Some say you’d be mad to travel to Mongolia in winter, but as Kate Sykes discovered there are precious rays of sunshine to be enjoyed even in the freezing temperatures.
Kate visited Mongolia as a volunteer for Lotus Children’s Centre, a dedicated non-government organisation that has been operating since 1995 and benefits from the support of The Intrepid Foundation and Intrepid travellers. There are 300 days a year of sunshine in Mongolia, but it’s the smiles of those children that warms Kate’s heart most…
“Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, is generally not a pretty city, especially in winter. The weather is bitterly cold, the building facades grimy, the pavement is cracked and undulating, making walking difficult even without the slippery ice, the haze grim and the cacophony of tinny car horns in rush hour punctuates what could possibly be calm mornings. There are a few diamonds in this rough place though, and certainly make a visit, even in winter, worthwhile.
One of the exciting aspects of Intrepid is that our responsible travel philosophies can translate into assisting local communities in a variety of ways. Intrepid Thailand is involved in a three-way partnership with Nakhon Sri Thammarat Rajaphat University and the Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I), to help students become confident local guides. Travellers on our Colours of Asia trip get to spend time with these wonderful young people and later this year we look forward to excited students joining some of our trips for special work experience.
Peter Richards from CBT-I has recently returned from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, where each Monday and Tuesday Colours of Asia travellers are looked after by the student guides who escort them to the birthplace of Thai Buddhism, Wat Mahataad Temple, and to a Shadow Puppet show by the nationally recognised master artist Suchart Subsin.
At Intrepid we figure fundraising should be fun and our Intrepid Cambodia team put that into action when they raised money for the Sala Bai Hotel School For Underprivileged Cambodians. Jane Dearden, Responsible Travel Coordinator Cambodia, tells how Team Intrepid enjoyed the recent festival and managed to stay afloat for a good cause…
“After a gruelling week of rowing training and only once upturning our boat, our team felt like we were dreaming the three words ‘Muy, pii bei’! The Cambodian cry of ‘one, two, three’ signalled the start of our daily training ritual for the annual Bonn Om Touk in Siem Reap.
Wow! The race weekend finally arrived and suddenly the once quiet river banks were overflowing with Khmers ready to celebrate the Moon and Water Festival.
Travelling the length and breadth of a giant country like China takes an extraordinary combination of trains, planes, automobiles and even donkey carts, but for Intrepid travellers traversing the Middle Kingdom by train regularly rates as a highlight.
On many routes we travel ‘hard class’, but as Intrepid leader Joseph Kornides explains, doing it hard in China is an easy way to have fun…
“One of the great things about an Intrepid trip is the use of local transport. It really gives you an insight into how people go about their daily lives, rather than being cooped up in a luxury coach completely separated from the action.