Chic Locations https://chiclocations.com CHIC Locations – Tour Operator & Travel Specialist Mon, 01 Jun 2020 13:14:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://chiclocations.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-ChicLogoMobile-32x32.png Chic Locations https://chiclocations.com 32 32 Travel After COVID-19 https://chiclocations.com/travel-after-covid-19/ https://chiclocations.com/travel-after-covid-19/#respond Mon, 01 Jun 2020 13:13:07 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=74471 The main impact of the virus seems to be approaching the end – hopefully. The total death toll is truly tragic and shows how universally vulnerable the world is.

Countries around the globe are now gradually relaxing their “lock-down“ procedures, some quicker than others.

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Travel After COVID-19?

The main impact of the virus seems to be approaching the end – hopefully. The total death toll is truly tragic and shows how universally vulnerable the world is.

Countries around the globe are now gradually relaxing their “lock-down“ procedures, some quicker than others. Travel is beginning to resume, but at a cautious foot by foot, small steps. Airlines are looking to reopen routes gradually but possibly with a reduced schedule.

There is so much speculation on how travel will look in the future, no one truly knows. For every clarification I receive, I have ten more questions. With this in mind, these would be my predictions, based on my travel experiences over the years – my medical expertise is limited to a  boy scout first –aid course some time back!

  • There will be lengthy immigration and medical lines at airports. Some of this will be the social distancing requirement but I can see more medical tests being carried out before embarkation and almost certainly upon arrival in destination. There are discussions that we might need to carry a “ COVID clear “ certificate, but in my view, this is practical in the future, not the immediate months. Good idea, but supplies and resources come to mind.
  • On arrival, it is probable you will be asked to download the local track & trace app onto your mobile. This will enable local medical authorities to keep in touch with you should they need. Intrusive, maybe but that could be a condition of entry. Just on this more countries will ask for proof our your insurance, especially medical. If you are unable to show you will probably be required to purchase a local policy. Again this could be a condition of entry.
  • Upon arrival at your hotel you may be tested once more, but less formally. All of the hotels will have had to sign up to a complete medical risk assessment, with re-enforced cleaning procedures. In the immediate period, it is envisaged rooms will need at least 4/5 hours of vacancy from time of client departure until new arrival – the days of a 30  minute clean are long gone.
  • Some hotels will ask all guests to wear masks whilst in public areas and many will ask for social distancing. Hotel facilities will increase in line with demand, but it might be realistic to anticipate some may not be operational either partly or at all. Some of these might be obvious, but self-service buffets, spa treatments, health clubs, enclosed bars and restaurants all come to mind.
  • Some hotels, especially in Asia, like to medically test guests when they leave the resort and again upon resort return. Some might find this intrusive, others might think it’s reassuring. If you do have any extreme symptoms you will be asked to self isolate in your accommodation whilst medical assistance is sought.
  • Upon destination departure, you might again need to have a medical test. This will vary from country to country or at times airline to airline.
  • Upon arrival in the UK, it is currently the Government requirement that you self isolate for 14 days. This currently applies to the end of June (2020) but is subject to a review every three weeks.
  • Just on this the present Foreign and Commonwealth travel advice is “Only travel if Essential“. This applies to all countries outside of the UK. Again this is under constant review, and it is probable travel will be permitted to some if not all countries from August onwards. This is not just a case of us as a nation wanting to travel but also how much the host country wants us. Our death toll is one of the worst in the world and this might influence other countries, just as it would if the pattern was reversed.
  • How will prices be for later in the year and for 2021? Ok, let me try to answer this relative to the two main cost areas, air travel and hotel content.

Most of us have read or heard of the tough times the airlines have had and continue to face. Virtually all have downsized both in staffing and aircraft. A few routes have been cancelled completely or will have a reduced schedule & capacity. And when demand exceeds the supply,  as I expect, this usually leads to price increases. Many of the airlines have survived courtesy of Government loans and that will need to be paid back.

On a more positive note, hotels have a more fixed asset in their number of rooms and the more they are occupied the happier they are. For clients who were due to travel but cancelled due to COVID concerns, I can say 95% will be wonderfully obliging, especially if the previous booking can be traced. On completely new bookings we have negotiated with our hotel partners some incredible money-saving offers, including room and meal upgrades, additional nights free and frequently we can add something extra exclusively for you.

