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Restricted to School Holidays? Read here!

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We’re constantly speaking to families, teachers, partners of teachers and those that work in educational establishments who find themselves restricted to certain peak periods to travel, and these limitations always impact the cost of holidays – even long haul to South East Asia. Flights of course fill up far quicker, hotels are busier and at certain times offensively overpriced with ridiculous compulsory gala dinners over Christmas & New Year (our pet hate!).

So we thought we’d share a few tips on how to minimise the cost.

For the main holidays (Christmas, Summer & Easter), there is no such thing as a ‘last minute deal’ with scheduled airlines, so the general rule is book as far ahead as you can – and plan ahead even earlier.

1 – PLAN EARLY. We can hold flights 320 days in advance. So plan next Christmas this January. If you want to travel over the Summer Holidays, note that departure dates are most expensive from July 5th – August 12th (which varies from airline to airline). This means if you can travel in mid-August you can get reasonable priced flights (which will be a big percentage of your overall cost). However, as your return dates are optimal, you will only get hold of the cheaper seats by booking the previous September.

2 – BE OPEN MINDED. Consider travelling out of season. For Christmas this means Indonesia. For Summer this means the West Coast of Thailand where hotels are incredible value. If you’re worried about travelling during the ‘Green Season’ have a read of this: http://www.ethostravel.co.uk/2017/07/26/far-east-green-season/

3 – BE FLEXIBLE. If you need to travel at relatively short notice – then ask us for advice and be as flexible as possible. For example, we know that Qatar Airlines have just added a new flight to Chiang Mai over December, and that there are plenty of seats available, so we can focus on Northern Thailand. Or Penang in February – giving Malaysia an unexpected availability boost. We know that the Boathouse Phuket has re-opened after 6 months renovations, and has good availability and great re-opening prices! Or that FinnAir have just launched an extra Helsinki – Krabi non-stop flight, and there is great availability around Easter. It might mean travelling to a different destination than you were planning, but as far as we’re concerned all of Asia is incredibly family friendly!

4 – SPEAK TO THE EXPERTS. Basically we are bombarded with information, offers, specials and availability from airlines, our hotels and partners on a daily basis – so speak to us – the South East Asia experts. Ideally as early as possible!

5 – GIVE US AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE! Have an idea of budget before you call, and look to maximise every day you can. That Inset day that allows you to travel a day earlier could end up saving you hundreds of pounds! If you’re bringing your children, think about how you would like bedding to be set-up. For example, if you need space to relax in the evening, think about more affordable options set back from the beach that offer 2 bedroom suites & villas – like the new Pelican Residence & Suites in Krabi or the Santai in Umalas Bali.

6 – WANT TO ESCAPE CHILDREN? Perhaps you’re a honeymooning teacher, so need a break! Remember we have lots of adults only hotels, such as The Layana Resort & Spa Koh Lanta , or The Balé in Bali.

Contact us today to start planning your 2018 holiday on 020 7284 1888, or e-mail hello@ethostravel.co.uk

 

 

 

The Far East and the Green Season

It’s very rare that when you click on any of those headline offers for Asia (such as “14 nights in Phuket for £27!!!”) that the company behind the offer starts off by explaining that the price is so low because it’s for travel during the rainy season, which invariably it is.

But destinations like Thailand and Malaysia have 6 months of supposed ‘rainy’ seasons (i.e. for Phuket and the west coast of Thailand it runs from May – October) when hotel prices are a fraction (up to one half) of high season prices, and low prices are needed to bring in guests.

                                                Phuket last October during the ‘rainy’ season

So what do the hotels do during these ‘quiet’ months – and also does it really rain for 6 months solidly? Well, no, of course it doesn’t, but this is when the perceived risk of the monsoon season arriving statistically increases.

But hotels are often half the price in the first week of May than they are in last week of April, but surely it doesn’t start pouring down at midnight on the 30th April? Again, no, of course not. Which is why by being clever you can maximise your luxury and minimise your costs and risk.

