World Journeys: Updates and packages

Japan's Autumn Colours
Japan’s Autumn Colours

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World Journeys has announced the following updates and packages:

Surcharge imminent

World Journeys urges agents to get their clients booked this week if considering a small group hosted journey for 2016.  If booked and deposited by 30 October 2015, clients save $200 per person, and avoid a currency surcharge which will apply to all booking subsequent to that date.

Myanmar update

World Journeys advise that businesses in Myanmar are no longer permitted to accept or trade in USD (or any other foreign currency) effective immediately. Moving forward, visitors to Myanmar can only use the local currency, Myanmar Kyat (MMK), for all purchases in the country.

Visitors can only exchange their foreign currency at an official currency exchange centre, which are located at airports and locations around the city centre. Hotels are no longer able to provide an exchange service for guests. Visitors can however obtain MMK at ATM machines which are becoming more common in Myanmar, and an increasing number of businesses are also starting to take Visa and Mastercard. For example, the popular Belmond properties, and the river cruisers Belmond Road to Mandalay and Belmond Orcaella all accept payment by Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Banff Gondola Closure

The Banff Gondola in Canada will be completely closed for a $26 million redevelopment from today until 30 April 2016. On 1 May the Banff Gondola will reopen with limited upper terminal facilities until the new, world-class upper terminal’s opening restores full public access on 1 August 2016. A reduction will be applied to all bookings impacted by the closure, being packages that include the Experience Lake Louise/ Banff Tour to Calgary (or reverse).

Northern Japan

World Journeys Marketing Manager Caroline Clegg has returned from 2 weeks in Japan, travelling from Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido, down to Tokyo, on their “Japan’s Autumn Colours” small group hosted journey.

“If all you know of Japan is the bright neon lights of Tokyo, northern Japan will astound you!  Dramatic forested mountains, pristine lakes, and idyllic rural scenes are everywhere.  Add to that stunning food, ancient cultures such as the Ainu, and some beautiful hot springs resorts, and it really is a great destination. You must try an onsen (hot spring spa requiring full public nudity…) at least once!  The roads are amazing, and travel by train is a dream – we took the bullet train through the undersea tunnel between Hokkaido and Honshu – quick, smooth, and on time!  Northern Honshu brought some beautiful autumn foliage, more great food, and ancient Buddhist and Shinto temples.  Even Tokyo was surprising!  As well as the top sights we discovered a Bonsai museum, got inside the Parliament building, took a river cruise and saw Honda’s latest robot in action.  A side trip from Tokyo took us to Yudanaka where we saw the Snow Monkeys bathing in the hot springs, most bizarre! An awesome itinerary, I would highly recommend this for either second-time visitors to Japan, or equally to first-time visitors who can add on the optional extension to Mt Fuji, Hakone and Kyoto.”

The 13-day Japan’s Autumn Colours tour departs 2 October 2016, priced from $8,970 per person share twin (excluding airfares). Book and deposit by 30 Oct 2015 to save $200 per person, and avoid a currency surcharge which applies to bookings from 31 Oct 2015.

Family safaris

“Get your children travelling early. Expose them to the people, the food and the real culture of your destination,” says Joss Kent, andBeyond CEO.  andBeyond has moved to meet the increasing demand for family safaris, with the addition of family tents and suites and their camps and lodges, and a children’s programme of activities to fully engage the kids.  A good example is andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas which sees guests move around the famed Serengeti National Park, anticipating the movements of the Great Migration.

Family tents cater for two adults and two children (aged six to 12), a private safari vehicle is at your disposal, and kids’ activities include tracking animal footprints with a guide, making a fire the Maasai way, playing volleyball with the staff, and for older children, spear throwing or shooting bows and arrows. In South Africa, Phinda Mountain Lodge offers three family cottages each accommodating two adults and up to three children.  Kids’ activities include beading, baking in between game drives, tracking and fishing.

Titicaca experiences

World Journeys highly recommends a stay at the boutique Titilaka lodge on Lake Titicaca, as a means of experiencing the very best of this extraordinary lake between Peru and Bolivia. Titilaka’s new boathouse is equipped with canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and sailboats offering the chance to get out on the lake. The boathouse is also kitted out with comfortable armchairs and a fireplace, a fantastic place to take in the dazzling views of Titicaca at sunset with a warming shot of pisco.

Guests can also now take a new full-day excursion on the lake, with an exclusive visit to the private floating isle of the Jallahui family, far from the crowds that sometimes clog the other Uros islands, and enjoy lunch on Taquile Island at Titilaka’s new exclusive outdoor ‘dining room’, on a ridge at one end of the island surrounded with sublime views of the lake.  Taquile Island is home to Quechua villagers who continue to weave all kinds of elaborate, traditional clothing, including colourful hats and waistbands that tell their life stories. Titilaka is one of the boutique hotels included in World Journeys’ 15 day “Amazon, Andes & Altiplano” itinerary from Lima to the Peruvian Amazon, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cuzco and Lake Titicaca.

Fly Free Botswana

Zarafa Dhow Suites are one of World Journeys’ favourite camps in Botswana. Located in the Selinda Reserve, and an extension to Zarafa Camp, the Dhow Suites are Botswana’s only Relais & Chateaux property. World Journeys has a special offer on safaris at Great Plains Conservation Camps in Botswana, with free return air transfers to the Great Plains camps from Maun or Kasane airports and/or all other Great Plains camps within the greater Delta, Linyanti and Chobe regions.  Valid for all new bookings for travel 1 November 2015 to 31 May 2016. Stays of a combination of 6 nights or more at Duba Plains Camp and/or Selinda Camp/Zarafa Camp & Dhow Suites also enjoy a free helicopter transfer between camps.

New Mobile Expeditions for 2016

andBeyond have six new Expeditions in Botswana available for travel from February 2016.  These safaris are all-inclusive, and privately guided throughout and include the Classic Explorer Safari, 8 nights in Chobe, Savute and Okavango Delta – all mobile camping.  Priced from $6,284 per person (twin share) this small group tour is with expert game rangers and local guides, and includes  a personalised travel journal, 8 nights’ accommodation in tented mobile camps in private wilderness sites, a ‘meet & greet’ at Kasane Airport on arrival, light aircraft transfers and transport, National Park fees, 3 meals daily with soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, tea/coffee on game drives, waterborne/game viewing activities and emergency medical evacuation insurance.

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