Mali & Burkina Faso

Mali: Jan 28 – Feb 3, 2022

Burkina Faso: Feb 3 – 8, 2022

St. Lucia & Martinique (Yacht Week)

Jan 2-10, 2022

Polynesia/Tahiti (Yacht Week)

April 22-30, 2022



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!



Mali & Burkina Faso

Mali: January 28-February 3, 2022

Burkina Faso: February 3-8, 2022

Bamako

Segou

San, Mali

Djenne

Ouagadougou

Banfora

Sindou

Bobo Dioulasso

Tiébélé

Mali & Burkina Faso

Jan 28 – Feb 8, 2021

We begin in the capital of Mali, Bamako for the start of our grand African tour. We’ll be heading to Segoukoro, former capital of the Bambara Kingdom, where we’ll meet the village chief. When we’ve had our fill, we’ll sail down the Niger river until we arrive at Segou. From here, we visit Djenne, the so-called ‘capital of mud’. If you don’t think that sounds impressive, just wait until you see the Great Mosque, the world’s largest mud structure and a UNESCO world heritage site. We’ll then head back to Bamako and cross a river to our own private island to camp out in the wild outdoors of Africa.

After this, we’ve got a real treat for you. We’ll be heading out into Mandinka country, home to local tribes who keep their native cultures alive. There we’ll be taking in the gorgeous views and watching local cultural practices, like a sacred mask ceremony in which village elders scare away bad spirits to welcome in the good. We then board our flights and head to the capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, where we’ll explore the surrounding beautiful natural scenery and visiting one of the most artistically stunning villages in Africa before finally seeing out the tour with a farewell party in the marquis and open-air bars beloved by local Burkinabe.

Then for our partners at YPT, Burkina Faso has to be one of their favourite countries to visit in Africa. Home of Thomas Sankara, pan-African revolutionary, home of stunning scenery and striking incredible culture, not to mention home to a whole lot of wonderful people!

Those joining us from our Mali tour will return to Bamako via Segou. For those of us heading to Burkina Faso, we’ll be boarding a flight with Air Burkina to Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso where we’ll meet our friendly guide and driver, then kick off a road-trip to Koudougou, a vibrant Burkinabe city with museums, workshops and a bustling marketplace.

We then head to the capital city, Ouagadougou, where we’ll explore the surrounding beautiful natural scenery, spending some time in one of the most artistically stunning villages in Africa and finally see out the tour with a magnificent farewell party in the marquis and open-air bars beloved by local Burkinabe.

Friday 28th January – Bamako

  • Arrive at your convenience into Bamako – the largest and capital city of Mali which is well connected from many countries within Africa and most of Europe. Boasting bustling markets, beautiful Mosque’s and an enormous national museum, it’s a perfect place to kick things off.
  • Pre-tour meeting will be held at 2pm in the lobby of our hotel, The Sleeping Camel / Hotel les Colibris, to discuss tour itinerary and to meet your fellow travellers and YPT guide, including those joining from our earlier Mauritania tour.
  • Head out into the city of Bamako to a lovely local restaurant for authentic Malian cuisine and to get to know each-other a little better.
  • Depending on time, we can make a visit to a traditional puppet maker’s workshop.
  • Out again to explore Bamako’s night-life, mingle with some of the locals and maybe have a few drinks.
  • Overnight at hotel in Bamako.

Saturday 29th January – Bamako – Segou

  • Breakfast at hotel and begin drive to Segou (4 hours) – a town built on the banks of River Niger.
  • Before arriving at Segou we’ll stop at the town of Segoukoro – the former capital of the Bambara Kingdom, all the way back in the 18th century and still holding the tomb of its old king.
  • We have an appointment with none other than the village chief, a direct descendent of the very king who ruled all those years ago. You’ll have tea with him and he’ll help answer all of our questions about the history of Segou and its royalty.
  • The King’s descendants will show us the rebuilt vestibule, where the king used to receive his guests.
  • Explore the village, home to four mosques, the most famous being the waterfront one which the famous King Biton Coulibaly built for his mother.
  • We’ll head onwards in a pinasse – the Malian boat of choice. We’ll be cruising along the Niger River, the third largest river of Africa.
  • We’ll take a few stops at a local fishing village to get a closer look at the lives of the locals.
  • Take in the natural beauty of west Africa as we cruise down the river, having a meal on the boat and chatting about events thus far.
  • On our way to Segou, we’ll be stopping off at the Soroblé bogolan (mud-cloth) center. This traditional cotton fabric is dyed with fermented mud and represents one of Mali’s most influential cultural practices.
  • Arrive into Segou and explore an old colonial era neighbourhood, meeting a local family who’ll be cooking us our meal.
  • We’ll visit a local cathedral, then make our way to a traditional millet beer brewery and sample the local product to see in the evening.
  • Head to the centre of the town and seek out what kind of food Segou has in store for us, stopping by a local restaurant and later checking out some of Segou’s nightlife.
  • Overnight at the Résidence Djiguibombo.

