🇳🇮🇭🇳 NICARAGUA & HONDURAS

Granada, Nicaragua - Nicaragua & Honduras itineraryPerfect beaches, awesome volcanoes, grand colonial-era cities and fascinating Mayan ruins. Travel in Nicaragua & Honduras may be an adventure, but it is absolutely worth the journey. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.

Here’s your Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary:

Luxury Ometepe, Nicaragua
1 ✈To Managua (Book >)
🚐San Juan de Sur (Book >)
Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Dep: Morning Arr: Morning
Arr: 2.5hrs later
🏨Morgan’s Rock Hacienda (Book >) All hotels >
If you’re connecting this Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary with Costa Rica then you can get a taxi for about $20 from the border, or a transfer from Liberia airport. Visitors from most countries do not require a visa to enter.
3 Spend an additional day enjoying the beautiful beaches Be cautious about walking around town at night
4 🚕San Juan del Sur to San Jorge taxi
⛴️San Jorge to Ometepe ferry (Info >)
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 09:30
Arr: 09:15
Arr: 10:50
🏨Totoco Eco-Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy the ferry across Lake Nicaragua to San Jose del Sur. Once on Ometepe Island take a taxi to the hotel. You then have the choice of climbing Maderas (challenging) or Concepcion (even more challenging) volcanos or, for something more sedate, taking a trip to San Ramon waterfall – you may want to stay an extra day The ferry ride can be a bit choppy so you may want to take motion sickness tablets
5 ⛴️Ometepe to San Jorge ferry (Info >)
🚐San Jorge to Granada minibus (Book >)
Dep: 07:30
Dep: 10:00
Arr: 08:50
Arr: 12:00
🏨Real La Merced (Book >) All hotels >
Take the ferry back to San Jorge (and maybe spot a freshwater shark along the way) before journeying on to the beautiful city of Granada. Climb up the bell tower of Iglesia de la Merced to get your bearings, then stroll around the central park and admire the cathedral and colonial-era houses The roads in Nicaragua can get a bit bumpy, so keep those motion sickness tablets handy
6 Today you can go on a full-day boat trip to the Isletas de Granada, where you’ll see monkeys and a volcano, as well as have an opportunity to kayak on the lake Remember to pack a good filter water bottle
7 🚐Granada to Leon minibus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 12:00 🏨Hotel El Convento (Book >) All hotels >
One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Leon is packed with history. Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed cathedral and the amazing Museum of the Revolution. If you have more time you can climb some of the nearby volcanoes Although it looks tempting, street food here should be avoided unless you have a particularly strong stomach
8 🚐Leon to Managua minibus (Book >)
✈Managua to San Pedro Sula flight (Book >)
🚕San Pedro Sula to Copan Ruinas taxi
Dep: 08:30
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:30
Arr: 14:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: Evening
🏨Hotel Marina Copán (Book >) All hotels >
After a long day of travel to Honduras, relax in your hotel and soak up the splendid town of Copan Ruinas Take a look at the Mid-range itinerary for alternative routes to Honduras
9 Start early to explore the incredible Mayan ruins, avoiding the mid-day heat. Don’t miss the Sepulturas complex, outside of the main ruins site. Guides can be hired, or you can find more info on this blog If you don’t feel like the 2km walk to the ruins there are plenty of taxis
10 🚕Copan Ruinas to San Pedro Sula taxi
✈San Pedro Sula to Roatan flight (Book >)
Dep: Morning
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Xbalanque (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive into the exquisite Bay of Islands in time for sunset Bring insect repellant and an eco-friendly sunscreen
11-12 Relax on your hotel’s private beach, or visit the marine life on a snorkelling or diving trip. You could also visit the island of Saint Helene or go kayaking along a mangrove forest If you’ve ever been tempted to learn SCUBA diving, Roatan is an exceptionally good value place to do so
13-14 ✈Roatan to home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening (next day) Connect this Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary with the Costa Rica or Cuba itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Mid-range Roatan, Honduras
1 ✈To Managua (Book >)
🚐San Juan de Sur (Book >)
Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Dep: Morning Arr: Morning
Arr: 2.5hrs later
🏨Revata (Book >) All hotels >
If you’re connecting this Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary with Costa Rica then you can get a taxi for about $20 from the border, or a transfer from Liberia airport. Visitors from most countries do not require a visa to enter.
3 Spend an additional day enjoying the beautiful beaches Be cautious about walking around town at night
4 🚌San Juan del Sur to Rivas bus
🚕Rivas to San Jorge taxi
⛴️San Jorge to Ometepe ferry (Info >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 09:30
Arr: 08:45
Arr: 09:15
Arr: 10:50
🏨Totoco Eco-Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy the ferry across Lake Nicaragua to San Jose del Sur. Once on Ometepe Island take a taxi to the hotel. You then have the choice of climbing Maderas (challenging) or Concepcion (even more challenging) volcanos or, for something more sedate, taking a trip to San Ramon waterfall – you may want to stay an extra day Buses frequently depart San Juan del Sur – ask for Rivas terminal and, when you arrive, don’t accept the first taxi fare you’re offered
5 ⛴️Ometepe to San Jorge ferry (Info >)
🚐San Jorge to Granada minibus (Book >)
Dep: 07:30
Dep: 10:00
Arr: 08:50
Arr: 12:00
🏨Real La Merced (Book >) All hotels >
Take the ferry back to San Jorge (and maybe spot a freshwater shark along the way) before journeying on to the beautiful city of Granada. Climb up the bell tower of Iglesia de la Merced to get your bearings, then stroll around the central park and admire the cathedral and colonial-era houses The ferry ride can be a bit choppy so you may want to take motion sickness tablets
6 Today you can go on a full-day boat trip to the Isletas de Granada, where you’ll see monkeys and a volcano, as well as have an opportunity to kayak on the lake Remember to pack a good filter water bottle
7 🚐Granada to Leon minibus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 12:00 🏨Posada Fuente Castalia (Book >) All hotels >
One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Leon is packed with history. Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed cathedral and the amazing Museum of the Revolution. If you have more time you can climb some of the nearby volcanoes Because hotels here are good value it’s worth getting a room to leave your bags in and rest before being picked up at 2AM by your minibus
8 🚐Leon to La Ceiba minibus (Book >)
⛴️La Ceiba to Roatan ferry (Info >)
Dep: 02:00
Dep: 16:30
Arr: 16:00
Arr: 17:45
🏨Splash Inn Dive Resort & Villas (Book >) All hotels >
After such a long journey to Honduras you have earned a few days of relaxation in the beautiful Bay of Islands Bring insect repellant and an eco-friendly sunscreen
9-10 Relax on the beach of Half Moon Bay, or visit the marine life on a snorkelling or diving trip. You could also visit the island of Saint Helene or go kayaking along a mangrove forest If you’ve ever been tempted to learn SCUBA diving, Roatan is an exceptionally good value place to do
11 ✈Roatan to San Pedro Sula flight (Book >)
🚌San Pedro Sula to Copan Ruinas bus (Book >)
Dep: Morning
Dep: 10:45
Arr: Morning
Arr: 14:00
🏨La Escalinata (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy the town of Copan Ruinas, or pay a visit to the Sepulturas complex I strongly advise buying bus tickets in advance, where possible
12 🚌Copan Ruinas to Guatemala City bus (Book >) Dep: 15:00 Arr: 20:30 🏨Barceló Guatemala City (Book >) All hotels >
Start early to explore the incredible Mayan ruins, avoiding the mid-day heat. Guides can be hired, or you can find more info on this blog If you don’t feel like the 2km walk to the ruins there are plenty of taxis
13-14 ✈Guatemala City to home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening (next day) Connect this Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary with the Costa Rica or Cuba itinerary
Visit Parque Central and Palacio Nacional in the morning before the flight home
Budget Copan, Honduras
1 ✈To Managua (Book >)
🚐San Juan de Sur (Book >)
Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Dep: Morning Arr: Morning
Arr: 2.5hrs later
🏨The Beach House (Book >) All hostels >
If you’re connecting this Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary with Costa Rica then you can get a taxi for about $20 from the border, or a transfer from Liberia airport. Visitors from most countries do not require a visa to enter.
3 Spend an additional day enjoying the beautiful beaches Be cautious about walking around town at night
4 🚌San Juan del Sur to Rivas bus (Info >)
🚌Rivas to San Jorge bus
⛴️San Jorge to Ometepe ferry (Info >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 09:30
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 08:45
Arr: 09:45
Arr: 11:30
🏨Hospedaje Soma (Book >) All hostels >
Enjoy the ferry across Lake Nicaragua to Moyagalpa. You then have the choice of climbing Maderas (challenging) or Concepcion (even more challenging) volcanos or, for something more sedate, taking a trip to San Ramon waterfall – you may want to stay an extra day – island bus times here Buses frequently depart San Juan del Sur – ask for Rivas terminal and, when you arrive, the bus to the port departs every 30 mins from the parallel road to the north
5 ⛴️Ometepe to San Jorge ferry (Info >)
🚌San Jorge to Rivas bus
🚌Rivas to Granada bus (Info >)
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 10:15
Dep: 11:15
Arr: 10:00
Arr: 10:30
Arr: 13:15
🏨De Boca en Boca (Book >) All hostels >
Take the ferry back to San Jorge (and maybe spot a freshwater shark along the way) before journeying on to the beautiful city of Granada. Climb up the bell tower of Iglesia de la Merced to get your bearings, then stroll around the central park and admire the cathedral and colonial-era houses The ferry ride can be a bit choppy so you may want to take motion sickness tablets
6 Today you can go on a full-day boat trip to the Isletas de Granada, where you’ll see monkeys and a volcano, as well as have an opportunity to kayak on the lake Remember to pack a good filter water bottle
7 🚐Granada Calle Vega to Managua UCA microbus
🚐Managua UCA to Leon microbus (Book >)
Dep: 10:00
Dep: 12:00
Arr: 11:30
Arr: 14:00
🏨Poco a Poco Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Leon is packed with history. Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed cathedral and the amazing Museum of the Revolution. If you have more time you can climb some of the nearby volcanoes. Spend the evening resting before being picked up at 2AM by your minibus Microbuses only depart when full and so there aren’t any timetables, but they do depart frequently throughout the day
8 🚐Leon to La Ceiba minibus (Book >)
⛴️La Ceiba to Roatan ferry (Info >)
Dep: 02:00
Dep: 16:30
Arr: 16:00
Arr: 17:45
🏨West End Dive Resort (Book >) All hostels >
After such a long journey to Honduras you have earned a few days of relaxation in the beautiful Bay of Islands Bring insect repellant and an eco-friendly sunscreen
9-10 Relax on the beach of Half Moon Bay, or visit the marine life on a snorkelling or diving trip. You could also visit the island of Saint Helene or go kayaking along a mangrove forest If you’ve ever been tempted to learn SCUBA diving, Roatan is an exceptionally good value place to do
11 ⛴️Roatan to La Ceiba ferry (Info >)
🚌La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula bus (Book >)
🚌San Pedro Sula to Copan Ruinas bus (Info >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:30
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 08:15
Arr: 13:00
Arr: 17:45
🏨Iguana Azul (Book >) All hostels >
Enjoy an evening in the pretty town of Copan Ruinas I strongly advise buying bus tickets in advance, where possible
12 🚌Copan Ruinas to Guatemala City bus (Book >) Dep: 15:00 Arr: 20:30 🏨Central 10 Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Start early to explore the incredible Mayan ruins, avoiding the mid-day heat. If you have time visit the Sepulturas complex, outside of the main ruins site. Guides can be hired, or you can find more info on this blog If you don’t feel like the 2km walk to the ruins there are plenty of taxis
13-14 ✈Guatemala City to home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening (next day) Connect this Nicaragua & Honduras itinerary with the Costa Rica or Cuba itinerary
Visit Parque Central and Palacio Nacional in the morning before the flight home

