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Heavenly Half-term Adventures

It is amazing what you can fit into 10 days.

Heavenly half-term adventures are a great opportunity to stretch horizons, and now is a great time to start planning an October half-term school tour or mini expedition. Climate wise, many destinations are at their best in our autumn: Morocco, Egypt, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Costa Rica, China and others – all are perfect bolt holes for an educated adventure in late October:

Turkey: This trip to Central Turkey (Cappadocia & the Taurus Mountains) takes you to parts of Turkey few people usually explore. The amazing volcanic landscapes of Cappadocia are simply stunning and an amazing place to explore on foot. After a few days here, head off to the Taurus Mountains for a community project amongst the remote villages of this big mountain range. There is excellent trekking here too if you wanted a more mountainous trek than the Cappadocia walks. This 10 day trip includes 3 days up in the mountains on a project. The final details of the project would be decided nearer the time, but previous schools have designed and built play grounds, painted schools and made classroom furniture and planted saplings in national parks to aid re-forestation. Price:approx.:£1300 for a 10 day itinerary.

Morocco: Perfect for short expeditions and geography adventures, Morocco is a world away yet very close to home. Marrakech is the starting point for most journeys but the imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Rabat further north also offer great educational potential. From Marrakech, the High Atlas Mountains, the barren Anti-Atlas, the Sahara and the rugged Atlantic coast are all within easy reach. How about spending a day learning about the life of a Berber? Hone your winter mountaineering skills on Mt. Toubkal or explore desert landscapes by bike, camel, on foot or a combination of all three! 5 day trips start from around £600. 9 day multi activity expeditions (such as this one) come in under £1000.

Jordan & Israel: Jordan and Israel combined make for a fantastic geography, religious and/or history tour destination, or simply an educational adventure for adventure’s sake. In 10 days you can sleep out under desert stars in Wadi Rum, witness the drama of a chariot race amongst a beautifully preserved Roman city, see the significant sites of Jerusalem & Bethlehem, Mt Nebo and, of course, the incredible Red Rose city of Petra – recently voted as one of the 7 wonders of the world. Then there is walking in the beautiful Dana Nature Reserve, floating in the Dead Sea and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea: 8-10 day trips cost £1200 - £1500 including all food, free teacher places and international flights. Take a peek at one of our sample itineraries.

Egypt: Egypt’s Sinai Desert is generally recognised as one of the most beautiful deserts in the world and a great place for an introduction to expeditions. The desert trekking here is very varied and to undertake a continuous journey through the desert whilst camping out under the stars is undoubtedly very special (click here for a case study with Abingdon School). There is also plenty of culture, history and religion here including Mt. Sinai, St Catherine’s Monastery and the traditional Bedouin lifestyles. And why not end the trip with a day or two on the beaches of the Red Sea, perhaps doing some snorkeling? Don’t feel you have to trek or wild camp though. There are plenty for options for hotel based itineraries too. Price depends on accommodation options and exact itinerary, but budget in the region of £1000 - £1,400 for an 8 day itinerary all in. See here for a sample trekking tour.

Thailand: Elephants, jungles, bamboo rafting and hill tribe trekking; ancient cities, vibrant religions and bustling night markets: Thailand offers a lot more than just beach holidays and is an ideal destination for short adventures, religious studies trips or geography tours with a difference. In 8-10 days, your students can experience the Thailand many fail to see. This 9 day trip covers the north of Thailand, taking an easy going, but adventurous look at the Hill Tribes, jungles and rivers around Chiang Mai. elephant rides and overnight trains as well as canopy zip wires, trekking and homestays make this a highly memorable trip for October half term. Prices start at around £1550 pp including flights and free teacher places, depending on the size of the group.

China: 10 days in China doesn’t allow much time for exploring this vast country but you can still see many of the main highlights and get a full flavour of the place – provided you go about it in the right way. China is one destination we see schools frequently trying to fit too much into a short period of time or, just as bad, not going for long enough. Some operators will try and suggest it is worth going to Beijing and perhaps Xian on a 6 or 7 day itinerary. It’s not. Not only will a significant proportion of your budget be spent on the flights, Beijing is 8 hours ahead of the UK and so there is significant risk of jet lag. With a 6 or 7 day trip you’d barely have time to touch the ground before heading home again. https://www.thestc.co.uk/asset... of Beijing, the Great Wall, Xian and the Terracotta Warriors and Shanghai and the Garden City of Suzhou. Price is very much dependent on flights at the time of booking, but expect in the region of £1,700 - £2,000 per student.

Nepal: Being more relaxed and less frenetic than its ‘big brother’ India, Nepal is a great introduction to the Indian Sub-continent for schools. It is not really worthwhile to attempt Nepal in less than 10 days, 11 is better, but even in 10 you can undertake a short trek in the foothills of the Himalaya – surrounded by 8,000m peaks. There would also be time for an elephant back safari in Chitwan National Park, a canoe safari looking out for crocs and birdlife, visits to UNESCO world heritage sites, options for white water rafting and you’d still have time for a quick look around the enigmatic capital, Kathmandu. Pricewise, 11 days inOctober starts from £1650 pp including flights and free teacher places (based on a group size of 30 + 3 teachers). Click here for a suggested 11 day school adventure.

India: For a cultural tour that will open your students’ eyes to a completely different world India is exceptionally hard to beat. An 11 day school trip here can include many of the highlights of northern India – Delhi, Agra & the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore National Park, Fatehpur Sikri, and the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Prices start at £1500 - £1700 per student for an 11 day school tour of India. If you can't make it for 11 days, then we really recommend you stick to 10 as a minimum as it will give you the time and space to make the most from your trip.

Costa Rica: Costa Rica is perfect for an active exploration of everything geography and / or biology related. There is white-water rafting through jungle covered canyons, zip lining through tree canopies, sea-kayaking amongst Mangrove Swamps, turtle conservation work on glorious beaches, as well as lava spewing volcanoes, butterfly farms, jungle camps, hot springs and loads more. This 11 day itinerary is action packed and a fabulous short ‘insight’ into everything Costa Rican. Price:From £2,000 per student for a 10 day trip, Cheaper options are available without the adventure activities.

For more information on all these destinations and suggested itineraries, and others besides, plus free, independent advice on which tour operators will suit your requirements, contact us on 01392 660056 or email: schools@thestc.co.uk