Peru Explorer – Bunnik Tours

20 day trip covering all of the highlights of Peru. Small group tour company with guaranteed departures through to September 2018.

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Inclusive of airfares cost is $10,995 p/p plus a discount of $500 p/p off this price if booked by 27 December 2017.

Tour highlights:

  • Explore the Amazon Jungle from Puerto Maldonado, discovering village life, sampling local food and spotting wildlife
  • Feel the magic of Peru’s Sacred Valley and the Lost Incan city of Machu Picchu
  • Cruise across Lake Titicaca to the floating Uros Islands
  • Tour the Colca Valley and its incredible canyons
  • Discover the ‘white city’ of Arequipa and its beautiful buildings built from volcanic stone

Travel details:

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to South America (inc. taxes)
  • Three economy-class flights within South America
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Tipping made easy, $235p/p pre-paid

Accommodation and meals:

  • 13 nights in good quality hotels (3½-4½ star)
  • 3 nights in an Amazon jungle lodge near Puerto Maldonado
  • 1 night stay at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Eco Retreat (4½ star)
  • 17 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 8 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour guides:

  • English-speaking locally based tour director (subject to a minimum of 8 passengers)
  • English-speaking locally based guides

Sightseeing:

  • Discover the wonders of Peru
  • Discover the sights of Lima on a city tour and visit the famous Larco Museum, containing priceless Incan artefacts.
  • Explore the Amazon Jungle from Puerto Maldonado, discovering village life, sampling local food and spotting wildlife. Visit beautiful Lake Sandoval and Tambopata Candamo National Reserve, and keep an eye out for the parrots, caiman and the endangered giant river otter.
  • Take a walking tour of Koricancha, the Temple of the Sun, and enjoy the old world ambience over dinner at Casa Qorikancha restaurant, behind the Church of Santo Domingo in Cuzco.
  • Explore the ancient Incan fortress of Sacsayhuaman followed by a visit to the buzzing San Pedro Market, selling all things weird and wonderful.
  • Discover Cusco on a walking tour, visiting the 17th century cathedral and the beautiful San Blas neighbourhood.
  • Travel into the magical Sacred Valley and visit the village Awanacancha to see locals weaving and meet the herds of llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicunas.
  • Stop in the small town of Pisac and explore the impressive ruins and lively market.
  • Tour the town and fortress ruins of Ollantaytambo, then visit a house for a taste of local life.
  • Visit a local chicheria. Learn about and taste the traditional chicha and try some of the local delicacy, guinea pig.
  • Explore the patchwork of salt pans at Maras and the elliptical terraces of Moray before visiting the Seminario pottery workshop in Urubamba.
  • Travel by Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu!
  • Feel the magic of the Lost Incan City of Machu Picchu on an in-depth guided tour and enjoy some time to explore the ruins at your own pace.
  • Spend the night in a nature retreat in Aguas Calientes.
  • Travel by Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo. Continue to Cusco by road, stopping at Chinchero for a traditional weaving demonstration.
  • Marvel at the amazing scenery travelling through the High Andes Mountains from Cuzco to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
  • Cruise out to the incredible floating reed Uros Islands, made entirely out of reeds from the lake. Then visit Taquile Island and learn about the unique traditions of the islands’ inhabitants.
  • Make your way into the incredible Colca Canyon (the world’s deepest), via the villages of Patapampa, Chucura, Toccra, Vizcachani and Patahuasi.
  • Visit the Cross of the Condor, the canyon’s deepest point, and watch the majestic Andean condors as they cruise over the morning thermals.
  • Stroll through the villages of Yanque, Alchoma, Maca and Pinoholloand stop at the mountain terraces of Antahuilque to learn about the importance of the balconies and hanging tombs.
  • Discover the “white city” of Arequipa and its beautiful buildings built from volcanic stone. See Santa Catalina Convent, Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Church of La Compania and Carmen Alto viewpoint.

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Oceania Asia Cruise on Nautica

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Package includes:

  • Return airfares on Qantas
  • 1 night accommodation in Bangkok
  • 1 night accommodation in Shanghai
  • 14 night cruise with $800 per cabin shipboard credit to spend

This cruise starts in Bangkok on 19 Feb 2018 and finishes in Shanghai on 6 Mar 2018.

Special departure with limited cabins left in grade C2 Deluxe Ocean View from $5333 p/p.

