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Niger River, Mali • Lake Victoria, Uganda • The Sacred Ganges, India • Irrawaddy River, Burma • Perfume River & Hue, Vietnam • Li River & Guilin, China • Arabian Sea Backwaters in Cochin, India • Nile River & Lake Nasser, Egypt

Currents of Culture 2008 Private Jet Package

From Guilin’s cormorant fishermen aboard lantern-lit rafts and India’s ghat boatmen on the Ganges to felucca sailors along the Nile and Burmese “leg-rowers” who navigate Inle Lake, meet the people whose lives intertwine with the world’s great waterways.
Go with the flow as our private jet whisks us through seven countries, eight time zones and countless peak experiences: Uganda’s green wildlife sanctuaries, the labyrinthine deltas of 44 rivers converging into the Arabian Sea in southern India, the thousands of ancient temples built on Pagan’s Irrawaddy River plains. And that’s just the beginning.
In remote lands of rugged landscapes, discover how waterways became the highways of commerce and culture. Experience bustling Malinese market towns along the Niger, the complex waterworld of Cochin’s backwaters, Inle Lake’s floating villages and the sacred Hindu rituals performed on Varanasi’s colorful ghats.
Where there was culture, there are often antiquities — and we see ancient shore temples, palaces and mosques galore from Egypt’s Nile to Burma’s Irrawaddy, from Vietnam’s Perfume to Mali’s Niger. These legacies tell fascinating tales of human aspiration, ambition, ingenuity and power.



Currents of Culture: Accomondations


ENGLAND
Four Seasons Hotel, London
Set back from Park Lane and Hyde Park and a short walk from Mayfair, Bond Street, Piccadilly and Knightsbridge, the hotel features immaculate rooms, impeccable service, a state-of-the-art gym and one of the city's favorite restaurants. Nearby attractions include Buckingham Palace, Churchill's WWII bunker and the Wellington Arch. and...

Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire
This brand-new hotel was converted from a historic Georgian manor house on an estate of pasture, lakes, woodland and heritage-listed gardens dating from Saxon times. Guest rooms offer pastoral views and spacious baths. An opulent spa and fitness club in the converted stable block features luxurious treatments, as well as a lap pool and heated vitality pool.

MALI
Relais Kanaga, Mopti
Built in 1981, this is Mopti's finest hotel, located on the Niger River near the center of town. Air-conditioned guest rooms are comfortable and all have private bathrooms with shower. The Kanaga features one of the few swimming pools in the country and a very good restaurant.

UGANDA
Serena Hotel, Kampala
Each of the Serena's guest rooms, individually re-styled in 2005, features a unique blend of colors, décor and artifacts. Serene public areas showcase the skills of Uganda's celebrated wood-carvers with the inspiration of her weavers. A state-of-the-art health spa offers a wide range of relaxation options.

INDIA
Taj Malabar, Cochin
This hotel boasts an outstanding harbor-front location in an ambience blending Keralan and Western art and architecture. Guest rooms feature water views, regional fabrics, paintings and photos of Cochin's colorful past, and excellent toiletries in the baths. Several outstanding restaurants, a pool set amid beautiful gardens and an Ayurvedic massage facility are available.
and
Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi
This hotel sits on expansive grounds dotted with English hedges, rose gardens and mango groves. Indian art adorns the marble, domed-ceiling lobby. The large pool is surrounded by gardens and plenty of deck space. Guest rooms feature Indian color schemes offset by white walls and antique furniture, and mostly garden views.

BURMA
Traders Hotel, Rangoon
The modern Traders Hotel is located in Rangoon's central cultural and shopping district, a short walk from the sprawling Scott Market. There are several good restaurants and an outdoor pool and health club with sauna and massage. The comfortable, air-conditioned rooms overlook pagodas, colonial buildings and the bustling activity of the river.

