Laos – Asia’s forgotten gem

Plain of JarsIn French colonial times Laos was considered the earthly paradise of South-east Asia, a vast landlocked Tahiti just awaiting its Gauguin.

Despite the turmoil of the late 20th century, Laos retains today the easy going peaceful atmosphere that so captivated the French, and its friendly gentle people are keen to welcome visitors to their beautiful country. You’ll soon understand why travellers affectionately know Laos P.D.R as “Laos – Please Don’t Rush”.

World Discovery’s brand new Undiscovered Laos tour includes not only the relatively well known cities of Vientiane, the capital, and Luang Prabang with its gilded temples, but also takes in the more remote and little visited region of Northern Laos, well off the normal tourist track.

Discover authentic hilltribes living in simple villages amidst stunning mountain scenery, enjoy gentle treks through ricefields and forested hillsides, and visit an elephant camp where you’ll discover the privileged role elephants play in Lao culture.

Your ultimate destination is the Plain of Jars, home to one of the most unusual and mysterious archaeological sites in Asia, where a profusion of enormous 2,000 year-old stone jars – some of them up to 4 metres high – have puzzled experts since excavations began in the 1930s.

Call us on 01306 888799 or contact enquiries@worlddiscovery.co.uk for further details.

 

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Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

Panaormic views of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park from one of the many lookoffs between the communities of Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay

Panaormic views of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park from one of the many lookoffs between the communities of Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is known for its spectacular highlands and ocean scenery.  The Cape Breton Highlands are the most striking feature of northern Cape Breton.  Steep cliffs and deep river canyons carve into a forested plateau bordering the Atlantic Ocean.  One third of the Cabot trail, a world-famous scenic highway, runs through the national park along the coasts and over the highlands.

The cool maritime climate and rugged landscape of the park permit a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats, plants and animals.  This special mix of northern and southern species is not found anywhere else in Canada.  Within the park, several dozen species of rare or threatened plants and animals can be found, as well as old growth forests of international importance. Small populations of arctic-alpine plants left over from the last ice age can also be found here.

Check out World Discovery’s 13 day Self-drive Nova Scotia tour from £1970 per person.  As we specialise in tailor-made holidays, this can be adjusted to your own wishes, including a longer stay in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

An Idyllic Saigon Sunset Cruise

Saigon Sunset CruiseNothing is more relaxing than admiring the breathtaking views of Saigon’s most famous landmarks and buildings, along with the picturesque Saigon skyline as the sun goes down.  Guests board a sparkling sunset cruise along the Saigon River, departing at 4:30pm from Tan Cang Recreational Area.

The one and a half hour cruise runs slowly along the historic river, taking in views such as Saigon Newport, Thu Thiem Bridge and Saigon Bridge.  You will also pass by numerous islands for a chance to witness fishermen vying for a final catch as the sun sets on this lively part of the city.  Guests are served free flowing drinks and specially selected canapés while enjoying a romantic evening exploring the Saigon River.

World Discovery specialises in Tailor-made holidays.  We can incorporate this evening cruise during your stay in Saigon on one of our selection of Vietnam Holidays.

Now Offering Deluxe Homestays in Thailand

Entrance to The Ban Tak House, a private house located on the banks of the River Ping, Tak Provence, Thailand

Entrance to The Ban Tak House, a private house located on the banks of the River Ping, Tak Provence, Thailand

Homestays are usually associated with backpacker travelling and trekking tours, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  As the modern day traveller yearns to get more from their experiences, travelling has become more of a cultural exchange where the visitor gains knowledge and interacts with a host.  From this a new kind of homestay has evolved.  These remain loyal to the concept of interaction with local people and communities – but with a much higher level of service, especially where accommodation is concerned.

World Discovery is now offering a new style deluxe homestay experience in the provinces of Tak and Khon Kaen (North and East Thailand respectively).  Here guests can enjoy finer comforts while still gaining an authentic homestay experience.

World Discovery specialises in Tailor-made holidays, and can put together a Thailand tour to include a luxury homestay.  Send an e-mail to enquiries@worlddiscovery.co.uk for further details.

Jordan – warmth, hospitality and safety!

Letter of appreciationThis recent letter from a British tourist to the Jordanian Ambassador in London says it all.  Jordan may be geographically close to areas of tension and suffering that fill the pages and screens of the media but it remains an oasis of calm – a safe destination with fabulous sites to be seen and most of all an enthusiastic welcome from the Jordanian people.

World Discovery offers you a range of exciting Tailor-made holidays to Jordan.

Jordan – History in the Desert from £535 per person.

Return to Iran – Discover the Glory of Ancient Persia

Khaju-Bridge-in-Iran_General-view_1469With the change of Foreign Office travel advice earlier this month, it’s time to think again about heading off to Iran to discover the fabulous historical treasures of Ancient Persia.

