So, the excitement of Christmas is over and the hangover of NYE has finally worn off. It’s time to have something to look forward to. Where will you go in 2017? It’s a big world, and with so many incredible places to discover it can be hard to know where to start. Here are 3 places I think are worthy of the “Must See” list:
Whilst Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE are popular winter sun destinations, Oman – their more interesting neighbour is often overlooked.
Oman has something to offer everyone – whether you want a 5* beach holiday, a city break, or you want to go camping in the mountains.
For a luxurious family holiday you could head for the Al Waha, one of three 5* hotels that make up the Shangri La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. The mountainous backdrop is magnificent, yet the exciting city of Muscat is just a 30 minute taxi ride away. Drift along the lazy river one from resort to the next, rent a sea kayak, or escape to the CHI spa facilities set within their own resort.
Those with an adventurous streak can hire a 4×4 and head off into the mountains. For around £1400 you can enjoy a 4×4 adventure fully equipped with a rooftop tent. Visit Nizwa’s souk (local market), swim in the Wadi’s (natural pools) or even spend a night camping in the desert! We can help with all the logistics and tips on the do’s and don’ts of free camping in Oman. If you fancy getting the experience without going off on your own how about hiring a car and indulging in the luxurious Desert Nights Camp at Wahiba Sands.
Think you need to travel far to get off the beaten track? Think again! Romania is little known as a travel destination, but it’s the perfect place for a varied self-drive adventure, experiencing something that feels a world away from your own, without travelling a huge distance. It’s perfect if you’re on a shoestring budget too – Romania is cheap to get to and cheap when you get there!
Romania is one of those rare countries where locals just don’t expect to see tourists. They’ll be wowed by your presence just for showing up! As well as the people, you can expect to see mountains, UNESCO wetlands, Gothic castles (this is Dracula territory), Monasteries and perhaps even spot bears.
There is a reasonable train network in Romania, but in order to explore properly you’ll really need a car for at least some of the trip. In a week you could explore the capital of Bucharest before heading North to Transylvania to experience the castles and cobbled street towns. With a little longer you could get out into the Mountains and then finish your trip with a bit of relaxation down in the Danube Delta; one of Europe’s greatest Wetland National Parks.
I recently put together an 8 day self-drive trip for somebody who wanted a cost-effective adventure (have a look at my Facebook Page for photos they sent me of their trip). This trip was only £629 per person. Expect to pay around £1250 per person for a 2 week holiday, including flights, hotels, car hire, and fully guided tours of the Danube Delta.
Whilst Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have all been on the backpacker trail for as long as I can remember, the Philippines was always seen as that bit more difficult or unknown.
The Philippines is starting to gain in popularity and now is a great to time to visit.
I guess you could split this in two – those who want a beach holiday and those who don’t. In truth, most people want a bit of each. The Philippines would make a great honeymoon destination for a couple who need a break but will get bored after 5 minutes and want to explore.
From the island of Palawan there is plenty of opportunity for island hopping. The beaches are beautiful and the snorkelling is world-class. Tubbataha Reefs National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the best places in the world to dive. With sites named things like “Shark Airport” you get the picture here!
Beaches aside, the Philippines is an adventure travellers playground. Mangrove forests, mountains, rice fields, coffee plantations and visits to local tribes. If you really want to delve deeper into the country then a cost-effective way to do this with limited time would be to use a small group tour company. Intrepid is one of a handful of great companies offering these kind of trips. Their 11 day Philippine Discover trip is currently on sale from £956 per person, excluding flights.
I hope these suggestions have got you thinking. If nothing here has caught your interest then why not contact me for more ideas? I’ve travelled from Argentina to Colombia, from China to India, from Vancouver BC to Atlanta Georgia and I’ve stayed in everything from hostel dorm rooms to over-water bungalows with private pools. It’s my job to find out what works for you, to give you lots of inspiring ideas, and to guarantee you a better holiday than what you could have found by yourself. It’s a minefield out there – get some free advice from an expert!