Syria

March 30 – April 6

Wales

July 3 – 5, 2020

Kaliningrad & Lithuania

Aug 27 – 30, 2020

Cyprus

Sept 2 – 8, 2020

West Africa

Part 1: Gulf of Guinea

Cote d’Ivore, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria

November 2020



In May of 2010, Calvin started The Monsoon Diaries as his personal travel blog where he would post daily updates to let the world (and his mother) know he was okay. As his readership expanded, a large humble following of good people asked if they could join on his adventures.

So what began with a trip for a few friends now has blossomed 5 years later into the popularly recognized travel style known as monsooning, and has featured on TEDx, The Huffington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Business Insider, and Rachel Maddow. Every few months Calvin himself, and some of his most dedicated repeat monsooners, will lead scores of international young-at-heart travelers on their premier expeditions around the world.

Take a look at any of the offered trips below and sign up even if you’re just curious about travel; we will take care of the rest!



Angola

February 24 – March 1/5, 2020

Luanda

Malanje

Kalandula Falls

Kissama National Park

Lubango

Chibia

Namibe

Tundavala Gap

Cabinda

Angola Post-Marxist Carnival Tour

February 24 – March 1/5, 2020

Monday 24 February – Luanda

  • Arrival in Luanda Airport, airport pick-up and money exchange
  • Meet the others at the hotel and get to know them!
  • Fortaleza de Sao Miguel (military museum), including its famous propaganda which almost looks North Korean!
  • Visit to the Mausoleum of Augostinho Neto. A Sovjet-style concrete tower for the first president of Angola
  • The Iron Palace, with the local art scene, wild stories surround the origin of the building. It was supposedly designed by Gustav Eiffel and supposedly was found on the beach.
  • Old colonial church of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, build on the famous 4 de Fevereiro avenue.
  • Angolan dinner in the city with a nice cold beer (or juice!)
  • Overnight in Luanda

Tuesday 25 February – Luanda – CARNAVAL

  • Shipwreck Beach, here you’ll find long lost forgotten ships from all over the world
  • Monument to the Kifangondo Battle, our military guide will help us understand the importance of this spot in the struggle for the independence of Angola.
  • We might be in Africa, but Luanda is just as famous in Africa for its carnival as Rio is in South America! We’ll try to get a good spot so we can clearly see the amazing colorful carnival parade.
  • At night we’ll hit the town for some good Angolan live music and dinner
  • Overnight in Luanda

Wednesday 26 February – Luanda – Malanje

  • Early wake-up (breakfast along the way) as we embark for the train station
  • Today we’ll be mostly on the train (7 hours) in order to reach Malanje. Along the way you’ll truly get to experience rural Angola with several stops along the way.
  • Depending on our arrival time we’ll take a walk around town or head straight to our lodge
  • Dinner and overnight at our lodge

Thursday 27 February – Malanje

  • Today we’ll head for the Kalandula Falls, one of the most famous landmarks in Angola! We’ll have a local guide who will go below the falls with us to see the falls from down.
  • See the local neighborhood of Kalandula
  • Kwanza Rapids, here you can see the women wash their clothes and see the well-known gaps which drag the water down at phenomenal speed
  • Picnic
  • Relaxing at the lodge, where we’ll have a campfire with the locals who surely have some storytelling prepared for us.
  • Overnight at our lodge

Friday 28 February – Malanje/Luanda

  • We’ll visit the Pedras Negras do Pungo Andongo. The black stones were a place of resistance surrounded by mystery and magic against the Portuguese colonizers.
  • Drive to Cacuso, where we’ll visit a regional training initiative. Hear more about how the locals live in this remote area of Angola.
  • Time to head back to Luanda by car
  • Late dinner and overnight in Luanda

