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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Gecko’s Gets Off the Beaten Track in Asia – To Where There’s No Track At All!


From yak trekking with nomadic herdsmen in Mongolia to hill tribe trekking in Thailand, Gecko’s has introduced a range of Asian adventures that go beyond the beaten track to where there’s often no track at all in the 2008-10 South East Asia and China brochure.

The 14-day Mongolian Yak Safari is a wander across the un-tracked steppe, with yaks as ‘support vehicles’ and includes staying in the traditional felt ‘gers’ (tents) of the nomadic herdsmen. Eschewing the long driving days of typical Mongolian tours, the safari takes a more leisurely, low-impact approach.

The trip begins in Ulaanbaaatar with a one-day train trip along the Trans Mongolian route to the Ilk Nart Nature Reserve in the Gobi Desert, a protected community reserve rarely visited by tourists, where the group stays for several days in a low-impact ger camp as guests of the local Dalanjargal community.

Three quarters of the Mongolian population still lives in gers year-round and the trip is a chance to experience the traditional nomadic lifestyle, accompanied by local herdsmen. From a second base, the group undertakes a four-day trek skirting the southern fringes of Khan Khentii, a wilderness area three times the size of Yellowstone National Park. In the spirit of the nomads, the group will be self-sufficient, with all equipment – including ‘regular’ tents and a communal dining ger – carried on yak carts, and following no particular route; trekking no more than 20km per day; meeting local people, and seeking the most idyllic campsite each evening.

The trip concludes in the capital, Ulaanbaaatar. The 14-day trip has six departures between May and August, 2009 and costs $1395 per person, twin share, plus a US$200 local payment.

In Thailand, Gecko’s has introduced the 15-day Inside Thailand adventure, a cocktail of all the best things to do and see in northern Thailand: hill tribe trekking; getting up close to the elephants at the Elephant Conservation Centre; a visit to Sukhothai and shopping in Chiang Mai’s night markets. There’s a night in a local homestay, and transport ranges from tuk-tuk and boat to train and bicycle. After all that action, there’s time chilling out on the perfect beaches of two of Thailand’s least-visited islands, Koh Chang and Koh Samet – both National Parks - where the only other tourists are locals. There’s diving and snorkelling in the surrounding protected waters or exploring hidden coves and lush rainforest if hanging out in a hammock isn’t energetic enough.

Inside Thailand starts in Bangkok with departures year-round. The trip costs $995 per person, twin share, land only, plus a US$200 local payment.

For further information, visit your travel agent or call 1300 854 500 or visit www.geckosadventures.com to download a copy of the new Gecko’s South East Asia and China 2008-2010 brochure.

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