Jade Mountain, St Lucia
Perivolos, Santorini, Greece
San Alfonso del Mar, Chile (The Biggest Swimming Pool in the World!)
If you still can’t fasten your trousers from piling in the turkey yesterday, now is the time to stew on the couch and switch on the Tele (and dig into some Quality Street). But if you don’t feel like watching the Christmas episode of the Flintstones for the fifteenth time, maybe you’ll enjoy some of these ‘holiday’ TV shows with a difference. Here is our pick of the top ten travel TV shows (including one epic fail). Happy boxing day!
An Idiot Abroad
Karl Pilkington’s travel plans lie in the hands of his ex-radio show host colleagues, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Pilkington’s indifference to seeing the world is mocked by Gervais and Merchant who make him do just that, only with an enormous list of crazy things to do (while they sit back and watch from the comfort of their London office). Expect activities that vary from being dropped into the Amazon jungle and told he has to survive to climbing Mount Fuji.
Around The World In 80 Days
In 2001, the BBC produced this seven episode series, which follows Monty Python star Michael Palin, on an attempt to become a Jules Verne’s hero. Palin aims to match the route of his fictional predecessor by circling the globe in 80 days without the use of modern air transportation. Palin is responsive, intelligent, candid and most importantly, hilarious, as he creates a journey filled with fascinating encounters – TV gold.
Stephen Fry in America
Stephen Fry, a man of many talents (he is an actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, and comedian), journeys through America in a traditional London cab. Beginning in Maine, he drives through the lower 48 states, before flying to Alaska and Hawaii. However, far from your typical travel TV show, Fry’s interpretation is as honest and endearing as the man himself, and full of his usual tongue in cheek humour of course.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony’s Bourdain’s No Reservations has moderately redeemed the Travel Channel for years of inane broadcasting. Bourdain, whose wickedly funny commentary is the greatest thing about the whole show, visits a series of disparate destinations including Iceland, Vietnam and New Jersey. His unfiltered take on local foods and atypical typical tourist activities makes for a personality-driven show, but then what else could you expect from the world’s leading punk chef novelist?
Globe Trekker has filmed over 130 episodes and is hosted by a total of 26 people, offering a unique feel depending on which host appears in each episode. The show acts as a tour guide through a series of destinations, with a huge amount of time and effort put into each well thought out, well edited episode.
The Amazing Race
A reality TV show with a difference, the contestants on The Amazing Race are racing the globe in both famous and offbeat locales.
Adventurer Bruce Parry, a former Royal Marine, is followed as he goes in search of knowledge from supposedly ‘primitive’ peoples around the world. He lives with a tribe for at least a month, learning everything about their lives – even their language. At the end of each episode, there’s genuine regret and often tears as he parts with the tribe, making for bona fide armchair travel.
Departures began when three friends were talking about travel shows and decided that they could make something better. Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach leave all familiarities behind and set out into the beyond. Expect incredible cinematography and an authentic, personal approach to travel. The show has won three Gemini Awards and with just one look at the landscapes presented, you’ll understand why.
Another one from Michael Palin, this time he makes an epic journey around the Pacific Rim from the Arctic, coastal Asia, Australia, Antarctica, South America, North America and back. As is the norm from Palin, it is he that makes the series so memorable, admirable and relatable.
Boozed up Brits Abroad (epic fail)
On the other hand, shows such as Boozed Up Brits Abroad are a cold, cruel reality check for those living in the UK. If you enjoy feeling embarrassed by your nation, this is the show for you. Expect to see profane language, nudity and of course, lots of vomiting.
If you are planning to hit the road for a holiday in the near future, you have likely been planning a number of different things. From making sure your vehicle is in good shape for a long trip, to booking accommodations, or preparing arrangements with family if necessary, setting up a holiday is a lot of work – and that’s before you even think about your Christmas shopping! This is why it can be easy to forget about some of the most essential elements that should factor into your planning – such as holiday-related car insurance, or vehicle breakdown recovery insurance.
Roadside Assistance – If your vehicle breaks down during your drive, your coverage will offer you access to roadside assistance. If the problem can be fixed roadside it will be, and if not other options will follow.
