PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES... AND AN EXPLORATION OF UNIQUE TRANSPORTATION EXCURSIONS | Yampu Tours

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With the onset of Spring, warm weather and longer days, more of us are getting outside and thinking about that next trip. We want to move and delight in the rejuvenation of life – it’s our mental wake up from a long winter. How will you travel? While usually we focus on the “where” to go next, today we focus on “how” you can get around during your next adventure. Everything from “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” to exploring waterways and riding the backs of elephants.

Flights

Planes can be used to avoid tough/long crossings and have the benefit of having an aerial view of your destination. This is true when traveling to Antarctica, Costa Rica and Belize. Of course it’s also a wonderful option to view unique sights like the Nazca Lines in Peru, the famed Victoria Falls in South Africa or to see wildlife while on safari or the mystique of the temples of Myanmar. Read more about these options in our “Bird’s Eye View” blog.

Want a wow journey?
Book window seats

Book window seats

on these flights in South America! Take in these spectacular sites you will never forget:

  • Iguazu Falls
  • The Andes Mountains, passing near Aconcagua, the highest mountain peak in the Americas
  • Fly right over the third largest ice cap in the world on the way to Chilean Patagonia
  • The archipelago of the Galapagos Islands
  • The driest place on Earth: the Atacama Desert. Scenery that looks a bit like the surface of Mars.
  • Spot the extraordinary scene of “The Meeting of the Waters” in Brazil’s Amazon, so named for the coming together of Rio Negro and Rio Solimões, two different rivers of two very different colors, which meet but do not mix.
  • Brazil’s spectacular coastline, including the landmarks of Ipanema and Copacabana.

Ballooning over Bagan in Myanmar

Take the unique opportunity to see one of the most remarkable sites in Asia, as you drift over the enchanting landscape dotted with ancient temples. The magic of Bagan has inspired visitors for many centuries and Marco Polo once described it as ‘one of the finest sights in the world’. Riding in a hot air balloon allows you a spectacular vantage point of this celebrated landscape. A portion from each flight is donated to community programs that benefit the local population. Drift over a panorama of ancient pagodas scattered below. These fabulous spires begin to glow with the dawn and then blaze with vibrant color as the sun rises over the far horizon. See long lines of red-robed monks weaving through the streets collecting early morning alms and children delighted at the sight of a hot air balloon waving up at you.

Ballooning over Bagan in Myanmar
Plane ride to the Chilean Antarctic Region

Plane ride to the Chilean Antarctic Region

Experience the immense silence of Antarctica and witness from a privileged view this spectacular destination. Choose between a day flight and an overnight journey from Punta Arenas. Touch down and walk around exploring the continent and return to your hotel for the night. Expand the journey to a 2 day trip and include an overnight in a tent on the ice! Have an adventurous spirit and a willingness to rough-it for a night? Sleeping on the ice in Antarctica is the ultimate camping experience! Contact us to learn more about this add-on trip.

Rail Journeys

Enjoy the luxury of taking the time to truly experience a magical part of the world by enjoying the leisurely pace of travel by train. There are some extraordinary trains that let you explore the world from this unique perspective. From south-east Asia’s Eastern and Oriental Express to epic journeys through Africa, journeying through North India in the style of the Maharajas, passing by colorful villages in the foothills of the Andes, to hair-raising trips through the volcanoes of Ecuador and traversing through a beautiful and rugged series of canyons in Mexico, Yampu offers a variety of wonderful train excursions.  Read more about a few of our favorites in our “Rail Journeys” blog.

Eastern and Oriental Express, south-east Asia

From the ancient Khmer temples, to Malaysian tea plantations and the vineyards of modern Thailand, our expert guides will introduce you to the sights and sounds of South-East Asia that other travelers rarely witness.

Eastern and Oriental Express, south-east Asia

“As the shining domes of 21st-century downtown Bangkok receded into the distance we passed tiny shacks, families tucking into rice and vegetables and groups of waving children so close we could almost touch them. Quite what they made of us – champagne glasses in hand – was anyone’s guess. Later on, in the piano bar, as the sights, sounds and scents of south-east Asia flashed by, one of the female passengers delivered a splendid rendition of Lady in Red. Ties were loosened, inhibitions shed; the train’s general manager revealed that these carriages had been the setting for proposals, a wedding, and ‘lots and lots of indiscretions’. I had a feeling that there had already been one or two on this journey.”– London Telegraph

The details

The classic route for this train, which was inspired by Shanghai Express, the 1932 film starring Marlene Dietrich, is the 1,255-mile journey from Bangkok to Singapore (or vice versa), with stops at the Bridge on the River Kwai and Penang (the jewel of the Orient).

