Good advice on seeing elephants responsibly

Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang will have plenty of opportunities to hang out with elephants.


New update! Now there’s 8 of us intrepid travellers!

It’s been such an exciting time last week! Almost overnight we’ve become a team of eight with Cate, Kate, Karen and Ken coming along for the ride!
It’s such a great group we’ve got and I just know everyone will enjoy the adventure together.

A few things we found:

Ashlie at Escape Travel has found some terrific Singapore Airlines flights this week so she’s the best contact for flights.

If booking Villa Santi in Luang Prabang, try the agoda website because has run out of rooms ( except for the very expensive royal suites). Agoda also has rooms for the Apsara if Villa Santi is booked out. The Apsara is a very nice spot too.

There may still be room at Mandala Ou Resort for 11th Nov, but Nic has kindly walked next door and booked extra rooms for 12th Nov for Kate, Cate, Karen and Ken at Phaxang Resort, so that’s always an option for 11th Nov too if it gets fully booked.

Availability is getting tight at Rimping Village, Chiang Mai and the Pavilion, Phnom Penh too so best to book soon.

Also there’s still four spots on the Intrepid tour, but it’s a good idea to ask Ashlie to hold your spot until you get organised in case they get snapped up.
And don’t forget to get your $100 discount through the link in the previous update.

Ashlie’s number is 0261510300

And Lonely Planet has some useful info about travelling in Thailand at the moment….

Good prices for flights with Malaysian Airlines

Macleay Valley Travel sent this information about good flight deals recently that might be useful.

Malaysia Airlines is a top rated full service airline with an excellent safety record. However, the recent mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 has had an adverse affect on their bookings, and in an effort to get more passengers on their planes they have brought out some really attractive international air fares.

The fares listed below all include airport taxes and fuel levies. However, to get these fares, urgent action is required as the tickets have to be issued by this Wednesday, 30th April. Also, there are only a very limited number of seats on each flight at these prices. There is better availability in a higher booking class and these fares are only $70 more than the fares listed below.

Destination Price Departure Dates from SYD, MEL, BNE, ADL, PER.

Bangkok $866 “ “ “ “ “ “
Phnom Penh $869 “ “ “ “ “ “
Bombay(Mumbai)$1009 “ “
Delhi $1048 “ “
Colombo $1030 “ “

New review for Mandala Ou Resort in Nong Kiaw

Great review on Tripadvisor for Mandala Ou Resort Nong Khiaw

This review, just posted, is very positive about this spot and includes lots of helpful tips.

(Check out the photos of Mandala Ou Resort posted on trip advisor while you’re there as they are very lovely and helpful too.)

Sounds like Mr Deen’s Restaurant is well worth a visit!

I’ve pasted the review here too, just in case that’s easier

We stayed at Mandala Ou for 3 nights in the middle of January 2014. The resort has only been open a matter of months and is a fantastic place to stay. The accommodation is grouped alongside the riverbank, nestling in amongst the trees and provides a very relaxing environment to stay with spectacular views. It was very enjoyable lying beside the swimming pool soaking up the sun and enjoying a swim to cool down. The resort is located about 2 minutes walk from the bus station and then it is around a 10 minute cycle to the bridge / 20 minute walk. People have commented about the distance into the centre of the village but you have to consider that you will not find comparable accommodation in the centre of the village.
The bungalows themselves are clean and generally well designed although there are a few flaws that previous reviewers have commented on. We struggled to get hot water from the shower which hopefully Nick (the owner) is trying to address and there is no hot water available from the bathroom tap. The fact there is no bathroom door did not cause us any concern but again when having a shower the water is not contained to one area and there is no way of mopping the floor. These flaws aside (which can be addressed) I feel it is important to reiterate that the positives certainly outweigh these small flaws. Nick, Nick’s Mum & Kenny were highly professional, friendly, hospitable and certainly contributed to us having a fantastic stay at Mandala Ou.

We can recommend the 1 Day Ethnic Jungle Trek which is organised by Green Discovery (6 hour trek with visits to 2 local villages & a 20 minute boat ride back downriver). Our guide was excellent, informative and funny but unfortunately I cannot remember his name.

We can highly recommend eating at Mr Deens (Indian Restaurant) which is located just over the bridge on the right hand side (we ate here 3 nights in a row due to the beautiful food which was very inexpensive).

Room Tip: Choose a River Side Bungalow