Hello and thanks for stopping by.
Into spring already, wish someone could tell the weather. Have enjoyed working on some amazing itineraries these last few months, from North America, Australia, Fiji to Majorca, Malta and Muscat, such a diverse array of destinations.
Had a meeting with my school group who are visiting China later in the year, was great to meet them, and also a group of friends taking a trip to South Africa together, that one will keep me busy. I also had my first experience of an airline ceasing operations, which involved one of my clients, and got to see first hand how our amazing Head Office Team was able to sort out new flights for my client, and have them confirmed less than 5 hours after FlyBMI's announcement. No frantically ringing credit card companies for refunds for my client, their booking with me was all they needed to have their booking protected.
I uploaded my blog from our trip to Harbin at Chinese New Year, if you have a minute check it out, the sculptures are incredible.
and speaking of blogs, you can read more about past experiences on my blog page at https://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/graham.parker#my-blogs
Not long now to our trip to Bhutan, tagging in a couple of nights in Bangkok on the way home. should be interesting
Also its not just the actual travel arrangements I can arrange, I can also help with attractions, airport hotels, insurance, parking, lounges and much more.
Think of me as your own personal travel adviser, being available outside the limitations of normal office hours to discuss your plans at a time convenient to you. I will strive to meet your expectations, by exploring all options at the best possible prices. After booking, I can promise you excellent levels of customer care and personal service, and don't just take my word for it, I have excellent testimonials from clients which you can read further down on this page
Our 24/7 Duty Office, there to help support myself and my clients too, which is a great service to be able to offer.
All bookings are protected 100% against supplier failure, with ATOL and the Travel Counsellors Financial Trust, giving you the peace of mind knowing your booking is safe with us. FlyBMI just such an example of this.
Visiting the high street is time consuming, and choice offered is limited. Trawling the internet can be confusing, not to mention misleading, frustrating as searching for that deal becomes addictive and yet unreachable.
How many sleeps to your next trip, nothing planned? Give me a call, you never know where our conversation will take you.
South Africa Specialist
Dubai Tourist Board - Dubai Expert
Crystal Cruises Academy
Sea World Parks and Entertainments
Fred Olsen Cruises Academy
Cruising For Excellence (Azamara-Celebrity-RCCL) Admiral Status
Japan National Tourism Organisation - Japan Expert
Anaheim/Orange County Expert
Captain Cook Cruises
Colorado - Lets Talk Colorado
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so please either fill in and send the form below or simply give me a call and I can get things started for you:-
Sent in by J Galloway & friends
West Thirston, 18 May 2019
Graham has been absolutely wonderful at interpreting our travel and holiday requirements; he's punctual, great communication, thorough and has made a complicated itinerary for 10 people a breeze. I have no hesitation whatsoever in strongly recommending him, and I feel very sure we will be returning to him again for future trips.
Sent in by E Manson
Luanda, 21 March 2019
Graham is the best travel agent I have ever used. I am a frequent traveller and he has never let me down - from findings the best airfares, making sure connections are seamless, selecting the most comfortable seats onboard, to checking me in and even sending bag tags!
Sent in by M Attwell
Nuneaton, 30 October 2018
The most helpful person you could imagine. Nothing too small or awkward, and ridiculously prompt responses.
Sent in by Susan Frith
Old Swarland, 27 August 2018
I feel safe travelling as Graham is always at the end of a phone. As a senior, often solo, traveller this is important to me and has enabled me to travel further than I imagined I ever would . Thank you
Sent in by C Runciman
Blyth, 15 August 2018
Graham couldn’t have done any more for us when booking and arranging our honeymoon. The finer details from Travel Counsellors were fabulous too. The whole process was stress free which is just what we needed when going away so soon after our wedding
Sent in by G Patterson
Newcastle Upon Tyne, 31 July 2018
Graham provides a very quick, personal and efficient service, is knowledgeable about a lot of destinations which in turn gives you a better experience in what you will be getting. As a Travel Counsellor, you cannot ask for more, and in him we trust.
Sent in by E Manson
Luanda, Angola, 25 April 2018
Graham is one in a million, he always goes the extra mile. His communication seems to be 24/7 - wherever I am in the world Graham is just an email away and responds within the hour. Fantastic service!
Sent in by L Park
County Durham, 16 March 2018
Graham has given us individual help and support every step of the way over the last few weeks while booking our holiday. We would not hesitate recommending him to our friends!
Sent in by Jan Willoughby
Houghton-Le-Spring, 07 February 2018
Its a 10 from me! Amazing customer service
Sent in by Susan McDonald
Alnwick, 24 January 2018
Graham was wonderfully organised and knowledgable. Managing to secure us flights to New Zealand for a family of five by working late on Christmas Eve. We would not hesitate to recommend him.
