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Hong Kong - More than just a city

 
Earlier this month, Angie visited Hong Kong and here's what she thought -
 
Whilst for many, a visit to Hong Kong is a short city break en route to Australia or New Zealand, in my opinion it has plenty to offer as a ‘stand alone’ destination for a holiday of a week or even longer. With the recent addition of a direct flight between Gatwick and Hong Kong to complement the regular services from Heathrow and Manchester, Hong Kong has never been more accessible.
 
Alongside the most famous sights of the city, such as the iconic Star Ferry, the many and varied markets, the tram to Victoria Peak and the stunning skyline, there are plenty of things to see and do away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
 
Take a cruise of Victoria Harbour on a traditional junk ship, or take a longer cruise around Hong Kong Island to the south side and the town of Stanley. Home to a fantastic market with arts and crafts amongst other wares, Stanley is well worth a visit along with neighbouring Repulse Bay with its sandy beach and safe swimming.  A visit to Aberdeen Fishing Village can take in the renowned Jumbo Floating Restaurant as well as a sampan boat ride around the floating houseboats.

 

 
Spend a day on Lantau Island, taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to see the giant Buddha statue. From here, take a bus to Tai O – a traditional fishing village built on stilts over the water, where a sense of the Hong Kong of yesteryear can be understood, and take a boat trip out to see the rare Chinese pink dolphins.
 
There are many other islands to be explored too – Lamma Island offers a gentle hike between its two main towns, with great seafood restaurants the reward at the end. Cheung Chau Island is most famous for its’ Bun Festival in May, but is also home to plenty of seafood restaurants, a sandy beach and a temple.

 

 
A popular pastime for locals is horse racing, and to take in an evening of racing at Happy Valley or Sha Tin is an exciting experience to consider. Hong Kong even has two theme parks to offer – Ocean Park has thrill seeking rides along with a zoo, and is reached via a cable car ride. Disneyland offers fun for all the family in typical Disney style, and is located on Lantau Island.
 
All in all, a week to ten days in Hong Kong provides all of the ingredients for a great holiday destination – great weather (at the right time of year!), interesting history, fascinating culture and varied experiences.

 
 
 
 

 
All photographs by kind permission of Angie Watson

 

Please see our Facebook page which is full of information updated on a regular basis with ideas, inspiration and news.  Please click on the link below to like and follow us.
 

 

Congratulations to Alex and Katie Macdonald

Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro

 

In October two of our intrepid clients, Alex and Katie Macdonald, successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro followed by a much more relaxing safari in Northern Tanzania! Amazing achievement and thanks for the excellent feedback and photos. Next on the agenda is Mount Fuji!


Photograph by kind permission of Alex and Katie MacDonald

Bear Viewing in North America

Bear watching can be an expensive addition to a holiday and for many it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are a large number of companies offering all sorts of bear-watching experiences. Whilst sightings are never guaranteed, to avoid disappointment it is important to pick the trip that will match both your expectations and your budget. 

Photograph by kind permission of Knight Inlet Lodge.

Click here to read more:- Bear Viewing

 New York


New York is the perfect destination for a long weekend break or as a city experience at the beginning or end of your North American holiday.  New York is the place to go for shopping, with stores such as Saks, Macy’s or Bloomingdales to tempt you.

Photograph by kind permission of New York Tourism.
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Click link to read more:- New York
 
 

Tanzania Northern Circuit


This itinerary takes you to some of the wildlife capitals of the world; the best known being the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. If you are free to choose when you go, ensure that you are in the Serengeti when the wildebeest and zebra migration is there. But this is an itinerary that has a feast of wildlife, bird life and stunning scenery practically all year. 

Photograph by kind permission of Peter Ellis.

Click here to read more:- Tanzania
 

Little Gem of the Month

Great Bear Lodge, British Columbia Coast

 The Great Bear Lodge is open from May to October with all of their tours lasting for three nights.  You will take a floatplane from Port Hardy to reach the lodge.  The floating lodge has been vastly refurbished and now all rooms offer en suite facilities. Wilderness-gourmet meals await you upon your return from the two guided viewing sessions per day. With a maximum of sixteen guests, you are assured of a personalised wilderness adventure in this very special area.
 
Great Bear Nature Tours has been rated by National Geographic Adventure as one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth. The ecotourism lodge is the ideal base for photography and wildlife viewing tours, nestled at the mouth of a pristine salmon river. 

This is one of the best places in the world to observe grizzly (brown) bears and many other forms of wildlife including black bears, wolves and bald eagles.

All tours include the following:-

  • 2 grizzly bear viewing sessions per day, with a wildlife biologist as guide*
  • Accommodation in a private room at the Great Bear Lodge
  • Wilderness-gourmet meals with complimentary wine and beer**
  • Interpretive discussion and welcome orientation for wildlife viewing
  • Activities such as interpretive walks or boat excursions
  • Return floatplane flight from Port Hardy to the Great Bear Lodge
  • Binoculars, rain gear and rubber boots, if required
* On arrival/departure days, you will have time to participate in one session.
** Special diets can be catered with advance notice.
 

 


Sample itinerary for a stay at Great Bear Lodge

The following itinerary is based on a tour in autumn. Tour itineraries change through the seasons as we need to allow for differing hours of daylight.

Day One - Your adventure begins

Departing from Port Hardy in the afternoon, you will leave behind the noise of modern life for a remote wilderness. Transportation is by seaplane. Journeying to our site is a spectacular adventure in itself, traveling over the breath taking scenery of the central coast and over the rich waters of Queen Charlotte Strait, the home of orca, gray and humpback whales.

Upon your arrival at the lodge, your hosts will be on the dock to welcome you to your wilderness retreat. Settle into your private room at the lodge, before joining the group for your first wildlife viewing session. We have a range of different viewing sites, and will choose one according to where the bears have been most active. Estuary sites are reached by boat, while river sites are reached by a wilderness track. The viewing blinds on the river have been constructed with the photographer in mind, and are optimal and comfortable places from which to view bears.

There is nothing quite like seeing your first grizzly emerge from the forest.

Returning to the lodge that evening, you will be treated to a wilderness-gourmet meal. Our biologist will present slides and videos, explaining the interaction of the grizzly bear with this unique ecology.

Day Two

In the morning, you will be on the trail of the grizzly bear again after some good coffee and breakfast. A typical viewing session lasts three hours.

After a morning of adventure, you will return to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax. Spend the early afternoon exploring the surrounding area with the guide. A popular activity is the interpretive rainforest walk, examining bear sign and the general ecology of the area. In mid-afternoon you will venture out to see the bears before relaxing in the lodge for dinner. On clear nights, the stars are amazing.

Day Three

As your stay at the lodge continues, you begin to settle into the natural rhythm of the valley. The bears are generally most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours, which is why we focus our viewing sessions on these times. Over the course of your stay we will take you to a variety of sites, depending on the bear activity.

For the afternoon recreation today we may take a boat excursion to explore the glacier-carved inlet. Or you may prefer to relax and enjoy the view from the lodge. The Great Bear Rainforest is home to many animals, including grey wolves, otters, black bears, mink and bald eagles. One of our favorite dishes is marinated salmon baked on a cedar plank.

Day Four

After your parting session with the bears, lunch and an afternoon activity, you will be returned to Port Hardy by floatplane in the afternoon sometime between 4pm and 6pm.

 
 

All Photographs ©2004-2014 Tom Rivest, Great Bear Nature Tours

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