The acclaimed Nautica has undergone a multimillion-dollar transformation to create a virtually new ship that is both sleek and elegantly charming. Her decks are resplendent in the finest teak, custom stone and tile work, and her lounges, suites and staterooms boast luxurious, neo-classical furnishings.

Nautica offers every luxury you may expect on board one of our stylish ships. She features four unique, open-seating restaurants, a world-class fitness centre and spa, eight lounges and bars, a casino and 342 lavish suites and luxurious staterooms, nearly 70% of which feature private verandas (higher cost for these).

With just 684 guests to pamper, our 400 professionally trained European staff ensure you will wait for nothing.

Day Port = Anchor Port Arrive Depart
Feb 19 Mon Bangkok, Thailand Embark 1 PM 4 PM
Feb 20 Tue Sihanoukville, Cambodia 11 AM 10 PM
Feb 21 Wed Cruising the South China Sea
Feb 22 Thu Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam 8 AM
Feb 23 Fri Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam 4 PM
Feb 24 Sat Cruising the South China Sea
Feb 25 Sun Hue/Da Nang (Chan May), Vietnam 8 AM 5 PM
Feb 26 Mon Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam 12 PM
Feb 27 Tue Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam 7 PM
Feb 28 Wed Cruising the South China Sea
Mar 1 Thu Hong Kong, China 8 AM
Mar 2 Fri Hong Kong, China 2 PM
Mar 3 Sat Xiamen, China 10 AM 8 PM
Mar 4 Sun Cruising the East China Sea
Mar 5 Mon Shanghai, China 12 PM
Mar 6 Tue Shanghai, China Disembark 8 AM

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For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Escorted Coach Tour of the Balkans

13 days ‘Grand Balkan’ – start in Zagreb and finish in Dubrovnik

Great coverage of this region with Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia all ticked off!

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Zagreb – Ljubljana – Plitvice – Split – Dubrovnik – Tirana – Ohrid – Skopje – Kolasin – Dubrovnik

Inclusions:

  • 3 and 4 star accommodation
  • Meals as detailed
  • Dinner in a local restaurant in Plitvice
  • Zagreb arrival transfer and Dubrovnik departure transfer
  • Guided sightseeing tours (Zagreb, Ljubljana, Split, Dubrovnik, Tirana, Skopje, & Kotor)
  • Entrance fees to most attractions
  • Services of a multilingual tour director
  • Transport by air-conditioned coach

2018 EARLY BIRD OFFER: AUD $500 per couple credit to spend on additional accommodation when you book and pay in full by 29 Dec 2017.

Prices for 15 May and 5 Jun departures $2580 p/p, with all other departures $2700 p/p twin share.

Guaranteed Departures in 2018:

  • 15 May
  • 5 June
    3 July
  • 31 July
  • 21 August
  • 11 September

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Tour itinerary:

Day 1: ZAGREB
Arrive in Zagreb and transfer to your hotel. This evening, join your fellow tour members and guide at a welcome dinner. (D)

Stay at Hotel International (4 star) or Panorama Hotel (4 star) (July 3 departure only)

Day 2: ZAGREB – BLED – LJUBLJANA
Morning city tour of Zagreb, including the fortified Upper Town, city’s historical centre, where you will see the multi-coloured roof of St Mark’s Church and the Croatian National Theatre. Free time to explore until the departure for Slovenia. First stop in Slovenia is Lake Bled and its mountainous environs and stunning topography. Then continue on to Ljubljana. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel M (3 star)

Day 3: LJUBLJANA – PLITVICE
Morning city tour of Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, exploring historical city centre, whose unique architecture is the legacy of the Baroque and Art Nouveau periods situated on the banks of the majestic Ljubljana River. Afternoon departure for Plitvice, for the Plitvice Lakes National Park a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.The tour of this magnificent national park featuring sixteen lakes at different levels joined by a series of cascading waterfalls. (B, D)

Stay at Park Hotel (4 star)

Day 4: PLITVICE – TROGIR – SPLIT
After breakfast, depart for the Adriatic coast and stop in the seaside town of Trogir for a visit of this ancient centre of artistic activity. Continue a short distance to Split, Croatia’s second largest city, the city tour includes a walk through Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman emperor in the 4th century B.C. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Katarina (4 star)

