MOVE & MEDITATE

Experience

MOVE & MEDITATE

HOI AN I CAM NAM ISLAND

WHEN TO GO

MARCH – APRIL

IDEAL LENGTH

8 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

16 HOURS 30 FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

2


At a time when we are all just trying to juggle life’s commitments, committing to our own wellbeing is easily overlooked. But wellness can lose its meaning when it is not deep and long-lasting. For guests in search of a permanently healthier outlook on life, step back in time and experience a unique combination of spiritual, physical and psychological immersion and space in which to discover what ‘wellbeing’ actually means via the people who practice what they preach.

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Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

ISLAND

All of this takes place in the chilled-out atmosphere on sumptuous Cam Nam Island, where you’ll have the opportunity to establish the foundations of your own, personal health – drawing on the knowledge of expert practitioners and gurus who hold the keys to resetting your health in a truly long-lasting way.

MIND & BODY

You will experience daily yoga and meditation sessions with a leading practitioner. Tailored to your needs, the sessions will help you to establish the skills for lasting daily practice. In between yoga classes, you will have a diverse and culturally rich range of adventures at your fingertips. You will reset your dietary health through a personal, ongoing exploration of nutrition with a macrobiotic chef; attend nutritional workshops and a macrobiotic cooking masterclass to rebuild the foundations of what a truly healthy diet can be.

WELLNESS

This retreat has been created for you to spend time with wellness experts, who will guide you through nutritional workshops, wellness discussions and yoga sessions on mystical Cam Nam.  Gain a personal approach to preparing truly fresh, sustainable, and healthy meals and ensuring you understand how to integrate a healthy diet in life once home. You may be surprised by what you discover.


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JAPAN’S GOLDEN ROUTE

Experience

JAPAN’S GOLDEN ROUTE

TOKYO I HAKONE I MT. FUJI I TAKAYAMA I KANAZAWA I KYOTO I HIROSHIMA I OSAKA

WHEN TO GO

MARCH – MAY

IDEAL LENGTH

9 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

11 HOURS 5 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

3


This history, cultural and scenic 9 day tour of Japan covers key cities, including visits to Japans renowned Mt.Fuji and Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. Depart from Tokyo and enjoy city sights before heading to Nikko and the striking Kegon Falls. Explore Mt.Fuji and cruise along Lake Ashi with a night spent in Hakone. Head to Nara and discover Todaiji Temple ahead of exploring Kyoto and its key attractions. Enjoy a day spent exploring Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima – pay respects at Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park and Museum.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

TEAHOUSE

Head to Kamakura. Highlights include a matcha green tea ceremony in a 400-year-old teahouse, Hokokuji Temple and its beautiful bamboo grove, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Komachidor and the Great Buddha which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. You will also visit Enoshima, a getaway island popular for its cool ocean breezes.

MOUNTAIN

Depart Tokyo, bound for the stunning Mt.Fuji. Gain an overview of the area and take in the scenic views (weather permitting). Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Ashi and the Mt. Komagatake Ropeway. Set for Takayama, a city in the mountainous Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. It retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town.

HISTORY

Explore the key sights of Kanazawa. The city boasts many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts. Kyoto is blessed with many beautiful attractions – explore Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Heian Jingu Shrine, Sanjusangendo Temple and Kiyomizudera Temple.


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THREE VITAL FORCES

Experience

THREE VITAL FORCES

ANAMADUWA I DIGANA I NEGOMBO

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER – MARCH

IDEAL LENGTH

9 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

3


Sometimes we all just need to hit reset. To take a step back, take a deep breathin – and let go. Sometimes, the only way to do that is to get away – and that’s where we come in. We’ve spent years looking for the best ways to relax and recharge and nowhere has left us more invigorated than Sri Lanka. Offering a fantastic combination of stunning scenery, delicious cuisine and breath-taking sunset vistas, Sri Lanka also boasts a number of wellness retreats enabling you to find the balance and rejuvenation that you seek. Appealing to couples,friends and solo travellers alike, wellness retreats are certain to release you of all your stresses. 

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

WELLNESS

We all love to be pampered, but on this holiday, we arrange to go that little bit further to ensure you leave utterly blissed out. We’ve created a meaningful and sincere wellness experience that will appeal to those seeking balance in a contemporary environment. We have chosen three ideal places to spend eight nights getting your body and spirit aligned, assisted by experts,specialists and therapists in the height of hospitality.

