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Trip reports

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Trip report: JAPAN – Buddhist monks, snow monkeys and sake with a Geisha

Takayama Festival

“Within half an hour I had reached my goal - a secret fold in the mountains, where hidden springs ooze deliciously warm sulphurous tainted water, creating a perfect natural hot bath for the native population of Japanese macaques known as Snow Monkeys. I spent an unforgettable afternoon here watching them interact: The big male ever alert; tiny babies riding on the backs of their mothers; cheeky siblings grooming; and all on a constant mission to dig for food in the thick snow or huddle...

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Trip report: ECUADOR and THE GALAPAGOS – Fiona is totally smitten by her...

Equador7

“In truth I‘ve lost my heart to this vast expanse of extraordinary primary rainforest where gargantuan kapoks tower like mighty lords of the forest over gracious palms and dripping vines. Tall, exotic species such as mahoganies, bamboo and strangler figs thrust into and crowd this magical place – the most biodiverse on earth. The cacophony of sounds that herald the closing of the day is something never to be forgotten; deep throated bulbous toads, delicate tree frogs and the...

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Trip report: TURKEY – Fiona and family in Istanbul

Turkey1

“My neck was aching – craning upwards to take in the extraordinary dazzling sight above. The Golden Domes of Hagia Santa Sophia towered over me – stained glass shot through with purple and red, golden angels staring out from their lofty roosts, giant Arabic scripts from a bygone era when the Sophia was a place of worship – not the museum of today. Monumental doors towered over small boys and cool marble floors stretched out before us. I’ve brought my husband...

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Trip report: MYANMAR'S Macleod Island – a tiny island paradise

Macleod Island8

Macleod Island is a tiny island paradise some 40 miles off the coast of Myanmar’s deep south, close to the Thai border and one of some 800 such islands - heavenly teardrops in the Andaman Sea that make up the Mergui Archipelago. Here just twenty two huts nestle among palms just steps from the glorious white sandy beach and turquoise water beyond. I’ve just returned from a few days in this most extraordinary environment… I’ll remember it as the sounds of Mergui. The...

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Trip report: MYANMAR – Fiona’s exploration of Burma

Fiona2

“If you are an avid reader of the travel press then I’m sure the recent pro-democracy changes in Myanmar won’t have escaped your notice. My journey through this enticing country served two purposes – to see the latest developments around the country and to head south to try to visit the Sea Gypsy communities that we highlighted in my October 2012 newsletter… Myanmar…. the scent of frangipani carried by the breeze, incense wafting over pagodas, the deep...

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Bespoke trips: CENTRAL ASIA – for prestigious private groups

Bespoke9

One of the party, Diana Everett, a seasoned traveller in Central Asia, had this to say in a letter to our trek leader... "That was one of the best trips ever and I loved it. It was an amazing part of the world to be in – so seldom is it possible to go for days without seeing anyone at all except a few shepherds, and walking in one of the most beautiful places on top of the world is a rare treat. And the flowers were superb. We all loved our contact with the local people – all...

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Trip report: MOROCCO – Fiona’s family adventures

Morocco

26 July - Fly to Marrakech “Delicious hot North African desert wind envelops us as we step off the aircraft in Marrakech. It is 7.00pm and 35 degrees C! I’ve brought my husband and our two young sons for their first visit to Morocco. The plan is to have a couple of nights in Marrakech and then escape the heat by heading for the mountains and then the coast. As we make our way down a narrow dusty alley deep in the old souq, I can see the family wondering where I am taking them and...

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Trip report: UZBEKISTAN – Fiona steps back in time

Uzbekisthan

“It’s good to be back. I’m standing at the foot of the awe-inspiring Sher Dor Madrassah in the bejewelled city of Samarkand. This crossroad city lies at the heart of the legendary Silk Route – the ancient trade route for silk and spices which stretched from Shanghai to Rome. The phrase was coined in the 19th century by the German explorer and geographer Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen, to describe the ‘silk roads’ linking China, India, and the Mediterranean...

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Client report: INDIA – Charles and Elizabeth Godfrey's impressions of India

Jaipur

Tuesday 25 January - Agra Just arrived in Agra. Love the view from the Oberoi Amarvilas! Currently exercising stomach muscles sitting up! Wednesday 26 January - Agra to Ranthambhore Having just spent one and a half hours in the back of a Toyota van on some of India's back roads, my admiration for the driver in avoiding all manner of fauna and flora throwing itself under our wheels is unfathomable. If the unthinkable does happen and the victim is two-legged, then freedom from prosecution...

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Trip report: OMAN – Fiona visits the Musandam Peninsula

Fiona.oman

"In December 2010 I made a brief visit to the fabulous Six Senses Zighy Bay Hotel. Nestling in a glorious sparkling bay on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, it is an easy 90-minute drive from Dubai airport. Leaving the glittering city high rises behind and passing wild camels dotted around Devon-red sandunes on a route which cuts through the mountains, you cross the most casual of checkpoints. With a flash of my passport we wound up into the mountains again, at last coming across an imposing...

