It’s time for one of our favourite features here on the STA Travel Blog: yep, it’s Ask the Experts time!
Each week, a panel of our most knowledgeable Travel Experts answer one of your questions about travelling, be it where to go, what to do, where to shop or what (not) to eat when you’re in a far flung place.
In fact, our Experts are just bursting with diverse travel knowledge, and they’re ready and raring to deal with any travel question that comes their way! So go on, drop them an email with your own questions, and see what advice and insights they have for you. Who knows, their answers could, potentially, change your life…
Excitingly, we’re welcoming a brand new Expert this week! Jessica Ambrose from our store in Leeds Vicar Lane joins the panel, and she can’t wait to get stuck in and help solve your travel problems.
This week’s question comes courtesy of Ben from London, who wants to go on a bit of an epic trip, taking in several continents. Please Ben, tell us more…
I’m looking to take in South America, in particular Buenos Aires, Australia and parts of Asia later this year, setting off around the start of December. Can you recommend an itinerary and the best ways for me to explore each place? Ben in London
Quite a tall order for our Experts, but I have faith in them. Read on, and discover the best place to stay in Buenos Aires, what a bus pass called Fair Dinkum will get you, and where in Asia you can get the best pastries outside of Paris…
Jessica Ambrose from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane suggests…
The mighty Iguassu Falls in Argentina are a must-see
This little gem will take you down the coast of Brazil with a stop at Ilha Grande, across to the breathtaking Iguassu Falls and through Uruguay to reach Buenos Aires. You’ll do most of this journey using public transport so you’ll get the full Latin American experience!
In Buenos Aires head to the world famous Milhouse Hostel, but make sure you book in advance as rooms get booked up quickly. While you’re in the city head to a football match, take a cooking class or try your hand at some tango!
To get to Australia from South America you’ll need to fly from Santiago to Sydney so check out the 13-day Southern Sojourn trip to get you there!
Take your time to explore the hot spots – you could take a surf lesson in Byron Bay, go on a 4 wheel drive trip on Fraser Island, sail the Whitsundays and, of course, go diving out at the Great Barrier Reef.
You can then fly from Cairns to Singapore and head up through Southeast Asia on the Colours of Asia tour starting in Singapore and finishing up in Bangkok, travelling through Malaysia and Southern Thailand with stops on the amazing islands.
Explore stunning Southeast Asia in all its glory
If you’re looking to see a bit more of Asia then check out or best selling tour in Asia the 30-day Indochina Discovery to explore Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.
With stops at Halong Bay, Angkor Wat, Chiang Mai and even a stop in Vang Veing to do some tubing, what more could you ask for?
And the best thing – all these trips run in reverse, so you can do the itinerary both ways!
Claire Whittington from STA Travel Brighton reckons…
What a great sounding trip, Ben. And what better way to escape the cold, rainy English winter than heading for the South American summer and the vibrant city of Buenos Aires?
You’ll get 10 hours of one-to-one Spanish lessons and even more practice as you work with disadvantaged children at an educational centre ran entirely by volunteers. Not only will you put something back into the local community whilst you see the world, but you’ll also leave your first continent with a whole new language under your belt.
Beautiful, colourful, amazing Buenos Aires
After this you can test how much Spanish you have actually learnt by travelling across to Santiago, Chile exploring the lakes, volcanoes, hot springs and forests of the Lake District and Patagonia along the way. Have a couple of glasses of Chilean wine as you say “Ciao” to South America and “G’day Mate” to Australia.
I reckon starting at the top of the East Coast and working your way down is a great way to explore Down Under. So start off in Cairns and only leave once you have had your fill of Cape Tribulation and its rainforests, beaches and river cruises, and, of course the Great Barrier Reef.
I recommend the grabbing a flexible bus pass – a route like the Fair Dinkum (see the map below) will give you more Australian experiences than a 24-hour Neighbours marathon with Kylie and Jason on repeat in the background! This pass allows you to hop on and hop off all the way down the East Coast, and includes surf lessons and unique stops along the way.
Fair dinkum, mate
For the Asia leg of your trip, a direct flight can take you from Darwin to Bali, Indonesia, so why not satisfy the beach bum in you with a stay on the Gili Islands (population – 400, cars – 0!).
From Bali you can take a short flight to Bangkok. Fancy something a bit different? Then head to Laos on the Stray Bus! It’ll get you to places you just won’t get to on local buses. The Full Moon pass allows you to hop on and hop off, so why not take the laid-back Laos attitude and travel until your money runs out.
The Stray buses attract a mix of travellers who all share a passion for exploration with an open mind and a desire to head away from the crowds to experience remote village stays, traditional travelling methods such as long boat river cruises as well as trying to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong.
Of course, you’ll still get to visit the beautiful towns of Luang Prabang and Vientiane. In the latter, I recommend the BBQ street food and cake from the little patisseries that are all around the town (some of the best cakes I have had outside Paris!).
You’re going to have such a great time!