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Multi-Stop Holidays by Sarah McCulley

My guide to

Multi-Stop Holidays

These are my favourite holidays not only to book but also to travel on myself - I get itchy feet after a few days and serious FOMO!

Following the pandemic, I've started to see more of an interest in longer holidays and exploring a country in more depth rather than a few short breaks throughout the year. 

All of my multi-stop holidays are carefully created to your requirements, travel style and interests so each one is unique.

 

One thing I recommend to everyone though is packing cubes - an absolute essential when moving on every few days - I never travel without mine!!

 

Here are some of my most popular multi-stop destinations.

My Three To See

Bangkok-Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan-Khon

Thailand

The 'Land of Smiles' is a destination for everyone...

South Africa

South Africa

Unlike any other destination, South Africa really does have it all...

Maui, Hana, Hawaii

Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands are renowned for their natural beauty, culture and heritage...

Thailand

Bangkok

The 'Land of Smiles' is a destination for everyone whether it's a romantic honeymoon, family adventure or party filled gap year.

First stop for many is the capital, Bangkok - it's no secret this is my favourite city in the world mainly thanks to its street food and shopping! I love a good market and Bangkok has so many to choose from - for the biggest and best at Chatuchak make sure you are here on a weekend.

 

You'll find amazing food all over the city - in the heat of the day head to one of the many shopping centres - Siam Paragon has over 40 restaurants and cafes so you'll be spoilt for choice. Rooftop bars are big in Bangkok - start your evening with classy cocktails and stunning city views at the Sky Bar or Vertigo then head to Chinatown for a night enjoying the freshest seafood. From street carts to fine dining, Bangkok is a city that never disappoints. 

A visit here is not complete without exploring the Old City. Here you'll find the Grand Palace complex, Wat Po with the jaw dropping reclining Buddha, Wat Arun - known as the Temple of Dawn - beautifully decorated in coloured glass and porcelain and Wat Saket (Golden Mount) best visited at sunset. It's fun and easy to get here too either by a boat on the Chao Phraya River or long tail boat on the khlongs (canals) that connect the city - it's a pleasant break from the chaotic traffic too! 

Once you've exhausted the city, it's time to head south for some rest and relaxation. 

Bangkok
Thailand
Thai elephants

Thailand

Elephants & Beach

Elephant Hills in the Khao Sok National Park is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the jungle and enjoy an ethical elephant experience whilst staying in the comfortable luxury tents. The most popular experience here is a night in the jungle lodge where you feed and interact with the elephants followed by a night in the floating rainforest camp on the edge of Cheow Lan Lake. Enjoy the wildlife, jungle hikes and canoeing or just relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility. 

Khao Lak is the perfect beach area to finish your Thailand adventure. With amost 18 miles of secluded coves and long, golden beaches, it's easy to find a spot away from the crowds here.

The Similan Islands lie about an hour and a half’s speedboat ride from the coast, an archipelago of 11 small islands that, at first glance, look like huge piles of jungle-topped boulders. These boulder formations continue deep into the surrounding ocean, creating arguably some of the best diving and snorkelling Thailand has to offer.

Whether you want to end your holiday in style in a luxury boutique hotel or need the kids to be entertained so you can relax on the beach, Khao Lak has a superb choice of hotels. One of my top picks to suit everyone is La Flora Khao Lak. Just a short stroll from the night market and local shops, this tropical beachfront resort is renowned for its relaxing, friendly service. Recently extended, the hotel now offers five pools (including a kids pool), pool access rooms and spacious two bedroom family rooms. 

South Africa

Cape Town

Unlike any other destination in the world, South Africa really does have it all so it's ideal for an extended holiday. 

For first time visitors, Cape Town and a self drive along the Garden Route is a perfect introduction to this diverse country. It really is a beautiful city and I have two top tips - book Robben Island before you go (we didn't and missed out!) and head to Table Mountain the first clear day you get. It's often covered in cloud known as the 'table cloth' and although you can still visit, you won't get the stunning views of the city and coast. 

No visit to South Africa is complete without looking to its turbulent history. District Six was a vibrant, mixed-race community in Cape Town until its residents were forcibly evicted by the apartheid government in the 1970s. The original residents have dispersed far and wide, and now the intimate District Six museum stands as a memorial to them. A visit here is often combined with a township tour, exploring where many of the residents and their families now live.

For your first full day out of the city, it has to be down to the Cape Point National Park, better known as the Cape of Good Hope. Try to arrive in Hout Bay around lunchtime to grab a spot at Fish on the Rocks, one of the Cape's most iconic fish & chip shops. 

Leaving Hout Bay, you'll experience one of the best coastal drives in the world, Chapmans Peak Drive. Twisting for 9km and 114 bends, the drive offers spectacular 180° views of the Atlantic coastline.

On arrival at Cape Point, it's a short walk to the lighthouse (or there's a funicular) from where the ocean views are immense. Explore the area on one of the many hiking trails and you may spot baboons, eland and some of the 250 bird species found here. Heading back into the city you have to stop at Boulders Beach in False Bay to say hello to its famous residents, the colony of African pengiuns. Stroll along the viewing boardwalks to see them in their natural habitat. The beaches are part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected area so you can be sure the beach is safe, clean and the penguins protected. 

