Asia

WHY KYRGYZSTAN? This central Asian country is popular with travellers looking for culture, hospitality and off the beaten track adventure. The landscape is epic and the locals extremely hospitable. It is an easy country to visit, but not many do. Kyrgyzstan is one of the least visited of the ‘Stans', despite being one of the most affordable and friendly to visit. Visitors from Malta can stay for up to 60 days without having to obtain a visa.

The main tourism highlights are accessible and inexpensive, it’s easy to get away from the few places where tourists congegrate and authentic experiences of nomad life, post-Soviet life and animal life can be had at every step.

Kyrgyzstan's male headgear was in the news recently after it was put on Unesco's cultural heritage list.

Kyrgyzstan has few historical sites thanks partly to a nomadic culture (although nowadays there are only a few people left living a truly nomadic lifestyle) but it makes up for this by having lots of mountains and epic landscapes.

What to experience? One should Stay in a Yurt which are the Shepherd shelters seen all over the country . Kyrgyz culture is a folk culture - dynamic, living, intangible. You cannot understand it by looking at a building. One can only experience such a culture, and a yurt stay is one of the best ways to get a taste of it.

Kyrgyzstan is perhaps the best place in Central Asia to go horse riding. Join the locals and take a trek lasting from 1 hour to 10 days in the plains, high pastures, mountain passes and gorges for an unforgettable journey.

Trek through the Celestial Mountains (also called the Mountains of Heaven) – the little-visited Tien Shan, with their alpine meadows, glaciers, summer pastures and snowy peaks.

The cuisine of Kyrgyzstan is a mixture of Central Asian and Russian, although Korean food is widespread too.Tea (chai), either green or black, is the most common beverage while the most common alcoholic drink is - vodka! Moldovan and Georgian wine are also available.

Kyrgyzstan is safe for visitors but, again take the usual commonsense precautions.

Hmong women at a market in North Vietnam
Halong Bay North Vietnam
Sleeping Hmong child at a market in North Vietnam

NORTH VIETNAM AMONG FRIENDS: Can you get together a group of 8 persons who know each other well and would like to go on a fantastic adventure together? It could be 4 couples, 8 girls for a hen party, 8 guys for a bachelor party, 8 work colleagues or simply 8 friends who want to have a good time. We have a holiday just for you.

DAY 1: Arrival Hanoi (D). Check-in. Dinner either with a family or at a local restaurant.

DAY 2: Hanoi Orientation Tour/Lao Cai (B, L). Explore Hanoi on the back of a motorbike. Enjoy a “street life” experience wandering the back streets in and nearby the Old Quarter and sample mouth-watering delicacies. Overnight train to Lao Cai.

Day 3: Lao Cai/Ethnic Market/Sapa (B, L). The highlight of the day is a visit to an ethnic market.

DAY 4: Village walk/Sapa/Lao Cai (B). Half-day trek. Free time in Sapa. Overnight train to Hanoi.

DAY 5: Hanoi/Ha Long/Bai Tu Long Bay (B, L, D). Board the Dragon’s Pearl Junk, Prince Junk II or similar. Cruise the Bai Tu Long Bay area. Overnight on board.

DAY 6: Bai Tu Long Bay (B, L, D). Cruising. Kayaking included. BBQ lunch on a sandy beach. Overnight on board.

DAY 7: (B, L). Cruise to Vung Veng fishing village, explore the village and lagoon in a rustic rowing boat. Return to shore around noon. Drive to Hanoi. In the evening enjoy a performance of traditional Water Puppetry.

DAY 8: (B). Day at leisure. Departure

Price on request.

 

We visited North Vietnam in November 2016 and would be happy to share our first-hand experience.

 

A FOOD ADVENTURE IN JAPAN: Spoil the senses on a culinary tour from Tokyo to Kyoto, 11 nights.

Food is taken seriously in Japan. From the station tonkatsu restaurant to the highest end sushi, Japanese people take pride in the cooking and presentation. In fact Tokyo, the Japanese capital has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world – over 200.

 

This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine.

Itinerary in brief: Tokyo – Takaysama – Kanazawa – Osaka – Koya-San – Kyoto

Meals: 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport: bus, train, bullet train

Accommodation: Hotel (6 nights), Ryokan (4 nights), Monastery (1 night)

Included activities:

  • Tokyo - Memory Lane Yakitori Dinner

  • Tokyo - Metropolitan Government Building

  • Tokyo - Asakusa Guided Walk

  • Tokyo - Soba-noodle Class

  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple

  • Tokyo - Seafood Market & Sushi Breakfast

  • Takayama - Sake Brewery Tasting

  • Takayama - Hida Folk Village

  • Kanazawa - Orientation Walk

  • Kanazawa - Wagashi (sweets) cooking demonstration

  • Kanazawa - Omicho Market

  • Osaka - Street Food Tour

  • Kyoto - Gion District Walk

  • Kyoto - Obanzai Cooking Class

  • Kyoto - Tea Farm Visit

Minimum age is 15 years and maximum group size is 12 persons.

 

As Japan is considered to be quite an expensive destination we consider this tour good value for money.

 

A complete tailor-made package including flights, airport taxes and any private extensions in the country or combined with another destination can easily be created (price on request).

Super Trees
Universal Studios Sentosa Island
Classic and Modern - Singapore (photograph by Distant Horizons Malta)

SINGAPORE  used to be thought of as a side-trip or stopover destination but is now considered as a destination in its own right. It is ranked as one of the wealthiest countries of the world and there’s something for everyone!

 

Top attractions include among others the street food hawker centres, the Singapore Zoo and night safari, Botanic Gardens, Little India, Sentosa Island and Orchard Road. You can even go hiking the trails at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. 

 

Singapore also boasts the best airport in the world. Highlights include the world’s tallest airport slide, a forest-themed playground, arcade games, rooftop swimming pool, cactus garden and sunflower garden and so much more…such a pity that flights are hardly ever delayed :-)

 

Last but not least, as the world’s population is rapidly ageing, disability is becoming more and more of an important issue. Businesses and the tourism industry are beginning to realise that this is also a major factor when planning a trip. Stepless access to most buildings and no shortage of kerb cuts makes Singapore the most accessible city in Asia for anyone who may be motor or visually impaired. The question in Singapore is not “what is accessible” but rather “what isn’t”!

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Supertrees Gardens by the Bay - Singapore (photograph by Distant Horizons Malta)