Sphinx and pyramid in Giza, Egypt (Dreamstime)
List 13 October

8 trips with the world's top (and award-winning) guides

A great guide brings a place to life and gives travellers a whole new understanding.Here are 8 fantastic trips with the top guides from the World Guide Awards 2016

1 - Egypt - Meander bazaars and ancient sights

 World Guide Awards 2016 Gold winner Samer Saied

Grab a glimpse into an ancient world with G Adventures’ Best of Egypt trip, as Egyptologist and guide Samer Saied narrates the incredible tales behind the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx and a collection of the country’s most majestic temples – Abu Simbel, Edfu and Karnak to name a few. Then sail the Nile on a felucca (traditional sail boat), dining with a local family and wandering the bustling bazaars of Luxor and Aswan.

Who: G Adventures (0344 272 2060; gadventures.com)

When: 11 Feb 2017

How long: 8 days

How much: From £769 (excl flights)

 

2 - Burma (Myanmar): Explore classic and hidden sights

 
World Guide Awards 2016 Silver winner Wipaporn Ord

Guide Wipaporn Ord is your key to icons and off-grid wonders on All Points East’s Burma Famous Sites and Hidden Secrets tour. In a month, she’ll take you from the glittering pagodas of Yangon, north to the temples of Bagan and on to Mandalay. Spend time with hill tribes in Shan State, glide the fl oating gardens of Inle Lake and sail the Salween and Irrawaddy rivers, discovering markets and the stories behind their crumbling cities.

Who: All Points East (023 9225 8859; allpointseast.com)

When: 4 Feb & 4 Mar 2017

How long: 26 days

How much: From £4,775 (incl flights)

 

3 - Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand: Soak up colours and culture


World Guide Awards 2016 Bronze winner Bopha Sok

Explore Cambodia and beyond in the company of guide Bopha Sok on G Adventures’ Cambodia Experience tour. Cruise the villages and markets of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, before crossing into Cambodia to visit its stunning temple complex Angkor Wat. See the floating village of Tonlé Sap and Phnom Penh, and round on your visit in bustling Bangkok.

Who: G Adventures (0344 272 2060; gadventures.com)

When: 21 Feb 2017

How long: 9 days

How much: From £679 (excl flights)

 

4 - England: Release your inner detective

World Guide Awards 2016's Highly Commended guide Alex Graeme

Highly Commended guide Alex Graeme tracks the fictional footsteps of Sherlock Holmes on Unique Devon Tours’ Hound of the Baskervilles Tour. Trace Doyle’s creation through the places that inspired it, such as the spooky Holy Trinity Church, resting place of the real-life inspiration for the story, the infamous Richard Cabell III. Later, wind your way to Dartmoor to spy Bronze Age settlement Grimspound and Fox Tor Mire – the stimulus for Doyle’s boggy finale.

Who: Unique Devon Tours (01803 812556; uniquedevontours.com)

When: Year round

How long: 1 day

How much: From £290 (for one or two people; excl flights)

 

5 - England: Ponder over cryptic stones

 
Silbury Hill, Avebury with guide Edward Shepherd

Uncover Wiltshire’s wonders with Highly Commended guide and archeologist Edward Shepherd on Tours From Antiquity’s Stonehenge, Bath and Avebury Archaeologist Guided Tour. Wander the monoliths and tumuli of Stonehenge, before exploring the Roman remains and namesake abbey of nearby Bath. Finish among Avebury’s trio of sites, including the largest stone circle in Europe, the tombs of West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill burial mound.

Who: Tours From Antiquity (07412 250052; toursfromantiquity.com)

When: 14, 19, 21, 26 & 28 Mar 2017

How long: 1 day

How much: From £99 (excl flights)

 

6 - Sri Lanka: the teardrop isle


Tea pickers in Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)

Uncloak the secrets behind the island’s temples and wilderness with Intrepid’s Circle Sri Lanka trip. Highly commended guide Asanga Rajapakse will help you explore the mysteries behind the Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa ruins, as well as narrate the story of the Dambulla cave temples – once a royal hideout. Trek lush tea plantations, climb up to the rock-top fortress of Sigiriya and dine on seafood in Galle and Mirissa, rounding o your trip in cosmopolitan Colombo. Unforgettable.

Who: Intrepid (0808 274 5111; intrepidtravel.com)

When: 18 Nov, 9 & 27 Dec 2016

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1,385 (excl flights)

 

7 - Spain: It’s great up north

 
Salvador Dali’s old house in Port Lligat (Dreamstime)

Join Highly Commended guide Leticia Prieto on Back-Roads Touring’s Highlights of Northern Spain trip. Wander medieval villages in the Spanish Pyrenees, wind along sections of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and be ba ed by the pieces at Salvador Dali’s old house in Port Lligat. Then there’s the cuisine: slip into La Rioja’s deep-rooted wine culture and devour Basque Country pintxos by the dozen.

Who: Back-Roads Touring (020 8987 0990; backroadstouring.com)

When: Tbc

How long: 9 days

How much: £1,710 (2016 price, 2017 tbc; excl flights)

 

8 - Bhutan: Enter the Land of the Thunder Dragon

 
Ceremonial dancer in Bhutan (Dreamstime)

Explore the Himalaya with Highly Commended Bhutanese guide Kuenga Metho on Panoramic Journeys’ The Bhutanese Epic trip. Navigate the widescreen valleys of Chokhor, Phobjikha and Punakha, admire the iconic Tiger’s Nest and treasures of Bumthang and Thimpu, and celebrateBuddhist festivals alongside locals. Bliss.

Who: Panoramic Journeys (01608 676821; panoramicjourneys.com)

When: 11 Nov 2017

How long: 22 days

How much: From £5,788 (excl flights)

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The above guides were the finalists in the recent World Guide Awards 2016, held at the Royal Geographical Society in London. For details (and to nominbate a guide for 2017), see www.worldguideawards.com

Main image: Sphinx and pyramid in Giza, Egypt (Dreamstime)