VIETNAM
Furama Resort, Da Nang
This award-winning resort is located on prime beachfront; multi-level terraced pools overlook renowned China Beach with whirlpool and basking pools set in a lush tropical garden. French colonial style is mixed charmingly with traditional Vietnamese architecture. Each room features a spacious private balcony or terrace with a superb view.

CHINA
Sheraton Guilin
Ideally located alongside the Li River in the heart of Guilin, the Sheraton is adjacent to a shopping area and entertainment outlets. It offers 24-hour room service, same day laundry and dry cleaning, a fully equipped Business Center, outdoor swimming pool and fitness center. Sauna and massage facilities are also available.

EGYPT
M/S Eugenie private ship
The M/S Eugenie was named to honor Empress Eugenie of France, who attended the grand opening of Egypt's Suez Canal in 1869 and ushered in a modern era of international trade and travel. Constructed in 1993 in the style of a turn-of-the-century Nile steamship, the 242-foot Eugenie was the first to sail Lake Nasser. Each day the ship anchors beside one of Lake Nasser's historic sites, where a launch takes passengers ashore to explore. Each of her 52 cabins has large windows or balconies and an ensuite bathroom with shower. The reception area features Nubian motif wall-paintings; the Cat Bar is decorated in the style of the pharoahs; and the sun decks are outfitted with sitting areas where one can relax and experience the landscapes of Lake Nasser. Facilities include a sauna, a steam bath, swimming pool and the exercise equipment. The ship is fully air-conditioned and has a state-of-the-art water filtration system.


Currents of Culture: Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart for London, U.K.
Depart on individual commercial overnight flights to London.

Day 2 - London, U.K.
Meet fellow expedition members for a welcome reception and dinner at our deluxe hotel.

Day 3 - Mopti, Mali
Board the private jet bound for exotic Mali. Mopti, on the Niger River, is one of West Africa's most vibrant ports, its quay filled with a colorful profusion of vendors. Board a brightly painted pirogue to explore its teeming waterways.

Day 4 - Timbuktu and Djenné or Dogon Villages, Mali
Experience Timbuktu’s camel caravans and Islamic treasures, then choose to explore Djenné’s extraordinary mud-brick mosques and river markets or visit villages along the Bandiagara Escarpment where Dogon people live and create their beautiful, symbolic art.

Day 5 - Kampala, Uganda
Reboard the jet to experience the astonishing wildlife of Uganda, one of Africa’s greenest and most biologically diverse places. From Kampala, you split into small groups for a choice of activities. One option is to go on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park to see hundreds of hippos and birds on the Kazinga Channel.

Day 6 -Kampala, Uganda
Or discover chimpanzees, hippos, monitor lizards and more than 120 bird species on the Ngamba Island Sanctuary in Lake Victoria. Also visit Jinja, the source of the Nile, and explore the circular thatched tombs of the Buganda kings at Kasubi – a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 7 -Uganda
As a third option, very hardy travelers may wish to try rigorous gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans, which offers very basic bush lodgings amid difficult mountainous terrain.

Day 8 - Varanasi & The Ganges, India
Varanasi is the center of Hindu faith, located on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Pilgrims have traveled here for millennia to bathe in the river’s holy water. Daily life is infused with the chant of priests, the sound of temple bells and the fragrance of flowers and incense used in worship.

Day 9 - Varanasi & The Ganges, India
Visit the local bazaar where the faithful purchase their offerings, then take a sunset cruise to a beautiful private mansion for an evening of traditional Hindu ceremonies, music and dancing. The next morning, rise early to watch pilgrims crowding the ghats (river banks), performing their sacred rituals as the sun rises above the Ganges.

Day 10 - Rangoon, Burma
Burma (now known as Myanmar) is the most isolated Southeast Asian nation. The dazzling Shwedagon Pagoda has dominated Rangoon’s skyline for more than 2,500 years. Its stupa is plated with solid gold, set with thousands of jewels and decorated with hundreds of gold and silver bells.

Day 11 - Pagan or Inle Lake, Burma
You may choose to explore the ancient capital of Pagan (Bagan) on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Cruise the river and see some of the thousands of astonishing temples, pagodas and other religious structures that were built nearly 1,000 years ago.

