Sunday, 9 November 2014

Focus on Krabi in Thailand

Krabi is one of our favourite parts of Thailand and is an area we've visited a number of times - we'd love to share our passion for Krabi with you!

The relaxed beach resort of Krabi is set in some of Thailand's most impressive scenery, overlooking beautiful Phang-Nga Bay in the south of the country. As Thai beach resorts go it's fairly small and laid-back, making it a great option for those wanting to chill out on holiday, rather than partying all night. The main beach area is at Ao Nang, a few minutes from Krabi town itself, and here you'll find a good selection of hotels, a number of bars and restaurants - including some of the best seafood you'll find in Thailand - and a relaxed atmosphere.

Longhaul holidays from Escape Worldwide - Longtail boats at Krabi, Thailand

Most of Krabi's beach hotels can be reached in around half an hour from the airport, which has direct flights from Bangkok for an easy Bangkok and Krabi twin centre holiday, and also Koh Samui. Phuket airport is around 2 hours away, and has a wider selection of flights including a daily direct service from Chiang Mai so various Krabi multi centre holidays are possible. Flights also connect Phuket with other parts of the Far East such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, so a multi centre holiday to the Far East taking in Krabi is easier than you may think. 

Travelling from Krabi to most areas of 
Phuket takes less than three hours, and it's a similar distance to relaxed Khao Lak, another of our favourite areas of Thailand. South of Krabi, Koh Lanta is around two hours away while the islands of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Yao Noi can be reached by boat from Krabi, so it's easy to take in different areas in this beautiful corner of Thailand on one trip!

Krabi has a good range of quality hotels in Ao Nang and along nearby beaches - stay in Ao Nang itself if you like local restaurants and bars on your doorstep, or head further out to Tubkaak or Klong Muang beaches for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Check out a great range of hotels - 

Holidays to Krabi with Escape Worldwide - Hong Island, near Krabi

Here's a few important facts about a visit to Krabi, to help you plan your next trip!
UK passport holders don't need a visa to visit Thailand for stays of up to 30 days. Ensure your passport has at least 6 months validity remaining!

There are no mandatory health requirements to visit Thailand, although visitors should be up to date for standard longhaul precautions.

Thai people are so polite, try to avoid causing offence - don't point the soles of your feet at anyone, don't touch a monk and always be polite about royalty and politics!

Krabi's weather tends to be driest from December to March, and has its rainy season from May to October - during this time most rain is in heavy showers in the evening or overnight, and there are some great deals to be had!

The Thai Baht is the unit of currency in Thailand - there are easy to use cashpoints in most locations.

Costs are generally low, with a can of coke around 30p, a beer from £1 and a local Thai dish of noodles from around £1.80

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cheetah Safari - One of our favourite itineraries in Kenya

