There are many ways to explore the vast array of destinations all over our wonderful planet but if you really want to see your chosen place up close and personal then the best way has to be on a walking tour. Whether you enjoy a more gentle walk averaging three hours daily or more challenging hikes through mountainous terrain we, together with our Travel Partner, Mercury Holidays, can make your dream come true. The tours are designed with the walking enthusiast in mind and we will have something to suit your walking style.
Walking Trails through Vietnam – Leisurely pace – 9 days
Wander through terraced rice paddies and palm-clad hills as you follow northern Vietnam’s scenic rural walking trails, visiting the majestic Hieu Waterfall, remote village settlements, Pu Luong Nature Reserve and spectacular Ninh Binh.
The tour commences in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam which is one of the most ancient capitals in the world. It is located on the banks of the red River and is a great place to explore on foot and here you can enjoy a guided walking tour of the city’s cultural sites, visiting the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, One Pillar Pagoda and Old Quarter where you will explore this bustling commercial centre on a cyclo, a three-wheel bicycle tax. You will see well persevered colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums within the city centre and this French-colonial city is also known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, silks and handicrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences.
Leaving Hanoi to take a scenic drive through the Vietnamese countryside to the rural city of Mai Chau, passing rice paddies and sugar cane fields. Enjoy lunch in a traditional Thai stilt house then begin your walk to Pom Coong village where you’ll have the chance to explore the village. Follow gravel tracks and small paths used by the locals and soak in the verdant, rugged mountain scenery as you observe daily village life.
The following day the walk follows flat, local roads to Xo Village, passing tropical rainforests and rippling corn fields as you journey through the Mai Chau Valley. Gain fascinating insight into local life as you encounter villagers herding buffalo, tilling the fields and logging. Arrive in Xo Village for lunch then continue on for another hour, taking in incredible scenery and lush greenery before arriving at your endpoint where your bus will carry you back to Mai Chau.
The following day you will be transferred to Pu Luong Nature Reserve via a breath-taking mountain pass which offers panoramic views of the valley. Pu Luong, meaning ‘highest peak of the village’, is an area of outstanding beauty boasting palm-clad hills, terraced rice paddies and small, sleepy settlements. On arrival at your retreat nestled in the middle of the reserve, where you can enjoy lunch and some free time to enjoy your tranquil setting. In the afternoon, travel by bus to a suspension bridge over the Cham River, where you begin your walk in search of the mighty water wheels dotted along the river’s length. Get an up-close look at the handmade bamboo water wheels and discover how water is moved from the river to these skilfully crafted aqueducts. Continue on to a local fisherman’s house and board a river raft for a guided trip along the Cham River. Sail at a leisurely pace down the river before arriving at the Tan Lap Bridge, where towering trees rise from the river to form a tunnel of greenery and where you will be transferred back to your hotel.
Next morning, descend into the beautiful valley facing the retreat. Walk past cascading rice terraces and along small paths shrouded in vegetation as a picturesque village reveals itself at the base of a towering mountain. Continue to the base of the valley, weaving between roads, farmland, wild fields and ponds until you reach a scenic spot where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. After your meal, enjoy some free time to explore the village and observe local daily life before joining your transfer back to the retreat.
The following day you will be transferred to Bang Village, the starting point of your walk to Kho Muong Village. Set out on your walk, reaching an excellent vantage point which provides magnificent views. Carry onward into the village which surrounded by a huge mountain range and visit a local family to learn more about their lifestyle and culture. After a picnic lunch and a stroll around the village, visit the nearby bat cave where you’ll have the chance to explore its depths and encounter its resident bats if you choose (proper shoes and torch are required). Journey onward through a picturesque natural reserve as you head to Dong Dieng village where you will be picked up and transfer back to your hotel.
After breakfast on your penultimate day a coach carries you to the province of Ninh Binh, home to some of Vietnam’s most impressive limestone scenery. En route, stop to take photographs of local villages and spectacular rural landscapes before lunch at a local restaurant before checking in at your hotel. This afternoon, board a traditional ‘sampan’ wooden boat and glide through the water, admiring the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields on the water’s edge, giving rise to the area’s other name – ‘Halong on Land’. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the area around your hotel or relax before the night’s farewell dinner marks the end of your Vietnamese adventure and prepare for the flight home the following day.