Table Mountain, Cape Town
South Africa
Garden Route, South Africa

South Africa

Garden Route

South Africa is world renowned for its food and wine and Franschhoek, an hour from Cape Town, is the top spot to indulge. The easiest way to explore the wine estates is on the wine tram where you can hop on/ hop off and visit up to six estates in a day. Lay your head in one of the many boutique B&Bs in town or stylish country guesthouses with vineyard views. 

Where you stop on the Garden Route will depend on your interests and the time of year. If you are travelling between June and November then don't miss an opportunity for whale watching. Hermanus and Plettenburg Bay are the prime viewing spots. Gansbaai is a great spot too and it's here you can cage dive with sharks if you dare! 

Knysna is a lovely town and a good place if you want a base for a few nights as there's many beaches and attractions within easy reach. Storms River in the Tsitsikamma National Park is a draw for adrenaline activities - canopy tours, bungy jumping, biking and hiking trails, tubing and kloofing can all be arranged here. 

No visit to South Africa is complete without trying to spot the Big 5. The Eastern Cape area at the end of the Garden Route boasts an exceptional range of game viewing with the added bonus that it's malaria free. Kariega Game Reserve is a popular choice for families with plenty of activities available beyond game drives. Guided bush walks, canoeing, river cruises and golden beaches just 15 minutes away means everyone is happy!

One of the most popular lodges for couples is Pumba Bush Lodge. A peaceful sanctuary in the heart of the bush, thatched chalets are perched above a scenic watering hole with private game viewing decks. Celebrate the end of your South African adventure with a glass of champagne in your own private plunge pool... absolute bliss.

Hawaii

A string of far-flung islands in the middle of the Pacific, Hawaii conjures up images of tropical paradises with soft, golden beaches, swaying palms and lei-wearing hula dancers. It’s all true, but at the same time there’s much more to this archipelago.

The powerful volcanic forces that created Hawaii’s islands are still felt today, from the bubbling lava fields of Volcanoes National Park to the black volcanic beaches, partially submerged craters and dormant volcanoes scattered across the six main islands: Big Island, Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

 

The coastline in some places is so distinctive that it has captured the imagination of Hollywood film-makers, and precipitous cliffs rise from the ocean like natural cathedrals. Tangled rainforest, streaming with waterfalls, covers much of the islands’ interiors.

Weather is very consistent so Hawaii is a year round destination. Each island has its own micro climate so you will find variations throughout your holiday so pack for every eventuality!

With every island offering something different, a trip here takes some planning and thought to make sure you visit the islands you're going to love the most.

Hawaii
Hawaii
Oahu

Hawaii

Oahu

Oahu is the most well known island - this is where you'll find the world famous Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbour. Honolulu is the heart of the island and where most visitors stay to enjoy the beach, shopping and nightlife.

 

North of here, you'll find Kualoa Ranch which provided the backdrop for Jurassic Park. Here you can enjoy a movie site tour, ziplining, horse riding and e-bike tours.

 

For surfers or those who love to watch the thrill of the professionals, head to the surf mecca of North Shore.

 

With seven miles of beaches, North Shore hosts some of the world's premier surfing competitions during the peak winter months.

Hawaii

Maui

One island that appeals to everyone is Maui. Known as 'The Valley Isle', it's the second largest island and offers over 30 miles of beaches, watersports, whale watching in the winter months, hiking, ziplining, local markets, arts and crafts and farm to table cuisine.

 

Maui has a good choice of accommodation - mainly large resorts and condos with some ultra luxury options. What you won't find in Hawaii though is all inclusive resorts.

 

Whilst many visitors come here to relax, all the islands are very easy to explore by car. Wake up early and head to Haleakala National Park for one of the most breathtaking sunrises on earth then head east to drive the spectacular Hana Highway.

 

With quaint villages, hidden waterfalls and stunning views at every turn, exploring Maui is a must and a reason many visitors often return.

Ka'anapali Beach Maui
Molokai Valleys, Big Island

Hawaii

Big Island

Big Island is exactly what its nickname suggests and is nearly twice as big as all the other islands combined. Here you'll find Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and what better way to experience this unique landscape than by staying in the heart of it!

Volcano House Hotel is just a short walk to the crater rim so you'll wake to dramatic views across the caldera. It's here you can explore the lava tubes - underground passageways created by huge quantities of lava which at the end of an eruption leave behind empty caves.

For beach lovers, Big Island is a highlight too - find white sands in the west around Kona with clear, calm waters ideal for snorkeling, diving and spotting dolphins and turtles. Head to the eastern Hamakua Coast where lush, tropical rainforests give way to jet black, volcanic sands.

Island hopping in Hawaii is easy with regular flights between islands or if you prefer an easier pace then pick a up a cruise from Oahu or the mainland. With Hawaii being around a six hour flight from the West Coast, many visitors like to break the journey in Los Angeles, San Francisco or Vancouver.

However you see Hawaii, it will be an unforgettable holiday.

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