Your very own… Grand Tour
The very idea of a ‘Grand Tour’ conjures up images of exotic travels in far-flung parts of the world. Once, travellers would have set off on week-long voyages by steamer to discover new places. Now we can jump on a plane and be somewhere in a matter of hours. But whatever the journey to get there, it doesn’t take away the excitement of the adventure ahead.
With former Top Gear presenters Clarkson, May and Hammond embarking on their own new Grand Tour, you may want to follow in their tracks or make your very own epic journey.
Here are some of Cox & Kings’ suggestions for an alternative Grand Tour:
Grand Tour of South America
From Lima to Rio, via La Paz and Buenos Aires, this Grand Tour takes in the very best of South America. Focusing on its fascinating cultures and most breathtaking scenery, the trip includes just some of the continent’s highlights: Machu Picchu and the Inca capital of Cuzco, an overnight journey on the new Belmond Andean Explorer train to Puno, a hydrofoil crossing of Lake Titicaca into Bolivia, staying in a hotel inside the Iguazu Falls national park and a full day of sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro.
Grand Tour of Indochina
Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia combine easily for a Grand Tour of the region. The ancient town of Luang Prabang in Laos has a fascinating French colonial legacy but is also home to ornate temples and monasteries. Vietnam is a fast changing but exciting country and the tour includes Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. There are cruises on Halong Bay and the Mekong river as well as two full days exploring Siem Reap and the incredible Angkor temples in Cambodia.
Grand Tour of Northern India There can be few countries that lay claim to being as diverse as India: from colourful vibrant cities and crumbling forts to national parks and a lush tropical south. With so many different cultural influences, it’s impossible to do the country justice in one trip. This Grand Tour takes in the holy city of Varanasi, the blue-washed houses of Jodhpur, Udaipur’s beautiful lakes and palaces, and Ranthambore, India’s best tiger reserve. A visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal is, of course, also included.
China: The Grand Tour
China is a country that’s changing fast. Cox & Kings’ Grand Tour includes a rickshaw ride around the ancient hutong district of Beijing, a visit to a quieter but dramatic section of the Great Wall, two nights in Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors, a stay in Guilin and a visit to the Giant Panda Research Base in Chengdu. After a 3-night river cruise on the Yangtze, the trip finishes in Shanghai.
And if that’s not enough, why not hire a car and drive some of the world’s most spectacular roads on your own:
The Great Ocean Road
This 243-kilometre-road in Australia follows the rugged coastline between Melbourne and Adelaide, passing the world-renowned Twelve Apostles rock stacks. With local wineries along the route, fine restaurants, beautiful scenery and numerous walking opportunities, a drive along the spectacular Great Ocean Road is unmissable for car buffs.
Classic South Africa
Combine a drive along the celebrated Garden Route with perhaps the ultimate self-drive experience through the Kruger National Park (for the faint-hearted, Cox & Kings can arrange a guided safari!) The 240-kilometre Garden Route runs from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s southern coast. You could drive it in a day but it is best enjoyed by stopping along the way; Knysna, known for its galleries and restaurants, is a delightful place to base yourself for a couple of days. It’s highly likely you’ll see southern right whales and dolphins from the road but Hermanus and Plettenburg Bay are the best spots for spotting marine wildlife.
- Tags: Adventure, Africa, Argentina, Australasia & Pacific, Australia, China, Cox & Kings Staff, Far East, Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, Worldwide