Recommend July 2016 - (Page 34)

Tourism dollars are critical to establishing an alternative lifestyle to timbering, and right now, every traveler makes a difference and every traveler is rewarded with an outstanding experience." For example, Cohen adds, "on our trips, guests see 11 of the 13 species of the Borneo primates and between 10 and 12 orangutans in the wild." From March through October, Wild Planet Adventures offers one or two monthly departures on its 12-day Weird & Wonderful Wildlife Ecotour, whose exclusive-to-thecompany wildlife encounters include wildlife tracking by foot and electric boat to see wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys and Gibbons, and pygmy elephants in the wild; special expeditions seeking out Borneo's famous flying lemurs and other gliding mammals; cultural interaction with the "River People" at Sukau; and nocturnal excursions to see tarsiers and slow loris-two of the world's smallest and cutest primates. Starting in Kota Kinabalu, the tour also meets with scientific researchers and stays at award-winning lodges offering outstanding wildlife viewing-Sukau Rainforest Lodge, for one; the tour ends with a 2-night stay at the Sipadan Mabul Dive Resort. The 16-day version of this Weird & Wonderful Wildlife itinerary adds a visit to the sea-turtle island of Selingan and another exclusive: a 3-night stay in Maliau Basin, called the "Lost World" On board the Maharajas' Express. Exploring a country via its rails gives travelers a different sense of the destination. And in India, where rail travel is such a quintessential experience, it amplifies the journey through this colorful and exotic destination tenfold. Here, trains with names like Palace on Wheels, Maharajas' Express, Deccan Odyssey and Golden Chariot only add to the enchantment of the experience. Your clients can feel like a maharaja as they board these luxury trains and choose among an array of dazzling journeys. Take, for example, Maharajas' Paloma Villaverde de Rico Express' 4-day Treasures of India itinerary that has passengers exploring Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore and Jaipur, visiting five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Rates start at $3,850 for a Deluxe cabin and include accommodations in double/twin bedded cabins with attached bathrooms; all meals, soft beverages, house brands of Indian wines, beer and spirits; butler service, complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water on board; guided off train tours as included in the journey inclusive of entrance fees, still camera fee, transport and services of a guide; and porter charges at stations. The Deccan Odyssey travels through the Deccan region on 8-day tours, although clients can also opt for the 14-night Deccan Odyssey with Golden Triangle tour, which covers the entire area under Maratha Empire including Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Ganapatipule, Jaigarh, and Sindhudurg, along with Goa, Kolhapur, Pune, Ajanta and Ellora caves, and also explores Jaipur, Agra, Taj Mahal and Delhi. No matter which area of vast India your clients decide to explore, they are going to find a fascinating treasure trove of delights, but if we were to opt for a truly unique rail experience we'd go for the Hill Trains of India, which make their way to the country's hill stations, some via so-called Toy Trains. These trains are, as the name implies, smaller in size and capacity than traditional trains, and as they usually run on a narrow gauge are not very fast, thus allowing passengers to truly take in the scenery. Visitors can choose the Darjeeling Toy Train, an 8-hour journey that runs between Siliguri and Darjeeling along a 51-mile stretch of rail, riding 7,000 ft. above ground across the magnificent mountain terrain of the Himalayas. Adventurous clients can also opt for a Wildlife Tour by Rail; a Jungle Safari by Rail; or even a Desert Safari by Train. These and the aforementioned journeys are operated by India Rail Tours, with plenty of information on its website at ■ Come Aboard! 34 july 2016 of Borneo; harboring the oldest rainforest on earth and home to the reclusive Bornean rhino. Tour costs start at $6,498 and $7,998 pp dbl, respectively. Mekong Magic by Bike & Boat While some of us are focused on Europe and North America for biking and hiking adventures, it turns out that Backroads, a pioneer in the active adventures market, began to hike and bike Asia 20 years ago, starting in Bhutan. Today, company spokesperson Liz Einbinder reports that Backroads' leading destinations for biking, walking and hiking, and multisport trips are Vietnam and Cambodia, followed by Thailand, Bali, Bhutan, Myanmar and India. Einbinder points out that clients booking Asia for the first time will find that "in other parts of the world we are able to offer itineraries featuring both premiere and casual levels of accommodation, in Asia, our bikers and hikers stay only in premiere class. Yet, while we stay in great places, we don't stay removed from that which makes the region tick. In the company of experienced trip leaders and local guides who have been with us a decade or more, we go deep into the local culture with options such as street food dining in local markets, blessings from monks we've known for years, warm welcomes in local homes." Additionally, "varied road conditions in Asia require bikes to be specially fitted-often with upright handlebars-for comfort and control." New to the Backroads trip roster is the 9-night Mekong River Cruise Bike Tour, sailing and biking along one of the world's most captivating rivers aboard AmaWaterways' 124-passenger AmaDara, from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. In addition to the AmaWaterways activities, Backroads groups, limited in size to 30, enjoy daily outings along special bike routes (around the Angkor Wat ruins and rice fields, to craft villages and Buddhist shrines) guided by Backroads trip leaders. This trip may be booked privately for eight or more guests. Priced from $6,398 pp dbl, departures in 2016 are Nov. 15 and Dec. 3. Also new to the company's round-the-world products are Family Breakaway vacations, designed for families traveling with older teens and 20-somethings. In Asia, these 7-night bike trips are available in Bali, Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. ■ Contact Information Backroads: Myths & Mountains: Wild Planet Adventures:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend July 2016

Editor’s Notes
Hotel Desk: Escape the Ordinary
Tour Talk: Rail Travel in Europe
Expedition Cruising: Adventure of a Lifetime
Onboard Review: Holland America’s MS Koningsdam
Do Like the Locals in Latin America
Only on These Islands
Travel Advisor Corner: Dining Out on International
Onsite Review: Barbados
Explore Israel Off the Well-Trodden Road
Onsite Review: South Africa: From Beach to Bush
Explore the Great Outdoors via Rail Travel
Onsite Review: Club Med Sandpiper Bay
Singular Experiences
Onsite Review: At Home in Thuringia, Germany
Journeys Beyond the Ordinary
Come Aboard: India Rail Travel

Recommend July 2016