Georgia & Armenia – 13 day ‘Journey to the Caucasus’

This is a fascinating new part of the world to explore combining old world Eastern European charm. Bridging the east and west, these former Soviet Republics boast thousands of years of history, amazing scenery and unique cultural heritage.

You will have a number of special highlights including witnessing a spiritual vocal performance in an ancient monastery, sip wine from earthenware pots in the world’s oldest vineyards and prepare a lavash feast in a local home.

The trips start in Tbilisi, Georgia and finish in Yerevan, Armenia.

There are only 5 departures in 2020: 01 May, 31 May, 12 Jun, 04 Sep, and 04 Oct.
Cost is AUD 9495 p/p twin share. The maximum group size is 18 people.

Abercrombie & Kent, a world renowned international company, offers a very high level of quality touring, accommodation, meals and inclusions on this tour.

Full tour itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Tbilisi, Georgia
Arrive into the Georgian capital and this evening join your tour director and fellow travellers for a cocktail briefing on the adventure ahead.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel

Day 2: Tbilisi | An Assortment of Architectural Styles
Tbilisi is a surprising blend of cultures. Your adventure starts with a walk through the cobbled streets of the atmospheric old town. Visit the 12th century Metekhi Church and a 19th century Jewish synagogue. Admire the old Georgian houses with their distinctive wooden, curved balconies and the Sioni Cathedral. You’ll see the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi before getting a bird’s-eye view of the city from the Narikala Fortress, which can be accessed by cable car or on foot. On the way back down, stop at the Sulphur Baths and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Tonight is a chance to savour some of Georgia’s finest cuisine at a favourite traditional restaurant.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Tbilisi | Design Your Day
Start the day at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia with its extraordinary collection of gold filigree work. After lunch – design your day with the choice of a visit to a local workshop, (where artisans introduce us to the ancient technique of cloisonné, a decorative enamel work tradition over 1,200 years old), or embark on a local neighbourhood architectural walking tour of Tbilisi/ Free time at leisure.
• An artisan introduction to the ancient technique of cloisonné (decorative enamelwork).
• Join an architectural expert for a walking tour around the city.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 4: Kakheti | Birthplace of Winemaking
Explore the most picturesque part of Georgia – Kakheti, which borders the Great Caucasus range. This area is the birthplace of viticulture and winemaking, admire the profusion of vineyards and beautiful churches as you drive through. Stop at the 9th century Bodbe Nunnery before arriving at the pretty fortified town of Sighnaghi, famous for its wine and carpet making. Meander through the narrow streets before lunch with a local family serving up traditional dishes from the region, and of course matching wines. Before returning to Tbilisi we visit the grand Tsinandali estate, once home to the noble Chavchavadze family and noted for its historic winery.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 5: Mtskheta | Medieval Religious Architecture
The World Heritage site of Mtskheta is your first stop today. Georgia’s cultural and religious centre, it is also one of the country’s oldest towns. Visit the early medieval Jvari Church and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Heading along the Georgian Military Highway, take in the Ananuri Architectural complex, with churches and towers dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Arrive into the sleepy town of Kazbegi later this afternoon where views of Mt. Kazbek are breathtaking – especially from your hotel room.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Kazbegi | Gergeti Holy Trinity Church
This morning, head for the beautifully situated 14th century Gergeti Holy Trinity Church which perches high on a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding mountain scenery. Get up close by 4WD or, for the more energetic, on foot. More traditional Georgian hospitality today over lunch with one of the local families. This afternoon, enjoy the stylish Nordic atmosphere of the hotel before sundowners on the terrace.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Tbilisi | Heart of Georgia
Today’s adventure is to the fertile Kartli province with a stop in Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin where a controversial museum traces his life. For lunch today, enjoy traditional dishes with the local wine.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 8: Sadakhlo, Armenia | Byzantine Monasteries | Yerevan, Armenia
We farewell Georgia this morning crossing into Armenia at the Sadakhlo border. After a short drive we arrive at Akhtala Fortress and Church. After lunch, we visit the beautiful Haghpat monastic complex, representative of Armenia’s finest religious architectural tradition with a unique style blending element of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular of the Caucasian region. Haghpat is justifiably a World UNESCO listed monastery. We drive on to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Yerevan | Lake Sevan
Travel today to Lake Sevan, the largest body of water in Armenia and the Caucasus region, where a boat trip is included. Then continue on to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. Yerevan stretches along the banks of the River Hrazdan, under the wistful gaze of Mount Ararat.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BL