Day 5: SPLIT – DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, departure for Dubrovnik, via Bosnia & Herzegovina. Short stop in Mostar, recently included in the UNESCO’s List of World Cultural Heritage sites, with its elegant Bridge, Old Bazaar, the Mosque and a typical Turkish house. Then continue onto Dubrovnik. The afternoon city tour of Dubrovnik, this medieval walled city which includes the Franciscan Monastery with Europe’s third oldest pharmacy, Rector’s Palace and the cathedral. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Ivka (3 star)

Day 6: DUBROVNIK
Today you have a full day to discover this UNESCO World Heritage listed city at your leisure. (B, D)

Day 7: DUBROVNIK – BUDVA (Montenegro) – SHKODRA (Albania) – TIRANA (Albania)
From Dubrovnik you drive inland to Budva, known for it’s historic Old City encircled by walls from the Venetian period. Continue to Shkodra, once the 3rd Century B.C. capital of the Illyrian Kingdom, before ending the day in Tirana. (B, D)

Stay at Sky Tower Hotel (4 star)

Day 8: TIRANA – OHRID (Macedonia)
Your morning sightseeing tour of Tirana includes the massive Skanderbeg Square, Mosque of Et’hem Bey and the National Museum. In the afternoon, depart for Macedonia and the magical town of Ohrid. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Metropol (4 star)

Day 9: OHRID
The lakeside town of Ohrid is a World Heritage site. Your morning tour will include the 11th century St. Sofia Church with its magnificent Byzantine frescoes, and in the afternoon, visit St. Naum Monastery which was built on the shores of Lake Ohrid in 900 AD. (B)

Stay at Hotel Metropol (4 star)

Day 10: OHRID – SKOPJE
After breakfast, travel to Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, where you will have a tour of Kale Fortress, Church of the Holy Saviour, the old bazaar and Stone Bridge. Then drive to the slopes of Vodno Mountain to visit the Monastery of St. Panteleimon with its 12th century icons and frescoes. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Karpos (4 star)

Day 11: SKOPJE – KOLAŠIN (Montenegro)
This morning you drive to Kolasin in Montenegro via the impressive Moraca River Canyon. Kolasin is a popular ski resort on the banks of the Tara River and surrounded by thick pine forests of the Bjelasica Mountains. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Bianca (4 star)

Day 12: KOLAŠIN – CETINJE – KOTOR – DUBROVNIK
Morning departure for Cetinje where we visit King Nikola’s Museum, once the residence of the Montenegrin King Nikola I Petrović. Continuation to Kotor, a UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage site, where we visit its Romanesque Cathedral dedicated to St Triphon, the city’s patron saint. We continue to Dubrovnik, driving along the picturesque Bay of Kotor for a farewell dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Ivka (3 star)

Day 13: DUBROVNIK
Your Grand Balkan Tour concludes with a departure airport transfer for your onward journey. (B)

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Special Feature: Liverpool

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What first comes to mind when you think about the city of Liverpool? It’s the home of The Beatles.

A band loved by generations both young and old, it’s hard not to appreciate the brilliance that made these four lads some of the best musicians of all time.

If you are planning a trip to the UK in 2018, then make a stop in Liverpool to immerse yourself in everything that is the Beatles. Take a ticket to ride on the two hour Magical Mystery Tour and visit all those places Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, The Cavern Club, and their childhood homes.

The main starting point is down at Liverpool’s UNESCO world heritage waterfront at Albert Dock where a permanent display has been set up covering the Beatles story. You can wander around and enjoy the audio guide by John’s sister Julia telling the story of their remarkable success.

Attractions are recreations of the Abbey Road Studios (still hoping one day they will open the actual studio in London to the public for tours), Casbah Coffee Club, and a Yellow Submarine.

Memorabilia such as John’s Imagine glasses positioned on that white piano, the Sgt Pepper outfits, and many guitars used by the group. 2018 will also feature a special Beatles in India exhibit. Transcendental Peace man!

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The Cavern Club was where the band cut its teeth and played over 300 gigs between early 1961 and mid 1963. It still exists as a working club as well as a museum.

Liverpool is embracing its place in music with other attractions being opened. Down at Pier Head, located in the old Cunard building, is the British Music Experience. This was only opened in early 2017 and houses a collection of music history from WW2 through to current day artists like Adele and Coldplay.

Remember to take a ferry on the Mersey and visit the many art galleries that have sprung up in the past few years. Perhaps take a ghost tour or visit Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium for hopefully a game and sing their great theme song ‘You Never Walk Alone’. Liverpool has over 2,500 listed buildings some housing museums and many public sculptures of significance. Great for the lovers of architecture.