Ecuador’s Train Routes

The Devil’s Nose Route is, without a doubt, the most impressive section of Ecuador’s railway: a hair-raising trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes departing from the town of Alausi to the town of Simbambe on the way down to the Coastal Region. Over a dozen volcanoes, some active, most dormant or effectively extinct, line the route and their mainly lush, cultivated slopes are typically capped by jagged cloud-swept craters.

Ecuador's Train Routes

“For most passengers, the journey’s climax is navigating the Devil’s Nose. It was this pronounced wall of rock in the Chanchan Valley that proved the greatest obstacle to the railway’s builders. In this short stretch the train climbs around 500 vertical metres. Reversing spurs of track proved the only effective solution, but it’s the narrowness and steepness of the valley ‒ which the locomotive tackles almost gingerly ‒ that lend it drama and put the verve into vertiginous.” – Lonely Planet

Take a Vintage train trip through different times and spaces of Ecuadorian history on the Tren Crucero. The landscapes, the whisper of the volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, the picturesque colors of the coast and the astonishing lines of the valleys, the equatorial sunshine, the kindness of its people, all this is a real lifetime experience.

New Train Journey Explores Crossroads of Otavalo

New Train Journey Explores Crossroads of Otavalo

Called Tren de la Libertad (Freedom Train), the new route highlights landscapes in and around Otavalo, a market town rife with produce, animals, textiles and handicrafts as well as the smiles and chatter of its mainly indigenous people, the Quichua. Since pre-Inca days, Otavalo has been an important crossroads to the Andes; now this is where 28 guests may access the train for a high-altitude adventure pulled by a modern electro-diesel locomotive.

Hot Wheels

One of the things we love best about traveling to new countries is experiencing the local modes of transportation. Read more about our favorites in our “Hot Wheels” blog.

Tuk-tuks

Taking a ride in one is something everyone should experience. Tuk-tuks are the local taxis, and the easiest way to get around Siem Reap in Cambodia. Take short trips anywhere in the main city and arrange for guided excursions for a full day to visit all the area temples. Tip the driver well and have a friend for life, plus an eager tour guide who will show you the best of Siem Reap.

Tuk-tuks
Tuk-tuks

Explore the temples of Angkor Wat by tuk-tuk and then venture further out by rickshaw, to visit Preah Khan. This extensive monastic complex, which covers over 130 acres, was built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a monastery and teaching complex.

Continue to visit Ta Prohm, the temple that has been left largely in its natural state since its re-discovery by the French. Surrounded by jungle, it remains a labyrinth of stone hallways that have become overgrown with roots and limbs of massive banyan trees, which envelope the stone like tentacles.

Uyuni Salt Flats Crossing with Deluxe Camper

The salt flats of Uyuni are arguably one of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in the world. Here the salt flats, the biggest salt lakes in the world, stretch for 12,000 square kilometers. Enjoy a unique crossing staying overnight aboard a deluxe airstream camper.

During the evenings your guide, driver and chef will transfer to the nearest village leaving you with a radio and satellite phone in case of emergencies. This allows the most intimate experience possible in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.

4x4 journey across the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia
Safari Jeeps

Safari Jeeps

If you’re planning an African safari (or just dreaming about it), you’re sure to experience a jeep safari ride. Take in a typicalsundowner in the bush of South Africa. If it’s your first night, a toast with champagne occurs – then 2 minutes later when getting back in the jeep, see lions walk by!.

Located in the north-east region of South Africa lies Kruger National Park, one of the world’s largest. Covering an impressive territory of over 7,500 square miles, the park encompasses a large diversity of wildlife including Africa’s largely sought Big Five. Yampu itineraries offer safaris and explorations from some of the best lodges located in Kruger National Park.

