x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Travel Deals: holidays that help

Take a conservation holiday in Madacascar or Borneo, or simply relax in Colombia or Thailand.

Sign up for a marine conservation project in the fishing village of Andavadoaka, on the south-west coast of Madagascar. Gallo Images / Getty Images
Sign up for a marine conservation project in the fishing village of Andavadoaka, on the south-west coast of Madagascar. Gallo Images / Getty Images


Enjoy a diving holiday while taking part in an environmental conservation project in the remote fishing village of Andavadoaka on Madagascar's south-west coast, home to some of the most biologically diverse marine systems on Earth. Volunteers with no diving experience will be given instruction at the project site (PADI certification level "Advanced Open Water" or higher), and all volunteers will be trained in marine research and on-the-ground conservation. The dives are led by international researchers.

The three-week trip costs Dh8,160 per person, including accommodation, dive training and expeditions, transport, meals and activities such as bird watching and hiking. International flights not included. For more details, visit http://blueventures.org.



Steppes Discovery has a 10-day holiday to Borneo that offers the opportunity to go behind the scenes of orang-utan conservation in Tanjung Puting National Park. Volunteers will stay in en suite rooms at Rimba eco-lodge, which offers great views over the Sekonyer River, and enjoy private river cruises, explore the small, winding waterways that criss-cross the tropical forest, and go wildlife spotting from Camp Leakey, the base camp. Besides orang-utans, you'll also see proboscis monkeys, as well as kingfishers and monitor lizards. Visitors have the option of taking a trip extension to Bali and exploring its beaches, temples and the volcano at Mount Bromo.

The 10-day conservation holiday costs from £2,695 (Dh15,715) per person, including accommodation, based on two sharing, some meals, instruction in conservation and research, hikes and treks. International airfare not included. Visit www.steppesdiscovery.co.uk for more details.



Colombia, South America's fourth-largest country, offers a cultural mix of Indian, Spanish and African influences. This journey put together by Bales Worldwide starts with an excursion to the renowned museums of the capital, Bogota, and includes a visit the old town of Villa de Leyva in Ricaurte province, treks through the coffee-growing region in the foothills of the Andes, and a tour of the colonial streets and beaches of the seaside resort of Cartagena.

The 11-day trip costs Dh15,595 per person, including domestic flights, accommodation (based on two sharing), meals as outlined in the itinerary, local transport, some sightseeing, entrance fees to the sites and the services of English-speaking guides. International airfare not included. Visit www.balesworldwide.com for more information.



Rediscover Bangkok with Mandarin Oriental Bangkok's "Bangkok Four More" package. Starting from 9,243 Thai baht (Dh1,100) per night in a superior room (based on two sharing), the package includes personal butler service, an upgrade to the next room category, a Thai buffet lunch for two (per stay), late checkout at 6pm, and taxes. The offer is valid until September 30. Visit www.mandarinoriental.com to book.