Sunday 20 April 2008

Express newsletter: short but sweet adventures

highlights and hidden gems
Intrepid Express Newsletter

intrepid home page | about intrepid | inspirations | events | jobs available now

short but sweet adventures

Hi Roderick!

In 14 days you can travel by train non-stop from north to south Vietnam at least 4 times, you could try to match the skills of a 'gun shearer' and remove the fleece of 2800 sheep at an Aussie farmstay, or you can walk around Thailand's Ko Tao 14 times!

This week Express packs a whole lot of fun into 14 days and takes some short but sweet travel adventures in Fiji, Japan, India and Tanzania. We are proud to announce that one of our not-so-short but very sweet Intrepid leaders has been nominated for the Wanderlust Paul Morrison Guide Award, so now is your chance to vote for Esam. We also want you to tell us what you think about climate change in our quick online survey, plus if you are wondering what to do in the first 2 weeks of June, enter our competition and you could WIN a terrific trip in Thailand!

Happy short-but-sweet travels!

Sue Elliot
Express Editor, Intrepid Travel

in this issue...

climate change - what do you think?

li river china

Barely a day goes by without more ominous news about climate change and the urgency to take action.

At Intrepid, we are aware that taking holidays to the other side of the world contributes to the problems caused by global warming. We believe that we can take action to be part of the solution as well - and this is where we'd like your help.

In the last two years we have taken several steps to help reduce our contribution to climate change, and we have many more initiatives in the pipeline right now that will depend on our travellers' participation. Before we introduce these actions we'd like your views. We have prepared a quick online climate change survey with 10 questions that will only take a minute to complete.

This is an important survey for Intrepid. We will be publishing the results to our travellers and the travel industry as a barometer of public sentiment on the issue of travel and climate change. As such, we are seeking as many opinions as possible for this survey in order for it to be broadly representative. We would be extremely grateful if you forwarded the link to your friends and colleagues so they can also participate. You can be assured that no personal details are collected and we thank you for your help.

climate change survey...

a sporting chance in fiji

fiji girl

You could spend 2 weeks lazing on the glorious beaches of Fiji, or you can take a break from your regular routine and use those 2 weeks to make a difference! Intrepid MAD projects are your chance to not just take a holiday, but to be involved in community development and really Make A Difference to the world.

In Fiji, Intrepid MAD projects are 2 to 6 week volunteer placements centred around the universal language of sport. Fijian's have a natural passion and ability for sports and the country is sports-mad. Yet like many developing countries, Fiji lacks a lot of the necessary infrastructure, funding and expertise to provide adequate sport coaching, equipment and facilities for its people. That's where you and Intrepid MAD join the team...

Our volunteer projects aim to work with a number of primary and secondary schools in the west of Fiji, providing coaches for PE lessons and after school clubs. You get to settle into laid-back island life while you coach kids in your favourite sport. As well as coaching sessions, you also have the opportunity to train with local teams and clubs to improve your own skills and really get involved with the community.

The great thing about Intrepid MAD projects is all your accommodation, transport and volunteer placement is taken care of, plus there are experienced crew on the ground to help you if and when you need it. In Fiji the Intrepid MAD house is about a 15-minute walk from Lautoka's town centre and you get to bunk with other like-minded volunteers.

You simply can't come away from an adventure like this and not be touched by the life-changing experience. The people of Fiji are fantastic and the kids are a laugh-a-minute with constant smiles and unwavering enthusiasm. The beauty and tranquillity of the Pacific archipelago surrounds you, while the fascinating culture and sea of smiling faces make your Intrepid MAD real life experience an amazing 2 weeks to remember!


  • Fiji (MAD) sport project - 14 days ex Nadi
    Using the universal language of sport, your knowledge, enthusiasm and skill will make a difference to hundreds of people who may never have had any sports coaching.
    Style: Intrepid Basix (MAD)
    Departs: 05 July and 02 August.
    Note: 28-day and 42-day projects also available.
    Price: AUD1805
  • Fiji Explorer - 8 days ex Nadi
    Learn traditional songs and dances from locals, laze back on the Yasawa Islands, explore colonial heritage architecture and discover the real Fiji!
    Style: Intrepid Original
    Price: AUD1105 (plus USD150 local payment)
  • Learn about our Intrepid trip styles.