Taking the train to Antwerp & Bruges

Eurostar’s service to continental Europe departs just ten minutes from where I live. Having realised that I don’t make the most of this train, I booked a trip to Belgium and the cities of Antwerp and Bruges.

The train departed the magnificent St Pancras station and arrived into Brussels just two hours and ten minutes later. I transferred immediately onto a train to Antwerp and, less than six hours after I’d left my front door, I was checking into the Indigo Hotel in Belgium’s second-largest city. My Eurostar ticket allowed me to travel to or from any station in Belgium within 24 hours of arriving into/departing from Brussels.

I’d visited Bruges, Brussels and Ghent before, now I had two days to see the resplendent architecture of Antwerp. A free walking tour (tips strongly encouraged) showed me all the main sights. I was struck by the number of beautiful 16th Century buildings, many of which were topped with gold leaf. The city’s train station is also an architectural marvel – one of the finest I’ve ever seen.

  • Grote Markt, Antwerp
  • Antwerp architecture
  • Wooden escalator to pedestrian tunnel under river
  • Medieval door, Antwerp
  • Antwerp skyline
  • Antwerp shopping mall
  • Antwerp architecture

I also sought out one of Antwerp’s famous brown cafes (so named because of the colour of the walls, stained from the days of indoor smoking). The drinks in the Den Engel cafe, on the corner of Grote Markt, are great value for money and the atmosphere is full of friendly charm.

Perhaps Antwerp’s most surprising delight is the neighbourhood of Zurenorg. Walk along the streets of Transvaalstraat, Cogels Osylei and Waterloostraat for a cornucopia of grand Art Nouveau buildings. To get a great view of the city as a whole, head to the fantastic MAS Museum. At the top of this is a free platform from where you can see for miles around.

Confession time; although I’d been to Bruges before and the key reason I wanted to go back was for the hot chocolate. Specifically, the hot chocolate in The Old Chocolate House, where you’re served with hot milk, a generous portion of chocolate drops (you choose the chocolate from an extensive menu) and a whisk. Delicious.

Of course, there are many other reasons to return to Bruges. There are the charming canals, the historic churches and the cobbled streets – all so incredibly picturesque you feel as though you’re walking through a postcard. I’d made the most of my Expedia loyalty points and stayed at the Hotel de Orangerie which had it’s own canal-side terrace and was once a nunnery – such a fascinating building in which to sleep.

With my Eurostar ticket covering the return journey from Bruges, I hopped on a comfortable SNCB train to Brussels Midi, made the easy transition to the Eurostar terminal and, within just a few hours, was unlocking my front door. My bag was, of course, laden with chocolate and my mind filled with thoughts of returning to Antwerp and Bruges.

Night-time bells ringing across the canals of Bruges

🇱🇦 LAOS

Laos itineraryLandlocked, but moving to the aquatic rhythm of mighty rivers such as the Mekong, Laos is a country full of dramatic scenery and adventure. The itineraries below differ due to budget, and range from 14 to 17 days in length. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.

Here’s your Laos itinerary:

