From seeking out orangutans in Borneo to peeping at polar bears in Norway, these are the top trips from your winning tour operators, as voted for by you in Wanderlust’s 2019 Reader Travel Awards…
Every year, Wanderlust readers make their voices heard in our Reader Travel Awards - and pick the best of the best in the world of travel for the year ahead.
Here, we have 2019's top tour operators from around the world, as voted for by travellers from across the globe who love to explore, and know what makes an unforgettable trip.
Uncover a different side to the Incas with Llama Travel’s Incas & Conquistadors of Peru + Lake Titicaca tour. Ride the rails to the lush landscapes of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, exploring the famed lost city. Then board the luxurious Belmond sleeper train, winding down to Lake Titicaca where you can island-hop among its traditional communities, meeting the weavers and spinners of Taquile and joining them for a freshly caught lunch.
Who: Llama Travel (020 7263 3000)
When: Selected dates Mar to Nov 2019
How long: 14 days
How much: From £2,549 (incl flights and train travel)
Go wild on Holiday Architects’ Best of Borneo adventure. Hunker down in a traditional Iban longhouse, then cruise deep into the jungle on the waters of the Kinabatangan River, searching for pygmy elephants and saltwater crocs. A chance to explore the trails of Bako NP in seach of proboscis monkeys is not to be passed up, but the star of the show is Sepilok, where you can come face to face with endangered orangutans and sun bears.
Who: Holiday Architects (01242 253073)
When: Year round
How long: 15 days
How much: From £3,470 (incl flights)
Explore two Asian nations in one trip on Crossing Borders – Korea to Kyushu with Selective Asia. Immerse yourself in the palaces and futuristic streets of Seoul, then make for the coastal sights and markets of Busan. From there, a ferry takes you to dine on ramen at yatai stalls in Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu, then it’s on to witness the temples of Nokonoshima, exploring far off the typical path.
Who: Selective Asia (01273 670001)
When: Year round
How long: 10 days
How much: From £2,542 (excl flights)
Join Bamboo Travel’s South China Explorer to trace your way through verdant landscapes and meet remote minority communities using China’s high-speed train network. Travel though Guizhou province, a region home to Miao, Dong, Shui and Yao peoples, seeing what life is like in these remote villages, before exploring the rice terraces of Jiabang and making for the lofty trails of Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan. Finish in Yangshuo, drifting the karst rises of the Li River.
Who: Bamboo Travel (020 7720 9285)
When: Selected dates Apr–Jun & Sept–Nov 2019
How long: 19 days
How much: From £3,795 (including flights)
Listen to your animal instincts on Intrepid Travel’s Wilderness & Wildlife expedition through Sri Lanka. Sleep in the tropical rainforest (the last in Sri Lanka) of Sinharaja and study sloth bears, elephants and leopards in the untouched natural habitats of Wasgamuwa and Gal Oya national parks. Later hit the east coast, where birdwatching in the little-visited Kumana NP offers a wild alternative to the white sands of surfer-favourite Arugam Bay, before looping back west.
Who: Intrepid Travel (0808 274 5111)
When: Selected dates Sept 2019 & Jul–Sept 2020
How long: 12 days
How much: From £1,190 (excl flights)
Get away from it all with Wild Frontiers’ Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan: Mountains & Cities of the Silk Road trip. Spend time with nomadic shepherds in the summer pastures of Son Kul, overnight in a traditional caravanserai (inn) and see how silk is produced in the Fergana Valley. All the while, embrace a traditional lifestyle with stays in yurts and haggling with merchants in the historic cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. A glimpse into an ancient world.
Who: Wild Frontiers (020 8741 7390)
When: 20 July 2019
How long: 16 days
How much: From £2,615 (excl flights)
Fly-drive the mountain-lined roads of Canada’s British Columbia on the Kootenay Rockies & Okanagan Valley Loop tour with Trailfinders. Escape the crowds of Banff NP for the parks over the border, marvelling at the vast emerald waters of Yoho NP and a route pocked with endless hot springs and the lakeside retreat of Osoyoos, deep in the southern reaches of Kootenay. And if that’s not enough, just breathe in the majesty of the mountains of Whistler and Revelstoke.
Who: Trailfinders (020 7084 6500)
When: Selected dates May 2019
How long: 15 nights
How much: From £1,999 (incl flights)
Delve into the Realm of the Polar Bear with G Adventures. Hop on board a ‘floating classroom’ and head north on a sustainable expedition that combines lectures from marine experts on ocean health with views of elusive polar bears deep in Norway’s remote Svalbard Archipelago. Cruise in Zodiacs along the ice floe’s edge viewing seals and walruses, spying seabird cliffs and watching glaciers spilling into the sea – and even do your own part on beach clean-ups along the way.
Who: G Adventures (0344 272 2060)
When: Selected dates Jun–Jul 2019
How long: 8 days
How much: From £2,799 (excl flights)
Test your endurance on the Everest Base Camp Trek with Exodus Travels. Soak up Sherpa culture in Namche Bazaar, then follow in the footsteps of the great climbers of old by making your way to the gateway of Everest. Along the way, glimpse incredible landscapes, hilltop monasteries and make the (literally) breathtaking ascent up Kala Pattar.
Who: Exodus Travels (0203 811 4582)
When: Selected dates Mar–Apr 2019
How long: 17 days
How much: From £2,349 (incl flights)
Marvel at South Africa’s natural wonders on Audley Travel’s expedition through Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls. Take off on safari, tracking elephants, cheetahs and wild dogs in Kruger’s Sabi Sand Wildtuin, tour the Cape Peninsula and end your trip on a literal high, either with a hike up Table Mountain or a bird’s-eye view of the iconic Victoria Falls. Whether you choose to feel the splash of its drop from a boat, helicopter or microlight, it’ll be unforgettable.
Who: Audley Travel (01993 838550)
When: Year round
How long: 13 days
How much: From £5,450 (incl flights)
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