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STA Travel Blog

10 European festivals you need to show your face at

There’s no better way of getting to know the locals than by throwing tomatoes in their face. Or joining them as they celebrate their King and dress head to toe in orange. Or climbing a mountain and covering them in wine, before they then cover you in wine. Forget the small talk; this is making friends European style.

Orange is the New Black on King's Day, Netherlands.

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High Five… Safaris!

As one of the most sought after adventures on the planet, an African safari will take you straight through the heart of some of the largest, and most exciting terrain to be found anywhere in the world.

Adventures don’t come much more electrifying than this; feel your heart beat through your chest as you come up close to some of the biggest, most powerful animals on the planet, including the notorious ‘Big 5’, the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.

Now that we’ve got you in the mood, let us excite you just a little bit more… we’ve teamed up with our friends at Jack Wills to give you the chance to win an amazing Safari Adventure in South Africa for you and 4 of your mates! You can find out all the details on this incredible prize, including how to enter, by heading to the competition page of our website.

But, before that, I’ve selected a ‘Big 5′ of my very own, here’s our five favourite epic African safaris.

Search for the 'Big 5' on the great plains of Africa.

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12 Incredible Places to Have Dinner with Your Mates

This Blog is written by STA Travel Intern Carin Bystrom.

Dinner is the perfect time for you and your mates to sit back and relax, enjoy each others company, and simply enjoy life. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t mix it up a bit. Dinner doesn’t need to be dull and below are 12 incredible places that prove it.

Calico Cat Café, Tokyo, Japan

Not a cat person? Then I’d carry on to the next suggestion if I were you. Calico Cat Café is situated in the busy district Shinjyuku in Tokyo. This café is designed for cat lovers; the concept is built on the idea that visitors enjoy sipping their lattés while snuggling up next to a friendly cat for company.

Once you arrive you are free to order your own food or drinks or even some cat food in order to lure a few of the 50+ cats over to you.

Image courtesy of MsSaraKelly on Flickr.

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Why Christchurch is Fast Becoming New Zealand’s Most Exciting City

STA Travel Partnership Manager, and big New Zealand travel enthusiast, Neil Hassall knows a lot about New Zealand, here he is to tell us why he believes South Island city Christchurch is taking giant leaps to become New Zealand’s most exciting city to visit.

As a previous guest of New Zealand and a fan of all things ‘Kiwiana’ (I was lucky enough to live there for two years), I’m always keen to return and see how things have changed in the cities I used to know and love.

One such place where this is truer than most is Christchurch, on New Zealand’s South Island. Due to two recent large earthquakes in the last three years that devastated the central area, the city is experiencing somewhat of a rebirth, with its determined residents and businesses working hard to rebuild the city for themselves and to welcome tourists back.

Although much of the city is still to be rebuilt (although much of downtown’s tourist accommodation has now reopened), the city’s renaissance is in full swing, as duly noted by the likes of Lonely Planet (who voted it as one of their Top 10 cities to visit last year) and the New York Times (who ranked it No 2 in their 52 must visit places for 2014).

Here are some of the reasons (some of which may surprise you) as to why I believe Christchurch should be on your travel hit-list, either as a trip in its own right, or as part of a round the world itinerary.

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Shakedown, Bangkok

Bangkok is probably the world biggest, most bustling traveller hub. It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the craziness so our CRM Excutive Carmen steps forward to create this handy city guide to help you make the most of your stay. Here’s our shakedown of Bangkok.

The first thing you should know is that Bangkok is a mega-city of multiple personalities. With over 6 million people living there, you can pretty much find anything at anytime of day or night; the city is peppered with corner shops called 7Eleven.

It’s got a fearsome party reputation – Hangover II was filmed here – and that’s no exaggeration, there’s everything from Ping Pong shows, down somewhat suspicious side streets (don’t google it), to super plush sky bars. The city is a natural hub for all travellers/explorers landing in Southeast Asia as it’s connected to, well, just about everywhere. So if you are looking to start your trip here, it’s a great place for meeting like minded people, going in your direction.

Markets pop up like umbrellas in the rain, all over the city throughout the week, so the shopping is great – especially if you like to haggle. Of course, as Thailand’s capital city, so there is also a wealth of historic, religious and modern cultural sites to see. So let’s get down to it, here’s what to do in Bangkok and how to do it…

Visit Bangkok's famous Floating Markets.

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