Day 10: Yerevan | In the shadow of Mount Ararat
Your introduction to the capital begins with a guided tour of the city, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited metropolises. See the beautiful Government buildings, the Central Post Office and banks. Visit the State History Museum as well as the Cafesjian Modern Art Museum, which exhibits collections of Armenian and international contemporary artworks. Later, we visit the sombre Genocide Museum and Memorial. Also in the afternoon, we discover why Armenian brandy is world famous at a VIP tasting specially organised for us at the Yerevan brandy factory. There is also time this afternoon to pore over the stalls at the Vernissage flea market, a short walk from the hotel.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BL

Day 11: Yerevan | Geghard | Garni
Our morning begins with a spiritual vocal performance in the acoustic hall of the ancient Geghard Monastery. Afterwards, a visit to the pagan Temple of Garni, which dates to the Hellenistic era. Built around 77 A.D., it is the only Greco-Roman colonnaded building in the country. Afterwards, we take part in a centuries-old Armenian cultural tradition at a hands-on lavash making ceremony followed by lunch in a local home. There is also time this afternoon to explore the stalls at the Vernissage flea market, a short walk from the hotel.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BL

Day 12: Yerevan | Etchmiadzin | Zvartnots
This morning we visit the the ruins of the 7th century Zvartnots Cathedral. Later we visit the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. This ancient catherdral is headquarters for the Armenian Orthodox Church. We explore the museum, then enjoy lunch at the family owned Megeryan Carpet Factory & Museum. Get comfortable as you admire exquisite handmade carpets before a traditional Armenian lunch in a rustic, but atmospheric, restaurant. This afternoon is at leisure, and tonight we celebrate the end of our journey through the Caucasus with a farewell dinner.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BLD

Day 13: Depart Yerevan
Transfer to airport for departure flight.
Meals: B

For more information or to discuss booking spaces on this tour, please call us on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Turkey Encompassed – Intrepid Specials

Secure up to 10% off selected European and Middle East trips for bookings made by 31 October 2019.

These Intrepid specials are on trips covering Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iceland, Georgia & Armenia, Turkey and France.

Turkey Encompassed -15 days

Various departures are available from now through all of 2020, starting from $1796 p/p twin share.

This trip is based on a start and finish in Istanbul and uses a comfortable grade of accommodation.

Tour inclusions

14 breakfasts, 3 lunches

Private Bus, Boat

Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Istanbul – Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul – City Tour
  • Beypazari – Yasayan Muze (Living Museum of Beypazari)
  • Goreme – Open Air Museum
  • Cappadocia – Pottery Demonstration
  • Cappadocia – Devrent Valley
  • Cappadocia – Highlights
  • Konya – Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme – Derinkuyu underground city tour
  • Antalya – Orientation Walk
  • Antalya – Kaleici visit
  • Antalya – Antalya Museum
  • Kas – Leader led orientation walk
  • Pamukkale – Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
  • Seluck – Orientation Walk
  • Sirince – Wine Tasting
  • Ephesus – Archaeological Site
  • Selcuk – Local Lunch taste of Gozleme
  • Gallipoli – Guided Tour

For more information about this tour, contact us on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Himalayan Adventure


All inclusive cost inc airfares, taxes, accommodation, all meals, sightseeing, visa fees and entrance fees is $8980 per person.

Only two departures in 2020 are left – 6 May and 7 Oct.

Fly to Chengdu. (D)

A visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding allows you to see China’s celebrated bears up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Stroll through People’s Park, see Matchmaker’s Corner, and visit a traditional tea house. (B,L,D)

Fly to Lhasa and have some time at leisure to acclimatise to the high altitude. (B,L,D)

Lhasa is a modern city but among the old streets, at its core, you’ll feel a million miles from the modern world. Venture inside Jokhang Temple where queues of people worship in the flickering light of yak butter candles. Wander around the Barkhor with traditionally dressed locals and prostrating pilgrims. There will also be a visit to Sera Monastery to witness the debating monks. This evening, try yak burgers for dinner. (B,L,D)

The Potala Palace is an architectural wonder towering over the city. The winter palace of the Dalai Lama, it houses thousands of rooms filled with old treasures. This evening enjoy a Tibetan dance performance during dinner. (B,L,D)

Travel across Tibet’s stark plains to Shigatse, Tibet’s second city and the traditional home of the Panchen Lama. (B,L,D)

Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the hilltop complex that is the monastic seat of the Panchen Lama. From here drive to New Tingri, admiring awe-inspiring Himalayan views. (B,L,D)

Rise early to make the final assault across the Gue La to Pasum and Rongbuk, a monastic village festooned in colourful prayer flags. See the world’s highest post office, with the Himalayas dominating the horizon, before reaching the Everest Base Camp Boundary Monument. Here, situated under the gaze of Everest’s north face, the views of the world’s highest peak are unsurpassed (weather permitting). (B,L,D)

Drive to the pleasant town of Gyantse and visit the famous Kumbum Monastery. (B,L,D)

Return to Lhasa, stopping en route at Karuola Glacier and Yamdrok Lake. Stay overnight in Lhasa. (B,L,D)

Fly to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Meet your Nepalese guide and transfer to Dhulikhel to see the traditional Newari houses and browse the local market. (B,L,D)

Take a visit to Changu Narayan Temple before hiking to Telkot through the forest landscapes, admiring the stunning Himalaya scenery. Drive to Bhaktapur and visit the Old Houses before enjoying a traditional Nepalese lunch. This afternoon wander Bhaktapur’s cobblestone streets where you’ll stumble across many old courtyards, temples and artisans busy at their craft. Visit the Golden Gate and the Palace of 55 Windows on Durbar Square. (B,L,D)

Travel to Pokhara. The town sits on the verdant banks of Phewa Lake with virtually uninterrupted views of the majestic Annapurna and Manaslu ranges. Take a walking tour, admiring the views. (B,L,D) The next day, explore Pokhara’s traditional bazaar, Bindyabasini Temple, Gupteshwor Cave and Devi’s Fall. Spend the afternoon wandering the Mountain Museum. (B,L,D)

Admire the sunrise and the serenity of a Hindu temple before departing for Chitwan National Park. A jungle safari delivers you to the plains of Terai. (B,L,D) Tomorrow, take an early morning nature walk, and visit the elephants. Later, take a serene trip down the Rapti River to search for wildlife along the river banks. Observe an elephant bath and this evening take in the fun of a traditional Tharu Stick dance performed by local farmers. (B,L,D)

Drive to Daman which has one of the most spectacular outlooks over the Himalayan range of anywhere in Nepal. Continue to Kathmandu. (B,L,D)

Essentially a suburb of Kathmandu, Patan was once the capital of an independent kingdom, something that is noticeable in its distinctiveness. See the UNESCO World Heritage Royal Palace and Patan’s Durbar Square. Returning to Kathmandu, visit the Boudhanath Stupa and Monastery for a very special Lama blessing. Continue to Pashupatinath Temple. (B,L,D)

Kathmandu is a city of many layers – a modern day assault on the senses, a hub of cultural and artistic heritage and a monument to the medieval era. Explore Swayambhunath Temple, Durbar Square, the Kumari Temple and Thamel Market. (B,L,D)

This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Kathmandu airport to board your flight to Australia, arriving home the same or following day. (B)

For more information or to book, contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email

Oceania Asia Cruise on Nautica


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


For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at

China: Yunnan and Sichuan Discovery


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.


Yunnan Adventure Itinerary

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.


For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at

Tour along the Ho Chi Minh Trail

24 days inclusive tour with airfares/taxes departing Melbourne, most meals, all accommodation, touring with guides and entrance fees, visa fees, tipping (paid locally)

Limited departures from 22 April 2017 to 17 Nov 2017, and prices from $6480 p/p twin share.


This tour is a discovery tour and takes you to a number of off the beaten track places in both Vietnam and Laos along the Ho Chi Minh trail which was used by the Nth Vietnamese and the Viet Cong as a means of evading their enemies. Hike Sapa’s Rice terraces and the Secret Route, and explore the Plain of Jars and a number of remote mountain locations in Laos.


