Away from the Crowds – Hua Hin

In the first of a series of destination reports we look at the beautiful Thai resort of Hua Hin.

It has long been said by many that “off-the-beaten track is never far away”. But for many families eschewing the ease of popular destinations can be a daunting experience. However, by taking a look at my special guides, I reveal how to lose the crowds but not the kids.

INSTEAD OF KOH SAMUI……TRY HUA HIN

If it’s good enough for the Thai Royal Family……For almost a century, Hua Hin has been the go-to holiday destination for generations of Thai Royals and for good reason. Far from the maddening crowds of Phuket and Koh Samui, solitude and calm come by the bucket load on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand.
Holidays to Hua Hin
WHAT TO DO IN HUA HIN?…..
Jungles, elephant safaris and waterfalls made Hua Hin and the surrounding areas of Cha-Am and Pranburi buzz with adventure. Then there’s the elegant Summer Palace and Hua Hin’s famous 1920s railway station.
Take a day trip to Kaeng Krachan National Park, or book one of the many specialised tours featuring activities such as snorkelling, mountain trekking and kayak adventures.
 
CUISINE….
Sample delicious fresh seafood at the night market between the Grand Hotel and Sao Paulo Hospital – there are plenty of restaurants and hotel restaurants to choose from. Grab a coffee and an English newspaper at World News Cafe, and dine at the family-friendly Palm Bistro.
 
ACCOMMODATION IN HUA HIN…..
As you would expect from Thailand and the Far East in general, there is a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes.
Hua Hin Holiday DealsHowever, why not luxuriate in out-of-the-way, five-star style at Aleenta Hua Hin in Pranburi. The Frangipani Wing welcomes children of all ages and each room has either a private balcony or a sun deck. All rooms have a sea view with large windows and direct access to a swimming pool that leads to the sea. As well as mountain biking, swimming, kayaking and snorkelling, there is an on-site organic farm, cooking lessons, plus t’ai chi and yoga classes for the whole family.
 
GETTING TO HUA HIN…..
Thai Airways International is the flag carrier of Thailand, although there are many different airlines that operate in to Bangkok directly, or indirectly, from many parts of the world.
 
TRANSFERS…..
Hua Hin is a three-hour drive from Bangkok, on a well-made road, and it’s a scenic route. We will arrange your transfer in conjunction with your accommodation.
For more information on Holidays to Hua Hin please feel free to contact us by clicking on the “Find out more” button below.
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Great Railway Journeys – The Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer is the world-renowned, luxurious train that travels by daylight through the wild beauty of Canada’s West and is the most magical & best way to experience the majestic Canadian Rockies.

The journey reviewed here, routed from Vancouver to Jasper, travelling in the Gold Leaf carriage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXxgRlIoEgg

The day begins with an early pick-up from the hotel (whereby your luggage is tagged and taken through to Kamloops on a separate road vehicle). On arrival at the station, you are greeted by a pianist playing jazz music and waiters serving morning coffees/teas or juices.

As the bag-pipe player begins (yes, it really is true) – this is the cue to board the train. It’s a fantastic start for all the Rocky Mountaineer staff from the station and their main office to personally see off all the guests and escort you to Gold Leaf Rocky Mountaineer carriage.

I should point out at this stage that there are three levels to the Rocky Mountaineer service and as with everything…three different price tiers!

Red Leaf
This is the lead-in service, which offers large picture windows with reclining seats. ONLY chilled meals are served and this is at your seat. Complimentary non-alcohol beverages are served, however a glass of complimentary wine is served at lunch.

Importantly there will be one Rocky Mountaineer host to serve all the passengers as well as make presentations at key points. Your journey is not dissimilar to a two-day trip on our equivalent of British Rail. (A journey can last up to 12 hours a day). I should also point out that clients have to take their own luggage to their hotel in Kamloops which is the most basic accommodation (although adequate for a stay of one night).

Silver Leaf

Takes in the scenery through the windows of Rocky Mountaineers custom-designed single level glass dome coach. It has a 167% larger viewing area than the Red Leaf Service. Breakfast and lunch are served at the seat (with a choice of main course/entrée) and a range of complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.

The reclining dome level seats can rotate to accommodate groups of four and the areas are temperature controlled. Luggage is taken to a moderate hotel accommodation
for the one-night stay in Kamloops.

Gold Leaf

This puts you right in the heart of the amazing scenery of the Canadian Rockies. The plush seats are welcoming and you experience the panoramic views from full-length windows which I believe is the secret to the success of Gold Leaf.

As you are sitting up high, you completely capture the dramatic views and natural wildlife. By being on this level, I was able to catch the wild mountain goats and black bears. The service is astounding with five members of staff on hand. Two are in the dining cars below whilst the other three serve around the seats as well as provide commentary at interesting points.

Rocky Mountaineer TrainThere is a constant flow of drinks, both alcoholic & non-alcoholic. The Gold Leaf section is separated into two seating groups – first and second. On the first day, I was on the first seating – we were escorted to the dining car and seated at a table of four. Teas/coffees, juices & waters are served.