As you can see a few days is well worthwhile in this unique city.

As a suggestion of where to stay, we would recommend the Hard Day’s Night Hotel. It’s in an historic building dating from 1884 and located next to the Cavern Club. A Beatles themed boutique hotel with wall to wall art on display, a fitting match to your whole Beatles experience.

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Current cost for a deluxe double bed room (38 sq – very large) for two nights in summer is $361 total.

So if you are to visit the UK next year, or you’ve got it on the radar for your next upcoming trip, remember to factor in a stay in Liverpool.

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Northern Isles Cruise – Holland America

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This is a great opportunity to visit some unique ports of call not often available on cruises.

14 Day cruise – departure 07 July 2018 from Copenhagen on the MS Zuiderdam (pictured above).

Prices from $3799 p/p (inside cabin) and $4199 p/p (outside cabin).

Highlights

  • Amazing food and superb service make Holland America one of the longest running cruise lines
  • Inspire yourself with a Northern Europe cruise highlighted by Viking legends, grand, looming fjords, and a history of royalty
  • Visits to Iceland, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Norway
  • Copenhagen is a delightful city with some of the world’s most interesting places, like the longest pedestrian street and one of the oldest amusement parks in the world

Zuiderdam – Passenger Capacity: 1918, Year Built: 2002, Last Refurbished: 2015

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Daily Itinerary
Jul 7, 2018 – Copenhagen, Denmark
Jul 8, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 9, 2018 – Bergen, Norway
Jul 10, 2018 – Alesund, Norway
Jul 11, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 12, 2018 – Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Jul 13, 2018 – Akureyri, Iceland
Jul 14, 2018 – Isafjord, Iceland
Jul 15, 2018 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Jul 16, 2018 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Jul 17, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 18, 2018 – Thorshavn, Denmark
Jul 19, 2018 – Lerwick, Scotland, UK
Jul 20, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 21, 2018 – Copenhagen, Denmark

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For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Noumea and Isle of Pines

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Special offer: 8 days / 7 nights from $2099 p/p

Kanumera Bay, rightly recognised as one of the world 10 best beaches, offers the perfect setting to the Ouré Tera Beach Resort Ile des Pines which is delicately nestled against a big boulder at the end of the magnificent one kilometre long white sand beach.

The hotel offers 30 Beach Bungalows, Tropical Bungalows, Garden Rooms and Family Bungalows that are built in solid wood and elegantly decorated in tropical style. There is no better place to unwind than the resort’s beachside bar, “Le Banian”, as the tropical sunset over the tranquil bay.

The Kanumera Restaurant, with its open-air deck by the pool, provides an elegant and intimate setting in which to enjoy local products and seafood, including the renowned Isle of Pines lobster.

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Your Holiday Includes:

  • Return economy airfares to Noumea with Aircalin, including 23kg of luggage, snacks and beverages
  • Return domestic airfares from Noumea Magenta to Isle of Pines airport with Air Caledonie, including 20kg of checked luggage
  • 4 nights accommodation staying in a Garden Room at Oure Tera Beach Resort (4 stars)
  • 1 night pre-stay and 2 nights post-stay in a Studio Room at Ramada Hotel & Suites Noumea (4 stars)
  • Return airport transfers throughout
  • BONUS – Reduced Rates – Save over $700!
  • BONUS – Free buffet breakfast daily at Oure Tera Beach Resort
  • BONUS – Complimentary use of snorkelling gear, canoes and table tennis

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Treasures of Mexico – Contours

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EARLY BIRD OFFER: $500 p/p discount if booked by 29 September 2017.

Departures: 25 Feb, 26 May, 01 Sep, 06 Oct 2018. Cost $9100 p/p.

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Mexico has more UNESCO World Heritage sights than any other country in the Americas; Olmecs, Zapotecs, Toltecs, Mayas and Aztecs have all left their imprint on the modern face of this fascinating country. This tour will show you this unique country from Mexico City to its turquoise blue Caribbean shores.

You will start in Mexico City. This Metropolis will surprise you with the grand scale of its central zocalo, enormous Chapultepec Park and world-class Anthropology Museum. The bohemian district of Coyoacan is a delight with its cobbled streets, terraced cafes and the Frida Kahlo Museum. You will travel through South – Central Mexico to Puebla & Oaxaca visiting the most wonderful places, with vibrant music and arts scene, colourful regional markets, world-renowned cuisine and the stunning beauty of the surrounding valleys.

