As I was home catching up on some work-related e-mail this weekend, I spent some time browsing the latest Condé Nast Traveler: 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards. I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I read that once again, Friendly Planet has it pretty well covered in terms of what travelers want.
Take the Top Cities category. We offer trips to eight out of the top 10 Asian cities: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, Kyuoto, Shanghai, Jaipur, Tokyo, and Hanoi. Singapore, also on the top 10 list, is coming in 2010, and that’s just Asia. We also cover four out of five of the best Africa and Middle East cities: Cape Town, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Dubai.
The No. 1 and No. 2 airlines on the list of Ten Best Global Carriers — Singapore Airlines and Emirates — are prominently featured on some of our tours. And even some of the world’s best hotels, such as the Fairmont Hotel Dubai, are found on our programs.
So, you could be thinking, "big deal." A lot of companies feature these places, these airlines, and these hotels. And that’s the point. A lot do feature all of this and more, but at what price? That’s where we differ from almost everyone out there. The best for the least means something in my mind. It translates into a lot of work in creating the tours that result in great vacations in great destinations at great prices.
That’s the thought I had after reading these lists, anyway. But more importantly, how do YOU think Friendly Planet Travel stacks up? Are there cities we don’t offer that you wish we did? Where do you want to go with us? Let me know in the comments section below! I would really love to hear from you.
It’s hard to determine what’s most alluring about Thailand. The splendid white sand beaches, exotic architecture, fascinating culture, and ancient ruins all leave travelers breathless. The country’s diversity attracts world travelers of every kind — from the frugal backpacker to the sophisticated beachcomber.
But the almost 9,000-mile distance from the U.S. to Thailand, coupled with the high cost of long distance international travel, has made this golden land of Asia accessible to only a fortunate few of the many who would love to take the trip.
Not anymore. We just unveiled a breakthrough low price on a group tour to Thailand. Taste of Thailand starts at an astounding $899, and takes travelers to three of Thailand’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring cities: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Kanchanaburi.
We’re very excited about this new tour. Taste of Thailand offers the chance to experience some of the country’s best places. And it’s at a price we haven’t seen in years, without sacrificing quality and comfort.
Thailand has emerged as one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan destinations in the world. At the same time, it remains deeply traditional in many ways. It’s this juxtaposition of old and new that gives the country its remarkable appeal.
The Taste of Thailand tour, conducted by English-speaking and licensed guides, immerses vacationers in the country’s intense beauty and rich culture, starting with Bangkok, Thailand’s sprawling capital city, also known as “Venice of the East.” In Bangkok, even the most frugal shopper can find treasures at unbeatable prices.
But to truly understand the country, travelers must experience the fabric that binds together the national identity that is Thailand: its temples. Vacationers will visit some of the country’s most important temple sites in Bangkok itself, including Wat Trimitr, where they’ll find the 700-year-old, five-ton Golden Buddha, the largest in the world.
After touring in Bangkok, travelers continue to Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for its archaeological ruins from the King U-Thong kingdom in 1350, when the Ayutthaya was declared the capital of the country. It is this place that is referred to when the ancient name for Thailand, Siam, is used.
Then it’s on to Kanchanaburi, where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai Rivers converge into the Mae Klong River. It’s also where, in 1942 under Japanese control, the famous Bridge on the River Kwai was built by prisoners of war (POWs). Remember the movie? Travelers will view the bridge and also have an optional opportunity to ride an elephant through the lush jungle and enjoy a bamboo raft ride down the gently flowing River Kwai.
Travelers can take advantage of their already-included international airfare with a three-night visit to Phuket Island, known as “the Pearl of the Andaman Sea.” This optional extension includes a relaxing stay at the beautiful Novotel Resort, situated on eight acres of breathtaking tropical gardens overlooking the pristine waters of Kalim Bay.
There’s also an optional tour to Angkor Wat in Cambodia for travelers looking to explore one of the most magnificent archaeological sites in the world. For those who can’t decide between the two options, it’s possible to have them both.
And for travelers with more time, there’s also a 12-day Treasures of Thailand trip for the low price of $1,499, with optional extensions to Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Phuket Island. The 12-day, fully escorted tour takes tourists from north to south — with stops in Chiang Mai, Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, and Bangkok. The trip includes a savings of up to $600 per couple if reserved by Aug. 14.
For more information on either of our Thailand tours, have a look at our Web site, or feel free to contact us.