Ready for A Taste of Russia at a time when locals celebrate Christmas, New Year, another Christmas, Old New Year and an Epiphany? Intrepid’s Anna Mikhailova explains why you should take this top trip in winter…
“In his novel The real life of Sebastian Knight, Nabokov, one of Russia’s finest authors, gave this description of a winter’s day in his home city:
“…the morning of 31st December was a fine windless one, with twelve degrees below zero. This dry account cannot convey to the untravelled reader the implied delights of a winter day such as this in St Petersburg; the pure luxury of a cloudless sky designed not to warm the flesh, but solely to please the eye, the soft curve of a cupola, its gold dimmed by the bloom of powdery frost; the birch trees in the public gardens, every tiniest twig outlined in white; the rasp and tinkle of winter traffic.”
In Nepal you can take your pick of three New Year celebrations. Lhosar is the New Year of the Sherpas and Tibetans celebrated on 5 March next year, Navavarsha is observed as the official Nepali New Year, which falls on 4 April in 2011, and as Intrepid Express reader Christine Ireland discovered, 31 December is also a wonderful time to be in Nepal…
“The New Year’s Eve street festival held lakeside in Pokhara is a time I will always remember. The street is alive with coloured lights, crisscrossing amid the tangle of electricity wires. Smells of hot curry, momos and sweet spices waft and mingle through the evening air, tempting one to sit and watch and drink in the festive atmosphere.
Much more than a break from work, a holiday has the power to change your life, writes Cayla Dengate in MX Escape…
In the shell of a destroyed Sri Lankan hotel, three surfers join the circle of Buddhist monks as they start a prayer ceremony.
It’s one year after the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed more than 3500 people. The monks are saying a requiem for the dead and a blessing for those who continued to live there. “We all sat in a circle with our hands in prayer position and the monks wound a long length of red string between all of our palms,” Keith Barnes, 29, of Sydney, remembers.
Fiona Hilliard is a travel writer and blogger from Dublin, Ireland. She counts Mexico as one of her favourite travel destinations and regularly provides Mexico travel advice for Argus Car Hire’s Glove Box blog. Here she shares her memories from her recent Mexico Unplugged Intrepid trip:
“Ok…he says to watch out…there’s a sharp turn coming up…! We clutch the sides of the rickety wooden carriage and get ready to be thrown every which way.
Over the course of our trip, our guide has taken on many different roles. This afternoon, he’s translating for the gap-toothed driver in charge of our horse. We are in Cuzama, on our way to visit some of Merida’s most famous sink holes.
You’ll be amazed what you can achieve in a day in Buenos Aires. Intrepid’s Cassie Harrex clocks in for a fantastic 24-hour city experience…
“8am – Cafe Tortoni: Start your day at the country’s oldest and one of the city’s most beautiful cafes. Grab a copy of the daily Buenos Aires Herald and linger over breakfast.
9am – San Telmo Market: Call by this antique market in Plaza Dorego. Shop for some jewellery, barter over trinkets, admire a tango street show or find a cafe to people watch.
Imagine living surrounded by sparkling tropical waters, but having no source of fresh water to drink. Imagine losing your crops in your garden, because the sea water keeps washing through. This situation has become all too familiar for the 2,500 Carteret islanders, living in the Bougainville province of Papua New Guinea.
Through The Intrepid Foundation, we have been supporting the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Asia-Pacific Program and their work with the Carteret peoples. The Carteret communities live a low-carbon lifestyle and yet they are bearing the full force of climate change. Coral atolls are geologically dynamic, but extreme weather events consistent with climate change have been creating havoc.
What better way to beat the blues than join in a celebration where you wash away your woes and watch them sail into the night? On 21 November this year Thailand will light up for Loy Krathong, the festival that pays respect to Mae Khongkha (Mother of Waters) by floating candles and incense sticks in banana leaf boats, or in some regions makes an offering to Lord Buddha by sending lanterns into the sky.
Whether it’s religious beliefs or the want to start afresh with renewed good luck that draws people to the events around the country, as Intrepid Express reader Molly Skoog discovered, it’s one of Thailand’s most magical nights…
Fun, adventure and incredible real life experiences, all essential ingredients for an Intrepid top trip. Add amazing wildlife encounters and meeting remarkable local characters and you can understand why Intrepid traveller Sharon Slater loved her Sabah Discovery
“I considered myself very lucky as I won the trip in an Intrepid competition. When I got to Borneo I realised the full extent of my fortune – Sabah is fantastic. The sights and activities were amazing (which was somewhat predictable from the itinerary). Still, I had never pictured myself climbing a mountain, but there I was, 46 years of age at 4,092 metres on a genuine mountain (Kinabalu) as the sun came up over Sabah! And although I knew I would see orangutans at the Sepilok Sanctuary, I didn’t know that I would have a face to face encounter with one – a truly unforgettable experience.
Surrounded by Africa’s most incredible wildlife and completely caught up in the wonderful moment, Intrepid’s Zoe Rees felt like she was seeing the world through rose coloured glasses in Kenya…
“Pink? Not my favourite colour, but I have to admit that there are occasions on which I’ve enjoyed the colour immensely – brilliant sunrises and sunsets, the rosy hue of Uluru and stepping out of our safari vehicle at Lake Nakuru in Kenya.
Before me was literally a sea of pink flamingos that stretched as far as the eye could see. It was amazing to witness these unique birds frolicking, feeding and splashing around in the soda lake. Apparently it is Lake Nakuru’s abundance of algae that attracts the millions of flamingos, though I was even more amazed to find out I was there at a slow time and usually the flock is double the size!
For several years now The Intrepid Foundation has been supporting the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Asia Pacific Program and environmental protection projects in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. Lee Tan from ACF has recently given an encouraging update on their marvellous achievements with our funds…
Haburas, a local non-government organisation in Timor-Leste, ran an Ecotourism conference in Dili in August 2009. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao announced that community-based tourism will be a national development priority for Timor-Leste and cited Tua Koin on Atauro Island and Veru Sere (at the eastern end of the country) as positive examples of this kind of tourism. Intrepid was very pleased to hear this news, as the last thing the country needs is inappropriate large-scale tourism development. Intrepid travellers can attest to the successful operation of Tua Koin Eco-lodge, with our groups staying here during our 15-day trip. It remains a very important tourism venture as well as an income generating activity for the community of Atauro Island.