Genuine Savings

But this is not just ‘sales patter’. We at Ethos Travel also take our holidays during ‘rainy seasons’ as a) it’s more likely we will get complimentary / reduced price stays, and b) it’s easier to inspect hotels when occupancy is less than 40%. But at the same time we don’t want it to rain for our entire stay – but it rarely, if ever, does. And for our customers, hotels can offer fantastic deals.

                                             Six Senses Yao Noi during the ‘green’ season – June

Positives & Negatives

PROS:

  • All hotels will reduce their prices, be it a ‘stay 10 pay 5’ or a ‘50% reduction’, but may also chuck in a room upgrade or a spa treatment so make sure you ask us when hotel offers can be optimised
  • Many hotels run complimentary trips or activities during the low season
  • Look to stay right at the beginning or end of the ‘rainy’ season to minimise risk – i.e. for the West Coast of Thailand the first two weeks of May, or last two weeks of October
  • That beach will probably be yours alone, and there will be no issues with getting a sun lounger by the pool
  • Everyone is really, really happy to see you!
  • You may have saved enough for a second holiday this year. Or one that’s twice as luxurious!
  • It very rarely rains for 24 hours solidly, and it does rain during ‘high seasons’ – it’s the tropics. But low season is also called ‘green season’ as Asia’s flora and fauna can be most spectacular

                                            Jeeva Beloam, Lombok in Low Season – November

CONS:

  • Many local bars and restaurants can be closed limiting your options for eating out, so you may be restricted to eating in the hotel at some out of the way locations. This can also apply to dive schools or attractions, so plan ahead
  • All good hotels will run renovations during low season, but this is typically closing some rooms off to bring them up to scratch, but we try to make sure there is no heavy building work going on
  • Divers / snorkelers need to be more wary than the rest of us as currents can make areas unsuitable for diving during low seasons even when the weather appears fine

Some periods, statistically, it is just not worth traveling to (i.e. Hong Kong in typhoon season, Koh Samui in November, and the most rain statistically falls on the west cost of Thailand & Malaysia in September).  But travel to Bali or Lombok in November, and the weather can be much fresher – providing much needed breezes.

Of course we cannot guarantee the weather, at any point of the year. But we can manage expectations and give advice as we are experts, and we do travel, at our own cost during ‘low seasons’.

Introducing…. the Akyra Beach Club

As ever we’ve been working (cough) hard to find you the pick of new, small, unique hotels throughout Thailand. We’ll be introducing a few of them over the next couple of weeks – along with re-introducing a couple of more familiar ones. But to start with here’s a wonderful small hotel we recently stayed at on quiet Natai beach. And from now until the end of June (and September – October) it’s only £799 per person (of course including flights, taxes, private transfers and 7 nights accommodation on a twin share basis). Anyway, here’s our review along with some gratuitous beach photos. You can read more about this little gem here: http://www.ethostravel.co.uk/hotels/akyra-beach-club-phuket/

The first thing to say about the akyra Beach Club Phuket is that it’s not in Phuket – rather the stunning empty Natai beach about 30 minutes north from Phuket Airport. And secondly – it’s not just a ‘Beach Club’ – it’s also a traditional hotel, and a very good one at that!

We were welcomed by a DJ set behind a Moet & Chandon booth – but playing very chilled out tunes that didn’t overpower the relaxed setting – and finished as the sun came down as you enjoyed the stunning Natai sunsets, and above all this is a friendly resort – for children, couples and family groups of all ages.

Rooms were a mixture of villas set amongst the gardens and 42 great value rooms and suites set in a block. Little bonuses (such as an ice cream parlour dishing out free ice cream between 2-3 every afternoon!) were common in this well thought out new ’hip’ destination, but it’s most important not to gloss over the glorious location. A mere 30 minutes north from Phuket Airport, the beach can be walked for hours, and the waters warm and generally calm (with occasional body surfing opportunities). The sunsets are glorious (and the beach bar & hammocks make for ideal sundowner spots). This is a lovely find – a great place to relax, chill and recharge.