Full Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Hanoi
Fly with Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi for your overnight stay. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. (D)

Days 2-3: Cruise Halong Bay
Drive to Halong Bay and cruise around the spectacular limestone karst formations, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon, take a rowboat to discover some of the bay’s many caves and partake in a traditional Vietnamese cooking demonstration back on board. (B,L,D) The next day rise early and practice Tai Chi as the sun rises. Transfer back to Hanoi. (B,D)

Day 4: Discover Hanoi
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature before weaving through a labyrinth of back alleys well off the tourist trail. Later enjoy a traditional Water Puppet show before taking a culinary adventure to sample street food in the Old Quarter. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Hanoi to Sapa
Today tour the Army Museum, Hoa Lo Prison and B52 Victory Museum. Enjoy a talk by a local historian before dinner. Transfer to the railway station for your overnight train to Sapa. (B,L,D)

Day 6: Sapa Minority Villages
Arrive this morning in Sapa. Walk to the busy villages of Cat Cat and Lao Chai, where you can learn the art of batik painting. The beautiful textiles of the Black H’mong are famous around the world. This afternoon head to a local home-stay, where you will spend the night. Watch as the sun sets over the rice terraces and tuck into a delicious H’mong-style dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Sapa
This morning set out along the Muong Hoa Valley towards Ta Van Village. Trek along the high road and take in the superb views. Arrive in the village of the Giay ethnic people. Transfer back to Sapa. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Dien Bien
Drive to Dien Bien and enjoy the photo opportunities of this remote area. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Dien Bien war sites
Visit the war sites of A1 Hill, the French Tunnel and Dien Bien Museum. (B,L,D)

Day 10: Dien Bien to Nong Khiaw
Farewell Vietnam and journey into Laos to Nong Khiaw via Tay Trang for an overnight stay. This town is beautifully rustic and positioned on the banks of the Nam Ou River, surrounded by limestone mountains. (B,L,D)

Days 11-12: Xam Neua
This morning drive to Xam Neua for a two-night stay. Visit the Standing Stones which are presumed to be related to burial rituals. The next day, transfer to Viengxay and explore the headquarters of Communist Pathet Lao, who were forced into the caves during their struggle with the Lao Royal Family in the time of the Vietnam-American War. (B,L,D)

Days 13-14: Phonsavan
Today will involve a full day of driving to Phonsavan, visiting Tam Cave en route (B,L,D) In the morning take a trip to contemplate the mysteries of the Plain of Jars before visiting MAG, an organisation that was created to reduce the number of casualties caused by the unexploded ordinance (UXO) that still lie in much of Laos’ land. (B)

Day 15: Phonsavan to Vinh
Today pass through Nong Het border reaching Nam Can border in Vinh, Vietnam. (B,L,D)

Day 16: Vinh to Dong Hoi
Visit the home of Uncle Ho then drive along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Visit Dong Loc site and Truong Son Cemetery and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. (B,L,D)

Day 17: Phong Nha trekking
In the morning transfer to a trekking point in Phong Nha. Trek the ‘Secret Route’, a track used by soldiers that was hidden from the Americans. Enjoy a BBQ lunch before trekking back to the start via a different route. (B,L,D)

Day 18: Dong Hoi to Hue
Journey to Hue. Stop en route to visit Vinh Moc Tunnels and Khe Sanh Combat Base. Arrive in Hue in the late afternoon where the remainder of the day is at leisure. (B,L,D)

Day 19: Hue
In the morning visit the Imperial Citadel and the Imperial Tombs on the banks of the Perfume River, before taking a boat trip along the river. In the afternoon visit Thien Mu Pagoda. (B,L,D)

Days 20-22: Hoi An
Drive south to Hoi An over the scenic Hai Van Pass. (B,L,D) The next two days are at leisure to explore Hoi An. (B)

Day 23: Depart Hoi An
Transfer to Danang airport for your overnight flight home. (B)

Day 24: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at


Burma Sailing Adventure

9 days departing Phuket from Nov 2015 – Apr 2016
from $2135 per person

This Intrepid trip is unique in visiting a very beautiful area in the Andaman Sea which is part of Myanmar. The region is blessed with untouched white sand beaches, coral reefs and marine life.

Small group departures of a max 8 people sailing in a yacht thru a truly special new part of the world to see. The Megui Archipelago is not commonly know to many travellers, so be amongst the first to discover this place. Meet the sea gypsies of Myanmar, snorkel with turtles and enjoy delicious fresh Burmese cuisine.

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at

Elephant encounters in Thailand

Learn the ancient art of elephant care in a 15 day journey that will give you a rich experience of traditional and authentic Thailand…an educational, hands-on and fun eco-tour that will change your life.