Walking Rajasthan’s Cultural Paths – Fuller walking days – 10 days
Explore bustling Delhi and the tranquil villages of rural Rajasthan on this leisurely walking tour of India’s historic monuments, grand forts and scenic country trails, enjoying a wildlife safari through Sariska Tiger Reserve along the way.
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Delhi – on arriving the following day you will have a free day to relax and settle in before re-joining your group for the welcome dinner.
Delhi is India’s capital territory, a vast metropolitan area in the country’s north where ancient and modern blend seamlessly together and a symbol of the country’s rich past and thriving present. It was just over a century ago that the British moved the seat of their empire from Kolkata to Delhi making it the capital of India and with a history that goes back many centuries Delhi showcases an ancient culture and a rapidly modernising country. The seat of many powerful empires in the past its long history can be traced in its many carefully-preserved monuments, ancient forts and tombs – Delhi is very much a history’s child.
Departing Delhi by coach, you will travel into the state of Rajasthan arriving in the town of Neemrana for lunch after which you will set out on foot as you make your way to the town’s incredible 18th-century stepwell, a nine-storey structure dug into the ground. Walk through the streets of Neemrana and soak in the sights and sounds of daily life before returning to your hotel.
The following morning you will drive to the village of Narnaul, a hidden gem peppered with medieval era monuments. Start with a visit to Chor Gumbad, an ancient tomb which later became a hideout for thieves, earning it the name ‘chor’ or ‘thief’. From here, walk toward the palace of Birbal ka Chatta and the ancient Tombs of Shah Vilayat, Ibrahim Khan Suri and Pri Turkman. Continue on to the Tripolia gateway and admire its intricately engraved walls before ending your tour at the palace of Jal Mahal, built in the centre of a water reservoir. Drive back to Neemrana for the evening.
Depart Neemrana and travel to Kesroli, a sleepy village known for the fantastic fort that lies in its centre. Take a leisurely walk through the village and its surrounding fields, giving you the chance to experience rural India at its finest. Return to your hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure.
Drive to nearby Alwar and explore the city on foot, stopping first at the majestic City Palace and its adjoining museum. Browse through the relics on display which range from ancient weapons to historic manuscripts. Next, take in the ornate architecture of the palace of Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri before lunch at a local restaurant. After your meal, take a scenic walk to the city outskirts then upwards into the Aravali hills where you’ll reach the imposing fort of Bala Quila. Return by coach to your hotel in Kesroli.
Journey to the Sariska Tiger Reserve, a vast protected area that is home to India’s regal Bengal tiger. Embark on a thrilling jeep safari through the reserve as you look out for the multitude of animals found within its borders, including tigers, leopards, hyenas, jackals and more. Enjoy an overnight stay in luxury tents, surrounded by nature.
After breakfast, drive to a picnic area for lunch in the picturesque surrounds of Sariska then start your walk to Bhangarh Fort. Pass through peaceful villages and verdant fields as you follow country roads to Bhairo temple, where you can stop to explore its sacred interior. Continue along a narrow trail, used mostly by shepherds, arriving at the fort for the chance to wander around its passageways and palace, which locals believe to be haunted. Travel back to your hotel by coach, re-joining your group later for a farewell dinner before flying home the following day.
Exhilarating treks though Peru and the Nepalese Himalayas
Lima, Cusco and the Inca Trail – 9 days
Trek past idyllic farming villages, ancient archaeological sites and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes as you make your way along Inca trails to the breath-taking ruins of Machu Picchu.
Depart the UK on your scheduled, overnight flight to Lima, via Bogota where on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Lima, the capital of Peru, founded in 1535 is a fascinating city and a treasure trove of history with ancient Incan archaeological sites, elegant cathedrals and opulent palaces dating from Spanish colonial times. Although its colonial centre has been preserved, it is a bustling metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities and after Cairo, is the second-driest world capital However, the arrival of modernity hasn’t transformed the historic centre, which is recognised as a World Heritage Site.