Sunday 30th January – Segou – San

  • Breakfast in Segou.
  • Further explore a Somono neighbourhood – a place filled with adobe (mud-brick) buildings, a traditional architectural style house found mostly in Segou that help keep the family inside cool during intense summers. Here we may also be able to take part in a traditional Malian tea ceremony.
  • Visit the local week market, checking out the produce and seeing the bustling, vibrant life of the town.
  • For lunch, a traditional peanut sauce dish will be made for us at the compound of a local family.
  • For Group B members visiting Burkina Faso – We’ll be stopping off at the consulate early to sort out visas, getting them processed during our stay in Segou.
  • Visit the Monument to the Kings located at the entrance of the city
  • Depart for the town of San, where we’ll visit a stunning adobe (mud-brick) mosque. Unfortunately the interior can only be visited by Muslims, but at least everyone can admire the sheer style and artistry of the building itself!
  • Find ourselves a nice place to have dinner, then maybe see what the nightlife in San has to offer us.
  • Overnight in San at the Hotel Teriya.

Monday 31st January – San – Djenne – Segou

  • Early breakfast and then at around 6am begin a long drive to Djenne – known as the ‘capital of mud’. The local architecture, from the streets to the buildings is made from mud brick, often resulting in fascinating, unique architecture.
  • A centre of Islamic scholarship, we’ll check out some Quranic schools and drop by the Museum of Djenne’s manuscripts – here a single man protects these ancient, irreplaceable artefacts.
  • Get up nice and high for a grand view of Djenne’s Great Mosque – the world’s largest mud building and a UNESCO world heritage site. The inside of the Mosque can only be visited by Muslims.
  • Lunch is served by none other than the wife of our esteemed guide, the regional specialty ‘Tion Tion’, a delicious fish fried rice dish.
  • We’ll see a sacred well – according to local legend, the ancestors of the town used the well to consult the spirits before making big decisions.
  • Explore the Shrine of Tapama, where a young virgin was once ritually sacrificed to appease ‘bad spirits’ in the town.
  • At last, we’ll head back to Segou once more for another shot at whatever fun there is and whatever there is to eat when the sun goes down.
  • Overnight in Segou at the Résidence Djiguibombo.

Tuesday 1st February – Segou – Bamako

  • After breakfast, an early start back to the capital of Bamako.
  • In preparation for our later departure, we’ll visit the National Institute of Health for a PCR test (coronavirus test).
  • We’ll start our tour of Bamako off by visiting the bustling ‘Rose Market’, a massive open air market where you can haggle furiously with the locals and pick up a wide variety of local goods to bring home!
  • Explore the National Museum of Mali – With a collection of items 10,000 strong, ranging from traditional masks and costumes to textiles, old photos and many videos, this is a great place to dip your toes in Malian culture before getting stuck in for the rest of the tour.
  • Visit the Tower of Africa – The tallest structure in Mali at 80m (262ft) in height, this is no drab grey city skyscraper. Built to evoke traditional banco (mud-brick) style, the highly decorative building takes inspiration from some of Mali’s greatest treasures, like its UNESCO world heritage Mosque’s.
  • See the grand, marble Malian Independence Monument and the capital’s railway station!
  • Lunch at Bating Restaurant providing incredible local dishes such as Poulet Yassa, a spicy marinated chicken or fish dish with lemon, mustard or onions.
  • Ascend to the top of Point G Hill – a French military hospital was built on top of this hill between 1906 and 1913 offering fantastic views over Bamako.
  • If we have time and didn’t get to see it earlier, we may even be able to check out a puppet-makers workshop!
  • Dinner at a popular local restaurant, giving us the chance to mingle with some of the locals!
  • Bamako being the largest city in Mali has its own vibrant and exciting night-life. No need for serious planning here, we’ll go out and see what we can find, it won’t take long to find something great!
  • Overnight at hotel in Bamako

Wednesday 2nd February – Bamako – Manding Country – Bamako

  • Morning departure to Manding country, home of the Mandinka people who are an ethnic group descended from the 13th century Mali Empire.
  • Visit Kamadjan Arch, a beautiful natural and historic stone arch that served as a meeting place for soldiers, war councils and people of great intelligence all the way back in the 13th century.
  • Around the site are other historic places to visit, including sacrificial caves and the ‘consultation cave’
  • Trip highlight – We’ve got a very special treat: A Dogon mask ceremony. This is where the elders of the village chant in order to chase bad spirits while the very sacred Dogon masks are taken out of their traditional homes to be worn for the dance.
  • Return to Bamako to pick up our PCR test certificates.
  • Final farewell dinner at a nice local Malian restaurant in Bamako.
  • Evening drop-off at the airport for those on an outbound flight.
  • Overnight at hotel for those continuing on to Burkina Faso.

Thursday 3rd February – Ouagadougou – Koudougou (Burkina Faso)

  • Arrival into Ouagadougou at your own convenience. Those joining from our earlier Mali tour arrive from Bamako. (Expected at 11:20
  • Pre-tour meeting and get-together with YPT guide and fellow travellers in the lobby of the Auberge du Grand Calao hotel to go over our itinerary and any plans for the coming days.
  • Head out for lunch at a local restaurant to explore a little of Ouagadougou and get to know each-other before starting off proper.
  • Kick things off with a short road trip to Koudougou, Burkina Faso’s third most populous city.
  • Check out the Rayimi Museum, home to many old artefacts and photos, including an old national flag that went on the moon!
  • Visit a brass workshop to see how local Burkinabe people work and what kind of crafts they produce.
  • As the sun sets, it’s time to head out and explore the local nightlife and find a nice place for dinner.
  • Overnight in Koudougou at the Hotel Dima.

