1 Apr 2020
The last number of weeks have been surreal for many of us Europeans. At the time of writing I am on the peak morning train from Kraków to Warsaw, counting 7 passengers including myself. Final destination today is Dublin with a charter flight put on by LOT Airlines, only the second such connection to Ireland since Poland, a country of 40 million people closed its airports to ‘normal’ traffic on March 14th. Poland is the fastest growing aviation market in Europe. But ‘is’ seemingly becomes ‘was’ within the space of three weeks, as we try to forecast what the new ‘normal’ might be ,even in four to eight weeks from now. No space is untouched by Covid-19, if you are reading this you will already know inside-out how it relates to your industry. As ordinary freedom of movement was one of the first to feel the heat, and travel and tourism is something most of us engage in a few times a year, I wanted to share a few thoughts and predictions on how things might look for this season, and potentially into 2021/22.
16 Jan 2020
3 Nov 2019
Almost unquestionably, the best time to visit Cuba is near to its major holidays. January 1st and 2nd are Liberation Day and Victory Day respectively while May 1st is May Day, or International Workers Day. For fairly obvious reasons, this is a highly respected holiday in Cuba.
13 Oct 2019
The Children of Chernobyl: Ireland’s Unlikely Guests
13 Apr 2019
Sharing some stories below, @madfeentravels is an Irish adventurer who has visited 30+ countries so far
5 Mar 2019
13 Feb 2019
The first question to ask yourself is, if you are a regular tourist and then decide if you are or might be in future, a dark tourist. You may not have thought about it up to now. The term has been around for some time but has come to even more prominence through the Netflix series, A Dark Tourist. When you visited Cambodia, did you visit the Killing Fields? Maybe you took in a day trip to Auschwitz or climbed the Tower of London. If you yourself have not, then the likelihood is there is a dark tourist among your friends
19 Jan 2019
The origins of "The" Che Guevara poster, and its roots in Ireland.
9 Sep 2018
With so many incredible countries to visit in Asia, and tourism so tightly restricted, you might ask yourself, why travel to Tibet? This beleaguered region has so much to offer, from breath-taking scenery to world-famous hospitality. From prayer-halls filled with chanting to earth’s highest peaks, you’ll leave Tibet as a changed person.
11 Jul 2018
Travelling between the Emerald Isle and The Red Dragon became a whole lot easier this summer. Travelers (including our own customers i.e. you!) and business in general, have been wanting such a connection for several few years, and it has been widely welcomed, especially in the context of ever warming trade relations between Ireland and China. Alas, when it rains it pours as you now have two options.
10 Jun 2018
Deep in the Karakum Desert, nestled between Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Afghanistan, is the least-visited and most mysterious of the Central Asian countries: Turkmenistan. This often-overlooked country is home to fascinating history, incredible architecture, great culture and welcoming locals. Here are just five reasons why you need to visit Turkmenistan.
17 Apr 2018
With its stunning unblemished beaches and incredible highland views, you might be wondering why more people don’t visit Eritrea. In fact, Eritrea is Africa’s most secretive state, nicknamed ‘The North Korea of Africa’, and is one of the world’s hardest countries to get into. Their visa is one of the most difficult in the world to obtain, and even if you manage to complete this Herculean task, your struggles aren’t over, as you need permits to visit almost every site in the country. Yes, separate permits for every site, and they will be checked, so chancing it isn’t an option. Even leaving the capital city requires a permit. And be prepared for countless travel restrictions and checkpoints along the way. The only way to arrive in Eritrea is by flight, and the country has just one international airport; Asmara International Airport just outside the capital city. At present, it only serves six international airlines: Air Arabia, EgyptAir, FlyDubai, Nova Airways, Sudan Airways and Turkish Airlines.
17 Apr 2018
With ten of the highest peaks in the world, stunning lakes, beautiful temples and countless colourful festivals, it’s no surprise that Nepal’s tourism is booming. But as with all foreign countries, there are a few pitfalls to be avoided. Fortunately, we’ve compiled this simple list of Nepal travel tips to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
28 Mar 2018
With over 200 bays and 250 beaches, you’d be forgiven for spending your time in Cuba soaking up the sun, sea and sand. However, there’s more than meets the eye to this sun-drenched tropical paradise and if you care to dig a little deeper, you’ll uncover a fascinating past made all the more interesting by being shrouded in mystery. Here’s just a taste of the infinite crazy facts about Cuba to whet your appetite for adventure.
28 Mar 2018
As it’s such a secretive nation, we rarely hear about the big events on the North Korean calendar. But fear not, as we’ve compiled five amazing upcoming occasions to ensure you don’t miss out in 2018.