Saturday 29 February – Luanda/Kissama National Park

  • Morning visit to Kilamba, this used to be known as a Chinese built ghost town, but today’s a lively area of Luanda
  • Short visit to see some amazing street art. It’s a big thing in Luanda and often there’s a political touch to it.
  • Drive to Kissama National Park
  • Of course we’ll start with a safari, to see if we can spot some wildlife (like zebras, elephants and giraffes).
  • Boat trip
  • We’ll make our wait to the famous Moon Viewpoint for a great sunset.
  • Traditional Angolan goodbye dinner
  • Overnight in Luanda

Sunday 1 March – Luanda

  • Visit Ilha do Cabo, a small landstrip in Luanda
  • Forget about break dance or your EDM moves, in Angola it’s all about the Kizomba. We’ll show you how to move that body!
  • Drive to Cacuaco for a stroll around a local fishing village
  • Late lunch / early farewell dinner before we head to the airport.
  • Group A: Airport drop off based on your flight details – end of the tour
  • Group B: continues, 19:30 flight to Lubango (arrival 20:30)
  • Overnight in our lodge in Lubango

Monday 2 March – Lubango – Chibia – Namibe

  • Early morning drive to Tundavala Gap, an amazing viewpoint on the edge of the Serra da Leba cliff.
  • Drive to Chibia
  • Visit to the local market, here you can meet a lot regional tribes. Including one of the most famous ones: Mumhila. We’ll take our time here so you can take photos of all the different tribes. Of course, we’ll organize this in a respectful way with the locals.
  • We continue our tour to Namibe, along the way we stop at the famous Christo Rei statue. Yes, the same one as in Rio.
  • Serra da Leba pass
  • Overnight in Namibe

Tuesday 3 March – Namibe – Luanda

  • We drive to Tchitundo Hulo, a spot with special cave paintings.
  • Visit to the market in Namibe, another good spot for meeting beautiful dressed local tribes, like Mucubal.
  • 21:30 Flight to Luanda (arrival 22:50).
  • Overnight in Luanda.

Wednesday 4 March – Luanda – Cabinda

  • 6:00 flight to the exclave of Cabina (arrival: 7:00). Here things are starting to get rough in Angola. Cabinda is well-known as the area that tries to be independent from the rest of Angola. The area is rich in oil and is one of the wealthiest parts of the country. During our stay in Cabinda you’ll see more police and military presence then in the rest of the country. However, the last few years it has been relatively calm here.
  • City tour of Cabinda, including;
  • 1 May Park
  • Church of the Immaculate Conception
  • Central market
  • Monument to the Treaty of Simulambuco
  • Overnight in Cabinda

Thursday 5 March – Cabinda

  • Early morning drive to Maiombe Forest Reserve. The biggest rainforest in Angola. You’ll see what local life is here in this tiny strip of Angola. A very interesting and unique experience, as not many tourists have ventured here!
  • Along the way we pass through Cacongo and Malongo.
  • Short stop at Buco Zau
  • Visit the Maiombe Forest Reserve
  • Drive to Cabinda Airport
  • Optional: flight to Luanda (20:50), or we can support you with transport to the border crossing to DR Congo / Congo.
  • End of the tour

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

 
 
OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime.

So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: https://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS

As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason.

If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE

In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund.

What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.

 

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS

MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.

 

TRANSIT VISA

In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • Transportation as per itinerary
  • Twin-Share Accommodation
  • Entrance fees
  • Local and MD/YPT Guide
  • Breakfast, some lunch and dinners

Price exclusive of:

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Most meals and drinks
  • International flights
  • Tips for the local guides and drivers



Interested in joining us for Angola?

