If you didn’t see our last newsletter you may not have realised that we have launched a new social club – the Armchair Travel Club. The Armchair Travel Club meets at 10:30 on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Coastal Waters Retirement Village Lounge, with the next meeting on the 10th of April – it is held by open invitation so everyone and anyone is welcome to attend.
This is a social group where you can inspire and be inspired by others, through the sharing of past travel stories, and future travel dreams. Hear what inspires and others, and be inspired in turn – and if that is not enough, each session is attended by one of our partners who will showcase their inspiring product.
If you can’t make it to the events you can always join our Armchair Travel Club Facebook Group (Click Here), where we will give a quick recap of each meeting and where like at the meeting you can share your travel inspirations, dreams and stories!
For more information on the Armchair Travel Club, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
If you have been considering a short escape, our 4 Night cruise to Melbourne on the 11th October 2019 with the Celebrity Solstice is the perfect escape. 2 Luxurious days at sea and one day free to explore the fascinating city of Melbourne – shop til you drop, take in a show, visit relatives the choice is yours!
We have just 3 Inside Cabins Left (AU$687 per person share twin) , and 2 Balcony Cabins (AU$1217 per person share twin) – and these must be sold by the 9th April!
So if you want a real taste of luxury and five star service, at a reduced rate call us today to lock in your cabin before they disappear – because come the 9th they will be gone!
Call (02) 4421 5577 and ask for Daniel to book your cabin today!
It has been a few years since the last time the Shoalhaven Solo Sisters and My Travel Expert have done a trip to Norfolk Island, but in November 2019 we are revisiting this destination, and taking a unique look at all it has to offer!
Like many tours we are going to head out and see the old convict settlements and learn about the early days of Norfolk Island, unlike many others we are also going to take a good look at contemporary Norfolk Island, visiting places like Colleen McCulloghs House and the incredible Cyclorama. We also go behind the scene and visit some of the scenes visiting some of the farms and industries that keep Norfolk Island running – and allowing us to try out some of the fantastic local produce from places like Hilli Goat Farm, Two Hills Winery and more.
At AU$2875 per person share twin this is a fantastic price – considering all of your daily activities and all of your meals are covered! Departing November 24th and returning December 1st this tour takes in the best that Norfolk Island has to offer – and in some great company!
You can review the programme by clicking here, or if you want to book aboard or register an interest in finding someone to share with then just contact us at My Travel Expert on (02) 4421 5577 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Asia, specifically the countries that Australians refer to as “the Stans” – Kazahkstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have been a growing tourism location for decades. Originally the majority of visitors were Russian, simply because during the days of Soviet Russia travelling internally was easier for them than externally, with the fall of the USSR the face of tourism in these regions started changing, and while Australians have been travelling there for some time, accessibility – through flights, visa issued, permissions, have always kept the numbers low. With Uzbekistan now allowing for E-visas, and with the ability to get visas on arrival for other, and some waiving them entirely – the region is going to open up like never before, and it is a region that is well worth visiting for a huge range of reasons.
The region is filled with natural wonders in Kyrgyzstan areas like the Golden Spa, or Broken Heart Gorge, are scenic rivals that are comparable to places like the rocky mountains, and the desert landscapes of Eastern Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have incredible rock formations that are truly remarkable. With some f the worlds oldest inhabited cities, and some of the more incredible Heritage listed sites like Shakisirabz, Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand you can discover some of the origins of modern astronomy and mathematics, you can discover the cultural growth of the local tribes and the influences of religion in the region, as an integral part of the old silk road the entire region is covered with forts, palaces, temples and museums that leave a person stunned at the wonder – and places like Registan Square (which inspired the tale of a 1001 Arabian Nights) have been doing so for centuries.