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Client report: CENTRAL ASIA – Mr and Mrs Aylott’s Silk Route journey

Centralasia1

In Summer 2010 our intrepid clients Rob and Jane Aylott took the journey of a lifetime along the Silk Route, starting in Azerbaijan, crossing the Caspian by ferry and travelling through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Uighur Autonomous Region of Western China and Kazakhstan. They journeyed by local ferry, drove through deserts and over windswept mountain passes, crossed borders and even avoided a state of emergency during the troubles in Southern Kyrgyzstan. “A...

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Client report: OMAN – Mr and Mrs George Goulding and family

Oman3

“We did enjoy Oman. Scenically stunning, with the desert, the incredibly dramatic mountains of massive geological plates, the blue sky and sea, and every now and then the deep green of date palms and other trees in the wadis. And of course the architecture — with stark old forts, and fortified towns of mud brick houses blending into the rocks, with even the more modern architecture respectful of the traditional style. The food was much more than passable (which was all...

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Client report: MONGOLIA – Gretta Robertson’s travels with Bernice Jopling

Mongolia1

“In my imagination, the steppes of Outer Mongolia were miles and miles of flat, scrubby land with no relief. Not a bit of it! The pitted tarmac road from Ulaanbaatar became a dirt track and we bore off to the left towards brown, rolling hills. The ger (yurt) camp comprised 10-12 gers, a loo and shower room down some steps. The following day we rose in a freezing ger, log stove dead, a white-out blizzard with drifts piled up against the door, foot long icicles hanging off the loo block...

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Trip report: SPAIN – Richard Taylor-Young’s two days in Seville

Seville3

“A dark, rather forbidding doorway opened to reveal the bright and sunny interior of the Hotel Corral de Rey in a street of the same name. It is a real gem, a small, boutique hotel offering great comfort and style — we had our breakfast on the roof terrace beside the plunge pool in the sunshine, rather than in the elegant dining room downstairs. It is attractively decorated and furnished throughout with a wealth of fine paintings. We saw a lot of Seville in two days, all on...

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Trip report: SOUTH AMERICA - Fiona's travels in Bolivia

Bolivia

“The patchwork of fields in various shades of yellow, green and brown, rolling hills dotted with tall thin trees and tiny picturesque homesteads were more reminiscent of Tuscany, I thought to myself, than the dramatic highlands of Potosi. Only the stout, trilby-topped figures in colourful shawls with thick black plaits down their backs, herding their sheep on the roadside, gave me any clue that this was actually Bolivia.” “I was excited to be here. Whilst the development...

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Trip report: INDIA - Richard Taylor-Young's Assam diary

Assam1

“Wildlife, wilderness and the spirit of exploration were the main features of our Brahmaputra cruise — it was an absolute delight, with attentive and welcoming hosts, excellent food and conversation with our fellow passengers, dramatic scenery and fascinating shore excursions. The pace of life in Assam, a lesser known part of North-East India, is slower than elsewhere and there was barely a tourist to be seen!” We flew into Dibrugarh from Delhi to be met by Babu Das, one...

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Trip report: SYRIA - Fiona visits Syria

Syria1

“I have cheap and nasty”. “Oh, No!” he said, smacking his forehead and actually blushing. I mean “cheap and nice”. “So sorry — my English — I have just learnt”. "This friendly and amusing exchange with a shawl seller in the museum souks of Aleppo was typical of my recent visit to Syria. I was there by invitation of the Ministry for Tourism who are anxious to put right the West’s perception of visiting the Middle East and to...

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Trip report: SOUTH AMERICA - Fiona’s journey through Chile

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" The cool turquoise waters of the infinity pool danced and sparkled in the sunlight — a rather incongruous sight considering I had just arrived in the world’s most arid desert. The Atacama is an extraordinary region of thermal activity; endless horizons and snow-topped volcanoes stretching over 1,000km from the Peruvian border. I was lucky to be staying at the newly-opened Tierra Atacama, a series of sublime low mud-walled rooms with outside showers, natural slate floors,...

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Client report: BHUTAN – Ian Stubbs makes a memorable return

Bhutan

“After three years I was returning, via Nepal, to the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon. I had a holiday organised for six months earlier but my father passed away and all kinds of plans had to be moved around. I must have driven Fiona mad with all that needed doing. Everything was put on hold but then I came up with an idea which gave a purpose to my travels… The flight into Paro airport in Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in the world as you fly along the Himalaya mountain...

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Client report: INDIA - Julia Loxton and Diana Fisher ride in Rajasthan

India1

“My sister Di and I had been discussing another trip to India for some time, and we had decided that we wanted to go to Rajasthan and to combine this with a horse riding safari as we are both keen riders. After many phone calls to Fiona at Far Frontiers Travel, she sorted out an itinerary for us which combined all the elements we wanted. We flew to Delhi and spent a couple of days there visiting wonderful sights, including the old town, Qutb Minar, Purana Quila and the Lodhi Gardens...

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