Sent in by Jennifer Lingham
Truro, 29 August 2017
Words fail me ..... Graham is an outstanding Travel Counsellor. A consummate professional, he consistently goes 'the extra mile' to ensure that the service he provides is exemplary and faultless. I have recommended him to many members of my family and friends - all have been equally impressed by the fabulous service that he provides. He is a credit to your company, a true ambassador
Sent in by L Jackson
Blyth, 19 June 2017
Excellent service by someone who genuinely cares about making sure that you receive the best holiday experience.
Sent in by B Brown
Ashington, 23 March 2017
Graham is always quick to respond, and seems to know intuitively what we want and if we are a little unsure about exactly what we want, he is happy to keep changing options until we get it exactly right. Every trip that Graham has arranged for us has been fantastic - wonderful in every way, with every detail just right. Thank you Graham.
Sent in by S Wilkinson
North Shields, 03 February 2017
Even when things get complicated and confused and that was just me......still got great service and competitive deal.....
Sent in by P Smith
London, 18 January 2017
Looking forward to booking our next trip soon. We filled 3 photo books of our trip in May. Thank you so much for taking the stress and hassle out of the trip.
Sent in by J Home
Cramlington, Northumberland, 31 May 2016
Totally trust Graham to pick just the right hotels for us.
Sent in by D Weir
North Tyneside, 16 May 2016
I already have recommended Graham to family and friends. He offers a very personal service, is extremely knowledgeable and always leaves me confident that I have secured the holiday that I wanted at a fair price. 10 out of 10
Sent in by Craig McIntyre
Edinburgh, 27 June 2015
Graham is professional, friendly, approachable and above all flexible. We had an unusual situation where we were travelling to Japan for a family wedding where the first weeks accommodation was already arranged. Not only did Graham do a sterling job in arranging separate flight packages to suit different family members, but he also managed to arrange our return flight from a completely different airport to the one we landed at to make our second week of travelling easier. Graham was able to put together an outstanding travel plan for our second week. This consisted of accommodation, coach tours, rail travel passes and a MiFi device to name only some of the items included. He managed to do all this and meet our fairly limited budget! We would highly recommend Graham's services to anyone looking to travel, regardless of how big or small, simple or complex their travel plans are.
Sent in by Philippa Lamb
North Tyneside, 10 June 2015
Graham is always really helpful, going above and beyond! He knows the type of holiday we like and always comes up with something extra special. His professionalism and patience, especially when coordinating a range of connecting flights for my family, is superb!
Sent in by Marie Mckenna
Cramlington, 04 June 2015
Excellent service nothing was a problem. Fully understood all transaction, plenty of information. Feel completely confident in Graham and I'm sure we will have a great holiday. Will pass Graham's name and email to friends and family. X
Sent in by Ian Garbutt
Newcastle Upon Tyne, 03 June 2015
I have booked previous trips and holidays through Graham and have always had a first class friendly service. I've never been afraid to ask any questions which have always been clearly answered no matter how silly it's been.
Sent in by Gordon Embleton
Scarborough, Nth.Yorkshire, 03 June 2015
Have used Graham's services for the last two years and he has been instrumental in personally organising five holidays to Malta and Gozo for me. Initially Graham came to my home and drafted an itinerary which covered all aspects and his attention to detail is quite remarkable. For instance to journey to Gozo one has to fly to Malta then transfer across the island to the ferry terminal, a short 20 minute crossing then another transfer to the hotel. All this including the return journey went without a hitch. So without doubt I can recommend Graham and his very able company.
Sent in by Fred Short
Cramlington, 30 April 2015
My wife and I booked our holiday through Graham, which included stops in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. A complicated itinerary which included 11 flights. All the fine tuning of the trip, hotels, flight timings etc, that we requested, were made by Graham without any problems whatsoever until we had the trip we wanted. The booking went very smoothly via bank card. During the trip, the flights, transfers and hotels went smoothly without any problems. We would recommend Graham without hesitation. Many thanks for a fantastic holiday we will not forget.
Sent in by Susan McDonald
Alnwick, 28 November 2012
I found Graham's service to exceed my expectations on every front. He went beyond the call of duty in organising my visa and finding my competitive and convenient flights. I would have no hesitation in recommending Graham to anyone who is thinking of planning any type of travel.
Sent in by Alison Nicholson
Newcastle , 20 July 2012
Leaving it very late to book a holiday for the family, we turned to Graham who provided us with a range of destinations and prices. Finding a resort we liked, Graham then sought to find us the best deal and arranged all transfers, flights and accommodation. This was our first time putting our arrangements in the hands of someone else but it was organised beautifully. Everything went well and the private transfer was good advice! Every part of the journey was easy and the accommodation was ideal for our needs. I would recommend asking Graham to book your holiday for you - it made it a relaxing experience at a busy time.