Friday 4th February – Banfora

  • Breakfast in town
  • Morning departure to Banfora via Dedougou and Bobo Dioulasso, complete with some stops at local roadside villages. We’ll be checking out granaries, a village potter, the pottery market of Tcheriba and their beautiful adobe (mud-brick) mosque.
  • Visit the Fabedougou Domes to watch the sunset. These stunning rock formations are over 2 billion years old, yet they’ve hardly weathered at all in millennia. Looking closely, one can see the signs of ancient ocean erosion, from eons ago when the land was covered in water. This area was historically used by locals to hide from neighbouring tribes.
  • Dinner in town with plenty of options from local maquis to nice and cosy French restaurants.
  • Overnight in Banfora at the Hotel Calypso

Saturday 5th February – Sindou – Bobo Dioulasso

  • Early sunrise boat trip on the Tengrela Lake where we can watch hippos up close and personal! (But not too close and personal… Though according to local legend, the hippos are sacred and would never attack humans.)
  • Lakeside breakfast
  • Travel onwards to the village of Sindou.
  • Hike 1.5km to the Karfiguela Falls, a series of waterfalls that marks one of Burkina Faso’s most popular tourist sites.
  • Picnic lunch by the falls and a dip in the refreshing water to cool off from the hot Burkinabe sun.
  • Explore the village and the impressive rock formations for which it is renowned for, the ‘Peaks of Sindou’. Reaching a grand 415 meters above sea level, it’s the highest point in Burkina Faso. Historically, the peaks were a popular place for many to live as it offered excellent natural defence against invaders. Each rock formation has a story and our local guides can tell us all about them while we enjoy the stunning views of Burkina Faso.
  • Drive out of Sindou and visit Kawara – a village of potters known for performing a traditional pottery dance.
  • Continue onwards to Bobo Dioulasso, the second largest city in the country and home to beautiful neo-Sudanic architecture for dinner.
  • Visit the maquis, typical Burkinabe open-air bars which turn into nightclubs. A good opportunity to mingle with the locals and have a fun time!
  • Overnight in Bobo Dioulasso at the Hotel Villa Rose annex

Sunday 6th February – Bobo Dioulasso – Ouagadougou

  • Breakfast in town
  • Explore the old neighbourhood and grasp the feeling of what life was like in old Burkina Faso, or as it was known during the colonial times – the Upper Volta. Burkina Faso, the name given by Thomas Sankara, can be translated as “The land of the upright men.”
  • Visit the Grand Mosque, built in traditional Sudanic architecture from the late 1900s, when this area was part of the ‘Kingdom of Sia’.
  • Time allowing, followed by a short drive and a 1km hike to Dafra – known for the famous pilgrimage site in Burkina Faso where people come from far to sacrifice animals to the local catfish. Things get very real as we get up close to those animist rituals. Please note that it is taboo to wear red clothes and take photos on this site.
  • Road-trip to Ouagadougou. We’ll make scenic stops and have a lunch break along the way to stretch our legs including a last stop in Bazoule – a sacred crocodile pond. Much like with the hippos earlier, the locals respect and co-exist with the crocodiles. The crocodiles are never hunted, harmed or killed. In exchange, the crocs do not eat the locals. Believe it or not, it’s even possible to play with the crocodiles, some of which are believed to be over a hundred years old, with the oldest dubbed the ‘old man of the lake’.
  • Arrival in Ouagadougou, where we’ll find a restaurant to eat at and then go enjoy some night-life!
  • Overnight in Ouagadougou at the Auberge du Grand Calao hotel.

Monday 7th February  – Ouagadougou – Tiébélé – Ouagadougou

  • Early breakfast and 7am pickup for another long road-trip to Tiébélé via the city of Pô. It’s in this city where the military first rebelled in 1983 to overthrow the president and bring pan-African revolutionary Captain Thomas Sankara to power.
  • Arrival in Tiébélé, where every house is a work of art! The traditional Gourounsi architecture is met with elaborate decorations to the walls of home, turning what could have been simple brown mud-brick to vibrant, intricate exhibitions of the local artistry of the Kassena people. Sometimes the paintings are purely decorative, other times they are an expression of local religion or commentary on life, much like western graffiti art.
  • After a long look around, including visiting the local Royal compound, we’ll have lunch in a local encampment or in Pô.
  • If possible, we may get to attend a traditional Kassena dancing ceremony!
  • At around 3pm, we’ll make our way back to Ouagadougou for dinner and more nightlife exploration.
  • Overnight in Ouagadougou at the hotel.

