Rickshaw Travel gives explorers an eclectic menu of hidden islands to discover in 2017.

Rickshaw Travel Thailand

If you enjoy island hopping but are unsure of where to go to get that “Robinson Crusoe” experience, Rickshaw Travel’s range of island destinations will provide plenty of inspiration. The Brighton based tour operator has selected pieces of paradise from Indonesia, Thailand, Chile, Panama and Malaysia for this news release – five of the 25 destinations it offers. Their bite sized trips provide adventure and have been researched with the road-less-travelled in mind. They are also in keeping with the company’s philosophy of conservation-conscious tourism and Meaningful Travel experiences, which connect visitors with the local communities.

Drift and dream your way around Indonesia’s nearly deserted islands

Indonesia is a vast equatorial archipelago of 17,000 islands extending 3,200 miles east to west, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans in Southeast Asia (National Geographic). Although Bali draws the most tourists, and Rickshaw does offer more alternative off the beaten track experiences to the island, there are many other neighbouring isles waiting to be explored, Cubadak being one.

Cubadak Island, off the coast of Sumatra is a heavenly island, hidden away but only a short boat ride from Sumatra. Once on the island you can snorkel in its warm clear waters, exploring its coral reef. Your accommodation is a cosy bungalow, decorated in traditional Indonesian style with only a handful of rooms which add to the feeling of being away from it all. After all, it is the only resort on the island. From Cubadak you can paddle to a neighbouring island for a picnic or trek through the island’s jungly interior.

This 4 day/3 night bite sized trip includes transfers, meals, a picnic (weather permitting) and use of snorkels and canoes. Read more about Cubadak on their bite-size trip, “On a Deserted Island.“

If you enjoy water sports and wish to sail to experience lesser visited islands, then try out Rickshaw’s new sailing trip to the islands of Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Travel from Bali all the way to the untamed Flores, through the Komodo National Park where you can get close (but not too close) to the famous Komodo Dragons. You’ll pass through spectacular volcanic landscapes, snorkel among colourful reefs, visit traditional island villages and enjoy a starlit BBQ on a deserted beach on this seven day sailing adventure.

The trip is reversible, taking in Bali, Lombok, Satonda, Sumbawa, Komodo and Rinca Flores. A highly trained Indonesian crew will look after all your needs throughout this epic journey. For more inspiration on this experience, visit their bite-size trip – “Cruising to Komodo

If seven days sailing through blissful islands in the Java Sea is not enough, Rickshaw Travel has a new three week itinerary, which combines some of the less explored islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Komodo/Flores in 18 nights. This trip also whisks travellers off on two days to exploring Gunung Leuser National Park, staying in a small hotel on the edge of the rainforest, where you can hike into the heart of the Sumatran jungle, wobble across wooden bridges and scramble between the trees, eventually arriving at the optimum spot to witness semi-wild orangutans. Komodo National Park is another highlight as is Bromo National Park and Sanur, a beautiful beach in Southern Bali.

The 19 day/18 night itinerary also includes breakfast, some transport, excursions as described, some domestic flights and some entrance fees. For more information, take a look at their suggested itinerary, “The Whole Shebang –  Indonesia Highlights

Head away from the tourist crowds and explore Thailand’s lesser developed islands

Just a boat ride from Phuket or Krabi lies the stunning, almost secret island of Ko Yao Yai. On this island, you can unwind to the sound of the water lapping gently by the shore and snorkel if you wish, before you set off in a long tail boat for Ko Hong, an island with two white beaches and a beautiful lagoon.

The 3 day/2 night bite sized trip includes breakfast, hotel pick-up in Krabi or Phuket and transfer to pier, return ferry (Phuket/Krabi – Ko Yao Yai), longtail boat excursion with snorkelling and pier pick up in Krabi or Phuket and transfer to hotel, bus station (for a little extra, you can be taken to Phuket/Krabi airport). To read more about this desert island experiences, head to their bite-size tri, “Secret Islands and snorkelling lagoons

Head further east into the Trang Archipelago and you can stay in a charming beach hut with your own private veranda and watch the sun set with a sun downer on one of Thailand’s best kept secrets, the island of Ko Hai, (also called Ko Ngai). Daydream on the white sands under swaying palm trees and dive into the tepid clear waters. This island off the South coast of Thailand is so unspoilt so guests can marvel at the coral and amazing marine life in its clear waters.

Their bite sized 4 day/3 night trip to this island includes breakfast and transfer from Trang to Ko Hai. To get a taste of tropical paradise, read more on their bite-size trip,”Relaxing on Robinson Crusoe.”

Discover Chile’s islands rich with wild life and mystery

When things heat up in Santiago, hop across to one of Chile’s atmospheric isles; Chiloé; Chile’s second largest island. Catch the late morning ferry from Paragua on the mainland to Chiloé. You’ll stay in Ancud, the island’s second largest town, in a hotel overlooking the ocean before travelling onwards to Castro, the island capital. En route to Castro from Ancud, Rickshaw Travel recommends stopping off at Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil, three islets off the coast which are breeding grounds for Magellanic and the near-extinct Humboldt penguins. Best times to visit and see these lovely birds are between March and September.