Thailand’s Turn! Beach holidays from £555

 

Malaysia Airlines & Ethos Travel Present..
A One Week Only Thailand Flash Sale from only £555 per person
And they genuinely are only here until Saturday

newsletter

Of course these are just a small sample of what IS possible… as long as you book by Saturday!

And did we mention that you can upgrade any of these to Business Class Return for a mere £799 per person

Paradise Koh Yao – Stunning Sea Vistas – save £444 p.p – 7 nights including breakfast & transfers – Travel Sep-Oct 16 & May-15 June 2017 – From £555 per person

Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi – Boutique Pranburi Bliss – 7 nights from only £625 per person
Upgrade to a Pool Residence for £50 – valid for travel September & October 2016

Outrigger Koh Samui – Luxury Pool Villa at this Samui Gem – Just 52 stunning rooms – from £899 per person
Travel from Sep-05 Dec & May-15 Jun 17

Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga – 7 nights Grand Deluxe Pool Villa – from only £825 per person
This is an amazing deal for travel in September & October 2016!

These incredible offers are only available until August 6th
But will sell out quicker – so give us a call on 020 7284 1888 to book now!*
If you prefer to e-mail – reach us on hello@ethostravel.co.uk

Thailand Boat

Large small print:
– The number 5 is pronounced as ‘ha’ in Thai, which is why you often see ‘555’ written down in Thailand – which sounds like ‘hahaha’ or ‘lol’ if you prefer! We also think the £555 offer is our greatest ever Thailand deal – no laughing matter though!
– Valid for travel as per stated – but if you want to travel outside of these dates, let us know as fundamentally amazing prices are available (except Christmas & New Year – but that is really peak time in Thailand!)
– Availability is currently *really good* even for the £555 offer! But is dependent on airline & hotel availability which will change, so call soon to book
– The best deal in our opinion is the upgrade to Business Class for an extra £799 per person return for any of these offers.
– Offers based on 2 travelling, including taxes and private transfers (except for The Paradise Koh Yao – as you’re limited to scheduled boat departures, so you may well find yourself sharing)
– Of course we are THE South East experts, and happy to tailor make any trip for you – why not call us!

Incredible Bali Offers from £499!

Malaysia Airlines, Lifestyle Retreats & Ethos Travel Present..
The Best of Bali, from only £499 per person (Yes £499 per person!)
These stunning offers are exclusive to Ethos Travel

Bali Header 2

There are so many amazing offers – contact us today (or at least before August 5th!) to get your hands on these!

Ize Seminyak – Chic hotel in Sophisticated Seminyak – 7 nights including breakfast & transfers – From £499 per person

Bali Tour: Beach, Jungle & Ubud – 2 nights in The Amala, Seminyak, 3 in The Menjangan in West Bali Barat National Park, finishing with 2 nights at Puri Gangga, Ubud – 7 nights from only £799 per person!

The Balé – Luxury 5* Pool Villa – 7 nights at this Nusa Dua gem from £999 – Upgrade to Business Class for £799

Family Holidays at The Santai – 7 nights Pool Villa from £625 per person – Choose between a 2 or 3 bedroom Villa.
2 adults & 2 children get a 2 Bed Pool Villa with flights, transfers & breakfast for just £2,499 TOTAL!
4 adults & 2 children in a 3 Bed Pool Villa – is just £3,999 (or £666 per person!)

The Amala – 7 nights including flights, transfers, breakfast, 7 nights in a Spa Villa with a complimentary 60 minute Spa Treatment – for only £849 per person!

These incredible offers are only available until August 6th
But will sell out quicker – so give us a call on 020 7284 1888 to book now!
If you prefer to e-mail – reach us on hello@ethostravel.co.uk

The MenjanganThe Ize The Bale

 

 

 

 
Large small print:
– Valid for travel 01 Sep – 10 Dec 16, 06 Jan-10 Apr 17 & 22 Apr-24 Jun
– Availability is currently *really good* even for the £499 offer! But is dependent on airline & hotel availability which will change, so call soon to book
– The best deal in our opinion is the upgrade to Business Class for an extra £799 per person return for any of these offers.
– Offers (except The Santai) based on 2 travelling, including taxes and private transfers
– Of course we are THE Indonesia experts, and happy to tailor make any trip for you – why not call us!