You will appreciate this is mainly just my speculation on how things will be. The situation is changing from week to week. Please email us on sales@chiclocations.com if you have any specific destination enquiry and we shall try to clarify the situation based on local information as it stands.

Keep safe and healthy and keep those positive chic travel dreams alive.

David Kevan – Partner at Chic Locations.

5/2020

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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Thailand & Oman – Offers https://chiclocations.com/thailand-oman-offers/ https://chiclocations.com/thailand-oman-offers/#respond Fri, 06 Mar 2020 12:53:17 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=74262 Take advantage of Chic's exclusive offers and explore the seaside or the mountains of Oman. Further afield, you can discover gleaming temples and new delights in the street food markets of Thailand.

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Chic Locations’ Offers For Thailand & Oman

Oman  – Book before the 18th Apri for departure in March / April

Muscat – Enjoy a stay by the seaside and in the mountains

 

Stay 3 nights, pay for 2 + 25% discount at The Chedi, Muscat.

7 nights stay – 2 nights at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Adkhdar and 5 nights at The Chedi Muscat. Includes transfers and return economy flights – £4,788

Thailand – based 2 people booking before 30th April and valid for stay June onwards.

9-night Stay – Visit the sights of gleaming temples or street food market on Bangkok, combined with the Elephants Hills experience in Khao Sak National Park and a beach stay.

2 nights at the Mode Sathorn in Bangkok (stay 3 pay 2)

2 nights Elephant Hills elephant camp experience

and 5 nights at the Aava Resort, Khanom

Includes complimentary Pink Dolphin tour at the Aava

 £3,888 in June

Thailand – Based 2 people booking before 30 April and valid for travel 16 April – 31 October onwards.

9-night stay – Visit the sights of gleaming temples or street food market, combined with the Elephants Hills experience in Khao Sak National Park and a beach stay.

 

Special Early Booking Offers and Discounts at various hotels.

 

2 nights at the Mode Sathorn in Bangkok

2 nights Elephant Hills elephant camp experience

5 nights Khao Lak at the Devasom Beach Resort

£3,888 in October

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Covid-19 (formerly known as Coronavirus) – Update 27/2/20 https://chiclocations.com/covid-19-formerly-known-as-coronavirus-update-27-2-20/ https://chiclocations.com/covid-19-formerly-known-as-coronavirus-update-27-2-20/#respond Thu, 27 Feb 2020 20:39:43 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=74124 The post Covid-19 (formerly known as Coronavirus) – Update 27/2/20 appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Covid- 19 Update –  26/2/20

The situation regarding the Covid-19 virus is now causing concern in many areas around the world. It is constantly changing, almost by the day.

 

It seems to have originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province in South Central China. From there it spread to some other countries in S.E Asia. In recent days there has been a spike in reported cases in Europe, the Middle East and North America.

We are monitoring the situation several times daily, taking advice from our local agents and hotels, as well as non-travel friends residing in the areas. Plus of course, keeping in touch with the UK Foreign Office travel advice. This is updated on a regular basis and influences many of the decisions made by travel companies in the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

For additional information on the virus and its activity track, you might find the World Health Organisation website of interest – www.who.int.

Also, the John Hopkins University in the USA (centre for system science and engineering) has some real-time maps and charts on the virus and seems to be used by many of the news stations for statistics.

Also see https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries which gives medical advice country by country.

Please note, many countries are now prohibiting entry if you have recently travelled to one of the main virus concerned areas. Just by example, but not limited to, China, South Korea, Iran and parts of Northern Italy. The Travel Health website provides details .

Please Note –  we are not medically qualified so are unable to voice any assurance or opinion on the virus, other than what we have read or heard.

Some of the figures flashing our screens are alarming, so just to put things into some perspective. The population of China is 1.4 billion plus, the area around the epicenter of the virus in Wuhan alone has over 20m people. The UK population is around 73m. Whilst the virus has spread into many more countries, over 90% of the confirmed cases are in China and around 2% of the fatalities are in non-China related areas. Of course, any fatality is tragic but from what we have read virtually all are elderly and with a long history of respiratory issues. Looking at some of the figures, 97% of the confirmed cases seem to make a full recovery within 3 weeks.

