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6 Ways To Walk With Beasts…

Sometimes you just want to feel close to nature, and one way of achieving that is to follow your animals instincts!

Rest assured, these days you can sample the best of the animal kingdom without forgoing luxury.

Whether you want to learn how to “drive” an elephant, go diving without the crowds or learn how to handle husky dogs in the freezing Rocky Mountains, Full Circle Travel has plenty of ideas on how to get at one with nature without missing out on essential creature comforts.

Mahout Camp on the Mekhong, Thailand

Why go?
On the Northern border of Thailand, wedged between Laos and Myanmar, the Golden Triangle is a must. Although it’s a long trip from Bangkok to Chiang Rai: 2 hours flight and 2 hours drive past the rice paddies, it’s well worth it to go to Elephant Mahout Camp!

Where to stay?
The luxurious Anantara Golden Triangle overlooking the mighty Mekhong River is all about elephants: from the grand entrance hall to the poolside showers. You’ll find beautiful exotic gardens, an infinity pool with fantastic views and Thai designer rooms with open bathrooms featuring huge baths sprinkled with orchid petals.

What to do?
Pick up the art of “ele-driving” on one of the friendly female elephants! Take a day long ‘crash-course’ and learn to feed the gentle giants, ride bareback, steer and even give instructions in Thai! There’s also a spa, several restaurants and excursions to the brand new ‘Hall of Opium’ museum: a fascinating look into the area’s infamous past.

Any tips?
If you like a touch of adventure, hire a car and drive yourself from Chiang Rai to take in the gorgeous landscapes and even drive to the border of Myanmar for a day visit.

Swimming with dolphins in Jamaica, Caribbean

Why go? The Caribbean has long been a choice holiday spot with sea, sun and everything else on hand. Swimming with dolphins is a dream for many, and getting into the water with these friendly, intelligent and charming creatures is a really unique, if somewhat slippery, experience.

Where to stay?
The Half Moon resort has its very own Dolphin lagoon! But that’s not all, there’s the pristine crescent-shaped beach, riding school, shopping village, a brand new 68,000 sq ft sanctuary Fern spa and plenty of glorious dining options! Everyone from the Queen to Alicia Keyes has stayed there!

What do to?
Meet the dolphins, either at the beach (for non swimmers) or in deep water. Spend half an hour getting to know flipper’s family, after getting the low down on their lifestyle and behaviour. Then the fun begins with kissing, petting, swim-bys and hand (fin) shakes… You can even enjoy a thrilling dorsal pull, foot push or belly ride.

Any tips?
Take off your jewellery before getting in the water, it can scratch and injure them and remember to put on the sunscreen (no oil) an hour before.

Doggie Days in Alberta, Canada

Why go?
Snow lovers should head to the Canadian Rockies where the flakes falls thick on the stunning Rocky peaks from November to March. Bizarrely it’s considered low season so rates are cheaper and it’s really quiet! Canmore, near Banff is a real gem.

Where to stay?
Go self catering in a spacious chalet or book into the stunning Fairmont Banff. More like a castle in the Rockies, than a resort, it’s the snow destination of choice for the likes of Alec Baldwin, Glenn Close and Robin Williams.

What to do?
You’ll find everything from brilliant skiing to cosy restaurants and days out with the husky dogs. You’ll be taught the basics of ‘mushing’ with a team of gorgeous dogs while your other half nestles under a duvet in the sled!

Any tips?
When it gets really, really cold (-31C) buy some warming pads to slip into your gloves and shoes – and come with the right equipment!

Diving in Oman

Why go?
Wedged between Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Indian Ocean, Oman’s coastline is unspoilt and beautiful and offers some of the world’s best diving spots. Most of the country is arid desert and rugged mountains, but the real attraction is the Ocean which is teaming with marine life unique to the area.

Where to stay?
Book a room at the ultra chic Shangri La Al Jissah resort, a contemporary eastern style hotel just a few kilometres away from the capital, Muscat. The décor is real Arabian nights, while pools, beach and on the spot diving club mean everything is on hand.

What to do?
Go diving with at the resort’s very own Dive center – making the most of the emerald green sea, or head to Musandam on the Northern tip of the Peninsula where you’ll see everything from reef and whale sharks to sunfish, barracudas and turtles. There’s also plenty to see like the Sultan’s palace, the Muttrah souq and taking in the atmosphere of the 900 year old city.

Any tips?
At the souq, remember to haggle. Pick up Pashminas, silks, silvers and at the gold souk, check the overhead signs, if it’s fake they have to declare it!

On Safari in Tanzania

Why go?
The Serengeti is legendary. Bordering on Kenya, the Tanzanian bushland is said to be quieter than next door, so you’ll feel like having the safari experience just to yourself. No queuing, no seeing other cars when you’re out on a game drive: a rarity!

Where to stay?
Stay at the gorgeous Serengeti Tented camp run by Elewana. The staff are adorable, food incredible, and the rooms simply stunning. Mind the baboons on the path back to your bed at night…

What to do?
Go for game drives of course! For a few thrills, go for a walking safari down to the nearby watering whole where you’ll get up close to hippos and crocs. Back on dry land, follow the graceful giraffes, watch the lions in awe and if you’re lucky you might even catch a cheetah in full chase…

Any tips?
Bring plenty of mosquito repellent and pack sensibly – it’s dry, dusty and hot so comfort is key!

Horse Riding in Camargue France

Why go?
The wetlands of Camargue in the South of France are the perfect place to go riding through the rushes. The vast marshlands where wild white horses and bulls roam are incredibly peaceful, and beautiful. Close to Spain and with a gypsy heritage, it’s all about flamenco music, rodeos and romance.

Where to stay?
Check into the hip and stylish Mas de La Fouque set amidst 8 acres of natural park with fantastic views of the wilderness. The Moorish influence is clear in the ultra romantic rooms where it’s all wrought iron four poster beds draped in mosquito netting, oddball antiques, white linens and driftwood.

What to do?
Spend the day by the pool, go for a cruise down the Rhone where the hotel can set up a private beach picnic or jump into the saddle at the nearby Mas des Arnelles. Serge, the friendly local ‘cowboy’ who runs it will get you up close to the glorious pink flamingos and share the region’s secrets.