ECO RETREAT

Your first two nights are spent in a private and unique eco retreat that takes you back to basic living with a magic touch. Here choose from a myriad of activities from early morning nature walks, kayaking, swimming in a quarry to cycling the various trails around the property. Next, move to a modern, minimalist resort in the misty mountains of Sri Lanka. Spend the next three nights focusing on relaxation, health and wellness with specialised therapy and delicious cuisine

TREATMENT

 The last three night sare spent in a comfortably isolated coastal retreat where the in house Ayurvedic doctor will recommend personalised treatments that will uplift your overall wellbeing. Sri Lanka definitely offers something a little bit incomparable – what could be better than experiencing magical sunrises, practicing yoga in the purest form with a mountainous backdrop. Feeling calm and collected, it’s then time to leave the peace of Sri Lanka behind as you return to the real world.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

IDYLLIC LOCATIONS I PERSONALISED SPA TREATMENTS I YOGA I DELICIOUS CUISINE I MEDITATION I RELAXATION


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TAKING THE ROAD LESS BIKED

Experience

TAKING THE ROAD LESS BIKED

NEGOMBO I KANDY I DAMBULLA I POLONNARUWA I ANURADHAPURA I COLOMBO

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER – MARCH

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

6


Where else can you tick off five off the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in one go? Consisting of Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, these three great, ancient capitals form the Cultural Triangle. Crammed with monuments and ruined cities, there is so much to see in this one area, it’s an obvious ‘not-to-miss’ on this small group cycling tour. Cycling offers the opportunity to see things close up, cycle the many back roads and absorb a grassroots feel of the country. 

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Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

OLD TOWN

The ride commences on the road to the beautiful old town of Kandy. Sweet-sounding Kandy lives up to its name, deep in the heart of the island and in perfect proximity to explore Adam’s Peak, which is known by a multitude of different names and brings together four separate strands of religious beliefs. Kandy is home to the famed Temple of the Tooth Relic and located around an atmospheric lake.

TEMPLES & WILD

The following day pedal through open countryside to see the ancient Buddhist cave temples of Dambulla or the city of Polonnaruwa (which you may recognise from Duran Duran’s ‘Save a Prayer’ video if you are a fan). Pedalling out of Dambulla head to Sigiriya, it’s dominating rock fortress will be in continuous view as you cycle towards it. It’s well worth the climb to explore its green slopes and holy summit. Taking a 4×4 through Minneriya National Park, home to herds of elephant, a sprinkling of leopards, buffaloes, boar, spotted deer,sloth bear, crocodiles and jackals, is another Sri Lankan treat and a generous slice of safari adventure. 

ANCIENT JUNGLE

After an adventurous morning, cycle back to Polonnaruwa, an ancient former capital with 800 years of history and with fascinating ruins rescued from the jungle’s grip. Cycle through and explore this historic complex. The last stop is the even more ancient heritage site of Anuradhapura, the centre of Theravada Buddhism and the most continuously inhabited city in the world.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

CYCLE THE SCENIC BACK ROADS I ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS VISIT I GOLDEN TEMPLE OF DAMBULLA I SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS JEEP SAFARI AT MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK I ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF POLONNARUWA I RUINS OF ANURADHAPURA


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HIDDEN CORNER OF NORTHERN VIETNAM

Experience

HIDDEN CORNER OF NORTHERN VIETNAM

HANOI I SUOI MU I NINH BINH I HALONG BAY

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER –AUGUST

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

16 HOURS 30 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

4


Rich in its long, winding history and shrouded with mystique, Northern Vietnam has always held a magnetic quality. It has provided a pilgrimage for many hundreds of thousands of pairs of feet that have come to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that sit alongside a riot of colour and culture.The landscape lives and breathes the story of time. On this 7 day itinerary,journey with us as we highlight not only iconic sights but traverse the roads less travelled to reveal hidden gems. 

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

HISTORY

Kick off your adventure in Hanoi and get ready to see it as very few others do. Enter a special district in the south of Hanoi where it suddenly feels like stepping back in time. Wander around the narrow alleys, feel the incredible vibe and let your guide tell you the story of these unusual big yellow block buildings. It’s then off to the Temple of Literature – a little gem of architecture yet a huge piece of history, before taking a gastronomy adventure in the Old Quarter.

