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October 19, 2017

Thailand to stub out smoking on beaches

Tourists caught smoking on Thailand’s popular beaches will soon face up to a year in prison or a hefty fine.

This comes after Thailand announced it is introducing a ban on smoking at 20 beaches, including those in the popular tourist destination of Phuket. Authorities say the measure is due to the tens of thousands of cigarette butts left in the sand, with “stompies” making up a third of all waste collected on popular beaches. 

Recently, more than 138,000 cigarette butts had been collected by an environmental group over a 2.5km stretch of Patong beach in Phuket.

The ban, which will come into effect next month, will apply to beaches in the provinces of Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla, and includes the popular resorts of Koh Samui and Pattaya, the Bangkok Post reports.

The penalty for violating the ban will be up to a year in prison or a possible fine of up to 100,000 baht (R41,000).

While smoking will be prohibited on specified beaches, there will be designated areas further inland where smokers will be able drop their butts into the containers provided. 

Need more expert travel advice? Contact your nearest Sure Travel agency. 

Where in the world can Trafalgar take you?


Merhaba (hello) Turkey, the country that gifted us tulips, cherries and coffee, the birth place of Santa Claus, where oil wrestling is the national sport,  and where you can enjoy a chicken dessert!

Apart from its quirks, Turkey is one of the most beautiful, mysterious and exotic locations on Earth. It is packed with cultural heritage and there are more than 13 spots in Turkey inscribed on Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites, and even more on the tentative list. They range from a Mesolithic temple (Göbekli Tepe) to a Biblical city (Ephesus) to a World War One battlefield (Gallipoli).

If you are a fan of ancient history or just Hollywood, then you might be interested in learning that the fabled city of Troy is believed to have existed, in real life, in Turkey. While it is believed that the city was destroyed and rebuilt many times, you will come across remnants of the fabled walls that surrounded the city and that are still in existence today. What we cannot promise is that you’ll encounter Brad Pitt.

Interestingly, while the Turkish population is 99% Muslim, the country is home to some of the most important sites in Christendom and draws draw tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims each year to visit some of its most famous sites. These include the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and the Armenian Apostolic Church in Kayseri which was established over 1,700 years.

It is not only history that makes Turkey famous. Its beautiful turquoise coastline draws sun-worshippers the world over. Ztuzu Beach, located west of Fethiye, is a major breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. The turtles arrive between May and October, climbing ashore at the exact site of their birth to lay a new generation of eggs. The beach sees around 300 nests dug each year, and government regulations have succeeded in balancing tourism with the need to protect and conserve this precious natural resource. Just down the coast, you will also find Patara, known to be the longest beach along the Mediterranean.

Want to go skiing? Don’t let Turkey’s balmy coastal climate fool you. The country is also home to spectacular mountain ranges, and during wintertime visitors can hit the slopes at nearly a dozen resorts. As a matter of fact, at Palandöken, in the eastern province of Erzurum, you will find Turkey’s highest and what is known to be Europe’s longest natural ski run of 3 125 metres.

When in Turkey, it is also best if you throw a blind eye to your budget, even if it is just for one day as it is home the one of the world’s oldest and biggest malls. Kapalı Çarı or Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is believed to date back to 1455. Currently the ‘mall’ consists of roughly 61 streets lined by more than 3,000 shops. It is said that you will never possibly be able to explore it all. But there’s no harm in trying, right?

It’s also a good idea to forget about your waistline when visiting Turkey. From mezes and salads, to fruits and fish, pilav and pasta, Turkey will tantalise your taste buds. But don’t despair meat lovers; one of the more famous meat dishes is Döner kebab, made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The outer layer is sliced vertically into thin shavings as it cooks. It may be served on a plate with various accompaniments, stuffed into a pita or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavash or yufka, known as a dürüm.

When it comes to dessert, don’t be surprised if you find some chicken in your sweet treat. The signature Ottoman treat is tavuk gösü, or chicken breast pudding. It’s a strange blend of boiled chicken, milk, and sugar, dusted with cinnamon. If it sounds too exotic, there is of course always baklava and traditional Turkish ice cream which can be eaten with knives and forks. And did we mention the Turkish delight?

Go here with Sure: Why not explore this amazingly diverse country with Trafalgar's 11 Day Wonders of Turkey package ?

October 16, 2017

Play the #TravelTuesday with Trafalgar quiz and WIN!

Win a R350 Sorbet voucher!

Simply guess…

Where in the WORLD Trafalgar Tours can take you:

* I am a country and my national sport is oil wrestling
* I gifted tulips to the world (you’re welcome, Holland!)
* Forget the North Pole, Santa Claus was born here
* When you visit me, you can travel to Batman


1. Put your answer in the comment section of the competition post on Facebook.
2. Add the hashtags: #TravelTuesday #Trafalgar after your answer.
3. Share the competition post on your own Facebook page.

It’s really that easy! The winner will be announced on social media tomorrow.

Terms and conditions:
1. One winner will be selected at random from the correct entries.
2. The judge’s decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.
3. The winner will receive a R350 Sorbet voucher, courtesy of Trafalgar Tours.
4. The voucher will be posted to the winner by Trafalgar Tours.
5. Prizes not claimed after two weeks will be forfeited.
6. Competition is open to South African residents only.

