Stopovers – Part 5 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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SÃO PAULO - BRAZIL
São Paulo-Guarulhos Airport is the hub for LATAM with connecting flights within South America including the gateway to Antarctica, Ushuaia. It has direct flights to the UK.
It’s a city as vibrant as Rio but the metropolis is said to have the soul of an artist. São Paulo has a lot of beauty hidden away. Begin downtown in Luz, a former gang neighbourhood which has been reclaimed. See its late Victorian train station before stopping at Pinacoteca museum for a taste of the country’s best artwork. Not far away lies one of the city’s oldest churches, the 16th-century São Bento monastery. From there, grab a cab to the street art of Beco de Batman, Batman’s Alley, then skip a few blocks south to Parque Ibirapuera, a cycle friendly green space packed with museums. Finish the day in the bohemian area of Vila Madalena, eating and dancing the night away, this is the home of the Samba.
If you stay longer then head to the city’s southern edge of Parque Estadual. Serra do Mar is covered in Atlantic Rainforest and thrums to the hustle of hummingbirds and howler monkeys, also the jungle flanked beaches of Praia do Felix are just a few hours’ drive away. No visas are required for UK citizens. The trip from the airport to bus terminal Tietê takes 40 minutes and costs £10.
ABU DHABI - UAE
Abu Dhabi Airport is the hub for Etihad Airways and a gateway to Asia and the Middle East. The capital is the Emirates’ very walkable heartbeat.
Mangroves, wildlife and culture make for a breathless 24 hours in the United Arab Emirates’ capital. Tiny Abu Dhabi is that rarity in the Emirates; a walkable city. Stroll its Corniche, skirting sands and skyscrapers. At its western tip lies the £1. 9 billion Emirates Palace hotel, home to fine temporary exhibitions. For nature lovers the Mangrove National Park is best discovered by a rented kayak, where you see flamingos, bottlenose dolphins and dugongs. Finish by wandering the marble pillars of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. If you stay longer then to the west about 170km lies Sir Bani Yas Island wildlife reserve. Go South 255km for Liwa and take a trek to the edge of the world’s largest contiguous sand desert. 96 hour visas can be picked up on landing. The airport to Corniche bus is £1 and take 45 minutes.
JAKARTA - INDONESIA
Soekarno-Hatta Airport is the hub for Garuda Airlines. This is a common UK to Australia stopover and you can soak up Old Town Indochina in just 24 hours by heading to Jakarta’s old centre for colonial relics and island escapes.
Escape the chaotic modern city for the peace of its original, 16th-century downtown of Kota Tua, where shades of Jakarta’s Dutch colonial past still ripple across its old Shutters and cobblestones. Be sure to make for Taman Fatahillah square, getting dumplings and curries from the food carts that line its edges. Then rent a bike and pedal to the 500 year-old docks of Sunda Kelapa, once a base for the Dutch East India Company with its crumbling warehouse now home to a museum. Here you can see traditional schooners unload by hand, before grabbing a boat from nearby Ancol Marina to any of the 128 islands lying offshore. Some are just 20 minutes’ boat ride, then snorkel the reef alongside hawksbill turtles and stingrays. If you stay longer take a day trip at the botanical gardens of Bogor or head further south to Puncak Pass, where walking trails thread West Java’s highland tea plantations. No visas are required for UK citizens for 30 day stays. The airport to Gambir Station buses take 90 minutes and cost £3.
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