Ethos Travel Relaunches Christmas Island!

According to our google analytics expert, Christmas Island remains one of most perused destinations – after all it’s a destination most people have heard of – for many reasons, yet may struggle to find it on a map. We’ve been working closely with the Christmas Island Tourism Association (CITA) to re-launch Christmas Island (and neighbouring Cocos (Keeling) Island) for everyone who has considered travelling from the UK. So we’ve put together some facts and figures and mythbusters in case you’d ever put Christmas Island on your bucket list!

FACTS
– Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean – 2600km from Perth, yet a mere 360km from Java
– There are currently 2 flights a week from Perth to Christmas Island – with one that flies via neighbouring Cocos (Keeling) Island making this one of the world’s most unique 2 centre holidays
– Occasional flights operate from Asia, however the most reliable flights are from Perth – and you pay far less than Australian’s when buying in conjunction with international flights from the U.K!
– Christmas Island used to be marketed as ‘Australia’s own Galapagos’ for it’s wildlife viewing – with the world famous red crab migration, endemic birdlife, whale shark migration, coconut crabs and world class snorkelling and diving – we’d tend to agree. Or is the Galapagos ‘Ecuador’s own Christmas Island’?
– There are limited hotel rooms and cars on the island – which makes early booking essential. Driving is the easiest way to get around – we provide 4×4 vehicles, which are waiting for you outside the airport terminal with the keys in the engine. That’s how Christmas Island rolls. There is only 1 roundabout on the island, the islanders are very proud of it, and where you’ll find chalkboards full of the weeks activities (and restaurant opening hours).
– The snorkelling and diving is world class. Just head to Flying Fish Cove to witness the abundant coral and sealife just metres from the shore
– David Attenborough did indeed call the crab migration one of his Top 10 Television Moments

MYTHS
– There has never been any nuclear testing on Christmas Island – this was on the other Christmas Island – now known as Kiritimati many thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean
– There are no scary Australian critters on Christmas Island – no snakes, deadly spiders. There are in fact no predators (except the red ant) so it’s easy to get up and close to the islands wildlife such as the Coconut Crabs, or the birds
– Christmas is actually not a great time to be on Christmas Island. It’s the rainy season. And, many shops and restaurants are closed (it’s a holiday after all!). But if you’re determined, it is possible, and of course you may well catch the crab migration. Just give us plenty of time to plan it for you!

PLAN AHEAD!
There are some activities that see the island creaking with visitors – so it’s worth planning for:
30th August 2016: Christmas Island Bird’n’Nature Week
15th October 2016: Christmas Island Marathon (one of the world’s toughest!)
26 October – 25 January: Possible Spawning Dates for the Red Crabs
November – April: Typical Whaleshark season

So, tempted? Birds? Crabs? Diving? Bucket List? Or a heady mix of everything?

Give us a call on 020 7284 1888 or e-mail hello@ethostravel.co.uk and speak to someone who has been to Christmas Island and can talk you through this amazing destination!

Christmas Island Above & Below

Christmas Island Red Crab

Christmas Island Abbott's Booby

Proud to finally launch the Philippines!

The joke in the office is that it has taken 2 years because that’s how long it has taken to learn how to spell Philippines. But after numerous trips, we’ve finally taken the big step and launched the Philippines!

We’ll be adding a few tours in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, have a flick through some of the beautiful hotels that the Philippines has to offer!

Then, pick up the phone / mouse, drop us a line, and start to plan your honeymoon / holiday / unexpected last minute alternative to Skegness!

See: http://www.ethostravel.co.uk/destinations/the-philippines/

Obligatory Ethos Travel Sunset Shot:

P1130483

Paradise Beckons – Or Does It?

We’ve kept a copy of this postcard on our office wall since we launched. We thought it peculiar choice to be sent as a Tour Operator that specialised in smaller, stylish hotels throughout South East Asia.