Luxury Vang Vieng
1 ✈To Pakse (Book >)
🚕Pakse to Champasak taxi
Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨The River Resort (Book >) All hotels >
If you’re travelling from Cambodia then you can fly from Siem Reap, departing and arriving in the afternoon
3 Take a day trip to the Bolaven Plateau, which can be arranged by your hotel. Relax in the evening with a stroll around the resort grounds and relaxing by the infinity pools Anyone not from Japan or the ASEAN countries will need a visa for Laos
4 Journey to the beautiful 4000 Islands area (which can also be arranged by your hotel) Save the environment by using a good filter water bottle
5 🚕Champasak to Pakse taxi
✈Pakse to Luang Prabang flight (Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Hotel Sofitel (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive in Luang Prabang in time for sunset by the Mekong river. Dress conservatively when visiting temples
6-8 So much to see over the next couple of days! Start with the early morning alms-giving (which starts at 05:30 in summer and 06:30 in winter) on Sisavangvong Road. Visit the Royal Palace and the Golden Buddha Phra Bang within. The top of Mount Phousi is a wonderful place from which to watch sunset. Wat Mai palace, Wat Visoun and Xieng Thong are also worth some of your time. Pick up some souvenirs from the morning market (06:30-10:00). Take a tuk tuk to Kuang Si Falls. This blog post offers guidance on how to behave respectfully at the alms-giving.
9 ⛴️Luang Prabang to Pakbeng ferry (Book >) Dep: 07:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Luang Say Lodge
Embark on your tour up the mighty Mekong. Today you’ll visit Pak Ou cave and a hill tribe village. Pack plenty of sunscreen – the sun is especially strong on the river
10 ⛴️Pakbeng to Huay Xai ferry Dep: 08:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Nakaraj Princess (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll make more stops today including, after lunch, a visit to a traditional Laotian village of Ban Gon Dturn, before arriving in Huay Xai on the border with Thailand. The border closes at 18:00 and cruise staff on both sides of the border can help with travel to Chiang Rai.
11 🚕Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha taxi Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨The Boat Landing (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve arrived in Luang Nam Tha take a look at the Golden Stupa and enjoy dinner at the bustling night market. Be aware of pick pockets in busy market areas.
12 Book a one-day trek in the verdant, magnificent Nam Ha National Protected Area, where you’ll taste some local food as well as visit a Khmu village. Trekking here is mildly challenging – bring insect repellant.
13 ✈Luang Nam Tha to Vientiane flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Crowne Plaza (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in a traditional herbal sauna before flying to the capital. Luang Nam Tha is close to the Chinese border, should you wish to add to your Laos itinerary.
14-15 ✈Vientiane to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Laos itinerary with the Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo or Cambodia itinerary
Spend the morning chilling in the roof garden infinity pool before heading to the airport.
Mid-range Luang Prabang
1 ✈To Pakse (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Athena Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
If you’re travelling from Cambodia then you can fly from Siem Reap, departing and arriving in the afternoon.
3 Your hotel can help arrange a taxi to tour around the Bolevan Plateau – a superb day trip from Pakse. Anyone not from Japan or the ASEAN countries will need a visa for Laos
4 Today you’ll go on a day trip to the 4000 Islands (book here), departing Pakse at 08:00 and returning at 14:00. Spend the rest of your day visiting pretty Wat Luang. Save the environment by using a good filter water bottle
5 ✈Pakse to Luang Prabang flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Mekong Riverview (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive in Luang Prabang in time for sunset by the Mekong river. Dress conservatively when visiting temples
6-8 So much to see over the next couple of days! Start with the early morning alms-giving (which starts at 05:30 in summer and 06:30 in winter) on Sisavangvong Road. Visit the Royal Palace and the Golden Buddha Phra Bang within. The top of Mount Phousi is a wonderful place from which to watch sunset. Wat Mai palace, Wat Visoun and Xieng Thong are also worth some of your time. Pick up some souvenirs from the morning market (06:30-10:00). Take a tuk tuk to Kuang Si Falls This blog post offers guidance on how to behave respectfully at the alms-giving
9 🚐Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw minibus Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:00 🏨Mandala Ou Resort (Book >) All hotels >
There are many hikes around Nong Khiaw, including to the nearby Phatok Caves. If you prefer to get on the water then go on a kayaking trip along the Nam Ou, or maybe hire a bike and visit the Khmu and Hmong villages in the area. Ask your hotel for help with booking a minivan to Nong Khiaw
10 🚌Nong Khiaw to Oudomsay bus Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Namkat Yorla Pa (Book >) All hotels >
A couple more hours to enjoy the countryside around Nong Khiaw before taking the bus to Oudomsay. When you arrive you can walk up to the stupa and admire the views from the top, or hire a motorbike and visit Nam Kad Waterfall. Oudomsay is also known as Muang Xay and Udom Xai (many places in Laos have multiple names)
11 The tourism office offers a 1-day tour to Ban Chom Ong village and the Chom Ong cave – the largest in Laos and a breathtaking sight to behold. Remember to bring insect repellant and sunscreen
12 ✈Oudomsay to Vientiane flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Crowne Plaza (Book >) All hotels >
In Vientiane you may have time to visit the That Luang stupa. In the evening head to the Mekong riverfront for a memorable sunset. From Oudomsay you can also travel by bus to China or Thailand via Luang Nam Tha, should you wish to add to your Laos itinerary.
13-14 ✈Vientiane to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Laos itinerary with the Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo or Cambodia itinerary
Spend the morning chilling in the roof garden infinity pool before heading to the airport.
Budget Luang Nam Tha
1 ✈To Pakse (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Chato Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
If you’re travelling from Cambodia then you can take a bus from Siem Reap at 08:00, arriving into Pakse by 18:00
3 Your hostel can help arrange a tour around the Bolevan Plateau – a superb day trip from Pakse Anyone not from Japan or the ASEAN countries will need a visa for Laos
4 🚌Pakse to Vientiane bus (Book >) Dep: 20:30 🏨Bus
Today you’ll go on a day trip to the 4000 Islands (book here), departing Pakse at 08:00 and returning at 14:00. Spend the rest of your day visiting pretty Wat Luang before your night bus to Vientiane It’s also possible (and considerably faster, but more expensive) to fly to Vientiane
5 🚌Pakse to Vientiane bus
🚐Vientiane to Vang Vieng minibus (Book >)
Dep: 10:00 Arr: 06:30
Arr: 14:00
🏨Jasmine Vang Vieng Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
While Vang Vieng is known to be a party town, it’s also an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. After you’ve arrived hire a bicycle and visit the Blue Lagoon Save the environment by using a good filter water bottle
6 Beat the crowds and go on a tubing trip earlier in the day. If you like to be more active then kayaking is also available This Wikitravel page offers some advice on unscrupulous practises in Vang Vieng.
7 🚌Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Mad Monkey  (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive in time for sunset from the top of Mount Phousi Dress conservatively when visiting temples
8-9 So much to see over the next couple of days! Start with the early morning alms-giving (which starts at 05:30 in summer and 06:30 in winter) on Sisavangvong Road. Visit the Royal Palace and the Golden Buddha Phra Bang within. Wat Mai palace, Wat Visoun and Xieng Thong are also worth some of your time. Pick up some souvenirs from the morning market (06:30-10:00). Take a tuk tuk to Kuang Si Falls This blog post offers guidance on how to behave respectfully at the alms-giving
10 🚐Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw minibus Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:00 🏨Pho Sai River View (Book >) All hotels >
There are many hikes around Nong Khiaw, including to the nearby Phatok Caves. If you prefer to get on the water then go on a kayaking trip along the Nam Ou, or maybe hire a bike and visit the Khmu and Hmong villages in the area. Ask your hostel for help with booking a minivan to Nong Khiaw
11 🚌Nong Khiaw to Oudomsay Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Amphon Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
A couple more hours to enjoy the countryside around Nong Khiaw before taking the bus to Oudomsay. When you arrive you can walk up to the stupa and admire the views from the top, or hire a motorbike and visit Nam Kad Waterfall Oudomsay is also known as Muang Xay and Udom Xai (many places in Laos have multiple names)
12 The tourism office offers a 1-day tour to Ban Chom Ong village and the Chom Ong cave – the largest in Laos and a breathtaking sight to behold Remember to bring insect repellant and sunscreen
13 🚐Oudomsay to Luang Nam Tha minibus (Info >) Dep: 11:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨Zuela Guesthouse (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve arrived in Luang Nam Tha take a look at the Golden Stupa and enjoy dinner at the bustling night market Be aware of pick pockets in busy market areas
14 Book a one-day trek in the verdant, magnificent Nam Ha National Protected Area, where you’ll taste some local food as well as visit a Khmu village Trekking here is mildly challenging – bring good walking boots
15 🚌Luang Nam Tha to Huay Xai bus (Info >)
🚌Huay Xai to Chiang Rai bus (Info >)
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 16:00
Arr: 13:00
Arr: 19:00
🏨Na-Rak-O Resort (Book >) All hostels >
Once you’ve arrived in Chiang Rai (Thailand) you’ll have time in the evening to visit the night bazaar. Luang Nam Tha is close to the Chinese border, should you wish to add to your Laos itinerary.
16-17 ✈Chiang Rai to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Laos itinerary with the Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo or Cambodia itinerary
Take a trip to Wat Rong Khun and the Black House before heading to the airport.

Airlines waiving fees due to Covid-19/Coronavirus

Wing tip

With Covid-19/Coronavirus causing great uncertainty in the travel industry, many airlines are either waiving change fees or being more flexible with flight changes for bookings made in March or beyond. There’s some useful links at the end of this post and here’s a list I’ve compiled of all those airlines I’ve seen who are adopting this policy – if you’re in any doubt about booking travel then now you can feel more assured about booking that flight (plus, in addition to waiving fees, there are some superb bargains to be had at the moment):

Aer Lingus
Aeromexico
Air Arabia
Air Canada
Air France
Air India Express
Air New Zealand
Air Transat
Alaska Airlines
Alitalia
American Airlines
Avianca
British Airways
Cayman Airways
Copa Airlines
Delta
El Al
Emirates
Etihad Airways
Frontier Airlines
GoAir
Hawaiin Airlines
Icelandair
IndiGo
JetBlue Airways
Jetstar
KLM
LATAM
LOT Polish Airlines
Lufthansa
Norwegian
Qatar Airways
Qantas
SAS – Scandinavian Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Spirit Airlines
SWISS
TAP Air Portugal
Turkish Airlines
United
Virgin Atlantic
WestJet

You can find more excellent advice on the Skyscanner website, and you can find which routes have been suspended to mainland China and Hong Kong on the Reuters website – other destinations, such as South Korea and Italy, are also seeing many flights cancelled. This site has a list of many airlines’ waiver policies.

🇧🇪 BELGIUM

Bruges Markt Square - Belgium itineraryA week visiting Belgium’s best cities? I have all you need to know below. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.