Singita Kruger National Park

The people, service, and warmth of this lodge are not to be missed. Yampu’s Sales Manager, Karolina, saw 4 out of the big 5 on her first day here! Book with Yampu and receive a 4th night free!

Singita Kruger National Park

And speaking of transport, in addition to taking a safari trip in a Singita jeep, take a ride on an elephant at the Elephant sanctuary in Kruger.

 

Animal rides

The chance to ride on an elephant can be found throughout much of Asia as well as Africa. However, the opportunity to ride camels, is a unique experience for exploring the desert of Egypt.

ride on an elephant
exploring the desert of Egypt

See the great Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx, one of the great Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Or drive by Land Cruiser vehicle through the desert, come close to the Bedouins life and enjoy the nature of the desert. Lunch at a Bedouin tent then enjoy a camel ride along the beach.

Horseback ride from lodge to lodge in the Andean mountain range of Peru

Enjoy an exciting ride following the ancient Inca trail, the Salkantay. This less traveled route travels through the Cordillera Vilcabama, a beautiful Andean mountain range, and down into the forested canyons below. During the days, horseback riding is highlighted by pristine landscapes including emerald-green glacial lakes and jetting mountain peaks. During the evenings, rejuvenate by staying at luxury lodges located along the trail.

Horseback ride from lodge to lodge in the Andean mountain range of Peru
Cruises/Waterways

Expedition cruising or soft-adventure cruising to places like the Amazon, Patagonia, Antarctica and the Galapagos is a travel trend Yampu embraces. Enjoy a level of comfort and sophistication of cruising with more food options, and cabins with balconies and suite accommodations to places such as the Peruvian Amazon. Voyages in the Indian Ocean, including Thailand, Myanmar (Bagan) and more seldom-visited places such as the Chobe River in Botswana, are new options sparking great interest. Read about some of our favorites in our “Cruising the Waterways of the World” blog.

River Cruising in Myanmar

Let Yampu Tours introduce you to Myanmar by cruising gently along the Ayeyarwady River. Enjoy the sights and scents of this culturally-dense country from a unique perspective. The Ayeyarwady has remained unchanged in decades. Riversides are dotted with a myriad of white and golden pagodas along the meandering Irawaddy. People and traditions remain defiantly unaltered by modernity. Departing from the royal city of Mandalay, these cruises visit a variety of destinations offering a survey of Myanmar through its historical monuments, religious sanctuaries and local villages and people.

“It’s a journey where the scenery includes dense jungle-clad riverbanks, grand gorges, endless rice paddies and snapshots of rural life being played out along the riverbank, including the occasional glimpse of saffron-clad neophyte monks bound for temples.” – London Telegraph

The ancient capital of Bagan, with temple-peppered plains, more than 3,000 pagodas and the world’s largest reclining Buddha, is simply unmissable.

River Cruisiing in Myanmar
Heritage Line Launch Special

Heritage Line Launch Special

Announcing the launch of the Anawrahta in mid-September with 2 inaugural cruises and then regular schedules in October. Special inaugural savings offered on cruises booked with deposit by 6/30/15. Relive the days of the old Burma in a treasure-filled expedition through the Land of Gold. A fusion of Burmese tradition and British Colonial elegance. All staterooms have balconies; a luxury spa is on-board as well as a doctor for any medical needs.

The Mekong, south-east Asia

Some of the world’s most exotic and fascinating destinations are touched by the Mekong, which rises in the Tibetan Plateau and runs through China’s Yunnan province, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying in the South China Sea. Some of Southeast Asia’s best destinations can be reached on a boat through the Mekong including Siam Reap for the Angkor Wat ruins and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s cosmopolitan metropolis.

The Mekong, south-east Asia
rural communities

“The route is full of thriving cities, rural communities, floating villages such as Kompong Luong, floating markets and endless rice paddies, pagodas and temples” – Douglas Ward

Galapagos Islands

Experience the magic of the enchanted Galapagos Islands 625 miles from the mainland of Ecuador on the Cormorant andOcean Spray Catamarans.

Galapagos Islands

Admire mysterious creatures like the armies of marine iguanas, flightless cormorant birds, Galapagos penguins, Darwin’s finches, and several others species endemic to this paradise while enjoying first class service, gourmet meals, multilingual naturalist guides, and spacious and beautifully decorated touring vessels.

