When you arrive in the Maldives, one of the most idyllic and up-market destinations in the world, the transfer to your chosen island resort will most likely be by sea plane. This Indian Ocean country consists of nearly 2,000 coral islands, which stretch north over 800km from the Equator. In other words, there are no boring road transfers here!
On arrival at Male International Airport, you will be met for the short drive to the sea plane domestic airport next door. The process is very smooth. You can even hold on to your US dollars – in fact we recommend it, as they’ll be the currency at your resort, and if you do buy Maldivian Rufiyaas, they can be hard to change back.
On boarding the sea plane, many visitors are struck by how tanned and smart the pilots look – even without shoes! But barefoot will also be your standard dress code for the duration of your island stay, even at the most elite resort in the country.
The sea plane takes off past the small (island) capital of Male and flies for up to 30 minutes at low altitude. Your camera will be clicking as you pass over beautiful islands in the turquoise, tropical seas below.
This is the safest sea plane in the world – a DHC-6 Twin Otter. It is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL (short take off and landing) utility aircraft developed by De Havilland. Many of the pilots are also Canadian. At your resort, you will frequently hear the quiet buzzing of these planes landing or taking off.
As a footnote, keep in mind that the Maldives is a Muslim country. As such, alcohol cannot be imported and customs will relieve you of any they find on airport scanners. Don’t worry; you will be given a receipt and can retrieve the goods in an easy and simple process when you depart. Alcohol is also freely available at your island resort.
Goway’s specialist IslandsEscapes team offers 16 different resorts in the Maldives for you to choose from. They also have three different air-inclusive packages (either from Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles) for 11 days in the Maldives that include a stopover in Dubai.
This gallery contains 12 photos.
One of the greatest sensations when travelling is to instantly be aware that all of your 5 senses are detecting things they’re unfamiliar with. What better place to absorb a new destinations sounds, smells, sights, taste’s and touch, than exploring … Continue reading
The following was written by Carolyn Weppler, Sales Manager at Goway, who not only travels a lot, but cooks a lot too! This is a family favourite which was inspired by the Middle-Eastern cuisine of Jordan, Turkey and Israel. It’s a simple, no fooling around dish suitable for lunch or dinner and is great with barbeques or office potlucks.
This dish is not only delicious but healthy too!
- 2-3 medium eggplants cut into ½ inches slices, then cut into fork size pieces
- Olive oil for brushing
- Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup – ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
- 20-30 basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400F, brush eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook till golden brown, then turn and cook till other side is golden brown (this will take 20-30 mins in total depending on how hot your oven cooks). Take them out, place them in salad bowl, add all other ingredients and pour dressing on top, serve immediately. Can be served hot, warm or cold – all delicious!
- ½ cup greek yogurt (your choice of nonfat vs fat)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp hot water
- 1 clove of garlic – crushed, chopped or smashed
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or more to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A few strands of saffron*
* Saffron isn’t in every persons’ home, so if you don’t have it, no worries – the recipe is still delicious. Place the saffron strands in a small amount of hot water and soak while the eggplant is cooking. Then mix all ingredients together and whisk.
A French/Brazilian production, winner of Best Picture and Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival 1998, with a 94% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Central Station (Central do Brazil) is the story of a former school teacher and a young boy whose mother has just died. Both meet at “Central Station” in Rio de Janeiro and begin a journey to find the boy’s father – a man he has never met. The young boy who plays “Josue” in the film, was a shoeshine boy on the streets of Rio, and beat out over 1500 other boys to land the part. Critically acclaimed, it’s a different take on relationships, and shows us that “family” aren’t always people that we’re related to.
Travel Ideas to Brazil:
Don Forster is the Latin America Product and Marketing Manager at Goway Travel. He’s Australian, but worked for years in Latin America as a Adventure tour bus driver and leader before moving to Canada, where he eventually joined our company. Despite being a Rugby playing father of 3 hockey playing sons, he seriously likes small animals!