Highlights include:

  • Caring for your own elephant and participating in life within a working elephant village
  • Wildlife spotting with experts in Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park
  • Exploring Kung Wiman’s coastal environment, whilst staying in an award winning eco-retreat with fabulous massage on offer
  • Delicious Thai cooking
  • A day free to ‘choose your own adventure’ in exotic Bangkok

Elephants are the backbone of Thailand. They have worked in partnership with people for over 4000 years and are now threatened with extinction due to environmental pressures and cultural change. For seven days, you will have your own elephant to care for under the guidance of an experienced mahout. Staying in a working elephant village outside Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, you will also visit local temples and markets and enjoy a long-tail boat tour of the island.

Khao Yai National Park is one of Thailand’s oldest and best known National Parks. Guided by experts, we may be lucky enough to spot gibbons, bird species including hornbills, Samba and Barking deer. We will look for wild elephants and learn about the difficulties they currently face and efforts being made to ensure their future in modern Thailand.

*Departing 11-26 July 2015 *Travel Style: Small Group (max 8 ppl) *Travel Type: Discovery

Pricing from Bangkok: 15 Nights / 16 Days $2,560 pp

Includes: 1 night hotel, 6 nights elephant village, 1 night boutique backpackers, 3 nights homestay/hotel and 3 nights eco-retreat accommodation, most meals and activities, National Park entry fees, transport and local guides.

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or visit



Iran Adventure

Intrepid Adventure – 15 Days/14 Nights

A thorough coverage of all Iran has to offer. Small group tour with a max of 12 travellers. Various departures into 2015 starting from $2995 per person.

Be mesmerised by the richness of Iranian culture and scenery

Welcome to the hidden world of Iran. Travel through this fascinating country to discover refined Islamic cities, colourful bazaars, ancient Persian ruins, fascinating nomads and shimmering deserts. Whether you’re relaxing in a teahouse in Tehran, enjoying guided tours of ancient cultural sites or breaking bread with nomads on the harsh Iranian plateau, the warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people is endearing and the profound beauty of their land is mesmerising.

  • Taste traditional Iranian cuisine on a homestay
  • Travel across the Iranian plateau
  • Explore the busy streets of Tehran
  • Spend a night with a nomadic family
  • Ponder life in Persepolis on a guided tour
  • Admire the delicate beauty of Esfahan
  • Gain an insight into the lives of Silk Road traders

To find out more about this adventure, contact Trans Otway Travel on (03) 9600 1482 or email

The Highlights of Vietnam + Angkor Wat

Accompanied throughout by MasterChef AU 2012 contestant Mindy Woods

Departure November 15, 2014. From $4,385pp

I am absolutely thrilled to be leading this tour to Vietnam and Cambodia and hope that you will be able to join me on this incredible adventure.

Together we’ll discover the contrasts between fast paced Saigon, and more sedate Hanoi with its gorgeous pockets of old world charm. We’ll spend time on a traditional ‘junk’ cruising picturesque Halong Bay, and I am really looking forward to seeing the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat – once almost impossible to visit.

Best of all, we’ll discover together the amazing flavours , tastes and traditions of Vietnamese cooking which epitomise this incredible country and its culture. A long the way we’ll have the chance to talk of my sensational experience on MasterChef, and all the fabulous things that have happened since.

Yours in the discovery of culture and taste,

Mindy Woods – AU contestant 2012

Culinary Highlights:

  • Visit local houses and sample freshly picked produce
  • Lunch at the Ancient Faifo restaurant
  • Hands on cooking experiences
  • Enjoy the restored royal home – The Tha Om for dinner

Discovery Highlights:

  • Stay in boutique and newly refurbished hotels
  • Visits to Ho Chi Minh, Danang, Hoi An, Hue & more
  • Visits to local markets & fishing villages
  • Overnight cruise on a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay
  • City tour of Ho Chi Minh and Hue
  • Visit to Cu Chi Tunnels

Itinerary in Brief:

Day 1 – Arrive Saigon: A private transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Stay 3 nights at Grand Hotel Saigon (Luxury wing). (N)

Day 2 – Saigon: Meet Mindy Woods, the popular MasterChef contestant from the 2012 series this morning as she joins your tour and you all enjoy a full day’s sightseeing. First, we drive into the countryside to see the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, then return to Saigon for lunch at the Hoa Tuc restaurant.Later, a city tour includes the Notre Dame Cathedral (interior view is only available if a service is not in progress), the Central Post Office, and visits to the former Presidential Palace and the War Remnants Museum with Mindy. Enjoy a welcome dinner hosted by Mindy is set in the restored splendour of the formal dining room of the former US Embassy. (B, L, D)