There is a menu with a choice to choose from. Whilst chefs prepare for your selected breakfast, a bowl of fruit is served. Then main breakfast is served with the following choices :

‘The Rocky Mountaineer’ (Omelette filled with mozzarella. Served with crispy double smoked bacon and farmer sausages, freshly roasted potatoes, mushrooms and tomatoes)

‘Gold Leaf Breakfast’ (Scrambled eggs and smoked steel head salmon. Topped with caviare & lemon chive crème fraiche).

‘Sir Sanford Fleming Benedict’ (Poached egg served over smoked meat on a fluffy crumpet accented with Hollandaise Sauce).

‘Buttermilk Pancakes’ (Traditional buttermilk pancakes with orange zest and Aldergrove berry preserve).

‘Granola Parfait’ (Vanilla yoghurt & home-style granola with fresh local berries).

Having refreshed my tea cup several times…I was ready to roll back (that was about as fast as I could move, but it was worth it!) upstairs to my seat. On arriving back at my seat, I was offered my first drink at 10:00 (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)! Needless to say, it would be rude to pass up such an offer, but for the sake of modesty, I won’t say which I chose.

Throughout the day, drinks are served. By midday, it’s time for lunch! Yes, really it was!

After soup, a light salad – there was a selection of ‘Short Ribs’, ‘Tiger Prawns’, ‘Chicken Breast, ‘Farfalle Pasta’ (Veggie Choice) and a ‘Lighter Choice’.

You will be offered a continuous flow of wine throughout the meal service, which was finally finished off with a dessert and tea/coffee.

Having returned to our seats at 13:30 – the views were encapsulating & exciting, dramatic and ever-changing. It is a perfect experience to socialise with other guests on the train and there is a lovely, relaxed ambiance, enhanced by an excellent interaction with, and from, the crew.

At 16:00…snack-time! More drinks and more food on offer! Look, it’s all very well you moaning, but you have to experience every part of the journey, really, you do!

On arrival into Kamloops station, those in Gold Leaf have their luggage immediately removed and placed in a transfer truck and taken to the hotel, and then to the room of the individual guest. So, there’s no need for those guests to lug around their own bags.

I should point out that guests in Silver Leaf and Red Leaf will need to recognise their bags and take them to their respective hotel.

The following day, it all starts again. This time, I was on the second seating. So, whilst the first dining group troop down to breakfast in the dining car, I was served croissants, with a choice of coffee and tea, whilst I waited to be served for my main breakfast.

Rocky Mountaineer Train CuisineLunch at 1400 consisted of soup, salad…and a choice of ‘Salmon’, ‘Pork Tenderloin’, ‘Chicken Breast’, ‘Risotto’ (Veggie Choice) and a ‘Lighter Choice’.

Perfect timing, since after lunch we managed to see some beautiful black bears high on the side. Then mountain goats…on a roll now

This really is a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. I certainly would recommend Silver Leaf & Gold Leaf service. If budget is an issue, I personally would suggest down-grading on the accommodation. There are fantastic three star or lodge properties but experiencing Silver Leaf or Gold Leaf is a truly memorable and amazing occurrence. For any age, for any celebration – it is a magical way of following a wonderful historical train route constructed over one hundred years ago.

There are some amazing routes to discover from ‘First Passage to the West’, ‘Journey through the Clouds’ & ‘Rainforest to Gold Rush’. The newest service on offer ‘Coastal Passage’ connects Seattle & Vancouver to the Canada Rockies. Plus the ‘Whistler Sea to Sky Climb’ is a three and a half hour journey from North Vancouver to Whistler whereby you can enjoy stunning seascapes and mountain vistas.

If this article has whetted your appetite to travel on the Rocky Mountaineer, then please contact Paul Smith of World of Transport Travel with your requirements. I would be only too pleased to arrange quotes in the carriage of your choice, and can book flights and pre- and/or -post travel accommodation, as well as just about anything else you may wish to do. I can also arrange air travel if required, as well as a cruise up to Alaska, if you wish to combine rail and sea travel.

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Winter Sports In Alberta – Sample Itineraries

