Thursday, August 21, 2014

2015 TRIPS

Trips for 2015


NOTE - I will be away leading a trip to Canada + Alaska from 31Aug - 16Sep 2014

21Jan - 10Feb 2015 - Patagonia Trek 

SIKKIM + BHUTAN (PARO FESTIVAL)
Mar - 9D Iceland Photography Trip (led by local photographer)
Apr - Kashmir + Tulips
May
06-22Jun - South America (Brazil / Peru / Amazon Jungle)
Jul - Kashmir & Ladakh 
Jul - South Africa + Zimbabwe Camping Safari

Sep - 12D Greece
Nov - Nepal trekking

Are you ready to explore a new country and travel to somewhere with a group?
Or do you love adventure and travel, but not able to find your own travel kaki?

Patagonia Trek - (21Jan-10Feb)

MALE travel partner wanted!

PATAGONIA PIC from INTERNET






SOUTH AMERICA (BRAZIL/ PERU/ AMAZON JUNGLE)
Last 4 vacancies for June - South America (Brazil / Peru/ Amazon Jungle)




More updates will be added at a later date.

INTERESTED ?
EMAIL ME 



Looking for Travel kaki to Patagonia Trek

Dear all,

PATAGONIA

El Calafate, El Chalten, Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres Del Paine National Park, W Trek, Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire)


21Jan - 10Feb 2015


Patagonia, which is located in Chile, and Argentina, has been my dream for a long time. And now, I have set my mind to do the trek there for next year !! JUST DO IT....

Parque Nacional Torres Del Paines home to what is undoubtedly some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Patagonia, if not all of South America. Rising up high above the Patagonia steppe are the 3 impressive granite towers that give the park its name, surrounded by towering mountain peaks, the most famous of which are Los Cuernos and Paine Grande.. This park, has shimmering lakes, sparkling glaciers and cascading waterfalls, and it is also an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including the Patagonian rhea and guanaco, as well as flamingoes, condors and other birds.


W Trek 
This is the classic trek in the Patagonia area, but the maximum altitude reached is only about 1,000 m, and thus most of the people will not have any issue with the mountain sickness. You will walk into the Glacier Grey, French Valley and Los Cuernos ... The best that you can see in the Patagonia with this trek.

Perito Moreno Glacier
We will make our way to this stunning glacier from El Calafate, a little town on the shore of Lago (Lake) Argentino.

Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire)
This is a large island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits. Most of the island belongs to Chile, but 30% of the archipelago is in Argentina, including Argentina's southernmost town - Ushuaia. This is Patagonia at its most remote, with a landscape of windswept plains, forests and swamplands, home to rheas, condors, buzzard eagles, seals and sea lions, all of which thrive in these conditions.

Budget - $9k 
Including Return flight to Argentina, and 2 domestic flights,
trek arrangement, hostel//camping, meals on trek, optional activities

Required to walk 5-8 hours a day for the W Trek, with your own pack - 7kg for 5 days.

A few of us are confirmed on going for this trip. A male traveller is wanted to join us, but all other females are welcome to join us.

PICTURES BELOW (FROM the INTERNET)








Interested?
EMAIL ME



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Floating Market in Kashmir

Dear all,

I like to share some of the photographs that I took during my trip to India this year.

We went under an organised trip and had intended to go there to see the tulip bulbs in their Tulip Festival. However, luck was not with us, and most of the time, by end of March every year, the tulips would have in full blooms, but for this year, there had been too much rain, and thus we were in Kashmir early. In fact, I know of some other friends who went there just one week later, and they managed to take really beautiful shots of those flowers.

In this post, I like to share with you these shots of the floating market, which is uncommon in most of the world, except in Bangkok, and Kashmir. In the morning, we have to wake up as early as about five thirty in the morning. Took some tea/coffee, and then put on our jackets (It is chilly, and about about few degrees in the morning) as Kashmir is located at an altitude of 1,600 m above sea level.

These local people, who paddle their boats and gather at their usual market place to exchange goods which are mainly vegetables and food. As it is still very early Spring, there were little fruits available too.

The locals paddled, and then stopped in the middle of the Dhal Lake, and then some of them would approach another boatman to ask for the price, and before you see the owner, weighing the vegetables to hand over to the buyer. Then there are few other boatmen who need to ply their way around, as there were just too many boats in the middle of the lake. Easily, there were about more than thirty of such boats in the lake.