From the slender columns and stunning reliefs of 5th century BC Persepolis, famously razed to the ground by Alexander the Great, to the exquisite turquoise domes of 17th century Isfahan, Iran’s architectural legacy is one of the richest in the world.

World Discovery Iran tours will give you an insight into this fascinating country.  Don’t be put off by any negative press coverage; travellers to Iran are virtually unanimous in their praise, not only of the historical and architectural marvels they discover, but of the warm and friendly welcome they receive from the Iranian people themselves.

ApadanaWe’ve so far added two Iran tours to the World Discovery website – the introductory 8-day Persian Highlights and the longer Classic Persia tour.  More sample itineraries will follow, to include the ancient caravan city of Kerman, the Sassanian rock-reliefs at Bishapur, ancient Susa, and much more. And don’t forget, we can adjust any of these tours to suit your exact requirements.

Further good news: yesterday (Sunday 23 August) it was announced that the British Embassy in Tehran has been reopened.  We now await the expected re-opening of the Iranian Embassy in London.

India confirms e-Tourist visa for the UK

Taj Mahal4India has confirmed that its e-Tourist visa facility is being extended to the UK from August 15.

It has announced 36 new countries, including the UK, have joined the scheme, taking the total number of countries using it to 113.  At the same time, seven more Indian airports have been added as designated airports for entry on e-Tourist visas.  These are Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Gaya, Jaipur, Lucknow, Tirchy and Varanasi.

Since the Government of India launched the e-Tourist visa in November 2014, more than 200,000 have been issued.  It said it hopes the scheme will boost the country’s tourism industry.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said that security has been increased at airports, railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and metro stations in the lead up to India’s Independence Day on August 15.  It advised that tourists should allow more time than usual to complete formalities at airports.

World Lion Day – ROAR for Cecil the Lion!

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TODAY, MONDAY 10 AUGUST, IS WORLD LION DAY. 

 

 

Lions are rapidly declining in numbers worldwide.

WHY?

  • Trophy hunting, such as that which killed Cecil in Zimbabwe last week.
  • Human wildlife contact – lions are shot or trapped by farmers (community and commercial) when they have killed or are thought to have killed their livestock.
  • Loss of habitat due to pressure on land from farming, mining, housing, roads etc.
  • Poaching, for body parts – for ‘traditional’ medicines in parts of Asia.
  • Disease and natural disasters such as drought.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

  • Support projects that help community farmers live with lions.  We strongly recommend that run by AfriCat in Nambia.
  • Encourage the banning of animal trophies from hunting being brought into the EU.
  • Promote efforts like those from Wild Aid in stopping the trade in lion parts for medicine.
  • Share your feelings with others.  Together we can make a difference.

AfriCat in actionTammy Hoth-Hanssen Director of the AfriCat Foundation with Emmanuel collaring a lion on farmland near Etosha, Namibia, as a part of the lion research and wildlife mitigation programme.

Inle Lake inscribed as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Inle LakeInle Lake has been inscribed as the first Biosphere Reserve of Burma (Myanmar) and joined the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) under the UNESCO MAB Programme.  The UN cultural agency added Inle Lake to a list of 651 biosphere reserves in 120 countries.  As Biosphere Reserves are experimental sites which aim to reconcile biodiversity and sustainable resource utilisation, the designation of Inle Lake region as the first Biosphere Reserve of Myanmar will further encourage and enhance environmental conservation initiatives to safeguard biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods development in the region.

You can visit this beautiful location on several of World Discovery’s Burma itineraries, including the popular 11 day private journey ‘Burmese Days’.

THEEB – Award-winning new film highlights Jordan’s Wadi Rum

304_cover_theeb.indd‘THEEB’  (meaning ‘the wolf’) – this new, award-winning, Jordanian film is being released by New Wave Films in UK cinemas on 14th August.

The film is directed by Naji Abu Nowar, born in the UK but of Lebanese descent. It’s set in the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War 1 and was filmed entirely on location, mostly in Wadi Rum in Jordan, the same desert where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed. Theeb is a young Bedouin boy who follows his older brother on a hazardous journey to take a lone British soldier to a meeting point with his battalion but who encounters several hardships along the way. It’s a beautiful, and often moving, coming of age tale.

The crew of Theeb actually spent an entire year living with one the last of the nomadic Bedouin tribes to settle in a village in order to gain their trust and confidence. With the exception of actor Jack Fox, the youngest son of James Fox, the entire cast came from the village and, of course, none had ever acted before, so it is a great depiction of authentic Bedouin culture and Jordanian heritage.

The trailer for the film can be viewed HERE.

Wadi Rum is featured in most of World Discovery’s Jordan Holidays itineraries