Now that you have hopefully read my first article about winter sports in Alberta, allow me to offer you a couple of sample itineraries that will whet your appetite for travelling to this part of Canada.
Winter Sports in Alberta
Please remember that these are simply sample itineraries, and can be amended and changed to suit your needs. But take these as a framework from which I am happy to work with you, to reach your exact needs.
Recommended Itinerary No 1: 
This winter, allow me to set your sights on a Canadian Rockies ski holiday in pristine, protected Banff National Park. Alberta‘s iconic ski resorts are a haven for powder hounds the world over, offering some of the best skiing and boarding on the planet and an après ski scene that has a life of its own. Banff and Lake Louise are both top ten TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice 2013 destinations. Venture beyond the slopes for plenty more awesome Alberta winter adventures.
Night 1-2
Alberta Winter SportsThe view of the Canadian Rockies from the plane approaching Calgary will have you eager to make a beeline for the slopes. Of course, I know you can’t wait to experience the excitement in store at Banff National Park! But let me tell you that you can get a head start on the adrenaline rush right on the edge of the city at Canada Olympic Park. It’s a great opportunity to try an Olympic sport, like zooming down a course at up to 75 mi/h in a professionally piloted bob-sleigh. If that doesn’t deserve a Blue Peter badge, I don’t know what does? (for my reader’s outside the UK, I suggest you Google the children’s television series, Blue Peter).
Night 3-6
Banff is nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can choose to stay on-mountain at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort, or in Banff’s full service luxury resorts, small boutique hotels and rustic mountain lodges. Sunshine Village is one of three resorts within a one-hour drive of each other. The others are Mount Norquay, 10 minutes from Banff, and The Lake Louise Ski Resort. One convenient tri-area lift ticket for all three resorts offers almost 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. How about three days with their own professional instructor, one day each at all three resorts, with the SkiBig3 Club Ski Program. New at Sunshine Village for spring 2014 weekends is the Yoga and Ski Retreat. Mix the vacation up even more with an exhilarating Discover Banff Tours ice walk, snow tubing at Mt. Norquay and the brand new heritage snow shoeing tour at Sunshine Village.
Night 7-9
A variety of accommodation choices are available in and around spectacular Lake Louise, including The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Baker Creek Chalets. Complimentary bus service to The Lake Louise Ski Resort is available from area hotels. You could also choose a ski-in only, back country experience and stay at Skoki Lodge, chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a personal retreat in 2011.
Why not arrange the trip to coincide with a winter event, such as Torchlight Dinner and Ski with après drinks, appetizers and live music in a majestic setting. Ice Magic Festival runs over two weekends in January and features an international ice carving competition. The festival is part of Snow Days, a month-long celebration in Banff National Park. A private Brewster Adventures sleigh ride from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or a glide across the frozen lake on ice skates are special ways to take in the gorgeous surroundings.
Night 10
Canmore is all about mountain lifestyle and active adventure, perfectly located along the route back to Calgary. I wholeheartedly recommend dog sledding at Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions – skijöring is also available here – or Snowy Owl Dog Sled Tours, and a tour of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. Should you not be getting enough skiing, Canmore is a really short drive to Nakiska Mountain Resort in Kananaskis.
Night 11
A final night in Calgary is an opportunity for you to shop downtown on historic Stephen Avenue and The CORE to find contemporary local and international designers or browse the funky boutiques in Kensington and haute couture in the 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District. Calgary is one of Canada’s hot new culinary destinations, where top chefs’ creative concepts are grounded in local traditions and fresh Alberta ingredients. After dinner, you can explore a new museum exhibit, browse the galleries, find a jazz club or spend the evening at the theatre, symphony or ballet.
Distance driven is 231 miles
Recommended Itinerary No 2: 
Winter Sports in Alberta - SkiingPlease allow me to invite you to discover the beauty of Alberta in the wintertime. Jasper National Park is an unspoiled, snowy winter wonderland, and the wide open night skies of the north are transformed by surreal northern lights. Marmot Basin ski resort and the authentic mountain town of Jasper are sure to impress ski and snowboard enthusiasts, while Alberta’s north offers unique winter adventures that will give you plenty to brag about. Round this out with lots of time to explore the capital city of Edmonton and you have the perfect winter holiday you are are looking for.
Night 1
Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city and your clients’ hub for this Jasper/Fort McMurray holiday. Be sure to schedule some time for exploring Edmonton’s eclectic dining scene followed by a theatre performance.
Night 2-4
An Air Canada flight from Edmonton takes your clients to Fort McMurray, gateway to Alberta’s north, and a fabulous opportunity to see the northern lights with their own eyes. Plan a two-day Aurora Borealis Quick Escape beginning from Fort McMurray. Guests discover what makes the night sky blaze with colour and hear the old legends and lore that surround this mesmerizing display. Winter is a great time to go fishing in Alberta’s northern regions – ice fishing, that is! From Edmonton, Reel Adventures offers fully inclusive ice fishing packages in the Athabasca region. The fish are especially keen to bite in the winter and anglers from novice to expert can expect to take home quite the fish story!
Night 5 
After their spectacular outdoor adventures in the north, your clients may be ready for an indoor interlude. It’s time for the famed West Edmonton Mall. More than eight hundred shops, one hundred eateries, luxury accommodation, cinemas, a water park, ice skating rink and themed attractions make it the largest indoor shopping and entertainment complex in North America. Be sure to check for winter festivals happening in Edmonton – Canada’s festival city – such as the Ice On Whyte ice carving festival, which runs Jan 24-Feb 2 in 2014.
Night 6-10 
You may choose to self drive from Edmonton to Jasper in the heart of Jasper National Park, or may prefer to take in the scenery as passengers. i suggest travelling by train with Via Rail or by Sundog Tours shuttle bus (I can book both). Marmot Basin resort awaits you, whether as a ski or a snowboard enthusiast.
Boasting Canada’s highest base elevation, Marmot offers terrain to suit all levels and superb airy powder. This ski season begins year-long celebrations to mark Marmot’s 50th anniversary, alongside several notable anniversaries within the town of Jasper itself. The night sky is a major area attraction – Jasper is the world’s second largest dark sky preserve. On a clear night, the backbone of the Milky Way appears to rise directly out of the centre of the Athabasca Glacier. Jasper Adventure Centre and Sundog Tours offer a variety of winter tours, including canyon ice walks, dog sledding and wildlife discovery.
Night 11
A final night in Edmonton gives you a chance to attend an art gallery exhibit, such as Angakkuq: Between Two Worlds. This display of spiritual and mythological figures in Inuit and Inuvialuit art runs from Oct 26 2013 – Feb 16 2014 at the Art Gallery of Alberta. I can highly recommend a night of luxury at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald where you can reflect on your Alberta winter holiday over a regionally inspired gourmet meal.
Distance driven: 451 miles
These sample winter sports itineraries in Alberta, as well any of your own, may be booked through World of Transport Travel, so why not contact me to see how I can be of assistance to you?
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Brunei – The Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures

The name Brunei Darussalam means abode of peace which is perfect for this unassuming, relaxed and incredibly friendly holiday or stopover destination.

Often mistaken for a Middle Eastern country, Brunei is in fact a beguiling mix of southeast Asian and Islamic culture. The jewel in its crown is its jungle which is 70 million years older than the Amazon rainforest and part of Borneo, one of the world’s most bio-diverse islands.

Holiday Adventures in Brunei

It is best known for brief stopovers in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan, taken by those en-route to Australia or other parts of Asia, but tiny Brunei really is worth so much more, and to spend an extra few days there will really enrich your experience.

The city is small, neat and clean and the glittering domes of its mosques stand out in an otherwise low-rise, low-key city. Visitors should include  Masjid Jame, the largest mosque in the country, with towering minarets, gold domes and a vast, cool marble interior, and a stop at the Royal Regalia Museum will put these ostentatious displays in to context and explain more at Brunei’s Sultan.

There are plenty of malls and markets to explore, including the Gadong night market, alive with colour, smells and smoke, as locals sell fresh grilled fish. There are plenty of restaurants too, but remember Brunei is a dry (alcohol-free) country and has minimal nightlife.

The country’s most famous hotel is the palatial seafront Empire Hotel and Country Club, Brunei Holidaysjust a mere thirty minutes from the airport. It combines royal opulence and colonial splendour with enough facilities to keep guests entertained for days, including an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, spa pools, a cinema, bowling alley and sports facilities.

A highlight of a stay in Bandar Seri Begawan is Kampung Ayer, a stilted water village, first settled four hundred years ago on the Brunei River. These days visitors reach the stilted houses, mosques and school by speedboat to amble its rickety walkways.

Holidays to BruneiJungle-bound visitors can meet the Iban people, once famed for their brutal “headhunting”, now famous for their lavish feather head-dresses and tribal dancing. They still live in traditional long houses and welcome curious visitors.
Ulu Temburong National Park has never been settled and is only accessible by a long-boat through river rapids. Just half an hour upstream you can spot proboscis monkeys, birds and crocodiles in the mangroves, go deeper and local guides will lead you on forest treks or bespoke cooking or photography tours. Kayaking, tubing and night walks are also available.
Stay at the Sumbling Eco Village or the more upmarket Ulu Ulu Resort and visitors can head to the vertiginous canopy walk – Brunei’s biggest attraction – six metres above the rain forests for spectacular views, especially in the early morning.
Brunei is also an up and coming dive destination with dives for all levels, and including a huge array of well-preserved wrecks. Another unusual option is the chance to dive on an oil rig. Best visibility is March to November when visitors will spot sharks and rays too.
Getting To Brunei
Royal BruneiRoyal Brunei Airlines (RBA) is the country’s flag carrier and operates regular services from Bandar Seri Begawan to points in the Far East, as well as daily services to Dubai, London Heathrow and Melbourne. The airline operates a two-class service on all of it’s flights, with Economy and Business Class cabins
RBA has recently taken delivery of the first of it’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which will replace the Boeing 777 type, currently in service.
The airline aims to operate its first flight to London Heathrow, via Dubai, on November 30 2013, and will offer a daily service with the type. It is anticipated that Melbourne will come on line in the second quarter of 2014, operating the new type.
The Boeing 787 will offer a new era of comfort, in-flight comfort and entertainment, as well as a more pleasant journey overall.
Singapore Airlines offers flights from Singapore, Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur and Cebu Pacific from Manila.
Malaysian Airlines, Garuda Indonesian & Thai International code-share on flights operated from their home countries to Brunei, on services operated by Royal Brunei Airlines.
Accommodation in Brunei
Brunei offers a range of accommodation from budget to extreme luxury, and all points in between. Whilst we would all like to stay at the Empire Hotel, I realise that it is not always in someone’s budget and/or taste.
Brunei Holidays

One of my favourite properties is the Radisson Brunei Darussalam.

The Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam has completed a very exciting modernization journey that resulted in newly designed guest rooms, suites and Business Class lounge. Renovated to a high standard featuring modern lines, bold colours and graphic patterns, the hotel also features a spectacular view of the capital city or the lush green jungle from the guest rooms and suites. Boasting an excellent location in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei‘s capital city, the Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam is the only internationally branded hotel in Brunei Darussalam.
The Radisson Brunei Darussalam is within easy walking distance of the majestic Kampong Ayer Water Village, the Royal Regalia Museum and the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. It is also well-connected to nature reserves, including Tasek Lama Recreational Park, which offers children’s playgrounds, jogging and hiking trails as well as climbing walls.
At the Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam, you will enjoy a host of up-scale amenities and services, including complimentary high-speed Internet access, a complimentary shuttle service to major shopping malls, a spa and a swimming pool.
Free high-speed Internet access (wired and wireless) available in all rooms, suites and public areas. The hotel is a 100% non-smoking facility
Wise Words From The Travel Industry
“Brunei is a rain-forest covered gem of a country nestled on the northern shores of the island of Borneo. It offers a richly diverse natural and cultural heritage, a centuries-old majestic Royal heritage and an exciting contemporary side of magnificent accommodation, golf, first-class diving and modern and efficient infrastructure. Brunei is a safe, stable, healthy, wholesome and hospitable society. Many activities are available in this Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures”.
Highlights
Ulu Temburong National Park – Kampung Ayer – Relaxing at the Empire Hotel – Diving Brunei’s wrecks – Walking the rainforest canopy – Wildlife spotting on the river.
Further Information on Brunei
Brunei Tourism: www.bruneitourism.travel
Capital City: Bandar Seri Begawan
Language: Brunei Malay
Currency: Brunei Dollar
Time Zone: GMT+8
Brunei Entry Formalities
Visas
The government of Brunei Darussalam requires all visitors to have a valid passport and onward tickets or sufficient funds to support themselves while in the country. Visa requirements vary by nationality:
90 days entry with no visa
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, United Kingdom and United State of America
30 days entry with no visa
Iceland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine
Visas granted on arrival for visits not exceeding:
30 days
Australia and Kuwait
30 Days for Diplomatic and Official Passport only
Iran
14 days entry with no visa
Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Indonesia, Laos, The Principality of Liechtenstein, Maldives, Peru, Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam
Visas granted on arrival for visits not exceeding
14 days
Bahrain, Qatar and Taiwan
14 Days for Diplomatic and Official Passport only
Cambodia, Pakistan, Myanmar and Russia
14 Days for Diplomatic, Official Passport and Service Passport only
Tajikistan
14 Days for Diplomatic, Official Passport and Visa on Arrival only / for genuine tourists handled by Travel Agents while for “Business Visit” need
Sponsors or “Counterpart” in Brunei Darussalam
A 72-hour transit visa issued on arrival is available to all nationalities except for Israeli passport holders.
All other nationals entering Brunei must obtain visas from any Brunei Darussalam diplomatic mission abroad. Please contact your nearest diplomatic mission for further details regarding visas and entry procedures.

All details correct as of October 2013 please check for up to-date information and requirements when booking your visit to Brunei

Health Requirements and Inoculations for Brunei
Yellow fever inoculation are required for visitors over one year of age coming from infected areas. Malaria, cholera and small pox have been eliminated from Brunei Darussalam and the inoculation is not needed. Please check for the latest requirements though before you travel to Brunei.
Brunei International Airport Check-In Times
Please arrive in good time at the airport terminal as this will ensure that your flight operates on schedule. Check local road conditions to avoid possible delay. To enable pre-flight formalities to be concluded, have your baggage screened and checked-in at Brunei International Airport at least one and a half hours before scheduled departure.
Reconfirmation of Bookings
You are required to contact the airline reservation office or its appointed agent for reconfirmation of your outward or return flight at least 72 hours before its scheduled departure date. Failure to do so may result in your reservation being cancelled.
Smoking in Brunei
Smoking is prohibited in both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned areas. It also banned in specific areas places, including public areas, government buildings, hospital, recreational, airport building, educational centres, restaurants and on public transport.
Brunei Do’s and Don’t’s
Bruneians are generally very tolerant and will understand that visitors are not familiar with all of their customs and Islamic traditions. Nonetheless, keeping these few things in mind will go far in showing the Bruneian people that you respect and appreciate their culture, enriching your experience:
• Tourists should observe the local dress code and dress modestly. Clothing comfortable for hot weather is acceptable, except when visiting places of worship or for social and business functions.
 Bruneians shake hands by lightly touching the hands and then bringing the hand to the chest. Some people do not to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.
• You should not point with your finger; instead, use the thumb of your right hand with the four fingers folded beneath it.
• When visiting a mosque, all visitors should remove their shoes. Women should cover their heads and not have their knees or arms exposed. You should not pass in front of a person in prayer or touch the Koran.
• Gifts (particularly food) should only be passed with the right hand, although it is acceptable to use the left hand to support the right wrist.
• It is polite to accept even just a little food and drink when offered. When refusing anything offered, it is polite to touch the plate lightly with the right hand.
• During the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, Muslims do not take food from sunrise to sundown. It would be inconsiderate to eat or drink in their presence during this period.
• In deference to the Muslim majority, alcohol is not sold in Brunei, but private consumption by non-Muslims is allowed. Non-Muslim tourists are allowed a generous duty-free allowance of 2 bottles of alcohol (wine, spirits, etc) and 12 cans of beer per entry, and may consume alcohol with sensible discretion in hotels and some restaurants.
Brunie Holidays Empire Hotel
If this article has whetted your appetite about visiting Brunei, then why not contact World of Transport Travel and allow us to tailor-make an ideal visit for you, whether it be part of a multi-stop itinerary, or if you want to spend your entire holiday there.
We have access to great air fares with Royal Brunei, both in Economy and Business Class, as well as those with Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Garuda, so it is perfectly feasible to arrange an itinerary with some decently-priced air tickets.
If you are travelling to Melbourne, for example, please consider Brunei as a stop-over point, either outbound and/or on your return, or add Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, or other cities in the region to visit.
Should you be travelling as a group (minimum of ten adults) to any Royal Brunei destination, there are group rates to be had on air fares, which we can access on your behalf. Equally, if you want accommodation (minimum of ten rooms required for groups), transfers, tours and/or excursions, we should be able to obtain special group rates in Brunei for you.
I hope you have enjoyed our Brunei Holiday Guide and I urge you to take a look at the link provided for Brunei Tourism. Not only does it show you what this nation has to offer, but indeed what I can do for you too.
So, enjoy and I look forward to working with you soon to create your dream vacation to Brunei.
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Fairmont Hotels – Programs & Services

