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STA Travel Blog

High Five… Japan!

West meets east in this fascinating country filled with diverse landscapes, massive cities, incredible traditions and thousands of years of culture waiting to be discovered.

We’re assuming the epic metropolis of Tokyo is on your list (why wouldn’t it be?!) so we’ve left it out, but there’s much more to Japan than its capital. Here’s our pick of 5 other awesome highlights Japan has to offer.

Our Favourite Five Experiences in Japan


Kyoto is not only a buzzing city (1.5 million people and growing) it’s also the cultural centre of Japan and a brilliant place to get to grips with the fascinating imperial history of the islands. Kyoto actually means ‘capital city’ and it served as one for over a thousand years leaving it chock full of shrines, temples, gardens, palaces and the ancient Geisha district.

If you happen to be in Kyoto in mid July you’ll have a chance to witness the Gion Matsuri parade – a large procession of traditional floats – some of which can weigh up to 12 tonnes – that makes their way through the centre of the city.

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High Five… National Dishes of Asia!

Now, I’m not saying that food is the only consideration when choosing a destination to visit… but for me, it’s definitely up there with the beautiful beaches and buzzing cities as one of the main highlights of any adventure.

This week we’re exploring some delicious national dishes of Asia… now excuse me while I nip off to the nearest food cart.

Bi Bim Bap, South Korea.

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Ask the Experts: Where Should I Go to Finish my Souteast Asia Trip After Thailand?

Our Travel Experts know pretty much everything there is to know about booking amazing trips all over the world. So it’s only fair that we get them to share some of this knowledge with you!

This is the very reason we introduced our Ask the Experts blog series, where every week two of our most clued up Travel Experts attempt to help you with those travel questions that have been puzzling you. This week we have a question sent in from Jenifer in Cumbria – take it away Jenifer…

Hi Experts! My boyfriend and I want to go travelling next year and are just starting to think about our route. We’ve both agreed that we’ll fly into Bangkok but aren’t really sure where we’ll go after Thailand – do you have any ideas of a route that will take in some really different places? We’ll have about 3 months do travel and don’t have any major preference on countries except Thailand. Thanks, Jennifer, Cumbria.

Ooooh good one, it can be quite tricky to do something different in such well travelled terrain as South East Asia, let’s see what our Experts suggest.

Golden Rock, Burma.

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Ask the Experts: Where Can I Take my Two Young Children on an Adventure of a Lifetime?

Where would you go to give a 9 and 7 year old the adventure of a lifetime that you could enjoy just as much? This week our Travel Expert Lucy steps up to help blog reader Jessica who’s trying to decide where to take her two children travelling.

I want to travel for 3 weeks with my 2 children aged 9 & 7 both love the outdoors and new things, Australia is an option but would be interested in other places if there safe any ideas on the best child friendly hostels and trips I will have a budget of £5000. Jessica

Every week on the blog our Travel Experts tackle a question sent in by a blog reader and if you’d like to challenge them to answer your own question send it over now and we’ll put it to our Experts on a future edition of the Ask the Experts blog series soon.

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An Insider’s Guide to the Very Best Affordably Luxurious Hotels in Thailand

Allow me to introduce you to Hannah Jeffery. Hannah is a Brochure Product Executive here at STA Travel, meaning that it’s her job to produce our STA Travel brochures and also the brochures for our sister company Bridge the World. Hannah has recently completed this year’s brand spanking new Bridge the World Thailand brochure meaning she is the perfect person to give you an insiders guide to the best, affordably luxurious hotels in Thailand, I mean, it’s been her life for the past 6 months! She knows her product inside out, she’s even been to visit some of them in person (all in the name of doing a good job of course) so Hannah it’s over to you…

Thailand is an enthralling mix of mystical mountain kingdoms, balmy jungle-clad beaches and energetic inner-city melting pots, all shrouded in ancient backpacker myths dating back to the early 90s of £1 beach huts.

Let’s face it, however wonderfully affordable Thailand may be, unless you’ve paid by the hour (in which case, quite frankly, we don’t want to know) you haven’t been able to get a $2 guesthouse in years. And why would you even want to try? Thailand is blessed with the most affordable, exotic and accessible 4 and 5* accommodation in the world and we’re able to bring them to you through our sister company Bridge the World, specialists in affordable luxury travel.

Don’t get us wrong, we love waking up to a painted picture of a window on the thin concrete wall of our bargain Khao San Road but, if you’re going to splash out in relative terms, do it here and book yourself into some well deserved luxury.

As Thailand is such amazing value, there is no need to sacrifice cultural authenticity or your precious travellers’ integrity in the face of luxury, comfort and an infinity pool, pretty much as standard. Elsewhere in the world, your luxury budget may extend to a 3* white and soulless monolithic monstrosity whereas Thailand’s neon cities, emerald jungles and archetypal bounty beaches are home to an abundance of unique and characterful luxury hotels, and we’ll prove it. Here are a few of our favourites…

Layana Resort.

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