Sent in by Tom Hall
Durham, 09 July 2012
We were recommended to contact Graham by a friend with regard to our holiday in the Italian Lakes. Although not living near to to Graham the advice and booking booking procedure was very friendly and efficient. We were kept informed at all times with regard to progress etc and would certainly use him again when the need arises.
Sent in by Muriel McKenna
Newcastle upon Tyne, 27 June 2012
I would just like to state that the booking and management of my very recent trips to Vancouver, Canada and London just recently were faultless. Everything was done without any fuss and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be using Graham again for any future travelling. I always think that to have the guarantee of booking through a travel agent gives one that added security especially if travelling alone. Thank you Graham.
Sent in by David Hogarth
Washington UK, 17 April 2012
Graham's no pressure, personal touch left us with lovely holiday ideas and all our questions answered, mostly before we asked. I handed the whole thing over to Graham and we had a great time. Give Graham the chance to help you with your next holiday and I know you'll come back time and again.
Sent in by David Archbold
Morpeth, Northumberland, 03 March 2012
I asked Graham if he could source a winter holiday for my wife and I. Whilst giving Graham a free rein on timing, I indicated that Madeira could be a possible destination, although we would not discount a cruise or another location. Graham sourced an excellent hotel for us in Funchal, Madeira which overlooked the sea and was within easy walking distance from the old town. Flights were arranged from East Midlands at our choice and all arrangements were undertaken perfectly. I would not hesitate in asking Graham to arrange further holidays for us, whether it be in Europe or further afield. I am confident that future arrangements would be as efficient as those experienced so far and it is a pleasure to receive a personal and friendly service.
With independent access to thousands of travel suppliers around the world, I've got an eye for added value. Take a look through my latest selections below. But even if nothing particularly catches your eye - don't worry! Let's chat and I'll take the hassle away from tailoring a perfectly personalised holiday just for you.
Contact me on 01670 897370
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
04 June 2019
Our trip to Bhutan started with a 3:30am check-in at Bangkok airport for our flight to Paro. Our 3-hour flight north would hopefully give us an amazing view of the Himalayas. We weren't disappointed. The aircraft makes a very gradual loop through the mountains into Paro, and the landing is similar to that of the old Kai Tak, the captain weaving between the mountains, finally lining up to the threshold for a perfect landing. On arrival we met our driver and guide for the tour and were taken to our hotel for the next 2 nights. As we arrived early, we...
04 June 2019
On the way back from Bhutan, we had the opportunity of taking a short break in Bangkok. We have been lucky enough to visit several times, so we were looking for a nice hotel to base ourselves for out visit. It had to have good facilities, pool, maybe a spa, comfortable rooms and air conditioning. Have you noticed, all the online hotel booking websites promise best web price this, or cheapest online that. What they never ever say, is "go talk to a person, you never know, you may get a good price, and you'll get personal service", which is where...
04 June 2019
Making our way to Bhutan for Easter meant we had to make an overnight stop in Bangkok, and we decided to take the Thai Airways flights. There was such a small difference in cost between their Economy and Royal Silk (their version of Business Class), we decided to pay the extra, both for the comfort and service that would offer us. I always like to be able to speak with first-hand experience when clients enquire about the services offered by various airlines. We caught the first flight to Bangkok out of Hong Kong. The aircraft used on this flight arrives the...
12 February 2019
On our first trip out of Hong Kong almost 5 years ago, we saw an article in an Air Asia in-flight magazine about this mythical looking place in north eastern China, called Harbin. The photographs looked amazing and we promised ourselves a visit, which is why a few years later, we look like we are on a polar expedition, and on our way to Shanghai and ultimately Harbin. Ever since I had an interest in aircraft, the planes of China and Russia always fascinated me, now however it’s all Airbus and Boeing, no doubt safer than what had gone before, but...
28 January 2019
Honolulu airport is strangely laid out, some of it indoors, the rest along open-air walkways and piers. We boarded the flight to Maui, which was operated by what I would call a DC-9. The cabin was sparse, thin seats, small tray, but accommodating leg room. That said the flight was only scheduled to be 23 minutes. We were offered juice, tea or coffee during the short flight, which really was an up and down job. We arrived in Maui shortly after lunch and it was a short walk to the car rental lot. Out of the choice of cars, we settled...
28 January 2019
We arrived at Hilo, Big Island early. The flight was uneventful apart from the approach, which I don’t know if standard, but is similar to the approach to the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong. The aircraft approaches at around 45 degrees to the runway and it was great to watch from the correct side of the aircraft. The captain turns in at what looks like the last minute to flare out, bang on the threshold, for a perfect landing. We made our way through baggage reclaim to the car rental desks. We had booked an intermediate SUV and we...