12 + 6 =

Syria

March 30 – April 6

Beirut, Lebanon

Damascus, Syria

Palmyra, Syria

Homs, Syria

Aleppo, Syria

Sednaya, Syria

Maaloula, Syria

Crac des Chevaliers, Syria

Bosra, Syria

Deir Mar Musa, Syria

Syria

March 30 – April 6

Sign up deadline for USA Passports: PASSED; Inquire within for exceptions

Sign up deadline for non USA Passports: February 15, 2020

We’ve debated the ethics of this opportunity for a while and after multiple private off-the-books research trips there the past year, we feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. We also welcome any thoughts and opinions via private message to help us process this further…

We confidently report from the ground that most parts of Syria (especially Damascus, Palmyra, and Aleppo) are now completely safe, actively rebuilding, and that the Syrians want to get back on their feet more than ever. Tourism is also officially open at the moment, and especially to all Americans after December 2019. That said, we will NOT be visiting active war zones as we condemn visiting Syria for the purposes of “war tourism” or “dark tourism”, where people come just to gawk at the horrendous. This is not what we will travel for — we don’t seek turmoil, but rather to humbly witness the rebuilding of a proud and rich society in the face of global inequity.

Before the war, Syria was once regarded as a beautiful country for tourism with the most hospitable people. Now Syria has become internationally notorious all for the worst reasons: Dictatorships, rebellions, Daesh, rebels, crushing sanctions, war, and destruction. However, it does not have to be this way. With the war essentially over, Syria is now at a unique point in its history. Although a trip here may be not as hunky dory as a postcard from France, the next few years will be remembered as an integral part of their story and shouldn’t be ignored.

Although I still contemplate the mental hurdles of returning to Syria, I’ve been consistently reassured by folks currently there that our presence will show that the world is not against them, that there are people outside their borders that don’t regard Syria as an evil place of war and death, and that our patronage for their local-run restaurants and hotels will help them rebuild. Most of all, recent (responsible) tourism in the region already have helped some feel like normal people again and accepted back in the world.

Without question the local Syrian people are eager to step back onto the world stage in a positive light and show off their rich culture, to demonstrate their once-famous hospitality, and to stop being stereotyped as the place you’ve only read in the news about Daesh. So how can I argue against the belief we must develop own own opinion, especially if we can travel there with a minimal footprint?

Let us know what you think, and if you are interested in joining us, send us a message.

Damascus

  • Meet at your hotel in Beirut
  • Drive to Syria across the Lebanon/Syrian border
  • Azem Palace, with the vestige of Damascus costumes and life
  • The Saladine Mausoleum
  • Omayyad Mosque
  • Straight Street
  • Chapel of Saint Ananias
  • The Saint Paul Window
  • Afternoon stroll down the famous covered souk
  • Return to Damascus at end of 8-day trip (rest of itinerary below), ending with farewell dinner, overnight, and morning transportation back to hotel in Beirut

Bosra

  • Full day excursion to visit the ancient city of Bosra
  • The great Theater
  • The Nabatean ruins, a city which built with the black stone

Sednaya

  • Visit the convent of the blessed virgin

Ma’aloula

  • One of the most scenic villages in Syria and is of particular interest as the only place in the world where Aramaic; the language spoken by Christ is still used as a living language
  • The word Maaloula means entrance in Aramaic. It’s situated at an altitude of more than 1500 meters; with its little houses cling to the face of an enormous rock; making it look suspended in mid-air
  • Saint Serge Monastery
  • Saint Tecla Convent

Crac de Chevaliers

  • One of the best known sites in Syria, situated in the mountains towards the coast
  • It is part of the Crusaders’ past in this region and has been beautifully restored

Homs & Palmyra

  • Full day visit of the destroyed city of Palmyra
  • Temple of Bel reuins
  • Arch of Triumph
  • The Great Colonnade
  • The Theatre
  • The Agora
  • The Tombs

Aleppo

  • The ancient city Aleppo (itinerary withheld due to safety reasons)

Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi

  • Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian, is a monastic community of the Syriac Catholic Church located near the town of Nabk

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

 
OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

When is the last day to sign up?

Due to a lengthy visa process for everyone, the deadline for non-USA passports is February 15th, 2020

The deadline for USA passports has already passed. Please inquire privately if you qualify as an exception.

What days and WHERE should I book my flights to arrive?

Arrival into Beirut (airport code: BEY), Lebanon anytime on or before March 29th.