As an Australian, moving to North America exposed me to inner city wildlife I was totally unused too, especially the raccoon. Having worked extensively in Latin America, my immediate thought when seeing my first raccoon was that this animal reminded me of the coati (or coatimundi) of Latin America.
Larger than their North American distant cousins (coatis and raccoons are part of the same family), coati’s are as curious, clever, and insatiable in their search for food as raccoons are.
If you leave a bag unattended with coati’s nearby, they will be in it, searching for food – beware! From going after your fruit refreshment’s during a surf-lesson in Costa Rica to inspecting your bag for snacks while you look the other direction in Brazil’s Amazon, they are frequent visitors at almost all of the major sites in Latin America. In national parks, local guides and rangers spend as much time chasing these inquisitive pests away as they do answering travelers questions. I’ll admit, they do seem to be rather photogenic. Often travelling in family groups, they are often revealed by their tails sticking straight up in the air. When surprised with a camera, they’ll pause, and peer back at you through some foliage with their distinctive shy look on their long faces, but hold their gaze long enough for a good photo. As annoying as they can be, they seem to make up for it in looks and photo-cooperation!
- Pronounced more or less as “Koh-ah-tees”
- All coatis share a slender head shape, with an elongated, flexible, slightly upturned nose, small ears, dark feet, and a long, non-prehensile tail used for balance and signaling.
- The name coatimundi is derived from two Amerindian words meaning ‘belt’ and ‘nose’, and refers to the way coatis tuck their nose into their belly while sleeping.
- Adult male South American coatis live solitary lives, while females and immature males travel in groups of up to 30 individuals.
Anthony Saba is one of many Australians at Goway Travel’s office, where he is a senior sales manager, lover of sports, father of two daughters and an avid road-tripper! Here’s what he had to say about the lifestyle of travelling Australia at the wheel of your own vehicle.
Road tripping in Australia is a unique and rewarding experience often overlooked by time poor international travelers. Australia is a big country, with lots to see and vast distances to be covered. Many visitors just don’t have the time required to take to the road.
Still, the Aussie road trip will in many ways show you an Australia that many don’t get to see. One of my favorite areas, and the easiest to explore, is Australia’s South East corner – the states of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. This is the most densely populated part of the country, with small towns and colonial history every 50 miles or so. No 5 hour drives between stops here!
This corner of Australia was settled in the century following British colonization. Farms were established, communities and businesses were built, gold was discovered and a rush ensued, and outlaws rose to complete what one might have called Australia’s “wild west”.
What I like so much about this part of Australia is that most key aspects of the Australian lifestyle can be found here. Sure, I’m not in the Outback or snorkeling the reef, but where I’m traveling, I have beaches, coastline, wildlife, wineries, and history, all less than an hour away from the next lunch stop, the next little village, the next pub for a refreshing ale, or the next hotel where you can bed down for the night. The driving is easy, and I never feel that I have spent all day “on the road”. What makes these towns, pubs and wineries so appealing? Locals! Local history and local people… as curious about you as you are about them and this wonderful country.
In this corner of Australia you can drive the Great Ocean Road, winding its way around some of Australia’s most exciting coastline. The wild conditions of the Southern Ocean have forced many a shipwreck here, creating a rich local maritime history. Go see the Little Penguins on Phillip Island at your own speed, taking time to see the Koalas nearby and have dinner or perhaps stay the night. There are several significant wine areas in Victoria and more across the border in South Australia. Visit a winery or two for a tasting or lunch. Many of the local towns once played a part in Gold rush history, but their pubs will gladly serve you a modern pub lunch or dinner, with a pint (or as they say in Australia, a ‘schooner‘) of course.
Some long-haul road trippers choose to rent an RV, and for the more adventurous, there are plenty of campgrounds throughout the region. Some are even located on the beach.
An Australian road trip is not about seeing the whole country. That’s just not practical. Instead, focus on an area and immerse yourself in the experience. The next stop is often ‘just up the road’ as we Aussies say.