Continue your travel to San Cristobal de las casas and the mesmerizing Sumidero Canyon. Visit traditional towns of Chamula & Zinacantan . Visit the most impressive ruins in The Yucatan Peninsula which yields a wealth of natural and man-made wonders- Uxmal, Kabah and Chichen Itza ruins are reminders of the heights Mexico’s ancient empires reached. You will end this beautiful trip relaxing at the stunning Riviera Maya

Highlights

  • Walking tour of Mexico City including the murals of Diego Rivera and Museum of Anthropology – rated one of the top 10 museums in the world
  • Visit historical Coyoacan and the Frida Kalho museum, housed in her former residence
  • Visit Teotihuacan pyramids, walk along the Avenue of the Dead and climb the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon
  • Walking tour of Puebla home to the famous Talavera ceramics
  • 4 nights in UNESCO Cultural Patrimony city of Oaxaca to explore this gorgeous colonial town. Including Market tours, a traditional cooking lesson and a visit to Santa Maria Tule
  • Visit Monte Alban & Mitla Archaeological sites
  • Stay in charming San Cristobal de las Casas and visit the Sumidero Canyon
  • Explore the jungle swathed ruins of Palenque and the famous Chichen Itza ruins
  • 2 nights to relax in Rivera Maya

Inclusions

  • International & domestic economy class airfares & taxes
  • Contours Travel professional locally based English-speaking Tour Director
  • Unique hand crafted travel wallets & luggage tags made in Bolivia exclusively for Contours Travel
  • Guaranteed fully escorted departures maximum of 16 passengers
  • 19 nights accommodation in First Class hotels
  • 31 Meals: 19 (B) Breakfast, 11 (L) Lunches, 1 (D) Dinner
  • Expert English-speaking local guides
  • Ground transportation in private air conditioned vehicles
  • Exclusive Discovery Walks with your Tour Director
  • Tips for local guides & drivers
  • All entrance fees to local sights and national parks

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

China: Yunnan and Sichuan Discovery

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16 day fully escorted, inclusive tour with various 2018 departures – departing Melbourne.

SPECIAL EARLY BIRD OFFER of $500 p/p off tour price. From $6060 p/p twin share.

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Yunnan Adventure Itinerary

DAYS 1-2: AUSTRALIA TO KUNMING
Fly overnight to the relaxed city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province.

On arrival into Kunming you will be met in the arrival hall by your Local Guide and/or National Escort from Wendy Wu Tours. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer approximately 1 hour to your hotel. A tour introduction will be held in the hotel either this evening or the next. Food and drinks will not be served at this meeting, it is simply an opportunity for your group to meet and learn more about travelling in China. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.

Meals included: None

Nicknamed China’s ‘Spring City’ due to its temperate weather, Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province. Kunming has long been an important city for trade due to its significant location on the borders of Southeast Asia.

DAY 3: KUNMING
This morning drive 1 hour and 30 minutes to the Stone Forest. Spend the morning exploring the unique limestone rock formations of the Kunming Stone Forest, which involves around 2 hours on foot along cobblestone paths. Return to Kunming for an afternoon at leisure and dine this evening on the delicious local delicacy, Across the Bridge Noodles.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Located 120km southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest consists of thousands of narrow, fantastically shaped pillars of rock, scattered over an area of more than 80 hectares. The park is designed so that you can follow a walkway through the formations of water pools and grey pinnacles, the tallest of which is over 30m high.

Across the Bridge Noodles are a type of rice noodle soup from Yunnan Province served in a broth style. Usually accompanied by meat, bean curd and vegetables, this is a truly therapeutic dish.

DAY 4: KUNMING TO DALI
Drive approximately 4 hours to the pretty city of Dali. In Dali, enjoy some light sightseeing around Dali’s Old Quarter and the symmetrical Three Pagodas.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

Dali – Sandwiched between the Jade Green Mountains and serene Erhu Lake, Dali is naturally striking in its setting. Mainly a base for the Bai people, Dali has played an important role in the history of southern China and was once a post on the old Burma Road.

Three Pagodas – Presented in a perfect triangle, the Three Pagodas date back to the 9th century and were built under the Nanzhao State. Made of brick and white mud, the Pagodas are known for their resilience, having survived many natural disasters, including earthquakes.