Tuesday 8th February – Ouagadougou

  • Morning breakfast and an early trip to Laongo granite park. Here, over 2000 sculptures carved into stone greet visitors, expressing the history, culture, spiritual practices or even just the basic raw creativity of local Burkinabe artists.
  • Return to Ouagadougou in the early afternoon to take in its sights properly.
  • Explore Ouaga 2000 – the futuristic city project where you’ll visit two monuments of great importance: the Monument to National Heroes and the Monument to the Martyrs. If you’ve visited North Korea, you’d feel that these monuments would fit right into Pyongyang.
  • Visit the roundabout of the Second of October – commemorating the day Sankara announced the Burkinabe revolution.
  • See the local railway station, a pride of Sankara’s revolution where the Burkinabe people built the rail with their own hands, without foreign aid.
  • Visit the statue of Thomas Sankara, where we’ll learn about Sankara’s role as ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’, a socialist revolutionary who continues to enjoy immense popularity among the Burkinabe population.
  • Check out local bronze workshops to see some of the artisanal crafts the capital has to offer, following up by buying some crafts ourselves at the village markets!
  • One last ‘Farewell’ dinner at a lovely restaurant in Ouagadougou, serving some of the best meals Burkina Faso has to offer.
  • Tour concludes with airport drop-off arranged according to your flight details – YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for flights. For those departing later, YPT can arrange visits to the National Museum, Music Museum and handicraft market of Ouagadougou.

Mali is a country where tourism hasn’t only collapsed, it has died for now. It is a country that has been left hanging by international aid but is still the country that before 2011, that was renowned for its unique culture and incredible scenery. During our research trips there, we have bonded with incredible people, learned more about their rough but inspiring lives and totally fell in love with the country while always feeling safe. But there are some things, however, that you need to know before you go.

CERTAIN ZONES AREN’T SAFE

Some country collectors will fly to Bamako and then leave the country, scratching it off the list under the pretext that the rest of the country is too dangerous. That would be missing out, big time as Bamako is your average African capital and doesn’t show the whole reality of Mali. In fact, there are many places which will give you a good idea of Mali where you can go.

For the time being, there is a security line jointly manned by the UN and the FAMA, the Malian Armed Forces. This line is around Mopti — more specifically, by the town of Sévaré. If you make it up there, you will see a plethora of tanks, armored vans, and planes warding off the terrorist groups in the north of the country. By our own assessment, places south of this zone are relatively safe and include many mesmerizing places such as Segou, Djenne, Mopti itself and the Dogon Country which you don’t want to miss. This also means, however, that places north of this line, such as, very sadly, Timbuktu and Gao shouldn’t be visited, as they are still extremely volatile, especially for non-locals. While Timbuktu is probably Mali`s most famous tourism site along with the Dogon country, know that there is plenty of things to do, see and people to meet in the south of Mali. For a taste of the things you would find in Timbuktu, visit Djenne, where you will find the same representations of Islamic culture, scriptures and also the Grand Mosque of Djenne: the biggest mud building in the world.

 

DON’T GO THERE ALONE AS AN OUTSIDER

When visiting Mali, knowledge and connections are the key to a pleasant and successful trip. There are many things that outsiders just don’t hear about in Malian society, which is still pretty reliant on old tribal traditions and it is important to have someone who understand these codes to show you around.

Furthermore, by being with someone who is part of the community you are falling under the protection of that person. It is thus important to know and travel with influential people in the community. This will dissuade anyone to attempt anything with you as they will fear the retribution that would fall on them from everyone who is connected to your local contact, be it by tribe, family or friendship.

it is important to be with someone who knows the right person for every situation, not only for your safety but for the ease of your travels. Mali is a country where people aren’t relying on the state and government to solve their problem like we might be used to. So for any problem, there is always someone that you need to know to fix it. You’ll find that while there isn’t a one-stop shop to fix all problems, problems are often fixed faster than in the way due to the multitude of contacts people have to fix their problem.

YPT & TMD teams up in Mali exclusively with expert local guides who are respected pillars of their community and will give you the feeling that they know everyone.

 

HAVE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION

It’s a golden rule of travelling to the kind of places YPT/TMD visits: ‘’There aren’t dangerous countries so much as dangerous places and times within said countries.” A place that was dangerous last week might be safe next week and, likewise, a safe place might turn dangerous.

In Mali, as in many other African countries, you can’t really rely on the media and internet to get information. In the media, information is often simplified since it is directed towards people looking for a general point of view and who haven’t been to Mali. On the internet, things tend to be out of date as most local people do not have access to the internet yet and things are mostly written by outsiders.

So this point is kind of linked with the previous one; it is important to know people on the ground that you can trust to give you the word on the street. Usually, there are signs that things are brewing and our local guides are trained to spot these signs. At YPT/TMD, we will not hesitate to change our itineraries based on the latest local news for our group’s safety. Generally, however, the places we visit are the ones which have not known trouble for a long time and are kept orderly by their community.

 

REGISTER AT YOUR GOVERNMENT TRAVEL SERVICE

Every government has a kind of travel service where citizens of the country can register. Usually there is a website where you can do that in a few minutes. It is important to do that when visiting Mali as this gives your government knowledge of the fact that you are in Mali and important information to reach you and your relative in the unlikely event where any trouble should happen.

Usually, embassies and consular missions will be much more helpful if you have registered to them in advance and this can save some precious time.