Kenya is such a magical place and the wildlife is simply breathe taking. Our Cheetah Safari is a traditional seven-night safari visiting Samburu, home to unique wildlife, followed by the Rift Valley Lakes where thousands of pink flamingoes often tint the horizon. The final destination is the Masai Mara where vast numbers of plains game and spectacular big cats abide.
Safari holidays to Kenya
Everyone in the office has been on safari in Kenya and the experience is simply amazing. On Darren's last trip he even had a Cheetah jump on the top of his safari vehicle, using it as a look out post to find it's cubs some breakfast.
The Cheetah Safari is a comprehensive safari, covering amazing areas including the breathe taking Masai Mara which is home to some of the worlds best wildlife, Cheetah, Lions, Elephants, Zebra and so much more. 
Fly from Heathrow overnight to Nairobi.
On arrival transfer to the Safari Lounge, where you can freshen up and store any additional luggage before departing for the Aberdares (180 km - approximately 4 hours). Arrive in time for lunch and spend the afternoon relaxing, or on a nature walk with the resident naturalist (weather permitting). Overnight: Aberdare Country Club (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
DAY 3 TUESDAY SAMBURUDrive north across the equator to the Samburu National Reserve (190 km - approximately 4 hours). Lunch before a late afternoon game drive. Overnight: Ashnil Samburu Camp (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
DAY 4 WEDNESDAY SAMBURUMorning and late afternoon game drives in this open savannah which is traversed by the Ewaso Nyiro River. The river is populated by hippos and crocodiles, whilst the park is home to a host of animals including several species which are rarely seen in numbers elsewhere, including Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffes and long-necked gerenuks. Overnight: Ashnil Samburu Camp (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
DAY 5 THURSDAY ABERDARESDrive to your lodge in time for lunch (240 km - approximately 4 hours). Spend the afternoon viewing game from the lodge, or join a nature walk led by a local guide (payable locally and weather permitting). Overnight: Serena Mountain Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
After breakfast, descend into the Great Rift Valley and continue to Lake Nakuru Lodge (240 km - approximately 4 hours). Lunch. Afternoon game drive in the national park. Drive to Lake Naivasha (80 km - approximately 1 hour). Overnight at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
DAY 7 SATURDAY MASAI MARADrive to the Masai Mara National Reserve (320 km - approximately 5.5 hours). Arrive in time for lunch followed by an afternoon game drive. Overnight: Ashnil Mara Camp (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
Safari holidays in Kenya - 7 night Cheetah safari  Safari holidays in Kenya - 7 night Cheetah safari
DAY 8 SUNDAY MASAI MARAEnjoy an early morning game drive followed by breakfast at the lodge. Alternatively, take an early morning balloon flight over the Mara followed by a 'bubbly' bush breakfast (optional extra). After lunch, relax before a late afternoon game drive. Overnight: Ashnil Mara Camp (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
DAY 9 MONDAY EXTENSION OR HEATHROWAfter breakfast, return to Nairobi by road (300 km - 5 hours), or fly from the Mara to Nairobi: morning flight (from £170); lunch in the Mara and afternoon flight (from £240). Proceed with your chosen beach extension or return to Heathrow. (b) Alternatively, fly directly from the Mara to Mombasa, including lunch in the Mara (from £370). Light aircraft baggage allowance - 15 kg.

NotesThis itinerary operates with a maximum of 6 passengers, all guaranteed a window seat.
On occasion the itinerary may operate in a different order, or different lodges used according to availability and road conditions.
Travel times vary on road conditions and game sightings.
Pack a mixture of warm and light clothing in soft bags, plus sunglasses, camera and insect repellent.
Minimum age 8 years

Darren Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Egypt and the Middle East with Escape Worldwide

The countries of the Middle East offer a wealth of interest to the visitor, from the incredible history of Egypt to the modern metropolis of Dubai. With guaranteed sunshine, top quality hotels and short flight times, it’s no wonder this region is so popular.

Holidays to Cairo - the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza

There’s nowhere quite like Egypt for accessible history, unique sights, amazing diving and guaranteed weather, and its all just a 5 hour flight away! While it’s seen its fair share of change in the last few years, once Egypt is
back on its feet it will return to its place as one of the world’s best visitor destinations. A Nile cruise is a superb option for taking in a few thousand years of history in comfort, while the Pyramids and Sphinx should be on  anyone’s ‘must see’ list. Divers flock to the Red Sea and it’s easy to see why, plus there’s loads for non-divers too.

Holidays to Dubai with Escape Worldwide

Dubai has firmly established itself as one of the world’s leading destinations over the last few years, and offers an incredible range of luxury hotels, endless shopping opportunities and plenty to see and do, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa - Darren visited the viewing platform near the top recently, and found out that you can feel it sway a little! Dubai is also one of the world’s best connected cities, so works brilliantly as a stopover on the way to other destinations across the Indian Ocean and Far East.

Holidays to Oman with Escape Worldwide
Other areas in the Middle East such as Oman and Abu Dhabi are also developing for tourists, with quality hotels, interesting culture, great food, plenty to see and do - and a genuinely warm welcome.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Indian Ocean holidays with Escape Worldwide

The islands of the Indian Ocean are amongst the most beautiful in the world, and we’re huge
fans of this region having visited most parts of it over the years. From the castaway beaches
of the Maldives to the culture of India & Sri Lanka, this is a truly fascinating part of the world.

Holidays to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a particular favourite of ours and we’ve all been several times - to our mind the best way to see this island is with your own private car & driver, to explore the interior before heading to the beach - or onwards to the Maldives. Sri Lanka is one of the friendliest destinations you’re likely to visit, with an incredible history and beautiful scenery.

