Author Archive

Gems of the Mekong, South East Asia

From its source on the Tibetan Plateau in China, the Mekong River runs a 4,350km journey through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and culminates at the Mekong Delta close to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam.  The Mekong is a vital source for all the countries that touch it and life on its banks has not changed for thousands of years. Indeed, it’s delta is known as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’.

San Francisco Calling – Catherina Van Coillie

Travel is in Catherina Van Coillie’s blood, taking her across the globe from her native Belgium. Her latest ‘home’ is the city of San Francisco, where she guides visitors around the city’s many cultural sights and beyond. 

Taking the Open Road in the USA

Is there a place on earth that can beat the vast expanse and wild beauty of the USA for a totally unforgettable road trip?  We’re not sure there is.  Road trips are becoming increasingly more popular with couples and families and there is no better way to switch off from the stress of work and mundanity of everyday life, than to drive through this mammoth country, with the windows down (and preferably roof off), the wind blowing through your hair as you sing along with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.  In the USA, you are spoilt for choice with awe-inspiring rock formations, immense national parks and rugged coastal roads.  Everything here happens on a huge scale; not only the vast open road and seemingly endless horizons, but the cars themselves and the portions served in the restaurants along the way.

7 of the Best Luxury Maldives Resorts

Each and every breath-taking Maldivian island has a distinct character; the sparkling cobalt ocean, sandy white beaches and laid-back lifestyle make these islands near enough to paradise on earth.

The Maldivian islands are home to some of the best resorts in the world. So whether you want a thrilling week enjoying water sports or a relaxing and revitalising spa session, the Maldives can provide the very best, it’s just a case of knowing where to look.

Red Savannah’s Indian Ocean expert, Melissa Matthews, takes a look at the best Maldives resorts for each and every holiday.

It’s not often that one sheds a tear when saying goodbye to people who were strangers only four days earlier, but when leaving Clayoquot Wilderness Retreat on Vancouver Island I found myself doing just that.  The strangers (both staff and fellow guests) had become like family instantly and whilst four days at this incredible resort feels like a lifetime, it flew by all too quickly.

Not many people need a reason to travel to Vietnam, but for those who are still deliberating two big changes have occurred that make it even more accessible:

  • Citizens of U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy no longer need a visa to visit Vietnam if staying for less than 15 days.
  • Vietnam Airlines has introduced direct flights on certain days of the week from London to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). This is the only airline that flies direct from the UK and the prices are extremely competitive.

Maldives Holidays – Underwater Firsts

Renowned for its sparkling sapphire waters, pure white sand and gentle, warm climate, the Maldives enjoys an enviable pace of life in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, attracting couples and families to its blissful shores. As stunning below the waves as it is from above, the warm Indian Ocean sparkles with thousands of vividly coloured fish that live among the vibrant coral beneath the surface.

Our Maldives expert, Melissa Matthews, takes a look at life beneath the waves and, in particular, at three of the Maldives’ ‘world’s firsts’:

Xin Chao Hanoi!

The northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi is home to a plethora of intoxicating smells, colour and sounds.  An hour after leaving the airport, a cacophony of noise erupts with the hooting of car horns and beeping of mopeds as they speed around in their droves like a scene from Quadrophenia.  Chaos reigns but somehow there seem to be unwritten rules of the road ingrained in the locals as they meander freely and skilfully around each other.

Beyond the Temples at Angkor Wat

You have to fly over the Angkor heritage site to appreciate its vast size. The site covers some 400 km2 and six hundred years of Khmer empire building leaving as evidence an enormous complex of Buddhist and Hindu temples, monuments and deserted cities. Several days are required to even begin to do justice to the ‘top sights’ of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei and Preah Khan. Angkor Wat alone has walls extending almost half a mile; the largest religious monument in the world covers 500 acres. Though utterly absorbing, you would be forgiven for feeling a little ‘templed out’ after a day or two. There is much to see and do, however, to break the temple visits. Our Cambodia specialist, Melissa Matthews, explores Siem Reap and its environs to offer alternatives to the temples:

Match-Making in the Maldives

You’d be forgiven for believing that one Maldivian island is much like another, with sparkling cobalt ocean lapping the shores of ubiquitous white sandy beaches draped with palm trees. Not so, according to our Maldives holidays specialist, Melissa Matthews, who firmly believes that each island has its own distinct personality. “There’s a lot of competition between the islands to carve out their own individual raison d’être and so it’s worth doing a bit of research before booking a holiday to the Maldives to make sure you don’t end up on a party island when all you want is a bit of peace and quiet, for example.”