 

GET GOOD HEALTH, TRAVEL AND CANCELLATION INSURANCE\

Insurance: one of the only things, along with nuclear weapons, which we pay for praying that we never have to use it. While it might seem like a waste of money when you don’t use it, you’ll be glad to have spent a few euros or dollars on insurance should you need it.

Hospitals in Mali can be quite simple and should you get sick or hurt, you’ll want to either go to one of those expensive international hospitals or be carried to another country. This can be very costly but your insurance should cover it.

As Mali is considered a danger zone, however, you should know that regular insurance companies won’t cover it and you’ll have to sign up with an insurance company specialized in risky areas. For a couple of dollars, you can get sufficient insurance for the duration of your trip with companies such as G1G or First Allied, who specialize in conflict zones.

 

With these tips in hand, we are sure you will have a memorable experience in Mali and will not fee unsafe wherever you go.

To have a great experience without the hassle and worries, come with us on our next Mali & Burkina Faso tour with YPT!

-Pier Doyon

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 I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance

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.

Mali

January 28 - February 3, 2022
$2500/pax
  • The entire trip in Mali!
  • Spectate a traditional Dogon mask ceremony in Manding Country
  • Explore the UNESCO heritage town of Djenne – known as the capital of mud as the buildings and streets made entirely out of mud.
  • You can ensure a lower price by submitting a 40% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins

Burkina Faso

February 3-8, 2022
$2300/pax
  • The entire trip in Burkina Faso!
  • Get deep inside Burkina Faso’s tribal territories, where potters do ceremonial dances and you have the chance to play with hippos and crocodiles!
  • You can ensure a lower price by submitting a 40% down payment before then and pay the rest when the trip begins

Price inclusive of:

  • Accommodation in twin share basis rooms or camping single tents
  • Letter of Invitation and full visa support
  • Air conditioned 4WD transport
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Dinners when camping
  • Entrance fees and tributes/gifts to communities
  • English speaking local guide and YPT/TMD tour guide

Price exclusive of:

  • All flights
  •  Dinners in cities
  • Visa fees
  • Single supplement (Mali €250, Burkina Faso €220)
  • Extra drinks and personal spending
  • PCR tests

Interested in joining us for Mali AND/OR Burkina Faso?

11 + 4 =

Saint Lucia & Martinique (Yacht Week)

January 2-10, 2022

Marina du Marin

Anse d'Arlet

Rodney Bay

The Pitons

Marigot

Pigeon Island

Sainte Anne

St. Lucia & Martinique: Yacht Week

January 2-10, 2022

We don’t always go off the beaten path; sometimes we like to balance our hardcore monsooning with some much needed R&R especially in a special collaborative partnership with The Yacht Week.

Explore two of the Caribbean’s most vibrant cultures. From the French chic of Martinique to the carnival vibes of St Lucia. Hike up the world famous Pitons and dive down to coral reefs teeming with tropical sea life. Celebrate the arrival of 2022 in TYW style at Marigot Bay to the calypso sounds of the Caribbean.

January 2 – Arrival

  • Meet your fellow monsooners and future friends for life. Explore the town and take it all in on solid land before a week on the water.

January 3 – Marina du Marin

  • Welcome to Martinique. Meet your skipper at the marina and get comfortable aboard your yacht. Pick your cabin, meet your crew and head on down to The Indigo Factory to make introductions. Tonight is about new friendships. Welcome to TYW community!

January 4 – Marina du Marin to Anse d’Arlet

  • Escape into the open sea as you leave the marina for your first full day of sailing. Get your skipper to show you the ropes in a sailing lesson. It’s a short but beautiful sail to Anse d’Arlet. Stop for lunch and a swim stop on the way before sailing into a wide sweeping bay surrounded by typical red-roofed houses. Explore the picturesque town before heading to the beach for a sunset session.

January 5 – Anse d’Arlet to Rodney Bay

  • Sleep in while your skipper sets the sails for St Lucia. Once underway join the crew on deck for some exhilarating sailing down wind to St Lucia. On arrival, grab a cocktail by the pool in Rodney bay while your skipper takes care of the passport formalities. Grab your swimwear because it’s time for a pool party at The Harbour Club.

January 6 – Rodney Bay to The Pitons

  • Cruise down the west coast of St Lucia admiring the scenery as it grows dramatically to The world famous Pitons. Step ashore and embark on your own adventure to climb to the summit of one of these extinct volcanoes. The view from the top will make the tough climb absolutely worth it. Tonight we celebrate our aching limbs at The Old Mil for a party in the jungle.

January 7 – The Pitons to Marigot

  • Today we set sails for Marigot Bay, often described as ‘the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean’. Rent a kayak or hobie cat and explore the beauty of this natural bay or head ashore for a cocktail and admire the view. Tonight we gather on Roots Beach to dance until dawn.

January 8 – Marigot to Pigeon Island

  • After a night to remember, today we rest up at Pigeon Island with a raft to share stories in the tranquil waters. For the adventurous, this is an ideal opportunity to take an excursion into the islands interior for waterfall hikes, rainforest tours and zip lining. For those requiring more recovery time grab a floatie and soak up the sun.