Thank you to all of you that have taken the time to read our Canadian Adventures, in partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

It has been a great opportunity to showcase this amazing group of luxury properties, located in Canada, which has to be one of my favourite holiday destinations of all time.

Where else can you see so much, have such a wide choice of luxury accommodation and at the same time, get great value for money? Canadian hospitality in all Province’s is legendary and being one of the largest countries in the world, it is right up there in many people’s top five destinations of all times; and rightly so, I should add.

Having been lucky enough to visit Canada on many occasions, and have spent time in the likes of Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, I feel confident that I can sell the country to you, without ever having to bat an eyelid. I know that there is so much more to see and do in the country, and my next holiday just has to be Canada.

So, now you have seen five different itineraries, let me work with you to make that holiday or business trip, a really successful one.

As I’ve said all along, each itinerary is an outline of what can be offered. Use it as a framework to plan your trip, add days here and there, remove others, or if time and finances permit, do the whole lot in one amazing journey.

Wherever in the world you reside, I can help you plan your visit every step of the way, from flights, rail travel, car rental, accommodation, tours and excursions, and much more besides.

If you already have your flights booked or want to use frequent flyer points, that is not a problem. I’ll do as little or as much as you want me to, it’s as easy as that. I have no issues in doing part of a job, so long as I get what you want and when you want it (within realms of possibility of course).

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, are a preferred partner, and it would be wrong to start mentioning other partners here. However, I realise that this is not to all readers requirements, or their budget. Therefore, why not contact me to see how I can help you with other accommodation too. I’m here to help you. It’s my job and duty to you, my existing and future clients, and readers alike.

Anyway, back to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Due to space commitments in each article, I was unable to list all of the services and programs offered by this company. Therefore, allow me to go a little more in-depth in to what they offer and how it may help you enjoy your stay at their properties.

FAIRMONT GOLD

Fairmont-Gold-RoomAvailable at select properties, Fairmont Gold – a hotel within a hotel – elevates luxury hospitality to a fine art, delivering an exclusive and personalised experience that exceeds the expectations of the most discerning business and leisure guests. Special privileges include express private check-in and check-out; the home-inspired comforts of the Gold Rooms and Suites; and complimentary breakfast, hors d’oeuvres and honour bar in the private Fairmont Gold Lounge.

GOLF

Fairmont’s Canadian golf destinations are among the most outstanding in the world. Resorts in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec provide challenging, award-winning courses – as well as breathtaking surroundings, from the cliffs of the St. Lawrence River to the majestic Rocky Mountains. as part of Fairmont’s commitment to responsible tourism, they work with the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program to protect the natural environment and minimise harmful maintenance practises.

SPA

Fairmont Spas and Willow Stream Spas, available at select Fairmont properties, are one-of-a-kind sanctuaries that allow guests to slow down, unwind and renew their energy. Each spa is designed to reflect the hotel’s unique surroundings, and rejuvenating treatments tap into local traditions, ingredients and techniques. The result is an authentic experience of the place you are visiting, and a pampering that is second to none.