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime.

So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: https://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 50% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS

As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason.

If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE

In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY

Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS

MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.

TRANSIT VISA

In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • Transfer Beirut to Damascus back to Beirut
  • Accommodation at the mentioned hotels or similar on B.B basis
  • English speaking guide during tours
  • Transportation as mentioned
  • Entrance fees to all sites as mentioned
  • Donation at churches and mosque
  • Tips for porters at the hotel
  • Visa permission if we get your passport scan copy before 50 Days for USA citizen
  • Permission for Palmyra

Price exclusive of:

  • Visa fees / to be paid directly at the border (~$160 USD for Americans)
  • Lunches and dinners.
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance (20 USD per Person) not obligatory
  • Departure tax 2500 SYP per person ($5 USD)
  • Optional Single supplement ($380 USD extra to have a single room, no roommates)
  • Optional Farewell dinner (if we have a group larger than 12 – $35 USD per person)

Interested in joining us for Syria?

9 + 3 =

Wales

July 3 – 5, 2020

Wales

+ Optional Visit to Stonehenge!

July 5, 2020

Manchester

Conwy

Caernafon

Portmeiron

Rhossili

Swansea

Cardiff

Penarth

Cosemeston Medieval Village

Caerau Fort

Llandaff Cathedral

Castell Coch

Tintern Abbey

Stonehenge

London

Wales

July 3 – 5, 2020

In a follow up to last year’s incredibly successful road trip around the Isle of Man and Belfast in Northern Ireland, many of the same travelers are returning to the area for another epic road trip around lesser visited but equally beautiful Wales, including an optional pitstop to legendary Stonehenge and London!

  • July 3 morning: Arrive in Manchester
  • July 3 day: Conwy, Caenarfon, Portmeiron, Rhossil, Swansea
  • July 3 night: Arrive in Cardiff for overnight
  • July 4: Penarth, Cosemeston, Caeru, Llandaff Cathedral, Castell Coch, Brecon National Park
  • July 5: Either depart early morning from Cardiff or continue onwards to London with a visit to Stonehenge and Tintern Abbey

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow. It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go! You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young. Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences. Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

 
OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: https://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit. FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer. TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance. LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events. TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs. TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • All Accommodation & Lodging (Top rated hotels and apartments, no hostels this time)
  • All transportation/road-tripping
  • Local Guides
  • Intracity taxis during city & walking tours
  • Rental car fees + gas
  • Airport transfers

Price exclusive of:

  • International Flights to begin and end the trip
  • Visa if required
  • Meals, drinks and personal spending
  • Optional excursions
  • Nightlife
  • Tips for the local guides

Interested in joining us for Wales?

9 + 1 =

Kaliningrad

August 27-30, 2020

Lithuania

Aug. 30 – Sept 1, 2020

Kalininigrad

Curonian Split

Vilnius

Trakai

Cyprus

Sept 2-8, 2020

Larnaca

Ayia Napa

Nicosia

Tala

Paphos

Vouni Palace

Kyrenia Castle

Kantara Castle

Παναγία Κανακαριά Λυθράγκωμης

Aphendrika

Zafer Burnu

Salamis

Famagusta

Kaliningrad & Lithuania

Aug 27-31, 2020

Cyprus

Sept 2-7, 2020

This August on our annual summer headliner, we head way off the beaten path again.

At the end of World War 2, the German city of Konigsberg was captured by Soviet forces and renamed Kaliningrad. It has been since regarded infamously as the ‘most militarized zone in Europe’: The Russian Baltic Sea Fleet and its numerous nuclear silos have called this place home since the days of the Cold War. And because of that distinction the exclave of Kaliningrad was a strictly walled off top-secret military zone throughout for decades, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Now Kaliningrad has become a pleasant summer destination for Russian travelers and one of the few places on Earth where you can see both the remains of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union in the same place. From Nazi command bunkers, Soviet nuclear submarines, the former frontline of the desperate German defense to hold the city, Prussian forts, natural wonders and forbidden military cities, we bring you a travel opportunity like no other.