Here’s your Belgium itinerary:

Luxury Bruges
1 To Brussels
( Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨Hotel Amigo (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy an evening stroll around the Grand Place before bed. Book a transfer to your hotel.
2 🚄Brussels to Antwerp train (Book >) Dep: 13:52 Arr: 14:27 🏨Maison Nationale City Flats & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning visiting Mannekin Pis and, on a much grander scale, Saint-Michel Cathedral and Place Royale. You may want to add a little more time in Brussels to see the excellent Belgian Comic Strip Center. In Antwerp you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to walk to the magnificent Zurenborg district, resplendent with Art Nouveau architecture. This Brussels-Antwerp train is on a high speed Thalys. Plenty of other, slower trains depart throughout the day. If you travelled by Eurostar your ticket is valid to any Belgian city within 24 hours of arriving into the country
3 A full day in which to marvel at Antwerp’s medieval buildings and ornate cathedral in the city centre. Nearby you’ll find the MAS Museum – packed with artifacts and with a free viewing platform on the top floor. Antwerp is famous for its Brown Cafes – so-named because of the walls stained from previous years of smokers.
4 🚄Antwerp to Bruges train (Book >) Dep: 10:06 Arr: 11:35 🏨Hotel de Orangerie (Book >) All hotels >
Take a stroll around the Markt square and then climb the steps to the top of the belfry. The Basilica of the Holy Blood makes for a peaceful and interesting visit, as do the Church of Our Lady and nearby Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The Markt square hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday.
5 See the city on foot a free walking tour (remember to tip at the end!), then by water on a cruise along the canal. Old Saint John’s Hospital – a building dating to the 12th century – makes for a fascinating visit. The Old Chocolate House makes superb hot chocolate!
6 🚄Bruges to Ghent train (Book >) Dep: 14:44 Arr: 15:07 🏨Pillows Hotel Grand Reylof (Book >) All hotels >
In Bruges you’ll have time to walk to the windmills via Jeruzalemkirk and see any sights you may not yet have had time to visit, before setting off for Ghent. Taxi to the hotel should cost around €27 (at the time of writing this Belgium itinerary).
7 A Ghent boat tour will take you past key sites and is a good way of spotting places to revisit (including quirky Baudelostraat warehouse). Try a raspberry-flavoured cuberdon sweet from a street stall
8 🚄Ghent to Brussels train
Brussels to Home (🚄 Book >)
(✈ Book >)
Dep (SNCB): 16:25
Dep: Evening
Arr: 16:55
Arr: Evening
Connect this Belgium itinerary with the France or Germany itinerary >
If you’re travelling with Eurostar your ticket will be valid from Ghent.
Mid-range Bruges at night
1 To Brussels
( Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨Art de Séjour Bed & Breakfast (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy an evening stroll around the Grand Place before bed. Book a transfer to your hotel.
2 🚄Brussels to Antwerp train (Book >) Dep: 13:52 Arr: 14:27 🏨Hotel Indigo (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning visiting Mannekin Pis and, on a much grander scale, Saint-Michel Cathedral and Place Royale. You may want to add a little more time in Brussels to see the excellent Belgian Comic Strip Center. In Antwerp you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to walk to the magnificent Zurenborg district, resplendent with Art Nouveau architecture. This Brussels-Antwerp train is on a high speed Thalys. Plenty of other, slower trains depart throughout the day. If you travelled by Eurostar your ticket is valid to any Belgian city within 24 hours of arriving into the country
3 A full day in which to marvel at Antwerp’s medieval buildings and ornate cathedral in the city centre. Nearby you’ll find the MAS Museum – packed with artifacts and with a free viewing platform on the top floor. Antwerp is famous for its Brown Cafes – so-named because of the walls stained from previous years of smokers.
4 🚄Antwerp to Bruges train (Book >) Dep: 10:06 Arr: 11:35 🏨Hotel Navarra (Book >) All hotels >
Take a stroll around the Markt square and then climb the steps to the top of the belfry. The Basilica of the Holy Blood makes for a peaceful and interesting visit, as do the Church of Our Lady and nearby Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The Markt square hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday.
5 See the city on foot a free walking tour (remember to tip at the end!), then by water on a cruise along the canal. Old Saint John’s Hospital – a building dating to the 12th century – makes for a fascinating visit. The Old Chocolate House makes superb hot chocolate!
6 🚄Bruges to Ghent train (Book >) Dep: 14:44 Arr: 15:07 🏨Pillows Hotel Grand Reylof (Book >) All hotels >
In Bruges you’ll have time to walk to the windmills via Jeruzalemkirk and see any sights you may not yet have had time to visit, before setting off for Ghent. Taxi to the hotel should cost around €27 (at the time of writing this Belgium itinerary).
7 A Ghent boat tour will take you past key sites and is a good way of spotting places to revisit (including quirky Baudelostraat warehouse). Try a raspberry-flavoured cuberdon sweet from a street stall
8 🚄Ghent to Brussels train
Brussels to Home (🚄 Book >)
(✈ Book >)
Dep (SNCB): 16:25
Dep: Evening
Arr: 16:55
Arr: Evening
Connect this Belgium itinerary with the France or Germany itinerary >
If you’re travelling with Eurostar your ticket will be valid from Ghent.
Budget Antwerp
1 To Brussels
( Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨2go4 Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy an evening stroll around the Grand Place before bed. Your hostel is next to Grand Place and easily accessible on public transport.
2 🚄Brussels to Antwerp train (Book >) Dep: 13:52 Arr: 14:27 🏨Abhostel (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning visiting Mannekin Pis and, on a much grander scale, Saint-Michel Cathedral and Place Royale. You may want to add a little more time in Brussels to see the excellent Belgian Comic Strip Center. In Antwerp you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to walk to the magnificent Zurenborg district, resplendent with Art Nouveau architecture. This Brussels-Antwerp train is on a high speed Thalys. Plenty of other, slower trains depart throughout the day. If you travelled by Eurostar your ticket is valid to any Belgian city within 24 hours of arriving into the country
3 A full day in which to marvel at Antwerp’s medieval buildings and ornate cathedral in the city centre. Nearby you’ll find the MAS Museum – packed with artifacts and with a free viewing platform on the top floor. Antwerp is famous for its Brown Cafes – so-named because of the walls stained from previous years of smokers.
4 🚄Antwerp to Bruges train (Book >) Dep: 10:06 Arr: 11:35 🏨Snuffel Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Take a stroll around the Markt square and then climb the steps to the top of the belfry. The Basilica of the Holy Blood makes for a peaceful and interesting visit, as do the Church of Our Lady and nearby Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The Markt square hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday.
5 See the city on foot a free walking tour (remember to tip at the end!), then by water on a cruise along the canal. Old Saint John’s Hospital – a building dating to the 12th century – makes for a fascinating visit. The Old Chocolate House makes superb hot chocolate!
6 🚄Bruges to Ghent train (Book >) Dep: 14:44 Arr: 15:07 🏨Hostel Uppelink (Book >) All hotels >
In Bruges you’ll have time to walk to the windmills via Jeruzalemkirk and see any sights you may not yet have had time to visit, before setting off for Ghent. In Ghent take tram 1 from Perron 2, alight at Burgstraat
7 A Ghent boat tour will take you past key sites and is a good way of spotting places to revisit (including quirky Baudelostraat warehouse). Try a raspberry-flavoured cuberdon sweet from a street stall
8 🚄Ghent to Brussels train
Brussels to Home (🚄 Book >)
(✈ Book >)
Dep (SNCB): 16:25
Dep: Evening
Arr: 16:55
Arr: Evening
Connect this Belgium itinerary with the France or Germany itinerary >
If you’re travelling with Eurostar your ticket will be valid from Ghent.

🇮🇪🇬🇧 IRELAND

Cashel, Ireland - Ireland itineraryMagnificent countryside, dramatic scenery, countless historic sights and lively cities reward every visitor to the island of Ireland (or Éire in Irish) This itinerary takes in the best bits of the country of Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland.  Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.

Here’s your Ireland itinerary:

Luxury Dublin, Ireland
1 To Dublin
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Morning
Morning
Arr: Morning
Afternoon
🏨The Merrion Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
When you arrive you should have time to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. If you’re planning to visit several sights then invest in a Dublin Pass.
2-3 Fans of Guinness will no doubt already know of the Guinness Storehouse, but any visitor will enjoy looking around this impressive brewery. More of a whiskey connoisseur? Then the Old Jameson Distillery is for you. Non-alcohol sights include O’Connell street, Ha’penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College Library and the Flea Market. In the evenings the pubs of Temple Bar is where to be. Get a Leap Card, which will save you money on public transport in several Irish cities including Dublin.
4 🚗Dublin to Killarney (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨The Killarney Park (Book >) All hotels >
Driving to Killarney you’ll join the Ring of Kerry drive and enjoy stunning countryside scenery. On the way to Killarney you’ll pass the Rock of Cashel – worth a stop for this historic site. You should also divert to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone. Country roads in Ireland can be narrow – I recommend hiring a smaller car.
5 Spend a day in Killarney National Park and be sure to visit Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. The town of Killarney is itself bursting with charm. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
6 🚗Killarney to Portmagee
🚗Portmagee to Dingle
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 13:00
Arr: 09:45
Arr: 15:00
🏨Dingle Benners Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
On your way to Dingle stop off at Portmagee and take a ferry tour to Skellig Michael. Start your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive across Conor Pass Come prepared for rain. Lots and lots of rain.
7 🚗Dingle to Doolin Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:15 🏨Hotel Doolin (Book >) All hotels >
Continue your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive to picturesque Annascaul, dramatic Slea Head, the panoramic views from Mount Brandon and the villages of The Gaeltacht – you may need more time. You’ll find plenty of lively pubs in Doolin, famous for its music scene. You’re likely to hear a lot of Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht areas – learn a few words and make a good impression.
8 🚗Doolin to Galway Dep: 13:00 Arr: 14:30 🏨Glenlo Abbey Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Doolin is the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll spend the first part of today. Unesco-listed Galway offers medieval walls, the fascinating Galway City Museum, cosy pubs, cute streets and the seaside Salthill Promenade. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher on a boat tour is highly recommended.
9 🚗Galway to Belfast Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨The Merchant Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
A little more time to enjoy Galway before driving to Belfast, where you can enjoy sights such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol. Remember to bring both GBP for Northern Ireland and Euros for Ireland.
10 Take the car north to Dunluce Castle. Next to this is the geologically impressive Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The coast around Giant’s Causeway is great for hiking, if you have time in your Ireland itinerary.
11 🚗Belfast to Dublin Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨The Merrion Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
You can either return home from Belfast, or drive back to Dublin via the prehistoric monument of Newgrange. Be aware that road signs switch from MPH to KPH, travelling from N Ireland to Ireland.
12 Dublin to Home
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Ireland itinerary with the Bruges & Ghent or France itinerary.
The ferry port and airport are far apart – choose your car rental location accordingly.
Mid-range Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
1 To Dublin
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Morning
Morning
Arr: Morning
Afternoon
🏨Clayton Charlemont (Book >) All hotels >
When you arrive you should have time to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. If you’re planning to visit several sights then invest in a Dublin Pass.
2-3 Fans of Guinness will no doubt already know of the Guinness Storehouse, but any visitor will enjoy looking around this impressive brewery. More of a whiskey connoisseur? Then the Old Jameson Distillery is for you. Non-alcohol sights include O’Connell street, Ha’penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College Library and the Flea Market. In the evenings the pubs of Temple Bar is where to be. Get a Leap Card, which will save you money on public transport in several Irish cities including Dublin.
4 🚗Dublin to Killarney (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Driving to Killarney you’ll join the Ring of Kerry drive and enjoy stunning countryside scenery. On the way to Killarney you’ll pass the Rock of Cashel – worth a stop for this historic site. You should also divert to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone. Country roads in Ireland can be narrow – I recommend hiring a smaller car.
5 Spend a day in Killarney National Park and be sure to visit Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. The town of Killarney is itself bursting with charm. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
6 🚗Killarney to Portmagee
🚗Portmagee to Dingle
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 13:00
Arr: 09:45
Arr: 15:00
🏨Dingle Benners Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
On your way to Dingle stop off at Portmagee and take a ferry tour to Skellig Michael. Start your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive across Conor Pass Come prepared for rain. Lots and lots of rain.
7 🚗Dingle to Doolin Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:15 🏨Hotel Doolin (Book >) All hotels >
Continue your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive to picturesque Annascaul, dramatic Slea Head, the panoramic views from Mount Brandon and the villages of The Gaeltacht – you may need more time. You’ll find plenty of lively pubs in Doolin, famous for its music scene. You’re likely to hear a lot of Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht areas – learn a few words and make a good impression.
8 🚗Doolin to Galway Dep: 13:00 Arr: 14:30 🏨The Twelve Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Doolin is the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll spend the first part of today. Unesco-listed Galway offers medieval walls, the fascinating Galway City Museum, cosy pubs, cute streets and the seaside Salthill Promenade. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher on a boat tour is highly recommended.
9 🚗Galway to Belfast Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨Hampton by Hilton (Book >) All hotels >
A little more time to enjoy Galway before driving to Belfast, where you can enjoy sights such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol. Remember to bring both GBP for Northern Ireland and Euros for Ireland
10 Take the car north to Dunluce Castle. Next to this is the geologically impressive Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The coast around Giant’s Causeway is great for hiking, if you have time in your Ireland itinerary.
11 🚗Belfast to Dublin Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Clayton Charlemont (Book >) All hotels >
You can either return home from Belfast, or drive back to Dublin via the prehistoric monument of Newgrange. Be aware that road signs switch from MPH to KPH, travelling from N Ireland to Ireland.
12 Dublin to Home
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Ireland itinerary with the Bruges & Ghent or France itinerary.
The ferry port and airport are far apart – choose your car rental location accordingly.
Budget Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
1 To Dublin
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Morning
Morning
Arr: Morning
Afternoon
🏨Jacobs Inn (Book >) All hostels >
When you arrive you should have time to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. If you’re planning to visit several sights then invest in a Dublin Pass.
2 Fans of Guinness will no doubt already know of the Guinness Storehouse, but any visitor will enjoy looking around this impressive brewery. More of a whiskey connoisseur? Then the Old Jameson Distillery is for you. Non-alcohol sights include O’Connell street, Ha’penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College Library and the Flea Market. In the evenings the pubs of Temple Bar is where to be. Get a Leap Card, which will save you money on public transport in several Irish cities including Dublin.
3 🚌Dublin to Cashel
🚌Cashel to Cork
🚌Cork (South Terrace) to Blarney
🚌Blarney to Cork (City Hall)
🚌Cork to Killarney
(Book >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 12:05
Dep: 13:55
Dep: 16:28
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 10:25
Arr: 13:45
Arr: 14:30
Arr: 17:12
Arr: 19:05
🏨Black Sheep Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Driving to Killarney you’ll join the Ring of Kerry drive and enjoy stunning countryside scenery. On the way to Killarney you’ll pass the Rock of Cashel – worth a stop for this historic site. You can also divert to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone. Missed a bus? They are pretty frequent, so don’t worry.
4 Spend a day in Killarney National Park on a tour or by hiring a bike and be sure to visit Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. The town of Killarney is itself bursting with charm. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
5 🚄Killarney to Tralee (Book >)
🚌Tralee to Dingle (Book >)
Dep: 10:20
Dep: 11:00
Arr: 10:58
Arr: 12:02
🏨Hideout Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Once you arrive in Dingle head straight out on a hike to Annascaul, taking the bus back. Come prepared for rain. Lots and lots of rain.
6 🚌Dingle to Tralee (Book >)
🚌Tralee to Limerick (Book >)
🚌Limerick to Ennis (Book >)
🚌Ennis to Doolin (Book >)
Dep: 09:30
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 13:25
Dep: 14:30
Arr: 10:33
Arr: 13:05
Arr: 14:25
Arr: 15:35
🏨Aille River Holiday Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
You may want extra time to explore the Dingle Peninsula, but if not then head on to Doolin – famous for its music scene – where you’ll find plenty of lively pubs. You’re likely to hear a lot of Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht areas – learn a few words and make a good impression.
7 🚌Doolin to Galway (Book >) Dep: 13:33 Arr: 15:30 🏨Galway City Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Doolin is the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll spend the first part of today (check bus times here). Unesco-listed Galway offers medieval walls, the fascinating Galway City Museum, cosy pubs, cute streets and the seaside Salthill Promenade. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher on a boat tour is highly recommended.
8 🚌Galway to Dublin (Book >) Dep: 10:15 Arr: 12:40 🏨Jacobs Inn (Book >) All hostels >
You probably didn’t get to see all of Dublin’s sights on day 2 of this Ireland itinerary, so here’s your chance to make up for what you missed. Remember to bring both GBP for Northern Ireland and Euros for Ireland.
9 🚌Dublin to Belfast (Book >) Dep: 08:15 Arr: 10:35 🏨Botanical Backpackers (Book >) All hostels >
Once you arrive into Belfast visit sights Belfast such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol. Save money by taking a free walking tour (but don’t forget to tip).
10 Take the 09:30 tour to the Giant’s Causeway, on which you’ll also visit Carrickfergus Castle, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Dark Hedges. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
11 🚌Belfast to Dublin (Book >)
Dublin to Home
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: 09:45
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:40
Arr: Afternoon
Connect this Ireland itinerary with the Bruges & Ghent or France itinerary.
The ferry port and airport are far apart – choose your bus route accordingly.

Antarctica on a budget (ish)

M/V Ushuaia in Paradise Bay

Can you visit Antarctica on a budget? No. Well, not unless your budget is much less than $5,000/£4,000. But it is possible to see this incredible continent without being hugely wealthy, as I recently did. Here’s how.

Jump to:
Getting to Ushuaia
Your low-cost ship
Booking your cabin
When to go
Equipment
Spending time in Ushuaia

Getting to Ushuaia

Approaching Ushuaia

The lowest-priced ships sail from Ushuaia in Argentina. To get to Ushuaia you can either travel overland (take a look at my Northern and Southern Argentina itineraries for inspiration) or, if you don’t have weeks to spare, the low cost airline JetSmart have just started flying there from Buenos Aires on either a Monday or Friday.

You can take a low-cost flight from the UK to Buenos Aires with Norwegian. You’ll need to change airports, though, and so I highly recommend spending a few nights in the wonderful Argentine capital.