MOUNTAIN HIGH

You then hit the Ho Chi Minh Road to the Tam Diep mountain range where tucked away you’ll discover Suoi Mu, a much lesser known location and one that you won’t find much about on the internet. Within a valley lies a nature reserve, a well-hidden piece of paradise with a lush green environment – mountains covered in jungle, beautiful terraced rice fields and stunning natural pools. Here a private lodge awaits. Feel the love as you are warmly welcomed and hosted for the night by a family of Muong ethnic people offering a genuine cultural immersion.

CRUISING

As you arrive in the Ninh Binh region, a scenic rowed sampan cruise allows you to reach Tam Coc, the most renowned valley of the area, iconic for its towering limestone rocks and beautiful rice fields. Also, of remarkable beauty is the Trang An Grottoes, a blend of towering cliff bounded mountains with deeply developed internal basins and cave networks navigable by small sampans– admire the mystery and wilderness. Drive across the Red River Delta and reach the coast where you’ll end this unforgettable loop with an over night cruise in Halong Bay before heading back to Hanoi.

MORE

OFF THE BEATEN PATH TOUR OF HANOI I GASTRONOMY ADVENTURE IN HANOI I UNIQUE OVERNIGHT HOMESTAY I TAM COC SAMPAN CRUISE I BICH DONG PAGODA CLIMBIBAI DINH PAGODA EXPLORATION I BOAT TRIP TO TRANG AN GROTTOES I OVERNIGHT HALONG BAY CRUISE



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THE KHMER EMPIRE & THE FAR EAST

Experience

THE KHMER EMPIRE & THE FAR EAST

SIEM REAP I KAMPONG THOM I KRATIE I KOH TRONG I RATANAKIRI I MONDULKIRI I PHNOM PENH

WHEN TO GO

NOVEMBER – APRIL

IDEAL LENGTH

9 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

13 HOURS 15 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

7


As one of the smaller countries of Indochina, Cambodia has a tendency to charm all those that visit – this gem of a country definitely offers more than meets the eye. For a slightly different taste of what this country has to offer, travel with us as we not only explore Siem Reap, but also the remote eastern highland areas of Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri. Offering authentic settings away from the heavily trodden path, appreciate the tourism infancy – great for any intrepid traveller.From temples, home stay experiences, rural Khmer life to remote jungles and mountain ranges, this 8 night journey will leave you with many highlights and memories to cherish.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

VILLAGE

Retaining its small-town charm, begin your adventure in Siem Reap which bustles with travellers from afar. Enjoy a lovely village atmosphere and inspirational days discovering the temples, taking in the nightlife and exploring the communities on the great Tonle Sap Lake. From Siem Reap,head to Kampong Thom where you’ll experience an overnight homestay in the Isanborei Community – a simple yet rewarding encounter.

EXPERIENCES

Continue to Kratie, a small colonial style town located on the banks of the Mekong River, popular from which to catch a glimpse of the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. Overnight on Koh Trong Island – car free, it offers an authentic example of rural life. Travel onto Ratanakiri where the pace slows right down. Living by simple means, the area is home to many different minority groups. With its characteristic red earthen roads, jungles and lakes, the province also borders Laos and Vietnam.

WILD LIFE

Next, head to the mountainous countryside of Mondulkiri – where it’s estimated that 250 wild elephants reside in the vast protected areas of the province. Enjoying a cooler temperature, tranquil waterfalls and plentiful nature, Mondulkiri is one of the least visited areas of the country. As your adventure slowly draws to an end, travel back inland to Phnom Penh, but not before one last stop – the famous Spider Market in Skun. Regularly visited by foreigners, the market is best known for its fried spiders and tarantulas however an assortment of trays with different types of fried bugs and insects can also be found – try if you dare!

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

CAMBODIAN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE I PHARE CIRCUS PERFORMANCE I ANGKOR TEMPLES EXPLORATION I TONLE SAP LAKE VISIT I OVERNIGHT HOMESTAYS I OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW IRRAWADY DOLPHINS I BICYCLE TOUR I ETHNIC VILLAGE VISITS I LAKES AND WATERFALLS I MARKET VISITS I SPIDER MARKET IN SKUN