FAIRMONT LIFESTYLE CUISINE

Fairmont Lifestyle CuisineCreated using fresh and nutritionally balanced ingredients, Fairmont Lifestyle Cuisine dishes contribute to their guests’ optimal health and wellness. Additionally, they are pleased to offer Fairmont’s Lifestyle Cuisine Plus: nutritious meals that cater to guests with specific diet-dependent conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease and coealiac disease) as well as unique dietary preferences (such as macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets).

FAIRMONT PRESIDENT’S CLUB

Fairmont’s President’s Club, their complimentary guest-recognition program, is designed around your passions and what’s important to you, whether it’s food and drink, spa and fitness, or arts and entertainment. Benefits, including dedicated check-in and complimentary health-club access, add to a seamless travel experience. you can also take advantage of member-only events. Why not contact World of Transport Travel if you wish to enrol.

So, now I’ve covered the Fairmont Programs and Services, let me discuss more about what I, Paul Smith, can do for you, to make your visit to Canada one you will remember for a very long time, and for all the good reasons.

FAIRMONT FAMOUS AGENT,(“FFA”)

Wott-PaulSmithYes, that includes me. What exactly does is mean for you though, I hear you ask? Well, simply put, I have stayed in many of the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel properties around the world, and have first-hand experience of exactly what they offer.

It means I can tell you all about the hotel(s) you ask about, and if I haven’t stayed there, I have access to someone in that property who can answer your questions.

As an “FFA” you can use me as your personal “concierge” to book meals, baby sitting, theatres, golf tee times, skiing, and much more. If I book you in to a Fairmont, Raffles or Swissotel hotel anywhere in the world, I can liaise directly with a valued member of staff who can assist me with your requirements, including flowers, champagne and chocolates on arrival, and much more.

Any services that are charged for, will be advised before you book it. Then, arrive at the hotel in the safe knowledge that everything has been taken care of for you.

BOOK FLIGHTS

Based in the UK, we have access to a wide range of great fares originating from most UK departure points, to any destination worldwide, which we gladly offer our clients residing, or departing, from here. However, as I have readers all over the word, I do have access to published fares from your departure point. These may not always be as price-advantageous as some of those you get from your home country, but the service is there if you wish.

I can offer prices in Economy (coach), & where an airline has cabins, in Premium Economy, Business and First Class. Please ask me for details and prices.

With all airlines we book, if you have a frequent flyer membership with a preferred carrier, please provide your membership number at the time of booking. All wholesale and published fares we offer, will receive points for travel (subject to the terms and conditions of the airline(s) operating the flights, so please check with that carrier).

GREAT RATES ON ACCOMMODATION

We have access to great rates at all Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel properties around the world, subject of course, to availability (as much as I’d love to have a magic wand, if the hotel is full, not even I can make more rooms available to you). I access room rates from wholesale suppliers and directly from the hotels.

My wholesale rates can, often, be more advantageous than those booked directly. We can usually get breakfast-inclusive rates, various room categories and more besides. However, these wholesale rates do not permit frequent guest points to be accumulated. If this is not an issue, then great, we can offer some great deals, but if points are important, then we need to work on the direct hotel rates, which are still good value, but need to be paid for by a debit or credit card (advance purchase rates may require you pay for the room at the time of booking, many months ahead if you book early, and there are no changes permitted).

If you are a member of the Fairmont President’s Club, or have an airline frequent flyer membership for a Fairmont partner airline, I’ll need to have the membership number when making a reservation.

CAR RENTAL

For all our clients, I deal with a wide range of car rental firms, and can offer some really competitive rates. Whether you are on leisure or corporate travel, I will always offer you the best rates, but if you have a particular rental company you prefer to use, just let me know.

TRANSFERS

If the thought of driving to your hotel doesn’t install you with enthusiasm, then fear not. I can arrange for a chauffeur or shared service, right to and from your hotel. If there’s a group of you travelling, don’t worry, as I’ll source out whatever is needed to do the job at hand.

LOCAL TOURS AND EXCURSIONS

Tell me what you want, and I will try to book it for you. It’s as easy as that.

CONCIERGE SERVICE

For those little extras in life, be it a birthday, an anniversary, or simply a “thank you”, let me know what you want to book, and I’ll liaise with the hotel to get what you want done.

GROUPS AND CONFERENCES

I can be your one point of contact for all your group and conference needs. I’m able to work with the property(s) of your choice and get everything booked to your requirements. It’s not rocket science, just my attention to detail that makes sure your conference plans go smoothly, or your group is looked after to your standards. For groups of ten or more guests, we can get special rates on airline and rail travel, and hotels will do the same for ten or more rooms. If it’s less than that, do not worry, approach me and I’ll see what can be done.

Don’t forget, a group can be for business or pleasure. You may have a special reunion that you are wanting to book, a work social, or even a large or extended family. It all works and I’ll work with you too. If there are children and/or infants in your party, please advise me of the number of each, and their ages (infants are two or under at the time of travel, and children – for flight purposes – are children up to the age of eleven. for accommodation only, it varies, so let me know their ages).

I really look forward to working with you, and it is my pleasure to assist you, your family, friends and work colleagues with all your travel needs.

