Happy Year of The Monkey From Remote Lands

3 February 2016
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We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous year of the monkey. We hope your celebrations are filled with color, delicious food, quality time with family and the chance to travel.

As the lunar new year looms and we put the goat behind us, we are excited to move into the year of the monkey. “Monkeys” - people born in the years 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 or 2004 - are thought to be witty, intelligent and charismatic, so it’s fair to assume their year promises some excitement, intrigue and adventure. With that in mind, we have some ideas on how and where to get the most monkey out of your year…


Meet the “people of the forest” in Indonesia

Head off on an epic adventure to explore the Indonesian archipelago and discover its treasures. This unforgettable month-long trip takes in stunning natural and urban landscapes, fascinating culture and - of course - exotic wildlife. Revel in the bustle and sprawl of Jakarta, scale an active volcano on horseback in Java, uncover centuries of history at the world’s largest Buddhist temple and trek through jungles to get a glimpse of monstrous Komodo dragons. It is in Borneo though, that you’ll come face to face with its indigenous orangutans. These gorgeous flame-furred creatures, numbering only about 30,000, can only be found here and in Sumatra and you’ll meet them at Camp Leakey in Kumai. Discover why these highly intelligent great apes - close relatives of humans - are known as the “people of the forest”.

Get nosey in Borneo

Spend 12 days taking in the natural highlights of stunning Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. Plumb the azure depths surrounding Mabul - the world’s top destination for scuba diving, and scale the heights of Mount Kinabalu - reaching the summit in time for sunrise. Swim in mineral waters flowing through valleys historically inhabited by tribal people and spot the colorful inhabitants of the jungle. Take a cruise along Kinabatangan River and as you sail serenely through the mangrove swamps, look out for the comical proboscis monkeys that make their homes here. Endemic to Borneo, these fellows may look funny with their long, bulbous noses and clumsy belly-flops into the murky depths, but don’t be fooled - they’ve developed some impressive aquatic skills, not least evolving webbed feet and hands that allow them to make a quick getaway when being pursued by their river predators, the crocodiles.

Snow-monkey business in Japan

Venture off the beaten path for two weeks in Japan and discover its lesser traveled trails. From the bright lights of Osaka, plunge into nature, trekking through the rain forest in Yakushima island, soaking in the volcanic waters of Kyushu’s onsens, climbing mount Aso and discovering the historic treasures of Uwajima. Here, castles and shrines sparkle and fascinate and a hike along the coast will bring you into the domain of the red-faced and hardy Japanese macaques. Native to Japan these amazing creatures are the most northern dwelling non-human primates in the world and, thanks to their ability to thrive in cold climates, they’re often called snow monkeys. You’ll be enchanted as they all take a hot spring bath together and maybe even find yourself in a good natured snowball fight with them.

Macaque-mandu and beyond

Immerse yourself for 10 days in the ancient and natural wonders of mountainous and mysterious Nepal. Spot elephants and bengal tigers in the national park of Chitwan, trek through the grassy depths of Pokhara valley and fly over over the soaring peaks the Annapurna mountain range in a tandem microlight plane. But before all that, feast your eyes and senses on the stunning shrines and palaces that pack the streets of the country’s ancient capital, Kathmandu. On the western edge of the city is the fifth century Swayambhunath Stupa, better known as the monkey temple. While helping to raise the hill the sacred complex now stands on, Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, grew out his hair, and the wild macaques roaming the grounds and climbing the spires are believed to be the incarnations of his headlice, therefore considered holy.

Wide-eyed in the Philippines

Those in search of action and adventure as well as rest and relaxation, get ready to hop your way around the beautiful Philippines. This 16-day journey takes in everything from Manila’s historic old quarter to the volcanic lake of Taal and the cave systems at the Hanging Coffins of Sagada. Get some beach time and go freshwater diving off the gorgeous and remote island of Palawan, but not before you’ve spent a few days on beautiful Bohol. Here, as well as dolphin- and whale watching, you’ll make eye contact - and lots of it - with the tarsier monkeys that inhabit the lush mangrove forests of the Abatan river. One of the smallest primates in the world, the adorable tarsiers are famous for their enormous eyes, totally out of proportion with their diminutive frames. Kayak down the river, visiting the bankside communities along the way and keep an eye out for the giant peepers of your tiny new friends.  

We hope the new year brings you nothing but luck, good fortune and the opportunity for some monkeying around in some of these remote lands. To start planning your next memorable journey, get in touch with our team today.

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