DAY 5: DALI
Visit Mount Weibao (Weibaoshan), one of China’s fourteen sacred Taoist mountains. Steeped in legend, the mountain features 20 Taoist temples nestled on its forested slopes. Enjoy a 3 hour walk to a handful of these intricately decorated temples, stopping at Qinxia Temple where you will be met by a Taoist priest for a relaxing 40 minute meditation session.

Return to Dali and visit the Golden Flower Tie Dye Shop

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

Mount Weibao – Dotted with Taoist temples dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, Weibaoshan plays a spiritually important spot in Yunnan Province. Weibaoshan is also one of fourteen sacred Taoist mountains.

DAY 6: DALI TO LIJIANG
Drive 2 hours to Shaxi, a former ancient market town on the famous Tea Horse Road and enjoy some easy sightseeing around the old town.

Continue driving 1 hour to the quaint town of Lijiang where you will have free time to explore the Old Quarter. There are many dining opportunities in this area.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

Shaxi Ancient Town – An important trading point on the Ancient Tea Route from the Tang Dynasty, Shaxi has arguably been called the most well preserved town on the Ancient Tea Route

Lijiang – A beautiful tapestry of cobbled streets, rickety wooden buildings and sultry streams, Lijiang is a vision of idyllic wonder; a great place to just take a stroll and soak up the atmosphere.

DAY 7: LIJIANG
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain: altitude 3,240m. Visit Baisha Naxi Village today and meet a Shaman Dongba who you will demonstrate how to write ancient Dongba written characters, before attempting this quirky art form yourself. Sample traditional Naxi cuisine and visit the Mu Family Embroidery School.

Continue to the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which incorporates several peaks, the tallest of which is 5,500m. Today you will explore one of the beautiful high meadows and enjoy the amazing vistas, to avoid the large crowds of people queuing at the same time; the local government’s tourist authority allocates times to each group. The bus will drive to the base of the mountain where you will take a 10 minute ride on a chairlift from the base to Yunshaping (Cloud Fir Meadow) at an altitude of approximately 3,200m. From the chairlift, there is a wooden pathway to the meadow and this walking route takes approx 1 hour. Descend by chairlift and re-board the bus returning to Lijiang.

Please note this section of the itinerary is subject to change at late notice. Your local guide will keep you informed of any changes as they are made aware of them. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is at an altitude of 3,200m. All passengers should stay well hydrated to acclimatise to the higher altitude.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Baisha Naxi Village and Frescoes – Once the capital of the Naxi minority group, the Baisha Old Town is home to typical Naxi architecture and a great place to see the Naxi people going about their daily lives. The Naxi people are known for their Dongba pictograph writing style.

Mu Family Embroidery School – Watch as locals make intricate pieces of embroidery and take advantage to buy a piece yourself.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain – Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is known for its mysterious ambience and snow-covered peaks and is considered the Holy Mountain amongst the Naxi ethnic group and other ethnic minorities in Lijiang. Popular for hiking, mountaineering, botanising and skiing, JadeDragon Snow Mountain attracts thousands of visitors every year who enjoy exploring its lofty peaks.

DAY 8: LIJIANG TO ZHONGDIAN
Zhongdian altitude 3,200m. Start the day with a visit to the picturesque Black Dragon Pool where you can enjoy spectacular vistas of the JadeDragon Snow Mountain.

Drive approximately 2 hours to Tiger Leaping Gorge, over 3,000 metres deep and with its backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is one of China’s most extraordinary sights. The whole area is spectacular – prepare for breath-taking views. The bus will drop you off at the southern end of a walkway, which follows the gorge as far as the upper rapids. It is a newly constructed, even walkway. There are sedan chairs offered by local vendors, which can be organised at your own cost. Lunch today will be a simple meal as the choice of restaurants in this area is limited.

Continue another two and a half hours on to the Tibetan monastery town of Zhongdian, also known as Shangri-La.

Please note: Zhongdian is at an altitude of 3,200m. All passengers should rest and stay well hydrated to acclimatise to the higher altitude.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Black Dragon Pool – Constructed in 1737 during the reign of the Qing Dynasty, the Black Dragon Pool is a popular pond in Lijiang, which offers stunning vistas and walking opportunities. From this area, visitors can enjoy beautiful panoramas of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the tallest mountain in the area. It is said that there is a black dragon living within the pond’s waters, hence the name.

