Songkran Festival


photo credit: JJ Harrison


Next week, Thailand marks the start of the Buddhist holiday known as “Songkran” which has become one of the most popular festivals of the year. The religious significance relates to purification, a fresh start, and cleansing. Consistent with these themes, many Thais mark the occasion by thoroughly cleaning their homes, gently washing Buddha statues with scented water, and by showing respect to their elders by pouring water over their hands.

Although the origins of Songkran are religious, splashing complete strangers with water has become the main attraction of the festival. Soaking or sprinkling people with water signifies the washing away of bad thoughts and actions, and brings them good luck in the new year. 

At the end of the processions and festivities, crowds form in the street to dance, party, and throw water in good-natured fun. To add another layer of intensity, many Thais add ice to their water or travel in teams that wear masks and carry large water cannons. But you probably won’t mind the getting wet because afternoon temperatures in April can rise above 40°C/100°F.

Click here to see our infographic “What to do During Songkran”

What to do During Songkran

Koh Hong Island and Rainforest by Catamaran

Koh Hong – Islands and Rainforest by Catamaran – FD

Board a catamaran and cruise out into the majestic Andaman Sea

A vacation that many people only dream about is now available in Thailand.

When you book our cruise to Koh Hong, your day will begin with drinks and a homemade canapé before you board a catamaran and cruise out into the majestic Andaman Sea. Dramatic landscapes, picture-perfect beaches and lush rainforests are waiting for you.

You will have the opportunity to explore the island’s dense rainforest, home to a wide variety of wildlife and botanical species as well as a gigantic three-hundred-year-old tree.  Enjoy a seafood buffet along with other savory treats in the exotic jungle setting.

Enjoy the powdery sand and crystal-clear water

After lunch, kayak amongst the breathtaking limestone cliffs, and visit nearby caves. Cruise along the Yao Noi archipelago, also known as Pah Koh or Forest of Islands.

Enjoy the powdery sand and crystal clear water at Pilah beach on Hong Island and sunbathe, swim or snorkel alongside the diverse marine life in the island’s coral reef.


For more information, please consult our Tariff

Bangkok by Train, Boat, Foot and Tuk Tuk

Bangkok by Train, Boat, Foot and Tuk Tuk


Visitors to Bangkok, Thailand have the opportunity to join us on a City Safari through some of Bangkok’s most exciting areas. You will start by taking the Skytrain to “Saphan Taksin” pier, where you’ll hop on an express boat and cruise along the Chao Phraya River.

Wat Pho Temple, BangkokOne of the most famous temples is Wat Po, home to the famous Reclining Buddha which is covered in gold leaf.  If you get an early start you can experience the monks morning chanting ritual.

A tuk tuk – Southeast Asia’s most iconic form of travel – will carry you to Baan Bat, where locals have been crafting monks alms bowls since the 1700s, and then to Wat Saket, the ‘Golden Mount.’ If you are feeling energetic you should climb its 400 steps to the top and see the large golden Chedi, which houses a holy relic of the Buddha. You’ll also be rewarded with panoramic views of the city from this high vantage point.

Reclining BuddhaNext, you’ll head to the iconic Giant Swing in Bangkok’s famous Chinatown and explore the area on foot.  A local restaurant serving up some of the best Thai dishes in town will provide lunch.  Afterwards, try coconut ice cream from a nearby vendor who has been selling homemade ice cream in the same location for over 50 years.

A boat ride through Bangkok’s Saen Saeb canal will escort you to the beautiful Lanna-style house of Jim Thompson, who brought Thai silk international recognition before mysteriously disappearing during a trip to Malaysia.


For more information on our

“Bangkok by Train, Boat, Foot and Tuk Tuk” excursion,

please consult our Tariff.

Balinese New Year. . . a Day of Silence

Nyepi, Balinese New Year

Nyepi, Balinese New Year

The island of Bali, Indonesia has many festivals, but one of the most important is the “Day of Silence” – the New Year celebration also known as Nyepi.