PS. Find out how you can make a difference with Intrepid MAD projects at our Sydney information night on 23 April and at Intrepid Perth on 29 May!

jump onboard japan

japan white water rafting

You can do and see a lot in Japan in 2 weeks, but you can also jam a whole lot of fun into just one day! Intrepid's Japan Active Adventure rates 4.91 out of 5 with travellers and it looks like Express reader Ashley Devon gives it the thumbs up too...

"Ready for another day of excitement we drove up to the Minakami area of the Japanese alps. Long-famous amongst outdoor types in Japan, in winter it is a mecca for skiing and in summer for the various outdoor activities available. We headed there for a day of mountain biking and white water rafting, even though equally appealing were the other options of hiking or simply sitting and soaking in one of the many onsens!

My first activity for the day was mountain biking. Most of the bike riding I've done up to this point was just cycling around cities to get from A to B, but our instructor took us under his wing. The course took us down the hill and we tried out all the tips and pointers we'd been given, stopping regularly for extra tutorials. We learnt how to ride down steps, bunny-hop the bike, approach steep slopes and ride around sharp corners, before making our next turn into a local restaurant for a hearty lunch and a well earned rest.

Lunch hadn't spoiled our appetite for adventure and the afternoon was wet and wild white water rafting. Each raft had a guide who gave us lessons before we hit the water. Feeling just a little bit silly, we pretended to paddle, bounce the boat and hold on tight, all while still on dry land. It was training worth doing though as we ricocheted down the rapids in our raft, paddles flailing, getting stuck on rocks, bouncing off them and generally having a great time. In between rapids we waged war on the other boats, splashing our group members with water. Every now and again we flipped the boat, even though we were in calm water. Floating down the clear river in the warm sun was a stunning way to finish an excellent day's adventuring."

  • Combine your thirst for adventure with a hunger to experience all the culture, history and natural beauty of Japan without breaking your budget. From the neon lights of Tokyo, head into the countryside to encounter old-world Japan and enjoy everything from sushi to samurai. The adrenalin rush of Japan is amazing, the scenery is stunning and the warm welcome of the Japanese will leave you wanting more!
  • Japan Active Adventure - 14 days Tokyo to Kyoto
    Hiking, biking, sea kayaking and sumo wrestling are just part of the fun when you get active in Japan!
    Style: Intrepid Active
    Departures: June and September 2008
    Price: AUD2525 (plus JPY22,000 local payment)
  • Japan Basix - 9 days ex Tokyo
    Explores Nikko, Hakone National Park, Kamakura and gets your taste buds twitching in Tokyo!
    Style: Intrepid Basix
    Price: AUD1575 (plus JPY11,000 local payment)
  • Learn about our Intrepid trip styles.

india in time

varanasi ghats india

The heart of Hindu faith and the soul of a nation, the Mother Ganges flows to India's sacred city of Varanasi. Varanasi is a mysterious world of ritual and wonder and as Express reader Roxanne Chihos discovered, lasting memories lie in the labyrinth of twisting alleys, shrines, temples and pilgrims...

"Children stood and watched the train go by while the mothers gathered some vegetables for breakfast. Surreal... we had arrived in Varanasi, the city of Shiva.

We hired a rickshaw in search of the Ghats on the banks of the river. The ride was everything yet nothing you would expect. The sheer number of people flooding the area in all forms of transportation was mind-boggling. The scents changed from smoking cooking oil, to incense, to manure, to exhaust fumes and the list goes on. Rickshaws, crammed with people passed us with only inches to spare. Sacred cows added to the atmosphere as they made their way around the chaos. Horns were honking, people were talking, and smoke from engines surrounded us. Truly immersed in India we were both energized and exhausted taking in our surroundings. It was if we were taken back in time where the rituals of survival clearly washed away the pressures of the modern western world."