27 Feb 2018
These days we’re bombarded with options, so many places to go, so many things to see and do, so many ways to do them and ways to get there. With so much choice, you might be wondering, what makes a group adventure tour stand out from the rest?
18 Feb 2018
Lost in the mist of the Papua New Guinea’s highlands; one of the world’s most culturally and geographically diverse yet least explored countries, a raucous display of cultural pride and merriment awaits you at the world-famous Mount Hagen festival. But what is this celebration?
9 Feb 2018
With a litany of influences following the rise and fall of various empires and
countless invasions, Iran’s cultural heritage is a rich tapestry. This fusion of
cultures has resulted in Iran containing 21 (and counting!) UNESCO World
Heritage sites, each more beautiful and fascinating than the last. Here are just
five famous places in Iran, the tip of the iceberg in such a captivating country.
11 Jan 2018
Prior to the conflict that destabilised the region, Afghanistan was famous for its beauty and attracted countless tourists. As the nation tries to regain its international reputation, now is the ideal time to see these ethereal views unblemished by hoards of tourists.
22 Dec 2017
Socotra is the largest of a four-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Its name is believed to be derived from a Sanscrit name, meaning ‘The Island of Bliss,’ but at first glance it appears to be from a sci-fi film. Its harsh environment, hot, dry climate, sandy beaches, and towering mountains have resulted in amazing and bizarre flora and fauna. Of their 700 rare species, one-third are endemic. Due to its unique biodiversity, it was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site in July 2008. Home to around 40,000 people, the island constructed its first road in 2011, and the locals are dedicated to eco-tourism and preserving the natural beauty of their island. There are few places on earth that feel new and undiscovered, but Socotra is one of them. Alas, such extreme beauty cannot go unnoticed for long, so a visit to Socotra as soon as possible is a must. The island is a truly incredible place that must be seen to be believed.
22 Nov 2017
As someone with a passing interest in architecture and photography, I happened across Edward Denison’s Asmara: Africa’s Secret Modernist City and fell in love with this city of contradictions. Eritrea is a country with a troubled past that’s only slowly opening its borders to the outside world. However, a fortunate result of this is that it means its unique architecture, influenced by the Ottomans, the Egyptians, the Italians, the British and the Ethiopians, has been almost perfectly preserved. Its landscape and coastline are in spectacular condition, and tourists are still a novelty, so the locals are incredibly welcoming.
22 Nov 2017
Somaliland is a fascinating place, still struggling to gain international recognition despite having self-declared independence in 1991. It has its own government, military and a separate currency. It holds elections and even has a national passport. With 70% of the population under 30, most locals do not even remember being a part of Somalia. Thus far it has been a democratic success despite concerns, and has built up an (admittedly fragile) economy in complete isolation. I couldn’t begin to imagine the absurdity of celebrating independence in a country that is not officially recognised, and so I set off on an incredible adventure to the Horn of Africa.
20 Nov 2017
“New year, new me” is one of the most tired clichés out there, and yet when January rolled around I felt myself longing to try something different. I was craving the absolute freedom of the slopes, that feeling of being on top of the world, the adrenaline of speeding down a mountain, yet dreading the crowds and inevitable repetitiveness of the usual resorts. Then, I discovered Dizin, Iran’s highest resort, home to the best slopes in the Middle East.
20 Nov 2017
Having always loved history, and being particularly fascinated by Asia, touring around the continent had always been on my bucket list. I was looking for an unusual, in-depth experience when I happened across Global Village Tour’s Nepal tour, taking in the Maoist strongholds of Rolpa and Rukum. It sounded perfect, so I rounded up some of my more daring friends and booked it straight away.
8 Nov 2017
For those of you looking for the postcard-esque tropical getaway but without the crowds of a Bali beach holiday then look to the Pacific, and look to Papua New Guinea to be specific. The stories of cannibals and tribal conflict tend to travel further than the mostly understated beautiful scenery of this island. Still hugely unexplored, Papua New Guinea is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world.
19 Oct 2017
I'm an Irishman who was raised in the South of Ireland. My father who worked as a travelling musician all over Ireland and the UK once described his experience of travelling across the border into Northern Ireland as ‘the tensest place on earth’. It was the 1970’s during the height of the ‘troubles’, he and his bandmates were told to get out of their vehicle by British armed forces, they were then searched and questioned at gunpoint. Eventually, they were allowed to go on their way, but that palpable feeling of the uncomfortable tension is something that seemed to stay with my old man for quite some time. So naturally, he was intrigued to hear about my recount of visiting one of the most infamous borders in the world – The DMZ. The Demilitarised Zone is where North Korea meets South Korea, in a pretty spectacular display of mutual hostility!