Nyepi is known as “Silence Day” because on this day the island is completely silent for 24 hours. This year, Nyepi Day will start at 6:00am on 21 March and will end at 6:00am on 22 March.

  • Airports and harbours will be closed for both domestic and international travel. . . no planes will land or take off for 24 hours.
  • All shops and offices are closed.
  • No one is allowed on the beach or on the streets.
  • No motor vehicles are allowed (except ambulances, police, and in case of emergencies).
  • At night, all lights will be turned off.
  • Hotel guests are asked to remain on the hotel premises (but are free to enjoy the hotel facilities as usual)

The day before Nyepi, you will see a parade characterized by a very unusual procession of Oogh-Oogh. . . giant monsters. Symbolizing bad spirits, the Oogh-Oogh handmade paper statues are paraded through the streets of Bali.  At each intersection, the monster is spun around counter-clockwise three times in order to confuse the spirit and drive it away from the island.  At the end of the procession, the Oogh-Oogh monster is burnt to rid its evil from Bali.

On the day following Nyepi, Balinese Hindus visit family members, neighbors and relatives to ask for (and to give) forgiveness – similar to the Muslim’s Ied Al Fitri custom in other parts of Indonesia.

Nyepi, Balinese New Year

Nyepi, Balinese New Year

Selfies from ITB Berlin 2015 (Part 2)

This post is Part 2 of our “Selfies from ITB Berlin 2015” Click here for Part 1

A few days ago, several of our team members attended ITB Berlin. . . the largest travel tradeshow in the world. We saw old friends and made many new ones. For fun, we took “selfies” and we wanted to share them with you.

We have also posted these selfies to our various social media channels, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. (For those who would like to tag themselves in the Facebook post, please feel free. Click here to go directly to the post).

Read more

“Khmer for a Day”

Khmer for a Day


Drive an ox cart through a Khmer village

When you visit Siem Reap, Cambodia, our “Khmer for a Day” excursion provides you with first-hand experience of daily Khmer life.  You will visit the Kompheim village, where you will be able to take an ox cart ride and have a chance to drive the ox cart yourself.

You will meet the host family with whom you will be working for the day.  Together you will take part in a seasonal activity happening at the time.  Another family will prepare a delicious Khmer lunch with fresh ingredients purchased from other families in the neighborhood.

You will have a delicious Khmer lunch, prepared with fresh ingredients

Following lunch, you will have an opportunity to take a short walk and explore the village, including the HUSK community school and workshop, and to learn about bottle-building projects.  By mid-afternoon, we’ll have you back to your hotel, and you’ll have an experience to tell your friends about.


For more details, please consult our Tariff

Evening Foodie Safari – Phnom Penh



Head off the tourist trail and experience the markets & food stalls of Phnom Penh

Begin the evening with a ride on a remork, the Cambodian version of a “tuk tuk”.  Head off the usual tourist trail, and ride to Phnom Penh’s Old Market (Phsar Chas) along Street No. 13. A local food-loving guide will help you uncover delectable local favourites such as a yellow bean cake or the Khmer rice cake. Taste seasonal fruits grown in and around Phnom Penh, such as dragon fruit, mango, and tiny (but sweet) pineapples. The brave can try the famously smelly durian fruit, widely loved across Asia. Learn about the spices used in local recipes and hear about traditional remedies.

Next, go to a local picnic spot and wander around the food stalls, where you can often find fried tarantulas, fried crickets, green mango with chili and salt, ducks eggs and much more.

From there, head to a rooftop bar for cocktails, stopping along the way to take photos at the Independence Monument, brightly illuminated by red, blue and white floodlights at night. Continue on to a local restaurant for dinner and sample Khmer delicacies. Cap the evening off with a visit to a dessert stall where fruit shakes, fruits with sweet condensed milk, and baked puddings are on offer. Return by remork to your hotel.


For more details, please check our Tariff