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Journeys to experience in your lifetime

Travel experiences can change your outlook on life. But it’s also how far you journey away from your world, to discover others. What if you could uncover a remote lake in The Himalayas, journey across eight time zones, two countries and its scores of ancient cultures, climb to the edge of a volcano just to see what’s inside, or for once, have the entire Indian Ocean all to yourself. This month, we bring you to places so beautiful they’ll change the way you see our planet.

The silent procession of luminous blue icebergs.
Photo by Marco Ottobelli / CC BY SA-4.0


Blue Icebergs of Jökulsárlón

It is when youʼre enroute to the destination that the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon first hits you—with its ‘silent procession of luminous blue icebergsʼ 1.

Exploring the Nordic regions has always been akin to being in another world—the Northern Lights, the Midnight Sun in Tromso, the ever- erupting geysers of Strokkur. But Jökulsárlón is something else. In contrast to other larger-scale natural phenomena, it offers a kind of a hypnotic reverie with its interplay of sunlight and ice crystals. Its unique ecology presents a barren yet contrasting landscape of milky-white and powder-blue icebergs against the silver waters and black sands of the lagoon. Come in warmer weather and you’ll see the icebergs tumble off from the glacier tongue quickly. Watch seals at the mouth of the lagoon dive for fish pulled in by the sea tides. For humans, Few locations as rare as this are so accessible by road. You can’t miss it—it’s just next to Route 1, Iceland’s coastal ring road. Once there, you can book a boat out onto the lagoon itself for some 40 minutes of pure wonderment 1,2.

If you thirst for more on your Icelandic route, explore the full Northern Lights and South Iceland Highlights itinerary custom-made for our Premier customers. Simply click on the titled banner below this article.

The luxurious bar lounge.
GOLDEN EAGLE LUXURY TRAINS

The Trans-Siberian Express

Luxury train travels have been on the rise and still, there is nothing quite like the Trans-Siberian Express. To describe the 6,500-mile train journey from the Ural mountains in the west through the remote winter plains of Siberia to the rolling-grass covered hills and blue lakes of Mongolia in the east as the scenic route home would be a huge understatement. The great railway adventurer and writer Paul Theroux once said, ‘The Trans-Siberian Express is like a cruise across an oceanic landscape.’ He has done it three times 3.

One rides from the familiarity of Moscow’s opulent grandeur into the strange landscapes of Siberia and Mongolia. Along the way, you alight to sample a fascinating mix of cultures.

Stepping on board the train for the first time, the enormity of the interior strikes you. The sumptuous aromas cooked up by the chefs linger and lure you to one of the beautifully-designed restaurant cars for some fine dining. Before retiring to your ensuite cabin for the evening, you explore the heart of the train—the bar lounge—where fellow passengers congregate. With drink in hand, you sit back in the silk couches and watch the world go by at the window. Soon, and unknowingly, you strike up a conversation with a stranger and share stories of adventure 4.

The Trans-Siberian Express is like a cruise across an oceanic landscape.Paul Edward Theroux

Lake Baikal GOLDEN EAGLE LUXURY TRAINS

A day into the journey, you see the Eurasian steppes of the Ural region. You stop at the Old Believers’ village to enjoy a spot of wild mushroom-picking and majestic dinners accompanied by ballads and poems by the Babushkas, the singing grannies of the Urals. Rolling past the Ural Mountains, you take in the neverending Siberian plains and the industrial landscape on the Yenisey, Siberia’s greatest river. And you’re only halfway there. Towards the southernmost side, you arrive at the ancient rift valley shores of Lake Baikal and alight for a swim in its ice-cold waters and a heart-warming barbecue after. Across the border into Mongolia in the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, you visit a yurt village to spend the evening with the Buryats, enjoy choir singing and home-cooked nomadic cuisine. Last stop, Vladivostok—civilisation, and arguably the coldest place on Earth.