After 3 days here, we then take a bus ride for a return trip to Vilnius, Lithuania. There we take a break back in familiar territory with possible optional activities such as our favorite gun range, the micronation of Uzupis, and a day trip to the castle of Trakai!

Then we fly for a week in more traveled Cyprus, where we take a leisurely 7-8 days soaking up the sun on its numerous beaches, while also exploring its endless supply of archaeological and antiquities sites scattered around the island, all dating from the New Stone Age to the Roman Empire!

We’ll also throw in 2-3 days in Northern Cyprus — currently administered by Turkey — where we go on another road trip off the beaten path to Kyrenia (aka the pearl of the Mediterranean) ancient castles, ghost cities, more beaches, and so much more!

  • August 27: Arrive into Kaliningrad
  • August 28-29: Kaliningrad, Russia
  • August 30-Sept 1: Vilinius, Lithuania
  • Sept 2: Fly into Cyprus
  • Sept 2-3: Ayia Napa, Cyprus
  • Sept 3-4: Larnarca, Cyprus
  • Sept 4-5: Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Sept 5-7: Northern Cyprus
  • Sept 8: Return home

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow. It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go! You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young. Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences. Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

 
OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime. So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: https://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions. BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason. If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit. FORCE MAJEURE In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund. What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company. Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer. TRAVEL INSURANCE Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance. LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

TOUR ITINERARY Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events. TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs. TRANSIT VISA In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • All Accommodation & Lodging
  • All transportation/road-tripping
  • Local Guides
  • Intracity taxis during city & walking tours
  • Rental car fees + gas
  • Airport transfers
  • International flight between Lithuania and Cyprus if signing up for Whole Trip

Price exclusive of:

  • International Flights to begin and end the trip
  • Visa if required
  • Meals, drinks and personal spending
  • Optional excursions
  • Nightlife
  • Tips for the local guides

Interested in joining us for Summer 2020?

13 + 1 =

Svalbard

October 14-19, 2020

Svalbard

October 14-19, 2020

Longyearbyen

Barentsburg

Nordenskiöld

Pyramiden



Svalbard: Soviet Frontier Arctic Cruise

October 14-19, 2020

Wed 14th October – Arrival

  • Arrival into Longyearbyen which has flights from Oslo or Tromso
  • Longyearbyen is the main town in Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, and the northernmost settlement in the world.
  • Meet at 6pm at our hotel for dinner and pre-tour meeting where you can get to know your fellow travelers and YPT guide
  • Relax at Barentz Pub, the world’s northernmost bar. Fortunately being tax-free, a pint in Svalbard is way cheaper than the Norwegian mainland!
  • Overnight in Longyearbyen Coal Miners’ Cabins

Thurs 15th October – Longyearbyen and the Beginning of the Voyage

  • After breakfast head out to explore Svalbard, we may bump into reindeer but it’s not advisable to leave the town centre without a rifle because of polar bears!
  • Head first to the Svalbard Museum which delves deep into the human history and rich natural history of the archipelago
  • Lunch in Longyearbyen
  • Visit the northernmost church in the world, Svalbard Church
  • In the late afternoon we make sure we have all our provisions for the voyage
  • Early evening departure on the s/v Noorderlicht from Isfjorden
  • Look out for whales or just take in the scenery as dusk approaches
  • Dinner and overnight on the ship