When you combine he natural wonders, the ancient cultures and the ancient heritage, it would seem that these destinations have enough for anyone, but their years under Russian and Soviet rule have brought another aspect to travel with regions like old nuclear test zones opening up for travel, the Aral Sea disaster zone, the former Space Center in Kazakhstan from where the USSR launched their initial space missions including that of famed cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin bringing in visitors who love not just modern history, but whom have an intense desire to see man;s impact on the globe and how they can help moving forward – not to mention the every day aspect that Soviet rule had on the region which can still be seen in the older housing communities, as well as the soviet era-esque statues, parks and memorials in major cities like Dashanube.
Central Asia for centuries has been a crossroads for travel – like Turkey, like India, and like Egypt – and has been a cradle for civilization, science and culture, and while in the last century, the control of the region has seen a change in where its visitors and influence has come from its opening boarders is bringing this incredibly diverse ancient, culturally significant and naturally stunning area back into the forefront of thought for travellers. What’s more is that as an area that has seen less press, less coverage and visibility – there is less expectations, you can be floored by what you discover rather than being dissapointed that what you are seeing isn’t exactly as you saw it in the social media posts of a thousand or more other travellers. With many of the destination names meaning little to the average Australian Traveller even seeing where they are going in print is an exercise in exploration that has for the most part become lessened with areas that see much more regular visitors, and for a truly unique experience, a taste of what these destinations are, now is the time to get in and see them, while the infrastructure is being developed, whilst the numbers are low, whilst things are still raw and unedited and free of the filters that mass tourism tends to produce.
Once these lands tied together the wonders of China and the Orient to the realms of Western Europe and the Middle East, through the Silk Road. The “Heart Of The Silk Road” package for 2020 currently being previewed by My Travel Expert for 2020 is the prefect example of the diversity that one can expect to see and encounter within the region, and with a limited group size of 16 becomes the perfect intimate way to discover the area.
The Heart of The Silk Road tour will visit a number of incredible places including Almaty, Karakol, Altyn Arashan, Tamga, Jety Ogyz, Lake Issyk-kul, Bishkek, Tashkent, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara, Chardjou, Merv, Mary, Ashgabat, Kov-Ata, Tashauz, Dashoguz, Urgench & Khiva
This is a small group journey that will run with no more than between 8 to 16 travellers, and will journey through some of the most incredible regions of Central Asia as it journeys through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It should be noted that the group size is limited in part due to he vehicles that will be used to discover the natural wonders of Kyrgyzstan.
Note From The Tour Leader:
This tour will cover the natural, historical and cultural highlights of these zones including Lake Issyk-Kul, Altyn Ashran, the Gate of Hell, Buhkara, Khiva, Registan Square and more. We will also visit some of the most significant cities of the region including Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent and Ashgabat. This is not a 5 star luxury tour, whilst all the accommodation has been specifically chosen for flavor and experience – we have noted most as a lower category than official sites do, specifically so I do not raise expectations. We will be staying in a range of 3 star boutique hotels, a guest house, and what are officially listed as 5 star hotels but with their faded soviet glory would more appropriately be called a comfortable 4 star (on occasion). The package price is based Almaty to Tashkent and covers most expenses barring visas, tipping and most of the meals outside of breakfast. With the best food available outside local hotels I elected not to include meals so that we can get the best culinary experience whilst travelling.
The package price does not include the main international airfares, I do recommend using the Asiana Options when they become available but have left it open in case people decide to extend or visit other regions while on the road. This is a unique hand-crafted programme designed to take in the best of the region in relative comfort, and I would love to have you join us when we head there! – Regards Daniel
For more information on the Heart of the Silk Road Journey, please click here for the full itinerary!
Or Call My Travel Expert and the Shoalhaven Solo Sisters
on (02) 4421 5577 and ask to speak with Daniel
You may have seen that in January 2020, My Travel Expert and the Shoalhaven Solo Sisters have a group programme running to Egypt! (Click Here for Details). This is a fantastic escape that will take in the best of Egypt from Ancient Egyptian Sites to Mameluke Citadels, Ottoman Palaces, British Colonial Heritage and some of the best cultural experiences in the country.
