We’re a group of gents who want to go on a trip to Hong Kong or Singapore that includes horse racing. Are there any tours?
There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your passion in these and loads of other countries.
Have a look at Australian Racing Tours (australianracingtours.com.au), which is offering an escorted tour to the 2017 Hong Kong International in December. The tour includes plenty of racing, sightseeing and free time to explore at leisure.
Ambassador Travel (ambassadortravel.com.au) also has a guided tour to the Hong Kong International, including grandstand seating at both the Jockey’s Championship Race day at Happy Valley and the International at Sha Tin. You can add on optional tours, such as Lantau Island, the Symphony of Lights Tour or a shopping tour to the mainland China city of Shenzhen.
Extensions to Beijing, Shanghai and Macau are also possible.
You can buy tickets to the Kranji Racecourse in Singapore through the Singapore Turf Club (turfclub.com.sg).
You could also try Travel and Sports (travelandsports.com.au) who offer tailored itineraries.
TACKLING THE KOKODA TRAIL
I would like to take my 14-year-old daughter to trek the Kokoda Trail with me. Do you foresee any issues or have any tips?
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda Campaign, which saw the allied forces trek the 96km single-file track, known as the Kokoda Trail, enduring extremely harsh conditions.
Many travellers now undertake this challenging endurance trek for a personal challenge or fitness.
The trek can begin either on the Port Moresby side of the Owen Stanley Range, or from the Kokoda side, the most popular and historically correct option. This involves a 30-minute flight from Port Moresby to Kokoda, or there’s also the option of starting at the halfway point of Efogi.
At a moderate pace, the trek usually takes about 10 days, with itineraries generally between five and 10 nights. But this can also vary depending on the high temperatures and humidity, plus the walker’s level of fitness.
The best time to go is between April and October. The main issue is your level of fitness. If you are at a moderate level or above and are both prepared to put in the suggested training, I think it would be a great father-daughter bonding experience.
If not, I suggest beginning with a less challenging walking tour, both physically and mentally.
With most trekking companies, there is no age limit. For example, Kokoda Trekking’s (kokodatrail.com.au) youngest participant was seven years old and their oldest (so far) 81.
The requirement is that a minor must walk with a parent or guardian and that all trekkers have a medical certificate stating they are fit and healthy enough to embark on the trail.
It is also recommended that your daughter has a personal porter to carry her pack, which will be about 12kg. The landscape you’ll encounter is rugged, muddy and mountainous.
Group porters will carry your food and cooking equipment, plus set up camp and help prepare your meals.
Sometimes you will sleep in a tent and sometimes there is the opportunity to stay in a village guesthouse.
Take a well-prepared first-aid kit containing anti-diarrhoea medicine, Band Aids, antibiotics, insect repellent and sunscreen. A handy addition to this are electrolyte tablets, which are easily added to your water bottle and will keep you both well hydrated.
I’d strongly recommend visiting a travel health specialist at least eight weeks before you depart to check any recent disease outbreaks and take on a course of anti-malarial medication.
Travel insurance is necessary and you will require a tourist visa. This can be obtained on arrival in Papua New Guinea.
We are looking to hire a couple of cottages in England in May. Do you have any favourite booking sites that you’ve been impressed with and have delivered what they promise?
Britain’s official tourism website, Visit Britain (visitbritain.com) is full of practical and helpful information including regional guides and suggested activities, designed to help plan your trip. There’s also an extensive accommodation listing which might have what you’re looking for.
Circle Hotels (www.circlehotels .co.uk) is another site to peruse for a portfolio of more than 700 independently owned properties. The company also partners with local tour operators to offer sightseeing options.
Holiday Cottages UK (holidaycottages.co.uk) has a wide range of cottages for rent and you can specify parameters including how far you want to be from the shop or pub and whether there are water views or fishing nearby.
I am visiting Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil with a tour in September. What currency should I take? Is the US dollar acceptable in these countries or will I require local currencies? What are the temperatures like at that time of year?
DOC’S TIP OF THE WEEK
You can readily change US dollars into the local currency in each of these countries. You can also withdraw local cash from an ATM.
Chile in September has temperatures from about 7C to 20C. It will be similar in Peru and Argentina, while Brazil should be slightly warmer at about 25C during the day.
Naturally, temperatures will vary according to your location, whether you are by the sea or in the mountains, so it is advisable to layer your clothing.