So, let World of Transport Travel take the pain and strain out of your travel plans, whilst you get on with enjoying your travels to, well, wherever it is you want to travel.

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Top Ten Reasons To Travel To The Far East

If you are thinking of travelling to the Far East for your next holiday you might like to read our top 10 reasons for visiting the region!

I’m sure we would all agree that every traveller has a different idea of what makes a perfect holiday, but the diversity of Thailand, for example, has the ingredients to ticket all of these boxes.

Top10 Reasons to visit the Far EastExotic and exciting, read on for World of Transport Travel’s ten reasons why we recommend the Far East as a travel destination.

1. Cities
Some of the world’s most modern and, dynamic and lively cities are located East. Metropolises like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Bangkok are home to glittering skyscrapers balanced with traditional pagodas and temples.

At the opposite end of the scale is Brunei’s tiny capital or the UNESCO World Heritage Luang Prabang in Laos, where the sound of monk’s footsteps replaces the beep of car horns and the houses are low-rise, low-key French villas.

2. Spa and Wellness
Spa-based pampering is an essential offering in many destinations these days, but the Far East has the added benefit of being the original home of many of the treatments. This is where visitors will find some of the most indulgent, calming spas in the world, as well as experts in massage, beauty and ancient therapies and a healthy balanced diet that is never boring.

3. Adventure & Action
The oceans and jungles in this region are rife with thrilling opportunities. some of the world’s best scuba diving can be found in places like Borneo and the Andaman Sea and other water sports like sailing and kayaking are well catered for too. Trekkers can test their endurance on landscapes ranging from the cool heights of smoking volcanoes to the steamy depths of the jungle; and activities range from sedate elephant trekking to hair-raising rock climbing or white water rafting.

4. Eating
Deliciously diverse, the Far East is home to many favourite dishes and cuisine. Think Thai green curry, Chinese dim sum, Japanese sushi, Vietnamese spring rolls and Malaysian laksa soup. Best of all, you don’t have to book into a Michelin-starred restaurant to find it (although there are plenty of them too). some of the region’s best eating establishments are found on simple street stalls.

10 Reasons to Visit the Far East - Food5. Accommodation
The Far East now boasts some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts found anywhere, whether they are global home grown brands like Banyan Tree, Mandarin Oriental, or international names such as Fairmont and Raffles, or even small-scale boutique properties. But no matter what budget you’re working with, there’s always something to fit, and you can be virtually assured that prices will be fair and affordable.

6. Nature & Wildlife
Pristine areas of natural beauty abound in the Far East. Marine parks shelter endangered turtles, coral and other rare sea creatures.; whilst forests and misty mountains hide a host of wildlife, some of which can only be found in Asia – such as orang-utans, pandas, komodo dragons and pygmy elephants.

7. Value for Money
High quality meals, luxury spa treatments, expertly-guided experiences and even hotels often come at a lower price than visitors would expect in the Far East. With the suppliers I work with, they believe in offering good vale for money, and often include complimentary extras that you would have to pay a lot of money in other parts of the world.

8. People & Culture
With such an array of religions and customs amongst its people, the Far East has always fascinated the West. Colourful dress, opulent architecture and exotic music and art all makes for a unique experience, but it’s the warm and welcoming people that keep visitors coming back.

9. Service
Hospitality and generosity are not just standards to aim for in the Far East, the are often the founding principles of the local culture. Tourists will find themselves treated as highly-valued guests, with courtesy, attention to detail and cleanliness being the hallmark of hotel customer service.

10. Sun & Sand
This is a formula that rarely wears thin and is usually at least some part of a holiday markers itinerary. The Far East has beaches in abundance and fantastic weather year-round. Choices range from luxury island retreats to rustic, secluded shores, surfing centres, and even urban beaches.

Top Ten Reasons to visit the Far EastIf this article has whetted your appetite for a visit to the Far East, why not let World of Transport Travel work with you to design your ideal getaway. Should you be planning a business itinerary, then I can very much help plan it and ensure you get the most from your precious time away.

I have access to some excellent tour operators and can arrange practically anything you need, within the realms of feasibility. I can tailor-make something your needs, or bolt together a tour or two, along with some downtime, to relax and enjoy some amazing destinations.

If your budget extends to it, I have access to Business and First Class air fares, as well as Premium Economy (where offered), and can arrange accommodation from budget to deluxe. Oh, and if rail travel takes your fancy, we also offer the likes of the The Eastern & Oriental Express, which runs from Bangkok to Singapore, and vice versa. A truly splendid way to see the amazing countryside and indulge in an era gone by. The service is simply amazing and if you have ever been on the Orient Express, you will already have a great idea of what to expect.

Should however, you need only flights and/or accommodation, or ground arrangements throughout your stay, then I can assist with this too, as nothing is too small or too big to handle.

If you require visas, I deal with an excellent visa and passport service, and with their knowledge of what is required, we are sure to be of assistance, for leisure and business purposes.

Do take a look at the other articles on the Far East I have produced, as it may well assist you in making up your mind as to what you would like to see first; or, if you have been before, then where to go next.

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