Towing To Garage – If the problem with your vehicle cannot be fixed quickly or conveniently by the side of the road, your coverage will give you access to towing options. Your car will be brought to the nearest garage for further repairs.
Transportation – If it seems that the problem with your vehicle is too severe or cannot be immediately fixed for another reason, you can be transported, along with the vehicle, to the destination of your choice. This may well enable you to continue with your vacation even if your vehicle cannot be fixed.
Lost Key Assistance – If your key is somehow lost or stolen, either at a rest stop, at your destination, or even at home before you leave, it can replaced through your coverage policy.
Legal Advice & Assistance – Finally, if you are involved in an accident or any other sort of situation that requires legal advice, your coverage will give you access to a legal team available at all times for advice and action. This can often be the quickest way to address a roadside legal issue.
Ultimately, the extent to which your vehicle is covered for travel depends upon your specific policy. But options such as those outlined above are available, and can virtually guarantee you a smooth holiday travel experience.
Purple Tips: What to avoid in Thailand
So you’ve booked your awesome trip to Thailand, you’re heading to the beautiful island of Koh Samui, your bag is packed and you’re ready to go. Perfect!
Image via @ RevStan
But wait! Before you jet off, have you thought about how much you know about this tropical country? Here are some top tips to stay safe and happy on your holiday of a lifetime.
No matter what the situation you won’t get anywhere or make yourself very popular if you yell. So, just stay cool and smile, it’s the only way forward.
Touching a Thai on the head
Never touch or pass anything over anyone’s head. The head is considered sacred in Thailand and must be respected.
Pointing with your foot
Feet are regarded as unclean and symbolically the lowest part of the body.
Nudity and public displays of affection
Thais find this very offensive so please keep your swimmers on and keep your slushier moments for your hotel room.
Being anything other than complimentary about the King and members of the Royal Family
The King is highly revered in Thailand so if you can’t think of anything good to say just don’t mention the monarchy, it could land you in jail.
Cover up in temples
Make sure you wear appropriate dress in temples.
For ladies, long sleeves and below the knee skirts
For men, shirts and long pants
Jet ski and bike hire
If you hire a jet ski or a bike, or a car, make sure you have a good look at it first, take pictures and document any scratches or damage already caused before you take it unless you want to pay for it on its return to its owner!
Dehydration and sun burn
This is very easy to achieve if you are on a boat that feels cool, but really you are in 100 degree heat. Drink plenty of water day every day, bottled only, and grab a packet of electrolyte powder from the chemist and definitely use your sun screen!
On 31st August, we had a fab day at school with Book Week. We had author Kim Michelle Toft in and everyone dressed up as book characters. I went as a wicked witch and the rest of the staff had great costumes too – the kids loved it.
School finished for two weeks at the end of September, and we headed up to Cairns for the first week. We got on a plane at the Gold Coast Airport like we would catch a bus at home. We landed in Cairns at 10:30am on the Saturday and made our way to the Beach House. It was a hostel and was really nice and clean and unbelievably cheap. Another exchange teacher, Rachel, arrived at 1pm and we had a chilled out day walking down to the Marina and Saturday Esplanade Street Market. Plus a few beers, of course.
On Sunday morning, we went and had a look around Rusty’s Markets in Cairns with lots of fruit, veggies, jewellery, clothes and much more. We had a wander through Cairns and the bars and shops.There was also a night market on, which was really good and we decided to book on a trip to go to The Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge. We booked that for Monday and decided to have Sunday at the lagoon. Then we had a walk around the Marina to see where we would be catching the Rum Runner boat from on Tuesday for a 2-day sail out onto the Reef and Coral Sea.
Cape Tribulation is the best area to see the rainforest meeting the reef. Rachel, Jack and I set off on Monday morning and the coach headed up on a coastal drive to the Daintree River. There were stunning views of the Coral Sea and unspoilt palm fringed beaches. After morning tea, we set off on a wildlife river cruise searching for the residential crocs that live along the river and found two!
