendars and prepare to have a blast at Malaysia’s garden city in 2015 Malaysia Year!

For information about tours of Malaysia, please contact: Tourism Malaysia
Telephone: +612 9286 3055,
Fax: +612 9283 8311,
Email: malaysia@malaysiatourism.com.au
or visit http://www.tourismmalaysia.com.au

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