With a history of human habitation that dates back over 400,000 years, Istanbul is the type of city where you could spend a lifetime uncovering its highlights and hidden charms. But what if you’ve only got one day, where would you start to explore this melting-pot of cultures and civilisations?…
8.30am – Dolmabahce Palace
After a quick breakfast head for the Dolmabahce to admire the sheer opulence while wandering through its gold and jewel-adorned rooms.
You’re probably thinking, “London by bike? Are you mad?” Not quite, but to explain why this is a golden travel experience, perhaps we should clarify. Fortunately for cycling enthusiasts who don’t have time to muster up the courage to tear through the streets on two wheels, London has some superb cycling opportunities if you’re willing to go just a little further than the downtown core.
A quick 20-minute train jaunt will take you further down the Thames to the London Borough of Richmond, home to some truly lovely cycling trails in Richmond Park and along the Thames to Hampton Court Palace. The former residence of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace is a magnificent place to visit, and even more enchanting when arriving by bicycle.
For centuries a popular mode of transport in China has been the trusty bike. It’s estimated that in a country of over 1 billion people there are approximately 800,000,000 bicycles, so Intrepid’s Boris ‘Bob’ Golodets decided that was how he wanted to explore the capital city…
“Riding the streets of bike-friendly Beijing is the best way to explore. You get the sights, the sounds and the smells as you peddle along dedicated bike lanes, through parks, past local markets and via back alleys. There are bike lanes on the main roads and in some places, such as near Tiananmen Square, the broad bikeway takes up almost half of the road.
Lisboa Menina e Moça is a well-known fado (Portugal’s famous mournful music) that talks about the city being the ‘women of one’s life’. So who better to show us around Lisbon from a female’s perspective than Ines Courela, our local Urban Adventures guide…
“Lisbon is like a menina or girl, with its many personalities and moods, but it’s also the ideal setting for a girl’s adventure. Why? First the sun, then the fantastic shopping and of course the delicious food. Just one thing: no dieting is allowed during your Lisbon visit!
There are approximately 10,000 tuk tuks constantly buzzing about Bangkok. Thanks to a government funded re-fit, these previously noisy and air-polluting machines are now more eco-friendly and are such a fun way to get around. In fact, Intrepid travellers like Carla Wilson love them so much that these iconic vehicles are the stars of one of our Bangkok Urban Adventures…
“I had a free day in Bangkok before my last Intrepid trip, so I decided to do Tuk Tuk Experience. The 5-hour tour was great way to explore the city’s backstreets and it gave us enough time to get to know some of the sites. Our colourful tuk tuks picked us up at the hotel and whisked us to an amulet market, which was really interesting. Our guide Jo was very enthusiastic about explaining the significance of the charms to ward off evil and what they mean to local people.
In a few hours Intrepid Urban Adventures help you get under the skin of the city you’re visiting. These day tours with a difference are a great way to connect with a city and as Rodger and Gwen Elliot discovered, where better than Prague to be shown around town by a local…
“Prague is renowned as being one of the world’s most fascinating cities, and it is a reputation well-deserved. Many friends had said “You must visit Prague if ever you get the chance”, so when we were in Europe earlier this year it was a top priority to include it in our itinerary.
On even the quickest visit to Peru you’ll soon discover the local love of Pisco. This strong brandy was invented by the Peruvians around the 17th century and in the 1920′s an American expat used the liquor to create the now famous Pisco Sour. So what’s the secret to making this cocktail? Intrepid’s Lisa Rollinson found out on her short and sour adventure…
“I think of myself as a bit of a bartender and love to try mixing new cocktails. I had attempted the famous Pisco Sour at home, but it was obviously missing something, so when I was in Lima recently I eagerly signed up for an Urban Adventures afternoon session to learn the right way!
There’s so much to see in Hanoi that you’d be struggling to do it all in 24-hours without the help of a local. Then in addition there are the outlying provinces that also have so much to offer, as Casey Wallen discovered on her Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure…
“I’d not actually heard much about the province of Ninh Binh before, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go there. After leaving behind hectic Hanoi we hopped on bikes to wind our way along the narrow roads through the stunning valleys of the karsts. This was a wonderful highlight. We saw duck farms, buffalo having mud baths, plenty more gorgeous scenery, but there were no other tourists in sight. We rode through several small villages where the kids were happy to say “hi” or high-five us as we cycled past – what fun!
Want to discover a suburban oasis admid the jam-packed city of Bangkok? Intrepid Urban Adventures provide the bike, so as Christina Ward discovered, all you need bring is your sense of adventure…
“My mother and I just did the Intrepid Urban Adventure – Bangkok Bike and had a fantastic time. We cycled along the Chao Phraya River to a local ferry, then loaded our bikes aboard and crossed to the other side, known as Thonburi. It really is like another world over there, it’s quieter, less high rises and a labyrinth of canals.