If you are a single female traveller who is interested in doing this journey please get in touch with us ASAP as we have an incredible single lady looking for someone to share with on this voyage of discovery!
Just pick up the phone call (02) 4421 5577 and ask to speak with Daniel
If you have ever thought of visiting the Red Centre and seeing the highlights including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and More than this is your chance! We have a Solo Traveller seeking a companion to share with to help defray the cost of travel. If this sounds of interest please call us on (02) 4421 5577 and speak with Daniel or Maree and we can look at putting the two of you in touch to test compatibility before booking anything in!
For those that came down to our tour launch on the 1st November – I hope you had a fantastic night, we sure did! Just seeing the charm of the Star Clippers Fleet, or the untouched lands of Uzbekistan, or the tiered hills of the Douro, absolutely stunning, and truly inspiring – at least we thought so!
To re-cap the night for those that were there, and to let those that were not know what is on offer we will do a brief run through of our tours, and the hyperlinks to the current itineraries (just click on the tour names) and programmes for them!
We have a small selection of day tours leaving from the Shoalhaven to explore areas beyond the local. I should also note that if the Wine Day in the Southern Highlands prove popular we will run others to both the Southern Highlands and nearby in the Shoalhaven. To that end the tours we have on offer are ..
- Vivid 2019. A revamped and updated dinner cruise for the Vivid lights, longer and later than previous years this is guaranteed to give us a fantastic view of the lights.
- Winter Wine Warmer. A visit to the Southern Highlands to get a taste of the local produce from wine to beer and ciders, capped off with a 3 course gourmet lunch.
- Ghosts and Grapes. A fantastic combination of the incredible abandoned town of Joadja and a brief taste of the Southern Highlands Wine Region
- Nepean Belle. A three course luncheon cruise aboard a paddlesteamer along the Nepean River in the lower ranges of the Blue Mountain National Park
For those that are looking to get away for more than a few days but not looking to travel to far we have a great selection of packages coming up from the beautiful Norfolk Island to a taste of luxury with the incredible Celebrity Solstice.
- Come Sail With Me! An incredible week away in Thailand aboard a luxury cruise aboard the tallship Star Clipper with fantastic meals and visiting all the most incredible locations
- Discover Broome. A week away discovering the highlights of one of Australia’s most scenic and secluded destinations.
- Solstice Escape. Join us on a short escape to Melbourne as we experience the luxury of the Celebrity Solstice. The perfect chance to sample this incredible vessel, shop in Melbourne without the worry of baggage weight for flights, or to just enjoy a weekend away.
- Norfolk Exclusive. With great central accommodation, all the sights people know about, plus those they hadn’t expected this tour covers all you could imagine and more for a trip to Norfolk!
For those areas beyond a small flight we have a stand out selection of tours coming in the next two years. Some are available to book now – like our Danube Cruise and Egypt, and others – like Russia and Central Asia are previews only where you can sign up your expression of interest so we can let you know all the details when they come on sale!
- European Gems. The time honored Danube cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, is a bucket list item for many – and the perfect trip for those looking for good company. With Stops along the Rhine, Main and Danube this is one of Europe’s Must Sees!
- Cradle Of Civilization. There is nowhere quite like Egypt, and this tour not only takes you to the highlights that everyone wants to see, but the true spectacles that many don’t even know are there. Limited to 16 places this tour is filling fast!
- My Hawaii Escape. For 8 years running the Pride of America’s Cruise around the Hawaiian Islands has been voted the “Best Hawaii Itinerary” and this is your chance to experience this stunning voyage.
- Heart Of The Silk Road. Join us as we journey the less travelled paths of the Silk Road exploring some of the most incredible natural landscapes and ancient cities on the planet as we traverse Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan
- Jewels Of Russia. Tying together two of Russia’s most incredible destinations (Saint Petersburg and Moscow) a Russian River Cruise is the perfect way to get a look at both the urban and rural life and landscapes of this remarkable destination
- Colours of Spain & Portugal. Visiting the highlights of Spain and Porrtugal and combining them with a Douro River Cruise this package is perhaps one of the best ways to get out and explore the incredible Iberian Peninsula
- Fall Colours Of The East With Canada and New England Cruise. Following on from our West Coast Tour – this trip discovers the incredible cities of Eastern Canada, the beauty of Niagra Falls and New England and the Eastern US Cities like Boston, all around the time that the seasons change bringing about a riot of colour and drama.