Beach holidays to the Maldives

The nearby islands of the Maldives are just dots on the map, but their beauty really does take your breath away. Each island is individual so getting the right one is important - some have loads of facilities, some are total chill-out. Our favourites include stylish Velassaru, Kuramathi Island with is range of dining options, and chilled Reethi Island.

Stunning Beaches of Mauiritus

The beautiful island of Mauritius offers quality accommodation including some of the best family facilities in the Indian Ocean. The island itself is well worth exploring for its scenery and interesting culture, although we struggle to be dragged away from the beach!

Beaches of the Seychelles

The Seychelles are the epitome of island paradise, where rainforest comes down to the beach and the emphasis is on relaxation rather than exploration - the perfect destination for a special trip such as a honeymoon or anniversary.

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Africa with Escape Worldwide

Africa is a real passion of ours - we’ve all been, and there’s nothing like being on the Masai
Mara at sunrise, exploring the dunes of Namibia’s Sossusvlei or experiencing the Serengeti
during the annual wildebeest migration. From Cape Town to Zanzibar, we’re hooked!
A good safari will combine different areas to give you a variety of wildlife and landscapes. A driving safari is great value and really opens up a country, while a flying safari makes easy work of long distances by light aircraft. 

Holidays to Zanzibar

A safari in Kenya is like working your way through a guidebook of game, while the national parks of Tanzania are incredibly varied. Hot air ballooning is possible in some locations. It’s easy to follow most itineraries with a stay on the beach, with the likes of Mombasa and Zanzibar being perfect for a beach break with or without a safari!

Safari holidays to Kenya

South Africa is one of our favourites, and lends itself perfectly to a fly-drive or escorted tour with its mix of history and culture, breathtaking scenery and superb food & wine - start an adventure in Cape Town, one of the world’s most magical cities. 

Holiday to Sossusvlei and the Namib-Nakluft National Park, Namibia

Nearby Namibia combines incredible natural beauty with excellent wildlife opportunities, and again lends itself well to a fly-drive option. Elsewhere in Southern Africa, Zambia is home to the incredible Victoria Falls, which should be on anyone’s ‘must see’ list, while Botswana is one of Africa’s friendliest countries and offers extraordinary wildlife experiences such as canoe safaris. Sometimes its hard to know where to start with an African adventure, so we’d be delighted to help!

See all our African Holidays at:

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Karen has just got back from Thailand........

Exploring Bangkok on the canal boatsKaren just got back from a superb trip to Thailand, taking in city, countryside and beach in a three-centre trip - Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin. Today, back in the office, she's full of tales about riding elephants, learning Thai cookery, visiting floating markets and singing karaoke (there was quite a lot of Singha beer involved!) so we thought we'd bring you some of her highlights from her trip, plus details of how you can do the exact same trip too (the karaoke is optional!)


"My trip started in Bangkok, which is a place I've been to a few times before, but there's always so much to see and do - it would be hard for me to visit Thailand and not have at least a few days in Bangkok! I spent a full day exploring the city, travelling by skytrain, tuk tuk and boat to take in places that I hadn't been to before - the flower markets in Chinatown, the beautiful teak house of the famous silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson, and the fabulous new Platinum Mall - the best place for buying clothes I've ever found!

The Floating Market at Damnoen SaduakOn one day I headed out of Bangkok for half a day, to the floating market at Damnoen Saduak, on the edge of the city. The market is as much a tourist attraction as it is a market, but it's great fun and very colourful, and I'm amazed how these little wooden boats are used to prepare, cook and serve incredible Thai food while floating around the town - how they do it is beyond me!

I also visited a few hotels when I was in Bangkok - I stayed at a new hotel, the Centara Watergate Pavillion, which I'd really recommend for good standards at a great price (you can upgrade to a Deluxe room for just £3 per person per night at most times of year - bargain!) plus I returned to an old favourite of mine, the Shangri-La Bangkok, set right on the river and with some of the best standards in the city - the hotel is also handily located (take the free boat service!) for the Asiatique shopping area, which has a great mix of upmarket shops and bargain stalls, with great food available and cold beers, all along the riverfront. On my last evening I visited a rather different night market, the famous Patpong market, where the souvenir stalls are set our amongst the bars and clubs of this infamous strip - it's definitely a great place for people-watching!"