Please enjoy the pictures. You can fly to Kashmir easily from Delhi with daily connections, but for peak season, starting April , and also the summer months, you will need to book in advance as the groups are all arriving into Kashmir, to proceed overland to Ladakh, the 'moonland' district from there.

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Looking for a package to Kashmir -
Apr 2015 (min 2 to go)

Kashmir overland to Ladakh
Jul 2015 (min 4 to go)

Olevia Cheong

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Phuket Information

Dear all,

I made a short weekend trip to Phuket with my three other girl friends. We rented a car, and actually drove around for the two days. Though it is meant as a relaxing trip, with massage, facial, and enjoying the seafood, I managed to get hold of some information, which might be useful for you.

We stayed at Kamala Beach at the Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa. Though is an exclusive area, and we enjoyed fantastic sea views from our room, and even had direct access to our own pool, which is shared among the 6 rooms. There is a little patio outside, and then we can just change into our swim wear, and dip into the pool. I am a die hard when it comes to beach hotel accommodation, as I like more privacy, with excellent location , with fabulous views of the mountains or the sea. I am not one who choose the hotel simply because it is right in the town, or right next to all the shops. Ayara Kamala Resort is a 5 star luxury hotel, and we had a wonderful time there, experiencing excellent service by the hotel staff as well.

And you will find a few pictures below which are taken with my iPhone 4s of the hotel. Great breakfast, and we can order omelette or eggs in whichever way we like it to be prepared in. The hotel staff also serve us freshly brewed Ginger Tea, and that is really a big thumbs up for them.

Our Room, Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa

Pool access for only 6 units

Dawn in Phuket

                                                            View from the Restaurant

Reflection


When I saw the pictures of the Resort, my heart was already captured by this lovely hotel. Well, if you like more accessibility to move around, and to be picked up for sightseeing, then it is better that you stay at Surin Beach (mostly 5 star hotels), or Karon/Kata Beach (many cafes, and restaurants located just along the road, next to the beach. Otherwise, Patong is another good consideration.

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I have included the map of Phuket, map of Patong, map of Patong town, map of Karon Beach, for your reference. So, it will help with your planning to Phuket.


MAP OF PHUKET

Map of KAMALA BEACH 

Map of NAI HAN & RAWAI BEACH


Map of Patong Beach

Map of Phuket Town


Main attractions - 

Chalong Temple
Biggest Buddha
Weekend Market
Kathu Waterfalls
Elephant trekking
Sunset at Phromthep Cap
FantaSea Theme Park (Carnival Village, Fantasy of a Kingdom)
Tiger Park (you can go and play with the Tiger & take pictures
ATV rides

It is very easy to make bookings of all these sightseeing activties with many small travel agents / operators located along the main road nearby your resort. Most of them will offer Free Pick up from Surin, Karon/Kata Beach.

Some Useful Telephone Numbers -
Emergency - 191
tourist Police - 1155
Fire - 199
Ambulance - 1719

Hospitals -
Bangkok Phuket Hospital - 076 254 429
Phuket Interntaional Hospital - 076 249400

Airport Information - 076 351111
Tourism Authority of Thailand - 076 211 036

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Here are some of the pictures of the food that we enjoy while in Phuket!






RECOMMENDATIONS:

Watch the SIAM NIRAMIT (THAILAND's MUST SEE SHOW  - Bangkok / Phuket)

Go and have a good seafood meal along Rawai Beach (pick the seafood, and they will prepare for you)

Thai massage / facial 

ENJOY PHUKET 

YOU SHOULD BE HERE!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pictures of South Africa

Dear all,

I planned for a trip to South Africa in June, and went with 10 other ladies on this trip and this is indeed an experience of a lifetime. Finally, my dream came true, as I had wanted to visit South Africa for a very long time.

Our highlights: -
Cape Town,
Kruger National Park (4 game safari)
Pakamisa Private Game Reserve (horse riding, 1 game safari)
Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park (oldest national Park in South Africa)
St Lucia Estuary (UNESCO, sunset boat cruise)
Shakaland

We stayed at the following lodges -
Hout Bay - Villa Afrique
Kruger - Imbali Lodge
Pakamisa - Pakamisa Paradise Game Lodge
Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park - Falaza Tented Camps
Shakaland - Traditional hand-woven Beehive Hut.