In the UK over 7,000 people die annually from flu virus issues. Actually, in the harsh winter of 2008/9, this rose to 13,000. In the USA, in the especially severe winter of 2017/18, over 1m people were hospitalised with a flu-related illness and over 80,000 deaths were recorded. None of this minimises the present situation. We are just trying to put some scale into the figures.

If you are returning to the UK after travel to one of the virus-related areas (and this could be Europe / North America, as well as Far East / S E Asia) and you feel unwell with severe flu style symptoms please call (NHS) 111.

If you call your local GP they will usually suggest you call this number.

Please Note –  UK Government advice seems to be increasingly referring to a self-imposed quarantine for a period of 2/3 weeks. Again, refer to the UK Government travel advice as detailed previously.

Also note that the Covid-19 virus is a different strain to the Norovirus, which seems to affect many cruise ships on an annual basis.

Should you wish to discuss your travel plans further, please contact David at chic Locations david@chiclocations.com. Whilst he does not have a crystal ball on the future, he will be able to rationalise most concerns.

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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Tourist Arrested for Wearing Bikini in the Maldives – The facts behind the headlines https://chiclocations.com/tourist-arrested-for-wearing-bikini-in-the-maldives/ https://chiclocations.com/tourist-arrested-for-wearing-bikini-in-the-maldives/#respond Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:22:20 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=73939 A western tourist was arrested recently in the Maldives, allegedly for wearing a bikini. It made dramatic headline news around Europe. So let’s look beyond the headline a little.

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Tourist arrested for wearing bikini in the Maldives – The facts behind the headlines

A western tourist was arrested recently in the Maldives, allegedly for wearing a bikini. It made dramatic headline news around Europe. So let’s look beyond the headline a little.

The tourist, who it seems was British and apparently a UK Government advisor (capacity unknown), was staying on the island of Maafushi, which is located about 16 miles south of the capital island Male. Unlike many of the islands in the Maldives, which are exclusively for tourists and tend to be single resort, Maafushi has a local population of around 3,000. It has no international hotels, however, it does have over 50 simple guest houses.

These were encouraged by the Maldives Government , in an attempt to diversify their tourism and to give opportunities for  more  of the local population  to be involved.

 

It also opens up a different pricing level. Plus there could be clients who deliberately shun the exclusive resort island and want something which is much more simple and authentic. By choosing this style  of holiday any traveller realistically accepts local standards on dress etiquette and traditions. This happens throughout the world and not just in the Maldives.

Yes, the island police could have been heavy handed in dealing with this matter, following complaints from some of the local population. The tourist was seemingly released after a few hours and then moved to another island before flying home.

 Lessons learnt are several. The Maldives Government maybe needs to be more specific when promoting this type of holiday. Also overseas clients travelling to any area need to be respectful to local traditions, and this particularly applies when “homestay“ type accommodation has been selected.

 Just as an aside on this , all of the holidays offered by Chic Locations in the Maldives are to exclusive resort islands where bikini type swimwear is accepted. Although it is expected, this will be suitably modest rather than heart attack inducing!  Day visits to locally inhabited islands can be arranged depending on atoll location.

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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The Pros and Cons of Instant Purchase Deals https://chiclocations.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-instant-purchase-deals/ https://chiclocations.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-instant-purchase-deals/#respond Mon, 03 Feb 2020 10:22:20 +0000 https://chiclocations.com/?p=73958 The post The Pros and Cons of Instant Purchase Deals appeared first on Chic Locations.

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The Pros and Cons of Instant Purchase Deals

Something that now frequently comes are Instant purchase offers made by both airlines and hotels. As this is a relatively new concept, David from Chic thought it might be an idea to clarify what the offers mean and the general conditions.

Q . What does instant purchase mean ? 