Your morning tour of Lima, the ‘City of Kings’, takes you past the stately Government Palace, located in the Main Square, to the city cathedral, where the remains of conqueror Francisco Pizarro lie. Explore the highly embellished cloisters and entryway of San Francisco Monastery and its network of underground catacombs, used as cemeteries during the colonial period. Wander through the picturesque neighbourhood of San Isidro and the modern district of Miraflores with its beautiful parks, squares, cafes and restaurants. In the late afternoon, take a leisurely walk towards ‘Love Park’ where you’ll soak in incredible sunset views over the Pacific Ocean before dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Following a leisurely morning of relaxation you transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco, located high in the Peruvian Andes. On arrival you will need to take some time to settle in and adjust to the altitude before dinner at a traditional Peruvian restaurant.
Set out on your Inca trek early next morning as you are transferred to the starting point of your trek in the village of Lares, stopping en route at a market in Calca. The Lares Valley trek offers a combination of astounding scenery, traditional culture, and ancient Mayan ruins while the Inca Trail is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful trails in the Americas, leading through tropical jungle reserves and forest-steppe and marking the path used by the Incas for their pilgrimage to the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. On arrival in Lares, visit the hot springs and relax in their rejuvenating waters. After lunch, walk towards Huacawasi, up a gentle incline that eases you into your trek. On arrival, make your way to the house of one of your horsemen where your tents will be ready and you will receive popcorn, sweets and hot tea before a hearty dinner.
After breakfast, set out on a 4-hour hike up to the Ipsay pass which lies at an altitude of 4,400m and offers spectacular views. Visit a local family and discover more about their daily life, farming techniques and colourful textile design. Continue onward to the village of Patacancha (3650m) for a relaxing break before continuing by car to Willoq village (3,400m), where Andean families live in self-sustaining communities, making their own clothes and rearing livestock. Enjoy dinner with a local family and experience an authentic slice of Andean life, before staying at a local campsite for the night.
Enjoy a morning observing the daily rituals of the Willoq community then begin your walk into the Sacred Valley, reaching Pumamarca (3200m) where you will visit the well-preserved ruins of a hillside fortress. Journey on to Ollantaytambo village (2,850m), home to some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. Check into your lodge for an evening of relaxation and dinner.
After an early breakfast, transfer to the train station and board a tourist train bound for the starting point of the Royal Inca Trail. Take a scenic hike to Chachabamba (2,270m) for a guided tour of these ancient Inca ruins and ceremonial plaza. Continue your trek to the ruins of Winayhuayna (2,650m), built into a steep hillside overlooking the Urubamba River. Walk onward to the Sun Gate, ‘Inti Punku’, an excellent observation point where you can soak in amazing views of night falling over Machu Picchu. This is a magical sight which I have had the immense privilege and pleasure of experiencing and one I will never forget. Your trek ends at your hotel in Aguas Calientes.
Depart your hotel early this morning and drive towards Machu Picchu, arriving early in the morning to avoid the crowds. This morning, experience one of the highlights of your trip – the incredible citadel of Machu Picchu. Set between 2 forested Andean peaks beneath swirling clouds, the 550-year-old site offers spectacular views in addition to its archaeological wonders. After a tour of the tombs, temples and palaces of this ancient city of ruins, believed to be built for an Incan emperor, enjoy free time to explore the site on your own. Later, a coach carries you back to Aguas Calientes, where you have the option to visit the hot springs (at a fee). In the afternoon, transfer to the train station and board your train to Cusco, arriving in the evening.
The following morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima and onward connection to the UK – I am sure you will take with you some very special memories.
Journey into the Himalayas along the Annapurna circuit, staying in unique mountain lodges on this 14-day tour that travels past snow-capped peaks and spectacular mountain vistas along one of the world’s most rewarding walking trails.
Depart the UK on your scheduled, overnight flight to Kathmandu, via Delhi, where you be will met and transferred to your hotel where later you will rejoin your group for the welcome dinner.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel or have an early breakfast and set out on a thrilling helicopter flight that carries you over Mount Everest for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the world’s highest mountain (at a fee). A full day of sightseeing following in Nepal’s stupa-studded capital. Begin at historic Durbar Square where you’ll follow ancient streets to the temple of the Living Goddess. Continue on to the Buddhist stupa of Swayanbhunath and admire this gilded structure under the watchful painted eyes that adorn its sides. After lunch at a local restaurant, journey onward to the nearby city of Patan, a 3rd century settlement enclosed within four stupas. Wander among its 136 monasteries and temples, visiting the ancient Krishna Temple and the Tibetan Refugee Camp and Handicraft Centre where you’ll witness artisans weaving Tibetan carpets and moulding metal statues. Return to Kathmandu for your overnight stay.