For the complete Russian VIP experience, click on the Remarkable Russia banner below for RHB Premier’s exclusive offers.

The heated limestone pool at the courtyard of the Riad Anayela. PERFECT HIDEAWAY/The Nomadic People

A Pink Palace in the Walled City of Marrakech

Disappear into the grandeur of a 17th century Moroccan palace lovingly restored by a German entrepreneur and a hundred local artisans. With berber-pink architecture centred around a courtyard limestone pool, traditional four-post beds and ornate furnishings designed by the entrepreneur himself6 , it has become a lap of luxury for the well-heeled adventurer.

Step outside its gates and you are in yet another world. It’s the medina, the old walled city of Marrakech—a labyrinthe of sights, sounds and smells—which transports you centuries back in time. And it’s an experience that can never be captured with a camera. You simply have to be there. Wander into the heart of the Medina to discover hundreds of neatly-lined stalls offering fresh local cuisine by the evening. Pick up a hot snack and fall prey to the wares of the resident snake charmers, fortune-tellers and story-tellers who stay till the early hours of dawn7 .

Back at your palace hotel, you chance upon a story in calligraphy etched on the vast silver doors throughout the place like pages of a giant book. Not surprisingly, in this romantic old-world sanctuary, it happens to be a clandestine love story of a 16-year old girl whom the Riad Anayela palace hotel is named after6 . Now what will your story be?

The island of Sangeli and the Indian Ocean. OBLU/Dive Magazine

Sangeli and the Infinity Sea

Forget your infinity pool in the city. Step into the ‘infinity sea’ at one of the quietest spots in The Maldives8 . Looking out from the north-western tip of the Malé Atoll, it seems like the entire the Indian Ocean is yours and yours alone.

Sangeli makes for a deep and lasting experience. When you finally tire of the days looking out into the endless blue, an array of non-motorised watersport awaits—from kayak to pedalos—including the peculiar sunset fishing. With sunset fishing, you head out into the blue on a fisherman’s boat. Close to a reef, they set anchor and the local guide takes you through the art of basic line-fishing. It’s a surreal undertaking. The setting sun. The ambling waves. Time dissolves into the winds of the ocean, and you soon find yourself at peace and one with the expanse surrounding you. If privacy is your luxury, consider the spacious beach family suite package featuring a private pool, open shower and direct access to the open sea. Click on the OBLU Sangeli @The Maldives banner below for details on itinerary and pricing.

Rooms with a view to pine for. VERHOLY RELAX PARK/Andre Avdeenko

Suites in a Pine Forest

What would you pay to wake up to fresh air and the aroma of pine? For some, the experience is priceless. That is why the Ukrainian hotel operator Verholy recently extended its accommodations into the pine forest reserve nearby with spacious chalets and cottages. Minimalist, pre-fabricated, non-intrusive, and decked out with all the urban comforts. A stroll away is the main hotel where all the familiar luxuries can be had—restaurants, conference rooms, swimming pool, spa facilities, even an equestrian complex with thoroughbred horses9.

It’s a perfect escape from the distractions of life. But more than that, it’s a beautiful way to reconnect with nature and ‘find oneself in the woods’.

Translated from Ukrainian, its homepage explains how the ‘solitude of their complex makes it possible to feel the beneficial and revitalising effect of recreation, get charged with positive emotions and 100% relaxation9' . In short, once you’re there, everything will come naturally.

Ranwu Lake at dusk. ARCH-EXIST PHOTOGRAPHY

Ranwu Lake in the Tibetan Mountains

Half way between Lhasa in Tibet and Chengdu in China on the Highway 318 is an R&R spot for the jetsetters. Keen travellers who find this place will discover a pristine mirrored lake sharing the sky with snow-capped mountains10.

Although called the Ranwu Lake Campsite, it features a row of independent hotel suites with full glass walls facing the lake and the mountains, providing a kind of sensurround spectacle that can never be recreated in the best audio-visual halls11.