A . Essentially the price you see has to be booked instantly with generally full payment made. Once the payment has been made no changes, even little ones, are allowed. So no date/ name / stay changes. Conditions might vary slightly depending on the hotel or airlines, but generally these prices are set by faceless yield controllers who take delight in their shield of anonymity. Things we might think make sense like adding extra people / nights or even a change of initial all seem to fall on deaf ears. In many cases the discounted price is actually funded by those who have to change and forfeit their monies paid in full. 

Q. What deposit will Chic expect at time of booking these deals ? 

A. It will be full total payment of the hotel and / or airline cost at the time of booking. 

Q . Are they good value ? 

A. Yes or No. It is usual the saving against a more flexible rate are around 15%, so certainly worth considering. However, you have to be confident your circumstances will not change in any way. Once booked any refund is highly unlikely, and remember your insurance policy will have specific conditions on things you can or cannot claim for. 

Q . Would anyone at Chic consider using these offers?

A . Yes if I were travelling within two / three weeks and could be reasonably confident there will be no changes to my plans. Personally, I would be much less sure about their value if I were travelling 4/5 months plus in advance. So much of life is unpredictable. At the end of the day, the decision is yours, you will know more about your lifestyle than anyone else. Yes the savings are considerable, but there is a risk. 

We hope you find this of assistance, but any queries or additional questions, just contact David at Chic.

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About Bagan, Burma https://chiclocations.com/about-bagan-burma/ https://chiclocations.com/about-bagan-burma/#respond Sat, 18 Jan 2020 01:19:34 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72704 The post + About Bagan, Burma appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Bagan is a totally captivating and truly magical destination, with spiritual architecture and arid, natural landscapes…

 

Beautiful, in a jaw-dropping kind of way. A must on any tour to Burma.

Bagan is home to one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia – probably the world – covering 42 sq kilometres of ruins. It is claimed that at one stage there were over 10,000 temples, pagodas, and stupas, of which now just close to 3000 remain intact.  That covers 911 temples, 834 stupas or pagodas, 431 brick monasteries, 54 ordination halls and 892 still be excavated!

And just for your information, a stupa is solid and small, usually white. A pagoda is larger, hollow and you can climb up on the outside. Temples you can explore, both interior and exterior.

Bagan is also the start, or end, of many cruise journeys on the Irrawaddy River (also spelt Ayeyarwaddy) to Mandalay.

The most popular time to travel tends to be November to March when the days are bright and sunny. Ideal for sightseeing. It is also the busiest time, so the sites can be crowded. April to June sees the temperatures soar, frequently moving into the mid ’40s. Less crowds, but it’s a very hot dry period. July to October sees the rainy months with heavy showers, although less dramatic than in other parts of Burma.

As with all religious sites in Burma, socks and shoes should be removed when visiting. This might make climbing the numerous steps to the temple tops difficult, but there is a viewing tower for those less agile.

There are obviously so many temples or pagodas to visit, but Ananda is probably the most beautiful inside and out . It is like a museum, with intricate stone carvings as well as a golden temple).

The views from the top of Shwesandaw and Pyathada temples are just incredible. Also worth visiting are That Byinnya, the highest and beautiful from far away, and Dhamayangyi which is the biggest and has the most detailed brickwork. Amazing when you think it was constructed in 1165 AD.

 

Hot Air Balloon Rides over Bagan would be an exceptional, never forgotten experience!

 

Also, make time to visit some of the adjacent rural villages. Hot Air Balloon rides would be an exceptional, never forgotten experience. They are usually available November to mid-March only, although some operate to mid-April depending on weather conditions. Prices start at around US$350 pp for a 45-minute ride. Expensive, yes, but a once in a lifetime experience.

If you are not taking a 3 or 4 day cruise, we also suggest a one-hour sunset trip on the river which offers a different perspective.

Also worth considering would be a tour of the temples and stupas by horse-drawn cart, maybe not for the whole day but an hour or two will give you some idea of the vast area.