Chiang Mai 

“It's a few years since I've been to Chiang Mai, but it's such a great place I'd always recommend visiting here for a few days to take in the temples, markets and countryside. After staying in Bangkok, Chiang Mai seemed so much calmer and more manageable, so it was a bit of welcome relief! I stayed at the beautiful Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, which is really central but surprisingly tranquil, as its set in big grounds by the river. On my first night in Chiang Mai I headed to the night bazaar, which is very close to the hotel, and picked up a few bargains (it's great for cheap clothes and souvenirs) before heading to the Good View Bar, one of the best places in Chiang Mai for Thai food, cold beer and a great atmosphere!

Elephants in the river at Chiang Dao, near Chiang MaiNext day was probably the highlight of the whole trip for me, as I got to ride an elephant! I did the full day Elephant Jungle Trek, Rafting & Hilltribe tour. We headed out to Chiang Dao, outside of the city, passing through some beautiful countryside, and when we arrived we were introduced to the baby elephants, and helped feed them (whole bunches of bananas seemed popular!) We then got on to our rides for the morning, and spent about an hour and a half on our elephants, passing through beautiful countryside and wading through the river too. After lunch we boarded traditional bamboo rafts and gently floated downstream for about an hour, which was so relaxing, passing local villages.
My last stop in Chiang Mai was the impressive Wat Suthep, a beautiful temple perched on top of a mountain, outside of town - climbing all the way to the top via the 309 steps is a bit of a killer, but it's well worth the effort as the temple is beautiful and the views across Chiang Mai are superb!"

Hua Hin 

"The beach resort of Hua Hin is a great option for a relaxed end to a trip if you've already taken in other areas of Thailand - this was my first visit here, and I fell in love with it almost immediately! For me Hua Hin has the perfect mix - a relaxed atmosphere but with plenty to do, great restaurants and bars but not tacky. I stayed at two hotels here - the Hilton Hua Hin, which is right in the town centre so is perfect if you want to try some of those fabulous places to eat (if you come out of the hotel and turn right you'll find some of the best seafood in the area!) and the Dusit Thani Hua Hin, a little further out and with a more relaxed feel, but still not remote.

The beach at they Hyatt Regency Hua HinFinishing with a few days on the beach in Hua Hin was a perfect way to end my trip - it has a very Thai feel, but also has some excellent quality hotels including various options from international hoteliers such as Hyatt and Sheraton, so there's something for everyone. At the Anantara Resort Hua Hin (probably my favourite of all the hotels I visited as it has a distinctly Thai feel) I did a Thai cookery course - I'm still no expert, but it was great fun and I got to eat my own efforts for dinner! The hotel's full day course costs around £90 and includes a trip to the market to buy your ingredients, learn how to cook four dishes (plus eating them too!) and you get to take home your recipes, apron and chopping board!"

This was a great trip to Thailand, seeing lots of different places and visiting some of our most popular hotels. If you're planning a trip call us and we'll share our experience with you!

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014

Cape Town's Top 5 Afternoon Teas

Our friends at Somak Holidays have recently reported on the best 5 afternoon teas in Cape Town, South Africa:
Afternoon teas inject a little lavishness into the routine of things. It’s a celebration of all things sweet, savory, bubbly and a chance to drink tea the ‘proper’ way. Cucumber sandwiches, warm scones, leaf teas, delicate éclairs, and miniature puds – they all have a place in my heart, but above all it’s the theatre of the afternoon tea that makes it such a special experience and one of utter pleasure.
Cape Town’s colonial settlers brought with them the English tradition of the afternoon tea, and have since put their own twist on it, and today it’s a thriving tradition known to the locals as ‘high tea’. So lets raise our cup, saucer and pinky to Cape Town’s finest high tea haunts.

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

The Mount Nelson Hotel is one of the most famous places in the world to pour a cup or two, and it’s the place to do it in style. The hotel is a pocket of colonial tranquility amidst the excitement of Cape Town, and offers stunning views of Table Mountain and the glamour of bygone times. Ladies, don your best frock and sip their expertly blended signature Mount Nelson Tea, sample delectable warm scones and enjoy the local flavor of a South African milk tart.

