Well done Dubai for hosting an amazing Arabian Travel Market over the last 4 days. Hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world come and lay out their stalls to inspire us to experience their take on life, from Oman to Odessa in the Ukraine, the world really is your oyster. Ideas range from your usual luxury hotels and resorts to trekking holidays to royal train rides . Here’s DoinDubai’s pick of what tempted us.
Jakarta in Indonesia followed by Ubud in Bali. If the people in Indonesia are half as friendly and helpful as the delegation it sent out, you’ll have no trouble at all. Try the incredible sounding recently refurbished 5 * Borobudur hotel in an oasis of green in Jakarta. Amazing shopping, heritage sites all of which are easily accessible and I think better value for money than some other destinations. Hire a car and driver for around 50 US dollars a day and drive out and see the countryside for long day trips or ride out for an hour, step onto a boat and explore some of the lesser known islands like Pulau Machan for a day or a night or two. Bali needs no explanation but perhaps avoid the over developed bits and try to get to Ubud or Lovina. The Kartika Plaza hotel looks like it could offer great value and ticks all the family friendly boxes albeit in a busy area.
Click here for some really useful contacts to help you organize all your tours and travels in Indonesia.
Holiday Ideas from the Arabian Travel Market
- The same part of the world but this time Malaysia, stay at the gorgeous Shangri La (voted number 1 hotel for luxury in Kuala Lumpur) and then take a flight to Kota Kinabalu (the highest peak in South East Asia) in Sabah. Stay again at either of the Shangri La’s there, the Tanjong Aru in a lush, green resort type setting with a private beach or go wild and live with the orangutans in the Shangri La’s Rasa Ria hotel. There is ample opportunity to explore hidden islands via easy boat trips from both hotels and the staff again from the Malaysian tourist board and the Shangri La impressed DoinDubai with their combination of professionalism and knowledge.
Fly Dubai had a much bigger presence at the ATM this year with a double storey stand that was constantly busy, it seems that Odessa has just been added to it’s impressively long list of destinations and I don’t’ need to say anything about it’s fares.
Fly to Kerala in India and stay at the Zuri hotel in Kumarakom, be assured of fabulous South Indian meals, authentic Ayurvedic massages and true South Indian hospitality with the assurance of a top end hotel group. Africa seemed to be in evidence in all kinds of ways, safaris in the Masaai Mara or the Ngora Ngora crater in Tanzania, it was all here. The Zuri group also have a lovely hotel in Mombasa’s South Coast The Diani that sits on a luxurious stretch of beach and their adviser was again very helpful and knowledgeable about when to go and what to expect. Click here for more on the Zuri group.
And if you want something different, then try India’s Maharaja’s Express train, a week long train journey travelling through some of India’s ancient royal routes. But this is not for the budget traveller at all with prices around USD 5 000 per person for a 7 day trip !
I also have to mention that I was tempted by the Sofitel group’s very grown up Washington DC hotel round the corner from the White House and other heritage buildings and museums, not to mention walking distance from great restaurants and shopping for teenagers. Oh did I mention you could walk everywhere ?! Then maybe hire a car and drive up into the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and unwind on some country roads.
Still have some energy and days left when you’re back in Dubai, then take a short break to Bangkok and stay in the uber luxurious Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. Again I was hugely impressed with the accessibility and helpfulness of their staff at the ATM. If this is how they treat someone as little as DoinDubai then rest assured, you’ll be important to them, but do mention you heard about them from DoinDubai and Happy Holidays. Click on the NEED TO KNOW page here to follow up on some DoinDubai’s holiday ideas.
For recent coverage in Travel Arabia magazine, click Kenyan Coast and click page 47.
- PHOTOS: Etihad Airways goes Washington crazy at Arabian Travel Market 2013 (theaviationwriter.com)