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CHRONICLES, CRABS & PEPPER

Experience

CHRONICLES, CRABS & PEPPER

SIEM REAP I PHNOM PENH I KEP I KAMPOT

WHEN TO GO

NOVEMBER – APRIL

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

13 HOURS 15 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

4


Cambodia offers rich history, both enchanting and depressing. The Khmer shave been to hell and back, struggling through years of poverty and bloodshed,most recently from the Khmer Rouge – but of late, the country has risen to a destination which should be a must visit on any Asia holiday plans. This 7 day itinerary promises a roller coaster of emotions – the Khmer temples will dazzle you, the sombre scenes at Choeung Ek will give you chills down your spine and the relaxed atmosphere of Cambodia’s south coast will put a smile on your face.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

ANCIENT TEMPLES

Start your journey in Siem Reap, whereby day, the town is a buzz with restaurants, bars, boutique shops, colourful markets and tuk tuks – the evenings also offer little respite. Visit Angkor Wat and also Ta Prohm which, unlike most of the temples of Angkor, has been largely left to the clutches of the living jungle. With its dynamic interaction between nature and man-made art,this atmospheric temple makes you feel a little like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft(which was filmed here). You’ll also have an opportunity to admire the incredible carvings of Bayon Temple – known for its huge stone faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point. The curious smiling image, thought by many to be a portrait of Jayavar man himself, has been dubbed by some as the ‘Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia’.

HISTORY

Fly to the capital city of Phnom Penh with its bustling streets scenes yet relaxed riverfront. Encounter the Khmer Rouge face on with a visit to the notorious Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. In 1975 Pol Pot’s security forces turned Tuol Svay Prey High School into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). Slightly further out, the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek offer a stark insight and reminder of some of the country’s darkest moments.

SEA

Then head south to Kep, where crab is the local speciality. Many flock to the nearby offshore islands in search of white sands, turquoise waters and snorkelling, with Koh Tonsai being the closest. With the Bokor Mountains as your backdrop, Kampot is your last stop and home to adeserted hill station, vast salt flats and famed pepper plantations

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

CAMBODIAN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE TOUR I ANGKOR TEMPLES EXPLORATION I ANGKOR WAT AT SUNRISE I PHNOM PENH CITY TOUR I PHNOM CHISOR MOUNTAIN RELAXATION AT KOH TONSAI I KEP CRAB MARKET I PHNOM CHHNORK CAVES EXCURSION I KAMPOT PEPPER PLANTATION VISIT I KAMPOT EXLORATION I SUNSET RIVER CRUISE


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FOCUS ON SRI LANKA

Experience

FOCUS ON SRI LANKA

COLOMBO I ANURADHAPURA I SIGIRIYA I KANDY I NUWARA ELIYA I NEGOMBO

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER – MARCH

IDEAL LENGTH

9 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

6


Sri Lanka is a country just waiting to be photographed! Offering diversity with tranquil locations, ancient temples, colonial architecture, wildlife parks and pristine beaches, endless photo opportunities abound here. Get your creative juices flowing engaging with traditional culture and contemporary scenes.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

VIBRANT CAPITAL

Work on your weaknesses and enhance your skills as you chat with a local professional photographer. Begin in Colombo, the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital of Sri Lanka. The city offers a constant buzz of activity perfect for snapping up the local culture. Take a step back in time as you discover the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Explore its culture and heritage through its architectural marvels.

HISTORIC

With your first taste of Sri Lanka’s illustrious history in Anuradhapura, continue on to its second capital, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa to see some of the island’s most dazzling ruins from its next significant era. As you head to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, an early start offers a morning hue resulting in a different filter altogether for landscape photography. Offering fantastic moody images, the cave temples of Dambulla will surely excite, ahead of arriving into Kandy where a picturesque lake setting with delightful stalls and buzzing street market await.

SCENIC HILLS

From Kandy, travel up the verdant green hills that surround the city and venture further into Sri Lanka’s most beautiful and magical region, the Hill Country – proceeding to the town of Nuwara Eliya. With its cool air, magnificent waterfalls and thriving tea culture, the enchanting allure of these hills has to be seen to be believed – have your camera ready! With winding roads through the gorgeously lush tea plantations – see tea pluckers amid the well-maintained tea bushes that look like green sculptures stretching up and down the misty hills as far as the eye can see.