4 Sep 2017
“You’re going to North Korea to do a marathon? Is this a joke??” Said my mother – delivered in that tone of voice that she has carefully perfected over a very long time. A voice that is used only when her youngest son confesses to her that he is planning to do something she will not be very happy about.
6 Jun 2017
I visited The Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea in February of this year. It has taken me a couple of months to digest my experience there, hence the delay in putting pen to paper… The couple of days I spent there were a pretty mixed bag of emotions – I was shocked, I was thrilled, I was confused, I was fascinated, bewildered and so on and so fourth. I will do my best to try and convey the sensory overload that is – traveling to North Korea.
29 Mar 2017
Our favorite misconceptions about Iran:
Iran – easily one of our collectively favorite destinations here in the office at Global Village Tours. For many reasons Iran is changing rapidly and becoming increasingly popular. We think NOW is the optimum time to visit as it is more open to international tourism than ever before while still maintaining its raw and unspoilt edge. The only reason its not quite yet ‘the cool kid’ on the adventurous travelers map is well, because people know much about what it has to offer. Here are five our favorite misconceptions about Iran:
7 Mar 2017
Tibet, the roof of the world. One of the most scenically stunning places on this planet. With a culture and history as rich as a cup of sweet Yak butter tea, its good to know what to see and where to go so you get the most out of your trip. Here are Global Village Tours definitive Do's and Dont's. Our Secrets of Tibet Tour departs in July and we're offering 5% discount to those that book before April 1st! See here for more.
3 Mar 2017
I have an ethos when it comes to travelling. Do something different. Go somewhere strange. See things that other people don’t get, or want, to see. This approach has brought me to some pretty unique and unusual places around the world but none of them can hold a candle to the DPRK.
21 Feb 2017
Booking tickets at the bus station in Odessa, Ukraine to Tiraspol the capital city of Transnistria is not too difficult. Approximately one member of staff at the station has some English and with some terrible Russian thrown in, you can find yourself standing at bay number 10 waiting for our intercity bus to arrive and take us to the border with Transnistria and then onto Tiraspol.
11 Feb 2017
Cuba – a land of white beaches, dainty architecture, fine cigars, and some of the best rum on the planet. In a world where technology and industry are bringing us closer and closer each day, we are inevitably losing some of the remotenesses that is essential to a good travel destination. Hold that thought for a moment because we want to show you why Cuba is one location on our list that is changing rapidly, and in doing so it may be gradually losing something that makes it really special. Here are 5 reasons why we think you should get to Cuba, and get there now:
5 Feb 2017
A fairly remarkable surprise when you visit North Korea for the first time would have to be the variety of alcoholic drinks available here. There are some excellent beers in North Korea and there is plenty of it around. Here is our pick of favourite beers available in North Korea, in and around Pyongyang bars and restaurants today.
29 Nov 2016
The following is a diary excerpt from one of our more seasoned travelers documenting some of his experiences at the infamous ‘burning ghats’ of Varanasi in India.
20 Jun 2016
Who are these people?” asked my ever-inquisitive North Korean guide Mrs. Yiu. She was pointing at my t-shirt. My chosen item of clothing on that day depicted a famous photo taken in the 60’s of Muhammad Ali with Elvis Presley. I told Mrs. Yiu who these men were, and explained that they were arguably two of the greatest cultural icons in modern history. She has impeccable English and told me that although unfamiliar with the names, she reckoned Ali starred in a Bollywood film she heard about once. “Ya maybe”, I said. This was one of many encounters in the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea that encapsulate why the place has always intrigued me. Call it what you will – untouched, uninfluenced, isolated, oblivious? There is something extremely fascinating about a society that is for the most part virtually unaware of the world around it. North Korea has been its own sovereign nation since only 1948. To be symbolic about it, picture a ship that upon ‘leaving the dock’ per se, veered just a couple of degrees in a different direction to its’ Western world counterpart. And now many years later as that ship continues to traverse, that one degree has inevitably grown into quite a vast distance.
8 May 2016
From any trip to North Korea it is definitely the subtleties that will remain with you long after you leave. The highly unusual instances of daily life that you will see and the general peace and quiet on the streets. People’s body language, facial expressions, curiosities towards you and how they deal with their own experience of meeting a foreign visitor in their country.
21 Apr 2016
Modern day travel isn’t quite the “adventure” it once was. We have a pretty good idea of what to expect on the other side of long haul flight. We have seen images of the destination online, friend’s Instagram shots and so on. In fact, we can pretty much skip down the streets and landscapes of the entire planet thanks to Google Street View. Everywhere except one entire country. That country is North Korea.