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Our little black book of enchanting places


Got the guide? Book the trip

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Bhutan with prayer flags in foregroundA few years ago everyone predicted travel apps would be the end of guide books and for a while it looked likely. But according to The Bookseller, the sales of travel guides in 2015 increased for the first time in seven years. Guide books have moved with the times, too. One of our favourite publications, Insight Guides has recently launched its own travel service, offering a choice of 30 destinations and 250 trips, which can be either pre-packaged or tailor-made online, with the help of Insight Guides’ local experts. Here are four examples to get those wanderlust juices flowing.

Splendour in Bhutan 

The seven-night tour begins at Amankora resort in the capital of Thumphu, set amidst glacial river valleys and evergreen forests. From there, the tour visits the Punakha Valley to hike across majestic rice terraces to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (a monument built by the four queens of Bhutan), and the royal winter residences. Then it’s on to Paro and a tour of Bhutan’s finest cultural spots, including Kyichu Lhakhang temple. Price: from £2,990 per person, including seven nights’ accommodation, selected experiences and transfers. International flights are extra.Bicycle rickshaw against a blue wall in MalaysiaIndulgent Malaysia

Insight’s Malaysian trip offers the best of both worlds, giving travellers the opportunity to spend time in glitzy Kuala Lumpur before heading for Penang, where they can explore the capital of Georgetown, with its maze-like streets and fabulous architecture, sample delicious cuisine in gourmet restaurants, kayak through mangroves and kick back on Langkawi’s idyllic deserted beaches. Price: from £3,800 per person, including 12 nights’ accommodation, selected experiences and transfers. International flights are extra.Volcano, Costa RicaCosta Rica – Coast to Coast

This trip is all about making the most of the Great Outdoors, from adrenalin-packed adventures to lazy days on the beach. Search for turtles in Tortuguero off the Caribbean coast (July to October), before heading across the country to Pacific Tamarindo, one of Costa Rica’s premier surf spots. Visit coffee and sugar plantations, go on volcano treks, and experience the jungle and its wildlife inhabitants at night. Price: from £1,474 per person, including 11 nights’ accommodation, selected experiences and transfers. International flights are extra.Vietnamese girl, VietnamQuintessential Vietnam

Uncover the secrets of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City and the colonial charms of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. Explore the lush rice paddies and traditional villages of the Mekong Delta and former imperial Hue. Complete the trip with an overnight cruise to the astonishing limestone caves of Halong Bay. Price: from £1,084 per person, including eight nights' accommodation, selected experiences and transfers. International flights are extra.


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