October 15, 2017

5 incredible luxury cruises…for 10% less

Now’s the time to book that luxury, all-inclusive European river cruise you’ve been dreaming about: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is offering a 10% discount on five incredible cruises if you book and pay before 31 October 2017 (valid for travel on all 2018 cruises departing after 1 March 2018). Take your pick…

7-night Burgundy & Provence (Avignon to Lyon)

Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin on this exquisite journey through southern France. Cruise the Rhône and Saône rivers, enjoying the region’s incomparable wine and cuisine and discovering its many treasures – from the medieval wonders of Unesco-designated Avignon to Lyon’s lively Les Halles food market.

This cruise is for: Travellers wishing to walk through the lands that inspired Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin. History buffs, gastronomes and wine connoisseurs.

Was priced from R41 900 per person sharing in a twin cabin.
10% discount Price: from R37 710

7-night Castles Along The Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel)

Cruise along the Rhine – Germany on one side, France on the other. Discover Alsace, whose dual French and German heritage has given it fabulous food and a winemaking tradition that goes back to the Romans. Marvel at castles that were once mighty fortresses and get an insider’s look at one of the only castles on the Rhine that has never been destroyed, Marksburg Castle. Visit historic cities, including ancient Cologne and picturesque Strasbourg; stroll through the fairytale towns of Riquewihr, Kaysersberg and Rüdesheim; and taste delightful white wines in the villages where the grapes are grown. Beethoven and Byron loved the romantic landscapes of the Rhine River, and the beauty that inspired them is still yours to experience.

This cruise is for: Romantics who love the picturesque and the historic and families.

Was priced from R44 900 per person sharing in a twin cabin
10% discount Price: from R40 410

8-night Remarkable Rhine (Amsterdam to Basel)

A tantalizing mix of art, action and authentic encounters, showcasing The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland at their postcard-perfect best and deeply delving into local culture and traditions to reveal the rich complexity that lies within. Over the course of this nine-day journey, you’ll have special access to the art collections of revered museums in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Cologne and Basel.

This cruise is for: Art lovers and families (Generations Family Programme for ages four – 17 available on select cruises)

Was priced from R41 900 per person sharing in a twin cabin
10% discount Price: from R37 710

9-night Delightful Danube and Prague  (Budapest to Prague)

Experience dynamic Budapest, imperial Vienna and exquisitely preserved Prague. Marvel at ravishing scenery as your luxurious ship glides through the Wachau Valley, celebrated as one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, into Germany and past charming Bavarian villages. Exclusive treasures are plentiful on this delightful journey.

This cruise is for: Art and history lovers, active travellers and families (Generations Family Programme for ages four – 17 available on select cruises)

Was priced from R47 900 per person sharing in a twin cabin
10% discount Price: from R 43 110

9-night Tulips & Windmills (Amsterdam to Antwerp)

From the canals of Amsterdam to the belfry of Bruges, you’ll discover the best of the Netherlands and Belgium. Stroll through colourful acres of tulips at Keukenhof Gardens to get a sense of the Netherlands’ extraordinary connection to these blooms. Then visit the 19 Unesco-designated windmills of Kinderdijk, uncover the rich treasures at Amsterdam’s world-class museums and take in the dazzling skyline of Rotterdam as you cruise through the bustling harbour and drift along the canals of Bruges.

This cruise is for: Those who wish to step back in time may visit historic villages, medieval city centres and 20th-century battlefields. Art lovers will enjoy guided museum visits, while garden lovers will find a host of wonders with springtime blossoms.

Was priced from R44 900* per person sharing in a twin cabin
10% discount Price: from R40 410

Ready to book? Call your nearest Sure Travel agency and ask them about Uniworld’s 10% early booking offer, or call 0861 47 48 49. Hurry… offer expires 31 October 2017. Ts and Cs apply.

WIN a mystery prize hamper valued at R350!

Simply tell us which one of the five Uniworld luxury cruises you’d love to go on for 10% less.

To enter:
1) Post your answer in the comment section of the Facebook competition post.
2) Share the Facebook competition post on your own Facebook page.

That’s it. Competition closes 31 October 2017.

[Competition terms & Conditions]

1. Competition closes midnight 31 October 2017.
2. Winner will be selected by random draw and announced on 2 November 2017 via social media.
3. The judge's decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered in to.
4. Sure Travel's standard competition rules apply. Click here for full rules.
5. By entering this competition, entrants accept the above terms and conditions.

October 11, 2017

4 reasons you need to cross the Northern Lights off your bucket list this year

There has never been a better time to see one of Mother Nature’s ultimate shows: the spectacular aurora borealis – or Northern Lights. Caused when atmospheric gases collide with charged particles from the sun, the Northern Lights are a heavenly nocturnal dance of colour everyone should see at least once. Here are a few reasons to book your trip now:

1. The spectacular solar cycle ends soon 

We are nearing the end of a solar cycle, when the sun’s “heartbeat” is at its peak. From 2007 until 2018, the sun has been firing off solar flares and has an increased number of sunspots: the more solar activity, the better the light displays.