January 9 – Pigeon Island to Sainte Anne

  • It’s our last day but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it! Sail back to Martinique and the town of Saint Anne. Spend the afternoon wandering the streets with their faded colonial charm and stock up on souvenirs. Tonight we toast new friendships and reunions at Bao Beach for the closing party.

January 10 – Sainte Anne to Marina du Marin

  • The end of the week is just the beginning. Welcome to Day 8… where the memories and friendships from your week live on. It’s your family away from family. One that keeps growing and inspires you to see, do and experience new things with the best of the best.

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 I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance.

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:

  • Yacht rental
  • Lodging & accommodations on the yacht (2 people per bedroom) for 7 days
  • Towels & Bed Linen
  • Professional Skipper – meet our skippers!
  • Professional host/chef – meet our hosts! (cooks all breakfasts, lunches, 2 dinners, snacks, and is the occasional bartender)
  • Tailored itinerary
  • Mineral water
  • All Access Pass to exclusive The Yacht Week events
  • Yacht equipment
  • GPS & nautical charts (if you like to nerd out on that kind of stuff)
  • On Board Sound System with Cockpit Control
  • Final cleaning of your yacht
  • WIFI (sometimes – it is the ocean after all!)
  • Port fees
  • Mates and memories that’ll last a lifetime

Price exclusive of:

  • Airfare & transport to the marina in Martinique (or St. Lucia if joining in the middle) to begin and end the trip
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Dinners for 5 nights
  • All optional day trips and activities
  • Alcohol, drinks and personal spending
  • Groceries for onboard meals
  • Yacht fuel, water, shore power
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Water Taxis

Interested in joining us for St. Lucia and Martinique?

9 + 8 =

Syria

TBD

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

2022

Sign up deadline for USA Passports: TBD

Sign up deadline for non USA Passports: TBD

We’ve debated the ethics of this opportunity for a while and after multiple private off-the-books research trips there the past 3 years, 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.

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. While 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.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance.

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?

12 + 7 =

Polynesia, Tahiti Route (Yacht Week)

April 22-30, 2022

Raiatea

Huahine

Taha'a

Bora Bora

Polynesia, Tahiti Route: Yacht Week

April 22-30, 2022

We don’t always go off the beaten path; sometimes we like to balance our hardcore monsooning with some much needed R&R especially in a special collaborative partnership with The Yacht Week.

Let’s get lost together in a South Pacific dream as we bring The Monsoon Diaries and Yacht Week vibes to the tropical Tahitian islands. The perfect trip for our daydreaming explorers – experience turquoise waters with live reefs filled with the most extraordinary underwater creatures and coral, nourish your soul with the song and dance of the ancestral traditions of the Tahitian people, and of course – turn it all the way up with new friends at our one-of-kind signature parties.

April 22 – Arrival

  • Meet your fellow monsooners and future friends for life. Explore the town and take it all in on solid land before a week on the water.

April 23 – Raiatea

  • Meet your skipper at your starting marina and then head into town to pick up some of the freshest produce we have ever seen and tasted! Mix and mingle with your fellow Yacht Weekers over evening drinks at a spectacular Polynesian beachside bar.

April 24 – Raiatea to Huahine

  • Escape into the open sea as you leave the Raiatea lagoon for your first full day of sailing. Get you skipper to show you the ropes in a sailing lesson. Dinghy into Plage Hana It on the island of Huahine for the afternoon. Later that evening head back to your yacht and select the perfect spot to anchor drop; we’ll be rafting together in traditional Yacht Week party style.

April 25 – Huahine

  • Adventure day – Activities can include visiting a pearl farm, discovering the backcountry on horseback, embarking on a traditional outrigger canoe for a lagoon tour, or exploring some of the sacred temples hidden throughout dense vegetation of this spectacular island. Make sure to save a some energy for tonight’s party at Huahine Yacht Club!

April 26 – Huahine to Taha’a

  • Today we sail to the west coast of Taha’a, and check out the “Jardin du Corail”. This coral garden is the most renowned snorkelling spot of Tahiti. Let yourself drift over colourful corals and be mesmerised by brightly coloured fish and great giant clams sunbathing right under the surface of the sea! And as if that wasn’t enough already to keep us all high on life, we’ll all meet up at the end the day for a very special gathering of friends!

April 27 – Taha’a to Bora Bora

  • Get dressed with your crew in your very best and very wild regatta outfits for a contest like no other, as you dance your way across the sea to the mythical island of Bora Bora. Surrounded by a giant turquoise lagoon, this island truly lives up to all the hype. Grab some tiki cocktails to relax and enjoy the views at our Sunset party hosted by the Bora Bora Yacht Club.

April 28 – Bora Bora

  •  This breathtaking island deserves more than one day to capture all it’s beauty. The island is filled with adventure – snorkel with stingrays and black tip sharks, check out the sea turtle sanctuary, rent a 4×4 for an off road experience, cruise the island in a “fun car” for two, or just take in all that white sand and blue water with a cocktail in hand. As the sun goes down, meet up with your fellow Yacht Weekers for a South Pacific themed party at the Bloody Mary’s and dance someplace truly different.