Fri 16th October – Barentsburg

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • We’ll be scanning the waters for whales and other creatures but also taking in the atmosphere in this remote part of the world
  • Lunch on the ship
  • If there’s time then we’ll visit Colesbukta, a former Russian coal mining settlement long since abandoned
  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT – we arrive in Barentsburg, the only Russian settlement in Spitsbergen still inhabited with a population of about 500 people, almost all of Russian or Ukrainian descent
  • Explore this old mining town and meet its very friendly Russian locals, we’ll even head to the Russian consulate – the northernmost diplomatic mission of any kind in the world
  • Visit the Barentsburg Pomor Museum, a Soviet era museum from the 1960s. The museum mainly deals with the Pomors – Russian settlers from the Novgorod region – but has great sections on the Second World War and Soviet Era as well as local history. Barentsuburg is named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz, who discovered Svalbarg in 1596, though the Russians claim it was Pomors who got there first.
  • Get your kit off and swim in the heated seawater swimming pool
  • Spot the Communist Star and Slogan “Peace to the World” on the hillside above Barentsburg
  • This may be officially Norway still, but we’re still YPT/MD and so we pay our respects to the statue of Lenin! Never will you see a statue of Lenin looking out over a fjord with the colourful Scandinavian style houses in the background.
  • Grab a couple of drinks at the northernmost brewery in the world, the Red Bear
  • Back aboard our ship for dinner and overnight

Sat 17th October – Nordenskiöld and Pyramiden

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • Visit the glacier of Nordenskiöld, you most probably have never seen as much Arctic ice in one place, and the way the world is going, you may never do so again
  • Lunch on the ship
  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT – In the afternoon we arrive in Pyramiden, a former coal mining Soviet settlement which is now completely deserted but hauntingly complete – this former Swedish settlement was sold to the USSR in 1927 and abandoned in 1998
  • We explore the abandoned settlement showing how the resident coal miners lived – it is predicted that because of the climate the buildings will remain largely as they are for another 500 years!
  • See the world’s northernmost monument to Lenin!
  • Check out the Pyramiden Monument, the old coal-fired power plant and Siberian style wooden barracks
  • Get back on board the ship for dinner and overnight

Sun 18th October – Longyearbyen

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • Arrival back into Longyearbyen and transfer to our accommodation
  • After lunch we head out to the North Pole Expedition Museum
  • Visit the Svalbard Gallery and artists workshops
  • Dinner at Mary Anne’s Polarrigg where you can sample Arctic-Thai fusion including a whale stir-fry
  • Finish our tour with a Svalbard pub crawl, no wandering off into polar bear territory though!
  • Overnight in Longyearbyen

Mon 19th October – End of tour

  • End of tour; we’re able to arrange extra activities like hiking or snow mobile expeditions for those who want more of a taste of Svalbard or airport transfer and onward transport

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

DO YOU HAVE PHOTOS FROM YOUR PREVIOUS, SIMILAR TRIPS?

Start here and work your way forward: First Landing In Antarctica.

WHAT ARE WE SAILING ON?

We will sail on the Oceanwide Expedition’s legendary s/v Noorderlicht. Sample pictures & layout of our cabins: Cabins aboard m/v Hondius.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 40% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime.

So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities do not need visas. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: https://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS

As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason.

If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE

In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund.

What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.

 

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS

MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.

 

TRANSIT VISA

In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in twin share in Longyearbyen and on board our ship in twin cabins
  • All transport to complete the tour
  • Breakfast in Longyearbyen and all meals on the ship
  • Full ship crew and YPT/MD guide

Price exclusive of:

  • * Transport to and from Longyearbyen
  • Visa fees if applicable (Svalbard is generally visa free though)
  • Lunches and dinners in Longyearbyen
  • All entrance fees
  • Single Supplement in Longyearbyen, not available on ship (€200)
  • Drinks and personal spending



Interested in joining us for Svalbard?

4 + 6 =

West Africa

Part 1: The Gulf Of Guinea

Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria

November 2020

Abidjan

Grand Bassam

Cape Coast

Kumasi

Accra

Lomé

Ouidah (Porte du Non Retour)

Porto-Novo

Badagry

Lagos



West Africa

Part 1: The Gulf of Guinea

Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria

November 2020

  • Day 1: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Day 2: Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Day 3: Cape Coast, Ghana
  • Day 4: Kumasi, Ghana
  • Day 5: Kumasi & Lake Bosomtwe, Ghana
  • Day 6: Accra, Ghana
  • Day 7: Lomé, Togo
  • Day 8: Ouidah, Benin & Porto-Novo, Benin
  • Day 9: Badagry, Nigeria & Lagos, Nigeria
  • Day 10: Lagos, Nigeria

WHY SHOULD I GO?