There are alternative or cheaper package if you avoid Kruger National Park. There is a daily conservation fees of about SGD50 per person a day, excluding your hotel / lodge accommodation. Most of the established lodges are mainly 5 star, and you will be charged perhaps for SGD2,000 a night.

To me, there is no compromise, as Kruger is the largest national park in South Africa, and to really enjoy a great safari experience in the bush, there is no alternative to Kruger. There are some cheaper accommodations or even guests houses, which are located outside of the National Park. But being so much further away, I think time will be lost for driving when you go for your safari. As we travel in the period of June, it is the winter season in South Africa, and this is considered the best time for game viewing. Animals are more likely to go to the water holes for drinking, and it is so much easier to spot them.

We had sunrise and sunset safari in a day. In the morning, we woke up as early as 5 30 am, and then have a light breakfast. Then, we have to put on our full gear, wearing the appropriate jackets, gloves, and pants to keep ourselves warm, as we drove out of the lodge in total darkness. When the winds blew past our face, it was really chilly. We were there to see the sky and the horizon changing colours from pitch black, and then slowly the orange tinge spreading along the horizon. And then finally, the sun rose up to the sky. It was not easy to take the pictures as there were many trees all around.

The ranger guide would point to us, the direction to spot the animals. He is well-trained, and he knew what to look out for. As he drove, his head was sweeping from left to right, and his pair of eyes was constantly, trying to pick up the sights of any animals, if they were chewing the leaves somewhere, with the bodeis partially hidden by the trees.

We were lucky that for the 3 days and 2 nights stay at Imbali, we spotted a lot of animals, and out of the BIG FIVE, we managed to see the four of them. The leopard is a very elusive animal, and it is a nocturnal animal, and thus we missed seeing them in Kruger.

I like to share some of the pictures that I took for my trip in South Africa.

                              Captured this at the right moment, with another baby elephant behind.

Reminds me of the animated movie - The Lion King.

                                                  We were so close to the pride of lions.
                                   
                                                                            A zebra

                                                     Giraffe - is such an elegant animal.
                                                    Impala. Only male impalas have horns.

A group of baboons was crossing the road in front of our vehicle.

                                                                       Baboon & its baby.

More pictures to come. Do come back for more.

If you are looking for the best airfare to South Africa, you normally fly to Johannesburg for a trip to Kruger National Park. For some others, they will fly into Cape Town, and then connect to Johannesburg.
It is a 7 -hour drive to Kruger Park, otherwise, you can also fly from Johannesburg to Kruger, but I understand the airfare is not cheap.

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More pictures to come.

Olevia Cheong

My Next Dream Destination - South America in 2015!






Tuesday, July 8, 2014

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN PRAGUE

Dear all,






I was away in Europe leading two tours, first to Western Europe, and then to the Central Europe (Munich, Austria & Czech Republic).


It was more than 3 weeks away, but there were so much more new experiences for everyone on the trip.


I will upload some pictures here for everyone.




And I like to recommend these activities for everyone who is going to Prague.


TOP 10 Attractions in Prague
1. Visit the Castle District / St Vitus Cathedral
2. Take a walk in the Old Town of Prague & a stroll along Charles Bridge
3. Horse Carriage Ride around the Old Town (20min, EURO32, max 4 persons)
4. Go up to the Clock Tower for views of Old Town
5. Vlatava River Cruise
6. Black Light Theatre Show
7. Enjoy a Classical Concert at one of the many churches
8. Enjoy a meal with music at U Zlate Konvice Restaurant
9. Shopping for Bohemia Crystals 
10. Enjoy drinking beer at Roof Terrace Bar, Hotel U Prince




Well, these are the Top 10 attractions in Prague, in my opinion. And you will definitely have a great time in Prague. For beer lovers, there are pub crawling to the various pubs to enjoy the famous Czech beers. If you like history, there are many kinds of walking tours which you can sign up for when you are in Prague.










1. Visit Castle District / St Vitus Cathedral.


You would need at least two hours to cover the Castle District, as well as the beautiful St Vitus Cathedral, which was built by the order of King Charles IV.
The Prague Castle is now the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. This is the largest ancient castle in the world - 570m long, 128m wide (on average), and area of 7.28 hectares .
It was constructed by Prince Borivoj, the castle transformed itself from a wooden fortress surrounded by earthn bulwarks to the imposing structure that you see today.