Paradise Beckons

But like many hotels we view, this property quite simply wasn’t for us. We tend to veer away from the larger, concrete hotels that we think could be anywhere in the world, and instead focus on the properties that we believe will make your holidays. The hotels where the staff have genuine smiles, quickly learn your name, and would happily make recommendations for restaurants that they take their families too.

And we believe it’s a formula that works well. We want to deliver your perfect honeymoon or holiday – and we think we’re succeeding. Have a look at our reviews to get some genuine feedback!

So if you’d like to speak to an expert in Asia who will resolve to pair you with your perfect hotel, get in touch today – 020 7284 1888 or hello@ethostravel.co.uk

But if you’re after a bland, concrete, identikit hotel we may not be able to help!

You voted Gili Meno Indonesia’s best beach; we mostly agree with you!

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We appreciate that The Jakarta Post may not be on your reading list, but it very much is for us. But here’s a little article that we could have predicted – that the island of Gili Meno has one of Indonesia’s most beautiful beaches!

See: Gili Meno Indonesia’s best beach

Obviously this story has cherry picked feedback from Trip Advisor, but what it fails to mention is that the gloriously traffic island has a lovely little 11 room hotel that’s very much one of our favourites – Mahamaya.

See: Mahamaya, Gili Meno

Mahamaya Beach View

What the article also fails to mention (but excited us in a geeky, travel way that probably doesn’t excite you) is that Singapore Airlines new timings mean you can have seamless connections to and from Lombok for the first time ever (based on you flying on a Tuesday or Thursday, and retuning on a Sunday or Monday!).

So for the small outlay of £1,349 per person (presuming there are two of you) we’ll fly you to Lombok, pick you up for your drive up the cost of Lombok till you jump in your speedboat for a 10 minute crossing that will typically pull up at the beach in front of the Mahamaya. And you will spend 9 glorious, relaxing nights there before dragging yourself back to reality!

This is of course reliant on you booking before March 2nd, and travelling in certain months (not during the rainy season though).

Call us for a chat about the details – 020 7284 1888

Reviews – and why they are important – even 4 years late!

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This letter tickled us this morning – received alongside one of our Post Trip Questionnaires from 2012 and was very relevant as we are in the process of updating our review process.

“Hello, we recently found this during a clearout and although it’s old, thought you might like it still! We still talk so fondly of our honeymoon and of your company and very much hope to come back to you to arrange another holiday of a lifetime”. S&TH

If you’ve travelled with us before you would have received a welcome back letter with a post trip questionnaire on your return. We found this very personal and a lovely touch, whilst enabling us to get accurate feedback on your experiences. All comments (positive, and the very occasionally less positive) were acted on, and ensured that we knew our representatives and hotels were maintaining the same high standards as when we last inspected them.

However the reality is that more ‘ impersonal’ online reviews actually get our message out better as comments can be shared amongst those searching for honeymoons and holidays, and act as a wonderful way of extending our ‘word of mouth’ recommendations – even amongst those who you might not know! So we have teamed up with www.reviews.co.uk and all our clients will receive an e-mail on their return requesting feedback. This will then appear online, and also affect the star rating google gives us online, which is turn will affect how many people visit our website, enquire, and subsequently book with us, so it is very important to us to deliver a 5* experience to everyone that travels with us!

You can see our reviews here: http://www.reviews.co.uk/company-reviews/store/ethos-travel

If you’ve travelled with us but not commented you can of course add a review! Over the next month we’ll be expanding this to add your hotel reviews as well.
We hope this explains the changes, and any confusion if you’re used to receiving a Post Trip Questionnaire through the post!

If you’re wondering what the 2012 feedback we received today was, here it is:

“We loved Bali, the perfect choice for our honeymoon. [Your representatives] Destination Asia were fantastic; the transfers were smooth, easy and educational. We were never short of things to do in Bali; it was romantic, exciting, beautiful and inspiring all in one. The Menjangan was like being in a holiday brochure and we loved every second, and the Tugu Lombok was amazing! Thank you for all your help!”