April 29 – Motu Mahaea

  • It’s our last day but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it. Sail back towards a translucent lagoon surrounded by coral to the tiny island of Taha’a. Enjoy a traditional Polynesian dancing feast and share one last dance with all your new best friends on a the Motu. We say “Nana” (bye/see you later in Tahitian) for now, but don’t worry because we’re already planning our next adventure together.

April 30 – Raiatea

  • The end of the week is just the beginning. Welcome to Day 8… where the memories and friendships from your week live on. It’s your family away from family. One that keeps growing and inspires you to see, do and experience new things with the best of the best.

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 I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 with our partners (with options for medical coverage included!) at G1G Travel Insurance.

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:

  • Professional Skipper – meet our skippers!
  • Accommodation for 7 days
  • All Access Pass to exclusive The Yacht Week events
  • Dinghy & outboard engine
  • All onboard breakfasts, lunches, and 2 dinners
  • Professional host/chef – meet our hosts!
  • Mineral water
  • Yacht equipment
  • GPS & nautical charts (if you like to nerd out on that kind of stuff)
  • On Board Sound System with Cockpit Control
  • Final cleaning of your yacht
  • Towels & bed linen
  • WIFI (sometimes – it is the ocean after all!)
  • Mates and memories that’ll last a lifetime

Price exclusive of:

  • Transport to and from Martinique to begin and end the trip
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Dinners for 5 nights
  • Groceries for onboard meals
  • All optional day trips and activities
  • Alcohol, drinks and personal spending
  • Port fees
  • Yacht fuel, water, shore power
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Water Taxis



Interested in joining us for Polynesia?

8 + 3 =

Wales

May 2022

Wales

May 2022

Manchester

Conwy

Caernafon

Portmeiron

Rhossili

Swansea

Cardiff

Penarth

Cosemeston Medieval Village

Caerau Fort

Llandaff Cathedral

Castell Coch

Tintern Abbey

Stonehenge

London

Wales

May 2022

In a follow up to 2019’s incredibly successful road trip around the Isle of Man and Belfast in Northern Ireland, many of the same monsooners 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!

We are waiting for the hammer to drop; after our 3 week domestic road trip across the USA and a recent group monsoon to Cyprus, we are more than prepared to take the next step towards travel again in the era of and after COVID-19. With the country still reopening after what seemed an eternity combating the pandemic of COVID-19, the dropping infection rates in NYC, and our successful 3 week trip across the USA (twice!) overland without causing any infections, casualties, or hot spots, we now take the next responsible step in returning to a life of travel while minimizing our exposure and negative impact on public health.

During the virtual world premiere of Raubern’s film, our public audience had encouraged us to travel sooner than later with a domestic road trip this August. What seemed like an errant statement of hope soon materialized within our community: we determined if we keep a trip in small, contained cohorts of COVID-negative travelers, we could both travel on an epic adventure without negatively impacting the world around us. And given our previous experience leading a southwestern national road trip on the famed Route 66 from NYC to California 5 summers ago, it had seemed perfectly appropriate to take the northwestern route this summer from NYC. We always follow the signs. And then that trip happened.

Confident that if we plan correctly and responsibly, as well as going with the right people, we are more than ready to take YOU on the next trip abroad once things open up again.

And that time is now.

  • May 21: Arrive in London
  • May 22: Stonehenge, Tintern Abbey
  • May 22 night: Arrive in Cardiff for overnight
  • May 23: Penarth, Cosemeston, Caeru, Llandaff Cathedral, Castell Coch, Cardiff Bay
  • May 23 night: Cardiff for overnight
  • May 24: Brecon National Park, Rhossil, Swansea
  • May 25: Wales Coast, Portmeiron, Caenarfon
  • May 26: Conwy, end in Manchester by the afternoon
  • May 27: optional stay into Manchester
  • May 28: Depart 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.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 you recommend travel insurance?

Yes! These days you can never be sure. After years of trying everything we recommend going with G1G insurance (with options for medical coverage included!).

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?

13 + 8 =

Svalbard

 

June 20-29, 2022

Longyearbyen

Barentsburg

Nordenskiöld

Raudfjorden

Hinlopen Strait

Seven Islands

Spitsbergen

Forlandsundet

Svalbard: Soviet Frontier Arctic Cruise

June 20-29, 2022

Third time’s the charm! Join The Monsoon Diaries, Young Pioneer Tours, and Oceanwide Expeditions on a bespoke tour in the northern reaches of the world on a cruise around Svalbard visiting Russian settlements and abandoned coal mining outposts turned ghost towns! It’s not that usual we are this excited about something more than 18 months from now, but this tour has got our tastebuds tingling.

Not only will we be on an arctic cruise on the m/v Janssonius – the most advanced vessel Polar Class 6 cruise ship which exceeds all the latest green requirements of the Polar Code, but you’ll be in one of the most inspiring natural environments on the planet, as well as ticking off most MD/YPT boxes on this trip.