  • Within minutes of arriving in India you are instantly swept up by the culture, character and chaos of the country. In a short visit you can witness the Mughal grandeur of Agra, magical and mysterious Varanasi, the incomparable Taj Mahal, lavish palaces, vibrant bazaars and much more!
  • North India Highlights - 10 days ex Delhi
    Mingle with pilgrims in Varanasi and attend a puja ceremony in Orchha, explore palaces, forts and the famous Taj Mahal!
    Style: Intrepid Comfort (optional single room available)
    Price: from AUD1425 (plus INR15,000 local payment)
  • Golden Triangle and Varanasi - 8 days Delhi to Varanasi
    Travelling in a private vehicle, explore the Mughal splendours of Delhi, the palaces of Jaipur, Agra's majestic Taj Mahal and amazing Varanasi!
    Style: Intrepid Independent
    Price: from AUD925 per person twin room (single available)
  • Learn about our Intrepid trip styles.

PS. Incredible India and Sri Lanka - find out about highlights and hidden gems at our Brisbane slide night on Wednesday 30 April!

a taste of tanzania

masai women

No matter how short and sweet your Africa adventure, as Intrepid's Jacqueline Donaldson discovered the highlights of this incredible continent and countries like Tanzania will stay with you forever...

"The things that will never leave me about Tanzania are the blue skies with perfect clouds floating across them, the rows and rows of corn fields with sunflowers smiling amongst them, and the laughs and waves of the friendly people we came across at every turn.

The landscape of Tanzania is very diverse and I found I could experience every type of holiday in the same country. Walking through dense forests that contain seemingly endless varieties of birds and wary monkeys; driving through the sparse plains of the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti where incredible scenery slowly reveals the multitude of wild animals that live within. Meeting the striking and energetic Masai people of the Masai Mara; viewing the beautiful peaks of Kilimanjaro from afar and then gazing from below (or climbing it if you're feeling energetic). You can even enjoy a relaxing beach break laying on white sands and swimming in the clear blue waters of Zanzibar (or live it up in spicy Stone Town).

But what makes any place so much better is the people you meet there. I have never felt more at home or happy travelling than in Tanzania. Many of the small markets are great places to hang out with the locals and share a cup of tea, a chappati and a chat with new friends."

Now's your chance to enjoy a taste of Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and more! Book an Intrepid Africa adventure in April and we will give you or your travel partner a second Africa trip for 50% OFF!


  • This special Intrepid Africa offer is for travel between 01 July 2008 and 31 October 2008 on selected African trips. Hurry, bookings must be made before midnight 30 April 2008 - all the details and a full list of trips can be found on our website at
  • Serengeti Trail - 8 days ex Nairobi
    Experience the beauty of the Great Rift Valley, safari through the famed grasslands of the Serengeti and be captivated by the Ngorongoro Crater's extraordinary colony of animals.
    Style: Intrepid Overland
    Price: from AUD1170 (plus USD165 local payment and USD165 park/permit fees)
  • Tanzania Adventure - 8 days ex Nairobi
    See where it began in Olduvai Gorge, experience the wilderness of Serengeti National Park and more!
    Style: Intrepid Original
    Price: from AUD1750 (plus USD275 local payment and USD270 park fees)

PS. From wild animals and overland safaris to Masai warriors and endless savannahs, find out all about travelling in Africa at our Brisbane slide night on 24 April!

one of the world's best leaders

intrepid leader esam abd el salam

With just over 2 years leading Intrepid trips, Esam Abd El Salam's time with Intrepid has been short but very sweet. In fact it continues to be so sweet for Intrepid travellers that Esam has been nominated for the Wanderlust Paul Morrison Guide Award!