What an incredible range of tours and destinations! Again you can preview the programmes by clicking on the tour names above, but if there is any further information wanted on any of these tours, or if you want to book on one of them or register your interest please do not hesitate to contact us at My Travel Expert & Shoalhaven Solo Sisters!
My Travel Expert & Shoalhaven Solo Sisters
P: (02) 4421 5577 E: email@example.com
A: Shope 28a Nowra Mall, Kinghorne Street Nowra NSW 2451
My Travel Expert has a fantastic array group tours upcoming in 2019 and 2020 including day tours, regional holidays, cruises and tours. This is your opportunity to come along and here about the incredible sights and destinations that are on the menu for the upcoming two years, and what we are considering “beyond”.
From classic destinations to less travelled paths there is something for everybody in our 2019 & 2020 selections. On the night we will cover destinations including Norfolk Island, Broome, Melbourne, Egypt, Russia, Spain & Portugal, Thailand, Hawaii, the Danube, Uzbekistan & beyond!
2019 & 2020
Special Guest Speakers include:
Roger Condon – Star Clippers
Karen Arnold – APT
When: 1st November 2018, from 5pm
Where: Nowra Ex-Servicemen’s Club
2013 was when Julie last managed to travel the waters of the Mekong, and in doing so discovered the dichotomy of the lifestyles where Ancient Worlds and Modern Times clash on a daily basis. Spellbound and enchanted Julie has been waiting to get back, and now having chartered a vessel unlike any other, is doing just that in the best way possible, and invited you to join her!
With just 5 cabins left on the voyage travelling from the ancient stone ruins of Angkor Wat at Siem Reap to the busting modern hub of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), this is your chance to not only visit some incredible destinations and experience a way of life totally different to that here in Australia, but to journey one of the worlds longest rivers.
$6666 Per Person Share Twin
20th August – 2nd September 2018, Sydney to Sydney
VISITING: Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Kampong Tralach, Kampong Louang, Phomn Penh, Wat Hanchey, Angkor Ban, Long Khong A, Chau Doc, Cu Lao Gieng, Ben Tre,
and Ho Chi Minh City
Includes: Sightseeing throughout with inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable. Airport transfers; private, deluxe, air-conditioned coach while touring; internal flights. 4 star hotels as stated or similar. Fully Guided with Escort ex-Sydney based on 30 Travellers. International Air with Thai Airways including taxes , surcharges and fees.
EXTEND TO HANOI: Extend your discovery of Vietnam with an extension to the North to take in the beautiful Hanoi and the iconic Halong Bay aboard a traditional Junk Cruise
Not Sure About River Cruising?
If you enjoy ocean cruising or even touring and are wondering how you would find a river cruise this is the perfect opportunity. With free flights, time in Siem Rep and Saigon and a 7 day cruise this is the best way to experience river cruising for the first time.
Solo Sister Sought: We also have a solo traveller ready to sign aboard if we can find her a “bunkmate” for the voyage. If you are willing to travel please let us know and we can see if you are a match for this voyage!