We begin your adventure in the main town of Longyearbyen where you’ll get a feel for the kind of people who live amongst reindeer and polar bears, before setting sail to the Monaco Glacier, a 5 kilometre long (3.1 miles) wall of ice that you can hear groaning and cracking as it slowly slides into the sea. Named after the first Prince Albert of Monaco, the base of the ice is a common hunting ground for polar bears.

You’ll then reach the northernmost point of your voyage with us within the Seven Islands. Here you will reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the North Pole. Along the journey you’ll have the chance to spot mink whales, bowhead whales, blue whales, bearded seals, ringed seals, arctic foxes, and various seabirds.

On our return we’ll stop and disembark at Barentsburg, an old Russian mining settlement still populated by about 500 people. Here even though we’re still officially in Norway we’ll see the northernmost statue of Lenin in the world and grab a drink at the northernmost brewery! We’ll then finish the voyage back in Longyearbyen with farewell drinks onboard.

Monday 20th June – Longyearbyen

  • 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 6:00pm at our hotel for dinner and pre-tour meeting where you can get to know your fellow travellers and YPT/MD 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

Tuesday 21st June – 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 m/v Janssonius from Isfjorden
  • Look out for whales or just take in the scenery as dusk approaches
  • Dinner and overnight on the ship

Wednesday 22nd June – Raudfjorden

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • We’ll continue our course to the north of Spitsbergen, taking in the expansive fjord spilling with glaciers where we’ll be scanning the waters for ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.
  • Lunch, dinner and overnight on the ship

Thursday 23rd June – Monaco Glacier

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • Trip highlight – Providing that the weather holds up well, we can further set sail to Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5 kilometre long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a popular feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes.
  • The base is a common polar bear hunting ground. If the ice conditions on this day prevent us from sailing here, we’ll take an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen.
  • Lunch, dinner and overnight on the ship

Friday 24th June – Hinlopen Strait

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • We continue our voyage to Hinlopen Strait – home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears.
  • At the entrance to the Strait we may also have the chance to spot blue whales.
  • After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya for those who sign up for our Zodiac option you can get closer to view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots.
  • Lunch on ship
  • Once we arrive at the east side of Hinlopen Strait – here we’ll disembark at Nordaustlandet where we may spot reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses. If weather does not permit us to disembark we may take an alternate route into Hinlopen.
  • Dinner and overnight on ship

Saturday 25th June – Seven Islands

  • Breakfast on ship
  • We’ll reach the northernmost point of our voyage which is north of Nordaustlandet within the Seven Islands. Here you will reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the North Pole.
  • Today will be spent spotting polar bears as they inhabit this specific region. The ship will sit still for a few hours among the packed ice before wheeling around west again.
  • Lunch, dinner and overnight on ship

Sunday 26th June – Continental Shelf

  • Breakfast on ship
  • As the ship begins to retrace our route west, we can keep our eyes peeled for the Greenland (bowhead) whales.
  • About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, we’ll set sail to the edge of the continental shelf where fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones caused by the cold, nutrient-rich water from below the sea’s surface. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, we’ll have a good chance of sighting more minke whales.
  • Lunch, dinner and overnight on ship

Monday 27th June – 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 the waters are in our favour 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

Tuesday 28th June – Forlandsundet

  • Breakfast on ship
  • Our last stop before our vorage comes to an end is at Forlandsundet where walruses are well known to be. Alternatively, we may sail to St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Here, seabirds nest on nearby cliffs, arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation.
  • We’ll arrive back into Longyearbyen later in the evening.

Wednesday 29th June – Longyearbyen

  • End of tour with YPT and MD 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 newest ship the m/v Janssonius. Sample pictures & layout of our cabins: Cabins aboard m/v Hondius.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 you recommend travel insurance?

Yes! These days you can never be sure. After years of trying everything we recommend going with G1G insurance (with options for medical coverage included!).

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 porthole
  • All transport and zodiac excursions to complete the tour
  • Breakfast in Longyearbyen and all meals on the ship
  • All meals throughout the voyage onboard the ship including unlimited snacks, coffee and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities

Price exclusive of:

  • Transport to and from Longyearbyen
  • Visa fees if applicable (Svalbard is generally visa free though)
  • Lunches and dinners in Longyearbyen on shore prior to cruise
  • Single Supplement in Longyearbyen prior to cruise, not available on ship (€100)
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal spending

Interested in joining us for Svalbard?

1 + 5 =

Kaliningrad

TBD (COVID)

Lithuania

TBD (COVID-19)

Kalininigrad

Curonian Split

Vilnius

Trakai

Kaliningrad & Lithuania

TBD (COVID)

Heading way 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 a few 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!

  • Day 1: Arrive into Kaliningrad
  • Day 2-4: Kaliningrad, Russia
  • Day 4-5: Vilinius, Lithuania

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 I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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

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 Kaliningrad and/or Lithuania?

14 + 7 =

West Africa

Part 1: The Gulf Of Guinea

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

TBD

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

TBD

  • 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.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination from COVID-19?

Yes. I don’t think you’ll be allowed into the destination without one.

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), PayPal, Zelle, Revolut, Square, Cash App, 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 have 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 you recommend travel insurance?

Yes! These days you can never be sure. After years of trying everything we recommend going with G1G insurance.

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?

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