More information and travel ideas:
The following travel tips were written by Carolyn Weppler, Sales Manager at Goway Travel, a serious Globetrotter who’s constantly travelling. She’s just returned from Uganda and Ethiopia with this story in her hand! As a traveller and a travel professional, she has great advice. Here’s some of her tips.
While everyone knows travelling in the busy season will lead to delays, long lineups, crowds and stress, there’s usually a reason we’re travelling in the first place. So keep your head up and if you can, follow as many of these tips as you can!
- Leave ample time for travel to the airport, especially important if you live in a part of North America that gets snow in the winter! (Chicago is one airport hub city which constantly has delays all winter!)
- Arrive at the airport extra early and be prepared for lines, often it is the lack of time that stresses us out in a line, if you know you have to wait it makes it that much easier. You know the feeling, as you’re anxiously waiting in the security line, constantly checking the time. Be early, and actually enjoy travelling!
- Budget for a meal before your flight, or a leisurely coffee – most airports have a decent restaurant or two, eating always helps pass the time, and I always find myself finally able to relax and get excited for my journey.
- Have fresh reading material in hand to keep yourself occupied – I typically travel with a novel themed on my travel destination (on my kindle), magazines and my sudoku book!
- Make sure your tablet/mobile/MP3 player is loaded with upbeat songs as well as soothing fall-asleep (to a baby crying) songs, and that they’re all fully charged. Ideally travel with more than 1 charging cable, so if you get the chance you can recharge more than one at once.
- Download a couple of new games on you tablet or mobile
- Try to avoid tight connections at big airports like LAX/JFK/Chicago/Toronto
- Read your travel documentation when you receive it and ensure it is all correct long before departure date. Most especially, check the spelling of your name and that it’s identical to your passport (newly weds often make the mistake of booking flights under their new surname, not realizing their passports reflect their maiden names).
- Check your flight is on time before heading out. All airline websites allow you to do this.
- Bring a sense of humour!
We Have introduced Two New experiences that are perfect additions to an Asian itinerary.
Travellers can enjoy a new perspective on Asia with two new experiences from Goway Travel. Whether air ballooning over Rajasthan, or cruising along the Mekong to majestic Angkor, there’s more than one way to see the world’s most diverse continent.
One of India’s most compelling regions, Rajasthan is a desert state known for intricately decorated forts and temples. Many people’s first taste of the area will be Jaipur, known as the Pink City thanks to its red and pink sandstone architecture. Both the capital and symbolic heart of Rajasthan, Jaipur is a much loved corner of India’s classic Golden Triangle route(which is Jaipur-Delhi-Agra).
Even without time to see more of Rajasthan, visitors can get a taste of it from above on a hot air balloon safari. Goway’s 8-day Private Golden Triangle is one of its most popular India tours, particularly for first-timers. Right now, travellers who book it will receive a free hot air balloon safari, putting the perfect cap on an unforgettable journey. This exclusive offer is limited to the first five travellers who book.
Every passenger on the Private Golden Triangle will enjoy 7 nights accommodation, game drives in Ranthambore (home to tigers, leopards, hyenas and many more) and private sightseeing. Naturally, the trip includes the Taj Mahal, which some might call Asia’s most impressive sight. But another splendid icon lays serious claim to the title.
Special Note: A balloon ride is another special way to enjoy the famous Pushkar Camel Fair in November.
The ruins of Angkor Wat attract around two million visitors a year and with good reason. This was once the centre of an empire that spanned Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Laos, and much of modern Thailand. It’s impossible to walk through the stone gates of Angkor Thom, or approach fabled Angkor Wat without feeling the weight of that legacy. Typical itineraries might take travellers overland from Ho Chi Minh City or Bangkok. Goway however is offering a special glimpse of life along the Mekong River.