Our next port of call was Mossman Gorge – “Wurrumbu” – it was a beautiful gorge with cold, crystal clear waters in a swimming hole. We swam and explored the unique wilderness. Afterwards we drove back through the scenic beachside village of Port Douglas and stopped at the Rex Lookout for some final beautiful views.
We got to Marlin Marina at 7:15am Tuesday morning ready to start our 2 days/1 night aboard Rum Runner on the Great Barrier Reef. She is a 60 foot cruising yacht set up to cater for all divers. We went out to coral reefs at Thetford Reef and visited around 4 different sites.
We met the crew – Jase the skipper, Michael- Dive Master, Masa – Diving Instructor, Bart and Julia who were Dive Master Trainees and all were lovely. You got an introductory dive for free in with the package and so Jack and I had a taster half-hour. It was really good. Jack was going to have another 3 dives but realised he was flying the day after we left the boat so he could only have 1 extra one on the Tuesday. He absolutely loved it and wants to go back and do more now. The water whether for diving or snorkelling was so clear, it was just a beautiful experience!
Then we came home and spent the weekend with lovely people at not just one, but two baby showers! The first was with Leanne on Saturday and then Sunday with Jodi – who is actually due in 2 days time… I still think the UK needs to catch on to these, good excuse for lots of fun.
We finished off September and welcomed in 1st October with a walk on a more stormy morning on the beach up at Lennox Head. Saw a magnificent sea eagle sitting watching us as we walked along the beach – then he just soared above us and swooped back down. Totally awesome.
Read more from Liz Bethell on her personal Blog.
Hen nights abroad are increasingly popular these days; there are so many great places to choose from, you can top up your tan before the big day and lets face it – you can get royally smashed without having to worry about bumping into an ex-boyfriend or your boss.
We spoke with one bride, Janine who spent her hen night in the most popular destination to do so – Amsterdam. From the crazy outfits to losing members on the group, she tells us why a hen night Amsterdam weekend will be an epic one for you.
Janine: The second we got engaged, or at least within the minute I called Amsterdam for the hen party before Arky, my fiance, could call it for the stag do. He had been before, several times and loved it whereas I had never and, well, fair’s fair – it was my turn.
A girly weekend away with lots of booze and little or no sleep would be just what the doctor ordered to break up the long months of staying in, saving to pay for the big day.
It wasn’t so much the sampling of the smokey cafes and their exquisite muffins as much as the relaxed feel I always thought Amsterdam would have. The exact opposite of what the UK’s hen/stag hotspots have to offer (apart from the weather of course).
So, smug from “winning” Amsterdam, even though I kind of spoiled the romance of the proposal with my “Yes! I call the Dam” reply, I started to worry a little if all of the girls would be up for it, that it might be too expensive, or that some may feel it was more of a laddish venue.
Purple Travel: Did you find it was more difficult to round up your hens to travel abroad than to have a night out back home?
Janine: I actually found that the girls were VERY up for the weekend away, a couple raised an eyebrow at Amsterdam as first thoughts always turn to the Red Light District and the pot smoking reputation, but if it’s your do it’s your choice and eighteen of us travelled in all.
Purple Travel: Did your plans change when you arrived there? For example, was the Anne Frank museum at the top of your list before you arrived, but then you found you never left the cafes when you actually got there?
Janine: On the night of our arrival, Friday, we were made to feel so welcome by the locals, despite our noisy arrival. The Police at the railway station even staged my “arrest” and handcuffed me once they clocked the classy veil I was given to wear in the airport bar pre-flight. Indeed I was very well looked after in the bars that night also – if I stepped near to a bar the bartender would pour 2 shots, one for me and one for them.
The next morning the city looked so calm and classy I wondered if we would be frowned upon dressed as pixies, nymphs and fairies, but we once again felt welcome wherever we went. I just had to see the Red Light District and was surprised I didn’t feel shock, as the sights to be seen are certainly a world away from what we know. The area holds a vibrant atmosphere where you truly will meet all sorts, but everywhere and everyone were as chilled as can be, and the friendly locals and regulars were happy to direct us to the best bars and clubs where we were able to drink and dance til dawn.