Tiger Leaping Gorge – is believed to be one of the deepest and most dramatic gorges in the world, measuring at 16km. Hiking along Tiger Leaping Gorge has become incredibly popular, as those who do can view its roaring stream, cascading waterfalls and magnificent scale –great for those who crave an adventure.

Zhongdian – Seen as the joining point between Yunnan & Tibet, Zhongdian is a beautiful Tibetan town home to rugged scenery and remote temples. Known in Tibetan as Gyalthang, the town is said to be the location of the author James Hilton’s fictional land of Shangri-La.

DAY 9: ZHONGDIAN
Today visit the Songzanlin Monastery, one of the most significant centres of Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet. There are steep steps to climb at the monastery. From here walk approximately 3 hours to Napa Hai Grassland enjoying the stunning countryside and a packed lunch. In the rainy season the grasslands become a lake and this ever-changing area is popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers. Later visit a TibetanVillage where you will pay a visit to a local family and learn how to make Tibetan Butter Tea. Tonight feast on a traditional home cooked Tibetan Style family dinner.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Songzanlin Monastery – This 17th century monastery is the largest of its kind in Yunnan. The Songzanlin Monastery is sometimes referred to as the ‘Little Potala Palace’ due to its resemblance to its bigger counterpart in Lhasa. The Monastery is coated in beautiful golden roofs and is a fusion of Tibetan and Han Chinese architecture.

Napa Hai Grasslands – Napa Hai is Shangri-La’s largest grassland covering an area of 66 square kilometres, sitting at 3270 metres above sea level.

Tibetan village – Gain an insight into how the local people live, maybe taste some local snacks and see the traditional Tibetan architecture.

DAY 10: ZHONGDIAN
Take a walk through Zhongdian Old Town. In January 2014, two thirds of the Old Town was burnt down in a tragic fire, fortunately the remaining one third of the town is still intact for us to explore. Later visit Dafo temple before enjoying an afternoon at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

Zhongdian Old Town – Though unfortunately two thirds of the town was burnt down in January 2014, the remaining section has managed to maintain its original quaint charm, which makes Zhongdian so alluring. See the perfect blend of Tibetan and Han cultures, architecture and people in this charming little town.

DAY 11: ZHONGDIAN TO KUNMING
Fly 1 hour to Kunming and transfer to your hotel to check in. The rest of the day is free to explore independently.

Meals included: Breakfast

DAY 12: KUNMING TO JIANSHUI
Travel approximately 2 hours to Tonghai and visit the unique Xingmeng Mongolian village on the way, where the residents wear traditional costumes and keep old traditions alive.There will be around 2 hours sightseeing on foot here. After a stroll around Tonghai market, continue 1 hour and 30 minutes to the antiquated town of Jianshui for an overnight stay and visit the Confucian temple, one of the largest in China.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Jianshui – With a history over 1,200 years, Jianshui has retained a traditional appearance and traditional way of life. Its style dates back to the Ming Dynasty with an intact city wall and gate tower.

DAY 13: JIANSHUI TO YUANYANG
This morning visit the Zhang Gardens before travelling 3 hours and 30 minutes further south to Yuanyang where you can explore the bustling market, full of fresh produce and locals in traditional, colourful costume.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Yuanyang is well known for its rice terraces, a beautiful intricate patchwork of different coloured rice fields.

DAY 14: YUANYANG
This morning, take an easy hike around the rice terraces, admiring the spectacular natural beauty. You will hike for around 3 hours on cobbled streets through the rice terraces. At some points, the path will be at a steep incline or decline. This evening dine on a mix of Han and Hani cuisine.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 15: YUANYANG TO KUNMING
Drive approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes to Kunming stopping at Lendun Village Market on the way. There will be some light sightseeing and opportunity to shop here. Upon arrival into Kunming, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure before your farewell dinner this evening.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 16: DEPART KUNMING
Any time before your flight is at leisure. You will be transferred from your hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Late checkout is not included in our China group tours. If you wish to book a late checkout for your final day in Kunming, please contact us.

DAY 17: ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Amazing East Africa Safari

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12 days covering Kenya and Tanzania for the 18-29 age group

Geckos Adventures specially cater to the 18-29 year old age group and focus on cost effective trips worldwide. This trip cover the highlights of Kenya and Tanzania on a small group safari. Prices start from $2448 per person, with numerous departures available in 2017.

