Concierge: Nelson Mandela tour

Get a bird's-eye view of Vietnam's Halong Bay with Paradise Hotels & Cruise.
Get a bird's-eye view of Vietnam's Halong Bay with Paradise Hotels & Cruise. PHOTO: HAI AU AVIATION


Follow the footsteps of the late former South African president Nelson Mandela in a new 11-day itinerary by tour operator andBeyond.

Highlights of the tour, which starts in Johannesburg and ends in Cape Town, include a visit to Mandela's home township and family museum in Soweto with South African historian and storyteller Robin Binckes; a private helicopter flight to Mandela's private retreat at Shambala Game Reserve, now home to the Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation; and a private yacht cruise to Robben Island, the notorious prison where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

The Footsteps Of Nelson Mandela tour starts from 135,609 South African rand (S$12,326) a person sharing.

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The St Regis Langkawi will open on the Malaysian island next month. Situated within an idyllic cove on the Andaman Sea, approximately a 20- minute drive from Langkawi International Airport, the resort's 85 suites and four water villas will boast sea views, free Wi-Fi and the brand's famous 24-hour butler service.

Amenities include a 100,000 sq m natural saltwater lagoon, the largest on the island; a full-service gym; and the 800 sq m Iridium Spa.

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In addition to daily itinerary summaries and weather updates, Contiki tour operator's free travel app now allows travellers to get to know one another through its new "MeetUp" feature.

They will be able to see, connect and chat with other people on their upcoming trips, so they can start their tour with a ready group of friends. They can also relive past trips by recalling their previous itineraries under the "Bookings" feature.

Download the app from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play store (Android).


The luxury Paradise Hotels & Cruise company has teamed with Hai Au Aviation to provide guests a unique vantage point of Vietnam's scenic Halong Bay, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Cruise & Seaplane package starts at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport for an hour-long seaplane ride, including 15 minutes above the bay for a bird's-eye view of the 2,000 limestone karsts, rock formations of various shapes and sizes jutting out of the water.

Upon landing, guests will board one of Paradise Cruise's 17-cabin luxury vessels for an overnight cruise around the bay.

The package includes all on- board meals, unlimited kayak use and return transport in a private car or a three-hour journey through the bucolic, rice-paddy countryside.

The package currently costs US$473 (S$653) a person, but from May 1 to Sept 30, Paradise is offering it at US$364 a person.

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Lydia Vasko

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 13, 2016, with the headline 'Concierge: Nelson Mandela tour'. Subscribe