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Newsletter 24 - sent on the 9 April 2019
Escape to Laos in Winter 2019
There are some places that just get into your soul, and make you long to return - sometimes before you have even left them. Laos is that sort of place for me. I first visited many years ago, just after the country opened to travellers after the Indochina War. This was long before the infrastructure had recovered, and travelling in the country was an adventure. I am really excited to be heading back (just in time for a blast of warm weather before the end of the year), and think that we have managed to work out a particularly comprehensive itinerary, which covers all of the highlights and a few hidden gems.
We are also in the process of sorting out a whole series of exciting tours, through to the end of next year. In the next few weeks, expect to see trips launched to Madagascar, Namibia, Jordan and even Uzbekistan.
Impressions of Laos
Laos has changed over the past few years, but it is still one of the most undeveloped and laid-back countries in the region: the national currency is not called the kip for nothing! The national religion of Buddhism is practiced with a great deal of devotion, but in a typically relaxed way. It is the people of Laos though who make it one of the most entrancing countries that you will ever travel in.
This trip starts in the legendary city of Luang Prabang. Although we have three nights here, I would recommend arriving a few days early if at all possible. Luang Prabang is one of the iconic travellers towns: not only is it beautiful and seemingly stacked with ornate Buddhist Wats or monasteries, but you will be able to witness one of the most spellbing rituals in Asia. Every morning literally hundreds of Buddhist monks head out in the pre-dawn gloom collecting alms in so-called begging bowls.
We also take in many of the other highlights of Luang Prabang, including the Kuang Si waterfall and also the Pak Ou caves, which are full of retired Buddha statues and icons.
From Luang Prabang, we drive across stunning mountain scenery to get to Phonsavan - the home of the Plain of Jars. Here you will find a mass of enigmatic ancient stone jars littering a number of atmospheric plains.
These region of the country was one of the most bombed areas in the World during the war in Indochina, and you can still find war remnants pressed into everyday use. We will also be able to find a number of different hilltribe minorities in this region.
From Phonsavan we head south to the stunnign limestone scenery at the riverside town of Vang Vieng, before continuing on to the capital Vientiane.
Although Vientiane has developed since I was first there, it still retains plenty of its laid-back charm. It is still one of the most relaxed capital cities in the World, and home to a number of beautiful and historic Buddhist Wats.
To save time, we catch an internal flight down to the Southern city of Pakse. From here, we explore the waterfalls and coffee plantations of the Bolaven Plateau, and the ancient Khmer ruins of Wat Phu Champasak.
Constructed by the same civilisation who created the now ruined city of Angkor Wat, at a time when their empire stretched over much of the region. The ruins are built into a large hill, and incorporate a holy spring.
In the very South of the country, the Mekong River splits into a delta before crossing into Cambodia. This region is known as Si Phan Don, or 4000 islands. We will spend time here exploring and photographing some of the many waterfalls, before returning to Pakse ready for our onward travel, with countless photographs and plenty of memories of this entrancing country.
Impressions of Laos departs from Luang Prabang on the 27 November 2019 for 14 days, and costs from £1995 per person based on twinshare. A single supplement option is also available. We are holding bookings open until the 22 April, before deciding on the final list. You can see the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.
Impressions of Morocco
We have a few places left on September's Impressions of Morocco photo tour, which spends ten days in this most fascinating and photogenic of countries. Although we visit some incredible places in this packed itineray, one of the undisputed highligts is the evocative Djemaa el Fna main square in the centre of the atmospheroc city of Marrakech. I love the atmosphere of the square and the adjacent souks. I love eating there, walking there and, of course, photographing there. To find out more about the Djemaa el Fna square, and why it is one of the most unforgettable places you could ever visit, click here.
Impressions of Morocco departs from Marrakech on the 19 September 2019 for 10 days, and costs from £1495 per person based on twinshare. To see more of the amazing places that we visit on this exciting photography tour, you can see the full itinerary here, or if you want to snap up one of the final three places on this trip, you can find the booking form here.
Better Travel Photography
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