24 October 2018
My wife and I were lucky enough to recently spend our half term break in Bali. We took advantage of some very good business class fares available with Hong Kong Airlines. Having experienced their service 3 years ago on a trip to Taiwan, and being impressed by it then, I knew it wouldn't be a gamble to purchase the tickets. The experience starts with a very informal check in procedure at aisle K at Hong Kong airport. No zig zag lines, just a welcoming office desk style setup where you are met, formalities are completed, and your bags taken away for...
03 May 2018
We were really looking forward to our long weekend and spending it at Elephant Hills in the Khoa Sok National Park of Thailand. On arrival at Surat Thani, the driver was waiting for us, and our seven other travellers, to take us to the camp. The drive was an easy two hours on good roads, and we arrived at the tented camp just in time for a briefing of the activities for the stay. A quick check into our tent and time for lunch. Our tent was one of three (number two) facing the impressive limestone formations. Lunch was plentiful and...
25 April 2018
Easter weekend in Osaka and everyone seemed to be on the streets. We walked the length of the Shinsaibashisuji shopping street, a covered lane of several blocks, where you can find every manner of shops, from high street retailers to Kimono hire shops. We wanted to get full value of our JR passes, so we took a trip to Himeji Castle. The whole complex was very crowded, and we joined a queue to enter the castle. It took almost two hours to gain access and look around the castle, giving great views over the city. The grounds were full of...
18 April 2018
I thought I’d post a more practical guide to travel in Japan. It can be quite daunting to arrive at Kansai armed only with a voucher for a JR Pass and wondering what you do next. We set off from Hong Kong, early on the 30th March in Business Class on Air India service to Osaka. Air India, are one of the many airlines that use regional hubs at Hong Kong or Bangkok to extend their networks into East Asia, utilizing spare capacity to pick up local traffic. Both outward and return flights were full. Very competitive Business Class fares can...
14 March 2018
After arrival at Sukhothai we were met by our transfer that would take us to the sanctuary at Sappraiwan. Two short hours later we arrived and were met by the lovey staff, Katie, Pla and later Terri, who are responsible for the elephant program. Our program was packed with interesting subjects such as enrichment and food harvesting. We then drove down to an area where the herd were collected with their mahouts, just munching their way through breakfast. Sitting watching the interaction with each other, the elder elephants looking out for and protecting the younger members of their herd. In the...
06 January 2018
On the drive down to Sydney from the Blue Mountains we stopped off in Penrith (bared no resemblance to the UK town) for some lunch and a spot of shopping. I had the experience of my shoes falling apart while walking through Leura, so was looking for replacements, and had another snack of the highest quality. We had a quiet day New Year’s Eve. We wanted to visit the Titanic Exhibition, which was very good, and even though the film had brought much to life, I hadn’t known of many of the other stories that were displayed. They also had a...
01 January 2018
For New Year’s Eve 2017 we had tickets for the Portside Event at the Opera House. The city was very well organised, many vantage points were already full by late afternoon, the roads were blocked to traffic, and there we several security checkpoints on the way down to the harbour. We arrived early, around 17:45 (doors open 19:30) and joined an already fairly long queue, and were so pleased we did. When the doors finally did open we were met by lines of waiters serving champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Thankfully as we were one of the first 30 or so through the...
31 December 2017
We landed in Sydney early morning after the nine-hour overnight flight from Hong Kong. I was pleasantly surprised at the speed, efficiency and friendly staff at Sydney customs and immigration, and this was to set the standard for our next 10 days. We passed through the airport, collected our bags and hire car and in almost record time we were heading west to the Blue Mountains, passing local names such as Penrith and nearly taking the slip road home to Newcastle. We stayed just outside Leura and made our base at the Fairmont Resort Hotel. As it was just outside...
23 December 2017
The week leading up to Christmas we had arranged to go to Hoi An, Vietnam for a short break. Hoi An is around 30 minutes south of Danang Airport on the eastern peninsula of the long Eastern Vietnamese coast. It was 18 years since our last visit and were keen to see how it had changed and developed. We stayed just outside the city at the Hoi An Silk Village Hotel. After checking in we took a walk to the old town, it only took 30 minutes after a quick stop for a local cheap lunch. When we arrived at the...
25 September 2017
I realised I’d never reported about what is available to do in this fantastic city, and there are many attractions to keep visitors occupied. Living in a large city, rather than visiting as a tourist, certainly enables you to get out and about to discover the hidden gems that can be found. Did you know the name Hong Kong means ‘fragrant harbour’ and it was given this name due to the amount of incense offloaded from ships. With careful planning around other travel arrangements, it is quite easy to be able to get around to see all the major sights in a...