Day 12 - Pagan or Inle Lake, Burma
Another choice is to visit beautiful Inle Lake, ringed by 100 Buddhist monasteries and nearly 1,000 stupas. Observe the unique style of leg-rowing fishermen, and explore colorful floating markets and gardens.

Day 13 - Da Nang & Hoi An, Vietnam
Travel to the Vietnamese port city of Da Nang on the South China Sea. See the Cham Museum's stunning collection of sandstone carvings, then visit the ancient town of Hoi An. Explore a fascinating blend of temples, pagodas, community houses, shrines, shops and homes.

Day 14 - Hue, Vietnam
Discover Hue, Vietnam’s ancient cultural and religious center on the banks of the Perfume River. See the moated Imperial Citadel, cross the Golden Water Bridge to Thai Hoa Palace and visit the majestic Tomb of Tu Duc. If you have already been to Hue, take an alternate excursion to the ancient Cham temple complex at My Son.

Day 15 - Guilin, China
An inspiration to artists and poets for centuries, Guilin was founded in the Qin Dynasty in 314 B.C. on the Li Jiang River. A cruise along its banks reveals legendary limestone peaks, breathtaking vistas and fantastic caverns. On a rare, private evening cruise, watch fisherman on lantern-lit bamboo rafts use trained cormorants to bring up the fish.

Day 16 - Guilin, China
Travel into the country to discover the sweeping beauty of the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces – great ribbons of green furrowed into the hillsides – and to experience the Zhuang and Yao peoples’ distinctive music, dance and dress. Also explore the massive caverns of the Reed Flute Caves.

Day 17 - Cochin, India
Fly to the tropical state of Kerala on India’s southern tip. We cruise through Cochin’s labyrinth of estuaries, deltas, canals and lakes – a water highway that connects islands and outlying villages. Watch local fisherman collect the day’s catch using distinctive Chinese nets.

Day 18 - Cochin, India
Explore the ancient Mattancherry district; its Jewish quarter, established more than six centuries ago, still bustles with merchants selling teas, spices, woodcarvings and antiques. Fort Cochin features the oldest European settlement in India, with quiet streets and architecture influenced by Dutch and British settlers.

Day 19 - Nubian Nile Cruise, Egypt
In Aswan, board a luxurious, Art-Deco steamer for a three-night cruise to discover the treasures of ancient Nubia. Saved from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam, temples and tombs are being re-located, protected and restored. Explore Kalabsha Temple, the rock-cut Beit El Wali and the Kiosk of Kertassi.

Day 20 - Nubian Nile Cruise, Egypt
After crossing the Tropic of Cancer on the second day, sail to Wadi el Seboua (Valley of the Lionesses), named for the avenue of sphinxes which led to the rock temple dedicated to the god Amun; and visit the temples of Dakka and Meharakka.

Day 21 -Nubian Nile Cruise, Egypt
We visit the sandstone Temple Amada, the rock-cut Temple of Derr and the Tomb of Penout. See the citadel of Kasr Ibrim, then enjoy the magical river approach to Abu Simbel, with sculpted sandstone columns rising up in the distance. Enjoy a special farewell dinner.

Day 22 - London, U.K.
Depart for London on the last leg of our private jet trip. Arriving in the afternoon, transfer to our deluxe hotel.

Day 22 - Depart London for home
Following breakfast at the hotel, return home on regularly scheduled commercial flights.


Call now to Join us...
800.256.4280
(TC410)

Tour: 23 Days

Priced From: $39,950 Double
$42,450 Single

Travel Dates: October 26, 2008 to
November 17, 2008



Niger River, Mali • Lake Victoria, Uganda • The Sacred Ganges, India • Irrawaddy River, Burma • Perfume River & Hue, Vietnam • Li River & Guilin, China • Arabian Sea Backwaters in Cochin, India • Nile River & Lake Nasser, Egypt

 

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