St Vitus Cathedral
The cathedral's foundation was laid in 1344 by Emperor Charles IV. The very first architect was Mattias of Arras, and then Petr Parler took over after Mattias' death. Much of the architectural style is completed in late - Gothic. However, over the centuries, renaissance and baroque elements were added and finally the Cathedral was completed in 1929. The most beautiful of the numerous side chapels, Parler's Chapel of St Wenceslas, houses the crown jewels and the tomb of the "Good King" Wenceslas. There are many beautiful stained glass and excellent art works.
The Royal Crypt contains the remains of Charles IV, Wenceslas IV, George of Podebrady and Rudolf II. You will enjoy an excellent view from the Great Tower provided the day is clear.






2. Take a walk in the Old Town, and enjoy a stroll across Charles Bridge in the evening
Prague is called the 'City of 1000 spires' and it is now considered to be the most beautiful city in Eastern Europe. There are so many beautiful buildings which were built in the different eras. And the fact that the city escaped the destruction of the second World War, helped to preserve the original buildings and thus the whole Old Town is like an open museum with all the wonderful architecture, which many people have come by to admire. You could walk for a few days to cover the different areas of the Old Town. Avoid going to Charles Bridge in the morning, but wait till it is in the evening, before you cross the bridge which was built in stone by the order of Emperor Charles IV. Enjoy the sunset, across the Prague Castle, or just watch the cruise ships sail pass below... It will be a memorable time spent on the bridge.


3.  Horse Carriage ride around the Old Town
Too tired to walk on a hot day? How about taking a horse carriage ride around the Old Town instead. Each carriage can take one to maximum of four people for half an hour through the cobble-stoned streets of the capital of Czech Republic, and also once the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.


4.  Go up to the Clock Tower for views of the Old Town.
I had been to Prague a number of times, and I had always encouraged my tour group members to pay a little for the lift ride up to the top of the Clock Tower, which was built in the 14th century. From up there, you could marvel at the views of the Tyn Church, and many of the other famous buildings in the Old Town. If you happen to reach the top, just before the hour, you would see many people waiting right in front of the Clock to see the magic of this ancient clock still in operation.




5.  Vlatava River Cruise
Vlatava River is the longest river in the country of Czech Republic, and it is 433 km long. It is flowing from the North to the South passing by Prague, Cesky Krumlov, and a few other cities, and towns. This is a wonderful way to spend time in Prague by taking a one hour cruise in the afternoon, or a 3 hour dinner cruise on the river from 7 to 10 pm. Enjoy a buffet dinner, while you sail on the Vlatava River, and you can take in the sights of Prague at night, with the majestic Prague Castle illuminated. You can just head down to the Pier No 3, just opposite the Intercontinental Hotel, below the Chuchuv Bridge to buy your tickets.








6. Black Light Theatre (in Czech - cerne divadlo)









This is a theatrical performance style characterised by the use of black box theatre augmented by black light illusion. This actually originates from Asia, and it can be found in many places around the world. Now, it has become a specialty and you can find a number of such theatres in Prague. In the theatre, the use of the black curtains, together with a darkened stage, as well as fluorescent costumes create the optical illusion. Using dance, mime and acrobatics, the performers are able to create an entertaining show for the evening. I had watched the Black Light Theatre a few times, and had brought my tour group members to this particular show by the WOW Theatre.
Check out the website -
www.wow-show.com
Address - Theatre Broadway, Na Prikope 31, Prague 1.
Reservation - (420) 224 032 172
The reservation office is open Monday to Friday.


7. Enjoy a classical concert at one of the Churches
When you are in Prague, there are so many activities for you to choose from. And I must say I have yet to find a chance to attend the classical concert being held inside one of the Churches. Everytime, I walk along the streets in the Old Town, I often pick up some brochures given by the locals regarding this wonderful experiences. And the last time I was in Prague, I was particularly attracted by the brochure based on the information given on it. There is a church by the name of St Salvador, which is a beautifully restored church in the 17th century, and it is located close to the Old Town Square. In fact, it is the largest evangelical church in Prague. It is considered to be one of the most valuable examples of early - Baroque architecture in Prague. Famous architects Lurago, Caratti and Kanka were all involved with its construction. This beautiful church, has a beautiful Baroque fa├žade, with porticos decorated with sand-stone sculptures of saints by Jan Jiri Bendi. a niche in the wall houses a sculpture of the Virgin Mary. When you walk from the Old Town towards Charles Bridge, and just before you head on to the bridge, you find this church located on the right hand side, behind the statue of Emperor Charles IV. In this church, you will find two magnificent organs, and they have both been recently restored and both are played at Mass and during classical music concerts, which run throughout the year. You can buy the tickets just outside the door of the church. The concert usually starts at about 6 pm.