07 August 2017
The final part of our adventures had us fly to Victoria Falls. We flew South African Airways for the 100 minute trip to Victoria Falls airport. Though you can obtain visas ahead of travel, we had opted just to get them on arrival. Thankfully as we were nearly the first to disembark the aircraft, we had an early opportunity to complete the forms and get them authorised by an immigration officer. The bags were delivered promptly and within 15 minutes we were on our way to the Ilala hotel. The drive took around 30 minutes, check-in was completed quickly, rooms were large...
01 August 2017
Our journey in Mozambique ended with an overnight stop in Bilene, a small town on a lagoon, once joined to the sea, but no longer. Again we reached the hotel by slowly driving over sand road. Looked like we were the only guests at the hotel, cabins spread out over the property. For one final night on tour we all ate together, knowing we had other, different experiences to come on our 2 day visit to Kruger National Park. An early start had us on the road, so we could get to the park in order to take a sunset...
31 July 2017
We have been lucky enough to have some great diving experiences, which is why for this trip we wanted to do something water based, which would also focus on conservation too. Upon arrival in Tofu, we set about arranging our activities for the next few days. It was good to once again be settled in one place for a few days. The hotel was right on the beach, and a short walk took us to the centre, of restaurants and some bars and shops. Following day, we met at the dive shop for a quick briefing of what encounters we may have,...
30 July 2017
Our Mozambique Marine Adventure began by meeting our fellow travellers and boarding the bus for the drive to Shayamoya Lodge in the Pongola Game reserve, the first recognised game reserve in South Africa. We arrived just in time for a game drive, seeing many rhino in the process. When we returned, the lodge had laid on a braai, or what we would call a BBQ. The food was amazing, all kinds of meat on offer, salads and potatoes, with dessert too. A lovely way for the group to come together, get to know each other and share travelling stories. The following morning,...
21 July 2017
After leaving Rorkes Drift we drove for seemingly miles on gravel roads until finally we reached tarmac, and began to make good time on our journey. We knew the park closed at 6pm and thankfully we made it through the gates long before then, and started the slow drive to our lodge, always looking for something, anything. Many times we said hopefully, “Is that a rhino?”, when it was simply just a rock minding its own business. As you get used to the surroundings, you do start to notice animals moving against the foliage. We did see a rhino on...
16 July 2017
On July 1st we stepped off the aircraft to a clear blue, warmish sky at Durban airport. It wasn’t long before our luggage was delivered and we collected our car to begin our 2 week exploration of Kwa Zulu Natal. Welcome to South Africa. Even after a long flight we were eager to get on the road to our first stop on the outskirts of the Maloti Drakensberg Park at the Champagne Castle hotel. The drive took us through many vistas from hills to flatlands, until we began the steady climb to Central Drakensberg. We arrived at the hotel just in...
20 April 2017
Its been over 30 years since we first visited India, and have never really had the opportunity to return, until now. I had come across a tour put together by one of our Indian destination partners. It seemed ideal - we'd heard much about the south of India from friends, and how beautiful the Kerala Backwaters were. We decided Easter was the best time to visit, it would give us a good length of time to visit, and it would be just before the climate was too hot to visit. The short tour would take us from Cochin, to the cool hills...
10 February 2017
We had planned a short break in Cebu to coincide with Chinese New year holiday in Hong Kong. Booking a Cathay Pacific flight in Premium Economy, we were looking forward to checking out their levels of service. I'd only flown with them once before, from Doha to Hong Kong when returning from Travel Counsellors' Conference in Manchester a few years ago. I was already impressed. When we checked in at the airport, we were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to Business Class. It was a seat-only upgrade, there was no lounge access offered, or priority baggage, but we were happy to be...
06 February 2017
Over Chinese New Year and the school half term we had arranged to go to Cebu on the Philippines. We had a 6-night stay booked, and had planned to do some relaxing, diving and the possibility of swimming with whale sharks, even for just a short time. We stayed at the Movenpick, a 5-star hotel on the land leading up through Mactan Island. The hotels all have a small safe beach, with easy access to shallow warm water. After weighing up the options, we decided to take one of the offered tours to Oslob to see the whale sharks, little did we...
03 January 2017
We decided to spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Amsterdam to break our trip back to Hong Kong. It was a short walk along the impressive Centraal Station to the Doubletree Hotel. After a quick check-in we went out to explore. We stopped at a nearby cafe for a quick snack. The food was tasty and plentiful, and reasonably priced. We had decided to do the hop on/off bus on New Year's Eve, unfortunately the weather was poor, not wet, but freezing fog, as you can see from the photographs, unfortunate, though we weren't going to let it spoil...