 

 

Our Suggested Hotels in Bagan (see footnote)

 

The Hotel@Thrabar Gate

83 rooms and suites. Set within old Bagan, just 5 minutes’ walk to the Ananda temple. You are literally surrounded by hundreds of temples and pagodas. Traditional low rise accommodation, with teak floors and Burmese furniture. Attractive gardens, restaurant and swimming pool. Charming and rather stylish, in a deliberately understated manner. The airport is 25 minutes. (see footnote on Bagan Hotels)

Nightly rate per person £88 May to October

£108 November to March

Auream Palace Resort

 

114 deluxe rooms and free-standing villas, some with their own plunge pool. One of the most luxurious and opulent in Burma. ( see footnote )  Incredible location in the heart of the archaeological area, a 27-acre tropical estate with lush gardens. Facilities include a huge main pool plus additional pool close to the deluxe rooms, several restaurants, impressive spa. Viewing tower adjacent. The airport is 15 minutes away.

Nightly rates per person £118 May to October

£148 November to March

Bagan Hotels Overview

 

Our two suggested hotels are rated amongst the best in rural Burma. In terms of design and overall standards, we think you will be pleased.  In common with all hotels, once outside the larger cities, prices can be high, simply because demand outstrips supply, and this can be reflected in incidentals. Wi-fi is not a Bagan speciality, no matter what level hotel you book.

Command of English is also limited. We think that is rather charming, although, at times, it can be aggravating. Also,  Burmese beds are built for straight, hardbacks, so not for everyone.

Don’t let any of this put you off. Bagan is one of the wonders of the world, in our opinion, and has to be seen.

Other hotels we frequently use are The Bagan, Thande, Ayeyar and Bagan Lodge

Other Hotels & Tours in Bagan, Burma

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About The Gulf of Siam Resorts https://chiclocations.com/about-the-gulf-of-siam-resorts/ https://chiclocations.com/about-the-gulf-of-siam-resorts/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 04:00:07 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72632 Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam, just over 2 hours drive south of Bangkok. For years they have been the aspirational centre for affluent Thai families who have holiday homes in the area. The two resorts run into each other along the coast, with Hua Hin the more developed with many hotels and in particular high rise condominiums.

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Hua Hin | Koh Samui | Koh Phangan | Koh Tao | Koh Kood

Quick Facts

Hua Hin – Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam, just over 2 hours drive south of Bangkok. For years it has been the aspirational centre for affluent Thai families who have holiday homes in the area. Hua Hin is developed with many hotels, villas and in particular high rise condominiums. In many ways, it looks more Gold Coast or Miami Beach than Thailand. Clients like the easy road access from Bangkok, the improved restaurant scene and the golfing options. It would not be our version of tropical paradise, but the hotel quality is good and very well priced, especially if you avoid weekends.

Koh Samed is located on the opposite east coast of the Gulf of Siam, 90 minutes south of Bangkok Airport and then a 30-minute speedboat ride. Much less developed than Hua Hin, Samed celebrated its first tarmac road in 2015! But the beaches are glorious  (see image above), almost Indian Ocean style. It only has 7 hotels, owned by the same family, with 5 geared to the regional market or low cost and the other two, Le Vimarn and particularly Paradee, catering for a more upscale worldwide clientele. The island is lush, wonderfully tropical, with just one area, Sai Kao where you have restaurant options and quite a few tacky bars.

Koh Kood is the furthest south of the Thai islands, almost located on the border with Cambodia. The 5th largest island, but with one of the smallest populations. Stunning beaches, dense forests, waterfalls, little villages and just a few international hotels. As of 2018, it had a police population of three, one hospital with two doctors, one ATM, no 7-Elevens. The most famous is Soneva Kiri, one of the most luxurious resorts in the entire region. With Soneva you usually arrive by charter straight from Bangkok, 90 minutes flight. For other hotels, you fly to Trat, one hour and then 45 minutes to ferry point and then 50 minutes ferry to resort. Totally magical, providing shopping and nightlife are not high on your priority.

Weatherwise

Generally at their best December to May, although you do not get the seasonal extremes of the islands like Samui and Phuket. In the summer you might have some increased rainfall and humidity, but days without sun are rare. Jellyfish can occasionally be seen in midsummer.