Cape Grace

Cape Grace is located on the trendy waterfront, and boasts stylish interiors and fabulous views across the water. High tea is served in the hotel’s library and simply oozes opulence, with a choice of delicious bit-size sweets and savories, and even an egg timer with your tea to ensure it is perfectly brewed!

The One&Only

Views of iconic Table Mountain – check. Impossibly lavish interiors – check. Impeccable service – check.This hotel has it all, and the high tea served in the vista bar is quite literally cherry on the cake. If gold leaf éclairs, dainty macaroons and a Lindt chocolate fondue is your thing (I have no idea why it wouldn’t be), then this is the place for you to take high tea in Cape Town.

The vineyard Hotel

Located in the lush and leafy suburb of Newlands, the Vineyard Hotel is an oasis, from which to enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake. Although it’s a little more than just that. Guests are seated on the veranda with garden views, and are treated to Turkish delights, finger sandwiches, mini fruit tartlets, lemon cupcakes and oh so much more.



MannaBay is nestled at the foot of Table Mountain and is utterly luxurious, unique and stylish – so too are its high teas. The MannaBay high tea is feast for the eyes as well as the belly, with colourful little cupcakes, sweet candies, lemon meringue cakes, all washed down with some bubbles.

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Why choose Stellenbosch?

Stellenbosch is the only winelands town that has a University, and with the infusion of young student energy this ‘College’ atmosphere permeates throughout the town. This is visible in the many bistros, art galleries, Music venues, Theatres and Wine bars that make up the vibrant heart of the Old town.
It is a unique place where international guests are able to experience the diverse culture and meet the many people from all aspects of society that make Africa the ‘Rainbow nation’.

The wine

Stellenbosch is home to some of the oldest and most famous wine estates in South Africa, in fact Stellenbosch is where South African wine making began! It’s home to the widest range of estates, with 148 wineries in total where they produce some of the world’s best wines. Kanonkop and Rust and Vrede among others are repeatedly recognized for their wines worldwide. The best way to visit the vineyards is on a tour where you can sample the wines along the way!

The arts

Stellenbosch has a thriving art community, with theatre and music at the heart of it. The Dorp St Theatre Café and Die Mystic Boer host a wide variety of innovative South African performances, and in the summer, The Oude Libertas open-air amphitheater is not to be missed for its captivating productions. Music is equally important to the Stellenbosch community, and this is evident in the evenings when the town comes to life! For the best live music and good food, head to the centre of Stellenbosch to the cafes and restaurants. Some of the finest art collections are housed at the Rembrandt museum and Sasol gallery in the town, alongside a number of significant international pieces, the Sasol Gallery is also a great place to view pieces from up-and-coming artists in the area.
the arts
Top tip – Head to the township cabaret in Kayamandi, for a production at the first township theatre of its kind. The evening promises great entertainment, delicious Kasi cuisine and an unforgettable atmosphere.

The food

Stellenbosch is home to 3 of the top 10 restaurants in South Africa, as well as a multitude of award-wining producers – a perfect pedigree for an outstanding culinary experience! If you want to dine in style, head to one of the top 10 restaurants (Overture, Terroir and Jordon) where you’ll have a dining experience to remember. Or, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local community, take a trip to the food market, where you can get to know the locals and learn about where the produce comes from.

The Wildlife

There are plenty of excursions available from Stellenbosch that promise some fantastic wildlife encounters. The Giraffe House is located in the town and is home to an abundance of animals including reptiles and birds, and even the smallest antelope in the world – the Blue Duiker. There is also the Drakenstein Lion Park, which is a sanctuary for captive born lions that cannot be rehabilitated into the wild. There are also safari trips that can be organised from Stellenbosch. Currently there are 40 lions, including a one white lion. Or is you’re looking for a wildlife adventure,  Shark diving is an hour away, and if you’re lucky enough to be in South Africa between June and November, there is plenty of whale watching around the coast of Hermanus.

