“A seen-it-all slacker (Leonardo DiCaprio) staying in a Bangkok hostel gets a secret invite to an island whose tall cliffs and dense tropical canopy have conspired to hide the most gorgeous sun spot in the world. As a piece of storytelling, The Beach falls short of the novel by Alex Garland from which it was adapted. But Phuket and Phi Phi Leh—the two beaches where the movie was filmed—are well-cast as places beautiful enough to drive a person nuts.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
The beaches of Thailand are certainly a wonderful lure to get us hooked, but the country is so much more than just crystal clear water, and stunning islands….to be fair though, for many of us that is enough. With a varied menu of water sports to keep every waterspouts enthusiast entertained: snorkel with whale sharks in Ko Taoof, climb the stunning sea cliffs of Krabi, swim in the surf of Bang Saphan Yai, kiteboard in Hua Hin, or restore your energy at any of the gorgeous Spa resorts.
However, for many people their first taste of this friendly and fun-loving, tropical paradise comes in the form of a delectable Thai meal and you can rest assured that the food only tastes better when you get there.
Thai cuisine, reflects the varied elements of Thai culture: it is generous and warm, revitalizing and relaxed, jovial yet subtle, cultured and historic.
In this Buddhist nation, religious devotion is visible everywhere. Pristine temples play host to colorful and ubiquitous festivals, banyan trees wrapped in blessed cloth honor the residing spirits, small fortune-bringing shrines are dotted around homes and businesses, and car dashboards decorated with garlands ward off traffic accidents. This undercurrent of devotion bridges the divide between a continuous sense of tranquility and the day-to-day craziness. Delve into this aspect of the local culture by attending boisterous religious festivals, drift through underground cave shrines, climb up to scenic hilltop temples and attend meditation retreats in Chiang Mai.
However, if you really want to delve in and experience a more immersive trip, then add a give back element. At Hands Up Holidays, we specialize in giving you this deeper cultural learning opportunity, whilst you improve the lives of orphans who’s parents may not be deceased, but who are unable to care for them. Work to improve the living situation of these children and teach them new skills and games so that they have opportunities in life that their parents could not offer them. Laugh, joke and make new friends.
If you have children you might want to consider assisting at a project that is helping to rehabilitate former working elephants. It may put a stop to you ever wanting to ride an elephant again, but it will give you the indelible memory of working directly with these beautiful animals.
Firstly, the properties are eco-friendly where available, and this, added to the volunteering part of the trip, means that you can treat yourself to a slice of luxury with no guilt attached.
Luxury accommodation helps makes voluntourism accessible to people who want to make a difference, but like to retain their creature comforts, such as:
– Companies – for incentive trips or meetings.
Naturally you don’t need to stay in luxury in order to give back, but now there is that option.
A satisfying by-product of the Olympic Games is that we’re presented with the diversity of our globe, and see people from all over the world join together to participate in one event. If that doesn’t inspire you to get out and explore this Earth of ours, we’re not sure what will. We want to take you to the most exciting, most inspiration corners of the globe, and at the same time do good there, as if you were ambassadors for your own country. We feel this is in the true spirit of the very first Olympic Games, fostering understanding, empathy and friendships. Come and get inspired for a meaningful voluntourism vacation that furthers cultural interaction and understanding, take a look around our website.
A popular misconception is that you have to rough it to volunteer…perhaps that is because volunteering is associated with students. We understand that there are people who want to help and make a difference, and who want fabulous accommodation as well. The magic is in the mixing of the volunteer projects and then time in luxury hotels that also meet our sustainability standards.
You could stay in a luxury tented camp in Morocco, a solar-heated lodge in Brazil or a sustainably-built hotel in Thailand. If you’d like to contribute to and enrich your next holiday destination – while staying in style – then check out the eco-tourism page on our website.
October 6th saw one of the great world festivals taking place. Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami, Dasara, or Dashain) is a Hindu celebration marking the god Rama’s victory over the demon king Ravana and the triumph of good over evil. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that?
Dussehra is the culmination of the Navaratri festival – a joyous period of ten days in the Hindu calendar that is chock full of festivities and dancing.
It is a public holiday in India, with special prayer meetings and food offerings to the gods at people’s homes or in temples throughout the country. People also hold colourful outdoor fairs and in many towns and cities, there are large parades with effigies of the demon Ravana, which are burned on huge bonfires.
One of the country’s most famous and spectacular sights is the festival and procession in the town of Mysore in the state of Karnataka. Here, the goddess Chamundeshwari is paraded through the streets among the crowds on an elephant-mounted throne.
Special foods are sold and exchanged, including flat breads and spiced potatoes, households are blessed and many people believe it a lucky time to start a new venture or a journey.
In short, there’s an overwhelming pouring out of positivity, and it’s a wonderful time to be a visitor in the subcontinent.
October is crammed with holidays in India, in fact. Diwali takes place on October 26th, and Govardhan Puja, Bhai Duj and Halloween are all also celebrated around the end of the month.
There are colourful festivals and amazing sights to be seen all year round in India, though. Look into which ones appeal to you and coordinate your trip so you’re there to witness whatever takes your fancy. Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi and Govinda are among some of the most popular and exciting.
We have three Indian voluntourism tours to choose from, and all of them can put you in the heart of the action over some of the best times to be there.
You can choose from our luxury voluntourism adventure in Delhi and Rajasthan to an immersive voluntourism experience in the mangrove-filled Sunderbans
He described how there is a much stronger police presence in many of the favelas, and that lives are changing there…you can play a role in changing lives in Rio’s communities, staying in eco-luxury accommodation, and still get to enjoy the delights of this incredible city…experience our luxury voluntourism trip to Rio and help build a house in a favela to change the lives of an impoverished family.
We can tailor-make this to suit your preferences, and include all the places you want to visit in Brazil and beyond.