We have been informed of recent changes to the visa regulations for UK passengers in Vietnam.

 

British passport holders travelling for tourism or business will be able to enter Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa. If you’re travelling for business reasons you should contact the relevant Vietnam government department before travel to check whether any licenses are required to carry out your duties.


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We have been informed of recent changes to the visa regulations for UK passengers in Indonesia.

 

Clients have previously been able to travel in and out of Indonesia using the ‘free visa’ which is valid for 30 days. This does still apply however you must be entering and exiting Indonesia from one of the 5 international airports or 2 international sea ports listed below:


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My trip to Gran Canaria blew my expectations of a bucket and spade destination apart on my five day visit in June 2015 as part of a tourist board sponsored Travel Counsellors trip.

 

We flew with Norwegian Airlines from London Gatwick, with easy self check-in and free wifi onboard. The legroom was comfortable and the crew were polite whilst offering food and drink for purchase onboard.


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Last night, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Langham Hotel on the eve of it's 150th Birthday.

Delighting guests with gracious hospitality since 1865. Superbly styled rooms (344) and suites (33)  radiating the warmth on an elegant legendary home. Europe's first "Grand Hotel" is ready to enchant anew, after a remarkable restoration. 


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This month we have been looking at Iceland. Some interesting facts and a review of the national airline, Icelandair.


So, you now know a little bit about the country and how to get there, but what do you do when you get there?


Here are the top 10 must do's when visiting Iceland according to www.placestoseeinyourlifetime.com:

10. Whale Watching 

The gentle marine giants can be seen from the different locations in the country including Reykjavík. Several companies organize the 2-3 hour whale watching tours. Icelanders also hunt whales, so later you can order it in the restaurant. Cruel, but this is life.


Why to go there?

A rare opportunity to see these amazing creatures.


When to go there?

From May to September.



9. Geysers

Due to the volcanic activities underneath the surface, a lot of geysers, underground springs and thermal pools are scattered all around the country. To see a powerful hot stream shooting from the ground is definitely exciting.


Where to go?

Strokkur in the southwest of Iceland beside the Hvítá River is a popular fountain geyser. Many geysers are found in Haukadalur in the south of the country.


8. Landmannalaugar

The multicolored rhyolite mountains, lava fields and the Hekla volcano make it a popular tourist destination. The striking landscapes look like a different planet. Hiking and horse riding are among the most popular activities here.


When to go there?

Anytime, although summer might be the best time to go.


7. Maelifell Volcano, Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park

The perfect cone makes Maelifell a classic looking volcano. During a warm season snow uncovers a lavish green surface, covered with moss. There is plenty to do and see in the park, full of volcanoes, hot springs and other beautiful sites.


When to go there?
In summer.


6. Kirkjufell Mountain

Near a small town of Grundarfjörður in the western Iceland, the mountain beautifully sticks out in a plain landscape. In the surroundings of this striking mountain one can find small waterfalls and admire the Northern Lights at night.


Why to go there?
Unspoiled stunning nature.


How to get there?
By bus from the bigger cities.


5. Skaftafell Ice Cave, Vatnajökull National Park

The land of ice – country is literally covered in ice and snow. The overwhelmingly beautiful ice caves attract adventurers. The travel agencies organize trips to the glaciers, from where the caves can be visited.


When to go there?
In winter, when the ice doesn’t melt and is safe to enter.


4. Blue Lagoon, Grindavík

Geothermal spa offers the most relaxing natural bathing and is the most tempting attraction, found only 40 minutes away from Reykjavík. The water from the underground hot springs reaches 37–39 °C and is beneficial for health and skin.


Why to go there?
A great relaxation in the spa center with all the facilities and various services.


3. Aurora Borealis

The northern phenomena is also among the most popular attractions. The dazzling lights are especially bright this year, since the increase of solar activity. The lights are best admired in the remote places, further from the urban lights.


When to go there?
From middle September to middle April.


2. Hallgrímskirkja

The unique church is situated in the middle of Reykjavík. It is the tallest and most recognizable building in the country. The architecture was inspired by the Black Falls – another Icelandic natural wonder.


Why to go there?
A must see once in the capital of Iceland. A wonderful panorama of the city opens from the top.


1. Gullfoss Waterfall

The gorgeous waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in the country. Located in the canyon, which forms three step terraces, river Hvítá plunges creating a powerful stream and Gullfoss. There are no rails – just a natural surroundings.


Why to go there?
The must see in Iceland, exciting experience.


When to go there?
The plunge is stronger in summer.


So, as you can see, Iceland is a year round destination. I briefly visited in February, when is was white and cold. Unfortunately, it was cloudy so we didn't get to see the Northern Lights, but we did explore the city and the Blue Lagoon and thought it was perfect for a short or weekend break.
If you would like any other information about Iceland or holidays to Iceland, please contact me on 01962 659280 or at kate.self@travelcounsellors.com.
K


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Hekla Aurora


Icelandair is a customer oriented airline who fly from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow into the capital Reykjavik.


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Welcome to April's Destination of the Month : Iceland


Iceland lies in Northern Europe just a 3 hour flight from the UK, so it is a great destination for a weekend or short break.


Iceland is covered by ice, glaciers and geysers and has got more than 20 active volcanoes.


The largest volcano is called Vatnajokull and covers 8% of the country.
The country lies on two tectonic plates along which the volcanoes are located: the Eurasian and North American plates.


The lava which came from the volcanoes on the plate borders formed the island. The last addition of islands to Iceland was formed in 1963. This island is called Surtsey and is located 30km off the main island.iceland waterfalls by mwolfe at sxc.huThere are also many waterfalls, hot springs, mud pools and geothermal vents, where the heat of the earth comes out from the earth surface.

The energy of the Iceland volcanoes and vents is used by geothermal power stations and supplies the heating to around 85% of all households.

And did you know that the ice of the glaciers is 1,000m thick!


Most people in Iceland live in the Southwestern Iceland near the capital Reykjavik which is the northernmost capital in Europe. Here is a picture of the capital city Reykjavik by A Kiernan.
Rykevik by akiernan at sxc.hu

Follow my blogs throughout the month of April to find out more about Iceland's national airline and what there is to do and see.


And don't forget to follow me on Twitter @Kate_atTCTravel and Facebook www.facebook.com/TravelCounsellorsWinchester for lots of fun facts.


K

 


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P&O will be waving the flags in Southampton tomorrow when the Queen is in Southampton to christen the brand new P&O ship, Britannia.

I was one of the lucky agents who was welcomed onboard yesterday and stay overnight to explore and experience what this lovely ship has to offer.

The ship itself is 141,000 tons in size and can accommodate 3611 passengers and 1400 crew, but it really doesn't feel this big when you are onboard. With the numerous restaurants and bars to cater to everyone's tastes and entertainment including live bands, full west end style shows in the ships theatre, a casino and even a cooking school, there is plenty to keep anyone occupied on sea days and evenings.


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When most people think of the "Red Centre" they think of Uluru (AKA Ayers Rock) but what they don't realise is there is so much more than meets the eye.


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Victoria, Australia. This has to be my favourite state.

Hugging the tip of the Australian East Coast, Victoria is Australia's second smallest state covering 227,600 square kilometers - roughly the size of the British Isles.

The climate can be characterised as warm to hot in the summer (December to February), mild in Autumn (March to May), cold and damp in winter (June to August) and cool in spring (September to November).


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