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STA Travel Blog

A Christmas away from home

I’m Jemma, one of STA Travel’s Digital Execs, email machine and serious Bali beach bum…
It’s quickly approaching the two-year mark now since I spent my first Christmas away from home. Away from the humming of Christmas songs, wrapping of trees in tinsel, yummy nut roasts and endless amounts of chocolate (I really mean drinking). But fear not all the Christmas fans out there, t’was a happy story, this Christmas away from home. And here is what made it oh so very special… 

Turning back time to December 21st 2015, I was stepping off a rickety wooden boat on the sublime island of Gili Meno. Accompanied by four of my best friends, an oversized backpack and an arm full of cotton plaited wristbands. Although our spirits were high (I mean whose wouldn’t be, with a secluded beach to ourselves, the view of Mt Rinjani in the background and £1 beers all day) but still something felt weird. We were four days from Christmas and I was dying to smell some cinnamon gingerbread men, hear the carols chime through the streets or just wear a knitted jumper. Instead, I was slapping on factor 50, taking an outdoor shower and searching for turtles on the reef. (I know you’re thinking. What. Are. You. Complaining. About).

Bali

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Travel Crush: 10 reasons the Philippines is the place to be in 2018

Allow me to introduce myself… I’m Georgie, a digital marketing executive at STA Travel, happiest in the ocean, sun worshipper and summertime fruitarian. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was told I’d be heading on an educational trip to the Mimaropa region of the Philippines this November! We’ve all seen the pictures. The Philippines is the epitome of an island paradise with its turquoise water, white sandy beaches, paraw boats and coconuts on tap. Well kids, it’s even better in the flesh … Here’s 10 reasons why we’ve fallen head over heels for the Philippines.

1. The Underground River

Glide by canoe into the mesmerising caves of stalagmites and stalactites of this UNESCO World Heritage site in Puerto Princesa. Spot bats and swifts as they fly among the ancient rock formations as well as monkeys and crab-eating macaques in the surrounding forests. Be sure to book in advance, this place is popular!

underground river

2. Camping under the stars

Pull up to remote Kalipayan Island and prepare for a night under the stars with nothing but the waves and rustle of the trees to disturb the silence. Go for a late-night swim, and if you’re lucky, catch sight of the plankton glowing and lighting up the way.

camping on the beach

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Scenic ways and Cape Town braais – 10 days on South Africa’s garden route

Today’s blog comes from Chris Newnham, the Assistant Manager in our Reading store 

Incredible landscapes, stunning city views, poignant history, adrenalin activities galore and sparkling modern culture – South Africa has it all in abundance. I had the pleasure of exploring the famous Garden Route for 10 days from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth– and what a pleasure it was!

The impressive Garden Route

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5 spots to get your live music fix in Melbourne

Sydney may have the glamour and glitz of the Harbour and Bondi, and Brisbane may have endless sand and backpacker bar-crawl carnage but every Aussie knows cosmopolitan Melbourne is the place to go for some electrifying live music. Victoria’s capital has always had more of a communal vibe and its music scene has consistently led the way Down Under.

You’ll find local bands testing out their own tunes at practically every other pub North of the Yarra River, whilst Southside has loads of breezy, open bars with polished outfits banging out covers. With so much to choose from, you can almost feel like you’re lost on a musical Walkabout, so we’re here to help!

From classic rock dives to sophisticated jazz bars, here’s our five favourite venues to check out in marvellous Melbs!

1. Prince Bandroom, St Kilda.

We have to start with this legendary spot in the Prince Of Wales pub on Fitzroy Street. It’s been hosting eclectic live music for 60 years now and is a Melbourne institution. Dark and grungy with a low stage and ceiling that crams everyone into a heaving, rocking mass, it’s exactly the authentic no-frills experience that draws everyone in town here at some point or another.

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Solo female travel in Sri Lanka: How safe is it?

Ladies, it’s official. Sri Lanka is one of our favourite travel destinations of 2017, and if you make the pilgrimage, it’ll no doubt be one of yours too.


This little dot in the Indian Ocean may well be well and truly open for business to backpackers now, but the island still has that whole ‘untouched’ thing going on. Think beach huts and hammock-clad hostels on unspoiled tropical beaches, and misty villages high in the hills. Then there’s gorgeous temples, ample wildlife encounters, great food and authentic interactions with some of the warmest locals Asia has to offer.

We’re not usually ones for blanket statements. But to give you an idea of exactly what makes Sri Lanka such an intriguing destination, we’ll say this. It’s a bit like a smaller (ie. easier to get around), chilled out and polite version of its big, brash brother, India.

And it pulls this off without losing any of that charm, culture, or eye-popping colour.

 

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