2. Guaranteed sightings, or a free cruise

Aurora hunters claim September and March to be the best months to plan a trip to see the lights — but the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months (from October to February) are a close second. To capitalise on the great conditions, Inspirations Travel and Tours (ITT) is offering 12-day expeditions with Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten. They’re so confident you’ll have an incredible sighting on Hurtigruten’s 12-day Classic Round Voyages cruise that they’re making a very special Northern Lights Promise: if there’s no sighting, you’ll get another Hurtigruten six or seven-day Classic Voyage for free (*Ts and Cs apply, scroll down for details).

Lonely Planet has called Hurtigruten's round-trip cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to Bergen “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage”. It explores Norway’s entire coastal route – all 34 ports – and there’s a special Polar Circle crossing. And, of course, there’s the guaranteed Northern Lights sighting.

3. No two sightings are the same

Even if you’ve seen the Northern Lights once, no two sightings are the same. They can last from a few minutes to a few hours, as yellowish-green curtains of light, or white spirals or violet, white or red arcs. If you’ve seen ‘em in Norway, then try a trip to Iceland, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Greenland or Alaska instead.

4. Snow

Need another reason? We don’t get much of it in South Africa and it can be absolutely magical. An Arctic adventure to see the aurora borealis can be the perfect reason to ski, dog sled and snow angel until your heart’s content — or cosy up with a hot chocolate after a chilly night out.

*Ready to book? Ask your nearest Sure Travel agency about ITT’s Northern Lights Promise promotion, which applies to Hurtigruten's Classic Round-trip Voyages departing from 1 October 2017 to 31 Mar 2018. Cruises start from R18 499 per person sharing. Or call 0861 47 48 49 for more details.  

Where in the world can Trafalgar take you?


From ‘honky tonks’ in a museum and sleeping in a wigwam to seeing the world’s largest rocking chair and just ‘taking it easy’, the famous Route 66 stretches across eight US states and features on many a weird and wacky bucket list.

This popular route spans from Chicago to Los Angeles and is otherwise referred to as the Main Street of America, remaining a favourite roadtrip for travellers across the globe.

You will undoubtedly pass many giant fiberglass statues along the road. However, the Muffler man in Atlanta, Illinois, is kitsch at its finest. Originally from Cicero in the 1960s, it served as an eye-catching ad for a hot dog restaurant. The restaurant closed but the statue was (very carefully) moved to its present location, hot dog still in hand.

In Fanning, Missouri, one of Route 66’s most famous attractions will be near impossible to miss – a 13-metre tall rocking chair. While the rocking chair actually rocked at one stage, it was decided to secure it in a stationary position for safety reasons. Adding to its quirky appeal is that it was completed in 2008 on April Fool’s Day, and was awarded the title of the ‘World’s Largest Rocking Chair’ in the same year. And no, you are not allowed to try it out.

Yet another strangely bizarre sight can be found in Amarillo, Texas – a colourful burial ground for cars known as the Cadillac Ranch. The ranch consists of 10 Cadillac cars that are partly buried, front first, in the hard, flat earth and their iconic tail fins pointing toward the open Texas sky. While the site is meant to represent the golden age of cars, visitors are encouraged to leave their mark on these cars, so don’t be surprised if you notice visitors with spraypaint in hand.

Other stand-out features of Route 66 includes the route’s many motels, some of which are just a little odd, like the Wigwam Village in Holbrooke, Arizona. Each room is actually a separate building, tall and cone-shaped.

If you ever wondered what a honky-tonk was, at the Museum Club in Flagstaff, Arizona, you’ll find out. Opened in the 1930s, it was built to be the biggest log cabin in the world, housing its then taxidermist owner’s collection of stuffed animals. It later became a place to gather and drink, and eventually country-western music and dancing was added. Over the coming years, the club got wilder and earned its title as a honky-tonk, a bar that features country music, low-cost drinks and wild behaviour. Rest assured that today, while it is still lively, it is very much respectable.

In Winslow, Arizona, fans of The Eagles song “Take It Easy” will appreciate taking it easy as you too can stand on a corner and see a flatbed Ford. It really is just a corner, so it’s fairly small featuring a mural depicting multiple windows, with the reflection of a truck in one and two people embracing in another.

You will never have to travel Route 66 on an empty stomach, especially in Texas. As the saying goes, everything is always bigger and better in Texas, even the steak. At the Big Texan Steak Ranch you may even get your steak for free. The catch? You have to finish a 2kg steak in one hour. You will get your own table, though – in the middle of the restaurant, for everyone else to watch. Another popular spot is Crown Candy Kitchen. Operating for more than 100 years, this family run soda fountain shop is popular for its candies, malts and meals.

Novelty shops can be found around every corner. However, Angel & Vilma’s Route 66 Gift Shop in the town of Seligman, Arizona, is known to be one of the best. The owner Angel Delgadillo was born in a house located on Route 66 and fought to have the road granted historic status in the 1980s.

Make your travel all about the journey and experience this famous highway with Trafalgar’s 15 Days Route 66 package. You won’t regret getting your kicks on Route 66.