Day 3 – Saigon: Head into the southern provinces to the Mekong Delta. We board a motor vessel to Turtle Island. Visit a local house, sample freshly picked fruit, and take a walk through a village to gain an insight into rural life. Later, board a sampan with Mindy to traverse the canals en route to our lunch stop before returning to Saigon. (B, L)

Day 4 – To Danang: Transfer to the airport for a flight to Danang. See the unique Song Han Bridge prior to visiting the Dien Hai Rampart. With Mindy, visit to Cham Museum to inspect artefacts from the 2nd to 15th centuries before heading out of town to see the Marble Mountains. Stay two nights at Hoi An Riverside Resort & Spa. (B)

Day 5 – Hoi An: This morning’s sightseeing features this World Heritage-listed ancient town with its well preserved buildings and unique cuisine. See the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation and the colourful market with its silk stalls. Lunch at the Ancient Faifo restaurant hosted by Mindy. (B, L)

Day 6 – Hoi An: Today we feature a hands-on cooking experience hosted by Mindy. We accompany our chef to the local market to learn how to select the best ingredients before heading to a French colonial-style cooking school where we learn how to prepare a meal using typical ingredients from central Vietnam and enjoy it together. (B, L)

Day 7 – To Hue: Drive to Hue today accompanied by Mindy. We visit China Beach on the way, and drive over the magnificent Hai Van Pass to pause for lunch in a fishing village. Later, we explore Hue with a 10 min cyclo-ride to the Imperial Citadel – a UNESCO-listed site. Visit the impressive Thien Mu pagoda with its seven storey tower. Stay overnight at Moonlight Hue Hotel. (B)

Day 8 – Hue – Hanoi: Visit the An Hien garden house with its traditional Vietnamese architecture, and later the former home of Princess Ngoc Son. Following this we have lunch at the Tha Om restored royal home, where a descendent of the royal family will welcome you for lunch in a beautifully furnished dining room. Transfer to the airport for our flight to Hanoi. After settling in to our hotel, we drive to the Nineteen 11 restaurant for dinner hosted by Mindy, which is situated in the grounds of the historic Opera House. After dinner, visit the Dai Nam Theatre to see the “My Village’ show which depicts village life. Stay for 2 nights in the Silk Path Hotel (Premium Deluxe Wing). (B, L,

Day 9 – Hanoi: We discover the national capital on tour today. Visit the Temple of Literature and drive to the Museum of Ethnology to learn about Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups.Afterwards, drive back to the Old Quarter of Hanoi to observe the bustle of everyday life. There’ll be opportunities to sample local fare with Mindy as your culinary host.(B)

Day 10 – To Halong Bay: Drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay and board a junk. After lunch on board hosted by Mindy, settle into your cabin. Later, visit a fishing village to learn about their lives before returning to the junk. Attend the chef’s cooking class and watch the evening meal being prepared. Stay overnight on aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 11 – To Hanoi: Participate in an early morning Tai Chi class if you wish. Later, explore Sung Sot grotto where stalactites hanging from the ceiling take on numerous shapes and forms. Return to the junk for brunch prior to disembarking and driving back to Hanoi. Dinner will be hosted by Mindy at Hoa Sua restaurant, which is run by a charitable foundation that cares for street children and uses the restaurant to teach them hospitality industry trades. Stay overnight at Silk Path Hotel. (B, D)

Day 12 – Siem Reap: Transfer to the airport for the Vietnam Airlines flight to Siem Reap. Transfer to your hotel on arrival. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Stay three nights at Tara Angkor Hotel. (B)

Day 13 – Siem Reap: This morning visit Angkor Wat, one of the wonders of the modern world. Stroll through the intricately carved hallways and discover small shrines which are still in use today. After lunch visit the picturesque Ta Prohm temple. Later, visit the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire. (B, L)

Day 14 – Siem Reap: Take a short walk with Mindy through a village to understand local cooking customs before learning to cook three Khmer dishes in a hands-on cooking experience and afterwards enjoy the food you have helped prepare for this farewell lunch hosted by Mindy. Drive into the countryside for a boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake. See the floating schools, markets and police station prior to driving back to Siem Reap. (B, L)

Day 15 – Depart Siem Reap: Today is at leisure prior to the afternoon transfer to the airport for your outgoing flight. (B)

Meal basis: As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals

To find out more about this adventure, contact Trans Otway Travel on (03) 9600 1482 or email