I have to honest, there were no museums or homes of historical interest on the must-see list, but we did split up on the last day into smaller groups for a mooch around this beautiful city. For me this was my cafe day, dressed down and taking in as much as I could in what little time we had left. I do regret a little not finding time to look beyond the party side of Amsterdam, but that just means I’ll have to go again.
Holidays to help you live longer: Ikaria Greece
Do you fancy a holiday that not only boasts beautiful sunshine, but could actually help you live longer? Then head for Ikaria Greece.
A small mountainous Greek Island in the Aegean, the residents there tend to reach an average age of 90. The remote island has long been intriguing scientists, who have been trying to find out why there are more healthy people in their 99th year than anywhere else on earth.
Apart from sunshine, which does wonders, here are a few reasons Ikarians live so long.
- Eat your greens Ikarians obviously listen to mum’s advice about eating their greens. There are over 150 varieties on the island, and most of what they eat they grow themselves. There are lots of veggies and beans and little meat and sugar. As well as that, their diet is dipped in extra virgin olive oil, which holds lots of natural antioxidants.
- Goats Researchers found that most of the people aged over 90 have been drinking goat’s milk almost every week. It’s easier to digest than cow’s milk and is said to be high in a hormone called tryptophan which reduces stress.
- Herbal teas the Ikarians are famous for their herbal teas which contain ingredients to lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of dementia.
- Walk this way Ikaria is a mountainous place – so by default residents get lots of daily exercise by simply walking around, strolling to meet a friend for coffee, or heading down to the beach.
- Siesta Ikarians love a nap. A little mid afternoon snooze is said to decrease the chances of a heart attack and make you look and feel younger. So, not only are Ikarian’s a healthy bunch, but good looking to boot! Sleeping-in is a big priority too; people don’t really begin to start their days until around six in the evening.
- Laidback That phrase, ‘so laidback they are horizontal’ could have originated here. They don’t wear watches and there’s no hurry… anywhere. If you ask for the time, you won’t get an answer as most Ikarians don’t know, or care. Even other Greeks know it as a laidback island. If for example, you go to a restaurant be prepared to wait… and wait… and wait. If the baker doesn’t want to open up, then he won’t until he is good and ready.
- Hot Spring Ikaria has radium bearing hot springs that have been in use since way back in the 4th century BC. It won’t turn you into Superman, but a dip is likely to relieve joint pain and skin conditions, keeping you feeling fit and healthy.
- Dancing the night away Ikarians do love a party. Make sure you go to one of the famous feasts, where you can drink the special wine which Homer called “Pramnios oinos” and where you can learn traditional Ikarian dances.
Book a cheap holiday to Greece with ABTA member PurpleTravel.co.uk today.
He may be a chef, but Gordon Ramsay is also a one-man empire. The latest reality show he adds unto his ever-growing string of TV hits is Hotel Hell, publicised as Kitchen Nightmares, with a venue change.
Taking a side-step from his typical role as ‘culinary drill sergeant’, Ramsay’s new gig sees him rescue hotels on the brink of financial collapse. And, naturally, rather than humiliating contestants and staff, the Ramsay wrath is solely directed at hotel owners and managers.
He rips into dirty guest rooms, bad management style, shabby decor and of course – terrible restaurant food. Insulted and ashamed, the owners eventually succumb to Ramsay’s reign of terror, allowing his team to makeover the guest rooms and public spaces. The owners then begin to see the error of their ways, followed by a hotel re-launch party for the local community – Ramsay to the rescue!
Ok so the formula may offer nothing new to Ramsay’s current reality competition shows, but who cares? Watching people being told off for bad behaviour is somehow satisfying, but watching hotel owners get told off is positively enjoyable. The tough love formula is a hit with viewers, but will it have an impact on the hotel industry as a whole? I guess we’ll have to see; one thing’s fr certain though, it might be easy to dismiss Ramsay as TV’s “last angry man”, but at least he’s an angry man with an audience.
The first in our new bi-weekly series of the best holidays reads. This week, we’re obsessed with the French and their chic, innovative style of writing. Impress your fellow holidayers with some of the best Parisian exports around, all you need know is a black coffee, un macaron pistache and a high-held nose. Ooh la la…