“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.” – Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

It starts with *you*. None of the following will ever matter unless you commit to your decision. Yes, dropping everything for something totally new and unknown can be scary! But nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it; you have to get on the damn thing! So get on and go!

You might respond with “Yeah, but…” “’Yeah, but…’ is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.” – 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.

Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out. Then watch us as we come back safe and sound, share our stories, show you our photos, and talk about how our lives have changed. Whether or not you will realize it then, when you have your first child, when in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you’re inevitably going to regret that you missed out on an epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This could set the tone for the rest of your life. Don’t let this happen. Starting slowly never ever works in travel and habits become harder to break once you’ve accustomed yourself to a way of approaching new experiences.

Do you think that to skydive you first have to look it up on Wikipedia, or learn to fall off a table? No. You simply jump. So those of you who want to travel, travel. And imagine how easy traveling will seem to you afterwards. Imagine how much confidence you’ll gain in yourself. Imagine the bragging rights and stories you’ll have when you come home. Not many people realize that the opportunity for a tremendously positive life change is right in front of their faces: This could be the very moment where you turn your life around and finally do something *epic*. The world won’t wait for you.

OK, I'M INTERESTED: How do I pay?

A 50% down payment is needed to secure your spot on the trip. We accept credit cards, cash (in person), mailed check, PayPal, Chase Quickpay, Square Cash, or Venmo.

What days should I book my flights to arrive?

Depends on what part of the trip you sign up for; please confirm with us directly before purchasing tickets!

Do you provide flight advice/support to get the cheapest flights?

Yep! We boast expertise in this area and would be happy to assist you in booking the cheapest flights, finding hack fares, or work with loyalty mile programs to getting you free economy, business class, or first class flights.

I’d love to come, but I’m limited on budget.

Contact us anyway and we can come up with a deal or financial aid packages.

Can I come alone?

Yes, many of our monsooners have joined our trip by themselves and end up meeting a whole new group of friends. We usually attract people who come from a range of backgrounds and have different levels of experience with travel.

What if I don’t usually like traveling with people?

Our trips are designed by independent travelers with independent travel in mind — we want to provide everyone with the opportunity and experience of traveling alone should they choose to. Therefore, there’s zero pressure to stick with the group anytime.

So if you want to venture off to a museum or try a different restaurant, by all means: Do it! The group will only be expected to stay together for transportation between cities.

Will you accommodate food restrictions?

Of course. Just tell us ahead of time when you sign up and we can make accommodations easily.

Do I need visas?

Depends on your nationality and type of passport. People with USA and EU nationalities may apply for e-visas ahead of time remotely for Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, visas are issued on arrival for Togo, and they must apply for visas ahead of time for Ghana and Nigeria. Otherwise, we can help you with this if you need any visas. Please ask!

Will someone provide me with a list of tasks I need to complete for visas or pre-entry credentials

Yes, of course!

Do I need travel insurance?

Up to you! Some credit cards already include some sort of travel insurance (check with them). We tend to find the cheapest ones at: https://www.travelinsurance.com/

Terms and Conditions between The Monsoon Diaries LLC, henceforth called “MD,” and the customer, henceforth called the “customer.” Booking a tour with MD acknowledges customer understanding and agreement to the following terms and conditions.

BOOKING POLICY

  • A 40% deposit is due upon booking confirmation and is non-refundable. The balance of payment is due 1 week before the tour commences. Following receipt of deposit customer is required to send relevant details for issuing of relevant permits.
  • Failure to send true and correct information may result in refusal of visa, or permit, and thus results in forfeit of deposit.
  • Should visa, or permit be refused through no fault of the customer, the customer shall receive a full refund minus associated banking costs.
  • In the event of personal injury, or bereavement that prevents the customer taking part on the tour, MD reserve the right to increase the deposit minus associated fees.