 

Pleasures

We might not have said this a few years back, but Hua Hin, in particular, has improved with tourism development. There are now many more restaurant and shopping options, as well as hotel choice. The beaches are good, albeit without the sense of the tropics found in Phuket or Samui. This area has the most Golf Courses in Thailand, so if you want to play around you have so many options. An interesting tour can be to visit the Hua Hin Winery, just 45 minutes drive inland and you can actually tour the vines on elephants! – and the setting is really quite unique and the red wine surprisingly good.

Koh Samed is tropical, essentially it is beaches and relaxation, with the Sai Keow area having some nightlife and restaurant options. Our two hotels are rated as the best on the island, but there is not a lot of competition.

 

Realities

They can be busy at weekends/public holidays when transfers can take longer.

Hotels & Resorts in The Gulf of Siam Resort

“There’s no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one…”

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May – June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Click Here to Email Us

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About Samui & Neighbouring Resorts https://chiclocations.com/about-samui-neighbouring-resorts/ https://chiclocations.com/about-samui-neighbouring-resorts/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 00:16:33 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72575 Samui – Good, highly innovative hotels and some excellent dining options. The majority of the development has occurred in the north-west area of the island and the more expansive beaches.

Phangan, Koh Tao and Khanom are much less developed, it is like going back 30 years in time, with just a handful of hotels, and offers a true sense of adventure.

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Koh Samui is probably the best known and developed. A totally tropical island with three spectacular beaches and many other small coves. Flying time from Bangkok is 65 minutes or from KL 95 minutes.

Koh Phangan is a 30-minute speedboat ride from Samui, much quieter options with some great beach options, real hide and chic retreats.

Koh Tao is wonderfully tropical, 2 hours by ferry from Samui – even less developed with a rather hippy vibe and just a couple of rather funky chilled out hotels.

Khanom is located on the mainland, facing Samui, and you fly into Surat Thani (75 minutes from Bangkok) and then a one-hour road transfer.

Weatherwise

All are generally at their best March to September, although being lush and very tropical rain can fall throughout the year. December to February can see also some beach erosion and higher sea swells.

Pleasures

Samui – Good, highly innovative hotels and some excellent dining options. The majority of the development has occurred in the north-west area of the island, closest to the airport and the more expansive beaches. Chaweng is the most popular and crowded beach, with many restaurant and bar options. Mae Nam and BoPhut are equally good beaches but with fewer crowds and a more family/romance focus. On the west and south coasts, it is still wonderfully real and authentic although the beaches are less attractive. It is easy to explore, plus you can easily visit some of the offshore islands.

Phangan, Koh Tao and Khanom are much less developed, it is like going back 30 years in time, with just a handful of hotels, and offers a true sense of adventure. The beaches at Khanom are incredible, some of the very best in the region and totally unspoilt, and the scenic contrasts amazing. Koh Tao rejoices in its laid back almost bohemian style, its a bit Thai wild west in places with local versions of Lemmy from Motorhead in abundance. Koh Phangan, despite being one of the largest islands is still wonderfully tropical and lush with some superb beaches and just a handful of international styled hotels. It is known for its rather wild and hedonistic monthly Full Moon parties but that is just on one beach and can be easily avoided.

Realities

Samui seems to have focused on building hotels without a lot of thought on the island infrastructure, it can show at times. Lively Chaweng is an acquired taste but it has restaurants and bars galore. It is a small island so hotels on the popular north coast, within 15 minutes of the airport, might see/hear aircraft.

Phangan, Koh Tao and Khanom will appeal to the curious travellers looking to experience something new and fresh. They appeal particularly to those who have visited Thailand as backpackers in their student days, loved it but can now afford something rather more luxurious. Or those who really enjoy Thailand but feel the resorts of Phuket and Samui are now just a little too busy.

Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao & Khanom, Southern Thailand

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Secret Bay Dominica – High-Quality Boutique Escapism! https://chiclocations.com/secret-bay-dominica-high-quality-boutique-escapism/ https://chiclocations.com/secret-bay-dominica-high-quality-boutique-escapism/#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2020 19:02:26 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72531 The post Secret Bay Dominica – High-Quality Boutique Escapism! appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Secret Bay Dominica – High-Quality Boutique Escapism!

Dramatic location, perched high above the Caribbean sea. Wonderfully boutique with just six immaculate villas, all with pool.

