Greetings from Thailand!
Though may not know this about me, I kinda like to travel...but at the moment I must say it feels very good to be back home and in one place for a while. It's yet another of travel's many gifts - you appreciate home so much more when you've been away for a while 🙂
From the comforts of my familiar chair in my office I've been digging into our New Member Questionnaire, and as with the last few months, we're getting more questions about linking trips together to maximize a trip out of the country.
I think many travellers are opting for fewer but longer trips in light of travel being a bit more challenging than it used to be, and generally I think if you can take the extra time, it makes a lot of sense.
That travel returned this year was a blessing for us all, but there's no doubt it's less smooth and more stressful than it was before we all found out what a pandemic is. Masks, apps, vaccines, luggage mishaps, staff shortages...it's definitely smoother now than it was earlier this year, but some turbulence persists and probably will for a while yet.
Somewhere there's a formula where x hours on plane + y hours of jet lag * z amount of hassle = the number of days of feet on ground to make it worth the effort of moving at all. I don't know the exact numbers here but it's a general guideline we use when we put things together, especially to the further flung spots.
This was the thinking behind both our Mekong and Vietnam: Land of the Ascending Dragon (new this week) programs, which can be done back-to-back to take full advantage of the relatively long flight over to Southeast Asia.
Vietnam I think flies under the radar for many travellers; they stop in Ho Chi Minh at the end of a Mekong program and depart without taking a look at the beautiful beaches and charming towns toward the north.
People in the West who haven't been to Vietnam have had most of their ideas toward the country conditioned through the lens of the Vietnam War and Hollywood's subsequent appropriation of it.
I'll state the obvious and say there is far more to the country than that, from its stunning natural beauty to its fascinating French colonial history, and the hardy and energetic character of its resilient people. We'll get all that and more immediately following our Mighty Mekong program, when we'll head from Saigon to Hoi An and make our way north, exploring Hue, Hanoi, and Ninh Binh along the way.
After a week on the river I think the shift in pace will be a nice change, and, like most places, I think you have to go beyond the largest city to really capture the essence of the land and her people. And for those who've perhaps done the Mekong already, it's a great opportunity to return for a second, more immersive experience of Vietnam. Do take a look at the itinerary in your newsletter should you be interested.
In other things to come, we've got three webinars to go before Christmas, all of which you can find below. First up is one for another sailing of our Adriatic Coast program, followed by our Galapagos Program, and rounded out by our long-awaited Ireland program.
That's all happening within 10 days of one another because we will be closing from Dec 22 - Jan 3, as I mentioned in last week's newsletter. After the Christmas break we'll soon be on to 2024 program releases, so stay tuned if you're planning things a bit further ahead. They're coming!
Of course the other thing of course happening after Christmas is our Koh Samui LiveAway, which I'll be turning my full attention to very shortly. I hope you're well and finding time to relax amid the frenetic holiday proceedings, and if you would like to get in touch with us regarding our trips or otherwise, please do so before the 22nd so we can get back to you promptly.