At dusk, the effect is amplified. Walk out from the lakeshore on the hotel’s extended platform to experience the scale of it all. Giant mists rise to veil the rocky faces around you. With the murmur of mountain winds and the gurgling of water 4,000 metres above sea level and all urban civilisation, seclusion proves to be a rare luxury11.

Unpack
your mind

Inspired to go about planning your unique travel experience? We understand how you need to be at ease about travelling to foreign places. With the RHB Premier Infinite card and its exclusive member privileges, you’re never alone. It’s designed to accompany you the traveller, on business or leisure, with unlimited premier lounge access and insurance coverage of up to RM2 million; not forgetting the highly rewarding overseas retail benefits if you plan to do a bit of a shopping.

To experience some of the once-in-a-lifetime adventures featured here, click on the titled banners below to learn more or contact our RHB Premier concierge service to help you plan your travels. Then you simply have to arrive, unpack your mind and explore. The experience could well last you a lifetime.

RHB Travel Fair

Northern Lights & South Iceland Highlights

  • Booking Period ends 28 February 2019
  • Travel Period from 7 January to 30 March 2019
  • 7D4N Northern Lights Evening Tour and highlights including Geyser Strokkur, Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon & Guided Ice Cave Tour @RM11,558 per pax
  • All-In Lowest Price in the Market
  • For bookings, Reliance Travel +603 2730 9932

Remarkable Russia With Trans-Siberian Express Option

  • Booking Period ends 28 February 2019
  • Travel Period from 1 April to 31 August 2019
  • 15% Off Russian Railway Adventures
  • 8D VIP Experiences in St Petersburg & Moscow
  • Optional 14D Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
  • For bookings, CIT Travel +603 2091 9847
Usual PriceRHB Exclusive
USD per paxUSD per pax
8D Remarkable Russia 5,2954,501
22D Remarkable Russia
with Trans-Siberian Option
25,89522,011

OBLU Sangeli at The Maldives

  • Booking Period ends 30 September 2019
  • Travel Period from 9 January to 31 October 2019
  • 5D3N Beach Family Suite with Private Pool @RM6,499 per pax
  • Combination of Sumptuous Buffet, Live Cooking Stations & Theme Nights
  • For bookings, Reliance Travel +603 2730 9932

England & Scotland

  • Booking Period ends 31 March 2019
  • Travel Period from 7 January to 31 December 2019
  • 10D7N Flight, Hotel, Meals & Tour Package @RM7,699 per pax
  • FREE Paris 1 Night Hotel, Paris City Tour & Eiffel Tower and Seine River Cruise Tickets worth RM850
  • For bookings, Reliance Travel +603 2730 9932

Sources:
1. Lonely Planet, Scandinavian Europe 9th Edition, ISBN 1741049288 9781741049282, 2009. 2. The Bradt Travel Guide, Page 389, Iceland, ISBN 9781841622156 184162215X, 2008. 3.Independent, Travel Special 2014: Novelist Paul Theroux discusses the joys of travelling by train, 25 January 2014. 4. Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, Life aboard our luxury train accommodation, 2018. 5. Lonely Planet, The Siberian welcome: the best guides along the world’s longest train journey, March 2018. 6. Perfect Hideaway, Riad Anayela, 2018. 7. Trip Savvy, The Medina in Marrakesh, Morocco, 29 September 2018. 8. DIVE Magazine, OBLU - Out In the Blue, Retrieved December 2018. 9.Verholy Relax Park, About Hotel, 2018. 10. World-Architects, Tibetan Coolness, 15 September 2017. 11. Arch Daily, Ranwu Lake Campsite/Xiao Yin Architecture Design Firm, 29 August 2017.

Disclaimer:
RHB is not an agent of Reliance Travel and CIT Travel and makes no representation as to the quality of goods and/or services provided. Any dispute about the goods and/or services is to be resolved directly with Reliance Travel or CIT Travel.