Included Activities:
Meals
11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners

Transport
Overland Vehicle

Accommodation
Hotel (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights)

Loita Hills – Village Visit
Masai Mara National Reserve – Game drive
Serengeti National Park – Game drive
Mto Wa Mbu – Market Visit

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

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Weird and bizarre festivals in the USA

SPECIAL FEATURE

On your next trip to the USA, why not see if you can plan around one of many crazy festivals that take place in this country. Something for everyone out of these pearlers!

1. Roadkill cook off – Marlinton, West Virginia – September 29-30

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Ever driven past some roadkill and had the urge to eat it? Well, every year in Marlinton, you can. This roadkill cook off festival allows locals and visitors to enjoy a day of tasting strange cuisine e.g squirrels, opossum, raccoons and groundhogs, shopping for local crafts, tasting local wines, and enjoying live entertainment. The only rule is the kill must be freshly dead warm and no gutting on site.

2. Testicle Festival – Clinton, Montana – 2-6 August

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Held from August 2-6 in Clinton, locals gather to celebrate…well, testicles. The Testy Fest includes several different events, the main one being the ball-eating contest. You are given four minutes to see how many bull testicles you can consume. Male and female nudity is encouraged; bull riding and wet T-shirts are the norm. They also have an Undie 500 race which is pretty much what it sounds like — people racing in their underwear.

3. State Cow Chip Throw and Festival – Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin – September 2-3

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For those of you that don’t know, cow chips are dry, odourless pieces of cow dung. Yay! This festival, held every year in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, includes a cow chip parade, a cow chip-throwing contest, crafts, food, and of course, beer! The current cow chip-throwing record stands at 248 feet.

4. Keep Austin Weird Festival – Austin, Texas – June 24

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This is a city that celebrates weirdness – it’s their city motto. Participate in the slowest 5 km fun run on the planet with tempting stops en route to taste ice cream, whiskey, pies, cakes and do the limbo. They have big toe wrestling and armadillo races + smelly chambers? (not sure what this is…)

5. San Fermin Festival – New Orleans, Lousiana – July

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This festival, held each year in New Orleans, is based off the traditional San Fermin running of the bulls racing festival in Spain. However, this festival doesn’t have any bulls chasing after you, they have roller derby girls. The girls chase runners and if they catch up to you, they are then allowed to whack you with a foam wiffle ball bat. The festival, in typical New Orleans fashion, begins with a party and ends with a party.

6. Tarantula Awareness Festival – Coarsegold, California – October 24

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Held on October 24 each year in Coarsegold, Califorina, locals gather for a day of tarantula-themed fun and learning. All kinds of arachnid displays, tarantula races, and contests for everyone covering hairiest legs contest for men and women 16-99 yrs, tarantula poems, screaming, dress up costumes and bubble gum blowing.

7. The Wayne Chicken Show – Wayne, Nebraska – July 7-9

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This Nebraska festival was hatched (sorry) in 1981 and has grown into an enormous, lighthearted celebration of all things chicken. It begins with All Hen’s Eve (Henoween) and includes chicken humour, chicken games like a cluck off and rooster crowing, chicken costumes, chicken dancing, hard boiled egg eating contest and naturally finishes with a chicken dinner.

8. The Juke Joint Festival – Clarksdale, Mississippi – April 19-23

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This is a great authentic blues music festival held in the clubs and streets of Clarksdale. It’s famous for Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads. Nowadays it is a sleepy backwater and this festival covers mainly music, adding a pig race and monkeys riding dogs just for fun. Something for everyone.

9. The Frog Festival – Rayne, Louisiana – May 11-13

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Rayne is a small town in the swamps of Louisiana claiming to be the frog capital of the world. They celebrate all things frog with beauty pageants (got to love them), frog racing and jumping, Bullfrogs in costume, frog eating contests, parades, cajun and zydeco music + lots of fun.

10. Frozen Dead Guy Days – Nederland, Colorado – March 10-12

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Held from March 10-12 in homage to a dead guy ‘Bredo Morstol’, who is frozen in a state of suspended animation in a shed above the town. Lots of frosty hilarity occurs with a parade of hearses, coffin races, frozen t-shirt contests, costumed polar plunging and frozen salmon tossing. Plenty of music and warm nights as well.

If you’re interested in attending one or more of these bizarre US festivals, get in touch with us on 03 9600 1482 or email contact@transotwaytravel.com.au