Vietnamese New Year, or Tet, is a bright display of blossoms, fruit offerings and red envelopes carrying lucky money. As the chant of “Chuc mung nam moi” rings out around Vietnam this week, wishing friends and family happy New Year, we join Intrepid’s Sarah Moore on her recent Reunification Express adventure…
“Last night I met the eleven travellers I would spend the next 14 days with. A mixture of Kiwis, Aussies and Brits, we are (amongst other professions) a doctor, hairdresser, lawyer, two school teachers, a semi-retired courier driver and a diesel mechanic, ranging in age from eighteen to fifty-six years.
Valued for their milk, ploughing and pulling capabilities, the cow continues to be considered sacred in India.
Many Hindu gods and goddesses incarnate in the form of a cow, plus in Hindu mythology Shiva rides an ox called Nandhi and a sacred cow called Kamadhenu is said to have given its milk to Lord Vishnu. Cows are an intrinsic part of Indian culture, and as Intrepid’s Michelle Van den Hove discovered, chat with the cows and you’ll meet the real India…
“Whilst staying in the small medieval town of Chanderi, we were sitting down to a lovely breakfast in the garden of our hotel. A cow walked in and came over to the tables. The hotel staff shooed it away, but she stayed in the garden opposite. After breakfast I gathered the uneaten fruit and banana peels and wandered over to the cow. I showed her what I had and she came over to quickly devour the scraps. I told her to come back the next day and I would give her some more. The staff looked suitably impressed – they love to see foreigners feeding their sacred cows, and my Intrepid group were amazed.
Intrepid Express reader Diana Hinterleitner reviews a book that illustrates the benefits of understanding those who live in worlds beyond our own…
“In March 2008 I started reading Nine Parts of Desire. It is a collection of stories by Geraldine Brooks, a prizewinning foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, who spent six years covering the Middle East through wars, insurrections, and the volcanic upheaval of resurgent fundamentalism.
I find reading short stories great for filling in between novels. My friend Tracy and I had planned a trip to East Africa for August 2008, but closer to the time of booking we decided that we would travel to North Africa instead and made plans to visit Egypt and Morocco.
In Shanxi Province in 2005, Chinese archaeologists discovered what they believe is the world’s oldest observatory, dating back some 4,100 years. In this International Year of Astronomy we continue to wonder about our place in the Universe, and if you can really see the Great Wall from the moon, then Intrepid’s Rachel Wasser wonders who is looking at who…
“One of the major highlights of any trip to China is the Great Wall. Having been to six different sections at various times of the year, I like to consider myself somewhat of an expert. I have to say, the best way to see it is a four-hour hike along the Gubeikou to Jinshanling section. I have done the hike twice and there’s just nothing like it!
Finding the cash to do everything we want can be tricky, but Intrepid’s Carol Windman has some ideas that are light on your wallet and won’t weigh down your backpack…
“After years of travelling the world, there were times when the cash was running low and the threadbare backpack was not going to make it to the next airport. So there was no chance of buying any souvenirs. But for every country I have visited I have a reminder of my time there that I have compiled into a series of collections that are my treasured souvenirs – they did not cost much, sometimes nothing, and they took up no room at all…
We are very proud to announce that Intrepid Travel has just signed up to the United Nations Global Compact!
Intrepid has joined over 4700 companies worldwide in signing the UN Global Compact, which is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
Intrepid’s pledge to tackle these big global sustainability issues will involve thorough consideration of our business operations and identifying ways in which we can improve. We are dedicated to embracing the UN Global Compact commitments and urge other companies to consider participating to help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere.
Where do you start to rebuild and community, let alone a country? Cambodia is successfully regaining its national strength and each time Intrepid’s Sherryn Bowers visits she is amazed by the country’s courage and determination…
“Prior to completing my first Intrepid trip through Cambodia, if anyone had asked me what I knew about the country I would have looked at them fairly blankly and vaguely said: “It has some old temples and a lot of people died there in an internal conflict some time ago.”
Since then I have been privileged to visit Cambodia on a regular basis. I now have a much greater appreciation of Khmer history, especially the more recent events under the Pol Pot regime, through visiting museums and reading books, but even more so through the openness of local people telling me their family’s stories. It never ceases to amaze me given the atrocities committed, how gentle, generous and resilient the people are following times of such adversity and destruction.
Who better to give us great tips on how to save some extra travel money than avid travellers? Intrepid Express readers have come up with clever tactics to save cash so you can still travel…
“Travel keeps me happy so naturally I am going to find a means to continue even in these tough times: This Christmas season I only purchased presents for the grandchildren and resisted doing so for the adults! Since fuel prices are down; I put money aside every time I fill the tank and put this in savings for future travel!” Dianne Dewees
Recently writer Shelley Seale visited India and ventured off the regular tourist routes to discover the many faces of Mumbai…
“In Mumbai, I flit in and out of the two Indias. One is on the streets, right up front – the beggars, the pavement dwellers, the slums, the street children, the tiny laborers who pick through the litter for recyclables when they should be laughing on a playground. It’s noisy, in your face, assaulting you.
The other India is cocooned behind all this, tucked away from it. This India is one of quiet, air conditioning, service, amenities, middle and upper class people living their lives much as the wealthier live their lives anywhere. Doctors, professors, engineers, computer programmers. They live in beautiful gated homes or modern flats and spend evenings in premier restaurants and hip, trendy nightclubs with loud techno music and drinks that cost what they would in New York or London.