For More information or to book aboard our Mekong Voyage call us today on (02) 4421 5577 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
20th August, Day 1: DEPART AUSTRALIA, ARRIVE SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA. We depart Australia this morning aboard Thai Airlines, transiting Bangkok enroute to Siem Reap. Welcome to Siem Reap, your base during your visit to Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
21st August, Day 2 : SIEM REAP. This morning, start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR. Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples were built around the Khmer interpretations of Indian religious and political beliefs that ultimately evolved from Hinduism to Buddhism. The complex architectural grandeur of the Angkor temples is arguably unmatched among ancient ruins anywhere in the world. First, visit the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: ANGKOR WAT, honouring the Hindu god Vishnu. Featuring five trademark towers and stunning bas reliefs, it has become a symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit BANTEAY SREI, a unique temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike other temples, it is built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (B,L,D
22nd August, Day 3: SIEM REAP. Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples by tuk-tuk. Start at ANGKOR THOM where you will explore BAYON TEMPLE. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas reliefs. Next stop is TA PROHM, which, unlike the other temples, has been left relatively untouched. Tree roots grow over and through the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as the early explorers who discovered it. Lastly, stop at LES ARTISANS D’ANGKOR, a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore this charming town. (B)
23rd August, Day 4: SIEM REAP (EMBARKATION). This morning, transfer to the port and board your river cruise vessel for your CRUISE down the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as you cruise through Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 square miles) and provides the perfect breeding ground for fish, which provide food for people living on the lake. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception. (B,L,D) NOTE: During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise on Tonle Sap. In these cases, we will fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for embarkation. No included sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
24th August, Day 5 : CRUISING: KAMPONG TRALACH-KONPONG LOUANG-PHNOM PENH. Today, visit Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET WITH A LOCAL FARMER and learn more about his daily life. Lastly, visit the SILVERSMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Then sail to the capital city of Phnom Penh. After lunch, your sightseeing tour by private cyclo includes visits to the ROYAL PALACE with the spectacular SILVER PAGODA and the NATIONAL MUSEUM, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts. (B,L,D)
25th August, Day 6: CRUISING: PHNOM PENH. Sightseeing this morning provides a glimpse of the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Visit the TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, a former high school that housed over 17,000 prisoners. Of this number, it is believed that less than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where over 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (B,L,D)
26th August, Day 7: CRUISING: WAT HANCHEY-ANGKOR BAN. This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (B,L,D)
27th August, Day 8: CRUISING: BORDER CROSSING-LONG KHONG A, VIETNAM-CHAU DOC. Cross the border this morning into Vietnam. A sampan brings you to the village of LONG KHONG A, where cotton weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a COTTON-WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and a chance to talk with the family. After lunch, join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the river to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, a market selling dried goods, and more. Before returning to the ship, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. (B,L,D)
28th August, Day 9: CRUISING: CU LAO GIENG. This morning, enjoy time at leisure on board the ship as we sail to Cu Lao Gieng. In the afternoon, board a sampan and enjoy scenes of daily life along the river. Stop at a LOCAL HOME, where a skilled family works together to hand-craft sampans for a living. Then, ride a specially designed MOTOR CART to one of Vietnam’s oldest churches for a special INTERACTION WITH A CATHOLIC PRIEST. (B,L,D)
29th August, Day 10: CRUISING: BEN TRE. This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise to Ben Tre. Visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice wine and traditional coconut candy is made. Then, continue on to a LOCAL GARDEN where several types of fruit indigenous to the area are grown. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail to exciting Ho Chi Minh City. (B,L,D)
30th August, Day 11: HO CHI MINH CITY (DISEMBARKATION). Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city’s famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing DRINK at the popular ROOFTOP BAR where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Next, visit the WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM followed by BEN THANH MARKET, the largest and oldest in the city. For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations! The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city. (B,L)
31st August, Day 12: HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS. This morning, leave the city and drive through vast expanses of rice paddies to visit the CU CHI TUNNELS, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 193 kilometres (120 miles) in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. Here you will learn about how the tunnels were constructed and have a chance to walk through a section to experience what life would have been like underground. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening, join your travelling companions for a special farewell dinner hosted by your Cruise Director. (B,D)
1st September, Day 13: HO CHI MINH CITY Departure. This morning, transfer to the airport for your homeward bound or extension Flight.
2nd September, Day 14: ARRIVE SYDNEY: Transferring via Bangkok we arrive in Sydney late this evening where our tour programme ends.
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