Your low-cost ship

M/V Ushuaia at port in Ushuaia

The M/V Ushuaia isn’t a luxurious cruise ship. It was built in 1970 by the US Navy as a spy ship which operated around Cuba. Antarpply purchased the ship and converted it so that it can take 84 passengers. You can find out more about this ship on my YouTube video, but few other ships (if any) take passengers to Antarctica for less money.

Booking your cabin

Standard Twin cabin, M/V Ushuaia

You have two choices for booking Antarctica on a budget:

  1. Book as early as possible – I’d recommend at least 11 months in advance
  2. A month or two before you wish to depart, contact Freestyle Adventure Travel in Ushuaia and ask to join their WhatsApp group. This agency will broadcast the latest Antarctica deals to the group and cabins go on a first-come-first-served basis so be vigilant and be quick! Although M/V Ushuaia cabins are often cheapest (and rare), other bargains can be had with this excellent, friendly agency.

When to go

Gentoo penguins, Antarctica

The cheapest time to go to Antarctica is November. However, the notoriously rough Drake Passage is still particularly choppy at that time and storms may shorten your time in Antarctica. Penguin chicks will also not yet have made an appearance. When you do make it across, though, you will find few other people, thousands of adult penguins and intact snow. Perfect.

Equipment

Toastier than a piece of toast in a toaster

Booking your cabin with Freestyle Adventure Travel means that you don’t need to invest in expensive clothing as they will provide most of what you need. Don’t forget to bring your own thermals though.

The ship also provides motion sickness tablets and so you can save money on these too. Although it has a bar, you can bring your own alcohol on board (in moderation). All meals are included.

As well as having fewer passengers (and therefore the ability to spend more time off the ship), the advantage of voyaging on this smaller ship is that you have access to the bridge, where they keep binoculars for spotting wildlife. No need to bring your own!

Spending time in Ushuaia

Tierra Del Fuego

If you’ve booked your low-cost flights in advance (which I recommend for visiting Antarctica on a budget) but find yourself with days to spare before or after your cruise departs, then Ushuaia is a good place to hang around.

There are plenty of apartments to rent, as well as some good hotels, and you can embark on hikes straight from town (Martial Glacier and Laguna Esmeralda are favourites). You can also take shuttle buses (prices are the same amongst all the companies – book at the tourist office or at hostels/hotels) to Tierra Del Fuego National Park, where you’ll find a plethora of hikes.

Please note that I don’t earn any commission from these links, apart from those linking to airlines or accommodation.

January Sale Tips

It’s Sale Season! The British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and many other airlines’ sales have begun – a great time to grab a bargain flight. I’ve put together some sale season tips on how to make the most of them, as well as other transport, hotels and more.

Jump to:
Flights
Other transport

Hotels and more

Today’s best deals:

Taj Mahal, India

LAS VEGAS
£255
Return
More >

DELHI
£306
Return
More >

Flights

Virgin Atlantic flight departing Seattle with view of Mt Rainier
  1. In need of inspiration? Take a look at this amazing map which shows you the very best prices for any given month
  2. For full service flights, book early but remain flexible on dates – each flight will have a limited number of sale seats
  3. The usual money-saving tips when buying flights (e.g. choosing split tickets – where each leg may be with a different airline – on sites such as Skyscanner) still apply
  4. Low cost airline seats for next summer have already been released. Check prices for these airlines on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and buy early
  5. Sign up to Jack’s Flight Club if you don’t have a particular destination in mind and want a real bargain
  6. The best prices will always be on the routes where most airlines compete (e.g. London to New York)

Other transport

Waiting for a bullet train to Tokyo, Japan
  1. Eurostar always have a January sale, when you can pick up some real bargains
  2. SNCF sometimes hold a sale for summer tickets in early February
  3. The last National Express January sale saw them offer 3 million seats for £5 or less
  4. Keep an eye on Trip.com for train sales in the UK, Japan, China, Germany and South Korea

Hotels and more

Amanzi Island Lodge, Knysna, South Africa

  1. Many hotel chains and travel agencies will be having their biggest sales of the year in the coming weeks. Sale prices can be compared using sites such as Trivago
  2. If you’re looking for package holidays, then be sure to check out the Travelsupermarket January sale
  3. Trip.com will likely offer discounts on tours and tickets in their January sale. If coupons are involved then anything over 10% off is likely to be limited in number and so book early
  4. Entrepreneurial home rental owners will join in with the January sale hype and discount prices on sites such as Homeaway

🇱🇰 SRI LANKA

Sigiriya, Sri LankaAncient sites, tough but rewarding treks and gorgeous beaches await intrepid travellers in Sri Lanka. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.

Here’s your Sri Lanka itinerary:

Luxury Galle, Sri Lanka
1 ✈To Colombo (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨Jetwing Beach  (Book >) All hotels >
Ease into Sri Lanka by starting your journey in Negombo, close to the airport yet beside beautiful, serene beaches. Book your private transfer from the airport here.
3 🚗Negombo to Habarana drive (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Cinnamon Lodge Habarana (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your driver and guide, who will drive you to Habarana. This will be your base for a couple of days. Start your exploration of the area with a tour of the royal ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Check here to see if you need a visa for Sri Lanka and to apply.
4-5 Climb Sigiriya (or Lion Rock) and learn about its legendary and historical past. You’ll also have plenty of time for a safari in Minneriya National Park where you will spot elephants, monkeys deer and more. Sigiriya can be an extremely popular place – arrive early to avoid crowds.
6 🚗Habarana to Kandy drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 16:00 🏨The Secret Kandy (Book >) All hotels >
Visit the Dambulla cave temples – a fascinating World Heritage Site – on the drive to Kandy. You may also want to ask your drive to stop at one of the fragrant spice gardens in Matale (the drive time has allowed for both stops). Travel times here can be a little slower than expected – I’ve built in extra time to reflect this.
7 🚗Kandy to Ella drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Ella Master Point Luxury Suite (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy a tour of Kandy, visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, the venerated Buddhist temple Sri Dalada Maligawa (or Temple of the Tooth), Kandy Lake and the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue. Cover legs and shoulders when entering temples.
8 🚗Ella to Galle drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Aditya Boutique (Book >) All hotels >
An 02:00 wake up (yep, 2AM) to start the 3 hour climb around 5,500 steps up Adam’s Peak, arriving in time for a breathtaking dawn. Admire the spectacular views from the top, see the somewhat unimpressive footprint of either Adam, Shiva or Buddha. Rest your aching legs on the drive to Galle. The climb takes between 2-4 hours up and 1-2 hours down. The latest dawn (at around 06:29) is in late Jan/early Feb, the earliest (05:57) in Oct.
9-13 You’ve earned this: endless tropical beaches and serene beachside restaurants. Take a few days to recuperate before heading home, but be sure to set aside some time to visit the old Dutch town in the Fort. Before you bid them farewell on day 8, don’t forget to tip your driver/guide (I recommend about Rs1000/day).
14 🚕Galle to Colombo Airport transfer (Book >)
✈Colombo to home (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:00
Arr: Evening
Connect this itinerary with the Southern India, Rajasthan – India or Nepal itinerary
Indirect flights leave in the morning, in which case stay in Colombo overnight.
Mid-range Dambulla Cave, Sri Lanka
1 ✈To Colombo (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨Cinnamon Red (Book >) All hotels >
Dive in to the bustling streets of Colombo, focusing on the colonial buildings in the Fort area Check here to see if you need a visa for Sri Lanka and to apply.
3 🚄Colombo to Habarana train (Book >) Dep: 15:05 Arr: 18:42 🏨Priya Home Stay (Book >) All hotels >
Take the train to Habarana. This will be your base for a couple of days. Book your train tickets as far in advance as possible. For the Colombo to Galle journey on day 8, buy your ticket in Colombo Fort station.
4-5 Start your exploration of the area with a tour of the royal ancient city of Polonnaruwa (you can either take a taxi or train here). Climb Sigiriya (or Lion Rock) and learn about its legendary and historical past. If you’ve time go on a safari in Minneriya National Park where you will spot elephants, monkeys deer and more. Sigiriya can be an extremely popular place – take a taxi to get there early and avoid the crowds.
6 🚌Habarana to Dambulla bus
🚌Dambula to Kandy bus
Dep: 08:11
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 08:52
Arr: 13:00
🏨Private Apt With Scenic View (Book >) All hotels >
Visit the Dambulla cave temples – a fascinating World Heritage Site – on the way to Kandy. When you arrive into Kandy, drop off your bags then visit the New Ranweli Spice Garden. Take bus 48-16 from Habanara towards Colombo. From Dambulla buses leave for Kandy every 30 mins or so.
7 🚕Kandy to Dalhousie taxi (Book >) Dep: 16:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Slightly Chilled Yellow House (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy a tour of Kandy, visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, the venerated Buddhist temple Sri Dalada Maligawa (or Temple of the Tooth), Kandy Lake and the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue. Cover legs and shoulders when entering temples.
8 🛺Dalhousie to Hatton tuk-tuk
🚄Hatton to Colombo train (Book >)
🚄Colombo to Galle train
Dep: 09:15
Dep: 10:39
Dep: 15:50
Arr: 10:15
Arr: 15:27
Arr: 17:34
🏨Aditya Boutique (Book >) All hotels >
An 02:00 wake up (yep, 2AM) to start the 3 hour climb around 5,500 steps up Adam’s Peak, arriving in time for a breathtaking dawn. Admire the spectacular views from the top, see the somewhat unimpressive footprint of either Adam, Shiva or Buddha. Rest your aching legs on the journey to Galle. The climb takes between 2-4 hours up and 1-2 hours down. The latest dawn (at around 06:29) is in late Jan/early Feb, the earliest (05:57) in Oct.
9-13 You’ve earned this: endless tropical beaches and serene beachside restaurants. Take a few days to recuperate before heading home, but be sure to set aside some time to visit the old Dutch town in the Fort. Before you bid them farewell on day 8, don’t forget to tip your driver/guide (I recommend about Rs1000/day).
14 🚕Galle to Colombo Airport transfer (Book >)
✈Colombo to home (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:00
Arr: Evening
Connect this itinerary with the Southern India, Rajasthan – India or Nepal itinerary
Indirect flights leave in the morning, in which case stay in Colombo overnight.
Budget Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka
1 ✈To Colombo (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨Miracle City Inn (Book >) All hostels >
Dive in to the bustling streets of Colombo, focusing on the colonial buildings in the Fort area Check here to see if you need a visa for Sri Lanka and to apply.
3 🚄Colombo to Habarana train (Book >) Dep: 15:05 Arr: 18:42 🏨Green Garden Resort (Book >) All hostels >
Take the train to Habarana. This will be your base for a couple of days. Book your train tickets as far in advance as possible. For the Colombo to Galle journey on day 8, buy your ticket in Colombo Fort station.
4-5 Start your exploration of the area with a tour of the royal ancient city of Polonnaruwa (you can either take a taxi or train here). Climb Sigiriya (or Lion Rock) and learn about its legendary and historical past. If you’ve time go on a safari in Minneriya National Park where you will spot elephants, monkeys deer and more. Sigiriya can be an extremely popular place – take a taxi to get there early and avoid the crowds.
6 🚌Habarana to Dambulla bus
🚌Dambula to Kandy bus
Dep: 08:11
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 08:52
Arr: 13:00
🏨Bed Station 210 (Book >) All hostels >
Visit the Dambulla cave temples – a fascinating World Heritage Site – on the way to Kandy. Enjoy a tour of Kandy, visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, the venerated Buddhist temple Sri Dalada Maligawa (or Temple of the Tooth), Kandy Lake and the Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue. Take bus 48-16 from Habanara towards Colombo. From Dambulla buses leave for Kandy every 30 mins or so.
7 🚄Kandy to Hatton train (Book >)
🚌Hatton to Dalhousie bus
Dep: 12:31
Dep: 15:00
Arr: 14:30
Arr: 16:30
🏨Mountain Villa Adams Peak (Book >) All hostels >
Visit the New Ranweli Spice Garden before setting off for Dalhousie and an early night. Cover legs and shoulders when entering temples.
8 🛺Dalhousie to Hatton tuk-tuk
🚄Hatton to Colombo train (Book >)
🚄Colombo to Galle train
Dep: 09:15
Dep: 10:39
Dep: 15:50
Arr: 10:15
Arr: 15:27
Arr: 17:34
🏨Luna Beach Home & Cabanas (Book >) All hostels >
An 02:00 wake up (yep, 2AM) to start the 3 hour climb around 5,500 steps up Adam’s Peak, arriving in time for a breathtaking dawn. Admire the spectacular views from the top, see the somewhat unimpressive footprint of either Adam, Shiva or Buddha. Rest your aching legs on the journey to Galle. The climb takes between 2-4 hours up and 1-2 hours down. The latest dawn (at around 06:29) is in late Jan/early Feb, the earliest (05:57) in Oct.
9-13 You’ve earned this: endless tropical beaches and serene beachside restaurants. Take a few days to recuperate before heading home, but be sure to set aside some time to visit the old Dutch town in the Fort. Before you bid them farewell on day 8, don’t forget to tip your driver/guide (I recommend about Rs1000/day).
14 🚕Galle to Colombo Airport transfer (Book >)
✈Colombo to home (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:00
Arr: Evening
Connect this itinerary with the Southern India, Rajasthan – India or Nepal itinerary
Indirect flights leave in the morning, in which case stay in Colombo overnight.

🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA (WA &NT)

Monkey Mia, Australia - Australia travel planBig and with a sparse population, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are full of spectacular natural sights both above and below the water. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.

Here’s your Northern Territory and Western Australia travel plan:

Luxury Perth, Australia
1 ✈To Perth (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Como The Treasury (Book >) All hotels >
You will need a visa for this Australia travel plan. More info here.
3 Take a walk through Kings Park and Botanic Garden to admire the views of the city, Swan River and Darling Range. Cruise to Fremantle, or learn about the Australian gold rush at the Perth Mint. It’s easy enough to get around by foot in Perth, but if you’re planning to use public transport then consider investing in a Smartrider card.
4 🚗Perth to Nambung drive (Hire car >)
🚗Nambung to Kalbarri drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 11:30
Arr: 18:30
🏨Gecko Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
The first long day of driving, broken up with a visit to the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. You can relax when you get to beautiful Kalbarri and enjoy sunset from the beach. Plan your fuel stops carefully – it can be a long way between stations – and take plenty of water.
5 🚗Kalbarri to Shark Bay drive Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨Shark Bay Seafront Apartments (Book >) All hotels >
A little more time to enjoy Kalbarri before setting off to Shark Bay. When you arrive into Denham, Shark Bay, you can enjoy a cruise, a 4WD tour or a vast range of other activities. Book accommodation well in advance as it can be hard to come by during holidays.
6 🚗Shark Bay to Carnarvon drive Dep: 14:30 Arr: 18:30 🏨Tropical Farm Stay (Book >) All hotels >
Head over to Monkey Mia to meet the dolphins before your drive to Carnarvon. The dolphins get fed three times between 07:45 and 12:00.
7 🚗Carnarvon to Exmouth drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 12:00 🏨Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort (Book >) All hotels >
If you don’t feel like rushing off then pay a visit to Carnarvon’s Space & Technology Museum. Exmouth is the gateway to Ningaloo Marine Park and so you’ll want to find yourself a tour on which you can swim with whale sharks, meet humpback whales, go snorkelling and any of a vast range of aquatic activities. The sun is incredibly strong here, fortunately sun cream is cheap in Australia.
8 A full day in which to enjoy Ningaloo. Whale Shark season is from March to June
9 🚗Exmouth to Port Hedland drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 17:30 🏨The Esplanade (Book >) All hotels >
A long drive with few highlights today – make the most of the open road! For an even longer journey drive to Port Hedland inland via Karijini National Park. Be especially vigilant for wildlife if driving at dawn, dusk or night.
10 🚗Port Hedland to Broome drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨Mantra Frangipani Broome (Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Broome, stopping off at Eighty Mile Beach if you need a break. Broome’s Cable Beach is a fantastic place from which to watch sunset or embark on a camel tour. This is a good point at which to return to Perth and either fly home or fly on to Darwin.
11 ✈Broome to Kununurra flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments (Book >) All hotels >
Spend more time on the beach before getting your flight to Kununurra. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
12 Go on a flight over the Bungle Bungle Range, or if you’re feeling more active embark on a guided day tour. After something more serene? Relax on a cruise of the Ord River. Kununurra may be remote but there are three ATMs as well as dining options.
13 ✈Kununurra to Darwin flight (Book>) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Apartment (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning taking in more of the Kimberley scenery before heading to Darwin. Darwin is a cosmopolitan city and boasts excellent Asian cuisine.
14 Visit the historical landmarks along Darwin Wharf Precinct, look around the old Fannie Bay Gaol and The Old Court House and Police Station. In the evening see a performance at Browns Mart Theatre. It’s easy enough to walk between the sights in Darwin if you’re able.
15 🚗Darwin to Katherine drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Cicada Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Drive to Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) and take in the natural marvels here. Hire a 4wd vehicle to see as much of Kakadu National Park as possible.
16 🚗Katherine to Jabiru drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Head into Kakadu Naitonal Park and swim in the pool at Maguk Gorge, visit the Aboriginal rock art galleries at Ubirr, check out Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. End your day with a cruise along Yellow Water. Check road conditions in advance as flooding can occur.
17 🚗Kakadu to Darwin drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Apartment (Book >) All hotels >
Take in any sights you missed yesterday before driving back to Darwin. If you want to extend your Australia travel plan then consider taking The Ghan to Alice Springs and Adelaide.
18 ✈Darwin to home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this West/North Australia travel plan with the Australia, Fiji & Samoa, New Zealand North or New Zealand South itinerary
Book your airport transfer here.
Mid-range Bungle Bungles, Australia
1 ✈To Perth (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Alex Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
You will need a visa for this Australia travel plan. More info here.
3 Take a walk through Kings Park and Botanic Garden to admire the views of the city, Swan River and Darling Range. Cruise to Fremantle, or learn about the Australian gold rush at the Perth Mint. It’s easy enough to get around by foot in Perth, but if you’re planning to use public transport then consider investing in a Smartrider card.
4 🚗Perth to Nambung drive (Hire car >)
🚗Nambung to Kalbarri drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 11:30
Arr: 18:30
🏨Kalbarri Sunsea Villas – Villa 5 (Book >) All hotels >
The first long day of driving, broken up with a visit to the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. You can relax when you get to beautiful Kalbarri and enjoy sunset from the beach. Plan your fuel stops carefully – it can be a long way between stations – and take plenty of water.
5 🚗Kalbarri to Shark Bay drive Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨Shark Bay Seafront Apartments (Book >) All hotels >
A little more time to enjoy Kalbarri before setting off to Shark Bay. When you arrive into Denham, Shark Bay, you can enjoy a cruise, a 4WD tour or a vast range of other activities. Book accommodation well in advance as it can be hard to come by during holidays.
6 🚗Shark Bay to Carnarvon drive Dep: 14:30 Arr: 18:30 🏨Carnarvon Motel WA (Book >) All hotels >
Head over to Monkey Mia to meet the dolphins before your drive to Carnarvon. The dolphins get fed three times between 07:45 and 12:00.
7 🚗Carnarvon to Exmouth drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 12:00 🏨Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort (Book >) All hotels >
If you don’t feel like rushing off then pay a visit to Carnarvon’s Space & Technology Museum. Exmouth is the gateway to Ningaloo Marine Park and so you’ll want to find yourself a tour on which you can swim with whale sharks, meet humpback whales, go snorkelling and any of a vast range of aquatic activities. The sun is incredibly strong here, fortunately sun cream is cheap in Australia.
8 A full day in which to enjoy Ningaloo. Whale Shark season is from March to June
9 🚗Exmouth to Port Hedland drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 17:30 🏨The Esplanade (Book >) All hotels >
A long drive with few highlights today – make the most of the open road! For an even longer journey drive to Port Hedland inland via Karijini National Park. Be especially vigilant for wildlife if driving at dawn, dusk or night.
10 🚗Port Hedland to Broome drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨The Billi (Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Broome, stopping off at Eighty Mile Beach if you need a break. Broome’s Cable Beach is a fantastic place from which to watch sunset or embark on a camel tour. This is a good point at which to return to Perth and either fly home or fly on to Darwin.
11 ✈Broome to Kununurra flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨The Kimberley Grande Resort (Book >) All hotels >
Spend more time on the beach before getting your flight to Kununurra. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
12 Go on a flight over the Bungle Bungle Range, or if you’re feeling more active embark on a guided day tour. After something more serene? Relax on a cruise of the Ord River. Kununurra may be remote but there are three ATMs as well as dining options.
13 ✈Kununurra to Darwin flight (Book>) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Argus Apartments Darwin (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning taking in more of the Kimberley scenery before heading to Darwin. Darwin is a cosmopolitan city and boasts excellent Asian cuisine.
14 Visit the historical landmarks along Darwin Wharf Precinct, look around the old Fannie Bay Gaol and The Old Court House and Police Station. In the evening see a performance at Browns Mart Theatre. It’s easy enough to walk between the sights in Darwin if you’re able.
15 🚗Darwin to Katherine drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Beagle Motor Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Drive to Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) and take in the natural marvels here. Hire a 4wd vehicle to see as much of Kakadu National Park as possible.
16 🚗Katherine to Jabiru drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Head into Kakadu Naitonal Park and swim in the pool at Maguk Gorge, visit the Aboriginal rock art galleries at Ubirr, check out Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. End your day with a cruise along Yellow Water. Check road conditions in advance as flooding can occur.
17 🚗Kakadu to Darwin drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Argus Apartments Darwin (Book >) All hotels >
Take in any sights you missed yesterday before driving back to Darwin. If you want to extend your Australia travel plan then consider taking The Ghan to Alice Springs and Adelaide.
18 ✈Darwin to home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this West/North Australia travel plan with the Australia, Fiji & Samoa, New Zealand North or New Zealand South itinerary
Book your airport transfer here.
Budget Jim Jim Falls, Australia
1 ✈To Perth (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Spinner’s Backpackers (Book >) All hostels >
You will need a visa for this Australia travel plan. More info here.
3 Take a walk through Kings Park and Botanic Garden to admire the views of the city, Swan River and Darling Range. Cruise to Fremantle, or learn about the Australian gold rush at the Perth Mint. It’s easy enough to get around by foot in Perth, but if you’re planning to use public transport then consider investing in a Smartrider card.
4 🚌Perth to Kalbarri bus (Book >) Dep: 08:30 Arr: 16:55 🏨Kalbarri YHA (Book >) All hostels >
The first long day of bus travel. You can relax when you get to beautiful Kalbarri and enjoy sunset from the beach. Consider buying YHA membership which will save you money if you plan to often stay in their hostels.
5 🚌Kalbarri to Binnu General Store shuttle (Reserve >)
🚌Binnu to Overlander Roadhouse bus (Book >)
🚌Overlander Roadhouse to Monkey Mia shuttle (Book >)
Dep: 04:25
Dep: 05:25
Dep: 07:30
Arr:05:25
Arr: 07:30
Arr: 09:30
🏨RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort (Book >) All hotels >
When you arrive into Monkey Mia, you can enjoy a cruise, a 4WD tour or a vast range of other activities. Integrity Coach Lines times vary by day – shuttles will meet the at the appropriate time (you’ll save money if you book the Kalbarri shuttle with the YHA there).
6 Head over to Monkey Mia to meet the dolphins and enjoy more time in and around Shark Bay. The dolphins get fed three times between 07:45 and 12:00.
7 🚌Monkey Mia to Overlander Roadhouse shuttle (Book >)
🚌Overlander Roadhouse to Exmouth (Book >)
Dep: 06:00
Dep: 08:00
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 15:00
🏨RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park (Book >) All hostels >
Wake early for the journey to Exmouth, gateway to Ningaloo Marine Park. Whale Shark season is from March to June.
8 Go a tour on which you can swim with whale sharks, meet humpback whales, go snorkelling and any of a vast range of aquatic activities. Exmouth has a small population but is fairly spread out and so may take time to walk around.
9 🚌Exmouth to Broome bus (Book >) Dep: 15:30 🏨Bus
A long drive with few highlights today – make the most of the open road! For an even longer journey take the weekly bus via Karijini National Park. Book accommodation well in advance as it can be hard to come by during holidays.
10 🚌Port Hedland to Broome drive Arr: 08:15 🏨Beaches of Broome (Book >) All hostels >
Broome’s Cable Beach is a fantastic place from which to watch sunset or embark on a camel tour. This is a good point at which to return to Perth and either fly home or fly on to Darwin.
11 ✈Broome to Kununurra flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Kununurra Backpackers (Book >) All hostels >
Spend more time on the beach before getting your flight to Kununurra. If you wish to continue overland then Greyhound offer a 14-hour bus to Kununurra and on to Darwin.
12 Go on a flight over the Bungle Bungle Range, or if you’re feeling more active embark on a guided day tour. After something more serene? Relax on a cruise of the Ord River. Kununurra may be remote but there are three ATMs as well as dining options.
13 ✈Kununurra to Darwin flight (Book>) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Darwin Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Spend the morning taking in more of the Kimberley scenery before heading to Darwin. Darwin is a cosmopolitan city and boasts excellent Asian cuisine.
14 Visit the historical landmarks along Darwin Wharf Precinct, look around the old Fannie Bay Gaol and The Old Court House and Police Station. In the evening see a performance at Browns Mart Theatre. It’s easy enough to walk between the sights in Darwin if you’re able.
15 🚗Darwin to Katherine drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Pine Tree Motel (Book >) All hotels >
Drive to Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) and take in the natural marvels here. Hire a 4wd vehicle to see as much of Kakadu National Park as possible.
16 🚗Katherine to Jabiru drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Kakadu Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Head into Kakadu Naitonal Park and swim in the pool at Maguk Gorge, visit the Aboriginal rock art galleries at Ubirr, check out Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. End your day with a cruise along Yellow Water. Save more money by bringing camping equipment.
17 🚗Kakadu to Darwin drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Darwin Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Take in any sights you missed yesterday before driving back to Darwin. If you want to extend your Australia travel plan then consider taking a bus to Alice Springs.
18 ✈Darwin to home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this West/North Australia travel plan with the Australia, Fiji & Samoa, New Zealand North or New Zealand South itinerary
Book your bus to the airport here.