Dear G & L traveller

At G & L we're a little tired of hearing about the credit crunch – we know everyone's hurting but it also means there's plenty of great deals coming across our desk each day. So if you need to get away, read on as we're focusing on trips close to home like Thailand and Hong Kong, cruising and we are letting you know about the best present anyone could give a bride, friend or family – the G & L Gift Registry is open for business!
» MELINDA'S MARKETPLACE
» DESTINATION
» Q&A WITH G&L
» SAL'S TOP TEN
   
 
Shipwrecked? Not the Aussie cruise industry
 
According to figures just released, more Aussies are taking to the seas than ever before with a 26% rise in cruising numbers. G & L has always loved a ship (Melinda is a Master Cruise Consultant) and here are some of our favourite deals on sale now.

Med madness - Oceania Cruises are offering up to 70% discount on selected Mediteranean sailings for bookings made by 31 May 2009.
Europe - Seabourn are offering up to 60% off selected European sailings. APT Europe River Cruising are offering buy-one-get-one-free on Russian River Cruising with Viking Cruises. Departs May 2009 St Petersburg to Moscow. Prices from $4995 first passenger, second passenger free!
South Africa – Cape Town to Fremantle on the Sun Princess 20-night fly/cruise special departing 31 May 2009. Outside cabin guarantee from only $3915 per person twin share (ex-Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Brisbane) including three nights in Cape Town.

All specials are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.



 
   
 
Not another toaster – give the gift of travel
 
Can't think of a wedding gift or want to set up a travel fund for a friend's milestone birthday? Getting married and want a honeymoon registry? So 2009. Gregor & Lewis has just launched the G & L Gift Registry. Give us a call and we can set up a special account where friends and family can put money towards a special holiday or honeymoon. Sydney G & L customer and inveterate traveller, Polly Yule, was over the moon when presented with a travel voucher for $2500 on her 40th birthday. 'What else do you need at 40, but a tour of Egypt and Jordan spending all my friends money . . . I'm off in June!'
 
   
 
Smooth sailing with the SS Patricia
 
This month we welcome our newest consultant, Patricia McAlister, on board the good ship G & L. Patricia has been in the travel industry for more than two decades and is a self-confessed 'serial cruiser' having sailed or inspected more than 25 ships. Patricia is an Accredited Cruise Consultant and sites her favourite cruise destinations as the Greek Islands, the Nile and Mexico.

These are some of Patricia's insights when considering a cruise:

Know your ship – are you after a ship with family activities or don't want kids on board at all?
Research the time of year travelling – weather patterns are crucial to smooth sailing
Book a berth mid-ship – there's less movement
Request a balcony if your budget allows – what better way to enjoy cruising than from your own deck?
Request port-side – this means you'll have much more impressive views from your cabin when coming into port (well, most of the time depending on which port!)

When not using her sea legs, Patricia's knowledge of more landlocked nations is also impressive. Welcome aboard, Patricia.
 
   
 
Suite deals from the airlines
 
Ever flown to Europe in a private suite? Read on for all the great deals that have just touched down at Gregor & Lewis

Emirates return first class fares to Europe ex-Brisbane and Melbourne in private suites from $10,460 per person including taxes and chauffeur-driven transfers

Malaysian Airlines return companion business class fares to Europe ex-Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from $5990 per person including taxes

V Australia return economy class fares to Los Angeles ex-Sydney and Brisbane from $1035 per person including taxes

Thai Airways return economy class fares to Bangkok ex-Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from $1099 per person including taxes

Qantas Airways return economy class fares to Hong Kong ex-Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from $1165 per person including taxes

Airfares are subject to availability and maybe withdrawn at any time. Booking conditions and seasonality also apply.
 
   
 
 
Tour Sydney for free!
 
Sign up five friends to the G & L postcard and be in the running to win one of five copies of the Foodies' Guide to Sydney. Authors, Helen Greenwood and John Newton (ably assisted by our own Sally Lewis), have turned Sydney upside down to unearth more than 450 of the best food shops, produce, markets and merchants.

All you need to do is send an email to noosa@gregorlewis.com.au with five friends' emails who would like to receive G & L's quarterly postcard. The Foodies' Guide to Sydney is the bible for all Sydney's G & L travellers and friends. Available at all good book stores and newsagencies for just $29.95.
 
   
 
Fit for a queen: luxury bedding at Six Senses
Up close and personal: Kristen shakes hands at Chiang Mai's Elephant Nature Park
Room with a view: Phang Nga Bay from your own private villa at Six Senses
 
Thai Princess Diaries
 
A five-star resort and travelling with pigs? G & L consultant, Kristen Cahill, travels like a princess and a pauper on her recent trip to Thailand and has the time of her life.

'I wouldn't call myself a princess but there are certain luxuries a girl likes to have – a flushing toilet, a shower that isn't a garden hose and to travel without a pig wrapped in a hessian bag squirming at your feet.

So what was I doing on an Imaginative Traveller tour in Thailand? Stepping out of my comfort zone and having the time of my life.

My adventure began in Bangkok, a remarkable city that has so much to offer. Must sees include the Reclining Buddha, Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace.

After a hectic day, the tour began: an overnight train to Chiang Mai, a visit to the night markets, a leisurely dinner and a swim in the hotel pool. The next day, however, the adventure really began.

We were off on a three-day trek to the remote hill tribe villages of Northern Thailand where the lifestyle has changed little in the last century. After three days of trekking up and down mountains, through mud, over jagged rocks, and being attacked by mosquitoes and leeches, we were rewarded with a bamboo-raft ride down the river to the last village.

We then visited an Elephant Nature Park where we got up close and personal with the most beautiful creatures you could ever meet, fed wild monkeys then took an elephant ride through the jungle and across the river.

We then flew south to Khao Sok National Park where we took a long boat ride to our over-water raft houses. The park covers 656-square kilometers and our boat trip took us through the breathtaking scenery: monstrous jaggered limestone crags that rise spectacularly out of the water, some up to 100 metres high.

Upon completion of my tour I was in desperate need of some serious R & R (and a good hot shower) and was extremely lucky to be able to spend my last four days at the magnificent Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi. This ultra-luxurious resort is located about 40 minutes by speedboat from Phuket. It comprises 54 private villas, a gorgeous spa, plus they set their clocks an hour ahead of local time so guests can enjoy an extra hour of daylight – what a great idea.

As soon as I stepped off the boat I felt like royalty. I was greeted by my own personal butler and whisked away to my villa. Words can not describe how breathtaking this resort is. I stepped onto a large deck with reclining lounges and my own secluded plunge pool. The view was a 180-degree picture-perfect postcard overlooking limestone crags. The interior of the villa was pure luxury, from the Egyptian cotton bedding to a sunken bath, outdoor shower, dressing room and plasma TV.

It was then time to return to reality. Looking back on my trip I can say I am very proud of myself. I conquered some of my greatest fears – travelling alone, exercise, spiders, leeches and stepping out of my comfort zone. And to me that is what a great holiday is all about.

To find out more about Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi, or the Imaginative Traveller contact Kristen at kristencahill@gregorlewis.com.au.
 
   
 
Roses only: flower markets
Tanks alot: live seafood at Lamma
Island life: chilli bean crab on Lamma Island
Hot dish: Schezwan crab at Hutong
 
Hong Kong Sevens – seven good reasons to visit (well ten – we always like a bargain)