Set out on a morning tour of Bhaktapur. Perched on a hill to the east of Kathmandu, the city is still untouched by urbanization and retains its brick paved roads, charming red brick houses and old traditions. Visit Nyatapola, the tallest temple in Nepal, and the intricately adorned Bhairav Temple before exploring Pottery Square, the Palace of 55 Windows and the gilded archway of the Golden Gate. After lunch at a local restaurant, journey to the immense Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most sacred Hindu temples of Nepal. Return to Kathmandu for an evening of culture as you enjoy dinner and a Nepalese dance show in a traditional restaurant.
After breakfast, drive into the Himalayan foothills, arriving in the mountainous city of Pokhara for an afternoon at leisure in this picturesque lakeside settlement.
This morning, drive from Pokhara to Nayapul then start your spectacular trek into the Himalayas. Follow the winding course of the mighty Modi River, observing daily life on the river banks and taking in the fantastic views before reaching the compact village of Birethanti. After a break in the village, continue along the river banks for another hour, arriving in the tiny village of Syauli Bazaar for your overnight stay.
Journey further into the mountain range as you embark on a walk along level terrain, stopping for a break before you begin a steep ascent up a stretch of stone steps. Reaching the top of the steps, walk onward through sleepy villages and terraced rice paddies until you arrive in the village of Ghandrung to check into your lodge. In the afternoon, visit the Annapurna Conservation Area Project Head Office and learn about local conversation efforts in the area before gaining fascinating insight into the culture and customs of the Gurung people at the village museum. Stop at a viewpoint for panoramic vistas of Annapurna and the surrounding snow-capped peaks then return to your mountain lodge for dinner.
Follow an undulating trail which ascends and descends towards Jhinu Danda, your base for the night. Arrive at your lodge and break for lunch before you explore the surrounding area on foot, walking through forest-filled pockets to the riverside and some nearby hot springs. Lay back and relax in the rejuvenating waters of the hot springs for the remainder of the afternoon before returning to your lodge.
Depart Jhinu Danda on today’s trek, descending to some nearby cliffs where the region’s famed honey hunters scale ropes during their forages. Next, cross a suspension bridge which provides superb views of the valley and River Modi, stopping for a photo opportunity. Walk onward as you ascend to the village of Landrung where you will check into your mountain lodge and enjoy dinner in the evening.
Today’s trail takes you through rolling paddy fields and villages on a flat, hour-long walk. Following a break, begin a steep ascent up a series of stone steps to the charming village of Tolka, reaching the upper part of the village after a short walk along level ground. Enjoy lunch in this peaceful setting then set out on your afternoon trek, going further uphill through forested woodland towards Pothana village. From here, the trail gradually descends to Dhampus, where you’ll stop for your overnight stay.
Wake before sunrise this morning to soak in magnificent views of the mountain peaks bathed in hues of pink and purple. After breakfast, descend through farmland and wooded areas to reach Suikhet Phedi. Depart for Pokhara, stopping for lunch en route or on your arrival in Pokhara. The afternoon is at leisure, allowing you to explore the city sights or relax before dinner in your hotel.
Following your mountain trek, enjoy today at leisure or choose one of two optional excursion (at a fee). For the first excursion, drive up to the viewpoint at Sarankot for mesmerising sunrise views over the whole Annapurna range, with the option of a three-hour walk back down to the lakeside from Sarankot. Alternatively, take a stroll around the lake in the afternoon and a boat ride on its serene waters.
This morning, travel back to Kathmandu, stopping en route for lunch at a local restaurant. On arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure giving you the opportunity to wander Kathmandu’s lively streets before transferring in the morning for your return flight to the UK.
Tailor Made Travel can fulfil your dreams and aspirations so contact us for further information on these Walking Tours or to book one of these great destinations from our Travel Partner, Mercury Holidays –
Call 0333 3441786 or visit your local Tailor Made Travel agency – for telephone numbers and addresses of our branches click onto this link to our website
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