Now in its 3rd year, the Wanderlust Paul Morrison Guide Award has established itself as the greatest accolade a tour leader can receive. This year the shortlist was drawn from over 170 different guides nominated by travellers, which has been narrowed down to just 8 of the world's best guides.

We are not one bit surprised that Esam made the cut, because we constantly get glowing reports like this feedback from Lucinda Vriner, "Esam's personality made the trip more than just another vacation...he spent time giving us information on the sights as well as insights to each place we visited. He has a special relationship with so many locals. He is warm and kind, intelligent and caring. He carries a strength that makes one feel safe. He immediately became part of the group and the 11 of us melted into a family of many interests with Esam at the head of the table."

Esam puts his success as an Intrepid leader down to being proud to represent his company and country, "I love showing people the hidden secrets of my country and introducing travellers to some great people. People come to Egypt with some pretty strange ideas about what to expect from the country and its people, but they all leave my trips with nothing but love for both. When people talk on the final night about how their perceptions have changed over their time travelling with me, this is when I feel most proud and know I have done my job well."

If you've travelled with Esam and agree that his passion and commitment as a guide and group leader is excellent, then we'd love you to tell the judges before 19 May 2008.

You can send your comments to Wanderlust, Paul Morrison Guide Award (Esam Abd El Salam), 1 Leworth Place, Mellor Walk, Windsor SL4 1EB, UK, or email writing 'Esam Abd El Salam' in the subject line.


win a trip - thailand!

win a trip

This is your chance to spend 2 fantastic weeks in Thailand! Enter our competition and this week you could WIN a place on Tribal Thailand, departing Bangkok on 29 May 2008!

We'll prove to you in 15 fun-packed days that there's more to Thailand than beaches! Departing from the crazy streets of Bangkok, we venture overland via Kanchanaburi and the eerie Death Railway to walk alongside peaceful rows of Buddhas in the ancient Siamese capital of Ayuthaya. You get to enjoy time out in Chiang Mai and explore the infamous Golden Triangle, plus there's no better way to learn about life in the northern hills than on a hilltribe trek. With mystery and adventure, history and culture, northern Thailand is an amazing journey of the mind, body and soul.


  • For your chance to win:
    Try this Intrepid Thailand short-and-sweet quiz...
    1. If you wanted a 10-day trip that explores northern Thailand in comfort, which Intrepid trip would you choose?
    2. How many days is our Intrepid Original A Taste of Thailand?
    3. Chef Khun Somphon teaches you the secrets of Thai cuisine on which 5-day trip in northern Thailand?
  • How to enter:
    Type your answers in the SUBJECT LINE of a new email, with your name and address in the body of the email and please only enter once.
  • Email your entry to before 22 April 2008.
  • Winning this trip is an amazing holiday head start for Express subscribers who are over 18 years of age, but please only enter if you are able to travel on the specified date and trip, as the prize is not transferable. International flights and the local payment are not included and Intrepid booking conditions apply.
  • The lucky winner will be notified by email and will have 7 days to confirm their booking.

Last week we tested you with an Intrepid Cambodia quiz and the correct answers were: 1. On day 4 of Cycle Cambodia you ride past Elephant Mountains; 2. Heart of Cambodia visits Kampot - now famous for growing durian; 3. Road to Angkor Eastbound departs from Bangkok. We plunged into the inbox pile of correct entries and the winner randomly selected was David Pe rkins. David has won a place on Road to Angkor Westbound, departing Ho Chi Minh City on 17 May 2008!

help asia see and hear

cambodia glasses

Intrepid is working with the Children's Surgical Centre in Cambodia, All Ears Cambodia and Vision Vietnam to improve the quality of life for some of the poorest people in the world.

We are collecting old spectacles, prescription lens or sunglasses, and hearing aids at our Intrepid stores in Australia and New Zealand. They will be shipped to Cambodia and Vietnam and quickly reconfigured and fitted for disadvantaged Cambodian and Vietnamese people by professional ophthalmologists and audiologists.