 

The emphasis is on simple uncluttered luxury and romance, in harmony with the surroundings, with fantastic highly personalised attention to your every desire. Eco influenced in its design and concept, perfectly at one with the natural beauty of Dominica.

Secret Bay is award-winning, internationally & regionally. It is known for its total innovation and uncompromising desire to provide something that is naturally luxurious – in the truest sense.

 

This is Caribbean escapism at its very best.

Discover Secret Bay with Chic Locations. 

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

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+ About Cambodia https://chiclocations.com/about-cambodia/ https://chiclocations.com/about-cambodia/#respond Mon, 13 Jan 2020 04:12:53 +0000 https://revodevo.wpengine.com/?p=72494 The post + About Cambodia appeared first on Chic Locations.

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Cambodia, The Kingdom of Wonder!

 

One of the three counties that make up the collective Indochina, the territories once controlled by colonial France (the other two are Laos and Vietnam).

Cambodia is probably best known for the magnificent temples of Angkor, located just outside Siem Reap. Easy access from Bangkok, 60 minutes flight away. Or combine your stay with a  visit the capital Phnom Penh, an intriguing combination of French colonial buildings and busy Asian street life.

 

Visa on arrival, approx. cost US$35. Please ensure you have a full page for the rather impressive entry stamp/visa and that your passport has a minimum validity of 6 months. 

Weather Wise

 

The dry season runs from November to April with hot sunny days. The Wet season, usually with heavy showers and humidity rather than constant rain, is May to October.

 

Pleasures

 

The temples of Angkor are amazing, an absolute must on any tour of this region. If time allows, after exploration of the main sites (it will take you a full day as there are numerous sites), travel further outside the city to visit one of the lesser-known temples, equally impressive, fewer crowds. Maybe combine this with Ton Le lake, one of the largest in Asia. Also, Siem Reap is an attractive little city with some excellent restaurants. For this reason, we would suggest a stay of 4 days (3 nights).

 

Phnom Penh is the capital city, fascinating – think Havana meets Chiang Mai – busy Asian markets, crumbling colonial buildings, huge  Soviet-type squares and of course high rise which is seen as progress in this region. It is also the home to the genocide museum, gruesome and graphic – it is hardly a pleasure but a reminder on how far Cambodia has come in a few short years.

 

Realities

 

Angkor is busy, especially with regional tourism. Queues can be long, but it is still a must-see attraction. See note above regarding the suggested length of stay in Siem Reap.

 

The Magnificent Temples of Angkor & Surrounding Area

 

The very name conjures up images of jungle temples, Asian mysticism and exotic Hindu influence architecture. Built over 1000 years ago, it was then deserted for reasons never answered, and remained undiscovered until 1860 when a Belgian explorer, Henri Mouhot, was hacking his way through the jungle and suddenly came across this fantastic feat of building and design. It is now one of the region’s most desirable destination for the curious traveller.

 

Even if you are not a fan of temples, the sheer scale of Angkor will amaze all but the most blasé. It is not just one temple but several, spread over 70 square kilometres, with the iconic Angkor Wat the largest. But also visit Ta Prohm with the temple structure buried within the roots of the trees, and the intricate stone faces of Bayon equally impressive.

 

The conventional entrance to Angkor is from the East gate, now known as the Chinese Gate as it where the large follow the flag tour groups seem to gather. Huge numbers. But there are much more pleasurable quieter alternatives, you still see the same things but with fewer people. Ask us about the Vespa tours for an incredible lifetime experience.

 

The town of Siem Reap is nearest to the temples, just a short 15-minute drive. It has seen considerable hotel development in recent years, and without doubt, it is much more commercial than a few years ago. But it still has great charm, as long as you avoid the rather tacky Pub Street, and the whole experience with the temples remains one of the highlights on any tour to the region. Spare time to walk around the town, it is easy to explore and has some very pleasant restaurants, Boutiques, and museums, with the Siem Reap river – from which the town takes its name – adding to the attraction. Actually the name Siem Reap means Siam Defeated, a reference to the time the Cambodians drive the Thais from their city.