17 October 2016
We have long since wanted to visit Myanmar, and after previously arranging a trip there for clients, who had a great time, I thought best visit the country myself. We flew via Hanoi to Yangon brand new International Airport. We were met by our guide outside, bearing the "Travel Counsellors" sign, always a welcome sight. Our car was waiting for the 25 minute drive to the city. We checked in at the Reno Hotel, which was comfortable and absolutely immaculately presented. It almost felt the room had been freshly decorated for our arrival. We settled in to wait for our 5am...
19 September 2016
The weekend of September 17-19 marked the fifth anniversary of becoming a Travel Counsellor, and by coincidence was also the date of the autumn festival holiday. We decided to have a short break away with some friends, and spend the weekend in Bangkok, and do it with some style. Emirates have a route which flies Dubai-Bangkok-Hong Kong, and returns the same way. The flight is operated by an A380, and the seats in Business Class are very good value. We duly booked our seats and were looking forward to the break. We arrived at the airport around three hours before...
31 August 2016
We arrived at San Francisco and made our way to the international terminal, to find the airline had moved our flight forwards by 30 minutes. So we took a quick gallop through more security to get to the gate just as boarding was commencing. A comfortable five hour flight later we arrived in Honolulu, to wait despairingly for our luggage ....again, I hear our friends say. Once again we arrived at an airport, without the luggage making the same journey at the same time, and probably not on the same plane. We completed the formalities like seasoned professionals and duly went off...
21 July 2016
After driving for almost three weeks around the highways of the states, and rarely seeing a car, it was a bit of a shock to hit the outskirts of Denver, and traffic, lots of it. We managed with the help of Martha our GPS, to find our way quite quickly to Capitol Hill, our base for the next five nights. We decamped and walked a few blocks to a small collection of shops and restaurants, where there was an Asian Restaurant, so we had to go in for some comfort food, two House Special Fried Rice...made such a change from the food...
17 July 2016
The weather was stunning the day we left Whitefish to drive south to Great Falls via The Road to the Sun, as it was stunning in bad weather and we wanted to see if it was just as good in sunshine. It was, and perhaps a little scarier as you could actually see the plunging drops off the side of the road. After more stunning scenery, we arrived in great Falls. The first thing you learn is, there aren't any, they were dammed years ago and just a trickle remains. However there is a very informative local history centre which we...
03 July 2016
The flight from Seattle to Denver was just over two hours. On arrival our bags were delivered quickly, and we made our way to the courtesy buses which took us to the car hire depots stationed off airport. Car collection with Alamo was very quick, we had booked a generic AWD car and I am impressed with the way most car hire firms allow you to select your car from a pool. From a Kia or a Jeep, we chose the Kia - it was larger and more suited to our trip. We also had a sat nav option (christened Martha)...
29 June 2016
We had arranged our road trip around the north western US states primarily to experience a stay at a Dude Ranch, and wish I could give it more than 5 stars. We left Jackson Hole early afternoon to drive deep into the Wyoming countryside. Soon paved roads made way to tracks, and a very scenic 45 minute drive brought us to the entrance to the ranch. It comprised seven log cabins, all with a view of the corral and the countryside beyond. After unpacking we made our way to the paddock for the 7pm running of the horses, some ridden...
25 June 2016
To be filed under the section "this never happens" we checked in for our flight to Seoul with onward connection to Seattle, only for the check in staff to inform us that our seats had been changed. I get very protective about the seats I choose, and just about to argue the point, only to be told, sir we have moved you to First Class. It was a lovely to experience the service of the Asiana crew. It’s not every day a flight crew bow to the passengers before take-off. On arrival in Seattle, we caught the local train shuttle...
24 May 2016
I'd always thought that, given the opportunity, I would try and attend our Australian Conference. I just happened to be watching our Australian division TV show broadcast weekly from Melbourne, on the day they announced the date and location of their yearly conference. As soon as I saw the camera pan over the impressive block paving, and the Rolls Royce standing on the drive, I knew it was going to be held at Palazzo Versace. My wife and I are great I'm A Celebrity fans, and I knew I'd have little trouble in persuading my wife to accompany me. Our conferences...
11 April 2016
This was our second visit to see the elephants at BLES and we were keen to meet the new arrivals since our last visit almost two years ago to the day. We were met at the airport by one of the staff proudly carrying the BLES Elephant Sanctuary sign. The drive from the airport takes around one hour, and we were soon familiar with the places en-route. We arrived at BLES to the usual Elephant welcoming party of Wassana, Pang Dow and Lotus (a.k.a The Gossip Girls) patiently waiting for us to arrive so we could accompany them on their daily...