Over 7 nights aboard the Mekong Pandaw, passengers enjoy a private ensuite cabin with all meals, drinks and shore excursions included. They’ll explore the Mekong and Tonle Sap, the great lake at Cambodia’s centre. The cruise includes lesser known stops such as Kampong Cham and Cai Be, allowing passengers to enjoy many sights not typically seen by visitors to Cambodia. A day in Phnom Penh is also included, with the option of a somber, but deeply moving visit to the Killing Fields or the former ‘S21’ detention centre.
Although the cruise can be done seperately, it is also part of an immersive 14 day journey which can be taken in either direction between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap (gateway to the Angkor temples). It includes two nights in both cities, allowing passengers to experience both the grandeur of ancient Indochina, and the energy of one of its bustling modern hubs. Prices start at US$3799 (ex Los Angeles) or CA$4159 (ex Vancouver) including round-trip international airfare with Korean Air.
Since 1970, Goway has been providing unforgettable travel experiences to Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, idyllic island destinations and Latin America. Today Goway is recognized as one of North America’s leading travel companies for individuals, families and groups to select exotic destinations around the globe. Goway has offices in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, and Sydney (Australia).
For reservations and information, visit www.goway.com, or call your Travel Professional on 1-800-387-8850.
The annual Wildebeest Migration is a natural phenomenon and if you are fortunate to be there, it’s an incredible, indelible experience. It’s a natural cycle that replenishes and renews the grasslands of East Africa. Each June, around 1.3 million Wildebeest gather in the Serengeti. They slowly mass into a huge single herd, until the dry season withers their supply of fresh grass. The scent of rain to the North begins to draw the herd throughout July, and soon the planet’s greatest animal migration is underway.
Kenya has many remarkable attractions, but the migration ensures that the Masai Mara is Kenya’s most popular. What’s key to note though is that the Mara still has abundant game even when there is no migration. Moira Smith, General Manager of Goway Travel’s AFRICAExperts summed up the appeal of the Masai Mara as follows: “This is the total sensory experience holiday. Your senses are constantly stimulated by the sights, smells and sounds of the Mara and its many inhabitants. The thrill of leaving camp at dawn, in search of big cats is an experience that is difficult to repeat.” There is no better time to visit the Mara than during the Great Migration. The sound of the approaching herd is a deep, primal rumbling of thundering hooves and low grunts. The sight of the wildebeest is staggering- a continuous charging mass that stretches from one horizon to the other and is mottled with black and white as zebras join the throng. Over the course of the migration, visitors to Kenya have the opportunity to follow the progress of the herds and experience the full grassland cycle firsthand. Africa’s largest concentrations of predators are drawn to this perfect opportunity for easy hunting. Lions are frequently seen attacking the herds – especially at night- dragging down straggling individuals. At the same time, packs of Hyena freely weave throughout the herds, singling out and separating the young and the weak. Predators are not the only obstacles that the wildebeest face. Kenya’s heavy rainfall in the highland Mau escarpment has turns the Mara River into a raging torrent. As happens each year, the herds gather at the banks in preparation for the most perilous stretch of their journey. As sheer pressure builds, the herds are finally forced to surge into the river, often hurling themselves off high banks. In the struggle across the Mara River, many are drowned or swept away by strong currents. The crossing attracts massive crocodiles who each year awaits this season of bounty.
By September the herds will begin reaching their goal, and spreading out to graze across the expanse of the Mara. For this beautiful game reserve, it is a time of renewal, as the dung from the visiting herds fertilizes the plains. October will see the herds turn southward and repeat the same journey back to the Serengeti, where the renewed grasslands await. The Migration is the planet’s last great epic of life and death. Of all the calves born in the Serengeti, two out of three will never return from their first and most demanding migration.
It is this inextricable binding of renewal and sustenance, feast and famine, life and death that makes this event one of nature’s greatest wonders.
The migration can be experienced on early morning game drives in customized vehicles, walking safaris with Masai Warrior guides, horseback safaris in areas surrounding the Mara, or even from hot air Balloon safaris over the herds. Our experts will guide you as to the best accommodations and location as related to your client’s preference and budget.