GOLDEN HOUR

The last part of your journey will see you relax in the coastal town of Negombo. Watch the sunset over the tropical landscape and marvel at its rich pinks and ambers, the ideal end to an enchanting journey.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

TIPS FROM A LOCAL PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER I COLOMBO CITY TOUR I ANCIENT RUINS OF ANURADHAPURA AND POLONNARUWA I EARLY MORNING SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS CLIMB I KANDY CITY TOUR I DRIVE THROUGH THE TEA PLANTATIONS OF THE HILL COUNTRY


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PEACE AND HARMONY IN BHUTAN

Experience

PEACE AND HARMONY IN BHUTAN

THIMPU I PUNAKA I PARO

WHEN TO GO

OCTOBER – DECEMBER

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

22 HOURS 17 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

3


Experience Bhutan’s west side on this exclusive 6-night trip. Enjoy a plethora of pleasant hikes and a completely different way of experiencing this wonderful Himalayan kingdom, exploring the two very different valleys of Paro and Punakha; one alpine, one tropical. Your guide will take you on hikes to see an amazing selection of historic and stunning monasteries and dzongs, as well as famous sites such as the Dochula Pass which offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range. This trip culminates in the picturesque town of Paro, where you can visit the National Museum and even more striking dzongs. And of course, no trip would be complete without a visit to one of Bhutan’s most valued attractions, the spectacular Tiger’s Nest monastery.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

CAPITAL

Starting in the capital, Thimphu, you will visit ancient dzongs, temples, museums and experience authentic Bhutanese life on your privately guided tour. Spend your time exploring handcrafted markets and small buzzing shops. A wander around this relaxed and friendly showcases a more urban side of Bhutan which accompanies a wide display of traditional art, architecture and Buddhist sights steeped in ritual.

DRIVE

Taking a drive to the Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, you will be greeted by one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world – made of bronze glided in gold and sitting on top of the world overlooking the southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. It is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. Next, you can go by car or on an easy hike to the oldest temple in Thimphu Valley, constructed in the 15th century.

Stop en-route for a glimpse into traditional Bhutanese life, a visit to the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum. This restored three-storey building has been constructed using rammed-earth and timber to replicate a traditional farmhouse and inside its furnished as it would have been 100 years ago. After the tour you will stop for a refreshing lunch. 

After lunch, visit Tashichhou Dzong and Memorial Chorten, two places not to be missed. This is a true feast for the senses. Enjoy the evening strolling Thimphu, a bustling city without any traffic lights.

FOLLOW THE ROAD TO PUNAKHA

An early start with a drive to Punakha via the Dochula Pass, offering spectacular 360-degree views of the Himalayan mountain range, especially on a clear winter day. There are 108 chortens that adorn this area, some of which were commissioned by the Queen Mother to commemorate the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed while fighting the Indian rebels in 2003. You might like to hang a prayer flay at the monastery. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, rather it is believed that the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion.

Arriving for two nights in Punakha, one of our favourite spots in this magical kingdom. A stay in this little town can be as adventurous or as laid back as you’d like. Think rafting adventures down the Mo Chhu River, picture-perfect moments at Punakha Dzong fortress or a behind -the-scenes visit to the fertility temple. At Chimi Lhakhang Monastery you’ll gather ingredients with a local incense maker for a one to one lesson in aromatherapy. Then step into the area’s history with a visit to the town’s show-stopping Punakha Dzong.

MYSTIC SILENCE

Begin today with a hike up through fields along the banks of the Mo Chhu River to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the one of the Fourth Kings’ Queens with spectacular views down the valley. The deities represented here belong to a teaching cycle of Dudjom Rinpoche, a great Nyingmapa master, the functions of which are to subjugate enemies and harmful influences and to spread peace and harmony. Hiking through rice fields before you start climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees, enjoy the magnificent view of the Mo-Chhu valley below.

TIME OUT AT TIGERS NEST

Starting the day bright and early en-route to Paro, with a stop if possible, to attend the Rhododendron Festival. The three-day festival at the Royal Botanical Park is truly an experience for nature lovers to engage in the beauty of wild rhododendron that grows in abundance.

The pretty valley of Paro is one of the kingdom’s widest and is covered in fertile rice fields crisscrossed by a beautiful meandering river. The main street of Paro was only built in 1985 but it is lined with cheerfully painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants in a classic Bhutanese style. Facing up the mountain, you’ll be awed by the sight of the 8th century Taktsang or “Tiger’s Nest “Monastery, perched high on the sheer cliff face. Just outside of the town, lie both the dominating Paro Dzong – a prime example of Bhutanese architecture, and the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang which was one of the first Buddhist temples built in the country.