11 April 2016
The short one hour flight from Bangkok brings you to Krabi. Thai, BangkokAir and Air Asia are among several airlines with services to Krabi from both Thailand, and Malaysia. We were staying near Ao Nang, which is around one hours transfer from the airport. All arrangements went very smoothly and our driver was waiting for us as we exited the domestic arrival hall. Our hotel was the Centara Grand. The only way to reach the hotel (with luggage) is by boat, and we only had a short wait until the next available one to ferry us over. It is only a 15 minute...
04 January 2016
Over Christmas holidays 2015, we were fortunate enough to be able to spend the holidays on the beautiful island of Langkawi, then follow it with five days in Kuala Lumpur to welcome in the New Year. We stared at Berjaya Resort hotel on the south western coast of Langkawi. The hotel was only a short transfer from the airport, and after a quick check in we boarded one of the many shuttle buses to our chalet. The resort is quite widespread, made up of individual, semidetached and quad style chalets. As you walk through the resort you can often see monkeys...
02 October 2015
The last weekend in September is Autumn Festival time in Asia. It is celebrated by a long holiday weekend. So once we knew of the dates we decided we'd book a weekend away in Taipei, it is only a 1 hour 45 minute flight from Hong Kong. We flew with Hong Kong Airlines business class on Friday evening, the service was excellent and very attentive, we were very pleased we had paid the small sum extra for the flight, even wishing it was slightly longer to enjoy the full flatbed seats and service. On arrival in Taipei our driver was waiting...
26 September 2015
We took the shortish yet interesting flight experience to Chiang Mai with HKExpress, one of Hong Kong's low cost airlines. I can't disagree it was low cost indeed, however they contacted us 24 hrs before the flight to say that it was to be delayed by three hours. So was that either very bad planning or did they have some kind of aviation type crystal ball where they could see into future aircraft movements. The main difference it made to our trip was, that instead of arriving mid evening, we now were scheduled to arrive after midnight, not ideal on...
07 August 2015
To break our journey home from Sydney, we planned a 2 night stay in Singapore. arriving early evening, quite refreshed from the long flight, we thought we'd take the airport shuttle to our hotel the Marina Mandarin. However we were told that the wait time was over 90 minutes, so we made our way to the taxi rank. We joined a short queue, and were quickly on our way into town. Upon check in at the hotel we were notified we had been upgraded to one of the deluxe rooms on the higher floors. The hotel room was huge , with...
02 August 2015
We arrived at a deserted Sydney airport after the 4 hour flight from Fiji. Immigration procedures were simple and quickly negotiated, all electronic. We then were inspected by the border control agency who looked through our luggage and passed us for entry in Australia. I had pre booked an airport pickup, who were waiting for us at the exit to the arrivals hall. We were quickly on our way to the centre, via a small detour due to the market being set up on The Rocks, which did give us an opportunity to view the iconic bridge at night,...
24 July 2015
We flew from Auckland to Nadi with Air New Zealand in their very comfortable Premier Class seats. The 3 hour flight was very comfortable, and we arrived in Nadi spot on time. After a quick immigration process, we were collected by the hotel shuttle for the night. We decided to take a taxi to Port Denauru for the evening to have dinner and a look around. Ample choices of bars and restaurants serving every type of cuisine, and fish dishes featured prevalently. Check-in to the cruise was efficient and relaxed at the same time, we waited around the port area for our...
18 July 2015
We had been promised a tale of two islands when talking to friends when we were planning our visit to New Zealand, and its only after having spent any length of time on one island, and crossing over to the other you realise how diverse they are. We took the ferry over from Wellington to Picton, a short journey of just under 3 hours, in nice, relatively flat calm seas (thankfully, not being the worlds best sailor). As time was short we had decided to drive straight to Nelson having got off the ferry. Darkness was falling as we set off in...
06 July 2015
Leaving the oppressive heat of Hong Kong, it was a pleasure to arrive in Auckland on a crisp winter morning. Felt immediately at home, collected the car and began the drive north. We decided not to take the toll road, and turn off to drive a way up the coast, not that there was much traffic, we wanted to see some scenery on our travels. We made a lunch stop at Orewa, pretty little seaside town, good food and coffee to bolster the soul and off we went. We had rooms booked at Paihia for two nights and I wanted to...
22 June 2015
It is very easy to make the trip to Macao from Hong Kong. The area can be separated into two, Macao town and Cotai. Ferries run every 15 minutes from the Sheung Wan terminal on Hong Kong Island, and a less frequent timetable from Tsim Tsa Tsui. We walked up bought tickets (current price $162 HKD) and were aboard the fast-cat within 10 minutes, it is worth noting that before boarding you proceed to the little counter at the boarding gate to get seats allocated. On arrival in Macao, immigration procedures are simple and quick. As we were staying overnight in the Hard...