8. Enjoy a meal with music at U Zlate Konvice Restaurant
When you are feeling hungry, it is time to head to the restaurant for a hearty Czech meal. You can enjoy tasty barbecued meats, grilled knee and Old-style Czech food, with the Moravian wine or the Pilsner beer here at U Zlate Konvice Restaurant. It is located directly opposite the Clock Tower, down the cellar under the Grand Hotel Praha. I love the ambience, and the live music here.




9. Shopping for Bohemia Crystals 
If you are looking for some souvenirs to bring home, consider the Bohemia Crystals or garnet stones for your loved ones. There is a big store - Erpet Crystals , located opposite the Clock Tower, next to the Grand Hotel Praha. Though the prices are a bit high, you are guaranteed of buying high quality crystals from the store, which is open everyday until 10 pm.






10. Enjoy drinking beer at Roof Terrace Bar, Hotel U Prince
After your dinner, if you have not have enough of the beer, then you might want to proceed to Roof Terrace Bar, located at Hotel U Prince. This 5 star luxury property has the perfect location in the Old Town of Prague, and from the terrace on top, it commands great views of the Clock Tower, and the exquisite panoramic view of Old Prague. Enjoy the breeze, as you drink and chat with your friends. This is your last night in Prague, and you want to make the most out of it. It will have a lasting memory for you as you will yearn to come back to Prague again to have a magical time here.




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Thanks for reading my blog.


Olevia Cheong
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Destination for 2015

Hi all,

I am all ready to go for my tour leading assignment to Europe from the 01-25May.
In fact, I had not been to Prague or Czech Republic for the past 3 years. And this year, I am lucky to be able to go back there, because I have clients who asked me to help arrange a special itinerary for them.

Apart from the May travel, then it is June for my own adventure to South Africa -
We are going to do Cage Shark Diving at Gansbai (See the shark face to face underwater)..
There will be the usual inclusions to Table Mountain by cable car, as well as the Cape Peninsula to see the Wildlife.
But I look forward to the game viewing at Kruger National Park  - the largest national park in South Africa, and we have this arranged such that we will be driving along the Panorama Route to see the Blyde River Canyons.
Other highlights include staying at Pakamisa Paradise Resort, with the horse riding to see wildlife.

Many many new experiences for us, and we have some seniors above the age of 60 who are joining us. Life is an adventure !!!! It is NEVER too old to try out something new.

All these are already planned and handled by the operator, and sometimes you need to engage them to get expert advice and the excellent recommendations for an unforgettable holiday.

What is there to look out for the second half of 2014?

I have clients looking at making a trip to Kenya & Tanzania for the Migration in Aug/ Sep/Oct. In fact, there are about three groups of them.

AUG -
01-10Aug -
10D Ladakh Photography Tour


Oct - autumn
There are many suggestions that I could give you to enjoy the best of Autumn. This is the good time to travel up North to the Northern Hemisphere. Travel to Kashmir , the Paradise on Earth, or JiuZhaiGou, the fariytale land in CHINA, famous for its crystal clear water in the various lakes, and there are also a number of waterfalls . Of course, Europe will be a good time to travel to see the foliage as well in the Alpine countries like Switzerland, Poland, France, and so forth.

If you travel to Poland, you MUST go to Zakopane (Hotel Belvedere Resort & Spa), and it is a beautiful resort town near the Tatras Mountains.

I have arranged for this trip to JiuZhaiGou -
31/10 - 09/ 11 To cover both the Huanglong & JiuZhaiGou National Parks

Where else are my clients going?

Dates to be advised -

Oct - Bhutan walking tour 

Dec - Bhutan & festival


2015 -

13/02 Brazil - Rio Carnival & Argentina

06/06 Peru & Inca Hiking Trail


Planning for a trip for yourself FREE & EASY.
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Happy Planning & Happy Holidays..

Olevia Cheong
olevia@euholidays.com.sg