 

And if you tire of temples, visit the huge Tonle Lake, one of the largest in Asia and explore the floating Kampong villages of the fisherman. A fantastic authentic heart-rendering experience as we travel to the villages slightly further out of town so untouched by commercial tourism. See also top tip below, a unique day of adventure and discovery as Tonle Lake can be combined with Beng Mealea temple.

 

 

TOP TIP

 

There is so much to see and do in Siem Reap and we now particularly suggest at least 3 nights. In addition to visiting the main temples at Angkor Wat, we suggest travelling further out for a generally quieter experience and we particularly suggest the incredibly hidden temple of Beng Mealea – it is an extra hour of travel but a fantastic unique experience.

 

Phnom Pehn and Song Saa Resort

 

Cambodia is now rapidly shaking off its brutal, relatively recent past – although there are still pockets of evidence of the horrors, both in Siem Reap and particularly the capital Phnom Penh with the genocide museum. Most of our clients will just visit Siem Reap as a 4 day (3 night) extension from Bangkok. However, we can also arrange itineraries to include Phnom Penh – a surprisingly interesting rather edgy city with crumbling French colonial buildings and huge Soviet-style parks and squares and more recent high-rise.

 

We would suggest 2 nights. Particularly suggested for those familiar with the region rather than first-time travellers, as it is wonderfully authentic but can come as a shock to the system.

 

With several flights daily from several of the major cities in the region combination holidays with Siem Reap including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong are easy to arrange. Newly announced are direct flights from Siem Reap to the Vietnam beach resort of Danang (includes Hoi An) – best from March to September.

 

Combinations with Vietnam are particularly interesting and in addition to the air links with Saigon and Hanoi, you can also travel up or down the mighty Mekong River on a 7-night cruise.

 

In the south of Cambodia, just off the resort of Sihanonkville, you have the luxurious private island resort of Song Saa. See image below.

 

27 elegant villas, all with private plunge pool. A fantastic all-inclusive retreat for a few days. One of the most discussed resorts in the region, expensive without doubt, but that just seems to add to the appeal. There are regular flights from Siem Reap to Sihanonkville, followed by speedboat transfer to resort. Or you can stay in Phnom Penh and then travel down by road, a 4-hour drive mainly through rural countryside. The resort is generally at its best weather-wise December to April.

 

Within the Sihanonkville area you have now seen substantial tourism growth in the last two years ( from 2016 ) with many new hotels, almost as many casinos (36 at last count), direct flights from several neighbouring countries, mainly China with 90 direct flights weekly. Some of the slightly more remote beaches and islands remain charming and more exclusive but you have to select your resort and hotel carefully. Several new island resorts such as the Royal on Koh Rong, with Alila and Six Senses due to open soon. It would not be our suggestion you stay in the Sihanonkville main beach area.

 

Cambodia – A Chic Location

"There's no such thing as the best hotel, just the right one..."

 

Click for Booking Terms, Price Guides & Flight Information

All price guides are Per Person Sharing Double Room (Entry level), based on travel between May and/or June when prices are generally at their lowest and include promotional offers.

Supplements will probably apply at other times, particularly mid-summer in the Med, and for rooms and/or transfers arranged for single travellers.

For example, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean prices for winter can be approximately double the May - June level and about 50% more in Asia.

For the Mediterranean & Canary IslandsCaribbeanArabia and the Indian Ocean (except Sri Lanka) price guides generally include airfare and transfers.

*For Sri Lanka and Far East we show a per person per night hotel guide, excluding air fare, as arrangements tend to be individually tailored multi-centre itineraries.

Please refer to Travel Advice on our home page or look at www.fco.gov.uk as the Foreign Office may have issued specific destination information on safety and terrorism.

 

Click for our CHIC Locations Booking Terms & Conditions PDF

All of the holidays arranged by Chic Locations are fully bonded for your financial protection, with our
ABTA bond securing accommodation/land only holidays, and our ATOL licence (number 6389) protecting air inclusive holidays.

Contact a Chic Travel Specialist Today!

Call +44 (0)208 944 1973

Chic Locations

The Luxury Boutique

Tour Operator

The post + About Cambodia appeared first on Chic Locations.

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