The Children's Surgical Centre is a free rehabilitation hospital based in Phnom Penh. It provides surgery to Cambodia's neediest people, most of whom will never otherwise be able to afford prescription glasses or hearing aids, while All Ears Cambodia treats people with ear diseases or hearing problems. Vision Vietnam is a French-Canadian non-government organisation committed to improving the quality of vision for disadvantaged people in Vietnam by providing prescription eye wear.

We are pleased to be able to support both these organisations in their very valuable work and your kind donations will go a long way towards helping the people of Asia to see and hear.


  • You can drop your spectacles and hearing aids into Intrepid stores at:
    Victoria - 360 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
    New South Wales - 84 Oxford St, Paddington.
    Queensland - 291 Adelaide St, Brisbane.
    Western Australia - 926 Hay St, Perth.
    New Zealand - 296 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland (can also mail to store).
  • Or you can mail your donations to:
    Jane Crouch
    Intrepid Travel
    PO Box 2781
    Fitzroy DC VIC 3065

intrepid events - fun and free!

intrepid events

Where will your travel adventures take you next?
Now's a great time to make 2008 as fun and exciting as possible, so to find out more about real life experiences around the world come along to our Intrepid information events.

Our Intrepid events are designed to be packed with helpful hints, loads of fun and will help answer all your travel questions. Please RSVP early because seats are limited and we look forward to seeing you soon!


  • Brisbane:
    Wednesday 23 April, Vietnam and Cambodia slide show and info evening.
    Thursday 24 April, Africa slide show and information evening.
    Wednesday 30 April, India and Sri Lanka slide show and information evening.
  • Melbourne:
    Wednesday 30 April, Borneo slide show and information evening.
    Wednesday 14 May, Nepal slide show and information evening.
    Wednesday 28 May, Egypt slide show and information evening.
  • Perth:
    Wednesday 23 April, Russia and Beyond slide show and information evening.
    Wednesday 30 April, Colours of Asia slide show and information evening.
    Tuesday 06 May, Morocco slide show and information evening.
  • Sydney, Paddington:
    Wednesday 23 April, Intrepid MAD volunteer projects information evening.
    Wednesday 30 April, Thailand slide show and information evening.
    Tuesday 06 May, Active Himalayan adventures information evening.

need help? call one of our travel specialists

real life 5

Jo Edgley, Intrepid's Destination Manager Asia, shares her favourite Intrepid homestay Real Life 5...
1. India - with Thomas on Kerala backwaters.
2. Borneo - staying in Sarawak longhouses.
3. Vietnam - overnighting in Sapa.
4. Fiji - Namatakla village.
5. Malaysia - Suka Suka homestay with Aziz and Asiah.
Tell us your own Real life 5 - email and be in the draw to win a World Food guide from Lonely Planet!

what's going on

Earth day 22 April
Earth Day 2008 is expected to be the biggest yet! From Tokyo to Togo, to Stockholm and Sydney, the event will be galvanizing millions of people around the world behind a Call for Climate, this year's global warming action theme. Click here to find out what's going on near you!

special deals

50% off your second Africa trip!
Book an Intrepid African adventure in April and we'll give you a second African trip for 50% OFF. Take a friend with you for half price, or book yourself a second African journey for half price from a selected range of trips - it's up to you! Click here for full details!

20% off these trips and more...
But hurry, available trips can change at any time!

trips featured in this edition

climate change challenge tips

#67 - short and sweet message
Send your best wishes to friends and family with an e-greeting instead of using paper cards. Good for the environment and a short and sweet way of staying in touch.
Click here for more climate change challenge tips, plus get info on Intrepid's carbon neutral goals.


"Thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Nicole our guide was very enthusiastic and helped us to get the most out of the experience. It was a good way to see a lot of Queensland in a relatively short space of time." Malcolm Clinton,
Queensland Adventure Northbound

Intrepid spotlight

employment around the world

the intrepid foundation

unsubscribe | contact us | order a brochure | employment | intrepid videos

Book Your Travel with Wego