Wet, wild and windy at times this island offers national park hiking as well as penguin-spotting and has a distinctive mythological culture. The island is dotted with lush forests, remote farms and wooden churches, 16 of which boast UNESCO World Heritage site status.

A 4 day/3 night trip to Chiloé includes breakfast and car hire. To read more about this wild island escape, head to the bite-size trip, “Chill out on Chiloé.”

If you like hiking but want to take time out to chill as well, you will find Easter Island a perfect spot on your Chile trip. Renowned for its iconic 887 monolithic stone statues (moai) staring out across the expansive Pacific Ocean, Easter Island is in the south eastern Pacific Ocean, at the south eastern most point of the Polynesian Triangle. It is probably one of the most mysterious places on earth, so remote you get there by plane from Santiago in five hours, but once you arrive you’ll relax in your posada, which is surrounded by a tropical garden and has a swimming pool, just off the main street of Hanga Roa, the only town on the island.

Spend time exploring the island and its offerings from the monolithic Moai, to  three large volcanoes and experience the cliffs being battered by relentless ocean waves, as well as relaxing on the windswept beaches.

A 4 day/3 night stay on Easter island includes transfers, breakfast and accommodation. For more inspiration, head to the bite-size trip, “Mysterious Maoi of Easter Island.”

See Panamanian paradises and be at one with the local people of the islands

Escape the hustle and bustle of Panama City and take a short plane ride to the San Blas islands. A boat ride onwards and you’ll arrive at the island of Yandup, where you’ll stay in a Cabana owned and managed by the Kuna people. Visiting the Kuna community at Playa Chicón by boat, guests get a first hand experience of how the Kuna people live, watching the women sew traditional “mola” garments – often you can offer to buy their work and feel as though you have given back too.

A 3 day/2 night trip includes return domestic flights between Panama City and the San Blas Islands, return boat transfers from the airport to Yandup Island and all meals. To get more of a taster of this experience, check out the bite-size trip, “Relax the Kuna Way.”

Bocas del Toro is a group of islands near Panama’s border with Costa Rica. Adventure lovers will love these islands with plenty of activities available from scuba diving to snorkelling to sailing, surfing, biking and hiking. Spending time on the main island of Isla Colon as a base is ideal, you take boats to neighbouring islands, dolphin spotting along the way and you’ll learn to cook a Panamanian Caribbean meal like a Bocas local, in a traditional family home. You’ll find local bars with a relaxed vibe and the pastel coloured wooden houses on stilts that give the locality a distinctive charm.

4 days/3 nights in Bocas Del Toro inludes the boat transfer cost.To review this colourful island adventure, take a look at the bite-size trip, “Panama Island Getaway.

Pack up your troubles on Malaysia’s hidden tropical gems

The country which is carved in half by the South China sea has some treasures of islands to explore, here are three Malaysian island destinations to dream of visiting.

Pulau Lang Tengah is the perfect place to take some time out. A quiet, tucked-away tropical island off Malaysia’s north-east coast, it’s somewhere to kick back and be worry free.  There are only three resorts scattered across the entire island, making it a paradise without masses of other people. You arrive in Lang Tengah from Merang and are welcomed by images white sands, palm trees and clear warm waters perfect for snorkelling. Lucky snorkelers will spot clownfish, parrotfish and even turtles! Jungle lovers can explore the lush green trails thorough imposing vegetation.

A 4 day/3 nights trip includes breakfast and return boat transfers. For a peek at the wonders of this idyllic destination, hop over to the bite-size trip, “No Worries on Pulau Lang Tengah.”

Hop further south and you’ll find Gem island, tucked away in the waters hugging Malaysia’s north-east coast; it’s a tiny tropical hideout and home to just one boutique resort- so it’s perfect for recharging your batteries in peace. You’ll while away the time swinging in the hanging chair outside your water villa and staring out into turquoise seas. The island has its own turtle hatchery and beneath the waves that lap the shore, you can snorkel with sea turtles and kayak to abandoned beaches.

The 4 day/ 3 night trip includes breakfast, a kayaking trip and boat transfers. To learn more about the perfect secret getaway see the bite-size trip, “Daydreaming in Private Paradise.”

If yet more paradise is required- and you can never have enough- then head to Pulau Besar, an island located off the East coast of mainland Malaysia. Spot flying foxes in the dense trees, rent a kayak or snorkel and discover the underwater life or simply sit back with a good book and soak up the sunshine. All your meals are included during your stay so all you need to worry about is relaxing.

The 3 day/2 night trip includes all meals and return boat transfers from Mersing. To sample some more paradise, head to the bite-size trip, “Unwind on Sandy Shores.”

Rickshaw’s Travel Specialists will always be at hand to give advice and answer questions. A minimum of three bite-size trips is required to build a personalised itinerary with Rickshaw Travel. International flights are not included but can be arranged.

To see the full range of bite sized trips and itineraries please visit: www.rickshawtravel.co.uk or call Rickshaw Travel’s team of experts on: 01273 934 823.

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