31 May 2015
Having met many people who'd either lived or visited Seoul, we wanted to see if it lived up to their recommendations. We planned to spend 3 nights being tourists. We flew Executive Class with Air India Boeing 787 - Dreamliner, though it was a short-ish flight, the 180 degree full flat bed seats were very comfortable, and gave us the space to stretch out, making it worth the extra cost. On arrival at Incheon Airport over 50 km form Seoul, we decided to take the airport limo bus to our hotel. The buses generally run at 25-30 minute intervals, and are very comfortable,...
06 April 2015
After having had such a great experience on my FAM trip in September 2013, my wife had been constantly reminding me that I had promised to take her to California to as she puts it "do all the things I experienced". So, not that I resisted much, we found ourselves at Easter winging our way across the Pacific to LAX, to cross the International Date Line, and to arrive in LA half an hour before we left Hong Kong. Los Angeles airport was a much better experience than my last visit, procedures only taking 30 minutes. We also had to report...
19 April 2014
We had the great experience and pleasure of visiting an Elephant Centre in the north called BLES, www.blesele.org. We have been following the work of Katherine Connor for a while, and are really inspired and admire her so much for what she has achieved. We contacted her via her website, and made arrangements to stay at the sanctuary. We flew into Sukhothai, the ancient capital, and checked into the Heritage Resort Hotel. The hotel arranges transfers from the airport, which has to be the most picturesque airport I have ever visited. The hotel was brand new, comfortable and was well...
12 April 2014
My wife and I flew down to Koh Samui for a week. Although we had previously visited many parts of Thailand, it was our first visit to Koh Samui. We stayed in a bungalow at the Peace Hotel on Bophut Beach, some 20 minute transfer from the airport. While we there Thailand celebrated Songkran, the traditional Thailand New Year, normally celebrated between 13 and 15 April. Basically the place goes water mad. If out and about be prepared for a soaking, with adults and children alike lining the roads with everything from huge water drums, to some severe looking water guns. We...
18 August 2013
It’s over 25 years since our last visit to Bali, so we thought it time to revisit and tour a little more extensively. Our tour was labelled Bali Adventure, and it didn’t disappoint. After travelling for roughly 24 hours, we were glad to check in at our hotel and get out for a quick look around Sanur. The hotels on the strip are backed by a road with a great selection of bars, restaurants and shops. We spent our one day there walking around and getting to know the area. The following morning, our driver and guide arrived to take us...
01 May 2013
We decided to take a cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had cruised part of the Caribbean previously and enjoyed it and thought we could try see a few more islands. After a long trip to San Juan via Amsterdam and Panama, we checked into the Sheraton Hotel near the cruise terminal in San Juan. It’s about a $15 taxi ride to the ships from the hotel and well worth it. We had booked a Concierge Class cabin on Celebrity Summit, one of Celebrity’s smaller ships, but recently refurbished. The line was short at check-in and the formalities over in...
27 December 2012
It’s over 20 years since our first visit to Shanghai and we were keen to see how much had changed. We flew to Shanghai via Paris with Air France; on arrival we took the opportunity to take the Maglev fast train to the centre. It took little over six minutes to travel the 30 kilometres (that’s an average speed of over 200 mph) at a cost of 80 RMB return (about £8). Alternatively you could take Metro Line 2 direct to Nanjing Road at a cost of 7 RMB (75p), but it does take much longer. We stayed at the Renaiassance...
12 September 2012
I recently spent four days on the road in Morocco, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of this interesting country. We flew to Marrakech via Casablanca, so it took over 6 hours to finally get there, however there are direct flights available from London and provincial UK airports. As we arrived after midnight and the airports were quiet, customs and immigration procedures were completed quickly and the transfer time was only about 15 minutes. We spent our first two nights in the centre of Marrakech at the Riad Aladdin, almost touching the city walls. From the outside the hotel was...
11 August 2011
We had decided to try and make the most of our visit to Loas by travelling from north to south taking in as much as we could. We started with three nights at the Salang Prabang a small hotel on the Mekong side of Luang Prabang, the ‘Jewel of Indochina’,and a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, where tour buses and large vehicles are banned from the centre. On our first morning we set our alarm very early to watch the Buddhist monks walking through the town collecting food, later after breakfast we toured the city and several of the Buddhist temples situated...
14 February 2010
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in Sharks, particularly the Great White, this started with reading a book entitled "Shadows in the Sea" when I was about 10. So when I celebrated my 50th birthday, my wife had arranged for me to fly to Cape Town, source a dive company of my choice, and get into the water to view one of these sharks close up. We flew Emirates via Dubai, only problem being the 8.5 hour layover in Dubai, thankfully Emirates supply a room for waits of over 8 hours on certain flights, it’s worth...