10% Discount  for 2015 (except Christmas and New Year departures)

Ask us about the special “Women only Galapagos cruise” in October (OCT 18-25 2015) and the new yacht “ORIGIN” due to launch in January, 2016.

Galapagos Islands

Kayaking

Looking to get a little closer to nature? Why not try a kayak trip. Escape bigger (and often times louder) boats and navigate canals and channels that are too narrow for them, commandeering far more of the tranquility and wildlife for yourself.

PhangNga Bay, Thailand

PhangNga Bay, Thailand

Cruise by boat to PhangNga Bay to view the fascinating land and seascape. Limestone cliffs rise vertically from the sea creating an image of such stunning surreality that it seems drawn from local myth. Kayak to visit the tidal caves and washouts, locally called “hongs”, which are part of the incredible limestone karst formations. Spend time at sunset to paddle kayaks, swim, relax or make a “krathong” to float on the water after dark and view the stars.

Sea Kayaking in Antarctica

Experience the ice, wildlife and sea life up close and personal in an intimate setting. While previous experience and basic kayaking skills are required, typically everything needed for your kayaking adventure is provided. Kayaking is done in small groups, typically led by a qualified Kayak guide with cold water experience. Ask about including this excursion on the Sea Explorer.

Kayaking in Antarctica
Bridges

Awhile back the BBC did a story on beautiful and bizarre bridges that led us to think about our personal favorites. “Many bridges are the archetype of urban blight, essential yet uninspired.” They identified “fantastic structures that double as art”, as we do here.

Myanmar

Myanmar
U Bein Bridge at Amarapura

U Bein Bridge at Amarapura

The longest wooden bridge in Myanmar crosses the
Taungthaman Lake and is curved to withstand the
wind & waves. We also love this teak bridge spotted in the lake during sunset.

Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, Brazil

Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, was built from scratch in 1960, in record time of four years. To build a capital city in the deserted center of the country had always been a Brazilian dream, but it was made reality by Juscelino Kubitschek, elected President in 1955. The nerve center of all administrative and political decisions, this futuristic city symbolizes Brazil’s unity and modernity – the famous “Foundation Stone” of the Brazilian continent. Check out one of our Complete Brazil Tours which includes a visit to this great city.

JuscelinoKubitschek Bridge, Brazil

Jericoacoara Rock Bridge, Brazil

Jericoacoara Rock Bridge, Brazil

On Brazil’s coastal paradise is a remote village secluded from the hustle and anxiety of the modern world. Still a rather small fishing village and an off-the-beaten-path beach destination, Jericoacoara is known as an ideal location for relaxing, enjoying the coastal wildlife, and wind-surfing. And of course, this natural rock bridge!

Bloukran's Bridge, Garden Route, South Africa

Bloukran’s Bridge, Garden Route, South Africa

The Garden Route was originally named after the vineyards, orchards and agricultural areas that used to sit between the Karoo Desert and the coast. Now it is more recognized for the forests, coastline, beaches, marine life & game reserves as well as the picturesque towns and villages along the way. And it includes a journey over Bloukran’s Bridge.

Bridge over the River Kwai, Thailand

With a deep history pertaining to WWII and an inherent natural beauty, Kanchanaburi will impress history buffs and nature lovers alike. Under the rule of the Imperial Japanese Army, prisoners of war from the United States, Australia, Thailand and Holland were pressed into forced labor squads that created the area’s historical landmarks from that era, including the famous bridge over the River Kwai, the Death Railway and Hellfire Pass.

Bridge over the River Kwai, Thailand
Canopy Walk in the Peruvian Jungle

Canopy Walk in the Peruvian Jungle

After ascending the first tower at the Canopy Inkaterra Interpretation Center, 30 meters above the forest floor, literally walk through the treetops for one and a half hours along suspension bridges that link eight observation platforms. Enjoy landscapes that would be unimaginable from below, while on the lookout for giant strangler fig trees, orchids, toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys or sloths.

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Would you like to learn more about any of the destinations we’ve highlighted in this newsletter? Schedule a webinar with a Yampu expert

We invite you to let Yampu customize your trip of a lifetime!

Co-founders Monica and Jose Irauzqui

Co-founders Monica and Jose Irauzqui

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