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Quick Guide to the National Parks of Kenya from our friends at Somak Holidays

Masai Mara National Park
The most popular safari destination in Kenya, the reserve is home to countless species including the ‘big five’ and stages the Great Wildebeest Migration.

river crossing

Aberdare National Park
This park is home to part of the Aberdare mountain range, an area of natural beauty. It is full of rich vegetation, clear streams, waterfalls and lakes, along with unique fauna and flora, creating an ideal habitat for a wide variety of mammals and birds. Elephants and rhinos, roam the park and other residents include leopards, spotted hyenas and bongos.

Samburu National Reserve & Buffalo Springs
Samburu National Reserve and Buffalo springs started life as one park but are now adjacent to each other. The Ewaso Nyiro River runs through both reserves and in parts acts as border between them. Samburu is not as well known as some of the other national parts in Kenya and therefore is less crowded. The dramatic and rugged landscape is home to the colourful Samburu people. Game includes species rarely seen elsewhere, such as Grevy’s zebras and reticulated giraffes and the Somali ostrich.

 Samburu people
Shaba National Reserve
Situated very close to Samburu National Reserve. Shaba has reserved its place in the history of conservation as the area where Joy Adamson releases the first of hand-reared leopards. The nearby Ezaso Nyiro River supports a variety if captivating wildlife.

Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya, Kenya’s highest mountain, sits astride the equator with its snow-capped summit rising to nearly 5200 metres. The vegetation alters dramatically, from bamboo jungle and mountain forests to glaciers and snowfields. The forests are home to elephants, and prolific birdlife.

Mount Kenya

Meru National Park
Close to the equator to the northeast of Nairobi. The park is famous as the area where Joy Adamson raised lion cub, Elsa and orphaned cheetahs. The permanent streams offer an environment of tall grasses and dense swamps. This can make it challenging to spot wildlife, but a wide range including elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, reticulated giraffes and zebras reside here.

Tsavo Eat and Tsavo West National Park
Combined, these parks cover an area the size of Wales, forming one of the world’s largest game sanctuaries. Tsavo East is famous for its large number of elephants and spectacular herds of buffaloes that roam across the open savanahah. Tsavo West, in contrast, has very dramatic landscape with extinct volcanoes, rocky outcrops, mountains, river forests and plains. The ‘big five’ can be found along with a range of antelope species.


Amboseli National Park
A popular national park with a spectacular backdrop of the impressive Mount Kilimanjaro. It is home to an abundance of mammals and over 400 species of birds. The flat and dusty landscape provides good opportunities to see a large variety of wildlife including buffaloes, lions, gazelles, cheetahs, wildebeest, zebras and large herds of elephants.

Lake Naivasha
Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in and around this freshwater lake, with the highest concentration between October and March, when migrating birds from Europe and resident. The shores of the lake are fringed with papyrus and yellow-barked acacia tress. A range of plain game is often spotted.

Lake Naivasha

Lake Nakuru National Park

The park is renowned for one of the most spectacular images in Kenya, as thousand of pink flamingoes are often attracted to the alkaline lake. The fenced park also provides sanctuary to one of the largest populations of rhinos in Kenya, plus lions, Rothchild giraffes and leopards.

For some amazing Kenya Safari options visit: - Great Kenya Safaris from Escape Worldwide and Somak Holidays. 

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Monday, 31 March 2014

Mark visits the Centara Watergate Pavillon Hotel in Bangkok.......