CANCELLATION POLICY

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by MD. Tour refunds will be given according to the table below.

  • 12 weeks (90 days) prior to the tour customers receive a 100% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 60 – 89 days prior to the tour customers receive a 50% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • 8-59 days prior to the tour customers to receive a 10% refund, minus associated and unrefundable costs.
  • Cancellations received on the day of or within 1 week of departure are non-refundable

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

  • MD may change these Terms & and Conditions at any time. MD will notify customers if changes to the booking terms and conditions are made.
  • It is the responsibility of all customers, regardless of nationality and destination, to check with the consulate of the country they are visiting for current entry requirements. As visa and health requirements are subject to change with-out notice, we recommend that you verify health and visa requirements with the appropriate consulate prior to departure.
  • Price quotations are subject to change without notice, until a booking has been confirmed.
  • MD fully reserves the right to change or amend all itineraries on a case by case basis depending on the situation on the ground. MD will always provide a suitable replacement for anything cancelled on an itinerary.
  • Train, and flight tickets are subject to availability. MD reserve the right to change the mode of transport depending on availability.
  • If for any reason, a client does not complete any portion of their tour or abandons their scheduled tour after departure, MD will not grant a partial refund, nor shall there be any credit given towards future travel.

VISAS

As with all travel there is always a minor chance that a visa will be refused. MD has an excellent track record for visas with a relatively insignificant amount having ever been turned down and all were with good reason.

If the customer has provided accurate information to us and their visa is refused and refunded, MD will in turn grant a full refund of any payments made to MD minus associated transfer fees and costs but will not be held responsible for any costs incurred by the customer in traveling to Beijing, Kuala Lumpur or any other location from which their tour was scheduled to depart. In the event you have intentionally misled us in an attempt to enter a country, we will retain your deposit.

FORCE MAJEURE

In the event of an uncontrollable event, such as war, revolution, and or natural disaster, the customer shall be entitled to a full refund.

What constitutes force majeure is decided solely by the company.

Note: With all refunds the company shall not be held liable for any bank, and or associated fees linked to transferring refund, with sole responsibility being borne by the customer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical treatment in many destinations is not free, and it is strongly recommended that the customer take out their own travel insurance, AND check with the issuer whether it is valid in the country of the tour. MD does not provide, nor imply provision of health/travel insurance.

LOCAL LAWS

  • Customers are required to follow local laws and regulations at all times. In the result of a breach of local law, MD will not be held in any way responsible and the customer will take responsibility for any consequences, financial or otherwise, that arise from their actions.
  • Customers are required to follow the guidance and company rules of MD at all times. MD reserves the right to expel customers from the tour who do not follow company rules, without refund.

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Due to the nature of travel/tourism of certain countries, itineraries do not provide or imply a guarantee of the tour’s contents. Though we will make every effort to keep itineraries as described and to find suitable replacements, the company reserves the right to make changes to the itinerary in response to unforeseeable events.

 

TRAVEL EXCEPTIONS

MD reserves the right in extreme cases to refuse service to anyone we deem unsuitable for one of our tours, in the event that MD deems you unsuitable prior to a tour any payment made to MD will be refunded minus associated transfer costs.

 

TRANSIT VISA

In the event the customer intends to travel to and from a country using a transit visa they bear full responsibility for ensuring the transit visa is organized correctly. MD will of course offer assistance in the event of issues arising with customer’s transit, but will in no case be held liable for any costs incurred in arranging customer exits.



Price inclusive of:

  • All accommodations
  • All transport to complete the tour
  • Admission fees

Price exclusive of:

  • Transport/International flights to begin and end the trip
  • Visa fees
  • All meals
  • Drinks and personal spending



Interested in joining us for West Africa 2020?

9 + 5 =