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The comfort of the jet is perfect for naps anyway, I tell myself. Each of us stood in total awe of the spectacular display of colours as we began to make our introductions. Kyoto, you are a welcome sight to behold. Especially given that the gardens are more than years old. Each morning I sip my tea, which comes in a beautiful traditional Japanese teapot along with hand-painted ceramic cups, and watch the sun rise.
The food here is an art form. I have the pleasure of being seated in front of one of the sushi masters as he prepares my meal with expert precision.
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I eat sea bream steamed in sake and lovely fatty tuna. I even try my hand at making maki with the help of an incredibly charming assistant who, admittedly, does most of the work. I had the most amazing encounter with a samurai master who trained Uma Thurman and choreographed scenes in Kill Bill.
Well, all I can say is, Uma, look out. Such fun. This morning we visited a Balinese elementary school, and I had tears in my eyes for over an hour. The children, positively beaming, were all dressed in white. They greeted us with a special song and dance performance and invited us into their classroom, where we tried not to distract as they wove baskets, created daily temple offerings and practiced their arithmetic.
We were there to offer the class a donation of new backpacks, one for each student. Our group waded through, handing them out personally. Such a special memory. At night I fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle.
Even on such a luxurious trip you need downtime. Today it comes in the form of a hillside-perched villa overlooking a sugary stretch of beach.
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We arrive late in the afternoon, and the first thing I do upon entering my little cottage — with its fresh breezes and loungers at the ready — is drop my things and sink into the private plunge pool, where I spend the next 30 minutes. Room service and early to bed is the recommendation for tonight. Just before sunset we head out on a catamaran cruise. You can see the sun sink into the ocean a thousand times, but it still always feels novel somehow.
They let go, as much as they can, and laugh along with us. Twenty minutes into our trek , we hear them. Everyone stops, looking at one another with eyes wide.
Is this really happening? Two-year-olds swinging from trees, moms carrying babies, silverbacks holding court, teenagers shuffling about trying to look important — just as you would expect a family to behave.
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The energy is electric. One hour of watching and every one of us still wears a smile. We speak softly, as instructed. I stand very still. A mother is laying in a hollow beside me with her two little ones. She unfurls her hand and touches my boot. Our eyes lock. This, to me, is the most important minute of the entire journey. Perhaps with the Resort , which is gorgeous, tranquil, spacious. But we depart early to be absorbed by the city.
And the markets. Luscious coloured spices piled high, stacked behind the barrels of soaps, teas, dried herbs. Every corner, every turn is a visual feast as we move through a maze of streets. That evening we join the flight crew and journey staff for a banquet-like dinner complete with high-energy music and dancing. This is Marrakech. True to its reputation, Four Seasons puts on a spectacular display, from the lighted red carpet to the smartly dressed hosts carrying trays of pink martinis aptly named Cosmorrocans.
The biggest airline partnership is Star Alliance www. They offer four different versions of RTW ticket, depending on the number of miles you want to travel, starting at 26, miles and going up to 39, Oneworld www.
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A number of individual airlines — including Virgin Atlantic www. But their tickets are only valid for their own planes. Decide whether you plan to travel east or west.
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All RTW tickets require you to head in one direction or the other and keep moving the same way. Trans-Siberian by Boccaccio1.
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Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Do you want an active, adventure-focused experience? Or is seeing glorious landscapes your goal? Are you keener on cities and culture than lazing on a beach? Whatever you decide, bear in mind that most RTW tickets involve flying in and out of major hubs like London , LA , Sydney , Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro ; adding more out-of-the-way destinations will increase the cost of the ticket dramatically.
They will know the best way to tailor your ticket to meet your needs. Sydney Harbour Bridge by Adam J. Image from Wikimedia Commons. Weather is a crucial factor on any RTW trip. While you will never be able to get perfect weather in every destination, plan ahead if you have specific things you want to do. Everest by Christopher. For adventure: this route offers everything from deserts and diving to mountains and white-water rafting. Start in London and head east to Delhi and then Nepal for a Himalayan trek. Another flight takes you to LA, from where you can drive Route 66 to the east coast and fly out of New York to London.
For culture and carnivals: if vibrant city life is more your thing, then try this trip. Fly east from London to Cairo for its markets, museums and the Pyramids. From there, you could take a quick cruise down the Nile to Luxor, before heading south to Cape Town and South Africa, where you can tipple your way along the wine-growing routes just outside the city. The Chinese capital Beijing is a few hours away by plane, allowing you to set foot on the Great Wall , before you make the long haul across the Pacific to San Francisco , the most European of all American cities.