Mark has just got back from Bangkok and whilst there he visited the new Centara Watergate Pavillion:
Having been to Bangkok a fair few times and having seen plenty of hotels I was keen to see Centara Hotels and Resorts new offering and I have to say was pleasantly surprised by the Centara Watergate Pavillon.  
The hotel is well located, close to Pratunam Market and a short walk to the Central World shopping mall, one of the largest in Bangkok.
Arriving at the hotel, the reception is located on the 9th floor which I have to say give it an exclusive feel. The lobby was large, bright and welcoming with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the water features and main restaurant.
I was welcomed by the friendly reception and met the marketing manager for my look around. Firstly we were taken to the impressive Spa, which has a good number of treatment rooms and also seemed to be very well priced for a city hotel. Next the funky Infuze lobby bar which offer a great range of drinks and snacks.
Next to the rooms, the standard room (superior) were funky in design, not the biggest I have seen in Bangkok but the use of space was very well done and décor bright and crisp giving the room a bright, airy feel.
The deluxe rooms were larger, similar in style but more specious with an impressive shower that jutted out into the bedroom, all very modern. Rooms have all the facilities you need, flat screen telly, tea and coffee and minibar. If you go for a Deluxe room then try to request a corner room as these have a separate seating area and were more spacious.
Though the hotels doesn't have a swimming pool, it has a great chil out area which has lovely sala daybeds and beautiful water areas, great for cooling off your feet after a day of sightseeing.
Personally one of the highlights of the Centara Watergate Pavillon is the rooftop restaurant and bar. With great views the restaurant is a great place for a romantic dinner and the trendy bar, great for watching the sun go down over the fun but hectic city of Bangkok.
 So if you're looking to head to Bangkok then the Centara Watergate Pavillon is an option well worth considering, it's of a good standard, in a great location and also remarkable good value for money.  
Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Monday, 3 February 2014

Mark looks back to his favourite trip of 2013

"My favourite trip of last year was definitely a fly-drive I did in Namibia - what an incredible country! In the course of 10 days I covered 1800 miles, climbed the world's biggest sand dunes, drove around one of Africa's best national parks, drunk German-style lager on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and watched the sun set over the Kalahari Desert. My highlights were Etosha National Park, where you can drive yourself and get extremely close to lion, rhino, elephant and a host of other game; and the dunes at Sossusvlei, which is probably the single most spectacular place I've ever been to!
Mark at the Tropic of Capircorn in NamibiaThis was my first trip to Namibia and it's somewhere I'd recommend to anyone with a sense of adventure - if you love spectacular scenery and incredible wildlife then it's for you, but if you're more of a nightlife and cities person then perhaps not. The one thing that really strikes you as you drive around Namibia is just how varied the countryside is - every few minutes it seems to change, and you're constantly stopping to take photos of stunning panoramas. The route I took from Swakopmund to Etosha took me through Damaraland, and the scenery here was probably the most spectacular - I was almost too late arriving at Etosha to be allowed in as I stopped too often to take in the views!

Driving is fairly easy in Namibia - roads are quiet and you can pick up a decent pace. About half of the mileage I clocked up was on good quality tarred roads, while the other half was on unmade gravel roads - once you learn the knack of driving on gravel then it's straightforward enough. Just keep an eye out for wildlife at the side of the road, especially the warthogs that seem to appear out of nowhere!

Namibia is definitely on my list of favourite destinations I've been too, and while a trip here is more of an adventure than a holiday, it's definitely a destination worth considering!

Escape Worldwide - Home of Long Haul Holidays

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Karen's trip to South Africa in 2013

Karen looks back to 2013 at her favourite trip:

“My favourite trip of last year was to South Africa - I'm the only person in the office who hadn't been before and I've heard such great things about it - and I wasn't disappointed! The South African Tourism Board invited me to go, and we took in two main areas - Cape Town & the Cape Peninsula area, and Durban along with nearby safari parks.Karen on safari at Phinda Game Reserve, South AfricaCape Town is such a fantastic city, and in such a dramatic setting - the first time you see Table Mountain it really takes your breath away! I'd been told that the weather at the top of Table Mountain can change quickly and you can't go up if the weather is bad, so we headed straight for the cable car as soon as we arrived, as it was sunny! The views are just incredible, across the city and the Atlantic Seaboard, plus along the Cape Peninsula too. I really liked the V&A Waterfront area of Cape Town - it has a lovely feel and some great shopping, plus you catch boats to the infamous Robben Island from here too.

Next stop was Durban, which is a very relaxed city by the sea, with plenty to see and do as well as being a great gateway to this area of South Africa. I did a tour of the seafront on a segway (I was impressed that I didn't fall off as I have no sense of balance whatsoever!) and somehow I got talked in to throwing myself off the roof of the new football stadium - OK, so I was attached to the roof by giant elastic bands on what is the world's tallest swing, what an adrenalin rush! Last stop was the beautiful Phinda Game Reserve, an incredible area of superb wildlife and stunning scenery, with the Indian Ocean not far away too.

This was my first trip to South Africa, but it won't be my last - what a place! ”

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