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

And finally, but not least your final day exploring. Visit Bhutan’s most valued attraction and one of the main reasons people come to Bhutan, the famous Taktshang monastery or to most of us “Tiger’s Nest”. This spectacular temple clings to a 1000-foot-high cliff and was built in 1692 by a prominent historical figure named Gyaltse Tenzing Rabgye. We will hike for about three hours to reach the Tiger’s Nest, climbing steeply uphill from the valley floor with a break at a tea house along the way. The Tiger’s Nest is one of the most sacred sites for Buddhists. It’s said that in the 8th century, Guru Padma meditated here for three months. Guru Padma, also known as the 2nd Buddha, first initiated Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong and built this temple as a result. For Buddhists, the story of the temple is an important lesson about taming the inherent forces of Anger, Ignorance and Greed.


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WATCH OUT FOR DINOSAURS

Experience

WATCH OUT FOR DINOSAURS

HANOI I DONG HOI I PHONG NHA I HANG EN CAVE I VUANG TAU I BINH BA I NUI LE I SAIGON

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER –AUGUST

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

16 HOURS 30 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

8


If you are looking for a trip that is jam-packed with adventure and intrepid discovery, look no further than the beautiful and wild Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. On this daring 6-night trip, you will experience the best that the world’s largest cave has to offer; from underground rivers, moss-slick boulders, awe-inspiring wildlife to hair-raising activities peppered across the cave. Son Doong is for both the curious and the adventurous. Discovering a cave as big as Hang Son Doong is like finding a previously unknown Mount Everest underground. Navigating an algae-skinned maze, expedition organisers will lead the way across a sculpted cavescape. Meeting local communities along the way, this promises you an authentic connection with Vietnam that you will never shake off.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

JOURNEY

Depart from Hanoi on a short morning flight to the city of Dong Hoi. You will dive headfirst into spiritual immersion as you journey alongside Buddhist pilgrims to Phong Nha National Park. Breathing in the wafts of mother nature, any pre-trip stresses will soon melt away.  This is a trip that promises no shortage of wondrous moments.

GEAR UP

You’ll arrive at your first destination by private transfer where you’ll be outfitted with the kit and equipment required for you to successfully undertake your journey. Following the river, the first leg of your journey sees you straight into the wilderness. Along the way pass several isolated villages where you’ll get a glimpse into raw rural Vietnamese life. Stop for lunch in the company of the locals and listen to their stories and tales, giving you a final burst of inspiration to reach base camp. Arriving at the notoriously elusive entrance of Hang En, welcomed only by thousands of swifts, you’ll make your home at the spectacular campsite perched over the edge of the river amid dense forest.

PICTURESQUE

After a well-deserved overnight rest at base camp, keep moving towards the Son Doong entrance, where a photographic moment is a must. Atop a ridge, you’ll experience something rare in today’s bustling world: absolute silence. All harnessed up, you’ll start the 80-meter descent into the cave.  You’ll instantly feel how far removed Son Doong is from the rest of Vietnam. After a rewarding seven-hour hike, gaze at the most spectacular views in the biggest part of the cave and take it all in. There is a jungle inside Vietnam’s mammoth cavern, with the shrill call of birds and macaque monkeys’ echoing off the limestone. You are now part of the unseen world beyond the skylight.

PREHISTORIC

A new day and a new part of the cave to explore. Watch out for Dinosaurs; is what it was called when it was first discovered. The prehistoric atmosphere makes the reference obvious. This morning our expert guides will take you on a fascinating full-day trek, introducing you to the geology of the area and the diverse native wildlife. Witness the panoramic views, a nature photographers dream.

THE GREAT WALK

As your time in Son Doong comes to an end, a final day of adventurous escapades awaits. Embracing the Great Wall of Vietnam, you’ll scale the wall in three sections. What ever your level of experience may be, be prepared to see the cave from a unique perspective. After lunch, the day builds to an unforgettable passage of flowstones and cave pearls. This heart-thumping stretch varies from calcite covered animal skeletons to thick jungle. When night falls, a well-deserved final meal out on the patio winds down your all-Vietnamese adventure, but you will certainly be leaving tomorrow with an everlasting hunger for caves.

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This experience is unlike any other and has a waiting list of years. With our little black book of contacts, we can skip the line. Enquire now as only 1000 people a year world wide are able to experience this once in a life time adventure.

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